The Writings of Carl Schurz/From Benjamin H. Bristow, March 8th, 1877

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Louisville, Mar. 8, 1877.

I hope I do not need to assure you that your appointment is peculiarly gratifying to me.

I beg to tender my hearty salutation to you personally, and to express the great joy I feel in common with the friends of good government and genuine reform. Your acceptance of the high public trust is an event in our political history of much more than ordinary significance.

Of course you know as well as I that the battle for reform is not to be won by manifestoes. Politicians who have long lived by the use of official patronage will not surrender it without fierce and desperate resistance. But the intelligent and patriotic people of the country are in sympathy with the President's declared purpose. There is nothing that wins the popular heart so quickly as high courage, and the fiercer the conflict the more will the people rally to the President's support. It is idle to look out for middle ground. The Administration must either conquer the machine politicians or surrender to them. Your appointment will be accepted as an earnest of the President's settled purpose to stand firmly by his promises.