Grover Cleveland.

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

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fate in other fields, they have been decisively beaten in the
discussion of national questions. It can hardly be expected
that they will come to the field of Waterloo again, unless forced
to do so.

I am very far from having any fear of the result of a full
discussion of the subjects which pertain to State affairs. We
have an abundance of reasons to furnish why on these issues
alone we should be further trusted with the State government;
but it does not follow that it is wise to regard matters of national
concern as entirely foreign to the pending canvass, and espe-
cially to follow the enemy in their lead entirely away from the
issues they most fear and which they have the best of reasons
to dread. This very fear and dread give in this particular
case strength and pertinency to the doctrine that a party should
at all times and in all places be made to feel the consequences
of their misdeeds as long as they have remaining any power
for harm and as long as they justify and defend their wrong-

Those who act with us merely because they approve the
present position of the National Democracy and the reforms we
have undertaken, and who oppose in national affairs Republi-
can policy and methods, and who still think the State cam-
paign we have in hand has no relation to the principles and
policy which they approve, are in danger of falling into a
grave error. Our opponents in the pending canvass, though
now striving hard to hide their identity in a cloud of dust
raised by their iteration of irrelevant things, constitute a large
factor in the party which, still far from harmless, seeks to per-
petuate all the wrongs and abuses of Republican rule in
national affairs. Though they may strive to appear tame and
tractable in a State campaign, they but dissemble to gain a
new opportunity for harm.


In the present condition of affairs it is not to be supposed
that any consistent and thoughtful member of the Democratic
organization can fail to see it his duty to engage enthusiastic-
ally and zealously in the support of the ticket and platform
which represent our party in this campaign. They are
abundantly worthy and deserving of support on their own
merits and for their own sake. We seek to place at the head
of our State government a man of affairs, who, in a long busi-
ness career, has earned the good opinion and respect of all his
fellows, whose honesty and trustworthiness have never been
impeached, and who, I am sure, will administer the great office,
to which he will be called, independently, fearlessly, and for
the good of all the people of the State. We seek further to
secure the Empire State in her Democratic steadfastness, and
we seek to win a victory which shall redeem the pledges we
have made to regard constantly the interests of the people of
the land, and which shall give hope and confidence to the
National Democracy in the struggles yet to come.

With these incentives and with these purposes in view, I
cannot believe that any Democrat can be guilty of lukewarm-
ness or slothfulness.

With a party united and zealous; with no avoidance of any
legitimate issue ; with a refusal to be diverted from the consid-
eration of great national and State questions to the discussion
of misleading things; and, with such a presentation of the issues
involved as will prove our faith in the intelligence of the peo-
ple of the State, the result cannot be doubtful.


At the Brooklyn Ratification Meeting, October
14, 1891.
My Fellow-Citizens:

It does not need the cordial welcome you give me to-night
to convince me that I am among friends. The good will and
attachment of the people and the Democracy of Kings County


have been in times past repeatedly manifested toward me and
are remembered with constant gratitude. There was, therefore,
a potent and palpable reason why 1 should not decline an invi-
tation to be with you to-night.

Another reason not less strong why I am here is found in
the fact that this is a gathering of my political friends in the
interest of the Democratic cause and in token of their hearty
support of Democratic principles and candidates. In such an
assemblage I always feel at home.

My extreme interest in the State campaign now pending
arises from a conception of its importance, which 1 do not
believe is at all exaggerated. The fact that it immediately
precedes a national campaign in which the vote of New York
may be a controlling factor, is, of itself, sufficient to enlist the
activity of every man entitled to claim a place in Democratic
councils. Besides this, the failure on the part of the Democ-
racy of the State to emphasize further its support of the reforms
to which the National Democracy is pledged, we must all con-
fess would be a party humiliation.

There are, however, reasons beyond these, which are close
at home and have relation to State interests, quite sufficient
to arouse supreme Democratic efforts. There are dangers
clearly imminent, and schemes almost unconcealed, which affect
our State and which can only be avoided and defeated by the
strong and determined protest of the united Democracy of
New York.

The party we oppose, resting upon no fundamental princi-
ples, sustaining a precarious existence upon distorted senti-
ment, and depending for success upon the varying currents of
selfish interests and popular misconception, cannot endure the
sight of a community which is inclined to withstand its blan-
dishments and which refuses to be led away by its misrepresen-
tations. Thus, in its national management and methods it
boldly seeks to thwart the intention of voters, if they are Dem-
ocratic, and to stifle the voice of the people, if they speak in
Democratic tones. I am sure it is not necessary to remind


you in proof of this of the latest effort of our opponents at
Washington in this direction, nor to speak of the Democratic
congratulation which spread throughout the land when, by the
defeat of the Force Bill, our boasted American freedom of
suffrage was saved and constitutional rights preserved through
the combined efforts of a Democratic Senatorial minority
splendidly led and grandly sustained.

is there a Democrat — nay, is there any man — so dull as to
suppose that the Republican party in this State is not of the
same disposition as the party in the nation ? Do not the atti-
tude and conduct of its representatives from this State in
national affairs abundantly prove that the party in New York
can be implicitly trusted to aid any scheme of this sort that
promises partisan advantage ? If further proof is desired that
New York Republicans are thoroughly imbued with the pro-
clivities that characterize the party in national affairs, it is
readily found. Under the positive requirements of our State
Constitution an enumeration of the inhabitants of the State
should have been made in 1SS5, and the Senatorial and Assem-
bly districts newly adjusted in accordance with such an enu-
meration. This has not yet been done, though our opponents
have had a majority in both branches of the legislature ever
since that year, except that in the last session a Democratic
majority appeared in the assembly. A Republican reason for the
neglect of a plain duty in the matter of this enumeration is found
in the fact that, under such a new arrangement, localities which
have increased in population and at the same time in Demo-
cratic voters, would be entitled to a larger representation in the
legislature than they now have; while the existing adjustment is
a very comfortable one from a Republican standpoint. In the
present condition, it is calculated that a Democratic majority in
the State must reach at least 50,000 in order to give us a major-
ity in the assembly. In 1S85 we elected our State ticket by more
than 11,000 majority, and yet but 50 Democratic members of
assembly were electee], while the defeated party elected 7S.
In 1886 our majority was nearly 8000, but only 54 Democratic


assemblymen were elected, to 74 Republicans. In 1887 a
Democratic majority on our State ticket of more than 17,000
yielded only 56 Democratic assemblymen to 72 Republican.
In 1888, though the State ticket was carried by a majority not
much less, we had but 49 assemblymen to 79 for the defeated
opposition. In 1889 with a majority of over 20,000 on our
State ticket we elected but 57 assemblymen, while the defeated
party secured 71. In 1890 we carried the State on the con-
gressional vote by more than 75,000 majority, and yet elected
but 6S members of assembly to 60 elected by the party so
largely in the minority.

Whatever may be said about the quarrels between a Dem-
ocratic Governor and a Republican Legislature over the man-
ner in which a new enumeration should be made, there is no
difficulty in finding enough, in Republican disposition and
practices, to justify the suspicion that any pretext was wel-
come, to the representatives of that party in the State, that
would serve to perpetuate the present condition. There is no
reason to hope for a better and more just representation of
the political sentiments of the people of the State except
through a complete dislodgment of those who have long
profited by this injustice. Its continuance is directly involved
in the present campaign, for not only a Governor, but a new
senate and assembly are to be elected. No election will soon
occur that will afford so good an opportunity to secure to our
party the share in State legislation to which it is entitled, nor
will the Democratic party soon have so good a chance to rec-
tify a political wrong.

By way of further suggesting the importance of this cam-
paign, 1 ask you not to forget that a new apportionment of
representatives in Gongress is to be made on the basis of the
census just completed, and that it may devolve upon the next
legislature to readjust the congressional districts of the State.
Previous to 1883 these districts were so arranged that, though
in 1880 our opponents carried the State by only about twenty-
one thousand, they secured twenty congressman to thirteen


elected by the Democrats, while in 1882, though the Dem-
ocratic candidate for Governor had a majority of more than
one hundred and ninety thousand, there were elected but
twenty-one Democratic congressmen, one being a citizen of
Brooklyn, elected at large, while the party in the minority
elected thirteen representatives. The change of congres-
sional districts made in 1883, by a Democratic legislature and
approved by a Democratic Governor, may well be referred to
as an illustration of Democratic fairness. In the election of
1884, the first held under the new arrangement, our national
ticket carried the State by a small majority, but the congres-
sional delegation was equally divided between the parties.
In both the elections of 18S6 and 1888, though the Dem-
ocratic State ticket was elected by moderate majorities,
our opponents elected nineteen congressmen, while only
fifteen were secured by the party having a majority of votes
in the State. It required a Democratic majority in the Stale
of 75,000 to secure at the last election only three congressmen
above the number elected by our opponents under the former
adjustment, when their State ticket had not much more than
one-fourth of that majority.

I am far from complaining of the present congressional ad-
justment. On the contrary, I am glad that my party was
more than just and fair when it had the opportunity. But I
want to put the inquiry whether, judging from the past con-
duct of our opponents in such matters, and from what seems
to be their natural disposition, there is the least chance of their
dealing fairly by the Democracy of the State if they have the
control of the next arrangement of congressional districts.

I purposely refrain from detaining you with the presenta-
tion of other considerations which impress me with the im-
portance at this time of Democratic activity, but 1 cannot
avoid recalling the fact that I am in an atmosphere where the
doctrine of home rule has especially flourished, and among a
community where this Democratic doctrine has been un-
usually exemplified. Let me remind you that no Democratic


locality can exist without attracting to it the wistful gaze of
those who find an adherence to the doctrine of home rule and
an attachment to the Democratic faith, obstacles to the polit-
ical advantage they seek to gain without scruple as to their
method of procedure.

I need not say that the safety of Democracy, in the State
and here at your home, is only to be preserved by Democratic
steadfastness. I do not forget how often and how effectively
you have displayed that steadfastness in the past, nor do I
forget your service to the State when you contributed to
places of trust in its government and administration the intel-
ligence, fidelity, and ability of your fellow-townsman who
soon retires from the chief magistracy of your city ; and I will
stifle my complaint that, in selecting his successor, you have re-
called a recent and most valuable contribution to the cause of
Democracy in national councils.

In your relation to the pending canvass, every Democrat
who loves his country and his party must acknowledge the
important service rendered by representatives of Kings
County in aiding the formulation of a declaration of financial
principles in the platform which the Democracy presents to
the voters of the State, which leaves no room to doubt our in-
sistance upon sound and honest money for all the people.

In conclusion, let me assure you that I have absolute con-
fidence, based upon what you are and what you have done in
the past, that in the campaign upon which we have entered,
the Democrats of Kings County will more than ever exhibit
their devotion to the Democratic cause.


Before the Business Men's Democratic Association in Madison
Square Garden, New York, October 27, 1891.

Fellow-Citizens :

I am glad to have the opportunity to be present on this
occasion, even though I am able to do but little more than


speak a word of greeting to the representatives of our business
interests who are here assembled.

You have heard much, and have doubtless reflected much,
concerning the important results which depend upon the polit-
ical action of the people of our State at the coming election,
and 1 am glad to believe that the business men of the city of
New York understand that this political campaign is not only
important to them in common with all their fellow-citizens,
but that there are features in it which especially concern

It must be confessed that both here and in other parts of
the country, those engaged in business pursuits have kept too
much aloof from public affairs and have too generally acted
upon the theory that neither their duty as citizens nor their
personal interests required of them any habitual participation
in political movements. This indifference and inactivity have
resulted in a loss to our public service. I am firmly of the
belief that, if a few business men could be substituted for pro-
fessional men in official places, the people would positively
gain by the exchange. And it is strange to me that our
business men have not been quicker to see that their neglect
of political duty is a constant danger to their personal and
especial interests. They may labor and plan, in their counting-
houses or in their Exchanges, but, in the meantime, laws may
be passed by those ignorant of their business bearings, which,
in their operation, will counteract all this labor and defeat all
this planning.

I have expressed the belief that the business men of our
city are aroused to the fact that there are questions involved
in the campaign in this State which concern them and their
welfare in an unusual way. This is indicated by awakened
interest on every side and by this immense demonstration.
And it is difficult to see how it could be otherwise.

The city of New York as the center of all that makes ours
the Empire State, and as the great heart from which life-giving
currents flow to all parts of the country, cannot be indifferent


to the questions, both State and national, which have relation
to the State campaign now nearly closed.

Much has been said about the topics which should be dis-
cussed in the prosecution of this campaign. It has been
contended that the canvass should be confined to State issues,
and it has been claimed that national issues should be most
prominently considered. I conceive the truth to be that both
are proper subjects of discussion at this time ; and, in ihe
presence of this assemblage, called together to consider the
business features of the contest, I am impressed with the fact
that the best test to employ, by way of discovering the legiti-
macy of any topic in the pending campaign, is to inquire
whether it is connected with the good of the country and with
the business of the city and State, and whether it will be at all
influenced by the results of the canvass.

Can anyone doubt that the political verdict which the
people of New York will give in November next, will affect her
position in the general national engagement which will take
place one year hence ? In this view, the proper adjustment of
the tariff, which concerns so materially not only all our people,
but the commerce and the business of our city, should be
discussed. This, and the question of sound currency, cannot
be separated from the business interests of our State ; and
they should be put before our people now for the purpose of
inviting their thought and settling their opinions.

Applying this same test, it is entirely plain that an econom-
ical administration of State affairs and the numerous other
subjects having reference to a just, honest, and beneficent
State government are, in a business sense, important and

On all these questions the New York Democracy is right ;
and we are willing and anxious to discuss them in any place
and at any time.

But our opponents, apparently seeking to avoid the dis-
cussion of subjects legitimate to the canvass and affecting the
business of our city and State, and exhibiting such weakness


and fear as certainly ought not to escape notice, are shrieking
throughout the State the demerits and dangerous proclivities
of a certain political organization whose members support the
principles and candidates of the Democratic party. It would
be quite easy to show that, even if all they allege against this
organization were true, the perils our opponents present to the
people are baseless and absurd. But it seems to me the argu-
ment of such a question belittles an important situation.

Every man knows, or ought to satisfy himself whether the
principles and policy presented to the people by the Demo-
cratic party are such as he approves. If they are, certainly
his duty as a citizen obliges him to indorse them. Every
man ought to satisfy himself whether the candidates of the
Democratic party are men of such character and ability that he is
willing to trust them in the administration of his State govern-
ment. If he believes they are, he should not withhold his
support from them upon any frivolous and irrelevant pretext.

The exercise of the right of suffrage is a serious business;
and a man's vote ought to express his opinion on the questions
at issue. This it utterly fails to do if the voter listens to the
ravings of our opponents, and allows his vote merely to record
the extent to which he has yielded to the misleading and
cunningly devised appeals to his prejudices, made in behalf of a
desperate and discredited minority. Such a vote does not
influence, in the least, the real settlement of any of the weighty
matters of policy and principle upon which the people are
called to pronounce judgment.

If enough such votes should be given to cause a false ver-
dict in the State, those who should contribute to that result,
and thus become disloyal to their beliefs, would find every-
thing but satisfaction in their self-reproach, and in their sense
of degradation which would follow the unconcealed contempt
of those partisans who had duped them for the purpose of thus
gaining a [tarty advantage not otherwise possible.

In conclusion, I desire to disclaim any fear that the business
men of New York can be thus deluded. They will not only


apprehend the questions at issue, and see their duty and
interest, in soberly passing upon them without prejudice or
passion, but they will also appreciate the fact that the ticket
they are asked by the Democratic party to support expressly
recognizes them. It is headed by a man of business, who is
certainly entitled to their confidence, and who is so creditable
as their representative, that I believe his business character
has escaped attack during a campaign in which every attack
having any pretext whatever has been made. I will not espe-
cially refer by name to the remainder of our candidates — some
of whom are my old and near friends — because I think I ought
not to detain you longer than to say that they are all entirely
worthy of support, and that by the triumphant election of
every one of them the verdict of the people of the State ought
to be recorded in favor of good government and the advance-
ment of business interests.


/;/ Tremont Temple, Boston, October 31, 1S91.

My Fkllow-Citizens :

I should be quite uncomfortable at this moment if I sup-
posed you regarded me as a stranger in your State, and only
concerned as a Democratic spectator of the political campaign
which stirs the people of this commonwealth. I hope it is not
necessary to remind you that, by virtue of a sort of initiation
which I have recently undergone, I have a right to claim a
modified membership in the citizenship of Massachusetts ;
and though I am obliged to confess a limitation in the extent
of this citizenship I am somewhat compensated by what seems
to me to be its quality. So far as I have a residence among
you, it is the place where, amid quiet and peaceful surround-
ings, I enjoy that home life I so much love, where relaxation
from labor and from care restores health and vigor, and where
recreation, in pleasing variety, teaches me the lesson that man's


duty and mission arc not only to do the work which Ins rela-
tions to his feliow-men impose upon him, but to appreciate the

tilings which the goodness of God supplies in nature for man's
delight. While, therefore, no conditions could cause the least
abatement in the pride I feel as a fully qualified citizen of the
great State of New York, 1 cannot be insensible to the fact
that my relationship to Massachusetts connects your State
with the elements m my life which are full of delightful senti-
ment and with those enjoyments which enlarge and cultivate
the heart and soul.

I have spent to-day at my Massachusetts home, and meet
you here pursuant to a promise that, on my way out of the
State, I would look in on this assemblage of those who are
enlisted in a grand and noble cause.

It is but natural that my errand to your State, ami the in-
spection of that part of its soil of which I am the self-satisfied
owner, should arouse ail the Massachusetts feeling to which
this ownership entitles me, and should intensify that interest
in the political behavior of the State which rightfully belongs
to my semi-citizenship.

My relations to you are, perhaps, too new-fledged to shield
me from an accusation of affectation if I should dwell, with the
rapture others might more properly exhibit, upon the history,
traditions, and achievements of Massachusetts. I am sure,
however, that I may, with perfect propriety, remind you that
the people of Massachusetts have in their keeping certain
precious things which they hold in trust for all their country-
men. They can no more appropriate Plymouth Rock and
Bunker Hill than they can confine within the limits of their
State the deeds, the example, and the fame of the men whom
Massachusetts contributed to the public service of the Nation
in the days when giants lived.

The influence of your State upon the politics of the country
has by no means been limited to the actual share she and her
representative men have taken in governmental management.

Online LibraryGrover ClevelandThe writings and speeches of Grover Cleveland; (Volume 1) → online text (page 27 of 48)