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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Hidden Treasures, by Harry A. Lewis

 

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Title: Hidden Treasures
Why Some Succeed While Others Fail

 

Author: Harry A. Lewis

 

Release Date: December 20, 2006 [eBook #20151]

Language: English

 

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HIDDEN TREASURES

Or,

Why Some Succeed While Others Fail.

by

H. A. LEWIS.

Finely Illustrated.

 

 

 

“Not Failure, but low aim is crime.”

 

Sold by Subscription Only.
Cleveland, Ohio:
Moses, Lewis & Co.
1888.
Copyright, 1887.
by Wright, Moses & Lewis.
All rights reserved.

 

 

PREFACE.

 

Some succeed while others fail. This is a recognized fact; yet history
tells us that seven-tenths of our most successful men began life poor.
As our title indicates, we shall endeavor to show “why some succeed
while others fail.” Knowing that everybody desires success, and
recognizing the old adage, “Example is the best of teachers,” we have
selected representative characters from the multitude of successful men
who have climbed the ladder of success, beginning at the bottom round.
These we have followed from childhood to manhood, dwelling at length on
the traits of character that have made them so rich and successful,
believing that a careful study will convince all that the proverbial
“luck” had little to do with it. On the contrary, one is taught those
lessons of self-helpfulness and self-reliance which are so essential to
success in life’s struggles. It is fearful to think how many of our
young people are drifting without an aim in life, and do not comprehend
that they owe mankind their best efforts. We are all familiar with the
parable of the slothful servant who buried his talent–all may profit by
his example. To those who would succeed, we respectfully present this
volume.

_Every young man is now a sower of seed on the field of life. The bright
days of youth are the seed-time. Every thought of your intellect, every
emotion of your heart, every word of your tongue, every principle you
adopt, every act you perform, is a seed, whose good or evil fruit will
prove bliss or bane of your after life._–WISE.

 

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

Dear reader, it is a grave undertaking to write a book, especially is it
so in writing a treatise on success and failure, as we have attempted to
do in the work we hereby present you. It is a solemn thing to give
advice. Experience teaches that no one thing will please everybody; that
men’s censures are as various as their palates; that some are as deeply
in love with vice as others are with virtue. Shall I then make myself
the subject of every opinion, wise or weak? Yes, I would rather hazard
the censure of some than hinder the good of others.

There need neither reasons to be given nor apologies to be made where
the benefit of our fellow-men is our aim. Henry Clay Trumbull says: “At
no time in the world’s history, probably, has there been so general an
interest in biography as that which has been shown of late. Just here
lies a weighty obligation upon these who write, and those who read, of
the lives of men who have done something in the world. It is not enough
for us to know WHAT they have done; it belongs to us to discover the WHY
of their works and ways, and to gain some personal benefit from the
analysis of their successes and failures. Why was this man great? What
general intentions–what special traits led him to success? What ideal
stood before him, and by what means did he seek to attain it? Or, on the
other hand, what unworthy purpose, what lack of conscience and religious
sense, what unsettled method and feeble endeavor stood in the way of the
‘man of genius’ and his possible achievements?” In this volume one sees
the barefoot boy rise to the eminent statesman, the great millionaire,
the honored inventor. How was this accomplished? We believe that a
careful study of the different characters, by the light of the author’s
opinion of the characteristics essential to success, as shown in
Department Fifth, will show why they succeeded.

Let the reader follow each character separately, from childhood to
manhood, noting carefully the different changes in the career of each
and the motives which actuated and brought them about. If this book
shall serve to awaken dormant energies in ONE PERSON who might otherwise
have failed, we shall feel abundantly repaid. Doubtless, there are
others who are better qualified to write a treatise on such a subject;
nevertheless, we have done our best, and this done, we have attained
success.

 

 

CONTENTS.

 

ADAMS, JOHN, 129
ARTHUR, CHESTER A., 352
ASTOR, JOHN JACOB, 85
BARNUM, PHINEAS T., 81
BEECHER, HENRY WARD, 404
BENNETT, JAMES GORDON, 77
BENTON, THOMAS HART, 248
BLAINE, JAMES G., 362
BONNER, ROBERT, 45
CALHOUN, JOHN C., 209
CASS, LEWIS, 207
CHILDS, GEORGE W., 72
CLAFLIN, HORACE B., 26
CLAY, HENRY, 256
COOPER, PETER, 95
CORCORAN, WILLIAM W., 119
DISSTON, HENRY, 93
DODGE, WILLIAM E., 27
DOUGLASS, STEPHEN A., 267
DREW, DANIEL, 11
EDISON, THOMAS A., 476
EVERETT, EDWARD, 328
FAIR, JAMES G., 54
FARGO, WILLIAM G., 48
FIELD, CYRUS W., 467
FILLMORE, MILLARD, 281
FLOOD, JAMES C.,
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN, 429
FULTON, ROBERT, 436
GARFIELD, JAMES A., 342
GIRARD, STEPHEN, 106
GOODYEAR, CHARLES, 457
GOULD, JAY, 30
GRANT, ULYSSES S., 299
GREELEY, HORACE, 61
HAMILTON, ALEXANDER, 179
HANCOCK, WINFIELD S., 293
HARPER, JAMES, 90
HAYNE, ROBERT Y., 216
HOE, RICHARD M., 454
HOWE, JR., ELIAS, 444
JACKSON, ANDREW, 237
JACKSON, STONEWALL, 303
JEFFERSON, THOMAS, 168
JOHNSON, ANDREW, 338
LAW, GEORGE, 101
LAWRENCE, ABBOTT, 271
LAWRENCE, AMOS, 21
LEE, ROBERT E., 306
LINCOLN, ABRAHAM, 312
LOGAN, JOHN A., 357
LONGWORTH, NICHOLAS, 43
MACKAY, JOHN W., 52
MADISON, JAMES, 184
MARSHALL, JOHN, 175
MCCLELLAN, GEORGE B., 297
MILLS, DARIUS O., 103
MONROE, JAMES, 200
MORSE, PROFESSOR S. F. B., 462
PALMER, POTTER, 88
PEABODY, GEORGE, 116
PULLMAN, GEORGE, 473
RALSTON, WILLIAM G., 112
ROTHSCHILD, NATHAN MAYER, 122
SAGE, RUSSELL, 14
SEWARD, WILLIAM H., 204
SEYMOUR, HORATIO, 289
SINGER, ISAAC M., 451
STANTON, EDWIN M., 332
STEPHENS, ALEXANDER H., 272
STEPHENSON, GEORGE, 421
STEWART, ALEXANDER T., 39
TAYLOR, MOSES, 110
TILDEN, SAMUEL J., 396
VAN BUREN, MARTIN, 263
VANDERBILT, CORNELIUS, 16
VASSAR, MATHEW, 84
WANNAMAKER, JOHN, 37
WATT, JAMES, 415
WEBSTER, DANIEL, 218
WEED, THURLOW, 69
WILSON, HENRY, 310
WHITNEY, ELI, 435

WHY SOME SUCCEED WHILE OTHERS FAIL.

SUCCESS AND FAILURE, 481
CONCENTRATION OF EFFORT, 486
SELF-RELIANCE, 490
ECONOMY OF TIME, 495
CAUSES OF FAILURE, 499

 

 

QUOTATIONS.

 

_A man, to succeed, must possess the necessary equanimity of temperament
to conceive an idea, the capacity to form it into some tangible shape,
the ingenuity to put it into practical operation, the ability to
favorably impress others with its merits, and the_ POWER _of_ WILL _that
is absolutely necessary to force it to success._

–THOMAS A. SCOTT.

 

_Labor rids us of three evils.–Tediousness, Vice and Poverty._

–CARLYLE.

 

“_Never start upon an undertaking until you are sure it is practicable
and ought to be done, and then let nothing stand long in the way of
accomplishing that undertaking. It is better to deserve success than to
have it; few deserve it who do not attain it._”

“_There is no failure in this country for those whose personal habits
are good, and who follow some honest calling industriously, unselfishly,
and purely. If one desires to succeed, he must pay the price_–WORK!”

_In order to succeed, a man must have a purpose fixed, then let his
motto be_ VICTORY OR DEATH.

–HENRY CLAY.

 

“_Be liberal but cautious; enterprising but careful._”

“_Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we
fall._”

_Fail!–Fail?_
_In the lexicon of youth, which Fate reserves for a bright manhood,
there is no such word_
_As–fail!_–“RICHELIEU.”

 

_Benjamin Franklin has truly said: The road to wealth is as plain as the
road to mill._

 

 

DANIEL DREW.

 

Here is a great financier. A man of unusual ability; but who is no
exception to the rule, born poor. His success came by hard work and a
thorough mastery of his business. It is surprising how many Wall Street
operators began life on the farm. In the case of Daniel Drew, at the age
of only fifteen, matters were made worse by the death of his father.

At eighteen, he concluded to go to New York; but, after a discouraging
time of it, his money giving out, he was obliged to return to his home.
However, his trip did not prove a total failure, as subsequent events
show. While in the metropolis he heard that fat cattle could be sold
there at a profit over what he knew they could be bought for, at his
country home. He therefore resolved to go into the cattle business.
True, he had no money, he was a poor country lad, but this made little
difference with Drew’s determination. As he had no money with which to
buy a drove for himself, he did the next best thing; this was to induce
the neighboring farmers to allow him to drive their cattle to market on
a commission plan. By this one act the reader can understand the
difference between Daniel Drew and the neighboring farm boys, many of
whom were better situated, doubtless, than was he.

Another characteristic he developed was economy; his money was saved and
with these small savings he added cattle to his drove which were his
own, hence, increased his profits; first one at a time, then two, when
at last he abandoned the commission business, becoming a drover on his
own account. Later, he took a partner and the firm of Drew & Co. became
the cattle kings of America. This was the first firm that ever drove
cattle from the West, and Drew, ever watchful for opportunities to add
to his already increasing income, bought a tavern which became, as Drew
knew it would under good management, the centre of the cattle business
in the city on market days.

As time passed, as a matter of course, following such a line of
procedure, he became a very rich man, and his disposition being of an
enterprising nature, he began to cast about him for new investments,
seeking new fields to conquer. The explosion of a boat on the Hudson,
discommoding for a time the existing line, offered to Drew the favorable
opportunity for which he was looking, and as was characteristic he at
once improved his chance. He immediately placed on the river the “Water
Witch”; the old line resumed business; the fares were reduced until the
profits of both companies were eaten up. The opposition tried to
intimidate, they tried to buy out, and then tried to negotiate some
other deals, but all in vain. On the contrary Drew put on the
“Westchester,” and instead of stopping at Peekskill, he extended to
Albany. He next bought the “Bright Emerald,” and started an evening
line. This was a new feature in those days and as it enabled the
business men to travel without loss of time, it became eminently
popular.

Drew was a man with a fertile mind; he made a study of whatever he
undertook; he was a hard man to beat. He bought the “Rochester,” and
next bought out the old line. For a long time he had things pretty much
his own way; then came a new opposition. This time, through
negotiations, he won the opposition over and established the celebrated
“People’s Line,” naming their first boat after his new partner, “St.
John.” Mr. Drew, in connection with others, formed the “Stonington Line”
between New York and Boston, and still later he opened the “Champlain
Transportation Company” from White Hall, New York, to Rouses Point,
Vermont. He next placed his shoulder under Erie, endorsing its paper to
the amount of ten millions. Later still he was elected President of this
company, and as Erie and Central are natural enemies, Vanderbilt and
Drew henceforth became hostile toward each other. Mr. Drew wanted to
extend Erie west. To do this he must get a special act of the
Legislature. Of course, he had Vanderbilt and Central, with all their
patronage, with which to contend, and a bitter fight it proved to be;
but in those days Daniel Drew seemed invincible in court, and the bill
passed, Erie re-issuing stock and extending its lines.

He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and to him is that
religious body indebted for that grand institution, “Drew Theological
Seminary.” Many men would have made a worse use of vast wealth than did
Daniel Drew. He was a man who was quiet; he kept his “points,” and was a
pleasing conversationalist. In 1879 he died, leaving two children.

 

 

RUSSELL SAGE.

 

This wonderful man was born at Verona, Oneida County, New York, over
sixty years ago. In early life, he determined to earn all that he could,
and spend less than he earned. When he arrived at the age of fifteen, he
removed to Troy, and entered the grocery store of one of his brothers.
Until eighteen years of age he remained here as a clerk when he had
saved money enough to buy an interest in another store of which another
brother was proprietor. Here he remained several years in successful
trade, when the partnership was dissolved. He next turned his attention
to the wholesale trade, dealing in grain, flour, pork, beef, etc., the
most of these ventures proving successful.

His towns’ people, recognizing his business ability elected him alderman
for seven years, and later, treasurer of Rensselaer county. His fidelity
in these trusts won for him a seat in Congress, and he was re-elected by
an increased majority, serving both terms with great credit to himself
and party.

In 1860, he had succeeded so well that he could show $200,000 on the
credit side of his bank account. Seeking new fields to conquer, he
naturally gravitated to the money centre, New York. Since that time
Russell Sage has been as favorably known in Wall street as any broker in
the country. He occupies an office in the same building with Gould, and
scores of the leading spirits, with whom he mingles daily. He attends
strictly to business, and never even smokes. Mr. Sage deals in
everything which he deems “an investment,”–banks, railroad stock, real
estate, all receive his attention. He is a very cautious operator, and
cannot, by any possible means, be induced into a “blind pool.” He has,
however, been very successful in the “street,” and it is said has built
over three thousand miles of railroad. Russell Sage might easily be
mistaken for a church deacon, instead of the keen operator that he is.
However, no one in the “street” will give away “points” to his friends
sooner than he. The _Troy Times_ once mentioned several people who said
that Mr. Sage had pointed out to them investments, of which they could
never have known but for him, each investment having yielded them
thousands of dollars. He often gives friends the benefit of his splendid
opportunities, which makes him a general favorite among all brokers. Mr.
Sage enjoys the confidence and friendship of some of the leading
operators, among whom are Jay Gould.

He is a man of marked ability, and honesty. He never fails to meet any
of his obligations, nor will he allow others to neglect theirs. Of
course, he is careful what he agrees to do, but always does just as he
agrees, regardless of cost. For this reason he is known in Wall street
as “Old Integrity.” Russell Sage is a shrewd, close calculator, and is
worth many millions, the result of improving his opportunities. He is a
consistent member of the Evangelical Church, and is very charitable.
Long may such men live, for we have many worse.

 

 

CORNELIUS VANDERBILT.

 

Vanderbilt, a synonym for wealth and luxury. Who indeed has not wished
that he could have at least a small part of the vast wealth possessed by
the Vanderbilts? Yet, when Cornelius Vanderbilt was a boy, he enjoyed
far less privileges to make money than the majority who now look on and
wish; but Cornelius Vanderbilt differed from other boys of his age. One
difference was his strong determination.

It was then, much as it is now, boys liked to spend their money and have
a good time.

It was a common saying in the neighborhood where he lived, ‘that when
Corneel. Vanderbilt concludes to do anything it will certainly be done.’
A ship stranded off the shore; young Cornelius’ father took the contract
to transfer the cargo to New York city. This was a job requiring many
teams and a force of men to carry the produce to a different part of the
island where they were to be taken by water to New York. Although but
twelve years old, young Vanderbilt was given control of this part of the
work. His father, by accident, neglected to furnish him the money with
which to pay his ferriage. Here he was, a lad twelve years old, with no
money, in charge of a lot of horses which must be ferried over at a cost
of over five dollars. He hesitated but a moment; walking boldly up to
the hotel proprietor he said: “Sir, I am here without money, by
accident; if you will kindly advance me the money to pay the ferriage, I
will leave a horse as your security.” The proprietor was a perfect
stranger to Vanderbilt, but he was struck with such enterprise. The
money was advanced, and the horse redeemed within forty-eight hours.

[Illustration: ENTERPRISE. Engraved Expressly for “Hidden Treasures”]

Vanderbilt wanted a small boat. On the tenth day of May, 1810, he went
to his mother and asked for the money with which to buy it. There was a
very rough piece of land on the parental farm which had never been
plowed. His mother told him that if he would plow, drag and plant that
field to corn within seventeen days, she would buy the boat for him. It
was a hard job, doubtless, the mother considered it an impossible one.
Vanderbilt, however, seemed never to recognize such a word, as can’t. He
set about the work at once, and hard as it seemed to be, the task was
accomplished, the boat was bought, and Vanderbilt was a happy boy. He
had earned it. Now, as Vanderbilt did not want this boat for pleasure,
he at once began business carrying produce from Staten Island to New
York city. When the wind was unfavorable he used oars or a pole to aid
his sails, thus, his produce was always on time. People said, “Send your
stuff by Vanderbilt and you can depend on its being in season.” Now
Vanderbilt had to give all of his earnings during the day time to his
parents, so he worked nights, but his father also required one-half of
what he earned nights, thus his opportunities were not as great as one
might think. He worked very hard and at the end of three years, it was
found that Corneel. Vanderbilt had saved for himself over, or about
$3,000 and the best of all, had earned the reputation of being the best
boatman on the river. While others were smoking and drinking, ‘having
fun while they were young, for when would they if not then?’ Vanderbilt
was either earning more money working over time, or at least saving
what he had earned, home asleep recruiting for the next day’s labor.

He wished to marry a Miss Johnson, but could not unless his parents
would release him from all parental restrictions. He was only nineteen,
yet luckily for the young people the lady was a favorite of the father;
the desired permission was obtained and henceforth Vanderbilt had the
exclusive benefit of his labor. As he had begun, so he continued, and at
the age of twenty-three he was worth about $9,000. In 1817 he became
captain of the first steam boat that ever run between New York and New
Brunswick, New Jersey, at a salary of $1,000 per year. His wife proved
to be a helpmeet in the truest sense of the word, she at this time
keeping hotel at New Brunswick and making no small amount herself. Seven
years passed and Vanderbilt was made superintendent of the company of
which he had been an employe. If a man has ability and applies it, his
talent will not remain hid ‘under a bushel.’ His ability and indomitable
energy brought the “Gibbons Line” up to paying $40,000 a year. Seeing a
chance, for which he was ever on the alert, he leased the ferry between
New York and Elizabeth, New Jersey, for fourteen years, put on new boats
and it became a very profitable venture. In 1829 he left the “Gibbons
Line,” and began to operate on the Hudson and between New York and
Boston; also on the Delaware river. He would start an opposition line,
and either drive off the old line or effect a compromise. In 1849 he
obtained from the Nicaraguan Government a charter for a steamship
company. He next went to England and raised the extra funds needed. He
then went personally and inspected the whole route that was used, and by
a system of cables fastened to trees, shortened the same about seven
hundred miles over all existing lines. He placed steamers on each ocean
and cut the fare from New York to San Francisco one-half. Soon he had
destroyed all opposition and then made immense profits. Afterward he
sold out for two millions.

Mr. Vanderbilt, like all successful men, made finance a study; he
foresaw that there were great profits to be realized in the near future
in the undeveloped railway systems in the country. To see a chance was
to at once set about planning to improve it. He at once began to
withdraw his money from the water and invest in railroads, which were
then coming rapidly to the front. The wisdom of Vanderbilt can be seen,
for at the beginning of the war, which he had been long expecting, his
money was all transferred from the water, and thus his interests were
not jeopardised by the war made upon our commerce. He, however, had
owned so many vessels, that he had long since been known as Commodore
Vanderbilt, in fact few people to-day know him by any other name. He, at
the beginning of hostilities, presented the government with a
magnificent steamship, the “Vanderbilt,” worth $800,000. When he entered
the railroad business he was estimated at from thirty-five to forty
millions. He had dealt somewhat in New York and New Haven, and now began
to buy Harlem when it was in a most helpless and depressed condition. He
advanced a large sum to the company when it was in need, and for this,
among other things, he was made its President in 1863. By judicious
management and influences common in ‘The street,’ he successfully ran
Harlem from thirty to two hundred and eighty-five. Such a man was just
what the New York Central railroad desired, and after this great
‘bulling’ movement he became President of that road. All that was
needed now was the Hudson River road and this he bought outright,
becoming President of the New York Central and Hudson River Rail Road,
extending from New York to Buffalo.

At one time there was a bill to be voted on at Albany; the bill was in
the interest of Harlem; Mr. Vanderbilt was sure it would pass, but
Daniel Drew, his antagonist, who ever fought Harlem or Central as they
were against Erie, caused a counter movement to be made which defeated
the bill. Vanderbilt heard of it, and of course was disappointed but
made no foolish protests with the treacherous ‘friends’ at the capitol.
In the meantime these people were selling Harlem short for future
delivery, expecting that the stock would “take a tumble” when it became
known that the bill was defeated. As before said Vanderbilt said
nothing, but quietly bought up every scrap of stock there was to be
found loose. The fatal day came but Harlem stood firm. The derelict
Assemblymen were thunderstruck when they had to buy at a greatly
enhanced price, and many of the would-be victors were ruined. In 1873
the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern railroad was operated in connection
with the Vanderbilt system, making a Palace Car route from New York city
to Chicago. From New York to Buffalo a quadruple track, thence a double
track.

Among the charities of Mr. Vanderbilt is a gift of three-quarters of a
million to the University in Nashville, Tennessee, which bears his name.
He died in 1877 worth about eighty millions.

 

 

AMOS LAWRENCE.

 

Amos Lawrence was born April 22nd, 1786. He was a weak child,
consequently could not attend school, but his mother did not neglect
him. When only thirteen years old he became a clerk in a country store.
In this store was kept everything in the hardware line, from a plow to a
needle; in the textile line, from a horse-blanket to a pocket
handkerchief; then you could buy the productions usually found in a
vegetable garden,–everything was kept, even to Jamaica rum and drugs
for the sick; a good place, indeed, for a bright, active boy to gain new
ideas. Each country store, in those days, had its bar, and the clerks
were as likely to be called on to mix drinks, as they were to be asked
to measure off dry goods, and it was considered as honorable. Not only
this, but it was customary for clerks to take a drink themselves, but
young Lawrence determined to neither drink nor smoke. True, he liked the
taste of liquor, and enjoyed a quiet smoke, but he argued that such
pleasures, not only eat up profits already earned, but left the system
in a poor condition to earn more. When we consider that he was a mere
lad of thirteen, or at best fourteen, when he had decided upon this
honorable course, and when we think that at least, for the time being,
these luxuries would have cost nothing, we are constrained to say, no
wonder he became a rich man.

If our young men would only save the money they yearly smoke up and
spend for other needless things, we would have clearer headed and much
wealthier men. Our young men all desire to gain wealth and the highest
enjoyments possible in this world, but are not willing to pay for them.
If they would examine the lives of a great many of our most wealthy and
influential men of to-day, they would be surprised to learn how few even
smoke.

If you see a man with a high hat, gaudily dressed, smoking and seemingly
inviting your attention at some horse trot, where he is making a great
display of wealth in the way of bets, you can set it down as pretty
certain that that man is a clerk working for $10 or $15 per week, or at
best, a mere curb-stone broker who will never rise to anything higher.
Real wealth and distinction never invite your attention. One would
hardly take that plain old gentleman, walking along the street yonder,
for other than a country deacon, yet the check of Russell Sage will be
recognized and honored to the amount of millions. Jay Gould never enjoys
himself more than when at home.

We spend as a nation now, every year, NINE HUNDRED MILLIONS FOR LIQUOR
and THREE HUNDRED and FIFTY MILLIONS for TOBACCO. Total, ONE BILLION,
TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY MILLIONS. One billion, two hundred and fifty
millions thrown away. More than twice what we use for bread and meat.
Then look at that vast waste of unearned wages. Man can’t do two things
well at one time. In our large cities we have, of late, seen drunken
men, with pipes in their mouths, carrying about the streets a banner
inscribed, “bread or blood.” They propose to make those who have worked
intelligently for money, now divide. Would it not look far more sensible
if the banner bore the inscription, henceforth, I will boycott the
tobacconist, and will vote for no man who is not pledged to suppress the
saloon oligarchy?

Amos Lawrence had not the benefit of the philanthropic teaching of our
age, but he had a common sense, and a sense of taste and judgment far in
advance of his time. These were the principles with which he laid the
foundation to that great fortune and enviable reputation which he lived
to enjoy, and which his name will ever recall. We have seen that good
habits were the foundation of his success. He also improved his
opportunities. He became perfectly familiar with the drug department of
the store. He determined early in life to become a wealthy and
influential man. To determine to do anything is half the battle. “Doubt
indulged becomes doubt realized.” “To think a thing impossible is to
make it so.” “Courage is victory, timidity is defeat.” Men who
understand these maxims are men who invariably succeed. I say
invariably–a man may think he understands when he is groping in
midnight darkness. A young man who really is destined to succeed, not
only INTENDS to become a rich man, or whatever he aspires to be, but
lays plans to that end, and is not discouraged if they are blasted. He
only recognizes that he is foiled, for the time being, and never doubts
his ability to succeed ultimately. There is a difference between a
blustering braggadocio and a quiet, unassuming confidence in one’s self.
One leads to certain victory, the other, to as certain defeat.

Young Lawrence had served his seven long years of apprenticeship, and
had no better opportunity presented itself, he would have succeeded, for
he had his plans carefully laid to remain in Groton, and if he had, he
would have succeeded. But a merchant who had seen him at the store of
his employer, no sooner learned of his release than he immediately
hired him to come to Boston to enter his store there. “Seest thou a man
diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings, he shall not
stand before mean men.” Thither he went part of the way on foot; the
rest of the way with an accommodating neighbor who was driving in that
direction. He determined to make for himself here a record for honesty,
and so well did he succeed, that the next year he started business for
himself, his principal capital being his reputation and acknowledged
ability. He developed a system in his business; he paid every bill on
the spot; if he could not pay cash, instead of the regular custom of
book accounts, he gave his note, thus no complications could arise to
embarrass him. He knew when the money was expected on every bill, and
made his calculation, and was never known to be taken by surprise. He
was reasonably cautious–he never would promise to do what he might
possibly be unable to accomplish. He prospered–of course he would. Such
business principles, pushed by system as Lawrence pushed them, must
bring success to any young man.

Another thing, to any one who may now imagine he, perhaps, entered
business on the tide of prosperity, we desire simply to say, on the
contrary, from 1808 to 1815 was one of the dullest periods our
mercantile history can recount. No, “luck” did not favor him, but
“pluck” did. He pushed his mercantile business for years, amassing an
immense fortune. Our country was then new, and he had to import most of
his merchandise from England, but as he ever made a study of his
business, concluded that he would start manufacturing industries here,
which would prove not only profitable to himself, but of inestimable
value to us as a nation. In accordance with these motives, he was
largely instrumental in connection with the Lowells in building up the
flourishing cities of Lowell and Lawrence.

He never speculated in stocks. Young men, there is no money in stocks to
the average man. Not even in legitimate stock dealing, to say nothing of
the numerous watered concerns. We were looking over a paper recently
when our attention was attracted to a paragraph which explained that in
a transaction which involved 8,000 bushels of wheat, it was found that
the odds against the buyer was over 22 per cent. While wheat is not
stocks, still a good rule would be never to go into anything unless the
chances are at least equal.

Amos Lawrence once said: “Young man, base all your actions upon a sense
of right, and in doing so, never reckon the cost.” What a glorious
principle for any young man–a principle he would find hard to follow in
many stock speculations. “Even exchange is no robbery.” It is not even
exchange to bet and take a man’s money; and it makes little difference
whether you bet on a horse’s gait or the grain he will eat next month.
At another time he said: “Good principles, good temper, and good manners
will carry a young man through the world much better than he can get
along with the absence of either.” His sayings are numerous, yet every
one is worthy of attention; all of them have a golden thought for old
and young.

Mr. Lawrence did not give away in large amounts to institutions of
learning, but he kept two rooms in his house wholly for the storage of
articles designed to relieve poor people. One contained clothing of
every description; the other, food and other necessaries of life. He
gave away during his life, over $700,000, and when he died people
mourned that he had gone, for there were none left that could take his
place. Ah! this is success. He died December 31st, 1852.

 

 

HORACE B. CLAFLIN.

 

This great dry-goods prince was born at Milford, Massachusetts, in 1811,
and his education was attained in the public schools of that place. When
he became of age he bought out the store in which he was clerk, and in
company with another young man began business for himself. But this
place was too small for the already expanding vision of both Claflin &
Daniels; they accordingly moved to Worcester. The latter place proving
yet too small for Claflin, we soon see him located in Cedar street, New
York, where he finds himself somewhat satisfied for a time. After a
period of successful trade–extending over six years’ time, the young
men were compelled to find more commodious quarters, which they found at
No. 57 Broadway, and two years later they moved once more, locating in
the Trinity Building. 1860 came, their business was found to amount to
about $12,000,000 annually, and the firm resolved to build a store, for
themselves. The result was an immense dry-goods palace. The retail
business was entirely abandoned, and Claflin at once sprung to the front
as the leading wholesale dry-goods merchant of America.

One day, about five o’clock, Mr. Claflin sat in his private office when
a young man, pale and careworn, timidly knocked and was asked in. “Mr.
Claflin,” said he, “I am in need of help. I have been unable to meet
certain payments because certain parties have not done by me as they
agreed. I would like to have $10,000. I come to you because I knew that
you were a friend of my father, and I thought possibly you might be a
friend to me.” “Come in and have a glass of wine,” said Claflin. “No,”
said the young man, “I never drink.” “Have a cigar?” “No, I never
smoke.” “Well,” replied Claflin, “I am sorry but I don’t feel that I can
let you have the money.” “Very well,” replied the young man, “I thought
perhaps you might; hence I came. Good day, sir.” “Hold on,” said
Claflin. “You don’t drink?” “No.” “Nor smoke?” “No sir.” “Nor gamble?”
“No sir; I am superintendent of a Sunday-school, in —- street.” “Well,”
said Claflin, “you shall have it.” This was characteristic of the man.
This anecdote well illustrates his character. He was an everyday
Christian.

On November 14, 1885, he passed away, leaving one more gap in the
commercial world, and in the membership of Plymouth Church, of which he
had been a member many years. Probably no one man missed him more at the
time of his death than did Henry Ward Beecher, of whom he had long been
a devoted admirer.

 

 

WILLIAM E. DODGE.

 

When one finishes the perusal of the life of William E. Dodge, he feels
a thrill of unbounded admiration. A man who would resign his membership
in the Union League Club, because it sold wine to its members; who
disposed of valuable investments in three different railroads, when a
majority of the stockholders voted to run Sunday trains; who, while
carrying on a large mercantile business, and managing an extensive stock
and real estate business, yet found time to preside at the Chamber of
Commerce and serve on numerous committees, and held a directorship in
various banking institutions, is surely to be admired.

His religious life was never weakened by his prosperity, and the more
money God blessed him with, the more religious societies he became
connected with.

William E. Dodge was born in the year 1805, near Hartford, Connecticut.
He began at the foot of the ladder, taking down shutters and sweeping
out the store in which he was employed. When twenty-one, he went into
business in a small way, doing a retail business, which prospered, and
at the end of three years Mr. Dodge felt able to support a wife.

In 1834 he was invited to become a partner in the firm with his
father-in-law, Mr. Anson Phelps, and a brother-in-law, under the
firm-style of Phelps, Dodge and Company. This connection proved a most
profitable business venture, and at the end of twenty years Mr. Dodge
was accounted a wealthy man. Looking about for investments, his keen
perception espied a vast fortune in lumber, and then followed those vast
accumulations of timber lands, by buying thousands of acres in West
Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Canada.

He also became greatly interested in coal lands, and as he must find a
conveyance to bring his coal to market, he was naturally drawn into
railroad schemes. His ability and enterprise soon placed him on the
board of directors for such roads as the Delaware, Lackawanna and
Western, and New Jersey Central, being at one time President of the
Houston and Texas.

He helped found several of the most noted Insurance Companies in the
country, and was a director until his death, of the Greenwich Saving
Bank, City Bank, The American Exchange National Bank, the United States
Trust Company, the Bowery Fire Insurance Company, and the Mutual Life
Insurance Company. He was President of the Chamber of Commerce, and
owned a very large number of saw-mills, besides carrying on the regular
business of the firm. What will those people, who would do this or that
if they only had time, say to all this work done by one man who then
found time to serve on the board of management of religious
organizations innumerable?

He was a great temperance advocate, giving thousands of dollars annually
toward the support of various societies. There were others who had
wealth, and gave possibly as much to the betterment of mankind as did
Dodge, but we cannot now recall any man of great wealth who would deny
himself as much personally, beside giving, as he did. In fact he seemed
to be crowded to death with work, yet he never refused to aid all who
were worthy applicants. For years he gave away annually over $200,000,
yet it was found at his death, February, 1883, that his wealth amounted
to something like $5,000,000, a large share of which was also given to
charitable purposes.

 

 

JAY GOULD.

 

We have written the lives of journalists, of eminent statesmen, but we
are now going to write the life of one of the most powerful men in
America. A man who has far greater influence over his fellow-men than
many a king or emperor, and a man who has played a most prominent part
in the development of our Republic.

Such a man is Jay Gould to-day who has risen to this dizzy height, from
a penniless boy on his father’s farm, which he left at the age of only
fourteen to seek his fortune. He asked his father’s permission first,
which was readily given, he thinking it would cure the boy of his
restlessness, and when young Gould left, his father fully expected to
see him again within a few days, but even the father was mistaken in
calculating the stick-to-it-iveness of the son. He at last found
employment in a store where he remained two years when his health
compelled outdoor work. He therefore obtained employment carrying chains
for some surveyors at $10 a month. These men were making surveys from
which an Albany publishing firm expected to issue maps for an atlas they
were getting out. Not only did Gould carry the chains but he improved
every opportunity for picking up points in surveying. We see one
characteristic of the man plainly showing itself at this early age, for
when the firm failed, Gould had the maps published himself, and then
personally sold enough of them to clear $1,000. With this start he went
to Pennsylvania, and was employed in a tannery. As one sees, nearly
every successful man owes that success largely to the cultivation of
pleasing manners, so it was with Gould. So apparent was his ability, and
so well did he please his employer, that the man set Gould up in
business at Gouldsborough, where he cleared $6,000 within the next two
years. Gould was not satisfied with this moderate success, fine as it
seemed to be; he only regarded these enterprises as stepping-stones to
something higher. He next enters the metropolis where he buys and sells
hides in a small office at No. 49 Gold street.

About this time Gould met a young lady at the Everett House, where he
lived, whose acquaintance was destined to have a marked influence over
his subsequent career. This bright, handsome girl attracted his
attention so unmistakably that Miss Miller noticed it. A little
flirtation took place which ripened into a mutual affection, and they
were married without waiting for the parents’ approval, probably Gould
knew better, as the young lady, at the time was far above his station in
life as society would say, hence acted in this matter as he would in any
business transaction he entered.

Of course, this aroused Mr. Miller’s righteous indignation, but he soon
realized that Mr. Gould was a man of no ordinary calibre and wisely
changed his course toward him. Mr. Miller owned a large interest in the
Rensselaer & Saratoga Railroad, and young Gould, after visiting the
same, concluded that it could be made to pay. He accordingly bought the
entire stock his father-in-law owned, notwithstanding the stock was
considered all but worthless. He immediately disposed of all other
business, and assumed the management of the road by buying up as much of
the remaining stock as seemed necessary to give him supreme control. He
at once became Manager, Superintendent and Treasurer. When the stock
had multiplied upon itself many times, he sold out, receiving in all
$750,000, for his interest. This first scheme illustrates his line of
procedure in most of those seemingly mysterious movements which have
marked his uniform success; namely, to find some road which was almost
worthless and, if he thought good management would bring it up, secretly
buy the controlling interest in the line, and when it reached a fair
figure, sell. The Rutland & Washington was offering stock at ten cents
on the dollar; he at once bought it up and managed it so well that he
soon was enabled to sell at 120, making, as most people would think, a
fortune.

Cleveland & Pittsburg was for a long time in a precarious condition,
perceiving which, Mr. Gould bought up all the stock he could find, and
threw his whole ability and experience into the development of the same.
The stock soon took an upward move, and when it reached 120 he sold his
twenty-five thousand shares. We next see him buying Union Pacific at
fifteen. This stock kept falling, but while others sold continually at a
sacrifice, and seemed glad to unload at any figure, the lower it went
the more Gould bought. After securing a controlling interest as desired,
he began to develop the iron industries along the line, which of course
soon gave the road business. This and other causes soon set Union
Pacific “booming,” and the stock began to rise. No sooner, however, did
the disappointed capitalists see their mistake in selling than the cry
was raised: “That is Gould’s road and if you touch it you will surely be
burnt.” But despite all this the stock gradually rose, and in 1879 Mr.
Gould sold the whole hundred thousand shares that he owned to a
syndicate. It must not be supposed, however, that Mr. Gould sold to
satisfy public clamor–Mr. Gould is not that kind of a man.

How much he was worth when he went into Erie no one knows, but it was no
inconsiderable amount. After Mr. Drew’s suit with Vanderbilt, whereby
the latter lost seven millions, Mr. Gould was made President of Erie,
and the capital stock was increased to two hundred and thirty-five
thousand shares, which stood about fifty-seven and one-half million.
This brought the price down to 44. It was determined to sink Erie still
lower, so Gould, Fisk and Drew locked up greenbacks to the amount of one
million four hundred thousand. By a false movement on Drew’s part, which
his partners considered treacherous, they accordingly lost, and at once
unlocked greenbacks, thereby stock advanced and Drew, instead of
gaining, lost one million five hundred thousand, as he was seven
thousand shares short. The price of the shares continued upward and
Gould was obliged to get it down by some means in order to save himself.
He therefore inaugurated a “bull” movement on gold. A. R. Corbin,
brother-in-law of the President, Mr. Grant, was selected to sound the
government, who reported that it was not intended to put any gold on the
market for the present, at least. The clique at once bought millions
more of gold than was to be had in the city outside of the Sub-Treasury.
Up, up, went gold; 130 is reached, and next 133-1/2, then 134; still the
order is buy; buy all that is for sale. The price reaches 144, but
nothing daunted, the clique still buy in order to force the shorts to
cover; yet on up it goes. Black Friday week is upon them, but Jay Gould
is now selling while others are still buying right and left. Of course,
he still pretends to buy, but is secretly selling at 165. At last the
crash came, when the Secretary of the Treasury sold four millions on the
street, and Gould is nearly the only one who is safe. This may look
crooked–it certainly is not Puritan, but there are features of Jay
Gould’s success which are not praiseworthy; however, we claim there are
many things that are worthy of imitation, hence it is here given in
detail. He next bought Kansas & Texas at 8 and ran it to 48. He
purchased Wabash at 5, and this, under his management, rose to 80
preferred.

Where Mr. Gould has shown the greatest skill in his line, is his
connection with the transactions with the Western Union. Desiring to
secure control of that company, he went into American Union, and within
one year it was a formidable rival, which he substituted for the Western
Union wires on his roads, and that company’s stock fell from 116 to 88.
If it is true, as stated, that Gould was short 30,000, he must have
cleared on this one transaction $840,000. This method is so unlike his
usual tactics that we are inclined to disbelieve it; however, his
dealings all through, it is claimed, seem to prove it. He next caused a
war of rates to be announced between his company and Western Union, and
of course, the stock of the latter dropped still lower. The story was
then circulated that he was to become a director of Western Union, and
no war would take place; up that stock went to 104. But when the day
came for the election, no Gould was to be seen, and back down it
tumbled. It is reasonably supposable that Gould profited by each of
these fluctuations. American Union became a fixed thing, and Western
Union becoming alarmed at renewed rumors of war, at once caused Mr.
Gould to be seen, and he to-day owns twenty millions of Western Union.
His Missouri, Pacific and other lines, together with his elevated
railroad schemes, are somewhat familiar topics with our readers.

The career of such a man is a type and a proof of the progress of our
land and the boundless opportunities that are open to energy and
ability. Jay Gould has attained this dizzy height from poverty and
obscurity. Unlike many rich men he is not a “fast” man. He is an
excellent husband and father; he is never so happy, seemingly, as when
at home sharing the family hearth, while others, who are more widely
respected, are at their clubs. Jay Gould has been the subject of much
abuse; indeed, what great men have not been? He is often described as a
heartless oppressor of the poor and an enemy of his country. These
accusations can often be traced to jealous rivals. While he has made
millions in the new systems he has opened in the West, our territories
and new States have been wonderfully developed and enriched billions of
dollars. We honestly believe that the wonderful growth of the Western
country would have been utterly impossible but for such men as Gould. If
there had not been money in it their energy would have been lacking, and
without that energy they must have lain dormant until other capitalists
had opened the way to progress. That it takes a vast capital to develop
the resources in a new country must be plain to every one. Show me a
town which is blessed with men of capital and enterprise, and I will
show you a town that is prosperous. Show me a town which has little of
either, and I will show you a town in which you would hate to live.

Mr. Gould appears to be a man whom nothing would excite; and one of his
brokers says of him: “You never can tell from his expression when he
reads a telegram whether he has made five millions or lost ten.”
Reticence is one secret of Mr. Gould’s success. He absolutely cannot be
induced to say anything which he desires kept. He is on the whole the
most incomprehensible of New Yorkers. He is an embodiment of the
money-making faculty. It would be a hard question to tell what Gould is
worth. I know men who believe that he is to-day the richest citizen in
New York. I know others who are confident that he is not worth over one
million, and others who are certain that he is on the eve of bankruptcy,
but this last is preposterous.

His wealth is, of course, subject to fluctuation, and possibly Mr. Gould
himself could not tell its exact magnitude; certainly no one knows,
unless he does, what the precise amount is; but the writer would say at
least seventy-five millions. Indeed, if the truth was known, we would
not be surprised if it would amount to nearly one hundred millions.

He is incessantly engaged in great operations, and these cannot be
managed without vast sums. He is determined that no one shall be
acquainted with his affairs. Despite this outward immobility, the strain
of these colossal operations upon his brain and nerves cannot be
otherwise than very wearing. It is said that he is troubled with
sleeplessness, and that many of his gigantic schemes are worked out
while he is lying in bed awake. Occasionally he gets up at night, lights
the gas, walks the floor and tears paper into bits. It may be remembered
that Fisk testified on his investigation by the Congressional Committee
respecting the transactions of Black Friday, that he observed Jay Gould
tearing up paper and throwing the pieces into the waste-basket, and thus
he knew that his partner had some work on hand. He scarcely ever smiles
and never lifts his voice above a conversational tone. He has no friends
so far as known, but a host of enemies.

His life is in great speculations. His greatest crime in the eyes of his
fellow-speculators is, that he succeeds so well in doing to Wall Street,
what Wall Street is perpetually, but vainly trying to do to him.

 

 

JOHN WANNAMAKER.

 

In the summer of 1838, John Wannamaker was born in Philadelphia. His
father was a brick-maker, and while out of school mornings, nights and
Saturdays, the boy John was engaged in turning bricks which were laid in
the sun to dry. Thus early those habits of industry were instilled into
the lad who, by his own diligence, was destined to one day become the
merchant prince of Philadelphia.

A few years later, school was abandoned for steady employment which was
found in a store four miles from his home, where he boarded, for he had
not the means to do otherwise, thereby walking eight miles per day,
aside from his duties at the store, receiving $1.25 each Saturday
evening. Think of it, working hard all the week, walking four miles
night and morning–in all forty-eight miles per week, and receiving only
$1.25 salary for the entire week’s work. Afterward he was employed in a
law office, and still later we find him in a clothing store at a salary
of $1.50 per week. Here he seemed to find the calling which suited his
taste, and he cultivated a pleasing disposition; people liked to trade
with the young clerk. Of course this faculty, coupled with energy, would
soon bring recognition, and it was not long before he was called to
responsible positions. Another strong feature of the success of John
Wannamaker was, he lived on less than he earned, and saved the balance.

In 1861 he had saved several hundred dollars, and as he had earned a
reputation for honesty and ability, he was enabled to start in business
on his own account. This firm of Wannamaker & Brown was situated at the
corner of Sixth and Market streets. Mr. Wannamaker kept the books–the
firm hired no superfluous help–everything that they could do personally
they hired no one to do. A firm which possesses ability, and follows
such business rules, will succeed. Notwithstanding that the times were
unusually “shaky,” they prospered.

As the business increased other stores were opened, and John Wannamaker,
the poor clerk–after a period of twenty years of enterprise, pushed by
energy, controlled a force of 6,000 employes. Not only does the firm
handle clothing, but every conceivable article generally found in retail
trade, the establishment being the largest in the great city of
brotherly love.

How pleasant it is to see men to whom God has bountifully supplied money
using that means for the good of their fellow-creatures. Among the
liberal, whole-souled millionaires of our country, John Wannamaker is to
be found. Although carrying on an immense business he has found time to
establish Sunday-Schools, solicit money for the Young Men’s Christian
Association, and has contributed to these personally, over $100,000.

John Wannamaker is a philanthropist. One of his favorite schemes has
been to go into the vilest neighborhoods, establish a Sunday-School,
build nice houses, and thus bring the locality up to the plane of
respectability. He was looked to for aid when the Centennial was
projected, and it is needless to say that it was not found wanting. The
secret of his great success is his indefatigable industry, and a
thorough mastery of his business. He is one of the most enterprising
merchants in history.

 

 

ALEXANDER T. STEWART.

 

The dry-goods prince of the world. A marble palace for a store, which is
entered daily by an average of twenty-five thousand people who buy
$75,000 worth of merchandise–a business with daily import duties to the
Government of $25,000 in gold. When we look at all this, and then
remember that he was proprietor, not only of the palace store of
America, but had branches in Philadelphia, Boston, Lyons, Paris,
Belfast, Glasgow, Berlin, Bradford, Manchester, Nottingham, and other
cities throughout the world. When we behold this great success, and then
think how he landed in this country a poor Irish lad of sixteen,
friendless, homeless, and almost penniless, alone in a strange land, we
involuntarily exclaim, “How was such a change in his position brought
about?” Why did he succeed, while others all about him who were far
better situated, failed? Let us follow him:

He was born at Belfast, Ireland, October 21st, 1802, and in 1818 came to
America. He was a mere lad of sixteen. The first work that he obtained
was as assistant in a college; here he worked hard, saved his money, and
at last he was able to open a small store in the city where he sold
dry-goods. When he became twenty-one he was called to his native country
to claim a small legacy left him by a relative who had died. He had made
a study of his business, hence invested the entire sum in Irish
products, and returning to America rented another store on Broadway, and
thus began that great importing business. At this time he was his own
buyer, salesman, book-keeper and errand boy. Ah! there is the secret of
the success of nine-tenths of our great men. They began at the
bottom–never hiring help for the mere appearance or convenience of
their assistance. They never hired done what they themselves could do.
And then there is another thing to remember–beginning thus at the
bottom they, of necessity, became thoroughly familiar with the details
of their business, hence were never obliged to leave anything to the
‘confidential clerk’ who has ruined so many business men. Stewart soon
felt the need of more room, and was compelled to seek more commodious
quarters. After making another move to a larger store-room he made his
first purchase of real estate, which was his “down-town” store. After
this his “up-town” store was built.

He was a splendid salesman, a perfect gentleman toward customers, and
people preferred trading with him rather than any clerk in his employ.
His tastes were very simple, and he was always plainly dressed. It has
been stated that Mr. Stewart never posed for a photograph, which is a
significant fact of itself. His motto was, “Never spend a dollar unless
there is a prospect of legitimate gain.” He arose early in the morning,
went to his “up-town” store, and thoroughly inspected everything; then
to his “down-town” store where he attended to his business at that end
of the line.

At the breaking out of the Civil War he aided the Union cause very much.
Being in sympathy with the principles of the Republican party, and
holding a powerful influence over the commercial world, the President,
Mr. Grant, nominated him Secretary of the Treasury, and he was at once
confirmed by the Senate; but as there is a law prohibiting any merchant
in the importing business from holding this position, he was objected to
by opposing politicians; and, although he offered to donate the entire
profits of his business to the poor of the city of New York, they still
objected, and he was obliged to resign. By this, the country was
undoubtedly robbed of the services of a man capable of making one of the
best officers for that position our country has ever known. However, it
was right that it should be so; it would have been very unwise to have
established such a precedent.

In some respects, Mr. Stewart was a very liberal man, although it has
been stated otherwise. In his will is his desire to do good especially
manifested. Arrangements were made for the building of a church and
parsonage, and a school for the benefit of poor boys who desired to fit
themselves for a professional life.

Some people may be fortunate in one instance in their life. We do not
wholly disregard the idea of circumstances, but we do claim and try to
prove that it is not the _one instance_ in the life after all. When we
consider a whole life’s history, we are convinced every time that
generally where one is seemingly very fortunate, it is the result of
careful calculation and down-right hard work. Bad luck is the natural
result of carelessness in business matters. Had A. T. Stewart waited for
a lucky chance to come to him, he might–probably never would have
realized that splendid success that did attend his efforts. Here he came
to this country at the age of sixteen. He did not wait for his
grandfather to die and leave him that legacy but went right at some
work. It may be possible that the grandfather gave him that money
because he felt that young Stewart would make good use of it. Certain it
is he did not wait but went right to work, saved his money, and was well
prepared to use the legacy skillfully when he did receive it. However,
if Stewart had never had that money given him, he would have succeeded.
His whole life was a series of maturing plans, which had been carefully
laid, and then pushed to completion. A man must have ability to plan
well, and the courage and backbone to push those plans to success. A. T.
Stewart possessed these qualities to a marked degree. He began as his
moderate circumstances would warrant, and best of all he never allowed
his energies to slacken. He never became a lazy business man. He never
allowed himself to rest content with the laurels already his. He was a
man of enterprise; while competitors followed the footsteps of their
fathers, A. T. Stewart was progressing–he was original in nearly every
undertaking.

On the 10th day of April, 1876, this great magnate died. His business
was carried on, for a time, by others, but the mainspring was gone, and
in 1882 the great clock stopped. Here is an instance that should
convince us of the result of courage, energy, and self-reliance. A. T.
Stewart began without a dollar, and succeeded, while they who had the
benefit of his experience, the use of his vast wealth, and a marble
palace, could not succeed.

The history of the stealing of Mr. Stewart’s body is well-known, and as
the papers have succeeded so well in keeping the subject before the
people, we will not speak further of that here, our object being rather
to instruct than to narrate sensational episodes.

 

 

NICHOLAS LONGWORTH.

 

In the year 1782 there was born a child of parents who had once been
somewhat wealthy, but who were then living in poverty at Newark, New
Jersey. This child was Nicholas Longworth, the father of grape culture
in the United States.

He attempted to learn various trades, at one time being bound to a
shoemaker, but finally settled upon the law and began its study, as his
circumstances would allow, in his native city. Young Longworth saw that
he would have far more chance to rise in the new country west of the
Alleghanies than in the over-crowded East. Therefore, when he was of age
he emigrated “out west,” stopping at the outskirts of civilization,
locating in a small place of 1000 inhabitants called Cincinnati. Here he
entered the law office of Judge Burnett, and soon was capable of passing
the necessary examination, and was admitted to the bar. His first case
was in defense of a certain man who had been arrested for
horse-stealing, a very grave offense in that wilderness. This man had
no money and about all he possessed in the world that he could call his
own was two copper stills. As much as young Longworth needed money he
was obliged to accept these as his fee for clearing the man. He tried to
turn the stills into money but finally traded them for thirty-three
acres of land, which was a barren waste. He had kept his eyes open and
felt sure that the possibilities for Cincinnati were very great. He
therefore bought land at ten dollars per lot, as fast as his means would
allow, and all through the early portion of his life bought real estate
until he became recognized as the heaviest real estate owner in
Cincinnati.

Years afterward he saw the wisdom of his course,–living to see his ten
dollar lots rise to ten thousand dollars each, and the land which he
received as his first fee, that was thought to be all but worthless,
rise to the value of two million dollars. After following the law for
about twenty years he was forced to give up his practice in order to
take care of his extensive land interest. He went into the grape growing
business, and for some time his efforts were attended with only
discouragement, but he had relied on the clippings from foreign vines.
He firmly believed that the Ohio valley was naturally adapted to the
growth of the grape, and in this enterprise he allowed himself to harbor
no thoughts other than of success.

This is a characteristic of any man calculated to succeed. After
experimenting with many different varieties, he at last hit upon the
Catawba. To encourage the industry he laid out a very large vineyard,
gave away great numbers of cuttings, offered a prize for any improvement
in the Catawba grape, and proclaimed that he would buy all the wine that
could be brought to him from the valley, whether in large or small
quantities. The result was that grape growing figured as no small factor
in the development of Ohio. He had a wine cellar capable of holding
300,000 bottles, and was worth at his death $15,000,000.

Nicholas Longworth was exceedingly liberal in his own way–selling his
lots on easy installments, thereby aiding many to a home. His motto was,
“Help those who help themselves,” however, he gave much to those whom no
one else would aid. He was personally of inferior appearance; not only
this, but nothing pleased him more than a shabby dress, being often
mistaken for a beggar. As a benefactor and horticulturist he made his
influence to be felt in succeeding generations.

 

 

ROBERT BONNER.

 

Of all the newspaper editors we have ever read, possibly Robert Bonner
is the most enterprising. He was born in Ireland in the year 1824, and
at the age of sixteen came to Hartford, Connecticut. He had an uncle
here who was a farmer, but Robert aspired to own a paper, and drifted
into the office of the _Hartford Courant_. Robert Bonner determined to
own a paper; he, therefore, set about it, working faithfully every day,
and overtime, saving his money. He mastered his business, becoming an
expert compositor. In 1844 he went to New York and obtained employment
on the _Mirror_. He was intrusted with the oversight of the advertising
department, and it was soon seen that he had a decidedly fine taste in
the arrangement of this line, a feature which has undoubtedly had much
to do with his wonderful success later. He was also at this time a
correspondent of the _Hartford Courant_, also newspapers in Boston,
Albany and Worcester. About 1851 he bought out the _Merchants Ledger_, a
paper devoted to the commercial interests of the country. This he
transformed into a family story paper, and christened it the _New York
Ledger_. Fanny Fern was just appearing in the columns of literature.
Bonner offered her $1,000 to write a story for the _Ledger_, enclosing
his check for the amount. As this was a very high price in those days,
of course she accepted. Then the papers throughout the country were full
of advertisements–“Read the Thousand Dollar Story in the _Ledger_.”
“Read The _New York Ledger_”–Some people said, “Well, first-class
journals don’t use such flashy ways of inducing people to subscribe;
they rely on the merits of their paper.” Bonner heard this and began to
study how to overcome this tide of sentiment. There was _Harpers
Weekly_–no one questioned its respectability. The Harpers never
indulged in any flashy advertising, but soon the people were surprised
to see in all the leading papers, ‘Buy _Harpers Weekly_,’ as no one
imagined that Bonner had paid for the advertising; they attributed the
advertisements to the necessity Harpers felt through the rivalry of the
_Ledger_. This sort of enterprise cost, but it convinced people that
respectable journals advertised as did the _Ledger_. People said it was
‘cheap, trashy literature, etc.’

Mr. Bonner at once hunted up Edward Everett who was recognized as the
representative of New England refinement. This was a most opportune time
for Mr. Bonner, as Mr. Everett was trying to raise a large sum with
which to aid in beautifying the home and tomb of Washington. Mr. Bonner
engaged Mr. Everett to write a series of articles on Mount Vernon,
giving in return his check for $10,000 to be applied toward the Everett
Fund for the aid of the Association. Probably Mr. Everett would have
refused to write at any other time, but Bonner took advantage of
circumstances–ALWAYS.

He next secured George Bancroft, the eminent historian. Then followed
Horace Greely, James Gordon Bennett, and Henry J. Raymond. When such
lights of journalism would write for the _Ledger_, what could lesser
country editors say? Next came a story by Henry Ward Beecher, who was
followed by Dr. John Hall the great Presbyterian Divine, Bishop Clark,
Dr. English, Longfellow, Tennyson, and others, including a series of
articles from the presidents of the leading colleges throughout the
country.

Mr. Bonner is a Presbyterian, being a member of the church presided over
by Dr. John Hall, on Fifth Avenue. He has given many thousands of
dollars to various institutions and charities. He owns the finest stable
of horses in the Union, among which are such as Maud S.–his first great
trotter was Dexter. He never allows one of his horses to trot for money.

Mr. Bonner is getting along in years but still attends to business. His
paper has at times attained a circulation of 400,000 copies, each
issue.

 

 

WILLIAM G. FARGO.

 

Who, indeed, has not heard of the American Express Company? Yet, how few
there are who know to whom we are indebted for its existence.

William G. Fargo was born May 20, 1818, at Pompey, New York, and at the
age of twelve he was mail-carrier over a route that covered forty miles.
The inference must be at once formed that William G. Fargo was no
ordinary child. He must have been industrious and trustworthy, for the
mail must be delivered on time. No holiday could be observed, nor could
any circus be allowed to come between him and his work. Seeking a more
remunerative calling he went to Waterville, where he clerked in a small
store and tavern, improving his spare moments in learning to keep
accounts. When seventeen he went to Syracuse and entered a grocery
house. He continued in the grocery line in one capacity or another for
five years, when he accepted the freight agency of the Auburn and
Syracuse Railroad, in which capacity he had found his calling. Two years
later he became associated with Pomeroy & Co., and was given the express
agency for that company at Buffalo, and in 1844 he became a member of
the firm of Wells & Co., who established an express line from Buffalo,
west to Detroit, via Cleveland. This firm, in time, became Livingston &
Fargo, and finally the several express companies: Wells & Co.,
Butterfield, Wasson & Co. and Livingston & Co., became merged into the
since famous American Express Co. In 1868 Mr. Fargo was elected
President of this Company, and remained at its head until his death. He
was also connected with various other enterprises, being Vice-President
of the New York Central & Hudson River railroad, and was also largely
interested in Northern Pacific and other railroad stock. In 1861 he was
elected Mayor of Buffalo on the Democratic ticket, but so impartial was
he in the administration of the city affairs, and so patent was his
business ability, that he was re-elected, being supported by all
parties.

Such is the reward for earnestness. And will any one say that William G.
Fargo was not deserving of this splendid success? If we will have
success we must earn it. Let no man envy another in no matter what
station of life he may be situated. Rest assured that we will fill the
place that we are capable of filling; no more, no less.

 

 

JAMES C. FLOOD.

 

James C. Flood was born in New York city. He received only a plain
common school education, but has succeeded, not from a lack of education
but in spite of that lack. He passed through the usual routine of boys
placed in moderate circumstances, until the year 1849, being past his
majority, he sailed in the good ship “Elizabeth,” around the “Horn,”
arriving in a strange land without money or friends, but he had brains,
and they were reinforced by a surprising allowance of will-power.

He drifted from one thing to another, kept a restaurant, and finally in
1854 loomed up as senior partner in the firm of Flood & O’Brien, who
were soon deep in “Old Kentuck,” seeking the treasures which they found
in great quantities, and finally when they took hold of the “Hale &
Norcross” mine, it made them the first bonanza kings America ever knew.

He next projects the Nevada Bank and makes the call for over five
millions of dollars which leads to the suspension of the Bank of
California, as the indiscrete placing of its resources leaves that bank
in a weak position to withstand so sudden a drain, and was therefore
indirectly the cause, as most people think, of its beloved President’s
death. Mr. Flood desired to place this Nevada Bank upon so firm a
foundation that neither the indiscretion of speculators or the ebb and
flow of mercantile life could overthrow it. How well this has been
accomplished can be seen from the fact, that it has a capital of nearly
fifteen million dollars, and numbers among its directors, such bonanza
kings as James C. Flood, John W. MacKay and James G. Fair, whose private
fortunes combined represent over $100,000,000, to say nothing of other
wealthy directors. This bank asserts that it has special facilities for
handling bullion, and we should think quite likely it has. Something of
the condition of the private finances of Mr. Flood can be ascertained.
If one takes the trouble to look over the assessment roll he will find
the following: “James C. Flood, 6,000 shares, Nevada Bank stock,
$1,200,000; 12,000 shares, Pacific Mill & Mining Co., $4,000,000; 250
shares, Pacific Wood, Lumber & Flume Co., $30,000; 1,000 shares, San
Francisco Gaslight stock, $90,000; 937 shares of Golden City Chemical
Works, $20,000; 3,000 shares of Virginia & Gold-Hill Water Co.,
$300,000; 47-1/2 shares of Giant Powder Co., $60,000; 649-1/2 shares
Atlantic Giant Powder Co., $30,000; 35,000 shares Ophir Mine stock,
$1,000,000,” and he is assessed for $250,000 in money. Then comes J. C.
Flood & Co. “Controlling interest in stock of Yellow Jacket, Union
Consolidated, Scorpion, Savage, Ophir, Occidental, Hale & Norcross,
Gould & Curry, Consolidated Virginia, Best & Belcher and other mining
companies, $10,000,000; money $500,000.” In all it is quite a fortune
for a poor boy to find, but it must be remembered that Mr. Flood had
much with which to contend, and that nine men out of ten might have
passed over the same ground and found nothing. Industry is what wins,
and J. C. Flood is no exception to the rule. In a recent law suit Mr.
Flood displayed a most peculiar memory, or rather a most remarkable lack
of memory. We take the following facts from an editorial on the subject:

“A certain man sued Mr. Flood to recover about $26,000,000, the alleged
value of certain ‘tailings’ on some of the mines. Mr. Flood did not know
what company milled the ore of the Consolidated Virginia; did not
remember who was President of the company at the time; he might have
been; could not say for certain however; did not know where the crude
bullion from his own mines was sent to be melted into bars; could not
tell how much was worked, nor anything about it. He did not remember who
was treasurer of the mill company; he might have been, might now be, but
could not tell for certain.”

Mr. Flood owns one of the finest mansions, for a private residence, in
the whole world. It cost one million, and is a magnificent building in
any sense.

Few men surpass him in either getting or keeping money.

 

 

JOHN W. MACKAY.

 

John W. MacKay is not only the youngest and the richest of that bonanza
trio–Flood, Fair and MacKay but immense wealth has not spoiled him. He
is of Irish birth, but came to this country before he was of age. When
the gold fever broke out he was one of the first to seek his fortune in
that auriferous country bordering on the Pacific, in California.
Contrary to the general supposition that his great wealth came through
‘good luck,’ let me say, it was only by constant toil and slowly
acquired experience that he learned how to tell a non-paying lead from a
bonanza. Several times he seemed about to strike the long-looked for
success only to find his brightest hopes dashed to the earth. But these
failures tempered him for the greater hardships that followed.

The famous “Comstock Lode” is situated among a vast accumulation of
rocks and deep canyons–the result of terrible volcanic eruptions at
some remote period. This mining district was discovered by two Germans
in about 1852-3. Contrary to the opinion expressed by other prospectors,
these Germans saw silver in the rejected ore. Both brothers suddenly
dying, the claim fell to a storekeeper named Comstock who sold out for
a few thousand. Mr. MacKay’s investment in the one mine, the
“Consolidated Virginia and California,” has paid him unheard of
dividends. This mine produced in a period covering six years, from 1873,
gold and silver to the amount of over sixty-three millions of dollars.
The combined profits of the two mines were over seventy-three and
one-half millions of dollars. Mr. MacKay drifted to this lode, making
his first ‘hit’ in 1863, and in this section the bulk of his vast
fortune was accumulated.

On the 25th of November, 1867, he concluded that he was able to support
a wife, and accordingly married the widow of an old friend (Dr.
Thompson) who had shared his varying fortune of former years when he
little dreamed of the vast wealth that awaited him. This lady is one of
the best hands to help a man spend a fabulous income, of which we are
aware. She lives in Paris, where she gives the most expensive of
entertainments. When General Grant was in France he was her guest. She
supports a private railway carriage to use at her pleasure, and it would
almost exceed belief to describe the cost of her table service; in fact,
she lives in oriental splendor. On the other hand Mr. MacKay is
decidedly pronounced, personally, in favor of little show. He is far
more at home in Virginia City, where he may often be seen in a genuine
mining costume, than at his palatial home in Paris.

The ground had been known for years wherein his great wealth was found,
but it was pronounced worthless. Everything seemingly had to be
contested; confidence was lacking, and what confidence remained was
daily agitated by parties who were jealous rivals. The stock became
almost worthless, and great discontent was manifest when, to make
matters worse, a fire broke out which burned the company’s property and
valuable machinery. Twelve hundred feet of ground had to be slowly gone
over in search for the right vein, at a cost of $500,000. Amid great
discouragement John W. MacKay led this apparently forlorn hope to at
last be crowned with the success he so richly deserved. He now is
estimated to be worth in the vicinity of $55,000,000, and although it
may seem a somewhat extravagant reward, it cannot be denied that this
vast sum could have been placed in far worse hands.

Both Mr. and Mrs. MacKay are very liberal toward charitable purposes.
They were especially complimented by Pope Leo XIII for their charitable
deeds. As Mr. MacKay is but about fifty years of age, it is hard to
conjecture his possible future. While many features in his career seem
to justify the belief in “luck,” still, to the close observer, it is
manifest that had he not possessed great endurance, and known no such
thing as fail, the world would never have known of John W. MacKay.
Surely, great effort is the price of great success, ALWAYS.

 

 

JAMES C. FAIR.

 

The name of James C. Fair will be recognized at once as one of the
bonanza kings, and like the others he enjoyed only a fair education,
starting for California at about the same time as the rest; he taking
the overland route while they went by water. His only capital consisting
of a miner’s outfit, and with those simple implements he began his hard
fought battle for wealth. He made mining a scientific study and after
about six years of variable success, he became known as an expert. Soon
after this he accepted the superintendency of the Ophir mine, and later,
the Hale & Norcross; since which time he has gone on, until now, he can
count his worldly possessions by the million. He is a most thorough
miner, and his long continued life at the bottom of the mines has had a
telling effect on his health. That he has successfully managed such wild
and wicked men, as many miners are, without becoming the victim of some
“accident,” indicates something of his ability. Finally his impaired
health necessitated his withdrawal from active work, and he made an
extended voyage, returning in a much improved condition.

In 1881 he was elected to the United States Senate, where he acquitted
himself with credit. He charged nothing for his services, an event
without parallel in our history, however, he received all for which he
went to Washington–honor. He is assessed for over forty millions, and
can well afford to donate his salary to the Government.

Like the other bonanza kings he seems to have been specially favored by
fortune, but the old saying, “Birds of a feather will flock together,”
is true in this case, for these men are all practical miners and changed
partners often until the firm of Flood, Fair & MacKay was formed, since
which time they all seem perfectly satisfied each with the other. All
had been sorely tried during their earlier life and were not found
wanting either in ability or stick-to-it-iveness as they passed through
the crucible of Dame Fortune.

As we have just been reading the lives of the three bonanza kings, J. C.
Flood, J. C. Fair and J. W. MacKay, possibly a description of one of
their enterprises in the shape of a flume will be interesting as
described by a New York _Tribune_ correspondent:

A fifteen-mile ride in a flume down the Sierra Nevada Mountains in
thirty minutes was not one of the things contemplated in my visit to
Virginia City, and it is entirely within reason to say that even if I
should make this my permanent place of residence–which fortune
forbid–I shall never make the trip again. The flume cost, with its
appurtenances, between $200,000 and $300,000–if it had cost a million
it would be the same in my estimation. It was built by a company
interested in the mines here, principally the owners of the Consolidated
Virginia, California, Hale & Norcross, Gould & Curry, Best & Belcher and
Utah mines. The largest stockholders in these mines are J. C. Flood,
James C. Fair, John W. MacKay and W. S. O’Brien, who compose without
doubt the wealthiest firm in the United States. Taking the stock of
their companies at the price quoted in the board, the amount they own is
more than $100,000,000, and each has a large private fortune in
addition. The mines named use 1,000,000 feet of lumber per month under
ground, and burn 40,000 cords of wood per year. Wood is here worth from
$10 to $12 per cord, and at market prices Messrs. Flood & Co. would have
to pay nearly $500,000 a year for wood alone. Going into the mine the
other day, and seeing the immense amount of timber used, and knowing the
incalculable amount of wood burned in the several mines and mills, I
asked Mr. MacKay, who accompanied me, where all the wood and timber
came from. “It comes,” said he, “from our lands in the Sierras, forty or
fifty miles from here. We own over twelve thousand acres in the vicinity
of Washoe Lake, all of which is heavily timbered.” “How do you get it
here?” I asked. “It comes,” said he, “in our flume down the mountains,
fifteen miles, and from our dumping grounds is brought by the Virginia &
Truckee Railroad to this city, about sixteen miles. You ought to see the
flume before you go back; it is really a wonderful thing.” The flume is
a wonderful piece of engineering work. It is built wholly on
trestle-work and stringers; there is not a cut in the whole distance,
and the grade is so heavy that there is little danger of a jam. The
trestle-work is very substantial, and undoubtedly strong enough to
support a narrow-gauge railway. It runs over foot-hills, through
valleys, around mountains, and across canyons. In one place it is
seventy feet high. The highest point of the flume from the plain is
3,700 feet, and on an air-line, from beginning to end the distance is
eight miles, the course thus taking up seven miles in twists and turns.
The trestle-work is thoroughly braced longitudinally and across, so that
no break can extend further than a single box, which is 16 feet. All the
main supports, which are five feet apart, are firmly set in mudsills,
and the boxes or troughs rest in brackets four feet apart. These again
rest upon substantial stringers. The grade of the flume is from 1,600 to
2,000 feet from top to bottom–a distance, as previously stated, of
fifteen miles. The sharpest fall is three feet in six. There are two
reservoirs from which the flume is fed. One is 1,100 feet long and the
other is 600 feet. A ditch, nearly two miles long, takes the water to
the first reservoir, whence it is conveyed 3-1/4 miles to the flume
through a feeder capable of carrying 450 inches of water. The whole
flume was built in ten weeks. In that time all the trestle-work,
stringers and boxes were put in place. About 200 men were employed on it
at one time, being divided into four gangs. It required 2,000,000 feet
of lumber, but the item which astonished me most was that there were 28
tons, or 56,000 pounds of nails used in the construction of this flume.

Mr. Flood and Mr. Fair had arranged for a ride in the flume, and I was
challenged to go with them. Indeed the proposition was put in this
way–they dared me to go. I thought that if men worth twenty-five or
thirty million dollars apiece could afford to risk their lives, I could
afford to risk mine, which isn’t worth half as much. So I accepted the
challenge, and two ‘boats’ were ordered. These were nothing more than
pig troughs, with one end knocked out. The ‘boat’ is built like the
flume, V shaped, and fits into the flume. The grade of the flume at the
mill is very heavy, and the water rushes through it at railroad speed.
The terrors of that ride can never be blotted from the memory of one of
the party. I cannot give the reader a better idea of a flume ride than
to compare it to sliding down an old-fashioned eve-trough at an angle of
45 degrees, hanging in mid-air without support of roof or house, and
extending a distance of fifteen miles. At the start we went at the rate
of twenty miles an hour, which is a little less than the average speed
of a railroad train. The red-faced carpenter sat in front of our boat on
the bottom as best he could. Mr. Fair sat on a seat behind him, and I
sat behind Mr. Fair in the stern and was of great service to him in
keeping the water which broke over the end-board, from his back. There
was also a great deal of water shipped in the bows of the hog-trough,
and I know Mr. Fair’s broad shoulders kept me from more than one ducking
in that memorable trip. At the heaviest grades the water came in so
furiously in front that it was impossible to see where we were going, or
what was ahead of us; but when the grade was light, and we were going at
a three or four minute pace, the view was very delightful, although it
was terrible. When the water would enable me to look ahead, I could see
the trestle here and there for miles; so small and so narrow and
apparently so fragile that I could only compare it to a chalk-mark upon
which, high in the air, I was running at a rate unknown to railroads.
One circumstance during the trip did more to show me the terrible
rapidity with which we dashed through the flume than anything else. We
had been rushing down at a pretty lively rate of speed when the boat
suddenly struck something in the bow, a nail, a lodged stick of wood or
some secure substance which ought not to have been there. What was the
effect? The red-faced carpenter was sent whirling into the flume ten
feet ahead. Fair was precipitated on his face, and I found a soft
lodgment on Fair’s back. It seems to me that in a second’s time–Fair
himself a powerful man–had the carpenter by the scruff of the neck, and
had pulled him into the boat. I did not know at this time that Fair had
his fingers crushed between the flume and the boat. But we sped along;
minutes seemed hours. It seemed an hour before we arrived at the worst
place in the flume, and yet Hereford tells me that it was less than ten
minutes. The flume at the point alluded to must have been very nearly
forty-five degrees inclination. In looking out, before we reached it, I
thought the only way to get to the bottom was to fall. How our boat kept
in the track is more than I know.

The wind, the steamboat, the railroad, never went so fast. In this
particularly bad place I allude to, my desire was to form some judgment
as to the speed we were making. If the truth must be spoken, I was
really scared almost out of my reason, but if I were on my way to
eternity I wanted to know exactly how fast I went, so I huddled close to
Fair, and turned my eyes toward the hills. Every object I placed my eyes
upon was gone before I could plainly see what it was. Mountains passed
like visions and shadows. It was with difficulty that I could get my
breath. I felt that I did not weigh a hundred pounds, although I knew in
the sharpness of intellect that I tipped the scales at two hundred. Mr.
Flood and Mr. Hereford, although they started several minutes later than
we, were close upon us. They were not so heavily loaded, and they had
the full sweep of the water, while we had it rather at second-hand.
Their boat finally struck ours with a terrible crash. Mr. Flood was
thrown upon his face, and the waters flowed over him. What became of
Hereford I do not know, except that when we reached the terminus of the
flume he was as wet as any of us. This only remains to be said: We made
the entire distance in less time than a railway train would ordinarily
make, and a portion of the distance we went faster than a railway train
ever went. Fair said we went at least a mile a minute. Flood said that
we went at the rate of a hundred miles an hour, and my deliberate belief
is that we went at a rate that annihilated time and space. We were a wet
lot when we reached the terminus of the flume.

Flood said that he would not make the trip again for the whole
Consolidated Virginia mine. Fair said that he should never again place
himself upon an equality with timber and wood, and Hereford said he was
sorry that he ever built the flume. As for myself, I told the
millionaires that I had accepted my last challenge. When we left our
boats we were more dead than alive. The next day neither Flood nor Fair
were able to leave their beds. For myself, I have only the strength to
say that I have had enough of flumes.

 

 

HORACE GREELEY.

 

In the history of journalism, Horace Greeley must, for all time, hold a
position in the front rank. As it is well-known he is a self-made man,
being born of poor parents at Amherst, New Hampshire, on the 3rd day of
February, 1811. His father was a farmer. The Greeley ancestors enjoyed a
reputation for ‘tenacity,’ which was clearly shown in the pale-faced,
flaxen-haired but precocious lad of fifteen, who presented himself and
was employed at the office of the _Northern Spectator_, at Poultney,
Vermont, in 1826; having walked from West Haven, his home, eleven miles
distant. He was to remain an apprentice until twenty, and received in
money the princely sum of forty dollars a year ‘with which to buy
clothes and what was left he might use for spending money.’ Why he lived
to found a great paper the reader can easily guess, when it is learned
that Greeley used the greater part of said forty dollars each year for
buying books.

He joined a local debating club where he became the ‘giant’ member, a
tribute paid to his intellect. Most of the members were older than
Greeley, but knowledge proved a power in that society and he was
invariably listened to with marked attention despite his shabby
appearance. Especially was he fond of political data; he followed the
exchanges in the _Spectator_ office with increasing interest. His
parents removed to Pennsylvania, where he visited them during his
apprenticeship as “printers’ devil,” and general assistant at Poultney,
walking the most of the way, a distance of about 600 miles. The
_Spectator_ having collapsed, young Greeley, with his entire wardrobe
done up in a handkerchief, once more visits Pennsylvania, but not to
remain idle; he soon obtained a place in a printing office near his
home, at eleven dollars per month, and later still he obtains employment
at Erie where he receives fifteen dollars per month. Soon after this,
not yet content, he is enroute for New York, where he arrived August 17,
1831.

His appearance in the metropolis was ludicrous in the extreme. One can
imagine from accounts given of him how prepossessing he must have
looked; flaxen locks, blue eyes, his hat on the back of his head as if
accustomed to star gazing, must have given him the appearance of one
decidedly ‘green,’ to say the least. As is a noted fact he was, to his
death, exceedingly indifferent as to his dress and what are known as the
social demands of society. Indeed he could be seen on the street almost
any day with his pockets stuffed full of papers, his hat pushed back on
his head like a sailor about to ascend the rigging, his spectacles
seemingly about to slip off his nose, his boot heels running over, and
we doubt not that he was as likely to have one leg of his pantaloons
tucked into his boot top while the other was condescendingly allowed to
retain its proper place. In fact it is hardly probable that he would
have impressed any one with the idea that he was indeed a great editor
of that city. But we return to his first visit; office after office was
visited without avail but that hereditary ‘tenacity’ did not forsake
him, and at last he met an old friend, a Mr. Jones whom he had first met
in Poultney. This friend, although not a ‘boss,’ printer fashion set him
at work on his own case. When the proprietor came in he was dumbfounded
at the specimen of a printer he beheld, and declared to the foreman that
he could not keep him. Fortunately, however, for young Greeley, the job
that he was on was setting small type,–a most undesirable one. The
foreman shrewdly suggested that as Jones, who was a good workman, knew
him it would be a good policy to wait and see the result. As it was a
very difficult job no wonder that Greeley’s proof looked as though it
had the measles, but as he was retained he must have done as well if not
better than was expected. When the job was finished he was thrown out of
employment, and he shifted about for some time doing odd jobs; in fact
it must have been very discouraging, but finally he obtained employment
on the _Spirit of the Times_, and afterward formed a business
partnership with Mr. Story who, with Mr. Greeley, invested about $240.
They established a penny paper, and were moderately successful, but Mr.
Story was drowned and his place was filled by another. His connection
with the _New Yorker_ was his next business venture. While on this
paper he was also editor of a paper in Albany, and a regular contributor
to the _Daily Whig_. When we think that he gave himself only four hours
sleep out of the twenty-four, we can realize how he could find time to
edit two papers and write for the third, but despite this assiduousness
his enterprise failed and he thereby lost $10,000.

Greeley’s opinion on economy was clearly defined when he said: “For my
own part, and I speak from sad experience, I would rather be a convict
in States Prison or a slave in a rice swamp, than to pass through life
under the harrow of debt. If you have but fifty cents and can get no
more for the week, buy a peck of corn, parch it, and live on it rather
than owe any man a dollar.” He next started the _Log Cabin_. It was
started in the beginning of 1840, designed to be run six months and then
discontinued. Into this undertaking Horace Greeley threw all his energy
and ability, guided by his experience. In those days a journal with a
circulation of ten thousand was a big concern. When an edition of nearly
fifty thousand of its first issue was called for, the publishers were
beside themselves, and later when the _Log Cabin_ ran up a circulation
of eighty and even ninety thousand, the proprietors were frantic as to
how they should get them printed. It is needless to say that the _Log
Cabin_ outlived its original expectations.

Ultimately the _Log Cabin_ and the _New Yorker_ were merged into the
_New York Tribune_. As is a recognized fact, Greeley was stronger in a
fight than in peace, and the attacks which this new enterprise received
soon run its circulation from the hundreds into the thousands. Of course
new presses had to be bought and Greeley, who by the way preferred to
discuss the financial policy of a great nation than that of his own
office, soon found himself obliged to get a business man as a partner.
He was exceedingly fortunate in securing Mr. Thomas McElrath, who soon
brought order from chaos, and the _Tribune_ became not only an ably
conducted paper but a paying one as well.

Mr. Greeley next became a lecturer, and in this field he was also fairly
successful. He traveled in Europe and wrote such books as “Hints About
Reform,” “Glances at Europe,” “History of the Slavery Extension,”
“Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco,” “The American
Conflict,” “Recollections of a Busy Life,” “Essays on Political
Economy,” and just before his death, “What I Know About Farming.”

While Mr. Greeley must ever be regarded among journalists as one of
their brightest stars; he was one of the most peculiar writers it has
ever been our pleasure to read. In fact he must be regarded as a kind of
literary gymnast. While conducting a political paper he at one time
devoted page after page to the theory of reorganizing society after the
plan of Fourier; that is to divide society up into small communities to
live in common. After wearying the readers on this and numerous other
‘isms,’ it was discontinued. He went into a political frenzy over Clay
and protection; next his paper was full of the ‘Irish Repeal,’ ‘Advocacy
of the Water Cure,’ ‘Phrenology,’ ‘Mesmerism,’ ‘Opposition to Capital
Punishment,’ ‘Trinitarianism’ and the ‘Drama.’

He was finally elected to Congress to fill an unexpired term. While here
he caused some amusement by his eccentricities. He refused to sit up at
night sessions, abruptly leaving when his hour for retiring arrived.
Possibly his letter addressed to the managers of his party in his State
was one of the greatest surprises that he ever sprung upon the country.
It was addressed to Mr. Seward personally, but upon mention being made
of it by that gentlemen’s friends, it was made public by Greeley’s
demand. It ran something as follows: “The election is over, and its
results sufficiently ascertained. It seems to me a fitting time to
announce to you the dissolution of the political firm of Seward, Weed
and Greeley by the withdrawal of the junior partner, said withdrawal to
take effect on the morning after the first Tuesday in February next. I
was a poor young printer, and editor of a literary journal–a very
active and bitter Whig in a small way, but not seeking to be known
outside of my own ward committee. I was one day called to the City Hotel
where two strangers introduced themselves as Thurlow Weed and Lewis
Benedict, of Albany. They told me that a cheap campaign paper of
peculiar stamp at Albany had been resolved on, and that I had been
selected to edit it. I did the work required to the best of my ability.
It was work that made no figure and created no sensation; but I loved it
and I did it well.”

“When it was done you were Governor; dispensing offices worth three to
twenty thousand to your friends and compatriots, and I returned to my
garret and my crust and my desperate battle with pecuniary obligations
heaped upon me by bad partners in business and the disastrous events of
1837. I believe it did not occur to me then that some one of these
abundant places might have been offered to me without injustice. I now
think it should have occurred to you. In the Harrison campaign of 1840 I
was again designated to edit a campaign paper. I published it as well
and hence ought to have made something out of it despite its low price.
My extreme poverty was the main reason why I did not.”

“Now came the great scramble of the swell mob of coon minstrels and cider
suckers at Washington, I not being counted in. I asked nothing, expected
nothing, but you Governor Seward ought to have asked that I be Post
Master at New York.”

When the Republicans met at Chicago he ‘paid’ Mr. Seward off by
checkmating his chances of the nomination, and placing Lincoln at the
head of the ticket. Mr. Greeley had always been an uncompromising
opponent of slavery, and once had all but asked for the impeachment of
Buchanan, hence the South expected little sympathy from him; yet, this
great editor dismays his friends while his enemies are dumbfounded when
they read, “Let the South go,” but no sooner do the ‘erring sisters’ act
upon his suggestion than this political ranchman is out with his
literary lasso vainly trying to keep them in. He next raises the
war-whoop of “On to Richmond,” and thereby aids in precipitating the
terrible disaster of Bull Run. Time goes on–the Union cause looks
gloomy enough–all seems lost; yet, when once more the nation needs his
powerful support he rushes off to Canada unauthorized, to negotiate a
treaty with Southern Envoys which, to say the least, would have been
disgraceful to the Union Government. When the cause is won he flees to
Washington to sign the bail-bond of the arch traitor, and is thus
instrumental in his release from justice. Yet, for all this the
_Tribune_ prospered.

He was regarded by many of his readers as a kind of moral law-giver, and
if, per chance, one person journeyed to New York and returned to state
that their beau ideal had used undue profanity in his common
conversation, the indiscrete individual was ostracised.

If Mr. Greeley’s previous career had surprised the country and
disappointed some of his friends, it remained for the last political act
of his life to completely paralyze the country at large, and plunge some
of his most ardent supporters into the deepest gloom. This was when they
beheld him the nominee of Republicans, ‘who were anything to elect
Greeley,’ and endorsed by Free Traders and Democrats whom he had so
bitterly denounced all his life. Had he been nominated by the straight
Republican party it might have been considered as a somewhat extravagant
reward for party service for this position could not have been regarded
otherwise than consistent; but the position he now assumed was
inconsistent, not to say ludicrous. The result was he carried only six
States against the successful Grant.

He was a Universalist in belief, but educated his daughters at a
Catholic school. He refused to get his brother, who actually needed
assistance, a position worth perhaps $1,000 a year; yet, he could lend
Corneel. Vanderbilt about eight hundred thousand dollars without
security. His early friend, Mr. Jones, once sent a friend to him bearing
a note requesting Greeley’s aid to a subordinate position in the
custom-house. No sooner had Greeley glanced it over than he astonished
the gentleman, who was aware of Mr. Greeley’s early obligation to Mr.
Jones, by the volley of oaths and vituperation which he heaped upon him
because he did not go West instead of hanging around there seeking
office. No wonder the gentleman, who was a reputable middle-aged man,
fled from the presence of this famous expounder of ‘Moral Ideas.’
However, when all this has been said we cannot help but admit that a
great and good man died on December 29th, 1872. Certain it is that
Journalism lost one of its brightest and most successful stars.

 

 

THURLOW WEED.

 

Who indeed has not heard of Thurlow Weed, “The king maker,” born at
Cairo, Greene County, New York, November 15, 1797. His father was a
teamster and farmer. The reader can get some insight into the seemingly
mysterious power he held for so many years, when it was known that so
great was his thirst for knowledge that he was glad to wrap bits of a
rag carpet about his feet and thus shod walk through the snow two miles
to borrow a history of the French Revolution, which he mastered at
night, stretched before ‘the sap bush fire.’

The more one investigates the character and lives of those men whom we
so often envy, the more we are forced to see that it was will-power
rightly directed that overcame all obstacles. Certain it is to this that
Thurlow Weed owes his everlasting fame as the ‘American Warwick’; for
knowledge is power. He first left the farm work as a cabin boy on a
Hudson river steamboat bound for New York, but being born a journalist
he soon drifted into a printing office where he became a good
journeyman.

When the second war with Great Britain broke out he enlisted, and served
on the Northern frontier, where by faithfulness he became Quartermaster
Sergeant. When the war was over he returned to the printing office,
being at one time in the same establishment with the late James Harper.
Finally he started a paper at Oxford, New York, in 1818. He afterward
became connected with the _Onondaga Times_, which he finally changed to
the _Republican_. For the next few years he is connected with several
different papers until we find him in Rochester at the head of the
_Anti-Masonic Enquirer_.

About this time the body of a man who had drowned in Lake Ontario was
found, and it was claimed that his name was Morgan; if so, he was a
renegade mason. A question of identity was raised, but as his murder was
boldly asserted to have been the work of Masonry, it caused a great
excitement for the time being. This excitement divided the political
parties into Mason and Anti-Mason factions. Anti-Masonry was the
political fertilizer which produced the astonishing growth of the
assiduous Weed, he being sent to the Assembly twice, mainly on that
issue. While at Albany his ability as a party leader becoming so
apparent he was decided upon as the proper person to assume the party
leadership against the obnoxious ‘Albany Regency,’ the great Democratic
power in New York State at the time. He accordingly moved to Albany and
assumed the editorship of the _Albany Evening Journal_. Weed was one of
the men who consolidated the Anti-Jackson, Anti-Mason and old Federal
factions into the Whig party. The ‘Regency’ with which he had to deal
consisted of such men as Martin Van Buren, Silas Wright, Willian L.
Marcy and others of equal ability. Such were the men with whom he was
pitted, but they soon found him in every way worthy of their steel. No
one, when speaking of this great political warrior ever thought or spoke
of him as a millionaire. Seemingly no one cared how much he was worth;
but what did worry them was,–what will be the outcome of this secret
conclave which we now suspect to be in progress at the headquarters of
the opposition of the ‘Albany Regency.’

He went to battle fearlessly, and his terse pen dealt stinging blows
straight in the face of the opponent. Indeed, as an editor he has been
rarely equaled. While Greeley would devote a column to an article, he
would take the same subject and in a few words put the argument in such
shape as to carry far more conviction. His two terms in the State
Assembly wound up his career as a legislator, although he could have had
any place within the gift of his party from 1830 to 1860. His ambition
was not to hold office but to rule men, and it is well-known that his
desires were accomplished. He was a great dictator, being largely
instrumental as an independent advisor in the selection of Harrison,
Taylor and Scott. His first trial of personal strength in this line was
when he secured the nomination and election of his personal friend,
William H. Seward, as the first Whig Governor of New York. Mr. Seward,
who was an unobtrusive man, was one time riding with the driver on a
stage when that dignitary asked the stranger his name and business, as
was customary when people did not volunteer the information. The answer
was, “Why, I’m William H. Seward, Governor of the State.” This was too
good for the driver, whose answer was a loud laugh, plainly implying
that he considered that the gentleman had given a most cute but evasive
answer. “Don’t you believe me?” asked Seward. “Of course not,” replied
the driver. Mr. Seward, who was acquainted with the proprietor of the
next hotel they came to, agreed to leave it to him. In time they arrived
and the driver, calling out the landlord, immediately said, “This man
says he is Governor of New York State and we have left the matter to
you.” “Yes,” broke in Seward, “am I not Governor of this State?” The
answer came quick and sharp; “No, but Thurlow Weed is.” “There,”
exclaimed the ignorant driver, who could not see the point at once; “I
knew you weren’t Governor of New York State.”

In 1864 Mr. Weed sold the _Journal_, but never entirely suspended
literary work. He afterward assumed the editorship of the _New York
Commercial Advertiser_, and often sent letters to the _Tribune_. In
1882, shortly before his death, the country was set in a flutter by his
publishing the whole details relating to the Morgan matter, which he had
kept all this time claiming it would injure certain parties, but as the
last had died, it was now made public. On November 23rd of the same year
one more great journalist passed away. He left a large estate, but a
larger host of friends.

 

 

GEORGE W. CHILDS.

 

No one can read the life of George W. Childs without a feeling slowly
coming over him that the possibilities of our country are indeed very
great. Certain it is that when we see so many examples showing what has
been done by poor boys from the farm, we are forced to exclaim that we
live in a free country; despite what some say we reiterate, our country
is free.

George W. Childs, at the age of ten, became an errand boy in a
book-store in Baltimore, and after a period of over a year in the Navy
which he served later, he removed to Philadelphia and once more entered
a book-store–his natural calling. After four years’ apprenticeship,
when less than twenty, with his savings he opened a small book-store on
his own account.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way,” so believed young Childs. He
determined to one day be proprietor of the _Philadelphia Public Ledger_.
“Aim high that you may not strike low,”–how true that adage is. When
you see a boy make up his mind to do something; if he makes his actions
correspond with his words, you can rest assured that it will be done.
Sickness may come; disappointments will follow, but all must be
overcome.

Jerome B. Rice determined to succeed in the seed business, but just as
success seemed about to crown his efforts that terrible disease,
rheumatism, came and deformed him. He lost the entire use of his lower
limbs, but his brain was spared, and his determination was unshaken. An
invalid chair was bought, a colored man wheels him every morning to his
office door where loving hands gently lift him, chair and all, up the
steps of the beautiful building now occupied and owned by Jerome B. Rice
& Co. Nearly thirty years have passed and Jerome B. Rice has not taken a
step, but during that time, despite all obstacles, the firm of Jerome B.
Rice & Co. has become one of the leading seed-growing concerns of
America. Young men with the same chance he had are apt to say, “It’s no
use.” We answer, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” “To think a thing
impossible is to make it so.”

George W. Childs determined to own the _Public Ledger_. He determined to
own the leading paper of the great city of Philadelphia, and he was a
poor boy. Was this presumption? If it was he has proved its
practicability. If he was building an air-castle he has since placed a
firm foundation under it. He labored hard in this little store of his;
he built his own fires; he did his own sweeping,–it was the same old
story; he hired done nothing that he could himself do. He made some
money–not very fast–but a good average profit, and he saved what he
did earn. He mastered the publishing business, and he developed a marked
business capacity in that line. A man usually fills the notch for which
he is fitted: I was about to say–I will say that he fits himself to the
notch which he does fill. Sometime we see men in subordinate positions
who apparently are capable of the best, but a careful study reveals a
screw loose somewhere; there is a weak point, and invariably that point
is the one thing which stands between them and victory. “Neither do men
light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candle stick, and it
giveth light to all that are in the house.” So said Christ eighteen
hundred years ago; is it not so to-day? As young Childs had ability, and
it was apparent, what matter it how old he was or where he came from?
All the world asks is, “What can he do”?

The publishing firm of R. E. Peterson & Co. sought his alliance, and the
firm of Childs and Peterson became known far and near. Do our readers
call this luck? He now became a successful publisher, and seemingly his
cup was running over, so far as this world was concerned, but it will be
remembered that years ago he determined to own the _Public Ledger_,
provided he lived. He was alive and his purpose still remained. He was
waiting and watching. The _Ledger_ was a penny paper–the war broke
out–stock went up–the management was weakened by death and other
complications, the _Public Ledger_ was losing nearly $500 every time it
went to press. The paper, great as it was, was losing $3,000 a week–at
the rate of $150,000 a year. Now was Mr. Child’s chance. In vain did
friends entreat; in vain did wise business men shake their heads; Mr.
Childs felt that his time had come, and he bought the paper, paying for
it nearly $150,000. The new proprietor changed things; the paper was
made a two cent issue, and into the _Public Ledger_ he now threw his
whole soul. “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the
flood leads on to fortune.” It is even so; he had purchased the _Ledger_
at the right time.

Not one man in a hundred can successfully edit a newspaper; not one
editor in twenty could edit the _Public Ledger_ with success. Yet, Mr.
Childs is one man out of the hundreds–he is the _one_ editor out of
that twenty. He determined to publish only the truth; all claim to do
that, but Mr. Childs does it. The paper grew, and on the 20th of June,
1867, the _Public Ledger_ took possession of its new building. This new
building cost half a million of dollars, and is one of the finest in the
city. At its formal opening many of the most distinguished men in the
country were present.

Mr. Childs has been largely instrumental in establishing a small city at
Wayne Station. He owns a large tract of land which he has divided into
building lots of about an acre each. Any one desiring a home can get one
by paying one-third down, and he is also furnished plans from which to
select his ideal of a home. The houses built from these plans cost from
$2,000 to $8,000 each. Mr. Childs and his partner, Mr. Drexel, have
expended about $2,000,000 exclusively for beautifying the city.

Years ago Mr. Childs told a gentleman that he meant to prove that a man
could be at once liberal and successful as a man of business, and the
princely hospitality of this good man has demonstrated, beyond doubt or
contradiction, its practicability. Dinners to newsboys and life
insurance policies given to the wives of his employes; such acts make up
the history of his life. The late Chief Justice of Pennsylvania once
said in a speech: “Some men pursue military glory, and spend their time
and energies in the subjugation of nations. Cæsar and Napoleon may be
named as types of this character. But the tears and blood which follow
violence and wrong maculate the pages of history on which their glory is
recorded. Others erect splendid palaces for kingly residences, and
costly temples and edifices for the promotion of education and religion
in accordance with their particular views. But views of education and
religion change, buildings waste away, and whole cities, like
Herculaneum and Pompeii, are buried in the earth. Others again win
public regard by the construction of means of communication for the
furtherance of commerce. The canals, railroads, and telegraph are
glorious specimens of their useful exertion for the public good. But the
marts of commerce change. Tyre and Sidon, and Venice are no longer
commercial centres. The shores of the Pacific are even now starting in a
race against the great commercial emporium of our continent. But Mr.
Childs has planted himself in the human heart, and he will have his
habitation there while man shall dwell upon earth. He has laid the
foundation of his monument upon universal benevolence. Its
superstructure is composed of good and noble deeds. Its spire is the
love of God which ascends to Heaven.” Such a monument is, indeed,

“A Pyramid so wide and high
That Cheops stand in envy by.”

Is not that glorious success? But if the name of George W. Childs was
not a synonym for charity and philanthropy, the fact that he has
demonstrated beyond doubt the possibility of making a newspaper not only
pure and clean, but also proving that people will buy wholesome news, as
well as trash, and thus refuting the opinion that the people are wholly
responsible for the vile matter that is circulated, ought alone to
commend him to the world as a great benefactor. Worldly reasoners and
great financiers, wiseacres and successful editors prophesied its
failure, but what mattered this to George W. Childs? When a boy he
determined to one day own the _Public Ledger_; he accomplished that.
When a man he determined to elevate the tone of a newspaper, and thus
prove the fallacy of the opinion that “A newspaper must print all the
news, no matter what, or else fail”;–he has here also fulfilled his
desires. Surely, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

 

 

JAMES GORDON BENNETT.

 

When Horace Greeley was starting the _Tribune_ the _Herald_ was five or
six years old, and its success assured. Mr. Greeley started his as an
uncompromising party paper; Mr. Bennett presented the _Herald_ to the
people as an independent paper, the first ever published that was simply
an indicator of public opinion bound and gagged by no party.

To Scotland shall we as a nation ever be indebted for one of the
greatest journalists of the nineteenth century. When about fifteen years
old he entered a Catholic school at Aberdeen expecting to enter the
clergy, but after an academic life of two or three years he abandoned
the idea. This sudden change was in no small degree influenced by an
edition of “Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography” which was published in
Edinburgh about this time. He was greatly taken with the spirit of this
volume which found sympathy in his thrifty Scotch nature. From the
moment he finished this life of Franklin he determined to come to
America, and after a short stay in Halifax, and Boston, his stay in each
place being attended with great privation, we find him in the year 1822
in the city of New York, and still later he is employed on the
_Charleston Courier_, of Charleston, South Carolina. There his knowledge
of Spanish was a benefit, enabling him to translate the Cuban exchanges,
and to decipher the advertisements which were sent in that language.

After a few months he returned to New York where he attempted to open a
Commercial School. This scheme came to naught, however, and he then
tried lecturing on political economy with but moderate success to say
the least. He soon saw that these undertakings were not in his sphere,
and once more he returned to journalism. He first connected himself with
the _New York Courier_ and when that journal became merged into the
_Enquirer_ he was chosen associate editor. After this the senior
editor, J. Watson Webb, turned square around and began to support the
United States Bank which he had so bitterly opposed and fought so
vehemently. Young Bennett now withdrew and started a small paper, _The
Globe_, but it was short-lived. He next went to Philadelphia and assumed
the principal editorship of the _Pennsylvanian_. At that time all papers
allied themselves to one party or the other.

Mr. Bennett conceived the idea of an independent paper; one which would
be bound to no party or ring. He accordingly returned to New York for
this purpose. He was very short of funds, and this fact alone would have
discouraged most young men; not so with this man. He hired a cellar; two
barrels with a board across served as desk on which was an ink-stand and
goose quill. The proprietor of these apartments was not only editor and
manager, but reporter, cashier, book-keeper, salesman, messenger and
office boy. One hour he was writing biting editorials or spicy
paragraphs; the next rushing out to report a fire or some other
catastrophe, working sixteen to twenty hours per day. He persuaded a
young firm to print his paper, and he was thus tided over that
difficulty. Most young men would never have undertaken such a task, but
what would they have done had they, after embarking in it, been twice
burned out and once robbed within the first fifteen months? Such was the
experience of Bennett, but as expressed by himself, he raked the
_Herald_ from the fire by almost superhuman efforts, and a few months
later, when the great fire occurred in Wall street, he went to the scene
himself and picked up all kinds of information about the firms burnt
out, the daring deeds of the firemen, and anything sensational he did
not fail to print. He also went to the unheard of expense of printing a
map of the burnt district and a picture of the Produce Exchange on fire.
This enterprise cost, but it gave the _Herald_ a boom over all
competitors, which it well maintains. It was the first paper that
published a daily money article and stock list, and as soon as possible
Bennett set up a Ship News establishment consisting of a row-boat manned
by three men to intercept all incoming vessels and ascertain their list
of passengers and the particulars of the voyage.

Mr. Calhoun’s speech on the Mexican war, the first ever sent to any
paper by telegraph, was published in the _Herald_. At one time when his
paper wished to precede all rivals in publishing a speech delivered at
Washington, for the purpose of holding the wire, Mr. Bennett ordered the
telegraph operator to begin and transmit the whole Bible if necessary,
but not to take any other message until the speech came. Such enterprise
cost, but it paid; and so it has ever been. Seemingly regardless of
expense, bureaus of information for the _Herald_ were established in
every clime. ‘Always ahead’ seemed to be the motto of James Gordon
Bennett, and surely enterprise was no small factor in the phenomenal
success of the _Herald_. The tone, it has been said, was not always so
edifying as that of its contemporaries, the _Post_ and _Commercial_,
still every article was piercing as a Damascus blade. To buy one paper
meant to become afterwards one of its customers. It was indeed
astonishing what a variety of reading was contained in one of those
penny sheets; every thing was fresh and piquant, so different from the
old party papers. As originally intended, the _Herald_ has always been
independent in politics, although inclined to be Democratic. It
supported Fremont and the Republican party, and was one of the staunch
war papers.

Mr. Bennett has been described as being stern and disagreeable in his
manners. In this we do not fully concur, and in view of the large number
of employes who have grown old in his service, we cannot but feel
justified in this belief. Horace Greeley and James Gordon Bennett, the
two leading New York journalists, but how different. Mr. Greeley had a
larger personal following than the _Tribune_; the _Herald_ had a larger
friendship than did Bennett who was the power behind the throne.
Journalism lost no lesser light when the great _Herald_ editor passed
away June 1st, 1872, than it did six months later when Horace Greeley
passed from darkness into light. As Mr. Bennett was a life-long
Catholic, he received the last sacrament from the hands of the renowned
Cardinal McClosky.

 

 

PHINEAS T. BARNUM.

 

We would not pass by so remarkable a character as that presented to us
in the life of P. T. Barnum, a man born of poor parents at Bethel,
Connecticut. Like many boys, he picked up pennies driving oxen for his
father, but unlike many other boys he would invest these earnings in
nick-nacks which he would sell to joyful picknickers on every holiday,
thus his pennies increased to dollars. At an early age he was deprived
of his father, and began work for himself at six dollars per month. He
here saved his money, and afterwards opened a store which proved a
successful business venture, especially after he added a lottery scheme.
It is interesting to read of the many of our successful men who have
drifted from one thing to another until they settled upon some
life-work, then there was a hard struggle for victory, which was sure to
come, provided they persevered.

In 1835 Barnum heard of a negress in Philadelphia who was reputed to
have been the nurse of George Washington, and who it was claimed was 162
years old. Barnum immediately set out for Philadelphia, and succeeded in
buying her for $1,000. This was more money than he already had; he,
therefore, risked more than he owned, but by judicious advertising he
was enabled to draw large houses, bringing the show up to paying $1,500
per week. The next year the negress died, and a post mortem examination
proved her to be possibly eighty years old, but Barnum had secured a
good start. From this time on, for fifteen years, he was connected with
traveling shows, and his museum proved a most profitable enterprise.

In 1842 Mr. Barnum first heard of Mr. Charles Stratton, whom he
presented to the world as General Tom Thumb–exhibiting him in both
America and Europe.

In 1849, after much correspondence, he secured the sweet singer, Jenny
Lind, for one hundred nights, at one thousand dollars per night. His
profits on these concerts were simply immense, and he retired from
business.

In 1857 it was heralded all over the land that Barnum had failed. It was
so; unfortunate speculations had swamped him, and he returned to New
York a bankrupt. Without a dollar he bought the Museum again, and in
less than a year he succeeded in paying for it. His life henceforth has
been full of its ups and downs; twice was he burned out, but as often he
came forth in some new role–or rather an improvement on the old.

General Tom Thumb was again taken to Europe. This venture, and his
lecture on ‘Money Making,’ in England, succeeded beyond his most
sanguine expectations. Every note was taken up, and he is to-day once
more a millionaire. He has been for years the central figure in ‘The
Greatest Show on Earth,’ the expense of which is from four to five
thousand dollars a day. But not alone is he great as a showman; his
lectures must have made him noted, and he is connected with different
other enterprises.

He is a very shrewd man, and is also honest. Think of it! at fifty a
ruined man, owing thousands more than he possessed, yet resolutely
resuming business life once more–fairly wringing success from adverse
fortune, and paying his notes at the same time.

When solicited for money with which to carry on his campaign for
Congress, he answered, “God grant that I be defeated, sooner than one
grain of gold be so basely used.” Such principles are glorious, and upon
their perpetuation depends the rise or fall of a Republican form of
government. Mr. Barnum’s latest sensation, in order to draw crowds, is
the consolidation of his great show with that mammoth show formerly
belonging to Adam Forepaugh. This caps the climax, the two “Greatest
Shows on Earth” united.

 

 

MATHEW VASSAR.

 

Vassar College, five hundred feet long and five stories high, is a
monument of which any man might be proud. The founder, Mathew Vassar,
was born in England in 1792, and four years later landed in America,
settling in Poughkeepsie, on a farm with his parents.

In those days the English people thought that they couldn’t live without
a yearly supply of home-brewed ale; such a thing being unknown in the
quiet community to which they had come. As there was no barley to be
had, seed was imported from the mother-country and the family once more
enjoyed their favorite beverage. When neighbors called they were, of
course, invited to partake, and the fame of Vassar’s ale steadily
increased, until finally the father concluded to manufacture the ale to
sell. Mathew, for some reason, disliked to go into the brewery to work,
and the irate father bound him out to a neighboring tanner. However,
when the time came for young Vassar to go, lo, he was nowhere to be
found.

He fled to Newburg, where he remained four years, learning to keep
books, and saving his money. He then returned to his home and, having
demonstrated that he could both earn and keep money, was duly installed
in his father’s establishment as book-keeper. All went well for some
time, till at last a fire came, destroying all the property, ruining his
father, and worst of all causing his brother’s death. The father now
returned to a farm, but Mathew determined to retrieve the business. He
began business in an old shed. The supply was of necessity small, but it
was an A 1. article, and its fame increased, making the ale of Vassar
known far and near. From such a beginning the business developed into an
immense establishment, with a profitable business, which he carried on
for over thirty years, when he retired.

In company with his wife he made an European tour, and on his return
resolved to do something with his money for the betterment of society.
On the 28th of February, 1861, twenty-eight gentlemen received from
Mathew Vassar, a box containing $408,000, in trust, for the
establishment of a college for the education of young ladies. The result
of their efforts was Vassar Female College, afterwards changed to Vassar
College. His entire donations for the establishment and maintenance of
this institution of learning amounted to about $800,000. It was the
first Female College ever established. His influence will be felt by the
numerous generations which will follow him.

 

 

JOHN JACOB ASTOR.

 

Not far from the lovely Heidelberg on the Rhine, is the picturesque
village of Walldorf, which is the birth place of John Jacob Astor, who
was born in 1763. His father was a peasant, thus it is seen that he had
not the advantages of family influence or assistance. He saved what
little money he could earn, and at sixteen set out on foot for the sea
coast, where he took passage in a vessel for London. He had a brother in
that city who was, in a small way, a manufacturer of musical
instruments. Here he remained until 1783, when he embarked for America,
taking some flutes with him. On the voyage he made the acquaintance of a
furrier. This individual he plied with numerous questions, until he was
quite familiar with the business, and when he reached America he at once
exchanged his flutes for furs, and hastening back to England succeeded
in selling them at a fair profit over all expenses.

Having disposed of his business in London, he engaged passage in a ship
which did not return for some weeks. In the meantime he purchased a lot
of goods which he thought would prove salable in America. He also
improved the time in visiting the Governor of the then great East India
Company. The Governor was from his native town in Germany, and Astor,
making the most of this fact, secured from him a permit to trade at any
port subject to the East India Company. When he arrived in New York once
more he at once closed a bargain with a West India trader, that
gentleman furnishing a ship and cargo, Astor the permit, which was very
valuable, as it gained them access to Canton, China, which was closed to
all foreigners save the vessels of the East India Company. The terms of
this bargain was that each should participate equally in the profits of
the voyage, and Astor’s share was several barrels of milled dollars, the
total profit being about $110,000.

He after this bought ships of his own, and shipped his own merchandise
to the East, bringing back cargoes to be sold in the new world. The
Government at Washington approved of Astor’s proposition to get
possession of the fur business of the Interior, controlled at that time
by British companies. He succeeded in raising a corporation with
$1,000,000 capital, and within a few years Mr. Astor controlled the fur
interests of the country. This was back in Jefferson’s time when the
city of New York was a small village. Astor, with that keen foresight
which marked his life’s history, had been buying land on Staten Island,
and the marvelous growth of the city brought the price of his
possessions up to fabulous amounts, and the latter part of his life his
whole attention was occupied in taking care of his great blocks of real
estate.

While other merchants went to their desks at nine, Astor could always be
seen there at prompt seven. He early in life, before leaving his old
home on the Rhine, resolved to be honest, to be industrious, and to
avoid gambling. Upon this solid moral basis he built the superstructure
of his fame and secured his great wealth.

The one great act of John Jacob Astor’s life, which must forever keep
the name of Astor before the people, is the establishment of the Astor
Library by donating for that purpose $400,000, to which have been added
large contributions by his son William B., to whom the elder Astor left
about $20,000,000. The library contains about two hundred thousand
volumes, the catalogue alone contains two thousand five hundred pages
alphabetically arranged. The Astors are the principal real estate owners
of America.

 

 

POTTER PALMER.

 

A hotel that has averaged five hundred and fifty daily arrivals for a
dozen years. This naturally awakens interest; where is it? Who built it?
How does it look? In answer, we speak of the Palmer House, of Chicago,
the ‘Palace Hotel of America,’ built by Potter Palmer. The building is
as nearly fire-proof as any building can be made, and is swarming with
servants.

You are accommodated with a room which satisfies your desires
financially; and upon entering the dining-room you can choose between
the American and European plans. This hotel is, indeed, first-class in
every respect. It certainly enjoys the widest reputation as such of any
on the continent, and is undoubtedly the finest hotel in America, save
possibly the Palace Hotel, in San-Francisco, which is a rival in
magnificence.

Mr. Palmer was born near Albany, New York, where he worked summers among
the farmers as a day-laborer, and attended the district school winters.
This kind of life was maintained until he was nearly nineteen years of
age when he entered a store at Durham, New York, as a clerk. Here he
allowed nothing to escape his attention and, by industry, coupled with
frugality, he was enabled to enter a business on his own account when
twenty-one. Mr. Palmer, like all other young men who have risen from
poverty to affluence, was constantly alive to the problems of the day;
especially did the subject of this narrative watch the indications of
progress in his native country.

Being filled with the idea that Chicago was to be the city of America,
he in 1852 moved ‘West’ to that city. Here he opened a dry-goods
business which grew to mammoth proportions for those days. After
fourteen years of successful trade he retired, investing heavily in real
estate. When the great fire came much of his vast gains were swept away,
but with that indomitable will and courage which has always
characterized his efforts, he succeeded in forming a company which
successfully brought to completion the magnificent hotel before
mentioned. Probably no man has been more closely identified with the
project of improving the streets of Chicago.

When Palmer first entered the city he found it situated in a slough. It
was generally supposed that the ground upon which the city was built was
a natural swamp, and when Palmer, among others, advocated the idea of
raising the streets they were ridiculed. But subsequent tests proved
that beneath the surface there was a solid rock bottom, therefore it was
impossible for the water to leach through. When this was an established
fact, and therefore the grumblers were deprived of this excuse, the cry
was raised that the city could not afford it. Against all obstacles the
measure was carried, however, and State Street was widened, making it
one of the grandest and most ‘stately’ streets among any that can be
found in any city on the entire globe. Indeed, it is difficult to
estimate the possible benefit Chicago may have derived, directly or
indirectly, through the influence of Potter Palmer.

 

 

JAMES HARPER.

 

In a treatise on the Harpers, their life and character, the history of
James is the history of the firm. This firm consisted of James, John,
Joseph, Wesley and Fletcher; James, as the eldest, laying the foundation
of that powerful concern, Harper Brothers, which is the largest and
wealthiest publishing house in America.

James Harper was born April 11, 1795. Like many other poor boys who have
become wealthy he was the son of a farmer. He early determined to become
a printer and, in 1810, was apprenticed to Messrs. Paul & Thomas of the
city of New York. He left home to assume this position, the prayers of
his parents following him. The last words of his mother bade him
remember that there was good blood in him. The printer boy in those days
was made a sort of lackey to be ordered about by all hands. Among other
duties he had to clean the rollers when they became clogged with ink.
The ink would get on his hands and apron, and thence it would reach his
face–thus the printer boy with his blackened face earned the sobriquet
of ‘printer’s devil.’ James Harper became the ‘devil’ in this office.
There is little doubt but that he often felt discouraged and disposed to
give up, but he regarded this position as only a stepping stone to
something higher and pleasanter. It was soon observed that such was the
case; that James Harper fully expected to one day rise to be himself
proprietor; even the street Arabs recognizing that he aspired to higher
things. One day as he was passing along the street an audacious newsboy
came up to him and gave him a push, while another sneeringly asked him
for his card. Seizing the latter by the shoulder he fairly kicked the
astonished ruffian half across the square. “There,” said he, “is my
card, keep it and when you want work come to me, present that card, and
I will give you work.” This ended all further molestation from this
source.

His brother John came to New York in the course of a little more than a
year and entered another office, arranging his apprenticeship so that it
might end about the same time as did that of his brother James. In time
James became one of the leading pressmen in the city, and John was one
of the best compositors and proof readers in the country. All through
their long apprenticeship they had worked evenings; the surplus thus
acquired and not one cent of their day earnings ever went for drink, as
was so common in those days. To be temperate in Harper’s day required
far more exertion than it would at present, as nearly everyone drank
then. So while others spent their evenings in saloons drinking, playing
pool and billiards, and ‘having fun,’ these young Harpers were either
hard at work putting in extra time, or at home, thus if they did not
earn more they saved what they had already earned.

When their time was out they each had a few hundred dollars, and they
began business for themselves under the firm-style of J. & J. Harper.
They felt their way, at first publishing books only for others. They
were industrious, no hand in their employ working harder than the
proprietors. Not only were they workers, but they were enterprising.
When it was found that the stereotyping consumed much of their profit,
they resolved to learn that art and add it to their business. This was
no small undertaking; those already in the business were not anxious to
set up a rival, as they felt these young men sure to become, but after
much trial and vexation the Harpers learned the art, and were therefore
better able to carry on their rapidly increasing business. When they had
fully become established they ventured out upon a publication of their
own. They put out but five hundred for the first edition, taking orders
in advance from the booksellers about town. The two other brothers were
apprenticed to the firm of J. & J. Harper and, as soon as their time was
out, were taken into the firm.

In 1825 the firm-style was changed to Harper & Brothers. One of their
business maxims was, “Mutual confidence, industry and application to
business.” This made the four one man. They ranked as equals in all
things, and the history of James Harper is the history of Harper &
Brothers. James being the eldest was once asked, “Which is Harper and
which the brothers?” He answered, “Either is Harper, the others are the
brothers.” This was precisely the relation they bore toward each other.
In 1853 a workman threw a lighted paper into a tank of benzine which he
mistook for water, and property valued at $1,000,000 was destroyed; as
their insurance amounted to only about $250,000 their loss was great.
This was a terrible blow, but the next day they hired temporary
quarters, and the debris was hardly cleared away ere they had bought the
ground on which to erect the splendid building they have since occupied.
It is a most imposing structure, and is probably the most commodious,
and finest building in which to carry on a general book business, in all
its branches, in the world; every operation required to produce and
publish a book being carried on under one roof. The building is
absolutely fire-proof, and is seven stories high. Underneath are long
vaults in which their plates are stored.

In 1844 James was elected Mayor of the great city of New York. Mr.
Harper was a man of unusual ability, this was recognized by his friends
and towns people, but he was at the head of the largest publishing
business in the country, and was loth to leave it, therefore he refused
to be a candidate for Governor. He was always full of mirth and running
over with good humor, but he was business, morning, noon and night. He
remained actively engaged in business until he was nearly seventy-five
years of age, in fact he was still in business and enjoying good health
when he met an untimely death, caused by his horses running away in
Central Park, throwing him to the ground and injuring him so badly that
he died within forty-eight hours.

He was a devout Methodist, and a class-leader, but used some of the
Episcopal forms. He was a worthy example for our youth to imitate in
business or religious matters.

 

 

HENRY DISSTON.

 

In Tewksbury, England, May 24th, 1819, was born a little boy who was
destined to become one of the leading manufacturers of the nineteenth
century. At fourteen he came to America with his father, who died three
days after their arrival here. A poor, homeless orphan, in a strange
land–ah! it takes courage to rise from such a beginning. There is
little ‘luck’ in the life of such boys who become wealthy. The poet
says:

“The fading flowers of pleasures
Spring spontaneous from the soil,
But the real harvest’s treasure
Yields alone to patient toil.”

Whether these lines ever caught the eye of Henry Disston or no, we are
not able to say; certain it is, however, that he concurred in that
belief, for so hard did he work, and so closely did he study the
business, that he was made foreman when he was but eighteen.

When his seven long years of apprenticeship was up he arranged with his
employer to take his wages in tools. With scarcely any money, he wheeled
a barrow load of coal to his cellar where he began to make saws. Saws of
American manufacture, were at that time held in poor esteem, and he had
a great public prejudice to overcome. But Henry Disston determined to
show people that he could compete with foreign goods, and to do this he
sometimes sold goods at an advance of only one per cent. He moved to a
small room twenty feet square, at the corner of Front and Laurel
streets; this was in 1846. In 1849 he was burned out, and before he
rebuilt he obtained control of additional land adjoining that which he
had occupied, and here built a new factory. Now he began to reap the
reward of his early toil and study. He was enterprising, like all
successful men, and his inventive genius soon enabled him to get up new
designs for teeth to do different kinds of work. He never allowed a poor
tool, or an imperfect one, to be shipped from his factory. Consequently
a market once gained was easily kept. His enterprise induced him to add
a file works to his already large business; in fact, the Keystone Saw
Works made a splendid exhibit at the Centennial, showing all kinds of
tools made from steel. His works cover hundreds of acres of land, and
employ over fifteen hundred hands, while the business extends all over
the world.

In March, 1878, this great manufacturer died in Philadelphia. He was a
very common man–great wealth did not spoil him, and he could perform
with his own hands any part of the work in his immense establishment.
This ability to work thorough mastery of the business, which had taken
years of patient thought to develop, brought about his splendid success.

 

 

PETER COOPER

 

Who, indeed, is there who has not heard of Peter Cooper? He was born in
the city of New York in 1791. His father was a man who possessed some
ability, but was so inconstant that the poor boy received only about six
months’ schooling, and he received that before he was eight years old.

Reader, think of it; can you make yourself believe that his great riches
came through ‘good luck’? we will see: His father, being a hatter,
little Peter was early employed pulling the hair off the rabbit skins to
obtain material with which to make the hats. In the course of time his
father moved to Peekskill, and at seventeen Peter resolved to strike
out into the world for himself. He returned to his native city and
apprenticed himself to the firm of Burtis & Woodward. Here he remained
four years where he acquired a thorough mastery of the coach-making
trade. In addition to his board he received during his apprenticeship
the sum of twenty-five dollars per year with which to clothe himself.
Although he had spent four long years learning the trade of coach-making
he, for some reason, determined not to make that his calling for life.
Accordingly he went to Hempstead, Long Island, and there he met a party
who was manufacturing a patent shears for shearing cloth. To this man he
engaged himself at $1.50 per day, where he remained until the business
became unremunerative, a period of three years. He next turned his
attention to the business of making and selling cabinet furniture; at
the end of a year he sold out this business, and with his family
returned to New York city.

He now entered the grocery business and the next year, seeing his
opportunity, leased for a period of nineteen years a piece of land
containing a few buildings. He now moved his grocery business into one
of these buildings, subletting the others at a profit. His eyes were
kept open, and he never let an opportunity slip by to turn an honest
penny. There was a glue factory situated not far from his present
location. True, it had never paid, and that seemed to be reason enough
for all others, but Cooper made a study of the glue business. He
satisfied himself that he could make it pay; he thought he could see
where the trouble was with the present proprietor, and he bought it out,
paying two thousand dollars, cash down, for it. By a progressive study
of this new business he soon produced a better article than was made by
others, and so materially reduced the price as to drive out foreign
competition from the American markets. Of course, he made money, and
when he saw that we paid Russia four dollars per pound for isinglass, he
studied up on the manufacture of the same, and added that article to his
business, and soon was enabled to sell it at less than ONE DOLLAR A
POUND. It is needless to say that he succeeded in completely
monopolizing the isinglass industry for a long time, and his profit on
that one article would have made him a very rich man.

Mr. Cooper was an observing man; he saw and realized that our country
was rich in mineral resources; especially was his attention drawn toward
the iron deposits in Pennsylvania and neighboring States. He felt that
there was big money in that business for the man who early entered the
field; he felt that there would be money in it for Peter Cooper. These
feelings made him an easy victim to two sharpers who one morning entered
his premises and succeeded in getting him to invest $150,000 in a large
tract of land, in Maryland, of some three thousand acres. He was told
that this land was on a ‘boom,’ as the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, it
was rumored, would soon be completed. The steep grades, however, and
sharp curves, made it impossible for engines then known to make the road
in safety. Indeed, it seemed that his land speculation was destined to
prove a ‘White Elephant’ on his hands, and, with nine out of ten men it
would have so proved, as they would have given up right here. Mr. Cooper
set about this problem resolved to solve it. He soon saw that the
success of the Baltimore and Ohio was the success of his speculation.
The only thing needed to bring this success was an engine that could
ascend the grades and turn the curves in safety.

He set to work patiently, and succeeded in inventing an engine that
would do what was required of it, he, himself acting as engineer on its
trial trip. This and other favorable influences which were brought about
through the success of the railroad, ‘boomed’ his land in dead earnest
this time. He next established an iron furnace on the site of his land
and burned the wood for charcoal. The land went on up, and when it
reached two hundred and thirty dollars per acre he sold out at an
immense profit. He still continued in the iron business, and as he was
always studying his business, he was the first man to roll out iron
beams for fire-proof buildings. His iron industries spread all over
Pennsylvania, and the business is to-day carried on by his successors.
As is well-known, he was one of the warm supporters of Cyrus W. Field
from first to last, extending his aid and sympathy. When the Bank of
Newfoundland refused to honor the Cable Company’s paper Peter Cooper
advanced the much needed funds. While all this business was on his mind
his glue and isinglass industry was not in the least neglected. He had
removed the works to Long Island, where it assumed mammoth proportions.
The profits of this giant combination of business poured the money into
his pockets in large streams.

One feature of the great success of Peter Cooper was he always paid
cash. But the great life-work of Peter Cooper is embellished with one
gem that is perpetually bright. We speak of Cooper Union. In 1854 the
ground was cleared, the plans made and the work begun. This institution
cost Cooper about eight hundred thousand dollars. It is deeded as a
trust, with all its rents and profits, to the instruction and profit of
the poor working people of New York city. Mr. Cooper himself thus
describes his motives: “The great object that I desire to accomplish by
the erection of this institution is to open the avenues of scientific
knowledge to the youth of our city and country, and so unfold the volume
of nature that the youth may see the beauties of creation, enjoy its
blessings and learn to love the Author from whom cometh every good and
perfect gift.” Could any sentiment be more beautiful? Could any motive
be more worthy of imitation than this?

He was a Democrat and a member of Tammany Hall, but toward the latter
part of his life he became a leader of the Greenback party, being a
candidate for President on that ticket. He had good habits and was
always occupied with business. Two children are living, Edward, and a
daughter who married Mr. A. S. Hewitt. The son and son-in-law have each
been mayor of their city. There was great mourning in New York city on
April 4th, 1883, when it was learned that Peter Cooper was dead. But man
liveth not to himself, his memory and influence will be felt by the
countless generations which will follow after his death. Certain it is
those who are benefited by the aid of “Cooper Union” will not forget
their benefactor.

_”There is a wide difference between men, but truly it lies less in
some special gift or opportunity vouchsafed to one and withheld
from another,–less in that than in the differing degree in which
these common elements of human power are owned and used. Not how
much talent have I, but how much will to use the talent that I
have, is the main question. Not how much do I know, but how much do
I do with what I know?”_

[Illustration: SUCCESSFUL BANKERS AND HOW THEY EARNED SUCCESS.]

 

 

GEORGE LAW.

 

On October 25th, 1806, in a an humble farmer’s home, was born a boy;
that boy was George Law. For eighteen summers he lived contentedly on
his father’s farm, but a stray volume, containing a story of a certain
farmer boy who left home to seek his fortune, and after years of
struggle returned rich, caught his eye, and young Law determined to go
and do likewise. His education was meager, but he had mastered Daboll’s
Arithmetic.

Having decided that he could not follow the occupation of his father, he
set at work to raise the amount he deemed necessary to carry him to
success. By exercising great frugality in his already simple mode of
living, he managed to save forty dollars, and at the age of eighteen he
set out on foot for Troy, New York, thirty-six miles distant. Putting up
at the cheapest hotel he could find, he immediately went out in search
of employment, which he soon found, beginning as a hod-carrier. He next
obtained employment as a helper, laying brick and ‘picking up points,’
soon obtained employment as a mason at $1.75 per day.

But George Law did not mean to always be a day-laborer, he observed
everything closely, and books were freely bought that would help him to
a better understanding of his business. Seven long years of
day-laboring, then he became a sub-contractor, then a contractor. His
first efforts in this capacity was building bridges in various parts of
Pennsylvania and although it has been said that he could not spell
correctly any word in the English language, of three syllables, yet, so
carefully were his plans laid that on every contract that he took he
cleared money. He put in a bid for three sections of the Croton
Aqueduct, and succeeded in obtaining the work on two of them. High
Bridge was afterwards awarded to him, among a host of competitors, and
was completed in ten years’ time from its beginning. These two contracts
alone had made him a millionaire, but his active mind could not rest.

He first turned his attention to bank stocks. Next he became interested
in the horse railway system of New York city. He bought the Staten
Island Ferry, ran it five years, and sold out. He was also much
interested in steam ships. Nearly all these ventures proved profitable,
and at his death his estate amounted to about $15,000,000. He was a
giant in size, being over six feet tall, and his mind compared favorably
with his stature. His whole energies were concentrated on money-getting
and, of course, he succeeded. It has been said that he walked until he
could ride, and lived humbly until his wealth would more than warrant
his living on Fifth Avenue. He carried the hod until he found better
work, and never left one position until he had found a better one, no
matter what his real or supposed provocation might be. He lived to
return home, as did the boy of whom he early read, and established his
father comfortably on a farm which he had bought for him.

 

 

DARIUS O. MILLS.

 

In Westchester county, New York, was born one bright September day, in
1825, Darius O. Mills. True, it is, that his parents were somewhat
well-to-do people, but Darius O. Mills would have become a wealthy man
had he been born in poverty.

If a man determines to succeed and has a perceptive mind to see
opportunities, if he relies on no one but himself, and follows this up
by hard, persistent work, he will succeed. If he does not he is lacking
in some other vital point, but we have never yet read the life of any
man who possessed these qualities but that he was a success. What one
has done another can do under the same conditions and circumstances. For
some time he was casting about to find his calling, and finally
determined to become a banker. In this sphere he has proven himself a
phenomenon. His talent for money-making was early apparent, and he was
appointed cashier of a bank in Buffalo when only twenty-one. Now it must
not be imagined that Darius O. Mills was picked up indiscriminately and
placed in so responsible a position. Things do not come by chance. It is
evident the case under consideration did not happen through ‘good luck.’
He was a young man of unusual ability, of which he has always made the
most. The bank flourished and at twenty-three he resigned and, taking
what money he had, he was soon on his way to California. He did not go
there to dig gold. Darius O. Mills knew that gold was the object of
nearly every one who went; he also knew that the people must live; he
perceived the chance to make a fortune as a merchant. Like any man who
will succeed, he acted at once. In 1849 he settled in San Francisco,
opening trade with the miners.

In the course of a few years he became immensely rich through very
successful trade and, as he was about to retire from active business,
the Bank of California was projected. This he materially aided into
existence, and as he was recognized as one of the ablest financiers in
the city, he was chosen its first President. So well did he manage its
affairs that it soon became the leading banking institution in the
country, wielding an immense power in the financial world. He remained
at its head for nine years when his private fortune had assumed such
mammoth proportions that it demanded his immediate attention, he
therefore resigned in 1873.

In 1875 his successor, William G. Ralston, was asked to resign and the
bank suspended. Mr. Ralston was a splendid man, but had been somewhat
unwise in placing the bank’s money, and thus the failure was brought
about. At a meeting of the directors it was decided to ask for the
resignation of the President. Mr. Mills was the person selected to
convey the intelligence of the result of the meeting to Mr. Ralston and
this he did. Mr. Mills, much against his personal desire, once more
assumed the presidency of the bank, and after three years he once more
resigned to attend to his private affairs; leaving the bank in a
flourishing condition. Possibly no man in America is better capable of
handling large sums of money, to bring not only large returns, but to
handle the money safely.

In 1880 he turned his attention toward the East, moving his family to
Fifth Avenue, New York city. His large business block, the Mills
Building, ten stories high, fitted up for offices containing three
hundred in all, is a magnificent structure. His wealth is very great,
being estimated at from fifteen to twenty millions of dollars. He has
established on the Pacific slope, at a cost of about two hundred
thousand dollars, a seminary for young ladies.

He has also presented a beautiful piece of statuary to the State of
California. It is a magnificent gift, representing Columbus at the court
of Isabella. He has given numerous costly presents to institutions and
relatives. Among the shrewd far-sighted men of the country few are more
distinguished than is Darius Ogdon Mills.

 

 

STEPHEN GIRARD.

 

Stephen Girard was born in Bordeaux, France, May 24th, 1750. He lived in
an age when avenues of business were utilized by the rich. A poor boy
had little chance of being other than a poor man. Not only was the
subject of this sketch born to poverty, but he also inherited a
deformity which made him the butt of ridicule among his vulgar
companions. His childhood was made up of neglect which developed a cold,
distant nature. He is generally described as a loveless old man, but his
biographers seem to forget the influences that surrounded his childhood.
Such were the opportunities enjoyed by Girard; such the chance offered
to him, but he held that a man’s best capital was “industry,” and this
seemed to have been his main idea to the last; as he willed but little
property to his relatives, and but little to any one individual.

He sailed as cabin boy at the age of twelve, and by following a line of
fidelity, industry and temperance, gained the esteem and confidence of
the captain who gradually learned to call him “My Stephen,” and at his
death placed him in command of a small vessel. He became a resident of
Philadelphia, and owned a farm a short distance out of the city. When he
visited this farm he rode in an old gig drawn by a scrawny horse; when
he arrived he fell to work like any common hand, and labored as though
his very subsistence depended on it. This is an illustration showing the
secret of his success in life. He was familiar with every detail, in
every department of his business; no matter what part of his business he
went to oversee he was no novice.

With Stephen Girard nothing came by chance. He was a self-taught man,
having but little education so far as books go; but in the great school
of actual business he received a diploma, and to this was afterwards
added several complimentary degrees earned after his graduation. He
never ceased to be a progressive man. A large range of stores were for
sale in the city of Philadelphia at a great sacrifice; these Girard
would have been glad to buy but he lacked sufficient funds; seeing it
beyond his means to buy safely, he leased them for a term of years and
then sublet them at an immense profit.

How few young men have the necessary enterprise to gain for themselves
success. Girard had both enterprise and energy; it is not at all
surprising that he succeeded. And this was not all; of whatever he
undertook he had thoroughly mastered the details, hence was prepared for
success and made money; that money he saved. Ah! that is three-fourths
of the secret. Most young men earn enough but foolishly throw it away on
unnecessaries.

If Girard owed a man a cent he could rest assured that he would get it;
if a man owed him there was much trouble in the way for that man if he
attempted to evade the payment. He was just to all men and just to
himself and family. There is another feature in the history of Girard
that is worthy of imitation; that is he kept abreast, yea, ahead of the
times,–he made a study of the various problems of his day.

He saw that the United States Bank was daily growing less popular, and
he saw that it must go down in the near future. He had prospered in his
shipping business, and seeing here a grand opportunity he began to study
up on banking preparatory to taking the bank. Reader, think of this kind
of enterprise. His friends might think such a thing visionary; the best
financier might pass the opportunity by, but this man knew that the
United States Bank had a vast patronage, and he also knew that the man
who stepped into its business would have every reason to expect success.
He at once set about to buy a controlling interest in the stock. When
the bank was discontinued it was found that he had not only secured a
controlling interest in the stock, but had gained possession of the bank
building itself. While his friends were predicting his ruin he had
bought $1,200,000 worth of stock and, by so doing, had stepped into the
largest banking business of the Republic.

Does one of my readers for one moment allow himself to believe that
Stephen Girard was a lucky man? Was it ‘good luck’ that placed Girard at
one move at the head of American financiers? As is well known a great
panic followed Jackson’s administration, and, of a whole nation, Stephen
Girard seems to have been the only prosperous man. His capital stock
soon became $4,000,000. In this capacity he was enabled to aid his
Government much, in fact to save it from ruin in the terrible crash of
1837.

Stephen Girard was bent upon getting rich and yet, while he is generally
regarded as a cold money-getter, still he had a heart, a tender heart,
locked up within that cold exterior. While the terrible plague, yellow
fever, raged in Philadelphia with a violence never before known in
American history, and while many others fled the city, Stephen Girard
remained and nursed the dying,–performing with his own hands the most
loathesome duties, and giving most liberally of his wealth toward the
fund for the suppression of the disease.

A young man, who was a protege of Girard, was one day called to the
private office of that gentleman, when the following dialogue took
place: “Well, you are now twenty-one, and should begin to think of a
life-work.” The young man who thought perhaps Girard was going to set
him up in some business, said, “What would you do if in my place, Mr.
Girard?” Imagine his astonishment when Mr. Girard replied, “I should
learn some trade.” The young man, who was built of the right material,
said, “Very well, I will learn the cooper’s trade.” In the course of a
few years he received a letter from Mr. Girard ordering the best barrel
that he could make with his own hands. When done it was delivered. The
young man was thunderstruck when, after a thorough inspection by Girard,
he received a check for $20,000; the reader can draw the moral.

Time fled, the 26th of December, 1831, came, and with it the death of
this man. At his death he possessed about $9,000,000, not a large
fortune compared with those of the rich men of our day, but a colossal
sum for his day. For all practical purposes it is just as great and
useful as one hundred millions.

When his will was read it was found that he had left to the Pennsylvania
institute for deaf and dumb, $20,000; to the Orphan Asylum of
Philadelphia, $10,000; for fuel for the poor of Philadelphia, $10,000;
to the Philadelphia Public Schools, $10,000; to the Society for the
Relief of the Distressed Masters of Ships, $10,000; to the Masonic Loan,
$20,000; to the city of Philadelphia, $500,000; and to the State of
Pennsylvania, $300,000. There were other bequests, the largest of which
was $2,000,000, with which to found a college for orphan boys who were
to be taken between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. He left minute
directions pertaining to the construction and other details, showing
even at this time that carefulness, which characterized his life’s
history. The main building is said to be the finest specimen of Grecian
architecture in the world,–it surely is the finest in America.
“Contemplating the humility of his origin, and contrasting therewith the
variety and extent of his works and wealth, the mind is filled with
admiration of the man.”

 

 

MOSES TAYLOR.

 

What a pleasure it is to read the lives of such men as Moses Taylor. He
began life as a clerk and died worth $50,000,000; but it is not alone
for his wealth that we take such an interest in Moses Taylor, but the
good he did with it, and the example he set moneyed men.

Born in New York, January 11th, 1808, he served a clerkship of ten long
years, when he started business on his own account. The cholera raged
that year in that city; consequently all business suffered, many fled
from their homes but young Taylor stood by his new enterprise, and even
the first year cleared some money. Three years later he was burned out,
but while the smouldering brands lay at his feet he arranged to erect a
new building to stand on the same spot, and the next day opened a store
in his dwelling house. Of course such enterprise would win in the end;
when he was called to the presidency of the city bank no one seemed
surprised for when a man has ability it is not necessary for him to tell
it–he becomes a marked personage. The success that attended his efforts
in this new capacity is shown from the following:

In the great panic of 1857 a meeting of the various bank presidents was
called. When asked what percentage of specie had been drawn during the
day some replied fifty per cent., some even as high as seventy five per
cent. but Moses Taylor replied, “We had in the bank this morning,
$400,000; this evening, $470,000.” While other banks were badly ‘run,’
the confidence in the City Bank under his management was such that
evidently people had drawn from other banks and deposited in the City
Bank. He was Treasurer of the Transatlantic Cable, being one of its most
ardent supporters from 1854 until long after it had became established.

He was a most conspicuous ‘War Democrat,’ taking an early stand as to
the duty of all bankers. Probably no one man, save possibly Jay Cook,
did more to sustain the credit of the North in those trying times than
did Moses Taylor. He became interested in the Delaware, Lackawanna &
Western railway, and the mines in the coal regions of Pennsylvania. In
1873 he became President of the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Co. He also
became largely interested in the Manhattan Gas Co., out of which alone
he made a respectable fortune. When he died he left a very large sum of
money for the purpose of building a hospital at Scranton. The need of
this hospital was very urgent, as accidents were continually happening
to the miners in their dangerous work. The building is not only a
splendid edifice but it fills a long-felt want.

Such a man was Moses Taylor who died May 23rd, 1882. Few such men have
we, would that there were more. Moses Taylor was a practical man, he
cared more for business than for any amusement. Art was of far less
account with him than were the suffering miners who had no place to
stretch their bleeding forms until he came to their aid.

 

 

WILLIAM C. RALSTON.

 

William C. Ralston, a synonym for goodness, was born at Wellsville,
Ohio, January 15th, 1820. He drifted to California, being one of the
first to pass through the Golden Gate. Here he remained for twenty-five
years, becoming the most noted man in the State, having prospered
wonderfully.

It has been truly said of him that he did more than any other one man to
secure a good municipal government for San Francisco. Aiding with his
money weak industries, he did much to elevate the tone of a class of
people consisting of almost every nationality–the miners. The
struggling young man had nothing but sympathy extended him from this
great philanthropist; indeed, his great desire seemed to be, what can I
do for my less fortunate fellow-man. He was elected President of the
Bank of California, to succeed Mr. Mills. This bank had a credit all
over the globe. It was the greatest financial power in the Republic.
Such was its standing in the financial world when Mr. Mills delivered
the bank over to Mr. Ralston. Mr. Ralston was a great and good man, but
his desire to benefit and aid others led him to place out the bank’s
money too freely; hence, when Mr. Flood made his sudden and unlooked for
call for over $5,000,000, the amount of his deposit, it was useless for
the bank to try to raise it at once, as it could not be done,
notwithstanding the bank had ample resources, if they had only been
available. Mr. Flood, it seemed to us, need not have pressed his claim
when he knew that the bank could pay him soon. It is claimed by some
that he chose this method to cripple the Bank of California to the
advantage of his Nevada Bank. Be this as it may, Mr. Ralston unwisely
allowed his tender heart to be touched too deeply, and thus placed the
bank in a weak position to meet such a crisis. A meeting of the
directors was immediately called, and it was decided to ask the
President for his resignation which, together with his household
effects, he promptly tendered. This was a terrible blow to him, and it
may be the officials were somewhat hasty. On the 27th of August he went
down to the beach, put on his bathing suit, drank something from a
bottle (it is alleged), dived into the waves, was carried far out and
was never again seen alive.

As the people gazed on his lifeless body they began to realize what a
loss they had sustained. Threats of vengeance were heard on every hand,
which made it seem best for the founders of the rival Nevada Bank to
abstain from being seen in their usual haunts. A public meeting was
called, and long before the appointed time to begin the business of the
meeting the public hall where it was held was packed, and thousands were
unable to get in. One orator addressed those in the hall while the dense
mass outside, who were unable to get in, were divided and addressed by
two speakers. The several charges against him were in turn taken up, and
either proven false or shown to be justified by the excited populace.
The following resolution expressive of the irreparable loss the city had
sustained, was presented.

_Resolved_, “That in reviewing the life of the deceased. William C.
Ralston, we recognize one of the first citizens of San Francisco, the
master spirit of her industries, the most bounteous giver to her
charities, the founder of her financial credit, and the warm supporter
of every public and private effort to augment her prosperity and
welfare. That to his sagacity, activity, and enterprise, San Francisco
owes much of her present material prosperity, and in his death has
sustained an irreparable loss. That in his business conceptions he was a
giant, in social life an unswerving friend, and in all the attributes of
his character he was a man worthy of love and trust.” When “All those in
favor of this say aye,” was called, the answer came like the sound of
heavy artillery, and not a solitary ‘No’ was heard in that vast crowd.

Rev. T. K. Noble said, “The aim of his life was not to pull down but to
build up. What enterprise can you mention looking to the betterment of
material interests in which he did not have part? In the building of
railroads, in the establishment of lines of steamships to Australia, to
China, to Japan; in the manufacture of silk; in the Pacific Woolen
Mills, the Bay Sugar Refinery, the West Coast Furniture Manufactory; and
in those superb buildings, the Grand and Palace hotels; and in many
other enterprises I have not time to mention. Into each and all of these
he put his money and his brains.” This was expressive of much, and it
very clearly represented the general impression of the people throughout
his State. He gave not only his money, but his sympathy.

People of the East who know of him principally as a man of great wealth
cannot conceive an idea of such a man,–indeed they have none such among
them. He was the moral phenomenon of modern times. The people of his
State all love him, and there are those to-day who are struggling in
various enterprises who can look to no one now for help, who like to
tell of the time ‘when they could have gone to ‘Frisco and seen Ralston
about it.’ What a tribute is this; when we think of a man who regarded
money only as a means to do good, and who seemed a special Providence to
all in need. We look upon this picture and we see him happy only in
giving; but we turn and our hearts bleed in sympathy when we behold him
torn from his position, the victim of avariciousness and envy, which to
all appearance is the immediate cause of his untimely death. But there
is another thought here; he should have been very cautious in placing
money where it could not be brought into immediate use in such an
emergency.

Great was the feeling at his burial. Three regiments, cavalry,
artillery, and the National Guard, escorted his remains to their last
resting place. After several years Mrs. Ralston received back over
$100,000, and is therefore comfortable. We shall forever mourn the death
of such men, and ever regard and cherish their memory as among the
dearest in American history.

 

 

GEORGE PEABODY.

 

A long time ago a little boy who was poorly dressed, but had an honest
face, was passing a country tavern in Vermont; night was fast
approaching, and he looked tired and hungry; seeing which, the landlord,
who had a kind heart, generously offered him supper and a nights’
lodging free. This he refused to accept, but said, “If you please, I
will cut wood enough to pay my way.” This was accepted by the landlord,
and thus the affair passed. Fifty years later he passed the same tavern
as George Peabody, the great London banker.

The above self-reliant nature was illustrative of the man. It is always
interesting to learn how great fortunes were made. Nothing is so
fascinating as success, and the momentous question relative to every
great man is: “How did he begin?” George Peabody began life in Danvers,
Massachusetts, February 18th, 1795. He was born of humble parents and
the public schools of his native town furnished him his education. At
the age of eleven he became a clerk in a grocery store where he remained
four years, when he went to Newburyport to become a dry-goods salesman.
By cultivating a loving disposition he gained friends wherever he went,
and, of course, thus gained a confidence which he otherwise never would
have known. For this reason he gained his first letter of credit which
enabled him to buy his first consignment of goods without advancing the
money for them.

[Illustration: SELF-RELIANCE. Engraved Expressly for ‘Hidden Treasures.’]

As we review the various great and influential men we cannot but notice
how many, out of the total number, cultivated a pleasing manner. Certain
it is, to pleasing manners and ability owed he his success; without
either he could not have succeeded. Without the generous heart he
possessed he could never have won the great honor that he enjoyed, for
great wealth alone could not bring such honor. He was a notable moral
phenomenon. Of all the great and rich men of whom we are aware, none
gave as liberally as did he. Reader, think of it; a poor boy who became
one of the greatest bankers of his time, and who, during his life, gave
over eight millions of dollars to charity. Many of our rich men have
willed much to charity, but he gave while living.

He went to Georgetown, District of Columbia, and entered into a
partnership with an uncle, the firm-style being Riggs & Peabody. They
were wonderfully successful, and soon established branches in
Philadelphia and New York. In 1829 Mr. Riggs retired from actual work,
the firm-style becoming Peabody, Riggs & Co. Time passed on, the
business grew, and in 1837 he went to London, soon after establishing
the banking house of George Peabody & Co. He made banking his study and
kept thoroughly posted on financial matters. At about this time the
great panic occurred in America, and at a great risk of losing his
fortune he bought Maryland securities. But George Peabody knew what he
was about; he was thoroughly posted and was capable of managing a
banking business. By his influence with the Bank of England, he soon
became recognized as the man who had saved Maryland from bankruptcy.

He now began to dispense the great fortune with which God had so
bountifully blessed him. In 1851 he supplied a large sum, so much
needed, to make a success of the great Worlds Fair in London. In 1851 he
gave $10,000 toward the second Grennell expedition, and the same year
the people of his native town, Danvers, invited his presence at an
anniversary. He could not personally attend, but sent them $20,000 to be
applied toward education. In 1857 he gave the city of Baltimore $300,000
to found a college, and afterward added to this magnificent sum $200,000
more. In 1866 he added still $500,000 more, and later yet $400,000 more,
making $1,400,000 in all he gave to this one institution, which is
called Peabody Institute. He gave nearly $3,500,000 toward the fund to
educate the poor of the South. He gave Yale and Harvard college each
$150,000; to Phillips Academy $25,000; to Peabody Academy $140,000; to
the Memorial Church in Georgetown $100,000; to Peabody Academy $250,000;
and numerous other contributions in America.

In London he established a fund of $3,000,000 with which to build homes
for the poor of that great city. The Queen acknowledged this in a
private letter, and presented him with her portrait painted on ivory and
set in jewels, valued at $255,000. She also offered to make him a Baron,
but this he respectfully declined.

He resembled the late A. T. Stewart in some respects. No gold chain ever
hung from his watch, and when he wore studs or other ornaments they were
never more costly than pearl. He detested show. Altogether during his
life he gave away over _eight millions of dollars_, and at his death
left a fortune of over four millions. Had he saved his money and
manipulated it like many of our great millionaires have done, we doubt
not he would have died worth perhaps twenty or thirty millions.

He, however, had gained not only worldly success, but true success, for
when he died in 1869, both of the great English speaking nations united
to do him honor. He was at first laid in Westminister Abbey among the
dead kings and queens. After this her Majesty’s ship Monarch bore his
remains to America to be buried in Danvers. The respect in which he is
held by the people of that town is shown when we know that they have
since changed the name of their town to Peabody. He left an imperishable
crown containing pearls which cannot be stolen. They are set in homes
for the poor, libraries for every one, schools for the young, and other
securities which are safely stored in the hearts of a grateful people.
Ah! we are thoughtful after reading the life of such a man.

 

 

WILLIAM W. CORCORAN.

 

The veteran philanthropist, William W. Corcoran, was born in 1798. He
began his business career in Georgetown, but for many years he has been
a resident of Washington. At twenty he went into business for himself,
beginning as an auctioneer. After several years of successful business
he was obliged to suspend, during the depressed times of 1838.

After this he was married to the beautiful daughter of Commodore Morris,
of the United States Navy, much to the disgust of that gentleman, who
little dreamed what an illustrious son-in-law Mr. Corcoran was destined
to become. Some years of hard struggle followed, but at last it was
found that he had won for himself a somewhat extended reputation as a
financier, which gained for him a partnership with the successful
banker, Riggs. This firm began to deal in United States Government
securities, which were then at a low ebb abroad. Being a boy friend of
George Peabody, the great London banker, his firm was enabled to
materially aid the Government in its financial straits during the
Mexican war. As the firm prospered, Mr. Corcoran became wealthy, and
this money he laid out in Washington real estate, the rapid rise of
which made him a millionaire. As Mr. Corcoran prospered he began to
think of those old debts. When he had failed he secured favorable terms
with his creditors, and legally was not bound for one cent, but he
recognized a higher obligation than law made by man: hunting up all
those old customers, creditors of his, he paid them not only the
principal, but the interest that had been accumulating all these years.
By this one act we gain a glimpse of the inner heart and impulses of
this great and good man.

Thousands of dollars found their way into the hands of charity, but then
his desire to aid and gratify humanity was not satisfied.

On May 10th, 1869, the grounds and institution for the Corcoran Art
Gallery was deeded to trustees, and later was incorporated by Congress,
being exempted forever from taxation. The gallery is situated directly
opposite the State, War, and Navy buildings. It has a frontage of one
hundred and six feet; is built of fine, pressed brick; and is one of the
most attractive buildings in the whole City of Washington. The whole
building cost $250,000, and the donor placed therein his own private
collection of paintings and statuary, valued at $100,000. Not satisfied
with this he has added an endowment fund of $500,000. Many rare and
beautiful works of art have been purchased abroad, as well as American
works of rare value. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays the gallery is
free; on alternate days an admission of twenty-five cents is charged.
When it is considered how many there are who would naturally take
advantage of the free days, and then that the annual income is over
$75,000, one can form some idea of the attractiveness of this
institution. Mr. Corcoran’s desire was to elevate the American taste in
the finer arts, and the thousands of visitors which the institution
attracts, indicates to what an extent he has succeeded. The lower floor
is devoted to statues and to the exhibition of sculpture. The second
floor is occupied by several hundred rare and costly paintings,
representing the advance of art during the past centuries. The gallery
is, probably, all things considered, the finest of the kind in the
country.

Another institution of wide celebrity is the Louisa Home, founded by Mr.
Corcoran in 1871. It is a magnificent building, conspicuously situated
in the most fashionable part of the city, the West End. This is a most
worthy institution, designed for ladies who have been reduced from
affluence to poverty, affording them a home where they can mingle with a
class of people congenial to their refined natures. This building is a
beautiful brick structure, four stories high, erected at a cost of
$200,000. Visitors are welcome every afternoon.

These are only two of the many gifts and enterprises which originated
with the venerable banker. George Peabody and William Corcoran were boys
together; how similar their lives have been. Would that there were more
Corcorans, more Peabodys. Mr. Corcoran has given several millions to
charity and art; how we envy him–not for his wealth, but his
reputation, or better, would that we could do as much good in the world
as did these two great men.

 

 

NATHAN MAYER ROTHSCHILD.

 

Who indeed is there who has not heard of the Rothschilds? But how few
there are who know much of them save that they are the richest bankers
in the whole world. The subject of this sketch was the richest and most
noted of five brothers. The father, Mayer Anselm Rothschild, sprung from
a poor Jewish family, and was a clerk in Hanover before establishing
himself at Frankfort. At Hanover it is claimed that his integrity and
ability became so marked in every position to which he was called that
the attention of the Government was called thereto.

After the great French victory of Jena, Napoleon decreed that the
Governor of Hesse-Cassel should have his lands and property confiscated.
The order was no sooner given than a French army was on its way to carry
the edict into effect. The Elector William, before his flight from
Hesse-Cassel, deposited with the father of the subject of this sketch
$5,000,000, without interest, for safe keeping. There was no luck about
this; it was a most difficult undertaking at that time. Any one who had
been found with this money would have lost his life. For Rothschild to
invest it so that he could make money from its use was his object; to do
so safely and secretly required a good business tact. The Elector, it is
said, studied sometime before he decided to whom he could intrust this
vast sum during his absence. Thus it is seen that as Rothschild came of
poor parents, and was simply a clerk. It was not so much luck in his
case as strict integrity and the determination he manifested to master
everything he undertook. This Rothschild had five sons, and by the aid
of these, through different bankers, he succeeded by good management to
lay a foundation upon which has been built that colossal fortune which
the sons have accumulated. This money, belonging to the Elector, they
had the benefit of until 1828, when the whole was paid over to the heirs
of the original owner with two per cent. interest for a portion of the
time. Of the five brothers, Anselm was situated at Frankfort, Solomon at
Vienna, Charles at Naples, James at Paris, and Nathan at London. The two
ablest financiers were James and Nathan, and of these two Nathan was the
superior. His son was the first Jew that ever sat in the English
Parliament. It has been said that the fundamental rule of this great
banking-house was “To sell when people desired to buy, and buy when
people wished to sell.” It is related of Nathan Mayer Rothschild that,
all day long, at the battle of Waterloo, he hung about the skirts of the
two armies, waiting to see how the battle turned. Toward night of that
memorable day, the clouds of smoke lifting, revealed the French army in
full and disastrous retreat. Rothschild took in the situation at once.
True to his instincts, he saw in that awful carnage only the shimmer of
his gold. Chance had overcome the most heroic valor, the most stubborn
resistance, the best laid plans, and once more declared in the Hebrew’s
favor. He dashed into Brussels, whence a carriage in waiting whirled him
into Ostend. At dawn he stood on the Belgian coast, against which the
sea was madly breaking. He offered five, six, eight, ten hundred francs
to be carried over to England. The mariners feared the storm; but a
bolder fisherman, upon promise of twenty-five hundred francs, undertook
the hazardous voyage. Before sunset Rothschild landed at Dover; and
engaging the swiftest horses, rode with the wind to London. What a
superb special correspondent he would have made! The merchants and
bankers were dejected; the funds were depressed; a dense fog hung over
the city; English spirits had sunk to their lowest ebb. On the morning
of the 20th, the cunning and grasping Nathan appeared at the Stock
Exchange, an embodiment of gloom. He mentioned, confidentially, of
course, to his familiar that Blucher, at the head of his vast army of
veterans, had been defeated by Napoleon, at Ligny, on the 16th and 17th,
and there could be no hope for Wellington, with his comparatively small
and undisciplined force. This was half true, and like all half-truths,
was particularly calculated to deceive. Rothschild was a leader among
trading reynards. His doleful whisper spread as the plague–poisoning
faith everywhere. The funds tumbled like an aerolite. Public and private
opinion wilted before the simoon of calamitous report. It was ‘Black
Friday’ anticipated in Lombard Street. The crafty Israelite bought,
through his secret agents, all the consols, bills, and notes, for which
he could raise money.

Not before the afternoon of the 21st–nearly forty eight hours after the
battle–did the news of Wellington’s victory reach London through the
regular channels. Rothschild was at the Exchange half an hour before the
glad tidings were made public, and imparted them to a crowd of greedy
listeners. The Bourse was buoyant. Everything went up more rapidly than
it had gone down. England was happy–as well she might be–for she had
stumbled into the greatest triumph in her history. When bankers and
merchants shook hands with the Hebrew speculator, they noticed–though
they did not understand–an unusual warmth of pressure. It was not
rejoicing with the nation; it was the imaginary clutch of six millions
more of gold. Thus it is seen that the great wealth of the Rothschild
was not always used to the best advantage of mankind as a Christian
would argue; but a promise given by a Rothschild was as good as his
note.

Their immense wealth has greatly aided, at different times, all and
singular, the various European countries. A favorite investment with
them has been loans to the different Governments throughout the world.

During twelve years of their business experience they loaned to
different European Monarchies over $400,000,000. When it is considered
that this was but one division of their business, something of an idea
of its magnitude can be imagined. An amusing story is told of Nathan
which will be of interest to some of our readers, and enable them to see
how fertile was his mind in emergencies.

Anselm, the brother at Frankfort, drew on Nathan, of London, for a large
amount, and the bill was presented to the Bank of England to be
discounted. The bank officials refused, saying, “We do not discount
bills drawn on private persons; we recognize only our own paper.”
“Private persons!” exclaimed Nathan Rothschild when the interview was
reported to him, “I will show them what kind of private persons we are.”
Three weeks afterwards, Nathan Rothschild,–who had employed the
interval in collecting all the five-pound notes he could buy on the
continent, or in England–presented himself at the bank on the opening
of the office. He drew from his pocket-book a five-pound note, and they
counted him out in exchange five gold sovereigns, at the same time
looking quite astonished that the Baron Rothschild should have
personally troubled himself for such a trifle. The Baron examined the
pieces one by one, and having put them in a little canvas bag, proceeded
to draw out another five-pound note, then another, and another and so
on. He never put the pieces of gold into the bag without scrupulously
examining them, in some instances weighing in his balance, as, he said,
“the law gave him the right to do.” The first pocket-book being emptied
and the first bag full of coins, he passed them to his clerk, and
received a second, and thus continued to the closing of the bank. The
Baron had employed seven hours to exchange twenty-one thousand pounds.
But as he also had nine employes of his house engaged in the same
manner, it resulted that the house of Rothschild had drawn over
$1,000,000 from the bank. He had drawn gold exclusively, and so occupied
the bank employes that no one else could do any business.

The bankers the first day were very much amused at “This display of
eccentricity.” They, however, laughed less the next day when they beheld
Rothschild on hand early, flanked by his nine clerks.

They laughed no longer when they heard the irate banker say, “These
gentlemen refused to pay my bills; I have sworn not to keep theirs. They
can pay at their leisure; only I hereby notify them that I have enough
to employ them two months!” Two months! Fifty-five million dollars in
gold drawn from the Bank of England which was more gold than they had to
pay! The bank was now thoroughly alarmed. Something must be done, and
the next morning notice appeared in all the papers that henceforth the
Bank of England would pay Rothschild’s bills as well as its own.

From anecdotes one can often learn much of the inner life and thoughts
of people, and much can be seen of the real character of the subject of
this sketch from the above story. This Napoleon of Finance died in
1836.

_”The man who seeks one thing in life, and but one,
May hope to achieve it before life be done;
But he who seeks all things, wherever he goes,
Only reaps from the hopes which around him he sows
A harvest of barren regrets.”_

[Illustration: From Obscurity To Great Honor.]

 

 

JOHN ADAMS.

 

The subject of this narrative was a great-grandson of Henry Adams, who
emigrated from England about 1640, with a family of eight sons, being
one of the earliest settlers in the town of Braintree, Massachusetts,
where he had a grant of a small tract of forty acres of land. The father
of John Adams, a deacon of the church, was a farmer by occupation, to
which was added the business of shoemaking. He was a man of limited
means, however, was enabled by hard pinching to give his son a fairly
good education.

The old French and Indian war was then at its height; and in a
remarkable letter to a friend, which contains some curious
prognostications as to the relative population and commerce of England
and her colonies a hundred years hence, young Adams describes himself
as having turned politician. He succeeded in gaining charge of the
grammar school in Worcester, Massachusetts, but, instead of finding this
duty agreeable, he found it ‘a school of affliction,’ and turned his
attention to the study of law. Determined to become a first-class
lawyer, he placed himself under the especial tuition of the only lawyer
of whom Worcester, though the county seat, could boast.

He had thought seriously of the clerical profession, but, according to
his own expressions, “The frightful engines of ecclesiastical councils,
of diabolical malice, and Calvinistic good nature,” the operation of
which he had witnessed in some church controversies in his native town,
terrified him out of it. Adams was a very ambitious man; already he had
longings for distinction. Could he have obtained a troop of horse, or a
company of infantry, he would undoubtedly have entered the army. Nothing
but want of patronage prevented his becoming a soldier.

After a two years’ course of study, he returned to his native town,
Braintree, and in 1758 commenced practice in Suffolk county, of which
Boston was the shire town. By hard study and hard work he gradually
introduced himself into practice, and in 1764 married a young lady far
above his station in life. In our perusal and study of eminent men who
have risen by their own exertions to a higher sphere in life, we are not
at all surprised to find that they have invariably married noble
women–ladies, who have always maintained a restraining influence when
the desire for honor and public attention would appeal to their baser
self, and whose guiding influence tended to strengthen their efforts
when their energies seemed to slacken. So it was with John Adams; his
wife was a lady of rare abilities and good sense, admirably adapted to
make him happy. Boys, be careful whom you marry!

Shortly after his entrance into the practice of the law, the attempt at
parliamentary taxation diverted his attention from his profession to
politics. He was a most active oppositionist. He promoted the call of
the town of Braintree to instruct the representatives of the town on the
subject of the Stamp Act. The resolutions which he presented at this
meeting were not only voted by the town, but attracted great attention
throughout the province, and were adopted verbatim by more than forty
different towns. Thus it is seen that Adams had not studied hard all
these years for nothing; the price of success is honest, faithful WORK.

Of course his towns-people would reward him. Men who have ability,
unless some bolt is loose, will invariably gain success. Soon after this
Mr. Adams was appointed on the part of the town of Boston to be one of
their counsel, along with the King’s attorney, and head of the bar, and
James Otis, the celebrated orator, to support a memorial addressed to
the Governor and Council, that the courts might proceed with business
though no stamps were to be had. Although junior counsel, it fell to
Adams to open the case for the petitioners, as his seniors could not
join; the one owing to his position as King’s attorney, the other could
not as he had recently published a book entitled the ‘Rights of the
Colonies.’ This was a grand opportunity for Adams and he made the most
of it,–boldly taking the ground that the stamp act was null and void,
Parliament having no right to tax the colonies. Nothing, however, came
of this application; the Governor and Council declining to act, on the
ground that it belonged to the Judges, not to them, to decide.

But Adams had put himself on record, and this record established his
reputation. “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the
flood, leads on to fortune.” The time came to Adams to distinguish
himself, and he was not found wanting. It was at this same period that
Mr. Adams first appeared as a writer in the _Boston Gazette_. He never
allowed his opportunities to pass unheeded; in fact, he made his
opportunities. Among other papers which appeared at this time from his
pen, was a series of four articles which were republished in a London
newspaper, and subsequently published in a collection of documents
relating to the taxation controversy, printed in a large volume. At
first the papers had no title in the printed volume, being known as
“Essays on the Canon and Feudal Law.” Well they might have been called
so, but, it seems to us, that it would have been much more consistent to
have entitled them “Essays on the Government and Rights of New England.”
His style was formed from the first, as is evident from the articles.

His law business continued to increase and in 1768 he removed to Boston
where he would have a larger field in which to develop his intellect. He
served on various committees during the next two years, and in 1770 was
chosen a Representative to the general Court, notwithstanding he had
just before accepted a retainer to defend Captain Preston and his
soldiers for their share in what had passed into history as the Boston
massacre. His ability as a practitioner at the bar can be judged from
the successful result of their case, as managed by him, against great
public prejudice. Adams’ duties as a Representative interfered much
with his business as a lawyer, on which he depended for support, and
which had grown to be larger than that of any other practitioner at the
provincial bar.

He entered upon the duties of his new office with his customary energy,
becoming the chief legal advisor of the Patriot party, and now for the
first time an active and conspicuous leader of the same. Mr. Adams’ keen
foresight enabled him to wisely judge that it would be a good policy not
to push too vigorously to the front as a politician until his private
wealth would justify his necessarily great loss of time. Hence, he moved
back to Braintree, resigning his seat in the Legislature, but still
retaining his law office in Boston. A comparative lull in politics made
his presence in that body less needed, but still he was consulted as to
all the more difficult points in the controversy with Governor
Hutchinson, and freely gave his aid. Indeed, it was not long before he
moved back to Boston, but thoroughly resolved to avoid politics, and to
devote his undivided attention to his professional work. Soon after his
return to Boston he wrote a series of letters on the then mooted
question of the independence of the judiciary, and the payment by the
Crown of the salaries of the Judges. Soon after this he was elected by
the general Court to the Provincial Council, but was rejected by
Governor Hutchinson.

The destruction of tea, and the Boston port bill that followed, soon
brought matters to a crisis. These events produced the congress of 1774.
Mr. Adams was one of the five delegates sent from Massachusetts, and his
visit to Philadelphia at this time was the first occasion of his going
beyond the limits of New England. In the discussions in the committee on
the declaration of colonial rights, he took an active part in resting
those rights on the law of nature as well as the law of England; and
when the substance of those resolutions had been agreed upon he was
chosen to put the matter in shape. In his diary the most trustworthy and
graphic descriptions are to be found of the members and doings of that
famous but little known body. The session concluded, Mr. Adams left the
city of brotherly love with little expectation, at that time, of ever
again seeing it.

Immediately after his return home he was chosen by his native town a
member of the provincial congress then in session. That congress had
already appointed a committee of safety vested with general executive
powers; had seized the provincial revenues; had appointed general
officers, collected military stores, and had taken steps toward
organizing a volunteer army of minute-men. The governor–Gage–had
issued a proclamation denouncing these proceedings, but no attention was
ever paid to it. Gage had no support except in the five or six regiments
that guarded Boston, a few trembling officials and a small following
from the people.

Shortly after the adjournment of this congress Adams occupied himself in
answering through the press a champion of the mother-country’s claim.
This party, under the head of ‘Massachusettensis,’ had commenced a
series of able and effective arguments in behalf of the mother-country,
which were being published in a Boston journal. To these Adams replied
over the signature of ‘Novanglus.’ These were papers displaying unusual
ability on either part. They were afterwards published as “A History of
the Dispute with America,” and later yet in pamphlet form. Their value
consists in the strong, contemporaneous views which they present of the
origin of the struggle between the colonies and the mother-country, and
the policy of Bernard and Hutchinson as governors of Massachusetts,
which did so much to bring on the struggle. Like all the writings of Mr.
Adams, they are distinguished by a bold tone of investigation, a resort
to first principles, and a pointed style; but, like all his other
writings, being produced by piecemeal, and on the spur of the moment,
they lack order, system, polish and precision.

In the midst of the excitement produced by the battle of
Lexington–which at once brought up the spirit of even the most
hesitating patriots to the fighting pitch, and which was speedily
followed by the seizure of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and by other
similar seizures in other colonies throughout the fast uniting
provinces–John Adams once more set out for Philadelphia to attend the
Continental Congress of 1775, of which he had been appointed a member.
This congress, though made up for the most part of the same men who
constituted that of the previous year, was a wholly different body from
its predecessor. The congress of 1774 was merely a suggestive
convention. The present congress speedily assumed, or rather had thrust
upon it by unanimous consent of the patriots, the exercise of a
comprehensive authority in which supreme executive, legislative and, in
some cases, judicial functions, were united. In this busy scene the
active and untiring Adams, one of whose distinguishing characteristics
was his CAPACITY AND FONDNESS FOR BUSINESS, found ample employment;
while his bold and pugnacious spirit was not a little excited by the
hazards and dignity of the great game in which he had come to hold so
deep a stake. Unlike many of that body, Adams had made up his mind that
any attempt tending toward reconciliation was hopeless.

Under the lead of Dickinson, though against the strenuous opposition of
Adams and others, that body voted still another and final petition to
the king. However, Adams succeeded in joining with this vote one to put
the colonies into a state of defence, though with protestations that the
war on their part was for defence only, and without revolutionary
intent. Not long after this congress was brought up to the point of
assuming the responsibility and control of the military operations which
New England had commenced by laying siege to Boston, in which town
General Gage and his troops were caged, and before which lay an
impromptu New England army of 15,000 men which the battle of Lexington
had immediately brought together. Urged by the New England delegates,
congress agreed to assume the expense of maintaining this army. John
Adams was the first to propose the name of George Washington for the
chief commander; his desire being to secure the good-will and
co-operation of the southern colonies. The southern colonies also urged
General Lee for the second place, but Adams insisted on giving that to
Artemas Ward, he, however, supported Lee for the third place. Having
assumed the direction of this army, provided for its reorganization, and
issued letters of credit for its maintenance, this congress took a
recess. Adams returned home, but was not allowed any rest.

People who really have ability are never allowed to remain idle; the
fault is not in others, but in us. No sooner had Mr. Adams arrived home
than his Massachusetts friends sent him as a member to the State
council. This council had, under a clause of the provincial charter
intended to meet such cases, assumed the executive authority, declaring
the gubernatorial chair vacant. On returning to Philadelphia in
September, Adams found himself in hot water. Two confidential letters of
his, written during the previous session, had been intercepted by the
British in crossing the Hudson river, and had been published in the
Boston papers. Not only did those letters evince a zeal for decisive
measure which made the writer an object of suspicion to the more
conservative of his fellow-members of Congress, but his reference in one
of them to ‘the whims, the caprice, the vanity, the superstition, and
the irritability of some of his colleagues,’ and particularly to John
Dickinson as ‘a certain great fortune but trifling genius,’ made him
personal enemies by whom he was never forgiven.

But, though for a moment an object of distrust to some of his
colleagues, this did not save him from hard work. About this time he
wrote: “I am engaged in constant work; from seven to ten in the morning
in committee, from ten to four in Congress, and from six to ten again in
committee. Our assembly is scarcely numerous enough for the business;
everybody is engaged all day in Congress, and all the morning and
evening in committee.” The committee, which chiefly engaged Mr. Adams’
attention at this time, was one on the fitting out of cruisers, and on
naval affairs generally. This committee laid the foundation of our first
navy; the basis of our naval code being drawn up by Adams.

Governor Wentworth having fled from New Hampshire, the people of that
province applied to congress for advice as to how to manage their
administrative affairs. Adams, always ahead of his brother legislators,
seized the opportunity to urge the necessity of advising all of the
provinces to proceed at once to institute governments of their own. The
news, soon arriving of the haughty treatment of their petition by the
king, added strength to his pleading, and the matter being referred to a
committee on which Adams was placed, a report in partial conformity to
his ideas was made and adopted. Adams was a worker; this was a
recognized fact; and his State having offered him the post of Chief
Justice of Massachusetts, Adams, toward the end of the year, returned
home to consult on that and other important matters. He took his seat in
the council, of which he had been chosen a member, immediately on his
arrival. He was consulted by Washington, both as to sending General Lee
to New York, and as to the expedition against Canada. It was finally
arranged that while Adams should accept the appointment of Chief
Justice, he should still remain a delegate in Congress, and till more
quiet times should be excused as acting in the capacity of judge. Under
this arrangement he returned to Philadelphia. However, he never took his
seat as Chief Justice, resigning that office the next year.

Advice similar to that to New Hampshire on the subject of assuming
government, as it was called, had shortly afterwards been given upon
similar applications to Congress, to South Carolina and Virginia. Adams
was much consulted by members of the southern delegation concerning the
form of government which they should adopt. He was recognized as being
better versed in the subject of Republicanism, both by study and
experience, coming as he did from the most thoroughly Republican section
of the country. Of several letters which he wrote on this subject, one
more elaborate than the others, was printed under the title of “Thoughts
on Government applicable to the present state of the American
Colonies.”

This paper being largely circulated in Virginia as a preliminary to the
adoption of a form of government by that State, was to a certain extent
a rejoinder to that part of Paine’s famous pamphlet of ‘Common Sense,’
which advocated government by a single assembly. It was also designed to
controvert the aristocratic views, somewhat prevalent in Virginia, of
those who advocated a governor and senate to be elected for life. Adams’
system of policy embraced the adoption of self-government by each of the
colonies, a confederation, and treaties with foreign powers. The
adoption of this system he continued to urge with zeal and increasing
success, until finally, on May 13th, he carried a resolution through
Congress by which so much of his plan was endorsed by that body as
related to the assumption of self-government by the several colonies. A
resolution that the United States ‘Are and ought to be free and
independent,’ introduced by R. H. Lee under instructions from the
Virginia convention, was very warmly supported by Adams and carried,
seven States to six. Three committees, one on a Declaration of
Independence; another on Confederation; and third on Foreign Relations,
were shortly formed. Of the first and third of these committees, Adams
was a member.

The Declaration of Independence was drawn up by Jefferson, but on Adams
devolved the task of battling it through Congress in a three days’
debate, during which it underwent some curtailment. The plan of a treaty
reported by the third committee, and adopted by Congress, was drawn up
by Adams. His views did not extend beyond merely commercial treaties. He
was opposed to seeking any political connection with France, or any
military or even naval assistance from her or any foreign power. On
June 12th Congress had established a board of war and ordinance, to
consist of five members, with a secretary, clerk, etc.,–in fact, a war
department. As originally constituted, the members of this board were
taken from Congress, and the subject of this narrative was chosen its
president or chairman. This position was one of great labor and
responsibility, as the chief burden of the duties fell upon him, he
continued to hold for the next eighteen months, with the exception of a
necessary absence at the close of the year 1776, to recruit his health.

The business of preparing articles of war for the government of the army
was deputed to a committee composed of Adams and Jefferson; but
Jefferson, according to Adams’ account, threw upon him the whole burden,
not only of drawing up the articles, which he borrowed mostly from Great
Britain, but of arguing them through Congress, which was no small task.
Adams strongly opposed Lord Howe’s invitation to a conference, sent to
Congress, through his prisoner, General Sullivan, after the battle of
Long Island. He was, however, appointed one of the committee for that
purpose, together with Franklin and Rutledge, and his autobiography
contains some curious anecdotes concerning the visit. Besides his
presidency of the board of war, Adams was also chairman of the committee
upon which devolved the decision of appeals in admiralty cases from the
State courts. Having thus occupied for nearly two years a position which
gained for him the reputation, among at least a few of his colleagues,
of having “the clearest head and firmest heart of any man in Congress.”

He was appointed near the end of 1777 a commissioner to France, to
supercede Deane, whom Congress had concluded to recall. He embarked at
Boston, in the Frigate Boston, on February 12th, 1878, reaching Bordeaux
after a stormy passage, and arrived on April 8th at Paris. As the
alliance with France had been completed before his arrival, his stay was
short. He found that a great antagonism of views and feelings had arisen
between the three commissioners,–Franklin, Deane, and Arthur Lee, of
whom the embassy to France had been originally composed. As the recall
of Deane had not reconciled the other two, Adams devised, as the only
means of giving unity and energy to the mission, that it should be
intrusted to a single person. This suggestion was adopted, and in
consequence of it, Franklin having been appointed sole embassador in
France, Adams returned home.

He arrived at Boston just as a convention was about to meet to form a
State constitution for Massachusetts, and, being at once chosen a member
from Braintree, he was enabled to take a leading part in the formation
of that important document. Before this convention had finished its
business he was appointed by congress as minister to treat with Great
Britain for peace, and commerce, under which appointment he again sailed
for France in 1779, in the same French frigate in which he previously
returned to the United States.

Contrary to his own inclinations, Mr. Adams was prevented by Vergennes,
the French minister of foreign affairs, from making any communication of
his powers to Great Britain. In fact, Vergennes and Adams already were,
and continued to be, objects of distrust to one another, in both cases
quite unfounded. Vergennes feared least advances toward treating with
England might lead to some sort of reconciliation with her, short of the
independence of the colonies, which was contrary to his ideas of the
interest of France. The communications made to Vergennes by Gerard, the
first French minister in America, and Adams’ connection with the Lee’s
whom Vergennes suspected, though unjustly, of a secret communication
through Arthur Lee with the British ministry, led him to regard Mr.
Adams as the representative of a party in congress desirous of such a
reconciliation; nor did he rest until he had obtained from congress,
some two years after, the recall of Mr. Adams’ powers to negotiate a
treaty of commerce; and, in conjunction with him, of several colleagues
to treat for peace, of whom Franklin, who enjoyed his entire confidence,
was one.

Adams, on the other hand, not entirely free from hereditary English
prejudices against the French, vehemently suspected Vergennes of a
design to sacrifice the interests of America, especially the fisheries
and the western lands, to the advancement of the Spanish house of
Bourbon. While lingering at Paris, with nothing to do except to nurse
these suspicions, Adams busied himself in furnishing communications on
American affairs to a semi-official gazette conducted by M. Genet, chief
secretary in the foreign bureau, and father of the French minister in
America, who subsequently rendered that name so notorious.

Finding his position at Paris uncomfortable, he proceeded to Holland in
July, 1780, his object being to form an opinion as to the probability of
borrowing money there. Just about the same time he was appointed by
Congress to negotiate a French loan, the party who had been selected for
that purpose previously, Laurens, not yet being ready to leave home. By
way of enlightening the Dutch in regard to American affairs, Adams
published in the _Gazette_, of Leyden, a number of papers and extracts,
including several which, through a friend, he first had published in a
London journal to give to them an English character. To these he added
direct publication of his own, afterward many times reprinted, and now
to be found in volume VII of his collected works under the title of
‘Twenty-six Letters upon Interesting Subjects Respecting the Revolution
in America.’ He had commenced negotiations for a loan when his labors in
that direction were interrupted by the sudden breach between England and
Holland, consequent upon the capture of Laurens and the discovery of the
secret negotiation carried on between him and Van Berkel, of Amsterdam,
which, though it had been entered into without authority of the Dutch
States, was made an excuse by the British for a speedy declaration of
war.

Adams was soon after appointed minister to Holland in place of the
captured Laurens, and at the same time was commissioned to sign the
articles of armed neutrality which had just made their appearance on the
political scene. Adams presented memorials to the Dutch government
setting forth his powers in both respects; but before he could procure
any recognition he was recalled in July, 1781, to Paris, by a notice
that he was needed there, in his character of minister, to treat for
peace.

Adams’ suspicion of Vergennes had, meanwhile, been not a little
increased by the neglect of France to second his applications to
Holland. With Vergennes the great object was peace. The finances of
France were sadly embarrassed, and Vergennes wished no further
complications to the war. Provided the English colonies should be
definitely separated from the mother-country, which he considered
indispensable to the interest of France, he was not disposed to insist
on anything else. It was for this reason that he had urged upon, and
just about this time had succeeded in obtaining from Congress, through
the French Minister at Philadelphia–though the information had not yet
reached Paris–not only the withdrawal of Adams’ commission to treat of
commerce, and the enlargement to five of the number of commissioners to
treat for peace, but an absolute discretion intrusted to the negotiators
as to everything except independence and the additional direction that
in the last resort they were to be governed by the advice of Vergennes.
The cause for sending for Adams, who still occupied, so far as was known
at Paris, the position of sole negotiator for peace; the offer of
mediation on the part of Russia and the German empire; but this offer
led to nothing.

Great Britain haughtily rejected it on the ground that she would not
allow France to stand between her and her colonies. Returning to Holland
Mr. Adams, though still unsupported by Vergennes, pushed with great
energy his reception as embassador by the States general, which at
length, April 19th, 1782, he succeeded in accomplishing. Following up
this success with his CUSTOMARY PERSEVERENCE, he succeeded before the
end of the year in negotiating a Dutch loan of nearly two millions of
dollars, the first of a series which proved a chief financial resource
of the continental congress. He also succeeded in negotiating a treaty
of amity and commerce. His success in these negotiations, considering
the obstacles with which he had to contend, and the want of support from
Vergennes, he was accustomed to regard as the greatest triumph of his
life.

Before this business was completed, Mr. Adams received urgent calls to
come to Paris where Jay and Franklin, two of the new commissioners, were
already treating for peace, and where he arrived October 26th. Though
Mr. Jay had been put into the diplomatic service by the procurement of
the party in congress in the French interest, his diplomatic experience
in Spain had led him also to entertain doubts as to the sincere
good-will of Vergennes. A confidential dispatch from the French
Secretary of Legation in America, intercepted by the British, and which
Oswald, the British negotiator at Paris communicated to Franklin and
Jay, with a view of making bad feeling between them and the French
minister, had, along with other circumstances, induced Franklin and Jay
to disregard their instructions, and to proceed to treat with Oswald
without communicating that fact to Vergennes, or taking his advice as to
terms of the treaty, a procedure in which Adams, after his arrival,
fully concurred.

It was chiefly through his energy and persistence that the participation
of America in the fisheries was secured by the treaty, not as a favor or
a privilege, but as a right–a matter of much more importance then than
now, the fisheries then being a much more important branch than now of
American maritime industry.

Immediately upon the signature of the preliminary articles of peace,
Adams asked leave to resign all his commissions and to return home, to
which Congress responded by appointing him a commissioner jointly with
Franklin and Jay, to negotiate a treaty of commerce with Great Britain.
His first visit to England was, however, in a private character, to
recruit his health, after a violent fever with which he had been
attacked, shortly after signing the treaty of peace. He spent some
time, first at London, and afterward at Bath; but while still an invalid
he was recalled, in the dead of winter, to Holland, which he reached
after a stormy and most uncomfortable voyage; there to negotiate a new
loan as the means of meeting government bills drawn in America, which
were in danger of protest from want of funds–a BUSINESS IN WHICH HE
SUCCEEDED.

Adams was included along with Franklin and Jefferson, the latter sent
out to take the place of Jay, in a new commission to form treaties with
foreign powers; and his being joined by Mrs. Adams and their only
daughter and youngest son, his other two sons being already with him,
reconciled him to the idea of remaining abroad.

With his family about him he fixed his residence at Auteuil, near Paris,
where he had an interval of comparative leisure.

The chief business of the new commission was the negotiation of a treaty
with Prussia, advances toward which had first been made to Adams while
at the Hague negotiating the Dutch loan, but before that treaty was
ready for signature Adams was appointed by congress as Minister to the
court of St. James, where he arrived in May, 1785. The English
government, the feelings of which were well represented by those of the
king, had neither the magnanimity nor policy to treat the new American
States with respect, generosity, or justice. Adams was received with
civility, but no commercial arrangements could be made. His chief
employment was in complaining of the non-execution of the treaty of
peace, especially in relation to the non-surrender of the western posts,
and in attempting to meet similar complaints urged, not without strong
grounds, by the British; more particularly with regard to the obstacles
thrown in the way of the collection of British debts, which were made an
excuse for the detention of the western posts. Made sensible in many
ways of the aggravation of British feelings toward the new republic,
whose condition immediately after the peace was somewhat embarrassing,
and not so flattering as it might have been to the advocates and
promoters of the revolution, the situation of Adams was rather
mortifying than agreeable.

Meanwhile he was obliged to pay another visit to Holland to negotiate a
new loan as a means of paying the interest on the Dutch debt. He was
also engaged in a correspondence with his fellow-commissioner, Mr.
Jefferson, then at Paris, on the subject of the Barbary powers and the
return of the Americans held captive by them. But his most engrossing
occupation at this time was the preparation of his “Defence of the
American Constitution,” the object of which was the justification of
balanced governments and a division of powers, especially the
legislative, against the idea of a single assembly and a pure democracy,
which had begun to find many advocates, especially on the continent. The
greater part, however, of this book–the most voluminous of his
publications–consists of summaries of the histories of the Italian
republics, which, by the way, was not essential to the argument.

Although it afterward subjugated the author to charges of monarchical
and anti-republican tendencies, this book was not without its influence
on the adoption of the federal constitution; during the discussion of
which the first volume appeared. Great Britain not having reciprocated
the compliment by sending a minister to the United States, and there
being no prospects of his accomplishing any of the objects of his
mission, Adams had requested a recall, which was sent to him in
February, 1788, accompanied by a resolution of Congress conveying the
thanks of that body for ‘The patriotism, perseverance, integrity and
diligence’ which he had displayed in his ten years’ experience abroad.

Immediately upon his arrival at home, Mr. Adams was RE-APPOINTED by
Massachusetts as a delegate to the continental congress; but he never
resumed his seat in that body, which was now just about to expire. When
the new government came to be organized under the newly adopted
constitution, as all were agreed to make Washington president, attention
was turned to New England for a vice-president. This office was then
held with much more regard than now. In fact, as the constitution
originally stood, the candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency
were voted for without any distinct specification as to rank, the second
office falling to the person having the second highest vote. Out of
sixty-nine electors, John Adams received the votes of thirty-four; and
this being the second highest number, he was declared vice-president.
The thirty-five votes were scattered upon some ten different other
candidates.

By virtue of his new office he became president of the senate, a
position not very agreeable to his active and leading temperament, being
better fitted for debate; but one in which the close division in the
senate, often resulting in a tie between the supporters and opponents of
the new system, many times gave him a controlling voice. In the first
congress, he gave no fewer than twenty deciding votes, always upon
important organic laws, and always in support of Washington’s policy.

Down to this time Adams had sympathized with Jefferson politically,
with whom he had served both in congress and abroad. On the subject of
the French revolution, which now burst upon the world, a difference of
opinion arose between them. From the very beginning Adams, then almost
alone, had argued that no good could come from that movement,–as the
revolution went on and began to break out in excesses, others began to
be of this opinion.

Adams then gave public expression to some of his ideas by the
publication of his ‘Discourses on Davila,’ furnished to a Philadelphia
paper, and afterward collected and published in one volume,–taking the
history of nations, particularly Davila’s account of the French civil
wars, and the general aspects of human society as his texts.

Adams pointed out as the great springs of human activity,–at least in
all that related to politics,–the love of superiority, the desire of
distinction, admiration and applause; nor, in his opinion could any
government be permanent or secure which did not provide as well for the
reasonable gratification, as for the due restraint of this powerful
passion. Repudiating that democracy, pure and simple, then coming into
vogue, and of which Jefferson was the advocate; he insisted that a
certain mixture of aristocracy and monarchy was necessary to that
balance of interests and sentiments without which, as he believed, free
governments should not exist. This work, which reproduced more at length
and in a more obnoxious form the fundamental ideas of his ‘Defence of
the American Constitution,’ made Adams a great bugbear to the
ultra-democratic supporters of the principles and policy of the French
revolutionists; and at the second presidential election in 1792, they
set up as a candidate against him George Clinton, of New York, but Mr.
Adams was re-elected by a decided vote.

The wise policy of neutrality adopted by Washington received the hearty
concurrence of Adams. While Jefferson left the cabinet to become in
nominal retirement the leader of the opposition. Adams continued, as
vice-president, to give Washington’s administration the benefit of his
deciding vote. It was only by this means that a neutrality act was
carried through the senate, and that the progress was stopped of certain
resolutions which had previously passed in the House of Representatives,
embodying restrictive measures against Great Britain, intended, or at
least calculated, to counterwork the mission to England on which Mr. Jay
had already been sent.

Washington being firmly resolved to retire at the close of his second
presidential term, the question of the successorship now presented
itself. Jefferson was the leader of the opposition, who called
themselves republicans, the name democrat being yet in bad odor, and
though often imposed as a term of reproach, not yet assumed except by a
few of the more ultra-partisans. Hamilton was the leader of the federal
party, as the supporters of Washington’s administration had styled
themselves.

Though Hamilton’s zeal and energy had made him, even while like
Jefferson in nominal retirement, the leader of his party, he could
hardly be said to hold the place with the Federalists that Jefferson did
with the Republicans. Either Adams or Jay, from their age and long
diplomatic service, were more justly entitled to public honor and were
more conspicuously before the people. Hamilton, though he had always
spoken of Adams as a man of unconquerable intrepidity and incorruptible
integrity, and as such had already twice supported him for
vice-president, would yet have much preferred Jay.

The position of Adams was, however, such as to render his election far
more probable than that of Jay, and to determine on his selection as
candidate of the Federalist party. Jay, by his negotiation of the famous
treaty which bears his name, had for the moment called down upon himself
the hostility of its numerous opponents. Adams stood, moreover, as
vice-president, in the line of promotion, and was more sure of the New
England vote, which was absolutely indispensible to the success of
either.

As one of the candidates was taken from the North, it seemed best to
select the other from the South, and the selection of Thomas Pickney, of
South Carolina, was the result of this decision. Indeed, there were
some, Hamilton among the number, who secretly wished that Pickney might
receive the larger vote of the two, and so be chosen president over
Adams’ head. This result was almost sure to happen,–from the likelihood
of Pickney’s receiving more votes at the South than Adams, as he really
did,–could the northern federal electors be persuaded to vote equally
for Adams and Pickney, which Hamilton labored to effect.

The fear, however, that Pickney might be chosen over Adams led to the
withholding from Pickney of eighteen New England votes, so that the
result was not only to make Jefferson Vice-President, as having more
votes than Pickney, but also to excite prejudices and suspicions in the
mind of Adams against Hamilton, which, being reciprocated by him, led to
the disruption and final overthrow of the Federal party.

It had almost happened, such was the equal division of parties, that
Jefferson had this time been elected President. The election of Adams,
who had 71 votes to Jefferson’s 68, only being secured by two stray
votes cast for him, one in Virginia, and the other in North Carolina,
tributes of revolutionary reminiscences and personal esteem. Chosen by
this slender majority, Mr. Adams succeeded to office at a very dangerous
and exciting crisis in affairs. The progress of the French revolution
had superinduced upon previous party divisions a new and vehement
crisis.

Jefferson’s supporters, who sympathized very warmly with the French
Republic, gave their moral, if not their positive support, to the claim
set up by its rulers, but which Washington had refused to admit, that
under the provisions of the French treaty of alliance, the United States
were bound to support France against Great Britain, at least in defense
of her West India possessions. The other party, the supporters of Adams,
upheld the policy of neutrality adopted by Washington.

At the same time that Washington had sent Jay to England, to arrange, if
possible, the pending difficulties with that country; he had recalled
Morris who, as Minister to France, had made himself obnoxious to the now
predominent party there, and had appointed Monroe in his place. This
gentleman, instead of conforming to his instructions, and attempting to
reconcile France to Jay’s mission, had given them assurance on the
subject quite in contradiction of the treaty as made, both the formation
and ratification of which he had done his best to defeat. He, in
consequence, had been recalled by Washington shortly before the close of
his term of office, and C. C. Pickney, a brother of Thomas Pickney, had
been appointed in his place. The French authorities, offended at this
change, and the ratification of Jay’s treaty in spite of their
remonstrances, while they dismissed Monroe with great ovations, refused
to receive the new embassador sent in his place, at the same time
issuing decrees and orders highly injurious to American interests.

Almost the first act of Mr. Adams, as President, was to call an extra
session of Congress. Not only was a war with France greatly to be
dreaded and deprecated on account of her great military and naval power,
but still more on account of the very formidable party which, among the
ultra-Republicans, she could muster within the States themselves. Under
these circumstances, the measure resolved upon by Adams and his cabinet
was the appointment of a new and more solemn commission to France,
composed of Pickney and two colleagues, for which purpose the President
appointed John Marshall of Virginia, and Elbridge Gerry of
Massachusetts.

Instead of receiving and openly treating with those commissioners,
Talleyrand, lately an exile in America, but now Secretary of Foreign
Affairs to the French Government, entered into intrigue with them,
through several unaccredited and unofficial agents, of which the object
was to induce them to promise a round bribe to the directors and a large
sum of money to fill the exhausted French treasury, by way of purchasing
forbearance. As Pickney and Marshall appeared less pliable than Gerry,
Talleyrand finally obliged them to leave, after which he attempted,
though still without success, to extract money, or at least the promise
of it, from Gerry.

The publication of the dispatches in which these discreditible intrigues
were disclosed, an event on which Talleyrand had not calculated,
produced a great excitement in both America and Europe. Talleyrand
attempted to escape by disavowing his agents, and pretending that the
American ministers had been imposed upon by adventurers. Gerry left
France, and the violation of American commercial and maritime rights was
pushed to new extremes. In America the effect of all of this was to
greatly strengthen the Federal party for the time being.

The grand jury of the federal circuit court for Pennsylvania set the
example of an address to the president, applauding his manly stand for
the rights and dignity of the nation. Philadelphia, which under the lead
of Mifflin and McKean, had gone over to the Republicans, was once more
suddenly converted as during Washington’s first term to the support of
the federal government. That city was then the seat of the national
newspaper press. All the newspapers, hitherto neutral, published there,
as well as several others which had leaned decidedly toward the
opposition, now came out in behalf of Adams.

Besides an address from five thousand citizens, the young men got up an
address of their own. This example was speedily imitated all over the
country, and the spirited replies of the president, who was now in his
element, served in their turn to blow up and keep ablaze the patriotic
enthusiasm of his countrymen. These addresses, circulated everywhere in
the newspapers, were collected at the time in a volume, and they
appeared in Adams’ works, of which they form a characteristic portion. A
navy was set on foot, the old continental navy having become extinct. An
army was voted and partly levied, of which Washington accepted the chief
command, and merchant ships were authorized to protect themselves.

The treaty with France was declared at an end, and a quasi war with
France ensued. It was not, however, the policy of France to drive the
United States into the arms of Great Britain. Even before Gerry’s
departure, Talleyrand had made advances tending toward reconciliation,
which were afterward renewed by communications opened with Van Murray,
the American minister to Holland. The effect of the French outrages, and
the progress of the French revolution had been to create in a part of
the federal party, at least, a desire for an absolute breach with
France–a desire felt by Hamilton, and by at least three out of the four
cabinet officers whom Adams had chosen and kept in office.

In his message to congress, announcing the expulsion of Pickney and
Marshall, Adams had declared that he would never send another minister
to France without assurance that he would be received. This was on the
21st of July, 1798. Therefore, when on the 18th of February following,
without consulting his cabinet or giving them any intimation of his
intentions, he sent into the senate the nomination of Van Murray as
minister to France, the act took the country by surprise, and thus
hastened the defeat of the federal party, his actions being so contrary
to his avowed intentions. Some previous acts of Adams, such as the
appointment of Gerry, which his cabinet officers had striven to prevent,
and his disinclination to make Hamilton second in command, until
vehemently urged into it by Washington, had strengthened the distrust
entertained of Adams by Hamilton.

Adams, in his attempt to reopen diplomatic intercourse with France, was
accused of seeking to reconcile his political opponents of the
Republican party, and thus secure by unworthy and impolitic concessions,
his own re-election as president. The opposition to Van Murray’s
nomination prevailed so far that he received two colleagues, Ellsworth
of Connecticut and Davies of North Carolina; but the president would not
authorize the departure of Ellsworth or Davies until he had received
explicit assurances from Talleyrand that they would be duly received as
ministers. On arriving in France they found the Directory superseded by
Napoleon Bonaparte who was first counsel, with whom they managed to
arrange the difficulty.

But, however beneficial to the country, this mission proved very
disastrous to Adams personally, and to the political party to which he
belonged. He justified its appointment on the ground of assurances
conveyed to him through a variety of channels that France desired peace,
and he excused himself for his not having consulted his cabinet by the
fact that he knew their mind without asking it–to be decidedly hostile,
that is, to any such attempt as he had decided to make.

The masses of the federalists, fully confident of Adams’ patriotism,
were well enough disposed to acquiesce in his judgment; but many of the
leaders were implacable. The quarrel was further aggravated by Adams’
dismissal of his cabinet officers and the construction of a new cabinet.

The pardon of Fries, who had been convicted of treason for armed
resistance to the levy of certain direct taxes in Pennsylvania, was
regarded by many at that time as a piece of misplaced lenity on the part
of Adams, dictated, it was said, by a mean desire of popularity in a
case where the severest example was needed. But Adams can hardly suffer
with posterity from his unwillingness to be the first president to sign
a death warrant for treason, especially as there was room for grave
doubts whether the doings of this person amounted to treason as defined
by the constitution of the United States.

In this divided condition of the Federal party the presidential election
came on. Adams was still too popular with the mass of the party to think
of dropping him altogether, and the malcontents reduced to the old
expedient of attempting, by secret understanding and arrangements, to
reduce his vote in the electoral college below that of C. C. Pickney,
the other candidate on the federal ticket.

The Republicans, on the other hand, under the prospect of an arrangement
with France, rapidly recovered from the blow inflicted upon them by the
violence and mercenary rapacity lately charged upon their French
friends, but which they now insisted, was a charge without foundation.
Taking advantage of the dissatisfaction at the heavy taxes necessarily
imposed to meet the expenses of warlike preparations, and especially of
the unpopularity of the alien and sedition laws–two acts of congress to
which the prospect of war had led–they pushed the canvass with great
energy; while in Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr they had two leaders
unsurpassed for skill in party tactics, and in Burr at least, one little
scrupulous as to the means to be used.

Not only was the whole blame of the alien and sedition acts, to which he
had merely assented without even recommending, laid on Adams’ shoulders,
but he was the object of vehement and most bitter attacks for having
surrendered, under one of the provisions of Jay’s treaty, one Thomas
Nash, an English sailor, charged with mutiny and murder. Nor was it
against his public acts alone, nor even to his political opponents, that
these assaults on Mr. Adams were confined. With strong feeling and busy
imagination, loving both to talk and write, Adams had been betrayed into
many confidences and into free expressions of feeling, opinions, and
even conjectures and suspicions–a weakness very unsuited to the
character of a statesman, and one which Adams had during his life many
times the occasion to rue.

During Washington’s first term of office, Adams had thus been led into a
confidential correspondence with Tench Coxe, who at that time held the
position of assistant secretary of the treasury and had afterward been
appointed supervisor of the internal revenue. Since Adam’s accession he
had been dismissed from his place on the charge of being a spy upon the
treasury department in the service of the _Aurora_, the principal
newspaper organ of the opposition,–with which party Coxe sympathized,
and, since his recent dismissal from office, acted.

In this state of mind Coxe betrayed a confidential letter to him from
Adams; which, after being handed around in manuscript for some time, to
the great damage of Adams with his own party, was finally printed in the
_Aurora_, of which Coxe had become one of the principal contributors.

The purport of this letter, written as long ago as May, 1792, was to
give countenance to the charge of the opposition that Washington’s
cabinet, and of course Adams’ which followed the same policy, was under
British influence; and that the Pickney brothers, candidates with Adams
on the presidential ticket, were especially liable to this suspicion.
The publication of this letter was followed by a still more deadly blow
in the shape of a pamphlet, written, printed and signed by
Hamilton,–probably intended by him for private distribution among his
friends, but which was made public by Aaron Burr, who had succeed in
obtaining some of the proof sheets.

This pamphlet had its origin in the same charge against Hamilton of
being under the influence of British gold, thrown out by Adams in
private conversation. To this he had refused to give any explanation
when written to by Hamilton, though when a similar request was made by
C. C. Pickney in consequence of the publication of the letter to Coxe,
Adams fully exonerated, in a published letter, both Pickney and his
brother from any suspicion which his letter to Coxe might seem
calculated to convey.

Hamilton declared in the conclusion of his pamphlet that, as things then
stood, he did not recommend the withholding of a single vote from Adams.
Yet, it was the leading object of his pamphlet to show, without denying
Adams’ patriotism or integrity, or even his talents, that he had great
defects of character which disqualified him for the position of chief
magistrate, and the effect which he desired it to have must have been to
give C. C. Pickney the presidency, by causing a certain number of votes
to be withheld from Adams.

The result of the election, however, was to throw out both the federal
candidates, while Adams receiving forty-five votes and Pickney
fifty-four; Jefferson and Burr each received seventy-three. In the
ensuing struggle between Jefferson and Burr, Adams took no part
whatever. Immediately on the expiration of his term of office he left
Washington, where shortly before the seat of government had been moved,
without even stopping to be present at the inauguration of Jefferson,
against whom he felt a sense of personal wrong, probably thinking he
had been deluded by false professions as to Jefferson’s views on the
presidential chair.

Though both were much given to letter-writing, and had to within a short
time before been on terms of friendly intercourse, this state of
feelings, on the part of Adams, led to strict non-intercourse for the
next thirteen years. The only acknowledgment which Adams carried with
him, in this unwelcome and mortifying retirement for his twenty-five
years’ services was the privilege, which had been granted to Washington
on his withdrawal from the presidency, and after his death to his widow,
and bestowed likewise upon all subsequent ex-presidents and their
widows, of receiving his letters free of postage for the remainder of
his life.

Fortunately for Adams, his thrifty habits and love of independence,
sustained during his absence from home by the economical and managing
talents of his wife, had enabled him to add to what he had saved from
his profession before entering public life, savings from his salaries,
enough to make up a sufficient property to support him for the remainder
of his life, in conformity with his ideas of a decent style of propriety
and solid comfort. Almost all his savings he had invested in the farming
lands about him. In his vocabulary, property meant land. With all the
rapid wealth then being made through trade and navigation, he had no
confidence in the permanency of any property but land, views in which he
was confirmed by the commercial revulsions of which he lived to be a
witness.

Adams was the possessor, partly by inheritance and partly by purchase,
of his father’s farm, including the house in which he himself was born.
He had, however, transferred his own residence to a larger and
handsomer dwelling near by, which had been forfeited by one of the
refugee tories of the revolution and purchased by him, where he spent
the next quarter of a century.

In this comfortable home, acquired by himself, he sought consolation for
his troubled spirit in the cultivation of his lands, in books and in the
bosom of his family. Mrs. Adams, to her capacities as a house-keeper,
steward and farm manager, added a brightness and activity of mind and a
range of reading, such as fully qualified her to sympathize with her
husband in his public as well as his private career. She shared his
tastes for books, and as his letters to her are unsurpassed by any
American letters ever yet published, so hers to him, as well as to
others, from which a selection has also been published, show her, though
exhibiting less of nature and more of formality than he, yet worthy of
admiration and respect as well as of the tenderness with which he always
regarded her.

To affections strong enough to respond to his, a sympathy equal to his
highest aspirations, a proud feeling and an enjoyment of it equal to his
own, she added what is not always found in such company, a flexibility
sufficient to yield to his stronger will without disturbance to her
serenity or his, and without the least compromise of her own dignity or
her husband’s respect and deference for her. While she was not ignorant
of the foibles of his character, and knew how to avail herself of them
when a good purpose was to be served by it, yet her admiration of his
abilities, her reliance upon his judgment, her confidence in his
goodness, and her pride in his achievements, made her always ready to
yield and to conform. His happiness and honor were always her leading
object. This union was blessed with children well calculated to add to
this happiness.

Just at the moment of his retirement from office private grief was added
to political disappointment by the death of his second son Charles, who
had grown to manhood, had been married and had settled in New York with
flattering prospects, but had died under painful circumstances, which
his father speaks of in a contemporary letter as the deepest affliction
of his life, leaving a wife and two infant children dependent on him.
Colonel Smith, an officer of the revolution, who had been Adams’
secretary of legation at London and who had married his only daughter,
did not prove in all respects such a son-in-law as he would have wished.
Smith’s pecuniary affairs becoming embarrassed, his father-in-law had
provided for him by several public appointments, the last of which was
that of the surveyor of New York, which position he was allowed to hold
until 1807, when he was removed from it in consequence of his
implication in Miranda’s expedition. Nor did Thomas, the third son,
though a person of accomplishments and talents, fully answer the hopes
of his parents.

But all these disappointments were more than made good by the eldest
son, John Quincy, who subsequently to his recall from the diplomatic
service abroad, into which Washington had introduced him and in which
his father, urged by Washington, had promoted him, was chosen one of the
senators in congress from Massachusetts.

All consolations, domestic or otherwise, at Mr. Adam’s command, were
fully needed. Never did a statesman sink more suddenly,–at a time too
when his powers of action and inclinations for it seemed
unimpaired–from a leading position to more absolute political
insignificance. His grandson tells us that while the letters addressed
to him in the year prior to March 1st, 1801, may be counted by the
thousands, those of the next year scarcely numbered a hundred, while he
wrote even less than he received. Nor was mere neglect the worst of it.
He sank, loaded with the jibes, the sneers, the execrations even, of
both political parties into which the nation was divided. In his
correspondence, which appears to have gradually increased and extended
itself, Mr. Adams loved to re-explain his theoretical ideas of
government, on some points of which he pushed Jefferson hard, and which
the result of the French revolution so far as then developed seemed to
confirm.

Another subject in which he continued to feel a great interest was
theology. He had begun as an Arminian, and the more he had read and
thought, and the older he grew to be, the freer views he took. Though
clinging with tenacity to the religious institutions of New England, it
would seem from his correspondence that he finally curtailed his
theology to the ten commandments and the sermon on the mount. Of his
views on this point, he gave evidence in his last public act, to which
we now approach.

Mrs. Adams had died in 1818, but even that shock, severe as it was, did
not loosen the firm grasp of the husband on life, its enjoyments and its
duties. When, in consequence of the erection of the district of Maine
into a State, a convention was to meet in 1820 to revise the
constitution of Massachusetts, in the framing of which Mr. Adams had
taken so leading a part, though in his eighty-sixth year, he was chosen
a delegate by his townsmen. Upon his first appearance, with a form yet
erect, though tremulous with age, in this Convention, which was
composed of the very cream of the great minds with which the State
abounded, Mr. Adams was received by members standing, and with every
demonstration of affection and esteem; and a series of resolutions were
forthwith passed, containing an enumeration and warm acknowledgement of
some of his principal public services, and calling on him to preside.
But this, while duly acknowledging the compliment, he declined, on the
score of his age and infirmities. The same cause also prevented his
taking any active part in the proceedings. Yet he labored to secure a
modification of the third article of the bill of rights, on the subject
of public worship and its support, an article which, when originally
drafting the rest of that instrument, he had passed over to other hands.

But the time had not yet come for such changes as he wished. The old
puritan feeling was still too great to acknowledge the equal rights,
political and religious, of other than Christians. Yet, however it might
be with his colleagues and fellow-citizens, Mr. Adams, in this movement,
expressed his own ideas. One of his latest letters, written in 1825, and
addressed to Jefferson, is a remarkable protest against the blasphemy
laws, so-called, of Massachusetts, and the rest of the Union, as being
utterly inconsistent with the right of free inquiry and private
judgment. It is in the letters of Mr. Adams, of which but few have ever
been published, that his genius as a writer and a thinker, and no less
distinctly his character as a man, is displayed. Down even to the last
year of his protracted life, his letters exhibit a wonderful degree of
vitality, energy, playfulness, and command of language.

As a writer of English–and we may add as a speculative
philosopher–little as he ever troubled himself with revision and
correction, he must be placed first among Americans of all the several
generations to which he belonged, excepting only Franklin; and if
Franklin excelled him in humor and geniality, he far surpassed Franklin
in compass and vivacity. Indeed, it is only by the recent publication of
his letters that his gifts in these respects are becoming well known.
The first installment of his private letters published during his
lifetime, though not deficient in these characteristics, yet having been
written under feelings of great aggravation, and in a spirit of extreme
bitterness against his political opponents, was rather damaging to him
than otherwise. In the interval from 1804 to 1812, Mr. Cunningham, a
maternal relative, had drawn him into a private correspondence in which,
still smarting under a sense of injury, he had expressed himself with
perfect unreserve and entire freedom as to the chief events of his
presidential administration and the character and motives of the parties
concerned in them.

By a gross breach of confidence, of which Mr. Adams, like other
impulsive and confiding persons, often had been the victim, those
letters were sold by Cunningham’s heir in 1824, while the writer and
many of the parties referred to were still alive. They were published as
a part of the electioneering machinery against John Quincy Adams. They
called out a violent retort from Colonel Pickering, who had been
secretary of State to Washington and Adams, till dismissed from office
by the latter; but though Mr. Jefferson was also severely handled in
them, they occasioned no interruption to the friendly relation which had
been re-established between him and Mr. Adams.

Those two leading actors in American politics, at first so co-operative
and afterward so hostile, again reunited in friendly intercourse, having
outlived almost all of their fellow-actors, continued to descend hand in
hand to the grave. Adams lived to see his son president, and to receive
Jefferson’s congratulations on the same. By a remarkable coincidence,
they both expired on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of
Independence, in which they both had taken so active a part, Adams,
however, being the survivor by a few hours.

Of Adams’ personal appearance and domestic character in his old age, his
grandson gives the following account: “In figure, John Adams was not
tall, scarcely exceeding middle height, but of a stout, well-knit frame,
denoting vigor and long life, yet as he grew old inclining more and more
to corpulence. His head was large and round, with a wide forehead and
expanded brows. His eye was mild and benignant, perhaps even humorous
when he was free from emotion, but when excited it fully expressed the
vehemence of the spirit that stirred within.”

“His presence was grave and imposing on serious occasions, but not
unbending. He delighted in social conversation, in which he was
sometimes tempted to what he called rodomontade. But he seldom fatigued
those who heard him; for he mixed so much of natural vigor of fancy and
illustration with the store of his acquired knowledge, as to keep alive
their interest for a long time.”

“His affections were warm, though not habitually demonstrated toward his
relatives. His anger, when thoroughly aroused, was for a time extremely
violent, but when it subsided it left no trace of malevolence behind.
Nobody could see him intimately without admiring the simplicity and
truth which shone in his actions, and standing in some awe of the power
and energy of his will. It was in these moments that he impressed those
around him with a sense of his greatness. Even the men employed on his
farm were in the habit of citing instances, some of which have been
remembered down to the present day.”

“At times his vehemence became so great as to make him overbearing and
unjust. This was apt to happen in cases of pretension and any kind of
wrong-doing. Mr. Adams was very impatient of cant, or of opposition to
any of his deeply established convictions. Neither was his indignation
at all graduated to the character of the individuals who might happen to
excite it. He had little respect of persons, and would hold an
illiterate man or raw boy to as heavy a responsibility for uttering a
crude heresy, as the strongest thinker or the most profound scholar.”

The same writer makes the following remarks on his general character:
“His nature was too susceptible to emotions of sympathy and kindness,
for it tempted him to trust more than was prudent in the professions of
some who proved unworthy of his confidence. Ambitious in one sense he
certainly was, but it was not the mere aspiration for place or power. It
was a desire to excel in the minds of men by the development of high
qualities, the love, in short, of an honorable fame, that stirred him to
exult in the rewards of popular favor. Yet this passion never tempted
him to change a course of action or to suppress a serious conviction, to
bend to a prevailing error or to disavow one odious truth.”

In these last assertions we do not fully concur. They involve some
controverted points of history; however, they may be made with far more
plausibility of Mr. Adams than of the greater portion of political men.

There is much in the life of John Adams worthy of careful consideration.
He rose from poverty to distinction; he was a capable man, capable of
filling the highest place in the estimation of his posterity, yet his
serious faults led to his political ruin. The careful perusal of his
life will enable one to understand the principles of the two great
parties of to-day, modified though they be, the fundamental principles
remaining the same.

 

 

THOMAS JEFFERSON.

 

The subject of this narrative was born in Virginia, in the year 1743, on
the 2nd day of April. As young Jefferson was born to affluence and was
bountifully blessed with all the educational advantages which wealth
will bring, many of our young readers may say–well, I could succeed,
perhaps, had I those advantages. We will grant that you could provided
you took means similar to those used by Jefferson, for while we must
admit that all cannot be Jeffersons, nor Lincolns, nor Garfields, still
we are constantly repeating in our mind the words of the poet:–

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time,”

it has been said that where twenty enter the dry-goods trade nineteen
will fail and from their despair behold the odd one succeed–utilizing
the very weapons within their own grasp to bring about his success. This
is true, not only of the dry-goods trade but of all trades, of all
professions, and to resume our subject–Jefferson had much with which to
contend.

He finally attended school at William and Mary College for two years.
Here he strove to cultivate friendly feelings with all whom he met, with
excellent success, becoming very popular with both companions and
teachers. It was while a student that he heard the famous speech of
Patrick Henry; and those immortal words, “GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME
DEATH,” seemed to kindle within him a patriotic spirit which grew until
it burst forth in that noble statue to his memory,–the Declaration of
Independence, which was the work of his pen. He studied law for a time,
after a two years’ college course, when, in 1767 he began its practice.

As Mr. Jefferson is described as tall and spare with gray eyes and red
hair, surely his success is not due to his personal appearance. At the
beginning of his practice he was not considered what might be termed
brilliant, but the fact that he was employed on over two hundred cases
within the first two years of his practice proves the secret of his
success to have been his undefatigable energy. It is also stated that he
rarely spoke in public which shows his good sense in discovering where
his strength lay,–then pushing on that line to success.

He was elected by his countrymen to the house of Burgesses where he at
once took a decided stand against parliamentary encroachment. It was in
this first of his legislative efforts that he brought forward a bill
tending to the freedom of slaves, provided their masters felt so
disposed, but this measure was defeated. The house of Burgesses
appointed him a member of the committee of correspondence. The duty of
this committee was to disseminate intelligence upon the issues of the
day, notably the system of taxation which the mother-country was trying
to impose upon the colonies.

His article entitled: “A Summary View of the Rights of British America,”
was a masterly production, clearly defining the right of the colonies to
resist taxation, and it was the principles here set forth that were
afterwards adopted as the Declaration of Independence. This, paper was
printed, not only in America, but in England, where its author was
placed on the roll of treason and brought before parliament. This
document also placed Jefferson in America among the foremost writers of
that age; it also showed him to be a bold and uncompromising opponent of
oppression, and an eloquent advocate of constitutional freedom.

He was sent to the Continental Congress. On the floor he was silent but
he had the ‘reputation of a masterly pen,’ says John Adams, and in
committee was a most influential member. He drafted the Declaration of
Independence, and on June 28th it was laid before Congress and finally
adopted, with but a few verbal changes. This document probably has the
greatest celebrity of any paper of like nature in existence.

He now resigned his seat in Congress to push needed reform in his State
preparatory to the new order of affairs. The first thing needed was a
State constitution. Jefferson aided much in the framing of this. He was
placed on the committee to reorganize the State laws, and to Jefferson
is due the abolition of Primogenitureship–the exclusive right of the
first-born to all property of the family. The measure establishing
religious freedom, whereby people were not to be taxed for the support
of a religion not theirs, was also the work of his hand. These measures
were very democratic indeed and owing to the aristocratic views of the
people at that time, excited great opposition, but they were finally
passed and since have been law.

Thus it will be seen that Jefferson was the author of many of our
dearest ideas of equality. In 1778 he procured the passage of a bill
forbidding future importation of slaves and the next year he was elected
governor of Virginia, to succeed Patrick Henry. He assumed the duties of
this office in a most gloomy time. The enemy were preparing to carry the
war into the South, and Jefferson knew they would find Virginia almost
defenseless. Her resources were drained to the dregs to sustain
hostilities in South Carolina and Georgia, and her sea coast was almost
wholly unprotected. The State was invaded by the enemy several times and
once the Governor was almost captured by Tarleton.

Jefferson declined a re-election as he perceived that a military leader
was needed, and he was succeeded by General Nelson. Jefferson was
appointed one of the Ministers of the Colonies to Europe to assist Adams
and Franklin in negotiating treaties of commerce. He was the means which
brought about our system of coins, doing away with the old English
pounds, shillings and pence, substituting the dollar and fractions of a
dollar, even down to a cent. He became our Minister to France in 1785 in
place of Franklin who had resigned. Here he did good service for his
country by securing the admission into France of tobacco, flour, rice
and various other American products.

Being offered the head of Washington’s cabinet, he accepted it.
Immediately upon his entrance into the cabinet, in 1790, began the
struggle between the Federalist and Republican parties, their leaders,
Hamilton and now Jefferson, both being members of the cabinet. Jefferson
was probably the real originator of the State sovereignity idea, and the
constitution did not wholly meet his approval. He thought better of it,
however, when he became President and felt more forcibly the need of
authority in such a trying position.

He had just returned from an extended trip through Europe, and he
contended that the world was governed too much. He was intensely
Democratic in his belief and as the head of the then rising Republican
party–now the Democratic–opposed all measures which tended toward
centralizing in one government, characterizing all such measures as
leading to monarchy.

Washington was a Federalist, and in all the leading measures gave his
support to Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Jefferson’s opponent. As it was out of the
question for Jefferson to remain in the cabinet of an executive wholly
at variance with him politically, he accordingly resigned in 1793 and
retired to his farm at ‘Monticello’ to attend to his private affairs as
he was embarrassed financially at this time, and his attention was very
much needed.

In 1796, Washington designing to retire from public service, the two
great parties decided upon Adams and Jefferson as their
standard-bearers; the electoral votes being counted, it was found that
Adams stood first and Jefferson next. Adams was therefore declared
president and Jefferson, according to existing law, vice-president.
Then followed the alien and sedition laws and the war demonstrations
against France by the federal party, which was objected to by the
Republicans. The bearing of France became so unendurable that Washington
offered to take his place at the head of the army. Finding all else of
no avail, the Republicans resorted to the State Arenas; the result was
the ‘Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of ’98,’ the former of which was
the work of Jefferson, the latter that of Madison. As is well known
these were the foundation, years after, of Calhoun’s Nullification
Views. It was a principle of Jefferson, which was never effectually
settled, until civil war had rent the nation almost in twain.

Happily peace triumphed, and in the campaign that followed, the
Republicans were successful, Mr. Jefferson becoming president–Aaron
Burr vice-president. Jefferson’s ascension to the presidency caused a
complete revolution in the politics of the country. The central idea
around which the party revolved was the diffusion of power among the
people. To this idea they would bend every question indiscriminately,
whether it related to a national bank, tariff, slavery, or taxes. It
held that in the States themselves rested the original authority, that
in the government lay the power only for acts of a general character.
Jefferson, their first president, now came to Washington.

President Washington came to the capitol with servants in livery, in a
magnificent carriage drawn by four cream-colored horses, Jefferson came
on horseback, hitching his horse to a post while he delivered a fifteen
minute address. He abolished the presidential levees, and concealed his
birthday to prevent its being celebrated. He even detested the word
minister prefixed to one’s name, and eschewed breeches, wearing
pantaloons. It was during his administration that Louisiana was
purchased, although, according to his own theory, he had no
constitutional right to do so, but the great benefit derived from this
purchase soon silenced all opposition.

It was during his administration that the piratical Barbary States were
cured of their insolence, and in his second term that Burr’s trial
occurred. At the close of this second term he retired to private life to
become the ‘Sage of Monticello.’ He now turned his attention to the
establishing of the University of Virginia. He was a believer in the
free development of the human powers so far as was consistent with good
government. He subjected the constitution of the United States to a
careful scrutiny governed by this theory, and became convinced that the
doctrine of State sovereignty was right and he fought for it
persistently when called to the head of the government.

His inaugural address breathed that idea, but when Aaron Burr bearded
the authority of his government he began to realize the rottenness of
such a foundation, and when it came to the purchase of Louisiana, his
doctrine had to be stretched, and he finally became convinced, as he
expressed it, that the Government must show its teeth.

On July 4th, 1826, at a little past noon, he died, a few hours before
his political opponent, but fast friend, John Adams. How strange to
think that about that hour fifty years before they had each signed the
declaration of the freedom of the country which they had so ably served.
The granite for his monument lies unquarried nor is its erection needed.
The Declaration of Independence is a far greater monument than could be
fashioned from brass or stone.

 

 

JOHN MARSHALL.

 

America has been bountifully blessed with great and good men. Washington
‘The father’–I was about to say–‘founder of his country’; Jefferson
who taught us the beauty of plain dress but rich manners; Hamilton who
placed a tottering treasury upon a strong foundation,–Great indeed were
all of these, but there was born in Fouquier county, Virginia, on the
24th day of September, 1755, a child who was to be known to all
posterity as the great Chief Justice of the United States. This was John
Marshall.

He was the eldest of a family of fifteen children. In early boyhood he
took an interest in poetry and was perfectly familiar with Dryden, Pope,
Milton and Shakespeare. He was for many years full of dreamy romance and
poetical enthusiasm, and his solitary meditations were usually amid the
wildest scenery.

After a short college course at West Moreland, where he had as a
fellow-student James Monroe, and a further classical education under a
resident clergyman; he, at eighteen, began the study of law, but
enlisted to fight the British before he obtained a license to practice.
He soon took a part with his regiment, of which his father was major, in
the battle of Great Bridge leading, as lieutenant, in a flanking party
which advanced in the face of a murderous fire and put an end to the
engagement.

He belonged to the Culpepper Minute-men, who wore green hunting shirts
with “Liberty or Death” on the bosom in white letters, and who carried
a banner which displayed a coiled rattlesnake with the motto, “Don’t
tread on me.” He took a part in the battle of Brandywine, Germantown and
Monmouth; he shared the hardships of Valley Forge; in fact saw almost
continuous service from the time he enlisted at the beginning until the
glorious end, for which he had so sanguinely waited, came.

Meanwhile he had studied some, and had attended a course of lectures
delivered by the renowned Mr Wythe at William and Mary College, and had
secured a license to practice. At the close of hostilities he commenced
business as an attorney; with marked success from the first.

That extraordinary comprehension and grasp of mind by which difficulties
were seized and overcome without parade, commended the attention of the
courts of justice; and his sweet temper and loving ways gained for him a
host of friends. Such a man, who possessed not only ability but a
perfect control of himself, MUST SUCCEED. He soon rose to distinction,
being elected to a seat in the council of the State. He was married in
1783 to the daughter of the State treasurer and moved to Richmond.

In spite of this removal his old neighbors re-elected him to represent
their county, and in 1787 he became a member from his adopted county,
Henrico. As is well-known, the Federal constitution was considered by
many an approach to monarchy. It was held by Jefferson and many of his
followers as tending toward that state of things of which they had so
much to fear. At the Virginia Convention, assembled to discuss the
constitution drawn up at Philadelphia, where great opposition was
developed, Mr. Marshall’s speech had a crushing effect on its
assailants. He next became a member from Richmond, that city now being
entitled to a representative, where he remained for three years.

Virginia was the headquarters of the State rights party, headed by
Jefferson. Mr. Marshall supported the administration of Washington,
defining the Federal view so clearly that it carried conviction, yet so
calmly and with such moderation of tone, that when he retired from that
body in 1792 he left not an enemy behind. He now devoted himself to his
profession with unbounded success. While attending to a large legal
practice, he also frequently appeared at public meetings in support of
the administration of Washington.

In 1795 he was again a member of the House. In the violent debate over
Jay’s treaty he became its champion, and by a most eloquent speech,
before a body that had condemned it, he secured an amendment to their
resolution, reversing their former decision, and the passage of one
favorable to the policy. Washington offered him a place in his Cabinet,
but he refused, as it would interfere with his profession; later he was
offered the mission to France, which he also declined. In 1797 President
Adams sent another delegation to France, which he accepted, and with
Pickney and Gerry proceeded to Paris.

Upon his return he immediately resumed his practice, but was urged to
defend his party. Washington finally prevailed upon him to run for
Congress, to which he was elected in 1799. Even during the canvass Adams
offered him a seat on the Supreme Bench, which he declined. Within a few
weeks from the time of his entrance upon his duties as Congressman, he
was called upon to announce in that body the death of Washington. His
words were few, but were ever remembered as producing a profound
impression.

Washington, the great Federal leader was dead. Virginia had passed the
resolution of 1798, recording her solemn protest, and the Republicans
were flushed with the daily increasing revulsion against the Federal
Government. At this crisis John Marshall appeared in Congress and
stepped to the front as the leader of his party. In 1800 he was
appointed Secretary of War. Before he entered upon his duties he is
placed at the head of the Cabinet as Secretary of State, and a few
months later his name is sent by the President to Congress, and is
unanimously confirmed for the position of Chief Justice of the United
States.

John Marshall has been heretofore recognized as a man of great ability,
and now he takes a position which he holds for life, and where his
influence is paramount. On one occasion a young house-keeper was
swearing lustily because he could find no one to carry his turkey home
for him. A plain man standing by offered to perform the service, and
when they arrived at the door the young man asked, ‘What shall I pay
you, sir’? ‘O nothing,’ replied the old man; ‘It was on my way, and no
trouble.’ ‘Who is that polite old gentleman,’ asked the young man of a
bystander. The reply was, ‘That is the Chief Justice of the United
States.’ The young man drank the bitter cup without further comment.

An eminent writer once said of him: Here is John Marshall, whose mind
seems to be an inexhaustible quarry from which he draws the materials
and builds his fabrics rude and Gothic, but of such strength that
neither time nor force can beat them down; a fellow who would not turn
off a single step from the right line of his argument, though a paradise
should rise to tempt him.

What more could be said of him,–only that he died at Philadelphia on
the 6th of July, 1835; more would be superfluous.

 

 

ALEXANDER HAMILTON.

 

Upon the accession of the Republicans to the control of the government,
Jefferson ordered the books of Hamilton searched to ascertain what
charges could be made against him, and to discover the alleged blunders
and frauds perpetrated by the Federal official while in office. Albert
Gallatin, himself one of the greatest financiers of his age, undertook
the task with a hearty relish as he at that time entertained no great
esteem for the great Federalist. Struck by the almost absolute
perfection of the system, Gallatin reported to the President that any
change would certainly injure it and that no blunders or frauds had been
committed.

This great man was born on one of the West India Islands, January 11th,
1757. His father failed when he was young and his mother died leaving
the poor child in actual want. He was taken by friends at Santa Cruz. He
had no great educational advantages there, but being able to read both
English and French he devoured all such books as fell in his way. He was
placed in a counting-house in Santa Cruz and, although he detested the
business, applied himself diligently to his task and the knowledge here
gained was no small factor of his future great success as a financier.

He applied every spare moment to study and early began to use his pen.
In 1772 a hurricane passed through St. Christophers, and an account
which young Hamilton then wrote for the papers attracted so much
attention that his friends decided to give him a better chance. They
accordingly raised the money with which to send him to New York to
school, and after a few months spent at a grammar school in
Elizabethtown, New Jersey, he entered Columbia College, New York–then
called Kings College. Here he began study preparatory to a medical
course.

About this time his attention became drawn toward the struggle which was
about to commence between Great Britain and America, and at a public
meeting he made a short speech which attracted general attention. He was
now but seventeen years of age, yet his pen was keenly felt in the
interest of America, through the columns of _Holts Journal_, to which he
had become a regular contributor. He entered the army as captain of an
artillery company which he was the chief means of raising, and did good
service at White Plains, Trenton and Princeton.

He secured this position through the influence of General Schuyler and,
although but nineteen years of age, he was well qualified for the
position, having made a study of artillery tactics. His ability had not
escaped the attention of the army, and he was placed upon Washington’s
staff with rank of lieutenant-colonel. Washington needed some one to
take charge of his great correspondence,–some one who could think for
himself. Young as Hamilton was he assumed the entire responsibility of
chief secretary, besides rendering much valuable assistance as aid. He
married one of General Schuyler’s daughters, and this alliance with one
of the wealthiest families in the State proved a most fortunate epoch in
his life. A difference arising between Washington and himself he
resigned and, although Washington sent an apology, he refused to recall
his resignation however their mutual esteem was continued. He
subsequently commanded a brigade at the battle of Yorktown.

He now took up his residence at Albany and began the study of law with
his wife’s father. He was soon licensed to practice, and was chosen one
of the delegates to the Continental Congress. He realized the necessity
of vesting more power in congress and secured the adoption, by the State
of New York, of a resolution urging the amendment of the constitution
with that object in view. He now moved to New York where he soon
acquired an immense practice. His efforts in behalf of the constitution
were untiring and useful.

When Washington became president he selected Hamilton as his Secretary
of Treasury. It was a wise choice as financial difficulties were the
most formidable of any in the way of the administration, and no man was
more capable of bringing order out of chaos than Alexander Hamilton. All
parties agreed that the debts incurred abroad must be met according to
contract, but as a large amount of the domestic debt was in the hands of
men who had bought it for a rise it had been suggested that these
obligations be settled upon the basis of the amount paid for them by
their present holders. This measure Hamilton opposed. While
acknowledging that speculation was an evil, still he saw that such a
measure would tend to weaken our financial credit. He also brought
about the assumption by the government of the entire State debt incurred
during the war. This measure was strongly opposed by Jefferson, and its
passage had a marked effect on our system tending to centralize
authority.

It will thus be seen that to Alexander Hamilton belongs no small share
of founding and shaping the destiny of this powerful country of to-day.
Like many other great and good men, he was obliged to suffer the slander
of the press, which charged him with a misappropriation of the public
money, but as has already been shown in this narrative, it proved
nothing but a foul story concocted through jealousy and partisan hate,
and is no longer countenanced. His salary being insufficient for his
support, he resigned his position and resumed the practice of his
profession in New York. In the warlike demonstration of 1798 he became,
upon the death of General Washington, the Commander-in-Chief of all the
armies of America, but happily the war with France was averted and peace
restored.

Now we come to the saddest page of American history. We have followed
this poor homeless boy from childhood; we have seen him rise from
obscurity to a leading position at the bar, become a gallant soldier and
the greatest financier in America. And yet, when his country most needs
his council and help, we see him, at the age of fifty-seven, stricken
down by an assassin.

Aaron Burr was an ambitious politician. His alleged intrigues with the
Federalists, whereby he sought to effect the election of himself to the
presidency instead of Jefferson, the people’s choice, cost him the
confidence of his own party. Knowing New York to be the pivotal State,
he sought the gubernatorial chair through an independent vote, hoping
to secure Federal support, as it was conceded that they could not elect
a candidate of their own. Hamilton, himself as pure as the bright
sunshine, felt his party to be imposed upon by this intruder who, while
professing to be a Republican, was seeking to thrust himself upon the
other party.

At a caucus Hamilton warmly opposed the endorsement of a man whom he
characterized as dangerous and who had not ought to be trusted with the
reins of government. Hamilton took no active part in the campaign, but
his opinion was frequently quoted by those who did, and the result was
Burr’s defeat by Morgan Lewis. Attributing his defeat to Hamilton, and
feeling him to be his greatest political rival, he early sought a duel
with him. Hamilton detested this practice, and sought by all honorable
means, as he wrote to his wife, to avoid it. But finally he accepted,
not in the spirit of a professed duelist, but in the character of a
public man. They met on the morning of July 11th, 1804, on the fatal
field of Weehawken, New Jersey.

At the first fire Hamilton sprang on his tip-toes, and, after a
convulsive movement, fell forward on his face. At the same time his
weapon was accidentally discharged, his missile flying wide of its mark.
Indeed, Hamilton did not fire; in reality, he had resolved not to return
his antagonist’s fire, and never knew that his weapon was discharged, as
he was insensible when he fell. He died within thirty hours, and his
funeral was the most imposing ever witnessed in that day. Around the
name of Hamilton there glows a halo which has brightened in the ages.
Thus was America robbed of her brave soldier and pure statesman.

 

 

JAMES MADISON.

 

The subject of this narrative, James Madison, was born at King George,
Virginia, March 16th, 1751. His father was a planter, descended from
John Madison, an Englishman who settled in Virginia about the year 1656.
The maiden name of his mother was Eleanor Conway. He was the eldest of
seven children. He received a fairly good education but better still, he
applied himself very closely at college, so much so as to make him noted
in this respect; the result was seen in after years.

In 1772 he returned to Virginia and commenced a course of legal study.
He particularly studied up on public affairs, and in the spring of 1776
he was elected a member of the Virginia convention from the county of
Orange, and procured the passage of the substance of an amendment to the
declaration of rights, by George Mason, which struck out the old term
‘toleration’ and inserted a broader exposition of religious rights. In
the same year he was a member of the general assembly, but lost his
election in 1777, from his refusal to treat the voters, and the general
want of confidence in his powers of oratory. Thus, it is seen, that as
James Madison’s natural abilities could not have been very marked, his
success was the natural result of GREAT EXERTION.

The legislature, however, on meeting in November of the same year,
elected him a member of the council of the State; and in the winter of
1779 he was chosen by the assembly a delegate to congress. He took his
seat in March, 1780, and remained in that body for three years. He
strongly opposed the issue of paper money by the States, and was in
favor of a formal recommendation on the part of congress against the
continuance of the system. As chairman of the committee to prepare
instructions to the ministers at Versailles and Madrid, in support of
the claims of the confederacy to western territory and the free
navigation of the Mississippi, he drew an elaborate and able paper which
was unanimously adopted by congress. He zealously advocated in 1783 the
measure proposed to establish a system of general revenue to pay the
expenses of the war, and as chairman of the committee to which the
matter was referred, prepared an able address to the State in support of
the plan, which was adopted by congress and received the warm approval
of Washington.

The people of Virginia now began to realize the value of his services; a
striking proof of which is exhibited by the fact that the law rendering
him inelligible after three years’ service in Congress was repealed, in
order that he might sit during the fourth. On his return to Virginia he
was elected to the Legislature, and took his seat during 1784. In this
body he inaugurated the measures relating to a thorough revision of the
old statutes, and supported the bills introduced by the revisors,
Jefferson, Wyth, and Pendleton, on the subject of entails, primogeniture
(exclusive heirship belonging to the first born) and religious freedom.

He aided in the separation of Kentucky from Virginia, and the formation
of the new State, opposed the further issue of paper money, and favored
the payment of debts due British creditors. His greatest service at this
time was his preparation, after the close of the assembly, of a
“Memorial and Remonstrance” against the project of a general assessment
for the support of religion, which caused the utter defeat of the
measure, against which it was directed. In January, 1786, he obtained
the passage of a bill by the General Assembly inviting the other States
to appoint commissioners to meet at Annapolis and devise a new system of
commercial regulations. He was chosen one of the commissioners, and
attended at Annapolis in September of the same year. Five States only
were represented, and the commissioners recommended a convention of
delegates from all the States to meet at Philadelphia, in May, 1787. The
recommendation was generally adopted and, of course, Madison was chosen
one of the delegates from Virginia.

The convention assembled and the result was the abrogation of the old
articles and the formation of the Constitution of the United States.
Madison was prominent in advocating the Constitution and took a leading
part in the debates, of which he kept private notes, since published by
order of congress. His views of a federal government are set forth at
length in a paper still extant in the hand-writing of Washington, which
contains the substance of a letter written to Washington by Madison
before the meeting of the convention, proposing a scheme of thorough
centralization. The writer declares that he is equally opposed to ‘the
individual independence of the States,’ and to ‘the consolidation of the
whole into one simple republic.’

He is nevertheless in favor to invest in congress the power to exercise
‘a negative in all cases whatever on the legislative acts of the States,
as heretofore exercised by the kingly prerogative.’ He says further
‘that the right of coercion should be expressly declared; but the
difficulty and awkwardness of operating by force on the collective will
of a State, render it particularly desirable that the necessity of it
should be precluded.’ From these extreme views Madison conscientiously
departed, but in the convention he supported them with zeal and vigor.

The scheme known as the ‘Virginia Plan’ was adopted instead, and the
convention adjourned. The subsequent adoption of the Constitution was in
a large measure due to a series of essays, now familiar in their
collected form as “The Federalist.” They were commenced in a New York
newspaper soon after the adjournment of the Convention, and continued to
appear until June, 1788. The public journals everywhere republished
them, and it was soon known that they were the work of Hamilton,
Madison, and Jay. The volume remains the forcible exposition upon the
side which it espoused. The whole ground is surveyed, generally and in
detail; the various points at issue are discussed with the utmost
acuteness, and the advantages of the adoption of the instrument urged
with logical force and eloquence which place “The Federalist” beside the
most famous political writings of the old English worthies.

The Virginia convention, of which Madison was a member, assembled in
June. He had completely overcome his natural diffidence and, although
deficient as an orator, exerted a powerful influence over his
associates, contributing as much to the final triumph of the
constitution as any one in the body. The instrument was adopted by a
vote of eighty-nine to seventy-nine and the convention closed. The part
which he had taken in its deliberations very greatly increased Madison’s
reputation; and he was brought forward as a candidate for United States
Senator but was defeated. He was, however, chosen a member of congress
and took his seat in that body in 1789.

Alexander Hamilton was at the head of the treasury department and
Madison was obliged either to support the great series of financial
measures initiated by the secretary, or distinctly abandon his former
associate and range himself on the side of the republican opposition. He
adopted the latter course. Although he had warmly espoused the adoption
of the constitution, he was now convinced of the necessity of a strict
construction of the powers which it conferred upon the general
government. He accordingly opposed the funding bill, the national bank,
and Hamilton’s system of finance generally.

His affection for Washington, and long friendship for Hamilton, rendered
such a step peculiarly disagreeable to a man of Madison’s amiable and
kindly disposition, but the tone of his opposition did not alienate his
friends. Occupying, as he did, the middle ground between the violent
partisans on both sides he labored to reconcile the antagonism of the
two parties, and always retained the same cordial regard for Washington.

On Jefferson’s return from France, Madison was solicited to accept the
mission and it was kept open for twelve months awaiting his decision. He
declined the place, as he afterwards did the position of Secretary of
State on the retirement of Jefferson, from a firm conviction that the
radical antagonism of views between himself and a majority of the
members of the cabinet would render his acceptance of either office
fruitful in misunderstandings and collisions.

He remained in congress, becoming thoroughly identified with the
Republicans, and soon became the avowed leader in congress. In 1794 he
gave his full support to its foreign policy by moving a series of
resolutions, based upon the report of Jefferson, advocating a
retaliatory policy toward Great Britain, and commercial discriminations
in favor of France. These resolutions he supported in a speech of great
ability. In March, 1797, his term expired, and he returned to Virginia.

The insulting treatment of the American envoys to France and the war
message of President Adams were about to be followed by the passage of
the alien and sedition laws. The Republicans vainly tried to stem the
popular current in favor of the measures of the administration. The
passing of the alien and sedition laws in July, 1798, gave them the
first opportunity to make a stand. Opposition to even these violent
measures was however ineffectual in the Federal legislature; and the
Republican leaders determined to resort to the State arenas for the
decisive struggle.

It commenced in Kentucky, and resulted there in the adoption of a series
of resolutions, which were followed, in December, 1798, by similar
resolves of the Virginia Assembly. The latter, now known as “the
resolutions of 1798-‘9,” were drawn up by James Madison, not then a
member. They declared the determination of the Assembly to defend the
Constitution of the United States, but to resist all attempts to enlarge
the authority of the federal compact by forced constructions of general
clauses, as tending to consolidation, the destruction of the liberties
of the States, and finally to a monarchy.

In case of a “deliberate, palpable, and dangerous” exercise of powers
not clearly granted to the General Government, the States had a right to
interpose; and as the passing of the alien and sedition laws was such an
infraction of right, the assembly protested against those laws. The
seventh resolution called upon the other States to join with the State
of Virginia ‘in declaring, as it does hereby declare, that the acts
aforesaid are unconstitutional, and that the necessary and proper
measures will be taken by each for co-operating with this State in
maintaining unimpaired the authorities, rights and liberties reserved to
the States respectively, or to the people.’

The resolutions passed the House by a vote of 100 to 63, and were duly
communicated to the several States of the Union. They met with little
favor, especially in the Northern States. Massachusetts and New England
generally remonstrated against them, and declared the obnoxious laws
both constitutional and expedient. This drew forth, in the winter of
1799-1800, Madison’s “Report” in defence of his resolutions. This
elaborate paper subjected the resolves to an exhaustive analysis and
defended them with masterly vigor. It is the most famous of his
political writings and will rank with the greatest state papers written
in America.

Although the resolutions met with an unfavorable reception throughout
the States, they exerted a powerful influence on public opinion.
Virginia had shown how deeply in earnest she was by directing the
establishment of two arsenals, and an armory sufficiently large to store
10,000 muskets and other arms; but a wholesome change in the sentiment
of the country happily restored good feeling and softened down all
bitterness.

The alien and sedition laws found few supporters ultimately, and
Madison’s views were fully vindicated. The revulsion against the Federal
party and in favor of the Republicans, terminated in the election of
Jefferson, who entered upon the presidency in 1801. Madison was
Secretary of State during Jefferson’s entire administration, and his
opinions on public affairs closely agreed with those of the President.

He became still more popular with, and acceptable to, his party and
toward the close of Jefferson’s second term was generally spoken of as
his successor. A caucus of the majority of the Republican members of
Congress was finally held, and Madison was nominated. This met with
bitter opposition from a wing of the party, headed by John Randolph, who
were friendly to the nomination of Monroe. They published a caustic
‘Protest’ against the action of the caucus and denounced Madison for his
‘want of energy,’ his connection with the ‘Federalist,’ and his report
upon the Yazoo claims.

His friends defended him against all charges and retorted so strongly
upon the authors of the “Protest” that they were silenced. The action of
the caucus was generally approved by the party, and Madison was elected
by a vote of 123 out of 175, and took his seat as president, March 4,
1809.

President Madison entered upon his duties at a crisis in public affairs
which required the utmost foresight, resolution and prudence. Great
Britain and the United States were on the verge of war. In 1807 the long
series of wrongs inflicted by England upon the commerce of America, and
the rights of her seaman, had been consummated by the affair of the
Leopard and Chesapeake. This wanton insult had thrown the country into
violent commotion, and occasioned the embargo act, which had been
succeeded by the non-intercourse act, prohibiting all commerce with
France and England, until the decrees of the French emperor and the
British orders in council in relation to the seizure of neutrals and
the impressment of seamen were repealed.

The first of the British cabinet did not encourage peace. Mr. Erskine,
the English minister, in promising reparation for the affair of the
Chesapeake, and a repeal of the obnoxious orders in council, on
condition of a renewal of intercourse on the part of the United States,
was declared to have exceeded his authority, and was recalled. He was
succeeded by Mr. Jackson who was authorized to enter into a commercial
treaty, but speedily became embroiled with the Secretary of State. The
president directed the secretary to have no further communication with
him, and soon afterward requested his recall. This was complied with,
but no censure was visited upon the envoy, and no other was sent in his
place.

In May, 1810, congress approved the course of the executive, declared
the official communications of Mr. Jackson highly indecorous and
insolent, and passed a new act of non-intercourse. This provided that if
either France or England repealed her hostile decree, and the other did
not within three months do likewise, then intercourse should be resumed
with the one, while with the other non-intercourse should be persisted
in.

In August the French minister for Foreign Affairs gave notice to the
American minister that the Berlin and Milan decrees had been revoked by
the Emperor; and in November Madison issued a proclamation declaring the
fact, and announcing that the act of non-intercourse would be revived as
to Great Britain unless her orders in council should be revoked within
three months from the date of the proclamation.

The British government resisted this demand, on the ground that there
was no official evidence of the repeal of the French decrees, and the
act of non-intercourse was accordingly declared in full force against
Great Britain. In March, 1811, the Emperor Napoleon disavowed the
statement of the Duke of Cadore, and declared that “the decrees of
Berlin and Milan were the fundamental laws of the empire.” American
vessels had been seized and held by France even after the president’s
proclamation, and every overture on the part of the American minister at
Paris toward the re-establishment of friendly relations between the two
countries was viewed with indifference and utterly failed. The country
was slowly but surely drifting toward a war, which no exertions on the
part of the administration seemed adequate to prevent.

Madison pushed his pacific views to an extent that proved displeasing to
many of the most prominent men of the Republican party. Bills were
passed for augmenting the army, repairing and equipping ships of war,
organizing and arming the militia, and placing the country in an
attitude to resist an enemy; for all which congress appropriated
$1,000,000.

Madison acquiesced in this policy with extreme reluctance, but on June 1,
1812, transmitted a special message to congress in which he reviewed
the whole controversy, and spoke in strong terms of the aggressions of
Great Britain upon commercial rights. The act declaring war between
Great Britain and America speedily followed. The president gave it his
approval on June 18, and promptly issued his proclamation calling upon
the people to prepare for the struggle, and to support the government.

A short delay would probably have defeated the policy of the war party,
and re-opened the old negotiations. A decree of the French emperor had
been exhibited to the United States minister to France, dated April 28,
1811, which declared the definite revocation of the Berlin and Milan
decrees, from and after November 1, 1810. In consequence of this, Great
Britain, on June 23, within five days after the declaration of war,
repealed the obnoxious orders in council in relation to the rights of
neutrals, and thus removed one of the main grounds of complaint on the
part of the American government.

On June 26, before the course of the British Cabinet was known in
America, Mr. Monroe, Secretary of State, wrote to Mr. Russell proposing
the terms of armistice. These were a repeal of the orders in council,
with no illegal blockades substituted, and a discontinuance of the
impressment of seamen. In the latter part of August, Mr. Russell, our
representative at London, received from the English Government a
definite refusal to accede to these propositions, as ‘on various grounds
absolutely inadmissible,’ he therefore returned to the United States.

In September Admiral Warren arrived at Halifax. In addition to his naval
command, he was invested with powers to negotiate a provisional
accommodation with the United States. A correspondence on the subject
ensued between himself and Mr. Monroe, as the representatives of the two
countries. The admiral proposed an immediate cessation of hostilities,
with a view to the peaceful arrangement of the points at issue.

Monroe replied that his government was willing to accede to this
proposition, provided Warren was authorized and disposed to negotiate
terms for suspending in the future the impressment of American seamen.
The British Government refused to relinquish the claim to this right and
nothing remained but war.

On March 4, 1813, Madison entered upon his second term of service. He
had received 128 electoral votes; his opponent DeWitt Clinton, 89 votes.
The congressional elections had resulted in a large majority in favor of
the administration, and the war policy seemed to be acceptable to a
large majority of the people, though a strong party was opposed to it,
and endeavored to obstruct the measures necessary to the vigorous
prosecution of hostilities. The war commenced in earnest with the
appearance, in 1813, of a British fleet in Chesapeake Bay, and in March
the whole coast of the United States, with the exception of Rhode
Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, was declared in a state of
blockade. The long series of engagements on land and water during the
war which followed, find their proper place in the general history of
our country.

In March, 1813, soon after the commencement of hostilities, the Russian
minister to the United States communicated to the American government a
proposal from the Emperor Alexander to mediate between the belligerents.
The proposition was accepted, and the president appointed commissioners
to go to St. Petersburg to negotiate under the mediation of the emperor.
Great Britain declined the Russian mediation in September; but in
November the American government was informed that that power was
prepared to negotiate the terms of a treaty of peace.

Steps were at once taken to meet this proposal. Mr. Clay and Mr. Russell
were added to the commission previously appointed, and in January, 1814,
joined their associates in Europe. In August of the same year the
country was deeply aroused by the attack on the capitol. A British force
of 5,000 men ascended the Chesapeake, landed on the shores of the
Patuxent, and marched on Washington. The few troops hastily collected
were wholly unable to offer any effective resistance and retired before
the enemy, who proceeded to the city, burned the capitol, the
president’s house, and other public buildings, and returned without loss
to their ships. The president and several members of his cabinet were in
the American camp, but were compelled to abandon the city in order to
avoid capture.

The enemy gained little by their movement, and the wanton outrage only
increased the bitterness of the people. Among the public occurrences of
the year 1814, the meeting of the Hartford convention, in opposition to
the continuance of the war, occupies a prominent place. The victory at
New Orleans, however, and the intelligence of the conclusion of the
treaty of peace, terminated the popular indignation. A treaty of peace
had been signed by the United States commissioners at Ghent, on December
4, 1814, and being communicated by the president to the senate, was
ratified by that body in February, 1815.

It was silent on the paramount question of impressment, and left the
commercial regulations between the two countries for subsequent
negotiation. But the country was tired of the war, and the treaty was
hailed with acclamation. In this general joy no one person joined more
heartily than did Madison. He had acquiesced reluctantly to the
commencement of hostilities, and had longed for peace since the
beginning. The country came out of a war, which cost her 30,000 lives
and $1,000,000, stronger and more honored than before; thoroughly
convinced of her own power and resources, and regarded with increased
respect by all the nations of the world.

In 1815 a commercial treaty was concluded with Great Britain based upon
a policy of perfect reciprocity. The subjects of impressment and
blockades were not embraced in it. The return of peace disbanded the
organized opposition to the administration, and the remainder of
Madison’s term was undisturbed by exciting events.

In April, 1816, congress incorporated a national bank with a capital of
$35,000,000, to continue for twenty years. The president had vetoed a
similar bill in January of the preceding year, but now approved of it,
from a conviction that the derangement of the currency made it
necessary. It encountered strong opposition, but was supported by Henry
Clay and other friends of the president, and passed both houses.

In December, 1816, Madison sent in his last annual message to congress.
Its recommendations were considered judicious and liberal, and secured
the general approbation of the country.

On March 4, 1817, his long official relations with the country
terminated, and he retired to his farm at Montpelier, Virginia. In this
pleasant retreat he passed the remainder of his days in agricultural
pursuits. Like most of our famous men, his matrimonial connection was a
source of great advantage to him. During his later years, in spite of
his ill-health, Madison still busied himself in service to his
neighbors.

While at school, for MONTHS TOGETHER, he had slept but three hours out
of the twenty-four. He was not an orator naturally; many others of his
schoolmates, it is stated, were far superior to him in natural
abilities. Why, then, did he succeed, while so many others failed? The
strong feature whereby he won success was, like that of many others, his
capacity for HARD WORK.

As to Madison’s principles, it will be remembered that he was defeated
in 1777, because he refused to treat the people to liquor. In 1829 he
sat in the Virginia Convention to reform the old constitution. When he
rose to utter a few words the members left their seats and crowded
around the venerable figure dressed in black, with his thin gray hair
powdered as in former times, to catch the low whisper of his voice. This
was his last appearance in public.

If not endowed with the very first order of ability, Madison had trained
his mind until it was symmetrical and vigorous. An unfailing accuracy
and precision marked the operation of his faculties. He was naturally
deficient in powers of oratory, and yet made himself one of the most
effective speakers of his time, although the epoch was illustrated by
such men in his own State as Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, George
Mason and Edmund Pendleton, to say nothing of Jefferson and Monroe.

Jefferson’s testimony on this point is strong: He says: “Mr. Madison
came into the house in 1776, a new member, and young; which
circumstances, concurring with his extreme modesty, prevented his
venturing himself in debate before his removal to the council of state
in November, 1777. Thence he went to Congress, then consisting of but
few members. Trained in these successive schools, he acquired a habit of
self-possession which placed at ready command the rich resources of his
luminous mind, and of his extensive information, acquired by INTENSE
application, which rendered him eventually the first of every assembly
of which he afterward became a member.”

“Never wandering from his subject into vain declamation, but pursuing it
closely, in language pure, classical, and copious, always soothing the
feelings of his adversaries by civilities and softness of expression. He
steadily rose to the high station which he held in the great national
convention of 1787. In that of Virginia which followed, he sustained the
new constitution in all its parts, bearing off the palm against the
logic of George Mason, and the burning eloquence of Mr. Henry. With
these consummate powers was united a pure and spotless virtue which no
calumny has ever attempted to sully.”

From his earliest years he was an intense scholar. His memory was
singularly tenacious, and what he clearly understood was ever afterward
retained. He thus laid up that great store of learning which, in the
conventions of 1787-8 especially proved so effective, and later made him
president. After Washington, no public man of his time was more widely
known or more highly loved and respected.

The public confidence in, and respect for his honesty and singleness of
aim toward the good of the country ripened into an affectionate
attachment. His bearing and address were characterized by simplicity and
modesty. He resembled a quiet student, rather than the head of a great
nation. He was a perfect gentleman.

At another time Jefferson said of him: “From three and thirty years’
trial I can say conscientiously that I do not know IN THE WHOLE WORLD a
man of purer integrity, more dispassionate, disinterested, and devoted
to true republicanism; nor could I in the whole scope of America and
Europe point out an abler head.” What more could be said? O that we
could have such a monument left to mark our memory.

 

 

JAMES MONROE.

 

The fifth president of the United States was a native of the grand Old
Dominion, being born in Westmoreland county, Virginia, April 28, 1758.
Like his predecessor, Madison, he was the son of a planter. Another
strange incident:–Within sight of Blue Ridge in Virginia, lived three
presidents of the United States, whose public career commenced in the
revolutionary times and whose political faith was the same throughout a
long series of years. These were Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and
James Monroe.

In early youthhood Monroe received a good education, but left school to
join the army and soon after was commissioned a lieutenant. He took an
active part in the campaign on the Hudson, and in the attack on Trenton,
at the head of a small detachment, he captured one of the British
batteries. On this occasion he received a ball in the shoulder, and was
promoted to a captaincy. As aide-de-camp to Lord Sterling, with the rank
of major, he served in the campaign of 1777 and 1778, and distinguished
himself in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth.

Leaving the army, he returned to Virginia and commenced the study of law
under Thomas Jefferson, then Governor of the State. When the British
appeared soon afterward in the State, Monroe exerted himself to the
utmost in organizing the militia of the lower counties; and when the
enemy proceeded southward, Jefferson sent him as military commissioner
to the army in South Carolina.

In 1782, he was elected to the assembly of Virginia from the county of
King George, and was appointed by that body, although but twenty-three
years of age, a member of the executive council. In 1783 he was chosen a
delegate to congress for a period of three years, and took his seat on
December 13th. Convinced that it was impossible to govern the people
under the old articles of confederation, he advocated an extension of
the powers of congress, and in 1785 moved to invest in that body power
to regulate the trade between the States.

The resolution was referred to a committee of which he was chairman, and
a report was made in favor of the measure. This led to the convention of
Annapolis, and the subsequent adoption of the Federal Constitution.
Monroe also exerted himself in devising a system for the settlement of
the public lands, and was appointed a member of the committee to decide
the boundary between Massachusetts and New York. He strongly opposed the
relinquishment of the right to navigate the Mississippi river as
demanded by Spain.

Once more we see the value of a proper and elevating marriage, as a
feature in the success of our great men. In 1785 he married a daughter
of Peter Kortright, a lady of refinement and culture. He, being
inelligible for the next three years according to the laws, settled in
Fredericksburg.

In 1787 he was re-elected to the general assembly, and in 1788 was
chosen a delegate to the Virginia convention to decide upon the adoption
of the Federal Constitution. He was one of the minority who opposed the
instrument as submitted, being apprehensive that without amendment it
would confer too much authority upon the general government. The course
of the minority in Congress was approved by the great mass of the
population of the Old Dominion, and Monroe was chosen United States
Senator in 1790. In the Senate he became a strong representative of the
anti-Federal party, and acted with it until his term expired in 1794.

In May of that year he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France,
and was received in Paris with enthusiastic demonstrations of respect.
His marked exhibition of sympathy with the French Republic displeased
the administration. John Jay had been sent to negotiate a treaty with
England, and the course pursued by Monroe was considered injudicious, as
tending to throw serious obstacles in the way of the proposed
negotiations. On the conclusion of the treaty his alleged failure to
present it in its true character to the French government excited anew
the displeasure of the cabinet; and in August, 1796, he was recalled
under an informal censure.

On his return to America he published a ‘View of the conduct of the
Executive in the Foreign Affairs of the United States,’ which widened
the breach between him and the administration, but socially Monroe
remained upon good terms with both Washington and Jay.

He was Governor of Virginia from 1799 to 1802 and at the close of his
term was appointed Envoy Extraordinary to the French government to
negotiate, in conjunction with the resident minister, Mr. Livingston,
for the purchase of Louisiana, or a right of depot for the United
States on the Mississippi. Within a fortnight after his arrival in Paris
the ministers secured, for $15,000,000, the entire territory of Orleans
and district of Louisiana.

In the same year he was commissioned Minister Plenipotentiary to
England, and endeavored to conclude a convention for the protection of
neutral rights, and against the impressment of seamen. In the midst of
these negotiations he was directed to proceed to Madrid as Minister
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to adjust the difficulties between the
United States and Spain, in relation to the boundaries of the new
purchase of Louisiana. In this he failed, and in 1806 he was recalled to
England to act with Mr. Pickney in further negotiation for the
protection of neutral rights. On the last day of that year a treaty was
concluded, but because of the omission of any provision against the
impressment of seamen, and its doubtfulness in relation to other leading
points the president sent it back for revisal. All efforts to attain
this failed and Monroe returned to America.

The time was approaching for the election of a president, and a
considerable body of the Republican party had brought Monroe forward as
their candidate, but the preference of Jefferson for Madison was well
known and of course had its influence. Monroe believed that the
rejection of the treaty and the predilection expressed for his rival
indicated hostility on the part of the retiring President, and a
correspondence on the subject ensued.

Jefferson candidly explained his course and assured him that his
preference was based solely upon solicitude for the success of the
party, the great majority of which had declared in the favor of Madison.
The misunderstanding ceased and Monroe withdrew from the canvass. In
1810 he was again elected to the general assembly of Virginia, and in
1811 once more Governor of the State.

In the same year he was appointed Secretary of State by President
Madison, and after the capture of the capitol in 1814, he was appointed
to take charge of the war department, being both Secretary of State and
Secretary of War at once. He found the treasury exhausted and the
national credit at the lowest ebb, but he set about the task of infusing
order and efficiency into the departments under his charge, and proposed
an increase of 40,000 men in the army by levying recruits throughout the
whole country.

His attention was also directed to the defence of New Orleans, and
finding the public credit completely prostrated, he pledged his private
means as subsidary to the credit of the Government, and enabled the city
to successfully oppose the forces of the enemy. He was the confidential
adviser of President Madison in the measures for the re-establishment of
the public credit of the country and the regulation of the foreign
relations of the United States, and continued to serve as Secretary of
State until the close of Madison’s term in 1817.

In that year he succeeded to the Presidency himself, by an electoral
vote of 183 out of 217, as the candidate of the party now generally
known as Democratic.

His Cabinet was composed of some of the ablest men in the country in
either party. Soon after his inauguration President Monroe made a tour
through the Eastern and Middle States, during which he thoroughly
inspected arsenals, naval depots, fortifications and garrisons; reviewed
military companies, corrected public abuses, and studied the
capabilities of the country with reference to future hostilities.

On this tour he wore the undress uniform of a continental officer. In
every point of view this journey was a success. Party lines seemed about
to disappear and the country to return to its long past state of union.
The President was not backward in his assurances of a strong desire on
his part that such should be the case. The course of the administration
was in conformity to these assurances, and secured the support of an
overwhelming majority of the people.

The great majority of the recommendations in the President’s message
were approved by large majorities. The tone of debate was far more
moderate; few of the bitter speeches which had been the fashion in the
past were uttered, and this period has passed into history as the “Era
of good feeling.” Among the important events of the first term of
President Monroe was the consummation in 1818 of a treaty between the
United States and Great Britain in relation to the Newfoundland
fisheries–the interpretation of the terms of which we have of late
heard so much; the restoration of slaves and other subjects; also the
admission into the Union of the States of Mississippi, Illinois and
Maine; in 1819 Spain ceded to the United States her possessions in East
and West Florida with the adjacent islands.

In 1820 Monroe was re-elected almost unanimously, receiving 231 out of
the 232 electoral votes. On August 10th, 1821, Missouri became one of
the United States, after prolonged and exciting debates, resulting in
the celebrated “Missouri Compromise,” by which slavery was permitted in
Missouri but prohibited FOREVER elsewhere north of parallel thirty-six
degrees and thirty minutes. Other events of public importance during the
second term of President Monroe were the recognition in 1822 of the
independence of Mexico, and the provinces in South America, formerly
under the dominion of Spain; and the promulgation in his message of
December 2, 1823, of the policy of ‘neither entangling ourselves in the
broils of Europe, nor suffering the powers of the old world to interfere
with the affairs of the new,’ which has become so famous as the “Monroe
Doctrine.” On this occasion the president declared that any attempt on
the part of foreign powers to extend their system to any part of this
hemisphere would be regarded by the United States as dangerous to our
peace and prosperity, and would certainly be opposed.

On March 4, 1825, Monroe retired from office and returned to his
residence at Oak Hill in Virginia.

He was chosen a justice of the peace, and as such sat in the county
court. In 1829 he became a member of the Virginia convention to revise
the constitution, and was chosen to preside over the deliberations of
that body but he was obliged, on account of ill-health, to resign his
position in that body and return to his home.

Although Monroe had received $350,000 for his public services alone, he
was greatly harrassed with creditors toward the latter part of his life.
Toward the last he made his home with his son-in-law, Samuel L.
Gouverneur of New York city, where he was originally buried, but in 1830
he was removed to Richmond with great pomp and re-interred in Holleywood
Cemetery.

The subject of this sketch held the reins of government at an important
time and administered it with prudence, discretion, and a single eye to
the general welfare. He went further than any of his predecessors in
developing the resources of the country. He encouraged the army,
increased the navy, augmented the national defences, protected
commerce, approved of the United States Bank, and infused vigor into
every department of the public service.

His honesty, good faith, and simplicity were generally acknowledged, and
disarmed the political rancor of the strongest opponents. Madison
thought the country had never fully appreciated the robust understanding
of Monroe. In person, Monroe was tall and well-formed, with light
complexion and blue eyes. The expression of his countenance was an
accurate index of his simplicity, benevolence, and integrity. The
country never fully appreciated Monroe, partly on account of his never
having gained distinction as an orator.

 

 

LEWIS CASS.

 

A man worthy of no small attention was Lewis Cass. Born at Exeter, New
Hampshire, October 9th, 1782. He served in the war of 1812, rising to
the rank of major in the army. He was a school-fellow with Daniel
Webster, became a school teacher at Wilmington, Delaware, and walking
from that place to Ohio, where his parents moved, began the practice of
law in Zanesville in 1802.

In 1806 he married and soon after was elected to the legislature of
Ohio. He performed a most conspicuous part in the Burr trial, favoring
the law which caused the arrest of the supposed conspirator. He became a
colonel in the war of 1812, being included in the surrender of General
Hull, of Detroit, and was instrumental in bringing about that General’s
arrest on the charge of cowardice and treason. He was afterward
exchanged and served as aid to General Harrison in the battle of the
Thames. He was appointed military governor of Michigan in the autumn of
1813, having risen to the position of Brigadier General.

In 1815 he purchased for $12,000 the whole plat of Detroit, and the
subsequent rise made him immensely rich. He became Secretary of War
under Jackson in 1831. He next became minister to France in 1842. Three
years after this he was elected United States senator from Michigan, and
resigned in 1848 to become a candidate for the presidency, but a
division in his party caused the election of Taylor. He was then
re-elected to fill the vacancy caused by his resignation, and again
re-elected in 1854 for a full term of six years. He supported measures
favorable to the promotion of slavery notwithstanding the Michigan
legislature had instructed him to vote otherwise. He favored Douglass’
Kansas-Nebraska bill.

He warmly favored Buchanan’s nomination and became his Secretary of
State, but promptly resigned when the president refused to reinforce
Fort Sumter; thus closing a career of over fifty years of almost
continuous public service. He, however, gave his support from this time
to the Union and lived to see that triumphant suppression of treason. He
died on the 18th day of June, 1866. He was a man of pure integrity,
great ability, a fine scholar and an effective public speaker. He was
exceedingly generous in all worthy petitions which his great wealth
enabled him to gratify unsparingly. He was also an author of some note.

 

 

JOHN C. CALHOUN.

 

The father of John C. Calhoun was born in Ireland; his mother was the
daughter of an Irish Presbyterian, a lady of great worth. Most of our
illustrious men owe their success to a noble mother, and so it was with
Calhoun. He was early taught to read the Bible, and his parents sought
to impress upon him their Calvinistic doctrines.

As a child he was grave and thoughtful, and at the age of thirteen he
studied history so perseveringly as to impair his health. His father
died about this time, and a glimpse of his loving disposition can be
obtained from the fact that notwithstanding that he greatly desired an
education, still he would not leave the farm until assured of the means
of prosecuting his studies without impairing his mother’s comfort.
Consequently he had few of the advantages to which systematic schooling
is conducive until late in youth. He, however, made a satisfactory
arrangement with his family, who agreed to furnish him money for a
course of seven years.

He had decided to study law, but declared that he preferred being a
common planter to a half-educated lawyer. He soon entered Yale College,
where he graduated with distinction. President Dwight is said to have
remarked ‘That young man has ability enough to be President of the
United States and will become one yet.’ Before returning home he spent
eighteen months in the law-school at Litchfield, Connecticut. He also
cultivated extempore speaking, and finally returned South to finish his
studies.

Being admitted to the bar he began practice; in 1808 was elected to the
Legislature, and in 1811 to Congress. The war party had gained complete
control of the House, and a speaker was chosen by the Democratic party.
Calhoun was placed on the Committee of Foreign Relations, and he framed
the report that the time had come to choose between tame submission and
bold resistance. Calhoun was chosen chairman of this committee, and was
a staunch supporter of the administration throughout. The increasing
financial distress led to the National Bank debates, in which he was a
leading figure. The necessity of this institution being admitted, to
Calhoun was intrusted entire management of the bill, and to him is due
the passage of the charter of the bank.

He was a most efficient agent of internal improvements, carrying a bill
through the House by a vote of 86 to 84, authorizing a million and a
half to be paid by the United States bank and the income on seven
millions more to be devoted to internal improvements. This bill passed
the Senate twenty to fifteen, but was vetoed by the president, denying
the authority of congress to appropriate money for any such purpose. He
next became Secretary of War, under Monroe. He found the war department
in a demoralized condition–bills to the amount of $50,000 outstanding.
These Calhoun promptly settled and secured the passage of a bill
reorganizing the staff of the army. President Monroe bringing before the
cabinet the question of whether he should sign the Missouri Compromise,
Calhoun gave it as his opinion that it was constitutional, supporting
the view that it was the duty of the president to sign the bill.

He was very seriously thought of as Monroe’s successor, the great State
of Pennsylvania supporting him at first, but General Jackson’s great
military fame won for him the nomination, and Calhoun was almost
unanimously selected for vice-president.

The tariff question was an all-absorbing issue, and on this question the
Democrats divided–the northern wing being for protection, under the
lead of Martin Van Buren; while the South was unanimous for free trade,
led by Calhoun. A rupture between the president and Mr. Calhoun now
arose; this and other causes led to Mr. Calhoun’s distrust of the
president, and the belief that he could not be depended upon to settle
the tariff question; therefore he brought out his nullification
doctrine.

This doctrine was founded on the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions of
1798-9 which declared the constitution to be a compact, each State
forming an integral part. It also declared that the government created
by the compact was not made the final judge, each party having a right
to ratify or annul that judgment as an individual State, that is, such
laws as were deemed unconstitutional. This doctrine he prepared, and the
paper was presented to the legislature where it became known as the
South Carolina Exposition. The next we see of it is in the Senate of the
United States, where the doctrine is brought forward by Mr. Hayne, which
led to his world-famed debate with Mr. Webster.

Then followed the passage of the tariff bill and the nullification act,
whereby South Carolina signified her determination to resist the laws;
and the final compromise measure of Henry Clay which happily settled the
difficulty at this time. Calhoun was now a senator and soon formed one
of the powerful trio in opposition to president Jackson. He
characterized Jackson’s distribution of the surplus left by the United
States bank as an attempt to seize onto the power of Congress and unite,
in his own hands, the sword and purse.

He declared that he had placed himself with the minority to serve his
gallant State, nor would he turn on his heel if thereby he could be
placed at the head of the government. He thought that corruption had
taken such a hold of it that any man who attempted reform would not be
sustained. The American Anti-slavery Society having sent tracts
denunciatory to slavery throughout the South, and as it was believed
that such measures had a tendency to incite the slaves to insurrection,
Calhoun brought in a bill subjecting to severe punishment any postmaster
who should knowingly receive any such matter for distribution in any
State which should pass a law prohibiting the circulation of such. The
bill failed on a final vote, twenty-five to nineteen.

He maintained that Congress had no jurisdiction over the subject of
slavery; that it was a recognized institution; that the inequality of
the negro was manifest; that in slavery they held their true position
and to change their condition was to place them wholly dependent upon
the State for support. Calhoun, believed that the relations between the
races was right, morally and politically, and demanded that the
institution of slavery be protected.

The bill recommended by Jackson, to restrict the sale of public lands to
actual settlers and that in limited quantities, drew from him a most
fiery speech. He claimed that the measure was really in the interest of
speculators who had loaded themselves with land, and whose interest now
was to restrict the sale and thus enhance the price of their ill-gotten
domain. He also claimed that people high in office had speculated
largely, even some in near relation to the president.

This brought from Jackson a letter that he should either retract his
words or bring the matter before Congress as an act of impeachment. The
sole power of impeachment lies within the House of Representatives, and,
while the senate had previously passed an act denouncing Jackson’s
methods, yet the House of Representatives was overwhelmingly in his
favor, and he must have known that no impeachment could pass this body.

Jackson realized that such charges needed his attention. Calhoun read
his letter before the senate pronouncing it a cowardly attempt to
intimidate, and repeated his charges; stating that not only persons high
in authority were implied in the charge, but the president’s nephew,
calling his name, was a large speculator.

During the administration of Van Buren came the great financial crash of
our history; the aggregate of the failures in New York and New Orleans
alone amounting to $150,000,00. All this trouble had been foretold by
Calhoun.

Mr. Van Buren’s plan of an independent treasury, which created a place
for all the surplus to accumulate, met with Calhoun’s approval, and he
accordingly separated from Webster and Clay to act in support of what
was right, notwithstanding his personal feelings toward Van Buren. This
illustrates the principle of Mr. Calhoun. Notwithstanding his known idea
of right and wrong, this aroused the indignation of his late allies,
who could ill spare his vote and powerful influence. The fact that this
measure, which he had determined to support, is still in existence,
proves conclusively the wisdom of Calhoun as against both Webster and
Clay.

Yet, in reply to Calhoun’s speech on the Independent Treasury bill, Clay
used the strongest language, charging him with desertion, and making his
whole life the subject of one of those powerful invectives so
characteristic with him. Calhoun answered; Clay replied on the spot, and
Calhoun answered back.

This was a wonderful example of the different styles of oratory of which
each was master; Clay, of declamation, invective, wit, humor and bitter
sarcasm; Calhoun of clear statement and close reasoning. This contest,
aside from its oratorical power, deserves a place in history. In answer
to Clay’s attack on his life he replied: “I rest my public character
upon it, and desire it to be read by all who will do me justice.”

As a debater, where close reasoning was essential, he was an
acknowledged leader. The tariff laws of Jackson’s time which brought
this nullification doctrine prominently before the country were
acknowledged to be drawn in favor of the North, as against the South.
The least that can be said is that he was honest; and that he was able
to defend his doctrine no one disputes. Happily manufacturing interests
are now investing in the South, and the tariff question will right
itself.

Mr. Calhoun was brilliant and his great aim in life was the defense of
slavery. He regarded that institution as essential to the very existence
of the Southern States; therefore thought that the abolition of slavery
would tend to the overthrow of the South. He declared that the
Constitution should be revised.

Although never publicly proclaiming such a method, yet it seemed that
his idea was to elect two Presidents, one from the slave and one from
the free States, and that no bill of Congress could be ratified without
their approval. But if Mr. Calhoun was honest in this, as he no doubt
was, yet his measure would tend to take the power from the many and
place it within the few, which is contrary to democratic ideas of good
government.

It was on March 13th, 1850, that he fell exhausted at the close of his
speech in answer to General Cass, and died soon after. Mr. Webster’s
funeral oration delivered in the Senate upon the announcement of his
death is a most eloquent yet unexaggerated account of the virtues of
John C. Calhoun.

“Calhoun was a part of his own intellectual character, which grew out of
the qualities of his mind. It was plain, strong, wise, condensed,
concise, still always severe. Rejecting ornament, not often seeking
illustration; his power consisted in the plainness of his propositions,
the clearness of his logic, and the earnestness and energy of his
manner. No man was more respectful to others; no man carried himself
with greater decorum; no man with superior dignity. I have not, in
public or private life, known a man more assiduous in the discharge of
his duties. Out of the Chambers of Congress he was either devoting
himself to the acquisition of knowledge pertaining to the immediate
subject of the duty before him, or else he was indulging in those social
interviews in which he so much delighted.

“There was a charm in his conversation not often found. He had the
basis, the indispensible basis of all high character; unspotted
integrity and honor unimpeached. If he had aspirations they were high,
honorable and noble; nothing low or meanly come near his head or heart.
He arose early and was a successful planter; so much so that to have
been an overseer at ‘Fort Hill’ was a high recommendation. He dealt
almost exclusively in solid reasoning when speaking, which was so plain
that illustration was rarely needed. Certain it is that he was a great
and good man.”

 

 

ROBERT Y. HAYNE.

 

The renowned debate on the doctrine of nullification in which he was one
of the principals,–if it were the only act of his life, must make the
name of Robert Y. Hayne forever illustrious. He was born in 1791, and
admitted to the bar before he was twenty-one, having been educated in
Charleston, South Carolina, his native State.

He volunteered early in the war of 1812 and rapidly rose to the position
of Major-General, being considered one of the best disciplinarians in
the South. As his old friend, Mr. Ehres, had been chosen to a seat in
Congress, he succeeded to his large practice, and before he was
twenty-two he had the most lucrative practice of any lawyer in his
State.

He was elected to the South Carolina legislature as a member of the
assembly of 1814, and as speaker of that body four years after taking
his seat and soon was chosen Attorney General of the State. In every
position young Haynes was placed he not only acquitted himself with
credit but won for himself great esteem, and as soon as he was old
enough to be elligible for United States Senator he was sent by his
State to defend their interests at the national capitol.

Here he became a most aggressive opponent, culminating in “The battle of
the giants,” the great debate on the interpretation of the constitution.
Mr. Hayne’s speech on this occasion was heralded far and near, and it
was classed by his supporters with the mightiest efforts of Burke or
Pitt. Mr. Webster’s reply has been generally acknowledged the superior
effort of the two; but certain it is that whatever may have been the
tendency of the views espoused by him, Robert Y. Hayne was an honest and
sincere defender of the doctrine of the State Rights, and was held in
high esteem by his political opponents.

The obnoxious tariff laws passing, General Hayne was elected Governor of
his State; the people feeling that they could place the helm of their
ship in no safer hands during the trying ordeal they felt they were to
pass through. In replying to President Jackson’s celebrated proclamation
Hayne issued a counter-manifesto full of defiance. Happily the
compromise of Mr. Clay postponed for thirty years the threatened civil
war.

The evening of the close of that great debate at a presidential levee,
Mr. Webster challenged Mr. Hayne to drink a glass of wine with him,
saying, “General Hayne, I drink to your health, and hope that you may
live a thousand years.” Hayne’s disposition is shown by his reply: “I
shall not live a hundred if you make another such a speech.” If he felt
there was merit in an individual he was quickest to admit it even when
it might be to his own detriment, and when it is remembered that he was
one of the first to compliment Webster on his great parliamentary
success, his noble qualities are shown in their true colors.

After serving in the gubernatorial chair with great distinction he
retired to become Mayor of Charleston. He now turned his attention
especially to internal improvements, and soon became president of the
Charleston, Louisville & Cincinnati Railway. This office he held at his
death, which occurred in his fiftieth year, September 24th, 1841. There
are many things in the character of General Hayne worthy of study.

 

 

DANIEL WEBSTER.

 

On January 8th, 1782, was born at Franklin, New Hampshire, a son to a
comparatively poor farmer. No royal blood flowed through the veins of
this child whereby to bring him honor, yet one day he was to rise to the
foremost rank among the rulers of his country. At that early period the
town of Salisbury, now Franklin, was the extreme northern settlement in
New Hampshire, and the schools were of necessity in a primitive state.

Daniel Webster labored on his father’s farm during the summer, and a few
months of each winter attended the district school some two miles from
his home. Considering the cold, and the heavy snows which are
characteristic of his native State, one can scarcely realize the amount
of energy he must have utilized to enable him to enter Exeter Academy at
the early age of fourteen, and one year later, Dartmouth College. He is
represented as promising nothing of his future greatness at this time,
but it is stated that he pursued every study with EXTRAORDINARY
TENACITY.

He read widely, especially in history and general English literature,
and thereby laid a good foundation for the splendid education which his
personal energy at last brought him. As a matter of course, such a line
of action must bring out what qualities might be in any man. The college
societies soon sought him as a member.

While at Exeter he could hardly muster courage to speak before his
class, but before he had finished his college course he had delivered
addresses before the societies, which found their way into print. His
diligence soon placed him at the head of his class, a position he
maintained until the close of his college studies, graduating in 1801
with high honors.

Choosing law as his profession, he entered the law office of a friend
and neighbor, Thomas Thompson, who afterwards became a congressman and
eventually a senator. Mr. Webster remained here for some time when he
left the office to become a teacher in Maine at a salary of $350 per
year, which he enlarged somewhat by copying deeds. He afterwards
returned to the office of Mr. Thompson where he remained until 1804,
when he went to Boston and entered the office of Christopher Gove, who
also distinguished himself afterwards as governor of Massachusetts.

He had previously helped his brother Ezekiel to prepare for college, and
Daniel now in turn was helped to continue his law studies as Ezekiel was
teaching. His opportunity to enter the office of Mr. Gove proved most
fortunate, as he was thus enabled to study men, books and daily hear
intelligent discussions on the topics of national interest.

In 1805 he was admitted to the bar, and established himself at Boscawen.
He had been offered the clerkship of the Hillsboro County Court at a
salary of $1,500 a year, which was then a large income, and he was urged
to accept it by his father and other friends, but was dissuaded from so
doing by Mr. Gove, who foresaw great honor in store for him at the bar.
He practiced at Boscawen one year, when he was admitted to practice in
the Superior Court of New Hampshire, and he established himself at
Portsmouth, at that time the capital of the State. Here he rose to
distinction among the most eminent counsellors. During his nine years
residence in Portsmouth he gave his especial attention to constitutional
law, becoming one of the soundest practitioners in the State.

He had inherited from his father the principles of the Federalist party,
and, therefore, advocated them in speeches on public occasions, but did
not for some years enter into politics. Mr. Webster came forward in a
time when party spirit ran high, and the declaration of war in 1812,
long deprecated by his party, created a demand for the best talent the
country afforded. Mr. Webster now held a commanding reputation, and in
1812 he was sent to Congress. This was a most favorable time for Webster
to enter Congress, as measures of the greatest importance were now to be
discussed.

Henry Clay was speaker of the house, and placed this new member on a
most important committee. June 10, 1813, he delivered his maiden speech
on the repeal of the Berlin and Milan decrees. These decrees were a
scheme of Napoleon’s, avowedly directed against the commercial
interests of Great Britain.

They closed all ports of France, and her allied countries against all
vessels coming from England or any English colony. All commerce and
correspondence was prohibited. All English merchandise was seized, and
English subjects found in any country governed by France were held
prisoners of war.

Great Britain retaliated by prohibiting neutral vessels from entering
the ports of France under pain of confiscation; and a later order placed
France and her allies, together with all countries with whom England was
at war, under the same restriction.

Napoleon then issued his decree from Milan and the Tuileries declaring
that any vessel that had ever been searched by English authority, or had
ever paid duty to England, should be treated as a lawful prize of war.

Mr. Webster’s first speech, as before stated, was upon a resolution on
the repeal of these decrees, and so ably did he define our duty as a
country, in the matter, and so clearly did he show wherein both England
and France had transgressed; that, being a new member, unknown outside
of his own section of the Union, his lucid and eloquent appeal took the
house and nation by surprise.

His subsequent speeches on the increase of the navy and the repeal of
the embargo act won for him a first place among the great debaters of
his day. He cultivated a friendly relation with political opponents as
well as partisan friends, which soon gained for him the respect of all
and he became the acknowledged leader of the Federal party. He was
re-elected to Congress in 1814 by a large majority, and in the debates
upon the United States bank which followed, he displayed a most
remarkable mastery of the financial questions of his time. Afterward a
bill which was introduced by him passed, requiring all payments to the
treasury to be made in specie or its equivalent, restored the
depreciated currency of the country.

His home and library was burned and after some hesitation as to whether
to locate in Boston or Albany, he decided on the former whither he
moved, and where he lived the remainder of his life. This change of
location gave greater scope for the extension of his legal business, and
his resignation from Congress increased still further his time and
opportunities. During the next seven years he devoted his exclusive
attention to his profession, taking a position as counsellor, above
which no one has ever risen in this country, and the best class of
business passed into his hands.

In 1816 the legislature of New Hampshire reorganized the corporation of
Dartmouth College, changing its name to Dartmouth University, and
selecting new trustees. The newly-created body took possession of the
institution, and the old board brought action against the new
management. The case involved the powers of the legislature over the old
corporation without their consent. It was decided twice in the
affirmative by the courts of the State, when it was appealed to
Washington, the highest court.

Mr. Webster opened the case, delivering a most eloquent and exhaustive
argument for the college. His argument was that it was a private
institution supported through charity, over which the State had no
control, and that the legislature could not annul except for acts in
violation of its charter, which had not been shown. Chief Justice
Marshal decided that the act of the legisature was unconstitutional and
reversed the previous decisions. This established Mr. Webster’s
reputation in the Supreme Court, and he was retained in every
considerable case thereafter, being considered one of the greatest
expounders of constitutional law in the Union.

He was already acknowledged to be among the greatest criminal lawyers,
and at the anniversary of the landing of the pilgrim fathers he
delivered the first of a series of orations which, aside from his legal
and legislative achievements must have made him renowned. He was elected
in 1822 to congress, being chosen from Boston, and during 1823 made his
world-famous speech on the Greek revolution; a most powerful
remonstrance against what has passed into history as “The holy
alliance,” and he also opposed an extravagant increase of the tariff. He
also reported and carried through the house a complete revision of the
criminal law of the United States, being chairman of the judiciary
committee. In 1827 he was selected by the legislature of Massachusetts
to fill a vacancy in the United States senate. In that body he won a
foremost position.

Probably the most eloquent exhibition of oratory, based on logic and
true statesmanship, ever exhibited in the Senate of the United States
was the contest between Mr. Webster, of Massachusetts, and Mr. Hayne,
the silver-tongued orator of South Carolina; the debate transpiring in
1830. The subject of discussion before the senate by these two
intellectual gladiators grew out of a resolution brought forward by
Senator Foot, of Connecticut, just at the close of the previous year
with a view of some arrangement concerning the sales of the public
lands. But this immediate question was soon lost sight of in the
discussion of a great vital principle of constitutional law, namely:
The relative powers of the States and the national government.

Upon this Mr. Benton and Mr. Hayne addressed the Senate, condemning the
policy of the Eastern States as illiberal toward the West. Mr. Webster
replied in vindication of New England, and of the policy of the
Government. It was then that Mr. Hayne made his attack–sudden,
unexpected, and certainly unexampled–upon Mr. Webster personally, upon
Massachusetts and other Northern States politically, and upon the
constitution itself. In respect to the latter, Mr. Hayne taking the
position that it is constitutional to interrupt the administration of
the Constitution itself, in the hands of those who are chosen and sworn
to administer it; by the direct interference in form of law, of the
States, in virtue of their sovereign capacity.

All of these points were handled by Mr. Hayne with that rhetorical
brilliancy, and the power which characterized him as the oratorical
champion of the South on the floor of the Senate, and it is not saying
too much that the speech produced a profound impression. Mr. Hayne’s
great effort appeared to be the result of premeditation, concert, and
arrangement.

He selected his own time, and that, too, peculiarly inconvenient to Mr.
Webster, for at that moment the Supreme Court was proceeding in the
hearing of a case of great importance in which he was a leading counsel.
For this reason he requested, through a friend, the postponement of the
debate. Mr. Hayne objected, however, and the request was refused. The
time, the matter, and the manner, indicated that the attack was made
with the design to crush so formidable a political opponent as Mr.
Webster had become. To this end, personal history, the annals of New
England, and the federal party were ransacked for materials.

It was attempted with the usual partisan unfairness of political
harangues to make him responsible not only for what was his own, but for
the conduct and opinions of others. All the errors and delinquencies,
real or supposed, of Massachusetts and the Eastern States, and of the
Federal party during the war of 1812, and indeed prior and subsequent to
that period were accumulated and heaped upon him.

Thus it was that Mr. Hayne heralded his speech with a bold declaration
of war, with taunts and threats, vaunting anticipated triumph–saying
‘that he would carry the war into Africa until he had obtained indemnity
for the past and security for the future.’ It was supposed that as a
distinguished representative man, Mr. Webster would be driven to defend
what was indefensible, to uphold what could not be sustained and, as a
Federalist, to oppose the popular resolutions of ’98.

The severe nature of Mr. Hayne’s charges, the ability with which he
brought them to bear upon his opponents, his great reputation as a
brilliant and powerful declaimer, filled the minds of his friends with
anticipations of complete triumph. For two days Mr. Hayne had control of
the floor. The vehemence of his language and the earnestness of his
manner, we might properly say the power of his oratory, added force to
the excitement of the occasion. So fluent and melodious was his
elocution that his cause naturally begat sympathy. No one had time to
deliberate on his rapid words or canvass his sweeping and accumulated
statements. The dashing nature of the onset, the assurance, almost
insolence of his tone; the serious character of the accusations,
confounded almost every hearer.

The immediate impression of the speech was most surely disheartening to
the cause Mr. Webster upheld. Congratulations from almost every quarter
were showered upon Mr. Hayne. Mr. Benton said in full senate that as
much as Mr. Hayne had done before to establish his reputation as an
orator, a statesman, a patriot and a gallant son of the South; the
efforts of that day would eclipse and surpass the whole. Indeed the
speech was extolled as the greatest effort of the time or of other
times–neither Chatham or Burke nor Fox had surpassed it in their
palmiest days.

Mr. Webster’s own feelings with reference to the speech were freely
expressed to his friend, Mr. Everett, the evening succeeding Mr. Hayne’s
closing speech. He regarded the speech as an entirely unprovoked attack
on the North, and what was of far more importance, as an exposition of
politics in which Mr. Webster’s opinion went far to change the form of
government from that which was established by the constitution into that
which existed under the confederation–if the latter could be called a
government at all. He stated it to be his intention therefore to put
that theory to rest forever, as far as it could be done by an argument
in the senate chamber. How grandly he did this is thus vividly portrayed
by Mr. March, an eye-witness, and whose account has been adopted by most
historians.

It was on Tuesday, January 26th, 1830–a day to be hereafter memorable
in senatorial annals–that the senate resumed the consideration of
Foot’s resolution. There was never before in the city an occasion of so
much excitement. To witness this great intellectual contest multitudes
of strangers had, for two or more days previous, been rushing into the
city, and the hotels overflowed. As early as nine o’clock in the morning
crowds poured into the capitol in hot haste; at twelve o’clock, the hour
of meeting, the senate chamber, even its galleries, floor, and lobbies
was filled to its utmost capacity. The very stairways were dark with men
who hung on to one another like bees in a swarm.

The House of Representatives was early deserted. An adjournment would
hardly have made it emptier. The speaker, it is true, retained his
chair, but no business of moment was or could be attended to. Members
all rushed in to hear Mr. Webster, and no call of the House or other
parliamentary proceedings could call them back. The floor of the Senate
was so densely crowded that persons once in could not get out.

Seldom, if ever, has a speaker in this or any other country had more
powerful incentives to exertion; a subject, the determination of which
involved the most important interests and even duration of the
Republic–competitors unequaled in reputation, ability, or position; a
name to make still more renowned or lose forever; and an audience
comprising, not only American citizens most eminent in intellectual
greatness, but representatives of other nations where the art of oratory
had flourished for ages.

Mr. Webster perceived and felt equal to the destinies of the moment. The
very greatness of the hazard exhilarated him. His spirits arose with the
occasion. He awaited the time of onset with a stern and impatient joy.
He felt like the war-horse of the Scriptures, who ‘paweth in the valley
and rejoiceth in his strength: who goeth on to meet the armed men who
sayeth among the trumpets, ha! ha! and who smelleth the battle afar
off, the thunder of the Captains and the shouting.’

A confidence in his resources, springing from no vain estimate of his
power but the legitimate off-spring of previous SEVERE MENTAL
DISCIPLINE, sustained and excited him. He had gauged his opponents, his
_subject_ and HIMSELF.

He was, too, at this period in the very prime of manhood. He had reached
middle-age–an era in the life of man when the faculties, physical or
intellectual, may be supposed to attain their fullest organization and
most perfect development. Whatever there was in him of intellectual
energy and vitality the occasion, his full life and high ambition might
well bring forth. He never arose on an ordinary occasion to address an
ordinary audience more self-possessed. There was no tremulousness in his
voice or manner; nothing hurried, nothing simulated. The calmness of
superior strength was visible everywhere; in countenance, voice and
bearing. A deep-seated conviction of the extraordinary character of the
emergency and of his ability to control it seemed to possess him wholly.
If an observer more than ordinarily keen-sighted detected at times
something like exultation in his eye, he presumed it sprang from the
excitement of the moment and the anticipation of victory. The anxiety to
hear the speech was so intense, irrepressible and universal that no
sooner had the vice-president assumed the chair that a motion was made
and unanimously carried to postpone the ordinary preliminaries of
senatorial action and take up immediately the consideration of the
resolution.

Mr. Webster arose and addressed the Senate. His exordium is known by
heart everywhere. “Mr. President when the mariner has been tossed about
for many days in thick weather and on an unknown sea he naturally avails
himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun
to take his latitude and ascertain how far the elements have driven him
from his true course. Let us imitate this prudence and before we float
further on the waves of this debate refer to the point from which we
departed that we may at least be able to form some conjecture where we
now are. I ask for the reading of the resolutions.”

Calm, resolute, impressive was this opening speech. There wanted no more
to enchain the attention. There was a spontaneous though silent
expression of eager attention as the orator concluded these opening
remarks. And while the clerk read the resolution many attempted the
impossibility of getting nearer the speaker. Every head was inclined
closer toward him, every ear turned in the direction of his voice–and
that deep, sudden, mysterious silence followed which always attends
fullness of emotion. From the sea of upturned faces before him the
orator beheld his thought, reflected as from a mirror. The varying
countenance, the suffused eye, the earnest smile and ever attentive look
assured him of the intense interest excited. If among his hearers there
were some who affected indifference at first to his glowing thoughts and
fervant periods, the difficult mask was soon laid aside and profound,
undisguised, devout attention followed.

In truth, all sooner or later, voluntarily, or in spite of themselves
were wholly carried away by the spell of such unexampled eloquence.
Those who had doubted Mr. Webster’s power to cope with and overcome his
opponent were fully satisfied of their error before he had proceeded
far in this debate. Their fears soon took another direction. When they
heard his sentences of powerful thought towering in accumulated grandeur
one above the other as if the orator strove Titan-like to reach the very
heavens themselves, they were giddy with an apprehension that he would
break down in his flight. They dared not believe that genius,
learning–any intellectual endowment however uncommon, that was simply
mortal–could sustain itself long in a career seemingly so perilous.
They feared an Icarian fall. No one surely who was present, could ever
forget the awful burst of eloquence with which the orator apostrophized
the old Bay State which Mr. Hayne had so derided, or the tones of deep
pathos in which her defense was pronounced:–

“Mr. President: I shall enter on no encomium upon Massachusetts. There
she is–behold her and judge for yourselves. There is her history, the
world knows it by heart. The past at least is secure. There is Boston,
and Concord, and Lexington, and Bunker Hill, and there they will remain
forever. The bones of her sons falling in the great struggle for
independence now lie mingled with the soil of every State from New
England to Georgia, and there they will remain forever. And sir, where
American liberty raised its first voice, and where its youth was
nurtured and sustained, there it still lives in the strength of its
manhood and full of its original spirit. If discord and disunion shall
wound it, if party strife and blind ambition shall hawk at and tear it,
if folly and madness, if uneasiness under salutary and necessary
restraint, shall succeed to separate it from that Union by which alone
its existence is made sure it will stand in the end by the side of that
cradle in which its infancy was rocked, it will stretch forth its arm
with whatever vigor it may still retain over the friends who gather
around it and it will fall at last, if fall it must, amidst the proudest
monuments of its own glory and on the very spot of its origin.”

No New England heart but throbbed with vehement emotion as Mr. Webster
dwelt upon New England sufferings, New England struggles, and New
England triumphs during the war of the Revolution. There was scarcely a
dry eye in the Senate; all hearts were overcome; grave judges and men
grown old in dignified life turned aside their heads to conceal the
evidence of their emotion.

We presume that none but those present can understand the excitement of
the scene. No one who was present can, it seems, give an adequate
description of it. No word-painting can convey the deep, intense
enthusiasm, the reverential attention of that vast assembly, nor limner
transfer to canvas their earnest, eager, awe-struck countenances. Though
language were as subtle and flexible as thought it would still be
impossible to represent the full idea of the occasion. Much of the
instantaneous effect of the speech arose of course from the orator’s
delivery–the tones of his voice, his countenance and manner. These die
mostly with the occasion, they can only be described in general terms.

“Of the effectiveness of Mr. Webster’s manner in many parts,” says Mr.
Everett, himself almost without a peer as an orator, “it would be in
vain to attempt to give any one not present the faintest idea. It has
been my fortune to hear some of the ablest speeches of the greatest
living orators on both sides of the water, but I must confess I never
heard anything which so completely realized my conception of what
Demosthenes was when he delivered the oration for the Crown.”

Could there be higher praise than this? Keen nor Kemble nor any other
masterly delineator of the human passions ever produced a more powerful
impression upon an audience or swayed so completely their hearts. No one
ever looked the orator as he did; in form and feature how like a god!
His countenance spake no less audibly than his words. His manner gave
new force to his language. As he stood swaying his right arm like a huge
tilt-hammer, up and down, his swarthy countenance lighted up with
excitement, he appeared amid the smoke, the fire, the thunder of his
eloquence like Vulcan in his armory forging thoughts for the gods!

Time had not thinned nor bleached his hair; it was as dark as the
raven’s plumage, surmounting his massive brow in ample folds. His eye
always dark and deep-set enkindled by some glowing thought shown from
beneath his somber overhanging brow like lights in the blackness of
night from a sepulcher. No one understood better than Mr. Webster the
philosophy of dress; what a powerful auxiliary it is to speech and
manner when harmonizing with them. On this occasion he appeared in a
blue coat, a buff vest, black pants and white cravat; a costume
strikingly in keeping with his face and expression. The human face never
wore an expression of more withering, relentless scorn than when the
orator replied to Hayne’s allusion to the “Murdered Coalition”–a piece
of stale political trumpery well understood at that day.

“It is,” said Mr. Webster, “the very cast off slough of a polluted and
shameless press. Incapable of further mischief it lies in the sewer,
lifeless and despised. It is not now, sir, in the power of the honorable
member to give it dignity or decency by attempting to elevate it and
introduce it into the Senate. He cannot change it from what it is–an
object of general disgust and scorn. On the contrary, the contact, if he
choose to touch it, is more likely to drag him down, down, down to the
place where it lies itself.” He looked as he spoke these words as if the
thing he alluded to was too mean for scorn itself, and the sharp
stinging enunciation made the words still more scathing. The audience
seemed relieved, so crushing was the expression of his face which they
held onto as ’twere spell-bound–when he turned to other topics. But the
good-natured yet provoking irony with which he described the imaginary,
though life-like scene of direct collision between the marshaled army of
South Carolina under General Hayne on the one side, and the officers of
the United States on the other, nettled his opponent even more than his
severe satire, it seemed so ridiculously true.

With his true Southern blood Hayne inquired with some degree of emotion
if the gentleman from Massachusetts intended any _personal_ imputation
by such remarks? To which Mr. Webster replied with perfect good humor,
“Assuredly not, just the reverse!” The variety of incident during the
speech, and the rapid fluctuation of passions, kept the audience in
continual expectation and ceaseless agitation. The speech was a complete
drama of serious comic and pathetic scenes, and though a large portion
of it was argumentative–an exposition of constitutional law–yet grave
as such portion necessarily must be, severely logical and abounding in
no fancy or episode, it engrossed throughout undivided attention. The
swell of his voice and its solemn roll struck upon the ears of the
enraptured hearers in deep and thrilling cadence as waves upon the
shore of the far-resounding sea.

The Miltonic grandeur of his words was the fit expression of his great
thoughts and raised his hearers up to his theme, and his voice exerted
to its utmost power penetrated every recess or corner of the
Senate–penetrated even the ante-rooms and stairways, as in closing he
pronounced in deepest tones of pathos these words of solemn
significance: “When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last time
the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and
dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on States dissevered,
discordant, belligerent, on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched,
it may be, in fraternal blood.

“Let their last feeble and lingering glance rather behold the gorgeous
ensign of the Republic now known and honored throughout the earth; still
full, high, advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original
lustre, not a stripe erased nor polluted, not a single star obscured,
bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as ‘What is all
this worth?’ nor those other words of folly and delusion: ‘Liberty first
and Union afterwards,’ but everywhere spread all over it characters of
living light blazing on all of its ample folds as they float over the
sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens that
other sentiment dear to every American heart: ‘LIBERTY AND UNION NOW AND
FOREVER, ONE AND INSEPARABLE!'”

The speech was over but the tones of the orator still lingered on the
ear, and the audience, unconscious of the close, retained their
positions. Everywhere around seemed forgetfulness of all but the
orator’s presence and words. There never was a deeper silence; the
feeling was too overpowering to allow expression by voice or hand. But
the descending hammer of the chair awoke them with a start, and with one
universal, long drawn, deep breath, with which the over-charged heart
seeks relief, the crowded assembly broke up and departed.

In the evening President Jackson held a levee at the White House. It was
known in advance that Mr. Webster would attend it, and hardly had the
hospitable doors of the mansion been thrown open, when the crowd that
had filled the Senate-Chamber in the morning rushed in and occupied the
room, leaving a vast and increasing crowd at the entrance. On all
previous occasions the general himself had been the observed of all
observers. His receptions were always gladly attended by large numbers,
and to these he himself was always the chief object of attraction on
account of his great military and personal reputation, official
position, gallant bearing, and courteous manners. But on this occasion
the room in which he received his company was deserted as soon as
courtesy to the president permitted.

Mr. Webster was in the East room and thither the whole mass hurried. He
stood almost in the center of the room pressed upon by surging crowds
eager to pay him deference. Hayne, too, was there, and with others went
up and complimented Mr. Webster on his brilliant effort. In a subsequent
meeting between the two rival debators Webster challenged Hayne to drink
a glass of wine with him, saying as he did so, “General Hayne I drink to
your health, and I hope that you may live a thousand years.” “I shall
not live more than one hundred if you make another such a speech,” Hayne
replied.

To this day Webster’s speech is regarded as the master-piece of modern
eloquence–unsurpassed by even the mightiest efforts of either Pitt, Fox
or Burke–a matchless intellectual achievement and complete forensic
triumph. It was to this great, triumphant effort that Mr. Webster’s
subsequent fame as a statesman was due.

Upon the election of General Harrison to the presidency Mr. Webster was
offered his choice of the places in the cabinet, a recognition of
ability probably never accorded to any other man before or since. He
finally accepted the office of Secretary of State. Our relation with
England demanded prompt attention. The differences existing between the
two nations relative to the Northern boundary could not be disregarded,
and Mr. Webster and Lord Ashburton brought about a treaty which was
equally honorable and advantageous to the countries. He was also able
later to contribute much toward the settlement of the Oregon boundary
question through private channels of influence, though holding no
official position at the time.

In 1847 he started on a tour of the Southern States, being well received
throughout; especially in Charleston, Columbia, Augusta and Savannah was
as well received, but his health failing him in the latter city, he was
obliged to abandon his project of making a tour of the whole South. He
became Secretary of State under Mr. Fillmore. This position he held at
his death which occurred at Marshfield, on the 24th day of October,
1852. Funeral orations were delivered throughout the country in great
numbers.

He was a man of commanding figure, large but well proportioned. His head
was of unusual size, his eyes deep-seated and lustrious, and had a voice
powerful yet pleasing; his action, while not remarkably graceful, was
easy and impressive. His social tastes were very strong and he possessed
marked conversational power. He lived in an age of great legislators and
it is needless to add that he was excelled in statesmanship by none.

Professor Ticknor, speaking in one of his letters of the intense
excitement with which he listened to Webster’s Plymouth address, says:
“Three or four times I thought my temples would burst with the gush of
blood, for after all you must know I am aware it is no connected and
compact whole, but a collection of broken fragments, of burning
eloquence to which his manner gave ten fold force. When I came out I was
almost afraid to come near him. It seemed to me that he was like the
mount that might not be touched, and that burned with fire.”

 

 

ANDREW JACKSON.

 

Of all the Presidents of the United States Andrew Jackson was, perhaps,
the most peculiar. He was of Scotch-Irish descent, his parents coming to
this country in 1765 from Ireland and settling in the northern part of
South Carolina on the Waxhaw Creek. They had been very poor in the old
country, his father tilling a small farm while the mother was a weaver
of linen. His father never owned land in America, and died soon after he
arrived in this country, little Andrew being born about the time of his
death. One would hardly be justified in supposing young Jackson would
one day be ruler of a great nation, rising as he did from such a
beginning, yet such are the possibilities in our glorious republic.

His mother wished to make a preacher of him, but his boyhood is
represented as mischievous; to say the least, his belligerent nature
breaking out in childhood, and his mother’s fond hope was signally
defeated. He was passionately fond of athletic sports, and was excelled
by none of his years. The determination he evinced in every undertaking
guided by his maxim of “Ask nothing but what is right–submit to nothing
wrong,” seemed to be the key-note of his success, for he was not
addicted to books, and his education was limited.

Being an eye-witness of the horrible massacre perpetrated by the bloody
Tarlton at the Waxsaw settlement his patriotic zeal was terribly
awakened, and at the tender age of thirteen we find him among the
American forces, and his military career begins at Hanging Rock, where
he witnesses the defeat of Sumter, and he is soon a prisoner of the
enemy. The English officer ordered him to black his boots; at this all
the lion in young Jackson is aroused, and he indignantly refuses,
whereupon the officer strikes him twice with his sword, inflicting two
ugly wounds, one on his arm, the other on his head. He had the small-pox
while a prisoner, but his mother effected his exchange, and after a long
illness he recovered, but his brother died of the same disease.

Soon after his mother was taken from him–his other brother was killed
at Stono; thus left alone in the world he began a reckless course, which
must have been his ruin but for a sudden change for the better, when he
began the study of law at Salisbury, North Carolina, and before he was
twenty was licensed to practice.

Being appointed solicitor for the western district of North
Carolina–now Tennessee–he removed to Nashville, 1788. His practice
soon became large which, in those days, meant a great deal of travel on
horseback. He made twenty-two trips between Nashville and Jonesborough
during his first seven years, and dangerous trips they were, too, for
the Indians were numerous and hostile. When he came to Nashville he
entered, as a boarder, the family of Mrs. Donelson, a widow.

A Mr. and Mrs. Robards were boarders at the same home. Mr. Robards
becoming foolishly jealous of young Jackson applied to the legislature
of Virginia for an act preliminary to a divorce. Jackson and Mrs.
Robards, thinking the act of the legislature was a divorce of itself,
were married before the action of the court. Judge Overton, a friend,
was himself surprised to learn that the act of the legislature was not a
divorce, and through his advice they were again married in the early
part of 1794. The fact that Captain Robards’ own family sustained Mrs.
Robards in the controversy with her husband must strongly point to the
groundlessness of the charges; while it is further conceded that Andrew
Jackson was not the first victim of the suspicious nature of Captain
Robards. However, this can never be regarded otherwise than a most
unfortunate period in the life of Andrew Jackson, it being the immediate
cause of more than one of the many obstacles with which he was obliged
to contend in after years.

He was appointed district attorney of Tennessee when that country became
a federal territory, and in 1796 when Tennessee became a State, he was a
man of no small wealth. On January 11th, 1796, a convention met at
Knoxville to draft a constitution for the new State, and Jackson was
chosen one of five delegates from Davidson county to meet the other
members from over the State. He was appointed on the committee to draft
that important document. Having been elected to represent his State in
the popular branch of Congress he accordingly took his seat in that
legislative body in December, 1796. As Jackson entered the house on the
eve of the retirement from public life of Washington, he voted on the
measure approving Washington’s administration; and, as he could not
conscientiously vote otherwise, not approving some of Washington’s
measures, he is recorded among the twelve who voted in the negative.

He at this time belonged to the so-called Republican party, now
Democratic, which was then forming under Jefferson, the incoming
vice-president, under the Federal Adams. His record in Congress is made
exemplary by his action on three important bills, namely: Against buying
peace of the Algerians, against a needlessly large appropriation for
repairing the house of the president, and against the removal of the
restriction confining the expenditure of public money to the specific
objects for which said money was appropriated.

As would be natural, such a course was highly approved by his
constituents, and he was made a senator in 1797, but his senatorial
career was not so fruitful, as it is believed that he never made a
speech nor ever voted once and resigned his seat in less than a year. He
was elected a justice of the supreme court of Tennessee, but he did
nothing remarkable here either as none of his decisions remain. Nothing
of note occurred for some time except his becoming involved in a quarrel
with Governor Sevier, which came to a crisis in 1801, when Jackson was
made Major-General of militia over Sevier. Jackson suspected Sevier of
being involved in certain land frauds, and a duel was averted only by
the influence of friends.

About this time Jackson became financially embarrassed. Thinking himself
secure, he sold a large amount of land to a gentleman in Philadelphia,
and, taking his notes, bought goods for the Tennessee market, depending
on these notes for payment. The failure of these threw him into great
difficulties; but his firm will came to his aid once more and saved him.
He immediately resigned the position of judge, and sold land enough to
clear himself from debt. He is said to have now removed to what
subsequently became known as the “Hermitage,” taking all his slaves, and
dwelling in a log house.

He extended his business, being now at the head of the firm of Jackson,
Coffee and Hatchings. This was a trading firm, raising wheat, corn,
cotton, mules, cows and horses, it being a concern whose business
extended to New Orleans, but it lost money, and finally came to an end,
although through no fault of Jackson, as he generally carried to success
whatever he personally managed, and this embarrassment grew out of
reckless proceedings during his absence. We now come upon another dark
page of Jackson’s life.

During the year 1806 a quarrel was started, which led to the death of
Charles Dickinson. This is one of his quarrels resulting indirectly from
the manner in which he become married to Mrs. Robards. This Dickinson
had spoken offensively of Mrs. Jackson, he once retracted his words and
renewed them. In the meantime Jackson became involved in a quarrel with
a man by the name of Swann over the terms of a horse race, and Jackson
used some strong language relative to Dickinson, whose name had been
meaningly introduced. Jackson’s words were carried to Dickinson, as it
appears he had intended. Afterward the quarrel with Swann resulted in a
bar-room fight, it is said, begun by Jackson.

About this time Dickinson wrote a very severe attack on Jackson and
published it. Jackson challenged him and the parties met a long day’s
journey from Nashville, on the banks of the Red River, in Logan county,
Kentucky. Dickinson was a very popular man in Nashville, and he was
attended by a number of associates. Dickinson’s second was a Dr. Catlet;
Jackson’s, General Overton.

Dickinson fired first and his ball took effect, breaking a rib and
raking the breastbone, but Jackson never stirred nor gave evidence of
being hit. His object was to hide from his adversary the pleasure of
knowing that he had even grazed his mark, for Dickinson considered
himself a great shot and was certain of killing him at the first fire.
Seeing he had missed he exclaimed, My God! Have I missed him? Jackson
then fired and Dickinson fell mortally wounded, dying that night without
knowing his aim had taken any effect. This duel was another most
unfortunate thing for Jackson, and caused him great unpopularity in
Tennessee until his military victories turned popular attention from it.

Jackson lived a comparatively quiet life for the few years following,
nothing of importance happening except his mistaken connection with
Aaron Burr, and quarrel with a Mr. Dinsmore, an agent of the Choctaw
Indians. In 1812 the second war with Great Britain broke out and Jackson
at once tendered his services to the government; they were gladly
accepted and the rest of the year was devoted by him in raising more
troops and organizing them for active service. During the early part of
1813 he started across the country, but for some reason the Secretary of
War ordered him to disband his forces, but he marched them back to
Tennessee. It was on this march that he received the name of “Hickory,”
which afterwards became “Old Hickory.”

Arriving at Nashville he tendered his troops to the Government for an
invasion of Canada but the Secretary of War never even answered his
proposal, and finally he disbanded the forces on May 22nd. The
government failed to sustain him and his transportation drafts were
allowed to go to protest. This must have ruined Jackson had it not been
for his friend Colonel Benton, who made an appeal which the government
felt bound to comply with, as it was made plain that it would lose the
service of Tennessee if such a preposterous act was persisted in.

Thus he was saved from what might have been an irretrievable financial
misfortune. Through deceitfulness in others he was led to a disgraceful
quarrel with his intimate friend, Colonel Benton, who had helped him so
much at Washington. The difficulty with the Creek Indians arising;
Jackson with his characteristic energy helped to subjugate them. His
victory over the Indians of Horse Shoe Bend is so familiar to every
American school-boy that it is needless to relate the details. He now
gained a national reputation, and was made a major-general in the United
States army, and soon became the acknowledged military leader of the
southwest.

From now General Jackson’s star grew steadily brighter, and he began to
develop the sterling qualities which he unmistakably possessed. During
the progress of the war the Spanish authorities who then controlled
Florida, had neither the power nor disposition to demand of the British
due regard to the rights of neutral territory. They seemed to sympathize
with England, as Jackson could gain no satisfaction through his
correspondence with them, and as neither the Spanish or British could be
induced to change their purpose, Jackson, as was his custom both in
politics and war ever afterward, determined to act without orders.

He immediately moved upon Pensacola, razed the town and drove the
English forces out of Florida. Returning to Mobile he learned of the
plan of the British to conquer Louisiana. He immediately marched to New
Orleans, but the city was miserably defended, and his own forces were a
motley crew, consisting of about two thousand. But Jackson made the most
of his opportunities. He learned the plan of the British from the chief
of a band of smugglers. After a few preliminary battles in which as a
whole the Americans were victorious, the British army, now twelve
thousand strong, was joined by General Packenham, who was a
brother-in-law of the great Duke of Wellington, who changed the plans of
the British army. Jackson, at this time, was joined by about two
thousand more troops, but they were poorly armed.

The British captured a whole fleet of gun-boats. This left the way
clear, and it is thought that had the British pushed in then, as Jackson
would have done, nothing could have saved the day for America. Jackson
fell back and threw up earth-works, cotton-bales and sand-bags for
protection, and waited for the enemy. On the memorable day, the eighth
of January, the army advanced; Ridpath says, “They went to a terrible
fate.”

Packenham hurled column after column at the American breast-works only
to return bleeding and torn. The Americans were well protected while
the veterans of England were exposed to the fire of the Tennessee and
Kentucky riflemen and the result was awful, the enemy losing not only
General Packenham, their commander, but also General Gibbs, leaving only
General Lambert to lead the forces from the field, General Keen being
wounded. The loss of the enemy was about two thousand killed, wounded,
and prisoners. The Americans’ loss was eight killed and thirteen
wounded.

This battle was a most fortunate thing for Jackson for the reputation
this gained for him added to that already gained in deciding forever the
white man’s supremacy in America, undoubtedly made him President of the
United States. He became Governor of Florida when that Territory was
ceded to the United States by Spain in 1821, but he held the position
only a few months. In 1828 the Tennessee Legislature made him a Senator,
and later he was nominated for the Presidency. This at first was not
regarded seriously, as many had misgivings as to his capability as a
legislator, although all admitted his military power. The election
proved that he had great political strength as well, receiving the
largest number of electoral votes, 99, to 84 for Adams, 41 for Crawford,
and 37 for Clay. As no one had a majority the case was decided by
Congress, who gave the place to Adams.

The opposition to the administration united under Jackson, and in the
next election he was triumphantly elected, receiving 178 electoral votes
to 83 for Adams. In this campaign Jackson’s private life was bitterly
assailed, especially was the manner in which he came to be married
misrepresented. His wife died only a short time after his election, it
is said, from the influence of the vile stories which were circulated
regarding her.

He entered upon his duties as President, with his characteristic
firmness. A rupture soon arose between him and the Vice-President, Mr.
Calhoun, and this was intensified when Calhoun’s nullification views
became known. The Democratic party outside of South Carolina supported
the administration. The cabinet was soon changed. During his
administration over seventeen hundred removals from office were made,
more than had occurred in all previous administrations. His appointments
gave much offence to some, and with a degree of reason, it must be
admitted, as they were selected wholly from his political friends,
notwithstanding his previously avowed principles, which were implied in
his advice to Mr. Monroe in the selection of his Cabinet. However, some
allowance should be made as Jackson had a seeming rebellion on hand, and
one hardly could blame him for desiring men on whom he knew he could
depend in the promised hours of peril.

The tariff laws were especially obnoxious to South Carolina, of the
Southern States. Now Jackson was opposed to the tariff laws himself, but
as long as the laws remained he proposed that they should be enforced
and when South Carolina met at Columbia and passed resolutions to resist
the existing laws and declaring in favor of State rights, he promptly
sent forces to quell the promised rebellion. Seeing what kind of a man
they had to deal with the nullifiers were glad to seize the excuse for
not proceeding, which Clay’s Compromise Bill afforded. This bill reduced
the duties gradually until at the end of ten years they would reach the
standard desired by the South. His re-election was even more conclusive
than the former, inasmuch as it was found that he had carried every
State save seven. His principal opponent was Henry Clay, who represented
the party in favor of renewing the charter of the United States bank.
Jackson was bitterly opposed to this institution, vetoed the bill to
re-charter the bank, and an effort to pass the bill over his head
failing to receive a two-thirds vote, the bank ceased to exist.

He conceived the idea of distributing the surplus left by the bank,
about ten millions, among certain banks named for that purpose. He had
no acknowledged authority for this but he believed himself right and
acted independently, as was characteristic in such cases. A panic
ensued, and the Whigs claimed that this measure of Jackson’s was the
cause, while the Democrats were equally confident that the financial
troubles were brought about by the bank itself, which was described as
an institution too powerful and despotic to exist in a free country.

A powerful opposition was formed in the Senate against him, headed by
such men as Calhoun, Clay and Webster, and finally a resolution
condemning his course was adopted by a vote of 26 to 20, but was
afterward expunged through the influence of his intimate friend, Colonel
Benton. The House sustained the President throughout, or he must have
been overthrown. The foreign relations of our Government at the close of
Jackson’s administration was very satisfactory indeed. The national debt
was extinguished, and new States were admitted into the Union.

He issued a farewell address to his country, and retired to private life
at the Hermitage, where he lived until his death in 1845. There is much
in the life of Andrew Jackson that can be profitably copied by the
American youth of to-day; notably his fixedness of purpose, indomitable
will, and great love of truth. There are other things that would be well
to pass by and give little promise, such as his sporting propensities.
Lossing says: ‘The memory of that great and good man is revered by his
countrymen next to that of Washington.’ His imposing statue occupies a
conspicuous place in President’s Square, Washington, where it was
unveiled in 1852, being the first equestrian statue in bronze ever
erected in America. It is certain that he exercised a marked influence
in shaping the affairs of the generations that were to follow his
administration.

 

 

THOMAS H. BENTON.

 

Thomas Hart Benton was born at Hillsboro, North Carolina, March 14th,
1782. During his youth he enjoyed few educational advantages, his father
dying while he was a child.

He, however, persevered and completed his studies at Chapel Hill
University–supporting himself throughout his school course. Removing to
Tennessee he began the study of law and commenced practice at Nashville,
where he arose to eminence at the bar. When elected to the legislature
of the State, an event which occurred soon after his beginning law
practice in Nashville, he procured the passage of a bill securing to
slaves the right of trial by jury. In the war of 1812 he was made a
lieutenant-colonel, serving on the staff of General Jackson.

In 1814-15 Colonel Benton took up his residence in St. Louis, Missouri,
and established the _Missouri Enquirer_. It is stated that this
enterprise involved him in several duels, one of which resulted fatally
to his opponent, Mr. Lucas. Mr. Benton took a leading part in the
admission of his adopted State into the Union, and in 1820 he was
elected one of her first senators, and remained a member of the national
government for thirty consecutive years; a leader of his party in
debate.

He warmly supported Jackson in his administration of the affairs of the
government, and as is well-known rendered him valuable and efficient
service by his speech on the expunging resolution which he successfully
carried through the senate. In 1829 he made a speech on the salt tax,
which was a masterly production, and through its influence is due
largely the repeal of the same.

He was among the foremost who advocated a railroad to the Pacific coast,
and it was Thomas Benton who first introduced the idea of congress
granting pre-emption rights to actual settlers. He favored trade with
New Mexico, and establishing commerce on the great lakes. He was an
eminent specie advocate; so vehement was he that he became known as “OLD
BULLION,” and it was through his influence that the forty-ninth parallel
was decided upon as the northern boundary of Oregon. He opposed the
fugitive slave law, and openly denounced nullification views wherever
expressed. Nothing but his known opposition to the extension of slavery
caused his final defeat in the legislature when that body chose another
to succeed him in the United States senate.

Thus in defence of human liberty ended his splendid career of thirty
years in the upper house, struck down by the frown of demagogism. Two
years later he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he did
noble work in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska act, denouncing it as a
violation of the Missouri Compromise, and was defeated as a candidate
for congress in the next campaign. After two years devotion to
literature he was a candidate for governor of his State, but was
defeated by a third ticket being placed in the field. He was the popular
candidate, however, of the three, against great odds being defeated by
only a few votes.

During this year he supported Mr. Buchanan for the presidency against
his son-in-law, Mr. Fremont. He now retired permanently from public
life, devoting his exclusive attention to literature, and his “Thirty
Years View; or a History of the Working of the United States Government
for Thirty Years from 1820 to 1850,” was a masterly piece of literature,
and reached a mammoth sale; more than sixty thousand copies being sold
when first issued. When this was finished he immediately began another,
“An Abridgment of the Debates of Congress from 1789 to 1850.” Although
at the advanced age of seventy-six, he labored at this task daily, the
latter part of which was dictated while on his death-bed, and while he
could speak only in whispers. Surely he deserved the success which had
attended his efforts. He died in Washington on the 10th day of April,
1858.

He had a large and grandly proportioned head, and was a most aggressive
debater. It was in the Expunging Resolution and the exciting debates in
which he bore so prominent a part that he gained his greatest
reputation. This bill and the manner in which he managed its course
through the senate, securing its adoption against the combined effort
of such men as Clay, Webster and Calhoun illustrates the characteristics
of the man more clearly than anything that could be said of him. When
reading the life of Andrew Jackson the reader will remember that the
senate passed a resolution condemning the action of the president, Mr.
Jackson, in regard to the distribution of the public funds in the
following language: _Resolved_, That the president in the late executive
proceedings in relation to the public revenue has assumed upon himself
authority and power not conferred by the constitution and laws, but in
derogation of both.

The motion of Mr. Benton was to strike from the journals of the senate
this resolution of censure. In support of the president’s course and of
Mr. Benton’s proposed method of vindication various public proceedings
were had in various sections of the country, and some of the State
legislatures not only voted in favor of the removal of the record of
censure but instructed their congressional delegations to use their
influence and votes in a similar direction.

Mr. Benton’s resolutions rehearsed the principal points involved in the
past history and present aspects of the controversy quite at length, the
closing resolution being as follows: “That the said resolve be expunged
from the journal, and for that purpose that the secretary of the Senate
at such time as the Senate may appoint, shall bring the manuscript
journal of the session 1883-4 into the Senate, draw black lines round
the said resolve, and write across the face thereof in strong letters
the following words: ‘Expunged by order of the Senate this–day of–, in
the year of our Lord–.'”

For three years successively did Mr. Benton bring forward on different
occasions his celebrated motion, and again and again he suffered defeat
after the most scathing debates that ever took place in any
parliamentary body, the Senate at this time containing an unusual amount
of oratorical talent and forensic power. But the last scene, and with it
victory to the great Missourian and his presidential master, was now
near at hand, and this scene, as described by Mr. Benton himself, was as
follows:

Saturday the fourteenth of January the Democratic Senators agreed to
have a meeting, and to take their final measures for passing an
expunging resolution. They knew they had the numbers, but they also knew
they had adversaries to grapple with to whom might be applied the motto
of Louis Fourteenth: ‘Not an unequal match for numbers.’ They also knew
that members of the party were in process of separating from it and
would require reconciliating. They met in the night at the then famous
restaurant of Boulanger giving to the assemblage the air of convivial
entertainment. It continued till midnight and required all the
moderation, tact and skill of the prime movers to obtain and maintain
the Union in details on the success of which depended the fate of the
measure. The men of concilliation were to be the efficient men of that
night, and all the winning resources of Wright, Allen and Linn were put
in requisition. There were serious differences upon the method of
expurgation, while agreed upon the thing; and finally obliteration, the
favorite mover, was given up and the mode of expurgation adopted which
had been proposed in the resolution of the general assembly of Virginia,
namely, to inclose the obnoxious sentence in a square of black lines–an
oblong square, a compromise of opinions to which the mover agreed upon
condition of being allowed to compose the epitaph, “Expunged by the
order of the senate.”

The agreement which was to lead to victory was then adopted, each one
severally pledging himself to it that there should be no adjournment of
the senate after the resolution was called until it was passed, and that
it should be called immediately after the morning business on the Monday
ensuing. Expecting a protracted session extending through the day and
night, and knowing the difficulty of keeping men steady to their work
and in good humor when tired and hungry, the mover of the proceeding
took care to provide as far as possible against such a state of things,
and gave orders that night to have an ample supply of cold hams,
turkeys, rounds of beef, pickles, wines and cups of hot coffee ready in
a certain committee-room near the senate chamber by four o’clock on the
afternoon of Monday.

The motion to take up the subject was made at the appointed time, and
immediately a debate of long speeches, chiefly on the other side, opened
itself upon the question. As the darkness of approaching night came on
and the great chandelier was lit up, splendidly illuminating the chamber
then crowded with the members of the house, and the lobbies and
galleries filled to their utmost capacity with visitors and spectators,
the scene became grand and impressive. A few spoke on the side of the
resolution, chiefly Rivers, Buchanan and Niles, and with an air of ease
and satisfaction that bespoke a quiet determination and consciousness of
victory.

The committee-room was resorted to in parties of four and six at a time,
always leaving enough on watch, and not resorted to by one side alone.
The opposition were invited to a full participation, an invitation of
which those who were able to maintain their temper availed themselves
of, but the greater part were not in a humor to eat anything–especially
at such a feast. The night was wearing away, the expungers were in full
force, masters of the chamber happy and visibly determined to remain. It
became evident to the great opposition leaders that the inevitable hour
had come that the ‘damnable deed was to be done that night,’ and that
the dignity of silence was no longer to them a tenable position.

The battle was going against them, and they must go into it without
being able to re-establish it. In the beginning they had not considered
the expunging movement a serious proceeding, as it advanced they still
expected it to miscarry on some point, now the reality of the thing
stood before them confronting their presence and refusing to “down” at
any command.

Mr. Calhoun opposed the measure in a speech of great severity. The day,
said he, is gone, night approaches and night is suitable to the dark
deed we meditate; there is a sort of destiny in this thing, the act must
be performed, and it is an act which will tell upon the political
history of this country forever. Mr. Clay indulged in unmeasured
denunciation of the whole thing. The last speech in opposition to the
measure was made by Mr. Webster, who employed the strongest language he
could command condemnatory of an act which he declared was so
unconstitutional, so derogatory to the character of the senate, and
marked with so broad an impression of compliance with power. But though
thus pronounced an irregular and unconstitutional proceeding by Mr.
Webster and the other senators with whom he sided and voted, Mr. John
Quincy Adams, who was at the time a member of the house, and in direct
antagonism, politically, with Mr. Benton, and to the Jackson
administration held a different opinion.

Midnight was now approaching. The dense masses which filled every inch
of the room in the lobbies and in the galleries remained immovable. No
one went out, no one could get in. The floor of the Senate was crammed
with privileged persons, and it seemed that all Congress was there.
Expectation and determination to see the conclusion were depicted on
every countenance. It was evident there was to be no adjournment until
the vote should be taken–until the deed was done, and this aspect of
invincible determination had its effect upon the ranks of the
opposition. They began to falter under a useless resistance; they alone
now did the talking, and while Mr. Webster was yet reciting his protest
two Senators from the opposition side who had been best able to maintain
their equanimity, came around to the mover of the resolution and said:
‘This question has degenerated into a trial of nerves and muscles. It
has become a question of physical endurance, and we see no use in
wearing ourselves out to keep off for a few hours longer what has to
come before we separate. We see that you are able and determined to
carry your measure–so call the vote as soon as you please. We shall say
no more.’

Webster concluded. No one arose. There was a pause, a dead silence, and
an intense feeling. Presently the silence was invaded by the single word
‘question’–the parliamentary call for a vote–rising from the seats of
different Senators. One blank in the resolve remained to be filled–the
date of its adoption. It was done. The acting President of the Senate,
Mr. King, of Alabama, then directed the roll to be called. The yeas and
nays had been previously ordered, and proceeded to be called by the
Secretary of the Senate, the result showing a majority of five on the
side of the expungers.

The passage of the resolution was announced by the chair. Mr. Benton
arose, and said that nothing now remained but to execute the order of
the Senate, which he moved to be done forthwith. It was ordered
accordingly. The secretary thereupon produced the original manuscript
journal of the Senate, and opening at the page which contained the
condemnatory sentence of March 28, 1834, proceeded in open Senate to
draw a square of broad black lines around the sentence, and to write
across its face in strong letters: EXPUNGED BY ORDER OF THE SENATE THIS
16TH DAY OF JANUARY, 1837.

 

 

HENRY CLAY.

 

A few miles from old Hanover court-house in Virginia, where the
splendors of Patrick Henry’s genius first beamed forth, is a humble
dwelling by the road-side, in the midst of a miserably poor region known
as the slashes. There, on the 12th of April, 1777, Henry Clay, the great
American statesman, was born, and from the district-schools of his
neighborhood he derived his education. He was the son of a Baptist
clergyman of very limited means, hence his early advantages were of
necessity meager. He was very bashful and diffident, scarcely dare
recite before his class at school, but he DETERMINED to BECOME AN
ORATOR, he accordingly began the plan of committing speeches and then
reciting them in the corn-fields; at other times they were delivered in
the barn, before the cows and horse.

[Illustration: DETERMINATION. Engraved Expressly for “Hidden Treasures.”]

Henry became a copyist in the office of the clerk of the Court of
Chancery, at Richmond. Here he was enabled to begin the study of law, an
opportunity which he at once embraced. While other boys were improving
their time ‘having fun,’ he was studying, and so closely did he occupy
his odd time that he was enabled to pass the necessary examination and
be admitted to the bar at the early age of twenty. Two years later he
moved “West,” (he was enterprising), settling at Lexington, Kentucky,
where he entered upon the practice of law.

Here he became an active politician as well as a popular lawyer. He was
an intelligent young man, and early cultivated a genial disposition
which was a leading feature of his splendid success in life. In 1799
Kentucky called a convention for the purpose of revising the
constitution of the State. During this campaign young Clay labored
earnestly to elect delegates to that convention favorable to the
extinction of slavery. Thus early he manifested an interest in a
question many years in advance of his countrymen. This is the man who,
when afterward told that his action on a certain measure would certainly
injure his political prospect replied, “I WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT THAN BE
PRESIDENT.”

It was even so in this case, his action in behalf of the freedom of
slaves offended many but his opposition to the obnoxious alien and
sedition laws later restored him to popular favor. After serving in the
State legislature with some distinction he was elected to fill the
unexpired term of General Adair in the United States Senate. Here he
made excellent use of his time, advocating bills on internal
improvements, accomplishing much toward that end, although his time
expired at the end of the year. He left an impression on that body which
foretold his future greatness. He was now returned to his State
legislature where he was elected speaker, a position which he held for
the next two terms.

Another vacancy occurred and Mr. Clay was again elected to fill the
unexpired time in the United States Senate. This time he remained a
member of that body two years, and it was during this term that he
placed himself on record as one of the first and most powerful of early
protectionists; he also favored the admission of Louisiana as a State.
His term expired, he returned to his constituents, who promptly elected
him to a seat in the House of Representatives, and immediately upon his
appearance in that body he was chosen SPEAKER of the House!

This is an honor without parallel in the whole history of our
legislative affairs. It was at this session that John C. Calhoun and
William H. Crawford first made their appearance in the National
Congress. The duties of this high office he discharged with marked
ability and great satisfaction through that and the succeeding Congress
until 1814, when he was appointed one of the commissioners to negotiate
at Ghent, a treaty of peace with Great Britain. Abroad Mr. Clay proved
to be a diplomate of no mean ability, and during his absence he was
re-elected to the National Congress, and upon his re-appearance in that
august assembly was immediately chosen speaker.

Mr. Clay was one of the unsuccessful candidates for the presidency in
1824, receiving thirty-seven electoral votes, but became Secretary of
State under John Quincy Adams, who was chosen president by Congress. In
1831, after a temporary retirement, he was elected to the National
Senate, this time for a full term of six years. His services during this
period were very important. His compromise measure was probably, under
the circumstances, one of the most important bills that ever passed the
senate. As is well-known, it secured the gradual reduction of the tariff
for ten years, thus satisfying the South, but allowing the manufacturers
time to accommodate themselves to the change. Mr. Clay was a strong
protectionist but this was a compromise on both sides which Clay was
willing to make, even though it might be to satisfy a political
opponent–Calhoun–to whom he was bitterly opposed.

Certain it is when he saw his country in danger Henry Clay was not the
one to allow partisan hate to stand in opposition to any bill which
might tend to peace, and while this measure had little merit in it of
itself, still it averted a civil war at that time. In 1834 President
Jackson proposed to Congress that they should give him authority to
secure indemnity from France through reprisals. Mr. Clay, as chairman of
the Committee on Foreign Affairs, reported that Congress would not be
justified in so doing, as the neglect on the part of France was clearly
unintentional, thus war was once more averted through the influence of
the ‘great pacifier.’

At the presidential election of 1839 Mr. Clay, General Harrison, and
General Scott were submitted to the Whig Convention as candidates. Mr.
Clay was clearly the choice of the convention, but by one of those
strange movements which so often occur at such times General Harrison
was nominated. Many of Clay’s friends were disposed to bolt, but Mr.
Clay promptly acknowledged the ticket, and it was elected. Then followed
the death of the President in office, the obnoxious vetoes of the newly
installed President–Tyler–the division of the Whig party, the
nomination of Mr. Clay at this late inopportune time and the election of
Mr. Polk.

At the next convention Mr. Clay was a very prominent candidate for the
nomination, but Mr. Taylor’s military career seemed to carry everything
with it and he was nominated and elected. Had Mr. Clay been nominated at
either this convention or in 1839 he would have been elected, but like
Webster, the presidential honors were not essential to perpetuate his
name. During the year 1849, as the people of Kentucky were about to
remodel their constitution, Mr. Clay urged them to embody the principles
of gradual emancipation, but they refused to do so.

He was again returned to the senate, and during this term brought out
the compromise act of 1850. This measure, while recognizing no legal
authority for the existence of slavery in the newly acquired territory
of New Mexico, yet declared that in the establishment of territorial
governments in such territory no restriction should be made relative to
slavery. It also provided for the admission of California without
restrictions on the subject of slavery, and opposed the abolition of
slavery in the District of Columbia. The bill carried with slight
changes. Mr. Clay being very feeble was in his seat but few days of the
session.

In 1852 he gradually sank until on June 29th, 1852, he died. In him
intellect, reason, eloquence, and courage united to form a character fit
to command. It was the remark of a distinguished senator that Mr.
Clay’s eloquence was absolutely intangible to delineation; that the most
labored description could not embrace it, and that to be understood it
must be seen and felt. He was an orator by nature, and by his
indomitable assiduity he at once rose to prominence. His eagle eye
burned with patriotic ardor or flashed indignation and defiance upon his
foes or was suffused with commiseration or of pity; and it was because
HE felt that made OTHERS feel.

A gentleman, after hearing one of his magnificent efforts in the Senate,
thus described him: “Every muscle of the orator’s face was at work. His
whole body seemed agitated, as if each part was instinct with a separate
life; and his small white hand with its blue veins apparently distended
almost to bursting, moved gracefully, but with all the energy of rapid
and vehement gesture. The appearance of the speaker seemed that of a
pure intellect wrought up to its mightiest energies and brightly shining
through the thin and transparent will of flesh that invested it.”

The particulars of the duel between Mr. Clay and Mr. Randolph maybe
interesting to our readers. The eccentric descendant of Pocahontas
appeared on the ground in a huge morning gown. This garment had such a
vast circumference that the precise whereabouts of the lean senator was
a matter of very vague conjecture. The parties exchanged shots and the
ball of Mr. Clay hit the centre of the visible object, but the body of
Mr. Randolph was untouched. Immediately after the exchange of shots Mr.
Clay instantly approached Mr. Randolph, and with a gush of the deepest
emotion said, “I trust in God, my dear sir, you are untouched; after
what has occurred I would not have harmed you for a thousand worlds.”
The incident referred to above as ‘occurring’ was the fact of Mr.
Randolph’s firing in the air, thus publicly proclaiming his intention
not to harm Mr. Clay at all events.

In person, Clay was tall and commanding, being six feet and one inch in
stature, and was noted for the erect appearance he presented, while
standing, walking, or talking. The most striking features of his
countenance were a high forehead, a prominent nose, an uncommonly large
mouth, and blue eyes which, though not particularly expressive when in
repose, had an electrical appearance when kindled. His voice was one of
extraordinary compass, melody and power. From the ‘deep and dreadful
sub-bass of the organ’ to the most ærial warblings of its highest key,
hardly a pipe or stop was wanting. Like all the magical voices, it had
the faculty of imparting to the most familiar and commonplace
expressions an inexpressible fascination. Probably no orator ever lived
who, when speaking on a great occasion, was more completely absorbed
with his theme. “I do not know how it is with others,” he once said,
“but, on such occasions, I seem to be unconscious of the external world.
Wholly engrossed by the subject before me, I lose all sense of personal
identity, of time, or of surrounding objects.”

 

 

MARTIN VAN BUREN.

 

In the quiet little village of Kinderhook, New York, there was at the
close of the Revolution, an indifferent tavern kept by a Dutchman named
Van Buren. There his distinguished son Martin was born on the 5th day of
December, 1782.

After attending the academy in his native village he, at the age of
fourteen, began the study of law. His success was phenomenal from the
beginning, and he has passed into history as an indefatigable student
all through life. In 1808 he was made surrogate of his native county. In
1812 he was elected to the senate of his native State and in that body
voted for electors pledged to support DeWitt Clinton for the presidency.
He was attorney-general of the State from 1815 until 1819. Mr. Van Buren
was a very able politician and it was through his influence that the
celebrated ‘Albany Regency,’ whose influence ruled the State
uninterruptedly for over twenty years, was set on foot.

In 1821 Mr. Van Buren was chosen to the United States Senate and was
made a member of the convention to revise the State constitution. In the
latter body he advocated the extension of the elective franchise, but
opposed universal sufferage, as also the plan of appointing justices of
the peace by popular election. He voted against depriving the colored
citizens of the franchise but supported the proposal to require of them
a freehold qualification of $250. In 1828 he was elected governor of
the great State of New York and resigned his seat in the National
Congress to assume this new position. As governor he opposed the safety
fund system which was adopted by the legislature in 1829. In the month
of March of the next year after assuming the gubernatorial chair he
accepted the leading position in the cabinet of President Jackson but
resigned two years later.

On May 22nd, 1832, he was nominated for the office of vice-president on
the ticket with General Jackson, and was elected. The Democratic
National Convention, which met at Baltimore May 20th, 1835, unanimously
nominated him for the presidency, and in the ensuing election he
received 170 electoral votes out of a total of 283,–73 being cast for
his principal antagonist, General Harrison. The country was now plunged
into the deepest pecuniary embarrassments, the result of previous
hot-house schemes and speculations, rather than the result of the
administrative measures of Van Buren. He had succeeded to the presidency
at a most unfortunate time. Commerce was prostrate; hundreds of
mercantile houses in every quarter were bankrupt; imposing public
meetings attributed these disasters to the policy of the government.

On May 15th, he summoned an extraordinary session of congress to meet
the following September. The president in his message advised that a
bankrupt law for banking and other incorporations be enacted; and that
the approaching deficit in the treasury be made good by withholding from
the States the fourth and last installment of a previous large surplus
ordered to be deposited with them by act of June 23rd, 1836, and by the
temporary issue of $6,000,000 of treasury notes. He also recommended the
adoption of what was called the independent treasury system, which was
passed in the senate, but was laid on the table in the other branch of
congress. The payment of the fourth installment to the States was
postponed, and the emission of $10,000,000 of treasury notes was
authorized.

Again the President in his next annual message recommended the passage
of the independent treasury bill, but the measure was again rejected.
Another presidential measure, however, was more fortunate, a so-called
pre-emption law being enacted, giving settlers on public lands the right
to buy them in preference to others. Van Buren’s third annual message
was largely occupied with financial discussions and especially with
argument in favor of the divorcement of the national government from the
banks throughout the country, and for the exclusive receipt and payment
of gold and silver in all public transactions; that is to say, for the
independent treasury. Through his urgent arguments in its favor it
became a law June 30, 1840, and it is the distinguishing feature in his
administration. The canvass of 1840 was early begun by the opposition,
and became a bitterly contested one. The Whigs placed Harrison at the
head of their ticket and as Van Buren had no competitor, he became the
candidate of the Democracy. Never in the political history of the United
States had there been such universal excitement as was displayed in the
ensuing campaign. The great financial trials through which the
government had passed were made the basis of all argument by the press
and orators for the opposition.

Charges of corruption, extravagance and indifference to the welfare of
the laboring classes were collected and dumped upon poor Van Buren. Thus
was Van Buren represented, while the enthusiasm for Harrison was
greatly augmented by log cabins, emblematical of his humble origin. This
time Van Buren received only 60 electoral votes, while General Harrison
received 234. His last annual message set forth with renewed energy the
benefits of the independent treasury; announced with satisfaction that
the government was without a public debt; and earnestly advised the
enactment of more stringent laws for the suppression of the African
slave trade.

In 1844 Mr. Van Buren’s friends once more urged his nomination for the
presidency by the Democratic national convention at Baltimore. But he
was rejected there on account of his opposition to the annexation of
Texas to the Union, avowed in a public letter to a citizen of
Mississippi who had asked for his position on that question. Though a
majority of the delegates in the convention were pledged to his support,
a rule being passed making a two-thirds vote necessary to a choice,
proved fatal to his interest. For several ballots he led all competitors
when he withdrew his name and Mr. Polk was nominated on the ninth
ballot.

In 1848, when the Democrats had nominated General Cass, and avowed their
readiness to tolerate slavery in the new territories lately acquired
from Mexico, Mr. Van Buren and his adherents adopting the name of the
free democracy at once began to discuss in public that new aspect of the
slavery question.

They held a convention at Utica on June 22nd which nominated Mr. Van
Buren for president, and Henry Dodge of Wisconsin for vice-president.
Mr. Dodge declined, and at a great convention in Buffalo on August 9th,
Charles Francis Adams was substituted. The convention declared:
“Congress has no more right to make a slave than to make a king; it is
the duty of the federal government to relieve itself from all
responsibility for the existence and continuance of slavery wherever the
government possesses constitutional authority to legislate on that
subject and is thus responsible for its existence.”

In accepting the nomination of this new party Mr. Van Buren declared his
full assent to its anti-slavery principles. The result was that in New
York he received the votes of more than half of those who had hitherto
been attached to the Democratic party, and that General Taylor the
candidate of the Whig party was elected. At the outbreak of the civil
war he at once declared himself in favor of maintaining the Republic as
a Union. Unhappily he died before the close of the war and was thus
deprived the satisfaction of seeing perpetuated the Union he so dearly
loved. On the 24th of July, 1872, at his home in Kinderhook, he passed
from death into life.

 

 

STEPHEN ARNOLD DOUGLASS.

 

One of the most noted statesman of the day was the subject of this
narrative. Short, thickset, and muscular in person, and strong in
intellect Stephen A. Douglass came to be known as ‘The Little Giant.’

For many years he held a very conspicuous place in the political history
of the republic. He was a native of the ‘Green Mountain State,’ being
born at Brandon, April 23d, 1813. When he was about two months old his
father, who was a physician, died, and his mother removed to a small
farm, where Stephen remained until he was about fifteen years old.
Having received a common school education he was very anxious to take a
college course, but this being impossible, he determined thereafter to
earn his own living. He accordingly apprenticed himself to a
cabinet-maker, but his health would not allow the pursuit of this
business, and he was compelled to abandon the undertaking.

When he was possibly able he removed to Illinois. Upon his arrival in
Jacksonville his entire wealth consisted of the sum of thirty-seven
cents. He determined to start a school at a place called Winchester,
some fifteen miles from Jacksonville, and as he had little money, walked
the entire distance. Arriving in Winchester the first sight that met his
eyes was a crowd assembled at an auction, and he secured employment for
the time being as clerk for the auctioneer. For this service, which
lasted three days, he received $6, and with this sum he started a
school, which occupied his attention during the day.

For two years previous he had studied law during his SPARE MOMENTS; much
of his time nights was now devoted to the completion of his legal
studies. Being admitted to the bar during the following year, 1834, he
opened an office and began practicing in the higher courts where he was
eminently successful, acquiring a lucrative practice, and HE WAS ELECTED
ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE STATE BEFORE HE WAS TWENTY-TWO.

He soon became a member of the legislature, taking his seat as the
youngest member in that body. He was the Democratic nominee for
Congress before he had acquired the required age, however, his
twenty-fifth birthday occurred before election, thus this obstacle was
removed. In his district a most spirited canvass took place, and out of
over thirty-five thousand votes cast, his opponent was declared elected
by only five. He was appointed register of the land office at
Springfield, but resigned this position in 1889. He became Secretary of
State the following year, and in 1841 was elected a judge of the Supreme
Court at the age of twenty-eight. This position he also resigned two
years after to represent his district in congress where he was returned
by successive elections until 1848.

He was recognized as one of the able members while in the national
legislature, and his speeches on the Oregon question are models. He next
became a Senator from his State, and supported President Polk in the
Mexican war. As is well-known he was the father of the Kansas-Nebraska
act, popularly known as ‘Squatter Sovereignty,’ carrying the measure
through in spite of great opposition.

He was a strong candidate for the Democratic nomination for the
presidency in 1852, and his strength was still more developed four years
later when he was the favorite candidate save one, James Buchanan, who
finally received the honor. At the end of the next four years he was
nominated by the convention meeting at Charleston, and was the unanimous
choice of the northern wing of the Democracy, but bitterly opposed by
the Southern faction, who nominated Mr. Breckinridge at a separate
convention. This caused a split in the Democratic vote, and Mr. Lincoln
was elected on a minority of the total vote cast.

Stephen A. Douglass however, like Webster and Clay, needed not the
honor of occupying the presidential chair to make his name illustrious.
He was remarkably successful in the promotion of his State’s interest in
Congress. To him is due the credit of securing the splendid grant of
land which brought about the successful operation of the Illinois
Central railroad which contributed so much toward the weakened resources
of the State. As previously stated, Mr. Douglass was defeated by Mr.
Lincoln, yet at the outbreak of the civil war his voice was heard in
earnest pleas for the Union, declaring that if this system of resistance
by the sword, when defeated at the ballot-box was persisted in, then
“The history of the United States is already written in the history of
Mexico.”

He most strongly denounced secession as a crime and characterized it as
madness. His dying words were in defence of the Union. To say that Mr.
Douglass was a wonderful man is the least that can be said, while more
could be added in his praise with propriety. As an orator he was
graceful, and possessed natural qualities which carried an audience by
storm. He died June 3rd, 1861, at the outbreak of the civil war. Had he
lived no one would have rendered more valuable assistance in the
suppression of that gigantic rebellion than would Stephen A. Douglass.

But it was in the great political debate between himself and Abraham
Lincoln that Mr. Douglass gained his greatest notoriety as well as
Lincoln himself. The details of this debate will be seen in our sketch
of Mr. Lincoln.

 

 

ABBOTT LAWRENCE.

 

Solomon said: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand
before kings,–he shall not stand before mean men.” How true are those
words; how often have we seen them demonstrated.

Abbott Lawrence, brother of Amos Lawrence, was born December 16, 1792,
and what education he had he received at the academy in Groton. When
about sixteen years of age he took the stage for Boston, with the
princely sum of three dollars in his pocket. He entered the store of his
brother Amos as clerk. After five years of faithful service he was taken
in as partner, and the firm-style became A. & A. Lawrence.

The war of 1812 came on, and Abbott, who possessed less money than his
brother, failed, but he was not disheartened. He applied to the
government for a position in the army, but before his application could
be acted upon peace was declared.

After the war his brother Amos helped him, and once more they entered
into partnership, Abbott going to England to buy goods for the firm.
About 1820 the Lawrence brothers, with that enterprise which
characterizes all great business men, commenced manufacturing goods in
America, instead of importing them from the old world, and to the
Lawrences is due no small credit, as the cities of Lowell and Lawrence
will testify. He was a member of the celebrated convention at
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, whose recommendations to Congress resulted in
the tariff act of 1828, which was so obnoxious to Calhoun and the Cotton
States. In 1834 Mr. Lawrence was elected to Congress, where he did
valuable service on the Committee of Ways and Means. He declined
re-election, but afterward was persuaded to become a candidate and was
again elected. By the advice of Daniel Webster he was sent to England on
the boundary question.

President Taylor offered him a seat in his Cabinet, but he
declined–later he was sent to England, where he became a distinguished
diplomat, and was recalled only at his own request. At one time he
lacked but six votes of being nominated for Vice-President.

On the 18th of August, 1855, Abbott Lawrence died. Nearly every business
place in Boston was closed–in fact, Boston was in mourning; the
military companies were out on solemn parade, flags were placed at
half-mast, and minute-guns were fired. Thus passed away one of the
merchant princes of New England.

 

 

ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS.

 

This great statesman was born in Georgia on February 11, 1812, and was
left an orphan at an early age. He studied law and was admitted to the
bar in 1834, having the advantage of a college education. He entered
upon the practice of law at Crawfordsville in his native State, and his
natural ability and splendid education soon won for him a most lucrative
practice.

Mr. Stephens early became a convert to the Calhoun school of politics,
and he remained firmly fixed until death in the belief that slavery was
the proper sphere in which all colored people should move. He believed
it was better for the races both white and black.

Though physically weak he was wonderfully developed in personal courage.
In 1836 Mr. Stephens was elected to the State legislature, to which he
succeeded five successive terms. In 1842 he was elected to the State
senate, there to remain only one year when he was sent as a Whig to the
national congress, there to remain until 1859 when, July 2nd, in a
speech at Augusta he announced his intention of retiring to private
life. When the old Whig party was superceded by the present Republican
party Mr. Stephens joined the Democrats. During the presidential canvass
of 1860 Mr. Stephens supported the northern wing under Douglass, and in
a speech at the capitol of his State bitterly denounced secession. As
the speech so well illustrates his powers of oratory, so far as words
can portray that power, we give the speech as follows:–

This step, secession, once taken can never be recalled, and all the
baleful and withering consequences that must follow, as you will see,
will rest on this convention for all coming time. When we and our
posterity shall see our lovely South desolated by the demon of war which
this act of yours will inevitably provoke, when our green fields and
waving harvests shall be trodden down by a murderous soldiery, and the
fiery car of war sweeps over our land, our temples of justice laid in
ashes and every horror and desolation upon us; who, but him who shall
have given his vote for this unwise and ill-timed measure shall be held
to a strict account for this suicidal act by the present generation, and
be cursed and execrated by all posterity, in all coming time, for the
wide and desolating ruin that will inevitably follow this act you now
propose to perpetrate?

Pause, I entreat you, and consider for a moment what reasons you can
give that will satisfy yourselves in calmer moments? What reasons can
you give to your fellow-sufferers in the calamity that it will bring
upon us? What reasons can you give to the nations of the earth to
justify it? They will be calm and deliberate judges of this case, and to
what cause, or one overt-act can you point on which to rest the plea of
justification? What right has the North assailed? Of what interest has
the South been invaded? What justice has been denied? And what claim
founded in justice and right has been unsatisfied? Can any of you name
to-day one governmental act of wrong deliberately and purposely done by
the government at Washington, of which the South has a right to
complain? I challenge an answer.

On the other hand, let me show the facts (and believe me, gentlemen, I
am not here the advocate of the North, but I am here the friend, the
firm friend and lover of the South and her institutions, and for this
reason I speak thus plainly and faithfully for yours, mine, and every
other man’s interest, the words of truth and soberness), of which I wish
you to judge, and I will only state facts which are clear and
undeniable, and which now stand in the authentic records of the history
of our country. When we of the South demanded the slave trade, or the
importation of Africans for the cultivation of our lands, did they not
yield the right for twenty years? When we asked a three-fifths
representation in Congress for our section was it not granted? When we
demanded the return of any fugitive from justice, or the recovery of
those persons owing labor or allegiance, was it not incorporated in the
Constitution, and again ratified and strengthened in the fugitive slave
law of 1850? Do you reply that in many instances they have violated this
law and have not been faithful to their engagements? As individuals and
local committees they may have done so, but not by the sanction of
government, for that has always been true to the Southern interests.

Again, look at another fact. When we asked that more territory should be
added that we might spread the institution of slavery did they not yield
to our demands by giving us Louisiana, Florida and Texas out of which
four States have been carved, and ample territory left for four more to
be added in due time, if you do not by this unwise and impolitic act
destroy this hope, and perhaps by it lose all and have your last slave
wrenched from you by stern military rule, or by the vindictative decrees
of a universal emancipation which may reasonably be expected to follow.

But again gentlemen, what have we to gain by this proposed change of our
relation to the general government? We have always had the control of it
and can yet have if we remain in it and are as united as we have been.
We have had a majority of the presidents chosen from the South as well
as the control and management of most of those chosen from the North. We
have had sixty years of Southern presidents to their twenty-four, thus
controlling the executive department. So of the judges of the supreme
court, we have had eighteen from the South and but eleven from the
North. Although nearly four-fifths of the judicial business has arisen
in the free States, yet a majority of the court has been from the South.
This we have required so as to guard against any interpretation of the
constitution unfavorable to us. In like manner we have been equally
watchful in the legislative branch of the government. In choosing the
presiding officer, _pro tem_, of the Senate we have had twenty-four and
they only eleven; speakers of the house we have had twenty-three and
they twelve. While the majority of the representatives, from their
greater population, have always been from the North, yet we have
generally secured the speaker because he to a great extent shapes and
controls the legislation of the country, nor have we had less control in
every other department of the general government.

Attorney-Generals we have had 14, while the North have had but five.
Foreign ministers we have had 86, and they but 54. While three-fourths
of the business which demands diplomatic agents abroad is clearly from
the free States because of their greater commercial interests, we have,
nevertheless, had the principal embassies so as to secure the world’s
markets for our cotton, tobacco and sugar, on the best possible terms.
We have had a vast majority of the higher officers of both army and
navy, while a larger proportion of the soldiers and sailors were drawn
from the Northern States. Equally so of clerks, auditors, and
comptrollers, filling the executive department; the records show for the
last 50 years that of the 3,000 thus employed we have had more than
two-thirds, while we have only one-third of the white population of the
Republic.

Again, look at another fact, and one, be assured, in which we have a
great and vital interest; it is that of revenue or means of supporting
government. From official documents we learn that more than
three-fourths of the revenue collected has been raised from the North.
Pause now while you have the opportunity to contemplate carefully and
candidly these important things. Look at another necessary branch of
government, and learn from stern statistical facts how matters stand in
that department, I mean the mail and post-office privileges that we now
enjoy under the General Government, as it has been for years past. The
expense for the transportation of the mail in the free States was by the
report of the postmaster-general for 1860, a little over $13,000,000
while the income was $19,000,000. But in the Slave States the
transportation of the mail was $14,716,000, and the revenue from the
mail only $8,000,265, leaving a deficit of $6,715,735 to be supplied by
the North for our accommodation, and without which we must have been cut
off from this most essential branch of the government.

Leaving out of view for the present the countless millions of dollars
you must expend in a war with the North, with tens of thousands of your
brothers slain in battle, and offered up as sacrifices on the altar of
your ambition–for what, I ask again? Is it for the overthrow of the
American Government, established by our common ancestry, cemented and
built up by their sweat and blood, and founded on the broad principles
of right, justice and humanity? I must declare to you here, as I have
often done before, and it has also been declared by the greatest and
wisest statesmen and patriots of this and other lands, that the American
Government is the best and freest of all governments, the most equal in
its rights, the most just in its decisions, the most lenient in its
measures, and the most inspiring in its principles to elevate the race
of men that the sun of heaven ever shone upon.

Now for you to attempt to overthrow such a government as this under
which we have lived for more than three-quarters of a century, in which
we have gained our wealth, our standing as a nation, our domestic safety
while the elements of peril are around us with peace and tranquility
accompanied with unbounded prosperity and rights unassailed is the
height of madness, folly and wickedness to which I will neither lend my
sanction nor my vote.

This is one of the most eloquent appeals recorded on the pages of
history, and had Mr. Stephens carried out his first intention as
expressed, “I will neither lend my sanction nor my vote,” in his
subsequent career during that war he had so eloquently and prophetically
depicted, he would to-day not only be recognized as one of the ablest
and most brilliant of orators as he is known, but would have stamped his
life as a consistent and constant legislator which is so laudable in any
man. But only a month later, after delivering the great speech at
Milledgeville in defense of the Union he accepted one of the chief
offices in the Confederacy, and began to perpetrate the very wrongs he
had so vehemently deplored, seeking by speeches innumerable to overthrow
that government he had so eloquently eulogized.

At Savannah he spoke something as follows: “The new constitution has put
to rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar
institutions–African slavery as it exists among us–the proper status
of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause
of the late rupture and the present revolution. Jefferson in his
forecast had anticipated this as the rock upon which the old Union would
split. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading
statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were
that the enslavement of the African was in violation to the laws of
nature; that it was wrong in principle socially, morally and
politically.”

“Our new government is founded on exactly the opposite ideas. Its
foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great truth that
the negro is not equal to the white man. That in slavery, subordination
to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new
government, is the first in the history of the world based upon this
great physical, philosophical and moral truth. It is the first
government ever instituted upon principles in strict conformity to
nature and the ordination of Providence in furnishing the materials of
human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of
enslaving certain classes, but the classes thus enslaved were of the
same race and enslaved in violation to the laws of nature.”

“Our system commits no such violation of the laws of nature. The negro,
by nature or by the curse against Canaan is fitted for that condition
which he occupies in our system. The architect in the construction of
buildings lays the foundation with the proper material, the granite;
then comes the brick or marble. The substratum of our society is made of
the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it
is best not only for the superior, but the inferior race that it should
be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the Creator. It is not for us
to inquire into the wisdom of his ordinances, or to question them. For
his own purposes he has made one race to differ from another, as he has
made one star to differ from another in glory. The great objects of
humanity are best attained when conformed to his laws and decrees in the
formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy
is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This
stone which was rejected by the first builders ‘is become the chief
stone of the corner’ in our new edifice.”

By both of these speeches he was of great service to the national
government. The first was used to justify the suppression of secession,
and the second to excite the animosity of the world against secession.
After the war Mr. Stephens was once more a member of the National
Congress and Governor of his native State. On the 3rd day of March,
1883, he died at his home in Crawfordville. We have thus spoken of Mr.
Stephens as a legislator; personally, he was a very pleasant man to
meet, loved in society, was kind-hearted, and we believe sincere. His
eloquence was at times wonderful, and was augmented rather than
diminished by his physical infirmity. Those who have heard him will
never forget the squeaking voice and haggard look.

According to Webster, the three cardinal points essential to true
oratory are clearness, force and sincerity. In all of these Stephens was
proficient. His descriptive powers were remarkable, and he could blend
pathos with argument in a manner unusual. He was a warm friend of Mr.
Lincoln, and one of the most characteristic stories ever told of Mr.
Lincoln is in connection with Governor Stephens’ diminutive appearance
and great care for his shattered health. On one occasion before the war
he took off three overcoats, one after the other, in the presence of Mr.
Lincoln, who rose, and walking around him, said, “I was afraid of
Stephens, for I thought he might keep on taking off clothes until he
would be nothing but a ghost left,” and speaking to a friend standing
by, remarked further, “Stephens and his overcoats remind me of the
biggest shuck off the smallest ear of corn that I have ever seen in my
life.” One by one the eminent men of State pass away. Their deaths make
vacancies which the ambitious and active hasten to occupy whether they
are able to fill them or not.

 

 

MILLARD FILLMORE.

 

Great, indeed, are the possibilities of our country. The subject of this
narrative, thirteenth president of the United States, was born in Summer
Hill, Cayuga county, New York, January 7th, 1800. The nearest house to
that of Fillmore was four miles distant. Cayuga county was then a
wilderness with few settlers, consequently young Fillmore’s education
was limited to instruction in reading, writing, spelling and the
simplest branches of arithmetic. At fourteen he was bound out to learn
the fuller’s trade.

Think of it boys, what splendid opportunities most of you have; yes, all
of you have, compared to that of Fillmore, for he had not the advantage
of our glorious and complete school system, and at that was bound out
when a mere lad. Yet at the age of nineteen he presumed to aspire to
become a lawyer! He had two more years to serve in his apprenticeship,
but “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” “To think a thing impossible
is to make it so,” and he accordingly set to work contriving to gain for
himself an education.

Contracting with his employer to pay him $30 for his release, that
obstacle was overcome. He next made an arrangement with a retired
lawyer, by which he received his board for services, and studied nights.
This continued for two years, when he set out on foot for Buffalo where
he arrived with just $4 in his pocket. Ah! methinks people who saw that
boy must have felt that he was destined to be somebody in the world.
“Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a
candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”

How often are we so deeply impressed by reading the biographies of great
men that it really does in a great measure rest with ourselves whether
we amount to something, or worse than nothing, in the world. We have
followed this man from childhood and have seen him overcome all
obstacles thus far; will we then be surprised when we read that no
sooner did he arrive in Buffalo than he succeeded in making arrangements
with a resident lawyer, obtaining permission to study in his office and
supported himself by severe drudgery, teaching and assisting the post
master.

By the spring of 1823 he had so far gained the confidence of the bar
that by the intercession of several of its leading members he was
admitted as an attorney by the Court of Common Pleas of Erie county,
although he had not completed the period of study usually required, and
commenced practice at Aurora where his father resided.

In the course of a few years he acquired not only a large practice but a
thorough mastery of the principles of the common law, and he rose to a
place among the first lawyers of his State. In 1827 he was admitted as
counselor of the Supreme Court of the State. In 1830 he moved to Buffalo
where he continued in the practice of law until 1847, when he was
elected Comptroller of the great Empire State.

He had previously been in the State legislature and in the national
congress. In congress he rose gradually to the first rank for integrity,
industry and practical ability. As a State legislator he particularly
distinguished himself by his advocacy of the act to abolish imprisonment
for debt, which was drafted by him, and which passed in 1831. In
congress he supported John Quincy Adams in his assertion of the right of
petition on the subject of slavery. He opposed the annexation of Texas,
because it extended slave domain and advocated the immediate abolition
of the inter-state slave trade.

At the death of President Taylor, Mr. Fillmore, according to the
provisions of the Constitution in such cases, became President of the
United States, and the poor boy who had entered Buffalo on foot now
entered the National Capitol as the ruler of a mighty nation. During his
administration a treaty with Japan, securing for the United States
valuable commercial privileges, was consummated. His administration, as
a whole, was a successful one, and had he not signed the fugitive slave
law, he would, undoubtedly, have been the nominee of his party at the
convention in 1852.

In 1854 he made an extensive tour in the Southern and Western States,
and in the Spring of 1855, after an excursion through New England, he
sailed for Europe. While in Rome he received information that he had
been nominated by the Native American party in his native country for
the office of President. He accepted, but Maryland alone gave him her
electoral vote; however, he received a large popular vote. In 1874,
March the 8th, he died in Buffalo, where he had resided many years in
private life.

 

 

WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

 

A truly eminent American statesman, William H. Seward, was born in
Florida, Orange county, New York, May 16th, 1801.

He graduated with much distinction when only nineteen at Union College,
Schenectady, New York, then taught school in Georgia six months when he
entered a New York law school, and was admitted to the bar in 1822;
commenced the practice of law at Auburn in connection with Judge Miller,
whose daughter he afterward married.

In 1824 he entered upon his political career by preparing an address for
a Republican convention in opposition to the Democratic clique known as
the ‘Albany Regency,’ thus commenced a contention which only ended when
the association was broken up in 1838. He presided over a young men’s
convention in New York in favor of John Quincy Adams’ re-election to the
presidency. In August, 1828, on his return home he was offered a
nomination as member of Congress but declined. He was elected to the
State senate in 1830, when he originated an opposition to corporate
monopolies which has since ripened into a system of general laws. After
a rapid tour through Europe in 1833 he returned home to become the Whig
candidate for governor of New York, being defeated by W. L. Marcy. But
in 1838 he was elected over Marcy, his former opponent, by a majority of
10,000 votes.

Placed now in a position where he could exercise that mighty mind which
he unmistakably possessed, he achieved National distinction in the
measures he prosecuted. Prominent among these measures was the effort to
secure the diffusion of common school education, advocating an equal
distribution of the public funds among all schools for that purpose.
Imprisonment for debt was abolished, the banking system was improved,
the first lunatic asylum was established, and every vestige of slavery
was cleared from the statute books.

He also became famous through his controversy with the Governor of
Virginia. The latter issued a demand on Mr. Seward, as the Governor of
New York, for the delivery of two men charged with abducting slaves.
Seward maintained that no State could force a requisition upon another
State, founded on an act which was only criminal by its own legislation,
and which compared with general standards was not only innocent, but
humane and praiseworthy. This correspondence between the two executives
known as “The Virginia Controversy” was widely published, and was
largely instrumental in bringing about his triumphant re-election in
1840.

At the close of his second term he once more resumed the practice of
law, becoming a practitioner in the United States Courts. He was also a
great criminal lawyer, and especially aided, not only by gratuitous
service, but money also, in aiding people whom he thought unjustly
accused. Becoming a United States Senator, he announced his purpose to
make no further concessions to the slave power. In his speech on the
admission of California, March 11th, 1850, the judgment of the man, his
ability to forecast events, and his oratorical powers are displayed.
Among other things he said:

“It is true, indeed, that the national domain is ours. It is true, it is
acquired by the valor, and with the wealth of the whole nation. But we
hold, nevertheless, no arbitrary power over it. We hold no arbitrary
authority over anything, whether acquired lawfully, or seized by
usurpation. The Constitution regulates our stewardship; the Constitution
devotes the domain to union, to justice, to defence, to welfare, and to
liberty.”

“But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our
authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes.
The territory is a part, no considerable part, of the common heritage of
mankind, bestowed upon them by the Creator of the universe. We are his
stewards, and must so discharge our trust as to secure in the highest
attainable degree their happiness.” In another speech, delivered at
Rochester in 1858, in alluding to the constant collision between the
system, of free and slave labor in the United States, he said:

“It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing forces, and it means
that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either
entirely a slave-holding nation, or entirely a free labor nation.”
Thus, while others dodged this issue, William H. Seward came squarely
out in language which could not be misinterpreted. When the Whig party
had proved its incompetency to deal with the slavery question, Mr.
Seward, in conformity with his past public career, withdrew and figured
most conspicuously in the founding of the new Republican party.

In the last session of the 36th Congress, when the war clouds were
threatening, and desertion of the Union cause became an epidemic, high
above the breathings of secession was heard the voice of William H.
Seward, exclaiming: “I avow my adherence to the Union with my friends,
with my party, with my State; or without either, as they may determine,
in every event of peace or war, with every consequence of honor or
dishonor, of life or death.” In conclusion he declared: “I certainly
shall never directly or indirectly give my vote to establish or sanction
slavery in the common territories of the United States, or anywhere else
in the world.”

His second term closed with the thirty-sixth congress, March 4th, 1861.
In the National Republican convention he was the most conspicuous
candidate for the presidency for 1856-60. He made quite an extended tour
through Europe, Egypt and the Holy Land in 1859. Upon the accession of
Mr. Lincoln to the presidency Mr. Seward was called to fill the seat of
honor in his cabinet.

At the outbreak of the civil war Mr. Seward had already shown himself a
very able man, but his management of the foreign affairs of our
government during those trying hours indelibly stamped him as the most
able of able Secretaries of State. He was one of the few men who have
been conceded to be a great success in the office of Secretary of State.
His management of the complicated Trent affair, the manner of his
declination of the French proposal to unite with Great Britain and
Russia in mediating between the Federal and Confederate governments, and
his thorough reorganization of the diplomatic service abroad, thus
insuring a correct interpretation by foreign powers of the issues before
the government; in fact his management of the high office did him great
credit, and more than once averted a foreign war.

When Mr. Lincoln had drafted his famous proclamation he submitted it to
Seward for approval. Many people at the North were dissatisfied with
some measures of the administration, and the rebellion had been
characterized as a “Nigger war,” even at the North, besides all this the
Union arms had met with terrible loss, and Mr. Seward wisely saw the
evil results which might follow such a proclamation at this time.
Therefore, through his advice the paper was held until after the victory
at Antietam, when the country was further educated and better able to
understand and receive the real issue of the war.

Early in the spring of 1865 he was thrown from his carriage, and his jaw
and one arm were broken. While confined to his bed by these injuries he
was attacked by a would-be assassin, and very severely wounded, being
cut several times with a knife–his son Frederick W. came to his rescue
and was also injured. It was on the same night that President Lincoln
was shot, April 14. The assassin escaped from the house, but was soon
arrested and hanged with the other conspirators, July 7.

Mr. Seward’s recovery was very slow and painful, and it is thought the
shock given by the accident, and this murderous attack impaired his
intellectual force, for when he again resumed his duties under
President Johnson, he supported the President’s reconstruction policy,
becoming at dissonance with the party he had so satisfactorily served,
until now. At the close of his official term in March, 1867, he retired
from public life, and soon made an extended tour through California,
Oregon and Alaska; the latter having been acquired during his
secretaryship, and mainly through his efforts.

Accompanied by his family he made a tour around the world, returning to
Auburn in October, 1871. He was everywhere received with honor and great
distinction. The observations made during this extensive voyage are
embodied in “Wm. H. Seward’s Travels around the World,” prepared by his
adopted daughter, Olive Risley Seward. He died at Auburn, New York,
October 10th, 1872, lamented by a nation.

 

 

HORATIO SEYMOUR.

 

One whose name and deeds are familiar to the people of the whole Union
was Horatio Seymour, the most eminent and notable of the later Governors
of New York. Born May 31st, 1810, at Pompey, Onondaga county, New York;
a hamlet in what was then almost a wilderness.

When he was nine years of age his parents moved to Utica. His school
education was obtained at the academies of Oxford and Geneva, New York,
and Partridge’s military school, Middletown, Connecticut. He studied the
science of law, and fitted himself for the profession, being admitted to
the bar in 1832, but the death of his father devolved upon him the
settlement of a large estate. This withdrew him from his intended
calling, but enabled him to give ample time and attention to reading,
for he had an intense thirst for knowledge.

His public life began with his appointment as military secretary to
Governor Marcy. Martin Van Buren is said to have seen with his keen eye
the valuable qualities in the young man, and the appointment was made at
his instance. Seymour held this place through Marcy’s three terms,
1833-39, and being very young, he became enamored with public life. In
1841 he was elected to the State Assembly as a Democrat, was re-elected
three times, and in 1845 was chosen speaker, which office he filled with
dignity and courtesy toward all. In 1842, while in the assembly, he was
elected Mayor of Utica for one year, and was especially interested in
all public matters pertaining to the welfare of that city.

In 1850 Mr. Seymour was an unsuccessful candidate for governor of his
native State, being defeated by his personal friend, Washington Hurt, by
a plurality of only 262 votes. Considering the hopeless condition of the
Democratic party at that time, and his majority of 20,000 over the same
competitor two years later, we can imagine something of his popularity
at this early period. His first term as the executive of New York was
marked by his veto of the prohibitory law which had been passed by the
legislature, but his action in regard to the speedy completion of all
public works then in progress and the interest he manifested in the
diffusion of public education was very exemplary. However, in the
ensuing election he was defeated by a plurality, this time, of only 309
votes. In 1862 Mr. Seymour was again elected governor over Wadsworth by
nearly 11,000 majority.

The breaking out of the civil war found Mr. Seymour allied to that
element of the Democratic party which made its views formally known at
what has passed into history as the “Tweedle Hall” meeting. He was one
of the principal speakers at this memorable peace convention and
employed his eloquence in behalf of concession and conciliation, and
pointedly inquired: “Shall we compromise after war or without war?” His
position was analogous with many of the great men in both parties at
this time. When hostilities had really begun his tone changed, and in
his inaugural address, January 1st, 1863, his position was clearly
defined as follows: “Under no circumstances can the division of the
Union be conceded. We will put forth every exertion of power; we will
use every policy of conciliation; we will guarantee them every right,
every consideration demanded by the constitution and by that fraternal
regard which must prevail in a common country; but we can never
voluntarily consent to the breaking up of the union of these States or
the destruction of the constitution.”

President Lincoln telegraphed Mr. Seymour asking if he could raise and
forward forthwith 20,000 troops to assist in repelling the threatened
invasion by Lee, of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Within three days 12,000
soldiers were on their way to Gettysburg. The draft riots next occupied
his attention. The National government passed a conscription act, March
3rd, enrolling all able-bodied citizens, between twenty and forty-five
years of age, and in May the President ordered a draft of three hundred
thousand men. The project was exceedingly unpopular, and was bitterly
denounced on every hand, says Barnes. The anti-slavery measure of the
administration had already occupied widespread hostility to the war.

While Pickett’s noble southern troops were assaulting Cemetery Ridge at
Gettysburg, inflammatory handbills were being circulated in New York
city, which brought on a riot July 13th. The mob rose in arms, sacked
houses, demolished the offices of the provost-marshal, burned the
colored orphan asylum, attacked the police, and chased negroes; even
women and children, wherever found, were chased, and if caught hung to
the nearest lamp-post. Two millions of dollars’ worth of property was
destroyed. The Governor immediately went to New York, and on the 14th he
issued two proclamations; one calling on the rioters to disperse; the
other declaring the city in a state of insurrection. He divided the city
into districts, which were placed under the control of military men, who
were directed to organize the citizens; and 3,000 stands of arms were
issued to these and other organizations. Boats were chartered to convey
policemen and soldiers to any point on the shores of the island where
disturbances were threatened. The Governor visited all the riotous
districts in person, and by persuasion, as well as by the use of the
force at his command, aided in quelling the disturbance.

During his term Governor Seymour commissioned more than 13,000 officers
in the volunteer service of the United States. In August 1864 he
presided over the Democratic National Convention at Chicago which
nominated General McClellan for the presidency. Four years later, much
against his will, he was nominated for the presidency himself and was
defeated by General Grant, as any nominee of the Democratic party at
that time would have been. He then retired to private life, dwelling in
elegant repose at his pleasant home near Utica, New York, until his
death which occurred February 12th, 1886.

His occasional addresses were charming to the hearer, and no man could
deliver a more edifying speech at any celebration. He was an ardent
lover of American history, particularly the history of his native State,
and on all State topics he discoursed with learning and a charm
peculiarly original. Notwithstanding the high position held by Mr.
Seymour among the great men of his time his funeral was very simple.
Rev. Dr. A. B. Goodrich offered a prayer at the residence of ex-Senator
Roscoe Conkling, his brother-in-law, after which the regular services
were conducted at the old Trinity Church. After the services the body
was borne to Forest Hill Cemetery and placed in the Chapel of Roses.

 

 

WINFIELD S. HANCOCK.

 

A large man, finely proportioned with a most graceful carriage, and
self-poise, and withal handsome, thus had nature endowed Winfield Scott
Hancock, who was born in the county of Montgomery, Pennsylvania,
February 14, 1824.

In 1844 he graduated from West Point with honor, and served with
distinction in the war with Mexico, where he was commissioned
lieutenant. Until the breaking out of the civil war he was stationed
with his division in various parts of the country. Being recalled to
Washington, he was commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers, and
served with great valor during the Peninsula campaign. For this and
other meritorious conduct he was made a major-general, and commanded a
division at the great battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

But in the great and decisive battle of Gettysburg Hancock won his
greatest laurels. General Meade, his commander, sent him to the field of
Gettysburg to decide if battle should be given there, or if the army
should fall back to another position. Hancock reported that Gettysburg
was the proper place, and thus the little hamlet became famous in
history; two days of terrific fighting passed; the afternoon of the
third day arrives and the final charge is made upon the division
commanded by Hancock.

About one o’clock one hundred and fifty-five guns suddenly opened on
that one division. For two hours the air was fairly alive with shells.
Every size and form of shell known to British or American gunnery
shrieked, whirled, moaned, whistled and wrathfully fluttered over the
ground, says Wilkinson. “As many as six in a second, constantly two in a
second came screaming around the headquarters. They burst in the yard;
burst next to the fence where the horses belonging to the aids and
orderlies were hitched. The fastened animals reared and plunged with
terror. One horse fell, then another; sixteen lay dead before the
cannonade ceased. Through the midst of the storm of screaming and
exploding shells an ambulance driven at full speed by its frenzied
conductor presented the marvelous spectacle of a horse going rapidly on
three legs, a hind one had been shot off at the hock. A shell tore up
the little step at the headquarters cottage and ripped bags of oats as
with a knife. Another shell soon carried off one of its two pillars.
Soon a spherical case burst opposite the open door, another tore through
the low garret, the remaining pillar went almost immediately to the howl
of a fixed shot that Whitworth must have made. Soldiers in Federal blue
were torn to pieces in the road and died with the peculiar yell that
blends the extorted cry of pain with horror and despair.”

“The Union guns,” says Barnes, “replied for a time, and were then
withdrawn to cool.” Probably the experience of the veteran troops knew
that they would soon be needed for closer work. The men lay crouching
behind rocks and hiding in hollows, from the iron tempest which drove
over the hill, anxiously awaiting the charge, which experience taught
them, must follow. Finally the cannonade lulled, the supreme minute had
come, and out of the woods swept the Confederate double battle-line,
over a mile long, preceded by a cloud of skirmishers, and with wings on
either side to prevent its being flanked. This was Lee’s first charge,
and upon it depended, as subsequently seen, the rise or fall of the
Confederate cause.

A quarter of a mile away, and a hundred guns tore great gaps in the
line, but the men closed up and sternly moved on. A thrill of admiration
ran along the Union ranks as silently and with disciplined steadiness,
that magnificent column of eighteen thousand men moved up the slope,
with its red battle-flags flying, and the sun playing on its burnished
bayonets. On they came on the run. Infantry volleys struck their ranks.
Their ranks were broken, and their supports were scattered to the winds.
Pickett’s veterans and A. P. Hill’s best troops went down. Out of that
magnificent column of men, only one-fourth returned to tell the story.
Three generals, fourteen field officers, and fourteen thousand men were
either slain or captured. This was the supreme moment of the war; from
that hour the Confederate cause waned and slowly died.

All honor to Hancock, the hero of Gettysburg, who was borne bleeding
from the field, not to resume active service until March, 1864, when he
took a leading part in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania
Court-House, North Anna, the second battle of Cold Harbor, and in the
operations around Petersburg. After the war was over he was placed in
command of the Middle Department, the Department of Missouri, of
Louisiana and Texas, of Dakota, and on the death of General Meade,
promoted to command the Department of the East, which position he held
at his death.

In 1868 he was a very prominent candidate for the Democratic nomination,
receiving 114-1/2 votes, but after an exciting contest, Horatio Seymour
was nominated on the 22nd ballot. The next year he was tendered the
Democratic nomination for Governor of his native State, but respectfully
declined.

In 1880 he accepted the nomination from the same party for the highest
honor within the gift of the party, but in the subsequent election was
defeated by James A. Garfield, the Republican nominee. His last
conspicuous appearance in public was at the funeral services of General
Grant, where he acted as marshal of ceremonies. Scarcely six months were
passed when we were startled with the news: Hancock is dead, and on
February 13th, 1886, with military honors, but no elaborate display, he
was laid at rest beside his father and beloved daughter. No long line of
troops, no sound of dirges, no trappings of woe, marked the funeral of
General Hancock. The man who had received the nomination of a great
party for the highest honor in the nation’s gift, who had turned the
fortunes of many a battle, and whose calm courage in the midst of death
had so often inspired the faltering regiments, was laid at rest quietly,
without pomp or vain show, at Norristown, Pennsylvania.

 

 

GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN.

 

On the 3rd of December, 1826, was born in Philadelphia, a child who
would one day become celebrated in the annals of history.

He enjoyed the privilege of a good education, graduating at the
University of Pennsylvania, and when twenty years old he also graduated
at West Point, ranking second in his class.

George B. McClellan was a brilliant scholar, and during the Mexican war
won high esteem as an engineer. After the war he was engaged in various
engineering projects, and rendered valuable service to the country by
introducing bayonet exercises into the military tactics at West Point,
and translating a French Manual of Bayonet Exercises, which was adapted
to the United States service, and became an authority. In 1855-‘6 he was
a member of the Military Commission sent by the government to visit the
seat of the Crimean war.

He resigned his commission in the regular army in 1857; became chief
engineer of the Illinois Central Railroad, and in 1868 he also became
Vice-President of the road; two years later, President of St. Louis and
Cincinnati Railway. It is difficult to surmise what he might have become
as a railway magnate but for the civil war.

At the outbreak of hostilities he became the major-general of Ohio
volunteers, and by skillful generalship and bravery, succeeded in
driving the rebels out of West Virginia, which made him
commander-in-chief of the Army of the Potomac. General McClellan was
over-cautious, and lingered about Washington with about 200,000 men,
drilling and preparing for the battle. Succumbing to popular clamor he
moved out toward Richmond.

Then followed the Peninsula campaign, wherein McClellan was forced to
change his base, accomplishing one of the most masterly retreats in the
annals of history. Being relieved of the command by Pope, who also
failed, he was re-instated and fought the bloody battle of Antietam. In
this battle he foiled the Confederate project of invasion, but popular
clamor demanded his removal, as it was thought he followed up his
victory too leisurely. This virtually ended his military services, and
on November 8th, 1864, he resigned his commission. After his
unsuccessful canvass for the presidency he, with his family, sailed for
Europe, where he remained until 1868, when he returned to the United
States and took up his residence at Orange, New Jersey. Henceforth he
followed his profession as an engineer.

In 1877 he was elected Governor of New Jersey. On October 29th, 1885, he
died at his residence in New York city from the effects of heart
disease.

We do not propose to pose as a champion of McClellan’s wrongs, real or
supposed, but in reviewing his life the following facts are worthy of
thought: He was in command at a time when the whole North were laboring
under a delusion as to the requirements of the war, and it is doubtful
if any general would have succeeded at this time. The fact that such an
able general as Hooker was relieved after one reverse, leads one to
wonder what might have been the fate of even Grant had he commanded at
this time. However, it is not for us to say, but certain it is, that no
greater military tactician was to be found among the generals of our
late war, and as such he deserves credit.

 

 

ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT.

 

When a man is energetic and determines to be somebody in the
world–which is praiseworthy so long as that energy is guided by
propriety and a just conception of right–there are always scores,
hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who endeavor to depreciate that
man’s reward.

No other excuse can be assigned for the slander and vituperation which
has from time to time been heaped upon the fair reputation of General U.
S. Grant.

Born in obscurity at Point Pleasant, Ohio, April 27th, 1822, his life is
a fitting type of the possibilities of our glorious institutions.
Through the influence of Hon. Thomas L. Hamer he was admitted at West
Point in 1839. Personally, at this early age, he detested war and was
opposed to accepting the opportunity, but his father persuaded him to
go, and his name was blunderingly registered as U. S., instead of H. U.,
hence he was ever after known as U. S. Grant.

In 1843 he graduated, ranking twenty-first in a class of thirty-nine. It
will be remembered that Lee and McClellan each ranked second when they
graduated. At this time Grant was not taken with war, and probably
evinced little interest in army tactics. The Mexican war came on and
Grant here distinguished himself, rising to the rank of captain. After
the war he was stationed at Detroit, and Sacketts Harbor, but this kind
of inactivity was ill-suited to the restless nature of Grant; he
therefore resigned.

Having married a Miss Dent, of St. Louis, he accordingly moved onto a
farm near that city. The next few years he was engaged on the farm, in a
real estate office in St. Louis, and at the outbreak of the civil war
was in business with his father, dealing in leather. When the news of
the fall of Fort Sumter reached Galena he immediately raised a company
and marched to Springfield where they tendered their services to the
governor. Grant acted as mustering officer until, being commissioned
colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Volunteers, he took the field. His
first great victory was the capture of Fort Donelson with 15,000
prisoners. When asked by the Confederate general what terms of surrender
was expected his answer was, “No terms other than an unconditional and
immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move upon your works
at once.” The fall of Fort Donelson and the capture of its garrison
being the first substantial victory that had crowned the Union cause,
together with the above described answer to General Buckner, brought the
name of General Grant prominently before the country.

Pittsburgh Landing followed and then Grant determined to take Vicksburg.
All his generals declared the plan he proposed unmilitary and
impossible, but after several unsuccessful attempts the Gibraltar of the
Mississippi was captured, and this time 27,000 prisoners taken. Now came
the battle of Chattanooga. General Halleck in speaking of this battle
said:

“Considering the strength of the rebel position, and the difficulty of
storming his intrenchments, the battle of Chattanooga must be considered
the most remarkable in history. Indeed it is so. After Grant had turned
the Confederate right flank, Sherman was intercepted between Longstreet
and Bragg, thus cutting Longstreet entirely out, and preventing another
junction being possible. Resolutions of thanks were passed in Ohio and
New York, and Congress created Grant a Lieutenant-General, a commission
which had been held by no one since General Scott resigned. Indeed, if
ever a General deserved honor, Grant had won it; he had opened the
Mississippi to navigation, and had captured nearly 100,000 prisoners and
arms.”

He was now commander of all the Federal forces. He at once inaugurated
two campaigns to be carried on at once. One under Sherman, against
Atlanta commanded by the skillful rebel General Johnson; the other under
Meade, directed against Lee and the Confederate capitol. Sherman
advanced upon Atlanta, and the success of his famous march to the sea is
well-known.

The capture of Lee was a far more difficult undertaking. After various
flanking movements and costly assaults, the problem of taking Lee
narrowed itself down to a siege of Petersburg. Grant perceived that his
only hope lie in literally starving the Confederate army out by cutting
off all resources as far as practicable. Lee attempted to draw off
attention toward Washington, but General Sheridan drove Early out of the
Shenandoah Valley, devastating the country to such an extent that it was
impossible to forage an army there should Lee attempt such a maneuver
again. Time wore away, and on the 9th of April, 1865, Grant captured the
Confederate army under Lee, thus virtually ending the war.

On July 25, 1866, he was made general of the United States army; the
rank having been created for him, he was the first to hold it. At the
next Republican Convention, Grant was nominated for President on the
first ballot, and was elected over Seymour, and was re-elected a second
term by an increased majority.

When his public services were finished he started in company with his
wife, son Jesse, and a few friends. They set sail from Philadelphia on
the 17th of May, 1877. They visited nearly all the countries of Europe,
and part of those of Africa and Asia. On this trip the Grant party were
the guests of nearly all the crowned heads of those foreign countries,
everywhere receiving the most exalted honors it has ever been the
pleasure of an American to enjoy, and on his return to the United
States they were the recipients of an ovation in many of the principal
cities of this country.

His success seems to have been the outgrowth of hard study and ability
to perform the most exhaustive labor without fatigue. The scenes of his
later days were clouded with the intrigues of a stock gambler, but the
stain that the Grant-Ward failure seemed likely to throw on the spotless
reputation of General Grant was wiped away when the facts were brought
to light, and a new lustre was added to his fame by the self-sacrifice
shown in the final settlement.

General Grant proved to be a writer of no low order, and his
autobiography is a very readable book. On July 23rd, 1885, the General
surrendered to a loathsome cancer, and the testimonials of devotion
shown the honored dead; and the bereaved family throughout the civilized
world, indicated the stronghold upon the hearts of the people held by
the dead General.

 

 

STONEWALL JACKSON.

 

The true name of this most remarkable man was Thomas Jonathan Jackson;
few people, however, would recognize by that name to whom was referred.
At the battle of Bull Run, when the Confederates seemed about to fly,
General Bee suddenly appearing in view of his men, pointing to Jackson’s
column exclaimed: “There stands Jackson like a stone-wall.” From that
hour the name he received by ordinance of water was supplanted by that
received in a baptism of fire.

Stonewall Jackson was born at Clarksburg, Virginia, January 21st, 1824.
He graduated at West Point in time to serve in the Mexican war, where he
became distinguished for gallant service and was brevetted as captain,
and finally major. After serving a number of years in the regular army
he resigned to become professor and instructor in military tactics in
the Virginia Military Academy, situated at Lexington, Kentucky. He was
considered at this time a most peculiar man, being very eccentric in his
habits. At the breaking out of the civil war he naturally sided with his
State, and it is believed that he was sincere. It is said that Jackson
never fought a battle without praying earnestly for the success of his
people. As has been intimated, he saved the day for the Confederacy at
Bull Run.

McClellan was promised the assistance of General McDowell and forty
thousand men who had been left at headquarters for the protection of the
capital. It was well-known that a combined attack on Richmond was
designed immediately upon the junction of the two great armies. To
prevent the execution of this plan Jackson was ordered to drive the
Federal forces out of the Shenandoah Valley and threaten Washington. He
accomplished this by one of the most brilliant campaigns of the war. He
crossed the mountains and drove the army of Fremont back, and returning
to the Valley with all speed defeated Banks at every turn; indeed, it
was only by the most rapid marching that the Federals escaped across the
Potomac.

McDowell was suspended from joining McClellan and ordered to co-operate
in crushing Jackson. Jackson, with a force of scarcely twenty thousand
men, had opposed to him, bent upon his destruction, fully seventy
thousand men, and four major-generals; his defeat seemed certain, yet by
a most rapid and skillful march he eluded pursuit until his army had
reached a point from which his line of retreat was safe, when he turned
upon his enemy and defeated Fremont at Cross Keys June 8th, and Shields
at Port Republic the next day. Having thus accomplished the purpose of
the campaign, he hastened to join Lee in his attack on McClellan. As
before stated, this was a most brilliant campaign. Not only was McDowell
prevented from joining McClellan, but McClellan became alarmed as to his
own safety, and resolved to change his base from the York to the James.
This forced upon him the Peninsula campaign, which resulted in the Union
army being driven back to Washington. For this and other important
services he was made a major-general. Being placed in immediate control
of nearly half of Lee’s entire army, he made one of his characteristic
movements; gaining Pope’s rear, fell upon the Union forces with a
terrible ferocity which carried all before it. By a rapid movement in
the Antietam campaign Jackson captured Harper’s Ferry and eleven
thousand men, and then, by a forced march, rejoined Lee in time to take
an important part in the battle of Antietam two days afterward.

At Fredericksburg he was made a lieutenant-general. He soon controlled
two-thirds of the Confederate forces, and at Chancellorsville he made a
secret march of over fifteen miles mostly by forest roads, and gaining
Hooker’s right fell upon it by surprise, and drove it in rout upon the
main body. The engagement being apparently over he rode into the woods
to reconnoiter, having with him a small escort. Upon his return they
were mistaken for Union scouts and fired upon by his own men. Several of
the escort were killed, and Jackson received three balls, one through
each hand and one which shattered his shoulder. He was at length carried
to the rear where his arm was amputated. Pneumonia set in, however,
which was the immediate cause of his death. His last words were, “Let us
cross over and rest under the shade of the trees.”

Stonewall Jackson was considered by the Confederates to have been their
most brilliant commander, and his death had much to do with the
overthrow of their Government.

 

 

GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE.

 

Robert E. Lee was born in Virginia, at the town of Stafford, June 19th,
1807. He was son of Colonel Henry Lee, of revolutionary fame. He had a
commanding military bearing, was a most graceful horseman; he came from
good “fighting stock,” and as there never was a braver man drew sword,
he was well calculated to become the beau-ideal of the Southern
Confederacy.

When eighteen years of age he entered the military academy at West
Point, where, after a four years’ course, he graduated. One thing,
General Lee, as a cadet, was an example well worthy of imitation, as
he, during his whole four years’ course, never received a reprimand, and
graduated second only to one in his class. From 1829 until 1834, he
served as assistant engineer in the building of forts in the South, and
later was assistant astronomer; aiding in determining the boundary of
Ohio. When the Mexican war broke out he was appointed chief engineer for
the army under General Scott.

During this war he served with great distinction, being successively
breveted major, lieutenant-colonel and colonel, and was wounded once;
certain it is that Robert E. Lee gave ample proof of his ability in the
Mexican war. In the interim between the Mexican and Civil wars he served
his country in various ways, being for some three years superintendent
of the West Point Military Academy.

In 1855 two new regiments were formed. Of the second regiment Albert
Sidney Johnson was made colonel; Lee, lieutenant-colonel; Hardee and
Thomas, majors; Van Dorn and Kirby Smith, captains; among the
lieutenants were Stoneman and Hood. One can see that the officers of
that regiment were composed of men of no small calibre. When Lincoln was
elected Lee was in Texas, but he obtained a leave of absence and hurried
to his home in Virginia. General Lee was held in very high esteem by
General Scott, who was then at the head of all the Union armies. General
Scott was getting very old, too old for active service, and it is stated
that he felt strongly inclined to name Lee as his successor, but Lee had
other views on the question and he joined his fortune with that of the
South.

Perhaps a letter written to his sister will more clearly portray Lee’s
convictions and motives at the breaking out of hostilities than
anything that can be found elsewhere in history:–“The whole South is in
a state of revolution into which Virginia has been drawn after a long
struggle; and though I recognize no necessity for this state of things
and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for redress of
grievances, real or supposed, yet in my own person I had to meet the
question whether I should take part against my native State. With all my
devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American
citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand
against my relatives, my children, my home.”

These were the words of General Lee to his sister. The idea of certain
power reserved from the “central power,” as they termed it, had been
inculcated since Jefferson and Madison drew up the Kentucky and Virginia
resolution in 1798. Upon these did Calhoun claim authority to rest
justified when he fostered the idea of State Rights. Had it not been for
a sudden wave of popular politics which swept Jefferson into power it
might have been Thomas Jefferson or James Madison who would have been
known in history as the author of the Nullification Acts which did not
come until Calhoun’s day.

This doctrine had been taught in the South for several generations, and
had enlarged with rolling. The profitable use of slaves helped to
sustain it, and it is no wonder, to a careful observer, that these
people were carried away by rebellion, when he takes into consideration
these things, the characteristics of the people, etc. As it was with
Lee, so it was with the South, and despite assertions to the contrary,
we believe that Robert E. Lee was sincere, and not looking after glory
any more than other officers of recognized ability, who cast their
fortunes with the North.

Then, too, Lee gained his position at the head of the Southern army only
after one general had been killed, another wounded, and another stricken
with a paralytic stroke; he coming fourth in order.

On June 3d, 1862, Lee received his commission, and immediately launched
out upon a series of battles known as the seven-days battle, in which he
succeeded in driving McClellan from before Richmond. Pope was now placed
in command of the Union forces, and Lee signally defeated him in the
second battle of Bull Run. Now he attempted his first invasion of the
North, and was forced back in the battle of Antietam. Retreating into
Virginia, he massed his forces at Fredericksburg. The North being
dissatisfied with the slow manner in which McClellan was following Lee,
placed Burnside in command, who attacked Lee in his position, but was
signally repulsed by the Confederates. He next met Hooker at
Chancellorsville, and again success attended the standard of Lee.

Flushed with the great victories of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville,
Lee once more started on an invasion of the North. Meade was now put at
the head of the Union forces, who at once started in pursuit. They met
at Gettysburgh, Pennsylvania. Three long days of terrible fighting
resulted in the repulse of Lee, and he retreated south in good order.
When he reached the Potomac he found it impassable. If Meade had
followed Lee up now he might have gained a glorious victory, but he
allowed Lee to escape into Virginia.

General Grant was now placed at the head of the Union forces and Lee
found he had other metal with which to deal. Grant was not only made of
different material but he could profit by the experience of his
predecessors. Then, too, Grant had the great resources of the North
behind him and the confidence of President Lincoln. Lee could never
replace the 30,000 veterans lost at Gettysburg, but Grant could lose
later 80,000 and the government was amply able to replace three times
that number. Grant now commenced to starve Lee out, to wear the
Confederacy threadbare. The history of the war from now until the close
of the war is a series of flanking movements carried on by two most
skillful generals. At last Lee was obliged to surrender on the 9th of
April, 1865.

After the war he became president of Washington and Lee University, his
great popularity and good management gaining for it a large patronage.
He died on the 12th of October, 1870.

 

 

HENRY WILSON.

 

Great honor is due any man who rises from the shoe-maker’s bench to be
Vice-President of the United States. Such a man was Henry Wilson, who
was born at Farmington, New Hampshire, February 16th, 1812. When yet a
mere child he was apprenticed to a farmer, whom he was to serve until of
age. Eleven long years did he serve this man, receiving only about one
year’s schooling during that time, but he borrowed books and read
nearly one thousand volumes during the “wee sma’ hours” of his
apprenticeship. Upon obtaining his majority he started on foot for
Natick, Massachusetts, and entered the town with all his worldly
possessions in a bundle. Obtaining employment as a shoemaker he was thus
occupied for the next two years. His course of reading, so faithfully
followed, had made him proficient in history, but thirsting for
additional knowledge he decided to attend school with the money he had
saved. About this time he went to Washington, when the sight of slaves
bought and sold excited his sympathy, and he decided to forever oppose
with all his might the institution of bondage, which he always did, no
matter how found. Upon his return he found his earnings swept away by
the failure of the man to whom he had intrusted them. Accordingly he
resumed the shoe business, but his light was beginning to be seen. He
was invited to partake in the anti-slavery meetings, then so frequent in
Massachusetts, and actively engaged in the campaign in which Harrison
was elected President, making over sixty speeches.

In 1843 he was elected to the State Senate. Also manufactured shoes on
an extended scale for the southern market. The old Whig party, with whom
he had been so earnestly allied, proving itself unable to cope with the
slave power, by rejecting the anti-slavery resolutions at the convention
of 1843, he withdrew from it. Later, he was a conspicuous figure in the
organization of the new Free Soil party, being the Chairman of the
committee in his State, and editor of the _Boston Republican_. In
1850-52 he was president of the State Senate, and in ’52 presided at the
Free Soil contention at Pittsburgh. The next year he was the Free Soil
candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, but was defeated. In 1855 he
was chosen United States Senator, where he distinguished himself. When
his colleague, Mr. Sumner, was attacked by Preston S. Brooks, Mr. Wilson
fearlessly denounced it as a cowardly, not to say dastardly assault. He
was immediately challenged by Mr. Brooks, but declined on the ground
that dueling is a barbarous custom which the law of the country has
branded as a crime. He was one of the leaders in the new Republican
party movement.

During the civil war his labors were indefatigable for the Union, and in
1872 he was elected on that ticket with Grant by an overwhelming
majority.

He died in office, November 22nd, 1875, and the boy shoemaker was
mourned by a great nation. Truly, the price of success is patient toil.

 

 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

 

If one reads the life of Abraham Lincoln they are thoroughly convinced
that the possibilities of our country are indeed very great. He was born
in Hardin county, Kentucky, on the 14th day of February, 1809, of very
poor parents, who lived in a log cabin.

Scarcely a boy in the country will read these lines but has tenfold the
opportunity to succeed in the world as had Abraham Lincoln. When he was
still a little boy his parents moved to Indiana, which was then a
wilderness. Here, in a log cabin, he learned to read under the tuition
of his mother and afterward received nearly a year’s schooling at
another log cabin a mile away,–nearly a year’s schooling and all the
schooling he ever received from a tutor!

But he loved books, he craved knowledge and eagerly did he study the few
books which fell in his way. He kept a scrap-book into which he copied
the striking passages and this practice enabled him to gain an
education. Here he grew up, becoming famous for his great strength and
agility; he was six foot four inches in his stockings and was noted as
the most skillful wrestler in the country. When he was about twenty
years old the Lincoln family moved to Illinois, settling ten miles from
Decatur, where they cleared about fifteen acres and built a log cabin.
Here is where Lincoln gained his great reputation as a rail-splitter. He
had kept up his original system of reading and sketching, and from this
period in his life he became a marked man–he was noted for his
information. It makes little difference whether knowledge is gained in
college or by the side of a pile of rails, as Lincoln was wont to study
after his day’s work was done.

In 1830 he took a trip on a flat-boat to New Orleans. It was on this
trip that he first saw slaves chained together and whipped. Ever after,
he detested the institution of slavery. Upon his return he received a
challenge from a famous wrestler; he accepted and threw his antagonist.
About this time he became a clerk in a country store, where his honesty
and square dealing made him a universal favorite, and earned for him the
sobriquet of ‘Honest Abe.’ He next entered the Black Hawk war, and was
chosen captain of his company. Jefferson Davis also served as an
officer in this war. In the fall of 1832 he was a candidate for the
legislature, but was defeated. He then opened a store with a partner
named Berry. Lincoln was made postmaster, but Berry proved a drunkard
and spendthrift, bringing the concern to bankruptcy, and soon after
died, to fill a drunkard’s grave, leaving Lincoln to pay all the debts.
But during all this time Lincoln had been improving his spare moments
learning surveying, and for the next few years he earned good wages
surveying.

He now decided to become a lawyer, and devoted his attention, so far as
possible, to the accumulation of a thorough knowledge. At one period
during his studies he walked, every Saturday, to Springfield, some eight
miles away, to borrow and return books pertaining to his studies. These
books he studied nights, and early in the morning, out of working hours.
In 1834 he was once more a candidate for the legislature, and was
triumphantly elected, being re-elected in 1836, 1838, and 1840. In 1837,
when he had arrived at the age of twenty-eight, he was admitted to the
bar, where he soon became noted as a very successful pleader before a
jury. He was a Whig of the Henry Clay school, a splendid lawyer, and a
ready speaker at public gatherings.

In 1836 he first met Stephen A. Douglas who was destined to be his
adversary in the political arena for the next twenty years. Stephen A.
Douglas was, or soon became the leader of the Democracy in Illinois and
Lincoln spoke for the Whigs as against Douglas. In 1847 Lincoln was sent
to Congress, being chosen over the renowned Peter Cartwright, who was
the Democratic candidate. In Congress he vigorously opposed President
Polk and the Mexican war, and proposed a bill to abolish slavery in the
District of Columbia, provided the inhabitants would vote for it. In
1855 he withdrew from the contest for the United States Senatorship in
favor of Mr. Trumbull, whom he knew would draw away many Democratic
votes and to Lincoln was due Trumbull’s election. During the canvass he
met Stephen A. Douglas in debate at Springfield, where he exploded the
theory of ‘Squatter Sovereignty’ in one sentence, namely: “I admit that
the emigrant to Kansas and Nebraska is competent to govern himself, but
I deny his right to govern any other person without that person’s
consent.”

In 1858 he had his great contest for the United States Senatorship with
Douglas. At that time Judge Douglas was renowned throughout the nation
as one of the ablest, if not the ablest of American speakers. Horace
Greeley well said, “The man who stumps a State with Stephen A. Douglas
and meets him day after day before the people has got to be no fool.”
The tremendous political excitement growing out of the ‘Kansas-Nebraska
Act,’ and the agitation of the slavery question, in its relation to the
vast territory of Kansas and Nebraska, convulsed the nation. The
interest was greatly heightened from the fact that these two great
gladiators, Stephen A. Douglas, the great mouth-piece of the Democratic
party and champion of ‘Squatter Sovereignty,’ and Abraham Lincoln, a
prominent lawyer, but otherwise comparatively unknown, the opponent of
that popular measure and the coming champion of the anti-slavery party.

The question at issue was immense–permanent, not transient–universal,
not local, and the debate attracted profound attention on the part of
the people, whether Democratic or Free Soil, from the Kennebec to the
Rio Grande. Mr. Douglas held that the vote of the majority of the
people of a territory should decide this as well as all other questions
concerning their domestic or internal affairs. Mr. Lincoln, on the
contrary, urged the necessity of an organic enactment, excluding slavery
in any form–this last to be the condition of its admission into the
Union as a State. The public mind was divided and the utterances and
movements of every public man were closely scanned. Finally, after the
true western style, a joint discussion, face to face, between Lincoln
and Douglas, as the two representative leaders, was proposed and agreed
upon. It was arranged that they should have seven great debates, one
each at Ottawa, Freeport, Charleston, Jonesboro, Galesburg, Quincy, and
Alton.

Processions and cavalcades, bands of music and cannon-firing made every
day a day of excitement. But the excitement was greatly intensified from
the fact that the oratorical contests were between two such skilled
debaters, before mixed audiences of friends and foes, to rejoice over
every keen thrust at the adversary, and again to be cast down by each
failure to ‘give back as good,’ or to parry the thrust so aimed.

In personal appearance, voice, gesture and general platform style,
nothing could exceed the dissimilarity of these two speakers. Mr.
Douglas possessed a frame or build particularly attractive; a natural
presence which would have gained for him access to the highest circles,
however courtly, in any land; a thickset, finely built, courageous man,
with an air as natural to him as breath, of self-confidence that did not
a little to inspire his supporters with hope. That he was every inch a
man no friend or foe ever questioned. Ready, forceful, animated, keen,
playful, by turns, and thoroughly artificial; he was one of the most
admirable platform speakers that ever appeared before an American
audience, his personal geniality, too, being so abounding that,
excepting in a political sense, no antagonism existed between him and
his opponent.

Look at Lincoln. In personal appearance, what a contrast to his renowned
opponent. Six feet and four inches high, long, lean and wiry in motion;
he had a good deal of the elasticity and awkwardness which indicated the
rough training of his early life; his face genial looking, with good
humor lurking in every corner of its innumerable angles. Judge Douglas
once said, “I regard Lincoln as a kind, amiable and intelligent
gentleman, a good citizen and an honorable opponent.” As a speaker he
was ready, precise, fluent and his manner before a popular assembly was
just as he pleased to make it; being either superlatively ludicrous or
very impressive. He employed but little gesticulation but when he
desired to make a point produced a shrug of the shoulders, an elevation
of the eyebrows, a depression of his mouth and a general malformation of
countenance so comically awkward that it scarcely ever failed to ‘bring
down the house.’ His enunciation was slow and distinct, and his voice
though sharp and piercing at times had a tendency to dwindle into a
shrill and unpleasant tone. In this matter of voice and commanding
attitude, the odds were decidedly in favor of Judge Douglas.

Arrangements having been consummated, the first debate took place at
Ottawa, in Lasalle county, and a strong Republican district. The crowd
in attendance was a large one, and about equally divided–the enthusiasm
of the Democracy having brought more than a due proportion of their
numbers to hear and see their favorite leader. The thrilling tones of
Douglas, his manly defiance against the principles he believed to be
wrong assured his friends, if any assurance were wanting, that he was
the same unconquered and unconquerable Democrat that he had proved to be
for the previous twenty-five years.

Douglas opened the discussion and spoke one hour; Lincoln followed, the
time assigned him being an hour and a half, though he yielded a portion
of it. It was not until the second meeting, however, that the speakers
grappled with those profound public questions that had thus brought them
together, and in which the nation was intensely interested. The debates
were a wonderful exhibition of power and eloquence.

In the first debate Mr. Douglas arraigned his opponent for the
expression in a former speech of a “House divided against itself,”
etc.,–referring to the slavery and anti-slavery sections of the
country; and Mr. Lincoln defended those ideas as set forth in the speech
referred to. As Mr. Lincoln’s position in relation to one or two points
growing out of the former speech referred to, had attracted great
attention throughout the country, he availed himself of the opportunity
of this preliminary meeting to reply to what he regarded as common
misconceptions. “Anything,” he said, “that argues me into the idea of
perfect social and political equality with the negro is but a specious
and fantastic arrangement of words, by which a man can prove a
horse-chestnut to be a chestnut horse. I will say here, while upon this
subject, that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere
with the institution of slavery in the States where it now exists. I
believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do
so. I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between
the white and black races. There is a physical difference between the
two which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living
together upon a footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes
a matter of necessity that there must be a difference I, as well as
Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong, having the
superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary, but I
hold that notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why
the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the
Declaration of Independence–the right to life, liberty, and the
pursuits of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as
the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas he is not my equal in many
respects–certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral and intellectual
endowment. But in the right to eat the bread without the leave of any
one else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of
Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man.”

Touching the question of respect or weight of opinion due to deliverance
of the United States Supreme Court–an element which entered largely
into this national contest, Mr. Lincoln said: “This man–Douglas–sticks
to a decision which forbids the people of a territory from excluding
slavery, and he does so, not because he says it is right in itself–he
does not give any opinion on that, but because it has been decided by
the Court, and being decided by the Court, he is, and you are bound to
take it in your political action as law; not that he judges at all of
its merits, but because a decision of the Court is to him a ‘Thus saith
the Lord.’ He places it on that ground alone, and you will bear in mind
that thus committing himself unreservedly to this decision, commits him
to the next one just as firmly as to this. He did not commit himself on
account of the merit or demerit of the decision, but is a ‘Thus saith
the Lord.’ The next decision, as much as this, will be a ‘Thus saith the
Lord.’ There is nothing that can divert or turn him away from this
decision. It is nothing that I point out to him that his great
prototype, General Jackson, did not believe in the binding force of
decisions–it is nothing to him that Jefferson did not so believe. I
have said that I have often heard him approve of Jackson’s course in
disregarding the decision of the Supreme Court, pronouncing a national
bank unconstitutional. He says: I did not hear him say so; he denies the
accuracy of my recollection. I say he ought to know better than I, but I
will make no question about this thing, though it still seems to me I
heard him say it twenty times. I will tell him, though, that he now
claims to stand on the Cincinnati platform which affirms that Congress
_cannot_ charter a national bank, in the teeth of that old standing
decision that Congress _can_ charter a bank. And I remind him of another
piece of history on the question of respect for judicial decisions, and
it is a piece of Illinois history belonging to a time when the large
party to which Judge Douglas belonged were displeased with a decision of
the Supreme Court of Illinois, because they had decided that a Governor
could not remove a Secretary of State. I know that Judge Douglas will
not deny that he was then in favor of oversloughing that decision by the
mode of adding five new judges, so as to vote down the four old ones.
Not only so, but it ended in the judge’s sitting down on that very
bench, as one of the five new judges so as to break down the four old
ones.” In this strain Mr. Lincoln occupied most of his time. But the
debate was a very equal thing, and the contest did not prove a ‘walk
over’ either way.

At the meeting in Ottawa Mr. Lincoln propounded certain questions to
which Judge Douglas promptly answered. Judge Douglas spoke in something
of the following strain: “He desires to know if the people of Kansas
shall form a constitution by means entirely proper and unobjectionable,
and ask admission into the Union as a State before they have the
requisite population for a member of Congress, whether I will vote for
that admission? Well, now, I regret exceedingly that he did not answer
that interrogatory himself before he put it to me, in order that we
might understand and not be left to infer on which side he is. Mr.
Trumbull during the last session of Congress voted from the beginning to
the end against the admission of Oregon, although a free State, because
she had not the requisite population. As Mr. Trumbull is in the field
fighting for Mr. Lincoln, I would like to have Mr. Lincoln answer his
own question and tell me whether he is fighting Trumbull on that issue
or not. But I will answer his question. In reference to Kansas it is my
opinion that as she has population enough to constitute a slave State,
she has people enough for a free State. I will not make Kansas an
exceptional case to the other States of the Union. I made that
proposition in the Senate in 1856, and I renewed it during the last
session in a bill providing that no territory of the United States
should form a constitution and apply for admission until it had the
requisite population. On another occasion I proposed that neither Kansas
nor any other territory should be admitted until it had the requisite
population. Congress did not adopt any of my propositions containing
this general rule, but did make an exception of Kansas. I will stand by
that exception. Either Kansas must come in as a free State, with
whatever population she may have, or the rule must be applied to all the
other territories alike.”

Mr. Douglas next proceeded to answer another question proposed by Mr.
Lincoln, namely: Whether the people of a territory can, in any lawful
way, against the wishes of any citizen of the United States, exclude
slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a State
constitution. Said Judge Douglas: “I answer emphatically, as Mr. Lincoln
has heard me answer a hundred times from every stump in Illinois, that
in my opinion the people of a territory can, by lawful means, exclude
slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a State
constitution. Mr. Lincoln knew that I had answered that question over
and over again. He heard me argue the Nebraska Bill on that principle
all over the State in 1854, in 1855 and in 1856, and he has no excuse
for pretending to be in doubt as to my position. It matters not what way
the Supreme Court may hereafter decide as to the abstract question,
whether slavery may or may not go into a territory under the
constitution, the people have the lawful means to introduce it or
exclude it as they please, for the reason that slavery cannot exist a
day or an hour unless it is supported by local police regulations. Those
police regulations can only be established by the local legislature, and
if the people are opposed to slavery they will elect representatives to
that body who will, by unfriendly legislation, effectually prevent the
introduction of it into their midst. If, on the contrary, they are for
it their legislation will favor its extension. Hence, no matter what the
decision of the Supreme Court may be on that abstract question, still
the right of the people to make a slave territory or free territory is
perfect and complete under the Nebraska Bill.”

It was with great vigor and adroitness that the two great combatants
went over the ground at the remaining five places of debate, all of
which were attended and listened to by immense concourses. On both sides
the speeches were able, eloquent, exhaustive. It was admitted by
Lincoln’s friends that on several occasions he was partly foiled, or at
least badly bothered, while on the other hand the admirers of Douglas
allowed that in more than one instance he was flatly and fairly floored
by Lincoln. It was altogether about an equal match in respect to
ability, logic, and eloquence. Both of them were self-made men; both of
them were able lawyers and politicians; both sprang from obscurity to
distinction; both belonged to the common people; and both were strong
and popular with the masses.

Though defeated by an unfair apportionment of the legislative districts
for the senatorship, yet Lincoln so ably fought the great Douglas with
such wonderful power as to surprise the nation. Heretofore but little
known out of his native State; this debate made him one of the two most
conspicuous men in the nation, and the excitement was intensified from
the fact that both from that hour were the chosen opponents for the
coming presidential contest.

At the ensuing presidential contest Lincoln was elected to the
presidency, and the gory front of secession was raised. Forgetting past
differences, Douglas magnanimously stood shoulder to shoulder with
Lincoln in behalf of the Union. It was the olive branch of genuine
patriotism. But while proudly holding aloft the banner of his nation in
the nation councils, and while yet the blood of his countrymen had not
blended together and drenched the land, the great senator was suddenly
snatched from among the living in the hour of the country’s greatest
need; while the brave Lincoln was allowed to see the end–the cause
triumphant, when he was also called from death unto life.

Lincoln elected, though he was, and admitted to have received his
election fairly and triumphantly, was yet of necessity compelled to
enter Washington, like a thief in the night, to assume his place at the
head of the nation. Lincoln met the crisis calmly but firmly. He had
watched the coming storm and he asked, as he bade adieu to his friends
and fellow-citizens, their earnest prayers to Almighty God that he might
have wisdom and help to see the right path and pursue it. Those prayers
were answered. He guided the ship of State safely through the most angry
storm that ever demanded a brave and good pilot. We can only gaze in awe
on the memory of this man. He seemingly knew in a moment, when placed in
a trying position that would have baffled an inferior mind, just what to
do for the best interest of the nation.

Mr. Lincoln had unsurpassed fitness for the task he had to execute.
Without anything like brilliancy of genius, without breadth of learning
or literary accomplishments, he had that perfect balance of thoroughly
sound faculties which gave him the reputation of an almost infallible
judgment. This, combined with great calmness of temper, inflexible
firmness of will, supreme moral purpose, and intense patriotism made up
just that character which fitted him, as the same qualities fitted
Washington, for the salvation of his country in a period of stupendous
responsibility and eminent peril.

Although far advanced on the question of slavery, personally, he was
exceedingly careful about pushing measures upon a country he knew was
hardly prepared as yet to receive such sweeping legislation. An
acquaintance once said: ‘It is hard to believe that very nearly one-half
of the Republican party were opposed to the issue of the proclamation of
emancipation.’ Thus Lincoln avoided all extremes, and this quality alone
made him eminently fit to govern. Yet, when necessary, he was stern and
unrelenting. When the British minister desired to submit instructions
from his government, stating that that government intended to sustain a
neutral relation, he refused to receive it officially. When France
demanded recognition by the United States of the government of
Maximilian, in Mexico, he steadily refused. He was firm as a rock; he
would ride post haste twenty miles to pardon a deserter, but under no
consideration could he be induced to suspend hostilities against a
people who were trying to destroy the Union. All sorts of political
machinery was invented to manufacture public opinion and sentiment
against him, but he was triumphantly re-elected in 1864.

The morning of Lincoln’s second inauguration was very stormy, but the
sky cleared just before noon, and the sun shone brightly as he appeared
before an immense audience in front of the capitol, and took the oath
and delivered an address, alike striking for its forcible expressions
and conciliatory spirit. He spoke something as follows:

“On the occasion corresponding to this, four years ago, all thoughts
were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. * * * Both parties
deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the
nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it
perish; and the war came. * * * Both read the same Bible, and pray to
the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem
strange that any man should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in
wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us
judge not that we be not judged. The prayer of both could not be
answered. That of neither has been fully. * * * With malice toward none,
with charity for all, with the firmness in the right, as God gives us
light to see the right, let us finish the work we are in to bind up the
nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and
for his widow and his orphans, to all which may achieve and cherish a
just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

He hated slavery from the beginning, but was not an abolitionist until
it was constitutional to be so. At the head of the nation, when
precedents were useless, he was governed by justice only. He was
singularly fortunate in the selection of his cabinet officers, and the
reason was he never allowed prejudice to prevent his placing a rival in
high office.

Yes, Mr. Lincoln is probably the most remarkable example on the pages of
history, showing the possibilities of our country. From the poverty in
which he was born, through the rowdyism of a frontier town, the rudeness
of frontier society, the discouragement of early bankruptcy, and the
fluctuations of popular politics, he rose to the championship of Union
and freedom when the two seemed utterly an impossibility; never lost
his faith when both seemed hopeless, and was suddenly snatched from
earth when both were secured. He was the least pretentious of men, and
when, with the speed of electricity, it flashed over the Union that the
great Lincoln–shot by an assassin–was no more, the excitement was
tremendous. The very heart of the republic throbbed with pain and
lamentation. Then the immortal President was borne to his last
resting-place in Springfield, Illinois. All along the journey to the
grave, over one thousand miles, a continual wail went up from friends
innumerable, and they would not be comforted. Never was there a grander,
yet more solemn funeral accorded to any, ancient or modern. He was a
statesman without a statesman’s craftiness, politician without a
politician’s meanness, a great man without a great man’s vices, a
philanthropist without a philanthropist’s dreams, a christian without
pretensions, a ruler without the pride of place or power, an ambitious
man without selfishness, and a successful man without vanity. Humble man
of the backwoods, boatman, axman, hired laborer, clerk, surveyor,
captain, legislator, lawyer, debater, orator, politician, statesman.
President, savior of the republic, emancipator of a race, true
christian, true man.

Gaze on such a character; does it not thrill your very soul and cause
your very heart to bleed that such a man should be shot by a dastardly
assassin? Yet on the 14th of April, 1865, J. Wilkes Booth entered the
private box of the President, and creeping stealthily from behind, as
become the dark deed which he contemplated, deliberately shot Abraham
Lincoln through the head, and the country lost the pilot in the hours
when she needed him so much.

 

 

EDWARD EVERETT.

 

Among the more eminent of eminent men stands Edward Everett in the
annals of American history. We do not give his history to show how he
struggled through privations, overcoming all obstacles, until victory at
last crowned his efforts, as so many of our great men have been obliged
to do, but we do delineate his achievements to illustrate what hard work
will do, provided a man has ability to develop. Yes, to show what hard
work will do. But some will say, ‘Well, that does sound well, but I
guess if Edward Everett had been an ordinary man no amount of hard work
would have made him the Edward Everett of history’; another may say,
‘That’s so, it is foolish to argue as you do, and hold up such men as
examples, intimating that their success is the result of hard work’; and
still another may say, ‘Say what you will, you cannot gain-say the
factor of opportunities, of ‘luck,’ if you choose to so designate it.’

We do not gain-say anything; we simply point to history; read for
yourself. Take eminent men, read their lives, and see if seven-tenths,
at least, of our great men did not acquire success through their own
effort. Read carefully and see if they did not largely MAKE their own
opportunities. True, all cannot be Everetts or Clays, but by
extraordinary effort and careful thought, any one will better his or her
condition. Sickness may come, they will be the better prepared. Losses
will be more easily met and discharged. No man ever succeeded by
waiting for something to turn up. The object of this work is not to make
people delude themselves by any conceited ideas, but to encourage, to
inspire, to enkindle anew the fires of energy laying dormant. The point
is, it is not a ‘slumbering genius’ within people that it is our desire
to stimulate, but a ‘slumbering energy.’ We are content that others
should take care of the ‘genius’; we are satisfied that any influence,
no matter from what source it comes, that will awaken dormant energies
will do the world more good than ten times the same amount of influence
trying to prove that we are fore ordained to be somebody or nobody.

Mr. Everett was a man who fully comprehended and appreciated this fact.
All great men understand that it is the making the most of one’s talents
that makes the most of our chances which absolutely tells. Rufus Choate
believed in hard work. When some one said to him that a certain fine
achievement was the result of accident, he exclaimed: “Nonsense. You
might as well drop the Greek alphabet on the ground and expect to pick
up the Illiad.” Mr. Beecher has well said that every idle man has to be
supported by some industrious man. Hard labor prevents hard luck.
Fathers should teach their children that if any one will not work
neither shall he attain success. Let us magnify our calling and be
happy, but strive to progress. As before said, Mr. Everett fully
understood all this and great men innumerable could be quoted in support
of this doctrine.

The year 1794 must ever be memorable, as the year in which Mr. Everett
was ushered into the world, in which he was to figure as so prominent a
factor. We have written a long preamble, but it is hoped that the
reader has taken enough interest thus far to fully take in the points
which we have endeavored to make, and it is further hoped that such
being the case, the reader will, by the light of those ideas, read and
digest the wonderful character before us.

Undoubtedly Everett possessed one of the greatest minds America has ever
produced, but if he had rivaled Solomon in natural ability, he could not
have entered Harvard College as a student at the age of thirteen had he
not been an indefatigable worker, and will any man delude himself into
the belief that he could have graduated from such a school at the age of
only seventeen, and at the head of his class, had he not exercised
tremendous energy. Still further do any of the readers who chance to
read this volume think that he was picked up bodily and placed in the
ministerial chair vacated by the gifted Buckminister when he was only
nineteen because he was lucky? A city preacher at nineteen! Occupying
one of the first pulpits in the land at nineteen! “Why, he was gifted.”
Of course he was, and he was a tremendous worker. Thus was his success
enhanced.

At twenty he was appointed to a Greek professorship in Harvard College,
and qualified himself by travel in Europe for four years. During that
time he acquired that solid information concerning the history and
principles of law, and of the political systems of Europe, which formed
the foundation of that broad statesmanship for which he was afterward
distinguished. During his residence in Europe his range of study
embraced the ancient classics, the modern languages, the history and
principles of the civil and public law, and a comprehensive examination
of the existing political systems of Europe. He returned home, and from
that time until his death he was recognized as one of the greatest
orators of his time. In 1825 to 1835 he was a distinguished member of
the national congress. He then served three successive terms as governor
of Massachusetts. In 1814 he was appointed minister to the English
court. It was an important mission, for the relations of his government
with that of England, then wore a grave aspect. His official career in
London was a marked success. His personal accomplishments made him a
friend and favorite with the leading men and families of England. After
this he was sent as a commissioner to China, and after his return from
abroad, he was at once chosen President of Harvard College.

He entered upon the duties of this new office with his characteristic
energy and enthusiasm, but ill-health compelled his resignation at the
end of three years. Upon the death of his bosom friend, Daniel Webster,
he was appointed to succeed to Webster’s position at the head of
President Fillmore’s cabinet. Before the close of his duties as
Secretary of State, he was chosen by the Massachusetts State Legislature
to a seat in the National Senate. Once more overwork compelled his
withdrawal from active responsibility, and in May, 1854, under the
advice of his physician, he resigned his seat. But he was content to
remain idle only a few months when he entered with great zeal upon a new
enterprise.

The project of purchasing Mount Vernon and beautifying it as a memento
of esteem to the ‘Nation’s father’ attracted his attention, and his
efforts in behalf of the association to raise money for the above-named
object netted over $100,000, besides his valuable time, and paying his
own expenses. He afterwards raised many more thousands of dollars for
the benefit of numerous charitable societies and objects. Emerging from
private life at the opening of the civil war he gave himself incessantly
to the defense of the Union. He died on the 14th of January, 1865, and
was mourned throughout the whole North. Eulogies innumerable were called
forth by the death of this intellectual phenomenon of the nineteenth
century.

 

 

EDWIN M. STANTON.

 

Edwin M. Stanton, whom President Lincoln selected for his Secretary of
War, notwithstanding the fact that he had served in the cabinet of
Buchanan, was born at Steubenville, Ohio, December 19th, 1814, and died
in Washington, D. C., December 24th, 1869.

When fifteen years old he became a clerk in a book-store in his native
town, and with money thus accumulated, was enabled to attend Kenyon
College, but at the end of two years was obliged to re-enter the
book-store as a clerk.

Thus through poverty he was deterred from graduating, but knowledge is
just as beneficial, whether acquired in school or out. Thurlow Weed
never had the advantages of a college, but stretched prone before the
sap-house fire, he laid the foundation upon which he built that splendid
reputation as an able editor; Elihu Buritt never saw the inside of a
college school-room as a student, but while at the anvil, at work as a
blacksmith, with book laying on a desk near, he framed the basis of that
classical learning which made him, as master of forty different
languages, the esteemed friend of John Bright and others of the most
noted people the world has ever known.

As it was with them, so it was with Stanton. He had but little
advantages, but he would not ‘down.’ It is said that if Henry Ward
Beecher had gone to sea, as he desired to do, he would not have long
remained, for in him was even then a ‘slumbering genius,’ But he himself
once said that had it not been for his great love of work he never could
have half succeeded. Ah, that’s it; if ability to accomplish hard
‘digging’ is not genius, it is the best possible substitute for it. A
man may have in him a ‘slumbering genius,’ but unless he put forth the
energy, his efforts will be spasmodic, ill-timed and scattered.

“Full many a gem, of purest ray serene
The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

Young men, there is truth hidden in these words, despite what some
writers would make you think. They would argue that if you are to be a
Milton, a Cromwell, a Webster, or a Clay, that you cannot help it, do
what you will. Possibly, this may be so; it may not be thought proper
for me to dispute their lordship, but it does seem to me that such
arguments can give but little hope; if they have influence at all it
cannot be an inspiring one. No, never mind the reputation; never pine to
be a Lincoln, or a Garfield, but if you feel that your chances in youth
are equal to theirs, take courage–WORK.

If you are a farmer strive to excel all the surrounding farmers. If a
boot-black, make up your mind to monopolize the business on your block.
Faculty to do this is the ‘best possible substitute for a slumbering
genius,’ if perchance you should lack that ‘most essential faculty to
success.’ At any rate, never wait for the ‘slumbering genius’ to show
itself,–if you do, it will never awake but slumber on through endless
time, and leave you groping on in midnight darkness.

But to return to Stanton. Whether he possessed a ‘slumbering genius’
does not appear, but certain it is that by down-right HARD WORK he
gained a knowledge of the law, and was admitted to the bar in 1836, when
in his twenty-first year. While yet a young lawyer he was made
prosecuting attorney of Harrison county. In 1842 he was chosen reporter
of the Ohio Supreme Court, and published three volumes of reports.

In 1847 he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but for nine years
afterward retained his office in Steubenville, as well as that in
Pittsburgh. In 1857 his business had so expanded that he found it
necessary to move to Washington, D. C., the seat of the United States
Supreme Court. His first appearance before the United States Supreme
Court was in defence of the State of Pennsylvania against the Wheeling
and Belmont Bridge Company, and thereafter his practice rapidly
increased.

In 1858 he was employed by the national government as against the
government of Mexico on land titles, deeds, etc. This great legal
success, together with several others, won for him a national
reputation. It has been stated by one of the leading jurists in the
United States that the cause of nine out of ten of the failures in the
legal profession is laziness, so common in lawyers, after being admitted
to the bar. Once in, they seem to think that they have but to ‘sit and
wait’ for business. Possibly their eye has, at one time or another,
caught those sentiments so dear to some writers in regard to ‘the
slumbering genius.’ Be that as it may, it is very evident that Stanton
had never been idle, and was seldom obliged to ‘refer to his library’
before answering questions in relation to the law.

He was called to the high position of attorney-general in President
Buchanan’s cabinet, and on January 11th, 1862, nine months after the
inauguration of Lincoln, he was placed in the most responsible position
in his cabinet at that time,–Secretary of War. His labors in this
department were indefatigable, and many of the most important and
successful movements of the war originated with him. Never, perhaps, was
there a more illustrious example of the right man in the right place. It
seemed almost as if it were a special Provincial interposition to
incline the President to go out of his own party and select this man for
this most responsible of all trusts, save his own.

With an unflinching force, an imperial will, a courage never once
admitting the possibility of failure, and having no patience with
cowards, compromisers or self-seekers; with the most jealous patriotism
he displaced the incompetent and exacted brave, mighty, endeavor of all,
yet only like what he EXACTED OF HIMSELF. He reorganized the war with
HERCULEAN TOIL. Through all those long years of war he thought of, saw,
labored for one end–VICTORY. The amount of work he does in some of
these critical months was _absolutely amazing_ by its comprehension of
details, the solution of vexed questions, the mastery of formidable
difficulties, wonder was it his word sometimes cut like a sharp, quick
blow, or that the stroke of his pen was sometimes like a thunderbolt. It
was not the time for hesitation, or doubt, or even argument. He meant
his imperiled country should be saved, and whatever by half-loyalty or
self-seeking seemed to stand in the way only attracted the lightning of
his power.

The nation owes as much to him as to any one who in council or in field
contributed to its salvation. And his real greatness was never more
conspicuous than at the time of Mr. Lincoln’s assassination. His
presence of mind, his prompt decision, his unfailing faith and courage
strengthened, those about him, and prevented the issue of a frightful
panic and disorder following that unexpected assault upon the life of
the republic. To have equipped, fed, clothed and organized a million and
a-half of soldiery, and when their work was done in two days, to have
remanded them back to the peaceful industries from which they had been
called; to have had the nation’s wealth at his disposal, and yet so
incorruptible that hundreds of millions could pass through his hands and
leave him a poor man at the end of his commission, shattered in health,
yet from necessity obliged to resume his legal practice, must for all
time rank him among the world’s phenomena. Such a man, so true, so
intent upon great objects must many a time have thwarted the greed of
the corrupt, been impatient with the hesitation of the imbecile, and
fiercely indignant against half-heartedness and disloyalty. Whatever
faults, therefore, his enemies may allege, these will all fade away in
the splendor with which coming ages will ennoble the greatest of war
ministers in the nineteenth century. He will be remembered as “one who
never thought of self, and who held the helm in sunshine and in storm
with the same untiring grip.”

Nor were his services less valuable to his country when, after the
surrender of the Confederate armies, the rebellion was transferred to
the White House, and he stood the fearless, unflinching patriot against
the schemes and usurpations of its accidental occupant. Mr. Stanton
entered on his great trust in the fullest prime of manhood, equal,
seemingly, to any possible toil and strain. He left his department
incurably shorn of health. He entered upon it in affluence, with a large
and remunerative practice. He left it without a stain on his hands, but
with his fortune lessened and insufficient. Yet, when it was
contemplated by some of his friends, after his retirement, to tender him
a handsome gift of money, he resolutely and unhesitatingly forbade it,
and the project had to be abandoned. He was as truly a sacrifice to his
country as was the brave soldier who laid down his life in the
prison-pen or sanctified the field with his blood. For an unswerving and
passionate patriotism, for a magnificent courage, for rare
unselfishness, for transcendent abilities, for immeasurable services to
his country; the figure of the greatest war minister in modern times
will tower with a noble grandeur, as undimmed and enviable a splendor as
that of any in the history of the Republic; which, like his friend and
co-worker, the great Lincoln, he gave his life to save.

 

 

ANDREW JOHNSON.

 

The life-career of the seventeenth president of the United States well
illustrates the spirit and genius of our free institutions. Four of the
incumbents of the national executive chair were born in North Carolina.
Of these, the subject of this sketch was one, being born in the
above-named State, December 29th, 1808.

His father, who died in 1812, was sexton of a church and porter in the
State bank. Extreme poverty prevented Andrew from receiving any
schooling, and at the age of ten he was apprenticed to a tailor. A
gentleman was in the habit of visiting the shop and reading to the
workmen, generally from the ‘American Speaker.’ Andrew became intensely
interested, especially in the extracts from the speeches of Pitt and
Fox. He determined to learn to read, and having done this he devoted all
his leisure hours to the perusal of such books as he could obtain. In
the summer of 1824, a few months before his apprenticeship expired, he
got into trouble by throwing stones at an old woman’s house, and ran
away to escape the consequences. He went to Lauren’s Court House, South
Carolina, and obtained work as a journeyman tailor.

In May, 1826, he returned to Raleigh. Mr. Selby, his former employer,
had moved into the country, and Johnson walked twenty miles to see him,
apologized for his misdemeanor and promised to pay him for his
unfulfilled time. Selby required security, which Johnson could not
furnish, and he went away disappointed. In September he went to
Tennessee, taking with him his mother, who was dependent upon him for
support. He worked a year at Greenville when he married, and finally
settled, deciding to make that town his home.

Thus far his education had been confined to reading; but now, under the
tuition of his wife, he learned to ‘write and cipher.’ During this time
he became prominent in a local debating society, formed of resident
young men and students of Greenville College. One student says; “On
approaching the village there stood on the hill by the highway a
solitary little house, perhaps ten feet square,–we invariably entered
when passing. It contained a bed, two or three stools, and a tailor’s
platform. We delighted to stop because one lived here whom we knew well
outside of school and made us welcome; one who would amuse us by his
social good nature, taking more than ordinary interest in us, and
catering to our pleasure.”

Mr. Johnson, taking an interest in local politics, organized a
workingman’s party in 1828, to oppose the ‘aristocrat element,’ which
had always ruled the town. Considerable excitement ensued, and Johnson
was elected an alderman by a large majority. He rose to be mayor, member
of the State legislature, and a representative in Congress, holding the
last office for ten years.

In 1853 he was elected governor, and re-elected in 1855. The contest was
exciting, and violence and threats of murder were frequent. At one
meeting Johnson appeared with pistol in his hand, laid it on the desk,
and said: “Fellow-citizens, I have been informed that part of the
business to be transacted on the present occasion is the assassination
of the individual who now has the honor of addressing you. I beg
respectfully to propose that this be the first business in order:
therefore if any man has come here to-night for the purpose indicated, I
do not say to him let him speak, but let him shoot.” After pausing for a
moment, with his hand on his pistol, he said, “Gentlemen, it appears
that I have been misinformed. I will now proceed to address you upon the
subject that has brought us together.”

Mr. Johnson’s next office was as a member of the national Senate, where
he ably urged the passage of a bill granting to every settler 160 acres
of public land. When Tennessee passed the ordinance of secession he
remained steadfast for the Union. Although a Democrat, he had opposed
many of their measures in the interest of slavery, and now gravitated
toward the Republican party. In nearly every city of his native State he
was burned in effigy; at one time a mob entered a railroad train on
which he was known to be and attempted to take him, but he met them with
a pistol in each hand, and drove them steadily before him off the train.
His loyal sentiments, his efforts to aid Union refugees, and the
persecution he received at home commended him to the North. In 1862 he
was appointed military governor of Tennessee, in which position he
upheld the Federal cause with great ability and zeal. In the winter of
1861-2 large numbers of Unionists were driven from their homes in East
Tennessee, who sought refuge in Kentucky. Mr. Johnson met them there,
relieved the immediate wants of many from his own purse and used his
influence with the national government for the establishment of a camp
where these refugees found shelter, food and clothing, and were to a
large extent organized into companies and mustered into the national
service. His own wife and child were turned out of their home and his
property confiscated. All through his duties as military governor of
Tennessee Johnson displayed great ability and discharged the duties of
his office fearlessly, amid eminent personal peril.

On June 7th, 1864, the Republican convention held at Baltimore, having
re-nominated Mr. Lincoln, chose Mr. Johnson for the second place on
their ticket. They were inaugurated March 4th, and April 14th the
President was assassinated, and within three hours after Lincoln expired
Andrew Johnson was president of the United States.

Soon after his inauguration as President of the United States, in the
course of a speech on the condition of the country he declared, “the
people must understand that treason is the blackest of crimes, and will
surely be punished.” Now follows the strangest scenes imaginable, coming
from such a man as he had always, until now, proved himself to be. As
this part of ex-President Johnson’s life has been given great
prominence, we forbear to speak further in relation to it. We are
constrained, however, to say that it was sad to see a man, thus late in
life, destroying in a few months a good character, as a citizen, and
reputation as an able statesman, which he had been so many years
building, and in which he had so eminently succeeded. In 1866 the
University of North Carolina conferred upon him the degree of LL.D.

On the 31st of July, 1875, this wonderful man, who had risen from the
tailor’s bench, to the highest place within the gift of a great nation,
then to be disgraced and vanquished at his own bidding, died a
disappointed man.

 

 

JAMES A. GARFIELD.

 

Our country probably never produced a character more perfectly rounded,
physically, intellectually and morally than that which is presented to
us in the person of James A. Garfield, who was born in a log cabin in
Cuyahoga county, Ohio, November 19th, 1831.

His childhood was passed in almost complete isolation from social
influences, save those which proceeded from his mother. His father had
died when James was only eighteen months old, and when old enough to be
of any use he was put to work on the farm. The family was very poor, and
his services were needed to help ‘make both ends meet.’ At school, as a
little boy, he allowed no one to impose upon him. He is said to have
never picked a quarrel, but was sure to resent any indignity with
effect, no matter how large a boy the offender happened to be. He
attended school during the cold months when it was impossible to be of
value on the farm; summers he generally ‘worked out,’ at one time being
a driver-boy on the canal.

He attended school at the Geauga Seminary, where he got through his
first term on the absurdly small sum of seventeen dollars. When he
returned to school the next term he had but a six pence in his pocket,
and this he dropped into the contribution box the next day at church. He
made an arrangement with a carpenter in the village to board with him,
and have his washing, fuel and light furnished for one dollar and six
cents per week. The carpenter was building a house, and Garfield
engaged to help him nights and Saturdays. The first Saturday he planed
fifty-one boards, and thereby made one dollar and two cents. So the term
went, and he returned home, having earned his expenses and AND THREE
DOLLARS OVER.

The following winter he taught school at $12 a month and ‘boarded
around.’ In the spring he had $48, and when he returned to school he
boarded himself at an expense of thirty-one cents a week. Heretofore, he
had supposed a college course beyond him, but meeting a college graduate
who explained that it was barely possible for a poor boy to graduate, if
he worked and attended alternate years, he determined to try it. After
careful calculation Garfield concluded he could get through school
within TWELVE YEARS. He accordingly began to lay his plans to graduate.
Think of such determination, dear reader, and then see if you can
reasonably envy the position attained by Garfield. He appeared as a
scholar at Hiram, a new school of his own denomination, in 1851. Here he
studied all the harder, as he now had an object in life. Returning home
he taught a school, then returned to college, and attended the spring
term. During the summer he helped build a house in the village, he
himself planning all the lumber for the siding, and shingling the roof.
Garfield was now quite a scholar, especially in the languages, and upon
his return to Hiram he was made a tutor, and thenceforward he worked
both as a pupil and teacher, doing a tremendous amount of work to fit
himself for college. When he came to Hiram he started on the preparatory
course, to enter college, expecting it would take four years. Deciding
now to enter some eastern institution, he wrote a letter to the
president of each of the leading colleges in the east, telling them how
far he had progressed. They all replied that he could enter the junior
year, and thus graduate in two years from his entrance. He had
accomplished the preparatory course, generally requiring four solid
years, and had advanced two years on his college course. He had crowded
six years into three, beside supporting himself. If ever a man was
worthy of success Garfield was. He decided to enter Williams College,
where he graduated in 1856, thus came that institution to grasp the
honor of giving to the United States of America one of our most popular
presidents. The grasp of the mind of Garfield, even at this early
period, can be seen by glancing at the title of his essay, “The Seen and
the Unseen.” He next became a professor; later, principal of the college
at Hiram.

In the old parties Garfield had little interest, but when the Republican
party was formed he became deeply interested, and became somewhat noted
as a stump orator for Fremont and Dayton. In 1860 he was sent to the
State senate, and while there began preparation for the legal
profession, and in 1861 was admitted to the bar. The war broke out about
this time, which prevented his opening an office, and he was
commissioned a colonel, finally a major-general. His career in the army
was brief, but very brilliant, and he returned home to go to Congress.
In Washington his legislative career was very successful. He proved to
be an orator of no mean degree of ability, his splendid education made
him an acknowledged scholar, and he soon became known as one of the
ablest debaters in Congress, serving on some of the leading committees.

When Ohio sent her delegation to the Republican National Convention, of
1880, pledged for Sherman, Garfield was selected as spokesman. His
speech, when he presented the name of John Sherman, coming, as it did,
when all was feverish excitement, must be acknowledged as a master-piece
of the scholarly oratory of which he was master. Conkling had just
delivered one in favor of Grant, the effect of which was wonderful. The
Grant delegates ‘pooled’ the flags, which marked their seats, marched
around the aisles and cheered and yelled as if they were dwellers in
Bedlam, just home after a long absence. Fully twenty minutes this went
on, and Mr. Hoar, the president of the convention after vainly trying to
restore order gave up in despair, sat down, and calmly allowed disorder
to tire itself out.

At last it ceases, Ohio is called, a form arises near the center of the
middle aisle, and moves toward the stage amid the clapping of thousands
of hands, which increases as General Garfield mounts the same platform
upon which Senator Conkling has so lately stood. In speaking he is not
so restless as was Conkling, but speaking deliberately he appeals to the
judgment of the masses, as follows:

“Mr. President: I have witnessed the extraordinary scenes of this
convention with deep solicitude. No emotion touches my heart more
quickly than a sentiment in honor of a great and noble character. But,
as I sat on these seats and witnessed these demonstrations, it seemed to
me you were a human ocean in a tempest. I have seen the sea lashed into
a fury and tossed into a spray, and its grandeur moves the soul of the
dullest man. But I remember that it is not the billows, but the calm
level of the sea from which all heights and depths are measured. When
the storm had passed and the hour of calm settles on the ocean, when
sunlight bathes its smooth surface, then the astronomer and surveyor
takes the level from which he measures all terrestrial heights and
depths. Gentlemen of the convention, your present temper may not mark
the healthful pulse of our people. When our enthusiasm has passed, when
the emotions of this hour have subsided, we shall find the calm level of
public opinion below the storm from which the thoughts of a mighty
people are to be measured, and by which their final action will be
determined. Not here, in this brilliant circle where fifteen thousand
men and women are assembled, is the destiny of the Republic to be
decreed; not here, where I see the enthusiastic faces of seven hundred
and fifty-six delegates waiting to cast their votes into the urn and
determine the choice of their party; but by four million Republican
firesides, where the thoughtful fathers, with wives and children about
them, with the calm thoughts inspired by love of home and love of
country, with the history of the past, the hopes of the future, and the
knowledge of the great men who have adorned and blessed our nation in
days gone by–there God prepares the verdict that shall determine the
wisdom of our work to-night. Not in Chicago in the heat of June, but in
the sober quiet that comes between now and November, in the silence of
deliberate judgment will this great question be settled. Let us aid them
to-night.

“But now, gentlemen of the convention, what do we want? Bear with me a
moment. Hear me for this cause, and, for a moment, be silent that you
may hear. Twenty-five years ago this Republic was wearing a triple chain
of bondage. Long familiarity with traffic in the bodies and souls of men
had paralyzed the consciences of a majority of our people. The baleful
doctrine of State sovereignty had shocked and weakened the noblest and
most beneficent powers of the national government, and the grasping
power of slavery was seizing the virgin territories of the West and
dragging them into the den of eternal bondage. At that crisis the
Republican party was born. It drew its first inspiration from that fire
of liberty which God has lighted in every man’s heart, and which all the
powers of ignorance and tyranny can never wholly extinguish. The
Republican party came to deliver and save the Republic. It entered the
arena when the beleaguered and assailed territories were struggling for
freedom, and drew around them the sacred circle of liberty which the
demon of slavery has never dared to cross. It made them free forever.
Strengthened by its victory on the frontier, the young party, under the
leadership of that great man who, on this spot, twenty years ago, was
made its leader, entered the national capitol and assumed the high
duties of the government. The light which shone from its banner
dispelled the darkness in which slavery had enshrouded the capitol, and
melted the shackles of every slave, and consumed, in the fire of
liberty, every slave-pen within the shadow of the capitol. Our national
industries, by an impoverishing policy, were themselves prostrated, and
the streams of revenue flowed in such feeble currents that the treasury
itself was well-nigh empty. The money of the people was the wretched
notes of two thousand uncontrolled and irresponsible State banking
corporations, which were filling the country with a circulation that
poisoned rather than sustained the life of business. The Republican
party changed all this. It abolished the babel of confusion, and gave
the country a currency as national as its flag, based upon the sacred
faith of the people. It threw its protecting arm around our great
industries, and they stood erect as with new life. It filled with the
spirit of true nationality all the great functions of the government. It
confronted a rebellion of unexampled magnitude, with slavery behind it,
and, under God, fought the final battle of liberty until victory was
won. Then, after the storms of battle, were heard the sweet, calm words
of peace uttered by the conquering nation, and saying to the conquered
foe that lay prostrate at its feet: ‘This is our only refuge, that you
join us in lifting to the serene firmament of the Constitution, to shine
like stars for ever and ever, the immortal principles of truth and
justice, that all men, white or black, shall be free and stand equal
before the law.’

“Then came the question of reconstruction, the public debt, and the
public faith. In the settlement of the questions the Republican party
has completed its twenty-five years of glorious existence, and it has
sent us here to prepare it for another lustrum of duty and victory. How
shall we do this great work? We cannot do it, my friends, by assailing
our Republican brethren. God forbid that I should say one word to cast a
shadow upon any name on the roll of our heroes. This coming fight is our
Thermopylæ. We are standing upon a narrow isthmus. If our Spartan hosts
are united, we can withstand all the Persians that the Xerxes of
Democracy can bring against us. Let us hold our ground this one year,
for the stars in their courses fight for us in the future. The census
taken this year will bring re-enforcements and continued power. But in
order to win this victory now, we want the vote of every Republican, of
every Grant Republican, and every anti-Grant Republican in America, of
every Blaine man and every anti-Blaine man. The vote of every follower
of every candidate is needed to make our success certain; therefore, I
say, gentlemen and brethren, we are here to take calm counsel together,
and inquire what we shall do. We want a man whose life and opinions
embody all the achievements of which I have spoken. We want a man who,
standing on a mountain height, sees all the achievements of our past
history, and carries in his heart the memory of all its glorious deeds,
and who, looking forward, prepares to meet the labor and the dangers to
come. We want one who will act in no spirit of unkindness toward those
we lately met in battle. The Republican party offers to our brethren of
the South the olive branch of peace, and wishes them to return to
brotherhood, on this supreme condition, that it shall be admitted
forever and forevermore, that, in the war for the Union, we were right
and they were wrong. On that supreme condition we meet them as brethren,
and on no other. We ask them to share with us the blessings and honors
of this great republic.

“Now, gentlemen, not to weary you, I am about to present a name for your
consideration–the name of a man who was the comrade and associate and
friend of nearly all those noble dead whose faces look down upon us from
these walls to-night, a man who began his career of public service
twenty-five years ago, whose first duty was courageously done in the
days of peril on the plains of Kansas, when the first red drops of that
bloody shower began to fall, which finally swelled into the deluge of
war. He bravely stood by young Kansas then, and, returning to his duty
in the National Legislature, through all subsequent time his pathway has
been marked by labors performed in every department of legislation. You
ask for his monuments. I point you to twenty-five years of national
statutes. Not one great beneficent statute has been placed in our
statute books without his intelligent and powerful aid. He aided these
men to formulate the laws that raised our great armies and carried us
through the war. His hand was seen in the workmanship of those statutes
that restored and brought back the unity and married calm of the States.
His hand was in all that great legislation that created the war
currency, and in a still greater work that redeemed the promises of the
Government, and made the currency equal to gold. And when at last called
from the halls of legislation into a high executive office, he displayed
that experience, intelligence, firmness and poise of character which has
carried us through a stormy period of three years. With one-half the
public press crying ‘crucify him,’ and a hostile Congress seeking to
prevent success, in all this he remained unmoved until victory crowned
him. The great fiscal affairs of the nation, and the great business
interests of the country he has guarded and preserved while executing
the law of resumption and effecting its object without a jar and against
the false prophecies of one-half of the press and all the Democracy of
this continent. He has shown himself able to meet with calmness the
great emergencies of the Government for twenty-five years. He has
trodden the perilous heights of public duty, and against all the shafts
of malice has borne his breast unharmed. He has stood in the blaze of
‘that fierce light that beats against the throne,’ but its fiercest ray
has found no flaw in his armor, no stain on his shield. I do not present
him as a better Republican or as better man than thousands of others we
honor, but I present him for your deliberate consideration. I nominate
John Sherman, of Ohio.”

The speech was over, its effect was like oil upon troubled waters. When
the balloting began a single delegate only voted for Garfield. The fight
was between Grant, Blaine, Sherman and Edmunds; Windom and others were
waiting the possibility of a compromise. Garfield managed Sherman’s
forces. He meant to keep his favorite in the field, in vain trying to
win over Blaine’s followers. On the thirty-fourth ballot the Wisconsin
delegation determined to make a break, and hence put forth an effort in
an entirely new direction, casting their entire seventeen votes for
Garfield. The General arose and declined to receive the vote, but the
chairman ruled otherwise, and on the next ballot the Indiana delegation
swung over. On the thirty-sixth ballot he was nominated. Then followed
his canvass and election.

Time flew, and he was about to join his old friends at Willams’ College,
when an assassin stealthily crept up and shot him from behind, as
dastardly assassins and cowardly knaves generally do. The whole country
was thrown into a feverish heat of excitement between this cowardly act
and the president’s death, which occurred two months later. Thus, after
a struggle for recognition, which had won the admiration of the world,
he was snatched from the pleasure of enjoying the fruits of his toil,
and from the people who needed his service. Like Lincoln, he had come
from the people, he belonged to the people, and by his own right hand
had won the first place among fifty millions of people. Like Lincoln, he
was stricken down when his country expected the most of him, stricken in
the very prime of life. Like Lincoln, when that enjoyment for which he
had labored was about to crown his efforts; and like Lincoln, it could
not be said of him he lived in vain.

 

 

CHESTER A. ARTHUR.

 

Chester Allan Arthur’s career, like that of thousands of other
Americans, illustrates the truth that wealth, high social position and
all the advantages with which fortune and affection can surround the
young are not essential to their success and prosperity in professional,
business or public life. In fact, too often they tend to enervate both
mind and body, and thus prove in reality obstacles to attaining true and
worthy manhood.

Mr. Arthur, like Lincoln, Grant, Garfield and others who preceded him in
the presidential office, hewed his own way upward and onward from a
discouraging beginning.

He was born in Fairfield, Franklin county, Vermont, October 5th, 1830.
He was the eldest son of the Rev. William Arthur, a Baptist clergyman,
having a large family and a modest income. The Rev. Mr. Arthur was born
in Ireland, and came to this country when eighteen years of age. He is
remembered as a man of great force of character, sturdy piety and a
faithful and earnest Christian minister. He had few worldly benefits to
bestow upon his children, but he implanted deep into their minds
principles governing their actions which were never effaced.

As a lad, Mr. Arthur was trained in the public schools accessible to
him, and by his father’s aid, fitted himself for college, entering Union
when fifteen years old, and graduating with high honors in 1848. The
Hon. Frederick W. Seward, who was in the class next below young Arthur,
says of his school days: “Chet, as we all called him, was the most
popular boy in his class. He was always genial and cheerful, a good
scholar, and apt in debate.” To aid in defraying his expenses, Chester
taught country schools during parts of two winters, but kept pace with
his class while absent, showing his independence of spirit, and his zeal
to acquire an education.

Mr. Arthur’s preference turned toward the law, and after a course in
Fowler’s law school at Ballston, he went to New York city; became a law
student in the office of Erastus D. Culver, and was admitted to the bar
in 1852. Mr. Culver showed his confidence in his promising student by
taking him into partnership. Mr. Culver was soon elected civil judge of
Brooklyn, and the partnership was dissolved. Mr. Arthur then formed a
partnership with Henry D. Gardiner, with a view to practicing in some
growing Western city. The young lawyers went West and spent three months
in prospecting for a locality to suit their taste, but not finding it,
they returned to New York, hired an office, and before long had a good
business. The most noted cases in which Mr. Arthur appeared in his early
career as a lawyer, were the Lemmon slave case, and the suit of Lizzie
Jennings, a fugitive slave, whose liberty he secured, and a colored
lady, a superintendent of a Sunday-School for colored children, who was
ejected from a Fourth Avenue horse-car, after her fare had been accepted
by the conductor, because a white passenger objected to her presence.

In the first case he was largely instrumental in establishing a
precedent, setting forth the theory that slaves brought into free
territory, were at liberty. In the second case, he obtained a verdict of
$500.00 damages in favor of the colored woman as against the company.
The establishment of this precedent caused the street railroad companies
of the city to issue an order that colored persons should be allowed to
travel in their cars. Thus did Chester A. Arthur obtain equal civil
rights for negroes in public vehicles.

In 1859 he married Miss Ellen Lewis Herndon, of Fredericksburg,
Virginia; daughter of Captain William Lewis Herndon, United States Navy,
who went bravely to his death in 1857, sinking with his ship, the
Central America, refusing to leave his post of duty, though he helped
secure the safety of others. Mrs. Arthur was a devoted wife, and a woman
of many accomplishments. She died in January, 1880, and lies buried in
the Albany Rural Cemetery.

Mr. Arthur took a lively interest in politics, and was first a Henry
Clay Whig, but later helped to form the Republican party. He held
several offices in the militia prior to 1860, and when Edwin D. Morgan
became governor of the State in 1860, he made Mr. Arthur a member of his
staff, promoting him from one position to another until he became
quarter-master general. The duties of this post were most arduous and
exacting. To promptly equip, supply and forward the thousands of troops
sent to the front to defend the Union was a task demanding the highest
executive ability and rare organizing skill, besides the greatest
precision in receiving, disbursing and accounting for the public funds.
Millions of dollars passed through his hands; he had the letting of
enormous contracts, and opportunities, without number, by which he
might have enriched himself. But he was true to himself and to his
trust. So implicit was the confidence reposed in him that his accounts
were audited at Washington without question or deduction, though the
claims of many States were disallowed, to the extent of millions. He
left the office poorer than when he entered it, but with the proud
satisfaction of knowing that all the world esteemed him as an honest
man.

From 1863 to 1871 General Arthur successfully engaged in the practice of
law in New York. November 20th, 1871, he was appointed collector of the
port of New York, and re-appointed in 1875. The second appointment was
confirmed by the Senate without reference to a committee, the usual
course, the fact being highly complimentary, and testifying to the high
opinion held by the Senate regarding his official record. He was
suspended by President Hayes, though no reflection upon his official
conduct was made. He again returned to the practice of law, though
taking an energetic part in politics, serving several years as chairman
of the Republican State Committee. General Arthur, in the campaign of
1880, was an ardent supporter of Grant before the National Convention,
being one of the famous “306” who voted for Grant to the last.

His nomination for Vice President was as much a surprise as that of
Garfield for the first place on the ticket. He had not been mentioned as
a candidate, and his own delegation had not thought of presenting his
name until the roll was called in the Convention. When New York was
reached in the call the delegation asked to be excused from voting for a
time. Then General Stewart L. Woodford cast the vote for Arthur. The
tide quickly turned. The Ohio men were disposed to be conciliatory, and
swung over to Arthur, who was nominated on the first ballot. The
incidents that followed the inauguration of Garfield and himself as
President and Vice-President; the unhappy differences that led to the
resignation of Senators Conkling and Platt; the strife over the election
of their successors; the assassination and death of President Garfield,
and the accession to the presidency of General Arthur. These form a
chapter in our political history, with the details of which we are all
familiar, and are not likely to soon be forgotten.

It was under the most unfavorable circumstances that Chester A. Arthur
assumed the office of President; the people’s passion over the death of
the second President of the United States, to fall by an assassin’s
hand, was intense; factional feeling in his own party was bitter and
apparently irreconcilable; when the popular mind was filled with
dreadful forebodings as to the future; but he exhibited a gravity, a
reticence, an affability, and a firmness which commanded the respect of
conservative men of all parties. Not only was he the most
successful–perhaps the only successful–Vice-President elevated to the
Presidency by the death of the President, but he is worthy to be counted
among the most serviceable of the Presidents.

Peace and prosperity were promoted by his administration. Ex-President
Chester A. Arthur died at his residence in New York city, November 18th,
1886. He leaves as surviving members of his family two children, Chester
Allan, a young man of twenty-two years, and Miss Nellie, just budding
into womanhood. At the age of fifty-six, without elaborate display, he
was quietly laid beside his wife in Rural Cemetery.

 

 

JOHN A. LOGAN.

 

“I entered the field to die, if need be, for this government and never
expect to return to peaceful pursuits until the object of this war of
preservation has become a fact established.” Thus spoke John A. Logan in
1862, when asked to return home from the field and become a candidate
for Congress.

General Logan was born February 9th, 1826, in Murphysboro, Illinois, and
was the eldest of eleven children. He received his education in the
common schools and in Shiloh Academy.

The Mexican war broke out when young Logan was but twenty years of age,
and he at once enlisted and was made a lieutenant in one of the Illinois
regiments. He returned home in 1848 with an excellent military record,
and commenced the study of law in the office of his uncle, Alexander M.
Jenkins, who had formerly been lieutenant-governor of the State.

In 1844, before he had completed his law course, he was elected clerk of
Jackson county, and at the expiration of his term of office went to
Louisville, Kentucky, where he attended law lectures, and was admitted
to the bar in the spring of 1851. In the fall of the same year he was
elected to represent Jackson and Franklin counties in the legislature,
and from that time has been almost uninterruptedly in the public
service, either civil or military.

He was twice elected to the legislature, and in 1854 was a Democratic
presidential elector, and cast his vote for James Buchanan.

The year of 1860–the year of the great Lincoln campaign–saw Logan
serving his second term in Congress as the representative of the Ninth
Illinois Congressional District. Mr. Logan was then a Democrat and an
ardent supporter of Stephen A. Douglas, Mr. Lincoln’s opponent. On the
floor of Congress he several times in 1860 and 1861 attacked the course
of the Southern members.

The war came at last, and Logan was one of the first to enter the Union
army. He resigned his seat in Congress in July, 1861, for that purpose,
and took a brave part in the first battle of Bull Run. He personally
raised the Thirty-first Illinois Regiment of Infantry, and was elected
its colonel. The regiment was mustered into service on September 13th,
1861, was attached to General M’Clernand’s brigade, and seven weeks
later was under a hot fire at Belmont. During this fight Logan had a
horse shot from under him, and was conspicuous in his gallantry in a
fierce bayonet charge which he personally led. The Thirty-first, under
Logan, quickly became known as a fighting regiment, and distinguished
itself at the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson. In this last
engagement Logan was severely wounded, and for many weeks unfitted for
duty. During his confinement in the hospital his brave wife, with great
tact and energy, got through the lines to his bedside, and nursed him
until he was able to take the field once more.

“Logan was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General of Volunteers soon
after reporting for duty. This was in March, 1862, and he was soon after
hotly engaged in Grant’s Mississippi campaign. In the following year he
was asked to return home and go to congress again, but declined with an
emphatic statement that he was in the war to stay until he was either
disabled or peace was established. Eight months after his promotion to
the rank of Brigadier-General he was made a Major-General for
exceptional bravery and skill, and was put in command of the Third
Division of the Seventeenth Army Corps, under General M’Pherson. After
passing through the hot fights of Raymond and Port Gibson, he led the
center of General M’Pherson’s command at the siege of Vicksburg, and his
column was the first to enter the city after the surrender. He was made
the Military Governor of the captured city, and his popularity with the
Seventeenth Corps was so great that a gold medal was given to him as a
testimonial of the attachment felt for him by the men he led.

“In the following year he led the Army of the Tennessee on the right of
Sherman’s great march to the sea. He was in the battles of Resaca and
the Little Kenesaw Mountain, and in the desperate engagement of Peach
Tree Creek where General M’Pherson fell. The death of M’Pherson threw
the command upon Logan, and the close of the bitter engagement which
ensued saw 8,000 dead Confederates on the field, while the havoc in the
Union lines had been correspondingly great.

“After the fall of Atlanta, which occurred on the 2nd of September,
General Logan returned to the North, and took a vigorous part in the
Western States in the campaign which resulted in the election of Abraham
Lincoln for the second time to the presidency. He rejoined his command
at Savannah, and was with it until the surrender of Johnson, after which
he went with the army to Washington.

“His military career ended with his nomination in 1866 by the
Republicans of Illinois to represent the State as Congressman at-large
in the Fortieth Congress. He was elected by 60,000 majority. He was one
of the managers on the part of the House of Representatives in the
impeachment proceedings which were instituted against Johnson. In 1868
and 1870 he was re-elected to the House, but before he had finished his
term under the last election he was elected to the United States Senate
to succeed Senator Yates. The last term for which he was elected expires
in 1891.

“He took an active part in the last presidential campaign, when he and
Mr. Blaine were the candidates on the presidential ticket, and had a
strong influence in holding the soldier vote fast in the Republican
ranks.”

Mr. Logan’s views in regard to the immortality of the soul was clearly
expressed in a speech delivered at the tomb of General Grant on Memorial
Day, 1886:

“Was any American soldier immolated upon a blind law of his country? Not
one! Every soldier in the Union ranks, whether in the regular army or
not, was in the fullest sense a member of the great, the imperishable,
the immortal army of American volunteers. These gallant spirits now lie
in untimely sepulcher. No more will they respond to the fierce blast of
the bugle or the call to arms. But let us believe that they are not
dead, but sleeping! Look at the patient caterpillar as he crawls on the
ground, liable to be crushed by every careless foot that passes. He
heeds no menace, and turns from no dangers. Regardless of circumstances,
he treads his daily round, avoided by the little child sporting upon the
sward. He has work, earnest work, to perform, from which he will not be
turned, even at the forfeit of his life. Reaching his appointed place,
he ceases even to eat, and begins to spin those delicate fibres which,
woven into fabrics of beauty and utility, contribute to the comfort and
adornment of a superior race. His work done, he lies down to the sleep
from which he never wakes in the old form. But that silent, motionless
body is not dead; an astonishing metamorphosis is taking place. The
gross digestive apparatus dwindles away; the three pairs of legs, which
served the creature to crawl upon the ground, are exchanged for six
pairs suited to a different purpose; the skin is cast; the form is
changed; a pair of wings, painted like the morning flowers, spring out,
and presently the ugly worm that trailed its slow length through the
dust is transformed into the beautiful butterfly, basking in the bright
sunshine, the envy of the child and the admiration of the man. Is there
no appeal in this wonderful and enchanting fact to man’s highest reason?
Does it contain no suggestion that man, representing the highest
pinnacle of created life upon the globe, must undergo a final
metamorphosis, as supremely more marvelous and more spiritual, as man is
greater in physical conformation, and far removed in mental construction
from the humble worm that at the call of nature straightway leaves the
ground, and soars upon the gleeful air? Is the fact not a thousand-fold
more convincing than the assurance of the poet:

“It must be so; Plato, thou reasonest well;
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this dread secret and inward horror
Of falling into naught? Why shrinks the soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction?
‘Tis the divinity that stirs within us;
‘Tis heaven itself that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man,
Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought.”

“On December 26th, 1886, the strong man succumbed to rheumatism. His
death was a great shock to his numerous friends throughout the Union,
and he was mourned by a great and mighty nation. From the lowly ranks to
whom he belonged by birth, to the most exalted circles, the sympathy for
the bereaved was genuine.”

 

 

JAMES G. BLAINE.

 

Few men are more prominently placed before the vision of a mighty nation
to-day than James G. Blaine. Born in obscurity, he possesses traits of
character which are peculiar to himself; they differ widely from that of
any statesman who ever spoke in the legislative halls at Washington.

Colleges, of themselves, make no man great. An ‘educated idiot’ will
never make a statesman, notwithstanding the too prevalent notion that
the possession of a diploma should entitle any one to a place in our
social aristocracy. The great, active, relentless, human world gives a
man a place of real influence, and crowns him as truly great for what he
really is; and will not care a fig for any college certificate. If the
young man is determined to succeed in the world then a college is a
help. The trouble is not in the college, but in the man. He should
regard the college as a means to attain a result, not the result of
itself. The question the great busy world asks the claimant is: What can
he do? If the claimant enter school determined to succeed, even if he
sleeps but four to six hours out of the twenty-four, he will be
benefited. However, study like that of Webster, by New Hampshire pine
knots; and like Garfield’s, by a wood-pile; generally proves valuable.
Blaine’s life is thus beautifully described by his biographer:–

“James Gillespie Blaine, the subject of this biography, was born January
31st, 1830. His father, Ephraim L. Blaine, and his mother, Maria
Gillespie, still lived in their two-story house on the banks of the
Monongahela. No portentious events, either in nature or public affairs,
marked his advent. A few neighbors with generous interest and sympathy
extended their aid and congratulations. The tops of the hills and the
distant Alleghanies were white with snow, but the valley was bare and
brown, and the swollen river swept the busy ferry-boat from shore to
shore with marked emphasis, as old acquaintances repeated the news of
the day, ‘Blaine has another son.'”

Another soul clothed in humanity; another cry; increased care in one
little home. That was all. It seems so sad in this, the day of his fame
and power, that the mother who, with such pain and misgiving, prayer and
noble resolutions, saw his face for the first time should now be
sleeping in the church-yard. In the path that now leads by her grave,
she had often paused before entering the shadowy gates of the
weather-beaten Catholic church, and calmed her anxious fears that she
might devoutly worship God and secure the answer to her prayer for her
child.

It seems strange now, in the light of other experiences, that no
tradition or record of a mother’s prophecy concerning the future
greatness of her son comes down to us from that birthday, or from his
earliest years. But the old European customs and prejudices of her Irish
and Scottish ancestry seem to have lingered with sufficient force to
still give the place of social honor and to found the parent’s hopes on
the first-born. To all concerned it was a birth of no special
significance. Outside of the family it was a matter of no moment. Births
were frequent. The Brownsville people heard of it, and passed on to
forget, as a ripple in the Monongahela flashes on the careless sight for
a moment, then the river rolls on as before. Ephraim Blaine was proud of
another son; the little brother and the smaller sister hailed a new
brother. The mother, with a deep joy which escaped not in words, looked
onward and tried to read the future when the flood of years should have
carried her new treasure from her arms. That flood has swept over her
now, and all her highest hopes and ambition is filled, but she seems not
to hear the church bells that ring nor the cannon that bellow at the
sound of his name.

“All his early childhood years were spent about his home playing in the
well-kept yard gazing at the numerous boats that so frequently went
puffing by. For a short time the family moved to the old Gillespie House
further up the river, and some of the inhabitants say that at one time,
while some repairs were going on, they resided at the old homestead of
Neal Gillespie, back from the river, on Indian Hill.”

At seventeen he graduated from school and, his father, losing what
little property he did have, young Blaine was thrown upon his own
resources. But it is often the best thing possible for a young man to be
thus tossed over-board, and be compelled to sink or swim. It develops a
self-reliant nature. He secured employment as a teacher, and into this
calling he threw his whole soul. Thus he became a success as an educator
at Blue Lick Springs. He next went to Philadelphia, and for two years
was the principal teacher of the boys in the Philadelphia Institution
for instruction of the blind. When he left that institution he left
behind him a universal regret at a serious loss incurred, but an
impression of his personal force upon the work of that institution which
it is stated, on good authority, is felt to this day. Mr. Chapin, the
principal, one day said, as he took from a desk in the corner of the
school-room a thick quarto manuscript book, bound in dark leather and
marked ‘Journal:’ “Now, I will show you something that illustrates how
thoroughly Mr. Blaine mastered anything he took hold of. This book Mr.
Blaine compiled with great labor from the minute-books of the Board of
Managers. It is a historical view of the institution from the time of
its foundation, up to the time of Mr. Blaine’s departure. He did all the
work in his own room, telling no one of it till he left. Then he
presented it, through me, to the Board of Managers who were both
surprised and gratified. I believe they made him a present of $100 as a
thank-offering for an invaluable work.” The book illustrates one great
feature in the success of Mr. Blaine. It is clear, and indicates his
mastery of facts in whatever he undertook, and his orderly presentation
of facts in detail. The fact that no one knew of it until the proper
time, when its effect would be greatest, shows that he naturally
possesses a quality that is almost indispensable to the highest
attainment of success.

He left Philadelphia for Augusta, Maine, where he became editor of the
_Kennebec Journal_. While editor and member of his State legislature,
he laid the foundation which prepared him to step at once to the front,
when in 1862 he was sent to the National Congress, when the country was
greatly agitated over the Five-twenty bonds, and how they should be
redeemed. Mr. Blaine spoke as follows:

“But, now, Mr. Speaker, suppose for the sake of argument, we admit that
the Government may fairly and legally pay the Five-twenty bonds in paper
currency, what then? I ask the gentleman from Massachusetts to tell us,
what then? It is easy, I know, to issue as many greenbacks as will pay
the maturing bonds, regardless of the effect upon the inflation of
prices, and the general derangement of business. Five hundred millions
of Five-twenties are now payable, and according to the easy mode
suggested, all we have to do is set the printing-presses in motion, and
‘so long as rags and lampblack hold out’ we need have no embarrassment
about paying our National Debt. But the ugly question recurs, what are
you going to do with the greenbacks thus put afloat? Five hundred
millions this year, and eleven hundred millions more on this theory of
payment by the year 1872; so that within the period of four or five
years we would have added to our paper money the thrilling inflation of
sixteen hundred millions of dollars. We should all have splendid times
doubtless! Wheat, under the new dispensation, ought to bring twenty
dollars a bushel, and boots would not be worth more than two hundred
dollars a pair, and the farmers of our country would be as well off as
Santa Anna’s rabble of Mexican soldiers, who were allowed ten dollars a
day for their services and charged eleven for their rations and
clothing. The sixteen hundred millions of greenbacks added to the
amount already issued would give us some twenty-three hundred millions
of paper money, and I suppose the theory of the new doctrine would leave
this mass permanently in circulation, for it would hardly be consistent
to advocate the redemption of the greenbacks in gold after having
repudiated and foresworn our obligation on the bonds.

“But if it be intended to redeem the legal tenders in gold, what will
have been the net gain to the Government in the whole transaction? If
any gentleman will tell me, I shall be glad to learn how it will be
easier to pay sixteen hundred millions in gold in the redemption of
greenbacks, than to pay the same amount in the redemption of Five-twenty
bonds? The policy advocated, it seems to me, has only two
alternatives–the one to ruinously inflate the currency and leave it so,
reckless of results; the other to ruinously inflate the currency at the
outset, only to render redemption in gold far more burdensome in the
end.

“I know it may be claimed, that the means necessary to redeem the
Five-twenties in greenbacks may be realized by a new issue of currency
bonds to be placed on the market. Of results in the future every
gentleman has the right to his own opinion, and all may alike indulge in
speculation. But it does seem to me that the Government would be placed
in awkward attitude when it should enter the market to negotiate the
loan, the avails of which were to be devoted to breaking faith with
those who already held its most sacred obligations! What possible
security would the new class of creditors have, that when their debts
were matured some new form of evasion would be resorted to by which they
in turn would be deprived of their just and honest dues?

“_Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus_ would supply the ready form of
protest against trusting a Government with a new loan when it had just
ignored its plain obligation on an old one.

“Payment of the Five-twenty bonds in paper currency involves therefore a
limitless issue of greenbacks, with attendant evils of gigantic
magnitude and far-reaching consequence. And the worse evil of the whole
is the delusion which calls this a payment at all. It is no payment in
any proper sense, for it neither gives the creditor what he is entitled
to, nor does it release the debtor from subsequent responsibility. You
may get rid of the Five-twenty by issuing the greenback, but how will
you get rid of the greenback except by paying gold? The only escape from
ultimate payment of gold is to declare that as a nation we permanently
and finally renounce all idea of ever attaining a specie standard–that
we launch ourselves on an ocean of paper money without shore or
sounding, with no rudder to guide us and no compass to steer by. And
this is precisely what is involved if we adopt this mischievous
suggestion of ‘a new way to pay old debts.’ Our fate in attempting such
a course may be easily read in the history of similar follies both in
Europe and in our own country. Prostration of credit, financial
disaster, widespread distress among all classes of the community, would
form the closing scenes in our career of gratuitous folly and national
dishonor. And from such an abyss of sorrow and humiliation, it would be
a painful and toilsome effort to regain as sound a position in our
finances as we are asked voluntarily to abandon to-day.

“The remedy for our financial troubles, Mr. Speaker, will not be found
in a superabundance of depreciated paper currency. It lies in the
opposite direction–and the sooner the nation finds itself on a specie
basis, the sooner will the public treasury be freed from embarrassment,
and private business relieved from discouragement. Instead, therefore,
of entering upon a reckless and boundless issue of legal tenders, with
their consequent depression if not destruction of value, let us set
resolutely to work and make those already in circulation equal to so
many gold dollars. When that result shall be accomplished, we can
proceed to pay our Five-twenties either in coin or paper, for the one
would be equivalent to the other. But to proceed deliberately on a
scheme of depreciating our legal tenders and then forcing the holders of
Government bonds to accept them in payment, would resemble in point of
honor, the policy of a merchant who, with abundant resources and
prosperous business, should devise a plan for throwing discredit on his
own notes with the view of having them bought up at a discount, ruinous
to the holders and immensely profitable to his own knavish pocket. This
comparison may faintly illustrate the wrongfulness of the policy, but
not its consummate folly–for in the case of the Government, unlike the
merchant, the stern necessity would recur of making good in the end, by
the payment of hard coin, all the discount that might be gained by the
temporary substitution of paper.

“Discarding all such schemes as at once unworthy and unprofitable, let
us direct our policy steadily, but not rashly, toward the resumption of
specie payment. And when we have attained that end–easily attainable at
no distant day if the proper policy be pursued–we can all unite on some
honorable plan for the redemption of the Five-twenty bonds, and the
issuing instead thereof, a new series of bonds which can be more
favorably placed at a low rate of interest. When we shall have reached
the specie basis, the value of United States securities will be so high
in the money market of the world, that we can command our own terms. We
can then call in our Five-twenties according to the very letter and
spirit of the bond, and adjust a new loan that will be eagerly sought
for by capitalists, and will be free from those elements of discontent
that in some measure surround the existing Funded debt of the country.

“As to the particular measures of legislation requisite to hasten the
resumption of specie payment, gentlemen equally entitled to respect may
widely differ; but there is one line of policy conducive thereto on
which we all ought to agree; and that is on a serious reduction of the
government expenses and a consequent lightening of the burdens of
taxation. The interest-bearing debt of the United States, when
permanently funded, will not exceed twenty-one hundred millions of
dollars, imposing an annual interest of about one hundred and
twenty-five millions. Our other expenses, including War, Navy, the
Pension list, and the Civil list, ought not to exceed one hundred
millions; so that if we raise two hundred and fifty millions from
Customs and Internal Revenue combined, we should have twenty-five
millions annual surplus to apply to the reduction of the Public debt.
But to attain this end we must mend our ways, and practice an economy
far more consistent and severe than any we have attempted in the past.
Our Military peace establishment must be reduced one-half at least, and
our Naval appropriations correspondingly curtailed; and innumerable
leaks and gaps and loose ends, that have so long attended our government
expenditure, must be taken up and stopped. If such a policy be pursued
by Congress, neither the principal of the debt, nor the interest of the
debt, nor the annual expenses of government, will be burdensome to the
people. We can raise two hundred and fifty millions of revenue on the
gold basis, and at the same time have a vast reduction in our taxes. And
we can do this without repudiation in any form, either open or covert,
avowed or indirect, but with every obligation of the government
fulfilled and discharged in its exact letter and in its generous spirit.

“And this, Mr. Speaker, we shall do. Our national honor demands it; our
national interest equally demands it. We have vindicated our claim to
the highest heroism on a hundred bloody battle-fields, and have stopped
at no sacrifice of life needful to the maintenance of our national
integrity. I am sure that in the peace which our arms have conquered, we
shall not dishonor ourselves by withholding from any public creditor a
dollar that we promised to pay him, nor seek, by cunning construction
and clever afterthought, to evade or escape the full responsibility of
our national indebtedness. It will doubtless cost us a vast sum to pay
that indebtedness–but it would cost us incalculably more not to pay
it.”

This speech, here referred to, occurring, as it did when the ablest
speakers were interested, was pronounced as a marvel. The great rows of
figures which he gave, but which space will not allow us to give,
illustrates the man, and his thorough mastery of all great public
questions. He never enters a debate unless fully prepared; if not
already prepared, he prepares himself. His reserve power is wonderful.
What a feature of success is reserve power.

In 1876 occurred one of the most remarkable contests ever known in
Congress. The debate began upon the proposition to grant a general
amnesty to all those who had engaged in the Southern war on the side of
the Confederacy; of course this would include Mr. Davis. Hon. Benjamin
H. Hill, of Georgia, one of the ablest Congressmen in the South, met Mr.
Blaine on the question. As space will not permit us to go into detail at
all as we would like to, we give simply an extract from one of Mr.
Blaine’s replies:

“I am very frank to say that in regard to all these gentlemen, save one,
I do not know of any reason why amnesty should not be granted to them as
it has been to many others of the same class. I am not here to argue
against it. The gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Kasson) suggests ‘on their
application.’ I am coming to that. But as I have said, seeing in this
list, as I have examined it with some care, no gentleman to whom I think
there would be any objection, since amnesty has already become so
general–and I am not going back of that question to argue it–I am in
favor of granting it to them. But in the absence of this respectful form
of application which, since May 22d, 1872, has become a sort of common
law as preliminary to amnesty, I simply wish to put in that they shall
go before a United States Court, and in open court, with uplifted hand,
swear that they mean to conduct themselves as good citizens of the
United States. That is all.

“Now, gentlemen may say that this is a foolish exaction. Possibly it is.
But somehow or other I have a prejudice in favor of it. And there are
some petty points in it that appeal as well to prejudice as to
conviction. For one, I do not want to impose citizenship on any
gentlemen. If I am correctly informed, and I state it only on rumor,
there are some gentlemen in this list who have spoken contemptuously of
the idea of their taking citizenship, and have spoken still more
contemptuously of the idea of their applying for citizenship. I may
state it wrongly, and if I do, I am willing to be corrected, but I
understand that Mr. Robert Toombs has, on several occasions, at
watering-places, both in this country and in Europe, stated that he
would not ask the United States for citizenship.

“Very well; we can stand it about as well as Mr. Robert Toombs can. And
if Mr. Robert Toombs is not prepared to go into a court of the United
States and swear that he means to be a good citizen, let him stay out. I
do not think that the two Houses of Congress should convert themselves
into a joint convention for the purpose of embracing Mr. Robert Toombs,
and gushingly request him to favor us by coming back to accept of all
the honors of citizenship. That is the whole. All I ask is that each of
these gentlemen shall show his good faith by coming forward and taking
the oath which you on that side of the House, and we on this side of the
House, and all of us take, and gladly take. It is a very small exaction
to make as a preliminary to full restoration to all the rights of
citizenship.

“In my amendment, Mr. Speaker, I have excepted Jefferson Davis from its
operation. Now, I do not place it on the ground that Mr. Davis was, as
he has been commonly called, the head and front of the rebellion,
because, on that ground, I do not think the exception would be tenable.
Mr. Davis was just as guilty, no more so, no less so, than thousands of
others who have already received the benefit and grace of amnesty.
Probably he was far less efficient as an enemy of the United States:
probably he was far more useful as a disturber of the councils of the
Confederacy than many who have already received amnesty. It is not
because of any particular and special damage that he, above others, did
to the Union, or because he was personally or especially of consequence,
that I except him. But I except him on this ground; that he was the
author, knowingly, deliberately, guiltily, and willfully, of the
gigantic murders and crimes at Andersonville. * * * *

“Mr. Speaker, this is not a proposition to punish Jefferson Davis. There
is nobody attempting that. I will very frankly say that I myself thought
the indictment of Mr. Davis at Richmond, under the administration of Mr.
Johnson, was a weak attempt, for he was indicted only for that of which
he was guilty in common with all others who went into the Confederate
movement. Therefore, there was no particular reason for it. But I will
undertake to say this, and as it may be considered an extreme speech, I
want to say it with great deliberation, that there is not a government,
a civilized government, on the face of the globe–I am very sure there
is not a European government–that would not have arrested Mr. Davis,
and when they had him in their power would not have tried him for
maltreatment of the prisoners of war and shot him within thirty days.
France, Russia, England, Germany, Austria, any one of them would have
done it. The poor victim Wirz deserved his death for brutal treatment,
and murder of many victims, but I always thought it was a weak movement
on the part of our government to allow Jefferson Davis to go at large,
and hang Wirz. I confess I do. Wirz was nothing in the world but a mere
subordinate, a tool, and there was no special reason for singling him
out for death. I do not say he did not deserve it–he did, richly,
amply, fully. He deserved no mercy, but at the same time, as I have
often said, it seemed like skipping over the president, superintendent,
and board of directors in the case of a great railroad accident, and
hanging the brakeman of the rear car.

“There is no proposition here to punish Jefferson Davis. Nobody is
seeking to do it. That time has gone by. The statute of limitation,
common feelings of humanity, will supervene for his benefit. But what
you ask us to do is to declare by a vote of two-thirds of both branches
of Congress, that we consider Mr. Davis worthy to fill the highest
offices in the United States if he can get a constituency to indorse
him. He is a voter; he can buy and he can sell; he can go and he can
come. He is as free as any man in the United States. There is a large
list of subordinate offices to which he is eligible. This bill proposes,
in view of that record, that Mr. Davis, by a two-thirds vote of the
Senate and a two-thirds vote of the House, be declared eligible and
worthy to fill any office up to the Presidency of the United States. For
one, upon full deliberation, I will not do it.”

These two speeches illustrates the scope of Blaine in debate. These
speeches also clearly show why he is so dearly beloved, or so bitterly
hated. But that Mr. Blaine is an orator of the first order cannot be
gainsaid. The preceding speeches represent the highest attainment of one
ideal of an orator, and in a role in which Mr. Blaine is almost without
parallel. In his Memorial address on Garfield, delivered in the hall of
the House of Representatives, he presents the lofty style which is the
beau ideal of oratory. He spoke something as follows:

“Mr. President: For the second time in this generation the great
departments of the government of the United States are assembled in the
Hall of Representatives to do honor to the memory of a murdered
president. Lincoln fell at the close of a mighty struggle in which the
passions of men had been deeply stirred. The tragical termination of his
great life added but another to the lengthened succession of horrors
which had marked so many lintels with the blood of the first-born.
Garfield was slain in a day of peace, when brother had been reconciled
to brother, and when anger and hate had been banished from the land.
‘Whoever shall hereafter draw the portrait of murder, if he will show it
as it has been exhibited where such example was last to have been looked
for, let him not give it the grim visage of Moloch, the brow knitted by
revenge, the face black with settled hate. Let him draw, rather, a
decorous, smooth-faced, bloodless demon; not so much an example of human
nature in its depravity and in its paroxisms of crime, as an infernal
being, a fiend in the ordinary display and development of his
character.” * * * *

“His father dying before he was two years old, Garfield’s early life was
one of privation, but its poverty has been made indelicately and
unjustly prominent. Thousands of readers have imagined him as the
ragged, starving child, whose reality too often greets the eye in the
squalid sections of our large cities. General Garfield’s infancy and
youth had none of this destitution, none of these pitiful features
appealing to the tender heart, and to the open hand of charity. He was a
poor boy in the same sense in which Henry Clay was a poor boy; in which
Andrew Jackson was a poor boy; in which Daniel Webster was a poor boy;
in the sense in which a large majority of the eminent men of America in
all generations have been poor boys. Before a great multitude, in a
public speech, Mr. Webster bore this testimony:

“‘It did not happen to me to be born in a log cabin, but my elder
brothers and sisters were born in a log cabin raised amid the
snow-drifts of New Hampshire, at a period so early that when the smoke
rose first from its rude chimney and curled over the frozen hills there
was no similar evidence of a white man’s habitation between it and the
settlements on the rivers of Canada. Its remains still exist. I make to
it an annual visit. I carry my children to it to teach them the
hardships endured by the generations which have gone before them. I love
to dwell on the tender recollections, the kindred ties, the early
affections, and the touching narratives and incidents which mingle with
all I know of this primitive family abode.’

“With the requisite change of scene the same words would aptly portray
the early days of Garfield. The poverty of the frontier, where all are
engaged in a common struggle, and where a common sympathy and hearty
co-operation lighten the burdens of each, is a very different poverty,
different in kind, different in influence and effect, from that
conscious and humiliating indigence which is every day forced to
contrast itself with neighboring wealth on which it feels a sense of
grinding dependence. The poverty of the frontier is indeed no poverty.
It is but the beginning of wealth, and has the boundless possibilities
of the future always opening before it. No man ever grew up in the
agricultural regions of the West, where a house-raising, or even a
corn-husking, is matter of common interest and helpfulness, with any
other feeling than that of broad-minded, generous independence. This
honorable independence marked the youth of Garfield, as it marks the
youth of millions of the best blood and brain now training for the
future citizenship and future government of the Republic. Garfield was
born heir to land, to the title of free-holder, which has been the
patent and passport of self-respect with the Anglo-Saxon race ever since
Hengist and Horsa landed on the shores of England. His adventure on the
canal–an alternative between that and the deck of a Lake Erie
schooner–was a farmer boy’s device for earning money, just as the New
England lad begins a possibly great career by sailing before the mast on
a coasting vessel, or on a merchantman bound to the farther India or to
the China seas.

“No manly man feels anything of shame in looking back to early struggles
with adverse circumstances, and no man feels a worthier pride than when
he has conquered the obstacles to his progress. But no one of noble
mould desires to be looked upon as having occupied a menial position, as
having been repressed by a feeling of inferiority, or as having suffered
the evils of poverty until relief was found at the hand of charity.
General Garfield’s youth presented no hardships which family love and
family energy did not overcome, subjected him to no privations which he
did not cheerfully accept, and left no memories save those which were
recalled with delight, and transmitted with profit and with pride.

“Garfield’s early opportunities for securing an education were extremely
limited, and yet were sufficient to develop in him an intense desire to
learn. He could read at three years of age, and each winter he had the
advantage of the district school. He read all the books to be found
within the circle of his acquaintance; some of them he got by heart.
While yet in childhood he was a constant student of the Bible, and
became familiar with its literature. The dignity and earnestness of his
speech in his maturer life gave evidence of this early training. At
eighteen years of age he was able to teach school, and thenceforward his
ambition was to obtain a college education. To this end he bent all
efforts, working in the harvest field, at the carpenter’s bench, and in
the winter season, teaching the common schools of the neighborhood.
While thus laboriously occupied he found time to prosecute his studies,
and was so successful that at twenty-two years of age he was able to
enter the junior class at Williams College, then under the presidency of
the venerable and honored Mark Hopkins, who, in the fullness of his
powers, survives the eminent pupil to whom he was of inestimable
service.

“The history of Garfield’s life to this period presents no novel
features. He had undoubtedly shown perseverance, self-reliance,
self-sacrifice, and ambition–qualities which, be it said for the honor
of our country, are everywhere to be found among the young men of
America. But from his graduation at Williams, onward to the hour of his
tragical death, Garfield’s career was eminent and exceptional. Slowly
working through his educational period, receiving his diploma when
twenty-four years of age, he seemed at one bound to spring into
conspicuous and brilliant success. Within six years he was successively
President of a College, State Senator of Ohio, Major-General of the Army
of the United States and Representative-elect to the National Congress.
A combination of honors so varied, so elevated, within a period so brief
and to a man so young, is without precedent or parallel in the history
of the country.

“Garfield’s army life was begun with no other military knowledge than
such as he had hastily gained from books in the few months preceding his
march to the field. Stepping from civil life to the head of a regiment,
the first order he received when ready to cross the Ohio was to assume
command of a brigade, and to operate as an independent force in eastern
Kentucky. His immediate duty was to check the advance of Humphrey
Marshall, who was marching down the Big Sandy with the intention of
occupying, in connection with other Confederate forces, the entire
territory of Kentucky, and of precipitating the State into secession.
This was at the close of the year 1861. Seldom, if ever, has a young
college professor been thrown into a more embarrassing and discouraging
position. He knew just enough of military science, as he expressed it
himself, to measure the extent of his ignorance, and with a handful of
men he was marching, in rough winter weather, into a strange country,
among a hostile population, to confront a largely superior force under
the command of a distinguished graduate of West Point, who had seen
active and important service in two preceding wars.

“The result of the campaign is matter of history. The skill, the
endurance, the extraordinary energy shown by Garfield, the courage he
imparted to his men, raw and untried as himself, the measures he adopted
to increase his force, and to create in the enemy’s mind exaggerated
estimates of his numbers, bore perfect fruit in the routing of Marshall,
the capture of his camp, the dispersion of his force, and the
emancipation of an important territory from the control of the
rebellion. Coming at the close of a long series of disasters to the
Union arms, Garfield’s victory had an unusual and extraneous
importance, and in the popular judgment elevated the young commander to
the rank of a military hero. With less than two thousand men in his
entire command, with a mobilized force of only eleven hundred, without
cannon, he had met an army of five thousand and defeated them, driving
Marshall’s forces successively from two strongholds of their own
selection, fortified with abundant artillery. Major-General Buell,
commanding the Department of the Ohio, an experienced and able soldier
of the Regular Army, published an order of thanks and congratulation on
the brilliant result of the Big Sandy Campaign, which would have turned
the head of a less cool and sensible man than Garfield. Buell declared
that his services had called into action the highest qualities of a
soldier, and President Lincoln supplemented these words of praise by the
more substantial reward of a Brigadier-General’s Commission, to bear
date from the day of his decisive victory over Marshall.

“The subsequent military career of Garfield fully sustained its
brilliant beginning. With his new commission he was assigned to the
command of a brigade in the Army of the Ohio, and took part in the
second and decisive day’s fight on the bloody field of Shiloh. The
remainder of the year 1862 was not especially eventful to Garfield, as
it was not to the armies with which he was serving. His practical sense
was called into exercise in completing the task, assigned him by General
Buell, of reconstructing bridges and re-establishing lines of railway
communication for the army. His occupation in this useful but not
brilliant field was varied by service on courts-martial of importance,
in which department of duty he won a valuable reputation, attracting the
notice and securing the approval of the able and eminent Judge Advocate
General of the army. This of itself was warrant to honorable fame; for
among the great men who in those trying days gave themselves, with
entire devotion, to the service of their country, one who brought to
that service the ripest learning, the most fervid eloquence, the most
varied attainments, who labored with modesty and shunned applause, who,
in the day of triumph, sat reserved and silent and grateful–as Francis
Deak in the hour of Hungary’s deliverance–was Joseph Holt, of Kentucky,
who, in his honorable retirement, enjoys the respect and veneration of
all who love the Union of the States.

“Early in 1863 Garfield was assigned to the highly important and
responsible post of Chief of Staff to General Rosecrans, then at the
head of the Army of the Cumberland. Perhaps in a great military campaign
no subordinate officer requires sounder judgment and quicker knowledge
of men than the Chief of Staff to the Commanding General. An indiscrete
man in such a position can sow more discord, breed more jealousy, and
disseminate more strife than any other officer in the entire
organization. When General Garfield assumed his new duties he found
various troubles already well developed and seriously affecting the
value and efficiency of the Army of the Cumberland. The energy, the
impartiality, and the tact with which he sought to allay these
dissensions, and to discharge the duties, of his new and trying
position, will always remain one of the most striking proofs of his
great versatility. His military duties closed on the memorable field of
Chickamauga, a field which, however disastrous to the Union arms, gave
to him the occasion of winning imperishable laurels. The very rare
distinction was accorded him of a great promotion for bravery on a
field that was lost. President Lincoln appointed him a Major-General in
the Army of the United States, for gallant and meritorious conduct in
the battle of Chickamauga.

“The Army of the Cumberland was reorganized under the command of General
Thomas, who promptly offered Garfield one of its divisions. He was
extremely desirous to accept the position, but was embarrassed by the
fact that he had, a year before, been elected to Congress, and the time
when he must take his seat was drawing near. He preferred to remain in
the military service, and had within his own breast the largest
confidence of success in the wider field which his new rank opened to
him. Balancing the arguments on the one side and the other, anxious to
determine what was for the best, desirous above all things to do his
patriotic duty, he was decisively influenced by the advice of President
Lincoln and Secretary Stanton, both of whom assured him that he could,
at that time, be of especial value in the House of Representatives. He
resigned his commission of major-general on the 5th day of December,
1863, and took his seat in the House of Representatives on the 7th. He
had served two years and four months in the army, and had just completed
his thirty-second year.

“The Thirty-eighth Congress is pre-eminently entitled in history to the
designation of the War Congress. It was elected while the war was
flagrant, and every member was chosen upon the issues involved in the
continuance of the struggle. The Thirty-seventh Congress had, indeed,
legislated to a large extent on war measures, but it was chosen before
any one believed that secession of the States would be actually
attempted. The magnitude of the work which fell upon its successor was
unprecedented, both in respect to the vast sums of money raised for the
support of the army and navy, and of the new and extraordinary powers of
legislation which it was forced to exercise. Only twenty-four States
were represented, and one hundred and eighty-two members were upon its
roll. Among these were many distinguished party leaders on both sides,
veterans in the public service, with established reputations for
ability, and with that skill which comes only from parliamentary
experience. Into this assemblage of men Garfield entered without special
preparation, and, it might almost be said, unexpectedly. The question of
taking command of a division of troops under General Thomas, or taking
his seat in Congress, was kept open till the last moment, so late,
indeed, that the resignation of his military commission and his
appearance in the House were almost contemporaneous. He wore the uniform
of a major-general of the United States Army on Saturday, and on Monday,
in civilian’s dress, he answered to roll-call as a Representative in
Congress from the State of Ohio.

“He was especially fortunate in the constituency which elected him.
Descended almost entirely from New England stock, the men of the
Ashtabula district were intensely radical on all questions relating to
human rights. Well educated, thrifty, thoroughly intelligent in affairs,
acutely discerning of character, not quick to bestow confidence, and
slow to withdraw it, they were at once the most helpful and most
exacting of supporters. Their tenacious trust in men in whom they have
once confided is illustrated by the unparalleled fact that Elisha
Whittlesey, Joshua R. Giddings, and James A. Garfield represented the
district for fifty-four years.

“There is no test of a man’s ability in any department of public life
more severe than service in the House of Representatives; there is no
place where so little deference is paid to reputation previously
acquired, or to eminence won outside; no place where so little
consideration is shown for the feelings or the failures of beginners.
What a man gains in the House he gains by sheer force of his own
character, and if he loses and falls back he must expect no mercy, and
will receive no sympathy. It is a field in which the survival of the
strongest is the recognized rule, and where no pretense can deceive and
no glamour can mislead. The real man is discovered, his worth is
impartially weighed, his rank is irreversibly decreed.

“With possibly a single exception, Garfield was the youngest member in
the House when he entered, and was but seven years from his college
graduation. But he had not been in his seat sixty days before his
ability was recognized and his place conceded. He stepped to the front
with the confidence of one who belonged there. The House was crowded
with strong men of both parties; nineteen of them have since been
transferred to the Senate, and many of them have served with distinction
in the gubernatorial chairs of their respective States, and on foreign
missions of great consequence; but among them all none grew so rapidly,
none so firmly, as Garfield. As is said by Trevelyan, of his
parliamentary hero, Garfield succeeded ‘because all the world in concert
could not have kept him in the back-ground, and because when once in the
front he played his part with a prompt intrepidity and a commanding ease
that were but the outward symptoms of the immense reserves of energy on
which it was in his power to draw.’ Indeed, the apparently reserved
force which Garfield possessed was one of his great characteristics. He
never did so well but that it seemed he could easily have done better.
He never expended so much strength but that he appeared to be holding
additional power at call. This is one of the happiest and rarest
distinctions of an effective debater, and often counts for as much, in
persuading an assembly, as the eloquent and elaborate argument.

“The great measure of Garfield’s fame was filled by his service in the
House of Representatives. His military life, illustrated by honorable
performance, and rich in promise, was, as he himself felt, prematurely
terminated, and necessarily incomplete. Speculation as to what he might
have done in a field where the great prizes are so few, cannot be
profitable. It is sufficient to say that as a soldier he did his duty
bravely; he did it intelligently; he won an enviable fame, and he
retired from the service without blot or breath against him. As a
lawyer, though admirably equipped for the profession, he can scarcely be
said to have entered on its practice. The few efforts he made at the bar
were distinguished by the same high order of talent which he exhibited
on every field where he was put to the test; and, if a man may be
accepted as a competent judge of his own capacities and adaptations, the
law was the profession to which Garfield should have devoted himself.
But fate ordained otherwise, and his reputation in history will rest
largely upon his service in the House of Representatives. That service
was exceptionally long. He was nine times consecutively chosen to the
House, an honor enjoyed probably by not twenty other Representatives of
the more than five thousand who have been elected, from the organization
of the government, to this hour.

“As a parliamentary orator, as a debater on an issue squarely joined,
where the position had been chosen and the ground laid out, Garfield
must be assigned a very high rank. More, perhaps, than any man with whom
he was associated in public life, he gave careful and systematic study
to public questions, and he came to every discussion in which he took
part with elaborate and complete preparation. He was a steady and
indefatigable worker. Those who imagine that talent or genius can supply
the place or achieve the results of labor will find no encouragement in
Garfield’s life. In preliminary work he was apt, rapid and skillful. He
possessed in a high degree the power of readily absorbing ideas and
facts, and, like Dr. Johnson, had the art of getting from a book all
that was of value in it by a reading apparently so quick and cursory
that it seemed like a mere glance at the table of contents. He was a
pre-eminently fair and candid man in debate, took no petty advantage,
stooped to no unworthy methods, avoided personal allusions, rarely
appealed to prejudice, did not seek to inflame passion. He had a quicker
eye for the strong point of his adversary than for his weak point, and
on his own side he so marshalled his weighty arguments as to make his
hearers forget any possible lack in the complete strength of his
position. He had a habit of stating his opponent’s side with such
amplitude of fairness and such liberality of concession that his
followers often complained that he was giving his case away. But never
in his prolonged participation in the proceedings of the House did he
give his case away, or fail in the judgment of competent and impartial
listeners to gain the mastery.

“These characteristics, which marked Garfield as a great debater, did
not, however, make him a great parliamentary leader. A parliamentary
leader, as that term is understood wherever free representative
government exists, is necessarily and very strictly the organ of his
party. An ardent American defined the instinctive warmth of patriotism
when he offered the toast, ‘Our country, always right; but right or
wrong, our country.’ The parliamentary leader who has a body of
followers that will do and dare and die for the cause, is one who
believes his party always right, but right or wrong, is for his party.
No more important or exacting duty devolves upon him than the selection
of the field and the time for contest. He must know not merely how to
strike, but where to strike and when to strike. He often skillfully
avoids the strength of his opponent’s position, and scatters confusion
in his ranks by attacking an exposed point when really the righteousness
of the cause and the strength of logical intrenchment are against him.
He conquers often both against the right and the heavy battalions; as
when young Charles Fox, in the days of his Toryism, carried the House of
Commons against justice, against its immemorial rights, against his own
convictions, if, indeed, at that period Fox had convictions, and, in the
interest of a corrupt administration, in obedience to a tyrannical
sovereign, drove Wilkes from the seat to which the electors of Middlesex
had chosen him, and installed Luttrell, in defiance not merely of law
but of public decency. For an achievement of that kind Garfield was
disqualified–disqualified by the texture of his mind, by the honesty of
his heart, by his conscience, and by every instinct and aspiration of
his nature.

“The three most distinguished parliamentary leaders hitherto developed
in this country are Mr. Clay, Mr. Douglas, and Mr. Thaddeus Stevens.
They were all men of consummate ability, of great earnestness, of
intense personality, differing widely each from the others, and yet with
a signal trait in common–the power to command. In the give-and-take of
daily discussion, in the art of controlling and consolidating reluctant
and refractory followers, in the skill to overcome all forms of
opposition, and to meet with competency and courage the varying phases
of unlooked-for assault or unsuspected defection, it would be difficult
to rank with these a fourth name in all our Congressional history. But
of these Mr. Clay was the greatest. It would, perhaps, be impossible to
find in the parliamental annals of the world a parallel to Mr. Clay, in
1841, when at sixty-four years of age he took the control of the Whig
party from the President who had received their suffrages, against the
power of Webster in the Cabinet, against the eloquence of Choate in the
Senate, against the herculean efforts of Caleb Cushing and Henry A. Wise
in the House. In unshared leadership, in the pride and plentitude of
power, he hurled against John Tyler, with deepest scorn the mass of that
conquering column which had swept over the land in 1840, and drove his
administration to seek shelter behind the lines of its political foes.
Mr. Douglas achieved a victory scarcely less wonderful, when in 1854,
against the secret desires of a strong administration, against the wise
counsel of the older chiefs, against the conservative instincts, and
even the moral sense of the country, he forced a reluctant Congress into
a repeal of the Missouri Compromise. Mr. Stevens, in his contests from
1865 to 1868, actually advanced his parliamentary leadership until
Congress tied the hands of the President and governed the country by its
own will, leaving only perfunctory duties to be discharged by the
Executive. With two hundred millions of patronage in his hands at the
opening of the contest, aided by the active force of Seward in the
Cabinet, and the moral power of Chase on the bench, Andrew Johnson could
not command the support of one-third in either House against the
parliamentary uprising of which Thaddeus Stevens was the animating
spirit and the unquestioned leader.

“From these three great men Garfield differed radically, differed in the
quality of his mind, in temperament, in the form and phase of ambition.
He could not do what they did, but he could do what they could not, and
in the breadth of his Congressional work he left that which will longer
exert a potential influence among men, and which, measured by the severe
test of posthumous criticism, will secure a more enduring and more
enviable fame.

“Those unfamiliar with Garfield’s industry, and ignorant of the details
of his work may, in some degree, measure them by the annals of Congress.
No one of the generation of public men to which he belonged has
contributed so much that will prove valuable for future reference. His
speeches are numerous, many of them brilliant, all of them well studied,
carefully phrazed, and exhaustive of the subject under consideration.
Collected from the scattered pages of ninety royal octavo volumes of
Congressional record, they would present an invaluable compendium of the
political events of the most important era through which the National
government has ever passed. When the history of this period shall be
impartially written, when war legislation, measures of reconstruction,
protection of human rights, amendments to the Constitution, maintenance
of public credit, steps toward specie resumption, true theories of
revenue, may be reviewed, unsurrounded by prejudice and disconnected
from partisanism, the speeches of Garfield will be estimated at their
true value, and will be found to comprise a vast magazine of fact and
argument, of clear analysis and sound conclusion. Indeed, if no other
authority were accessible, his speeches in the House of Representatives
from December, 1863, to June, 1880, would give a well-connected history
and complete defense of the important legislation of the seventeen
eventful years that constitute his parliamentary life. Far beyond that,
his speeches would be found to forecast many great measures yet to be
completed–measures which he knew were beyond the public opinion of the
hour, but which he confidently believed would secure popular approval
within the period of his own lifetime, and by the aid of his own
efforts.

“Differing as Garfield does, from the brilliant parliamentary leaders,
it is not easy to find his counterpart anywhere in the record of
American public life. He, perhaps, more nearly resembles Mr. Seward in
his supreme faith in the all-conquering power of a principle. He had the
love of learning, and the patient industry of investigation, to which
John Quincy Adams owes his prominence and his presidency. He had some of
those ponderous elements of mind which distinguished Mr. Webster, and
which, indeed, in all our public life have left the great Massachusetts
Senator without an intellectual peer.

“In English parliamentary history, as in our own, the leaders in the
House of Commons present points of essential difference from Garfield.
But some of his methods recall the best features in the strong,
independent course of Sir Robert Peel, to whom he had striking
resemblances in the type of his mind and in the habit of his speech. He
had all of Burke’s love for the sublime and the beautiful with,
possibly, something of his superabundance. In his faith and his
magnanimity, in his power of statement, in his subtle analysis, in his
faultless logic, in his love of literature, in his wealth and world of
illustration, one is reminded of that great English statesman of to-day,
who, confronted with obstacles that would daunt any but the dauntless,
reviled by those whom he would relieve as bitterly as by those whose
supposed rights he is forced to invade, still labors with serene courage
for the amelioration of Ireland and for the honor of the English name.

“Garfield’s nomination to the presidency, while not predicted or
anticipated, was not a surprise to the country. His prominence in
Congress, his solid qualities, his wide reputation, strengthened by his
then recent election as Senator from Ohio, kept him in the public eye as
a man occupying the very highest rank among those entitled to be called
statesmen. It was not mere chance that brought him this high honor. ‘We
must,’ says Mr. Emerson, ‘reckon success a constitutional trait. If Eric
is in robust health and has slept well and is at the top of his
condition, and thirty years old at his departure from Greenland, he will
steer west and his ships will reach Newfoundland. But take Eric out and
put in a stronger and bolder man, and the ships will sail six hundred,
one thousand, fifteen hundred miles farther and reach Labrador and New
England. There is no chance in results.’

“As a candidate, Garfield steadily grew in popular favor. He was met
with a storm of detraction at the very hour of his nomination, and it
continued with increasing volume and momentum until the close of his
victorious campaign:

No might nor greatness in mortality
Can censure ‘scape; backwounding calumny
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?

* * * * *

“Surely, if happiness can ever come from the honors or triumphs of this
world, on that quiet July morning, James A. Garfield may well have been
a happy man. No foreboding of evil haunted him; no slightest premonition
of danger clouded his sky. His terrible fate was upon him in an instant.
One moment he stood erect, strong, confident in the years stretching
peacefully out before him. The next he lay wounded, bleeding, helpless,
doomed to weary weeks of torture, to silence, and the grave.

“Great in life, he was surpassingly great in death. For no cause, in the
very frenzy of wantonness and wickedness, by the red hand of murder, he
was thrust from the full tide of this world’s interests, from its hopes,
its aspirations, its victories, into the visible presence of death–and
he did not quail. Not alone for the one short moment in which, stunned
and dazed, he could give up life, hardly aware of its relinquishment,
but through days of deadly languor, through weeks of agony, that was not
less agony because silently borne, with clear sight and calm courage, he
looked into his open grave. What blight and ruin met his anguished eyes,
whose lips may tell–what brilliant, broken plans, what baffled, high
ambitions, what sundering of strong, warm, manhood’s friendships, what
bitter rending of sweet household ties! Behind him a proud expectant
nation, a great host of sustaining friends, a cherished and happy
mother, wearing the full, rich honors of her early toil and tears; the
wife of his youth, whose whole life lay in his; the little boys not yet
emerged from childhood’s day of frolic; the fair young daughter; the
sturdy sons just springing into closest companionship, claiming every
day, and every day rewarding a father’s love and care; and in his heart
the eager, rejoicing power to meet all demand. Before him, desolation
and great darkness! And his soul was not shaken. His countrymen were
thrilled with instant, profound and universal sympathy. Masterful in his
mortal weakness, he became the center of a nation’s love, enshrined in
the prayers of a world. But all the love and all the sympathy could not
share with him his suffering. He trod the wine-press alone. With
unfaltering front he faced death. With unfailing tenderness he took
leave of life. Above the demoniac hiss of the assassin’s bullet he heard
the voice of God. With simple resignation he bowed to the Divine decree.

“As the end drew near, his early cravings for the sea returned. The
stately mansion of power had been to him the wearisome hospital of pain,
and he begged to be taken from its prison walls, from its oppressive,
stifling air, from its homelessness and its hopelessness. Gently,
silently, the love of a great people bore the pale sufferer to the
longed-for healing of the sea, to live or to die, as God should will,
within sight of its heaving billows, within sound of its manifold
voices. With wan, fevered face, tenderly lifted to the cooling breeze,
he looked out wistfully upon the ocean’s changing wonders; on its fair
sails, whitening in the morning light; on its restless waves, rolling
shoreward, to break and die beneath the noonday sun; on the red clouds
of evening, arching low to the horizon; on the serene and shining
pathway of the stars. Let us think that his dying eyes read a mystic
meaning which only the rapt and parting soul may know. Let us believe
that in the silence of the receding world be heard the great waves
breaking on a farther shore, and felt already upon his wasted brow the
breath of the eternal morning.”

We regret that we cannot give our readers the full speech here also, but
it is sufficient to say that it was a masterly production. We give these
three extracts from speeches to show, and enable the thinker to read and
study the characteristics which make Mr. Blaine the great and renowned
man that he really is to-day; an honor he has earned for himself.

We do not desire to be regarded as a personal admirer of Mr. Blaine. We
are not, but his ability we are in duty bound to delineate truthfully.
Our readers will observe the description Mr. Blaine gives in his address
on Garfield, of the qualifications necessary in a parliamentary leader.
We will say nothing as to our opinion of some enterprises in which Mr.
Blaine has engaged; and we will not ask him to explain, what he has
never satisfactorily explained, in relation to some transactions, nor
will we try to explain, in our short space, his skillfullness in
parliamentary practice. As before said, our readers have read his
description of a parliamentary leader, and we will further simply say
that Mr. Blaine is one of the most skillful parliamentary leaders in the
country. He is generally recognized as such by all parties. His canvass
for the presidency is well-known to the people. Had he been elected he
would, undoubtedly, have made a very satisfactory president, probably
one of whom we would long have been proud.

 

 

SAMUEL J. TILDEN.

 

In 1814 there was born at New Lebanon, New York, an infant son to Elam
Tilden, a prosperous farmer. His father, being a personal and political
friend of Mr. Van Buren and other members of the celebrated ‘Albany
Regency’; his home was made a kind of headquarters for various members
of that council to whose conversation the precocious child enjoyed to
listen.

Mr. Tilden declared of himself that he had no youth. As a boy he was
diffident, and was studying and investigating when others were playing
and enjoying the pleasures of society. From the beginning he was a
calculator. Martin Van Buren, to whom he was greatly attached, often
spoke of him as ‘The sagacious Sammy.’

Thrown into contact with such men at his parent’s home, he early evinced
a fondness for politics which first revealed itself in an essay on ‘The
Political Aspect,’ displaying ability far beyond one of his years, which
was printed in the _Albany Argus_, and which was attributed to Mr. Van
Buren, at that time the leader of the Albany Regency.

At twenty he entered Yale College, but ill-health compelled his return
home. He, however, afterward resumed his studies at the University of
New York; graduating from that institution he began the practice of law.
At the bar he became known as a sound, but not especially brilliant
pleader. In 1866 he was chosen Chairman of the State Committee of his
party. In 1870-1, he was largely instrumental in unearthing frauds
perpetrated in the city of New York, and in 1874 was elected the
‘reform governor’ of the great Empire State. Although in political
discord with Mr. Tilden, it is in no disparaging sense that we speak of
him. It is in the sense of a historian bound and obligated to truth that
we view him. We regard him as the MYSTERIOUS STATESMAN OF AMERICAN
HISTORY.

His personal character was, to a great extent, shrouded from the public
in a veil of mystery, which had both its voluntary and involuntary
elements. If Mr. Tilden had desired to be otherwise than mysterious it
would have required much more self-control and ingenuity than would have
been necessary to thicken the veil to impenetrability.

His habit was to weigh both sides of every question, and therein he
resembled, though in other particulars entirely different, the late
Henry J. Raymond, the founder of the _New York Times_; and the effect
was to some extent similar, for each of these men saw both sides of
every question so fully as to be under the power of both sides, which
sometimes produced an equilibrium, causing hesitation when the crisis
required action.

Mr. Tilden had intellectual qualities of the very highest order. He
could sit down before a mass of incoherent statements, and figures that
would drive most men insane, and elucidate them by the most painstaking
investigation, and feel a pleasure in the work. Indeed, an intimate
friend of his assures us that his eye would gleam with delight when a
task was set before him from which most men would pay large sums to be
relieved: Hence, his abilities were of a kind that made him a most
dangerous opponent.

Some persons supposed that Mr. Tilden was a poor speaker because, when
he was brought before the people as a candidate for President of the
United States, he was physically unable to speak with much force. But
twenty years ago, for clearness of statement, and for an easy and
straightforward method of speech he had few superiors. His language was
excellent, his manner that of a man who had something to say and was
intent upon saying it. He was at no time a tricky orator, nor did he aim
at rousing the feelings, but in the clearest possible manner he would
make his points and no amount of prejudice was sufficient to resist his
conclusions. He was a great reader, and reflected on all that he read.

No more extraordinary episode ever occurred than his break with William
M. Tweed, and his devoting himself to the overthrow of that gigantic
ring. It is not our purpose to treat the whole subject; yet, the manner
of the break was so tragic that it should be detailed. William M. Tweed
had gone on buying men and legislatures, and enriching himself until he
had reached the state of mind in which he said to the public, “What are
you going to do about it?” He had gone further. He had applied it to the
leading men of the Democratic party. The time came when he sat in his
gorgeously furnished apartment in Albany, as Chairman of a certain
committee of the Senate. Samuel J. Tilden appeared before the committee
to represent a certain interest. On that occasion Mr. Tweed, who was
either intoxicated with liquor, or intoxicated with pride and vanity,
grossly insulted Mr. Tilden, spoke to him in the most disrespectful
manner, and closed by saying: “YOU ARE AN OLD HUMBUG; YOU ALWAYS WERE A
HUMBUG, AND WE DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANYTHING FROM YOU!”

Mr. Tilden turned pale, and then red, and finally livid. A spectator, a
man second to none in New York State for position, informed the writer
that as he gazed upon Mr. Tilden he was terrified. Not a word did he
utter; he folded up his books and papers and departed. As he went the
spectator said to himself, “This man means murder; there will never be
any accommodation of this difficulty.” Back to the City of New York went
Mr. Tilden. He sat down with the patience and with the keen scent of a
sleuth-hound, and unravelled all the mystery of the iniquity which had
cursed the City of New York, and of which William M. Tweed was the
master-spirit.

Judge Noah Davis said to an acquaintance that ‘Mr. Tilden’s preparation
of the cases against Tweed and his confederates was one of the most
remarkable things of which he had ever seen or heard. He said that
Tilden would take the mutilated stubbs of check-books, and construct a
story from them. He had restored the case of the city against the
purloiners as an anatomist, by the means of two or three bones, would
draw you a picture of the animal which had inhabited them in the
palæontological age.’ It will be remembered that Judge Noah Davis tried
the cases and sentenced Tweed.

It is not necessary for us to conjecture whether Mr. Tilden would have
appeared as the reformer if he had not been grossly insulted by Tweed.
That he had not so appeared until the occasion referred to, and that
immediately afterward he began the investigation and movements which
ended in the total overthrow of the ring and its leader, are beyond
question. There came a time when Tweed, trembling in his very soul, sent
a communication to Mr. Tilden offering anything if he would relax, but
no bronze statue was ever more silent and immovable than Samuel J.
Tilden at that time. It is remarkable that a man so silent and
mysterious, not to say repellent, in his intercourse with his fellow-men
could exert such a mighty influence as he unquestionably did. He did it
by controlling master-minds, and by an apprehension rarely or never
surpassed of the details to be wrought out by other men.

Mr. Tilden was capable of covering his face with a mask, which none
could penetrate. The following scene occurred upon a train on the Hudson
River road. Mr. Tilden was engaged in a most animated conversation with
a leading member of the Republican party with whom he entertained
personal confidential relations. The conversation was one that brought
all Mr. Tilden’s learning and logical forces into play. It was
semi-literary, and not more political than was sufficient to give
piquancy to the interview. A committee of the lower class of ward
politicians approaching, Mr. Tilden turned to receive him, and in the
most expressionless manner held out his hand. His eye lost every
particle of lustre and seemed to sink back and down. The chairman of the
committee stated the point he had in view. Mr. Tilden asked him to
restate it once or twice; made curious and inconsequential remarks,
appeared like a man just going to sleep, and finally said: “I will see
you on the subject on a future occasion.” The committee withdrew. In one
moment he resumed the conversation with the brilliancy and vivacity of a
boy. Subsequently the chairman of the committee said to the leading
Republican, whom he also knew: “Did you ever see the old man so nearly
gone as he was to-day? Does he often get so? Had he been taking a drop
too much?”

He was at no time in his career embarrassed in his intellectual
operations by his emotional nature; he was a man of immense brain-power,
and his intellect was trained up to the last possibility; every faculty
was under his control; until his health failed he knew no such other
source of joy as WORK.

Craft had a very important place in his composition, but it was not the
craft of the fox; it was a species of craft which at its worst was above
mere pettifogging, and at its best was unquestionably a high type of
diplomacy. Those mistake who considered him only as a cunning man. A
person opposed to him in politics, but who made a study of his career,
observed that in power of intellect he had no superior at the bar of New
York, nor among the statesmen of the whole country. The supreme crisis
of his life was when he believed himself elected President of the United
States. The political aspect we will not revive, except to say that Mr.
Tilden consented to the peculiar method of determining the case. The
departure of David Davis from the supreme bench in all human probability
determined the result.

It is known that Abram S. Hewitt, David Dudley Field, and eminent
Democratic leaders, Hewitt being chairman of the National Democratic
committee at the time, did all in their power to induce Mr. Tilden to
issue a letter to the American people saying that he believed himself to
be the President elect, and that on the fourth day of March 1877, he
would come to Washington to be inaugurated. Had that been done God alone
can tell what would have been the result. In all probability a _coup
d’etat_ on one side or the other, followed by civil war or practical
change in the character of the relations of the people to the Federal
Government. At that moment Mr. Tilden’s habit of balancing caused him
to pursue the course that he did. It is reported that Mr. Tilden’s
letter explaining to Mr. Hewitt the reason why he would not do so is
still in existence. Of this we know nothing; but that he had reasons and
assigned them is certain. Why he consented to the method of arbitration
is one of the mysteries of his career. Taking all the possibilities into
account, the fact that the issue passed without civil war is an occasion
of devout thankfulness to Almighty God. But the method of determining
the question is one which the good sense of the American people will
never repeat.

Mr. Tilden must have had considerable humor in his composition. Some
years ago a Methodist preacher came to the city of New York to raise
money for a certain church in Pennsylvania which had been grievously
embarrassed. He stayed at the house of one of the ministers in Brooklyn.
One evening he said to his host: “I am going to call on Samuel J. Tilden
and see if I can’t get something out of him for our church. He has a
‘barrel,’ and I understand it is pretty full.” The next morning he went,
and on returning said to his host: “Well, I called on Mr. Tilden, and I
said: ‘Mr. Tilden, I am from—-, such a place, in Pennsylvania. My
name is—-. I am pastor of a church there. We have met with great
misfortunes, and are likely to lose our church. There are more than
sixty members of my church that voted for you for President, and they
are ready to vote for you again, and they wanted me to call on you and
tell you of their misfortune, and ask you to give them a little help.'”

“Well, what did Mr. Tilden say?” “He looked up and said he was busy, but
told me to come the next morning at nine o’clock.” He went, and on his
return reported, when the question: “What did Mr. Tilden say”? was
asked. “He said to me, ‘Your name is—-? You are from—-, in
Pennsylvania? You said that you had more than sixty members who voted
for me for President, and who are ready to do it again”? “Yes.” “And
they wanted you to tell me of their misfortune”? “Yes.” Then pulling out
of his pocket-book he counted what money he had, which amounted to $15,
and handed me $14, and said: “You tell them that Samuel J. Tilden gave
you ALL THE MONEY HE HAD EXCEPT ONE DOLLAR, WHICH HE KEPT FOR HIMSELF.”
In all probability he was satirizing an appeal under those
circumstances.

For his service in breaking up the Tweed ring, and for his career as
Governor of the State of New York, apart from purely party aspects, he
is entitled to the thanks of the people. His own party will say to the
end of time that he was elected president of the United States, and
defrauded out of the office. But neither they nor anyone else can say,
after the plan was agreed upon and adopted for determining the result,
that the person who did occupy the chair did not have a legal right
there, and was not president after the acceptance by the House of
Representatives of the conclusion.

Mr. Tilden will never be considered inferior in intellect and learning
to the many great men of whom New York can proudly boast. He will ever
be ranked with Daniel Tompkins, George Clinton, William L. Marcy, Silas
Wright, William H. Seward, John A. Dix and many others, and it is not
strange that it was with a feeling of deep and genuine regret that on
the 4th of August, 1886, the people were told of his sudden death at
‘Greystone.’

 

 

HENRY WARD BEECHER.

 

A sturdy tree, standing alone in a vast field, suggesting strength,
growth and independence, and regarded both as a landmark and a shelter;
withstanding alike the heats of summer and wrestling with and throwing
off the blasts of winter; drawing from Nature her myriad stores of
nutrition and giving back to Nature a wealth of power and grace in
return; seemed Henry Ward Beecher, in his youth of old age, to the
observation of men. Original orator, advocate, poet, humorist, agitator,
rhetorician, preacher, moralist and statesman. The greatest preacher of
modern times, possibly of all times, the man was one of the wonders of
America; one of the marvels of the world.

Henry Ward Beecher’s career has been phenomenal for the activity and
variety of its achievements. Coming from a long line of mentally alert
and physically vigorous ancestors, he was richly endowed with the
qualities going to make up the highest type of human nature. He was
handicapped only in being the son of a man whose fame was world-wide; a
preacher of such intensity of spirit and eloquence of expression that he
stood at the head of, if not above, all of his contemporaries. Yet,
while Dr. Lyman Beecher will always hold an honored place in American
history and biography, who can deny that his fame has been far outshone
by that of his brilliant son? It may be truly said, therefore, that
Henry Ward Beecher won a double triumph. He emerged from the comparative
obscurity in which he dwelt, behind the shadow of his father’s
greatness, and he lived to see his own name emblazoned more brightly and
engraved more indelibly upon the records of time than that of his noble
father.

He was born at Litchfield, Connecticut, June 24th, 1813. His father was
a busy minister, and the mother divided her time among several children,
so that no especial attention was paid to Henry Ward, nor was he
considered more promising than some of the others. He was not, by any
means, fond of books in early life. He gives the following sketch of
himself in one of his personal writings: ‘A hazy image of myself comes
back to me–a lazy, dreamy boy, with his head on the desk, half-lulled
asleep by the buzzing of a great blue-bottle fly, and the lowing of the
cows, and the tinkling of their bells, brought into the open door,
across the fields and meadows.’ Through the advice of his father, he
attended Mount Pleasant Academy. Afterwards he attended Amherst College
where he graduated in 1834. During his last two years of school, Beecher
followed the example of many another young man who has since attained
eminence in his chosen profession, and taught in district schools. With
the money thus obtained he laid the foundation upon which he built that
splendid superstructure which is recalled at the sound of his name.

Dr. Lyman Beecher meanwhile had accepted a professorship at Lane
Seminary, Cincinnati, and having decided to follow the ministry, the son
went West this same year and began the study of theology under his
father. He finished his course three years later, married, and accepted
the first charge offered him; a small Presbyterian Church in
Lawrenceburg, a little town on the Ohio river, near Cincinnati. Of this
dismal beginning of his illustrious career he said:

“How poor we were! There were only about twenty persons in the flock. I
was janitor as well as pastor of the little white-washed church. I
bought some lamps and I filled them and lighted them. I swept the church
and dusted the benches, and kindled the fire, and I didn’t ring the
bell, because there wasn’t any; did everything in fact but come to hear
myself preach, that they had to do. It doesn’t occur to me now that
Lawrenceburg was remarkable for anything but a superabundance of
distilleries. I used to marvel how so many large distilleries could be
put in so small a town. But they were flourishing right in the face of
the Gospel, that my little flock and I were preaching in the shadows of
the chimneys. My thoughts often travel back to my quaint little church
and the big distilleries at Lawrenceburg. Well, my next move was to
Indianapolis. There I had a more considerable congregation, though I was
still far from rich in the world’s goods. I believe I was very happy
during my eight years out there. I liked the people. There was a hearty
frankness, a simplicity in their mode of life, an unselfish intimacy in
their social relations that attracted me. They were new
people–unharrowed and uncultured like the land they lived on–but they
were earnest and honest and strong. But the ague shook us out of the
State. My wife’s health gave out and we were forced to come East.”

From this it would seem that chills and fever were the means used by
Providence for bringing Henry Ward Beecher and Plymouth Church together.
The church came into existence on the 8th of May, 1847, when six
gentlemen met in Brooklyn at the house of one of their number, Mr.
Henry C. Bowen, the present proprietor of the _Independent_, and formed
themselves into a company of trustees of a new Congregational Church,
the services of which they decided to begin holding at once in an
edifice on Cranberry street, purchased from the Presbyterians. The
following week Mr. Beecher happened to speak in New York, at the
anniversary of the Home Missionary Society. He had already attracted
some attention by his anti-slavery utterances, and the fearless manner
in which he had preached against certain popular vices.

The founders of the new congregation invited him to deliver the opening
sermon on the 16th. A great audience was present, and shortly afterwards
the young preacher was asked to become the first pastor of the
organization. He accepted, and on the 10th of the following October he
entered upon the term of service which lasted until the day of his
death. And what a pastorate that was! The congregation readily grew in
numbers and influence until Plymouth Church and Henry Ward Beecher
became household words all over the land, and a trip to Brooklyn to hear
the great preacher grew to be an almost indispensable part of a
stranger’s visit to New York.

At the opening of the civil war, in 1861, Mr. Beecher undertook the
editorship of the _Independent_ which, like the church under his
administration, speedily became a power in the country. In addition to
all this work he was continually delivering speeches; for from the
firing of the first gun on Fort Sumpter on April 12th, Plymouth’s
pastor was all alive to the needs of the nation. With voice and pen he
pointed out the path of duty in that dark and trying hour, and his own
church promptly responded to the call by organizing and equipping
the First Long Island regiment. But the strain of this threefold
service–preaching, speaking and editing, was too much for his strength,
powerful and well-grounded, as he was, physically. His voice gave out at
last, and doctors imperatively demanded rest. This brought about the
trip to Europe which was destined to be remembered as the most
remarkable epoch in the remarkable career of this man.

Decidedly the most memorable oratorical success ever achieved by an
American citizen abroad, in behalf of the name and honor of his country,
was that by the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, which he achieved during this
trip. Undertaking the journey for recreation and recuperation he was
bitterly opposed by his friends in his decision, but he saw there was
work to be done, and felt that he must do it. Beginning at Manchester,
October 9th, Mr. Beecher delivered five great speeches in the great
cities of the kingdom, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool and
London, each speech being devoted to some special train of thought and
argument bearing upon the issues involved in the momentous contest; and
the whole series taken together did more for the Union cause in Great
Britain than all that had before been said or written. Possessing the
faculty beyond any other American orator of combining close, rapid,
powerful, practical reasoning with intense passion–his mind always
aglow with his subject–the effect of Mr. Beecher’s speaking was to
kindle sympathy, even if it did not flash conviction. It is this
quality, according to the opinion of those best acquainted with Mr.
Beecher’s oratory, which combined with his marvelous power of
illustration, marvelous alike for its intense vividness and unerring
pertinency, and his great flexibility whereby he seemed to adapt himself
completely to the exigency of the instant gave him rare command over a
popular assemblage.

Mayor Carrington, of Richmond, tells the following: “He went to Richmond
in 1881, his first appearance there after the war, and he was somewhat
doubtful as to the reception he would get. He walked onto the stage
where he was to lecture, before a crowded house, and was not greeted
with the slightest welcoming applause. Immediately in front of the stage
facing Mr. Beecher were several leading ex-generals of the Confederate
army, among them General Fitz-Hugh Lee. Mr. Beecher surveyed the cold
and critical audience for a moment, and then stepping directly in front
of General Lee, he said, ‘I have seen pictures of General Fitz-Hugh Lee,
and judge you are the man; am I right?’ General Lee was taken aback by
this direct address, and nodded stiffly, while the audience bent forward
breathless with curiosity as to what was going to follow. ‘Then,’ said
Beecher, his face lighting up, ‘I want to offer you this right hand
which, in its own way, fought against you and yours twenty-five years
ago, but which I would now willingly sacrifice to make the Sunny South
prosperous and happy. Will you take it, General?’ There was a moment’s
hesitation, a moment of death-like stillness in the hall, and then
General Lee was on his feet, his hand was extended across the
footlights, and was quickly met by the preacher’s warm grasp. At first
there was a murmur, half surprise, half-doubtfulness, by the audience.
Then there was a hesitating clapping of hands, and before Mr. Beecher
had loosed the hand of Robert E. Lee’s nephew,–now Governor of
Virginia–there were cheers such as were never before heard in that
hall, though it had been the scene of many a war and political meeting.
When the noise subsided, Mr. Beecher continued: ‘When I go back home I
shall proudly tell that I have grasped the hand of the nephew of the
great Southern Chieftain; I shall tell my people that I went to the
Confederate capitol with a heart full of love for the people whom my
principles once obliged me to oppose, and that I was met half way by the
brave Southerners who can forgive, as well as they can fight.’ That
night Beecher entered his carriage and drove to his hotel amid shouts,
such as had never greeted a Northern man since the war.”

The famous Beecher-Tilton trial began in a series of whispers. With such
an immense congregation, with everybody in Brooklyn familiar with his
affairs, and with the whole community seemingly resolved into an immense
gossiping committee, it was no wonder that rumors and report went flying
about until at last, in the summer of 1874, Plymouth Church appointed a
committee to investigate the charges preferred by Theodore Tilton
against Mr. Beecher.

Mr. Tilton read a sworn statement detailing his charges and specifying
the actions of Mrs. Tilton and Mr. Beecher during the previous two
years. This was on July 28th, and on the next day Mr. Beecher made his
speech declaring the innocence of Mrs. Tilton; and she, too, testified
in her own defense. Mr. Beecher made an elaborate statement before his
congregation, August 14th, denying all immorality. Mr. and Mrs. Tilton
were subjected to a most thorough examination and cross-examination, and
then Mr. Francis D. Moulton, the famous mutual friend, came into the
matter with his story of a most remarkable series of confessions and
letters. The committee reported its findings at the weekly
prayer-meeting, August 28th. Mr. Beecher was acquitted, and Mr. Moulton
was most vigorously denounced, and when he left the meeting it was under
police protection, because of the fury of the friends of the pastor.
Before this Mr. Tilton had concluded to go to the courts, and on August
19th opened a suit for $100,000 against Mr. Beecher. It was not until
October 17th that Judge Neilson granted an order for a bill of
particulars against the plaintiff, and William M. Evarts, for Mr.
Beecher, and Roger A. Pryor for Mr. Tilton, carried the case up to the
Court of Appeals, where the decision of the general term was reversed,
and on December 7th, the new motion for a bill was granted.

It was on January 4th, 1875, that the case was taken up in the City
Court of Brooklyn. For Mr. Tilton appeared General Pryor, ex-Judge
Fullerton, William A. Beach and S. D. Morris; while on the other side
were William M. Evarts, General Benjamin F. Tracy and Thomas G.
Shearman. The first witness was Editor Maverick, who testified on the
13th of January to the Tilton marriage. Mr. Tilton took the stand on
January 29th, and Mr. Evarts objected to his being sworn, and took
several days to state his objections. From February 2nd to February
17th, Mr. Tilton was on the stand, and the case for the defense opened
on February 25th, and the first witness took the stand March 2nd. Mr.
Beecher took the stand April 1st, and affirmed his testimony. He kept
the stand until April 21st, and on May 13th the testimony on both sides
closed after the examination of one hundred and eleven witnesses, and
the consumption of four and one-half months of time. Mr. Evarts took
eight days for his summing up, and other counsel for the defense six
more. Mr. Beach talked for nine days, and Judge Neilson, on June 24th,
charged the jury, which, after a consultation of eight days, reported on
July 2nd, that they were unable to agree. All through the trial Mrs.
Beecher sat beside her husband in court. The court was packed day after
day, and in the daily papers thousands of columns were consumed in
reporting every word uttered. It was never tried again.

The enormous expense of the defense was met by a generous subscription.
Mr. Beecher’s letters were remarkable productions for any man other than
Beecher to pen, and the explanation of them so that the jury-men, and
men generally, could comprehend them was the task of his counsel. Mr.
Tilton is now in Europe, and Mrs. Tilton is in this country. Mr. Beecher
passed through the ordeal of his life in safety, and since the trial he
has been watched as no man ever has been before or since.

He was unquestionably one of the most able, if not the ablest, preacher
the world ever knew, and it is not strange that the country should be
startled at the announcement of his sudden death on march 7th, 1887, at
his home in Brooklyn.

Henry Ward Beecher is already as historical a character as Patrick
Henry; with this exception, that whereas there are multitudes living who
have seen and heard Mr. Beecher, and many who knew him personally; there
are few, if any, who can remember Patrick Henry. Mr. Beecher was the
most versatile and ready orator this country has ever produced,–a kind
of Gladstone in the pulpit. He was a master of every style; could be as
deliberate and imposing as Webster; as chaste and self-contained as
Phillips; as witty and irregular as Thomas Corwin; as grandiloquent as
Charles Sumner; as dramatic as father Taylor, and as melo-dramatic as
Gough.

To attempt to analyze the sources of his power is like exhibiting the
human features separately, in the hope of giving the effect of a
composite whole; for whether he moved his finger, elevated his brow,
smiled, frowned, whispered or vociferated, each act or expression
derived its power from the fact that it was the act and expression of
Henry Ward Beecher. His oratory was marked by the entire absence of
trammels, of rhetoric gesture or even grammar. Not that his style was
not ordinarily grammatical and rhetorical, but that he would never allow
any rules to impede the expression of his thought and especially of his
feelings, nor was he restrained by theological forms, and always
appeared independent and courageous. He believed in the absolute
necessity of conversion and a thorough change of heart; he taught the
beauty of living a religious life, for the nobleness of the deeds rather
than for the purpose of escaping a future punishment, and his sayings in
this connection were often misconstrued.

He stimulated the intellect by wit; he united the heart and mind by
humor; he melted the heart by un-mixed pathos. He was characterized by
the strange power of creating an expectation with every sentence he
uttered, and though he might on some occasions, when not at his best,
close without meeting the expectations aroused, no dissatisfaction was
expressed or apparently felt by his hearers. In personal appearance he
was remarkable, chiefly for the great transformation of his countenance
under the play of emotion.

On the platform of Plymouth Church he was as a king upon his throne, or
the commander of a war-ship in victorious action. His manners in private
life were most ingratiating. His writings can impart to coming
generations no adequate conception of his power as an orator. His career
in England during those five great speeches were worth 50,000 soldiers
to the National government, and probably had much to do with the
prevention of the recognition of the Southern Confederacy by European
nations. It was a triumph of oratory; he literally compelled a vast
multitude, who were thoroughly in opposition to him, to take a new view
of the subject.

A Metropolitan in the pulpit, a magician on the platform, a center of
life and good cheer in the home, a prince in society possessed of
exhaustive vitality, warmth and energy, he suggested to any one who
gazed upon him the apostrophe of _Hamlet_ to the ideal man: “What a
piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In
form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel!
In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of
animals!” Such a piece of work was Henry Ward Beecher. He had no
predecessor, and can have no successor till a similar ancestry and life;
the one coeval with birth, and the other running parallel with the lusty
youth of such a nation, and a similar life and death struggle, both in a
conflict of moral principles fought out under a Democratic form of
Government, shall combine to evolve a similar career. The course of
human history does not furnish a probability of another coincidence of
elements so extraordinary.

[Illustration: PERCEPTION. Engraved Expressly for “Hidden Treasures.”]

[Illustration: GREAT INVENTORS AND THEIR INVENTIONS.]

 

 

GREAT INVENTORS AND THEIR INVENTIONS.

 

 

JAMES WATT.

 

In this advanced age we know the power of steam, and what a great factor
it is as a help in carrying on the daily work of life. Yet, it is only
during the last century that men have discovered to how many purposes it
can be applied.

James Watt, the great utilizer of steam, was born in Greenock, Scotland,
January 19th, 1736. His father was a carpenter and general merchant in
Greenock, and seems to have been highly respected, for he was long a
member of the council, and for a time, magistrate. James was a sickly
child, unable to attend school with regularity, hence was left to follow
his own inclinations; becoming his own instructor, to a great extent.
The boy was early furnished with tools by his father, and with them
found amusement and instruction. He early manifested a taste for
mathematics and mechanics, studied botany, chemistry, mineralogy,
natural philosophy, and at fourteen constructed an electrical machine.

At the age of eighteen he was sent to Glasgow to learn to make
mathematical instruments, but for some reason he went to London the same
year, engaging with one Morgan, working at the same trade. Ill-health,
however, compelled his return home about a year later. He had made great
use of his time while in London, and after his health had improved
somewhat he again visited Glasgow with the desire of establishing
himself there, but met with opposition from some who considered him an
intruder upon their privileges. The Principal of the college,
appreciating his fine tact and ingenuity, offered him protection and
gave him an apartment for carrying on his business within their
precinct, with the title of “Mathematical Instrument Maker to the
University.” But this location was unfavorable for his business. He was
scarcely able to make a living, however, the five or six years he passed
in those quarters were well employed in investigations, and during the
time he unmistakably manifested rare ability.

As soon as possible he secured a better situation in town, and after
this change did much better, still it is said: “He had to eke out his
living by repairing fiddles, which he was able to do, though he had no
ear for music,” also, in doing any mechanical piece of work that came in
his way; no work requiring ingenuity or the application of scientific
knowledge seems to have baffled him. But he kept studying, devoting his
evenings and spare moments to the mastery of German, Italian, mastered
some of the sciences, learned to sketch, was a superior model-maker;
and, if his profession had been defined at the time he first turned his
attention to steam, having constructed an improved organ, he would have
been spoken of as a musical-instrument maker.

In 1858 he began his experiments with steam as a propelling power for
land carriages, which he temporarily abandoned, and did not patent a
road engine until 1784. In 1767 he assumed a new occupation, for in that
year he was employed to make the surveys and prepare the estimates for a
projected canal to connect the Forth and Clyde. This project fell
through for the time being, as it failed to gain the sanction of
Parliament, but Watt had now made a beginning as civil engineer, and
henceforth he obtained a good deal of employment in this capacity. He
superintended the surveys and engineering works on the Monkland
Collieries Canal to Glasgow, deepening the Clyde, improving the harbors
of Ayr, Port, Glasgow, and Greenock; building bridges and other public
works his final survey being for the Caledonia Canal.

During this period he had invented an improved micrometer, and also
continued his experiments with steam as a motive power. Perhaps it would
be interesting to some of our readers to know how Watt tested the power
of steam. The implements with which he performed his experiments were of
the cheapest kind. Apothecaries’ vials, a glass tube or two, and a
tea-kettle enabled him to arrive at some very important conclusions. By
attaching a glass tube to the nose of the tea-kettle he conducted the
steam into a glass of water, and by the time the water came to the
boiling point, he found its volume had increased nearly a sixth part;
that is, one measure of water in the form of steam can raise about six
measures of water to its own heat. It would be impossible in our
allotted space to tell fully of the many experiments James Watt made. It
is needless to say that his success came by slow and discouraging
channels, so slow, indeed, that most men would have given up long
before.

His reputation was assailed by jealous rivals, his originality denied,
and his rights to various patents vehemently contested. He was many
times disappointed in the workings of his own machines, and was obliged
to throw away pieces of machinery from which he had expected much, while
with others he had perfect success. His experiments finally resulted in
his invention of the condensing engine. Now, he struggled for years,
through poverty and every imaginable difficulty, to make a practical
application of his improvements, doing work as a surveyor in order to
support himself.

In 1769 he became a partner of Mathew Boulton, a large hardware dealer
and manufacturer, of Birmingham, England. Previously Mr. Boulton had
built engines after the plans of Savery, hence, he undoubtedly discerned
the great improvement over all engines then in use, that this new
discovery was sure to prove. He was a man of wealth, and, in all
probability, his personal knowledge of such matters greatly aided his
faith. No other can be given, for he was obliged to advance over
$229,000 before Watt had so completely perfected his engine that its
operations yielded profit. But his confidence was not misplaced. The
immense Birmingham manufactory, which employed over one thousand hands,
was ultimately driven to its utmost capacity to supply the constantly
increasing demand for steam engines. It was first applied to coinage in
1783, from thirty to forty thousand milled coins being struck off in an
hour as a test. Boulton & Watt sent two complete mints to St.
Petersburg, and for many years executed the entire copper coinage of
England.

Watt was the first to conceive the idea of warming buildings by steam.
He was the first to make a copying-press; he also contrived a flexible
iron pipe with ball and socket joints, to adapt it to the irregular
riverbed, for carrying water across the Clyde. At the time of his death
he was fellow of the Royal Societies of London, and Edinburgh
correspondent of the French Institute, and foreign associate of the
Academy of Sciences. He was buried beside Boulton, in Handsworth Church;
his statue, by Chantery, is in Westminister Abbey. The pedestal bears
the following inscription:–

“Not to perpetuate a name
Which must endure while the peaceful arts flourish,
But to show
That mankind have learned to honor those
Who best deserve their gratitude,
The King,
His Ministers, and many of the Nobles
And Commoners of the Realm,
Raised this Monument to
James Watt,
Who, directing the force of an original Genius,
Early exercised in philosophic research,
To the improvement of
The Steam Engine,
Enlarged the resources of his Country,
Increased the power of man, and rose to an eminent place
Among the most illustrious followers of Science
And the real benefactors of the World.
Born at Greenock, MDCCXXXVI,
Died at Heathfield, in Staffordshire, MDCCCXIX.”

The properties of steam had been known to a certain extent for
centuries. In the seventeenth century attention was frequently directed
by ingenious workers to the uses of steam in performing simple but
laborious occupations, such as pumping water out of the mines. To other
purposes steam was imperfectly applied, but it remained for Watt to make
more practical and efficient use of it.

This, indeed, is the history of almost every useful art. A discovery,
which, after it is known, seems so simple that every one wonders why it
remained hidden for so many years, yet proves simple enough to
immortalize the name of the fortunate inventor. It is said there was
hardly a physical science or one art with which Watt was not intimately
acquainted. His philosophical judgment kept pace with his ingenuity. He
studied modern languages, and was acquainted with literature. His memory
was extremely tenacious, and whatever he once learned he always had at
his command; and yet this brave earnest worker and gifted man was a
sufferer from ill-health all his life. With constitutional debility,
increased by anxiety and perplexity during the long process of his
inventions, and the subsequent care of defending them in court; yet,
through constant temperance and watchfulness over his peculiar
difficulties, his life was preserved to the great age of eighty-three
years. He had in his character the utmost abhorrece for all parade and
presumption, and, indeed, never failed to put all such imposters out of
countenance by the manly plainness and honest intrepidity of his
language and manner. In his temper and disposition he was not only kind
and affectionate, but generous and considerate of the feelings of all
around him, and gave the most liberal assistance and encouragement to
all young persons who proved any indication of talent, or applied to him
for patronage or advice. He was twice married, and left his two sons,
long associated with him in his business, to carry out some of his plans
and discoveries of the great utility and power of steam. All men of
learning and science were his cordial friends, and such was the
influence of his mild character and perfect firmness and liberality,
even to pretenders of his own accomplishments, that he lived to disarm
even envy itself, and died the peaceful death of a Christian without, it
is thought, a single enemy.

 

 

GEORGE STEPHENSON.

 

A small collection of houses in a mining district, called Wylam, about
nine miles west of Newcastle-on-Tyne, we find to be the birth-place of
George Stephenson, born June 9th, 1781.

His father was a very humble workman, who filled the position of fireman
of the pumping-engine in use at the colliery, at three dollars a week.
With a wife and six children to support, there was not much left after
satisfying the cravings of hunger. The children, soon as opportunity
afforded, were set at work to help support the family. We find young
George beginning life pulling turnips at two pence a day. At eight years
old he tended Widow Ainslie’s cows at five cents a day. Later, he
received fifty cents a week when caring for horses.

Of course, it is the rule to find something in the boy indicative of the
man, and in Stephenson’s case, legend or history furnishes the material.
It seems that while acting as herder, in company with other boys, it was
his favorite amusement to model engines out of clay. After a time he
received a dollar a week as assistant to his father, and at the age of
sixteen he was appointed to work as attendant upon the pumping-engine,
at men’s wages,–three dollars per week. He was delighted, and it is
doubtful if he was ever happier over subsequent triumphs as a locomotive
builder, than when he was elevated to this position. He was employed at
various collieries, as fireman, and afterwards as plugman, and gradually
acquired so complete a knowledge of the engine as to be able to take it
apart and make ordinary repairs. His ingenuity in repairing an obstinate
defect in a steam engine gained him the charge of the engine.

After this his fondness for his work increased until, with study, he had
thoroughly mastered all its details. At the age of eighteen he could not
even read, and he began to long for some education, so that he might fit
himself for a higher place in his business. He accordingly commenced his
studies by taking lessons in reading, of a neighboring school-master,
three nights in a week, at a small tuition. At the end of a year he
could read and spell some, and could write his own name. He now had a
great thirst for mathematics, which he studied faithfully the second
year; at the close of which, by his attentiveness, he could cipher with
tolerable facility.

During odd moments he gave some attention to mending shoes, by which he
was able to earn a few extra pence. Among some shoes that were sent him
to repair was a pair belonging to a young lady, whom he afterward
married. In 1805 he removed to Killingworth colliery, and about this
time he was desirous of emigrating to the United States, but was unable
to raise money for his outfit and passage. He continued to work at his
home evenings and leisure hours, cutting out clothes for the miners,
mending clocks and shoes, and all this time studying mechanics and
engineering with a view to perpetual motion, which a great many others
of his time were studying.

His first opportunity to show his superiority was when an expensive pump
had been put in the colliery, and utterly failed to do the work required
of it. Various experts gave it their best efforts, but it still refused
to do what was required of it. Stephenson was heard to say, by some of
the workmen, that he could repair it. After all others had failed, the
overseer, in despair, with but little expectation that anything could be
accomplished by a raw colliery hand, employed him to attempt a remedy.
He took the engine to pieces and at the end of a few days repaired it
ready for work, and in two days it cleared the pit of water.

For this, and other improvements made upon old machinery, he was
appointed chief engineer in 1813, at Killingworth, at a salary of £100
per year. Besides erecting a winding engine for drawing up coal, and a
pumping-engine, he projected and laid down a self-acting incline along
the declivity of the Willington ballast quay, so arranged that full
wagons descending to the vessels drew up the empty ones. But the
construction of an efficient and economical locomotive steam engine
mainly occupied his mind. He was among those who saw the Blenkinsop
engine first put on the track, and watched its mechanism for some time,
when he concluded he could make a better machine. He found a friend in
his employer, Lord Ravensworth, who furnished the money, and in the
work-shops at West Moor, Killingworth, with the aid of the colliery
blacksmith, he constructed a locomotive which was completed in July,
1814. The affair, though clumsy, worked successfully on the Killingworth
railway, drawing eight loaded carriages, of thirty tons each, at the
rate of four miles an hour. It was the first locomotive made with smooth
wheels, for he rejected the contrivance which Trevithick, Blenkinsop and
others had thought necessary to secure sufficient adhesion between the
wheels and the rails.

While engaged on plans for an improved engine his attention was
attracted to the increase in the draught of the furnace obtained by
turning the waste steam up the chimney, at first practiced solely in the
desire to lessen the noise caused by the escape of the steam. Hence
originated the steam-blast, the most important improvement in the
locomotive up to that time. The steam-blast, the joint action of the
wheels by connecting them with horizontal bars on the outside, and a
simplifying connection between the cylinder and the wheels, were
embodied in the second engine, completed in 1815. For some years
Stephenson had been experimenting with the fire-damp in the mines, and
in the above year completed a miner’s safety lamp, which he finally
perfected under the name of the “Gregory Lamp,” which is still in use in
the Killingworth collieries. The invention of a safety lamp by Sir
Humphry Davy was nearly simultaneous, and to him the mining proprietors
presented a service of plate worth £2,000, at the same time awarding
£100 to Stephenson. This led to a protracted discussion as to the
priority of the invention, and in 1817 Stephenson’s friends presented
him with a purse of $5,000 and a silver tankard.

Having now brought the locomotive to a considerable degree of
perfection, Stephenson next turned his attention to the improvement of
railways, his opinion being that both were parts of one mechanism, and
that the employment of steam carriages on common roads was
impracticable. For the purpose of making railways solid and level, and
preventing jerks at the junction of the rails, he took out a patent for
an improved rail and chair, and recommended the employment of heavier
rails, and the substitution of wrought for cast-iron. In connection with
these improvements he added considerably to the lightness and strength
of the locomotive, simplified the construction of the working parts, and
substituted steel springs for the small cylinder, on which the boiler
had at first rested.

His next important undertaking was the construction of a railway eight
miles in length, for the owners of the Helton Colliery, which was
successfully opened November 18th, 1822. The level parts were traversed
by five of Stephenson’s locomotives, while stationary engines were
employed to overcome the heavy grades.

In 1820 an act of Parliament was obtained for a railway between Stockton
and Darlington, which was opened September 27th, 1825. Stephenson, who
made the preliminary surveys and specifications, was appointed engineer.
The line was intended to be worked by stationary engines for the steep
gradients, with horse-power on the level portions; but at Stephenson’s
urgent request, the act was amended so as to permit the use of
locomotives on all parts of the road. In the meantime he had opened, in
connection with Edward Pease, an establishment for the manufacture of
locomotives, at Newcastle-on-Tyne.

In 1825 he was appointed principal engineer of the Liverpool &
Manchester railroad, which employed him during the next four years.
Canals connected the two towns, Liverpool and Manchester, but it was
believed that the carrying trade would support this new railway if it
could be made to work. The people were told by the newspapers that
locomotives would prevent cows from grazing and hens from laying. The
poisoned air from the locomotives would kill birds as they passed over
them, and render the preservation of pheasants and foxes no longer
possible. Householders adjoining the line were told that their houses
would be burned up by fire thrown from the engine chimneys, while the
air around would be polluted by the clouds of smoke. There would be no
longer any use for horses, and if the railways extended the species
would become extinct, and therefore oats and hay would become unsalable.
Traveling by road would be rendered exceedingly dangerous, and country
inns would be ruined. Boilers would burst and blow the passengers to
pieces.

Of course, the inculcation of such theories rendered it extremely
difficult for Stephenson and his party to survey for the proposed line.
The land-owners along the line made all sorts of trouble for them. Their
instruments were smashed and they were mobbed, yet, on they went,–at
meal times they worked, before the residents awoke in the morning, and
nights, in some instances were employed. At last the survey was
accomplished, the plans drawn, and the estimates furnished the company,
were approved.

In Parliament even more opposition was experienced. Public sentiment
can be inferred from an article which appeared in the Quarterly Review
for March, 1825. Among other things it said: “What can be more palpably
absurd and ridiculous than the prospect held out of locomotives
travelling twice as fast as horses. We should as soon expect the people
of Woolwich to suffer themselves to be fired off upon one of Congreve’s
richochet rockets as to trust themselves to the mercy of such a machine,
going at such a rate. We trust that Parliament will, in all the railways
it may grant, limit the speed to eight or nine miles an hour, which we
entirely agree with Mr. Sylvester is as great as can be ventured on.”

But despite all such seemingly insurmountabilities, Stephenson succeeded
in getting the railway bill passed. But the troubles of George
Stephenson were not at an end. The company, not fully satisfied with his
opinion alone, conferred with two of the leading engineers of England,
who reported averse to the locomotive, recommending stationary engines
at a distance of one and a-half miles apart. But at last Stephenson
prevailed upon the company to offer a prize of about $2,500 for the best
locomotive produced at a trial to take place on the 6th of October,
1829. At last the eventful day came, and with it thousands of
spectators. Four engines appeared to compete for the prizes. “The
Novelty,” the “Rocket,” the “Perseverance” and the “Sanspareil.” The
“Perseverance” could only make six miles an hour, and as the rules
called for at least ten, it was ruled out. The “Sanspareil” made an
average of fourteen miles an hour, but as it burst a water-pipe, it lost
its chance. The “Novelty” did splendidly, but unluckily also burst a
pipe, and was crowded out, leaving the field to the “Rocket,” which
carried off the honors. The average speed made by this engine, which
belonged to Stephenson, was fifteen miles, and even attained twenty-nine
miles an hour.

The distinguishing features of the Rocket, the first high-speed
locomotive of the standard modern type, were the multitubular boiler,
which was not Stephenson’s invention, but was first applied by him to
locomotives; the blast pipe; and the direct connection of the steam
cylinders to one axle, and one pair of wheels. At the opening of the
road, September 15th, 1830, eight locomotives, constructed at the
Stephenson works, were employed, and Mr. Huskinson, having been
accidentally struck down and fatally injured by the Rocket, was conveyed
in the Northumbrian, driven by George Stephenson, from Parkside to
Eccles, fifteen miles, at the unprecedented rate of thirty-six miles an
hour.

Stephenson was almost incessantly employed for the next fifteen years on
new roads, and was called three times to Belgium, and once to Spain as a
consulting engineer. With his increasing wealth he also engaged
extensively and profitably in coal mining and lime works, particularly
in the neighborhood of Tapton Park, an elegant seat in Derbyshire, where
he passed his latter years. He declined the honor of Knighthood.

To Watt is due the honor of giving the world a practical stationary
engine; George Stephenson picked that engine up bodily and placed it on
wheels, and against the most direful predictions of the foremost
engineers of his age, proved the practicability of harnessing steam to
coaches for rapid transportation.

On August 12th, 1848, Stephenson died, leaving an immense fortune, which
was the honest reward he deserved.

 

 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

 

Possibly there never has lived a man who has excited more comment than
has the subject of this narrative, who was born in Boston, January 17th,
1706. His father was a soap boiler and tallow chandler, and he was the
fifteenth in a family of seventeen children.

Young Benjamin was expected by his parents to become a minister of the
Gospel, and for this purpose was placed in school at the age of eight,
but the reduced circumstances of his father compelled his return home
two years later, and he began the work of cutting wicks in his father’s
establishment. Afterwards he was bound to his brother James, who was a
printer, where he worked hard all day, and often spent half the night in
reading.

The secret of his great success can be readily perceived, when we know
that his favorite books were Mather’s “Essays to Do Good,” and DeFoe’s
“Essays of Projects,” and many others of a like nature: instead of the
modern “Three Fingered Jack,” “Calamity Jane,” “The Queen of the
Plains,” or the more ‘refined’ of to-day’s juvenile reading.

When he was about sixteen he wrote, in a disguised hand, an article for
his brother’s paper. This article was published anonymously, and excited
great curiosity. Other articles followed, at length the identity of the
author was discovered, and for some unknown reason the elder brother was
offended. From that hour Benjamin resolved to leave Boston, as his
brother’s influence was used to his disadvantage in that city.

Embarking, he worked his passage to New York, where he arrived at the
age of seventeen, almost penniless, and without recommendations. Failing
to obtain work here he continued on to Philadelphia, where he arrived,
disappointed but not discouraged. He now had but one dollar, and a few
copper coins, in the world. Being hungry, he bought some bread, and with
one roll under either arm, and eating the third, he passed up the street
on which his destined wife lived, and she beheld him as he presented
this ridiculous appearance. Obtaining employment, he secured board and
lodging with Mr. Reed, afterward his father-in-law.

Being induced to think of going into business for himself, through
promises of financial help from influential parties, he sailed to London
for the purpose of buying the necessary requisites for a printing
office. Not until his arrival in that great city, London, did he learn
of the groundlessness of his hope for aid from the expected quarter. In
a strange land, friendless and alone, without money to pay his return
passage, such was his predicament; yet he lost not his courage, but
obtained employment as a printer, writing his betrothed that he should
likely never return to America. His stay in London lasted, however, but
about eighteen months, during which time he succeeded in reforming some
of his beer-drinking companions.

In 1826 he returned to America as a dry-goods clerk, but the death of
his employer fortunately turned his attention once more to his especial
calling, and he soon after formed a partnership with a Mr. Meredith.
This was in 1728. Miss Reed, during his stay abroad, had been induced to
marry another man who proved to be a scoundrel; leaving her to escape
punishment for debt, and, it is alleged, with an indictment for bigamy
hanging over his head. Franklin attributed much of this misfortune to
himself, and resolved to repair the injury so far as lay within his
power. Accordingly he married her in 1830. This proved a most happy
union. His business connection with Mr. Meridith being dissolved, he
purchased the miserably conducted sheet of Mr. Keimer, his former
employer, and under Franklin’s management it became a somewhat
influential journal of opinion.

It was through this channel that those homely sayings, with such rich
meanings, first appeared in print. His great intelligence, industry and
ingenuity in devising reforms, and the establishment of the first
circulating library, soon won for him the esteem of the entire country.
1732 is memorable as the year in which appeared his almanac in which was
published the sayings of the world-famous ‘Poor Richard.’ This almanac
abounded with aphorisms and quaint sayings, the influence of which
tended mightily to economy, and it was translated into foreign
languages, in fact was the most popular almanac ever printed.

After ten years’ absence he returned to his native city, Boston, and his
noble instincts were shown, as he consolingly promised his dying brother
that he would care for his nephew, his brother’s son. Returning to
Philadelphia he became postmaster of that city, established a fire
department, becomes a member of the Assembly, to which office he is
elected ten consecutive years.

Although he was not an orator, no man wielded more influence over the
legislative department than did Franklin. As is well-known, he invented
the celebrated Franklin Stove, which proved so economical, and for
which he refused a patent. For years he entertained the theory that
galvanic electricity, and that which produced lightning and thunder were
identical; but it was not until 1752 that he demonstrated the truth by
an original but ingenious contrivance attached to a kite, and to
Franklin we owe the honor of inventing the lightning rod, but not its
abuse which has caused such widespread animosity to that valuable
instrument of self-preservation.

These discoveries made the name of Franklin respected throughout the
scientific world. Forever after this period, during his life, he was
connected with national affairs. At one time he was offered a commission
as General in the Provincial Army, but distrusting his military
qualifications he unequivocally declined. Sir Humphrey Davy said:
“Franklin seeks rather to make philosophy a useful inmate and servant in
the common habitations of man, than to preserve her merely as an object
for admiration in temples and palaces.” While it is said of him by some
that he always had a keen eye to his own interests all are forced to add
he ever had a benevolent concern for the public welfare.

The burdens bearing so heavily upon the colonies: Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Georgia, and Massachusetts, appointed Franklin as their agent
to the mother-country. Arriving in London in 1757, despite his mission,
honors awaited him at every turn. There he associated with the greatest
men of his time, and the universities of Edinburgh and Oxford honored
him with the title of L.L.D. and the poor journeyman printer of a few
years before, associated with princes and kings. At the end of five
years he returned to America, and in 1762 received the official thanks
of the Assembly. Two years later he was again sent to England, and he
opposed the obnoxious stamp act, and where he carried himself with
decorum and great ability before the entire nobility. Upon his return to
America he was made a member of the Assembly the day he landed, where he
exerted his whole influence for a Declaration of Independence, and soon
after had the pleasure of signing such a document.

In 1776 Congress sent him to France, where he became one of the greatest
diplomats this country has ever known. During his voyage over he made
observations relative to the Gulf Stream, and the chart he drew of it
nearly one hundred years ago, still forms the basis of maps on the
subject. As is well known, to Franklin more than all others, are we
indebted for the kindly interference by France in our behalf, whose
efforts, though ineffective in the field, helped the revolutionary cause
wonderfully in gaining prestige. At the close of the war Franklin was
one of the commissioners in framing that treaty which recognized
American independence. His simple winning ways won for him admiration in
any court of embroidery and lace, while his world-wide reputation as a
philosopher and statesman won for him a circle of acquaintances of the
most varied character. On the 17th of April, 1790, this great statesman
died, and fully 20,000 people followed him to the tomb. The inscription
he had designed read:

“The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer;
Like the cover of an old book–
Its contents torn out, and script of its lettering and gilding:
Lies here food for worms.”

Yet the work itself shall not be lost. For it will, as he believed,
appear once more, in a new and more beautiful edition, corrected and
amended by the Author. Truly, America has been rich in great men, of
which Franklin was not the least. Dr. Franklin, in his will, left his
native town of Boston, the sum of one thousand pounds, to be lent to the
young married artificers upon good security and under odd conditions. If
the plan should be carried out as successfully as he expected, he
reckoned that this sum would amount in one hundred years to one hundred
and thirty-one thousand pounds. It was his wish, and so expressed in his
will that one hundred thousand pounds should be spent upon public works,
“which may then be judged of most general utility to the inhabitants;
such as fortifications, bridges, aqueducts, public buildings, baths,
pavements, or whatever makes living in the town more convenient to its
people, and renders it more agreeable to strangers resorting thither for
health or temporary residence.” It was also his wish that the remaining
thirty-one thousand pounds should again be put upon interest for another
hundred years, at the end of which time the whole amount was to be
divided between the city and the State. The bequest at the end of the
first one hundred years may not attain the exact figure he calculated,
but it is sure to be a large sum. At the present time it is more than
one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars, and it has many years yet
to run.

 

 

ELI WHITNEY.

 

The year of 1765 was made famous by the birth of a man who was destined
to enrich his country millions of dollars.

Eli Whitney was born at Westborough, Massachusetts, December 8th, 1765,
and received a good education, graduating at Yale College. Going South
as a tutor in a private family, his attention was arrested by the slow
process by which the seed was extracted from cotton. At that time a
pound of greenseed cotton was all that a negro woman could clean in a
day.

At the instance of Mrs. Greene, widow of General Greene, he set about
constructing a machine to do the work. He had no facilities for pushing
the work, even having to manufacture his tools, but he persevered and
accomplished his purpose. Rumors of the machine spreading over the
State, a mob at night broke open the building wherein the machine was
stored, carried his precious model away, and before he could make
another, various machines were in use. However, he went North to
Connecticut and established a manufactory to make the machines. South
Carolina granted him $50,000 after long and vexatious litigation, and
North Carolina allowed him a percentage, which was paid in good faith.

But, although Eli Whitney had invented a machine which would do in one
day as much as an ordinary hand would in months, which has been worth
hundred of millions of dollars to the South; yet, through the influence
of Southern members, Congress would not renew his patent, and so much
opposition was raised that he actually never received from his invention
the money he had spent to perfect it. All efforts to obtain a financial
recognition in this invention failing, he abandoned the manufacture of
the cotton-gin. He was not discouraged, not at all, but turned his
attention to fire-arms. These he greatly improved, being the first to
make them adjustable, that is, any single piece to fit the same place in
any of the thousands of guns that might be in process of manufacture in
his works. He manufactured arms for the government, and reaped a fortune
which he had so honestly earned.

On January 8th, 1825, the country lost this wonderful genius, but his
fame is growing year by year, as one of the world’s benefactors.

 

 

ROBERT FULTON.

 

The genius of Fulton was of no ordinary mold. It began to unfold in less
than ten years after his birth, which occurred at Little Britain,
Pennsylvania, in the year 1765. His parents were farmers, and of Irish
birth, but Protestants in religious belief.

At seventeen he went to Philadelphia and begun the study of printing.
Four years later he evinced such decided talents in miniature painting
that his friends united in sending him to London, where he remained for
some years under the teaching of the world-renowned West. Being a friend
of West, he was thus drawn into association with such men as the Duke
of Bridgewater and the Earl of Stanhope. Through the influence of the
former he adopted the profession of a civil engineer. He also became
acquainted with Watt, who had just brought out his great improvement on
the steam engine, the details of which Fulton mastered.

While in London, at this time, he also contrived a new device for sawing
marble which proved to be a valuable improvement. To this period in his
life also belongs his invention of a machine for spinning flax. In 1797
he removed to Paris where he remained seven years, assiduously studying
the sciences. It was during his sojourn there that he brought out his
celebrated torpedo-boat, since known as the Nautilus, a name derived
from its resemblance in action to that wonderful little animal. This
boat was a plunging machine designed for sub-marine service in placing
torpedoes and other work, for which a sub-marine vessel could be used.
According to Colden this boat was brought to a wonderful state of
perfection, his account of which may be interesting.

On the 3rd of July, 1801, he embarked with three companions on board his
plunging boat, in the harbor of Brest, and descended in it to the depth
of five, ten, fifteen, and so on, to twenty-five feet; but he did not
attempt to go deeper because he found that his imperfect machine would
not bear the pressure of a greater depth. He remained below the surface
one hour. During the time, they were in utter darkness. Afterwards he
descended with candles; but finding a great disadvantage from their
consumption of vital air he caused, previous to his next experiment, a
small window of thick glass to be made near the bow of his boat, and he
again descended with her on the 24th of July, 1801. He found that he
received from his window, or rather aperture covered with glass, for it
was no more than an inch and a half in diameter, sufficient light for
him to count the minutes on his watch.

Having satisfied himself that he could have sufficient light when under
water; that he could do without a supply of fresh air for a considerable
time; that he could descend to any depth and rise to the surface with
equal facility; his next object was to try her movements as well on the
surface as beneath it. On the 26th of July he weighed his anchor and
hoisted his sails; his boat had one mast, a main-sail and a jib. There
was only a light breeze, and therefore she did not move on the surface
at more than the rate of two miles an hour; but it was found that she
would tack and steer, and sail on a wind or before it as well as any
common sail-boat. He then struck her masts and sails; to do which, and
to perfectly prepare the boat for plunging, required about two minutes.
Having plunged to a certain depth he placed two men at the engine which
was intended to give her progressive motion, and one at the helm, while
he, with a barometer before him, governed the machine which kept her
balanced between the upper and lower waters. He found that with the
exertion of only one hand he could keep her at any depth he desired. The
propelling engine was then put in motion, and he found that on coming to
the surface he had, in about seven minutes, made a progress of four
hundred metres, or five hundred yards. He then again plunged, turned her
around, while under the water, and returned to near the place he began
to move from.

He repeated his experiments several days successively until he became
familiar with the operation of the machinery, and the movements of the
boat. He found that she was as obedient to her helm under water, as any
boat could be on the surface, and that the magnetic needle traversed as
well in the one as in the other.

On the 27th of August Mr. Fulton again descended with a store of
atmospheric air compressed into a copper globe, of a cubic foot
capacity, into which two hundred atmospheres were forced. Thus prepared
he descended with three companions to the depth of five feet. At the
expiration of an hour and forty minutes, he began to take small supplies
of pure air from his reservoir, and did so, as he found occasion, for
four hours and twenty minutes. At the expiration of the time he came to
the surface without having experienced any inconvenience from having
been so long under the water.

Fulton, about this time, hearing of Fitche’s experiments in the United
States with steam, became more than ever interested in the subject of
“navigating boats by means of fire and water.” Our Minister to Great
Britain, Robert R. Livingstone, becoming greatly interested in steam
navigation, and especially in Fulton’s ideas in the matter, agreed to
furnish the necessary funds to bring to success the enterprise.
Accordingly, they ordered an engine of Watt & Boulton, “which would
propel a large boat,” and the engine arrived in America during the year
1806. Fulton at once set to work to build a boat to fit the machinery,
and in 1807 the “Clermont” was ready for trial.

The reader will not be surprised at the statement of an eye-witness:
“When it was announced in the New York papers that the boat would start
from Cortlandt street at 6:30 a. m., on the 4th of August, and take
passengers to Albany, there was a broad smile on every face as the
inquiry was made if any one would be fool enough to go?” One friend was
heard to accost another in the street with: “John, will thee risk thy
life in such a concern? I tell thee she is the most fearful wild fowl
living, and thy father should restrain thee.” When the eventful morning
came, Friday August 4th, 1807, the wharves, piers, housetops, and every
available elevation was crowded with spectators. All the machinery was
uncovered and exposed to view. The periphery of the balance wheels of
cast iron, some four or more inches square, ran just clear of the water.
There were no outside guards, the balance wheels being supported by
their respective shafts, which projected over the sides of the boat. The
forward part was covered by a deck which afforded shelter for her hands.
The after-part was fitted up in a rough manner for passengers. The
entrance into the cabin was from the stern in front of the steersman,
who worked a tiller as in an ordinary sloop.

Black smoke issued from the chimney; steam issued from every ill-fitted
valve and crevice of the engine. Fulton himself was there. His
remarkably clear and sharp voice was heard high above the hum of the
multitude and the noise of the engine, his step was confident and
decided; he heeded not the fearfulness, doubts or sarcasm of those by
whom he was surrounded. The whole scene combined had in it an
individuality, as well as an interest, which comes but once, and is
remembered a lifetime. Everything being ready the engine was set in
motion, and the boat moved steadily but slowly from the wharf. As she
turned up the river and was fairly under way, there arose such a huzza
as ten thousand throats never gave before. The passengers returned the
cheer, but Fulton stood upon the deck, his eyes flashing with an unusual
brilliancy as he surveyed the crowd. He felt that the magic wand of
success was waving over him and he was silent. The entire trip was an
ovation, and is thus described by Colden:

“From other vessels which were navigating the river she had the most
terrific appearance when she was making her passage. The first
steam-boats used dry pine for fuel, which sends forth a column of
ignited vapor many feet above the flue and whenever the fire is stirred
a galaxy of sparks fly off, and in the night have a very beautiful and
brilliant appearance. This uncommon light first attracted the attention
of the crews of other vessels. Notwithstanding the wind and the tide
were adverse to its approach they saw with astonishment that it was
coming rapidly towards them; and when it came so near that the noise of
the machinery and paddles was heard, the crews (if what was said at the
time in the newspapers be true) in some instances shrunk beneath the
decks from the terrific sight, and left the vessels to go ashore, while
others prostrated themselves and besought Providence to protect them
from the approach of the horrible monster, which was marching on the
tides and lighting its path by the fires it vomited.”

Of peculiar interest and instruction is the following narrative
connected with this historic voyage from the graphic pen of one who was
personally an actor in the scene described: “I chanced to be at Albany
on business when Fulton arrived there in his unheard of craft, which
everybody felt so much anxiety to see. Being ready to leave, and hearing
that his craft was going to return to New York, I repaired on board and
inquired for Mr. Fulton. I was referred to the cabin, and there found a
plain, gentlemanly man, wholly alone and engaged in writing. ‘Mr.
Fulton, I presume?’ ‘Yes sir.’ ‘Do you return to New York with this
boat?’ ‘We shall try to get back, sir.’ ‘Can I have a passage down?’
‘You can take your chance with us, sir.’ I inquired the amount to be
paid, and after a moment’s hesitation, a sum, I think six dollars, was
named. The amount in coin, I laid in his open hand, and with his eye
fixed upon it, he remained so long motionless that I supposed it might
be a miscount, and said to him, ‘Is that right sir?’ This question
roused him as from a kind of reverie, and, as he looked up, the tears
were brimming in his eyes and his voice faltered as he said: ‘Excuse me
sir; but my memory was busy, as I contemplated this, the first pecuniary
reward I have ever received for all my exertions in adapting steam to
navigation. I should gladly commemorate the occasion over a bottle of
wine with you but really I am too poor for that just now; yet, I trust
we may meet again when this will not be the case.’

“Some four years after this,” continues the writer of this reminiscence,
“when the Clermont had been greatly improved, and her name changed to
North River, and when two other boats, the Car of Neptune and the
Paragon had been built, making Mr. Fulton’s fleet consist of three boats
regularly plying between New York and Albany, I took passage upon one of
these for the latter city. The cabin in that day was below, and as I
walked its deck, to and fro, I saw that I was very closely observed by
one, I supposed a stranger. Soon, however, I recalled the features of
Mr. Fulton; but without disclosing this, I continued my walk. At length,
in passing his seat, our eyes met, when he sprang to his feet and
eagerly seizing my hand, exclaimed, ‘I knew it must be you, for your
features have never escaped me; and, although I am still far from rich,
yet I may venture that BOTTLE NOW!’ It was ordered, and during its
discussion Mr. Fulton ran rapidly, but vividly, over his experience of
the world’s coldness and sneers, and the hopes, fears, disappointments
and difficulties that were scattered through his whole career of
discovery up to the very point of his final crowning triumph, at which
he so fully felt he had at last arrived.”

And in reviewing all these matters, he said: “I have again and again
recalled the occasion, and the incident of our first interview at
Albany; and never have I done so without renewing in my mind the vivid
emotion it originally caused. That seemed, and does still seem to me,
the turning point in my destiny, the dividing line between light and
darkness, in my career upon earth, for it was the first actual
recognition of my usefulness to my fellow-men.” Why was it that Fulton
won renown. True it was that he possessed unusual genius. We know that
every one cannot be a Fulton, yet how few there are who would have
exercised the stick-to-it-ive-ness that he was obliged to do before
success came. How few would have passed through the trials and withstood
the sneers that Robert Fulton passed through. On the 24th of February,
1815, he died, when the honor of first crossing the ocean by steam power
was being contemplated by him, but his fame was established, and need
naught to enhance it.

 

 

ELIAS HOWE, JR.

 

Difference of opinion there may be as to the abstract question, who
first conceived the principle involved in sewing by machinery, or in
respect to who first constructed a machine that would fulfill that idea;
but so far as great results are concerned the world must be considered
as indebted to Elias Howe, Jr., a New England mechanic, born and reared
in obscurity, and at an early age thrown upon his own resources. He was
born at Spencer, Massachusetts, July 9th, 1819. His father was a farmer
and miller, but at sixteen he left home, engaging in a cotton mill.
Space will not permit us to follow him through all the details of his
varied experience during his early years. It will be sufficient to say
that he lived in Boston in his twentieth year, where he was working in a
machine-shop. He was a good workman, having learned his trade at Harvard
by the side of his cousin, Nathaniel Banks, who has since greatly
distinguished himself as a general in the United States army and speaker
of the House of Representatives.

He was married soon after, and when twenty-two or three, his health
failing, he found himself surrounded by a family, and poverty staring
him in the face. The idea suggested itself to Howe in the following
manner, as described by Parton in the _Atlantic Monthly_: “In the year
1839 two men in Boston, one a mechanic, the other a capitalist, were
striving to produce a knitting-machine, which proved to be a task beyond
their strength. When the inventor was at his wit’s end, his capitalist
brought the machine to the shop of Ari Davis, to see if that eccentric
genius could suggest the solution of the difficulty, and make the
machine work. The shop, resolving itself into a committee of the whole,
gathered about the knitting-machine and its proprietor, and were
listening to an explanation of its principles, when Davis, in his wild,
extravagant way, broke in with the question: ‘What are you bothering
yourself with a knitting-machine for? Why don’t you make a
sewing-machine?’ ‘I wish I could,’ said the capitalist, ‘but it can’t be
done,’ ‘Oh, yes, it can,’ said Davis. ‘I can make a sewing-machine
myself.’ ‘Well,’ said the other; ‘you do it, Davis, and I’ll insure you
an independent fortune.’ There the conversation dropped, and was never
resumed. The boastful remark of the master of the shop was considered
one of his sallies of affected extravagance, as it really was, and the
response of the capitalist to it was uttered without a thought of
producing an effect. Nor did it produce any effect upon the person to
whom it was addressed, as Davis never attempted to construct a
sewing-machine.

“Among the workmen who stood by and listened to this conversation was a
young man from the country, a new hand named Elias Howe, then twenty
years old. The person whom we have named capitalist, a well-dressed and
fine looking man, somewhat consequential in his manners, was an imposing
figure in the eyes of this youth, new to city ways, and he was much
impressed with the emphatic assurance that a fortune was in store for
the man who would invent a sewing-machine. He was the more struck with
it because he had already amused himself with inventing some slight
improvements, and recently he had caught from Davis the habit of
meditating new devices. The spirit of invention, as all mechanics know,
is exceedingly contagious. One man in a shop who invents something that
proves successful will give the mania to half his companions, and the
very apprentices will be tinkering over a device after their day’s work
is done.”

Thus it was that the idea of a sewing-machine first entered Howe’s mind.
The following is the touching story of Howe’s early struggle and final
triumph as told by himself: “I commenced the invention of my
sewing-machine as early as 1841, when I was twenty-two years of age.
Being then dependent on my daily labor for the support of myself and my
family I could not devote my attention to the subject during the working
hours of the day, but I thought on it when I could, day and night. It
grew on until 1844; I felt impelled to yield my whole time to it. During
this period I worked on my invention mentally as much as I could, having
only the aid of needles and such other small devices as I could carry in
my pockets, and use at irregular intervals of daily labor at my trade. I
was poor, but with promises of aid from a friend, I thereafter devoted
myself exclusively to the construction and practical completion of my
machine. I worked alone in an upper room in my friend’s house, and
finished my first machine by the middle of May, 1845.

“This was a period of intense and persistent application, of all the
powers I possessed, to the practical embodiment of my mechanical ideas
into a successful sewing-machine. I soon tested the practical success of
my first machine by sewing with it all the principal seams in two suits
of clothes, one for myself, and one for my friend. Our clothes were as
well made as any made by hand-sewing. I still have my first machine;
and it will now sew as good a seam as any sewing-machine known to me. My
first machine was described in the specification of my patent, and I
then made a second machine, to be deposited in the patent office as a
model.”

“I then conveyed one-half of my invention and patent to my friend, for
five hundred dollars; in fact, though a much larger sum (ten thousand
dollars) was named in the deed at his suggestion. My patent was issued
on the 10th of September, 1846. I made a third machine, which I tried to
get into use on terms satisfactory to myself and friend. For this
purpose I endeavored to attract notice to it by working with it in
tailor shops, and exhibited it to all who desired to become acquainted
with it. After my patent was obtained, my friend declined to aid me
further. I then owed him about two thousand dollars, and I was also in
debt to my father, to whom I conveyed the remaining half of my patent
for two thousand dollars. Having parted with my whole title, and having
no means for manufacturing machines, I was much embarrassed, and did not
know what to do.”

“My brother, Amasa B. Howe, suggested that my invention might succeed in
England, when, if patented, it would be wholly under my control; and on
my behalf, with means borrowed of my father, my brother took my third
machine to England, to do the best he could with it. He succeeded in
selling my machine and invention for two hundred pounds in cash, and a
verbal agreement that the purchaser should patent my invention in Great
Britain, in his own name; and if it should prove successful, to pay me
three pounds royalty on each machine he made or sold under the patent.
He also agreed to employ me in adapting my machine to his own kind of
work at three pounds a week wages.”

“The purchaser obtained a patent for my machine in England, and I went
to London to enter his employment. I then made several machines with
various modifications and improvements, to suit his peculiar kind of
work, and they were put to immediate use; but afterwards we ceased to be
friendly, and I was discharged from his employment. In the meantime my
wife and three children had joined me in London. I had also, at the
suggestion of another person, endorsed a hundred pound note, on which I
was afterwards sued and arrested; but I was finally released on taking
the ‘poor debtor’s oath.’ By small loans from fellow mechanics, and by
pawning a few articles, I managed to live with my family in London,
until, from friendly representations from some American acquaintances,
the captain of an American packet was induced to take my wife and
children home to the United States on credit. I was then alone, and
extremely poor, in a foreign land.”

“My invention was patented, and in successful use in England, but without
any profit to me, and wholly out of my control. In the spring of 1849 I
was indebted to a Scottish mechanic for a steerage passage, and I
returned to the United States, poorer, if possible, than when I left. On
my return I found my wife and children very destitute; all other
personal effects, save what they had on, being still detained to secure
payment for their passage home. My wife was sick, and died within ten
days after my arrival. During my absence in England a considerable
number of sewing-machines had been made, and put in operation in
different parts of the United States; some of these by the procurement
of the friend to whom I had sold half of my American patent but most of
them infringements on my patent.”

“Having obtained from my father, in the summer of 1849, an agreement to
re-convey to me his half of my patent; I tried to induce the friend who
held the other half to join me in prosecuting our rights against
infringers, but he declined to do so. After failing to make any
satisfactory settlement with the infringers, who well knew my poverty
and embarrassments, I filed a bill in equity against one of such
persons, and made my friend a party defendant also, in order to bring
him into court as co-owner of my machine. After this he joined me in a
suit at law against another infringer. In this case the validity of my
patent was fully established by a verdict and judgment at law. After
several transfers of the half share sold my friend, I purchased it back,
about five years ago, and I am now sole owner of the American patent.”

Thus did Howe modestly tell the story of his terrible trials and
suffering. After long litigation Mr. Howe’s claim to have been the
original inventor was legally and irreversibly established, the judge
deciding, “that there was no evidence which left a shadow of doubt that
for all the benefit conferred upon the public by the introduction of the
sewing-machine the public are indebted to Mr. Howe.” Therefore to him
all inventors or improvers had to pay a royalty on each machine they
made. From being a poor man, living in a garret, Howe became one of the
most noted millionaires in America.

Doubtless many of our readers would be interested in the principles
involved in Mr. Howe’s machine; which seem to be essential in all
two-threaded machines. We find that two threads are employed, one of
which is carried through the cloth by means of a curved pointed needle;
the needle used has the eye that is to receive the thread, about an
eighth of an inch from the pointed end. When the thread is carried
through the cloth, which may be done to the distance of about
three-fourths of an inch the thread will be stretched above the curved
needle, something like a bowstring, leaving a small open space between
the two. A small shuttle, carrying a bobbin, filled with thread, is then
made to pass entirely through this open space, between the needle and
the thread which it carries; and when the shuttle is returned the thread
which was carried in by the needle is surrounded by that received from
the shuttle; as the needle is drawn out, it forces that which was
received from the shuttle into the body of the cloth giving the seam
formed the same appearance on each side of the cloth.

Thus, according to this arrangement, a stitch is made at every back and
forth movement of the shuttle. The two thicknesses of cloth that are to
be sewed, are held upon pointed wires which project out from a metallic
plate, like the teeth of a comb, but at a considerable distance from
each other, these pointed wires sustaining the cloth, and answering the
purpose of ordinary basting. The metallic plate, from which these wires
project, has numerous holes through it, which answer the purpose of rack
teeth in enabling the plate to move forward, by means of a pinion, as
the stitches are taken. The distance to which the plate is moved, and,
consequently, the length of the stitches may be regulated at pleasure.

He opened a manufactory for his machines where he could carry on the
business in a small way. From this small beginning his business grew
until, with the royalties he received, his income reached $200,000
annually. Notwithstanding his wealth, he enlisted in the war as a
private, and his principles and sympathy were displayed at one time
when, seeing the men needy, the government having been unable to pay
promptly, he himself advanced enough money to pay the entire regiment.
In the month of October, 1867, at the early age of forty-eight he died.

But he had lived long enough to see his machine adopted and appreciated
as one of the greatest labor-saving devices in the world. It is
estimated that to-day the sewing-machine saves annually the enormous sum
of $500,000,000. It has been truly said that had it not been for the
sewing-machine it would have been impossible to have clothed and kept
clothed the vast armies employed on both sides during the late war.
Great, indeed, is a world’s benefactor; such is Elias Howe.

 

 

ISAAC M. SINGER.

 

The greatest competitor of Mr. Howe was I. M. Singer. In 1850 there
appeared in a shop in Boston, a man who exhibited a carving machine as
his invention.

Mr. Parton, in the _Atlantic Monthly_, said: “Singer was a poor, baffled
adventurer. He had been an actor and a manager of a theatre, and had
tried his hand at various enterprises, none of which had been
successful.” The proprietor of the shop, who had some sewing-machines
there on exhibition, speaking of them, said: “These machines are an
excellent invention, but have some serious defects. Now if you could
make the desired improvement, there would be more money in it than in
making these carving machines.” This seemed to gently impress Singer,
and the friend advancing $40, he at once began work. According to
Singer’s testimony in the Howe _vs._ Singer suits, the story of this
wonderful man runs something like this:

“I worked day and night, sleeping but three or four hours out of the
twenty-four, and eating generally but once a day, as I knew I must get a
machine made for forty dollars or not get it at all. The machine was
completed the night of the eleventh day from the day it was commenced.
About nine o’clock that evening we got the parts of the machine
together, and commenced trying it. The first attempt to sew was
unsuccessful, and the workmen, who were tired out with almost
unremitting work, left me, one by one, intimating that it was a failure.
I continued trying the machine, with Zieber, who furnished the forty
dollars, to hold the lamp for me; but in the nervous condition to which
I had been reduced, by incessant work and anxiety, was unsuccessful in
getting the machine to sew light stitches.

“About midnight I started with Zieber to the hotel, where I boarded.
Upon the way we sat down on a pile of boards, and Zieber asked me if I
had not noticed that the loose loops of thread on the upper side of the
cloth came from the needle? It then flashed upon me that I had forgotten
to adjust the tension upon the needle thread. Zieber and I went back to
the shop. I adjusted the tension, tried the machine, and sewed five
stitches perfectly, when the thread broke. The perfection of those
stitches satisfied me that the machine was a success, and I stopped
work, went to the hotel, and had a sound sleep. By three o’clock the
next day I had the machine finished, and started with it to New York,
where I employed Mr. Charles M. Keller to get out a patent for it.”

The trial resulted in favor of Howe, but of the two men Singer was in
every way the superior in business capacity. In fact; there never has
been a sewing-machine manufacturer that could compare with I. M. Singer.
“Great and manifold were the difficulties which arose in his path, but
one by one he overcame them all. He advertised, he traveled, he sent out
agents, he procured the insertion of articles in newspapers, he
exhibited the machines at fairs in town or country. Several times he was
on the point of failure, but in the nick of time something always
happened to save him, and year after year he advanced toward an assured
success.

“We well remember his early efforts, when he only had the back part of a
small store on Broadway, and a little shop over a railroad depot; and we
remember also the general incredulity with regard to the value of the
machine with which his name was identified. Even after hearing him
explain it at great length, we were very far from expecting to see him
one day riding to the Central Park in a French diligence, drawn by five
horses paid for by the sewing-machine. Still less did we anticipate that
within twelve years the Singer company would be selling a thousand
sewing-machines a week, at a profit of a thousand dollars a day. He was
the true pioneer of the mere business of selling machines, and made it
easier for all his subsequent competitors.”

The peculiarity of the Singer machine is the chain stitch or single
thread device, but with the employment of an eye-pointed needle, and
other appliances, so as to make it admirably adopted for the general
purposes of sewing. At Mr. Singer’s death it was found that his estate
amounted to about $19,000,000.

 

 

RICHARD M. HOE.

 

The recent death of Richard March Hoe, in Florence, Italy, closes the
career of one whose name is known wherever the newspaper is used to
spread intelligence.

He was the senior member of the firm of printing-press makers, and one
of the leading inventors and developers of that great lever of public
opinion. Mr. Hoe’s father was the founder of the firm. He came to this
country from England in 1803, and worked at his trade of carpentry.
Through his skill as a workman he was sought out by a man named Smith, a
maker of printer’s material. He married Smith’s sister, and went into
partnership with Smith and brother. The printing-presses of those days
were made chiefly of wood, and Hoe’s skill as a wood-worker was valuable
to the firm.

In 1822 Peter Smith invented a hand-press. This press was finally
supplanted by the Washington press, invented by Samuel Rust in 1829. Mr.
Smith died a year after securing his patent, and the firm-name was
changed to R. Hoe & Co., but from the manufacture of the Smith press the
company made a fortune. The demand for hand presses increased so rapidly
that ten years later it was suggested that steam power might be utilized
in some way to do the pulling and tugging necessary in getting an
impression. At this time Richard M., one of the sons of the founder of
the house, was an attentive listener to the discussions.

Young Richard M. Hoe was born in 1812. He had the advantage of an
excellent education, but his father’s business possessed such a
fascination for him that it was with difficulty he was kept in school.
He was a young man of twenty before his father allowed him to work
regularly in his shop; but he had already become an expert in handling
tools, and soon became one of the best workmen. He joined with his
father in the belief that steam would yet be applied to the
printing-press, and the numerous models and experiments they made to
that end would, in the light of the present day, appear extremely
ridiculous.

In 1825-30 Napier had constructed a steam printing-press, and in 1830
Isaac Adams, of Boston, secured a patent for a power press. These
inventions were kept very secret; the factories in which they were made
being guarded jealously. In 1830 a Napier press was imported into this
country for use on the _National Intelligencer_. Mordecai Noah, editor
of Noah’s _Sunday Times and Messenger_, was collector of the port of New
York at that time, and being desirous of seeing how the Napier press
would work, sent for Mr. Hoe to put it up. He and Richard succeeded in
setting up the press, and worked it successfully.

The success of Napier’s press set the Hoes to thinking. They made models
of its peculiar parts and studied them carefully. Then, in pursuance of
a plan suggested by Richard, his father sent his partner, Mr. Newton, to
England, for the purpose of examining new machinery there, and to secure
models for future use. On his return with ideas, Mr. Newton and the
Hoes projected and turned out for sale a novel two-cylinder press, which
became universally popular and soon superseded all others, the Napier
included.

Thus was steam at last harnessed to the press, but the demand of the
daily papers for their increasing editions spurred the press makers to
devise machines that could be worked at higher speed than was found
possible with the presses, in which the type was secured to a flat bed,
which was moved backward and forward under a revolving cylinder. It was
seen, then, that if type could be secured to the surface of a cylinder,
great speed could be attained. In Sir Rowland Hill’s device the type was
cast wedge-shape; that is, narrower at the bottom. A broad “nick” was
cut into its side, into which a “lead” fitted. The ends of the “lead” in
turn fitted into a slot in the column rules, and these latter were
bolted into the cylinder. The inventor, Sir Rowland Hill, the father of
penny postage in England, sunk, it is said, £80,000 in the endeavor to
introduce this method.

In the meantime Richard M. had succeeded to his father’s business, and
was giving his attention largely to solving this problem of holding type
on a revolving cylinder. It was not until 1846 that he hit on the method
of doing it. After a dozen years of thought the idea came upon him
unexpectedly, and was startling in its simplicity. It was to make the
column rules wedge-shape instead of the type. It was this simple device,
by the introduction of the “lightning press,” that revolutionized the
newspaper business of the world, and made the press the power it is. It
brought Hoe fame and put him at the head of press makers. His business
grew to such dimensions that he has in his employ in his New York
factory from 800 to 1,500 hands, varying with the state of trade. His
London factory employes from 150 to 250 hands.

Yet the great daily cravings demanded still faster presses. The result
was the development of the Web press, in which the paper is drawn into
the press from a continuous roll, at a speed of twelve miles an hour.
The very latest is a machine called the supplement press, capable of
printing complete a paper of from eight to twelve pages, depending on
the demand of the day, so that the papers slide out of the machine with
the supplements gummed in and the paper folded ready for delivery. Of
late years many other remarkably ingenious presses of other makers have
come into the market, but still the genius of R. M. Hoe has left an
indelible mark in the development of the printing-press. He died June
6th, 1886.

 

 

CHARLES GOODYEAR.

 

About the year 1800 was born in New Haven, Connecticut, Charles
Goodyear. He received only a public school education, and when
twenty-one years of age joined his father in the hardware trade in the
city of Philadelphia; but in the financial troubles of 1830, the firm
went under, and the next three years was spent in looking for a
life-work.

Passing a store in the city of New York, his eye was attracted by the
words “INDIA RUBBER FOR SALE.” Having heard much of this new article of
late, he purchased a life-preserver which he carried home and so
materially improved, in conception, that he was induced to return to the
store for the purpose of explaining his ideas. At the store he was now
told of the great discouragements with which the rubber trade was
contending, the merchants giving this as a reason for not taking to his
improvement. The rubber, as then made, would become as hard as flint
during cold weather, and if exposed to heat would melt and decay.

Returning to Philadelphia, Goodyear commenced experiments, trying to
discover the secret of how to remedy this trouble. He was very poor, and
to support his family he ‘cobbled’ for his neighbors. He tried every
experiment within his grasp of intellect, but met only with failure. His
friends, who had helped him, left him one by one; his failures
continued, but he would not give up. The last piece of furniture was
sold, and his family moved into the country, taking up cheap lodgings.
Finally he found a druggist who agreed to furnish him what he needed
from his store to use in his investigations and purchasing small
quantities of rubber at a time he continued his experiments. At length,
after three years he discovered that the adhesiveness of the rubber
could be obviated by dipping it in a preparation of nitric acid. But
this only affected the exterior, and he was once more plunged into the
worst of poverty. It was generally agreed that the man who would
proceed further, in a cause of this sort, was fairly deserving of all
the distress brought on himself, and justly debarred the sympathy of
others. His suffering during the years that followed is simply
incredible. The prejudice against him was intense. Everybody
characterized him as a fool, and no one would help him. A witness
afterwards testified in a trial: “They had sickness in the family; I was
often in and found them very poor and destitute, for both food and fuel.
They had none, nor had they anything to buy any with. This was before
they boarded with us, and while they were keeping house. They told me
they had no money with which to buy bread from one day to another. They
did not know how they should get it. The children said they did not know
what they should do for food. They dug their potatoes before they were
half-grown, for the sake of having something to eat. Their son Charles,
eight years old, used to say that they ought to be thankful for the
potatoes, for they did not know what they should do without them. We
used to furnish them with milk, and they wished us to take furniture and
bed-clothes in payment, rather than not pay for it. At one time they had
nothing to eat, and a barrel of flour was unexpectedly sent them.”

It is a record of destitution, imprisonment for debt, and suffering from
this time until 1841, when he began to see day-light. By accident he one
day allowed a piece of rubber to drop on the stove, when, lo! he had
found the secret, heat was the thing needed. Six years had he struggled
on through untold hardships, and now he seemed crowned with success. He
had found the desired solution of the problem, but he made a fatal
mistake here. Instead of settling down and manufacturing his discovery,
which would have brought him a fortune, he sold rights and kept on
experimenting. By certain legal informalities he secured no benefit
whatever from his patent in France and he was cheated entirely out of it
in England. Although he lived to see large factories for its
manufacture spring up in both America and Europe, employing 60,000
operatives, still he died in 1860 at the age of seventy-one, leaving his
family unprovided for. The cause was not lack of perseverance nor
energy, but the sole cause was lack of judgment in business matters.

The vulcanized rubber trade is one of the greatest industries of the
world to-day, amounting to millions of dollars annually. The usefulness
of India rubber is thus described in the _North American Review_: “Some
of our readers have been out on the picket-line during the war. They
know what it is to stand motionless in a wet and miry rifle-pit in the
chilly rain of a southern winter’s night. Protected by India rubber
boots, blanket and cap, the picket-man is in comparative comfort; a duty
which, without that protection, would make him a cowering and shivering
wretch, and plant in his bones a latent rheumatism, to be the torment of
his old age. Goodyear’s India rubber enables him to come in from his pit
as dry as when he went into it, and he comes in to lie down with an
India rubber blanket between him and the damp earth. If he is wounded it
is an India-rubber stretcher or an ambulance, provided with India-rubber
springs, that gives him least pain on his way to the hospital, where, if
his wound is serious, a water-bed of India rubber gives ease to his
mangled frame, and enables him to endure the wearing tedium of an
unchanged posture. Bandages and supporters of India rubber avail him
much when first he begins to hobble about his ward. A piece of India
rubber at the end of his crutch lessens the jar and the noise of his
motions, and a cushion of India rubber is comfortable to his arm-pit.
The springs which close the hospital door, the bands which excludes the
drafts from doors and windows, his pocket-comb and cup and thimble are
of the same material. From jars hermetically closed with India rubber he
receives the fresh fruit that is so exquisitely delicious to a fevered
mouth. The instrument case of his surgeon, and the store-room of his
matron contains many articles whose utility is increased by the use of
it, and some that could be made of nothing else. In a small rubber case
the physician carries with him and preserves his lunar caustic, which
would corrode any metallic surface. His shirts and sheets pass through
an India rubber clothes-wringer, which saves the strength of the
washer-woman and the fibre of the fabric. When the government presents
him with an artificial leg, a thick heel and elastic sole of India
rubber give him comfort every time he puts it on the ground. In the
field this material is not less strikingly useful. During the late war
armies have marched through ten days of rain and slept through as many
nights, and come out dry into the returning sunshine with their
artillery untarnished and their ammunition not injured, because men and
munitions were all under India rubber.”

Ought we soon to forget him to whom we are indebted, in a large measure,
for all this? The American people will long remember Charles Goodyear
when others have faded from memory.

 

 

PROF. S. F. B. MORSE.

 

“Canst thou send lightnings that they may go and say unto thee: Here we
are!” Said the Lord from the whirlwind to afflicted Job, who remained
dumb for he could not answer. The question has been answered in the
affirmative in our day by the perfector of the electro-magnetic
telegraph, the late Professor Morse, by whose invention the promise has
been fulfilled: “I’ll put a girdle around the globe in forty minutes.”

Samuel Finly Breese Morse was born in Charleston, Massachusetts, April
27th, 1791. His father was the first person to publish geographies in
America. His father was also a celebrated Congregational minister,
spending much of his time in religious controversy, in maintaining the
orthodox faith throughout the New England churches and against
Unitarianism. He was prominent among those who founded Andover
Theological Seminary, and published many religious periodicals.

S. F. B. Morse was a graduate from Yale at the age of nineteen, and soon
went to England for the purpose of studying painting. At the end of two
years he received the gold medal of the Adelphia Society of Arts for an
original model of a “Dying Hercules,” his first attempt at sculpture.
The following year he exhibited “The Judgment of Jupiter,” a painting
praised by his teacher, Mr. West. Becoming quite proficient in painting
and sculpture, he returned home in 1815, following his profession in
Boston, Charleston, South Carolina, and later in New York city. At the
latter place, in connection with other artists, he organized a drawing
association, which resulted in the establishment of the National Academy
of Design. Prof. Morse was chosen its first President, and was continued
in that office for the following sixteen years. He painted a great many
portraits, among which was a full length portrait of Lafayette, which
was highly prized and commended by the Association. In 1829 he visited
Europe a second time to complete his studies in art reading for more
than three years in the principal cities of the continent. During his
absence abroad he was elected Professor of the literature of the Arts of
Design in the University of New York; and in 1835 he delivered a course
of lectures before that school on the affinity of those arts.

While in college Mr. Morse had paid special attention to chemistry and
natural philosophy; but his love of art seemed to be the stronger;
later, however, these sciences became a dominant pursuit with him. As
far back as 1826-‘7, he and Prof. J. Freeman Dana had been colleague
lecturers at the Athenæum in the City of New York, the former lecturing
on the fine arts, and the latter upon electro-magnetism. They were
intimate friends, and in their conversation the subject of
electro-magnetism was made familiar to the mind of Morse. The
electro-magnet on Sturgeon’s principle–the first ever shown in the
United States–was exhibited and explained in Dana’s lectures, and at a
later date, by gift of Prof. Torrey, came into Morse’s possession. Dana
even then suggested, by his spiral volute coil, the electro-magnet of
the present day; this was the magnet in use when Morse returned from
Europe, and it is now used in every Morse telegraph throughout both
hemispheres.

On his second return to the United States he embarked from Havre on the
packet ship Sully, in the autumn of 1832 and in a casual conversation
with some of the passengers on the then recent discovery in France of
the means of obtaining the electric spark from the magnet, showing the
identity or relation of electricity and magnetism, Morse’s mind
conceived, not merely the idea of an electric telegraph, but of an
electro-magnetic and chemical recording telegraph; substantially and
essentially as it now exists. The testimony to the paternity of the idea
in Morse’s mind, and to his acts and drawings on board the ship is
ample. His own testimony was corroborated by all the passengers with a
single exception, Thomas Jackson, who claimed to have originated the
idea and imparted the same to Morse. However, there is little
controversy in regard to this matter at the present day as the courts
decided irrevocably in favor of Morse. The year 1832 is fixed as the
date of Morse’s conception and realization, also, so far as drawings
could embody the conception of the telegraph system; which now bears his
name. A part of the apparatus was constructed in New York before the
close of the first year, but circumstances prevented its completion
before 1835, when he put up a-half mile of wire in coil around a room
and exhibited the telegraph in operation. Two years later he exhibited
the operation of his system before the University of New York.

From the greater publicity of this exhibition the date of Morse’s
invention has erroneously been fixed in the autumn of 1837, whereas he
operated successfully with the first single instrument in November,
1835. In 1837 he filed his caveat in the Patent Office in Washington,
and asked Congress for aid to build an experimental line from that city
to Baltimore. The House Committee on Commerce gave a favorable report,
but the session closed without action, and Morse went to Europe in the
hope of interesting foreign governments in his invention. The result was
a refusal to grant him letters patent in England, and the obtaining of a
useless _brevet d’invention_ in France, and no exclusive privileges in
any other country. He returned home to struggle again with scanty means
for four years, during which he continued his appeals at Washington. His
hope had expired on the last evening of the session of 1842-3; but in
the morning, March 4th, he was startled with the announcement that the
desired aid of Congress had been obtained in the midnight hour of the
expiring session, and $30,000 placed at his disposal for his
experimental essay between Washington and Baltimore. In 1844 the work
was completed, and demonstrated to the world the practicability and the
utility of the Morse system of electro-magnetic telegraphing. Violations
of his patents and assumption of his rights by rival companies involved
him in a long series of law suits; but these were eventually decided in
his favor, and he reaped the benefits to which his invention entitled
him.

It is doubtful if any American ever before received so many marks of
distinction. In 1846 Yale College conferred on him the degree of LL.D.;
in 1848 he received the decoration of the _Nishan Iftikur_ in diamonds
from the Sultan of Turkey; gold medals of scientific merit were awarded
him by the king of Prussia; the king of Wurtemberg, and the Emperor of
Austria. In 1856 he received from the Emperor of the French the cross of
Chevalier of the Legion of Honor; in 1857 from the King of Denmark the
cross of Knight Commander of the First Class of the Danebrog; in 1858
from the Queen of Spain the cross of Knight Commander of the Order of
Isabella the Catholic; from the king of Italy the cross of the Order of
SS. Maurice and Lazarus, and from the king of Portugal the cross of the
Order of the Tower and Sword. In 1856 the telegraph companies of Great
Britain gave him a banquet in London; and in Paris, in 1858, another
banquet was given him by Americans numbering more than 100, and
representing almost every State in the Union. In the latter year, at the
instance of Napoleon III, representatives of France, Russia, Sweden,
Belgium, Holland, Austria, Sardinia, Tuscany, the Holy See, and Turkey
met in Paris to decide upon a collective testimonial to him, and the
result was a vote of 400,000 francs as a personal reward for his labors.
On December 29th, 1868, the citizens of New York gave him a public
dinner. In June, 1871, a bronze statue of him, erected by the voluntary
contributions of telegraph employes, was formally unveiled in Central
Park, New York, by William Cullen Bryant, and in the evening a reception
was held in the Academy of Music, at which Prof. Morse telegraphed, by
means of one of the instruments used on the original line between New
York and Washington, a message of greeting to all the cities of the
continent.

The last public service which he performed was the unveiling of the
statue of Franklin in Printing House Square, New York, on January 17th,
1872. Submarine telegraphy also originated with Prof. Morse, who laid
the first sub-marine lines, in New York harbor in 1842, and received at
the time from the American Institute a gold medal. He died in the city
of New York April 2nd, 1872. While in Paris in 1839 he made the
acquaintance of Daguerre, and from drawings furnished him by the
latter, he constructed, on his return, the first daguerreotype
apparatus, and took the first sun pictures ever taken in America. He was
also an author and poet of some standing.

 

 

CYRUS W. FIELD.

 

There are few people living who have not heard of Cyrus W. Field. Few
people, however, have taken the trouble to learn more of him other than
the fact that to him are we indebted for the Atlantic Cable, and THIS
information has been forced upon them.

One often hears the old saying, “blood tells,” and when we review the
Field family we are constrained to admit its truth. David Dudly Field,
Sr., the father, was a noted Divine. He had a family of seven sons, the
oldest of which, David Dudly, Jr., is a most conspicuous lawyer. Stephen
Johnson, has held some of the most exalted positions as a jurist within
the gift of the nation and his adopted State, California. Henry Martyn,
is a renowned editor and Doctor of Divinity. Matthew D. is an expert
engineer, and in this capacity did much to aid the success of the cable
which has made famous for all time the subject of this narrative.
Matthew is also a somewhat noted and successful politician. Another
brother, Timothy, entered the navy, and we doubt not would have become
equally distinguished but for his untimely death. Cyrus West, was born
at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, November 30th, 1819. Unlike the
Appletons, Harpers and numerous other noted families, the Fields seemed
to discard the idea “in union is there strength,” each selecting his own
calling, to become individually singled out and honored.

As heretofore shown, almost the entire Field family have made history,
but upon Cyrus does the world bestow the greatest distinction. He was
the only brother choosing a mercantile life, and at the age of fifteen,
nearly sixteen, he was apprenticed to the great A. T. Stewart. After his
apprenticeship he returned to Massachusetts and started a small
paper-mill, and still later came to New York again, this time to open a
paper warehouse, but for some reason failed. One feature of the great
success which has attended Mr. Field was his stick-to-it-iveness which
enabled him to ‘fight it out on that line if it took all summer.’ He
accordingly compromised the matter with his creditors, re-established
the business, profited by his past mistakes, and in the course of eleven
or twelve years had amassed an ample fortune. Accordingly, about 1853,
he decided to retire, and spent six months traveling in South America,
not, however, until he had enclosed a check to each of his old
creditors, thereby discharging a moral obligation, although not legally
bound.

In the meantime, a Mr. Gibson had enlisted the sympathy of his brother
Matthew, the engineer, in a transatlantic telegraph company, which was
to be carried on by a co-operation of the telegraph, and a system of
fast ocean steamers. Although adverse to all thought of resuming _any_
business this brother obtained for Mr. Gibson an audience, and he
presented to Mr. Field his scheme which involved a telegraphic
communication between New York and St. John; hence, by fast ocean
steamers, Mr. Gibson left without gaining his object, but upon
reflection Mr. Field suddenly exclaimed: “Why not run a wire through the
ocean itself, instead of ending it at St. John?” Although it is claimed
that Field had never heard of such an idea, yet it did not originate
with him. In fact, a cable was then in operation between Dover and
Calais, connecting England and France. Having become imbued with this
plan he at once consulted his brother David as to what legal obstacles
might possibly arise, and being satisfied on that score, he set about
the accomplishment of his purpose.

He saw Peter Cooper and several other moneyed men and solicited their
aid, forming a company, with Peter Cooper as president. Matthew was now
interested as chief engineer, and David as counsel. These will be
remembered as two of the famous brothers. The burden of the work,
however, fell upon our hero. He seemed to be everywhere. First in
Newfoundland, where he bought the rights of a rival company then before
the Provincial Government, where his influence secured the consent of
the legislature of Newfoundland. Then he is over in England, where he is
successful in not only securing the necessary rights and privileges to
occupy British territory, but the special favor of the Queen and the
capital stock of about $1,680,000, which it was hoped could be placed in
England, was taken in a few weeks, and not only this but the British
government agreed to pay an annual subsidy of about $68,000, for the use
of the cable by that government and ships, not only for surveying but to
help lay the cable.

Mr. Field now ordered the cable made, and again set sail for America,
and is soon at the national capitol trying to enlist the sympathy and
aid of our country. The lobby and other influences seemed to be against
him, and he met with the cold shoulder at every turn, but nothing
dismayed this man. At last the bill passed the Senate by the majority of
but one vote, and in the Lower House by an absolutely small majority,
but after a hard fight it became a fixed thing, and received the
signature of President Buchanan.

Reader, look back upon the trials of Cyrus Field as you have followed
them thus far; imagine if you can the trouble, vexation and
disappointments which have thus far attended him, and when you think
that he had all this trouble to get PERMISSION to lay the cable, and
that while he had already passed through much; yet his disappointments
were destined to be tenfold greater ere success attended him; will you
say he is undeserving of that success? The rights are secure; the stock
taken; the cable is done and all seems fair sailing.

The Agamemnon of the Royal Mary and the Niagara, furnished by the United
States government, started with their precious burden. The paying out
machine kept up its steady revolutions. Slowly, but surely, the cable
slips over the side and into the briny deep. Many eminent men were
eagerly watching with Mr. Field on the Niagara; a gradual solemnity took
possession of the entire ship’s company. Who would not be interested?
Who would not feel the powerful pressure of responsibility, and when at
last the too sudden application of a break parted the cable, and it
wholly disappeared from view, the shock was too much for the stoutest
nerves. All appeared to feel that a dear friend had just slipped the
cable of life, and had gone to make his grave beneath the deep waters.

But of all that sad company, Mr. Field is the least dismayed. He
recognized that a most expensive and disastrous accident had happened;
but the belief was firmly fixed in his mind that the plan was
practicable. He was now offered the position of General Manager, at a
salary of $5,000 per year. The position he accepted, but declined the
salary.

In 1858 the second attempt was begun, but when about two hundred miles
had been laid, the cable parted, and the result of months of labor and
large capital was remorsefully swallowed up by the mighty deep. But
while all seemed ready to give up, Cyrus Field seemed to be everywhere.
His activity seemed to exceed the bounds of human endurance. Many were
the successive twenty-four hours in which he had no sleep, and his
friends were alarmed lest he and the new enterprise should break
together.

By his assiduousness the work was recommenced this same year, and on the
5th of August, 1858, was completed. Messages were exchanged between
Queen Victoria and President Buchanan, and for about a month the cable
worked perfectly, amid great rejoicing, when all at once it stopped; the
cable refused to respond. Few thought the project would be prosecuted
further, but they miscalculated the power of endurance, the possession
of which has brought the success of that man whom they now envy,
“because fortune has smiled upon him more especially than them.”

How often do we find ourselves wishing we were as rich as some person,
or as influential as another; when we have but to follow their example,
do as they have done, endure what they have endured to acquire the
coveted success.

If we would stop to consider that seventy-three per cent. of our great
men were poor boys, we would readily see that those we now envy are only
enjoying the fruit of their own toil.

The civil war broke out and all work was suspended, but in 1863 a new
cable was ordered of Gloss, Elliot & Company in London, and a capital of
$3,000,000 was raised by the indomitable energy of Mr. Field. The Great
Eastern was employed to lay it, and on the 23rd day of July, 1865, that
leviathan of the deep, started on her momentous journey, successfully
traversing about three-fourths of the entire distance, when the cable
once more parted, carrying with it to the bottom of the ocean every fond
hope cherished by so many. But once more arose Cyrus West Field, and an
entirely new company is formed, and $3,000,000 more is raised. On
Friday, July 13th, 1866, the Great Eastern once more starts, and on
Friday, the 27th of July, the following cablegram is received.

“HEARTS CONTENT, July 27th.

“We arrived here at nine o’clock this morning. All well, thank God.
The Cable is laid, and is in perfect working order.

“Signed,
CYRUS W. FIELD.”

To make the victory more complete, the Great Eastern again put to sea,
raised the cable which was lost the preceding year, spliced it, and the
two have since been in constant use.

Who dares deny that Cyrus W. Field is not deserving of enduring fame?
For thirteen years he had borne the brunt of all the ridicule and sneers
directed at this greatest enterprise of modern history. He has been
bitterly denounced by many as a capitalist, a monopolist, and the like;
but if the world has been benefited so many millions by the Ocean
Telegraph, it seems to us that the BEST is inadequate as a reward to its
proprietor.

 

 

GEORGE M. PULLMAN.

 

The subject of this sketch we consider one of the greatest of
philanthropists. He is a modest man, and for this reason disclaimed all
desire to be known as a benefactor. But we cannot now think of any one
who is more clearly identified with the great effort which is going on
for the benefit of mankind.

He is a native of the grand old empire State, being born in the western
part of New York, March 3rd, 1831. His father was a mechanic of some
note, but died before George was of age, leaving him to help support his
mother and younger brothers.

He worked for a time in a furniture establishment, but this kind of
employment did not satisfy his active nature, and he went to Chicago,
where his enterprise could have sea room. He at first became identified
with the work of raising and placing new foundations under several large
buildings of that city. He helped raise a whole block several feet high,
an enterprise which was accomplished without hardly a break,
discontinuing none of the business firms who occupied the building,
their business being carried on uninterrupted.

George M. Pullman had a perceptive mind–so have all truly successful
men. He perceived that while the railway coaches were far superior to
the old stages, yet they were far inferior to what he imagined they
ought to be. He at once applied to the Chicago and Alton railway
management and laid his plan before them. They furnished him with two
old coaches, with which to experiment. These he fitted up with bunks,
and while they were not to be compared with the elegant palaces which he
has since constructed, still one could lie down and sleep all night,
which was so far in advance of anything the people had seen, that they
were very highly appreciated.

He now went to Colorado, and engaged in various mining schemes, but here
he was out of his sphere, and after a three years’ sojourn, returned to
Chicago. His active imagination had thought out many improvements on the
cars he had previously constructed; and he had also secured capital with
which to carry out his ideas. Fitting up a shop on the Chicago and Alton
road, he constructed two coaches, at the then fabulous cost of $18,000
each. The management of the various western roads looked upon such
enterprise as visionary. George M. Pullman, however, cared but little
about their opinion.

The Union and Pacific was then exciting much attention. He knew that on
the completion of such a road, travelers would appreciate a car in which
they could enjoy the comforts of home for the entire tedious trip. To
say that his hopes were fully realized, would be inadequate. So popular
did they become, that his shops at Chicago could not begin to fill the
demands made upon it for his parlor, dining, and sleeping cars. Branches
were started at Detroit, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and various places in
Europe.

These establishments, of necessity, could not come under his immediate
supervision he, therefore, conceived the idea of concentrating his
business into one vast establishment, and gathered about him a force of
skilled workmen. He looked upon Chicago and its locality as the coming
center of population in the United States; but a site in that city would
be far too expensive, if indeed one could have been found sufficient for
his purpose. About twelve to fifteen miles from Chicago was a swamp: it
was considered worthless, but it was as easy for this natural mechanic
to conceive the idea of draining this tract of land, as it was to
conceive methods to raise buildings. A very large force of men were put
to work draining; gas-pipes were laid; streets were laid out and graded,
and an architect employed to draw the plans for the building of a whole
city at once. Gigantic work-shops were built, and a water supply brought
from Lake Michigan, miles away. Besides all this, over fourteen hundred
beautiful homes were built before any man was asked to come to Pullman
to enter the shops. A bank was opened, a library, containing thousands
of volumes, was provided; all these things were brought about by Mr.
Pullman. He has expended several million of dollars in beautifying and
providing for the comfort and pleasure of his employes. The buildings
are not mushroom affairs, but substantial brick edifices which give this
place an appearance which will compare favorably with any city. He built
a fine hotel, and erected a beautiful church, placing a rich toned organ
in it, which alone cost $3,500. Every honest tradesman can come to
Pullman. None but liquor dealers or men who desire to keep low
groggeries are excluded. No property is sold, but if a party desires to
live there he applies to the Superintendent, and a lease is given, which
can be cancelled by either party at ten days’ notice. Nothing but liquor
is forbidden. A man can squander his time, can gamble, possibly, but he
cannot obtain drink; the result is, there are no policemen. No visible
form of government, save Mr. Pullman, and yet this is a city of nearly
eight thousand people. The people are not muddled with drink; they are
promptly paid; their ‘personal’ rights are not interfered with, save in
respect to the selling of liquor; they are contented and happy. Mr.
Pullman has been largely identified with the Metropolitan Railway and
the Eagleton Wire Works in New York city. But the name of Pullman is
destined to long remain a synonym of philanthropy. He has practically
demonstrated the benefit of legislation against the sale of intoxicating
liquors as a beverage. He claims to have done this as a business policy,
and disclaims all honor as a philanthropist. We answer, would that we
had more men who would follow this kind of a business policy.

 

 

THOMAS A. EDISON.

 

On February 11th, 1845, was born at Milan, Ohio, Thomas A. Edison, now a
little over 42 years of age, and to-day enjoying a reputation as an
inventor that is without a parallel in history.

At eight or nine years of age he began to earn his own living, selling
papers. When twelve years old his enterprise, pushed by ambition,
secured him a position as newsboy on the Grand Trunk Railroad. Here his
inventive genius manifested itself. Arranging with station agents along
the line, he caused the headings of news to be telegraphed ahead, the
agents posting the same in some conspicuous place. By this means the
profits of his business were greatly augmented. He next fitted up a
small printing press in one corner of a car, and when not busy in his
regular work as newsboy, successfully published a small paper. The
subject-matter was contributed by employes on the road, and young Edison
was the proprietor, editor, publisher and selling agent. He also carried
on electrical experiments in one corner of the car.

Finally, he entered one of the offices on the road, and here he learned
the art of telegraphy. The next few years he was engaged as an operator
in several of the largest cities throughout the Union, such as
Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, Boston, New York, Memphis, and
Port Huron. He not only became one of the most expert operators in the
country, but his office was a labratory for electrical experiment. All
day long he attended to the duties of his office, and at night one would
find him busy at experiments tending toward the development of the use
of the telegraph.

Hard work and frequent wanderings at last found him developing his ideas
in Boston. He brought out duplex telegraphy and suggested a printing
telegraph for the use of gold and stock quotations. His ability becoming
so apparent he was retained by wealthy men in New York at a high salary.
In 1876 he removed to Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he fitted up an
extensive labratory for the prosecution and development of his
enterprise.

Here he has won his world-wide fame, keeping two continents in a fevered
state of expectancy. Indeed, some of his inventions have been so
wonderful that he might be accredited with supernatural powers. By
improvement he brought the telephone of Gray, Bell, etc., from a mere
toy to an instrument of great commercial worth. Ten years ago hardly a
telephone was in use; now the business of our country would hardly know
how to do without it. Of all modern inventions connected with the
transmission of electrical sound the telephone has excited, perhaps, the
most interest. An instrument which not only transmits intelligible
signals great distances, but also the tones of the voice, so that the
voice shall be as certainly recognized when heard hundreds of miles away
as if the owner was speaking in the same room. No great skill is
required of the operator, and if a business man desires to speak with
another person he has but to step to an instrument in his own office,
ring a bell, and thus, through a central office, connect himself with
the instrument of the desired party, when a conversation can take place.

In its mechanism the telephone consists of a steel cylindrical magnet,
perhaps five inches long and one-half of an inch thick, encircled at one
end by a short bobbin of ebonite, on which is wound a quantity of fine
insulated copper wire. The two ends of the coil are soldered to thicker
pieces of copper wire which traverse the wooden envelop from end to end,
and terminate in the screws of its extremity. Immediately in front is a
thin circular plate of iron; this is kept in place by being jammed
between the main portion of the wooden case and the cap, which carries
the mouth or ear trumpet, which are screwed together. Such is the
instrument invented by Bell and Edison.

The means to produce light by electricity next occupied his attention,
and the Edison-Electric Light was the result. The electric current for
this light is generated by means of large magneto-electric machines,
which are driven by some motive power. It is the only light known to
science which can be compared to the rays of the sun. Especially is this
light useful in lighthouses, on board ships and for lighting streets in
cities. It is, however, used in factories, work-shops, large halls,
etc., and in the very near future will doubtless become a light in
private dwellings.

But, possibly, the most wonderful invention which has been the result of
the inventive conception of Mr. Edison is the phonograph, a simple
apparatus consisting in its original mechanism of a simple cylinder of
hollow brass, mounted upon a shaft, at one end of which is a crank for
turning it, and at the other a balance-wheel, the whole being supported
by two iron uprights. There is a mouth-piece, as in the telephone, which
has a vibrating membrane similar to the drum of a person’s ear. To the
other side of this membrane there is a light metal point or stylus,
which touches the tin-foil which is placed around the cylinder. The
operator turns the crank, at the same time talking into the mouth-piece;
the membrane vibrates under the impulses of the voice, and the stylus
marks the tin-foil in a manner to correspond with the vibrations of the
membrane. When the speaking is finished the machine is set back to where
it started on the tin-foil, and by once more turning the crank precisely
the same vibrations are repeated by the machines. These vibrations
effect the air, and this again the ear, and the listener hears the same
words come forth that were talked into the instrument. The tin-foil can
be removed, and, if uninjured, the sounds can be reproduced at any
future date.

Different languages can be reproduced at once, and the instrument can be
made to talk and sing at once without confusion. Indeed, so wonderful is
this piece of mechanism, that one must see it to be convinced. Even the
tone of voice is retained; and it will sneeze, whistle, echo, cough,
sing, etc., etc.

Improvements are in progress, notably among which is an apparatus to
impel it by clock work instead of a crank. The phonograph as yet has
never come into extended use, but its utility is obvious when its
mechanism is complete; business men can use it for dictating purposes,
as it is possible to put forty thousand words on a tin-foil sheet ten
inches square.

The invention of any one of the foregoing must have made for Mr. Edison
a world-wide fame, but when it is remembered that he has already taken
out over two hundred patents, one realizes something of the fertility of
his imagination. Many other inventions are worthy of note, which have
originated at the Menlo Park labratory, but space forbids, although it
is safe to predict that more startling inventions may yet be in store
for an expectant world.

[Illustration: ANXIOUS THOUGHTS.]

[Illustration: WHY SOME SUCCEED While Others Fail.]

 

 

WHY SOME SUCCEED While Others Fail.

 

 

SUCCESS AND FAILURE.

 

Young man, two ways are open before you in life. One points to
degradation and want, the other, to usefulness and wealth. In the old
Grecian races one only, by any possible means, could gain the prize, but
in the momentous race of human life there is no limiting of the prize to
one. No one is debarred from competing; all may succeed, provided the
right methods are followed. Life is not a lottery. Its prizes are not
distributed by chance.

There can hardly be a greater folly, not to say presumption, than that
of so many young men and women who, on setting out in life, conclude
that it is no use to mark out for themselves a course, and then set
themselves with strenuous effort to attain some worthy end; who
conclude, therefore, to commit themselves blindly to the current of
circumstances. Is it anything surprising that those who aim at nothing,
accomplish nothing in life? No better result could reasonably be
expected. Twenty clerks in a store; twenty apprentices in a ship-yard;
twenty young men in a city or village–all want to get on in the world;
most of them expect to succeed. One of the clerks will become a partner,
and make a fortune; one of the young men will find his calling and
succeed. But what of the other nineteen? They will fail; and miserably
fail, some of them. They expect to succeed, but they aim at nothing;
content to live for the day only, consequently, little effort is put
forth, and they reap a reward accordingly.

Luck! There is no luck about it. The thing is almost as certain as the
“rule of three.” The young man who will distance his competitors is he
who will master his business; who lives within his income, saving his
spare money; who preserves his reputation; who devotes his leisure hours
to the acquisition of knowledge; and who cultivates a pleasing manner,
thus gaining friends. We hear a great deal about luck. If a man succeeds
finely in business, he is said to have “good luck.” He may have labored
for years with this one object in view, bending every energy to attain
it. He may have denied himself many things, and his seemingly sudden
success may be the result of years of hard work, but the world looks in
and says: “He is lucky.” Another man plunges into some hot-house scheme
and loses: “He is unlucky.” Another man’s nose is perpetually on the
grind-stone; he also has “bad luck.” No matter if he follows inclination
rather than judgment, if he fails, as he might know he would did he but
exercise one-half the judgment he does possess, yet he is never willing
to ascribe the failure to himself–he invariably ascribes it to bad
luck, or blames some one else.

Luck! There is no such factor in the race for success. Rufus Choate once
said, “There is little in the theory of luck which will bring man
success; but work, guided by thought, will remove mountains or tunnel
them.” Carlyle said, “Man know thy work, then do it.” How often do we
see the sign: “Gentlemen WILL not; OTHERS MUST NOT loaf in this room.”
True, gentlemen never loaf, but labor. Fire-flies shine only in motion.
It is only the active who will be singled out to hold responsible
positions. The fact that their ability is manifest is no sign that they
are lucky.

Thiers, of France, was once complimented thus: “It is marvelous, Mr.
President, how you deliver long improvised speeches about which you have
not had time to reflect.” His reply was: “You are not paying me a
compliment; it is criminal in a statesman to improvise speeches on
public affairs. Those speeches I have been fifty years preparing.”
Daniel Webster’s notable reply to Hayne was the result of years of study
on the problem of State Rights. Professor Mowry once told the following
story: “A few years ago a young man went into a cotton factory and spent
a year in the card room. He then devoted another year to learning how to
spin; still another how to weave. He boarded with a weaver, and was
often asking questions. Of course he picked up all kinds of knowledge.
He was educating himself in a good school, and was destined to graduate
high in his class. He became superintendent of a small mill at $1,500 a
year. One of the large mills in Fall River was running behind hand.
Instead of making money the corporation was losing. They needed a
first-class man to manage the mill, and applied to a gentleman in Boston
well acquainted with the leading men engaged in the manufacture of
cotton. He told them he knew of a young man who would suit them, but
they would have to pay him a large salary.

“What salary will he require?” “I cannot tell, but I think you will have
to pay him $6,000 a year.” “That is a large sum; we have never paid so
much.” “No, probably not, and you have never had a competent man. The
condition of your mill and the story you have told me to-day show the
result. I do not think he would go for less, but I will advise him to
accept if you offer him that salary.” The salary was offered, the man
accepted, and he saved nearly forty per cent. of the cost of making the
goods the first year. Soon he had a call from one of the largest
corporations in New England, at a salary of $10,000 per year. He had
been with this company but one year when he was offered another place at
$15,000 per year. Now some will say: “Well, he was lucky, this gentleman
was a friend who helped him to a fat place.”

My dear reader, with such we have little patience. It is evident that
this young man was determined to succeed from the first. He mastered his
business, taking time and going thorough. When once the business was
mastered his light began to shine. Possibly the gentleman helped him to
a higher salary than he might have accepted, but it is also evident that
his ability was manifest. The gentleman knew whereof he spoke. The old
proverb that “Circumstances make men” is simply a wolf in wool. Whether
a man is conditioned high or low; in the city or on the farm: “If he
will; he will.” “They can who think they can.” “Wishes fail but wills
prevail.” “Labor is luck.” It is better to make our descendants proud of
us than to be proud of our ancestry. There is hardly a conceivable
obstacle to success that some of our successful men have not overcome:
“What man has done, man can do.” “Strong men have wills; weak ones,
wishes.”

In the contest, wills prevail. Some writers would make men sticks
carried whither the tide takes them. We have seen that biography vetoes
this theory. Will makes circumstances instead of being ruled by them.
Alexander Stephens, with a dwarf’s body, did a giant’s work. With a
broken scythe in the race he over-matched those with fine
mowing-machines. Will-power, directed by a mind that was often
replenished, accomplished the desired result.

Any one can drift. It takes pluck to stem an unfavorable current. A man
fails and lays it to circumstances. The fact too frequently is that he
swallowed luxuries beyond his means. A gentleman asked a child who made
him. The answer was: “God made me so long–measuring the length of a
baby–and I growed the rest.” The mistake of the little deist in leaving
out the God of his growth illustrates a conviction: We are what we make
ourselves.

Garfield once said: “If the power to do hard work is not talent it is
the best possible substitute for it.” Things don’t turn up in this world
until some one turns them up. A POUND of pluck is worth a TON of luck.
Luck is a false light; you may follow it to ruin, but never to success.
If a man has ability which is reinforced by energy, the fact is
manifest, and he will not lack opportunities. The fortunes of mankind
depend so much upon themselves, that it is entirely legitimate to
enquire by what means each may make or mar his own happiness; may
achieve success or bring upon himself the sufferings of failure.

 

 

CONCENTRATION OF EFFORT.

 

The man who has no occupation, is in a sad plight: The man who lacks
concentration of effort is worse off. In a recent test of the power of
steel plates, designed for ship armor, one thousand cannon were fired at
once against it, but without avail. A large cannon was then brought out.
This cannon used but one-tenth as much powder as did the combined force
of the others, yet, it was found, when the smoke had cleared away, that
the ball had pierced the plate. Ten times the powder needed availed
naught, because, the law of concentration was disregarded.

One of the essential requisites to success is concentration. Every young
man, therefore, should early ascertain his strong faculties, and
discern, if possible, his especial fitness for any calling which he may
choose. A man may have the most dazzling talents, but if his energies
are scattered he will accomplish nothing. Emerson says: “A man is like a
bit of Labrador spar, which has no lustre as you turn it in your hand,
until you come to a particular angle; then it shows deep and beautiful
colors.” There is no adaptation or universal applicability in man.
Dryden has said:

“What the child admired,
The youth endeavored, and the man acquired.”

Is it not so? Do we not find Michael Angelo neglecting school to copy
drawings? Henry Clay learning pieces to recite in the barn or corn
field? Yet, as Goethe says: “We should guard against a talent which we
cannot hope to practice in perfection. Improve it as we may, we shall
always, in the end, when the merit of the master has become apparent to
us, painfully lament the loss of time and strength devoted to such
botching.”

The man who would know one thing well, must have the courage to be
ignorant of a thousand other things, no matter how attractive they may
be, or how desirable it may seem to try them. P. T. Barnum, the veteran
showman, who has lost several fortunes but risen above all, paid every
dollar of his indebtedness, and is to-day a millionaire, says in his
lecture on ‘The Art of Money Getting’:

“Be a whole man in whatever you undertake. This wholeness is just what
distinguishes the shabby, blundering mechanic from the splendid workman.
In earlier times, when our country was new, there might have been a
chance for the man who gave only one corner of his brain to his chosen
calling, but in these days of keen competition it demands the most
thorough knowledge of the business, and the most earnest application to
bring success. Stick to your business, and you may be sure that your
business will stick to you. It is this directing your whole mind and
energies at one point, that brings success.”

“The first thing a young man should do after selecting his vocation is to
become thoroughly satisfied with his choice. He must be thoroughly
satisfied or he is defeated at the start. In arriving at this decision
he must bear in mind that if he would find a calling in which all will
be sunshine, where the clouds never darken the pathway, he must look in
some other world for that calling. On earth there are no such callings
to be found.”

“When we see Spurgeon, the great London preacher, swaying the
multitudes, we possibly do not remember the time when, as a poor boy of
but eighteen, he begins preaching on the street corners to a shabby
crowd. We would possibly be willing to partake of the fame that he may
now enjoy, but might object to the pastoral visiting he is obliged to do
each week. We would not object to the fame of Webster, of Calhoun or of
Clay, but we might think it tedious to work night after night to obtain
the knowledge which brought this fame. Ah! how many of us would ‘peter’
out in a short time? When one is satisfied with his calling he must work
at it, if need be, day and night, early and late, in season and out of
season, never deferring for a single hour that which can NOW be done.
The old proverb, ‘What is worth doing at all is worth doing well,’ was
never truer than it is to-day.”

A certain class are clamoring for a division of the national wealth.
They are like the worthless vagabond who said to the rich man, “I have
discovered that there is money enough in the world for all of us if it
was equally divided; this must be done, and we shall all be happy
together.” “But,” replied the rich man, “if everybody was like you it
would be spent in two months, and what would we then do?” “Oh! divide
again; keep dividing, of course!” And yet a very considerable number of
people think this is the solution of the labor problem. The point is, we
must distinguish the dividing line between the rights of property and
the wrongs of oppression. Either extreme is fatal. Education is surely
the solution of the labor question.

Listen: Our country is the freest, the grandest, the best governed of
any nation on earth; yet we spend yearly nine hundred million dollars
for drink, and only eighty-five million for education. Thus, while one
dollar tends to education and wealth, over ten dollars is used to bring
ignorance, degradation, and want. Over ten times the influence for evil
that there is for good. Where is the remedy? Let Congress, which is
supposed to control our interests, legislate against ignorance and for
education. Suppose that nine hundred millions were yearly used to
educate deserving young men and women in colleges; inaugurated into a
“fresh-air fund” for the children in our large cities who have never
been under its ennobling influence, but who, on the contrary, have never
seen aught but vice and degradation. Nine hundred millions in one year.
Nine thousand millions in ten years. How many thousands of young men
could go through college if aided each, $100 per year. If it were wholly
devoted to this purpose nine million young people could be helped
through college in four years–in ten years there would be eighteen or
twenty million college graduates from this source alone, what would be
the result.

Suppose again that the money was devoted to building tenement houses
that would be fit for human beings to live in, look at the wonderful
good that could be done. I am not desirous of giving here a dry
temperance lecture; but the object of this work is to aid others to
success, and if vice and drink were removed there would be but little
need for further advice. Ah! there lies the root of the evil. Strike the
root, pull it up and trample it under foot until it is dead. Never allow
it to take root again, and you can reasonably expect to be at least
fairly successful.

This chapter is on “Concentration of Effort”. Possibly some will imagine
that we have wandered; not at all, as we see it. The abolition of these
vices tends toward concentration; bad habits, of no matter what nature
lead to failure and tend to draw the attention from one’s calling. Then
let the young man who would succeed join his heart, his sympathies, his
desires, with the right; let him live a consistent life; let him lead a
strictly temperate life; let him give his whole influence to temperance,
resting assured that if he puts his purposes into action that he will
succeed in more ways than one.

 

 

SELF-RELIANCE.

 

Of all the elements of success, none is more essential than
self-reliance,–determination to be one’s own helper, and not to look to
others for support. God never intended that strong independent beings
should be reared by clinging to others, like the ivy to the oak, for
support.

“God helps those who help themselves,” and how true we find this quaint
old saying to be. Every youth should feel that his future happiness in
life must necessarily depend upon himself; the exercise of his own
energies, rather than the patronage of others. A man is in a great
degree the arbiter of his own fortune. We are born with powers and
faculties capable of almost anything, but it is the exercise of these
powers and faculties that gives us ability and skill in anything. The
greatest curse that can befall a young man is to lean, while his
character is forming, upon others for support.

James A. Garfield, himself one of the greatest examples of the
possibilities in our glorious Republic, once said:–

“The man who dares not follow his own independent judgment, but runs
perpetually to others for advice, becomes at last a moral weakling, and
an intellectual dwarf. Such a man has not self within him, but goes as a
supplicant to others, and entreats, one after another, to lend them
theirs. He is, in fact, a mere element of a human being, and is carried
about the world an insignificant cipher, unless he by chance fastens
himself to some other floating elements, with which he may form a
species of corporation resembling a man.” The best capital with which a
young man can start in life, nine times out of ten, is robust health,
good morals, fair ability and an iron will, strengthened by a
disposition to work at some honest vocation.

We have seen in the preceding pages that a vast majority of our great
men started life with these qualifications and none other. The greatest
heroes in battle, the greatest orators, ancient or modern, were sons of
obscure parents. The greatest fortunes ever accumulated on earth were
the fruit of great exertion. From Croesus down to Astor the story is the
same. The oak that stands alone to contend with the tempest’s blast only
takes deeper root and stands the firmer for ensuing conflicts; while the
forest tree, when the woodman’s axe has spoiled its surroundings, sways
and bends and trembles, and perchance is uprooted: so is it with man.
Those who are trained to self-reliance are ready to go out and contend
in the sternest battles of life; while those who have always leaned for
support upon those around them are never prepared to breast the storms
of life that arise.

How many young men falter and faint for what they imagine is necessary
capital for a start. A few thousands or even hundreds, in his purse, he
fancies to be about the only thing needful to secure his fortune. How
absurd is this; let the young man know now, that he is unworthy of
success so long as he harbors such ideas. No man can gain true success,
no matter how situated, unless he depends upon no one but himself;
remember that. Does not history bear us out in this? We remember the
adage, “Few boys who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth ever
achieve greatness.” By this we would not argue that wealth is
necessarily derogatory to the success of youth; to the contrary, we
believe it can be a great help in certain cases and conditions; but we
have long since discarded the idea that early wealth is a pre-eminent
factor in success; if we should give our unbiased opinion, we should say
that, to a vast majority of cases, it is a pre-eminent factor of
failure. Give a youth wealth, and you only too often destroy all
self-reliance which he may possess.

Let that young man rejoice, rather, whom God hath given health and a
faculty to exercise his faculties. The best kind of success is not that
which comes by accident, for as it came by chance it will go by chance.
The wisest charity, in a vast majority of cases, is helping people to
help themselves. Necessity is very often the motive power which sets in
motion the sluggish energies. We thus readily see that poverty can be an
absolute blessing to youth. A man’s true position in the world is that
which he himself attains.

How detestable to us is the Briton’s reverence of pedigree. Americans
reverence achievement, and yet we are tending towards the opposite.
Witness society, as it bows with smile and honor to the eight-dollar
clerk, while frowning on the eighteen dollar laborer. This is wrong;
work is work, and all work is honorable. It is not only wrong, but
disgraceful. It is better to make our ancestry proud of us than to be
proud of our ancestors. He is a man for what he does, not for what his
father or his friends have done. If they have given him a position, the
greater is his shame for sinking beneath that position. The person who
is above labor or despises the laborer, is himself one of the most
despicable creatures on God’s earth. He not only displays a dull
intelligence of those nobler inspirations with which God has endowed us,
but he even shows a lack of plain common sense.

The noblest thing in this world is work. Wise labor brings order out of
chaos; it builds cities; it distinguishes barbarism from civilization;
it brings success. No man has a right to a fortune; he has no right to
expect success, unless he is willing to work for it. A brother of the
great orator, Edmund Burke, after listening to one of those eloquent
appeals in Parliament, being noticed as employed in deep thought, was
asked of whom he was musing. He replied: “I have been wondering how Ned
contrived to monopolize all the talent in the family; but I remember
that all through childhood, while we were at play, he was at study.”

Ah! that’s it. The education, moral or intellectual, must be chiefly his
own work. Education is education, no matter how obtained. We do not wish
to be understood as depreciating the usefulness of colleges; not at all.
But a mere college diploma will avail a young man but little. As before
stated, education, no matter how obtained, is equally valuable. Study
like that of Webster and Greeley, by New Hampshire pine knots, and that
of Thurlow Weed before the sap-house fire, is just as valuable, when
once obtained, as if it had the sanction of some college president.

The world will only ask, “What can he do?” and will not care a fig for
any college certificate. The point is; if a young man be not endowed by
self-reliance and a firm determination, colleges will avail him nothing;
but if he have these, colleges will push him wonderfully. Nevertheless,
colleges are not essential to success–an educated idiot will never make
a statesman. It is said that when John C. Calhoun was attending Yale
College he was ridiculed for his intense application to his studies. He
replied, “Why, sir, I am forced to make the most of my time, that I may
acquit myself creditably when in Congress.” A laugh followed which
roused his Southern blood, and he exclaimed: “Do you doubt it? I assure
you that if I was not convinced of my ability to reach the National
Capitol as a representative within three years from my graduation, I
would leave college this very day.” While there are some things in this
speech that were possibly unbecoming; yet the principle of
self-reliance, this faith in himself, this high aim in life, was
undoubtedly the marked characteristic which brought to Calhoun his
splendid success.

No young man will ever succeed who will not cultivate a thinking mind.
If he is not original in aims and purposes he will not succeed. Witness
the attempt of others to continue the business of Stewart. They had not
only his experience, but the benefit of his great wealth; he succeeded
without either–they failed with both; he was obliged to establish a
business–they had the benefit of his great patronage.

It has been said that a lawyer cannot be a merchant. Why? While a lawyer
he thinks for himself: When a merchant he allows others to think for
him. A certain great manufacturer made “kid” gloves his specialty, and
so well did he succeed that to-day his trade mark imports to
manufactured ratskins a value incommunicable by any other talisman. It
is a poor kind of enterprise which thus depends upon the judgment of
others. What can be more absurd than for a man to hope to rank as a
thundering Jupiter when he borrows all his thunder. Remember that the
world only crowns him as truly great who has won for himself that
greatness.

 

 

ECONOMY OF TIME.

“Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

 

How many young men for whom nature has done so much, “blush unseen,” and
waste their ability. Franklin said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not
squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” We have seen how
Franklin used his time. Born the son of a soap-boiler, lived to become
one of our most noted philosophers, died worth thousands. Advice from
such men carries conviction, for we cannot but feel that our chances
are fully equal to what theirs were.

Gladstone, England’s most noted Premier, once said, “Believe me when I
tell you that thrift of time will repay you in after-life with usury,
but the waste of it will make you dwindle away until you fairly sink out
of existence, unknown, unmourned.” Thurlow Weed was so poor in boyhood
that he was of necessity glad to use pieces of carpet to cover his all
but freezing feet; thus shod he walked two miles to borrow a history of
the French revolution, which he mastered stretched prone before the
sap-fire, while watching the kettles of sap transformed to maple sugar.
Thus was it that he laid the foundation of his education, which in after
years enabled him to sway such mighty power at Albany; known as the
“king maker.”

Elihu Burritt, a child of poverty, the son of a poor farmer, the
youngest of ten children. He was apprenticed at eighteen to a
blacksmith. He wanted to become a scholar and bought some Greek and
Latin works, carrying them in his pocket and studying as he worked at
the anvil. From these he went to Spanish, Italian and French. He always
had his book near him and improved every spare moment. He studied seven
languages in one single year. Then he taught school one year, but his
health failing, he went into the grocery business. Soon what money he
had was swept away by losses.

Here we see him at twenty-seven, life seemingly a failure. Alas! how
many would have given up. He left New Britain, his native town, walked
to Boston, and from there to Worcester, where he once more engaged
himself at his trade. His failure in business turns his attention once
more to study. He now is convinced as to the proper course to pursue,
his aim is fixed, and he now sets himself strenuously about the
accomplishment of his purpose. At thirty years of age he is master of
every language of Europe, and is turning his attention to those of Asia,
such as Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldaic. He is offered by a wealthy gentleman a
course in Harvard University, but prefers to work with his hands while
he studies.

He now begins to lecture, and everybody is eager to hear the learned
blacksmith. After a very successful tour he returns to the anvil. After
this he visits Europe, becomes the warm friend of John Bright and other
eminent men; writes books, lectures, edits newspapers, builds a church
and holds meetings himself. He said: “It is not genius that wins, but
hard work and a pure life.” He chose the best associates only, believing
that a boy’s companions have much to do with his success in life. At
sixty-eight he died, honored by two hemispheres.

If our readers want further proof as to the result of improving spare
moments, let them study the lives of such men as Douglass, Lincoln,
Grant, Garfield, Blaine, Cleveland, and others too numerous to mention,
and they will find that they were reared in the lower walks of life, but
by using every available minute they have been enabled to rise to
influence and usefulness. By this means they have worked the very odds
and ends of time, into results of the greatest value. An hour every day,
for ten years, will transform any one of ordinary ability from ignorance
to learning.

Think of it. One hour could be easily improved each evening, counting
three hundred week days to a year; in ten years you have spent three
thousand golden hours. If directed toward some specific end, think what
it would accomplish. Then there are the Sundays devoted to religious
knowledge. One of the first things to be learned by him who would
succeed, is ECONOMY OF TIME. Lost wealth can be replaced by industry;
lost health by hygiene; but lost time is gone forever.

The most frequent excuse one hears is: “I have no time.” They cheat
themselves with the delusion that they would like to do this or that,
but cannot as they have no leisure. Dear reader, did you ever think that
the more a person has to do, the more they feel they can do? Look at the
men in our own community who have done the most for mankind; are they
the wealthy, whose only duty seems to be to kill time? No. Almost
universally they are the over-worked class who seem already burdened
with cares. These are the men who find time to preside at public
meetings, and to serve on committees.

It is easier for an over-worked man to do a little more than for a lazy
one to get up steam. A light stroke will keep a hoop in motion, but it
takes a smart blow to start it. The busy man succeeds: While others are
yawning and stretching, getting their eyes open, he will see the
opportunity and improve it. Complain not that you have no leisure.
Rather be thankful that you are not cursed with it. Yes, curse it is
nine times out of ten. Think of the young man going to some vile place
of amusement to kill time, then think of that young man utilizing that
hour every night in the acquisition of knowledge which will fit him for
life’s journey. Think also of the money he will save. Leisure is too
often like a two-edged sword; it cuts both ways.

 

 

CAUSES OF FAILURE.

 

Horace Greeley has truly said: “If any man fancies that there is some
easier way of gaining a dollar than by squarely earning it he has lost
the clew to his way through this mortal labyrinth, and must henceforth
wander as chance may dictate.” Look about you; how many there are who
are determined to share all the good things of this world without
exchanging an equivalent. They go into business, but are not content to
wait patiently, adding one dollar to another, and thus rendering to
mankind an equivalent for this wealth for which they are asking. This
excessive haste to become rich is one of the most frequent causes of
failure. When a young man has decided to work with a will, and to
accumulate every dollar he legitimately can he has made a long stride
toward success. We do not deprecate a desire to be some one in the
world, but we do most emphatically frown upon the desire to get wealth
by speculation or illicit means. We most earnestly advise all young men
to choose a calling, become thoroughly master of that calling, then
pursue that vocation to success, avoiding all outside operations.
Another man who has dealt in stocks all his life may be able to succeed,
but your business is to stick to your vocation until, if necessary, you
fairly wring success from it.

Moses Taylor was a successful merchant, he had long deposited with the
City Bank, and was finally made its president. The late Commodore
Vanderbilt often tried to induce him to enter into his grand
speculations, but of no avail. At last the crash of ’57 came. The
bankers called a meeting to discuss the situation. One bank after
another reported drafts of from sixty to even ninety per cent. of their
specie. When Mr. Taylor was called he replied: “The City Bank contained
this morning $400,000; to-night we had $480,000.” This was the kind of a
bank president such principles made him.

Hardly anything is more fatal to success than a desire to become
suddenly rich. A business man now counts his wealth by the thousands,
but he sees a grand chance to speculate. This is a little risky, of
course, but then the old adage: “Never venture, never have.” I admit I
may lose, but then all men are subject to loss in any business, but I am
reasonably sure of gaining an immense amount. Why! what would folks
think? I would be a millionaire. I would do so and so. Thus he indulges
in this sort of reasoning, goes into a business of which he knows
nothing and loses all. Why wouldn’t he? Men who have made a study of
that business for years, and who have amassed a fortune in it, are daily
becoming bankrupt. What an idiot a man makes of himself when he leaves a
calling in which he has been eminently successful to embark in a calling
which is, at best, uncertain, and of which he knows nothing. Once for
all, let me admonish you: If you would succeed never enter outside
operations, especially if they be of a speculative nature. Select a
calling, and if you stick to your calling, your calling will stick to
you.

Frequent changes of business is another cause of failure, but we have
treated this subject quite thoroughly elsewhere in this work. Therefore
it seems to us that to add more here would be superfluous. True it is
that some men have succeeded who have seemingly drifted about. Dr. Adam
Clark has said: “The old adage about too many irons in the fire conveys
an abominable lie. Keep them all agoing–poker, tongs and all.” But Dr.
Clark seems to forget that the most of the people who try to follow his
advice, either burn their fingers or find their irons cooling faster
than they can use them. We cannot all be Clarks if we try, and to follow
this method the most of us will fail; but we can, by following one line
of procedure, at last bring success.

Extravagance of living is another prolific cause of bankruptcy. A man
imagines that by hiring a horse and driving in the park he will show
people that he is as good as the neighbor who drives his own horse. He
deludes himself with the idea that this sort of extravagance will, in
the eyes of his fellow-men, place him on an equal footing with
millionaires.

Dr. Franklin has truly said: “It is not our own eyes, but other
people’s, that ruin us.” It has been said that the merchant who could
live on five hundred a year, fifty years ago, now requires five
thousand. In living, avoid a “penny wise and pound foolish” custom. A
man may think he knows all about economy and yet be ignorant of its
first principles. For instance, a business man may save every imaginable
piece of writing paper, using all the dirty envelopes that come in his
way. This he does instead of using a neat letter head and clean paper,
at a slight additional cost, and vast gain in the influence which such a
letter carries over the other. Some years ago a man stopped at a farm
house over night. After tea he much desired to read, but found it
impossible from the insufficient light of one candle. Seeing his
dilemma, the hostess said: “It is rather difficult to read here
evenings; the proverb says, ‘You must have a ship at sea in order to be
able to burn two candles at once.'” She would as soon have thought of
throwing a five dollar bill into the fire as of setting the example of
burning two candles at once. This woman saved, perhaps, five or six
dollars a year, but the information she thus denied her children would,
of course, out-weigh a ton of candles. But this is not the worst of it.

The business man, by such costly stinginess, consoles himself that he is
saving. As he has saved a few dollars in letter paper, he feels
justified in expending ten times that amount for some extravagance. The
man thinks he is a saving man. The woman is a saving woman, she knows
she is a saving woman. She has saved five or six dollars this year in
candles, and so feels justified in buying some needless finery, which
could gratify nothing but the eye. She is sure she understands economy,
yet she starves the mind to clothe the body in finery. She is something
like the man who could not afford to buy more than a penny herring for
his dinner, yet hired a coach and four to take it home. Saving by retail
and wasting by wholesale. Nowadays we use kerosene and thus our light is
both good and cheap, but the principle remains.

Wear the old clothes until you can pay for more; never wear clothes for
which you owe anyone. Live on plainer food if need be. Greeley said: “If
I had but fifty cents a week to live on, I’d buy a peck of corn and
parch it before I’d owe any man a dollar.” The young man who follows
this principle will never be obliged to live on parched corn. How few
people keep an itemized account of their expenses. Spendthrifts never
like to keep accounts. Buy a book; post in it every night your daily
expenditures in the columns; one headed “Necessaries,” the other
“Luxuries,” and you will find that the latter column will be at least
double the former. Indeed, in some cases it will exceed it ten times
over.

It is not the purchase of the necessaries of life that ruin people, but
the most foolish expenditures which we imagine necessary to our comfort.
Necessary to our comfort; Ah! what a mistake is that, as many a man will
testify who is perpetually dunned by uneasy creditors. It is the
sheerest kind of nonsense, this living on credit. It is wicked. Yet a
gentleman recently told the writer that he personally knew a clergyman
who had been preaching for years on a salary exceeding seven hundred
dollars per year, and of late on twelve hundred per year; yet, this man
of the gospel to-day owes his college debts. A man loaned him money to
go through school, and he has never been “able” to repay that money,
although he has practiced the most “rigid economy.”

Stuff! this man knows nothing of the first principles of economy. In my
opinion, there are many clergymen who will have to answer for the sin of
extravigance: There are many more who will have to answer for the sin of
slothfulness. The Bible says: “Six days shalt thou labor and do _all_
thy work.” Ah! there is a part of the commandments too often skipped
flippantly over. Many a clergyman would be horrified if asked to do any
labor on the seventh day; but would be equally horrified if accused of
sinning by attending to a foreign business, thereby neglecting to do
_all_ his labor during the six other days.

God gives us ample time to do our work, and it is a sin to leave any of
it undone. God expects a man to choose some calling, and He also expects
that man to master that calling, and He expects him to do his utmost to
excel in that calling. No clergyman can spend four days out of a week in
some foreign work, and in the two remaining days thoroughly prepare
himself for the Sabbath work. For two reasons: One is, he disregards the
law of concentration, divides his mind and thoughts; hence, loses force
and influence. The other, that God does not approve of other than our
best effort.

This preacher will occupy one hour in preaching a twenty-five minute
discourse, and then complain because people are not interested in his
sermons. We do not justify Sabbath-breaking, nor a lack of religious
interest, but the preacher who is unwilling to take any responsibility
upon himself for such a state of things is lacking somewhere. We speak
of the clergyman simply as illustrative of our idea in this matter. The
same rule applies to the lawyer, physician, or merchant–the mechanic,
artist or laborer. If I was a day laborer building a stone wall I’d
study my work and push it so vigorously that I would soon be, if not the
best, at least one of the best workmen anywhere to be found. Strive to
be an authority. Wasted opportunity; there is the root of thousands of
failures.

A recent paper states that nine-tenths of our young lawyers fail from
lack of study. Here is a thought for the clergyman who thinks he should
have a better place. Of course there are circumstances to be considered,
but the man of determination bends circumstances to his will. A man
imagines himself capable of filling a higher place than he does. He
imagines himself a Webster, a Lincoln, a Garfield, a Spurgeon–‘but
vainly waits for circumstances to favor his deserved promotion. Look at
Spurgeon; was he picked up bodily and placed in the pulpit he now
stands upon? No, but he was full of the Holy Ghost, and without thought
of what he deserved began preaching in the street. Was Talmage placed in
the Tabernacle because he was of real inferiority to other preachers.
No; but he was original, he borrowed from no one, he did his best, he
fits the notch in which he is placed. Did people get down on their knees
to Beecher, begging him to occupy Plymouth church? They recognized the
necessity of concentration; and, although you see them in other fields,
at times, still it was not until they had mastered their first
undertaking. Elihu Burritt mastered over forty different languages by
taking one at a time.

The writer, in early youth, learned a lesson which has ever been of
inestimable benefit to him. The next lessons would begin Fractions,
something we never had taken. We began to glance through that part of
the book, and soon became thoroughly convinced that we should never be
able to master their intricacies, at once becoming despondent. Coming
home at night, he spoke of his discouragement, when his father set to
work explaining the first principles. Thus, step by step, the stubborn
principles were mastered, and to-day, if there is any part of Arithmetic
in which he excels it is in Fractions.

“Never cross bridges until you come to them.” A man should plan ahead,
but he should be hopeful–not confident–should never borrow trouble,
and must avoid all extremes. Another cause of failure is: The habit of
endorsing without security. No one should ever endorse any man’s paper
without security or an equivalent. I hold that no man has a right to ask
you to endorse his paper unless he can either endorse for you or give
good security. Of course there are cases where a brother, who is young
and cannot give security, can be helped into business; but his habits
must be his security, and his duty is to have made his previous life a
guarantee of his ability to safely conduct the business. But even in
such cases a man’s first duty is to his family, and he should never
endorse, even a brother’s paper, to a greater amount than he feels that
he could reasonably lose.

A man may be doing a thriving manufacturing business–another man comes
to him and says: “You are aware that I am worth $20,000, and don’t owe a
dollar; my money is all locked up at present in my business, which you
are also aware is to-day in a flourishing condition. Now, if I had
$5,000 to-day I could purchase a lot of goods and double my money in a
few months. Will you endorse my note for that amount?” You reflect that
he is worth $20,000, and, therefore, you incur no risk by endorsing his
note. Of course, he is a neighbor; you want to accommodate him, and you
give him your name without taking the precaution of being secured.
Shortly after he shows you the note, cancelled, and tells you, probably
truly, that he made the profit expected by the operation. You reflect
that you have done him a favor, and the thought makes you feel good.

You do not reflect, possibly, that he might have failed for every dollar
that he was worth, and you would have lost $5,000. You possibly forget
that you have risked $5,000 without even the prospect of one cent in
return. This is the worst kind of hazard. But let us see–by and by the
same favor is again asked, and you again comply; you have fixed the
impression in your mind that it is perfectly safe to endorse his notes
without security. This man is getting money too easily. All he has to
do is take the note to the bank, and as either you or he are considered
good for it, he gets his cash. He gets the money, for the time being,
without an effort. Now mark the result: He sees a chance for speculation
outside of his business–a temporary investment of only $10,000 is
required. It is sure to come back even before the note is due. He places
the amount before you and you sign in a mechanical way.

Being firmly convinced that your friend is perfectly responsible, you
endorse his notes as a matter of course. But the speculation does not
develop as soon as was expected. However, “it is all right; all that is
needed is another $10,000 note to take up the former one at the bank.”
Before this comes due the speculation turns out a dead loss. This friend
does not tell you that he has lost one-half his fortune–he does not
even tell you that he has speculated at all. But he is now thoroughly
excited, he sees men all around making money–we seldom hear of the
losers–“he looks for his money where he lost it.” He gets you to
endorse other notes at different times upon different pretenses until
suddenly you are aware that your friend has lost all his fortune and all
of yours. But you do not reflect that you have ruined him as well as he
has ruined you.

All this could have been avoided by your GENTLEMANLY but BUSINESS-LIKE
BEARING on the start. If you had said: “You are my neighbor, and of
course, if my name will be of use to you at the bank, you can have it.
All I ask is security. I do not at all distrust you, or your plan, but I
always give security when I ask such a favor and I presume that you do.”
If you had simply asked security he could not have gone beyond his
tether, and, possibly, very likely would not have speculated at all.
What the world demands is thinking men. Let justice rule in all business
transactions. How many men would not waste another man’s property, but
would waste that which belongs to his family! Ah! we want more men who
will recognize family demands for justice, as well as other people’s
demands–men who have the brains to comprehend that it is possible to
cheat their own family as well as their neighbor.

Another frequent cause of failure is a neglect of one’s business. There
are many causes for this. One thing is certain, a man will attend to his
business in proportion to the amount of interest he has in that
business. This applies to all vocations, either in the professions,
business, or manual labor. If we see a man playing checkers day after
day in some corner-store, although the game itself may be no harm, still
it is wrong for that man to waste valuable time.

Then there are pool and billiards. How many young men have been ruined
for life, and possibly eternally damned, just by beginning a downward
course at the billiard room. There is a peculiar fascination in the game
of pool or billiards which cannot be described. Of course it is only a
game for the cigars–yes, that’s it; one habit leads to another. The
young man who smokes goes in and in one evening’s fun, “wins” fifteen or
twenty cigars. He argues that he has got smoking material for two or
three days or a week for nothing, but listen: He plays pool for ten
cents a game. If he beats, his opponent pays; if his opponent beats, he
pays. Each game is distinct by itself, and has no bearing on any
previous game. Now, if you play and win two out of three games right
straight along, you are steadily losing.

Every game you lose is ten cents gone that you can not possibly win
back. If you play twenty-five games, (and it won’t take long for good
players to do that in an evening), and you win two out of three, you
will then be out at least eighty cents. If you win twenty-four out of
the twenty-five, you would be out ten cents. Don’t you see that the
percentage is against the player. You never heard of a man making
anything playing pool or billiards unless he was in the business. You
have personally seen many young men working by the day who admit that
they have spent from $100 to $1,000 during the three to five years they
had played. Now, why is it some succeed while others fail?

There is one thing that nothing living ever naturally liked except a
vile worm, and that is tobacco; yet, how many people there are who
cultivate this unnatural habit. They are well aware that its use does
harm. It is a harder job to learn it than to learn to like castor oil,
yet they will persist in it until they learn to long for it. Young lads
regret that they are not men; they would like to go to bed boys and wake
up men. Little Charlie and Harry see their fathers or uncles smoke, if
not, then they see somebody’s father or uncle puffing along the street,
“taking comfort,” and they think that is one of the essentials of being
a man. So they get a pipe and fill it with tobacco, and as the parents,
instead of persisting until they gain their affections, slowly teaching
them to detest wrong, fly to pieces and say, “I will whip you if I see
you doing that again.” So little Charlie and Harry get out behind the
barn and light up. By and by Charlie says, “Do you like it, Harry”? And
that lad dolefully replies, “Not very much; it tastes bitter.” Presently
he turns pale and soon offers up a sacrifice on the altar of fashion.
But the boys stick to it, and at last conquer even their appetites,
learning to prefer their quid to the most delicious peach.

I speak from personal knowledge, for I have seen the time that I never
felt prouder than when behind a five or ten cent cigar or meerschaum.
But that time is passed with me, and I never see a poor clerk going
along the street puffing a cigar which he must know he can ill-afford to
buy, but I think of what a man once said in speaking of a cigar: “It is
a roll of tobacco with fire on one end and a fool on the other.” One
cigar excites the desire for another, hence the habit grows on a person.
These remarks apply with ten fold force to the use of intoxicants. No
matter how bountifully a man is blessed with intelligence, if the brain
is muddled, and his judgment warped by intoxicating drinks, it will
simply be impossible for him to succeed, to his utmost bounds, at least.

Orators for years have told you of the degradation and want that the
“social glass” brings us to. Stories innumerable have been told of
husbands leaving all they loved in this world to satisfy these unnatural
desires. One habit indulged leads to another. We have seen how even the
“innocent” habit of smoking may have an influence in deciding a young
man to take the next step. Once in the billiard room it is not hard to
see how the young can be led on to drink, first one thing, then another.
We will say nothing of cards. Card-playing, gambling, is only the
natural result of these other evils, that is, they tend that way, they
go with it and it goes with them. Where one is found you will often find
the other.

The coroner can tell you more about the results of bad habits than I
can. To those who to-day may be so unfortunate as to be under the
fascination of any habit, let me say that you can overcome that habit,
and learn to detest it, too. Young man, you desire to be rich and
succeed, but you disregard the fundamental principles of success–hence
fail. Why wouldn’t you? You might as well expect to build a fine house
without a foundation. You desire to gain wealth, yet you spend twenty
cents every day on one extravagance or another, which, with interest,
would amount to over $19,000 at the end of fifty years. There is food
for thought for you. When you again wish to yourself that you were rich,
and then take ten cents out of your pocket in the shape of a cigar, and
proceed to burn it up, just let the thought pass through your mind,
“What a fool I make of myself every day.”

A man recently told the writer that he spent one dollar every day in
treating and smoking. He is an ice dealer in New York City, and has done
a good business for thirty years. I cannot say how long he has been
spending this dollar a day, but I do know that one dollar earned each
day, with interest, will make a man worth over $475,000 within fifty
years. There is enough wasted by the average person within twenty-five
years to make any family well off. The pennies are wasted in the desire
to get the dollars. The dollars are not half so essential to success as
the pennies. The old saying: “Honesty is the best policy,” is surely
true in more ways than one. There is more ways than one to succeed in
this world.

A man may succeed in National honor, and yet have little of this world’s
goods. Many a Congressman, who has but little money, who sometimes feel
the need of money, would not exchange places with a Rothschild. But it
is not necessary to be either a Rothschild or a Webster, in order to
succeed. It is a question in my mind, whether that man, who has lived
wholly for self, is happy, even though he be rich as Croesus or as
honored as Demosthenes.

Therefore let us not entirely lose sight of the fundamental law of
success.–“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” “Put
yourself in his place.” What is success? It is doing our level best. It
is the making the most of our abilities. If we do not do this we both
sin, and lose the goal of earthly happiness.

“And is it too late?
No! for Time is a fiction, and limits not fate.
Thought alone is eternal. Time thralls it in vain.
For the thought that springs upward and yearns to regain
The pure source of spirit, there is no TOO LATE.”

 

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