The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Jacob D. Cox, January 30th, 1877


St. Louis, Jan. 30, 1877.

I thank you most sincerely for your kind letter of the 24th inst. I ought to apologize for having put any question to you, an answer to which I might have thought would be embarrassing. And I may assure you, that my last letter did not have that meaning.

What you tell me of the general drift of Governor Hayes's mind, as it appears in conversation, is very satisfactory and accords with my own observations. But you say “the risk is that his selections will not be so positive, as we could desire.” There may indeed be reason for an apprehension of that kind. Now, I have made it a rule in my correspondence with him to express my views on everything, public questions as well as individuals, with the utmost frankness and freedom, no matter whether he agrees with me or not. I told him at the beginning of the campaign that he should look upon me as one who would not claim, nor desire, nor expect anything from him except the privilege of telling him at all times without reserve what I thought about matters or men—and that I do. I have thus been trying to impress upon him the necessity, if he is declared elected and means to redeem his pledges, of making a good strong start, first by repeating in his inaugural in the most specific and unequivocal manner all the propositions and promises of his letter of acceptance, and then by surrounding himself with the highest character and the best political ability and energy he can find, not only men of unexceptionable reputation and good intentions, but men of intelligence, will and force.

If you ask my opinion as to whether you should follow his invitation to advise him and give him information with regard to individuals, I would decidedly urge you to do so. I am sure, the advice of such men as you are, is just the thing he needs, and, I am glad to say, just the thing he desires. The more unreservedly you speak to him, the better. I am convinced that he is sincerely anxious to have your advice.