The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Edward L. Pierce, April 30th, 1859


Milwaukee, April 30, 1859.

I arrived here safely and in good condition a few days ago, and found that while I was gone and the Know-Nothing papers of Massachusetts abused me for having worked against the two-year amendment, the Democratic papers of Wisconsin abused me to their hearts content for having associated with the Know-Nothings of Massachusetts. While I am censured there for having meddled with your local concerns, I am censured here for not having done so, and Democracy is found in fraternal embrace with Know-Nothingism. This is exhilarating and I think I am at the present moment one of the best abused men in the country. The Republican papers, of course, stand by me most vigorously, and so I find it not very difficult to weather the storm. I have written out my Worcester speech almost literally as I delivered it, and it will appear in a Milwaukee paper next Monday. I will send you a copy. The report of the Worcester Spy is very defective; perhaps you can use my own report there. You would do me a favor by writing a correspondence [letter] to the Milwaukee Sentinel about the effect of my speeches and the manner in which they were understood there.

Where is General [Henry] Wilson's letter? I fear it will come too late, if it does come at all. The press almost unanimously sets him down as an opponent of the amendment, and he cannot back out. Why does he hold back? He can gain only by a straightforward and manly course. Do all you can to make him step forward boldly.

The West stands on tiptoe; the eyes of the people are fixed on Massachusetts and her action one way or the other will have an immense influence. The matter is being discussed here with the greatest interest and the excitement is increasing every day.

The responsibility of Massachusetts is awful, and I have no words strong enough to make you comprehend its full extent. Will the Republicans be patriotic enough to sacrifice their little prejudices to the welfare of our great cause? Will they at last learn that our principles cannot be victorious unless they are clear, pure and consistent?—that by trades and bargains we are bound to lose our honor and the victory at the same time? I read Massachusetts papers as often as I can get hold of one. They are almost silent on the subject. I understand that your great article has appeared in the Worcester Spy. How does it work? Has it acquired a sufficient circulation? I wish I could instil my zeal and activity into every true Republican heart. Where so much depends on a single vote, every man who has a just notion of his duty ought to stand by his gun.

Would it not be good now to publish the letter I wrote you some time ago, in full or the principal part of it? I do not care whether it compromises me here or not. The result in Massachusetts is of far greater importance. This, however, I leave to your judgment.

My dear friend, I was very happy to make the acquaintance of one Massachusetts Yankee whom I found thoroughly sound and above prejudice; that man is Edward L. Pierce and I shall be glad to take him by the hand again. Just while I am writing these lines Cogswell hands me the Worcester Spy containing your article. It is great and cannot fail to have its effect. Work is the great principle; “impossibility” ought not to be in our dictionary. I wish every voter would read your article.

Let me hear from you again; I should be glad to know how the thing works, and, please, do not fail to notify me of the result as soon as the vote is taken.