The Address of the Liberal Republicans
The Administration now in power has rendered itself guilty of a wanton disregard of the laws of the land and of powers not granted by the Constitution. It has acted as if the laws had binding force for only those who are governed and not for those who govern. It has struck a blow at the fundamental principles of Constitutional government and the liberties of citizens. The President of the United States openly uses the powers and opportunities of his high office for the promotion of personal ends; he has kept notoriously corrupt and unworthy men in places of power and responsibility to the detriment of the public interests; he has used the public service of the Government as a machinery of partisan and personal influence and interfered, with tyrannical arrogance, in the political affairs of States and municipalities; he has rewarded with influential and lucrative offices men who had acquired his favor by valuable presents, thus stimulating the demoralization of our political life by his conspicuous example; he has shown himself deplorably unequal to the task imposed upon him by the necessities of the country and culpably careless of the responsibilities of his high office.
The partisans of the Administration, claiming to be the Republican party and controlling its organization, have attempted to justify such wrongs and palliate such abuses to the end of maintaining such partisan ascendancy. They have stood in the way of necessary investigations and indispensable reforms, pretending that no serious fault could be found with the present administration of public affairs, thus seeking to blind the eyes of the people. They have kept alive the passions and resentments of the late civil war, to use them to their own advantages. They have resorted to arbitrary measures in direct conflict with organic law, instead of appealing to the better instincts of the latent patriotism of the Southern people by restoring to them those rights the enjoyment of which is indispensable for the successful administration of their local affairs, and would tend to a more patriotic and hopeful National feeling. They have degraded themselves and the Name of their party, once justly entitled to the confidence of the nation, by a base sycophancy to the dispenser of Executive powers unworthy of Republican freemen; they have sought to stifle the voice of just criticism, to stifle the moral sense of the people and to subjugate public opinion by tyrannical party discipline; they are striving to maintain themselves in authority for selfish ends, by an unscrupulous use of power which rightfully belongs to the people and should be employed in the service of the country. Believing that an organization thus led and controlled can no longer be of service to the best interests of the Republic, we have resolved to make an independent appeal to the sober judgment, conscience and patriotism of the American people.