ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI,
November 29, 1865.
I am going to start for Arkansas on Friday, and be absent some three weeks. I take it nothing important can occur at Washington until after Christmas, unless it be on the question of the admission of the Southern members. I have never committed myself on that point, and though everybody supposes that my terms with Johnston looked to that result, you will remember that those terms specially provided that the laws of Congress were to control all questions. Now the new oath is and was a law of Congress, and the members elect must take the new oath, and if they cannot it is their fault or misfortune, not ours. If they take the prescribed oath, I think they should be admitted, simply because you cannot expect to hold a people always without representation, and it will give them additional weight, if they be denied now and afterward received. It is always better when concessions are to be made to make them at once, and not seem to be forced to do it after contest. You can now simply say, "Certainly, come in by subscribing to the conditions and oaths already prescribed by law, the same oaths we take."
W. T. SHERMAN.
SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 259-60