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him; Comstock had some nominal duties from which he soon requested to be relieved, and ordered to duty as engineer; Dent remained as aide-de-camp with ceremonial functions, and Parker was shortly afterward appointed Commissioner of Indian Affairs. I was assigned a room at the Executive Mansion, where I was to finish my Military History and to have some charge of Grant's unofficial letters for a while; but when I saw the President alone he informed me that he meant to give me the mission to Belgium. He did not wish, however, to appoint me at once, lest it should provoke a charge of favoritism. A few weeks before the 4th of March, as nothing was said by Grant to either Rawlins or Washburne of their future, both became ill. Rawlins went off to Connecticut, and from there it was reported to Grant that he was dying. Grant sent for him and told him he was to be Secretary of War, whereupon Rawlins at once got very much better. But Washburne was ill of the same disease, and to him Gran
Chapter 33: Palace and President. the first country that General Grant visited after leaving England was Belgium. Here he was received as an equal by the sovereign. At Ostend messages met him from the King inquiring when he would arrive at Brussels, and the royal railway carriage was placed at his disposal to convey him tparently as much interested in her companions as any one at table—a bit of fine breeding worthy of a Queen,—or of the wife of an ex-President. But to return to Belgium. The King's visit was made on the day of the dinner, and as such civilities are to be returned immediately General Grant inquired when he and Mrs. Grant could pke the post of Minister to Brussels. I went in to dinner lower down in the line, but I lived at the core of the world instead of on the outside; for Brussels and Belgium exist only by permission of the greater Powers. This sufferance, however, according to European theory, detracts in no degree from the ceremonial importance of t
Canadian towns welcomed him almost as if he had saved their country or led their armies. I met him when he landed in England in 1877, and accompanied him, by permission of the Government, wherever he went in Great Britain. I was with him in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and France. Always he was the same simple, impassive man, the genuine democrat. The compliments of Kings did not disturb him; the adulation offered by whole populations did not elate him unduly that I could ever discern. After his departure from England and his short visit to Belgium he proceeded up the Rhine. At Cologne he was met by two officers of the army sent by the Emperor to welcome him to Germany. He visited the cathedral like any other traveler, and was interested in the villages and the ruins of the Rhine; but he cared more for the fortresses of to-day, for Ehrenbreitstein and the bridge of boats than for the legends and castles of romance. We stopped for a night at Bingen, and after dinne
inally, however, became extremely anxious to receive the nomination. In May I went out to visit him at Galena; but before I reached that place he had arrived at Chicago, at the home of his son, Colonel Grant. At Chicago, I saw him constantly, either at Colonel Grant's house, or more frequently at General Sheridan's headquarters; for his son was on Sheridan's staff. I accompanied him on a visit to Elihu B. Washburne, and dined with him at the house of Russell Jones, his former Minister to Belgium. Both these gentlemen were avowed supporters of General Grant, and in their presence conversation was unrestrained, and the prospects were discussed as freely as they would have been before any other expectant candidate. It was now only a few weeks before the convention, and Grant manifested as much anxiety as I ever saw him display on his own account; he calculated the chances, he counted the delegates, considered how every movement would affect the result, and was pleased or indignan
ndertook the mission. He traveled to London, and explained to Grant the belief of the French republicans that his presence might be made a weapon in favor of the re-actionists. Mrs. Grant was present at the interview. It was she who had hitherto been anxious to visit Paris at this time, but she at once consented to defer her shopping and her sight-seeing, so as to spend the summer in Switzerland and Germany. General Grant accordingly changed his plans, and in a day or two left London for Belgium. His visit to Paris took place some months later. The elections had occurred in the meantime, and the Liberal party had triumphed. If McMahon cherished any of those intentions which afterward brought about his downfall, they were postponed; and it is possible that General Grant's action contributed to the stability of the Republic in France. At least, the greatest of French statesmen at that epoch thought it worth while to commit the mission to Sickles which I have described. Sickle
ngagement, but was unsuccessful; but before I left the White House he offered me the mission to Belgium. In accordance with his suggestion Washington was included in the wedding journey, and the Predo. U. S. Grant. Letter no. Thirteen. Before leaving America I declined the mission to Belgium for personal reasons, which are referred to in the omitted portion of this letter. General Gran to Uruguay and Paraguay, when I preferred to be Consul-General at London; but now he proposed Belgium, and pressed the place on me, even after I had declined it. My appointment was made out and senim a degree; and the City of London presented him with its freedom. Early in July he visited Belgium, and afterward passed up the Rhine to Switzerland and Northern Italy. At Brussels, Frankfort, went on a few hours travel to a little town—I have forgotten the name of it—near the border of Belgium. This was to save a too early start from Metz. The following day to Antwerp where we spent tw
gainst slavery. So some of your statesmen considered it. But that was not the view stated by your Government for some time after the commencement of the war. It was a contest on the part of the North to preserve the Union, and a very legitimate purpose for them to contend for; but upon such a question Englishmen might be allowed, without offense to the United States, to entertain an opinion on one side or the other, as they might have done some years ago as to the separation of Holland and Belgium. I come now to the action of the Government. I will not enter into the question of what the opinions of individual members of the Government may have been, only observing that I do not think the statement in the article is correct. Without going into that question, the material point is, whether the action of the Government as a Government, was unfair or unfriendly to the North. I say for myself, as a member of that Government, that I never from the first moment entertained a shad