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eived. My letter to Pride, with which this is enclosed, answers a part of yours. The day after you left here the President sent for me, as I expected he would after my conversation with the AttorneyGen-eral. I told him my views candidly about the course I thought he should take, in view of the verdict of the late elections. It elicited nothing satisfactory from him, but did not bring out the strong opposition he sometimes shows to views not agreeing with his own. I was followed by General Sickles, who expressed about the same opinion I did. Since that I have talked with several members of Congress who are classed with the Radicals; Schenck and Bidwell for instance. They express the most generous views as to what would be done if the constitutional amendments proposed by Congress were adopted by the Southern States. What was done in the case of Tennessee was an earnest of what would be done in all cases. Even the disqualification to hold office imposed on certain classes b
Commanders, and find nothing you have done that does not show prudence and judgment. Rest assured that all you have done meets with the approval of all who wish to see the act of Congress executed in good faith. And so, with caution and moderation mingled with decision and determination, he advised the subordinates whom in civil matters he held that he could not command. They all took his advice with the same deference as if it had been an order, and followed it implicitly. Sheridan, Sickles, Schofield, Pope, and Ord, the five District Commanders, all were in harmony with him and with Congress, although all had once been without any tinge of abolition sentiment and all had sympathized fully with the original magnanimity of Grant. But not only was his influence with the army enormous, his popularity with the entire country was at this time at its height. Doubtless it was the knowledge of this popularity which restrained Johnson from manifesting open resentment at the course
ridan extended in some degree to Grant, when he was seen to take Stanton's place. Some of his stanchest personal friends regretted his course, while politicians openly proclaimed that it indicated sympathy with Johnson's policy. Grant remained silent under the unmerited reproach and continued, as far as he was able, to carry out the will of those who thought he was opposing them. He made strenuous efforts to induce the President to retain the other District Commanders at their posts, but Sickles was soon relieved by Canby, and Pope by Meade; both for the same political reasons which had brought about the removal of Stanton and Sheridan. The two officers who were substituted were, however, thoroughly imbued with the feeling of their predecessors and of Grant. They all believed the law paramount to the will of any one man, and proceeded to execute the law in the spirit in which it had been conceived. Hancock, who followed Sheridan, was the only one who took a different stand.
ministration,—the Reconstruction policy; and in this defeat Grant was the principal figure and instrument. Grant's election, indeed, was the seal of Seward's and Johnson's overthrow. Up to the last their differences continued. In sending Rosecrans to Mexico, Seward must have known the affront he offered Grant, and by the rejection of the Clarendon-Johnson Treaty, which Grant did so much to accomplish, the final effort of Seward's diplomacy was foiled. But, after all, both were patriots, both were indispensable to the salvation of the State. Grant's victories would have been useless, if not impossible, unless Seward's skill had stayed the hostile and impatient hands of England and France; and Seward's diplomacy required Vicksburg and the Wilderness to be of any avail. As Lincoln once said to Sickles, when they were discussing the battle of Gettysburg, There is glory enough to go all around. Nevertheless, it is well to tell the whole truth about great men in great emergencies
n pride should not be inopportunely aroused. There were some pourparlers on the subject, and it was finally determined to send Forbes to Madrid in such a way as not to commit the Government, but to sound the Premier further as to his views, General Sickles, the Minister to Spain, was informed of the plan, and was directed to assist in its execution, but to be careful that the relations of the two countries should not be compromised. The Spanish temper was known to be hot and suspicious as wele story of the proposed sale of Cuba was noised abroad. This at first almost balked the enterprise. Prim was frightened for his hold on power; he had not yet prepared the minds of his countrymen for the abandonment of the Faithful Isle. Still Sickles took up the negotiations and with great skill mended the broken threads; there seemed a fair prospect of success. The offer was absolutely made by Spain that the Cubans should be allowed to purchase Cuba, the United States to guarantee the purc
Chapter 29: Leaving the White House. the close of Grant's Presidential career elicited a remarkable comment from the great French statesman Thiers, who was at that time, though no longer President, perhaps the most important personage in France; almost controlling parties in his own country and watching with an acute and intelligent interest the great political crisis on this side the seas. General Sickles was then residing in Paris and in the habit of meeting the ex-President frequently. To him Thiers declared that no country in Europe could have passed through the situation which agitated America without a serious disturbance of the state. He thought it possible that France or Germany or England might have weathered storms equal to those of our War of the Rebellion, and even have passed through the difficulties of the Reconstruction period, but he knew of no other country that could have withstood the dangers of a disputed election, when the parties were so nearly matched
with Grant also in his tour through the South during the winter after the war, when he was received, as few conquerors ever were by the people whom they had subdued, looked upon as their best friend, their protector, their savior from the bitterness of successful enemies. Everywhere the most important Southerners, the soldiers who had surrendered last, the civilians who had been most stubborn, as well as the scattered loyalists and the emancipated blacks, greeted Grant. In Charleston General Sickles gave him a dinner, and the party was made up of men like Orr and Aiken and others who had been his enemies. I went with him also on his first visit to Richmond, a year after it fell, for he had not time to stop and enter in the hour of triumph like other victors, but pushed on after Lee. So too I accompanied him in his journeyings over the North amid the ovations which this generation hardly remembers, but which equaled any ever paid to an American. I went with him when he left
the re-establishment of the republic. Upon Grant's assumption of the duties of President, Rawlins at first exercised great influence with him, and all that influence was in favor of an extension of territory. St. Domingo, Cuba, and the northern portion of Mexico—all— Rawlins would have been glad to incorporate into the Union. It was with a view to the acquisition of a large slice of territory on the northern frontier of Mexico that the mission to that country was offered in 1869 to General Sickles. The acquisition was intended to be peaceful, by purchase, and with the entire consent of the neighboring state, for Grant would have been the last man to unfairly appropriate the domains of the friendly republic; he had disapproved the forcible extension of territory in the days of the annexation of Texas, and his relations with the statesmen of Mexico were loyal, his regard for the interests and honor of that country, genuine. But after due deliberation it was deemed unadvisable to
iends, even you must surrender, General, said Sickles, as he was presented by Stanton. Yes, repliee he was unsuccessful. In September, 1865, Sickles was placed in command in South Carolina. He e fallen enemy. He had long discussions with Sickles, that lasted late into the night, receiving tnowledge that Grant particularly desired that Sickles should accept the post, for he had a high idencipation of the slaves in the Antilles, both Sickles and Rawlins held, were worthier objects of Gr Nevertheless, a negotiation was begun under Sickles at Madrid that promised to accomplish the peary of State. Cuba was not acquired; and when Sickles perceived that the object proposed for his mihad learned this fact or no, Thiers addressed Sickles and asked him to proceed in person to London ought it worth while to commit the mission to Sickles which I have described. Sickles returned tt. He also wished to waken Thiers; but still Sickles said, Let him sleep; and during this discussi[31 more...]
rmer letter advising you of the decision of the Atty Genl? There are but two officers— you and Sickles—affected by the decision, and as you had made no claim for Army pay while in other Govt. employment, and as Sickles is now out of the public service—active—it would look as though he had raised the question and got a decision in his favor. I shall probably go to Torquay on Monday next. Ifent view, and the matter was referred to the Court of Claims, as I have already explained. General Sickles, as well as myself, had been retired by President Grant in order to enable him to accept di in regard to the General's action as President. The letter was not answered promptly, and General Sickles inquired of me if it had been received. New York City, June 21st, 1883. Dear Gene of the time for six or seven weeks, returning for a couple of days twice during the time. General Sickles wrote me a letter on the subject referred to in yours during these absences. Mails accumu