April 22, 1888

Rutherford B. Hayes Discusses, at Length, The Disputed Election of 1876

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Hayes’ election over Tilden hung, precariously, on disputed returns from four states - chief among them, Louisiana. Here, long after the fact, Hayes reviews with one of his chief lieutenants, John Sherman, what happened there, and why. The dramatis personae discussed are James A. Garfield, Winfield Scott Hancock, Samuel Tilden, and a requisite number of Louisianans.

Autograph Letter Signed, 4 pages, quarto, Fremont, Ohio, April 22, 1888. To John Sherman.

With a rare form of full signature.

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Transcript

Fremont, O.
22 Apr. 1888

My Dear Sir:

I have just read the debate on the election of 1876. You have done an excellent work. You have vindicated the truth of history. It is to me a great gratification, and adds largely to the obligations I am under to you. I thank you for it.

This is probably the end of the debate. Your use of the speeches of McEnery and Eustis was indeed crushing.

If anybody renews it, and you think it worth while to renew it, there is a strong line of retort.

1. Tilden was not nominated again in 1880 because the "cipher dispatches" and the attempted Oregon fraud were traced to his door.

2. The Democrats did nominate Hancock who was the first officer in uniform to call on me, and who always in public and private recognized the validity of the election.

3. The Republicans nominated Garfield, who as a visiting statesman to Louisiana, reported to Hayes, and to the country that the State was legally, fairly, and equitably carried for Hayes.

4. Garfield as one of the Electoral Commission decided the case for Hayes.

The country endorsed him. But for the Morey forgery every Northern State would have voted for him.

With thanks, sincerely,

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES

Hon. John Sherman