"Let Us Have Peace"
(Facsimile of the letter saved in Photos)
The phrase "Let Us Have Peace" is linked forever to Ulysses S. Grant.
These are the only words engraved on the outside of his Tomb and it is
easy to assume that these are words he must have spoken to attentive
crowds of Americans who turned out to cheer their hero. If not that,
perhaps he said it to General Robert E. Lee at the surrender table
when the two met at Appomattox. It has also been said that these words
constitute the last line of Grant's Personal Memoirs. These
suppositions are all in error. Getting closer to the truth is the
notion that Grant spoke these words at the Republican presidential
nominating convention held in Chicago in 1868 when his name was placed
in nomination. But this too is not quite correct. Rather, these words
constitute the last line of a formal letter Grant wrote accepting the
nomination. Here is the body of that letter:
Washington, D.C., May 29, 1868
General Joseph R. Hawley, President National Union Republican Convention:
In formally accepting the nomination of the National Union Republican
convention of the 21st of May instant, it seems proper that some
statement of views beyond the mere acceptance of the nomination should
The proceedings of the convention were marked with wisdom, moderation,
and patriotism, and I believe express the feelings of the great mass
of those who sustained the country through its recent trials. I
endorse their resolutions.
If elected to the office of the President of the United States, it
will be my endeavor to administer all the laws in good faith, with
economy, and with the view of giving peace, quiet, and protection
everywhere. In times like the present it is impossible, or at least
eminently improper, to lay down a policy to be adhered to, right or
wrong. Through an administration of four years, new political issues,
not foreseen, are constantly arising, the views of the public on old
ones are constantly changing, and a purely administrative officer
should always be left free to execute the will of the people. I always
have respected that will, and always shall. Peace and universal
prosperity, its sequence, with economy of administration, will lighten
the burden of taxation, while it constantly reduces the national debt.
Let us have peace.
This letter is not widely published and is somewhat difficult to
locate, but may be found in part in the book Ulysses S. Grant, Warrior
and Statesman published in 1969 by Ulysses S. Grant III, son of
Frederick Dent Grant and General Ulysses S. Grant's grandson.
It is printed in its entirety in The Political History of the United
States of America During the Period of Reconstruction, by Edward
McPherson published in 1871.