Thompson Powell to Thaddeus Stevens
February 22, 1866
In the following letter Thompson Powell expresses his disbelief of Thaddeus Stevens' concern for the former slaves. Powell also asks Stevens to go easier on the Southern people.
Halifax Co[urt] Ho[use], Va.
February 22, 1866
My Dear Thad:
Since you will not let our so-called representative get into your Circus, please do the clean thing and be good enough to send me a few Public Documents. I will thank you for a volume of U.S. Statutes, or of the Congressional Globe, or even some of our own colored speeches.
Now, Thad, I know you are a rum old chap and a "good hater", after Dr. Johnson's own heart, but I had no hand in the burning of your foundry and you must do me this little favor. Let me ask you a civil question. Which feeling is strongest & uppermost in your Abrahamic bosom -- love of the negro, or hatred of the white man of the South? Tell me truly, do you care a farthing for the negro, but don't you hate the white men of the South till you can't rest?
I will bet you a clean shirt (and lend you one to "put up") that, after all your rhodomontade & hysterics over this dark subject, you never gave one dollar in charity to the poor negro; that Mr. Henry Wilson never gave ten cents, and that Mr. Charles Sumner never gave one cent, out of their sensitive pockets, for his benefit. Bet me, dear Thad, if you dare!
I think you can afford to let our so-called representative into the show; he is a preacher and a plain man, who could not do you any harm, if he were to try. We had to hunt a long time for a man who could swallow the nauseous test oath, & we found him in a "corner obscure and alone."
Send me the Pub. Docs., my dear Thad, for I shall be looking for them most anxiously. I am a brother of Hon. Paulus Powell of this state, who once sat in Congress with you, I expect, and am more of a gentleman than the great majority of Southern men, according to your refined notions of them. Send me the documents, Thad, & I'll pay you for them. What's the figure?
P. S. For Heaven's sake, my dear Thad, let the Southern States alone for a little while, till they can catch their breath & go to work. They are not worth pillaging & persecuting yet -- awhile.