Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White - Vol. 1

By Andrew Dickson White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
ARTHUR, CLEVELAND, AND BLAINE-1881-1884

T HE successor of Garfield, President Arthur, I had met frequently in my old days at Albany. He was able, and there never was the slightest spot upon his integrity; but in those early days nobody dreamed that he was to attain any high distinction. He was at that time charged with the main military duties under the governor; later he became collector of the port of New York, and in both positions showed himself honest and capable. He was lively, jocose, easy-going, with little appearance of devotion to work, dashing off whatever he had to do with ease and accuracy. At various dinner-parties and social gatherings, and indeed at sundry State conventions, where I met him, he seemed, more than anything else, a bon vivant, facile and good-natured.

His nomination to the Vice-Presidency, which on the death of Garfield led him to the Presidency, was very curious, and an account of it given me by an old friend who had previously been a member of the Garfield cabinet and later an ambassador in Europe, was as follows:

After the defeat of the " Stalwarts," who had fought so desperately for the renomination of General Grant at. the Chicago Convention of 1880, the victorious side of the convention determined to concede to them, as an olivebranch, the Vice-Presidency, and with this intent my informant and a number of other delegates who had been especially active in preventing Grant's renomination went to the room of the New York delegation, which had

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