A Letter from Joseph Medill to Elihu Washburne about the Jewish Vote in 1868

A Letter from Chicago Tribune Publisher Joseph Medill to Republican Elihu Washburne, June 16, 1868 published in the E. B. Washburne Papers of the Library of Congress

Joseph Medill to Elihu Washburne
Chicago, June 16, 1868
Friend Washburne:

I want to write to you on several subjects, and will put them all in one letter.
First- What can be done in regard to that Jew order of Gen Grant issued in 1862 expelling “all the Jews as a class” from his department. We have in this city at least 600 Republican Jews, headed by Gen. [Edward Selig] Salomon who served under Gen. Grant when the latter was only a Colonel commanding a brigade. The Gen. has written to Grant on the subject but has received no answer. It would only be necessary for General Grant to write a letter to Salomon or some other influential Jew saying that he has no prejudice against Jews, that he is in favor of full toleration of all religious opinions; that his subsequent experience in the army convinced him that other classes of men were just as likely to violate any regulations in relation to trading with the enemy, as Jews. Something to this effect would mollify the Jews and save us a good many thousand votes. The Jews of Cincinnati and St. Louis are numerous enough to defeat our ticket in both cities and they are strong enough to hurt us in Chicago also, as they include many of our most active Republicans. That they are deeply aggrieved by the General’s order is undoubted. The cops are making a handle of the matter in all parts of the country and we shall lose large numbers of Jew votes everywhere, besides converting them into very active bitter opponents.

Let the General write a private letter to Solomon or Greenebaum, or some other leading and influential man among them, smoothing the matter over. We shall have no votes to spare. The Dems. Are going to give us a hard race—depend on that. There is very little enthusiasm for our ticket, or cause among the people. The failure of impeachment has soured and discontented multitudes of our friends. Then the financial affairs of Grant are far from satisfactory to the people. The horrible corruption in the revenue department and wholesale working of the whisky and tobacco tax have utterly disgusted people.

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