During his stormy period of civil administration, Grant
was like a landsman tossing upon an angry sea who makes his port by virtue of the natural drift of the winds and tides rather than through his skill in navigation.
The policies President Grant
advocated during his two terms of office were sound, and if he did not show the politician's skill in availing himself of the varying winds of popular sentiment, he did exhibit a statesmanlike comprehension of the measures promotive of the best interests of the country.
Refusing to be misled by the financial heresies of his time, in spite of the fact that they were advocated by a powerful faction in his own party, he took an uncompromising stand in his first inaugural in favor of paying the public debt in the currency of the world, and vetoed the bill to increase the issues of the simulacrum of coin, of merely local value.
He reduced taxation and promoted economy in Government expenditures and reform in the civil service.
He improved the condition of our Indian wards; he was a sincere friend of Mexico
, against which he had fought in his youth; he strove to cultivate good relations with the Orientals, and he established our intercourse with England
upon the firm foundations of the treaty of Washington
How strange, how eventful, how checkered a career was this of the chief soldier of the Republic
Thirty-two years of unconscious preparation for a great career in the bucolic experiences of his youth, in his training at the Military Academy and in war, followed by seven years of a life which taught the bitterest lessons of humility and self-abnegation.
Next, a rapid advance to a position which made him during more than twenty years a chief among those upon whom the attention of the world was focused; then a further descent into the valley of misfortune, until the final heroic struggle with the conqueror of us all once more centered upon him the affectionate interest of his countrymen and the sympathetic attention of the world.