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Robert Green Ingersoll
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Years ago I made up my mind that there was no particular argument in slander. I made up my mind that for parties, as well as for individuals, honesty in the long-run is the best policy. I made up my mind that the people were entitled to know a man’s honest thoughts, and I propose to-night to tell you exactly what I think. And it may be well enough, in the first place, for me to say that no party has a mortgage on me. I am the sole proprietor of myself. No party, no organization, has any deed of trust on what little brains I have, and as long as I can get my part of the common air I am going to tell my honest thoughts. One man in the right will finally get to be a majority. I am not going to say a word to-night that every Democrat here will not know is true, and, whatever he may say, I will compel him in his heart to give three cheers.
In the first place, I wish to admit that during the war there were hundreds of thousands of patriotic Democrats. I wish to admit that if it had not been for the War Democrats of the North, we never would have put down the Rebellion. Let us be honest. I further admit that had it not been for other than War Democrats there never would have been a rebellion to put down. War Democrats! Why did we call them War Democrats? Did you ever hear anybody talk about a War Republican? We spoke of War Democrats to distinguish them from those Democrats who were in favor of peace upon any terms.
I also wish to admit that the Republican party is not absolutely perfect. While I believe that it is the best party that ever existed. while I believe it has, within its organization, more heart, more brain, more patriotism than any other organization that ever existed beneath the sun, I still admit that it is not entirely perfect. I admit, in its great things, in its splendid efforts to preserve this nation, in its grand effort to keep our flag in heaven, in its magnificent effort to free four millions of slaves, in its great and sublime effort to save the financial honor of this Nation, I admit that it has made some mistakes. In its great effort to do right it has sometimes by mistake done wrong. And I also wish to admit that the great Democratic party, in its effort to get office has sometimes by mistake done right. You see that I am inclined to be perfectly fair.
I am going with the Republican party because it is going my way; but if it ever turns to the right or left, I intend to go straight ahead.
In every government there is. something that ought to be preserved, in every government there are many things that ought to be destroyed. Every good man, every patriot, every lover of the human race, wishes to preserve the good and destroy the bad; and every one in this audience who wishes to preserve the good will go with that section of our common country — with that party in our country that he honestly believes will preserve the good and destroy the bad. It takes a great deal of trouble to raise a good Republican. It is a vast deal of labor. The Republican party is the fruit of all ages — of self-sacrifice and devotion. The Republican party is born of every good thing that was ever done in this world. The Republican party is the result of all martyrdom, of all heroic blood shed for the right. It is the blossom and fruit of the great world’s best endeavor. In order to make a Republican you have to have schoolhouses. You have to have newspapers and magazines. A good Republican is the best fruit of civilization, of all there is of intelligence, of art, of music and of song. If you want to make Democrats, let them alone. The Democratic party is the settlings of this country. Nobody hoes weeds. Nobody takes especial pains to raise dog-fennel, and yet it grows under the very hoof of travel. The seeds are sown by accident and gathered by chance. But if you want to raise wheat and corn you must plough the ground. You must defend and you must harvest the crop with infinite patience and toil. It is precisely that way — if you want to raise a good Republican you must work, If you wish to raise a Democrat give him wholesome neglect. The Democratic party flatters the vices of mankind. That party says to the ignorant man, “You know enough.” It says to the vicious man, “You are good enough.”
The Republican party says, “You must be better next year than you are this.” A Republican takes a man by the collar and says, “You must do your best, you must climb the infinite hill of human progress as long as you live.” Now and then one gets tired. He says, “I have climbed enough and so much better than I expected to do that I do not wish to travel any farther. Now and then one gets tired and lets go all hold, and he rolls down to the very bottom, and as he strikes the mud he springs upon his feet transfigured, and says: Hurrah for Hancock!”
There are things in this Government that I wish to preserve, and there are things that I wish to destroy; and in order to convince you that you ought to go the way that I am going, it is only fair that I give to you my reasons. This is a Republic founded upon intelligence and the patriotism of the people, and in every Republic it is absolutely necessary that there should be free speech. Free speech is the gem of the human soul. Words are the bodies of thought, and liberty gives to those words wings, and the whole intellectual heavens are filled with light. In a Republic every individual tongue has a right to the general ear. In a Republic every man has the right to give his reasons for the course he pursues to all his fellow-citizens, and when you say that a man shall not speak, you also say that others shall not hear. When you say a man shall not express his honest thought you say his fellow- citizens shall be deprived of honest thoughts; for of what use is it to allow the attorney for the defendant to address the jury if the jury has been bought? Of what use is it to allow the jury to bring in a verdict of “not guilty,” if the defendant is to be hung by a mob? I ask you to-night, is not every solitary man here in favor of free speech? Is there a solitary Democrat here who dares say he is not in favor of free speech? In which part of this country are the lips of thought free — in the South or in the North? Which section of our country can you trust the inestimable gem of free speech with? Can you trust it to the gentlemen of Mississippi or to the gentlemen of Massachusetts? Can you trust it to Alabama or to New York? Can you trust it to the South or can you trust it to the great and splendid North? Honor bright — honor bright, is there any freedom of speech in the South? There never was and there is none to-night-and let me tell you why.
They had the institution of human slavery in the South, which could not be defended at the bar of public reason. It was an institution that could not be defended in the high forum of human conscience. No man could stand there and defend the right to rob the cradle — none to defend the right to sell the babe from the breast of the agonized mother — none to defend the claim that lashes on a bare back are a legal tender for labor performed. Every man that lived upon the unpaid labor of another knew in his heart that he was a thief. And for that reason he did not wish to discuss that question. Thereupon the institution of slavery said, “You shall not speak; you shall not reason,” and the lips of free thought were manacled. You know it. Every one of you. Every Democrat knows it as well as every Republican. There never was free speech in the South.
And what has been the result? And allow me to admit right here, because I want to be fair. there are thousands and thousands of most excellent people in the South — thousands of them. There are hundreds and hundreds of thousands there who would like to vote the Republican ticket. And whenever there is free speech there and whenever there is a free ballot there, they will vote the Republican ticket. I say again, there are hundreds of thousands of good people in the South; but the institution of human slavery prevented free speech, and it is a splendid fact in nature that you cannot put chains upon the limbs of others without putting corresponding manacles upon your own brain. When the South enslaved the negro, it also enslaved itself, and the result was an intellectual desert. No book has been produced, with one exception, that has added to the knowledge of mankind; no paper, no magazine, no poet, no philosopher, no philanthropist, was ever raised in that desert. Now and then some one protested against that infamous institution, and he came as near being a philosopher as the society in which he lived permitted. Why is it that New England, a rock- clad land, blossoms like a rose? Why is it that New York is the Empire State of the great Union? I will tell you. Because you have been permitted to trade in ideas. Because the lips of speech have been absolutely free for twenty years. We never had free speech in any State in this Union until the Republican party was born. That party was rocked in the cradle of intellectual liberty, and that is the reason I say it is the best party that ever existed in the wide, wide world. I want to preserve free speech, and, as an honest man, I look about me and I say, “How can I best preserve it?” By giving it to the South or North; to the Democracy or to the Republican party? And I am bound, as an honest man, to say free speech is safest with its earliest defenders. Where is there such a thing as a Republican mob to prevent the expression of an honest thought? Where? The people of the South are allowed to come to the North; they are allowed to express their sentiments upon every stump in the great East, the great West, and in the great Middle States; they go to Maine, to Vermont, and to all our States, and they are allowed to speak, and we give them a respectful hearing, and the meanest thing we do is to answer their arguments.
I say to-night that we ought to have the same liberty to discuss these questions in the South that Southerners have in the North. And I say more than that, the Democrats of the North ought to compel the Democrats of the South to treat the Republicans of the South as well as the Republicans of the North treat them. We treat the Democrats well in the North; we treat them like gentlemen in the North; and yet they go into partnership with the Democracy of the South, knowing that the Democracy of the South will not treat Republicans in that section with fairness. A Democrat ought to be ashamed of that.
If my friends will not treat other people as well as the friends of the other people treat me, I’ll swap friends.
First, then, I am in favor of free speech, and I am going with that section of my country that believes in free speech; I am going with that party that has always upheld that sacred right. When you stop free speech, when you say that a thought shall die in the womb of the brain, — why, it would have the same effect upon the intellectual world that to stop springs at their sources would have upon the physical world. Stop the springs at their sources and they cease to gurgle, the streams cease to murmur, and the great rivers cease rushing to the embrace of the sea. So you stop thought. Stop thought in the brain in which it is born, and theory dies; and the great ocean of knowledge to which all should be permitted to contribute, and from which all should be allowed to draw, becomes a vast desert of ignorance.
I have always said, and I say again, that the more liberty there is given away, the more you have. I endeavor to be consistent in my life and action. I am a believer in intellectual liberty, and wherever the torch of knowledge burns the whole horizon is filled with a glorious halo. I am a free man. I would be less than a man if I did not wish to hand this flame to my child with the flame increased rather than diminished.
Whom will we trust to take care of free speech? Let us consider and be honest with one another. The gem of the brain is the innocence of the soul.
I am not only in favor of free speech, but I am also in favor of an absolutely honest ballot. There is only one emperor in this country; there is one czar; only one supreme crown and king, and that is the will, the legally expressed will of the majority. Every American citizen is a sovereign. The poorest and humblest may wear that crown, the beggar holds in his hand that scepter equally with the proudest and richest, and so far as his sovereignty is concerned, the poorest American, he who earns but one dollar a day, has the same voice in controlling the destiny of the United States as the millionaire. The man who casts an illegal vote, the man who refuses to count a legal vote, poisons the fountain of power, poisons the springs of justice, and is a traitor to the only king in this land. The Government is upon the edge of Mexicanization through fraudulent voting. The ballot-box is the throne of America; the ballot-box is the ark of the covenant. Unless we see to it that every man who has a right to vote, votes, and unless we see to it that every honest vote is counted, the days of this Republic are numbered.
When you suspect that a Congressman is not elected; when you suspect that a judge upon the bench holds his place by fraud, then the people will hold the law in contempt and will laugh at the decisions of courts, and then come revolution and chaos.
It is the duty of every good man to see to it that the ballot- box is kept absolutely pure. It is the duty of every patriot, whether he is a Democrat or Republican — and I want further to admit that I believe a large majority of Democrats are honest in their opinions, and I know that all Republicans must be honest in their opinions. It is the duty, then, of all honest men of both parties to see to it that only honest votes are cast and counted. Now, honor bright, which section of this Union can you trust the ballot-box with?
Do you wish to trust Louisiana, or do you wish to trust Alabama that gave, in 1872, thirty-four thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight Republican majority and now gives ninety-two thousand Democratic majority? And of that ninety-two thousand majority, every one is a lie! A contemptible, infamous lie! Because if every voter had been allowed to vote, there would have been forty thousand Republican majority. Honor bright, can you trust it with the masked murderers who rode in the darkness of night to the hut of the freedman and shot him down, notwithstanding the supplication of his wife and the tears of his babe? Can you trust it to the men who since the close of our war have killed more men, simply because those men wished to vote, simply because they wished to exercise a right with which they had been clothed by the sublime heroism of the North — who have killed more men than were killed on both sides in the Revolutionary war; than were killed on both sides during the War of 1812; than were killed on both sides in both wars? Can you trust them? Can you trust the gentlemen who invented the tissue ballot? Do you wish to put the ballot-box in the keeping of the shot-gun, of the White-Liners, of the Ku Klux? Do you wish to put the ballot-box in the keeping of men who openly swear that they will not be ruled by a majority of American citizens if a portion of that majority is made of black men? And I want to tell you right here, I like a black man who loves this country better than I do a white man who hates it. I think more of a black man who fought for our flag than for any white man who endeavored to tear it out of heaven
I say, can you trust the ballot-box to the Democratic party? Read the history of the State of New York. Read the history of this great and magnificent city — the Queen of the Atlantic — read her history and tell us whether you can implicitly trust Democratic returns? Honor bright!
I am not only, then, for free speech, but I am for an honest ballot; and in order that you may have no doubt left upon your minds as to which party is in favor of an honest vote, I will call your attention to this striking fact. Every law that has been passed in every State of this Union for twenty long years, the object of which was to guard the American ballot-box, has been passed by the Republican party, and in every State where the Republican party has introduced such a bill for the purpose of making it a law; in every State where such a bill has been defeated, it has been defeated by the Democratic party. That ought to satisfy any reasonable man to satiety.
I am not only in favor of free speech and an honest ballot, but I am in favor of collecting and disbursing the revenues of the United States. I want plenty of money to collect and pay the interest on our debt. I want plenty of money to pay our debt and to preserve the financial honor of the United States. I want money enough to be collected to pay pensions to widows and orphans and to wounded soldiers. And the question is, which section in this country can you trust to collect and disburse that revenue? Let us be honest about it. Which section can yon trust? In the last four years we have collected four hundred and sixty-eight million dollars of the internal revenue taxes. We have collected principally from taxes upon high wines and tobacco, four hundred and sixty-eight million dollars, and in those four years we have seized, libeled and destroyed in the Southern States three thousand eight hundred and seventy-four illicit distilleries. And during the same time the Southern people have shot to death twenty-five revenue officers and wounded fifty-five others, and the only offence that the wounded and dead committed was an honest effort to collect the revenues of this country. Recollect it — don’t you forget it. And in several Southern States to-day every revenue collector or officer connected with the revenue is furnished by the Internal Revenue Department with a breech-loading rifle and a pair of revolvers, simply for the purpose of collecting the revenue.
I don’t feel like trusting such people to collect the revenue of my Government.
During the same four years we have arrested and have indicted seven thousand and eighty-four Southern Democrats for endeavoring to defraud the revenue of the United States. Recollect — three thousand eight hundred and seventy-four distilleries seized. Twenty-five revenue officers killed, fifty-five wounded, and seven thousand and eighty-four Democrats arrested. Can we trust them?
The State of Alabama in its last Democratic convention passed a resolution that no man should be tried in a Federal Court for a violation of the revenue laws — that he should be tried in a State Court. Think of it — he should be tried in a State Court! Let me tell you how it will come out if we trust the Southern States to collect this revenue. A couple of Methodist ministers had been holding a revival for a week, and at the end of the week one said to the other that he thought it time to take up a collection. When the hat was returned he found in it pieces of slate-pencils and nails and buttons, but not a single solitary cent — not one — and his brother minister got up and looked at the contribution, and said, — “Let us thank God!” And the owner of the hat said, “What for?” And the brother replied, “Because you got your hat back.” If we trust the South we shan’t get our hats back.
I am next in favor of honest money. I am in favor of gold and silver, and paper with gold and silver behind it. I believe in silver, because it is one of the greatest of American products, and I am in favor of anything that will add to the value of an American product. But I want a silver dollar worth a gold dollar, even if you make it or have to make it four feet in diameter. No government can afford to be a clipper of coin. A great Republic cannot afford to stamp a lie upon silver or gold. Honest money, an honest people, an honest Nation. When our money is only worth eighty cents on the dollar, we feel twenty per cent. below par. When our money is good we feel good. When our money is at par, that is where we are. I am a profound believer in the doctrine that for nations as well as men, honesty is the best policy, always, everywhere, and forever.
What section of this country, what party, will give us honest money — honor bright — honor bright? I have been told that during the war, we had plenty of money. I never saw it. I lived years without seeing a dollar. I saw promises for dollars, but not dollars. And the greenback, unless you have the gold behind it, is no more a dollar than a bill of fare is a dinner. You cannot make a paper dollar without taking a dollar’s worth of paper. We must have paper that represents money. I want it issued by the Government, and I want behind every one of these dollars either a gold or silver dollar, so that every greenback under the flag can lift up its hand and sear, “I know that my redeemer liveth.”
When we were running into debt, thousands of people mistook that for prosperity, and when we began paying they regarded it as adversity. Of course we had plenty when we bought on credit. No man has ever starved when his credit was good, if there were no famine in that country. As long as we buy on credit we shall have enough. The trouble commences when the pay-day arrives. And I do not wonder that after the war thousands of people said, “Let us have another inflation.” Which party said, “No, we must pay the promise made in war”? Honor bright! The Democratic party had once been a hard money party, but it drifted from its metallic moorings and floated off in the ocean of inflation, and you know it. They said, “Give us more money;” and every man that had bought on credit and owed a little something on what he had purchased, when the property went down commenced crying, or many of them did, for inflation. I understand it.
A man, say, bought a piece of land for six thousand dollars; paid five thousand dollars on it; gave a mortgage for one thousand dollars, and suddenly, in 1873, found that the land would not pay the other thousand. The land had resumed, and then he said, looking lugubriously at his note and mortgage, “I want another inflation.” And I never heard a man call for it that did not also say, “If it ever comes, and I don’t unload, you may shoot me.”
It was very much as it is sometimes in playing poker, and I make this comparison knowing that hardly a person here will understand it. I have been told that along toward morning the man that is ahead suddenly says, “I have got to go home. The fact is, my wife is not well.” And the fellow who is behind says, “Let us have another deal; I have my opinion of the fellow that will jump a game.” And so it was in the hard times of 1873. They said: “Give us another deal; let us get our driftwood back into the center of the stream.” And they cried out for more money. But the Republican party said — “We do want more money, but not more promises. We have got to pay this first, and if we start out again upon that wide sea of promise we may never touch the shore.”
A thousand theories were born of want; a thousand theories were born of the fertile brain of trouble; and these, people said, “After all, what is money? Why, it is nothing but a measure of value, just the same as a half bushel or yardstick.” True; and consequently it makes no difference whether your half bushel is of wood or gold or silver or paper; and it makes no difference whether your yardstick is gold or paper. But the trouble about that statement is this: A half bushel is not a measure of value; it is a measure of quantity, and it measures rubies, diamonds and pearls precisely the same as corn and wheat. The yardstick is not a measure of value; it is a measure of length, and it measures lace worth one hundred dollars a yard precisely as it does cent tape. And another reason why it makes no difference to the purchaser whether the half bushel is gold or silver, or whether the yardstick is gold or paper, you do not buy the yardstick; you do not get the half bushel in the trade. And if it were so with money — if the people that had the money at the start of the trade, kept it after the consummation of the bargain — then it would not make any difference what you made your money of. But the trouble is the money changes hands. And let me say to-night, money is a thing — it is a product of nature — and you can no more make a “fiat” dollar than you can make a fiat star. I am in favor of honest money. Free speech is the brain of the Republic; an honest ballot is the breath of its life, and honest money is the blood that courses through its veins.
If I am fortunate enough to leave a dollar when I die, I want it to be a good one. — I do not wish to have it turn to ashes in the hands of widowhood, or become a Democratic broken promise. in the pocket of the orphan; I want it money. I want money that will outlive the Democratic party. They told us — and they were honest about it — they said, “When we have plenty of money, we are prosperous.” And I said, “When we are prosperous, we have plenty of money.” When we are prosperous, then we have credit, and credit inflates the currency. Whenever a man buys a pound of sugar and says, “Charge it,” he inflates the currency; whenever he gives his note, he inflates the currency; whenever his word takes the place of money, he inflates the currency. The consequence is that when we are prosperous, credit takes the place of money, and we have what we call “plenty.”
But you cannot increase prosperity simply by using promises to pay. Suppose you should come to a river that was about dry, so dry that the turtle had to help the catfish over the shoals, and there you would see the ferryboat, and the gentleman who kept the ferry, up on the sand, high and dry, and the cracks all opening in the sun, filled with loose oakum, looking like an average Democratic mouth listening to a constitutional argument, and you should say to him, “How is business?” And he would say, “Dull.” And then you would say to him, “Now, what you want is more boat.” He would probably answer, “If I had a little more water I could get along with this one.”
Suppose I next came to a man running a railroad, complaining of hard times. “Why,” said he, “I did a million dollars’ worth of business the first year and used five hundred thousand dollars’ worth of grease. The second year I did five hundred thousand dollars’ worth of business and used four hundred thousand dollars’ worth of grease.” “Well,” said I, “the reason your road fell off was because you did not use enough grease.”
But I want to be fair, and I wish to-night to return my thanks to the Democratic party. You did a great and splendid work. You went all over the United States and you said upon every stump that a greenback was better than gold. You said, “We have at last found the money of the poor man. Gold loves the rich; gold haunts banks and safes and vaults; but we have money that will go around inquiring for a man that is dead broke. We have finally found money that will stay in a pocket with holes in it.” But, after all, do you know that money is the most social thing in this world? If a fellow has one dollar in his pocket, and he meets another with two, do you know that dollar is absolutely homesick until it gets where the other two are? And yet the Greenbackers told us that they had finally invented money that would be the poor man’s friend. They said, “It is better than gold, better than silver,” and they got so many men to believe it that when we resumed and said, “Here is your gold for your greenback,” the fellows who had the greenback said, We don’t want it. The greenbacks are good enough for us.” Do you know, if they had wanted it we could not have given it to them? And so I return my thanks to the Greenback party. But allow me to say in this connection, the days of their usefulness have passed forever.
Now, I am not foolish enough to claim that the Republican party resumed. I am not silly enough to say that John Sherman resumed. But I will tell you what I do say. I say that every man who raised a bushel of corn or a bushel of wheat or a pound of beef or pork for sale helped to resume. I say that the gentle rain and the loving dew helped to resume. The soil of the United States impregnated by the loving sun helped to resume. The men that dug the coal and the iron and the silver and the copper and the gold helped to resume. And the men upon whose foreheads fell the light of furnaces helped to resume. And the sailors who fought with the waves of the seas helped to resume.
I admit to-night that the Democrats earned their share of the money to resume with. All I claim is that the Republican party furnished the honesty to pay it over. That is what I claim; and the Republican party set the day, and the Republican party worked to the promise. That is what I say. And had it not been for the Republican party this Nation would have been financially dishonored. I am for honest money, and I am for the payment of every dollar of our debt, and so is every Democrat now, I take it. But what did you say a little while ago? Did you say we could resume? No; you swore we could not, and you swore our bonds would be worthless as the withered leaves of winter. And now when a Democrat goes to England and sees an American four per cent. quoted at one hundred and ten he kind of swells up, and says: “That’s the kind of man I am.” In that country he pretends he was a Republican in this. And I do not blame him. I do not begrudge him enjoying respectability when away from home. The Republican party is entitled to the credit for keeping this Nation grandly and splendidly honest. I say, the Republican party is entitled to the credit of preserving the honor of this Nation.
In 1873 came the crash, and all the languages of the world cannot describe the agonies suffered by the American people from 1873 to 1879. A man who thought he was a millionaire came to poverty; he found his stocks and bonds ashes in the paralytic hand of old age. Men who expected to live all their lives in the sunshine of joy found themselves beggars and paupers. The great factories were closed, the workmen were demoralized, and the roads of the United States were filled with tramps. In the hovel of the poor and the palace of the rich came the serpent of temptation and whispered in the American ear the terrible word Repudiation.” But the Republican party said, No; we will pay every dollar. No; we have started toward the shining goal of resumption and we never will turn back.” And the Republican party struggled until it had the happiness of seeing upon the broad shining forehead of American labor the words “Financial Honor.”
The Republican party struggled until every paper promise was as good as gold. And the moment we got back to gold then we commenced to rise again. We could not jump until our feet touched something that they could be pressed against. And from that moment to this we have been going, going, going higher and higher, more prosperous every hour. And now they say, “Let us have a change.” When I am sick I want a change; when I am poor I want a change; and if I were a Democrat I would have a personal change. We are prosperous to-day, and must keep so. We are back to gold and silver. Let us stay there; and let us stay with the party that brought us there.
Now, I am not only in favor of free speech and an honest ballot-box and an honest collection of the revenue of the United States, and an honest money, but I am in favor of the idea, of the great and splendid truth, that this is a Nation one and indivisible. I deny that we are a confederacy bound together with ropes of cloud and chains of mist. This is a Nation, and every man in it owes his first allegiance to the grand old flag for which more brave blood was shed than for any other flag that waves in the sight of heaven. There is another thing; we all want to live in a land where the law is supreme. We desire to live beneath a flag that will protect every citizen beneath its folds. We desire to be citizens of a Government so great and so grand that it will command the respect of the civilized world. Most of us are convinced that our Government is the best upon this earth. It is the only Government where manhood, and manhood alone, is not made simply a condition of citizenship, but where manhood, and manhood alone, permits its possessor to have his equal share in control of the Government. It is the only Government in the world where poverty is upon an exact equality with wealth, so far as controlling the destiny of the Republic is concerned. It is the only Nation where the man clothed in rags stands upon an equality with the one wearing purple. It is the only country in the world where, politically, the hut is upon an equality with the palace.
For that reason every poor man should stand by this Government, and every poor man who does not is a traitor to the best interests of his children; every poor man who does not is willing his children should bear the badge of political inferiority; and the only way to make this Government a complete and perfect success is for the poorest man to think as much of his manhood as the millionaire does of his wealth. A man does not vote in this country simply because he is rich; he does not vote in this country simply because he has an education; he does not vote simply because he has talent or genius; we say that he votes because he is a man and that he has his manhood to support; and we admit in this country that nothing can be more valuable to any human being than his manhood, and for that reason we put poverty on an equality with wealth. We say in this country manhood is worth more than gold. We say in this country that without Liberty the Nation is not worth preserving, Now, I appeal to-day to every poor man; I appeal to-day to every laboring man, and I ask him, if there another country on this globe where you can have equal rights with others? There is another thing; do you want a Government of law or of brute force? In which part of this country do you find law supreme? In which part of this country can a man find justice in the courts; in the North or in the South? Where is crime punished? Where is innocence protected, in the North or in the South? Which section of this country will you trust?
You can tell what a man is by the way he treats persons in his power, and the man that will sneak and crawl in the presence of greatness, will trample the weak when he gets them in his power. What class of people does the State have in its power? Criminals and creditors; and you can judge of a State by the way it treats its criminals and creditors. Georgia is the best State in the South. They have a penitentiary system by which they hire out their convict labor. Only two years ago the whole thing was examined by a friend of mine, Col. Allston. He had been in the rebel army and was my good friend. He used to come to my house day after day to see me. He got converted and had the grit to say so. Being a member of the Legislature, he had a committee of investigation appointed. Now, in order that you may understand the difference, you must know that in the Northern penitentiaries the average annual death rate is one per cent.; that is, of one thousand convicts, ten will die in a year, on the average. That low death rate is because we are civilized, because we do not kill; but in the Georgia penitentiary it was as high as fifteen, twenty-seven and forty-seven per cent., at a time when there was no typhoid or yellow fever, or epidemic of any kind. They died for four months at a rate of ten per cent. per month. They crowded the convicts in together, regardless of sex. They treated them precisely as wild beasts, and many of them were shot down. Persons high in authority, Senators of the United States, held interests in those contracts, and Robert Allston denounced them. When on a visit he said, “I believe when I get home I shall be killed.” I told him not to go back to Georgia, but to stay in the civilized North; but no, he would go back, and on the very day of his arrival he was murdered in cold blood. Do you want to trust such men? * * *
The Southern people say this is a Confederacy and they are honest in it. They fought for it, they believed it. They believe in the doctrine of State Sovereignty, and many Democrats of the North believe in the same doctrine. No less a man than Horatio Seymour — standing it may be at the head of Democratic statesmen — said, if he has been correctly reported, only the other day, that he despised the word “Nation.” I bless that word. I owe my first allegiance to this Nation, and it owes its first protection to me. I am talking here to-night, not because I am protected by the flag of New York. I would not know that flag if I should see it. I am talking here, and have the right to talk here, because the flag of my country is above us. I have the same right as though I had been born upon this very platform. I am proud of New York because it is a part of my country. I am proud of my country because it has such a State as New York in it, and I will be prouder of New York on a week from next Tuesday than ever before in my life. I despise the doctrine of State Sovereignty. I believe in the rights of the States, but not in the sovereignty of the States. States are political conveniences. Rising above States, as the Alps above valleys, are the rights of man. Rising above the rights of the Government, even in this Nation, are the sublime rights of the people. Governments are good only so long as they protect human rights. But the rights of a man never should be sacrificed upon the altar of the State, or upon the altar of the Nation.
Let me tell you a few objections that I have to State Sovereignty. That doctrine has never been appealed to for any good. The first time it was appealed to was when our Constitution was made. And the object then was to keep the slave-trade open until the year 1808. The object then was to make the sea the highway of piracy — the object then was to allow American citizens to go into the business of selling men and women and children, and feed their cargo to the sharks of the sea, and the sharks of the sea were as merciful as they. That was the first time that the appeal to the doctrine of State Sovereignty was made, and the next time was for the purpose of keeping alive the interstate slave-trade, so that a gentleman in Virginia could sell the slave, who had nursed him, and rob the cradles of their babes. Think of it! It was made so they could rob the cradle in the name of law. Think of it! Think of it! And the next time they appealed to the doctrine of State Sovereignty was in favor of the Fugitive Slave Law — a law that made a bloodhound of every Northern man; that made charity a crime; a law that made love a state-prison offence; that branded the forehead of charity as if it were a felon. Think of it!
It is a part of my honor to hate such principles. I have no respect for any man who is so mean, cruel and wicked, as to allow himself to be transformed into a bloodhound to bay upon the tracks of innocent human prey. I will follow my logic, no matter where it goes, after it has consulted with my heart. If you ever come to a conclusion without calling the heart in, you will come to a bad conclusion.
A good man is pretty apt to be right; a perfectly honest man is like the surface of the stainless mirror, that gives back by simply looking at him, the image of the one who looks.
The next time they appealed to the doctrine of State Sovereignty was to increase the area of human slavery, so that the bloodhound, with clots of blood dropping from his loose and hanging jaws, might traverse the billowy plains of Kansas. Think of it!
The Democratic party then said the Federal Government had a right to cross the State line. And the next time they appealed to that infamous doctrine was in defence of secession and treason; a doctrine that cost us six thousand millions of dollars; a doctrine that cost four hundred thousand lives; a doctrine that filled our country with widows, our homes with orphans. And I tell you, the doctrine of State Sovereignty is the viper in the bosom of this Republic, and if we do not kill that viper it will kill us.
The Democrats tell us that in the olden time the Federal Government had a right to cross a State line to put shackles upon the limbs of men. It had the right to cross a State line to trample upon the rights of human beings, but now it has no right to cross those lines upon an errand of mercy or justice. We are told that now, when the Federal Government wishes to protect a citizen, a State line rises like a Chinese wall, and the sword of Federal power turns to air the moment it touches one of those lines. I deny it and I despise, abhor and execrate the doctrine of State Sovereignty. The Democrats tell us if we wish to be protected by the Federal Government we must leave home. I wish they would try it for about ten days. They say the Federal Government can defend a citizen in England, France, Spain or Germany, but cannot defend a child of the Republic sitting around the family hearth. I deny it. A Government that cannot protect its citizens at home is unfit to be called a Government. I want a Government with an ear so good that it can hear the faintest cry of the oppressed wherever its flag floats. I want a Government with an arm long enough and a sword sharp enough to cut down treason wherever it may raise its serpent head I want a Government that will protect a freedman, standing by his little log hut, with the same alacrity and with the same efficiency that it would protect Vanderbilt, living in a palace of marble and gold. Humanity is a sacred thing, and manhood is a thing to be preserved. Let us look at it. For instance, here is a war, and the Federal Government says to a man, “We want you,” and he says, “No, I don’t want to go,” and then they put a lot of pieces of paper in a wheel and on one of those pieces is his name, and another man turns the crank, and then they pull it out and there is his name, and they say, “Come,” and so he goes. And they stand him in front of the brazen-throated guns; they make him fight for his native land, and when the war is over he goes home and he finds the war has been unpopular in his neighborhood, and they trample on his rights, and he says to the Federal Government, “Protect me.” And he says to the Government, “I owe my allegiance to you. You must protect me.” What will you say of that Government if it says to him, “You must look to your State for protection”? Ah, but,” he says, “my State is the very power trampling upon me,” and, of course, the robber is not going to send for the police. It is the duty of the Government to defend even its drafted men; and it that is the duty of the Government, what shall I say of the volunteer, who for one moment holds his wife in a tremulous and agonized embrace, kisses his children, shoulders his musket, goes to the field and says, “Here I am, ready to die for my native land”? A Nation that will not defend its volunteer defenders is a disgrace to the map of this world. This is a Nation. Free speech is the brain of the Republic; an honest ballot is the breath of its life; honest money is the blood of its veins; and the idea of nationality is its great, beating, throbbing heart. I am for a Nation. And yet the Democrats tell me that it is dangerous to have centralized power. How would you have it? I believe in the localization of power; I believe in having enough of it localized in one place to be effectively used; I believe in a local-nation of brain. I suppose Democrats would like to have it spread all over your body, and they act as though theirs was.
There is another thing in which I believe: I believe in the protection of American labor. The hand that holds Aladdin’s lamp must be the hand of toil. This Nation rests upon the shoulders of its workers, and I want the American laboring, man to have enough to wear; I want him to have enough to eat: I want him to have something for the ordinary misfortunes of life; I want him to have the pleasure of seeing his wife well-dressed; I want him to see a few blue ribbons fluttering about his children; I want him to see the flags of health flying in their beautiful cheeks; I want him to feel that this is his country, and the shield of protection is above his labor.
And I will tell you why I am for protection, too. If we were all farmers we would be stupid. If we were all shoemakers we would be stupid. If we all followed one business, no matter what it was, we would become stupid. Protection to American labor diversifies American industry, and to have it diversified touches and develops every part of the human brain. Protection protects ingenuity; it protects intelligence; and protection raises sense; and by protection we have greater men, better looking women and healthier children. Free trade means that our laborer is upon an equality with the poorest paid labor of this world. And allow me to tell you that for an empty stomach, “Hurrah for Hancock!” is a poor consolation. I do not think much of a Government where the people do not have enough to eat. I am a materialist to that extent; I want something to eat. I have been in countries where the laboring man had meat once a year; sometimes twice — Christmas and Easter, And I have seen women carrying upon their heads a burden that no man in this audience could carry, and at the same time knitting busily with both hands, and those women lived without meat; and when I thought of the American laborer, I said to myself, “After all, my country is the best in the world.” And when I came back to the sea and saw the old flag flying, it seemed to me as though the air from pure joy had burst into blossom.
Labor has more to eat and more to wear in the United States than in any other land of this earth. I want America to produce everything that Americans need. I want it so that if the whole world should declare war against us, if we were surrounded by walls of cannon and bayonets and swords, we could supply all our material wants in and of ourselves. I want to live to see the American woman dressed in American silk; the American man in everything, from hat to boots, produced in America by the cunning hand of American toil. I want to see the workingman have a good house, painted white, grass in the front yard, carpets on the floor, pictures on the wall. I want to see him a man, feeling that he is a king by the divine right of living in the Republic. And every man here is just a little bit a king, you know. Every man here is a part of the sovereign power. Every man wears a little of purple; every man has a little of crown and a little of scepter; and every man that will sell his vote for money or be ruled by prejudice is unfit to be an American citizen.
I believe in American labor, and I will tell you why. The other day a man told me that we had produced in the United States of America one million tons of steel rails. How much are they worth? Sixty dollars a ton. In other words, the million tons are worth sixty million dollars. How much is a ton of iron worth in the ground? Twenty-five cents. American labor takes twenty-five cents worth of iron in the ground and adds to it fifty-nine dollars and seventy-five cents. One million tons of rails, and the raw material not worth twenty-four thousand dollars! We build a ship in the United States worth five hundred thousand dollars, and the value of the ore in the earth, of the trees in the great forest, of all that enters into the composition of that ship bringing five hundred thousand dollars in gold is only twenty thousand dollars; four hundred and eighty thousand dollars by American labor, American muscle, coined into gold; American brains made a legal tender the world round.
I propose to stand by the Nation. I want the furnaces kept hot. I want the sky to be filled with the smoke of American industry, and upon that cloud of smoke will rest forever the bow of perpetual promise. That is what I am for. Where did this doctrine of a tariff for revenue only come from? From the South. The South would like to stab the prosperity of the North. They would rather trade with Old England than with New England. They would rather trade with the people who were willing to help them in war than with those who conquered the Rebellion. They knew what gave us our strength in war. They knew that all the brooks and creeks and rivers of New England were putting down the Rebellion. They knew that every wheel that turned, every spindle that revolved, was a soldier in the army of human progress. It won’t do! They were so lured by the greed of office that they were willing to trade upon the misfortunes of a Nation. It won’t do! I do not wish to belong to a party that succeeds only when my country fails. I do not wish to belong to a party whose banner went up with the banner of rebellion. I do not wish to belong to a party that was in partnership with defeat and — disaster. I do not. And there is not a Democrat here who does not know that a failure of the crops this year would have helped his party. You know that an early frost would have been a godsend to them. You know that the potato-bug could have done them more good than all their speakers.
I wish to belong to that party which is prosperous when the country is prosperous. I belong to that party which is not poor when the golden billows are running over the seas of wheat. I belong to that party which is prosperous when there are oceans of corn, and when the cattle are upon the thousand hills. I belong to that party which is prosperous when the furnaces are aflame, and when you dig coal and iron and silver; when everybody has enough to eat; when everybody is happy; when the children are all going to school, and when joy covers my Nation as with a garment. That party which is prosperous then, is my party.
Now, then, I have been telling you what I am for. I am for free speech, and so ought you to be. I am for an honest ballot, and if you are not you ought to be. I am for the collection of the revenue. I am for honest money. I am for the idea that this is a Nation forever. I believe in protecting American labor. I want the shield of my country above every anvil, above every furnace, above every cunning head and above every deft hand of American labor.
Now, then, which section of this country will be the more apt to carry these ideas into execution? Which party will be the more apt to achieve these grand and splendid things? Honor bright? Now we have not only to choose between sections of the country; we have to choose between parties. Here is the Democratic party, and I admit there are thousands of good Democrats who went to the war, and some of those that stayed at home were good men; and I want to ask you, and I want you to tell me in reply what that party did during the war when the War Democrats were away from home. What did they do? That is the question. I say to you, that every man who tried to tear our flag out of heaven was a Democrat. The men who wrote the ordinances of secession, who fired upon Fort Sumter; the men who starved our soldiers, who fed them with the crumbs that the worms had devoured before, they were Democrats. The keepers of Libby, the keepers of Andersonville, were Democrats — Libby and Andersonville, the two mighty wings that will bear the memory of the Confederacy to eternal infamy! The men who wished to scatter yellow fever in the North and who tried to fire the great cities of the North — they were all Democrats. He who said that the greenback would never be paid and he who slandered sixty cents out of every dollar of the Nation’s promises were Democrats. Who were joyful when your brothers and your sons and your fathers lay dead on a field of battle that the country had lost? They were Democrats. The men who wept when the old banner floated in triumph above the ramparts of rebellion — they were Democrats. You know it. The men who wept when slavery was destroyed, who believed slavery to be a divine institution, who regarded bloodhounds as apostles and missionaries, and who wept at the funeral of that infernal institution — they were Democrats. Bad company — bad company!
And let me implore all the young men here not to join that party. Do not give new blood to that institution. The Democratic party has a yellow passport. On one side it says “dangerous.” They imagine they have not changed, and that is because they have not intellectual growth. That party was once the enemy of my country, was once the enemy of our flag, and more than that, it was once the enemy of human liberty, and that party to-night is not willing that the citizens of the Republic should exercise all their rights irrespective of their color And allow me to say right here that I am opposed to that party.
We have not only to choose between parties, but to choose between candidates. The Democracy have put forward as the bearers of their standard General Hancock and William H. English. The Democrats have at last nominated a Union soldier. They nominated George B. McClellan once, because he failed to whip the South; they nominated Mr. Greeley, when they despised him, and now they have nominated General Hancock. Do they think the South loves him? At Gettysburg they say he fought against them, and that is one great reason why he should be President — that he shot rebels. Do the men that fought at Gettysburg still believe in State Sovereignty? Wade Hampton says, “We must vote as Lee and Jackson fought.” They fought for State Sovereignty. Has the South changed? Hancock went to kill them then; they want to vote for him now. Who has changed? [A voice: “Hancock.”] I think so. They are using him as a figure- head. They have dressed him in the noble blue, with the patriotic coat and Union buttons, and they do not like him any better than they did at Gettysburg. It would be just as consistent for the Republicans to have nominated Wade Hampton. Did General Hancock believe in State Sovereignty when he was at Gettysburg? If he did, he was a murderer, and not a Union soldier — he was killing men he believed to be in the right, and a man cannot fight unless his conscience approves of what his sword does, and if he was honest at that time, he did not believe in State Sovereignty, and it seems to me he would hate to have the men who tried to destroy this Government cheering him. All the glory he ever got was in the service of the Republican party, and if he does not look out he will lose it all in the service of the Democratic party. He had a conversation with General Grant. It was a time when he had been appointed at the head of the Department of the Gulf. In that conversation he stated to General Grant that he was opposed to “nigger domination.” Grant said to him, “We must obey the laws of Congress. We are soldiers.” And that meant, the military is not above the civil authority. And I tell you to-night, that the army and the navy are the right and left hands of the civil power. Grant said to him: “Three or four million ex-slaves, without property and without education, cannot dominate over thirty or forty millions of white people, with education and property.” General Hancock replied to that: “I am opposed to nigger domination.”‘ Allow me to say that I do not believe any man fit for the presidency of the great Republic, who is capable of insulting a down-trodden race. I never meet a negro that I do not feel like asking his forgiveness for the wrongs that my race has inflicted on his. I remember that from the white man he received for two hundred years agony and tears; I remember that my race sold a child from the agonized breast of a mother; I remember that my race trampled with the feet of greed upon all the holy relations of life; and I do not feel like insulting the colored man; I feel rather like asking the forgiveness of his race for the crimes that my race have put upon him. “Nigger domination!” What a fine scabbard that makes for the sword of Gettysburg! It won’t do!
What is General Hancock for, besides the presidency? How does he stand upon the great questions affecting American prosperity? He told us the other day that the tariff is a local question. The tariff affects every man and woman, live they in hut, hovel or palace; it affects every man that has a back to be covered or a stomach to be filled, and yet he says it is a local question. So is death. He also told us that he heard that question discussed once, in Pennsylvania. He must have been eavesdropping. And he tells us that his doctrine of the tariff will continue as long as Nature lasts. Then Senator Randolph wrote him a letter. I do not know whether Senator Randolph answered it or not; but that answer was worse than the first interview; and I understand now that another letter is going through a period of incubation at Governor’s Island, upon the great subject of the tariff. It won’t do!
They say one thing they are sure of, he is opposed to paying Southern pensions and Southern claims. He says that a man that fought against this Government has no right to a pension. Good! I say a man that fought against this Government has no right to office. If a man cannot earn a pension by tearing our flat, out of the sky, he cannot earn power. [A Voice — “How about Longstreet?”] Longstreet has repented of what he did. Longstreet admits that he was wrong. And there was no braver officer in the Southern Confederacy. Every man of the South who will say, “I made a mistake” — I do not want him to say that he knew he was wrong — all I ask him to say is that he now thinks he was wrong; and every man of the South to-day who says he was wrong, and who says from this day forward, henceforth and forever, he is for this being a Nation, I will take him by the hand. But while he is attempting to do at the ballot-box what he failed to accomplish upon the field of battle, I am against him — while he uses a Northern general to bait a Southern trap, I won’t bite. I will forgive men when they deserve to be forgiven; but while they insist that they were right, while they insist that State Sovereignty is the proper doctrine, I am opposed to their climbing into power.
Hancock says that he will not pay these claims he agrees to veto a bill that his party may pass; he agrees in advance that he will defeat a party that he expects will elect him; he, in effect, says to the people, “You can not trust that party, but you can trust me.” He says, “Look at them; I admit they are a hungry lot; I admit that they haven’t had a bite in twenty years; I admit that an ordinary famine is satiety compared to the hunger they feel. But between that vast appetite known as the Democratic party, and the public treasury, I will throw the shield of my veto.” No man has a right to say in advance what he will veto, any more than a judge has a right to say in advance how he will decide a case. The veto power is a distinction with which the Constitution has clothed the Executive, and no President has a right to say that he will veto until he has heard both sides of the question. But he agrees in advance.
I would rather trust a party than a man. Death may veto Hancock, and Death has not been a successful politician in the United States. Tyler, Fillmore, Andy Johnson — I do not wish Death to elect any more Presidents; and if he does, and if Hancock is elected, William H. English becomes President of the United States. No, no, no! All I need to say about him is simply to pronounce his name; that is all. You do not want him. Whether the many stories that have been told about him are true or not I do not know, and I will not give currency to a solitary word against the reputation of an American citizen unless I know it to be true. What I have against him is what he has done in public life. When Charles Sumner, that great and splendid publicist — Charles Sumner, the philanthropist, one who spoke to the conscience of his time and to the history of the future — when he stood up in the United States Senate and made a great and glorious plea for human liberty, there crept into the Senate a villain and struck him down as though he had been a wild beast. That man was a member of Congress, and when a resolution was introduced in the House, to expel that man, William H. English voted, “No.” All the stories in the world could not add to the infamy of that public act. That is enough for me, and whatever his private life may be, let it be that of an angel, never, never, never would I vote for a man that would defend the assassin of free speech. General Hancock, they tell me, is a statesman; that what little time he has had to spare from war he has given to the tariff, and what little time he could spare from the tariff he has given to the Constitution of his country; showing under what circumstances a Major-General can put at defiance the Congress of the United States. It won’t do!
But while I am upon that subject it may be well for me to state that he never will be President of the United States. Now, I say that a man who in time of peace prefers peace, and prefers the avocations of peace; a man who in the time of peace would rather look at the corn in the air of June, rather listen to the hum of bees, rather sit by his door with his wife and children; the man who in time of peace loves peace, and yet when the blast of war blows in his ears, shoulders a musket and goes to the field of war to defend his country, and when the war is over goes home and again pursues the avocations of peace — that man is just as good, to say the least of it, as a man who in a time of profound peace makes up his mind that he would like to make his living killing other folks. To say the least of it, he is as good.
The Republicans have named as their standard bearers James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. James A. Garfield was a volunteer soldier, and he took away from the field of Chickamauga as much glory as any one man could carry. He is not only a soldier — he is a statesman. He has studied and discussed all the great questions that affect the prosperity and well-being of the American people. His opinions are well known, and I say to you to-night that there is not in this Nation, there is not in this Republic a man with greater brain and greater heart than James A. Garfield. I know him and I like him. I know him as well as any other public man, and I like him. The Democratic party say that he is not honest. I have been reading some Democratic papers to-day, and you would say that every one of their editors had a private sewer of his own into which has been emptied for a hundred years the slops of hell. They tell me that James A. Garfield is not honest. Are you a Democrat? Your party tried to steal nearly half of this country. Your party stole the armament of a nation. Your party was willing to live upon the unpaid labor of four millions of people. You have no right to the floor for the purpose of making a motion of honesty. James A. Garfield has been at the head of the most important committees of Congress; he is a member of the most important one of the whole House. He has no peer in the Congress of the United States. And you know it. He is the leader of the House. With one wave of his hand he can take millions from the pocket of one industry and put it into the pocket of another; with a motion of his hand he could have made himself a man of wealth, but he is to-night a poor man. I know him and I like him. He is as genial as May and he is as generous as Autumn. And the men for whom he has done unnumbered favors, the men whom he had pity enough not to destroy with an argument, the men who, with his great generosity, he has allowed, intellectually, to live, are now throwing filth at the reputation of that great and splendid man.
Several ladies and gentlemen were passing a muddy place around which were gathered ragged and wretched urchins. And these little wretches began to throw mud at them; and one gentleman said, “If you don’t stop I will throw it back at you.” And a little fellow said, “You can’t do it without dirtying your hands, and it doesn’t hurt us anyway.”
I never was more profoundly happy than on the night of that 12th day of October when I found that between an honest and a kingly man and his malingers, two great States had thrown their shining shields. When Ohio said, “Garfield is my greatest son, and there never has been raised in the cabins of Ohio a grander man” — and when Indiana held up her hands and said, “Allow me to indorse that verdict” I was profoundly happy, because that said to me, “Garfield will carry every Northern State;” that said to me, “The Solid South will be confronted by a great and splendid North.”
I know Garfield — I like him. Some people have said, “How is it that you support Garfield, when he was a minister?”! How is it that you support Garfield when he is a Christian?” I will tell you. There are two reasons. The first is I am not a bigot; and secondly, James A. Garfield is not a bigot. He believes in giving to every other human being every right he claims for himself. He believes in freedom of speech and freedom of thought; untrammeled conscience and upright manhood. He believes in an absolute divorce between church and state. He believes that every religion should rest upon its morality, upon its reason, upon its persuasion, upon its goodness, upon its charity, and that love should never appeal to the sword of civil power. He disagrees with me in many things; but in the one thing, that the air is free for all, we do agree. I want to do equal and exact justice everywhere.
I want the world of thought to be without a chain, without a wall, and I wish to say to you, [turning toward Mr. Beecher and directly addressing him] that I thank you for what you have said to-night, and to congratulate the people of this city and country that you have intellectual horizon enough, intellectual sky enough to take the hand of a man, howsoever much he may disagree in some things with you, on the grand platform and broad principle of citizenship. James A. Garfield, believing with me as he does, disagreeing with me as he does, is perfectly satisfactory to me. I know him, and I like him.
Men are to-day blackening his reputation, who are not fit to blacken his shoes. He is a man of brain. Since his nomination he must have made forty or fifty speeches, and every one has been full of manhood and genius. He has not said a word that has not strengthened him with the American people. He is the first candidate who has been free to express himself and who has never made a mistake. I will tell you why he does not make a mistake; because he spoke from the inside out. Because he was guided by the glittering Northern Star of principle. Lie after lie has been told about him. Slander after slander has been hatched and put in the air, with its little short wings, to fly its day, and the last lie is a forgery.
I saw to-day the fac-simile of a letter that they pretend he wrote upon the Chinese question. I know his writing; I know his signature; I am well acquainted with his writing. I know handwriting, and I tell you to-night, that letter and that signature are forgeries. A forgery for the benefit of the Pacific States; a forgery for the purpose of convincing the American workingman that Garfield is without heart. I tell you, my fellow- citizens, that cannot take from him a vote. But Ohio pierced their center and Indiana rolled up both flanks and the rebel line cannot re-form with a forgery for a standard. They are gone!
Now, some people say to me, “How long are you going to preach the doctrine of hate?” I never did preach it. In many States of this Union it is a crime to be a Republican. I am going to preach my doctrine until every American citizen is permitted to express his opinion and vote as he may desire in every State of this Union. I am going to preach my doctrine until this is a civilized country. That is all. I will treat the gentlemen of the South precisely as we do the gentlemen of the North. I want to treat every section of the country precisely as we do ours. I want to improve their rivers and their harbors; I want to fill their land with commerce; I want them to prosper; I want them to build schoolhouses; I want them to open the lands to immigration to all people who desire to settle upon their soil. I want to be friends with them; I want to let the past be buried forever; I want to let bygones be bygones, but only upon the basis that we are now in favor of absolute liberty and eternal justice. I am not willing to bury nationality or free speech in the grave for the purpose of being friends. Let us stand by our colors; let the old Republican party that has made this a Nation — the old Republican party that has saved the financial honor of this country — let that party stand by its colors.
Let that party say, “Free speech forever!” Let that party say, “An honest ballot forever!” Let that party say, “Honest money forever! the Nation and the flag forever! “And let that party stand by the great men carrying her banner, James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. I would rather trust a party than a man. If General Garfield dies, the Republican party lives; if General Garfield dies, General Arthur will take his place — a brave, honest, and intelligent gentleman, upon whom every Republican can rely. And if he dies, the Republican party lives, and as long as the Republican party does not die, the great Republic will live. As long as the Republican party lives, this will be the asylum of the world. Let me tell you, Mr. Irishman, this is the only country on the earth where Irishmen have had enough to eat. Let me tell you, Mr. German, that you have more liberty here than you had in the Fatherland. Let me tell you, all men, that this is the land of humanity.
Oh! I love the old Republic, bounded by the seas, walled by the wide air, domed by heaven’s blue, and lit with the eternal stars. I love the Republic; I love it because I love liberty, Liberty is my religion, and at its altar I worship, and will worship.