Washington, D.C., [Thursday] January 13, 1881.—I dined to-day with Mr. and Mrs. [Joseph R.] Hawley, as a guest; beside myself was Gen’l Anson G. McCook, M.C., from New York City. He was a chatty, pleasant man, about 45, with a good war record, much practical sense, and an Ohio man by birth. He was a member of the House Committee on Military Affairs and detailed the conversation between himself, General [Edward S.] Bragg of Wisconsin and W[illiam] J. Sparks of Ill. (a sub Committee in charge of the Grant pension bill which had been introduced into the House by McCook about June 5th, and referred to the Committee on Military Affairs). Bragg was against it at once. Sparks favored a pension bill for all Ex-Presidents. McCook, looking at the matter in a practical light, thought of accepting such a bill as a substitute for his Grant bill and thus obtaining a favorable report from the sub-committee. McCook went to the Senate and consulted Senator Conkling, as the close friend of Grant, as to the propriety of this substitution. Conkling said: "Will the supposed substitution include that fraud Hayes?" McCook answered, "It will include all ex-Presidents." "Then," said Conkling, "we are opposed to it; but if you will bring in a bill which will force Hayes to pay back the $200,000, which he goes out of the White House with and to which he is not entitled, I will favor it!" McCook said he used language against Hayes fit only for a fish woman. McCook went back to his committee, which voted for an adverse report, 6 to 3, a strict party vote. General Joseph E. Johnson (ex-Rebel), chairman of the committee, and all others on his side voted "No." McCook’s impression was that if the friends of Grant had agreed to it, a bill would have been reported to pension all ex-Presidents.
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] Jan. 19th, 1881.—[Alphonso T.] Donn, [William D.] Allen and other door-keepers [and ushers] at the White House often speak to me of the habits of the several Presidents they have served under. General Grant was generally out at night, out visiting and with cronies. President Hayes usually walked out in clear and fine weather, and always walked home when out in the evening. He went out once or twice in the week. He attended the Cabinet dinners given by the Cabinet officers, once in two weeks. These dinners were informal, and the Cabinet [members] only asked. Those who came were dressed in ordinary business suits.
When abroad General Grant generally rode, and walked but little after night. He had many cronies, and I recall a club room where he used to meet Flint and others and play a social game of cards. Mr. Lincoln drank nothing. Mr. Johnson drank a good deal and not much wine. General Grant [drank] some, and Mr. Hayes nothing. Mr. Garfield liked to walk out and liked beer and drank but little else. Mr. Lincoln used to go frequently to the War Department at night for news, across many lots and going quietly, and alone, muffled in an old gray shawl, returning at midnight—a dangerous thing.
Senator [T. W.] Osborn, of Fla., once told me that John M. Francis, of Troy, N.Y., went up to the White House during Grant’s first term, played poker with a party, got fuddled—was Grant’s partner perhaps—did it well, and next day, to his surprise, was appointed Minister to Greece. Is a good hand at poker a qualification for a foreign Minister?
Washington, D.C., [Friday] January 21st, 1881.—I called at the White House, this evening at 8, to see the President. President and Mrs. Hayes were at Senator [Justin S.] Morrill’s to dinner. I sat down upon the steps of the large stone stairway to rest a moment, and the ushers and door men gathered about. It was a curious group. For the last few days I had noticed that there were no chairs about the front of the house; upon inquiring this evening I was told that they had all broken down, and there was no money to buy new ones. A few days before Webb Hayes called my attention to the worn out carpets and asked me if I had ever noticed the precision with which his mother set the chairs in the Red Room. The reason she always fixed the chairs so, was to cover the holes in the carpet. The Democrats in Congress, with consummate meanness, refused (the only instance) to refurnish the White House for President Hayes; yet, during the four years he was in office, they never refused an invitation to the White House and always accepted his hospitality. The White House furniture was in a wretched condition, actually worn out.
While I sat with these ushers about me they began to speak of the peculiarities of the several Presidents they had been with.
[Andrew C.] Smith (committed suicide on August 4, 1883, at Washington), came here with Lincoln. He was with Lincoln at Fortress Monroe, at the conference in 1864, and went with his body to Springfield. He sent the wooden case of the coffin to Springfield, by rail, in advance. It was filled with raw cotton when it started but when it reached Springfield the cotton had all been stolen out by relic hunters. He said that the face of Mr. Lincoln, when dead, was not painted at any time as alleged by M. B. Field, "in a book of memories," at each point of showing the body. The face was brushed, and the front of a clean or fresh shirt cut out and fixed over Mr. Lincoln’s breast. Mr. Lincoln while President never went out at night except to an amusement or across the grounds to the War Office. He usually went out alone and with an old shawl around him. Going as he would say, to "hear the news." He was very kind to all the employees about the house. A. J. Donn said that the night that Mr. Lincoln was shot he had Tad Lincoln at the National Theatre at a play.
Mr. Lincoln did not drink. [A. T.] Donn came also with Mr. Lincoln. Donn said that in Johnson’s time everybody about the White House got drunk, Col. River might have been an exception. Mr. Johnson liked whiskey. Col. [Robert] Morrow and Johnson’s other secretary killed themselves, afterwards, while in liquor.
About a year after Mr. Johnson became President a stone arrived at the White House in a foreign package (box) and with a label that no person could read. It was receipted for to the express messenger by the mail carrier of the house, who happened to be at the door. The box was opened and the label was taken off for translation and never returned; after awhile the stone, about 300 [pounds] weight, was moved to the front of the cellar stairs in the eastern basement, and then gradually out of the building into a coal shed; no one seemed to know anything about it. It was in fact a stone from the tomb of Servius Tullius at Rome, contributed by the citizens of Rome for the tomb of Abraham Lincoln. The European papers were full of this, and it finally went the rounds of the American papers. No one in the White House, however, knew that the stone so much talked about was the one in the coal shed. A frescoe painter engaged on the East room, having read of this stone in the papers, asked one day where it was; no one knew. He had occasion one day to go to the coal shed, and found the before-mentioned stone and at once surmised that this was the Roman stone. He called the attention of the newspaper men to it, and a dreadful row ensued. President Johnson at once began to investigate. [A. T.] Donn and others were summoned before him, and a searching examination was had; finally the inscription taken off upon its arrival was found, and the stone identified and sent over to the Washington Monument.
The ushers liked and spoke kindly of Mrs. Stover, Mr. Johnson’s daughter. President Grant seldom spent an evening at home. He went out dining with his friends. Col. S. T. Suit, who knew him well, once told me he used to meet him at a private club room, frequently with Huntington and others, and that he had a partial side for some fine French brandy in his (Suit’s), house. Sometimes he was very partial to it.
President Hayes went out late to walk, say after nine, but retired at about 10 P.M. This was his uniform practice. He seldom went to a theatre. The President, when out, went usually to Sherman’s (John). He was more intimate with him than with any of his Cabinet officers. He also went to the informal Cabinet dinners, say twice a month, when all present wore their usual dress. Mrs. Hayes was the favorite of all the ladies they had seen in the White House. Old Herbert the white man who attended to the open fires in the White House and came with President Fillmore, told me March 4th, 1888, that Mrs. Hayes was the cream of all the ladies he had seen in the White House in forty years.
New York, [Saturday] February 12, 1881.—I came here yesterday to be at the S. W. Dorsey dinner [Friday night], the most famous political one of its time. General Grant presided. I spent a couple of hours in the office of my friend S. B. Elkins, in the Boreel Building, #115 Broadway, this A.M. George E. Spencer, ex-Senator from Alabama, came in. He said that in the Presidential contest of 1876 in the Senate, he was not in favor of Hayes or Tilden being seated, for in his judgment neither one of them was elected. He did not like Hayes. He said that John Sherman, while Senator and within two days of the 3rd of March, 1877, sought him voluntarily in the Senate, being afraid that the count would be defeated, and began by telling him: "Now, Spencer, under Hayes you shall have the entire patronage of Alabama." Spencer answered him by saying, "Bosh! you lie, and you know you lie." He never spoke to Sherman from that day to this.
When Hayes sent in the names of [Theodore] Roosevelt for Collector and [L. Bradford] Prince for surveyor or [naval officer] of the Port of New York, Evarts sent word to Spencer that he would like to see him, or if Spencer preferred, he would call at his house. Spencer did not notice this. Finally Evarts sent a polite note inviting him to an interview at the Department. Spencer went and Evarts began to talk in a patronizing way, saying "He had no doubt that Mr. Spencer had friends competent and worthy who desired to go abroad, etc." Spencer replied: "Mr. Evarts, speak plainly; you want my vote and influence for these New York appointments, don’t you?" "Yes," said Evarts, "I do." "Well, sir, I despise this administration and every person and thing about it. Don’t talk any further to me, sir. Good day." Spencer said that he looked upon Evarts as one of the most dangerous men ever in place under the Government, and that he would have no hesitancy in going direct to him, if he wanted him, and buying him. As a politician, Evarts was a dreary, absurd failure.
George Alfred Townsend ["Gath"] came in and began to chat. I heard Robert G. Ingersoll say in Washington, February 17, 1881, that there were three great liars (newspaper ones) in America: Melville D. Landon (Eli Perkins) was one, and George Alfred Townsend the other two. Townsend is famous as a newspaper writer under the nom de plume of "Gath" and is an author of reputation. A heavy set man, above medium height, gray eyed, sandy haired, and with a florid complexion; slow in his movements, but a leech to suck information out of you. He was considered the "gorilla" of the Press gang, yet a pleasant, cheerful, chatty man, uncommonly full of personal biography and anecdote. He knew something of every public man in the United States. He was not popular because he told too much of what he heard, and was not always accurate. His energy and push made him disliked by his fellow press men. He is a man of most decided ability.
Washington, D.C., [Friday] Feb’y 18, 1881.—I spent the evening at the White House. There was a great deal of company. Amongst the guests were Mr. Thomas [Henry] C. Noble of Columbus, Ohio, Mrs. Doct [Delia N. Starling] Loving (since dead), Mr. & Mrs. John W. Herron of Cincinnati, Mrs. Doct. Samuel [Isabel Espy] Carter, of Columbus, etc., also Col. L. G. Wier [Weir]. I sat in the Blue Room for an hour or so watching Mrs. Hayes receive. After awhile Gen’l Nathan Goff of W[est] Virginia, Secretary of the Navy vice Richard W. Thompson, came in with his wife and sister. They had just returned from Europe. Goff is a neatly figured man of 42 or 43 years of age and with dark complexion and eyes. He has been a member of Congress from West Virginia and has a splendid war record on the Union side in the War of the Rebellion. A few moments after he came in and while he was chatting with me, George Bancroft, the historian, came in. With him was a loose jointed, tall, grizzled man. John, I think he called him, or Charles, one of the Davis family, who lived in San Francisco. Mrs. Hayes presented Bancroft to Goff.
It was a singular meeting, Bancroft more than 80 years of age (born at Worcester, Mass., Oct. 3, 1800), tall in figure, long head and face with long white beard and white hair, large nose, a towering forehead, and a lank figure, with long bony hands and large feet. He always wore dark clothes. His teeth were good, save one in front below. He did not look to be more than 55 years of age. He was a strange contrast to the man 38 years younger who was Secretary of the Navy, in the position in which Bancroft held under President Polk from 1845. Goff had a habit of standing (he always wore a close fitting black frock coat buttoned up) usually with his arms folded. Bancroft had a manner of stroking his beard with his right hand like a German. He wore no glasses. It was a pleasant sight to witness: Bancroft the ancient historian and experienced diplomat, who had outlived most of his contemporaries, talking with this beardless man, who was now in the post he had filled 36 years before.
Mrs. Hayes came up after awhile and sat on a sofa. Instantly a circle was formed about her. The gentlemen took chairs and she became the center of an animated group. There was always a blue satin divan (circular) in the center of the room. This was filled with another group. While Mrs. Hayes was sitting, she noticed that one of the guests had no chair and arose to reach for one. Bancroft, seeing her intention, skipped across the room and brought it with the speed of a boy, all the time going. "Oh, eh, who; Oh, who, eh, who," which was a habit with him, much in the manner of a cooing dove. His voice was thin and usually pitched on a high key. His walk was slow and sliding.
He was a favorite of course, by reason of his wealth, ability and character. He was a man of great singularity of habits, and of much method. He had a house in Washington where he entertained elegantly with his new wife. His manner of speech was rather of the Evarts kind, but the difference in the men was, that he was a man of great ability. His manner of speech was slow and deliberate. The young women were fond of him; he made jokes with and for them, assuming a jocose manner that was amusing, and he was very gallant. It was pleasant to see him at an evening company surrounded by young and pretty girls. He usually found the pretty ones. I think he liked it as well as the girls, if not better, or as well as Gen. W. T. Sherman.
Bancroft was addicted to horseback riding and was a conspicuous figure at Newport, R.I., where he has a home, and in Washington. He contracted this habit [of horseback riding] at Berlin while minister. It was said of him that at Berlin he used to say to the pretty German girls who courted the distinguished looking diplomat, when they would fetch out the long words, "Your Excellency:" "Oh, nonsense, call me George." He used to ride with girls each day "under the Linden" in Berlin.
I recall an incident told me by Webb Hayes in 1879. His father and himself were going for a ride to the Great Falls of the Potomac one Sunday morning. They were up at daylight and met Mr. Bancroft on horseback, off for the same place. He mentioned that he was afraid it would rain. They were near "Old Probabilities" (Gen. A. J. Myer’s) house. Bancroft said, "Let’s ring his bell and find out how the weather is to be." Before Webb could leave the carriage, Bancroft was off his horse, and by taking three steps at a time was up to the door in a moment—good work for an 80 year old boy. He rang the bell and a sleepy servant finally came. The General was not yet up. They all left their cards but not a message as to their visit. When Myer got up he was amazed to find a card from "The President." He hurriedly put on his clothes and at once went to the White House. Of course, he enjoyed the fun in the evening when told the object of the visit to "The Keeper of the Weather."
In later years Bancroft was not much of an American. His article in the "North American Review" in 1878, in which he said that impartial suffrage in America was a failure, did not give me much of an opinion of his political ability, nor of his humanity. [Here Thomas Donaldson was in error. It was not Bancroft but Francis Parkman who wrote the article "The Failure of Universal Suffrage," published in the July-August 1878 issue of the North American Review].
I was at the Smithsonian on the 23rd of January, 1879, with Prof. [Spencer F.] Baird, when Mr. Bancroft came into the office. Prof. Baird was showing him the model of the proposed National Museum. Bancroft was as quaint in manner and speech as a man of "ye olden time." There was a flavor about his conversation that suggest two hundred years ago. When asked his opinion of the building, he said, "It hath a comely look." He was at the Smithsonian to see if an aneroid barometer could be repaired. Prof. Baird went off with him toward the Coast Survey Office to have it repaired.
In 1881, President Authur was chatting with Bancroft in the White House when, speaking of the circumscribed circle in which a President moved socially by reason of etiquette, etc., and mentioned our old customs. "Yes," answered the President, "I am only permitted to accept invitations from Members of the Cabinet and Mr. George Bancroft." He was a great social card. He was usually pointed out as he passed along the street. His German education and diplomatic residence abroad tended to draw him away from our institutions. He laterly knew but little of the practical part of American life, habits or manners. In our affairs he weighed effects by imaginary causes. He knew but little if anything of the causes. The attempt to judge the affairs of men—and of their reasons—by a system of so-called political philosophy which weighs the actions of men and nations by a common or fixed standard (like sugar and salt by the pound) is folly of the wildest kind, as there are as many minds as thoughts. If man comes from one common source, his mind must have been put in him after he was made, like the machinery is put in the hull of a ship. "In the image of his maker" certainly does not refer to mind.
Mr. Bancroft’s cottage at Newport was secluded and approached by a shady lane turning out of Bellevue avenue. The house was a plain, little brown house or cottage, with a vine-hung porch and a broad hall. There is no lavish extravagance displayed, although everything in the home has an aristocratic flavor, and he is looked up to by all circles of society.
With his two secretaries and two large libraries and work rooms at his disposal, he continues his labors during the summer. He is methodical in his work, devoting certain hours in the day to research and composition. He dictates everything to his stenographers, who write it out for his inspection from their shorthand notes; he then by rewriting, correcting and changing, attains the wonderfully clear, polished style that renders his volumes such examples of literary art.
Mr. Bancroft generally arrives at Newport in June, when his famous rose garden is just bursting into bloom, and for weeks he spends his leisure hours tending and tying, clipping and enjoying the 300 varieties of roses that grow so luxuriantly for him. During the season he sends presents of his rare roses to friends and neighbors, and his house is continually perfumed by them. The belles delight to show their bouquets to him, and he enjoys the great Jacqueminots and Mermets they offer him to sniff.
Past his forescore years, his mind is as bright and active as ever, and his spirits boyish as a lad of 15. He rides horseback like a cavalier, pacing forth on a Kentucky thoroughbred, which, after his roses, is his pet and pride. The white-haired rider on his black horse is known on every street and thoroughfare of the town, and there is not a lane or by-way on the Island that he has not explored. Among the earliest of the cottagers to arrive, he delays his departure until after Indian summer is gone, and then reluctantly leaves for Washington.
In November, 1882, after his return to Washington for the winter, I noticed by the papers that he had paid $1,500 for a riding horse from Kentucky.
Mr. Bancroft died at Washington in the month of April, 1891.
Washington, D.C., [Friday] March 4, 1881.—I went up to the White House to-day, Friday, at 7 A.M., to get one of the chairs the President gave me yesterday. It is a revolving chair which he had replaced by purchase. The morning was dreadful; snow fell from 11 P.M. last night and continued until after 10 A.M. to-day. The streets were sloppy, and the side walks were filled with the military knocking at shop doors, or wherever Arctic shoes or rubbers were to be bought. In a few minutes the supply of small sizes was exhausted, and men who wore No. 6 were compelled to wear No. 10 boots. By 11 A.M. the Avenue was dry, as the sweepers had swept it, and the sun soon cleared up the moisture. A guard of police surrounded the White House and the outer approaches. This guard ran from the outer gates to the Treasury and to the State Department. It was difficult for even employees to get in. Of course I got in at once as I was known. The police at the gate merely looked at me and I passed in. A burley form is frequently a passport. Once in the grounds I had no trouble to get in the house. At 8 A.M. I was in.
All was gloomy, and the remains of the last Hayes’ dinner of yesterday were strewn around in the shape of faded flowers. Music stands, chairs, flags, etc., were piled up in the hall. It was a forlorn looking place. Mrs. Hayes was just inside the front entrance door. She was bright and fresh as ever. She was directing the men to clear up the wreck and get the house in shape for the Garfields. [William T. "Billy")] Crump, the steward, was packing things away. Back of the main stairway was the Hayes’ baggage, trunks and boxes, say twenty or thirty pieces. Upstairs I met Rud, Birchard and Webb Hayes; Rud, pale as usual. The President was in his room or the Cabinet room, where he sat for half an hour, and discussed Garfield’s Cabinet. He thought it would do pretty well; still, he thought that John Sherman should have been offered the option of remaining as Secretary of State. He was very cheerful and was glad to get out of office. He had in his hand his last veto [message, "An Act to Facilitate the Refunding of the National Debt"], and was signing it. He said: "Thomas, see me doing my last veto." The servants were busy packing and cleaning up. The storm had let up about 9 A.M.
While the President was getting ready to leave the house, I was in the upper hall near the door with Rud. A small boy (he was a Garfield ), say eight years of age, came up and took a paper from Rud’s hand. As the boy walked away Rud said: "Here they are coming in and we are going out." As I left the Cabinet room I saw a large paper weight of glass marked Executive Mansion used by President Grant for eight years and by President Hayes for four, also a bouquet holder with an eagle on it, on a table all by themselves. They looked so lonely—everything going but them. Colonel [William H.] Crook was standing by and I confiscated them.
This morning the servants, doorkeepers and clerks were all blue. They did not know but what they were to be replaced. They talked to me and growled in unison. President Hayes had, however, given many of them letters of recommendation. The President was as good natured as usual and chatted with them all. About 9 o’clock a couple of elderly ladies, guests, came near where he was. He at once went up to them and said: "Well, children, how are you this morning?"
The guests of the White House, Mr. and Mrs. H[enry C.] Noble (the former died in 1891) and Mrs. S[tarling] Loving (died in 1880)[March 4, 1881] of Columbus, Ohio; brother and sister of Gen’l John W. Noble of St. Louis, Mo.; several other ladies, and several young men who occupied the lower two rooms in the basement in the southwest corner of the White house, had all left the evening before. I think that Miss [Lucy H.] Cook of Chillicothe, Ohio, remained.
About 11:30 A.M., the carriages (one was driven by Albert [Hawkins] with four bay horses in which Garfield and Hayes rode to the Capitol, and belonging to Hayes) drove up to the front of the White House. (General Garfield and family, along with General Swaim, came to the White House about half past ten A.M., with the exception of Madam Garfield, who, with some of the children, were already in the house. They came the Thursday before, on invitation). President Hayes, General Garfield and Senators Anthony and Bayard, who arrived about 11 A.M., walked from the Red Parlor to the main porch, entered the four-horse carriage, and moved to the avenue under escort of the First Cleveland Troup of Cleveland, Ohio, in charge of General W. T. Sherman, Grand Marshal.
Albert [Hawkins], the driver of the President’s carriage, drove President Grant to both of his inaugurations, as well as Hayes and Garfield to theirs—four in all. The state team used to-day belonged to President Hayes, who left it with President Garfield for several months. In fact, I do not recall that Garfield [ever] bought a team of horses while he was in the White House as President. General Garfield, as guest, rode on President Hayes’ right hand side in the carriage on the rear seat, going to the Capitol; coming back, he was on the left side and Ex-President Hayes, as his guest, rode on the right.
General Garfield and President Hayes each wore new silk hats. Hayes’ hair, while grey and long, is a full suit; Garfield’s hair is mouse colored, and mostly gone, thus leaving him a bare spot on top of his head. His head this day looked enormous. He was tickled, proud and very happy. His hat was constantly in his hand, and off his head, bowing to the people. His inauguration, as far as display, arrangement and all details, was a magnificent affair. President Hayes’ procession in 1877 was almost all Regular Army and with hardly anything in the civil line.
One laughable feature of the Garfield inaugural parade to-day was the appearance of a body of handsome men, say fifty, dressed in black, with silk hats, and accompanied by a full band. They marched four abreast and attracted much attention and inquiry. The bass drum of the band, say 7 feet in diameter, and carried in the rear, revealed in large letters the name of the marchers. They were Jack Haverly’s [United American] Mastodon Minstrels. They were playing at the National Theatre [Ford’s Opera-House] and got into the procession in the portion assigned to "other civic societies," and resisted exclusion. They made a creditable and handsome appearance. Their music was splendid. The Negroes in the procession were not so numerous as usual, but better dressed. The Pennsylvania Militia were a great feature, 5,000 men. General W. T. Sherman, as Grand Marshal, rode a white horse and was in full uniform, except his hat; he wore a fatigue cap. He of course arranged the detail of movements of the procession. Any mere description of such a parade is useless now because the press of the country gives it in full.
Mrs. Hayes, Mrs. Garfield and the old lady, Madam Garfield, went quietly by themselves in a carriage down F Street and to the Senate. No President’s wife has ever attended in the procession with him to or from the White House to the Capitol, or other place of inauguration. After the procession returned at 2 P.M., the Avenue, at least a driveway for carriages, was held open by the police. About 2:30 P.M. I noticed Mr. J. G. Blaine and friends in an open carriage returning from the Senate, she in black silk with a furious pink ostrich feather. They drove the entire length of the Avenue to the Treasury Department, attracting much attention. This was also a Blaine day.
After the inauguration, Ex-President and President returned to the White House with their families and friends; and after the final lunch in the White House, say about 3 P.M. to-day, the Hayes family quietly drove from the White House and to the house of Senator John Sherman. Rud Hayes was the last to shake hands with Mrs. Garfield. He said to her, "I hope your four years here will be as pleasant as ours have been."
Washington, D.C., [Tuesday] June 14, 1881.—Under the Hayes administration breakfast was served at the White House at 8.30, lunch at 1, and dinner at 6. President Garfield had breakfast at 7.30, dinner at 3, and tea at 7. (Note. Under Mr. Arthur the times for the first two meals were exceedingly variable, but dinner was regularly at 8 P.M.)
I was at the White House today to see President Garfield. After an interview of half an hour with him I went down into the cellar to the office of William T. Crump, the steward. We sat down for a quiet chat. He said that Garfield was a pretty fair man, but dreadfully close [with money]. Mrs. Garfield complained that there was no furniture in the house. Garfield neither bought nor used wine at table; neither did he at any time in the White House.
Mr. Crump came to the White House in 1877 in another capacity than a steward. He had been an orderly to President Hayes during the war, and a private in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He picked up the President at the battle of South Mountain after he was shot. The original steward under Mr. Hayes, a man of color, was very extravagant. On May 1, 1878, President Hayes sent for Crump and said: "You are appointed steward. See this bill for meat for $472 for the month of April." Mr. Crump’s total bill for all food for the family for the month of May was $485.
Many of the Washington tradesman, following custom, offered Crump a commission on his purchases. This arrangement he refused. This commission had always been the rule in Washington. When President Garfield came in to office, Congressman Wm. McKinley, Jr., M.C., and Governor Thomas L. Young, both of Ohio, recommended Crump’s retention. The tradesmen combined to get Garfield to dismiss him. Crump heard of this, went to the President, and said he was ready to go. The President told him that he would give him notice when he was through with him. Crump explained to Garfield that the outcry against him was due to the fact that he had refused to receive commissions on purchases. He had purchased his supplies from the commissary of the Army, stationed at Washington, as had been done in General Grant’s and Mr. Hayes’ time.
General Grant’s cook was a private soldier in the regular army detailed for that purpose. The entire bill for living at the White House, servants’ pay and all, for the month on May, 1881, was $365.
William T. Crump said that Garfield was nothing like Hayes in manner. Hayes was always grateful and extremely courteous to the people about the house. Mr. Crump said he gave his best efforts the night that President Hayes gave his farewell dinner in the White House, March 3, 1881. Mr. Garfield was a guest. The company did not all leave until about 2 A.M. The President then retired. A few moments later he came down stairs in his slippers and said: "Crump, I forgot to thank you for dinner."
Garfield was brusque in speech generally, but if anything, appeared more affectionate towards his family than Mr. Hayes, Crump said. He described how President Garfield and his boys used to roll over the carpet in the upper long hall, and what boisterous fun they had.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Sunday] Aug. 28, 81.—I spent all yesterday and up to 9.45 P.M. at the White House—I saw and heard all. Garfield lies on a cot or sick bed in [President Hayes’] old room. Everything has been cleared out of it including curtains, except a cane seat sofa and some chairs. All about the House except Mrs. G[arfield], David G.] Swaim and [Almon F.] Rockwell believed he was dying. I did not; never have believed he would, and do not now. As to the Doctors, there are too many of them—and there should have been a corps of trained nurses. If he dies it will be by reason of fear on the part of the Doctors. If it had been myself or an ordinary man we would have been out long ago.
The Doctors neglected to build him up with strong food during the first month…. His cheek bones are very prominent—and his beard long—however, they have cut his beard off one half his face so that they can poultrice the right side. His voice is strong and clear, and at no time has he believed he would die. I feel … that I don’t care how he gets well, whether God, or the Doctors does it we shall all be very thankful, and we will all say "God did it." It’s a good and true thing so we will bow to the Almighty.
Mrs. Garfield has lost her hair, almost entirely. No one speaks to the President except his attendants. He begs piteously to see his friends and to see something cheerful. He might as well be within stone walls a prisoner. …He should be removed as soon as possible… [and given] some recreation when he begins to improve. He ought to see his children.
[William T.] Crump was at the White House yesterday, the first time in five weeks. [Alphonso T.] Donn, [William D.] Allen, [Charles] Loeffler, [Thomas F.] Pendel, all have or have had ague. Blaine has seen the President but three times since he was shot; the men about the House not for five weeks. He is in confinement, virtually. Around the cot, upon which he lies, are screens cutting him off from the room. Upon my word this would almost sicken a well man; it would kill me.
Soldiers guard the grounds and the police have the doors. Crowds line the street in front.
Here thousands hang around the "Bulletin."
The Assassin should be taken out and cut to pieces; such an uprising would be in the interest of morality and good government. The farce of a trial will be a disgrace. Where can one find an unprejudiced (sane) man for a juror? This vagabond is a coward of the first water.
Mrs. Blaine told me yesterday how Garfield escaped being shot at her door. The day before the assault, about 4 P.M., Mrs. B., sitting in her window saw the President coming on foot toward her house, behind him (rapidly) walked Guiteau. Mrs. B. walked out to the door and opened it for the President to enter, not caring to wait for a ring and her servant to come. Garfield at once entered without halting and Guiteau missed his chance. Mr. Blaine & the President about 5. walked to the White House. Guiteau, who had been waiting, followed them but lacked nerve to shoot.
While I am writing word comes that the President continues to improve. The day has been hot but now rain is promised. This will give us a cold spell which will help the President.
I told them at the White House that there were two reasons why Garfield would not die: first, He is an Ohio man, and none die in office; [and] second, I supplied the whiskey used, 25 years old, and no person was ever known to die while using this whiskey!
[Editor’s note The above description was included in a letter which Thomas Donaldson wrote Ex-President Hayes, August 28, 1881.]
[With] Ex-Senator J[ohn] J[ames] Patterson, S.C., in Train to New York. [Sometime after 1881].—([First] Page lost). Speaking of Roscoe Conkling’s recent interview about politics in New York, and of its being against the Republicans and Davenport and the candidate for Governor in particular, Patterson, said, "Roscoe Conkling is a big boy—but has no judgment. I recall" (we were just passing the [Monmouth] junction) "the night that Garfield died" (September 19, 1881) at Elberton, [N.J.], "Conkling and myself were on a train on the road at eleven o’clock, and at this point, Monmouth Junction, when a dispatch was brought on the train that Garfield was dead. Conkling at once said, ‘Now, Mr. Arthur has a chance to immortalize himself, succeeding Garfield; he must turn all of the men out of office offensive to us. He must at once and immediately dismiss W[illiam] H. Robertson, Collector of the Port of New York. I shall insist on this.’ I replied, ‘Mr. Conkling, such an act on the part of Arthur would almost produce a revolution. He must first get the confidence of the American people. You know that he does not now have their confidence. He must proceed most cautiously.’
"Mr. Conkling became very much excited at this and began denouncing me, saying: ‘Of course, men like you will advise him the other way; you are of the conservative class, who are dangerous in politics.’ He became very warm toward me, and was really angry. I would not continue the conversation, and so retired. Mr. Conkling will gradually drift into the ranks of the Democracy."
Mr. Patterson was enthusiastic over General Grant as a soldier and as a man. I asked him why he voted for the seating of General M.C. Butler as Senator from South Carolina in the United States Senate in 1878 and 1879. He replied, "Well, I don’t like that man Corbin." ([David T.] Corbin was a Republican and should have been seated, T.D.)
Patterson repeated to me, and confirmed his interview with Pres’t. Hayes and Senator Sherman in the Louisiana and South Carolina matters in 1877. He denounced them both and said that Garfield [had] lied to him as well; that Garfield had been present at and took part in the "Wormley Conference" of December 1876, January and February 1877, but that he denied this to Patterson; that at one time Pres’t. Hayes seemed likely to keep his word with Southern Republicans, and that the Southern Democrats Burke, John Young Brown and others sent for Garfield, who was temporarily in Ohio, or absent, and brought him back to Washington. Once there they made him insist to Hayes that the bargain made at the "Wormley Conference" at Wormley’s Hotel in Washington, should be upheld by him or kept.
Mr. Patterson laughingly described how he with a son and daughter [had] spent the past winter in Mercer [Mifflintown], Pa., his old home. Living at a country hotel for about $35 per month, fine substantial board, and going sleighing and going to country parties for amusement. He said it was pleasant and a comfortable change from Washington life. I confess I like his frankness and his manner. He lives most of his time now in Philadelphia, having temporarily left South Carolina. Democratic ascendancy is not healthy for Republicans in the South.
[Sunday]January 5, 1882.—Mr. William [T.] Crump, still steward at the White House, in conversation with me, contrasted all of his past experience with Mr. Hayes and Mr. Garfield with the present condition of things at the White House. Mr. Arthur was formal and stiff. He went to bed at 2 and 3 A.M. and got up very late. He ate breakfast from 10 to 11 A.M. and dinner at 8 P.M. He was a great eater and drinker, and ate rich and elegant food. He saw to most everything about the house himself. He had discharged Garfield’s cook and imported one from New York, formerly in the service of John Jacob Astor. Crump said "I don’t suppose I shall remain. I think he has a man for the place."
Mrs. John Davis, nee [Sarah Helen] Frelinghuysen, was a particular friend of President Arthur. This friendship began in July, 1881, at the house of Senator John Percival Jones [of Nevada] (Benjamin F. Butler’s) [house, 201 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.] in Washington, where Arthur stopped prior to December 1, 1881. Mrs. Davis first met Arthur there. Mr. John Davis [1851-1902], it was understood, was not a great man. In June, 1882, President Arthur appointed Mr. Davis Assistant Secretary of State, vice J.[ohn] C.[handler] B.[ancroft] Davis [1882-1907], which caused much talk and comment. Mrs. D. had been to the White House several times and saw to the household arrangements, before Arthur occupied it, which was Tuesday before Congress met in December, 1881. He had used the Jones house, south of the Capitol, for a residence and office up to that time. In Washington there was wonder as to how much all of this friendship for the "Davis" had to do with the appointment of Mr. [Frederick T.] Freylinghuysen as Secretary of State. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Davis was a clerk, secretary, or attorney to a foreign claims committee [Assistant Counsel for the United States before the Franco-American Claims Commission]. He was a son or nephew of J. C. Bancroft Davis [J. C. Bancroft Davis had no children].
During Grant’s first term, 1869 to 1873 there was great extravagance. The panic of 1873-4-5-6 cut this off. During Mr. Hayes’ four years there was a revival of society. Garfield’s short term was not in the season, but Arthur came in with the floodtide. Parties, receptions etc., were more extravagant than ever before known in Washington in the winter of 1881-82. In January, 1882, I found in Washington that Grant was mentioned, Hayes cursed, Garfield forgotten, and Arthur hailed as the rising sun. Queer place, that Washington!
Today (January 5, 1882), Mr. Crump told me of how [Andrew C.] Smith, who came into the White House as a doorkeeper with Mr. Lincoln in 1865, had just been discharged by the President to make room for another man. Smith was known as "Lincoln’s body guard." Afterwards, being out of work and unable to get employment, he killed himself.
Washington, D.C., [Friday] April 14, 1882.—I was chatting with William T. Crump, steward of the White House, to-day, when Col. Weir’s [Josiah Ware] name came up. I have frequently mentioned him. He was a cousin of Mrs. Hayes, and a frequent visitor at the White House; almost a lodger there towards the end of Mr. Hayes’ term. He lived a few miles from Martinsburg, W. Va., in a splendid old mansion with beautiful grounds, and attached to it were broad grazing fields. He was sitting one day at breakfast talking with President Hayes, when he described how he saved his estate, houses, herds, etc., until near the close of the war in 1864; and that neither side had touched his Southdowns sheep until that time, which were the finest in Virginia. Crump, who was standing in the room, had been a member of the President’s regiment (23rd Ohio Vols.) and the President’s orderly during the entire war, said: "Why, Mr. President, don’t you recollect we camped near Col. Ware’s place, and our men killed and ate his sheep? Don’t you recall how good the mutton was? I saw you eat some of it. They were killed by your order." "Well," said the President, "I do now recall it." Col. Ware and all laughed heartily. It was true Hayes had slaughtered his relative’s sheep. It was a queer place to recall it. Col. Ware afterwards wanted to know if the President would not recommend his reimbursement by the Government. The President declined.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Thursday] July 20th, 1882.—In a chat with Alexander R. Boteler, of West Virginia, of the Tariff Commission of 1882, I mentioned Powhatan Bouldin of Virignia, who had written a life of John Randolph of Roanoke [Home Reminiscences of John Randolph of Roanoke] in 1878, —Beverly Tucker told me that this was a bad book. The author said that John Randolph was sexless. This, Col. Tucker said, was the general understanding in Randolph’s lifetime, and he recalled the taunt of Tristam Burges of Rhode Island in the House of Representatives who said that he was the scorn of women! Burges, comparing Randolph to a monster and referring to the generally received opinion that he was sexless, said, "Thank God, Mr. Speaker, monsters cannot perpetuate their species." Randolph, replying, said "Mr. Speaker, the gentleman boasts of his virility; he boasts of that in which the goat is his equal and the Jackass his superior."
On the day of the election of President Hayes, Nov. 8th, 1876, sitting with Mr. Zach. Chandler, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, in his official room at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York, were Jay Gould; John M. Trayer, Governor and Ex-Senator of Nebraska; E. W. Stoughton; J. P. Woolman of Montana; and myself, with others. Mr. Chandler drew from a drawer in his table a bundle of papers. He read us some of them. They were a series of affidavits from physicians, nurses, and others that Samuel J. Tilden was sexless. This was believed because he was very effeminate, with a grinning beardless face, and with a squeaky voice. Mr. Tilden was never married. These affidavits were not used of course by Mr. Chandler during the campaign. Would Mr. Tilden have qualified as a male citizen? and if not, would he have been eligible to the Presidency, had he been elected?
New York, [Wednesday] October 18, 1882.—I spent the evening in the Fifth Avenue Hotel with the Honorable Duncan F[arrar] Kenner, of Louisiana and Colonel Alexander R[obinson] Boteler, of West Virginia. They are both members of the United States Tariff Commission. Kenner is about seventy years of age, a medium sized man, with bald head, both hands paralyzed, and gray eyes. He is a gentleman of fortune, culture, and great ability. He was the fancy race-horse man of the South prior to the war, and owned about 4000 Negroes. He told me that he lost more than $1,000,000 by the war. He was a member of the Rebel Congress during its entire existence, was earnest in his Rebel belief, and is as much of a Rebel today as during the war. He is a native of Louisiana and one of its leading citizens. He owns at this time seven sugar plantations, and is probably the richest man in Louisiana. The Union Army and government seized his lands and they were confiscated, but he got them back after the war. On all subjects relating to reconstruction he is very bitter.
Mr. Kenner knew Ex-Governor Warmoth intimately and called him a brave, bold man, and about the worst politically he ever knew in the South. He had a good opinion of W. L. McMillan, politically. He thought John Lynch was an able man. Jefferson Davis—President Davis he called him—was, in his opinion, the greatest man alive; a good and pure one. Mr. Judah P. Benjamin, he always called him Mr., was a marvelous man. Mr. John Slidell was a great man.
Mr. Kenner was a brother-in-law of General Richard Taylor. He knew Andrew Jackson well. Judge Dominick A. Hall, the Judge who committed and fined General Jackson, March 24, 1815, was his (Kenner’s) brother-in-law. (He told me this at my home in Philadelphia October 15, 1882, while looking at Schmesselle’s picture of this event.) Kenner has a deliberate way of speaking, with much dry wit. He was intimate with General Frank Nichols, Governor of Louisiana, in 1877.
I led Mr. Kenner into the details of the famous contest which resulted in making Nichols Governor of Louisiana and Hayes President of the United States. He said: "The Democratic politicians of the Southern States were more anxious to get control of their several states than to make Mr. Tilden President. They only wished to get their state governments and make then Democratic. Besides, they felt that a Republican Congress in internal improvements, etc., would be more liberal than a Democratic one, so their battle was for the States. They cared little for Mr. Tilden or the northern democracy. Nichols was elected governor in November, 1876. He was my neighbor and had been raised a boy in the same parish with me. As soon as elected he was surrounded by bad advisers, some he should not have had. He came to me and told me of his perplexities. The Republican returning board was in the meanwhile going on with the preparations to add to, or take from, votes returned as polled or poll sheets so as to elect Packard (Republican) Governor. Nichols asked my advice, and I told him that he had too many advisers and that he must confine his matters to a few friends. He asked me to select a dozen, including myself, as his advisory board, and promised to abide by my decision. We selected the men, and from time to time held meetings.
"Nichols took our advice and we were soon in control. One day in December, 1876, I said to Nichols that the serious trouble in 1872, which had prevented [Samuel D.] McEnery from becoming the Democratic Governor, was the fact that we had no friends in the Supreme Court of the State; that all our political action was blocked by the fact that the courts of our State issued processes against us, and that President Grant, in his proclamation in 1872 recognizing the Kellogg State Government, used the fact, and correctly, that he was maintaining the law and upholding the mandates of the Supreme Court of the State when he used the U.S. soldiers. This was true, and he could not be blamed for this action. I said to Nichols that the only way we could resist the Packard government and secure non-interference on the part of General Grant was to capture the Supreme Court of the State and fill it with our friends. Nichols was aghast, and said he could not think of such a thing; that it would be revolution, and that if he attempted it General Grant would send a company of soldiers to his plantation (near mine) at Donaldsonville and arrest him. I told him that we must have this court, and that I would make the effort provided he kept passive and secret; and he reluctantly consented.
"I found that all of the judges of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, except one, went out of office on the day that the new government would be inaugurated. This was in our favor, as the Governor would be inaugurated on the 8th day of January 1877. During all the time between December 1, 1876 and January 1, 1877, a dreadful political war was going on. Of course the country is now fully advised of this. About the 22nd of December, 1876, I went with Nichols to New Orleans. He stopped at the City Hotel, and at his request I called together some of our most prominent people for a consultation. Before this, however, Nichols had agreed to stand by my advice on the court matter, and had told me whom he would like as his supreme court judges. These were among the friends asked in.
"We all met at the City Hotel about December 2[?], 1876; Nichols sat quiet, and all were obligated to secrecy. I got up and stated the purpose of the meeting, and stated for him that the attempt to be made was an important and critical one, and that it would require nerve and energy. General P. T. G. Beauregard was aghast and said that the plan would fail; John S. Phelps said the same thing. All seemed to lack courage. I said further that Nichols must have the proposed candidates. Mr. Finney of New Orleans was to be Chief Justice. I asked him to stand up, which he did, and then asked him if he had the nerve to issue mandates recognizing Nichols as governor and the courage to enforce them after getting in. He was much agitated and hesitated saying that it would be a revolution and would probably produce bloodshed and the interference of the Union Army. Besides he had never before in a Republic heard or seen revolution begin at the head. I replied, ‘That’s enough; sit down. You won’t do.’
"Charles Andrew Johnson, of Donaldsonville, who was to be a supreme court associate judge, next stood up, and, expressing his fear of Grant and the army and of a revolution, said he would like twenty-four hours to consider. I replied: ‘Sit down; we don’t want any man on that bench who hesitates or has to consider. A Judge who will hesitate in the crisis to come is lost, and we may by lost. You won’t do.’ Le Blanque, a Creole prospective associate justice, stood up and agreed to stand by us. William B. Spencer, a member of Congress, the other one selected, had not yet returned from Washington (he resigned from Congress, January 8). He was vouched for; so we adjourned with two of the Judges selected. What we next wanted was a Chief Justice, a brave and nervy one.
"Next day, about noon, I was at Nichol’s headquarters at the City Hotel. Nichols had a parlor and bedroom, and was dressing in his chamber. While I was sitting in the parlor, a servant ushered in Judge [Thomas Courtland] Manning, or Red River. He was full of life, and dressed as natty as a Brummel. He was all life and spirits. He had come to congratulate Nichols and to tender his friendly offers. While he sat in the parlor I went into the bedroom and said, feeling that Manning was the man: ‘How will he do for Chief Justice?’ Nichols said: ‘First class; try him.’ So I went into the parlor, stated all the conditions to him, gave him our plans, etc., and asked him if he would accept. He replied promptly: ‘Yes.’ We sat there and discussed the method of getting control of the court, its room, records, and seal. Manning knew the clerk, Alfred Roman who was a Southerner, a native of Louisiana, and he was deputed to see or send for him, to find out how far he was willing to go in turning the court’s records, seal, etc., over to our court, the Nichols court. At Manning’s request the clerk came at once to the St. Charles, where Manning and Nichols were. He agreed to show us all facilities, to advise us, to show us all records, and to turn over to us the seal. Although with the Kellogg-Packard Court, being a true Southerner, he was our man. Then Nichols suggested trouble ahead. [Thomas H.] Handy had just been elected Democratic sheriff of New Orleans; and this sheriff served, when necessary, the papers of the Supreme Court of the State and acted for and with it as crier, etc. Unless he would agree to recognize the Nichols Court it was useless to go any further. Nichols was afraid of him. I got my son-in-law into the room, General J. L. Brent, who knew everybody and everything, and asked him if he knew Handy and if he could be trusted. He replied that Handy was a true Southerner and could be replied upon. This did not satisfy Nichols; so Brent went out, found Handy, and brought him to the St. Charles. We put the case to him, and he readily and at once agreed to stand by us.
"Everything was done with great secrecy. Answering my suggestion that he had the pick of 5,000 men, many of them old and tried Confederate soldiers from which to draw a posse to enforce the mandates of the court, Handy said: ‘I will pick the men,’ and he did so. This force became known afterwards as the Nichols State Militia. General John L. Lewis, deputy sheriff, was assigned to the Nichols Court to be appointed. All of these preliminaries having been arranged we now agreed upon a programme to be carried out. Lieutenant Governor (Elect) [Louis Alfred] Wiltz was present, and at my suggestion it was ordered that the Nichols Senate should be called together at 9 A.M. of Monday, January 8, 1877. The day of the inauguration of Gov. Nichols by Lieut. Gov. Wiltz, Nichols would proceed from his hotel to LaFayette Square, where he would be inaugurated at 11 A.M. and at once send a messenger to the Nichols Senate with the names of the supreme judges. In the meantime, at 11 A.M. the judges were to go and sit in the supreme court room, to which they would be admitted by the clerk together with General Lewis, the deputy sheriff, and posse of old Confederates; and the moment their appointments and confirmations came to take seats on the bench, open court, seize the records and seal, and go to business. If any resistance was made, the old judges were to be turned out of the court room by the deputy sheriff and posse of 500 men.
"This was all settled three or four days before January 8, 1877, and absolute secrecy was preserved. In the meantime all necessary papers prepared to carry out these arrangements were signed by Nichols and Wiltz, and Monday, January 8, 1877, came. The Nichols Senate met at 9 A.M., and General Nichols proceeded to Lafayette Square and took the oath administered by Judge [A. L.] Tessot before reading his message. The moment he did this (at 11 A.M.) a messenger stood beside him and received from him a message to his Senate appointing the supreme judges. At 12 minutes after 11 the messenger reached the Senate, the message was read, and the judges confirmed.
"Meanwhile, they proceeded to the court room where, to their amazement, they found the old Kellogg court in session, closing up their business. They took seats as members of the bar and the messenger brought their appointments and confirmations. These were secretly delivered to Manning. The old court, unconscious that the four gentlemen of the bar before them and among the other attorneys were their successors, were closing their business and waiting for a court to be appointed and confirmed by the Packard Senate. At 12 M. the old court adjourned. In a moment the new Nichols judges went on the bench, took their seats, were sworn in, and General Lewis, deputy sheriff, opened court. The clerk, Alfred Roman, turned over the old records and seal, and was appointed and sworn in as clerk, and the Nichols supreme court was in command of Louisiana. Next day (the 9th) at 12.30 the police stations in the city and at Masonic Hall were ours, and by 1.30 of the same day we had the entire state in our control, except the State House, in which Packard was protected by his Negroes. It was a great revolution. We had 5,000 old soldiers (rebel) sworn in as the sheriff’s posse.
"President Grant’s point that the supreme court of the state being ready to issue and issuing processes in favor of Kellogg in 1872 made his government regular, now militated against him. He was now powerless to issue such a proclamation for Packard in 1877, as our Supreme Court was for Nichols. All of this was carried out unknown to Packard and his people. This Supreme Court capture ruined Packard. Up to April 20, 1877, when the Hayes Commission reached New Orleans, this court rendered 200 judgments, and they were enforced. Packard’s court was appointed, but they had no records or the seal. The Nichols court was in the legal and usual rooms with the records, seal, etc., and the sheriff of the city of New Orleans being the lawful officer was ready to, and did, recognize their promises.
"Now a queer sight was presented: two governors, two governments, two legislatures—a dual government in the State. Gen’l Nichols and his friends at once went to work to satisfy General Grant as to his peaceful intentions, his desire to treat all men fairly, and to show political and equal rights to Negroes and all. Nichols had many friends among the old army officers, General [C. C.] Augur and others. He was a graduate of West Point, a one-armed and one-legged man. He lost these members in the rebel army. These old friends went quietly to Grant in his behalf. Grant was favorably disposed towards Nichols, and had great confidence in his integrity. The representations made to Grant by these old army men added up to this.
"Some days after the Nichols Supreme Court was in power Nichols and a party of friends, including myself, were in a box at the Grand Opera House. General French, of General C. C. Augur’s staff, or in command of a section of Louisiana, came into the box and called Nichols aside. As soon as he left Nichols called me out in great alarm, and said: ‘Here’s trouble. The fat’s all in the fire; Grant is on the war path; let’s have a conference at once.’ So we all went to the City Hotel, and immediately summoned other friends. We also sent for the members of the Supreme Court. Ex-Judge John A. Campbell, United States Court, came out half dressed at midnight. We met in the City Hotel. The dispatch was read. Grant said in terms to Augur that he was informed that the Supreme Court that had been so hurriedly appointed by Nichols had been appointed to review and to revise the election returns of November for Presidential electors, and thus change the result. This would have defeated Hayes. I said to the company that Nichols must at once telegraph Grant and get this impression out of his mind. So we all set to work to write the dispatch. At 2 A.M. we were undecided. One person wrote a dispatch covering two pages of foolscap. I wrote one which contained the following: I never had any intention, did not now intend, now will I ever use this court to review or revise the Presidential election returns.’ Nichols used this with a slight additional sentence or two. He sent it at once. Grant was satisfied, and Nichols and the State were saved to us.
"President Grant could at any moment have ruined us. We wanted our State. All of these movements were great secrets until executed. All of this time our friends at Columbus or in Washington were interviewing Hayes and his friend, Grant not bothering us any further. We went to work to get a legislature, Packard’s legislature was almost all Negroes, the most venal, dishonest, and contemptible lot of fellows that ever breathed the breath of life. We knew this, and at once a large sum of money was raised to purchase these people. I gave and raised some. We were aided in all of our movements by ex-Lieutenant Governor P. B. S. Pinchback, colored Republican, who was our ally. He was our agent in many of these matters, and served us faithfully. Early in January we wanted a legal Senate. To do this we wanted some Negroes from Packard’s Senate to quit it and to come to ours and be sworn in. Pinchback got five Negroes as Senators from the Packard legislative body. (I will not name them now. See notes 1 and 2). He kept them in his house from early in the evening of one day until 10 A.M. of the next day. Being sent for I went to Pinchback’s house and met Lieutenant Governor Wiltz at the door; it was night; he came out into the yard and said: ‘Have you got any money?’ I answered: ‘Yes, $27,000 in my coat pocket, and as much more as you want.’ He replied: ‘Thank God; now we have got them.’ We went in together. I saw the Negro Senators; after backing and filling and much cunning talk they yielded. Mind, I don’t say they got so small a sum as $27,000, but this was paid them; how much more I won’t say, but Wiltz staid with them and at 10 A.M. they were purchased, and he went with them through the streets in a carriage to the Senate. They deserted Packard, came into the Nichols’ Senate, and we had a legal quorum.
"This was another dreadful blow to Packard, and much influenced sentiment in the North among the liberal and independent Republicans against him, and had much to do with the subsequent action of the McVeagh Commission to Louisiana, and in fixing the recognition of Nichols as the Governor. The Commissioners were cognizant of our efforts at all times, or at least some of them were. When this McVeagh commission came it was instructed by Mr. Evarts to ascertain a legal Legislature; we found one for them. (Note 3). Our Supreme Court was now recognized by the people. Taxes had been paid to the Nichols Government amounting to more than $1,000,000. Our Senate was unquestioned. It was now easy to capture the Packard House, as it was composed almost entirely of Negroes, and they were easily purchased. I shall not tell you where the money for this came from or how it was used. I will say that we understood that the Hawley-McVeagh commission was sent to Louisiana by President Hayes to aid Nichols and ease Packard down, and they threw their influence at all times in this direction. They saved Nichols and we got Packard out of the State. Nichols had given Hayes promises by letter and messengers before the Commission was decided upon or came, and these he kept religiously. We were fighting for Home Rule." (See my interview with Hayes where he mentions Governor Nichols’ promises and letters)." The Louisiana Congressmen (Levy, Gibson, and Ellis) were in the Wormley conference and got it up. They overreached [Charles] Foster, [James A.] Garfield and others of Hayes’ friends. Major E. A. Burke was about, but we all looked upon him more as a detective than as an able man.
"Nichols was not a particularly great man. He was as brave as a lion, as are all of our men in New Orleans; or if they are not, they have the sense to hide it, for cowardice with us is the worst and meanest of vices. I want to impress upon you that the Hawley-McVeagh Commission was a move of some of our own people. The suggestion of a Commission came from our men, but was made secretly so as to give the impression that Pres’t. Hayes or his friends suggested it. We so timed and moved events in the State as to be as strong as possible by the time the Commission came, which was early in April. From the first we meant to have the State. Tilden was of but little consequence to us when our State was in view. We wanted to shake the cormorants and strangers that were fattening on our vitals. The shrewdest move we made was the refusal to pay taxes to Packard’s Government and pay them instead to the Nichols Government. I will say nothing about the large sum of money said to have been given by the Louisiana Lottery Company in the interest of the Nichols Government. (On the pledge of no inimical legislation, and to pay the Negroes in Packard’s House their full salary if they would desert him or go home.)
"We are much indebted to the Commission and to Mr. Evarts. The Commission met in Washington before starting, and many private instructions could have been given some of them which do not appear in the public record. They were sent for a purpose, and the work was well done. The intelligence of a great State could not be kept down under ignorance, corruption and misrule. Of course the Commission did not know exactly every detail of what was going on, but we relied upon Mr. Evarts. His public utterance in Grant’s time at a meeting in New York protesting against bayonet rule was our way. We knew he was a weak politician, a weathercock, but we used flattery, and his vanity was caught. Our people in Washington understood him exactly. Evarts’ respectability captured Hayes long before Bishop Wilmer and other Southern gentlemen had approached Hayes at Columbus. When Sherman, Howe, Kelly, and other visiting statesmen in November and December, 1876, were at New Orleans, there were rumors of tenders of unmolested or unquestioned electoral votes for Governor Hayes. Of course Grant knew of this, for these gentlemen were selected by him, and they reported to him." (Note. This may account for Gen’l Grant’s message to Nichols on January 10, 1877, and for his C. C. Sniffen message to Packard of March 3, 18778. T. D.). "Mr. Tilden was a small consideration; we wanted Louisiana and we got it."
I read the above interview to Mr. Kenner at the room of Colonel Boteler (No. 12, Fifth Avenue Hotel) at 7 to 8 P.M., November 2, 1882, and he confirmed it, making slight alterations which the manuscript shows. When I came to the page where Pinchback had the five Negro Senators from Packard’s Senate in his house, waiting for a purchaser, he laughed heartily, and said: "This recalls an incident. Lying on a bed was a huge Negro named Henry Demas. He is now (1882) running for Congress in one of the Districts of Louisiana on the Republican ticket, and if he were to hear of what I am now going to tell you he would probably sue me for libel. He is a huge Negro with the form of Hercules. He was the hardest one to capture; he wanted $10,000; he said times were hard, and this was about the last chance any Negro would get in Louisiana, that he wanted big money to desert Packard; that he knew we must have him, and that he would not come down one cent. I said: "Why, Henry, you must think money grows on trees, do you know how much $10,000 is? Why before the war it took several fellows like you to bring $10,000.’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, lying back on the bed, with the heel of one foot on the toe of the other, and with great indifference blowing the smoke from the cigar, ‘that’s true, but the sort of Negroes you mean were field hands and not Senators. The price is now higher, as the article stands better. We come high, Mr. Kenner, but you must have us.’ I labored with him all night, but he would take no less, and finally next morning I gave him the $10,000. He is a smart corrupt darkey."
Mr. Kenner said that the story as to his attempted purchase of Ex-Gov. J. Madison Wells, one of the returning board of the State, was not told correctly. He met Wells on the street one day in New Orleans, in November, 1876, and had a chat with him, calling him General. He invited him to call at his (Kenner’s) officer, which he did. They had scores of interviews. Mr. Kenner got his first intimation of the intentions of the returning board to alter or amend the election returns from a Jew banker named Himes. Mr. Kenner then went to Himes’ partner ("Old Bob") and asked him what it meant; he assured him that Tilden would not carry the State, because the returning board would not change the result by throwing out returns. This made Kenner desirous of having a chat with Wells; he had been intimate with the three Wells brothers in the past, especially Jeff on the turf; so after several interviews he called Wells "Mat" and became familiar with him. Wells finally said: "Kenner, I am poor; haven’t any money, and this is a big thing. The Presidency of the United States is a great position. He appoints thousands of officers and disburses and controls millions of dollars. It’s a big thing, and the man that wants it must pay for it. One vote does the work. What do you think I can get?" Mr. Kenner replied: "The respect and love of a grateful people, and they would receive you back with open arms and forget the past. I appealed to him on account of old traditions. He laughingly said that it would take something else; so at the last interview, which was held in a room in the City Hotel that I had hired for the purpose, Wells offered me the State for money. He said: ‘I want $200,000.’ I promptly said: ‘Wells, I have not that much money. It is a great deal of money.’ He then withdrew, and this ended it. No estate in Louisiana could stand that. I was paying at that time $15,000 a year taxes. Wells is now so poor that he cannot pay his boat fare from where he lives to New Orleans."
I here interposed and said to Mr. Kenner that I had no doubt but by the mere act of voting and by the forms of law Mr. Tilden carried Louisiana, but that intimidation and fraud prevented our people (Republicans) from voting. "Yes," he promptly answered, "that is true. I grant there was intimidation. We did resort to all known things, and men were kept from the polls, and by this Mr. Tilden got the State on the vote, but the returning board had no right to go back to the election returns or open the question." I called attention to the fact that the Constitution of the State authorized the board and legalized their actions. "Yes," he replied: "but that was not our law; you people made that law. No matter; we wanted our State and we got it. It was a battle for our State, and we won. When I was before a Congressional investigating committee, a puritanical old ministerlike member from down east, Prof. J. H. Selye of Mass., asked me how I could reconcile my actions in the Wells matter with the act of an honest man. I replied that we wanted Louisiana, and we were bound to have it; that it was our State, and we loved it."
Note 1. March 19, 1877, the Republican State Committee of Louisiana met at New Orleans and expelled Pinchback, who was a member, for desertion, by a vote of 22 to 4.
Note 2. During March and April, 1877, legal proceedings were had against Pinchback by the Packard people, who knew he was polluting the politics of the State, and buying up members of the Packard Legislature for the Nichols people. The legal proceedings were to set free certain Negro members that Pinchback had secreted in his house. He would arrange the interviews between the Negro members and the Nichols people, and the purchases were consummated in his house. Mr. Kenner did not say what amount Mr. Pinchback received. He was a mulatto, with a sunny smile, most agreeable manners and was a gentleman in appearance. I used to see much of him. In 1881-2 President Arthur appointed him Deputy Collector of the port of New Orleans, and our virtuous Republican Senate confirmed him. At least two members of the Senate, to my knowledge, knew all of the above. On April 20, 21, 1877, five Negro Senators went over from the Packard people to Nichols, viz: Druey of Assumption, Hart of West Baton Rouge, Watson of Madison, Walker of Tennessee, and Oliver of Concordia. I fear the names above are not correct, because on November 2, at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, Mr. Kenner, when I read this interview to him for correction, named other persons; but the others might have been bought at different times; this work was constantly going on. He mentioned Henry Demas among others.
Note 3. April 21, 1877, Nichols having a legal Senate, and the Commission having so reported to President Hayes, the President issued a proclamation of withdrawal of troops from the State House at New Orleans, which was done at noon on the 24th. The same day, April 21, 1877, Governor Nichols issued a proclamation, Packard abdicated, and Nichols then took possession of the State House. Everything worked like a charm and the rebel yell went up. They had won a great fight and had a right to yell. Packard was sent as United States Consul to Liverpool.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Tuesday] May 6, 1884.—Knowing much of the inside of the Hayes-Tilden battle of 1876-77, I am frequently met at this day with most circumspect accounts of startling events in the papers of the present time.
I cut the following from the New York Sun, April 24, 1884, originally from the Boston Advertiser, and inclosed it on May 2 to Senator John P. Jones for answer.
The Sun article is as follows:
ROSCOE CONKLING AND
THE ELECTORAL FRAUD
He Did Not Write A Speech Against
Counting Louisiana for Hayes
From the Boston Daily Advertiser
NEW YORK, April 13.—While Ex-Senator Conkling is attending to his law business, his adversaries have been trying to prove the charge made by Col. C. W. Woolley of Cincinnati, to the effect that he wrote and was ready to deliver a speech against counting the State of Louisiana for Hayes in 1877. In a recent interview Col Woolley was represented as having charged that one United States Senator and two members of Congress had seen the speech which the Senator from New York had prepared, and that those gentlemen would corroborate the statement made. After careful examination of the alleged facts in this case it was found that Mr. Woolley based his opinion no doubt with the utmost sincerity on the representations of the senator from one of the Western States.
This Senator was authority for the statement that Mr. Conkling’s speech against counting Louisiana for Hayes had been seen and read by three prominent members of the Congress. These three members were ex-Senator Kernan, Abram H. Hewitt, and David Dudley Field. A prominent Democrat who is very close in Mr. Tilden’s confidence wrote to these three gentlemen. A letter to Mr. Hewitt was written by Senator Pendleton of Ohio, the inquiry being direct as to whether Mr. Hewitt had ever seen such a speech, or had ever heard of it. To this Mr. Hewitt replied, "I have never seen such a speech, never heard of it, never read it, and I don’t believe any such speech was ever prepared." Ex-Senator Kernan also denied in the most emphatic language that he had ever seen such a speech as was referred to. Mr. Field also denies that he ever saw any such matter, and has no reason to think that it was ever prepared. "Who was the Western Senator referred to in the Woolley interview," he was asked, "wherein it was charged that a speech of the above tenor had been prepared by Mr. Conkling.?"
"I think it was Jones of Nevada; but Col. Woolley would never make this admission. The authority for the statement was made on the strength of the intimacy supposed to exist between Mr. Conkling and Mr. Jones. It was well known at the time of the electoral count that Jones was opposed to counting Louisiana for Hayes, and that he depended on Mr. Conkling to open the war. As he failed in that, the personal relations between these two men made it impossible for Jones to come to the front with any open declaration."
"Why should Jones have been so weak hearted?"
"Well, Jones and Conkling are intimate personal friends; they have been so far a great many years, and no doubt Mr. Jones thought that a betrayal of private confidence would simply result in losing him the friendship of Conkling, and bring no good results after the postmortem had been held."
Whatever may have been the intentions of Mr. Conkling it is evident enough that the above denials exonerate him from any open-handed attempt to divert the action of the Electoral Commission, and that there is no foundation for the statement that he had prepared a speech in the Louisiana case.
SENATOR JOHN P. JONES’ ANSWER
WAS AS FOLLOWS:
United States Senate
May 5th, 1884.
Your favor of the 2d instant enclosing slip from the N.Y. Sun, containing statements relative to a charge made by "C. W. Woolley of Cincinnati that Mr. Conkling had written and was ready to deliver a speech against the counting of the State of Louisiana for Hayes in 1877" with an indirect reference to me—for verification thereof, came duly to hand.
In reply I have only to say that I never saw or had any knowledge of such speech, and never heard of it except recently and through newspaper paragraphs similar to the one enclosed in your letter and which I herewith return.
Jno P. Jones.
Thomas Donaldons, Esq.
326 N 49th St.
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] March 11, 1886.—I was standing in front of the room of the Committee of Ways and Means of the House of Representatives to-day, with Ex-Governor H. C. Warmouth of Louisiana, and a delegation of Louisianans. They had been before the Committee in the matter of the repeal for the reduction of the tax on sugar. We began to chat. Wayne McVeagh’s name came up. Warmouth said: "Today I was taking a lunch with our Senator, Randall [L.] Gibson, in the Senate Restaurant, when McVeagh passed along. Gibson said: ‘In the Packard-Nichols contest in 1876-7 McVeagh wrote the address to the people of the State signed by Governor Nichols; and I wrote the dispatch to General Grant giving him assurance of peace, also signed by Nichols.’" According to Warmouth in the "Black and Tan days" of Louisiana, some of the colored legislators used queer expressions to signify ideas. One day Warmouth in talking with a colored member of the Legislature and asking him to vote for a measure, the legislator looked wise and listened and finally answered: "Mr. Warmouth, dares a heap of fat on dat kalf and I want some of the drippings."
In the evening mentioning to Senator Joseph R. Hawley, Warmouth’s remark as to Gibson and McVeagh, Hawley said: "You know I was a member of the Louisiana Commission along with McVeagh and three others in 1877. McVeagh was a mass of vacillation. On the road down he wanted to come right home on account of the vague character of the instructions received from Mr. Evarts, Hayes’ Secretary of State. When in New Orleans he became a weathercock of opinion. One day he was radical, the next conservative, now with Packard, now with Nichols; he gave us lots of concern. Finally he announced as we were coming home that he intended to make to President Hayes a minority report. Our utmost endeavors prevented this. He had but little steadiness of opinion or political purpose on the Commission."
Philadelphia, Pa., [Sunday] Oct. 17, 1886.—Ex-President Hayes [who was attending the annual encampment of the Loyal Legion] came to our house this morning at 11 o’clock. Mrs. Donaldson and myself were out. Our young man (C.H.C.) entertained him for an hour. He left word for me to call, at the Colonade Hotel, at 6.30 P.M.
I called at the hour appointed. He was very cordial. He does not look a day older than when I left him March 6th, 1881. We sat an hour or so in chat. Mentioning Mr. Blaine’s recent visit to Philadelphia, and his remarkable battle for the Presidency, Mr. Hayes said: "Mr. Blaine, when he came to Ohio in September, 1884, was very much afraid that we would lose the State. I assured him that we would not, that the party was united; we had no Mugwumps in the State, and we would surely carry it." Mr. Blaine was uneasy and intimated that he expected defeat.
"A candidate for the Presidency should remain at home and not go on the stump unless it is apparent that he is beaten. Then he can do so without danger, as for instance, Seymour in 1868 and Greeley in 1872."
I mentioned the defection against Mr. Blaine in New York City in November, 1884, and said that I had since heard that more than 400 of the 1200 members of the Union League had not voted against him.
"Ah," Mr. Hayes replied, "I was assured by a member of the Union League in New York recently that more than half of the members of that club, say 800, voted against Mr. Blaine."
Referring to Mr. Blaine’s strong religious convictions, and of his talking to me in or near a graveyard in Augusta, in 1883, on religious matters, and my replying that I did not believe in a hell at all—a physical Hell! Mr. Hayes answered promptly, "I find that he is unorthodox as to this."
[Philadelphia] Thursday, Oct. 21st, 1886.—I met ex-President Hayes by appointment at his hotel this morning at 9. We walked to McClees’ Gallery (art), and then to the Pennsylvania depot, Broad Street. Here he bought a ticket to Fremont and his sleeping-car berth. We sat for an hour in the station chatting, then went to the rooms of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Seventh and 13th Streets, where General Phil. Sheridan was inducted into the office of commander-in-chief of the Loyal Legion of the United States, vice General W. S. Hancock, deceased. The ceremony was very simple. The persons present sat on two rows of chairs in the great lecture hall, say 25 in all.
The recorder, Col. J. P. Nicholson, sat at a table near the window, and ex-President Hayes on a chair facing the two lines of members.
General Sheridan was in about the middle of the first row. Ex-President Hayes as first vice President presided. He used an ivory gavel. He took his seat, then shortly after arose and rapped the members to their feet, announcing prayer by Chaplain H. C. Trumbull. Mr. Trumbull walked to the right front of the first row, held up his hands, and prayed a fairly long prayer. Then all were again seated.
President Hayes called General Sheridan to the front, about five steps, and announced to him the fact of his election, and then said "I now induct you into the office," (every one present was in plain clothes). General Sheridan took the gavel, walked to the table near the recorder, and made a two-minute address of thanks. Then there was much cheering. President Hayes answered him in a five minutes speech, a most excellent one, too, and the order adjourned to the Union League [Club] to lunch. The induction was a simple and plain affair, decidedly Republican, and to my liking. It lasted about 18 minutes.
At two o’clock I went with Ex-President Hayes to the room of the Geo. G. Meade Post No. 1 [G.A.R.], on Chestnut Street, about Eleventh, where he met General Sheridan and many soldiers. In the room there is a replica of [Thomas] Buchanan Read’s ride (the picture) say 4 x 6 feet (?). We walked up to this and General Hayes said, "Get me a copy of this lithograph; I am one of the few men who saw this ride." (He gave me an account in full afterwards, viz. Jan. 25, 1887.) Sheridan said, "I recall you; you were wounded and laying down and I met you again in that fight at or near the end;" and then walked away.
President Hayes said to me, "I think Sheridan a first-class man and a thorough good fellow." I replied, "Yes, I know him to be both."
President Hayes and myself walked through John Wanamaker’s stores a few minutes afterward, and then took the car to my house. Here he remained from 2 until 6. He looked about him in his inquiring way, chatting meanwhile. Speaking of Garfield, he said: "You know he was not a particularly great man, but one with much aptitude for study, and for handling of acquired knowledge. He was not a very brave man in legislation as you also know; his troubles in the Credit Mobilier days nearly upset him. About 1872, while this trouble was upon him, he came to Columbus on some public ceremony. I was governor of the State at the time. He began to chat with me about his political troubles. He was in great distress. I replied, ‘Garfield, cheer up; don’t go around moping; it amuses and encourages your enemies, because they see you are annoyed. All men who are in the lead must be abused, and abuse does a public man good; so cheer up; you will come out all right.’ He grasped my hand and thanked me most cordially. At least forty times afterward during his life he mentioned this to me, and said that I was the only public man in this country who said a pleasant or encouraging word to him, during that time. General Garfield was an orator of force and fire, and after preparation, a strong man in debate."
I read to the President my summary of Mr. Blaine. He replied: "That is beautifully done, but does not do full justice to your discernment or perception. Mr. Blaine does want to be President, now more so than ever. He is making the move for it. He sees two things ahead which promise our party much trouble. The prohibition and labor movements. He is patching up the prohibition danger as well as he can, and is in the tide of the labor movement; of course, he wants and expects to be the party nominee next time."
I read him something of General Grant’s, and said incidentally, "I think that Grant never wrote the second volume of his book; I mean all, especially the last part. He answered, "You are mistaken; he did. I was in New York City in May, 1885, two months or so before the General’s death, and had a long chat with him. He said to me that he had finished his book, and was glad as he was so near his end; that he had been astonished at the amount of work he had been able to accomplish, more than if he had been in good health. Let me tell you the secret of why Grant’s book is so interesting. He had told and retold scores of times the details of that work and many of the stories and incidents therein I have heard him relate. He condensed his matter by talking it over so often, that he could easily write it out and it became better for each telling. You will find that all great and lasting literary efforts have been worked out about the same way, talked and written and re-written and thus condensed. It is the true method."
The Ex-President took dinner [luncheon] with us and is a jolly table companion, eating and talking the while. He is natural and quaint. Our children agreed that he was "first class." His breaking crackers into a cup of tea and eating them with a spoon, just as they do, tickled them greatly.
At 6.30 we went to the monthly dinner at the "Clover Club" of which I am a member, at the Hotel Bellevue. As we entered the room the forty members and guests gave him a hearty cheer. He sat to my left, and next but to one to Col. A. K. McClure, and they chatted an hour about the battle of Winchester.
Mr. M[oses] P. Handy, the president of the Club, offered Mr. Hayes the first toast and all arose and drank it. He merely acknowledged it by a sentence or two. About 8 o’clock Mr. Handy again called him up, and he made a very neat speech; I closed, and then we retired. We met Major Fred Boland at the door of the Hotel and together we rode to the room of Post 2 [G.A.R.], 13th and Spring Garden Streets, where President Hayes was given a most hearty reception. Here he made a half hour speech; afterwards we escorted him to the Pennsylvania station, and at 11.20 he left for home.
All my intercourse with Ex-President Hayes leaves the impression of a thoroughly natural and unaffected man, with an enormous store of information; a good every-day man, an all around citizen, and a full American.
Philadelphia, Pa., [Sunday] September 18, 1887.—Ex-President Hayes came to our house this noon, and remained until 11 P.M. He drove up in a carriage with Judge Stanley Matthews and his wife as guests of Caleb J. Milne. Milne was much put out when Hayes got out of the carriage and came into my house, as he lost his leading guest. The Ex-President said to me, "I don’t want to go out to dinner, I want to stay here and chat." We had a good time at dinner, a familiar one, and we went over to my office, No. 339 State St. and had an afternoon of it. Gov. Hayes referred to the splendid hospitality of Philadelphia and mentioned an incident of the dinner at the Academy of Music in honor of the Constitution. "Sitting at my left at table was Joseph Patterson, President of the Western National Bank. He came over and began to chat with the President (Cleveland). Patterson, as you know, had a hobby—Finance—and he usually talks it. He said to Cleveland, ‘What would you do, Mr. President, if a bill was presented to you for signature for the repeal of the Silver Coinage Act?’ The reply came like a rifle shot, ‘Why sign it in ten minutes and then get tight with you.’ Mr. Patterson did not respond, but looked aghast." Mr. Hayes then told me where and when he first met Mr. Cleveland, at Buffalo, and continued, "I have found in chat, that Cleveland is very sensitive as to his fleshy appearance. He dislikes very much to be stared at and does not like comments made on his size. He inquired of me as to the best method of reducing his flesh. I told him the only way was by work or walking so as to produce copious perspiration. That this would best do it. I have tried this myself and know that it was effective.
"Now I think pretty well of Mr. Cleveland, politically. He is not a man of large knowledge, but he does pretty well, and means to do so. Of course, you don’t think much of him. It is probably that he is a brute with women. He rather looks it, and how many of our great men and leaders are or were, Webster for instance. I know Cleveland fairly well. His greatest deficiency is knowledge of the war of the Rebellion. He was a copperhead and his feelings are now that way. He can not have, and does not have, any sympathy with the Union war or its Union soldiers: I was at Wheeling last month at the soldiers’ reunion, and know from that and other such occasions that the Union soldiers hate him intensely. He seems to me to be a good administrator." The President then referred to George Washington. "I notice in an article by you on last Thursday in the Philadelphia Press, on Washington—that you mention that but few smiles or bits of humor are recorded of him. While I was President, and on a visit to Baltimore, Ferdinand Latrobe, mayor of the city, showed me a manuscript diary of his grandfather, who visited Mount Vernon, and was at table several times with Washington before 1798. He made a sketch of the General in pencil on a leaf of the diary. At one dinner he records the fact of some anecdotes being told, and that Washington laughed heartily and loudly at them. By the way, Mayor Latrobe had a copy of the diary made for me, an almost exact facsimile." He then turned upon Ohio and Ohio politicians, and old times in that state.
I asked the President if it was true that in January 1872, while governor of Ohio and just on the point of retiring, he was offered the position of U.S. Senator vice John Sherman. He said, "Yes, our friends (Republicans) were, I think, but five in the majority in joint ballot. Some eight or more probably were dissatisfied with Mr. Sherman and his nomination. These, with the solid democratic vote, would have elected me by some three votes. These dissatisfied Republicans came to my office in the State House, and said they preferred not to vote for Mr. Sherman, and did not want to, and that the Democrats in the Legislature would support me provided I would consent. During a day or so following, the Democratic members all came to my office singly, shook hands cordially, said nothing, and retired; this was an agreed evidence of their purpose to vote for me. I called the dissatisfied Republicans together after this, and urged them to support Mr. Sherman; that he was the caucus nominee and that as a Republican and a party man I could not consent to the use of my name as a candidate. The Democrats, it seemed, would not support any other Republican than myself, and so the scheme ended, and Mr. Sherman was re-elected. I do not recall that I even spoke to Mr. Sherman about it, but of course he knew it, and I thought at the time that his letter early in 1876, urging me for the Presidency was in recognition of this refusal of mine.
"Mr. Chase I knew pretty well. I was associated with him in several law cases in Cincinnati, especially in some fugitive slave cases. Never in our political history have we had a character so eager after the Presidency. It was his dream."
Young Mr. A. Cochrane, a son of Thos. Cochrane [chairman of the Citizen’s Committee for the Centennial of the Constitution at Philadelphia] dropped in expecting to meet his Father, here drew out a dollar greenback of 1862, now quite rare, and showed the President Mr. Chase’s portrait thereon. "Oh," continued Mr. Hayes, "thereby hangs a tale. There was grave discussion about the time of the issue of the greenback as to whether Mr. Lincoln’s portrait should be on the one dollar bill or not. Mr. Chase had the decision, and placed Mr. Lincoln on the $10 and himself on the one—of course more ones would be circulated than tens.
"During the time of the Wade Davis Pomeroy fight against Mr. Lincoln’s renomination in 1863 and 1864, Mr. Chase denied any personal knowledge of the movement, as is known a circular was prepared and sent out. One day a close friend of Mr. Chase called on Mr. Lincoln, and they had a chat about the matter. Mr. Chase’s persistently denied knowledge of this movement came up and his friend insisted upon this as well. Mr. Lincoln turned about suddenly and taking from a drawer a small package of envelopes handed Mr. Chase’s friend several envelopes addressed to gentlemen in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, enclosing the Wade-Davis circular and all franked by Mr. Chase, with a pen, his own individual frank. ‘Now,’ said Mr. Lincoln, ‘Mr. Chase calls himself a Christian and an honorable man; what do you think of these?’"
A friend, Thos. Cochrane, President of the Guarantee Trust Company, came in from Church, and after he left the Ex-President began a chat upon creeds. He said, "I do not belong to any church; I never have, I can not subscribe to any of the creeds. Religion is as natural to men as anything else, one wants some one to look up to, to lean upon, a Supreme Being. As to the Bible, I do not care to discuss it, or its origins. Christ’s religion is to me the best. The tendency of the Protestant Churches is toward expensive houses and queer methods which drive the poor away. Now, to-day, along with Judge Stanley Matthews and his wife (they had a few hours before left the door), I attended St. Clements Episcopal Church. The tapers and robes and choir were very catholic—Matthews, who is a strong Presbyterian, was shocked and now, even in the Methodist church which I attend, the tendency to glitter and show has increased of late, so that it is offensive—and will eventually exclude the poor. It seems to me that the Catholic Church in many features is about the broadest. It reaches out, to all classes! Take away its European attachments, its policy, and its confessional, and I am a Catholic as well as anything else. No, I do not believe in a physical hell."
I handed him a curious plate or book about Connecticut and mentioned Haddam. The President said, "50 years ago, I was at school at Middletown, Conn., at the School of Isaac Webb. During the year Connecticut had a political revolution. She turned from a Democratic to a Whig state. There was a great excitement on election day, and I recall that in the evening an orator was on a box in front of a store announcing the returns as they come in. Almost all the towns showed strong Whig gains except the town of Haddam or Hadam. There was much disappointment at this. The orator much chagrined read the returns and then screamed out—‘All men fell from Adam. Some to Hell and some to Haddam.’ Hadam had not done her political duty!"
[Philadelphia, Pa., April, 1891.—NEWSPAPER POLITICAL HISTORY: In illustration of the non-correctness of current newspaper political statement, the following from the "Public Ledger" of Philadelphia of date March 20, 1891, is of value. The article in the Ledger was written by my old friend, John M. Carson, one of the best of men and one of the most reliable of the Washington correspondents. The data were probably given him by one of the usually reliable wise "political insiders" so frequently met with in Washington. The article was so different from my knowledge of the circumstances noted and written up in 1876-7, that I cut it out of the Ledger, pasted it in sections on sheets of paper and sent it to Ex-President Hayes at Fremont, Ohio, April 1, 1891. The Ex-President made notes after certain paragraphs of the article and returned it with this letter:
Spiegel, Fremont, April 3, 1891.
My Dear Thomas:
Returning home I find your letter as to cabinet making in 1877. Without looking up documents, I can’t speak positively as to some details, but I did think well of General Johnston, that he was able, patriotic, and wise. But he was never consulted on the subject. When I went to Washington, my impression is that in my own mind Key was the man. Certainly, I did not think of General Johnston any longer. It had nothing to do with Logan. He was not urged strongly. The fact that General Johnston was already given up was due to what I had learned of his associations or relationships in Richmond with men who were unable to forget the past, or rather to act on the new situation. Nothing personally unfavorable to General Johnston, but I thought his associations would embarrass both him and me.
Rutherford B. Hayes.
To Thomas Donaldson.
The Ledger’s article is given in small and ex-President Hayes’ notes in text type [italic].
Phila. Public Ledger, March 26, 1891. HOW JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON MISSED BEING SECRETARY OF WAR. None of the Confederate leaders were so highly esteemed by those who were his opponents in the field of war and in politics as quies were performed at St. John’s Church this morning. His patriotic conduct when the war closed, and his fidelity to the new obligations assumed when he surrendered with his army to Sherman, excited the admiration and commanded the respect of the Republican leaders, and retained for him the esteem of his associates in the Confederacy.
This feeling of admiration for General Johnston was so sincere and strong that he came very near being made Secretary of War by President Hayes, the purpose of Mr. Hayes to give General Johnston a place in his Cabinet being frustrated by complications which arose after the President-elect came to Washington to assume the duties of the Presidential office.
"The first half of the sentence is true. It is a mistake that the purpose was frustrated after ‘the President-elect came to Washington.’ The thought was dismissed before."
Before leaving Ohio for Washington President-elect Hayes had offered the Treasury to Sherman, the State to Evarts, and the Interior to Schurz, and these three gentlemen had accepted. Upon reaching Washington the Navy was offered to Senator Hale, who declined, and this declination was the means of altering the plans arranged by the President-elect with reference to General Johnston.
"Not correct as to the cause. The report from Richmond was favorable so far as the character, opinions and conduct of General Johnston were concerned, but there was an impression that his associations and relationships with persons who lacked his patriotism and broad common sense view of the situation would be embarrassing either to him or to the new administration."
It had been decided to give the South a place in the Cabinet, and a messenger was sent to Richmond to ascertain whether General Johnston would accept the War portfolio. Indiana was clamoring for a Cabinet place, but Mr. Hayes had informed Senator Morton that unless he would accept an appointment Indiana would not be considered. Morton could not abandon his seat in the Senate for a place in the Cabinet, and Indiana, therefore, was not to be represented. When Mr. Hale declined the Navy the efforts of the Indiana men were renewed, and the result was that Thompson, of that State, was given the Navy, which office had been intended for New England.
"Largely gossip. Neither Senator Morton nor Indiana gave the President-elect any trouble."
General Logan had gone out of the Senate, and the Grand Army people were urging his appointment to the War Office. Mr. Hayes did not want Logan, but the pressure for him was so strong that the President-elect felt he could not refuse to appoint him and then select a distinguished Confederate officer for that department. McCrary, of Iowa, had been decided upon for Attorney-General, but the New England men made such a fight for Devens for that place after Hale declined the Navy that he was selected, and McCrary was given the War Department, which he accepted only after much persuasion.
"Gossip. No ‘pressure’—no ‘fight’"
This left nothing but the Post-Office Department, and as the President-elect was determined to have a Southern man in the Cabinet, two names were presented for that place, namely, John Hancock, of Texas, and General Key, of Tennessee, the latter being selected. Thus, through the failure of his plans made before leaving Ohio, Mr. Hayes was disappointed in not being able to make General Johnston, his first choice, Secretary of War.
"General Johnston was no longer considered after the report from Richmond in January 1877 or February 1877. No ‘failure of plans.’ Key was appointed without pressure or friction and proved a wise and patriotic adviser."
Washington, D.C., [Thursday] July 16, 1891.—I was at the White House to-day and found it filled with an army of mechanics. They were scraping and repainting the vestibule, and the red & green [parlors] and dining rooms. Downstairs in the cellar they were laying a new floor, about 15 inches of crushed brick and then cement poured over it, making a solid floor of two feet. This was to kill the roaches, rats, and mice. In putting this down they found three floors which they had to take up. The first was stone, then wood, and the next brick. I met [Edson S.] Dinsmore, the chief usher, and Jerry Smith [Mrs. Grant’s footman] on the steps. Pennell [Thomas F. Pendel], the veteran door keeper, came out and joined in the chat. Pendel has been in the White House, he told me, 27 years and 6 months; and he said that of all the women that had ever been about the White House either as mistress or visitor, Mrs. Hayes was the best, and the receptions and parties they [the Hayeses] gave were the most expensive and costly ever given in the White House. Old Jerry Smith was as full of humor as ever and his face was one broad grin. I recalled that the last time I had seen him was the day when he put the flag up over the White House with the Union down. Somebody suggested to Jerry that owing to the lack of intoxicants at the White House, he had put the flag up that way in hopes that the boys would rally and relieve his thirst. Dinsmore, in speaking of the Hayes and the entire absence of liquor and wine in the house while Hayes was President, said the only approach there was ever to it was at the first State dinner where they had Roman punch put up in oranges, and the fellow who made them (they were so strong) must have made them out of oil of rum. He said the diplomats used to get so thirsty at receptions that they sometimes brought their own bottles with them.
One night, after a diplomatic reception during the Hayes term, he found an empty whiskey bottle wrapped in a black silk scarf, like foreigners wear about their neck inside of their coat, behind the door of one of the parlors. He threw the bottle out and kept the handkerchief as a memento. Some one here suggested that it might have been the diplomatic credentials.
Looking down into the White House lot to the east of the house, Dinsmore recalled the old building that used to stand there, removed in President Andrew Johnson’s term, similar in form and which looked like the conservatory on the west side. This building was used to store wagons, carts, boxes, machinery, and tools.
Wm. H. Crook, coming up the walk, gave me a hail and Mr. Pendel mentioned the fact that Mr. Crook had also been in the White House for more than 26 years, coming there two months after he did. Crook walked down some distance with me on the porch and began a talk about Mr. [Abraham] Lincoln. He said: "As you know, I accompanied Mr. Lincoln on all of his journeys, from October 1864 until the time of his death. He was a man of very curious habits. He neither drank nor used tobacco, and I never heard him swear in the whole time, and never saw him angry. He was one of the best tempered men that I ever met. He was a large eater of solid food and liked apples better than any body I ever saw. He ate them at any and all times. I recall the day in April, 1865, that we went up from City Point to Admiral [David D.] Porter’s fleet at Dutch Gap Canal, on the Steamer ‘River Queen.’ Mr. Lincoln, Tad, and I sat on chairs on the deck near the forward cabin. On a table there was a large bowl of yellow apples; Mr. Lincoln kept looking at them, and finally said: ‘I wonder if they are for us?’ I suggested I thought so, and he replied, ‘Well, whether they are or not, by jinks, we’ll go for them;’ so he pulled out a big pocket knife, moved over to the table and peeled four or five of the apples. He took his time and ate them, and then turned in and chewed the peelings.
"The day of the evacuation of Richmond, or rather the day that Mr. Lincoln went to Richmond after the Rebels left it, we went up from Dutch Gap Canal in a row boat to Admiral [David D.] Porter’s flagship, the ‘Malvern.’ From this ship Mr. Lincoln went ashore to visit Genl. Weitzel, the Union commander. The party consisted of Mr. Lincoln, Admiral Porter, Capt. Penrose of the regular army, Tad Lincoln, and myself. Porter and Penrose were in uniform, Mr. Lincoln was in a suit of black cloth, a frock coat and a high beaver hat. We walked through the streets unmolested. Some surly rebels stood by but no insults were offered.
"As soon as the Negroes heard that Mr. Lincoln was in Richmond they began to rush toward the street on which we were walking. They shouted and yelled, tried to touch his hands and coat, and went on like mad. We walked rapidly, and when we got near the Spottswood’s house there was a bridge across the street connecting that house with some other building. On this bridge stood a tall, fine-looking woman, wrapped in an American flag. Mr. Lincoln noticed her, and raised his hat as he passed under the bridge. She was undoubtedly a Union woman who had been in Richmond during the war, and this was her first chance to show her patriotism unmolested.
"We went to the house where Genl. Weitzel had his headquarters. It was the house occupied by Mr. [Jefferson] Davis while President of the Confederacy. Gen. Weitzel received Mr. Lincoln very cordially, of course, and the rest of us looked about for a bit of refreshment. Penrose skirmished around, and the custodian found a bottle of whisky in one of the cupboards. My recollection is that Admiral Porter spliced his main brace out of the bottle; Penrose took his ration, and I got the remainder. After I drank it the thought came to me, ‘suppose it is poisoned.’ I watched the Admiral but didn’t see any signs of his caving from the poison, so my fears went away.
"We went back to the ship that night. Mr. Lincoln sat for some time on the deck and chatted about the end of the war and the futures of the South and the Blacks. I sat by Mr. Lincoln’s side when Duff Green came to the ship and interviewed Mr. Lincoln. The account given by Admiral Porter was exaggerated—Mr. Lincoln had a habit of sitting down, crossing his legs, then crossing his hands, and laying them on the leg in front of him.
"We left Richmond on the, I think, 7 of April, and were on Chesapeake Bay when Lee surrendered. When we went down on that trip to Fortress Monroe, a messenger came aboard and said to Mr. Lincoln that Vice-President Andrew Johnson was there with some friends. Mr. Lincoln replied, ‘Well, I guess he can get along without me,’ and so never saw him at all.
"Mrs. Lincoln was not half so bad as she was painted, and altogether I don’t think Mr. Lincoln was such an unhappy man as he was pictured. I know one thing, he was mighty good to the people employed about the house. I have heard a good many stories and incidents related by persons who claim to have been clerks about the White House while Lincoln was President. Now there were no clerks about the White House while Lincoln was President. Mr. [John] Nicolay and Mr. [John] Hay, his secretaries, did all the clerical work. Other necessary clerical work was done in the several departments, and sent here for signature. After Mr. Johnson became President some persons were detailed here as clerks from the [War] Department. C. C. Sniffin was one of these.
"President Hayes struck me as one of the best balanced men of the eight Presidents that I have been with. Daniel Lamont, Private Secretary to Mr. Cleveland, was one of the oddest men that I ever met. He was closer to the President than any member of the cabinet. He lived in my house with me a year, and I often walked with him to the White House. Sometimes he would begin a string of chat but if I was to ask him a single question he would shut up like a clam. The only pleasure he seemed to have in life was to work and keep state secrets. In the year he lived with me, when in Washington, he never missed a night from his desk in the White House. He had no social taste whatever. Mr. Cleveland and he were alike in this respect. Mrs. Lamont liked society, but her escort was generally someone else than Mr. Lamont. Cleveland was all work and no play.
"Mr. [Benjamin] Harrison has nothing to say to anybody about the house. Mr. [Elijah] Halford, his secretary, is a very pleasant man in manner, very much like Mr. [William K.] Rogers who was secretary to President Hayes."
Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] January 18th, 1893.—The sudden death of ex-President Hayes at Fremont last night is a shock to all in this city. I hear nothing but the kindliest opinions expressed, and regrets, at his sudden death. Since his retirement from the Presidency his life has been so useful and gentle and of so much benefit to our whole people that former bitter political enemies have learned to appreciate him at his true value.
I sat at dinner to-night in a restaurant from 6 to 8:30 o’clock with George Alfred Townsend ["Gath"]. For the first time since I have known him I found him blue and low spirited. He complained that he felt his powers of work going, and that as he had now turned fifty, he could not do the work of former years. His idea was that the recent change in politics by which the Democracy had gained full possession of the nation, was the result of the determination on the part of the people to stop further going into partnership by the national Treasury with jobs or enterprises. The old Whig party was an extravagant one, and the Republican party its legitimate successor, still more extravagant, had made many people rich by money and land grants for Railroads, and had also made a few people very rich. The battle now was to be between the poor and the rich. Mr. Cleveland seemed to him to be the one man of prominence in the country who understood how to meet the demand of the people for retrenchment and drawing the nation back into its legitimate purposes. In Cleveland’s speeches or writings could always be found the things which the common people could understand. "Yes," I answered, "these common people you speak of intend to have a division of plunder, and Mr. Cleveland will be asked by them to hand out the division pretty soon." "Yes," he replied, "but it may not be forthcoming." Then I answered, "The French Revolution may be repeated."
He continued, "Mr. Cleveland seems to me to be a man of courage, and much determination. He never ceases to hate, I know. You will recall that the Cincinnati Enquirer in the Blaine and Cleveland campaign of 1884, published columns of the Cleveland scandal, either to sell the paper or on account of a belief that such a man should not be President, I don’t know. Of course, I, being the correspondent of that paper in the East, slapped it at Cleveland on every side. After the battle was over Mr. John McLean insisted that I should go to Albany and see Mr. Cleveland and get some political chat from him. I went there and called upon Governor Cleveland at the Executive Mansion. In the office with him were several prominent New York politicians whom I knew. I had never met Mr. Cleveland before. When he looked up, I advanced toward him, told him my name, and of course expected some recognition. He simply waved his hand toward me, and turned away. He had no use for me. I was much put out, but the gentlemen standing around came up and we began to chat. Under it I escaped. I have never been near him since.
"Mr. John McLean afterwards called upon President Cleveland at the White House and remarked to him that he had been forced to say some things of him, not pleasant perhaps, during the last campaign. ‘Yes,’ Mr. Cleveland said, ‘I remember that you did about all you could against me,’ and with that gave Mr. McLean the grand bounce. After this, Mr. Washington McLean who resided here called upon Mr. Cleveland. He tried to be complimentary to Mr. Cleveland by saying, ‘I admire your Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. President.’ ‘Ah, indeed!’ said Mr. Cleveland. ‘He was thrust upon me, sir.’ Mr. McLean beat a hasty retreat; he only called the one time. Yes, Mr. Cleveland is a splendid hater and never forgets an enemy, or a person who says things he does not like of him in public.
"Cleveland is the idol of the lower orders of our citizens. How much he favors them or can do for them in the coming four years I cannot say. They expect much. Now, for another incident of Mr. Cleveland’s hating men. After the campaign of 1884 closed, Mr. W. C. Whitney of New York City, afterwards Secretary of the Navy under Mr. Cleveland, gave a dinner to Mr. Cleveland. Among the guests was Whitelaw Reid, editor of the Tribune. After the dinner he commented to Mr. Cleveland, ‘Now that the campaign is over, and the war has ceased, I hope to see more of you, Mr. Cleveland, and would like to give you a dinner at my house.’ Mr. Cleveland promptly answered, ‘Mr. Reid, your paper during the last campaign said that I was not fit to enter a gentleman’s house; you are classed as such; therefore, I think it best in view of your former statement to decline to enter your house.’"
Townsend’s idea of this spirit of Cleveland’s was that it helped him; my opinion is that it is his greatest weakness, and will injure him greatly in time to come.
Mr. Townsend’s opinion of President Harrison as a President was not an exalted one. He said, "Harrison should not have been nominated in 1888 or 1892. If we had taken Walter Q. Gresham in 1884 and put him through, see what an excellent position we would have been in with the populist of the Western States. Besides Gresham is the abler man." I answered him by saying that General Harrison while in the Senate earned the reputation of being the ablest debater there on the Republican side. "I am not surprised at that," he said, "and believe it. Judge William Niblad told me once in Indianapolis, several years ago, that ever since Harrison had been in the State he had been a disputant and had developed a singular habit of taking intellectual or mental dislike to men."
Mr. Townsend turned the conversation upon Mr. Blaine. "Mr. Blaine is a great gossip. Like all of the Pennsylvania Scotch Irish, he has the singular habit of remembering and repeating gossip. I recall that some years ago I was in a small town in Pennsylvania and met a henchman of Simon Cameron’s who promptly said that Andrew G. Curtain was a dishonest man. I replied, ‘tell me something new. I have heard that in twenty towns in Pennsylvania within a month.’ Of course there was at this time a row going on between Cameron and Curtain and the factions of either were loud in condemnation of their opponent. Yes, the Pennsylvania Scotch Irish are great gossips. Mr. Blaine is not in my opinion a very rich man, and I hear that he is badly involved. He is a curious man. Some years ago when I met him here he was extremely cordial and on my leaving him said with a gracious wave of the hand, ‘Mr. Townsend, I want you to call and see me whenever you are in this city.’ I did call but, egad, I never got to see him when he came in [as Secretary of State] with Mr. Harrison he forgot his old friends and started a new career in the high walks of diplomatic society. I sometimes caught a glimpse of him on the street but never closer. Mr. Blaine had no use for old friends in the humbler walks of life."
I replied to this that he was mistaken, for with all his faults, if he had any, Mr. Blaine, in my opinion, was one of the best and truest of men. Mr. Townsend is thus far in my experience one of the most interesting and totally complete gossips I have ever met. Of course his calling makes him one. In speaking of the Shermans of Ohio he said that General William T. Sherman was the only one of the family whom he had known to be very charitable.
"A sister of his in this city died some years ago from a lingering illness. Her bills amounted to some $1,500, or $1,800. She had no means, and the old General promptly paid these bills out his narrow fortune. John Sherman, however, has many good streaks in him. Grim on the outside, he has a heart inside. A nephew of his is a scalawag; he has a wife whom he deserted. John Sherman gives her an allowance and maintains her."
Townsend asked me for an estimate of ex-President Hayes who died last night. I gave it to him, and told him my judgment of the man, that he was one of the best men I have ever known. He seemed surprised at my warmth, and continued, "I never looked at Hayes in your light. He seemed to me to be a man not over courageous, and his speeches during his tour of the South in the early part of his administration seemed to me to be sophomoric and thin. I had no idea that he was such a cultured man as you state him to be."
Mr. Townsend then went on to say [he understood] that Mr. Hayes liked sherry wine and would finish a bottle at a sitting, and that General [James M. Comly] at Columbus, Ohio, some years ago, took a bottle out of a cupboard in his private office, (he was an editor) and, upon passing it to Townsend, mentioned that it was the brand that Hayes used; that they would often finish two bottles at a sitting. I promptly replied to this that he never was more mistaken in his life; that to my knowledge Mr. Hayes did not drink a bottle of sherry wine at one sitting or at any other time.
Townsend continued: "Mr. Hayes was not popular in Washington in the earlier stages of the Presidency." "No, of course not," I replied. "Under Mr. Hayes when you went to the White House you were not slapped on the back, invited to take a drink, and cigars passed out. Mr. Townsend, I have met a class of reporters and newspaper men in my life who consider the passing of the bottle and cigars as the inalienable birth-rights of themselves. Failing to respond with these, you got lampooned. Mr. Hayes did not cater to such harpies and so they did not like him and spread ill stories of him."
Townsend insisted, considering the recent death of so many leading and prominent men, that the country was going into the hands of a fine assortment of scamps and inferior men. "Why, look at Mr. Harrison’s cabinet; he can see only the State of Indiana when he looks at it. There is not one man of position, or ability, in his cabinet. [Stephen Benton] Elkins is merely a man of schemes. Not one of these men has any literary faculty or capacity. Look at the English Cabinet. I have recently read Morley’s life of Diderot. What a splendid book! Why, there is not a man in Mr. Harrison’s cabinet who can write a report with a literary side."
I asked Mr. Townsend is he did not think that the corruption of the times which he declaimed against was not due largely to the lack of morality in some of the leading newspapers of the day. He rather resented this. I continued, "Take, an illustration, the present New York World. Do you suppose that a more corrupt or venal paper was ever published?" He became silent at this, and then after I had mentioned the evil done by some irresponsible correspondents, we adjourned.
Yet with all of his views, Townsend has a heart and, besides being a man of decided ability, is a gentleman.