F. Cantelo to Richard Yates


F. Cantelo to Richard Yates


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Peoria June 18th 1864

Richd Yates U.S. Senator

Dear Sir:

Your esteemed favor of 23rd [illegible] is at hand. I hardly conceived the possibility of a reply to my perhaps unwise communication. Heretofore communications of the most friendly character to public men have been met by a stolid silence, which I have construed into contempt for my obscurity and consequent want of influence. On this Mr Ingersoll can now speak advisedly.

I feel it to be no ordinary honor to be regarded as your friend. Upon this allow a word of comment in passing. I have regarded you as one of our ablest public men; and as such have given you my honest admiration and unequivocal support; and the acknowledgement of an honest protest to a public act, by a constituent of whom you can have no personal knowledge helps to confirm me in that regard. It is not necessary to say how I have watched your course especially since 1860; and in your late senatorial contest perhaps few men in private life repelled more earnestly and vigorously the slanders and assaults upon your character than myself.

To the removal of Bryant I have no objection. Still his displacement was not necessary in my understanding unless for a better man. His letter of resign

ation was not found to be on file in the proper Deptmt in Washington. The acceptance therefore by the President and the apptmt of a creature of his was not possible. Bryant was therefore in fact [coll?] and could hold his position under the "Tenure of Office" Bill. My information on this may not be full.

For Bryant personally I have no friendship, but feel that more is to be said of him in approval than condemnation. Such men as he, and the Allans of Ky Co. and other victims in other Counties in this District made the success possible that Ingersoll now enjoys. They were the great workers with our noble Lovejoy in moulding and elevating the sentiment of this District. Yet the early threat of Mr Ingersoll was that he would crush the d-d Radicals# (His stupidity then was apparent. Revolutions never go backwards.) His crushings however have been so frequent that he is now suspiciously and jealously watched. Your alliance with him for so unholy a purpose seemed impossible until your action in securing the confirmation of Judge Kellogg. A storm of wild indignation has arisen that neither the doubling of the transcript nor the "personal explanation" of "my brother" "our member" have allayed. Mine found expression in a protest to you. By this act I cannot say, with truth that old friendships have been renewed, and new ones extended. Better Bryant had remained awhile longer and have fallen of his own weight, then no friendships would have been lost, and no weapons furnished to the

to the hands of enemies.

A word more in relation to Bryants removal. Altho his reward for services rendered to party has been ample, some pain is caused by seeing so single sided a Landmark toppled down, and so many sided a one put in his place. His fidelity to party has been unbroken and for such he must command our admiration. Yet I have no terms in which to express my contempt for some of his characteristics. That he will sacrifice persons of great party influence from sordid motives and selfish aims; that in a crisis needing fortitude and courage, he is cowardly and dodging; and that in his party dislikes he is vindictive, I have the knowledge. His malignant persecution of you therefore I think possible. But this is not patent to the people and forms no part in the makeup of their judgment. They see only your alliance with Ingersoll whose "original sin"---his first act of ungrateful treachery to the people who elected him, was his attempted defeat of you for the Senate. To approve the removal of Bryant and the appointment of his successor under such appearances would excite suspicion of unsoundness. But had it a feature that could be seized and made presentable in justification of yourself few would be more willing to do it than myself.

Your allusion to "human infirmities" makes a word possible upon a subject upon which otherwise I must have been silent. Your frankness I regard as no compromise

of manhood, but as a man asking the kindly consideration of his friend. Such I never betray. You will understand me when I say, this is the strongest weapon in the hands of your enemies. And I do confess that my ingenuity has been taxed to the utmost for reasonable argument to palliate or defend. But, Sir, the State pledged to you the Senatorship for services rendered and had you a thousand infirmities it was bound to redeem that pledge. My earnest hope is that past experience will be the mentor "to teach your best reason, reason; and fix your firm resolve."

I ask your indulgence for this lengthy communication and its many defects. It is hardly possible in the very short time I have to spare from my occupation to take threads so diverse in texture and weave them together with brevity and without defects. I cannot hope for a reply as the time of public men is taken up in public matters. But a line or a word as occasion or inclination may prompt will be regarded with profound respect.

By Very Truly Yours F. Cantelo

P.S. Accept sincere congratulations on safe return form your western tour and the wish that you may have a long life for further public usefulness. F.C.

F. Cantelo Peoria Ill Acknowledges former letter. Thanks for your attention but persists in condemning your course respecting the appointment of Kellogg to succeed Bryant as Collector of the fifth District. file



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“F. Cantelo to Richard Yates,” Chronicling Illinois, accessed July 16, 2019, http://alplm-cdi.com/chroniclingillinois/items/show/23675.