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Copyright, 1904, 1905, by
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Chapter I. Boyhood in Central New York — 1832-1850


The " Military Tract " of New York. A settlement on the headwaters of the
Susquehanna. Arrival of my grandfathers and grandmothers. Growth of
the new settlement. First recollections of it. General character of my en-
vironment. My father and mother. Cortland Academy. Its twofold ef-
fect upon me. First schooling. Methods in primary studies. Physical
education. Removal to Syracuse. The Syracuse Academy. Joseph Allen
and Professor Root; their influence; moral side of the education thtis ob-
tained. General education outside the school. Removal to a "classical
school "; a catastrophe. James W. Hoyt and his influence. My early love
for classical studies. Discovery of Scott's novels. "The Gallery of British
Artists." Effect of sundry conventions, public meetings, and lectures. Am
sent to Geneva College ; treatment of faculty by students. A " Second Ad-
ventist" meeting; Howell and Clark; my first meeting with Judge Folger.
Philosophy of student dissipation at that place and time 3

Chapter II. Yale and Europe — 1850-1857

My coup d'6tat. Removal to Yale. New energy in study and reading. In-
fluence of Emerson, Carlyle, and Ruskin. Yale in 1850. My disappointment
at the instruction; character of president and professors; perfunctory
methods in lower-class rooms; "gerund-grinding" vs. literature; James
Hadley — his abilities and influence; other professors; influence of Presi-
dent Woolsey, Professors Porter, Silliman, and Dana; absence of literary
instruction ; character of that period from a literary point of view ; influ-
ences from fellow-students. Importance of political questions at that time.
Sundry successes in essay writing. Physical education at Yale ; boating.
Life abroad after graduation ; visit to Oxford ; studies at the Sorbonne and
College de France ; afternoons at the Invalides ; tramps through western
and central France. Studies at St. Petersburg. Studies at Berlin. Jour-
ney in Italy ; meeting with James Russell Lowell at Venice. Frieze, Fish-
burne, and studies in Rome. Excursions through the south of France.
Return to America. Influence of Buckle, Lecky, and Draper. The atmo-
sphere of Darwin and Spencer. Educational environment at the University
of Michigan 23



Chapter III. From Jackson to Fillmore — 1832-1851


Political division in my family ; differences between my father and grand-
father; election of Andrew Jackson. First recollections of American poli-
tics ; Martin Van Buren. Campaign of 1840 ; campaign songs and follies.
Efforts by the Democrats ; General Crary of Michigan ; Corwin's speech. The
Ogle gold-spoon speech. The Sub-Treasury Question. Election of General
Harrison ; his death. Disappointment in President Tyler. Carelessness of
nominating conventions as to the second place upon the ticket. Campaign
of 1844. Clay, Birney, and Polk. Growth of anti-slavery feeling. Senator
Hale's lecture. Henry Clay's proposal. The campaign of 1848 ; General
Taylor vs. General Cass. My recollections of them both. State Conventions
at this period. Governor Bouck ; his civility to Bishop Hughes. Fernando
Wood ; his method of breaking up a State Convention. Charles O'Conor
and John Van Buren ; boyish adhesion to Martin Van Buren against General
Taylor ; Taylor's election ; his death. My recollections of Millard Fillmore.
The Fugitive Slave Law 45

Chapter IV. Early Manhood — 1851-1857

"Jerry"; his sudden fame. Speeches of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay at
Syracuse on the Fugitive Slave Law ; their prophecies. The "Jerry Rescue."
Trials of the rescuers. My attendance at one of them. Bishop Loguen's
prayer and Gerrit Smith's speech. Characteristics of Gerrit Smith. Effects
of the rescue trials. Main difficulty of the anti-slavery party. "Fool Re-
formers." Nominations of Scott and Pierce ; their qualities. Senator
Douglas. Abolition of the Missouri Compromise. Growth of ill feeling
between North and South. Pro-slavery tendencies at Yale. Stand against
these taken by President Woolsey and Leonard Bacon. My candidacy for
editorship of the "Yale Literary Magazine." Opposition on account of my
anti-slavery ideas. My election. Temptations to palter with my conscience ;
victory over them. Professor Hadley's view of duty to the Fugitive Slave
Law. Lack of opportunity to present my ideas. My chance on Commence-
ment Day. "Modern Oracles." Effect of my speech on Governor Seymour.
Invitation to his legation at St. Petersburg after my graduation. Effect
upon me of Governor Seymour's ideas regarding Jefferson. Difficulties in
discussing the slavery question. My first discovery as to the value of politi-
cal criticism in newspapers. Return to America. Presidential campaign of
1856. Nomination of Fremont. My acquaintance with the Democratic
nominee, Mr. Buchanan. My first vote. Argument made for the " American
Party." Election of Buchanan. My first visit to Washington. President
Pierce at the White House. Inauguration ■of the new President. Effect upon
me of his speech and of a first sight of the United States Senate. Impression
made by the Supreme Court. General impression made by Washington. My
first public lecture — " Civilization in Russia " ; its political bearing ; attacks
upon it and vindications of it. Its later history 61

Chapter V. The Civil War Period — 1857-1864.

My arrival at the University of Michigan. Political side of professorial life.
General purpose of my lectures in the university and throughout the State.


My articles in the "Atlantic Monthly." President Buchanan, John Brown,
Stephen A. Douglas, and others. The Chicago Convention. Nomination of
Lincoln. Disappointment of my New York friends. Speeches by Carl
Schurz. Election of Lincoln. Beginnings of Civil War. My advice to stu-
dents. Reverses ; Bull Run. George Sumner's view. Preparation for the
conflict. Depth of feeling. Pouring out of my students into the army.
Kirby Smith. Conduct of the British Government. Break in my health.
Thurlow Weed's advice to me. My work in London. Discouragements
there. My published answer to Dr. Russell. Experiences in Ireland and
France. My horror of the French Emperor. Effort to influence opinion in
Germany. William Walton Murphy ; his interview with Baron Rothschild.
Fourth of July celebration at Heidelberg in 1863. Turning of the contest in
favor of the United States. My election to the Senate of the State of New
York 83

Chapter VI. Senatorship at Albany — 1864-1865

My arrival at Albany as State Senator. My unfitness. Efforts to become
acquainted with State questions. New acquaintances. Governor Horatio
Seymour, Charles James Folger, Ezra Cornell, and others on the Republican
side; Henry C. Murphy and Thomas C. Fields on the Democratic side.
Daniel Manning. Position assigned me on committees. My maiden speech.
Relations with Governor Seymour. My chairmanship of the Committee on
Education. The Morrill Act of 1862. Mr. Cornell and myself at loggerheads .
Codification of the Educational Laws. State Normal School BUI. Special
Committee on the New York Health Department. Revelations made to the
Committee. The Ward's Island matter. Last great effort of the State in
behalf of the Union. The Bounty Bill. Opposition of Horace Greeley to it.
Embarrassment caused by him at that period. Senator Allaben's speech
against the Bounty Bill. His reference to French Assignats; my answer;
results ; later development of this speech into a political pamphlet on " Paper
Money Inflation in France." Baltimore Convention of 1864; its curious
characteristics ; impression made upon me by it. Breckinridge, Curtis, and
Raymond. Renomination of Lincoln ; my meeting him at the White House.
Sundry peculiarities then revealed by him. His election 100

Chapter VII. Senatorship at Albany — 1865-1867

My second year in the State Senate. Struggle for the Charter of Cornell
University. News of Lee's surrender. Assassination of Lincoln. Service
over his remains at the Capitol in Albany. My address. Question of my
renomination. Elements against me; the Tammany influence; sundry
priests in New York, and clergymen throughout the State. Senatorial con-
vention ; David J. Mitchell ; my renomination and election. My third year
of service, 1866. Speech on the Health Department in New York ; monstrous
iniquities in that Department; success in replacing it with a better system.
My Phi Beta Kappa address at Yale ; its purpose. My election to a Professor-
ship at Yale ; reasons for declining it. State Senate sits as Court to try a
judge ; his offense ; pathetic complications ; his removal from office. Arrival
of President Johnson, Secretary Seward, General Grant, and Admiral Farra-
gut in Albany ; their reception by the Governor and Senate ; impressions
made on me thereby ; part taken by Governor Fenton and Secretary Seward ;
Judge Folger's remark to me. Ingratitude of the State thus far to its two
greatest Governors, DeWitt Clinton and Seward 123





Fourth year in the State Senate, 1867. Election of a United States Senator ;
feeling throughout the State regarding Senators Morgan and Harris; Mr.
Cornell's expression of it. The candidates ; characteristics of Senator Harris,
of Judge Davis, of Roscoe Conkling. Services and characteristics of the
latter which led me to support him ; hostility of Tammany henchmen to us
both. The legislative caucus. Presentation of candidates ; my presentation
of Mr. Conkling ; reception by the audience of my main argument ; Mr.
Conkling elected. Difficulties between Judge Folger and myself ; question
as to testimony in criminal cases ; Judge Folger's view of it ; his vexation at
my obtaining a majority against him. Calling of the Constitutional Conven-
tion ; Judge Folger's candidacy for its Presidency ; curious reason for Hor-
ace Greeley's opposition to him. Another cause of separation between Judge
Folger and myself. Defeat of the Sodus Canal Bill. Constitutional Conven-
tion ; eminent men in it ; Greeley's position in it ; his agency in bringing the
Convention into disrepute ; his later regret at his success ; the new Constitu-
tion voted down. Visit to Agassiz at Nahant. A day with Longfellow. His
remark regarding Mr. Greeley. Meeting with Judge Rockwood Hoar at Har-
vard. Boylston prize competition ; the successful contestant ; Judge Hoar's
remark regarding one of the speakers. My part in sundry political meetings.
Visit to Senator Conkling. Rebuff at one of my meetings ; its effect upon me 133

Chapter IX. G-eneeal Geant and Santo Domingo —

Distraction from politics by Cornell University work during two or three
years following my senatorial term. Visits to scientific and technical schools
in Europe. The second political campaign of General Grant. My visit to
Auburn ; Mr. Seward's speech ; its unfortunate characteristics ; Mr. Cornell's
remark on my proposal to call Mr. Seward as a commencement orator. Great
services of Seward. State Judiciary Convention of 1870 ; my part in it ;
nomination of Judge Andrews and Judge Folger ; my part in the latter ; its
effect on my relations with Folger. Closer acquaintance with General Grant.
Visit to Dr. Henry Field at Stockbridge ; Burton Harrison's account of the
collapse of the Confederacy and the flight of Jefferson Davis. Story told me
by William Preston Johnston throwing light on the Confederacy in its last
hours. Delegacy to the State Republican Convention of 1870. Am named as
Commissioner to Santo Domingo. First meeting with Senator Charles Sum-
ner. My acquaintance with Senator McDougal. His strange characteristics.
His famous plea for drunkenness. My absence in the West Indies .... 150

Chapter X. The Geeeley Campaign — 1872

First meeting with John Hay. Speech of Horace Greeley on his return from
the South ; his discussion of national affairs ; his manner and surroundings ;
lastahours and death of Samuel J. May. The Prudence Crandall portrait.
Addresses at the Yale alumni dinner. Dinner with Longfellow at Craigie
House. The State Convention of 1871 ; my chairmanship and presidency of
it. My speech ; appointment of committees ; anti-administration demonstra-
tion ; a stormy session ; retirement of the anti-administration forces ; attacks



in consequence ; rally of old friends to ray support. Examples of the futility
of such attacks ; Senator Carpenter, Governor Seward, Senator Conkling.
My efforts to interest Conkling in a reform of the civil service. Republican
National Convention at Philadelphia in 1872 ; ability of sundry colored dele-
gates ; nomination of Grant and Wilson. Mr. Greeley's death. Character-
istics of General Grant as President. Reflections on the campaign. Questions
asked me by a leadiug London joiirnalist regarding the election. My first
meeting with Samuel J. Tildeu ; low ebb of his fortunes at that period. The
culmination of Tweed. Thomas Nast. Meeting of the Electoral College at
Albany; the "Winged Victory " and General Grant's credentials. My first
experience of " Reconstruction" in the South ; visit to the State Capitol of
South Carolina ; rulings of the colored Speaker of .the House ; fulfilment of
Thomas Jefferson's inspired prophecy 159

Chapter XI. Grant, Hayes, and G-arfield — 1871-1881

Sundry visits to Washington during General Grant's presidency. Impression
made by President Grant ; visit to him in company with Agassiz ; character-
istics shown by him at Long Branch ; his dealing with one newspaper corre-
spondent and story regarding another. His visit to me at Cornell ; his
remark regarding the annexation of Santo Domingo ; far-sighted reason as-
signed for it ; his feeling regarding a third presidential term. My journey
with him upon the Rhine. Walks and talks with him in Paris. Persons met
at Senator Conkling's. Story told by Senator Carpenter. The " Greenback
Craze " ; its spirit ; its strength. Wretched character of the old banking
system. Ability and force of Mr. Conkling's speech at Ithaca. Its effect.
My previous relations with Garfield. Character and effect of his speech at
Ithaca ; his final address to the students of the University. Our midnight
conversation. President Hayes ; impressions regarding him ; attacks upon
him; favorable judgment upon him by observant foreigners; excellent im-
pression made by him upon me at this time and at a later period. The
assassination of General Garfield. Difficulties which thickened about him
toward the end of his career. Characteristics of President Arthur. Ground
taken in my public address at Ithaca at the service in commemoration of
Garfield . . 177

Chapter XII. Arthur, Cleveland, and Blaine — 1881-

President Arthur; course before his Presidency; qualities revealed afterV
ward ; curious circumstances of his nomination. Reform of the Civil Service/
My article in the "North American Review." Renewal of my acquaintance
with Mr. Evarts ; his witty stories. My efforts to interest Senator Piatt V
civil-service reform ; his slow progress in this respect. Wayne MacVe,
Judge Biddle's remark at his table on American feeling regarding capital pj
ishment. Great defeat of the Republican party in 1882. Judge Polger's un-
fortunate campaign. Election of Mr. Cleveland. My address on " The New
Germany " at New York. Meeting with General McDowell ; the injustice of
popular judgment upon him. Revelation of Tammany frauds. Grover Cleve-
land ; his early life ; his visit to the University ; impression made upon me
by him. Senator Morrill's visit ; tribute paid him by the University author-
ities. My address at Yale on " The Message of the Nineteenth Century to the
Twentieth." Addresses by Carl Schurz and myself at the funeral of Edward



Lasker. Election as a delegate at large to the National Republican Conven-
tion at Chicago, 1884. Difficulties regarding Mr. Blaine ; vain efforts to nom-
inate another candidate; George William Curtis and his characteristics;
tyranny over the Convention by the gallery mob ; nomination of Blaine and
Logan. Nomination of Mr. Cleveland by the Democrats. Tyranny by the
Chicago mob at that convention also. Open letter to Theodore Roosevelt in
favor of Mr. Blaine. Private letter to Mr. Blaine in favor of a reform of the
Civil Service. His acceptance of its suggestions. Wretched character of the
campaign. Presidency of the Republican mass meeting at Syracuse ; experi-
ence with a Kentucky orator. Election of Mr. Cleveland 192

Chapter XIII. Hendricks, John Sherman, Bancroft,
and Others — 1884-1891

Renewal of my acquaintance with Mr. Cleveland at Washington. Meeting
with Mr. Blaine ; his fascinating qualities ; his self-control. William Walter
Phelps ; his arguments regarding the treatment of Congressional speakers by
the press. Senator Randall Gibson ; meeting at his house with Vice-Presi-
dent Hendricks ; evident disappointment of the Vice-President ; his view of
civil-service reform ; defense of it by Senator Butler of South Carolina ;
reminiscences of odd senators by Senator Jones of Florida ; Gibson's opinion
of John Sherman. President Cleveland's mode of treating office-beggars and
the like; Senator Sawyer's story; Secretary Fairchild's remark; Senators
Sherman and Vance. Secretary Bayard's criticism of applicants for office.
Senator Butler's remark on secession. Renewal of my acquaintance with
George Bancroft. Goldwin Smith in Washington ; his favorable opinion of
American crowds. Chief Justice Waite. General Sheridan ; his account of
the battle of Gravelotte ; discussion between Sheridan and Goldwin Smith
regarding sundry points in military history. General Schenck ; his remi-
niscences of Corwin, Everett, and others. Resignation of my presidency at
Cornell, 1885. President Cleveland's tender of an Interstate Railway com-
missionership ; my declination. Departure for Europe. Am tendered nomi-
nation for Congress ; my discussion of the matter in London with President
Porter of Yale and others ; declination. Visit to Washington under the ad-
ministration of General Harrison, January, 1891 ; presentation of proposals
to him regarding civil- service reform ; his speech in reply 213

Chapter XIV. McKinley and Eoosevelt — 1891-1904

Candidacy for the governorship of New York ; Mr. Piatt's relation to it ; my .
reluctance and opposition ; decision of the Rochester Convention in favor of
Mr. Fassett ; natural reasons for this. Lectures at Stanford University.
Visit to Mexico and California with Mr. Andrew Carnegie and his party.
President Harrison tenders me the position of minister to Russia ; my reten-
tion in office by Mr. .Cleveland. My stay in Italy 1894-1895. President Cleve-
land appoints me upon the Venezuelan Boundary Commission, December,
1895. Presidential campaign of 1896. My unexpected part in it; nomination
of Mr. Bryan by Democrats ; publication of my open letter to sundry Demo-
crats; republication of my " Paper Money Inflation in France," and its cir-
culation as a campaign document ; election of Mr. McKinley. My address
before the State Universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota ; strongly favor-
able impression made upon me by them ; meeting with Mr. Ignatius Don-
nelly; his public address to me in the State House of Minnesota. My ad-
dresses at Harvard, Yale, and elsewhere. Am appointed by President



McKinley ambassador to Germany ; question of my asking sanction of Mr.
Piatt ; how settled. Renomination of McKinley with Mr. Roosevelt as Vice-
President. I revisit America ; day with Mr. Roosevelt ; visits to Washing-
ton ; my impressions of President McKinley ; his conversation ; his coolness ;
tributes from his Cabinet ; Secretary Hay's testimony ; Mr. McKinley's re-
fusal to make speeches during his second campaign; his reasons; his reelec-
tion ; how received in Europe. His assassination ; receipt of the news in
Germany and Great Britain. My second visit to America; sadness; mourn-
ful reflections at White House ; conversations with President Roosevelt ;
message given me by him for the Emperor ; its playful ending. The two
rulers compared 229


Chapter XV. Life at the University of Michigan —

Early ideals. Gradual changes in these. Attractions of journalism then and
now. New views of life opened to me at Paris and Berlin. Dreams of aid-
ing the beginnings of a better system of university education in the United
States. Shortcomings of American instruction, especially regarding history,
political science, and literature, at that period. My article on "German
Instruction in General History" in "The New Englander." Influence of
Stanley's " Life of Arnold." Turning point in my life at the Yale Com-
mencement of 1856 ; Dr. Wayland's speech. Election to the professorship
of history and English literature at the University of Michigan; my first
work in it ; sundry efforts toward reforms ; text-books ; social relations with
students ; use of the Abbe" Bautain's book. My courses of lectures ; Presi-
dent Tappan's advice on extemporaneous speaking ; publication of my sylla-
bus; ensuing relations with Charles Sumner. Growth and use of my private
historical library. Character of my students. Necessity for hard work.
Student discussions 251

Chapter XVI. University Life in the West —

Some difficulties ; youthf ulness ; struggle against various combinations ; my
victory; an enemy made a friend. Lectures throughout Michigan; main
purpose in these; a storm aroused; vigorous attack upon my politico-eco-
nomical views ; happy results ; revenge upon my assailant ; discussion in a
County Court House. Breadth and strength then given to my ideas regard-
ing university education. President Tappan. Henry Simmons Frieze.
Brunnow. Chief Justice Cooley. Judge Campbell. Distinguishing feature
of the University of Michigan in those days. Dr. Tappan's good sense in
administration; one typical example. Unworthy treatment of him by the
Legislature ; some causes of this. Opposition to the State University by the
small sectarian colleges. Dr. Tappan's prophecy to sundry demagogues ;
its fulfilment. Sundry defects of his qualities; the "Winchell War,"
"Armed Neutrality." Retirement of President Tappan; its painful cir-
cumstances ; amends made later by the citizens of Michigan. The little
city of Ann Arbor ; origin of its name. Recreations ; tree planting on the
campus ; results of this. Exodus of students into the Civil War. Lectures
continued after my resignation. My affectionate relations with the insti-
tution 266



Chaptee XVII. Evolution of "The Cornell Idea" —


Development of my ideas on university organization at Hobart College, at
Yale, and abroad. Their further evolution at the University of Michigan.
President Tappan's influence. My plan of a university at Syracuse. Dis-
cussions with George William Curtis. Proposal to Gerrit Smith ; its failure.
A new opportunity opens 287

Chapter XVIII. Ezra Cornell — 1864-1874

Ezra Cornell. My first impressions regarding him. His public library.
Temporary estrangement between us ; regarding the Land Grant Fund. Our
conversation regarding his intended gift. The State Agricultural College
and the " People's College " ; his final proposal. Drafting of the Cornell Uni-
versity Charter. His foresight. His views of university education.
Struggle for the charter in the Legislature ; our efforts to overcome the

Online LibraryAndrew Dickson WhiteAutobiography of Andrew Dickson White .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 51)