The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Francis A. Walker, April 6th, 1876

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New York, April 6, 1876.

Dear Sir: The widespread corruption in our public service which has disgraced the Republic in the eyes of the world and threatens to poison the vitality of our institutions,—the uncertainty of the public mind and of party-counsels as to grave economical questions involving in a great measure the honor of the Government, the morality of our business life and the general well-being of the people,—and the danger that an inordinate party spirit may through the organized actions of a comparatively small number of men who live by politics, succeed in overriding the most patriotic impulses of the people and in monopolizing political power for selfish ends—seem to render it most desirable that no effort should be spared to secure to the popular desire for genuine reform a decisive influence in the impending National election.

Mindful of the fact that this patriotic desire is honestly struggling for effective expression inside of existing political organizations, as it is also strong outside of them, and believing that by all proper means it should be encouraged and made to prevail, the undersigned invite you to meet them and others of like purpose, who have been invited in the same manner, in a free conference to consider what may be done to prevent the National Election of the Centennial year from becoming a mere choice of evils, and to secure the election of men to the highest offices of the Republic, whose character and ability will satisfy the exigencies of our present situation and protect the honor of the American name.

The conference will be held in the city of New York on the 15th of May. You are respectfully and urgently requested to be present, and to communicate your acceptance of this invitation to H. C. Lodge, Esq., 31 Beacon St., Boston.

Very truly yours,
William Cullen Bryant, New York.
Theodore D. Woolsey, Connecticut.
Alexander H. Bullock, Massachusetts.
Horace White, Illinois.
Carl Schurz, Missouri.

  1. Circular call of the Fifth Avenue Hotel conference. See letter of Apr. 15, 1876, to L. A. Sherman.