The Writings of Carl Schurz/From Charles Sumner, September 25th, 1871

Boston, Sept. 25, 1871.

My dear General: I have not seen your Nashville speech complete,—but admire the extract much.

I doubt if Jefferson Davis and his compeers ought to have the license of omceholding again. I have always said that when the time had come, nobody should outdo me in generosity to the South. You insist that the time has come.

Your statement against Grant is most powerful. The more I think of him and his doings, the more I feel his incompetency and wrong-heartedness. I tremble for my country, when I contemplate the possibility of this man being fastened upon us for another four years. What can be done to make this impossible? I also tremble when I think of reconstruction, with Liberty and Equality, committed for four years to the tender mercies of the Democrats. Which way is daylight?

Hooper has a letter from Washington, which says, that the State Department has distributed the balance on hand among the Venezuela claimants, according to their certificates! But this is only an incident to the flagrant demoralization which prevails. What next?

I wish a President with a little common sense, common justice and common liberality, who is not always brutal or vindictive. Think of the Presidential quarrels—ending in indignity to two members of the Cabinet—the Chairman of a Senate Committee—distinguished Senators—a Minister to London—the dean of the diplomatic corps, an excellent friend who has returned home embittered to [against?] our country—and now the Russian Minister, whose Government, I am assured, has approved his course entirely;—to say nothing of numerous other cases. Verily we have “a man of quarrels” for President.

I hope Mrs. Schurz and your children are well, not forgetting the infant Astyanax.

Let me hear from you and give me your vista of the Future. The New York and Massachusetts conventions this week may have an important influence. Ever yours.