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Chapter 10:

  • Inauguration of Grant
  • -- the reception and inaugural ball -- choice of the cabinet -- the Cuban question -- clamor against the military element -- Blaine elected speaker -- instance of his marvellous memory and quickness -- General Lee at the White House -- appointment to office of Longstreet, Mosby, and other confederates -- refurnishing the White House -- intimacy between Logan and Grant -- the reconstruction problem -- public scandals -- enormous correspondence of General Logan -- Senator Christiancy's marriage -- cabinet members and their wives.

As the flight of time brought the 4th of March nearer and nearer, committees were formed and the most extensive preparations ever conceived were made for the inauguration of Grant and Colfax. Experts and artists from New York and other large cities were brought to suggest schemes and designs for decorations and the arrangement of the programme.

General Grant being the greatest military hero who had ever been elected President, and there being so many ex-soldiers in Washington at that time from all parts of the country, it was determined that the military display should be greater than it ever had been on previous inaugural occasions. State and local organizations made extensive preparations; everybody in and around the capital city was on the alert for weeks before the 4th of March. The local committees were untiring in their labors. The citizens were most generous in their subscriptions. Consequently, no grander scene could be imagined than was presented, notwithstanding the day was stormy and that it rained very hard at night.

The committee on the part of the Senate was composed of [248] Hon. Richard Yates, of Illinois; A. H. Cragin, of New Hampshire; and T. C. McCreary, of Kentucky. They attended to the details of the arrangements at the Capitol, while the numerous committees for every part of the ceremony succeeded in having everything perfect. The procession was magnificent. It began with the grand marshal, General Alexander S. Webb, and his efficient staff composed of prominent military officers, members of General Grant's staff and others. Then the carriages with the President and Vice-President elect and the committee. Then the outgoing President and the committees, followed by an unusual quota of distinguished officials-judges, senators, governors, ex-senators, ex-governors, and many other noted visitors. Then the various organizations-military, masonic, and civic to the number of thousands, while the numerous bands played martial airs with much enthusiasm. The whole of the space, including the park east of the Capitol, was literally packed with people. The waving banners of the various organizations here and there made it a gay panorama. The usual ceremonies of swearing in the Vice-President by the Chief Justice took place in the Senate chamber at the constitutional hour of twelve o'clock. The Senate chamber was packed to suffocation. The diplomatic corps, in full court dress, presented an imposing appearance, while the galleries were filled to their utmost capacity. Mrs. Grant, her children, and father Colonel Dent, and Mrs. and Miss Matthews, mother and sister of Mr. Colfax, occupied front seats in the reserved galleries. The diplomatic gallery and that reserved for ladies looked brilliant with their complement of well-dressed beautiful women. Every movement was chronicled by the vigilant reporters, who occupied their accustomed places in the gallery reserved for them.

Vice-President Colfax was as pale as death while taking the oath, and seemed deeply moved in assuming the responsibility of the office of Vice-President, and, as he occupied the [249] chair a few moments his pallor became even greater. After Chief Justice Chase had pronounced the last word which made Mr. Colfax the legal Vice-President of the United States, the Senate arose and, preceded by Chief Justice Chase, the President-elect, Vice-President, and Supreme Court, filed out of the Senate chamber in order according to rank through the corridor to the rotunda, and out through the bronze doorway to the platform always erected before the east front of the Capitol for the ceremony of administering the oath to the President by the Chief Justice, and from which the President delivers his inaugural address. The day was inclement, but, as General Grant's address, like most of his state papers, was very short, the people were not long exposed.

Notwithstanding the multitude of people massed in front of them and on every side, so interested were they that absolute silence prevailed. The deep voice of Chief Justice Chase reached to the very outside of the crowd. General Grant's great diffidence almost overwhelmed him, and he could be heard only a few yards from where he stood. No one could have believed that the shrinking, unpretentious man stammering through the well-prepared address had commanded thousands of men and conquered as many more. After the close of the address, and when all within reach had congratulated and. blessed the President many times over, the procession again re-formed and escorted the President to the executive mansion, the bands playing all the triumphant familiar airs they knew. Reaching the White House they were received most formally, without the luncheon and other hospitalities the outgoing President uniformly extends to his successor. General Grant did not remain that night in the White House, but returned to his home on I Street.

The north wing of the Treasury was just nearing completion at that time, so that the committee made arrangements to have the reception and inaugural ball in the new building, occupying all the floors. Immediately over the entrance hall [250] were the reception-rooms of the President, Mrs. Grant, the Vice-President, and the ladies of his family, all communicating, while other rooms furnished ample accommodations for the cloak-room. The magnificent marble or east room was the main dancing-hall. It was furnished and elaborately decorated, as was the whole building. The bronze gallery running round this room made a grand place for the music and spectators. The decorations in this room were the finest of all, the soft tints of the Pyrenees, Siena, Egyptian, Tennessee, and Vermont marbles contrasting exquisitely with the bright colors. The whole effect was superb.

There was a very great crowd, and, but for the solidity of the building and the perfect management it might have been most uncomfortable. About ten o'clock President Grant entered the reception-room assigned him. He was accompanied by Senator Morgan, of New York, and one or two others; Mrs. Grant was escorted by General George H. Thomas. Mr.Colfax and Mrs. Colfax came in together. Horace Greeley, Julia Ward Howe, Governors Jewell of Connecticut, Oglesby of Illinois, Curtin of Pennsylvania, Fenton of New York, and innumerable others, including many army and navy heroes were there, among them that illustrious Illinois soldier Major-General James H. Wilson, whose daring as a cavalry-officer placed him in the front rank of officers of that arm of the service. The capture of President Jefferson Davis, as he was fleeing from Richmond, was the crowning glory of his brilliant career. I remember seeing a group of such men as Porter, Farragut, Du Pont, Dahlgren, and Rogers together, while Generals Sherman, Logan, McDowell, Meade, Burnside, Hancock, Thomas, Sickles, and a host of others recalled the stirring events of the war so recently over. Celebrities from every part of the country were among the numbers who were glad to honor General and Mrs. Grant by their presence, making the inauguration ceremonies of 1869 the most notable up to that time in the history of the Government. The 5th [251] of March found the city full of weary people, who felt themselves almost too fatigued to take their departure for home after the procession, ball, and ceaseless tramping about.

The day before the inauguration an event occurred in General Grant's office in the War Department that few knew about, which reflected great credit upon the generosity of some of our patriotic and worthy citizens. The house occupied by General Grant on I Street had been given him by some friends when he was General of the Army. He was about to move into the executive mansion, many thought for a residence of eight years at least. His successor as General of the Army was the next most renowned soldier of the Union army, General W. T. Sherman. A committee composed of A. T. Stewart, Hamilton Fish, B. F. Field, W. H. Aspinwall, Judge Hilton, Solon Humphrey, and William Scott had been chosen by the subscribers to present this house and the furniture to General Sherman. They had negotiated with General Grant, and had arranged that Mr. Hoyt and General Butterfield should take General Sherman to General Grant's office at an appointed hour. When they all met, the committee handed General Grant sixty-five thousand dollars. He, in exchange, gave them the deeds, bills of sale, and documents, making an absolute conveyance to General Sherman of the property on I Street and all thereunto belonging. Then the committee gave General Sherman the subscription list, informing him that a check for the balance of the subscriptions, in all about one hundred thousand dollars, would be sent to him at an early date. General Grant was delighted that General Sherman was so soon to have the house, and Sherman was completely overcome by the unexpected kindness of his friends. When the little group separated each felt supremely happy, the donors knowing they had done a graceful thing and the recipient feeling that his services had been appreciated. General Sherman lived a longer period probably with his family [252] about him in this house than anywhere else, and enjoyed more uninterrupted pleasure here than in any other house he ever occupied.

In a few days after Grant's inauguration the question of the cabinet was settled by the appointments of Hamilton Fish as Secretary of State, vice Mr. Washburne, who was transferred to the French mission, and of Mr. George S. Boutwell as Secretary of the Treasury, vice Mr. A. T. Stewart, resigned. Notwithstanding the fact that Chief Justice Chase decided that the transfer of his business to trustees made Mr. Stewart eligible, many lawyers held it did not. General Grant, desiring to avoid any technical questions on the subject, accepted Mr. Stewart's resignation, which Mr. Stewart enclosed with the opinion of Chief Justice Chase. General John A. Rawlins, long his faithful adjutant-general in the field and after the war, was made Secretary of War. Adolph Borie, of Philadelphia, was appointed Secretary of the Navy, but occupied that position only a few months. General Jacob D. Cox was made Secretary of the Interior, General John A. Creswell Postmaster-General, and Judge E. R. Hoar Attorney-General.

Everybody applauded these appointments, and the political skies seemed clearer than they had been since the assassination of Mr. Lincoln. Few persons knew that Senator J. F. Wilson, of Iowa, then a member of the House, and one of the impeachment committee, was very strongly urged by President Grant to accept the position of Secretary of State. He even consented at one time to consider the matter favorably, but, subsequently learning that Mr. Washburne desired to name a number of the appointees to the diplomatic service, he reconsidered his promise and declined to have any connection with the cabinet, after which Mr. Fish was chosen at the request of Senator Morgan, Mr. Conkling, and other New York friends of President Grant. Had Mr. Wilson accepted this position, who can tell the effect upon the policy of the administration? Cuba might have been one of our strongest [253] allies and a prosperous republic before the expiration of President Grant's second term.

Upon reflection it will be remembered that very early in Grant's administration the Cuban question came up as one of the most important of the time. I recollect that many earnest and prolonged conferences were held as to the duty of the United States in the matter of the various troubles in that unfortunate island. Mr. Fish bitterly opposed any recognition of Cuba by the United States and finally carried his point, notwithstanding the urgent solicitation of many prominent citizens, senators, and members of Congress to the contrary. General Grant entertained a strong desire for negotiations, but was ever handicapped by the fear of the cry of dictator, knowing that the mercurial temperament of the people all over the country was ready to start such a sensation, should they be given the slightest foundation in the line of any desire for the acquisition of territory.

Upon the appointment of four of his staff to clerical duty in the White House there was another spasmodic outburst of clamor against the military. Generals Porter, Babcock, and Badeau and Colonel Dent were looked upon with much suspicion when it was announced that they were to be secretaries to the President. It was considered most unwise that applicants for appointments should be obliged to file their applications through the executives of the respective departments, who in turn sent them to the President through these secretaries. There was especial sensitiveness on the subject of uniforms being worn about the White House. There were then a great number of officers of the army and navy in Washington, some on duty and some on leave of absence. The mutterings of Congress frightened many of them, who, to avoid attracting attention, secured the passage of a resolution permitting officers on duty or leave in Washington to wear citizens' dress. When the Navy and War Departments presented themselves to President Grant at the White House, [254] there was a large number of distinguished officers in the company that assembled in the east room to pay their respects, which must have made Grant feel that he would be ably sustained by friends whom he had trusted in darker days and who had never been found wanting.

The pressure, unfortunately as great as ever, for appointment in the civil service was the one great drawback to his peace of mind. The applicants would not be satisfied, and kept up their importunities in and out of season. Mr. Wade, who would have been President had Andrew Johnson been impeached, called upon President Grant after he had been in the executive mansion some weeks and congratulated him, and the President replied that he was not sure the Presidency was a thing to be desired, on account of the annoyances that hedged about the incumbent as a result of the impossibility of satisfying the demands of all his friends. Mr. Wade advised him to be master of the situation, to please himself, and to let those who were disappointed murmur as they wished. He said, for himself, he was delighted to go into retirement, and, feeling that he had done his duty faithfully, he had no regrets but that of leaving his friends. The parting between these two men, who had both played so conspicuous a part in national affairs, was most touching.

President Grant was unfortunately situated, because of the number of men whom he knew to be eminently qualified for the various positions, and the comparatively few positions to fill. His cabinet were equally embarrassed in the matter of choosing among the multitude, who came favorably indorsed by men who had been with Grant through the war. Many were the heart-burnings, and, as a matter of fact, many mistakes occurred in the selections that had finally to be made. Subsequent troubles brought upon the administration by the action of these appointees caused President Grant great suffering and vexation of spirit, and involved him in difficulties that it required a long time to outlive. [255]

In the reorganization of the Senate, Reverend J. P. Newman, pastor of the Metropolitan Church, was made chaplain; Mr. George German, of California, was made sergeant-at-arms. Mr. Blaine was re-elected speaker of the House, and immediately confronted a galaxy of as able men as were ever in that body. His first duty was to solve a most difficult problem in assigning the chairmanships of the committees, with such men to choose from as Logan, Garfield, Banks, Schenck, Dawes, Allison, Windom, Holman, Brooks of New York, Williams, Orth, Myers, O'Neil, Shellabarger, Wilson of Indiana, Wilson of Iowa, Butler, Lochridge, Bingham, Stoughton, Paine, Wheeler of New York, Ingersoll, Cook, Cullom, Farnsworth, Frye, Hale, Judd, and a legion too numerous to mention. Mr. Blaine was then young and vigorous, and probably the most promising statesman of the nation. His administration of the speakership was, without doubt, the most brilliant in the history of Congress, spanning the most important epoch of the nation. There were then, perhaps, more critical occasions when the great skill, knowledge, and quick perception of the speaker were necessary to avoid serious trouble than during any other period. Mr. Blaine was ever ready for any emergency, at times displaying diplomacy, tact, and a memory that had been unequalled by any other parliamentarian.

I remember once listening to some debate upon postal matters wherein Tucker, of Virginia, was criticising the action of the post-office authorities for throwing out matter deemed unmailable on account of its political character. Mr. Blaine was in the chair. As quick as a flash he beckoned some one to the chair and took his place on the floor. As soon as Tucker had finished, Mr. Blaine addressed the chair, saying: “If the gentleman from Virginia will permit, I should like to ask him a question.” Mr. Tucker assented. Mr. Blaine continued: “Were you not attorney-general for the State of Virginia during the administration of Henry A. Wise as governor of Virginia, and did not you decide that a postoffice [256] official in the State of Virginia had committed no offence by the destruction of copies of the New York Tribune?” This question Mr. Tucker admitted to be quite true, and thereby lost the whole point of his argument in the case then under discussion. That evening we were dining with Mr. Blaine, and as I sat on his right I remarked to him that I was astonished at his memory. He told me that at the time of Tucker's decision he was publishing a paper up in Maine, and remembered writing an editorial on the subject, but that he had quite forgotten the whole thing, and had never thought of Mr. Tucker being the former attorney-general of Virginia until attracted by his utterances. It flashed through his mind that he must be the man, and, seeing his opportunity to disconcert and defeat him, he determined to make the inquiry. Such remarkable instances of his great ability were of frequent occurrence. Before the close of the first session the House of Representatives had reason to be proud of its speaker and to congratulate itself upon having elected James G. Blaine.

Immediately after the inauguration ex-President Johnson returned to his home in Tennessee, where in a speech he repeated his eulogy upon himself and his anathemas against the Republican party. Mr. Seward returned to Auburn, New York, where he spoke in glowing terms of President Grant, prophesying that his administration would be a blessing to the country. The remainder of Mr. Johnson's cabinet went to their respective homes. In a brief time everything was adjusted to the change of administration and the affairs of the nation proceeded as if nothing had occurred.

Among the callers at the White House soon after the occupancy by President Grant and his family was General Robert E. Lee, who came to Washington to visit his wife's kinswoman, Mrs. Kennon, of Tudor Place, Georgetown. Mrs. Kennon was the niece of George Washington Parke Custis, father of Mrs. Lee, and occupied for many years her home in [257] Georgetown. Her husband was on board the ill-fated Princeton at the time of the explosion of the Stockton gun during Tyler's administration, when so many distinguished persons who were members of the excursion party lost their lives. The greeting between Lee and Grant was very cordial, but General Lee could not have been otherwise than embarrassed; hence he remained but a short time.

One of the first appointments made by President Grant was that of General James Longstreet as surveyor of the port of New Orleans as a recognition of the reconstructed Confederates. They were warm personal friends, the memory of their happy days at West Point having survived the stormy days of warfare, and President Grant desired to show his magnanimity and good faith in his wish to encourage those lately in rebellion to renew their loyalty to the government. General Longstreet, who had nobly stuck to a bad cause, and more nobly acknowledged his error when defeated, was therefore a fitting representative of his section. General Longstreet has since occupied other honorable positions and always to the credit of himself and the United States. I saw not long since in the newspapers a most interesting description of a banquet given in Atlanta, where a meeting between General Sickles and General Longstreet was the initiative of a most enthusiastic and delightful reunion of survivors of the two great armies. The speeches were eloquent, the music fine, and the picture of Sickles and Longstreet clasped in each other arms, with tears trickling down their cheeks, must have touched the sternest hearts. General Mosby was appointed by President Grant, as also a number of others. Thus the great conqueror became the great benefactor of those whom he had conquered, and was the first to inaugurate sectional harmony and the rebuilding of the devastated Southern States, culminating recently in the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, July I, 2, and 3, 1863, by a reunion of the Blue and the Gray, furnishing a spectacle never before [258] witnessed in any other country. The policy of General Grant doubtless opened the way for the reunited country which exists to-day, and it is not too much to say that the nation owes General Grant a debt of gratitude, not only for his brilliant military achievements, but for his wisdom and magnanimity which won back to the Union those who were in rebellion against its preservation.

The White House at that time was not what it is to-day. During the Civil War Mr. Lincoln permitted every one who desired to see him, whether through curiosity, friendliness, or on business, to have free access to the executive mansion, and as a result the wear and tear on everything in the house was something frightful. The excitement which attended Mr. Lincoln's assassination brought great throngs, who were not refused admission to pay their respects to the sacred remains of the dead while they lay in state in the east room. When Mr. Johnson and his family succeeded Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln in the staid old mansion they found everything in a shabby condition. Be it said to the credit of Mrs. Patterson, who directed Mr. Johnson's household affairs, that she did the best she could to make the White House habitable without occasioning great expense to the Government. She had the carpets, curtains, and upholstery cleaned, remade, and put in place with as much economy as if she had been paying the bill out of her own purse. The style of furniture, draperies, etc., was out of date, and was never beautiful in either style or color. The dear lady could not accomplish very much with the small appropriation that was made for the repairs in the White House. Congress had at that time a very different idea of the necessities of the home of the President from the one it holds to-day. Americans had not arrived at an appreciation of the gorgeousness of European palaces and the requisites of the home of the ruler of the country. When PresidentGrant and Mrs. Grant moved into the White House, March 5, 1869, they consequently found it in a very deplorable [259] condition, to say nothing of its hideous appearance. I remember well the bright green curtains with gay trimming which used to hang in the state dining-room. Congress was more generous in its appropriation for the repairs necessary at this time than it had been previously. General 0. E. Babcock was authorized to negotiate for many changes, refurnishing and redecorating during the summer of 1869.

The relations between General Logan and President Grant were so intimate that we were constantly summoned to the White House for formal and informal dinners, lunches, and receptions. I was very familiar with the economies and efforts of Mrs. Grant to utilize everything that could be retained in the executive mansion, and to make it as attractive with as little expense as possible. General Babcock had exquisite taste, and had a wonderful ability in the line of duty to which he had been assigned. Mrs. Grant was so gentle, so kind, and so gracious to every one, that she doubtless received more people than any of her predecessors. She was the same thoughtful, generous, devoted wife and mother, whose gentleness and loyalty to her family and friends made her equally beloved with her husband by the whole nation. After General Grant's election to the Presidency, and their final establishment in the White House, she was still the unpretentious, sincere friend of the unfortunate. Among the first guests invited to the executive mansion were her old associates whom she had known in her early days of adversity. Nothing she could do for these dear friends, who had been so much to her before fortune had smiled upon them, seemed onerous. Her only grief was that the President could not provide each one of the many with lucrative positions, and thereby improve their conditions in life. Many sought her aid, and were never turned away impatiently. She at least made an appeal for them. Every member of President Grant's cabinet had stories to tell of Mrs. Grant's kind heart. Every Christmas the asylums, hospitals, and charitable institutions [260] in Washington received donations from Mrs. Grant, while the members of her family and her friends and their children were most generously remembered. She was the veritable “Lady bountiful” in more than one household. Her greatest fault, if she had faults, was her extreme leniency. She could never discipline either her servants or her children, her kind heart always suggesting some excuse for misdemeanors or neglect of duty. She was never so happy as when planning entertainments and indulgences for her children and their multitude of friends. The basement of the White House was reserved for the boisterous games of the boys who were always with “Buck” and Jesse, Fred, the elder, being then at West Point. Nellie, with her companions, had full sway on the upper floor. Scarcely a Saturday passed without a large theatre-party of children from the White House and the homes of the cabinet officers, especially if the amusement column of the newspaper contained anything attractive for children.

PresidentGrant and Mrs. Grant entertained constantly. There were always guests staying in the house, for whom entertainments were given. They were especially fond of having young people with them. They entertained more distinguished people and scions of royalty than any other occupants of the White House. Among them were the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl de Grey, Lord Northcote, and the young Prince Arthur of England, the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, King Kalakaua of Hawaii, and the first Japanese and Chinese ministers after the signing of the Burlingame treaty. We were present at the state dinners and receptions tendered these celebrities, and have since sat at the table of royalty more than once, and are proud to say that in no wise did the latter surpass in bounty, elegance, and good taste the entertainments of PresidentGrant and Mrs. Grant.

It must be remembered that the Joint High Commission, composed of more distinguished men than had ever served on [261] such a commission, was in session in Washington during that winter. The usual official state dinner was given, of course, but, in addition to that, PresidentGrant and Mrs. Grant gave a reception in honor of Earl de Grey and his associates. Mrs. Grant was assisted by Mrs. Sharpe, Miss Washburne, Miss Pelt, and myself. The appointments of this reception surpassed anything that had previously been given in the White House. Lady Thornton, with her tall, spare figure and dignified dress, accompanied the aristocratic Lady MacDonald, whose brunette complexion and dark hair were in striking contrast with the blond hair and fair complexion of her chaperon, Lady Thornton. In contrast to them was the superb figure of Madame Catacazy, magnificently dressed and crowned with that beautiful head of hair for which she was so generally admired.

The whole Diplomatic Corps, the judges of the Supreme Court, members of the Senate, the House, and many other official dignitaries were in attendance on this rare occasion. The press was represented by Horace Greeley, David A. Wells, Horace White, Samuel Bowles, Charles Nordhoff of the Herald, Sands, Minturn, Marshalls, Halstead, Samuel Read, Gobright, Benjamin Perley Poore, and John W. Forney. The usual number of senators and representatives were in attendance, also a large contingent of the army and navy.

A few evenings later Hon. Zachary Chandler, of Michigan, who occupied one of the most beautiful homes in Washington, on H Street between Fourteenth and Fifteenth, gave a very large reception to the commission, many of the persons above enumerated being among the guests who were glad to honor our British friends. Members of the cabinet also gave dinners and receptions in honor of the commission, all of which were brilliant affairs, and must have made a very favorable impression upon the British members, as the son of Lord Northcote subsequently married Miss Edith Fish, daughter of Secretary Fish. [262]

Neither the President nor Mrs. Grant could ever have been considered a fine conversationalist; no one, however, partook of their hospitality who was not charmed by them both, because of their sincere and unpretentious cordiality. President Grant was full of sly fun, and particularly enjoyed a joke at Mrs. Grant's expense, and often perpetrated one himself. Her frankness and pronounced opinions frequently gave him opportunity to turn what might sometimes have proved an embarrassing situation, particularly when her views were in contravention to those of a guest or host, Mrs. Grant never remembering individual characteristics or histories. Her noble nature would never have permitted her to wound any one, but she often failed to remember that Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so had been twice married, were or were not temperance leaders, Protestants, or Catholics, and of such other personal tastes or opinions as to make it dangerous to express oneself too frankly. The President at such times would lead her on to her own undoing, and then chuckle over her embarrassment, as one has seen brothers do when teasing their sisters. The absolute harmony of their domestic lives was ideal. The boasted domestic bliss of our ancestors in the early days of the republic furnishes no history of a happier or more united pair than the General and Mrs. Grant.

From the hour of Grant's entering upon his duties as the President of the United States the political caldron began to boil; and, while the Republican party which had elected him was greatly in the majority, there were the same rivalries among men that have always existed, and the same vexatious problems in regard to national affairs which had to be settled.

Reconstruction of the States late in rebellion was, by no means, the smallest of these problems. Smarting under the whip of adversity and failure, the people of the South naturally resented the advent of Northern men into the Southern States. They resented the tendency of these men to occupy representative positions when the majority of the support of [263] their ambitions was the colored race, so lately the slaves of these same Southerners. The colored men themselves were not without ambitions and were numerically in a majority in many localities, and this majority was greatly increased by the disenfranchisement of those lately in rebellion. Therefore they became candidates for representative positions, as well as places of trust. Conflict between these two elements was inevitable, and waxed hotter and hotter in the States where the negroes were in greatest numbers.

It may have come from prejudice acquired in my youth in regard to the colored race, but I must confess that when I first visited Richmond, and, on going into the Capitol, saw the negro members of the House and Senate of the Virginia legislature occupying the places that were once filled by the great men of Virginia, the spectacle was repulsive to me. I could readily understand that a true Virginian could not do otherwise than resent the conditions that had brought about such a situation. The debris and the desecration that had almost destroyed that beautiful capitol made one heart-sick, and I turned away with unspeakable disgust and the feeling that it would take a much longer time than it really has taken to adjust political affairs in the late Confederate States.

The tragedies of the early days of reconstruction are matters of history, and are not a part of my story. I make this digression to recall the chaos which confronted President Grant, who had had previously no sort of experience in legislative or executive affairs beyond those of a military character. Reports of outrages in almost every State south of the Mason and Dixon line, the evident wrong on both sides, and the responsibility for the protection of human life weighed heavily upon the chief executive. Grant appreciated that he was without power to issue orders as he had done when he was in command of a great army.

All the winter of 1869-70 we were subject to daily startling reports of public scandals, defalcations, and high-handed [264] outrages. The reckless extravagance practised during the war had so demoralized the money-making people of the country that they were ready to organize any sort of scheme out of which they could expect a fortune. In addition to this, many men who had lately been in the service had gone West and were undertaking stupendous enterprises for the development of the then Far West. They were asking subsidies from Congress to build railroads and carry on various projects that would expedite the advancement of the new States and Territories west of the Mississippi River. President Grant was so trustful of his friends that he was oftentimes greatly deceived and placed by charlatans in unenviable positions. Contractors whose occupation was gone had to turn their attention from furnishing supplies for a great army to industrial undertakings which had to be watched to avoid criticism and national scandals.

General Logan was then a member of the House, and having been elected commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a representative-at-large from the State of Illinois, he had an innumerable constituency who made insatiable demands upon him. It required all of his time and much of my own to attend to his correspondence and to obtain information from the Treasury Department in regard to finances, customs, revenues, and the various branches of the Government that belong to the Treasury Department. From the War Department he had to obtain information about military affairs, the army, and the various military posts throughout the country; from the Navy Department, about the navy, its organization, the position of the various squadrons, and personal information as to the whereabouts and condition of the officers and seamen; from the Department of Justice, the information to answer all sorts of inquiries as to prisoners and the possibility of having them pardoned, and personal inquiries as to the condition of cases being prosecuted by the Government. From the Interior Department he had to find out [265] about back pay and pensions and the various tracts of land subject to entry under the Government; also all about Indian reservations, Indian posts, and other important facts in reference to the various tribes of Indians. From the Department of Agriculture General Logan had to secure information in regard to agriculture and horticulture, the cultivation of our rich farming lands, as well as the distribution of seeds, plants, and agricultural reports; from the Smithsonian Institution, all sorts of information in regard to scientific matters. General Logan was also supposed to obtain for his clients what they wished to know in regard to fish and fisheries and the furnishing of spawn for the planting of the streams with the various fish that would thrive in the waters of certain localities. All this, together with the extensive personal correspondence of his constituents and the members of the Grand Army of the Republic of the whole nation, made a stupendous task which was not lightened in those days by stenography and typewriting. Many of General Logan's correspondents were grossly insulted if it were intimated that any of these letters were written by a clerk. They were supposed to be written by General Logan himself.

To satisfy these unreasonable demands, I cultivated the art of counterfeiting the general's penmanship and signature, so that many thought they were receiving letters from the general which I had written out and signed. In fact, the general had only time to sign the most important ones, and I must not forget to add that a voluminous correspondence was going on all the time in regard to local political affairs.

More than once we appreciated that “brevity is the soul of wit,” especially when these correspondents were rather long-winded. I remember one letter, which we took the trouble to measure, was written in a very close, fine hand on foolscap paper. When pasted end to end it reached the incredible length of thirty feet by actual measurement.

So intimate were the relations between General Logan and [266] his constituents and the members of the Grand Army of the Republic that they thought he could accomplish everything which they desired. Not infrequently they had to be disappointed, and to reconcile them at long range to their disappointment and hold their friendship required skilful diplomacy which often taxed one's strict adherence to the truth.

We had removed from Willard's Hotel into a large brownstone house which formerly stood near the corner of New York Avenue and Fourteenth Street. Thus we were very near the White House. General Butler's residence on I Street, Zachary Chandler's on H Street, Speaker Blaine's in the row on Fifteenth Street between H and I Streets, General Garfield's near the corner of I and Thirteenth Streets, made it convenient for these dignitaries to come to our house, or have General Logan go to theirs, to consult in regard to many important measures before Congress. These consultations were often held after an informal dinner in one house or another, and were most delightful affairs. After dinner the gentlemen retired to the library or parlor, and there could indulge in the freest possible expression of views on public affairs without the fear of interruption or of the omnipresent newspaper reporter.

It may be imagination, but from knowledge of the way in which affairs are handled at the present time I believe that public men really gave more time to their public duties then than they do now. I further believe that there were fewer instances when members and senators paired with other members and senators and went to attend to their personal affairs during the session of Congress. I know one thing, that General Logan was so conscientious in regard to his duties as a representative and senator that he rarely absented himself from the halls of Congress unless he was confined to our home by illness. It was an unusual thing to hear that it was impossible to have a quorum in the House or Senate on account of [267] absentees who had to be summoned by the sergeant-at-arms before the public business could proceed.

General Butler was then a member of the House. He used frequently to boast of his great friendship for Grant and at the same time insist that he ran the administration. President Grant facetiously said to a friend one day: “I understand that Butler thinks that he runs the administration. He comes up here with a dozen names for some appointment, and I can not see my way clear to give him more than one of the number for which he asks. After explaining all this to him, he goes away very well satisfied. It is a very different thing with Logan. He comes here with a dozen names which he wishes me to appoint to positions, and, after listening to his pleas and demands for some time, I try to provide for at least ten or eleven. Generally, he goes off with ten or eleven appointments, and I hear that he tells his friends he is sorry he has no influence with the Grant administration.”

President Grant had as much confidence in General Logan in politics as he had in military affairs, and when he was worried over anything he generally sent for him to come to the White House to talk over issues in Congress which were under consideration.

There were a few men who had been conspicuous in the Confederacy, either in the army or in Mr. Davis's cabinet, who had been elected to represent their people either in the House or Senate. They had not lost any of their Southern fire or prejudice, and occasionally indulged in the most violent criticisms of the Grant administration and of officers in command of posts in the South. Grant knew that he could always depend upon General Logan's coming to the rescue, and more than once General Logan came home in a great state of excitement after having defended the administration or some officer who was in command of a military post in the South.

Mrs. Grant was ably supported on all social occasions by [268] Mrs. Matthews and Mrs. Colfax, the mother and the wife of Vice-President Colfax. Both Mrs. Matthews and Mrs. Colfax were charming, graceful women who appreciated their position and the obligation they owed to the people who had elevated Mr. Colfax to the second highest position within their gift. They realized that, should anything happen to President Grant, Mr. Colfax, by provision of the Constitution, would slip into the very highest position in the land. They were untiring in their efforts to be agreeable. They not only gave the social functions required of the Vice-President, but many more, because of their extensive acquaintanceship with people from every State in the Union, Mr. Colfax having previously been speaker of the House of Representatives.

The majority of the ladies of the cabinet were eminently fitted to grace their positions as wives of cabinet officers. Mrs. Hamilton Fish, of New York, as the leading lady of the cabinet, was one of the most superb women of her time. In imagination I can see her to-day as she appeared on all occasions, the personification of dignity, graciousness, and cordiality. Her manner put the timid at ease, and restrained the overpresumptuous. Notwithstanding her age, she was so vigorous mentally and physically that every one considered her much younger than she really was. Her style of dress was regal without the slightest suggestion of inappropriateness. She had mastered the.manual of etiquette in her youth, and found, when she came to Washington, there was nothing new for her to learn, except the relative rank of officials and the Diplomatic Corps at the national capital. Her experience as a member of the best society and as the wife of Hamilton Fish, in the various positions he had held in the State of New York, fitted her to preside over the home of the Secretary of State. She was ably assisted by her daughters, Mrs. Benjamin and Miss Edith Fish, subsequently Mrs. Northcote, wife of the son of Lord Northcote. Mrs. Fish was punctilious in [269] the observance of all the duties of the wife of the Secretary of State and next in rank to the wife of the Vice-President.

One morning Washington was thrown into a spasm of horror over the stigma brought upon society by the marriage of Senator Christiancy, of Michigan, to an obscure young German girl occupying an insignificant position in one of the departments. The disparagement between their ages and positions being considered appalling, a tremendous hubbub was raised. Senators' wives were indignant and vowed ostracism of the poor, unfortunate girl who dared to enter the sacred social senatorial circle as the wife of a man old enough to be her father, if not her grandfather.

Never a word came from Mrs. Fish, the recognized leader in social affairs. Mrs. Grant's position being fixed by Thomas Jefferson, the author of “Etiquette at the American Court,” was not supposed to venture as to what was to be done with the offender against the dignity of the senatorial coterie.

While the excitement was waxing hotter and hotter, Mrs. Fish's carriage stopped at our door one Thursday morning at about ten-thirty o'clock. The footman came to the door, rang the bell, and handed Mrs. Fish's card to our servant, the footman saying: “Mrs. Fish's compliments to Madame Logan, and Mrs. Fish will be obliged if Madame Logan will grant her an interview about an important matter.” I directed the servant to have Mrs. Fish shown into the parlor at once, and I came down to greet her, as I was naturally flattered by so early a call from Mrs. Fish, whom I honored and loved. She made quite sure we were alone, and then said: “I have come to talk to you about the Christiancy affair.”

I replied: “Dear Mrs. Fish, I shall be delighted to follow you in the matter,” her motherly smile assuring me that no ill boded the poor little unsophisticated victim of remorseless criticism and injustice. She then said: “I am glad you will agree to join me in a quiet vindication of the inoffensive girl who has been so mercilessly criticised. I want you to go [270] with me this afternoon (senatorial day) to call on Mrs. Christiancy, and, if she is not too frightened and will see us, we will simply pay her the respect due a senator's wife, saying nothing about the excitement, invite her to call on us, and come away.” I said: “I shall be glad to go with you, notwithstanding the fact that it is Mrs. Christiancy's place to call on me first. She probably does not know her duty, and I am sure will be grateful for the recognition.”

We went to call about four o'clock and found Mrs. Christiancy in very unpretentious quarters, evidently much embarrassed by the notoriety which had been given her on account of Senator Christiancy's position as United States senator. She was a shrinking, modest young woman, who betrayed the fact that she was as guileless as a child. As soon as she recovered from her shyness, her face brightened up, and with innate grace she expressed her gratitude for the honor done her. After the announcement that Mrs. Fish had called on Mrs. Christiancy, and that SenatorChristiancy and Mrs. Christiancy had dined with SecretaryFish and Mrs. Fish, no further adverse comments were made about the incongruous marriage of the doty senator.

Mrs. and Miss Boutwell, the wife and daughter of the Secretary of the Treasury, were plain, New England women of great refinement and reticence. The Boutwells then lived in a noted boarding-house on Twelfth Street, kept by the no less noted Mrs. Rines, where many of the most distinguished men of the nation and their families lived for years. There were few millionaires in official life in the ‘60's. Apartment houses were unknown. A majority of officials and their families lived in more or less pretentious boarding-houses and paid quite as extravagant prices for their rooms and board as are paid for the far more comfortable apartments of to-day. They had not the privacy and convenience offered by the furnished housekeeping apartments, now so numerous.

General John A. Rawlins, Secretary of War, lived in a modest [271] house on the corner of M and Twelfth Streets. Mrs. Rawlins, like her husband, had very poor health. They had four children, the care of whom occupied much of Mrs. Rawlins's time.

George M. Robeson, of Trenton, New Jersey, was appointed Secretary of the Navy. He was a widower at the time of his appointment, but afterward married Mrs. Aulick, widow of Commodore Aulick. Mr. Robeson rented a commodious house on K Street, formerly occupied by Secretary Stanton, of Mr. Lincoln's cabinet. Both the Secretary and Mrs. Robeson were fond of society and understood the art of entertaining royally. They had travelled extensively and had always lived handsomely. Mr. Robeson was a veritable bon vivant. Soon after the 1st of January they began a series of entertainments which were long remembered by the fortunate guests who were honored by invitations to them. Later on Secretary Robeson built a large house on Sixteenth Street, where they continued their lavish entertainments. While Secretary Robeson was Secretary of the Navy, reverses overtook these hospitable people, and the auctioneer's voice was heard in the drawing-room, library, dining-room, and chambers of this pretentious home, crying: “Who bids?” for this, that, or the other many valuable treasures that the Secretary and Mrs. Robeson had collected. SecretaryRobeson and Mrs. Robeson, like legions of others who live for a period in Washington society, finally passed on with none of the multitude whom they had entertained following them in their exit, when the clouds of adversity had overshadowed their pathway.

General George Williams, of Oregon, was appointed Attorney-General, greatly to the delight of his beautiful and ambitious wife, whose elevation from obscurity on the frontier to the wife of a United States senator had inspired her with an ambition which was destined to be her undoing. They moved into a large house on Rhode Island Avenue, near Connecticut Avenue, close to where Saint Matthew's church now stands. [272] In this gorgeously furnished house they lived in great splendor, notices appearing daily in the newspapers describing Mrs. Williams's rich gowns and elaborate social functions. Mrs. Williams became so elated over her sway that she undertook to change the time-honored rules of etiquette at the national capital. She induced Mrs. Grant to call the ladies of the cabinet together in the White House to consider the changes she deemed necessary. At the same time Mrs. Grant insisted that it was foolish and could not be done, but gratified Mrs. Williams's whim by calling the ladies together for a confidential talk about social affairs. The majority, in fact all but Mrs. Williams, agreed with Mrs. Grant that they had no power to change Jefferson's code of official etiquette. Mrs. Williams said she, for one, would not make the first call on the families of senators. She very unwisely so informed many of the senators' wives and insisted they must call first on her, as the wife of the Attorney-General. This provoked the indignation of the senatorial ladies and many of their husbands, among them Senator Matthew H. Carpenter, of Wisconsin.

Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase died, and General Williams's name, on account of his ability as a jurist and man of high character, was sent to the Senate as the proposed successor of Mr. Chase. The moment the Senate went into executive session Senator Carpenter made a violent speech against the confirmation of General Williams's name, making many charges against Mrs. Williams, accusing her of numberless peccadilloes, acceptance of presents without General Williams's knowledge from persons who had cases before the Department of Justice, presumption, and other undesirable qualities in the person of the wife of the Chief Justice. General Williams's confirmation was defeated, the real trouble originating in Mrs. Williams's arrogance toward the wives of senators who joined Carpenter in his determination to humiliate Mrs. Williams. Therefore, notwithstanding General Williams's masterly ability and distinguished [273] statesmanship, they eventually retired under the whips of outrageous criticism.

Mr. Columbus Delano, of Ohio, was made Secretary of the Interior. Mr.Delano and Mrs. Delano were wholesome, ingenuous people. They appreciated the honor which had been conferred upon Mr. Delano by his appointment as a member of President Grant's cabinet. It is possible that Mr. Delano was too honest a man to contend with the insidious cormorants who have ever besieged the Interior Department and, like many of his predecessors and successors, was unable to escape the entanglements of scandals that have ever pursued the Secretary of the Interior. Mrs. Delano was a motherly, unassuming, loyal wife and mother, who made no attempt to introduce changes in the mode of etiquette in Washington. She tried to conform to all the rules laid down for the members of the cabinet and their families. She gave all the entertainments, discharged all the duties supposed to be obligatory upon the ladies of cabinet officers' households, and into them she put real hospitality and pleasure. She extended a hearty welcome to her callers, repaid their visits as soon as she could, and acknowledged every courtesy extended her with a grace born of innate refinement.

The latter-day ungracious manner of receiving calls, and the almost universal custom of returning visits by sending cards through the mail or by footmen, was almost unknown. If the ladies of the cabinet and the wives of other officials felt it a tax upon their strength and time to receive callers once a week, they never made themselves disagreeable by expressing their distaste for their duties.

General Horace Capron, of Illinois, was chosen commissioner of the Agricultural Bureau, then a bureau of the Interior Department. General Capron, in addition to his fitness for the position on account of his knowledge of agriculture, hailing as he did from the great Prairie State with its wonderful agricultural resources, was a most accomplished and [274] patriotic man, who soon elevated the bureau and its important work to a high place on the list of bureaus, and, doubtless by the methods he introduced, paved the way for its becoming a department. Mrs. Capron was a lovely woman. Their house on N Street, near the corner of Twelfth, became worthy of being added to the official list. Their receptions were largely attended, proving their popularity. During the visit of the Japanese embassy at this time it was discovered that the Japanese visitors were really a commission sent to secure teachers and agents from every department of the Government to go to Japan to teach the Japanese Western civilization. The Japanese also desired to learn data connected with every phase of a republican government, as well as finance, agriculture, and various industries.

General Capron accepted an appointment under the Japanese Government, and went to Japan to teach them agriculture. Many other Americans returned with the visitors to engage in initiating these Orientals in American methods of doing things, which probably partly accounts for the rapid advancement of the Japanese.

Hon. John A. Creswell, of Maryland, was appointed Postmaster-General. He was an eminent lawyer, and his administration of the Post-Office Department was the most successful of any up to that time. He was a man of ambitions, and his beautiful house on the corner of Eighteenth and I Streets is still the property of Mrs. Creswell. In this palatial home General and Mrs. Creswell gave superb dinners and receptions, and extended to all of their guests a warm welcome. General Creswell had occupied a prominent position in the State of Maryland; therefore Mrs. Creswell had much experience in the matter of entertaining, and, being a person of unusual amiability and charm, won the admiration of every one.

Every member of the cabinet and his family delighted to carry out all the usual schedule of social affairs, and, as the city was full of visitors from every city in the Union, it was [275] probably as brilliant a winter as ever was passed in Washington. I can not think that it is an imagination when I say that all officials of the Government worked more assiduously than they do to-day. It might have been because of the fact that there were all sorts of matters that had to be attended to promptly. Absenteeism from the cabinet or any other branch of the Government was a very rare thing, and I shall always believe that every one did his part nobly. But for the jealousies and political rivalries, it would have been one of the most delightful winters ever known in Washington.

AdmiralPorter and Mrs. Porter were among the hospitable entertainers in the city in their handsome home on H Street. AdmiralDahlgren and Mrs. Dahlgren were for some time at the navy-yard. Mrs. Dahlgren, with her genial disposition, literary taste, and unusual intelligence, made their entertainments among the most popular in the city. The receptions of Professor Henry, of the Smithsonian Institution, and his interesting family were especially charming, as they had something out of the usual to show from the wonderful scientific collections under his supervision. Hon. Alexander and Mrs. Shepherd gave lavish entertainments. I regret that space forbids a more extensive description and enumeration of social affairs which were once so attractive in Washington.

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