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The conscience of the people demands that the Indians within our boundaries shall be fairly and honestly treated as wards of the government, and their education and civilization promoted with a view to their ultimate citizenship, and that polygamy in the Territories, destructive of the family relation and offensive to the moral sense of the civilized world, shall be repressed. The laws should be rigidly enforced which prohibit the immigration of a servile class to compete with American labor, with no intention of acquiring citizenship, and bringing with them and retaining habits and customs repugnant to our civilization. The people demand reform in the administration of the Government and the application of business principles to - public affairs. As a means to this end, civil service reform should be in good faith enforced. Our citizens have the right to protection from the incompetency of public employees who hold their places solely as the reward of partisan service, and from the corrupting influence of those who promise and the vicious methods of those who expect such rewards; and those who worthily seek public employment have the right to insist that merit and competency shall be recognized instead of party subserviency or the surrender of honest political belief. In the administration of a government pledged to do equal and exact justice to all men, there should be no pretext for anxiety touching the protection of the freedmen in their rights or their security in the enjoyment of their privileges under the Constitution and its amendments. All discussion as to their fitness for the place accorded to them as American citizens is idle and unprofitable except as it suggests the necessity for their improvement. The fact that they are citizens entitles them to all the rights due to that relation and charges them with all its duties, obligations, and responsibilities. These topics and the constant and ever-varying wants of an active and enterprising population may well receive the attention and the patriotic endeavor of all who make and execute the Federal law. Our duties are practical and call for industrious application, an intelligent perception of the claims of public office, and, above all, a firm determination, by united action, to secure to all the people of the land the full benefits of the best form of government ever vouchsafed to man. And let us not trust to human effort alone, but humbly acknowledging the power and goodness of Almighty God, who presides over the destiny of nations and who has at all times been revealed in our country's history, let us invoke his aid and his blessing upon our labors.
SPEECH AT THE DINNER OF THE REFORM CLUB
APRIL 24, 1897
E ARE gathered here to-night as patriotic citizens, anxious to do something toward reinstating the prosperity of our fellow countrymen, and protecting the fair fame of our nation against shame and scandal. On every side we are confronted with popular depression and complaint. These are largely due to causes of natural and certain recurrence, the inevitable accompaniments of all human endeavor, and perhaps they are as largely due to the work of agitators and demagogues, who have busily sowed the seeds of discontent hoping that in the harvest they may reap personal advantage. Distressing ills, real and imaginary, have been so constantly and luridly presented to the minds of honest men that they are tempted to accept without taking counsel of reason or judgment any nostrum cunningly offered as a remedy for their low condition. But even so promising a field as this has not satisfied the designs of ruthless agitators. While scattering the seeds of discontent they have also cultivated a growth of sectional and class suspicion and distrust, which threatens to choke or destroy that fraternal feeling which leads to considerate counsel in the day of common misfortune, and which is absolutely essential to the success of our plan of government. The fundamental truth that our free institutions offer opportunities to all within their influence, for the advancement and improvement of their condition, has been so far denied that honest accumulation is called a crime and the necessity and habit of individual effort and struggle, which are the mainsprings of sturdy Americanism, are decried as unjustifiable burdens, while unwholesome paternalism is presented in handsome and inviting garb. Those enlisted in this crusade of discontent and passion, proclaiming themselves the friends of the people, exclude from that list all their countrymen except those most unfortunate or unreasonable, and those whom they themselves have made the most discontented and credulous. These forces and conditions have for years, with greater or less distinctness, hovered about our national life, lacking effective organization and concentration, neglected by those who deprecated their existence, and unheeded even by those who partially appreciated their dangerous tendency. In the meantime there has lain in wait behind them all an impatient power ready to marshal them in effective activity when depression, misfortune, neglect and passion had done their work. This power, born of sordid greed and maintained by selfish interests and partisan ambition, has at last assumed command, and has largely recruited its waiting forces by inflaming those inclined to be patient with tales of an ancient crime against their rights to be avenged, by encouraging the restless and turbulent with hints of greater license and by offering to the poor as a smooth road to wealth, and to those in debt as a plan for easy payment, and to those who from any cause are unfortunate and discouraged as a remedy for all their ills, the free, unlimited and independent coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1, with a depreciated currency and cheap money. It was a rude awakening for the negligent and overconfident, and the day of terror for sober and patriotic men, when the bold promoters of this reckless crusade captured the organization of a powerful political party, and seizing its banners, shouted defiance to the astonished conscience and conservatism of the country. Hosts of honest men, in blind loyalty, gathered behind the party flag they had been accustomed to follow, failing to discover that their party legends had been effaced. None can forget the doubt and fear of that boisterous and passionate campaign, when the fate of the nation seemed in the balance. The danger of the situation arose from the hasty impulse of those whose misfortunes had been cruelly played upon, and from the enthusiasm of unquestioning, thoughtless party fealty. The deliverance came through the action of those who saw the trick, and loved the prin
an attack upon those national safeguards which party as well as patriotism should at all times defend. In the meantime, the allied forces of calamity, encouraged by these malign conditions, are still active and aggressive. They confidently speak of the encounter in which they failed of success as only “The First Battle,” and gladly hail every untoward incident and every added pretext for passion and resentment as new and welcome allies in the continuance of their crusade. They are wilfully wicked and stupid who believe that disaster waits upon the ascendency of those forces, and yet turn away from the plain evidence of their dangerous strength. Let us be honest with each other and with ourselves. If there are any among us who, though not actually and actively enlisted in the cause of free silver and its accompanying vagaries, can look with complacency upon their growth and triumph, or if there are any who, not fearing individual loss, are heedless of the honor and glory of their country, or if there are those whose childlike and simple faith in their country's resources blinds them to all public danger, inaction and neglect on their part may be accounted for, if not excused. But nothing can explain or excuse inaction upon the part of those who can make no compromise with the advocates of unsound money, or who love their country's honor more than self-advantage, or who are convinced that an unstable and unsafe currency inevitably bodes the greatest depth of loss and misfortune to all the people of the land. These should not delude themselves. The peril they dread is directly impending. I began by saying that this was an assemblage for patriotic purposes. I hope my sympathy with its high aims and disinterested efforts will not be suspected when I confess