ePub 版

inevitably created by his daily consumption of bacon and salt pork. Local distilleries were among the earliest manufacturing enterprises in all pioneer communities. One had been started in New Lisbon soon after the settlement of the town, and its product was sold for only twenty-five cents a gallon. The first attempt to counteract the evils of the large amount of resulting intoxication took the mild form of temperance societies, whose members pledged themselves to confine their drinking to wine and beer.

Sterner methods and measures were, however, needed in order to check the serious evils of gross and general intoxication. In 1847 one of the famous six drunkards of Baltimore, who had been preaching total abstinence all over the country with great success, invaded New Lisbon, and held meetings every night for three weeks. No hall in the town was big enough to contain his audiences. The largest church was crowded, and outside in the street were overflow meetings. They had apparently a profound and lasting effect on the community. The Hannas had always been temperate, but some of them, at least, now became total abstainers. The brewery operated by Levi Hanna was sold, and the two youngest sons of Benjamin were among the charter members of the Total Abstinence Society.

It was, however, Leonard Hanna, Mark Hanna's father, who took the most prominent part of any of the family in the temperance movement of eastern Ohio. He was the only fraction of the forty-two feet who had an inclination towards public speaking or a gift for it. He is described as a fluent and forcible speaker, who possessed preeminently the power of interesting and dominating even an unsympathetic audience. After the visit of the eminent Baltimore drunkard, Dr. Hanna carried on the agitation for many years in the vicinity of New Lisbon. His son, H. Melville Hanna, who was two years younger than Mark, can remember the tenor of a number of his father's temperance addresses. As was natural for a physician, he emphasized rather the physiological than the moral arguments for total abstinence. Habitual whiskey drinkers, he said, were only half as likely to recover from acute ailments; and in the case of severe surgical operations their chances were even smaller.

Leonard Hanna, however, was not merely a lecturer on temperance. He was the only exception in the family to the general abstention from an active interest in politics. The extent of this interest is difficult to establish, but undoubtedly he ranked among the abler and more popular Whig stump speakers in that part of Ohio. He was compared by many to Tom Corwin, who was the leading popular orator among the Whigs. According to the custom of the day, he used to hold joint debates with prominent Democrats, the two verbal contestants travelling together from town to town in the same carriage. His opponent on one occasion was Edwin M. Stanton. On another occasion (according to Kersey Hanna) Dr. Hanna and David Todd held eleven joint discussions in different parts of the Western Reserve — one of them in Cleveland. If this is so, Leonard Hanna must have enjoyed a very considerable reputation as a political orator, for David Todd, afterwards the second of Ohio's war governors, was one of the most conspicuous Democrats in the state and a speaker of recognized ability and force.

Nevertheless Dr. Leonard Hanna was apparently not elected to any public office. His nearest approach to election occurred, according to the statement of his brother Kersey, in 1844, when he ran for Congress as a Whig and cut down the Democratic majority in his district from about 5000 to about 300 votes. A failure of this kind gives a man as much renown as would actual success; and there is every indication that Dr. Hanna stood exceptionally well among his political associates in Ohio. When H. Melville Hanna went to Washington at the beginning of the War to be examined for admission into the navy, he called on Senator Benjamin Wade at his father's request, and was warmly greeted by that rough old anti-slavery warrior. He was glad to do anything he could for Dr. Leonard Hanna's son.

His interest in politics apparently diminished very much towards the end of his life. His son, H. Melville, states that a friend once asked his father, "Why didn't you stay in politics?" "Because," the doctor replied, "I would have to get into the mud," which sounds well, but is hardly sufficient. Doubtless certain aspects of political life were repellent to his Puritan and Quaker training, but probably both his health and his business interests had much to do with his diminishing political activity. Soon after 1847 the family suffered reverses in business, which resulted in its dispersal in 1852. Dr. Hanna was forced to start his business career all over again under novel surroundings; and his new work and its heavier responsibilities could not have left him much leisure for politics.

Nevertheless, it is significant that the only one of Benjamin Hanna's sons who exhibited any active personal interest in politics was Mark Hanna's father; and this interest was apparently merely one expression of a versatile and sympathetic disposition, which was aroused to action by every serious call made upon him by his domestic and social surroundings. In addition to being a business man and a political speaker, he was an energetic temperance reformer, and he always retained a lively interest in his early profession. It was a period in which one man could easily and acceptably play many parts, and in which a man of an essential social and communicative disposition was inevitably driven to play many parts. The better men of that generation tended to spread their personal energy over a very large area.

In the case of Dr. Hanna the business interest was dominant, and the others only subordinate. He was a man who acted from personal rather than impersonal motives, from sympathies and affections rather than from strong purpose. In the absence of any special bent for professional or political life, he merged his own interest with that of the family. By the year 1840 there were not very many men in Ohio, outside of Cincinnati, who were as much like capitalists as Benjamin Hanna and his sons. The careers of the sons were determined by the opportunities which their father was able to offer to them; and in accepting this opportunity Dr. Leonard Hanna was apparently the only one who sacrificed other personal interests of any great importance. He did not travel very far either as a physician, a politician or a business man, but if his efficiency was diminished by his versatility, the same quality served only to increase the attraction of his personality.

H. Melville Hanna tells a story about his father and grandfather which is both touching and amusing, and which may fitly terminate this sketch of Mark Hanna's immediate forbears. After Dr. Leonard Hanna had moved to Cleveland in 1852, he frequently returned to New Lisbon to see Benjamin Hanna, who by that time was a very old and a very sick man. While talking over his ailments with his son, who retained in the family the authority of a physician, Benjamin said, "Dr. Speaker has stopped my smoking, Leonard. What dost thee think about it?" The other answered nothing, but going to the big mahogany sideboard, filled his father's pipe, gave it to him and lighted it. The old man took a few puffs and then said, "I was sure, Leonard, that thee knew more than Dr. Speaker."



In the house of Dr. Leonard Hanna there seems to have been less discipline and more kindliness than was usual in American homes of that period. Discipline there was, for Samantha Converse Hanna had inherited the traditions of domestic New England, and as Dr. Hanna was frequently away from home for days and weeks on end, the mother's authority was dominant and pervasive. She exercised it decisively but with fairness and good judgment. She is described as a woman of positive character, energetic mind and considerable executive ability. Her active life was centred around her home and children, but she was social by instinct, and under less primitive social conditions she would have entertained liberally. As it was, whenever any conspicuous man came to New Lisbon, she always wanted to have him at her table.

Dr. Hanna, on the other hand, was preeminently a kindly and an easy-going man. He did not believe in the practice of flogging, which at that time prevailed in many American homes; and, as we shall see, he was inclined to let his children have their own way. While his wife was bright but not witty, he had an Irishman's love of a good joke. Miss Hattie Converse, a cousin of Samantha Hanna, and for a while a school-teacher in the town, lived with the family; and she and Dr. Hanna were continually exchanging jokes and sharpening their wits at each other's expense.

The Leonard Hanna household was not only unusually genial for its time and place, but it was also unusually refined. The Converses were much more like gentlefolks than were the average pioneer settlers in the Western States. Samantha Hanna had a taste for flowers, ornaments and good furniture, and their house itself was an exceptionally good-looking building for Ohio in 1840. Whenever Leonard Hanna made one

« 上一頁繼續 »