John Riddle Warner was the grandfather of the poet Marianne Moore and during the Civil War he lived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. George Eyster was his brother-in-law and lived in Chambersburg, where he served as Provost Marshal for the 16th district of Pennsylvania from April 1863 to June 1865. These letters are preserved as part of Marianne Moore’s family papers.
I have spoken to Mary a number of times about the fact that she should write to you. Last week was Court and I was busy. Finding that she had not written, I concluded to write you a line to-day.
And first as to the baby: She is very contented and very well. She grows daily more beautiful and more interesting. All the fear I have for her is that her Aunt may spoil her by too much indulgence. Mary’s (my wife) tendency is towards indulgence and especially with this child. But she is conscientious and will try to do her duty I know.
I am anxious to hear about what success you are meeting with in New England. I love that section of the Country. It seems to me that there is the highest civilization and culture. There certainly have the people been truest to the principles of liberty and equality. O, the miserable men hereabouts, who prate of the rights of slaveholders and the freedom of speech. May they be confounded! There is a freedom of speech which leads to the most abject form of despotism. Our mutual friend disgraced himself this week in Court and did more to lower that tribunal in the eyes of the multitude than any thousand previous indiscretions in bench or bar. He appealed to jurors to acquit a murderer, because his victim had been a black man. He asked them to acquit a man who had conducted the rebels to the store of another whom they robbed and whose right eye the villain struck out because [the other?] told him the truth – said he was a traitor and ought to be hung; this too in the face of the law that no ends justify an assault. I knew not.
If not to civil war at home, I know not whither we are tending. God preserve and defend the right!
John go on and deliver that “abolition” address. Give the disloyalists a shot whenever you can.
We succeeded after a hard, three days fight in convicting the Pittsburg Lieutenant of Manslaughter.
Citation: George Eyster, autograph letter signed to John Riddle Warner. Harrisburg, Pa.; 17 April 1864. Moore VI:05:21