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BURLINGTON, VT., Oct. 20, 1884 MY DEAR FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE:
I went to Montpelier last Wednesday expecting to see and hear you and to have the pleasure of congratulating you — or rather the State - on the event. Alas, you had departed. So, now, as we depart, I send you greeting. I should have been disconsolate for the coming two years — if I remain so long — without you. I am happy at what has happened, though it was - as I told you - as sure as anything. Take care of yourself and believe me
Geo. F. EDMUNDS
STRAFFORD, VT., Oct. 21, 1884 DEAR EDMUNDS:
Among the many kind congratulations, by telegraph and by letter, that my two partial friends have just sent me, none affords me more real pleasure than your favor of the 20th inst. It is true that I had some doubts whether further service on my part might not be regarded as “lagging superfluous on the stage,” but your assurance to the contrary stiffened my backbone and mainly pushed me into the field. It is a great satisfaction to feel that for any deficiencies which may be exhibited by me, the State will have full compensation made by my colleague. Should I be alive two years hence and find you missing from the Senate, the “disconsolate” party would be myself. Thanking you for your many favors, I am
Very sincerely yours
JUSTIN S. MORRILL
His election for the fourth time was widely celebrated. There were columns by the journalists on all aspects of his career and on the long procession of men and events that Morrill had seen in Congress, of which that by the "Rutland Herald” is typical:
When he entered Congress ... the Free State battle was still raging on the Missouri border. Congress contained then men of the splendid stature of Seward, Chase, Fessenden, and Sumner. ... He was in Congress when Sumner was beaten; he was in Congress when the John Brown raid startled the South; he was in
Congress during the secession sputter that was the South's last debate before the shot at Sumter; he was in Congress all through the trying days of the war; he has seen the great rebels Davis, Toombs, Wigfall, Benjamin, Slidell, Hunter, Breckinridge, Orr, and Stephens go out of Congress to fight the flag, and he has seen some few of them like Lamar and Stephens come back in peace, if not in repentance; he has seen Grant and Lee rise to the acme of military glory; he has seen McClellan rise like a rocket and fall like a stick. He has seen Lincoln the patient, the tender, and the true, with the light of humane joy and victory in his sad eyes, and he has seen him cold, motionless, and dead, the victim of a crazy, drunken actor's fury.
Another journalistic account of the time includes a description of him which has the touch of reality and enables one to form an image of him as he returned to the Senate after his fourth election:
Mr. Morrill is a man over six feet in height. He is slightly round-shouldered. He is very precise in his manner and very neat and careful in his dress, as every old man should be. He has often been described as resembling Charles Sumner to a great degree. There is a resemblance which the lines of time have strengthened. He has the Sumner nose. His gray side whiskers are cut in exactly the same fashion as were Sumner's. The general carriage of his head, the sweep of the soft, iron-gray hair, are the same. The lower part of his face is thinner. The resemblance is so marked, however, in its main peculiarities that a bust of the Senator in the parlor of his house is often taken by strangers for that of Sumner.
One of the duties incident to his place as Chairman of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, which it gave him great pleasure to fulfill was to provide for the dedication of the Washington Monument. As was altogether appropriate, the choice to deliver the oration of the day fell upon Robert C. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, who had delivered the address at the laying of the cornerstone fortyseven years before. Morrill hoped that there might also be a
poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes and invoked Winthrop's good offices to bring it to pass. Even after Holmes had declined, he persisted and urged Winthrop more than once to use his utmost efforts.
All persuasion failed. Holmes pleaded his age; he was seventy-five years old; he had just finished his “Life of Emerson,” and felt unequal to the effort. Winthrop was himself feeling the infirmities of age, for he also was in his seventy-sixth year, and, although he completed his oration, was not able to go to Washington to deliver it and it was read by his friend, John D. Long. It was a notable address, and Morrill had the satisfaction of sending the author such congratulations as orators seldom receive:
Feb. 23, 1885 DEAR MR. WINTHROP:
I could not wait to write and therefore telegraphed at once on Saturday that your oration was greeted with almost continuous applause, and everybody here concedes that the oration was from beginning to end worthy of the grand occasion. If your reputation depended solely on this effort, your name would have won its place in history. I tender to you my cordial felicitations, and am
Very truly yours
JUSTIN S. MORRILL
Inspired it may be by his work on the memorial to Washington, Morrill began to collect medals of our early history., Late in 1883 he secured from the Mint at Philadelphia four medals of Washington and his generals; then the full series of Presidential medals from Adams to Hayes. In the following year a full set of the French medals of the Campaigns of Napoleon the First, which was being sent as a gift to the Government, was lost at sea. A new set was then made and thus afforded an opportunity which was seized upon by Senator Morrill, Senator Bayard, and Levi P. Morton, our Min
ister to France, each to obtain a set for himself. The hope, politely expressed by the Minister in forwarding the medals, was fulfilled; the medals became one of Morrill's most prized possessions:
It gives me pleasure to transmit herewith one hundred and forty-one French Medals of the Campaigns of Napoleon the First, which have just been received from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
I hope you will be as much interested in this rare collection of medals as I am in a duplicate set.
CHAPTER XIII THE FIRST CLEVELAND ADMINISTRATION MORRILL had anticipated Cleveland's election at least in so far as to forecast the defeat of Blaine, but it was a shock to him, as it was to most Republicans, to see a Democrat in the White House. Not since Buchanan had such a thing occurred. Thousands of citizens had been born and grown to manhood without knowing a Democratic President. To many an honest partisan it seemed as if the end of the world had come. Yet when Morrill had time to take account of underlying principles, he found himself in closer agreement with Cleveland than with many of his own party and was able to give hearty support to many of the measures of the new Administration.
The death of General Grant, already imminent when Cleveland entered the White House, came on the 23d of July, and afforded an opportunity which the President seized to cement good feeling between the North and the South, between Republicans and Democrats. The funeral was made the occasion for bringing old enemies together in the unity of common grief over a national hero. Morrill attended as a member of the Senate and wrote his wife about the wonderfully impressive scene which those who saw it can never forget:
Yesterday was fine for the grand obsequies of General Grant. Each side of the streets for nine miles, from the Battery to place of burial, was lined with an immense and continuous throng every doorway, window, and housetop were full of people, and at every street-crossing the side streets far-back had sight-seers on stages, lumber wagons, or anything that elevated so that the procession came in sight. All New York, and Jersey City, Brooklyn,