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Alger's agents were after them, and before the preliminary
organization was completed, Frank Hatton said, "Alger
has bought up all our niggers."

They were corralled in rooms in the Sherman House
and carefully guarded. Even the hall leading to these
rooms was rented by the Alger people, and the man sta-
tioned at its entrance allowed no one to enter except those
"duly authenticated." Possibly had General Alger not en-
tered the lists, Sherman, as he professed to believe, would
have been nominated. However this may be, the opera-
tions of the essentially lousiness men's candidate in the '88
Convention were a potent factor in the enactment of John
Sherman's anti-trust act of 1890.^

Erastus Brainerd of the Daily News of Philadelphia was
one of the newspaper men Mr. Hatton had in mind when
he spoke of the great number of newspaper men turning
to Gresham. We make mention of Mr. Brainerd because

iSee page 635.



EVENTS PRIOR TO 1888 CONVENTION 575

his principles were high, and his environment pecuHar as
illustrating the times. Without any personal acquaintance
with Walter Q. Gresham, Mr. Brainerd in the columns of
his paper had taken up and pushed the Gresham boom
with great vigor. He was fortunate in having some Gresham
sentiment to start with.

From March 4, 1885, ex-Attorney-General B. H. Brew-
ster had been urging Gresham's availability; also General
B. F. Hickenlooper and his brother, F. W. Hickenlooper.
Members of Congress, like General Harry Bingham, were
favorable. George W. Childs said he was for Gresham,
and his paper, the Leader, was cordial in its commendation.
As elected by districts, some of the delegates from Phila-
delphia, as interviewed by Mr. Brainerd's paper, declared,
themselves for Gresham. John Wanamaker stated in a
public interview that he had interviewed Gresham, and
that Gresham was a good enough Protectionist for him.
Again Hamilton Dissonj one of the Arthur delegates of
1884, was a delegate.

Mr. Brainerd drew other newspaper men into the move-
ment. He wrote Judge Gresham many personal letters.
Not a politician, and with no taste for the "trades" that he
found to be a part of the system, he said men who were
delegates were coming to him for promises for offices — "I
can not even tell them I am personally acquainted with
'my candidate.'" Mr. Gresham replied to this: "Your
letter demands a frank answer: I stand by my tariff utter-
ances in my sub-treasury speech in New York in 1884."
Then, as to "trades": "As I am not standing before the
country as a candidate, I can not make 'an organization
or combination, without which a nomination is scarcely
to be expected.' I do not expect to be nominated."

In the preliminary stages Joseph Medill, Walter Q.

Gresham, and at ' least John Sherman, knew that the

control of the Republican Convention of 1888 would be in

the hands of two men, ex-Senator Thomas C. Piatt, the

37



576 LIFE OF WALTER QUINTIN GRESHAM

chairman of the New York delegation, and United States
Senator Matthew Stanley Quay, chairman of the Pennsyl-
vania delegation and slated for chairman of the Republican
National Committee.

April 19, 1888, P. A. B. Widener, of the Widener-Elkins
Street Car Syndicate, came to Chicago as an agent of
Senator Quay and called on Joseph Medill. Mr. Widener,
so Mr. Medill wrote, had said that he, Widener, had but
a slight acquaintance with Judge Gresham, not enough to
call on him, but that if Judge Gresham expected to get
the nomination he ought to have an organization and some
one authorized to speak for him; that Senator Quay would
control the Pennsylvania delegation, that Quay, although
nominally for Senator John Sherman, was not committed
to any one; that because of the want of an understanding
the Pennsylvanians had fared badly with President Hayes
and with Garfield ; that they had had an understanding with
Mr. Lincoln's friends in i860 which had been carried out
to the mutual advantage of both sides. "Name some one
as your ipse dixit and send him to Senator Quay," said Mr.
Medill. But no ''ipse dixit'' was "authenticated" to go
to Senator Quay and make pledges.

In the heat of the contest Joseph Medill was for making
pledges and bargains, as was done in i860. But as Judge
Gresham was in Chicago, Mr. Medill readily saw from the
reports that came that no second-hand pledge would go, as
it had in the case of Lincoln. Repeatedly he said and
wrote to Judge Gresham, to quote one of his letters : ' ' When
Piatt of New York and Quay of Pennsylvania arrive you
are then the general to win the battle by capturing those
two leaders."

Senator Farwell wrote Judge Gresham from the Senate
chamber, June 5 (the convention met June 18): "Piatt is
here to-day, and I have promised him anything he wants
and will confirm it when we get to Chicago." The same
day Senator Teller of Colorado wrote from the Senate



EVENTS PRIOR TO IS 88 CONVENTION 577

chamber, "Piatt requests me to say to you he will call on
you as soon as he gets to Chicago." Senator Teller offered
no pledges to Mr. Piatt on this occasion; he thought Piatt
ought to vote for Gresham without that, because Teller,
Piatt, and Gresham had belonged to the same wing of the
Republican party, and because, as has been shown, Teller,
Gresham, and Senator Folger four years before had helped
Piatt back to power in New York. Senator Teller's letter
closed with the statement: "Piatt proposes to, and will,
demonstrate his power in Chicago."

A different order of man from Charles B. Farwell was
Henry M. Teller. According to Senator Farwell's oral and
written communications, it was all a matter of bargain
and trade. After it seemed that General Harrison's Chinese
record had destroyed his availability, and later, after Piatt
in the convention threw the Harrison people into conster-
nation by threatening to vote no longer for Harrison,
Farwell urged: "New knows Harrison is a dead one; make
your overtures to him." None were made, and there never
was any danger of what the Harrison people feared, a deal
between Gresham and Piatt.

In the ultimate analysis, because New York was a doubt-
ful State while Pennsylvania was almost surely Republican,
Thomas C. Piatt was more influential than Senator Quay;
besides, he had been a Blaine man since 1884, and after
Mr. Blaine's quasi-withdrawal, Piatt's relations with the
Blaine people were cordial while Quay always was an
opponent of Mr. Blaine. After he reached Chicago Mr.
Piatt let a few know what he wanted — the Secretaryship
of the Treasury. With Piatt at the head of the Treasury
Department and Quay chairman of the Republican National
Committee, the success he afterwards had shows there
was reason for Senator Quay's belief that he would run
the National government, no matter who might be Presi-
dent. "With Senator Plumb for you and every weekly
Republican paper in Kansas and five of the Kansas dailies



578 LIFE OF WALTER QUINTIN GRESHAM

advocating your nomination," wrote a Republican from
Topeka, "still New York is the key to the situation."
This unanimity in Kansas in 1888 will help to explain
the upheaval in Kansas two years later.

Thomas C. Piatt had been one of the original Grant
men in 1880. Elected in 1884 a delegate to the Chicago
convention of that year by the aid of President Arthur's
friends but without pledges, Piatt, instead of voting for
President Arthur's nomination, voted for Mr. Blaine. Had
Mr. Blaine been elected in 1884, T. C. Piatt would have
been in his cabinet. Richard A. Elmer, one of the assistant
postmaster-generals while Judge Gresham was in the Post
Office Department, and of the Piatt order of "Stalwarts,"
was a friend and correspondent of Judge Gresham in 1888.
While Walter Q. Gresham was still in the Post Office Depart-
ment Mr. Elmer retired and organized the American Surety
Company, the first of its kind. By 1888 it had grown to a
prosperous institution. "There are Gresham men in the
New York delegation," wrote Mr. Elmer, "but we can't
afford to go against his, Piatt's, wishes; he controls four-
fifths of the delegates. . . . Not only that. Quay and
Piatt are in harmony and Quay will trail Piatt." Qualified
by capacity and experience in affairs for the Secretaryship
of the Treasury — unless too close to Wall Street, as was
subsequently urged against him, — Judge Gresham did not
believe that any interest would have controlled Piatt if he
was made Secretary of the Treasury. But my husband
said he would promise no man a place in the cabinet or
anywhere else. "If I ever happen to be elected President,"
he said, "I will be as free as I was the day I stepped on
the bench."

In many ways Mr. Piatt manifested his friendly interest.
Before the Illinois State Convention met he sent word that
he had been to Washington, and in the inner circle of the
State had learned that Senator Cullom would not allow
Gresham to have the solid vote of Illinois on the start.



EVENTS PRIOR TO 1888 CONVENTION 579

This information was communicated to Joseph Medill, who
said and wrote — the letter is still in existence — "John R.
Tanner and Joseph Fifer will see that Senator Cullom gets
back into Hne." Both Tanner and Fifer when mere boys
had graduated from the farm into the army, and at the
close of the war had not reached their majority. Fifer was
then the RepubHcan candidate for Governor of Illinois.
John R. Tanner was afterwards Governor of Illinois. He
was a man of decided ability and force, but withal had a
power of suggestion that the best trained diplomat of
Europe could not excel in delicacy. Senator Cullom did
not break the Illinois delegation. Senator Farwell was
opposed to instructing the Illinois delegation for Gresham.
He wanted a trading delegation. In that event he would
have been a principal. But Illinois was instructed for
Gresham, and Tanner said Gresham, in time and in turn,
should have asked Piatt, ' ' What can we do for you ? ' ' That
my husband earned the criticism of Tanner and others
that he was no politician, is here confessed.

Senator Piatt also sent word that Chauncey M. Depew
could not be nominated, that Mr. Depew knew this, and
was also satisfied that he could not be elected if he should
be nominated ; that New York might not even give Depew
a complimentary vote. Then came a proposition from New
York that Mr. Depew's election to the Vice- Presidency
would not interfere with his corporate connections, and
that he would consent to a ticket of Gresham and Depew.
To this my husband failed to assent.

On the 29th day of April, Mr. Piatt sent word by Colonel
John W. Foster that of the men mentioned, Gresham was
his personal choice, and to look out for Pennsylvania,
"Quay would swing that State."

A few days before the Convention met, when all kinds
of rumors were flying about, and just after the papers had
pubhshed a report that Mr. Piatt had said "Gresham should
not be nominated because too many Mugwumps were for



58o LIFE OF WALTER QUINTIN GRESHAM

him," Mr. Piatt sent a special messenger to my husband
to say that the report was untrue, and that he would come
to no decision as to w^hom he would support for the nomi-
nation until he reached Chicago.

Meanwhile, Erastus Brainard was hammering away in
his Philadelphia Daily News. As a Connecticut Yankee
he said he was in touch with men in New England and
New Jersey. He was something of a practical reformer.
He wrote McManus, one of the Philadelphia delegates, and
the other machine politicians of Philadelphia, that he would
let up on them if they would support Gresham. They
agreed to do so. Then through Senator Farwell, Senator
Quay, on May 30, sent word that through this source
Gresham would not get a single vote from Pennsylvania.
On the 9th of June Quay sent word to Joseph Medill that
he would be in Chicago Thursday night, the 13th, and
desired "a meeting with Judge Gresham either the after-
noon or evening of Friday, whichever suits the convenience
of the judge."

On the 12th John C. New brought the Harrison boom to
Chicago and proceeded to say that under no circumstances
should Gresham have a vote from Indiana. Charles W.
Fairbanks, the leader of the Gresham movement in Indiana,
arrived at the same time.

Associated with Mr. Fairbanks, some of whom accom-
panied him, were such men as Albert J. Beveridge, A. C.
Harris, Noble C. Butler, V. T. Malott, General A. D.
Streight, ex-Governor Thomas Hanna, George W. Wilson,
T. R. McDonald, H. C. Hanna, Andrew J. Penman, A. L.
Kumler, George M. Friedley, H. A. Orth, Moses Fowler,
Judge E. P. Hammond, A. W. Wishard, Charles A. Book-
waiter, Kenesaw M. Landis, Edward Daniels, and many
others. William V. Rooker was one of Joseph Medill's
young newspaper men, afterwards a successful lawyer, who
wrote some wonderful newspaper stories about Mr. Gresham
that had been copied all over the country. Just at this



EVENTS PRIOR TO 18 88 CONVENTION 581

time the papers stated that Governor Porter was giving
General Harrison much anxiety at Indianapolis.

P. A. B. Widener was in Chicago on the 12th, and Quay,
as he had sent word, on the morning of the 13th. He
called on Judge Gresham at his chambers, but none of the
newspaper men mentioned it, although they all knew it.
They were all for Gresham, but seemed to think it was
policy to fail to mention that visit. They said, "Senator
Quay arrived in town yesterday and put in his time visit-
ing friends around town." Joseph Medill was greatly ex-
cited about it.

Senator Quay was in unison with Judge Gresham in
opposition to Mr. Blaine, did not object to my husband's
tariff views, but could not accept his desire to be free when
it came to dispensing the loaves and fishes. On that Quay
was insistent — that there should be a definite understand-
ing. "That can not be," was the final answer. This did
not mar the cordiality of the meeting. As one of President
Arthur's friends in Pennsylvania, Walter Q. Gresham had
become well acquainted with Quay. Erastus Brainard, the
newspaper man to whom the judge said he would make no
deal, did not reach Chicago until Sunday morning. Ex-
Senator Piatt, Mrs. Piatt, and Rachel Sherman, one of
General Sherman's daughters, reached Chicago late Friday
evening and stopped at the Grand Pacific Hotel. In an
interview, Mr. Piatt declared he did not know "what New
York would do in the convention."

Senator Sherman claims in his autobiography that Mr.
Piatt promised before he left New York to vote for and
throw his influence to Sherman. What inducement, if any,
Senator Sherman held out to Mr. Piatt he does not state.
The mere presence of Senator Sherman's niece in Mr. Piatt's
party was not enough to warrant a man of affairs like Senator
Sherman expecting the support of a cold-blooded politician
like Thomas C. Piatt. Moreover, Piatt gave as his reason
for being against Senator Sherman that he was an Ohio



582 LIFE OF WALTER QUINTIN GRESHAM

man, and that ever since Piatt's and Conkling's experience
with Garfield, he would not trust the pledge of an Ohio
man. He always opposed McKinley.

We were living at the Palmer House. I noticed that
my husband did not suggest my calling on Rachel Sherman,
and I did not go. It would have involved including Mrs.
Piatt on my visit. Under other circumstances I would
have promptly called on Rachel Sherman and Mrs. Piatt,
although I had never met the latter. According to all
accounts, Mrs. Piatt was a very estimable woman.

The next Saturday Mr. Piatt called on my husband and
said he was still noncommittal on the Presidency. My
husband told Mr. Piatt that he was as he had always been,
opposed to Mr. Blaine on political lines; that he was
opposed to taking the tax off tobacco as proposed by Mr.
Blaine, and off whiskey as proposed by Mr. Depew; that
he favored the reduction of the surplus on the lines the
party was committed to in the platform in 1884 and prior
thereto, by reducing the customs duties. "I am for the
kind of protection set forth in my New York speech in
1884, which you heard. That had been the policy of the
branch of the party to which you and I belonged prior to
1884. Blaine indorsed that speech. Now he and Depew
would carry up beyond anything Henry Clay ever advo-
cated. The new propaganda is a mistake and is not right.
The scale of wages that made up the difference between
the wages in this and foreign countries was sufficient. I
know your relations to Mr. Blaine. I can make you no
such pledges as he has." It was up to the Judge, as John
R. Tanner said, to introduce the subject, to make the offer
of a place in the cabinet. Mr. Gresham took the most con-
siderate way he knew, of refusing. They did not meet
afterwards during the convention. But Quay came a
second time, and in this second visit he did not represent
himself alone. From other States than New York and
Pennsylvania were these pledges demanded.



EVENTS PRIOR TO 1888 CONVENTION 583

Men like John S. McLain, of the MinneapoHs Journal;
George Thompson, of the St. Paul Despatch; Robert J.
Evans and W. J. Freaney, and Henry W. Judson, professor
of political economy in the University of Minnesota, who
led in the movement that practically instructed Minnesota
for Gresham; Colonel N. H. O wings in Washington, and
W. T. Hume and the editor of the Oregonian, who swung
Oregon into line for Gresham ; former Judge of the Supreme
Court Rhodes of California, and the California newspaper
men; Senator Henry M. Teller in Colorado; Senator
Plumb of Kansas, and Colonel Walter Evans of Kentucky,
never made a suggestion looking to patronage.

Men like Colonel Clark E. Carr of Illinois, who had been
in the i860 convention, said Illinois was more unanimous for
Gresham than it had been for Lincoln. The sentiment in
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri,
Colorado, California, Oregon, and the West, as well as in
New York, Pennsylvania, and New England, if the press
and private reports were any criterion, was also favorable.
Indiana was not far behind. In Wisconsin, Henry C.
Payne, one of the delegates-at-large from that State, wrote
Judge Dyer he was for Judge Gresham, and Senator John C.
Spooner wrote Judge Bunn before he was elected a delegate
that he would also support Judge Gresham. My husband
did not agree with these judges. When asked how Sena-
tor Sawyer stood towards him, he answered he thought he
would be opposed to him, for there was the Angle case.
Payne, Spooner, Sa\\yer, and Governor Rusk made Rusk
a candidate only to hold delegates from Gresham. They
all knew Rusk was not a possibility.

That Depew with his railroad influences reached into
Wisconsin and even other States is true, but that they
would not have been potent against T. C. Piatt is equally
true. In the end Depew would have followed Piatt. Such
was Senator Sherman's opinion. An analysis of the vote in
the conventions of 1888 and of 1892 shows Piatt's control.



CHAPTER XXXVII
THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION OF 1888



CONTEST FOR TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN MR. THURSTON

ELECTED ESTEE MADE PERMANENT CHAIRMAN JUDGE

GRESHAM DISLIKES PLATFORM ADOPTED "TIN BUCKET"

PARADE FOR GRESHAM LEONARD SWETT PRESENTS GRES-

HAM's name TO THE CONVENTION INGERSOLL's SPEECH

FOR GRESHAM — OTHER NAMES PRESENTED — PLATT "DEMON-
STRATES HIS power" — -QUAY ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF THE
NATIONAL COMMITTEE — HARRISON's STRENGTH — GENERAL
HARRISON NOMINATED.

/^N Monday, June 17, 1888, at the first formal meeting
^^ of the RepubHcan National Committee, there was a
contest as to who would be presented for the temporary
chairman to the National Convention, to meet at noon the
following day. For a time it had been supposed the com-
mittee would recommend M. M. Estee of California for
the position. Mr. Estee had opposed the Southern Pacific
Company in California, then gave it his allegiance, and
came to Chicago as an ostensible "anti-monopoly man,"
as one of his friends put it, but really a Southern Pacific
agent. Only a short time before the committee met,
John M. Thurston, one of the delegates-at-large from
Nebraska, and the general counsel of the Union Pacific
Railroad Company, was also put forward for temporary
chairman. Much to Mr. Estee's surprise, the committee
voted evenly, 20 to 20. Benjamin F. Jones, chairman of
the National Committee, decided the controversy by casting
his vote for Mr. Thurston.

Subsequent events made it plain there was significance
in the protest, on the floor of the Convention, of the chair-
man of the Kansas delegation, B. F. Osborne, on behalf
of his State, against the report of the National Committee

584



REPUBLICAN CONVENTION OF 1888 585

in naming a "railroad attorney" for temporary chairman
of the convention.

Mr. Thurston was a forceful and eloquent speaker. In
the mutations of pohtics he became a United States senator
from Nebraska, and closed his days as a lobbyist at Wash-
ington.

There were speeches from Fred Douglass and John C.
Fremont and then an adjournment until noon of Wednes-
day, to give ample time, as it was reported, for the Com-
mittee on Resolutions to get the platform in the desired
shape. There was a hesitancy about committing the party
to an unprecedented extreme.

When the Convention met on Wednesday, the Com-
mittee on Permanent Organization was not ready to report
because of the delay in the Committee on Resolutions.
Instead of adjourning again, it was decided to make Mr.
Estee permanent chairman and receive the report of the
Committee on Credentials, which recommended the settle-
ment of the contest between Congressman John S. Wise
of Virginia and General WilHam Mahone, an ex-Senator
of the same State. This contest had interested everybody.
General Mahone had undertaken to keep Mr. Wise out of
the Convention by electing all the delegates from the State
of Virginia at a convention held at Petersburgh, instead of
the district delegates by local conventions. Mr. Wise and
his colleague were elected at a district convention, in accord-
ance with the call of the National Committee, and were
given their seats. He and his associate voted for Gresham
on the first three ballots. General Mahone was for John

Sherman.

At the session of June 21, the third day after the con-
vention had been organized, the Committee on Resolutions
reported. In the report of the Committee on Permanent
Organization were the names of the members of the new
National Committee. Matthew S. Quay appeared as the
member from Pennsylvania. As before intimated, it had



586 LIFE OF WALTER QUINTIN GRESHAM

been previously decided or agreed with Piatt that Quay
should be the chairman of the new committee when it
organized, no matter who might be nominated. And the
way Quay used his power after he came into the saddle will
be part of our story. William McKinley read the platform
report of the Committee on Resolutions. Its chief feature
was the tariff. That part of it began:

We are unconditionally in favor of the American system of
protection. We protest against its destruction proposed by the
President and his party.

It denounced the Mills bill, and free wool as proposed
in it, the Democratic measure then pending before Congress.
"If there still remain a larger revenue than is requisite for
the wants of the government, we favor the entire repeal
of internal taxes (by repealing the tax on tobacco and
on spirits used in the arts) rather than the surrender of
any part of our protective system at the joint behest of the
whiskey trusts and the agents of foreign manufacturers."

Indeed, as one of the reporters that morning quoted
William McKinley, it was a progressive platform. Even
Mr. Blaine in his famous interview had not come squarely
out for "free whiskey." It was a repudiation of the plat-
form of 1884.

As soon as Walter Q. Gresham read it in his chambers,
he wrote a letter to Senator Farwell, asking that his name
be withdrawn from the Convention, and then started out
to find Joseph Medill. Just outside of the building, he met
Mr. Medill, who was on his way to find Judge Gresham.
Medill began the conversation. "I suppose you don't
like the platform?" "No," was the response, "and I have
a letter here to Senator Farwell requesting that my name
does not go before the Convention." Then at the earnest
request of Mr. Medill, on his representation that it would
embarrass him and other friends, and at the request of
others, the letter was destroyed. Had Mr. Medill "stood



REPUBLICAN CONVENTION OF 1888 587

by his guns" that platform would have been modified, or
at least we never would have had the McKinley Tariff
Act, and its like, the Dingley Act, which William McKinley,
in his last words to the American people on that fatal day



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