[Boston—Thursday, 11 June 1874]

Thursday. Went to a Charity Fête at Mrs Claflin’s but it rained and took as C.C. says all the gilt I fear off the gingerbread. But Henry Wilson was there and talked of Schurz. Says he is not an executive man! The best speaker in the Senate, he makes painful mistakes when he attempts to act. He failed as a general; he has just failed as a statesman and probably has lost his election thereby. Through his unfortunate advice, rebels have been admitted into the government of Missouri. The result is everything has gone into their hands and probably Schurz will lose his place. It is most sad and he is ill in consequence. Mr Wilson talked also of Sumner—most naturally, as the last time he met me was in that same place when Mr. Sumner was present. He said it was strange what a failure Mr. Sumner made oftentimes; how bad his style was even in writing; how overlaid with quotations which were by no means correct; how poor his judgment was, how little he knew what people were thinking about; why, after his speech on Grant he said to me, “this speech has destroyed his election. There will not be 3 states to vote for him. Yes there will I think said Mr. Wilson there will be thirty—and so there were just 30”—“But the wonder of it all was to see how having made up his mind on a few subjects as to their right and wrong, his moral strength was such that he held his position through all odds. That was his greatness—no man can be more than one thing; that was his point of strength.”

The vice-president talked much also of the value of education and asked me to write out a schedule of reading for a young girl who wished to possess herself of culture. I sent the list in the evening.


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