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Dear Brother: Your letter of the 20th has vbeen received. I thought, and was glad to hear, that you had a charming trip. I saw enough of the mountain region to give me a new estimate of its great value. In some respects I regret that I did not go with you, but situated as I am, it was extremely fortunate that I returned as I did. My political position ought not to be misunderstood, but unfriendly critics took occasion of my absence in the canvass to attribute it to duplicity or cowardice. The President's course on the Civil Eights Bill and constitutional amendment was so unwise that I could not for a moment allow any one to suppose that I meant with him to join a coalition with rebels and Copperheads. Besides, Johnson was elected by a party upon professions before and after his election and inauguration so pointedly different from his recent course that it appeared to me a betrayal of those who trusted his professions, and therefore in the highest sense dishonorable. But worse than all, his turning out good men sometimes wounded soldiers merely because they adhered to their party convictions, and putting in men who opposed the war throughout, is simply an unmitigated outrage that will stain the name of any man connected with such conduct. This was the deliberate judgment of nearly every man in the Union party, and the feeling was intensified by the President's conduct in his recent tour, when he sunk the Presidential office to the level of a grog-house.
I do trust you will not connect your name with this administration. You lose in every way by it. Grant ought not to ask it, for in the common judgment it places you in equivocal relations with him. You will have all the odium caused by disappointment in the reorganization of the Army, and will have a most difficult, delicate, and responsible duty to discharge, in which you can gain no credit and may lose much. Besides, it connects you as a partisan with Johnson just what he wants, but what you ought to dread. What can you think of the recent telegrams about your private letter? If you wrote a private letter, what business had they to make it public in the most offensive way by innuendo? Grant and you are above the ephemera of party politics, and for the sake of the country I hope will keep so. Let Johnson take Cowan, or some one that left the Union party with him, but my convictions are so strong that you ought not to play "Administrator de bonis non" of Stanton, that I write thus freely. If you conclude otherwise, I can only say I shall deeply regret it. ...
- John Sherman