Council Chamber, Boston, January 30th, 1861.
My Dear Bird, — I want to suggest that, whenever you see or foresee the arising of a question touching which you have decided opinions, I wish you would, in the freest and fullest manner, give me the aid of your advice; but, also to suggest, that it weakens me to criticise afterwards in respect to things as to which I have not had the aid of previous advice. I do nothing, at any time, but, under the keenest sense of responsibility and with the earnest desire to do good and serve the best interest of the highest idea of justice and truth, — but, am always liable to grave error, and need the kindest sympathy and support of friends — of whom I count you as one of the best.
Another thing ought also to be remembered, viz, that, as to a large part of the various things proposed, it is of much less importance what is done, than it is that the thing done shd be rightly directed in its manner, and should be under the right auspices. Again — when I am clearly wrong — dont be too serious and look as if I was going straight to the devil — but treat me as if there might be a remaining relish of salvation, and a chance of doing better the next time.
[john A. Andrew.1]
P. S. Please apply these remarks to our interview of this P. M.
1 The signature has been cut out from the original.
SOURCE: Henry Greenleaf Pearson, The Life of John A. Andrew: Governor of Massachusetts, 1861-1865, Volume 1, p. 157