The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Rutherford B. Hayes, January 1st, 1877

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St. Louis, Jan. 1, 1877.

Permit me to offer to you and your family my best wishes for the new year. Let us hope that its close may be fraught with less care and anxiety than its beginning.

There are some things which we may already congratulate ourselves upon: the law-abiding, peaceable disposition of the people; the evident fact that the very difficulties which now surround us are rapidly convincing the public mind of the absolute necessity of the total abolition of the spoils system and a thorough reform of the civil service,—and finally the prudent and patriotic attitude of the most prominent Southern leaders with regard to yourself and your intended Southern policy. These things are indeed a silver lining to a dark cloud.

I see it stated in the papers that some influential Southern men have made direct overtures to you. You have undoubtedly noticed the story told by a New York Herald correspondent of an attempt made by some friends of yours to organize the Southern members of the House of Representatives for independent action. Is there any truth in it?

There seems to be at last a gleam of hope that the Senate branch of the Conference Committee may come to a substantial agreement about the mode of counting the electoral vote and declaring the result. If this be accomplished, the House branch of the Committee will perhaps be obliged to accept the conclusion, and we may then arrive at a solution of our difficulties standing above all dispute. To be sure, there are still some knotty questions to be disposed of before that point is reached, but there seems to be good reason for hope. And is not the end so desirable that every honorable effort in that direction should receive all possible encouragement?