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I met her several times before her death, once in society among a number of learned and brilliant people. Her hair was white, but her heart was young; her complexion fresh, her step firm, her mind bright, and her memory retentive. She commanded attention by her ability, and won and held affection by her simple manners and honest enthusiasm. I am glad to repeat that she had grown wealthy, and that she was a propertyholder in Philadelphia, New York, Rhode Island, and, I think, in Rome; besides, she always used what was her own for the benefit of those who shared her friendship and deserved her charity. And what shed a rich lustre on her character was the kindness with which she treated her own profession. I said to her, “ You are now alone in your great art; your fame has no competitor. Where shall we find an equal to succeed you?” “No, my good friend," was her sweet reply, “nobody is indispensable. Madame Janauschek is my equal; and, besides, she is younger, and so handsome !"
REVEALING PRIVATE LETTERS.-H. J. RAYMOND, HORACE
GREELEY, AND W. H. SEWARD.
“I HAVE not shown, in a single instance, and I cannot think I shall show, even to my nearest friend, a letter written against him to me, because I consider it a breach of confidence.” These were the words of James Buchanan, June 12, 1839, in reply to Simon Cameron, when the latter, as one of three commissioners appointed by President Van Buren, July 21, 1838, to examine into the claims of the half-breed relatives of the Winnebago Indians, being arraigned by Major Ethan Allen Hitchcock, United States Army, Military Disbursing Agent at St. Louis, on certain grave charges of malpractices in office, called upon Mr. Buchanan for the contents of a letter of the aforesaid Major Hitchcock, then, and up to the hour of his death, one of the bravest and truest men in the service of his country. Mr. Buchanan's letter was printed in a mass of other correspondence at Harrisburg, February 22, 1855. The rule here laid down by the ex-President he never violated. The subject of publishing private letters is interesting to every circle of society; and a few illustrations may be pleasant reading.
There never was a more marked instance of magnanimity than the manner in which General Grant treated the private letter of Admiral D. D. Porter, several years ago, when that production was revealed. The case was extremely delicate, and many of the generous Admiral's enemies expected that it would lead to a complete alienation between him and General Grant; but the latter soon ended all suspense by returning the call of the impetuous but warm-hearted sailor, and by smoking the cigar of peace over the unfortunate epistle.
A few days ago, I found a batch of old letters from public men, most of them dead; and, after reading them carefully, consigned them to the flames. There was not much in them that might not have been printed; but they were “private,” and therefore sacred.
General Winfield Scott was an impulsive correspondent. He could hardly keep out of print; and when he was the Whig candidate for President in 1852, his " hasty-plate-of-soup” letters made sad havoc in the ranks of his friends. He fell under the deep displeasure of General Jackson, doubtless on account of his free writing; and in 1834-35 the following incident took place at the presidential mansion while General Scott was dining with President Jackson: “Scott, being on a short visit to Washington, had the honor to be invited to dine with President Jackson, and was further complimented by being assigned to conduct an agreeable lady (to him a stranger) to the table, where he was desired to place her between the President and himself. Towards the end of the sitting, General Jackson said to the fair lady, in a labored pleasantry—that is, with ill-disguised bitterness—'I see you are pleased with the attentions of your neighbor. Do you know he has condemned all the measures of my Administration ?? Mrs.
was perfectly shocked. Scott promptly replied, “Mr. President, you are in part mistaken. I thought highly of your proclamation against the nullifiers, and yesterday, in the Senate, I was equally pleased with your special message on the French indemnity question, which I heard read.' "That's candid !' retorted the President. He thinks well of two-but two-of my measures.' The lady evidently regarded him, like the General, as a bad subject of the realm. The most unsuspicious nature might now plainly see that the bolt was forged, and would in due time be launched.”
But perhaps no private letter was ever made public which created as much sensation as that of Horace Greeley to W. H. Seward, November 11, 1854, and called out after Abraham Lincoln had defeated Mr. Seward for the Republican nomination for President at the Chicago Convention, May 17, 1860. Everybody recollects that Mr. Greeley was bitterly assailed for his opposition to Mr. Seward at Chicago. The veteran Thurlow Weed was on the ground working for his friend with all his energies. Never was that able and loyai gentleman-loyal to those he liked through good and evil report-more absorbed in any political struggle. Side by side with Mr. William M. Evarts, the eminent New York lawyer, and to-day the conceded chief of the active American bar, Carl Schurz, James Watson Webb, and Henry J. Raymond, Thurlow Weed fought for his choice. But Greeley was their antagonist, steady, cool, and full of resources. His preference was Edward Bates, of Missouri ; and, without attacking Seward, he stood by his own man, knowing that any blow he struck for him was against Seward; for the candidate from New York, however deserying, could not make an easy race weighted by such a foe as
Greeley, the powerful editor of the New York Tribune. Lin. coln was nominated, and the Seward men opened upon Greeley as the cause of Seward's failure. Henry J. Raymond paid a visit to Auburn, the residence of Mr. Seward, soon after the nomination of Mr. Lincoln, and from thence wrote to the New York Times a fierce indictment of Greeley. He charged the latter with having done more to defeat Mr. Seward “than the whole family of Blairs, together with all the gubernatorial candidates.” “His voice was potential precisely where Governor Seward was strongest.” But the sentence that called out the private letter was this:“While it was known that, nearly six years ago, in November, 1854, he [Greeley) had privately, but distinctly, repudiated all further political friendship for, or alliance with, Governor Seward, and menaced him with his hostility where it could be made effective, no use was made of this knowledge in quarters where it would have disarmed the deadly effect of his pretended friendship for the man upon whom he was thus deliberately wreaking the long-hoarded revenge of a disappointed office-seeker.”
The answer was a bold demand for the private communication or threat. Not responded to at first, the call for it was iterated, from day to day, in The Tribune. Mr. Seward must have felt the extreme awkwardness of the position in which he was placed, and, doubtless, Mr. Raymond, always susceptible, realized his mistake in publicly alluding to a perfectly confidential communication. But Greeley was resolute, and defied the revelation of the offending letter. I give it entire, not because it is new to the reader-although many will see it for the first time—but because it is a rare disclosure of wounded friendship and pride, and a faithful picture of the treatment of too many of “the slaves of the pen." Perhaps a good deal of Mr. Greeley's independence resulted from this experience, and, if so, his personal disappointment was a benefit to his country. No true journalist is half as effective as when he is free to speak as he feels; when his better nature is not stifled by office, and when he can do right without fear. The reader here sees Greeley in his natural colors; in fact, a portrait of himself by himself. It is easy to imagine how he must have writhed under this revelation; but he bore it bravely, and fought brilliantly for Lincoln, and against the Rebellion to the bitter end.
“NEW YORK, Saturday Evening, Nov. II, 1854. “GOVERNOR SEWARD,—The election is over, and its results are sufficiently ascertained. It seems to me a fitting time to announce to you the dissolution of the political firm of Seward, Weed, and Greeley by the withdrawal of the junior partner-said withdrawal to take effect on the morning after the first Tuesday in February next. And, as it may seem a great presumption in me to assume that any such firm exists, especially since the public was advised rather more than a year ago by an editorial rescript in the Evening Journal, formally reading me out of the Whig party, that I was esteemed no longer either useful or ornamental in the concern, you will, I am sure, indulge me in some reminiscences which seem to befit the occasion.
“I was a poor young printer and editor of a literary journal-a very active and bitter Whig in a small way, but not seeking to be known out of my own ward committee, when, after the great political revulsion of 1837, I was one day called to the City Hotel, where two strangers introduced themselves as Thurlow Weed and Lewis Benedict, of Albany. They told me that a cheap campaign paper of a peculiar stamp at Albany had been resolved on, and that I had been selected to edit it. The announcement might well be deemed flattering by one who never even sought the notice of the great, and who was not known as a partisan writer, and I eagerly embraced their proposal. They asked me to fix my salary for the year. I named $1000, which they agreed to, and I did the work required to the best of my ability.
“It was work that made no figure and created no sensation; but I loved it, and I did it well. When it was done, you were Governor, dispensing offices worth $3000 to $20,000 per year to your friends and compatriots, and I returned to my garret and my crust, and my desperate battle with pecuniary obligations heaped up me by bad partners in business and the disastrous events of 1837. I believe that it did not then occur to me that some one of these abundant places might have been offered to me without injustice. I now think it should have occurred to you. If it did occur to me, I was not the man to ask you for it. I think that should not have been necessary. I only remember that no friend at Albany inquired as to my pecuniary circumstances; that your friend (but not mine), Robert C. Wet