previous next

[496] in the Presidential chair. But no native endowment, or habit of mind, had fitted him for the new and exalted sphere. Incapable either of comprehending the difficulties of his position, of choosing discreet private advisers, or even of listening to their counsels when once chosen, the bull-headed obstinacy of his character found a most welcome field for rioting in the slough of his ignorance and passion.

Familiar only with the stereotype formulas of traditional democracy, and the free slang of the Western stump, he was entirely incompetent to grapple with any problem of statesmanship, or hold his passions in subjection long enough for wise deliberation. He soon found himself plunged into a sea of difficulties. Incapable of retaining his old friends, or of making new ones; possessing no qualities which bound men to him by any stronger ties than office; conscious of a total lack of the dignity which so high an office confers; and knowing that his inferiority became the more conspicuous in contrast with the loftiness of his position; rash and hasty in judgment; too ignorant to know how, and too obstinate to find out when to yield or retreat; he went through his Presidential term with just about as much sagacity and dignity as the proverbial bull goes through a china-shop. What little there was of reputation for him to lose when he went into office, he managed to get rid of pretty quick; and the poor man must at last have felt about as much relieved in getting rid of his party and his office, as they felt in getting rid of him.

But neither his obstinacy nor his ignorance worked any great mischief. The national sentiment was well represented in both Houses of Congress, and gradually the dashing stream of events was washing away the slime of

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: