The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Charles Francis Adams, Jr., January 21st, 1877

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St. Louis, Jan. 21, 1877.

Your last letter was evidently written before the bill agreed upon in the Conference Committee had become known. For some time I had had information from Washington that an agreement was probable, and for that reason I did not write to you. That agreement changes the whole situation. Everything turns now on the fate of the bill reported by the Committee. Although there seems to be a good deal of opposition, still I think the prospects of the measure are very favorable. Of course, if the bill passes, there will be the end of the contest; this, at least, is the prevailing opinion. In the meantime it is useless to talk of anything else; nor should we. The measure is fair in its provisions as well as its intent. It is a makeshift, to be sure, but a good one. It takes the decision of the Presidential question away from the theater of party warfare and refers it to a tribunal that will not be governed by party selfishness. It promises a settlement which will, at least, be readily accepted and acquiesced in by all good citizens, and will have to be accepted by the bad ones. And the Administration issuing from it will start with a fair chance and every possible incentive to make the dark features of its origin forgotten by vigorous endeavors in the right direction. In this respect this settlement may produce consequences extraordinarily good.

From what I have said you may conclude that I am in favor of the bill, and so I am. I mean to do all I can to secure its success, and have done some things in a quiet way already. If, contrary to general expectation, the bill should fail, it is difficult to say what then would follow. Possibly the idea of a new election would gain more strength than ever before. But until then, it is useless to consider it. Merely to mention it now would look like a disturbance of the peace.

However, the next few days will tell the story.