Monday, May 26, 2008

"These great co-workers in the old Whig time are again friends"


I was looking at old New York Times articles concerning Millard Fillmore when I ran across the following brief item. Given the bitter relations between Thurlow Weed and William Seward, on the one hand, and Fillmore on the other, the description of a post-War reconciliation between Fillmore and Weed makes one wonder about could-have-beens. What would have happened if Weed had convinced Seward to see Fillmore as a colleague, rather than a rival?

The article bears a dateline of July 21, 1869. I have added paragraph breaks for readability:
It will afford the friends of both distinguished parties infinite pleasure to learn that the long personal estrangement between Ex-President MILLARD FILLMORE and Mr. THURLOW WEED was brought to a happy close a few days since at Saratoga, by a meeting of reconciliation so magnanimous in its feeling incidents, so creditable and characteristic on both sides, that we trust we violate no private confidence in stating the fact.

They were their own voluntary mediators. Mr. FILLMORE made the first advance by intimating to Miss WEED, on the occasion of an accidental meeting at the dinner table of the hotel, that if he were sure it were agreeable to her father he would call upon him at his rooms. On hearing this Mr. WEED immediately sought the rooms of Mr. FILLMORE, where, without scarcely a momentary reference to by-gones, personal or political, the most hearty good neighborhood and kindly understanding were restored.

So these great co-workers in the old Whig time -- both grown gray in the public service -- are again friends after an estrangement of nearly a score of years.

2 comments:

  1. seannalty12:28 PM

    Perhaps the pro-Johnson (conservative) orientation of Seward and Weed helped matters a bit! Fillmore had been critical of the Reconstruction Acts and had supported McClellan in 1864. Seward and Weed, if I recall correctly, warmly endorsed the "arm-in-arm" National Union Convention at Philadelphia (August 1866) along with Henry Raymond of the Times.

    I don't know if you have already read this book, but Michael Les Benedict's "A Compromise of Principle" focuses much on the Seward/Weed/Raymond v. Greeley rivalry after the Civil War.

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  2. Sean,

    You are obviously much more up on post-War matters than I. What you say is news to me (except for some of the Fillmore part), as is the book, which is going on the list. Thanks so much.

    e

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