The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics - Vol. 1

By William Ernest Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
FALLEN YEARS

There is a dangerously prevalent notion that consistency and honesty are synonymous. There is nothing moral in consistency or immoral in inconsistency. The one important meaning of consistency is loyalty to facts. If the facts change, we are morally obliged to change with them; and there is nothing inconsistent in so doing.--GLENN FRANK.

IT was assumed by the Free-Soilers, without good reasons, that, if elected, Pierce would favor them in appointments to office. The Union Democrats, the supporters of Cass, the "Buchaneers," and the state-rights men believed that they would have ample recognition; each group expected to control the administration. Young America had no doubt of its future representation in the Cabinet when it marched to the polls on November 2 to vote for a forty-eight year old Yankee. Pierce unfortunately attempted to treat all the hungry office-seekers alike. He expected to conciliate all factions by the distribution of offices. The representative delegations, therefore, received warm greetings from the President-elect, and each faction went away in the belief that it would obtain more favors than he could possibly grant.

The Blairs had labored diligently for the election of Pierce. The father had worked with the Eastern liberals while his sons in Missouri gave valuable support to the national ticket. The elder Blair was then twenty years older than he, as a youth, believed he could live. His uncertain health had kept him in a receptive mood for death since he was forty years old. His country seat was beautiful and unique in its comforts. The old couple walked beneath the stately chestnuts, or rested at the "Acorn" to drink the cool, refreshing waters of Silver Spring, and talked of the absent sons. Montgomery had been in Missouri for a decade.

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