Nebraska City, Neb. Ter.
June 5, 1861
I had supposed that after nearly five years absence from Illinois, while laboring in a rather retired and humble station to assist in laying on a correct moral and religious basis the foundation for the future prosperity of Nebraska, those with whom I formerly co-operated in a similar work in Illinois, had almost if not altogether forgotten me. It was then peculiarly gratifying to learn this morning from O. H. Irish Esq, that you had made of him kind enquiries concerning my welfare, and including a proffer of assistance if desired.
Hitherto I have, since my residence in the Territory, uniformly declined every offer of position that would involve me in party politics. This course was to me, as a missionary, an absolute necessity. Active participation in politics has ruined pecuniarily, politically and religiously every minister in this Territory within my knowledge who has embarked in it, by
becoming a candidate before the people for any office within their gift.
Since my residence in Nebraska, my support has been principally derived from the Home Mission Society, and by the most rigid economy, and some self denial I have just about succeeded in making both ends meet, being neither one dollar richer or poorer to day than I was the day I entered Nebraska; that is to say: I had nothing when I arrived here, and I have it yet.
From this you will see that a few months of suspension of my salary, would throw me in the back ground, from which it would be difficult to recover. My contract with the Society forbids engaging in any other pursuit that would add to my income, and while my family expenses are annually increasing (we have one boy, and four girls to feed, clothe and educate) there is no possibility of addition to my resources while engaged in missionary work.
But a suspension from this work, or a curtailment of salary is not only possible but probable. The sources of revenue of the Society in whose employ I am, are already partially dried up by the diversion of a large proportion of the contributions usually flowing into our
Society's treasury, to the support of volunteers engaged in defense of the Union, or by the rallying of the contributors for the same purpose. If the war should continue, it becomes almost an absolute certainty that all or nearly all engaged in this work will be thrown out of employment and of means of support.
With all these facts, circumstances and possibilities, you will not be surprised that the conversation of Mr Irish this morning led me to think there might be a possible opening through you, to the means of living. I know your influence with President Lincoln, and that you will not hesitate to use it to benefit a friend, if in your estimation he is worthy; you know what my capabilities are, and whether you can bring that influence to bear in my behalf, with a good conscience.
If I had capital, I would earnestly try to accomplish the end of sustaining my family through that; If I were physically capable of making an honest living by manual labor, I would not thus invite to you; but having no capital, and having comparatively little use of my left hand, I will say that I would most gratefully accept, and most faithfully try to fulfil the duties of any position to which I might be appointed for which I am competent, (I want no other),
within Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska or Dacotah, provided its emoluments amounted to $1000. per annum.
As this is my first effort at applying for position I may have blundered in it, but you will know how to make all allowances.
Whatever may be the result of this, be assured of my best wishes for your success and prosperity, that in the administration of your Government you may be guided by Divine wisdom and that my prayers shall not cease to ascend for the perpetuity of our government and a blessing upon every effort made to maintain it against rebellion and treason.
If a leisure hour should occur in your many and arduous duties, it would afford me great pleasure to have a line from you.
With great respect, I subscribe myself,
Your obt. servant,
John M. Taggart
To his Excellency
Gov. R. Yates
John M. Taggart