Puslapio vaizdai

Not that it is so unusual among brooks-indeed I have sometimes detected an expression of disappointment as its slender stream bubbled into the view of the expectant sightseer-but the interesting thing about it is that it is there at all. A brook, like a baby, is a wonderful thing in itself. What man is so atrophied in memory and sentiment that the word does not recall some beauty of the past? Upon a mind burdened with commerce and finance, the word gently knocks-then enters. You start with surprise. You only half recognize it. Then suddenly there comes a recollection, a visiona brook, some brook, which flowed somewhere, sometime, and that brook was your brook, and you loved it. What wonderful associations come dancing into consciousness now! Down in our brook we have overhanging ferns, and sweet clear water, and well rounded pebbles. The birds know all about it and have small use for the bird-bath on the lawn. No artificial plumbing for them with this cool offering at hand! It is only the occasional vis ting city sparrow who is so unn ural as to prefer the modern tub.



Alas, I cannot tell you all, my subject is too rich. And how hard it is "being in the midst of the cariere of a discourse to stop cunningly, to make a sudden period, and to cut it

off." I should have followed Pliny rather than my lord of Montaigne; I should have paused more often to remember my title.

But let me say just a word of this place at night. Do you recall Teufelsdröckh's wonderful view of his city? This place, too, is a city. Only instead of five hundred thousand two-legged animals, all horizontal and in nightcaps, we have here a population of many millions of fourand six-legged creatures, and night finds them in all manner of queer positions and places. Some are busy and some quiet. Some are serenading their loves, some sleeping; some are foraging and thieving, some murdering. There is the mysterious stir in the trees, the strange rustle in the bushes; there are silently swerving black things. There is contentment and repose, there are uneasy dreams, and there are nightmares. And there is wretchedness, and pain; here, too, maimed soldiers drag their weary way homeward, to homes where they will not be welcome. How weird it all is! The folks of the human city are not more real than is this tenantry of mine, nor, facing infinity, are they, it may be, much more important.

Truly a lawn in the country is a wonderful place. One turns from it only with the profoundest regret. One looks forward to the morrow only with the happiest anticipation.



And the End of His Long and Toilsome Course WILLIAM E. Dodd

T WAS the third winter of the war. Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd were still in the White House. The doors of the fashionable capital, so long closed, opened now and then. The dean of Washington bankers, W. W. Corcoran, his slaves unwilling to abandon so noble a master, gave his first great reception, wild radicals of the new régime modestly elbowing their ways about. Then George Washington Riggs, not to be outdone, opened his "baronial estate and house," all the semi-secessionists there, Gideon Welles of the cabinet duly received if not lionized. And Kate Chase, a marvel for the daughter of an abolitionist, now married to a master of mills in Rhode Island and an honored senator, gave dinners to match those of the former wonderworking Mrs. Clement C. Clay, Paris gowns and crinolines as handsome on the figures of rich New Englanders as they had formerly looked on the slender mistresses of plantations. Nor did Mrs. Lincoln really milk her cow on the White House lawn every evening at twilight. Gentle Washington, abandoning hope that Lee would ever return in force, learned to look upon life with a little more indulgence.

The years had been long and dreary, and Lincoln's political family

had grown used to their unwonted tasks, though they did not exactly love their chief. Henry Halleck, a thick-headed translator of the famous Jomini, never a battle to his credit, was chief of staff, a vain pretentious strategist too incompetent to be retained, too powerful to be dismissed, ever at hand-teaching Lincoln the game of kings. Edwin M. Stanton, bald, ill tempered, and blustering, at loggerheads with half the generals in the field and distrustful of the rest, the "American Carnot" marshaling the forces of an unmilitary people, and keeping close counsels with the president's enemies, was secretary of war and contemptuous of Lincoln. If Halleck or Stanton failed the president, there was Salmon P. Chase, unruffled and complacent, the secretary of the treasury, improviser of loans that ran into the billions and sponsor for hundreds of millions of doubtful greenbacks, Salmon P. Chase, intriguing by day and by night to supplant the Illinois lawyer whom "mere accident" had elevated to exalted station. With a Washington grown a little more friendly and a cabinet as little united as ever, Lincoln faced the unfriendly Congress that his emancipation proclamation had done much to give him.

Congress assembled on the seventh

of December. Charles Sumner, unforgiving and magisterial, was the chief of all the senators, Benjamin F. Wade, his sawed-off gun at home in Ohio, chairman of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, worshipful follower-other commanding figures of that body: Lyman Trumbull, the upright; John P. Hale, the faultfinder; and Zachary Chandler, brusque and ruthless egotist, all bent upon purging a backslidden country of all its mortal sins. In the House of Representatives, Thaddeus Stevens, the weight of years and the plague of disease upon him, was master, a master of driving temper and relentless soul, an avowed enemy of Lincoln. Of equal importance was the young and handsome Henry Winter Davis of Maryland, a former slaveholder, now the scourge of all slaveholders, an ally of Stevens, a disappointed aspirant for the seat in the president's cabinet held by another Marylander, Montgomery Blair. Two of the most restless figures of all that tragic time. Lincoln had won the battle of Gettysburg. Would he win in the impending struggle with Congress?

On the first day of the session the president endeavored to secure a friendly speaker. Thaddeus Stevens and Winter Davis, perceiving the move, turned from their former candidate, Galusha A. Grow, to Schuyler Colfax, a Westerner, and beat the president's Western candidate on a big margin-defeat. On the eighth, the Louisiana plan of reconstruction, designed to make the South's return to the Union easier, a measure intended to bring about gradual emancipation and the earliest possible restoration of peace to

the country, was read by both houses, a proclamation issuing to the people at the same time. Members of Congress restrained for a few days the wrath that observant men saw on many faces that day. Lincoln knew a little of what lay ahead. He meant to guide the process of reconstruction in all the war-stricken region and allow no vindictive policy to prevail. Stevens and Davis, Sumner and Wade, Chase and Stanton, were of another mind. They would take no dictation from any president. Would they take it from Robert E. Lee?

Lest the latter alternative ensue, Lincoln laid his careful plan: he must secure his renomination against an unfriendly Congress; he must win a smashing military victory against Lee; and then he must secure his own reëlection.

[ocr errors]

A serious program, so much waiting upon circumstance. When Congress finished its organization, the great committees manned by opponents of the president, the Republicans organized a Republican National Executive Committee, the earnest and upright Samuel C. Pomeroy, of Massachusetts and Kansas, the chairman, Wade and Sumner, Stevens and Davis godfathers. The young and hopeful James A. Garfield of the pious Western Reserve wrote home: "We hope we may not be compelled to push Lincoln four years more." It was the business of the committee to push the secretary of the treasury, and the work of the succeeding campaign began in a brisk hustling manner, little concern felt as to the consequences to a country torn by civil war. Horace Greeley, author of the cry "On to Richmond"

in 1861, but none the wiser, still editor of the greatest newspaper in the country, the "New York Tribune," declared: "Lincoln's renomination means the revival of the fear that the disasters, the burdens, the debts and the hopes deferred will be revived." Theodore Tilton, editor of the "Independent,” known far and near as the organ of Henry Ward Beecher, urged:

"The ship of state tosses upon a rough sea; who shall take the helm? A nation tired of war will submit to be duped for the sake of peace. Great statesmen are few in any country, but few as they are we must make diligent search to find one for the next presidency."

There was no mistaking the language of the prophets of Brooklyn. The "New York Evening Post," one of its managers a son-in-law of William Cullen Bryant, prosecuted under the direction of the honest, if indiscreet, secretary of the navy for gross frauds upon the government, made earnest protest against the hasty and ill advised renomination of so weak a leader as Lincoln. The young and enthusiastic Whitelaw Reid of the "Cincinnati Gazette" prepared the ways for Chase in Ohio and the Middle West and sought to undo the vacillating president, about to "surrender the cause of human freedom to the masters of slave plantations." As one turns to-day the fragile pages of the leading newspapers of that time, the conclusion becomes irresistible that the wise, the rich, and the good were sick and tired of Abraham Lincoln, just then calling for five hundred thousand more young men, young men to be drawn from the homes of farmers and

workers, if not from those of greater folk who furnished substitutes at three or four hundred dollars each.

And this disgust with the president gave easy access to the scores and hundreds of agents of the Treasury Department to talk the cause of Chase and suggest the strange alliance of prosperous Eastern business men, making forty per cent a year, and the political abolitionists of the West. Benjamin F. Wade was as enthusiastic as his own ambition would allow; Winter Davis of Baltimore shouted aloud for the secretary of the treasury; Secretary Stanton gave secret assurance, I think, of his potent aid; Chase clubs sprang up overnight in the cities and towns of the countrythe secretary himself absent more and more from cabinet meetings. On February 20 the hopeful Pomeroy published the secret circular which had been in newspaper offices for some time. The main points of this document were: Lincoln cannot be reëlected; and if he were reëlected, he would ruin the country with his flagrant corruptions and his weak compromises with the slaveholders. This was not the language of a narrow-minded party boss. It came from the head of the Treasury, a man who had long been known as one of the great leaders of the country. Lincoln must bestir himself, the sluggish Lincoln.

He was not unready, nor without clever supporters. William H. Seward, older and wiser, abandoning forever the ambition of a tortuous career, was already laying wires all over New York; and Thurlow Weed, partner in many a midnight contrivance, was ready for a new assignment, that same Thurlow Weed who

had denied Henry Clay the presidency twenty-four years before, his hands now as ever upon the Whig business men of New York. The wiry Seward and the easy-spoken Weed made a pair it were well to have on one's side. Nor was the young pushing Henry J. Raymond, editor of the "New York Times," without influence. But outside the realm of party organization, there was Samuel Bowles, a man of clear vision and honest purposes, editor and maker of the "Springfield Republican," supporting Lincoln against Sumner, and boldly declaring that the Louisiana plan meant gradual and reasonable abolition of slavery. Interesting protagonists, these. A more interesting group was the race of Blairs, now almost unknown to history: "Old Frank Blair," who had laid many an intrigue for Andrew Jackson, living now in a great mansion there at Silver Spring, Maryland, a tall Kentuckian, oracular, unscrupulous, accomplished, slipping in and out of the White House at all hours of the day or night, ardent champion of the backwoods lawyer from Illinois, and not without reason: his son, Montgomery Blair, the postmaster-general in Lincoln's cabinet, a tall angular man of broad forehead and narrow shoulders, tight-drawn mouth and solemn visage, a fire-eater of 1861, chiding Lincoln for dickering at all with the rebels at Charleston, a deadly enemy of Winter Davis, the other boss of Maryland, ready to make hasty work of Chase, his colleague, and all other opponents of the president. Two interesting Blairs. There was another, Frank Blair, the younger, who had "saved Missouri" to the Union in 1861, a West-Pointer, a general in

the Army of Tennessee and a member of Congress from St. Louis at the same time, choosing to sit in the House that stormy winter, his commission wisely deposited in a secret drawer in the White House. All the Blairs, owners of slaves, organizers of Lincoln support in Maryland, in Kentucky and Missouri, gradual emancipationists, heirs of the Jackson tradition, were enlisted in the war for Lincoln-Chase and Davis, Stanton and Stevens, making grimaces the while. But there was yet another member of the family, Gustavus Vasa Fox, son-in-law of the great house at Silver Spring, assistant secretary of the navy, a Massachusetts man, trained at Annapolis, tied up, as became men of that great State, with mills and industry, and not without money in his purse, giving orders to the bearded, wise-looking secretary of the navy, his diary slipped into a drawer as you entered the big room; he was not less a Lincoln man than the strenuous general in the House of Representatives. And Lincoln himself held leaders such as Joseph Medill of the "Chicago Tribune" firmly to his interest and drew into the camp the marvelous preacher-orator, Robert J. Breckenridge, one son in the Confederate army, another in the Union army, and a nephew in command of rebel regiments in the Valley of Virginia, as much a master of the shorter and longer catechisms as Wade himself. It was not a weak combination, barring the absence of the abolitionists-the masses of inarticulate people coming more and more to have faith in the harassed president.

The opening gun of the adminis

« AnkstesnisTęsti »