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Title: Marse Henry, Complete - An Autobiography
Author: Watterson, Henry, 1840-1921
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Marse Henry, Complete - An Autobiography" ***

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[Illustration: Henry Watterson (About 1908)]


"Marse Henry"

An Autobiography

By Henry Watterson



TO MY FRIEND ALEXANDER KONTA WITH AFFECTIONATE SALUTATION

"Mansfield," 1919


  A mound of earth a little higher graded:
  Perhaps upon a stone a chiselled name:
  A dab of printer's ink soon blurred and faded--
  And then oblivion--that--that is fame!

  --HENRY WATTERSON



Contents



Chapter the First

    I Am Born and Begin to Take Notice--John Quincy Adams and Andrew
    Jackson--James K. Polk and Franklin Pierce--Jack Dade and "Beau
    Hickman"--Old Times in Washington

Chapter the Second

    Slavery the Trouble-Maker--Break-Up of the Whig Party and Rise of the
    Republican--The Key--Sickle's Tragedy--Brooks and Sumner--Life at
    Washington in the Fifties

Chapter the Third

    The Inauguration of Lincoln--I Quit Washington and Return to
    Tennessee--A Run-a-bout with Forest--Through the Federal Lines and a
    Dangerous Adventure--Good Luck at Memphis

Chapter the Fourth

    I Go to London--Am Introduced to a Notable Set--Huxley, Spencer, Mill
    and Tyndall--Artemus Ward Comes to Town--The Savage Club

Chapter the Fifth

    Mark Twain--The Original of Colonel Mulberry Sellers--The "Earl of
    Durham"--Some Noctes Ambrosianæ--A Joke on Murat Halstead

Chapter the Sixth

    Houston and Wigfall of Texas--Stephen A. Douglas--The Twaddle about
    Puritans and Cavaliers--Andrew Johnson and John C. Breckenridge

Chapter the Seventh

    An Old Newspaper Rookery--Reactionary Sectionalism in Cincinnati and
    Louisville--_The Courier-Journal_

Chapter the Eighth

    Feminism and Woman Suffrage--The Adventures in Politics and Society--A
    Real Heroine

Chapter the Ninth

    Dr. Norvin Green--Joseph Pulitzer--Chester A. Arthur--General
    Grant--The Case of Fitz-John Porter

Chapter the Tenth

    Of Liars and Lying--Woman Suffrage and Feminism--The Professional
    Female--Parties, Politics, and Politicians in America

Chapter the Eleventh

    Andrew Johnson--The Liberal Convention in 1872--Carl Schurz--The
    "Quadrilateral"--Sam Bowles, Horace White and Murat Halstead--A
    Queer Composite of Incongruities

Chapter the Twelfth

    The Ideal in Public Life--Politicians, Statesmen and Philosophers--
    The Disputed Presidency in 1876--The Persona and Character of Mr.
    Tilden--His Election and Exclusion by a Partisan Tribunal

Chapter the Thirteenth

    Charles Eames and Charles Sumner-Schurzand Lamar--I Go to Congress--A
    Heroic Kentuckian--Stephen Foster and His Songs--Music and Theodore
    Thomas

Chapter the Fourteenth

    Henry Adams and the Adams Family--John Hay and Frank Mason--The Three
    _Mousquetaires_ of Culture--Paris--"The Frenchman"--The South of
    France

Chapter the Fifteenth

    Still the Gay Capital of France--Its Environs--Walewska and De
    Morny--Thackeray in Paris--A _Pension_ Adventure

Chapter the Sixteenth

    Monte Carlo--The European Shrine of Sport and Fashion--Apocryphal
    Gambling Stories--Leopold, King of the Belgians--An Able and
    Picturesque Man of Business

Chapter the Seventeenth

    A Parisian _Pension_--The Widow of Walewska--Napoleon's
    Daughter-in-Law--The Changeless--A Moral and Orderly City

Chapter the Eighteenth

    The Grover Cleveland Period--President Arthur and Mr. Blaine--John
    Chamberlin--The Decrees of Destiny

Chapter the Nineteenth

    Mr. Cleveland in the White House--Mr. Bayard in the Department of
    State--Queer Appointments to Office--The One-Party Power--The End of
    North and South Sectionalism

Chapter the Twentieth

    The Real Grover Cleveland--Two Clevelands Before and After Marriage--A
    Correspondence and a Break of Personal Relations

Chapter the Twenty-First

    Stephen Foster, the Song-Writer--A Friend Comes to the Rescu
    His Originality--"My Old Kentucky Home" and the "Old Folks at
    Home"--General Sherman and "Marching Through Georgia"

Chapter the Twenty-Second

    Theodore Roosevelt--His Problematic Character--He Offers Me an
    Appointment--His _Bonhomie_ and Chivalry--Proud of His Rebel Kin

Chapter the Twenty-Third

    The Actor and the Journalist--The Newspaper and the State--Joseph
    Jefferson--His Personal and Artistic Career--Modest Character and
    Religious Belief

Chapter the Twenty-Fourth

    The Writing of Memoirs--Some Characteristics of Carl Shurz--Sam
    Bowles--Horace White and the Mugwumps

Chapter the Twenty-Fifth

    Every Trade Has Its Tricks--I Play One on William McKinley--Far Away
    Party Politics and Political Issues

Chapter the Twenty-Sixth

    A Libel on Mr. Cleveland--His Fondness for Cards--Some Poker
    Stories--The "Senate Game"--Tom Ochiltree, Senator Allison and General
    Schenck

Chapter the Twenty-Seventh

    The Profession of Journalism--Newspapers and Editors in
    America--Bennett, Greeley and Raymond--Forney and Dana--The Education
    of a Journalist

Chapter the Twenty-Eighth

    Bullies and Braggarts--Some Kentucky Illustrations--The Old Galt
    House--The Throckmortons--A Famous Sugeon--"Old Hell's Delight"

Chapter the Twenty-Ninth

    About Political Conventions, State and National--"Old Ben Butler"--His
    Appearance as a Trouble-Maker in the Democratic National Convention of
    1892--Tarifa and the Tariff--Spain as a Frightful Example

Chapter the Thirtieth

    The Makers of the Republic--Lincoln, Jefferson, Clay and Webster--The
    Proposed League of Nations--The Wilsonian Incertitude--The "New
    Freedom"

Chapter the Thirty-First

    The Age of Miracles--A Story of Franklin Pierce--Simon Suggs
    Billy Sunday--Jefferson Davis and Aaron Burr--Certain Constitutional
    Shortcomings

Chapter the Thirty-Second

    A War Episode--I Meet my Fater--I Marry and Make a Home--The Ups and
    Downs of Life Lead to a Happy Old Age



Illustrations



Henry Watterson (About 1908)

Henry Clay--Painted at Ashland by Dodge for The Hon. Andrew Ewing of
Tennessee-The Original Hangs in Mr. Watterson's Library at "Mansfield"

W. P. Hardee, Lieutenant General C.S.A.

John Bell of Tennessee--In 1860 Presidential Candidate "Union
Party"--"Bell and Everett" Ticket

Artemus Ward

General Leonidas Polk--Lieutenant General C.S.A. Killed in Georgia, June
14, 1864--P. E. Bishop of Louisiana

Mr. Watterson's Editorial Staff in 1868 When the Three Daily Newspapers
of Louisville Were United into the _Courier-Journal_. Mr. George D.
Prentice and Mr. Watterson Are in the Center

Abraham Lincoln in 1861. From a Photograph by M. B. Brady

Mrs. Lincoln in 1861

Henry Watterson--Fifty Years Ago

Henry Woodfire Grady--One of Mr. Watterson's "Boys"

Mr. Watterson's Library at "Mansfield"

A Corner of "Mansfield"--Home of Mr. Watterson

Henry Watterson (Photograph Taken in Florida)

Henry Watterson. From a painting by Louis Mark in the Manhattan Club,
New York



"MARSE HENRY"



Chapter the First

    I Am Born and Begin to Take Notice--John Quincy Adams and Andrew
    Jackson--James K. Polk and Franklin Pierce--Jack Dade and "Beau
    Hickman"--Old Times in Washington



I


I am asked to jot down a few autobiographic odds and ends from such data
of record and memory as I may retain. I have been something of a student
of life; an observer of men and women and affairs; an appraiser of their
character, their conduct, and, on occasion, of their motives. Thus, a
kind of instinct, which bred a tendency and grew to a habit, has led me
into many and diverse companies, the lowest not always the meanest.

Circumstance has rather favored than hindered this bent. I was born in a
party camp and grew to manhood on a political battlefield. I have lived
through stirring times and in the thick of events. In a vein colloquial
and reminiscential, not ambitious, let me recall some impressions which
these have left upon the mind of one who long ago reached and turned the
corner of the Scriptural limitation; who, approaching fourscore, does
not yet feel painfully the frost of age beneath the ravage of time's
defacing waves. Assuredly they have not obliterated his sense either of
vision or vista. Mindful of the adjuration of Burns,

  Keep something to yourself,
  Ye scarcely tell to ony,

I shall yet hold little in reserve, having no state secrets or mysteries
of the soul to reveal.

It is not my purpose to be or to seem oracular. I shall not write after
the manner of Rousseau, whose Confessions had been better honored in the
breach than the observance, and in any event whose sincerity will bear
question; nor have I tales to tell after the manner of Paul Barras,
whose Memoirs have earned him an immortality of infamy. Neither shall
I emulate the grandiose volubility and self-complacent posing of
Metternich and Talleyrand, whose pretentious volumes rest for the most
part unopened upon dusty shelves. I aspire to none of the honors of the
historian. It shall be my aim as far as may be to avoid the garrulity of
the raconteur and to restrain the exaggerations of the ego. But neither
fear of the charge of self-exploitation nor the specter of a modesty
oft too obtrusive to be real shall deter me from a proper freedom of
narration, where, though in the main but a humble chronicler, I must
needs appear upon the scene and speak of myself; for I at least have not
always been a dummy and have sometimes in a way helped to make history.

In my early life--as it were, my salad days--I aspired to becoming what
old Simon Cameron called "one of those damned literary fellows" and
Thomas Carlyle less profanely described as "a leeterary celeebrity."
But some malign fate always sat upon my ambitions in this regard. It was
easy to become The National Gambler in Nast's cartoons, and yet easier
The National Drunkard through the medium of the everlasting mint-julep
joke; but the phantom of the laurel crown would never linger upon my
fair young brow.

Though I wrote verses for the early issues of Harper's Weekly--happily
no one can now prove them on me, for even at that jejune period I had
the prudence to use an anonym--the Harpers, luckily for me, declined to
publish a volume of my poems. I went to London, carrying with me "the
great American novel." It was actually accepted by my ever too partial
friend, Alexander Macmillan. But, rest his dear old soul, he died
and his successors refused to see the transcendent merit of that
performance, a view which my own maturing sense of belles-lettres values
subsequently came to verify.

When George Harvey arrived at the front I "'ad 'opes." But, Lord, that
cast-iron man had never any bookish bowels of compassion--or political
either for the matter of that!--so that finally I gave up fiction and
resigned myself to the humble category of the crushed tragi-comedians of
literature, who inevitably drift into journalism.

Thus my destiny has been casual. A great man of letters quite thwarted,
I became a newspaper reporter--a voluminous space writer for the
press--now and again an editor and managing editor--until, when I was
nearly thirty years of age, I hit the Kentucky trail and set up for a
journalist. I did this, however, with a big "J," nursing for a while
some faint ambitions of statesmanship--even office--but in the end
discarding everything that might obstruct my entire freedom, for I came
into the world an insurgent, or, as I have sometimes described myself in
the Kentucky vernacular, "a free nigger and not a slave nigger."



II


Though born in a party camp and grown to manhood on a political
battlefield my earlier years were most seriously influenced by the
religious spirit of the times. We passed to and fro between Washington
and the two family homesteads in Tennessee, which had cradled
respectively my father and mother, Beech Grove in Bedford County, and
Spring Hill in Maury County. Both my grandfathers were devout churchmen
of the Presbyterian faith. My Grandfather Black, indeed, was the son
of a Presbyterian clergyman, who lived, preached and died in Madison
County, Kentucky. He was descended, I am assured, in a straight line
from that David Black, of Edinburgh, who, as Burkle tells us, having
declared in a sermon that Elizabeth of England was a harlot, and her
cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, little better, went to prison for it--all
honor to his memory.

My Grandfather Watterson was a man of mark in his day. He was decidedly
a constructive--the projector and in part the builder of an important
railway line--an early friend and comrade of General Jackson, who
was all too busy to take office, and, indeed, who throughout his life
disdained the ephemeral honors of public life. The Wattersons had
migrated directly from Virginia to Tennessee.

The two families were prosperous, even wealthy for those days, and my
father had entered public life with plenty of money, and General Jackson
for his sponsor. It was not, however, his ambitions or his career that
interested me--that is, not until I was well into my teens--but the camp
meetings and the revivalist preachers delivering the Word of God with
more or less of ignorant yet often of very eloquent and convincing
fervor.

The wave of the great Awakening of 1800 had not yet subsided. Bascom
was still alive. I have heard him preach. The people were filled with
thoughts of heaven and hell, of the immortality of the soul and the life
everlasting, of the Redeemer and the Cross of Calvary. The camp ground
witnessed an annual muster of the adjacent countryside. The revival was
a religious hysteria lasting ten days or two weeks. The sermons were
appeals to the emotions. The songs were the outpourings of the soul
in ecstacy. There was no fanaticism of the death-dealing, proscriptive
sort; nor any conscious cant; simplicity, childlike belief in future
rewards and punishments, the orthodox Gospel the universal rule. There
was a good deal of doughty controversy between the churches, as between
the parties; but love of the Union and the Lord was the bedrock of every
confession.

Inevitably an impressionable and imaginative mind opening to such sights
and sounds as it emerged from infancy must have been deeply affected.
Until I was twelve years old the enchantment of religion had complete
possession of my understanding. With the loudest, I could sing all the
hymns. Being early taught in music I began to transpose them into many
sorts of rhythmic movement for the edification of my companions. Their
words, aimed directly at the heart, sank, never to be forgotten, into my
memory. To this day I can repeat the most of them--though not without
a break of voice--while too much dwelling upon them would stir me to a
pitch of feeling which a life of activity in very different walks and
ways and a certain self-control I have been always able to command would
scarcely suffice to restrain.

The truth is that I retain the spiritual essentials I learned then and
there. I never had the young man's period of disbelief. There has never
been a time when if the Angel of Death had appeared upon the scene--no
matter how festal--I would not have knelt with adoration and welcome;
never a time on the battlefield or at sea when if the elements had
opened to swallow me I would not have gone down shouting!

Sectarianism in time yielded to universalism. Theology came to seem
to my mind more and more a weapon in the hands of Satan to embroil and
divide the churches. I found in the Sermon on the Mount leading enough
for my ethical guidance, in the life and death of the Man of Galilee
inspiration enough to fulfill my heart's desire; and though I have read
a great deal of modern inquiry--from Renan and Huxley through Newman
and Döllinger, embracing debates before, during and after the English
upheaval of the late fifties and the Ecumenical Council of 1870,
including the various raids upon the Westminster Confession, especially
the revision of the Bible, down to writers like Frederic Harrison and
Doctor Campbell--I have found nothing to shake my childlike faith in the
simple rescript of Christ and Him crucified.



III


From their admission into the Union, the States of Kentucky and
Tennessee have held a relation to the politics of the country somewhat
disproportioned to their population and wealth. As between the two
parties from the Jacksonian era to the War of Sections, each was closely
and hotly contested. If not the birthplace of what was called "stump
oratory," in them that picturesque form of party warfare flourished
most and lasted longest. The "barbecue" was at once a rustic feast and
a forum of political debate. Especially notable was the presidential
campaign of 1840, the year of my birth, "Tippecanoe and Tyler," for
the Whig slogan--"Old Hickory" and "the battle of New Orleans," the
Democratic rallying cry--Jackson and Clay, the adored party chieftains.

I grew up in the one State, and have passed the rest of my life in the
other, cherishing for both a deep affection, and, maybe, over-estimating
their hold upon the public interest. Excepting General Jackson, who was
a fighter and not a talker, their public men, with Henry Clay and Felix
Grundy in the lead, were "stump orators." He who could not relate and
impersonate an anecdote to illustrate and clinch his argument, nor "make
the welkin ring" with the clarion tones of his voice, was politically
good for nothing. James K. Polk and James C. Jones led the van of
stump orators in Tennessee, Ben Hardin, John J. Crittenden and John C.
Breckenridge in Kentucky. Tradition still has stories to tell of their
exploits and prowess, their wit and eloquence, even their commonplace
sayings and doings. They were marked men who never failed to captivate
their audiences. The system of stump oratory had many advantages as a
public force and was both edifying and educational. There were a
few conspicuous writers for the press, such as Ritchie, Greeley and
Prentice. But the day of personal journalism and newspaper influence
came later.

I was born at Washington--February 16, 1840--"a bad year for Democrats,"
as my father used to say, adding: "I am afraid the boy will grow up to
be a Whig."

In those primitive days there were only Whigs and Democrats. Men took
their politics, as their liquor, "straight"; and this father of mine was
an undoubting Democrat of the schools of Jefferson and Jackson. He
had succeeded James K. Polk in Congress when the future President was
elected governor of Tennessee; though when nominated he was little
beyond the age required to qualify as a member of the House.

To the end of his long life he appeared to me the embodiment of wisdom,
integrity and courage. And so he was--a man of tremendous force of
character, yet of surpassing sweetness of disposition; singularly
disdainful of office, and indeed of preferment of every sort; a profuse
maker and a prodigal spender of money; who, his needs and recognition
assured, cared nothing at all for what he regarded as the costly glories
of the little great men who rattled round in places often much too big
for them.

Immediately succeeding Mr. Polk, and such a youth in appearance, he
attracted instant attention. His father, my grandfather, allowed him a
larger income than was good for him--seeing that the per diem then paid
Congressmen was altogether insufficient--and during the earlier days of
his sojourn in the national capital he cut a wide swath; his principal
yokemate in the pleasures and dissipations of those times being Franklin
Pierce, at first a representative and then a senator from New Hampshire.
Fortunately for both of them, they were whisked out of Washington by
their families in 1843; my father into the diplomatic service and Mr.
Pierce to the seclusion of his New England home. They kept in close
touch, however, the one with the other, and ten years later, in 1853,
were back again upon the scene of their rather conspicuous frivolity,
Pierce as President of the United States, my father, who had preceded
him a year or two, as editor of the Washington Union, the organ of the
Administration.

When I was a boy the national capital was still rife with stories of
their escapades. One that I recall had it that on a certain occasion
returning from an excursion late at night my father missed his footing
and fell into the canal that then divided the city, and that Pierce,
after many fruitless efforts, unable to assist him to dry land,
exclaimed, "Well, Harvey, I can't get you out, but I'll get in with
you," suiting the action to the word. And there they were found and
rescued by a party of passers, very well pleased with themselves.

My father's absence in South America extended over two years. My
mother's health, maybe her aversion to a long overseas journey, kept
her at home, and very soon he tired of life abroad without her and came
back. A committee of citizens went on a steamer down the river to meet
him, the wife and child along, of course, and the story was told that,
seated on the paternal knee curiously observant of every detail, the
brat suddenly exclaimed, "Ah ha, pa! Now you've got on your store
clothes. But when ma gets you up at Beech Grove you'll have to lay off
your broadcloth and put on your jeans, like I do."

Being an only child and often an invalid, I was a pet in the family and
many tales were told of my infantile precocity. On one occasion I had a
fight with a little colored boy of my own age and I need not say got the
worst of it. My grandfather, who came up betimes and separated us, said,
"he has blackened your eye and he shall black your boots," thereafter
making me a deed to the lad. We grew up together in the greatest amity
and in due time I gave him his freedom, and again to drop into the
vernacular--"that was the only nigger I ever owned." I should add that
in the "War of Sections" he fell in battle bravely fighting for the
freedom of his race.

It is truth to say that I cannot recall the time when I was not
passionately opposed to slavery, a crank on the subject of personal
liberty, if I am a crank about anything.



IV


In those days a less attractive place than the city of Washington could
hardly be imagined. It was scattered over an ill-paved and half-filled
oblong extending east and west from the Capitol to the White House,
and north and south from the line of the Maryland hills to the Potomac
River. One does not wonder that the early Britishers, led by Tom Moore,
made game of it, for it was both unpromising and unsightly.

Private carriages were not numerous. Hackney coaches had to be
especially ordered. The only public conveyance was a rickety old omnibus
which, making hourly trips, plied its lazy journey between the Navy Yard
and Georgetown. There was a livery stable--Kimball's--having "stalls,"
as the sleeping apartments above came to be called, thus literally
serving man and beast. These stalls often lodged very distinguished
people. Kimball, the proprietor, a New Hampshire Democrat of imposing
appearance, was one of the last Washingtonians to wear knee breeches and
a ruffled shirt. He was a great admirer of my father and his place was a
resort of my childhood.

One day in the early April of 1852 I was humped in a chair upon one side
of the open entrance reading a book--Mr. Kimball seated on the other
side reading a newspaper--when there came down the street a tall,
greasy-looking person, who as he approached said: "Kimball, I have
another letter here from Frank."

"Well, what does Frank say?"

Then the letter was produced, read and discussed.

It was all about the coming National Democratic Convention and its
prospective nominee for President of the United States, "Frank" seeming
to be a principal. To me it sounded very queer. But I took it all in,
and as soon as I reached home I put it up to my father:

"How comes it," I asked, "that a big old loafer gets a letter from a
candidate for President and talks it over with the keeper of a livery
stable? What have such people to do with such things?"

My father said: "My son, Mr. Kimball is an estimable man. He has been
an important and popular Democrat in New Hampshire. He is not without
influence here. The Frank they talked about is Gen. Franklin Pierce, of
New Hampshire, an old friend and neighbor of Mr. Kimball. General Pierce
served in Congress with me and some of us are thinking that we may
nominate him for President. The 'big old loafer,' as you call him,
was Mr. John C. Rives, a most distinguished and influential Democrat
indeed."

Three months later, when the event came to pass, I could tell all about
Gen. Franklin Pierce. His nomination was no surprise to me, though
to the country at large it was almost a shock. He had been nowhere
seriously considered.

In illustration of this a funny incident recurs to me. At Nashville the
night of the nomination a party of Whigs and Democrats had gathered in
front of the principal hotel waiting for the arrival of the news, among
the rest Sam Bugg and Chunky Towles, two local gamblers, both undoubting
Democrats. At length Chunky Towles, worn out, went off to bed. The
result was finally flashed over the wires. The crowd was nonplused. "Who
the hell is Franklin Pierce?" passed from lip to lip.

Sam Bugg knew his political catechism well. He proceeded at length to
tell all about Franklin Pierce, ending with the opinion that he was
the man wanted and would be elected hands down, and he had a thousand
dollars to bet on it.

Then he slipped away to tell his pal.

"Wake up, Chunky," he cried. "We got a candidate--Gen. Franklin Pierce,
of New Hampshire."

"Who the----"

"Chunky," says Sam. "I am ashamed of your ignorance. Gen. Franklin
Pierce is the son of Gen. Benjamin Pierce, of Revolutionary fame. He has
served in both houses of Congress. He declined a seat in Polk's Cabinet.
He won distinction in the Mexican War. He is the very candidate we've
been after."

"In that case," says Chunky, "I'll get up." When he reappeared Petway,
the Whig leader of the gathering, who had been deriding the convention,
the candidate and all things else Democratic, exclaimed:

"Here comes Chunky Towles. He's a good Democrat; and I'll bet ten to one
he never heard of Franklin Pierce in his life before."

Chunky Towles was one of the handsomest men of his time. His strong suit
was his unruffled composure and cool self-control. "Mr. Petway," says
he, "you would lose your money, and I won't take advantage of any man's
ignorance. Besides, I never gamble on a certainty. Gen. Franklin Pierce,
sir, is a son of Gen. Benjamin Pierce of Revolutionary memory. He served
in both houses of Congress, sir--refused a seat in Polk's Cabinet,
sir--won distinction in the Mexican War, sir. He has been from the first
my choice, and I've money to bet on his election."

Franklin Pierce had an only son, named Benny, after his grandfather, the
Revolutionary hero. He was of my own age. I was planning the good time
we were going to have in the White House when tidings came that he had
been killed in a railway accident. It was a grievous blow, from which
the stricken mother never recovered. One of the most vivid memories and
altogether the saddest episode of my childhood is that a few weeks later
I was carried up to the Executive Mansion, which, all formality and
marble, seemed cold enough for a mausoleum, where a lady in black took
me in her arms and convulsively held me there, weeping as if her heart
would break.



V


Sometimes a fancy, rather vague, comes to me of seeing the soldiers
go off to the Mexican War and of making flags striped with pokeberry
juice--somehow the name of the fruit was mingled with that of the
President--though a visit quite a year before to The Hermitage,
which adjoined the farm of an uncle, to see General Jackson is still
uneffaced.

I remember it vividly. The old hero dandled me in his arms, saying "So
this is Harvey's boy," I looking the while in vain for the "hickory," of
which I had heard so much.

On the personal side history owes General Jackson reparation. His
personality needs indeed complete reconstruction in the popular mind,
which misconceives him a rough frontiersman having few or none of the
social graces. In point of fact he came into the world a gentleman, a
leader, a knight-errant who captivated women and dominated men.

I shared when a young man the common belief about him. But there is
ample proof of the error of this. From middle age, though he ever liked
a horse race, he was a regular if not a devout churchman. He did not
swear at all, "by the Eternal" or any other oath. When he reached New
Orleans in 1814 to take command of the army, Governor Claiborne gave him
a dinner; and after he had gone Mrs. Claiborne, who knew European courts
and society better than any other American woman, said to her husband:
"Call that man a backwoodsman? He is the finest gentleman I ever met!"

There is another witness--Mr. Buchanan, afterward President--who tells
how he took a distinguished English lady to the White House when
Old Hickory was President; how he went up to the general's private
apartment, where he found him in a ragged _robe-de-chambre_, smoking his
pipe; how, when he intimated that the President might before coming down
slick himself a bit, he received the half-laughing rebuke: "Buchanan,
I once knew a man in Virginia who made himself independently rich
by minding his own business"; how, when he did come down, he was _en
règle_; and finally how, after a half hour of delightful talk, the
English lady as they regained the street broke forth with enthusiasm,
using almost the selfsame words of Mrs. Claiborne: "He is the finest
gentleman I ever met in the whole course of my life."



VI


The Presidential campaign of 1848--and the concurrent return of the
Mexican soldiers--seems but yesterday. We were in Nashville, where the
camp fires of the two parties burned fiercely day and night, Tennessee a
debatable, even a pivotal state. I was an enthusiastic politician on
the Cass and Butler side, and was correspondingly disappointed when
the election went against us for Taylor and Fillmore, though a little
mollified when, on his way to Washington, General Taylor grasping
his old comrade, my grandfather, by the hand, called him "Billy," and
paternally stroked my curls.

Though the next winter we passed in Washington I never saw him in
the White House. He died in July, 1850, and was succeeded by Millard
Fillmore. It is common to speak of Old Rough and Ready as an ignoramus.
I don't think this. He may not have been very courtly, but he was a
gentleman.

Later in life I came to know Millard Fillmore well and to esteem him
highly. Once he told me that Daniel Webster had said to him: "Fillmore,
I like Clay--I like Clay very much--but he rides rough, sir; damned
rough!"

I was fond of going to the Capitol and of playing amateur page in
the House, of which my father had been a member and where he had many
friends, though I was never officially a page. There was in particular
a little old bald-headed gentleman who was good to me and would put his
arm about me and stroll with me across the rotunda to the Library of
Congress and get me books to read. I was not so young as not to know
that he was an ex-President of the United States, and to realize the
meaning of it. He had been the oldest member of the House when my father
was the youngest. He was John Quincy Adams. By chance I was on the floor
of the House when he fell in his place, and followed the excited and
tearful throng when they bore him into the Speaker's Room, kneeling by
the side of the sofa with an improvised fan and crying as if my heart
would break.

One day in the spring of 1851 my father took me to a little hotel on
Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol and into a stuffy room, where a
snuffy old man wearing an ill-fitting wig was busying himself over a
pile of documents. He turned about and was very hearty.

"Aha, you've brought the boy," said he.

And my father said: "My son, you wanted to see General Cass, and here he
is."

My enthusiasm over the Cass and Butler campaign had not subsided.
Inevitably General Cass was to me the greatest of heroes. My father had
been and always remained his close friend. Later along we dwelt together
at Willard's Hotel, my mother a chaperon for Miss Belle Cass, afterward
Madame Von Limbourg, and I came into familiar intercourse with the
family.

The general made me something of a pet and never ceased to be a hero to
me. I still think he was one of the foremost statesmen of his time
and treasure a birthday present he made me when I was just entering my
teens.

The hour I passed with him that afternoon I shall never forget.

As we were about taking our leave my father said: "Well, my son, you
have seen General Cass; what do you think of him?"

And the general patting me affectionately on the head laughingly said:
"He thinks he has seen a pretty good-looking old fogy--that is what he
thinks!"



VII


There flourished in the village life of Washington two old blokes--no
other word can properly describe them--Jack Dade, who signed himself
"the Honorable John W. Dade, of Virginia;" and Beau Hickman, who hailed
from nowhere and acquired the pseudonym through sheer impudence. In one
way and another they lived by their wits, the one all dignity, the other
all cheek. Hickman fell very early in his career of sponge and beggar,
but Dade lived long and died in office--indeed, toward the close an
office was actually created for him.

Dade had been a schoolmate of John Tyler--so intimate they were that at
college they were called "the two Jacks"--and when the death of Harrison
made Tyler President, the "off Jack," as he dubbed himself, went up to
the White House and said: "Jack Tyler, you've had luck and I haven't.
You must do something for me and do it quick. I'm hard up and I want an
office."

"You old reprobate," said Tyler, "what office on earth do you think you
are fit to fill?"

"Well," said Dade, "I have heard them talking round here of a place they
call a sine-cu-ree--big pay and no work--and if there is one of them
left and lying about loose I think I could fill it to a T."

"All right," said the President good naturedly, "I'll see what can be
done. Come up to-morrow."

The next day "Col. John W. Dade, of Virginia," was appointed keeper of
the Federal prison of the District of Columbia. He assumed his post
with _empressement_, called the prisoners before him and made them an
address.

"Ladies and gentlemen," said he; "I have been chosen by my friend, the
President of the United States, as superintendent of this eleemosynary
institution. It is my intention to treat you all as a Virginia gentleman
should treat a body of American ladies and gentlemen gathered here
from all parts of our beloved Union, and I shall expect the same
consideration in return. Otherwise I will turn you all out upon the cold
mercies of a heartless world and you will have to work for your living."

There came to Congress from Alabama a roistering blade by the name of
McConnell. He was something of a wit. During his brief sojourn in the
national capital he made a noisy record for himself as an all-round,
all-night man about town, a dare-devil and a spendthrift. His first
encounter with Col. John W. Dade, of Virginia, used to be one of the
standard local jokes. Colonel Dade was seated in the barroom of Brown's
Hotel early one morning, waiting for someone to come in and invite him
to drink.

Presently McConnell arrived. It was his custom when he entered a saloon
to ask the entire roomful, no matter how many, "to come up and licker,"
and, of course, he invited the solitary stranger.

When the glasses were filled Dade pompously said: "With whom have I the
honor of drinking?"

"My name," answered McConnell, "is Felix Grundy McConnell, begad! I am a
member of Congress from Alabama. My mother is a justice of the peace,
my aunt keeps a livery stable, and my grandmother commanded a company in
the Revolution and fit the British, gol darn their souls!"

Dade pushed his glass aside.

"Sir," said he, "I am a man of high aspirations and peregrinations and
can have nothing to do with such low-down scopangers as yourself. Good
morning, sir!"

It may be presumed that both spoke in jest, because they became
inseparable companions and the best of friends.

McConnell had a tragic ending. In James K. Polk's diary I find two
entries under the dates, respectively, of September 8 and September 10,
1846. The first of these reads as follows: "Hon. Felix G. McConnell, a
representative in Congress from Alabama called. He looked very badly
and as though he had just recovered from a fit of intoxication. He was
sober, but was pale, his countenance haggard and his system nervous. He
applied to me to borrow one hundred dollars and said he would return it
to me in ten days.

"Though I had no idea that he would do so I had a sympathy for him even
in his dissipation. I had known him in his youth and had not the moral
courage to refuse. I gave him the one hundred dollars in gold and took
his note. His hand was so tremulous that he could scarcely write his
name to the note legibly. I think it probable that he will never pay me.
He informed me he was detained at Washington attending to some business
in the Indian Office. I supposed he had returned home at the adjournment
of Congress until he called to-day. I doubt whether he has any business
in Washington, but fear he has been detained by dissipation."

The second of Mr. Polk's entries is a corollary of the first and reads:
"About dark this evening I learned from Mr. Voorhies, who is acting as
my private secretary during the absence of J. Knox Walker, that Hon.
Felix G. McConnell, a representative in Congress from the state of
Alabama, had committed suicide this afternoon at the St. Charles Hotel,
where he boarded. On Tuesday last Mr. McConnell called on me and I
loaned him one hundred dollars. [See this diary of that day.] I learn
that but a short time before the horrid deed was committed he was in the
barroom of the St. Charles Hotel handling gold pieces and stating that
he had received them from me, and that he loaned thirty-five dollars of
them to the barkeeper, that shortly afterward he had attempted to write
something, but what I have not learned, but he had not written much when
he said he would go to his room.

"In the course of the morning I learn he went into the city and paid a
hackman a small amount which he owed him. He had locked his room door,
and when found he was stretched out on his back with his hands extended,
weltering in his blood. He had three wounds in the abdomen and his
throat was cut. A hawkbill knife was found near him. A jury of inquest
was held and found a verdict that he had destroyed himself. It was a
melancholy instance of the effects of intemperance. Mr. McConnell when
a youth resided at Fayetteville in my congressional district. Shortly
after he grew up to manhood he was at my instance appointed postmaster
of that town. He was a true Democrat and a sincere friend of mine.

"His family in Tennessee are highly respectable and quite numerous. The
information as to the manner and particulars of his death I learned from
Mr. Voorhies, who reported it to me as he had heard it in the streets.
Mr. McConnell removed from Tennessee to Alabama some years ago, and I
learn he has left a wife and three or four children."

Poor Felix Grundy McConnell! At a school in Tennessee he was a roommate
of my father, who related that one night Felix awakened with a scream
from a bad dream he had, the dream being that he had cut his own throat.

"Old Jack Dade," as he was always called, lived on, from hand to mouth,
I dare say--for he lost his job as keeper of the district prison--yet
never wholly out-at-heel, scrupulously neat in his person no matter how
seedy the attire. On the completion of the new wings of the Capitol and
the removal of the House to its more commodious quarters he was made
custodian of the old Hall of Representatives, a post he held until he
died.



VIII


Between the idiot and the man of sense, the lunatic and the man of
genius, there are degrees--streaks--of idiocy and lunacy. How many
expectant politicians elected to Congress have entered Washington all
hope, eager to dare and do, to come away broken in health, fame and
fortune, happy to get back home--sometimes unable to get away, to linger
on in obscurity and poverty to a squalid and wretched old age.

I have lived long enough to have known many such: Senators who have
filled the galleries when they rose to speak; House heroes living while
they could on borrowed money, then hanging about the hotels begging for
money to buy drink.

There was a famous statesman and orator who came to this at last, of
whom the typical and characteristic story was told that the holder of a
claim against the Government, who dared not approach so great a man with
so much as the intimation of a bribe, undertook by argument to interest
him in the merit of the case.

The great man listened and replied: "I have noticed you scattering your
means round here pretty freely but you haven't said 'turkey' to me."

Surprised but glad and unabashed the claimant said "I was coming
to that," produced a thousand-dollar bank roll and entered into an
understanding as to what was to be done next day, when the bill was due
on the calendar.

The great man took the money, repaired to a gambling house, had
an extraordinary run of luck, won heavily, and playing all night,
forgetting about his engagement, went to bed at daylight, not appearing
in the House at all. The bill was called, and there being nobody to
represent it, under the rule it went over and to the bottom of the
calendar, killed for that session at least.

The day after the claimant met his recreant attorney on the avenue face
to face and took him to task for his delinquency.

"Ah, yes," said the great man, "you are the little rascal who tried to
bribe me the other day. Here is your dirty money. Take it and be off
with you. I was just seeing how far you would go."

The comment made by those who best knew the great man was that if
instead of winning in the gambling house he had lost he would have been
up betimes at his place in the House, and doing his utmost to pass the
claimant's bill and obtain a second fee.

Another memory of those days has to do with music. This was the
coming of Jenny Lind to America. It seemed an event. When she reached
Washington Mr. Barnum asked at the office of my father's newspaper for
a smart lad to sell the programs of the concert--a new thing in artistic
showmanry. "I don't want a paper carrier, or a newsboy," said he, "but
a young gentleman, three or four young gentlemen." I was sent to him.
We readily agreed upon the commission to be received--five cents on
each twenty-five cent program--the oldest of old men do not forget such
transactions. But, as an extra percentage for "organizing the force,"
I demanded a concert seat. Choice seats were going at a fabulous figure
and Barnum at first demurred. But I told him I was a musical student,
stood my ground, and, perhaps seeing something unusual in the eager
spirit of a little boy, he gave in and the bargain was struck.

Two of my pals became my assistants. But my sales beat both of them
hollow. Before the concert began I had sold my programs and was in my
seat. I recall that my money profit was something over five dollars.

The bell-like tones of the Jenny Lind voice in "Home, Sweet Home," and
"The Last Rose of Summer" still come back to me, but too long after
for me to make, or imagine, comparisons between it and the vocalism of
Grisi, Sontag and Parepa-Rosa.

Meeting Mr. Barnum at Madison Square Garden in New York, when he was
running one of his entertainments there, I told him the story, and we
had a hearty laugh, both of us very much pleased, he very much surprised
to find in me a former employee.

One of my earliest yearnings was for a home. I cannot recall the time
when I was not sick and tired of our migrations between Washington City
and the two grand-paternal homesteads in Tennessee. The travel counted
for much of my aversion to the nomadic life we led. The stage-coach
is happier in the contemplation than in the actuality. Even when the
railways arrived there were no sleeping cars, the time of transit three
or four days and nights. In the earlier journeys it had been ten or
twelve days.



Chapter the Second

    Slavery the Trouble-Maker--Break-Up of the Whig Party and Rise of the
    Republican--The Key--Sickle's Tragedy--Brooks and Sumner--Life at
    Washington in the Fifties



I


Whether the War of Sections--as it should be called, because, except in
Eastern Tennessee and in three of the Border States, Maryland, Kentucky
and Missouri, it was nowise a civil war--could have been averted must
ever remain a question of useless speculation. In recognizing the
institution of African slavery, with no provision for its ultimate
removal, the Federal Union set out embodying the seeds of certain
trouble. The wiser heads of the Constitutional Convention perceived this
plainly enough; its dissonance to the logic of their movement; on the
sentimental side its repugnancy; on the practical side its doubtful
economy; and but for the tobacco growers and the cotton planters it had
gone by the board. The North soon found slave labor unprofitable and rid
itself of slavery. Thus, restricted to the South, it came to represent
in the Southern mind a "right" which the South was bound to defend.

Mr. Slidell told me in Paris that Louis Napoleon had once said to him in
answer to his urgency for the recognition of the Southern Confederacy:
"I have talked the matter over with Lord Palmerston and we are both of
the opinion that as long as African slavery exists at the South, France
and England cannot recognize the Confederacy. They do not demand its
instant abolition. But if you put it in course of abatement and final
abolishment through a term of years--I do not care how many--we can
intervene to some purpose. As matters stand we dare not go before a
European congress with such a proposition."

Mr. Slidell passed it up to Richmond. Mr. Davis passed it on to the
generals in the field. The response he received on every hand was the
statement that it would disorganize and disband the Confederate Armies.
Yet we are told, and it is doubtless true, that scarcely one Confederate
soldier in ten actually owned a slave.

Thus do imaginings become theories, and theories resolve themselves
into claims; and interests, however mistaken, rise to the dignity of
prerogatives.



II


The fathers had rather a hazy view of the future. I was witness to the
decline and fall of the old Whig Party and the rise of the Republican
Party. There was a brief lull in sectional excitement after the
Compromise Measures of 1850, but the overwhelming defeat of the Whigs
in 1852 and the dominancy of Mr. Jefferson Davis in the cabinet of Mr.
Pierce brought the agitation back again. Mr. Davis was a follower of Mr.
Calhoun--though it may be doubted whether Mr. Calhoun would ever have
been willing to go to the length of secession--and Mr. Pierce being by
temperament a Southerner as well as in opinions a pro-slavery Democrat,
his Administration fell under the spell of the ultra Southern wing of
the party. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill was originally harmless enough, but
the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, which on Mr. Davis' insistence
was made a part of it, let slip the dogs of war.

In Stephen A. Douglas was found an able and pliant instrument. Like
Clay, Webster and Calhoun before him, Judge Douglas had the presidential
bee in his bonnet. He thought the South would, as it could, nominate and
elect him President.

Personally he was a most lovable man--rather too convivial--and for a
while in 1852 it looked as though he might be the Democratic nominee.
His candidacy was premature, his backers overconfident and indiscreet.

"I like Douglas and am for him," said Buck Stone, a member of Congress
and delegate to the National Democratic Convention from Kentucky,
"though I consider him a good deal of a damn fool." Pressed for a reason
he continued; "Why, think of a man wanting to be President at forty
years of age, and obliged to behave himself for the rest of his life! I
wouldn't take the job on any such terms."

The proposed repeal of the Missouri Compromise opened up the slavery
debate anew and gave it increased vitality. Hell literally broke loose
among the political elements. The issues which had divided Whigs
and Democrats went to the rear, while this one paramount issue took
possession of the stage. It was welcomed by the extremists of both
sections, a very godsend to the beaten politicians led by Mr. Seward.
Rampant sectionalism was at first kept a little in the background. There
were on either side concealments and reserves. Many patriotic men
put the Union above slavery or antislavery. But the two sets of rival
extremists had their will at last, and in seven short years deepened and
embittered the contention to the degree that disunion and war seemed,
certainly proved, the only way out of it.

The extravagance of the debates of those years amazes the modern
reader. Occasionally when I have occasion to recur to them I am myself
nonplussed, for they did not sound so terrible at the time. My father
was a leader of the Union wing of the Democratic Party--headed in 1860
the Douglas presidential ticket in Tennessee--and remained a Unionist
during the War of Sections. He broke away from Pierce and retired from
the editorship of the Washington Union upon the issue of the repeal
of the Missouri Compromise, to which he was opposed, refusing the
appointment of Governor of Oregon, with which the President sought to
placate him, though it meant his return to the Senate of the United
States in a year or two, when he and Oregon's delegate in Congress, Gen.
Joseph Lane--the Lane of the Breckenridge and Lane ticket of 1860--had
brought the territory of Oregon in as a state.

I have often thought just where I would have come in and what might have
happened to me if he had accepted the appointment and I had grown
to manhood on the Pacific Coast. As it was I attended a school in
Philadelphia--the Protestant Episcopal Academy--came home to Tennessee
in 1856, and after a season with private tutors found myself back in the
national capital in 1858.

It was then that I began to nurse some ambitions of my own. I was going
to be a great man of letters. I was going to write histories and dramas
and romances and poetry. But as I had set up for myself I felt in honor
bound meanwhile to earn my own living.



III


I take it that the early steps of every man to get a footing may be of
interest when fairly told. I sought work in New York with indifferent
success. Mr. Raymond of the Times, hearing me play the piano at which
from childhood I had received careful instruction, gave me a job as
"musical critic" during the absence of Mr. Seymour, the regular critic.
I must have done my work acceptably, since I was not fired. It included
a report of the debut of my boy-and-girl companion, Adelina Patti, when
she made her first appearance in opera at the Academy of Music. But,
as the saying is, I did not "catch on." There might be a more promising
opening in Washington, and thither I repaired.

The Daily States had been established there by John P. Heiss, who with
Thomas Ritchie had years before established the Washington Union. Roger
A. Pryor was its nominal editor. But he soon took himself home to his
beloved Virginia and came to Congress, and the editorial writing on the
States was being done by Col. A. Dudley Mann, later along Confederate
commissioner to France, preceding Mr. Slidell.

Colonel Mann wished to work incognito. I was taken on as a kind of
go-between and, as I may say, figurehead, on the strength of being my
father's son and a very self-confident young gentleman, and began to get
my newspaper education in point of fact as a kind of fetch-and-carry for
Major Heiss. He was a practical newspaper man who had started the Union
at Nashville as well as the Union at Washington and the Crescent--maybe
it was the Delta--at New Orleans; and for the rudiments of newspaper
work I could scarcely have had a better teacher.

Back of Colonel Mann as a leader writer on the States was a remarkable
woman. She was Mrs. Jane Casneau, the wife of Gen. George Casneau, of
Texas, who had a claim before Congress. Though she was unknown to fame,
Thomas A. Benton used to say that she had more to do with making and
ending the Mexican War than anybody else.

Somewhere in the early thirties she had gone with her newly wedded
husband, an adventurous Yankee by the name of Storm, to the Rio Grande
and started a settlement they called Eagle Pass. Storm died, the Texas
outbreak began, and the young widow was driven back to San Antonio,
where she met and married Casneau, one of Houston's lieutenants, like
herself a New Yorker. She was sent by Polk with Pillow and Trist to
the City of Mexico and actually wrote the final treaty. It was she who
dubbed William Walker "the little gray-eyed man of destiny," and put
the nickname "Old Fuss and Feathers" on General Scott, whom she heartily
disliked.

[Illustration: Henry Clay--Painted at Ashland by Dodge for the Hon.
Andrew Ewing of Tennessee--The Original Hangs in Mr. Watterson's Library
at "Mansfield"]

A braver, more intellectual woman never lived. She must have been
a beauty in her youth; was still very comely at fifty; but a born
insurrecto and a terror with her pen. God made and equipped her for
a filibuster. She possessed infinite knowledge of Spanish-American
affairs, looked like a Spanish woman, and wrote and spoke the Spanish
language fluently. Her obsession was the bringing of Central America
into the Federal Union. But she was not without literary aspirations
and had some literary friends. Among these was Mrs. Southworth, the
novelist, who had a lovely home in Georgetown, and, whatever may be said
of her works and articles, was a lovely woman. She used to take me to
visit this lady. With Major Heiss she divided my newspaper education,
her part of it being the writing part. Whatever I may have attained
in that line I largely owe to her. She took great pains with me and
mothered me in the absence of my own mother, who had long been her very
dear friend. To get rid of her, or rather her pen, Mr. Buchanan gave
General Casneau, when the Douglas schism was breaking out, a Central
American mission, and she and he were lost by shipwreck on their way to
this post, somewhere in Caribbean waters.

My immediate yokemate on the States was John Savage, "Jack," as he was
commonly called; a brilliant Irishman, who with Devin Reilley and John
Mitchel and Thomas Francis Meagher, his intimates, and Joseph Brennan,
his brother-in-law, made a pretty good Irishman of me. They were '48
men, with literary gifts of one sort and another, who certainly helped
me along with my writing, but, as matters fell out, did not go far
enough to influence my character, for they were a wild lot, full
of taking enthusiasm and juvenile decrepitude of judgment, ripe for
adventures and ready for any enterprise that promised fun and fighting.

Between John Savage and Mrs. Casneau I had the constant spur of
commendation and assistance as well as affection. I passed all my spare
time in the Library of Congress and knew its arrangements at least as
well as Mr. Meehan, the librarian, and Robert Kearon, the assistant,
much to the surprise of Mr. Spofford, who in 1861 succeeded Mr. Meehan
as librarian.

Not long after my return to Washington Col. John W. Forney picked me
up, and I was employed in addition to my not very arduous duties on the
States to write occasional letters from Washington to the Philadelphia
Press. Good fortune like ill fortune rarely comes singly. Without
anybody's interposition I was appointed to a clerkship, a real
"sinecure," in the Interior Department by Jacob Thompson, the secretary,
my father's old colleague in Congress. When the troubles of 1860-61 rose
I was literally doing "a land-office business," with money galore and to
spare. Somehow, I don't know how, I contrived to spend it, though I
had no vices, and worked like a hired man upon my literary hopes and
newspaper obligations.

Life in Washington under these conditions was delightful. I did not know
how my heart was wrapped up in it until I had to part from it. My father
stood high in public esteem. My mother was a leader in society. All
doors were open to me. I had many friends. Going back to Tennessee in
the midsummer of 1861, via Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, there happened a
railway break and a halt of several hours at a village on the Ohio.
I strolled down to the river and sat myself upon the brink, almost
despairing--nigh heartbroken--when I began to feel an irresistible
fascination about the swift-flowing stream. I leaped to my feet and ran
away; and that is the only thought of suicide that I can recall.



IV


Mrs. Clay, of Alabama, in her "Belle of the Fifties" has given a graphic
picture of life in the national capital during the administrations of
Pierce and Buchanan. The South was very much in the saddle. Pierce, as
I have said, was Southern in temperament, and Buchanan, who to those he
did not like or approve had, as Arnold Harris said, "a winning way of
making himself hateful," was an aristocrat under Southern and feminine
influence.

I was fond of Mr. Pierce, but I could never endure Mr. Buchanan. His
very voice gave offense to me. Directed by a periodical publication to
make a sketch of him to accompany an engraving, I did my best on it.

Jacob Thompson, the Secretary of the Interior, said to me: "Now, Henry,
here's your chance for a foreign appointment."

I now know that my writing was clumsy enough and my attempt to play
the courtier clumsier still. Nevertheless, as a friend of my father and
mother "Old Buck" might have been a little more considerate than he was
with a lad trying to please and do him honor. I came away from the White
House my _amour propre_ wounded, and though I had not far to go went
straight into the Douglas camp.

Taking nearly sixty years to think it over I have reached the conclusion
that Mr. Buchanan was the victim of both personal and historic
injustice. With secession in sight his one aim was to get out of
the White House before the scrap began. He was of course on terms of
intimacy with all the secession leaders, especially Mr. Slidell,
of Louisiana, like himself a Northerner by birth, and Mr. Mason, a
thick-skulled, ruffle-shirted Virginian. It was not in him or in Mr.
Pierce, with their antecedents and associations, to be uncompromising
Federalists. There was no clear law to go on. Moderate men were in a
muck of doubt just what to do. With Horace Greeley Mr. Buchanan was
ready to say "Let the erring sisters go." This indeed was the extent of
Mr. Pierce's pacifism during the War of Sections.

A new party risen upon the remains of the Whig Party--the Republican
Party--was at the door and coming into power. Lifelong pro-slavery
Democrats could not look on with equanimity, still less with
complaisance, and doubtless Pierce and Buchanan to the end of their
days thought less of the Republicans than of the Confederates. As a
consequence Republican writers have given quarter to neither of them.

It will not do to go too deeply into the account of those days. The
times were out of joint. I knew of two Confederate generals who first
tried for commissions in the Union Army; gallant and good fellows
too; but they are both dead and their secret shall die with me. I knew
likewise a famous Union general who was about to resign his commission
in the army to go with the South but was prevented by his wife,
a Northern woman, who had obtained of Mr. Lincoln a brigadier's
commission.



V


In 1858 a wonderful affair came to pass. It was Mrs. Senator Gwin's
fancy dress ball, written of, talked of, far and wide. I did not get to
attend this. My costume was prepared--a Spanish cavalier, Mrs. Casneau's
doing--when I fell ill and had with bitter disappointment to read about
it next day in the papers. I was living at Willard's Hotel, and one of
my volunteer nurses was Mrs. Daniel E. Sickles, a pretty young thing who
was soon to become the victim of a murder and world scandal. Her
husband was a member of the House from New York, and during his
frequent absences I used to take her to dinner. Mr. Sickles had been Mr.
Buchanan's Secretary of Legation in London, and both she and he were at
home in the White House.

She was an innocent child. She never knew what she was doing, and when a
year later Sickles, having killed her seducer--a handsome,
unscrupulous fellow who understood how to take advantage of a husband's
neglect--forgave her and brought her home in the face of much obloquy,
in my heart of hearts I did homage to his courage and generosity, for
she was then as he and I both knew a dying woman. She did die but a
few months later. He was by no means a politician after my fancy or
approval, but to the end of his days I was his friend and could never
bring myself to join in the repeated public outcries against him.

Early in the fifties Willard's Hotel became a kind of headquarters for
the two political extremes. During a long time their social intercourse
was unrestrained--often joyous. They were too far apart, figuratively
speaking, to come to blows. Truth to say, their aims were after all not
so far apart. They played to one another's lead. Many a time have I seen
Keitt, of South Carolina, and Burlingame, of Massachusetts, hobnob in
the liveliest manner and most public places.

It is certainly true that Brooks was not himself when he attacked
Sumner. The Northern radicals were wont to say, "Let the South go," the
more profane among them interjecting "to hell!" The Secessionists liked
to prod the New Englanders with what the South was going to do when they
got to Boston. None of them really meant it--not even Toombs when he
talked about calling the muster roll of his slaves beneath Bunker Hill
Monument; nor Hammond, the son of a New England schoolmaster, when he
spoke of the "mudsills of the North," meaning to illustrate what he was
saying by the underpinning of a house built on marshy ground, and not
the Northern work people.

Toombs, who was a rich man, not quite impoverished by the war, banished
himself in Europe for a number of years. At length he came home, and
passing the White House at Washington he called and sent his card to the
President. General Grant, the most genial and generous of men, had him
come directly up.

[Illustration: W. P. Hardee, Lieutenant General C.S.A.]

"Mr. President," said Toombs, "in my European migrations I have made it
a rule when arriving in a city to call first and pay my respects to the
Chief of Police."

The result was a most agreeable hour and an invitation to dinner. Not
long after this at the hospitable board of a Confederate general, then
an American senator, Toombs began to prod Lamar about his speech in the
House upon the occasion of the death of Charles Sumner. Lamar was not
quick to quarrel, though when aroused a man of devilish temper and
courage. The subject had become distasteful to him. He was growing
obviously restive under Toombs' banter. The ladies of the household
apprehending what was coming left the table.

Then Lamar broke forth. He put Toombs' visit to Grant, "crawling at the
seat of power," against his eulogy of a dead enemy. I have never heard
such a scoring from one man to another. It was magisterial in its
dignity, deadly in its diction. Nothing short of a duel could have
settled it in the olden time. But when Lamar, white with rage, had
finished, Toombs without a ruffle said, "Lamar, you surprise me," and
the host, with the rest of us, took it as a signal to rise from table
and rejoin the ladies in the drawing-room. Of course nothing came of it.

Toombs was as much a humorist as an extremist. I have ridden with
him under fire and heard him crack jokes with Minié balls flying
uncomfortably about. Some one spoke kindly of him to old Ben Wade.
"Yes, yes," said Wade; "I never did believe in the doctrine of total
depravity."

But I am running ahead in advance of events.



VI


There came in 1853 to the Thirty-third Congress a youngish, dapper
and graceful man notable as the only Democrat in the Massachusetts
delegation. It was said that he had been a dancing master, his wife a
work girl. They brought with them a baby in arms with the wife's sister
for its nurse--a mis-step which was quickly corrected. I cannot now tell
just how I came to be very intimate with them except that they lived at
Willard's Hotel. His name had a pretty sound to it--Nathaniel Prentiss
Banks.

A schoolmate of mine and myself, greatly to the mirth of those about us,
undertook Mr. Banks' career. We were going to elect him Speaker of
the next House and then President of the United States. This was
particularly laughable to my mother and Mrs. Linn Boyd, the wife of the
contemporary Speaker, who had very solid presidential aspirations of his
own.

The suggestion perhaps originated with Mrs. Banks, to whom we two were
ardently devoted. I have not seen her since those days, more than sixty
years ago. But her beauty, which then charmed me, still lingers in my
memory--a gentle, sweet creature who made much of us boys--and two years
later when Mr. Banks was actually elected Speaker I was greatly elated
and took some of the credit to myself. Twenty years afterwards General
Banks and I had our seats close together in the Forty-fourth Congress,
and he did not recall me at all or the episode of 1853. Nevertheless I
warmed to him, and when during Cleveland's first term he came to me with
a hard-luck story I was glad to throw myself into the breach. He had
been a Speaker of the House, a general in the field and a Governor of
Massachusetts, but was a faded old man, very commonplace, and except for
the little post he held under Government pitiably helpless.

Colonel George Walton was one of my father's intimates and an imposing
and familiar figure about Washington. He was the son of a signer of the
Declaration of Independence, a distinction in those days, had been mayor
of Mobile and was an unending raconteur. To my childish mind he appeared
to know everything that ever had been or ever would be. He would tell me
stories by the hour and send me to buy him lottery tickets. I afterward
learned that that form of gambling was his mania. I also learned that
many of his stories were apocryphal or very highly colored.

One of these stories especially took me. It related how when he was on
a yachting cruise in the Gulf of Mexico the boat was overhauled by
pirates, and how he being the likeliest of the company was tied up and
whipped to make him disgorge, or tell where the treasure was.

"Colonel Walton," said I, "did the whipping hurt you much?"

"Sir," he replied, as if I were a grown-up, "they whipped me until I was
perfectly disgusted."

An old lady in Philadelphia, whilst I was at school, heard me mention
Colonel Walton--a most distinguished, religious old lady--and said to
me, "Henry, my son, you should be ashamed to speak of that old villain
or confess that you ever knew him," proceeding to give me his awful,
blood-curdling history.

It was mainly a figment of her fancy and prejudice, and I repeated it
to Colonel Walton the next time I went to the hotel where he was then
living--I have since learned, with a lady not his wife, though he was
then three score and ten--and he cried, "That old hag! Good Lord! Don't
they ever die!"

Seeing every day the most distinguished public men of the country,
and with many of them brought into direct acquaintance by the easy
intercourse of hotel life, destroyed any reverence I might have acquired
for official station. Familiarity may not always breed contempt, but
it is a veritable eye opener. To me no divinity hedged the brow of
a senator. I knew the White House too well to be impressed by its
architectural grandeur without and rather bizarre furnishments within.



VII


I have declaimed not a little in my time about the ignoble trade of
politics, the collective dishonesty of parties and the vulgarities of
the self-exploiting professional office hunters. Parties are parties.
Professional politics and politicians are probably neither worse nor
better--barring their pretensions--than other lines of human endeavor.
The play actor must be agreeable on the stage of the playhouse; the
politician on the highways and the hustings, which constitute his
playhouse--all the world a stage--neither to be seriously blamed for
the dissimulation which, being an asset, becomes, as it were, a second
nature.

The men who between 1850 and 1861 might have saved the Union and averted
the War of Sections were on either side professional politicians,
with here and there an unselfish, far-seeing, patriotic man, whose
admonitions were not heeded by the people ranging on opposing sides of
party lines. The two most potential of the party leaders were Mr. Davis
and Mr. Seward. The South might have seen and known that the one hope of
the institution of slavery lay in the Union. However it ended, disunion
led to abolition. The world--the whole trend of modern thought--was
set against slavery. But politics, based on party feeling, is a game of
blindman's buff. And then--here I show myself a son of Scotland--there
is a destiny. "What is to be," says the predestinarian Mother Goose,
"will be, though it never come to pass."

That was surely the logic of the irrepressible conflict--only it
did come to pass--and for four years millions of people, the most
homogeneous, practical and intelligent, fought to a finish a fight over
a quiddity; both devoted to liberty, order and law, neither seeking any
real change in the character of its organic contract.

Human nature remains ever the same. These days are very like those days.
We have had fifty years of a restored Union. The sectional fires have
quite gone out. Yet behold the schemes of revolution claiming the
regenerative. Most of them call themselves the "uplift!"

Let us agree at once that all government is more or less a failure;
society as fraudulent as the satirists describe it; yet, when we turn
to the uplift--particularly the professional uplift--what do we find but
the same old tunes, hypocrisy and empiricism posing as "friends of the
people," preaching the pussy gospel of "sweetness and light?"

"Words, words, words," says Hamlet. Even as veteran writers for the
press have come through disheartening experience to a realizing sense of
the futility of printer's ink must our academic pundits begin to suspect
the futility of art and letters. Words however cleverly writ on paper
are after all but words. "In a nation of blind men," we are told, "the
one-eyed man is king." In a nation of undiscriminating voters the noise
of the agitator is apt to drown the voice of the statesman. We have been
teaching everybody to read, nobody to think; and as a
consequence--the rule of numbers the law of the land, partyism in the
saddle--legislation, state and Federal, becomes largely a matter of
riding to hounds and horns. All this, which was true in the fifties, is
true to-day.

Under the pretense of "liberalizing" the Government the politicians
are sacrificing its organic character to whimsical experimentation; its
checks and balances wisely designed to promote and protect liberty
are being loosened by schemes of reform more or less visionary;
while nowhere do we find intelligence enlightened by experience,
and conviction supported by self-control, interposing to save the
representative system of the Constitution from the onward march of the
proletariat.

One cynic tells us that "A statesman is a politician who is dead," and
another cynic varies the epigram to read "A politician out of a job."
Patriotism cries "God give us men," but the parties say "Give us
votes and offices," and Congress proceeds to create a commission. Thus
responsibilities are shirked and places are multiplied.

Assuming, since many do, that the life of nations is mortal even as is
the life of man--in all things of growth and decline assimilating--has
not our world reached the top of the acclivity, and pausing for a moment
may it not be about to take the downward course into another abyss of
collapse and oblivion?

The miracles of electricity the last word of science, what is left for
man to do? With wireless telegraphy, the airplane and the automobile
annihilating time and space, what else? Turning from the material to the
ethical it seems of the very nature of the human species to meddle and
muddle. On every hand we see the organization of societies for making
men and women over again according to certain fantastic images existing
in the minds of the promoters. "_Mon Dieu_!" exclaimed the visiting
Frenchman. "Fifty religions and only one soup!" Since then both the
soups and the religions have multiplied until there is scarce a culinary
or moral conception which has not some sect or club to represent it. The
uplift is the keynote of these.



Chapter the Third

    The Inauguration of Lincoln--I Quit Washington and Return to
    Tennessee--A Run-a-bout with Forest--Through the Federal Lines and a
    Dangerous Adventure--Good Luck at Memphis



I


It may have been Louis the Fifteenth, or it may have been Madame de
Pompadour, who said, "After me the deluge;" but whichever it was, very
much that thought was in Mr. Buchanan's mind in 1861 as the time for
his exit from the White House approached. At the North there had been
a political ground-swell; at the South, secession, half accomplished by
the Gulf States, yawned in the Border States. Curiously enough, very few
believed that war was imminent.

As a reporter for the States I met Mr. Lincoln immediately on his
arrival in Washington. He came in unexpectedly ahead of the hour
announced, to escape, as was given out, a well-laid plan to assassinate
him as he passed through Baltimore. I did not believe at the time, and
I do not believe now, that there was any real ground for this
apprehension.

All through that winter there had been a deal of wild talk. One story
had it that Mr. Buchanan was to be kidnapped and made off with so that
Vice President Breckenridge might succeed and, acting as _de facto_
President, throw the country into confusion and revolution, defeating
the inauguration of Lincoln and the coming in of the Republicans. It was
a figment of drink and fancy. There was never any such scheme. If there
had been Breckenridge would not have consented to be party to it. He
was a man of unusual mental as well as personal dignity and both
temperamentally and intellectually a thorough conservative.

I had been engaged by Mr. L.A. Gobright, the agent of what became
later the Associated Press, to help with the report of the inauguration
ceremonies the 4th of March, 1861, and in the discharge of this duty I
kept as close to Mr. Lincoln as I could get, following after him from
the senate chamber to the east portico of the capitol and standing by
his side whilst he delivered his inaugural address.

Perhaps I shall not be deemed prolix if I dwell with some particularity
upon an occasion so historic. I had first encountered the newly elected
President the afternoon of the day in the early morning of which he
had arrived in Washington. It was a Saturday, I think. He came to
the capitol under the escort of Mr. Seward, and among the rest I was
presented to him. His appearance did not impress me as fantastically as
it had impressed some others. I was familiar with the Western type, and
whilst Mr. Lincoln was not an Adonis, even after prairie ideals, there
was about him a dignity that commanded respect.

I met him again the next Monday forenoon in his apartment at Willard's
Hotel as he was preparing to start to his inauguration, and was struck
by his unaffected kindness, for I came with a matter requiring his
attention. This was, in point of fact, to get from him a copy of the
inauguration speech for the Associated Press. I turned it over to
Ben Perley Poore, who, like myself, was assisting Mr. Gobright. The
President that was about to be seemed entirely self-possessed; not a
sign of nervousness, and very obliging. As I have said, I accompanied
the cortège that passed from the senate chamber to the east portico.
When Mr. Lincoln removed his hat to face the vast throng in front and
below, I extended my hand to take it, but Judge Douglas, just behind me,
reached over my outstretched arm and received it, holding it during the
delivery of the address. I stood just near enough the speaker's elbow
not to obstruct any gestures he might make, though he made but few; and
then I began to get a suspicion of the power of the man.

He delivered that inaugural address as if he had been delivering
inaugural addresses all his life. Firm, resonant, earnest, it announced
the coming of a man, of a leader of men; and in its tone and style
the gentlemen whom he had invited to become members of his political
family--each of whom thought himself a bigger man than his chief--might
have heard the voice and seen the hand of one born to rule. Whether they
did or not, they very soon ascertained the fact. From the hour Abraham
Lincoln crossed the threshold of the White House to the hour he went
thence to his death, there was not a moment when he did not dominate the
political and military situation and his official subordinates. The idea
that he was overtopped at any time by anybody is contradicted by all
that actually happened.

I was a young Democrat and of course not in sympathy with Mr. Lincoln
or his opinions. Judge Douglas, however, had taken the edge off my
hostility. He had said to me upon his return in triumph to Washington
after the famous Illinois campaign of 1868: "Lincoln is a good man; in
fact, a great man, and by far the ablest debater I have ever met,"
and now the newcomer began to verify this opinion both in his private
conversation and in his public attitude.



II


I had been an undoubting Union boy. Neither then nor afterward could
I be fairly classified as a Secessionist. Circumstance rather than
conviction or predilection threw me into the Confederate service, and,
being in, I went through with it.

The secession leaders I held in distrust; especially Yancey, Mason,
Slidell, Benjamin and Iverson, Jefferson Davis and Isham G. Harris were
not favorites of mine. Later along I came into familiar association with
most of them, and relations were established which may be described as
confidential and affectionate. Lamar and I were brought together oddly
enough in 1869 by Carl Schurz, and thenceforward we were the most
devoted friends. Harris and I fell together in 1862 in the field,
first with Forrest and later with Johnston and Hood, and we remained as
brothers to the end, when he closed a great career in the upper house
of Congress, and by Republican votes, though he was a Democrat, as
president of the Senate.

He continued in the Governorship of Tennessee through the war. He at no
time lost touch with the Tennessee troops, and though not always in the
field, never missed a forward movement. In the early spring of 1864,
just before the famous Johnston-Sherman campaign opened, General
Johnston asked him to go around among the boys and "stir 'em up a bit."
The Governor invited me to ride with him. Together we visited every
sector in the army. Threading the woods of North Georgia on this
round, if I heard it once I heard it fifty times shouted from a distant
clearing: "Here comes Gov-ner Harris, fellows; g'wine to be a fight."
His appearance at the front had always preceded and been long ago taken
as a signal for battle.

[Illustration: John Bell of Tennessee--In 1860 Presidential Candidate
"Union Party"--"Bell and Everett" Ticket.]

My being a Washington correspondent of the Philadelphia Press and having
lived since childhood at Willard's Hotel, where the Camerons also lived,
will furnish the key to my becoming an actual and active rebel. A few
days after the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, Colonel Forney came to my
quarters and, having passed the time of day, said: "The Secretary of
War wishes you to be at the department to-morrow morning as near nine
o'clock as you can make it."

"What does he want, Colonel Forney?" I asked.

"He is going to offer you the position of private secretary to the
Secretary of War, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and I am very
desirous that you accept it."

He went away leaving me rather upset. I did not sleep very soundly that
night. "So," I argued to myself, "it has come to this, that Forney and
Cameron, lifelong enemies, have made friends and are going to rob the
Government--one clerk of the House, the other Secretary of War--and I, a
mutual choice, am to be the confidential middle man." I still had a home
in Tennessee and I rose from my bed, resolved to go there.

I did not keep the proposed appointment for next day. As soon as I could
make arrangements I quitted Washington and went to Tennessee, still
unchanged in my preconceptions. I may add, since they were verified by
events, that I have not modified them from that day to this.

I could not wholly believe with either extreme. I had perpetrated no
wrong, but in my small way had done my best for the Union and against
secession. I would go back to my books and my literary ambitions and let
the storm blow over. It could not last very long; the odds against the
South were too great. Vain hope! As well expect a chip on the surface of
the ocean to lie quiet as a lad of twenty-one in those days to keep out
of one or the other camp. On reaching home I found myself alone. The
boys were all gone to the front. The girls were--well, they were all
crazy. My native country was about to be invaded. Propinquity. Sympathy.
So, casting opinions to the winds in I went on feeling. And that is how
I became a rebel, a case of "first endure and then embrace," because I
soon got to be a pretty good rebel and went the limit, changing my coat
as it were, though not my better judgment, for with a gray jacket on
my back and ready to do or die, I retained my belief that secession was
treason, that disunion was the height of folly and that the South was
bound to go down in the unequal strife.

I think now, as an academic proposition, that, in the doctrine of
secession, the secession leaders had a debatable, if not a logical case;
but I also think that if the Gulf States had been allowed to go out
by tacit consent they would very soon have been back again seeking
readmission to the Union.

Man proposes and God disposes. The ways of Deity to man are indeed past
finding out. Why, the long and dreadful struggle of a kindred people,
the awful bloodshed and havoc of four weary years, leaving us at the
close measurably where we were at the beginning, is one of the mysteries
which should prove to us that there is a world hereafter, since no great
creative principle could produce one with so dire, with so short a span
and nothing beyond.



III


The change of parties wrought by the presidential election of 1860
and completed by the coming in of the Republicans in 1861 was indeed
revolutionary. When Mr. Lincoln had finished his inaugural address and
the crowd on the east portico began to disperse, I reentered the
rotunda between Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, and Mr. John Bell, of
Tennessee, two old friends of my family, and for a little we sat upon a
bench, they discussing the speech we had just heard.

Both were sure there would be no war. All would be well, they thought,
each speaking kindly of Mr. Lincoln. They were among the most eminent
men of the time, I a boy of twenty-one; but to me war seemed a
certainty. Recalling the episode, I have often realized how the
intuitions of youth outwit the wisdom and baffle the experience of age.

I at once resigned my snug sinecure in the Interior Department and,
closing my accounts of every sort, was presently ready to turn my back
upon Washington and seek adventures elsewhere.

They met me halfway and came in plenty. I tried staff duty with General
Polk, who was making an expedition into Western Kentucky. In a few
weeks illness drove me into Nashville, where I passed the next winter in
desultory newspaper work. Then Nashville fell, and, as I was making my
way out of town afoot and trudging the Murfreesboro pike, Forrest, with
his squadron just escaped from Fort Donelson, came thundering by, and
I leaped into an empty saddle. A few days later Forrest, promoted to
brigadier general, attached me to his staff, and the next six months it
was mainly guerilla service, very much to my liking. But Fate, if not
Nature, had decided that I was a better writer than fighter, and the
Bank of Tennessee having bought a newspaper outfit at Chattanooga, I was
sent there to edit The Rebel--my own naming--established as the organ of
the Tennessee state government. I made it the organ of the army.

It is not the purpose of these pages to retell the well-known story of
the war. My life became a series of ups and downs--mainly
downs--the word being from day to day to fire and fall back; in the
Johnston-Sherman campaign, I served as chief of scouts; then as an aid
to General Hood through the siege of Atlanta, sharing the beginning of
the chapter of disasters that befell that gallant soldier and his army.
I was spared the last and worst of these by a curious piece of special
duty, taking me elsewhere, to which I was assigned in the autumn of 1864
by the Confederate government.

This involved a foreign journey. It was no less than to go to England to
sell to English buyers some hundred thousand bales of designated cotton
to be thus rescued from spoliation, acting under the supervision and
indeed the orders of the Confederate fiscal agency at Liverpool.

Of course I was ripe for this; but it proved a bigger job than I had
conceived or dreamed. The initial step was to get out of the country.
But how? That was the question. To run the blockade had been easy enough
a few months earlier. All our ports were now sealed by Federal cruisers
and gunboats. There was nothing for it but to slip through the North and
to get either a New York or a Canadian boat. This involved chances and
disguises.



IV


In West Tennessee, not far from Memphis, lived an aunt of mine. Thither
I repaired. My plan was to get on a Mississippi steamer calling at one
of the landings for wood. This proved impracticable. I wandered many
days and nights, rather ill mounted, in search of some kind--any
kind--of exit, when one afternoon, quite worn out, I sat by a log
heap in a comfortable farmhouse. It seemed that I was at the end of my
tether; I did not know what to do.

Presently there was an arrival--a brisk gentleman right out of Memphis,
which I then learned was only ten miles distant--bringing with him a
morning paper. In this I saw appended to various army orders the name of
"N.B. Dana, General Commanding."

That set me to thinking. Was not Dana the name of a certain captain, a
stepson of Congressman Peaslee, of New Hampshire, who had lived with us
at Willard's Hotel--and were there not two children, Charley and Mamie,
and a dear little mother, and--I had been listening to the talk of the
newcomer. He was a licensed cotton buyer with a pass to come and go at
will through the lines, and was returning next day.

"I want to get into Memphis--I am a nephew of Mrs. General Dana. Can you
take me in?" I said to this person.

After some hesitation he consented to try, it being agreed that my mount
and outfit should be his if he got me through; no trade if he failed.

Clearly the way ahead was brightening. I soon ascertained that I was
with friends, loyal Confederates. Then I told them who I was, and all
became excitement for the next day's adventure.

We drove down to the Federal outpost. Crenshaw--that was the name of the
cotton buyer--showed his pass to the officer in command, who then turned
to me. "Captain," I said, "I have no pass, but I am a nephew of Mrs.
General Dana. Can you not pass me in without a pass?" He was very
polite. It was a chain picket, he said; his orders were very strict, and
so on.

"Well," I said, "suppose I were a member of your own command and were
run in here by guerillas. What do you think would it be your duty to
do?"

"In that case," he answered, "I should send you to headquarters with a
guard."

"Good!" said I. "Can't you send me to headquarters with a guard?"

He thought a moment. Then he called a cavalryman from the outpost.

"Britton," he said, "show this gentleman in to General Dana's
headquarters."

Crenshaw lashed his horse and away we went. "That boy thinks he is a
guide, not a guard," said he. "You are all right. We can easily get rid
of him."

This proved true. We stopped by a saloon and bought a bottle of whisky.
When we reached headquarters the lad said, "Do you gentlemen want me
any more?" We did not. Then we gave him the bottle of whisky and he
disappeared round the corner. "Now you are safe," said Crenshaw. "Make
tracks."

But as I turned away and out of sight I began to consider the situation.
Suppose that picket on the outpost reported to the provost marshal
general that he had passed a relative of Mrs. Dana? What then? Provost
guard. Drumhead court-martial. Shot at daylight. It seemed best to play
out the hand as I had dealt it. After all, I could make a case if I
faced it out.

The guard at the door refused me access to General Dana. Driven by a
nearby hackman to the General's residence, and, boldly asking for Mrs.
Dana, I was more successful. I introduced myself as a teacher of music
seeking to return to my friends in the North, working in a word about
the old Washington days, not forgetting "Charley" and "Mamie." The
dear little woman was heartily responsive. Both were there, including a
pretty girl from Philadelphia, and she called them down. "Here is your
old friend, Henry Waterman," she joyfully exclaimed. Then guests began
to arrive. It was a reception evening. My hope fell. Some one would
surely recognize me. Presently a gentleman entered, and Mrs. Dana said:
"Colonel Meehan, this is my particular friend, Henry Waterman, who has
been teaching music out in the country, and wants to go up the river.
You will give him a pass, I am sure." It was the provost marshal, who
answered, "certainly." Now was my time for disappearing. But Mrs. Dana
would not listen to this. General Dana would never forgive her if she
let me go. Besides, there was to be a supper and a dance. I sat down
again very much disconcerted. The situation was becoming awkward. Then
Mrs. Dana spoke. "You say you have been teaching music. What is your
instrument?" Saved! "The piano," I answered. The girls escorted me to
the rear drawing-room. It was a new Steinway Grand, just set up, and I
played for my life. If the black bombazine covering my gray uniform did
not break, all would be well. I was having a delightfully good time,
the girls on either hand, when Mrs. Dana, still enthusiastic, ran in and
said, "General Dana is here. Remembers you perfectly. Come and see him."

He stood by a table, tall, sardonic, and as I approached he put out his
hand and said: "You have grown a bit, Henry, my boy, since I saw you
last. How did you leave my friend Forrest?"

I was about making some awkward reply, when, the room already filling
up, he said:

"We have some friends for supper. I am glad you are here. Mamie, my
daughter, take Mr. Watterson to the table!"

Lord! That supper! Canvasback! Terrapin! Champagne! The general had
seated me at his right. Somewhere toward the close those expressive gray
eyes looked at me keenly, and across his wine glass he said:

"I think I understand this. You want to get up the river. You want to
see your mother. Have you money enough to carry you through? If you have
not don't hesitate, for whatever you need I will gladly let you have."

I thanked him. I had quite enough. All was well. We had more music and
some dancing. At a late hour he called the provost marshal.

"Meehan," said he, "take this dangerous young rebel round to the hotel,
register him as Smith, Brown, or something, and send him with a pass up
the river by the first steamer." I was in luck, was I not?

But I made no impression on those girls. Many years after, meeting Mamie
Dana, as the wife of an army officer at Fortress Monroe, I related the
Memphis incident. She did not in the least recall it.



V


I had one other adventure during the war that may be worth telling. It
was in 1862. Forrest took it into his inexperienced fighting head
to make a cavalry attack upon a Federal stockade, and, repulsed with
considerable loss, the command had to disperse--there were not more
than two hundred of us--in order to escape capture by the newly-arrived
reinforcements that swarmed about. We were to rendezvous later at a
certain point. Having some time to spare, and being near the family
homestead at Beech Grove, I put in there.

It was midnight when I reached my destination. I had been erroneously
informed that the Union Army was on the retreat--quite gone from the
neighborhood; and next day, believing the coast was clear, I donned a
summer suit and with a neighbor boy who had been wounded at Shiloh and
invalided home, rode over to visit some young ladies. We had scarcely
been welcomed and were taking a glass of wine when, looking across
the lawn, we saw that the place was being surrounded by a body of
blue-coats. The story of their departure had been a mistake. They were
not all gone.

There was no chance of escape. We were placed in a hollow square and
marched across country into camp. Before we got there I had ascertained
that they were Indianians, and I was further led rightly to surmise what
we called in 1860 Douglas Democrats.

My companion, a husky fellow, who looked and was every inch a soldier,
was first questioned by the colonel in command. His examination was
brief. He said he was as good a rebel as lived, that he was only waiting
for his wound to heal to get back into the Confederate Army, and that if
they wanted to hang him for a spy to go ahead.

I was aghast. It was not he that was in danger of hanging, but myself,
a soldier in citizen's apparel within the enemy's lines. The colonel
turned to me. With what I took for a sneer he said:

"I suppose you are a good Union man?" This offered me a chance.

"That depends upon what you call a good Union man," I answered. "I used
to be a very good Union man--a Douglas Democrat--and I am not conscious
of having changed my political opinions."

That softened him and we had an old-fashioned, friendly talk about the
situation, in which I kept the Douglas Democratic end of it well to the
fore. He, too, had been a Douglas Democrat. I soon saw that it was my
companion and not myself whom they were after. Presently Colonel Shook,
that being the commandant's name, went into the adjacent stockade and
the boys about began to be hearty and sympathetic. I made them a regular
Douglas Democratic speech. They brought some "red licker" and I asked
for some sugar for a toddy, not failing to cite the familiar Sut
Lovingood saying that "there were about seventeen round the door who
said they'd take sugar in their'n." The drink warmed me to my work,
making me quicker, if not bolder, in invention. Then the colonel not
reappearing as soon as I hoped he would, for all along my fear was the
wires, I went to him.

"Colonel Shook," I said, "you need not bother about this friend of
mine. He has no real idea of returning to the Confederate service. He
is teaching school over here at Beech Grove and engaged to be married to
one of the--girls. If you carry him off a prisoner he will be exchanged
back into the fighting line, and we make nothing by it. There is a hot
luncheon waiting for us at the ----'s. Leave him to me and I will be
answerable." Then I left him.

Directly he came out and said: "I may be doing wrong, and don't feel
entirely sure of my ground, but I am going to let you gentlemen go."

We thanked him and made off amid the cheery good-bys of the assembled
blue-coats.

No lunch for us. We got to our horses, rode away, and that night I
was at our rendezvous to tell the tale to those of my comrades who had
arrived before me.

Colonel Shook and I met after the war at a Grand Army reunion where I
was billed to speak and to which he introduced me, relating the incident
and saying, among other things: "I do believe that when he told me near
Wartrace that day twenty years ago that he was a good Union man he told
at least half the truth."



Chapter the Fourth

    I Go to London--Am Introduced to a Notable Set--Huxley, Spencer, Mill
    and Tyndall--Artemus Ward Comes to Town--The Savage Club



I


The fall of Atlanta after a siege of nearly two months was, in the
opinion of thoughtful people, the sure precursor of the fall of the
doomed Confederacy. I had an affectionate regard for General Hood, but
it was my belief that neither he nor any other soldier could save the
day, and being out of commission and having no mind for what I conceived
aimless campaigning through another winter--especially an advance into
Tennessee upon Nashville--I wrote to an old friend of mine, who owned
the Montgomery Mail, asking for a job. He answered that if I would come
right along and take the editorship of the paper he would make me
a present of half of it--a proposal so opportune and tempting that
forty-eight hours later saw me in the capital of Alabama.

I was accompanied by my fidus Achates, Albert Roberts. The morning after
our arrival, by chance I came across a printed line which advertised a
room and board for two "single gentlemen," with the curious affix for
those times, "references will be given and required." This latter caught
me. When I rang the visitors' bell of a pretty dwelling upon one of the
nearby streets a distinguished gentleman in uniform came to the door,
and, acquainted with my business, he said, "Ah, that is an affair of my
wife," and invited me within.

He was obviously English. Presently there appeared a beautiful lady,
likewise English and as obviously a gentlewoman, and an hour later my
friend Roberts and I moved in. The incident proved in many ways fateful.
The military gentleman proved to be Doctor Scott, the post surgeon. He
was, when we came to know him, the most interesting of men, a son of
that Captain Scott who commanded Byron's flagship at Missolonghi in
1823; had as a lad attended the poet and he in his last illness and been
in at the death, seeing the club foot when the body was prepared for
burial. His wife was adorable. There were two girls and two boys. To
make a long story short, Albert Roberts married one of the daughters,
his brother the other; the lads growing up to be successful and
distinguished men--one a naval admiral, the other a railway president.
When, just after the war, I was going abroad, Mrs. Scott said: "I have a
brother living in London to whom I will be glad to give you a letter."



II


Upon the deck of the steamer bound from New York to London direct, as
we, my wife and I newly married, were taking a last look at the receding
American shore, there appeared a gentleman who seemed by the cut of
his jib startlingly French. We had under our escort a French governess
returning to Paris. In a twinkle she and this gentleman had struck up
an acquaintance, and much to my displeasure she introduced him to me
as "Monsieur Mahoney." I was somewhat mollified when later we were made
acquainted with Madame Mahoney.

I was not at all preconceived in his favor, nor did Monsieur Mahoney,
upon nearer approach, conciliate my simple taste. In person, manners and
apparel he was quite beyond me. Mrs. Mahoney, however, as we soon called
her, was a dear, whole-souled, traveled, unaffected New England woman.
But Monsieur! Lord! There was no holding him at arm's length. He brooked
not resistance. I was wearing a full beard. He said it would never do,
carried me perforce below, and cut it as I have worn it ever since. The
day before we were to dock he took me aside and said:

"Mee young friend"--he had a brogue which thirty years in Algiers, where
he had been consul, and a dozen in Paris as a gentleman of leisure, had
not wholly spoiled--"Mee young friend, I observe that you are shy
of strangers, but my wife and I have taken a shine to you and the
'Princess'," as he called Mrs. Watterson, "and if you will allow us, we
can be of some sarvis to you when we get to town."

Certainly there was no help for it. I was too ill of the long crossing
to oppose him. At Blackwall we took the High Level for Fenchurch Street,
at Fenchurch Street a cab for the West End--Mr. Mahoney bossing the
job--and finally, in most comfortable and inexpensive lodgings, we were
settled in Jermyn Street. The Mahoneys were visiting Lady Elmore, widow
of a famous surgeon and mother of the President of the Royal Academy.
Thus we were introduced to quite a distinguished artistic set.

It was great. It was glorious. At last we were in London--the dream of
my literary ambitions. I have since lived much in this wondrous city and
in many parts of it between Hyde Park Corner, the heart of May Fair, to
the east end of Bloomsbury under the very sound of Bow Bells. All the
way as it were from Tyburn Tree that was, and the Marble Arch that is,
to Charing Cross and the Hay Market. This were not to mention casual
sojourns along Piccadilly and the Strand.

In childhood I was obsessed by the immensity, the atmosphere and
the mystery of London. Its nomenclature embedded itself in my fancy;
Hounsditch and Shoreditch, Billingsgate and Blackfriars;
Bishopgate, within, and Bishopgate, without; Threadneedle Street and
Wapping-Old-Stairs; the Inns of Court where Jarndyce struggled with
Jarndyce, and the taverns where the Mark Tapleys, the Captain Costigans
and the Dolly Vardens consorted.

Alike in winter fog and summer haze, I grew to know and love it,
and those that may be called its dramatis personae, especially its
tatterdemalions, the long procession led by Jack Sheppard, Dick Turpin
and Jonathan Wild the Great. Inevitably I sought their haunts--and they
were not all gone in those days; the Bull-and-Gate in Holborn, whither
Mr. Tom Jones repaired on his arrival in town, and the White Hart
Tavern, where Mr. Pickwick fell in with Mr. Sam Weller; the regions
about Leicester Fields and Russell Square sacred to the memory of
Captain Booth and the lovely Amelia and Becky Sharp; where Garrick drank
tea with Dr. Johnson and Henry Esmond tippled with Sir Richard Steele.
There was yet a Pump Court, and many places along Oxford Street where
Mantalini and De Quincy loitered: and Covent Garden and Drury Lane.
Evans' Coffee House, or shall I say the Cave of Harmony, and The
Cock and the Cheshire Cheese were near at hand for refreshment in
the agreeable society of Daniel Defoe and Joseph Addison, with Oliver
Goldsmith and Dick Swiveller and Colonel Newcome to clink ghostly
glasses amid the punch fumes and tobacco smoke. In short I knew
London when it was still Old London--the knowledge of Temple Bar and
Cheapside--before the vandal horde of progress and the pickaxe of the
builder had got in their nefarious work.



III


Not long after we began our sojourn in London, I recurred--by chance,
I am ashamed to say--to Mrs. Scott's letter of introduction to her
brother. The address read "Mr. Thomas H. Huxley, School of Mines, Jermyn
Street." Why, it was but two or three blocks away, and being so near I
called, not knowing just who Mr. Thomas H. Huxley might be.

I was conducted to a dark, stuffy little room. The gentleman who met me
was exceedingly handsome and very agreeable. He greeted me cordially and
we had some talk about his relatives in America. Of course my wife and
I were invited at once to dinner. I was a little perplexed. There was no
one to tell me about Huxley, or in what way he might be connected with
the School of Mines.

It was a good dinner. There sat at table a gentleman by the name
of Tyndall and another by the name of Mill--of neither I had ever
heard--but there was still another of the name of Spencer, whom I
fancied must be a literary man, for I recalled having reviewed a clever
book on Education some four years agone by a writer of that name; a
certain Herbert Spencer, whom I rightly judged might he be.

The dinner, I repeat, was a very good dinner indeed--the Huxleys, I took
it, must be well to do--the company agreeable; a bit pragmatic, however,
I thought. The gentleman by the name of Spencer said he loved music and
wished to hear Mrs. Watterson sing, especially Longfellow's Rainy Day,
and left the others of us--Huxley, Mill, Tyndall and myself--at table.
Finding them a little off on the Irish question as well as American
affairs, I set them right as to both with much particularity and a great
deal of satisfaction to myself.

Whatever Huxley's occupation, it turned out that he had at least one
book-publishing acquaintance, Mr. Alexander Macmillan, to whom he
introduced me next day, for I had brought with me a novel--the great
American romance--too good to be wasted on New York, Philadelphia or
Boston, but to appear simultaneously in England and the United States,
to be translated, of course, into French, Italian and German. This was
actually accepted. It was held for final revision.

We were to pass the winter in Italy. An event, however, called me
suddenly home. Politics and journalism knocked literature sky high, and
the novel--it was entitled "One Story's Good Till Another Is Told"--was
laid by and quite forgotten. Some twenty years later, at a moment when I
was being lashed from one end of the line to the other, my wife said:

"Let us drop the nasty politics and get back to literature." She had
preserved the old manuscript, two thousand pages of it.

"Fetch it," I said.

She brought it with effulgent pride. Heavens! The stuff it was! Not a
gleam, never a radiance. I had been teaching myself to write--I had been
writing for the English market--perpendicular! The Lord has surely been
good to me. If the "boys" had ever got a peep at that novel, I had been
lost indeed!



IV


Yea, verily we were in London. Presently Artemus Ward and "the show"
arrived in town. He took a lodging over an apothecary's just across the
way from Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, where he was to lecture. We had
been the best of friends, were near of an age, and only round-the-corner
apart we became from the first inseparable. I introduced him to the
distinguished scientific set into which chance had thrown me, and he
introduced me to a very different set that made a revel of life at the
Savage Club.

I find by reference to some notes jotted down at the time that the last
I saw of him was the evening of the 21st of December, 1866. He had dined
with my wife and myself, and, accompanied by Arthur Sketchley, who had
dropped in after dinner, he bade us good-by and went for his nightly
grind, as he called it. We were booked to take our departure the next
morning. His condition was pitiable. He was too feeble to walk alone,
and was continually struggling to breathe freely. His surgeon had
forbidden the use of wine or liquor of any sort. Instead he drank
quantities of water, eating little and taking no exercise at all.
Nevertheless, he stuck to his lecture and contrived to keep up
appearances before the crowds that flocked to hear him, and even in
London his critical state of health was not suspected.

Early in September, when I had parted from him to go to Paris, I left
him methodically and industriously arranging for his début. He had
brought some letters, mainly to newspaper people, and was already making
progress toward what might be called the interior circles of the press,
which are so essential to the success of a newcomer in London. Charles
Reade and Andrew Haliday became zealous friends. It was to the latter
that he owed his introduction to the Savage Club. Here he soon made
himself at home. His manners, even his voice, were half English,
albeit he possessed a most engaging disposition--a ready tact and keen
discernment, very un-English,--and these won him an efficient corps of
claquers and backers throughout the newspapers and periodicals of the
metropolis. Thus his success was assured from the first.

The raw November evening when he opened at Egyptian Hall the room was
crowded with an audience of literary men and women, great and small,
from Swinburne and Edmund Yates to the trumpeters and reporters of the
morning papers. The next day most of these contained glowing accounts.
The Times was silent, but four days later The Thunderer, seeing how the
wind blew, came out with a column of eulogy, and from this onward,
each evening proved a kind of ovation. Seats were engaged for a week
in advance. Up and down Piccadilly, from St. James Church to St. James
Street, carriages bearing the first arms in the kingdom were parked
night after night; and the evening of the 21st of December, six weeks
after, there was no falling off. The success was complete. As to an
American, London had never seen the like.

All this while the poor author of the sport was slowly dying. The
demands upon his animal spirits at the Savage Club, the bodily fatigue
of "getting himself up to it," the "damnable iteration" of the lecture
itself, wore him out. George, his valet, whom he had brought from
America, had finally to lift him about his bedroom like a child. His
quarters in Picadilly, as I have said, were just opposite the Hall, but
he could not go backward and forward without assistance. It was painful
in the extreme to see the man who was undergoing tortures behind the
curtain step lightly before the audience amid a burst of merriment, and
for more than an hour sustain the part of jester, tossing his cap and
jingling his bells, a painted death's head, for he had to rouge his face
to hide the pallor.

His buoyancy forsook him. He was occasionally nervous and fretful. The
fog, he declared, felt like a winding sheet, enwrapping and strangling
him. At one of his entertainments he made a grim, serio-comic allusion
to this. "But," cried he as he came off the stage, "that was not a hit,
was it? The English are scary about death. I'll have to cut it out."

He had become a contributor to Punch, a lucky rather than smart business
stroke, for it was not of his own initiation. He did not continue
his contributions after he began to appear before the public, and the
discontinuance was made the occasion of some ill-natured remarks in
certain American papers, which very much wounded him. They were largely
circulated and credited at the time, the charge being that Messrs.
Bradbury and Evans, the publishers of the English charivari, had broken
with him because the English would not have him. The truth is that their
original proposal was made to him, not by him to them, the price named
being fifteen guineas a letter. He asked permission to duplicate the
arrangement with some New York periodical, so as to secure an American
copyright. This they refused. I read the correspondence at the time.
"Our aim," they said, "in making the engagement, had reference to
our own circulation in the United States, which exceeds twenty-seven
thousand weekly."

I suggested to Artemus that he enter his book, "Artemus Ward in London,"
in advance, and he did write to Oakey Hall, his New York lawyer, to
that effect. Before he received an answer from Hall he got Carleton's
advertisement announcing the book. Considering this a piratical design
on the part of Carleton, he addressed that enterprising publisher
a savage letter, but the matter was ultimately cleared up to his
satisfaction, for he said just before we parted: "It was all a mistake
about Carleton. I did him an injustice and mean to ask his pardon.
He has behaved very handsomely to me." Then the letters reappeared in
Punch.



V


Whatever may be thought of them on this side of the Atlantic, their
success in England was undeniable. They were more talked about than any
current literary matter; never a club gathering or dinner party at which
they were not discussed. There did seem something both audacious
and grotesque in this ruthless Yankee poking in among the revered
antiquities of Britain, so that the beef-eating British themselves could
not restrain their laughter. They took his jokes in excellent part.
The letters on the Tower and Chawsir were palpable hits, and it was
generally agreed that Punch had contained nothing better since the days
of Yellow-plush. This opinion was not confined to the man in the street.
It was shared by the high-brows of the reviews and the appreciative of
society, and gained Artemus the entrée wherever he cared to go.

Invitations pursued him and he was even elected to two or three
fashionable clubs. But he had a preference for those which were less
conventional. His admission to the Garrick, which had been at first
"laid over," affords an example of London club fastidiousness. The
gentleman who proposed him used his pseudonym, Artemus Ward, instead of
his own name, Charles F. Browne. I had the pleasure of introducing him
to Mr. Alexander Macmillan, the famous book publisher of Oxford and
Cambridge, a leading member of the Garrick. We dined together at the
Garrick clubhouse, when the matter was brought up and explained. The
result was that Charles F. Browne was elected at the next meeting, where
Artemus Ward, had been made to stand aside.

Before Christmas, Artemus received invitations from distinguished
people, nobility and gentry as well as men of letters, to spend the
week-end with them. But he declined them all. He needed his vacation,
he said, for rest. He had neither the strength nor the spirit for the
season.

Yet was he delighted with the English people and with English life. His
was one of those receptive natures which enjoy whatever is wholesome
and sunny. In spite of his bodily pain, he entertained a lively hope of
coming out of it in the spring, and did not realize his true condition.
He merely said, "I have overworked myself, and must lay by or I shall
break down altogether." He meant to remain in London as long as his
welcome lasted, and when he perceived a falling off in his audience,
would close his season and go to the continent. His receipts averaged
about three hundred dollars a night, whilst his expenses were not fifty
dollars. "This, mind you," he used to say, "is in very hard cash, an
article altogether superior to that of my friend Charles Reade."

[Illustration: Artemas Ward]

His idea was to set aside out of his earnings enough to make him
independent, and then to give up "this mountebank business," as he
called it. He had a great respect for scholarly culture and personal
respectability, and thought that if he could get time and health he
might do something "in the genteel comedy line." He had a humorous novel
in view, and a series of more aspiring comic essays than any he had
attempted.

Often he alluded to the opening for an American magazine, "not quite so
highfalutin as the Atlantic nor so popular as Harper's." His mind was
beginning to soar above the showman and merrymaker. His manners had
always been captivating. Except for the nervous worry of ill-health, he
was the kind-hearted, unaffected Artemus of old, loving as a girl and
liberal as a prince. He once showed me his daybook in which were noted
down over five hundred dollars lent out in small sums to indigent
Americans.

"Why," said I, "you will never get half of it back."

"Of course not," he said, "but do you think I can afford to have a lot
of loose fellows black-guarding me at home because I wouldn't let them
have a sovereign or so over here?"

There was no lack of independence, however, about him. The benefit which
he gave Mrs. Jefferson Davis in New Orleans, which was denounced at
the North as toadying to the Rebels, proceeded from a wholly different
motive. He took a kindly interest in the case because it was represented
to him as one of suffering, and knew very well at the time that his
bounty would meet with detraction.

He used to relate with gusto an interview he once had with Murat
Halstead, who had printed a tart paragraph about him. He went into the
office of the Cincinnati editor, and began in his usual jocose way
to ask for the needful correction. Halstead resented the proffered
familiarity, when Artemus told him flatly, suddenly changing front, that
he "didn't care a d--n for the Commercial, and the whole establishment
might go to hell." Next day the paper appeared with a handsome amende,
and the two became excellent friends. "I have no doubt," said Artemus,
"that if I had whined or begged, I should have disgusted Halstead, and
he would have put it to me tighter. As it was, he concluded that I was
not a sneak, and treated me like a gentleman."

Artemus received many tempting offers from book publishers in London.
Several of the Annuals for 1866-67 contain sketches, some of them
anonymous, written by him, for all of which he was well paid. He wrote
for Fun--the editor of which, Mr. Tom Hood, son of the great humorist,
was an intimate friend--as well as for Punch; his contributions to the
former being printed without his signature. If he had been permitted to
remain until the close of his season, he would have earned enough, with
what he had already, to attain the independence which was his aim and
hope. His best friends in London were Charles Reade, Tom Hood, Tom
Robertson, the dramatist, Charles Mathews, the comedian, Tom Taylor
and Arthur Sketchley. He did not meet Mr. Dickens, though Mr. Andrew
Haliday, Dickens' familiar, was also his intimate. He was much
persecuted by lion hunters, and therefore had to keep his lodgings
something of a mystery.

So little is known of Artemus Ward that some biographic particulars may
not in this connection be out of place or lacking in interest.

Charles F. Browne was born at Waterford, Maine, the 15th of July, 1833.
His father was a state senator, a probate judge, and at one time a
wealthy citizen; but at his death, when his famous son was yet a lad,
left his family little or no property. Charles apprenticed himself to
a printer, and served out his time, first in Springfield and then in
Boston. In the latter city he made the acquaintance of Shilaber, Ben
Perley Poore, Halpine, and others, and tried his hand as a "sketchist"
for a volume edited by Mrs. Partington. His early effusions bore the
signature of "Chub." From the Hub he emigrated to the West. At
Toledo, Ohio, he worked as a "typo" and later as a "local" on a Toledo
newspaper. Then he went to Cleveland, where as city editor of the Plain
Dealer he began the peculiar vein from which still later he worked so
successfully.

The soubriquet "Artemus Ward," was not taken from the Revolutionary
general. It was suggested by an actual personality. In an adjoining town
to Cleveland there was a snake charmer who called himself Artemus Ward,
an ignorant witling or half-wit, the laughing stock of the countryside.
Browne's first communication over the signature of Artemus Ward
purported to emanate from this person, and it succeeded so well that he
kept it up. He widened the conception as he progressed. It was not
long before his sketches began to be copied and he became a newspaper
favorite. He remained in Cleveland from 1857 to 1860, when he was called
to New York to take the editorship of a venture called Vanity Fair. This
died soon after. But he did not die with it. A year later, in the fall
of 1861, he made his appearance as a lecturer at New London, and
met with encouragement. Then he set out _en tour_, returned to the
metropolis, hired a hall and opened with "the show." Thence onward all
went well.

The first money he made was applied to the purchase of the old family
homestead in Maine, which he presented to his mother. The payments on
this being completed, he bought himself a little nest on the Hudson,
meaning, as he said, to settle down and perhaps to marry. But his dreams
were not destined to be fulfilled.

Thus, at the outset of a career from which much was to be expected, a
man, possessed of rare and original qualities of head and heart, sank
out of the sphere in which at that time he was the most prominent
figure. There was then no Mark Twain or Bret Harte. His rivals were such
humorists as Orpheus C. Kerr, Nasby, Asa Hartz, The Fat Contributor,
John Happy, Mrs. Partington, Bill Arp and the like, who are now mostly
forgotten.

Artemus Ward wrote little, but he made good and left his mark. Along
with the queer John Phoenix his writings survived the deluge that
followed them. He poured out the wine of life in a limpid stream. It may
be fairly said that he did much to give permanency and respectability to
the style of literature of which he was at once a brilliant illustrator
and illustration. His was a short life indeed, though a merry one, and a
sad death. In a strange land, yet surrounded by admiring friends, about
to reach the coveted independence he had looked forward to so long,
he sank to rest, his dust mingling with that of the great Thomas Hood,
alongside of whom he was laid in Kensal Green.



Chapter the Fifth

    Mark Twain--The Original of Colonel Mulberry Sellers--The "Earl of
    Durham"--Some Noctes Ambrosianæ--A Joke on Murat Halstead



I


Mark Twain came down to the footlights long after Artemus Ward had
passed from the scene; but as an American humorist with whom during
half a century I was closely intimate and round whom many of my London
experiences revolve, it may be apropos to speak of him next after his
elder. There was not lacking a certain likeness between them.

Samuel L. Clemens and I were connected by a domestic tie, though before
either of us were born the two families on the maternal side had been
neighbors and friends. An uncle of his married an aunt of mine--the
children of this marriage cousins in common to us--albeit, this apart,
we were life-time cronies. He always contended that we were "bloodkin."

Notwithstanding that when Mark Twain appeared east of the Alleghanies
and north of the Blue Ridge he showed the weather-beating of the west,
the bizarre alike of the pilot house and the mining camp very much
in evidence, he came of decent people on both sides of the house. The
Clemens and the Lamptons were of good old English stock. Toward the
middle of the eighteenth century three younger scions of the Manor
of Durham migrated from the County of Durham to Virginia and thence
branched out into Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri.

His mother was the loveliest old aristocrat with a taking drawl, a drawl
that was high-bred and patrician, not rustic and plebeian, which her
famous son inherited. All the women of that ilk were gentlewomen. The
literary and artistic instinct which attained its fruition in him had
percolated through the veins of a long line of silent singers, of poets
and painters, unborn to the world of expression till he arrived upon the
scene.

These joint cousins of ours embraced an exceedingly large, varied and
picturesque assortment. Their idiosyncrasies were a constant source of
amusement to us. Just after the successful production of his play, The
Gilded Age, and the uproarious hit of the comedian, Raymond, in the
leading role, I received a letter from him in which he told me he had
made in Colonel Mulberry Sellers a close study of one of these kinsmen
and thought he had drawn him to the life. "But for the love o' God," he
said, "don't whisper it, for he would never understand or forgive me, if
he did not thrash me on sight."

The pathos of the part, and not its comic aspects, had most impressed
him. He designed and wrote it for Edwin Booth. From the first and always
he was disgusted by the Raymond portrayal. Except for its popularity and
money-making, he would have withdrawn it from the stage as, in a fit of
pique, Raymond himself did while it was still packing the theaters.

The original Sellers had partly brought him up and had been very good to
him. A second Don Quixote in appearance and not unlike the knight of
La Mancha in character, it would have been safe for nobody to laugh at
James Lampton, or by the slightest intimation, look or gesture to treat
him with inconsideration, or any proposal of his, however preposterous,
with levity.

He once came to visit me upon a public occasion and during a function.
I knew that I must introduce him, and with all possible ceremony, to
my colleagues. He was very queer; tall and peaked, wearing a black,
swallow-tailed suit, shiny with age, and a silk hat, bound with black
crepe to conceal its rustiness, not to indicate a recent death; but
his linen as spotless as new-fallen snow. I had my fears. Happily the
company, quite dazed by the apparition, proved decorous to solemnity,
and the kind old gentleman, pleased with himself and proud of his
"distinguished young kinsman," went away highly gratified.

Not long after this one of his daughters--pretty girls they were, too,
and in charm altogether worthy of their Cousin Sam Clemens--was to be
married, and Sellers wrote me a stately summons, all-embracing, though
stiff and formal, such as a baron of the Middle Ages might have indited
to his noble relative, the field marshal, bidding him bring his good
lady and his retinue and abide within the castle until the festivities
were ended, though in this instance the castle was a suburban cottage
scarcely big enough to accommodate the bridal couple. I showed the
bombastic but hospitable and genuine invitation to the actor Raymond,
who chanced to be playing in Louisville when it reached me. He read it
through with care and reread it.

"Do you know," said he, "it makes me want to cry. That is not the man I
am trying to impersonate at all."

Be sure it was not; for there was nothing funny about the spiritual
being of Mark Twain's Colonel Mulberry Sellers; he was as brave as a
lion and as upright as Sam Clemens himself.

When a very young man, living in a woodland cabin down in the Pennyrile
region of Kentucky, with a wife he adored and two or three small
children, he was so carried away by an unexpected windfall that he
lingered overlong in the nearby village, dispensing a royal hospitality;
in point of fact, he "got on a spree." Two or three days passed before
he regained possession of himself. When at last he reached home, he
found his wife ill in bed and the children nearly starved for lack of
food. He said never a word, but walked out of the cabin, tied himself
to a tree, and was wildly horsewhipping himself when the cries of the
frightened family summoned the neighbors and he was brought to reason.
He never touched an intoxicating drop from that day to his death.



II


Another one of our fantastic mutual cousins was the "Earl of Durham."
I ought to say that Mark Twain and I grew up on old wives' tales of
estates and titles, which, maybe due to a kindred sense of humor in
both of us, we treated with shocking irreverence. It happened some fifty
years ago that there turned up, first upon the plains and afterward
in New York and Washington, a lineal descendant of the oldest of the
Virginia Lamptons--he had somehow gotten hold of or had fabricated a
bundle of documents--who was what a certain famous American would have
called a "corker." He wore a sombrero with a rattlesnake for a band, and
a belt with a couple of six-shooters, and described himself and claimed
to be the Earl of Durham.

"He touched me for a tenner the first time I ever saw him," drawled Mark
to me, "and I coughed it up and have been coughing them up, whenever
he's around, with punctuality and regularity."

The "Earl" was indeed a terror, especially when he had been drinking.
His belief in his peerage was as absolute as Colonel Sellers' in his
millions. All he wanted was money enough "to get over there" and "state
his case." During the Tichborne trial Mark Twain and I were in London,
and one day he said to me:

"I have investigated this Durham business down at the Herald's office.
There's nothing to it. The Lamptons passed out of the Demesne of Durham
a hundred years ago. They had long before dissipated the estates.
Whatever the title, it lapsed. The present earldom is a new creation,
not the same family at all. But, I tell you what, if you'll put up five
hundred dollars I'll put up five hundred more, we'll fetch our chap
across and set him in as a claimant, and, my word for it, Kenealy's fat
boy won't be a marker to him!"

He was so pleased with his conceit that later along he wrote a novel and
called it The Claimant. It is the only one of his books, though I never
told him so, that I could not enjoy. Many years after, I happened to see
upon a hotel register in Rome these entries: "The Earl of Durham," and
in the same handwriting just below it, "Lady Anne Lambton" and "The Hon.
Reginald Lambton." So the Lambtons--they spelled it with a b instead
of a p--were yet in the peerage. A Lambton was Earl of Durham. The next
time I saw Mark I rated him on his deception. He did not defend himself,
said something about its being necessary to perfect the joke.

"Did you ever meet this present peer and possible usurper?" I asked.

"No," he answered, "I never did, but if he had called on me, I would
have had him come up."



III


His mind turned ever to the droll. Once in London I was living with my
family at 103 Mount Street. Between 103 and 102 there was the parochial
workhouse, quite a long and imposing edifice. One evening, upon coming
in from an outing, I found a letter he had written on the sitting-room
table. He had left it with his card. He spoke of the shock he had
received upon finding that next to 102--presumably 103--was the
workhouse. He had loved me, but had always feared that I would end by
disgracing the family--being hanged or something--but the "work'us,"
that was beyond him; he had not thought it would come to that. And so
on through pages of horseplay; his relief on ascertaining the truth and
learning his mistake, his regret at not finding me at home, closing with
a dinner invitation.

It was at Geneva, Switzerland, that I received a long, overflowing
letter, full of flamboyant oddities, written from London. Two or three
hours later came a telegram. "Burn letter. Blot it from your memory.
Susie is dead."

How much of melancholy lay hidden behind the mask of his humour it would
be hard to say. His griefs were tempered by a vein of stoicism. He was
a medley of contradictions. Unconventional to the point of eccentricity,
his sense of his proper dignity was sound and sufficient. Though lavish
in the use of money, he had a full realization of its value and made
close contracts for his work. Like Sellers, his mind soared when it
sailed financial currents. He lacked acute business judgment in the
larger things, while an excellent economist in the lesser.

His marriage was the most brilliant stroke of his life. He got the woman
of all the world he most needed, a truly lovely and wise helpmate, who
kept him in bounds and headed him straight and right while she
lived. She was the best of housewives and mothers, and the safest of
counsellors and critics. She knew his worth; she appreciated his genius;
she understood his limitations and angles. Her death was a grievous
disaster as well as a staggering blow. He never wholly recovered from
it.



IV


It was in the early seventies that Mark Twain dropped into New York,
where there was already gathered a congenial group to meet and greet
him. John Hay, quoting old Jack Dade's description of himself, was wont
to speak of this group as "of high aspirations and peregrinations."
It radiated between Franklin Square, where Joseph W. Harper--"Joe
Brooklyn," we called him--reigned in place of his uncle, Fletcher
Harper, the man of genius among the original Harper Brothers, and the
Lotos Club, then in Irving Place, and Delmonico's, at the corner of
Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street, with Sutherland's in Liberty Street
for a downtown place of luncheon resort, not to forget Dorlon's in
Fulton Market.

[Illustration: General Leonidas Polk--Lieutenant General C.S.A.--Killed
in Georgia June 14, 1864--P.E. Bishop of Louisiana]

The Harper contingent, beside its chief, embraced Tom Nast and William
A. Seaver, whom John Russell Young named "Papa Pendennis," and pictured
as "a man of letters among men of the world and a man of the world among
men of letters," a very apt phrase appropriated from Doctor Johnson, and
Major Constable, a giant, who looked like a dragoon and not a bookman,
yet had known Sir Walter Scott and was sprung from the family of
Edinburgh publishers. Bret Harte had but newly arrived from California.
Whitelaw Reid, though still subordinate to Greeley, was beginning to
make himself felt in journalism. John Hay played high priest to the
revels. Occasionally I made a pious pilgrimage to the delightful shrine.

Truth to tell, it emulated rather the gods than the graces, though all
of us had literary leanings of one sort and another, especially late
at night; and Sam Bowles would come over from Springfield and Murat
Halstead from Cincinnati to join us. Howells, always something of a
prig, living in Boston, held himself at too high account; but often we
had Joseph Jefferson, then in the heyday of his career, with once in a
while Edwin Booth, who could not quite trust himself to go our gait.
The fine fellows we caught from oversea were innumerable, from the elder
Sothern and Sala and Yates to Lord Dufferin and Lord Houghton. Times
went very well those days, and whilst some looked on askance, notably
Curtis and, rather oddly, Stedman, and thought we were wasting time
and convivializing more than was good for us, we were mostly young and
hearty, ranging from thirty to five and forty years of age, with amazing
capabilities both for work and play, and I cannot recall that any hurt
to any of us came of it.

Although robustious, our fribbles were harmless enough--ebullitions of
animal spirit, sometimes perhaps of gaiety unguarded--though each shade,
treading the Celestian way, as most of them do, and recurring to
those Noctes Ambrosianæ, might e'en repeat to the other the words on a
memorable occasion addressed by Curran to Lord Avonmore:

  _"We spent them not in toys or lust or wine;
  But search of deep philosophy,
  Wit, eloquence and poesy--
  Arts which I loved, for they, my friend, were thine."_



V


Mark Twain was the life of every company and all occasions. I remember a
practical joke of his suggestion played upon Murat Halstead. A party of
us were supping after the theater at the old Brevoort House. A card was
brought to me from a reporter of the World. I was about to deny myself,
when Mark Twain said:

"Give it to me, I'll fix it," and left the table.

Presently he came to the door and beckoned me out.

"I represented myself as your secretary and told this man," said he,
"that you were not here, but that if Mr. Halstead would answer just as
well I would fetch him. The fellow is as innocent as a lamb and doesn't
know either of you. I am going to introduce you as Halstead and we'll
have some fun."

No sooner said than done. The reporter proved to be a little bald-headed
cherub newly arrived from the isle of dreams, and I lined out to him a
column or more of very hot stuff, reversing Halstead in every opinion.
I declared him in favor of paying the national debt in greenbacks.
Touching the sectional question, which was then the burning issue of the
time, I made the mock Halstead say: "The 'bloody shirt' is only a kind
of Pickwickian battle cry. It is convenient during political campaigns
and on election day. Perhaps you do not know that I am myself of
dyed-in-the-wool Southern and secession stock. My father and grandfather
came to Ohio from South Carolina just before I was born. Naturally
I have no sectional prejudices, but I live in Cincinnati and I am a
Republican."

There was not a little more of the same sort. Just how it passed through
the World office I know not; but it actually appeared. On returning
to the table I told the company what Mark Twain and I had done. They
thought I was joking. Without a word to any of us, next day Halstead
wrote a note to the World repudiating the interview, and the World
printed his disclaimer with a line which said: "When Mr. Halstead
conversed with our reporter he had dined." It was too good to keep. A
day or two later, John Hay wrote an amusing story for the Tribune, which
set Halstead right.

Mark Twain's place in literature is not for me to fix. Some one has
called him "The Lincoln of letters." That is striking, suggestive and
apposite. The genius of Clemens and the genius of Lincoln possessed a
kinship outside the circumstances of their early lives; the common lack
of tools to work with; the privations and hardships to be endured and to
overcome; the way ahead through an unblazed and trackless forest; every
footstep over a stumbling block and each effort saddled with a handicap.
But they got there, both of them, they got there, and mayhap somewhere
beyond the stars the light of their eyes is shining down upon us even
as, amid the thunders of a world tempest, we are not wholly forgetful of
them.



Chapter the Sixth

    Houston and Wigfall of Texas--Stephen A. Douglas--The Twaddle about
    Puritans and Cavaliers--Andrew Johnson and John C. Breckenridge



I


The National Capitol--old men's fancies fondly turn to thoughts of
youth--was picturesque in its personalities if not in its architecture.
By no means the least striking of these was General and Senator Sam
Houston, of Texas. In his life of adventure truth proved very much
stranger than fiction.

The handsomest of men, tall and stately, he could pass no way without
attracting attention; strangers in the Senate gallery first asked to
have him pointed out to them, and seeing him to all appearance idling
his time with his jacknife and bits of soft wood which he whittled into
various shapes of hearts and anchors for distribution among his lady
acquaintances, they usually went away thinking him a queer old man. So
inded he was; yet on his feet and in action singularly impressive, and,
when he chose, altogether the statesman and orator.

There united in him the spirits of the troubadour and the spearman.
Ivanhoe was not more gallant nor Bois-Guilbert fiercer. But the valor
and the prowess were tempered by humor. Below the surging subterranean
flood that stirred and lifted him to high attempt, he was a comedian
who had tales to tell, and told them wondrous well. On a lazy summer
afternoon on the shady side of Willard's Hotel--the Senate not in
session--he might be seen, an admiring group about him, spinning
these yarns, mostly of personal experience--rarely if ever repeating
himself--and in tone, gesture and grimace reproducing the drolleries of
the backwoods, which from boyhood had been his home.

He spared not himself. According to his own account he had been in the
early days of his Texas career a drunkard. "Everybody got drunk," I once
heard him say, referring to the beginning of the Texas revolution, as
he gave a side-splitting picture of that bloody episode, "and I realized
that somebody must get sober and keep sober."

From the hour of that realization, when he "swore off," to the hour of
his death he never touched intoxicants of any sort.

He had fought under Jackson, had served two terms in Congress and had
been elected governor of Tennessee before he was forty. Then he fell
in love. The young lady was a beautiful girl, well-born and highly
educated, a schoolmate of my mother's elder sister. She was persuaded by
her family to throw over an obscure young man whom she preferred, and to
marry a young man so eligible and distinguished.

He took her to Nashville, the state capital. There were rounds of
gayety. Three months passed. Of a sudden the little town woke to the
startling rumor, which proved to be true, that the brilliant young
couple had come to a parting of the ways. The wife had returned to her
people. The husband had resigned his office and was gone, no one knew
where.

A few years later Mrs. Houston applied for a divorce, which in those
days had to be granted by the state legislature. Inevitably reports
derogatory to her had got abroad. Almost the first tidings of Governor
Houston's whereabouts were contained in a letter he wrote from somewhere
in the Indian country to my father, a member of the legislature to whom
Mrs. Houston had applied, in which he said that these reports had come
to his ears. "They are," he wrote, "as false as hell. If they be not
stopped I will return to Tennessee and have the heart's blood of him who
repeats them. A nobler, purer woman never lived. She should be promptly
given the divorce she asks. I alone am to blame."

She married again, though not the lover she had discarded. I knew her
in her old age--a gentle, placid lady, in whose face I used to fancy
I could read lines of sorrow and regret. He, to close this chapter,
likewise married again a wise and womanly woman who bore him many
children and with whom he lived happy ever after. Meanwhile, however, he
had dwelt with the Indians and had become an Indian chief. "Big Drunk,
they called me," he said to his familiars. His enemies averred that he
brought into the world a whole tribe of half-breeds.



II


Houston was a rare performer before a popular audience. His speech
abounded with argumentative appeal and bristled with illustrative
anecdote, and, when occasion required, with apt repartee.

Once an Irishman in the crowd bawled out, "ye were goin' to sell Texas
to England."

Houston paused long enough to center attention upon the quibble and
then said: "My friend, I first tried, unsuccessfully, to have the United
States take Texas as a gift. Not until I threatened to turn Texas over
to England did I finally succeed. There may be within the sound of my
voice some who have knowledge of sheep culture. They have doubtless seen
a motherless lamb put to the breast of a cross old ewe who refused
it suck. Then the wise shepherd calls his dog and there is no further
trouble. My friend, England was my dog."

He was inveighing against the New York Tribune. Having described Horace
Greeley as the sum of all villainy--"whose hair is white, whose skin is
white, whose eyes are white, whose clothes are white, and whose liver is
in my opinion of the same color"--he continued: "The assistant editor of
the Try-bune is Robinson--Solon Robinson. He is an Irishman, an Orange
Irishman, a redhaired Irishman!" Casting his eye over the audience
and seeing quite a sprinkling of redheads, and realizing that he had
perpetrated a slip of tongue, he added: "Fellow citizens, when I say
that Robinson is a red-haired Irishman I mean no disrespect to persons
whose hair is of that color. I have been a close observer of men and
women for thirty years, and I never knew a red-haired man who was not an
honest man, nor a red-headed woman who was not a virtuous woman; and I
give it you as my candid opinion that had it not been for Robinson's red
hair he would have been hanged long ago."

His pathos was not far behind his humor--though he used it sparingly.
At a certain town in Texas there lived a desperado who had threatened to
kill him on sight. The town was not on the route of his speaking dates
but he went out of his way to include it. A great concourse assembled
to hear him. He spoke in the open air and, as he began, observed his man
leaning against a tree armed to the teeth and waiting for him to finish.
After a few opening remarks, he dropped into the reminiscential. He
talked of the old times in Texas. He told in thrilling terms of the
Alamo and of Goliad. There was not a dry eye in earshot. Then he grew
personal.

"I see Tom Gilligan over yonder. A braver man never lived than Tom
Gilligan. He fought by my side at San Jacinto. Together we buried poor
Bill Holman. But for his skill and courage I should not be here to-day.
He--"

There was a stir in front. Gilligan had thrown away his knife and gun
and was rushing unarmed through the crowd, tears streaming down his
face.

"For God's sake, Houston," he cried, "don't say another word and forgive
me my cowardly intention."

From that time to his death Tom Gilligan was Houston's devoted friend.

General Houston voted against the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and as a
consequence lost his seat in the Senate. It was thought, and freely
said, that for good and all he was down and out. He went home and
announced himself a candidate for governor of Texas.

The campaign that followed was of unexampled bitterness. The secession
wave was already mounting high. Houston was an uncompromising Unionist.
His defeat was generally expected. But there was no beating such a man
in a fair and square contest before the people. When the votes were
counted he led his competitor by a big majority. As governor he refused
two years later to sign the ordinance of secession and was deposed from
office by force. He died before the end of the war which so signally
vindicated his wisdom and verified his forecast.



III


Stephen Arnold Douglas was the Charles James Fox of American politics.
He was not a gambler as Fox was. But he went the other gaits and was
possessed of a sweetness of disposition which made him, like Fox, loved
where he was personally known. No one could resist the _bonhomie_ of
Douglas.

They are not all Puritans in New England. Catch a Yankee off his base,
quite away from home, and he can be as gay as anybody. Boston and
Charleston were in high party times nearest alike of any two American
cities.

Douglas was a Green Mountain boy. He was born in Vermont. As Seargent
Prentiss had done he migrated beyond the Alleghanies before he came of
age, settling in Illinois as Prentiss had settled in Mississippi, to
grow into a typical Westerner as Prentiss into a typical Southerner.

There was never a more absurd theory than that, begot of sectional
aims and the sectional spirit, which proposed a geographic alignment of
Cavalier and Puritan. When sectionalism had brought a kindred people to
blows over the institution of African slavery there were Puritans who
fought on the Southern side and Cavaliers who fought on the Northern
side. What was Stonewall Jackson but a Puritan? What were Custer,
Stoneman and Kearny but Cavaliers? Wadsworth was as absolute an
aristocrat as Hampton.

In the old days before the war of sections the South was full of typical
Southerners of Northern birth. John A. Quitman, who went from New York,
and Robert J. Walker, who went from Pennsylvania to Mississippi; James
H. Hammond, whose father, a teacher, went from Massachusetts to South
Carolina. John Slidell, born and bred in New York, was thirty years
old when he went to Louisiana. Albert Sidney Johnston, the rose
and expectancy of the young Confederacy--the most typical of rebel
soldiers--had not a drop of Southern blood in his veins, born in
Kentucky a few months after his father and mother had arrived there from
Connecticut. The list might be extended indefinitely.

Climate, which has something to do with temperament, has not so much to
do with character as is often imagined. All of us are more or less
the creatures of environment. In the South after a fashion the duello
flourished. Because it had not flourished in the North there rose a
notion that the Northerners would not fight. It proved to those who
thought it a costly mistake.

Down to the actual secession of 1860-61 the issue of issues--the issue
behind all issues--was the preservation of the Union. Between 1820 and
1850, by a series of compromises, largely the work of Mr. Clay, its
threatened disruption had been averted. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill put a
sore strain upon conservative elements North and South. The Whig Party
went to pieces. Mr. Clay passed from the scene. Had he lived until
the presidential election of 1852 he would have given his support to
Franklin Pierce, as Daniel Webster did. Mr. Buchanan was not a General
Jackson. Judge Douglas, who sought to play the rôle of Mr. Clay, was too
late. The secession leaders held the whip hand in the Gulf States. South
Carolina was to have her will at last. Crash came the shot in Charleston
Harbor and the fall of Sumter. Curiously enough two persons of Kentucky
birth--Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis--led the rival hosts of war
into which an untenable and indefensible system of slave labor, for
which the two sections were equally responsible, had precipitated an
unwilling people.

Had Judge Douglas lived he would have been Mr. Lincoln's main reliance
in Congress. As a debater his resources and prowess were rarely equaled
and never surpassed. His personality, whether in debate or private
conversation, was attractive in the highest degree. He possessed a full,
melodious voice, convincing fervor and ready wit.

He had married for his second wife the reigning belle of the National
Capital, a great-niece of Mrs. Madison, whose very natural ambitions
quickened and spurred his own.

It was fated otherwise. Like Clay, Webster, Calhoun and Blaine he was to
be denied the Presidency. The White House was barred to him. He was not
yet fifty when he died.

Tidings of his death took the country by surprise. But already the
sectional battle was on and it produced only a momentary impression, to
be soon forgotten amid the overwhelming tumult of events. He has lain in
his grave now nearly sixty years. Upon the legislation of his time his
name was writ first in water and then in blood. He received less than
his desert in life and the historic record has scarcely done justice to
his merit. He was as great a party leader as Clay. He could hold his own
in debate with Webster and Calhoun. He died a very poor man, though his
opportunity for enrichment by perfectly legitimate means were many. It
is enough to say that he lacked the business instinct and set no value
upon money; scrupulously upright in his official dealing; holding his
senatorial duties above all price and beyond the suspicion of dirt.

Touching a matter which involved a certain outlay in the winter of 1861,
he laughingly said to me: "I haven't the wherewithal to pay for a bottle
of whisky and shall have to borrow of Arnold Harris the wherewithal to
take me home."

His wife was a glorious creature. Early one morning calling at their
home to see Judge Douglas I was ushered into the library, where she was
engaged setting things to rights. My entrance took her by surprise. I
had often seen her in full ballroom regalia and in becoming out-of-door
costume, but as, in gingham gown and white apron, she turned, a little
startled by my sudden appearance, smiles and blushes in spite of
herself, I thought I had never seen any woman so beautiful before. She
married again--the lover whom gossip said she had thrown over to marry
Judge Douglas--and the story went that her second marriage was not very
happy.



IV


In the midsummer of 1859 the burning question among the newsmen of
Washington was the Central American Mission. England and France had
displayed activity in that quarter and it was deemed important that the
United States should sit up and take notice. An Isthmian canal was being
considered.

Speculation was rife whom Mr. Buchanan would send to represent us. The
press gang of the National Capital was all at sea. There was scarcely a
Democratic leader of national prominence whose name was not mentioned
in that connection, though speculation from day to day eddied round Mr.
James S. Rollins, of Missouri, an especial friend of the President and a
most accomplished public man.

At the height of excitement I happened to be in the library of the State
Department. I was on a step-ladder in quest of a book when I heard a
messenger say to the librarian: "The President is in the Secretary's
room and wants to have Mr. Dimitry come there right away." An
inspiration shot through me like a flash. They had chosen Alexander
Dimitry for the Central American Mission.

He was the official translator of the Department of State. Though
an able and learned man he was not in the line of preferment. He was
without political standing or backing of any sort. At first blush a more
unlikely, impossible appointment could hardly be suggested. But--so on
the instant I reasoned--he was peculiarly fitted in his own person for
the post in question. Though of Greek origin he looked like a Spaniard.
He spoke the Spanish language fluently. He had the procedure of the
State Department at his finger's ends. He was the head of a charming
domestic fabric--his daughters the prettiest girls in Washington. Why
not?

I climbed down from my stepladder and made tracks for the office of the
afternoon newspaper for which I was doing all-round work. I was barely
on time, the last forms being locked when I got there. I had the
editorial page opened and inserted at the top of the leading column a
double-leaded paragraph announcing that the agony was over--that the
Gordian knot was cut--that Alexander Dimitry had been selected as Envoy
Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Central American
States.

It proved a veritable sensation as well as a notable scoop. To increase
my glory the correspondents of the New York dailies scouted it. But in
a day or two it was officially confirmed. General Cass, the Secretary
of State, sent for me, having learned that I had been in the department
about the time of the consultation between the President, himself and
Mr. Dimitry.

"How did you get this?" he asked rather sharply.

"Out of my inner consciousness," I answered with flippant familiarity.
"Didn't you know that I have what they call second sight?"

The old gentleman laughed amiably. "It would seem so," he said, and sent
me about my business without further inquiry.



V


In the National Capital the winter of 1860-61 was both stormy and
nebulous. Parties were at sea. The Northerners in Congress had learned
the trick of bullying from the Southerners. In the Senate, Chandler was
a match for Toombs; and in the House, Thaddeus Stevens for Keitt and
Lamar. All of them, more or less, were playing a game. If sectional war,
which was incessantly threatened by the two extremes, had been keenly
realized and seriously considered it might have been averted. Very few
believed that it would come to actual war.

A convention of Border State men, over which ex-President John Tyler
presided, was held in Washington. It might as well have been held at
the North Pole. Moderate men were brushed aside, their counsels whistled
down the wind. There was a group of Senators, headed by Wigfall of
Texas, who meant disunion and war, and another group, headed by Seward,
Hale and Chase, who had been goaded up to this. Reading contemporary
history and, seeing the high-mightiness with which the Germans began
what we conceive their raid upon humanity, we are wont to regard it
as evidence of incredible stupidity, whereas it was, in point of fact,
rather a miscalculation of forces. That was the error of the secession
leaders. They refused to count the cost. Yancey firmly believed that
England would be forced to intervene. The mills of Lancashire he thought
could not get on without Southern cotton. He was sent abroad. He found
Europe solid against slavery and therefore set against the Confederacy.
He came home with what is called a broken heart--the dreams of a
lifetime shattered--and, in a kind of dazed stupor, laid himself down to
die. With Richmond in flames and the exultant shouts of the detested yet
victorious Yankees in his ears, he did die.

Wigfall survived but a few years. He was less a dreamer than Yancey.
A man big of brain and warm of heart he had gone from the ironclad
provincialism of South Carolina to the windswept vagaries of Texas. He
believed wholly the Yancey confession of faith; that secession was a
constitutional right; that African slavery was ordained of God; that the
South was paramount, the North inferior. Yet in worldly knowledge he had
learned more than Yancey--was an abler man than Jefferson Davis--and
but for his affections and generous habits he would have made a larger
figure in the war, having led the South's exit from the Senate.



VI


I do not think that either Hammond or Chestnut, the Senators from
South Carolina, both men of parts, had at bottom much belief in the
practicability of the Confederate movement. Neither had the Senators
from Arkansas and Alabama, nor Brown, of Mississippi, the colleague of
Jefferson Davis. Mason, of Virginia, a dogged old donkey, and Iverson,
of Georgia, another, were the kind of men whom Wigfall dominated.

One of the least confident of those who looked on and afterward fell in
line was the Vice President, John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky. He
was the Beau Sabreur among statesmen as Albert Sidney Johnston, among
soldiers. Never man handsomer in person or more winning in manners.
Sprung from a race of political aristocrats, he was born to early
and shining success in public life. Of moderate opinions, winning and
prudent, wherever he appeared he carried his audience with him. He had
been elected on the ticket with Buchanan to the second office under
the Government, when he was but five and thirty years of age. There was
nothing for him to gain from a division of the Union; the Presidency,
perhaps, if the Union continued undivided. But he could not resist the
onrush of disunionism, went with the South, which he served first in the
field and later as Confederate Secretary of War, and after a few years
of self-imposed exile in Europe returned to Kentucky to die at four and
fifty, a defeated and disappointed old man.

The adjoining state of Tennessee was represented in the Senate by one of
the most problematic characters in American history. With my father, who
remained his friend through life, he had entered the state legislature
in 1835, and having served ten years in the lower House of Congress, and
four years as governor of Tennessee he came back in 1857 to the National
Capital, a member of the Upper House. He was Andrew Johnson.

I knew him from my childhood. Thrice that I can recall I saw him weep;
never did I see him laugh. Life had been very serious, albeit very
successful, to him. Of unknown parentage, the wife he had married before
he was one and twenty had taught him to read. Yet at six and twenty
he was in the Tennessee General Assembly and at four and thirty in
Congress.

There was from first to last not a little about him to baffle
conjecture. I should call him a cross between Jack Cade and Aaron Burr.
His sympathies were easily stirred by rags in distress. But he was
uncompromising in his detestation of the rich. It was said that he
hated "a biled shirt." He would have nothing to do "with people who wore
broadcloth," though he carefully dressed himself. When, as governor of
Tennessee, he came to Nashville he refused many invitations to take his
first New Year's dinner with a party of toughs at the house of a river
roustabout.

There was nothing of the tough about him, however. His language was
careful and exact. I never heard him utter an oath or tell a risqué
story. He passed quite fifteen years in Washington, a total abstainer
from the use of intoxicants. He fell into the occasional-drink habit
during the dark days of the War. But after some costly experience he
dropped it and continued a total abstainer to the end of his days.

He had, indeed, admirable self-control. I do not believe a more
conscientious man ever lived. His judgments were sometimes peculiar, but
they were upright and sincere, having reasons, which he could give with
power and effect, behind them. Yet was he a born politician, crafty to
a degree, and always successful, relying upon a popular following which
never failed him.

In 1860 he supported the quasi-secession Breckenridge and Lane
Presidential ticket, but in 1861 he stood true to the Union, retaining
his seat in the Senate until he was appointed military governor of
Tennessee. Nominated for Vice President on the ticket with Lincoln, in
1864, he was elected, and upon the assassination of Lincoln succeeded to
the Presidency. Having served out his term as President he returned to
Tennessee to engage in the hottest kind of politics, and though at the
outset defeated finally regained his seat in the Senate of the United
States.

He hated Grant with a holy hate. His first act on reëntering the Senate
was to deliver an implacably bitter speech against the President. It
was his last public appearance. He went thence to his home in East
Tennessee, gratified and happy, to die in a few weeks.



VII


There used to be a story about Raleigh, in North Carolina, where Andrew
Johnson was born, which whispered that he was a natural son of William
Ruffin, an eminent jurist in the earlier years of the nineteenth
century. It was analogous to the story that Lincoln was the natural son
of various paternities from time to time assigned to him. I had my share
in running that calumny to cover. It was a lie out of whole cloth with
nothing whatever to support or excuse it. I reached the bottom of it to
discover proof of its baselessness abundant and conclusive. In Johnson's
case I take it that the story had nothing other to rest on than the
obscurity of his birth and the quality of his talents. Late in life
Johnson went to Raleigh and caused to be erected a modest tablet over
the spot pointed out as the grave of his progenitor, saying, I was told
by persons claiming to have been present, "I place this stone over the
last earthly abode of my alleged father."

Johnson, in the saying of the countryside, "out-married himself." His
wife was a plain woman, but came of good family. One day, when a child,
so the legend ran, she saw passing through the Greenville street in
which her people lived, a woman, a boy and a cow, the boy carrying a
pack over his shoulder. They were obviously weary and hungry. Extreme
poverty could present no sadder picture. "Mother," cried the girl,
"there goes the man I am going to marry." She was thought to be in jest.
But a few years later she made her banter good and lived to see her
husband President of the United States and with him to occupy the White
House at Washington.

Much has been written of the humble birth and iron fortune of Abraham
Lincoln. He had no such obstacles to overcome as either Andrew Jackson
or Andrew Johnson. Jackson, a prisoner of war, was liberated, a lad
of sixteen, from the British pen at Charleston, without a relative, a
friend or a dollar in the world, having to make his way upward through
the most aristocratic community of the country and the time. Johnson,
equally friendless and penniless, started as a poor tailor in a rustic
village. Lincoln must therefore, take third place among our self-made
Presidents. The Hanks family were not paupers. He had a wise and helpful
stepmother. He was scarcely worse off than most young fellows of his
neighborhood, first in Indiana and then in Illinois. On this side
justice has never been rendered to Jackson and Johnson. In the case of
Jackson the circumstance was forgotten, while Johnson too often dwelt
upon it and made capital out of it.

Under date of the 23rd of May, 1919, the Hon. Josephus Daniels,
Secretary of the Navy, writes me the following letter, which I violate
no confidence in reproducing in this connection:

MY DEAR MARSE HENRY:--

I can't tell you how much delight and pleasure your reminiscences in the
Saturday Evening Post have given me, as well as the many others who have
followed them, and I suppose you will put them in a volume when they are
finished, so that we may have the pleasure of reading them in connected
order.

As you know, I live in Raleigh and I was very much interested in your
article in the issue of April 5, 1919, with reference to Andrew Johnson,
in which you quote a story that "used to be current in Raleigh, that
he was the son of William Ruffin, an eminent jurist of the ninetenth
century." I had never heard this story, but the story that was gossiped
there was that he was the son of a certain Senator Haywood. I ran that
story down and found that it had no foundation whatever, because if he
had been the son of the Senator reputed to be his father, the Senator
was of the age of twelve years when Andrew Johnson was born.

My own information is, for I have made some investigation of it, that
the story about Andrew Johnson's having a father other than the husband
of his mother, is as wanting in foundation as the story about Abraham
Lincoln. You did a great service in running that down and exposing
it, and I trust before you finish your book that you will make further
investigation and be able to do a like service in repudiating the
unjust, idle gossip with reference to Andrew Johnson. In your article
you say that persons who claim to have been present when Johnson came
to Raleigh and erected a monument over the grave of his father, declare
that Johnson said he placed this stone over the last earthly abode of
"my alleged father." That is one phase of the gossip, and the other is
that he said "my reputed father," both equally false.

The late Mr. Pulaski Cowper, who was private secretary to Governor
Bragg, of our State, just prior to the war, and who was afterwards
president of our leading life insurance company, a gentleman of high
character, and of the best memory, was present at the time that Johnson
made the address from which you quote the rumor. Mr. Cowper wrote an
article for The News and Observer, giving the story and relating that
Johnson said that "he was glad to come to Raleigh to erect a tablet to
his father." The truth is that while his father was a man of little or
no education, he held the position of janitor at the State Capitol, and
he was not wanting in qualities which made him superior to his humble
position. If he had been living in this day he would have been given a
lifesaving medal, for upon the occasion of a picnic near Raleigh when
the cry came that children were drowning he was the first to leap in and
endanger his life to save them.

Andrew Johnson's mother was related to the Chappell family, of which
there are a number of citizens of standing and character near Raleigh,
several of them having been ministers of the Gospel, and one at least
having gained distinction as a missionary in China.

I am writing you because I know that your story will be read and
accepted and I thought you would be glad to have this story, based upon
a study and investigation and personal knowledge of Mr. Cowper, whose
character and competency are well known in North Carolina.



Chapter the Seventh

    An Old Newspaper Rookery--Reactionary Sectionalism in Cincinnati and
    Louisville--_The Courier-Journal_



I


My dream of wealth through my commission on the Confederate cotton I was
to sell to English buyers was quickly shattered. The cotton was burned
and I found myself in the early spring of 1865 in the little village
of Glendale, a suburb of Cincinnati, where the future Justice Stanley
Matthews had his home. His wife was a younger sister of my mother. My
grandmother was still alive and lived with her daughter and son-in-law.

I was received with open arms. A few days later the dear old lady said
to me: "I suppose, my son, you are rather a picked bird after your
adventures in the South. You certainly need better clothing. I have some
money in bank and it is freely yours."

I knew that my Uncle Stanley had put her up to this, and out of sheer
curiosity I asked her how much she could let me have. She named what
seemed to me a stupendous sum. I thanked her, told her I had quite a
sufficiency for the time being, slipped into town and pawned my
watch; that is, as I made light of it afterward in order to escape the
humiliation of borrowing from an uncle whose politics I did not approve,
I went with my collateral to an uncle who had no politics at all and
got fifty dollars on it! Before the money was gone I had found, through
Judge Matthews, congenial work.

There was in Cincinnati but one afternoon newspaper--the Evening
Times--owned by Calvin W. Starbuck. He had been a practical printer but
was grown very rich. He received me kindly, said the editorial force was
quite full--must always be, on a daily newspaper--"but," he added, "my
brother, Alexander Starbuck, who has been running the amusements, wants
to go a-fishing in Canada--to be gone a month--and, if you wish, you can
during his absence sub for him."

It was just to my hand and liking. Before Alexander Starbuck returned
the leading editor of the paper fell from a ferryboat crossing the Ohio
River and was drowned. The next day General Starbuck sent for me and
offered me the vacant place.

"Why, general," I said, "I am an outlawed man: I do not agree with your
politics. I do not see how I can undertake a place so conspicuous and
responsible."

He replied: "I propose to engage you as an editorial manager. It is as
if building a house you should be head carpenter, I the architect. The
difference in salary will be seventy-five dollars a week against fifteen
dollars a week."

I took the place.



II


The office of the Evening Times was a queer old curiosity shop. I set to
and turned it inside out. I had very pronounced journalistic notions
of my own and applied them in every department of the sleepy old
money-maker. One afternoon a week later I put forth a paper whose oldest
reader could not have recognized it. The next morning's
Cincinnati Commercial contained a flock of paragraphs to which the
Chattanooga-Cincinnati-Rebel Evening Times furnished the keynote.

They made funny reading, but they threw a dangerous flare upon my "past"
and put me at a serious disadvantage. It happened that when Artemus Ward
had been in town a fortnight before he gave me a dinner and had some of
his friends to meet me. Among these was a young fellow of the name of
Halstead, who, I was told, was the coming man on the Commercial.

Round to the Commercial office I sped, and being conducted to this
person, who received me very blandly, I said: "Mr. Halstead, I am a
journeyman day laborer in your city--the merest bird of passage, with
my watch at the pawnbroker's. As soon as I am able to get out of town I
mean to go--and I came to ask if you can think the personal allusions to
me in to-day's paper, which may lose me my job but can nowise hurt the
Times, are quite fair--even--since I am without defense--quite manly."

He looked at me with that quizzical, serio-comic stare which so
became him, and with great heartiness replied: "No--they were damned
mean--though I did not realize how mean. The mark was so obvious and
tempting I could not resist, but--there shall be no more of them. Come,
let us go and have a drink."

That was the beginning of a friendship which brought happiness to both
of us and lasted nearly half a century, to the hour of his death, when,
going from Louisville to Cincinnati, I helped to lay him away in Spring
Grove Cemetery.

I had no thought of remaining in Cincinnati. My objective was Nashville,
where the young woman who was to become my wife, and whom I had not seen
for nearly two years, was living with her family. During the summer Mr.
Francisco, the business manager of the Evening Times, had a scheme to
buy the Toledo Commercial, in conjunction with Mr. Comly, of Columbus,
and to engage me as editor conjointly with Mr. Harrison Gray Otis as
publisher. It looked very good. Toledo threatened Cleveland and Detroit
as a lake port. But nothing could divert me. As soon as Parson Brownlow,
who was governor of Tennessee and making things lively for the returning
rebels, would allow, I was going to Nashville.

About the time the way was cleared my two pals, or bunkies, of the
Confederacy, Albert Roberts and George Purvis, friends from boyhood, put
in an appearance. They were on their way to the capital of Tennessee.
The father of Albert Roberts was chief owner of the Republican Banner,
an old and highly respectable newspaper, which had for nearly four
years lain in a state of suspension. Their plan now was to revive its
publication, Purvis to be business manager, and Albert and I to be
editors. We had no cash. Nobody on our side of the line had any cash.
But John Roberts owned a farm he could mortgage for money enough to
start us. What had I to say?

Less than a week later saw us back at home winnowing the town for
subscribers and advertising. We divided it into districts, each taking a
specified territory. The way we boys hustled was a sight to see. But the
way the community warmed to us was another. When the familiar headline,
The Republican Banner, made its appearance there was a popular
hallelujah, albeit there were five other dailies ahead of us. A year
later there was only one, and it was nowise a competitor.

Albert Roberts had left his girl, Edith Scott, the niece of Huxley, whom
I have before mentioned, in Montgomery, Alabama. Purvis' girl, Sophie
Searcy, was in Selma. Their hope was to have enough money by Christmas
each to pay a visit to those distant places. My girl was on the spot,
and we had resolved, money or no money, to be married without delay.
Before New Year's the three of us were wedded and comfortably settled,
with funds galore, for the paper had thrived consumingly. It had thrived
so consumingly that after a little I was able to achieve the wish of my
heart and to go to London, taking my wife and my "great American novel"
with me. I have related elsewhere what came of this and what happened to
me.



III


That bread cast upon the waters--"'dough' put out at usance," as Joseph
Jefferson used to phrase it--shall return after many days has been
I dare say discovered by most persons who have perpetrated acts of
kindness, conscious or unconscious. There was a poor, broken-down
English actor with a passion for Chaucer, whom I was wont to encounter
in the Library of Congress. His voice was quite gone. Now and again I
had him join me in a square meal. Once in a while I paid his room rent.
I was loath to leave him when the break came in 1861, though he declared
he had "expectations," and made sure he would not starve.

I was passing through Regent Street in London, when a smart brougham
drove up to the curb and a wheezy voice called after me. It was my old
friend, Newton. His "expectations" had not failed him, he had come into
a property and was living in affluence.

He knew London as only a Bohemian native and to the manner born could
know it. His sense of bygone obligation knew no bounds. Between him and
John Mahoney and Artemus Ward I was made at home in what might be called
the mysteries and eccentricities of differing phases of life in the
British metropolis not commonly accessible to the foreign casual. In
many after visits this familiar knowledge has served me well. But Newton
did not live to know of some good fortune that came to me and to feel
my gratitude to him, as dear old John Mahoney did. When I was next in
London he was gone.

It was not, however, the actor, Newton, whom I had in mind in offering
a bread-upon-the-water moral, but a certain John Hatcher, the memory of
whom in my case illustrates it much better. He was a wit and a poet. He
had been State Librarian of Tennessee. Nothing could keep him out of
the service, though he was a sad cripple and wholly unequal to its
requirements. He fell ill. I had the opportunity to care for him. When
the war was over his old friend, George D. Prentice, called him to
Louisville to take an editorial place on the Journal.

About the same time Mr. Walter Haldeman returned from the South and
resumed the suspended publication of the Louisville Courier. He was in
the prime of life, a man of surpassing energy, enterprise and industry,
and had with him the popular sympathy. Mr. Prentice was nearly three
score and ten. The stream had passed him by. The Journal was not only
beginning to feel the strain but was losing ground. In this emergency
Hatcher came to the rescue. I was just back from London and was doing
noticeable work on the Nashville Banner.

"Here is your man," said Hatcher to Mr. Prentice and Mr. Henderson, the
owners of the Journal; and I was invited to come to Louisville.

After I had looked over the field and inspected the Journal's books I
was satisfied that a union with the Courier was the wisest solution of
the newspaper situation, and told them so. Meanwhile Mr. Haldeman, whom
I had known in the Confederacy, sent for me. He offered me the same
terms for part ownership and sole editorship of the Courier, which the
Journal people had offered me. This I could not accept, but proposed as
an alternative the consolidation of the two on an equal basis. He was
willing enough for the consolidation, but not on equal terms. There was
nothing for it but a fight. I took the Journal and began to hammer the
Courier.

A dead summer was before us, but Mr. Henderson had plenty of money
and was willing to spend it. During the contest not an unkind word was
printed on either side. After stripping the Journal to its heels it
had very little to go on or to show for what had once been a prosperous
business. But circulation flowed in. From eighteen hundred daily it
quickly mounted to ten thousand; from fifteen hundred weekly to fifty
thousand. The middle of October it looked as if we had a straight road
before us.

But I knew better. I had discovered that the field, no matter how
worked, was not big enough to support two rival dailies. There was
toward the last of October on the edge of town a real-estate sale which
Mr. Haldeman and I attended. Here was my chance for a play. I must have
bid up to a hundred thousand dollars and did actually buy nearly ten
thousand dollars of the lots put up at auction, relying upon some money
presently coming to my wife.

I could see that it made an impression on Mr. Haldeman. Returning in the
carriage which had brought us out I said: "Mr. Haldeman, I am going to
ruin you. But I am going to run up a money obligation to Isham Henderson
I shall never be able to discharge. You need an editor. I need a
publisher. Let us put these two newspapers together, buy the Democrat,
and, instead of cutting one another's throats, go after Cincinnati and
St. Louis. You will recall that I proposed this to you in the beginning.
What is the matter with it now?"

Nothing was the matter with it. He agreed at once. The details were soon
adjusted. Ten days later there appeared upon the doorsteps of the city
in place of the three familiar visitors, a double-headed stranger,
calling itself the Courier-Journal. Our exclusive possession of the
field thus acquired lasted two years. At the end of these we found that
at least the appearance of competition was indispensable and willingly
accepted an offer from a proposed Republican organ for a division of the
Press dispatches which we controlled. Then and there the real prosperity
of the Courier-Journal began, the paper having made no money out of its
monopoly.



IV


Reconstruction, as it was called--ruin were a fitter name for it--had
just begun. The South was imprisoned, awaiting the executioner. The
Constitution of the United States hung in the balance. The Federal Union
faced the threat of sectional despotism. The spirit of the time was
martial law. The gospel of proscription ruled in Congress. Radicalism,
vitalized by the murder of Abraham Lincoln and inflamed by the
inadequate effort of Andrew Johnson to carry out the policies of
Lincoln, was in the saddle riding furiously toward a carpetbag Poland
and a negroized Ireland.

The Democratic Party, which, had it been stronger, might have
interposed, lay helpless. It, too, was crushed to earth. Even the
Border States, which had not been embraced by the military agencies
and federalized machinery erected over the Gulf States, were seriously
menaced. Never did newspaper enterprise set out under gloomier auspices.

There was a party of reaction in Kentucky, claiming to be Democratic,
playing to the lead of the party of repression at the North. It refused
to admit that the head of the South was in the lion's mouth and that
the first essential was to get it out. The Courier-Journal proposed to
stroke the mane, not twist the tail of the lion. Thus it stood between
two fires. There arose a not unnatural distrust of the journalistic
monopoly created by the consolidation of the three former dailies into
a single newspaper, carrying an unfamiliar hyphenated headline. Touching
its policy of sectional conciliation it picked its way perilously
through the cross currents of public opinion. There was scarcely
a sinister purpose that was not alleged against it by its enemies;
scarcely a hostile device that was not undertaken to put it down and
drive it out.

Its constituency represented an unknown quantity. In any event it had to
be created. Meanwhile, it must rely upon its own resources, sustained
by the courage of the venture, by the integrity of its convictions and
aims, and by faith in the future of the city, the state and the country.

Still, to be precise, it was the morning of Sunday, November 8,1868.
The night before the good people of Louisville had gone to bed expecting
nothing unusual to happen. They awoke to encounter an uninvited guest
arrived a little before the dawn. No hint of its coming had got abroad;
and thus the surprise was the greater. Truth to say, it was not a
pleased surprise, because, as it flared before the eye of the startled
citizen in big Gothic letters, The Courier-Journal, there issued thence
an aggressive self-confidence which affronted the _amour propre_ of the
sleepy villagers. They were used to a very different style of newspaper
approach.

Nor was the absence of a timorous demeanor its only offense. The Courier
had its partisans, the Journal and the Democrat had their friends.
The trio stood as ancient landmarks, as recognized and familiar
institutions. Here was a double-headed monster which, without saying
"by your leave" or "blast your eyes" or any other politeness, had taken
possession of each man's doorstep, looking very like it had brought its
knitting and was come to stay.

The Journal established by Mr. Prentice, the Courier by Mr. Haldeman and
the Democrat by Mr. Harney, had been according to the standards of
those days successful newspapers. But the War of Sections had made
many changes. At its close new conditions appeared on every side.
A revolution had come into the business and the spirit of American
journalism.

In Louisville three daily newspapers had for a generation struggled
for the right of way. Yet Louisville was a city of the tenth or twelfth
class, having hardly enough patronage to sustain one daily newspaper
of the first or second class. The idea of consolidating the three thus
contending to divide a patronage so insufficient, naturally suggested
itself during the years immediately succeeding the war. But it did not
take definite shape until 1868.

Mr. Haldeman had returned from a somewhat picturesque and not altogether
profitable pursuit of his "rights in the territories" and had resumed
the suspended publication of the Courier with encouraging prospects. I
had succeeded Mr. Prentice in the editorship and part ownership of the
Journal. Both Mr. Haldeman and I were newspaper men to the manner born
and bred; old and good friends; and after our rivalry of six months
maintained with activity on both sides, but without the publication of
an unkind word on either, a union of forces seemed exigent. To practical
men the need of this was not a debatable question. All that was required
was an adjustment of the details. Beginning with the simple project of
joining the Courier and the Journal, it ended by the purchase of the
Democrat, which it did not seem safe to leave outside.



V


The political conditions in Kentucky were anomalous. The Republican
Party had not yet definitely taken root. Many of the rich old Whigs, who
had held to the Government--to save their slaves--resenting Lincoln's
Emancipation Proclamation, had turned Democrats. Most of the
before-the-war Democrats had gone with the Confederacy. The party in
power called itself Democratic, but was in fact a body of reactionary
nondescripts claiming to be Unionists and clinging, or pretending to
cling, to the hard-and-fast prejudices of other days.

The situation may be the better understood when I add that "negro
testimony"--the introduction to the courts of law of the newly made
freedmen as witnesses--barred by the state constitution, was the burning
issue. A murder committed in the presence of a thousand negroes could
not be lawfully proved in court. Everything from a toothbrush to a cake
of soap might be cited before a jury, but not a human being if his skin
happened to be black.

[Illustration: Mr. Watterson's Editorial Staff in 1868, When the Three
Daily Newspapers of Louisville Were United into the "_Courier-Journal_."
Mr. George D. Prentice and Mr. Watterson Are in the Center.]

To my mind this was monstrous. From my cradle I had detested slavery.
The North will never know how many people at the South did so. I could
not go with the Republican Party, however, because after the death of
Abraham Lincoln it had intrenched itself in the proscription of Southern
men. The attempt to form a third party had shown no strength and had
broken down. There was nothing for me, and the Confederates who were
with me, but the ancient label of a Democracy worn by a riffraff of
opportunists, Jeffersonian principles having quite gone to seed. But
I proposed to lead and reform it, not to follow and fall in behind
the selfish and short-sighted time servers who thought the people had
learned nothing and forgot nothing; and instant upon finding myself
in the saddle I sought to ride down the mass of ignorance which was
at least for the time being mainly what I had to look to for a
constituency.

Mr. Prentice, who knew the lay of the ground better than I did, advised
against it. The personal risk counted for something. Very early in
the action I made a direct fighting issue, which--the combat
interdicted--gave me the opportunity to declare--with something of the
bully in the tone--that I might not be able to hit a barn door at
ten paces, but could shoot with any man in Kentucky across a pocket
handkerchief, holding myself at all times answerable and accessible.
I had a fairly good fighting record in the army and it was not doubted
that I meant what I said.

But it proved a bitter, hard, uphill struggle, for a long while against
odds, before negro testimony was carried. A generation of politicians
were sent to the rear. Finally, in 1876, a Democratic State Convention
put its mark upon me as a Democrat by appointing me a Delegate at large
to the National Democratic Convention of that year called to meet at St.
Louis to put a Presidential ticket in the field.

The Courier-Journal having come to represent all three of the English
dailies of the city the public began to rebel. It could not see that
instead of three newspapers of the third or fourth class Louisville was
given one newspaper of the first class; that instead of dividing the
local patronage in three inadequate portions, wasted upon a triple
competition, this patronage was combined, enabling the one newspaper to
engage in a more equal competition with the newspapers of such rival
and larger cities as Cincinnati and St. Louis; and that one of the
contracting parties needing an editor, the other a publisher, in coming
together the two were able to put their trained faculties to the best
account.

Nevertheless, during thirty-five years Mr. Haldeman and I labored side
by side, not the least difference having arisen between us. The attacks
to which we were subjected from time to time drew us together the
closer. These attacks were sometimes irritating and sometimes comical,
but they had one characteristic feature: Each started out apparently
under a high state of excitement. Each seemed to have some profound
cause of grief, to be animated by implacable hate and to aim at nothing
short of annihilation. Frequently the assailants would lie in wait to
see how the Courier-Journal's cat was going to jump, in order that they
might take the other side; and invariably, even if the Courier-Journal
stood for the reforms they affected to stand for, they began a system of
misrepresentation and abuse. In no instance did they attain any success.

Only once, during the Free Silver craze of 1896, and the dark and tragic
days that followed it the three or four succeeding years, the paper
having stood, as it had stood during the Greenback craze, for sound
money, was the property in danger. It cost more of labor and patience
to save it from destruction than it had cost to create it thirty years
before. Happily Mr. Haldeman lived to see the rescue complete, the tide
turned and the future safe.



VI


A newspaper, like a woman, must not only be honest, but must seem to be
honest; acts of levity, loose unbecoming expressions or behavior--though
never so innocent--tending in the one and in the other to lower
reputation and discredit character. During my career I have proceeded
under a confident belief in this principle of newspaper ethics and an
unfailing recognition of its mandates. I truly believe that next after
business integrity in newspaper management comes disinterestedness in
the public service, and next after disinterestedness come moderation and
intelligence, cleanliness and good feeling, in dealing with affairs and
its readers.

From that blessed Sunday morning, November 8, 1868, to this good day, I
have known no other life and had no other aim. Those were indeed parlous
times. It was an era of transition. Upon the field of battle, after four
years of deadly but unequal combat, the North had vanquished the South.
The victor stood like a giant, with blood aflame, eyes dilate and hands
uplifted again to strike. The victim lay prostrate. Save self-respect
and manhood all was lost. Clasping its memories to its bosom the South
sank helpless amid the wreck of its fortunes, whilst the North, the
benign influence of the great Lincoln withdrawn, proceeded to decide its
fate. To this ghastly end had come slavery and secession, and all the
pomp, pride and circumstance of the Confederacy. To this bitter end had
come the soldiership of Lee and Jackson and Johnston and the myriads of
brave men who followed them.

The single Constitutional barrier that had stood between the people of
the stricken section and political extinction was about to be removed by
the exit of Andrew Johnson from the White House. In his place a man
of blood and iron--for such was the estimate at that time placed upon
Grant--had been elected President. The Republicans in Congress, checked
for a time by Johnson, were at length to have entire sway under Thaddeus
Stevens. Reconstruction was to be thorough and merciless. To meet these
conditions was the first requirement of the Courier-Journal, a newspaper
conducted by outlawed rebels and published on the sectional border line.
The task was not an easy one.

There is never a cause so weak that it does not stir into ill-timed
activity some wild, unpractical zealots who imagine it strong. There
is never a cause so just but that the malevolent and the mercenary will
seek to trade upon it. The South was helpless; the one thing needful was
to get it on its feet, and though the bravest and the wisest saw this
plainly enough there came to the front--particularly in Kentucky--a
small but noisy body of politicians who had only worked themselves
into a state of war when it was too late, and who with more or less of
aggression, insisted that "the states lately in rebellion" still had
rights, which they were able to maintain and which the North could be
forced to respect.

I was of a different opinion. It seemed to me that whatever of right
might exist the South was at the mercy of the North; that the radical
party led by Stevens and Wade dominated the North and could dictate its
own terms; and that the shortest way round lay in that course which was
best calculated to disarm radicalism by an intelligent appeal to the
business interests and conservative elements of Northern society,
supported by a domestic policy of justice alike to whites and blacks.

Though the institution of African slavery was gone the negro continued
the subject of savage contention. I urged that he be taken out of the
arena of agitation, and my way of taking him out was to concede him his
legal and civil rights. The lately ratified Constitutional Amendments,
I contended, were the real Treaty of Peace between the North and South.
The recognition of these Amendments in good faith by the white people of
the South was indispensable to that perfect peace which was desired
by the best people of both sections. The political emancipation of the
blacks was essential to the moral emancipation of the whites. With the
disappearance of the negro question as cause of agitation, I argued,
radicalism of the intense, proscriptive sort would die out; the
liberty-loving, patriotic people of the North would assert themselves;
and, this one obstacle to a better understanding removed, the
restoration of Constitutional Government would follow, being a matter of
momentous concern to the body of the people both North and South.

Such a policy of conciliation suited the Southern extremists as little
as it suited the Northern extremists. It took from the politicians their
best card. South no less than North, "the bloody shirt" was trumps. It
could always be played. It was easy to play it and it never failed
to catch the unthinking and to arouse the excitable. What cared the
perennial candidate so he got votes enough? What cared the professional
agitator so his appeals to passion brought him his audience?

It is a fact that until Lamar delivered his eulogy on Sumner not a
Southern man of prominence used language calculated to placate the
North, and between Lamar and Grady there was an interval of fifteen
years. There was not a Democratic press worthy the name either North or
South. During those evil days the Courier-Journal stood alone, having
no party or organized following. At length it was joined on the Northern
side by Greeley. Then Schurz raised his mighty voice. Then came the
great liberal movement of 1871-72, with its brilliant but ill-starred
campaign and its tragic finale; and then there set in what, for a
season, seemed the deluge.

But the cause of Constitutional Government was not dead. It had been
merely dormant. Champions began to appear in unexpected quarters. New
men spoke up, North and South. In spite of the Republican landslide of
1872, in 1874 the Democrats swept the Empire State. They carried the
popular branch of Congress by an overwhelming majority. In the Senate
they had a respectable minority, with Thurman and Bayard to lead it. In
the House Randall and Kerr and Cox, Lamar, Beck and Knott were about
to be reënforced by Hill and Tucker and Mills and Gibson. The logic of
events was at length subduing the rodomontade of soap-box oratory.
Empty rant was to yield to reason. For all its mischances and melancholy
ending the Greeley campaign had shortened the distance across the bloody
chasm.



Chapter the Eighth

    Feminism and Woman Suffrage--The Adventures in Politics and Society--A
    Real Heroine



I


It would not be the writer of this narrative if he did not interject
certain opinions of his own which parties and politicians, even his
newspaper colleagues, have been wont to regard as peculiar. By common
repute he has been an all-round old-line Democrat of the regulation
sort. Yet on the three leading national questions of the last fifty
years--the Negro question, the Greenback question and the Free Silver
question--he has challenged and antagonized the general direction of
that party. He takes some pride to himself that in each instance the
result vindicated alike his forecast and his insubordination.

To one who witnessed the break-up of the Whig party in 1853 and of the
Democratic Party in 1860 the plight in which parties find themselves at
this time may be described as at least, suggestive. The feeling is at
once to laugh and to whistle. Too much "fuss and feathers" in Winfield
Scott did the business for the Whigs. Too much "bearded lady" in Charles
Evans Hughes perhaps cooked the goose of the Republicans. Too much
Wilson--but let me not fall into _lèse majesté_. The Whigs went into
Know-Nothingism and Free Soilism. Will the Democrats go into Prohibition
and paternalism? And the Republicans--

The old sectional alignment of North and South has been changed to East
and West.

For the time being the politicians of both parties are in something of a
funk. It is the nature of parties thus situate to fancy that there is
no hereafter, riding in their dire confusion headlong for a fall. Little
other than the labels being left, nobody can tell what will happen to
either.

Progressivism seems the cant of the indifferent. Accentuated by the
indecisive vote in the elections and heralded by an ambitious President
who writes Humanity bigger than he writes the United States, and is
accused of aspiring to world leadership, democracy unterrified and
undefiled--the democracy of Jefferson, Jackson and Tilden ancient
history--has become a back number. Yet our officials still swear to a
Constitution. We have not eliminated state lines. State rights are not
wholly dead.

The fight between capital and labor is on. No one can predict where it
will end. Shall it prove another irrepressible conflict? Are its issues
irreconcilable? Must the alternative of the future lie between Socialism
and Civil War, or both? Progress! Progress! Shall there be no
stability in either actualities or principles? And--and--what about the
Bolsheviki?



II


Parties, like men, have their ups and downs. Like machines they get out
of whack and line. First it was the Federalists, then the Whigs, and
then the Democrats. Then came the Republicans. And then, after a long
interruption, the Democrats again. English political experience repeats
itself in America.

A taking label is as valuable to a party as it is to a nostrum. It
becomes in time an asset. We are told that a fool is born every minute,
and, the average man being something of a fool, the label easily catches
him. Hence the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.

The old Whig Party went to pieces on the rocks of sectionalism. The
institution of African slavery arrived upon the scene at length as the
paramount political issue. The North, which brought the Africans here
in its ships, finding slave labor unprofitable, sold its slaves to the
South at a good price, and turned pious. The South took the bait and
went crazy.

Finally, we had a pretty kettle of fish. Just as the Prohibitionists are
going to convert mortals into angels overnight by act of assembly--or
still better, by Constitutional amendment--were the short-haired women
and the long-haired men of Boston going to make a white man out of the
black man by Abolition. The Southern Whigs could not see it and would
not stand for it. So they fell in behind the Democrats. The Northern
Whigs, having nowhere else to go, joined the Republicans.

The wise men of both sections saw danger ahead. The North was warned
that the South would fight, the South, that if it did it went against
incredible odds. Neither would take the warning. Party spirit ran
wild. Extremism had its fling. Thus a long, bloody and costly War
of Sections--a fraternal war if ever there was one--brought on by
alternating intolerance, the politicians of both sides gambling upon the
credulity and ignorance of the people.

Hindsight is readier, certainly surer, than foresight. It comes easier
and shows clearer. Anybody can now see that the slavery problem might
have had a less ruinous solution; that the moral issue might have been
compromised from time to time and in the end disposed of. Slave labor
even at the South had shown itself illusory, costly and clumsy. The
institution untenable, modern thought against it, from the first it was
doomed.

But the extremists would not have it. Each played to the lead of the
other. Whilst Wendell Phillips was preaching the equality of races,
death to the slaveholders and the brotherhood of man at the North,
William Lowndes Yancey was exclaiming that cotton was king at the South,
and, to establish these false propositions, millions of good Americans
proceeded to cut one another's throats.

There were agitators and agitators in those days as there are in these.
The agitator, like the poor, we have always with us. It used to be said
even at the North that Wendell Phillips was just a clever comedian.
William Lowndes Yancey was scarcely that. He was a serious, sincere,
untraveled provincial, possessing unusual gifts of oratory. He had the
misfortune to kill a friend in a duel when a young man, and the tragedy
shadowed his life. He clung to his plantation and rarely went away from
home. When sent to Europe by the South as its Ambassador in 1861, he
discovered the futility of his scheme of a Southern confederacy, and,
seeing the cornerstone of the philosophy on which he had constructed his
pretty fabric, overthrown, he came home despairing, to die of a broken
heart.

The moral alike for governments and men is: Keep the middle of the road.



III


Which brings us to Feminism. I will not write Woman Suffrage, for that
is an accomplished fact--for good or evil we shall presently be better
able to determine.

Life is an adventure and all of us adventurers--saving that the word
presses somewhat harder upon the woman than the man--most things do in
fact, whereby she is given greater endurance--leaving to men the duty
of caring for the women; and, if need be, looking death squarely and
defiantly in the face.

The world often puts the artificial before the actual; but under
the dispensation of the Christian civilization--derived from the
Hebraic--the family requiring a head, headship is assigned to the male.
This male is commonly not much to speak of for beauty of form or decency
of behavior. He is made purposely tough for work and fight. He gets
toughened by outer contact. But back of all are the women, the children
and the home.

I have been fighting the woman's battle for equality in the things
that count, all my life. I would despise myself if I had not been. In
contesting precipitate universal suffrage for women, I conceived that I
was still fighting the woman's battle.

We can escape none of Nature's laws. But we need not handicap ourselves
with artificial laws. At best, life is an experiment, Death the final
adventure. Feminism seems to me its next of kin; still we may not call
the woman who assails the soap boxes--even those that antic about the
White House gates--by the opprobrious terms of adventuress. Where such a
one is not a lunatic she is a nuisance. There are women and women.

We may leave out of account the shady ladies of history. Neither Aspasia
nor Lucrezia Borgia nor the Marquise de Brinvilliers could with accuracy
be called an adventuress. The term is of later date. Its origin and
growth have arisen out of the complexities of modern society.

In fiction Milady and Madame Marneffe come in for first honors--in
each the leopard crossed on the serpent and united under a petticoat,
beautiful and wicked--but since the Balzac and Dumas days the
story-tellers and stage-mongers have made exceeding free with the
type, and we have between Herman Merivale's Stephanie de Mohrivart
and Victorien Sardou's Zica a very theater--or shall we say a charnel
house--of the woman with the past; usually portrayed as the victim of
circumstance; unprincipled through cruel experience; insensible through
lack of conscience; sexless in soul, but a siren in seductive arts; cold
as ice; hard as iron; implacable as the grave, pursuing her ends with
force of will, intellectual audacity and elegance of manner, yet,
beneath this brilliant depravity, capable of self-pity, yielding anon
in moments of depression to a sudden gleam of human tenderness and a
certain regret for the innocence she has lost.

Such a one is sometimes, though seldom, met in real life. But many
pretenders may be encountered at Monte Carlo and other European resorts.
They range from the Parisian cocotte, signalized by her chic apparel,
to the fashionable divorcée who in trying her luck at the tables keeps
a sharp lookout for the elderly gent with the wad, often fooled by the
enterprising sport who has been there before.

These are out and out professional adventuresses. There are other
adventuresses, however, than those of the story and the stage, the
casino and the cabaret. The woman with the past becomes the girl with
the future.

Curiously enough this latter is mainly, almost exclusively, recruited
from our countrywomen, who to an abnormal passion for foreign titles
join surpassing ignorance of foreign society. Thus she is ready to
the hand of the Continental fortune seeker masquerading as a
nobleman--occasionally but not often the black sheep of some noble
family--carrying not a bona fide but a courtesy title--the count and
the no-account, the lord and the Lord knows who! The Yankee girl with a
_dot_ had become before the world war a regular quarry for impecunious
aristocrats and clever crooks, the matrimonial results tragic in their
frequency and squalor.

Another curious circumstance is the readiness with which the American
newspaper tumbles to these frauds. The yellow press especially
luxuriates in them; woodcuts the callow bedizened bride, the jaded
game-worn groom; dilates upon the big money interchanged; glows over the
tin-plate stars and imaginary garters and pinchbeck crowns; and keeping
the pictorial paraphernalia in cold but not forgotten storage waits for
the inevitable scandal, and then, with lavish exaggeration, works the
old story over again.

These newspapers ring all the sensational changes. Now it is the
wondrous beauty with the cool million, who, having married some
illegitimate of a minor royal house, will probably be the next Queen
of Rigmarolia, and now--ever increasing the dose--it is the
ten-million-dollar widow who is going to marry the King of Pontarabia's
brother, and may thus aspire to be one day Empress of Sahara.

Old European travelers can recall many funny and sometimes melancholy
incidents--episodes--histories--of which they have witnessed the
beginning and the end, carrying the self-same dénouement and lesson.



IV


As there are women and women there are many kinds of adventuresses;
not all of them wicked and detestable. But, good or bad, the lot of
the adventuress is at best a hard lot. Be she a girl with a future or a
woman with a past she is still a woman, and the world can never be too
kind to its women--the child bearers, the home makers, the moral light
of the universe as they meet the purpose of God and Nature and seek not
to thwart it by unsexing themselves in order that they may keep step
with man in ways of self-indulgent dalliance. The adventuress of fiction
always comes to grief. But the adventuress in real life--the prudent
adventuress who draws the line at adultery--the would-be leader of
society without the wealth--the would-be political leader without the
masculine fiber--is sure of disappointment in the end.

Take the agitation over Suffragism. What is it that the woman
suffragette expects to get? No one of them can, or does, clearly tell
us.

It is feminism, rather than suffragism, which is dangerous. Now that
they have it, my fear is that the leaders will not stop with the ballot
for women. They are too fond of the spotlight. It has become a necessity
for them. If all women should fall in with them there would be nothing
of womanhood left, and the world bereft of its women will become a
masculine harlotocracy.

Let me repeat that I have been fighting woman's battles in one way and
another all my life. I am not opposed to Votes for Women. But I would
discriminate and educate, and even at that rate I would limit the
franchise to actual taxpayers, and, outside of these, confine it to
charities, corrections and schools, keeping woman away from the dirt of
politics. I do not believe the ballot will benefit woman and cannot help
thinking that in seeking unlimited and precipitate suffrage the women
who favor it are off their reckoning! I doubt the performances got up
to exploit it, though somehow, when the hikers started from New York to
Albany, and afterward from New York to Washington, the inspiring thought
of Bertha von Hillern came back to me.

I am sure the reader never heard of her. As it makes a pretty story let
me tell it. Many years ago--don't ask me how many--there was a young
woman, Bertha von Hillern by name, a poor art student seeking money
enough to take her abroad, who engaged with the management of a hall in
Louisville to walk one hundred miles around a fixed track in twenty-four
consecutive hours. She did it. Her share of the gate money, I was told,
amounted to three thousand dollars.

I shall never forget the closing scenes of the wondrous test of courage
and endurance. She was a pretty, fair-haired thing, a trifle undersized,
but shapely and sinewy. The vast crowd that without much diminution,
though with intermittent changes, had watched her from start to finish,
began to grow tense with the approach to the end, and the last hour the
enthusiasm was overwhelming. Wave upon wave of cheering followed every
footstep of the plucky girl, rising to a storm of exultation as the
final lap was reached.

More dead than alive, but game to the core, the little heroine was
carried off the field, a winner, every heart throbbing with human
sympathy, every eye wet with proud and happy tears. It is not possible
adequately to describe all that happened. One must have been there and
seen it fully to comprehend the glory of it.

Touching the recent Albany and Washington hikes and hikers let me say
at once that I cannot approve the cause of Votes for women as I had
approved the cause of Bertha von Hillern. Where she showed heroic, most
of the suffragettes appear to me grotesque. Where her aim was rational,
their aim has been visionary. To me the younger of them seem as children
who need to be spanked and kissed. There has been indeed about the whole
Suffrage business something pitiful and comic.

Often I have felt like swearing "You idiots!" and then like crying
"Poor dears!" But I have kept on with them, and had I been in Albany or
Washington I would have caught Rosalie Jones in my arms, and before she
could say "Jack Robinson" have exclaimed: "You ridiculous child, go and
get a bath and put on some pretty clothes and come and join us at dinner
in the State Banquet Hall, duly made and provided for you and the rest
of you delightful sillies."



Chapter the Ninth

    Dr. Norvin Green--Joseph Pulitzer--Chester A. Arthur--General
    Grant--The Case of Fitz-John Porter



I


Truth we are told is stranger than fiction. I have found it so in the
knowledge which has variously come to me of many interesting men and
women. Of these Dr. Norvin Green was a striking example. To have sprung
from humble parentage in the wilds of Kentucky and to die at the head
of the most potential corporation in the world--to have held this place
against all comers by force of abilities deemed indispensable to its
welfare--to have gone the while his ain gait, disdaining the precepts
of Doctor Franklin--who, by the way, did not trouble overmuch to follow
them himself--seems so unusual as to rival the most stirring stories of
the novel mongers.

When I first met Doctor Green he was president of a Kentucky railway
company. He had been, however, one of the organizers of the Western
Union Telegraph Company. He deluded himself for a little by political
ambitions. He wanted to go to the Senate of the United States, and
during a legislative session of prolonged balloting at Frankfort he
missed his election by a single vote.

It may be doubted whether he would have cut a considerable figure at
Washington. His talents were constructive rather than declamatory. He
was called to a greater field--though he never thought it so--and was
foremost among those who developed the telegraph system of the country
almost from its infancy. He possessed the daring of the typical
Kentuckian, with the dead calm of the stoic philosopher; imperturbable;
never vexed or querulous or excited; denying himself none of the
indulgences of the gentleman of leisure. We grew to be constant comrades
and friends, and when he returned to New York to take the important post
which to the end of his days he filled so completely his office in the
Western Union Building became my downtown headquarters.

There I met Jay Gould familiarly; and resumed acquaintance with Russell
Sage, whom I had known when a lad in Washington, he a hayseed member of
Congress; and occasionally other of the Wall Street leaders. In a small
way--though not for long--I caught the stock-gambling fever. But I
was on the "inside," and it was a cold day when I did not "clean up" a
goodly amount to waste uptown in the evening. I may say that I gave
this over through sheer disgust of acquiring so much and such easy and
useless money, for, having no natural love of money--no aptitude for
making money breed--no taste for getting it except to spend it--earning
by my own accustomed and fruitful toil always a sufficiency--the
distractions and dissipations it brought to my annual vacations and
occasional visits, affronted in a way my self-respect, and palled upon
my rather eager quest of pleasure. Money is purely relative. The root of
all evil, too. Too much of it may bring ills as great as not enough.

At the outset of my stock-gambling experience I was one day in the
office of President Edward H. Green, of the Louisville and Nashville
Railway, no relation of Dr. Norvin Green, but the husband of the famous
Hetty Green. He said to me, "How are you in stocks?"

"What do you mean?" said I.

"Why," he said, "do you buy long, or short? Are you lucky or unlucky?"

"You are talking Greek to me," I answered.

"Didn't you ever put up any money on a margin?"

"Never."

"Bless me! You are a virgin. I want to try your luck. Look over this
stock list and pick a stock. I will take a crack at it. All I make we'll
divide, and all we lose I'll pay."

"Will you leave this open for an hour or two?"

"What is the matter with it--is it not liberal enough?"

"The matter is that I am going over to the Western Union to lunch. The
Gould party is to sit in with the Orton-Green party for the first time
after their fight, and I am asked especially to be there. I may pick up
something."

Big Green, as he was called, paused a moment reflectively. "I don't
want any tip--especially from that bunch," said he. "I want to try your
virgin luck. But, go ahead, and let me know this afternoon."

At luncheon I sat at Doctor Green's right, Jay Gould at his left. For
the first and last time in its history wine was served at this board;
Russell Sage was effusive in his demonstrations of affection and went on
with his stories of my boyhood; every one sought to take the chill off
the occasion; and we had a most enjoyable time instead of what promised
to be rather a frosty formality. When the rest had departed, leaving
Doctor Green, Mr. Gould and myself at table, mindful of what I had come
for, in a bantering way I said to Doctor Green: "Now that I am a Wall
Street ingénu, why don't you tell me something?"

Gould leaned across the table and said in his velvet voice: "Buy Texas
Pacific."

Two or three days after, Texas Pacific fell off sixty points or more.
I did not see Big Green again. Five or six months later I received from
him a statement of account which I could never have unraveled, with a
check for some thousands of dollars, my one-half profit on such and such
an operation. Texas Pacific had come back again.

Two or three years later I sat at Doctor Green's table with Mr. Gould,
just as we had sat the first day. Mr. Gould recalled the circumstance.

"I did not think I could afford to have you lose on my suggestion and
I went to cover your loss, when I found five thousand shares of Texas
Pacific transferred on the books of the company in your name. I knew
these could not be yours. I thought the buyer was none other than the
man I was after, and I began hammering the stock. I have been curious
ever since to make sure whether I was right."

"Whom did you suspect, Mr. Gould?" I asked.

"My suspect was Victor Newcomb," he replied.

I then told him what had happened. "Dear, dear," he cried. "Ned Green!
Big Green. Well, well! You do surprise me. I would rather have done him
a favor than an injury. I am rejoiced to learn that no harm was done and
that, after all, you and he came out ahead."

It was about this time Jay Gould had bought of the Thomas A. Scott
estate a New York daily newspaper which, in spite of brilliant
writers like Manton Marble and William Henry Hurlbut, had never been
a moneymaker. This was the _World_. He offered me the editorship with
forty-nine of the hundred shares of stock on very easy terms, which
nowise tempted me. But two or three years after, I daresay both weary
and hopeless of putting up so much money on an unyielding investment, he
was willing to sell outright, and Joseph Pulitzer became the purchaser.

His career is another illustration of the saying that truth is stranger
than fiction.



II


Joseph Pulitzer and I came together familiarly at the Liberal Republican
Convention, which met at Cincinnati in 1872--the convocation of cranks,
as it was called--and nominated Horace Greeley for President. He was
a delegate from Missouri. Subsequent events threw us much together. He
began his English newspaper experience after a kind of apprenticeship on
a German daily with Stilson Hutchins, another interesting character of
those days. It was from Stilson Hutchins that I learned something of
Pulitzer's origin and beginnings, for he never spoke much of himself.

According to this story he was the offspring of a runaway marriage
between a subaltern officer in the Austrian service and a Hungarian lady
of noble birth. In some way he had got across the Atlantic, and being in
Boston, a wizened youth not speaking a word of English, he was spirited
on board a warship. Watching his chance of escape he leaped overboard
in the darkness of night, though it was the dead of winter, and swam
ashore. He was found unconscious on the beach by some charitable
persons, who cared for him. Thence he tramped it to St. Louis, where he
heard there was a German colony, and found work on a coal barge.

It was here that the journalistic instinct dawned upon him. He began to
carry river news items to the Westliche Post, which presently took him
on its staff of regular reporters.

The rest was easy. He learned to speak and write English, was
transferred to the paper of which Hutchins was the head, and before he
was five-and-twenty became a local figure.

When he turned up in New York with an offer to purchase the World we met
as old friends. During the interval between 1872 and 1883 we had had
a runabout in Europe and I was able to render him assistance in the
purchase proceeding he was having with Gould. When this was completed he
said to me: "You are at entire leisure; you are worse than that, you are
wasting your time about the clubs and watering places, doing no good
for yourself, or anybody else. I must first devote myself to the
reorganization of the business end of it. Here is a blank check. Fill it
for whatever amount you please and it will be honored. I want you to go
upstairs and organize my editorial force for me."

Indignantly I replied: "Go to the devil--you have not money
enough--there is not money enough in the universe--to buy an hour of my
season's loaf."

A year later I found him occupying with his family a splendid mansion up
the Hudson, with a great stable of carriages and horses, living like a
country gentleman, going to the World office about time for luncheon and
coming away in the early afternoon. I passed a week-end with him. To me
it seemed the precursor of ruin. His second payment was yet to be made.
Had I been in his place I would have been taking my meals in an adjacent
hotel, sleeping on a cot in one of the editorial rooms and working
fifteen hours out of the twenty-four. To me it seemed dollars to
doughnuts that he would break down and go to smash. But he did
not--another case of destiny.

I was abiding with my family at Monte Carlo, when in his floating
palace, the Liberty, he came into the harbor of Mentone. Then he bought
a shore palace at Cap Martin. That season, and the next two or three
seasons, we made voyages together from one end to the other of the
Mediterranean, visiting the islands, especially Corsica and Elba,
shrines of Napoleon whom he greatly admired.

He was a model host. He had surrounded himself with every luxury,
including some agreeable retainers, and lived like a prince aboard. His
blindness had already overtaken him. Other physical ailments assailed
him. But no word of complaint escaped his lips and he rarely failed to
sit at the head of his table. It was both splendid and pitiful.

Absolute authority made Pulitzer a tyrant. He regarded his newspaper
ownership as an autocracy. There was nothing gentle in his domination,
nor, I might say, generous either. He seriously lacked the sense of
humor, and even among his familiars could never take a joke. His love
of money was by no means inordinate. He spent it freely though not
wastefully or joyously, for the possession of it rather flattered his
vanity than made occasion for pleasure. Ability of varying kinds and
degrees he had, a veritable genius for journalism and a real capacity
for affection. He held his friends at good account and liked to have
them about him. During the early days of his success he was disposed to
overindulgence, not to say conviviality. He was fond of Rhine wines and
an excellent judge of them, keeping a varied assortment always at hand.
Once, upon the Liberty, he observed that I preferred a certain vintage.
"You like this wine?" he said inquiringly. I assented, and he said, "I
have a lot of it at home, and when I get back I will send you some." I
had quite forgotten when, many months after, there came to me a crate
containing enough to last me a life-time.

He had a retentive memory and rarely forgot anything. I could recall
many pleasurable incidents of our prolonged and varied intimacy. We were
one day wandering about the Montmartre region of Paris when we came
into a hole-in-the-wall where they were playing a piece called "Les
Brigands." It was melodrama to the very marrow of the bones of the
Apaches that gathered and glared about. In those days, the "indemnity"
paid and the "military occupation" withdrawn, everything French
pre-figured hatred of the German, and be sure "Les Brigands" made
the most of this; each "brigand" a beer-guzzling Teuton; each hero
a dare-devil Gaul; and, when Joan the Maid, heroine, sent Goetz von
Berlichingen, the Vandal Chieftain, sprawling in the saw-dust, there was
no end to the enthusiasm.

"We are all 'brigands'," said Pulitzer as we came away, "differing
according to individual character, to race and pursuit. Now, if I were
writing that play, I should represent the villain as a tyrannous City
Editor, meanly executing the orders of a niggardly proprietor."

"And the heroine?" I said.

"She should be a beautiful and rich young lady," he replied, "who buys
the newspaper and marries the cub--rescuing genius from poverty and
persecution."

He was not then the owner of the World. He had not created the
Post-Dispatch, or even met the beautiful woman who became his wife. He
was a youngster of five or six and twenty, revisiting the scenes of his
boyhood on the beautiful blue Danube, and taking in Paris for a lark.



III


I first met General Grant in my own house. I had often been invited
to his house. As far back as 1870 John Russell Young, a friend from
boyhood, came with an invitation to pass the week-end as the President's
guest at Long Branch. Many of my friends had cottages there. Of
afternoons and evenings they played an infinitesimal game of draw poker.

"John," my answer was, "I don't dare to do so. I know that I shall fall
in love with General Grant. We are living in rough times--particularly
in rough party times. We have a rough presidential campaign ahead of us.
If I go down to the seashore and go in swimming and play penny-ante with
General Grant I shall not be able to do my duty."

It was thus that after the general had gone out of office and made
the famous journey round the world, and had come to visit relatives
in Kentucky, that he accepted a dinner invitation from me, and I had a
number of his friends to meet him.

Among these were Dr. Richardson, his early schoolmaster when the Grant
family lived at Maysville, and Walter Haldeman, my business partner, a
Maysville boy, who had been his schoolmate at the Richardson Academy,
and General Cerro Gordo Williams, then one of Kentucky's Senators in
Congress, and erst his comrade and chum when both were lieutenants in
the Mexican War. The bars were down, the windows were shut and there
was no end of hearty hilarity. Dr. Richardson had been mentioned by
Mr. Haldeman as "the only man that ever licked Grant," and the general
promptly retorted "he never licked me," when the good old doctor said,
"No, Ulysses, I never did--nor Walter, either--for you two were the best
boys in school."

I said "General Grant, why not give up this beastly politics, buy a
blue-grass farm, and settle down to horse-raising and tobacco growing in
Kentucky?" And, quick as a flash--for both he and the company perceived
that it was "a leading question"--he replied, "Before I can buy a farm
in Kentucky I shall have to sell a farm in Missouri," which left nothing
further to be said.

There was some sparring between him and General Williams over their
youthful adventures. Finally General Williams, one of the readiest and
most amusing of talkers, returned one of General Grant's sallies with,
"Anyhow, I know of a man whose life you took unknown to yourself." Then
he told of a race he and Grant had outside of Galapa in 1846. "Don't
you remember," he said, "that riding ahead of me you came upon a Mexican
loaded with a lot of milk cans piled above his head and that you knocked
him over as you swept by him?"

"Yes," said Grant, "I believed if I stopped or questioned or even
deflected it would lose me the race. I have not thought of it since. But
now that you mention it I recall it distinctly."

"Well," Williams continued, "you killed him. Your horse's hoof struck
him. When, seeing I was beaten, I rode back, his head was split wide
open. I did not tell you at the time because I knew it would cause you
pain, and a dead greaser more or less made no difference."

Later on General Grant took desk room in Victor Newcomb's private office
in New York. There I saw much of him, and we became good friends. He was
the most interesting of men. Soldierlike--monosyllabic--in his official
and business dealings he threw aside all formality and reserve in his
social intercourse, delightfully reminiscential, indeed a capital story
teller. I do not wonder that he had constant and disinterested friends
who loved him sincerely.



IV


It has always been my opinion that if Chester A. Arthur had been named
by the Republicans as their candidate in 1884 they would have carried
the election, spite of what Mr. Blaine, who defeated Arthur in the
convention, had said and thought about the nomination of General
Sherman. Arthur, like Grant, belonged to the category of lovable men in
public life.

There was a gallant captain in the army who had slapped his colonel in
the face on parade. Morally, as man to man, he had the right of it. But
military law is inexorable. The verdict was dismissal from the service.
I went with the poor fellow's wife and her sister to see General Hancock
at Governor's Island. It was a most affecting meeting--the general,
tears rolling down his cheeks, taking them into his arms, and, when he
could speak, saying: "I can do nothing but hold up the action of the
court till Monday. Your recourse is the President and a pardon; I will
recommend it, but"--putting his hand upon my shoulder--"here is the man
to get the pardon if the President can be brought to see the case as
most of us see it."

At once I went over to Washington, taking Stephen French with me. When
we entered the President's apartment in the White House he advanced
smiling to greet us, saying: "I know what you boys are after; you
mean--"

"Yes, Mr. President," I answered, "we do, and if ever--"

"I have thought over it, sworn over it, and prayed over it," he said,
"and I am going to pardon him!"



V


Another illustrative incident happened during the Arthur Administration.
The dismissal of Gen. Fitz-John Porter from the army had been the
subject of more or less acrimonious controversy. During nearly two
decades this had raged in army circles. At length the friends of Porter,
led by Curtin and Slocum, succeeded in passing a relief measure through
Congress. They were in ecstasies. That there might be a presidential
objection had not crossed their minds.

Senator McDonald, of Indiana, a near friend of General Porter, and a man
of rare worldly wisdom, knew better. Without consulting them he came to
me.

"You are personally close to the President," said he, "and you must
know that if this bill gets to the White House he will veto it. With the
Republican National Convention directly ahead he is bound to veto it. It
must not be allowed to get to him; and you are the man to stop it. They
will listen to you and will not listen to me."

First of all, I went to the White House.

"Mr. President," I said, "I want you to authorize me to tell Curtin and
Slocum not to send the Fitz-John Porter bill to you."

"Why?" he answered.

"Because," said I, "you will have to veto it; and, with the
Frelinghuysens wild for it, as well as others of your nearest friends, I
am sure you don't want to be obliged to do that. With your word to me I
can stop it, and have it for the present at least held up."

His answer was, "Go ahead."

Then I went to the Capitol. Curtin and Slocum were in a state of mind.
It was hard to make them understand or believe what I told them.

"Now, gentlemen," I continued, "I don't mean to argue the case. It is
not debatable. I am just from the White House, and I am authorized by
the President to say that if you send this bill to him he will veto it."

That, of course, settled it. They held it up. But after the presidential
election it reached Arthur, and he did veto it. Not till Cleveland came
in did Porter obtain his restoration.

Curiously enough General Grant approved this. I had listened to the
debate in the House--especially the masterly speech of William Walter
Phelps--without attaining a clear understanding of the many points at
issue. I said as much to General Grant.

"Why," he replied, "the case is as simple as A, B, C. Let me show you."

Then, with a pencil he traced the Second Bull Run battlefield, the
location of troops, both Federal and Confederate, and the exact passage
in the action which had compromised General Porter.

"If Porter had done what he was ordered to do," he went on, "Pope and
his army would have been annihilated. In point of fact Porter saved
Pope's Army." Then he paused and added: "I did not at the outset know
this. I was for a time of a different opinion and on the other side. It
was Longstreet's testimony--which had not been before the first Court of
Inquiry that convicted Porter--which vindicated him and convinced me."



Chapter the Tenth

    Of Liars and Lying--Woman Suffrage and Feminism--The Professional
    Female--Parties, Politics, and Politicians in America



I


All is fair in love and war, the saying hath it. "Lord!" cried the most
delightful of liars, "How this world is given to lying." Yea, and how
exigency quickens invention and promotes deceit.

Just after the war of sections I was riding in a train with Samuel
Bowles, who took a great interest in things Southern. He had been
impressed by a newspaper known as The Chattanooga Rebel and, as I
had been its editor, put innumerable questions to me about it and
its affairs. Among these he asked how great had been its circulation.
Without explaining that often an entire company, in some cases an entire
regiment, subscribed for a few copies, or a single copy, I answered: "I
don't know precisely, but somewhere near a hundred thousand, I take it."
Then he said: "Where did you get your press power?"

This was, of course, a poser, but it did not embarrass me in the least.
I was committed, and without a moment's thought I proceeded with an
imaginary explanation which he afterward declared had been altogether
satisfying. The story was too good to keep--maybe conscience
pricked--and in a chummy talk later along I laughingly confessed.

"You should tell that in your dinner speech tonight," he said. "If you
tell it as you have just told it to me, it will make a hit," and I did.

I give it as the opinion of a long life of experience and observation
that the newspaper press, whatever its delinquencies, is not a common
liar, but the most habitual of truth tellers. It is growing on its
editorial page I fear a little vapid and colorless. But there is a
general and ever-present purpose to print the facts and give the public
the opportunity to reach its own conclusions.

There are liars and liars, lying and lying. It is, with a single
exception, the most universal and venial of human frailties. We have at
least three kinds of lying and species, or types, of liars--first, the
common, ordinary, everyday liar, who lies without rime or reason, rule
or compass, aim, intent or interest, in whose mind the partition between
truth and falsehood has fallen down; then the sensational, imaginative
liar, who has a tale to tell; and, finally, the mean, malicious liar,
who would injure his neighbor.

This last is, indeed, but rare. Human nature is at its base amicable,
because if nothing hinders it wants to please. All of us, however, are
more or less its unconscious victims.

Competition is not alone the life of trade; it is the life of life;
for each of us is in one way, or another, competitive. There is but one
disinterested person in the world, the mother who whether of the human
or animal kingdom, will die for her young. Yet, after all, hers, too, is
a kind of selfishness.

The woman is becoming over much a professional female. It is of
importance that we begin to consider her as a new species, having
enjoyed her beauty long enough. Is the world on the way to organic
revolution? If I were a young man I should not care to be the lover of a
professional female. As an old man I have affectionate relations with
a number of suffragettes, as they dare not deny; that is to say, I long
ago accepted woman suffrage as inevitable, whether for good or evil,
depending upon whether the woman's movement is going to stop with
suffrage or run into feminism, changing the character of woman and her
relations to men and with man.



II


I have never made party differences the occasion of personal quarrel
or estrangement. On the contrary, though I have been always called
a Democrat, I have many near and dear friends among the Republicans.
Politics is not war. Politics would not be war even if the politicians
were consistent and honest. But there are among them so many
changelings, cheats and rogues.

Then, in politics as elsewhere, circumstances alter cases. I have as a
rule thought very little of parties as parties, professional politicians
and party leaders, and I think less of them as I grow older. The
politician and the auctioneer might be described like the lunatic,
the lover and the poet, as "of imagination all compact." One sees more
mares' nests than would fill a book; the other pure gold in pinchbeck
wares; and both are out for gudgeons.

It is the habit--nay, the business--of the party speaker when he mounts
the raging stump to roar his platitudes into the ears of those who have
the simplicity to listen, though neither edified nor enlightened; to
aver that the horse he rides is sixteen feet high; that the candidate he
supports is a giant; and that he himself is no small figure of a man.

Thus he resembles the auctioneer. But it is the mock auctioneer whom
he resembles; his stock in trade being largely, if not altogether,
fraudulent. The success which at the outset of party welfare attended
this legalized confidence game drew into it more and more players. For
a long time they deceived themselves almost as much as the voters. They
had not become professional. They were amateur. Many of them played for
sheer love of the gamble. There were rules to regulate the play. But as
time passed and voters multiplied, the popular preoccupation increased
the temptations and opportunities for gain, inviting the enterprising,
the skillful and the corrupt to reconstitute patriotism into a commodity
and to organize public opinion into a bill of lading. Thus politics as
a trade, parties as trademarks, the politicians, like harlots, plying
their vocation.

Now and again an able, honest and brave man, who aims at better things,
appears. In the event that fortune favors him and he attains high
station, he finds himself surrounded and thwarted by men less able and
courageous, who, however equal to discovering right from wrong, yet wear
the party collar, owe fealty to the party machine, are sometimes actual
slaves of the party boss. In the larger towns we hear of the City Hall
ring; out in the counties of the Court House ring. We rarely anywhere
encounter clean, responsible administration and pure, disinterested,
public service.

The taxpayers are robbed before their eyes. The evil grows greater as
we near the centers of population. But there is scarcely a village or
hamlet where graft does not grow like weeds, the voters as gullible
and helpless as the infatuated victims of bunko tricks, ingeniously
contrived by professional crooks to separate the fool and his money. Is
self-government a failure?

None of us would allow the votaries of the divine right of kings to
tell us so, albeit we are ready enough to admit the imperfections of
universal suffrage, too often committing affairs of pith and moment,
even of life and death, to the arbitrament of the mob, and costing more
in cash outlay than royal establishments.

The quadrennial period in American politics, set apart and dedicated
to the election of presidents, magnifies these evil features in an
otherwise admirable system of government. That the whipper-snappers of
the vicinage should indulge their propensities comes as the order of
their nature. But the party leaders are not far behind them. Each side
construes every occurrence as an argument in its favor, assuring it
certain victory. Take, for example, the latest state election anywhere.
In point of fact, it foretold nothing. It threw no light upon coming
events, not even upon current events. It leaves the future as hazy as
before. Yet the managers of either party affect to be equally confident
that it presages the triumph of their ticket in the next national
election. The wonder is that so many of the voters will believe and be
influenced by such transparent subterfuge.

Is there any remedy for all this? I much fear that there is not.
Government, like all else, is impossible of perfection. It is as man
is--good, bad and indifferent; which is but another way of saying we
live in a world of cross purposes. We in America prefer republicanism.
But would despotism be so demurrable under a wise unselfish despot?



III


Contemplating the contrasts between foreign life and foreign history
with our own one cannot help reflecting upon the yet more startling
contrasts of ancient and modern religion and government. I have wandered
not a little over Europe at irregular intervals for more than
fifty years. Always a devotee to American institutions, I have been
strengthened in my beliefs by what I have encountered.

The mood in our countrymen has been overmuch to belittle things
American. The commercial spirit in the United States, which affects
to be nationalistic, is in reality cosmopolitan. Money being its god,
French money, English money, anything that calls itself money, is wealth
to it. It has no time to waste on theories or to think of generics. "Put
money in thy purse" has become its motto. Money constitutes the reason
of its being. The organic law of the land is Greek to it, as are those
laws of God which obstruct it. It is too busy with its greed and gain to
think, or to feel, on any abstract subject. That which does not appeal
to it in the concrete is of no interest at all.

Just as in the days of Charles V and Philip II, all things yielded to
the theologian's misconception of the spiritual life so in these days
of the Billionaires all things spiritual and abstract yield to what they
call the progress of the universe and the leading of the times. Under
their rule we have had extraordinary movement just as under the lords
of the Palatinate and the Escurial--the medieval union of the devils
of bigotry and power--Europe, which was but another name for Spain, had
extraordinary movement. We know where it ended with Spain. Whither is it
leading us? Are we traveling the same road?

Let us hope not. Let us believe not. Yet, once strolling along through
the crypt of the Church of the Escurial near Madrid, I could not repress
the idea of a personal and physical resemblance between the effigies in
marble and bronze looking down upon me whichever way I turned, to some
of our contemporary public men and seeming to say: "My love to the
President when you see him next," and "Don't forget to remember me
kindly, please, to the chairmen of both your national committees!"



IV


In a world of sin, disease and death--death inevitable--what may man do
to drive out sin and cure disease, to the end that, barring accident,
old age shall set the limit on mortal life?

The quack doctor equally in ethics and in physics has played a leading
part in human affairs. Only within a relatively brief period has science
made serious progress toward discovery. Though Nature has perhaps an
antidote for all her poisons many of them continue to defy approach.
They lie concealed, leaving the astutest to grope in the dark.

That which is true of material things is truer yet of spiritual things.
The ideal about which we hear so much, is as unattained as the
fabled bag of gold at the end of the rainbow. Nor is the doctrine of
perfectability anywhere one with itself. It speaks in diverse tongues.
Its processes and objects are variant. It seems but an iridescent dream
which lends itself equally to the fancies of the impracticable and the
scheming of the self-seeking, breeding visionaries and pretenders.

Easily assumed and asserted, too often it becomes tyrannous, dealing
with things outer and visible while taking little if any account of the
inner lights of the soul. Thus it imposes upon credulity and ignorance;
makes fakers of some and fanatics of others; in politics where not
an engine of oppression, a corrupt influence; in religion where not
a zealot, a promoter of cant. In short the self-appointed apostle of
uplift, who disregarding individual character would make virtue a matter
of statute law and ordain uniformity of conduct by act of conventicle or
assembly, is likelier to produce moral chaos than to reach the sublime
state he claims to seek.

The bare suggestion is full of startling possibilities. Individualism
was the discovery of the fathers of the American Republic. It is the
bedrock of our political philosophy. Human slavery was assuredly an
indefensible institution. But the armed enforcement of freedom did not
make a black man a white man. Nor will the wave of fanaticism seeking to
control the food and drink and dress of the people make men better men.
Danger lurks and is bound to come with the inevitable reaction.

The levity of the men is recruited by the folly of the women. The
leaders of feminism would abolish sex. To what end? The pessimist
answers what easier than the demolition of a sexless world gone entirely
mad? How simple the engineries of destruction. Civil war in America;
universal hara-kiri in Europe; the dry rot of wealth wasting itself
in self-indulgence. Then a thousand years of total eclipse. Finally
Macaulay's Australian surveying the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral from
a broken parapet of London Bridge; and a Moslem conqueror of America
looking from the hill of the Capitol at Washington upon the desolation
of what was once the District of Columbia. Shall the end be an Oriental
renaissance with the philosophies of Buddha, Mohammed and Confucius
welded into a new religion describing itself as the last word of
science, reason and common sense?

Alas, and alack the day! In those places where the suffering rich most
do congregate the words of Watts' hymn have constant application:

  _For Satan finds some mischief still
  For idle hands to do._

When they have not gone skylarking or grown tired of bridge they devote
their leisure to organizing clubs other than those of the uplift. There
are all sorts, from the Society for the Abrogation of Bathing Suits at
the seaside resorts to the League at Mewville for the Care of Disabled
Cats. Most of these clubs are all officers and no privates. That is what
many of them are got up for. Do they advance the world in grace? One who
surveys the scene can scarcely think so.

But the whirl goes on; the yachts sweep proudly out to sea; the auto
cars dash madly through the streets; more and darker and deeper do the
contrasts of life show themselves. How long shall it be when the mudsill
millions take the upper ten thousand by the throat and rend them as
the furiosos of the Terror in France did the aristocrats of the _Régime
Ancien_? The issue between capital and labor, for example, is full of
generating heat and hate. Who shall say that, let loose in the crowded
centers of population, it may not one day engulf us all?

Is this rank pessimism or merely the vagaries of an old man dropping
back into second childhood, who does not see that the world is wiser
and better than ever it was, mankind and womankind, surely on the way to
perfection?



V


One thing is certain: We are not standing still. Since "Adam delved and
Eve span"--if they ever did--in the Garden of Eden, "somewhere in Asia,"
to the "goings on" in the Garden of the Gods directly under Pike's
Peak--the earth we inhabit has at no time and nowhere wanted for
liveliness--but surely it was never livelier than it now is; as the
space-writer says, more "dramatic"; indeed, to quote the guidebooks,
quite so "picturesque and interesting."

Go where one may, on land or sea, he will come upon activities of one
sort and another. Were Timon of Athens living, he might be awakened from
his misanthrophy and Jacques, the forest cynic, stirred to something
like enthusiasm. Is the world enduring the pangs of a second birth which
shall recreate all things anew, supplementing the miracles of modern
invention with a corresponding development of spiritual life; or has
it reached the top of the hill, and, mortal, like the human atoms that
compose it, is it starting downward on the other side into an abyss
which the historians of the future will once again call "the dark ages?"

We know not, and there is none to tell us. That which is actually
happening were unbelievable if we did not see it, from hour to hour,
from day to day. Horror succeeding horror has in some sort blunted our
sensibilities. Not only are our sympathies numbed by the immensity of
the slaughter and the sorrow, but patriotism itself is chilled by the
selfish thought that, having thus far measurably escaped, we may pull
through without paying our share. This will account for a certain
indifferentism we now and again encounter.

At the moment we are felicitating ourselves--or, is it merely confusing
ourselves?--over the revolution in Russia. It seems of good augury. To
begin with, for Russia. Then the murder war fairly won for the Allies,
we are promised by the optimists a wise and lasting peace.

The bells that rang out in Petrograd and Moscow sounded, we are told,
the death knell of autocracy in Berlin and Vienna. The clarion tones
that echoed through the Crimea and Siberia, albeit to the ear of the
masses muffled in the Schwarzwald and along the shores of the North
Sea, and up and down the Danube and the Rhine, yet conveyed a whispered
message which may presently break into song; the glad song of freedom
with it glorious refrain: "The Romanoffs gone! Perdition having reached
the Hohenzollerns and the Hapsburgs, all will be well!"

Anyhow, freedom; self-government; for whilst a scrutinizing and
solicitous pessimism, observing and considering many abuses,
administrative and political, federal and local, in our republican
system--abuses which being very visible are most lamentable--may
sometimes move us to lose heart of hope in democracy, we know of none
better. So, let us stand by it; pray for it; fight for it. Let us by
our example show the Russians how to attain it. Let us by the same token
show the Germans how to attain it when they come to see, if they ever
do, the havoc autocracy has made for Germany. That should constitute the
bed rock of our politics and our religion. It is the true religion. Love
of country is love of God. Patriotism is religion.

It is also Christianity. The pacifist, let me parenthetically observe,
is scarcely a Christian. There be technical Christians and there be
Christians. The technical Christian sees nothing but the blurred letter
of the law, which he misconstrues. The Christian, animated by its holy
spirit and led by its rightful interpretation, serves the Lord alike of
heaven and hosts when he flies the flag of his country and smites its
enemies hip and thigh!



Chapter the Eleventh

    Andrew Johnson--The Liberal Convention in 1872--Carl Schurz--The
    "Quadrilateral"--Sam Bowles, Horace White and Murat Halstead--A Queer
    Composite of Incongruities



I


Among the many misconceptions and mischances that befell the slavery
agitation in the United States and finally led a kindred people
into actual war the idea that got afloat after this war that every
Confederate was a Secessionist best served the ends of the radicalism
which sought to reduce the South to a conquered province, and as such
to reconstruct it by hostile legislation supported wherever needed by
force.

Andrew Johnson very well understood that a great majority of the men
who were arrayed on the Southern side had taken the field against their
better judgment through pressure of circumstance. They were Union men
who had opposed secession and clung to the old order. Not merely in
the Border States did this class rule but in the Gulf States it held a
respectable minority until the shot fired upon Sumter drew the call for
troops from Lincoln. The Secession leaders, who had staked their all
upon the hazard, knew that to save their movement from collapse it was
necessary that blood be sprinkled in the faces of the people. Hence the
message from Charleston:

  _With cannon, mortar and petard
  We tender you our Beauregard_--

with the response from Washington precipitating the conflict of theories
into a combat of arms for which neither party was prepared.

The debate ended, battle at hand, Southern men had to choose between the
North and the South, between their convictions and predilections on one
side and expatriation on the other side--resistance to invasion, not
secession, the issue. But four years later, when in 1865 all that they
had believed and feared in 1861 had come to pass, these men required no
drastic measures to bring them to terms. Events more potent than acts of
Congress had already reconstructed them. Lincoln with a forecast of
this had shaped his ends accordingly. Johnson, himself a Southern man,
understood it even better than Lincoln, and backed by the legacy of
Lincoln he proceeded not very skillfully to build upon it.

The assassination of Lincoln, however, had played directly into the
hands of the radicals, led by Ben Wade in the Senate and Thaddeus
Stevens in the House. Prior to that baleful night they had fallen behind
the marching van. The mad act of Booth put them upon their feet and
brought them to the front. They were implacable men, politicians equally
of resolution and ability. Events quickly succeeding favored them and
their plans. It was not alone Johnson's lack of temper and tact that
gave them the whip hand. His removal from office would have opened
the door of the White House to Wade, so that strategically Johnson's
position was from the beginning beleaguered and came perilously near
before the close to being untenable.

Grant, a political nondescript, not Wade, the uncompromising extremist,
came after; and inevitably four years of Grant had again divided the
triumphant Republicans. This was the situation during the winter of
1871-72, when the approaching Presidential election brought the country
face to face with a most extraordinary state of affairs. The South was
in irons. The North was growing restive. Thinking people everywhere felt
that conditions so anomalous to our institutions could not and should
not endure.



II


Johnson had made a bungling attempt to carry out the policies of Lincoln
and had gone down in the strife. The Democratic Party had reached the
ebb tide of its disastrous fortunes.

It seemed the merest reactionary. A group of influential Republicans,
dissatisfied for one cause and another with Grant, held a caucus and
issued a call for what they described as a Liberal Republican Convention
to assemble in Cincinnati May 1, 1872.

A Southern man and a Confederate soldier, a Democrat by conviction
and inheritance, I had been making in Kentucky an uphill fight for the
acceptance of the inevitable. The line of cleavage between the old
and the new South I had placed upon the last three amendments to the
Constitution, naming them the Treaty of Peace between the Sections.
The negro must be invested with the rights conferred upon him by these
amendments, however mistaken and injudicious the South might think
them. The obsolete Black Laws instituted during the slave régime must be
removed from the statute books. The negro, like Mohammed's coffin, swung
in midair. He was neither fish, flesh nor fowl, nor good red herring.
For our own sake we must habilitate him, educate and elevate him, make
him, if possible, a contented and useful citizen. Failing of this, free
government itself might be imperiled.

I had behind me the intelligence of the Confederate soldiers almost to
a man. They at least were tired of futile fighting, and to them the war
was over. But--and especially in Kentucky--there was an element that
wanted to fight when it was too late; old Union Democrats and Union
Whigs who clung to the hull of slavery when the kernel was gone, and
proposed to win in politics what had been lost in battle.

The leaders of this belated element were in complete control of the
political machinery of the state. They regarded me as an impudent
upstart--since I had come to Kentucky from Tennessee--as little better
than a carpet-bagger; and had done their uttermost to put me down and
drive me out.

[Illustration: Abraham Lincoln in 1861 _From a Photograph by M B Brady_]

I was a young fellow of two and thirty, of boundless optimism and my
full share of self-confidence, no end of physical endurance and mental
vitality, having some political as well as newspaper experience. It
never crossed my fancy that I could fail.

I met resistance with aggression, answered attempts at bullying with
scorn, generally irradiated by laughter. Yet was I not wholly blind to
consequences and the admonitions of prudence; and when the call for a
Liberal Republican Convention appeared I realized that if I expected to
remain a Democrat in a Democratic community, and to influence and lead a
Democratic following, I must proceed warily.

Though many of those proposing the new movement were familiar
acquaintances--some of them personal friends--the scheme was in the air,
as it were. Its three newspaper bellwethers--Samuel Bowles, Horace White
and Murat Halstead--were especially well known to me; so were Horace
Greeley, Carl Schurz and Charles Sumner, Stanley Matthews being my
kinsman, George Hoadley and Cassius M. Clay next-door neighbors. But
they were not the men I had trained with--not my "crowd"--and it was a
question how far I might be able to reconcile myself, not to mention
my political associates, to such company, even conceding that they
proceeded under good fortune with a good plan, offering the South
extrication from its woes and the Democratic Party an entering wedge
into a solid and hitherto irresistible North.

Nevertheless, I resolved to go a little in advance to Cincinnati, to
have a look at the stalking horse there to be displayed, free to take it
or leave it as I liked, my bridges and lines of communication quite open
and intact.



III


A livelier and more variegated omnium-gatherum was never assembled. They
had already begun to straggle in when I arrived. There were long-haired
and spectacled doctrinaires from New England, spliced by short-haired
and stumpy emissaries from New York--mostly friends of Horace Greeley,
as it turned out. There were brisk Westerners from Chicago and
St. Louis. If Whitelaw Reid, who had come as Greeley's personal
representative, had his retinue, so had Horace White and Carl Schurz.
There were a few rather overdressed persons from New Orleans brought up
by Governor Warmouth, and a motely array of Southerners of every
sort, who were ready to clutch at any straw that promised relief to
intolerable conditions. The full contingent of Washington correspondents
was there, of course, with sharpened eyes and pens to make the most of
what they had already begun to christen a conclave of cranks.

Bowles and Halstead met me at the station, and we drove to the St.
Nicholas Hotel, where Schurz and White were awaiting us. Then and
there was organized a fellowship which in the succeeding campaign cut
a considerable figure and went by the name of the Quadrilateral. We
resolved to limit the Presidential nominations of the convention to
Charles Francis Adams, Bowles' candidate, and Lyman Trumbull, White's
candidate, omitting altogether, because of specific reasons urged by
White, the candidacy of B. Gratz Brown, who because of his Kentucky
connections had better suited my purpose.

The very next day the secret was abroad, and Whitelaw Reid came to me
to ask why in a newspaper combine of this sort the New York Tribune had
been left out.

To my mind it seemed preposterous that it had been or should be, and I
stated as much to my new colleagues. They offered objection which to
me appeared perverse if not childish. They did not like Reid, to begin
with. He was not a principal like the rest of us, but a subordinate.
Greeley was this, that and the other. He could never be relied upon
in any coherent practical plan of campaign. To talk about him as a
candidate was ridiculous.

I listened rather impatiently and finally I said: "Now, gentlemen, in
this movement we shall need the New York Tribune. If we admit Reid
we clinch it. You will all agree that Greeley has no chance of a
nomination, and so by taking him in we both eat our cake and have it."

On this view of the case Reid was invited to join us, and that very
night he sat with us at the St. Nicholas, where from night to
night until the end we convened and went over the performances and
developments of the day and concerted plans for the morrow.

As I recall these symposiums some amusing and some plaintive memories
rise before me.

The first serious business that engaged us was the killing of the boom
for Judge David Davis, of the Supreme Court, which was assuming definite
and formidable proportions. The preceding winter it had been incubating
at Washington under the ministration of some of the most astute
politicians of the time, mainly, however, Democratic members of
Congress.

A party of these had brought it to Cincinnati, opening headquarters well
provided with the requisite commissaries. Every delegate who came
in that could be reached was laid hold of and conducted to Davis'
headquarters.

We considered it flat burglary. It was a gross infringement upon our
copyrights. What business had the professional politicians with a great
reform movement? The influence and dignity of journalism were at stake.
The press was imperilled. We, its custodians, could brook no such
deflection, not to say defiance, from intermeddling office seekers,
especially from broken-down Democratic office seekers.

The inner sanctuary of our proceedings was a common drawing-room between
two bedchambers, occupied by Schurz and myself. Here we repaired after
supper to smoke the pipe of fraternity and reform, and to save the
country. What might be done to kill off "D. Davis," as we irreverently
called the eminent and learned jurist, the friend of Lincoln and the
only aspirant having a "bar'l"? That was the question. We addressed
ourselves to the task with earnest purpose, but characteristically. The
power of the press must be invoked. It was our chief if not our only
weapon. Seated at the same table each of us indited a leading editorial
for his paper, to be wired to its destination and printed next morning,
striking D. Davis at a prearranged and varying angle. Copies of these
were made for Halstead, who having with the rest of us read and compared
the different scrolls indited one of his own in general commentation
and review for Cincinnati consumption. In next day's Commercial, blazing
under vivid headlines, these leading editorials, dated "Chicago" and
"New York," "Springfield, Mass.," and "Louisville, Ky.," appeared with
the explaining line "The Tribune of to-morrow morning will say--" "The
Courier-Journal--and the Republican--will say to-morrow morning--"

Wondrous consensus of public opinion! The Davis boom went down before
it. The Davis boomers were paralyzed. The earth seemed to have risen and
hit them midships. The incoming delegates were arrested and forewarned.
Six months of adroit scheming was set at naught, and little more was
heard of "D. Davis."

We were, like the Mousquetaires, equally in for fighting and
foot-racing, the point with us being to get there, no matter how; the
end--the defeat of the rascally machine politicians and the reform of
the public service--justifying the means. I am writing this nearly fifty
years after the event and must be forgiven the fling of my wisdom at my
own expense and that of my associates in harmless crime.

Some ten years ago I wrote: "Reid and White and I the sole survivors;
Reid a great Ambassador, White and I the virtuous ones, still able to
sit up and take notice, with three meals a day for which we are
thankful and able to pay; no one of us recalcitrant. We were wholly
serious--maybe a trifle visionary, but as upright and patriotic in our
intentions and as loyal to our engagements as it was possible for older
and maybe better men to be. For my part I must say that if I have never
anything on my conscience worse than the massacre of that not very
edifying yet promising combine I shall be troubled by no remorse, but to
the end shall sleep soundly and well."

Alas, I am not the sole survivor. In this connection an amusing incident
throwing some light upon the period thrusts itself upon my memory. The
Quadrilateral, including Reid, had just finished its consolidation
of public opinion before related, when the cards of Judge Craddock,
chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Committee, and of Col. Stoddard
Johnston, editor of the Frankfort Yeoman, the organ of the Kentucky
Democracy, were brought from below. They had come to look after me--that
was evident. By no chance could they find me in more equivocal company.
In addition to ourselves--bad enough, from the Kentucky point of
view--Theodore Tilton, Donn Piatt and David A. Wells were in the room.

When the Kentuckians crossed the threshold and were presented seriatim
the face of each was a study. Even a proper and immediate application of
whisky and water did not suffice to restore their lost equilibrium and
bring them to their usual state of convivial self-possession. Colonel
Johnston told me years after that when they went away they walked in
silence a block or two, when the old judge, a model of the learned and
sedate school of Kentucky politicians and jurists, turned to him and
said: "It is no use, Stoddart, we cannot keep up with that young man or
with these times. 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace!'"



IV


The Jupiter Tonans of reform in attendance upon the convention was Col.
Alexander K. McClure. He was one of the handsomest and most imposing of
men; Halstead himself scarcely more so. McClure was personally unknown
to the Quadrilateral. But this did not stand in the way of our asking
him to dine with us as soon as his claims to fellowship in the good
cause of reform began to make themselves apparent through the need of
bringing the Pennsylvania delegation to a realizing sense.

He looked like a god as he entered the room; nay, he acted like one.
Schurz first took him in hand. With a lofty courtesy I have never seen
equalled he tossed his inquisitor into the air. Halstead came next,
and tried him upon another tack. He fared no better than Schurz. And
hurrying to the rescue of my friends, McClure, looking now a bit bored
and resentful, landed me somewhere near the ceiling.

It would have been laughable if it had not been ignominious. I took my
discomfiture with the bad grace of silence throughout the stiff, formal
and brief meal which was then announced. But when it was over and the
party, risen from table, was about to disperse I collected my energies
and resources for a final stroke. I was not willing to remain so crushed
nor to confess myself so beaten, though I could not disguise from myself
a feeling that all of us had been overmatched.

"McClure," said I with the cool and quiet resolution of despair, drawing
him aside, "what in the ---- do you want anyhow?"

He looked at me with swift intelligence and a sudden show of sympathy,
and then over at the others with a withering glance.

"What? With those cranks? Nothing."

Jupiter descended to earth. I am afraid we actually took a glass of wine
together. Anyhow, from that moment to the hour of his death we were the
best of friends.

Without the inner circle of the Quadrilateral, which had taken
matters into their own hands, were a number of persons, some of them
disinterested and others simple curiosity and excitement seekers, who
might be described as merely lookers-on in Vienna. The Sunday afternoon
before the convention was to meet we, the self-elect, fell in with a
party of these in a garden "over the Rhine," as the German quarter of
Cincinnati is called. There was first general and rather aimless talk.
Then came a great deal of speech making. Schurz started it with a few
pungent observations intended to suggest and inspire some common ground
of opinion and sentiment. Nobody was inclined to dispute his leadership,
but everybody was prone to assert his own. It turned out that each
regarded himself and wished to be regarded as a man with a mission,
having a clear idea how things were not to be done. There were Civil
Service Reform Protectionists and Civil Service Reform Free Traders.
There were a few politicians, who were discovered to be spoilsmen, the
unforgivable sin, and quickly dismissed as such.

Coherence was the missing ingredient. Not a man jack of them was willing
to commit or bind himself to anything. Edward Atkinson pulled one way
and William Dorsheimer exactly the opposite way. David A. Wells sought
to get the two together; it was not possible. Sam Bowles shook his head
in diplomatic warning. Horace White threw in a chunk or so of a rather
agitating newspaper independency, and Halstead was in an inflamed state
of jocosity to the more serious-minded.

It was nuts to the Washington Correspondents--story writers and
satirists who were there to make the most out of an occasion in which
the bizarre was much in excess of the conventional--with George Alfred
Townsend and Donn Piatt to set the pace. Hyde had come from St. Louis
to keep especial tab on Grosvenor. Though rival editors facing our way,
they had not been admitted to the Quadrilateral. McCullagh and Nixon
arrived with the earliest from Chicago. The lesser lights of the guild
were innumerable. One might have mistaken it for an annual meeting of
the Associated Press.



V


The convention assembled. It was in Cincinnati's great Music Hall.
Schurz presided. Who that was there will ever forget his opening words:
"This is moving day." He was just turned forty-two; in his physiognomy a
scholarly _Herr Doktor_; in his trim lithe figure a graceful athlete; in
the tones of his voice an orator.

Even the bespectacled doctrinaires of the East, whence, since the days
when the Star of Bethlehem shone over the desert, wisdom and wise men
have had their emanation, were moved to something like enthusiasm. The
rest of us were fervid and aglow. Two days and a night and a half the
Quadrilateral had the world in a sling and things its own way. It had
been agreed, as I have said, to limit the field to Adams, Trumbull and
Greeley; Greeley being out of it, as having no chance, still further
abridged it to Adams and Trumbull; and, Trumbull not developing very
strong, Bowles, Halstead and I, even White, began to be sure of Adams on
the first ballot; Adams the indifferent, who had sailed away for Europe,
observing that he was not a candidate for the nomination and otherwise
intimating his disdain of us and it.

Matters thus apparently cocked and primed, the convention adjourned over
the first night of its session with everybody happy except the D. Davis
contingent, which lingered on the scene, but knew its "cake was dough."
If we had forced a vote that night, as we might have done, we should
have nominated Adams. But inspired by the bravery of youth and
inexperience we let the golden opportunity slip. The throng of delegates
and the audience dispersed.

In those days, it being the business of my life to turn day into night
and night into day, it was not my habit to seek my bed much before the
presses began to thunder below, and this night proving no exception, and
being tempted by a party of Kentuckians, who had come, some to back me
and some to watch me, I did not quit their agreeable society until the
"wee short hours ayont the twal." Before turning in I glanced at the
early edition of the Commercial, to see that something--I was too tired
to decipher precisely what--had happened. It was, in point of fact,
the arrival about midnight of Gen. Frank P. Blair and Governor B. Gratz
Brown.

I had in my possession documents that would have induced at least one of
them to pause before making himself too conspicuous. The Quadrilateral,
excepting Reid, knew this. We had separated upon the adjournment of
the convention. I being across the river in Covington, their search was
unavailing. I was not to be found. They were in despair. When having had
a few hours of rest I reached the convention hall toward noon it was too
late.

I got into the thick of it in time to see the close, not without an
angry collision with that one of the newly arrived actors whose coming
had changed the course of events, with whom I had lifelong relations of
affectionate intimacy. Sailing but the other day through Mediterranean
waters with Joseph Pulitzer, who, then a mere youth, was yet the
secretary of the convention, he recalled the scene; the unexpected and
not over attractive appearance of the governor of Missouri; his not
very pleasing yet ingenious speech; the stoical, almost lethargic
indifference of Schurz.

"Carl Schurz," said Pulitzer, "was the most industrious and the least
energetic man I have ever worked with. A word from him at that crisis
would have completely routed Blair and squelched Brown. It was simply
not in him to speak it."

Greeley was nominated amid a whirl of enthusiasm, his workers, with
Whitelaw Reid at their head, having maintained an admirable and
effective organization and being thoroughly prepared to take advantage
of the opportune moment. It was the logic of the event that B. Gratz
Brown should be placed on the ticket with him.

The Quadrilateral was nowhere. It was done for. The impossible had come
to pass. There rose thereafter a friendly issue of veracity between
Schurz and myself, which illustrates our state of mind. My version is
that we left the convention hall together with an immaterial train of
after incidents, his that we had not met after the adjournment--he quite
sure of this because he had looked for me in vain.

"Schurz was right," said Joseph Pulitzer upon the occasion of our
yachting cruise just mentioned, "I know, for he and I went directly from
the hall with Judge Stallo to his home on Walnut Hills, where we dined
and passed the afternoon."

[Illustration: Mrs. Lincoln in 1861 _From a Photograph by M. B. Brady_]

The Quadrilateral had been knocked into a cocked hat. Whitelaw Reid was
the only one of us who clearly understood the situation and thoroughly
knew what he was about. He came to me and said: "I have won, and you
people have lost. I shall expect that you stand by the agreement and
meet me as my guests at dinner to-night. But if you do not personally
look after this the others will not be there."

I was as badly hurt as any, but a bond is a bond and I did as he
desired, succeeding partly by coaxing and partly by insisting, though it
was devious work.

Frostier conviviality I have never sat down to than Reid's dinner.
Horace White looked more than ever like an iceberg, Sam Bowles was
diplomatic but ineffusive, Schurz was as a death's head at the board;
Halstead and I through sheer bravado tried to enliven the feast.
But they would none of us, nor it, and we separated early and sadly,
reformers hoist by their own petard.



VI


The reception by the country of the nomination of Horace Greeley was
as inexplicable to the politicians as the nomination itself had been
unexpected by the Quadrilateral. The people rose to it. The sentimental,
the fantastic and the paradoxical in human nature had to do with this.
At the South an ebullition of pleased surprise grew into positive
enthusiasm. Peace was the need if not the longing of the Southern heart,
and Greeley's had been the first hand stretched out to the South from
the enemy's camp--very bravely, too, for he had signed the bail bond
of Jefferson Davis--and quick upon the news flashed the response from
generous men eager for the chance to pay something upon a recognized
debt of gratitude.

Except for this spontaneous uprising, which continued unabated in July,
the Democratic Party could not have been induced at Baltimore to
ratify the proceedings at Cincinnati and formally to make Greeley its
candidate. The leaders dared not resist it. Some of them halted, a few
held out, but by midsummer the great body of them came to the front to
head the procession.

He was a queer old man; a very medley of contradictions; shrewd and
simple; credulous and penetrating; a master penman of the school of
Swift and Cobbett; even in his odd picturesque personality whimsically
attractive; a man to be reckoned with where he chose to put his powers
forth, as Seward learned to his cost.

What he would have done with the Presidency had he reached it is not
easy to say or surmise. He was altogether unsuited for official life,
for which nevertheless he had a passion. But he was not so readily
deceived in men or misled in measures as he seemed and as most people
thought him.

His convictions were emotional, his philosophy was experimental; but
there was a certain method in their application to public affairs. He
gave bountifully of his affection and his confidence to the few who
enjoyed his familiar friendship--accessible and sympathetic though
not indiscriminating to those who appealed to his impressionable
sensibilities and sought his help. He had been a good party man and was
by nature and temperament a partisan.

To him place was not a badge of servitude; it was a
decoration--preferment, promotion, popular recognition. He had always
yearned for office as the legitimate destination of public life and the
honorable award of party service. During the greater part of his career
the conditions of journalism had been rather squalid and servile. He was
really great as a journalist. He was truly and highly fit for nothing
else, but seeing less deserving and less capable men about him advanced
from one post of distinction to another he wondered why his turn proved
so tardy in coming, and when it would come. It did come with a rush.
What more natural than that he should believe it real instead of the
empty pageant of a vision?

It had taken me but a day and a night to pull myself together after the
first shock and surprise and to plunge into the swim to help fetch the
waterlogged factions ashore. This was clearly indispensable to forcing
the Democratic organization to come to the rescue of what would have
been otherwise but a derelict upon a stormy sea. Schurz was deeply
disgruntled. Before he could be appeased a bridge, found in what was
called the Fifth Avenue Hotel Conference, had to be constructed in order
to carry him across the stream which flowed between his disappointed
hopes and aims and what appeared to him an illogical and repulsive
alternative. He had taken to his tent and sulked like another Achilles.
He was harder to deal with than any of the Democratic file leaders, but
he finally yielded and did splendid work in the campaign.

His was a stubborn spirit not readily adjustable. He was a nobly gifted
man, but from first to last an alien in an alien land. He once said
to me, "If I should live a thousand years they would still call me a
Dutchman." No man of his time spoke so well or wrote to better purpose.
He was equally skillful in debate, an overmatch for Conkling and Morton,
whom--especially in the French arms matter--he completely dominated and
outshone. As sincere and unselfish, as patriotic and as courageous as
any of his contemporaries, he could never attain the full measure of the
popular heart and confidence, albeit reaching its understanding directly
and surely; within himself a man of sentiment who was not the cause of
sentiment in others. He knew this and felt it.

The Nast cartoons, which as to Greeley and Sumner were unsparing in
the last degree, whilst treating Schurz with a kind of considerate
qualifying humor, nevertheless greatly offended him. I do not think
Greeley minded them much if at all. They were very effective; notably
the "Pirate Ship," which represented Greeley leaning over the taffrail
of a vessel carrying the Stars and Stripes and waving his handkerchief
at the man-of-war Uncle Sam in the distance, the political leaders of
the Confederacy dressed in true corsair costume crouched below ready to
spring. Nothing did more to sectionalize Northern opinion and fire the
Northern heart, and to lash the fury of the rank and file of those who
were urged to vote as they had shot and who had hoisted above them the
Bloody Shirt for a banner. The first half of the canvass the bulge was
with Greeley; the second half began in eclipse, to end in something very
like collapse.

The old man seized his flag and set out upon his own account for a tour
of the country. Right well he bore himself. If speech-making ever does
any good toward the shaping of results Greeley's speeches surely should
have elected him. They were marvels of impromptu oratory, mostly homely
and touching appeals to the better sense and the magnanimity of a
people not ripe or ready for generous impressions; convincing in their
simplicity and integrity; unanswerable from any standpoint of sagacious
statesmanship or true patriotism if the North had been in any mood to
listen and to reason.

I met him at Cincinnati and acted as his escort to Louisville and thence
to Indianapolis, where others were waiting to take him in charge. He was
in a state of querulous excitement. Before the vast and noisy audiences
which we faced he stood apparently pleased and composed, delivering his
words as he might have dictated them to a stenographer. As soon as we
were alone he would break out into a kind of lamentation, punctuated
by occasional bursts of objurgation. He especially distrusted the
Quadrilateral, making an exception in my case, as well he might, because
however his nomination had jarred my judgment I had a real affection for
him, dating back to the years immediately preceding the war when I was
wont to encounter him in the reporters' galleries at Washington, which
he preferred to using his floor privilege as an ex-member of Congress.

It was mid-October. We had heard from Maine; Indiana and Ohio had voted.
He was for the first time realizing the hopeless nature of the contest.
The South in irons and under military rule and martial law sure for
Grant, there had never been any real chance. Now it was obvious that
there was to be no compensating ground swell at the North. That he
should pour forth his chagrin to one whom he knew so well and even
regarded as one of his boys was inevitable. Much of what he said was
founded on a basis of fact, some of it was mere suspicion and surmise,
all of it came back to the main point that defeat stared us in the face.
I was glad and yet loath to part with him. If ever a man needed a strong
friendly hand and heart to lean upon he did during those dark days--the
end in darkest night nearer than anyone could divine. He showed stronger
mettle than had been allowed him: bore a manlier part than was commonly
ascribed to the slovenly slipshod habiliments and the aspects in which
benignancy and vacillation seemed to struggle for the ascendancy. Abroad
the elements conspired against him. At home his wife lay ill, as it
proved, unto death. The good gray head he still carried like a hero, but
the worn and tender heart was beginning to break. Overwhelming defeat
was followed by overwhelming affliction. He never quitted his dear one's
beside until the last pulsebeat, and then he sank beneath the load of
grief.

"The Tribune is gone and I am gone," he said, and spoke no more.

The death of Greeley fell upon the country with a sudden shock. It
roused a universal sense of pity and sorrow and awe. All hearts were
hushed. In an instant the bitterness of the campaign was forgotten,
though the huzzas of the victors still rent the air. The President, his
late antagonist, with his cabinet and the leading members of the two
Houses of Congress, attended his funeral. As he lay in his coffin he
was no longer the arch rebel, leading a combine of buccaneers and
insurgents, which the Republican orators and newspapers had depicted
him, but the brave old apostle of freedom who had done more than all
others to make the issues upon which a militant and triumphant party had
risen to power.

The multitude remembered only the old white hat and the sweet old baby
face beneath it, heart of gold, and hand wielding the wizard pen; the
incarnation of probity and kindness, of steadfast devotion to his duty
as he saw it, and to the needs of the whole human family. A tragedy in
truth it was; and yet as his body was lowered into its grave there rose
above it, invisible, unnoted, a flower of matchless beauty--the flower
of peace and love between the sections of the Union to which his life
had been a sacrifice.

The crank convention had builded wiser than it knew. That the Democratic
Party could ever have been brought to the support of Horace Greeley
for President of the United States reads even now like a page out of a
nonsense book. That his warmest support should have come from the South
seems incredible and was a priceless fact. His martyrdom shortened the
distance across the bloody chasm; his coffin very nearly filled it.
The candidacy of Charles Francis Adams or of Lyman Trumbull meant a
mathematical formula, with no solution of the problem and as certain
defeat at the end of it. His candidacy threw a flood of light and warmth
into the arena of deadly strife; it made a more equal and reasonable
division of parties possible; it put the Southern half of the country
in a position to plead its own case by showing the Northern half that
it was not wholly recalcitrant or reactionary; and it made way for real
issues of pith and moment relating to the time instead of pigments of
bellicose passion and scraps of ante-bellum controversy.

In a word Greeley did more by his death to complete the work of Lincoln
than he could have done by a triumph at the polls and the term in the
White House he so much desired. Though but sixty-one years of age, his
race was run. Of him it may be truly written that he lived a life
full of inspiration to his countrymen and died not in vain, "our later
Franklin" fittingly inscribed upon his tomb.



Chapter the Twelfth

    The Ideal in Public Life--Politicians, Statesmen and Philosophers--The
    Disputed Presidency in 1876--The Personality and Character of Mr.
    Tilden--His Election and Exclusion by a Partisan Tribunal



I


The soul of journalism is disinterestedness. But neither as a principle
nor an asset had this been generally discovered fifty years ago. Most of
my younger life I was accused of ulterior motives of political ambition,
whereas I had seen too much of preferment not to abhor it. To me, as to
my father, office has seemed ever a badge of servitude. For a long time,
indeed, I nursed the delusions of the ideal. The love of the ideal has
not in my old age quite deserted me. But I have seen the claim of it
so much abused that when a public man calls it for a witness I begin to
suspect his sincerity.

A virile old friend of mine--who lived in Texas, though he went there
from Rhode Island--used to declare with sententious emphasis that war is
the state of man. "Sir," he was wont to observe, addressing me as if I
were personally accountable, "you are emasculating the human species.
You are changing men into women and women into men. You are teaching
everybody to read, nobody to think; and do you know where you will end,
sir? Extermination, sir--extermination! On the north side of the North
Pole there is another world peopled by giants; ten thousand millions at
the very least; every giant of them a hundred feet high. Now about the
time you have reduced your universe to complete effeminacy some fool
with a pick-axe will break through the thin partition--the mere ice
curtain--separating these giants from us, and then they will sweep
through and swoop down and swallow you, sir, and the likes of you, with
your topsy-turvy civilization, your boasted literature and science and
art!"

This old friend of mine had a sure recipe for success in public life.
"Whenever you get up to make a speech," said he, "begin by proclaiming
yourself the purest, the most disinterested of living men, and end
by intimating that you are the bravest;" and then with the charming
inconsistency of the dreamer he would add: "If there be anything on this
earth that I despise it is bluster."

Decidedly he was not a disciple of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Yet he, too, in
his way was an idealist, and for all his oddity a man of intellectual
integrity, a trifle exaggerated perhaps in its methods and
illustrations, but true to his convictions of right and duty, as Emerson
would have had him be. For was it not Emerson who exclaimed, "We will
walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our
own minds?"



II


In spite of our good Woodrow and our lamented Theodore I have quite
made up my mind that there is no such thing as the ideal in public life,
construing public life to refer to political transactions. The ideal may
exist in art and letters, and sometimes very young men imagine that it
exists in very young women. But here we must draw the line. As society
is constituted the ideal has no place, not even standing room, in the
arena of civics.

If we would make a place for it we must begin by realizing this.
The painter, like the lover, is a law unto himself, with his little
picture--the poet, also, with his little rhyme--his atelier his
universe, his attic his field of battle, his weapons the utensils of
his craft--he himself his own Providence. It is not so in the world of
action, where the conditions are directly reversed; where the one player
contends against many players, seen and unseen; where each move is met
by some counter-move; where the finest touches are often unnoted of
men or rudely blotted out by a mysterious hand stretched forth from the
darkness.

"I wish I could be as sure of anything," said Melbourne, "as Tom
Macaulay is of everything." Melbourne was a man of affairs, Macaulay a
man of books; and so throughout the story the men of action have been
fatalists, from Cæsar to Napoleon and Bismarck, nothing certain except
the invisible player behind the screen.

Of all human contrivances the most imperfect is government. In spite of
the essays of Bentham and Mill the science of government has yet to be
discovered. The ideal statesman can only exist in the ideal state, which
has never existed.

The politician, like the poor, we have always with us. As long as men
delegate to other men the function of acting for them, of thinking for
them, we shall continue to have him.

He is a variable quantity. In the crowded centers his distinguishing
marks are short hair and cunning; upon the frontier, sentiment and the
six-shooter! In New York he becomes a boss; in Kentucky and Texas, a
fighter and an orator. But the statesman--the ideal statesman--in the
mind's eye, Horatio! Bound by practical limitations such an anomaly
would be a statesman minus a party, a statesman who never gets any votes
or anywhere--a statesman perpetually out of a job. We have had some
imitation ideal statesmen who have been more or less successful in
palming off their pinchbeck wares for the real; but looking backward
over the history of the country we shall find the greatest among our
public men--measuring greatness by real and useful service--to have been
while they lived least regarded as idealists; for they were men of flesh
and blood, who amid the rush of events and the calls to duty could not
stop to paint pictures, to consider sensibilities, to put forth the
deft hand where life and death hung upon the stroke of a bludgeon or the
swinging of a club.

Washington was not an ideal statesman, nor Hamilton, nor Jefferson, nor
Lincoln, though each of them conceived grandly and executed nobly. They
loved truth for truth's sake, even as they loved their country. Yet no
one of them ever quite attained his conception of it.

Truth indeed is ideal. But when we come to adapt and apply it, how many
faces it shows us, what varying aspects, so that he is fortunate who is
able to catch and hold a single fleeting expression. To bridle this and
saddle it, and, as we say in Kentucky, to ride it a turn or two
around the paddock or, still better, down the home-stretch of things
accomplished, is another matter. The real statesman must often do as he
can, not as he would; the ideal statesman existing only in the credulity
of those simple souls who are captivated by appearances or deceived by
professions.

The nearest approach to the ideal statesman I have known was most
grossly stigmatized while he lived. I have Mr. Tilden in mind. If ever
man pursued an ideal life he did. From youth to age he dwelt amid his
fancies. He was truly a man of the world among men of letters and a
man of letters among men of the world. A philosopher pure and simple--a
lover of books, of pictures, of all things beautiful and elevating--he
yet attained great riches, and being a doctrinaire and having a passion
for affairs he was able to gratify the aspirations to eminence and the
yearning to be of service to the State which had filled his heart.

He seemed a medley of contradiction. Without the artifices usual to
the practical politician he gradually rose to be a power in his party;
thence to become the leader of a vast following, his name a shibboleth
to millions of his countrymen, who enthusiastically supported him and
who believed that he was elected Chief Magistrate of the United States.
He was an idealist; he lost the White House because he was so, though
represented while he lived by his enemies as a scheming spider weaving
his web amid the coil of mystification in which he hid himself. For he
was personally known to few in the city where he had made his abode; a
great lawyer and jurist who rarely appeared in court; a great political
leader to whom the hustings were mainly a stranger; a thinker, and yet
a dreamer, who lived his own life a little apart, as a poet might;
uncorrupting and incorruptible; least of all were his political
companions moved by the loss of the presidency, which had seemed in his
grasp. And finally he died--though a master of legal lore--to have his
last will and testament successfully assailed.

Except as news venders the newspapers--especially newspaper
workers--should give politics a wide berth. Certainly they should have
no party politics. True to say, journalism and literature and politics
are as wide apart as the poles. From Bolingbroke, the most splendid
of the world's failures, to Thackeray, one of its greatest masters of
letters--who happily did not get the chance he sought in parliamentary
life to fall--both English history and American history are full of
illustrations to this effect. Except in the comic opera of French
politics the poet, the artist, invested with power, seems to lose his
efficiency in the ratio of his genius; the literary gift, instead of
aiding, actually antagonizing the aptitude for public business.

The statesman may not be fastidious. The poet, the artist, must be
always so. If the party leader preserve his integrity--if he keep
himself disinterested and clean--if his public influence be inspiring
to his countrymen and his private influence obstructive of cheats and
rogues among his adherents--he will have done well.

We have left behind us the gibbet and the stake. No further need of the
Voltaires, the Rousseaus and the Diderots to declaim against kingcraft
and priestcraft. We have done something more than mark time. We report
progress. Yet despite the miracles of modern invention how far in the
arts of government has the world traveled from darkness to light since
the old tribal days, and what has it learned except to enlarge the area,
to amplify and augment the agencies, to multiply and complicate the
forms and processes of corruption? By corruption I mean the dishonest
advantage of the few over the many.

The dreams of yesterday, we are told, become the realities of to-morrow.
In these despites I am an optimist. Much truly there needs still to be
learned, much to be unlearned. Advanced as we consider ourselves we are
yet a long way from the most rudimentary perception of the civilization
we are so fond of parading. The eternal verities--where shall we seek
them? Little in religious affairs, less still in commercial affairs,
hardly any at all in political affairs, that being right which
represents each organism. Still we progress. The pulpit begins to turn
from the sinister visage of theology and to teach the simple lessons of
Christ and Him crucified. The press, which used to be omniscient, is now
only indiscriminate--a clear gain, emitting by force of publicity,
if not of shine, a kind of light through whose diverse rays and foggy
luster we may now and then get a glimpse of truth.



III


The time is coming, if it has not already arrived, when among
fair-minded and intelligent Americans there will not be two opinions
touching the Hayes-Tilden contest for the presidency in 1876-77--that
both by the popular vote and a fair count of the electoral vote Tilden
was elected and Hayes was defeated; but the whole truth underlying
the determinate incidents which led to the rejection of Tilden and the
seating of Hayes will never be known.

"All history is a lie," observed Sir Robert Walpole, the corruptionist,
mindful of what was likely to be written about himself; and "What is
history," asked Napoleon, the conqueror, "but a fable agreed upon?"

In the first administration of Mr. Cleveland there were present at
a dinner table in Washington, the President being of the party,
two leading Democrats and two leading Republicans who had sustained
confidential relations to the principals and played important parts in
the drama of the Disputed Succession. These latter had been long upon
terms of personal intimacy. The occasion was informal and joyous, the
good fellowship of the heartiest.

Inevitably the conversation drifted to the Electoral Commission, which
had counted Tilden out and Hayes in, and of which each of the four had
some story to tell. Beginning in banter with interchanges of badinage
it presently fell into reminiscence, deepening as the interest of
the listeners rose to what under different conditions might have been
described as unguarded gayety if not imprudent garrulity. The little
audience was rapt.

Finally Mr. Cleveland raised both hands and exclaimed, "What would the
people of this country think if the roof could be lifted from this house
and they could hear these men?" And then one of the four, a gentleman
noted for his wealth both of money and humor, replied, "But the roof is
not going to be lifted from this house, and if any one repeats what I
have said I will denounce him as a liar."

Once in a while the world is startled by some revelation of the unknown
which alters the estimate of a historic event or figure; but it is
measurably true, as Metternich declares, that those who make history
rarely have time to write it.

It is not my wish in recurring to the events of nearly five-and-forty
years ago to invoke and awaken any of the passions of that time, nor my
purpose to assail the character or motives of any of the leading actors.
Most of them, including the principals, I knew well; to many of their
secrets I was privy. As I was serving, in a sense, as Mr. Tilden's
personal representative in the Lower House of the Forty-fourth Congress,
and as a member of the joint Democratic Advisory or Steering Committee
of the two Houses, all that passed came more or less, if not under my
supervision, yet to my knowledge; and long ago I resolved that certain
matters should remain a sealed book in my memory.

I make no issue of veracity with the living; the dead should be
sacred. The contradictory promptings, not always crooked; the double
constructions possible to men's actions; the intermingling of ambition
and patriotism beneath the lash of party spirit; often wrong unconscious
of itself; sometimes equivocation deceiving itself--in short, the
tangled web of good and ill inseparable from great affairs of loss
and gain made debatable ground for every step of the Hayes-Tilden
proceeding.

I shall bear sure testimony to the integrity of Mr. Tilden. I directly
know that the presidency was offered to him for a price, and that he
refused it; and I indirectly know and believe that two other offers came
to him, which also he declined. The accusation that he was willing to
buy, and through the cipher dispatches and other ways tried to buy,
rests upon appearance supporting mistaken surmise. Mr. Tilden knew
nothing of the cipher dispatches until they appeared in the New York
_Tribune_. Neither did Mr. George W. Smith, his private secretary, and
later one of the trustees of his will.

It should be sufficient to say that so far as they involved No. 15
Gramercy Park they were the work solely of Colonel Pelton, acting on his
own responsibility, and as Mr. Tilden's nephew exceeding his authority
to act; that it later developed that during this period Colonel Pelton
had not been in his perfect mind, but was at least semi-irresponsible;
and that on two occasions when the vote or votes sought seemed within
reach Mr. Tilden interposed to forbid. Directly and personally I know
this to be true.

The price, at least in patronage, which the Republicans actually paid
for possession is of public record. Yet I not only do not question the
integrity of Mr. Hayes, but I believe him and most of those immediately
about him to have been high-minded men who thought they were doing for
the best in a situation unparalleled and beset with perplexity. What
they did tends to show that men will do for party and in concert
what the same men never would be willing to do each on his own
responsibility. In his "Life of Samuel J. Tilden," John Bigelow says:

"Why persons occupying the most exalted positions should have ventured
to compromise their reputations by this deliberate consummation of a
series of crimes which struck at the very foundations of the republic is
a question which still puzzles many of all parties who have no charity
for the crimes themselves. I have already referred to the terrors and
desperation with which the prospect of Tilden's election inspired the
great army of office-holders at the close of Grant's administration.
That army, numerous and formidable as it was, was comparatively
limited. There was a much larger and justly influential class who were
apprehensive that the return of the Democratic party to power threatened
a reactionary policy at Washington, to the undoing of some or all the
important results of the war. These apprehensions were inflamed by
the party press until they were confined to no class, but more or less
pervaded all the Northern States. The Electoral Tribunal, consisting
mainly of men appointed to their positions by Republican Presidents
or elected from strong Republican States, felt the pressure of this
feeling, and from motives compounded in more or less varying proportions
of dread of the Democrats, personal ambition, zeal for their party
and respect for their constituents, reached the conclusion that the
exclusion of Tilden from the White House was an end which justified
whatever means were necessary to accomplish it. They regarded it, like
the emancipation of the slaves, as a war measure."



IV


The nomination of Horace Greeley in 1872 and the overwhelming defeat
that followed left the Democratic party in an abyss of despair. The old
Whig party, after the disaster that overtook it in 1852, had been not
more demoralized. Yet in the general elections of 1874 the Democrats
swept the country, carrying many Northern States and sending a great
majority to the Forty-fourth Congress.

Reconstruction was breaking down of its very weight and rottenness. The
panic of 1873 reacted against the party in power. Dissatisfaction with
Grant, which had not sufficed two years before to displace him, was
growing apace. Favoritism bred corruption and corruption grew more and
more flagrant. Succeeding scandals cast their shadows before. Chickens
of carpetbaggery let loose upon the South were coming home to roost
at the North. There appeared everywhere a noticeable subsidence of the
sectional spirit. Reform was needed alike in the State Governments and
the National Government, and the cry for reform proved something other
than an idle word. All things made for Democracy.

Yet there were many and serious handicaps. The light and leading of
the historic Democratic party which had issued from the South were
in obscurity and abeyance, while most of those surviving who had been
distinguished in the party conduct and counsels were disabled by act
of Congress. Of the few prominent Democrats left at the North many were
tainted by what was called Copperheadism--sympathy with the Confederacy.
To find a chieftain wholly free from this contamination, Democracy,
having failed of success in presidential campaigns, not only with
Greeley but with McClellan and Seymour, was turning to such Republicans
as Chase, Field and Davis. At last heaven seemed to smile from the
clouds upon the disordered ranks and to summon thence a man meeting the
requirements of the time. This was Samuel Jones Tilden.

To his familiars Mr. Tilden was a dear old bachelor who lived in a fine
old mansion in Gramercy Park. Though 60 years old he seemed in the prime
of his manhood; a genial and overflowing scholar; a trained and earnest
doctrinaire; a public-spirited, patriotic citizen, well known and highly
esteemed, who had made fame and fortune at the bar and had always
been interested in public affairs. He was a dreamer with a genius for
business, a philosopher yet an organizer. He pursued the tenor of his
life with measured tread.

His domestic fabric was disfigured by none of the isolation and squalor
which so often attend the confirmed celibate. His home life was a model
of order and decorum, his home as unchallenged as a bishopric, its
hospitality, though select, profuse and untiring. An elder sister
presided at his board, as simple, kindly and unostentatious, but as
methodical as himself. He was a lover of books rather than music and
art, but also of horses and dogs and out-of-door activity.

He was fond of young people, particularly of young girls; he drew them
about him, and was a veritable Sir Roger de Coverley in his gallantries
toward them and his zeal in amusing them and making them happy. His
tastes were frugal and their indulgence was sparing. He took his wine
not plenteously, though he enjoyed it--especially his "blue seal" while
it lasted--and sipped his whisky-and-water on occasion with a pleased
composure redolent of discursive talk, of which, when he cared to lead
the conversation, he was a master. He had early come into a great legal
practice and held a commanding professional position. His judgment was
believed to be infallible; and it is certain that after 1871 he rarely
appeared in the courts of law except as counsellor, settling in chambers
most of the cases that came to him.

It was such a man whom, in 1874, the Democrats nominated for Governor
of New York. To say truth, it was not thought by those making the
nomination that he had any chance to win. He was himself so much better
advised that months ahead he prefigured very near the exact vote. The
afternoon of the day of election one of the group of friends, who
even thus early had the Presidency in mind, found him in his library
confident and calm.

"What majority will you have?" he asked cheerily.

"Any," replied the friend sententiously.

"How about fifteen thousand?"

"Quite enough."

"Twenty-five thousand?"

"Still better."

"The majority," he said, "will be a little in excess of fifty thousand."

It was 53,315. His estimate was not guesswork. He had organized his
campaign by school districts. His canvass system was perfect, his
canvassers were as penetrating and careful as census takers. He had
before him reports from every voting precinct in the State. They were
corroborated by the official returns. He had defeated Gen. John A. Dix,
thought to be invincible by a majority very nearly the same as that by
which Governor Dix had been elected two years before.



V


The time and the man had met. Though Mr. Tilden had not before held
executive office he was ripe and ready for the work. His experience
in the pursuit and overthrow of the Tweed Ring in New York, the great
metropolis, had prepared and fitted him to deal with the Canal Ring at
Albany, the State capital. Administrative reform was now uppermost in
the public mind, and here in the Empire State of the Union had come
to the head of affairs a Chief Magistrate at once exact and exacting,
deeply versed not only in legal lore but in a knowledge of the methods
by which political power was being turned to private profit and of
the men--Democrats as well as Republicans--who were preying upon the
substance of the people.

The story of the two years that followed relates to investigations that
investigated, to prosecutions that convicted, to the overhauling of
popular censorship, to reduced estimates and lower taxes.

The campaign for the Presidential nomination began as early as the
autumn of 1875. The Southern end of it was easy enough. A committee of
Southerners residing in New York was formed. Never a leading Southern
man came to town who was not "seen." If of enough importance he was
taken to No. 15 Gramercy Park. Mr. Tilden measured to the Southern
standard of the gentleman in politics. He impressed the disfranchised
Southern leaders as a statesman of the old order and altogether after
their own ideas of what a President ought to be.

The South came to St. Louis, the seat of the National Convention,
represented by its foremost citizens, and almost a unit for the Governor
of New York. The main opposition sprang from Tammany Hall, of which John
Kelly was then the chief. Its very extravagance proved an advantage to
Tilden.

Two days before the meeting of the convention I sent this message to Mr.
Tilden: "Tell Blackstone"--his favorite riding horse--"that he wins in a
walk."

The anti-Tilden men put up the Hon. S.S.--"Sunset"--Cox for temporary
chairman. It was a clever move. Mr. Cox, though sure for Tammany, was
popular everywhere and especially at the South. His backers thought that
with him they could count a majority of the National Committee.

The night before the assembling Mr. Tilden's two or three leading
friends on the committee came to me and said: "We can elect you chairman
over Cox, but no one else."

I demurred at once. "I don't know one rule of parliamentary law from
another," I said.

"We will have the best parliamentarian on the continent right by you all
the time," they said.

"I can't see to recognize a man on the floor of the convention," I said.

"We'll have a dozen men at hand to tell you," they replied. So it was
arranged, and thus at the last moment I was chosen.

I had barely time to write the required keynote speech, but not enough
to commit it to memory; nor sight to read it, even had I been willing
to adopt that mode of delivery. It would not do to trust to
extemporization. A friend, Col. J. Stoddard Johnston, who was familiar
with my penmanship, came to the rescue. Concealing my manuscript behind
his hat he lined the words out to me between the cheering, I having
mastered a few opening sentences.

Luck was with me. It went with a bang--not, however, wholly without
detection. The Indianans, devoted to Hendricks, were very wroth.

"See that fat man behind the hat telling him what to say," said one to
his neighbor, who answered, "Yes, and wrote it for him, too, I'll be
bound!"

One might as well attempt to drive six horses by proxy as preside over
a national convention by hearsay. I lost my parliamentarian at once. I
just made my parliamentary law as we went. Never before or since did any
deliberate body proceed under manual so startling and original. But
I delivered each ruling with a resonance--it were better called an
impudence--which had an air of authority. There was a good deal of quiet
laughter on the floor among the knowing ones, though I knew the mass was
as ignorant as I was myself; but realizing that I meant to be just and
was expediting business the convention soon warmed to me, and feeling
this I began to be perfectly at home. I never had a better day's sport
in all my life.

One incident was particularly amusing. Much against my will and over my
protest I was brought to promise that Miss Phoebe Couzins, who bore a
Woman's Rights Memorial, should at some opportune moment be given the
floor to present it. I foresaw what a row it was bound to occasion.

Toward noon, when there was a lull in the proceedings, I said with an
emphasis meant to carry conviction: "Gentlemen of the convention, Miss
Phoebe Couzins, a representative of the Woman's Association of America,
has a memorial from that body, and in the absence of other business the
chair will now recognize her."

Instantly and from every part of the hall arose cries of "No!" These put
some heart into me. Many a time as a schoolboy I had proudly declaimed
the passage from John Home's tragedy, "My Name is Norval." Again I stood
upon "the Grampian hills." The committee was escorting Miss Couzins down
the aisle. When she came within the radius of my poor vision I saw that
she was a beauty and dressed to kill.

That was reassurance. Gaining a little time while the hall fairly rocked
with its thunder of negation I laid the gavel down and stepped to the
edge of the platform and gave Miss Couzins my hand.

As she appeared above the throng there was a momentary "Ah!" and then a
lull, broken by a single voice:

"Mister Chairman. I rise to a point of order."

Leading Miss Couzins to the front of the stage I took up the gavel and
gave a gentle rap, saying: "The gentleman will take his seat."

"But, Mister Chairman, I rose to a point of order," he vociferated.

"The gentleman will take his seat instantly," I answered in a tone of
one about to throw the gavel at his head. "No point of order is in order
when a lady has the floor."

After that Miss Couzins received a positive ovation and having delivered
her message retired in a blaze of glory.



VI


Mr. Tilden was nominated on the second ballot. The campaign that
followed proved one of the most memorable in our history. When it
came to an end the result showed on the face of the returns 196 in the
Electoral College, eleven more than a majority; and in the popular vote
4,300,316, a majority of 264,300 for Tilden over Hayes.

How this came to be first contested and then complicated so as
ultimately to be set aside has been minutely related by its authors.
The newspapers, both Republican and Democratic, of November 8, 1876, the
morning after the election, conceded an overwhelming victory for Tilden
and Hendricks. There was, however, a single exception. The New York
Times had gone to press with its first edition, leaving the result in
doubt but inclining toward the success of the Democrats. In its later
editions this tentative attitude was changed to the statement that Mr.
Hayes lacked the vote of Florida--"claimed by the Republicans"--to be
sure of the required votes in the Electoral College.

The story of this surprising discrepancy between midnight and daylight
reads like a chapter of fiction.

After the early edition of the Times had gone to press certain members
of the editorial staff were at supper, very much cast down by the
returns, when a messenger brought a telegram from Senator Barnum, of
Connecticut, financial head of the Democratic National Committee, asking
for the Times' latest news from Oregon, Louisiana, Florida and South
Carolina. But for that unlucky telegram Tilden would probably have been
inaugurated President of the United States.

The Times people, intense Republican partisans, at once saw an
opportunity. If Barnum did not know, why might not a doubt be raised? At
once the editorial in the first edition was revised to take a decisive
tone and declare the election of Hayes. One of the editorial council,
Mr. John C. Reid, hurried to Republican headquarters in the Fifth Avenue
Hotel, which he found deserted, the triumph of Tilden having long
before sent everybody to bed. Mr. Reid then sought the room of Senator
Zachariah Chandler, chairman of the National Republican Committee.

While upon this errand he encountered in the hotel corridor "a small
man wearing an enormous pair of goggles, his hat drawn over his ears,
a greatcoat with a heavy military cloak, and carrying a gripsack
and newspaper in his hand. The newspaper was the New York Tribune,"
announcing the election of Tilden and the defeat of Hayes. The newcomer
was Mr. William E. Chandler, even then a very prominent Republican
politician, just arrived from New Hampshire and very much exasperated by
what he had read.

Mr. Reid had another tale to tell. The two found Mr. Zachariah Chandler,
who bade them leave him alone and do whatever they thought best. They
did so, consumingly, sending telegrams to Columbia, Tallahassee and New
Orleans, stating to each of the parties addressed that the result of the
election depended upon his State. To these was appended the signature of
Zachariah Chandler.

Later in the day Senator Chandler, advised of what had been set on foot
and its possibilities, issued from National Republican headquarters this
laconic message: "Hayes has 185 electoral votes and is elected."

Thus began and was put in motion the scheme to confuse the returns and
make a disputed count of the vote.



VII


The day after the election I wired Mr. Tilden suggesting that as
Governor of New York he propose to Mr. Hayes, the Governor of Ohio,
that they unite upon a committee of eminent citizens, composed in equal
numbers of the friends of each, who should proceed at once to Louisiana,
which appeared to be the objective point of greatest moment to the
already contested result. Pursuant to a telegraphic correspondence which
followed, I left Louisville that night for New Orleans. I was joined en
route by Mr. Lamar and General Walthal, of Mississippi, and together we
arrived in the Crescent City Friday morning.

It has since transpired that the Republicans were promptly advised by
the Western Union Telegraph Company of all that had passed over its
wires, my dispatches to Mr. Tilden being read in Republican headquarters
at least as soon as they reached Gramercy Park.

Mr. Tilden did not adopt the plan of a direct proposal to Mr. Hayes.
Instead he chose a body of Democrats to go to the "seat of war." But
before any of them had arrived General Grant, the actual President,
anticipating what was about to happen, appointed a body of Republicans
for the like purpose, and the advance guard of these appeared on the
scene the following Monday.

Within a week the St. Charles Hotel might have been mistaken for a
caravansary of the national capital. Among the Republicans were John
Sherman, Stanley Matthews, Garfield, Evarts, Logan, Kelley, Stoughton,
and many others. Among the Democrats, besides Lamar, Walthal and myself,
came Lyman Trumbull, Samuel J. Randall, William R. Morrison, McDonald,
of Indiana, and many others.

A certain degree of personal intimacy existed between the members of the
two groups, and the "entente" was quite as unrestrained as might have
existed between rival athletic teams. A Kentucky friend sent me a
demijohn of what was represented as very old Bourbon, and I divided
it with "our friends the enemy." New Orleans was new to most of the
"visiting statesmen," and we attended the places of amusement, lived
in the restaurants, and saw the sights as if we had been tourists in a
foreign land and not partisans charged with the business of adjusting a
Presidential election from implacable points of view.

My own relations were especially friendly with John Sherman and James
A. Garfield, a colleague on the Committee of Ways and Means, and with
Stanley Matthews, a near kinsman by marriage, who had stood as an elder
brother to me from my childhood.

Corruption was in the air. That the Returning Board was for sale and
could be bought was the universal impression. Every day some one turned
up with pretended authority and an offer to sell. Most of these were, of
course, the merest adventurers. It was my own belief that the Returning
Board was playing for the best price it could get from the Republicans
and that the only effect of any offer to buy on our part would be to
assist this scheme of blackmail.

The Returning Board consisted of two white men, Wells and Anderson;
and two negroes, Kenner and Casanave. One and all they were without
character. I was tempted through sheer curiosity to listen to a proposal
which seemed to come direct from the board itself, the messenger being a
well-known State Senator. As if he were proposing to dispose of a horse
or a dog he stated his errand.

"You think you can deliver the goods?" said I.

"I am authorized to make the offer," he answered.

"And for how much?" I asked.

"Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars," he replied. "One hundred
thousand each for Wells and Anderson, and twenty-five thousand apiece
for the niggers."

To my mind it was a joke. "Senator," said I, "the terms are as cheap as
dirt. I don't happen to have the amount about me at the moment, but I
will communicate with my principal and see you later."

Having no thought of entertaining the proposal, I had forgotten the
incident, when two or three days later my man met me in the lobby of the
hotel and pressed for a definite reply. I then told him I had found that
I possessed no authority to act and advised him to go elsewhere.

It is asserted that Wells and Anderson did agree to sell and were turned
down by Mr. Hewitt; and, being refused their demands for cash by the
Democrats, took their final pay, at least in patronage, from their own
party.



VIII


I passed the Christmas week of 1876 in New York with Mr. Tilden. On
Christmas day we dined alone. The outlook, on the whole, was cheering.
With John Bigelow and Manton Marble, Mr. Tilden had been busily engaged
compiling the data for a constitutional battle to be fought by
the Democrats in Congress, maintaining the right of the House of
Representatives to concurrent jurisdiction with the Senate in the
counting of the electoral vote, pursuant to an unbroken line
of precedents established by that method of proceeding in every
presidential election between 1793 and 1872.

There was very great perplexity in the public mind. Both parties
appeared to be at sea. The dispute between the Democratic House and the
Republican Senate made for thick weather. Contests of the vote of three
States--Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida, not to mention single
votes in Oregon and Vermont--which presently began to blow a gale, had
already spread menacing clouds across the political sky. Except Mr.
Tilden, the wisest among the leaders knew not precisely what to do.

From New Orleans, on the Saturday night succeeding the presidential
election, I had telegraphed to Mr. Tilden detailing the exact conditions
there and urging active and immediate agitation. The chance had been
lost. I thought then and I still think that the conspiracy of a few men
to use the corrupt returning boards of Louisiana, South Carolina and
Florida to upset the election and make confusion in Congress might by
prompt exposure and popular appeal have been thwarted. Be this as
it may, my spirit was depressed and my confidence discouraged by the
intense quietude on our side, for I was sure that beneath the surface
the Republicans, with resolute determination and multiplied resources,
were as busy as bees.

Mr. Robert M. McLane, later Governor of Maryland and later still
Minister to France--a man of rare ability and large experience, who
had served in Congress and in diplomacy, and was an old friend of Mr.
Tilden--had been at a Gramercy Park conference when my New Orleans
report arrived, and had then and there urged the agitation recommended
by me. He was now again in New York. When a lad he had been in England
with his father, Lewis McLane, then American Minister to the Court of
St. James, during the excitement over the Reform Bill of 1832. He had
witnessed the popular demonstrations and had been impressed by the
direct force of public opinion upon law-making and law-makers. An
analogous situation had arrived in America. The Republican Senate was as
the Tory House of Lords. We must organize a movement such as had been
so effectual in England. Obviously something was going amiss with us and
something had to be done.

It was agreed that I should return to Washington and make a speech
"feeling the pulse" of the country, with the suggestion that in the
National Capital should assemble "a mass convention of at least 100,000
peaceful citizens," exercising "the freeman's right of petition."

The idea was one of many proposals of a more drastic kind and was the
merest venture. I myself had no great faith in it. But I prepared the
speech, and after much reading and revising, it was held by Mr. Tilden
and Mr. McLane to cover the case and meet the purpose, Mr. Tilden
writing Mr. Randall, Speaker of the House of Representatives, a letter,
carried to Washington by Mr. McLane, instructing him what to do in the
event that the popular response should prove favorable.

Alack the day! The Democrats were equal to nothing affirmative. The
Republicans were united and resolute. I delivered the speech, not in
the House, as had been intended, but at a public meeting which seemed
opportune. The Democrats at once set about denying the sinister and
violent purpose ascribed to it by the Republicans, who, fully advised
that it had emanated from Gramercy Park and came by authority, started a
counter agitation of their own.

I became the target for every kind of ridicule and abuse. Nast drew a
grotesque cartoon of me, distorting my suggestion for the assembling of
100,000 citizens, which was both offensive and libellous.

Being on friendly terms with the Harpers, I made my displeasure so
resonant in Franklin Square--Nast himself having no personal ill will
toward me--that a curious and pleasing opportunity which came to pass
was taken to make amends. A son having been born to me, Harper's Weekly
contained an atoning cartoon representing the child in its father's
arms, and, above, the legend "10,000 sons from Kentucky alone." Some wag
said that the son in question was "the only one of the 100,000 in arms
who came when he was called."

For many years afterward I was pursued by this unlucky speech, or rather
by the misinterpretation given to it alike by friend and foe. Nast's
first cartoon was accepted as a faithful portrait, and I was accordingly
satirized and stigmatized, though no thought of violence ever had
entered my mind, and in the final proceedings I had voted for the
Electoral Commission Bill and faithfully stood by its decisions. Joseph
Pulitzer, who immediately followed me on the occasion named, declared
that he wanted my "one hundred thousand" to come fully armed and
ready for business; yet he never was taken to task or reminded of his
temerity.



IX


The Electoral Commission Bill was considered with great secrecy by
the joint committees of the House and Senate. Its terms were in direct
contravention of Mr. Tilden's plan. This was simplicity itself. He
was for asserting by formal resolution the conclusive right of the two
Houses acting concurrently to count the electoral vote and determine
what should be counted as electoral votes; and for denying, also by
formal resolution, the pretension set up by the Republicans that the
President of the Senate had lawful right to assume that function. He was
for urging that issue in debate in both Houses and before the country.
He thought that if the attempt should be made to usurp for the president
of the Senate a power to make the count, and thus practically to control
the Presidential election, the scheme would break down in process of
execution.

Strange to say, Mr. Tilden was not consulted by the party leaders in
Congress until the fourteenth of January, and then only by Mr. Hewitt,
the extra constitutional features of the electoral-tribunal measure
having already received the assent of Mr. Bayard and Mr. Thurman, the
Democratic members of the Senate committee.

Standing by his original plan and answering Mr. Hewitt's statement that
Mr. Bayard and Mr. Thurman were fully committed, Mr. Tilden said: "Is it
not, then, rather late to consult me?"

To which Mr. Hewitt replied: "They do not consult you. They are public
men, and have their own duties and responsibilities. I consult you."

In the course of the discussion with Mr. Hewitt which followed Mr.
Tilden said: "If you go into conference with your adversary, and can't
break off because you feel you must agree to something, you cannot
negotiate--you are not fit to negotiate. You will be beaten upon every
detail."

Replying to the apprehension of a collision of force between the parties
Mr. Tilden thought it exaggerated, but said: "Why surrender now? You can
always surrender. Why surrender before the battle for fear you may have
to surrender after the battle?"

In short, Mr. Tilden condemned the proceeding as precipitate. It was
a month before the time for the count, and he saw no reason why
opportunity should not be given for consideration and consultation by
all the representatives of the people. He treated the state of mind of
Bayard and Thurman as a panic in which they were liable to act in haste
and repent at leisure. He stood for publicity and wider discussion,
distrusting a scheme to submit such vast interests to a small body
sitting in the Capitol as likely to become the sport of intrigue and
fraud.

Mr. Hewitt returned to Washington and without communicating to Mr.
Tilden's immediate friends in the House his attitude and objection,
united with Mr. Thurman and Mr. Bayard in completing the bill and
reporting it to the Democratic Advisory Committee, as, by a caucus rule,
had to be done with all measures relating to the great issue then before
us. No intimation had preceded it. It fell like a bombshell upon the
members of the committee.

In the debate that followed Mr. Bayard was very insistent, answering the
objections at once offered by me, first aggressively and then angrily,
going the length of saying, "If you do not accept this plan I shall
wash my hands of the whole business, and you can go ahead and seat your
President in your own way."

Mr. Randall, the Speaker, said nothing, but he was with me, as were a
majority of my colleagues. It was Mr. Hunton, of Virginia, who poured
oil on the troubled waters, and somewhat in doubt as to whether the
changed situation had changed Mr. Tilden I yielded my better judgment,
declaring it as my opinion that the plan would seat Hayes; and there
being no other protestant the committee finally gave a reluctant assent.

In open session a majority of Democrats favored the bill. Many of them
made it their own. They passed it. There was belief that Justice David
Davis, who was expected to become a member of the commission, was
sure for Tilden. If, under this surmise, he had been, the political
complexion of "8 to 7" would have been reversed.

Elected to the United States Senate from Illinois, Judge Davis declined
to serve, and Mr. Justice Bradley was chosen for the commission in his
place.

The day after the inauguration of Hayes my kinsman, Stanley Matthews,
said to me: "You people wanted Judge Davis. So did we. I tell you what I
know, that Judge Davis was as safe for us as Judge Bradley. We preferred
him because he carried more weight."

The subsequent career of Judge Davis in the Senate gave conclusive proof
that this was true.

When the consideration of the disputed votes before the commission
had proceeded far enough to demonstrate the likelihood that its final
decision would be for Hayes a movement of obstruction and delay, a
filibuster, was organized by about forty Democratic members of the
House. It proved rather turbulent than effective. The South stood very
nearly solid for carrying out the agreement in good faith.

Toward the close the filibuster received what appeared formidable
reinforcement from the Louisiana delegation. This was in reality merely
a bluff, intended to induce the Hayes people to make certain concessions
touching their State government. It had the desired effect. Satisfactory
assurances having been given, the count proceeded to the end--a very
bitter end indeed for the Democrats.

The final conference between the Louisianans and the accredited
representatives of Mr. Hayes was held at Wormley's Hotel and came to be
called "the Wormley Conference." It was the subject of uncommon interest
and heated controversy at the time and long afterward. Without knowing
why or for what purpose, I was asked to be present by my colleague, Mr.
Ellis, of Louisiana, and later in the day the same invitation came to me
from the Republicans through Mr. Garfield. Something was said about my
serving as a referee.

Just before the appointed hour Gen. M. C. Butler, of South Carolina,
afterward so long a Senator in Congress, said to me: "This meeting is
called to enable Louisiana to make terms with Hayes. South Carolina is
as deeply concerned as Louisiana, but we have nobody to represent us in
Congress and hence have not been invited. South Carolina puts herself in
your hands and expects you to secure for her whatever terms are given to
Louisiana."

So of a sudden I found myself invested with responsibility equally as an
agent and a referee.

It is hardly worth while repeating in detail all that passed at this
Wormley Conference, made public long ago by Congressional investigation.
When I entered the apartment of Mr. Evarts at Wormley's I found, besides
Mr. Evarts, Mr. John Sherman, Mr. Garfield, Governor Dennison, and Mr.
Stanley Matthews, of the Republicans; and Mr. Ellis, Mr. Levy, and Mr.
Burke, Democrats of Louisiana. Substantially the terms had been agreed
upon during the previous conferences--that is, the promise that if Hayes
came in the troops should be withdrawn and the people of Louisiana be
left free to set their house in order to suit themselves. The actual
order withdrawing the troops was issued by President Grant two or three
days later, just as he was going out of office.

"Now, gentlemen," said I, half in jest, "I am here to represent South
Carolina; and if the terms given to Louisiana are not equally applied to
South Carolina I become a filibuster myself to-morrow morning."

There was some chaffing as to what right I had there and how I got in,
when with great earnestness Governor Dennison, who had been the bearer
of a letter from Mr. Hayes, which he had read to us, put his hand on my
shoulder and said: "As a matter of course the Southern policy to which
Mr. Hayes has here pledged himself embraces South Carolina as well as
Louisiana."

Mr. Sherman, Mr. Garfield and Mr. Evarts concurred warmly in this,
and immediately after we separated I communicated the fact to General
Butler.

In the acrimonious discussion which subsequently sought to make
"bargain, intrigue and corruption" of this Wormley Conference, and to
involve certain Democratic members of the House who were nowise party to
it but had sympathized with the purpose of Louisiana and South Carolina
to obtain some measure of relief from intolerable local conditions,
I never was questioned or assailed. No one doubted my fidelity to
Mr. Tilden, who had been promptly advised of all that passed and who
approved what I had done.

Though "conscripted," as it were, and rather a passive agent, I could
see no wrong in the proceeding. I had spoken and voted in favor of the
Electoral Tribunal Bill, and losing, had no thought of repudiating
its conclusions. Hayes was already as good as seated. If the States of
Louisiana and South Carolina could save their local autonomy out of the
general wreck there seemed no good reason to forbid.

On the other hand, the Republican leaders were glad of an opportunity to
make an end of the corrupt and tragic farce of Reconstruction; to unload
their party of a dead weight which had been burdensome and was growing
dangerous; mayhap to punish their Southern agents, who had demanded so
much for doctoring the returns and making an exhibit in favor of Hayes.



X


Mr. Tilden accepted the result with equanimity.

"I was at his house," says John Bigelow, "when his exclusion was
announced to him, and also on the fourth of March when Mr. Hayes was
inaugurated, and it was impossible to remark any change in his manner,
except perhaps that he was less absorbed than usual and more interested
in current affairs."

His was an intensely serious mind; and he had come to regard the
presidency as rather a burden to be borne--an opportunity for public
usefulness--involving a life of constant toil and care, than as an
occasion for personal exploitation and rejoicing.

How much of captivation the idea of the presidency may have had for
him when he was first named for the office I cannot say, for he was as
unexultant in the moment of victory as he was unsubdued in the hour of
defeat; but it is certainly true that he gave no sign of disappointment
to any of his friends.

He lived nearly ten years longer, at Greystone, in a noble homestead he
had purchased for himself overlooking the Hudson River, the same ideal
life of the scholar and gentleman that he had passed in Gramercy Park.

Looking back over these untoward and sometimes mystifying events, I have
often asked myself: Was it possible, with the elements what they were,
and he himself what he was, to seat Mr. Tilden in the office to which he
had been elected? The missing ingredient in a character intellectually
and morally great and a personality far from unimpressive, was the touch
of the dramatic discoverable in most of the leaders of men; even in such
leaders as William of Orange and Louis XI; as Cromwell and Washington.

There was nothing spectacular about Mr. Tilden. Not wanting the sense
of humor, he seldom indulged it. In spite of his positiveness of opinion
and amplitude of knowledge he was always courteous and deferential in
debate. He had none of the audacious daring, let us say, of Mr. Elaine,
the energetic self-assertion of Mr. Roosevelt. Either in his place would
have carried all before him.

I repeat that he was never a subtle schemer--sitting behind the screen
and pulling his wires--which his political and party enemies discovered
him to be as soon as he began to get in the way of the machine and
obstruct the march of the self-elect. His confidences were not effusive,
nor their subjects numerous. His deliberation was unfailing and
sometimes it carried the idea of indecision, not to say actual love of
procrastination. But in my experience with him I found that he usually
ended where he began, and it was nowise difficult for those whom he
trusted to divine the bias of his mind where he thought it best to
reserve its conclusions.

I do not think in any great affair he ever hesitated longer than
the gravity of the case required of a prudent man or that he had a
preference for delays or that he clung tenaciously to both horns of
the dilemma, as his training and instinct might lead him to do, and did
certainly expose him to the accusation of doing.

He was a philosopher and took the world as he found it. He rarely
complained and never inveighed. He had a discriminating way of balancing
men's good and bad qualities and of giving each the benefit of a
generous accounting, and a just way of expecting no more of a man than
it was in him to yield. As he got into deeper water his stature rose
to its level, and from his exclusion from the presidency in 1877 to his
renunciation of public affairs in 1884 and his death in 1886 his walks
and ways might have been a study for all who would learn life's truest
lessons and know the real sources of honor, happiness and fame.



Chapter the Thirteenth

    Charles Eames and Charles Sumner-Schurzand Lamar--I Go to Congress--A
    Heroic Kentuckian--Stephen Foster and His Songs--Music and Theodore
    Thomas



I


Swift's definition of "conversation" did not preside over or direct the
daily intercourse between Charles Sumner, Charles Eames and Robert J.
Walker in the old days in the National Capital. They did not converse.
They discoursed. They talked sententiously in portentous essays and
learned dissertations. I used to think it great, though I nursed no
little dislike of Sumner.

Charles Eames was at the outset of his career a ne'er-do-well New
Englander--a Yankee Jack-of-all-trades--kept at the front by an
exceedingly clever wife. Through the favor she enjoyed at court he
received from Pierce and Buchanan unimportant diplomatic appointments.
During their sojourns in Washington their home was a kind of political
and literary headquarters. Mrs. Eames had established a salon--the first
attempt of the kind made there; and it was altogether a success. Her
Sundays evenings were notable, indeed. Whoever was worth seeing, if in
town, might usually be found there. Charles Sumner led the procession.
He was a most imposing person. Both handsome and distinguished
in appearance, he possessed in an eminent degree the Harvard
pragmatism--or, shall I say, affectation?--and seemed never happy except
on exhibition. He had made a profitable political and personal issue of
the Preston Brooks attack. Brooks was an exceeding light weight, but he
did for Sumner more than Sumner could ever have done for himself.

In the Charles Eames days Sumner was exceedingly disagreeable to me.
Many people, indeed, thought him so. Many years later, in the Greeley
campaign of 1872, Schurz brought us together--they had become as very
brothers in the Senate--and I found him the reverse of my boyish ill
conceptions.

He was a great old man. He was a delightful old man, every inch a
statesman, much of a scholar, and something of a hero. I grew in time to
be actually fond of him, passed with him entire afternoons and evenings
in his library, mourned sincerely when he died, and went with Schurz to
Boston, on the occasion when that great German-American delivered the
memorial address in honor of the dead Abolitionist.

Of all the public men of that period Carl Schurz most captivated me.
When we first came into personal relations, at the Liberal Convention,
which assembled at Cincinnati and nominated Greeley and Brown as a
presidential ticket, he was just turned forty-three; I, two and thirty.
The closest intimacy followed. Our tastes were much alike. Both of us
had been educated in music. He played the piano with intelligence and
feeling--especially Schumann, Brahms and Mendelssohn, neither of us ever
having quite reached the "high jinks" of Wagner.

To me his oratory was wonderful. He spoke to an audience of five or ten
thousand as he would have talked to a party of three or six. His style
was simple, natural, unstrained; the lucid statement and cogent argument
now and again irradiated by a salient passage of satire or a burst of
not too eloquent rhetoric.

He was quite knocked out by the nomination of Horace Greeley. For a long
time he could not reconcile himself to support the ticket. Horace White
and I addressed ourselves to the task of "fetching him into camp"--there
being in point of fact nowhere else for him to go--though we had to get
up what was called The Fifth Avenue Conference to make a bridge.

Truth to say, Schurz never wholly adjusted himself to political
conditions in the United States. He once said to me in one of the
querulous moods that sometimes overcame him: "If I should live a hundred
years my enemies would still call me a--Dutchman!"

It was Schurz, as I have said, who brought Lamar and me together. The
Mississippian had been a Secession Member of Congress when I was a
Unionist scribe in the reporters' gallery. I was a furious partisan in
those days and disliked the Secessionists intensely. Of them, Lamar
was most aggressive. I later learned that he was very many-sided and
accomplished, the most interesting and lovable of men. He and Schurz
"froze together," as, brought together by Schurz, he and I "froze
together." On one side he was a sentimentalist and on the other a
philosopher, but on all sides a fighter.

They called him a dreamer. He sprang from a race of chevaliers and
scholars. Oddly enough, albeit in his moods a recluse, he was a man of
the world; a favorite in society; very much at home in European courts,
especially in that of England; the friend of Thackeray, at whose house,
when in London, he made his abode. Lady Ritchie--Anne Thackeray--told me
many amusing stories of his whimsies. He was a man among brainy men and
a lion among clever women.

We had already come to be good friends and constant comrades when the
whirligig of time threw us together for a little while in the lower
house of Congress. One day he beckoned me over to his seat. He was
leaning backward with his hands crossed behind his head.

As I stood in front of him he said: "On the eighth of February, 1858,
Mrs. Gwin, of California, gave a fancy dress ball. Mr. Lamar, of
Mississippi, a member of Congress, was there. Also a glorious young
woman--a vision of beauty and grace--with whom the handsome and
distinguished young statesman danced--danced once, twice, thrice, taking
her likewise down to supper. He went to bed, turned his face to the
wall and dreamed of her. That was twenty years ago. To-day this same Mr.
Lamar, after an obscure interregnum, was with Mrs. Lamar looking over
Washington for an apartment. In quest of cheap lodging they came to
a mean house in a mean quarter, where a poor, wizened, ill-clad woman
showed them through the meanly furnished rooms. Of course they would not
suffice.

"As they were coming away the great Mr. Lamar said to the poor landlady,
'Madam, have you lived long in Washington?' She said all her life.
'Madam,' he continued, 'were you at a fancy dress ball given by Mrs.
Senator Gwin of California, the eighth of February, 1858?' She said she
was. 'Do you remember,' the statesman, soldier and orator continued, 'a
young and handsome Mississippian, a member of Congress, by the name of
Lamar?' She said she didn't."

I rather think that Lamar was the biggest brained of all the men I
have met in Washington. He possessed the courage of his convictions. A
doctrinaire, there was nothing of the typical doctrinaire, or theorist,
about him. He really believed that cotton was king and would compel
England to espouse the cause of the South.

Despite his wealth of experience and travel he was not overmuch of a
raconteur, but he once told me a good story about his friend Thackeray.
The two were driving to a banquet of the Literary Fund, where Dickens
was to preside. "Lamar," said Thackeray, "they say I can't speak. But if
I want to I can speak. I can speak every bit as good as Dickens, and I
am going to show you to-night that I can speak almost as good as you."
When the moment arrived Thackeray said never a word. Returning in the
cab, both silent, Thackeray suddenly broke forth. "Lamar," he exclaimed,
"don't you think you have heard the greatest speech to-night that was
never delivered?"



II


Holding office, especially going to Congress, had never entered any wish
or scheme of mine. Office seemed to me ever a badge of bondage. I knew
too much of the national capital to be allured by its evanescent
and lightsome honors. When the opportunity sought me out none of its
illusions appealed to me. But after a long uphill fight for personal and
political recognition in Kentucky an election put a kind of seal
upon the victory I had won and enabled me in a way to triumph over my
enemies. I knew that if I accepted the nomination offered me I would get
a big popular vote--as I did--and so, one full term, and half a term,
incident to the death of the sitting member for the Louisville district
being open to me, I took the short term, refusing the long term.

Though it was midsummer and Congress was about to adjourn I went to
Washington and was sworn in. A friend of mine, Col. Wake Holman, had
made a bet with one of our pals I would be under arrest before I had
been twenty-four hours in town, and won it. It happened in this wise:
The night of the day when I took my seat there was an all-night session.
I knew too well what that meant, and, just from a long tiresome journey,
I went to bed and slept soundly till sunrise. Just as I was up and
dressing for a stroll about the old, familiar, dearly loved quarter of
the town there came an imperative rap upon the door and a voice said:
"Get up, colonel, quick! This is a sergeant at arms. There has been a
call of the House and I am after you. Everybody is drunk, more or less,
and they are noisy to have some fun with you."

It was even as he said. Everybody, more or less, was drunk--especially
the provisional speaker whom Mr. Randall had placed in the chair--and
when we arrived and I was led a prisoner down the center aisle
pandemonium broke loose.

They had all sorts of fun with me, such as it was. It was moved that I
be fined the full amount of my mileage. Then a resolution was offered
suspending my membership and sending me under guard to the old Capitol
prison. Finally two or three of my friends rescued me and business was
allowed to proceed. It was the last day of a very long session and those
who were not drunk were worn out.

When I returned home there was a celebration in honor of the bet Wake
Holman had won at my expense. Wake was the most attractive and lovable
of men, by nature a hero, by profession a "filibuster" and soldier of
fortune. At two and twenty he was a private in Col. Humphrey Marshall's
Regiment of Kentucky Riflemen, which reached the scene of hostilities
upon the Rio Grande in the midsummer of 1846. He had enlisted from Owen
county--"Sweet Owen," as it used to be called--and came of good stock,
his father, Col. Harry Holman, in the days of aboriginal fighting and
journalism, a frontier celebrity. Wake's company, out on a scout, was
picked off by the Mexicans, and the distinction between United States
soldiers and Texan rebels not being yet clearly established, a drumhead
court-martial ordered "the decimation."

This was a decree that one of every ten of the Yankee captives should be
shot. There being a hundred of Marshall's men, one hundred beans--ninety
white and ten black--were put in a hat. Then the company was mustered as
on dress parade. Whoso drew a white bean was to be held prisoner of war;
whoso drew a black bean was to die.

In the early part of the drawing Wake drew a white bean. Toward the
close the turn of a neighbor and comrade from Owen county who had left
a wife and baby at home was called. He and Wake were standing together,
Holman brushed him aside, walked out in his place and drew his bean.
It turned out to be a white one. Twice within the half hour death had
looked him in the eye and found no blinking there.

I have seen quite a deal of hardihood, endurance, suffering, in
both women and men; splendid courage on the field of action; perfect
self-possession in the face of danger; but I rather think that Wake
Holman's exploit that day--next to actually dying for a friend, what
can be nobler than being willing to die for him?--is the bravest thing I
know or have ever been told of mortal man.

Wake Holman went to Cuba in the Lopez Rebellion of 1851, and fought
under Pickett at the Battle of Cardenas. In 1855-56 he was in Nicaragua,
with Walker. He commanded a Kentucky regiment of cavalry on the Union
side in our War of Sections. After the war he lived the life of a hunter
and fisher at his home in Kentucky; a cheery, unambitious, big-brained
and big-hearted cherub, whom it would not do to "projeck" with, albeit
with entire safety you could pick his pocket; the soul of simplicity and
amiability.

To have known him was an education in primal manhood. To sit at his
hospitable board, with him at the head of the table, was an inspiration
in the genius of life and the art of living. One of his familiars
started the joke that when Wake drew the second white bean "he got a
peep." He took it kindly; though in my intimacy with him, extending
over thirty years, I never heard him refer to any of his adventures as a
soldier.

It was not possible that such a man should provide for his old age.
He had little forecast. He knew not the value of money. He had humor,
affection and courage. I held him in real love and honor. When the
Mexican War Pension Act was passed by Congress I took his papers to
General Black, the Commissioner of Pensions, and related this story.

"I have promised Gen. Cerro Gordo Williams," said General Black,
referring to the then senior United States Senator from Kentucky,
"that his name shall go first on the roll of these Mexican pensioners.
But"--and the General looked beamingly in my face, a bit tearful, and
says he: "Wake Holman's name shall come right after." And there it is.



III


I was very carefully and for those times not ignorantly taught in music.
Schell, his name was, and they called him "Professor." He lived over in
Georgetown, where he had organized a little group of Prussian refugees
into a German club, and from my tenth to my fifteenth year--at first
regularly, and then in a desultory way as I came back to Washington
City from my school in Philadelphia, he hammered Bach and Handel and
Mozart--nothing so modern as Mendelssohn--into my not unwilling nor
unreceptive mind, for my bent was in the beginning to compose dramas,
and in the end operas.

Adelina Patti was among my child companions. Once in the national
capital, when I was 12 years old and Adelina 9, we played together at
a charity concert. She had sung "The Last Rose of Summer," and I had
played her brother-in-law's variation upon "Home, Sweet Home." The
audience was enthusiastic. We were called out again and again. Then we
came on the stage together, and the applause increasing I sat down at
the keyboard and played an accompaniment with my own interpolations upon
"Old Folks At Home," which I had taught Adelina, and she sang the words.
Then they fairly took the roof off.

Once during a sojourn in Paris I was thrown with Christine Nilsson.
She was in the heyday of her success at the Theater Lyrique under the
patronage of Madame Miolan-Carvalho. One day I said to her: "The
time may come when you will be giving concerts." She was indignant.
"Nevertheless," I continued, "let me teach you a sure encore." I played
her Stephen Foster's immortal ditty. She was delighted. The sequel was
that it served her even a better turn than it had served Adelina Patti.

I played and transposed for the piano most of the melodies of Foster as
they were published, they being first produced in public by Christy's
Minstrels.



IV


Stephen Foster was the ne'er-do-well of a good Pennsylvania family. A
sister of his had married a brother of James Buchanan. There were two
daughters of this marriage, nieces of the President, and when they were
visiting the White House we had--shall I dare write it?--high jinks with
our nigger-minstrel concerts on the sly.

Will S. Hays, the rival of Foster as a song writer and one of my
reporters on the Courier-Journal, told me this story: "Foster," said he,
"was a good deal of what you might call a barroom loafer. He possessed a
sweet tenor voice before it was spoiled by drink, and was fond of music,
though technically he knew nothing about it. He had a German friend who
when he died left him a musical scrapbook, of all sorts of odds and
ends of original text. There is where Foster got his melodies. When the
scrapbook gave out he gave out."

I took it as merely the spleen of a rival composer. But many years after
in Vienna I heard a concert given over exclusively to the performance
of certain posthumous manuscripts of Schubert. Among the rest were
selections from an unfinished opera--"Rosemonde," I think it was
called--in which the whole rhythm and movements and parts of the score
of Old Folks at Home were the feature.

It was something to have grown up contemporary, as it were, with these
songs. Many of them were written in the old Rowan homestead, just
outside of Bardstown, Ky., where Louis Philippe lived and taught, and
for a season Talleyrand made his abode. The Rowans were notable people.
John Rowan, the elder, head of the house, was a famous lawyer, who
divided oratorical honors with Henry Clay, and like Clay, was a Senator
in Congress; his son, "young John," as he was called, Stephen Foster's
pal, went as minister to Naples, and fought duels, and was as Bob
Acres wanted to be, "a devil of a fellow." He once told me he had been
intimate with Thackeray when they were wild young men in Paris, and that
they had both of them known the woman whom Thackeray had taken for the
original of Becky Sharp.

The Foster songs quite captivated my boyhood. I could sing a little, as
well as play, and learned each of them--especially Old Folks at Home
and My Old Kentucky Home--as they appeared. Their contemporary vogue was
tremendous. Nothing has since rivalled the popular impression they made,
except perhaps the Arthur Sullivan melodies.

Among my ambitions to be a great historian, dramatist, soldier and
writer of romance I desired also to be a great musician, especially a
great pianist. The bone-felon did the business for this later. But all
my life I have been able to thumb the keyboard at least for the children
to dance, and it has been a recourse and solace sometimes during
intervals of embittered journalism and unprosperous statesmanship.



V


Theodore Thomas and I used to play duos together. He was a master of the
violin before he took to orchestration. We remained the best of friends
to the end of his days.

On the slightest provocation, or none, we passed entire nights together.
Once after a concert he suddenly exclaimed: "Don't you think Wagner was
a ---- fraud?"

A little surprised even by one of his outbreaks, I said: "Wagner may
have written some trick music but I hardly think that he was a fraud."

He reflected a moment. "Well," he continued, "it may not lie in my
mouth to say it--and perhaps I ought not to say it--I know I am most
responsible for the Wagner craze--but I consider him a ---- fraud."

He had just come from a long "classic entertainment," was worn out with
travel and worry, and meant nothing of the sort.

After a very tiresome concert when he was railing at the hard lines of
a peripatetic musician I said: "Come with me and I will give you a
soothing quail and as dry a glass of champagne as you ever had in your
life."

The wine was poured out and he took a sip.

"I don't call that dry wine," he crossly said, and took another sip. "My
God," without a pause he continued, "isn't that great?"

Of course he was impulsive, even impetuous. Beneath his seeming cold
exterior and admirable self-control--the discipline of the master
artist--lay the moods and tenses of the musical temperament. He knew
little or nothing outside of music and did not care to learn. I tried
to interest him in politics. It was of no use. First he laughed my
suggestions to scorn and then swore like a trooper. German he was,
through and through. It was well that he passed away before the world
war. Pat Gilmore--"Patrick Sarsfield," we always called him--was a
born politician, and if he had not been a musician he would have been
a statesman. I kept the peace between him and Theodore Thomas by an
ingenious system of telling all kinds of kind things each had said of
the other, my "repetitions" being pure inventions of my own.



Chapter the Fourteenth

    Henry Adams and the Adams Family--John Hay and Frank Mason--The Three
    _Mousquetaires_ of Culture--Paris--"The Frenchman"--The South of
    France



I


I have been of late reading The Education of Henry Adams, and it recalls
many persons and incidents belonging to the period about which I am now
writing. I knew Henry Adams well; first in London, then in Boston and
finally throughout his prolonged residence in Washington City. He was an
Adams; very definitely an Adams, but, though his ghost may revisit the
glimpses of the moon and chide me for saying so, with an English "cut to
his jib."

No three brothers could be more unlike than Charles Francis, John Quincy
and Henry Adams. Brooks Adams I did not know. They represented the
fourth generation of the brainiest pedigree--that is in continuous
line--known to our family history. Henry thought he was a philosopher
and tried to be one. He thought he was a man of the world and wanted to
be one. He was, in spite of himself, a provincial.

Provincialism is not necessarily rustic, even suburban. There is no
provincial quite so provincial as he who has passed his life in great
cities. The Parisian boulevardier taken away from the asphalt, the
cockney a little off Clapham Common and the Strand, is lost. Henry Adams
knew his London and his Paris, his Boston and his Quincy--we must not
forget Quincy--well. But he had been born, and had grown up, between the
lids of history, and for all his learning and travel he never got very
far outside them.

In manner and manners, tone and cast of thought he was
English--delightfully English--though he cultivated the cosmopolite.
His house in the national capital, facing the Executive Mansion across
Lafayette Square--especially during the life of his wife, an adorable
woman, who made up in sweetness and tact for some of the qualities
lacking in her husband--was an intellectual and high-bred center, a
rendezvous for the best ton and the most accepted people. The Adamses
may be said to have succeeded the Eameses as leaders in semi-social,
semi-literary and semi-political society.

There was a trio--I used to call them the Three Musketeers of
Culture--John Hay, Henry Cabot Lodge and Henry Adams. They made an
interesting and inseparable trinity--Caleb Cushing, Robert J. Walker and
Charles Sumner not more so--and it was worth while to let them have the
floor and to hear them talk; Lodge, cool and wary as a politician should
be; Hay, helterskelter, the real man of the world crossed on a Western
stock; and Adams, something of a litératteur, a statesman and a cynic.

John Randolph Tucker, who when he was in Congress often met Henry at
dinners and the like, said to him on the appearance of the early volumes
of his History of the United States: "I am not disappointed, for how
could an Adams be expected to do justice to a Randolph?"

While he was writing this history Adams said to me: "There is an old
villain--next to Andrew Jackson the greatest villain of his time--a
Kentuckian--don't say he was a kinsman of yours!--whose papers, if he
left any, I want to see."

"To whom are you referring?" I asked with mock dignity.

"To John Adair," he answered.

"Well," said I, "John Adair married my grandmother's sister and I can
put you in the way of getting whatever you require."

I have spoken of John Hay as Master of the Revels in the old
Sutherland-Delmonico days. Even earlier than that--in London and
Paris--an intimacy had been established between us. He married in
Cleveland, Ohio, and many years passed before I came up with him again.
One day in Whitelaw Reid's den in the Tribune Building he reappeared,
strangely changed--no longer the rosy-cheeked, buoyant boy--an
overserious, prematurely old man. I was shocked, and when he had gone
Reid, observing this, said: "Oh, Hay will come round all right. He is
just now in one of his moods. I picked him up in Piccadilly the other
day and by sheer force brought him over."

When we recall the story of Hay's life--one weird tragedy after another,
from the murder of Lincoln to the murder of McKinley, including the
tragic end of two members of his immediate family--there rises in spite
of the grandeur that pursued him a single exclamation: "The pity of it!"

This is accentuated by Henry Adams' Education. Yet the silent courage
with which Hay met disaster after disaster must increase both the
sympathy and the respect of those who peruse the melancholy pages of
that vivid narrative. Toward the end, meeting him on a public occasion,
I said: "You work too hard--you are not looking well."

"I am dying," said he.

"Yes," I replied in the way of banter, "you are dying of fame and
fortune."

But I went no further. He was in no mood for the old verbal horseplay.

He looked wan and wizened. Yet there were still several years before
him. When he came from Mannheim to Paris it was clear that the end was
nigh. I did not see him--he was too ill to see any one--but Frank Mason
kept me advised from day to day, and when, a month or two later, having
reached home, the news came to us that he was dead we were nowise
surprised, and almost consoled by the thought that rest had come at
last.

Frank Mason and his wife--"the Masons," they were commonly called, for
Mrs. Mason made a wondrous second to her husband--were from Cleveland,
Ohio, she a daughter of Judge Birchard--Jennie Birchard--he a rising
young journalist caught in the late seventies by the glitter of a
foreign appointment. They ran the gamut of the consular service,
beginning with Basel and Marseilles and ending with Frankfurt, Berlin
and Paris. Wherever they were their house was a very home--a kind of
Yankee shrine--of visiting Americans and militant Americanism.

Years before he was made consul general--in point of fact when he was
plain consul at Marseilles--he ran over to Paris for a lark. One day he
said to me, "A rich old hayseed uncle of mine has come to town. He has
money to burn and he wants to meet you. I have arranged for us to dine
with him at the Anglaise to-night and we are to order the dinner--carte
blanche." The rich old uncle to whom I was presented did not have
the appearance of a hayseed. On the contrary he was a most
distinguished-looking old gentleman. The dinner we ordered was
"stunning"--especially the wines. When the bill was presented our
host scanned it carefully, scrutinizing each item and making his own
addition, altogether "like a thoroughbred." Frank and I watched him not
without a bit of anxiety mixed with contrition. When he had paid the
score he said with a smile: "That was rather a steep bill, but we have
had rather a good dinner, and now, if you boys know of as good a dance
hall we'll go there and I'll buy the outfit."



II


First and last I have lived much in the erstwhile gay capital of France.
It was gayest when the Duke de Morny flourished as King of the Bourse.
He was reputed the Emperor's natural half-brother. The breakdown of the
Mexican adventure, which was mostly his, contributed not a little to the
final Napoleonic fall. He died of dissipation and disappointment, and
under the pseudonym of the Duke de Morra, Daudet celebrated him in "The
Nabob."

De Morny did not live to see the tumble of the house of cards he had
built. Next after I saw Paris it was a pitiful wreck indeed; the Hotel
de Ville and the Tuileries in flames; the Column gone from the Place
Vendôme; but later the rise of the Third Republic saw the revival of the
unquenchable spirit of the irrepressible French.

Nevertheless I should scarcely be taken for a Parisian. Once, when
wandering aimlessly, as one so often does through the Paris streets,
one of the touts hanging round the Cafe de la Paix to catch the unwary
stranger being a little more importunate than usual, I ordered him to go
about his business.

"This is my business," he impudently answered.

"Get away, I tell you!" I thundered, "I am a Parisian myself!"

He drew a little out of reach of the umbrella I held in my hand, and
with a drawl of supreme and very American contempt, exclaimed, "Well,
you don't look it," and scampered off.

Paris, however, is not all of France. Sometimes I have thought not the
best part of it. There is the south of France, with Avignon, the heart
of Provence, seat of the French papacy six hundred years ago, the
metropolis of Christendom before the Midi was a region--Paris yet a
village, and Rome struggling out of the debris of the ages--with Arles
and Nîmes, and, above all, Tarascon, the home of the immortal Tartarin,
for next-door neighbors. They are all hard by Marseilles. But Avignon
ever most caught my fancy, for there the nights seem peopled with the
ghosts of warriors and cardinals, and there on festal mornings the
spirits of Petrarch and his Laura walk abroad, the ramparts, which bade
defiance to Goth and Vandal and Saracen hordes, now giving shelter to
bats and owls, but the atmosphere laden with legend

  _"...tasting of Flora and the country green,
  Dance and Provençal song and sun-burnt mirth."_

Something too much of this! Let me not yield to the spell of the
picturesque. To recur to matters of fact and get down to prose and the
times we live in let us halt a moment on this southerly journey and
have a look in upon Lyons, the industrial capital of France, which is
directly on the way.

The idiosyncrasy of Lyons is silk. There are two schools of introduction
in the art of silk weaving, one of them free to any lad in the city, the
other requiring a trifle of matriculation. The first of these witnesses
the whole process of fabrication from the reeling of threads to the
finishing of dress goods, and the loom painting of pictures. It is most
interesting of course, the painstaking its most obvious feature, the
individual weaver living with his family upon a wage representing the
cost of the barest necessities of life. Again, and ever and ever again,
the inequalities of fortune! Where will it end?

The world has tried revolution and it has tried anarchy. Always the
survival of the strong, nicknamed by Spencer and his ilk the "fittest."
Ten thousand heads were chopped off during the Terror in France to make
room for whom? Not for the many, but the few; though it must be allowed
that in some ways the conditions were improved.

Yet here after a hundred years, here in Lyons, faithful, intelligent
men struggle for sixty, for forty cents a day, with never a hope beyond!
What is to be done about it? Suppose the wealth of the universe were
divided per capita, how long would it remain out of the clutches of the
Napoleons of finance, only a percentage of whom find ultimately their
Waterloo, little to the profit of the poor who spin and delve, who fight
and die, in the Grand Army of the Wretched!



III


We read a deal that is amusing about the southerly Frenchman. He is
indeed _sui generis_. Some five and twenty years ago there appeared in
Louisville a dapper gentleman, who declared himself a Marseillais,
and who subsequently came to be known variously as The Major and
The Frenchman. I shall not mention him otherwise in this veracious
chronicle, but, looking through the city directory of Marseilles I found
an entire page devoted to his name, though all the entries may not have
been members of his family. There is no doubt that he was a Marseillais.

Wandering through the streets of the old city, now in a café of La
Cannebière and now along a quay of the Old Port, his ghost has often
crossed my path and dogged my footsteps, though he has lain in his grave
this many a day. I grew to know him very well, to be first amused by
him, then to be interested, and in the end to entertain an affection for
him.

The Major was a delightful composite of Tartarin of Tarascon and the
Brigadier Gerard, with a dash of the Count of Monte Cristo; for when he
was flush--which by some odd coincidence happened exactly four times a
year--he was as liberal a spendthrift as one could wish to meet anywhere
between the little principality of Monaco and the headwaters of the
Nile; transparent as a child; idiosyncratic to a degree.

I understand Marseilles better and it has always seemed nearer to me
since he was born there and lived there when a boy, and, I much fear me,
was driven away, the scapegrace of excellent and wealthy people; not,
I feel sure, for any offense that touched the essential parts of his
manhood. A gentler, a more upright and harmless creature I never knew in
all my life.

I very well recall when he first arrived in the Kentucky metropolis.
His attire and raiment were faultless. He wore a rose in his coat, he
carried a delicate cane, and a most beautiful woman hung upon his arm.
She was his wife. It was a circumstance connected with this lady which
led to the after intimacy between him and me. She fell dangerously ill.
I had casually met her husband as an all-round man-about-town, and by
this token, seeking sympathy on lines of least resistance, he came to me
with his sorrow.

I have never seen grief more real and fervid. He swore, on his knees
and with tears in his eyes, that if she recovered, if God would give
her back to him, he would never again touch a card; for gambling was
his passion, and even among amateurs he would have been accounted the
softest of soft things. His prayer was answered, she did recover, and he
proceeded to fulfill his vow.

But what was he to do? He had been taught, or at least he had learned,
to do nothing, not even to play poker! I suggested that as running
a restaurant was a French prerogative and that as he knew less about
cooking than about anything else--we had had a contest or two over the
mysteries of a pair of chafing dishes--and as there was not a really
good eating place in Louisville, he should set up a restaurant. It was
said rather in jest than in earnest; but I was prepared to lend him the
money. The next thing I knew, and without asking for a dollar, he had
opened The Brunswick.

In those days I saw the Courier-Journal to press, turning night into
day, and during a dozen years I took my twelve o'clock supper there. It
was thus and from these beginnings that the casual acquaintance between
us ripened into intimacy, and that I gradually came into a knowledge
of the reserves behind The Major's buoyant optimism and occasional
gasconnade.

He ate and drank sparingly; but he was not proof against the seduction
of good company, and he had plenty of it, from William Preston to Joseph
Jefferson, with such side lights as Stoddard Johnston, Boyd Winchester,
Isaac Caldwell and Proctor Knott, of the Home Guard--very nearly all the
celebrities of the day among the outsiders--myself the humble witness
and chronicler. He secured an excellent chef, and of course we lived
exceedingly well.

The Major's most obvious peculiarity was that he knew everything and had
been everywhere. If pirates were mentioned he flowered out at once
into an adventure upon the sea; if bandits, on the land. If it was Wall
Street he had a reminiscence and a scheme; if gambling, a hard-luck
story and a system. There was no quarter of the globe of which he had
not been an inhabitant.

Once the timbered riches of Africa being mentioned, at once the Major
gave us a most graphic account of how "the old house"--for thus he
designated some commercial establishment, which either had no existence
or which he had some reason for not more particularly indicating--had
sent him in charge of a rosewood saw mill on the Ganges, and, after many
ups and downs, of how the floods had come and swept the plant away; and
Rudolph Fink, who was of the party, immediately said, "I can attest
the truth of The Major's story, because my brother Albert and I were
in charge of some fishing camps at the mouth of the Ganges at the exact
date of the floods, and we caught many of those rosewood logs in our
nets as they floated out to sea."

Augustine's Terrapin came to be for a while the rage in Philadelphia,
and even got as far as New York and Washington, and straightway, The
Major declared he could and would make Augustine and his terrapin look
"like a monkey." He proposed to give a dinner.

There were great preparations and expectancy. None of us ate much at
luncheon that day. At the appointed hour, we assembled at The Brunswick.
I will dismiss the decorations and the preludes except to say that they
were Parisian. After a while in full regalia The Major appeared, a train
of servants following with a silver tureen. The lid was lifted.

"_Voilà!_" says he.

The vision disclosed to our startled eyes was an ocean that looked like
bean soup flecked by a few strands of black crape!

The explosion duly arrived from the assembled gourmets, I, myself, I am
sorry to say, leading the rebellion.

"I put seeks terrapin in zat soup!" exclaimed The Frenchman, quite
losing his usual good English in his excitement.

We reproached him. We denounced him. He was driven from the field. But
he bore us no malice. Ten days later he invited us again, and this time
Sam Ward himself could have found no fault with the terrapin.

Next afternoon, when I knew The Major was asleep, I slipped back into
the kitchen and said to Louis Garnier, the chef: "Is there any of that
terrapin left over from last night?"

All unconscious of his treason Louis took me into the pantry and
triumphantly showed me three jars bearing the Augustine label and the
Philadelphia express tags!

On another occasion a friend of The Major's, passing The Brunswick and
observing some diamond-back shells in the window said, "Major, have you
any real live terrapins?"

[Illustration: Henry Woodfin Grady One of Mr. Watterson's "Boys".]

"Live!" cried The Frenchman. "Only this morning I open the ice box and
they were all dancing the cancan."

"Major," persisted the friend, "I'll go you a bottle of Veuve Cliquot,
you cannot show me an actual living terrapin."

"What do you take me for--confidence man?" The Major retorted. "How you
expect an old sport like me to bet upon a certainty?"

"Never mind your ethics. The wager is drink, not money. In any event we
shall have the wine."

"Oh, well," says The Frenchman, with a shrug and a droll grimace, "if
you insist on paying for a bottle of wine come with me."

He took a lighted candle, and together they went back to the ice box.
It was literally filled with diamond backs, and my friend thought he was
gone for sure.

"Là!" says The Major with triumph, rummaging among the mass of shells
with his cane as he held the candle aloft.

"But," says my friend, ready to surrender, yet taking a last chance,
"you told me they were dancing the cancan!"

The Major picked up a terrapin and turned it over in his hand. Quite
numb and frozen, the animal within made no sign. Then he stirred the
shells about in the box with his cane. Still not a show of life. Of a
sudden he stopped, reflected a moment, then looked at his watch.

"Ah," he murmured. "I quite forget. The terrapin, they are asleep. It is
ten-thirty, and the terrapin he regularly go to sleep at ten o'clock
by the watch every night." And without another word he reached for the
Veuve Cliquot!

For all his volubility in matters of romance and sentiment The Major
was exceeding reticent about his immediate self and his own affairs.
His legends referred to the distant of time and place. A certain dignity
could not be denied him, and, on occasion, a proper reserve; he rarely
mentioned his business--though he worked like a slave, and could not
have been making much or any profit--so that there rose the query how
he contrived to make both ends meet. Little by little I came into the
knowledge that there was a money supply from somewhere; finally, it
matters not how, that he had an annuity of forty thousand francs, paid
in quarterly installments of ten thousand francs each.

Occasionally he mentioned "the Old House," and in relating the famous
Sophonisba episode late at night, and only in the very fastnesses of
the wine cellar, as it were, at the most lachrymose passage he spoke of
"l'Oncle Célestin," with the deepest feeling.

"Did you ever hear The Frenchman tell that story about Sophonisba?"
Doctor Stoic, whom on account of his affectation of insensibility we
were wont to call Old Adamant, once asked me. "Well, sir, the other
night he told it to me, and he was drunk, and he cried, sir; and I was
drunk, and I cried too!"

I had known The Frenchman now ten or a dozen years. That he came
from Marseilles, that he had served on the Confederate side in the
Trans-Mississippi, that he possessed an annuity, that he must have been
well-born and reared, that he was simple, yet canny, and in his money
dealings scrupulously honest--was all I could be sure of. What had he
done to be ashamed about or wish to conceal? In what was he a black
sheep, for that he had been one seemed certain? Had the beautiful woman,
his wife--a tireless church and charity worker, who lived the life of a
recluse and a saint--had she reclaimed him from his former self? I knew
that she had been the immediate occasion of his turning over a new leaf.
But before her time what had he been, what had he done?

Late one night, when the rain was falling and the streets were empty, I
entered The Brunswick. It was empty too. In the farthest corner of the
little dining room The Major, his face buried in his hands, laid upon
the table in front of him, sat silently weeping. He did not observe
my entrance and I seated myself on the opposite side of the table.
Presently he looked up, and seeing me, without a word passed me a letter
which, all blistered with tears, had brought him to this distressful
state. It was a formal French burial summons, with its long list of
family names--his among the rest--the envelope, addressed in a lady's
hand--his sister's, the wife of a nobleman in high military command--the
postmark "Lyon." Uncle Celestin was dead.

Thereafter The Frenchman told me much which I may not recall and must
not repeat; for, included in that funeral list were some of the best
names in France, Uncle Célestin himself not the least of them.

At last he died, and as mysteriously as he had come his body was taken
away, nobody knew when, nobody where, and with it went the beautiful
woman, his wife, of whom from that day to this I have never heard a
word.



Chapter the Fifteenth

    Still the Gay Capital of France--Its Environs--Walewska and De
    Morny--Thackeray in Paris--A _Pension_ Adventure



I


Each of the generations thinks itself commonplace. Familiarity breeds
equally indifference and contempt. Yet no age of the world has witnessed
so much of the drama of life--of the romantic and picturesque--as the
age we live in. The years betwixt Agincourt and Waterloo were not more
delightfully tragic than the years between Serajevo and Senlis.

The gay capital of France remains the center of the stage and retains
the interest of the onlooking universe. All roads lead to Paris as all
roads led to Rome. In Dickens' day "a tale of two cities" could only
mean London and Paris then, and ever so unalike. To be brought to date
the title would have now to read "three," or even "four," cities, New
York and Chicago putting in their claims for mundane recognition.

I have been not only something of a traveller, but a diligent student
of history and a voracious novel reader, and, once-in-a-while, I get my
history and my fiction mixed. This has been especially the case when the
hum-drum of the Boulevards has driven me from the fascinations of the
Beau Quartier into the by-ways of the Marais and the fastnesses of
what was once the Latin Quarter. More than fifty years of intimacy have
enabled me to learn many things not commonly known, among them that
Paris is the most orderly and moral city in the world, except when, on
rare and brief occasions, it has been stirred to its depths.

I have crossed the ocean many times--have lived, not sojourned, on the
banks of the Seine, and, as I shall never see the other side again--do
not want to see it in its time of sorrow and garb of mourning--I may be
forgiven a retrospective pause in this egotistic chronicle. Or, shall I
not say, a word or two of affectionate retrogression, though perchance
it leads me after the manner of Silas Wegg to drop into poetry and take
a turn with a few ghosts into certain of their haunts, when you, dear
sir, or madame, or miss, as the case may be, and I were living that
"other life," whereof we remember so little that we cannot recall who we
were, or what name we went by, howbeit now-and-then we get a glimpse
in dreams, or a "hunch" from the world of spirits, or spirts-and-water,
which makes us fancy we might have been Julius Caesar, or Cleopatra--as
maybe we were!--or at least Joan of Arc, or Jean Valjean!



II


Let me repeat that upon no spot of earth has the fable we call existence
had so rare a setting and rung up its curtain upon such a succession of
performances; has so concentrated human attention upon mundane affairs;
has called such a muster roll of stage favorites; has contributed to
romance so many heroes and heroines, to history so many signal episodes
and personal exploits, to philosophy so much to kindle the craving for
vital knowledge, to stir sympathy and to awaken reflection.

Greece and Rome seem but myths of an Age of Fable. They live for us
as pictures live, as statues live. What was it I was saying about
statues--that they all look alike to me? There are too many of them.
They bring the ancients down to us in marble and bronze, not in flesh
and blood. We do not really laugh with Terence and Horace, nor weep with
Æschylus and Homer. The very nomenclature has a ticket air like tags on
a collection of curios in an auction room, droning the dull iteration of
a catalogue. There is as little to awaken and inspire in the system of
religion and ethics of the pagan world they lived in as in the eyes of
the stone effigies that stare blankly upon us in the British Museum, the
Uffizi and the Louvre.

We walk the streets of the Eternal City with wonderment, not with pity,
the human side quite lost in the archaic. What is Cæsar to us, or we to
Cæsar? Jove's thunder no longer terrifies, and we look elsewhere than
the Medici Venus for the lights o' love.

Not so with Paris. There the unbroken line of five hundred
years--semi-modern years, marking a longer period than we commonly
ascribe to Athens or Rome--beginning with the exit of this our own
world from the dark ages into the partial light of the middle ages, and
continuing thence through the struggle of man toward achievement--tells
us a tale more consecutive and thrilling, more varied and instructive,
than may be found in all the pages of all the chroniclers and poets of
the civilizations which vibrated between the Bosphorus and the Tiber, to
yield at last to triumphant Barbarism swooping down from Tyrol crag
and Alpine height, from the fastnesses of the Rhine and the Rhone, to
swallow luxury and culture. Refinement had done its perfect work. It
had emasculated man and unsexed woman and brought her to the front as a
political force, even as it is trying to do now.

The Paris of Balzac and Dumas, of De Musset and Hugo--even of
Thackeray--could still be seen when I first went there. Though our age
is as full of all that makes for the future of poetry and romance, it
does not contemporaneously lend itself to sentimental abstraction. Yet
it is hard to separate fact and fiction here; to decide between the
true and the false; to pluck from the haze with which time has enveloped
them, and to distinguish the puppets of actual flesh and blood who lived
and moved and had their being, and the phantoms of imagination called
into life and given each its local habitation and its name by the poet's
pen working its immemorial spell upon the reader's credulity.

To me D'Artagnan is rather more vital than Richelieu. Hugo's imps
and Balzac's bullies dance down the stage and shut from the view the
tax-collectors and the court favorites. The mousquetaires crowd the
field marshals off the scene. There is something real in Quasimodo, in
Cæsar de Birotteau, in Robert Macaire, something mythical in Mazarin, in
the Regent and in Jean Lass. Even here, in faraway Kentucky, I can shut
my eyes and see the Lady of Dreams as plainly as if she were coming out
of the Bristol or the Ritz to step into her automobile, while the Grande
Mademoiselle is merely a cloud of clothes and words that for me mean
nothing at all.

I once passed a week, day by day, roaming through the Musee Carnavalet.
Madame de Sevigne had an apartment and held her salon there for nearly
twenty years. Hard by is the house where the Marquise de Brinvilliers--a
gentle, blue-eyed thing they tell us--a poor, insane creature she must
have been--disseminated poison and death, and, just across and beyond
the Place des Vosges, the Hotel de Sens, whither Queen Margot took her
doll-rags and did her spriting after she and Henri Quatre had agreed
no longer to slide down the same cellar door. There is in the Museum
a death-mask, colored and exceeding life-like, taken the day
after Ravaillac delivered the finishing knife-thrust in the Rue de
Ferronnerie, which represents the Bèarnais as anything but a tamer of
hearts. He was a fighter, however, from Wayback, and I dare say Dumas'
narrative is quite as authentic as any.

One can scarce wonder that men like Hugo and Balzac chose this quarter
of the town to live in--and Rachael, too!--it having given such frequent
shelter to so many of their fantastic creations, having been the real
abode of a train of gallants and bravos, of saints and harlots from the
days of Diane de Poitiers to the days of Pompadour and du Barry, and of
statesmen and prelates likewise from Sully to Necker, from Colbert to
Turgot.



III


I speak of the Marais as I might speak of Madison Square, or Hyde
Park--as a well-known local section--yet how few Americans who have gone
to Paris have ever heard of it. It is in the eastern division of the
town. One finds it a curious circumstance that so many if not most of
the great cities somehow started with the rising, gradually to migrate
toward the setting sun.

When I first wandered about Paris there was little west of the Arch
of Stars except groves and meadows. Neuilly and Passy were distant
villages. Auteuil was a safe retreat for lovers and debtors, with comic
opera villas nestled in high-walled gardens. To Auteuil Armand Duval and
his Camille hied away for their short-lived idyl. In those days there
was a lovely lane called Marguerite Gautier, with a dovecote pointed out
as the very "rustic dwelling" so pathetically sung in Verdi's tuneful
score and tenderly described in the original Dumas text. The Boulevard
Montmorenci long ago plowed the shrines of romance out of the knowledge
of the living, and a part of the Longchamps racecourse occupies the spot
whither impecunious poets and adventure-seeking wives repaired to
escape the insistence of cruel bailiffs and the spies of suspicious and
monotonous husbands.

Tempus fugit! I used to read Thackeray's Paris Sketches with a kind
of awe. The Thirties and the Forties, reincarnated and inspired by his
glowing spirit, seemed clad in translucent garments, like the figures in
the Nibelungenlied, weird, remote, glorified. I once lived in the street
"for which no rhyme our language yields," next door to a pastry shop
that claimed to have furnished the mise en scène for the "Ballad
of Bouillabaisse," and I often followed the trail of Louis Dominic
Cartouche "down that lonely and crooked byway that, setting forth from
a palace yard, led finally to the rear gate of a den of thieves." Ah,
well-a-day! I have known my Paris now twice as long as Thackeray knew
his Paris, and my Paris has been as interesting as his Paris, for it
includes the Empire, the Siege and the Republic.

I knew and sat for months at table with Comtesse Walewska, widow of the
bastard son of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Duke de Morny was rather a person
in his way and Gambetta was no slouch, as Titmarsh would himself agree.
I knew them both. The Mexican scheme, which was going to make every
Frenchman rich, was even more picturesque and tragical than the
Mississippi bubble. There were lively times round about the last of the
Sixties and the early Seventies. The Terror lasted longer, but it
was not much more lurid than the Commune; the Hotel de Ville and the
Tuileries in flames, the column gone from the Place Vendôme, when I got
there just after the siege. The regions of the beautiful Opera House and
of the venerable Notre Dame they told me had been but yesterday running
streams of blood. At the corner of the Rue de la Paix and the Rue Dannou
(they called it then the Rue St. Augustine) thirty men, women, and boys
were one forenoon stood against the wall and shot, volley upon volley,
to death. In the Sacristy of the Cathedral over against the Morgue
and the Hotel Dieu, they exhibit the gore-stained vestments of three
archbishops of Paris murdered within as many decades.



IV


Thackeray came to Paris when a very young man. He was for painting
pictures, not for writing books, and he retained his artistic yearnings
if not ambitions long after he had become a great and famous man of
letters. It was in Paris that he married his wife, and in Paris that the
melancholy finale came to pass; one of the most heartbreaking chapters
in literary history.

His little girls lived here with their grandparents. The elder of them
relates how she was once taken up some flights of stairs by the Countess
X to the apartment of a frail young man to whom the Countess was
carrying a basket of fruit; and how the frail young man insisted,
against the protest of the Countess, upon sitting at the piano and
playing; and of how they came out again, the eyes of the Countess
streaming with tears, and of her saying, as they drove away, "Never,
never forget, my child, as long as you live, that you have heard Chopin
play." It was in one of the lubberly houses of the Place Vendôme that
the poet of the keyboard died a few days later. Just around the corner,
in the Rue du Mont Thabor, died Alfred de Musset. A brass plate marks
the house.

May I not here transcribe that verse of the famous "Ballad of
Bouillabaisse," which I have never been able to recite, or read aloud,
and part of which I may at length take to myself:

  _"Ah me, how quick the days are flitting!
  I mind me of a time that's gone,
  When here I'd sit, as now I'm sitting
  In this same place--but not alone--
  A fair young form was nestled near me,
  A dear, dear face looked fondly up,
  And sweetly spoke and smiled to hear me,
  There's no one now to share my cup."_

The writer of these lines a cynic! Nonsense. When will the world learn
to discriminate?



V


It is impossible to speak of Paris without giving a foremost place in
the memorial retrospect to the Bois de Boulogne, the Parisian's Coney
Island. I recall that I passed the final Sunday of my last Parisian
sojourn just before the outbreak of the World War with a beloved family
party in the joyous old Common. There is none like it in the world,
uniting the urban to the rural with such surpassing grace as perpetually
to convey a double sensation of pleasure; primal in its simplicity,
superb in its setting; in the variety and brilliancy of the life which,
upon sunny afternoons, takes possession of it and makes it a cross
between a parade and a paradise.

There was a time when, rather far away for foot travel, the Bois might
be considered a driving park for the rich. It fairly blazed with the
ostentatious splendor of the Second Empire; the shoddy Duke with his
shady retinue, in gilded coach-and-four; the world-famous courtesan,
bedizened with costly jewels and quite as well known as the Empress; the
favorites of the Tuileries, the Comédie Française, the Opera, the Jardin
Mabille, forming an unceasing and dazzling line of many-sided frivolity
from the Port de Ville to the Port St. Cloud, circling round La
Bagatelle and ranging about the Cafe Cascade, a human tiara of diamonds,
a moving bouquet of laces and rubies, of silks and satins and emeralds
and sapphires. Those were the days when the Due de Morny, half if not
full brother of the Emperor, ruled as king of the Bourse, and Cora
Pearl, a clever and not at all good-looking Irish girl gone wrong,
reigned as Queen of the Demimonde.

All this went by the board years ago. Everywhere, more or less,
electricity has obliterated distinctions of rank and wealth. It has
circumvented lovers and annihilated romance. The Republic ousted the
bogus nobility. The subways and the tram cars connect the Bois de
Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes so closely that the poorest may make
himself at home in either or both.

The automobile, too, oddly enough, is proving a very leveller. The
crowd recognizes nobody amid the hurly-burly of coupes, pony-carts,
and taxicabs, each trying to pass the other. The conglomeration of
personalities effaces the identity alike of the statesman and the
artist, the savant and the cyprian. No six-inch rules hedge the shade of
the trees and limit the glory of the grass. The _ouvrier_ can bring his
brood and his basket and have his picnic where he pleases. The pastry
cook and his chére amie, the coiffeur and his grisette can spoon by the
lake-side as long as the moonlight lasts, and longer if they list, with
never a gendarme to say them nay, or a rude voice out of the depths
hoarsely to declaim, "allez!" The Bois de Boulogne is literally and
absolutely a playground, the playground of the people, and this last
Sunday of mine, not fewer than half a million of Parisians were making
it their own.

Half of these encircled the Longchamps racecourse. The other half were
shared by the boats upon the lagoons and the bosky dells under the
summer sky and the cafés and the restaurants with which the Bois
abounds. Our party, having exhausted the humors of the drive, repaired
to Pré Catalan. Aside from the "two old brides" who are always in
evidence on such occasions, there was a veritable "young couple,"
exceedingly pretty to look at, and delightfully in love! That sort of
thing is not so uncommon in Paris as cynics affect to think.

If it be true, as the witty Frenchman observes, that "gambling is the
recreation of gentlemen and the passion of fools," it is equally true
that love is a game where every player wins if he sticks to it and is
loyal to it. Just as credit is the foundation of business is love both
the asset and the trade-mark of happiness. To see it is to believe it,
and--though a little cash in hand is needful to both--where either is
wanting, look out for sheriffs and scandals.

Pré Catalan, once a pasture for cows with a pretty kiosk for the sale
of milk, has latterly had a tea-room big enough to seat a thousand, not
counting the groves which I have seen grow up about it thickly dotted
with booths and tables, where some thousands more may regale themselves.
That Sunday it was never so glowing with animation and color. As it
makes one happy to see others happy it makes one adore his own land to
witness that which makes other lands great.

I have not loved Paris as a Parisian, but as an American; perhaps it
is a stretch of words to say I love Paris at all. I used to love to go
there and to behold the majesty of France. I have always liked to mark
the startling contrasts of light and shade. I have always known what all
the world now knows, that beneath the gayety of the French there burns
a patriotic and consuming fire, a high sense of public honor; a fine
spirit of self-sacrifice along with the sometimes too aggressive spirit
of freedom. In 1873 I saw them two blocks long and three files deep upon
the Rue St. Honore press up to the Bank of France, old women and old men
with their little all tied in handkerchiefs and stockings to take up
the tribute required by Bismarck to rid the soil of the detested German.
They did it. Alone they did it--the French people--the hard-working,
frugal, loyal commonalty of France--without asking the loan of a sou
from the world outside.



VI


Writing of that last Sunday in the Bois de Boulogne, I find by recurring
to the record that I said: "There is a deal more of good than bad in
every Nation. I take off my hat to the French. But, I have had my fling
and I am quite ready to go home. Even amid the gayety and the glare, the
splendor of color and light, the Hungarian band wafting to the greenery
and the stars the strains of the delicious waltz, La Veuve Joyeuse her
very self--yea, many of her--tapping the time at many adjacent tables,
the song that fills my heart is 'Hame, Hame, Hame!--Hame to my ain
countree.' Yet, to come again, d'ye mind? I should be loath to say
good-by forever to the Bois de Boulogne. I want to come back to Paris.
I always want to come back to Paris. One needs not to make an apology or
give a reason.

"We turn rather sadly away from Pré Catalan and the Café Cascade.
We glide adown the flower-bordered path and out from the clusters of
Chinese lanterns, and leave the twinkling groves to their music and
merry-making. Yonder behind us, like a sentinel, rises Mont Valerien.
Before us glimmer the lamps of uncountable coaches, as our own, veering
toward the city, the moon just topping the tower of St. Jacques de la
Boucherie and silver-plating the bronze figures upon the Arch of Stars.

"We enter the Port Maillot. We turn into the Avenue du Bois. Presently
we shall sweep with the rest through the Champs Èlysées and on to the
ocean of the infinite, the heart of the mystery we call Life, nowhere so
condensed, so palpable, so appealing. Roll the screen away! The shades
of Clovis and Genevieve may be seen hand-in-hand with the shades of
Martel and Pepin, taking the round of the ghost-walk between St. Denis
and St. Germain, now le Balafré and again Navarre, now the assassins of
the Ligue and now the assassins of the Terror, to keep them company. Nor
yet quite all on murder bent, some on pleasure; the Knights and Ladies
of the Cloth of Gold and the hosts of the Renaissance: Cyrano de
Bergerac and François Villon leading the ragamuffin procession; the
jades of the Fronde, Longueville, Chevreuse and fair-haired Anne of
Austria; and Ninon, too, and Manon; and the never-to-be-forgotten Four,
'one for all and all for one;' Cagliostro and Monte Cristo; on the side,
Rabelais taking notes and laughing under his cowl. Catherine de Medici
and Robespierre slinking away, poor, guilty things, into the pale
twilight of the Dawn!

"Names! Names! Only names? I am not just so sure about that. In any
event, what a roll call! We are such stuff as dreams are made of, and
our little life is rounded by a sleep; the selfsame sleep which these,
our living dead men and women in steel armor and gauzy muslins, in
silken hose and sock and buskin, epaulettes and top boots, brocades and
buff facings, have endured so long and know so well!

"If I should die in Paris I should expect them--or some of them--to meet
me at the barriers and to say, 'Behold, the wickedness that was done in
the world, the cruelty and the wrong, dwelt in the body, not in the soul
of man, which freed from its foul incasement, purified and made eternal
by the hand of death, shall see both the glory and the hand of God!'"

It was not to be. I shall not die in Paris. I shall never come again.
Neither shall I make apology for this long quotation by myself from
myself, for am I not inditing an autobiography, so called?



Chapter the Sixteenth

    Monte Carlo--The European Shrine of Sport and Fashion--Apocryphal
    Gambling Stories--Leopold, King of the Belgians--An Able and
    Picturesque Man of Business



I


Having disported ourselves in and about Paris, next in order comes a
journey to the South of France--that is to the Riviera--by geography the
main circle of the Mediterranean Sea, by proclamation Cannes, Nice, and
Mentone, by actual fact and count, Monte Carlo--even the swells adopting
a certain hypocrisy as due to virtue.

Whilst Monte Carlo is chiefly, I might say exclusively, identified
in the general mind with gambling, and was indeed at the outset but a
gambling resort, it long ago outgrew the limits of the Casino, becoming
a Mecca of the world of fashion as well as the world of sport. Half the
ruling sovereigns of Europe and all the leaders of European swelldom,
the more prosperous of the demi-mondaines and no end of the merely
rich of every land, congregate there and thereabouts. At the top of the
season the show of opulence and impudence is bewildering.

The little principality of Monaco is hardly bigger than the Cabbage
Patch of the renowned Mrs. Wiggs. It is, however, more happily situate.
Nestled under the heights of La Condamine and Tête de Chien and looking
across a sheltered bay upon the wide and blue Mediterranean, it has
better protection against the winds of the North than Nice, or
Cannes, or Mentone. It is an appanage--in point of fact the only
estate--remaining to the once powerful Grimaldi family.

In the early days of land-piracy Old Man Grimaldi held his own with Old
Man Hohenzollern and Old Man Hapsburg. The Savoys and the Bourbons were
kith and kin. But in the long run of Freebooting the Grimaldis did not
keep up with the procession. How they retained even this remnant of
inherited brigandage and self-appointed royalty, I do not know. They are
here under leave of the Powers and the especial protection, strange to
say, of the French Republic.

Something over fifty years ago, being hard-up for cash, the Grimaldi
of the period fell under the wiles of an ingenious Alsatian gambler,
Guerlac by name, who foresaw that Baden-Baden and Hombourg were
approaching their finish and that the sports must look elsewhere for
their living, the idle rich for their sport. This tiny "enclave" in
French territory presented many advantages over the German Dukedoms. It
was an independent sovereignty issuing its own coins and postage stamps.
It was in proud possession of a half-dozen policemen which it called its
"army." It was paradisaic in beauty and climate. Its "ruler" was as poor
as Job's turkey, but by no means as proud as Lucifer.

The bargain was struck. The gambler smote the rock of Monte Carlo as
with a wand of enchantment and a stream of plenty burst forth. The
mountain-side responded to the touch. It chortled in its glee and
blossomed as the rose.



II


The region known as the Riviera comprises, as I have said, the whole
land-circle of the Mediterranean Sea. But, as generally written and
understood, it stands for the shoreline between Marseilles and Genoa.
The two cities are connected by the Corniche Road, built by the First
Napoleon, who learned the need of it when he made his Italian campaign,
and the modern railway, the distance 260 miles, two-thirds of the way
through France, the residue through Italy, and all of it surpassing
fine.

The climate is very like that of Southern Florida. But as in Florida
they have the "Nor'westers" and the "Nor'easters," on the Riviera they
have the "mistral." In Europe there is no perfect winter weather north
of Spain, as in the United States none north of Cuba.

I have often thought that Havana might be made a dangerous rival of
Monte Carlo under the one-man power, exercising its despotism with
benignant intelligence and spending its income honestly upon the
development of both the city and the island. The motley populace would
probably be none the worse for it. The Government could upon a liberal
tariff collect not less than thirty-five millions of annual revenue.
Twenty-five of these millions would suffice for its own support.
Ten millions a year laid out upon harbors, roadways and internal
improvements in general would within ten years make the Queen of the
Antilles the garden spot and playground of Christendom. They would build
a Casino to outshine even the architectural miracles of Charles Garnier.
Then would Havana put Cairo out of business and give the Prince of
Monaco a run for his money.

With the opening of every Monte Carlo season the newspapers used to
tell of the colossal winnings of purely imaginary players. Sometimes
the favored child of chance was a Russian, sometimes an Englishman,
sometimes an American. He was usually a myth, of course. As Mrs. Prig
observed to Mrs. Camp, "there never was no sich person."



III


Charles Garnier, the Parisian architect, came and built the Casino, next
to the Library of Congress at Washington and the Grand Opera House
at Paris the most beautiful building in the world, with incomparable
gardens and commanding esplanades to set it off and display it.
Around it palatial hotels and private mansions and villas sprang into
existence. Within it a gold-making wheel of fortune fabricated the
wherewithal. Old Man Grimaldi in his wildest dreams of land-piracy--even
Old Man Hohenzollern, or Old Man Hapsburg--never conceived the like.

There is no poverty, no want, no taxes--not any sign of dilapidation
or squalor anywhere in the principality of Monaco. Yet the "people,"
so called, have been known to lapse into a state of discontent. They
sometimes "yearned for freedom." Too well fed and cared for, too rid of
dirt and debt, too flourishing, they "riz." Prosperity grew monotonous.
They even had the nerve to demand a "Constitution."

The reigning Prince was what Yellowplush would call "a scientific gent."
His son and heir, however, had not his head in the clouds, being in
point of fact of the earth earthly, and, of consequence, more popular
than his father. He came down from the Castle on the hill to the
marketplace in the town and says he: "What do you galoots want, anyhow?"

First, their "rights." Then a change in the commander-in-chief of the
army, which had grown from six to sixteen. Finally, a Board of Aldermen
and a Common Council.

"Is that all?" says his Royal Highness. They said it was. "Then," says
he, "take it, mes enfants, and bless you!"

So, all went well again. The toy sovereignty began to rattle around
in its own conceit, the "people" regarded themselves, and wished to be
regarded, as a chartered Democracy. The little gim-crack economic system
experienced the joys of reform. A "New Nationalism" was established in
the brewery down by the railway station and a reciprocity treaty
was negotiated between the Casino and Vanity Fair, witnessing the
introduction of two roulette tables and an extra brazier for cigar
stumps.

But the Prince of Monaco stood on one point. He would have no Committee
on Credentials. He told me once that he had heard of Tom Reed and Champ
Clark and Uncle Joe Cannon, but that he preferred Uncle Joe. He would,
and he did, name his own committees both in the Board of Aldermen and
the Common Council. Thus, for the time being, "insurgency" was quelled.
And once more serenely sat the Castle on the hill hard by the Cathedral.
Calmly again flowed the waters in the harbor. More and more the autos
honked outside the Casino. Within "the little ball ever goes merrily
round," and according to the croupiers and the society reporters "the
gentleman wins and the poor gambler loses!"



IV


To illustrate, I recall when on a certain season the lucky sport of
print and fancy was an Englishman. In one of those farragos of stupidity
and inaccuracy which are syndicated and sent from abroad to America, I
found the following piece with the stuff and nonsense habitually worked
off on the American press as "foreign correspondence":

"Now and then the newspapers report authentic instances of large sums
having been won at the gaming tables at Monte Carlo. One of the most
fortunate players at Monte Carlo for a long time past has been a Mr.
Darnbrough, an Englishman, whose remarkable run of luck had furnished
the morsels of gossip in the capitals of Continental Europe recently.

"If reports are true, he left the place with the snug sum of more than
1,000,000 francs to the good as the result of a month's play. But this,
I hear, did not represent all of Mr. Darnbrough's winnings. The story
goes that on the opening day of his play he staked 24,000 francs,
winning all along the line. Emboldened by his success, he continued
playing, winning again and again with marvelous luck. At one period, it
is said, his credit balance amounted to no less than 1,850,000 francs;
but from that moment Dame Fortune ceased to smile upon him. He lost
steadily from 200,000 to 300,000 francs a day, until, recognizing that
luck had turned against him, he had sufficient strength of will to turn
his back on the tables and strike for home with the very substantial
winnings that still remained.

"On another occasion a well-known London stock broker walked off with
little short of £40,000. This remarkable performance occasioned no small
amount of excitement in the gambling rooms, as such an unusual incident
does invariably.

"Bent on making a 'plunge,' he went from one table to another, placing
the maximum stake on the same number. Strange to relate, at each table
the same number won, and it was his number. Recognizing that this
perhaps might be his lucky day, the player wended his way to the
trente-et-quarante room and put the maximum on three of the tables
there. To his amazement, he discovered that there also he had been so
fortunate as to select the winning number.

"The head croupier confided to a friend of the writer who happened to
be present that that day had been the worst in the history of the Monaco
bank for years. He it was also who mentioned the amount won by the
fortunate Londoner, as given above."

It is prudent of the space-writers to ascribe such "information" as this
to "the head croupier," because it is precisely the like that such an
authority would give out. People upon the spot know that nothing of the
kind happened, and that no person of that name had appeared upon
the scene. The story on the face of it bears to the knowing its own
refutation, being absurd in every detail. As if conscious of this, the
author proceeds to quality it in the following:

"It is a well-known fact that one of the most successful players at the
Monte Carlo tables was Wells, who as the once popular music-hall song
put it, 'broke the bank' there. He was at the zenith of his fame, about
twenty years ago, when his escapades--and winnings--were talked about
widely and envied in European sporting circles and among the demi-monde.

"In ten days, it was said, he made upward of £35,000 clear winnings at
the tables after starting with the modest capital of £400. It must
not be forgotten, however, that at his trial later Wells denied this,
stating that all he had made was £7,000 at four consecutive sittings. He
made the statement that, even so, he had been a loser in the end.

"The reader may take his choice of the two statements, but among
frequenters of the rooms at Monte Carlo it is generally considered
impossible to amass large winnings without risking large stakes. Even
then the chances are 1,000 to 1 in favor of the bank. Yet occasionally
there are winnings running into four or five figures, and to
human beings the possibility of chance constitutes an irresistible
fascination.

"Only a few years ago a young American was credited with having risen
from the tables $75,000 richer than when first he had sat down. It was
his first visit to Monte Carlo and he had not come with any system to
break the bank or with any 'get-rich-quick' idea. For the novelty of the
thing he risked about $4,000, and lost it all in one fell swoop without
turning a hair. Then he 'plunged' with double that amount, but the best
part of that, too, went the same way. Nothing daunted, he next ventured
$10,000. This time fickle fortune favored him. He played on with growing
confidence and when his winnings amounted to the respectable sum of
$75,000 he had the good sense to quit and to leave the place despite the
temptation to continue."



V


The "man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo," and gave occasion for the
song, was not named "Wells" and he was not an Englishman. He was an
American. I knew him well and soon after the event had from his own lips
the whole story.

He came to Monte Carlo with a good deal of money won at draw-poker in
a club at Paris and went away richer by some 100,000 francs (about
$20,000) than he came.

The catch-line of the song is misleading. There is no such thing as
"breaking the bank at Monte Carlo." This particular player won so fast
upon two or three "spins" that the table at which he played had to
suspend until it could be replenished by another "bank," perhaps ten
minutes in point of time. There used to be some twenty tables. Just
how one man could play at more than one of them at one time a "foreign
correspondent," but only a "foreign correspondent," might explain to the
satisfaction of the horse-marines.

I very much doubt whether any player ever won more than 100,000 francs
at a single sitting. To do even that he must plunge like a ship in a
hurricane. There is, of course, a saving limit set by the Casino Company
upon the play. It is to the interest of the Casino to cultivate the
idea, and the letter writers are willing tools. Not only at Monte Carlo,
but everywhere, in dearth of news, gambling stories come cheap and easy.
And the cheaper the story the bigger the play. "The Jedge raised him two
thousand dollars. The Colonel raised him back ten thousand more. Both of
'em stood pat. The Jedge bet him a hundred thousand. The Colonel called.
'What you got?' says he. 'Ace high,' says the Jedge; 'what you got?'
'Pair o' deuces,' says the Colonel."

Assuredly the "play" in the Casino is entirely fair. It could hardly be
otherwise with such crowds of players at the tables, often covering the
whole "layout." But there is no such thing as "honest gambling." The
"house" must have "the best of it." A famous American gambler, when
I had referred to one of his guild, lately deceased, as "an honest
gambler," said to me: "What do you mean by 'an honest gambler'?"

"A gambler who will not take unfair advantage!" I answered.

"Well," said he, "the gambler must have his advantage, because gambling
is his livelihood. He must fit himself for its profitable pursuit by
learning all the tricks of trade like other artists and artificers. With
him it is win or starve."

Among the variegate crowds that thronged the highways and byways of
Monte Carlo in those days there was no single figure more observed and
striking than that of Leopold the Second, King of the Belgians. He had
a bungalow overlooking the sea where he lived three months of the year
like a country gentleman. Although I have made it a rule to avoid courts
and courtiers, an event brought me into acquaintance with this best
abused man in Europe, enabling me to form my own estimate of his very
interesting personality.

He was not at all what his enemies represented him to be, a sot, a
gambler and a roué. In appearance a benignant burgomaster, tall and
stalwart; in manner and voice very gentle, he should be described as
first of all a man of business. His weakness was rather for money than
women. Speaking of the most famous of the Parisian dancers with whom his
name had been scandalously associated, he told me that he had never met
her but once in his life, and that after the newspaper gossips had been
busy for years with their alleged love affair. "I kissed her hand," he
related, "and bade her adieu, saying, 'Ah, ma'mselle, you and I have
indeed reason to congratulate ourselves.'"

It was the Congo business that lay at the bottom of the abuse of
Leopold. Henry Stanley had put him up to this. It turned out a gold
mine, and then two streams of defamation were let loose; one from the
covetous commercial standpoint and the other from the humanitarian.
Between them, seeking to drive him out, they depicted him as a monster
of cruelty and depravity.

A King must be an anchorite to escape calumny, and Leopold was not an
anchorite. I asked him why I never saw him in the Casino. "Play," he
answered, "does not interest me. Besides, I do not enjoy being talked
about. Nor do I think the game they play there quite fair."

"In what way do you consider it unfair, your Majesty?" I asked.

"In the zero," he replied. "At the Brussels Casino I do not allow them
to have a zero. Come and see me and I will show you a perfectly equal
chance for your money, to win or lose."

Years after I was in Brussels. Leopold had gone to his account and his
nephew, Albert, had come to the throne. There was not a roulette table
in the Casino, but there was one conveniently adjacent thereto, managed
by a clique of New York gamblers, which had both a single "and a double
O," and, as appeared when the municipality made a descent upon the
place, was ingeniously wired to throw the ball wherever the presiding
coupier wanted it to go.

I do not believe, however, that Leopold was a party to this, or could
have had any knowledge of it. He was a skillful, not a dishonest,
business man, who showed his foresight when he listened to Stanley and
took him under his wing. If the Congo had turned out worthless nobody
would ever have heard of the delinquencies of the King of the Belgians.



Chapter the Seventeenth

    A Parisian _Pension_--The Widow of Walewska--Napoleon's
    Daughter-in-Law--The Changeless--A Moral and Orderly City



I


I have said that I knew the widow of Walewska, the natural son of
Napoleon Bonaparte by the Polish countess he picked up in Warsaw, who
followed him to Paris; and thereby hangs a tale which may not be without
interest.

In each of our many sojourns in Paris my wife and I had taken an
apartment, living the while in the restaurants, at first the cheaper,
like the Café de Progress and the Duval places; then the Boeuf à la
Mode, the Café Voisin and the Café Anglais, with Champoux's, in the
Place de la Bourse, for a regular luncheon resort.

At length, the children something more than half grown, I said: "We have
never tried a Paris _pension_."

So with a half dozen recommended addresses we set out on a house hunt.
We had not gone far when our search was rewarded by a veritable find.
This was on the Avenue de Courcelles, not far from the Pare Monceau;
newly furnished; reasonable charges; the lady manager a beautiful
well-mannered woman, half Scotch and half French.

We moved in. When dinner was called the boarders assembled in the very
elegant drawing-room. Madame presented us to Baron ----. Then followed
introductions to Madame la Duchesse and Madame la Princesse and Madame
la Comtesse. Then the folding doors opened and dinner was announced.

The baron sat at the center of the table. The meal consisted of eight or
ten courses, served as if at a private house, and of surpassing quality.
During the three months that we remained there was no evidence of a
boarding house. It appeared an aristocratic family into which we had
been hospitably admitted. The baron was a delightful person. Madame la
Duchesse was the mother of Madame la Princesse, and both were charming.
The Comtesse, the Napoleonic widow, was at first a little formal,
but she came round after we had got acquainted, and, when we took our
departure, it was like leaving a veritable domestic circle.

Years after we had the sequel. The baron, a poor young nobleman, had
come into a little money. He thought to make it breed. He had an equally
poor Scotch cousin, who undertook to play hostess. Both the Duchess and
the Countess were his kinswomen. How could such a ménage last?

He lost his all. What became of our fellow-lodgers I never learned,
but the venture coming to naught, the last I heard of the beautiful
high-bred lady manager, she was serving as a stewardess on an ocean
liner. Nothing, however, could exceed the luxury, the felicity and
the good company of those memorable three months _chez l'Avenue de
Courcelles, Pare Monceau_.

We never tried a _pension_ again. We chose a delightful hotel in the
Rue de Castiglione off the Rue de Rivoli, and remained there as fixtures
until we were reckoned the oldest inhabitants. But we never deserted
the dear old Boeuf à la Mode, which we lived to see one of the most
flourishing and popular places in Paris.



II


In the old days there was a little hotel on the Rue Dannou, midway
between the Rue de la Paix and what later along became the Avenue de
l'Opéra, called the Hôtel d'Orient. It was conducted by a certain Madame
Hougenin, whose family had held the lease for more than a hundred years,
and was typical of what the comfort-seeking visitor, somewhat initiate,
might find before the modern tourist onrush overflowed all bounds and
effaced the ancient landmarks--or should I say townmarks?--making a
resort instead of a home of the gay French capital. The d'Orient was
delightfully comfortable and fabulously cheap.

The wayfarer entered a darksome passage that led to an inner court.
There were on the four sides of this seven or eight stories pierced
by many windows. There was never a lift, or what we Americans call an
elevator. If you wanted to go up you walked up; and after dark
your single illuminant was candlelight. The service could hardly be
recommended, but cleanliness herself could find no fault with the
beds and bedding; nor any queer people about; changeless; as still and
stationary as a nook in the Rockies.

A young girl might dwell there year in and year out in perfect
safety--many young girls did so--madame a kind of duenna. The food--for
it was a _pension_--was all a gourmet could desire. And the wine!

I was lunching with an old Parisian friend.

"What do you think of this vintage?" says he.

"Very good," I answered. "Come and dine with me to-morrow and I will
give you the mate to it."

"What--at the d'Orient?"

"Yes, at the d'Orient."

"Preposterous!"

Nevertheless, he came. When the wine was poured out he took a sip.

"By ----!" he exclaimed. "That is good, isn't it? I wonder where they
got it? And how?"

During the week after we had it every day. Then no more. The headwaiter,
with many apologies, explained that he had found those few bottles in a
forgotten bin, where they had lain for years, and he begged a thousand
pardons of monsieur, but we had drunk them all--_rien du plus_--no more.
I might add that precisely the same thing happened to me at the Hôtel
Continental. Indeed, it is not uncommon with the French caravansaries
to keep a little extra good wine in stock for those who can distinguish
between an _ordinaire_ and a _supérieur_, and are willing to pay the
price.



III


"See Naples and die," say the Italians. "See Paris and live," say the
French. Old friends, who have been over and back, have been of late
telling me that Paris, having woefully suffered, is nowise the Paris it
was, and as the provisional offspring of four years of desolating war
I can well believe them. But a year or two of peace, and the city will
rise again, as after the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune, which laid
upon it a sufficiently blighting hand. In spite of fickle fortune
and its many ups and downs it is, and will ever remain, "Paris, the
Changeless."

I never saw the town so much itself as just before the beginning of the
world war. I took my departure in the early summer of that fateful year
and left all things booming--not a sign or trace that there had ever
been aught but boundless happiness and prosperity. It is hard, the
saying has it, to keep a squirrel on the ground, and surely Paris is
the squirrel among cities. The season just ended had been, everybody
declared, uncommonly successful from the standpoints alike of the hotels
and cafés, the shop folk and their patrons, not to mention the purely
pleasure-seeking throng. People seemed loaded with money and giddy to
spend it.

The headwaiter at Voisin's told me this: "Mr. Barnes, of New York,
ordered a dinner, carte blanche, for twelve.

"'Now,' says he, 'garçon, have everything bang up, and here's
seventy-five francs for a starter.'

"The dinner was bang up. Everybody hilarious. Mr. Barnes immensely
pleased. When he came to pay his bill, which was a corker, he made no
objection.

"'Garçon,' says he, 'if I ask you a question will you tell me the
truth?'

"'_Oui, monsieur; certainement._'

"Well, how much was the largest tip you ever received?"

"Seventy-five francs, monsieur."

"'Very well; here are 100 francs.'

"Then, after a pause for the waiter to digest his joy and express a
proper sense of gratitude and wonder, Mr. Barnes came to time with: 'Do
you remember who was the idiot that paid you the seventy-five francs?'

"'Oh, yes, monsieur. It was you.'"



IV


It has occurred to me that of late years--I mean the years immediately
before 1914--Paris has been rather more bent upon adapting itself to
human and moral as well as scientific progress. There has certainly
been less debauchery visible to the naked eye. I was assured that
the patronage had so fallen away from the Moulin Rouge that they were
planning to turn it into a decent theater. Nor during my sojourn did
anybody in my hearing so much as mention the Dead Rat. I doubt whether
it is still in existence.

The last time I was in Maxim's--quite a dozen years ago now--a young
woman sat next to me whose story could be read in her face. She was a
pretty thing not five and twenty, still blooming, with iron-gray
hair. It had turned in a night, I was told. She had recently come
from Baltimore and knew no more what she was doing or whither she was
drifting than a baby. The old, old story: a comfortable home and a good
husband; even a child or two; a scoundrel, a scandal, an elopement, and
the inevitable desertion. Left without a dollar in the streets of Paris.
She was under convoy of a noted procuress.

"A duke or the morgue," she whimpered, "in six months."

Three months sufficed. They dragged all that remained of her out of the
Seine, and then the whole of the pitiful disgrace and tragedy came out.



V


If ever I indite a volume to be entitled Adventures in Paris it will
contain not a line to feed any prurient fancy, but will embrace the
record of many little journeys between the Coiffeur and the Marché
des Fleurs, with maybe an excursion among the cemeteries and the
restaurants.

Each city is as one makes it for himself. Paris has contributed greatly
to my appreciation, and perhaps my knowledge, of history and literature
and art and life. I have seen it in all its aspects; under the empire,
when the Due de Morny was king of the Bourse and Mexico was to make
every Frenchman rich; after the commune and the siege, when the Hôtel de
Ville was in ruins, the palace of the Tuileries still aflame, the column
gone from the Place Vendôme, and everything a blight and waste; and I
have marked it rise from its ashes, grandly, proudly, and like a
queen come to her own again, resume its primacy as the only complete
metropolis in all the universe.

There is no denying it. No city can approach Paris in structural unity
and regality, in things brilliant and beautiful, in buoyancy, variety,
charm and creature comfort. Drunkenness, of the kind familiar to London
and New York, is invisible to Paris. The brandy and absinthe habit has
been greatly exaggerated. In truth, everywhere in Europe the use of
intoxicants is on the decline. They are, for the first time in France,
stimulated partly by the alarming adulteration of French wines,
rigorously applying and enforcing the pure-food laws.

As a consequence, there is a palpable and decided improvement of the
vintage of the Garonne and the Champagne country. One may get a good
glass of wine now without impoverishing himself. As men drink wine, and
as the wine is pure, they fall away from stronger drink. I have
always considered, with Jefferson, the brewery in America an excellent
temperance society. That which works otherwise is the dive which too
often the brewery fathers. They are drinking more beer in France--even
making a fairly good beer. And then--

But gracious, this is getting upon things controversial, and if there is
anything in this world that I do hybominate, it is controversy!

Few of the wondrous changes which the Age of Miracles has wrought in my
day and generation exceeded those of ocean travel. The modern liner is
but a moving palace. Between the ports of the Old World and the ports of
the new the transit is so uneventful as to grow monotonous. There are
no more adventures on the high seas. The ocean is a thoroughfare, the
crossing a ferry. My experience forty years ago upon one of the ancient
tubs which have been supplanted by these liners would make queer reading
to the latter-day tourist, taking, let us say, any one of the steamers
of any one of the leading transatlantic companies. The difference in the
appointments of the William Penn of 1865 and the star boats of 1914 is
indescribable. It seems a fairy tale to think of a palm garden where the
ladies dress for dinner, a Hungarian band which plays for them whilst
they dine, and a sky parlor where they go after dinner for their
coffee and what not; a tea-room for the five-o'clockers; and except in
excessive weather scarcely any motion at all. It is this palm garden
which most appeals to a certain lady of my very intimate acquaintance
who had made many crossings and never gone to her meals--sick from shore
to shore--until the gods ordained for her a watery, winery, flowery
paradise--where the billows ceased from troubling and a woman could
appear at her best. Since then she has sailed many times, lodged à
la Waldorf-Astoria to eat her victuals and sip her wine with perfect
contentment. Coming ashore from our last crossing a friend found her
in the Red Room of that hostel just as she had been sitting the evening
before on shipboard.

"Seems hardly any motion at all," she said, looking about her and
fancying herself still at sea, as well she might.



Chapter the Eighteenth

    The Grover Cleveland Period--President Arthur and Mr. Blaine--John
    Chamberlin--The Decrees of Destiny



I


What may be called the Grover Cleveland period of American politics
began with the election of that extraordinary person--another man of
destiny--to the governorship of New York. Nominated, as it were, by
chance, he carried the State by an unprecedented majority. That was not
because of his popularity, but that an incredible number of Republican
voters refused to support their party ticket and stayed away from the
polls. The Blaine-Conkling feud, inflamed by the murder of Garfield, had
rent the party of Lincoln and Grant asunder. Arthur, a Conkling leader,
had succeeded to the presidency.

If any human agency could have sealed the breach he might have done it.
No man, however, can achieve the impossible. The case was hopeless.

Arthur was a man of surpassing sweetness and grace. As handsome as
Pierce, as affable as McKinley, he was a more experienced and dextrous
politician than either. He had been put on the ticket with Garfield to
placate Conkling. All sorts of stories to his discredit were told during
the ensuing campaign. The Democrats made him out a tricky and
typical "New York politician." In point of fact he was a many-sided,
accomplished man who had a taking way of adjusting all conditions and
adapting himself to all companies.

With a sister as charming and tactful as he for head of his domestic
fabric, the White House bloomed again. He possessed the knack of
surrounding himself with all sorts of agreeable people. Frederick
Frelinghuysen was Secretary of State and Robert Lincoln, continued
from the Garfield Cabinet, Secretary of War. Then there were three
irresistibles: Walter Gresham, Frank Hatton and "Ben" Brewster. His home
contingent--"Clint" Wheeler, "Steve" French, and "Jake" Hess--pictured
as "ward heelers"--were, in reality, efficient and all-around,
companionable men, capable and loyal.

I was sent by the Associated Press to Washington on a fool's
errand--that is, to get an act of Congress extending copyright to the
news of the association--and, remaining the entire session, my business
to meet the official great and to make myself acceptable, I came into
a certain intimacy with the Administration circle, having long had
friendly relations with the President. In all my life I have never
passed so delightful and useless a winter.

Very early in the action I found that my mission involved a serious and
vexed question--nothing less than the creation of a new property--and I
proceeded warily. Through my uncle, Stanley Matthews, I interested the
members of the Supreme Court. The Attorney General, a great lawyer and
an old Philadelphia friend, was at my call and elbow. The Joint Library
Committee of Congress, to which the measure must go, was with me. Yet
somehow the scheme lagged.

I could not account for this. One evening at a dinner Mr. Blaine
enlightened me. We sat together at table and suddenly he turned and
said: "How are you getting on with your bill?" And my reply being rather
halting, he continued, "You won't get a vote in either House," and he
proceeded very humorously to improvise the average member's argument
against it as a dangerous power, a perquisite to the great newspapers
and an imposition upon the little ones. To my mind this was something
more than the post-prandial levity it was meant to be.

Not long after a learned but dissolute old lawyer said to me, "You need
no act of Congress to protect your news service. There are at least two,
and I think four or five, English rulings that cover the case. Let me
show them to you." He did so and I went no further with the business,
quite agreeing with Mr. Blaine, and nothing further came of it. To a
recent date the Associated Press has relied on these decisions under the
common law of England. Curiously enough, quite a number of newspapers
in whose actual service I was engaged, opened fire upon me and roundly
abused me.



II


There appeared upon the scene in Washington toward the middle of the
seventies one of those problematical characters the fiction-mongers
delight in. This was John Chamberlin. During two decades "Chamberlin's,"
half clubhouse and half chophouse, was all a rendezvous.

"John" had been a gambler; first an underling and then a partner of the
famous Morrissy-McGrath racing combination at Saratoga and Long Branch.
There was a time when he was literally rolling in wealth. Then he went
broke--dead broke. Black Friday began it and the panic of '73 finished
it. He came over to Washington and his friends got him the restaurant
privileges of the House of Representatives. With this for a starting
point, he was able to take the Fernando Wood residence, in the heart of
the fashionable quarter, to add to it presently the adjoining dwelling
of Governor Swann, of Maryland, and next to that, finally, the Blaine
mansion, making a suite, as it were, elegant yet cozy. "Welcker's," erst
a fashionable resort, and long the best eating-place in town, had been
ruined by a scandal, and "Chamberlin's" succeeded it, having the
field to itself, though, mindful of the "scandal" which had made its
opportunity, ladies were barred.

There was a famous cook--Emeline Simmons--a mulatto woman, who
was equally at home in French dishes and Maryland-Virginia kitchen
mysteries--a very wonder with canvasback and terrapin--who later refused
a great money offer to he chef at the White House--whom John was able
to secure. Nothing could surpass--could equal--her preparations. The
charges, like the victuals, were sky-high and tip-top. The service was
handled by three "colored gentlemen," as distinguished in manners as in
appearance, who were known far and wide by name and who dominated all
about them, including John and his patrons.

No such place ever existed before, or will ever exist again. It was
the personality of John Chamberlin, pervasive yet invisible, exhaling
a silent, welcoming radiance. General Grant once said to me, "During my
eight years in the White House, John Chamberlin once in a while--once in
a great while--came over. He did not ask for anything. He just told me
what to do, and I did it." I mentioned this to President Arthur. "Well,"
he laughingly said, "that has been my experience with John Chamberlin.
It never crosses my mind to say him 'nay.' Often I have turned this over
in my thought to reach the conclusion that being a man of sound judgment
and worldly knowledge, he has fully considered the case--his case and my
case--leaving me no reasonable objection to interpose."

John obtained an act of Congress authorizing him to build a hotel on the
Government reservation at Fortress Monroe, and another of the Virginia
Legislature confirming this for the State. Then he came to me. It was at
the moment when I was flourishing as "a Wall Street magnate." He said:
"I want to sell this franchise to some man, or company, rich enough
to carry it through. All I expect is a nest egg for Emily and the
girls"--he had married the beautiful Emily Thorn, widow of George
Jordan, the actor, and there were two daughters--"you are hand-and-glove
with the millionaires. Won't you manage it for me?" Like Grant and
Arthur, I never thought of refusing. Upon the understanding that I
was to receive no commission, I agreed, first ascertaining that it was
really a most valuable franchise.

I began with the Willards, in whose hotel I had grown up. They were rich
and going out of business. Then I laid it before Hitchcock and Darling,
of the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York. They, rich like the Willards,
were also retiring. Then a bright thought occurred to me. I went to the
Prince Imperial of Standard Oil. "Mr. Flagler," I said, "you have hotels
at St. Augustine and you have hotels at Palm Beach. Here is a halfway
point between New York and Florida," and more of the same sort. "My dear
friend," he answered, "every man has the right to make a fool of himself
once in his life. This I have already done. Never again for me. I have
put up my last dollar south of the Potomac." Then I went to the King of
the transcontinental railways. "Mr. Huntington," I said, "you own a
road extending from St. Louis to Newport News, having a terminal in a
cornfield just out of Hampton Roads. Here is a franchise which gives you
a magnificent site at Hampton Roads itself. Why not?" He gazed upon
me with a blank stare--such I fancy as he usually turned upon his
suppliants--and slowly replied: "I would not spend another dollar in
Virginia if the Lord commanded me. In the event that some supernatural
power should take the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway by the nape of the
neck and the seat of the breeches and pitch it out in the middle of the
Atlantic Ocean it would be doing me a favor."

So I returned John his franchise marked "nothing doing." Afterward he
put it in the hands of a very near friend, a great capitalist, who had
no better luck with it. Finally, here and there, literally by piecemeal,
he got together money enough to build and furnish the Hotel Chamberlin,
had a notable opening with half of Congress there to see, and gently
laid himself down and died, leaving little other than friends and debts.



III


Macaulay tells us that the dinner-table is a wondrous peacemaker,
miracle worker, social solvent; and many were the quarrels composed
and the plans perfected under the Chamberlin roof. It became a kind of
Congressional Exchange with a close White House connection. If those old
walls, which by the way are still standing, could speak, what tales
they might tell, what testimonies refute, what new lights throw into the
vacant corners and dark places of history!

Coming away from Chamberlin's with Mr. Blaine for an after-dinner stroll
during the winter of 1883-4, referring to the approaching National
Republican Convention, he said: "I do not want the nomination. In my
opinion there is but one nominee the Republicans can elect this year and
that is General Sherman. I have written him to tell him so and urge
it upon him. In default of him the time of you people has come." He
subsequently showed me this letter and General Sherman's reply. My
recollection is that the General declared that he would not take the
presidency if it were offered him, earnestly invoking Mr. Elaine to
support his brother, John Sherman.

This would seem clear refutation that Mr. Blaine was party to his own
nomination that year. It assuredly reveals keen political instinct and
foresight. The capital prize in the national lottery was not for him.

I did not meet him until two years later, when he gave me a minute
account of what had happened immediately thereafter; the swing around
the circle; Belshazzar's feast, as a fatal New York banquet was called;
the far-famed Burchard incident. "I did not hear the words, 'Rum,
Romanism and Rebellion,'" he told me, "else, as you must know, I would
have fittingly disposed of them."

I said: "Mr. Blaine, you may as well give it up. The doom of Webster,
Clay, and Douglas is upon you. If you are nominated again, with an
assured election, you will die before the day of election. If you
survive the day and are elected, you'll die before the 4th of March." He
smiled grimly and replied: "It really looks that way."

My own opinion has always been that if the Republicans had nominated
Mr. Arthur in 1884 they would have elected him. The New York vote would
scarcely have been so close. In the count of the vote the Arthur end of
it would have had some advantage--certainly no disadvantage. Cleveland's
nearly 200,000 majority had dwindled to the claim of a beggarly few
hundred, and it was charged that votes which belonged to Butler, who ran
as an independent labor candidate, were actually counted for Cleveland.

When it was over an old Republican friend of mine said: "Now we are
even. History will attest that we stole it once and you stole it once.
Turn about may be fair play; but, all the same, neither of us likes it."

So Grover Cleveland, unheard of outside of Buffalo two years before, was
to be President of the United States. The night preceding his nomination
for the governorship of New York, General Slocum seemed in the State
convention sure of that nomination. Had he received it he would have
carried the State as Cleveland did, and Slocum, not Cleveland, would
have been the Chief Magistrate. It cost Providence a supreme effort to
pull Cleveland through. But in his case, as in many another, Providence
"got there" in fulfilment of a decree of Destiny.



Chapter the Nineteenth

    Mr. Cleveland in the White House--Mr. Bayard in the Department of
    State--Queer Appointments to Office--The One-Party Power--The End of
    North and South Sectionalism



I


The futility of political as well as of other human reckoning was set
forth by the result of the presidential election of 1884. With a kind
of prescience, as I have related, Mr. Blaine had foreseen it. He was
a sagacious as well as a lovable and brilliant man. He looked back
affectionately upon the days he had passed in Kentucky, when a poor
school-teacher, and was especially cordial to the Kentuckians. In
the House he and Beck were sworn friends, and they continued their
friendship when both of them had reached the Senate.

I inherited Mr. Blaine's desk in the Ways and Means Committee room. In
one of the drawers of this he had left a parcel of forgotten papers,
which I returned to him. He made a joke of the secrets they covered
and the fortunate circumstance that they had fallen into the hands of a
friend and not of an enemy.

No man of his time could hold a candle to Mr. Blaine in what we call
magnetism--that is, in manly charm, supported by facility and brain
power. Clay and Douglas had set the standard of party leadership before
his time. He made a good third to them. I never knew Mr. Clay, but with
Judge Douglas I was well acquainted, and the difference between him and
Mr. Blaine in leadership might be called negligible.

Both were intellectually aggressive and individually amiable. They
at least seemed to love their fellow men. Each had been tried by many
adventures. Each had gone, as it were, "through the flint mill." Born
to good conditions--Mr. Blaine sprang from aristocratic forebears--each
knew by early albeit brief experience the seamy side of life; as each,
like Clay, nursed a consuming passion for the presidency. Neither had
been made for a subaltern, and they chafed under the subaltern yoke to
which fate had condemned them.



II


In Grover Cleveland a total stranger had arrived at the front of
affairs. The Democrats, after a rule of more than half a century, had
been out of power twenty-four years. They could scarce realize at first
that they were again in power. The new chieftain proved more of
an unknown quantity than had been suspected. William Dorsheimer, a
life-long crony, had brought the two of us together before Cleveland's
election to the governorship of the Empire State as one of a group of
attractive Buffalo men, most of whom might be said to have been cronies
of mine, Buffalo being a delightful halfway stop-over in my frequent
migrations between Kentucky and the Eastern seaboard. As in the end
we came to a parting of the ways I want to write of Mr. Cleveland as a
historian and not as a critic.

He said to Mr. Carlisle after one of our occasional tiffs: "Henry will
never like me until God makes me over again." The next time we met,
referring to this, I said: "Mr. President, I like you very much--very
much indeed--but sometimes I don't like some of your ways."

There were in point of fact two Clevelands--before marriage and after
marriage--the intermediate Cleveland rather unequal and indeterminate.
Assuredly no one of his predecessors had entered the White House so
wholly ignorant of public men and national affairs. Stories used to be
told assigning to Zachary Taylor this equivocal distinction. But General
Taylor had grown up in the army and advanced in the military service to
a chief command, was more or less familiar with the party leaders of his
time, and was by heredity a gentleman. The same was measurably true of
Grant. Cleveland confessed himself to have had no social training, and
he literally knew nobody.

Five or six weeks after his inauguration I went to Washington to ask a
diplomatic appointment for my friend, Boyd Winchester. Ill health had
cut short a promising career in Congress, but Mr. Winchester was now
well on to recovery, and there seemed no reason why he should not and
did not stand in the line of preferment. My experience may be worth
recording because it is illustrative.

In my quest I had not thought of going beyond Mr. Bayard, the new
Secretary of State. I did go to him, but the matter seemed to make no
headway. There appeared a hitch somewhere. It had not crossed my mind
that it might be the President himself. What did the President know or
care about foreign appointments?

He said to me on a Saturday when I was introducing a party of Kentucky
friends: "Come up to-morrow for luncheon. Come early, for Rose"--his
sister, for the time being mistress of the White House--"will be at
church and we can have an old-fashioned talk-it-out."

The next day we passed the forenoon together. He was full of homely
and often whimsical talk. He told me he had not yet realized what had
happened to him.

"Sometimes," he said, "I wake at night and rub my eyes and wonder if it
is not all a dream."

He asked an infinite number of questions about this, that and the
other Democratic politician. He was having trouble with the Kentucky
Congressmen. He had appointed a most unlikely scion of a well-known
family to a foreign mission, and another young Kentuckian, the son of a
New York magnate, to a leading consul generalship, without consultation
with any one. He asked me about these. In a way one of them was one of
my boys, and I was glad to see him get what he wanted, though he aspired
to nothing so high. He was indeed all sorts of a boy, and his elevation
to such a post was so grotesque that the nomination, like that of his
mate, was rejected by the Senate. I gave the President a serio-comic but
kindly account, at which he laughed heartily, and ended by my asking how
he had chanced to make two such appointments.

"Hewitt came over here," he answered, "and then Dorsheimer. The father
is the only Democrat we have in that great corporation. As to the other,
he struck me as a likely fellow. It seemed good politics to gratify them
and their friends."

I suggested that such backing was far afield and not very safe to go by,
when suddenly he said: "I have been told over and over again by you and
by others that you will not take office. Too much of a lady, I suppose!
What are you hanging round Washington for anyhow? What do you want?"

Here was my opportunity to speak of Winchester, and I did so.

When I had finished he said: "What are you doing about Winchester?"

"Relying on the Secretary of State, who served in Congress with him and
knows him well."

Then he asked: "What do you want for Winchester?"

I answered: "Belgium or Switzerland."

He said: "I promised Switzerland for a friend of Corning's. He brought
him over here yesterday and he is an out-and-out Republican who voted
for Blaine, and I shall not appoint him. If you want the place for
Winchester, Winchester it is."

Next day, much to Mr. Bayard's surprise, the commission was made out.

Mr. Cleveland had a way of sudden fancies to new and sometimes queer
people. Many of his appointments were eccentric and fell like bombshells
upon the Senate, taking the appointee's home people completely by
surprise.

The recommendation of influential politicians seemed to have little if
any weight with him.

There came to Washington from Richmond a gentleman by the name of
Keiley, backed by the Virginia delegation for a minor consulship. The
President at once fell in love with him.

[Illustration: Mr. Watterson's Library at "Mansfield"]

"Consul be damned," he said. "He is worth more than that," and named him
Ambassador to Vienna.

It turned out that Mrs. Keiley was a Jewess and would not be received
at court. Then he named him Ambassador to Italy, when it appeared
that Keiley was an intense Roman Catholic, who had made at least one
ultramontane speech, and would be _persona non grata_ at the Quirinal.
Then Cleveland dropped him. Meanwhile poor Keiley had closed out bag
and baggage at Richmond and was at his wit's end. After much ado the
President was brought to a realizing sense and a place was found for
Keiley as consul general and diplomatic agent at Cairo, whither he
repaired. At the end of the four years he came to Paris and one day,
crossing the Place de la Concorde, he was run over by a truck and
killed. He deserved a longer career and a better fate, for he was a man
of real capacity.



III


Taken to task by thick and thin Democratic partisans for my criticism
of the only two Democratic Presidents we have had since the War of
Sections, Cleveland and Wilson, I have answered by asserting the right
and duty of the journalist to talk out in meeting, flatly repudiating
the claims as well as the obligations of the organ grinder they had
sought to put upon me, and closing with the knife grinder's retort--

  _Things have come to a hell of a pass
  When a man can't wallop his own jackass_.

In the case of Mr. Cleveland the break had come over the tariff issue.
Reading me his first message to Congress the day before he sent it in,
he had said: "I know nothing about the tariff, and I thought I had best
leave it where you and Morrison had put it in the platform."

We had indeed had a time in the Platform Committee of the Chicago
convention of 1884. After an unbroken session of fifty hours a straddle
was all that the committee could be brought to agree upon. The leading
recalcitrant had been General Butler, who was there to make trouble and
who later along bolted the ticket and ran as an independent candidate.

One aim of the Democrats was to get away from the bloody shirt as an
issue. Yet, as the sequel proved, it was long after Cleveland's day
before the bloody shirt was laid finally to rest. It required a
patriot and a hero like William McKinley to do this. When he signed the
commissions of Joseph Wheeler and Fitzhugh Lee, Confederate generals and
graduates of the West Point Military Academy, to be generals in the
Army of the United States, he made official announcement that the War
of Sections was over and gave complete amnesty to the people and the
soldiers of the South.

Yet the bloody shirt lingered long as a troublemaker, and was invoked by
both parties.



IV


That chance gathering of heedless persons, stirred by the bombast of
self-exploiting orators eager for notoriety or display--loose mobs
of local nondescripts led by pension sharks so aptly described by
the gallant General Bragg, of Wisconsin, as coffee coolers and camp
followers--should tear their passion to tatters with the thought that
Virginia, exercising an indisputable right and violating no reasonable
sensibility, should elect to send memorials of Washington and Lee for
the Hall of Statues in the nation's Capitol, came in the accustomed way
of bloody-shirt agitation. It merely proved how easily men are led when
taken in droves and stirred by partyism. Such men either bore no part in
the fighting when fighting was the order of the time, or else they were
too ignorant and therefore too unpatriotic to comprehend the meaning of
the intervening years and the glory these had brought with the
expanse of national progress and prowess. In spite of their lack of
representative character it was not easy to repress impatience at
ebullitions of misguided zeal so ignoble; and of course it was not
possible to dissuade or placate them.

All the while never a people more eager to get together than the people
of the United States after the War of Sections, as never a people so
averse to getting into that war. A very small group of extremists and
doctrinaires had in the beginning made a War of Sections possible.
Enough of these survived in the days of Cleveland and McKinley to keep
sectionalism alive.

It was mainly sectional clamor out for partisan advantage. But it made
the presidential campaigns lurid in certain quarters. There was no
end of objurgation, though it would seem that even the most embittered
Northerner and ultra Republican who could couple the names of Robert E.
Lee and Benedict Arnold, as was often done in campaign lingo, would not
hesitate, if his passions were roused or if he fancied he saw in it
some profit to himself or his party, to liken George Washington to Judas
Iscariot.

The placing of Lee's statue in the Capitol at Washington made the
occasion for this.

It is true that long before Confederate officers had sat in both Houses
of Congress and in Republican and Democratic cabinets and upon the
bench of the Supreme Court, and had served as ambassadors and envoys
extraordinary in foreign lands. But McKinley's doing was the crowning
stroke of union and peace.

There had been a weary and varied interim. Sectionalism proved a sturdy
plant. It died hard. We may waive the reconstruction period as ancient
history. There followed it intense party spirit. Yet, in spite of
extremists and malignants on both sides of the line, the South rallied
equally with the North to the nation's drumbeat after the Maine went
down in the harbor of Havana. It fought as bravely and as loyally at
Santiago and Manila. Finally, by the vote of the North, there came into
the Chief Magistracy one who gloried in the circumstance that on the
maternal side he came of fighting Southern stock; who, amid universal
applause, declared that no Southerner could be prouder than he of Robert
E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, apotheosizing an uncle, his mother's
brother, who had stood at the head of the Confederate naval
establishment in Europe and had fitted out the Confederate cruisers,
as the noblest and purest man he had ever known, a composite of Colonel
Newcome and Henry Esmond.

Meanwhile the process of oblivion had gone on. The graven effigy
of Jefferson Davis at length appeared upon the silver service of an
American battleship. This told the Mississippi's guests, wherever
and whenever they might meet round her hospitable board, of national
unification and peace, giving the lie to sectional malignancy. In the
most famous and conspicuous of the national cemeteries now stands the
monument of a Confederate general not only placed there by consent of
the Government, but dedicated with fitting ceremonies supervised by the
Department of War, which sent as its official representative the son of
Grant, himself an army officer of rank and distinction.

The world has looked on, incredulous and amazed, whilst our country
has risen to each successive act in the drama of reconciliation with
increasing enthusiasm.

I have been all my life a Constitutional Nationalist; first the nation
and then the state. The episode of the Confederacy seems already far
away. It was an interlude, even as matters stood in the Sixties and
Seventies, and now he who would thwart the unification of the country
on the lines of oblivion, of mutual and reciprocal forgiveness, throws
himself across the highway of his country's future, and is a traitor
equally to the essential principles of free government and the spirit of
the age.

If sectionalism be not dead it should have no place in popular
consideration. The country seems happily at last one with itself. The
South, like the East and the West, has come to be the merest geographic
expression. Each of its states is in the Union, precisely like the
states of the East and the West, all in one and one in all. Interchanges
of every sort exist.

These exchanges underlie and interlace our social, domestic and business
fabric. That the arrangement and relation after half a century of strife
thus established should continue through all time is the hope and prayer
of every thoughtful, patriotic American. There is no greater dissonance
to that sentiment in the South than in the North. To what end,
therefore, except ignominious recrimination and ruinous dissension,
could a revival of old sectional and partisan passions--if it were
possible--be expected to reach?



V


Humor has played no small part in our politics. It was Col. Mulberry
Sellers, Mark Twain's hero, who gave currency to the conceit and
enunciated the principle of "the old flag and an appropriation." He
did not claim the formula as his own, however. He got it, he said, of
Senator Dillworthy, his patriotic file leader and ideal of Christian
statesmanship.

The original of Senator Dillworthy was recognized the country over as
Senator Pomeroy, of Kansas, "Old Pom," as he had come to be called,
whose oleaginous piety and noisy patriotism, adjusting themselves
with equal facility to the purloining of subsidies and the roasting of
rebels, to prayer and land grants, had impressed themselves upon the
Satirist of the Gilded Age as upon his immediate colleagues in Congress.
He was a ruffle-shirted Pharisee, who affected the airs of a bishop, and
resembled Cruikshank's pictures of Pecksniff.

There have not been many "Old Poms" in our public life; or, for that
matter Aaron Burrs either, and but one Benedict Arnold. That the
chosen people of God did not dwell amid the twilight of the ages and
in far-away Judea, but were reserved to a later time, and a region then
undiscovered of men, and that the American republic was ordained of God
to illustrate upon the theater of the New World the possibilities
of free government in contrast with the failures and tyrannies and
corruptions of the Old, I do truly believe. That is the first article in
my confession of faith. And the second is like unto it, that Washington
was raised up by God to create it, and that Lincoln was raised up by
God to save it; else why the militia colonel of Virginia and the rail
splitter of Illinois, for no reason that was obvious at the time, before
all other men? God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform. The
star of the sublime destiny that hung over the manager of our blessed
Savior hung over the cradle of our blessed Union.

Thus far it has weathered each historic danger which has gone before to
mark the decline and fall of nations; the struggle for existence; the
foreign invasion; the internecine strife; the disputed succession;
religious bigotry and racial conflict. One other peril confronts
it--the demoralization of wealth and luxury; too great prosperity; the
concentration and the abuse of power. Shall we survive the lures with
which the spirit of evil, playing upon our self-love, seeks to trip
our wayward footsteps, purse-pride and party spirit, mistaken zeal and
perverted religion, fanaticism seeking to abridge liberty and liberty
running to license, greed masquerading as a patriot and ambition making
a commodity of glory--or under the process of a divine evolution shall
we be able to mount and ride the waves which swallowed the tribes of
Israel, which engulfed the phalanxes of Greece and the legions of Rome,
and which still beat the sides and sweep the decks of Europe?

The one-party power we have escaped; the one-man power we have escaped.
The stars in their courses fight for us; the virtue and intelligence of
the people are still watchful and alert. Truth is mightier than
ever, and justice, mounting guard even in the Hall of Statues, walks
everywhere the battlements of freedom!



Chapter the Twentieth

    The Real Grover Cleveland--Two Clevelands Before and After Marriage--A
    Correspondence and a Break of Personal Relations



I


There were, as I have said, two Grover Clevelands--before and after
marriage--and, it might be added, between his defeat in 1888 and his
election in 1892. He was so sure of his election in 1888 that he could
not be induced to see the danger of the situation in his own State
of New York, where David Bennett Hill, who had succeeded him in the
governorship, was a candidate for reelection, and whom he personally
detested, had become the ruling party force. He lost the State, and
with it the election, while Hill won, and thereby arose an ugly faction
fight.

I did not believe as the quadrennial period approached in 1892 that
Mr. Cleveland could be elected. I still think he owed his election,
and Harrison his defeat, to the Homestead riots of the midsummer, which
transferred the labor vote bodily from the Republicans to the Democrats.
Mainly on account of this belief I opposed his nomination that year.

In the Kentucky State Convention I made my opposition resonant, if
not effective. "I understand," I said in an address to the assembled
delegates, "that you are all for Grover Cleveland?"

There came an affirmative roar.

"Well," I continued, "I am not, and if you send me to the National
Convention I will not vote for his nomination, if his be the only name
presented, because I firmly believe that his nomination will mean the
marching through a slaughter-house to an open grave, and I refuse to be
party to such a folly."

The answer of the convention was my appointment by acclamation, but it
was many a day before I heard the last of my unlucky figure of speech.

Notwithstanding this splendid indorsement, I went to the National
Convention feeling very like the traditional "poor boy at a frolic." All
seemed to me lost save honor and conviction. I had become the embodiment
of my own epigram, "a tariff for revenue only." Mr. Cleveland, in the
beginning very much taken by it, had grown first lukewarm and then
frightened. His "Free Trade" message of 1887 had been regarded by the
party as an answering voice. But I knew better.

In the national platform, over the protest of Whitney, his organizer,
and Vilas, his spokesman, I had forced him to stand on that gospel.
He flew into a rage and threatened to modify, if not to repudiate, the
plank in his letter of acceptance. We were still on friendly terms and,
upon reaching home, I wrote him the following letter. It reads like
ancient history, but, as the quarrel which followed cut a certain figure
in the political chronicle of the time, the correspondence may not be
historically out of date, or biographically uninteresting:



II


MR. WATTERSON TO MR. CLEVELAND

Courier-Journal Office, Louisville, July 9, 1892.--My Dear
Mr. President: I inclose you two editorial articles from the
Courier-Journal, and, that their spirit and purpose may not be
misunderstood by you, I wish to add a word or two of a kind directly and
entirely personal.

To a man of your robust understanding and strong will, opposition and
criticism are apt to be taken as more or less unfriendly; and, as you
are at present advised, I can hardly expect that any words of mine will
be received by you with sentiments either of confidence or favor.

I was admonished by a certain distrust, if not disdain, visited upon the
honest challenge I ventured to offer your Civil Service policy, when you
were actually in office, that you did not differ from some other great
men I have known in an unwillingness, or at least an inability,
to accept, without resentment, the question of your infallibility.
Nevertheless, I was then, as I am now, your friend, and not your enemy,
animated by the single purpose to serve the country, through you, as,
wanting your great opportunities, I could not serve it through myself.

During the four years when you were President, I asked you but for one
thing that lay near my heart. You granted that handsomely; and, if you
had given me all you had to give beside, you could not have laid me
under greater obligation. It is a gratification to me to know, and it
ought to be some warrant both of my intelligence and fidelity for you to
remember that that matter resulted in credit to the Administration and
benefit to the public service.

But to the point; I had at St. Louis in 1888 and at Chicago, the present
year, to oppose what was represented as your judgment and desire in the
adoption of a tariff plank in our national platform; successfully in
both cases. The inclosed articles set forth the reasons forcing upon
me a different conclusion from yours, in terms that may appear to you
bluntly specific, but I hope not personally offensive; certainly not by
intention, for, whilst I would not suppress the truth to please you or
any man, I have a decent regard for the sensibilities and the rights
of all men, particularly of men so eminent as to be beyond the reach of
anything except insolence and injustice. Assuredly in your case, I am
incapable of even so much as the covert thought of either, entertaining
for you absolute respect and regard. But, my dear Mr. President, I do
not think that you appreciate the overwhelming force of the revenue
reform issue, which has made you its idol.

[Illustration: A Corner of "Mansfield"--Home of Henry Watterson]

If you will allow me to say so, in perfect frankness and without
intending to be rude or unkind, the gentlemen immediately about you,
gentlemen upon whom you rely for material aid and energetic party
management, are not, as to the Tariff, Democrats at all; and have
little conception of the place in the popular mind and heart held by the
Revenue Reform idea, or, indeed of any idea, except that of organization
and money.

Of the need of these latter, no man has a more realizing sense, or
larger information and experience, than I have. But they are merely the
brakes and wheels of the engine, to which principles and inspirations
are, and must always be, the elements of life and motion. It is to
entreat you therefore, in your coming letter and address, not to
underestimate the tremendous driving power of this Tariff issue, and to
beg you, not even to seem to qualify it, or to abridge its terms in a
mistaken attempt to seem to be conservative.

You cannot escape your great message of 1887 if you would. I know it by
heart, and I think that I perfectly apprehend its scope and tenor. Take
it as your guiding star. Stand upon it. Reiterate it. Emphasize it,
amplify it, but do not subtract a thought, do not erase a word. For
every vote which a bold front may lose you in the East you will gain two
votes in the West. In the East, particularly in New York, enemies lurk
in your very cupboard, and strike at you from behind your chair at
table. There is more than a fighting chance for Illinois, Iowa, and
Minnesota, and next to a certainty in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana,
if you put yourself personally at the head of the column which is moving
in your name, supposing it to be another name for reduced taxes and
freer exchanges.

Discouraged as I was by the condition of things in New York and Indiana
prior to the Chicago Convention, depressed and almost hopeless by your
nomination, I can see daylight, if you will relax your grip somewhat
upon the East and throw yourself confidently upon the West.

I write warmly because I feel warmly. If you again occupy the White
House, and it is my most constant and earnest prayer that you may, be
sure that you will not be troubled by me. I cannot hope that my motives
in opposing your nomination, consistent as you know them to have been,
or that my conduct during the post-convention discussion and canvass,
free as I know it to have been of ill-feeling, or distemper, has escaped
misrepresentation and misconception. I could not, without the loss of my
self-respect, approach you on any private matter whatever; though it may
not be amiss for me to say to you, that three weeks before the meeting
of the National Convention, I wrote to Mr. Gorman and Mr. Brice urging
the withdrawal of any opposition, and declaring that I would be a party
to no movement to work the two-thirds rule to defeat the will of the
majority.

This is all I have to say, Mr. President, and you can believe it or not,
as you please; though you ought to know that I would write you nothing
except in sincere conviction, nor speak to you, or of you, except in a
candid and kindly spirit. Trusting that this will find you hale, hearty,
and happy, I am, dear sir, your fellow democrat and most faithful
friend,

HENRY WATTERSON.

The Honorable Grover Cleveland.



III


MR. CLEVELAND TO MR. WATTERSON

By return mail I received this answer:

Gray Gables, Buzzards Bay, Mass., July 15, 1892.

MY DEAR MR. WATTERSON:

I have received your letter and the clippings you inclosed.

I am not sure that I understand perfectly all that they mean. One thing
they demonstrate beyond any doubt, to-wit: that you have not--I think
I may say--the slightest conception of my disposition. It may be that I
know as little about yours. I am surprised by the last paragraph of
The Courier-Journal article of July 8 and amazed to read the statements
contained in your letter, that you know the message of 1887 by heart.
It is a matter of very small importance, but I hope you will allow me to
say, that in all the platform smashing you ever did, you never injured
nor inspired me that I have ever seen or heard of, except that of 1888.
I except that, so I may be exactly correct when I write, "seen or heard
of,"--for I use the words literally.

I would like very much to present some views to you relating to the
tariff position, but I am afraid to do so.

I will, however, venture to say this: If we are defeated this year, I
predict a Democratic wandering in the dark wilds of discouragement for
twenty-five years. I do not purpose to be at all responsible for such a
result. I hope all others upon whom rests the least responsibility will
fully appreciate it.

The world will move on when both of us are dead. While we stay, and
especially while we are in any way concerned in political affairs and
while we are members of the same political brotherhood, let us both
resolve to be just and modest and amiable. Yours very sincerely,

GROVER CLEVELAND.

Hon. Henry Watterson, Louisville, Ky.



IV


MR. WATTERSON TO MR. CLEVELAND


I said in answer:

Louisville, July 22, 1892.--My Dear Sir: I do not see how you could
misunderstand the spirit in which I wrote, or be offended by my plain
words. They were addressed as from one friend to another, as from one
Democrat to another. If you entertain the idea that this is a false view
of our relative positions, and that your eminence lifts you above both
comradeship and counsels, I have nothing to say except to regret that,
in underestimating your breadth of character I exposed myself too
contumely.

You do, indeed, ride a wave of fortune and favor. You are quite beyond
the reach of insult, real or fancied. You could well afford to be more
tolerant.

In answer to the ignorance of my service to the Democratic party, which
you are at such pains to indicate--and, particularly, with reference to
the sectional issue and the issue of tariff reform--I might, if I
wanted to be unamiable, suggest to you a more attentive perusal of the
proceedings of the three national conventions which nominated you for
President.

But I purpose nothing of the sort. In the last five national conventions
my efforts were decisive in framing the platform of the party. In
each of them I closed the debate, moved the previous question and was
sustained by the convention. In all of them, except the last, I was a
maker, not a smasher. Touching what happened at Chicago, the present
year, I had a right, in common with good Democrats, to be anxious;
and out of that sense of anxiety alone I wrote you. I am sorry that my
temerity was deemed by you intrusive and, entering a respectful protest
against a ban which I cannot believe to be deserved by me, and assuring
you that I shall not again trouble you in that way, I am, your obedient
servant,

HENRY WATTERSON.

The Hon. Grover Cleveland.



V


This ended my personal relations with Mr. Cleveland. Thereafter we
did not speak as we passed by. He was a hard man to get on with.
Overcredulous, though by no means excessive, in his likes, very
tenacious in his dislikes, suspicious withal, he grew during his second
term in the White House, exceedingly "high and mighty," suggesting
somewhat the "stuffed prophet," of Mr. Dana's relentless lambasting and
verifying my insistence that he posed rather as an idol to be worshiped,
than a leader to be trusted and loved. He was in truth a strong man,
who, sufficiently mindful of his limitations in the beginning, grew by
unexampled and continued success overconfident and overconscious in his
own conceit. He had a real desire to serve the country. But he was apt
to think that he alone could effectively serve it. In one of our spats
I remember saying to him, "You seem, Mr. President, to think you are the
only pebble on the beach--the one honest and brave man in the party--hut
let me assure you of my own knowledge that there are others." His answer
was, "Oh, you go to ----!"

He split his party wide open. The ostensible cause was the money issue.
But, underlying this, there was a deal of personal embitterment. Had he
been a man of foresight--or even of ordinary discernment--he might have
held it together and with it behind him have carried the gold standard.

I had contended for a sound currency from the outset of the fiscal
contention, fighting first the green-back craze and then the free silver
craze against an overwhelming majority in the West and South, nowhere
more radically relentless than in Kentucky. Both movements had their
origin on economic fallacies and found their backing in dishonest
purpose to escape honest indebtedness.

Through Mr. Cleveland the party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Tilden was
converted from a Democrat into a Populist, falling into the arms of Mr.
Bryan, whose domination proved as baleful in one way as Mr. Cleveland's
had been in another, the final result shipwreck, with the extinguishment
of all but the label.

Mr. Bryan was a young man of notable gifts of speech and boundless
self-assertion. When he found himself well in the saddle he began
to rule despotically and to ride furiously. A party leader more
short-sighted could hardly be imagined. None of his judgments came true.
As a consequence the Republicans for a long time had everything their
own way, and, save for the Taft-Roosevelt quarrel, might have held their
power indefinitely. All history tells us that the personal equation must
be reckoned with in public life. Assuredly it cuts no mean figure in
human affairs. And, when politicians fall out--well--the other side
comes in.



Chapter the Twenty-First

    Stephen Foster, the Song-Writer--A Friend Comes to the Rescu
    His Originality--"My Old Kentucky Home" and the "Old Folks at
    Home"--General Sherman and "Marching Through Georgia"



I have received many letters touching what I said a little while ago of
Stephen Collins Foster, the song writer. In that matter I had, and
could have had, no unkindly thought or purpose. The story of the musical
scrapbook rested not with me, but as I stated, upon the averment of Will
S. Hays, a rival song writer. But that the melody of Old Folks at
Home may be found in Schubert's posthumous Rosemonde admits not of
contradiction for there it is, and this would seem to be in some sort
corroborative evidence of the truth of Hays' story.

Among these letters comes one from Young E. Allison which is entitled to
serious consideration. Mr. Allison is a gentleman of the first order
of character and culture, an editor and a musician, and what he writes
cannot fail to carry with it very great weight. I need make no apology
for quoting him at length.

"I have long been collecting material about Foster from his birth to
his death," says Mr. Allison, "and aside from his weak and fatal love
of drink, which developed after he was twenty-five, and had married, his
life was one continuous devotion to the study of music, of painting, of
poetry and of languages; in point of fact, of all the arts that appeal
to one who feels within him the stir of the creative. He was, quite
singularly enough, a fine mathematician, which undoubtedly aided him in
the study of music as a science, to which time and balance play such an
important part. In fact, I believe it was the mathematical devil in
his brain that came to hold him within such bare and primitive forms of
composition and so, to some extent, to delimit the wider development of
his genius.

"Now as to Foster's drinking habits, however unfortunate they proved to
him they did not affect the quality of his art as he bequeathed it to
us. No one cares to recall the unhappy fortunes of Burns, De Musset,
Chopin or--even in our own time--of O. Henry, and others who might
be named. In none of their productions does the hectic fever of
over-stimulation show itself. No purer, gentler or simpler aspirations
were ever expressed in the varying forms of music and verse than flowed
from Foster's pen, even as penetrating benevolence came from the pen of
O. Henry, embittered and solitary as his life had been. Indeed when we
come to regard what the drinkers of history have done for the world in
spite of the artificial stimulus they craved, we may say with Lincoln as
Lincoln said of Grant, 'Send the other generals some of the same brand.'

"Foster was an aristocrat of aristocrats, both by birth and gifts. He
inherited the blood of Richard Steele and of the Kemble family, noted in
English letters and dramatic annals. To these artistic strains he
added undoubtedly the musical temperament of an Italian grandmother or
great-grand-mother. He was a cousin of John Rowan, the distinguished
Kentucky lawyer and senator. Of Foster's family, his father, his
brothers, his sisters were all notable as patriots, as pioneers in
engineering, in commerce and in society. One of his brothers designed
and built the early Pennsylvania Railroad system and died executive
vice-president of that great corporation. Thus he was born to the
arts and to social distinction. But, like many men of the creative
temperament, he was born a solitary, destined to live in a land of
dreams. The singular beauty and grace of his person and countenance,
the charm of his voice, manner and conversation, were for the most part
familiar to the limited circle of his immediate family and friends. To
others he was reticent, with a certain hauteur of timidity, avoiding
society and public appearances to the day of his death.

"Now those are the facts about Foster. They certainly do not describe
the 'ne'er-do-well of a good family' who hung round barrooms,
colored-minstrel haunts and theater entrances. I can find only one
incident to show that Foster ever went to hear his own songs sung in
public. He was essentially a solitary, who, while keenly observant of
and entering sympathizingly into the facts of life, held himself aloof
from immediate contact with its crowded stream. He was solitary from
sensitivity, not from bitterness or indifference. He made a large
fortune for his day with his songs and was a popular idol.

"Let us come now to the gravamen of my complaint. You charge on the
authority of mere gossip from the late Will S. Hays, that Foster did
not compose his own music, but that he had obtained a collection of
unpublished manuscripts by an unnamed old 'German musician and thus
dishonestly, by pilfering and suppression' palmed off upon the public
themes and compositions which he could not himself have originated.
Something like this has been said about every composer and writer, big
and little, whose personality and habits did not impress his immediate
neighbors as implying the possession of genius. The world usually
expects direct inheritance and a theatric impressiveness of genius in
its next-door neighbor before it accepts the proof of his works alone.
For that reason Napoleon's paternity in Corsica was ascribed to General
Maboeuf, and Henry Clay's in early Kentucky to Patrick Henry. That
legend of the 'poor, unknown German musician' who composed in poverty
and secrecy the deathless songs that have obsessed the world of music
lovers, has been told of numberless young composers on their way to
fame, but died out in the blaze of their later work. I have no doubt
they told it of Foster, as they did also of Hays. And Colonel Hays
doubtless repeated it to you as the intimate gossip about Foster.

"I have an article written by Colonel Hays and published in and cut from
The Courier-Journal some twelve years after the composer's death, in
which he sketches the life and work of Stephen Collins Foster. In that
article he lays especial stress upon the surprising originality of the
Foster themes and of their musical setting. He praises their distinct
American or rather native inspiration and flavor, and describes from
his own knowledge of Foster how they were 'written from his heart.' No
mention or suggestion in it of any German or other origin for any of
those melodies that the world then and now cherishes as American in
costume, but universal in appeal. While you may have heard something in
Schubert's compositions that suggested something in Foster's most famous
song, still I venture to say it was only a suggestion, such as often
arises from the works of composers of the same general type. Schubert
and Foster were both young sentimentalists and dreamers who must have
had similar dreams that found expression in their similar progressions.

"The German musicians from whom Foster got inspiration to work were
Beethoven, Glück, Weber, Mozart. He was a student of all of them and of
the Italian school also, as some of his songs show. Foster's first and
only music teacher--except in the 'do-re-mi' exercises in his schoolboy
life--testifies that Foster's musical apprehension was so quick, his
intuitive grasp of its science so complete that after a short time there
was nothing he could teach him of the theory of composition; that his
pupil went straight to the masters and got illustration and discipline
for himself.

"This was to be expected of a precocious genius who had written a
concerted piece for flutes at thirteen, who was trying his wings on love
songs at sixteen, and before he was twenty-one had composed several of
the most famous of his American melodies, among them Oh Susannah, Old
Dog Tray and Old Uncle Ned. As in other things he taught himself music,
but he studied it ardently at the shrines of the masters. He became a
master of the art of song writing. If anybody cares to hunt up the piano
scores that Verdi made of songs from his operas in the days of Foster he
will find that the great Italian composer's settings were quite as thin
as Foster's and exhibited not much greater art. It was the fault of the
times on the piano, not of the composers. It was not till long afterward
that the color capacities of the piano were developed. As Foster was no
pianist, but rather a pure melodist, he could not be expected to surpass
his times in the management of the piano, the only 'orchestra' he had.
It will not do to regard Foster as a crude musician. His own scores
reveal him as the most artful of 'artless' composers.

"It is not even presumption to speak of him in the same breath with
Verdi. The breadth and poignancy of Foster's melodies entitle them
to the highest critical respect, as they have received worldwide
appreciation from great musicians and plain music lovers. Wherever he
has gone he has reached the popular heart. Here in the United States
he has quickened the pulse beats of four generations. But this master
creator of a country's only native songs has invariably here at home
been apologized for as a sort of 'cornfield musician,' a mere banjo
strummer, a hanger-on at barrooms where minstrel quartets rendered
his songs and sent the hat round. The reflection will react upon his
country; it will not detract from the real Foster when the constructive
critic appears to write his brief and unfortunate life. I am not
contending that he was a genius of the highest rank, although he had
the distinction that great genius nearly always achieves, of creating
a school that produced many imitators and established a place apart
for itself in the world's estimation. In ballad writing he did for the
United States what Watteau did for painting in France. As Watteau found
a Flemish school in France and left a French school stamped forever, so
Foster found the United States a home for imitations of English, Irish,
German and Italian songs, and left a native ballad form and melodic
strain forever impressed upon it as pure American.

"He was like Watteau in more than that. Watteau took the elegancies and
fripperies of the corrupt French court and fixed them in art immortal,
as if the moment had been arrested and held in actual motion. Foster
took the curious and melancholy spectacle of African slavery at its
height, superimposed by the most elegant and picturesque social manners
this country has known, at the moment the institution was at its zenith.
He saw the glamor, the humor, the tragedy, the contrasts, the emotional
depths--that lay unplumbed beneath it all. He fixed it there for all
time, for all hearts and minds everywhere. His songs are not only the
pictorial canvas of that time, they are the emotional history of the
times. It was done by a boy who was not prophet enough to foresee the
end, or philosopher enough to demonstrate the conditions, but who was
born with the intuition to feel it all and set it forth deeply and truly
from every aspect.

"While Foster wrote many comic songs there is ever in them something of
the melancholy undercurrent that has been detected under the laces and
arabesques of Chopin's nominally frivolous dances. Foster's ballad
form was extremely attenuated, but the melodic content filled it so
completely that it seems to strain at the bounds and must be repeated
and repeated to furnish full gratification to the ear. His form when
compared with the modern ballad's amplitude seems like a Tanagra
figurine beside a Michelangelo statue--but the figurine is as fine in
its scope as the statue is in the greater.

"I hope you will think Foster over and revise him 'upward.'"

All of us need to be admonished to speak no evil of the dead. I am
trying in Looking Backward to square the adjuration with the truth.
Perhaps I should speak only of that which is known directly to myself.
It costs me nothing to accept this statement of Mr. Allison and to
incorporate it as an essential part of the record as far as it relates
to the most famous and in his day the most beloved of American song
writers.

Once at a Grand Army encampment General Sherman and I were seated
together on the platform when the band began to play Marching Through
Georgia, when the general said rather impatiently: "I wish I had a
dollar for every time I have had to listen to that blasted tune."

And I answered: "Well, there is another tune about which I might say the
same thing," meaning My Old Kentucky Home.

Neither of us was quite sincere. Both were unconsciously pleased to hear
the familiar strains. At an open-air fiesta in Barcelona some American
friends who made their home there put the bandmaster up to breaking
forth with the dear old melody as I came down the aisle, and I was
mightily pleased. Again at a concert in Lucerne, the band, playing a
potpourri of Swiss songs, interpolated Kentucky's national anthem and
the group of us stood up and sang the chorus.

I do not wonder that men march joyously to battle and death to drum and
fife squeaking and rattling The Girl I Left Behind Me. It may be a long
way to Tipperary, but it is longer to the end of the tether that binds
the heart of man to the cradle songs of his nativity. With the cradle
songs of America the name of Stephen Collins Foster "is immortal bound,"
and I would no more dishonor his memory than that of Robert Burns or the
author of The Star-Spangled Banner.



Chapter the Twenty-Second

    Theodore Roosevelt--His Problematic Character--He Offers Me an
    Appointment--His _Bonhomie_ and Chivalry--Proud of His Rebel Kin



I


It is not an easy nor yet a wholly congenial task to write--truthfully,
intelligently and frankly to write--about Theodore Roosevelt. He
belonged to the category of problematical characters. A born aristocrat,
he at no time took the trouble to pose as a special friend of the
people; a born leader, he led with a rough unsparing hand. He was the
soul of controversy. To one who knew him from his childhood as I did,
always loving him and rarely agreeing with him, it was plain to see how
his most obvious faults commended him to the multitude and made for a
popularity that never quite deserted him.

As poorly as I rate the reign of majorities I prefer it to the one-man
power, either elective or dynastic. The scheme of a third term in the
presidency for General Grant seemed to me a conspiracy though with many
of its leaders I was on terms of affectionate intimacy. I fought and
helped to kill in 1896 the unborn scheme to give Mr. Cleveland a third
term. Inevitably as the movement for the retention of Theodore Roosevelt
beyond the time already fixed began to show itself in 1907, my pen was
primed against it and I wrote variously and voluminously.

There appeared in one of the periodicals for January, 1908, a sketch of
mine which but for a statement issued concurrently from the White House
would have attracted more attention than it did. In this I related how
at Washington just before the War of Sections I had a musical pal--the
niece of a Southern senator--who had studied in Paris, been a protégée
of the Empress Eugénie and become an out-and-out imperialist. Louis
Napoleon was her ideal statesman. She not only hated the North but
accepted as gospel truth all the misleading theories of the South: that
cotton was king; that slavery was a divine institution; that in any
enterprise one Southern man was a match for six Northern men.

On these points we had many contentions. When the break came she went
South with her family. The last I saw of her was crossing Long Bridge in
a lumbering family carriage waving a tiny Confederate flag.

Forty-five years intervened. I had heard of her from time to time
wandering aimlessly over Europe, but had not met her until the preceding
winter in a famous Southern homestead. There she led me into a rose
garden, and seated beneath its clustered greeneries she said with an air
of triumph, "Now you see, my dear old friend, that I was right and you
were wrong all the time."

Startled, and altogether forgetful, I asked in what way.

"Why," she answered, "at last the South is coming to its own."

Still out of rapport with her thought I said something about the
obliteration of sectionalism and the arrival of political freedom and
general prosperity. She would none of this.

[Illustration: Henry Watterson (Photograph taken in Florida)]

"I mean," she abruptly interposed, "that the son of Martha Bullock has
come to his own and he will rescue us from the mudsills of the North."

She spoke as if our former discussions had been but yesterday. Then I
gave her the right of way, interjecting a query now and then to give
emphasis to her theme, while she unfolded the plan which seemed to her
so simple and easy; God's own will; the national destiny, first a third
term, and then life tenure à la Louis Napoleone for Theodore Roosevelt,
the son of Martha Bullock, the nephew of our great admiral, who was to
redress all the wrongs of the South and bring the Yankees to their just
deserts at last.

"If," I ended my sketch, "out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, why
not out of the brain of this crazed old woman of the South?"

Early in the following April I came from my winter home in Florida to
the national capital, and the next day was called by the President to
the White House.

"The first thing I want to ask," said he, "is whether that old woman was
a real person or a figment of your imagination?"

"She was a figment of my imagination," I answered, "but you put her out
of business with a single punch. Why didn't you hold back your statement
a bit? If you had done so there was room for lots of sport ahead."

He was in no mood for joking. "Henry Watterson," he said, "I want to
talk to you seriously about this third-term business. I will not deny
that I have thought of the thing--thought of it a great deal." Then he
proceeded to relate from his point of view the state of the country and
the immediate situation. He spoke without reserve of his relations to
the nearest associated public men, of what were and what were not
his personal and party obligations, his attitude toward the political
questions of the moment, and ended by saying, "What do you make of all
this?"

"Mr. President," I replied, "you know that I am your friend, and as your
friend I tell you that if you go out of here the fourth of next March
placing your friend Taft in your place you will make a good third to
Washington and Lincoln; but if you allow these wild fellows willy-nilly
to induce you, in spite of your declaration, to accept the nomination,
substantially for a third term, all issues will be merged in that issue,
and in my judgment you will not carry a state in the Union."

As if much impressed and with a show of feeling he said: "It may be
so. At any rate I will not do it. If the convention nominates me I will
promptly send my declination. If it nominates me and adjourns I will
call it together again and it will have to name somebody else."

As an illustration of the implacability which pursued him I may mention
that among many leading Republicans to whom I related the incident
most of them discredited his sincerity, one of them--a man of national
importance--expressing the opinion that all along he was artfully
playing for the nomination. This I do not believe. Perhaps he was never
quite fixed in his mind. The presidency is a wondrous lure. Once out of
the White House--what else and what----?



II


Upon his return from one of his several foreign journeys a party of some
hundred or more of his immediate personal friends gave him a private
dinner at a famous uptown restaurant. I was placed next him at table. It
goes without saying that we had all sorts of a good time--he Cæsar and I
Brutus--the prevailing joke the entente between the two.

"I think," he began his very happy speech, "that I am the bravest man
that ever lived, for here I have been sitting three hours by the side of
Brutus--have repeatedly seen him clutch his knife--without the blink of
an eye or the turn of a feature."

To which in response when my turn came I said: "You gentlemen seem to be
surprised that there should be so perfect an understanding between our
guest and myself. But there is nothing new or strange in that. It goes
back, indeed, to his cradle and has never been disturbed throughout the
intervening years of political discussion--sometimes acrimonious. At the
top of the acclivity of his amazing career--in the very plenitude of his
eminence and power--let me tell you that he offered me one of the most
honorable and distinguished appointments within his gift."

"Tell them about that, Marse Henry," said he.

"With your permission, Mr. President, I will," I said, and continued:
"The centenary of the West Point Military Academy was approaching. I was
at dinner with my family at a hotel in Washington when General Corbin
joined us. 'Will you,' he abruptly interjected, 'accept the chairmanship
of the board of visitors to the academy this coming June?'

"'What do you want of me?' I asked.

"'It is the academy's centenary, which we propose to celebrate, and we
want an orator.'

"'General Corbin,' said I, 'you are coming at me in a most enticing way.
I know all about West Point. Here at Washington I grew up with it. I
have been fighting legislative battles for the Army all my life. That
you Yankees should come to a ragged old rebel like me for such a service
is a distinction indeed, and I feel immensely honored. But which page of
the court calendar made you a plural? Whom do you mean by "we"?'

"'Why,' he replied in serio-comic vein, 'the President, the Secretary of
War and Me, myself.'

"I promised him to think it over and give him an answer. Next day I
received a letter from the President, making the formal official tender
and expressing the hope that I would not decline it. Yet how could I
accept it with the work ahead of me? It was certain that if I became
a part of the presidential junket and passed a week in the delightful
company promised me, I would be unfit for the loyal duty I owed my
belongings and my party, and so reluctantly--more reluctantly than I can
tell you--I declined, obliging them to send for Gen. Horace Porter
and bring him over from across the ocean, where he was ably serving as
Ambassador to France. I need not add how well that gifted and versatile
gentleman discharged the distinguished and pleasing duty."



III


The last time I met Theodore Roosevelt was but a little while before his
death. A small party of us, Editor Moore, of Pittsburgh, and Mr. Riggs,
of the New York Central, at his invitation had a jolly midday breakfast,
extending far into the afternoon. I never knew him happier or heartier.
His jocund spirit rarely failed him. He enjoyed life and wasted no time
on trivial worries, hit-or-miss, the keynote to his thought.

The Dutch blood of Holland and the cavalier blood of England mingled in
his veins in fair proportion. He was especially proud of the uncle, his
mother's brother, the Southern admiral, head of the Confederate naval
organization in Europe, who had fitted out the rebel cruisers and sent
them to sea. And well he might be, for a nobler American never lived. At
the close of the War of Sections Admiral Bullock had in his possession
some half million dollars of Confederate money. Instead of appropriating
this to his own use, as without remark or hindrance he might have done,
he turned it over to the Government of the United States, and died a
poor man.

The inconsistencies and quarrels in which Theodore Roosevelt was now and
again involved were largely temperamental. His mind was of that order
which is prone to believe what it wants to believe. He did not take
much time to think. He leaped at conclusions, and from his premise his
conclusion was usually sound. His tastes were domestic, his pastime,
when not at his books, field sports.

He was not what might be called convivial, though fond of good
company--very little wine affecting him--so that a certain self-control
became second nature to him.

To be sure, he had no conscientious or doctrinal scruples about a third
term. He had found the White House a congenial abode, had accepted the
literal theory that his election in 1908 would not imply a third but
a second term, and he wanted to remain. In point of fact I have an
impression that, barring Jackson and Polk, most of those who have got
there were loath to give it up. We know that Grant was, and I am sure
that Cleveland was. We owe a great debt to Washington, because if a
third why not a fourth term? And then life tenure after the manner
of the Caesars and Cromwells of history, and especially the
Latin-Americans--Bolivar, Rosas and Diaz?

Away back in 1873, after a dinner, Mr. Blaine took me into his den and
told me that it was no longer a surmise but a fact that the group about
General Grant, who had just been reflected by an overwhelming majority,
was maneuvering for a third term. To me this was startling, incredible.
Returning to my hotel I saw a light still burning in the room of Senator
Morton, of Indiana, and rapping at the door I was bidden to enter.
Without mentioning how it had reached me, I put the proposition to him.
"Certainly," he said, "it is true."

The next day, in a letter to the Courier-Journal, I reduced what I had
heard to writing. Reading this over it seemed so sensational that I
added a closing paragraph, meant to qualify what I had written and to
imply that I had not gone quite daft.

"These things," I wrote, "may sound queer to the ear of the country.
They may have visited me in my dreams; they may, indeed, have come to
me betwixt the sherry and the champagne, but nevertheless I do aver that
they are buzzing about here in the minds of many very serious and not
unimportant persons."

Never was a well-intentioned scribe so berated and ridiculed as I,
never a simple news gatherer so discredited. Democratic and Republican
newspapers vied with one another which could say crossest things and
laugh loudest. One sentence especially caught the newspaper risibilities
of the time, and it was many a year before the phrase "between the
sherry and the champagne" ceased to pursue me. That any patriotic
American, twice elevated to the presidency, could want a third term,
could have the hardihood to seek one was inconceivable. My letter was
an insult to General Grant and proof of my own lack of intelligence
and restraint. They lammed me, laughed at me, good and strong. On each
successive occasion of recurrence I have encountered the same criticism.



Chapter the Twenty-Third

    The Actor and the Journalist--The Newspaper and the State--Joseph
    Jefferson--His Personal and Artistic Career--Modest Character and
    Religious Belief



I


The journalist and the player have some things in common. Each
turns night into day. I have known rather intimately all the eminent
English-speaking actors of my time from Henry Irving and Charles Wyndham
to Edwin Booth and Joseph Jefferson, from Charlotte Cushman to Helena
Modjeska. No people are quite so interesting as stage people.

During nearly fifty years my life and the life of Joseph Jefferson ran
close upon parallel lines. He was eleven years my senior; but after
the desultory acquaintance of a man and a boy we came together under
circumstances which obliterated the disparity of age and established
between us a lasting bond of affection. His wife, Margaret, had died,
and he was passing through Washington with the little brood of children
she had left him.

It made the saddest spectacle I had ever seen. As I recall it after
more than sixty years, the scene of silent grief, of unutterable
helplessness, has still a haunting power over me, the oldest lad not
eight years of age, the youngest a girl baby in arms, the young father
aghast before the sudden tragedy which had come upon him. There must
have been something in my sympathy which drew him toward me, for on his
return a few months later he sought me out and we fell into the easy
intercourse of established relations.

I was recovering from an illness, and every day he would come and
read by my bedside. I had not then lost the action of one of my hands,
putting an end to a course of musical study I had hoped to develop into
a career. He was infinitely fond of music and sufficiently familiar with
the old masters to understand and enjoy them. He was an artist through
and through, possessing a sweet nor yet an uncultivated voice--a blend
between a low tenor and a high baritone--I was almost about to write a
"contralto," it was so soft and liquid. Its tones in speech retained to
the last their charm. Who that heard them shall ever forget them?

Early in 1861 my friend Jefferson came to me and said: "There is
going to be a war of the sections. I am not a warrior. I am neither
a Northerner nor a Southerner. I cannot bring myself to engage in
bloodshed, or to take sides. I have near and dear ones North and South.
I am going away and I shall stay away until the storm blows over. It may
seem to you unpatriotic, and it is, I know, unheroic. I am not a hero; I
am, I hope, an artist. My world is the world of art, and I must be true
to that; it is my patriotism, my religion. I can do no manner of good
here, and I am going away."



II


At that moment statesmen were hopefully estimating the chances of a
peaceful adjustment and solution of the sectional controversy. With the
prophet instinct of the artist he knew better. Though at no time taking
an active interest in politics or giving expression to party bias of any
kind, his personal associations led him into a familiar knowledge of the
trend of political opinion and the portent of public affairs, and I can
truly say that during the fifty years that passed thereafter I never
discussed any topic of current interest or moment with him that he did
not throw upon it the side lights of a luminous understanding, and at
the same time an impartial and intelligent judgment.

His mind was both reflective and radiating. His humor though perennial
was subdued; his wit keen and spontaneous, never acrid or wounding. His
speech abounded with unconscious epigram. He had his beliefs and stood
by them; but he was never aggressive. Cleaner speech never fell from the
lips of man. I never heard him use a profanity. We once agreed between
ourselves to draw a line across the salacious stories so much in vogue
during our day; the wit must exceed the dirt; where the dirt exceeded
the wit we would none of it.

He was a singularly self-respecting man; genuinely a modest man. The
actor is supposed to be so familiar with the pubic as to be proof
against surprises. Before his audience he must be master of himself,
holding the situation and his art by the firmest grip. He must simulate,
not experience emotion, the effect referable to the seeming, never to
the actuality involving the realization.

Mr. Jefferson held to this doctrine and applied it rigorously. On a
certain occasion he was playing Caleb Plummer. In the scene between
the old toy-maker and his blind daughter, when the father discovers the
dreadful result of his dissimulation--an awkward hitch; and, the climax
quite thwarted, the curtain came down. I was standing at the wings.

"Did you see that?" he said as he brushed by me, going to his
dressing-room.

"No," said I, following him. "What was it?"

He turned, his eyes still wet and his voice choked. "I broke down," said
he; "completely broke down. I turned away from the audience to recover
myself. But I failed and had the curtain rung."

The scene had been spoiled because the actor had been overcome by a
sudden flood of real feeling, whereas he was to render by his art the
feeling of a fictitious character and so to communicate this to his
audience. Caleb's cue was tears, but not Jefferson's.

On another occasion I saw his self-possession tried in a different
way. We were dining with a gentleman who had overpartaken of his own
hospitality. Mr. Murat Halstead was of the company. There was also a
German of distinction, whose knowledge of English was limited. The Rip
Van Winkle craze was at its height. After sufficiently impressing the
German with the rare opportunity he was having in meeting a man so
famous as Mr. Jefferson, our host, encouraged by Mr. Halstead, and I am
afraid not discouraged by me, began to urge Mr. Jefferson to give us, as
he said, "a touch of his mettle," and failing to draw the great comedian
out he undertook himself to give a few descriptive passages from the
drama which was carrying the town by storm. Poor Jefferson! He sat like
an awkward boy, helpless and blushing, the German wholly unconscious of
the fun or even comprehending just what was happening--Halstead and I
maliciously, mercilessly enjoying it.



III


I never heard Mr. Jefferson make a recitation or, except in the singing
of a song before his voice began to break, make himself a part of any
private entertainment other than that of a spectator and guest.

He shrank from personal displays of every sort. Even in his younger days
he rarely "gagged," or interpolated, upon the stage. Yet he did not
lack for a ready wit. One time during the final act of Rip Van Winkle,
a young countryman in the gallery was so carried away that he quite lost
his bearings and seemed to be about to climb over the outer railing. The
audience, spellbound by the actor, nevertheless saw the rustic, and its
attention was being divided between the two when Jefferson reached that
point in the action of the piece where Rip is amazed by the docility
of his wife under the ill usage of her second husband. He took in the
situation at a glance.

Casting his eye directly upon the youth in the gallery, he uttered the
lines as if addressing them directly to him, "Well, I would never have
believed it if I had not seen it."

The poor fellow, startled, drew back from his perilous position, and the
audience broke into a storm of applause.

Joseph Jefferson was a Swedenborgian in his religious belief. At one
time too extreme a belief in spiritualism threatened to cloud his sound,
wholesome understanding. As he grew older and happier and passed out
from the shadow of his early tragedy he fell away from the more sinister
influence the supernatural had attained over his imagination. One time
in Washington I had him to breakfast to meet the Chief Justice and Mr.
Justice Matthews and Mr. Carlisle, the newly-elected Speaker of the
House. It was a rainy Sunday, and it was in my mind to warn him that our
company was made up of hard-headed lawyers not apt to be impressed
by fairy tales and ghost stories, and to suggest that he cut the
spiritualism in case the conversation fell, as was likely, into the
speculative. I forgot, or something hindered, and, sure enough, the
question of second sight and mind reading came up, and I said to myself:
"Lord, now we'll have it." But it was my kinsman, Stanley Matthews, who
led off with a clairvoyant experience in his law practice. I began to
be reassured. Mr. Carlisle followed with a most mathematical account
of some hobgoblins he had encountered in his law practice. Finally the
Chief Justice, Mr. Waite, related a series of incidents so fantastic and
incredible, yet detailed with the precision and lucidity of a master of
plain statement, as fairly to stagger the most believing ghostseer. Then
I said to myself again: "Let her go, Joe, no matter what you tell now
you will fall below the standard set by these professional perfecters
of pure reason, and are safe to do your best, or your worst." I think he
held his own, however.



IV


Joseph Jefferson came to his artistic spurs slowly but surely, being
nearly thirty years of age when he got his chance, and therefore wholly
equal to it and prepared for it.

William E. Burton stood and had stood for twenty-five years the
recognized, the reigning king of comedy in America. He was a master of
his craft as well as a leader in society and letters. To look at him
when he came upon the stage was to laugh; yet he commanded tears almost
as readily as laughter. In New York City particularly he ruled the
roost, and could and did do that which had cost another his place. He
began to take too many liberties with the public favor and, truth to
say, was beginning to be both coarse and careless. People were growing
restive under ministrations which were at times little less than
impositions upon their forbearance. They wanted something if possible as
strong, but more refined, and in the person of the leading comedy man of
Laura Keene's company, a young actor by the name of Jefferson, they got
it.

Both Mr. Sothern and Mr. Jefferson have told the story of Tom Taylor's
extravaganza, "Our American Cousin," in which the one as Dundreary, the
other as Asa Trenchard, rose to almost instant popularity and fame. I
shall not repeat it except to say that Jefferson's Asa Trenchard was
unlike any other the English or American stage has known. He played
the raw Yankee boy, not in low comedy at all, but made him innocent and
ignorant as a well-born Green Mountain lad might be, never a bumpkin;
and in the scene when Asa tells his sweetheart the bear story and whilst
pretending to light his cigar burns the will, he left not a dry eye in
the house.

New York had never witnessed, never divined anything in pathos and
humor so exquisite. Burton and his friends struggled for a season, but
Jefferson completely knocked them out. Even had Burton lived, and had
there been no diverting war of sections to drown all else, Jefferson
would have come to his growth and taken his place as the first
serio-comic actor of his time.

Rip Van Winkle was an evolution. Jefferson's half-brother, Charles
Burke, had put together a sketchy melodrama in two acts and had played
in it, was playing in it when he died. After his Trenchard, Jefferson
turned himself loose in all sorts of parts, from Diggory to Mazeppa, a
famous burlesque, which he did to a turn, imitating the mock heroics of
the feminine horse marines, so popular in the equestrian drama of the
period, Adah Isaacs Menken, the beautiful and ill-fated, at their head.
Then he produced a version of Nicholas Nickleby, in which his Newman
Noggs took a more ambitious flight. These, however, were but the
avant-couriers of the immortal Rip.

Charles Burke's piece held close to the lines of Irving's legend. When
the vagabond returns from the mountains after the twenty years' sleep
Gretchen is dead. The apex is reached when the old man, sitting dazed
at a table in front of the tavern in the village of Falling Water, asks
after Derrick Van Beekman and Nick Vedder and other of his cronies. At
last, half twinkle of humor and half glimmer of dread, he gets himself
to the point of asking after Dame Van Winkle, and is told that she
has been dead these ten years. Then like a flash came that wonderful
Jeffersonian change of facial expression, and as the white head drops
upon the arms stretched before him on the table he says: "Well, she led
me a hard life, a hard life, but she was the wife of my bosom, she was
_meine frau!_"

I did not see the revised, or rather the newly-created and written, Rip
Van Winkle until Mr. Jefferson brought it to America and was playing
it at Niblo's Garden in New York. Between himself and Dion Boucicault a
drama carrying all the possibilities, all the lights and shadows of his
genius had been constructed. In the first act he sang a drinking song to
a wing accompaniment delightfully, adding much to the tone and color of
the situation. The exact reversal of the Lear suggestion in the last act
was an inspiration, his own and not Boucicault's. The weird scene in the
mountains fell in admirably with a certain weird note in the Jefferson
genius, and supplied the needed element of variety.

I always thought it a good acting play under any circumstances, but, in
his hands, matchless. He thought himself that the piece, as a piece, and
regardless of his own acting, deserved better of the critics than
they were always willing to give it. Assuredly, no drama that ever was
written, as he played it, ever took such a hold upon the public. He
rendered it to three generations, and to a rising, not a falling,
popularity, drawing to the very last undiminished audiences.

Because of this unexampled run he was sometimes described by unthinking
people as a one-part actor. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He
possessed uncommon versatility. That after twenty years of the new Rip
Van Winkle, when he was past fifty years of age, he could come back to
such parts as Caleb Plummer and Acres is proof of this. He need not
have done so at all. Carrying a pension roll of dependents aggregating
fifteen or twenty thousand a year for more than a quarter of a century,
Rip would still have sufficed his requirements. It was his love for
his art that took him to The Cricket and The Rivals, and at no
inconsiderable cost to himself.

I have heard ill-natured persons, some of them envious actors, say that
he did nothing for the stage.

He certainly did not make many contributions to its upholstery. He was
in no position to emulate Sir Henry Irving in forcing and directing the
public taste. But he did in America quite as much as Sir Charles Wyndham
and Sir Henry Irving in England to elevate the personality, the social
and intellectual standing of the actor and the stage, effecting in a
lifetime a revolution in the attitude of the people and the clergy of
both countries to the theater and all things in it. This was surely
enough for one man in any craft or country.

He was always a good stage speaker. Late in life he began to speak
elsewhere, and finally to lecture. His success pleased him immensely.
The night of the Sunday afternoon charity for the Newsboys' Home in
Louisville, when the promise of a talk from him had filled the house to
overflowing, he was like a boy who had come off from a college occasion
with all the honors. Indeed, the degrees of Harvard and Yale, which had
reached him both unexpectedly and unsolicited, gave him a pleasure quite
apart from the vanity they might have gratified in another; he regarded
them, and justly, as the recognition at once of his profession and of
his personal character.

I never knew a man whose moral sensibilities were more acute. He loved
the respectable. He detested the unclean. He was just as attractive
off the stage as upon it, because he was as unaffected and real in
his personality as he was sincere and conscientious in his public
representations, his lovely nature showing through his art in spite of
him. His purpose was to fill the scene and forget himself.



V


The English newspapers accompanied the tidings of Mr. Jefferson's death
with rather sparing estimates of his eminence and his genius, though
his success in London, where he was well known, had been unequivocal.
Indeed, himself, alone with Edwin Booth and Mary Anderson, may be said
to complete the list of those Americans who have attained any real
recognition in the British metropolis. The Times spoke of him as "an
able if not a great actor." If Joseph Jefferson was not a great actor
I should like some competent person to tell me what actor of our time
could be so described.

Two or three of the journals of Paris referred to him as "the American
Coquelin." It had been apter to describe Coquelin as the French
Jefferson. I never saw Frederic Lemaître. But, him apart, I have seen
all the eccentric comedians, the character actors of the last fifty
years, and, in spell power, in precision and deftness of touch, in
acute, penetrating, all-embracing and all-embodying intelligence and
grasp, I should place Joseph Jefferson easily at their head.

Shakespeare was his Bible. The stage had been his cradle. He continued
all his days a student. In him met the meditative and the observing
faculties. In his love of fishing, his love of painting, his love of
music we see the brooding, contemplative spirit joined to the alert in
mental force and foresight when he addressed himself to the activities
and the objectives of the theater. He was a thorough stage manager,
skillful, patient and upright. His company was his family. He was not
gentler with the children and grandchildren he ultimately drew about
him than he had been with the young men and young women who had preceded
them in his employment and instruction.

He was nowise ashamed of his calling. On the contrary, he was proud
of it. His mother had lived and died an actress. He preferred that his
progeny should follow in the footsteps of their forebears even as he had
done. It is beside the purpose to inquire, as was often done, what might
have happened had he undertaken the highest flights of tragedy; one
might as well discuss the relation of a Dickens to a Shakespeare. Sir
Henry Irving and Sir Charles Wyndham in England, M. Coquelin in France,
his contemporaries--each had his _métier_. They were perfect in their
art and unalike in their art. No comparison between them can be justly
drawn. I was witness to the rise of all three of them, and have followed
them in their greatest parts throughout their most brilliant and eminent
and successful careers, and can say of each as of Mr. Jefferson:

  _More than King can no man be--Whether he
  rule in Cyprus or in Dreams._

There shall be Kings of Thule after kings are gone. The actor dies and
leaves no copy; his deeds are writ in water, only his name survives upon
tradition's tongue, and yet, from Betterton and Garrick to Irving, from
Macklin and Quin to Wyndham and Jefferson, how few!



Chapter the Twenty-Fourth

    The Writing of Memoirs--Some Characteristics of Carl Shurz--Sam
    Bowles--Horace White and the Mugwumps



I


Talleyrand was so impressed by the world-compelling character of the
memoirs he had prepared for posterity that he fixed an interdict of more
than fifty years upon the date set for their publication, and when at
last the bulky tomes made their appearance, they excited no especial
interest--certainly created no sensation--and lie for the most part
dusty upon the shelves of the libraries that contain them. For a
different reason, Henry Ward Beecher put a time limit upon the volume,
or volumes, which will tell us, among other things, all about one of the
greatest scandals of modern times; and yet how few people now recall
it or care anything about the dramatis personæ and the actual facts!
Metternich, next after Napoleon and Talleyrand, was an important figure
in a stirring epoch. He, too, indicted an autobiography, which is
equally neglected among the books that are sometimes quoted and
extolled, but rarely read. Rousseau, the half insane, and Barras, the
wholly vicious, have twenty readers where Talleyrand and Metternich have
one.

From this point of view, the writing of memoirs, excepting those of
the trivial French School or gossiping letters and diaries of the
Pepys-Walpole variety, would seem an unprofitable task for a great man's
undertaking. Boswell certainly did for Johnson what the thunderous old
doctor could not have done for himself. Nevertheless, from the days
of Cæsar to the days of Sherman and Lee, the captains of military and
senatorial and literary industry have regaled themselves, if they have
not edified the public, by the narration of their own stories; and, I
dare say, to the end of time, interest in one's self, and the mortal
desire to linger yet a little longer on the scene--now and again, as
in the case of General Grant, the assurance of honorable remuneration
making needful provision for others--will move those who have cut some
figure in the world to follow the wandering Celt in the wistful hope--

  _Around my fire an evening group to draw,
  And tell of all I felt and all I saw._

Something like this occurs to me upon a reperusal of the unfinished
memoirs of my old and dear friend, Carl Schurz. Assuredly few men had
better warrant for writing about themselves or a livelier tale to tell
than the famous German-American, who died leaving that tale unfinished.
No man in life was more misunderstood and maligned. There was nothing
either erratic or conceited about Schurz, nor was he more pragmatic than
is common to the possessor of positive opinions along with the power to
make their expression effectual.

The actual facts of his public life do not anywhere show that his
politics shifted with his own interests. On the contrary, he was
singularly regardless of his interests where his convictions interposed.
Though an alien, and always an alien, he possessed none of the shifty
traits of the soldier of fortune. Never in his career did he crook
the pregnant hinges of the knee before any worldly throne of grace or
flatter any mob that place might follow fawning. His great talents had
only to lend themselves to party uses to get their full requital. He
refused them equally to Grant in the White House and the multitude in
Missouri, going his own gait, which could be called erratic only by
the conventional, to whom regularity is everything and individuality
nothing.

Schurz was first of all and above all an orator. His achievements on
the platform and in the Senate were undeniable. He was unsurpassed in
debate. He had no need to exploit himself. The single chapter in his
life on which light was desirable was the military episode. The cruel
and false saying, "I fight mit Sigel und runs mit Schurz," obviously
the offspring of malignity, did mislead many people, reënforced by the
knowledge that Schurz was not an educated soldier. How thoroughly he
disposes of this calumny his memoirs attest. Fuller, more convincing
vindication could not be asked of any man; albeit by those familiar with
the man himself it could not be doubted that he had both courage and
aptitude for military employment.



II


A philosopher and an artist, he was drawn by circumstance into the
vortex of affairs. Except for the stirring events of 1848, he might have
lived and died a professor at Bonn or Heidelberg. If he had pursued his
musical studies at Leipsic he must have become a master of the piano
keyboard. As it was, he played Schumann and Chopin creditably. The
rescue of Kinkel, the flight from the fatherland, the mild Bohemianizing
in Paris and London awakened within him the spirit of action rather than
of adventure.

There was nothing of the Dalgetty about him; too reflective and too
accomplished. His early marriage attests a domestic trend, from which he
never departed; though an idealist in his public aspirations and aims
he was a sentimentalist in his home life and affections. Genial in
temperament and disposition, his personal habit was moderation itself.

He was a German. Never did a man live so long in a foreign country
and take on so few of its thoughts and ways. He threw himself into
the anti-slavery movement upon the crest of the wave; the flowing sea
carried him quickly from one distinction to another; the ebb tide, which
found him in the Senate of the United States, revealed to his startled
senses the creeping, crawling things beneath the surface; partyism
rampant, tyrannous and corrupt; a self-willed soldier in the White
House; a Blaine, a Butler and a Garfield leading the Representatives,
a Cameron and a Conkling leading the Senate; single-minded
disinterestedness, pure unadulterated conviction, nowhere.

Jobs and jobbing flourished on every side. An impossible scheme of
reconstruction was trailing its slow, putrescent length along. The
revenue service was thick with thieves, the committees of Congress were
packed with mercenaries. Money-making in high places had become the
order of the day. Was it for this that oceans of patriotism, of treasure
and of blood had been poured out? Was it for this that he had fought
with tongue and pen and sword?

There was Sumner--the great Sumner--who had quarreled with Grant and
Fish, to keep him company and urge him on. There was the Tribune,
the puissant Tribune--two of them, one in New York and the other in
Chicago--to give him countenance. There was need of liberalizing and
loosening things in Missouri, for which he sat in the Senate--they could
not go on forever half the best elements in the State disfranchised.

Thus the Liberal Movement of 1872.

Schurz went to Cincinnati elate with hope. He was an idealist--not quite
yet a philosopher. He had his friends about him. Sam Bowles--the first
newspaper politician of his day, with none of the handicaps carried
by Raymond and Forney--a man keen of insight and foresight, fertile of
resources, and not afraid--stood foremost among them. Next came Horace
White. Doric in his simplicity like a marble shaft, and to the outer eye
as cold as marble, but below a man of feeling, conviction and tenacity,
a working journalist and a doughty doctrinaire. A little group of such
men formed itself about Schurz--then only forty-three years old--to what
end? Why, Greeley, Horace Greeley, the bellwether of abolitionism, the
king bee of protectionism, the man of fads and isms and the famous "old
white hat."

To some of us it was laughable. To Schurz it was tragical. A bridge
had to be constructed for him to pass--for retrace his steps he could
not--and, as it were, blindfolded, he had to be backed upon this like a
mule aboard a train of cars. I sometimes wonder what might have happened
if Schurz had then and there resigned his seat in the Senate, got his
brood together and returned to Germany. I dare say he would have been
welcomed by Bismarck.

Certainly there was no lodgment for him thenceforward in American
politics. The exigencies of 1876-77 made him a provisional place in the
Hayes Administration; but, precisely as the Democrats of Missouri could
put such a man to no use, the Republicans at large could find no use for
him. He seemed a bull in a china shop to the political organization he
honored with a preference wholly intellectual, and having no stomach for
either extreme, he became a Mugwump.



III


He was a German. He was an artist. By nature a doctrinaire, he had
become a philosopher. He could never wholly adjust himself to his
environment. He lectured Lincoln, and Lincoln, perceiving his earnest
truthfulness and genuine qualities, forgave him his impertinence, nor
ceased to regard him with the enduring affection one might have for an
ardent, aspiring and lovable boy. He was repellant to Grant, who
could not and perhaps did not desire to understand him.... To him the
Southerners were always the red-faced, swashbuckling slave-drivers he
had fancied and pictured them in the days of his abolition oratory.
More and more he lived in a rut of his own fancies, wise in books
and counsels, gentle in his relations with the few who enjoyed his
confidence; to the last a most captivating personality.

Though fastidious, Schurz was not intolerant. Yet he was hard to
convince--tenacious of his opinions--courteous but insistent in debate.
He was a German; a German Herr Doktor of Music, of Letters and of Common
Law. During an intimacy of more than thirty years we scarcely ever
wholly agreed about any public matter; differing about even the civil
service and the tariff. But I admired him hugely and loved him heartily.

I had once a rather amusing encounter with him. There was a dinner at
Delmonico's, from whose program of post-prandial oratory I had purposely
caused my own name to be omitted. Indeed, I had had with a lady a wager
I very much wished to win that I would not speak. General Grant and I
went in together, and during the repast he said that the only five human
beings in the world whom he detested were actually here at table.

Of course, Schurz was one of these. He was the last on the list of
speakers and, curiously enough--the occasion being the consideration
of certain ways and means for the development of the South--and many
leading Southerners present--he composed his speech out of an editorial
tour de force he was making in the Evening Post on The Homicidal Side of
Southern Life. Before he had proceeded half through General Grant,
who knew of my wager, said, "You'll lose your bet," and, it being one
o'clock in the morning, I thought so too, and did not care whether I
won or lost it. When he finished, the call on me was spontaneous and
universal. "Now give it to him good," said General Grant.

And I did; I declared--the reporters were long since gone--that there
had not been a man killed amiss in Kentucky since the war; that where
one had been killed two should have been; and, amid roars of laughter
which gave me time to frame some fresh absurdity, I delivered a prose
paean to murder.

Nobody seemed more pleased than Schurz himself, and as we came
away--General Grant having disappeared--he put his arm about me like
a schoolboy and said: "Well, well, I had no idea you were so
bloody-minded."



Chapter the Twenty-Fifth

    Every Trade Has Its Tricks--I Play One on William McKinley--Far Away
    Party Politics and Political Issues



I


There are tricks in every trade. The tariff being the paramount issue of
the day, I received a tempting money offer from Philadelphia to present
my side of the question, but when the time fixed was about to arrive I
found myself billed for a debate with no less an adversary than William
McKinley, protectionist leader in the Lower House of Congress. We were
the best of friends and I much objected to a joint meeting. The parties,
however, would take no denial, and it was arranged that we should be
given alternate dates. Then it appeared that the designated thesis read:
"Which political party offers for the workingman the best solution of
the tariff problem?"

Here was a poser. It required special preparation, for which I had
not the leisure. I wanted the stipend, but was not willing--scarcely
able--to pay so much for it. I was about to throw the engagement over
when a lucky thought struck me. I had a cast-off lecture entitled Money
and Morals. It had been rather popular. Why might I not put a head and
tail to this--a foreword and a few words in conclusion--and make it meet
the purpose and serve the occasion?

When the evening arrived there was a great audience. Half of the people
had come to applaud, the other half to antagonize. I was received,
however, with what seemed a united acclaim. When the cheering had
ceased, with the blandest air I began:

"In that chapter of the history of Ireland which was reserved for the
consideration of snakes, the historian, true to the solecism as well
as the brevity of Irish wit, informs us that 'there are no snakes in
Ireland.'

"I am afraid that on the present occasion I shall have to emulate this
flight of the Celtic imagination. I find myself billed to speak from a
Democratic standpoint as to which party offers the best practical means
for the benefit of the workingmen of the country. If I am to discharge
with fidelity the duty thus assigned me, I must begin by repudiating
the text in toto, because the Democratic Party recognizes no political
agency for one class which is not equally open to all classes. The
bulwark and belltower of its faith, the source and resource of its
strength are laid in the declaration, 'Freedom for all, special
privileges to none,' which applied to practical affairs would deny
to self-styled workingmen, organized into a coöperative society,
any political means not enjoyed by every other organized coöperative
society, and by each and every citizen, individually, to himself and his
heirs and assigns, forever.

"But in a country like ours, what right has any body of men to get
together and, labelling themselves workingmen, to talk about political
means and practical ends exclusive to themselves? Who among us has the
single right to claim for himself, and the likes of him, the divine
title of a workingman? We are all workingmen, the earnest plodding
scholar in his library, surrounded by the luxury and comfort which
his learning and his labor have earned for him, no less than the poor
collier in the mine, with darkness and squalor closing him round about,
and want maybe staring him in the face, yet--if he be a true man--with
a little bird singing ever in his heart the song of hope and cheer which
cradled the genius of Stephenson and Arkwright and the long procession
of inventors, lowly born, to whom the world owes the glorious
achievements of this, the greatest of the centuries. We are all
workingmen--the banker, the minister, the lawyer, the doctor--toiling
from day to day, and it may be we are well paid for our toil, to
represent and to minister to the wants of the time no less than the
farmer and the farmer's boy, rising with the lark to drive the team
afield, and to dally with land so rich it needs to be but tickled with a
hoe to laugh a harvest.

"Having somewhat of an audacious fancy, I have sometimes in moments
of exuberance ventured upon the conceit that our Jupiter Tonans, the
American editor, seated upon his three-legged throne and enveloped by
the majesty and the mystery of his pretentious 'we,' is a workingman no
less than the poor reporter, who year in and year out braves the perils
of the midnight rounds through the slums of the city, yea in the more
perilous temptations of the town, yet carries with him into the darkest
dens the love of work, the hope of reward and the fear only of dishonor.

"Why, the poor officeseeker at Washington begging a bit of that pie,
which, having got his own slice, a cruel, hard-hearted President would
eliminate from the bill of fare, he likewise is a workingman, and I
can tell you a very hard-working man with a tough job of work, and were
better breaking rock upon a turnpike in Dixie or splitting rails on a
quarter section out in the wild and woolly West.

"It is true that, as stated on the program, I am a Democrat--as Artemus
Ward once said of the horses in his panorama, I can conceal it no
longer--at least I am as good a Democrat as they have nowadays. But
first of all, I am an American, and in America every man who is not
a policeman or a dude is a workingman. So, by your leave, my friends,
instead of sticking very closely to the text, and treating it from
a purely party point of view, I propose to take a ramble through the
highways and byways of life and thought in our beloved country and to
cast a balance if I can from an American point of view.

"I want to say in the beginning that no party can save any man or any
set of men from the daily toil by which all of us live and move and have
our being."

Then I worked in my old lecture.

It went like hot cakes. When next I met William McKinley he said
jocosely: "You are a mean man, Henry Watterson!"

"How so?" I asked.

"I accepted the invitation to answer you because I wanted and needed the
money. Of course I had no time to prepare a special address. My idea was
to make my fee by ripping you up the back. But when I read the verbatim
report which had been prepared for me there was not a word with which I
could take issue, and that completely threw me out."

Then I told him how it had happened and we had a hearty laugh. He was
the most lovable of men. That such a man should have fallen a victim
to the blow of an assassin defies explanation, as did the murders of
Lincoln and Garfield, like McKinley, amiable, kindly men giving never
cause of personal offense.



II


The murderer is past finding out. In one way and another I fancy that
I am well acquainted with the assassins of history. Of those who slew
Cæsar I learned in my schooldays, and between Ravaillac, who did the
business for Henry of Navarre, and Booth and Guiteau, my familiar
knowledge seems almost at first hand. One night at Chamberlin's, in
Washington, George Corkhill, the district attorney who was prosecuting
the murderer of Garfield, said to me: "You will never fully understand
this case until you have sat by me through one day's proceedings in
court." Next day I did this.

Never have I passed five hours in a theater so filled with thrills. I
occupied a seat betwixt Corkhill and Scoville, Guiteau's brother-in-law
and voluntary attorney. I say "voluntary" because from the first Guiteau
rejected him and vilely abused him, vociferously insisting upon being
his own lawyer.

From the moment Guiteau entered the trial room it was a theatrical
extravaganza. He was in irons, sandwiched between two deputy sheriffs,
came in shouting like a madman, and began at once railing at the judge,
the jury and the audience. A very necessary rule had been established
that when he interposed, whatever was being said or done automatically
stopped. Then, when he ceased, the case went on again as if nothing had
happened.

Only Scoville intervened between me and Guiteau and I had an excellent
opportunity to see, hear and size him up. In visage and voice he was the
meanest creature I have, either in life or in dreams, encountered.
He had the face and intonations of a demon. Everything about him was
loathsome. I cannot doubt that his criminal colleagues of history were
of the same description.

Charlotte Corday was surely a lunatic. Wilkes Booth I knew. He was
drunk, had been drunk all that winter, completely muddled and perverted
by brandy, the inheritant of mad blood. Czolgosz, the slayer of
McKinley, and the assassin of the Empress Elizabeth were clearly insane.



III


McKinley and Protectionism, Cleveland, Carlisle and Free Trade--how far
away they seem!

With the passing of the old issues that divided parties new issues have
come upon the scene. The alignment of the future will turn upon these.
But underlying all issues of all time are fundamental ideas which live
forever and aye, and may not be forgotten or ignored.

It used to be claimed by the followers of Jefferson that Democracy was
a fixed quantity, rising out of the bedrock of the Constitution, while
Federalism, Whiggism and Republicanism were but the chimeras of some
prevailing fancy drawing their sustenance rather from temporizing
expediency and current sentiment than from basic principles and profound
conviction. To make haste slowly, to look before leaping, to take
counsel of experience--were Democratic axioms. Thus the fathers of
Democracy, while fully conceiving the imperfections of government and
meeting as events required the need alike of movement and reform, put
the visionary and experimental behind them to aim at things visible,
attainable, tangible, the written Constitution the one safe precedent,
the morning star and the evening star of their faith and hope.

What havoc the parties and the politicians have made of all these lofty
pretenses! Where must an old-line Democrat go to find himself? Two
issues, however, have come upon the scene which for the time being are
paramount and which seem organic. They are set for the determination of
the twentieth century: The sex question and the drink question.

I wonder if it be possible to consider them in a catholic spirit from
a philosophic standpoint. I can truly say that the enactment of
prohibition laws, state or national, is personally nothing to me. I
long ago reached an age when the convivialism of life ceased to cut any
figure in the equation of my desires and habits. It is the never-failing
recourse of the intolerant, however, to ascribe an individual, and, of
course, an unworthy, motive to contrariwise opinions, and I have not
escaped that kind of criticism.

The challenge underlying prohibition is twofold: Does prohibition
prohibit, and, if it does, may it not generate evils peculiarly its own?

The question hinges on what are called "sumptuary laws"; that is,
statutes regulating the food and drink, the habits and apparel of the
individual citizen. This in turn harks back to the issue of paternal
government. That, once admitted and established, becomes in time
all-embracing.

Bigotry is a disease. The bigot pursuing his narrow round is like the
bedridden possessed by his disordered fancy. Bigotry sees nothing but
itself, which it mistakes for wisdom and virtue. But Bigotry begets
hypocrisy. When this spreads over a sufficient area and counts a
voting majority it sends its agents abroad, and thus we acquire canting
apostles and legislators at once corrupt and despotic.

They are now largely in evidence in the national capital and in the
various state capitals, where the poor-dog, professional politicians
most do congregate and disport themselves.

The worst of it is that there seems nowhere any popular
realization--certainly any popular outcry. Do the people grow
degenerate? Are they willfully dense?



Chapter the Twenty-Sixth

    A Libel on Mr. Cleveland--His Fondness for Cards--Some Poker
    Stories--The "Senate Game"--Tom Ochiltree, Senator Allison and General
    Schenck



I


Not long after Mr. Cleveland's marriage, being in Washington, I made a
box party embracing Mrs. Cleveland, and the Speaker and Mrs. Carlisle,
at one of the theaters where Madame Modjeska was appearing. The ladies
expressing a desire to meet the famous Polish actress who had so charmed
them, I took them after the play behind the scenes. Thereafter we
returned to the White House where supper was awaiting us, the President
amused and pleased when told of the agreeable incident.

The next day there began to buzz reports to the contrary. At first
covert, they gained in volume and currency until a distinguished
Republican party leader put his imprint upon them in an after-dinner
speech, going the length of saying the newly-wedded Chief Magistrate had
actually struck his wife and forbidden me the Executive Mansion, though
I had been there every day during the week that followed.

Mr. Cleveland believed the matter too preposterous to be given any
credence and took it rather stoically. But naturally Mrs. Cleveland was
shocked and outraged, and I made haste to stigmatize it as a lie out of
whole cloth. Yet though this was sent away by the Associated Press and
published broadcast I have occasionally seen it referred to by persons
over eager to assail a man incapable of an act of rudeness to a woman.



II


Mr. Cleveland was fond--not overfond--of cards. He liked to play the
noble game at, say, a dollar limit--even once in a while for a little
more--but not much more. And as Dr. Norvin Green was wont to observe of
Commodore Vanderbilt, "he held them exceeding close to his boo-som."

Mr. Whitney, Secretary of the Navy in his first administration, equally
rich and hospitable, had often "the road gang," as a certain group,
mainly senators, was called, to dine, with the inevitable after-dinner
soirée or séance. I was, when in Washington, invited to these parties.
At one of them I chanced to sit between the President and Senator Don
Cameron. Mr. Carlisle, at the time Speaker of the House--who handled
his cards like a child and, as we all knew, couldn't play a little--was
seated on the opposite side of the table.

After a while Mr. Cameron and I began "bluffing" the game--I recall
that the limit was five dollars--that is, raising and back-raising each
other, and whoever else happened to be in, without much or any regard to
the cards we held.

It chanced on a deal that I picked up a pat flush, Mr. Cleveland a pat
full. The Pennsylvania senator and I went to the extreme, the President
of course willing enough for us to play his hand for him. But the
Speaker of the House persistently stayed with us and could not be driven
out.

When it came to a draw Senator Cameron drew one card. Mr. Cleveland and
I stood pat. But Mr. Carlisle drew four cards. At length, after much
banter and betting, it reached a show-down and, _mirabile dictu_, the
Speaker held four kings!

"Take the money, Carlisle; take the money," exclaimed the President. "If
ever I am President again you shall be Secretary of the Treasury. But
don't you make that four-card draw too often."

He was President again, and Mr. Carlisle was Secretary of the Treasury.



III


There had arisen a disagreeable misunderstanding between General Schenck
and myself during the period when the general was Minister at the Court
of St. James. In consequence of this we did not personally meet. One
evening at Chamberlin's years after, a party of us--mainly the Ohio
statesman's old colleagues in Congress--were playing poker. He came in
and joined us. Neither of us knew the other even by sight and there was
no presentation when he sat in.

At length a direct play between the newcomer and me arose. There was a
moment's pause. Obviously we were strangers. Then it was that Senator
Allison, of Iowa, who had in his goodness of heart purposely brought
about this very situation, introduced us. The general reddened. I was
taken aback. But there was no escape, and carrying it off amiably we
shook hands. It is needless to say that then and there we dropped our
groundless feud and remained the rest of his life very good friends.

In this connection still another poker story. Sam Bugg, the Nashville
gambler, was on a Mississippi steamer bound for New Orleans. He came
upon a party of Tennesseeans whom a famous card sharp had inveigled and
was flagrantly robbing. Sam went away, obtained a pack of cards, and
stacked them to give the gambler four kings and the brightest one of the
Nashville boys four aces. After two or three failures to bring the cold
deck into action Sam Bugg brushed a spider--an imaginary spider, of
course--from the gambler's coat collar, for an instant distracting his
attention--and in the momentary confusion the stacked cards were duly
dealt and the betting began, the gambler confident and aggressive.
Finally, all the money up, the four aces beat the four kings, and for a
greater amount than the Nashvillians had lost and the gambler had won.
Whereupon, without change of muscle, the gambler drawled: "Mr. Bugg, the
next time you see a spider biting me let him bite on!"

I was told that the Senate Game had been played during the War of
Sections and directly after for large sums. With the arrival of the
rebel brigadiers it was perforce reduced to a reasonable limit.

The "road gang" was not unknown at the White House. Sometimes it
assembled at private houses, but its accustomed place of meeting
was first Welcker's and then Chamberlin's. I do not know whether it
continues to have abiding place or even an existence. In spite of the
reputation given me by the pert paragraphers I have not been on a race
course or seen a horse race or played for other than immaterial stakes
for more than thirty years.



IV


As an all-round newspaper writer and reporter many sorts of people,
high and low, little and big, queer and commonplace, fell in my way;
statesmen and politicians, artists and athletes, circus riders and prize
fighters; the riffraff and the élite; the professional and dilettante of
the world polite and the underworld.

I knew Mike Walsh and Tim Campbell. I knew John Morrissey. I have seen
Heenan--one of the handsomest men of his time--and likewise Adah Isaacs
Menken, his inamorata--many said his wife--who went into mourning
for him and thereafter hied away to Paris, where she lived under
the protection of Alexandre Dumas, the elder, who buried her in Père
Lachaise under a handsome monument bearing two words, "Thou knowest,"
beneath a carved hand pointed to heaven.

I did draw the line, however, at Cora Pearl and Marcus Cicero Stanley.

The Parisian courtesan was at the zenith of her extraordinary celebrity
when I became a rustic boulevardier. She could be seen everywhere and on
all occasions. Her gowns were the showiest, her equipage the smartest;
her entourage, loud though it was and vulgar, yet in its way was
undeniable. She reigned for a long time the recognized queen of the
demi-monde. I have beheld her in her glory on her throne--her two
thrones, for she had two--one on the south side of the river, the other
at the east end--not to mention the race course--surrounded by a retinue
of the disreputable. She did not awaken in me the least curiosity, and I
declined many opportunities to meet her.

Marcus Cicero Stanley was sprung from an aristocratic, even a
distinguished, North Carolina family. He came to New York and set up for
a swell. How he lived I never cared to find out, though he was believed
to be what the police call a "fence." He seemed a cross between a "con"
and a "beat." Yet for a while he flourished at Delmonico's, which he
made his headquarters, and cut a kind of dash with the unknowing. He was
a handsome, mannerly brute who knew how to dress and carry himself like
a gentleman.

Later there came to New York another Southerner--a Far Southerner of a
very different quality--who attracted no little attention. This was
Tom Ochiltree. He, too, was well born, his father an eminent jurist of
Texas; he, himself, a wit, _bon homme_ and raconteur. Travers once said:
"We have three professional liars in America--Tom Ochiltree is one and
George Alfred Townsend is the other two."

The stories told of Tom would fill a book. He denied none, however
preposterous--was indeed the author of many of the most amusing--of how,
when the old judge proposed to take him into law partnership he caused
to be painted an office sign: Thomas P. Ochiltree and Father; of his
reply to General Grant, who had made him United States Marshal of Texas,
and later suggested that it would be well for Tom to pay less attention
to the race course: "Why, Mr. President, all that turf publicity relates
to a horse named after me, not to me," it being that the horse of the
day had been so called; and of General Grant's reply: "Nevertheless, it
would be well, Tom, for you to look in upon Texas once in a while"--in
short, of his many sayings and exploits while a member of Congress
from the Galveston district; among the rest, that having brought in a
resolution tendering sympathy to the German Empire on the death of Herr
Laska, the most advanced and distinguished of Radical Socialists, which
became for the moment a _cause célébre_. Tom remarked, "Not that I care
a damn about it, except for the prominence it gives to Bismarck."

He lived when in Washington at Chamberlin's. He and John Chamberlin were
close friends. Once when he was breakfasting with John a mutual friend
came in. He was in doubt what to order. Tom suggested beefsteak and
onions.

"But," objected the newcomer, "I am about to call on some ladies, and
the smell of onions on my breath, you know!"

"Don't let that trouble you," said Tom; "you have the steak and onions
and when you get your bill that will take your breath away!"

Under an unpromising exterior--a stocky build and fiery red head--there
glowed a brave, generous and tender spirit. The man was a _preux
chevalier_. He was a knight-errant. All women--especially all good and
discerning women who knew him and who could intuitively read
beneath that clumsy personality his fine sense of respect--even of
adoration--loved Tom Ochiltree.

The equivocal celebrity he enjoyed was largely fostered by himself, his
stories mostly at his own expense. His education had been but casual.
But he had a great deal of it and a varied assortment. He knew everybody
on both sides of the Atlantic, his friends ranging from the Prince
of Wales, afterward Edward VII, Gladstone and Disraeli, Gambetta and
Thiers, to the bucks of the jockey clubs. There were two of Tom--Tom the
noisy on exhibition, and Tom the courtier in society.

How he lived when out of office was the subject of unflattering
conjecture. Many thought him the stipendiary of Mr. Mackay, the
multimillionaire, with whom he was intimate, who told me he could
never induce Tom to take money except for service rendered. Among his
familiars was Colonel North, the English money magnate, who said the
same thing. He had a widowed sister in Texas to whom he regularly sent
an income sufficient for herself and family. And when he died, to the
surprise of every one, he left his sister quite an accumulation. He had
never been wholly a spendthrift. Though he lived well at Chamberlin's in
Washington and the Waldorf in New York he was careful of his credit and
his money. I dare say he was not unfortunate in the stock market. He
never married and when he died, still a youngish man as modern ages go,
all sorts of stories were told of him, and the space writers, having a
congenial subject, disported themselves voluminously. Inevitably most of
their stories were apocryphal.

I wonder shall we ever get any real truth out of what is called history?
There are so many sides to it and such a confusing din of voices. How
much does old Sam Johnson owe of the fine figure he cuts to Boswell,
and, minus Boswell, how much would be left of him? For nearly a century
the Empress Josephine was pictured as the effigy of the faithful and
suffering wife sacrificed upon the altar of unprincipled and selfish
ambition--lovelorn, deserted, heartbroken. It was Napoleon, not
Josephine, except in her pride, who suffered. Who shall tell us the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, about Hamilton; about
Burr; about Cæsar, Caligula and Cleopatra? Did Washington, when he was
angry, swear like a trooper? What was the matter with Nero?



IV


One evening Edward King and I were dining in the Champs Elysées when
he said: "There is a new coon--a literary coon--come to town. He is a
Scotchman and his name is Robert Louis Stevenson." Then he told me of
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At that moment the subject of our talk was
living in a kind of self-imposed penury not half a mile away. Had we
known this we could have ended the poor fellow's struggle with his pride
and ambition then and there; have put him in the way of sure work and
plenty of it; perhaps have lengthened, certainly have sweetened, his
days, unless it be true that he was one of the impossibles, as he may
easily be conceived to have been from reading his wayward biography and
voluminous correspondence.

To a young Kentuckian, one of "my boys," was given the opportunity to
see the last of him and to bury him in far-away Samoa, whither he had
taken himself for the final adventure and where he died, having attained
some measure of the dreams he had cherished, and, let us hope, happy in
the consciousness of the achievement.

I rather think Stevenson should be placed at the head of the latter-day
fictionists. But fashions in literature as in dress are ever changing.
Washington Irving was the first of our men of letters to obtain foreign
recognition. While the fires of hate between Great Britain and America
were still burning he wrote kindly and elegantly of England and the
English, and was accepted on both sides of the ocean. Taking his style
from Addison and Goldsmith, he emulated their charity and humor; he went
to Spain and in the same deft way he pictured the then unknown byways of
the land of dreams; and coming home again he peopled the region of the
Hudson with the beings of legend and fancy which are dear to us.

He became our national man of letters. He stood quite at the head of our
literature, giving the lie to the scornful query, "Who reads an American
book?" As a pioneer he will always be considered; as a simple and vivid
writer of things familiar and entertaining he will probably always be
read; but as an originator literary history will hardly place him very
high. There Bret Harte surely led him. The Tales of the Argonauts as
works of creative fancy exceed the Sketches of Washington Irving alike
in wealth of color and humor, in pathos and dramatic action.

Some writers make an exception of the famous Sleepy Hollow story. But
they have in mind the Rip Van Winkle of Jefferson and Boucicault, not
the rather attenuated story of Irving, which--as far as the twenty years
of sleep went--was borrowed from an old German legend.

Mark Twain and Bret Harte, however, will always be bracketed with
Washington Irving. Of the three I incline to the opinion that Mark Twain
did the broadest and strongest work. His imagination had wider reach
than Irving's. There is nowhere, as there is in Harte, the suspicion
either of insincerity or of artificiality. Irving's humor was the humor
of Sir Roger de Coverley and the Vicar of Wakefield. It is old English.
Mark Twain's is his own--American through and through to the bone. I am
not unmindful of Cooper and Hawthorne, of Longfellow, of Lowell and of
Poe, but speak of Irving as the pioneer American man of letters, and of
Mark Twain and Bret Harte as American literature's most conspicuous and
original modern examples.



Chapter the Twenty-Seventh

    The Profession of Journalism--Newspapers and Editors in
    America--Bennett, Greeley and Raymond--Forney and Dana--The Education
    of a Journalist



I


The American newspaper has had, even in my time, three separate and
distinct epochs; the thick-and-thin, more or less servile party
organ; the personal, one-man-controlled, rather blatant and would-be
independent; and the timorous, corporation, or family-owned billboard of
such news as the ever-increasing censorship of a constantly centralizing
Federal Government will allow.

This latter appears to be its present state. Neither its individuality
nor its self-exploitation, scarcely its grandiose pretension, remains.
There continues to be printed in large type an amount of shallow stuff
that would not be missed if it were omitted altogether. But, except as a
bulletin of yesterday's doings, limited, the daily newspaper counts
for little, the single advantage of the editor--in case there is
an editor--that is, one clothed with supervising authority who
"edits"--being that he reaches the public with his lucubrations first,
the sanctity that once hedged the editorial "we" long since departed.

The editor dies, even as the actor, and leaves no copy. Editorial
reputations have been as ephemeral as the publications which gave them
contemporary importance. Without going as far back as the Freneaus and
the Callenders, who recalls the names of Mordecai Mannasseh Noah, of
Edwin Crosswell and of James Watson Webb? In their day and generation
they were influential and distinguished journalists. There are dozens
of other names once famous but now forgotten; George Wilkins Kendall;
Gerard Hallock; Erastus Brooks; Alexander Bullitt; Barnwell Rhett;
Morton McMichael; George William Childs, even Thomas Ritchie, Duff Green
and Amos Kendall. "Gales and Seaton" sounds like a trade-mark; but it
stood for not a little and lasted a long time in the National Capital,
where newspaper vassalage and the public printing went hand-in-hand.

For a time the duello flourished. There were frequent "affairs of
honor"--notably about Richmond in Virginia and Charleston in South
Carolina--sometimes fatal meetings, as in the case of John H. Pleasants
and one of the sons of Thomas Ritchie in which Pleasants was killed, and
the yet more celebrated affair between Graves, of Kentucky, and Cilley,
of Maine, in which Cilley was killed; Bladensburg the scene, and the
refusal of Cilley to recognize James Watson Webb the occasion.

I once had an intimate account of this duel with all the cruel incidents
from Henry A. Wise, a party to it, and a blood-curdling narrative it
made. They fought with rifles at thirty paces, and Cilley fell on the
third fire. It did much to discredit duelling in the South. The story,
however, that Graves was so much affected that thereafter he could never
sleep in a darkened chamber had no foundation whatever, a fact I
learned from my associate in the old Louisville Journal and later in The
Courier-Journal, Mr. Isham Henderson, who was a brother-in-law of Mr.
Graves, his sister, Mrs. Graves, being still alive. The duello died at
length. There was never sufficient reason for its being. It was both a
vanity and a fad. In Hopkinson Smith's "Col. Carter of Cartersville,"
its real character is hit off to the life.



II


When very early, rather too early, I found myself in the saddle, Bennett
and Greeley and Raymond in New York, and Medill and Storey in Chicago,
were yet alive and conspicuous figures in the newspaper life of the
time. John Bigelow, who had retired from the New York Evening Post,
was Minister to France. Halstead was coming on, but, except as a
correspondent, Whitelaw Reid had not "arrived." The like was true of
"Joe" McCullagh, who, in the same character, divided the newspaper
reading attention of the country with George Alfred Townsend and Donn
Piatt. Joseph Medill was withdrawing from the Chicago Tribune in favor
of Horace White, presently to return and die in harness--a man of
sterling intellect and character--and Wilbur F. Storey, his local rival,
who was beginning to show signs of the mental malady that, developed
into monomania, ultimately ended his life in gloom and despair, wrecking
one of the finest newspaper properties outside of New York. William R.
Nelson, who was to establish a really great newspaper in Kansas City,
was still a citizen of Ft. Wayne.

James Gordon Bennett, the elder, seemed then to me, and has always
seemed, the real founder of the modern newspaper as a vehicle of popular
information, and, in point of apprehension, at least, James Gordon
Bennett, the younger, did not fall behind his father. What was, and
might have been regarded and dismissed as a trivial slander drove him
out of New York and made him the greater part of his life a resident of
Paris, where I was wont to meet and know much of him.

The New York Herald, under father and son, attained enormous prosperity,
prestige and real power. It suffered chiefly from what they call in
Ireland "absentee landlordism." Its "proprietor," for he never described
himself as its "editor," was a man of exquisite sensibilities--a
"despot" of course--whom nature created for a good citizen, a good
husband and the head of a happy domestic fabric. He should have married
the woman of his choice, for he was deeply in love with her and never
ceased to love her, forty years later leaving her in his will a handsome
legacy.

Crossing the ocean with the "Commodore," as he was called by his
familiars, not long after he had taken up his residence abroad,
naturally we fell occasionally into shop talk. "What would you do," he
once said, "if you owned the Herald?" "Why," I answered, "I would stay
in New York and edit it;" and then I proceeded, "but you mean to ask me
what I think you ought to do with it?" "Yes," he said, "that is about
the size of it."

"Well, Commodore," I answered, "if I were you, when we get in I would
send for John Cockerill and make him managing editor, and for John
Young, and put him in charge of the editorial page, and then I would go
and lose myself in the wilds of Africa."

He adopted the first two of these suggestions. John A. Cockerill was
still under contract with Joseph Pulitzer and could not accept for a
year or more. He finally did accept and died in the Bennett service.
John Russell Young took the editorial page and was making it "hum"
when a most unaccountable thing happened. I was amazed to receive an
invitation to a dinner he had tendered and was about to give to the
quondam Virginian and just elected New York Justice Roger A. Pryor. "Is
Young gone mad," I said to myself, "or can he have forgotten that the
one man of all the world whom the House of Bennett can never forget, or
forgive, is Roger A. Pryor?"

The Bennett-Pry or quarrel had been a _cause célèbre_ when John
Young was night editor of the Philadelphia Press and I was one of its
Washington correspondents. Nothing so virulent had ever passed between
an editor and a Congressman. In one of his speeches Pryor had actually
gone the length of rudely referring to Mrs. James Gordon Bennett.

The dinner was duly given. But it ended John's connection with the
Herald and his friendly relations with the owner of the Herald. The
incident might be cited as among "The Curiosities of Journalism," if
ever a book with that title is written. John's "break" was so bad that I
never had the heart to ask him how he could have perpetrated it.



III


The making of an editor is a complex affair. Poets and painters are said
to be born. Editors and orators are made. Many essential elements
enter into the editorial fabrication; need to be concentrated upon and
embodied by a single individual, and even, with these, environment is
left to supply the opportunity and give the final touch.

Aptitude, as the first ingredient, goes without saying of every line of
human endeavor. We have the authority of the adage for the belief that
it is not possible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Yet have I
known some unpromising tyros mature into very capable workmen.

The modern newspaper, as we know it, may be fairly said to have been
the invention of James Gordon Bennett, the elder. Before him there were
journals, not newspapers. When he died he had developed the news
scheme in kind, though not in the degree that we see so elaborate and
resplendent in New York and other of the leading centers of population.
Mr. Bennett had led a vagrant and varied life when he started the
Herald. He had been many things by turns, including a writer of verses
and stories, but nothing very successful nor very long. At length
he struck a central idea--a really great, original idea--the idea of
printing the news of the day, comprising the History of Yesterday,
fully and fairly, without fear or favor. He was followed by Greeley
and Raymond--making a curious and very dissimilar triumvirate--and, at
longer range, by Prentice and Forney, by Bowles and Dana, Storey, Medill
and Halstead. All were marked men; Greeley a writer and propagandist;
Raymond a writer, declaimer and politician; Prentice a wit and partisan;
Dana a scholar and an organizer; Bowles a man both of letters and
affairs. The others were men of all work, writing and fighting their
way to the front, but possessing the "nose for news," using the Bennett
formula and rescript as the basis of their serious efforts, and never
losing sight of it. Forney had been a printer. Medill and Storey were
caught young by the lure of printer's ink. Bowles was born and reared
in the office of the Springfield Republican, founded by his father, and
Halstead, a cross betwixt a pack horse and a race horse, was broken to
harness before he was out of his teens.

Assuming journalism, equally with medicine and law, to be a profession,
it is the only profession in which versatility is not a disadvantage.
Specialism at the bar, or by the bedside, leads to perfection and
attains results. The great doctor is the great surgeon or the great
prescriptionist--he cannot be great in both--and the great lawyer is
rarely great, if ever, as counselor and orator.

[Illustration: Henry Watterson--From a painting by Louis Mark in the
Manhattan Club, New York]

The great editor is by no means the great writer. But he ought to be
able to write and must be a judge of writing. The newspaper office is a
little kingdom. The great editor needs to know and does know every range
of it between the editorial room, the composing room and the pressroom.
He must hold well in hand everybody and every function, having risen,
as it were, step-by-step from the ground floor to the roof. He should be
level-headed, yet impressionable; sympathetic, yet self-possessed;
able quickly to sift, detect and discriminate; of various knowledge,
experience and interest; the cackle of the adjacent barnyard the noise
of the world to his eager mind and pliant ear. Nothing too small for him
to tackle, nothing too great, he should keep to the middle of the road
and well in rear of the moving columns; loving his art--for such
it is--for art's sake; getting his sufficiency, along with its
independence, in the public approval and patronage, seeking never
anything further for himself. Disinterestedness being the soul of
successful journalism, unselfish devotion to every noble purpose in
public and private life, he should say to preferment, as to bribers,
"get behind me, Satan." Whitelaw Reid, to take a ready and conspicuous
example, was a great journalist, but rather early in life he abandoned
journalism for office and became a figure in politics and diplomacy so
that, as in the case of Franklin, whose example and footsteps in the
main he followed, he will be remembered rather as the Ambassador than as
the Editor.

More and more must these requirements be fulfilled by the aspiring
journalist. As the world passes from the Rule of Force--force of
prowess, force of habit, force of convention--to the Rule of Numbers,
the daily journal is destined, if it survives as a power, to become the
teacher--the very Bible--of the people. The people are already beginning
to distinguish between the wholesome and the meretricious in their
newspapers. Newspaper owners, likewise, are beginning to realize
the value of character. Instances might be cited where the public,
discerning some sinister but unseen power behind its press, has slowly
yet surely withdrawn its confidence and support. However impersonal it
pretends to be, with whatever of mystery it affects to envelop itself,
the public insists upon some visible presence. In some States the law
requires it. Thus "personal journalism" cannot be escaped, and whether
the "one-man power" emanates from the Counting Room or the Editorial
Room, as they are called, it must be clear and answerable, responsive to
the common weal, and, above all, trustworthy.



IV


John Weiss Forney was among the most conspicuous men of his time. He was
likewise one of the handsomest. By nature and training a journalist, he
played an active, not to say an equivocal, part in public life-at the
outset a Democratic and then a Republican leader.

Born in the little town of Lancaster, it was his mischance to have
attached himself early in life to the fortunes of Mr. Buchanan, whom he
long served with fidelity and effect. But when Mr. Buchanan came to the
Presidency, Forney, who aspired first to a place in the Cabinet, which
was denied him, and then to a seat in the Senate, for which he was
beaten--through flagrant bribery, as the story ran--was left out in the
cold. Thereafter he became something of a political adventurer.

The days of the newspaper "organ" approached their end. Forney's
occupation, like Othello's, was gone, for he was nothing if not an
organ grinder. Facile with pen and tongue, he seemed a born courtier--a
veritable Dalgetty, whose loyal devotion to his knight-at-arms deserved
better recognition than the cold and wary Pennsylvania chieftain
was willing to give. It is only fair to say that Forney's character
furnished reasonable excuse for this neglect and apparent ingratitude.
The row between them, however, was party splitting. As the friend and
backer of Douglas, and later along a brilliant journalistic soldier of
fortune, Forney did as much as any other man to lay the Democratic party
low.

I can speak of him with a certain familiarity and authority, for I was
one of his "boys." I admired him greatly and loved him dearly. Most of
the young newspaper men about Philadelphia and Washington did so. He was
an all-around modern journalist of the first class. Both as a newspaper
writer and creator and manager, he stood upon the front line, rating
with Bennett and Greeley and Raymond. He first entertained and then
cultivated the thirst for office, which proved the undoing of Greeley
and Raymond, and it proved his undoing. He had a passion for politics.
He would shine in public life. If he could not play first fiddle he
would take any other instrument. Thus failing of a Senatorship, he was
glad to get the Secretaryship of the Senate, having been Clerk of the
House.

He was bound to be in the orchestra. In those days newspaper
independence was little known. Mr. Greeley was willing to play
bottle-holder to Mr. Seward, Mr. Prentice to Mr. Clay. James Gordon
Bennett, the elder, and later his son, James Gordon Bennett, the
younger, challenged this kind of servility. The Herald stood at the
outset of its career manfully in the face of unspeakable obloquy against
it. The public understood it and rose to it. The time came when the
elder Bennett was to attain official as well as popular recognition. Mr.
Lincoln offered him the French mission and Mr. Bennett declined it.
He was rich and famous, and to another it might have seemed a kind
of crowning glory. To him it seemed only a coming down--a badge of
servitude--a lowering of the flag of independent journalism under which,
and under which alone, he had fought all his life.

Charles A. Dana was not far behind the Bennetts in his independence.
He well knew what parties and politicians are. The most scholarly and
accomplished of American journalists, he made the Sun "shine for all,"
and, during the years of his active management, a most prosperous
property. It happened that whilst I was penny-a-lining in New York
I took a piece of space work--not very common in those days--to the
Tribune and received a few dollars for it. Ten years later, meeting Mr.
Dana at dinner, I recalled the circumstance, and thenceforward we became
the best of friends. Twice indeed we had runabouts together in foreign
lands. His house in town, and the island home called Dorsoris, which he
had made for himself, might not inaptly be described as very shrines
of hospitality and art, the master of the house a virtuoso in music and
painting no less than in letters. One might meet under his roof the most
diverse people, but always interesting and agreeable people. Perhaps at
times he carried his aversions a little too far. But he had reasons for
them, and a man of robust temperament and habit, it was not in him
to sit down under an injury, or fancied injury. I never knew a more
efficient journalist. What he did not know about a newspaper, was
scarcely worth knowing.

In my day Journalism has made great strides. It has become a recognized
profession. Schools of special training are springing up here and there.
Several of the universities have each its College of Journalism. The
tendency to discredit these, which was general and pronounced at the
start, lowers its tone and grows less confident.

Assuredly there is room for special training toward the making of an
editor. Too often the newspaper subaltern obtaining promotion through
aptitudes peculiarly his own, has failed to acquire even the most
rudimentary knowledge of his art. He has been too busy seeking "scoops"
and doing "stunts" to concern himself about perspectives, principles,
causes and effects, probable impressions and consequences, or even
to master the technical details which make such a difference in the
preparation of matter intended for publication and popular perusal.
The School of Journalism may not be always able to give him the needful
instruction. But it can set him in the right direction and better
prepare him to think and act for himself.



Chapter the Twenty-Eighth

    Bullies and Braggarts--Some Kentucky Illustrations--The Old Galt
    House--The Throckmortons--A Famous Sugeon--"Old Hell's Delight"



I


I do not believe that the bully and braggart is more in evidence in
Kentucky and Texas than in other Commonwealths of the Union, except that
each is by the space writers made the favorite arena of his exploits
and adopted as the scene of the comic stories told at his expense. The
son-of-a-gun from Bitter Creek, like the "elegant gentleman" from the
Dark and Bloody Ground, represents a certain type to be found more or
less developed in each and every State of the Union. He is not always a
coward. Driven, as it were, to the wall, he will often make good.

He is as a rule in quest of adventures. He enters the village from the
countryside and approaches the mêlée. "Is it a free fight?" says he.
Assured that it is, "Count me in," says he. Ten minutes later, "Is it
still a free fight?" he says, and, again assured in the affirmative,
says he, "Count me out."

Once the greatest of bullies provoked old Aaron Pennington, "the
strongest man in the world," who struck out from the shoulder and landed
his victim in the middle of the street. Here he lay in a helpless heap
until they carted him off to the hospital, where for a day or two he
flickered between life and death. "Foh God," said Pennington, "I barely
teched him."

This same bully threatened that when a certain mountain man came to town
he would "finish him." The mountain man came. He was enveloped in an
old-fashioned cloak, presumably concealing his armament, and walked
about ostentatiously in the proximity of his boastful foeman, who
remained as passive as a lamb. When, having failed to provoke a fight,
he had taken himself off, an onlooker said: "Bill, I thought you were
going to do him up?"

"But," says Bill, "did you see him?"

"Yes, I saw him. What of that?"

"Why," exclaimed the bully, "that man was a walking arsenal."

Aaron Pennington, the strong man just mentioned, was, in his younger
days, a river pilot. Billy Hite, a mite of a man, was clerk. They had
a disagreement, when Aaron told Billy that if he caught him on "the
harrican deck," he would pitch him overboard. The next day Billy
appeared whilst Aaron, off duty, was strolling up and down outside
the pilot-house, and strolled offensively in his wake. Never a hostile
glance or a word from Aaron. At last, tired of dumb show, Billy broke
forth with a torrent of imprecation closing with "When are you going to
pitch me off the boat, you blankety-blank son-of-a-gun and coward?"

Aaron Pennington was a brave man. He was both fearless and
self-possessed. He paused, gazed quizzically at his little tormentor,
and says he: "Billy, you got a pistol, and you want to get a pretext to
shoot me, and I ain't going to give it to you."



II


Among the hostels of Christendom the Galt House, of Louisville, for a
long time occupied a foremost place and held its own. It was burned to
the ground fifty years ago and a new Galt House was erected, not
upon the original site, but upon the same street, a block above, and,
although one of the most imposing buildings in the world, it could never
be made to thrive. It stands now a rather useless encumbrance--a whited
sepulchre--a marble memorial of the Solid South and the Kentucky that
was, on whose portal might truthfully appear the legend:

  "_A jolly place it was in days of old,
  But something ails it now_"

Aris Throckmorton, its manager in the Thirties, the Forties and the
Fifties, was a personality and a personage. The handsomest of men
and the most illiterate, he exemplified the characteristics and
peculiarities of the days of the river steamer and the stage coach, when
"mine host" felt it his duty to make the individual acquaintance of his
patrons and each and severally to look after their comfort. Many stories
are told at his expense; of how he made a formal call upon Dickens--it
was, in point of fact, Marryatt--in his apartment, to be coolly told
that when its occupant wanted him he would ring for him; and of how,
investigating a strange box which had newly arrived from Florida, the
prevailing opinion being that the live animal within was an alligator,
he exclaimed, "Alligator, hell; it's a scorponicum." He died at length,
to be succeeded by his son John, a very different character. And thereby
hangs a tale.

John Throckmorton, like Aris, his father, was one of the handsomest
of men. Perhaps because he was so he became the victim of one of the
strangest of feminine whimsies and human freaks. There was a young girl
in Louisville, named Ellen Godwin. Meeting him at a public ball she fell
violently in love with him. As Throckmorton did not reciprocate this,
and refused to pursue the acquaintance, she began to dog his footsteps.
She dressed herself in deep black and took up a position in front of the
Galt House, and when he came out and wherever he went she followed him.
No matter how long he stayed, when he reappeared she was on the spot and
watch. He took himself away to San Francisco. It was but the matter of a
few weeks when she was there, too. He hied him thence to Liverpool, and
as he stepped upon the dock there she was. She had got wind of his going
and, having caught an earlier steamer, preceded him.

Finally the War of Sections arrived. John Throckmorton became a
Confederate officer, and, being able to keep her out of the lines,
he had a rest of four years. But, when after the war he returned to
Louisville, the quarry began again.

He was wont to call her "Old Hell's Delight." Finally, one night, as he
was passing the market, she rushed out and rained upon him blow after
blow with a frozen rabbit.

Then the authorities took a hand. She was arraigned for disorderly
conduct and brought before the Court of Police. Then the town, which
knew nothing of the case and accepted her goings on as proof of wrong,
rose; and she had a veritable ovation, coming away with flying colors.
This, however, served to satisfy her. Thenceforward she desisted and
left poor John Throckmorton in peace.

I knew her well. She used once in a while to come and see me, having
some story or other to tell. On one occasion I said to her: "Ellen, why
do you pursue this man in this cruel way? What possible good can it do
you?" She looked me straight in the eye and slowly replied: "Because I
love him."

I investigated the case closely and thoroughly and was assured, as he
had assured me, that he had never done her the slightest wrong. She had,
on occasion, told me the same thing, and this I fully believed.

He was a man, every inch of him, and a gentleman through and
through--the very soul of honor in his transactions of every sort--most
highly respected and esteemed wherever he was known--yet his life was
made half a failure and wholly unhappy by this "crazy Jane," the general
public taking appearances for granted and willing to believe nothing
good of one who, albeit proud and honorable, held defiantly aloof,
disdaining self-defense.

On the whole I have not known many men more unfortunate than John
Throckmorton, who, but for "Old Hell's Delight," would have encountered
little obstacle to the pursuit of prosperity and happiness.



III


Another interesting Kentuckian of this period was John Thompson Gray.
He was a Harvard man--a wit, a scholar, and, according to old Southern
standards, a chevalier. Handsome and gifted, he had the disastrous
misfortune just after leaving college to kill his friend in a duel--a
mortal affair growing, as was usual in those days, out of a trivial
cause--and this not only saddened his life, but, in its ambitious aims,
shadowed and defeated it. His university comrades had fully counted on
his making a great career. Being a man of fortune, he was able to live
like a gentleman without public preferment, and this he did, except to
his familiars aloof and sensitive to the last.

William Preston, the whilom Minister to Spain and Confederate General,
and David Yandell, the eminent surgeon, were his devoted friends, and a
notable trio they made. Stoddard Johnston, Boyd Winchester and I--very
much younger men--sat at their feet and immensely enjoyed their
brilliant conversation.

Dr. Yandell was not only as proclaimed by Dr. Gross and Dr. Sayre
the ablest surgeon of his day, but he was also a gentleman of varied
experience and great social distinction. He had studied long in Paris
and was the pal of John Howard Payne, the familiar friend of Lamartine,
Dumas and Lemaître. He knew Béranger, Hugo and Balzac. It would be hard
to find three Kentuckians less provincial, more unaffected, scintillant
and worldly wise than he and William Preston and John Thompson Gray.

Indeed the list of my acquaintances--many of them intimates--some of
them friends--would be, if recounted, a long one, not mentioning the
foreigners, embracing a diverse company all the way from Chunkey Towles
to Grover Cleveland, from Wake Holman to John Pierpont Morgan, from John
Chamberlin to Thomas Edison. I once served as honorary pall-bearer to a
professional gambler who was given a public funeral; a man who had been
a gallant Confederate soldier; whom nature intended for an artist, and
circumstance diverted into a sport; but who retained to the last the
poetic fancy and the spirit of the gallant, leaving behind him, when he
died, like a veritable cavalier, chiefly debts and friends. He was not
a bad sort in business, as the English say, nor in conviviality. But in
fighting he was "a dandy." The goody-goody philosophy of the namby-pamby
takes an extreme and unreal view of life. It flies to extremes. There
are middle men. Travers used to describe one of these, whom he did not
wish particularly to emphasize, as "a fairly clever son-of-a-gun."



Chapter the Twenty-Ninth

    About Political Conventions, State and National--"Old Ben Butler"--His
    Appearance as a Trouble-Maker in the Democratic National Convention of
    1892--Tarifa and the Tariff--Spain as a Frightful Example



I


I have had a liberal education in party convocations, State and
national. In those of 1860 I served as an all-around newspaper reporter.
A member of each National Democratic Convention from 1876 to 1892,
presiding over the first, and in those of 1880 and 1888 chosen chairman
of the Resolutions Committee, I wrote many of the platforms and had a
decisive voice in all of them.

In 1880 I had stood for the renomination of "the Old Ticket," that is,
Tilden and Hendricks, making the eight-to-seven action of the Electoral
Tribunal of 1877 in favor of Hayes and Wheeler the paramount issue. It
seems strange now that any one should have contested this. Yet it was
stoutly contested. Mr. Tilden settled all dispute by sending a letter to
the convention declining to be a candidate. In answer to this I prepared
a resolution of regret to be incorporated in the platform. It raised
stubborn opposition. David A. Wells and Joseph Pulitzer, who were
fellow members of the committee, were with me in my contention, but the
objection to making it a part of the platform grew so pronounced that
they thought I had best not insist upon it.

The day wore on and the latent opposition seemed to increase. I had been
named chairman of the committee and had at a single sitting that morning
written a completed platform. Each plank of this was severally and
closely scrutinized. It was well into the afternoon before we reached
the plank I chiefly cared about. When I read this the storm broke. Half
the committee rose against it. At the close, with more heat than was
either courteous or tactful, I said: "Gentlemen, I wish to do no more
than bid farewell to a leader who four years ago took the Democratic
party at its lowest fortunes and made it a power again. He is well on
his way to the grave. I would place a wreath of flowers on that grave.
I ask only this of you. Refuse me, and by God, I will go to that mob
yonder and, dead or alive, nominate him, and you will be powerless to
prevent!"

Mr. Barksdale, of Mississippi, a suave gentleman, who had led the
dissenters, said, "We do not refuse you. But you say that we 'regret'
Mr. Tilden's withdrawal. Now I do not regret it, nor do those who agree
with me. Could you not substitute some other expression?"

"I don't stand on words," I answered. "What would you suggest?"

Mr. Barksdale said: "Would not the words 'We have received with the
deepest sensibility Mr. Tilden's letter of withdrawal,' answer your
purpose?"

"Certainly," said I, and the plank in the platform, as it was amended,
was adopted unanimously.

Mr. Tilden did not die. He outlived all his immediate rivals. Four years
later, in 1884, his party stood ready again to put him at its head.
In nominating Mr. Cleveland it thought it was accepting his dictation
reënforced by the enormous majority--nearly 200,000--by which Mr.
Cleveland, as candidate for Governor, had carried New York in the
preceding State election. Yet, when the votes in the presidential
election came to be counted, he carried it, if indeed he carried it at
all, by less than 1,100 majority, the result hanging in the balance for
nearly a week.



II


In the convention of 1884, which met at Chicago, we had a veritable
monkey-and-parrot time. It was next after the schism in Congress between
the Democratic factions led respectively by Carlisle and Randall,
Carlisle having been chosen Speaker of the House over Randall.

Converse, of Ohio, appeared in the Platform Committee representing
Randall, and Morrison, of Illinois, and myself, representing Carlisle.
I was bent upon making Morrison chairman of the committee. But it
was agreed that the chairmanship should be held in abeyance until the
platform had been formulated and adopted. The subcommittee to whom the
task was delegated sat fifty-one hours without a break before its
work was completed. Then Morrison was named chairman. It was arranged
thereafter between Converse, Morrison and myself that when the agreed
report was made, Converse and I should have each what time he required
to say what was desired in explanation, I to close the debate and move
the previous question. At this point General Butler sidled up. "Where do
I come in?" he asked.

"You don't get in at all, you blasted old sinner," said Morrison.

"I have scriptural warrant," General Butler said. "Thou shalt not muzzle
the ox that treadeth the corn."

"All right, old man," said Morrison, good-humoredly, "take all the time
you want."

In his speech before the convention General Butler was not at his
happiest, and in closing he gave me a particularly good opening. "If you
adopt this platform of my friend Watterson," he said, "God may help you,
but I can't."

I was standing by his side, and, it being my turn, he made way for me,
and I said: "During the last few days and nights of agreeable, though
rather irksome, intercourse, I have learned to love General Butler, but
I must declare that in an option between him and the Almighty I have a
prejudice in favor of God."

In his personal intercourse, General Butler was the most genial of men.
The subcommittee in charge of the preparation of a platform held
its meetings in the drawing-room of his hotel apartment, and he had
constituted himself our host as well as our colleague. I had not
previously met him. It was not long after we came together before he
began to call me by my Christian name. At one stage of the proceedings
when by substituting one word for another it looked as though we might
reach an agreement, he said to me: "Henry, what is the difference
between 'exclusively for public purposes' and 'a tariff for revenue
only'?"

"I know of none," I answered.

"Do you think that the committee have found you out?"

"No, I scarcely think so."

"Then I will see that they do," and he proceeded in his peculiarly
subtle way to undo all that we had done, prolonging the session
twenty-four hours.

He was an able man and a lovable man. The missing ingredient was
serious belief. Just after the nomination of the Breckinridge and Lane
Presidential ticket in 1860, I heard him make an ultra-Southern speech
from Mr. Breckinridge's doorway. "What do you think of that?" I asked
Andrew Johnson, who stood by me, and Johnson answered sharply, with an
oath: "I never like a man to be for me more than I am for myself." I
have been told that even at home General Butler could never acquire the
public confidence. In spite of his conceded mentality and manliness he
gave the impression of being something of an intellectual sharper.

He was charitable, generous and amiable. The famous New Orleans order
which had made him odious to the women of the South he had issued to
warn bad women and protect good women. Assuredly he did not foresee the
interpretation that would be put upon it. He was personally popular in
Congress. When he came to Washington he dispensed a lavish hospitality.
Such radical Democrats as Beck and Knott did not disdain his company,
became, indeed, his familiars. Yet, curious to relate, a Kentucky
Congressman of the period lost his seat because it was charged and
proven that he had ridden in a carriage to the White House with the
Yankee Boanerges on a public occasion.



III


Mere party issues never counted with me. I have read too much and seen
too much. At my present time of life they count not at all. I used to
think that there was a principle involved between the dogmas of
Free Trade and Protection as they were preached by their respective
attorneys. Yet what was either except the ancient, everlasting scheme--

  --"_The good old rôle--the simple plan,
  That they should take who have the power
  And they should keep who can_."

How little wisdom one man may get from another man's counsels, one
nation may get from another nation's history, can be partly computed
when we reflect how often our personal experience has failed in warning
admonition.

Temperament and circumstance do indeed cut a prodigious figure in life.
Traversing the older countries, especially Spain, the most illustrative,
the wayfarer is met at all points by what seems not merely the logic of
events, but the common law of the inevitable. The Latin of the Sixteenth
century was a recrudescence of the Roman of the First. He had not, like
the Mongolian, lived long enough to become a stoic. He was mainly a
cynic and an adventurer. Thence he flowered into a sybarite. Coming
to great wealth with the discoveries of Columbus and the conquests of
Pizarro and Cortes, he proceeded to enjoy its fruits according to his
fancy and the fashion of the times.

He erected massive shrines to his deities. He reared noble palaces. He
built about his cathedrals and his castles what were then thought to be
great cities, walled and fortified. He was, for all his self-sufficiency
and pride, short-sighted; and yet, until they arrived, how could he
foresee the developments of artillery? They were as hidden from him as
three centuries later the wonders of electricity were hidden from us.

I was never a Free Trader. I stood for a tariff for revenue as the least
oppressive and safest support of Government. The protective system in
the United States, responsible for our unequal distribution of wealth,
took at least its name from Spain, and the Robber Barons, as I used to
call the Protectionists of Pennsylvania, were not of immediate German
origin.

Truth to say, both on land and water Spain has made a deal of history,
and the front betwixt Gibraltar and the Isle of San Fernando--Tangier on
one side and the Straits of Tarifa on the other--Cape Trafalgar, where
Nelson fought the famous battle, midway between them--has had its share.

Tarifa! What memories it invokes! In the olden and golden days of
primitive man, before corporation lawyers had learned how to frame
pillaging statutes, and rascally politicians to bamboozle confiding
constituencies--thus I used to put it--the gentle pirates of Tarifa laid
broad and deep the foundations for the Protective System in the United
States.

It was a fruitful as well as a congenial theme, and I rang all the
changes on it. To take by law from one man what is his and give it to
another man who has not earned it and has no right to it, I showed to be
an invention of the Moors, copied by the Spaniards and elevated thence
into political economy by the Americans. Tarifa took its name from
Tarif-Ben-Malik, the most enterprising Robber Baron of his day, and thus
the Lords of Tarifa were the progenitors of the Robber Barons of the
Black Forest, New England and Pittsburgh. Tribute was the name the Moors
gave their robbery, which was open and aboveboard. The Coal Kings, the
Steel Kings and the Oil Kings of the modern world have contrived to
hide the process; but in Spain the palaces of their forefathers rise in
lonely and solemn grandeur just as a thousand years hence the palaces
upon the Fifth Avenue side of Central Park and along Riverside Drive,
not to mention those of the Schuylkill and the Delaware, may become
but roosts for bats and owls, and the chronicler of the Anthropophagi,
"whose heads do reach the skies," may tell how the voters of the Great
Republic were bought and sold with their own money, until "Heaven
released the legions north of the North Pole, and they swooped down and
crushed the pulpy mass beneath their avenging snowshoes."

The gold that was gathered by the Spaniards and fought over so valiantly
is scattered to the four ends of the earth. It may be as potent to-day
as then; but it does not seem nearly so heroic. A good deal of it has
found its way to London, which a short century and a half ago "had not,"
according to Adam Smith, "sufficient wealth to compete with Cadiz." We
have had our full share without fighting for it. Thus all things come to
him who contrives and waits.

Meanwhile, there are "groups" and "rings." And, likewise, "leaders" and
"bosses." What do they know or care about the origins of wealth; about
Venice; about Cadiz; about what is said of Wall Street? The Spanish Main
was long ago stripped of its pillage. The buccaneers took themselves off
to keep company with the Vikings. Yet, away down in those money chests,
once filled with what were pieces of eight and ducats and doubloons, who
shall say that spirits may not lurk and ghosts walk, one old freebooter
wheezing to another old freebooter: "They order these things better in
the 'States.'"



IV


I have enjoyed hugely my several sojourns in Spain. The Spaniard is
unlike any other European. He may not make you love him. But you are
bound to respect him.

There is a mansion in Seville known as The House of Pontius Pilate
because part of the remains of the abode of the Roman Governor was
brought from Jerusalem and used in a building suited to the dignity of a
Spanish grandee who was also a Lord of Tarifa. The Duke of Medina Celi,
its present owner, is a lineal scion of the old piratical crew. The
mansion is filled with the fruits of many a foray. There are plunder
from Naples, where one ancestor was Viceroy, and treasures from the
temples of the Aztecs and the Incas, where two other ancestors ruled.
Every coping stone and pillar cost some mariner of the Tarifa Straits a
pot of money.

Its owner is a pauper. A carekeeper shows it for a peseta a head. To
such base uses may we come at last. Yet Seville basks in the sun and
smiles on the flashing waters of the Guadalquivir, and Cadiz sits serene
upon the green hillsides of San Sebastian, just as if nothing had ever
happened; neither the Barber and Carmen, nor Nelson and Byron; the past
but a phantom; the present the prosiest of prose-poems.

There are canny Spaniards even as there are canny Scots, who grow rich
and prosper; but there is never a Spaniard who does not regard the
political fabric, and the laws, as fair game, the rule being always
"devil take the hindmost," community of interests nowhere. "The good old
vices of Spain," that is, the robbing of the lesser rogue by the greater
in regulated gradations all the way from the King to the beggar, are
as prevalent and as vital as ever they were. Curiously enough, a tiny
stream of Hebraic blood and Moorish blood still trickles through the
Spanish coast towns. It may be traced through the nomenclature in spite
of its Castilian prefigurations and appendices, which would account for
some of the enterprise and activity that show themselves, albeit only by
fits and starts.



Chapter the Thirtieth

    The Makers of the Republic--Lincoln, Jefferson, Clay and Webster--The
    Proposed League of Nations--The Wilsonian Incertitude--The "New
    Freedom"



I


The makers of the American Republic range themselves in two
groups--Washington, Franklin and Jefferson--Clay, Webster and
Lincoln--each of whom, having a genius peculiarly his own, gave himself
and his best to the cause of national unity and independence.

In a general way it may be said that Washington created and Lincoln
saved the Union. But along with Washington and Lincoln, Clay makes a
good historic third, for it was the masterful Kentuckian who, joining
rare foresight to surpassing eloquence and leading many eminent men,
including Webster, was able to hold the legions of unrest at bay during
the formative period.

There are those who call these great men "back numbers," who tell us we
have left the past behind us and entered an epoch of more enlightened
progress--who would displace the example of the simple lives they led
and the homely truths they told, to set up a school of philosophy which
had made Athens stare and Rome howl, and, I dare say, is causing the Old
Continentals to turn over in their graves. The self-exploiting spectacle
and bizarre teaching of this school passes the wit of man to fathom.
Professing the ideal and proposing to recreate the Universe, the New
Freedom, as it calls itself, would standardize it. The effect of that
would be to desiccate the human species in human conceit. It would
cheapen the very harps and halos in Heaven and convert the Day of
Judgment into a moving picture show.

I protest that I am not of its kidney. In point of fact, its platitudes
"stick in my gizzard." I belong the rather to those old-fashioned ones--

  "Who love their land because it is their own,
  And scorn to give aught other reason why;
  Who'd shake hands with a king upon his throne,
  And think it kindness to his majesty."

I have many rights--birthrights--to speak of Kentucky as a Kentuckian,
beside that of more than fifty years' service upon what may be fairly
called the battle-line of the Dark and Bloody Ground.

My grandmother's father, William Mitchell Morrison, had raised a company
of riflemen in the War of the Revolution, and, after the War, marched it
westward. He commanded the troops in the old fort at Harrodsburg, where
my grandmother was born in 1784. He died a general. My grandfather,
James Black's father, the Rev. James Black, was chaplain of the fort. He
remembered the birth of the baby girl who was to become his wife. He was
a noble stalwart--a perfect type of the hunters of Kentucky--who could
bring down a squirrel from the highest bough and hit a bull's eye at a
hundred yards after he was three score and ten.

It was he who delighted my childhood with bear stories and properly
lurid narrations of the braves in buckskin and the bucks in paint and
feathers, with now and then a red-coat to give pungency and variety to
the tale. He would sing me to sleep with hunting songs. He would take
me with him afield to carry the game bag, and I was the only one of many
grandchildren to be named in his will. In my thoughts and in my dreams
he has been with me all my life, a memory and an example, and an ever
glorious inspiration.

Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton were among my earliest heroes.



II


Born in a Democratic camp, and growing to manhood on the Democratic
side of a political battlefield, I did not accept, as I came later to
realize, the transcendent personal merit and public service of Henry
Clay. Being of Tennessee parentage, perhaps the figure of Andrew Jackson
came between; perhaps the rhetoric of Daniel Webster. Once hearing me
make some slighting remark of the Great Commoner, my father, a life-long
Democrat, who, on opposing sides, had served in Congress with Mr. Clay,
gently rebuked me. "Do not express such opinions, my son," he said,
"they discredit yourself. Mr. Clay was a very great man--a born leader
of men."

It was certainly he, more than any other man, who held the Union
together until the time arrived for Lincoln to save it.

I made no such mistake, however, with respect to Abraham Lincoln. From
the first he appeared to me a great man, a born leader of men. His death
proved a blow to the whole country--most of all to the Southern section
of it. If he had lived there would have been no Era of Reconstruction,
with its repressive agencies and oppressive legislation; there would
have been wanting to the extremism of the time the bloody cue of his
taking off to mount the steeds and spur the flanks of vengeance. For
Lincoln entertained, with respect to the rehabilitation of the
Union, the single wish that the Southern States--to use his homely
phraseology--"should come back home and behave themselves," and if he
had lived he would have made this wish effectual as he made everything
else effectual to which he addressed himself.

His was the genius of common sense. Of perfect intellectual acuteness
and aplomb, he sprang from a Virginia pedigree and was born in Kentucky.
He knew all about the South, its institutions, its traditions and its
peculiarities. He was an old-line Whig of the school of Henry Clay, with
strong Emancipation leaning, never an Abolitionist. "If slavery be not
wrong," he said, "nothing is wrong," but he also said and reiterated it
time and again, "I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They
are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now
exist among them they would not introduce it. If it did now exist among
us, we would not instantly give it up."

From first to last throughout the angry debates preceding the War of
Sections, amid the passions of the War itself, not one vindictive,
prescriptive word fell from his tongue or pen, whilst during its
progress there was scarcely a day when he did not project his great
personality between some Southern man or woman and danger.



III


There has been much discussion about what did and what did not occur at
the famous Hampton Roads Conference. That Mr. Lincoln met and conferred
with the official representatives of the Confederate Government, led
by the Vice President of the Confederate States, when it must have been
known to him that the Confederacy was nearing the end of its resources,
is sufficient proof of the breadth both of his humanity and his
patriotism. Yet he went to Fortress Monroe prepared not only to make
whatever concessions toward the restoration of Union and Peace he had
the lawful authority to make, but to offer some concessions which could
in the nature of the case go no further at that time than his personal
assurance. His constitutional powers were limited. But he was in himself
the embodiment of great moral power.

The story that he offered payment for the slaves--so often affirmed and
denied--is in either case but a quibble with the actual facts. He could
not have made such an offer except tentatively, lacking the means to
carry it out. He was not given the opportunity to make it, because the
Confederate Commissioners were under instructions to treat solely on
the basis of the recognition of the independence of the Confederacy. The
conference came to nought. It ended where it began. But there is ample
evidence that he went to Hampton Roads resolved to commit himself to
that proposition. He did, according to the official reports, refer to it
in specific terms, having already formulated a plan of procedure. This
plan exists and may be seen in his own handwriting. It embraced a
joint resolution to be submitted by the President to the two Houses of
Congress appropriating $400,000,000 to be distributed among the Southern
States on the basis of the slave population of each according to
the Census of 1860, and a proclamation to be issued by himself, as
President, when the joint resolution had been passed by Congress.

There can be no controversy among honest students of history on this
point. That Mr. Lincoln said to Mr. Stephens, "Let me write Union at the
top of this page and you may write below it whatever else you please,"
is referable to Mr. Stephens' statement made to many friends and
attested by a number of reliable persons. But that he meditated the
most liberal terms, including payment for the slaves, rests neither upon
conjecture nor hearsay, but on documentary proof. It may be argued that
he could not have secured the adoption of any such plan; but of his
purpose, and its genuineness, there can be no question and there ought
to be no equivocation.

Indeed, payment for the slaves had been all along in his mind. He
believed the North equally guilty with the South for the original
existence of slavery. He clearly understood that the Irrepressible
Conflict was a Conflict of systems, not a merely sectional and partisan
quarrel. He was a just man, abhorring proscription: an old Conscience
Whig, indeed, who stood in awe of the Constitution and his oath of
office. He wanted to leave the South no right to claim that the North,
finding slave labor unremunerative, had sold its negroes to the South
and then turned about and by force of arms confiscated what it had
unloaded at a profit. He fully recognized slavery as property. The
Proclamation of Emancipation was issued as a war measure. In his message
to Congress of December, 1862, he proposed payment for the slaves,
elaborating a scheme in detail and urging it with copious and cogent
argument. "The people of the South," said he, addressing a Congress at
that moment in the throes of a bloody war with the South, "are not more
responsible for the original introduction of this property than are the
people of the North, and, when it is remembered how unhesitatingly we
all use cotton and sugar and share the profits of dealing in them, it
may not be quite safe to say that the South has been more responsible
than the North for its continuance."



IV


It has been my rule, aim and effort in my newspaper career to print
nothing of a man which I would not say to his face; to print nothing
of a man in malice; to look well and think twice before consigning a
suspect to the ruin of printer's ink; to respect the old and defend the
weak; and, lastly, at work and at play, daytime and nighttime, to be
good to the girls and square with the boys, for hath it not been written
of such is the kingdom of Heaven?

There will always be in a democracy two or more sets of rival leaders
to two or more differing groups of followers. Hitherto history has
classified these as conservatives and radicals. But as society has
become more and more complex the groups have had their subdivisions. As
a consequence speculative doctrinaries and adventurous politicians are
enabled to get in their work of confusing the issues and exploiting
themselves.

"'What are these fireworks for?' asks the rustic in the parable. 'To
blind the eyes of the people,' answers the cynic."

I would not say aught in a spirit of hostility to the President of the
United States. Woodrow Wilson is a clever speaker and writer. Yet the
usual trend and phrase of his observations seem to be those of a special
pleader, rather than those of a statesman. Every man, each of the
nations, is for peace as an abstract proposition. That much goes without
saying. But Mr. Wilson proposes to bind the hands of a giant and take
lottery chances on the future. This, I think, the country will contest.

He is obsessed by the idea of a League of Nations. If not his own
discovery he has yet made himself its leader. He talks flippantly about
"American ideals" that have won the war against Germany, as if there
were no English ideals and French ideals.

"In all that he does we can descry the school-master who arrived at the
front rather late in life. One needs only to go over the record and
mark how often he has reversed himself to detect a certain mental and
temperamental instability clearly indicating a lack of fixed or resolute
intellectual purpose. This is characteristic of an excess in education;
of the half baked mind overtrained. The overeducated mind fancies
himself a doctrinaire when he is in point of fact only a disciple."

Woodrow Wilson was born to the rather sophisticated culture of the too,
too solid South. Had he grown up in England a hundred years ago he would
have been a follower of the Della Cruscans. He has what is called a
facile pen, though it sometimes runs away with him. It seems to have
done so in the matter of the League of Nations. Inevitably such a scheme
would catch the fancy of one ever on the alert for the fanciful.

I cannot too often repeat that the world we inhabit is a world of sin,
disease and death. Men will fight whenever they want to fight, and no
artificial scheme or process is likely to restrain them. It is mainly
the costliness of war that makes most against it. But, as we have seen
the last four years, it will not quell the passions of men or dull
national and racial ambitions.

All that Mr. Wilson and his proposed League of Nations can do will be
to revamp, and maybe for a while to reimpress the minds of the rank and
file, until the bellowing followers of Bellona are ready to spring.

Eternal peace, universal peace, was not the purpose of the Deity in the
creation of the universe.

Nevertheless, it would seem to be the duty of men in great place, as of
us all, to proclaim the gospel of good will and cultivate the arts of
fraternity. I have no quarrel with the President on this score. What
I contest is the self-exploitation to which he is prone, so lacking in
dignity and open to animadversion.



V


Thus it was that instant upon the appearance of the proposed League of
Nations I made bold to challenge it, as but a pretty conceit having no
real value, a serious assault upon our national sovereignty.

Its argument seemed to me full of copybook maxims, easier recited than
applied. As what I wrote preceded the debates and events of the last six
months, I may not improperly make the following quotation from a screed
of mine appearing in The Courier-Journal of the 5th of March, 1919:

"The League of Nations is a fad. Politics, like society and letters,
has its fads. In society they call them fashion and in literature
originality. Politics gives the name of 'issues' to its fads. A taking
issue is as a stunning gown, or 'a best seller.' The President's mind
wears a coat of many colors, and he can change it at will, his mood
being the objective point, not always too far ahead, or clear of vision.
Carl Schurz was wont to speak of Gratz Brown as 'a man of thoughts
rather than of ideas.' I wonder if that can be justly said of the
President? 'Gentlemen will please not shoot at the pianiste,' adjured
the superscription over the music stand in the Dakota dive; 'she is
doing the best that she knows how.'

"Already it is being proclaimed that Woodrow Wilson can have a third
nomination for the presidency if he wants it, and nobody seems shocked
by it, which proves that the people grow degenerate and foreshadows that
one of these nights some fool with a spyglass will break into Mars
and let loose the myriads of warlike gyascutes who inhabit that freak
luminary, thence to slide down the willing moonbeam and swallow us every
one!

"In a sense the Monroe Doctrine was a fad. Oblivious to Canada, and
British Columbia and the Spanish provinces, it warned the despots of
Europe off the grass in America. We actually went to war with Mexico,
having enjoyed two wars with England, and again and again we threatened
to annex the Dominion. Everything betwixt hell and Halifax was Yankee
preëmpted.

"Truth to say, your Uncle Samuel was ever a jingo. But your Cousin
Woodrow, enlarging on the original plan, would stretch our spiritual
boundaries to the ends of the earth and make of us the moral custodian
of the universe. This much, no less, he got of the school of sweetness
and light in which he grew up.

"I am a jingo myself. But a wicked material jingo, who wants facts, not
theories. If I thought it possible and that it would pay, I would annex
the North Pole and colonize the Equator. It is, after the manner of
the lady in the play, that the President 'doth protest too much,' which
displeases me and where, in point of fact, I 'get off the reservation.'

"That, being a politician and maybe a candidate, he is keenly alive to
votes goes without saying. On the surface this League of Nations having
the word 'peace' in big letters emblazoned both upon its forehead and
the seat of its trousers--or, should I say, woven into the hem of its
petticoat?--seems an appeal for votes. I do not believe it will bear
discussion. In a way, it tickles the ear without convincing the sense.
There is nothing sentimental about the actualities of Government, much
as public men seek to profit by arousing the passions of the people.
Government is a hard and fast and dry reality. At best statesmanship can
only half do the things it would. Its aims are most assured when tending
a little landward; its footing safest on its native heath. We have
plenty to do on our own continent without seeking to right things
on other continents. Too many of us--the President among the rest, I
fear--miscalculate the distance between contingency and desire.

  "'We figure to ourselves
  The thing we like: and then we build it up:
  As chance will have it on the rock or sand--
  When thought grows tired of wandering o'er the world,
  And homebound Fancy runs her bark ashore.'"

I am sorry to see the New York World fly off at a tangent about this
latest of the Wilsonian hobbies. Frank Irving Cobb, the editor of the
World, is, as I have often said, the strongest writer on the New
York press since Horace Greeley. But he can hardly be called a
sentimentalist, as Greeley was, and there is nothing but sentiment--gush
and gammon--in the proposed League of Nations.

It may be all right for England. There are certainly no flies on it for
France. But we don't need it. Its effects can only be to tie our hands,
not keep the dogs away, and even at the worst, in stress of weather, we
are strong enough to keep the dogs away ourselves.

We should say to Europe: "Shinny on your own side of the water and we
will shinny on our side." It may be that Napoleon's opinion will come
true that ultimately Europe will be "all Cossack or all republican."
Part of it has come true already. Meanwhile it looks as though the
United States, having exhausted the reasonable possibilities of
democracy, is beginning to turn crank. Look at woman suffrage by
Federal edict; look at prohibition by act of Congress and constitutional
amendment; tobacco next to walk on the plank; and then!--Lord, how glad
I feel that I am nearly a hundred years old and shall not live to see
it!



Chapter the Thirty-First

    The Age of Miracles--A Story of Franklin Pierce--Simon Suggs
    Billy Sunday--Jefferson Davis and Aaron Burr--Certain Constitutional
    Shortcomings



I


The years intervening between 1865 and 1919 may be accounted the most
momentous in all the cycles of the ages. The bells that something more
than half a century ago rang forth to welcome peace in America have been
from that day to this jangled out of tune and harsh with the sounding of
war's alarms in every other part of the world. We flatter ourselves with
the thought that our tragedy lies behind us. Whether this be true or
not, the tragedy of Europe is at hand and ahead. The miracles of modern
invention, surpassing those of old, have made for strife, not for peace.
Civilization has gone backward, not forward. Rulers, intoxicated by
the lust of power and conquest, have lost their reason, and nations,
following after, like cattle led to slaughter, seem as the bereft of
Heaven "that knew not God."

We read the story of our yesterdays as it unfolds itself in the current
chronicle; the ascent to the bank-house, the descent to the mad-house,
and, over the glittering paraphernalia that follows to the tomb, we
reflect upon the money-zealot's progress; the dizzy height, the dazzling
array, the craze for more and more and more; then the temptation and
fall, millions gone, honor gone, reason gone--the innocent and the
gentle, with the guilty, dragged through the mire of the prison, and the
court--and we draw back aghast. Yet, if we speak of these things we are
called pessimists.

I have always counted myself an optimist. I know that I do not lie awake
nights musing on the ingratitude either of my stars or my countrymen. I
pity the man who does. Looking backward, I have sincere compassion for
Webster and for Clay! What boots it to them, now that they lie beneath
the mold, and that the drums and tramplings of nearly seventy years of
the world's strifes and follies and sordid ambitions and mean repinings,
and longings, and laughter, and tears, have passed over their graves,
what boots it to them, now, that they failed to get all they wanted?
There is indeed snug lying in the churchyard; but the flowers smell as
sweet and the birds sing as merry, and the stars look down as loving
upon the God-hallowed mounds of the lowly and the poor, as upon the
man-bedecked monuments of the Kings of men. All of us, the least with
the greatest, let us hope and believe shall attain immortal life at
last. What was there for Webster, what was there for Clay to quibble
about? I read with a kind of wonder, and a sickening sense of the
littleness of great things, those passages in the story of their lives
where it is told how they stormed and swore, when tidings reached them
that they had been balked of their desires.

Yet they might have been so happy; so happy in their daily toil, with
its lofty aims and fair surroundings; so happy in the sense of duty
done; so happy, above all, in their own Heaven-sent genius, with its
noble opportunities and splendid achievements. They should have emulated
the satisfaction told of Franklin Pierce. It is related that an enemy
was inveighing against him, when an alleged friend spoke up and said:
"You should not talk so about the President, I assure you that he is not
at all the man you describe him to be. On the contrary, he is a man of
the rarest gifts and virtues. He has long been regarded as the greatest
orator in New England, and the greatest lawyer in New England, and
surely no one of his predecessors ever sent such state papers to
Congress."

"How are you going to prove it," angrily retorted the first speaker.

"I don't need to prove it," coolly replied the second. "He admits it."

I cannot tell just how I should feel if I were President, though, on the
whole, I fancy fairly comfortable, but I am quite certain that I would
not exchange places with any of the men who have been President, and I
have known quite a number of them.



II


I am myself accused sometimes of being a "pessimist." Assuredly I am
no optimist of the Billy Sunday sort, who fancies the adoption of the
prohibition amendment the coming of "de jubilo." Early in life, while
yet a recognized baseball authority, Mr. Sunday discovered "pay dirt" in
what Col. Mulberry Sellers called "piousness." He made it an asset
and began to issue celestial notes, countersigned by himself and made
redeemable in Heaven. From that day to this he has been following the
lead of the renowned Simon Suggs, who, having in true camp meeting style
acquired "the grace of God," turned loose as an exhorter shouting "Step
up to the mourner's bench, my brethering, step up lively, and be saved!
I come in on na 'er par, an' see what I draw'd! Religion's the only game
whar you can't lose. Him that trusts the Lord holds fo' aces!"

The Billy Sunday game has made Billy Sunday rich. Having exhausted
Hell-fire-and-brimstone, the evangel turns to the Demon Rum. Satan, with
hide and horns, has had his day. Prohibition is now the trick card.

The fanatic is never either very discriminating or very particular. As
a rule, for him any taking "ism" will suffice. To-day, it happens to be
"whisky." To-morrow it will be tobacco. Finally, having established the
spy system and made house-to-house espionage a rule of conventicle, it
will become a misdemeanor for a man to kiss his wife.

From fakers who have cards up their sleeves, not to mention snakes in
their boots, we hear a great deal about "the people," pronounced by them
as if it were spelled "pee-pul." It is the unfailing recourse of the
professional politician in quest of place. Yet scarcely any reference,
or referee, were faultier.

The people en masse constitute what we call the mob. Mobs have rarely
been right--never except when capably led. It was the mob of Jerusalem
that did the unoffending Jesus of Nazareth to death. It was the mob in
Paris that made the Reign of Terror. Mobs have seldom been tempted, even
had a chance to go wrong, that they have not gone wrong.

The "people" is a fetish. It was the people, misled, who precipitated
the South into the madness of secession and the ruin of a hopelessly
unequal war of sections. It was the people backing if not compelling
the Kaiser, who committed hari-kari for themselves and their empire in
Germany. It is the people leaderless who are making havoc in Russia.
Throughout the length and breadth of Christendom, in all lands and ages,
the people, when turned loose, have raised every inch of hell to the
square foot they were able to raise, often upon the slightest pretext,
or no pretext at all.

This is merely to note the mortal fallibility of man, most fallible when
herded in groups and prone to do in the aggregate what he would hesitate
to do when left to himself and his individual accountability.

Under a wise dispensation of power, despotism, we are told embodies
the best of all government. The trouble is that despotism is seldom,
if ever, wise. It is its nature to be inconsiderate, being essentially
selfish, grasping and tyrannous. As a rule therefore revolution--usually
of force--has been required to change or reform it. Perfectibility
was not designed for mortal man. That indeed furnishes the strongest
argument in favor of the immortality of the soul, life on earth but the
ante-chamber of eternal life. It would be a cruel Deity that condemned
man to the brief and vexed span of human existence with nothing beyond
the grave.

We know not whence we came, or whither we go; but it is a fair guess
that we shall in the end get better than we have known.



III


Historic democracy is dead.

This is not to say that a Democratic party organization has ceased to
exist. Nor does it mean that there are no more Democrats and that the
Democratic party is dead in the sense that the Federalist party is
dead or the Whig party is dead, or the Greenback party is dead, or the
Populist party is dead. That which has died is the Democratic party of
Jefferson and Jackson and Tilden. The principles of government which
they laid down and advocated have been for the most part obliterated.
What slavery and secession were unable to accomplish has been brought
about by nationalizing sumptuary laws and suffrage.

The death-blow to Jeffersonian democracy was delivered by the Democratic
Senators and Representatives from the South and West who carried through
the prohibition amendment. The _coup de grâce_ was administered by a
President of the United States elected as a Democrat when he approved
the Federal suffrage amendment to the Constitution.

The kind of government for which the Jeffersonian democracy successfully
battled for more than a century was thus repudiated; centralization was
invited; State rights were assassinated in the very citadel of State
rights. The charter of local self-government become a scrap of paper,
the way is open for the obliteration of the States in all their
essential functions and the erection of a Federal Government more
powerful than anything of which Alexander Hamilton dared to dream.

When the history of these times comes to be written it may be said of
Woodrow Wilson: he rose to world celebrity by circumstance rather
than by character. He was favored of the gods. He possessed a bright,
forceful mind. His achievements were thrust upon him. Though it
sometimes ran away with him, his pen possessed extraordinary facility.
Thus he was ever able to put his best foot foremost. Never in the larger
sense a leader of men as were Chatham and Fox, as were Washington, Clay
and Lincoln; nor of ideas as were Rousseau, Voltaire and Franklin,
he had the subtle tenacity of Louis the Eleventh of France, the keen
foresight of Richelieu with a talent for the surprising which would have
raised him to eminence in journalism. In short he was an opportunist
void of conviction and indifferent to consistency.

The pen is mightier than the sword only when it has behind it a heart as
well as a brain. He who wields it must be brave, upright and steadfast.
We are giving our Chief Executive enormous powers. As a rule his wishes
prevail. His name becomes the symbol of party loyalty. Yet it is after
all a figure of speech not a personality that appeals to our sense of
duty without necessarily engaging our affection.

Historic Republicanism is likewise dead, as dead as historic Democracy,
only in both cases the labels surviving.



IV


We are told by Herbert Spencer that the political superstition of the
past having been the divine right of kings, the political superstition
of the present is the divine right of parliaments and he might have
said of peoples. The oil of anointing seems unawares, he thinks, to have
dripped from the head of the one upon the heads of the many, and given
sacredness to them also, and to their decrees.

That the Proletariat, the Bolsheviki, the People are on the way seems
plain enough. How far they will go, and where they will end, is not so
clear. With a kind of education--most men taught to read, very few to
think--the masses are likely to demand yet more and more for themselves.
They will continue strenuously and effectively to resent the startling
contrasts of fortune which aptitude and opportunity have created in
a social and political structure claiming to rest upon the formula
"equality for all, special privilege for none."

The law of force will yield to the rule of numbers. Socialism,
disappointed of its Utopia, may then repeat the familiar lesson and
reproduce the man-on-horseback, or the world may drop into another
abyss, and, after the ensuing "dark ages," like those that swallowed
Babylon and Tyre, Greece and Rome, emerge with a new civilization and
religion.

"Man never is, but always to be blessed." We know not whence we came,
or whither we go. Hope that springs eternal in the human breast tells us
nothing. History seems, as Napoleon said, a series of lies agreed upon,
yet not without dispute.



V


I read in an ultra-sectional non-partisan diatribe that "Jefferson Davis
made Aaron Burr respectable," a sentence which clearly indicates that
the writer knew nothing either of Jefferson Davis or Aaron Burr.

Both have been subjected to unmeasured abuse. They are variously
misunderstood. Their chief sin was failure; the one to establish an
impossible confederacy laid in human slavery, the other to achieve
certain vague schemes of empire in Mexico and the far Southwest, which,
if not visionary, were premature.

The final collapse of the Southern Confederacy can be laid at the door
of no man. It was doomed the day of its birth. The wonder is that sane
leaders could invoke such odds against them and that a sane people could
be induced to follow. The single glory of the South is that it was able
to stand out so long against such odds.

Jefferson Davis was a high-minded and well-intentioned man. He was
chosen to lead the South because he was, in addition, an accomplished
soldier. As one who consistently opposed him in his public policies, I
can specify no act to the discredit of his character, his one serious
mistake being his failure to secure the peace offered by Abraham Lincoln
two short months before Appomattox.

Taking account of their personalities and the lives they led, there
is little to suggest comparison, except that they were soldiers and
Senators, who, each in his day, filled a foremost place in public
affairs.

Aaron Burr, though well born and highly educated, was perhaps a
rudely-minded man. But he was no traitor. If the lovely woman, Theodosia
Prevost, whom he married, had lived, there is reason to believe that the
whole course and tenor of his career would have been altered. Her
death was an irreparable blow, as it were, a prelude to the series
of mischances that followed. The death of their daughter, the lovely
Theodosia Alston, completed the tragedy of his checkered life.

Born a gentleman and attaining soldierly distinction and high place,
he fell a victim to the lure of a soaring ambition and the devious
experience of a man about town.

The object of political proscription for all his intellectual and
personal resources, he could not successfully meet and stand against it.
There was nothing in the affair with Hamilton actually to damn and ruin
him. Neither morally nor politically was Hamilton the better man of the
two. Nor was there treason in his Mexican scheme. He meant no more with
universal acclaim than Houston did three decades later. To couple his
name with that of Benedict Arnold is historic sacrilege.

Jefferson pursued him relentlessly. But even Jefferson could not have
destroyed him. When, after an absence of four years abroad, he returned
to America, there was still a future for him had he stood up like a man,
but, instead, like one confessing defeat, he sank down, whilst the wave
of obloquy rolled over him.

His is one of the few pathetic figures in our national history. Mr.
Davis has had plenty of defenders. Poor Burr has had scarcely an
apologist. His offense, whatever it was, has been overpaid. Even the War
of Sections begins to fade into the mist and become dreamlike even to
those who bore an actual part in it.

The years are gliding swiftly by. Only a little while, and there shall
not be one man living who saw service on either side of that great
struggle of systems and ideas. Its passions long ago vanished from manly
bosoms. That has come to pass within a single generation in America
which in Europe required ages to accomplish.

There is no disputing the verdict of events. Let us relate them truly
and interpret them fairly. If the South would have the North do justice
to its heroes, the South must do justice to the heroes of the North.
Each must render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's even as each
would render unto God the things that are God's. As living men, standing
erect in the presence of Heaven and the world, the men of the South have
grown gray without being ashamed; and they need not fear that History
will fail to vindicate their integrity.

When those are gone that fought the battle, and Posterity comes to
strike the balance, it will be shown that the makers of the Constitution
left the relation of the States to the Federal Government and of the
Federal Government to the States open to a double construction. It will
be told how the mistaken notion that slave labor was requisite to the
profitable cultivation of sugar, rice and cotton, raised a paramount
property interest in the Southern section of the Union, whilst in the
Northern section, responding to the trend of modern thought and the
outer movements of mankind, there arose a great moral sentiment
against slavery. The conflict thus established, gradually but surely
sectionalizing party lines, was as inevitable as it was irrepressible.
It was fought out to its bitter and logical conclusion at Appomattox.
It found us a huddle of petty sovereignties, held together by a rope of
sand. It made and it left us a Nation.



Chapter the Thirty-Second

    A War Episode--I Meet my Fater--I Marry and Make a Home--The Ups and
    Downs of Life Lead to a Happy Old Age



I


In bringing these desultory--perhaps too fragmentary--recollections to a
close the writer may not be denied his final word. This shall neither be
self-confident nor overstated; the rather a confession of faith
somewhat in rejection of political and religious pragmatism. In both his
experience has been ample if not exhaustive. During the period of their
serial publication he has received many letters--suggestive, informatory
and critical--now and again querulous--which he has not failed to
consider, and, where occasion seemed to require, to pursue to original
sources in quest of accuracy. In no instance has he found any essential
error in his narrative. Sometimes he has been charged with omissions--as
if he were writing a history of his own times--whereas he has been
only, and he fears, most imperfectly, relating his immediate personal
experience.

I was born in the Presbyterian Church, baptized in the Roman Catholic
Church, educated in the Church of England in America and married into
the Church of the Disciples. The Roman Catholic baptism happened in
this way: It was my second summer; my parents were sojourning in the
household of a devout Catholic family; my nurse was a fond, affectionate
Irish Catholic; the little life was almost despaired of, so one sunny
day, to rescue me from that form of theologic controversy known as
infant damnation, the baby carriage was trundled round the corner to
Saint Matthew's Church--it was in the national capital--and the baby
brow was touched with holy water out of a font blessed of the Virgin
Mary. Surely I have never felt or been the worse for it.

Whilst I was yet too young to understand I witnessed an old-fashioned
baptism of the countryside. A person who had borne a very bad character
in the neighborhood was being immersed. Some one, more humorous than
reverent, standing near me, said as the man came to the surface, "There
go his sins, men and brethren, there go his sins"; and having but poor
eyesight I thought I saw them passing down the stream never to trouble
him, or anybody, more. I can see them still floating, floating down the
stream, out and away from the sight of men. Does this make me a Baptist,
I wonder?

I fear not, I fear not; because I am unable to rid myself of the
impression that there are many roads leading to heaven, and I have never
believed in what is called close communion. I have not hated and am
unable to hate any man because either in political or in religious
opinion he differs from me and insists upon voting his party ticket and
worshiping his Creator according to his conscience. Perfect freedom of
conscience and thought has been my lifelong contention.

I suppose I must have been born an insurrecto. Pursuing the story of the
dark ages when men were burnt at the stake for the heresy of refusing to
bow to the will of the majority, it is not the voice of the Protestant
or the Catholic that issues from the flames and reaches my heart, but
the cry of suffering man, my brother. To me a saint is a saint whether
he wears wooden shoes or goes barefoot, whether he gets his baptism
silently out of a font of consecrated water or comes dripping from
the depths of the nearest brook, shouting, "Glory hallelujah!" From my
boyhood the persecution of man for opinion's sake--and no matter for
what opinion's sake--has roused within me the only devil I have ever
personally known.

My reading has embraced not a few works which seek or which affect to
deal with the mystery of life and death. Each and every one of them
leaves a mystery still. For all their learning and research--their
positivity and contradiction--none of the writers know more than I think
I know myself, and all that I think I know myself may be abridged to
the simple rescript, I know nothing. The wisest of us reck not whence we
came or whither we go; the human mind is unable to conceive the eternal
in either direction; the soul of man inscrutable even to himself.

  _The night has a thousand eyes,
  The day but one;
  Yet the light of the bright world dies
  With the dying sun._

  _The mind has a thousand eyes,
  The heart but one;
  Yet the light of a whole life dies
  When love is done._

All that there is to religion, therefore, is faith; not much more in
politics. We are variously told that the church is losing its hold
upon men. If it be true it is either that it gives itself over to
theology--the pride of opinion--or yields itself to the celebration of
the mammon of unrighteousness.

I do not believe that it is true. Never in the history of the world
was Jesus of Nazareth so interesting and predominant. Between Buddha,
teaching the blessing of eternal sleep, and Christ, teaching the
blessing of eternal life, mankind has been long divided, but slowly,
surely, the influence of the Christ has overtaken that of the Buddha
until that portion of the world which has advanced most by process of
evolution from the primal state of man now worships at the shrine of
Christ and him risen from the dead, not at the sign of Buddha and total
oblivion.

The blessed birthright from God, the glory of heaven, the teaching and
example of the Prince of Peace--have been engulfed beneath oceans of
ignorance and superstition through two thousand years of embittered
controversy. During the dark ages coming down even to our own time the
very light of truth was shut out from the eyes and hearts and minds of
men. The blood of the martyrs we were assured in those early days
was the seed of the church. The blood of the martyrs was the blood of
man--weak, cruel, fallible man, who, whether he got his inspiration from
the Tiber or the Rhine, from Geneva, from Edinburgh or from Rome, did
equally the devil's work in God's name. None of the viceregents of
heaven, as they claimed to be, knew much or seemed to care much about
the word of the Gentle One of Bethlehem, whom they had adopted as their
titular divinity much as men in commerce adopt a trade-mark.



II


It was knock-down and drag-out theology, the ruthless machinery of
organized churchism--the rank materialism of things temporal--not the
teachings of Christ and the spirit of the Christian religion--which so
long filled the world with blood and tears.

I have often in talking with intelligent Jews expressed a wonder that
they should stigmatize the most illustrious Jew as an impostor,
saying to them: "What matters it whether Jesus was of divine or
human parentage--a human being or an immortal spirit? He was a Jew:
a glorious, unoffending Jew, done to death by a mob of hoodlums in
Jerusalem. Why should not you and I call him Master and kneel together
in love and pity at his feet?"

Never have I received any satisfying answer. Partyism--churchism--will
ever stick to its fetish. Too many churches--or, shall I say, church
fabrics--breeding controversy where there should be agreement, each sect
and subdivision fighting phantoms of its fancy. In the city that once
proclaimed itself eternal there is war between the Quirinal and the
Vatican, the government of Italy and the papal hierarchy. In France the
government of the republic and the Church of Rome are at daggers-drawn.
Before the world-war England and Germany--each claiming to be
Protestant--were looking on askance, irresolute, not as to which side
might be right and which wrong, but on which side "is my bread to be
buttered?" In America, where it was said by the witty Frenchmen we have
fifty religions and only one soup, there are people who think we should
begin to organize to stop the threatened coming of the Pope, and such
like! "O Liberty," cried Madame Roland, "how many crimes are committed
in thy name!" "O Churchism," may I not say, "how much nonsense is
trolled off in thy name!"

I would think twice before trusting the wisest and best of men with
absolute power; but I would trust never any body of men--never any
Sanhedrim, consistory, church congress or party convention--with
absolute power. Honest men are often led to do or to assent, in
association, what they would disdain upon their conscience and
responsibility as individuals. _En masse_ extremism generally prevails,
and extremism is always wrong; it is the more wrong and the more
dangerous because it is rarely wanting for plausible sophistries,
furnishing congenial and convincing argument to the mind of the
unthinking for whatever it has to propose.



III


Too many churches and too much partyism! It is love--love through grace
of God--truth where we can find it--which shall irradiate the life that
is. If when we have prepared ourselves for the life to come love be
wanting, nothing else is much worth while. Not alone the love of man for
woman, but the love of woman for woman and of man for man; the divine
fraternity taught us by the Sermon on the Mount; the religion of giving,
not of getting; of whole-hearted giving; of joy in the love and the joy
of others.

  _Who giveth himself with his alms feeds three--
  Himself, his hungering neighbor and Me_.

For myself I can truthfully subscribe to the formula: "I believe in God
the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth. And Jesus Christ, his
only Son, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin
Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried;
He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead; He
ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father
Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead."

That is my faith. It is my religion. It was my cradle song. It may not
be, dear ones of contrariwise beliefs, your cradle song or your belief,
or your religion. What boots it? Can you discover another in word and
deed, in luminous, far-reaching power of speech and example, to walk by
the side of this the Anointed One of your race and of my belief?

As the Irish priest said to the British prelate touching the doctrine of
purgatory: "You may go further and fare worse, my lord," so may I say to
my Jewish friends--"Though the stars in their courses lied to the Wise
Men of the desert, the bloody history of your Judea, altogether equal
in atrocity to the bloody history of our Christendom, has yet to fulfill
the promise of a Messiah--and were it not well for those who proclaim
themselves God's people to pause and ask, 'Has He not arisen already?'"

I would not inveigh against either the church or its ministry; I would
not stigmatize temporal preaching; I would have ministers of religion
as free to discuss the things of this world as the statesmen and the
journalists; but with this difference: That the objective point with
them shall be the regeneration of man through grace of God and not
the winning of office or the exploitation of parties and newspapers.
Journalism is yet too unripe to do more than guess at truth from a
single side. The statesman stands mainly for political organism. Until
he dies he is suspect. The pulpit remains therefore still the moral hope
of the universe and the spiritual light of mankind.

It must be nonpartisan. It must be nonprofessional. It must be manly
and independent. But it must also be worldy-wise, not artificial,
sympathetic, broad-minded and many-sided, equally ready to smite wrong
in high places and to kneel by the bedside of the lowly and the poor.

I have so found most of the clergymen I have known, the exceptions too
few to remember. In spite of the opulence we see about us let us not
take to ourselves too much conceit. May every pastor emulate the virtues
of that village preacher of whom it was written that:

  _Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
  And fools who came to scoff, remained to pray._

       *       *       *       *       *

  _A man he was to all the country dear,
  And passing rich with forty pounds a year._

       *       *       *       *       *

  _His house was known to all the vagrant train,
  He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain;
  The long-remembered beggar was his guest,
  Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
  The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,
  Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed;
  The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
  Sate by the fire, and talked the night away;
  Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
  Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won.
  Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,
  And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
  Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
  His pity gave ere charity began._



IV


I have lived a long life--rather a happy and a busy than a merry
one--enjoying where I might, but, let me hope I may fairly claim,
shirking no needful labor or duty. The result is some accretions to
my credit. It were, however, ingratitude and vanity in me to set up
exclusive ownership of these. They are the joint products and property
of my dear wife and myself.

I do not know just what had befallen if love had failed me, for as far
back as I can remember love has been to me the bedrock of all that is
worth living for, striving for or possessing in this cross-patch of a
world of ours.

I had realized the meaning of it in the beautiful concert of affection
between my father and mother, who lived to celebrate their golden
wedding. My wife and I have enjoyed now the like conjugal felicity
fifty-four--counted to include two years of betrothal, fifty-six years.
Never was a young fellow more in love than I--never has love been more
richly rewarded--yet not without some heartbreaking bereavements.

I met the woman who was to become my wife during the War of
Sections--amid its turmoil and peril--and when at its close we were
married, at Nashville, Tennessee, all about us was in mourning, the
future an adventure. It was at Chattanooga, the winter of 1862-63,
that fate brought us together and riveted our destinies. She had a fine
contralto voice and led the church choir. Doctor Palmer, of New Orleans,
was on a certain Sunday well into the long prayer of the Presbyterian
service. Bragg's army was still in middle Tennessee. There was no
thought of an attack. Bang! Bang! Then the bursting of a shell too close
for comfort. Bang! Bang! Then the rattle of shell fragments on the roof.
On the other side of the river the Yankees were upon us.

The man of God gave no sign that anything unusual was happening. He did
not hurry. He did not vary the tones of his voice. He kept on praying.
Nor was there panic in the congregation, which did not budge.

That was the longest long prayer I ever heard. When it was finally
ended, and still without changing a note the preacher delivered the
benediction, the crowded church in the most orderly manner moved to the
several doorways.

I was quick to go for my girl. By the time we reached the street the
firing had become general. We had to traverse quite half a mile of it
before attaining a place of safety. Two weeks later we were separated
for nearly two years, when, the war over, we found ourselves at home
again.

In the meantime her father had fallen in the fight, and in the far South
I had buried him. He was one of the most eminent and distinguished
and altogether the best beloved of the Tennesseeans of his day, Andrew
Ewing, who, though a Democrat, had in high party times represented the
Whig Nashville district in Congress and in the face of assured election
declined the Democratic nomination for governor of the state. A foremost
Union leader in the antecedent debate, upon the advent of actual war he
had reluctantly but resolutely gone with his state and section.



V


The intractable Abolitionists of the North and the radical Secessionists
of the South have much historically to answer for. The racial warp
and woof in the United States were at the outset of our national
being substantially homogeneous. That the country should have been
geographically divided and sectionally set by the ears over the
institution of African slavery was the work of agitation that might have
attained its ends by less costly agencies.

How often human nature seeking its bent prefers the crooked to the
straight way ahead! The North, having in its ships brought the negroes
from Africa and sold them to the planters of the South, putting the
money it got for them in its pocket, turned philanthropist. The South,
having bought its slaves from the slave traders of the North under the
belief that slave labor was requisite to the profitable production of
sugar, rice and cotton, stood by property-rights lawfully acquired,
recognized and guaranteed by the Constitution. Thence arose an
irrepressible conflict of economic forces and moral ideas whose doubtful
adjustment was scarcely worth what it cost the two sections in treasure
and blood.

On the Northern side the issue was made to read freedom, on the Southern
side, self-defense. Neither side had any sure law to coerce the other.
Upon the simple right and wrong of it each was able to establish a case
convincing to itself. Thus the War of Sections, fought to a finish so
gallantly by the soldiers of both sides, was in its origination largely
a game of party politics.

The extremists and doctrinaires who started the agitation that brought
it about were relatively few in number. The South was at least defending
its own. That what it considered its rights in the Union and the
Territories being assailed it should fight for aggressively lay in the
nature of the situation and the character of the people. Aggression
begot aggression, the unoffending negro, the provoking cause, a passive
agent. Slavery is gone. The negro we still have with us. To what end?

Life indeed is a mystery--a hopelessly unsolved problem. Could there be
a stronger argument in favor of a world to come than may be found in the
brevity and incertitude of the world that is? Where this side of heaven
shall we look for the court of last resort? Who this side of the grave
shall be sure of anything?

At this moment the world having reached what seems the apex of human
achievement is topsy-turvy and all agog. Yet have we the record of any
moment when it was not so? That to keep what we call the middle of the
road is safest most of us believe. But which among us keeps or has ever
kept the middle of the road? What else and what next? It is with nations
as with men. Are we on the way to another terrestrial collapse, and so
on ad infinitum to the end of time?



VI


The home which I pictured in my dreams and projected in my hopes came to
me at last. It arrived with my marriage. Then children to bless it. But
it was not made complete and final--a veritable Kentucky home--until the
all-round, all-night work which had kept my nose to the grindstone
had been shifted to younger shoulders I was able to buy a few acres of
arable land far out in the county--the County of Jefferson!--and some
ancient brick walls, which the feminine genius to which I owe so much
could convert to itself and tear apart and make over again. Here "the
sun shines bright" as in the song, and--

  _The corn tops ripe and the meadows in the bloom
  The birds make music all the day._

They waken with the dawn--a feathered orchestra--incessant,
fearless--for each of its pieces--from the sweet trombone of the dove
to the shrill clarionet of the jay--knows that it is safe. There are no
guns about. We have with us, and have had for five and twenty years, a
family of colored people who know our ways and meet them intelligently
and faithfully. When we go away--as we do each winter and sometimes
during the other seasons--and come again--dinner is on the table, and
everybody--even to Tigue and Bijou, the dogs--is glad to see us. Could
mortal ask for more? And so let me close with the wish of my father's
old song come true--the words sufficiently descriptive of the reality:

 _In the downhill of life when I find I'm declining,
      May my fate no less fortunate be
  Than a snug elbow chair can afford for reclining
      And a cot that o'erlooks the wide sea--
  A cow for my dairy, a dog for my game.
      And a purse when my friend needs to borrow;
  I'll envy no nabob his riches, nor fame,
      Nor the honors that wait him to-morrow._

 _And when at the close I throw off this frail cov'ring
      Which I've worn for three-score years and ten--
  On the brink of the grave I'll not seek to keep hov'ring
      Nor my thread wish to spin o'er again.
  But my face in the glass I'll serenely survey,
      And with smiles count each wrinkle and furrow--
  That this worn-out old stuff which is thread-bare to-day_





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