SHERMAN, William T. Five autograph letters signed ("W. T. Sherman") to Mary Audenreid, 21 April 1885 -- 29 December 1886. Together 18½ pages, 8vo.
SHERMAN BASHES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND NOTES THE PASSING OF HIS COMRADES
A revealing series of personal letters that range from Sherman's ideas on marriage, Catholicism, and the passing of the famous Civil War generals. He counsels Mrs. Audenreid on how to handle her daughter--who was threatening to convert to Catholicism and go to a nunnery in the aftermath of a broken love affair. "If she becomes a nun she can do no harm, and is dead to the world. Nature's God intended all women to be mothers, but if all bud too fast, wars, pestilence and famine come to destroy the surplus...I confess," he says, "that I feared Florence would err on the other side." He comments on his own son's conversion: "Tom left me, his Sister & all for the Church. And my judgment remains the same. That it was an awful crime against nature, for I had a right to depend on him in my old age to look after those dependent on me. I hope Cump [his other son] will take his place, but even in that I have not absolute confidence for with Catholics the church is greater than God himself, and they will abandon Father & Mother if the Church commands."
In December he is still focused on the romantic prospects for Audenreid's daughter: "To her as a physician I prescribe matrimony and maternity. Matched with a real man Florence will be an ornament to society and a delight to family and friends. Matched to a stick or to a selfish man she will be a devil and a torture to you..." He mentions extensive travels across the country, to Washington, New York, his native St. Louis (which he finds greatly improved), and even Philadelphia "for a McClellan testimonial." In Washington he stays with his brother, Senator John Sherman, "but shall not stay long, as there is too much politics there to suit my taste." In the last letter he reflects on the loss of his fellow Generals: "Remember also that I am an older man than Grant, McClellan, Hancock, Logan, &c. who in the past year have been taken suddenly, almost without premonition." (5)