The Writings of Carl Schurz/From Benjamin H. Bristow, September 24th, 1878

Brevoort House, New York, Sept. 24, 1878.

I am glad to learn that you are going to speak at Cincinnati on the currency question, for I am sure you will neither “straddle” nor “dodge.” I am entirely out of politics and propose to devote my time and energies exclusively to the practice of law; but I can never be indifferent or neutral on a matter affecting so directly the good faith of the Nation and the individual and commercial honesty of the people.

The false teachings of a large number of party leaders and the equivocal and cowardly conduct of others have borne the fruit which is now being plucked by a set of dangerous demagogues. If the paternity of legal-tender notes is an achievement to be proud of rather than a necessity to be deplored, then the present greenback movement is certainly logical so far as Republicans are concerned. The people sadly need sound teachings and courageous leadership in this matter. They have enough virtue and intelligence to follow in right directions, though perhaps not enough of either to resist mischievous teachings in which their accustomed leaders of both parties strive to outvie each other.

But I would not presume to instruct you. I only sat down to express my gratification at hearing that you are going to speak and having done so I beg to add that the continued success of your Administration of the Interior Department has given me sincere pleasure.