Washington, D. C,
May 21, 1865.
I HAVE just received your letter of the 18th. It has never been my intention to give up Illinois as my home. The house in Philadelphia was presented to me, I believe, entirely by the Union League of that city. I was not aware the project was under way until the money for the purchase was mostly subscribed, and then I did not know the parties interesting themselves in the matter. I had selected Philadelphia as a place for my family, where the children could have good schools and be near, so that I might see them whenever I had a leisure day.
It would look egotistical to make a parade in the papers about where I intend to claim as my home, but I will endeavor to be in Galena at the next election and vote there, and declare my intention of claiming that as my home and intention of never casting a vote elsewhere without first giving notice.
I feel very grateful to the citizens of Illinois generally, and to those of Jo Daveiss County and yourself in particular, for the uniform support I have received from that quarter. Without that support it would now matter but little where I might claim a residence. I might write a letter to Mr. Stuart,14 chairman of the Christian Commission, and the most active member of the Union League of Philadelphia, in getting up the subscription for my house, stating what I owe to the State of Illinois, and that he and his friends must not think hard of me for holding on to Galena as my home.
I will hear from you again before doing anything in this matter. At present I am keeping house in Georgetown, and have my family with me. Neither they nor I will be in Philadelphia again, unless it be for a few days, before fall.
14 George Hay Stuart (1816-1890), an opulent merchant and philanthropist, of Philadelphia, who was twice offered a position in General Grant's Cabinet.
SOURCE: James Grant Wilson, Editor, General Grant’s Letters to a Friend 1861-1880, p. 47-8, 116-7