The "Memoirs" of Thomas Donaldson
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] January, 1878.—I called with Senator J. H. Mitchell, of Oregon, on Attorney General Charles Devens. We were urging the re-appointment of a faithful officer in Idaho, when Devens said: "You must remember Mr. Edmunds is a very critical man." Mr. Edmunds was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary [Committee], and had recently laid some of Mr. Devens’ appointments aside. He repeated this, when the Senator answered sharply, "Yes; but a very just one." Devens drew down the corner of his mouth, and made no reply.
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] January 31, 1878.—I was with President Hayes half an hour this morning and we drifted into [discussing] finance. I tried to stiffen him up to the point of vetoing the Bland Bill, by urging that he was put in as President to check the vagaries of politicians—to which he agreed. These financial epidemics were like sporadic fevers; and tracing the history of the different financial movements for fifteen years, I said: "If this succeeds, the next step will be—" President Hayes added "Repudiation, but not in our day." He then talked some time about the agreement of leading men of finance on a double metallic currency. This made me think that he is intending to approve the Bland Bill. The talk was not assuring.
I then said to him that in my opinion more currency or current money would be secreted and hoarded by persons through fear of what was to come, if the Silver bill passed, than would be coined in silver in two years, and the volume of circulation would be much reduced thereby.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Monday] February 4, 1878.—Captain John Lucas, [Pottsville, Pa.] called on me this morning. He is an applicant for the Consulship at Manchester, [England]. He repeated to me what Senator [J.] Don Cameron said to him last week in Washington. Cameron endorsed his papers but refused to go and see Mr. Evarts for him, saying: "I want nothing to do with him. I am a Republican and I shall ask no favors from such a man as he is." Lucas said that President Hayes told him, in relation to the matter, that he left such things to Mr. Evarts.
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] February 27, 1878.—I had ex-Senator T[homas] W[ard] Osborn, of Florida, to supper with me. [Osborn served as U.S. Commissioner at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876]. He detailed to me how Florida was carried for President Hayes. I had gotten R[ichard] C. McCormick to aid in sending him from Philadelphia to Florida, November 10, 1876. McCormick told Osborn that he had telegrams from Hayes, also [from] Jay Gould, asking him to send Osborn to Florida. He showed me the dispatch from Gould, November 15, 1876.
Governor McCormick gave him [Osborn] $100, and he started, stopping on his way in Washington to see Alphonso Taft, the Attorney General. He saw Taft, who promised him the aid of the judiciary, and asked him to report every day to him on the condition of affairs; all of which he did. On his arrival in Tallahassee he met W[illiam] E. Chandler and ex-Governor Ed[ward] F. Noyes, of Ohio, who was close to Hayes.
The story of how Florida was carried for the Republicans in 1876 is this, Osborn said: one L. G. Dennis was a State Senator from Alachua County, in which was Archer precinct No. 2 (a Republican precinct). When the polls closed the Democrats got the judges to make the [precinct] returns show a Democratic majority of fifty votes. Dennis found this out. He then forced, persuaded and scared the election judges into adding 100 Republican votes to the returns, so that the majority became Republican. Fifty votes, he said, to balance the other fraud, and fifty to pay the Democratic thieves off. So the returns of Archer precinct No. 2 came in a Republican majority.
The Democratic visiting statesmen, headed by Manton Marble, got wind of this, and the fellows who made the alterations were put on the stand. At first they told the truth, and then afterwards got drunk and told another story, which was false. Governor Hayes demanded on behalf of the Republicans that Dennis go on the stand. This he refused to do as he did not want Hayes to lose the State nor his acts to be found out. [L. G. Dennis later appeared before the Select Committee on Alleged Frauds in the Presidential Election of 1876 in Washington, D.C., on June 27-29, 1878].
The judges of the precinct who made the alteration were [Richard H.] Black and Green [R. Moore]. Black was brought north and given a place in the Custom House in Philadelphia in 1877. I have a letter in my effects to that purpose. Green was shot by the rebels, and was given a place in the Post Office Department at Washington, in 1877.
Governor Noyes promised that Dennis should be taken care of. While the whole thing was going on in Florida, Osborn would ask Noyes whether Hayes would keep Republican faith and protect the Republicans who were carrying the State for him. Noyes would only say, "He has heretofore been a good party man. I hope he will!" The Republicans of Florida were in a dangerous position and knew that their leaders must fly the State.
After President Hayes was inaugurated, Dennis, having left Florida, called to see him in Washington, and demanded recognition. President Hayes took a book out of his pocket and said, "I know of you. You are to be taken care of. You are a hard-working Republican and virtually in exile; so go and pick out the place you want and I will give it to you. Go and see Sherman." Dennis saw Sherman, and the place he selected was found to be promised, so he returned to Hayes who had Sherman give him a place in the Internal Revenue Bureau. After they gave him the place, they granted him a leave of absence, and he returned to Massachusetts where his wife had been for several months. Getting tired of doing nothing and being paid for it, he came to Washington, resigned, and demanded recognition by appointment to a respectable office. Hayes said "Yes," and three times gave him notes to Sherman, who said "Yes; but come again." Finally, after presenting this fourth note, Sherman tried the same thing on him; but Dennis put the note in his pocket, saying, "Excuse me, I am tired of this." Sherman then appointed him a special agent of the Treasury.
Osborn, a man of the highest character, knew all of the above to be true, and added further, "Dennis must have Tilden’s assurance of protection if the worst comes to the worst."
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] February 28, 1878.—I stood talking with ex-Senator M[organ] C[alvin] Hamilton, of Texas, and A[ugustus] W[illiam] Cutler, M.C. of New Jersey, when Cutler said that Tilden had taken the oath of office as President in New York, at the same time Hayes took it here. (not so). I said that the Democrats expected, when they got the next Congress, to turn Mr. Hayes out and put Mr. Tilden in. Hamilton agreed, and said that the Democrats when they got in would reorganize the Supreme Court so as to decide the constitutional amendments illegal, and, as he said, "take the country to hell." Hamilton also said that Hayes’ policy in the South was not only weak, but powerful weak.
Washington, D.C., [Saturday] March 2, 1878.—I walked up Pennsylvania Avenue with Samuel Shellabarger, of Ohio, to-day. I asked him—as the House of Representatives in March, 1877, had passed a resolution that Tilden and Hendricks were President and Vice President for 4 years beginning March 4th, 1877, and as the Senate would be Democratic in March 1879, and as Tilden was said to have been sworn in March 1877 in New York — what then was to prevent the 46th Congress, which would be very largely Democratic, from sending their bills to Tilden for signature as President? Would not this be a peaceful Revolution, and could it be prevented, and would not Pres’t. Hayes be out? He answered, "Yes;" that a week ago Geo. F. Edmunds, of Vermont, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, had put the very same question to him, and feared such action. Edmunds also said that if Hayes depended upon the grateful Southern Congressmen to hold him in [office], in such an event, he was leaning on a broken reed; as their actions in secret sessions convinced him that they would go against Hayes. I put the same question to Samuel J. Randall within twenty minutes, and he said nothing, only laughed. Randall denied that he knew that Tilden had qualified as President in March 1877.
I put the same question to Judge Rae of Missouri and Judge [David Browning] Culbertson of Texas, M.C., both Democrats, within an hour. They agreed it could be done and might be; Judge Rae of Mo. Said that Pres’t. Hayes was awfully mistaken in Southern sentiment; that the Democrats of Louisiana and South Carolina only were grateful, but of no other Southern State because they were not affected by the release of Military rule.
I walked down the Avenue with Col. [Thomas Montague] Gunter, M.C. of Arkansas, a Democrat, who boasted that he had just had Republican Postmasters turned out in Fayetteville and in other towns in Arkansas, and Democrats put in. Culbertson said that he though Pres’t. Hayes was anxious to get out of the Presidency. He seemed to act so.
Samuel J. Randall told me during our conversation that, while the swap, as he called it, was going on which seated Gen’l Hayes as Pres’t., the men engaged in it kept clear of him, and did not let him know a word.
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] March 6, 1878.—I was at the White House to-night one hour with President Hayes. He was chatty, and talked politics. I told him [of] my fears as to Democratic intentions regarding Tilden. He answered that perhaps they might not do it; he only wanted them to try; if they brought Tilden to Washington and tried to inaugurate him he would arrest him; that Tilden was not the man to do such a thing; besides within two weeks he had been scared nearly to death by the United States authorities (referring no doubt to the suit in United States Courts in New York on revenue account). I told him of Democrats, including Congressmen, coming face to face with him and then going out and abusing him; and called his attention to the fact that, as he became unpopular with his party, the Democrats would love him, expecting plunder.
After I urged him to call the leaders of the party around him for consultation, he said that he and the party were never as near together as now since he had been President; that we were all Republicans, bound together on a hard-money platform, and on this we would be successful.
Pres’t. Hayes said it was no wonder that the party differed with him; that there was in fact nothing vital for them to agree upon. It was to be expected, he said, that they would fight for post offices, etc. Yet a year ago he told me the future depended upon a party growing up in the South in favor of the education of the Blacks and a party against it.
He said the people were crazed with the silver mania, and he knew long ago that no one could prevent it; still, Conkling and Blaine, leaders of a great party, could only rally with themselves, 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats to vote against the bill. He took an envelope out of his pocket with the vote on it. He said the administration could do nothing in this matter; it had nothing to do with forming opinions or sentiments. If these great leaders could not stem the tide, how could he be expected to do so? He repeated that he and his party differed because there was nothing essential to agree upon. That any political movements of the Democrats of a national character would solidify the [Republican] party. That Governor [Francis T.] Nichol[l]s of Louisiana must pardon [T. C.] Anderson, and he believed he would. That the Nichol[l]s legislature tendered immunity for Anderson and the rest in a series of unsolicited resolutions which had been published; and, rising and going to a box of letter files, he said, "Nichol[l]s wrote me this letter as an additional guarantee of such action." The refusal to pardon [Anderson] would arouse the Republicans, Pres’t Hayes said.
I told the Pres’t. that 90 percent of his party was now against him. He answered that he had lately been reading the diary of John Quincy Adams, and that this period (opposition to a President by his own party) was like the time Adams was President. He thought that with a gold platform and honest money, and payment of the debt, we could carry some states not heretofore Republican, and lose some states heretofore Republican. Upon the whole the future was bright and he thought he could see a Republican successor to himself. He said it was too late to talk about treason, traitors, and rebels; that his action in the Louisiana case was simply logical; and that having let one state back into the Union we had to let them all back in. He said he was a bi-metalist, and was glad the Senate hurried his veto through, as the country was tired and expectant. He understood that Blaine and Conkling were in worse disagreement than ever. I asked him whether he had ever seen Evarts before he went into his Cabinet. In answer he said he knew nothing of him personally, and had only seen him once, and that was at Philadelphia on the fourth of July, 1876.
I spoke to him of the complaints against Evarts by the whole country, and that I had not heard a single person say a good word for him politically. I intimated that the whole country expected a change, and said that McCrary stood the best of any man in his Cabinet. He replied, "Yes, he is a good man; still, he is in a position not to anger any person by refusal; he has but little patronage." I urged that his reform in the Civil Service was a failure, and that Mr. Evarts and Mr. Schurz should go before the people of their respective counties and run for one legislature on the reform ticket. They would both be badly beaten, and no reform was possible unless a majority of Congress was elected that way; that his executive orders were of no account in the premises as they were not laws. He was cordial and very pleasant, and asked me to come again soon.
En route from Charlotte, N.C., to Philadelphia, Pa., [Sunday] March 10, 1878.—I met J[ames] B[everly] Sener, ex-Member of Congress [of Fredericksburg, Virginia] and a member of the National Republican Committee [in 1876] on the cars to-night, en route to Fredericksburg. He said that he was disgusted with Pres’t. Hayes; that he did not care how soon the Democrats got him out; and intimated that he was willing to help them. In the Cincinnati Convention of 1876 Sener bolted Blaine on the seventh ballot and took eight votes to Hayes — decisive votes. I saw him do this, and to-night asked him why he did so. He said that at or before the sixth ballot he went to the Massachusetts delegation and E. R. Hoar told him Blaine could not, if nominated, carry Massachusetts. This frightened Sener so much that returned to his delegation and got eight [of Virginia’s twenty-two] votes transferred to Hayes on the seventh ballot. Sener said he had never called upon Hayes since he became President, and never asked him for a favor. He considered his election a misfortune and regretted that he had ever voted for him.
President Hayes gave Sener an office after this, that of Chief Justice of Wyoming [confirmed December 18, 1879] and Sener became loyal. The President told me, however, in 1879 or 1880 that the appointment of Sener was a mistake and that he was sorry he had made it. How these great men differ!
Philadelphia, Pa., [Friday] April 12, 1878.—I met ex-Governor Alex[ander] Cummings, of Colorado, in T. W. Price’s store to-day. Cummings related a conversation [which he had had] with Roscoe Conkling in 1877. Just after the Electoral Commission action—say in May or June—Conkling got into the cars with Cummings at Washington, en route for Philadelphia. Conkling said that he knew that Hayes did not carry Louisiana; that his opinion was that the action of the Electoral Commission was a fraud in the matter of that state, and an unexpected one. He fought for the Electoral Commission law because he thought it the best way to settle the matter. Cummings said the country will hold the reported author of that bill (Edmunds) responsible after a while. "Oh, no," said Conkling. "Mr. Edmunds will not be called to account for his action on the bill, but for his action on the Commission." He continued: "How much better it would have been for the country and party for Tilden to have been declared President than Hayes. Tilden would have done just as Hayes has done, and such a policy from him would have set the country wild and ensured a Republican President in 1880."
Conkling expressed great contempt for the Louisiana Commissioner. He said he had a bill prepared which he should introduce [in Congress] to [settle] hereafter all these Presidential questions without the action of Congress. The bill would let but one set of returns come up to Congress, the States below to settle all questions.
Cummings believes that Conkling intended in his bill to show Hayes’ title to be bad. Conkling continued that the danger to Republican institutions and the country by reason of unauthorized and illegal action of making a man President who was not elected could not be estimated and never should be tolerated again. He spoke with the greatest contempt of the Hayes wing of Republican party.
After this conversation, Governor Cummings called on Mr. Evarts, on his return to Washington, and repeated the conversation. Mr. Evarts was much struck with it, and wanted to know if Gov. Cummings thought that Conkling intended to attach Hayes’ title. Cummings said, "Yes." "But," said Evarts, "he can’t get him out." He sent Gov. Cummings to President Hayes, who treated him indifferently, and Cummings did not tell him the conversation.
Cummings also spoke of having seen letters from Capt. A. E. Lee, Hayes’ private secretary [as governor], abusing Blaine both before and since the nomination, and claiming that the country was to be congratulated upon its escape from Blaine’s nomination and election. Also one letter written before the nomination that Hayes would not accept the nomination for Vice Presidency. This, Lee also told me at the Cincinnati convention. Cummings said Lee had Hayes initiated by proxy into the order of Native Americans in this city.
From this conversation, as reported, and from the conversation I had with James H[erron] Hopkins, M.C. [of Pennsylvania] in March, 1877, it would seem that Conkling and others thought that T. W. Ferry (Vice Pres.) would declare Hayes elected and Grant would inaugurate him; and that the way to circumvent it was to originate and pass the Commission bill, get himself on it, and let the Commission throw out Louisiana and settle Hayes. This was the scheme, I have no doubt. Mr. Blaine is responsible for Conkling’s not being on the Commission; he kept him off by a battle in the caucus of Republican Senators. Mr. Blaine was then in the Senate.
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] April 18, 1878.—I was with President Hayes to-night for half an hour. He was pleasant but looked tired and used up. I told him I had read his platform in yesterday’s "New York Times," [Wednesday, April 17, 1878] and was pleased, but that it did not go far enough. He got up, went to a table, brought a scrap-book out, and said: "Garfield wrote it; it came out first in the Cleveland Herald. I saw it, cut it out and read it at a Cabinet meeting. I don’t know that the Cabinet approved it, come to think of it. They were all present when it was read, and most of them did say it was all right. I put this addition to it," showing me in pencil in his own hand, the last half clause: "That no Rebel War Claim should be paid or any person in the Rebellion receive a pension." I said to him: "I will go for all but the subsidies, and with the addition of a clause asserting that ‘this is a National Government and not a Confederacy.’" He said that he would approve that too.
The President said Republican platforms should have a clause denouncing the agitation by the Democrats of the questioning of the President’s title. I said nothing because I knew that 50 percent or more of the Republicans in Congress wanted him out. I found to-night, in talking with him, that he sometimes got impressions from the man who spoke first which lasted, and that with his Cabinet the man best recommended and not pushed seldom if ever got the office. He spoke of Justine Colburn, just appointed [April 3, 1878] as Consul General to Mexico. He said, "I gave this poor fellow the place, as he is very ill with consumption, and they, the Senators, vented their wrath against the N.Y. Times of which he is the Washington Correspondent, by rejecting him." [Rejected April 16; confirmed April 23, 1878]. He said, however, that he understood that the Senators talked of reconsidering the vote and confirming him. He said that he had had 5 appointments rejected, some hung up, and all five had been reconsidered and confirmed.
He handed me a letter to McCormick, Commissioner General [of the Exposition at] Paris, asking that he appoint me a juror at Paris where I was going on a visit. It was kind in him, but I did not want any such place.
The President said the Idaho Territorial officials were a queer set, and intimated a bad set. His impression was undoubtedly given him by an enemy of those people. I did my best to clear his mind as to this.
Washington, D.C., [Friday] April 19, 1870 .—The town talk is [Roscoe] Conkling’s interview in the "New York World" of yesterday [April 17, 1878]. I was with General R[obert] C. Schenck to-day, and brought in General John McNeil, of Missouri. Schenk said: "I want to shake hands with a man—and only one of two—who during the Rebellion killed a traitor." He referred to Genl Ben Butler and [John] McNeil. McNeil answered, "I am proud of the distinction." Schenck then turned on the Conkling interview. I said rumor has it that Conkling will not deny it, but he claims that the methods of telling his views is larceny; that there never was such an interview, but that it was written our [out] from many conversations at different times with friends. He did not deny but what he had said such things. "Yes," said Schenck, "when I was Minister to Brazil in 1852, I was associated with Jack [John S.] Pendleton of Culpepper [County], Virginia, then chargee [d’affaires] to the Argentine Confederation, in making treaties with Paraguay, Uruguay, etc. I took with me from Rio, among other books to read on the journey to Buenos Aires, a copy of the then new and much read ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin.’ After I arrived, Pendleton asked for some new books. I gave him this one. He laid down upon a lounge and read it through during the day, never leaving off until he had finished it. Throwing it down excitedly, he said, ‘Schenck, that book is an infernal lie, yet I know it to be true.’
"He meant," said Schenck, "that he knew of his own knowledge that fact (isolated) to be true, but the connected story was not true. Just so with Conkling’s interview; it is all true, but not connectedly stated."
Genl. Schenck then spoke of Pres’t. Hayes. He said that in 1874, when over here (while Minister to England) he found the Republican party in the hands of a lot of weak, mamby-pamby, shilly-shally, cowardly politicians. When he got back to London, the Editor of the Anglo American Times asked him who would be Grant’s successor. Schenck answered, Governor Hayes, because he was the idol of this weak and mamby-pamby lot. Since Hayes’ election the editor has called his attention to the prophecy. He said to McNeil, "This young man (meaning me) and myself had the honor to be Chairman and Secretary of the Republican State Convention of 1867, which brought Mr. Hayes into public life."
To-day I met Colonel Drank De Kay [Union Veterans Union, New York] in a street car. He said to me: "I just met Senator Roscoe Conkling, who was driving out. I said to him, ‘Senator, you don’t intend to deny that interview in the New York World of April 17th, as to President Hayes, do you? Because you have said a great deal more than that to me.’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘but the manner of the publication—such an outrageous breach of trust. I supposed I was talking in private," I do not recall a newspaper interview in my time which had made such a serious sensation as this.
I met William E. Chandler, of New Hampshire, in the lower part of the House of Representatives to-day. He was most cordial. I incidentally mentioned President Hayes. He said: "Enough. I do not want to hear anything of him. I do not know him. I never heard of such a man." And he hurriedly walked away.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Friday] May 19, 1878.—I said to the President in April, 1877, "I have indignantly denied for you that you were a party to any bargains to make yourself President." He quickly replied, "This you can do with safety at all times." I then added, "Still, I believe that some of your indiscreet friends made swaps and bargains and have been keeping them."
Washington, D.C., [Tuesday] June 4, 1878.—I usually sat a moment with Charles [D.A.] Loeffler, the President’s doorkeeper at the outlet door of the office, until he took my card in. This day we chatted for a moment. He said, "When President Hayes first came here he saw everybody, even old women who wanted to be scrubbers, etc. Every kind and sort. He got over that. He sees most everybody now, however, but don’t spend much time with them. He is always good natured. General Grant used to look up sometimes, but not often, when I handed him a card, and say: ‘Oh, hell! I don’t want to see him."
Havre-De-Grace, Maryland, [Wednesday] June 5th, 1878.—On a [Presidential] fishing party* to the United States Fish Hatching Station, I noticed a remark made by Secretary [R. W.] Thompson of the Navy, at the dinner table which to me sounded ill-timed and harsh. Prof. [Spencer F.] Baird, referring to a steam ferry boat called the "Burlington," at League Island, was answered by Sec’y Thompson: "Yes, there were three suspicious circumstances connected with her purchase."
I notice among President Hayes’ Cabinet members that I had heard speak on the subject (Evarts, Devens, Schurz and Thompson), all thought that the Grant’s Administration and the Bureaus under it were corrupt. The four above named were machine reformers and seemed to think that they went into the Cabinet for the purpose of reforming somebody or something, and must do it whether or not there was reason or necessity for it.
The boys to-day got the ancient Secretary [Thompson] to fishing with hook and line and cork and bob. Webb [C.] Hayes [the President’s son], watching the waves ripple and bobbing the cork up and down, would call out, "Now pull, you have a bite." The Secretary would jerk and pull but never had a bite. Finally, he got up in disgust and went into the cabin on the barge where I found him reading Sir Walter Raleigh’s last letter to his wife. President Hayes, in speaking of him [the Secretary] to me, called him "Brother Thompson."
* The party consisted of Professor Baird, President Hayes, Secretary Thompson, General George A. Sheridan, Thomas Donaldson, Colonel J. W. Powell, Webb C. Hayes, E. Clarke, De B. Randolph Keim of the Philadelphia Press, and representatives of the Baltimore Sun and American.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Sunday] June 9, 1878.—I spent the evening of the 8th [7th], Friday, with Robert G. Ingersoll at his house in Washington, D.C. [25 La Fayette Square]. He was fearful of Pres’t. Hayes. He said that Pres’t. Hayes [as Governor of Ohio] wrote him a letter and asked him in 1876 to speak at Columbus, Ohio. He made a bloody shirt speech and Hayes, a listener, said "Go on, that’s the kind—make all you can of such. I consider Ohio a doubtful state." Mr. Blaine was also solicited to speak by Gov. Hayes.
Ingersoll predicted that Pres’t. Hayes would be turned out by the Democrats. He said, "Suppose a half dozen Democrats go up to the White House armed with old flint locks, and turn Hayes out, who is to prevent it?" Meaning that the Republicans would not defend him. He said he had no great ability or brains, and as to Evarts, Oh! he said that he personally would pay them all back for the insult they had put on him, and that President Hayes disliked him because bishops and clergymen had poisoned the President against him.
Col. Ingersoll commented that if Hayes was leaning on Genl. Sherman and the Army he was leaning on a broken reed.
[Washington, D.C., Thursday] June 13, 1878.—To-night I went with E[dward] T. Steel of Philadelphia to get the President to appoint S. Speakman of Philadelphia [as] consul at Ghent. Mr. Steel told the President that Mr. [Frederick W.] Seward, [Assistant Secretary of State] (to whom he had taken a note from the President some weeks before, asking that Mr. Steel be gratified) had said that he could almost assure him that the appointment asked [for] would soon be made and promotion would follow. The President laughingly said: "Now, don’t you be so sanguine about promotion. Mr. Seward has been so long in that slow State Department that months and years are to him quite soon and he knows not time. An old friend of mine, Col. Finlay of Ky., was here several months about a small matter in the State Department, and I aided him all I could. Finally, much worried and disgusted, he came to me and said: ‘Now, Mr. President, I have no doubt you really want me to get that place; if you do, advise me what to do.’" Said the President: "I advised him to haunt the Department, go stick it out, and force them to act."
Washington, D.C., [Friday] June 14, 1878.—I met Z. L. White, correspondent of the New York Tribune, in the outer hall of the House. He mentioned something about the Roosevelt-Prince appointment, or the New York Custom House appointments, of President Hayes, and of their defeat on confirmation. I said: "If it had been me, I should have sent them in and in until I got bottom." "Yes" he said, "but I think Mr. Hayes did right in not getting up a fight; besides I know that Mr. Hayes was persuaded against his will and judgment to send in these men in the first instance." I know that White knew.
Later in January, 1879, in the evening, while sitting in a private room (the Red room) at the White House, waiting for the President, Mr. [William T.] Crump, the President’s man, came in and began to chat. I mentioned Mr. Evarts, whom almost everybody about the house disliked, and Crump said: "Yes, if it had not been for him, the President would not have made the mistake he did in attempting to change officers in the New York Custom House. The President would not have had this trouble, but for him." I agreed. "A man with as long a political nose as Evarts has too much for one man and must stick it into somebody else’s business."
Philadelphia, Pa., Saturday, July 8th, 1878.—The Republican National Committee for the campaign of 1876 (the Hayes campaign) was organized this day [July 8] in "Parlor C" of the Continental Hotel, Philadelphia. The published list will give the names present. All were present except [John R.] McBride of Utah, [Alexander H.]Beatty of Montana, S[tephen] B. Elkins of New Mexico, and P.B.S. Pinchback of Louisiana. W[illiam] H. Kemble of Pa. was represented by R. W. Mackey. The room was stuffy and hot. There was no nomination for Chairman. We (the Blaine men) had tacitly agreed on Zach. Chandler of Michigan. Someone proposed we vote by ballot, which we did. Cornell (A[lonzo] B.) of New York, had thirteen votes, E[dward] F. Noyes of Ohio, had eleven votes, and Zach. Chandler, twenty-two votes. Chandler did not vote on this ballot. I found this out and told him to vote for himself next time. I had procured the proxy of J[ohn] R. McBride of Utah a few days before for W[illiam] P. Frye of Maine, who voted it. I had with me the proxy of Col. [Alexander H.] Beatty of Montana. Frye came to me and asked me to get another vote on our side, and we could get through. I found the vote, and on the next ballot Chandler was elected by one vote. He was as modest as a woman in the matter and was as sincere as he was able. He and William E. Chandler afterwards assured the election of President Hayes.
Before we began to ballot, Captain A. T. Wykoff, member from Ohio, arose and tendered his resignation as a member of the National Committee for the reason that he had been recently elected Chairman of the Ohio State Republican Committee, and it would require all his time. He then presented the credentials of E[dward] F. Noyes from Ohio, who had been elected by Wykoff’s Ohio State Republican Committee to the expected vacancy. He also pulled out of his pocket a proxy from Pinchback of La., a member, and remained in the room after Noyes was admitted from Ohio, to cast the Louisiana vote. Pinchback came in just as we adjourned.
Noyes was pressed for the chairmanship as the candidate’s best friend; it would not work; and we elected our own man. R[ichard] C. McCormick, Tucson, Arizona, was proposed for Secretary. William E. Chandler of New Hampshire, who could have had it unanimously, declined. McCormick tried to decline on the score of Congressional duties; that he was a member of the United States Centennial Commission of Arizona (I was a member from Idaho). I made a speech and promised to do all his work on the Centennial Commission if he would be Secretary. I was applauded, and he was unanimously elected. Judge [J. B.] Sener of Virginia, or perhaps W. E. Chandler, dropped one ballot for him as secretary in a hat for the 47 votes of the Committee.
After this business was completed, some waiting statesmen were admitted. A Negro from Georgia among the lot tried in a 20 minute speech to get what he called "material aid," vulgarly known as "greenbacks," out of the committee, in order to keep up a Republican newspaper in Georgia. It was respectfully declined as being too dangerous to pay, and no prospective returns, political or otherwise.
A man over six feet high, [George W.] Friedley by name, chairman of the Indiana Republican State [Central] Committee, next talked half an hour to impress us with the necessity of shelling out stamps liberally in his State. Greenbacks again. "That Indiana must be carried and money could do it." The usual Indiana politicians are generally called "scrubs" in the higher walks of political movements, always excepting O[liver] P. Morton. Mr. Friedley did not change the Committee’s opinion. Mr. Chandler said: "We will do all we can." The Indiana man at the organization of the National Committee, or in conventions, or when anything is to be put out or even the chance of it, usually gets a reserved seat in advance, and sits all night near the door, so as to be there first.
[James P.] Root of [Chicago,] Illinois, and [Will] Cumback of [Greensburg,] Indiana (member of the Committee), the last especially, tried to get the Committee to erect a small side show committee in Chicago, to run the party in the northwest, with full power. This was also respectfully declined, but partially accomplished by putting most of the members from all of the State of the Northwest on the Executive Committee.
[William J.] Purman, of [Tallahassee,] Florida, M.C., member of the Committee, made the "bloodiest shirt" speech I had listened to for years, claiming that unless the Government and the Committee stood up to him, he could not go home again as his Democratic friends would assassinate him. He is the Purman who turned Democrat, and declared in the House of Representatives in February, 1877, during the Hayes-Tilden contest, that Florida had gone Democratic. He had the temerity to try to keep his seat, contested in the 45th Congress, but this failed of course, as no man likes an apostate for plunder or gain. His Democratic friends promptly let him out.
Jere Haralson, M.C. (col.) of [Selma,] Alabama, [member of the National Republican Committee] said that if he and his people were not protected we could not elect anybody in Alabama. Referring to the Spencer fight with himself he said: "You [can] turn me out of the Committee if you like; I do not care who is here from Alabama, so long as he is a good Republican."
Some scores of persons having campaign song books which they wished adopted by the National Committee as the only authorized edition, were on hand and full of push. The songs were written months before the nomination and fixed so as to insert names of the candidates. They fit any man. A "Loyal League" committee was also on hand. They all wanted coin.
Marshall Jewell of [Hartford,] Conn., Postmaster General [member of the Committee], sat near me and he and George G. Gorham of [San Francisco,] California [Secretary of the Senate, and member of the Committee], went over with me to Washington that night. Mr. Jewell went out of the Cabinet on the Monday or Tuesday following.
The Committee adjourned subject to call, but it never was called in the years 1877 or 1878. The Executive Committee ran it.
Probably a hundred persons were about the door or in the hallway, button-holeing members, and asking a hearing. None wanted to put anything in the pot, however; they all wanted recognition, "material aid," or employment. The session lasted about two hours. It was my first experience and I was much amused with the celerity with which they did things. In fact, it was for organization merely, and to erect an Executive Committee with full force, and get the main or large committee out of the way. Mr. Chandler’s selection was most fortunate as he combined the highest commercial and political character, with brains; quite an unusual combination, added to his unquestioned integrity.
Washington, D.C., [Monday] August 19th, 1878.—I went out riding with President Hayes this morning. We went to the Adams express office to see a case of birds [which] I had ordered for him.
We began talking politics. He said that Mr. Blaine was on the right track—hard money and forgetting the past. I said that I feared that President Grant’s friends would wear him out prematurely as a candidate [for a third term], to which Gen’l Hayes assented. I said "Some middle man might slip in." Mr. Hayes laughed, and indicated that he had cause to know about the "slipping in of a dark horse." He said he would like to see [George Hunt] Pendleton President, if any Democrat, and thought Judge [Allen Granberry] Thurman an upright and honorable man. I spoke of Thurman’s bitterness. "Yes," Hayes said, "politically."
We were riding in an open carriage and I remarked, "What a fine looking black man for a driver." "Yes," the President said, "General Grant’s old driver [Albert Hawkins]." He remarked that he had retained eight of Grant’s old men. I replied to him, "That is the best civil service I have ever seen under you." He laughed. I then said that I thought Stuart L. Woodford, United States district attorney at Brooklyn, went to Maine to make a speech, to be martyred; wanted President Hayes to turn him out. President Hayes said: "No, I do not think so." He spoke of the general revival of times and trade. The National movement he feared but little now, but in 1876 it would have hurt us.
The President spoke very kindly of A[lfred] C. Harmer, Member of Congress from Philadelphia. He said he liked him very much, and thought him a square man.
In the afternoon Mrs. Hayes sent to my hotel with her compliments a very handsome basket of flowers for Mrs. Donaldson. It came [at an] opportune time, as it was her birthday.
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] August 21st, 1878.—Friday I had a talk with Judge Jerry [Jeremiah M.] Wilson of Wilson and Shellabarger, counsel for John Sherman [before the Potter Investigating Committee]. I said to him that I began to believe that Sherman had written the Weber letter, and that W. S. Springer had said to me that perhaps that letter might yet be produced. Wilson did not deny that Sherman wrote the letter but said, "It will not be produced." Wilson agreed with me that if the Democrats got the next House by a big majority they might try to turn Hayes out. He said he firmly believed there was danger of it.
I went into the room of the Republican Congressional Committee of F St. [1006 F Street], just below Wilson’s office. There was no person in but the Sec’y. He said things were booming, but they were having up-hill work in getting money form office-holders and "were hindered and embarrassed in it by that man in the White House, President Hayes at one end of the Avenue, and that Dutch tramp, Sec’y Schurz, in the Interior Department, at the other."
Philadelphia, Pa., [Saturday] August 24th, 1878.—Major [E. A.] Burke, of Louisiana, said yesterday, in New York, before the Potter Committee that Senator O[liver] P. Morton was to endorse Hayes’ Southern policy.
Mr. Blaine told me March 7th or 8th [March 6], 1877, just after finishing his speech against Hayes’ Southern policy, that Senator O. P. Morton had agreed to follow him in denunciation of it.
Paris, [Wednesday] September 18th, 1878.—While riding with General J[oseph] R. Hawley, of Connecticut, to-day, we referred to Mr. Evarts. He said he [Evarts] was a dreadful failure as a politician. I mentioned that Evarts had been a bad advisor for the President, to which Hawley assented. I said to Hawley: "If you had stood out against the Packard iniquity in Louisiana, you would have been the most popular Republican in the United States." He answered, "We did not read Mr. Evarts’ instructions until we were en route, and had I read them before I started, I should have declined to go. As it was I was mad, and wanted to quit the thing then. They were outrageous. Also, another member of the Commission wanted to resign."
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] February 6, 1879.—I was with the President from eight to nine P.M. He was chatty and pleasant. He asked me about the United States judgeship at Philadelphia. He took a pencil and on a piece of paper said his candidates were in this order, viz: Brewster, (F. Carroll), [P. Pemberton] Morris, [William] Butler, [William Henry] Rawle, [William] McMichael. He said that Mr. Brewster and Mr. McMichael were the choice of politicians and the first of many lawyers but that he considered Mr. McMichael out of the question; and with this [he] drew the pencil through his name. The President mentioned the fact that a delegation of so-called respectable men from Philadelphia, blue bloods, had interviewed him and called his attention to the fact that F. Carroll Brewster was the natural son of his father, and urged this as a reason why Mr. Brewster should not be appointed. President Hayes became very angry and incensed. He said: "What has that to do with it? It was not his fault, and I admire him the more, for in spite of this, he has risen to be a distinguished man. No, sir; he is to be praised, not blamed, and it is to his credit." He at once dismissed those respectable men. He said he intended to make the appointment himself the next week, and if he could find that Mr. Brewster could be confirmed, he intended to appoint him.
Benjamin H. Brewster, afterwards Attorney-General in Arthur’s Cabinet, was a half brother of F. Carroll Brewster, and disliked him very much on account of the above fact. Turning to the subject of the post office at Philadelphia, the President said: "I have made up my mind to give General [John F.] Hartranft the post office [nominated, February 7; confirmed February 17, 1879], and send Governor [James] Pollock from the Mint where he is not a good officer, to naval officer [confirmed April 10, 1879]; and Postmaster [Archibald Louden Snowden] to the Mint."
In reply to my question as to how the arrangement would suit Pollock, the President answered that he did not care; that he had not consulted any of them, but that he intended to do it. He here called to Webb Hayes to have notices of their appointments made out for morning. They were made next day. The Star (evening paper) said, "The Cabinet to-day (7th) decided as above," etc. ["At the Cabinet meeting this afternoon were settled three of the Pennsylvania officers…], which the President had appointed the day before.
The President said, "I think that the delegation of tenderly and delicately reared Philadelphians, who came to protest against Mr. Brewster on high moral ground, were for a Mr. P. Pamberton Morris." Mr. Hayes has a very small opinion of Philadelphia nice men. Wm. Butler was appointed and only because Mr. Brewster would receive the support of certain Senators. It was feared that he might not be confirmed.
The President was called out of the room, but before going [out] told me to sit and talk with Webb. The President having gone, Webb asked me why it was that Mr. Blaine voted against the confirmation of the New York custom-house people (with Conkling) when the truth was that Mr. Blaine must have been the best pleased man in the Senate at Conkling’s defeat. Of course I answered that I knew nothing about it.
Mrs. Hayes came into the room with a letter for Webb to answer. She was pleasant and said Webb was a bad boy for not keeping up her correspondence.
Mr. T[homas] W. Price, a friend of mine, about a month ago sent Mrs. Hayes a [copy of his] small prettily published volume on Mexico [Brief Notes Taken on a trip to the City of Mexico in 1878], which she had accepted in a polite note. The note came into the hands of a son of Mr. Price’s, residing two doors from his father’s house. The son fixed up a servant in livery, placed the note on a silver salver, and sent it in to his father. For fun, of course. I told Mrs. Hayes of this, at which she laughingly said, "Now ought not the ‘old lady’ be proud?"
Samuel Hays, of St. Louis, in December last [December 4] was nominated by the President to be postmaster, vice [Chancy I.] Filley. The Senate committee on Post Roads had refused to report him for confirmation, and had authorized a sub-committee this morning to see the President and request him to withdraw his name. I informed the President of this. His answer to me was, "Mr. Hays’ commission expired on March 5; I shall commission him again the moment it expires, and I shall not withdraw his name." He so answered Senator Ferry and the sub-committee who called next day. They tried to bulldoze him. I saw the Senate committee. Mr. [Samuel J.] Kirkwood [of Iowa], among others, told them of the President’s determination, and they at once said they would confirm him. [Confirmed February 27, 1879]. The objection to Mr. Hays was that he was a Schurz Republican. Mr. Schurz is surely one of the best hated men I have known in politics.
Washington, D.C., [Friday] February 7th, 1879.—I went into a restaurant, cor. 7th and E Streets, at 3 P.M. to-day for lunch. Senator Simon B. Conover of Florida came in, in company with an Irishman [who was] slightly intoxicated, and his own son, say 6 years of age. They sat down and I paid for the refreshment which they had. The Irishman could only distinctly say "There is money in it" at the end of any sentence Conover would finish. Conover said that he had stood up to the President and now as his time was nearly out he wanted to be stood up to. He said the President thought he (Conover) had no brains, and had intimated this. Sect’y Evarts, he said, was all right and wanted to aid him. He said he would like to be Governor of Utah, to which the Irishman said, "There is money in it." Conover said he might, if out there, hit a mine or get something good, but he preferred something else. Here he wrote on a slip of paper: "Minister Resident at Central America—Guatemala, Central America, vice Williamson." He said the salary was large and he could save money. "Yes," said the Irishman, "there is money in it." "Besides," said Conover, "I will not lose my residence in Florida, of which I expect to be elected Governor two years from now." He wanted me to speak to the President.
This conversation convinced me of one of two facts, either Mr. Evarts was assigned to nurse him (Conover) to get his vote for confirmation of the New York customs appointments, which Conover voted for Feb. 3d, or else the administration had obtained him without promise.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Sunday] Feb. 9th, 1879.—I came over from Washington last night with a son of Senator J[ohn] J. Patterson of South Carolina. He was a pleasant and agreeable young man. He said that his father would not go back to South Carolina to live, and would probably go out west in the cattle business; that seven years ago Alex. McClure, of Philadelphia, Editor of the "Times," had been in South Carolina with his father and several other gentlemen, and was interested with them in a Rail Road matter; that they had made some $75,000; then something unpleasant occurred and this was why his former associates kept hammering at his father; that his father would not vote to unseat Butler (M.C.) and seat Corbin. He attributed the failure of the Republican supremacy in South Carolina to the apostasy of D. L. Chamberlain while Governor. He also said that his father was getting ready to give Pres’t. Hayes another rap in a speech; that the week before the question of the confirmation of the New York custom house appointments came up, Senator Stanley Matthews hounded his father to vote for them; that John Sherman, Sect’y of the Treasury, came to their dwelling house several times and promised his father any position, from Governor of Idaho down or up, if he would vote for the administration. His father declined and voted against them.
His father said the speech of Conkling in the Senate executive session on these appointments was the severest attack he had ever heard, and that Conkling had denounced the President and John Sherman roundly.
Washington, D.C., [Sunday] March 2, 1879.—I came up to the Capitol to-day at 11 A.M. on a street car. Standing on the rear platform was Joseph S. C. Blackburn, M.C. of Kentucky. The car conductor said "Who is going to be Speaker of the next House?" Blackburn answered, "Well, I don’t know that I should answer that; but it will be either General Garfield or myself, provided we organize the next House. It will not be Mr. Randall." The conductor said, "Are you afraid of the greenbackers?" "Oh, no; they don’t mean us any harm." The conductor said, "I don’t think there will be any greenbackers next year." "No," said Blackburn, "we will sit down on them the first chance we get." The conductor said, "Mr. Blackburn, if you had been Speaker at the time of the Electoral Commission, things would not have happened as they did." "No, sir," Blackburn replied, and pointing towards the White House, "there would have been a different set of officers there, and Hayes would not have been in office."
The conductor continued, "Randall is just as much a fraud as Hayes, and never should have been Speaker." Blackburn said, "If Randall had kept his work at the time of the Electoral count, Hayes would not have been President. On Tuesday, before the Friday of the final action, eighteen of us met Randall in the afternoon in a private room under the House, and he agreed with us that we should have the advantage of the rules, and should be permitted to filibuster beyond the 4th of March, so as to put Tilden in, and agreed to hold out to the end of Congress. This was a solemn agreement. On Thursday after noon at five o’clock he went back on us and on his pledges, by voting against us. If he had kept his word, Mr. Tilden would have been President. Of course, there would have been a little revolution in that building (pointing to the Capitol) for a few hours; but I have such an abiding faith in the good sense of the people, that they would have hailed the result (Tilden) with shouts and asserted their rights."
We left the car. I walked into the Capitol and to Mr. Randall’s room, wrote the above out and handed it to him to read. He replied sharply that it was an entire falsehood in every word that related to him.
Sitting at breakfast [with me] this morning, Judge Jonathan Tarbell, asst. 2d comptroller [Deputy First Comptroller’s Office], told me of an acquaintance who was a friend of the Hon. Hannibal Hamlin. The friend went to Senator Hamiln about a month ago with a petition for an office. Hamlin, after reading the heading, refused to sign it. The gentleman asked him why. "Because," said Senator Hamlin, pointing his finger to the name of President Hayes to whom it was addressed, "because it is addressed to a damned traitor."
I sat this evening, say 10 P.M., in the marble room of the Senate with Senators [Blanche K.] Bruce of Miss. and [John J.] Patterson of South Carolina. The conversation turning on President Hayes, [Senator] Patterson said: "In February 1877, after Senator John Sherman came back from Ohio where he had been at the request of Hayes, he came over to me in the Senate and said: ‘How long can Chamberlain hold out in South Carolina?’ I said, ‘Forever.’ He replied, ‘Hayes intends to sustain him; so let him hold on.’ When Gov. Hayes came to Washington in March, the 2nd I believe, he came into this room the morning after he arrived. He called me [to] one side and said, ‘I want you to come and see me; I want to talk about Chamberlain. I now intend to sustain him.’ On the next day I went to John Sherman’s house and met Gov. Hayes. He drew aside near one of the windows, and said to me ‘I understand the South Carolina case thoroughly and intend to sustain Chamberlain as Governor. The Louisiana case is different. I intend to send a commission of strong Republicans to Louisiana who will make a report sustaining Packard, and then I shall sustain him.’ I said, ‘May I telegraph Chamberlain that you intend to sustain him?’ He replied, ‘Yes,’ and then I telegraphed Chamberlain.
"At this interview he asked me my opinion of putting into his Cabinet a conservative Democrat from the South, and gave the name of John Hancock of Texas and D. M. Key of Tennessee. I objected, saying they were both men recently rejected by their constituents and with no influence. I then recommended Gen’l Joe Johnston or Gen’l Wade Hampton, if he must have a rebel. He said, ‘They are too radical.’ I said, ‘If you get Key or Hancock you will get men whom you will influence, control, and give opinions to. If you get Hampton or Johnston, you will get men who will have their own opinions and who have influence in the South.’ I asked him how he expected the people of the North to take this and whether he was ready to stand the odium of such an act. He said he had considered the cost and was prepared to meet it.
"About two weeks after this, when he showed signs of going back on us, I went to John Sherman and asked him what was the matter. He said, ‘See Hayes. Evarts is all wrong, and things are not going as you were promised.’ I then went to Pres’t. Hayes and asked him if he did not intend to keep his word as to Chamberlain. He answered, ‘I am forced to change my plans.’ I said, ‘Did you not tell me to telegraph Chamberlain that you intended to sustain him?’ ‘Yes, I did; but events have changed my intentions.’ I left him in anger. I saw Mr. Evarts, and found him loud in the same way. Don Cameron told me that about the 3d of March, 1877, Gov. Hayes sent for him and said to him, ‘Mr. Cameron, I intend to send you to Louisiana at the head of a commission to make a report sustaining Packard.’ Cameron said he would accept and went to his home at Harrisburg where he expected to receive his appointment; but never after heard a word about it again."
A messenger of the Senate called to get both Senators in to vote; so we parted.
Washington, D.C., [Monday] March 10, 1879.—The education of a statesman is not the work of a moment, no more than the elevation of Dempsy Maguire to the common council makes him an Honorable, although Hon. is prefixed to his name.
Statesmanship is an education in knowledge of men and things, along with what we call reserve force—that is, common sense to most emergencies coolly and to suggest prompt remedies. In our popular form of Government, unfit men are apt to ride into important places on the tide of sudden political changes. The future battle in American politics is to keep unworthy and unfit men out of position. Able, competent, and experienced men will assert themselves by merit and come to the front and not depend on self assertion and egotism.
The incoming Administration of President Hayes foisted upon the country, as leaders, a coterie of unknown men. Suddenly several brilliant political meteors appeared, to the astonishment of the experienced. Mr. Wm. Evarts, of New York, first in importance, is a gentleman of legal experience, but whose political services consisted of a short term in the Cabinet of President [Andrew] Johnson as Attorney General. As President Johnson’s Attorney General he aided and abetted some of the most violent and injurious of Mr. Johnson’s actions, and retired from that post with the unanimous consent and approval of the whole country. He became President Hayes’ Secretary of State. Support of his retirement from Mr. Johnson’s Cabinet had become, if possible, more unanimous. The whole country, convinced of his thorough unfitness, longs for the announcement of his early and complete departure from American politics, which will be when President Hayes retires, unless he should catch on to Congress.
Mr. William Evarts, a most estimable citizen in private life, is a startling example of the amateur politician which the first hundred years of American Government has afforded. Such a mistake as the placement of such a thoroughly inexperienced person in high political position will not be attempted soon again. It is unfortunate for Mr. Evarts that he should be the pivotal point for the turn in employment of inexperienced persons in politics, as a frightful example for the present and future guidance of the people.
Washington, D.C., [Saturday] March 29, 1879.—I was at the White House with the President at 10 P.M. to-night. Webb Hayes was with us. Major [William] McKinley, M.C. from Ohio came in unannounced. He said to the President, "I want you to appoint a man for me Secretary of Utah." The President said, "How did you know there was a vacancy?" "Oh," said McKinley, "I heard it at 5 P.M. and only came in the city at 4 P.M." The President laughed and said: "Well, Major, I have already filled the vacancy."
McKinley then said, "Garfield made a good speech to-day [on the Army Appropriations Bill]. It was full of which his speeches generally lack, i.e., fire, earnestness and courage. Yet, when he was through he came around amongst us and said he was afraid he had been too radical. He was afraid that he had offended someone. Our fellows all said bosh; that was all there was in it."
I knew Garfield intimately. He had physical but no moral courage while on his feet in Congress. He was a good soul and deserved great credit for his energy and acquirements. Coming up from the ranks, anything was possible for him and to him, if he had had moral courage on the floor. I was always on the most friendly terms with and very fond of him. In 1872 Gov. [William] Dennison of Ohio told me that Garfield had consulted him with reference to a residence on the Pacific Coast (San Francisco). He (Garfield) had been offered a most lucrative law position, attorney for the Pacific Mail Steam Ship Company, I think [at] $10,000 per year. Gov. D[ennison] advised him to take it, but he declined. This was during the Credit Mobilier investigation. General Garfield was much cut [up] at the newspaper stabs at his character, and published a pamphlet in his own defense in 1872 and 1873, which of course scarcely any one read, because every person who knew him knew he was an honest man.
In 1874 or 1875, Otto R[obards] Singleton of Mississippi, and [Robert Milton] Speer of Pennsylvania made some allusion to him on the floor of the House, which Garfield did not resent. Mr. Randall complained to me that Garfield did not answer back. In 1876, I think in April or May during a night session, S. S. Cox of New York was in the Chair (Committee of the Whole) when Garfield rose up to vouch for a statement made by a fellow-member. Cox smilingly said, "And who will vouch for the member from Ohio." Garfield, aroused, sprang to his feet and demanded that the Committee rise, so that the words of Mr. Cox could be taken down. His action, tone and language brought the whole House to its feet and a scene of great excitement ensued. Mr. Cox apologized.
Next morning I was standing with a dozen others in the rear lobby of the House near a door looking into the hall when I was greeted with "Tom, old boy, how are you?" by Garfield, who said: "Didn’t I fix him (meaning Cox) last night?" "Yes," I answered; "Garfield, that scene did me good. Go on and do it more; assert your character and then people won’t say ‘Garfield has no courage.’" He laughed and went into the House.
In the debate from March 29, 1879 to April 5, 1879, on the Army [Appropriations] Bill, after his great speech of March 29, Garfield showed a disposition to weaken on his radicalism, or rather to take back his radical utterances, notably on the 4th of April when pushed by J. S. C. Blackburn of Kentucky. Many good speeches were made by Hawley and others. Passing through the hall beneath the House on my way out of the building, I met W. P. Frye of Maine, and said, "Well, Joe Hawley made a great speech [April 4]." "Yes," said he, "Joseph is fast becoming a stalwart." I spoke of Garfield’s itching to go back on what he [had] said. "Yes," said Frye, "he always does when he can."
I knew Garfield from my boyhood. I knew him as a college teacher, as a State Senator, made out his appointment (I think) as Major [Lieutenant Colonel] of the 42nd Ohio in 1861; saw him the day he arrived in the Army of the Ohio, Sunday the 5th of April, 1862, near Savannah; then as a Brig. General in command of a Brigade in [Thomas J.] Wood’s division, and sat on a log and talked with him for half an hour before we [my regiment] moved up to go into action at Shiloh. Met him often at his room or tent as Major General, Chief of Staff to [General William S.] Rosecrans, Army of the Cumberland; and knew him intimately as a Member of Congress from and after 1863.
Garfield was an honorable man, a good friend and a patriot. He was vain and egotistical at times, and sometimes a little pompous, but was a good man and one of the most useful men ever in the lower House, but not a very popular one. He was about 6 feet high with an enormous head, high forehead and long oval face, with full sandy whiskers and sandy hair. He was the inventor of the manner of wearing a soft high-crowned hat, a popular one in the war amongst the military men; by breaking it in the top center of the crown so as to make all above the rim wedge shaped. His head was so large that a hat, round all the way up to the crown, gave the impression of hat walking away with a man. In 1861 while a major he innaugerated [sic] this hat fashion.
Garfield was entitled to the Ohio Senatorship in 1877, vice [John] Sherman, but was talked and promised out of it. He was one of the best stump speakers in the country, having abundance of vigor, force and power. He was at times really very eloquent and was always clear, forcible, and logical. Prepared, he was one of the ablest speakers ever in Congress. On the stump it was amusing to hear him talk about "his right hand being palsied," at the same time making his gestures with his left. He was a left handed man.
Washington, D.C., [Friday] April 4, 1879.—I was at the White House this day from 12 to 2:30 on the President’s private business. While standing in the long hall upstairs at the west end of the building, second story, Mrs. Hayes, who had been out calling or shopping, came in, retired to her room, and after throwing off her wraps came to where I was, for a chat. She sat down in a large arm chair. Rutherford, her son (about eighteen) from Cornell, at once sat down on one arm of it and placed his arms about his mother. Scott, the little boy, age seven, and Fanny, in an instant were petting her. Finally Webb, said, "Let’s go to lunch." Mrs. Hayes came to me and said, "Come, you don’t know what a good cup of tea you will miss." I declined. She insisted, saying "Come along, we won’t wait for Mr. Hayes." (It was Cabinet day, and 2:30 P.M.).
Just then the President came out of the library. At once the two smaller children started to catch him; one was in his arms and the other by the hands. Rud struck a position and said, "He comes." The President urged me to come down first with the two smaller children. Miss [Mary E.] McDowell of Chicago, a guest, was with Rud, and Mrs. Hayes was on the arm of Webb who began to whistle. As they passed down [the stairs] Mrs. Hayes said to me, "See this boy;" and he, with his finger pointing, "See this girl." Mrs. Hayes then said, "What do you think of this boy?" "Well," I said (Webb was patting her cheek), "I know some men that would not object to being in his place just now."
All of the Hayes boys were their father’s friends and their mother’s big brothers. As they went down the stairs out of sight, I said to [William T.] Crump, the President’s steward, "I believe that the happiest family ever in this house" (as President). Crump replied, "I was just going to say that myself." Rud Hayes, a student at Cornell, said to me while riding with me to-day that, although he had been at Cornell for years, he had never seen Andrew D. White, the President, but once and then not until Gen. J. A. Garfield’s speech at Ithaca last fall (1878) when White was introduced to him. As White had just been made Minister to Berlin, Germany, by President Hayes [nominated March 26; confirmed April 2, 1879], it had been alleged by political papers that the place was given White on account of favors to Rud at Cornell. This was interesting.
Prior to lunch, Webb Hayes was rearranging a case of curious things given to his father, and putting new labels on them. He had a pair of slippers, once the property of Abraham Lincoln, and a cane of George Washington’s. The President was very fond of curious things. Webb handed me a piece of the coat Mr. Lincoln was wearing when murdered. Mrs. Lincoln gave the coat to one of the doorkeepers, Mr. Penndel [Pendel], still in the house.
New York City [Tuesday] April 15, 1879.—I was sitting with Gov. Benj. F. Potts of Montana in the Fifth Avenue Hotel when W[illiam] E. Chandler of New Hampshire came in. I introduced him to Potts, also to Col. T[homas] W. Knox, the Siberian traveler, and he sat down for a chat. I had served on the National Republican Committee in 1876 with Chandler and liked him very much, and the liking continues to this hour. He was by far the best and most positive Republican on the Committee, and one of the most powerful men in political management the country ever produced. It was he that took Gen’l Hayes into the Presidency and carried Florida by personally standing back of the Canvassing Board and making them do their duty. His sentiments on the Southern question the country knows.
I began by objecting to Mr. Blaine’s anti-Chinese speech. Chandler said, "Well, suppose he did make it. I don’t care much for men in public life who are holding back from positive declaration because of fear what effect speech will have on their chance of being President." He sustained Blaine’s view of the proposition that we had enough to ameliorate and condone in negroes, etc. "It’s all right," he said. "I am not in favor of Grant in 1880. I like Blaine and some things in Conkling (who is a big boy) I like better than qualities in Blaine. I am for either of them before Grant. If the state of New Hampshire will send me as a delegate to the convention, I shall go and vote against Grant."
Chandler said one of the principal causes of his bitterness against Hayes’ policy was that Hayes and those immediately about him, Matthews, Evarts, Dennison and all were constantly lying to people about what Hayes intended to do. In February, 1877, prior to Hayes being inaugurated, he went to Dennison and told him that it was with difficulty that [Senator George E.] Spencer and other Republican Senators could be prevailed upon to let the count for Hayes proceed to a conclusion; that they were afraid of Hayes from rumor and statements from outside parties—afraid of bargains with the South. Dennison said, "Let me see them and talk to them; I will fix them!" Chandler said that Dennison wanted to get to them so he could fix them as usual. He (Chandler) was at the White House on Friday morning, March 2, 1877, feeling uneasy, unsettled and anxious about what Hayes was going to do. He met Wm Pitt Kellogg (Ex-Governor of La.) on the step. While they stood there on the porch chatting a carriage drove up and out stepped General [Senator] Sherman, Governor Dennison and Governor Hayes. They remained in the White House about half an hour and then came out, Dennison in the lead. Dennison scarcely noticed Chandler and Kellogg; in fact, did not speak, but tried to get Hayes and Sherman into the carriage without speaking to either. This was on the porch. Chandler walked up to Hayes and said, "How do you do, Gov. Hayes? This is Gov. Kellogg, of Louisiana." Hayes was cordial and pleasant.
After they left, Chandler went into the White House to Grant’s room and found that Grant had, at the request of Hayes and the two advisers (Dennison and Senator Sherman, above mentioned) issued the non-interference order to Augur (General in La.) and had felt so mean at having to revoke his policy and abandon his Republicanism that he did not sign it, but had [C. C.] Sniffin, his Assistant Private Secretary, sign it. Chandler said that Dennison was a nice gentlemanly man but with no ability. The effect of Hayes’ desertion of the Republicans South was to at once bankrupt and drive from the South all Republicans of power and ability. Had Hayes, after his election, given them notice of his intentions to desert them, they would have had time between then and the 4th of March, 1877, to have sold their property and gotten away. As it was, they were forced to leave without their property and most of them left without a cent.
In my opinion W[illiam] E. Chandler did more to place Hayes in the Presidency than any other or all other persons. His courage, indomitable will, resources and ability were all used in the management of the Electoral Commission, in holding the Republicans up to the rack; and before this, in the Republican National Committee (of which I was a member and could see his ability).
Chandler referred to Ex-Gov. R[ichard] C. McCormick who had been Secretary of our National Republican Committee with office in the Hotel in which we were sitting, a post which Chandler declined after long series of years of service, urging it upon McCormick. Chandler said he admired him very much, and his relations were cordial with him, but that McCormick had no political courage or backbone and was a man he did not want to have about in a fight. In fact, McCormick was mortally afraid of hurting his political opponents. Chandler, after the State elections of October 1876, saw that the drift was toward the Democrats, so he hurried to New York, saw Mr. Zach. Chandler, chairman of our Committee, and urged that he issue circulars and addresses against Mr. Tilden’s war claim record; in fact, blustering circulars for effect. Mr. W. E. Chandler wrote them and presented them to McCormick, secretary of the Committee, who refused to sign them because they were directed against Mr. Tilden. "Then," said Mr. Chandler, "I found that McCormick thought that Tilden was going to be elected, and he (McCormick) probably wanted to be in shape for consideration hereafter." At his (McCormick’s) suggestion Chandler cut out and changed some expressions. We showed the emendations and alterations to Zach. Chandler, Chairman, who said, "What’s the use of altering the thing? Don’t you see that McCormick don’t intend to sign it?" So the circular went to the public signed by old Zach. only.
Chandler’s idea of McCormick was like my own, that McCormick had no business capacity. "Yet," said he, "McCormick will always have a place, because he is pleasant and sweet to everyone; has no opinions and gives no offense. When I was a boy twelve years of age working in the post office at Concord, N.H., old Jackson (or Johnson) Post Master, used to say that the way to win in politics was to be soft and smooth, and to rub no hair backwards." Chandler added, "Yes, your aggressive, hard hitting, positive men come to but little in public life. It’s your soft, double-faced fellows that win!"
He said that he believed that the President and every one of his Cabinet, except always Evarts, were honestly desirous of a Republican victory next year; that Evarts desired the defeat of the Republican party if it did not work for his personal advancement and aims. That he was politically treacherous and unfit for his place; that Hayes had met him (Evarts) in Philadelphia, July 4, 1876, and had asked him to make a [campaign] speech for him in New York, promising to put him in his Cabinet for so doing. Evarts was vain enough to claim that his speech would carry New York for Hayes.
Mr. Chandler denounced in most emphatic and positive terms the surrender of Louisiana and South Carolina by President Hayes to the ex-Rebels. He stated that 20 days after Hayes was President, Packard, as Louisiana Governor, transmitted to President Hayes, as provided by the Constitution, the resolution of the Legislature of Louisiana calling on the President for aid to suppress domestic revolution; all of which was legal and constitutional, and that Hayes had never been the man to acknowledge them to Packard. He called attention to the fact that at some time in all men’s political lives they became soft, weak, mean or cowardly. He cited Greeley, Raymond, Hayes, Garfield, etc.; that the Republicans had at time felt this.
Chandler then spoke of W. P. Frye, Member of Congress of Maine (of whom I said, "He was the best of men"), as a brave able man, but lazy; that he was such a constant smoker and dreamer that he did not try to be a leader; that he (Chandler) had stormed so at Frye for smoking and dreaming that Frye got angry every time Chandler mentioned smoking. He said it was laughable and ridiculous to hear men who had been soldiers on the Union side, and brave good ones too, get up and apologize for their acts in putting down rebellion and shipping traitors; that they had no right to do this; they only had a right to speak for themselves. It was assumption and presumption, he said, for such men to attempt to speak for Union men of the war; that while he himself did not do service in the field, he did attempt to sustain the Union and aid the soldiers as much as possible, and that no man had a right to say for him or for those like him that they had surrendered or given up their love for the Union and Union loyalty.
I admire Mr. Chandler greatly because I knew his worth. He is the best fighter in the Republican party but he is always a little more radical than his party in the measures he proposes. He leads the fight and backs the true along untravelled paths. Men of timid natures get afraid of him, but the best thing of all about Mr. Chandler is that he never gets afraid of himself. He knows he is right, or believes he is, and then fights. (Not corrected. TCD).
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] May 1, 1879.—I was with President Hayes from 8 to 10 P.M. He was very pleasant and agreeable. I told him of the general [public] opinion of Mr. Evarts—that he was a possible humbug—and of the opinion of W. E. Chandler’s that Evarts did not desire a Republican victory or any other that did not work to his personal advantage. I had just left Gen’l J[oseph] R. Hawley who had mentioned some of the public opinions of Evarts’; and on the 2" of May Hawley told me that Murat Halstead [of the Cincinnati Commerical] had the same opinion of Evarts, and that George Jones, publisher of the New York Times, had most thorough political disgust for Evarts. That Sir Edward Thornton, British Minister, had said within a day or two that he had called scores of times upon Mr. Evarts, within the past six months, for answers to some urgent matter and had been turned away from the State Department. That a Secretary of one of the Legations had said complaints among the foreign legations were universal for slowness, delay and incapacity; and that Evarts was laughed at by all diplomats. I urged the President to consider that Evarts was a most unfit man and he ought to unload him. The President seemed very serious and kept quiet for a long time without speaking.
J. R. Hawley had told me this evening that J[ames] R[onald] Chalmers, M.C. of Mississippi (Dem.) known as war murderer and an alleged cold blooded and atrocious cutthroat who murdered in spite of prayers and pleadings about 150 prisoners of war (surrendered men) at Fort Pillow, Tenn., in 1864, made an effort to raise a committee in the House to investigate as to whether the Report of the Senate Committee in 1869 made by Ben Wade to this effect was true or not. In fact, he offered a Resolution in the House to raise a committee to investigate and exonerate himself (this in the last of April, 1879).
Gen’l J. A. Garfield, M.C. of Ohio (Rep.) got the floor after Chalmers, and most forcibly and plausibly talked Chalmers into consenting that the Resolution be laid aside. Chalmers the next day or so wrote a speech to be delivered on his resolution when he should again call it up. He submitted it to Garfield who showed it to the other leading Republicans who advised Garfield to let Chalmers alone and to not become sponsor for his speech. Garfield told Hawley that [Julius Caesar] Burroughs, M.C. of Michigan (Rep.) had found among the Rebel Archives in the War Department an official report of the battle made by N. B. Forrest, Rebel General in command at the battle (to whom Chalmers was second) to the Rebel War Department in which was the sentence "The slaughter was so great that for two hundred yards the river was red with blood." On the back of the report was an endorsement by Jeff Davis; and when Chalmers took the floor again, he, Burroughs, would read this report, Garfield said.
I repeated this to President Hayes who said, "I have heard of this before; you tell Hawley to be careful, for on hearing this story I sent to the War Department and found that the report in question was there but not so strong as stated. The endorsement was signed simply with the initials "J.D." and although in his handwriting was only a reference (official).
The President said that in the winter of 1866 he and Ben Wade (Senator) and their wives were in Memphis, Tenn., for pleasure when they met a former friend of the President’s named Wilkerson[?] from Cincinnati, Ohio who had served on the staff of R[alph] P. Buckland (Brig. Gen’l from Ohio) during the war. He told Hayes that he would like to have him meet Forrest (N.B.) who had commanded the Rebels at Fort Pillow, so Hayes and Ben Wade (who had made the report against Forrest) met him. President Hayes said he was frank, positive and manly in conversation and talked over his part in the war. Forrest said he was in favor of Negro suffrage, and wanted the Negroes to have their civil rights (yet he was the grand cyclops of the Ku Klux in his State afterward—an order organized to regulate murder and destroy Negroes.)
I notice that all leading Southern men are very fair and sweet in personal speech and assertion, yet history furnished no parallels to the horror and punishments through which our soldiers passed while prisoners during the war. Many of them were Jesuits in manner and thugs in practice; listen to them and there never was an injustice to a Negro or injury during the time of the reign of divine slavery. The South, according to its apostles, is a land of flowers and love. They are, and were, the most magnificent people in defense of their methods and institutions that history records.
Forrest turned to Senator Wade and began to review the Fort Pillow affair, to give his version of it. He said he was not there at the beginning of the battle but arrived before the final charge. There were three things which made his men charge desperately and fight fiercely: 1st On the morning’s march to the Fort they found two wagons loaded with whisky, so many of them were drunk; 2nd It was the first time his men had encountered Negro troops; and 3rd The white troops in the Union fort were native Tennesseans, and between the Unionist and rebel of Tennessee there was undying hate. Forrest claimed that the slaughter followed the assault over earth-works, due to the hot blood of his men; and that the works were carried and the whole thing ended in 20 minutes. The garrison attempting to escape to the river were killed in the water and on the river bank. He said he did not desire to shrink responsibility but denied that there was any massacre. Hawley said, as I told him this, "Was there ever a massacre?" True.
President Hayes said that Ben Wade and himself were both impressed with the manner of the man, and even Wade was inclined to believe his story. Hayes believed it. The President, being one of the most impulsive men under a calm exterior with a heart full of kindness, would be impressed by just such a cool, calculating man as Forrest whose experience of men in his slave trading and sporting in early life would show him the impressibility of Hayes. This impulsiveness has been the President’s misfortune while President. He has been imposed upon by political frauds and liars.
N. B. Forrest came to Washington in 1871 or 1872, and demanded pay from the Government for some mules taken by our forces during the War. He talked with Hawley, then as now an M.C., and thought he could get his pay. He did not; his loyalty was questioned. Ten years after the War Forrest was buried in his Rebel uniform.
J. R. Chalmers was Forrest’s second in command during the Fort Pillow massacre and did some of the killing himself. (See testimony in report of Committee on Conduct of the War.) He was desirous at this time, April 1879, to raise a committee to investigate his case so he could bring in his comrades in arms (who had been branded by the world as murderers) as witnesses to vindicate him, and thus vindicate themselves. Such things should not be permitted.
I asked the President for the truth of the statement made at this time, and since asserted in Dick Taylor’s (Gen’l Rich’d Taylor, son of President [Zachary] Taylor) book just out [Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late War], that he [Hayes] was sworn in on the 4" of March 1877, Sunday, as President, in private. The President said he was publicly sworn in on Monday, March 5, 1877. I asked him if he had seen Taylor’s book and if he had ever met him. Taylor was famous as a society man and for after dinner talks. In March 1879 I was invited to dine at a friend’s where there were to be Robert G. Ingersoll, Richard Taylor and Clarence King, all famous talkers. (I met King only; the others were detained and did not arrive in time.) The President said he had met Taylor several times on the Peabody Educational Board and had heard him talk. [Hayes’ diary, October 5, 1878: "General Dick Taylor is a witty talker, polite and liberal."]. Taylor had boasted at the close of the war that he had killed more Union soldiers than any General in the Rebel Army. This is on the authority of Samuel Shellabarger, M.C., who told me this. The President thought Taylor’s book was passionate, bitter, vindictive, abusing everybody and almost everything mentioned, and would do no good.
The President then said that President Grant had given him (Hayes) and party a dinner on Saturday, March 3", 1877. Grant had called him after dinner into the Red Parlor and asked his son (Grant’s) to "go get a pen and ink." Judge Waite, Chief Justice, one of the guests, came into the room with a paper in his hand, which was an oath of office prepared by him. Young Grant returned with the pen and ink, Hayes signed the oath, and was thus made President of the United States. Of course he was publicly sworn in on the Monday following, March 5".
I asked the President who proposed the swearing in on Saturday. He said it was done "by agreement amongst us," but I got the impression that it was done by Grant. He was uncertain as to the day of the agreement and promised me to look it up and write it out for me.
This swearing in on Saturday does not look as though he had much faith in his new Southern allies.
I believe it is almost conclusive that he had no bargain; if so, he had no faith in the promises of the Southern leaders.
My judgment was and is that Hayes was surrounded by a coterie of weak men politically, self seekers and half Republicans—men suddenly elevated into leadership, advisorship and prominence by reason of knowing Hayes personally—such men as Matthews, Foster (C.), Dennison and Evarts, all who had totally disappeared from politics with exception of the last. None of these men were able to cope with Lamar, Gordon, John Young Brown, D. John Ellis and Major [E. A.] Burke and Rebels who were full of honeyed words and sweet peaches, who lured these weak men into their trap. They had them go to Hayes and urge upon him the surrender and disregard of Republicans in the South. In fact, Mr. Matthews, C. Foster, William Dennison, Jr., and William M. Evarts became the messengers of these able Southern men who had all to gain without political conscience or fear. The fertility of Southern expression and their power of imagination was used with golden speech upon these poor fellows for a change of policy in Southern affairs. Greater men than Hayes, surrounded as he was by these men, would have been deceived. The manner in which the Northern people sat down upon all of these brevet Southerners or Southern aspirants was amusing. They passed away amid a howl of indignation. The true aim of Lamar, Gordon, Brown and the rest was to get control of the several Southern States. They did not care for Tilden; they wanted the Republicans of the South crushed, the army withdrawn, and they to have control.
Washington, D.C., [Tuesday-Friday] May 6-9, 1879.—When I arrived in Washington this [Tuesday] P.M. and called on Gen’l [Joseph R.] Hawley, he told me that on Monday some of the Republican members of the House, [William] McKinley of Ohio, [William P.] Frye and [Thomas B.] Reed of Maine, [George M.] Robeson of New Jersey, [George D.] Robinson of Massachusetts, and himself, by appointment made by McKinley at 3 P.M. of this day, had been in consultation with the President for one and a half hours on his veto of the pending Army Bill [to prohibit military interference in elections, H.R. No. 1382]. Frye, Reed and himself urged the President to refuse assent. Robinson, Robeson and McKinley were undecided but seemed to lean toward to the President’s view, which was that it didn’t amount to anything; and the President gave them notice that he intended to approve it. Hawley told them that he would never vote for the bill under any circumstances, and that he considered it worse than any bill of the kind offered as it contained a sweeping repeal of all existing laws. The President intimated that he had been led to believe that many Republicans would vote for it. Hawley, Reed and Frye persistently urged him not to sign it. As they left, the President intimated that he was sorry but that he felt as though he must sign, and hoped that there would be no row between the party and himself. Just after this the bill was voted on in the House and every Republican present vote "No." [See Congressional Record, House of Representatives, May 6, 1879, for the vote].
On Tuesday [May 6] (this day) the New York World had an account of this interview to which I called the President’s attention.
On Tuesday and Wednesday our folks [Republicans] were very blue. Hawley went over to Hoar and Edmunds in the Senate who advised him that he was right, and of their intention to resist the bill at all events. On Wednesday [May 7] it was thought best that I should go up and see the President in a quiet way, so at 8 P.M. I called. The President came in from the Library and was pleasant and cordial. I remained until 10 P.M.
The President mentioned to me that his wounds troubled him a great deal in hot weather. He was shot through the left arm and the right knee. His left ankle was badly wrenched by his horse being shot while riding him at full speed, and falling upon him. This pained him greatly. I jokingly spoke of his youthful appearance and he laughed and said, "I am 57 years old."
Hayes was always young to me. His fresh, genial voice and laughing face which seemed to light up with a warm glow as his years increased. He had a very cheerful voice and his grey eyes [bluish grey] would show a square, honest soul. His manner of talking in private was earnest and positive. His positive manner rather prevented persons from differing with him, although they had come there for that purpose; so he, in many cases, lost the benefit of opposition and did not hear the reasoning which would have been of service to him. In general, men of affairs who desire to retain influence with officials, form the President down, never oppose for policy. On the contrary, they acquiesce through fear of exciting displeasure. Congressmen are more prone than others. They drift with the tide or rather tie to power. This prevailing weakness is a cause of much evil in government.
I began discussion on the pending army bill by saying to the President that I had had a talk with Hawley, [George B.] Loring, [James] Monroe and others, all M.C.s, and they were of opinion from what was said that "you would approve the army bill." They were very sorry, as it would produce disorder in the party and cause bad feelings again; that he, Hayes, would again go to the rear in the estimation of Republicans. I urged upon him the fact that the Republicans in the House had voted solidly against the bill, and that there would be a desperate fight in the Senate. I urged that this was the worst bill, because of its sweeping repeal, ever brought to him. I repeated that information had been given the papers of his interview with the informal committee on Monday, and the despondency which followed it.
The President replied by saying that expected to be governed upon political questions by the action of his party and to stand with it. He would veto [May 29, 1879] the Legislative, Judicial and Executive bill ["An Act Making Appropriations for the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Expenses of the Government"], with its 6th Section ["An Act Making Appropriations for Certain Judicial Expenses"] in a separate veto [June 23, 1879], and this Section he might have approved as he would the proposition of Mr. Robeson from the Republican Caucus Committee. (The Committee consisted of Messrs. Edumnds, Frye, and Robeson, the latter elected on motion of Mr. J. R. Hawley). This proposition offered by Mr. Robeson ["A Bill to Further Protect the Freedom of Elections"] had been voted down by the Democrats on Tuesday afternoon.
Now it was a horse of another color. The declaratory preamble of this pending bill (no part of the law) ["Whereas the presence of troops at the polls is contrary to the spirit of our institutions and the traditions of our people and tends to destroy the freedom of elections"], was all clap trap. We all assented to it but the cry of "Bloody Shirt," "Solid South," "Army at the Polls," were all political battle cries, with nothing much in them. But they were powerful in electioneering.
The President said he had examined carefully into the history of the enactment of the Act of 1865. The Republicans at that time with a two-thirds majority knew what they wanted, and that the whole drive and intention of that act was to protect state elections. The 14th and 15th amendments were not adopted at that time, so the legislation of that year had no bearing on them or the condition of affairs after they passed (the last in 1870), he said.
"Now it is time to call a halt." Striking his hand on the table, the President continued, "this thing of States Rights has gone far enough. What a preposterous idea that the United States cannot enforce its own laws, can’t protect its own citizens in their rights; or control for good in the interest of peace or in the election of its own officers. The Democrats insist that the polls, places sacred to peace and quiet, shall be the only places in the country where crime is to be permitted and the laws are not to be enforced."
After a full and frank talk he led me to understand that he would veto the bill. He spoke of the speeches on the former bill, naming Garfield’s first, Robeson’s next and then Hawley’s. He said Robeson’s was a powerful legal argument. His theory of the functions of the government is the "Websterian;" he follows Webster and it is the correct one.
I told the President that the Democrats would be infuriated at his veto as they had been given to understand by a person close to him that he would sign. Of course I meant Mr. Evarts whom Mr. Blaine intimated to me four weeks ago was making promises and trying to sell out Hayes. The President looked serious at this.
In the morning I saw Mr. Blaine at once and told him to whoop up the Senate and for Edmunds, Chandler, and the rest to jump the bill furiously. He did this. I saw Hawley and astonished him by telling him that Hayes would veto the Army bill. Robeson went to the White House and retracted some of his opinions of Monday, and asked Hayes to veto, saying to me at 2, after his return, "I laid aside my law for the sake of the party."
Dr. Geo. B. Loring, M.C. of Mass., went to the White House on Friday morning [May 9] with a copy of the "Boston Adviser" and said to the President, "Mr. President, here is a decent, respectable newspaper of Boston; read its editorial on your duty as to this Army bill. I don’t want to bore you by reading it, but it demands your veto." "Doctor," said the President, "You don’t need to read it; my mind is made up that way."
I urged our friends to keep quiet until the bill passed the Senate for fear the Democrats would amend it so that the President’s objections would be overcome.
I saw Mr. Speaker [Samuel J.] Randall at 4 P.M. of Friday while the bill was towards its passage in the Senate, and told him the President would veto it. He seemed surprised and said: "Well, then, we will have to give him more bills to veto. We will probably remain here all summer." Garfield met me and said: "Will the President approve this bill?" I said, "No, sir, he will not." Garfield laughed, and said "Good."
I was walking with General J. R. Hawley in the lobby of the House and met Murat Halstead, Editor of [the] Cincinnati Commercial. Hawley and I drew to one side to let Halstead pass. Halstead had been pumping Hawley for an interview for the Commercial. Hawley told me that Halstead, who had been in Clubs and Societies with President Hayes for twenty odd years, looked upon Hayes as a man of great design; that underneath his indifference to public honors was a deep, aspiring ambition; and that all his political positions had resulted from constant care of public opinion, with an eye to the main chance. He thought Hayes more able than he had credit for being. Halstead was a fair judge of men and was very intimate with Hayes. Hayes had a very good opinion of Halstead. I frequently saw Halstead at the White House at odd times.
I started home at 5:30 P.M. and traveled to Philadelphia with General W[illiam] G. LeDuc, Commissioner of Agriculture. He was a former partner of W[illiam] K. Rogers, Hayes’ Private Secretary, in business at Minneapolis, Minn. LeDuc said Evarts was a scheming politician and should go out of the Cabinet, and that Schurz was a time server. He wondered how Evarts ever got in Hayes’ Cabinet, also Devens.
At home, on Sunday, May 11, ’79, I wrote the following letter to the President, the sentence "Sanctuaries for crime" being mine, and sent it to him:
132 N. 40th St., Philadelphia, Pa.
May 11, 1879
My dear Mr. President:
One thing you said to me Wednesday last [May 7] has been running through my head ever since. It must go into the veto. In speaking of the cry of no troops at the polls, etc., you said "to enforce the laws under any circumstances. What an idea—that the polls, places sacred to peace and quiet, should be the only places in the country where crime is to be permitted, and the laws not to be enforced." "Sanctuaries for crime." You said it better than I state it. I mean in clearer language; no one ever said it before to my knowledge, and no one could say it better. It rings like metal.
Truly, T. D.
[Washington, D.C., Monday] May 12, 1879. 2 P.M.—President Hayes sent in the veto. Dispatches of this day say that the Republicans in Congress were disposed to go for the bill until their attention was called to its dangers by an eminent member of the Cabinet. Bosh. McCrary, Secretary of War, was in favor of the President approving the bill up to Thursday morning, May 8; Hawley went to him and found this to be so. Evarts was openly engaged in betraying the Republicans. What was it? All bosh. Evarts told a personal friend, a newspaper man, this himself.
[Washington, D.C., Thursday] May 15, 1879.—I asked Webb Hayes to-night at the Executive Mansion if he [had] received my letter of last Sunday, May 11. He said that he saw it Monday noon lying on his father’s table opened, but it had come too late as the veto message was written and signed by the President Sunday evening. The sentence would keep for the next veto, he said.
Washington, D.C., [Friday] May 16th, 1879.—The Veto of the army bill which President Hayes sent in May 12, 1879, has completely demoralized the Democrats. It was written by the President himself and signed last Sunday. The bill which he vetoed was drawn up by Senator A[llen] G. Thurman, and was a most cunning one. The Democrats, until the arrival of the veto, supposed that the President would approve the bill. Probably some of his Cabinet had misled them.
The veto went into the House about 2 P.M. The Republicans were very cautious as to the President; and the Democrats, heartily hating him but expecting some political comfort, became very quiet as his Private Secretary, under escort of a doorkeeper, called to the Speaker: "The President of the United States transmits to the House of Representatives a message in writing." Under the Constitution a veto [message] must receive immediate consideration, so the clerk began to read the message. The House was very quiet. At one sentence the Democrats gave slight applause, but in an instant the message refuted the Democratic party’s declarations as to the question and stated the Republican party’s view to be the correct one. Then the Republicans began to applaud and kept it up until the message closed, when there was a cheer. The Democrats were completely routed and many of them wanted to go home. This extra session was forced by non action at the last session on the army bill at the instigation of the Blackburn men of the House, who believed that an extra session, called immediately after March 4, 1879, would result in the defeat of Mr. Randall for Speaker. (Mr. Randall had told me that he could see no use for an extra session; and also denounced the anti-Chinese business as bosh and clap trap, and stated that he believed many men in the House who voted to pass it over [the President’s] veto were glad it had failed.).
On the morning of the 3d of March, 1879, I went to the White House at the request of Mr. Randall to urge an early call for an extra session. The President agreed that it ought to be early, and named the 24th of March; but the next day he made it the 18th. I saw him at 11 A.M. and he told me it would be the 18th. Of course I did not intimate that Mr. Randall wanted it. There need not have been any extra session but for the desire of certain Democrats to defeat Mr. Randall. Now that they have the extra session, the President vetoes all their political acts, showing by his messages the absurdities of their claims for the necessity of legislation for the protection of voters at the polls from the army. The people at large are laughing at them and they are powerless. Now they must do or find something expedient to give excuse for this extra session; they really cannot and so are incensed.
Most of the sensible men of the Democratic party are disgusted. The result will be that the Republican party will win all elections North this year and the Presidency. Ben. LeFevre, Member of Congress from Ohio, told me to-day that they would be here all summer and until the regular session in December. Mr. J[ohn] D[eWitt] C[linton] Atkins, Democrat of Tennessee, chairman of the appropriations committee, is against all this party maneuver and with Mr. Erastus Wells, M.C. of St. Louis, will vote with the Republican members of the Appropriations Committee to report favorably the appropriations bills. Mr. Wells, Democrat, told General Hawley yesterday that the whole thing was a farce and a humbug and he wanted to adjourn and go home; that the bill and scheme to entrap Hayes was gotten up by a vulgar old whiskey tub in the Senate, and he was disgusted with his own people. The President informed me Friday morning that he had been told by Democrats at his own table that they would bolt and go with the Republicans on this issue.
The Republicans are solid with President Hayes now and the lines are formed for 1880. The Democrats are utterly hopeless and totally defeated and routed. They have not even held a caucus since the veto, to know what to do or to lay out party action. The Northern Democrats are afraid of the hot talk of the Southern Democratic members. Republicans are everywhere jubilant and exultant. The veto is praised by everybody. It is undoubtedly one of the ablest political vetoes sent to Congress in many years.
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] May 29, 1879.—From two until three to-day I was at the White House with President Hayes. He laughed at my sending him a collection of [Andrew] Jackson’s veto medals the night before, and said he would get a small case for them. His veto [of "An Act Making Appropriations for the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Expenses of the Government"] had just gone up to the House.
We spoke of the nomination of Charles Foster for Governor, and Andrew Hickenlooper for Lieutenant Governor of Ohio. He was much pleased with the nomination of Foster, and said: "After all, Taft is not the man to run for Governor; he is vulnerable as to his religious decisions while Judge, and he is a heavy, cloggy speaker; give him time to prepare and write out a labored effort and he is all right. Foster will be strong with the mass of the people; he is a great mixer with them. Many years ago Hickenlooper, while United States Marshal of the Southern District of Ohio (Gen’l Grant obtained his nomination) was not satisfactory in his politics; he went over to the Greeley set." The President showed no love for Taft.
Gov. Hayes got President Grant to appoint Dr. William B. Thrall, who had been his private secretary, to succeed Hickenlooper.
While I was with the President, Webb Hayes came in from the House where he had been with the message vetoing the Legislative, Judicial & Executive appropriation bill, and said that it was received by the Democrats with irony, laughter, and derision, and with applause by the Republicans. Webb also mentioned the vote on it.
The President went out of the room for a few minutes during the prior part of the interview, and I sat in his room with Gusten [George A. Gustin], the private stenographer, waiting for him. Charles Loeffler, the door keeper, came in to see me. Gusten talked about Evart’s cheek and presumption, and I called attention to the article in the Philadelphia Press of the 27th or 28th of April, 1879, from D. B. DeKeim who was the Boswell to Evarts, wherein Evarts claimed to be entitled to the Republican nomination in 1880, because he had brought about amicable relations between the President and his party (a falsehood, or course). Loeffler said, "I saw it." I then stated that it was claimed by Evarts’ friends that he wrote the veto messages of the last month. Gusten said, "Why, the President wrote all three himself, and no man saw them except him and me. He handed me the notes of them and I copied them."
I asked if they had been shown to the Cabinet, and he said they were not. "They were printed for the President, and copies sent from the Printing Office to the President, before the manuscript was sent to the House." With that Loeffler handed me a printed copy of the one just sent in, but not yet read. The sentence which I wrote the President in letter of May 11th or thereabouts, wherein the polls are to be made "sanctuary for [lawlessness and] crime," is in the message.
General J. R. Hawley told me yesterday afternoon, May 28th, that General J. A. Garfield, M.C., had been up to see the President two days before, and asked him to look about for a method of compromising with the Democrats in Congress. Hawley, who was present, said Hayes replied to Garfield that he, the President, had nothing to compromise, and that he was going right on. Garfield’s old weakness, lack of moral pluck, attacks him too often for his own good. Hayes said to him that he ought to be the last man to advise him this way.
I told the President that those who had been talking to him about compromise had no authority to speak for any but themselves; that he had the Democrats in full retreat and he should do well to keep kicking them. He explained to me the idea he had intended to convey by his three Veto messages. The first one was to show the necessity for retention of the laws to have fair elections; the second to define the law and constitution as to United States elections for Congressmen (and he believed that the Congressional elections should be held at a time different from State elections); and the last message was to resist encroachments by the Congress on the Executive functions.
I spoke of Ben Hill’s course in the Senate. "Yes," the President said, "Hill has been very erratic."
I went from the "White House" to Speaker Randall’s room in the Capital. Mr. Randall, R. W. Townshend, M.C. of Illinois, Julius McElhone, official stenographer of the House [official Reporter of Debates], and another Member of Congress were present. J[ohn] H. White, Randall’s Secretary, said "Look here, Donaldson, every time you come here your friend Hayes plays thunder." Randall said, "What is your man going to do next? The idea of his lecturing this House on fraud! by his last veto message! You should have heard our fellows laugh. Fraud rebuking fraud!" The man whom I did not know (M.C.) said: "I suppose the reason Hayes did not send the message in before was that the fellow that writes them for him was out of town." I answered, "You are mistaken; he writes every one of them himself." They were surprised, and Mr. Randall said, "You can rely on this for Donaldson knows."
Randall asked me to-day if Hayes was an educated man—a strange question. It is odd that the public men about Washington always believe that the Presidents’ messages are not written by the Presidents. The fact is that in experience the Presidents, both Hayes and Grant, always wrote their own messages, sometimes consulting the head of the Department directly interested. It is astonishing how little of the "Off with his head" there is in Government. The most solemn and portentous acts are done by the men who handle affairs in the simplest manner. Doing the little things well makes great acts.
Mr. Townshend, M.C. of Illinois said: "Mr. Randall, that d—d Secretary of War McCrary has refused to appoint a Democrat on the visiting Board to West Point this year. Have you appointed a Republican?" "Yes," said Randall, "I appointed [Eugene] Hale of Maine last Congress." Townshend said, "Well, I would like to have you retaliate on that damned fellow and not appoint a Republican." After he went out, Randall remarked to me, "That is a great man because some one else did what he considers a mean thing. He wants me to do one also; what an idea!"
I told him (Randall) that his party had better pass the bills and appropriations, and go home. The fact is they do not know what to do.
(Townshend died in 1889; Randall in 1890; McElhone in 1891).
Coming from Washington to-night on the cars, I rode with General H[enry] H[arrison] Bingham, Member of Congress, 1st District of Pennsylvania. I mentioned the ["]Evarts named for President["] matter in the Philadelphia Press of the 27th and 28th inst., by D. B. DeKeim. Bingham laughed and said: "The fun of it is that DeKeim told me that Evarts got him to put the article in the Press, or rather gave him the points, and then said DeKeim, ‘Gave Sherman a punch in the ribs at the same time.’"
This article is the one referred to in the conversation with President Hayes. It suggested that Evarts had given the Democrats in Congress the idea that Pres’t. Hayes would approve all the bills which he [subsequently] vetoed.
"In fact," said Bingham, "He told me so."
Washington, D.C., [Tuesday] June 3, 1879.—I spent this evening with President Hayes. He was pleasant and chatted of old times. We turned upon books. He wrote out a list for me to buy for him for his children: Munchausen, beautifully illustrated; Peter Parley; Robinson Crusoe; Swiss Family Robinson; and White Captive.
He detailed to me his early reading, and of his recent unsuccessful hunt for a small book of Indian romance on the Texas border in say 1835 or 1836. He offered Robert Clarke $25 for a copy of it. It was a small volume brought from the East to the West by a relative and he had never seen it since. He had told the story to all of his children as they grew up, and referred to Webb who was present, who remembered the story. He also commissioned me to buy him a number of old books from time to time. He said a publisher once came to him many years ago and borrowed his copy of "Three Spaniards" [The Three Spaniards. A Romance, by George Walker], and republished it. He said he longed to get a run into the old book stores and get some books; wanted to do so badly in Washington, but it would not do; he was compelled to forego the pleasure.
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] June 4, 1879.—I left Washington this evening with the Hon. D[aniel] J[ohnson] Morrell of Pa., the great Iron Master who works 6,000 men at the Cambria Iron Works, Johnstown Pa. He was in Congress two terms, 41st & 42nd Congresses, I think [March 4, 1867-March 3, 1871]. He told me how in 1868 as a member of the House he sat beside John Covode of Pa., M.C., in the Senate Chamber when the Senate vote on the articles of impeachment [of Andrew Johnson]. When the name of Senator [Edmund Gibson] Ross (Rep.) of Kansas was called, Ross unexpectedly voted "Not Guilty." Covode called out, "President Johnson is economical. He has bought the cheapest man in the Senate."
When Grant came in as President in 1869, he found that President Johnson had previously filled the Kansas offices with Ross men. Morrell was with Grant in his room when Ross came in to complain to Grant that he was turning all of Ross’s friends out of office in Kansas. Grant and all other Republicans considered that these offices given by Johnson were in part payment of Ross’s treachery to the Union. Ross said: "Mr. President, am I to understand that I am not to control the Kansas appointments?" Grant answered, "Yes; you are not to control the Kansas appointments." Ross became excited and swore roundly and, going out of the door, exclaimed, "We will see." Grant much amused, answered, "We will see." Ross was sat upon. (Ross was made Gov. of New Mexico in [May] 1885 by President Cleveland).
Some time in March, 1879, Morrell was in Washington. Having fifteen minutes to spare prior to the departure of his train, he called at the White House and sent in his card, and was admitted immediately. President Hayes took him into the Library and said, "Morrell, I want you to tell me, is the Republican party down on me or not; what do you say?" Morrell stammered out the truth, and told him frankly that he (Hayes) had lost the confidence of his party leaders and was accused of treachery. The President became very earnest and said: "Morrell, I am just as good a Republican as you or anybody else. I tried an experiment in Southern matters. It was a piece of policy, but it failed. The conciliation matters came to a bad end but I did it to bring all our people together. From this time on I intend to be Radical enough to suit our people."
Mr. Morrell told me that the impeachment speech delivered by John A. Logan, M.C. of Illinois was written by General Joe Holt, Judge Advocate General, U.S. Army, and that he (Morrell) knew it.
[Friday] June 13, 1879.—General Hawley told me this morning about the talk he had with D. W. Bartlett, Secretary of the Chinese Embassy. Bartlett said that the smallest matter of enquiry at the State Department was delayed for weeks; that the method of conducting the Department was a crying evil, and that all the foreign legations were loud in their complaints, especially Sir Edward Thornton. It was all promise and no performance.
Washington, D.C., [Saturday] June 14, 1879.—Mr. E. T. Steel this morning waited upon the President after seeing Mr. Seward in regard to the consulship at Ghent. The President remarked that there were at least 40 consuls in Europe that ought to be removed, 20 of them for drunkenness, and it was difficult [to] arrive at the truth in regard to consuls. For instance, the one at Rome (removed to make place for Eugene Schuvler within ten days past [nominated May 22; confirmed May 26, 1879]), complaints were being made constantly of this consul’s habits, drunkenness, etc. The matter was referred to Mr. Geo. P. Marsh, American Minister to Italy, who reported in favor of the consul; that his habits were good, etc. Upon proof, however, the President removed him. The President said, "If our friends up at the other end (meaning Congress) were a little more liberal we could find out about these things." This referred to the fact that although Congress was frequently asked to appropriate a small sum for expenses of a consular agent to go abroad and investigate consulates, as one did under Grant, Congress refused to do so.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Friday] June 20, 1879.—An editorial in the New York World gives reasons for the extra session of the Forty-Sixth Congress. Not a word of it is true. The conferees on the Army bill in the House, two Democrats [J.D.C.] Atkins and [Milton J.] Durham and [Charles] Foster, Republican, being the third, and the conferences on behalf of the Senate, two Republicans and [James B] Beck, Democrat, fixed the thing or made an extra session necessary by a failure to agree at the last minute. J.C.S. Blackburn and his friends insisted upon an extra session so as to beat or defeat Randall for Speaker of the Forty-Sixth Congress. Randall finally thought also that an immediate extra session, if there was to be one, was better for his chances as Speaker. Still he was not really in favor of an extra session. When it was determined upon, Robert Randall came to see me and said that Sam [Randall] wanted to see me. I went at once to his private room. I think this was on Sunday, March 2d, 1879, in the afternoon. He went right to business. He wanted the extra session as soon as possible and desired the President to call it at once. The next day, Monday at 10 A.M. (there had been a dreadful snow storm Sunday night), I went to the President and talked the thing over. The President finally said: "Well, let us call it for the 24th of March, if we have to have it; that is twenty days." I said to him that if there was any leverage to be given anybody among the Democrats, it should be to Randall. To this he agreed. That afternoon I told Mr. Randall, who was much pleased. Of course, this was all a secret. Tuesday, March 4, at 11:30, I saw the President at his room in the Capitol. He asked me if there was any hope of the passage of the Army bill. I answered, "I am informed not." He then agreed that the extra session should be March 18th.
Washington, D.C., [Tuesday] June 24, 1879.—The President mentioned to me to-night that he had made a battle in the Commission in charge of the Washington Monument for no change in the original plan. It was a hard fight, and to him is due the credit of continuing the work as originally started, an obelisk.
I spent an hour (from 9 to 10 P.M.) with the President and Webb Hayes. We sat on the back porch overlooking the river. The President discussed politics generally. He was good natured and felt well at the prospects of another chance to veto a bill for the Democracy. He asked me why Mr. Blaine had gone home. I answered owing to his health and the heat of the weather. I did not in fact remember that the Republican State Convention met at Augusta [Bangor] on the 26th instant.
I gave it as my idea that the best reason why the Republicans in the Senate had opposed the Army bill while the Republicans in the House had favored it and the President had signed it, was because there was in it a clause relating to free telegraphy which General B. F. Butler of the last House had inserted, which Senators thought unconstitutional and violated private rights, or rather, destructive of the vested rights of existing telegraph companies. The President said he had recently heard the same thing.
He called to Webb, "Go and show Tom the owl that nearly threw down the Washington Monument." We went into the library and saw the bird. It was a stuffed owl, which had been given to the President by the engineer in charge of the monument a few days before.
After we returned to the porch, the President then told me the story of the owl’s attempted destruction of the Monument. There had been for several months a discussion between rival engineers as to whether the present foundations of the monument were strong enough to warrant the continuation of the proposed tall shaft. Vibration of an alarming degree was spoken of. The engineer in charge suspended from the center of the shaft a wire with an iron bob attached, as a plumb. The iron bob was placed in a basin of molasses, a dense fluid which would prevent atmospheric wavering. Just above the iron bob was placed two cross pieces of wood with pencil points resting on sheets of paper below; when the wire vibrated the pencil points on the wooden arms marked it on the paper. For several weeks the results were very satisfactory. One morning, a week or so ago, the engineer who at stated periods beginning early in the morning, watched closely for vibratory marks, came running out crying that the monument was going to fall. The pencil marks ran in every direction; the monument would soon be off the line of perpendicular. The President and Board were notified. Examination showed that the line had swung about in an alarming manner, as shown by the pencil marks on the paper. Investigation was made at once. Near the top of the shaft was found this owl held fast in the wire. His struggle to get free had vibrated the wire and caused the wild marks. The owl was taken, killed, stuffed and presented to the President.
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] June 26, 1879.—I went to the White House this evening with General J. R. Hawley to have a talk with the President. He was on the back porch. Amos Townsend, Member of Congress from Ohio, and Webb Hayes were there. Hawley took out a cigar to smoke and regretted that he had no more. The President said: "Smoke away. Webb, have you some cigars?" Webb said: "We are all out." General J. W. Keifer came in within a few minutes, and a running chat and discussion was kept up as to the policy of an extra session. I asked why it was that Nicholas Muller, M.C. (Democrat) of New York (a very large fat man, say of 300 pounds and fine looking withal, and a Commissioner of Emigration under the State of New York), was always walking around the House during the session. He was constantly on his feet. Some one said he was a brewer. "That accounts for it," said Hawley; "There is so much drinking around the House that Muller, from the fumes, thinks that he is walking around the beer vats in his brewery."
Muller has an idea he was handsome and always eyed the gallery to see if the ladies were looking. There was a Deputy Sergeant at Arms during the Forty-fifth and Forty-sixth Congresses that sickened all observers by his vain attempts from the House floor to attract the ladies in the gallery.
The President talked politics for an hour and primed General Hawley for a five minute speech the next day on the Judicial Bill. It was good talk and Hawley in the House next day made a telling speech [on H.R.No. 2382, "Making Appropriation to Pay Fees of United States Marshals and Their General Deputies"]. As we walked down the street Hawley said to me: "Hayes understands politics better than I imagined." The President said to me before we left, "I wonder if the Committee from Congress will wait upon me at the close of the session, as is usual." "I don’t know," I said. He quickly replied: "If they do or do not I am going to my room near the Senate and be on hand, whether they want me or not." He went on Tuesday. No discourtesy was offered him and the committee waited on him.
Washington, D.C., [Tuesday] June 3, 1879.—I drove to the White House at 12 to-day to see Webb Hayes about some plaster casts. He came down and out to the buggy. He spoke of the fact that by his father’s approval of the Army [Appropriations] Bill [signed June 23, 1879], the House Republicans voting to pass it, and the Senate Republicans to reject it, that the House Republicans and the President by their action had shown the Republican Senators that they were not owners of the Republican party. I said, "In a few days with a little management one could fetch all of our dissatisfied Republican Senators around and bring them to the White House." Webb said, "Who wants them. Let them stay." Of course he simply repeats what he hears in the Cabinet, and about. His father has more tact.
After all the talk about the President not caring how and who abuses him—he does, and I know it. Underneath his laughing face and cheerful smile there is a big engine of human nature at work all the time. He has himself under constant control, however. Control of his temper and tongue, coupled with an ever balanced brain—not a brilliant one, but sound and strong; and his ambition and energy, have been the secrets of his power and success.
Washington, D.C., [Thursday-Saturday] July 10-12, 1879.—There are constant complaints among Republicans that Democrats are being at all times appointed to office. Today it is announced that Colonel [William H.] Roberts (Ex-Rebel), a newspaper man, has been appointed to codify the United States Army regulations. This Roberts is a blatant rebel, and is the fellow who was sent by Nichol[l]s, Governor of Louisiana, with others, to interview Hayes at Columbus, Ohio, prior to the Electoral Count being concluded. He was one of the aides in bringing about the Southern policy. Another newspaper man, one [Charles W.] Dietrick, a Democrat, ex-clerk of the House Committee on Military Affairs, was appointed to a responsible place in the Census [clerk, Senate Commite, "To Make Provision For Taking the Tenth Census"]. It is asserted that at least one-third of all appointments in Washington since Hayes came in have been Democrats. All Republicans are complaining.
On the morning of July 12th, I went to the White House with H. R. Kincaid of Oregon, who for ten years past has been a clerk in the Secretary’s office of the United States Senate. [John C.] Burch, the Democratic Secretary, on June 27, notified him of his dismissal, saying that the reason of his discharge was that he (Burch) desired that the subordinates of the Senate be in political sympathy with the majority. The Democrats then had the Senate.
We met the Attorney-General, Mr. Devens, coming out as we went in. I introduced Kincaid to the President as a gentleman who had been lately decapitated. The President said, "Sit down, Mr. Kincaid; you look like a very lively corpse." I told the President that Mr. Kincaid wished an office. The President said, "Well, do you want to give him yours? [member of the Commission to Codify the Land Laws]. It is the only one I know of." "No," I said, "I am a Jeffersonian Democrat while holding office; few die and none resign."
Kincaid had recommendations from 70 members of the House who knew him; also from the Senators. The President read them over. About half way down the first page of signatures was the following: "I think a Democrat should be turned out and this good Republican given a place." (Signed), N[elson] W[urlmarth] Aldrich, R.I. (Aldrich became a United States Senator in 1882, succeeding Burnside). When he came to this the President laughed and read it aloud. He turned over the next page and in the middle of it was: "I think a Democrat should make way for this sound Republican." J[ohn] I. Mitchell, 16th District of Pa. (afterwards United States Senator, succeeding W. A. Wallace in 1881 and 1882).
Then followed other names. The President read them aloud but made no comment. I was glad he read this paper as it would show him what Congressmen thought of his appointing Democrats to office.
Washington, D.C., [Friday] July 18, 1879.—I was at the White House this evening after 7:30. Mayor [Ray Vaughn] Pierce, of Buffalo, N.Y., Member of Congress elect to the 46th Congress, and Dr. [J. M.] Bedford, Post Master at Buffalo, were in the Cabinet room when I went in. The President came out of the library and introduced us. He then said that there was to be some music below and insisted that we should go down. We went with him. In the Red Room we found Mrs. Hayes, Prof. [F.] Widdows, and Prof. [Thomas] Aptommas, the Welsh harpist. We then followed Mrs. Hayes, who was dressed in a gray suit trimmed with black, to the Blue room. Here the harp was gotten out and the music began. Guests began to arrive, and on entering paid their respects to Mrs. Hayes who sat to the right near the Red room door, and then to the President who sat near the rear door. The guests who thus came in were not presented to any other persons, but were seated. Murat Halstead, Col. Jack Wharton [died in 1882], Gen. G. A. Sheridan, Judge [Joseph P.] Bradley and ladies, and others came in. Mrs. Hayes was as usual genial and courteous. When any guest departed, he simply shook hands with Mrs. Hayes and retired. The President retired after the first air was played. Aptommas was a wonderful musician. During the first air he unfortunately broke a string. He became flushed, stopped, and explained.
During the evening there was an unceremonious couple ushered in; she, with a white bonnet and gold eye glasses; he, with frowsy head of brown hair. From the manner in which she moved and jerked about, slopping over and gushing, we thought she was the next of kin or the heir. She was only a recent acquaintance of Mrs. Hayes. I retired early. The homelike air about these evening receptions at the White House is charming.
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] July 23, 1879.—On the limited express from Philadelphia to this place yesterday, in the compartment with me, was a well dressed Negro of, say about twenty-one years of age. His head was African, his lips ponderously so. A conversation sprang up. He spoke English like a Yale professor. It was as clean of African dialect as a child is of sin. I watched him closely. He gave me his card: "James Dean. Principal, Douglass Institute, Key West, Florida." A slave at nine years and freed, he began to educate himself. He graduated at an Institution in Jacksonville, Florida, of which State he was a native, and passed a competitive examination for the head of the school at Key West, which was established by the Legislature—Republican, of course.
I asked him how, at less than twenty-one years of age, he had become head of such a school—a Normal school with five teachers and two hundred and fifty pupils. He said he supposed it was because he had brains. He described how the Democrats, now that they were in power in Florida, were trying to abolish the colored schools by reducing the tax for them and then raising but little money. His own salary under the Republicans was $1,000. per year the year round. The Democrats cut it down to $600. per year, with his vacation out. He said that he delivered the oration on the Emancipation Anniversary at Key West; and there told the colored men to be patient and industrious, get property and stick to Florida; that, although there was ceaseless bulldozing of the blacks, to be patient.
By appointment I met him the next day at 11 A.M. at the White House. Just as we went in, Senator [Blanche K.] Bruce of Mississippi, colored, came out. I introduced them. Bruce with his fine, light complexion and stately figure, was a great contrast to this pure (medium sized) African. The latter was the abler of the two. Dean told me that he should go to the Law School at either Yale or Harvard for a course. The President received him cordially and watched him closely, for he was as much struck with his English as I had been.
The President pumped him for twenty minutes. He asked him if there were signs of an exodus from Florida. Dean said, "No." The President said, "Stay where you are. It is not best for you to go to the climate of Ohio or Indiana. You are natives of the South and you are entitled to remain there. I know you are assaulted and bulldozed, but stick. Time and the North will set this all right. Although the Negroes who have gone West brought misery on themselves, it has done great good here as it has taught the Southern planter the danger that is before him is loss of his labor. It was a needed lesson, and will do great good in the future. I take great interest in your people and wish them all prosperity and intend to aid them" He bade Dean goodby and we retired. Dean was immensely pleased. I left him at the cars to go in search of Fred Douglass after whom the school was named.
While Dean and myself were with the President, a Member of Congress came in, [William Manning] Lowe of Alabama, I think. The President was very cordial with him, and the M.C. sat and listened to Dean. I mentioned the fact that the most of Florida schools still used [William] Swinton’s History and French’s Arithmetic—all Northern books, but that Alexander [H.] Stephen’s southern history of the United States, a rebel book, was being substituted in most Southern States. The President laughed and said, "You need not be afraid that anything Stephens writes will do any harm." The M.C. laughingly said, "There is no danger in what he writes." The idea was "Superfluous lags the veteran." Stephens belongs to another age. He proves that failure is success, for everything he favors in a large sense fails. This is what they referred to.
Dean was a delegate to the Republican National Convention at Chicago, May-June, 1880. He came to see me at once upon his arrival at Chicago. I argued him into voting for Blaine which he did for five ballots. Then the Grant men gave him a large sum of money and he went back. W[illiam] W. Hicks, [Charles] Guiteau’s clergyman [at Guiteau’s execution], led this delegation, and when Dean bolted, Hicks nearly fainted. I can see him now. His face was the color of a boiled lobster.
In 1881 Dean wrote me that he was in Washington and unemployed and wanted me to help him get a place in the Treasury. I assisted him and he was afterwards made
a clerk there [in the Sixth Auditor’s Office, with salary of $1,200. per year]. I have not heard of him since, but suppose he is camped in some small Government position. When a man of twenty-five settles into a Government clerkship, usually his tombstone should be erected at once. He has passed from view.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Thursday] August 21st, 1879.—I met Judge John A. Bingham in the Bound Brook Railroad office. I had given him some letters in 1877 to Salt Lake City; he thanked me. After a chat he said that John Y. Foster told him on the cars near Trenton that W. M. Evarts had said to him that the present administration was the most brilliant since that of Jefferson.
Mr. Harry Steel introduced me to Mr. Hochstader and Hochstader of Newbould, clothiers of this city. Mr. Hochstader told me that E[zra] A. Hayt, Commissioner of Indian Affairs [Office], had told him in July 1879 that John Wanamaker had swindled the Government, and that he (Hayt) was afraid of him furnishing clothing for the Indians. Mr. Hochstader said that Hayt was a humbug and when on the Indian Commission was an obstructionist and an objector. When he got in as Commissioner he became afraid and would do nothing, a failure. He allowed the Indian Commission to let all the contracts.
Denver, Colo., [Monday] September 8, 1879.—Hon G[eorge] L[eroy] Converse, Member of Congress from Ohio, was a good and a strong personal friend of President Hayes, although a Democrat. He traveled with me in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana and Utah during August & September. He told me that while the Democrats were making such a howl in the extra session of the 46th Congress about not adjourning without passing certain bills, the Army bill and others, that Hayes had told him that Congress would pass most of the measures because he had a paper signed by many Southern Democrats indicating they would do so. This was a sell-out of their Northern friends. Converse said also that in 1877 at the inauguration of Hayes, he, being in Washington, heard the mutterings of dissatisfaction amongst the Republicans and ridicule among the Democrats. He sent word to Hayes, in confidence, of the danger ahead. Hayes sent back word that while he felt all that Converse had seen and heard, he had gone so far that he could not change his political policy no matter what happened. Converse believed he was all wrong in this policy. After the California election, September 1879 which resulted in the election of 4 Republicans, Converse was all the time congratulating himself on the fact that the Democrats had been wise enough to force the extra session and elect their speaker. Now they could not have done it with the 4 California Congressmen against them. He said he got Speaker S. J. Randall to put Samuel S. Cox [of New York] at the head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs after much urging, but feared now that from something he had heard Cox would not long keep his knife sheathed.
Washington, D.C., [Tuesday] December 9, 1879.—I spent this evening with the President at the White House alone in his room. I had recently purchased for him at Sioux City, Iowa, from a German, in a small variety store, among other things, three volumes of old German Chronicles about three hundred years old, quaint in type and paper, and bound in rare old bindings. [The President kept two of the volumes for his private library and exchanged the third with the Library of Congress for one of their duplicates]. Tonight I sat with the President an hour while he read the German and translated to me. He reads German easily and translates it without effort. I asked him where he learned. He said at school, and has kept it up since. He also handled Latin easily. I think he is a man of thorough education. He took me into Webb’s room and showed me a fine collection of Indian curiosities just received from the West.
When Pres’t. Hayes used to stump in Pennsylvania [in 1875] he would make a speech in English in the German districts and then break off into German. Hartranft went with him and spoke in English. When Rud Hayes and I were going to Sante Fe, [New Mexico,] in April, 1880, the sleeping car conductor told us of how at Lititz, Pennsylvania, he had heard the President, in 1875, make a German speech while Hartranft (a German) made an English one. It made a great hit with the people.
Washington, D.C., [Friday] December 12, 1879.—I was with the President and family half an hour to-day in the library. The President had Fanny on his knee. "Who is this?" he asked the child, touching me. "I don’t recall his name," said the child. "It’s Mr. Donaldson," said the President; "now don’t forget it again. Always try to remember persons’ names and faces, and thereby improve on your father’s great failing of not remembering. Still, I am even now improving in memory over a few years past." He handed me a book of family photographs and asked me to pick out the best one of Mrs. Hayes. I did so. He laughingly called out to Mrs. Hayes, who sat near the rear window, "Now, Mrs. Hayes, Donaldson says my favorite is his favorite of your pictures, and you know he knows, so we will order for him a dozen of this," pointing to the one, "and a dozen of myself; so, Webb, order them at once." Before this, the President had promised me the pictures, as I wanted them for friends.
The President said to Mrs. Hayes, "The other day Mr. Schurz, in speaking of a shocking bad hat which some gentleman present with him was wearing, said, ‘Go get another one. That hat is almost as bad as the President’s or Mr. Evarts.’" Mrs. Hayes laughed and said, "How outrageous." I said, "In Jackson’s time such a remark would have made a break in the Cabinet." The truth is, the President does manage to wear some horrid hats. As to Evarts, his hats look like his person, antique, wrinkled, dried up and brown.
There was an upright picture, say 12" x 18", sitting on one of the book cases, done by [Albert] Bierstadt, who some time ago, in ’77 I think, visited the White House. It was a night scene—sky blue, and badly painted. On a terrace were a couple, evidently a bride and groom; and on the left the part of a castle brilliantly lighted with light, queer old light, of an awfully yellow hue pouring out of doors and windows. It was a present by "A" Bierstadt to Miss [Lucy H.] Platt, the President’s niece, now Mrs. Russell Hastings, on her marriage. Webb said that the common name for it on the inside was the "Blast Furnace." The light from doors and windows gave this impression.
Webb Hayes gave me this picture, which I now have, February 19, 1890. I had it altered and the light changed by a competent artist.
Mrs. Hayes asked me to do her a favor. Brady, the Washington photographer, had taken a miserable picture of her (I saw it and it was awful). She wanted me to get the negative from him and destroy it. He (Brady) had promised her that he would not print from it again until she sat again; but to her sorrow she saw one of the pictures in a store for sale. She refused to sit again, claiming that Brady had broken faith. She said to me, "I don’t want you to do wrong, or be wicked, but I want that negative!" On August 19, 1880, Brady gave me one side of the negative, 1 picture as a curiosity. I am to get the other by some hook or crook. I have not told Mrs. Hayes of it yet, and still retain the one I have.
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] December 17, 1879.—I spent an hour this evening with President Hayes in his library. There were present Judge John R. McBride of Salt Lake City, whom I had brought to the President about Utah affairs; H. W. Scott, of Portland, Oregon, Editor of the "Oregonian;" John H. Martindale of the "Indianapolis Journal;" Marshall Jewell, of Hartford, Connecticut, and Richard Smith, Editor of the "Cincinnati Gazette." McBride, a small, dignified, dark man of 45, ex-Congressman, ex-Chief Justice [of Idaho Territory], etc.; Scott, 40, broad shouldered and Herculean—a strong man; Martindale, 50, handsome and able; Smith ("Dick"), massive, red-headed, very homely, close of speech, with an Irish or Scotch muddled brogue; Jewell, squatty, fat, florid, pink complexion, with a magnificent head of white hair, fine presence, genial, say 60, and a nice man, made up the group. We sat in a circle about the open fireplace.
The President was vigorous in denunciation of the Maine political transactions just going on ["action of the Governor and council in attempting to change the political complexion of the legislature"]. Smith said he believed that there would never be peace in this country until the old Democratic party was thoroughly wiped out. The President said, "That’s impossible, for sin, wickedness and the devil will always be, so we will always have the Democratic party."
All but myself predicted a subdued session of Congress, now Democratic. I said there would presently be a dreadful row. The President said, "Yes, you are right and the others wrong. A Congress preceding a Presidential fight is always a mob because the candidates’ friends try to be very radical and do the most ultra and violent things under the belief that this is the way to be strong with their party." "Yes, these very radical men do have the organization but they don’t get to be President," McBride said; "for instance, Mr. Clay." "So," concluded the President, "we shall have a rough and exciting session of Congress, if the signs don’t fail."
We all discussed the Presidential question. A few hours before, Senator Don Cameron had been elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, of which Jewell, Scott, McBride and myself were members; and we all had voted against him. President Hayes, I believe, is opposed to Grant, and favors William A. Wheeler, Vice President, as a candidate for President. He thinks Wheeler can carry New York. President Hayes said, "Now there are rumors of the Democrats intending to capture the next Presidency by counting their man in by Congress." Mr. Scott then gave in detail his views as to this. The President said, "Why, they will have to proceed on the assumption that they will not need the President’s consent or assent. For certainly the chances are they would not get it." This he said laughingly. Mr. Scott replied, "That’s so." Richard Smith said: "The reason why General Grant is so popular with the people is because they think there is going to be a row about the next Presidency; and they think that Grant, if elected, is a man who will be brave enough to get the seat, and thousands at his call will rally to assist him. Of course the Democratic party is interested in putting the late Southern Rebels in power so as to have a hold on the government themselves."
President Hayes continued, "I hope no one who knew anything of the matter ever misunderstood my position as to the method of declaring who had been elected President in 1876-7. I was opposed to the Electoral Commission bill. Mr. Tilden was in favor of it until Judge [David] Davis went to the Senate and then he became opposed to it. I believe that the only method is the one pointed out by Chancellor Kent, which was the rule until the Electoral Commission expedient came up, viz, by the Vice President; it is the true one and for this we must contend. It is right."
I judge from this that the President was getting ready for a skirmish. The tenor of the whole conversation was that the Democrats were getting ready to steal the next Presidency.
In a talk [Friday], December 19, 1879, in the evening, in the library with the children present, the President said that our folks in Maine, to resist the great outrage committed by [Governor Alonzo] Garcellon and the council, must meet at the proper time with the Republicans who had the certificates from the Governor and council and those who had the certificates of election by the people from the local officers, and organize. Within a week the whole country would sustain them and see the Republicans righted. He said that our people must see to it that the knaves who entered the Legislature on the Governor’s and council’s certificate should be purged out of office. It might make a row for a while. It would not be mob rule but only insisting upon our rights. He did not want our people in Maine, if it could be helped, to appeal to the President for troops or official aid.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Saturday] December 20, 1879.—I came over from Washington to Philadelphia to-night from six to ten, and was on the cars with General W. T. Sherman. He was going to New York to be present at the New England dinner, Monday, December 22nd. He was very chatty and pleasant. I jokingly said to him that I claimed the right to know him better than most men because I had seen him in a hundred places; and that I had also witnessed him in the act of pulling off his boots; that a man must be very intimate with anyone whom he permits to see him take off his boots. He laughed and asked where it had happened. I said that it occurred in Idaho many years ago. He recalled it at once.
Speaking of President Hayes, he said, "He is a good man and a better politician than John Sherman (his brother), Blaine or any of the rest of them. Still, the Republicans don’t want to give him credit for being either a good politician or a great man. Look at the surroundings of Pres’t. Hayes as compared to the crowd Pres’t Grant had about him. Hayes has pure and good men; Grant had a dreadfully scaly set. Col. Babcock, his secretary, was an Engineer Officer; and I have always looked upon the Engineer Corps as being composed of the finest gentlemen in the army. I should as soon look for a diamond in a mud hole as to find an Engineer officer associating with low fellows. When Babcock became mentioned in the John McDonald matter at St. Louis (the whiskey frauds), I went to him and said, ‘Now, I have an interest in you and your reputation because you are an officer of the Army, but I want to see your skirts cleared and no man will rejoice more than I.’ So when he was tried at St. Louis I was there, and when he was acquitted I was one of the first to congratulate him in the Court room. Still, I am told that on the night of his acquittal he went to the jail and visited John McDonald. The latter was Major of the 8th Mo. Infantry in the war.
"After Shiloh, Grant told me he wanted a regiment which was badly cut up to go to Clarksville on the Cumberland, refit, and meanwhile be the garrison. One of my regiments was the 73rd [71st] Ohio under Colonel Rodney Mason, which had a bad reputation. I was anxious to get rid of it so I sent it to Grant. It was sent to Clarksville where in due time it surrendered to the rebels in a cowardly manner. The regiment I got in its place was the 8th Missouri under Morgan L. Smith. On the staff of Colonel Dave Stuart of the 55th Illinois Infantry, commanding a brigade, was Charley McDonald, brother of John. He was Assistant Adjutant General, and we all liked him. So I took a friendly interest in John on account of his brother.
"John was intensely active and useful. When we reached Memphis John McDonald resigned to become a Quartermaster’s clerk or assistant to the Quartermaster, who had him assigned to the charge and care of renting abandoned rebel property in Memphis. He then drifted into Arkansas, where he got into the Internal Revenue service after the war, and acquired a great reputation for efficiency. When Gen’l Grant became President, John came to Washington with a stack of first class recommendations. I helped him also, and then he obtained the appointment of Collector of Internal Revenue for St. Louis. After his trial, conviction and incarceration, and just before Grant went out of office in 1877, I received a dispatch from McDonald’s wife, imploring me for God’s sake to ask Grant to pardon him out of the Missouri penitentiary, as he was dying and wanted to see his wife and children. I went over to the White House and handed the dispatch to Grant, who said he had also received one of like import. Of course humanity yielded, and he was pardoned.
"The next time I met John McDonald was in March, 1877, at the Ebbitt House, Washington. He came toward me with extended hand, which I took, and then I said: ‘John McDonald, I have nothing but the kindliest feelings for you, but after what has passed, retirement and modesty will most become you, so go away from here.’ Some of my friends standing near thought I was very severe, but I thought not. McDonald was a convict and I thought ought to keep out of sight. I next saw him and Sylph (a woman in the frauds), with whom I understand he had taken up, after deserting his wife (the one who obtained his release), sitting in the theatre at Chicago, in November last, at the reunion of the Army of the Tennessee.
"The proprietor of the Lindell House at St. Louis told me just after McDonald’s conviction that it was a loss of $10,000 per month to his hotel, as McDonald’s bills for entertaining distinguished men from Washington and other places amounted to that each month. Babcock, when at St. Louis, accepted McDonald’s hospitality.
"Mr. Hayes has different people about him," General Sherman continued. "Mrs. Hayes is charming. I was traveling with her five weeks this year, and never heard an angry or impetuous word from her; and the Hayes children are all well raised. It looks like Grant can be President again if he wants to. I do not know [H. V.] Boynton, who wrote the book ‘Sherman’s Historical Raid,’ but it was instigated or aided by Belknap, Secretary of War, who I hear furnished him with a few disjointed scraps of history to use against me. Belknap was a weak man, and had a lot of hangers-on around him. I saw Gen’l Grant meet him at Chicago last November. He shook hands with him, but did not say as he does to intimates, ‘Come and see me.’ He always says when I meet him in public, ‘Sherman, come around after this is over, and we will sit down and have a quiet talk.’ The fact that general Belknap was in the right rear of Grant’s carriage and supporting it in the parade, was an accident; Belknap did not push himself there. It came out of the manner in which the Society of the Army of the Tennessee was marching."
George W. McCrary, whose term as Secretary of War had just ended, "was a careful, conservative and able man," Sherman said.
I mentioned General George G. Meade. Sherman at once commented, "He was an able man and a sagacious soldier. Mr. Donaldson, always remember when discussing the beginning of the war that the privates and sergeants of the regular army were loyal; it was the officers, the educated men who were disloyal."
He complained that the regular army was not to-day half large enough; and in response to my remark that I was afraid that General Sheridan would drop off soon, he replied that Sheridan was much out of health. "I am 60 years of age, 2 years older than Gen’l Grant."
I repeated to him what General Joseph E. Johnston told me in 1876, how at the surrender in North Carolina in 1865, he (Sherman) took a drink from a bottle after a round, and of his forgetting himself and putting the bottle back into his saddle bags without passing it to the others present. He laughed heartily, and said he had never heard it mentioned before but presumed it was true. He said that he at first objected to Johnston’s suggestion that [John C.] Breckinridge be present at the conference for surrender, as he wanted no civilian; but upon Johnston stating that Breckinridge was a Major-General, he assented. He told Breckinridge at the interview that he had better make himself scarce, as the North was infuriated against the politicians of the South, but not the combatants. Breckinridge promised to do so, and did escape to the sea coast, and thence abroad, while [Jefferson] Davis, to whom he sent like advice, attempted to go to Magruder in Texas and continue the fight. He said he had heard Kilpatrick lecture on "Sherman’s March to the Sea" and thought it a good piece of work. This was after I had remarked that personal contact with Kilpatrick gave me the impression that he was a dreadfully small man mentally.
General Sherman said that it was to be regretted that a vast amount of the current rebel vituperative abuse of the Union during the war had been totally lost from the fact that it had been published in newspapers which were lost or destroyed. Recently he had occasion to hunt this matter up.
I spoke of the President handing me the evening before a new book on the South, called "A Fool’s Errand, by One of the Fools," and handed it to him. He said he would read it. He said that Hayes’ policy of generosity and conciliation towards the South had forced them to show their true character. They had repelled all his peace advances, and had compelled the North to see that they could not be trusted.
I asked him to give me his office chair as a memento. He said, "Come and get it; it is worth about $3, cane seated, with a piece of cloth in it, which I nailed in to keep from wearing my pants out. We are going to have new furniture in a few days, so you can have it." I got Webb C. Hayes to get it from him and Webb sent it to me with a letter.
General Sherman said that at Sebastopoll, Russia, he noticed a fine house which had been given by the citizens to General Todilaken and by him organized into a museum of things connected with the siege. He (Sherman) thought such things would be of interest hereafter and should be encouraged.
We began a chat about a canal across the Isthmus. He thought that Panama or Darien would be the best point for a canal. He had ridden on horseback over Nicaragua and Darien and knew them both. Tehantepec would be too long. He had thought the construction of the canal under the presidency of General Grant would be a fine termination to a great career.
In speaking of his means and resources, General Sherman mentioned that he had been compelled to sell his house in Washington because the yearly taxes were $2,200. He never rented the house for half what his taxes had been. In the cities of the United States he considered property at the mercy of many irresponsible voters and with no security from rapacious political cormorants. On this account men of capital were getting their money into securities, and bonds (not taxable). Money in property brought a less rate of interest in this country than in almost any other. Universal suffrage in American cities meant unusual taxation.
General Sherman is a man of sunny temperament, great activity of mind, and has an excellent memory. I was astonished at his recollection of things, men and dates. I think he is mentally an unhappy man. He seems to have some social burden on his mind.
A German sitting in the seat in rear of us whispered to me as I got up from the seat with the General, at Philadelphia: "Who is that?" "General Sherman," I replied. "My God," he said, "I want his autograph." With this he pulled out a small memorandum book and handed it to the General, who, taking it upon his knee, wrote his name with a pencil, to the delight of the German, who was a baker. The book contained the number of loaves to his customers.
General J[ames] A. Williamson [Commissioner, General Land Office], told me in January, 1880, that he knew of General Sherman’s great memory. He could refer to any paper in his possession and when he saw its back, could tell the contents without looking at its face.
[Washington, D.C., Monday] December 22, 1879.—I asked Webb Hayes in the Library at the White House this evening if there were any old letters of Lincoln or others about. He said, "No," that when his father came in as President he found nothing back of Grant’s time. When Johnson went out in ’69 he took everything with him in the way of papers, letters, records, etc., of his administration, and other before him—actually clearing the whole thing out.
Mrs. Hayes came in and handed me a pretty bouquet for Mrs. Donaldson, and then I walked with her to her chamber where she showed me a set of Emerald jewelry recently received by her from Col. E[rnest] Dickman, Minister [Resident] of the U.S. of Columbia. The ear drops (which she never wore, and in fact never wore any) were very fine. She suggested that she would get a ring made of the best stones in them. She showed me a beautiful pearl (3) and diamond ring which she said Mr. Geo. W. Childs handed her while in Philadelphia in November last. On a table sat a nice piece of French china ware in shape of a bouquet basket. She said that while in Philadelphia in November last she was with Mr. J[ames] L. Claghorn, I think, at the "Vatican," he said, "Mrs. Hayes, anything in this room is at your disposal; so choose." She declined. (As she said to me, "You know Mrs. Hayes never suggests anything or takes anything"). A few days after, in December (this month) this basket came here with the compliments of Mr. Claghorn whom she esteemed very much.
Vice President Wheeler was with us a few minutes. As he went out he bade Mrs. Hayes goodbye very cordially, saying, "God bless you." I can’t see how any person can’t help liking her. Mrs. Hayes had on a well worn black dress. As it was raining she did not expect callers. She escorted me down stairs to the reception room and with great pride showed me the three panel screens of silk embroidery which was presented to her at the Methodist Fair at Philadelphia in November, 1879. Two or three ladies worked on it, one a neighbor of mine, Mrs. Nelson West; and then subscribers were sought to buy it for Mrs. Hayes. More than $3,000 were raised for this purpose. The money went into the Fair treasury as Mrs. Hayes said. "Some of the gentlemen who liked the ‘old lady’" (meaning herself) "gave more than $100—some as high as $500."
While we were sitting, an usher came with a card, "Mr. and Mrs. Gov. Bantley." So Mrs. Hayes excused herself to me and said she would have to go and dress. Laughingly, she went upstairs. One thing I notice about her is that she is always good natured—so is the President. Most ladies under like circumstances, with an intimate friend as myself, would have said something petulant, or dislike of dressing, at so late an hour. Not she. She loved all humanity and tried to oblige and please at all times.
Washington, D.C., [Monday] Jan. 5, 1880.—I was sitting with President Hayes this evening when the question of attempts to conciliate Republicans came up. The President expressed himself as being sorry that Mr. Blaine had seen fit to keep away from him because his natural alliance was with Mr. Blaine. As to Conkling and his personal abuse of him, the President said "You would expect nothing else from so naturally mean a man, and it is useless to attempt to conciliate such a person." This is the severest thing I ever heard the President say of any man.
The President had said to me that Don Cameron was an able man. I told him he was mistaken. I then said that Simon Cameron was a very different man, and with a great deal more ability than his son Don; besides, I said, "I now recall a conversation with you in 1866 or 1867 at Columbus, Ohio, when you were Governor, in which you gave me the most of the good impressions that I have of Simon Cameron." "Yes," he answered, "I did. When I was in Congress for 1865 to 1867 I met Simon Cameron frequently and admired him for his good sense and ability. I found him an able, courteous and pleasant man. I said to him one day, ‘Mr. Cameron, they say you buy men; now, how is this?’ he answered with a laugh, ‘Yes, I do. I buy them with kindness. All through my career in Pennsylvania I have aided young and struggling men, and as they grew up I found that I had legions of friends thus made who gave me a hand whenever I wanted it. This is the only way I buy them.’"
The President had a great respect for Simon Cameron; yet, in 1877, he did not appoint him Minister to England. He said that while in Congress on matters relating to the general welfare and on reconstruction he frequently, and with profit, consulted Simon Cameron.
Washington, D.C., [Saturday] January 10th, 1880.—I heard Dennis Kearney say in a speech last night [at a Greenbacker mass meeting in Fenton Hall] that he wanted money. This is also the key to the acts of his followers. He is a common looking Irishman about five feet eleven inches in height, weighing two hundred pounds or more, with low forehead and husky voice. In speaking, his manner was brusk and vulgar. He wore a scowl and had a shrill, penetrating, loud voice and a long-reaching style of speaking. He walked the platform while he spoke. His gestures were crude and clumsy with his fingers extended. He worked his hands and arms like a fish does its fins. While listening to him I thought that here in the United States as long as we have DeLancy Kanes in the upper walks of life we will have Dennis Kearneys in the lower walks. Both in fact are useless mouths. Kearney has a cause, however. He speaks for the army of discontented, and he is apparently much in earnest. When one is much imbued with a cause, he expects the (we tolerate intolerance in religion) world to stop. Strike quick when you have a cause, the world waits for no one, and living martyrs are the poorest kind. Kearney knows his time is short and is gathering what fat he can. He draws well.
I asked President Hayes this evening if he had ever seen Dennis Kearney. He said, "Yes. Kearney called upon me once. He was embarrassed and diffedent; he made no impression on me. I looked upon him as an ordinary man, such an Irishman as one often finds in Irish wards in any American city."
Washington, D.C., [Friday] January 30, 1880.—I was at the White House to-night up in the Library when Webb Hayes came after me, and we walked to the lower hall where we sat on a lounge opposite the Green Parlor. It was about 8:30 P.M. Some one was walking overhead when the chandeliers began to dance and jingle. Webb said it was only Fanny, his sister—10 years old—but, said he, "You should see them dance when a man or woman walks upstairs." I suspect the joists are not braced. I notice since Hayes came in, a profusion of American flags hung up in the House.
Senator John B. Gordon was in the Red Parlor with the President. Webb said, looking up at a huge picture above my head, of Mr. Fillmore perhaps, "The only time that Father came near being killed by an accident was in Ohio, sitting under a frame about this size, when it fell and, careening over on a corner, instead of striking his head, hit the chair back. The chair saved him."
This led us into talking of furniture. Webb said he liked old clocks, etc. "By the by," he said, "in 1816 when my grandfather started west from Vermont, he had the great tall family clock brought out and placed in a wagon. It was so long that the end gate of the wagon would not shut, so he left it behind—selling it. Father (the President) found out where it was not long ago, bought it, and it is now at our home in Fremont."
Webb laughingly said that the "boys" were complaining because John Sherman was using the public patronage to help his boom, and cited the "New York Times" which within a day or so had had a furious article—an anti-Sherman article. After a bit the President came out [of the Red Parlor] with Gordon. Just then a huge black woman, a cook, came in through the glass doors and Webb said, "What a queer house this is, only one door, and that in front, so that you must come in and out the one way. About 3 days after Father came in here, in March, 1877, he wanted to go out for a walk. We discovered there was but the one door to the house, so we went out the front door where we were met by an immense crowd, and forced our way through it. As the President was squeezing through the people, he said with a laugh, ‘It’s almost as much trouble to get out of this house as it is to get into it,’ referring, of course, to his fight for the position."
The President, Webb and myself started out of the door. The first two were going for a walk, which was the President’s usual habit before retiring. He was a great walker. A kind of a Caliph of Bagdad, in cog., traveling the capital at night.
[Ezra A.] Hayt, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, had been removed the day before. I said to the President in the doorway, "If I was President of the United States…" Webb said, "Wait awhile, I hope not this year." The President laughed and said, "This young man is careful; he don’t want to go out of this just yet." I continued, "I would relieve General George Crook on the plains and bring him here and place him in charge of the Indian Bureau." The President said, "How queer, I have been trying to find a way to get this done all this day, but I cannot order an army officer to civilian’s duty without his consent, and perhaps not then. Besides, I don’t know that Crook would want to come here. I can’t make an officer of the army," as an illustration, "Postmaster of Washington—by detail."
Hayes has a most practical mind and way of doing things where he has the opportunity; I never knew a man of more horse sense when not deceived. When he was lied to, of course he made mistakes. It was a radical mistake in him to permit his Cabinet officers to grab all the places for their friends. While he issued orders for Civil Service Reform, they broke them. Civil Service Reform was a capital watchword in 1867 to 1880 for small-bore politicians—men who fired very small bird shot. They were all bent upon rewarding their friends. I don’t think a man of them was particularly devoted to Hayes, except Sherman, all for self. So they cajoled and pulled him about in the matter of office. No President should ever have a man in his Cabinet who wants to be President, unless the President desires him to be, or who openly fights portions or factions of his party.
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] Feb’y 25, 1880.—I was standing with Webb Hayes in the hall of the White House looking over the plans of their home at Fremont, which they propose to reconstruct. He said, "Here we have an old-fashioned sofa. Mother insists upon keeping all the old things. You know her hobby is old furniture. Here (in the dining room) stands a large, old sideboard which is sacred. When mother was 7 or 8 years of age, she was secreted in it from early evening until late (midnight) for a purpose, and she stood the ordeal like a Trojan. She had an aunt who had been courted for years by an excellent man, and no sign in particular of love or anything was shown. Finally, for fun, one night when things seemed certain to culminate, Lucy Webb (my mother) was put in the bottom of this sideboard, and overheard the proposal and acceptance. She had to lie still for several hours. Next morning the family at breakfast amidst great laughter told the aunt of her engagement but not of the eavesdropper. Ever since then the sideboard has been mother’s."
Washington, D.C., [Sunday] February 29, 1880.—In the latter part of 1879, November or December, there appeared a novel called "A Fools Errand, by one of the fools." On the 19th of December I was in the library of the White House with the President and family when he pointed to a copy of the book. "Have you read it?" I said no. I had just before, in discussing politics with him, said that the South would always be the South; and the President, agreeing with me, picked up the book from the table. "Who is it written by?" I asked. He answered, "I do not know, but the man who did it will make his mark and will be heard from." I took the book and said I will bring it back. He said, "No, don’t. Keep it, a fellow who returns a book breaks the usual rule, so keep it." I went home to Philadelphia, December 20, Saturday, and sat by Gen’l W. T. Sherman [enroute] for some time. I showed him the book and recommended it to him; and afterwards sent him a copy. On Monday, Dec. the 21, I was again in Washington, and was on Monday evening at the White House. I told Mrs. Hayes and the President that I thought Ex-Gov. Daniel H. Chamberlain of South Carolina wrote the book. The President said "No. He don’t like me, and the author of this book is not unfriendly to me. He got the publishers to send me an advanced copy (I think the one I have). I was at dinner lately (New York); Chamberlain was a guest; all stood up when I entered and waved their handkerchiefs but not Chamberlain. No, he did not write it."
I called Mrs. Hayes’ attention to the bit on Judge W. D. Kelly of Pennsylvania, page 145, who from 1865 was always preaching love and conciliation, and that the South was all right. Mrs. Hayes relished the book’s description of Kelly’s trip south to speak in 1866 when he was mobbed while speaking and rescued by the U.S. troops. She said, "I boarded with Judge Kelly and family in 1866 and 1867 while Mr. Hayes was a Member of Congress from Ohio. I was fresh from hospitals, battle fields and had witnessed the rebel atrocities, and the fruits of their starvation of our men, and believed the leaders should be punished. I was then as now a radical. Judge Kelly was constantly talking of his love, and of a united happy nation under one flag, &c., which I opposed and ridiculed. He named me the ‘Vindictive female’ and by this I was known to him. After his tour down south in 1866, as described in the newspapers of the day, and in this book, and the unfortunate result at Mobile, where the Judge was rescued from murder perhaps by the U.S. soldiers while attempting to address an audience of loving southerners, I wrote him a letter. I congratulated him upon the proof which he, the loving brother, had received from the loving, willing men of the south to unite under one flag and to permit the first principle of liberty, i.e., free speech, to be inaugurated in their midst, and of this positive evidence of their kindly feeling toward a Northern Brother who had been their friend &c. I signed it ‘The Vindictive female.’ Of course he did not answer it."
When I returned to Philadelphia the same evening I saw R. N. Price, a friend of Dan. Chamberlain, and got him to write Chamberlain whether or not he wrote the book. He answered "No," he wished he had the ability to do so, but gave the author’s name as Ex-Judge Albion W. Tourgee, formerly of North Carolina, now of Denver, Colorado. I sent this letter to the President. [In the Hayes Papers]. No book of a political character in my day ever caused such a sensation. It was the best political book since Burke. I saw it in houses of the greatest in the land.
I made the suggestion that the book ought to be printed as a campaign document by our Rep. Nat’l. Committee in 1880 for the Presidential campaign. The President bought many copies and gave them away. Tourgee was once an Ohio man, but for several years up to 1880 assisted in editing a paper at Denver, Colorado. The bookstore men in Washington were afraid for a long time to keep it. The citizens proper of Washington were almost like Rebels or Democrats. I got a copy in December from J. C. Parker on 7th Street, 617, for 80 cents. When he sold it to me he handed me a letter, first tearing off the signature. It was from a man who had bought the book of him, and returned it with a request that Parker take it back on account of the dreadful arraignment of the Southern people, which he said was disgraceful. The writer of the letter was a prominent person in Washington, Parker said.
Now a queer thing. Tourgee the author in 1876 or 1877 or 1878 was refused a $1200 Clerkship in the Interior Department for lack of scholarly ability! Oh! R. N. Price sent copies of the book to Herbert Spencer, Gladstone and many others and got acknowledgments. I saw the one from Spencer. He was pleased with it. Tourgee suffered great pecuniary loss in 1881 or 1882 by starting a Magazine called this "Continent."
Washington, D.C., [Tuesday] March 30, 1880.—I was at the White House to-day to see the [box containing the] picture of George Washington opened which I had bought in Philadelphia for the President. After seeing [the box] opened (the President was absent in New York [attending the dedication of the Metropolitan Museum of Art]) I sat by the window resting.
To the left of the main entrance door of the House were many ladies, it being about 3 o’clock, who came to see the House. The doorkeeper told them that they could not see the East Room as it was being used by the family. Some of the visitors, having put off their visits to the White House until the eve of leaving the city, were seriously disappointed. One woman expressed herself plainly. I asked Pennell [Thomas F. Pendel], one of the doorkeepers, what this meant. He said the family were using the parlor. A few moments afterward I went to the East Room door and walked in. I found the "family occupancy" to be a boy of 14 or 16, son of Mr. Rogers, the President’s Private Secretary, astride a huge bicycle or velocipede, going over the carpet like mad! A few minutes after his ride was done, the doors were again open to visitors. I warrant that the President did not know of this.
White House, Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] April 7, 1880.—The President this evening again spoke of the picture [oil portrait] of Geo. Washington which I had bought for him, and he was much pleased with it. I was in the library with the President and Rud [his son] for 2 hours and a half. The President was in a good humor and chatty. I asked him to let Rud go with me to New Mexico for a couple of weeks. He talked it over with me, and said he would let me know. [He subsequently gave his approval]. Rud seemed delighted with the idea.
The President, speaking of the threats made against his life in 1876 and 1877, said that he had received many letters and much information that he was to be killed, &c. He said he thought the matter over and concluded that if he were to be killed he perhaps could not prevent it. The bold way was the best; he gave notice through the press naming the day he would start from Columbus and gave the details of his route.
President Hayes related how a man came from Illinois to kill him; had a pistol, had hired a room on Pennsylvania Avenue; and as he (Hayes) passed along in his carriage was to walk out and shoot him. He was detected in his attempt, arrested and confined in the Asylum for the Insane near Washington. There he remained for several months. Finally he was restored to reason and sent home. "This is the sort of man," said the President, "one must fear as an assassin, the chance man." I told him of the man I saw arrested in the Rotunda [of the Capitol on] the day of his inauguration, and disarmed. The man wanted to shoot him.
Speaker Randall came in about 9:30 and staid five minutes. He came to see the President about the Census Supervisor at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The President denounced the pending attempt to unseat Senator Kellogg, and the attempt to put Washburn out in the House. He said Washburn should demand a vote at once.
The President had a catalogue of books on America to be sold at Philadelphia from the Library of S. Phillips, deceased, and had marked some items for puchase—some 10 or 15, but wanted one, "Monroe’s Tour" while President, a tour which he said lasted 3 months.
[Washington, D.C., Friday] April 9, 1880.—I called on the President at 8 P.M. and was with him an hour. On Wednesday he told me he had never read [Charles] Lanman’s ["The Private] Life of [Daniel] Webster," so yesterday I found a copy in a bookstore and gave it to him to-night. He turned a page or so, and read about the incident where Daniel Webster’s father had Daniel in the hop field at Elm Farm [working at mowing] when Daniel claimed that the scythe he was handling did not hang right. The father tried every way to fix it, but to no purpose. At last he said: "Daniel, hang it to suit yourself." Daniel said: "I will," and hung it up on a tree. "Now," said the President, "the other day an old gentleman who runs a female school on his Elm Farm called and gave me a cane from the identical tree here mentioned."
The President spoke of the mention in the book of the gift of a portrait of Webster to his granddaughter (child of his son Fletcher) painted by [George P. A.] Healy in 1849; given in 1852. "This," said the President, "is the picture, just purchased by the Government, along with a picture of Lord Ashburton, by Healy, for $6,000. (Mr. Blaine accomplished this) from his granddaughter Julia [Webster Appleton] who called here to see us. Healy, as you know, is now here, but his art is not what it was twenty years ago. One of the best pictures of Webster in the country is by Healy; and is in this city, the property of Mr. [Thomas B.] Bryan, one of our District Commissioners. Healy wanted the Julia Webster [Appleton] picture brought here and desired to paint out the head and paint in the head from the Bryan picture, but this we would not consent to."
The facts about the sale of this [portrait] and the Ashburton portrait was this; The Webster family, being poor, offered them for $500. each (Healy now makes copies of the original Webster for this). Mr. Senator Blaine, hearing of the needs of the family, got his brother Senators to agree to $6,000 for the two, rather in the nature of a pension.
The President, when I said that it was to be regretted that Fletcher Webster had not his father’s ability, said: "Now, don’t be mistaken. Fletcher Webster was a good deal of a man, and among his intimates was a great man; but in public he never exerted himself, let his talents lie dormant."
I spoke to the President of the rumor that Governor Lew Wallace of New Mexico was about to resign. He seemed surprised. I asked him to keep me in mind when this occurred, and he said he would. He gave me a letter of introduction to General Ed Hatch at Santa Fe and asked me if I knew L. Bradford Prince, Chief Justice. I said "No." I was looking at a map while he was writing and said: "Perhaps Prince will want to be Governor." "Yes," he said, "that was what he wanted in the first place, but we will see."
This day I had finished an eight day argument before the House Committee of Public Lands, sustaining a bill, I being one of the Commissioners appointed by the President to suggest changes in the existing land laws. The Committee, at the conclusion, unanimously passed a series of resolutions to me, an unheard of thing. I showed the President the engrossed resolutions which had been sent me this evening. He was very much pleased and said I ought to be delighted at so unusual a compliment.
I gave the President to-night a discharge of a private soldier of the Revolution signed by George Washington. It is a rare thing!
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] May 6, 1880.—I was at the White House with the President and family this evening. I asked him for an appointment or two, which he gave me. I went into the library where Rud was, a nice, delicate boy. He told me of his visit, with his father, on December 26th, 1879, to John Welsh, ex-Minister to England, at Philadelphia, and then to Plainfield, N.J. At Welsh’s they met General Grant, Mr. [George W.] Childs, Mr. [A.J.] Drexel, and Mr. Bright, son of John Bright [Member of Parliament of Great Britain]. At dinner General Grant was chatty and told several funny stories. He talked with the President for several hours. After dinner A. J. Drexel took Rud Hayes and young Bright to the Opera and into a box occupied by Mrs. Grant, Fred Grant and wife, and Mrs. Paul, and another daughter of Mr. Drexel. He only introduced the young men to Mrs. Grant, who at once withdrew in company with Mr. Drexel, leaving the two young men in the box with a company they did not know. Finally Fred Grant came to him and introduced himself. It was queer of Mr. Drexel and embarrassing to the young men.
St. Louis, Mo., [en route to New Mexico, Monday] May 17, 1880.—Rud Hayes and I lost Rail Road connection and stopped here at the "Laclide" over night. He discussed with me his father’s savings while in the White House. He said that the expenses of the White House and family were between thirty-two and thirty-five thousand dollars per year. As an illustration, he mentioned that each state dinner cost $1,200. There were 35 persons at each. The caterer, for bare necessities, got $10 per plate. All confectioneries, flowers, service and such were extra. The confectionery came from New York. The President inaugurated the practice of giving the great February or winter receptions to the Diplomatic Corps. This cost not far from $2,400 each time.
I mentioned to him that I had noticed how shabby the clothes of the ushers about the White House are. I have noticed this for years past. It costs at least $75 to $100 per year to each of these people for dress suits, ties, &c. Surely the Government ought to provide these clothes. They do it for their Soldiers and Sailors.
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] June 16, 1880.—I walked with Mr. Blaine from the Senate to the street cars on Pennsylvania Ave. as soon as the Senate adjourned [at 12 noon]. It was the first time that I had met him since our defeat at [the Republican National Convention in] Chicago [which nominated James A. Garfield for President]. He was chatty and pleasant. He invited me to go with him to the White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, for three weeks. I declined on account of business. He called my attention to the fact that he had not desired the nomination at Chicago, and was glad he did not get it. He spoke of the dangers ahead to our party. Senator [Roscoe] Conkling, he said, had just told Mr. Hamlin that he was sorry he had not thrown his strength to Blaine in preference to letting Garfield have the nomination. "Yes," said (Mr.) Blaine to me, "he wanted this for two reasons: first, because he don’t know Garfield well; and next, he don’t like me and desired to see me defeated by the people as he believes Garfield will be or that I would be."
Mr. Blaine said the chances were that we would be defeated this fall unless a reaction or a bad democratic Nomination came, as we could get no money. "How funny," said he, "our Republican moralists would not go for me in the convention because of my alleged connection with schemes, but went for Garfield [who had received] worse charges than were made against me."
He said that Gen’l Garfield was a clean man and that he was going to take the stump for him and do the best. He spoke of W. E. Chandler’s ability and devotion; also of Mr. Elkins and others. He invited me to call with him on Gen’l Garfield at the Riggs House, which I did, but we found Gen’l Garfield out. We left our cards and then separated. Mr. Blaine went home, and I went to the White House.
I met Secretary [Carl] Schurz in President Hayes’ room. He said to me: "I heard of you at Chicago and the good work you did." He was arranging with the President for attendance at a dinner to Garfield to be given by the old Army of Cumberland men at the Riggs House to-morrow night. He wanted a Democratic soldier to preside and was asking for a name. I notice the reformers all have an eye to politics, and machine at that, when they are in anything political. The President suggested General A[lexander] M[c]D[owell] McCook, "Who," he said, "is a Democrat, although he voted for me." So Schurz put his name down. He did preside and spoke at the banquet. General Boynton was suggested by myself and others present, but was not considered available because he was a Republican. The selection of a Democrat was to be for political effect.
I was again at the White House at 9 P.M. There was a great ratification [serenade to Garfield] meeting in front of the Riggs House. The President said, "Come, let’s go out and walk." We went through the crowd and around it. He was not recognized more than once or twice. About ten o’clock we walked back towards the house. He was pleased with the nomination of Garfield. I told him how pale and nervous Garfield got when I whispered to him at the Chicago convention, on the 34th ballot, and how he acted when nominated. "Well," said the President, "it’s enough to make anyone nervous. I don’t blame him. Still, he made an impolitic move for himself on the 35th ballot when he made the little speech declining. It was an unwise one."
When I mentioned Grant’s unfortunate position now, he concurred, and seemed to seriously regret it. I mentioned Grant’s lack of income, and that he was an ardent worshiper of wealth. The President said, "How do you get the last?" I answered: "From my own observation and from such persons as Joseph Patterson, President of the Western National Bank, Philadelphia." I mentioned to him the conversation held June 9th, on the cars from Chicago to Philadelphia, between Senator Hoar, Mr. Frye, Conger and others, in which Hoar had stated that Ex-President Pierce said there was nothing for an Ex-President to do but to get drunk and die. Then they turned to me and said: "How will Hayes spend his time when he is Ex?" I replied, "In reading, visiting and entertaining." The President said: "Pierce had a large share of the drinking, and I was afraid that Grant, for lack of something to do, might get into this habit; but he told me at Philadelphia in December, 1879, at the house of Mr. John Welsh, that the newspaper accounts of his non-use of liquor were correct, and how he had entirely stopped the use of every thing, and" said the President as we parted at the door, "he has quit entirely."
The President, this evening, tendered me the appointment of Governor of Idaho. I declined and asked him to appoint instead, John B. Neil, of Salt Lake City, formerly of Columbus, Ohio, and his old private secretary. This he said he would do and did in July about the 11th or 12th. Neil went there and wrote me a letter thanking me for the favor. He was in Washington with me on June 16th. I told the President I might want to go as Governor to some other Territory. He said, "All right."
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] June 17, 1880.—This morning I was at the Senate with Gen’l J[ohn] F. Hartranft, and at the door of the President’s room, Webb Hayes came out and we had a chat.
While Webb and I were at the door, Ex-Governor [Alexander] Ramsey, Secretary of War, passed in. Webb said, "There goes the splendid old man of them all."
In the afternoon I was at the White House again, about 2 P.M. While I was sitting in the Cabinet room several members of Congress came in to say good-bye [Congress adjourned on June 16]. As I went in, Judge W. D. Kelly of Philadelphia, Pa., M.C., in whose district I had a house, was then going out, said, turning back: "Mr. President, this is my handsomest constituent." "Indeed," said the President laughing. "Yes," said Kelly, "the handsomest, always excepting the ladies."
General [William M.] Lowe, M.C., of Alabama, had a five minute chat with the President. He told the President he was going home to Alabama to work for Garfield. Said Hayes: "You can tell them he is going to be elected, too."
Mrs. Hayes came into the room and chatted with me a moment. I said to her, "You must be awfully good to me now." "Why?" "Because," said I, "I was born in Ohio and there is no telling what the future will do." I referred to the luck of Ohio men. Gen’l Garfield being the last. She laughed heartily. She gave me this day a piece of barylite with emeralds in it from Bogota.
The President was cordial, and while cleaning up his table, kept up a rambling fire of chatty talk. He is one of the best office men I ever knew, prompt and thorough. He sat down by me with Webb, and discussed the Philadelphia Post Office. He had just appointed Ex-Governor [John F.] Hartranft from the Post Office to be Collector of the Port, and the Senate, within an hour, refused to confirm the appointment. Don Cameron did this. The President was pleased at Gen’l Garfield’s nomination, and advised me to see him at once upon certain matters as to the canvass. Webb and I went into his room, where from several boxes, he extracted the manuscripts of a veto message, never sent in, on the Chinese bill in 1879; and the manuscripts of the President’s Panama Canal message. On these the President placed his certificate and gave to me. Webb told me that in one of the boxes was a veto message on the River and Harbor bill of 1879, which the President at the last minute had not sent in, although he had it with him at the Capitol.
I called at the Riggs House at 3 P.M., and went at once to Garfield’s room, which was No. 6. As I entered the door he reached out his hands and said, "Tom Donaldson, how are you? I am glad to see you." I said, "Hold on a minute, I want to tell you a story." In the room were General McCook, Major [David G.] Swaim, Ex-Governor [William H.] Smith of Alabama, Senator [William B.] Allison, George C. Gorham, Ed. McPherson, I think and others. "One day," I said, "Stephen A. Douglas (short in figure as you know), after his nomination for the Presidency in 1860, was sitting on the knee of Beverly Tucker of Virginia. ‘Bev,’ he said, ‘what can I do for you if I get to be President?’ ‘Nothing, Duggy, except, if you get to be President, every time you meet me in the street or in public, the bigger the crowd the better, just say "Bev, old boy, how are you?"’ Garfield laughed and said, "I see it."
I chatted with him for a moment and told him of Mr. Blaine’s call and regrets at not seeing him; and as I went out the door, said: "General, one word; if you make any defense of your past record, or open your mouth about it, you will be badly whipped in the coming fight. Shut your mouth. The public tried the charges against you years ago and settled them." He promised to stay close. Gen’l Garfield mentioned that he had received at Mentor in the four days after the nomination, two thousand letters and dispatches of congratulations. He only spent $200, all told in getting the nomination!
Philadelphia, Pa., [Saturday] June 26, 1880.—I met the President, Mrs. Hayes and Rud in a special car on the limited train at the Pennsylvania Depot at 1:30 P.M. to-day. They were on their way to New Haven (Yale) for the Commencement. It was hot and dusty. The President was hopeful about politics and did not fear Hancock’s nomination [by the Democratic National Convention]. He believed we could defeat it. Mrs. Hayes looked better than for weeks past. She was dressed in mourning [for the death of her brother, Joseph T. Webb], but her laugh and smile were as cheerful as of old. Good feeling and good nature bubbled up in her face. Rud sat beside her while she was chatting with me, and she had her hand lying upon his. No wonder her children loved her! It’s pretty hard for some other people’s children to keep from loving her.
She spoke of Gen’l [W. S.] Hancock [the Democratic candidate for President]. She had met and entertained him. Mrs. Hancock she had never met, and asked me who she was and as to her personal appearance.
Mrs. Hayes made me promise to get some new works placed in her old watch for Fanny. Mr. Hayes said, "Buy her a new one;" but Mrs. Hayes said she wanted to give Fanny "her mother’s watch."
Mrs. Hayes stated that the improvements at the White House were nearly completed and the conservatory had been joined to the State dining room. This was done by tearing away the billiard room of Grant’s time. (Webb showed me, on the 17th, two windows which were that day being opened into doors from the west end of the State dining room to make the above connection, which had been walled up in 1817 as an inscription showed). Mrs. Hayes also mentioned her new set of American china, and said that when I came again she could show me something nice.
The train stopped only for eight minutes, so I had only a short chat. (Now, for a bit of future fun about that north doorway cut from the window into the conservatory at the White House. Before the window jamb was put up, Mr. [Edson S.] Dinsmore, one of the White House [police] officials, got an empty champagne bottle and marked upon the label that it was of the administration of President Hayes, with the date, and put it in the face of the wall. It was closed up by the contractor; and when opened in time to come, there should be fun.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Tuesday] June 29, 1880.—President Hayes is a very social man and a most agreeable one while in company. Children take to him quickly and like him. He dines out a good deal, in a quiet way, in Washington, generally Saturday nights, with his Cabinet people, with Chief Justice Waite, and others. He likes to wander around after dark or to pry into curious places. He delights in old book stores, or a cabinet of curious things. He cares but little for fine arts, other than for pictures of historical interest. He likes portraits. I bought him the George Washington [portrait] in 1880, February, I think. He had a queer collection of musical instruments, silver, sent him from India in 1880 (June) [April], on which he paid $60 [$53.00] duty. He traded them to the Smithsonian Institution for curious things for the museum at Fremont, Ohio. I managed the trade. He considered them too valuable to have at Fremont. Hayes possesses more general information, and precise at that, than any man who has been President, except John Q. Adams, and I think he is one of the fullest men of general and positive information ever in the White House.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Saturday] July 10, 1880.—Mrs. Donaldson and myself met the President and Mrs. Hayes, Rud and Judge [David S.] Key at the Pennsylvania Depot at 6 P.M. By invitation we rode to Gray’s Ferry with them. I gave Mrs. Hayes her emerald lace pin. She was surprised at its beauty. To the President I gave M. B. Field’s Book of Memories. He asked about the recent Republican National Committee meetings in New York, and about Mr. Conkling. He asked me if I had had a chance to talk with him. I said "No," that the older men tried to pacify him. I told him of the bad feeling among the Grant men. He said that he understood that the New York people demanded the promise of the Secretaryship of the Treasury. I said yes, and told him of the demand that Garfield come at once to New York, and of his refusal. He said: "It would have been almost suicide."
The President wanted Mrs. Donaldson and myself to go with them to Washington and stay until Monday. He urged, and said: "We will give you the best room in the house." Of course we declined, in spite of Mrs. Hayes’ entreaties. I talked with Mr. Hayes ten minutes and urged him to appoint a maimed or wounded soldier as Postmaster of this city, in place of Hartranft. He said he would and asked about [Robert S.] Beath and Huidekooper [Hindekoper]. I urged Beath, a one-legged man. He was much inclined to him. We left them at Gray’s Ferry. A pleasant ride. Mrs. Hayes was tired and dusty; Mr. Key, as usual, was good natured, fat and hearty.
[Tuesday] August 17 to [Wednesday, August] 25, 1880.—I received at Philadelphia, August 17th, an invitation from President Hayes, through Rud, to go with him to the Pacific coast September 1 to November 1, 1880. I went to Washington on the evening of the 17th. On Wednesday, the 18th, at 10 A.M. I called on the President at the White House. He was very cordial. I asked him for several small appointments, and got them. I was asked to dinner at the Soldiers’ Home house, but declined. In the evening I drove out to the Soldiers’ House and sat on the porch of the cottage an hour with the President. He discussed finance and local bonds (city or state). He has as much general information upon all subjects as any man I ever met. He said something about his Cabinet, when I said, "Yes, it’s a good Cabinet as a whole, but I think Evarts the weakest man in it." He answered, "Time will tell. Still, in picking a Cabinet, you must have a man of tact like Blaine; a talking man, a legal man, etc. McCrary is a good man."
He told me of the origin and history of the United States Soldiers’ Home (where we were), and how only one soldier had ever refused to pay his allowance. When sober he went to the paymaster and made him take the money and place it to the credit of the Home. The house which the President occupies is the old mansion of the Riggs, and stands upon the land bought (100 acres) of [George Washington] Riggs, the Washington banker.
We adjourned to the dining room at 9:30 where we discussed the western trip over a Virginia melon.
I noticed that the house was poorly and shabbily furnished. The porches, however, were carpeted, which was some comfort. The President discussed the South, and agreed with me that the present generation must be ground out; that finally emigration forced upon the South would exterminate [rebels] and people the south with a good and energetic people.
I let at 10 P.M., after getting him to promote Sam[uel] Spackman of Philadelphia from Consul at Ghent to Munich.
Next morning I was at the White House at 12, and as I entered the library I saw Mrs. Hayes in the back of the long hall near the window over the conservatory. I went to her and sat an hour, while she assorted and fixed several packages of flowers. She insisted that I should not look at her dress. She wore a calico wrapper, and looked fresh and clean as a dairy maid. She kept up a running fire of chat, natural and delightful in its way. She spoke of her daughter Fanny always as "little Fan."
A few days before I had had a watch repaired for Mrs. Hayes, which had been a present from Mrs. Webb, her mother, in August 1853, and had put on it "Fanny, from her Mother, September 27, 1880," for Fanny’s birthday. (Samuel J. Downs, of Philadelphia, fixed it up). She told me how pleased she was with the watch, which was to be given to Fanny while she (Mrs. Hayes) was in California. She called several servants and sent the flowers to a child’s hospital, to an old woman’s home, and to other such places. She sent a splendid package to my room for my wife, to-morrow (the 20th) being her birthday.
Mrs. Hayes showed me an original water color by J. M. W. Turner, sent her by Colonel Albert Shaw, United States Consul at Toronto, and given to him by a gentleman who had it from an artistic collection of Turner’s.
She asked me to buy her an antique table, clock and looking glass, to aid in furnishing an antique room in her home at Fremont [then being enlarged], but not to tell the President as she wanted it for a surprise. She said that she had much of her mother’s furniture, but that the glass, table and clock were to replace what had been sold at her Mother’s death.
Mrs. Hayes laughingly told how she had a run among the old furniture shops in Washington, and how her companion, Mrs. Leonard Whitney, asked the proprietor of one of them if Mrs. Hayes, who was present, ever bought anything. "Oh, no!" he said, "another person buys for her." She said that in the matter of her wardrobe she had to take what they made for her; that she was sometimes satisfied and sometimes not; but in her position she did not care to go out and hunt her own material in order to get exactly what she wanted.
Mrs. Hayes sent me down to the small dining room with Beverly [Lemos], a man servant [waiter], to look at the new china set from Limoge, [France], designed by Theo. R. Davis. The nicest plates were the escolloped edged soup plates. Most of the highly decorated articles would have been best to hang upon walls for decorative purposes. The natural history on the plates seemed to me to be badly done. There was a printed book on the table giving a description of the set.
After a few moments I returned upstairs. During this hour she was, as usual, most friendly and family-like. She constantly bubbles up with good humor and nature, and, singularly enough, has no affectations. She is a splendid woman in face and manner. Scott Hayes, with a companion, came up and wanted some lunch. He has a good-natured face and is a jolly boy. He put up a rueful mouth when his mother said she had forgotten to bring him some from the cottage. The President came from his room and I took my leave of Mrs. Hayes and went with him, after promising her to meet them on the road or during the journey to California.
The President and I went into the Cabinet room, and the President said, "Now you are facing me; say it to my face." He is always good-natured and full or humor. I told him that a friend of mine, C. B. Hare, of Philadelphia, had been in the United States Mint as an employee for fifty years on August 30, 1880, and I wanted him to take notice of it. He went to another room and brought out a life figure photograph [of himself] on which he wrote at the bottom, "To Charles B. Hare, Philadelphia, Pa., with my congratulations on the completion of fifty years of honorable service in the United States Mint. R. B. Hayes, August 30, 1880." This was to be given to Mr. Hare on August 30. (Hare died May or June, 1881).
The President also wrote for me a letter to General [Green B.] Raum, [Commissioner of Internal Revenue] to delay action upon the case of my friend Austin Savage, collector of Idaho. I mentioned that I would join him on his California trip. He said, "All right." I left him at 1 P.M., full of humor and fun.
I called on General W. T. Sherman yesterday about the California trip. He was glad to see me. As he is to have charge, he was anxious that I should not suggest any other plan to the President than his, the one he had proposed. I agreed to this. I said the snakes might be bad and perhaps a little whiskey would help, but as we were a temperance company we had best not take it. He said, "You send it along. I’ll take it in charge." He was as tickled with the idea of the journey as a boy. He is full of life and spirit and seems never to get old.
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] Dec. 9, 1880.—At the Interior Department all day. About 5 P.M. a young man came to the room where I was reading proof of "Public Domain [Its History, with Statistics"] and said that some one wanted me at the White House. It was Mrs. Hayes; she wanted me for a quiet dinner with the family. I accepted and went to the White House at 6 P.M. The dinner was in the small dining room. Mr. Hayes was in Philadelphia. Mrs. Hayes sat in the center on the west side of the table. I sat at her right, and the three Misses [Diathea, Lucy H., and Margaret S.] Cook in front of us, Col. L. Weir [J. W. Ware] at one end and Webb Hayes at the other. Fannie and Scott [sat] alongside of them in the order named. Mrs. Hayes was bubbling up and over with fun. It was a first class dinner, well cooked and served.
Asking me why I did not eat heartier and whether or not I feared the result of eating too much, Mrs. Hayes told me the following anecdote in illustration about a bishop of Dublin. He was dining out, when in the midst of profound silence he threw up his right hand and said: "It’s come! I have been looking for it for 20 years." "What, What!" said all, in anxious tones. "Paralysis," said the bishop. "Why, how do you know?" "Know! Why, I have been pinching my right leg for the last twenty minutes and without the slightest feeling." "Oh," said a pretty woman sitting to his right, "My dear bishop, it was my leg you were pinching."
After the dinner we retired to the library where Mrs. Hayes and Webb were with us for two hours. Mrs. Hayes asked me to purchase two silver wedding presents for her, the best I could find. The Hayeses always bought the best of every thing and never stinted me as to price.
At the mention of Mrs. J. G. Blaine, Mrs. Hayes at once began an earnest conversation. For no reason in the world except perhaps that Mr. Hayes and not Mr. Blaine had reached the White House in 1877, Mrs. Blaine began a system of persecutions as soon as Mrs. Hayes came to Washington. Webb called my attention to a much talked of State dinner in 1877, at which Mr. & Mrs. Blaine were guests. He said it was an unfortunate dinner, for everything seemed to go wrong. The guests were ill-matched, and badly seated. Webb stood in the red parlor and noticed that Mrs. Blaine did not eat a morsel, and never turned a glass. It had been reported before this that she would never eat a bite in the White House while the Hayes were there. To those at the table the fact of Mrs. Blaine not eating was very noticeable.
When the guests came to depart Mr. Blaine, who had been very cordial and who may have compelled his wife to come to the dinner, bade the President and Mrs. Hayes good night, while Mrs. Blaine merely bowed, and started hastily to retire. The President walked after her saying, "Madam, I permit no guests to leave my house without my shaking hands with them," and he shook her reluctant arm. Mrs. Blaine said afterwards that the table was so crowded that she could not eat; not room enough to lift an arm. She tried, Webb said, to show her contempt for Mr. Hayes during the winter in other ways. Mrs. Blaine never entered the White House again while the Hayes were there. She said to a visitor one day in 1878 that the reason why the President carried Mrs. Hayes with him on his several journeys was to prevent the people from insulting him. The real reason was because he loved her and wanted her with him.
Mrs. Hayes said that Mrs. Blaine, ever since the state dinner in 1877, had tried to cut her socially. Once at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York, in 1880, at breakfast, she and Rud were taking breakfast when Mrs. Blaine entered. She made straight for the table at which they were seated, but, discovering who were sitting there, she, without speaking, moved away to another table.
In 1879, Mrs. Hayes repaid her in a quiet way. Mrs. Carlisle Patterson gave a musicale one afternoon at her country place [Brentwood] near Washington, at which Madame Haggerman[?] was to sing prior to her departure for Europe. Mrs. Hayes and Miss Bettie Evarts went in company. They entered late and sat near the end of the piano. Mrs. Blaine, who was in the next seat, at once arose and, gathering up her dress, abruptly crossed the room to another seat. Mrs. Hayes saw it all, and whilst the attention of the entire room was attracted to the scene, Mrs. Hayes turned to Miss Evarts and said: "Bettie, who is that stout old person in purple?" A perceptive smile went the rounds.
Mrs. Hayes was greatly delighted at Mr. Blaine’s defeat at the Chicago Convention in May, 1880, and joked me for being friendly to him. Webb said: "Considering your intimacy with both families, you must hear a good deal that amuses you." I replied that I never carried stories and that I heard none in this case worth repeating. "Ah," he replied, "your tact comes to your aid." Mrs. Hayes said: "If Mr. Blaine had been nominated in 1880 he would have been defeated. Yes," she continued, "the ‘old lady’ has some friends who would have been loyal to her."
I found Mrs. Hayes in this long conversation, as usual, full of fire and life. She was a splendid hater and a careful lover. She never seems to forget a slight nor fail to reward a friend. She is brainy, brave and discreet, with any amount of nerve. She does not interfere nor meddle in State affairs, but I would prefer to have her with me in any moves. She would not be a difficult woman to love, and on short notice at that. She is very attractive and especially so when her black eyes snap, and her color comes and goes under excitement. A good friend, a dangerous enemy, and withall a loving and charitable woman.
Gail Hamilton and Mrs. Blaine had a strange dislike of Mrs. Hayes and the family. Mr. Blaine, however, did not seem to have any feeling toward the Hayes. At an evening company in Washington in December, 1880, Webb Hayes who was standing near Mr. Blaine did not happen to speak to him. A few days afterward Mr. Blaine asked me if I thought that the Hayes boys disliked him. I replied in the negative. Webb afterward spoke of this, on my asking him about it, and explained that he intended no slight. The President never set eyes on any of the Blaines from February, 1878, to the day he went out [of office] in 1881, to speak to them.
Politically, the President treated Mr. Blaine badly; not his fault, perhaps, but the fault of his Cabinet, especially the Attorney General (Mr. Devens), in the matter of selecting Mr. Blaine’s enemies for posts in Maine, viz: marshal and collector of Portland.
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