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Letter from M.S. Sherwood to Benjamin S. Hedrick, August 20, 1856

Title

Letter from M.S. Sherwood to Benjamin S. Hedrick, August 20, 1856

Description

In this letter written by M.S. Sherwood, uncle to Benjamin Hedrick, he advised his nephew that it was a bad idea to make his political affiliations publicly known. Sherwood commented, “it is with extreme regret, that I learn you have turned public politician. The Faculty at the University, in my humble judgment, should have nothing to do with party politics.” Sherwood goes on to say that what has given him, “the most pain” is Hedrick’s support for John C. Fremont, the Republican presidential candidate. “As an individual you have the right” to support Fremont, according to Sherwood, however, because he teaches at a conservative southern university, where the majority supported James Buchanan, his nephew should have kept his opinions to himself. Sherwood closes with a warning that foreshadowed his nephew’s future: “as one that wishes you well, I ask you most affectionately, to drop the subject. I fear you have already gone too far for your own good.”

Creator

M.S. Sherwood

Source

"Letter from M.S. Sherwood to His Nephew Bejamin S. Hedrick August 20,1856," Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick's Views on Slavery and Dismissal from the University, Documenting the American South. The University Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, http://www.docsouth.unc.edu/unc/unc08-13/unc08-13.html (accesssed on February 13, 2012).

Contributor

Miller, Jennifer

Type

Document

Coverage

Greensboro, North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Original Format

Correspondence

Text

Greensboro, Aug. 20, 1856

My Dear Nephew;

I rec'd a letter from you under date of 12th inst., which commences by condoling me, rather after the manner of Job's particular friends, upon my defeat as a candidate for the Legislature. Had your letter stopped at that, I should probably have tossed it in the fire, and thought no more about it. My being beaten has caused no tears from me. I am well satisfied with the result. I am fully convinced that an election would have been unfortunate to me in a pecuniary point of view. I felt this very sensibly before the canvass was half over. I soon found it impossible to secure the services of any one to attend to the Patriot office just right in my absence. Here I might stop. But I feel impelled, by my wish for your wellfare and prosperity, to add a few words more.

It is with extreme regret, that I learn that you have turned publicpolitian. The Faculty at the University, in my humble judgment, should have nothing to do with party politics, farther than to cast their individual votes as "seemeth good in their own eyes." For them to make themselves partizans in elections, State or National, will inevitably createdifficulty, strife, and embarrassment. This will be the effect of such a course, without reference to what party such partizan efforts are made for. This is my well-settled judgment on the general subject.

But what has given me most pain, is to learn that you have taken public ground for Fremont . This, as an individual, you had a right to do. But would it not be much better, if you could not consistently vote for Buchanan or Fillmore, just to let the matter alone? You are a member of the Faculty of a Southern State Institution, patronized almost entirely by the South. And if there is any possible good to accrue to you personally, or to your country, by your rendering yourself obnoxious to the Trustees and Pupils of the Institution, I cannot see it.

I have no disposition to argue for or against your position in politics. I leave that out of the question. But as one that wishes you well, I ask you most affectionately, to drop the subject. I fear you have already gone too far for your own good. I would like to write much more; but it is growing late at night. I will conclude by giving you my opinion of the effect of your advocating the cause of Fremont . You will soon becomeobnoxious to the whole Southern Students; your intercourse with them will be unpleasant; the Trustees will look upon you with a suspicious eye; and your situation at the Hill will soon become precarious. All this, too, without you or any body else being benefited by your turning politician.

You may think it strange that one whose daily business is to preach politics, should advise as I do. In my position, every one expects me to be, to some extent, a partizan. In your position, the community looks for you to dabble but little in party politics. When I get to be a Minister or a Teacher in a high Literary Institution, I shall most assuredly feel it my duty to lay aside the character of a politician.

We are all well. Your sisters, Martha and Sarah, are here going to Edgeworth. The health of the place good.

Give my love to Ellen and babies.


Yours, Respectfully,

M. S. Sherwood

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Citation

M.S. Sherwood , Letter from M.S. Sherwood to Benjamin S. Hedrick, August 20, 1856 , Civil War Era NC, accessed September 23, 2017, https://cwnc.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/items/show/253.