The Writings of Carl Schurz/To J. R. Doolittle, April 12th, 1860


Milwaukee, April 12, 1860.

My dear Friend: Since yesterday the Republicans of this city are in a state of great excitement about Potter. The telegraph has not informed us yet whether he has accepted the challenge or not.[1] We expect further news about noon. We all feel deeply anxious. God grant that all goes well. Whatever the result may be, do me the favor to send me all the particulars you can gather.

You have learned of the result of the judicial election in this State. Yesterday I wrote a letter to Potter about this very matter, and I think he will show it to you—if he survives. This morning the official returns are coming in, and Dixon's majorities are coming down so wonderfully that there is still some hope of Sloan's election.

In your kind letter of March 13th you speak of the candidates for the Presidency. As to Wade I agree with you perfectly. I have a kind of fondness for the brave old Roundhead, but I think Lincoln will be stronger in the Convention. If Pennsylvania and New Jersey should unite upon Wade, that would alter the case. But as things now are it looks as though Seward would go into the Convention with nearly a majority of the delegates.

The day of division is drawing near now and I hope you will be kind enough to keep me advised of what is going on in high circles.

Excuse this short and hasty letter. I feel so anxious about our brave friend Potter that I can hardly think of anything else. But I must not forget to congratulate you upon your excellent speech on State-rights. It is a grand vindication of the doctrine.

  1. Roger A. Pryor, then a Representative from Va., challenged Potter to a duel on account of personal differences of opinion in discussing slavery in the House. Potter accepted and named bowie-knives. This caused much excitement and merriment in the North and indignation in the South. Although the duel never came off, Potter quickly became a popular hero among anti-slavery men.