The Writings of Carl Schurz/To John Wanamaker, February 25th, 1889


New York, Feb. 25, 1889.

My attention has been called to a letter published in Harper's Weekly February 9th, of which the following is the closing paragraph:

Mr. Wanamaker is now on his way to Europe, but his stay there will be very brief. I am sure that on his return he will be ready, as he has always been, to answer categorically any question put to him in regard to his connection with the campaign by any conspicuously fair-minded public man whose reputation and character afford a guarantee of the perfect good faith of the inquiry. As I write this I recall the noble and thoughtful address lately delivered by Mr. Carl Schurz before the Commonwealth Club, and I have no doubt that, were Mr. Schurz to address Mr. Wanamaker with the view of discovering the exact truth about his relations to the expenditures of money in the late campaign, he would elicit a reply calculated to satisfy every unprejudiced man that the current aspersions against the eminent Philadelphian are absolutely groundless.

This letter seems quite generally to have been taken as having been written by authority; and, in consequence, I have been called upon, publicly as well as privately, to address you in the manner suggested by your friend. Upon reflection I have concluded that in a certain sense I am in duty bound to do so. Nothing could indeed be farther from my mind than any desire to constitute myself an investigator in this case, and however flattering your friend's good opinion is to me, I should have greatly preferred it had the public received the information, which you are ready to give, without any intervention on my part. But if, as your friend evidently thinks, such an inquiry from me would be regarded by you as a welcome opportunity for putting forth statements which you would feel disinclined to make without it, I am certainly willing to serve as suggested by him in furnishing that opportunity.

I will only add that I should be most happy to see the widespread belief as to the corrupt use of large sums of money in the last Presidential election effectually dispelled by the best possible proof that the campaign funds have been expended for legitimate purposes. And if I can be instrumental in eliciting such proof, I shall consider it a service to the good name of the country which will be to me a source of the sincerest satisfaction. It is in this spirit that I address you, and the first question I have to ask, is, of course, whether the writer in Harper's Weekly, in calling for this letter, really represented your views and wishes.