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reading his address, Gen. Grant chanced to be standing near a marble bust of President Lincoln, and leaning upon the pedestal on which it stood. It was thought a fortunate companionship. Gen. Grant replied briefly, but with evident emotion; and closed by saying, "If elected President, I shall have no policy of my own to enforce against the will of the people."
He subsequently accepted the nomination in the following letter: —
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 29, 1868.
To Gen. JOSEPH R. HAWLEY, President of the National Union Republican Convention,
In formally receiving the nomination of the National Union Republican Convention of the 21st of May instant, it seems proper that some statement of my views, beyond the mere acceptance of the nomination, should be expressed. The proceedings of the convention were marked with wisdom, moderation, and patriotism, and, I believe, express the feelings of the great mass of those who sustained the country through its recent trials. I indorse their resolutions. If elected to the office of President of the United States, it will be my endeavor to administer all the laws in good faith, with economy, and with the view of giving peace, quiet, and protection everywhere. In times like the present, it is impossible, or at least eminently improper, to lay down a policy to be adhered to, right or wrong, through an administration of four years. New political issues, not foreseen, are constantly arising; the views of the public on old ones are constantly changing; and a purely administrative officer should always be left free to execute the will of the people. I always have respected that will, and always shall. Peace, and universal prosperity, its sequence, with economy of administration, will lighten the burden of taxation, while it constantly reduces the national debt. Let us have peace.
With great respect,
Your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT.
On the same day, a committee of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Convention waited upon Gen. Grant, and presented a complimentary address, and a copy of the resolutions passed by the convention. In his reply
he said, "While it was never a desire of mine to be a candidate for political office, it affords me great gratification to feel that I have the support of those who were with me in the war. If I did not feel that I had the confidence of those, I should feel less desirous of accepting the position. Acceptance is not a matter of choice, but of duty."
This spirit is in keeping with the character of the man and the high destiny to which he has been called.
Tom be as to
10 one who has read what Gen. Grant has done, lit
tle need be said as to what manner of man he is. The outline of his life shows his ability. A Western boy, with only common advantages, he enters West Point without preparatory study, attracts notice in the Mexican War, and soon after retires from the service. At the breaking-out of the Rebellion, he is an unknown man, in the leather business, in Galena, Ill. He returns to the army as colonel of a regiment, and without friends or influence, in spite of all opposition, advances step by step on the path of victory, until the Government places in his hands the whole military power of the Union. Millions of men march at his bidding: hundreds of millions of treasure are expended by his order. He captures more prisoners than all other generals, and ends a war of four years by the overthrow of the Rebellion, amid the grateful acclamations of his countrymen, and with a world-wide renown. Such achievements are not the result of luck or accident: they are but seldom seen in history.
It is easy for military critics to say that this or that campaign by rule ought to have resulted differently. Some writers said that Badajos ought not to have been
taken, and others that Missionary Ridge ought not to have been carried. But they were taken. Success in war is the real test of merit. Gen. Grant did not quote military text-books as often as others; but he did his work with a smaller staff, and secured larger results.
Gen. Grant's honesty has never been questioned by any one. He had only a small property when the war began, and he had abundant opportunities of enriching himself by what many would consider legitimate means; but his bitterest opponent has never accused him of any "financial irregularity." Throughout the war, he steadily opposed all schemes for jobbing and speculation. He opposed the granting of permits to bring out cotton in his department as aiding the Rebellion, and destructive of the public interests. When overruled, and asked to name the parties to whom the privilege should be granted, he answered immediately, "No; I will not do it: for in a week it would be thought I was sharing the profits."
His single purpose, pursued with a steadiness and tenacity which never once relaxed its constancy and power, was to defeat the rebel armies. To this he made all things subordinate, and in this he triumphed.
Gen. Grant is not what is usually termed a "brilliant genius ; " but he has that which in a ruler is far better, a sound judgment. If he does not startle by the coruscations, he does not disappoint by the eccentricities or infirmities of genius, so called. Almost all qualities are found in men oftener than good judgment; because this requires the harmonious balance and play of all the other powers. A than may be
learned, eloquent, an able general, a powerful writer, have great attainments in some specialty, and yet his usefulness be greatly impaired, if not destroyed, by an unsound judgment. One could apply to Grant the words of Tennyson on the Duke of Wellington, whom he in many respects resembles :
"The statesman-warrior, moderate, resolute;
Our greatest, yet with least pretence;
Gen. Grant showed great ability in the war; but he has also shown wisdom, practical sagacity, and independence in the whirl of extraordinary, important, and exciting events which have occurred at Washington since the close of the war. Witness his insisting that the Government should not violate the parole it had accepted from Lee and his officers when this was suggested by President Johnson. When, also, he entered the War Department in August, 1867, on the withdrawal of Mr. Stanton, the act was misunderstood, and denounced by many influential journals in the country; but, conscious that he was doing his duty, nothing was done, not a word was spoken or published by him, to stay the tempest of censure. When Congress assembled in the winter, the correspondence of Gen. Grant with the President and with Mr. Stanton appeared at the call of Congress, and his true position was made known. Gen. Grant's independence of fac