At a private dinner-party at Willard's Hotel, given by Charles Gould
, of New York, I met for the first time the Hon. Hugh McCulloch
, then Comptroller of the Currency.
An acquaintance commenced, under circumstances calculated to inspire in me a sentiment of profound respect for this gentleman's character and talents.
I was much interested, a few days afterward, in an
incident in the career of Mr. McCulloch
, given me by the Rev. John Pierpont
, who was an occasional visitor at the studio, and who, in his hale old age, was occupying one of the subordinate positions in the Department.
The desk at which Dr. Pierpont
was occupied was in a room with those of a large number of other clerks, among whom the tall figure and silvery beard of the poet-preacher were very conspicuous.
One day, just after Mr. McCulloch
had entered upon his duties in Washington
, it was announced at the entrance of this room, that the new Comptroller had called to see “Dr. Pierpont
The clerks looked up from their books, and at one another, inquiringly, as Mr. McCulloch
took a seat by the poet's desk.
“I perceive, Dr. Pierpont
,” said he, “that you do not remember me?”
The venerable preacher looked at him a moment, and replied that he did not think he ever had seen him before.
“Oh yes, you have,” returned the Comptroller; “I was a member of — Class, in Cambridge
, in 1833 and ‘34, and used to hear you preach.
Upon leaving the Law School, purposing to take up my residence at the West
, I called upon you and requested one or two letters of introduction to parties in Cincinnati
You gave me two letters, one to a Mr. S-and the other to a Mr. G--, of that city.
Those letters, my dear sir, were the stepping-stones to my fortune.
I have not seen you since; but learning that you were in
, I told my wife, upon leaving home to take the position offered me here, that the first call I made in Washington
should be upon the Rev. John Pierpont
As the Comptroller concluded, Dr. Pierpont
put on his spectacles, and looked at him a moment in silence.
He at length said:--“Why, Mr. McCulloch
, you are the most extraordinary man I ever saw in my life!”
was the reply.
“Why, you have remembered a favor for thirty years.”
told me, on another occasion, that in the prosecution of a duty once assigned him in the Department, he had to review a letter-book, containing correspondence with the different officers of the government.
Among the letters was a private note, written by Secretary Chase
to the Secretary of War
, calling his attention to a complaint, made by the colored people of Cincinnati
, against certain orders, or officers of the War Department.
The letter closed with these words:--
“We cannot afford to lose the support of any part of our people.
One poor man, colored though he be, with God on his side, is stronger against
us than the hosts of the rebellion.”