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[147] what language to employ in writing a letter; but when the moment arrived at which he deemed it necessary to decide for himself, no advice, or clever pleading, or adroit management, could avail to shake him. In a great matter he was absolutely immovable, and sometimes equally so in some apparently trivial one, if he considered that the time had come to make his will obeyed. Then, the people who fancied they were so dexterous, or all-powerful, or indispensable, discovered their mistake; and, though Grant often sought to soothe their chagrin or cover their defeat, he did not swerve from his purpose, when once it was determined.

He was, however, always most averse to giving pain; and it may be that harsh critics will censure him as too long-suffering. He certainly sometimes bore with subordinates who were obstinate, or selfseeking, or unskilful, to a point to which many of his friends could not follow him. Several of the generals whom at various times he displaced, contended that their fault had been condoned, because it was not promptly punished. They had been retained after a defeat, or a blunder, or a culpable negligence, and therefore Grant should not subsequently have condemned them. And there is a certain force in the pleading. He did endure conduct which perhaps he should have put an end to sooner; he continued men in command, who, if not failures, were not successful, and, as chief of the armies, it may have been his strict duty to displace them earlier. But this leniency did not proceed from sheer good-nature or soft-heartedness. He was always sanguine; he hoped that these men would reform their faults or redeem their failures; that they would learn and

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Butler Grant (2)
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