Grover Cleveland.

The writings and speeches of Grover Cleveland; (Volume 1) online

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by Pack Bros.,N. Y.

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104 & 106 Fourth Avenue

Copyright, 1892, by

All rights reserved.



With Mr. Cleveland's consent, I have gathered into this
volume a representative collection of the speeches, public
papers, and letters of a man who has been for many years tin-
most prominent figure in his country. It gives, 1 think, under
a fair classification, his opinion on all the topics upon which
he has spoken. I am sure that, by means of it, the reader
will be able to form a complete estimate of his charai ti i
as it is shown in his public utterances.

The matter has been classified under twenty-five chapter
headings. No reader, however critical, can know better
than myself how difficult it is to make such a classifica-
tion strictly accurate; but, when it is considered that Mr.
Cleveland has freely expressed his opinions, during tin- pasl
ten years, upon every topic that interested his neighbors or
his countrymen, and in every form common to public discus
sion, the result will, I am inclined to believe, be fairly satis-

An attempt has been made, in the index, to indicate every-
thing so plainly that no reader can have trouble in tracing what
Mr. Cleveland has said upon any topic. Everything on the
tariff question could not be placed in the chapter entitled "Tax-
ation and Revenue." In his first message to the Common
Council of Buffalo, and in speeches and letters accepting
nominations, there are paragraphs giving his idea oi the

iv Pkk'FACE,

principles of taxation, which must be sought in them. The
same is true of pensions, labor, and other questions. It is
believed, however, that a clew to all these will be supplied by
this Completeness of the index.

The selections have been arranged under each chapter head-
ing in chronological order. This, I am confident, will com-
mend itself to readers, most of whom will, naturally, be
attracted first to some particular part of the work, in the
expectation of finding at once what may have been said upon a
question in which they themselves are most interested. Under
the plan adopted this will be easy.

Parts of messages have been separated and classified under
their appropriate headings. Those familiar with the annual
messages of an Executive know them to be composed of para-
graphs treating of various questions. Such a document is
subjected to no wrench when it is separated, and the various
sections are incorporated under their proper headings.
Except in two or three instances, each is complete, and when
purely formal or local matter has been omitted, the fact is in-
dicated in the usual way. Every speech is published in full.

The earlier speeches and letters have presented some
difficulties. Most of them have been collected from the
newspapers in which they were originally published ; some
after transmission by telegraph. I have had, however, some
advantages in collating such documents and letters. As
neither Mr. Cleveland nor anyone for him had had an oppor-
tunity to see them or correct errors in copying or trans-
mission, when first published, he kindly consented to go
over them with me, in order to correct misprints and
to suggest the proper reading in a document which has
puzzled by a text hopelessly mixed by some printer. I have

/'A7 FAC1 V

also compared the documents, as carefully as possible, with
official copies, and have been enabled, by these precautions,
to correct a good many errors. In some cases 1 have done
this by reference to manuscript documents in my possession.
Most of the later speeches have presented no serious diffi
culty, because the proofs were carefully read when they were
first published.

Before Mr. Cleveland's retirement from the Presidency,
neither he nor anybody for him had kept his speeches
with anything like system. I have found it necessary to make
a careful search in order to discover some of the earlier
speeches, some of which I found, upon inquiry, Mr. Cleveland
himself had forgotten. Since March, 1889, 1 have carefully
preserved copies of speeches and letters with the purpose,
now carried out, of issuing them in book form.

So, if there are faults in editing or arrangement, they are
mine. Mr. Cleveland has done no more than I have said.
He merely gave me absolute authority to make the collection
in such way as I chose, and I have done the best I could
in both gathering and arranging it in such a way as to make
it effective to students of our political history.

C. F. P.


The psent generation of readers, studious of the history
of our eiier days, and curious as to the lives and ideas oi
the men ho made that history, lias demanded new and com
plete copctions of the works of the fathers of the republic.
Two ntf editions of the writings of Washington compete
for favoj; and when, in 1885, a change in party supremacy
broughtjo the Presidency the representative of opinions Ion-
exclude from our national policy, an increased demand
at oncejrose for the works of Thomas Jefferson. When the
agitatk ; of a great fiscal problem was begun in earnest in
1887, t| advocates of the protective policy could find nothing
better i< illustrate their theories than by a recurrence to
the reft on Manufactures made by Alexander Hamilton,
while pretary of the Treasury in the administration of our
first Ijsident. Interest in the opinions of men in our later
histor las also been revived until the works even of those
withii ery recent times — always less accurately known than
those ore remote— have been added to the list. This im-
pulse 3 adorned our political literature with many studies of
great due to the future historian, and has enabled the
readef to-day to estimate, with some approach to accuracy,
the cacter and achievements of the leaders of thought and
actiorho have preceded him in the arena of politics.

N<pology, then, is necessary for bringing together the


writings and speeches of a man who, during the past ten
years, has so profoundly influenced the thought and action of
his countrymen, and who has held, with the highe; it accept-
ance, the greatest official place in the gift of his fe How-men.
Nor can it be deemed inappropriate if such a work is accom-
panied by a modest attempt to analyze in some di ;gree the
character of the man, as shown by his public utteran ces, or to
measure the elements that gave him, within so brief a time, a
unique position in the affections of his countrymen, i md made
him a power in a great nation.

In the rise and development of our public men, t he legis-
lative body has been so conspicuous in their train ing that
it might not unfairly be termed the fitting school for the
Presidency. Of the twenty-three men who have fil led that
august place, all but four saw service — most of them c :ompara-
tively early in life — in Continental Congresses, in C Constitu-
tional Conventions, in one or the other House of Con; jress, or
in State Legislatures. Many of them were conspicuou s figures
in such bodies, and the result in some instances was tl lat their
aspirations were early directed toward the lofty plac e which
they were finally called to fill.

Some were thus brought prominently before their country,
men, in important positions, during a long term o I years.
Thus, Washington did not reach the Presidency until fourteen
years after he had become the most conspicuous soldh ;r of the
New World ; nor Jefferson until a quarter of a century after
he had made his name immortal by writing the Declaration of
Independence. It was not until twenty-one years afte r he did
his great work of collaboration in the writing of the " Federal-
ist" that Madison became President. John Quincy Adams
did notable diplomatic work thirty-one years prior to his elec-


tion as President ; and his rival and successor, Jackson, did not
finally reach the goal of his ambition until thirty-twi
after he had entered public life, as the first representative of
the then new State of Tennessee, in the lower house of
Congress. \\\ later times, James Buchanan's legislative career
in Pennsylvania began forty-three years before his inaugura-
tion as President, while the like service of Abraham Lincoln,
in Illinois, preceded his culminating success by twenty-
seven years.

Without multiplying examples, it is plain that the public
man who reaches this high office after such training must, of
necessity, leave behind him, upon his retirement, a great body
of writings and speeches. The genius of our institutions both
permits and makes necessary the expression of opinion, by a
public man, on a great variety of topics. It is only natural,
however, that many of the early speeches of men thus trained
should have little enduring value. In the inception of such
service, entered upon in comparative youth and before the
character is fully formed, speeches are made upon nearly every
measure that may be introduced. These may contribute
something to an intelligent understanding of an issue at the
time, or even to its settlement ; but amid our rapidly changing
political conditions, interest in both the speech and the ques-
tion is soon lost. In most cases such oratorical efforts remain
little more than temporary contributions to an issue restricted
to a neighborhood or a State.

Grover Cleveland had none of this training in politi
oratory. Until his inauguration as Mayor of Buffalo, in
January, 1S82, his experience and discipline were entirely pro-
fessional. While an assistant to the District Attorney of Erie
County, New York— his first independent position as a


lawyer — he was constantly engaged in the work belonging
to a prosecuting officer. His speeches then had the same
characteristics that have distinguished his public utterances
since he came into political prominence. They were short,
concise, carefully prepared, and never labored or showy either
in matter or in delivery. His manner of speaking was
earnest, well adapted, then as now, to both subject and
audience. His cases were submitted with clear and direct
statements of the law and the facts, and his arguments were
made with such care that neither judge, jury, nor culprit had
reason to complain of being bored with the loose, rambling
legal talks so often indulged in by prosecuting officials.

From 1S66 to 1882 — with the exception of the years be-
tween 187 1 and 1874 — he was engaged in the active and un-
remitting practice of his profession. He had for his associates
the best lawyers of the large city in which he lived, and as he
was brought into contact, before the Courts, with the recog-
nized leaders of his profession, he met his growing responsi-
bilities with confidence and success. He proved himself
equal to each new duty. He was actively engaged in politics
only so far as an interest in local affairs or in the struggles of
his party were involved. He seldom made a political speech,
but his increasing professional labors kept him in constant
training as a speaker, and he easily met the demands of his
new position in this respect as in all others. He took part in
memorial meetings held for the purpose of paying the last trib-
ute of respect to members of his profession, and the earliest
speech in this volume is that on the character of Oscar Folsom,
his former partner and dearest friend, in July, 1875. He
made others of the same kind, and achieved such success that
he was called upon to bear his part on these occasions at his


old home even aftei his election to the Governorship ol Ins
State. His judgment of nun was shown to be just and dis
criminating, and his habit of careful preparation stood him in

good stead. Another part of his training and practice thai
contributed much to his skill in saying clearly what h< had
in mind, was his work in drawing indictments and other law
papers. To a natural facility for expression, he thus added
a most exacting training.

It was not, then, a man untrained to clear and accurate state-
ment, or unused to effective and eloquent speech, that as-
tonished his neighbors and the people — always ready towel-
come the advent of a man with ideas and character —
by those vigorous messages which soon commanded attention
from the people of a great State. As the result of this fitness
for important place, Mr. Cleveland had an advantage
never before enjoyed by a public man. Almost from the be-
ginning of his career — it was only a year after these earliest
messages until he had become Governor of the great State of
New York — he was able to make his appeal to the waiting
people of a nation, on all the great problems in which they were

In spite of the demonstrated possession of effective oratorical
powers, Mr. Cleveland made but few speeches before his in-
auguration as President. Into these he condensed much
thought and food for thought. They were prepared with care,
as neither then nor since has he permitted even the most ex-
acting public duties to make him careless either as to thought
or form. He knew what he wanted to say, or studied until he
found out, and then showed that he could say it to advan-
tage. His speeches were quotable. They were filled with
epigrams and pithy sentences, easy of recollection for reader


or hearer, and as they were short, everyone interested in the
question was sure to read and to recommend them to his associ-
ates. His manner of delivery was earnest, and he early learned
the art of putting himself into sympathetic relations with his
audience. He did not speak until he felt that he had
something his countrymen needed to be told, and was
early recognized as a man who did not make speeches merely
for the sake of talking, or with the purpose of attracting
attention to himself. He showed a willingness to discuss
the various and varied problems of our social and political
life, without pushing himself forward or shirking the expres-
sion of opinion.

One of Mr. Cleveland's claims to distinction lies in the
fact that he was the first President to take the country en-
tirely away from the prejudices and traditions of the Civil
War, while still preserving the great moral lessons that made
it so real as an influence on national life and character. It
was his good fortune to restore perfect confidence between the
elements of a people long widely sundered. This had been
talked about by every President and public man for a full
score of years ; but his predecessors could not escape from
their environment, or fully recognize the fact that old things
had passed away and that all things were become new. The
war left many problems, some of them more serious than a
civilized nation had ever before known. But struggle or dream
as he might, during the long period under discussion, no Pres-
ident could get away from prejudice and partisanship. The
one great overmastering issue had been settled by the stern
arbitrament of war. When it no longer remained as a
reality it was still left to do duty as a tradition. Giant abuses
had followed its settlement and in order to correct them th§


courage of the soldier must give way to thai civ

so rare among men, aijid so valuable to a people. This could nol
be found at once, and yet no perfect readjustmenl wa ■ pi
until it was found, and the man representing it was installed
in a commanding place.

Mr. Cleveland was elected President, and .is the result of
his wisdom, prudence, and foresight the war became merely an
episode in our country's history. It was a glorious memory ;
not a living issue about which parties must divide or nun
quarrel. The "conscious nationality," for which Lowell
had longed, had come at last. The last canvass had been
conducted on the ideas of twenty years before ; we now found
a man whose patriotic aspirations were not bounded by the
next election. Our national horizon was enlarged, and with
this wider view, new thoughts and sentiments were aroused.
The past was now so secure that both duty and necessity
compelled a great people to look to the future with ear-
nestness and hope. Coming thus into the new conditions which
he did so much to create, there is nowhere in Mr. Cleveland's
utterances any regret that the past had left problems for him
and his generation to solve. He turns always with confidence
and hope to the new duties that lie before his country or
confront its leaders and people.

When courage, tempered by conscience, were combined with
the power inhering in a great office, the value of the resulting
service was simply incalculable. Mr. Cleveland has always
impressed his countrymen with his belief that, however
bad the conditions or the men they had produced, the virtue
and intelligence of his countrymen were potent to save
from the gravest perils. Yet he is not one of those who, call
ing themselves optimists, affect to believe that things will com.


right without an effort to make them s6; and as he has al-
ways emphasized the doctrine that the individual must work,
and struggle with temptation and danger in order that he may
find or create opportunity, so to him the nation, the State,
or the community, is only an aggregation of units, and cannot
escape, without effort, the consequences of weakness, selfish-
ness, or wrongdoing.

He never looks upon a temporary abuse as a necessary
effect or fixture of government by the people. So, always
and everywhere, he emphasizes the necessity for patriotic
effort. His exhortation to care and watchfulness shows how
deeply seated is the sentiment of faith in the right. With him
appeal lies to the good sense, the ingrained probity, the moral
purposes of his fellow-men. He insists everywhere that if
these are good in private life, and if the individual finds them
desirable and necessary, it is still more important that the
same principles shall animate the mass when it takes the form
of organized society. His speeches and letters show not the
least sign of demagogy. He no more appeals to the base pas-
sions of men when they are associated, than he would if they
could be resolved into their original units.

His countrymen already know Mr. Cleveland as a man of
tender heart, kindly toward his neighbors and the world, con-
siderate of the interests of all, and indifferent to nothing
human. They will find in his writings and speeches, here
massed together, new and emphatic evidence of this sentiment.
He is interested in political problems because, in his view,
their discussion and right settlement will promote the happi-
ness of his fellow-men. He insisted upon the honest and
decent conduct of the affairs of a city, because he believed
that the health, prosperity, and happiness of its people would


be promoted, and he has shown thai he believes the welfare
of the people of a State or a great nation should be the in \
concern of the men chosen to direct its destinies.

He emphasizes, at all times, the duty of economy and thrift,
both public and private, because of his conviction that a plain
and prosperous people must be a contented and a happy one ,
and insists, with even more emphasis, that fine houses,
great fortunes, and material prosperity should be only means to
an end, and that end the greatest good of all. He saves the
taxpayers' money from misappropriation, when convinced thai
its expenditure is wrong or that it is about to be devoted to
useless or questionable purposes. He refuses to permit the be-
stowal of a pension upon an unworthy claimant, because it
would do violence to the sentiment of honesty that animates
him. While his kindness of heart is everywhere apparent, in
act as well as in speech, he does not permit himself to do an act
of charity with money derived from taxation, when placed at
his disposal by reason of his official position, even though it
might commend itself as worthy if appeal were made to him
as an individual.

So, while he is the most practical of men, he is made so
because every action is dictated by honor and duty. This
faculty has enabled him to appeal to his countrymen in his
individual right. With exalted conceptions of the dignity of
a great office, and the ability and courage to fix the very
highest standard in act, as well as in theory, his country-
men have given him the perfect confidence that comes to few
public men — a confidence that never comes to the servant of
the people unless he is at the same time a high type of man,
morally as well as intellectually.

A man of this kind deals only with the serious concerns of


life. He does not take a light view of them. Though his
sense of humor is keen, and he can hold unworthy men or
groveling ideas up to ridicule in the most effective way, he
could not make a joke on any question that had a moral issue in
it, or on the character of George Washington. It is an inter-
esting fact that such serious discussion should be welcomed
from a man of elevated character with a great official dignity
behind it. The number of public men who can command
the attention of their countrymen upon the most important
business problems is not large, and much of Mr. Cleveland's
unquestioned popularity arises from the fact that he is the one
President, since the war period, who has gained the unreserved
confidence of his countrymen on great fiscal questions.
Whatever men may think of his party affiliations or his views
of public policy, there is agreement in the judgment that he
will conduct the financial affairs of the nation with unques-
tioned safety. The secret of all this lies in the fact that he
applies to every question as it affects the public the well-
grounded moral principles which, according to his view, ought
to govern men in their individual relations.

It has been fortunate for Mr. Cleveland and his countrymen
that he was a man of mature years and thought before he
began to speak, and that, from the beginning of his public
career, he has never spoken at random. He did not have to
conduct any oratorical experiments at the expense of his
hearers in order to make his art useful. He was forty-four
years old when, in those remarkable messages to the Common
Council of Buffalo, he began a public career which, in a little
more than three years, led him to the White House. He had
learned to write and speak well while he was engaged
modestly in the practice of his profession. But he


had something infinitely better and more effective than
for saying things plainly and well. He had something to say.
He had gone in and oui before his neighbors, studying their
needs and forming an opinion about the best way to correi I
the evils that he saw about him. With this knowledge of the
existence of abuses, and his habit of carefully studying every
question as it came before him, he had no difficulty in mastering
it in all its bearings and in suggesting a remedy.

His speeches and publie papers are not mere pointers on the
politieal weather-vane, or the exposition of something thai has
already become popular. He deems it his duty to direel
attention to wrongs, and when he finds a great one he attaeks il
with the same intelligence and energy that he shows when deal-
ing with the many smaller ones included in it. He does not seek
to alarm or to punish only petty offenders who are weak, in
order to impress the public, while big and strong ones are
left to escape. He shirks nothing. He will veto, ruthlessly,
an ordinance awarding a city contract to a politieal and per-
sonal friend, when he knows that the bid is too high, or that
bad methods have been employed to secure it. He cannot be
induced to sign a bill for the reason that a political friend may
think it useful to his own party. If his power is enlarged, he
considers that his responsibility is increased in even a greater
ratio. While he may condemn the cowardice that unnecessarily
puts responsibility upon him, he does not shirk it and make
excuse because a legislative body has dealt unfairly with him
and the public interests. He applies to each case the test of
morality as well as that of good sense, and emphasizes his

Online LibraryGrover ClevelandThe writings and speeches of Grover Cleveland; (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 48)