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Introduction to
Reminiscences of Isaac Jackson Allen Article

This is a transcription of the article that appeared in The Ohio History, The Scholarly Journal of the Ohio Historical Society, 207-238 [Volume 73/Autumn 1964/Number 4]. 

The following article by John Simon provides an insight into the life of Isaac Jackson Allen.  Isaac is a descendant of Job and Elizabeth (Jackson) Allen III.  The article is comprised of paragraphs from a manuscript for a cousin, Mrs. Elizabeth Allen Nichols, which he called "Memoranda Genealogical and Biographical of the Allen Family", recollections of his involvement in Ohio and national politics as well as his tour as Consul.

Isaac also recalls his friendship with President Lincoln as well as his presence on the grand stand at the Gettysburg Address.   

Reminiscences of Isaac Jackson Allen

Compiled and Analyzed with Notes by JOHN Y. SIMON

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Isaac Jackson Allen, prominent in Ohio a century ago, is now almost completely forgotten.   Allen began his public career in Mansfield as mayor and judge of the court of common pleas.  In 1853 he was the unsuccessful Whig candidate for lieutenant governor.  The next year he became the president of Farmers' College, located near Cincinnati, and ultimately was that city's superintendent of public instruction.  From July 1861 to late 1864 he edited the Columbus Ohio State Journal.  In 1865 Lincoln appointed him consul to Hong Kong.  After leaving Hong Kong in 1869, he entered a long period of obscurity.  For sixteen years he lived at Avondale, a suburb of Cincinnati; in 1886, he moved to Morristown, New Jersey, where he had been born seventy-two years before.  There he lived into his ninety-third year, dying in 1906.

In 1904, when approaching his ninetieth birthday, Isaac Allen prepared a manuscript for a cousin, Mrs. Elizabeth Allen Nichols, which he called "Memoranda Genealogical and Biographical of the Allen Family."  The first quarter of the manuscript, headed "Note," contains genealogical information on the Allen family in New England and New Jersey which is available elsewhere and of no general interest.  The remainder, headed "Memorandum," is Allen's autobiography, and is printed below through the courtesy of his descendants.1

Isaac Allen was descended from Scottish Covenanters who settled in Massachusetts Bay in the seventeenth century.  At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Job Allen left Vermont to settle at Danville, New Jersey, where he established an iron works. There the Allens lived until 1814, when Job Allen, III, a veteran of the War of 1812, moved West with his wife and nine children. Isaac, the youngest, was six weeks old.  Job Allen and some neighbors had already inspected Ohio; now the Allens and nine other families packed children and household goods in sturdy "Jersey wagons" for the forty-five day journey to Ohio.  They settled near Fredericktown in Knox County, where ultimately two townships came to be known as the "Jersey settlement."

Beyond what is contained in the "Memorandum," little is known of the first four decades of Isaac Allen's life.  By the early 1850's he began to seek a reputation as an orator beyond Mansfield.  In the earliest of his printed speeches, "The Relations of Christianity to Civil Polity; Delivered Before the Literary Societies of Western Reserve College, July 9, 1851," he ob-


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scured an interesting topic with doubtful history, conventional rhetoric, and a touch of bigotry.2  The speech was more a display of erudition than an intellectual endeavor, more an exposition of conventional belief than an attempt to enlarge it, and clearly indicated political ambition.  Even if Allen's nomination as the Whig candidate for lieutenant governor in 1853 came as unexpectedly as he recounts, he had prepared for it.

In addition to Whigs and Democrats, a party of Free Democrats entered the campaign of 1853 to promote the abolition of slavery and prohibition of liquor.  Despite his firm adherence to the Whig party, Allen agreed with the two major goals of the Free Democrats and was probably nominated to attract their support.  The original Free Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Benjamin Bissell, declined to run; the party then nominated Goodcil Buckingham, who also withdrew.3  At this point, Allen wrote a letter to the Ashtabula Sentinel, widely reprinted, setting forth his antislavery and Maine Law convictions.4

Correctly or not, regular Democrats believed that Allen and the Free Democrats were working together.5  Democrats had nothing to fear in the gubernatorial election, but they were worried that a coalition of Whigs and Free Democrats might elect Allen as lieutenant governor.  For the remainder of the campaign Allen drew the heaviest fire of the Democrats.  The Ohio Statesman of Sunset Cox charged that Allen was "a loose abandoned demagogue; a man who drinks at the bar even while his Whig friends are tacking up bills for "Temperance lecture by I. J. Allen at the door of the shop where he tipples."6  In time the charge was bolstered by affidavits from those who swore that Allen once drank ale in Bucyrus.7  Although friends in Mansfield came forward to swear to his general sobriety, the damage was done.8

On Christmas Eve of 1853 Allen was offered the presidency of Farmers' College.  The college was the successor of Pleasant Hill Academy founded by Freeman Cary in 1833, one year after his graduation from Miami University, where President Robert H. Bishop had advocated practical education.  In 1846 the academy was elevated to Farmers' College, with ambitious plans to expand upon the public support already given the academy.  But by 1853 President Cary decided that his college had become too much like other colleges, that the goals of scientific agriculture had not been met, and resigned the presidency to devote his full time to the school's experimental farm.9

Cary had designated Samuel St. John of Connecticut as his successor.  When St. John declined, the presidency was offered to Allen.10  President Allen delivered his inaugural address on commencement day, June 7, 1854.  Undeterred by the ominous circumstance that none of the 282 students was graduating, he announced that the college was "now fast budding into a University." In addition to serving as president, Allen was "Professor of Rhetoric, of Mental and Moral Science, and of the Institutes of Civil Law."11  Allen found spare time to serve as president of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society, deliver the major address at the opening of Gran-

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ger's Commercial College in Columbus, and make a Fourth of July address in Urbana.12  In 1856 Farmers' College reached what was to be its highest enrollment ever--330--and Isaac Alien resigned.  His salary had not been increased, despite assurances from the trustees, and Freeman Cary's salary of $1,500 was $300 larger than his.13  Allen retired to a private law practice in Cincinnati, where he became superintendent of public instruction in 1859.

That Allen wrote his recollections when age had softened his memory is shown by the discussion of his connection with Francis Hurtt and the Ohio State Journal.  Hurtt had previously owned the Journal in partnership with Henry D. Cooke, brother of the Philadelphia banker Jay Cooke.  When Henry D. Cooke went to Washington after the Republicans had come to power in March 1861, his father wrote to Jay Cooke:

H. D.'s plan in getting [Salmon P.] Chase into the Cabinet & [John] Sherman into the Senate is accomplished, and . . . now is the time for making money, by honest contracts out of the govt.  In perfecting loans--& various other agencies--the door is open to make up all your losses. If H. D. don't avail himself of the hard earned favor of the Administration, he deserves poverty.14

Francis Hurtt controlled the leading Republican newspaper in Ohio and had a close relationship with Henry Cooke; the door to prosperity was also open to him.

Allen purchased a quarter interest in the Journal from Hurtt in July 1861.15  Hurtt was to manage business matters, Allen, editorial matters, but Hurtt still controlled editorial policy.16  In order to repay the money he had borrowed to buy his share of the Journal, Allen had to draw money from the company, and for each dollar withdrawn by Allen, Hurtt took three.17  Despite the influx of government advertising and new subscribers hungry for war news, the Journal's already substantial debt did not decrease.  Hurtt decided that a post as a quartermaster, with his salary earmarked for the firm, would be more profitable, and he entered government service, leaving behind S. H. Dunan as business manager.

Allen's career with the Journal began auspiciously enough with the purchase of better printing equipment, the publication of the first "extra" (with news of the first battle of Bull Run), special correspondence from Kentucky and western Virginia written by Hurtt, and the addition of weekly and tri-weekly editions to supplement the daily.  Through his influential position Allen was thrice elected to the executive committee of the Ohio Republican party.18  Then the door closed when the government investigated the activities of his partner.

Quartermaster Hurtt had made extensive use of his Washington connections and involved himself in dubious financial transactions.  He used his position as a quartermaster to advance the interests of the Journal, and he used his position with the Journal to advance his interests as a quartermaster.  Hurtt had first been assigned to duty in Virginia, but used

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Washington friends to secure reassignment to Cincinnati.  In the spring of 1863 Hurtt began to intrigue for the reassignment of Captain John H. Dickerson, senior quartermaster at Cincinnati, which would have put Hurtt and a brother-in-law of Senator John Sherman in charge.  General A. E. Burnside, commander of the department of the Ohio, became suspicious of Hurtt and ordered Major N. H. McLean to make a thorough investigation.  This led to a court-martial, but, somewhat mysteriously, the court was disbanded and Major McLean exiled to duty at Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory.  Continued agitation in Democratic newspapers, however, led to a new court, which convened on January 29, 1864, ultimately convicted Hurtt on numerous charges, and ordered his dismissal from service.19

The Hurtt case reflected unfavorably on so many prominent men that the testimony remained sealed until the story was broken by a Cincinnati newspaperman in 1874.20 The court-martial record had been reviewed by President Lincoln, who wrote to Secretary of War Stanton:

I return the record in Captain Hurtt's case. It is a dismissal from service by a sentence of a general court-martial, and hence one in which I could not interfere if I would; and so far as I have been able to look into it, one in which I ought not to interfere. I do not perceive that there is anything affirmative for me to do in the case.21

Lincoln's curious note ignored the testimony which pointed to other prominent men who deserved investigation.  Indeed, the "Ohio Gang" of the Civil War era provided many an unsound precedent for a later period.  Allen was something more than a spectator of the activities of his partner.  The prosecution of the court-martial, built upon seized letters and papers of Hurtt, proved that Hurtt had asked Allen to use his influence with ex-Governor William Dennison to have Captain Dickerson removed from Cincinnati.  "We can well afford to pay Dennison's expenses to Washington," wrote Hurtt. "Please telegraph me if he will go immediately."22

Although Allen could not induce Dennison to go to Washington, he assured Hurtt that the ex-governor was sympathetic. "I told Dennison that your position there was some advantage to us in the way of securing advertisement patronage."23

Nor was this all.  Hurtt proposed to distribute the Journal among soldiers using army equipment.  He told Allen: "I have given Dunan a chance to make some money for the Journal by ordering hay and horses through him."  Hurtt even suggested: "If you had a friend to speculate in forage he might make money."24  Indeed, Allen made a poor showing at the court-martial and did little during his own cross-examination to brighten the picture.25

Hurtt had become increasingly dissatisfied with Allen's position on the Journal.  One reason was the inability of Allen to pay his debt without drawing on the paper; another was the prospect that Allen's interest might be purchased by John Sherman's brother-in-law, and this could cement Hurtt's political connections.  Hurtt unsuccessfully asked Allen to sell out,

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then tried to influence Secretary Chase to offer him a more attractive position.26  The result was four successive offers of diplomatic posts.  It was hardly coincidental that while the Hurtt investigation was in progress, Allen was offered a post in remote Bangkok.27  But Allen did not go abroad until the court-martial was over and his partnership dissolved.

Perhaps the most interesting of Allen's recollections deals with his interview with President Lincoln concerning the appointment at Hong Kong.  There is no way to substantiate its accuracy; in focusing upon Lincoln's interest in postwar relations with the Orient it covers matters never discussed by Lincoln elsewhere.  But it does have an internal integrity which suggests that this account, like the entire "Memorandum," contains a remarkably clear view across the misty years, tempered only by an understandable egotism.

For Allen never fulfilled the promise of his early years.  His various careers--legal, political, academic, journalistic, and diplomatic--were cut short before they fully developed.  Had he not recorded his own career it would be entirely forgotten today.  He was described by a neighbor in Mansfield as "a little windy, and a kind of popinjay fellow," and surely there was some truth in this brief dismissal of the ambitious Whig.28

If he lacked the strength for the rough game of Ohio politics, this is hardly discreditable.  Although he never reached the heart of the major events of his day, he came close enough for a good look; this he gives us in his "Memorandum."  And he gives us something else: a picture of a man with moral integrity, a love of erudition, and an adventurous spirit.  The recollections written so many years after the events must be read with caution, but they can also be read with pleasure.



In conformity with special requests by those of our Allen family very dear to me I am induced to add here something of my own biography.  I do this the more readily as my life, having been now extended to the latter half of my Ninetieth year, must, in the course of nature, be verging to its close, notwithstanding that I am still in the enjoyment of perfect health, and deem a daily walk of 3 or 4 miles a pleasant recreation.  And though my career as herein to be set forth may not record anything of great interest or moment, it may be of some value as a souvenir to those of my family connections, with whom my relations have always been intimate and cordial, and our family ties mutually cherished as of one general parentage.

Moreover, as my career in life is now behind me, on looking back on its course, I find it so unusually varied, as to public positions held, by circumstances altogether unforeseen and utterly unanticipated, that I am impressed with the great truth that though "man deviseth his way, the Lord directeth his steps."

Born on the 21st day of January, 1814, on the old "Job Allen Farm" at Danville, Morris County, New Jersey, I was but 6 weeks old when my

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father with his family started on the long journey to his new home and farm near to Fredericktown, in Knox County, Ohio.   And when we had reached there I was 3 months old.

I state this, not as of my own personal knowledge and recollection, but from information of others, chiefly from my mother; who would be good authority, as she had the care of me during that tedious and toilsome journey in our covered-wagon across the Allegheny Mountains to the then far-away West.

Our farm was considerably improved when bought; but my father added many fields by additional clearings of the forest.  Our dwelling house was of logs; but roomy and comfortable.

My infancy, childhood, and early youth were spent on that farm, at first with the great forest adjacent.  I well remember, in my childhood, of hearing the night howlings of wolves, and the occasional screams of panthers, in the neighboring depths of the forest.

I also distinctly recollect frequent visits of the Wyandotte Indians, in great numbers, at our house, to exchange venison and wild cranberries for cornmeal and pickled pork.  They were entirely amiable and friendly.  Many times have I gone to their camp and run foot-races, and wrestled, and shot with bows-and-arrows, with Indian boys of my age.  I mention this to show what Ohio was then, and what Ohio has become within a single lifetime!  

The near-by village of Fredericktown, the trading centre for the "Jersey Settlement," so called, was early distinguished for its good schools, for those days.  I cannot remember when I first went to school.  Nor can I remember any time in my life when I could not read any English book.  I do, however, well remember the surprise I caused the teacher whom my father had employed to keep a kind of Kindergarten in summer time for us 'kids' in a tenant-house he had built on our farm.  There was no system of schoolbooks then.  Each child brought whatever the sparse family library afforded, from primers to bibles.  At school-opening each pupil was examined as to his literary attainments in order to form the classes.  When I was called to the teacher's knee and inquiry was made as to what book I had brought, I handed her my "English Reader," a book much in use then, and consisting of selections from Addison and others of the best British authors.  She looked at me, a little chub of [a] chap, laughed, and said, "Can you read in this?" "Yes Mam." Opening it somewhere, she handed it to me and told me to read there.  I read it off fluently, not thinking it any very remarkable literary performance.  Then came her look of surprise that made me wonder, and which I never forgot.  And that is the earliest recollection I have of ever learning to read.  How, when, or where I learned to read, I have not the most remote idea.

My parents were particularly thoughtful for the education of us children so far as means of education were then available.  At one time, however, when our village school was not very high-toned, the teacher admitting that he had never studied grammar, my father sent me to school at Mt. Vernon, where I was boarded in the family of the teacher, quite a scholarly man.  I was there, I think, about 2 years, and was well advanced in all common school studies.

Then, considering my education as finished, my father recalled me to the work of the farm.  But the education thus acquired, though good, instead

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of seeming to me to [be] finished, served to excite a desire to obtain more.  At Mt. Vernon I had become acquainted with some boys who were students of Kenyon College, only 5 miles distant.  From this sprang up a longing to go to college.

I timidly mentioned this to my father.  He would not hear to it; and for two reasons--he could not afford it, and he could not spare me from assistance on the farm.  My elder brothers being now grown and gone for themselves, and I the youngest, he did indeed need me.  Besides, he thought it a foolish, boyish whim.

But the longing to go to college would not down at his bidding.  I pondered over it as I ploughed; I thought it over as I hoed; it went with me as I foddered the sheep, and rode the horses to water.  I finally mentioned the matter to my mother.   She was sympathetic, wished it might be, but couldn't see how it could be; and counseled me to be content as I was.  At that time the country was in one of those frequent financial throes that demoralized business.  Banks failed everywhere.  Money good today, good for nothing tomorrow.  My father had plenty of everything but money -- money there was none.

I had learned to play the flute, and was accounted a good performer.   Commencement time at Kenyon College, only 12 miles distant, had come; the public exercises were announced.  A band of music was desired.  There were no professionals.  Among the students and some others an amateur band was improvised.  I was wanted to play the piccolo flute.  All went off well.  I was charmed with the exercises, with the scholarship of the graduating class, the Latin, Greek, and fine English orations.  That was in June.   Then and there I determined to go to college at the beginning of the next fall term.  I said nothing about it then.

When autumn came I told my father of my determination.  He scouted it as foolish.  And it was.  But I was none the less determined.  I told my mother.  She was sorry; but couldn't help me.

Finally, on an occasion when father was to be from home for several days at court serving as a juryman, with my mother's help, giving me bed-clothes and things, I packed up my personal belongings for departure.  My mother gave me two dollars, all she had: and with that amount of capital, and with her kisses and blessings; I left home: in fact, I ran away from home to go to college!  My mother had assented; because, as she said, it would be of no use to prevent it.  My father had not consented; but he had not actually forbidden it.

Arrived at the College, I went at once to the President; found him at a meeting of the College Faculty; told them who I was, what I wanted, and why I had come, -- explained to them frankly the situation.  They received me kindly, questioned me as to my advancement in studies, gave me encouragement, and promised such assistance as might be in their power.   Never was poor boy received and treated more kindly!

The College session was about to open.  My name was placed on the College Roll, and I was duly matriculated.  I had a room assigned in one of the College buildings, and I gathered my belongings therein.  Lacking a bedstead, that night I slept on the floor.  And that night I was verily homesick!  I had been used to feather-beds!  Consequently I was homesick!  I was never homesick before--nor since: and never want to be!  Once is enough!!

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The next morning I attended for the assignment of studies, of course, in the Preparatory Department; for, as yet, I knew not a word of Latin or Greek.  On examination my preparatory studies were found sufficient in English branches for the Freshman Class; so I had no special need to spend time on them.  I at once commenced the course in Latin, Greek, and Algebra.

I procured text-books from the College Library, kept for that purpose.

At that time the students were all boarded in "College Commons," under a superintendent in charge, and were charged only actual cost, about $3 per week.  The College property embraced about 8000 acres of fine lands as an endorsement; some of it in farms, much then in forest.  The situation of the College and its various buildings is one of the most beautiful in the United States.  Around the main College building, an imposing Gothic structure of stone, there was a large area of ground intended for a Park; but was, as yet, in its native forest growth.

The College authorities gave to those of the students desiring it the privilege of working to clear up that area of its undergrowth and superfluous timber trees, allowing payment on College expense account at so much an hour, working only out of study hours; thus affording both healthful exercise and profit.

I was handy with the axe and other tools for such work; and gladly availed myself of this work as a means of paying board expenses and other minor charges.  Many others, thirty or forty, I think, did the same, some for exercise and amusement, others for the profit.  Many an afternoon, during recreation hours and on Saturday half-holidays, were we youngsters busy in clearing up that bit of forest, then all a "tangled wild-wood," now a grand and beautiful College Park.

My studies delighted me.  I loved the 'Languages'; and have, I think, a natural aptitude in acquiring them.  I was diligent and attentive; never missed a recitation.  At the end of the autumn session, at Christmas, the President sent for me.  I went with trepidation.  I feared he was going to

dismiss me.  He greeted me kindly.  Told me that my Professors had reported that I had made such progress that by taking some extra studies I could be fitted for the next Freshman Class at the ensueing [sic] autumn examination. This, as he told me, would shorten my College course by one year, and thus save me both time and money; but, as he said, I would need to study hard to do it; as it usually required two years study to complete the preparatory course.  I eagerly embraced his kindly suggestion, thanked him heartily, and departed, a happy boy!

I immediately took up the extra studies.  Then the 'Fellows,' there were about 400 of us, laughed at me for a 'flam' trying to enter 'Fresh' in one year!  I couldn't "laugh back," because I might fail.  But I would try it, anyway; if successful--then it would be my turn to laugh.  I did try.  I tried hard.  My professors encouraged me--one in particular, Professor Finch: I shall never forget his kind words!29

The session passed: the autumn examination for the 'Freshman' came on.  Of the 52 candidates 48 were admitted; and out of the 48 I stood second: the one who ranked me had been two years in the 'Preparatory.'  To maintain my class rank in the Freshman year I studied hard; a little too hard, it seemed.  For, towards the close of the year my health failed.  One morning I fainted in the recitation room at class.  I knew no more till

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I found myself in bed in my own room, the College physician sitting beside me.  My breathing was labored, my chest pained me, my voice was gone, only a hoarse, raucous whisper remained.  The Doctor wrote a note, told me to take that to the President--then the excellent Bishop McIlvain--as soon as I was able.  In the course of the day, having recovered, I did so.   The good Bishop expressed anxiety, almost alarm, on hearing my raucous speech; and told me I must go home and take a rest.  He had not been the President when I first came to the College.  So, now I had to tell him that I had no home: that I was a run-away boy--had run-away from home to

go to College.  Then, in answer to his further inquiries I told him all about it.  The dear, good Bishop smiled kindly as my story was told, told me to sit still a minute, he thought he could fix matters for me.  He thereupon turned to his table and wrote quite a lengthy note, sealed it, and giving it to me, said--"There, give that to your father, mount one of his horses, and don't leave his back till you get well.  Then return to your class."

I had been then nearly two years from home, only 12 miles distant, and had had no word from my father,--and yet I knew he was one of the best fathers any boy ever had, and that he was affectionately fond of me, as his youngest son.

And I really blamed myself for thus leaving him alone on his farm in his now advancing years.  But, somehow, I couldn't help going.   However, as the Bishop had directed, I went home.  I had to walk, had no money; snow on the ground, soft, and mushy. That 12 mile walk was a hard one!  Never forgotten!

But I didn't go directly home.  I went to my brother William's, who lived on his own place near by.  He and his good wife soon made me comfortable.  He went that evening to father's and told him that I was at his home.  My father told him to tell me to come home.  I went home.  Father seemed glad to see me.  Spoke not a word of reproof.  Mother, seeing my condition got me dry stockings, got me an excellent supper--She knew what I liked!--then gave me something for my hoarseness--hoarhound tea and maple-sugar, I guess!

Sitting all quietly by the fireside after supper, finally my father broke the silence by asking me how I got along at College--rather jokingly, as I perceived.  He thought I had got cured of my foolish freak, and had come home to stay.  I told him I had done pretty well; and added--"I have a letter for you, father, from the Bishop"; and gave it him.   Adjusting his spectacles, he opened it, and read it silently.  Not a word was spoken by any one.  I never knew what was in that letter.  I only know that in reading it father's spectacles became dim--and he coughed some!

Then, rising, he went and put the letter away in the deep bottom of the eight-day grandfather's clock, where he kept his private papers.  Then he came and sat down again, remained silent, as in thought.  Finally, he inquired how I had managed to pay for what I had had.  I told him all about clearing the woods, and so on.  He laughed, but rather sadly.  No more was said.

The next morning being fine; I told my father what the Bishop had said about the horseback performance.  He said, "Well, Isaac, yonder in the field is a four-year-old that has never been bridled.  Go with Henry (the hired man), catch him, bridle him, and ride as much as you please."

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It was done. I did ride!  He was a fine animal.  I trained him well, riding many miles daily.  The Bishop's remedy proved good.  The chest-pain in breathing disappeared gradually, my voice returned; in two weeks I was well again.

I then announced my purpose of return to the College so as to keep up with my class.  My father then, seeing that I was incorrigible and irreclaimable, consented to my going; and privately told me he would take measures to assist me.  And he did.  Thereafter, I had not much difficulty; though I spent all my Summer vacations at home, assisting in the harvest work on the farm.  And so, in due time I received my Degree as "Master of Arts" from Kenyon College, the Diploma for which I have yet, and well preserved.30

On leaving College it was deemed advisable that I should have a period of rest and recuperation.  My brother James was then married and living in New Jersey.  He wrote requesting me to visit him.  It accorded with my wishes.  I arranged to go; and, as a measure of health, decided to make the journey on horseback.  Father furnished me a fine horse and all needful equipments; and I so made the journey--full 500 miles.  It was June: I traveled rather leisurely, avoiding the heat of mid-day hours.  I have made the transit many times since by steam-power on rail and water, but never one more agreeable to myself.  I remained in the East till the following autumn.31

Returning to Ohio, I took thought of some business career.  My inclination was for the Law.  My dear, good mother, a devoted Christian woman, earnestly protested against this; for the reason that lawyers were necessarily wicked, and therefore certain victims of the 'Evil One'!  Probably she was right!--at least, half-right!  Her special desire was to make a preacher of me.  But, as I was a trifle too wild and wayward for that staid and solemn profession, she concluded to compromise with the Evil One by making a doctor of me.

I yielded to this at her urgent solicitation; and entered upon the study of Medicine.  I was pleased with the study of the Natural Sciences pertaining to that profession--anatomy, chemistry, physiology, and incidentally, also, psychology.  But, the bedside practice was revolting to me.  I, however, pursued the study to regular graduation.

I then turned to my first choice, and commenced the study of the Law under Hon. Henry B. Curtis, an eminent lawyer of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.32  To meet my expenses while engaged in this study, I obtained position as Recording Deputy in the office of the Clerk of the Courts, under Isaac Hadley; rendering service about 3 hours daily and during Court terms, for my board in his family.  He and his family were excellent people, and made me as one of themselves.  This service in the Office of the Courts was of substantial benefit to me in my professional pursuits.  It made the practical machinery of the Courts familiar to me even before I commenced professional practice.

I retained this position during the two years of my law studies, when I was admitted to the Bar of the Ohio State Courts, and soon afterwards to the Bar of the United States Courts; to the latter of which the oath was administered to me by Judge John McLean, of the Supreme Court of the United States, in 1841.

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On my admission to the Bar, my law Preceptor, H. B. Curtis, proposed a partnership in Law practice; I to take charge of a Branch office at Mansfield, Richland County adjoining, for which he furnished a well selected Law library.  Thus equipped, I began my Law practice in 1842.  This Law partnership continued for 5 years, the term of its original limitation.

While in New Jersey, as before mentioned, I had met and made the acquaintance of a young lady of 16, who was, to my notion, exactly what a young lady should be; and, somehow, she came to about the same conclusion, from her point of view, as to me.  And we had mutually concluded to harmonize our respective views by means of matrimony, at such future time as circumstances would warrant.  So, now, having commenced my business life, I went to New Jersey, in pursuance to said arrangement and was married to Susan, daughter of Judge Peter P. Brown, proprietor of Newfoundland, New Jersey, on the 11th day of August, 1841.

Our married life continued most happily for a little more than 60 years; until the 19th of November, 1901; when death bereaved me of her, at the age of 80 1/2 years. Since then my life has been lonely!

In entering upon professional life, I, fortunately, did not have to wait for clients.  Mr. Curtis placed his pending cases in that county in my hands.  Thereby I had at once a standing at the Bar of that and the adjoining counties; and so continued to have.

I soon discovered the auxiliary [sic] advantage of my previous Medical education in my law practice; as many cases involving Medico-legal questions, from that circumstance, came to my hands; especially in Criminal Law.

And, by reason of this, only about two years after commencing my law practice, I was unexpectedly invited to the Chair of Medical Jurisprudence in the "University of Lake Erie," near Cleveland, Ohio.33   As the duties of that Professorship required my attendance for the Lectures of my course but about two months of the winter season, I accepted.

I held that Professorship five years; then resigned because of the demands of my increasing law business.  I have reason to conclude that my lectures in that department of the Law were not unsuccessful; as I had meanwhile received invitations to the same Chair in the Medical Colleges at Baltimore, and at Worcester, Massachusetts; but which I must needs decline because of my law business at home.  I was also written to by Professor Armour, when holding the same Chair in the Michigan University, at Ann Arbor, requesting my Lectures for his use in the Institutution.  I was obliged to reply, that, as my lectures had never been written, but delivered from mere skeleton notes, I could not comply.

During the memorable political campaign of 1840, while yet a student-at-law, through the urgings of Hon. Columbus Delano, a distinguished lawyer, afterwards Member of Congress, and a member of President Grant's Cabinet, I had appeared with him "on the stump" in Knox and the neighboring counties; and so became early known to the public and among politicians.  Our county of Richland being strongly democratic, (3,000 majority), and I of the opposite party, I, of course, entertained no aspirations for political promotion; nor did I desire any--my business was just business. I was, however, somewhat active in the political cam-

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paigns.  I was frequently nominated for office by my party,--and always beat my own ticket--once for State's Attorney, and twice for Senator.  I was, however, elected Mayor of Mansfield--and without my knowing it,--during my absence on business in the court of another county,--was informed of it on my return home.  I served one term, and declined reelection.

By selection of the Bar and by appointment I served one court term as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. And during that term there was tried before me as the Judge the memorable murder case for the killing of a man named Hall. Of this case, as exemplifying the extraordinary features of circumstantial evidence in such cases, I have made a full and exact record left among my papers, under the title of "The Story of a Crime."  There is nothing stranger in any work of fiction than were the facts in that very remarkable case as shown in the trial.

The period from 1850 to 1860 was one of continual excitement in political circles throughout the entire country.

The annexation of Texas, the consequent war with Mexico, the repeal [of] the law known as the "Missouri Compromise Act," whereby the extension of negro slavery into northern territory became permissible, which led to the outbreak of civil war in Kansas--then a territory: all these events had profoundly stirred the political elements of the country.  Whig and Democratic were the leading political parties.  The Republican party was yet unborn.

In 1852 Franklin Pierce had been elected President, and with him a democratic majority in Congress.  The South was rallying for the extension of Slavery into the new territories; and the Democrats followed the lead of the South.  The Whigs mainly opposed Slavery extension into free territories; but were greatly divided by factions; some of the older leaders joined with the democrats. This led to the formation of a third party of considerable strength known as the Anti-Slavery "Free Soil Party"; composed mainly of dissatisfied Whigs, with many Democrats of the North, also dissatisfied because of the Slavery extension question.

I was of the Whig party, but allied with that section known as "Anti-Slavery Whigs"--that is, opposed to slavery extension into Free Territory.   In 1853 a Whig Convention for nominating State Officers from Governor, down, was held at Columbus, the State Capitol.  I had been appointed a delegate from our County; but, oweing [sic] to business in the courts of Morrow County, then in session, I did not intend to be at the State Convention.  But a violent rain storm prevented my leaving the railway train to reach the town, some two miles from the station; and I was carried on to Columbus, intending to return to the court by an early morning train. On that day the Convention was to assemble.

At Columbus I found that most of the Delegates had arrived.  During the evening I mingled generally among the Delegates with whom much miscellaneous consultation was going on, as usual.  Knowing that I must be in court the next day, I left the crowd and went to bed at about ten o'clock. About 2 O'clock I was aroused by thunderous poundings and kickings at my room door; and voices calling my name and demanding to be let in.  I asked who was there?--and what they wanted?  They replied that they "had news for me."  Thinking it some rowdy trick of the

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jolly boys some of whose voices I had come to recognize, I said--"No, you don't!" and told them to "be gone with their nonsense, and to go to bed and get sober."  But they persisted; and a voice said--"No, Allen; it's no nonsense. Open the door."

I recognized the voice as that of Gen'l. Gibson, a warm personal friend.  Thereupon I rose, dressed, and opened the door.  A crowd, led by Gen'l. Gibson, rushed in, cheering, and hurrahing; and announced that a preliminary caucus of the Delegates had just nominated me for Lieutenant Governor of Ohio. Still thinking it all a frolicsome joke, I said to them-- "Oh clear out, boys, with your noise and nonsense!" But Gibson replied--"Yes, noise; but no nonsense."

It was a fact.  Of course I was surprised.  I had not even thought of such a thing.  The next day, when the Convention was assembled, they unanimously confirmed my nomination as Lieut. Governor on the State ticket.  And, on being called for, I made a speech before the Convention, accepting their nomination.34  Meanwhile I had telegraphed Judge Stewart to hold my cases open till my return from Columbus.  He did.  Hon. Nelson Barrere, then a member of Congress, was nominated for Governor.  He was of the old school, a "pro-slavery Whig"--so called.  I was well known to be an "Anti-Slavery Whig"--that is, opposed to Slavery extension; then the great political issue.

The Whig party, of which Henry Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen had been the great exponents, with Daniel Webster and John J. Crittenden, had become divided in sentiment, rent by factions, and materially weakened by the withdrawal of large numbers to the "Free Soil party," chiefly on account of the Slavery question, which was becoming acute.  And that party also had a full State ticket in the field.  Of course under such lack of unanimity the success of our ticket was not at all promising.  It was also well known that the "Free Soil" ticket could not succeed.

Knowing this, and my anti-slavery extension sentiments being well known from my many public speeches and writings, Mr. Joseph Medill, the late distinguished editor and proprietor of the Chicago Tribune, but then publishing a "Free Soil" paper at Cleveland, Ohio, came to see me at Mansfield.  We had a long and friendly conference on the political situation and on the leading questions at issue. 

He expressed a hearty concurrence in my views, as harmonizing, substantially, with his own from the "Free Soil" point of view, left me and went home,--saying that he would report my views to his "Free Soil" friends.

Soon afterwards, I received a letter from him; in which he alluded to the subject matter of our previous conference.  He also said, that while the "Free Soilers" knew that they could not elect their ticket, they wanted to defeat Barrere, our nominee for Governor, they did not want to defeat me.  And he then indicated that if I would decline the nomination of the Columbus Convention with Barrere, [that] Samuel Lewis, the "Free Soil" nominee for Governor would withdraw from their ticket, and they would there-upon nominate me for Governor; and by the union of the Anti-Slavery Whigs and the "Free Soilers," I could be elected.  And the result of the election showed that this opinion was correct: for the combined vote of these two parties was largely in the majority over the Democratic opposi-

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tion vote; though the latter was elected by a minority of the whole vote.

To Medill's suggestion, however, I was compelled to reply, that, though in hearty accord with the "Free Soilers" on the question of Slavery extension over soil now free, I had, by my speech before the Columbus Convention, virtually accepted that nomination; and that now to decline it and accept another for a higher position as Governor, would be deemed dishonorable on my part; and I must therefore decline his proposition, even though my election might thereby be assured.

Writing in this confidential way, in the same letter to Medill, of June 6th, 1853, I went further, writing somewhat at large on the general political outlook: saying to him, that, as parties then stood, I had no expectation of the success of our ticket: that the Whig party was evidently in process of disintegration: that its factions and divisions must result in its dissolution, and preclude its continued existence as a political organization. 

But, that, in view of the new national issues thrust forward, a new political organization must of necessity arise that would more successfully harmonize and combine the anti-slavery elements of the Nation:  and said to him, that such new party organization should discard the name of 'Whig'--which was really meaningless--and organize under a new and more appropriate name.  And, as our opponents had monopolized the name of 'Democrat' and 'Democracy', I would suggest that the new political organization should take the appropriate and significant name of "REPUBLICAN."  That was June 6, 1853.

And I think that was the first time the name of "Republican" was ever publicly mentioned as for the great political party that now [bears] and has long borne that title.  Medill published my letter with this announcement of the name; and answered me, warmly commending my views and suggestion as to the party name.  I have his letters now, with copy of my own.  I preserve  them carefully as mementoes of the fact of my being the first to announce that party name, for my family's information, and, as proof of the fact for THEIR use.

The published announcement of that name in Medill's Cleveland paper of that date attracted immediate attention everywhere. It was speedily acted upon by political organizers in various States.

At that election of 1853 our ticket was defeated; but by a very significant vote.  For, while Barrere as head of the ticket was defeated by over 30,000, I was defeated by about 2,700.  On the morning after the election it was supposed, and our opponents conceded, that I was elected; as many "Free Soilers" had come to me.  But the final count defeated me. 

But, though defeated, that vote was a party triumph, and settled the question of a new party organization. It showed the decided trend of public sentiment.   It was the knell of doom to the old, expiring Whig party.  'Young America' had come to the front.  The venerable political 'pro-slavery' "moss-backs" were relegated to the rear.  The Republican Party was there and then born!  At the very next Gubernatorial election in Ohio, (1855) the Official Call was for a "Republican Convention."  At that Convention Salmon P. Chase was nominated for Governor, and was elected on the "Republican" ticket.  And only 5 years later, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected as the first Republican President of the United States!

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Whatever merit there may be in thus for the first time proposing that name for the organization of the Republican party, I think I may fairly claim that honor.  And that I would esteem more highly than to have been elected Lieutenant Governor of Ohio!

I have thus mentioned all this somewhat in detail for the reason that, though relating to my own biography, it in some measure pertains to our general political history.

Shortly after that political campaign in Ohio, I received a letter offering me the Presidency of a College at Cincinnati.  The offer was a surprise to me.  I took it under consideration.  I visited the Institution, and consulted friends; among them, Rollin C. Hurd, then Judge of Common Pleas Court, who had been an intimate friend and class-mate with me at College.

After some reflection as to expediency, he assured me of my fitness for the place, and of its fitness for me, because of my literary tastes. I finally accepted.

I, of course, removed with my family from Mansfield to Cincinnati; and joined the College classes at the fall session of 1854; having been in professional law service 13 years at Mansfield.

At my suggestion and under the earnest sanction of Judge McLean of the Supreme Court of the United States, Chairman of the Board of College Trustees, there was added to the usual scientific branches of tuition, incident to my position as President of the College, the Professorship of "The Institutes of Civil Law"; conducted by lectures before the Senior and Junior classes; having in view instruction in the law of business and general citizenship.

I also volunteered a course of weekly lectures on our "English Classical Literature," before the same college classes.

These lectures soon became popular; so that many persons not of the College, at their own request, became attendants; so that my lecture room was usually crowded by intellectual people, many of them ladies.  I remained in the Presidency 4 years.  When I went there, the College catalogue of the preceding year showed an enrollment of a little less than one hundred; the catalogue of the last year of my Presidency showed an enrollment of over four hundred students.35  I therefore conclude that my administration was successful.

When I accepted the Presidency the salary was admitted to be small.  But I was assured that in a year or two it would be increased.  At the end of 4 years it had not been increased.  And, because of its inadequacy, I felt compelled to resign, in order to make better provision of my family, now consisting of wife and 3 children.  I did so against the remonstrances of the Board of Trustees.

At that time, Lorin Andrews, a warm personal friend and former College-mate of mine, learning of my resignation as above, and he being then the President of Kenyon College, our Alma Mater, came to Cincinnati to see me, and proposed that I join him in the Faculty of Kenyon College in the "Professorship of Law and English Classic Literature."  I liked Andrews, I liked Kenyon, and I particularly liked that Professorship; and told him so.  But the salary attached to the Professorship was but a slight improvement on what I had just resigned.  I was therefore compelled to decline acceptance.

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I then removed from the College into the city, and went again into Law Practice.  In connection therewith [I] held position as Lecturer on Commercial Law in a Commercial College.  This was in the autumn.  The morning after the next spring election for city officers, on perusing the newspaper, I was surprised to find it announced that on the day previous the people of our Ward had elected me as their member of the City School Board.  I had not even been to the election.  I accepted and served; and was unanimously elected to a second term.  The Cincinnati School Board was composed of some of its best and most substantial citizens.

At the organization of the Board at my second term I was made the vice-president.  Hon. Rufus King, another of my College mates at Kenyon, now an eminent lawyer, was the President.

Soon afterwards, Mr. King's health failing, he went to spend the winter in Cuba for recuperation; whereupon I became President of the Board during my second term as member.

Near the close of that term, the management of the City Superintendent proving unsatisfactory, he was removed.  At a meeting of the Board at which I presided, a member proposed to make me City Superintendent.  I declined to accept the nomination.  I was then requested by the Board to hold the matter under advisement for a week until the next meeting of the Board.  To this I, of course, assented.

During the interval I received numerous letters and messages from prominent citizens, among them Judge Bellamy Storer, and others, urging my acceptance.  These influenced me.  At the next meeting I signified my acceptance, provided I could be allowed to retain my position as Lecturer on Commercial Law.  This was readily granted.  Thereupon the Board immediately increased the salary by the addition of $500 to the previous amount, and then unanimously elected me the City Superintendent.36  I served in that office for 3 years, and with general public approval.

Meanwhile the Civil War had broken out.  Many citizens of Cincinnati volunteered at the President's call for troops.  Some of them left families without adequate means of support.  A public meeting was called to take measures for the relief of all such.  A general Committee of citizens was constituted to receive the needed funds, and to care for the needy families of soldiers in the field.  I was appointed on that Committee, and with the others made it our daily business to receive reports and seek out and provide all needful relief for such families; for which the contributors were prompt and abundant.  By this means not a family was left destitute.

Four years before this, in one of his letters to which I have referred, Mr. Joseph Medill had said to me, "I wish to God you were the editor of the Ohio State Journal!"  This had long been the principal central political organ of the State of the Whig party; but its editorial weakness had caused its decline in a marked degree: hence Medill's remark as above quoted.

And, strangely enough, there now came to me a Mr. Hurtt, an experienced newspaper man, and proposed a joint interest with him in the purchase of the "Ohio State Journal," on which he had an option,--he to have charge of the business department; I to have charge of the Editorial department.  After some negotiation the arrangement was concluded.  The paper had become greatly run down.  William Dean Howells, who has since

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gained some notoriety as a writer of novels, had been the editor.  Because of its enfeebled condition under his hands, the concern was not paying expenses.  It was consequently bought at a very low price.  Our aim and hope were to make it profitable by making it better.  And we succeeded.  Under this arrangement I moved my family from Cincinnati to Columbus, the state Capitol.  I at once took editorial charge, dismissing Mr. Howells and his Assistant Editor--determined to do the work myself.37

            The civil war was in progress. The demand for news was incessant.  Our working and reportorial force was reorganized; our army correspondence was increased.  We found ourselves compelled to buy a new press and a new "dress" for the paper--the old ones were absolutely worn out.  For that we had to incur considerable debt.  But we enlarged the paper, cut off various supernumeraries, and lived economically.

I found editorial work congeneal [sic], and worked hard--had no Assistant!  The paper as a business concern revived.  At the end of the first year we had paid its debts; but had no surplus.  At the end of the second year we were out of debt, and about $2,000 ahead, net; at the end of the 3rd year we cleared up $7,000.

I then felt that I had come into what was congeneal [sic] to me and for which I had found myself fitted, as shown by 3 years of success, and against adverse circumstances; and into what I now intended as my life-long pursuit.

A year or so before this, Mr. Hurtt had expressed to me a great desire to enter the army with a commission in the Quarter Master's Department.   I objected, because of the need of him in the business department, to which I could give no special attention.  He pressed the matter again, and offered to furnish a competent substitute in the business office, and would pay him himself out of his own army salary.   Under this arrangement, I assented; as thereby I had no personal interest in his outside army affairs.  I knew him to be a sharp, shrewd business man, and his being a church member and devout, gave me assurance of his capacity to be of service in the army.

He got his Commission and was made a Quarter Master, ranking as Captain.  Months passed on.  His business substitute was diligent and efficient.  I was pushing the editorial work vigorously on, and all was proceeding favorably as to the "Journal."

Finally, there came a newspaper announcement that Captain Hurtt had been arrested for embezzlement or misappropriation of public funds in the Quarter Master's Department, and was ordered for trial by Court Martial.

I could not credit it; only as it might be some mistake, soon to be corrected.  He wrote me, saying "it was all moonshine, and would amount to nothing."   He was duly tried, found guilty, sentenced to be dishonorably dismissed from the army, pay a fine of $500, and suffer one year's imprisonment. 

This was a thunderstroke to me, and to the "Ohio State Journal" All that had been gained was now lost!  I had really built up the "Journal," only to see it fall,--and through no fault of mine!

Hurtt, however, hastened on to Washington; and through some influence there-I know not what nor how--he had the imprisonment remitted, paid his $500 fine, and came home a free man.

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Meanwhile I had endured great anxiety.  I well knew that no public journal could survive under such an incubus of criminal disgrace in one of its proprietors.  And, though entirely outside of any affair of mine, its disastrous effect must react on me and my interest in the "Journal."


Besides, I could not get my own consent to continue in partnership with one so dishonored and disgraced. 


On his return to Columbus, he came immediately to me at my home, with roseate plans for the improvement and enlargement of the "Journal."  I heard them, commended them, and then said--"But it must needs be done without me: our partnership must be considered as dissolved."


He was shocked; sank into a chair as one about to faint, ghastly white.  I really thought the man had not before fully realized the enormity of his own disgrace; had looked upon it merely as temporary annoyance.   Presently, he remonstrated, argued: said it would soon blow over and be forgotten.  I replied--"No: records are imperishable!"


Two days afterwards we settled upon the terms of dissolution: he bought my interest in the 'Journal' on the agreed basis of a four-fold increase of valuation above the cost of purchase.  I took my books and private papers, went home, and never saw the Journal office again.38

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Of course all my cherished business plans and prospects and contemplated life-pursuits were thwarted, overthrown--through no fault of mine.  But, disastrous though it was, I could not remain associated with disgrace and crime.  I never knew an Allen that would!

While thus situated, my law-business interrupted, gone; with no employment in hand, there came one morning, a few days after the partnership dissolution, a book package by mail bearing the stamp of "State Department."  Thinking it "Public Documents," such as were often received, I took it home unopened, and laid it aside, and forgot it.  A few days afterwards, calling it to mind, I hunted it up, opened it, and found therein my appointment as United States Consul at Hong Kong, China, with the "Consuls' Manual of Instructions."  I confess my surprise.  I had not asked for it.  And I may here remark, that, whatever of public positions I may have filled or been nominated for, I never asked or sought for one.

Previous to this one Mr. Lincoln had proffered me three other appointments in the foreign service of the Government,--one at St. Johns, one at Demerara, and one as Minister to Siam; all which preferring my editorial position at home, I had declined to accept. And now had come the 4th one, to China.

I first knew Mr. Lincoln personally in 1859, when he came to speak in Cincinnati; and then but slightly. I had been active for him in convention and "on the stump" in his first Presidential campaign of 1860.  I again greeted him at the Burnett [sic] House, Cincinnati, as did a thousand others, when, in February, 1861, he was en route for Washington City, to be inaugurated as President of the United States.

I did not meet him again till the autumn of 1863, on the occasion of the Public Dedication of the National Cemetery on the battle field at Gettysburgh [sic].  To this Dedication the Governors of all the loyal States had been specially invited.  As I then held no official position, I was not intending to go.  Learning of this, Governor David Tod, of Ohio, invited me to join him as a member of his Staff, pro tempore; to this I assented, as that would give me the privilege of seat on the platform at Gettysburgh.

When there, I was seated near Mr. Lincoln, with whom were seated members of his Cabinet.

The day was beautiful, and the throng of people was immense.  The occasion throughout was marked by appropriate solemnity.  The great battle --one of the greatest known to human history--and the victory for the Union won, on the 3rd and 4th of July preceding!

Hon. Edward Everett, the distinguished scholar and speaker of New England, was the Orator of the Day.  He delivered his Address from manuscript.  We had listened to the polished address of Mr. Everett, before the assembled thousands, for an hour, or more.  But not a stir of sympathetic emotion had been manifested in his audience during its delivery; though listened to in respectful, thoughtful silence.

At its conclusion, the band played a solemn dirge.

Then President Lincoln rose to deliver the Address of Dedication; advanced to the reading desk, put on his steel-rimmed spectacles, took from his vest pocket a thin slip of paper, laid it before him, glanced at it a moment; then, as if not able to see its writing very well, he crumpled it in his hand, returned it to his vest pocket, removed his spectacles, and

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proceeded to deliver that ever-memorable Dedicatory Address that has become a classic in our American literature, and which of itself would render the name of Abraham Lincoln immortal!

He spoke but seven minutes. But, before he had spoken five minutes that whole assembled multitude were sobbing, and sympathetic tears were dimming all eyes.  Lincoln's simple eloquence of heart in speaking of our heroic dead had touched the responsive cords [of] feeling, that Everett's finished oratory had failed to reach.39

After the exercises of the day, and an evening address in one of the city churches by Hon. Charles Anderson, then Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, we had some hours to wait at Hanover Junction for our homeward trains.40

The time was passed in easy conversation, as we gathered in group around Mr. Lincoln, in which Secretary Seward, Simon Cameron, Senator Florence of Pennsylvania, and others joined, telling many amusing and interesting incidents of the war.41  I was seated very near to Mr. Lincoln, who was suffering from a grievous headache from sitting with head bared in the hot sun during the exercises of the day.  Resting his elbow on the arm of his chair, he leaned his head on his hand, listened and smiled at the quaint sayings of those around him, but joined sparingly in their conversation.  The trains came to the Junction at Midnight.  The President and his party departed for Washington, we for the West.

During our return journey to Ohio I happened to occupy a car-seat with Governor Oliver P. Morton, commonly known as "the Great War-Governor of Indiana."   With him I had much conversation relating to a treasonable organization known as "Knights of the Golden Circle," secretly operating in his State in favor of the rebellion; with which Governor Morton had had much to do, and had succeeded in discovering and revealing their plots, and in breaking up their organization.

Knowing that everything pertaining to Mr. Lincoln and his peculiar character and wonderful career has become of general interest to all Americans, I have been prompted to record these circumstances and incidents as from my personal observation relating to him, for the perusal and information of those of my own family who are to come after me.  And for the same purpose I have deemed it proper to proceed to record more minutely the incidents attending my last personal interview with that Great Man, whose public career and tragic fate gave Immortality to the name of Abraham Lincoln!

The year 1864 had come.  In November of that year Mr. Lincoln had, the second time, been elected to the Presidency.  The civil war was still in progress.  General Grant was now at the head of the Union armies.  The rebel Government was still at Richmond.  But the general military condition was such that the country began to see the beginning of the end of the Rebellion.

The year had passed on into winter.  My appointment to Hong Kong had just come to hand.  I had to consider its acceptance.  The position was one that of all others I would particularly desire; first, because of its importance as being one of the five great Consulates of the United States; and, second--particularly because of my desire to visit and have personal knowledge of that wonderful Empire and of its very peculiar people, the seat

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of the world's oldest civilization, and whose history led us back to the infancy of the human race. And, although the oldest of Earth's Empires, it was a country and a race of which we had read and heard so much, and really knew so little, that I had long desired to know more; but had never dreamed of ever seeing it.

In consequence of my recent withdrawal from the State Journal, I was now unemployed, in perfect health, and could well afford to go.  But, how about my family?--that was the grave question.  I could not take them with me,--the ocean voyage was too great, and health too uncertain.  My eldest son, Theodore, was in the army in the field, then Adjutant of the 7th Ohio Cavalry.  My younger son, Arthur, was yet at school.  My only daughter, Caradora, was just entering her school-girl days; her education must not be interrupted by years of absence in China.  After full consideration of the subject and full discussion of the situation with my thoughtful and clear-minded wife, I concluded that I could not accept, and told her so.

But, as all the previous appointments had been declined by letter, it was now considered my proper duty to go to Washington, present my thanks in person to the President, explain to him the circumstances, and decline acceptance.  With that purpose in view I went to Washington.

Before going, however, the dear wife had said to me, that she had long known my interest in China by much reading, etc; that now the opportunity was presented me to go there, though the separation would be regrettable, she could wish for my sake that I might go: Said, she would look after our daughter's education, and that Theodore would soon be home from the army; and that she would carefully manage affairs so that I might go, if I so could decide.  But I replied, that I thought I had better not accept.

The day after my arrival at Washington I went to the White House to see the President.  I was met in the anteroom by Mr. John Hay, then the President's private secretary, afterwards Minister to England, and now in the Cabinet as Secretary of State.  I had some acquaintance with him by previous visits to Washington.  Mr. Hay took my card, requested me to be seated in the anteroom a few minutes, as the President was just then in conference with some foreign diplomat.  We sat and chatted for half-an-hour.  The door of the President's room opened, and there came forth a personage bearing a plumed hat, gorgeously epauletted, his dress blazing with gold lace.  I fancied that my plain civilian appearance would cut but small figure after such splendor!

Mr. Hay then entered with my card, in a moment returned and said the President would now receive me.  I went forward.  Mr. Lincoln received me standing near the door, greeted me cordially, gave me a hearty hand-shake, and almost led me forward towards the open wood-fire burning in an open fire-place, and pointing me to a seat at one corner of a long, green-cloth covered table, on which was piled what seemed a bushel of letters, and  seated himself at another corner.

Our conversation was at first of a general nature, then some matters about the war, and so on.  I then tendered some congratulations on his recent re-election to the Presidency, and spoke of the concurring sentiment of the country in general, and of Ohio in particular.  To this he remarked, that recently he had had some trouble with certain of our Ohio people, especially with a Mr. Valandigham [sic] who had been arrested under

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military warrant for treasonable utterances in a public speech, "and had been sent down among his friends beyond our Union Army lines."

To this I expressed the assurance that the sentiment of all loyal Ohio people was heartily with him in that matter of Valandigham.  He smiled, and said it was always gratifying to find the people sustaining him in those trying times, and hoped they would continue to do so until our troubles would be over, and peace restored.

This opened the way to speak of my purpose in calling: and I said, "Mr. President, speaking of Mr. Valandigham's exile reminds me that I too have received your orders sending me abroad, and I am curious to know what I have done that you would send me out of the country."

The suggested idea evidently pleased him.  A mirthful sparkle came into his eye, a genial smile lighted up his rugged features, and turning full to me, with long finger uplifted as in admonition, and speaking in tones of mock solemnity, he said--"I want you, sir--like Mr. Valandigham,--to leave your country for your country's good!" I felt myself very aptly answered, I laughed.  So did he.

Then, speaking gravely, I said--"Yes, Mr. President, I duly received the papers covering your appointment of me to the Consulate at Hong Kong; and I have come to express to you my most hearty thanks for previous favors of like kind shown me, and particularly for this last appointment tendered me; and to beg your permission to decline it.".

He glanced at me an instant, then put his hand quickly up covering his ear, and said--"I don't hear that: It is so unusual for anybody to decline anything that I can't hear that."

I then expressed to him the great satisfaction that such an official residence in China would afford me, because of my desire to know something about that great Empire that books could not teach us; and briefly explained to him the circumstances that hindered my acceptance.

He then said:--"Now, let us talk together in a neighborly way.  I am not Mr. President--I am Mr. Lincoln.  We want some competent, judicious man to go to Hong Kong.  Something seems to be wrong there.  I am informed at the Treasury Department that from some cause our Chinese trade at Hong Kong is in a demoralized--I may say, in a disorganized--condition.  But, from what cause, I am not informed.  And it is the policy and purpose of the Government as now administered, (he always used this phrase when speaking of himself in that relation)--to promote by all proper means in our power the growth of our Chinese trade,--nearly one-third of all the earth's population live over there.  And Hong Kong, though not exactly Chinese territory now, is, nevertheless, one of the most important commercial ports in connection with the Chinese and Asiatic trade.  We are in some trouble just now, you know, with our home affairs.  But we are satisfied that the war cannot last much longer.  It will soon be over. Grant has got Lee by the throat down there at Richmond, and it is only a question of time how long he can struggle.  And it can't be a very long time.  Should Grant succeed, as we believe he will, in capturing or dispersing Lee's army, the end must come.  For, as the Government is now advised, the rebel authorities cannot put another army in the field; and the rebellion must consequently perish from exhaustion--and the war is over.

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When that is accomplished, we shall have a very large army of men to disband."  Then I remarked--"Yes, Mr. President, and, as you know, our British cousins and critics have said that when we come to disband that immense army, the day of our greatest peril will come."

At this remark, Mr. Lincoln looked up from his thoughtful mood, smiled incredulously, and was silent for a moment; then proceeded, saying--"Yes, I know: and what they say might be true of European armies; but ours is not an army of mercenaries.  Our soldiers are our own people, our citizens, our neighbors.  They volunteered to go and attend to that little job down South, and when it is finished they will volunteer to quit and go home."

I could but smile at Mr. Lincoln's quaint but impressive way of putting it.  He had been speaking in a quiet, gentle tone, as if only communing with his own thoughts; and now continued in tone of monologue,--"When the war is over and our soldiers are mustered out, thousands of them will want employment.  Many of them left good situations of business employments; those places are, in many instances, now filled by others; and other places may not readily be found.  It is therefore the policy of the Government as now administered to provide, so far as may be possible, full employment for such of our soldiers as may need it or desire it.  To that end, as well as for other ends, it is the purpose of the Government as now administered to prosecute with all possible dispatch the building of the Pacific railroad to completion.  This will afford employment to thousands of men.  Moreover, the completion of that highway across the continent will be urged in order to facilitate and expedite communication with our growing States on the Pacific Slope.  For, possibly, at some future time we may have another war with somebody, and we would greatly need such a line of transit.  Besides all that, it is important that we unite the extremes of the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific by closer ties of commercial interests and facilities for social intercourse, thereby binding the Pacific Slope indissolubly to the Union."

Again, I remarked,--"Yes, Mr. President;--I well remember that, at the outbreak of the war, there was great anxiety in the public mind as to what course the Pacific Slope would take touching secession."

Mr. Lincoln looked up full at me, hesitated a moment, then said,-- speaking emphatically, almost solemnly--"Yes; secret machinations had been set on foot there; and it will never be known until the secret archives of the Government are read how near we came to losing the Pacific Slope!"

Of course I knew not to what he particularly referred. He said no more.

Then, resuming his tone of monologue and looking steadily towards the fire, he continued:--"Of course, in the convulsive upheaval of all the elements of popular and national excitement and anxieties that must always attend civil wars, the deepest energies of the whole nation are aroused, and are, for the time being, devoted to the demands of the war.  And among our American people such unusual energies, once aroused, cannot be at once repressed.  They will naturally, and of necessity, be directed to and manifested in the affairs of private life.  From this will proceed business activities and enterprises of an unusually energetic character.  So that, when this war is actually ended

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and peace restored and our people have resumed their commercial and industrial pursuits, there will be a period of production and prosperity unexampled heretofore.  And, it will be the policy of the Government as now administered to promote that peaceful solution of our PRESENT troubles by all suitable means; and will aim thereby to bring the people of all the several sections into friendly business relations and harmonious cooperation; thus strengthening the bonds of union through a community of industrial and commercial interests.  To this end, the opening of an all-rail highway across the continent, uniting the Pacific Slope and looking out upon Asia, will be an important factor.  For we are determined, (looking now fully at me and speaking emphatically), as the Government is now administered to make a strong strike to bring a large proportion of the trade of Asia across this continent,"--bringing his big bony fist down solidly on the table.

Then, continuing, he said--"Now, as I have said, there seems to be some trouble with our Chinese business; and knowing that you are a good organizer, I want you to go to Hong Kong, one of the focal centres of Oriental commerce, and there re-organize our Chinese trade.  I don't know what is to be done, nor how; because I don't know what is the matter.  That will be for you to find out; and, then, for you to devise the remedy.  I may say, for your information, that you will have no one over you.

I can only commission you as Consul; but, owing to the necessities of the case at Hong Kong, you will be charged with the duties of Minister Resident as to that jurisdiction.  And I am sorry that I cannot give you either the honor or the emoluments of that office; as we cannot well appoint more than one Minister to the same Government (smiling). And your Minister will be at London, distant half around the globe.  You will, however, as due to your position, correspond direct with the State Department."

He ceased speaking. Then I remarked:--"I thank you sincerely, Mr. President, for the information so kindly tendered.  And allow me to say, Mr. President, that your full presentation of the matter places it before me in a new aspect."

"I thought it would," he replied. "I asked Governor Seward, (Secretary of State), the other day, if you had come to see him yet; and told him that, when you came, I wanted to talk with you.  And I will say further, that I would consider your acceptance a favor.  Now, go to Governor Seward.  Tell him you have seen me, and what has been said.  He will be able to give you more information than I can.  Then come to see me again."

Thanking him for according to me the honor of this interview and for kind attentions, I rose to go, saying--"I fear, Mr. President, that I have consumed more of your time than I should have done; for I perceive (glancing at the pile of letters on his table) you have no small amount of work before you."

He also looked at the pile, and with a kind of tired smile, replied,--"Yes, that is a little foreign mail brought in this morning that I suppose will have to be attended to."  Then, bidding me 'good morning,' I left him.

The interesting nature of this conversation, as well as Mr. Lincoln's impressiveness of manner, made such a deep impression on my mind that it has remained so vividly before my recollection that I am able to give it

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accurately, and much of it exactly in his own words.  And what he then said as in some measure prospective and prophetic has become actual and historic in subsequent events.

From Mr. Lincoln I went directly to the State Department, saw Governor Seward, told him what had passed, received from him further information.  He summoned to him the Chief Clerk of the Consular Bureau, introduced us, and directed him to show me all records of the Hong Kong Consulate.  I spent two days at this.  On the second day I happened to be seated at dinner in the hotel next to a venreable [sic] looking gentleman, who, during the meal turned to me--"This is Mr. Allen, I am informed."  I said, "Yes, Sir."  "You are newly appointed Consul at Hong Kong, as I see by the papers," he remarked.  I replied affirmatively; but that I had not accepted as yet.

Then, giving me his name, he said--"I am a retired sea-captain; have made many voyages to China; know Hong Kong well.  You would find it a comfortable and interesting place.  And if you have inclination for the Foreign Service, I would advise you to accept."

Further conversation followed about China in general and Hong Kong in particular.  This kind of information as to details, very kindly and intelligently communicated from one so accidentally thrown in my way, had much influence with me; and that night, before going to sleep, I had concluded to accept.

The next morning I called on Governor Seward and told him of my acceptance.42  He expressed satisfaction, and inquired--"How soon can you go?  The situation at Hong Kong is such as to require your presence there with all reasonable despatch."  I replied that my preparations would be immediate.  He commended this, and said--"You will now receive your passport, and your salary will begin at once.  Your Commission will be issued on confirmation."

I had previously written to [John] Sherman, then Senator, to defer confirmation of my nomination while under advisement as to acceptance.  I now went to the Senate Chamber.  The Senate was in executive session, doors closed.  I penciled a note to Sherman on my card, and sent it in by the Sergeant-at-arms.  Sherman came out into the lobby.  I told him briefly of my acceptance, and requested action on my confirmation.  He returned to the Senate; and in 30 minutes my appointment was unanimously confirmed.

The next day I called on Gov. Seward, received my Commission and passport.43  But my Commission must needs be sent to the U. S. Minister in London, to be presented to the British Prime Minister to be countersigned as his exequator [sic]--thence to be forwarded to me at Hong Kong.  Bidding Gov. Seward 'good bye,' I went over to the White House to see Mr. Lincoln, as he had directed me to do.

I was received by the President almost immediately, and informed him of my acceptance as he still held my hand in greeting; and he smiled and said "good!"  "And how soon can you go?  Some one is needed there."  I replied--"Well, Mr. President, I must go home to Ohio, pack a carpet-bag, kiss the wife and baby, then I'm off!"  "Good again!" he said, and shook both my hands, smiling.

Then he added--"The only instructions I have to give are, that you proceed to San Francisco, call on the Collector at that Port, gain all the

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information you can at the Custom House bearing on the Chinese trade; then proceed to your Consulate, and in due time institute such measures as may be found necessary to remedy the difficulties existing in our Chinese trade."

He then expressed his best wishes for my health and successful mission, gave me a hearty hand-shake in farewell, said--"Good bye! and God bless you!"--and we parted.  I never saw Abraham Lincoln again!  Not long afterwards, and before my departure, the Great and Good President had suffered martyrdom:-- from the mortal, had put on Immortality!

While yet at home, preparing for that long voyage to the opposite side of the world, President Lincoln's remains, on the way from Washington to Springfield, Illinois, for burial, arrived at Columbus, Ohio, and lay in State in the Rotunda of the Capitol there; and were viewed by thousands of mourning citizens.  By resolution of the Ohio Legislature, then in session, I was invited to deliver the funeral eulogium.  The day fixed for this was on a Thursday; I had arranged for my voyage, and must need be in New York on the following Saturday to meet the steamship to sail on Monday.  The time was too short to allow of delay.  I was, therefore, compelled to decline the honor of that solemn service, that last sad leave-taking of all that was mortal of--ABRAHAM LINCOLN!--whose hand, now cold in death, had but recently signed my Commission as representative to China:--the last Commission, I believe, that that hand ever signed for the Foreign Service.

That mournful event, with the sorrowful leave-taking with my family, made my journey to New York a sad one.  My son Arthur I took with me in view of conducting his further education under my own care.  My elder son, Theodore, was still in the army.  My only daughter, Caradora, remained with her mother, with arrangements and injunctions to have her education thoroughly pursued.

The Pacific Mail Steamship Co:--had tendered a free passage for myself and son by their line from New York to San Francisco by the way of Panama across the Isthmus.  We arrived at San Francisco without incident of any moment: a voyage of full 5,500 miles; and only the beginning of my journey!

There, I immediately applied myself to the matter of consulting with the Custom House officials on the subject of the Chinese trade with that port and Hong Kong.  I spent a week in that behalf.

I then began looking about for a suitable ship in which to make my voyage across the Pacific ocean. Consulting the shipping lists, I found an American clipper-ship up for China.  I examined her accommodations, and engaged passage to Hong Kong, to sail in about a week.  Before the day for sailing came, information was received of the destruction of our whaling fleet--thirteen vessels--in the Northern Pacific, by the rebel cruiser, "Shenandoah," a Captain Watson commanding!

Alarmed by this, my ship, and others bound for China, was at once withdrawn from the voyage; and none other would venture.  So I was delayed nearly two months, from early May, before a vessel could be found for my voyage.

During this forced delay I rambled much through California, and saw many places and things of interest in that interesting country.

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Finally a vessel was found, up for Hong Kong, owned by Mr. John Purrott, of San Francisco.  He made it very comfortable for me, and I took passage on her in July.

Our voyage lay by Hawaii, then through the Ladrones, a Spanish group of Islands, of which Guam is the Capital; the next sight of land was the great island of Formosa; thence through the Bashee Channel between Formosa and the Philippines, (since become American territory), into what is known as "the China Sea."

Here we encountered a terrible typhoon, one of those fearful storms frequent in the China Sea.  With that exception, my voyage across the Pacific was uneventful, and not unpleasant.  It was slow and tedious because of our running into the region of calms; and the Pacific Ocean is vast!

One cannot conceive of its immensity until he has sailed across it—day after day, week after week, and still the waste of waters seems boundless!  We had on board as fellow passenger, a young Spanish gentleman, bound for Manila.  We industriously utilized our time on board by my studying Spanish under him, and he English under me,--taking our daily lessons mutually.

We did not reach China till the first of October--nearly three months from San Francisco--about 80 days!44  No trans-Pacific steamship then!  Arrived at Hong Kong, I learned that the Consul in charge who had preceded me, being in ill health, had gone to Japan for recovery; and had died there about 6 weeks before my arrival.

I found the Consulate nominally in charge of a former clerk, merely holding-on awaiting my arrival.45  I arrived on a Saturday; rested from my long voyage on Sunday, and on Monday morning I took charge, and he took leave.

I was consequently quite alone--"a stranger and in a strange land"--no one to induct me in the routine of Consular service; no one to make me known to any other one.  I found there my Commission and the English Minister's exequator, forwarded from London, and had arrived there before me.  I called with these official credentials on the Governor, and was duly recognized in my official capacity.

Then I set to work. I examined the records of the Consulate; and soon picked up the methods used in discharge of the duties.  I at once commenced studying the situation as to the troubles to which Mr. Lincoln had referred, and which I had his instructions to remedy.  But I would make no radical changes at once.  I must find out what was right before I went ahead.  I studied the situation for 3 months.  By that time I had discovered the cause of the troubles, and had planned the remedy.  And on the first of January after my arrival I put the machinery of my reform system in operation, with explicit directions to my clerks and official Chinese Interpreter as to modes of procedure.

As I had anticipated, it met at first with some outcry and remonstrances from merchant shippers, particularly because it gave them and their clerks so much more work.  I persisted; and explained to them how it would accrue to their benefit, by obviating custom-house seizures and confiscations of cargo because of irregularities in violation of our revenue laws.  The outcry soon ceased, as the parties found themselves obliged to conform; and I had no more trouble.

By the first ship sailing with cargo to an American port under my

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revised system, I notified our Government of what I had done, and why I had done it; and notified Customs Collectors also.

Many months must pass before I could receive any word from Washington, on the other side of the globe; and I waited with some anxiety.  Finally, I received an official dispatch from Secretary Seward of the State Department, by the European mail, informing me that " at the request of the Collector of Customs at San Francisco to the Treasury Department, the Treasury Department had requested the State Department to present the thanks of the Treasury Department to Consul Allen at Hong Kong for his complete organization of the Chinese trade."

Such was the "red-tape formula" for communicating that simple circumstance!  Of course, I was not a little gratified; and my anxiety was relieved.  Moreover, the rich Chinese merchants, who had at first remonstrated, now finding their cargoes all pass our Custom Houses without loss or friction, became my enthusiastic friends and admirers.  So much so, indeed, that years after, when it was announced that I would return home the following month, many came to me anxiously inquiring if I was to come back to them after a visit home.  And on learning that I was not to return, and fearing that it was because my salary was not satisfactory, a Committee of 3 wealthy Chinese merchants came, inquired the amount of my salary, and then said the Chinese merchants would double that salary and pay it themselves, if I would come back to them.  And on being told that it could not be, they had afterwards prepared and presented to me a "Memorial Tablet," in Chinese, written in golden letters, on a large crimson satin body with elaborate bordering--a very beautiful thing--and expressing, handsomely, sentiments of most sincere friendship and respect. I have it now, and prize it highly.

And I may say here, that during all the years of my Consular service, I never had anything but words of approval and commendation from our Government at home.

While there I traveled much in China.  I aimed to study for myself, the political system of that ancient Empire, its civil institutions, its economic conditions, its educational methods, its industrial pursuits, its religious beliefs, and particularly the philosophy and foundation of its very peculiar language, oral and written.  To this end, I went everywhere among  the people that interest or curiosity might prompt,--to their farms, their factories, their schools, their temples, their markets, their commercial houses, their banks, and even to their theatres.  And I take occasion to say, that in all my goings among them in cities and towns, multitudes of people everywhere, mostly of those who came to look upon me as a strange curiosity that wore boots and a beard, I never received an uncivil word nor the least semblance of incivility.

In this manner I came to learn much that our books on China do not teach, and much that the writers either did not know, or misunderstood.  In fact, after a residence of a year or two in China, I found that I had not only much to learn, but also much to unlearn of what books had taught, erroneously; or which they had misrepresented, ignorantly.  Certainly, there be many things of the Chinese that we would condemn, there are also many things of them and their ways that we would

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commend,--their industry, their economy, their mechanical ingenuity and products, their love of their children, their reverence for age and parentage.  And of all the tens of thousands of Chinese whom I have seen, I never saw a drunken Chinaman!

Their educational system is not unlike our own, in its organization of graded schools--from the District School on up to the National University.

And it is rare indeed to find a Chinaman however humble in life who is not educated in the rudimentary branches of reading, writing, and arithmetic.  But, unfortunately, this applies only to boys, and does not reach the girls to the same degree.  Among the Chinese Literati are many men of fine education and of marked ability as scholars and statesmen.

While there, I had our American Declaration of Independence translated into Chinese character on white silk.  It attracted wide attention among Chinese Literati, and many copies were made and taken by them for their private use.  Probably, therefore, I may have served as a kind of

political missionary to the Chinese people; though not at all anticipating it!  I also, with the aid of my official interpreter, Chue Ah-Sine, wrote out a full phonographic copy of the 'Declaration' in our Script form, in order to show as near as may be by our Romanic letters the sounds of the Chinese words as pronounced. A copy of the whole work, in Chinese binding, is now in the Mercantile Library of Cincinnati, to which Institution I sent it from China.  I retain also a copy in Scroll form at the present time.  It is beautiful, regarded simply as a work of Art.

During my Consular Service in China, steamship connection between America and China was organized.  And I deem it not amiss to record that on the First Day of January, 1869, I had the honor of receiving in my official capacity, at Hong Kong, the first vessel that ever crossed the Pacific Ocean by steam:--the Pacific Mail Steamship "Colorado"--one month from San Francisco,--And she bore the Starry Flag of the United States of America!

Well knowing the general propensity of our British cousins to assert claim of priority in every great marine enterprise, I deemed it important to make permanent record of this event.  Accordingly, I prepared, at the time, a full report of the whole matter--the name and ownership of the vessel, the tonnage, her port of registry, the names of the Captain and other officers, the date of her departure, the date of her arrival, amount of coal consumed, etc.--and sent it by a special dispatch to the State Department at Washington, where it remains as a permanent record proof of priority of American Enterprise in Oceanic Steam Navigation.

On my homeward return I went to Japan.46  It was soon after the close of their civil war of revolution as between the Shogun and the Mikado.  I saw there the feudal Damios, some of them still attended by their retainers.  The Shogun claimed imperial power by virtue of his ecclesiastical head of the Japanese religion, a kind of domination as a Pope: the Mikado claimed sovereignty by right of Imperial descent.  The Damios, as feudal chiefs of  the Nobility, were divided as partisans of the different claimants, and made war accordingly.  The cause of the Mikado triumphed.  And from that period on, Japan has made amazing progress in civilization and in their system of government.

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It is a very beautiful country to travel through, in every particular.  Like all Oriental countries, it has its special peculiarities of manners and customs; some pleasant, others otherwise.

Our homeward voyage from Japan to San Francisco, across the Pacific, was now by Steam; and the whole way without seeing land!  Otherwise uneventful.  My son, Arthur, returned with me, now grown from boyhood to young manhood.  We had now crossed the great ocean by steam, and from San Francisco crossed the Great Continent by Steam and by rail.  Mr.Lincoln's prophetic forecast of coming events had now been realized; the Civil War was long past, the country re-united, prosperous, and at peace.  We arrived at home in winterI had not seen frost before for nigh seven years!47  It seemed very chilly!  I had telegraphed to my wife of our arrival at San Francisco.  On reaching home, I found the family in perfect health, and eagerly expecting us.  They laughed at my darkness of complexion: the passing years under a tropical sun had given me a highly fashionable "coat of tan"!

To my surprise, my little schoolgirl daughter had grown into young-womanhood during my absence! It seemed incredible!  But, there she stood, tall, bright, and blooming; there could be no mistake as to her identity!

Theodore was now home from the army.   So, now the whole family was once more united, after separation of years of time, and by the whole diameter of the globe!--Safe from the perils of the battle-field, and from the dangers incident to sea and land.

I presume I am the only one of our Allen family who ever trod soil on the other side of the world.  And even now, when recalling the many years spent there, it all seems more a vision than a reality.  Nevertheless, I found that side of the world, in its physical aspects, not materially unlike this side of our planet.  But, as to the people, their appearance, their domestic conditions, their personal habits and special characteristics, the differences are immense.  At Hong Kong, which is a great commercial centre, I met almost all the Asiatic races.  Besides the Chinese, these were the Japanese, the Hindus, the Parsees, the Siamese, the Malays, the Cingalese, the Tonkinese, the Seihks [sic],--each race or people wearing their native costumes, and observing their own special manners and customs.  It was an immense "object lesson" to one of our Western World.  And I was soon convinced that there were among them all the same human impulses, aims, ambitions, motives, passions, feelings, sentiments, desires, struggles, and anxieties that prevail among us here: in a word,--that mankind everywhere are exceedingly human!

During my career in Ohio I seem to have attained some literary reputation; and by reason thereof I have, by invitation, delivered addresses on their 'Commencement' occasions in nearly all Western Colleges and Universities:--in Ohio, at Kenyon College, Gambier,--my Alma Mater: at Dennison [sic] University, Granville: at University of Lake Erie, Willoughby: at Starling Medical College, Columbus: at Western Reserve College, Hudson: at Wesleyan University (twice), Delaware: at Heidleberg [sic] College, Tiffin: at Xenia University, Yellow Springs: at Ohio Female College, College Hill: at Farmers' College, College Hill, Cincinnati: at DuPau [sic] University, Greencastle, Indiana: at Jefferson College, Washington, Penn-

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sylvania: at the Columbus Academy of Science,--besides Lyceum and platform addresses, very many.

Having come East to reside, in 1889, I received invitation of the Funk & Wagnalls Publication Company, of New York to take position as Special Definer on the staff of the "Standard Dictionary" work, which that House was preparing for publication.  To me was assigned the editorial charge, as specialist, of the Departments of Law & the Medico-physical Sciences.

I continued on that work about four years, until my Departments were completed.  During those 4 years I did not miss a single working day from my desk.  It was a work of great magnitude, and cost the publishers fully one million of dollars; and has turned out to be profitable.  The Dictionary has been accepted and approved as a Standard by the great Universities of both England and America, and has received the sanction of the "National Academy" of France.  I have had the gratification of seeing my Law definitions cited and quoted as authority in the Courts of several States.

Since that period of public service I have lived in retirement, conscious that my career was all behind me.  I am now living at Morristown; and in view of Washington's Head Quarters in the Revolutionary War, where our grandfather, Job Allen II, served in command of his Company in the Jersey Line, 127 years ago.

The new era--the 20th Century--had come to us.  In the first year of that century--1901, I suffered bereavement by the death of both wife and only daughter: Caradora died at Germantown, Philadelphia, on June 15, 1901.  Four months afterwards, her mother died at Morristown, November 19, 1901.  They lie together in the Newark Cemetery!  The daughter had been the idol of my parental love,--a superior woman in all the relations of life.

The mother was the wife of my youth.  For more than 60 years we had traveled in hand; lovers in the last of those years as in the first.  This double bereavement left the world to loneliness and me. And this loneliness must needs continue till to me Time shall be no longer!

Now, my dear Cousin, in concluding these memoranda of our Allen family, does it not seem a singular coincidence of circumstances, that my father lived to be sole survivor of his father's family; I am sole survivor of your father's family! And all probabilities are that Theodore will be sole survivor of my family!

And now to him, Theodore Frelinghuysen Allen, as a member of the Allen family, I may properly add a few words, inasmuch as he too has made his mark in the public service of his country.

He was well educated at the College and University of Cincinnati.  He was an accurate observer and a fine writer.  A Cincinnati Newspaper sent him, at the outbreak of the Civil War, down to the Potomac as a correspondent.  While there, he very accurately took in the situation of affairs.

From there he wrote to me a very sensible letter on the prospects of the war: said it was going to be a long war: that it must [be] fought out by the young men of the country: that he saw no reason why he should not go, though he was then only 17: said, if [I] thought he was fitted for anything more than as a private in the ranks, for me to speak to the Governor about it.

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I hesitated; considered his extreme youth as to a soldier's service in the field.  I reflected; he was in vigorous health, well developed by exercise and athletic culture.  I had accustomed him in his boyhood and college vacations, to hunting, fishing, swimming, and camping out in the woods; and he was expert as a horseman.

Finally, after a day or two, I concluded--'Yes; the boy is right; the younger men of the country must see this business through.'  In his letter he had said that he would prefer the cavalry arm of the service.

With his letter in hand, I went to the Governor, with whom I happened to be on familiar terms.  I said to him--"Governor, I have called on you at various times on behalf of other people; now I have come to ask something for myself."  He replied--"Well, just tell me what you want."  I handed him the letter. He read it; commended it, and said--"Good boy! Now tell me what you want."  I said--"You see he prefers the cavalry arm of the service.  He is well educated, has good business capacity; and would, I think, make you a first rate Adjutant."

"The very thing I want!" said he.  And called out to Colonel Young, his Military Secretary--"Colonel Young, telegraph to Theodore Frelinghuysen Allen, that he is appointed 1st Lieutenant in the 7th Ohio Cavalry, and assigned to duty as Adjutant."

The thing was done in 30 minutes.

Theodore immediately returned, joined his regiment, under Colonel Garrard, a personal friend of mine, and commenced his military service.  In this he succeeded so well that when Garrard was promoted to Brigadier General, he kept Theodore with him as Assistant Adjutant General on his staff--and Theodore then not quite 19.

He continued in active service in the field throughout the war. Was 44 times under fire in as many different engagements and general battles.  He was three times promoted for gallantry and good conduct on the field; and finally, near the close of the war, he was breveted as Colonel of Cavalry in the United States Service,--and he then but little past 21 years of age!48

Fortunately, he came through it all without serious injury, though with many narrow escapes.  He endured fatigue, and sometimes hunger; he marched through storms, and camped out in the snow; but his health remained firm.  On one occasion, an order in Adjutant's business sent him into the city; where at a hotel he slept on a feather bed--and caught cold!

Such, in brief, was his career in the army,--and one to do no discredit to the soldierly name of Allen, from his Great-Grandfather down.  And now, Lizzie dear, having told you about all I know of us Allens, I beg leave to subscribe myself—

Your affectionate cousin:

Isaac Jackson Allen


THE EDITOR: John Y. Simon is executive director and managing editor of the Ulysses S. Grant Association and a member of the department of history at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.


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1. The assistance of Mrs. Alfred Heuston, Forest Hills, New York; Mrs. James G.

Dartt, Brookville, Long Island; and Charles Allen Smart, Chillicothe, Ohio, is grate-

fully acknowledged.  Some years ago the late Mrs. George Smart of Forest Hills made

a typescript of the original manuscript, then in the possession of the late Alfred Heu-

ston.  The manuscript cannot be found now, but it is quite clear that Mrs. Smart made

an excellent transcription.  Copies of the typescript, including the "Note" omitted here,

are now in the Library of Congress, the Ohio Historical Society, and the Ross County

Historical Society in Chillicothe. I am also indebted to E. B. Long of Oak Park, Illinois,

who first told me about Isaac Allen.

2. Published at Hudson, Ohio, 1851.

3. The Columbian (Columbus, Ohio), August 25, September 8, 22, 1853.

4. Ibid., September 22, 1853. Allen's early interest in temperance is also indicated by

a letter to Governor Mordecai Bartley, December 12, 1844, inviting him to a temperance

meeting. The letter was indexed in the W.P.A. Calendar of Governors' Papers in the

Ohio Historical Society, but cannot now be found. Allen's interest in the antislavery

cause is shown by his role as unpaid prosecuting attorney in 1845 in a case involving

three men who had attempted to disrupt an abolitionist meeting. A. A. Graham, History

of Richland County, Ohio (Mansfield, Ohio, 1880), 587.

5. Ohio Statesman (Columbus), September 26, 1853.

6. Ibid., September 29, 1853.

7. Ibid., October 5, 1853. See also issues of October 1, 7, 8, 10.

8. Ohio State Journal (Columbus), October 5, 7, 10, 1853.

9. A. B. Huston, Historical Sketch of Farmers' College (n.p., n.d.), 4, 25, 54-55. See

also Carl M. Becker, "Freeman Cary and Farmers' College: An Ohio Educator and an

Experiment in Nineteenth Century 'Practical' Education," Historical and Philosophical

Society of Ohio, Bulletin, XXI (1963), 151-175; Murat Halstead, "The Story of the

Farmers' College," Cosmopolitan, XXII (1897), 280-288.

10. Huston, Farmers' College, 56; Becker, "Freeman Cary and Farmers' College,"

166. Allen had shown an interest in scientific agriculture in an address at the Licking

County Fair in 1852. Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Fair of the Licking County Agri-

cultural Society (Newark, Ohio, 1852), 4-28.

11. Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Farmers' College, 1855-56

(Cincinnati, 1856), [4].

12. Address of President Isaac J. Allen of the Farmers' College, Delivered September

27th, 1855, During the Exhibition of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society (Cincinnati,

1855), 11-28; I. J. Allen, The American Merchant: An Address at the Opening of

Granger's Commercial College . . . (Columbus, Ohio, 1855); An Oration Delivered at

Urbana, Ohio, July 4, 1856, by Isaac J. Allen, President of Farmers' College, Cincinnati,

Ohio (Urbana, Ohio, n.d.).

13. Huston, Farmers' College, 66-67.

14. Eleutheros Cooke to Jay Cooke, March 25, 1861, quoted in Henrietta M. Larson,

Jay Cooke, Private Banker (Cambridge, Mass., 1936), 103. See Henry D. Cooke to John

Sherman, March 8, 1861; John Sherman to Jay Cooke, October 22, 1861. John Sherman

Papers, Library of Congress.

15. Ohio State Journal, July 4, 1861; testimony of W. H. Foster, business manager

of the Journal, in Letter from the Secretary of War Relative to the Case of Captain

Hurtt, House Executive Documents, 43 cong., 1 sess., No. 255, p. 191. Hereafter cited as

"Hurtt Case."

16. Isaac J. Allen testimony, ibid., 203-204.

17. F. W. Hurtt to Henry D. Cooke, July 20, 1863, ibid., 318-319.

18. Joseph P. Smith, ed., History of the Republican Party in Ohio (Chicago, 1898),

I, 139, 149, 158.

19. Robert S. Harper, Lincoln and the Press (New York, 1951), 276-281.

20. Cincinnati Daily Gazette, March 7, 17, 1874.

21. June 13, 1864, in "Hurtt Case," 264. See also Lincoln to Stanton, June 4, 1864, in

Roy P. Basler and others, eds., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Bruns-

wick, N. J., 1953-55), VII, 375.

Page 271

22. Hurtt to Allen, April 19, 1863, in "Hurtt Case," 321.

23. Allen to Hurtt, April 21, 1863, ibid., 322.

24. Hurtt to Allen, February 23, 1862, March 24, May 29, 1863, ibid., 305, 321-323.

25. Ibid., 195-206. For other material on the Hurtt case see Robert B. Warden, An

Account of the Private Life and Public Services of Salmon Portland Chase (Cincinnati,

1874), 517-523; Ellis P. Oberholtzer, Jay Cooke, Financier of the Civil War (Philadel-

phia, 1907), I, 438; Letter from the Secretary of War, Transmitting . . . Papers and

Testimony in the Case of F. W. Hurtt, House Executive Documents, 45 cong., 2 sess.,

No. 85.

26. F. W. Hurtt to H. D. Cooke, July 20, 1863, in "Hurtt Case," 318; Cincinnati

Daily Gazette, March 17, 1874.

27. Harper, Lincoln and the Press, 280.

28. Ohio Statesman, October 8, 1853.

29. Probably Chauncey W. Fitch. See George Franklin Smythe, Kenyon College: Its

First Century (New Haven, Conn., 1924).

30. The list of Kenyon graduates in William B. Bodine, The Kenyon Book (n.p.,

n.d.), 387-412, does not include Allen. In a letter of July 22, 1964, to the writer, Yates

Forbis of the Kenyon College Library reports that Alien was included on the list of

freshmen in 1833-34 and of sophomores in 1834-35, but is not mentioned after 1835.

31. In his "Note," Allen adds that his trip to New Jersey also involved the collection

of $700 due his father from a fund left to support his grandmother.

32. A letter from Allen to Curtis, February 18, 1841, in the Henry B. Curtis Papers

at the Ohio Historical Society shows that their relationship was pleasantly informal and


33. The University of Lake Erie, incorporated in 1834, was at Willoughby. Warren

Jenkins, The Ohio Gazetteer (Columbus, 1841), 536.

34. According to the Ohio State Journal, February 23, 1853, Allen told the delegates

that "though the Whig party had been wrapped in the cerements of the grave, and laid

away for dead, yet it did not stink, and it would be yet resurrected in a way fearful to


35. Farmers' College had 321 students in 1853-54, and 330 in 1855-56, the span of

Allen's presidency. Huston, Farmers' College, 56, 66.

36. Allen became superintendent in 1859 according to S. B. Nelson and J. M. Runk,

History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio (Cincinnati, 1894), 107.

37. Apparently Howells and his assistant, Samuel Price, would have preferred to re-

main with the Journal. "We found that we did not dislike the new owner, and he liked

us well enough, but he was eager to try his hand at our work." W. D. Howells, Years of

My Youth (New York, 1916), 238-239.

38. The Ohio State Journal of September 21, 1864, is the last to list the owners as

Hurtt, Allen & Co. The Journal of October 5, 1864, announced that the paper had been

sold to the Ohio State Journal Company as of October 1. The court-martial had con-

cluded in March.

39. Allen's account of the Gettysburg ceremonies in the Ohio State Journal, Novem-

ber 23, 1863, contains the same emphasis on the emotion of the audience. Other Ohio

newspaper accounts are analyzed in Earl W. Wiley, "Buckeye Criticism of the Gettys-

burg Address," Speech Monographs, XXIII (1956), 1-8.

40. The meeting addressed by Anderson, of which Allen was elected secretary, is

discussed in Earl W. Wiley, "Colonel Charles Anderson's Gettysburg Address," Lincoln

Herald, LIV, No. 3 (Fall 1952), 14-21.

41. Thomas Birch Florence of Pennsylvania served in the house of representatives

as a Democrat, 1851-61. He later moved to Washington, D. C., where he published the

Constitutional Union and the Sunday Gazette.

42. Allen accepted the appointment in a letter to W. H. Seward, February 21, 1865.

Consular Dispatches, Hong Kong, National Archives.

43. Allen acknowledged receipt of his passport in a letter to F. W. Seward, from

Columbus, Ohio, March 20, 1865. Ibid.

44. The journey is described in Allen to W. H. Seward, October 5, 1865. Ibid.

45. F. D. Williams, vice consul, had died; E. J. Sage was acting vice consul. Ibid.

46. Allen was a political victim of the Grant administration. On October 15, 1869,

Allen reported that he had turned over the consulate to C. N. Goulding. Allen to Hamil-

ton Fish. Ibid.

47. It could not have been more than five years.

48. See also [Theodore Frelinghuysen Allen], "John Morgan Raid in Ohio," Ohio

Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, XVII (1908), 48-59; Theodore F. Allen, "In

Pursuit of John Morgan," Ohio Commandery of the Loyal Legion of the United States,

Sketches of War History, 1861-1865, V (Cincinnati, 1903), 223-242; Theodore F. Allen,

"The 'Underground Railroad' and the 'Grape Vine Telegraph,'" ibid., VI (Cincinnati,

1908), 147-167.

This article transcribed, contributed and copyright by Jerry Gross, March 2005.   All rights reserved.
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