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Garfield had been chosen, but had never occupied, in the Senate. On his return to his old haunts, Sherman wanted to resume his old post of honor at the head of the Finance Committee. This Morrill might have yielded, however reluctantly, had the other members of the committee favored it; but they did not, and Sherman was disappointed. Though he did his best to conceal or cure his chagrin, and though he wrote some years later in friendly terms of Morrill, the sense of being frustrated remained and the earlier feeling of cordiality never returned.
Yet they continued, like sensible men, to coöperate in legislation and in the general policy of the party which they had no small share in shaping. It was not until the Tariff of 1883 came up that they had any serious difference of opinion. This bill, which was passed by the Republicans to anticipate the action of the Democratic majority elected in 1882, was a compromise measure. Although the chief credit for it was given to Senator Morrill and it was often called “the Morrill Tariff of '83,” its final form was not satisfactory to him. He would have preferred lower duties on a number of articles, especially on wool which became the center of controversy in committee. Here it was felt that the interests of New England and Vermont in particular were opposed to those of the West, Ohio especially, and Morrill found himself pitted against Sherman on this issue. The difference between them became acute and blazed up into something like an angry explosion. The newspapers of the time reported it in the following terms:
“I insist that the reduction clause shall be stricken out,” said Mr. Sherman, finally.
“At all hazards?" inquired Mr. Morrill. “At all hazards.”
“Then I tell you plainly, Mr. Sherman,” said the Vermont Senator, “that you will only succeed at the expense of defeating
the bill, for no bill with this clause stricken out will be allowed to pass the Senate.”
Sherman yielded, but with a bad grace. He refused to sign the conference report, and after the bill became law criticized with some severity both its terms and its sponsors, in interviews to the press. To these Morrill felt obliged to reply and did so in an interview in the “New York Tribune”] and in an open letter which appeared early in 1884.
Two years later Sherman's dissatisfaction still continued and when the committees were announced, with Morrill again Chairman and he second on the Finance Committee, he rose in his place and declined to serve. It was an unusual if not an unprecedented action and tended not at all to restore the old familiarity in their relations.
Throughout the Garfield-Arthur Administration Morrill's family life at Washington and Strafford moved on at its quiet pace. During these years the family was seldom divided, but migrated with the seasons from Washington to the mountains, giving little occasion for correspondence. The summer of 1882, when the session kept the Senator in Washington for a short time after the others had gone, gave rise to a few notes. A jotting from a letter to his wife of June 21st contains an echo of the friction with Sherman: “Yesterday I made my little speech and got my bill for the extension of the White House through almost unanimously only three, Sherman, Van Wyck, and Conger who wanted but failed to get the ayes and noes."
The tariff discussion of 1883 and the somewhat anxious reconnaissance of the field before the Presidential campaign of 1884 brought Morrill into relations with Whitelaw Reid, the brilliant editor of the “New York Tribune.” On May 15th Morrill wrote Reid from Strafford, and after expressing
1 April 30, 1883.
his regret at missing the editor on whom he had called, continued:
“New York's favorite son” (Conkling?] “turned on the light" at the Saturday evening chat. That he fully intends to have New York Democratic is transparent, and illustrates your article on the "Three renegade New Yorkers,” published some time ago, two of them being Burr and Arnold. Still “the favorite" is invulnerable to serious argument, but ridicule and satire he dreads worse than scorpions dread fire. The 406  he parades, not all with medals, might have made his idol (Grant] about as much of a president as Sancho Panza was of a governor, but they represented very little of absolute Republican force. I should say, unmuzzle your funny editor whenever it may be necessary to refer to any of the favorite son's greatest efforts.
General Grant seems to be dazed by his large interests in Mexican railroads, where much money is likely to be lost. His treaty may be adopted, but it will be even more of a jug-handled treaty than any we have ever had, and some act of Mexico non-payment of subsidies, perhaps — will make further acquisitions of territory inevitable, giving us more of the Latin race than the stomach of Uncle Sam can safely bear. Is it not strange that General Grant should not see that the railroad peeps out in every line of his speech?
As some of my correspondents say, this requires no answer. Reid replied with great frankness and candor:
We should have made a good deal more fun of Mr. Conkling's last speech than we did excepting that I feared such a course might play into his hands. I believed the motive for his speech to be a desire to thwart the efforts then in progress for the harmonious reorganization of the Republican Party in this city. Such efforts, if successful, could only mean his hopeless exile from the political field. He seems to have absolutely no strength here now excepting as occasional attacks arouse some feeling of sympathy for him among his old followers. For the present,
1 In the Chicago Convention, Conkling led the Grant forces, where "his (Grant's) average vote was about 306, the exact number that he received on the last ballot, and these 306 have gone down into history as the solid Grant phalanx." (James Ford Rhodes, History of the United States, VIII, 124.)
therefore, it seemed to me better that papers which have had less hostility to him might well be allowed to take the lead in ridiculing him.
I suppose General Grant is "hard up.” It has been rumored from time to time that his sons were in pecuniary trouble, and that young “Buck” has lately distinguished himself by trading off the house his wife got from her father for supposed orange lands in Florida which turned out to be chiefly pine lumber lands from which the pine had been cut off. On discovering this he tried to get out of the bargain, but the Floridian had been too smart for him and he has been compelled to make title and leave the house. Grant is now body and soul in the Mexican railroad projects - is exceedingly eager to make money, and is sure to be used in these schemes until he is only a squeezed orange.
During these years of comparative calm, Morrill grew steadily in public esteem and regard, gradually becoming one of the notable figures of national life and one whom the people delighted to honor. Pictures of him accompanied by sketches of his life appeared with increasing frequency in newspapers and magazines and a desire for a good portrait of him was often expressed. Mr. Corcoran, the founder of the Corcoran Art Gallery, desired to have a portrait by G. P. A. Healey to hang in the gallery, and prevailed upon Morrill to sit for it. Other artists preferred similar requests, and Cornell University, wishing to commemorate the Father of the Land Grant Colleges, invited him to sit for a portrait by Eastman Johnson which now hangs in the University library. The unveiling of this portrait was made the occasion for a graceful ceremony at the Commencement on June 20, 1883, and Morrill responded to the complimentary address in remarks which had both modesty and humor:
I should she said) be singularly made up if I were insensible to the honor bestowed upon me here to-day by your Board of Trustees, and it may be well to remember, even though the original of the portrait you have unveiled may have been overestimated, that the acquisition of any work by an artist so eminent