COLONEL A. K. McCLURE.

COLONEL

LEXANDER K. M^CLUR!

RECOLLECTIONS

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HALF A CENTURY

Author of

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THE SALEM P

COLONEL

ALEXANDER K. McCLURE'S

RECOLLECTIONS

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HALF A CENTURY

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Author of "Lincoln and Men of War Times," "Our Presidents

and How We Make Them," "Three Thousand Miles

Through the Rocky Mountains," "The South,"

"To The Pacific and Mexico."

PUBLISHED BY

THE SAI,EM PRESS COMPANY SALEM, MASS.

Copyright, 1902 BY ALEXANDER K. MCCLURE

Salem prces :

THE SALEM PRESS Co., SALEM, MASS. 1902

CONTENTS.

MATCHLESS PROGRESS OF HALF A CENTURY, ..... i

The greatest achievements of the world's history. Political battles of the olden times. Decline of popular oratory.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND JEFFERSON DAVIS, ..... 8

The Presidents of our Civil War The difference in their birth, educa- tion and personal attributes.

CHRISTIANA AND HARPER'S FERRY THE FIRST BATTLES OF OUR

CIVIL WAR, 18

The conflict at Christiana, Pa., the preliminary skirmish of the four years' struggle.

THE BATTLE OF BRODERICK, BAKER AND MCKIBBIN TO HOLD THE

PACIFIC REGION TO THE UNION, 29

The story of the distinguished and romantic careers of the three men who contributed most to shape the destiny of the Pacific Slope.

GALES AND BLAIR, THE GREAT EDITORS OF OLDEN TIME, . . 37

Joseph Gales of the National Intelligencer, and Francis Preston Blair of the Washington Globe.

IF THEY HAD NOT FIRED ON SUMTER, 48

The Southern Confederacy was a colossal suicide.— The North was forced to unity in support of coercion by the firing on Sumter.

THE ERA OF GOOD FEELING AND OF CONVULSION, .... 60

The flood-tide »f hate that convulsed the country under Johnson's administration without parallel in history of the country.

THE PACIFIC RAILWAY AND THE SALE OF CHIHUAHUA, ... 70

Inner history of the construction of the first Pacific Railway. Story of the concession of lower California by President Juarez.

FILLMORE, PIERCE, BUCHANAN, LINCOLN AND JOHNSON IN THE

WHITE HOUSE, 79

First visit to the White House in 1851.— Lincoln seen under all condi- tions and circumstances.— Reminiscences of first ladies of the land.

GRANT AS CHIEFTAIN AND PRESIDENT, ...... 89

How difficult Grant found it to enter the army in 1861.— His epigram- matic dispatches and letters.— Personal incidents of Grant's later life.

THE HAYES ELECTION AND ADMINISTRATION, 98

The Presidential contest that required an electoral commission to decide it.— Incidents of the struggle.

(iii)

iv CONTENTS.

GARFIELD AND His BRIEF ADMINISTRATION, 106

His hard struggles of early life.— His distinction as scholar, teacher, preacher, general and statesman.

ARTHUR AND His SUCCESSFUL ADMINISTRATION, . . . . 115

How he was dismissed from the New York collectorship and two years later became president. First distrusted and later honored as president.

CLEVELAND'S THREE CONTESTS AND Two ADMINISTRATIONS, . , 124

His strong personality in public life. Heroic acts when great emer- gencies arose. Mrs. Cleveland model mother and woman.

HARRISON'S VICTORY AND DEFEAT, 134

Severely devoted to public and private duty. An able, patriotic and laborious president. Incidents exhibiting his personal qualities.

MCKINLEY'S TRIUMPH AND TRAGIC DEATH, 145

The private soldier.— The leader of the House.— The re-elected president by the largest popular majority.— The ideal statesman and citizen.

THE SHADOWS OF OITR GREAT NATIONAL CONTESTS, .... 154

How Burr, Clay, Webster, Calhoun, Scott, Greeley, Blaine and others drank the cup of disappointment to the dregs.

SAM HOUSTON'S BRILLIANT AND ROMANTIC CAREER, . ... 164

Twice president of one republic. National senator in two republics. Governor of two states.— His victorious fight for Texas' independence with raw recruits.

THE LOUISIANA LOTTERY ROBBERY, 173

How it got its charter from the state.— The libel suits against the writer and how they hastened its overthrow.

THOMAS CORWIN, THE GREATEST OF OUR POPULAR ORATORS, . . 184

His great speech on the Mexican war.— His matchless eloquence, wit and invective.— His brilliant argument of a divorce case before the Pennsylvania legislature.

KOSSUTH, THE GREAT APOSTLE OF LIBERTY, 192

Personal incidents of Kossuth's visit to the United States. His recep- tion by Congress and the Executive. His death in poverty without home or country.

OUR BEAUTIFUL NATIONAL CAPITAL, 203

Transformed in forty years from dilapidation and mud to elegance in architecture and streets.— The men then famed in field and forum.— Governor Shepard who literally created the beautiful city now in the mountains of Mexico.

WHY SEWARD COULD NOT BE PRESIDENT, 212

His proposed division of the school fund with the Catholics made the American party hostile. His great record as a Republican leader.

BROWNLOW AND VALLANDIGHAM, 222

Interesting career of the two men who aggressively revolted against their own people during the Civil War.

CONTENTS. v

WlLMOT AND THE WlLMOT PROVISO, 232-

His name was interwoven with every political discussion in his time. His unique position on slavery and the tariff.

PATHETIC ECHOES OF LINCOLN ASSASSINATION, ..... 241

The terrible sorrows which fell upon Edwin Booth and John S. Clarke and their households. The sad story of their lives after the assassina- tion.

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE NEGRO IN POLITICS, .... 250

The first negro elected to the House was rejected. Long hesitation of the Senate to admit the first negro senator.

ROBERT E. LEE, ONE OF THE GREAT COMMANDERS OF THE CENTURY, 259

His defensive battles faultless in conception and execution. He did not favor the Gettysburg campaign.— His gentleness and attributes as a soldier and gentleman.

THOMAS H. BENTON, THE -LEADER IN WESTERN PROGRESS, . . 269

His wonderful appreciation of the West and his ceaseless efforts for its advancement. Jeered as a dreamer when he proposed the Pacific railway. His great work in the Missouri compromise of 1820.

WESTERN RAILWAYS AND ROCKY COACHES A GENERATION AGO, . 278

Crossing the plains and Rockies a generation ago compared with the present. Conflicts with the Indians in early coaching days.

HENRY WILSON NATICK COBBLER AND VICE PRESIDENT, . . , 287

A career worthy of the study of the young men of today. One of the most beloved and useful of our great senators.

THE STORY OF RECONSTRUCTION, 295

Lincoln opposed to all retributive methods and universal negro suf- frage.— Party necessity enfranchised the negroes.

JAMES L. ORR, 304

Opposed Nullification and Secession but followed his State. Congress, man, Speaker, Confederate Senator, Governor, Judge and Minister to Russia.

GRANT AND MCCLELLAN, THE AGGRESSIVE AND THE DEFENSIVE GEN- ERAL, 313

Their military theories and methods contrasted.— Lincoln's relation to McClellan correctly presented.

SHERIDAN AND JACKSON, THE GREAT LIEUTENANTS OF THE WAR, . 322

Their brilliant military records recounted. Their achievements grander than the victories of Napoleon's marshals.

GENERAL WM. T. SHERMAN, THE GENIUS OF THE UNION ARMY, . 331

Relieved of command in Kentucky in 1861 as a lunatic. His personal qualities. The criticism of his destruction ef Atlanta, and the retri- bution he inflicted on South Carolina.

THE UNFORTUNATE COMMANDERS OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, . 341

McDowell, McClellan, Burnside, Hooker and Meade. No great army in any modern war so unfortunate in its commanders.

vi CONTENTS.

ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS, ONE OF THE ABLEST AND MOST UNIQUE

OF SOUTHERN LEADERS, 353

An earnest opponent of the secession movement. Almost caused a revolt in Georgia against the Confederate government.

PRINCE HENRY AND OTHER ROYAL VISITORS, ..... 362

Louis Philippe and Jerome Bonaparte came as incipient royalists. Interesting incidents of the visits of the Prince of Wales, Prince Alexis and Emperor Dom Pedro.

THE DEADLY STRUGGLE IN THE BORDER STATES, . . . . 371

Neighbors, families and relations brought into conflict by the great political issue. The sorrows and sacrifices of John J. Crittenden and George D. Prentice tell the common story.

THE TEMPEST OF SECTIONAL PASSION, 379

The retaliatory and murderous laws and proclamations of both North and South.— General Butler's experience.— Other incidents of the reign of passion.

SUMNER, BOUTWELL AND CHASE, 389

Three great Republican leaders called to statesmanship by the Demo- crats.—Incidents in their careers.

HENRY W. GRADY AND THE NEW SOUTH 398

The "Leader of Leaders" in creating the New South.— His part in getting Longstreet's defence of his responsibility in the battle of Gettys- burg.— His famous speech at the banquet of the New England Society of New York.

WADE HAMPTON, CHIVALRIC SOLDIER AND STATESMAN, . . . 406

His military and political career. His invasion of Chambersburg with a cavalry force, and first meeting with the writer.— War left him bank- rupt.

THADDEUS STEVENS, THE COMMONER OF THE CIVIL WAR, . 415

Only two commoners in the history of the Republic.— Their personali- ties compared.— No other of our great men so misunderstood.

ROBERT G. INGERSOLL, THE GREAT AGNOSTIC OF THE CENTURY, . 424

His great speech nominating Elaine for President.— His career as politician.— Opponent of revelation.

SMIRCHING FAME OF HEROES, 432

General Fitz John Porter, General G. K. Warren, and Surgeon General William A. Hammond, who suffered degradation and dishonor in Civil War. Later vindication. Schley controversy referred to.

SAMUEL J. RANDALL. His STERN INTEGRITY IN PUBLIC LIFE, . 441

Congressman for 28 consecutive years.— Thrice Speaker.— Prominent candidate for President.

JOHN SHERMAN, AUTHOR OF REDEMPTION, 450

His great service in restoring the Union to specie payment. Served longer in the Senate than any other senator. Great achievements and great disappointments.

CONTENTS. vii

FINANCIAL PROGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC 459

From a money circulation of $455,000,000 and less than $14 per capita, we now have a circulation of over two billion and nearly $30 per capita.

EARLY WAR DELUSIONS, 468

Confidence in early victory. Abolition of slavery not a purpose. -No idea of the magnitude of the war. Interesting- ride with Lincoln and others.

OUR THREE EXPANSION EPOCHS, 476

The great speeches of Quincy, Corwin and Hoar against the policies of Jefferson, Polk and McKinley.— The proud position of the Republic today.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

COL. A. K McCLURE IN 1902, Frontispiece.

COL. A. K. MCCLURE AT 19, 4

GROUP OF PRESIDENTS KNOWN PERSONALLY BY COL. MCCLURE, . 80

COL. A. K. MCCLURE IN 1861, 210

GROUP OF CONFEDERATE COMMANDERS, 256

COL. A. K. MCCLURE IN 1870, . . 304

GROUP OF UNION COMMANDERS, . . 320

PRIVATE CHECK, 462

(Tiii)

MATCHLESS PROGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC.

The last half century has written the most brilliant records ever given in the same period to the annals of the world's his- tory, in every attribute of civilized advancement. Progress has been unexampled in art, in science, in industry, in commerce, in finance and trade, as well as in achievement in field and forum. The great republic of the new world has vastly outstripped the progress of any other half century, or indeed, of any full century since the world was.

I shall give in these chapters of random recollections impor- tant contributions to history, made especially entertaining and instructive by personal knowledge and incident. After more than fifty years of active participation in political and public af- fairs, and most of the time closely related to the great political movements of all parties in State and nation, with personal ac- quaintance more or less intimate with the leading chieftains of peace and war, I hope to furnish new and fresh contributions to the history of our great Republic outside of the ordinary lines of historical record.

There never was a period in the history of our country when its achievements inspired a higher and wider measure of pride among all classes and conditions, or when the desire to study the progress of the great republic of the world was so general among the new generation that knows of our great civil war only as his- tory records it, while the few survivors of the sore trials of the fiame of battle and of reconstruction cherish everything relating to them as the most grateful memories of their lives. All know that in fraternal conflict the heroism of the Blue and Gray pales Grecian and Roman story, and that the American statesmanship that was confronted in war and reconstruction by the gravest problems in the history of any nation, solved them even in the fiercest tempest of sectional passions, to stand as an enduring monument of the grandeur of the civil powers of the nation that

(0

2 COLONEL ALEXANDER K. McCLURE'S

had won the grandest homage from the world for its achieve- ments in war.

The progress of this republic in the brief span of a single life seems like a romance born of the most latitudinous imagery. When I first saw the light of day there was not a single steam- ship on any of the seas of the world; there was not a train of cars drawn by a locomotive; the magnetic telegraph was not even noted in the wildest of dreams; there was not a single State west of the Father of Waters with the exception of Missouri and part of Louisiana ; the great Northwest, now presenting an unbroken galaxy of mighty and prosperous commonwealths, was then an unexplored wilderness, and a large portion of the Western coun- try now possessing a thriving population and clothed with State- hood, appeared on our school atlas as the Great American Des- ert. The boundless wealth of the Rocky Mountains was un- known, even to the dusky sons of the forest, who peopled that region from prehistoric times, and the now rich slopes of the Pacific, with its golden gate, had only a straggling semi-barbaric race. Ohio was known as the "backwoods," where the sturdy pioneers were yet struggling with the Indians, and ordinary let- ter postage between the East and the remote regions of the new Buckeye State was 37^ cents.

There was then great pride among the people that the new re- public had grown from a population of three millions to a popu- lation of twelve millions. It was regarded as an epoch of match- less progress, as Pennsylvania and New York had each com- pleted great water highways between the sleacoast, the lakes and Western rivers, and considering the feeble resources of that age, their achievements in the line of advancement were as heroic as any of the present time. Today we have an unbroken line of sovereign States from the Eastern to the Western sea, from Northern lake to Southern gulf, with great possessions in the West Indies, and holding the gateway of the world in the Orient, and eighty millions of the most intelligent and prosperous peo- ple of the world enjoying the priceless blessings of our free in- stitutions.

There is not a political party now known that had existence seventy years ago, although the Democratic party may be reasonably claimed to be the successor of the Republican party founded by Jefferson, that dominated the government until the

RECOLLECTIONS OF HALF A CENTURY. 3

advent of Jackson, who was first a candidate for, President as a Democratic Republican to distinguish him from the National Republicanism of Adams and Clay. I have witnessed the crea- tion of four political parties which have risen to national promi- nence, two of which have elected Presidents and three of which have elected Governors of Pennsylvania. The Federal party was utterly overthrown as a national political factor when Jef- ferson defeated Adams, although it maintained its vitality in New England and other States, and elected Buchanan to Con- gress and Finley Governor of Pennsylvania in 1820.

The organization of the Anti-Masonic party, founded on the single principle of opposition to secret societies, and inspired to aggressive action by the alleged murder of Morgan, was a wel- come refuge for the scattered Federal forces and it became a formidable opposition to the ruling political power of the coun- try. It eliected Ritner Governor of Pennsylvania in 1835, and was the first political party of the country to hold a national con- vention for the nomination of Presidential candidates, in 1831. The party founded on a single idea, and that a perishable one, speedily waned in power, and the great Whig party was organ- ized in 1834, and displayed startling strength in the national contest of 1836 by the support it gave to Harrison. It elected two Presidents Harrison in 1840, and Taylor in 1848 and suf- fered two defeats with Clay and Scott as its leaders, the Clay contest standing out in the political history of the nation as one of the greatest political battles of our history.

With the overwhelming defeat of Scott in 1852, the mission of the Whig party was ended, and the general Whig disintegration and the Democratic 'disaffection because of the repeal of the Alissouri Compromise in 1854, gave a most inviting field for the new American party with its secret organization, and it presents the most revolutionary political records in many States and cities which have ever been recorded in our political conflicts. It was an important factor with Fillmore as its candidate for President in 1856, but the Republican party had then made its lodgment, sustained by the most positive and earnest convictions on the slavery issue, and it won the great Lincoln battle in 1860, ac- cepted Civil War, abolished slavery, gave the nation the only sound financial system it has ever known, and has practically ruled the destiny of the republic for more than forty years.

4 COLONEL ALEXANDER K. McCLURE'S

Cleveland was twice President, elected by the Democrats, but with all the vigor of his rule he only halted for a time the mastery of Republicanism. To these may be added the Greenback party that became a national organization in 1868, the Prohibition party that first appeared in national politics in 1872, and the Populist party favoring the free coinage of silver, that absorbed the Greenback followers and polled over one million votes in 1892. There have been several other socialistic parties which presented national candidates at the last Presidential election, but their following was so feeble as to deny them recognition as national political factors.

My first distinct recollection of a Presidential battle was the contest between Harrison and Van Buren in 1840, and in no way could the extraordinary advancement of the country be bet- ter illustrated than by presenting the political conditions which then existed. I recall it of course, only as an enthusiastic boy sharing the general infection that made the people spontaneously hurrah for "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," and shout the songs which were heard at almost every cross roads. Even in the most primitive communities rude log cabins were constructed as em- blematic of the Harrison cause, and hard cider, or cider whether hard or soft, was drunk with the wildest huzzas. The country was sorely depressed, labor was unemployed, money was an al- most unknown commodity among the people, and what little there was came from banks, many of which were founded on the wild cat theory, and the Whigs in song and story promised the working men "$2 a day and roast beef." It was a most inspiring and practical slogan, and all classes and conditions became ear- nestly enlisted in the struggle. It brought a new type of oratory to the front that was illustrated in its highest line by the cele- brated "Buck Eye Blacksmith," who, with horny hands and fluent speech, coarse wit and coarser invective, rallied the masses into the most enthusiastic efforts for their cause. There were many great men at the front on the hustings, as it was only through the platform that the people could then be reached, but it was the one national battle during the period of sixty years in which the people ran away from their leaders and swept the country for Harrison like a hurricane.

In those days the rural community was fortunate that had a weekly mail. Daily newspapers were unknown in the country,

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COLONEL McCLURE AT NINETEEN.

RECOLLECTIONS OF HALF A CENTURY. 5

and the people had to depend solely upon their local newspapers for their news. Considering that we now expect to have suffi- cient returns from the entire Union to determine a Presidential contest not later than midnight of election day, the facilities for information in 1840 are impressively remembered. On Friday, two weeks and three days after the Presidential election of 1840 in Pennsylvania, a number of neighbors were gathered at my father's at what was then known as a "raising." The custom of those days was for the neighbors to be summoned when any one of them was ready to erect the frame or log work of a building, and spend the day or afternoon in fulfilling the kind neighborly offices which have been almost entirely effaced by the progress of civilization. What a builder would now do in an hour with machinery the neighborly gathering would give a day to the same task, and make it, besides, one of generous hospitality and enjoyment. Friday was the day on which the weekly mail ar- rived, and the Whigs and Democrats who enjoyed their political spats, as both claimed the State for their respective parties, were anxious to have the weekly paper to decide the attitude of the Keystone State.

I was dispatched to the post office, a mile or more distant, in time to be there when the post boy arrived, with instructions to make special haste in returning. My father was one of the few liberal men of that day who received both the Democratic and Whig local newspapers, so that the anxious company was as- sured of information from the organs of both parties. When the mail arrived at the post office I seized the Whig paper, and was delighted to find a huge coon over the Pennsylvania returns, and the announcement that the State had gone for Harrison by 1,000 majority. In generous pity I opened the Democratic paper to see how it would accept the sweeping disaster, and to my utter consternation, it had a huge rooster over the Pennsyl- vania returns, and declared that the State had voted for Van Buren by 1,000 majority. I took the shortest cut across the fields to bring the confusing news to the anxious crowd that was awaiting it, and both papers were spread open and both sides went home rejoicing in the victory. Of course, they all felt that there was a strong element of doubt in the conflicting returns, but the matter was quietly dismissed without complaint for another week, and it was fully two weeks later when the of-

6 COLONEL ALEXANDER K. McCLURE'S

ficial vote was finally received that gave the State to Harrison by 305 majority. Where the weekly mail then was welcomed as a generous blessing from the government, the daily mail and sometimes mails twice and thrice a day reach the people, and the daily newspaper is now more widely read than were the local weeklies of olden times.

The difference in the relations between the people and the public men they worshipped in the present and half a century ago can hardly be fully appreciated in this wonderfully progres- sive age. Then travel was a luxury that few could enjoy, and was almost wholly confined to those who found it a necessity. It was not only tedious and tiresome, but expensive far beyond the means of the great mass of the people. The great men of that day were idolized by their partisans as we now pay homage to the statue of some great leader as it poses on the pinnacle of the temple with its imperfections obliterated by distance.

I never sawr Clay or Webster, although I was six years an editor before their death. A visit to Washington by a village editor was usually beyond the range of his time and means, and of the many who shouted their hosannas to Clay and Webster and Calhoun, only one in many, many thousands ever saw his heroes face to face. Today we span the continent from the At- lantic to the Pacific in five days, and the song of the iron horse sends its echoes through almost every valley and to nearly every hilltop of the land. The electric telegraph has annihilated space, traversing ocean and mountain, and the telephone, now in almost every business house and in many private homes, makes easy converse with friends hundreds of miles distant. The perfec- tion of our great system of transportation has so greatly cheap- ened travel that all our people as a rule, with their vastly in- creased resources, take frequent excursions in their business af- fairs or to witness the progress that is surging around them. Public men like McKinley and Bryan, who have traversed the country in their political contests, would be known and recog- nized in nearly every village by old and young, even if they en- tered it unannounced. The people are today face to face with their heroes. They see them as they are; they learn that they worship only men after all, with their full share of human in- firmities, and the idolatry that was given to Clay is a lost at- tribute of the American people.

RECOLLECTIONS OF HALF A CENTURY. 7

The one quality of greatness that has been lessened by the transformation of our progressive civilization is that of popular oratory. Half a century or more ago the people could be reached only by the mass meeting, as the newspaper was a luxury confined to the more fortunate few in every rural com- munity. Political necessity then gave birth to a galaxy of popu- lar orators of national fame that has never been equaled in mod- ern times, and is not likely ever to be equaled in the future. The field for oratory is circumscribed by the universal advent of the newspaper, and popular oratory has been largely supplanted by the mastery of forceful disputation. Mere oratory no longer sways the multitude beyond the evanescent inspiration of the moment. Intelligence has become too universal for leadership to make successful battle by rhetorical appeals to prejudice or passion, and therein is the greatest safety to the noblest republic of the world.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND JEFFERSON

DAVIS.

Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis are names interwoven with the achievements of the last half of a century which will ever be studied with unflagging interest by the students of American history. Both were natives of Kentucky, and the dates of their birth are not a year apart. Lincoln was born in Hardin county on the I2th of February, 1809, and Davis was born in Christian county (now Todd) on the 3d of June, 1808. Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederacy on the 1 6th of February, 1861, and Lincoln was inaugurated as Presi- dent of the United States a fortnight later on the 4th of March, 1861. Lincoln's assassination ended his public career on the 1 5th of April, 1865, and the public career of Davis was ended by his capture on the loth of May, 1865.

These two men were called to the most responsible positions of their respective governments, and both) were chosen because of their generally assumed fitness for the grave duties assigned them. Lincoln's nomination for President in 1860 was made by a convention that sincerely and earnestly preferred William H. Seward as the party candidate, but considerations of expediency made his nomination impracticable, and Lincoln was selected because of the masterly ability he had exhibited in the great Douglas-Lincoln battle, and also because of his freedom from political and factional complications. Davis' election to the Presidency of the Southern Confederacy, as he told me himself some ten years after the war, was a serious disappointment. He was on his way from Mississippi to Montgomery, the temporary Confederate capital, when advised of his election. He appre- ciated the oppressive responsibilities of the civil chieftain of the new government, and his earnest desire was to be assigned as commander-in-chief of the Confederate army.

It would be difficult to find in all the annals of American his- tory two men of such exceptional achievement summoned to (8)

RECOLLECTIONS OF HALF A CENTURY. 9

the performance of the gravest duties developed in all the muta- tions of American progress, who were so distinctly opposite in their ruling attributes. Lincoln came from close to mother earth, and grew up in sincere sympathy with the lowly. When called to the highest civil honors of the world he was never for- getful of the masses of the people. He not only heartily sym- pathized with them, but he had abiding faith in them. In all of the many great conflicts which arose during the war when new and most vital questions had to be settled, Lincoln ever per- mitted the surges oi disputing factional leaders to play around him unfelt and apparently unnoted until he was fully satisfied of the considerate judgment of the people of the country, and when he felt assured on that one point he was as immovable as the rock of Gibraltar. I once heard him rebuke a Western Con- gressman who offered some apology for the unreasonable ex- actions of some of his constituents because of their want of in- telligent knowledge of public affairs in Washington. Lincoln replied in a quiet and most impressive manner: "I think God must love common people or he wouldn't have made so many of them."

His battle in life was made entirely without friends or fortui- tous circumstances and his advancement was due wholly to his great natural endowments and his tireless self-education. One quality that distinguished him from most of our public men was his careful and exhaustive study of every problem from the most candid and impartial standpoint. He was honest with himself, honest with the world and, above all, honest in the discharge of the fearful duties and responsibilities which had been put upon him. He was the most approachable President the country has ever had. He always favored the audience of the unknown and helpless and many times Cabinet officers were compelled to wait in their attendance upon him while he heard the story of some heartbroken mother whose boy soldier was unfortunate and friendless in the army. While he ever exhibited the candor that forbade willing deceit, he was the most sagacious and at times the most reticent of all the public men I have ever known. I doubt whether any man ever fully enjoyed the confidence of Abraham Lincoln. Those who were closest to him during his life umite in testifying to his reticence, but when it was necessary to confide he did so with perfect frankness, and while he was

10 COLONEL ALEXANDER K. McCLURE'S

accused of many things in the violence of partisan criticism, I cannot recall an instance in which he was accused of deliberate deception.

Mr. Lincoln entered the Presidency without a policy, and therein was his safety. The questions which he had to meet and determine were questions which had been in dispute from the foundation of the government with equal ability and patriotism and nearly equal numbers on either side. The great party lead- ers, including his Cabinet, with all of whom he had but little personal acquaintance, as a rule had their positively defined plans for meeting the issue of rebellion, but Lincoln had none. He knew that events which could not be safely anticipated must control the action of the government in the effort to preserve the integrity of the Union, and he was probably the only one of the eminent Republican leaders to confess that he had yet to learn the policy to be accepted and maintained by the government.

Another very marked feature of Mr. Lincoln's character was his patient and generous forbearance with all who were unfriend- ly to him. I never heard Mr. Lincoln utter a single sentence of resentment against anyone, and I have never met any person who claimed to have heard him speak vindictively against even his bitterest foes. The beautiful sentence of his inaugural "With malice toward none, with charity for all/' was a perfect reflex of the heart of Abraham Lincoln. He sincerely respected Jefferson Davis because of his ability and his sincere devotion to the cause of the South, and he never gave expression on any subject relating to Davis that could not have been said to> Davis in person without affront. Although he was denounced in the South as a bloody butcher, as an obscene and profane jester, and as a ruler without integrity or statesmanship, he bore it all with patience, and the most I have ever heard him say in answer to these terrible criticisms which wounded him profoundly was that "when these people know us better they will think better of us." I have many times heard him say, speaking of the Southern lead- ers and people, that if they only knew how sincerely and earnestly the government desired to deal with them in generous justice to all, peace might be attained.

He exhibited his friendly feeling for the South, notwithstand- ing the terrible desolation and sacrifices of war, when the mili- tary power of the Confederacy was on the verge of destruction.

RECOLLECTIONS OF HALF A CENTURY. 1 1

His order to General Weitzel, in Richmond, to give protection to the Virginia State government and Legislature if it assem- bled to resume relations with the Union; his instructions to Gen- eral Sherman, given at City Point just before the surrender of Johnston, in which he expressly authorized Governor Vance, of North Carolina, to resume his functions with assurance of recog- nition of the State government if acting in harmony with the national government, until the meeting of Congress, and the last speech ever delivered by him when serenaded to congratulate him on the surrender of General Lee, proved the entire absence of cherished resentment against the South.

Had Lincoln lived Jefferson Davis would never have been captured. On this point I speak advisedly. He knew the in- tensely revengeful feeling that pervaded the inflamed sentiment of the North, demanding the arrest and execution of the leaders of the rebellion. Pie knew that they could not be convicted and executed for treason after having been recognized as a bellig- erent power and beleaguered our capital for nearly four years, and he was resolutely averse to the punishment of any of the Southern leaders unless guilty of violation of the laws of war. I heard the question discussed in his presence by several promi- nent men a short time before the surrender of Lee. Among them was General Butler, who was vehement in demanding the execu- tion of traitors. Lincoln heard the discussion in silence, and he finally closed it by a story the moral of which was that if Davis and the leaders of the Confederacy escaped from the country ''unbeknown to us" it would be fortunate for all.

He meant to bring the South back with as little humiliation as possible, and distinctly met the issue of negro suffrage in his speech of April n, 1865, the last he ever delivered, in which he said, referring to the question: "I would most prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent and on those who served our cause as soldiers." In his entire official record as President during four long years of terrible war, he always looked hopefully to the restoration of the Union in one common brotherhood.

Jefferson Davis was of gentler birth and shared none of the desperate struggles of Lincoln in early life to advance himself. His parents moved to Mississippi in his early youth, and he was given unusual educational facilities for young men of that period.

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He was a student at Transylvania College, Lexington, Ky., then one of the foremost and most progressive Southern colleges, in 1824, when President Monroe appointed him a cadet to West Point, where he graduated in 1828 and entered the regular army. He had active military service in Indian campaigns for seven years, when he resigned June 30, 1835, and became a cotton planter near Vicksburg. In 1845 he was elected to Congress, but in June, 1846, he resigned to accept a colonelcy of the Mississippi regiment in the Mexican war, where he served with special distinction at the battle of Buena Vista. Soon after his return from the war in 1847 ne was appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate, and in 1848 was elected for a full term. In 1850, when the compromise measures were passed by Congress, Mr. Davis opposed them because they gave too little to slavery, While a large majority of the people of the North and many of the South opposed them because they gave too much to slavery. His colleague, Senator Foote, supported the com- promise measure and accepted what was called; the Union can- didacy for Governor of the State and Davis was nominated against him. Both resigned their seats in the Senate, and in a canvass of the State Davis was defeated by a small majority. He was recalled to public life in 1853 by President Pierce, who made Davis his Secretary of War, and on his retirement from the Cabinet in 1857 ne again entered the Senate, where he served until the 24th of January, 1861, when he resigned to join his State in the secession movement.

Mr. Davis was a man of forceful intellect, a great student and one of the ablest debaters in the national councils. He had the courage of his convictions and was scrupulously honest alike in public and private life. He believed in the right of secession and maintained it on all suitable occasions. He always dis- avowed disunion until after the election of Lincoln, when he took position in the front rank of those who advocated the dismemberment of the republic. He was respected by all his associates in public life because of the sincerity that guided him in- his expressions and actions. He was grave and dignified to a degree approaching austerity, but was always one of the most courteous of gentlemen, while lacking the genial and magnetic qualities of men like Lincoln and Elaine.

His military education doubtless strengthened his natural in-

RECOLLECTIONS OF HALF A CENTURY. 13

clination to reserve and self-reliance. It is worthy of note that West Point has not produced a single great popular leader, and military education must be at least measurably answerable for the failure of all our many great educated soldiers to attain distinction as leaders of the people in our free government where there is every incentive to develop popular masters. We have had a long line of military Presidents since we have had educated soldiers, beginning with Jackson and followed by the elder Harrison, Taylor, Pierce, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, the younger Harrison and McKinley. Of these, only two Taylor and Grant were educated soldiers, and neither was any more capable of political manipulation when elected President than the prattling babe. It was probably the chief error of Jefferson Davis that, like Grant, he carried into the administration of civil affairs the dominating qualities of the soldier. The educated soldier is trained to despise what they call popular clamor, and the tendency is to command. Jefferson Davis com- manded as President of the Confederacy; Abraham Lincoln obeyed the sovereign power of the nation, and therein is the sharp contrast between their qualities as civil rulers of the republic and of the Confederacy.

Mr. Davis as President of the Southern Confederacy had quite as sore trials as those which beset Mr. Lincoln, and as the exhaustive exactions of war fell upon his people, it was natural that there should be active and aggressive hostility to any policy he might adopt. Whether others could have ruled the Con- federacy more wisely than Davis has always been an open ques- tion. The two leading histories of the Confederacy, both written by active Southerners, are directly opposite in their teaching as to the qualities and capabilities of President Davis. That by Mr. Alfriend fully and positively justifies Mr. Davis in all the great efforts of his administration, while that of Mr. Pollard holds him up to the world as individually responsible for the failure of the war. The one feature of his administration that stands out most distinctly is the fact that he did not seek to popularize himself by any of the many arts so commonly accepted by public men, and thus lacked the sympathetic popular support in the South that Lincoln commanded in the North. He was accused of favoritism, especially in the selection of his generals, but if he erred in that regard all1 who knew him will doubtless concede that

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with his naturally strong prejudices and preferences he erred in the exercise of an honest judgment. His removal of Johnson from the command of the army in Atlanta that resulted in Hood's disastrous battle and early evacuation of the city, in- tensified popular prejudice against Davis, and the States of North Carolina and Georgia, under the lead of their Governors, became aggressively hostile to the policy of the Confederacy.

Mr. Davis committed a fatal error when he sent Vice Presi- dent Stephens with Hunter and Campbell to confer with Presi- dent Lincoln and Secretary Seward at City Point, where they met February 3, 1865, but his error was the logical result of his strict adherence to the fundamental theory of the Confederacy and his accepted duty as its Executive. He practically in- structed the commissioners to consider no proposition for peace that did not involve the perpetuity of the Confederacy, and that made any conference with Lincoln on the subject impossible. Vice President Stephens, as was his duty, frankly expressed the limitation of his powers, and the question of peace between the North and South on the basis fixed by Davis could not be enter- tained for a moment. I know that President Lincoln would at that time have suggested the payment of $400,000,000 to the Southern people for their slaves if peace, emancipation and sub- mission to the national authority could thereby have been secured, and had not the instructions of the Southern com- missioners forbidden the discussion of peace by Lincoln, the proffer of $400,000,000 as compensation for emancipation would doubtless have gone to the Southern public, and under the lead of North Carolina and Georgia, already clamoring </