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successful. How? When? Where? Not to him can be attributed that general prosperity which is the natural outgrowth of our people and country; for his contribution is not traced in the abounding result. Our golden fields, productive mines, busy industry, diversified commerce, owe nothing to him. Show, then, his success. Is it in the finances? The national debt has been reduced, but not to so large an amount as by Andrew Johnson in the same space of time. Little merit is due to either, for each employed the means allowed by Congress. To the American people is this reduction due, and not to any President. And while our President in this respect is no better than his predecessor, he can claim no merit for any systematic effort to reduce taxation or restore specie payments. Perhaps, then, it is in foreign relations that he claims the laurels he is to wear. Knowing something of these from careful study and years of practical acquaintance, I am bound to say that never before has their management been so wanting in ability and so absolutely without character. With so much pretension and so little knowledge, how could it be otherwise? Here the President touches nothing which he does not muddle. In every direction is muddle, muddle with Spain, muddle with Cuba, muddle with the Black Republic, muddle with distant Corea, muddle with Venezuela, muddle with Russia, muddle with England, on all sides one diversified muddle. If there is not muddle with Germany and France, it must be from their forbearance. To this condition are we reduced. When before in our history have we reached any such bathos as that to which we have been carried in our questions with England? Are these the laurels for a Presidential candidate?
But where else shall we look for them? Are they found on the Indian frontier? Let the cry of massacre and blood from that distant region answer. Are they in reform of the civil service? But here the initial point is the limitation of the President to one term, so that he may be placed above temptation; yet this he opposes. Evidently he is no true reformer. Are these laurels found in the administration of the Departments? Let the discreditable sale of arms to France in violation of neutral duties and of municipal statute be the answer; and let the custom-houses of New York and New Orleans, with their tales of favoritism and of nepotism, and with their prostitution as agencies, mercenary and political, echo back the answer; while senatorial committees, organized contrary to a cardinal principle of Parliamentary Law as a cover to these scandals, testify also. And again, let the War Department recall the disappearance of important archives bearing on an important event of the war, so that empty boxes remain like a coffin without a corpse. Where, then, are the laurels? At last I find them, fresh and brilliant, in the harmony which the President has preserved among Republicans. Harmony, do I say? This should have been his congenial task; nor would any aid or homage of mine have been wanting. But instead he has organized discord, operating through a succession of rings, and for laurels we find only weeds and thistles.
But I hear that he is successful in the States once in rebellion. Strange that this should be said while. we are harrowed by the reports of Ku-Klux outrages. Here, as in paying the national debt, Congress has been the effective power. Even the last extraordinary measure became necessary, in my judgment, to supplement
his little efficiency. Had the President put into the protection of the colored people at the South half the effort and earnest will with which he maintained his San Domingo contrivance, the murderous Ku-Klux would have been driven from the field and peace assured. Nor has he ever exhibited to the colored people any true sympathy. His conduct to Frederick Douglass. on his return from San Domingo is an illustration; and so also was his answer to the committee of colored fellow-citizens seeking his countenance for the pending measure of Civil Rights. Some thought him indifferent; others found him insulting. Then came his recent letter to the great meeting at Washington, May 9, 1872, called to assert these rights, where he could say nothing more than this: "I beg to assure you, however, that I sympathize most cordially in any effort to secure for all our people, of whatever race, nativity, or color, the exercise of those rights to which every citizen should be entitled." Of course everybody is in favor of "the rights to which every citizen should be entitled." But what are these rights? And this meaningless juggle of words, entirely worthy of the days of Slavery, is all that is vouchsafed by a Republican President for the equal rights of his colored fellow-citizens.
I dismiss the apologies with the conclusion, that in the matters to which they invite attention his Presidency is an enormous failure.
THE PRESIDENT AS CANDIDATE.
LOOKING at his daily life as it becomes known through the press or conversation, his chief employment seems
1 Daily Morning Chronicle, May 10, 1872.
the dispensation of patronage, unless society is an employment. For this he is visited daily by Senators and Representatives bringing distant constituents. The Executive Mansion has become that famous "Treasury trough" described so well by an early Congressional
"Such running, such jostling, such wriggling, such clambering over one another's backs, such squealing, because the tub is so narrow and the company is so crowded." 1
To sit behind is the Presidential occupation, watching and feeding the animals. If this were an amusement only, it might be pardoned; but it must be seen in a more serious light. Some nations are governed by the sword, in other words, by central force commanding obedience. Our President governs by offices, in other words, by the appointing power, being a central force by which he coerces obedience to his personal will. Senator or Representative hesitate in the support of his autocracy, or doubt if he merits a second term, and forthwith some distant consul or postmaster, appointed by his influence, begins to tremble. The "Head Centre" makes himself felt to the most distant circumference. Can such tyranny, where the military spirit of our President finds a congenial field, be permitted to endure?
In adopting him as a candidate for reëlection we undertake to vindicate his Presidency, and adopt in all things the insulting, incapable, aide-de-campish dictatorship which he has inaugurated. Presenting his name, we vouch for his fitness, not only in original nature, but in experience of civil life, in aptitude for civil duties, in knowledge of republican institutions, and elevation of
1 Josiah Quincy, Speech in the House of Representatives, January 30, 1811: Annals of Congress, 11th Cong. 3d Sess., col. 851.
purpose; and we must be ready to defend openly what he has openly done. Can Republicans honestly do this thing? Let it be said that he is not only the greatest nepotist among Presidents, but greater than all others. together, and what Republican can reply? Let it be said that he is not only the greatest gift-taker among Presidents, but the only one who repaid his patrons at the public expense, and what Republican can reply? Let it be said that he has openly violated the Constitution and International Law, in the prosecution of a wretched contrivance against the peace of San Domingo, and what Republican can reply? Let it be said, that, wielding the power of the Great Republic, he has insulted the Black Republic with a menace of war, involving indignity to the African Race, and what Republican can reply? Let it be said that he has set up Presidential pretensions without number, constituting an undoubted Cæsarism or personal government, and what Republican can reply? And let it be added, that, unconscious of all this misrule, he quarrels without cause even with political supporters, and on such a scale as to become the greatest Presidential quarreller of our history, quarrelling more than all other Presidents together, and what Republican can reply? It will not be enough to say that he was triumphant in war, as Scipio, the victor of Hannibal, reminded the Roman people that on this day he conquered at Zama.1 Others have been triumphant in war and failed in civil life, -as Marlborough, whose heroic victories seemed unaccountable, in the frivolity, the ignorance, and the heartlessness of his pretended statesmanship. To Washington was awarded that rarest tribute, "First in war, first in peace, and first
1 Livy, XXXVIII. 51.