Reminiscences of an Active Life

Reminiscences of an Active Life: The Autobiography of John Roy Lynch

Edited and with an Introduction by John Hope Franklin
Copyright Date: 1970
Pages: 566
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2tvk0p
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    Reminiscences of an Active Life
    Book Description:

    Born into slavery on a Louisiana plantation, John Roy Lynch (1847-1939) came to adulthood during the Reconstruction Era and lived a public-spirited life for over three decades. His political career began in 1869 with his appointment as justice of the peace. Within the year, he was elected to the Mississippi legislature and was later elected Speaker of the House. At age twenty-five, Lynch became the first African American from Mississippi to be elected to the United States Congress. He led the fight to secure passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1875. In 1884, he was elected temporary chairman of the Eighth Republican National Convention and was the first black American to deliver the keynote address.

    His autobiography,Reminiscences of an Active Life, reflects Lynch's thoughtful and nuanced understanding of the past and of his own experience. The book, written when he was ninety, challenges a number of traditional arguments about Reconstruction. In his experience, African Americans in the South competed on an equal basis with whites; the state governments were responsive to the needs of the people; and race was not always a decisive factor in the politics of Reconstruction.

    The autobiography, which would not be published until 1970, provides rich material for the study of American politics and race relations during Reconstruction. It sheds light on presidential patronage, congressional deals, and personality conflicts among national political figures. Lynch's childhood reflections reveal new dimensions to our understanding of black experience during slavery and beyond. An introduction by John Hope Franklin puts Lynch's public and private lives in the context of his times and provides an overview of howReminiscences of an Active Lifecame to be written.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-330-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. ix-xl)
    John Hope Franklin

    When John Roy Lynch completed the writing ofReminiscences of an Active Life,he was already in his ninetieth year. His life encompassed a momentous era; and he had been a part of much that had occurred. Born on a Louisiana plantation in 1847, he knew about slavery from experience and observation. He knew the heartbreak of a slave mother when an Irish father died before completing the plans for emancipating her and her children. He knew her bitter disappointment when the father’s friend broke his promise and kept them all in slavery. He had experienced the tragic breakup of...

  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xli-1)
    John Hope Franklin
  5. Preface
    (pp. 3-8)
  6. 1 His Father’s Keeping
    (pp. 9-16)

    John Roy Lynch, third son of Patrick Lynch and Catherine White, was born on Tacony plantation, Concordia Parish, state of Louisiana, on 10 September 1847. Patrick Lynch was a native of Dublin, Ireland. He came to this country with his parents when he was very young. They made their home near Zanesville, in the state of Ohio, where some members of the family are still believed to be living. In company with an older brother, Edward, he went, when quite a young man, to the South, where he soon found employment as plantation manager for a wealthy planter who at...

  7. 2 Into Bondage Again
    (pp. 17-22)

    In about three weeks Davis paid Tacony plantation another visit. Again he sent for Catherine, but this time she was not requested to bring her children. After talking with her pleasantly for a while, Davis broke the news to her that she and her children had been purchased by him and that they were now his property. “Great God,” she exclaimed, “can that be possible?” “Yes,” said Davis, “the purchase was consummated a few days ago.” Catherine was completely prostrated, and broke down. After she had gained sufficient self-composure, the conversation was resumed. Davis expressed great surprise and disappointment that...

  8. 3 The War Came
    (pp. 23-30)

    Both Mr. and Mrs. Davis had the reputation of being kind to their slaves. For slave owners, they were reasonable, fair, and considerate. Their house servants were very much attached to them. I was a particular favorite of both Mr. and Mrs. Davis. Mrs. Davis was a devout member of the Protestant Episcopal church. It was under her tutelage and influence that I became attached to that church. I was one of a class that was to be confirmed and baptized by Bishop [William Mercer] Green on the occasion of his next visit to Natchez, which was to be made...

  9. 4 Confederate Looting
    (pp. 31-34)

    Before seeking permanent employment, I decided to make a brief visit to Tacony plantation, the place of my birth, where I had many good and true friends and where I had some pleasant remembrances in spite of the hardships to which I had been subjected while there.

    During the time that I had worked on the plantation, I lived under the roof of “Aunt Julia Ann” and her husband “Uncle Dump,” who were good and kind to me and took an especial interest in me. The cabin in which they lived was situated at the lower end of the quarters....

  10. 5 Looking for Employment
    (pp. 35-38)

    The problem of making a living was the one that was before me. I was without means and without an education. The only capital I possessed was youth, health, and a determination to win the race of life. My mother occupied two small rooms in a frame building in Market Street, which building had been converted into flats. Several other families occupied apartments in the same building. My brother had secured employment at army headquarters, as an attendant upon General W. Q. Gresham, the general in command of the Union troops there at that time. As the result of an...

  11. 6 In the Photography Business
    (pp. 39-44)

    Chiefly through the efforts of Dr. Patrick H. McGraw, who was an intimate friend of my father, I soon secured employment in the photographic establishment of Hughes and Lakin, whose business was carried on in one of the buildings owned by Dr. McGraw. I was employed merely as a messenger boy at a salary of ten dollars per month. While I faithfully discharged the duties for which I was employed, I took advantage of every opportunity to make myself familiar with every detail of the business of photography. Hughes and Lakin did their own operating, that is, made their own...

  12. 7 A Constitution for Mississippi
    (pp. 45-58)

    Eighteen sixty-six was an eventful year in the history of the country. A bitter war was then going on between Congress and President Andrew Johnson over the question of the reconstruction of the states lately in rebellion against the national government. The president had inaugurated a policy of his own which proved to be very unpopular at the North. He had pardoned nearly all of the leaders in the rebellion through the medium of amnesty proclamations. He appointed a provisional governor in each rebel state, under whose direction legislatures, state officers, and members of Congress had been chosen and United...

  13. 8 Justice of the Peace
    (pp. 59-66)

    As a justice of the peace I had a number of peculiar experiences. The appointment, in the first place, was looked upon by many as an experiment, which was largely true. In consequence of my youth and inexperience, I had, at first, serious doubts of my own ability to discharge the duties of the office creditably and acceptably, but I accepted the position with a determination to fill it, if possible, with credit to myself and satisfaction to the public. With that end in view, I took advantage of every spare moment to read and study, not only the manual,...

  14. 9 1869: State Elections and Reorganization
    (pp. 67-72)

    Eighteen sixty-nine was an important year in the political history of the state. The new constitution which was rejected in 1868 was to be resubmitted to a popular vote in November. At the same time state officers, members of the legislature, congressmen, district and county officers were to be elected. Since the objectionable clauses in the constitution were to be submitted to a separate vote and since it was understood that both parties would favor their rejection, there was no serious opposition to the ratification of the constitution as thus amended. But a hard and stubborn fight was to be...

  15. 10 Electing a Legislature
    (pp. 73-80)

    Although it was not intimated or charged that my appointment to, and acceptance of, the office of justice of the peace was the result of bad faith on my part, still the appointment resulted in creating, for the time being, two factions in the Republican party in the county. One was known as the Lynch faction and the other the Jacobs faction.

    When the constitution was submitted to a popular vote in November 1869, it was provided that there should be elected at the same time all officers provided for, or created by, the constitution, and [that they] were to...

  16. 11 Financing State Reconstruction
    (pp. 81-88)

    In addition to the election of three United States senators this legislature had some very important work before it as has been already stated in a previous chapter. A new public school system had to be inaugurated and put into operation, thus necessitating the construction of schoolhouses throughout the state, some of them, especially in the towns and villages, to be quite large and of course expensive. All of the other public buildings and institutions in the state had to be repaired, some of them rebuilt, all of them having been neglected and some of them destroyed during the progress...

  17. 12 Speaker of the House Lynch
    (pp. 89-98)

    The election being over and a Republican majority in both branches of the legislature being assured, Governor Alcorn was then prepared to vacate the office of governor, turn over the administration of state affairs to Lieutenant Governor Powers and proceed to Washington to be present at the opening session of Congress on the first Monday in December to assume his duties as a United States senator.

    The legislature was to meet the first Monday in the following January—1872. As soon as the fact was made known that the Republicans would control the organization of the House, the speakership of...

  18. 13 1872: Election to Congress
    (pp. 99-106)

    Eighteen seventy-two was an important year in the political history of the state and nation. It was the year of the presidential and congressional elections. President Grant was a candidate for renomination. A strong opposition to him, however, had developed in the ranks of the Republicans. This opposition was under the able and aggressive leadership of such strong and influential men as Horace Greeley of New York, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, Carl Schurz and B. Gratz Brown of Missouri, and many others. The rupture between the president and Senator Charles Sumner grew out of the movement to bring about the...

  19. 14 Visit to Saint Louis
    (pp. 107-112)

    In 1873 a movement was put on foot to have the national capital moved from Washington, D.C., to Saint Louis, Missouri.¹ With this in view, a convention was held at Saint Louis in the summer of that year to which the congressmen-elect from the South and West were cordially invited. I decided to accept the invitation but found out after I arrived there that I had made a mistake in doing so. Elaborate preparations had been made to entertain the delegates and visitors, the congressmen from the various states having been assigned to quarters at the different hotels in the...

  20. 15 1873: Mississippi Senatorial Elections
    (pp. 113-122)

    Eighteen seventy-three was a year in which an important election was to be held in Mississippi. State, district, and county officers and members of the legislature were to be elected. The tenure of office for the state and county officers was four years. Eighteen seventy-three, therefore, was the year in which the successors of those that were elected in 1869 had to be elected. The legislature to be elected that year would elect the successor of Senator Ames as United States senator. Senator Ames was a candidate to succeed himself. For some unaccountable reason there had been a falling out...

  21. 16 Governors Alcorn and Ames
    (pp. 123-130)

    The administrations of Governors Alcorn and Ames, the two Republican governors, products of Reconstruction, both having been elected chiefly by the votes of colored men, were among the best with which that state was ever blessed, the generally accepted impression to the contrary notwithstanding. Alcorn was elected in 1869 to serve a term of four years. Ames was elected to the succeeding term in 1873. Alcorn was one of the old citizens of the state and was therefore thoroughly identified with its business, industrial, and social interests. He had been one of the large and wealthy land and slave owners...

  22. 17 The Colored Vote: Mississippi
    (pp. 131-136)

    It is claimed that in states, districts, and counties in which the colored people are in the majority, the suppression of the colored vote is necessary to prevent “Negro domination”—to prevent the ascendancy of the blacks over the whites in the administration of the state and local governments. This claim is based upon the assumption that in all such states, districts, and counties, if the black vote were not suppressed, black men would be supported and elected to the office because they are black, and white men would be opposed and defeated because they are white.

    Taking Mississippi for...

  23. 18 The Colored Vote: The South
    (pp. 137-154)

    In the last preceding chapter it was stated that the reason for the sanguinary revolution which resulted in the overthrow of the Republican state government in the state of Mississippi in 1875 would be given in a subsequent chapter. What was true of Mississippi at that time was largely true of the other reconstructed states where similar results subsequently followed. When the War of the Rebellion came to an end, it was believed by some and apprehended by others that serious and radical changes in the previous order of things would necessarily follow.

    But when what was known as the...

  24. 19 1874: Diminishing Republication Power
    (pp. 155-162)

    The Forty-third Congress, the one that was elected in 1872, met in regular session the first Monday in December 1873. I was thus brought in official contact with many of the most prominent men of the country of both parties. . . .¹ Mr. Blaine was speaker of the House and Hon. Edward McPherson of Pennsylvania was elected chief clerk. I was made a member of the Committee on Mines and Mining, of which Judge Lowe of Kansas was chairman.

    The Mississippi Constitution, having been ratified in 1869, an odd year of the calendar, caused the regular elections for state,...

  25. 20 1875: Gloomy Prospects for Reelection
    (pp. 163-170)

    When I returned to my home after the adjournment of Congress in March 1875, the political clouds were dark. The outlook, politically, was discouraging. The prospect of Republican success was not at all bright. There had been a marked change in the situation from every point of view. Democrats were bold, outspoken, defiant, and determined. In addition to these unfavorable indications, I noticed that I was not received and greeted by them with the same warmth and cordiality as on previous occasions. With a few exceptions, they were cold and indifferent in their attitude and manner. This treatment was so...

  26. 21 1875: Conversation with the President
    (pp. 171-180)

    Shortly after I reached Washington, the latter part of November 1875, I called on the president to pay my respects and to see him on business. The president had recently issued a Civil Service order which some of the federal office-holders evidently misunderstood.¹ Postmaster Purcell of Summit, an important town in my district, was one of that number. He was supposed to be Republican, having been appointed as such. But he not only refused to take any part in the campaign of 1875, he also declined to contribute a dollar to meet the legitimate expenses of the same. The President’s...

  27. 22 1875: Democratic Victory
    (pp. 181-192)

    Although as a result of the sanguinary revolution in 1875 there was no hope or prospect of future Republican success in Mississippi, the Republican leaders in that state did not abandon their efforts to bring about and reestablish friendly relations between Senator Alcorn and Governor Ames. With that end in view, both were made delegates to the National Republican Convention of 1876 from the state at large. But this failed to accomplish the purpose desired. When the newly-elected legislature met the first Monday in January 1876, the fact was developed that the Lamar faction was slightly in the ascendancy in...

  28. 23 The Disputed Presidency
    (pp. 193-208)

    Although the action of the returning boards in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida gave Mr. Hayes a majority of one vote in the electoral college, the Democrats, who were largely in the majority in the national House of Representatives, were evidently not willing to acquiesce in the declared result, claiming that Mr. Tilden had been fairly elected and that he ought to be inaugurated. Hon. Henry Waterson of Kentucky, who was at that time a member of the House, delivered a fiery speech in which he declared that one hundred thousand armed men would march to Washington to see that...

  29. 24 1880: Garfield, the Compromise Candidate
    (pp. 209-216)

    Since the indications were that the Democrats would be successful in the congressional election of 1878, the election in the “shoestring district” that year was allowed to go by default.

    In 1880, the year of the presidential election, I decided that I would again measure arms with Chalmers for representative in Congress from that district. It was a pretty well settled fact that there was to be a bitter and perhaps close fight for the Republican presidential nomination that year. There were three prominent candidates in the field for nomination—James G. Blaine, U. S. Grant, and John Sherman. Grant...

  30. 25 1880: The Battle for Reelection
    (pp. 217-234)

    As indicated in a previous chapter, I decided to measure arms with General Chalmers in 1880 for representative in Congress from the Sixth, or “shoestring,” District. The fact was soon made plain to me, however, that I had on my hands the fight of my life, not only for the election but for the nomination. There were three candidates for the nomination besides myself—Judge E. Jeffords of Issaquena County, General W. F. Fitzgerald of Warren County, and my personal friend, Captain Thomas W. Hunt of Jefferson County. Captain Hunt was the man that placed my name in nomination for...

  31. 26 The Vicksburg Postmastership
    (pp. 235-244)

    After the presidential and congressional elections, I found that my friend Hill was still on my trail. Senator Bruce was to retire from the Senate the same day that President Hayes would retire from the presidency. Mr. Bruce was an applicant for an appointive office under the incoming administration. While he had been a true and consistent friend of mine, he had not been unfriendly to Mr. Hill. In fact he had been, in a political or party sense, everything to Mr. Hill. While Hill had the credit of being the dispenser of federal patronage throughout the state, except in...

  32. 27 The Garfield Years
    (pp. 245-254)

    The Garfield administration started out under most favorable auspices. Mr. Conkling took an active and leading part in the Senate as a champion and spokesman of the administration. He seemed to have taken it for granted that, although his bitter enemy in the person of Mr. Blaine was secretary of state, his own influence with the administration would be potential. In conversation with his personal friends he insisted that this was a part of the agreement that had been made and entered into at the famous Mentor Conference, about which so much had been said and published. If it were...

  33. 28 1881: Republican and Greenback Alliance
    (pp. 255-260)

    In 1881 there was to be an election in Mississippi for governor and other state officers. What was known as the Greenback, or Populist, party had made some headway in the state, especially in the Second, or Holly Springs, Congressional District.¹ It looked at that time as if that party would cut an important figure in the politics of the state. Believing that the Greenback party was strong enough to secure a fair election and an honest count in localities where it had an organized existence, it was suggested that the Republicans and Greenbackers form a fusion, the two parties...

  34. 29 1882: Party and Election Disputes
    (pp. 261-278)

    The contested-election case of Lynch against Chalmers was finally disposed of by the House of Representatives in the spring of 1882. The Committee on Elections, of which Hon. W. H. Calkins of Indiana was chairman, gave the case a thorough, careful, and patient investigation. I could have established my right to the seat by setting up the rejected votes of Warren County alone, but I decided to expose and show up, as far as possible, the illegal and questionable methods that have been adopted throughout the district to overcome the heavy Republican majority and have a Democrat returned to Congress...

  35. 30 1884: Presidential Nominations
    (pp. 279-292)

    When the Forty-seventh Congress expired on 4 March 1883, I returned to my home at Natchez, Mississippi. Eighteen eighty-four was the year of the presidential election. Early in the year it was made clear that there was to be a bitter fight for the Republican presidential nomination.

    President Arthur was a candidate to succeed himself, but Mr. Blaine, it was conceded, would be the leading candidate before the convention. Senator John Sherman was also a candidate. It was generally believed that Senator [George F.] Edmunds of Vermont would get a majority of the delegates from the New England states. Mr....

  36. 31 1885: The Failure of J. R. Chalmers
    (pp. 293-300)

    Eighteen eighty-five was the year in which the general election in the state of Mississippi was held for the election of governor and other state officers, district and county officials. The state was hopelessly Democratic. In view of unfavorable political conditions, many Republicans doubted the wisdom of putting a ticket in the field in opposition to the Democratic machine, but after consultation, and since the organization called Greenbackers had made some headway, it was decided to put a ticket in the field if fusion between Republicans and Greenbackers could be agreed upon, which was found to be possible.

    General James...

  37. 32 Marriage and Divorce
    (pp. 301-308)

    On 18 december 1884, I was united in marriage at Washington, D.C., by the Reverend F. J. Grimke, to Ella Wickham, daughter of James A. and M. E. Somerville of Mobile, Alabama. James A. Somerville was a member of one of the oldest and most aristocratic families at the South. Members of that family were prominently identified with nearly every important enterprise in that section of the country. James A. Somerville was, before the War of the Rebellion, in opulent circumstances, but as a result of that war he was reduced almost to poverty. His sympathies being with the South...

  38. 33 The Cleveland years: Interracial Marriages
    (pp. 309-320)

    In selecting his first cabinet Mr. Cleveland did Mr. Lamar and the state of Mississippi the honor of making him secretary of the interior. Upon the occasion of my first visit to Washington after the inauguration of Mr. Cleveland, which was early in the administration, I called on Secretary Lamar to tender him my congratulations upon his appointment. When I entered his office, he was engaged in conversation with some prominent New York Democrats, Mayor [William R.] Grace of New York City being one of the party. The secretary received me cordially, and, after introducing me to the gentlemen with...

  39. 34 The Harrison Years
    (pp. 321-332)

    Upon the inauguration of a national Democratic administration, I devoted my time principally to my private business, until the opening of the presidential campaign in 1888. The indications were that there was to be quite a bitter fight for the Republican presidential nomination. It was thought that another effort would be made to bring about the nomination of Mr. Blaine. If there had been a strong sentiment in the party in favor of the nomination of the statesman from Maine, he no doubt would have consented to the use of his name. But when it was made plain to him...

  40. 35 Republican Factionalism and the Problem of Disenfranchisement
    (pp. 333-348)

    It was during the administration of President Harrison that another effort was made to secure the enactment by Congress of the necessary legislation for the effective enforcement of the war amendments to the national Constitution—a federal elections bill. Mr. Lodge of Massachusetts was the author of the bill. But the fact was soon developed that there were too many Republicans, in and out of Congress, who lacked the courage of their convictions to secure favorable action. In fact, there were three classes of white men at the South who claimed to be Republicans who used their influence to defeat...

  41. 36 Cleveland’s Reelection
    (pp. 349-364)

    President Harrison’s administration was one of the best the country has ever had. The president was an able lawyer and a great statesman but he was not what may be called a tactful politician. He was plain, honest, candid, and outspoken. He did not possess the faculty of saying one thing and meaning another. No one could leave his presence and have any doubt about his attitude upon the subject that had been discussed. He was not only emphatic in giving expression to his opinions, but he was sometimes unfortunate in using language that was more forceful than the occasion...

  42. 37 Law Firm of Terrell and Lynch
    (pp. 365-370)

    When I retired from office in the summer of 1893, the country was in the midst of a fearful financial panic. Banks were being suspended, factories and mines were being closed, and thousands of laborers were being thrown out of employment. The products of labor, and property of every kind had depreciated in value and there was general industrial prostration throughout the country. Out of my salary as auditor I had saved some money, one thousand dollars of which I unwisely invested in the purchase of stock in a local savings bank at Washington which was under the management and...

  43. 38 1896: The McKinley Campaign
    (pp. 371-380)

    The contest for the Republican nomination in 1896 commenced early in the administration of Mr. Cleveland. In 1892 the country had voted to try the experiment of a change in the fiscal policy of the government. So much had been said and written in defense and in explanation of free trade or a tariff for revenue only, especially by Mr. Cleveland, who was one of the strongest and ablest advocates of that doctrine, and who had sent a message to Congress devoted exclusively to it, that a majority of the people decided that the prosperous condition of the country at...

  44. 39 Contest for Mississippi Delegates
    (pp. 381-386)

    Shortly after I had finished my tour of the state in the interest of Major McKinley’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, the fight for delegates to the state and national convention commenced in earnest. Mr. Hill had made it known to his friends and supporters that Bruce and Lynch should both be eliminated from the future politics of the state, consequently neither should be elected a delegate to the national convention. It was not long, therefore, before the fact was made plain to me that I had before me a very bitter fight. It was to be a life-and-death...

  45. 40 Fighting the Hill Organization
    (pp. 387-394)

    Two sets of delegates having been elected to the national convention, the fight for recognition was then to be made before the national committee. In this fight my friends were also placed at a disadvantage for two reasons: first, because Mr. Hill was a member of that committee which placed him in the position of being one of judges to pass upon the merits of his own case. Second, because the fact was afterwards developed that the recognition of his delegation was one of the conditions of his deal or agreement with Mr, Hanna. Since the Hanna machine controlled the...

  46. 41 McKinley Appointments: The Postal Service
    (pp. 395-398)

    In about a week or ten days after the president had signed the letter addressed to the postmaster general with reference to fourth-class postmasters, I received a message requesting me to call at the White House. When I arrived, the president handed me a slate containing the names of six persons that had been tentatively agreed upon for six of the most important offices in the state. Three of the six, stated the president, were represented as belonging to what is known as the Lynch organization.

    “It is with reference to that fact and about those three that I wish...

  47. 42 McKinley Appointments: Army Paymaster Lynch
    (pp. 399-406)

    Mr. Hill was an applicant for, and expected to be appointed to, the office of Collector of Internal Revenue for the district composed of the states of Mississippi and Louisiana with headquarters at New Orleans. But it so happened that his own appointment to any particular position was not among the things for which he had secured a direct pledge or promise from Mr. Hanna. Shortly before the Collector of Internal Revenue for the district referred to was appointed, Mr. Hill received an intimation fom a reliable source that his ambition in that direction, in all probability, would not be...

  48. 43 Keeping in Politics
    (pp. 407-420)

    Although I Had been appointed a major and Paymaster of Volunteers, yet since the position was known to be a temporary one, I felt that it was not only my privilege but my duty to continue to take an active part in politics. Having secured a greater degree of official recognition for my friends than appeared to be possible during the early days of the administration, the outlook for the future was not only encouraging but more satisfactory than at any time since the beginning of the factional fight in the state. My friends were very much encouraged and elated,...

  49. 44 Controversial Convention Procedures
    (pp. 421-436)

    As delegate to the National Republican Convention of 1900, I was honored by my delegation with being selected to represent the state on the Committee on Platform and Resolutions, and by the chairman of said committee, Senator [Charles W.] Fairbanks, I was made a member of the subcommittee that drafted the platform. At the first meeting of the subcommittee, the Ohio member thereof, Senator J. B. Foraker, submitted the draft of a platform that had been prepared at Washington, which was made the basis of quite a lengthy and interesting discussion. This discussion developed the fact that the Washington draft...

  50. 45 In Cuba
    (pp. 437-448)

    During the three years that I was stationed on duty in Cuba, it was my good fortune to be required to visit not only every province, but nearly every important city and town on the island. While doing so I made it a point to carefully study the country and people—the character and fertility of the soil, the habits and customs of the natives. During the first year I made very little progress, because only a few of the natives could speak or understand English and I had no knowledge of Spanish. But during the second and third years,...

  51. 46 In Nebraska
    (pp. 449-464)

    My next station after being relieved from duty in Cuba was Omaha, Nebraska. When I crossed the Missouri River at Council Bluffs, Iowa, I realized that for the first time in my life I had put foot on what may be called historic soil. It was the first time I had been that far west. I had frequently passed through a number of the Western states, but had never before been as far west as the state of Nebraska. As a young man I had read about the Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott Decision, the Wilmot Proviso, the Kansas and...

  52. 47 In Puerto Rico and San Francisco
    (pp. 465-478)

    After having spent about three years and six months at Omaha, Nebraska, I was relieved from duty there and assigned to a station at San Francisco, California, where I was to remain only about six months and then proceed to the Philippine Islands for a tour of duty which was to cover a period of two years. But instead of remaining at San Francisco only about six months, I remained there sixteen months. I had never been to California before, I left Omaha on 29 December 1905 and arrived at San Francisco on 1 January 1906, where I remained until...

  53. 48 In Hawaii and the Philippines
    (pp. 479-490)

    On the sixth day of May 1907 I took passage on the army transportLoganfor a tour of two years duty in the Philippines and arrived safely at Manila on the thirty-first day of the same month. The transport stopped at only two points between San Francisco and Manila—Honolulu and Guam. We remained several hours at each place but much longer at the former than the latter. While at Honolulu I visited many points of historical note and interest. The fact was brought to mind that as a member of Congress I witnessed the ceremony that took place...

  54. 49 Retirement and Remarriage
    (pp. 491-502)

    Shortly after my arrival at Manila, I was assigned to duty at Iloilo, S. Panay, as paymaster. During the summer of that year the order was promulgated requiring all commissioned army officers to be subjected to a physical examination to determine their fitness for active military service. The test spoken of was to ride or walk a specified number of miles within a given time. If as the result of the physical examination a serious physical defect was detected, he would not be required to take the test, but he would be a suitable person for retirement on account of...

  55. 50 Democrats in the South: The Race Question
    (pp. 503-512)

    As stated in the preceding chapter, when I came to Chicago I was still too young to be wholly inactive, but whether or not I should take an active part in politics was one of the first questions that occurred to me. I had no intention of actively participating politically in local matters, but it occurred to me that like some other retired army officers, I could, with propriety, take an active part in national matters. But after going over the field very carefully, I found that conditions nationally as well as locally were not such as would justify me...

  56. INDEX
    (pp. 513-521)