The Writings of Carl Schurz/To John A. Logan, February 29th, 1884

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New York, Feb. 29, 1884.

My dear General: Your kind note reached me last night. Were I not personally friendly to you, I should answer in ambiguous phrase signifying nothing. But as a friend I speak to you with that frankness which is authorized by the confidence you show me in your letter.

I think you are doing yourself harm by permitting your name to go before the Chicago Convention. No man is benefited by failure in such an enterprise, and it is my candid opinion that you are bound to fail. New York will be the pivotal State in the coming election and I do not believe you can carry it because on two points your record is against you. There is probably no State in which the civil service reform sentiment is stronger on account of the wide-spread dissatisfaction here with machine politics, and unfortunately you are counted rather among the friends of the old system. And, secondly, this being the financial center of the country, people here are very sensitive with regard to our financial policy. This sensitiveness is likely to be greater now than it has been since the restoration of specie payments, for the reason that very dangerous consequences are apprehended from the accumulation and the continued coinage of silver dollars. In this respect your record on the specie payment question would be fatal to you in this part of the country.

Moreover, it seems to me impossible that you should get the nomination, for another reason. To judge from what I see and hear, and from the expressions of sentiment which float through the press, there is in the Republican ranks an almost unanimous voice in favor of nominating Lincoln for the Vice-Presidency. This, of course, will preclude your nomination.

I know, my dear General, that, as you are now situated, many who want to appear as your friends will not tell you the truth, and that you will be tempted not to regard the telling of the truth, if it is unwelcome, as a sign of friendly feeling. I sincerely wish all bitterness of experience may be spared you in finding out which kind of friendship is the best. I should not have said to you what I have, did I not candidly and firmly believe that these things are true, and that it is the duty of an old friend to be perfectly frank, for the man who dissuades you from exposing yourself to a certain and grievous disappointment does you a real service.