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the third, say on the tariff or our foreign relations; and by the time I got through with the last I could return to the first stenographer and resume the subject, and so until the end in steady alternation.
Slidell was inexpressibly amused, and remained a long time. Since that day "short-hand," like most other things, has become a sort of science, and is taught in our colleges and schools as one of the ingredients of a complete education. It is amazing how quickly these men of the " ravenous pen" profit by experience. The most distinguished of them, at least among my acquaintance, are John J. McElhone, head of the U. S. House reporters at Washington; Dennis Murphy, chief of the U. S. Senate reporters at Washington; James B. Sheridan, of New York; and Joseph I. Gilbert and G. B. P. Ringwalt, of Philadelphia. The rapidity, accuracy, and industry of these men are absolutely amazing, and they acquire a vast fund of information in taking down from others their varied stores of learning. Such a short-hand writer as McElhone, with ready wit, tenacious memory, and large reading outside his work, could draw some striking pictures of the men he knew and the scenes he witnessed during the last twenty-five years.
But, to return to the campaign of 1856. We had a tough fight to elect Mr. Buchanan President; and, after all, though he faltered in his faith, and finally lost his great opportunity, there was some compensation in the fact that we got through by fair play and hard work. There is something cheering in a great political struggle when you feel that you are fighting for a principle, and not for a mere party, and, above all, when you are not forced into personalities with your adversary. Scandal never helps, but invariably hurts. In 1838, when David R. Porter was the Democratic candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, his opponents circulated a story of his connection with a celebrated woman, and from that hour his success was assured. It was a close fight until that circumstance was introduced into
the scene. It fired Porter's friends with indignation, and disgusted all his honorable enemies, and his election was his full vindication. So, too, when Mrs. Eaton's name was associated with that of General Jackson. Nobody thinks now of Alexander Hamilton's affair with Mrs. Reynolds. Buchanan did not escape in 1856, but it stands to the credit of the Republican leaders that they refused to pay any attention to attacks on his private character.
We had a choice set of public speakers in Pennsylvania in that struggle. Among these able and accomplished men was Howell Cobb, of Georgia, altogether a most genial, magnetic, and straightforward fellow. He was not much of a lawyer, but a very adroit and attractive politician, not so witty as he was versatile and plausible. He and John Hickman travelled together in company in the Chester Valley, demanding fair play in Kansas, and nobody drew larger audiences than the wholesouled Georgian. We also had Reverdy Johnson, who died a few years since at a great age, who came over with the Old-line Whigs, and made a speech at Concert Hall. Josiah Randall, a leader of the same school, a contemporary of Clay, Webster, and General Taylor, produced a great impression by his vigorous and impassioned eloqence. Colonel William E. Preston, of Kentucky, still living at Louisville, will easily be recalled by his handsome figure and finished rhetoric. Ex-Governor William Smith, of Virginia, also headed the Buchanan column, and did good service by his peculiar Southern style. My committeeroom, where all the men met, was a social as well as a political headquarters. Many a joke and pleasant dinner we enjoyed before the fight was over. Our organization was perfect; and, as I was complete master of the situation, and never called the committee together, but acted entirely upon my own responsibility, the work proceeded without jarring. I was surrounded with friends, and, as my whole heart was in the canvass and I had no axes to grind, Mr. Buchanan's election was my all
great deal of money, but not When the new Administration
sufficient reward. We spent a one cent selfishly or corruptly. was inaugurated, I was "dead broke," having contributed all my personal means to the cause of my favorite.
During this heated campaign, certainly one of the most exciting in modern times, I maintained friendly relations with most of the prominent men on the other side, meeting them in society at frequent intervals; and, I am quite sure, there was hardly a word spoken or a line written with my approval that was not courteous and decorous. One of our chief agencies was, of course, Mr. Buchanan's promise that there should be no interference against the people of Kansas; but next to that was a system of general and liberal advertising. In this way I think we obtained great advantage over our opponents, by soothing the asperities of the leading newspapers, and by showing that we were anxious to reach their own large audiences. The present accomplished editor of The Ledger, Wm. V. McKean, was for several months the private secretary of Mr. Buchanan, and contributed considerably to the result. ExAttorney-general Jeremiah S. Black was one of the readiest and most powerful writers on our side; so, also, Hon. William B. Reed, who died in New York, and who came over with numbers of other Old-line Whigs, and whose addresses and essays were polished and effective. There was a long struggle after the election over the member of the Cabinet from Pennsylvania. Hon. J. Glancy Jones, afterwards living in Philadelphia with his son, Mr. Charles Henry Jones, candidate on the People's Centennial ticket for City Solicitor, came very near reaching the Navy Department; but at the last moment the new President changed his mind and called in Judge Black. Mr. Jones was subsequently sent as resident Minister to Vienna, and Mr. Reed American Minister to China. In looking back over these vanished years, it is pleasant to feel that in spite of the bitter personalities, rivalries, resentments, and disappoint
ments which have surged between 1856 and 1880; in spite of a great war, with its overwhelming revolutions, I cannot recall a single individual on either side, or in either section, with any other emotion but kindness. There were alienations, and sometimes disputes; but I am proud to say that the entire recollection is without self-reproach or revenge.
ANOTHER REMINISCENCE OF THE DEFEAT OF COLONEL MCCLURE
FOR MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA IN 1872.
How to bear a serious defeat requires a peculiar temperament; and as I reflect upon the somewhat significant political overthrow in the chief city of my native State in 1872, I recall some incidents that may not be uninteresting. There is no better way to bear a defeat than to feel that you were right. That compensates for everything. I remember, when a Democratic boy in a printing-office, as long ago as 1835, my agony over the defeat of the Democratic candidate for Governor, and my grief at the defeat of Van Buren in 1840 and of Cass in 1848; but I have lived long enough to realize that a party disappointment is, after all, a most transient affair.
Sometimes a political overthrow is a lesson and a warning. When I fought the Republican State ticket in Pennsylvania in 1872, and refused to support it, but which was elected by a very large, and, as events have shown, by a very questionable, majority, I sat in my editorial rooms, at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets; and, as I heard the passing crowds groan me with lusty rage, I recalled the unforgotten past, and took consolation from the fact that I believed in my course, and that the very men who denounced me would, sooner or later, admit their error. When I took ground against James
Buchanan, in 1858, on the Lecompton question, the Democrats who took my paper dropped off from it by hundreds; but most of them came back again. When The Press insisted that the working-people should ride on Sunday, we lost an immense support from the religious classes; but these have returned to its support. When, again, I took the lead in favor of the colored people riding in our city railroad-cars, I encountered another prejudiced, I will not say ignorant, opposition; but that, too, has passed away. And after a steady fight for Colonel McClure against the Republicans, I found the local politicians in another frenzy.
Bless me, how excited they were! After the election they passed my office by thousands, groaning at the top of their voices-most of them holding place under three administrations-precisely as if I had not served the Republican party as faithfully as any man living in Philadelphia to-day. Caricatures, calumnies, satires innumerable, in which my friend Colonel McClure and myself were prominent figures, circulated through the town. Yet the day after these same men would throw up their caps if my convictions led me to agree with them.
So much for what is called Public Opinion in America. A journalist or a statesman who does right can never please a party; and yet that same party, changeful as the wind, is certain to do justice to him if he adheres to his purposes. Perhaps these reflections may be construed to offer an excuse for inconsistency; but the honest man who pursues his own course is always inconsistent in the eyes of men who follow party. blindly. Nothing in any country is so seemingly inconsistent as the people. Disliking a man to-day, they almost idolize him to-morrow.
Take the case of Jay Cooke. A few months ago he was an object of almost universal execration. We have already nearly forgotten his part in the great panic of September, 1873.