CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860
CINCINNATI, November 30, 1858.
DEAR UNCLE:--We are having delightful weather at last.
Platt visited me last week and I hear today that Mother
or Laura will come down with you from Columbus if you come
that way soon. . . .
I have wanted to chat with you about some matters of no
great consequence for a few weeks past and hope you will be
down before I am required definitely to act. There is to be a
vacancy in a few weeks on our Common Pleas bench to be
filled by the Governor. The bar will, if I consent, recommend
my appointment with as much unanimity as is ever exhibited by
such bodies. The pay will be either two thousand dollars or
two thousand five hundred dollars a year. Private reasons
which you are aware of, but which I prefer should not be known
here, incline me strongly in favor of the proposed step. Those
reasons are much strengthened by recent occurrences which I
will mention to you when we meet. The affair is all in the
future as yet, but as I may be required to decide before you
come, I thought I would speak of it.
My health is better this fall than usual; about work enough
for comfort. . . . . Boys healthy and noisy, noisy espe-
cially, so be prepared. Sincerely,
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, December 9, 1858.
DEAR UNCLE:--I am in my new office (City Solicitor's office)
and, seeing I was elected only last night, begin to feel much at
home. The berth is a good one. Salary three thousand five
hundred dollars per year and duties agreeable. I am well
spoken of by all the papers. The Commercial of Wednesday
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 537
and Thursday I suppose you saw. All the Americans, all the
Republicans, and one Democrat voted for me. No one of our
side could get in without that Democratic vote. It was pleasant
all around except that our old friend Caleb [B.] Smith had to
be disappointed. But as I behaved liberally in the premises,
no blame for that attaches to me. This is much better than the
judgeship. Besides, I discovered that the judge appointed by
the Governor only gets fifteen hundred dollars. My present
office is to be filled in four or five months by the people.
Boys and Lucy all well. We hope to see you soon.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, December 17, 1858.
DEAR UNCLE:--I had heard from Mother of your illness,
and am glad you are getting well. The weather is now fine
and I hope we shall see you next week. As to our boys, I
agree that it is very desirable to bring them up in the country
as much as possible. They are however very strong and healthy.
Birtie has gained wonderfully. He now looks as if he might
grow up large and heavy.
The duties of my new office are all in the line of my profes-
sion. The suits of the city, advice to all its officers in legal
matters, etc., etc., occupy my attention. The litigation of a
city like this is very important and of great variety. My as-
sistant will attend to the less important matters, leaving me
free to devote to the leading cases all my time. The amount of
business is not large--at least not too large; not so perplexing,
I think, as my old place.--Let us see you soon.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, December 25 (Christmas), 1858.
DEAR UNCLE:--I hoped you would be with us today, and
still hope that you will come down before the end of the holi-
days. Our courts are all closed until after New Year's day;
538 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I am the only one in the City Buildings this morning. The
weather is beautiful and everybody happy. Our children are
overflowing with enjoyment of their Christmas presents. It is
a great happiness to observe them. Last evening we had a
jolly time. Our German girls, without our suspecting it, worked
night before last until three o'clock in the morning in the cellar,
and succeeded in surprising us all when we went to supper last
evening, by giving us a beautiful Christmas tree. Birch and
Webb were hardly able to contain themselves. They speedily
got in all the neighbors' little folks and had a capital little im-
promptu frolic. This morning they are again in a happy ex-
citement over the leavings of "Kriss Kringle." I do not think
I ever enjoyed a Christmas so much when I was a little fellow,
as I do now in seeing the happiness of my children.
It is nine years today since I came to Cincinnati. Many
changes have occurred in that time in the little circle of those
most dear, most of them pleasant ones, but I suppose I shall
never see these happy seasons without shedding a few tears for
the loved one gone!
I do hope you will come down next week.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, December 25 (Christmas), 1858.
DEAR MOTHER:--I have just written to Uncle, although I
hope he is with you on his way to visit us. It is a bright lovely
morning in keeping with the happy scenes of the day. Our
children are having more than their share of the happiness. Last
evening our girls surprised and delighted us all with a Christmas
tree which they had prepared by working nearly all the night
before in the cellar. Birch and Webb were as happy as possible.
This morning they are again in a state of excitement with the
gifts of Santa Claus. Birch would like to show them to Ruddy.
He has a genuine man's snare-drum, a sofa, bedstead, musical
instrument, cart and horses, which run by a spring like the
locomotive, "Jack the Giant Killer," "Tom Thumb," and other
books, balls and toys.
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 539
They were delighted a great deal with one thing which I
mention for Ruddy's benefit. We fixed the locomotive so it
would run in a circle and put one of the little wax candles lighted
in the smoke-stack and darkened the room. It is a pretty sight
to see the little machine with its blazing candle wheeling in a
circle in the dark and delights the little folks hugely.
It will be six years Thursday since we were married. If you
and Uncle will come down on that day or before it, we will
celebrate it over again.--Love to all.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
December 26, 1858.--Had a "merry Christmas" yesterday.
Our nice German girls got up a Christmas tree to amuse the
little folks. It delighted them hugely. Birtie is getting to be
a large, fine-looking boy. Is very fond of having me read
stories from his gift books--"Jack the Giant Killer," "Hop o'
my Thumb," "Aladdin's Lamp," and the like. He is very
sympathetic, is easily moved to tears when Lucy reads or tells
him such affecting little stories as the "Babes in the Wood."
Webb is a handsome, lively, wayward, little fellow, two years
and nine months old. Small of his age, short and stout, very
fair complexion (a little waxy red in his cheeks), bright, large,
light blue eyes, flowing, silky, white curls, and a large square
forehead. A little Ben Franklin of a boy, as mischievous as
he can be, always determined to have his own way, persevering
and determined not to give up. Ruddy is six months old, re-
sembles Webb rather than Birtie, a laughing, bright-eyed baby,
promises well; has colic still often. Webb and Ruddy are like
the Birchard side of my house. Birch, we think, is getting more
and more like his uncle Joe. A very happy family we are.
It is nine years since I came to Cincinnati, and six years
since I married. Both good steps. I am now fairly established
as a lawyer--with a good reputation and flattering prospects.
About three weeks ago I was elected City Solicitor in place of
Judge Hart. It is for his unexpired term of four months. I think
540 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
the office a very desirable one; salary sufficient--three thousand
five hundred dollars, and duties agreeable.
CINCINNATI, December 31, 1858.
DEAR UNCLE:--I am sorry to learn by your last that we are
not to see you during these jolly holidays. It however will make
but little difference if you come soon enough to spend a part of
the winter with us.
A notice of dissolution between myself and Corwine will ap-
pear tomorrow. I ought to get out of the concern several thou-
sand dollars, but it is by no means certain that I shall more than
two or three and possibly not that much. However, ending as
it does, I am a gainer by having formed the connection. I leave
it with such a position as will insure me a fair living practice
either alone or otherwise.
Rogers is here. He will remain during the most of the winter.
CINCINNATI, January 14, 1859.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . I notice what you say as to look-
ing out for what is due me in our firm. I shall do my best. The
most of it is in a condition not to be lost by my neglect. Nine
thousand dollars is in a judgment in the name of Rogers and my-
self in Kentucky; four thousand dollars in suit; two thousand five
hundred dollars in a single claim in my charge; so that if I lose,
it will be rather from the nature of the claims than anything else.
My share of the three large claims above is six thousand dollars.
As to small claims I shall keep my eye on them as much as
CINCINNATI, April 5, 1859.
DEAR MOTHER:--I hope you are not cast down about the
election here. It will, I hope, not prove my ruin. Tell William
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 541
our treasurer got in by about four hundred majority; our mayor
has nineteen hundred majority; I have twenty-two hundred.
A good time for unpopular men when the majorities are so
great.--Lucy and all very well.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
June 19, 1859.--On Wednesday, June 8, our boys were bap-
tized in our own parlor. Present, Mother Hayes, Mother Webb,
Dr. James Webb, (Aunt Clara, Eliza, Jane, and Mary, servants,
colored), Lucy and myself. [The boys were christened] Birchard,
James Webb, and Rutherford Platt. Dr. Clark of the Methodist
church performed the ceremony. The boys all behaved well.
Webb after it was over asked, "What did the gentleman put
water on my head for?" The boys are all fine little fellows. Birch
is tall, slender, with fine eyes, a great quantity of hair, talks a
great deal--hitting on words that rhyme often; is learning to
whistle, and goes about whistling constantly. Webb is short,
stout, bright, and mischievous; very resolute and wilful, modest
--very modest; never gives up a purpose; exceedingly affec-
tionate,--when asked who[m] he loves, says, "All the people,"
and if asked who[m] best, says "Barchie." Little Ruddy is
pretty; blue eyes, fair skin; looks like Webb and promises to be
like him in disposition.
FREMONT, July 1, 1859. Friday A. M.
DEAR L--:--We reached here last night in good condition,
and as it was ten o'clock we stopped with Father Kessler. Birch
has been a good boy--is a very agreeable travelling companion.
I am writing in the bank. Uncle has not yet got down. He is
. . . . At Kenyon everything looked as pretty as possible.
Dr. Little and Carrie went up with us from Columbus but on
commencement morning they received a dispatch that one of
their little folks had the scarlet fever and they went home im-
mediately. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell were there. Mrs. Campbell
542 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
looked young and pretty. Mrs. Solis and Jennie Andrews stopped
at Profesor Smith's (my quarters also) where we had an agree-
able company. There were two boys a little older than Birch.
They kept Birtie in employment with a large rocking-horse and
firecrackers. Uncle Billy [William K. Rogers] is tolerably well
but thinner than ever.
I hope you are well. This pleasant change in the weather
extends, I suppose, to Cincinnati. It will, I hope, agree with you
as well as it does with me. . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, July 23, 1859.
DEAR MOTHER:--. . . . I too thought constantly on the
16th, 17th, and 18th of the sad event of three years before. I
can't write or talk much of such griefs, but I suppose I feel them
as deeply as others do. Fanny was a lovely character, and all
reveries about her contain pleasant as well as mournful reflec-
tions.--Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CINCINNATI, September 1O, 1859.
DEAR GUY:--It is a long while since I have heard from you or
written to you. I have thought of you often, as often as ever,
and take as great an interest as ever in you and yours. We are
sorry not to have seen you and your wife before you left for the
South in the spring. This will not, I hope, be the last of you in
Washington. I do not question your sincerity when you express
disgust with political life at Washington. No doubt its dark
side is dark enough; yet that ought not to drive from the public
service good men whose tastes, opportunities, and abilities point
[them] out as fitted for public station.
How is your wife? How are you living? Write me of all
your affairs; how is Stephen and your older brothers? Uncle
Birchard spent a good deal of the winter and spring with me. He
often talks of you all. He has tolerable health now and does
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 543
not change rapidly. He has joined the Presbyterian Church and
is largely interested in church and religious matters. He is free
from all sectarianism and bigotry, takes cheerful and hopeful
views of things, and is as clear of all that is disagreeable in
many persons who are religiously inclined, as any one I ever
knew. He is a happier and, perhaps, a better man.
My wife and boys are my world, and occupy all my time, or
nearly all, which is not given to business. Outside of my pro-
fession, I read occasionally a good book, and keep a general run
of politics. This summer I made a trip with Birtie to Kenyon.
Rogers is there studying theology. I staid with Julia Buttles
Smith. Mrs. Solis (Harriet Platt), Lizzie Campbell (Little)
and Dr. John Little were all there pleasantly reminding me of old
times. I have also during the vacation of the courts made a
pleasure trip East and to Mammoth Cave.
I do not know what part you took in the late contest for
Governor in Texas; but supposing you entertain your former
notions about General Houston we probably agree in feeling sorry
that the Old Humbug has again risen to the surface. It may be
regarded as a proper rounding off of his chequered career by
lovers of the romantic, but in any other view it is not agreeable
Douglas was here and spoke last night. It is supposed by
most of his friends that the South will consent to his nomination
at Charleston, and if so his chance of winning the Presidency
seems very good. His last expression of his views in Harper's
certainly strengthens him in the North.
Write to me.--As ever,
R. B. HAYES.
GUY M. BRYAN,
October 2, 1859.--We have been absent from our own house
a good part of the summer, having an addition made to it. A
third story has been put on to the back part, a brick kitchen,
three stories, for wash-room, girls' room, [and] bathroom. We
are now at home again, and the painting, papering, brushing up,
544 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
and the like, nearly completed. In the kitchen we have a range
which thus far does well, and other conveniences. Birch has
been absent with his grandmother since July 30. I long to see
him. Webb is healthy, stout, short, and noisy. Very good-
tempered and lively. It is delightful to see him galloping along,
with his bright wavy hair rising and falling as he leaps. He
talks a great deal, utterly regardless of grammar and pronuncia-
tion. The baby, Ruddy, is fat, lively and lovable. Very resolute;
speaks a few words; but can only walk by holding on to a chair
or some other object.
October 23, 1859.--Several years ago, in 1852, I think, I
caught a severe cold which I did not get rid of for several weeks.
During the time I had it I tried the Nancy Farrer case--the trial
occupying nearly two weeks, and requiring a great deal of ex-
ertion of voice in examining a host of witnesses, arguing incidental
questions and addressing the jury. I thought at the time that my
lungs, the lung on the right side especially, was [were] somewhat
injured. Occasionally since I have felt a weakness, nothing that
could be called pain, under the lower ribs on the right side. A
little exertion in speaking seems to bring on this feeling. It is
near the point on the right side where my body touches the table
or desk when I write, as I usually do, with my right side towards
the table. I have felt the same weakness increased after long
writing. I suspect it is caused quite as much by writing as by
colds or speaking. I now write about it to preserve the dates
when I have most felt it and to write a couple of rules or cautions
for my future conduct, viz.:
(1) To write either facing my desk or table or with my left
side towards it.
(2) To form the habit of speaking without much exertion
I may add a third: If I ever find speaking or writing injuring
me, to discontinue it until I am again sound.
In 1852 this weakness first came to my notice; repeated once
or twice since; and now again in a way to occasion me a slight
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 545
November 6, 1859.--Birchie was six years old on Friday, the
4th. Mr. and Mrs. Warren, Herron, and Stephenson dined with
us. Birtie received a number of presents--some blocks for a
three-story house, and books. He is beginning to learn to spell
and of his own motion "takes to larnin'." The other boys im-
prove finely. Little Ruddy is growing fast. We think he will
be larger than Webb, who is very small, and stronger than Birch.
CINCINNATI, December 2, 1859.
DEAR MOTHER:--. . . . Our visit to Fremont was an
exceedingly pleasant one. Uncle was in good health. Mrs.
Valette better than usual. Mr. and Mrs. Pettibone were there on
Thanksgiving day from Wisconsin. Lucy took tea at Mrs. Tay-
lor's. Her family all well. Mr. and Mrs. McLelland and Platt
Brush and his wife spent one evening at Mrs. Valette's with us.
We took Webb. He liked it much. All the relations well ex-
cept Pease. He is not able to sit up much of the time. His
spirits are good. He may live a good while. I think he will
last through the winter, although his death at any time would
not surprise me. He is as happy and cheerful as you could
expect one to be under such circumstances.
Uncle's new house [in Spiegel Grove--the older portion of
the present house] is large and very handsome. Not too large. It
is just such a house as I would prefer to live in. He has taken
a great deal of pains with it, and has in every respect been for-
tunate. There will be no expensive work, no merely ornamental
work about it. Lucy was very much taken with it. I suspect she
will prefer it to a city home, after she once gets settled there.
It is not quite certain whether it will be ready to occupy early
next summer or not.
I have been very busy since my return or I would have written
before. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
546 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
December 17, 1859.--We (Lucy and self) took with us Webb
to Fremont Thanksgiving day, the 25th of last month. Had a
happy time at Mrs. Valette's. Uncle uncommonly well for him.
The saddest thing is Pease's hopeless sickness. He is dying of
consumption. Talks pleasantly, is clear-headed and natural;
feels that one ought not to die, when bones, muscles, and brain
are all so sound, but is perfectly aware that there is no hope.
When we parted he said, "Oh, we may meet a hundred times
yet." What good friends we have been since I was a boy, since
1835--almost twenty-five years. It is hard to see him go. We
shall meet again, I hope, before the great change.
Have read "Recollections of Choate" this week. He was a
"remarkable" man, as Dickens says so many Americans are. 1
have heard him pour out in impetuous torrents his warm and
wordy eloquence. It was no doubt most effective in compelling
verdicts from juries, but never struck me as "high art" or (the
real thing) genuine nature. His best production, "Eulogy on
Webster," at Dartmouth, is very beautiful. The lesson of his
life, that is, the best suggestion one gets from it, is the importance
and value of perpetual and preserving labor in any direction
which one's judgment selects. "Diction," verbiage, was his idol.
He sacrificed pleasure, health, all, to it. Well, it is important.
Western lawyers, Cincinnati lawyers, do neglect too much what is
termed learning, scholarship. Let me read and reread the best
poets, as Shakespeare, Milton, Byron; the model prose writers or
speakers rather, as Burke [and] Webster. Addison does not
interest me. He is smooth but, to me, dull.
Choate, if this book contains his best, was not equal to Corwin
or Judge Johnson in wit, in shrewd and telling remark, in anec-
dote, or illustration. With vastly more reading and scholarship
than Judge Johnson, with more magnetic power, with warmth
and enthusiasm, he was not equal to the judge in brains; not
equal in illustration, in wit, or in shrewd mastery of the
prejudices and biases of juries. Judge [Johnson] as a thinker, as
a man of intellect, is far his superior.
Choate wrote a great deal; did not, it is said, commit his
speeches to memory, but wrote them before he spoke. Benton,
it is said, prepared for his greater efforts in the same way. It
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 547
must be useful to write and rewrite such portions of a speech
or argument as require precision, and such parts as are intended
to be "fine"--the statement of propositions and the rhetorical
parts of an argument.
Dr. Boynton in one of his popular lectures on geology described
the first and lowest forms of animal life of which fossil-
ized remains are to be found in the crust of the earth. He showed
that science teaches on this subject two facts of sound importance
in our day, which general observation tends strongly to confirm.
One is, that the animals of the early geological periods, and which
exist only as fossils, were far inferior in structure and organ-
ization to the living animals of our own times, showing that
fossils are not the favorites of the Creator; and the other fact
is, that the lowest and meanest animals to be found either on the
earth or in its crust, fitted only to crawl and wriggle in mud and
slime, are those which the Creator has organized with the great
primal defect of having no backbones!
Among the expenses of the American Revolutionary War
which the British government laid before Parliament, one of the
items was "five gross of scalping-knives."--Buckle, p. 344.
December 24, 1859.--Christmas eve. Ten years ago tonight
came to Cincinnati. Arrived at Pearl Street House about 9:30 P.
M., a cold clear night, a stranger seeking "room" among the
brethren of the greenbag. Without any extraordinary success,
without that sort of success which makes men giddy sometimes,
I have nevertheless found what I sought, a respectable place.
Good. . . . .
December 26, 1859.--Birtie and Webb both have measles--
both light as yet, and Birtie probably past the worst. They both
lie in the same bed in their grandma's room. A red, bladder-like
balloon, a present of Uncle Joe's, floating against the ceiling
in their sight, and other presents near them. . . . .
January 5, 1860.--On Monday cousin John Rutherford Pease
died at Fremont of consumption. We roomed together at Cap-
tain Thompson's in Fremont from the spring of 1845, when I
first opened a lawyer's office, until he married his second wife
about [the last of October], 1848, a period of [considerably
548 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
more than three] years. What a friendly man he was! In-
different to the welfare of mankind in the mass, thinking
that common men were to be used by their superiors in intel-
lect, he was yet kind to all, and true as steel to the few select
friends whom he loved; disposed to think well of his blood rela-
tives, and ready and glad to aid them. He had a noble head,
large, round forehead, developed like a promontory, of the sort
Judge Johnson calls Doric. He was gifted by nature with the
best intellect of any of the Hayes family. Could play perfectly
chequers, chess, cards, etc.; was an ardent, unhesitating party
man--Democrat; had no literary culture, could not write or
speak grammatically, but knew the things which ought to be done
in any exigency, and recognized and appreciated the best things
in literature. He was physically timid--not decidedly so--but
cautious, full of good anecdotes and fond of humor; excelled in
Speaking of religion, he was an orthodox Episcopalian in senti-
ment to the general ear; but in his private sentiments, a skeptic.
His only fear of the future was annihilation or loss of personal
identity. Did not shrink from death but would greatly prefer
to live longer. After learning from Uncle that he could last
only a few days, I resolved to write him and say two things--
how much I valued and loved him, and how confident I was that
in the future he would share the fate of my dear sister Fanny.
He would have considered that, as I do, the best fortune that
any one can hope for. Dear, dear friend, hail and farewell!
CINCINNATI, January 5, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--I heard of Pease's death yesterday at Colum-
bus. As I was going to the depot, I met General Bell, Haynes,
and John L. Greene, and asked them how Pease was and learned
[of] his death for the first time. I left home before your letter
and McLelland's dispatch were received. It is just as well; I
might have gone up to the funeral, but it is all over. I feared
from your last letter that he would not last long. He has been a
great happiness to us--a good friend--a delightful companion.
I did intend to write to him a few last words of friendship, and to
CITY SOLICITOR -- CINCINNATI, 1850-1860 549
say what I thought of his future. I am too late -- but it is as
well. We shall remember him as he would prefer to be remem-
The boys are getting well as fast as need be. The little one is
just getting sick. No doubt he will get through as his brothers
have. Mother is in better health than usual.
R. B. HAYES.
Sunday, January 15, 1860.--- Little Ruddy has been very sick
--the effect of measles; is today decidedly better. His lungs
are easily affected. He is in temperament, etc., midway between
Birch and Webb--smarter than either, his grandmother says.
Glad he is getting well.
CINCINNATI, January 19, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:-- I received your letter today. . . . . I
was gratified with Otis' letter about Pease. I felt hurt that the
Democrat should have had no notice of his death except the
ordinary naked announcement of the fact. You must miss him
greatly. If Ruddy gets well enough, Lucy will go to Columbus;
otherwise, of course, not. I had an excellent letter today from
Laura. She describes her Vermont vacation visit as a very happy
one. Mead and girls and boys with Laura dined at Uncle Aus-
tin's. Had a good jolly visit. We are all well except the baby.
You must come down soon. You will find us uncommonly happy
R. B. HAYES.
January 22, 1860.-- Bought an old book to muse over -- "Bur-
ton's Anatomy of Melancholy." He quotes from the ancients
proverbs and witticisms, saying of all sorts -- some worth re
membering. [Several are recorded in the Diary.]
550 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, January 29, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . We have had a lively time, full
of excitement and interest for the boys, and men too, for that
matter, receiving the official visits of Kentucky and Tennessee.
All passed off agreeably. If no good was done, it is quite certain
that very little harm was done. It is about time we were getting
our winter visit from you. Can't you come soon? . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, January 30, 1860.
DEAR MOTHER:--I have just read your good long letter. I
sympathize fully with your feelings in regard to the old homes
with which so many associations of your younger days are con-
nected. I hope the Bancrofts are not to be left without any home
of their own in their old age. The loss is sad enough, even if
they have the means to provide a new one. It is pleasant to
know that Laura finds so much pleasure among her Yankee
relatives. Uncle writes cheerfully, and is in pretty good health.
Our Birch and Webb are getting over the effects of measles, and
are almost as rugged and noisy as ever. Little Ruddy is still
weak and pale. Can't walk or creep at all. We hope he will
get along better this fine weather.
We, too, had a great demonstration on the occasion of the visit
from the Kentucky and Tennessee authorities. The great pro-
cession passed our house, much to the delight of the boys. Our
house was adorned with flags and portraits of Jackson and Clay,
in all which the little folks were more concerned than the older
children. All passed off to the satisfaction of the city and the
strangers. Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
February 4, 1860.--If some Boswell would collect the good
things of Judge Johnson they would excel in quantity and quality
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 551
the witty and pithy sayings of [Rufus] Choate or [George D.]
Prentice. A new one yesterday. Of E. P. Norton, a waiter
upon notabilities, he says Shakespeare's saying should be worded:
"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some thrust
themselves upon greatness."
CINCINNATI, February 4, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . You ask what I am doing. Not
working hard--not working much. I earn my salary, I am sure,
and am therefore conscience clear. I have read a good deal this
winter--more than usual; some history, some poetry, some
religion, biography, and miscellaneous matters, but no novels and
no politics. I am intending to go into politics and novels as soon
as I finish three or four books that I have now on hand.
I never enjoyed life better. Barring two or three anxious
weeks on the boys' accounts, this has been a happy winter--
very. Lucy is in finer feather than she has been for two or three
years. We want you to come down and are sorry to hear that
sickness has kept you at home. The weather is fine again and
we hope to see you soon.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, February 7, 1860.
DEAR GUY:--I am very glad to hear of your good fortune.
Me and my wife send congratulations to you and your wife--
our boys to your boy. Not done in the best of English, but the
sentiment is sound and the good wish sincere. I am glad to hear
from you once more.
George [Jones] and myself held a class meeting, or, if it is
more in your line, a caucus, over your long silence a few weeks
ago; and we began to fear that the deadening effect of long
separation, added to intensity of political separation, had ended
our correspondence. You are the only college friend from whom
even an occasional letter or reminder is to be expected. All the
rest have drifted off into unbroken silence.
552 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
I like Galveston as a home with a summer retreat from the
fever. Ladies and gentlemen getting respectable, if not venerable,
prefer, I find, a city; but children ought to be in the country.
We hope to enjoy both conditions hereafter. Uncle has nearly
finished a beautiful residence in a fine grove about a mile from
Fremont, which is to be our home in summer.
You know we have three boys, the youngest nearly two--the
eldest "going on seven." All fine boys, of course, and, what is
not so fine, they are all just getting well of the measles. They
have had (the two oldest) all the other baby complaints except
the scourge of this climate, scarlet fever, and that we hope to
Uncle is in usual health. Matthews, of Columbus, Buttles, and
Case are all doing as well as ever;--Buttles better than usual.
He is a church member and nearly rid of his insane appetite, it
is thought. Dr. Little, as usual. George [Jones] is East buying
stock (goods). The doctor (Webb) is with me; still a bachelor
-and the best nurse and boy amuser living. I would recom-
mend you and your wife, if there are any bachelor brothers, to
cultivate them with increased affection. They are so useful
when you have had enough boy,--and that time comes occa-
sionally, your will find, strange as it may now seem. But these
little ones are a great comfort. No doubt you will so find it.
The precious little Guy, I hope he will be healthy and a living
happiness to you all these many, many years.
R. B. HAYES.
GUY M. BRYAN,
CINCINNATI, February 28, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . As to the railroad bonds. The
case at Columbus has been argued, but will not be decided for
three or four weeks. But as I told you some time ago, bonds
like yours--that is, first mortgage bonds, not exceeding ten
thousand dollars a mile, on the C. & T. R. R.--are in my opinion,
perfectly secured under any decision that will be made. I do
not wish other people to act on my judgment, but so far as you
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 553
are concerned, unless I am misinformed as to facts, I do not
hesitate in giving this as my advice. . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
February 28, 1860.--The bell just tolled eleven or twelve
o'clock at night. Kept up reading Bulwer's "What will He do
with It?" This carries me back--sitting up to finish a novel!
Years ago, fifteen or twenty, I did it often, but not lately. Wife
and Webb away at Columbus.
CINCINNATI, April 5, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--I have just read the decision in the railroad
mortgage case at Columbus. It is, substantially, upon every
important point, precisely what I have always told you I thought
it would be. In one respect it secures the holder of a few bonds
against combinations on the part of the large creditors in a way
that had not occurred to me. It requires the railroad to be sold
for two-thirds of an appraisement made in the usual way. Your
C. & T. R. R. would never be appraised at less than two million
dollars or three million dollars. It would be more likely to be
four million dollars. So it is certain to sell for enough to pay
the mortgages you are interested in fully. We are all well.
R. B. HAYES.
April 11, 1860.--Birch and Webb often discuss deep ques-
tions touching God, death, a future state, and the like. Birch is
reverent and orthodox in his views; Webb is inquiring and by no
means as serious as would seem proper. The other day in a
thunderstorm they fell into a conversation on the cause of
lightning. Birch said God did it. Webb interrupted, "Does God
make the elephants?" "Yes, Webby."--"Well, how does he get
them down?" puts in Webb. "Oh," says Birch, "there are a
554 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
great many things about God that we can't understand."--
"Well, but," said Webb, "who made God?" "Webby," said
Birch very seriously, "that is one of the things we can't under-
stand. We shall know about that when we die and go to
CINCINNATI, April 11, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--I heard from you today. I hope your
house arrangements have not caused you much trouble. We are
quite able to get through the summer comfortably, and would
prefer you should not be hurried. I will try to visit you during
the next three or four weeks and stay a few days, when we can
talk up all matters. I have talked with Judge Gholson about his
railroad decision. It unquestionably gives perfect security to all
first mortgages on all important railroads.
April 15, 1860.--I have just finished reading the first two
volumes of Carlyle's "Frederick the Great." It is an entertaining
book. Carlyle admires the doers rather than the talkers of the
world. He loves earnest, truthful, brave men. "Veracity" is his
pet word of praise. He says: "Nobody in these days has the
least notion of the sinful waste there is in talk, whether by pen
I have read Burnet's notes lately. In early times a code of
rules to govern the settlers here was adopted in town meeting
about 1791. Where are they? William McMillan was judge, and
received injuries which caused his death some years after in con-
sequence of an attempt to arrest him by the military com-
mandant of the fort for acting as judge.
COLUMBUS, April 22, (Sunday) 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--I came up with mother Webb yesterday and
shall return tomorrow. The grandmothers I shall leave together
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 555
about a week. . . . . We came up by the pleasant new
route. Since the contract of consolidation, as it is called, between
the Hamilton & Dayton and the Little Miami Railroad com-
panies, the middle of the day express train, between Cincinnati
and Columbus, is run by the way of Xenia and Dayton without
change of cars. The time is about fifteen minutes longer than the
direct route, and is some twelve or fifteen miles greater distance;
but this is more than made up by the fine country, and the greater
convenience of the Hamilton & Dayton depot as the starting
and landing point. Mother Webb and I walked down to the
depot at 10 o'clock in the morning, and were set down at Platt's
at about 3 o'clock P.M.--really a gain in time from our house
over the old route. The return is still better, as it avoids the
delay at the Little Miami depot, which you dislike so much.
I expect to have a good deal of leisure during a month to come,
and shall probably visit you some Sunday soon.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, May 11, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . Our delegates have left for Chi-
cago. After Chase, they will prefer Wade, Fremont, or some
such candidate--anyone named before Seward.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, May 23, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--We are all very well; have escaped the hurri-
cane and floods without injury. Mother Webb was on a railroad
train going to Lexington the afternoon of the great blow--the
train ran over a tree causing alarm, but no injury to passengers.
Lincoln you are, of course, pleased with. He takes well here.
All well at Columbus.
R. B. HAYES.
556 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
June --, 1860.--A spring of storms; wind prodigious, rains
unprecedented. May 21, a wind swept over Ohio and Kentucky,
about one hundred miles wide by three hundred long, at the rate
of eighty to one hundred miles an hour, unroofing houses in
Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati, Xenia, Chillicothe, Portsmouth,
Marietta. Probably twenty lives lost in the towns named. Since,
storms in several places equally severe but not so extensive. A
much severer one at the West June 4. Many lives lost. Rain
on Sycamore street one inch an hour proved too much for the
sewers and filled houses and cellars.
CINCINNATI, June 11, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--The city "speaking apparatus" is again in
session. The street railroads want to get rid of their contract to
pay one cent for every passenger carried, into the City Treasury.
This is about three thousand dollars a month from the railroads
now in operation. This is worth fighting about, and there is a
good deal of hubbub about it.
Mother came down on Friday. She is in good health and
spirits, and will stay some time with us. One thing I am in doubt
about. She really seems to think she would like to go to Ver-
mont. I fear it would interfere a good deal with our plans, but
if it is likely that it would be best for her to go, we will modify
our plans. If I had time at my command, I would certainly in-
sist upon trying to gratify her. The difficulty is, our time will
hardly allow us to travel, except railroad fashion--night and
day. What do you think of it?
I have called several times to see Mr. Austin, but have not
found him at home. From all I can learn from others, I have
no doubt you are right as to his innocence of all connection with
the attempt to smuggle powder. Neither he nor his partner was
in the city, if my information is correct. I shall try to see him,
for if the facts are as I believe, the public ought to know it.
By the by, if nothing prevents, I will come up and talk over
my trip with you next Sunday, or the Sunday after.
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 557
June 24, 1860.--Yesterday the Democrats put in nomination
two tickets at Baltimore. Douglas and Fitzpatrick were nomi-
nated by the Northern wing and Breckinridge and Lane by the
Southern. Lincoln and Hamlin, nominated by the Republican
party, and Bell and Everett, candidates of the "Union" party,
have been in the field several weeks. Four tickets for national
offices. This is new in my day. My Republican friends are
confident that Lincoln and Hamlin will be elected by the people.
I have a good deal of apprehension on the subject. I fear the
election will go to the House. Let me cipher. There are three
hundred and three electoral votes; one hundred and fifty-two
are required for a choice. We may count for Lincoln the States
carried by Fremont in 1856--eleven States, one hundred and
fourteen electoral votes. Add Minnesota four, one hundred
and eighteen certain. Pennsylvania, probably, twenty-seven,
Oregon, probably, three--one hundred and forty-eight. Four
more votes are necessary to elect him. If California, New Jersey,
Illinois, or Indiana should go for Lincoln, the vote of either State
added to one hundred and forty-eight would elect. But all the
following States should, perhaps, be counted doubtful. I will
append my view of the chances.
New Jersey (7), Pennsylvania (27), Oregon (4?), Illinois
(11), doubtful, but probably for Lincoln. Their vote added to
that of the Fremont States would give Lincoln a total of 167
Indiana (13), California (4), Missouri (9), Delaware (3),
doubtful, but probably for Douglas--29 votes.
Certain for Bell, Kentucky (12), Tennessee (13), Louisiana
(6), Maryland (8). Doubtful, but probably for Bell, Virginia
(15), North Carolina (10). A total of 64 votes.
Certain for Breckinridge, Alabama (9), Arkansas (4), Florida
(3), Georgia (10), Mississippi (7), South Carolina (8), Texas
(4). A total of 45 votes.
Lincoln's chance in New Jersey depends on having a small
defection in favor of Bell, and an equal or larger defection from
Douglas. The same in other States. That is, Douglas will carry
almost the whole Democratic vote in all the Northwestern States
I think certain. I estimate the defection from him to Breckin-
558 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
ridge as follows: In Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut,
three to five thousand each; in Indiana, five to eight thousand;
in Pennsylvania, twenty to thirty thousand; in New York,
thirty to forty thousand.
On the whole I think Lincoln's chance the best, but not a
moral certainty; that Bell or Breckinridge will be next. All this
is on the supposition that Breckinridge will remain a candidate.
His withdrawal would change the programme toto coelo.
CINCINNATI, June 29, 1860.
DEAREST L--:-- Thank you for the nice little letter. We were
getting fussy about you. Always will if we don't hear often.
One of you is, of course (!) of small moment but then you three
make a void about home--especially at mealtimes, going-to-bed
times, etc., etc. We do feel alone without you, but we'll be good
and patient if you will write frequently.
Mother Webb is much better--calls herself perfect again.
Webb sleeps with Uncle Joe--is a marvellously good boy; takes
teaching from his Grandma Hayes. Last night he rode the cir-
cuit with me on top of the street cars. . . . .
The Fourth of July has broke out in the usual way--the
symptoms more violent than last year. Webb seems to think it is
his birthday and that the flags and uproar have some personal
reference to himself; insists on firecrackers, torpedoes, and the
like in great quantities.
CINCINNATI, July 2, 1860.
DEAREST L--:--. . . . You need not feel anxious about
any of us. Mother Webb is better than when you left--not
perfectly well by any means but improving and in very good
The failure of Dr. James is not a matter to mourn, and none
of us so feel it. He preferred a re-election, but I much doubt if
it was really desirable. He has got out of the place about all
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 559
the good there was in it, and his re-election would I really think
have done him more mischief than benefit. Dr. Joe and his
mother so regard it and have no feeling on the subject. There
was nothing in the manner of the thing worth noticing. There
was a division among the commissioners, no two agreed on the
same candidate. The mayor voted for Dr. James, the auditor
supported him a part of the time, but no two happened to vote
at the same time for him. The argument of a needy family
was the point in favor of his competitors. I would not have
said so much about it, but you seem to have a good deal of
trouble about it and I write to relieve it. It has not been men-
tioned or thought of by any of us for the last four or five days.
He made six dollars the day after he left the office. . . . .
CINCINNATI, July 5, 1860.
DEAREST L--:--The Fourth of July is over and we have
escaped. None even of our particular friends have been seriously
injured. As at this writing I have received no dispatch from you,
I suppose you also are all safe. Many eyes and limbs must have
been lost, but we do not know the particulars. The New York
Observer will be full of it the next few weeks.
I devoted myself to Webb all day. He took to torpedoes at the
first introduction, but was shy of crackers. I succeeded in con-
quering his fears and he became as fond of it as ever Birch was.
At night Mr. Wilson and others had fireworks which even Mother
Hayes approved of.
I spent the evening in a jolly, sensible way at the Club--got
home sober at 1:45 P. M. [A. M.] Felt lonely without you, and
ruminated how loving and confidential I would be if you were
only with me. There is one side of my nature which is not seen
at all times, which I sometimes think you do not know, a sen-
sibility to saddening influences, giving rise to very strong emo-
tions, when the requisite exciting causes are at work. A meet-
ing of old friends, when some dear ones are absent, possibly
dead, the occurrence of happy or sad anniversaries. I was yes-
560 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
terday happy enough, and yet it was a sad anniversary. Four
years ago I was all day with Fanny, hardly expecting her to live
out the day. She died after I came home on the 16th.
There was a long beautiful, jovial letter read last night from
George Strong, full of pat allusions to old times and friends now
gone or scattered, waking up slumbering trains of associations
which filled me full almost to overflowing. We are passing on
to the downhill side. We ought to be and shall be dearer and
dearer to each other. The affections scattered among so many
who are gone or going should and naturally will concentre on
each other, if we are true and good. One [member] recited the
affecting piece, "Twenty Years Ago, Tom." I had no sweethearts
in my schoolboy days, as Tom and his schoolmates had. No
sunnier face shines in my memory than the one I saw first about
thirteen years ago in the little cottage above the spring [at Dela-
ware] and which so often since has rested on my shoulder im-
parting comfort and joy always.
Love to all and kisses for the dear boys. . . . .
R. B. H.
George Strong said: "I hear the Club has grown dignified and
orderly. Oh, don't. I long for the good old days when we called
the President, not Mr. President, but Rud or Billy."
CINCINNATI, July 21, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--I ought to have written to you some days ago.
I went to Columbus a week ago--remained over Sunday and re-
turned with Lucy and little Babes Monday. Laura is in fine
health, happy and cheerful--looks and acts more like her mother
than ever before. Is improved in appearance and manners, but
not greatly changed. I doubt about Platt's marrying again.
Nothing said on the subject. Mother will return as soon as Mrs.
Solis' visit is over at Platt's--say in about two weeks. Lucy and
I will start on the first of August, or within two or three days of
that time, if nothing prevents. We shall probably go by way
of Toledo and Detroit, and on our old route to Quebec, thence
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 561
by railroad across to the northern part of New Hampshire, and
down the Connecticut River to Brattleboro. Possibly you can
meet us at Toledo, but do not put yourself out of the way to do
so. We would like it if you could go on with us. I have hunted
up two or three outside places to go to, of a good deal of interest.
We are all very well. . . . .
R. B. HAYES.
July 22, 1860.--Mother Hayes is here and tells me the follow-
ing particulars about her parents. Her father, Roger Birchard,
was born in Connecticut, emigrated to Vermont, died at Saratoga
on a visit for health 1806, and was buried there; aged about
forty-five. He was a country retail merchant at Wilmington,
Vermont. His father, Elias Birchard, was a farmer in Mansfield,
Tolland County, Connecticut. The brothers of my grandfather
Birchard were Amasa B., of Paris, New York, Israel B., of
Canandaigua. Mother's mother was Drusilla Austin, a daughter
of Daniel Austin, of Suffield, Hartford County, Connecticut, a
Revolutionary soldier, a captain under Washington. Daniel Aus-
tin, of Philadelphia, Cyrus A., of New York, and Linus A., of
Ohio, were grandmother Birchard's brothers. There were five
daughters, all with families. Rowe, Smith, and Debart.
Mother's grandfather was Daniel Austin and probably also Elias
Birchard. The Birchards are of French extraction--Huguenots.
[Their ancestor] took refuge in England, married an English
July 31, 1860.--Day after tomorrow Lucy and I start on a
four weeks' trip to see the cities and scenery of the East.
Montreal, Quebec, and the ocean lie in our route. We anticipate
much pleasure. The children we leave with their Grandma Webb
and Uncle Joe. May we all get again together happy and well
as we now are
562 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
CINCINNATI, September 2, 1860.
DEAR MOTHER:--We reached home last night and found all
here in their usual health. We returned by way of Cleveland
and Fremont. We stopped two days at Fremont and enjoyed our
visit with Uncle quite as much as we did any part of our trip.
He is getting on very well with his house and except a cold is in
I saw a great many who inquired after you and sent af-
fectionate words of remembrance. Aunts Emily, Martha, Ban-
croft, Aunt Noyes, and many more. I found Uncles Austin
and Roger both well and in good spirits. The visits to the dif-
ferent families of relatives were all pleasant enough. We were
at Granby, Chesterfield, and saw Aunt Noyes and John.
Lucy got tired of the sight-seeing in the cities and we came
home a few days sooner on that account. . . . . We are
glad to get home. Our trip was in every respect a fortunate
one but we had enough of it. I will sometime talk over the
interesting parts of it with you.--Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CINCINNATI, September 8, 1860.
DEAR MOTHER:--We are glad to hear you are so well. If
you knew the various ups and downs of our long trip, you would
have even greater reason to feel glad that you did not attempt
it than you now have. As I have told you, we enjoyed our jour-
ney as much as we expected--perhaps more. It was really a
great happiness. But we are [were] out in steamboats in two
storms--one on the ocean between Portland and Boston, and
one in a still worse place, the lower St. Lawrence, when the tide
was rushing like a torrent; lost one anchor, ran on a rock, were
between two or three days in a fog in the midst of rocks. And,
worse than all for a civilized being, we were three nights in
sleeping cars. I had rather risk a shipwreck than a sleeping car.
We rode nearly twenty-five hundred miles by railroad. Now,
this you could not have endured. Seeing New England and the
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 563
relatives with nothing else in view, you would enjoy, and I hope
you may do it yet.
Uncles Austin and Roger are but little changed and would be
glad to see you. Aunt Bancroft is a fine-looking old lady; spoke
very affectionately of you. It would be delightful for you to
see her. Aunt Fanny is a beautiful old lady also. Lucy took to
her particularly. Aunt Noyes looks very old; is quiet and ear-
nest, reminding one of Uncle Russell. The cousins generally are
agreeable people and it was pleasant to meet them. I can tell
you more of them when we meet.
I got a long letter written by my father in 1820 to Uncle
Russell which you will like to read; also one of your letters
written about the same time. You know I am prone to keep old
letters and relics and value them more than most people do. I
am to have the old Hayes clock. . . .
R. B. HAYES.
MRS. SOPHIA HAYES.
CINCINNATI, September 20, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--Walstein and his wife had, I hope, a visit
that paid. We enjoyed it very much, but they totally missed the
Fair. The good part of the Fair has been this week. I never
was more agreeably disappointed than when I visited it yester-
day. The greatest crowd I ever saw--the finest fruit, flowers,
machinery, implements of agriculture, etc., etc. The amount and
variety of stock was not great, but very superior in quality. In-
stead of being inferior to State Fairs, it was far beyond them.
I have got Grandfather Hayes' old clock. It arrived safely a
few days ago. I shall have it fixed up to keep time. I am at
leisure again, and hope you are well.
R. B. HAYES.
September 29, 1860.--About 4:30 P. M. the Prince of Wales
[later King Edward VII] passed here. He rode in a carriage
564 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
drawn by four gray horses with the mayor sitting by his side,
the Duke of Newcastle and ---- Germaine sitting in the
front seat. All saw him from our front window, second story,
Birch, Webb, Babe, and all. He was dressed in the common
style. Black silk hat, blue frock coat, and light pants. A mild
agreeable face, long nose, fair complexion, light, slender, and
CINCINNATI, September 30, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--. . . . I have made a few little speeches
in the country townships, and shall make a few more. I cannot
get up much interest in the contest. A wholesome contempt for
Douglas, on account of his recent demagoguery, is the chief feel-
ing I have. I am not so confident that Lincoln will get votes
enough as many of our friends. I think his chances are fair,
but what may be the effect of fusions in such anti-Republican
States as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, is more than I can tell
or confidently guess until after the state elections. In this county,
the fight is doubtful, but probably against us.
We saw the Prince yesterday as he passed our house. A mod-
est, decently behaved youngster. His visit has been without un-
pleasant incidents.--Love to all.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, October 7, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--I have not heard from you for so long that
I conclude that you are unusually busy this fine weather, and that
your health is good. I hope it will not be injured by hard work,
nor, when the weather changes, by exposure.
I write chiefly to get your suggestions as to your room in the
third story. Our neighbor east, Mr. Johnson, has built a brick
kitchen which somewhat darkens my library room; besides, it
is a sort of passageway for the whole family. I am thinking of
moving my books, etc., into your room. I shall never be disturbed
by you, and I think I would not want to occupy it in a way to
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 565
incommode you. On the contrary, it occurs to me that it
might be agreeable to you. If I am mistaken, do not hesitate to
say so, for Dr. Joe wants me to take his room, but I prefer, on
some accounts, not to do so.
We have had a pleasant, lively little election canvass. I have
enjoyed it well; no hard work and some sport. Our meetings
are prodigious; but for the American [Know-Nothing] element,
we would carry this county easily; as it is, we shall do well.
R. B. HAYES.
CINCINNATI, October 15, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--Glad to know that you will not object to my
traps in your chamber. I shall move up my books, etc., this week.
Mother has returned home from Delaware after a good visit with
Mrs. Wasson. Stem told me of your visit to Green Spring. We
have had jolly good times rejoicing over the elections. Lucy
and the boys had the best of it. On Saturday I dined out at
Joseph Longworth's. He has a few paintings--only ten or a
dozen,--but they are superb, some of them equal, no doubt,
to any in the world. He told me to bring you to see them without
fail. He likes to show and talk about them.
R. B. HAYES.
COLUMBUS, October 22, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--I came up Friday evening and shall return
home today. This is my first visit here since early in July, be-
fore my trip East. I find Mother very well and in a more cheer-
ful mood than usual. She had a happy visit at Delaware and
feels glad to be again home, with some new recollections to oc-
cupy her mind. Laura is natural and agreeable--has a few
beaux--is "coming out" this winter, but will not, I think, be
much injured by any attention she may receive. Elinor Mead
[later to become the wife of W. D. Howells] is coming here in a
566 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
month or six weeks to stay the winter. Fanny is in improved
health; the other children as usual.
Thanks for the six barrels [of] apples; they arrived safely. I
have completed my removal into your room and like the change.
No change in friends here worth noticing.
R. B. HAYES.
November 6, 1860.--Election day. Had a birthday feast in
honor of Birch's 7th birthday (Sunday 4th) today. Aunty and
Uncle Warren both present. Boys delighted with their presents.
The Southern States are uneasy at the prospect of Lincoln's
election today. The ultra South threatens disunion, and it now
looks as if South Carolina and possibly two or three others would
go out of the Union. Will they? And if so, what is to be the
result? Will other slave States gradually be drawn after them,
or will the influence of the conservative States draw back into
the Union or hold in the Union the ultra States? I think the
latter. But at all events, I feel as if the time had come to test
this question. If the threats are meant, then it is time the Union
was dissolved or the traitors crushed out. I hope Lincoln goes
in. All now depends on New York. The October elections
settled Pennsylvania and the other doubtful States.
CITY SOLICITOR'S OFFICE,
Mr. E. T. Carson will be an applicant for the United States
marshalship in this district. I have been requested to write
you a few words in his behalf. Of his qualifications for the
office I need not speak. You doubtless know enough about him
to be satisfied on that head. He has done much good service
in the cause, and has suffered in consequence. Having two years
ago secured the nomination for sheriff of this county, after a
bitter and expensive contest, he gave up his place on the ticket
to promote what was thought then to be the interest of the
CITY SOLICITOR--CINCINNATI, 1858-1860 567
Republican party. I might refer to other facts, but you are so
familiar with our local politics that I need not do so.
There will of course be other applicants for the place, but
none I venture to say whose fitness for it and whose position and
services constitute a better claim than that of Mr. Carson.
I have heard no facts from which to form even a conjecture
as to what course you will deem it proper to pursue respecting
appointments in Ohio under the new Administration, but in any
event mention of Mr. Carson's wishes this early day can do no
Your speech in Covington was the right thing in the right
place. Your views of the way by which the Republican party
expects to preserve freedom in the Territories strike me as pre-
cisely right. Some of our leading Douglas men complain that
you are stealing their thunder. It ought to be taken from them.
They have shown their inability to use it.
CINCINNATI, December 9, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--It is three weeks since you wrote. I do not
feel uneasy about your health; if you were sick, you would write;
but I am wanting in faith that bankers are ever safe, and I fear
these squally times may bring you worriment and losses. How
is it?. . . . .
With me, matters are looking well. My health is not merely
good, but really robust. The bell rings for tea.--Good-bye.
R. B. HAYES.
December 14, 1860.--Mother is here quite ill with a severe
cold; is able to sit up, but very weak. She fears she has the
consumption. I hope not. She talks of her relatives, of her early
days, and is fond of recurring to them. She is sixty-eight years
*This letter, undated and unaddressed, was doubtless written in the
fall of 1860 and probably to Governor Chase.
568 RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES
old; will be sixty-nine next ----. When seventeen or eighteen,
she spent a winter in New York City with her Uncle Daniel
Austin. Her complexion was very fair as now, but then with
rosy red cheeks. Once walking on Broadway with a young lady,
healthy and plump but pale, the contrast attracted the attention of
two ladies they met. One pointing at mother said, "Oh, see the
paint." Mother went home so mortified, she could not help
crying; but her aunt said: "All of our young ladies would give
anything for your natural roses." Mother was born in Vermont,
She was sent to New York to get her away from my
father who had been her beau. Soon after she came to New
York her Uncle Daniel brought in a letter from Brattleboro, Ver-
mont. "Have you any friends in Brattleboro?"--"Yes, a school
friend, Miss ----."--"But this is directed by a gentleman."
--"Yes, I have a gentleman friend also."--"Does your mother
know that he is your correspondent?"--"No."--"Do you ex-
pect to marry him?"--"I shall, if I ever marry anybody." The
uncle inquired about him particularly and asked, "Do you intend
to reply to this letter?"--"Yes, unless you say I shall not."
The sensible uncle said, "I do not say so," and always after-
wards handed mother the letters written by my father so as not
to attract the attention of the rest of the family. On the return
of mother to her mother in Vermont, her mother made no ob-
jection to the marriage, and in due time it took place.
December 24, 1860.--Christmas eve. Lucy gone to Chillicothe.
Mem.:--All ought to be at home to make home happy on these
festal days. Boys well; hardly know what they want "Old Chris"
to bring them. Eleven years ago tonight I came to Cincinnati.
A prosperous happy term of life I have had. I cannot anticipate
a happier in the years to come. Only one sad spot in all the
time--the death of my dear, dear sister. Mother is with us.
END OF VOLUME I
Previous Chapter ||
Table of Contents