February 25, 1877

My letter of acceptance in July last expressed what I thought were just sentiments on the leading questions which then interested the country. I thought its doctrines were sound before the election. I think they are sound now that the election is over, and if the issue pending in congress shall be decided in our favor those principles will be the standard by which my official conduct shall be guided. If I were to write that letter now I would give that part on the Southern question greater emphasis.

The great body of the people of this country earnestly desire a wise and just settlement of that question. They want peace – they long for repose. What is required is

1st  That for the protection and welfare of the colored people the 13th, 14th and 15th amen should be sacredly observed and faithfully inforced according to their true intent and meaning.

2nd  We all see that the tremendous revolution which has passed over the Southern people has left them impoverished and prostrate and we all are deeply solicitous to do what may constitutionally be done to make them again prosperous and happy. They need economy, honesty, and intelligence in their local governments. They need to have such a policy adopted as will cause sectionalism to disappear and that will tend to wipe out the color line.

They need to have encouraged, Immigration, education and every description of legitimate business and industry. We do not want a united north nor a United South.  We want a united  Country. And if the great trust shall be devolved upon me, I fervently pray that the Divine Being who holds the destinies of the Nations in his hands, will give me wisdom to perform its duties so as to promote the truest and best interests of the whole country.