The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Jacob D. Cox, October 14th, 22d, 1871


St. Louis, Oct. 14, 1871.

I have received your kind letter of the 7th inst. and am happy to see that you appreciate the character and tendency of the movement recently inaugurated at Nashville. The best citizens of that place, of both parties, are in it, and I hope to see it spread in a short time over the whole State. Similar organizations are being started in Texas; I have letters from Louisiana and Mississippi expressing the desire to do the same thing, and if the matter is pushed with the necessary energy, we may see an association of this kind in every Congressional district of the South before next spring. We shall have one here at St. Louis, with branch associations all over the State. There are “Reform Clubs” in a great many Northern cities; and in my opinion an effort should be made to unite in them the progressive men of both parties and then to establish a central committee to give the proper correspondence to the movement North and South. I shall, probably, speak at Louisville on Wednesday, and deliver a lecture on Civil Service Reform at Cincinnati on Thursday. I hope to see you on that occasion and to exchange views.

Would not the “Central Republican Association” be now prepared to open its ranks to progressive Democrats and to work in harmony with the movement commenced in the South? It would be a great step ahead and give a powerful impulse to similar endeavors in the Northern States. Let me ask you to take the matter into consideration.

St. Louis, Oct. 22, 1871.

In our conversations at Cincinnati I forgot to mention one reason—and it is one of the most important—why your organization should adopt the plan adopted at Nashville, of uniting the liberal elements of both parties. It would be a powerful encouragement to those men in the Southern States who are willing to coöperate in the same manner for the purpose of suppressing lawless disturbances and reforming public sentiment. They need sympathy and encouragement, and nothing would give them more of it than the consciousness of not standing alone,—of being a link in a great chain. I consider the movement so happily begun in the South as extremely important. If disturbances are repressed and a healthy influence is exercised upon public opinion there by Southern men themselves, it will not only have a most salutary effect on the spot, but it will relieve us all over the country of some of the greatest difficulties we have to contend with.

I submit this point to you for consideration and would ask you to urge it at your meeting with the liberal Democrats next Thursday. I hope you will be able to organize for united action.