The Writings of Carl Schurz/To W. M. Grosvenor, December 25th, 1872


Boston, Dec. 25, 1872.

I am astonished to hear that “nearly all of my friends” should be in favor of [General Frank P.] Blair's reëlection. Do they remember the interests of the cause for which we work? Blair's first election was the first blow which staggered the Liberal movement. You must have felt with me, how severe that blow was. That election appearing as the first fruit of our victory in Missouri deprived the movement of half of the credit it deserved, and placed us on the defensive.

Again, Blair's appearance and intervention at Cincinnati destroyed, at the decisive moment, with the character of that great enterprise also its chances of success. He was the evil genius whose very touch was destruction.

And now Missouri, the State which, with its respectable majority for the Cincinnati ticket, stands there as the only real stronghold and representative of Liberalism, is to turn the success achieved at the election into the personal endorsement of the same man who, more than any other, made the Cincinnati Convention the “slaughter house” of the most splendid opportunities of our times. I have none but kindly feelings for Blair personally; he is a good fellow and all that. But I must confess, I cannot comprehend how those who care anything about the future of the Liberal movement, can be willing, after all the experiences we have gone through, to sacrifice its character and chances again by putting forward once more as a leader him who destroyed it, and by putting on its back that bundle of mischief and misfortune, under which it has already once broken down.

I have so far studiously abstained from meddling with the Senatorial contest, because I think it improper to interfere in an election which is to give me a colleague. But if any of my friends favor Blair's return in such a way as to make it appear as if I agreed with them, I shall feel in duty bound, so as not to be drawn into the contest on the wrong side, to say publicly what I have here written confidentially to you, in whatever way it may affect my personal fortunes. If my own reëlection two years hence depends on my favoring or appearing to favor the return and endorsement of those who perverted and destroyed that great movement which, if conducted according to our idea, would have saved the Republic from so wretched a situation as the present,—then I say without hesitation, I cannot pay such a price for a seat in the Senate. We have now to deal with a condition of things too serious to be trifled with. And I entreat you as a true friend, not to involve yourself in this thing. You will compromise your own future and some day keenly regret it. It is for your own sake as well as that of interests greater in importance than your or my fortunes, that I speak so earnestly.

I conclude from other advices I have received that most of my friends think about this matter very much as I do and believe the election of some other candidate eminently probable. I shall write to Preetorius about this matter to-day. . . .