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as Eastman Johnson, will forever remain with its inherent and permanent value.
The sitting for a portrait, if I may be pardoned for saying so, is rather an awkward business for a modest man who can find anything else to do, ... but I will suggest, if the sitting for a portrait even to the most skillful artist is only “tolerable and not to be endured,” that it is infinitely less embarrassing than to stand here to be not only drawn but quartered by a multitude of very competent critics. Some of the young gentlemen present might agree with one of my constituents, not a graduate of the University, however, to whom I was introduced years ago at a stumpmeeting. Said he, “I have hearn tell a good deal about you, but you ain't nigh so big as I expected.”
A year or two later Johnson painted a second portrait head, one of the best likenesses of him, which since his death has been placed in the corridor of the Senate where for thirty years he passed in and out. In 1894 Mr. Thomas W. Wood, the President of the National Academy of Design, painted what was probably the last portrait of Morrill and presented it to the Vermont Historical Society, in whose rooms it still hangs.
Year by year he became a more familiar and more honored figure, until his tall, bent form crowned with a wealth of gray hair was the accepted type of the ideal Senator. As often as his birthday recurred, the leaders in public life gathered to celebrate it, so that by 1884 his birthday party was like a royal levée, and included the President, all but one of the Justices of the Supreme Court, nearly all the members of the Cabinet, Senators, Members of Congress, Diplomats, Judges, and distinguished men of all walks of life.
This was a Presidential year, and soon after the birthday festivities, Morrill had occasion to give counsel on candidates, as he had so oîten done before. He repeated his advice against making Blaine the candidate, and did what he could in favor of Edmunds whom he rightly regarded as the abler
man and who he believed would prove stronger before the people. But he thought it unwise to go as a delegate to the convention:
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE
April 26, 1884 MY DEAR SIR,
I have your favor of the 24th inst. and still think it will be sound policy for me to remain here and not to go to Chicago. If I were to go it would at once be claimed that I was there as my colleague's personal organ — that would hurt his position and damage his chances. It is very doubtful, with the Democratic Party united, as it appears to be now, whether
any name which could be presented by us can carry New York. It is nearly certain that Arthur, Sherman, Blaine, (Robert) Lincoln, and Logan would be badly beaten. Edmunds I believe would win, but he will not be nominated by any manufactured enthusiasm and will be considered only on his naked sterling merits, or when it is seen that national success hangs upon his name alone. It is nonsense to claim that New York is not our necessity, as some of the Blaine men pretend that it is not for them. The whole South, no matter how the ballots are cast, is nearly sure to be counted by Democrats and we know what that means. ... Mr. Blaine, I have heard, thinks he has strength enough to defeat Arthur and Edmunds. He is likely to lead as to numbers, and his supporters will claim all the hats in the air, but, saying nothing as to respective personal merits, the coming campaign will not be decided by noise so much as by the cool judgment of the best men throughout the country. I want men nominated who can be supported cordially by every Republican and by every conscientious and intelligent Democrat. It is vastly important that we nominate a ticket that will not seem doomed from the start. Fully believing that my presence would injure Mr. Edmunds, I must, while appreciating your kind suggestions, decline to have my name presented to our convention as a candidate to Chicago. You have plenty of other names capable of doing better seryice. I think my colleague would not differ from me on this subject. Very sincerely yours
JUSTIN S. MORRILL
To another correspondent about the same time Morrill wrote in a similar vein and the event was to prove him a true prophet. :
The Republicans are not out of the woods as to a Presidential candidate and our only comfort is that the Democrats are also in the Wilderness. I think it very clear that defeat would follow the nomination of Arthur, Logan, Sherman, or Blaine. New York could not be carried by either one. Hawley is a majestic speaker, but not as cool-headed as his colleague. Harrison, I fear, could not win Indiana against McDonald. Edmunds would carry New York and all of the East, but he so persists in declaring he will not be a candidate that he may convince the public he would not accept if nominated, though I do not see how any man could refuse.
I would rather talk than write upon this subject. Time will help us. ·
The general, nay almost universal, honor in which he was held left little room for doubt as to his own political fortunes. No one could wrest his post from him or displace him in the affections of his constituents. But his old rival “Judge" Poland could not rest without raising the issue, which he did, with anything but good judgment, on the silver question. It was the last question on which Morrill could be assailed. His thirty years' advocacy of sound money had not only made him the recognized champion of honest finance, but had so rooted and grounded Vermonters in the faith that there was little hope of disseminating free silver, greenback, or any other heresies among them, be they ever so skillfully disguised. No doubt the Judge thought he had a good stalking-horse in the Trade Dollar. He wrote an electioneering letter full of sound and fury about “the gross and palpable fraud" involved in refusing to accept the Trade Dollar as legal tender — a letter which was printed as a handbill and widely distributed; there was a brief furor among those who
hoped this would be an entering wedge for free silver doctrines in Vermont, but Morrill quenched it.
During the summer he made his usual prudent inquiries as to the disposition of his constituents. He wrote to old friends in various parts of the State to learn what were the currents of opinion, and modestly set forth his willingness to retire in favor of the better man, if he should appear. The replies were without exception reassuring.
Though he was disappointed in the nomination of Blaine - as indeed very many of the best men in the party were – he could not bring himself to believe that his brilliant and eloquent friend had been guilty of using his office in Congress for pecuniary gain. So he supported him, both in speeches and in communications to the press. But the utmost efforts were in vain: the weakness of Blaine's public record proved fatal to him.
The Vermont election, which was held on October 14, 1884, was more an ovation than a contest. Morrill was reelected by 177 votes out of a total of 209, and the event was marked by a spirit of unanimity and friendliness which presented a striking contrast to the national struggle then in progress between Blaine and Cleveland which had never been exceeded for virulence and party passion. Morrill's election, on the other hand, was preceded and followed by showers of adulation which led the editor of the “Burlington Clipper” to remark, “If Senator Morrill's health does not break down now, after reading the various eulogies that are being published of him, it will be conceded that he has more than an iron constitution."
Amid the flood of praise and congratulation, nothing gave Morrill greater pleasure than the note from Edmunds to which he replied with like affection: