You must not expect me to write in my own defence nor to permit it from any one about me. I know that the feeling of the troops under my command is favorable to me and so long as I continue to do my duty faithfully it will remain so. Your uneasiness about the influences surrounding the children here is unnecessary. On the contrary it is good. They are not running around camp among all sorts of people, but we are keeping house, on the property of a truly loyal secessionist who has been furnished free lodging and board at Alton, Illinois; here the children see nothing but the greatest propriety.
They will not, however, remain here long. Julia will probably pay her father a short visit and then go to Galena or Covington in time to have the children commence school in September.
I expect General Hitchcock to command the Department of the West. Have no fears of General Pope or any one junior to me being sent.
I do not expect nor want the support of the Cincinnati press on my side. Their course has been so remarkable from the beginning that should I be endorsed by them I should fear that the public would mistrust my patriotism. I am sure that I have but one desire in this war, and that is to put down the rebellion. I have no hobby of my own with regard to the negro, either to effect his freedom or to continue his bondage. If Congress pass any law and the President approves, I am willing to execute it. Laws are certainly as binding on the minority as the majority. I do not believe even in the discussion of the propriety of laws and official orders by the army. One enemy at a time is enough and when he is subdued it will be time enough to settle personal differences.
I do not want to command a department because I believe I can do better service in the field. I do not expect to be overslaughed by a junior and should feel exceedingly mortified should such a thing occur, but would keep quiet as I have ever done heretofore.
I have just received a letter from Captain Foley about this same Holt said to be in the Memphis post office. You may say that I shall refer it to General Sherman with the direction to expel him if it is not already done.
Julia and the children are well. I do not expect to remain here long but when I will go I can't say now.
[In referring to this period, Grant says that it was the most anxious time of the war when the Army of the Tennessee was guarding the territory acquired by Corinth and Memphis, and before he was sufficiently reinforced to take the offensive.
To his sister Mary.]
Corinth, Mississippi, August 19th, 1862.
Julia and the children left here on Saturday last for St. Louis where they will remain on a visit until about the last of the month. At the end of that time they must be some place where the children can go to school.—Mrs. Hillyer has a nice house in the city and is all alone whilst her husband is on my staff, and it may be that she and Julia will keep house together. If they do she would be very much pleased to have you make her a long visit. Julia says that she is satisfied that the best place for the children is in Covington. But there are so many of them that she sometimes feels as if they were not wanted. Their visit down here in Dixie was very pleasant and they were very loth to leave. Things however began to look so threatening that I thought it was best for them to leave. I am now in a situation where it is impossible for me to do more than to protect my long lines of defence. I have the Mississippi to Memphis, the railroad from Columbus to Corinth, from Jackson to Bolivar, from Corinth to Decatur, and the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to keep open. Guerillas are hovering around in every direction, getting whipped every day some place by some of my command, but keeping us busy. The war is evidently growing oppressive to the Southern people. Their institution are beginning to have ideas of their own; every time an expedition goes out many of them follow in the wake of the army and come into camp. I am using them as teamsters, hospital attendants, company cooks and so forth, thus saving soldiers to carry the musket. I don't know what is to become of these poor people in the end, but it weakens the enemy to take them from them. If the new levies are sent in soon the rebels will have a good time getting in their crops this Fall.
I have abandoned all hope of being able to make a visit home till the close of the war. A few weeks' recreation would be very grateful however. It is one constant strain now and has been for a year. If I do get through I think I will take a few months of pure and undefiled rest. I stand it well, however, having gained some fifteen pounds in weight since leaving Cairo. Give my love to all at home.
[Footnote 2: Slaves.]
[During the two months just past there has been much fighting between small bodies of the opposing armies.]
Corinth, Mississippi, September 17th, 1862.
A letter from you and one from Mary were received some time ago, which I commenced to answer in a letter addressed to Mary, but being frequently interrupted by matters of business it was laid aside for some days, and finally torn up. I now have all my time taxed. Although occupying a position attracting but little attention at this time there is probably no garrison more threatened to-day than this.
I expect to hold it and have never had any other feeling either here or elsewhere but that of success. I would write you many particulars but you are so imprudent that I dare not trust you with them; and while on this subject let me say a word. I have not an enemy in the world who has done me so much injury as you in your efforts in my defence. I require no defenders and for my sake let me alone. I have heard this from various sources and persons who have returned to this Army and did not know that I had parents living near Cincinnati have said that they found the best feeling existing towards me in every place except there.
You are constantly denouncing other general officers and the inference with people naturally is that you get your impressions from me. Do nothing to correct what you have already done but for the future keep quiet on this subject.
Mary wrote to me about an appointment for Mr. Nixon. I have nothing in the world to do with any appointments, no power to make and nothing to do with recommending except for my own staff. That is now already full.
If I can do anything in the shape of lending any influence I may possess in Mr. Nixon's behalf I will be most happy to do so on the strength of what Mary says in commendation, and should be most happy if it could so be that our lot would cast us near each other.
I do not know what Julia is going to do. I want her to go to Detroit and board. She has many pleasant acquaintances there and she would find good schools for the children.
I have no time for writing and scarcely any for looking over the telegraphic columns of the newspapers.
My love to all at home.
[In late September, Grant went from Corinth to Jackson, Tennessee, "to superintend the movements of the troops to whatever point a threatened attack upon Bolivia might be made." Bolivia was then their most advanced position on the Mississippi Central Railroad. The troops from Corinth were brought up in time to repel the threatened movement without a battle.
Iuka was a town twenty miles east of Corinth. It was entered by General Price of the Confederate army on September 13th. On the 19th he was defeated by Generals Rosecrans and Ord. The battle of Corinth was won October 4th; Van Dorn was the leader of the Confederate forces, while Rosecrans commanded the Union troops. Grant was now assured as to the safety of the territory that he had won.
To his sister Mary.]
Jackson, Tenn., October 16th, 1862.
I received your letter by due course of mail and expected before this to have answered one of your questions in the shape of an official report; that is the one where you ask me the part I played at the battle of Iuka. When the reports of subalterns come in I will make my report which no doubt will be published and will be a full answer to your question. I had no more to do with troops under General Ord than I had with those under Rosecrans, but gave the orders to both. The plan was admirably laid for catching Price and his whole army, but owing to the nature of the ground, direction of the wind, and General Rosecrans having been so far behind where he was expected to be on the morning before the attack, it failed. In the late battles we have gained such a moral advantage over them however, with Van Dorn and Lovell added, that I do not know but it may have all been for the best.
I have written to Julia to come down here to spend a short time. It will probably be but a short time that she can stay, but so long as I remain here this will be a pleasant place for her.—If the children have not already been sent to Covington I told her to bring them with her. In the last letter I received she said she was about sending them to Covington.
I believe you have now got it all quiet on the Ohio. I hope it will soon be so every place else. It does look to me that we now have such an advantage over the rebels that there should be but little more hard fighting.
Give my love to all at home. Write often and without expecting either very prompt or very long replies.
[October 25th, Grant was placed in command of the Department of the Tennessee and headquarters were established at Oxford, Miss. Reinforcements continued to come from the North, and by November 2d, he was prepared to take the initiative. This, he said, was a great relief after two and a half months of continued defence over a large district where every citizen was an enemy. On November 3d, Grant left Jackson for the campaign against Vicksburg, which did not end until July 4, 1863.
Vicksburg was very important to the enemy on account of its position. It was the only link connecting the parts of the Confederacy separated by the Mississippi. While held by the enemy, free navigation of the river was impossible. During the winter of '62 to '63 there were exceptionally heavy rains and continuous high water on the Mississippi.
To his sister Mary.]
Oxford, Mississippi, Dec. 15th, 1862.
Yesterday I received a letter from you and the children and one from Uncle Samuel. To day I learned by telegraph that Father is at Holly Springs, thirty miles north of here. Julia is there and as I expect the railroad to be completed to this point by to-morrow I look for them down. I shall only remain here to-morrow, or next day at farthest; so that Julia will go immediately back to Holly Springs. It is a pleasant place and she may as well stay there as elsewhere.
We are now having wet weather. I have a big army in front of me as well as bad roads. I shall probably give a good account of myself however notwithstanding all obstacles. My plans are all complete for weeks to come and I hope to have them all work out just as planned.
For a conscientious person, and I profess to be one, this is a most slavish life. I may be envied by ambitious persons, but I in turn envy the person who can transact his daily business and retire to a quiet home without a feeling of responsibility for the morrow. Taking my whole department, there are an immense number of lives staked upon my judgment and acts. I am extended now like a peninsula into an enemy's country, with a large army depending for their daily bread upon keeping open a line of railroad running one hundred and ninety miles through an enemy's country, or, at least, through territory occupied by a people terribly embittered and hostile to us. With all this I suffer the mortification of seeing myself attacked right and left by people at home professing patriotism and love of country, who never heard the whistle of a hostile bullet. I pity them and a nation dependent upon such for its existence. I am thankful however that, although such people make a great noise, the masses are not like them.
To all the other trials that I have to contend against, is added that of speculators whose patriotism is measured by dollars and cents. Country has no value with them compared with money. To elucidate this would take quires of paper. So I will reserve this for an evening's conversation, if I should be so fortunate as to again get home where I can have a day to myself.
Tell the children to learn their lessons, mind their Grandma and be good children. I should like very much to see them. To me they are all obedient and good. I may be partial but they seem to me to be children to be proud of.
Remember me to all at home,
[Walnut Hills is a little north of Vicksburg. The position of Vicksburg on high bluffs overlooking the river was inaccessible. After five months of exposure and labor Grant at last attained his preliminary object, getting his troops to the rear of the city. During this time he would not communicate his plans to the public—this movement to a point below Vicksburg from which to operate. The North was much discouraged over the situation; voluntary enlistment ceased. It was important to gain a decisive victory. In January, he assumed command himself of the expedition. The siege lasted from May 10th to July 4th. Johnston was the commander-in-chief of the Confederate forces and was east of the troops besieging Vicksburg. Pemberton was in command at Vicksburg.]
Walnut Hills, Miss., June 15th, 1863.
I have received several letters from Mary and yourself, but as I have to deal with nineteen-twentieths of those received, have neglected to answer them.
All I can say is that I am well. I have the enemy closely hemmed in all round. My position is naturally strong and fortified against an attack from outside. I have been so strongly reinforced that Johnston will have to come with a mighty host to drive me away.—I do not look upon the fall of Vicksburg as in the least doubtful. If, however, I could have carried the place on the 22nd of last month, I could by this time have made a campaign that would have made the State of Mississippi almost safe for a solitary horseman to ride over. As it is, the enemy have a large army in it, and the season has so far advanced that water will be difficult to find for an army marching, besides the dust and heat that must be encountered. The fall of Vicksburg now will only result in the opening of the Mississippi River and demoralization of the enemy. I intended more from it. I did my best, however, and looking back can see no blunder committed.
[After Vicksburg, Grant began a tour of observation among the important parts of his military rule. In October, 1863, the "Military Division of the Mississippi" was created and Grant given the command. This was composed of the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee. Headquarters were established at Nashville, which was the most central point from which to communicate with his entire military division. The winter was quiet, preparing for the campaign against Atlanta. He says in this letter, "I am not a candidate for any office." This refers, doubtless, to a proposal that he become a candidate for the Presidency.]
Nashville, Tenn., Feby. 20th, 1864.
I have received your letter and those accompanying, to wit, Mr. Newton's and I.N. Morris'. I may write to Mr. Newton but it will be different from what he expects. I am not a candidate for any office. All I want is to be left alone to fight this war out; fight all rebel opposition and restore a happy Union in the shortest possible time. You know, or ought to know, that the public prints are not the proper mediums through which to let a personal feeling pass. I know that I feel that nothing personal to myself could ever induce me to accept a political office.
From your letter you seem to have taken an active feeling, to say the least, in this matter, that I would like to talk to you about. I could write, but do not want to do so. Why not come down here and see me?
I did tell Julia to make a visit to Cincinnati, Batavia, Bethel and Georgetown.
[The rank of Lieutenant-General had been conferred upon Washington in 1798 when our relations with France appeared threatening. In 1852, it had been conferred upon General Scott, by brevet, as a recognition of his great services in the Mexican War. The full rank was revived February 26, 1864, for Grant, who received his commission March 3d. After Grant this rank was held by Sherman and also Sheridan, by promotion; since then the title has not been revived. By this rank Grant was authorized to command all the armies of the United States. Mr. Washburne, who introduced the bill into Congress for restoration of the grade of Lieutenant-General, said that Grant wrote to him that he did not ask or deserve anything more in the shape of honors or promotion; that he only desired to hold such an influence over those under his command as to use them to the best advantage to secure a decisive victory.
Grant's new policy was now to secure co-operative movements of all the armies East and West—these had heretofore worked independently—and to have a continuous and concentrated action against the chief armies of the enemy. His first work was to reorganize the Army of the Potomac, which in April began the campaign against Lee and Richmond. He accompanied the army in person, having movable headquarters in the field. From March to May his headquarters were at Culpeper Court-House, Va. It was shortly after leaving these headquarters that he wrote from the field, May 11, 1864, "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."]
The Editor desires to make correction of an error in the reference on page 102 to the rank of Lieutenant-General. The statement should of course read that the rank of General was conferred upon Washington ... and had later been held by Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan. The rank of Lieutenant-General has been held not only by Washington, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, but also by Schofield, Miles, Young, Chaffee, Bates, and MacArthur.
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
Culpeper C.H., Va., Apl. 16th, 1864.
Your letter enclosing one from young Walker asking for duty on my staff during his suspension is received. It is the third letter from him on the same subject. Of course I cannot gratify him. It would not be proper. It would be changing punishment into reward.
Julia will start West in a few days and will stop at Covington on her way. She will remain at the house I purchased from Judge Dent until such time as she can join me more permanently. It is her particular desire to have Jennie go to St. Louis with her to spend the summer. I hope she can and will go.
It has rained here almost every day since my arrival. It is still raining. Of course I say nothing of when the army moves or how or where. I am in most excellent health and well pleased with appearances here. My love to all at home.
[City Point was an important strategic point on the James where this river is joined by the Appomattox. Here General Grant had headquarters until the end of the campaign against Lee. The campaign against Atlanta under General Sherman lasted from May 6th to September 2d, 1864, when the city was evacuated by Hood. The loss of Atlanta was a severe blow to the South.]
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
City Point, Va., Sept. 5th, 1864.
Your last letter is just received. Before you receive this it is probable Beverly Simpson will be in service if he comes in at all. If he does enlist, however, after you receive this tell him to ask to be assigned to a regiment now with the Army of the Potomac. If he is already in service have him write to me and I will assign him to some duty either with me or where it will be equally pleasant for him.
Your theory about delays, either with Sherman or myself, was not correct. Our movements were co-operative but after starting each one has done all that he felt himself able to do. The country has been deceived about the size of our armies and also as to the number of the enemy. We have been contending against forces nearly equal to our own, moreover always on the defensive and strongly intrenched.—Richmond will fall as Atlanta has done and the rebellion will be suppressed in spite of rebel resistance and Northern countenance and support.
Julia and children are in Philadelphia. If I can get a house there, I will make that my home. Julia is very desirous that Jennie should make her home with us if she will, and if she will not do that, at least spend the fall and winter with us.
[Clara was the oldest sister.
The prophecy as to the end of the war proved true. Petersburg and Richmond were both captured April 3d. Lee surrendered April 9th. By the end of May all the rebel armies had surrendered and the Civil War was over.]
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
City Point, Va., March 19th, 1865.
I received your two letters announcing the death of Clara. Although I had known for some time that she was in a decline, yet I was not expecting to bear of her death at this time.—I have had no heart to write earlier. Your last letter made me feel very bad. I will not state the reason and hope I may be wrong in my judgment of its meaning.
We are now having fine weather and I think will be able to wind up matters about Richmond soon. I am anxious to have Lee hold on where he is a short time longer so that I can get him in a position where he must lose a great portion of his army. The rebellion has lost its vitality and if I am not much mistaken there will be no rebel army of any great dimensions in a few weeks hence. Any great catastrophe to any one of our armies would of course revive the enemy for a short time. But I expect no such thing to happen.
I do not know what I can do either for Will. Griffith's son or for Belville Simpson. I sent orders last fall for John Simpson to come to these Head-Quarters to run between here and Washington as a mail messenger, but he has not come. I hope this service to end now soon.
I am in excellent health but would enjoy a little respite from duty wonderfully. I hope it will come soon.
My kindest regards to all at home. I shall expect to make you a visit the coming summer.
[On the 7th of January, 1865, a number of the principal citizens of Philadelphia presented General Grant with a house.]
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
Washington, D.C., May 6th, 1865.
I have ordered a sixty days' furlough for Samuel A. He can be discharged at any time after his return home. It will take probably three weeks for my directions to reach him and for him to return.
I have just returned from Philadelphia leaving Mr. Cramer there. He can describe our new house to you when he returns. My health is good but I find so much to do that I can scarcely keep up with public business, let alone answering all the private letters I receive. My going to Philadelphia and spending half my time there as I hope to do, will give me some leisure. I attend to public business there by telegraph and avoid numerous calls taking up much time, or hope to do so.
My kind regards to all at home. I hope to hear of Mother's entire recovery soon.
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES
Washington, D.C., Feby. 10th, 1868.
The memorandums you left with me relative to bounty due two needy persons in Covington I attended to soon after you left here. The answer of the Paymaster General was that under no circumstances could he take up claims for bounty out of turn; therefore, it was not satisfactory to you. I neglected to answer at the time and the matter escaped my memory until now.
I spoke to Secretary McCulloch about giving Mrs. Porter a clerkship in the Treasury and he promised me he would do it, but has not yet. Now, I fancy, I would not have much influence, and if I had, would be very careful about using it.
The family are well and send much love to Mother, Jennie and yourself.
[March 4, 1869, General Grant was inaugurated President of the United States.
Written to his sister Virginia, Mrs. A.R. Corbin.]
Long Branch, N.J., Aug. 21st, 1870.
By arrangement of a year's standing Julia and I go to Newport on Tuesday morning next, to be gone there, and at West Point, one week.
But for that we would visit you and Mother this week. I shall go next week however and if Julia is not too much fatigued, or too lazy, with her travelling will take her along. You know I never give any one credit with being fatigued; I always attribute the feeling to another cause.—I hope you are all well. Give my kindest regards to Mother and Mr. Corbin.
[Written to his sister Mary, Mrs. M.J. Cramer. Dr. Cramer was then United States Minister to Denmark.]
Washington, D.C., Oct. 26th, 1871.
I have been intending to write you for some time; but the moment I get into my office in the morning it is overwhelmed with visitors, and continues so throughout the day. I now write of a rainy evening, after having read the New York papers.—Jennie is with us, has been for some days. Mr. Corbin also has been with us for a few days but left to-day. Jennie will remain until she becomes homesick which I hope will not be soon.
I received your letter in which you gave me an extract from Mr. Wolff's. I had no recollection or knowledge of the matter whatever. The fact is I am followed wherever I go,—at Long Branch as well as here. I sometimes shake off callers, not knowing their business, whom I would be delighted to see. In the case of Mr. Wolff, however, I do not think that I ever knew that he had called. For the first time in my life I had arranged to go fishing at sea. To do so it was necessary to engage fishermen, with boat, beforehand. General Porter did not know that I had made the arrangement, and probably was not at my house when I returned from riding the evening after Mr. W. called. You will see the explanation. I will write it to Mr. Wolff.
Fred. after graduating at West Point accepted a position as assistant civil engineer, and gave up a good portion of his furlough to go to work at his new profession. He has been in the Rocky Mountains since August surveying, in pursuit of his new profession, but with leave of absence as an army officer. But little or nothing can be done in the winter by him, and I have therefore got him a leave of absence from his engineer duties to accompany General Sherman abroad, until the latter part of April. I expect him to sail about the middle of next month. General Sherman goes on the flag-ship of the European Squadron which will land at some of the Atlantic ports, then proceed to the Mediterranean touching at points during the early winter on both sides of the sea, and in the spring, probably in time to attend the Carnival in Rome, will leave the ship and work across the Continent, in time to be home at the time I have indicated. I will instruct Fred. to run up to Copenhagen from a convenient point and spend a few days with you. You will find him a well-grown and much improved boy. He is about the height brother Simpson was and well developed physically. You will be pleased with him I know.
During the Harvard vacation, next year, I intend that Buck and Jesse shall go to Europe also. It may be that in the short time they will have to remain abroad they may not be able to get up to see you, but I know they will be pleased to do so, and may spare time for that purpose.
I do not know but that I owe Mr. Cramer an apology for not answering his letters. All have been received and I have been gratified with them. But besides being a little negligent I am so constantly pressed that it is almost impossible for me to get any time to devote to private correspondence.
All send our kindest regards to Mr. Cramer, and love to you and the children.
P.S. I shall always be delighted to receive letters from you and Mr. Cramer whether I answer them or not.
Washington, D.C., June 2nd, 1872.
Hearing from home frequently as I do through persons coming from there and through occasional letters, I scarcely ever think of writing. Hereafter, however, I will try to write oftener or have Jesse write. The children might all write to you for that matter. We hear occasionally from Fred. directly and very often through the papers. He has enjoyed his European trip very much and I think will be much improved by it. Nellie writes very often; she is a very much better writer than either of the boys. Her composition is easy and fluent, and she writes very correctly. She seems to have made a very good impression where she has been.—Buck sails for Europe on the 6th of July. He will travel but little however. He expects to study his third year Harvard course in some quiet German village, and return in June next in time for his examinations. In this way he expects to graduate at the same time he would if he did not go abroad. The object is to acquire a speaking knowledge of both the German and French languages, in both of which he is now quite a good scholar.
I received a letter from Mary a short time since. She said that she would leave for home about the first of June. You may expect her home by the twentieth no doubt.
Julia and Jesse are well and send much love to you and Mother.
JESSE R. GRANT, ESQ., Covington, Ky.
[To Mrs. A.R. Corbin.]
Long Branch, N.J., June 13th, 1872.
We got here Tuesday evening and are now pretty well settled. Can we not expect Mr. Corbin, you, Mary and two children down to spend a few days with us as soon as the latter arrives? If Mary does not come now, it is not probable that she will get East again this summer. You can see just as much of her here as you could at your own house; so I think the best arrangement will be for you to come immediately here and all spend the time together at the Branch. I will go up to meet you in the harbor if informed in time.
P.S. I learned from a letter from St. Petersburg that Fred. hurried off to Copenhagen to meet Mary before she left, which was to be the 1st day of June. I infer from this that she should be here in two or three days from now.
[To his brother-in-law, Mr. A.R. Corbin. "Nellie" is Mrs. Sartoris. Mr. Borie is Secretary of the Navy.]
Washington, D.C., Oct. 16th, 1872.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
Your letter of the 14th is just received. Mrs. Grant and I go on to New York City on Monday night to meet Nellie and bring her home. It is not probable that the vessel in which she sailed will reach New York City before Tuesday morning, so that we will be in the city from Monday morning until Tuesday night. If Jennie were at home I do not know but we might go as far as Elizabeth on Saturday and remain over Sunday.—I am much obliged to you for the offer of your kind offices. Probably it will be pleasant for you to meet us on Tuesday on the vessel that brings Mr. Borie and party home. What arrangement will be made I do not know; but in all probability a revenue cutter will be put at my service and I will be allowed to meet the vessel in the harbor below the city. In that case I would be glad of your company down the bay.
My family are all very well.
[To his sister, Mrs. Cramer. March 4, 1873, Grant began his second term as President.]
Long Branch, N.J., Sept. 9th, 1873.
On Monday next I start to take Jesse to school, and then for Pittsburgh to attend the meeting of the "Society of the Army of the Cumberland." I will be back about the last of the week. I would like you to make your visit while I am at home, and want mother to come with you, as well as Jennie and Mr. Corbin. If you have made no arrangements to start earlier suppose you come say on Saturday week and bring the children with you.
I am just in receipt of a letter from Mr. Corbin, and one from Mr. Clark, asking me to attend the Fair next week. Please say to Mr. Corbin, and Mr. Clark too if you see him, that I had an invitation from Senator Frelinghuysen to stay with him during the Fair which I had to decline because I shall be absent during the week. The Army of the Cumberland was the one commanded by General Thomas. They have their reunions annually, to all of which I have been invited, but it has so happened heretofore that I could not attend one of them. As I have attended one or other of the Army Society meetings almost every year, I feel it a duty to attend this one now and have informed them that I will be present.
My kindest regards to all.
MRS. MARY G. CRAMER.
[To his brother-in-law, Mr. A.R. Corbin, of Elizabeth, N.J. Mr. Dent was Mrs. Grant's father.]
Washington, D.C., Dec. 16th, 1873.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
As I telegraphed you Mr. Dent breathed his last at 11.45 last night. There was nothing during the day or evening to indicate his near approach to death more than there has been almost every day for the last five months. Indeed, and I believe for the first time since our return from Long Branch, he had himself partially dressed yesterday, ate a hearty breakfast, sitting up, and smoked his cigar with apparent relish. In the evening Mrs. Grant, Fred. and I were out until after 11 P.M., perfectly unconscious that his end was near. On our return we found his attending physician with him, and he, Mr. Dent, apparently in a quiet slumber. Not many minutes after he ceased to breathe and life was gone without a struggle or movement of a limb or muscle. It was a clear case of life worn out purely by time,—no disease, care or anxiety hastening dissolution.
On Thursday there will be funeral service at the house, by Dr. Tiffany, and at 11.30 his remains will leave the B. & P. Depot for St. Louis. The funeral there will be on Saturday next; and Mrs. Dent's remains will be brought up from the farm at the same time, and the two interred in Mr. Dent's lot in Bellefontaine. Dr. Sharp, Mr. Casey, Gen. Dent, Fred. Grant and myself, will accompany them.
During all the time Mr. Dent has been confined to his room, and at all times before when he was in the least unwell since we have been in the White House—Dr. Bazil Norris of the army has been most attentive. I feel disposed to recognize my appreciation of his attention in some way, and have thought if I could get about such a watch as was made for me at the establishment near Jersey City I would get that. If it is not asking too much of you to enquire I would like you to do so. If it can be got before Christmas you might order it at once, with the Doctor's monogram—from his friend U.S. Grant—. If it cannot be had by that time I would not order it until further directed.
My children will all be at home by Thursday, unless it may be Bucky. The family are well, or as well as could be expected.—We would be very glad to see you here on Thursday, as an old friend of Mr. Dent, but do not ask that you should undergo the fatigue of the trip unless you feel well enough to do so.
Very truly yours,
Washington, Nov. 14th, '76.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
Jennie's and your letter is just received. I shall not be in New York, nor away from Washington, until after the meeting of Congress. But I will gladly give you the hour or two you speak of if you come to Washington. If you and Jennie could come this week we could make a spare room without inconvenience. Mrs. Smith—of Washington, Pa., with her two children—are with us, but they can be put in the room with their mother.
The alarm about the removal of Holden as Collector of Internal Revenue for the Covington district is premature. There was a raid made upon him by a person in whom I take no stoc,, and a statement made in regard to him which I said—if proved true—would mean that he must go out. But I think that rumor was entirely dispelled.
My Message is not "blocked out," nor scarcely thought of. So many other exciting matters preoccupy my time and thoughts that I do not bother myself about the other. I shall trust to the inspiration of the moment for what I shall say. Will be brief, but to the point if I can.
[Grant's second term of office expired March, 1877.]
Washington, Dec. 13th, '76.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
I wish you and Jennie would come down and make us a visit. We now have room, and will have until Fred. returns with his family, which will probably be a few days before Christmas.—Sometime before my term of office expires I want Mother to make me a visit. If she would like to come down during the holidays we could make room by sending one of the boys out o' nights. The children will all be at home during that week; possibly the last time we will have them all at home together. At all events it may be the last opportunity mother may have of seeing them together.
I received your kind letter of the 11th this A.M. This year, owing to election excitement, department reports only came in a few days before the meeting of Congress. When they did come the situation in South Carolina was so critical that dispatches were coming to me, or to members of my cabinet, and brought from them to me in such rapid succession that I do not think I had one single half hour without interruption all the time I was preparing my message. I am sure I did not have four hours in its preparation all told, exclusive of the time consumed in reading the departmental reports. I left out necessarily topics I should liked to have talked about, but would not mention without being sure I was right.
My love to all.
[General and Mrs. Grant spent the next two years in a tour around the world.]
Chicago, Ill., April 12th, 1877.
DEAR MR. CORBIN:
To-morrow evening Mrs. Grant and I start for Washington, Pa., where we will spend a few days, then go to Harrisburgh, Washington, D.C., and toward the last of the month get around to Elizabeth to spend a few days with you before taking our departure for Europe. We have not entirely decided whether to take the American line from Philadelphia or the Inman line from New York City. Both have tendered pressing invitations, and both present good accommodations. If we take the former we will sail on the 9th or 16th of May, if the latter on the 19th.
We had a very pleasant trip West but a little hurried. There is much complaint of dull times but really appearances do not justify it. Kindest regards of Mrs. Grant and myself to Mother and Jennie.
Ragatz, Switzerland, August 13th, '77.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
Before leaving England I had accepted invitations to visit cities and country houses in Scotland—and places in England not yet visited by me—to take up all the month of September and part of October. I thought there was time for me to visit this interesting country and to make a run through Denmark, Sweden and Norway and get back to Scotland in time to keep my engagements. But I have found so much of interest here, and the modes of conveyance so slow in reaching the points of greatest interest, that it is already too late to go even to Denmark, leaving out Norway and Sweden. Already we have spent eight actual days in carriages in getting from point to point, exclusive of other modes of travel. We have visited most of the lakes and crossed the principal passes in Switzerland and Northern Italy. It has all been exceedingly interesting to me, the greatest regret being that I had not more time.
I intend yet to visit Denmark, and the countries north of it, but whether this fall or next season is not yet determined. Probably about next June. I am sorry not to be able to see Mary before she returns to America. I do not expect to return there before next July a year, and possibly not so early.
All send love to Mary and the children with kindest regards for yourself.
DR. M.J. CRAMER, United States Minister, Copenhagen, Denmark.
BRISTOL HOTEL, BURLINGTON GARDENS, LONDON, W.
Aug. 26, '77.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
We arrived here from the Continent yesterday, and found awaiting us your very acceptable letter. On Wednesday we start again to visit Scotland where I have had many invitations from both corporations and from private gentlemen. We will take about three weeks for this trip, after which we will visit some portions of England not yet visited, and Nellie at her home, and get to Paris the latter part of October. The papers no doubt will keep you advised of our movements in advance of anything I could write to go by mail. Our visit has been most agreeable in every particular. People everywhere, both travellers and residents, did all they could to make everything pleasant for us. How long we will remain abroad is not yet determined, but I think for two years yet if the means to do so hold out.
During my visit to the Continent I saw but few American papers so that I am now somewhat behind in information as to what has been going on in the United States. All the foreign papers however have been full of the great strike which has taken place on our roads. It must have been serious but probably not so serious as it seemed at a distance. My judgment is that it should have been put down with a strong hand and so summarily as to prevent a like occurrence for a generation.
We have made a short visit to Nellie at her home. She lives in a delightful part of the country.
All join me in love to Mother and Jennie as well as yourself. I will be glad to hear from you as often as you may feel like writing.
We met Mrs. Clark and Roberts in Switzerland. It was like being back home to meet old acquaintances. Except Senator Conkling and some of our Government officials they are the only Americans I have met that I felt I knew very well. Please remember me to Senator Frelinghuysen and such other friends as you meet.
A.R. CORBIN, ESQ., Elizabeth, N.J.
HOTEL BRISTOL 5 PLACE VENDOME.
Paris, Oct. 25th, '77.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
Our trip has been a most agreeable one though the time seems long. I can scarcely realize that but little more than five months have passed since we sailed from Philadelphia. But we have received nothing but kindness wherever we have been. In England, as you may have seen, our reception has been as enthusiastic as anything in the States directly after the war. We are now in Paris for the first time. As yet I have seen but little of it, though enough to know that it is a most beautiful city. We shall probably remain here over a month, and then make a trip through Spain and Portugal, and up the Mediterranean, in a naval vessel, stopping at all points of interest on both sides. Mrs. Grant finds she has brought too much baggage with her and proposes to send two or three trunks back, clothing brought from the States, and wants to send them either to Jennie or Mrs. Sharp to keep until our return. If they are sent to you I will advise you when they are shipped.
We were disappointed in not getting to Copenhagen while Mary was there. But Switzerland was so agreeable, and there were so many points of interest to visit that I found it impossible to get there and return to Scotland at the time I had promised. It is now very doubtful whether we will not have to abandon the idea of going there altogether. That will depend however upon whether we remain over another year. This winter we propose to go up the Nile, and may keep on east and return by San Francisco. But if we return we will stop in Italy until the weather begins to get warm in the Spring and then go north through Austria, North Germany, Russia, Sweden, Norway and back by Denmark and Holland, spend the latter part of the summer again in Switzerland, and go east the following winter. Jesse will hardly go with us unless we go through this winter. He does not wish to leave another year before beginning the battle of life.
Give Mrs. Grant's, Jesse's and my love to Mother and Jennie, and Mary if she is with you.
I keep very little track of political matters at home, knowing from experience the trouble a "new hand at the bellows" has. I hope all will be smooth and satisfactory before my return. I have not yet experienced any discomfort from lack of employment after sixteen years of continuous care and responsibilities. I may however feel it when I once settle down, though I think not.
Very truly yours,
P.S. Direct letters to the care of Drexel, Harjes, & Co., Bankers, Paris, France.
Paris France, Nov. 27th, '77.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
I am just in receipt of your letter of the 21st inst. enclosing one from the Portuguese Minister to Denmark recounting the cause of his brother-in-law's removal from the diplomatic service. I know Baron de S——, and the Baroness very well and esteem them very highly. There was never any difficulty with him and the State Department, or with any official at Washington that I have any recollection of. I am very sure that no cause of complaint could have existed on our part without my knowing it. It would afford me the greatest pleasure to meet the Baron and his wife during my European tour, but I fear I shall not be able to do so. My trip through Spain and Portugal has been put off, or at least postponed, for this year. On Saturday we leave here for the South of France, from there to take a naval vessel to visit all points of interest on the Mediterranean. We shall probably go up the Nile, and spend the winter in a warm climate, to be ready for our northern tour in the spring. It is barely possible that when we return from up the Nile we may go on East, through China and Japan to San Francisco. But this is not probable for another year. This will probably be the last opportunity I shall ever have of visiting Europe, and there is much to see that I have not seen, and cannot see this winter.
I hear from home occasionally, but not as often, probably, as you do. All were well by the last advices received two days ago from Orville.
Please assure your colleague that I have no recollection of other than the most pleasant relations between U.S. officials and the Baron de S.
With kind regards of Mrs. Grant, Jesse and myself, I am,
Cairo, Egypt, Jan'y 13th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
I am in receipt of your letter of December '77 at this remote, but historically interesting quarter of the globe. We have been in Cairo since last Tuesday. This is Sunday. I have seen the city very thoroughly; visited the pyramids; the Virgin Mary's tree where she took shelter some twenty centuries ago; the spring which became sweet from being saline, on her quenching her thirst from it, and which remains sweet to this day,—while I was there water was being pumped from it, by ox power, with a revolving wheel, to irrigate the neighboring ground—; Heliopolis, the great seat of learning in the days of Moses, and where he was taught, and where the father-in-law of Joseph was a teacher. The tree and the well are at Heliopolis, about six miles from here.
On Tuesday we start up the Nile on a special steamer provided by the Khedive. We expect to go as far as to the first rapids stopping at all the points of interest on the way. This will probably take three weeks. On our return we expect to go to Suez, thence by Canal to Port Said, and then take our steamer again. From Port Said we will go to Joppa and out to Jerusalem. Returning to Joppa we will go to Beirout, and out to Damascus—possibly diverging to visit Baalbec, thence to Smyrna from which we will visit Ephesus, thence to Constantinople. Returning we will stop a few days at Athens, thence to old Syracuse on the island of Sicily, then to some convenient point on the Italian coast from which to reach Rome. We will remain in Rome for several weeks. Should you write me any time within six weeks from this directed to the care of our Minister at Rome, the letter will reach me.
Altogether we have had a most pleasant visit. Our return to America during this year depends somewhat on circumstances, principally the means to stay away longer. It is likely this will be the last opportunity I shall ever have of travelling abroad and I am desirous of making the most of the pleasant opportunity.—Give our love to Mother, Jennie and Mary, and accept my thanks for your kind offers.
Very truly yours,
Constantinople, March 5th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
On my arrival here I found your letter inquiring especially about the time I expect to be in Copenhagen. My plan is to be in Sweden by the middle of June, and after visiting that country and Norway, to return by way of Copenhagen. It is not likely that I shall be there before the fifth to the tenth of July, and it may be that I shall like the northern country so well that my visit to Copenhagen will be postponed even a month longer.
We have had a delightful winter. Over a month was spent in Egypt, visiting the old ruins of that country under the most favorable circumstances. Leaving Cairo we visited Suez and passed through the Suez Canal to Port Said. From the latter place we went to Joppa and out to Jerusalem. Since then we visited Smyrna and Ephesus and are now here. The Russians are outside of the city but do not come in. A stranger would not detect from appearances that an enemy was so near. In fact I think the Turks now regard the Russians as about the only people in Europe from whom they can expect anything.
When you write home give my love to Mother, Mary and children, and Jennie.
I will inform you later, when I know definitely, about the time to expect me in Copenhagen.
Very truly yours,
Rome, Italy, March 29th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
Mr. Young, of the New York Herald, has been with us from the time we went on shipboard until we arrived here. His letters published in the papers are all good, and save me writing descriptive letters. Presuming that you have read them I will say nothing further than that my winter travels, in the Mediterranean, on the Nile, and in the Levant generally have been the pleasantest of my life. I should enjoy doing it over again next winter. We have been in Rome eight days. It is a city of great interest. But one should visit it before making the Nile trip. Here you see modern and comparatively insignificant ruins, not dating back many centuries before the beginning of the Christian era. On the Nile one sees grand ruins, with the inscriptions as plain and distinct as when they were first made, that antedate Moses by many centuries.
It was our plan on leaving Suez to go to Florence, Venice, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, St. Petersburgh, through Sweden, Norway, back to Denmark, through Holland to Paris, reaching the latter place about the middle of July, and to spend six or eight weeks there to see the Exposition and the people that will fill the city. I think now I will change my plan and go from Venice, by easy stages, to Paris, reaching there early in May, and make my visit while the weather is pleasant. I will then go north in the summer, taking Holland first, Denmark next, and Sweden and Norway in August. I fear from present indications that Mr. Cramer and Mary will not be there.
It looks to me that unless the North rallies by 1880 the Government will be in the hands of those who tried so hard fourteen—seventeen—years ago to destroy it. B—— is evidently paving a way for re-organizing an army favorable to such a change.
I think now we will not return to the States until about a year from May. I have no idea where we will live on our return, and if we should go back in the fall we would have to determine the question without delay. We can go back in May and occupy our Long Branch house and have all summer to prepare for the winter.
I was getting some little mosaics—specialties of Rome—to-day and I bought, among other things, what I think a very pretty pin and earrings for Jennie. I have also got bracelets for Clara Cramer and Jennie Grant. If I see an opportunity of sending them home before going myself I will send them. I have written to Buck to come over and spend his vacation with us. I can send them with him.
Give our love to Mother, Jennie, Mary and the children.
Yours very truly,
P.S. It is very kind in Mr. Clark, and the gentlemen associated with him, to send the message you convey from them; but they must recollect that I had the harness on for sixteen years and feel no inclination to wear it again. I sincerely hope that the North will so thoroughly rally by next election as to bury the last remnant of secession proclivities, and put in the Executive chair a firm and steady hand, free from Utopian ideas purifying the party electing him out of existence.
Hotel Liverpool, Paris, May 25th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
I am now for the first time able to fix approximately the time of my visit to Copenhagen. We shall leave here on Saturday, three weeks from to-day, or on the following Tuesday. We shall stop at The Hague three or four days. Jesse leaves for home so as to take the steamer of the fourth of June from Liverpool. Our party therefore will consist only of Mrs. Grant with her maid and myself. If your arrangements are made to be away from Copenhagen at the time mentioned above, I beg that you will not change your plans. Should you be there, we shall probably remain over about one week. Should you be away, we shall stop only a couple of days.
I have not heard directly from Elizabeth for some time; it is probably my own fault, for Mr. Corbin is very prompt in answering every letter; but Bucky writes regularly every week from New York, so I hear indirectly. When you write home give my love to all of them at Elizabeth.
Very truly yours,
P.S. I go from Copenhagen directly to Stockholm. I am not personally acquainted with our present Minister there, though I once appointed him to a South American Mission.
Paris, France, June 3d, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
Your letter of the 31st of May is just received. I should have written to you within a day or two to inform you of a slight change of plan, which will bring me into Copenhagen from ten days to two weeks later than I wrote you I should be there, even if I had not received your letter. To save retracing my steps, as I should be obliged to do by the routes laid out in my last letter, I now intend to go from The Hague to Berlin and visit a few of the German cities before going to Denmark. From Copenhagen I shall go by water to Norway, thence to Sweden, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and to Vienna.
I shall be very glad indeed to see Mary and the children and hope they may be back by the time I reach Copenhagen, about from the fifth to the tenth of July.
Jesse sails from Liverpool to-morrow for home. He has been very homesick for some time.
With best regards of Mrs. Grant and myself, I am,
Hanover, Germany, June 25th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
Mrs. Grant and I are now here on our way to the German capital. We shall probably remain in Berlin until Monday, the first of July. We shall stop over by the way from Berlin to Copenhagen, particularly at Hamburg, so as to reach Copenhagen about the fifth of July. If you will drop me a line to the Kissenhof Hotel, Berlin, to let me know if Mary will be home at the time designated I shall be obliged. If she is not to be at home I may change my plan and go direct to Sweden, thence to Norway, and return thence by Denmark.
Mrs. Grant and I are both well and send much love to Mary and the children.
Very truly yours,
Paris, France. Dec. 10th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
Since leaving Copenhagen Mrs. Grant and I have visited every capital in Europe not previously visited by us.
I can say with great earnestness that no part of our journeyings gave us more pleasure than that through the Scandinavian countries, and no public have impressed me more favorably. If I were going to remain over another year I should go back to Norway at least and far enough north to see the midnight sun. But we expect to leave Paris about the middle of January, to return to the States by the way of India, China, and Japan. The Secretary of the Navy has been kind enough to invite us to go on a man-of-war which leaves the United States to-day for the Chinese squadron, via the Mediterranean and Suez. I first declined but since cabled my acceptance. This will probably bring us around home about next October or November.
I am sorry to say that I do not get favorable news from Orvil. He does not seem to improve.
Julia joins me in love to Mary and the children and in kindest regards to yourself.
I hope you did not forward the stones presented by the Consul.—Julia says to tell Mary that she got a very rich fur cloak in Paris and hopes she got one also. Is there anything we can do for you in Paris?
Very truly yours,
Rangoon, Burma, March 20th, '79.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
We have now been very well through India and are this far on our way to the farther East. The weather has been pleasant until within the last few days. But now it is becoming very warm, and as we have yet to go through the Straits of Malacca near the equator before turning north, we must expect some discomfort. I have been very much pleased with English rule and English hospitality in India. With that rule two hundred and fifty millions of uncivilized people are living at peace with each other, and are not only drawing their subsistence from the soil but are exporting a large excess over imports from it. It would be a sad day for the people of India and for the commerce of the world if the English should withdraw. We hope to be in Hong Kong by the middle of April, and farther north in China as soon thereafter as possible. When a good climate is reached we shall regulate our further movements by the reports of weather on seas to be traversed, and climate of places to be visited. At present, however, we expect to reach San Francisco about the first half of July. Although homesick to be settled down I dread getting back. The clamor of the partisan and so-called independent press win be such as to make life there unpleasant for a time.
Mrs. Grant joins me in love to you, Mary, and the children.
I have to-day written a letter to Mr. Corbin.
Very truly yours,
P.S. Julia asks me to add, to tell Mary that the English speak in the highest terms of the work being done all through this country by the missionaries, especially in an educational way. They say they are doing much good.
[To his niece, Clara Cramer.]
New York City, Sept. 27th, 1883.
MY DEAR CLARA:
On my return from the trip over the North Pacific Railroad to the Pacific Coast last Friday, I found your excellent and welcome letter, with enclosures. Your aunt was very much pleased with your letter and poetry as well as with your essay. They all do you great credit, and I think you can well sustain yourself as a writer with any young lady of your age in this or any other land.
My trip over the northern route to the Pacific about completes my personal observation of every part of our country. I was not prepared to see so rich a country or one so rapidly developing. Across the continent where but a few years ago the Indian held undisputed sway, there is now a continuous settlement, and every ten or fifteen miles a town or city, each with spires of the school house and the church. The soil for almost the entire distance is as fertile as that of Illinois. I saw your Aunt Jennie yesterday. She is quite well. All my family are well and join in love to you. I think neither your Aunt nor I will ever visit Europe again. We may, however, change our minds. But we are getting a little too old to enjoy travelling, and then we have such pleasant homes for both summer and winter.
Love to your father and mother.
3 East 66th Street, June 10th, '84.
Your letter, with one from your Aunt Jennie, reached me a few days since. I regret that I have not more cheerful news to write you than I have. Financially the Grant family is ruined for the present, and by the most stupendous frauds ever perpetrated. But your Aunt Jennie must not fret over it. I still have a home and as long as I live she shall enjoy it as a matter of right; at least until she recovers what she has lost. Fred is young, active, honest, and intelligent, and will work with a vim to recuperate his losses. Of course his first effort will be to repay his aunts.—We go to Long Branch this week. We expected to live with Fred this summer in Morristown, N.J. But failing to rent our cottage we will occupy it and Fred will live with us and rent his if he can.
All send love to you, your father and mother and Aunt Jennie.
[To Mrs. Cramer. General Grant was then writing his Memoirs. Dr. Cramer was United States Minister to Switzerland from 1881 to 1885. Simpson is U.S. Grant, son of Orvil Grant. Reference is made to the customary resignation of diplomatic officials of the party opposed to the incoming political party. Cleveland became President in 1885.]
New York City, Jan'y 13th, 1885.
I am just in receipt of Jennie's letter of the 2nd of January. I am busy on my book which Fred is copying for the press. I hope to have it ready for the press by May next. But I may fail in this on account of weakness. My mouth has been very sore, but not so bad I think as the papers have made out. But it has been bad enough. The rest of the family are all well.
My advice is that Mr. Cramer does not resign until he is asked to. Simpson I do not suppose will be disturbed in his position. He is very competent, and the soul of honor, both qualities wanted in the Sub-treasury.
All send love.
PROCLAMATION TO THE CITIZENS OF PADUCAH!
I have come among you, not as an enemy, but as your friend and fellow-citizen, not to injure or annoy you, but to respect the rights, and to defend and enforce the rights of all loyal citizens. An enemy, in rebellion against our common Government, has taken possession of, and planted its guns upon the soil of Kentucky and fired upon our flag. Hickman and Columbus are in his hands. He is moving upon your city. I am here to defend you against this enemy and to assert and maintain the authority and sovereignty of your Government and mine. I have nothing to do with opinions. I shall deal only with armed rebellion and its aiders and abettors.
You can pursue your usual avocations without fear or hindrance. The strong arm of the Government is here to protect its friends, and to punish only its enemies. Whenever it is manifest that you are able to defend yourselves, to maintain the authority of your Government, and protect the rights of all its loyal citizens, I shall withdraw the forces under my command from your city.
U.S. GRANT, Brig-Gen. U.S.A., Commanding.
PADUCAH, Sept. 6th, 1861.
[The following letter is from the secretary of General Grant's aunt, the Aunt Rachel referred to on page twenty-seven. It is included in this volume as a historical curiosity.]
Chestnut Hill, Va., June 5th, 1861.
I have not often written to "incog." correspondents, nor should I have the presumption now to address you, unknown to me (unless by reputation), but that peculiar circumstances have so combined as to induce the experiment. Your Aunt, Mrs. Tompkins, has been prostrated by illness for many days, and, for a while, closely confined to her couch; thus rendering it at least inconvenient to respond to your elaborate epistle, and, having permitted me the pleasure (?) of its perusal, she requested me to act as her Amanuensis. In compliance, then, with her desire I shall proceed "ex abrupto" to discuss the various points you have presented; hoping you will pardon whatever of presumption there attaches to me in taking up a gauntlet thrown not directly at my own feet.
First, then, you deplore the deep distress that pervades our land, in anticipation of a conflict such as the civilized world never witnessed, and even the annals of barbarous history scarce re^cd; together with the inevitable consequence, that, our once (though many years ago) happy Union must be for ever dissolved. Viewing it from our standpoint I unite my voice of lamentation with yours; for it seems truly a mournful sight to behold, spread out to the gaze of the world, the history of a nation's folly, written in letters of blood. But I look at the brighter side of this distorted photograph. With the eye of faith at least I can discern the hand of Providence shifting the scenes. This may seem strange, that a partition wall should be erected in the Temple of Liberty, once an asylum for an oppressed world. That the "Stars and Stripes"—the (once) badge of freedom, gracing the bosom of every sea—should be riddled from its staff and another substituted in its stead. Not less strange, however, did thousands of good Englishmen deem it, to behold the proud "British Lion" quail before his foe of "the wilderness," and the "Magna Charta" rent in twain. We must look upon it then as an exercise of God's retributive justice for our Sins as a people, or, that He designs that He shall ultimately be the more glorified by the separation. In the former case of course I take it that the North will receive the awful visitation, for although offences must needs come, yet, woe be unto him through whom they come! In the latter condition the South is destined to become what (& indeed far more than) the whole America once was to the world. This Government was far too large to prosper well for many years; or at least comp^d to England (prosper), France and Spain, & Russia itself; but especially should we be divided into 2 great gov's since we have virtually been so, as to our domestic institutions, and many of our social customs, for many, many years. It is true we did exist many years also in commercial and social prosperity, & might have continued to maintain such a happy condition had not the "green-eyed monster, jealousy, reared his horrid front." Yes, it was in great part jealousy. You yourself have admitted (& rightly) that our great Ancestors were wiser than we. Well when they formed the Original Confed^y they were the Rep's of Slave States, with one exception. They did not deem it wrong in itself, or they would have abolished it—at least would not have made the "Fugitive S. Law" for its protection. After a while, however, it did not pay to keep Slavery in Northern climates, & it was abolished instanter. Why then was it that it became such a monstrous crime in their eyes? Wherein was the consistency? Partisans became jealous of the wealth & power of Southern planters & South^n politicians, elevated to their power through their wealth—a thing unavoidable in a Republican government. Thus, through demagogues at the North an animosity was aroused. It slumbered long in the germ, but being assiduously cherished from year to year it at last budded and bloomed in a clime congenial to its nature, & is now bringing forth its venomous fruit, even to a "hundred fold." It was the consuming of this pernicious fruit that brought death upon our "Body Politic" and produced all our woe. Would to God that woe should fall upon none but those who "planted & watered" it! I am perfectly conscious and cognizant of the manner in which this spirit of enmity has been fostered. I am a Northern by birth and education, & can testify to that which I know. I have also been in the South sufficiently long to know the sentiments of the people here, and how they coincide (or rather disagree) with the Northern conceptions of them. I have spent almost 8 years here—certainly long enough to learn the character of the "peculiar institution" as well as its practical workings & effect on society. And as I came with somewhat of prejudice against it, you must be frank enough to acknowledge me a fair judge in the matter. Among the first books put into my youthful library, was a work called Charles Ball, or The Trials of a Run-Away Slave. This was a horrid thing, and formed an impression on my young mind that has only with the utmost difficulty been eradicated. I am conscious that its contents are false. About the same time, & repeatedly, I was taken to witness a panorama of Uncle Tom's Cabin—another book whose leaves have furnished much fuel to infernal flames. At the same time, & ever since, I have had my ears grated with the harsh jargon of fanatical tirades against the institutions & people of the South. Of course then my mind was poisoned & prejudiced. And this has not been my political training alone but that of a majority of your youth at the North—no further North too than Penna. How then is it possible that the North can entertain amicable feelings toward the South? Add to this, what you rightly remark, that the popular mind is continually influenced by the issues of the Press—an instrument that has scattered the seeds of discord broadcast over the land. And here you either ignorantly or designedly intimate a slander against the South. You say "all papers have free issue at the North & not so at the South." Now do you not know enough of Southern affairs to see that the South by their very Constitution cannot admit incendiary documents to be cast into their midst—it were suicidal. If the South should publish papers uttering sentiments detrimental to Northern manufactories (in general) & in favor of foreign manufac's, how long would the North permit such papers to pass into their territory? Again, just as you say you "wish that North^n. papers could circulate South," so also do I wish that I need not bar my doors of nights. And both our desires could be accomplished if all men were honest. But, first, as I can't expect robbers to pass by my unbarred treasury, so I can't expect to receive Northern papers uncrammed with incendiary items. Again, however, the South^n papers have virtually no circulation at the North. I have heard men, reputable for their knowledge & conservatism even, denounce such Publi^ns. as "unworthy to be touched." In the Reading Room of Princeton Theo. Seminary there were taken, last winter, 12 weekly papers, and about 8 periodicals from the South & scarcely 3 of these were touched by any but Southern Students during the Session, unless some exciting discussion were going on in their columns. Thus much as to newspapers. I confess they have been the cause of many erroneous impressions on both sides, but the North is no purer from crimination on this score than the South;—one stubborn evidence of this is the numerical dif. in pop^ln.
You next remark that Abolitionism does not predominate at the North. I admit that for many years it did not, but lately it has acquired an ascendency & is now wielding its baneful influence on the minds of the masses. It is true there are many good people there whose minds are too pure to be tainted by such an almost infidel spirit as pervades the breasts of Abolitionists; yet the party in power has been elevated by such vast majorities of the people, in that section, that, to one investigating the matter, it seems the public sentiment at the North has greatly changed in the last few years. In such a country as ours—a democratic one—the masses are governed by a few great leaders; these leaders, whether in power or not, are still the almost despots who rule us. Their actions give fruit and coloring to the character of the sections over which they sway their autocratic sceptres. Who then can doubt the Aboli^n propensities of the N. when such men as Beecher, Greeley, Webb, Phillips, Sumner, & a host of kindred spirits, are the giant levers in the machinery of their society? It will not do to say that these are disregarded by sensible people there, for I know too well their power for evil. I know that Dr. Hodge—a man whom I love next to my Father—stated, in his article on "the state of the Country," that he did not know of 12 abolitionists "within the circle of his acquaintance." But the Dr. was either woefully mistaken or he didn't consider his pupils as belonging to that circle; for to my certain knowledge there were twice that number within the walls of "Princeton" at the time he made the assertion, and many of these avowedly such—men who, I was astonished to see, withheld their names when the same Dr. H. came round with a petition to Congress for "the restoration of the Mis. Comp." & the repeal of the "Personal Liberty Bills." These young men were embryo Ministers—men whose moral influence must be powerful for good or for evil. How is it then you can assert that the North don't want the extinction of slavery when such men as I have mentioned exert every effort to prevent its extension & not that only, but the operation of the fugitive S. law? I am aware that you stated the contrary in your letter—that the North are ever "rigorous" in its execution; nor am I so ungallant as to doubt your veracity; but I think you have not fully informed yourself on this point, else you would have learned that in scarcely an isolated case has the Master ever recovered his property without being put to more expense & trouble than the negro was worth; although I am free to admit, that at the same time it cost the U.S. gov. an equal if not greater Amount. Of course I refer to those negroes who have not merely crossed the limits of a Slave State, & thus been caught, but gone some distance North. Now the obligation to restore a fugitive Slave is a constitu^l. & moral obligation; and those laws designed to prevent such restoration are unconst^l & criminal—and worthy of all condem^n.—and unbecoming the dignity of any Sov^n. State. If people of any State can't conscientiously submit to the Constitution there are only 2 courses: they should endeavor to have it peaceably altered, or should move out of the Country. This is the opinion of the most learned and liberal men. They have no right to live under the protec^n. of a Const^n. & yet refuse to submit to its stipulations. True enough, as you say, the North wish not to have the Negroes set free in their midst, to overrun and disturb them—this they declare by their actions, for they take no care for or interest in the poor free (almost) brutes in their midst;—yet how soon will they be ready to resist you most violently should you attempt to take even one of them back, from his then wretched abode, to his former happier place in the service of a kind Master? "Oh! consistency, thou art a jewel!" This then has been one of the two great causes of the present troubles. The other—the denial of equal rights in the Territories—is still a greater, because it involves a principle; the former was more a matter of personal interest. The territories being purchased in common, were the com. pos. of North and South. Each had a Const^l right to emigrate thither with their property & demand for it the protection afforded by the Const^n. It became, in course of time, a matter of dispute whether the South could take their slaves there as property. (As a matter of course this arose from jealousy—the N. having no such prop, to take.) This great quest. was decided, however, by the Chief Justice in the highest Tribunal in the world, in favor of the South; viz. that slaves were property. I refer to the "Dred Scott" Case. This should have been sufficient, as it came from the highest authority in the Gov^t. But some parties and people are never satisfied. Full in the face of this high official the Repub^n Party declare by their Platform orators, & Press, that slavery shall never enter another foot of territory. Now if the South admit this principle they acknowledge their inferiority to the North—an act that, even in the eyes of the North, would not comport with their dignity & honor as an independent & free people. The South being thus oppressed then I assert they have a right (not to secede, for no such right exists in my conception, as it would be an element subversive of any, & especially of a Repub^ln gov.,) to revolt—a right inherent in & beyond the control of all earthly govern^ts. Yes I coincide with the great Lord Chatham when he says that "Rebellion against oppression is obedience to God." Our Ancestors rebelled against the tyranny of British usurpation, & the Texans revolted against a like despotism exercised by a Mexican Autocrat. Why then are the Sovereign States of America not justifiable in throwing off the yoke or rather resisting to have put upon them, the yoke, of Northern Tyranny? To make the argument still clearer, however, as to the Territories, let us illustrate it: Suppose a Repub^n. Congress decides that slavery shan't be protected in the Ter. as prop. I take my slave thither. An indictment is brought against me. I am tried and condemned by the territorial court. I appeal from its decision to the Sup. Court of the U.S. What then? From analogy I conclude that I shall be acquitted, i.e., recover my property. For one Chief Justice has already decided thus; and is not his decision final? Here then is an end of the matter; since the Sup. Court is the Sole Arbiter in determining the Constitutionality of any of Congress' acts.
As to the North not making use of slanderous epithets against the South, I know nothing about your particular section of the North, but I do know that when I have been in Penna. & N.J., I have heard all classes utter the vilest insinuations against the people of the South indiscriminately. Yes, it often seemed as if they could find no language too harsh, no comparison too base, no denunciation too bitter to apply to those whom in their ignorance they deemed their inferiors in wisdom and sense. Such have I heard from the lips of distinguished citizens in all departments & professions of life. Even hoary-headed ministers have entered the sacred desk with their MSS. reeking with filth from the cesspool of political slander. Dr. Brown, with whom you are doubtless acqu^td, is now in Phila^d. at the Gen. Assem. of the Pres. Ch. He wrote home lately that he never saw a mob that made use of viler language than did the best of citizens there in their denouncings of the South. I confess, however, that this is not a one-sided affair; for I have heard equally abusive language applied to the North by the people South. As before, then, let us "strike hands" on this point also, for both sections are equally culpable. As to the strength of individuals in the two sections, it must be tested on the battle-field, and there alone. Our war of words can never decide anything on this point. I should be sorry to admit the men in the North could not fight, had they a real enemy to contend against—a war of "justice, reason, or humanity" to wage. But to arm themselves against their brethren, and in such an unholy cause as that in which they are engaged now, I must confess that their true metal can never be exhibited. One man whose heart is in the war can always conquer two who are fighting from some impure motive. And now let me candidly ask you to as candidly tell me whether or not you think after seeing the thing progress thus far, and having, as you say, been, & still continue to be, well-informed as to apper^ns on both sides, the North are engaged in the cause of "Justice." Admitting that some of them are actuated by pure and lofty motives, do you not acknowledge that the vast majority are blinded by prejudice, led on by a desire for military fame, prompted by the prospect of plunder, or actuated by the still more ——? but I refrain—my very pen shudders at the thought of expressing myself further. Yes, I think you must confess that is the case. I refer, of course, to the Armies of Lincoln thus far made up. Are they not composed of a Mercenary horde, made up generally of the lowest rabble of the Country, & thousands of those thrown out of employment in the manufacturing cities—who have resorted to camp-life for self-sustenance—indeed their only resource? Whether you admit this or not, it is emphatically true to a great extent, for the Northern papers themselves have made such statements as would lead me to believe so, & more, I have correspondents in the North, who confirm my suspicions on this score. My own Father who does not justify the attack on Sumter, yet denounces Lin's army as a set of Murderers! He lives in Penna. & this is the opinion of many good citizens there. And now can such men be justified in their present purposes and activities? If so, upon what principles? We have sh^n. that it is not in accordance with sound reason & the "inexorable logic" of the Constitution, since that noble edifice was attacked in two points simultaneously by the Repub^cn party: 1st. by abrogating the Fugitive Slave Law; 2nd. by depriving the South of eq^l rights in the Territories. These are 2 points in which the North has transgressed the limits of immutable Justice, and nothing which is unjust can be reasonable, for, they (Just. & Reas.) are twin sisters. Moreover, the Bible justifies no war but that of self-defence. Then are the North invaded? No, nor never will be, by the South, for all they ask is peace within their borders. While they hold in one hand the sword of self-defence, they present the "Olive Branch" with the other; and so God grant it may be ever.