Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, March 2, 1863

In this letter from March 2, 1863, Samuel Reed writes to his wife expressing concern over the appearance of cannon in Joliet, Illinois and the potential violation of "the liberties of the people." He describes the political climate in Burlington, Iowa as "not as pleasant as I could wish," and is particularly disturbed by the wholesale treatment of Democrats as traitors. Reed also details his tiresome trip back to Burlington, and notes a reminiscence of "old times and troubles on the M. & M. R.R." resulting from an impromptu visit from a Mr. Rheinhart.

Dearest Jennie

I was very glad to receive yours of Feby 22d (Washington's birth day [sic] ) was delighted to hear that you were well [pleased] with the dental work done for you by Dr. Alport. I hope we may never regret going to him for work. I hope and trust that long ere this you are quite well again also the dear little ones that are more precious to us than silver or gold. I was very much surprised to hear that armies (cannon) have been sent to Joliet if it is to coerce or frighten the people or in any way to interferr [sic] with the liberties of the people the effect may be such as to reach upon the authors in a way that they don't expect. A government like ours cannot exist without the consent of the governed. I have but a moment to write this morning and must necessarily be brief. Mr. Rheinhart from Dutch Creek called on me yesterday morning and spent nearly all the fore noon we talked over old times and troubles on the M. & M. R.R. He has no faith in the extension of the Washington road. Neither have I. Mr. & Mrs. Boyle was quite well when he left Washington. Mr. Ainsworth will go home the last of this week to remain until we know [?] the work is to be commenced west of Ottumwa [?] or not. I wish I could get away for two weeks now. Sometimes I think that I will resign and go home at once. The situation here is not as pleasant as I could wish. Nearly every man on the road is very [ultra] on political questions and looks and talks as though every democrat in the [land] were traitors to their country and deserve to be treated as such. While such is the feeling here, I don't feel quite reconcilid [sic] to the place. I know that I am not disloyal to my country's constitution and laws. The hardest struggle England every had for the maintenance of her constitution was against those kings and rulers that would not heed the enactments of the two houses of parliament. And set at defiance the old landmarks of former ages. Such will be our fate should any in authority attempt to overrule the old landmarks of our constitution the whole people must say "this far and no farther".

I did not attend church yesterday morning. The bishop will be here the last of this month.

I might just as well have staid [sic] with you in Chicago as to have started when I did. When we got to the river there was no crossing. That night and the next day it rained very hard until three o'clock P.M. at which [?] ice started but soon stoped [sic] again and in about [?] commenced movving [sic] slowly from about half a mile [?] [bending] and just movved [sic] far enough to make an [opening] sufficiently wide to admit the ferry boat, and at five o'clock we got acrost [sic] the river about eighteen hours after coming in Burlington. It was a dreary night and day waiting in the cars for the ice in the river to break up before we could get acrost [sic] the river.

I was glad to recieve [sic] Cousin Adda's letter and will try and give her my picture or let her occasionally look at the original. My eyes are I am glad to say almost well so much better that I feel greatly encouraged about them.

I must now close, I have written this in the greatest posable [sic] hurry.

Your Affectionate husband
Saml B. Reed

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed
  • Extent: 3 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 29
  • Date: March 2, 1863