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night of the Revolution, Washington con- How John
qualities, nature works templated, if utter defeat should leave no
840 most easily and most alternative, retreating beyond the mount impressively through the agencies repains and into the wilderness, to maintain resented in the mother, and the faa cause, even if with temporary loss of a ther's mother. In the present case the country; how, at the close of the Revolu- vigorous and stalwart Puritan grandtion, with a beggared and almost muti- mother, of whom mention has already nous army, he persuaded the suffering been made, secured those powers and troops under his command to patiently qualities which were to constitute the expect the possibility of recompense for figures of the general and the statesman their unpaid labors through a grant of known to all the world; while in the lands for that purpose from the virgin mother, Mary Hoyt, daughter of Isaac Territory beyond the Ohio; and how, in Hoyt, a prominent and wealthy citizen of pursuance of this suggestion, there was Norwalk, Conn., a woman of unfailing formed in Massachusetts and Connecticut, gentleness and sweetness, patience and an Ohio Company, upon whose applica- devotion, as well as courage and strength, tion to Congress the Ordinance of 1787, there was given those deeper and inner for the establishment of the Northwest characteristics which gave the stern solterritory, was passed. The part played dier a side of infinite charm and have by a clergyman-scientist of Ipswich, kept the dignified statesman warmMass., Rev. Manassah Cutler, in bring- hearted and tender, simple, gentle and ing about a union of New England and kind, in every walk of life. Southern interests in this matter, was of The mother's family, it may be noted, a significance difficult to exaggerate. were of the Episcopal church, and, as in Although little known to our history, Mr. the case of the latest Winthrops, all her Cutler was a figure worthy to be com- living children, and their families, were pared with Benjamin Franklin. He se- of the same fold, except as the children cured the support of leading Virginians of General Sherman were nurtured in for the scheme of the Ohio Company- the Catholic communion by their mother. that of a plantation with securities for de- John Sherman's schooling came to an velopment along the lines of liberty, edu- end when he was hardly fourteen years cation and religion, which had been the of age. He had had about as much opporideals of the planting of New England. tunity as George Washington at the same
At a much earlier date an Ohio Com- age, and, like young Washington, he bepany had been planned under the presi- came a surveyor, and from May, 1837, dency of Lawrence Washington, the elder until the summer of 1839, made his exbrother of George Washington. It was perience as a surveyor an excellent school thus a mature tradition, representing alike of self-culture. Virginia and New England, which found When this employment ended, he imexpression in the earliest actual settle- proved a long vacation in close applicament, at Marietta and elsewhere, beyond tion to study and reading, mainly of the Ohio. If there is a third state enti- history, and early in 1840 entered upon tled to a certain precedence in historical the study of law in the office of his oldsignificance by the side of Massachusetts est brother, at Mansfield, Ohio. This and Virginia, it is the state which ini- brother, Charles Robert, had more of the tiated, in 1788, the development of the gentle mother and less of the stalwart Northwest; and among the early crea grandmother than John. The former tors of which was the young jurist, who was shy and sensitive when forced to had made so enviable a reputation at his speak to a jury, while the latter could death in 1829, and of whose eleven chil- without difficulty strike from the shouldren—six sons and five daughters—two der upon necessity, and even before his were William T. and John Sherman. admission to the bar was able to take the
The future soldier, born February 8, fighting side of his brother's cases. 1820, was the sixth of these eleven chil. On the very day that he reached twentydren, and the future senator, born May one years of age, May 10, 1844, the 10, 1823. the eighth.
already active young lawyer was admitted
to the bar, and entered as equal partner In the making of remarkable men, rich into the lucrative practice of his brother, at once in intellectual powers and in moral whose native timidity gave to the junior
partner a not unwelcome opportunity to but my eye was on Webster, from whom devote himself to pleadings, oral or writ. I expected such lofty eloquence as he ten, and to the struggle of debate and alone could utter. trial. It was in the day of primitive “Much to my surprise, when the time American railroads, flimsy in construc- came for the oratory to commence, Mr. tion, and run with feeble engines, yet Lawrence acted as toast-master. We had then, as now, creating business for stories, songs, poetry, and oratory, genlawyers.
erally good and appropriate, but not The Mexican war, “purposely and from Webster. And so the evening unjustly entered upon to extend the in- waned. Webster had been talking freely stitution of slavery,” gave John Sher- with those about him. He displayed man one of his earliest political lessons. none of the loftiness associated with his In sequel to this he had an experience, name. He drank freely. That was manthe record of which, as it is now printed, ifest to every one. His favorite bottle is one of the most striking pictures on was one labeled 'brandy.' We heard of any page of American history. It is es- it as being ‘more than a hundred years pecially worth quoting as an example of old.' It did not travel down to us. Webthe exceedingly interesting reminiscences ster was plainly hilarious. At this time enriching the story of “John Sherman's the conductor appeared at a side door and Recoilections."
announced that in fifteen minutes the “In the winter of 1846–47, I for the cars would start for Boston. Then Webfirst time visited the cities of Wash ster arose, with difficulty; he rested his ington, New York, and Boston. . . . hands firmly on the table, and, with an
effort, assumed an erect position. Every A Glimpse of “My stay at the cap- voice was hushed. He said that in fif
stes ital was brief, as I teen minutes we would separate, never wished to go to New York and Boston. more to meet again; and then, with In New York I received from a relative glowing force and eloquence, he cona letter of introduction to Benj. R. Curtis, trasted the brevity and vanity of human then an eminent lawyer, and latterly a life with the immortality of the events more eminent Justice of the Supreme they were celebrating, which century Court. When I presented my letter I after century would be celebrated by was received very kindly, and, after a your children and your children's chilbrief conversation, he said he was able dren to the latest generation. to do me a favor; that he had a ticket to “I cannot recall the words of his short a grand banquet to be attended by the but eloquent speech, but it made its imleading men of Boston at Plymouth press on my mind. If his body was Rock, on the anniversary of the landing affected by the liquor, his head was clear of the Pilgrim Fathers, and that Daniel and his utterance perfect. I met Mr. Webster would preside. I heartily Webster, afterward on the cars and in thanked him, and on the next day, Washington. I admired him for his prompt on time, I entered the train at great intellectual qualities, but I do not Boston for Plymouth. When I arrived wonder that the people of the United at the hotel, which was also a station-house States did not choose him for President." of the railway, I did not know a single In Washington at this time the obperson in the great assemblage. In due servant young lawyer saw Mr. Douglas time we were ushered into the dining for the first time, and President Polk, “a hall, where the banquet was spread. plain man, of ordinary ability and more There was no mistaking Webster. He distinguished for the great events that sat in the center of a cross-table, with the happened during his presidency than for British minister on his right and Jere- anything he did himself.” miah Mason on his left. At the other Washington at this time was a rambend of the room sat Abbott Lawrence and ling town of about 30,000 inhabitants. other distinguished men. The residue Its streets were for the most part unof the guests, -merchants, poets, and paved and unimproved, or, as in Pennsyl. orators of Massachusetts,-filled every vania avenue, badly paved and unattractseat at the tables. I sat some way ive. What is now the best part of the down on the side, and introduced myself city was then a dreary waste, where to my neighbors on the right and left, cows, pigs and goats had free pasture.
Democratic leaders of the Thirty-third Near the close of 1853 Mr. Sherman
Congress, which met December 6, 1853, had made plans for removing from Mans
that sectionalism openly and flagrantly field to Cleveland, but at this point there
violated the pledges of compromise and intervened the summons from the political
set in motion“a contest that was only field which was to permanently change
closed by the most destructive civil war the course of his life. He had, in 1842,
of modern times, and by the abolition of been roused to great political enthusiasm
slavery." "This legislation,” says Mr. by hearing the celebrated Tom Corwin,
Sherman, “brought me into political of whom he tells the following story:
life”; and with this statement he pro
ceeds to review the relations of slavery Tom Corwin's “Mr. Corwin was cer
to the constitution and laws of the United Advice tainly the greatest popu
States previous to 1854. The act of May lar orator of his time. His face was elo- 30, 1854, for the admission of Kansas and quent, changeable at his will. With a Nebraska into the Union, “repealed in exlook he would cause a laugh or a tear. press terms the Missouri compromise of He would move his audience at his pleas- 1820, and falsely stated the terms of the ure. I vividly remember the impression measure of 1850,” with an effect upon he made upon me, though I cannot recall popular opinion in the Northern states, anything he said. At the close of the and notably in Ohio, which brought meeting I was requested by the committee about, in the summer of 1855, the organin charge to take Mr. Corwin in a buggy ization of a new party, known at she Reto Bucyrus. This I cheerfully did. I publican. noticed that Mr. Corwin was very glum The war-cry of the elements gathering and silent, and, to cheer him up, I spoke under this new banner was, “Slavery of his speech and of the meeting. He shall gain no advantage over freedom by turned upon me, and, with some show of violating compromises.” Mr. Sherman feeling, said that the people who heard brings out with extreme clearness the him would remember only his jokes, and fact that the republicanism which he warned me to keep out of politics and throughout represented had been and reattend to my law. He told me that he mained honestly and thoroughly loyal to knew my father, and was present at his the principle of not interfering with slaydeath at Lebanon, where he (Mr. Cor- ery in the states in which it existed, and win) lived. And then, brightening up,
that the battle, which set in at this mohe gave me an interesting account of the ment, was one of aggression on behalf of early settlement of Ohio, and of the bar slavery to bring it into free territory, and and bench, and of his early life as a wagon- of defense against that aggression by the boy in Harrison's army. His sudden fit champions of perpetual freedom within of gloom had passed away. I do not re such territory. call any circumstances that created a It was on this basis that Mr. Sherman deeper impression on my mind than this became, in the summer of 1854, a candiinterview with Mr. Corwin.”
date for Congress, and was, in October,
elected, the entire twenty-one members First
Mr. Sherman's political for the state, who shared his views, easily Political ideas ideas at this time were defeating all the Democratic candidates. limited to hearty belief in protection and energetic hostility to the Democratic
Mr. Sherman took his party, with its disposition to favor the
seat in Congress — the extension of slavery and to acquire new Thirty-fourth Congress — December 3, regions, such as Texas, with a view to 1855, and in the struggle which ended, benefiting slavery. The contests which February 2, 1856, in the election of N. P. grew out of the repeal of the Missouri Banks for speaker, he pronounced with compromise May 30, 1854, led Mr. Sher- precision and energy his unalterable deman to study and to take a hand in poli- termination to resist to the last the entics. He was an ardent Whig, when the croachments of slavery, and in particular overwhelming defeat of General Scott in the admission of Kansas as a slave state. 1852, and the election to the presidency of Aggressive action to secure this admisFranklin Pierce, practically annihilated sion was begun by a message of President the Whigs. It was in the action of the Pierce, January 24, 1856. This was met
by resolutions, March 19, 1856, appoint- through. It permitted also the coming ing a committee of representatives to of Lincoln, competent to an unexampled thoroughly investigate the troubles in presidency, in place of the incompetent Kansas; and of this committee Mr. Sher- leader which Fremont would have been. man was a member. A summary of the During the last days of the Pierce adminfacts, gathered by an investigation which istration Mr. Sherman, December 8, lasted from April 12th to June 17th, pre- 1856, reiterated, in reply to a message sents the reasons which led Mr. Sherman, from the president, the purpose of repubafter the report of the committee had been licanism-resistance to the extension, but made, to declare, in a speech of July 31, not the abolition, of slavery. 1856: “The worst evil that could befall our The Slavery With the coming in of
Conflict country is civil war, but the outrages in
Buchanan's administraKansas cannot be continued much longer tion, the Dred Scott decision by Chief without producing it. To our Southern Justice Taney, two days after Buchanan's brethren I especially appeal. In the name inauguration, gave to the aggressive faof Southern rights, crimes have been vorers of slavery a basis for the contention committed, and are being committed, that no territory within the Union could which I know you cannot and do not ap be held to be free in the sense of not prove. . . . You are setting an example permitting slavery to be taken into it. which, in its ultimate consequences, may The notorious Lecompton constitution trample your rights under foot. Until scheme in Kansas was carried through these wrongs are righted you must expect December 21, 1857. January 28, 1858, Northern men to unite to redress them. in the elaborate speech attacking that It may not be this year; but, as sure as scheme, Mr. Sherman used these words there is a God in heaven, such a union of prophetic warning: will be effected, and you will gain noth “Allow me to impress the South with ing by sustaining Northern agitators in two important warnings she has received violating thecompromise of your fathers.” in her struggle for Kansas. One is, that
The frankness and vigor of this declar- while the sturdy integrity of the Northation, made by a member who had just ern masses stands in her way, she can entered upon active participation in na- gain no practical advantage by her welltional politics, disclose a mind as fully laid schemes. The other is, that she prepared then, as at any later time, for must not come in contact with that cool, great leadership.
determined courage and resolution which
form the striking characteristics of the Fremont the Mr. Sherman points out Anglo-Saxon race. In such a contest
Wrong Man the blunder that was her hasty and impetuous violence may made by the earliest Republican national succeed for a time, but the victory will convention held at Philadelphia, June 17, be short-lived and transient, and leave 1856, in nominating John C. Fremont, nothing but bitterness behind.” when either Seward or Chase was the The final event of the Kansas struggle natural candidate of the new party, and was a constitution making the exclusion even McLean, of the Supreme Court of slavery absolute, and the admission of would have commanded support impossi- Kansas into the Union as a free state. ble to Fremont. Buchanan's nomina- “This memorable result,” says Mr. Shertion was one, he says, made with remark- man, “was the turning point of the slaable sagacity. In October, 1856, Mr. very controversy. The people of the Sherman was re-elected to Congress. Bu- South hastened preparations for a dissochanan defeated Fremont, very much to lution of the Union and a civil war. The the advantage, Mr. Sherman says, of the Confederate Congress, meeting four days developments which were to come and on later, on February 9th, elected Jefferson which the destinies of the country would Davis as its president, he having resigned turn. The conclusion of Pierce's admin as United States Senator January 21, istration, and the administration of Bu- 1861, eight days before Kansas was adchanan, permitted and promoted a growth mitted to the Union. I have given much of national conviction, without which the space to this controversy, to impress upon inevitable conflict could not have been the readers of this volume that the war clearly defined and effectively carried was not caused by agitation for the ab
olition of slavery, but by aggressive statesman. The reader of his modest measures for the extension of slavery over narrative easily sees that his figure domfree territory."
inated the course of events above that of ΙΙΙ.
all other men participating in the devel
opments which ended in civil war. His The financial stringency mind grasped the whole situation with a lances of 1857 was the imme prophetic sagacity, a coolness of judgdiate occasion of Mr. Sherman's entering ment and a clear-sighted courage, which upon conspicuous and effective attention not even Mr. Lincoln at first wholly to the finances of the National Govern shared. Mr. Lincoln had, in 1858, won ment. His first effort in this direction
extraordinary distinction by his debate was a speech in Congress, May 27, 1858,
with Douglas in Illinois,-a debate which which made a great impression, and led
had had, as Mr. Sherman points out, two to his being placed in the next Congress results-first, to make clear that the conon the Committee of Ways and Means. trolling issue of the future must be the The criticism made by him in this speech struggle between free and slave institubore fruit in the extensive correction of
tions; and, second, to raise Mr. Lincoln abuses then habitual in the executive
to the height of candidacy for the presidepartments,-abuses against the recur
dency in 1860. Other notable events had rence of which proper restrictive legisla
excited profound interest throughout the tion was provided.
country. California was stirred to enerAs a member of the Committee on Na- getic republicanism by Terry's killing of val Affairs, in the Thirty-fifth Congress, Broderick, September 13, 1859. In Ohio Mr. Sherman had, on behalf of the mi- the Republicans reared a fortress of nority of the committee, reported, Feb- strength by electing William Dennison ruary 3, 1858, supporting the action of governor. A few days later-October 17 Commodore Paulding in arresting the no- - John Brown's heroic fanaticism at Hartorious William Walker, engaged in the per's Ferry initiated the frenzy of alarm invasion of Nicaragua in the interest of
and resolution in the South, from which plans for making Central America an it was but a step to outbreak against the annex to the slave-holding communities of the South. The incident was one of
When Congress met, December 5, great significance, in the same line as the 1859, Mr. Sherman was the candidate of Southern attempt upon Kansas, and the
his party for speaker of the house. He excitement created by it was intense. As had, not long before, given his name, in the case of Kansas, the effort to undo through a friend, to Hinton R. Helper's the act of Paulding utterly failed. “Impending Crisis of the South,” and
Mr. Sherman undertook, by resolutions now found the fact used with some effect introduced by him January 18, 1859, and against him because of alleged or actual as chairman of a committee appointed features of the book, which he would not under these resolutions, to secure an in- have commended. The result was a provestigation of scandalous abuses, to which
longed contest, until February 1, 1860, the Secretary of the Navy and his subordi
when Mr. Sherman withdrew in favor of nates were lending themselves. Although Mr. Pennington, who was immediately no action was taken in this matter before elected by a majority of one. The rethe conclusion of that session of Con- sult was advantageous both to Mr. Shergress, resolutions of censure, reported by man and to the country. He was made Mr. Sherman, were adopted by a strong
chairman of the Committee of Ways and vote in the succeeding Congress, and rad
Means, of which he had not previously ical reforms secured in the administration
been a member—a position which made of the Navy Department.
him the recognized leader of the House, Mr. and Mrs. Sherman went abroad in
practically controlling the order of its the spring of 1859. They visited Eng
business and effectively influencing the land, Scotland, the Rhine and Paris,
main course of legislation. Switzerland and Italy. The election of October, 1858, gave
The Morrill Tariff Act Mr. Sherman his third term in Congress
was reported from Mr. and launched him upon the period of his Sherman's committee by its author, greatest efficiency and distinction as a March 12, 1860, and, after debate by