INCREASING PROSPERITY--CINCINNATI, 1855-1858
CINCINNATI, January 22, 1855.
DEAR GUY:--I received your New Year's greeting this eve-
ning, and reply to it at once in order to show you that
"auld lang syne" is not all forgotten.
It is the coldest day of the year. The freezing northwest wind
is sweeping through the street. Here I sit in my cozy little
parlor, my wife Lucy sewing almost within kissing distance, my
table covered with law papers. Overhead I can hear the two
grandmothers--Grandmothers Hayes and Webb--talking and
answering "the boy" (as if there was no other boy!) while he
seems to be hammering the floor with a mallet--it may be the
heel of one of my boots. With these favorable surroundings, I
ought [to] and would indite a long loving epistle to my old
chum, if it were not that I am in the midst of the most hurrying
days of this most litigating year.
A few weeks ago I succeeded in finally getting an acquittal
of my first life case, which has been a pet case so long and to
which I owe so much; and now, added to the usual labors of the
office, I am preparing for the final argument before the Supreme
Court at Columbus of my other pet case, also a case of life. I
have argued it already three times in various courts, and am to
see that my last effort is not worse than the other three. The
hardest task a man can have, having done his best then, [is] to
try to do better in the same case--the zest of novelty gone, and
conscious that the part of your audience you are most desirous
to convince were unconvinced by your former argument. These
are a lawyer's feelings. I never expect to take such an interest
in another cause. The chances are greatly against success, and
the task is to argue so well that no one will attribute failure to
the weakness of the lawyer. In the midst of this preparation, I
am now writing to you. Day after tomorrow is the contest.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 477
With this case ends everything like anxious ambition. Many
cases, very many, will doubtless come to my hands about which
I shall feel solicitude that will make me wakeful when I should
be sleeping. But two things are now ascertained and I rest upon
them. One is, that I have neither health nor capacity to be a
first-rate figure in my profession; the other, that I appear to
have enough of both to acquire a reasonable success--enough
for happiness. With this I am content. I can and do admit
genius and talent; but the feeling is unmixed, wholly, with envy.
There you have a string of personalisms that shames your last
out of sight. Nevertheless, I do not deem it out of place in a
letter to you.
And here I had to stop to join Lucy in humming through a
verse of "Old Folks at Home." You have missed a letter, per-
haps two, of mine, the first to Delaware, the other directed I
don't remember where. We got Birchie's V, and after a long
searching, thought a ring, "From Guy M. Bryan to Birchie 1854,"
would be preserved longer than anything else. "My fault" that
you did not see my wife? No, no. She couldn't travel and you
had no time to go down to Ross County where she was staying.
Two things in your letter I must talk over with you. You did
not find the cordiality in some quarters which you expected. I
do not understand you to mean that you were disappointed in me
or mine. I should regret it deeply, most deeply if you were, and
should say to you without qualification that if such were the
case it certainly was owing to some accidental but unlucky mis-
chance which placed the person or yourself for the moment in
a false position: for I know there is no real want of cordiality
towards you with any one of them. Fanny talks of you often
and loves you like a brother. Uncle speaks of you in connection
with the other purest most unselfish friend he ever had--Jesse
Stem, you remember him. And my other kindred feel towards
you as of yore acording to their measure of feeling, constitutional
and habitual. For myself I need not speak, as that remark I am,
sure did not mean me; but the other that I must speak of did.
"I advised you to purchase a seat in the United States Senate."
Excuse me, Guy, but I laughed when I read that sentence. If
the thing were serious it would not be funny. I have not the re-
478 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
motest recollection what you allude to. That I was in a craze of
boyish follies when we went to Gambier, I know very well; that I
said a great many things that meant nothing or worse, I have no
doubt; but that I ever meant to say what you put in my mouth
is certainly a mistake. Tell me in you next, are you in earnest
in saying I so advised you? I have sometimes thought that your
strong keen sense of duty and justice sometimes led you to
commit errors--errors of nobleness it is true--but which it
were prudent to avoid. And this may have led me to stronger
language and illustrations to induce you to favor my views than
ought in reason to have been used. A case in point: Uncle and
I discussed it with a friend of yours in Texas,--Austin, your
brother, I think. As a juror you refused to find a verdict against
a slave, although in our opinion he ought to have been convicted,
chiefly because you thought a white man would not have been
convicted on the same evidence, and you wished to mete out the
same justice to a slave as to a freeman. Now, here the feeling
was noble; but practically carried out, you were in error; and
the error caused your friends some trouble. Now, what I said
that was in earnest was meant to hit at this quality in you; and
whatever was in fun or mere talk for talk's sake, I shall not
allow you to lay up against your best friend. Guy, you must get
married. This being a bachelor exaggerates all the peculiarities
of a man's character; even beauties are in danger of becoming
I would be pleased to see you in the United States Senate.
I do not care to have you in the House. It is doubtless more
creditable at the South, your best men being politicians, but with
us Lew Campbell is a favorable specimen, and that is enough.
As to railroads, only one in a hundred supports itself; they are
great civilizers, develop a country, etc., etc., but should not be
built if the building is to load your citizens or State with a debt.
Everybody North thinks your Governor Pease has done a very
sensible thing in not taking "moonshine stocks" as security that
a "moonshine railroad company" would perform their contract.
But I must stop.
Sincerely as ever,
R. B. HAYES.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 479
P.S.--Wife sends love and says, "Tell him we have got the
greatest boy." Mother's weakness.--H.
GUY M. BRYAN,
CINCINNATI, February 11, 1855, Sunday.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . Do listen to the wishes of all
your friends and get rid of business as soon and fast as possible.
Our "help" returns tomorrow when we shall be in condition to
make you feel at home with us. Indeed, if you were once settled
with us I do not doubt we could make you pretty comfortable
at all times, "help" or no "help."
Our little fellow has been trotting a little for a couple of
weeks past, but does not get on very rapidly at it. He has been
gaining his former flesh and strength for some time back and is
now about as fine-looking as he ever was.
I am glad Platt's deed, mortgage, etc., etc., are all O. K.
That nervous particularity of his amounts to a positive weak-
ness--a weakness which is somewhat annoying sometimes.
We shall be very glad to have that long visit from you, but
I doubt about our having it. I am beginning to think you have
caught some of Mother's ways as to leaving home. However,
if we once get a visit from you we may be able to make it a
good one.--All well. Love to all.
Sincerely, R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, February 18, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--Yours of the 14th was duly received. We
are sorry you are still housed up. The latter part of the winter
has been very severe here, as well as with you and elsewhere.
Navigation has been suspended for two weeks but boats are now
Times seem to improve and the general feeling is
that money will be easier, and securities worth more and more
until we get back to fair rates.
Sincerely, R. B. HAYES.
480 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, March 11, 1855.
DEAR MOTHER:--All very well this dark damp Sunday. Lucy
gone to Church with her sweet pretty cousin, Kate Fullerton of
Chillicothe. . . . . How do you all do? We are quite satis-
fied with ourselves these days. We have read in the family Irv-
ing's "Goldsmith," and Lucy puts in about two of Scott's novels
per week, and so we get on.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CINCINNATI, March 11, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--You are well and busy or we should certainly
have heard from you during the last week. Your habit of writ-
ing oftener when you are sick than when you are in health en-
ables us to feel easy about you when you do not write; never-
theless we would like to hear occasionally that we are right in
our construction of your silence.
All very well and happy here--never more so. Birchie has
another tooth--begins to toddle about everywhere, requiring
constant watching. He begins to show character--a pretty good
one I hope--but is impatient of control and wilful, as the
Birchards all are. Ah! Ahem! But a promising lad. . . . .
Our business is settling down into an agreeable methodical
way, that pays sufficiently and is as satisfactory as I ever ex-
pected to have. Corwine is good as a partner--very--and
William [Rogers] is, of course, in his way pretty near perfection.
Good-bye. Love to all.
CINCINNATI, March 17, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . I have bought the lots on our
mortgage--a good bargain, I think. But it raises no money. I
have, however, borrowed fifteen hundred dollars at 6 per cent
interest the first year and 10 per cent the second year, if I wish to
keep it two years. I have the money and will send it to you in
any manner you wish. I have no use for it and you may as well
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 481
have it at once. Before it has to be paid I can, perhaps, raise it
by sale of the land. Can you get along with this amount? If
not, I will try for more. Write and let me know how I shall
send you the money.
All well. Will be glad to see you.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, March 18, 1855.
DEAR MOTHER:--A quiet Sunday afternoon.
Say to Brother William that we hear that now is the time to
put out our crops. I have agreed to give Lucy soil enough on
our farm to plant a vineyard and a rosary. Two or three slips
of grapevine and two or three cuttings of roses, sent me by
express, would be acceptable, if not too much trouble. Catawba
or whatever is best. Also directions as to how to plant, fixing
the soil, etc., etc. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CINCINNATI, April 8, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--I did not see Sebring. He left your letter on
my table. Gibson is not a candidate for Attorney General, and
has written me that [he] will support Corwine. It is not a
matter that either Mr. Corwine or myself regards as of much
importance; still as he is a candidate we would prefer to suc-
ceed. Speaking of politics, how queer it looks to see Buckland
on a Loco-foco ticket!
All well at home. Dr. Joe has begun to make preparations
to go to Paris to spend a year and a half or two years. His
mother will of course feel his absence severely, but all are agreed
to his going. He is regarded by the best physicians here as
giving promise of skill in his profession, and all advise him to
You have heard of our election riots here. It was a time of
great excitement. The K.N.'s [Know-Nothings] were beaten
482 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
by from five hundred to one thousand votes. It is no test of
party strength. No party except the K. N. could have carried
such a ticket as they supported within three thousand votes of
an election. The rowdies nominated it and barely escaped elect-
ing it. It will teach them a useful lesson.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, May 12, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . I write to say that I have two
bonds for one thousand dollars each of the State of Indiana,
5 per cent, which are in New York City and will be delivered
to any person you direct to be sold for your benefit; or the pro-
ceeds will be handed to your credit there. You will please write
forthwith, directing with whom you want the bonds or proceeds
placed in New York, to Judge John W. Wright, care of John
Thompson, Broker, Wall Street, New York City. The bonds
will sell--the two, I mean--for sixteen hundred dollars or
seventeen hundred dollars. Judge Wright will not be in New
York but a few days is why I ask you to write directly to him.
I hope I shall have some more for you against you need it.--All
R. B. HAYES.
June 5, 1855.--Got a desk and writing conveniences at home,
shall use them some and write oftener no doubt in this neglected
book. I am growing economical of eyesight; shall not write
Birchie nineteen months old yesterday! A fine, beautiful,
intelligent, sportive, merry little fellow--always running, laugh-
ing. Large, dark, loving eyes, yellow silken hair; round enough
but not fleshy, slender and tall of his age.
CINCINNATI, June 24, 1855.
MY DEAR LU:--Am getting on tolerably; have registered my
name at the Walnut Street House; breakfasted and supped once
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 483
or twice with Corwine. Sleeping is not so good. I look at
little Birchie's torn hat hanging on the looking-glass and feel
happy to think of him. I miss you at all hours of the night, but
I feel glad as I think of you enjoying your visit at Lexington.
Doctor has taken the dog off somewhere to board.
On my return from Covington, I found at the office a cousin
about my own age (Bancroft, of New York,) looking as like the
Hayes tribe as I do. His wife, another "Kentucky cousin," is
one of the New Haven Trowbridges, sister of Aunt Emily. We
rode all over town and to Clifton. They are today in Columbus.
Yesterday was a political day, very squally times; "Sams" and
"Sambos," Whigs and Locos, etc., etc., all squabbling. Result
Dr. Joe, Billy, John Herron, and myself are all delegates. Out-
siders say this is rather crowding the mourners with the Corwine
interest. But let 'em grumble, we've got the votes.
Work is getting light, weather wet and growing wetter. . . .
Write often. Love to all.
MRS. R. B. HAYES,
CINCINNATI, June 27, 1855.
DEAREST:--I received yours of Monday evening this morn-
ing. Very glad to hear from you. Had a letter from Uncle
today. He thinks he can't come down at present. There has
been a great freshet in the Sandusky River. He has one hundred
and fifty acres wheat and corn protected from the rain by about
six feet of water flowing over it from the river. Mrs. Valette is
in poor health again. They expect us out soon.
Our courts all adjourn on Saturday, except the criminal
branch of the Common Pleas, so I may possibly come over
Saturday afternoon. . . . .
William is good-natured, intends going with Corwine to Ur-
bana on the Fourth to hear Judge Corwin expond the Patriotic.
Have you read Greeley's account of his imprisonment? It is a
good specimen of humor. Read it.
484 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
There has been but one killing since you left. A drouth of
news, and a deluge of water.
Good-bye, dearest. I am lonely without you and the little
rascal. You must be ready to return with me by the early part
of week after next. I shall go to Columbus on the IIth, two
weeks from today, and hope you can by that time go with me,
prepared to make Fanny a long visit. . . . . Love to all.
Affectionately, ever yours,
MRS. R. B. HAYES.
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, July 1, 1855.
DEAR FANNY:--I did not write to you after Lucy left Cin-
cinnati, knowing that William Bancroft and his funny little wife
would tell you the news.
I came over here yesterday. Our courts have adjourned and
we are now comparatively at leisure. I reached Lexington last
evening after [a] pleasant ride on the rail of four or five hours.
I found two of the cousins waiting for me at the depot and was
soon at home with Birchie, Lucy, and all at Uncle Thompson
Scott's cousinly mansion. The family here consists of Uncle
Thompson, a fine old gentleman over seventy years old, with
faculties unimpaired, intelligent, and cheerful. He has been in
the bank of which he is president some forty years, is staid and
sober, but not severe or strict. He is now reading the Bible at
the other [end of the room]. He is a brother of Mother Webb's
mother, and his first and present wife were sisters of Lucy's
father. Aunt Betsey's first husband was a brother of Uncle
Thompson. She is twenty years younger than her husband and
the youngest woman of her age I have ever seen. There is one
unmarried daughter, Cousin Lucy, a fine good girl, getting passee,
but good-looking; two sons, twenty and twenty-two, fair speci-
mens of the better sort of Kentucky-bred young men. A daughter
of Aunt Betsey by her first husband, another Lucy, with her rich
husband spending the honeymoon here after their tour; two sons
of Aunt Betsey by her first husband, wild young fellows,
and lots of niggers. The house is very large--rooms high, ven-
tilation perfect, and nobody bothers or is bothered by anybody
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 485
else. As independent as in hotel, and much the same in some
things. Newcomers arrive constantly. The table ranging from
ten to fifteen plates--plates, by the by, precisely like the blue
old china ones Mother had in Delaware.
We went to church this morning, saw a good exhibition of fine
ladies and fine duds, heard a showy discourse of old-fashioned
Presbyterian doctrine apparelled in all the modern phrases and
delivered as Henry Clay might have done the same thing when
a youngster. The town is old and old-fashioned, streets many
of them narrow and poorly paved, but there are hosts of fine
mansions with spacious yards, splendid walks, and elegant im-
provements. People here seem to live for the sake of living
more than in most places.
Today we have been receiving calls from our "people." They
all have complaints to make. We send them away with kind
words and a dollar apiece. One chuckle-headed Cudjoe said to
Lucy: "Why, Miss Lucy, I'm so glad you have got such a pretty
We shall return soon. I will be at Columbus about the 11th
and possibly Lucy with me.--Love to all.
MRS. WILLIAM A. PLATT,
LEXINGTON, July 4, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--Your letter of Friday reached me here yes-
terday. I concluded you would telegraph me if you were coming
in time to come Saturday, and so left Saturday afternoon.
I need not in a letter attempt to describe this fine country.
Yesterday I visited Mr. Brutus Clay's model farm about twenty
miles north of this in Bourbon County. It is regarded as num-
ber one in Kentucky and second to no other anywhere. His fine
stock is famous. We saw a six-thousand dollar bull, cows that
cost from fifteen hundred dollars to two thousand dollars, several
bulls costing from two to three thousand dollars, a stallion
that cost three thousand dollars, and thirty or forty calves (this
spring's) which he sells at two hundred dollars each. We saw
486 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
his large steers--a four-year old weighing over three thousand
[pounds], a three-year old, twenty-five hundred, a two-year old
two thousand, and a yearling, over one thousand. We spent the
day with him, riding over his princely farm. He is a plain,
sensible man, cheerful and good-humored, and a great Whig and
Know-Nothing. He is a brother to Cassius M., but does not
share in his ultraisms.
We are staying at Uncle Thompson's, the old banker of this
region,--a fine, intelligent gentleman over seventy years old.
We shall remain a few days, and return in time to spend a few
days at home before I go to Columbus.
We visited today the Fair Ground--a most elegant place,--
Ashland [the home of Henry Clay], the cemetery where Lucy's
father is buried, a lovely place, and many fine estates. There has
been some cholera here, and it has always raged so violently in
this limestone town that the first cases caused apprehension, but
it does not increase and the alarm is over.
Lucy, Birchie, and Mother Webb all well. We shall manage to
make you a visit if you desire it, but Lucy will miss Mrs. Valette
so much that perhaps it will be best not come out with little
Birchie.--Regards to all.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--No celebration of the Fourth here except a mule race
--mules to be ridden by the owners,--a silver pitcher to the
winner,--the young gents naming their mules after their sweet-
CINCINNATI, July 11, 1855.
DEAR GUY:--Yours of the 7th of June was received this
morning. I can almost excuse you for writing so rarely, when
I receive such a full and satisfactory letter as the one before me.
It gratifies me exceedingly to read your warm, frank, old-
fashioned letter. I am not at all suprised that you were disap-
pointed upon your return to Ohio to find many of the changes
you saw. As we grow older, we all experience the same feeling.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 487
"Troops of friends," many men appear to have, but time and
separation always lop off all but the chosen few. Some men of
singular social or brilliant qualities may always seem to have
hosts of friends, but they are not the same friends--the host
is ever changing. I am fond of thinking about the few to whom
my feelings seem to cling as if for life. Whether that few
esteem me precisely as I do them is not entirely known to me.
Perhaps they can not. I always think of four persons (I pre-
sume you have heard me say this before) as the best friends I
have ever had. and the best men, all in all, I have ever known.
You, and Uncle, my partner, Rogers, and Jesse Stem who was
killed in the Indian country. No other person comes near in
my affections to this little circle. One is gone, the others remain.
But in my memory the four are with me for aye.
I see still more clearly than before, that I was too "demoral-
ized," not in any bad sense, in allowing myself to run on, joking
and earnest by turns, when with you last summer. The truth is,
that this tug at the law for nine months at a stretch leaves one
during the vacation like an overtasked schoolboy in the holidays
--ready to play the devil with sense, soberness, and propriety.
I feel so now. Our courts are closed, and if you were here, I
could go rambling, rafting and fishing, just as joyously and boy-
ishly as I ever did years ago. I have just returned from a week's
pleasuring in the magnificent country about Lexington, Kentucky.
Saw our "Cold Huckleberry Pudding" acquaintance, William B.
Victor. He had a great deal to say about our singular meeting.
Is still laboring under delusions as to the designs of the Brazoria
people; insisted upon my giving him a written statement of what
we saw that night. A queer customer he is but "daft."
Your views as to letters of introduction ought to be acted upon
in all cases; but I knew there would not be time to get a letter
by mail to you before Mitchell would reach Texas and accord-
ingly introduced him as nearly as I could according to my feel-
ings. I wished to oblige him. He is an upright, good man, but
not a particular friend. I was desirous you should assist him, if
convenient, and knew you would not be deceived by him. I am
very glad he succeeded so well. He appeared delighted with his
trip, and spoke very gratefully of his obligations to you; for the
488 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
which my thanks. Uncle will be sure to visit Texas, if he can,
next winter. But he is getting more averse to travelling than
formerly and is not likely to go if he is not entirely foot-loose.
I am glad you are still thinking of the time when you will be a
"gentleman of family." No use waiting. You are old enough.
To that "complexion," etc. My little Birchie is a fine boy, walks
and runs of course, talks "broken English," and is the pride of
his parents and the joy of their home.
I shall go to Columbus tomorrow to visit friends and kin, and
hope to be at Kenyon on commencement day. How I do wish
you could be with me.
I am glad you remain in the state Senate. Don't go into the
United States House, but do go to the Senate if you can honestly.
These are my wishes about your political career. One further
word: If you do get into the Senate, don't get the Presidential
mania. It makes mad every man who is at all prominent at
Washington either in the House or Senate. Scores of men,
usually sound and sensible, fancy they can be President, who
have no more right to think so than the autocrat of Russia. I have
no knowledge of any tolerably conspicuous politician at Wash-
ington whose career is not colored and marred by his ambition
to be President. I say this in all seriousness. It makes fools of
all sorts from Webster down to Lew Campbell.
I will send you such railroad books as I can get, if I have an
opportunity. Love to friends. In haste. As ever,
R. B. HAYES.
GUY M. BRYAN,
CINCINNATI, July 15, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--I returned from the Convention at Columbus
yesterday. . . . . Laura [Platt] will go with us to Fremont
during the summer. . . . . Our visit will not be until the
last of this month or the first of next, possibly later. How does
Platt is progressing with his new house. It is of prodigious
dimensions, well arranged, and supplied with every convenience. I
do not like its outside appearance as well as I hoped I should,
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 489
but I suppose my familiarity in the city with plain square houses
prevents me from appreciating the ornamented architecture which
is now the fashion.
Corwine did not get his nomination. He was not disappointed.
An old-fashioned Whig stood little chance in that gathering. But
it was a great mistake not to put him on the ticket. Chase's name
needed a good deal of sweetening in this quarter, and the name
of one or two well known Whigs would have done much to put
down the formidable opposition to Chase which is sure to be
made by old Whigs. I shall, however, go for the ticket and hope
it will succeed.
Rogers was with me at Columbus. He thinks Laura and the
rest the finest little folks he ever saw.
R. B. HAYES.
August 1, 1885.--A happy Commencement at old Kenyon.
A meeting of college cronies at Rob C. French's. The Phi Zeta
brotherhood in full vigor yet. Thirteen years since I left college!
Fifteen years since we gathered in my old room and organized
the club! What a segment of life, how rapidly fled! My old
classmate [Lorin Andrews,] the "Prex" now. How sad it seems
that life should pass away so swiftly. Pshaw! I feel girlish
when I think of these things.
August 12, 1855.--Have read two or three of Scott's novels
this vacation. Just finished "Red Gauntlet." "Poor Peter
Peebles v. Plainstairs" is the original of Dickens' never-ending
lawsuit and deranged suitors, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, and others
--if there is not some original prior to Scott. Our Superior
Court is disposing of this complaint against the administration of
justice in this latitude. Met the phrase "laugh consumedly"
which I thought a recent coinage; also, "make a spoon or spoil
a horn." Scott speaks of the ever recurring white horse in the
pictures of Wouverman. Grand old novels, those of Scott.
Birtie worried with teeth and heat but improving daily. Talks
a good deal, that is, speaks many words. He began with "up,"
490 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
soon after, "Birtie," and speaks words beginning with b or p with
the greatest ease.
CINCINNATI, August 19, 1855.
DEAR MOTHER:--We have just received your letter written
after your return from Delaware. Very glad you enjoyed your
visit so much.
Mother Lamb and the Delaware [people] were needlessly
alarmed about our sufferings with cholera. Our newspapers re-
port all the cholera cases which terminate fatally. Two weeks
ago there were a number of deaths, but we have very little, if
any, now in the city.
Lucy and all now well. . . . . Lucy and I have just
returned from church. I mention the fact that you may not do
me the injustice to think that I am not in the habit of requiring
my family to attend church.
Lucy will not object to your inflicting letters upon her much
oftener than you have usually done, and if she adds anything to
this it will not be from fear of that sort of "persecution," but
merely to have an opportunity to brag about her great boy.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
September 30, 1855.--On the 14th of this month went with
Birtie and his mother to visit his cousins, Ruddy in particular,
at Columbus. Birtie enjoyed himself very much, but was in
trouble occasionally with Ruddy, who sometimes treated him as an
intruder, but they finally became quite friendly. Uncle Birchard
came down to the State Fair at Columbus and obtained the
promise of Fanny and myself to make him a visit at Fremont.
Accordingly on Monday the 24th sister Fanny, Birtie, Lucy, and
myself went to Fremont. Birtie soon became a favorite with
Uncle, Mr. Valette, and the "help." He learned to call by name
and point out several of Uncle's choicest paintings and played
and behaved like a little man. On Thursday he took his first
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 491
ride on horseback in Mr. Valette's stable on Uncle's pet old
roadster, "Old Ned." Then says Uncle: "Birtie aged 22 months
takes his first ride on his uncle ( ?) Ned aged 21 years."
October 7, 1855.--Another birthday passed the 4th. Hopeful
and happy. No very high expectations to "worry" me. Friends,
home, boy, wife, blessings all, are mine. Why should I not feel
cheerful as I do?
In the midst of one of our periodical election excitements, but
not engaged in it; therefore reasonably indifferent of results.
CINCINNATI, October 14, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . I have had a picture of Lucy taken
in the new style. It is not yet painted, but the impression on
paper is very fine.
Rogers is here, well or nearly so, and at work. We shall from
present appearances not be so thronged with business as last
winter. Glad of it.
The election here and in other parts of the State turned out
very much as I anticipated. I suspect that Chase will answer
our purposes so far as state affairs go very well. . . . .
Glad that Buck[land] was elected and not sorry that Green was.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, November 6, 1855.
DEAR SISTER FANNY:--Glad you remembered little Birtie.
We had a grass pike and salmon dinner on Saturday with Mrs.
Warren and one or two others by way of celebrating the boy's
birthday. Lucy and he are both fast locked in the arms of the
big Indian! . . . .
Wendell Phillips lectures tonight on "The Lost Arts"--no
doubt entertainingly, he being one of the few lecture men who is
worth hearing. But it is too wet to go; besides, I could not take
nor leave Birtie and Lucy. But if you get a chance to hear it or
492 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I didn't read your communication to Lucy on gowns and
things, but while she was reading it she uttered several ejacula-
tory remarks as if she could aid you in that behalf; but if she has
to write her information you are likely to lose it.
When I get time (not often) I read a few paragraphs of Bos-
well's "Johnson." It sounds well to me now. I used to hate
it. At the rate I go, I shall have light reading in this old gossip's
book for the next two years.
Clara still keeps her good points in view. She may be a trifle
more given to piety than is required for the salvation of a
"cullud pussun"--going to church all day Sunday and again at
night; but as she has all sorts of week-day perfections I, of
course, am mum as to her practical views of religion.
Mr. Rogers has quit "the intoxicating bowl," tell Mother, and
is in improving health. By the way, that "bowl" is a fiction of
temperance lecturers; never naw a bowl in a "saloon" in my life.
Miss Wilson marries with doin's of oriental magnificence an
ugly clever little fellow this week. . . . . I have got a new
suit on purpose and Lucy is considering the red flowers she wore
to the last wedding. She is afraid they'll not bear repetition,
but I think she has a weakness for them which is too strong to
Very tired. Good night. Your loving brother,
MRS. W. A. PLATT.
CINCINNATI, November 18, 1855.
DEAR GUY:--I have just received yours calling attention to
my note referring to an application for a commissionership for
Texas. The gentleman's name is B. F. Brown. If I said
"Smith," it was an error. They are both such common names
[that this] may explain the mistake. I did not speak particularly
of his qualifications, as such appointments are made here, I be-
lieve, as a matter of course. He is however a very worthy, up-
right young man who will discharge the duties of such an office
You are of course a Senator. But how singular it is that your
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 493
newspaper, the Democrat and Planter, never has given the vote
of your county, has hardly named any of the candidates, furnished
no details or figures about your election, [and] no lists of mem-
bers of the Legislature. These matters of local politics are al-
I think that since I wrote you, Sister Fanny and myself and
wife have made Uncle a visit and spent a few days at Gambier.
Andrews [Lorin Andrews, their college friend, at that time Presi-
dent of Kenyon] makes one feel at home at Kenyon. One can
hardly realize how long a time has elapsed since we were there.
We go back and are straightway boys again. Uncle is in good
health, talks often of you and another trip to Texas, but when
he will go again is as uncertain as ever.
A Mr. Jones from somewhere near Lavaca was in our office
displaying some railroad scheme for "inter-oceanic communica-
tion," as he termed it. You, of course, know the old gentleman,
as he seems to be an old campaigner in such schemes. I do not
know but he is right in thinking that the best route to the Pacific
for a railroad is from western Texas. Still I suspect that the
first road built will be further north. As our shrewd German
demagogue says, "Commerce to the North; genius to the South";
and there is much of truth in the sentence. Chicago is out-
stripping all other Western cities. She will soon run her iron
arms into Iowa and Kansas so as to cut off St. Louis and Cin-
cinnati and ultimately get across the continent, while the better
and natural routes are being resolved and talked about. If I were
in your place, I do not know but I would do as you do, but it
seems to me that with your influence, position, and tenacity of
purpose, you could accomplish very much for Texas and the
whole country, as well as for your own permanent fame, by taking
hold of this railroad. It seems to be the growing impression
everywhere that the Texas route to the Pacific is the best one.
And if Texas were to take hold of it energetically, I do not
doubt that the general Government would ultimately carry it
across the continent. With that road through Texas, she would
rapidly become one of the first, if not the first, of all the States
in every element of greatness. A man to get the proper lead in
such an enterprise would have to make it his one idea for a
494 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
quarter of a century, but success would be glory enough. I
know nothing of any particular scheme. Mr. Jones' talk may be
nothing but gas. The Texas Western Railroad may be a swindle,
as its predecessor was, but if you have the true route, some
scheme ought and can be made to succeed. Rusk and your other
men so far as I know are too old, or will be, long before such
an enterprise can get fairly on its feet, but, Guy, you could do it.
You seem destined for public service of some kind. Common
political life, you certainly now know, is nothing. Leave to
others that field and be to Texas more than Clinton was to New
York. Or rather, what he was to a State you can be to a con-
tinent. All this sounds as if I was a railroad maniac, but I am
not, I assure you. I have merely been reading an article or two
on the subject, which I will send you. Any particular scheme
which is talked of up here, I naturally suspect to be a trap for
gulls, but as I say the great idea strikes me as feasible and grand.
R. B. HAYES.
GUY M. BRYAN,
CINCINNATI, December 2, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--I don't know when I wrote to you last.
. . . . Can recommend Sydney Smith's letters for occa-
sional reading if you and Mrs. Valette get cornered for some-
thing to do.
Platt busy getting ready to move if his house is ready. Mother
Hayes will come down to stay with us during the revolution and
convulsions of emigrating. She seems to be pretty well again
now. Write often.
R. B. HAYES.
I see your friend Judge Lane goes to Chicago. Pity so fine
a reputation should be so damaged in his old age. He will be a
loss to Sandusky notwithstanding they hate him.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 495
CINCINNATI, December 26, 1855.
DEAR UNCLE:--Merry Christmas to all! Tell Mrs. Valette
she has secured the warmest place in Lucy's heart by "appre-
ciating" Birtie. As Lucy sometimes exclamationizes: "'Don't
I love folks that love Birchie and wouldn't I hate anybody that
didn't like him?" I gave him a little chair for his Christmas
gift. Dr. Joe happened to be sitting with his heels American-
fashion. Pretty soon we saw Birchie in a brown study in his
little chair with his feet up on a common chair looking grave
enough for a new member of Congress prepared for business.
Weather cold; water pipes frozen, etc. Otherwise, all in good
health. Aunt Clara pitched head first down cellar against Glenn's
partition wall. Strange to say the wall was uninjured. It was
lucky she did not strike on her feet or she might have been
Rogers went home Christmas. Only two courts this week.--
I shall try to go to Columbus a day or two shortly.--Regards
R. B. HAYES.
February 22, 1856.--A famous celebration of Washington's
birthday in the city today. Houses flagged from top to bottom,
a mammoth procession, military companies from Baltimore, St.
Louis, Chicago, etc. Legislature of the State and a number of
"notabilities." An illumination tonight. I am ailing slightly, so
the day and the ailing excuse me from work.
Birtie enjoys the flags fluttering, music, and display more than
the older children. A charming boy he is grown to be. He talks
a good deal. Would not try to say Washington without a good
deal of coaxing, but now makes a queer stagger at it. His first
word was "up," next "charcoal," which he caught from the street
This is the coldest winter ever known here, the coldest days
and the longest continued cold weather. Eight weeks with but
three or four thawing days from Christmas until February 16
496 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
or 17. The river frozen the whole month of January so as to
bear cattle, teams, and runaway slaves! January 8, thermometer
at 16 to 24 degrees below zero and slightly colder on the 4th of
Jefferson in a letter of January 8, 1797 to Mr. Volney speaks
of the coldest periods prior to that time. [In] 1779-80 in Vir-
ginia, 6 degrees above zero; 1783-4, ditto; 1789-90, 18 degrees
below. "These have been the most remarkable cold winters in
America." In 1762 at Philadelphia, however, it was 22 degrees
March 8, 1856.--Two to four degrees below here; 20 to 25
degrees [below] at Delaware and Cleveland.
March 23, 1856.--Thursday, the 20th, Lucy gave birth to our
second son about 5:30 P. M. He was fatter than Birtie; darker,
hair apparently black, eyes dark. We shall call him Webb either
with the prefix (or affix) Joseph or James. [Finally the name
decided on was Webb Cook.] If the former, after his uncle
Dr. Joe; if the latter, his grandfather Webb. Lucy is doing
well. The event had been expected for some time, but at last
came near taking all by surprise. Dr. Joe had gone over to
Covington after dinner and I was at the office. I went for Dr.
Avery. He was out. Then for Dr. Davis. He was gone also.
I then came home before deciding who[m] to go for next. Dr.
Joe fortunately returned. Dr. Avery came soon after, and I
sat down in an adjoining room and read Jefferson's letters.
When the first cry was heard I was finishing Jefferson's letter
to Madison of April 27, 1795, in which he speaks of his resolu-
tion to remain in private life during the rest of his days--a
resolution about as well kept as such resolutions usually are by
CINCINNATI, April 16, 1856.
DEAR GUY:--George Jones just came in to tell me that you
will come here as a delegate to the June convention.* I am very
glad to hear it. Uncle Birchard will be here to look on. Come
early and be ready to stay long. George says he intends to have
*The Democratic National Convention.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 497
you as his guest. Don't commit yourself. We can divide you
up by some sort of "compromise." I intended to suggest to you
to take this appointment and so kill two birds, etc., but neglected
it. I don't yet belong to your party, but my opposition to it
this fall will be hearty or otherwise according to your candidate.
Not being a K. N. [Know-Nothing] I am left as a sort of waif
on the political sea with symptoms of a mild sort towards Black
Republicanism. Still we shall not quarrel on politics, even if
we differ as of old.
As ever yours,
R. B. HAYES.
GUY M. BRYAN,
CINCINNATI, June 10, 1856.
DEAR MOTHER:--Uncle left here this morning directly for
home. He was in good health, enjoyed his stay very much. He
feels, as we all do, very solicitous about Fanny. Let us hear from
you often about her. I do hope she will get along safely. I am
sure that whatever good nursing can do for her will be done.
Let Laura stay home from school; she is so good a nurse for her
age that she can be a great assistance.
Lucy is very well. "Samson," as she calls the little boy, is
nearly over his colic, and behaves and thrives admirably. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CINCINNATI, June 28, 1856.
DEAR BROTHER:--I am pained to hear that Fanny is again
worse. I feel more alarm at this relapse than I did at her first
difficulty. Dispatch me if she gets worse. I shall come up Mon-
day or Tuesday, if my presence there will do no harm. I can go
quietly into the house so she will not know of my coming if it
would agitate her. . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
W. A. PLATT.
498 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
COLUMBUS, July 5, , 5 P.M.
DEAR JOE:--Fanny has rallied since I wrote this morning
and is now apparently in no immediate danger with, we hope, a
fair prospect of recovery. The change has been rapid and re-
markable. Her fever left her almost entirely about ten o'clock
and she has gained strength ever since, so that she is now more
comfortable and stronger than at any time since I came up.
Love to all.
DR. J.T. WEBB.
July, 1856.--My dear only sister, my beloved Fanny, is dead!
The dearest friend of childhood, the affectionate adviser, the
confidante of all my life, the one I loved best, is gone; alas! never
again to be seen on earth. Oh, how we shall always mourn her
loss! How we shall lament her absence at every family meeting.
The pride of us all, the charm of every circle, and my own
particular loss. It was not a sudden, unexpected blow. We have
felt anxious about her several months. On the 16th of June she
gave birth to twins--both dead or nearly so when born. Fanny
barely survived. Her fine constitution alone enabled her to
rally after the severest and most exhausting trial which her ex-
perienced physicians had ever seen. She remained in a critical
situation, sometimes apparently recovering and again sinking,
until her death on the I6th of July, Wednesday evening, about
I went up on the first of July and remained until the 10th,
when hoping that she was gaining I returned home. She was
too weak and low to talk much, but all her finest traits of char-
acter were shown in all she said and did up to the very last
moment. She never complained, was patient and cheerful al-
ways; looked forward to the great change hopefully and with
entire confidence that she would meet in Heaven the dear loved
ones who had gone before her--her father and Willie--and that
there she would soon be joined by the dear friends she was
leaving behind. I observed no desire for the ordinary devotions
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 499
of Christians, and yet she once or twice referred to her Saviour
and her desire and expectation of seeing Him.
Once when she supposed she was dying we all gathered around
her and brought in her children. She spoke a few kind words
to all and spoke of the absent. Turning to me, with her sweet-
est smile, those beautiful blue eyes, she said: "Oh, dear Lucy and
the boys, how I wish I could see them again but I never shall";
and again: "Dear Lucy and the boys, how I wish I had talked
more about them." She spoke of Mrs. Wasson and Sophia, and
said: "Dear Uncle, and so many kind, kind friends." When I
brought in little Ruddy, she put her hands lovingly on his pretty
fat arms, shoulders, and cheeks, saying: "Dear boy--sweet
child," and smiled oh, so lovingly. I held one of her hands rub-
bing it gently. Little Ruddy observing it took the other and
rubbed it smiling happily. Fanny said: "I am going this time."
Little Ruddy spoke up: "Where are you going, mother?" She
replied: "To Heaven, up to Heaven, I hope, where we shall soon
all meet again."*
[Here follow three blank pages, seeming to indicate that Mr.
Hayes had intended to write further particulars of his sister's
COLUMBUS, July 23, 1856.
DEAR GUY:--We buried my dear only sister last Friday.
Uncle and myself have been here since the first of the month and
have had very little hope of her recovery since that time. Her
confinement took place a week or two after you were here and
was the cause of her death. Oh, what a blow it is! During all
my life she has been the dear one. I can recall no happiness in
the past which was not brightened either by her participation
*The Ohio State Journal, in recording Mrs. Platt's death, said:
"Seldom are we called upon to record a bereavement which falls so
heavily upon the domestic circle of the deceased and the citizens of
Columbus at large. Distinguished, beyond most who are mortal, by meek-
ness and gentleness of character, and ever self-sacrificing in her efforts
to do good she had justly won, not only the esteem, but the love of all
who knew her. She rests from her labors, but still lives in most fragrant
remembrance in the hearts of her friends."
500 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
in it or the thought of her joy when she knew of it. All plans
for the future, all visions of success, have embraced her as
essential to complete them. For many years my mother's family
consisted of but three--Mother, Sister dear, and myself. Oh,
what associations now broken cling around those tender early
days! And such a sister! Always bright, beautiful, loving; al-
ways such that we were proud of her; and then always improv-
ing. The last fifteen years she has gained as rapidly in all the
finer elements of character as in any previous period.
There are many consoling circumstances to alleviate our grief
in this great affliction. She has had a life of blessed happiness.
I have never heard of a happier life. She now escapes some af-
flictions which are sure to come, and others which are possible
that we know not of. Besides, the close of life was as beautiful
and happy as its whole course. She had long been apprehensive
that her confinement would be fatal to her. She felt prepared
for the next world and thought she could now be spared from
this; that her children were of an age when friends left behind
could take charge of them. I do not know of any formal devo-
tions or profession of religion. But she looked calmly into the
future, full of hope,--more than that, with a perfect confidence
that she should meet her father and her beloved Willie in happi-
ness and that the dear ones left behind would soon follow her
and join her there.
All the fine traits of her character shone brightly to the last.
She was cheerful, uncomplaining, considerate for others, and
affectionate, oh, so affectionate, up to the moment that the breath
left her body. . . . . Good-bye, good-bye. My heart
bleeds and the tears flow as I write.
R. B. HAYES.
GUY M. BRYAN,
July 29, 1856.--Had an ambrotype taken of Birtie by Mr.
Phithian. It is very excellent. He will be three years old the
4th of November next. He is very dear to us. He has many
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 501
little wilful, provoking ways but withal so bright and cheerful.
His little brother has grown to be a most excellent, beautiful
boy. He . . . has fine blue eyes and looks, we think, like his
dear Aunt Fanny. This makes Webb still more precious.
[Under a rude woodcut pasted in the Diary is the following
Colonel Fremont. Not a good picture, but will do to indicate
my politics this year. For free States and against new slave
CINCINNATI, September 13, 1856.
DEAR MOTHER:--. . . . Rogers is still absent. His
health improves so slowly and his case has now become so serious
that he will probably not return before late in the winter or next
spring. We are sorry for this but feeling it to be best for him
cannot but encourage him in this course.
I still think often of our darling Fanny. I do hope Laura
and the others will grow up to be like her and to fill her place
in our affections. Encourage Laura to visit us often. We shall
be very happy to have any of the children with us, but especially
Laura, whenever you can spare them. . . .
Dear Mother, whatever Lucy and I can do to add to your
happiness you know we will be glad to do. Love to all.
Affectionately, your son,
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CINCINNATI, October 18, 1856.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . We are all very well and enjoy-
ing life barring the disappointment at the result of the elections.
Lucy takes it to heart a good deal that Jessie [Mrs. Fremont]
is not to be mistress of the White House after all. She still
clings to the hope that the next election will bring it all right.
Your county is reported to have done well. So has this, all
things considered; also our State. But the people are not quite
educated up to the great issue. That will come after [a] while,
I have no doubt. At any rate, "let it rain." Wasn't it lucky
I kept out of the shower by declining?
502 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
. . . . Our courts are pretty fairly under weigh again so
that I am tolerably busy once more. It is really pleasant this
tramping back and forth from the court-house after a long vaca-
tion. If the vacations were shorter and came oftener this sort
of life would be more to my taste.
Rogers is still away and likely not to return for a long time.
I had a letter from Guy Bryan last week--very short, merely
a reply to mine telling him of Fanny's death. He wished to be
remembered warmly to you.--Love to friends.
R. B. HAYES.
October 30, 1856.--Had a good anniversary celebration at
the Club last night. The absent, Rogers and others, were re-
membered. The departed, McConkey, was not forgotten. And
in the midst of our enjoyment I never ceased to think of my
great loss, the death of my darling sister Fanny. I received a
beautiful letter from Helen Collins yesterday, full of fine and
sincere talk about her. Rogers too mentions her in his letters.
May her precious memory serve to make me better, purer, truer
in every relation of life, a better husband, father, friend, and
I feel seriously the probable defeat of the cause of freedom in
the approaching Presidential election. Before the October elec-
tions in Pennsylvania and Indiana, I was confident Colonel
Fremont would be elected. But the disastrous results in those
States indicate and will probably do much to produce his defeat.
The majorities are small, very small, but they discourage our
side. I shall not be surprised if Colonel Fremont receives less
than one hundred electoral votes. But, after all, the good cause
has made a great progress. Antislavery sentiment has been
created and the people have been educated to a large extent.
I did hope that this election would put an end to angry discus-
sion upon this exciting topic by placing the general Government
in the right position in regard to it and thereby securing to anti-
slavery effort a foothold among those who have the evil in their
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 503
midst. But further work is to be done and my sense of duty
determines me to keep on in the path I have chosen--not to
dabble in politics at the expense of duty to my family and to the
neglect of my profession, but to do what I can consistently with
other duties to aid in forming a public opinion on this subject
which will "mitigate and finally eradicate the evil."
I must study the subject, and am now beginning with Clark-
son's "History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade."
November 2, 1856.--The organized effort began in 1787 after
four years of unceasing, well-directed, laborious efforts,--be-
gan with a fair prospect of success. The first vote was taken in
the House of Commons in 1791. Pitt, Fox, Burke, Windham,
Sheridan, and almost all the great men of that day spoke elo-
quently for the cause of justice and humanity, but on the division
the motion of the friends of abolition was lost by eighty-eight
to one hundred and sixty-three!
Look at those figures, faint-hearted Republican, and take
courage! After twenty years of defeats, disappointments, and
disheartening reverses, the cause triumphed gloriously in 1807,
two hundred and eighty-three to sixteen! And no slave could
be landed after March 1, 1808 and no slaver clear after May 1,
How similar the struggle to that now going on here. The
same arguments, pro and con, the same prejudices appealed to,
the same epithets of reproach, the same topics. On one side,
justice, humanity, freedom; on the other, prejudice, interest,
selfishness, timidity, conservatism. The advocates of right called
"enthusiasts," "fanatics," and "incendiaries." The Commons
were first to be moved; the Lords were slow in receiving truth.
Thousands whose hearts and judgments were on the side of
abolition were silent because loss of trade, of practice, of social
or political position, was likely to follow an open avowal of their
opinions. In short the parallel between that struggle and this is
complete, thus far. I shall be content if it so continues to the
The election of day after tomorrow is the first pitched battle.
However fares the cause, I am enlisted for the war.
504 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Granville Sharp in 177--studied law to enable him to show
the illegality of slavery in England. The Sommersett case--
three times argued and decided for freedom--was got up on
purpose to test the question--at Lord Mansfield's request(?).
CINCINNATI, November 16, 1856.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . I am again vibrating between
home, my office, and the court-house and contented as a man is
apt to be who has no time to be otherwise.
Like you I did not anticipate Colonel Fremont's election and
was not therefore disappointed. But he did make a fine run and
has certainly borne himself admirably through the trying can-
vass which is closed. He may not become a permanent figure
among the leading men, but I think he is so likely to do so that
I shall now buy his portrait to put in my parlor.
Henry Ward Beecher lectured to a great audience last night,
and has preached to ditto today. I heard his lecture. It was
less witty, eccentric, and brilliant than I anticipated, but more
sensible, sincere, and hearty. He has a fine, powerful deep voice
whose lowest tone can be heard anywhere in the house. Has a
manly English appearance, and evidently appreciates all sorts
of physical exercises and enjoyments. His subject was "The
Beautiful in Nature and Art." His talk contained nothing in the
way of thought that was new or original, but was all good and of
a kind to be practically useful. What he said of trees, flowers,
pictures, and the like with their uses, regarded merely as beauti-
ful objects, was but an expression of views which you have al-
ways cherished but have, perhaps, never heard so pithily and elo-
quently spoken. I like the man better than I did before hearing
him. This particular lecture would at all points have drawn
from you "them's my sentiments."
I drew on you for two hundred dollars yesterday. My trust
fund is drawn upon rather faster than I am collecting.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 505
CINCINNATI, November 30, 1856.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . Some two or three weeks ago I
saw that my old crony Trowbridge was elected to the State Sen-
ate in Michigan, so I wrote him and received a long, old-
fashioned, friendly letter that was pleasant reading after so long
Did I tell you how much I was pleased with [Henry] Ward
Beecher? He is by no means an "intellectual" man--though
Mrs. Solis might call him so--but he is what is far better for
the purposes of a lecturer, a very bright, witty, sensible, good-
hearted man--with fine natural gifts as a speaker improved by
the most careful culture.
. . . . Lucy found herself caught in telling what she feared
she ought not to tell and so escaped from saying that a lady's
father had been convicted of obtaining goods under false pre-
tences by saying that he had been "unfortunate in [a] moral
point of view." The dodge whether an original or remembered
inspiration strikes me as good. . . . . --Regards to all.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, December 20, 1856.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . Dr. Joe is gone to St. Louis to
attend the wedding of one of the Dr. Scotts. Will be absent
about a week. He was over in Kentucky a few days ago and
made definite arrangements as to the remaining negroes which
are quite satisfactory. We shall have another daughter of Aunt
Clara under the arrangement in a week or two.
We are quite happy at home now. The children are growing
more and more interesting to us every day. Whenever I am
alone and not thronged with business on a cold bleak day like
this, my mind is full of sad thoughts which it would not do to
dwell upon too much. How large a part of the happiness of such
persons as we are, depends on a few lives. As we pass along
through life, and one after another is gone, we probably find
others to fill the vacant places, but for a long, long while the
sorrow remains. I can feel that my boys, if as they grow up
506 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
they show intelligence and warm kind feeling, will fill a great
space in my heart and add much to my happiness, but now there
is a great void. But all this is part of the great mystery, and
it is good philosophy not to indulge in melancholy reveries over
the sorrows of the past.
. . . . Rogers does not talk of returning. I much doubt
whether he will again make Cincinnati his home. If his health
is really as much better in Minnesota as he imagines it to be, I
could not urge him to return. We still keep his name in the
firm and shall retain his place for him as long as there is any
chance of his joining us again. Corwine is getting into harness
again and I think will become a regular practitioner once more.
He has got rid of some if not most of his money difficulties and
is of far more use to the office than ever before. Between our
student, clerk, and Mr. Corwine's extra efforts, less is left for
me than usual. Good night.
R. B. HAYES.
December 28, 1856.--Holiday week. The old year drawing
to a close. The most eventful, longest, and saddest year in its
one great affliction that I have ever known. The void still re-
mains. The wound does not heal. Not a day passes that this
shadow does not darken some otherwise happy moments. I
never am present at any scene of joyousness or festivity that
Fanny's image is not present with its saddening influence. Oh,
what a blessed sister she was! No other such loss could have
happened to me. The long years of common experiences, joys,
and sorrows, going back to the rosy period of life, bound her
to me in a way that no acquaintance begun at a later period,
however dear and close the relation, can equal. As we grow
nearer the term of life, how sweet all the recollections of child-
hood become, and how dear those who can travel back to the
same early memories! If my dear sister could be made happier
by knowing how tenderly her memory is cherished by those she
has left! But alas, alas!
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 507
There have been many pleasant scenes to store up for the
future during the year now closing. Business, success in life,
etc., are all such as I can look back upon with satisfaction. I
took a part which satisfies me in the great struggle for liberty.
More than all, I have been blessed, where not to be blessed is
misery. My wife, boys, family, home are more and more the
great reliance for happiness. Two fine boys occupy so much of
my mind. Birtie is bright, a little wayward, but so handsome and
promising that we see him with pride and affection whenever
he rises before the mind. All who see him are pleased with him.
With what pleasure I excited him by telling of the treasures
which Santa Claus would bring him if he was a good boy, and
watched him as he saw his stockings hung up by the fireplace.
What a triumphant day for him Christmas was! He found in
his stockings a picture-book and knicknacks. His good old
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Warren, brought him a barking monkey
and a box out of which sprung when opened a queer, terrible-
looking little old man which made his eyes start out with mingled
fright and joy. He is a little timid about such horrors, but soon
mastered his fears and enjoyed it boisterously. I took him to
Judge James' room in the morning of Christmas day and en-
joyed his happiness in gazing at toys in the show-windows. His
constant question was, "What is all that?" He catches all our
phrases which sound queerly in his little mouth. Speaking of
the figure in his surprise box he says, "It is a terrible thing."
Webb is a stout, good-natured child--stubborn and passionate
when thwarted, but very good and very merry. His little blue
eyes remind us of Sister Fanny. He is short and stout--much
stouter than Birtie was at his age.
Had an exceedingly pleasant "informal" last night [at the
Club]. George Strong came home to spend his holiday vacation.
His little burlesque in the paper on the text, "If you study
theology you will dry up as sure as you are born," was an agree-
able piece of drollery. He should determine to be a man of
letters as a profession.
Rogers, I fear, is lost to me by becoming a Minnesotan. His
health there is good and he is likely to make that new country his
508 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
home. What a loss he is. I never knew his better. I love him
like a brother -- better than most brothers are loved.
In the second volume of Thornton's "Oregon and California"
is an account of the horrid sufferings of a party of emigrants in
1846. One named Milton Elliott died of starvation. Was he
our Kenyon Elliott?
CINCINNATI, December 28, 1856.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . We have not decided whether to
go to Columbus to be present at the State House warming on
the 6th. It would not be an especial pleasure to me, even if I
usually cared about such things. I could not forget the absent.
I today was wandering through the library, as is my custom
on Sunday mornings, when I came across a file of the Polynesian,
a newspaper published at Honolulu in the Sandwich Islands. I
naturally thought of our old friend General Hinton, and on look-
ing over the advertisements found in the issue of October 18,
1856, the following:
"The undersigned has moved his office from the news room of S.C.
Hillman to the room over J. H. Wood's Shoe Store, corner of Merchant
and Fort Streets.
"Honnolulu, Sept. 13, 1856. O. HINTON."
This news is recent and authentic and suggests reflection on
"the mutability of human affairs."
We are all very well. . . . . Merry Christmas and a
happy New Year to all!
R. B. HAYES.
January 4, 1857.--A new year begun. Spent New Year's
evening with Lucy at a pleasant little gathering at Mr. Wright's.
Have read lately Irving's "Washington"--all that's out,
Thornton's "Oregon and California," Simpson's "Journey
Around the Globe Overland." Am getting a tolerable notion of
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 509
the geography, condition, people, etc., of all this Western world.
What a prodigious growth this English race, especially the Ameri-
can branch of it, is having! How soon will it subdue and occupy
all the wild parts of this continent and of the islands adjacent.
No prophecy, however seemingly extravagant, as to future
achievements in this way are [is] likely to equal the reality.
January 8, 1857. -- Read Wilkes' "Exploring Expedition in
1839-40, etc., to the Pacific" -- Sandwich Islands and Oregon par-
CINCINNATI, January 21, 1857.
DEAR MOTHER:--. . . . You must not feel too anxious
about the little folks with you. They are certainly a very fine
bevy of children. You have reason to feel proud of them.
Their little peculiarities, which with your older judgment do not
seem favorable, will gradually disappear as they get older. It
is best to overlook most things, and not to be too solicitous about
perfection. I am afraid you will think I will spoil our children
by too little government. Perhaps we do err on the other side,
but you must come down and instruct us.
I found here a paper from Mr. Mead containing a very flat-
tering notice of a work of art designed by his son Larkin. It
was a statue of the Recording Angel built in one of the streets
of snow. There is a good deal of genius in Mr. Mead's boys.
I hope he is not to lose any more.--Love to all. Good-bye.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
January 23, 1857. -- Another very cold winter. The river has
been frozen two or three weeks and the weather continues steadily
very cold. At the coldest periods of the day, the thermometer
here from 4 to 8 degrees below zero. In northern New York
36 degrees and 40 degrees below! A great scarcity of coal; sold
at from 40 to 60 and even 80 cents a bushel.
510 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Visited Columbus with both boys on the 10th and remained
until the 20th. William very sick; supposed to be poisoned by
drinking water poisoned by lead from the lining of his water
The steady and severe cold of last winter and this is sufficiently
uncomfortable but so healthy. There is no doubt some reason
for the saying we hear that during the last three years this has
been the healthiest city in the world. It is a common remark
that our seasons are changing--growing colder than they were
years ago. Will they not change back again?
CINCINNATI, January 24, 1857.
DEAR GUY:--I received and read with unusual pleasure your
good long letter on your resolutions looking to disunion. I know
that what you say of public feeling at the South is entirely re-
liable, and that all who take any part in politics ought to deal
with such facts as their importance and undoubted reality re-
quire. That the same feeling which you describe exists in several,
perhaps in a majority of the Southern States, I have no doubt,
and if it were a question between South Carolina, Mississippi,
Texas, etc., etc., on the one hand, and Massachusetts, Vermont,
northern Ohio, etc., etc., on the other, the Union would be gone
already. But New Jersey, Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, Indiana,
and Illinois do not differ from their neighbors on the south more
than they do with those on the north. The great Central States,
both free and slaveholding, are one. Nevertheless, it does look
more as if dissolution were a possibility than it did a few years
ago. You are quite right, I confess, in looking forward with
some solicitude, in casting about for the remedy. Whether I can
agree with you in that is more than I can tell until I hear your
views more explicitly.
You evidently desire to remove the whole subject from Con-
gress, all action upon it, also all discussion of it in Congress.
I do not know beyond this what remedy you would propose.
To that extent we might perhaps agree. How much farther we
can go together on this vexed question, I cannot guess, but from
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 511
past differences [I] am inclined to think we should separate be-
fore travelling far.
Now, as to another matter,--your becoming a candidate for
Congress. I have changed on that subject. If you can get the
nomination by making proper efforts, I would make them. And
being once in the field (if after a survey you think you can win),
go ahead and if you fail of success it will probably not injure
you. If you win, no doubt you will take a high position in your
party and before the country. I should hope that a term at
Washington would correct some views you now hold which seem
to me, not merely sectional, but local. At any rate, I shall see
you oftener. You never can go into Congress under more favor-
able circumstances, and I hope you will make the race if the
prospect of winning is fair.
Old Trow [Trowbridge] turned up as a member of the Senate
of Michigan, a fierce Republican; writes as heartily and en-
thusiastically as ever in reply to a note I wrote him.
Uncle and Mother are both in feeble health this winter.
Uncle frequently inquires after you with a warm interest. Doug
Case is likely to return to Columbus to practice medicine with
Dr. Little. My love to Stephen and all.
Sincerely, as ever,
R. B. HAYES.
GUY M. BRYAN,
January 25, 1857.--Housed up all day trying to keep warm
reading Lewis and Clark's "Expedition up the Missouri in 1804-
5-6." A very accurate and thorough survey and report they
made. One can't but notice how much more friendly and honest
the Indians were then than later travellers have found them.
The country from the mouth of the Platte to the Rocky Moun-
tains, and from the mountains to within a hundred miles of the
Pacific, does not seem to promise well for future dwellers in all
that region. On the Yellowstone and in spots scattered over this
region, there are doubtless fine tracts of country, but no such
continuous good country as we see in the five Northwestern States.
512 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
What a raining, foggy winter they found at the mouth of the
Columbia. But one or two, or a few, cold days; but perpetual
rain and storm.
January 29.--Weather mild and pleasant. The cold left us
two or three days ago and we now have old-fashioned February
February 5, 1857.--Ice in the Ohio broke this A. M. Two
or three steamers nearly or quite wrecked by the floating ice
during the day, and others damaged.
February 15.--Warm pleasant weather. The hydrants in the
neighborhood begin to give water again and we expect to thaw
out in a few days.
February 27.--The continued warm weather thawed out our
water pipes today--divers leaks in them.
March.--A cold wintry month. The like of it not known
since 1843; the year of the other comet.
April 26, 1857.--Uncle left yesterday after a pleasant visit
of four weeks. He is in feeble health and thinks he will never
be rid of his present difficulties--lungs diseased--but hopes by
care to have some years of enjoyable life. What a cheerful, af-
fectionate, hopeful nature he has. Is a Christian in faith and
practice now, although not a professor.
Read two or three books on the Amazon--Edwards and---,
Prescott's "Charles V in his Cloister," "Kings Retired from
Business." [Also] Olmstead's "Seaboard Slave States," Olm-
stead's "Tour in Texas," Lewis and Clark's "Oregon," Thorn-
ton's ditto, Clarkson's Life, Wilberforce's ditto, Fred Doug-
lass' ditto, Wilkes' "Exploring Expedition," Sam Lewis'
Life, Thos. Moore's ditto, [and] Simpson's "British America."
Edward Everett pronounces "dynasty" -- yn like in the
preposition: Russia like rush; "chivalry" -- ch in chicken; Clive
--i long like hive.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 513
CINCINNATI, April 28, 1857.
DEAR MOTHER:--I received your letter this morning. I did
not know it was so long since you heard from us. But you
remember my way is always to write often when there is any
one in danger, and you may always feel unconcerned about us
when you do not hear.
. . . . Do not feel doubtful about our affection for you
if we happen to appear negligent about writing to you. The
truth is, Lucy is kept constantly engaged with her boys, and
dislikes letter writing, as you know, and I am frequently occupied
so that time slips away almost unawares.
I got a good daguerreotype of Uncle when he was here. He
had a great aversion to having his likeness taken, but was well
satisfied with it after it was done. . . . My regards to all.
Affectionately, your son,
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
May 7, 1857.--With Lucy heard Edward Everett deliver his
oration on Washington at Smith & Nixon's. His manner was
more like that of our common speakers; less appearance of study
in it than I anticipated, therefore more agreeable than I expected.
The whole matter, style, and delivery were about as I looked for
-quite equal [to] my expectations. I had regarded him as the
best specimen extant of the refined, scholarly, eloquent, holiday
orator, and such he is. His fine audience were charmed. Lucy
was especially carried away, wishes to hear it again. He said
many fine things, but Tom Corwin, who was on the stand, could
on the same subject, have thrilled the audience in a way far
excelling anything Everett did.
On the stand were a number of notabilities: Judge McLean,
who seemed to enjoy and apply personally to himself what was
said of Washington's lack of genius and possession of the "un-
popular" qualities of prudence, modesty, justice; Tom Corwin;
Governor Chase; our Senator Pugh, insignificant looking in such
company, our members of Congress, Pendleton and Groesbeck;
our Judges of Superior Court, Spencer, Storer, and Gholson;
514 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Colonel John Johnston; Mr. Mansfield; Judge Johnson; Charles
Anderson; Mr. Green; Lewis D. Campbell; H. Stanbery, and
Judge Hall, and two strangers.
Mr. Everett is an erect, well-formed, middle-sized man, aged
about sixty-five, apparently, well preserved, handsome, but not
great-looking. His best points in this speech--to take the house,
I mean--were his account of the woman who brought home her
husband's ship, the description of Marlborough's palace and char-
acter, and [the description of] Washington's home.
CINCINNATI, May 17, 1857.
DEAR MOTHER:--. . . . Janette Elliot is married to the
Mr. Keeler who has been addressing her this long time. He is a
printer and editor of moderate pretensions but will probably be a
kind husband. Hall, a brother-in-law of Aunt Emily, having
married her two sisters, ( --- and Ellen,) has just married a
daughter of Henry Trowbridge, a girl of eighteen, and is coming
west on his bridal tour.
Larkin Mead's snow statue is opening the way to a fine career
as an artist. Mr. Longworth opened an anonymous correspond-
ence with him, got him to send him a daguerreotype of it, re-
mitted him one hundred and fifty dollars, and promises to send
him to Florence with Powers. He also has engaged him to exe-
cute a full-sized marble statue of the snow work. This is all a
secret between the old gentleman and the boy. But Mead's father
being curious to know who it was that was patronizing Larkin
had me hunt him up.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
May 20, 1857. --Almost a year has passed since I last saw
Sister Fanny, prior to the sickness of which she died, and when
I last had an opportunity to talk cheerfully with her,--at the
time of the State Republican Convention to nominate delegates
to the National Convention at Philadelphia. I was at Columbus.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 515
Fanny was an invalid--greatly changed--looking forward
hopefully and cheerfully to the birth [of] a child as the dreaded
crisis. She felt her danger and spoke freely of it. Oh, her
beautiful character, her winning ways, her conversation, her fine
sense and cultivation, her extensive acquirements, her sweet af-
fections! She loved me as an only sister loves a brother whom
she imagines almost perfect, and I loved her as an only brother
loves a sister who is perfect. Dear, dear Fanny! Let me be just
and truthful, wise and pure and good for thy sake! How often
I think of her. I read of the death of any one worthy of love
and she is in my thoughts. I see--,but all things high and
holy remind me of her.
Peter Parley's autobiography is good; gossipy, honest, and en-
tertaining. . . . .
CINCINNATI, May 30, 1857.
DEAR MOTHER:--. . . . No doubt you are pleased and
happy that Uncle has united with the church. He talked with
me about religious matters a good deal. I told him that enter-
taining the views he did, it was a matter of duty to take the
course he has. He will feel more contented and satisfied with
his position in the church than out of it.
. . . . Fred Hall, who married two of Aunt Emily's
sisters was here last Sunday with a third wife--a daughter of
Henry Trowbridge and niece of his wives--aged eighteen. She
is scarcely so beautiful as his former wives but pretty and very
bright and lovely. Lucy and she speedily became friends. She
seemed quite pleased with her new position as wife, and her
husband being young-looking for his age and only thirty-five,
there was not such a disparity between them as one would
imagine upon learning that she was a third wife.
Mr. Mead's bright boy, I think I told you, has
found a patron in Mr. Longworth. I saw a daguerreotype of
the snow statue, or rather of a miniature marble copy of it, which
Mr. Longworth has. It is very pretty. . . . . Good-bye.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES R.B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
516 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, May 31, 1857.
DEAR GUY:--Hearty congratulations upon your nomination.
I learned it this moment and sincerely rejoice at your success.
None of your friends in Brazoria County looked for the news
from the Waco convention more impatiently than I have. For
two weeks I have been a daily reader of the Delta, Picayune, and
Bulletin--dry papers which usually I scarcely glance at--hop-
ing to hear from the convention. Strangely enough it comes first
in the New York Tribune. New York is always ahead.
I have for some time, in the feeble light I could get here,
feared that the chances were against you. I saw you were
stronger than either of your competitors--far stronger--but I
feared, as often happens, that all of them would combine against
you as the formidable candidate. Besides, I feared from what I
saw about your opponent who resides at Galveston and the move-
ments of his friends, that the lawyers would be likely to oppose
you or to favor another, and as my profession, in the "rural
districts" particularly, are all politicians, I thought there was
danger in that direction. And so, in my ignorance of the exact
posture of affairs, I have conjured up a variety of causes which
probably had no existence but which might work your defeat.
Worst of all, however, I heard some days ago that Runnels
was nominated for Governor. No mention was made of Con-
gressmen, but I inferred your defeat supposing that the candidate
for Governor was your old neighbor from Mississippi, and I
thought that both candidates would harly be taken from the same
Well, this is a long story to let you know how I am relieved
and delighted with this result. I feel, as Birtie did the other day
about the rhubarb pie. He could hardly be induced to taste it.
But on trying it was very fond of it and burst out: "I thought
I didn't like it--and I tried it--and I did like it--and then I
was so happy."
There is, I take it, no doubt of your election. Now get mar-
ried, and you are fairly on the road both to distinction and, what
is better, happiness.
I don't want to have your labors increased by writing to me,
but send me some paper containing the ballotings in your con-
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 517
vention, and after the election, the returns. Your Democrat and
Planter is very deficient in these details, figures, etc., though quite
interesting in the main.--Regards to all.
R. B. HAYES.
P.S.--Ordinarily Cincinnati Congressmen are not men that
you would care to associate with. But in the next Congress we
send two able, honorable gentlemen--men superior in all
estimable qualities to either of our Senators. My only objection
to them is, that they agree with you in general politics.--H.
GUY M. BRYAN,
June 7, 1857.--Returned this morning from St. Louis where
I had gone with the excursionists who were celebrating the open-
ing of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad and other railroads con-
necting Baltimore and St. Louis. St. Louis is a charming city;
will be the great metropolis of the Mississippi valley.
CINCINNATI, Friday, July 3, 1857.
DEAR LU:--On Monday evening I started for Gambier. At
Columbus I found that Jennie Andrews was going to Commence-
ment, so I took Laura with me. We enjoyed it very much and
returned yesterday. At Columbus all are looking forward to
your coming with great anticipations. Laura loves you more
than anybody else except her father. Birch and all are
At Gambier we stayed with Mr. and Mrs. French. Their
beautiful boy, of whom you heard me say so much, has after
untold suffering become hopelessly a cripple of the worst sort--
one hip out of joint, a knee and ankle stiffened, his beautiful
hair worn off, and so emaciated and unhappy that death would
be a blessing.
[R. B. HAYES.]
518 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, July 4 or 5, 1857.
MY DEAREST:--It is either very late or very early--either
the 4th near midnight or the 5th in the morning. I suspect the
latter. I have just returned from the club celebration and as I
feel no disposition to sleep will spend a few minutes in talking
with my darling about it. I do regret, as so many of your friends
did, that you were not here. It was one of the pleasantest--
perhaps the very jolliest gathering we ever had. The cold and
rains we have had the last few days led the committee to give
up the picnic at Plainville and to substitute a soiree at the club
room on the evening of the Fourth. The change proved a
happy one. All day today Mrs. Hoadly, Sallie Perry, and the
Wrights have been aiding the committee in preparing the hall
and arranging the tables. With the evergreens, the flowers, and
the paintings and engravings gathered, from all the friendly fam-
ilies of the club, the rooms were indeed charmingly arranged
and ornamented. Your friends were sorry you were not here
to enjoy that part of the frolic. The company gathered by about
eight o'clock--one hundred by "actual count" in number. All
the Wrights--both families, old and young,-- Mrs. Hoadly,
Sallie Perry, Mrs. Mallon, Dr. Joe with Miss Chase, Judge
James, with three young Woodward School misses, a daughter
of Dr. Menzies being the prettiest, etc., etc.
After all had arrived and chatted enough, Mr. Ward read a
ratherish good and witty poem, which all were determined to
enjoy, [and which] was enjoyed of course. Next, the supper;
then a capital club paper which took the house. The only dis-
agreeable point in it to me was your absence. How you would
have laughed! I do think you would have "jumped up and
down" with delight. After this, the company mixed up and all
joined in "The Star-spangled Banner" and two or three merry
club songs, until I never saw ladies so carried away with fun.
Mrs Lord clapped her hands and called for cheers "for this
great and glorious club," and such like extravagances. I sus-
pect it was near one o'clock when we quit. A fine young actor
gave us some genuine stage readings, which were especially
grateful to those (of whom the number was large) who never
go to theatres.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 519
I did the beau for Mrs. Mallon during the evening and es-
corted home Miss Rachel W-, so you know I was less in clover
than if my darling had been with me. "How much your wife
would enjoy it," was repeated to me half a score of times at
The public celebration was well enough. Birtie saw the pro-
cession. Mr. Stephenson and Billy [Rogers] were here to din-
ner and spent a good part of the afternoon in shooting crackers
with Birtie out on the cellar door. The prettiest part of the pub-
lic celebration was the bonfires on all the surrounding hills dur-
ing the evening. Nothing could have been finer than the dif-
ferent colored Bengal lights.
I am growing sleepy. Dr. Joe has just got in. Good night,
CINCINNATI, July 10, 1857.
DEAR GUY:--I am glad to notice that you are likely to have
a very smooth race of it. With a determined opposition, a con-
test in a district of such magnificent dimensions as yours would
be a serious business.
I was at Kenyon Commencement (time changed to the first
Wednesday in July). Many friendly inquiries were made about
you. Quite a bitter rivalry has sprung up between the two old
societies. An amusing partisanship is the result. All the bad
passions belonging to the larger politics of the world are exhibited
in miniature. You would have enjoyed looking on as I did.
. . . You must enjoy the peppering which "Old Sam"
[Houston] is getting. Write me when you have time.
GUY M. BRYAN,
520 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
August 29, 1857.--Returned today after an absence of just
six weeks. Visited Uncle Moses with Lucy and the boys;
Grandfather Boggs at Zanesville; Mother Hayes and sister
Fanny's family. Mother went with us to Fremont. We spent
several weeks at Mrs. Valette's happy home with Uncle Birch-
ard most pleasantly.
CINCINNATI, September 15, 1857.
DEAR LUCY:-- . . . I got home last night. . . . . .
Things look natural and pleasant. I hope you will keep well
and happy. Birtie's photograph is most excellent. If he was
as pretty as his portraits, his good looks would spoil him.
The Union Convention was stormy but its results will
probably be satisfactory to all who would be satisfied with any-
thing reasonable. Gurley for Congress. I was named and de-
cently withdrawn by a friend as I wished. The Enquirer says
they feared my nomination but can beat Gurley. I suspect they
You had better go to Columbus the first rain--if there is a
rain in any reasonable time to lay the dust. Stay there a long
time and I'll come up and see you.
Lovingly yours. Affectionately,
CINCINNATI, October 4, 1857.
DEAR MOTHER:--This is my birthday. It finds me and mine
all in health and sufficiently prosperous and happy. The scarcity
of money does not affect people of my profession very seriously,
and while I feel a good deal of anxiety for friends, I am toler-
ably free from difficulties of my own. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 521
CINCINNATI, October 8, 1857.
DEAR BROTHER WILLIAM:--I received yours yesterday sug-
gesting a meeting with Uncle at Columbus. It may be worth
while to do it if these times continue and Uncle's health will
allow. I shall certainly take time to go to Columbus or Fre-
mont if my visit can be of use. At present there seems to be
no further occasion for anxiety. I got a letter from Uncle this
morning in which he says the bank will go along and that he is
over his troubles. He adds: "I hope we have not troubled Platt
much." I trust there will be no further difficulty and that Uncle
will get out of the business at the earliest possible moment.
R. B. HAYES.
WILLIAM A. PLATT.
November 24, 1857.--Lucy went with me to Columbus to
take a Thanksgiving dinner with mother and the children of
dear sister Fanny. The children all are well and happy. Little
Fanny is like her mother. Ruddy also resembles her, but not
nearly so much as our little Webb does.
Birch grows rapidly and now promises to be a large fleshy
fellow like his uncle Joe. He begins to think. He asked his
mother who the preacher talked to when he shut his eyes and
looked up. She replied, "to God." "But where is God?"-
"In Heaven where good people are after they are dead."--
"How do good people get up there?"--"God takes them."
-- "How do God take them up?" His mother hesitated. "Do He
pull them up with a rope?"
He saw a little boy doing something he did not approve and
told his Uncle Joe: "I would have whipped him but I did not
know how to unbutton his pants." Oh, he grows! . . .
The year drawing to a close. Altogether a happy year.
Early in November had a little visit from Mary Ann (Hayes)
Bigelow and her husband from Sioux City, Iowa. A happy
couple, agreeable too. I begin to feel more attached to kindred--
to some of them, though, I can't yet say with Webster, "Dear,
dear kindred blood, how I love you all!"
522 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, December 11, 1857,
At office, 5 P. M., day's work done.
DEAREST L--:--It will be "agreeable"--beg pardon, "con-
ducive" is the word -- for you to stay longer if you wish. We
are getting on harmoniously. Birt has a kitten. Mary W-'s in-
tended not yet here--not known when he'll come. I hope not
at all--wicked hope. Wedding positively not to take place till
he comes. Uncle well, bank sound. I have read the President's
message and, as Mrs. Hinton said to Van Buren, "Farewell,
Mr. Buchanan." Am reading, I think I told you, Hugh Miller's
book on "The Testimony of the Rocks"--the book he died of.
A great book, very eloquent.
I shall not come up tomorrow. Will try to do so when you
want to come home. Good-bye.
December 25, 1857.--Merry Christmas 1857! Birtie's first
genuine Christmas. How he talked of "Old Chris Kingle"
[Kriss Kringle]. Hanging up stockings, springing up in bed to
see if Chris heard when I blew a tin trumpet. And how happy he
was when he got up and saw his drum and table and toys and
candy. Poor little fellow, he has had whooping cough about two
weeks and is now crying with his troubles. Webb was gay as
a bird, enjoying his chair and all eatables.
January 10, 1858.-- . . . Mild weather, very, since
November 28. No snow or ice and but two or three days of
cold weather and no weather cold enough to require an over-
Christmas and New Year's delightful days. We enjoyed them
vastly. Birtie and his toys--gifts from mysterious "Old Chris"
--have afforded us much amusement and happiness. No hap-
pier holidays since--oh, ever!
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 523
CINCINNATI, Sunday, March 21, 1858.
DEAR MOTHER:--Your letter enclosing General Gaines' let-
ter on the early training of youth, we received this morning.
Lucy read to us the letter and I now enclose it back to you. It
is interesting and contains very valuable suggestions, but pos-
sesses a peculiar value for you from your acquaintance with the
writer. . . .
We are also having large daily prayer-meetings. I have at-
tended one and enjoyed it. As at present conducted they are
more to my taste than the usual meetings for worship. There
is less of the merely formal and mechanical, less importance
attached to doctrines and creeds, and more earnestness and sin-
cerity. We can hardly expect them to be kept up long; but
while they continue as they are now, they must certainly accom-
plish good results.
Lucy has a gift of a sewing machine from her mother. She
is very successful in learning to use it. She did a prodigious
amount of work with it last week.
The boys are very well and not very bad.--Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CINCINNATI, April 5, 1858.
DEAR GUY:--I have been quite busy lately, but luckily got
my eye on your short speech on volunteers, etc. I suppose this
was your maiden effort in the House. It was no doubt a suc-
cess. You did well all you attempted to do. By asking if you
were "dissipated," I referred of course to the social dissipation,
balls, soirees, etc., of Washington. As you are unfortunately a
bachelor, I though you might be on the lookout for some legiti-
mate avenue to a knowledge of "domestic institutions," and in
that connection I asked you an old question which was a by-
word with you and old Trow [Trowbridge] and myself at Ken-
yon. "What are the 'prospects'?" The "prospects" referring,
as I hope to remind you, to Trow's courtship of Mary (or was
it Jane?) Douglass.
I am glad you have kept clear of a set speech on the doleful
524 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
subject of Kansas. I can't help thinking less of a man who on
either side of that question feels impelled to talk when it is so
obvious that it is squeezed dry. If drawn into an offhand de-
bate, it is all right; but of deliberate malice to perpetrate an
essay for fear somebody may not understand the member's po-
sition, shows a want of taste, self-reliance, or something else
that I deem essential.
Times are growing better with us. Business men [are] push-
ing ahead again, and the great crash will soon be forgotten.
You notice, of course, the singular phenomenon called by the
religious press the "great awakening." It is a quiet, unobtrusive,
decorous movement thus far and yet very absorbing and uni-
versal. I watch it with much interest. In no event can there
be much harm in it. The reaction of such a revival, which must
come, will naturally partake of the peaceful character of the
movement and be attended with little mischief; while results
permanently useful may reasonably be expected from the "awak-
I suppose you have little time to think about either soul or
body. I wish your district, and by consequence your labors,
was diminished to one-tenth. You might then think of "pros-
We have no court today, it being election day for municipal
and township officers.
GUY M. BRYAN,
CINCINNATI, May 3, 1858.
DEAR LAURA:--I am very glad to learn from Mother that
you are the valedictorian. No doubt you deserve it. I know
you would not have been weak about it if it had been otherwise,
but it is none the less gratifying that you have been successful.
You will let me know when the time comes and if you want to
see me then I will be there if I can.
MISS LAURA PLATT, RUD.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 525
June 13, 1858.--On Thursday I went to Columbus with
Birtie. . . . Friday, the 11th, Laura graduated at the Es-
ther Institute. She took the first honor of her class--the vale-
dictory. She was the youngest and much the smallest of the
class. She read her address in a clear, firm tone, her delivery
being the best of the day. She opened with a few lines of
parody of the opening of Hiawatha. Her piece was a plain, un-
ambitious composition, very fit for her to speak on such an occa-
sion. We were all much pleased with her success. She has
gone too fast we fear, and is out of school and "out" in the
other sense too early by a year or two. She has fine qualities,
however, and will hardly give up study because she is done with
school. Mrs. Kilbourne, Hatty Solis, and Uncle Birchard were
all at Platt's. [Uncle] Birchard had a painful accident--the
crushing of the middle finger of his right hand to the first joint
by the shutting of one of the large gates of the State House
yard. Uncle jokes about the pain; says it is a case in which
Mark Tapley would glory--it would be "a credit to be jolly"
under the circumstances. Birch and Ruddy played happily to-
gether. I hope they will grow up to be very friendly. Sister
Fanny wished them to become intimate early. Lucy asked Birt
who[m] he liked best of his cousins. He answered, "Oh,
Fanny," as if that were a matter of course.
When I sat down in the schoolroom where the exhibition ex-
ercises took place, I thought more of the absent than anything
present. Fanny was not there! How she would have enjoyed
the scene. She would have had no foolish gratification in seeing
the triumph of her daughter. I doubt if she would have had any
of the selfish vanity, so common on such occasions, but she would
have been happy that Laura and the rest of us were so happy.
I could not but think of her, and in spite of my efforts to prevent,
the unbidden tear would flow. Alas! I cannot feel the satis-
faction some appear to do in the reflection that her eyes beheld
the scene from the other world. So wrote Mr. Perry to Platt in
a note written that day.
Thursday, June 24.--Our third boy was born this morning a
little before 4 o'clock--at daylight; born in the same room that
Webb first saw the light [in]. He weighs ten pounds, is large
526 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
and fat; very little hair; probably looks like his Uncle Joe. Lucy
Friday, July 23, 1858.--Lucy got on nicely about two weeks.
One night she was up, sitting at the window watching Birtie
playing "blum boys" (training as soldiers with paper sashes,
caps, etc.) until late, and probably took cold. She had severe
pains in her breasts; and for ten days has had rheumatism creep-
ing over her from one place to another, giving her great pain.
It began in her left shoulder and arm and in her neck and hav-
ing passed almost over her is now we think leaving her.
COLUMBUS, August 13, 1858, Friday P.M.
DEAR LU:--All well here. Have been racing with the girls
until I am decidedly hot and my hand none too steady. I went
with Mother to the daily prayer-meeting this morning in Dr.
Hoge's Church. A fair attendance.
. . . Laura will go with me tomorrow to Burlington,
Vermont, to spend a couple of months with her Aunt Hickock to
learn housekeeping. It was so resolved after a ten minutes'
consultation--sudden but agreeable. We go to Detroit; thence
across Canada to the Springs; thence to Burlington and so on
to Brattleboro. . . .
Lovingly, in haste,
August, 1858.--Thursday, 12th, cars to Columbus. Satur-
day morning, 14th, with Laura via Shelby and Monroeville to
Fremont. At Fremont Sunday, 15th. Monday, 16th, with Laura.
Uncle, and Pease, via Toledo by railroad to Detroit. At De-
troit, Monday evening, after talking of the probable failure of
the Atlantic Telegraph, were awakened by the ringing of bells
celebrating the reception of the Queen's message. Tuesday via
Hamilton, London, etc., by railroad about two hundred and forty
miles to St. Catharines, Canada West. At St. Catharines 18th
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 527
and 19th. On the 19th with Laura to Niagara Falls and back.
Friday, 20th, by railroad to Toronto. Steamer thence Friday eve-
ning. Saturday passed Ogdensburg, the Thousand Islands, and
the rapids to Montreal. Left Montreal immediately same evening
in steamer for Quebec. Sunday, 22nd, at Quebec.
QUEBECK, CLARENDON HOUSE, Sunday, August 21, 1858.
DEAREST:--We remained at that paradise of rheumatics and
the like, St. Catharine's, until Friday at 11 A.M. when we took
[the] railroad to Toronto. On the way [we] stopped an hour
and a half at Hamilton; called on Breslin, found him glad to
see us; chatty, well-informed, and exceedingly interesting on
all matters pertaining to the city and the politics of Canada. He
hopes the State will accept a compromise of his trouble and
so allow him to return to Ohio. At Toronto we went on board
the fine American steamer Northerner and had a charming
moonlight sail down the Ontario to Ogdensburg. We there
boarded a smaller steamer at 10:30 A. M. Saturday, and passed
over the different rapids of the St. Lawrence to Montreal
and on arriving there changed to a crowded little British steamer
manned by talking, polite little Frenchmen and reached here
this morning at 7:30 o'clock. The weather has been good--
cold enough at all times for thick clothing, and at times ren-
dering my thick old overcoat a great comforter. Laura en-
joyed the scenery, especially the excitement of passing the
rapids, almost as much as you would have done.
And here is the only drawback to the enjoyment we are hav-
ing. Mrs. Valette, at St. Catharines, [and] Uncle and Laura
here are wishing you were with us. But not half so much as
I do. You would just "jump up and down" to see some of the
magnificent views we are looking at here. I never saw such
fine landscapes as are spread out here. Water in every form,
lakes, rivers, cascades; mountains, precipices, towns, shipping,
and fortifications all in one view; air clear and pure, etc., etc.
We went to church this morning at the Episcopal Cathedral.
Awful long services by five or six fogies in various sorts of
gowns. [The] Lord's Prayer repeated six times; candles and
528 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
doings of a Romish look made one feel as if Protestantism was
hot-foot after their ancient foe in forms and ceremonies. But
the music was truly glorious! I know this chiefly because all
say so, but somewhat because of the effect on myself.
Love to all. Birtie and Webb are in my mind constantly.
How is the other little customer?
We shall remain here three days and then towards Vermont.
Write me, as I said before, care of L. G. Mead Esq., Brattleboro.
Good-bye, dearest, I love you very much.
BRATTLEBORO, August 26, 1858.
DEAREST:--Thank you for your favor of the 22nd. I have no
time to write much. Am sorry to hear that Uncle T--has gone.
He was a good man; has had a long and useful life.
I hope you are now at Uncle M-'s quietly enjoying yourself.
We have had a glorious trip. I wish you were here. Such
warm welcome you would find in Mr. Mead's whole-hearted
family. We left Laura at Burlington this morning. She has
been a capital traveller. We go up into the mountains away from
railroads in a few minutes for three or four days.
In haste.--Kisses to boys and much love to all.
Friday Morning, August 27, 1858.
DEAREST L--:--I wrote you a hasty note yesterday from
Brattleboro on receipt of yours of the 22nd. I am now in the
quiet, beautiful little village where Uncle Austin Birchard lives
and shall probably not be disturbed until I have given you a few
jottings about our travels with such other "appropriate remarks"
as may occur to me. If little Ruddy or any less important per-
sonage requires your attention the reading of what may follow
can safely be postponed to a more convenient season.
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 529
We shall probably leave Vermont about Thursday the 2nd
of September. [Mutilated.] I shall get home about Saturday
the 11th. You will, I hope, write to me at Fremont where I shall
stop two or three days about the 8th. Write some time before
that, so that I shall find at least one letter from you when I get
there. You don't know how glad I was to get yours at Brattle-
boro. It had just got there.
I am really concerned about your mother's health. She works
so hard and has so many cares. We ought to contrive some way
to relieve her. With her disposition to help others, I don't see
how it is to be done; but think of it. With all our little ones
"in praesenti et in futuro"--I believe that is good law Latin,--
she is likely to have her hands full if we don't manage to take
some of the burden off her shoulders.
At the rate I am going I shall not reach my travels, so I shall
stop remarks and "journalize" a while. Sunday and Monday
last we spent at Quebec. The finest views and rides in all the
land. We visited the Falls of Montmorenci, the Plains of
Abraham where General Wolfe fell, the citadel--the American
Gibraltar with its hundreds of cannon,--all parts of the won-
derful city, and the surrounding country. Monday evening we
left Quebec on the steamer Napoleon, and sailed up the St.
Lawrence to Montreal. She was crowded with soldiers with
their wives and children, French Canadians, French priests,
and Americans travelling for pleasure--a jovial, chatting crowd
full of interest to one who loves to make observations on the
human animal. By the way nothing struck me more than the
British soldiers with their wives and little ones. The most of
these had been in the Crimea and wore badges showing that
they were the conquerors of Sebastopol. Almost all had wives
and many children. [Mutilated.] The soldiers were kind to them.
Almost every man carried one little fellow in his arms and had
others tugging at his legs. Domestic felicity under difficulties!
We are strange animals. Two signs (you know I study signs)
stuck me in Quebec, viz. "Licensed to retail Liquors" and
"Licensed Midwife." Mother Webb would probably say they
were both evils which ought to be prohibited instead of licensed.
We reached Montreal about 7 A. M. and stopped at the
530 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
Donegana House. Laura and I got into a cab and "did" the
city. We ascended the tower, three hundred steps high, of the
largest church in America, the Notre Dame, and surveyed the
same region which Satan showed to our Saviour, that is, "all the
kingdoms," etc. We got into the great bell which weighs fifteen
tons and shook its clapper which weighs four tons five hundred
pounds. Montreal is a beautiful city famous for its massive
stone buildings, beautiful too, but chiefly noteworthy in our
eyes because of their permanent structure.
Tuesday evening we left Montreal by railroad for Burlington,
Vermont, and reached there the same evening (ninety-seven
miles) after passing over a level uninteresting country, before
bed-time. Laura found Mrs. Hickock reading a letter which
she (Laura) had written from Quebec and was warmly wel-
comed. Mrs. Hickock had much to say of you--regretted you
were not of the party and more of the like. We spent a day
and more at Burlington. It is in its business part a common
village with agreeable surroundings. But on riding through
the suburbs one finds streets, leading towards the high ground
back from the lake, [having] beautiful residences with exten-
sive grounds finely laid out and ornamented and having most
commanding and extensive views of lake and mountains. Dr.
Hickock, you know, has an observatory with an excellent tele-
scope conveniently mounted for viewing either the heavenly
bodies or the distant scenery. [Mutilated.]
We bid good-bye to Laura Thursday morning (26th) and
came by rail in five hours (one hundred and fifty miles) to
Brattleboro--crossing the whole State of Vermont from its
northwest corner to its southeast corner over the Green Moun-
tains (I ought to have said under or through the Green Moun-
tains) in less time than it used to take to ascend one of its
peaks. At Brattleboro, where we stopped long enough to tea, to
read your letter, and to write a note to you, we saw all of Mr.
Mead's family. He jerked me about and hugged me and laughed
and talked about Lucy and the boys as if he had known you all
your days. We ran into Larkin's studio. He was at work on
a colossal statue of Ethan Allen. It is for the State and is to
be placed on the top of a beautiful granite monument which we
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 531
saw at Burlington in honor of the old hero. The figure is in a
bold attitude, one hand on his sword and the other raised to-
wards heaven as if in the act of demanding the surrender of
Ticonderoga, "in; the name of Almighty God and the Continental
Congress." We saw all of Mr. Mead's family and left in an
old-fashioned stage-coach for this place the same evening.
Reached here last night. Uncle Austin met us at the village
hotel. He is a whole-souled, healthy, stout man about sixty-five
years old--very fond of fun and as deaf as a post. He and
Mr. Mead are worth a journey to Vermont to see. Mary Birch-
ard and Sardis (age sixteen) are at home. Aunt Birchard is
as she was. We shall climb the hills over to Dummerston, where
my father and mother first lived and where Cynthia Taylor
(Austin Taylor's sister) is dying of consumption, tomorrow,
and spend the night with my queer Uncle Roger in his queer
store with his queer old goods. I shall try to buy an old-
fashioned article as a specimen (say a goose yoke or a jew's-
harp) of his stock. Sunday we shall spend here. Then two
days or so with Mead and Uncle Russell Hayes and his family
at Brattleboro and then off to New York. [Mutilated.]
I hope you are well and happy with the darling boys. Try to
keep so. Love to all. There, good-bye.
Affectionately, yours ever, R.
P.S.--I forgot to speak of health. [Uncle] Birchard is
pretty well. He has enjoyed the trip a great deal, and bears its
fatigues and the changes of weather very well. Pease was
thought to be in danger of going off with consumption speedily.
Had bad nights, bled some from the lungs, etc., etc. But Uncle
and I have kept him from sleeping daytimes, so he now sleeps
well at night and we have laughed at his whims until he now
admits that he is quite improved. I was never better. We sit
by the fire today; have found it comfortable several days.
CINCINNATI, [September 20 (circa)], 1858.
DEAR LAURA:--Jennie McLelland weighs one hundred and
twenty pounds avoirdupois! Short too. You will have to de-
532 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
vote yourself to it or you can never rival her. We met her at
Brattleboro and had her company home. We had a jolly gay
time at Brattleboro. The Meads are a happy family and have
the gift of making others happy. I love them all. Joana (I
wonder if that is spelled right--it looks awkwardly) is two
days older than you are (nee March 30, 1843) very pretty,
sweet-tempered, can romp like a Kentucky damsel, has a full
rich voice and a contagious happy laugh that can "smooth the
wrinkled brow of care." Eleanor is older, more cultivated and
less riotous than Joanna (I try two n's this time and think it
looks better), but witty, chatty, and capital company. Mary
Birchard thinks her "sarcastic," but as she is not ill-natured in
her satire, I like it. I did not expect them to enjoy me as much
as I did them, but when I left I was pleased to hear Eleanor say:
"Your visit has been perfectly splendid." They spoke of you,
and after I had given such a poor setting out of your qualities
as I could, they were eager to have you visit them, insist[ed]
upon it, etc., etc. Larkin, the snow-statue artist and sculptor of
the Ethan Allen statue for the monument at Burlington, is a
quiet, silent youngster said to be engaged (so don't set your
cap for him) to a pretty damsel of St. Albans.
No particular fun after leaving Brattleboro. Visited Sam
Elliot's lively family at New Haven. Uncle saw Eunice Moody
in New York. We stopped a day or two in Lockport at Uncle
Works' and were accompanied from there home by Mrs. Valette.
I visited Columbus, played tag with Ruddy and the girls;
then to Elmwood, where I found Lucy and the boys. Webb, a
little ailing, the rest very well. Lucy is in blooming health and
looking her prettiest. Birch hauling his market waggon, gather-
ing acorns, hickory nuts, and the like, was gaining health and
I am alone at home--nobody stirring, "not even a mouse,"
and, what is lonelier, nobody to stir except myself. I expect
Uncle Joe or Mother Webb home next week.
Write to your loving, lonely uncle,
MISS LAURA PLATT,
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 533
CINCINNATI, September 30, 1858.
DEAR LUCY:--I have just received Mother's letter inform-
ing me of your safe arrival with the little ones at Columbus.
I am very glad to hear it and much obliged to Mother for
. . . . The political excitement here is very great. I
have never seen such large meetings as we are now having.
Processions and gatherings every night. Very lucky that it
is so short a canvass. If it was a month I should want to run
away. As it is I enjoy it vastly. Gurley will certainly beat
Groesbeck and there is a fair chance for carrying everything
Lew Lee, our Republican "rounder" in the Fourteenth Ward,
was blown up last night in consequence of the grossest carlessness.
Anybody else would have died outright. He is the fellow who
was shot all to pieces in '56 and who a year ago was stabbed
through the lungs, stomach, bowels, and throat and was on his
feet in four weeks. He was in our office yesterday afternoon
looking fresh and hearty. The papers say he will die but he
won't. He'll be well in three weeks. I only judge by the past.
You are right popular. People ask for you constantly. I am
sure you will have a pleasant visit.
Sincerely--no, affectionately and lovingly, your
CINCINNATI, October 2, 1858.
DEAR LUCY:--I have just read your letter--am very glad
to hear you are all so well. . . . . Dr. Joe said something
of a wonderful singer, Karl Formes, and I was silly enough to
go to his concert last night. It was horribly tedious. He has a
voice of wonderful and I may truly say hideous power. It is
like a great big snore. How people enjoy [his singing] I don't
understand. . . . .
Our courts begin next week, but we shall not do much until
the political excitement is at an end.
I have no doubt we shall be very happy when you get home
again. . . . . I have ordered a new suit of clothes--
534 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
plain black frock coat and black pants. So we can go out
without trouble about the patch you laughed so much about,
when you come home. Love to all the kin. . . . .
CINCINNATI, October 4, 1858.
DEAR LUCY:--This is my birthday. The only unusual cele-
bration will be an address to the good people of Walnut Hills
tonight. We are having a most prodigious political excitement.
The like has not been seen within the memory of the oldest in-
habitant. Meetings, torchlight processions, cannonading, bon-
fires, singing, and illuminations every night, "Sundays except-
ed." Do you want to see any of these sights? Corwin, the
Governor, will speak Thursday night and on Saturday night the
greatest torchlight procession of the canvass will take place.
On Monday night next there will be another by the Democrats.
If you want to see the Saturday night affair, I will try to come
up about Friday and bring you down on Saturday afternoon.
Write at once if you would like it. Possibly you would rather
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, October 11, 1858.
DEAR GUY:--I received yours of the 27th this morning. I
am very glad to hear that you are to marry Laura Jack. I
recollect her perfectly. She was when I saw her a bright,
pretty, sweet girl of ten or twelve with a face and figure that
gave promise of much beauty. You are a lucky man after all.
I feared you were doomed to live and die a bachelor. I have
possibly some crotchets on that subject, but I am in the habit
of expecting to see bachelors eccentric, given to hobbies, and
with many ways and notions which are objectionable. Intellect,
education, and sound morals and affections do not seem to be a
protection from these tendencies. "It's no use talking," Guy,
you are to be married in the nick of time. You have a prize,
INCREASING PROSPERITY, 1855-1858 535
I am sure. You will be happier, you will make your friends
happier, you will be a wiser and a better man. Things that
now seem to you so important, which interest and perplex you
overmuch, will sink to their proper places. Home and wife,
family and friends, will rise. A thousand thousand con-
gratulations on this happy event. You don't yet appreciate
it yourself. A year or two of married life will work wonders.
I shall see your wife, of course. She probably does not recol-
lect me. I remember her dark hair and eyes in contrast with
the singular beauty of her older sister a blonde--and the
pleasant way in which you toyed with her. But enough,--I am
in favor of the union--a union far more important to your
future than that other Union which we quarrel about so much.
You are going out of public life for a time. I rather regret
that. With a wife and family it would not be so absorbing
as it is now.
Our election takes place tomorrow. It is a very exciting
struggle. Elements are now taking position for the future.
It is to be decided whether the Democracy will control this city
and county in the future as in the past. A decisive preponder-
ance either way will fix the course of things for some little time.
I barely escaped being in the fight. I suppose that by simply
saying yes, I could have received the nomination in Mr. Groes-
beck's district, and that I could have been elected over him.
With the present candidate I think he will be beaten. I mean
that Mr. Groesbeck will be beaten, but it is not by any means a
clear case. Mr. Pendleton, I suspect, will be re-elected. But
what odds does it make? You are to have a wife and home,
and that's worth all the seats in Congress twice told. My love
to your wife. She is a capital woman I know. Blessings on
GUY M. BRYAN,
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