Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, November 4, 1889

     8 P.M. W. reading papers, as usual. I had just mailed several books—among them one abroad, to Rhys. W. expressed gladness. Then produced a sheet. "Have you enough to supply these?" he asked. The names were there.

     Edward Bertz

     Holzmarkt str 18 Potsdam Prussia

     Prof: Dowden

     Winstead Temple Road Rathmines Dublin Ireland


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     Gabriel Sarrizin

     10 Rue Troyon Paris France

     T W Rolleston

     Fairview Delgany Co: Wicklow Ireland

     Wm M Rossetti

     5 Endsleigh Gardens London n w England

     Edw'd Carpenter

     Millthorpe near Chesterfield England

     John Addington Symonds

     Davos Switzerland

     Rudolf Schmidt

     Baggesensgade 3 N Copenhagen Denmark

     I mention, "And not Tennyson?" and he at once exclaimed— "Oh! I had forgotten him." So he sent me across the room for his candle, which he lighted and placed on the middle table, then opening his note-book, hunting up T.'s address—which he put on my sheet, he wrote plain "Alfred Tennyson" saying meanwhile: "I drop the Lord: I understand his wife and children are very punctilious in regard to that—but I don't know. I am sure, at least, that Alfred himself puts no moment upon it. It is usually the second and third parties who make much of the proprieties, decorum. I know it was so at Washington—in the Armies, departments. When I had anything I wished particularly to have done, I went to headquarters—up to the very throne. I remember now, several cases with Stanton. And I can say this, that I never had anything promised me by the big guns that was not accomplished to the letter." He spoke definitely of some of the parties he had thus come in contact with. "There were many of the old fellows—thoroughly democratic—approachable. There was old Zach Taylor—General Taylor—afterwards the President. In New Orleans—forty years ago—about the close of the Mexican War—I came to know him there. A plain man—without the first sign of airishness—yet a man with his entourage of slaves—a man used to being served—military—a disciplinarian,

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yet a jolly man—fond of a good story—living well—realizing life. As plain as Grant, yet more frank and outspoken."
I objected, "But Grant was a man of larger mental parts." W. rejoining: "Taylor was a great man, too—a greater man than is sometimes believed. Grant was far more reserved—more self-contained. He seemed to see the necessity of it—both as General and President. He was grandly non- commital—resolved at all hazards, temptations, not to give himself, his cause, away." Referred also to Randolph of Roanoke: "The anti-slavery men have made too little of the significant democracy of some of the great Virginians—of Jefferson, Washington, others—owners of slaves—slavery men so-called. Think of John Randolph—the poor, horrible physical specimen that he was, yet with a power within that no informed man can doubt. There was a clause in his will freeing his nigger valet. Oh! what a preciousness about these niggers, when once they are loyal—valeting you through life! This one of Randolph's had stuck to him from boyhood. Now was Randolph's time to prove himself—and he did. When he was on his deathbed—several gathered around him—a group—lawyers—others: fearing the clause in his will with regard to this nigger would be lightly carried out, he said: 'Gentlemen, I charge you to bear witness that I put this clause into its place with all solemnity—and I charge you further to see personally that this man'—putting his hand on the nigger's head—'is duly given his freedom.'—That is authentic, I know all about it—had the means of knowing—and though little is made of it in the histories, to me it has a profound significance." This led to some mention of Conway's recent piece on Edmund Randolph, W. saying: "Yes—that is Conway's forte—getting into curios of investigation—discovering mare's nests—that there is no devil, for instance. A surprising discovery this, to be sure or, rather, more of a discovery to discover there was one. I remember once with me, he sat full an hour, arguing

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about the existence of the Presidency—that it had survived its right and its usefulness."


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