The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Miles Lewis Peck, November 3d, 1904


New York, Nov. 3, 1904.

I thank you for your communication of October 26th.[1] I have received similar letters in the course of almost every political campaign, but they were uniformly anonymous. Yours is the first one of which the author was proud enough to sign it with his name. This deserves recognition, and entitles it to an answer.

Your demand that I should leave this country on account of my political disagreement with Mr. Miles Lewis Peck is unkind. I have lived in this country over fifty-two years, and as, to judge from your letter, you are still young, it may be that I was one of those voters, of whom you speak as the “rulers of this country,” before you were born. I have become attached to it. During that half century I have also tried to serve it, in peace and war, not to your satisfaction, perhaps, but as best I could. And now to be turned out of it because I do not agree politically with Mr. Miles Lewis Peck of Bristol, Ct., is little short of cruel.

But the rule you lay down is also unreasonable. In justice you will have to apply it, as well as to me, to all other persons in the same predicament. You will then, supposing you to be in the majority, send all those who differ from you politically out of the country—the foreign born to their native lands, and the native born to the homes of their ancestors. But it is probable—I may say certain—that the remaining majority would also divide into parties. You, being always of the majority party, would then, according to your rule, read the new minority party out of the country. Now you will see that this operation, many times repeated, might at last leave Mr. Miles Lewis Peck of Bristol, Ct., on the ground, lonesome and forlorn, in desolate self-appreciation.

But it may also happen to you to find yourself sometime accidentally in the minority of the voters, and then, according to your rules, you would also be sent out of our beloved country, to the home of your forefathers. This, no doubt, would be very distasteful to you, and, I assure you, you would have my sincere sympathy. It would show you, however, how unstatesmanlike your theory is. Let us agree, then, that it is, after all, best for us to respect one another's right as good Americans to differ politically, and that this country is large enough to hold both Mr. Miles Lewis Peck of Bristol, Ct., and his humble fellow-citizen,

Carl Schurz.

  1. “Bristol, Conn., Oct. 26, 1904. 

    “Dear Sir: Your printed letter is at hand. Conditions here seem very unsatisfactory to you. I wonder you do not return to your native land. That I think is the best way for those who do not like the views of the rulers of this country—the voters. Yours respectfully,

    “Miles Lewis Peck.”