To Thaddeus C. Pound
|To Thaddeus C. Pound
|Two adjacent entries from Frederic Bancroft, ed., Speeches, Correspondence and Political Papers of Carl Schurz, Volume IV, pp. 509-528.|
Dear Sir: May I not, with propriety, address you concerning the political situation in your adopted country? We occupied common ground in 1884, both disagreeing with the action of our party's National Convention, and both conspicuously, and I believe potentially, opposing the election of Mr. Blaine for substantially the same reasons. The result of that contest is now an open book, the preface of which promised better than the later pages disclose. So long as the hero was a freeman, he satisfied the independent citizen, but when taken captive by partisan masters and personal ambition for a second term, he suddenly dropped to the low level of the Democratic party and its most offensive partisan methods.
The Republican party, with which I have never broken allegiance, has just held its Convention, and nominated fit and worthy candidates for President and Vice-President. The issues, or the distinctive issue presented for the campaign is sharply defined. I am squarely for Harrison and Morton, and believe you capable of no different attitude. No man can do more to promote the success of the Republican ticket than you. I want to see you in the saddle, and bid you hasten to recross the ocean and take the field. The battle is to be one of reason and not of noise and bluster. I feel sure of the reinstatement of the Republican party to executive control on a higher plane of political and public morals than that towards which it was drifting in 1884. May I promise your speedy return and earnest coöperation?
Your letter from Washington asking me to “recross the ocean and take the field” for Mr. Harrison reached me some time ago. Being detained here longer than I anticipated by circumstances with which our Presidential election has nothing to do, I can only communicate to you in writing the views which would govern my course in the pending campaign could I return home in season. I do so after having calmly considered the subject far away from the excitements of the struggle.
In condemning the concessions to the spoils element in the Democratic party made by President Cleveland in violation of his own original program, I go as far as his severest critic among the friends of reform. With my experience of public life, I cannot join in any of the excuses or palliations which have been offered for them. I do not think, for instance, that, had he unflinchingly done those things which he had given the country reason to expect of him, he would have been a “President without a party.” The American people love that manly courage which, in keeping good faith and in righting wrongs, does not shrink from defying great odds. The spectacle of a President telling his party friends that neither flattery nor threats could tempt him to abandon a single iota of his word, either in letter or spirit, would have stirred the noblest impulses of the American heart. His very enemies would have been compelled to do homage to the intrepidity of his rectitude. The party organization, seeing that it could not command him, would have been obliged to follow his leadership, for it could not have sacrificed such a President without ruining itself. He might indeed have lost the support of some of its worst elements, but he would have gained on the other side the full confidence and aid of a much larger number of patriotic men who stood ready, without regard to political antecedents, to rally around a thoroughgoing reformer. His party would then have been morally as well as numerically stronger than it is to-day. This, I think, would have been the result; but even if such expectations had not been entirely fulfilled, certain it is that by the example of such conduct President Cleveland would have rendered a far greater service to the cause of healthy politics and good government in America than by anything else he has done or could have done.
In view of the departures from the standards set up by himself, the extent and significance of which have, perhaps, not fully come to President Cleveland's own consciousness, I can well understand the feelings and reasoning of those of our independent friends who, after having supported Mr. Cleveland in 1884, now, on account of his failings as a civil service reformer, oppose his reëlection. I am very far from questioning the sincerity of their motives when they argue that such shortcomings should not be permitted to pass with impunity. But I differ from them in answering the important question, whether, if they succeeded in punishing Mr. Cleveland, they would not at the same time punish the country still more.
The main consideration is, after all, how the public interest in the largest sense can be best served. Concerning administrative reform, we have seen enough of political life to know that, as to their devotion to the spoils system, there is no difference between the working politicians in the Republican and those in the Democratic party. Both will occasionally yield to a demand for reform from fear, or to make political capital, or shout for it when in opposition; but both hate it at heart and will exert their whole influence against it whenever they feel at liberty to do so. There are exceptions, but not many, on either side. It is true, a larger number of friends of reform have been associated with the Republicans than with the Democrats. But nobody will pretend that they control the nominations or the actual policy of the party. It was, no doubt, owing to the pressure of Democratic partisans that President Cleveland practically gave up a very important portion of his reform program. So it had, no doubt, been owing to the pressure of Republican partisans that President Grant in his time threw overboard the whole system, examination, rules and all. And it is certain that the efforts President Cleveland really did make in the way of reform found no countenance among Republican politicians. It is equally certain that a Republican victory now would be followed by a “clean sweep,” with all that the term implies, involving not only all Democratic officeholders, good and bad, outside of the classified service, but the Republicans left in office by President Cleveland, too, as Republicans who consented to remain in place under a Democratic Administration are especially hateful to Republican politicians.
Is it reasonable to expect that Mr. Harrison, if elected, would oppose such a “clean sweep” with greater courage and firmness than was shown by Mr. Cleveland? Mr. Harrison is, in point of personal character, no doubt vastly preferable to Mr. Blaine. But neither his professions nor his antecedents stamp him as a man who would resist the demands of the influential politicians of his party. He would on the contrary, to the extent of his power, meet them, as he asked his demands to be met under a previous Republican Administration. The cause of civil service reform would, therefore, have to hope rather less from Mr. Harrison than from Mr. Cleveland.
But, if I rightly understand the attitude of the Republican party, it is really Mr. Blaine, not Mr. Harrison, whom we are invited to put into power. Mr. Blaine is vociferously proclaimed, not only as the “greatest statesman,” as the “real leader of the Republican party,” but also as the “Premier,” the “head of the Republican Administration” that is to be. That Mr. Harrison's Administration shall be under Mr. Blame's control seems to be taken for granted, without any conspicuous dissent. Mr. Harrison is so pointedly consigned to the role of second man that his position as a candidate appears grotesque in the extreme. It is an entirely new thing in our Constitutional history that one person is to be elected President of the United States for the very purpose of permitting the Presidential power to be wielded by another.
Such an innovation would appear in the highest degree objectionable, even if a better man than Mr. Blaine were to be the beneficiary. But as it is Mr. Blaine himself, I am reminded of what you say to me in your letter: “We occupied common ground in 1884, both conspicuously, and, I believe, potentially, opposing the election of Mr. Blaine, for substantially the same reasons.” Those reasons I then elaborately explained to the public, and they need not be recapitulated. They were sincerely believed in and are as valid now as they were then. What has happened since is certainly not calculated to weaken them. Those who acted with us in 1884 upon sincere motives can hardly deem it safe or creditable to the American people now to invest with the power of “head of the Administration” the same man whom they repudiated four years ago, and whom this year the prudent men of his party would have feared to nominate under his own name. I do not know whether it would not, in some respects, be safer on the whole to make him President in name as well as in fact, than to put him in control of a President's power without a President's responsibility. We have had a feeble indication of the consequences of such a state of things during the few months of General Garfield's Presidency, which ended with his tragic death. The American people, I should think, have had enough of that. But if the Republican party wishes to bring on the full development and fruition of that sort of government, my vote shall certainly not contribute to such a result.
Neither am I frightened by the Republican campaign cry that if Mr. Cleveland be reëlected, the industries of the country will surely be ruined and general distress follow. Let me recall to you some historical facts. As you are well aware, it was not the tariff question which drove the Independents from the Republican party in 1884. But then the tariff policy of the party was professedly not what it is now. For many years it was freely admitted by the Republicans that the tariff, originally intended to meet the financial needs of the war period, and adapted to a very different internal-revenue system, was full of unjust and offensive features, and that it must be revised and reduced in its rates. One Republican platform after another, one Republican President after another, one Republican Secretary of the Treasury after another, joined in this admission. There is scarcely a Republican leader of note who did not advocate revision and reduction at some time and in some way. A tariff commission appointed under the very last Republican Administration and containing the most pronounced Republican protectionists strongly recommended an average reduction of tariff rates of 20 to 25 per cent., as demanded by the public interest. This was the teaching we heard in the Republican school. But now, when the Democrats attempt to do in a very moderate way what the Republicans had for years been promising to do, we are told that, unless this attempt be stopped, the country will go to ruin. The very men who constantly declaim about the “magnificent past” of the Republican party, give us to understand that if the policy of tariff reduction advocated during that “magnificent past” by Republican platforms and statesmen had been carried out, distress and misery would have been the lot of the American people.
It is a singular spectacle. For years we have been told that, indeed, high protective duties were necessary while our manufacturing industries were in the feeble infant state, but that the protective duties would be less needed as the manufacturing industries grew older and stronger. Yet the more those industries cease to be infants, the older and stronger they grow, the more strenuously the Republican party insists that the high duties must be maintained or even raised. And finally it informs us in this year's platform that “rather than surrender any part of the protective system,” it will wipe out the taxes on tobacco and whisky — taxes of the most rational character, for they are in the truest sense voluntarily paid on things that are not necessaries of life, and one of which, the whisky tax, Thomas Jefferson, not withstanding his hostility to excises, recognized as a tax of sanitary value in a moral as well as physical respect. Would not, but a few years ago, a proposition completely to abolish the whisky tax have encountered the almost unanimous opposition of the Republican party?
But more. It was the custom of the Republican party to pledge itself in its platforms that the government should be administered with strict economy. The platform of this year omits this pledge, and recommends the liberal spending of the public money for a variety of subjects. What this means is easily understood. There is a large surplus in the Treasury. That surplus is constantly increased by a revenue far exceeding the current needs of the government. Such a surplus, constantly growing, is by every sensible man recognized as a public danger. It not only withdraws from business channels the money required for active circulation, but its very existence always breeds jobbery and corruption. Everybody knows that. How get rid of it? Common-sense would say that if our taxes yield too much revenue, let us promptly reduce our taxes, first those which are most irrational and burdensome to the people. But the Republican party tells us — rather than reduce the tariff, rather than surrender any part of the protective system, let ever so much more revenue than we need be raised, and let us spend the money liberally in whatever way we can. In fact, we begin to hear the idea of an economical administration of the government rather jeeringly spoken of as a picayunish, narrow-minded policy. No true friend of the country can witness such a tendency without serious concern. A democratic government which constantly raises a much larger revenue than it needs for an economical administration, and then embarks in lavish expenditures for the sake of spending the surplus — that government is in a very bad way. Such a practice, some time continued, will produce a carnival of rascality in our public affairs compared with which the Tweed régime in New York will appear like white innocence and virtue. Such a practice, raised to the dignity of a system, would be the moral ruin of the Republic.
When I thus see the Republican party sacrifice the professions and pledges of its better days — sacrifice the often repeated promise to reduce the tariff — sacrifice the whisky tax which but yesterday the Republican party would have almost unanimously scorned to abolish — sacrifice the idea of an economical administration of government so essential to the morals of a democratic republic — when I see it ready to sacrifice everything “rather than surrender any part of the protective system,” I am forced to the conclusion that the Republican party has fallen completely under the control of selfish, grasping interests, in which the spirit of monopoly is running mad.
The very arguments currently used in aid of that policy are calculated to make one distrustful of the cause they are to support. How in the world can anybody have the face to say that the Mills bill would destroy the protective system and thereby the industries of the country — the Mills bill, which proposes tariff reductions much smaller than those proposed time and again by Republicans high in authority, in fact averaging considerably less than those recommended by the Republican and protectionist Tariff Commission! The Mills bill, which, if enacted into a law, would still leave behind it one of the highest protective tariffs the world has ever seen — aye, a higher tariff than was designed under the stress of our civil war!
Equally astonishing is the argument that, if the danger is not in the Mills bill itself, it is in the spirit animating it, in the principles embodied in President Cleveland's tariff message. What are those principles? That “the necessaries of life used and consumed by all the people, the duty on which adds to the cost of living in every home, should be greatly cheapened”; and that “the duties on raw material used in manufactures” should be “radically reduced” or abolished. Against the second part of this proposition the Republican party makes its open war. According to them, the free importation of raw material is to destroy the protective system and with it our industries. No more self-evidently fallacious assertion has ever been advanced. It will make Henry Clay, the greatest champion of the protective policy this country has ever had, turn in his grave; for it was he who said: “There are four modes by which the industry of the country can be protected, and one of them is the admission, free of duty, of every article which aids the operations of the manufacturers.” Nothing could be plainer. The recognition of this truth is as old as common-sense. It has not been confined to “free-trade theorists,” but been wisely embodied in many protective tariffs. That our tariff has not recognized it is one of its peculiarly irrational features, for it is in a great measure owing to the artificial enhancement of the price of the raw material that the products of American manufactures have not been more successful in competing with those of other nations in the markets of the world.
It is one of the curiosities of this campaign, that, as I notice in the papers, some Republican protectionists speak and write as if the successful competition of American manufactures in the foreign market were neither attainable nor even very desirable to be striven for. As to its being attainable, we know that we already sell abroad manufactured articles in the production of which the ingenuity and superior efficiency of American workmanship overbalances the disadvantages under which American industry labors on account of the higher cost of what Henry Clay calls “the articles which aid the operations of the manufacturers.” It is self-evident that, the more these disadvantages be removed, the more will the superior ingenuity and productiveness of American labor get a fair field, the greater will be the variety and quantity of American manufactures sold in the foreign market and the more promising will be the development of our industries. There are many foreign manufacturers who appreciate this keenly. While theoretical economists abroad, of course, applaud every movement in the economic policy of the United States which they consider as emanating from sound principles, I know, from personal observation, that European manufacturers who understand their business look forward with grave apprehension to the time when American industry will be relieved of the clogs which now hamper it and enter the markets of the world to compete with them. They know well that the competition of American ingenuity and energy, untrammeled by artificial shackles, will be to them of all competitions the most formidable. They are right; for competition in the foreign market, the rubbing against the world on every field, will tend to stimulate and develop to the highest potency the peculiar strength of American industry, which consists in its inventive genius, productive energy and skill of hand. The more advantageously these great qualities come into play, the more successful will American industry be. Necessity is the mother of invention, competition the stimulus of energy. Both invention and energy will gradually relax under a system which, while promising artificial protection on the one hand, creates artificial obstacles on the other. Let those obstacles be removed, let American inventive genius and productive energy enter the struggle with the outside world on fair terms — in the first place with raw material as free to us as it is to others — and you will open a most fruitful field of activity to the strongest forces of the national character.
That our manufacturing industries should be enabled to enter the foreign market is especially important to our laboring men. The mechanical appliances now existing in the United States are in some branches of industry already sufficient to produce in seven or eight months as much as the home market will consume in twelve. Periodical stagnations in those branches must be the result. As the laboring man well knows, it is of the highest consequence to him, not only to be well paid while employed, but to be constantly employed. He will also without difficulty understand that the more limited the market is, the more easily will it be glutted, and the more subject will industry be to periodical stagnation; and that, on the other hand, the wider the market is for the products of labor, the more constant will be its employment.
Nothing could be more amusingly audacious than the efforts made by Republicans to persuade the American workingman that his wages depend absolutely on the maintenance of our tariff, and that American labor will be repressed to the level of “the pauper labor of Europe” if we “surrender any part of our protective system.” Republican speeches and papers fairly teem with comparisons of wages in the United States and wages in England, to show the effect of the protective tariff in one country and of free trade in the other. I shall not here inquire into the correctness of those comparisons; but, assuming them to be correct, what do they prove? That it is the tariff which makes wages higher in America, and the absence of a tariff which makes them lower in England? As everybody knows, wages range higher in free-trade England than in protectionist Germany. Now, if it is true that wages depend upon the tariff, then free trade must have caused higher wages in England, and wages in Germany must have been depressed by protection. Or, if we assume that wages range higher in England than in Germany, somehow, in spite of English free trade, may it not be said with equal justice that wages range higher in America than in England, somehow, in spite of American protection?
The discussion has its humors. In an article on “Wages and the Tariff,” published by one of the foremost champions of the present protective system (New York Tribune, August 14th), the following statements occur: “The competition of foreign labor is felt in many branches of manufacture in England. They are not protected against the competition of inferior classes of foreign labor who earn less and live in greater wretchedness than themselves.” But where are those “inferior classes of foreign labor who earn less and live in greater wretchedness” to be found? In such countries as Germany, France and Belgium, countries which have protective tariffs. Thus, while we are told that in high-tariff America workingmen must be protected against the pauper labor of free-trade England, we are also told that the workingmen of free-trade England must be protected against the pauper labor of the high-tariff countries on the European continent.
If it is true that wages in one country which has a protective tariff are higher than wages in another country which has free trade, and also that wages are higher in the country which has free trade than in several other countries which have protective tariffs, it cannot possibly be true that the relative rates of wages are determined by the existence or non-existence of a protective tariff system. The Republican argument that, if the tariff be disturbed, the wages of American workingmen must fall in consequence, is thus clearly set at naught by notorious facts.
I shall not theorize upon the wages question, but simply mention the further facts, that such a measure as the removal of duties from raw materials has never resulted in a reduction of wages; that wages in the United States considerably rose during the low-tariff period from 1846 to 1861; that wages have also risen since that time, but most in the unprotected industries, and that wages in England have risen since the beginning of the free-trade period between twenty and one hundred and fifty per cent. Tariff protection is therefore not at all a condition sine qua non of a rise in wages. Moreover, every candid and reflecting observer understands that in the United States the rate of wages is largely affected by the abundance of fertile, cheap and easily accessible lands and an almost infinite variety of natural resources offering labor, ample opportunity and reward; that American industrial labor is distinguished by a superior inventive genius, skill and productive energy which make it intrinsically more valuable than foreign labor; that, in other words, the American workingman earns more than the workingman of the Old World, because he generally produces more; and that the American rate of wages will not only be maintained, but will have the best chance of being increased, if American industry be given a larger field of operation by relieving it of those impediments which in a great measure exclude it from the markets of the world.
It is avowedly the Republican plan of campaign to frighten the public mind with a picture of a destructive collapse of our manufacturing industries and of the national prosperity in case the policy advocated by President Cleveland in his tariff message be approved by the people. That this collapse should be brought on by giving our industries what a prudent protective system would always have given them — free raw material — is so absurd in itself that I greatly doubt whether those who make the prediction themselves believe in it. Such a breakdown might follow a sudden and sweeping abolition of all our tariff duties, which I am sure nobody contemplates. I do think, however, that if there is any danger of it, it will be, not in consequence of the Democratic, but of the Republican policy.
Nothing is more apt to produce sudden and strong revulsions in public opinion than a defiantly selfish attitude on the part of a privileged and powerful interest in the community. That “the manufacturers of the United States are most directly benefited by our tariff laws,” that they are “getting practically the sole benefit, or at least the most directly important benefits” of them and that in consequence they “make large fortunes every year when times are prosperous,” profits indeed in some cases exceeding all bounds, is an admission which in unguarded moments will escape Republican leaders. Witness the famous “Fat Circular” of the President of the Republican League. When now those protected interests proclaim through the mouth of the Republican party that they are ready to sacrifice almost anything, and to do almost anything, “rather than surrender any portion of the protective system,” the proclamation has a peculiarly irritating sound. There is something of the insolent recklessness in it which, in the career of grasping power, usually precedes the day of judgment. It reminds one somewhat of Tweed's famous reply to his accusers: “What are you going to do about it?” If this defiant spirit should be encouraged by a Republican victory in this Presidential election, it will be likely to go so far in its exactions as to provoke a violent rebound, and there is great danger that then the whole protective system, every tariff duty that favors any particular interest, will, without any regard to immediate consequences, be swept away at one stroke.
I cannot express myself too strongly on this point. The question is not whether tariff reform will or will not come. It is sure to come, either now or in the near future. The question really is, whether it shall come in the temperate and prudent shape proposed in Mr. Cleveland's message, tending to strengthen rather than to endanger the manufacturing industries, or in the shape of an angry reaction a little later, threatening such loss and confusion as is incident to sudden, violent and sweeping changes of system.
The danger that, if moderate tariff reform be rejected now, such an angry reaction will follow, is greatly increased by the appearance in the business world of the “Trusts.” I notice that the Republicans greatly exert themselves to create the impression that the organization of Trusts has nothing to do with the protective tariff. But an intelligent people will not fail to see that the two contrivances are designed to serve the same object: to enhance the price of goods by cutting off competition. The protective tariff does this by Government interference — by the imposition of a tax upon the imported foreign article. The Trust does it by controlling the production of certain articles and the consequent fixing of the price through a coalition of the producers. It is said that Trusts have been formed to control the production and sale of things on which there is no tariff duty at all. This is true in some instances. But in a large majority of cases the Trusts cover branches of industry which are at the same time “protected” by the tariff. In fact, the protective Tariff and the Trust are children of the same parentage; the Trust is the younger brother of the Tariff.
When complaint was made that the protective tariff, by cutting off foreign competition, obliged people to pay higher prices for the things they had to buy, the protectionists used to reply that this might be true, but only at the beginning; that under the fostering care of the protective system, a multitude of manufacturing establishments would spring up at home; that they would compete among themselves; that this home competition would soon bring down prices in the home market as much as foreign competition would have done, or even more; and that thus the people would have the benefit of a great development of home industries and, at the same time, of low prices in consequence of home competition. This had a fair and consoling sound. But when home competition begins to tell, the Trust steps in, and lets us know that industries which are protected against foreign competition by the tariff will keep up prices and maintain or raise their profits by combination among the producers, and thus protect themselves against home competition too. Thus the people are deprived of the benefit of one as well as the other, and the Trust appears as the protective idea pushed to its logical extreme.
Efforts are being made to reach the Trusts by legal prohibitions and penalties. They may ultimately succeed, but experience teaches that such attempts do not usually succeed at the beginning. We know how difficult it is to frame laws on such subjects which cannot more or less easily be evaded. The open and secret friends of the Trusts will, if they cannot prevent legislation, exert all their ingenuity to smuggle clauses into it which will prevent it from becoming effective. It will probably require much experimenting to provide laws which completely answer the purpose. In the meantime, the people will continue to suffer extortion and tyranny from the very culprits. Much more expedient will it be, while the efforts at effective law-making go on, to say to the manufacturers combined in Trusts: “As you will not let the people have the benefit of home competition, you shall not have the benefit of protection from foreign competition. The tariff duties on your articles shall therefore be promptly done away with. You shall not eat the cake and have it too.” This policy will be unquestionably just and at the same time effective in going straight to the mark.
To be sure, the attempt may be made to defeat this relief too, by forming combinations controlling the production and sale of the articles concerned all over the globe, as has been done in the case of copper. But it is evident that such world-wide coalitions are extremely difficult to organize. They are possible only when the number of producers is comparatively small, and then only when production for the market requires a very large capital at the start. But even then they are apt to be broken into somewhere on the face of the earth by somebody who is strong enough, and finds it to his interest to do so. At any rate, the prompt admission of foreign competition, where home competition is artificially cut off, is a remedy surer of immediate effect than any other within sight. As shown by the example of the Standard Oil Trust, it may not prevent combinations for the control of production, but it will in almost every case prevent extortion by the artificial raising of prices if the articles concerned are at all produced abroad.
The protected interests which, as to their standing in public opinion, have so long relied upon the charm of captivating cries, should not be blind to the fact that the springing up of Trusts has put upon the tariff question a new face. The Trust is extortion undisguised. It bluntly bids the people “Stand and deliver.” The efforts to obscure the relationship between Trust and protective tariff will not succeed long, if they succeed at all. No free and spirited people will long endure such combinations when their nature has once been understood. It is therefore no mere fancy when I speak of an angry reaction not unlikely to come, causing sudden and sweeping changes without regard to immediate consequences, unless a policy of just and rational reform, such as proposed in President Cleveland's tariff message, be adopted in time. That angry reaction will be all the more probable if it should appear that the legislation against the Trusts, which is now being devised, will not remedy the evil as thoroughly or as promptly as the public interest demands.
All parties interested would, therefore, do well very calmly to consider whether the choice they have now to make, instead of being between tariff reform and no tariff reform, is not really between a moderate and easy change, beneficial to the industrial interests of the country, to be adopted now, and a sudden, violent and sweeping revulsion, doing rough justice in obedience to an exasperated popular feeling, unmindful of existing interests, to come in the near future. I am in favor of prudent and temperate reform, and wish to avoid the danger of abrupt, sweeping and possibly destructive changes. I am, there fore, in favor of the tariff policy proposed by Mr. Cleveland, and against that of the Republican party. And, in my humble opinion, the manufacturers as well as the laboring men will best serve their own interests if they act upon the same view of the subject.
Having said this, I am willing to repeat that, as I and probably most Independents think, President Cleveland would, by setting the example of strictest fidelity to all his reform pledges expressed and fairly implied, have rendered the Republic a greater service than he has done by any of his official acts. But that is no reason why we should overlook or underestimate the merit of the other things he actually has done. During his Presidency the country has been relieved of an impression sedulously fostered by party spirit, and until within three years sincerely entertained by many good citizens, that one-half of the people were disloyal and dangerous to the Union, and that the Republic would go to destruction if the Government passed from the hands of one party to those of another. This is a gain to the morals of our political life which cannot be too highly appreciated. Moreover, President Cleveland has given the country an administration of public affairs which, notwithstanding its shortcomings, has, in many important respects, by its ability, its fidelity to the public interest and its wholesome conservative spirit, deservedly and in a high degree won the approval and confidence of the people. And, finally, he has by his tariff message identified himself and his candidacy with an economic policy which bids fair to correct existing evils, to obviate destructive disturbances, to enlarge the remunerative activity of industrial labor and to secure a steady development of the general prosperity.
The situation may in some things be unsatisfactory to many of us, as I frankly admit it to be. But we are not excused from doing our duty as citizens and voters, if we cannot have the ideal party or the ideal candidate. We have conscientiously to make our choice among the possibilities presented to us, and thus to serve the interests of the Republic as best we may. Upon due consideration of these possibilities, and exercising in this as in other cases my best judgment as an independent citizen, I find that I cannot support Mr. Harrison, as you wish me to do; but I shall deem it my duty to vote for Mr. Cleveland if circumstances permit me to reach home in time for the election.
- Formerly lieutenant-governor of Wisconsin, and Republican Representative in Congress.
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