upon any subject which he had mastered, and the moral courage to take upon himself alone the highest responsibility, and to demand full authority and freedom to act according to his own judgment, without interference from anybody, added to his accurate estimate of his own ability and his clear perception of the necessity for undivided authority and responsibility in the conduct of military operations, and in all that concerns the efficiency of armies in time of war, constituted the foundation of that very great character.
When summoned to Washington
to take command of all the armies, with the rank of lieutenant-general, he determined, before he reached the capital, that he would not accept the command under any other conditions than those above stated.
His sense of honor and of loyalty to the country would not permit him to consent to be placed in a false position,—one in which he could not perform the service which the country had been led to expect from him, —and he had the courage to say so in unqualified terms.
These are the traits of character which made Grant
a very great man—the only man of our time, so far as can be known, who possessed both the character and the military ability which were, under the circumstances, indispensable in the commander of the armies which were to suppress the great rebellion.
It has been said that Grant
, like Lincoln
, was a typical American, and for that reason was most beloved and respected by the people.
That is true of the statesman and of the soldier, as well as of the people, if it is meant that they were the highest type, that ideal which commands the respect and admiration of the highest and best in a man's nature, however far he may know it to be above himself.
The soldiers and the people saw in Grant
or in Lincoln
, not one of themselves, not a plain man of the people, nor yet some superior being whom they could not understand, but the personification of their highest ideal of a citizen, soldier, or statesman, a man whose greatness