• THE PRESIDENT ELECT.
THE New York Tribune published three days before the Presidential Election a very noteworthy contribution, occupying rather more than five columns of small type. It is a collection of the speeches, letters, general orders, and sayings absolutely known to have proceeded from General Grant since his appointment to the command of an army in the field, that is, since the siege of Vicksburg. The collection includes every speech, all orders of any importance, all letters bearing upon public policy, and every saying absolutely authentic, and one of the most remarkable facts about it is that the whole can be read through in an hour. The terrible publicity to which American politicians are condemned to submit,—publicity as of life under a burning-glass,--is pro- ducing the consequence of any other tyranny, an unnatural reticence as to opinions, concealed by the majority under a cloud of words, and by General Grant under a studious silence, or a grimly humorous diversion of the talk to the merits of the last new trotter. He does not care about trotters parti- cularly, but he "talks trotters," just as Walpole "talked women," as a subject interesting to all men, but uncon- nected with political issues. Every now and then, however, he has been compelled to break silence, sometimes almost involuntarily, and his utterances, when read together, let a .flood of light on his character and policy. As General Grant will be for four years Premier of the United States, our readers may possibly be interested in revelations at least as important to this country as the ideas of the Emperor Napoleon.
First and foremost, then, General Grant is fixedly determined that slavery in all its forms shall remain ended, that free labour with all its consequences shall be the rule of the Union from Maine to Florida. He is no abolitionist, seems never to have been clear that slavery was a crime, though he enter- tained no Southern feeling, intimates for the negro as little liking as dislike, and expressly avows that it was a hard task to him to contemplate negro suffrage as a necessity. It is as statesman and American that he is clear the system must end, —end completely and for ever ; that the Negro must be recog- nized officially and socially, not only as a man, but as an American citizen. The progress of his mind upon this point is very curious. He wrote to Brigadier Parke, while lying before Vicksburg, "Use the negroes and everything within your command to the best advantage,"—not, be it noted, every person. This distinction proceeded, how- ever, from no contempt for the Black race, such as many Generals at that time did not hesitate to express. " I expect," he writes in January, 1862, " the Commanders especially to exert themselves in carrying out the policy of the Administration, not only in organizing coloured regiments and rendering them efficient, but also in removing prejudice against them," a prejudice which within his command rapidly disappeared. Even before this General Grant had issued stern orders for the protection of coloured soldiers, informing General Halleck in particular that "it was the duty of Union Generals to give the same protection to coloured troops that they do to any other troops " in the service of the United States ; and one year later he wrote to General Butler that no distinction whatever should be made in the exchange of white and coloured prisoners if regularly enrolled in the Army, He had,
moreover, even then, 1862, made up his mind on the political side of the matter, for he wrote on August 30 to the Hon.. E. L. Washburn in these emphatic terms :—" I never was an Abolitionist, not even what could be called anti-Slavery ; but I try to judge fairly and honestly, and it became patent to my mind, early in the rebellion, that the North and South could never live at peace with each other except as one nation, and that without slavery. As anxious as I am to see peace established, I would not therefore be willing to see any settlement until this question is for ever settled." This was written, be it remembered, before Vicksburg had fallen, when it seemed to weak men as if the North must make some concession if peace was ever to be secured. The- General himself thought they must yield some points, but not this, and by 1866 his mind had ripened till he was prepared to• admit the negro not only to freedom as a reward for State service, not only to freedom as a man, but to equality as a citizen. "I never," he said, " could have believed that I should favour giving negroes the right to vote, but that seems to me the only solution of our difficulties."
Upon this, the main point of the whole dispute between, American parties, no opinion could be more clear ; and it is the opinion of a man slow to receive new impressions, not specially philanthropic, not perhaps inclined even now to demand more- than justice for the oppressed, but immovably fixed to secure that. We can quite conceive General Grant vetoing a Bill to give negroes land for nothing while hanging whites who robbed them of land purchased with their own savings. Colour is to him no recommendation, but also no disqualification, the only true attitude of mind for the ruler of a parti-coloured State. Upon subsidiary points the President Elect is equally clear and decisive, and his policy is perhaps best explained in a. sentence from his letter accepting his nomination by the Chicago Convention:—" 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 con- stantly 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." This idea incessantly crops out in his letters, and seems nearly allied with the grand peculiarity of his mind, a love of order and subordination. A mad suggestion was made during the Atalanta campaign to place Sherman above Grant ; and Sherman, always loyal, wrote to his chief repudiating the- plan. Grant replied, "If you are put above me I shall always obey you, just as you always have me." Only those who know the tenacity of soldiers about supersession can ade- quately comprehend the serene simplicity of this reply, and only those who know how politics are ingrained in prominent Ameri- cans can appreciate the letter to Mr. Chase affirming that "no theory of my own will ever stand in the way of my executing in good faith any order I may receive from those in authority over me." He regards " the people " as his ultimate com- manding officer, and asks only that their orders be intelli- gible and consistent. This love of discipline is tempered with great personal kindliness to inferiors, a feeling best illustrate& perhaps by his absolute refusal to break four or five officers- who had behaved badly, or rather stupidly, in an early affair. They had never, said the General, been under fire before, and they had learned their lesson ; and he positively declined even. to report them. "Bah !" said Nelson, on a somewhat similar occasion, " boys will duck. I did, till I found it was useless ;"- and General Grant seems to be of the same temper, a temper not always inconsistent with terrible sternness. There is but- one instance of humour, in the popular sense, reported in this collection, though many of the orders are pervaded by a soldierlike directness which is almost humour, and it illustrates. the latent sternness in the General's character. It was needful in 1864 to clear, or rather desolate, the Shenandoah Valley, whence the enemy was drawing large supplies, and Grant in- formed his young General of Cavalry, Sheridan, "the valley must be so cleared that crows flying over it will for the season have to carry their own rations,"—a remark that might have come from Cromwell in Ireland. Precisely the same spirit is mani- fested in his intercourse with the supply branches of the Army, and in his general views upon economy. He early perceived the jobbing which is the curse of all operations in free States, and took peremptory measures to put a stop to it, cancelling every contract not made by himself, abolishing the contract system in favour of direct purchases, sternly rebuk- ing his own father for asking favours, and finally sug-
days, in some hour of extremity, produced mainly by tolerated frauds, we shall establish a sterner law than that, and carry it out, too, with the approbation of all men. The years during which President Grant occupies the White House will clearly not be " good times " for peculators, or for disobedient officials, or for persons who violently disturb the public peace. It is a real relief, amidst the perpetual talk of State rights, President Johnson's democrat proclamations, and, we must add, half-hearted Republican proposals, to come across an opinion as statesmanlike as this. In January, 1867, General Grant recorded the following deliberate opinion on the state of affairs in Texas :—" In my opinion, the great number of murders of Union men and freedmen in Texas, not only as a rule unpunished, but uninvestigated, constitute practically a state of insurrection ; and, believing it to be the province and duty of every good government to afford protection to the lives, liberties, and property of her citizens, I would recom- mend the declaration of martial law in Texas to secure these ends. The necessity for governing any portion •of our terri- tory by martial law is to be deplored. If resorted to, it should be limited in its authority, and should leave all local authorities and civil tribunals free and unobstructed until they prove their inefficiency or unwillingness to perform their duties. Martial law would give security, or compara- tively so, to all classes of citizens, without regard to race, colour, or political opinions, and should be continued until society was capable of protecting itself, or until the State is returned to its full relation with the Union. The application of martial law to one of these States would be a warning to all, and, if necessary, could be extended to others."— It will come to that at last, and every day's delay does but exasperate the evil. As we have maintained from the first, the States which will not allow order to be restored must be governed temporarily as India is governed, by a government essentially military, which permits any human being of any colour to say what he likes and do what he likes within the laws, but enforces the laws with the bayonet. Any native or European may talk any treason he pleases in the town hall of Calcutta, and no one will punish ; but if he interferes with any rights of any other British subject, white or coloured, his whole following, or his whole nation, could not save him from arrest and punishment. Unswerving justice is the basis of order, there is no justice either in Texas or in London if the civil officers of the law can be defied by armed force, and the next President of the United States, it is clear, does not intend they should be. We only wish we could be as certain of the next Premier.
General Grant comes out in these letters, and orders, and— no, not speeches—sayings, a soldier politician of the best sort, a man gentle, kindly, and considerate, but with a vein of wrath in him, a man who surveys politics as he would a valley, without seeing every tree, but missing no strategic point, a soldier who is aware that there must be force somewhere to keep society together, but a politician who is determined that that force shall be the Law, framed and modified by the repre- sentatives of the people. We congratulate the United States on a Premier who dislikes waste, even when the wasteful support his party, and will put down murderers even when they plead the sovereign rights of States. gesting to Halleck that " all fraudulent contractors should be thing at all ; the independent Conservatives themselves, impressed into the ranks, or still better, gunboat service, headed by the Marquis of Salisbury, have not hesitated to where they could have no chance of deserting." One of these avow their preference for Sir Roundell Palmer's personal