« PreviousContinue »
event. Pardon me, if I say that to me it was of peculiar interest. For years I have sought to establish in the National Government the great principles of the Declaration of Independence, avowing always that when this was done nobody should surpass me in generosity towards former Rebels. Not only by the logic of my life, but by constant speeches, was I bound to welcome those who placed themselves on this glorious platform. The extent of this obligation will appear before I close. And now its performance harmonizes with opposition to the prolonged misrule of the present incumbent.
TWO REASONS IN FAVOR OF GREELEY.
EVIDENTLY I am not at liberty to abstain from voting. In considering the reasons in favor of Horace Greeley, I find two, differing in character, but of chief importance: first, that he represents a reformed civil service, beginning with the One-Term principle, without which this reform is too much like a sham; and, secondly, that he represents reconciliation, not only between the two sections, but between the two races, which is essential to the repose of the country and the safeguard of Equal Rights.
To these must be added, that he does not represent those personal pretensions, so utterly inconsistent with Republican government, which are now known as Grantism. In voting for Horace Greeley you will not sustain nepotism, you will not sustain gift-taking and repayment by official favor, and you will not lend your sanction to the San Domingo machination, with its unconstitutional usurpations, its violations of International Law, and its indignity to the Black Republic. Else
where I have considered these fully, and I am not aware of any answer to the undeniable facts. I shall only glance at them now.
NEPOTISM is already condemned by history, and most justly; for it is obviously a form of self-seeking, hostile to purity of government, and strangely out of place in a Republic. Nothing for self, but all for country and mankind, should be the rule of our President. If the promptings of his inner nature fail, then must he feel the irresistible obligation of his position. As he does, so will others do; and therefore must his example be such as to elevate the public service. Nothing in Washington's career has shone with more constant light than his refusal to confer office on his relations. Even at the time, it arrested attention not only at home but abroad, finding praise in England. Of this there is a striking illustration. The "Register of the Times," published at London in 1795, in an article entitled "Interesting and Authentic Documents respecting the United States of America," records its homage:
"The execution of the office of the Chief Magistrate has been attended through a term of four years with a circumstance which to an admiring world requires no commentary. A native citizen of the United States, transferred from private life to that station, has not, during so long a term, appointed a single relation to any office of honor or emolument." 2
With such confession au admiring world looked on. Something would I do something, I trust, the Ameri
1 See Speech entitled "Republicanism vs. Grantism," - ante, pp. 83-171. 2 Vol. IV. p. 121.
can people will do at the coming election—to secure this beautiful praise yet again for our country.
LIKE nepotism, the taking of gifts by a public servant is condemned by history. No honest nature can uphold it. How well did our late General Thomas, so admirable in character, rebuke this abuse, when he replied to an offer of $100,000, as I am told, "Let it go to my men"! If not a form of bribery, it is kindred in nature, and this has long been recognized, from the Bible down to our day. According to the old scriptures it is destructive: "The king by judgment stablisheth the land; but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it." Here again is the example of Washington brightly lighting the true republican pathway. The same President who would not appoint a relation would not take a gift, even when out of office. His example was in harmony with the lesson of Colonial days. As long ago as April 20, 1703, Queen Anne, in a communication to Lord Cornbury, Governor of New York and New Jersey, laid down the following rule: that neither the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Commander-in-Chief, or President of the Council "do receive any gift or present from the Assembly or others on any account or in any manner whatsoever, upon pain of our highest displeasure, and of being recalled from that our Government."2 This rule is as good for our day as for that in which it was ordained by royal authority.
1 Proverbs, xxix. 4.
2 Documents relative to the Colonial History of New York, ed. O'Callaghan, Vol. IV. p. 1040.
There is another instance, which should not be forgotten. It is that of Lord Wellesley, the accomplished brother of the Duke of Wellington. A work so common as that of Smiles on "Self-Help" records, that, while Governor-General of India, he positively refused a present of £100,000 from the Directors of the East India Company on the conquest of Mysore; and here the terms of his refusal are important:
"It is not necessary for me to allude to the independence of my character and the proper dignity attaching to my office; other reasons besides these important considerations lead me to decline this testimony, which is not suitable to me. I think of nothing but our army. I should be much distressed to curtail the share of those brave soldiers." 1
His refusal remained unalterable. At a later period, when nearly eighty years of age, embarrassed by debts, and entirely withdrawn from public life, he allowed the Company to vote him a much smaller sum in consideration of his signal services.2
GIFT-MAKERS APPOINTED TO OFFICE.
THE allowances voted by Parliament to Marlborough and Wellington on account of their victories can be no precedent for the acceptance of gifts from fellow-citizens. The distinction is clear. But the case against the present incumbent is not only that while holding high office he accepted gifts from fellow-citizens, but subsequently appointed the gift-makers to office,-thus using the Presi
1 Self-Help, (Boston, 1860,) pp. 391-92.
2 Pearce, Memoirs and Correspondence, (London, 1846,) Vol. III. pp. 424-25.
dency to pay off his own personal obligations. Please bear this in mind; and when some apologist attempts to defend the taking of gifts, let him know that he must go still further, and show that the Presidency, with all its patronage, is a perquisite to be employed for the private advantage of the incumbent.
NEXT in illustration of the prevailing misrule is the San Domingo business, with its eccentricities of wrongdoing; and this, too, is now in issue. At the thought of this unprecedented enormity, where wrong assumes such various forms, it is hard to be silent; but I shall be brief. The case is clear, and stands on documents which cannot be questioned. I keep within the line of moderate statement, when I say, that, from the beginning of our Government, nothing in our foreign relations has been so absolutely indefensible. It will not do to call it simply a fault and an insolence; it was an elaborate contrivance, conceived in lust of territory, pursued in ignorance, maintained in open violation of the National Constitution, pushed forward in similar violation of International Law in fundamental principles, and crowned by intolerable indignity to the Black Republic, even to the extent of menacing hostilities and the sinking of its ships, all without authority of Congress, and by Presidential prerogative alone. In this drama the President, like a favorite actor, assumed every part. In negotiating the treaty he was President; in declaring war he was Congress; in sending ships and men he was Commanderin-Chief; and then in employing private influence with Senators to promote his scheme-according to the prom