Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Life and Public Services of Henry Wilson
Chapter XX.


IN May, 1870, Mr. Wilson was brought into profound affliction by the decease of his beloved wife, who for many months had been sinking under an incurable disease. At the close of the 28th she passed peacefully away; and those who stood around her dying-bed then realized the meaning of the words, "He giveth his beloved sleep."

An address was made at her funeral in the church by the Rev. Edmund Dowse; and her remains, in a casket covered with flowers, and followed by a big concourse of sincere mourners, were borne to the Dell-park Cemetery, where they repose beside those of her only son.

Mrs. Wilson was a woman of rare gentleness, earnest in purpose, unassuming in manner, ever blessing those around her by her words and deeds of love. Early in life she became a Christian; and she united with the Congregational church at Natick on the fifth day of December, 1852. Whether moving in the fashionable society at Washington, or in the quiet circle of her home, she was ever a bright ornament of the doctrines she professed. Her sufferings, though severe, she bore without a murmur or complaint, and shed the light of a sanctified and loving heart upon her friends and kindred to the last. In her elevation, she did not cast off, as many do, the companions of early days; and they will always bear among the richest treasures of the memory the smile and the tear of her sympathy and affection.

"Into the sacred privacy of that wifely devotion which she always manifested," says one who knew her excellence, "we may not intrude: but it can least be said, that she was all that the heart could desire a Christian wife to be; and eternity alone can reveal how great was her influence upon the companion of her life, whose feet she, more than any other human instrumentality, led to the cross of Christ."

Another writer said of her, "For thirty years she has been of rare service to her husband in all sweet and wifely qualities. Of true instincts, unobtrusive piety, untiring benevolence, and equal temperament, ever a lover of justice, she was alike guide and inspirer to her husband, whose long, distinguished, and honorable career is, in no small degree, due to her discreet and loving co- operation."

Her character is thus portrayed by Mrs. Mary Clemmer Ames: -

Within the last week, the body of one has been laid in her native earth whose lovely presence will long be missed in Washington. Mrs. Wilson, the wife of Senator Wilson, went out from among us in the fair May days; and the places which have known her here so long and so pleasantly, will know her, save in memory, no more forever. She was a gentle, Christian woman. I have never yet found words rich enough to tell all that such a woman is. My pen lingers lovingly upon her name. I would fain say something of her who now lives beyond the mood of all human praise that would make her example more beautiful and enduring to the living. For, in profounder intellectual development resulting from wider culture and larger opportunity, are we in no danger of losing sight of those graces of the spirit, which, however exalted her fate, must remain to the end the supreme charm of woman? There is nothing in all the universe so sweet as a Christian woman; as she who has received into her heart, till it shines forth in her character and life, the love of the divine Master.

"Such a woman was Mrs. Wilson in this gay capital. When great sorrow fell upon her, and ceaseless suffering, the light from the heavenly places fell upon her face: with an angel patience, and a childlike smile, and an unfaltering faith, she went down into the valley of shadows. She possessed a keen and wide intelligence. She was conversant with public questions, and interested in all those movements of the day in which her husband takes so prominent a part. Retiring by nature, she avoided instinctively all ostentatious display; but, where help and encouragement were needed by another, the latent power of her character sprang into life, and then she proved herself equal to great executive effort. No one can praise her so eloquently as he who loved her and knew her best. To hear Senator Wilson speak of his wife when he taught her, a little girl in school; when he married her, 'the loveliest girl in all the county;' when he received into his heart the fragrance of her daily example; when he watched over her dying, only to marvel at the endurance and sweetness and sunshine of her patience, is to learn what a force for spiritual development, what a ceaseless inspiration, was this wife to her husband. Precious to those who live is the legacy of such a life."

Mr. Wilson regarded his wife and always spoke of her with most affectionate tenderness. He fully appreciated and revered her excellences. To him her word and her wishes were sacred. Her departure filled his heart with unutterable grief; and the dark cloud of that bereavement still casts its shadow over his pathway. But he has the hope of the Christian, which alone can give the cloud a "silver lining."

In a letter in response to an invitation to the "Gathering of the Howe Family," held in Framingham, Aug. 31, 1871 he thus touchingly alludes to her: -

"I regret, and shall long continue to regret, that I was not permitted on that occasion to mingle with those who bear the name of one endeared to me by the holiest and tenderest ties of earth; of one of the purest and loveliest spirits that ever blessed kindred and friends by her presence, or left, in passing through death to a higher life, more precious memories."

In the memorial of that meeting the author says, "Mrs. Wilson was a lady of unusual mental and personal attractions, blending grace with dignity in manner, and ornamenting, both in private and in public life, the doctrines of her Lord and Master."

None but him that has followed the light of the house-hold to the silent grave can know the desolation of a deserted home. To relieve his mind from the sad memories which every object tended to awaken, Mr. Wilson decided to spend the summer of 1871 abroad. Leaving New York in "The Scotia" on the 7th of June, he had a prosperous voyage across the Atlantic, and was somewhat "lionized" by the passengers, as one of them has written, on the way. The writer adds, "He spoke to me with feeling of the virtues of one whom he had just, of her sickness and her death; showed me the picture of her face; and expressed the hope that he should meet her in the skies."

Mr. Wilson did not visit Europe to study art, to gain receptions, or to hunt for kings. He was, however, kindly received by Mr. Gladstone, Thomas Hughes', and other eminent men. He had the pleasure of spending several days in the British Parliament, as well as in the French National Assembly, and of listening to the debates. The plain and sensible style of speaking of the former body he admired. With the exception of the strong and fervid Spurgeon, the English preachers did not please him, their manner being too monotonous and scholastic.

He travelled over six thousand miles in Europe, visiting Amsterdam, Berlin (where he was cordially received), Vienna, and many other cities; noticing the manners and customs of the people, and, as far as possible, the working of the different educational, religious, and political systems.

Never had the liberal institutions of America appeared more glorious to him than when, after this survey of foreign life, he breathed again the air of freedom. During his absence he wrote once a week to Mrs. Howe, the mother of his departed wife, who now, though over eighty years of age, presides over his household with dignity and grace.

This was the memorial-year of the American Missionary Association; and at the meeting in Hartford, Oct. 24, Mr. Wilson made a brief and vigorous address, in which he presented his belief in our common brotherhood, and his view of the work to be done by the philanthropists of America: -

"God has given us the care of this magnificent continental empire, broad and grand. It is ours, ours to develop and improve: the responsibility is with us, - with the people of these United States. These poor black men at the South need our prayers and our labor; they need education, moral culture, and elevation. And they are not the only ones who need it: there are thousands of others, who have been referred to in the admirable address to which we have just listened,— others coming from the Eastern world. Our gateways are open on the Atlantic and on Pacific coast; and people will come here. I would bind my heart and hand, and what little I have of property, and the aspirations of my soul, to elevate humanity. Every human being who steps on the soil of the North-American republic, - no matter where he comes from, nor what blood runs in his veins, nor what language he speaks, - he is a man: God made him, and our Lord and Master Jesus Christ died for him as well as for us; and it is our duty to lift him up. It is our duty to elevate all classes and conditions of men who come to our shores. God knows tonight there is a mighty work to do. Look over the broad land to-day, and what do we see? It is not alone the poor negro, whose mind for long centuries has been closed against education and culture. Look at the poor white people of the South, who were trampled down when the black men were trampled down. Look at the master class; look at the Ku-Kluxes: they dishonor human nature to-night. I tell you, friends, we have a work to do in the South, not only for the black race, but for our own white race. Slavery is gone: but it has left passions, prejudice, and ignorance; and it is for us to remove them.

"Look at our own country, - whole sections of it dishonored every day. Men abuse public stations, dishonor their names, and degrade their country. We have examples of this before us to-day that astonish the world. Education will not cure this entirely. We want, with our education, a great deal of moral culture. We want the heart cultivated as well as the head. This is the great want of the times.

"I would make this republic an honest example to all nations. To every philanthropist, to every humble Christian, - I would say to all such, that, among all the benevolent associations of our country, this is one of the best, and should have our contributions, our generous support, and our prayers in our closets on bended knees."

In the early part of this present year (1872) Mr. Wilson published the first volume, containing six hundred and seventy pages in royal octavo, of "The History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave-Power in America."

It is indeed refreshing, now that the clamor of war has subsided and the smoke of the battle-fields rolled away, to sit calmly down in the sunlight of peace, and trace the progress of that malignant power which grew with the nation's growth; which fastened on the body politic, until it perished in the very wounds it had itself inflicted. Human servitude was the cause of our calamity as a nation; and, in rising up from those calamities, we look back upon them as upon some fearful dream. With consummate ability, Mr. Wilson, in this portion of his work, presents the origin, progress, domination, of this power in America, up to its Texan victory in 1844; and in the two succeeding volumes, to be published in 1873-4 will describe its arrogant assumptions up to 1861, and then its mighty struggle for existence, till its final overthrow and extinction in the surrender of the rebel arms, and reconstruction of the rebel States. No man living has higher qualifications for such a work than Mr. Wilson. With accurate knowledge of our national history; with more than thirty years' experience as a legislator; with an intimate personal acquaintance with the prominent political leaders of that period; with views enlarged by years of meditation on the theme, - he brings to the execution of this great work accomplishments which must render it, when completed, one of the most valuable contributions to American history ever made. Through the first volume the hand of the master is visible on every page; and, although the master is of necessity a partisan, he has, in general, risen above the spirit of partisanship, and ascribed honor to whom honor is due.

"Of the living and of the dead," he says, "I have written as though I were to meet them in the presence of Him whose judgments are ever sure." To the Christian patriot the author's constant reference to the hand of God in the evolution of our national destiny is as satisfactory as it is in itself just and philosophical. This, he says, in closing his first volume, should be "a perpetual inspiration in the darkest hour, a perennial source of faith and hope, of consolation and of courage." "This work," says an able writer, "must take first rank among the historical productions of the nineteenth century; and it will give to the author an additional claim upon the consideration of his countrymen that he has written so well of that work in which he was one of the chief actors, thus winning for himself the position of the scholar and the historian, in addition to that of the politician and the statesman. He and others have done that which deserves to be well told; and he has told it well. His words, like his works, will be immortal, - the just reward of the excellence of both."

As an example of the author's imaginative power, and vigor of his style, the closing page of his chapter on "The Amistad" captives may be cited. It will be remembered that in 1839 these Africans, fifty-two in number, rose upon the captain and the crew of "The Amistad," took the vessel, and then, through their ignorance of navigation, were landed and imprisoned at New London. The administration would have returned them to the, hands of the slave-trader; but, through the humane exertions of Mr. Lewis Tappan and his friends, the captives, after a sharp contest in the courts, were set free. After stating the whole case with perspicuity and force, the author says,-

"In all the acts of slavery's grim tragedy, there have been few scenes which presented more elements of interest than that of 'The Amistad ' captives. With two continents and the wide Atlantic for a theatre; with the robber-chiefs of Africa, the slave-pirates of the ocean, the representatives of a European monarchy and an American republic, for actors, seemingly engaged in a common cause, and inspired by a common spirit, - it presented through the whole, with dramatic variety and force, the strangest contrasts and the most unlooked-for and contradictory combinations. It presented barbarism in its most repulsive and rudest aspect, and Christianity in its most attractive and lovely attitude. It began with the midnight hunt for captives in the wilds of Africa: it closed by Christian men and women sending and accompanying these captives back to Africa to plant churches and schools among their benighted countrymen. Through the whole, however, the one dark and hideous fact stands out, -that slavery is essentially the same, its adherents substantially alike. A system of violence impatient of all restraints, whether of reason or of conscience, humanity or religion, time laws of the heart or the laws of the State, it seems mainly intent on compassing its own ends by whatever means and at whatever hazards. It was the same in Africa and in America; in the barracoon and in the middle passage; under a monarchy or in a republic; in a Pagan, Protestant, or Catholic country."

At the Republican Convention held in Philadelphia last June, Mr. Wilson received the nomination for vice-president of the United States. Mr. Colfax, who was a personal friend of Mr. Wilson, had, in a private letter, signified his intention of declining a renomination, when the latter allowed his name to be presented. The vote for these gentlemen in the convention was very close when Virginia changed twenty of her votes from John F. Lewis to Mr. Wilson, and made sure his nomination. On the reception of the despatch announcing it in the Senate, Mr. Colfax came forward and heartily congratulated his friend on the result. Among many congratulations, the following was received from Philadelphia, which doubtless is the general sentiment of the people of color, for whom Mr. Wilson has labored so long and effectually

PHILADELPHIA, June 6, 1872.

The colored working-men of the country send you their congratulations, and second your nomination ; and will march in solid columns to the polls in November, and cast their votes for the representative laboring-man of the American nation.

Pres. Colored National Labor Union.

Speaking of the nomination, "The New-York Tribune" said, -

"Henry Wilson is a working-man, and life-long Republican, who has passed through thirty years of political contests without a question of his devotion to principle, or a stain upon his integrity."

This letter of acceptance points briefly to the leading features of the past, present, and future policy of the Republican party.


WASHINGTON, June 13, 1872. To the Hon. THOMAS SETTLE and others, President and Vice-Presidents of the National Republican Convention held at Philadelphia on the 5th and 6th of the present month.

Gentlemen, - Your note of the 10th instant, conveying to me the action of the convention in placing my name in nomination for the office of Vice-President of the United States, is before me. I need not give you the assurance of my grateful appreciation of the high honor conferred upon me by this action of the Fifth National Convention of the Republican party. Sixteen years ago, in the same city, was held the first meeting of the men who, amid the darkness and doubts of that hour of slaveholding ascendency and aggression, had assembled in a national convention to confer with each other on the exigencies to which that fearful domination had brought their country. After a full conference, the highest point of resolve they could reach, the most they dared to recommend, was the avowed purpose to prohibit the existence of slavery in the Territories. Last week the same party met by its representatives from thirty-seven States and ten Territories at the same great centre of wealth, intelligence, and power, to review the past, take note of the present, and indicate its line of action for the future. As typical facts, headlands of the nation's history, there sat on its platform, taking an honorable and prominent part in its proceedings, admitted on terms of perfect equality to the leading hotels of the city, not only the colored representative of the race which were ten years before in abject slavery, but one of the oldest and most prominent of the once despised abolitionists, to whom. was accorded as to no other the warmest demonstration of popular regard and esteem; an ovation not to him alone, but to the cause he had so ably and so many years represented, and to men and women, living and dead, who toiled through long years of obloquy and self-sacrifice for the glorious fruition of that hour. It hardly needed the brilliant summary of its platform to set forth its illustrious achievements. The very presence of those men was alone significant of the victories achieved, the progress already made, and the great distance which the nation had travelled between the years 1856 and 1872. But, grand as has been its record, the Republican party rests not on its past alone: it looks to the future, and grapples with its problems of duty and of danger. It proposes, as objects of its immediate accomplishment, "complete liberty and exact equality for all;" the enforcement of the recent amendments to the National Constitution; the reform in the civil service the national domain to be set apart for homes for the people; the adjustment of the duties on imports, so as to secure remunerative wages to labor; the extension of bounties to all soldiers and sailors who in line of duty became disabled; the continual and careful encouragement and protection of voluntary immigration, and guarding with a zealous care the rights of adopted citizens; the abolition of the franking privilege, and the speedy reduction of the rates of postage; the reduction of the national debt and rates of interest, and resumption of specie payment; the encouragement of American commerce and of ship-building; the suppression of violence, and the protection of the ballot-box. It also placed on record the opinions and purposes of the party in favor of amnesty; against all forms of repudiation and indorsed the humane and peaceful policy of the administration in regard to the Indians. But, while clearly defining and distinctly announcing the policy of the Republican party on these questions of practical legislation and administration, the convention did not ignore the great social problems which are pressing their claims for solution, and which demand the most careful study and wise consideration. Foremost stands the labor question. Concerning the relations of capital and labor, the Republican party accepts the duty of so shaping legislation as to secure full protection and the amplest field for, capital, and for labor, the creator of capital, time largest opportunities, and a just share of mutual profits of these two great servants of civilization. To woman too, and her new demands, it extends time hand of grateful recognition, and proffers it a most respectful inquiry. it recognizes her noble devotion to the country and freedom, welcomes her admission to wider fields of usefulness, and commends her demands for additional rights to the calm and careful consideration of the nation; to guard well what has already been secured, to work out faithfully and wisely what is now in hand, and to consider the questions which are looming up to view but a little way before us. The Republican party is to-day what it was in the gloomy years of slavery, rebellion, and reconstruction,— a national necessity. It appeals therefore, for support, to the patriotic and liberty-loving; to the just and humane; to all who dignify labor; to all who would educate, elevate, and lighten the burdens of the sons and daughters of toil. With its great record and the work still to be done under the great soldier whose historic renown and whose successful administration for the last three years begat such popular confidence, the Republican party may confidently, in the language of the convention you represent, start on a new march to victory. Having accepted thirty-six years ago the distinguished doctrines of the Republican party of to-day; having, during the years of that period, for their advancement, subordinated all other issues, acting in and co-operating with political organizations with whose leading doctrines I sometimes had neither sympathy nor belief; having labored incessantly for many years to found and build up the Republican party; and having, during its existence, taken a humble part in its grand work,—I gratefully accept the nomination thus tendered; and shall endeavor, if it shall be ratified by the people, faithfully to perform the duties it imposes.

Respectfully yours,


At a grand ratification meeting held in Fancuil Hall on the 22d of June, 1872, in which able speeches were made by Judge Hoar and Gen. Butler, Mr. Wilson, being presented amidst a storm of cheers and applause, in substance said,—

"MR. CHAIRMAN AND FELLOW-CITIZENS, - I thank you for this kind welcome, and will not detain you at this late hour by any remarks of mine. I hardly know why I was invited here. The doctrines of your platform I have proclaimed to hundreds of thousands of men in nearly thirty States of the Union. I gave an unhesitating support to Gen. Grant during the war, and I have given an unhesitating support to his administration during the past three years (applause); and I assure you to-night, if you need the assurance, that I shall give my support to his re-election to the presidency. (Applause.) As for myself, I leave it to my friends, personal and political, in Massachusetts and in the country; and I am sure, whatever my friends may say, that those who do not agree with me politically will not accuse me of any want of fidelity to myself. I only say to you at this hour, that I trust you, men of Boston and of Massachusetts, will this year, and in the future, be as true as you have been for the past twelve years for the cause of the country and the cause of liberty. No matter who may be the candidate at Baltimore, —whether it he Horace Greeley or any other man, - you will meet in this canvass the Democratic party of the United States. You have met the party before; you have defeated it before. You can, and I have no doubt whatever you will, defeat it in the coming election. Listen to no voice. You remember Republicans said a few years ago in Virginia, 'We will put up a Republican for governor, and we will have a Republican administration with the support of the Democratic party.' He went into power. The Republicans were defeated; and ho became - what he knew he was before - the mere instrument of the Democratic party in Virginia. Republicans in Western Virginia joined t.1e Democratic party; and to-day the question is submitted in a constitutional convention, whether the black men shall have the right to vote or not. Republicans joined Democrats, and restored the Democracy to power, in Tennessee; and the school system, under which there were a hundred and ninety thousand children in the schools in that State, was broken down. Republicans joined the Democrats in Missouri; and Frank Blair, who represents Democracy, sits in the Senate of time United States. The experiment made shows, that, when they join issue, the Republicans go to the Democratic party: that party would never come to them. Stand, then, I say, by the Republican platform, by the Republican candidates. (Applause.) Continue and hold and secure what we fought for in war; and, in addition to all, march with events, keep pace with human progress, bearing the flag of Republican civilization and improvement in our country, and our efforts will be blessed for the good of our country and the world." (Applause.)

Of his title to the suffrage of the colored people of America, Mr. Garrison thus, in a recent letter, speaks: -

During thirty-six years of public life he has made the freedom of the race, so long peeled and trodden down, paramount to all other political considerations. Instead of persistently shunning antislavery meetings, he was a frequent attendant upon them, and freely participated in their proceedings. Now that he has been deservedly nominated by the Republican party for the vice-presidency of the United States, and, if elected, may possibly, in the turn of events, be the acting president, it should be a matter of pride and gratitude on the part of colored voters to give him their united suffrages."

When the news of his nomination to the vice-presidency was telegraphed to him by his friends in Natick, his touching reply was, "Place a bouquet of flowers on my wife's grave." She ever shone as a benignant star in his memory. In July he visited North Carolina and Virginia, and made effective speeches at Wilmington, Richmond, and other cities, aiming ever to conciliate the disaffected Republicans, to induce them to return to the ranks of the regular party, and to stand true to the principles for which they had so manfully contended on the field of battle. The meeting at Wilmington continued seven hours; and great enthusiasm was manifested by the white as well as colored citizens. He returned in excellent health, and with hopeful views of the condition of the States he had visited. He observed to a friend, on his return, that, during thirty-two years of political life, he had made about thirteen hundred speeches that had appeared in print; and that, so far as he could remember, he had uttered but one sentence that he regretted, and that because of misapprehension: it was in reply to Mr. Benjamin of Louisiana, when he charged him with treason to a country "which even secured freedom to the race that stoned the prophets, and crucified the Redeemer of the world."

In August following, he made a Western tour, and was everywhere received with great enthusiasm by the people.

At Richmond, Ind., he addressed an audience of ten thousand persons; and his earnest and eloquent appeals for the maintenance of the integrity of the Republican party met with hearty and prolonged responses from the vast multitude. Returning home (Aug. 13), he spoke to an enthusiastic meeting in Natick; and a banner bearing the names of Grant and Wilson was unfurled in the westerly part of the town, near the spot where he had arrived, penniless and unknown, in 1833, and where he commenced making "brogans" in the little shop of Mr. William P. Legro. He then, in September, visited several cities in Maine, where he met with a most cordial reception, and spoke with his wonted fire and wisdom before many enthusiastic audiences. As many as fifteen hundred people, for instance, received him in Columbia hall, Bath; and hundreds were unable to gain admittance. Thus moving with untiring activity from State to State, and city to city, he conducted, as a veteran understanding well the strategy of the opposing forces, this exciting presidential campaign.

It was urged against him, that he had once belonged to the Native American party; and he, of course, admitted it. "But," said he, "in 1854, there were a million men in this movement. I, with the rest, went into it, as the people went into the Union leagues, to break up the old parties. The antislavery friends, then, out of this, formed the Republican party. In the National Convention at Philadelphia, I told them, that if they adopted that narrow, intolerant, bigoted platform, I would use my influence to crush it to atoms. They adopted it. I left it; and we crushed it to atoms." Attempts were also made to implicate him in the questionable transactions of the Credit Mobilier, by which the fair fame of several congressmen was tarnished; but he most emphatically and truly denied that he ever received any of its bonds, shares, or stocks; and, though some property belonging to his wife had been therein invested, it was immediately withdrawn when it appeared that such investment might not be legal, just, and right.

Of the departure of his colleague, Mr. Sumner, from the ranks of the old Republicans, he spoke with unfeigned sorrow. "I have," said he to a friend, "most earnestly expostulated with him on his course. I believe that he is wrong: I have frankly told him so but, without resenting my appeal to him, he stands immovable. I am sorry for him." Then, in reference to himself, Mr. Wilson said, "My own course has been as straight as that of a cannon-ball; and men will yet acknowledge it." It is worthy to be noted, and alike honorable to both, that political differences produced no personal animosity between these eminent statesmen. Though diametrically opposite in mental temperament and habits of thought, they well understood each other's worth and power, and had labored too long, shoulder to shoulder in the great struggle for human freedom, to allow any place for personal resentment. And so they continued to speak kindly to and of each other, the ties of friendship remaining bright, until severed by Mr. Sumner's death.

Though the most strenuous efforts were made by the opposition, so effective were the arguments of Mr. Wilson and his coadjutors, such were the memories and convictions of the soldiers who had imperilled their lives for the maintenance of the Union, and such were the popular traits and characteristics of the candidates, proclaimed by the press, the platform speakers, and set forth in the campaign melodies, such as

"A song and a chant
For Wilson and Grant,
Who rose from the lowliest station;
The tried and the true,
Who whate'er they may do
Will be done for the good of the nation.
Chorus: Then work for our leaders,
All good men,
For they are men of leather,
And raise the chant
For Wilson and Grant,
And we'll vote them in together,"

and received with wild enthusiasm in the vast assemblies of the people, that the Grant and Wilson ticket became triumphant in November; and the "Natick cobbler" reached the second position in the government of the nation. Well, indeed, had he, by his long and faithful services, by his eminent abilities, and his life of immaculate integrity, earned this high distinction; yet his noble soul was not in anywise elated by the honor. He even expressed regret to his intimate friends at his elevation, inasmuch as it deprived him of the opportunity of discussing great national questions in the chamber of the Senate, where he had so long effectually served his country.

President Grant and Senator Wilson received on the popular vote a majority of 762,991 over Horace Greeley and B. Gratz Brown, and 300 to 66 electoral votes thrown for various candidates; and so on the 4th of March, 1873, Mr. Wilson took his seat as presiding officer of the United-States Senate, where he had most manfully defended, for almost twenty years, the principles of the Constitution and of civil freedom. So poor was Mr. Wil3on at the time of his inauguration, that, on the evening previous to that ceremony, he called, says Mr. F. B. Carpenter, on Mr. Sumner, and said, -

"Sumner, can you lend me a hundred dollars? I have not got money enough to be inaugurated on." Mr. Sumner replied, "Certainly. If it had been a large sum, I might not have been able to help you; but I can always lend a friend a hundred dollars." He then gave Mr. Wilson a check for the amount; and, after the latter had retired, Mr. Sumner, turning to Mr. Carpenter, remarked, "There is an incident worth remembering, - such a one as could never have occurred in any country but our own."

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus