PRINCETON, N.J., June 24, 1908 (UP) - Ex-President Grover Cleveland died here at 8:40 a.m. Wednesday.
He had been ill for years from a stomach trouble and from organic disease of the heart and kidneys.
He had been growing worse since last winter. But until Tuesday midnight his physicians hoped for his recovery.
Heart failure with complications is given as the immediate cause of death.
Late last winter Cleveland was removed from Princeton to Lakewood. There he became so much worse he could not leave when the hotel's winter season closed.
At the time of his rally two weeks ago, he was returned to Princeton. There was little change in his condition until Monday of this week.
Then came a sudden turn for the worse. He rallied Tuesday midnight, and close on this came the sinking spell that ended in his death.
Only Mrs. Cleveland, the doctors and nurses were at the bedside. The Cleveland children were at the summer home at Tamworth, N.H., in care of their grandmother, Mrs. Perrine.
Cleveland spent most of his time at Princeton after he finished his second term as president. During the past few years he wrote a good deal for magazines. Three years ago this month he was elected trustee of the Equitable Insurance Co., following the insurance investigations, and in January 1907 was made chairman of the Association of Life Insurance Presidents. He was also member of the executive committee of the civic federation.
"He was a great man and a great president. He leaves this life with the love and high respect of his countrymen."
This was the statement Wednesday of Wm. H. Taft.
An extreme independence was one of Cleveland's dominating characteristics. He did many things as president that were generally unpopular. He was blamed for the panic of '93 and for sending federal troops against Pullman strikers in Chicago.
The independence that made him unpopular at times was what brought him his first nomination. He was always credited with courage and honesty.
Cleveland was born in 1837. His father was a Presbyterian minister. Cleveland's first employment was as clerk in a village store in Fayetteville, N.Y. He was there two years.
He was 15 years old when his father died. He went to New York then and for a year was bookkeeper and assistant teacher in an institute for the blind.
He wanted to become a lawyer and planned to go to Cleveland. All he could spare of his small earnings had gone to his mother, but a man who had been deacon in his father's church lent him $50.
Cleveland set out for Ohio by way of the Erie canal. He stopped to visit an uncle in Buffalo and decided to remain there. The uncle got him a place in the office of a prominent law firm.
The salary was $4 a week.
Three years later he was appointed assistant district attorney. He ran for district attorney and was defeated.
He kept in politics. In 1866 he was chairman of the Democratic county committee. In 1870 he was elected sheriff.
Then he became mayor of Buffalo. He was the one Democrat on the ticket who won. This and his record as "the veto mayor" made him a national figure.
The next year he was elected governor. Two years later, in 1884, he was nominated for president against Blaine and won by a slender plurality in New York state.
He had been a veto governor. Now he became a veto president. He vetoed a general pension bill and antagonized G.A.R. veterans by proposing the return of confederate flags captured in the civil war.
His action in casting out Republican officeholders gave him new unpopularity. The number put out in three years exceeded 43,000.
June 2, 1886, he married Frances Folsom at the white house. He ran again for president, was defeated, and opened a law office in New York.
In 1892 he was again nominated for the presidency. He ran against Harrison and won.
In his second term he added to his number of enemies by many acts. He left the white house in 1896 and time softened the enmity of those who were arrayed against him.
Cleveland was a sportsman and published several books on fishing. While president he shot ducks in Chesapeake bay and later, as a recreation, devoted himself to fishing. A few years ago he was at Bass island for several days sport.
Two of Cleveland's most intimate friends were Jos. Jefferson, the actor, and E.C. Benedict, financier and yachtsman.
He was a trustee of Princeton and occasionally addressed the students there.
Cleveland was the author of the epigram "Public Office is a Public Trust" and another equally famous, "Public Officers are Servants of the People."
In his letter accepting trusteeship in the Equitable Life Assurance society he wrote:
"We can better afford to slacken our pace than to abandon our old, simple American standards of honesty, and so shall be safer if we regain our old habit of looking at the appropriation to personal uses of property and interests held in trust in the same light as other forms of stealing."
The most important of Cleveland's messages to congress was his "tariff for revenue only" message in 1887. It had the effect of making, for the time, the tariff the dominating political question.
A story, characteristic of Cleveland, is about this message.
It is related that Cleveland was in New York at the Victoria hotel after he had written his tariff message and before he had sent it to congress. He sent for several prominent Democrats to come to his hotel.
When they arrived they found the president in bed and he drew from under his pillow a copy of the message and asked them to read it and tell him their views.
They read it with many exclamations of surprise and alarm. They warned the president that it was the eve of another national election, that he would be renominated, but that if he sent the message to congress it would insure his defeat.
It is related that the president listened to all the comment without a word until his friends had concluded, and then he answered:
"That message goes to congress next week," and then turned over and went to sleep.
Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Cleveland. Four of them are living, Ruth having died at the age of 12. The others are Esther, 13; Marion, 11; Richard, 9; Frances, 4.
President Roosevelt wired Mrs. Cleveland he had abandoned his trip to the New London boat races to attend the funeral, if it is either Thursday, Friday or Sunday, but that men were coming to Washington for an engagement Saturday he could not break.
The plans for the funeral have not yet been made.
Little effect in price of securities followed the announcement of Cleveland's death in Wall-st.