Grant: On Slavery

samgrant

Captain
Retired Moderator
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Location
Galena, Illinois 61036 U.S.A.
"In all this I can see but the doom of slavery. The North do not want, nor will they want, to interfere with the institution. But they will refuse for all time to give it protection unless the South shall return soon to their allegiance." - April 19, 1861, in a letter to his father-in-law, Frederick Dent.

"My inclination is to whip the rebellion into submission, preserving all Constitutional rights. If it cannot be whipped any other way than through a war against slavery, let it come to to that legitimately. If it is necessary that slavery should fall that the Republic may continue its existence, let slavery go." - November 27, 1861, in a letter to his father.

"I never was an abolitionist, not even what could be called anti-slavery, but I try to judge fairly and honestly and it became patent in my mind early in the rebellion that the North and South could never live at peace with each other except as one nation, and that without slavery. As anxious as I am to see peace established, I would not therefore be willing to see any settlement until the question is forever settled." - August 30, 1863, in a letter to Elihu Washburne.



"As soon as slavery fired upon the flag, it was felt, we all felt, even those who did not object to slaves, that slavery must be destroyed. We felt that it was a stain to the Union that men should be bought and sold like cattle... there had to be an end to slavery." -In a conversation with Bismarck, 1878.



"The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United States will have to be attributed to slavery. For some years before the war began it was a trite saying among some politicians that "A state half slave and half free cannot exist." All must become slave or all free, or the state will go down. I took no part myself in any such view of the case at the time, but since the war is over, reviewing the whole question, I have come to the conclusion that the saying is quite true." - U.S. Grant, in his Memoirs, 1885.


From Ulysses S. Grant Home Page:

http://www.mscomm.com/~ulysses/
 

Alabaman

Cadet
Joined
Aug 3, 2005
Gen. Grant, being a slaveholder himself for one year should fully realize the insensitivity of the 'peculiar institution.'

Alabaman
 

hawglips

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
It's interesting to most that Grant's wife brought her slaves with her on multiple occasions when she came to visit her husband at field command.

Hal
 

pvt gauss

Cadet
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
Location
UP of Mich.
Compliments,

The thing I have see in it, was the Abolishist call, The war had nothing to do with "States Rights" or "Tariff Outrages", It was pure and simple "SLAVERY". From The beginning , the diaries I`ve read have talked about "Slavery" and Abolitionist and the way things that can`t carry on, we will fight for everybodies rights.

Gauss
 

samgrant

Captain
Retired Moderator
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Location
Galena, Illinois 61036 U.S.A.
pvt gauss said:
Compliments,

The thing I have see in it, was the Abolishist call, The war had nothing to do with "States Rights" or "Tariff Outrages", It was pure and simple "SLAVERY". From The beginning , the diaries I`ve read have talked about "Slavery" and Abolitionist and the way things that can`t carry on, we will fight for everybodies rights.

Gauss

Huh!

Can you please clarify?
 

william42

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Evansville, Indiana
I've spent probably 40 minutes trying to find info on the web concerning slave-ownership by the Grants. I have found several articles that state US Grant purchased one slave from his father-in-law, when he and Julia left for Illinois in 1859. Prior to that he had worked his father-in-laws land in Missouri alongside slaves.

He emancipated his slave, William Jones, and his wife, Julia, hired out the four slaves she owned out to other farmers.

I have not been able to find any account of Julia bringing slaves with her when she visited Gen. Grant, during his career in the army. That doesn't necessarily mean it didn't happen, but only that I have not been able to find it documented.

"Interpreting slavery at sites not necessarily associated with African American history requires the same rigid adherence to truthfulness. Even a cursory examination of the racial attitudes of some of the most prominent leaders of the Union war effort reveals ambiguity and tepid support for emancipation. Abraham Lincoln's evolving attitudes are well documented. William Tecumseh Sherman's racism was as breathtaking as it was raw. The case of Ulysses S. Grant, however, offers intriguing possibilities. White Haven, the U. S. Grant National Historic Site near St. Louis, was the home of Grant's wife, Julia Dent. The daughter of a Missouri slaveholder, Julia Dent herself was also a slave owner. Grant farmed the land for his father-in-law from 1854 to 1859. He worked alongside the bondsmen to cultivate the land and to cut wood for his house and for sale in St. Louis, 12 miles distant. When Grant and his wife moved to Illinois in 1859, he bought one William Jones from his father-in-law but then emancipated him. Julia Dent Grant, on the other hand, hired out the four slaves that she owned.


Writing in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War, General Grant stated, 'I never was an Abolitionist, [n]ot even what could be called anti slavery, but I try to judge farely & honestly and it became patent to my mind early in the rebellion that the North & South could never live at peace with each other except as one nation, and that without Slavery. As anxious as I am to see peace reestablished, I would not therefore be willing to see any settlement until this question is forever settled.'"

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1998/9803/9803PUB.CFM

Terry
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Right here.
Actually, there's no documentary evidence that Julia ever had ownership of those four slaves, even though in her memoirs she says she did. Grant had let it be known previously that if he ever got control of those slaves he would set them free, and it's possible Col Dent retained ownership of them but allowed Julia the use of them. In 1862, one of the slaves, also named Julia, was almost captured by the rebels when she accompanied Julia Grant to Holly Springs. By 1863, the Dent slaves had all freed themselves. Grant visited White Haven and noted that all the slaves had gone. The Grants later hired the former slave Julia as a paid nurse in 1864. When Fred Grant was ill with typhoid, the nurse Julia refused to go back to Missouri with the Grants for fear that she would be reenslaved. This can be found in Julia's Memoirs also.

Grant did own William Jones for about a year, and manumitted him in 1859, at a time when he needed money and could have gotten $1,000 by selling Jones. There is some murkiness about how Grant acquired Jones also. Since Grant was in poor shape for money, it's possible he was given William Jones as a present by either Col Dent or his brother-in-law, Fred Dent. The manumission papers he signed have a standard statement that Jones had been purchased by Grant, but there is again no other documentation to show a purchase.

Regards,
Cash
 

hawglips

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Whether General Grant's wife legally "owned" her slaves or whether her father did, in any event, she (and by extension, her husband) certainly "used" them.

And yes, she brought a slave with her each time she visited her hubby at field command up until at least 1863. And I'm sure she left one or two at home to watch her little ones while she was away.

We once had a nice discussion about this over on the Grant board. Don't take my word for it, take the word of Grant worshippers, I mean experts, over there. I'm sure they wouldn't make up such things.

Hal
 

hawglips

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
This is from the information section of the old Grant board:

"Incredibly, Julia brought along one of her slaves on all of her visits to Grant's headquarters during the civil war. When Julia was with Grant, their youngest son, Jesse, was in the charge of "black Julia," the slave that Julia had used since her girlhood."

It is interesting that Lee, the man that was supposedly fighting to protect slavery, freed the slaves from his household, Grant, the man that was supposedly fighting to rid the continent of slavery, kept them in good use in his own household.

Another interesting tidbit from the Grant board is,

"It is claimed in the footnotes of [Julia's] Memoirs that they were not freed until December, 1865, with the passage of the Thirteenth amendment, but this doesn't concur with other primary sources of the period and Missouri's slaves were freed in January, 1865.

Hal
 

william42

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Evansville, Indiana
Hal, the impression I got from my reading was that Grant did purchase a slave, William Jones, from his father in law, when he moved with Julia to Illinois, whereupon Grant freed him. I'm not convinced that he "kept them in good use in his own household".

Julias case may be different in that supposedly she did own her slaves for a time after the move to Illinois.

I'm not familiar with the old Grant board. Was it (Is it) a web-site similar to this one, or was it a thread on this site?

Terry
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
Terry:

Grant didn't personally care for the idea of owning a person. Grant supporters will say that the slave that Grant briefly owned was a gift from Julia's father, and that contention has some logic behind it in that Grant didn't have that kind of money. But that's begging the question -- he owned a slave and turned the slave loose after about a year.

The apologists will also say that Julia's slaves were not hers, but her father's, and they were on loan to her because Julia's father knew Grant would turn them loose if they were hers. Doesn't much matter. She had the use of them and she used them as household help and help with the children. When she visited Grant in the field, she had at least one with her until late '63 or early '64. Somewhere in there, "Black Julia" became a paid servant.

It isn't recorded how that domestic arrangement came to be, but I'll guess that Ulysses didn't stamp his feet and insist on anything when Julia was present. (We know how well that works, don't we?")

From this involvement arises the myth that Grant was a slaveowner and Lee was not. I hope that one goes away soon.

Ole
 

william42

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Evansville, Indiana
Thanks Ole. Your summarization pretty closely follows what I've been reading about the Grants and their slaves, although I could not find any articles where the author would commit to the length of time that Grant owned his slave. Evidently it was about a year or so?

So, depending on your point of view, Grant owned a slave and made good use of him, or he owned a slave and sought to release him as soon as he was able to. And he was basically unable to persuade Julia to free her slaves, since they were technically her fathers, on loan to her because of her fathers belief that Grant would release them as well, had they been Julias property.

I suppose both sides could choose the information however they wished to support their own conclusions and POV.

Terry
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
Terry:
I wished only to convey that I've seen the stories from several angles. As the question has been resolved to the point where belief becomes the deciding factor, I've concluded that any of the conclusions either way don't much matter anyway.

Ole:beer: :beer:
 
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