This letter was written by Samuel Masy Marrs (1804-1880) of Chicago, Illinois. In the 1850 Census, Samuel was enumerated in Bremen, Cook County, Illinois, his wife Elizabeth (b. 1810, Tennessee) and his daughter Hellen (b. 1835, Wisconsin). At the time of Samuel’s death, his occupation was given as “real estate.”
Samuel wrote the letter to his boyhood chum, fellow native Virginian, Henley Chapman Lybrook (1802-1882) — the son of John Lybrook (1763-1837) and Annie Nancy Chapman (1763-1831).
Addressed to Henley C. Lybrook, Esq., Dowagiac, Michigan
July 12, 1867
My dear old friend,
I have waited till I have got out of patience for a letter from you which would give me some news from Virginia as I have not heard a word from Giles for so long that I am very anxious to hear from there. will you be so good as to write to me and le me know all the information you have from there within the last year or more. I was over to see my folks last winter but was in such a hurry that I could not come up to see you as I left my wife at Sound Bend and agreed to meet her at Michigan City in 2 days.
Any information from any of our old acquaintances will be thankfully received. We are all well as usual at present. I have nothing to write to you that I can think of that would interest you. I have no new ideas on politics — in fact, I have no politics. I have long since predicted that this government had rose to its full height and was on its way down. How long it would continue to go down and how low it would fall I have not ventured to predict. One party contends that this is a white man’s government; the other party demonstrates that it is a black man’s government. One party contends that the Southern States are out of the Union while another party contends they are in the Union. Now considering the Radicals have the power to exclude them and will adopt any expedient to perpetuate their power, they declare they shall not return until they come back right end foremost, or Union end foremost, which I suppose means Negro foremost (with Stevens, Sumner, & Co.).
The only hope there is for the Southern States is a division in this jackal house. You may think this is a hard term for to give an American Congress, but I cannot think of anything more appropriate for they are continually quarreling and wrangling over what they call dead carcasses. Do they try to bring them to life? No. Their object is to keep them dead so that they can feast at the capitol. They talk about Union men in the South for Congress and no others shall be admitted. The whole delegation from Kentucky will be excluded not because they are disunion, but because they are democrats and Union men. This radical Congress has administered several doses to the Southern States in the shape of laws on reconstruction all of which does not seem to work to suit them, and now they propose to give them another dose. What that will be, we will have to wait to know. I suppose more nigger and less white men will be required to bring them back right and foremost.
Now one great difficulty in this, there has a set of white men gone down in the Southern States from the North too mean to live anywhere except among the lower classes of negroes and they are making more fuss about the abuse of union men than all others. They are catering to the colored interest in hopes of being elected to office and such polititioners will naturally be despised by ever thinking man and hence the abuse. But enough of these ideas.
Please give my respect to your wife and all my old friends. Can’t you come over and see us this fall. Write to me. I still meditate a trip to Virginia but I don’t know when. Please excuse my troubling you with my ideas.
Yours, — Samuel Marrs
This is Sunday and I am home alone and I always when alone and doing nothing think of my early associations, my old playmates, & early companions which is the dearest thoughts of my life. Come over and see me this fall. Bring over your wife and daughter. Let us have a good time together once more. Make arrangements to stay some time. — S. Marrs