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Prominent Republicans doubted the policy of naming a day when we should redeem. It was derided as a party dodge and visionary scheme. Not one moment did Grant waver. He felt that if the occasion slipped by, it might not come again. The bill was right. The vital interests of the country demanded that we should come back to financial sanity. The honor of the people could only be maintained by redeeming their outstanding pledges. By his act the bill became law, and because of that resumption is now an accomplished fact. It was among the last acts of special importance in his administration, and was the consummation of a recommendation made by him in his first state paper. It was the finality of the war currency; and by this act the American people once more had a circulation convertible into specie, the honest, constitutional money of their fathers. We are to-day-because we had Grant for President-regarded by the world as an honest, promise-keeping nation. Our credit is second to that of no other power,
In December, 1875, the administration was face to face with a Democratic House. The elections of 1874 had gone against it, owing to the combination of circumstances already pointed out. It is especially hard for a dominant party to stand up in the midst of financial depression. So it is impossible for an administration to go unscathed through panic. Both will be held responsible, however imaginarily and unfairly, for public ills. This is one of the penalties of supremacy in a Republic. In paying this penalty, supremacy learns its best lessons of wisdom, and much about the value and beauty of resignation. In inflicting the penalty, the party flushed with new triumph is in no teachable mood, and never learns its lessons till plunged into the fiery school of defeat.
But this state of affairs was rest for the administration. It could advise action, shape policies. Both would be unheeded in a Democratic House. And then that House was on trial. It would precipitate nothing, do nothing. A Presidential
campaign was coming on. There should be no commitments to anything rash. Quiescence was better than agitation. There could be no mistakes, if all sat still. Thus things drifted toward the doubtful contest of November, 1876, and the disputed result between Hayes and Tilden. With the merits of this dispute we have nothing to do. It formed no part of Grant's administration, except in so far as it may have been fortunate for the country that an old soldier, who had the confidence of the whole army, was in the Presidential chair at the time, and one who would have known how to act promptly, in case the warlike demonstrations threatened by some of the crackbrained partisans of the time had not turned out to be the veriest bluster.
The succession of President Hayes, March 4th, 1877, relieved President Grant of Executive responsibility. It was a welcome relief, the end of a highly honorable and useful service, which had known no break since April, 1861, sixteen years before. And what a mark he had made in the nation and the world in that time. In war, and that without influence or solicitation, he arose from captain of a company to the honorary position of Lieutenant-General, which none had occupied, except Washington; in peace, from Secretary of War, ad interim, to President for two terms. And all the while firm in duty, trusted beyond ordinary men, abused but without taint, witnessing the objects achieved for which armies and parties strove; great in all trying places, never letting a cause go, accomplishing where others failed; witnessing the surrender of armed rebellion, starting the country on a career of prosperous peace, present at the opening of its Centennial anniversary at Philadelphia, as chief representative of a nation preserved intact by his valor, unified by his wisdom, presided over by his firm, conciliatory and enlightened sway.
His was the disposition and character necessary to moor the country safely, at a distance of twelve years, from the civil
war. At all times a man of destiny, none other, let him be what he might, could have held in such firm subjection the disturbing forces of the times, worked into such consummate order the mixed views and practices of the hour, created a larger degree of confidence in the government, realized so much out of the sacrifices of war. Our public debt steadily decreased during his eight years of service. Engagements with the public creditors at home and abroad were solemnly kept. The public burdens were lessened in every department. Economy became a rule and extravagance an exception. Not since the beginning had the national credit been so high.
Should the question be put to the American people to-day, what one of their number had been most instrumental in upholding the supremacy of the flag on which Emancipation was written, and which was more than ever the symbol of freedom, or who in the calm of peace had done most to write on that flag the word Honor after Liberty and Loyalty, the unanimous answer would be that the great dignity belonged to Grant.
TOUR AROUND THE WORLD.
ROM April, 1861, to March 4th, 1877, General Grant had
been at the disposal of his country. Four of these years had been spent in active war, eight in the service of the State. He now needed rest, but to retire was not rest. He would seek rest in recreation, turn cosmopolitan, go to the ends of the earth. Fame was his sesame to the nations, his badge of favor in countries, courts and cities.
No living person could feel a keener pleasure in travel, few could observe so fully and accurately. He would not make a holiday run across the waters, but a world's journey, taking in principalities and powers under all suns, among all peoples. He went without thought of ovation or triumph, yet with the consciousness that a distinguished American citizen would be well received. He would type home character and institutions, and be a part of what they were. He would not represent his country officially, but show in the flesh what manner of man it had chosen to honor.
Grant had often longed to go abroad to see, to hear, to learn, to judge. He was the greatest student of men, manners and institutions. This was his opportunity.
He could gratify his tastes to the full. Never man traveled under such favorable auspices.
He sailed, with his wife and son Jesse, from Philadelphia, on the steamship Indiana, of the American line, from the port of Philadelphia, on May 17th, 1877. That he carried the best wishes of the American people with him was clear from the
character of the parting demonstrations. They were frequent, long and hearty. Those on the part of Philadelphians were particularly flattering. Five hundred persons on a special steamer saw him to the ocean vessel. A smaller steamer carried his wife and her special escort to the same destination. While sailing down the bay, as far as New Castle, the Grant guests partook of lunch. They embraced the most distinguished citizens, representatives of the army, navy, national, state, and municipal administration, the industries, sciences and professions.
The toast, “ The honored guest of the day," was proposed by the Mayor of Philadelphia, and Grant was called on to respond. He said : “I had not expected to make a speech today, and therefore can do nothing more than thank you, as I have had occasion to do so often within the past week. I have been only eight days in Philadelphia, and have been received with such unexpected kindness that it finds me with no words to thank you. What with driving in the park, and dinners afterward, and keeping it up until after midnight, and now to find myself still receiving your kind hospitality, I am afraid you have not left me stomach enough to cross the Atlantic."
Among those who responded to toasts and contributed to the eclat of the occasion were General Sherman, Hamilton Fish, Zach. Chandler, Geo. M. Robeson, Simon Cameron, General Bailey, Governor Hartranft, the Mayor of Philadelphia, etc.
When the ex-President's steamer approached New Castle, the point where the Indiana was waiting to take the ocean voyagers aboard, General Grant was called upon for a parting sentiment. He spoke solemnly, and as if much moved by the homage he had received: “My dear friends, I was not aware that we would have so much speech-making here, or that it would be necessary for me to say anything more to you; but I feel that the compliments you have showered on me were not