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THE ONE ENEMY
CALEB CUSHING'S POLITICAL CAREER-
HIS GREAT AMBITION A HIS APPOINTMENT THERE
HIS ONE ENEMY DEFEATS HIS CONFIRMATION.
"He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
HE truth of the above couplet has rarely had more forcible illustration than in the case of the late Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts. In politics he was successively Whig, Democrat, and Republican. During his first political affiliation, he was a Representative in Congress; in the second a member of Pierce's Cabinet; and in the third a Minister abroad. He was an eminent lawyer, and for a term ably discharged the duties of Attorney-General of the United States. His one ambition was a seat upon the Supreme Bench.
This was at length gratified by his appointment as Chief Justice of the Great Court. Unfortunately he had, years before, given mortal offence to Aaron A. Sargent, then recently admitted to the bar. The latter soon after moved to California, and became in time a Senator from that State.
When the appointment of Cushing came before the Senate for confirmation, his one enemy was there. The appointee had long since forgotten the young lawyer he had once treated so rudely, but he had not been forgotten. The hour of revenge had now come. After a protracted and bitter struggle, Sargent, of the same political affiliation as Cushing, succeeded in defeating the confirmation by a single vote. The political sensation of the hour was the Senator's prompt message to his defeated enemy:
"Time at last sets all things even;
And if we do but watch the hour,
CONTRASTS OF TIMES
TRAVELLING IN 1845 COMPARED WITH THAT OF THE PRESENT DAY.
HILE I was Assistant Postmaster-General, Senator Whitthorne, of Tennessee, called at the Department to see me on official business. Seated at a window overlooking the Capitol, he remarked that the chords of memory were touched as he entered the room; that when barely of age, he occupied for a time a desk as a clerk just where he was seated.
He then told me that at the time of the Presidential election in 1844 he was a law student in the office of Mr. Polk, and by his invitation came on with him to Washington. The journey of the President-elect, from Nashville to Washington, was in February, 1845, just prior to his inauguration. He was accompanied by the members of his immediate family, his law student Mr. Whitthorne, and the Hon. Cave Johnson, who was soon to hold a position in his Cabinet. The journey to Washington, as Senator Whitthorne told me, was of two weeks' duration: first, by steamboat on the Cumberland and the Ohio to Pittsburg; thence by stage coach to the national Capitol.
At the time mentioned, railroads scarcely had an existence south of the Ohio and west of the Alleghanies; and save the single wire from Washington to Baltimore, no telegraph line had been constructed.
How striking the commentary, alike upon human accomplishment, and upon opportunity under our free institutions, is here presented! The wearisome and hazardous journey of half a month by steamboat and stage coach had been succeeded by one in palace car of a day and a night of comparative ease and safety, and the clerk had risen from a humble place in the Department to that of Senator from one of the great States of the Union.
ENDORSING THE ADMINISTRATION
DIFFICULTY EXPERIENCED BY DEMOCRATIC MEMBERS IN PROCURING APPOINTMENTS FOR THEIR CONSTITUENTS A NEW MEMBER THREATENS TO FRAME RESOLUTIONS OF CONDEMNATION HE DOES THE VERY OPPOSITE AN EXPLANATORY ANECDOTE.
HE Democratic members of the forty-ninth Congress who yet survive will probably recall something of the difficulty they experienced in procuring for aspiring constituents prompt appointments to positions of honor, trust, and profit, under the then lately inaugurated administration. An earnest desire was felt, and vehemently expressed at times, by those who had been long excluded from everything that savored of Federal recognition, for sweeping changes all along the line.
A new member of the House, from one of the border States, believing that his grievances were far too heavy to be meekly borne, made open declaration of war, and asserted with great confidence and with the free use of words nowhere to be found in "Little Helps to Youthful Beginners," that at the approaching Democratic convention of his State, resolutions of condemnation of no uncertain sound would be adopted. Some conciliatory observations, which I ventured to offer, were treated with scorn, and the irate member, still breathing out threatenings, hastily turned his footsteps homeward.
A few mornings later, I was agreeably surprised to find in The Post a telegram to the effect that upon the assembling of the convention aforementioned, the honorable gentlemen above designated, securing prompt recognition from the chair, had, under a suspension of the rules, secured the unanimous adoption of a resolution enthusiastically and uncon
ditionally endorsing every act, past, present, and to come, of the national Democratic administration.
Upon the return of the member to Washington, I expressed to him my surprise at a conversion which, in suddenness and power, had possibly but one parallel in either sacred or profane history. Closing his near eye, he said:
"Look here! I can illustrate my position about this matter by relating a little incident I witnessed near the close of the war. Just as I was leaving an old ferry-boat in which I had crossed the Tennessee River, my attention was attracted to a canoe near by in which were seated two fishermen, both negroes, one a very old man and the other a small boy. Suddenly the canoe capsized and they were both dumped in the deep water. The boy was an expert swimmer and was in no danger. Not so with the old man; he sank immediately, and it certainly seemed that his fishing days were over. The boy, however, with a pluck and skill that did him great credit, instantly dived to the bottom of the river, and with great difficulty and much personal peril finally succeeded in landing the old man upon the shore. "Approaching the heroic youth, as he was wringing the water from his own garments, I inquired,
"Your father, is he?'
"No, sir,' was the quick reply, 'he ain't my father.'
"No, sir, he ain't my grandfather nuther, he ain't no kin to me, I tell you.'
"Earnestly expressing my surprise at his having imperilled his own life to save a man who was no kin to him, the boy replied,
"You see, dis was de way of it, boss; de ole man, he had de bait!""
ANECDOTES ABOUT LINCOLN
LINCOLN'S TROUBLE WITH THREE EMANCIPATION ENTHUSIASTS
HE Hon. John B. Henderson, now of Washington City, but during the war and the early reconstruction period a distinguished Union Senator from Missouri, relates the following incident of Mr. Lincoln. During the gloomy period of 1862, late one Sunday afternoon he called upon the President and found him alone in his library. After some moments Mr. Lincoln, apparently much depressed, stated in substance: "They are making every effort, Henderson, to induce me to issue a Proclamation of Emancipation. Sumner and Wilson and Stevens are constantly urging me, but I don't think it best now; do you think so, Henderson?" To which the latter promptly replied that he did not think so; that such a measure, under existing conditions, would, in his judgment, be ill-advised and possibly disastrous. "Just what I think," said the President, "but they are constantly coming and urging me, sometimes alone, sometimes in couples, and sometimes all three together, but constantly pressing me." With that he walked across the room to a window and looked out upon the Avenue. Sure enough, Wilson, Stevens, and Sumner were seen approaching the Executive Mansion. Calling his visitor to the window and pointing to the approaching figures, in a tone expressing something of that wondrous sense of humor that no burden or disaster could wholly dispel, he said, "Henderson, did you ever attend an old field school?" Henderson replied that he had.
"So did I," said the President; "what little education I