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[Orvil is the youngest brother. The appointment referred to was one for the position of County Engineer.
Free-Soilers: "The Whig party had ceased to exist ... ; the Know Nothing party had taken its place but was on the wane; the Republican party was in a chaotic state and had not yet received a name. It had no existence in the Slave States except at points on the borders next to Free States. In St. Louis city and county what afterwards became the Republican party was known as the Free Soil Democracy."—Memoirs.
Professorship of mathematics: When Grant left the Military Academy he had no intention of remaining in the army. He then expected to teach mathematics, and had already applied for such a position at West Point. At Jefferson Barracks his chief interest was the study of higher mathematics with the view of obtaining a professorship. The Mexican War, however, soon drew him into active military life.
The real estate venture was unsuccessful; it was a business even then much overcrowded. Necessity, not instability, dictated the various experiments.]
St. Louis, Mo.,
Aug. 20th, 1859.
On last Wednesday I received your letter, and on the Monday before one from Mr. Burk, from both of which I much regretted to learn of Simpson's continued ill health. I at once wrote to Orvil, whose arrival at Galena I learned from Burk's letter, to urge Simpson to come by steamer to St. Louis and spend some time with me, and if it should prove necessary for anyone to accompany him, I would take him home. Cannot Jennie and Orvil's wife come this way when they start for Galena? We would like very much to see them.
I am not over sanguine of getting the appointment mentioned in my last letter. The Board of Commissioners, who make the appointment, are divided,—three free soilers to two opposed,—and although friends who are recommending me are the very first citizens of this place, and members of all parties, I fear they will make strictly party nominations for all the offices under their control. As to the professorship you speak of, that was filled some time ago. And were it not, I would stand no earthly chance. The Washington University, where the vacancy was to be filled, is one of the best endowed institutions in the United States, and all the professorships are sought after by persons whose early advantages were the same as mine, but who have been engaged in teaching all their mature years. Quimby, who was the best mathematician in my class, and who was for several years an assistant at West Point, and for nine years a professor in an institution in New York, was an unsuccessful applicant. The appointment was given to the most distinguished man in his department in the country, and an author. His name is Shorano. Since putting in my application for the appointment of County Engineer, I have learned that the place is not likely to be filled before February next. What I shall do will depend entirely upon what I can get to do. Our present business is entirely overdone in this city, at least a dozen new houses having started about the same time I commenced. I do not want to fly from one thing to another, nor would I, but I am compelled to make a living from the start for which I am willing to give all my time and all my energy.
Julia and the children are well and send love to you. On your way to Galena can you not come by here? Write to me soon.
- The Project Gutenberg eBook, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, by Ulysses S. Grant, Edited by Jesse Grant Cramer