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he was so constantly annoyed by his presence, as he had never known Mr. Washburne before the war, and that Mr. Washburne knew quite as little of him.” The dispatch concluded as follows:
“The report of the conversation I obtained directly from General Grant's friend, with full permission to publish the same, that the country may know how far the Radicals are authorized to shelter themselves from the storm under General Grant's wing."
I immediately telegraphed to Washington, and got the following authorized contradiction of the dispatch in the Boston Post:
“General Grant expressed neither indignation nor annoyance at the appearance of the article in The Chronicle and The Press, nor did he intimate to any one that it misrepresented his political position. As to the remarks attributed to him relative to Mr. Washburne, they are so palpably untrue as to stamp the character of the entire dispatch.' General Grant has never uttered a word against Mr. Washburne which could have afforded the slightest foundation for these atrocious statements. General Rawlins says that the sentiments attributed to General Grant in The Chronicle are undoubtedly those he has held, and holds still, and he asserts unequivocally that the italicized words, introducing his own words, are true.”
When Rawlins came back from General Grant with the editorial, he told us with great emphasis, “General Grant does not want to be President. He thinks the Republican party may need him, and he believes, as their candidate, he can be elected and re-elected; but," said Rawlins, "what is to become of him after his second Presidential term—what, indeed, during his administration? He is receiving from seventeen to twenty thousand dollars a year as General of the armies of the Republic-a life salary. To go into the Presidency at twenty-five thousand dollars a year for eight years is, perhaps, to gain more fame; but what is to become of him at the end of his Presidency? He is not a politician. He does not aspire to the place. Eight years from the 4th of March, 1869, he will
be about fifty-six years old. Of course he must spend his salary as President. England, with her Wellington, her Nelson, and her other heroes on land and sea, has never hesitated to enrich and ennoble them through all their posterity. Such a policy is in accordance with the character of the English government, but in our country the man who fights for and saves the Republic would be a beggar if he depended upon political office; and mark it, if Grant takes any thing from the rich, whose vast fortunes he has saved, after he is President, he will be accused as the willing recipient of gifts." Just now, when General Grant is struggling out of his first term of the Presidency and struggling into his second, I thought it might not be out of place to revive this incident. Is it not true that when we elect a man to office we at the same time unconsciously encourage others to tear him to pieces? What public character can escape investigation? What public character can escape calumny? Our best candidates for office are not saints-our best Representatives and Senators in Congress are not divinities. I have shown that even President Washington when he closed his second term was regarded as an usurper, and the end of his administration declared a great national relief. Please understand that in selecting this incident I am simply trying to show my countrymen that if we establish an angelic standard for our public men, we are not only sure to fail, but perhaps to end in making an hereditary monarchy necessary to govern and subdue a dissatisfied people.
Poor Rawlins did not live long after his friend was made President. I was one of the last he recognized. No knight of the days of chivalry surpassed him in integrity of soul and nobility of nature. He was an original Douglas Democrat, but no man was more truly influenced by the conscience of the fight, and none was ever called before his Creator with a more spotless character-public and private. [February 25, 1872.)
Is there such a thing as unconscious courage? Of bravery against volition? A coward will fight for his life; but I know a case where a single man routed a large armed force while he was in a tremor of fear. The death of General Andrew Porter, U.S.A., at Paris, France, a few weeks ago, recalled the story, and I tell it as it fell from the lips of one of my old transcribing clerks in Washington eighteen years ago—the popular and witty Dr. W. P. Reyburn, of New Orleans. He was a surgeon in a Louisiana regiment during the Mexican war, and a close friend of Andrew Porter, one of the captains in the Mounted Rifles, and, if I mistake not, attached to that celebrated corps. He was hand-in-glove with all the Southern notables, a welcome visitor at every social circle-a fellow of quick wit, with a contagious laugh, fond of pleasure of every kind, and, to complete the picture, a very fat man, who loved his leisure and his friends, and hated work consumedly. He is dead, too; but I often think of him rolling into my room on his short legs, with his broad face aglow, his large mouth streaming with tobacco, full of some quaint story, which he would relate, till every body roared with the merriment he always started in his explosive way-fairly screaming over his own fun. One of these incidents, and one of the best, was the way he charged and dispersed a squadron of Mexican rancheros. I have seen a roomful of celebrities enjoying this really original story, as thus told by my departed friend: “You will all recollect that Andy Porter's company of mounted rifles was detailed as the escort of the American commissioners, who were to carry the treaty of Guadaloupe-Hidalgo from the city of Mexico, then occupied by the victorious American forces, under General Winfield Scott, to the city of Queretaro, for ratification by the Mexican government, which, driven out of their capital, had taken up its quar
ADVENTURE IN MEXICO.
ters in that city. Among these commissioners were Ambrose H. Sevier, of Arkansas, and Nathan Clifford, of Maine [at present a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States). We had whipped the Mexicans, taken their fortresses, subdued their country. That magnificent empire lay at our feet. We ought to have gobbled it then, as we shall have to absorb it hereafter. The war was over, but the entire country was swept by predatory parties, and no American was safe within a few miles of the city of Mexico. The route from the capital to Queretaro, distant some sixty or eighty miles, was beset by guerrillas, and the commissioners, with their attendants, occupying several handsome coaches, drawn by fine horses, could not proceed on their errand without due military escort. Captain Andy Porter was, as I have said, in command, and I was selected as surgeon, no doubt because I liked him and he liked me. Before starting, a very fine-looking filly was set apart for me; for you must recollect, gentlemen, that we laid under contribution the best animals the vicinage could afford. I am fond of a good horse, and you can imagine my displeasure when I saw the animal that had been assigned me was considered too light by the owner, who came to me, saying: 'Dr. Reyburn, you have a long journey before you, and would not like to find your horse lame. I have, therefore, brought with me a handsome roadster, capable of carrying you comfortably. As I am the owner of both, and as you would be certain to destroy the filly by your heavy weight, without helping yourself, why not take the easy and safe roadster, and therefore subserve your own comfort and my
interests?' Captivated by the candor of my friend, and not knowing that his only object was selfish, and, above all, not knowing that the roadster, as he called it, had been an old campaigner, I gladly mounted him, and the cortége proceeded on its way, headed by Captain Porter. It was a beautiful day, and our course ran through a picturesque country. The commissioners were happy, the command in good order, the surgeon (that is myself) in the rear-none happier than our gallant leader, and none more perfectly at ease than myself. But you must recollect, gentlemen, that I make no professions to intrepidity; the fact is, I suspect I am a coward; at any rate, I always kept myself in the rear of my valor. In the midst of our pleasantries we heard the ring of the bugle in the front, then the quiet roll of drums, and now and then a dropping shot. I, of course, regarded this as among the pyrotechnics of the journey; but as the noise proceeded I felt a quick tremor of my horse, and noticed a strange movement of his ears, till at last the firing became more brisk, and the roll of the drums and the blasts of the bugle more frequent, when he became ungovernable, until I lost all control, and he burst ahead with me, past the commissioners, past the escort, past the gallant Captain Andrew Porter-when, to my horror, I found stretched across the road a large body of Mexicans, arms in hand, resolved to dispute our passage. You may well imagine my consternation,
“Never having set a squadron in the field,
More than a spinster ! Conceive my feelings when I saw myself, single-handed and alone, without an effort of my own, and certainly without my consent, facing the enemies of my country; yet judge of my relief when, supposing me to be the advanced guard of a charging column, they divided on both sides of the road and fled up the hills, leaving our way unobstructed. I never was in the same danger before, and yet I can not express to you my relief at the escape when, drawing in my veteran charger, he having accomplished his work, I quietly turned back to the escort, feeling somewhat like an unconscious conqueror, yet unprepared for the salute I received from my good Captain Andrew Porter, who was scarcely able to articulate between his amusement at my unexpected courage and his rage at the loss of a chance to distinguish himself. “What, in God's name, did you mean?