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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by
HARPER & BROTHERS,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
I HAVE known you, my dear Dougherty, for nearly thirty years; when your hair, now turning gray, was glossy black; when both of us were struggling young men.
You have met most of the characters I have attempted to describe in these plain and unpretending "Anecdotes," and I feel that I take no liberty in dedicating this volume to you. From Franklin Pierce to Ulysses S. Grant, including most of the intermediate actors, whether statesmen or lawyers, soldiers or politicians, men of work or men of leisure, the artist or the artisan, the priest or the player, you can at least do justice to the motive that has led me to speak of all of them impartially and generously. Instead of One Hundred Anecdotes of Public Men, as originally intended, you will find interwoven into these pages four times as many references to the characters who figured in the past and will be remembered in the future. One lesson I have tried to inculcate: that while none of us are indispensable, the good we do in our life is sure to be kindly, even if briefly, remembered after that life ends. And still another lesson, so well taught in your own career—the lesson of self-reliance, of sincere friendship, of personal independence and integrity, of toleration and forbearance. It is a maxim, that when men begin to write
their recollections they are getting old; but you have taught me in our long and unbroken devotion to each other that nothing keeps the heart so young and so fresh as the habit of reviving the best deeds of our fellow-creatures and forgetting the worst. As I glance through these chapters, written hastily, often in the rush of editorial work, I am surprised to realize how much one man can condense into a letter repeated every week for over two years; and if those who read this book will enjoy as much pleasure in perusing it as I did in writing it, and will sympathize with me in the spirit with which it was composed, I shall be abundantly compensated.
J. W. FORNEY. PHILADELPHIA, June 2, 1873.
ANECDOTES OF PUBLIC MEN.
IN 1850, after the triumph of the Compromise Measures, Henry Clay visited Philadelphia, and stayed at the American House, on Chestnut Street, opposite Independence Hall. As I had supported these Measures in opposition to the extreme followers of the Southern Democrats, in the columns of The Pennsylvanian, I felt anxious to call on Mr. Clay, the leader of that his last great work. Ex-Mayor John Swift, who is still living in Philadelphia, in the 84th year of his age, dropped in at my editorial rooms the morning after Mr. Clay's arrival, in company with my esteemed friend, Edwin Forrest, the tragedian. Mr. Swift, who had been one of Mr. Clay's active and unselfish champions, gladly acceded to my request to be presented to Mr. Clay, whom I had never met, and had firmly opposed when he was the Whig candidate for the Presidency in 1844. Forrest expressed the wish to accompany us; so we three walked over to the hotel and sent up our cards, and were quickly admitted to the great man's parlor. He looked feeble and worn
- he was then over seventy-three years old — but he soon brightened. Anxious to rouse him, I quietly ventured to suggest that I had heard the speech of Pierre Soulé, Senator in Congress from Louisiana-an extremist especially distasteful to Mr. Clay--and that I thought it a very thorough and able presentation of the side adverse to the Compromise Measures. I saw the old man's eye flash as I spoke, and was not surprised when, with much vehemence, he proceeded to denounce Soulé. After denying that he was a statesman, and insisting that there were others far more effective in the opposition, he wound up by saying: "He is nothing but an actor, sir-a mere actor." Then suddenly recollecting the presence of our favorite tragedian, he dropped his tone, and waved his hand, as he turned to Mr. Forrest—"I mean, my dear sir, a mere French actor !” We soon after took our leave, and as we descended the stairs, Forrest turned to Mr. Swift and myself, and said: “Mr. Clay has proved, by the skill with which he can change his manner, and the grace with which he can make an apology, that he is a better actor than Soulé !"
I never met Daniel Webster, as was natural on account of my connection with the Democratic party, but I often recall two incidents in connection with him. It was, I think, about the time Robert J. Walker's tariff of 1846 was passed that he came to Philadelphia, and stopped at Hartwell's Washington House, on Chestnut Street, above Seventh, the guest of the Whigs, whom he addressed at a splendid banquet in the celebrated Chinese Museum, on Ninth Street. Extensive preparations had been made for the occasion. The company was numerous, including hundreds of ladies in the galleries, the feast superb, the wines delicious, and Mr. Webster did not rise to respond to the toast in his honor till late in the evening. Shorthand reporting was not then what it is now, a swift, accurate, and magical science; and I knew the Whig papers, which resolved to print the great man's speech entire, would be delayed till long past their usual hour next morning. The town was hungry to see it, and its surprise may be readily conceived when at dawn of the succeeding day The Pennsylvanian, the Democratic organ, then under my direction, appeared with Mr.“Webster's Great Speech on the Tariff.” I had taken his old speech on free trade, delivered in 1824, when he was a member of the House, and converted it into a Supplement, of which many