Grover Cleveland.

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

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Our American holiday cannot be appropriately celebrated
without recalline; the immense cost and the transcendent value



TO POLITICAL CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS. 293

of our national independence, and awakening and reserving in
our hearts that spirit of patriotism which is the foundation of
our independence and the security of our life as a nation.

Every American citizen should, on that day, consecrate
himself anew to an unqualified allegiance to his government,
and should soberly realize that no social or political relation in
life can be worthily maintained unless it embraces an unselfish
lo\ e of country.

Your time-honored association justly claims a proud history
of devotion to a political party which has always insisted upon
the integrity of our free institutions, and which lias at all times
professed to champion the rights of the people. I am, there-
fore, certain that the Tammany Society, in its celebration of
Independence Day, will not fail to emphasize the truth that
political organizations can only be valuable, and party efforts
can only promise success, when they have for their purpose and
inspiration the broadest and purest patriotism.
Yours very truly,

Grover Cleveland.
Thomas F. Gilroy, Grand Sachem.



XVII.
To the Young Mens Democratic Association, Canton, O,

New York, November 25, 1890.

I thank you for the imitation I have just received to meet
with the members of the Young Men's Democratic Club at
Canton to rejoice over the late Democratic victory. I am
sorry to say that it will be impossible for me to be present on
the occasion you contemplate, but I hope that it will be full of
enthusiasm and congratulation.

And yet may I not suggest one sober thought which should
constantly be in our minds? Our late success is, of course, the
triumph of Democratic principles, but that success was made
possible by the co-operation of many who are not to be con-



294 TO POLITICAL CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS.

sidered as irrevocably and under all circumstances members of
our party. They trusted us and allied themselves with us in
the late struggle because they saw that those with whom they
had acted politically were heedless of the interests of the coun-
try and untrue to the people.

We have still to convince them that Democracy means some-
thing more than mere management for party success and a
partisan distribution of benefits after success. This can only
be done by insisting that in the conduct of our party, principles
touching the public welfare shall be placed above spoils, and
this is the sentiment of the masses of the Democratic party to-
day. They are disinterested and patriotic, and they should not
be misrepresented by the tricks of those who would not scruple
to use the party name for selfish purposes.

I do not say that there is danger of this; but I am convinced
that our duty to those who have trusted us consists in pushing
on, continually and vigorously, the principles in the advocacy
of which we have triumphed, and thus superseding all that is
ignoble and unworthy. In this way we shall place our party
on solid ground and confirm the people in the hope that we
strive for their welfare, and, following this course, we shall
deserve and achieve further success.

Yours very truly,

Grovkk Cleveland.



XVII 1.
To the Cleveland Club, Atlanta, Ga.

New York, February 29, 1892.
My Dear Sir:

I will not attempt to conceal the gratification afforded me by
the message you transmit from the Cleveland Club of Atlanta.
1 have received so many manifestations of friendliness from
the people of Atlanta that I cherish toward them the warmest
gratitude and liveliest affection.

I cannot say that 1 am certain 1 deserve all the laudation
contained in the resolutions of vourclub. I can say, however,



TO POLITICAL CLUBS \ND ORGANIZATIONS. 295

that I find a sense of great satisfaction in the reflection that 1
have been permitted to aid somewhat in restoring to the people,
in a large section of our country, their standing and position in
our common American citizenship, not nominally and barrenly,
but substantially and potentionally.

For whatever 1 have done in this direction 1 have abundant
reward in the prosperity of your people, which doubles our
national prosperity; in the cheerful co-operation of your peo-
ple, which insures a lasting national brotherhood; and in the
appreciation by your people of all that has been done in their
behalf.

After all, 1 look upon these beneficent accomplishments as
resulting from the appreciation of true Democratic doctrines,
and I believe that one who in public place submits himself to
their guidance will find it easy to do justice and to subserve
the interests of all his fellow-countrymen.

Yours very truly,

Grover Clf.vf.land.



CHAPTER XII.

SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES.
I.

Serenade Speech from Balcony of Buffalo Democratic Club upon
his Nomination for Governor, September 22, 1882.

My Friends :

I am sure there will be nothing for me to do in the cam-
paign upon which we have just entered that will so appeal to
my feelings, and about which I will have to take so much
care, as in addressing you this evening. 1 must be careful
what I say, or the recollections of the past and the apprecia-
tion of your esteem will quite overcome me.

I can but remember to-night the time when I came among
you, friendless, unknown, and poor. I can but remember
how, step by step, by the encouragement of my good fellow-
citizens, I have gone on to receive more of their appreciation
than is my due, until I have been honored with more distinc-
tion, perhaps, than I deserve. The position of Mayor of this
great and proud city ought to be enough to satisfy the most
ambitious. The position of Mayor, backed and supported as
it is by every good citizen, I am sure, should satisfy any man,
and it would seem almost grasping to wish for a higher honor.
The promise of the future that is before me is somewhat
saddened and dimmed by the reflection that, if carried out,
I should have to leave my good friends of Buffalo to enter
upon another sphere of activity.

Bear in mind, gentlemen, that whatever may come in the
future, the people of Buffalo and all their kindnesses to me
will ever have the warmest place in a grateful heart.

2Q6



SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES. 297

The event of to-day is an event which appeals to the local
pride of us all, and 1 should be too vain to live with — too
vain to be of any comfort to my friends — if I did not fully
appreciate the fact that this splendid ovation is not altogether
on account of personal preference. You are here to support
a cause — a great cause, and while you may fully appreciate
that a fellow-citizen is to bear aloft the banner of Democracy
in this campaign, you are to remember that he is the standard-
bearer in a cause that is dear to the people and in which all
their interests are involved. Von are to support it because
you struggle for principles the ascendency of which will bring
happiness, peace, and prosperity to the people.

It is fitting that the campaign should begin here at these
club rooms, where, perhaps, more than in any other place, my
candidacy was started and has been fostered. I wish that
those valiant old soldiers — call them old men and old boys, if
you will — were here to-night to enjoy with us the fruit of our
labors.

Here we begin ! Let us not believe that because local
pride and preference urge us on and the prospect looks
bright — let us not think that the battle is to be won without a
great struggle. On the one side we are to fight in the interest
of the people against a power upheld by a National Adminis-
tration, and it will take the strongest effort to shake off its
vise-like grip.

Remember that all the means and money at the command
of the Administration are to be put into play against us.

Remember that New York is the battle ground of 18S4.

Do not be cajoled into the belief that because we are confi-
dent here — because my neighbors are enthusiastic in my
support — that this is going to win the day. Remember that
this is a large State and one which is regarded as the key to
an important position.

Off then with our coats ! We must labor as we never did
before, and not for personal preferences but for the great
cause in which we are enlisted



298 speeches in political canvasses.

II.

Serenade Speech at Albany, October 12, 1S83.

Fellow-Citizens :

I am very much gratified by this remembrance of me in
the middle of the rejoicing which to-night gladdens the
hearts of the members of the party to which I am glad to
belong. I do not for a moment attribute this demonstra-
tion and the compliment of the serenade to any other cause
than the inclination of my party friends, at uch a time as this,
to congratulate each other on this occasion. ( )fficial place and
public position may be laid aside, for a moment, while, as
fellow-members of a party which has achieved a victory, we
mingle our joy and exultation. We celebrate to-night a
victory in a most important field, and a victory which gives us
an earnest of a much greater yet to come. We look with
pride and joy to the achievement of our brethren in a sister
State, and yield to them all the praise and admiration which
their gallantry and courage claim.

The first battle in the great campaign of 1884 has been
fought and won. Ohio in the van calls on us to follow.
What shall the answer be ? The Democracy of New York
sends back the ringing assurance that we are on the way, and
in a few short days will be at her side, bearing glorious
trophies. This is not an idle boast, full of temporary en-
thusiasm, nor the voice of blind partisan zeal. We shall
succeed because we deserve success, because the people are
just, and because we bear high aloft the banner of their rights.
We know full well the need of watchfulness and effort, and we
shall not fail to appreciate that neglect and slothfulness are a
betrayal of our trust.

I congratulate most sincerely every true Democrat in the
State of New York that the cause in which he is enlisted is so
worthy of his best efforts, and that the candidates chosen to
lead in the contest so well represent his cause. The conven-
tion which selected, for the Democratic party, the men now



SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES. 299

presented to the people of the State for their suffrages had be-
fore it other men, any of whom the party would have delighted
to honor ; but a choice was to be made, and that it was well
and fairly made 1 fully believe. The charge or insinuation in
any quarter that the choice was influenced improperly, or de-
termined otherwise than by the judgment of those upon whom
the-responsibility was cast, will not deceive and may be safely
left to the intelligence of the people of the State.

For myself, I shall claim the privilege of aiding in the cause.
This cannot be done by fault-finding and cavil. I know I can
aid by performing the duties of my public trust for the benefit
of the people, for I am sure that the party which does not keep
near to them, and the party representatives who are not care-
ful of their interests, they will repudiate. We seek to put the
affairs of the State in the hands of men having the full confi-
denceof the party. We seek to put in higher places those who
have shown fidelity to every private and public trust. We
present to the people of the State candidates all of whom
come accredited with the confidence and affection of their
neighbors, which are the best credentials. Their ability to
perform the duties of the offices is unquestioned, and, fresh
from the people, they understand and will care for their
wants.

Believing these things, I am enlisted in their success, and 1
hope that, through the hearty efforts of their party friends and
by the intelligent action of the voters of the State, I may wel-
come them to share in the administration of our State govern-
ment.



III.

At Newark, N. /., October 26, 18S4.

I am here to visit the county and State where I was born, in
response to the invitation of many political friends and a
number of those who, as neighbors, remember my family, if



300 SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES.

not me. I do not wish to attempt any false pretense by
declaring that ever since the day when, a very small boy, I left
the State, I have languished in an enforced absence and longed
to tread again its soil ; and yet I may say, without affectation,
that, though the way of life has led me far from the place of
my birth, the names of Caldwell and Newark and the memories
connected with these places are as fresh as ever. I have never
been disloyal to my native State, but have ever kept a place
warm in my heart for the love I cherish for my birthplace.
I hope, then, that I shall not be regarded as a recreant son,
but that I may, without challenge, lay claim to my place as a
born Jerseyman.

If you will grant me this I shall not be too modest to assume
to share the pride which you all must feel in the position the
State of New Jersey and the county of Essex hold in the coun-
try to-day. The history of the State dates beyond the time
when our Union was formed. Its farm-lands exceed in aver-
age value per acre those of any other State, and it easily leads
all the States in a number of important industries. When we
consider the city of Newark, we find a municipality ranking as
the fourteenth in point of population among the cities of the
land. It leads every other city in three important industries;
it is second in another, and third in still another.

Of course, all these industries necessitate the existence of a
large laboring population. This force, in my opinion, is a
further element of strength and greatness in the State ; no
part of the community should be more interested in a wise and
just administration of their government, none should be better
informed as to their needs and rights, and none should
guard more vigilantly against the smooth pretenses of false
friends.

In common with other citizens they should desire an honest
and economical administration of public affairs. It is quite
plain, too, that the people have a right to demand that no more
money shall be taken from them, directly or indirectly, for
public use, than is necessary for this purpose. Indeed, the



SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES. 3°'

right of the government to exact tribute from the citizen is
limited to its actual necessities, and every cent taken from the
people beyond that required for their protection by the govern-
ment is no better than robbery. We surely must condemn,
then, a system which takes from the pockets of the people
millions of dollars not needed for the support of the govern-
ment, ,md which tends to the inauguration of corrupt schemes
and extravagant expenditures.

The Democratic [tarty has declared that all taxation shall be
limited by the requirements of an economical government
This is plain and direct, and it distinctly recognized the value
of labor, ami its right to governmental care, when it declared
that the necessary reduction in taxation, and the limitation
thereof to the country's needs, should be effected without
depriving American labor of the ability to compete success-
fully with foreign labor and without injuring the interests of
our laboring population. At this time, when the suffrages of
the laboring men are so industriously sought, they should, by
careful inquiry, discover the party pledged to the protection of
their interests, and which recognizes in their labor something-
most valuable to the prosperity of the country and primarily
entitled to its care and protection. An intelligent examination
will lead them to the exercise of their privileges as citizens in
furtherance of their interests and the welfare of the country.
An unthinking performance of their duty at the ballot-box
will result in their injury and betrayal.

No party and no candidate can have cause to complain of
the free and intelligent expression of the people's will. This
expression will be free when uninfluenced by appeals to preju-
dice, or the senseless cry of danger selfishly raised by a party
that seeks the retention of power and patronage ; and it will be
intelligent when based upon calm deliberation and a full ap-
preciation of the duty of good citizenship. In a government
of the people no party gains to itself all the patriotism which
the country contains. The perpetuity of our institutions and
the public welfare surely do not depend upon unchanging party



302 SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES.

ascendency, but upon a simple businesslike administration of
the affairs of government and the appreciation by public officers
that they are the people's servants, not their masters.



IV.
At Bridgeport, Conn., October 30, 1884.

I cannot forbear, at such a time as this, to express the pleas-
ure I experience in the sincere and heartfelt welcome that the
people of New Haven, Bridgeport, and the State of Connecti-
cut have accorded me. If this welcome was a tribute to me as
an individual, I could only express my gratitude ; but when I
find I represent an idea that is the same with you as with me,
it is with a sense of responsibility that I stand before you.

The world has not produced so grand a spectacle as a nation
of freemen determining its own cause. In that position you
stand to-night. At such a time a leader stands in a solemn
position, and the plaudits of his hearers can only serve to in-
crease the feeling of responsibility — that is, if he is a man true
to his country and to the best interests of her people — which
pervades the contest.

Survey the field of the coming contest. See the forces
drawn up in array against you from a party strong in numbers,
flanked by a vast army of office-holders, long in power, rich in
resources, both of money and influence, but corrupt to the
core. To-day, they seek to control the religious element of
your country ; to-morrow, they will endeavor to gain the in-
terest of your millionaire magnates for the purpose of raising
money to carry on their campaign.

There should be no mistake about this contest. It is an
attempt to break down the barrier between the people of the
United States and those that rule them. The people are
bound down by a class of officediolders whose business it is to
make money out of their positions. If you are to go on for-
ever choosing your rulers from this class, what will be the



SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES. 303

end ? This is a question every one of you can answer for him-
self. Because it is the party of the people thousands are
flocking to our standard, for they love their fellow-countrymen
and their country more than they do their party.

Let us feel that the people are the rulers of the nation, and
not the office-holders, whose sole ambition and purpose is pri-
vate gain. Let us also feel that if the people give us the
power of government we hold from the people a sacred
trust.



V.

As Chairman of the Democratic Ratification Meeting in
the Cooler Union, New York, October 9, 1891.

My Fellow-Citizens :

I acknowledge with much satisfaction the compliment paid
me by my selection as your presiding officer to-night. I am
glad to meet an assemblage of my fellow-townsmen on an
occasion when their thoughts turn to the political situation
which confronts them and at a time when their duty as
citizens, as well as members of a grand political organiza-
tion, should be subject to their serious consideration.

If I may be indulged a few moments I shall occupy
that much of your time in presenting some suggestions touch-
ing the condition and responsibilities of the Democracy to
the people of the country, and the obligations and duty at
this particular time of the Democracy of our State.

The Democratic party has been at all times.by profession
and by tradition, the party of the people. I say by pro-
fession and tradition, but I by no means intend to hint, in
the use of this expression, that, in its conduct and action, it
has failed to justify its profession or been recreant to its
traditions. It must, however, be admitted that we have had
our seasons of revival, when the consciousness of what true
Democracy really means has been especially awakened, and



3°4 SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES.

when we have been unusually aroused to a lively apprecia-
tion of the aggressiveness and activity which conscience
exacts of those who profess the Democratic faith, and who are
thus enlisted in the people's cause.

We contemplate to-night such a revival and the stupen-
dous results which have thus far attended it. In view of
these things we cannot be honest and sincere and fail to
see that a stern and inexorable duty is now at our door.

We saw the money of the people unnecessarily extorted
from them under the guise of taxation.

We saw that this was the result of a scheme perpetuated
for the purpose of exacting tribute from the poor for the
benefit of the rich.

We saw, growing out of this scheme, the wholesale de-
bauchery and corruption of the people whom it impoverished.

We saw a party, which advocated and defended this wrong,
gaining and holding power in the government by the shame-
less appeal to selfishness which it invited.

We saw the people actually burnishing the bonds of mis-
representation and misconception which held them, and we
saw sordidness and the perversion of all that constitutes good
citizenship on every hand, and sturdy Americanism in jeopardy.

We saw a party planning to retain partisan ascendency by
throttling and destroying the freedom and integrity of the
suffrage through the most radical and reckless legislation.

We saw waste and extravagance raiding the public treasury,
and justified in official places, while economy in government
expenditures was ridiculed by those who held in trust the
people's money.

We saw the national assemblage of the people's representa-
tives transformed to the mere semblance of a legislative assem-
bly, by the brute force of a violently-created majority and by
unprecedented arbitrary rulings, while it was jeeringly declared,
by those who usurped its functions, to be no longer a delibera-
tive body.

Then it was that the Democratic party, standing forth to do



SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES. 305

determined battle against these abuses, which threatened the
welfare and happiness of the people, called upon them to trust
it, and promised them that the warfare should be relentless and
uncompromising.

As results of the struggle then entered upon, never has the
resistless force of the awakened thought of our countrymen
been more completely demonstrated, and never has the irre-
sistible strength of the principles of Democracy been more
fully exemplified. From the West and from the East came
tidings of victory. In the popular branch of the next Congress
the party which lately impudently arrogated to itself the dom-
ination of that body, will fill hardly more than one-fourth of
its seats. Democratic Governors occupy the enemy's strong-
holds in Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
In Pennsylvania, the election of a Democratic Governor pre-
sented conclusive proof of Republican corruption exposed and
Republican dishonesty detected.

But with all these results of a just and fearless Democratic
policy, our work is not yet completely done ; and I want to
suggest to you that any relaxation of effort within the lines
established by the National Democracy will be a violation of
the pledges we gave the people when we invited their co-
operation and undertook their cause.

I do not forget that we are gathered together to ratify State
nominations, and that we are immediately concerned with a
State campaign. It seems to me, however, that, while national
questions of the greatest import are yet unsettled, and when
we are on the eve of a national campaign in which they must
be again pressed upon the attention of the voters of the
country, the Democracy of the great State of New York
cannot and will not entirely ignore them. If we fail to retain
ascendency in the Empire State, no matter upon what issue it
is lost, and no matter how much our opponents may seek to
avoid great and important topics, it will be claimed as the
verdict of our people against the principles and platform of
the National Democracy.



306 SPEECHES IN POLITICAL CANVASSES.

It is evident that if our opponents are permitted tG
choose the line of battle they will avoid all national issues.
Thus far this is plainly their policy. There is nothing strange
in this, for they may well calculate that, whatever may be their



Online LibraryGrover ClevelandThe writings and speeches of Grover Cleveland; (Volume 1) → online text (page 26 of 48)