The Presidents of the United States, 1789-1914/Grover Cleveland
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|The photograph of the birthplace of Grover Cleveland (the Presbyterian parsonage in Caldwell, N. J.), facing page 248 in the original, is missing here.|
Grover Cleveland, twenty-second president of the United States, was born in Caldwell, Essex County, New Jersey, March 18, 1837. On the paternal side he is of English origin. Moses Cleveland emigrated from Ipswich, county of Suffolk, England, in 1635, and settled at Woburn, Mass., where he died in 1701. His grandson was Aaron, whose son, Aaron, was great-great-grandfather of Grover. The second Aaron's grandson, William, was a silversmith and watchmaker at Norwich, Conn. His son, Richard Falley Cleveland, was graduated at Yale in 1824, was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in 1829, and in the same year married Anne Neal, daughter of a Baltimore merchant of Irish birth. These two were the parents of Grover Cleveland. The Presbyterian parsonage at Caldwell, where Mr. Cleveland was born, was first occupied by the Rev. Stephen Grover, in whose honor the boy was named; but the first name was early dropped, and he has been known as Grover Cleveland. When he was four years old his father accepted a call to Fayetteville, near Syracuse, N. Y., where the son had an academy schooling, and afterward was a clerk in a country store. The removal of the family to Clinton, Oneida County, gave Grover additional educational advantages in the academy there. In his seventeenth year he became a clerk and an assistant teacher in the New York institution for the blind in New York city, in which his elder brother, William, an alumnus of Hamilton college, now a Presbyterian clergyman at Forest Port, N. Y., was then a teacher. In 1855 Grover left Holland Patent, in Oneida county, where his mother then resided, to go to the west in search of employment. On his way he stopped at Black Rock, now a part of Buffalo, where his uncle, Lewis F. Allen, induced him to remain and aid him in the compilation of a volume of the “American Herd-Book,” receiving for six weeks service $60.
He afterward assisted in the preparation of several other volumes of this work, and the preface to the fifth volume (1861) acknowledges his services. In August, 1855, he secured a place as clerk and copyist for the law firm of Rogers, Bowen & Rogers, in Buffalo, began to read Blackstone, and in the autumn of that year was receiving four dollars a week for his work. He was admitted to the bar in 1859, but for three years longer he remained with the firm that first employed him, acting as managing clerk at a salary of $600, soon advanced to $1,000, a part of which he devoted to the support of his widowed mother, who died in 1882. He was appointed assistant district attorney of Erie county January 1, 1863, and held the office for three years. At this time strenuous efforts were being made to bring the civil war to a close. Two of Cleveland's brothers were in the army, and his mother and sisters were dependent largely upon him for support. Unable to enlist, he borrowed money to send a substitute, and it was not till long after the war that he was able to repay the loan. In 1865, at the age of twenty-eight, he was the democratic candidate for district attorney, but was defeated by the republican candidate, his intimate friend, Lyman K. Bass. He then became a law partner of Isaac V. Vanderpool, and in 1869 became a member of the firm of Lanning, Cleveland & Folsom. He continued a successful practice till 1870, when he was elected sheriff of Erie county. At the expiration of his three-years term he formed a law partnership with his personal friend and political antagonist, Lyman K. Bass, the firm being Bass, Cleveland & Bissell, and after the forced retirement from failing health of Mr. Bass, Cleveland & Bissell. The firm was prosperous, and Cleveland attained high rank as a lawyer, noted for the simplicity and directness of his logic and expression and thorough mastery of his cases.
Photograph by Pach Bros., N. Y.
In the autumn of 1881 he was nominated democratic candidate for mayor of Buffalo, and was elected by a majority of 3,530, the largest ever given to a candidate in that city. In the same election the republican state ticket was carried in Buffalo by an average majority of over 1,600; but Cleveland had a partial republican, independent, and “reform” movement support. He entered upon the office, January, 1, 1882. He soon became known as the “veto mayor,” using that prerogative fearlessly in checking unwise, illegal, or extravagant expenditure of the public money, and enforcing strict compliance with the requirements of the state constitution and the city charter. By vetoing extravagant appropriations he saved the city nearly $1,000,000 in the first six months of his administration. He opposed giving $500 of the taxpayers money to the Firemen's benevolent society, on the ground that such appropriation was not permissible under the terms of the state constitution and the charter of the city. He vetoed a resolution diverting $500 from the Fourth-of-July appropriation to the observance of Memorial day for the same reason, and immediately subscribed one tenth of the sum wanted for the purpose. His admirable, impartial, and courageous administration won tributes to his integrity and ability from the press and the people irrespective of party.
On the second day of the democratic state convention at Syracuse, September 22, 1882, on the third ballot, by a vote of 211 out of 382, Grover Cleveland was nominated for governor, in opposition to Charles J. Folger, then secretary of the U. S. treasury, nominated for the same office three days before by the republican state convention at Saratoga. In his letter accepting this nomination Mr. Cleveland wrote: “Public officers are the servants and agents of the people, to execute the laws which the people have made, and within the limits of a constitution which they have established. . . . We may, I think, reduce to quite simple elements the duty which public servants owe, by constantly bearing in mind that they are put in place to protect the rights of the people, to answer their needs as they arise, and to expend for their benefit the money drawn from them by taxation.”
In the canvass that followed, Cleveland had the advantage of a united democratic party, and in addition the support of the entire independent press of the state. The election in November was the most remarkable in the political annals of New York. Both gubernatorial candidates were men of character and of unimpeachable public record. Judge Folger had honorably filled high state and federal offices. But there was a wide-spread disaffection in the republican ranks largely due to the belief that the nomination of Folger (nowise obnoxious in itself) was accomplished by means of improper and fraudulent practices in the nominating convention and by the interference of the federal administration. What were called the “half-breeds” largely stayed away from the polls, and in a total vote of 918,894 Cleveland received a plural ity of 192,854 over Folger, and a majority over all, including greenback, prohibition, and scattering, of 151,742. He entered upon his office, January 1, 1883, in the words of his inaugural address, “fully appreciating his relations to the people, and determined to serve them faithfully and well.” With very limited private means, Gov. Cleveland lived upon and within his official salary, simply and unostentatiously, keeping no carriage, and daily walking to and from his duties at the capitol.
Among the salient acts of his administration were his approval of a bill to submit to the people a proposition to abolish contract labor in the prisons, which they adopted by an overwhelming majority; his veto of a bill that permitted wide latitude in the investments of savings banks; and the veto of a similar bill allowing like latitude in the investment of securities of fire insurance companies. He vetoed a bill that was a bold effort to establish a monopoly by limiting the right to construct certain street railways to companies heretofore organized, to the exclusion of such as should hereafter obtain the consent of property-owners and local authorities. His much-criticised veto of the “five-cent-fare” bill, which proposed to reduce the rates of fare on the elevated roads in New York city from ten cents to five cents for all hours in the day, was simply and solely because he considered the enactment illegal and a breach of the plighted faith of the state. The general railroad law of 1850 provides for an examination by state officers into the earnings of railroads before the rates of fare can be reduced, and as this imperative condition had not been complied with previous to the passage of the bill he vetoed it. He vetoed the Buffalo fire department bill because he believed its provisions would prevent the “economical and efficient administration of an important department in a large city,” and subject it to partisan and personal influences. In the second year of his administration he approved the bill enacting important reforms in the appointment and administration of certain local offices in New York city. His state administration was only an expansion of the fundamental principles that controlled his official action while mayor of Buffalo. Its integrity, ability, and success made him a prominent candidate for president.
The democratic national convention met at Chicago, July 8, 1884. Three days were devoted to organization, platform, and speeches in favor of candidates. In the evening of July 10 a vote was taken, in which, out of 820 votes, Grover Cleveland received 392. A two-thirds vote (557) was necessary to a nomination. On the following morning, in the first ballot, Cleveland received 683 votes, and, on motion of Thomas A. Hendricks (subsequently nominated for the vice-presidency), the vote was made unanimous. He was officially notified of his nomination by the convention committee at Albany, July 29, and made a modest response, promising soon to signify in a more formal manner his acceptance of the nomination, which he did by letter on August 18, 1884. In it he said, among other things:
“When an election to office shall be the selection by the voters of one of their number to assume for a time a public trust, instead of his dedication to the profession of politics; when the holders of the ballot, quickened by a sense of duty, shall avenge truth betrayed and pledges broken, and when the suffrage shall be altogether free and uncorrupted, the full realization of a government by the people will be at hand. And of the means to this end, not one would, in my judgment, be more effective than an amendment to the constitution disqualifying the president from re-election. . . .
“A true American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor, and the fact that honor lies in honest toil. Contented labor is an element of national prosperity. Ability to work constitutes the capital and the wage of labor, the income of a vast number of our population, and this interest should be jealously protected. Our working-men are not asking unreasonable indulgence, but, as intelligent and manly citizens, they seek the same consideration which those demand who have other interests at stake. They should receive their full share of the care and attention of those who make and execute the laws, to the end that the wants and needs of the employers and the employed shall alike be subserved, and the prosperity of the country, the common heritage of both, be advanced. As related to this subject, while we should not discourage the immigration of those who come to acknowledge allegiance to our government, and add to our citizen population, yet, as a means of protection to our working-men, a different rule should prevail concerning those who, if they come or are brought to our land, do not intend to become Americans, but will injuriously compete with those justly entitled to our field of labor. . . .
“In a free country the curtailment of the absolute rights of the individual should only be such as is essential to the peace and good order of the community. The limit between the proper subjects of governmental control, and those which can be more fittingly left to the moral sense and self-imposed restraint of the citizen, should be carefully kept in view. Thus, laws unnecessarily interfering with the habits and customs of any of our people which are not offensive to the moral sentiments of the civilized world, and which are consistent with good citizenship and the public welfare, are unwise and vexatious. The commerce of a nation to a great extent determines its supremacy. Cheap and easy transportation should therefore be liberally fostered. Within the limits of the constitution, the general government should so improve and protect its natural water-ways as will enable the producers of the country to reach a profitable market. . . . If I should be called to the chief magistracy of the nation by the suffrages of my fellow-citizens, I will assume the duties of that high office with a solemn determination to dedicate every effort to the country's good, and with a humble reliance upon the favor and support of the Supreme Being, who I believe will always bless honest human endeavor in the conscientious discharge of public duty.”
The canvass that followed was more remarkable for the discussion of the personal characters and qualifications of the candidates than for the prominent presentation of political issues. In the election (November 4) four candidates were in the field, viz.: Grover Cleveland, of New York, democratic; James G. Blaine, of Maine, republican; Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts, labor and greenback; John P. St. John, of Kansas, prohibition. The total popular vote was 10,067,610, divided as follows: Cleveland, 4,874,986; Blaine, 4,851,981; Butler, 175,370; St. John, 150,369; blank, defective, and scattering, 14,904. Of the 401 electoral votes, Cleveland received 219, and Blaine 182.
In December the executive committee of the National civil service reform league addressed a letter to President-elect Cleveland, commending to his care the interests of civil-service reform. In his reply, dated December 25, he declared that “a practical reform in the civil service was demanded”; that to it he was pledged by his “conception of true democratic faith and public duty,” as well as by his past utterances. He added: “There is a class of government positions which are not within the letter of the civil-service statute, but which are so disconnected with the policy of an administration that the removal therefrom of present incumbents, in my opinion, should not be made during the terms for which they were appointed, solely on partisan grounds, and for the purpose of putting in their places those who are in political accord with the appointing power. But many now holding such positions have forfeited all just claim to retention, because they have used their places for party purposes in disregard of their duty to the people, and because, instead of being decent public servants, they have proved themselves offensive partisans, and unscrupulous manipulators of local party management. The lessons of the past should be unlearned, and such officials, as well as their successors, should be taught that efficiency, fitness, and devotion to public duty are the conditions of their continuance in public place, and that the quiet and unobtrusive exercise of individual political rights is the reasonable measure of their party service. . . . Selections for office not embraced within the civil-service rules will be based upon sufficient inquiry as to fitness, instituted by those charged with that duty, rather than upon persistent importunity or self-solicited recommendations on behalf of candidates for appointment.”
When the New York legislature assembled, January 6, 1885, Mr. Cleveland resigned the governorship of the state. On February 27 was published a letter of the president-elect in answer to one signed by several members of Congress, in which he indicated his opposition to an increased coinage of silver, and suggested a suspension of the purchase and coinage of that metal as a measure of safety, in order to prevent a financial crisis and the ultimate expulsion of gold by silver. His inaugural address was written during the ten days previous to his setting out for Washington. On March 4 he went to the capital in company with President Arthur, and after the usual preliminaries had been completed he delivered his inaugural address from the eastern steps of the capitol, in the presence of a vast concourse. At its conclusion the oath of office was administered by Chief-Justice Waite. He then reviewed from the White House the inaugural parade, a procession numbering more than 100,000 men. In the address he urged the people of all parties to lay aside political animosities in order to sustain the government. He declared his approval of the Monroe doctrine as a guide in foreign relations, of strict economy in the administration of the finances, of the protection of the Indians and their elevation to citizenship, of the security of the freedmen in their rights, and of the laws against Mormon polygamy and the importation of a servile class of foreign laborers. In respect to appointments to office he said that the people demand the application of business principles to public affairs, and also that the people have a right to protection from the incompetency of public employés, who hold their places solely as a reward for partisan service, and those who worthily seek public employment have a right to insist that merit and competency shall be recognized, instead of party subserviency or the surrender of honest political belief.
On the following day he sent to the senate the nominations for his cabinet officers as follows: Secretary of state, Thomas F. Bayard, of Delaware; secretary of the treasury, Daniel Manning, of New York; secretary of war, William C. Endicott, of Massachusetts; secretary of the navy, William C. Whitney, of New York; postmaster-general, William F. Vilas, of Wisconsin; attorney-general, Augustus H. Garland, of Arkansas; secretary of the interior, Lucius Q. C. Lamar, of Mississippi. The nominations were promptly confirmed. On March 12, 1885, President Cleveland withdrew from the senate, which met in extra session to take action on appointments and other business connected with the new administration, the Spanish reciprocity and Nicaragua canal treaties, in order that they might be considered by the new executive. On March 13 he issued a proclamation announcing the intention of the government to remove from the Oklahoma country, in Indian territory, the white intruders who sought to settle there, which was done shortly afterward by a detachment of soldiers. By his refusal at once to remove certain officials for the purpose of putting in their place members of his own party he came into conflict with many influential men, who advocated the speedy removal of republican office-holders and the appointment of democrats, in order to strengthen the party as a political organization. At the same time the republicans and some of the civil-service reformers complained of other appointments as not being in accord with the professions of the president. “Offensive partisanship” was declared by the president to be a ground for removal, and numerous republican functionaries were displaced under that rule, while the term became a common phrase in political nomenclature. When disturbances threatened to break out between the Cheyennes and the Arapahoes in Indian territory, Gen. Sheridan, at the request of the president, visited that country in order to study the cause of the troubles. He reported that the threatened outbreak was the result of the occupation of Indian lands by cattle-owners who leased vast areas from the Indians at a merely nominal rental. The legal officers of the government decided that these leases were contrary to law and invalid. The president thereupon issued a proclamation warning all cattle companies and ranchmen to remove their herds from Indian territory within forty days, and enforced the order, notwithstanding their strenuous objection.
[ Fac-simile letter from Grover Cleveland to Mrs. James Grant Wilson ]
In his message at the opening of the first session of the 49th congress on December 8, 1885, President Cleveland recommended increased appropriations for the consular and diplomatic service, the abolition of duties on works of art, the reduction of the tariff on necessaries of life, the suspension of compulsory silver coinage, the improvement of the navy, the appointment of six general Indian commissioners, reform in the laws under which titles to the public lands are required from the government, more stringent laws for the suppression of polygamy in Utah, an act to prohibit the immigration of Mormons, the extension of the principle of civil-service reform, and an increase in the salaries of the commissioners, and the passage of a law to determine the order of presidential succession in the event of a vacancy. The senate, sitting in secret session for the consideration of the president's appointments, called for the papers on file in the departments relating to the causes for which certain officers had been removed. Upon the refusal of the president to submit the documents to their inspection, a dispute ensued, and threats were uttered by republican senators that no appointments should be confirmed unless their right to inspect papers on the official files was conceded. On March 1, 1886, he sent a long message to the senate, in which he took the ground that under the constitution the right of removal or suspension from office lay entirely within the power and discretion of the president; that sections of the tenure-of-office act requiring him to report to the senate reasons for suspending officers had been repealed; and that the papers that the senate demanded to see were not official, but were of a personal and private nature. Eventually most of the appointments of the president were ratified. During the first fiscal year of his administration the proportion of post masters throughout the country removed or suspended was but little larger than had often followed a change of administration in the same political party.
In his second annual message he called the attention of congress to the large excess of the revenues of the country beyond the needs of government, and urged such a reduction as would release to the people the increasing and unnecessary surplus of national income, by such an amendment of the revenue laws as would cheapen the price of the necessaries of life and give freer entrance to such imported materials as could be manufactured by American labor into marketable commodities. He recommended the erection of coast defences on land, and the construction of modern ships of war for the navy; argued for the civilization of the Indians by the dissolution of tribal relations, the settlement of their reservations in severalty, and the correction of abuses in the disposition of the public lands. He urged the adoption of liberal general pension laws to meet all possible cases, and protested against legislation for a favored few, as an injustice to the many who were equally deserving. He approved a bill to regulate the questions arising between the railroads and the people, and appointed an interstate commerce commission under its provisions. A number of bills providing for the erection of public buildings in various parts of the country were vetoed, on the ground that they were not required by the public business; and while he approved 186 private pension bills, he vetoed 42 for various reasons; some being covered by general laws, others were to his mind unworthy and fraudulent and others were not so favorable to the claimant as the general laws already passed. A dependent pension bill, permitting a pension of $12 per month to all soldiers and sailors who served in the war for the Union, upon the ground of service and present disability alone, whether incurred in the service or since, was vetoed, on the ground that a sufficient time had not elapsed since the war to justify a general service pension; that its terms were too uncertain and yielding to insure its just and impartial execution; that the honest soldiers of the country would prefer not to be regarded as objects of charity, as was proposed; and that its enactment would put a wholly uncalled-for and enormous annual burden upon the country for very many years to come. The veto was sustained. Vetoing an appropriation for the distribution of seeds to drought-stricken counties of Texas, he said:
“I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the constitution; and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.”
As he had done while governor, so now as president, Mr. Cleveland exercised the veto power with great freedom. This was particularly true during the session of congress which ended August 5, 1886, when of 987 bills which passed both houses he vetoed 115.
In October, 1886, accompanied by Mrs. Cleveland and several personal friends, the president made a tour of the west and south in response to invitations from those sections, which involved about 5,000 miles of railroad travel and occupied three weeks. He was enthusiastically received by the people, and made speeches at Indianapolis, St. Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Atlanta, and other cities. In December, 1887, departing from custom, he devoted his annual message to the presentation of a single subject, namely, the reduction of the tariff. He advocated a radical modification of the existing policy by the adoption of a law framed with a view to the ultimate establishment of the principles of free trade. The republicans immediately took up the issue thus presented, and the question at once became a predominant issue of the canvass. Cleveland was unanimously renominated by the national democratic convention in St. Louis, on June 5, 1888. The efforts of both parties were directed chiefly to the doubtful states of Indiana, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Cleveland carried all the southern states, and in the north New Jersey and Connecticut, while of the doubtful states Gen. Harrison received the votes of New York and Indiana. Of the electoral votes Harrison received 233, Cleveland 168. The popular vote for Cleveland numbered 5,540,329, that for Harrison 5,439,853.
At the close of his administration, on March 4, 1889, Mr. Cleveland retired to New York city, where he re-entered upon the practice of his profession. As a private citizen he continued to exert a powerful influence upon his party and public sentiment by frequent expression of his opinions on important public questions. These expressions were always based upon an implicit belief that the integrity and justice of the people would not tolerate demagogism, but demanded of any leader the truth fearlessly spoken. Conscious of a strong public demand that he should again be the democratic candidate for president, and of the personal consequence to him of his every word and act, he constantly stated his views with the courage and candor which had characterized his whole public life. A notable instance of this was his famous letter of February 10, 1891, addressed to a public meeting in New York city, which had been called to protest against a bill then pending in congress for the free and unlimited coinage of silver. There was grave danger that the bill would be enacted. Behind it was a strong public sentiment, including probably a majority in congress of his own party. His opposition insured, it was believed, the failure of the bill, but also of all chance for his renomination. Yet impelled by a sense of public duty which would not consider personal consequences, he declared his belief “that the greatest peril would be invited by the adoption of the scheme”; and he denounced “the dangerous and reckless experiment of free, unlimited, and independent silver coinage.” The bill was defeated. Notwithstanding the opposition and predictions of many leaders of his party, the demand for his renomination steadily increased. The great cause of tariff reform, which as president he had championed and which had carried the country in the elections of 1890, was evidently to be the principal issue in the campaign of 1892, and he was the natural and logical leader. At the national democratic convention which met in Chicago, June 22, 1892, he was nominated on the first ballot, receiving more than two-thirds of the votes of the convention, though bitterly and unanimously opposed by the delegation from his own state. In his speech of acceptance delivered to a great audience in Madison Square Garden, New York, and later in his formal letter of acceptance of September 26, 1892, he emphasized the need of tariff reform, and made it the leading issue be tween the parties. In his letter he said:
“Tariff reform is still our purpose. Though we oppose the theory that tariff laws may be passed having for their object the granting of discriminating and unfair governmental aid to private ventures, we wage no exterminating war against any American interests. We believe a readjustment can be accomplished, in accordance with the principles we profess, without disaster or demolition. We believe that the advantages of freer raw material should be accorded to our manufacturers, and we contemplate a fair and careful distribution of necessary tariff burdens, rather than the precipitation of free trade.”
He denounced “the attempt of the opponents of democracy to interfere with and control the suffrage of the states through federal agencies” as “a design, which no explanation can mitigate, to reverse the fundamental and safe relations between the people and their government.” He advocated “sound and honest money,” declaring: “Whatever may be the form of the people's currency, national or state — whether gold, silver, or paper — it should be so regulated and guarded by governmental action, or by wise and careful laws, that no one can be deluded as to the certainty and stability of its value. Every dollar put into the hands of the people should be of the same intrinsic value or purchasing power. With this condition absolutely guaranteed, both gold and silver can safely be utilized upon equal terms in the adjustment of our currency.” He also urged “an honest adherence to the letter and spirit of civil service reform,” “liberal consideration for our worthy vet eran soldiers and for the families of those who have died,” but insisting that “our pension roll should be a roll of honor, uncontaminated by ill desert and unvitiated by demagogic use.”
After a most vigorous campaign and a thorough discussion of important principles and measures, the democratic party won an overwhelming victory, reversing the electoral vote of 1888 and largely increasing its popular plurality, and carrying both the senate and house of representatives. The ticket carried twenty-three states, including the doubtful states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Indiana, and for the first time in years in a presidential contest Illinois and Wisconsin. The popular vote was 5,553,142 for Cleveland, 5,186,931 for Harrison, 1,030,128 for Weaver, of the “people's party,” and 268,361 for Bidwell, the prohibitionist. In the electoral college Mr. Cleveland received 276 votes, Gen. Harrison 145, and Mr. Weaver 23. On March 4, 1893, Mr. Cleveland was for a second time inaugurated president, being the first instance in this country of a president re-elected after an interim. He immediately nominated, and the senate promptly confirmed, as his cabinet Walter Q. Gresham, of Indiana, secretary of state; John G. Carlisle, of Kentucky, secretary of the treasury; Daniel S. Lament, of New York, secretary of war; Richard Olney, of Massachusetts, attorney-general; Wilson S. Bissell, of New York, postmaster-general; Hilary A. Herbert, of Alabama, secretary of the navy; Hoke Smith, of Georgia, secretary of the interior; and J. Sterling Morton, of Nebraska, secretary of agriculture. Judge Gresham died on May 28, 1895, having held office but a few months, and was succeeded by the attorney-general, Mr. Olney, whose place was taken by Judson Harmon, of Ohio. A little later Postmaster-General Bissell resigned and was succeeded by William L. Wilson, of Virginia. In August, 1896, Secretary Smith resigned and the president appointed in his place David R. Francis, of Missouri.
Grave and difficult questions at once confronted his administration. A treaty for the annexation of the Hawaiian islands to the territory of the United States had, on February 14, 1893, been concluded between President Harrison and commissioners representing a provisional government of the islands, and had been transmitted to the senate on the day following, but had not yet been acted upon. The provisional government had been established on January 17, 1893, by the overthrow of the constitutional ruler of the islands. Serious doubts existed as to the authority and validity of the provisional government and as to the part taken by our government, through our ministers and troops, in aiding its establishment. President Harrison, in his message to the senate submitting the treaty, declared that “the overthrow of the monarchy was not in any way promoted by this government.” On the other hand, the queen and her ministers filed with the treaty a protest, asserting that when she yielded to the provisional government she had yielded to the superior force of the United States. In order that this vital question of fact might be impartially investigated and determined, President Cleveland at once withdrew the treaty and dispatched to the islands James H. Blount, of Georgia, as a special commissioner to make full examination and report.
On December 18, 1893, in a special message to congress, he transmitted the report of the commissioner with all the evidence and papers connected with the case. In his message, after reviewing all the facts and confirming the finding of the commissioner, he declared that he believed “that a candid and thorough examination of the facts will force the conviction that the provisional government owes its existence to an armed invasion by the United States. . . . The lawful government of Hawaii was overthrown without the drawing of a sword or the firing of a shot, by a process every step of which, it may safely be asserted, is directly traceable to and dependent for its success upon the agency of the United States acting through its diplomatic and naval representatives.”
Referring to the principles which should govern the case, he said: "I suppose that right and justice should determine the path to be followed in treating this subject. If national honesty is to be disregarded and a desire for territorial extension or dissatisfaction with a form of government not our own ought to regulate our conduct, I have entirely misapprehended the mission and character of our government and the behavior which the conscience of our people demands of their public servants. . . .
“A man of true honor protects the unwritten word which binds his conscience more scrupulously, if possible, than he does the bond, a breach of which subjects him to legal liabilities; and the United States, in aiming to maintain itself as one of the most enlightened of nations, would do its citizens gross injustice if it applied to its international relations any other than a high standard of honor and morality. On that ground the United States can not properly be put in the position of countenancing a wrong after its commission any more than in that of consenting to it in advance. On that ground it can not allow itself to refuse to redress an injury inflicted through an abuse of power by officers clothed with its authority and wearing its uniform; and on the same ground, if a feeble but friendly state is in danger of being robbed of its independence and its sovereignty by a misuse of the name and power of the United States, the United States can not fail to vindicate its honor and its sense of justice by an earnest effort to make all possible reparation. . . .
“These principles apply to the present case with irresistible force when the special conditions of the queen's surrender of her sovereignty are recalled. She surrendered not to the provisional government, but to the United States. She surrendered not absolutely and permanently, but temporarily and conditionally until such time as the facts can be considered by the United States. . . .
“By an act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of congress, the government of a feeble but friendly and confiding people has been overthrown. A substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair.”
He concluded by informing congress that he should not again submit the treaty of annexation to the senate; that he had instructed our minister “to advise the queen and her supporters of his desire to aid in the restoration of the status existing before the lawless landing of the U. S. forces at Honolulu on January 16 last, if such restoration could be effected upon terms providing for clemency as well as justice to all parties concerned”; and he commended the subject “to the extended powers and wide discretion of congress” for a solution “consistent with American honor, integrity, and morality.”
These proposals of the president met with strong opposition in congress, and in February, 1894, the senate committee on foreign relations made a report upholding Minister Stevens in his course with relation to the revolution. Previous to this, in December, 1893, Mr. Willis, the U. S. minister, had formally announced the president's policy to President Dole, who had returned a formal refusal to give up the government in accordance with that policy, at the same time denying the right of Mr. Cleveland to interfere. On February 7, 1894, the house of representatives passed by a vote of 177 to 75 a resolution upholding Mr. Cleveland's course and condemning annexation, but a similar resolution was tabled in the senate, 36 to 18, on May 29, and on May 31 a resolution was adopted against interference by the United States. On July 4, 1894, the constitution of the republic of Hawaii was formally proclaimed by the revolutionary government, and Mr. Dole was declared president until December, 1900. The U. S. senate passed a resolution favoring the recognition of the new republic, and thus the matter practically passed out of Mr. Cleveland's hands.
This was not the only question of foreign policy that was forced upon the administration. Early in 1895 an insurrection broke out on the island of Cuba. Mr. Cleveland at once took measures against violation of the neutrality laws, and in his message in December he appealed for the observance of strict neutrality as a “plain duty.” Sympathy with the insurgents was wide-spread, however, and it became increasingly difficult to detect filibustering expeditions, and still more so to indict and convict those guilty of violations of neutrality. The administration was blamed in Spain for supposed failure to enforce the law, and in the United States for attempting to enforce it too stringently. Strong efforts were made to induce the administration to recognize the insurgents as belligerents, and in April, 1896, a resolution in favor of such recognition passed both houses of congress. Mr. Cleveland disregarded these resolutions as being an attempt to invade the prerogative of the executive, and Secretary Olney stated publicly that the administration regarded them merely as “an expression of opinion on the part of a number of eminent gentlemen.” Besides the resolutions just referred to others were introduced at various times providing for intervention, for special investigation, and for recognition of the Cuban republic. On June 3, 1896, Mr. Cleveland sent Fitzhugh Lee to Havana as consul-general in place of Ramon O. Williams, and it was generally believed that Gen. Lee was expected to act in some sense as a special commissioner of the president, to report to him on the state of affairs in the island. Many expected that the appointment would be only a preliminary to intervention, but the administration, though instructing Gen. Lee to guard the rights of American residents, continued to watch for filibustering expeditions and to intercept them when this was possible; and in July, 1896, the president issued a second proclamation of neutrality, repeating in more explicit terms the one that had been put forth in 1895. Relations with Spain continued to require delicate management during the whole of the administration, the more notable events being the firing on the American steamer “Alliança” by a Spanish gunboat, for which apology was ultimately made by Spain, the condemnation to death of the crew of the alleged filibustering schooner “Competitor,” which was finally suspended upon representation that the prisoners had not received the trial by civil tribunal to which they were entitled by treaty, and the settlement by Spain, on September 14, 1895, of the long-standing claim of 1,500,000 pesos, as indemnity for the death in Cuba, in 1870, of Ontonio Mora, a naturalized American citizen, and for the confiscation of his estates. It was charged by the enemies of the administration that this payment was made in pursuance of a secret agreement by which the United States bound itself to vigilant action in the suppression of filibustering.
But the most conspicuous event in the relations of the administration with foreign countries was undoubtedly President Cleveland's Venezuela message, the act most highly praised as well as the most severely condemned of his whole public career. In his message to congress on December 2, 1895, Mr. Cleveland called attention to the long-standing boundary dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela, and to the efforts of the U. S. government to induce the disputants to settle it by arbitration. Previously, in July, Secretary Olney, in a despatch to the American ambassador in London, had called attention to the peculiar interest of the United States in the dispute, owing to the relation of that dispute to the Monroe doctrine, and again urging arbitration. On November 26, Lord Salisbury returned an answer in which he denied that the interests of the United States were necessarily concerned in such disputes, and refused to arbitrate except in regard to territory west of the Schomburgk line — a line surveyed by Great Britain in 1841-'4.
These despatches were sent to congress on December 17, together with a special message in which Mr. Cleveland stated that, as Great Britain had refused to arbitrate the dispute, it now became the duty of the United States to determine the boundary line by diligent inquiry, and asked for a special appropriation to defray the expenses of a commission to be appointed by the executive for that purpose. This commission was to report without delay. “When such report is made and accepted,” the message went on, “it will, in my opinion, be the duty of the United States to resist by every means in its power, as a wilful aggression upon its rights and interests, the appropriation by Great Britain of any lands or the exercise of governmental jurisdiction over any territory which, after investigation, we have determined of right to be long to Venezuela.”
This message caused great excitement both in this country and Great Britain, being regarded as equivalent to a threat of war. The president's course, however, was almost unanimously upheld by both parties in congress, which immediately authorized the appointment of a boundary commission, and this commission was immediately constituted by the appointment of Justice David J. Brewer, of the U. S. supreme court; Chief-Justice Alvey, of the court of appeals of the District of Columbia; Andrew D. White, of New York; Frederick R. Coudert, of New York; and Daniel C. Gilman, president of Johns Hopkins university.
The commission began at once to take testimony and accumulated a vast amount of data, but before it was prepared to make its formal report, the excitement due to the message had subsided on both sides of the Atlantic, and an agreement was reached through diplomatic channels by which Great Britain bound herself to arbitrate her dispute with Venezuela, thus terminating the incident. The conclusion of this controversy was widely regarded as the first formal acquiescence by a European power in the Monroe doctrine, or, at any rate, in the application of that doctrine to warrant the exercise by the United States of virtual protection over the smaller states of the American continent. The Venezuelan arbitration treaty was signed at Washington by Sir Julian Pauncefote for England and Minister Andrade for Venezuela, on February 2. According to its provisions, President Cleveland designated as arbitrator, on behalf of the United States, Justice Brewer, of the supreme court, while the Venezuelan government named Chief-Justice Fuller, and Great Britain appointed Lord Herschell and Justice Collins.
Some minor events in the relations of the administration with foreign governments were as follows: In 1896 great sympathy was excited throughout the country by the Armenian massacres, and in congress many efforts were made to bring about the active interference of the United States in Turkish affairs, either on broad humanitarian grounds or because of specific cases of injuries suffered by American missionaries. It was believed also that the United States should have a war ship at Constantinople, and when Turkey refused to grant to this country the privilege of sending an armed ship through the Dardanelles, there were many rumors of an impending attempt at a forcible passage. The administration, however, continually denied any such intention, and although the “Bancroft,” a small war vessel, originally intended for a practice-ship, was sent to the Mediterranean, as was believed, that she might be in readiness to act as a guardship should she be required to do so, no occasion arose for her use, the American squadron in Turkish waters, larger than for many years previous, being such as to compel proper treatment of American citizens in Turkey.
Owing to the repeated efforts, especially in the Pacific states, to restrict Chinese immigration, laws had been passed by congress, which were agreed to by China in a special treaty concluded at Washington, March 17, 1894. By this treaty Chinese laborers were prohibited entering the country, and those already residing in the United States were required to be registered. On May 3, 1894, the time fixed by congress for this registration expired. There was great objection to this feature of the law, and large numbers of Chinese had failed to register. The law provided that all such should be deported, but finally the administration decided that as no means had been provided for this purpose no steps should be taken to carry out the deportation clause.
The seal-fishery question, which it had been hoped was settled by the Paris tribunal, continued to come in different forms before the administration. President Cleveland had urged in one of his messages that congress should sanction the payment of $425,000, agreed upon between Secretary Gresham and the British minister as compensation for Canadian vessels seized unlawfully by the U. S. authorities, but congress failed to appropriate the amount, and the claims remained unsettled. The customary yearly proclamations against poaching were issued, but, owing to the inadequacy of the provisions for its prevention that had been adopted by the Paris tribunal, the seal herd continued to decrease.
To pass from foreign to domestic affairs, the unsettled financial state of the country during a large part of Mr. Cleveland's second term first demands notice. On August 8, 1893, the president convened congress in special session because, as stated in his message of that date, of “the existence of an alarming and extraordinary business situation, involving the welfare and prosperity of all our people,” and to the end that “through a wise and patriotic exercise of the legislative duties . . . present evils may be mitigated and dangers threatening the future may be averted.” The country was in the midst of a financial crisis, largely due, it was believed, to past unsound legislation, under which the gold reserve had been diminishing, silver accumulating, and expenditures exceeding revenue. Confidence had become impaired and credit shaken. Business interests and the conservative sentiment of the country demanded the repeal of the provisions of the act of July 14, 1890 (popularly known as the Sherman act), which required the monthly purchase of four and one-half million ounces of silver and the issue of treasury notes in payment therefor. Such repeal the president strongly recommended, declaring that “our unfortunate financial plight is not the result of untoward events, nor of conditions related to our natural resources; nor is it traceable to any of the afflictions which frequently check natural growth and prosperity,” but is “principally chargeable to congressional legislation touching the purchase and coinage of silver by the general government.” Reviewing such legislation, he said: “The knowledge in business circles among our own people that our government can not make its fiat equivalent to intrinsic value, nor keep inferior money on a parity with superior money by its own independent efforts, has resulted in such a lack of confidence at home in the stability of currency values that capital refuses its aid to new enterprises, while millions are actually with drawn from the channels of trade and commerce, to become idle and unproductive in the hands of timid owners. Foreign investors, equally alert, not only decline to purchase American securities, but make haste to sacrifice those which they already have.” He insisted further that “the people of the United States are entitled to a sound and stable currency, and to money recognized as such on every exchange and in every market of the world. Their government has no right to injure them by financial experiments opposed to the policy and practice of other civilized states, nor is it justified in permit ting an exaggerated and unreasonable reliance on our national strength and ability to jeopardize the soundness of the people's money. This matter rises above the plane of party politics. It vitally concerns every business and calling, and enters every household in the land.”
The house promptly, and by a large majority, repealed the obnoxious provisions. In the senate a strong and determined minority resisted the repeal, and, taking advantage of the unlimited debate there permitted, delayed action for many weeks. In the heat of the contest a compromise was practically agreed upon in the senate, which was defeated only by the firm opposition of the president. He insisted upon unconditional repeal, which was finally enacted November 1, 1893.
Soon after, one of the suggested measures of compromise, which provided among other things for the immediate coinage of so much of the silver bullion in the treasury as represented the seigniorage (declared to be $55,156,681), was embodied in a bill which passed both houses of congress. This bill the president vetoed as “ill-advised and dangerous.” He said: “Sound finance does not commend a further infusion of silver into our currency at this time unaccompanied by further adequate provision for the maintenance in our treasury of a safe gold reserve.”
At the first regular session of the fifty-third congress, opened December 4, 1893, the question of tariff revision was at once considered. In his message of that date the president, after reviewing the work and needs of the various departments of government, dwelt with special emphasis on the necessity of immediately undertaking this important reform. “After a hard struggle,” he said, “tariff reform is directly before us. Nothing so important claims our attention, and nothing so clearly presents itself as both an opportunity and a duty an opportunity to deserve the gratitude of our fellow-citizens, and a duty imposed upon us by our oft-repeated professions and by the emphatic mandate of the people. After full discussion, our countrymen have spoken in favor of this reform, and they have confided the work of its accomplishment to the hands of those who are solemnly pledged to it. . . .
“Manifestly, if we are to aid the people directly through tariff reform, one of its most obvious features should be a reduction in present tariff charges upon the necessaries of life. The benefits of such a reduction would be palpable and substantial, seen and felt by thousands who would be better fed and better clothed and better sheltered. . . .
“Not less closely related to our people's prosperity and well-being is the removal of restrictions upon the importation of the raw materials necessary to our manufactures. The world should be open to our national ingenuity and enterprise. This can not be while federal legislation, through the imposition of high tariff, forbids to American manufacturers as cheap materials as those used by their competitors.”
A tariff bill, substantially following the lines suggested by the president and providing among other things for free wool, coal, iron ore, and lumber, was framed by the committee on ways and means, and, with the addition of free sugar and an income tax, passed the house on February 1, 1894. In the senate the bill was amended in many items, and generally in the direction of higher duties. After five months of prolonged discussion the bill, as amended, passed the senate by a small majority, all the democrats voting for it except Senator Hill, of New York. It was then referred to a conference committee of both houses to adjust the differences between them. A long and determined contest was there waged, principally over the duties upon coal, iron ore, and sugar. It was understood that a small group of democratic senators had, contrary to the express wishes and pledges of their party and by threats of defeating the bill, forced higher duties in important schedules. While the bill was pending before the conference committee the president, in a letter to Mr. Wilson, the chairman of the ways and means committee, which later was read to the house, strongly urged adherence to the position which the house had taken in the matter.
The house, however, finally receded from its position in the belief that any other course would defeat or long delay any reduction of the tariff, and that the business interests of the country demanded an end to the conflict. The bill, as amended, passed both houses, and at midnight of August 27, 1894, became a law without the signature of the president. In a published letter of the same date he gave his reasons for withholding his approval. While he believed the bill was a vast improvement over existing conditions, and would certainly lighten many tariff burdens which rested heavily on the people, he said: “I take my place with the rank and file of the democratic party who believe in tariff reform and well know what it is, who refuse to accept the results embodied in this bill as the close of the war, who are not blinded to the fact that the livery of democratic tariff reform has been stolen and worn in the service of republican protection, and who have marked the places where the deadly blight of treason has blasted the councils of the brave in their hour of might. The trusts and combinations — the communism of pelf — whose machinations have prevented us from reaching the success we deserve, should not be forgotten nor forgiven.”
The close of the year 1894 was marked by financial depression, by a larger deficit than had been expected, and by a decline in the revenue. Although the Sherman act had been repealed, no progress had been made with the scheme presented by Secretary Carlisle for reducing the paper currency and providing for an adequate reserve. The reserve was threatened twice, and the president was obliged to make use of the power given under the resumption acts, by issuing $50,000,000 worth of five-per-cent ten-year bonds for the purchase of gold. In his message to the last session of the 53d congress he stated that he should employ his borrowing power “whenever and as often as it becomes necessary to maintain a sufficient gold reserve and in abundant time to save the credit of our country and make good the financial declarations of our government.”
In February, 1895, the gold reserve had fallen to $41,000,000, and Mr. Cleveland asked congress for permission to issue three-per-cent bonds payable in gold. This being denied him, he issued four-per-cent thirty-year bonds redeemable in coin, to the amount of $62,000,000. In June, 1895, the supreme court decided by a majority of one that the income tax that had been imposed by the Wilson bill was unconstitutional, and the treasury thus lost a source of revenue that it had been estimated would yield $30,000,000 yearly. In his message of December, 1895, the president recommended a general reform of the banking and currency laws, including the retirement and cancellation of the greenbacks and treasury coin notes by exchange for low-interest U. S. bonds; but congress failed to act on this recommendation. Gold exports continued, and in January preparations were made for a new loan. An invitation was issued asking applications for $50 thirty-year four-per-cent bonds to the amount of $100,000,000 before February 6. European bankers held back, a free-coinage bill having been meanwhile reported favorably in the senate, but Americans subscribed freely, and the treasury obtained $111,000,000 in this way. This success was contrasted by Mr. Cleveland's opponents with his policy in the loan of 1895, which was made by contract with a syndicate of bankers; but it was pointed out in favor of that policy that it was the only course possible in a sudden emergency, and that such an emergency did not exist in the year 1896.
On May 29 the president vetoed a river and harbor bill that provided for the immediate expenditure of $17,000,000, and authorized contracts for $62,000,000 more, but it was passed over his veto.
In July, 1894, serious labor troubles arose in Illinois and other states of the west, beginning with a strike of the employees of the Pullman palace car company, and spreading over many of the railroads centring in Chicago. Travel was interrupted, the mails delayed, and interstate commerce obstructed. So wide-spread became the trouble, involving constant acts of violence and lawlessness, and so grave was the crisis, that military force was necessary, especially in Chicago, to preserve the peace, enforce the laws, and protect property. The president, with commendable firmness and promptness, fully met the emergency. Acting under authority vested in him by law, he ordered a large force of U. S. troops to Chicago to remove obstructions to the mails and interstate commerce, and to enforce the laws of the United States and the process of the federal courts; and on July 8 and 9 issued proclamations commanding the dispersion of all unlawful assemblages within the disturbed states. The governor of Illinois objected to the presence of the troops without his sanction or request. In answer to his protest the president telegraphed: “Federal troops were sent to Chicago in strict accordance with the constitution and laws of the United States upon the demand of the post-office department that obstruction of the mails should be removed, and upon the representations of the judicial officers of the United States that process of the federal courts could not be executed through the ordinary means, and upon abundant proof that conspiracies existed against commerce between the states. To meet these conditions, which are clearly within the province of federal authority, the presence of federal troops in the city of Chicago was deemed not only proper, but necessary, and there has been no intention of thereby interfering with the plain duty of the local authorities to preserve the peace of the city.”
To a further protest and argument of the governor the president replied: “While I am still persuaded that I have transcended neither my authority nor duty in the emergency that confronts us, it seems to me that in this hour of danger and public distress discussion may well give way to active effort on the part of the authorities to restore obedience to the law and to protect life and property.”
The decisive action of the president restored order, ended the strike, and received the commendation of both houses of congress and of the people generally. The president then appointed a commission to investigate the cause of the strike. It is interesting to note in this connection that by special message to congress of April 22, 1886, President Cleveland had strongly recommended legislation which should provide for the settlement by arbitration of controversies of this character.
Early in May, 1896, Mr. Cleveland issued an order by which 30,000 additional posts in the civil service were placed on the list of those requiring a certificate from the civil-service commissioners, thus raising the number to 80,000. When he first became president there were only 13,000 appointments out of 130,000 for which any test of the kind was required.
In Mr. Cleveland's last annual message, after declaring that the agreement between Great Britain and the United States regarding the Venezuela boundary question had practically removed that question from the field of controversy, he added that “negotiations for a treaty of general arbitration for all differences between Great Britain and the United States are far advanced and promise to reach a successful consummation at an early date.” On January 11, 1897, a treaty between Great Britain and the United States for the establishment by the two countries of such an international tribunal of general arbitration was signed by Secretary Olney and Sir Julian Pauncefote at Washington, and sent by President Cleveland to the senate. This treaty was hailed with great satisfaction by all friends of arbitration. The preamble stated that the articles of the treaty were agreed to and concluded because the two countries concerned are “desirous of consolidating the relations of amity which so happily exist between them, and of consecrating by treaty the principle of international arbitration.” No reservation was made regarding the subject-matter of disputes to be arbitrated. Matters involving pecuniary claims amounting to $500,000 or less were to be settled by three arbitrators, consisting of two jurists of repute and an umpire, the latter to be appointed by the king of Sweden in case the arbitrators should not agree upon one. All other claims, except those involving territory, were to go first before such a tribunal, but in case the decision should not be unanimous it was to be reviewed before a similar tribunal of five. Boundary questions were to go to a special court of six members — three U. S. judges and three British judges. The treaty was to continue in force for five years, and thereafter until twelve months after either of the contracting parties should give notice to the other of a desire to terminate it.
On February 1 the foreign relations committee of the senate reported favorably on this treaty with amendments that were regarded by the friends of the treaty as making it practically of no effect. Even in this form the treaty, on May 5, failed to receive the two-thirds majority necessary for confirmation, the vote being 43 to 26. It was generally believed that personal hostility to Mr. Cleveland had much to do with the rejection. There had been for some time a feeling in the senate that the president and his secretary of state had not deferred sufficiently to the rights of that body in matters of foreign policy. Mr. Olney's statement in the Cuban matter, noticed above, had much to do with strengthening this feeling, and although the secretary's position in this matter was generally sustained by constitutional lawyers it doubtless had its effect in still further estranging many senators from the administration. Another difference of opinion of the same kind occurred in the case of certain extradition treaties negotiated by Secretary Olney with the Argentine Republic and the Orange Free State. In these treaties, by the president's desire, as was understood, a clause was incorporated providing for the surrender of American citizens to the authorities of a foreign country provided such citizens have been guilty of crime within the jurisdiction of the country that demands their return. This was intended to prevent this country from becoming an asylum for European criminals, who had been granted naturalization papers here and who should attempt to make their naturalization protect them from the consequences of their past criminal acts. But this plan has never been adopted by any other country, and the attempt to cause the United States to initiate it was not in accordance with public opinion. On January 28, 1897, the senate ratified both treaties, but with amendments conferring discretionary power on the surrendering government in the matter of giving up its own citizens.
As the time for the meeting of the national democratic convention of 1896 drew nigh it became apparent that the advocates of the free coinage of silver would have a majority of the delegates. On June 16 Mr. Cleveland, in a published letter, condemned the free-silver movement, and called upon its opponents to do all in their power to defeat it. The convention was clearly opposed to Mr. Cleveland. Its platform was in effect a condemnation of his policy in the matters of the currency, the preservation of public order, civil-service reform, and Cuban policy. It declared for the free coinage of silver, and nominated a pronounced free-silver advocate. In the canvass that followed Mr. Cleveland took part with the gold-standard wing of the party, which under the name of the national democrats held a separate convention and nominated Senator Palmer for the presidency.
One of the president's last official acts was his appearance at the sesquicentennial celebration of Princeton university, where he delivered an address that was widely praised. Soon afterward it was announced that he had purchased a house in the town of Princeton, and after the inauguration of his successor, he removed thither with his family and lived there till his death on June 24, 1908. His son was born there October 28, 1897. In October, 1913, the Cleveland Memorial Tower in Princeton was dedicated, and on the same day three volumes of lectures delivered by Mr. Cleveland at the University in 1901-1904 were published.
Mr. Cleveland was as distinguished for forcible speech as for forcible action. His many addresses, both while in and out of office, are marked by clearness of thought and directness of expression, which, with his courage and ability, have always appealed to the best sentiments of the people, and have formed and led a healthy public opinion. He was notable for being the first public man in the United States to be nominated for the presidency thrice in succession. Equally remarkable is the fact that he has received this recognition although often at variance with his own party. His final withdrawal from public office was marked, as has been already said, by a general estrangement between him and many of those who had been once his followers, and despite this the popular feeling toward him throughout the country continued to be one of respect and esteem. Several campaign lives of Mr. Cleveland appeared during his three presidential contests. See also “President Cleveland,” by J. Lowry Whittle, in the “Public Men of the Day” series (1896).
President Cleveland married, in the White House, June 2, 1886, Frances Folsom, daughter of his deceased friend and partner, Oscar Folsom, of the Buffalo bar. Except the wife of Madison, Mrs. Cleveland is the youngest of the many mistresses of the White House, having been born in Buffalo, N. Y., July 21, 1864. She is also the first wife of a president married in the White House, and the first to give birth to a child there, their second daughter having been born in the executive mansion in 1893. They had a son and three daughters. — His youngest sister, Rose Elizabeth, b. in Fayetteville, N. Y., August 13, 1845, removed in 1853 to Holland Patent, N. Y., where her father was settled as pastor of the Presbyterian church, and where he died the same year. She was educated at Houghton seminary, became a teacher in that school, and later assumed charge of the collegiate institute in Lafayette, Ind. She taught for a time in a private school in Pennsylvania, and then prepared a course of historical lectures, which she delivered before the students of Houghton seminary and in other schools. When not employed in this manner, she devoted herself to her aged mother in the homestead at Holland Patent, N. Y., until her mother's death in 1882. On the inauguration of the president she became the mistress of the White House, and after her brother's marriage she for a time connected herself as part owner and instructor in an established institution in New York city. Miss Cleveland is a lawyer and political speaker, and has published a volume of lectures and essays under the title “George Eliot's Poetry, and other Studies” (New York, 1885); “The Long Run,” a novel (1886); “See Saw” (1887); and “His Honor” (1889).
- Except Grover Cleveland, no president has been re-elected unless he was a military man, or held a chief executive office during a war period. Washington was a soldier of the Revolution; Jefferson, governor of Virginia during that war; Madison, president during the second war with Great Britain; Monroe, a revolutionary officer; Jackson, the hero of the War of 1812; Lincoln, a soldier and president during the war of the rebellion; Grant, a soldier of the Mexican and civil wars; McKinley in the war of 1861-5, and Roosevelt a colonel in the war with Spain. Referring to the post-official career of the presidents, it appears that six of the twenty-seven — Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Johnson, and Hayes — became planters or farmers upon retiring from public life; that seven — Van Buren, Fillmore, Tyler, Grant, Cleveland, Roosevelt, and Taft — openly endeavored to obtain another term; that six — Van Buren, Polk, Fillmore, Pierce, Grant, and Roosevelt — travelled extensively at the close of their official career; and that three — John Adams, Pierce, and Buchanan — sooner or later became recluses. — Editor.