Sunday, September 15, 2013

Senator John Sherman to Major General William T. Sherman, November 10, 1865

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 1865.

Dear Brother:

Your note of the 4th is received. I am glad to hear you are settled, and from all accounts delightfully. You deserve quiet and repose after five years of change and labor. When in New York the other day, I found that party of English capitalists were delighted with their visit with you, and seemed especially polite to me on that account. I got for two of them Bowman and Nichols’ works,1 which they wanted to take home. But for my political employment I could have received from them very lucrative employment in the prosecution of their vast railroad schemes. Even as it is, if they, within six months, show their ability to execute their plans, I will identify myself much more with them. The truth is, the close of the war with our resources unimpaired gives an elevation, a scope to the ideas of leading capitalists, far higher than anything ever undertaken in this country before. They talk of millions as confidently as formerly of thousands. No doubt the contraction that must soon come will explode merely visionary schemes, but many vast undertakings will be executed. Among them will be the Pacific R. R. and extensive iron works, like some in England. Our manufactures are yet in their infancy, but soon I expect to see, under the stimulus of a great demand and the protection of our tariff, locomotive and machine shops worthy of the name. I do not fear, whatever may be the result of the senatorial election, but I can find enough to do, and without lowering the position I have occupied. As for the chances, from all the information I can gather, there is but little doubt a majority of the Legislature is for me. Still I know enough of the shifts and dangers in a new body of men like a Legislature not to be over sanguine. Since I am in the contest I will do all I can for success, and hope my friends will do likewise, but if defeated will bear it patiently. In a short time I will send you a list of the members who are from the military service, in the hope that you may know some of them well enough to influence them. You can feel perfectly easy in doing this, as my opponents use to the uttermost against me any prejudice or feeling against you. This election over, I think I shall be very willing to say good by to politics, and will then seek to settle myself comfortably in some part of Ohio where I can engage in railroads, banking, or manufacturing. The law in this country is now only useful as the pathway to other pursuits.
. . . . . . . . . .

I have seen Johnson several times. He seems kind and patient with all his terrible responsibility. I think he feels what every one must have observed, that the people will not trust the party or men who, during the war, sided with the rebels. The Democratic party is doomed forever as a disloyal organization, and no promises, or pledges, or platform they can make will redeem them from the odium they justly gained.

Yours affectionately,

1 Lives of General Sherman

SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 258-9

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