Mr. Bayard to Mr. Olney.
London, January 4, 1895.
Dear Mr. Secretary: Your cipher telegram giving me the purport of the House resolution of inquiry as to the address delivered by me in Edinburgh on November 7 last, and likewise touching a speech made in Boston, in Lincolnshire, came this morning, but as the pouch closes by 2 p.m., I have telegraphed you, in cipher, that I will forward a copy of the newspaper containing the Boston incident by the next mail.
The Boston Grammar School is an ancient foundation of modest proportions, simple, honorable, and respected. It is the antetype of Boston, in Massachusetts, and my function was, in gratification of head master and those interested in the welfare of the school, to deliver the prizes to the graduating students. At some personal inconvenience, and hoping to strengthen the ties of friendly good will between the people of this country and my own, I made the journey to Lincolnshire, returning to London by midnight. The exercises were of a very simple and informal nature, and without a note or prepared words of any kind I made a short prefatory speech, and handed over the prizes to the successful competitors.
In the afternoon we adjourned to a public hall or hotel, where a dinner was served, and, as is customary here, there were toasts and responses, and I responded to the health of the President of the United States, and subsequently to a toast to myself. So far as I was concerned everything was impromptu, and a kindly, humorous, postprandial tone prevailed. It seems a reporter was present, but I did not see him, nor did I know that any report had been made until the local newspaper was sent to me a few days after in London. I sent a copy to Mr. Cleveland, because the report contained a kindly reference to the family home circle of the President, and as I have grandchildren in Boston, Mass., I sent a copy into that household. This was the extent of “publication” in the United States of which I have any knowledge. I must except an elaborate editorial in the Philadelphia Ledger, gravely censuring the constitutional views which the editor supposed to have been expressed by me.
The occurrence was early in last August, and had passed out of my memory until it was made the basis, or one of the bases, of a resolution of impeachment by the United States House of Representatives as a “high crime and misdemeanor” under the Constitution. I can discover no copy of the Boston newspaper in the offices of this embassy, but believe I can find one at my residence, and failing there, I will endeavor to procure a copy in Boston.
I find that in my No. 553, of December 12, I inclosed copies of my address before the Philosophical Institution at Edinburgh, stating the circumstances under which it occurred.[Page 584]
I beg leave to thank you for your prompt information of the nature of the House resolution, in regard to which, as to every other matter, I desire and intend that my position, acts, and opinions should be free from any misconception, and be perfectly transparent to the President, yourself, and my fellow-countrymen.
Believe me, respectfully and sincerely, yours,