Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Senator Redfield Proctor of Vermont to Commodore George Dewey

United States Senate,

WASHINGTON, D.C.

 

Proctor, Vt., Oct. 16, 1897

Dear Commodore:

          I am delighted to hear that the matter is settled. I intended to drop you a note about my interview with the President1 merely to say that it was every way as satisfactory and more positive than that with the Secretary.2 I said to him that he could do me a great personal favor, and at the same time do the right and best thing for the service, and stated the case very briefly. He made a memorandum note in my presence to show the Secretary, and am sure he did so at the first opportunity, but I have no doubt the Secretary of himself would have reached the same result. I congratulate you, and hope I may have an opportunity to see you at your station.

Very truly yours,      

Redfield Proctor

Source Note: ALS, DLC-MSS, PGD. Addressed below close: “Commodore George Dewey,/Metropolitain Club, Washington.” Written on “United States Senate/WASHINGTON, D.C.” stationary.

Footnote 1: President William McKinley.

Footnote 2: The “Secretary” referred to is Secretary of the Navy John D. Long. Long found office-seekers to be an incredible annoyance. Ironically it was Long’s own Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, who convinced Dewey to ask Proctor to campaign in Dewey’s favor. Roosevelt preferred Dewey for the post over Commo. John A. Howell.  This politicking gained Dewey the position, but earned him the ire of Long and Commo. ArentS. Crowninshield, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation. Dewey claimed that because of his ascension by political influence Long denied him the rank of Acting Rear-Admiral when he received command of the Asiatic Station. When Dewey protested, Long informed him, “You are in error, commodore. . . no influence has been brought to bear on behalf of anyone else.” Hours later Roosevelt handed over a letter from Sen. William Eaton Chandler that he had intercepted that advocated for Howell. Long wrote Dewey an apology, but Dewey remained a commodore until after the Battle of Manila Bay. See: Roosevelt to Chandler, 27 September 1897, Elting E. Morrison, ed., The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951), 691; Roosevelt to Chandler, 29 September 1897; and Dewey, Autobiography, 167-169.

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