Too much politics in our food threatened to demoralise our large cities. The same thing had happened in London, in 1868. We survived it, kept on preaching against it, and giving money to prosecute the guilty. It was an age of pursuit; ministers pursuing ministers, lawyers pursuing lawyers, doctors, merchants, even Arctic explorers pursuing one another, the North Pole a jealous centre of interest. Everything is frozen in the Arctic region save the jealousies of the Arctic explorers. Even the North Pole men were like others. This we discovered in 1884, when, in Washington, the post-mortem trial of DeLong and his men was in progress. There was nothing to be gained by the controversy. There were no laurels to be awarded by this investigation, because the men whose fame was most involved were dead. It was a quarrel, and the “Jeannette” was the graveyard in which it took place. It was disgraceful.
Jealousy is the rage of a man, also of a woman.
It was evident, in the progress of this one-sided trial, that our legislature needed to have their corridors, their stairways, and their rooms cleaned of lobbyists.
At the State Capital in Albany, one bright spring morning in the same year, the legislature rose and shook itself, and the Sergeant-at-Arms was instructed to drive the squad of lobbyists out of the building. He did it so well that he scarcely gave them time to get their canes or their hats. Some of the lowest men in New York and Brooklyn were among them. That was a spring cleaning worth while. But it was only a little corner of the political arena that was unclean.
I remember how eagerly, when I went to Canada in April, the reporters kept asking me who would be the next President. It would have been such an easy thing to answer if I had only known who the man was. In this dilemma I suggested some of our best presidential timber in Brooklyn as suitable candidates. These were General Slocum, General Woodford, General Tracey, Mayor Low, Judge Pratt, Judge Tierney, Mr. Stranahan, and Judge Neilson. Some of these men had been seriously mentioned for the office. Honourable mention was all they got, however. They were too unpretentious for the role. It was the beginning of a mud-slinging campaign. New York versus New York—Brooklyn versus Brooklyn.