Page images
PDF
EPUB

it will not fail to be observed that the Convention at Cincinnati was composed of able and acknowledged Republicans, many having acted with the party from its first formation, who, without previous organization, came together voluntarily for the sake of Reform and Purity in the Government; while, on the other hand, the Convention at Philadelphia was composed of delegates chosen largely under the influence of office-holders, who assembled to sustain what is known as Grantism, being the personal government and personal pretensions of President Grant, involving nepotism, repayment of gifts by official patronage, neglect of public duty, absenteeism, quarrelling, military rule, disregard of Constitution and Law, with general unfitness, and indignity to the colored race, all of which is so unrepublican as to make its support impossible for true Republicans. Therefore the Convention at Philadelphia, though calling itself Republican, was less Republican in reality than that at Cincinnati.

THE TWO PLATFORMS.

THE two platforms, so far as concerns especially the colored race, are alike in substance; but that of Cincinnati is expressed in terms more worthy of the equal rights it states and claims: "We recognize the equality of all men before the law, and hold that it is the duty of Government, in its dealings with the people, to mete out equal and exact justice to all, of whatever nativity, race, color, or persuasion, religious or political." In other respects the platform of Cincinnati is the more republican, inasmuch as it sets itself against those unrepublican abuses which have been nursed by the President into pernicious activity.

SUPPORTERS OF THE TWO CANDIDATES.

FROM the two nominations and two platforms I come to the supporters of the candidates; and here I look, first, at those immediately about them, and, secondly, at the popular support behind.

[ocr errors]

Horace Greeley has among his immediate supporters, in all parts of the country, devoted and consistent Republicans, always earnest for Reform and Purity in Government, on whose lives there is no shadow of suspicion, being a contrast in character to those rings which play such a part in the present Administration. The country knows too well the Military Ring, the Senatorial Ring, and the Custom-House Ring, through which the President acts. Such supporters are a poor recommendation.

DEMOCRATS TURNING REPUBLICANS.

LOOKING at the popular support behind, the advantage is still with Horace Greeley. President Grant has at his back the diversified army of office-holders, drilled to obey the word of command. The speeches praising him are by office-holders and members of rings. Horace Greeley finds flocking to his cause large numbers of Republicans unwilling to continue the existing misrule, and as allies with them a regenerated party springing forward to unite in this liberal movement. Democrats, in joining Horace Greeley, have changed simply as President Grant changed when he joined the Republicans,except that he was rewarded at once with high office. The change is open. Adopting the Republican platform, which places the Equal Rights of All under the safe

guard of irreversible guaranties, and at the same time. accepting the nomination of a lifetime Abolitionist, who represents preeminently the sentiment of duty to the colored race, they have set their corporate seal to the sacred covenant. They may continue Democrats in name, but they are in reality Republicans, by the same title that those who sustain Republican principles are Republicans, or rather they are Democrats, according to the original signification of that word, dedicated to the rights of the people.

It is idle to say that Horace Greeley and the Republicans who nominated him are any less Republican because Democrats unite with them in support of cherished principles and the candidate who represents them. Conversions are always welcome, and not less so because the change is in a multitude rather than an individual. A political party cannot, if it would, and should not, if it could, shut the door against converts, whether counted by the score, the hundred, or the thousand; and so we find that the supporters of President Grant announce with partisan triumph the adhesion of a single Democratic politician or a single Democratic newspaper. On equal reason and with higher pride may the supporters of Horace Greeley announce the adhesion of the Democratic party, which, turning from the things that are behind, presses on to those that are before.

GREELEY'S ELECTION THE TRIUMPH OF REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES.

It is also idle to say that the election of Horace Greeley as President, with Gratz Brown as Vice-President, both unchangeable Republicans, will be the return of

On the contrary, it

the Democratic party to power. will be the inauguration of Republican principles, under the safeguard of a Republican President and Republican Vice-President, with Democrats as avowed supporters. In the organization of his Administration, and in the conduct of affairs, Horace Greeley will naturally lean upon those who represent best the great promises of Equal Rights and Reconciliation made at Cincinnati. If Democrats are taken, it will be as Republicans in heart, recognizing the associate terms of the settlement as an immutable finality.

The hardihood of political falsehood reaches its extreme point, when it is asserted that under Horace Greeley the freedmen will be reënslaved, or that colored people will in any way suffer in their equal rights. On the contrary, they have in his election not only the promises of the platform, but also his splendid example for a full generation, during which he has never wavered in the assertion of their rights. To suppose that Horace Greeley, when placed where he can do them the most good, will depart from the rule of his honest life is an insult to reason.

It is none the less idle to suppose that Democrats supporting Horace Greeley expect or desire that he should depart from those principles which are the glory of his character. They have accepted the Cincinnati platform with its twofold promises, and intend in good faith to maintain it. Democrats cannot turn back, who at the Convention adopting this platform sang Greeley songs to the tune of " Old John Brown, his soul is marching on." Seeking especially the establishment of character in the National Government, they will expect their President to be always true to himself.

Therefore I put aside the partisan allegations, that Horace Greeley has gone to the Democrats, or that he will be controlled by Democrats. Each is without foundation or reason, according to my judgment. They are attempts to avoid what you recognize as the true issue, being the question between the two candidates; or perhaps they may be considered as scarecrows to deter the timid. Nobody who votes for Horace Greeley will go to the Democrats; nor do I believe, that, when elected, Horace Greeley will be under any influence except that enlightened conscience which will keep him ever true to the principles he represents.

The conclusion from this comparison between the two candidates is plain. Unquestionably the surest trust of the colored people is in Horace Greeley. In everything for your protection and advancement he will show always the most heart-felt sympathy and the greatest vigor beyond what can be expected from President Grant. He is your truest friend.

VOTE FOR GREELEY.

GENTLEMEN, in thus answering your two inquiries, I have shown why you, as colored fellow-citizens, and also all who would uphold your rights and save the colored race from indignity, should refuse to sanction the reelection of the President, and should put trust in Horace Greeley. I ought to add, that with him will be associated as Vice-President Gratz Brown, whom I have known for years as a most determined Abolitionist. The two together will carry into the National Government an unswerving devotion to your rights, not to be disturbed by partisan dictation or sectional prejudice.

« PreviousContinue »