The Writings of Carl Schurz/From Charles Sumner, October 20th, 1865


Boston, Oct. 20, 1865.

It is as I expected. It was so with the Chief Justice, who visited the South, by arrangement with the President, and who wrote to him from different places, until, at Mobile, he encountered proclamations, when he stopped. When he saw the President on his return nothing was said of his observation. It seems it was so with you.

I did not think the President in earnest when he invited you to make your tour. Since then he has been pushing forward his “experiment,” and I doubt not, will push it further, if Congress does not assume jurisdiction of the whole subject.

Of course, you will make your report. But you ought as soon as possible to make a speech.

Governor Andrew says he can meet you in New York a week from to-morrow (Saturday). I fear that I cannot.

I wish you could give me briefly an outline of your impressions. My own convictions are now stronger than ever with regard to our duty. The rebel States must not be allowed at once to participate in our Government. This privilege must be postponed. Meanwhile all parties will be prepared for the great changes in their political relations. There must be delay. The President does not see this and every step that he takes is toward perdition.

Never was the way so clear or the opportunity so great. The President might have given peace to the country and made it a mighty example of justice to mankind. Instead of this consummation, he revives the old Slave Oligarchy, envenomed by war, and gives it a new lease of terrible power. This Republic cannot be lost; but the President has done very much to lose it. We must work hard to save it.

St. Louis is a central place. But I long to see you in Congress, where you can act directly by public speech on the country. But less than anybody, do you need Congress. You have already the public ear. I hope you will speak soon.