began in April, 1861, and by April, 1864, was the will-power of his country.
But why was such a man still obscure at the age of thirty-nine?
Again his own words give the fundamental explanation: “As
I grow older, I become more indolent, my besetting sin through life.”
This was written in 1873 to his minister to England
, and no truer word ever came from him. Together with the remark about taking Richmond
, it reveals the foundation upon which the whole man was built.
Great will and great indolence met about equally in Grant
; therefore he stood still, needing a push from without to move him. The gun that fired on Sumter
was the push.
Until that day he resembled a large animal hibernating.
To what he did and left undone his other qualities contributed; but these two controlled,--indolence and will.
In their light his story can be plainly read, his portrait clearly seen.