By JOHN BASSETT MOORE
HAD I written the life of Hamilton Fish, as I at one time hoped to do, it was my intention to put in the forefront, as a condensed commentary on his career, a sentiment uttered by an ancient writer of great renown, who said: "The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools."1 As the valedictorian of his class in college, Hamilton Fish made an address, but it was in Latin, and was not designed to stir the emotions of his hearers. In his twenty years of active practice at the bar, he was known as a sagacious and trusty counselor, but not as a forensic orator. If his competitors for elective offices looked forward with anxiety to the final poll, it was not because he had promised the earth and the fulness thereof to the unfortunate, or had shaken the hustings with stentorian blasts. As lieutenant-governor, and then as governor, of his native State, he discharged his duties firmly and effectively, but without any attempt at theatrical display. In the Congress of the United States, first as a member of the House and then as a senator, he made no speeches; but in the work of the committees he did his full share, and, in the determination of questions of law and of policy, his colleagues would have told you that his judgment was weighty. In the arts of political showmanship, he was wholly unschooled; that he should seek to win or to hold popular favor by reckless enchantments and sudden shifts, was inconceivable. Commanding in figure, and with clear-cut features, giving the impression of strength, dignity and self- possession; firm in his convictions, but considerate of the rights and opinions of others; social in his instincts and habits, and truly interested in his fellow men in all stations of life, he made his way in their confidence and esteem by the faithful and capable performance of all his duties, public and private, as a citizen and a man.
To these general and fundamental explanations of Hamilton Fish's career as a whole, there is yet to be added a special qualification for the supreme and particular service he was to render as Secretary of State. As the descendant of early settlers, and as the son of a patriot who was____________________