own messenger appeared, and delivered a message in courteous terms—whether the same the Secretary
had given to him I did not know, but had reason to doubt, for I had seen and heard the Secretary
violently ring a certain bell several times, and then say with great emphasis to his messenger, ‘Go and tell M—to come here,’ not even using the high military title by which ‘M—’ was habitually addressed in the War Department.
But those uncivil methods of an imperfect civilization are gradually passing away, and the more refined courtesies, taught, I believe, in all our great schools as well as in the military and naval service, are taking their place.
It is now a long time since that reform was practically complete in the War Department.
Thus it appeared, when I went into the office in 1888, that of my predecessors in command of the army, Scott
had given up the contest, Sheridan
had been quickly put hors de combat
, while Grant
alone had won the fight, and that after a long contest, involving several issues, in which a Secretary of War
was finally removed from office with the consent of his own personal and political friends, a President was impeached and escaped removal from office by only one vote, and the country was brought to the verge of another civil war. As I had helped Evarts
, and some others whose names I never knew, to ‘pour oil on the troubled waters’ in the time of Grant
, and to get everybody into the humor to respond heartily to that great aspiration, ‘Let us have peace,’ I thought perhaps I might do something in the same direction in later years.
Be that as it might, I had no desire to try again what so many others had failed to accomplish, but thought it better to make an experiment with a less ambitious plan of my own, which I had worked out while trying to champion the ideas entertained by all my predecessors.
At the request of General Grant
and General Sherman
, when the one was