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January 1st (search for this): chapter 10
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,
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 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
ing 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 desimined 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 har
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 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 Hou
ngstreet 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 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 wa
rities 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 of March found the city full of weary people, who felt themselves almost too fatigued y 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, 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 outrages. The reckless extravagance practised during the war had
March 5th, 1869 AD (search for this): chapter 10
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 President and Mrs. Grant moved into the White House, March 5, 1869, they consequently found it in a very deplorable 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
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 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 subsid
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. Admiral and Mrs. Porter were among the hospitable entertainers in the city in their handsome home on H Street. Admiral 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.
column of the newspaper contained anything attractive for children. President 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 President and Mrs. Grant. It must be remembered that the Joint High Commission, composed of more distin
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