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dred pages was prepared for the press. It appeared the following year, and had so large a sale that it brought his estate over fifty thousand dollars.'
For the first time in half a century a presidential contest had but little interest for him. In that of 1872, one party was led by his old personal enemy, Greeley, and the other by President Grant, whose reconstruction policy he had never approved of, although he had voted for Grant in 1868 as a choice between two evils. If the plan to make Charles Francis Adams the presi dential candidate of both the Liberal Republicans and of the Democrats had not miscarried, probably Seward would have favored his election. In the spring of 1872 Seward said: "I have ceased to be a partisan; and have no desire to surrender my independence, or impartiality, to the dictates of any party that I now see around me."" Undoubtedly he would have preferred Grant to Greeley, but he had already voted for the last time.
The summer of 1872 was spent with his son and namesake, in the attractive cottage, "Woodside," by Owasco lake, a few miles from Auburn. He daily found pleasure in an afternoon drive in sight of one of his "silvery lakes," where the setting sun sometimes gives hills and clouds and water the richest colors seen in Italy. His fondness for a rubber of whist in the evening continued long after he was able to handle the cards. He still welcomed old friends and had many a long and interesting conversation. One who saw him about this time wrote: "His head and heart were unchanged, but the poor limbs were all stricken.... He could not take our hands, nor even nod his head; but
1 Derby's Fifty Years Among Authors, Books, and Publishers, 84. 2 3 Seward, 479.
3 Charles K. Tuckerman gives an account of a visit made in July, 1872, when they sat on the veranda and talked and smoked until after midnight.-1 Tuckerman's Memoirs, 122.
when we turned for one more good-bye look, he was still smiling, and so I ever picture him."'
In the morning of October 10, 1872, he and his adopted daughter were occupied as usual in literary work. Later, as he lay resting upon the lounge, breathing became very difficult, at first supposed to be due to a slight cold. When his physician told him that the end was at hand, he received it with a placid smile such as he had often given in years past, whether the news was good or ill. At four o'clock that afternoon he died peacefully, surrounded by his family.
The excellence and success of Seward's career were mainly due to his superior ideals and his skill in practical politics. Both his natural radicalism and his political insight made him progressive; he knew that no one could prove mistakes about theories and plans for the future. This characteristic was the source of much of his popularity as well as the main-spring of some of his greatest miscalculations; it led him to appeal to the national treasury instead of solving the difficulties of state finances; to seek relief in foreign wars rather than to deal directly with secession; to urge the consideration of questions of national expansion in place of trying to remedy social and political disorganization in the southern states. As chief of the opposition he was both adroit and daring; he made few mistakes, and usually brought about better results than probably any other contemporary could have done. This was because he knew when to drop the theoretical for the practical; he was master of all the usual weapons, and had no equal as a popular expounder of politico-antislavery doctrines. He had greater fertility than depth of thought, although he was often truly profound. He was pre-eminently a man
1 63 Atlantic Monthly, 397.
of theories and expedients, but he also had settled convictions and sound judgment. The foremost aim of his life was to be supremely great both in his generation and in history. It is now agreed that he was strongly individual, very influential, fascinating, able, and resourceful; but it was Lincoln that was thoroughly great.
Personally Seward was most amiable. Devoted and tender in all domestic relations, he was an appreciative and faithful friend, generous and interesting as a host, affable to strangers, considerate with inferiors and even with political bores-across hundreds of whose letters he wrote, for the direction of his secretary, "Acknowledge kindly," or something similar. As Lincoln said, he was " a man without gall." With but two or three exceptions, the public and private records of his halfcentury of political activity contain no trace of malice toward contemporaries; it was his life-long custom to avoid recording or even saying anything disparaging of either colleagues or opponents. How superior, in this respect, he was to Jefferson, Sumner, Chase, Stanton, and many others! Hence it is not strange that he often had warm friends among his political enemies. Although he joined the Episcopal Church at the age of thirty-six, he was not what would be called a religious man; he can best be described as a moral man of the world. The amusing story that Lincoln guessed a new acquaintance was an Episcopalian because he swore like Seward, is entirely plausible; yet Seward was not coarse, but quite the contrary. By education, association, and in the quality of his thoughts he was as conspicuously a gentleman as he was a man of brains. Although very calculating, he was also very human.
The reason Seward has not been fully appreciated is found in the fact that the average person more easily grasps and retains what is simple and direct: brilliancy and power may stir admiration, but not affection; an
intricate nature makes less appeal because less understood. Cromwell, Washington, Calhoun, and Grant hold their distinct places in popular regard; Voltaire, Napoleon, and Gladstone, on account of the complexities of their characters and their activities, have created much less than an adequate impression. Seward was an agitator, a politician, and a statesman, all in one. His irresistible impulse to pose and explain and appear allwise and all-important earned for him a reputation for insincerity and egotism. A perfectly fair-minded contemporary gave this answer to a question: "I did not regard Seward as exactly insincere; we generally knew at what hole he would go in, but we never felt quite sure as to where he would come out." It is a paradox that precisely explains the paradoxical Seward. The variety of his resources weakened the impression and quality of his moral and intellectual strength.
Notwithstanding his limitations, Seward stands in the front rank of political leaders, both on account of the talents he displayed and the services he rendered to his country. And he holds the first place among all our Secretaries of State. Sumner had a more thorough knowledge of international law; Adams was by birth and education equipped for diplomacy; Chase had a genius for managing national finances in a critical time. Stanton was the broad and tireless organizer of the physical forces that saved the nation. Seward had dash, a knowledge of political conditions, and a versatility such as none of these men possessed, while his perfect tact and vigor of intellect, his enthusiasm and inspiring hope, made him the almost perfect supplement to Lincoln. The Secretary grew in diplomacy as the President grew in statesmanship. Although large numbers of Seward's earlier admirers deserted him, and criticism succeeded adulation when his ambition ceased to be partisan and personal, his conduct of the work of his office was rarely
assailed, and never successfully. With few exceptions, the bitter attacks so frequently made during his secretaryship related to matters outside the sphere of the Department of State, and were largely inspired by resentment at his supposed influence over Lincoln or Johnson. While Secretary he negotiated more than forty treaties or conventions; and if the Johnson-Clarendon convention had been approved-and it was not his fault that it failed—he could have said that for eight years he had safely piloted the government past every great foreign danger, and had left the United States in a much better condition in regard to all other nations than when he came into office.