schemers, that reticence was none the less needed, and was as discreetly practised.
If they endeavored to entrap him, they were completely foiled by quiet monosyllables or a blunt change of the topic.
If schemers talked politics to elicit his views, he could “talk horse,” as a subject with which he declared himself more familiar; and it is related that when President Johnson
undertook to find out what he thought of the rumored intention of the Democrats to nominate him for the presidency in order to flank the Republicans, he replied, “I think — this is the poorest cigar I ever smoked.”
As for making speeches, he is utterly averse to doing so; and on many occasions when the people, aroused to enthusiasm by his presence, have called him out, he has in the briefest possible manner thanked them, and excused himself, or called upon some friend to respond for him. There is no danger of his making speeches, under any circumstances, which would compromise himself; but in view of the speech-making of Mr, Johnson
's silence is a virtue more precious than gold.
By his discreet reticence, General Grant
has avoided many embarrassments which a more loquacious and demonstrative man might have experienced in the atmosphere of Washington
; and, in avoiding embarrassments, he has also saved the country from the excitement and alarm which the ever-changing rumors of his sayings and opinions might produce.
But if he knows when to be silent, he knows also when and where, and to whom, he can talk frankly and without reserve.
And his views and opinions thus expressed harmonize fully, and always, with the conduct and acts