The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Samuel Bowles, January 16th, 1876


New York, Jan. 16, 1876.

I have been corresponding with a number of my friends in the West and I find that the idea of a meeting to be called “to devise measures to prevent the campaign of the Centennial year from becoming a mere scramble of politicians for the spoils” etc. etc., is taking very well. My correspondence has been entirely confidential so far. I am confident now we can have a respectable meeting as soon as it is time to issue the invitations.

I agree with you in thinking that circumstances are growing more and more propitious. It seems almost as if Blaine had virtually killed himself as a candidate,[1] as I always thought he would. He may seemingly revive, but I am sure he will die of too much smartness at last. The effect produced by the revival of the war feeling in Congress is a very hopeful sign. It shows how strong the Centennial current is, and I begin to hope that Pennsylvania, which of all the States but recently appeared the least promising, may fall into our hands if the Centennial idea be well worked up in the progress of the independent movement. I have drawn up an address which I want to submit to you as soon as it is finished. The Republican National Committee has put off the Convention later than I expected, but it is well. We have now plenty of time for preparatory work, and of all places in the country Cincinnati is the one where we can organize the strongest pressure.

The two parties are evidently busy using up one another in Congress. They are doing our work splendidly, and it is quite likely that in about two months they will be sufficiently disgusted, not only with one another, but each one with itself.

In the meantime I think we ought to keep Adams in the background, except in private conversation. I not only considered him the best, but in the Centennial year also by far the strongest candidate. All that should be done for him directly is to secure for him the Massachusetts delegation in the Republican National Convention. At present, I think, he had better not appear in the press at all. Blaine will, I expect, put forth a very strong effort to secure the Massachusetts delegation for himself, but that can probably be counteracted now without much difficulty.

Do you know Governor Chamberlain of South Carolina? Can you get into correspondence with him? We ought to have him with us.

. . . We, i. e., you and I, ought to meet about a fortnight from to-morrow and establish thorough concert of action. I shall by that time have elaborated a complete plan of operations and ought to have your judgment upon it.

My whole house asks to be kindly remembered.

  1. By his passionate speech of Jan. 10, 1876, in the House, against ex-Confederates. See 3 Reminiscences, 365.