Autobiography of Seventy Years - Vol. 1

By George F. Hoar | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
ELECTION TO CONGRESS

IN the year 1868 one chapter of my life ended and a very different one began. In the beginning of that year I had no doubt that what remained of my life would be devoted to my profession, and to discharging as well as I could the duties of good citizenship in the community to which I was so strongly attached. But it was ordered otherwise. My life in Worcester came to an end, and I shall if I live to complete my present term in the Senate have spent thirty- eight years in the National service.

This came from no ambition of mine. In May, 1868, I sailed for Europe, broken down in health by hard work. During my absence, some of the leading Republicans of the District issued an appeal recommending me as a candidate for Congress. There were five or six other candidates. They were all of them men of great popularity, with hosts of friends and supporters. Among them was John D. Baldwin, then holding the seat, a veteran in the Anti-Slavery Service, editor of the Worcester Spy, one of the most influential papers in New England. It had been the almost unvarying custom of the people of Massachusetts to reelect an old member who had served as faithfully as Mr. Baldwin. Another candidate was Francis W. Bird, one of the founders of the Anti-Slavery Party, and a man who had been a powerful supporter by speech and pen and wise counsel and large influence of the Republican Party since its foundation. He was supported by the powerful influence of Charles Sumner, then at the height of his popularity, and by Adin Thayer, the ablest political organizer in Massachusetts. Another candidate was Amasa Walker, the eminent writer on political economy, whose name has since been rendered still more illustrious by the brilliant public

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