Hamilton Fish: The Inner History of the Grant Administration - Vol. 1

By Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

Chapter XVI Exit Motley--and Sumner's Policy

PRESIDENT GRANT made no secret of his chagrin the day after the Dominican vote. Talking to the bearded soldier-governor of Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes, on the south portico of the White House, he exploded in denunciation of the Senate.1 Hayes quotes Grant as saying: "He had now an easy time in his office. The first three months was hard, but now all comfortable." He attacked Sumner as a mass of egotism, Schurz as an infidel, and Casserly of California as a bigoted Irish Catholic. But he gave more practical evidence of his wrath. Early that morning he sent Fish a curt note directing the nomination of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen of New Jersey as Minister to England in place of Motley.2

Shocked by the abruptness of the act, although he knew it had long been in contemplation, Fish sought to obtain a delay. The Cabinet met that afternoon. When he entered the room Grant asked if he had received the note. "Yes," said the Secretary, "but I wish to talk with you before you send in that nomination." Drawing the President to a corner, Fish told him plainly that Motley's removal would offend public sentiment--that it would be attributed to bad temper, and to a spiteful desire to punish the Minister for Sumner's opposition. Motley, he added, had done nothing whatever since the summer of 1869 that deserved condemnation. If Grant were determined to be rid of him, he should at least give him an opportunity to resign. "I urge you to let him remain until next winter," he concluded.3

"That," Grant replied with set jaw, "I will not do. I will not allow Mr. Sumner to ride over me."

"But it is not Mr. Sumner but Mr. Motley at whom you are striking."

"It is the same thing."

"The country will not so understand it."

"They will when the removal is made," declared Grant. And though Fish continued to plead and argue, he was immovable. The only concession he made was to permit a resignation. That afternoon, therefore, Fish sent Motley a brief note stating that the President found it desirable to make a change in the mission, and wished to allow him

____________________
1
C. R. Williams, ed., Diary aped Letters of Rutherford B. Hayes, Vol. III, 110-112.
2
Fish Papers.
3
Diary, July 1, 1870.

-372-

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Hamilton Fish: The Inner History of the Grant Administration - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Contents xix
  • Chapter I- An Heir of the Federalists 1
  • Chapter II- The Great Whig Battles 20
  • Chapter III- The Senate in Stormy Days 36
  • Chapter IV- Travel and War 66
  • Chapter V- The Watcher 89
  • Chapter VI- Grant in Power 105
  • Chapter VII- Portrait of a President 124
  • Chapter VIII- Broadside from Sumner 142
  • Chapter IX 176
  • Chapter X- Motley''s Insubordination 201
  • Chapter XII- Pandora''s Box 249
  • Chapter XIII- Congress in Session 279
  • Chapter XIV- The Battle of Santo Domingo 309
  • Chapter XV- Crisis- June, 1870 335
  • Chapter XVI- Exit Motley--And Sumner''s Policy 372
  • Chapter XVII- War in Europe 400
  • Chapter XVIII- The Road to Peace 423
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