Ratcliffe Hicks.

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It would be useless for me to deny what General
Hawley said, for it might at once be objected
against my denial that I am a Democrat. But I
will read to you the spoken words of a Republican
who has recently visited the Southern States, and
whose word ought to be to every honest Repub-
lican as conclusive as are the edicts of the Pope
to every faithful Catholic. I read from a speech
made by General Grant at Bloomington, 111., in
June last : —

172



IN REPLY TO GENERAL HAWLEY

" It may be appropriate on this occasion to refer to
my trip through the Southern States, and to what I
have seen while travelling. I have been gratified at
my reception in all the recently rebellious States. I
passed from Philadelphia to Florida on my way to
Havana, and on my return came via Texas from
Mexico, thus passing through all the rebellious States ;
and it will be agreeable to all to know that hospitality
was tendered me at every city through which I passed,
and accepted in nearly all of them by me. The same
decorations were seen in every State that are seen
here to-night. The Union flag floated over us every-
where, and the eyes of the people in those States
are as familiar with its colors as yours, and look
upon it as guaranteeing to them all the rights and
privileges of a free people, without regard to race,
color, or previous condition of servitude. In most of
the States, upon the reception committees, side by
side, were the men who wore the blue and the men
who wore the gray; and reception addresses were
made in part by those who wore the blue and those
who wore the gray. We have no reason to doubt that
those who wore the gray will fulfil all they have
promised in loyalty to the flag and the nation."

And now I will let General Hawley and General
Grant have it out. The first spoke for political
effect, the last to give expression to the honest
sentiments of a kindly heart.

Again, General Hawley said " the Democrats are
in favor of free trade, and that business will be
paralyzed if the Democrats come into power."

The Republicans are taking up this tariff discus-

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RATCLIFFE HICKS

sion simply for effect. They know there is nothing
to it, but they think it will scare some voters and
keep people from talking about the crimes of the
Republican party. With an annual expenditure
by the national government which cannot be less
than two hundred millions yearly for the next fifty
years, how is all this vast sum of money to be
raised except by a tariff which must necessarily be
protective ?

But this is not a question upon which men
divide politically. Only a few days ago a Demo-
cratic State convention in New Jersey adopted a
platform in favor of a protective tariff. The
strongest advocate of protection to American in-
dustry in Congress to-day is the Democratic
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon.
Samuel J. Randall, of Philadelphia. Here is what
Wade Hampton of South Carolina says : —

"The South generally feels that its best interests
require the protection of home industries. With the
growing unity and prosperity of our country there will
soon be large manufacturing interests in the South."

Not many months ago a Republican convention
in Iowa declared in favor of free trade. The
strongest advocate to-day in New England of
merely a revenue tariff is a paper that supports
Garfield for President, and always supports Gen-
eral Hawley when a candidate, — the " Springfield
Republican." That I may not misquote it, here
are its own words, in its issue of September 2 7 :
174



IN REPLY TO GENERAL HAWLEY

" As other issues pale, the tariflfgets more and more
discussion. The leading manufacturing interests are
certainly ready to accept a reduction of duties. The
New England cotton, paper, and woollen interests, we
believe, would not oppose a moderate reduction of
duties. They find that protection has been overdone
until domestic competition necessitates combinations,
short time, and other artificial agencies to conserve a
profit. They see that the hope of reaching a foreign
market upon the present basis is a delusion. We
shall never be able to reach a foreign market until we
have reduced the cost of our production and placed
ourselves more nearly on a par with England, the
country of free trade.

" As a large revenue is necessary, and the Democrats
are not likely to increase the internal revenue by rais-
ing the taxes on spirits and tobacco, it is clear that a
tariff for revenue is likely to afford all the protection
needed . Besides, the Democrats are not of one mind ;
they are disposed to protect Louisiana sugar, Georgia
iron, Texas wool, Pennsylvania and New Jersey man-
ufactures. So that neither party is 'solid' in this
issue, neither party is likely to go to extremes,
although the Republicans are rather disposed to
represent to artisans in protected industries that
their employment is in danger from Democratic
success."

The most unflinching and uncompromising
advocate of free trade in America is that stanch
Republican paper in New York City, the " Even-
ing Post." The most prominent Republican can-
didate for Congress to-day from the city of Boston
is a well-known advocate of free trade. I find this
175



RATCLIFFE HICKS

in the " Hartford Courant " of Saturday last from
their regular Boston correspondent : —

" Mr. John W. Candler has the Republican nomi-
nation here by ahnost a unanimous vote. I am pleased
to say, too, that he never retracted one word of what
he had said against the iniquities of the present tarifE
in order to get it. He will be elected, and will make
an excellent member. Mr. Candler can render ser-
vice by his information as regards the tariff."

Ah, General Havvley, there are some iniquities,
it seems, in this tariff; and why not be honest
when you talk to the voters of Connecticut, and
tell them so?

The most successful and wealthiest woollen
manufacturer ever in America, a Republican worth
his millions, was an advocate of free trade ; I
mean Hon. Edward Harris, of Woonsocket, R. I.
At a convention of woollen manufacturers in Mas-
sachusetts only a few months ago, it was openly
discussed whether they would not declare in favor
of free trade. One of the most enterprising and
wealthiest manufacturers in New Haven County
— a Republican who employs hundreds of men,
and who has sent his agents into every market of
the world — said to me a few days ago that he
found it impossible to sell his goods in foreign
markets so long as we kept up our tariff on raw
materials, and that as for him he was in favor of
free trade ; for then, instead of selling to forty
176



IN REPLY TO GENERAL HAWLEY

millions, he could sell to a thousand millions of
people. All that any Democrat proposes to do is
to put upon the free list a few of those articles
which are consumed by the poor people of this
country.

At the last session of Congress the Democratic
party repealed the tariff on that article which keeps
the breath of life in nine-tenths of the working-
people of New England, — quinine. It seems as
if General Hawley, however, were treading on
dangerous ground; for while he appears to be
such a great stickler for a high tariff, he is on
record as favoring the repeal of duties on that
article which he uses so largely himself, — paper.
What sublime assurance for Republican politicians
to go through this State talking against free trade,
when their candidate for President has been one
of the most pronounced advocates of free trade in
Congress, and not long since presided over a free-
trade meeting in Washington ! He is also a mem-
ber of the Cobden Club of London, the great free-
trade organization of England, which is said to
dispense large sums of money in this country and
all over the world to disseminate the doctrines of
free trade. General Garfield has also voted
repeatedly in Congress in favor of the reduction of
the tariff rates upon foreign goods coming into
competition with American industry; and when
he was nominated by a Republican caucus as
Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1877,
12 177



RATCLIFFE HICKS

five Republican members of the House from
Pennsylvania bolted the nomination because ' he
had been so prominent an advocate of free-trade
measures.

Every manufacturer and every working-man
ought to be in favor of Senator Eaton's bill to
drive this question forever from politics. The
Republican politicians want to defeat that bill and
keep this question in politics ; for their hope of
political success lies in forever keeping the manu-
facturers on the anxious seat, to contribute funds
and bulldoze their workmen in the interest of the
Republican party.

The rich and the poor, the manufacturer and the
working-man, are all interested in a change in the
Administration. In the last four years a Demo-
cratic Congress has reduced the appropriations
^120,000,000. Do you know how much that is?
It is $1,500,000 for Connecticut alone. This
reduction was made against the violent opposition
of the Administration. Again, we are all interested
in having a new set of men to keep the public
accounts. It is admitted by everybody that there
have been forced balances made on the books at
Washington, — that is, that the receipts and ex-
penditures could not be made to balance ; and so
enormous sums — in some cases of $100,000,000
— have been arbitrarily added in order to make
the accounts come out even. Again, the whole
system of public expenditures needs overhauling.
178



IN REPLY TO GENERAL HAWLEY

The men now in office have been there twenty
years, and are so fixed in their rotten ways that the
only hope of the country is in clearing out and
starting anew. Let me give only a sample. In
Hartford the government is building a post-office
which has already cost over ^750,000, and will cost
one million. Mr. James G. Batterson, who built
the Capitol at Hartford, a Republican in politics,
says he will put up such a building for ^300,000.
This is but a sample in every building that is being
erected all over the country by the United States ;
and in all the supplies that are being purchased
for the government the people are being robbed
and cheated in the same way. It is with a nation
as with an individual, — it prospers by what it saves.
There is no royal road to wealth. Retrenchment
and reduction in the expenditures are worth more
to the business interests of the country than all
other things put together. Every manufacturer,
every business man, every tax- payer, ought to
throw aside the prejudices of a lifetime, and vote
for the only party that promises retrenchment and
honesty in the public expenditures.

Let me leave this topic by reading from a stanch
Republican paper, the " New York Tribune," upon
the doings of a Democratic Congress, and I ask
every Republican to listen while I read : —

" But it has made a success in three directions. It
exposed a corrupt Secretary of War and drove him
from office. It investigated an unscrupulous minister
170



RATCLIFFE HICKS

to England, and scourged him home. It reduced
appropriations, — sometimes wisely, often unwisely ;
but at all events it reduced them, and so, for the
present, checked the enormous expenditures of public
money. For these let this Congress have all thanks ;
and let us frankly say, too, that the whole credit of
them is due to the Democratic House."

Again, General Hawley tried to frighten the
manufacturers of Meriden over the dangers of
Democratic rule, and regaled them with nightmare
dreams of coming misfortunes. Let me read just
a line from a Republican paper, the " Springfield
Republican," that will not swallow any of this
nonsense, and that dares to speak its honest
sentiments : —

" The Republican party for twenty years has so
governed the country, if the current cry of the organs
is true, that in a time of profound peace one party can-
not succeed the other without ruining the nation ! If
this were true, the Republican party ought to go forth-
with. It is not true."

Again, from the *' New York Herald " : —

" What is the use, again, of the Republican organs
and stump speakers pretending to a harrowing fear
that if the Democrats should come in they will pay
the rebel debt, or rebel war-claims, or the value of the
slaves, and generally destroy the credit of the country
and bankrupt the treasury and the tax-payers .'* Not
one of them believes in this silly stuff, which yet is a
staple of the Republican canvass."
1 80



IN REPLY TO GENERAL HAWLEY

Who is the wealthiest manufacturer in all New
Haven County? Why, James E. English. In
Fairfield County? Why, that sterling Democrat,
Nathaniel Wheeler. In Litchfield County ? Why,
Hon. W. H. Barnum. In Middlesex County?
Why, one of your Presidential electors, Henry G.
Hubbard. In Tolland County? Why, a Demo-
crat, Charles Fox, of Stafford. And who is presi-
dent of the wealthiest manufacturing company in
Hartford County? Why, another of your Presi-
dential electors, Richard W. Jarvis. Who is the
wealthiest manufacturer in New Jersey, employing
five thousand men ? Why, Hon. Abraham S. Hewitt,
a Democrat. Who is the wealthiest manufacturer
in New York State? Why, a Democrat, Erastus
Corning, of Albany. Who is the wealthiest mer-
chant and manufacturer in the United States,
and probably in the world? Why, a Democrat,
Henry Hilton, of New York City.

Oh, what folly, what nonsense, to preach that
these men have not the interests of their country
at heart, and would do anything to harm the
business interests of America ! Such ideas live
only in the disturbed imaginations of frightened
Republican office-holders.

So much for General Hawley. One thought

more and I am done. There is, to my way of

thinking, one question at issue in this contest that

outweighs, a thousand times, all other questions.

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RATCLIFFE HICKS

It is the question of the right of the people to
choose their own officers ; it is the rock upon
which our Hberties rest, upon which our govern-
ment exists, and upon which depends the prosper-
ity and the very existence of the republic. Strike
it out, and the repubUc goes down in midnight
darkness.

In 1876 the Democratic party elected to the
Presidency the greatest living American statesman,
Samuel J. Tilden, of New York. Every leading
Republican paper and every Republican in the
land, from Governor Hayes down to the humblest
sweeper in a government building, admitted it
to be true — except one man. That man was the
most dangerous, unprincipled, and unscrupulous
politician that this or any other country ever saw.
He knew that the electoral votes of three Southern
States were in the hands of the greatest rascals
that ever went unhung. In the watches of the
midnight hours, when all good men were sleeping,
he telegraphed to those willing instruments the
conspiracy against the liberties of the American
people ; and then began that series of plots and
counterplots which have no parallel in history, and
which constitute the darkest page in the history of
the new republic.

I cannot stop to dwell upon the damning facts

that make all American citizens hold their heads in

shame. Among the men who were sent down by

General Grant to watch the count in Florida, the

182



IN REPLY TO GENERAL HAWLEY

foremost man among them all was that great
Republican lawyer who had filled the office of
Attorney-General of New York, — General Barlow.
After careful investigation, he became convinced
that the Democrats had fairly carried Florida, and
these are his words. Listen, my Republican
friends. Here is what General Barlow says : —

"Mr. Davenport called upon me with a despatch
from President Grant asking if I would go to Florida;
and so I went. By the evidence laid before me I was
forced, in mv own mind, to believe that the Democrats
had carried the State. It was my own honest opinion
that the vote of the State ought to have been given to
the Democrats. The returning board did not apply
the same rule of action to Republican counties as to
Democratic. I am a thorough Republican, and went
South in the interests of the Republicans."

Turn again to Louisiana. I have told you how
General Hawley himself is on record that the
electoral vote of Louisiana justly belonged to
the Democrats. I cannot stop to read you all the
convincing evidence of that crime, without a name
and without a precedent in history. Let me read
you this, however, as a sample : —

Ao-reement between Anderson and Nash, Represen-
lative in Congress, New Orleans, November 21,



i:



By an agreement entered into this day between
James E. Anderson, Supervisor of Registration for the
parish of East FeUciana, La., and Charles E. Nash,
183



RATCLIFFE HICKS

member of Congress from the Sixth Congressional
District of Louisiana, it is agreed tliat said Anderson
shall suppress evidence showing that the said parish
of East Feliciana was fairly carried by the Democratic
party at the election held November 9, 1S76, thereby
electing the entire Democratic State ticket and Con-
gressmen, — in consideration of which the said Nash
agrees to secure for said Anderson the position of
Naval Officer of the Port of New Orleans, La.

James E. Anderson.
C. E. Nash.

The above agreement was signed in our presence
this 2 1 St day of November, 1876.

J. M. TOMLINSON.

O. B. Morgan.

This agreement, as Anderson testified, was long
ago put into the hands of Mr. Matthews, and was
in his possession to Anderson's knowledge until the
middle of April last. In fact, in a letter written
March 27, 1877, ^^- Matthews himself acknowl-
edges that it is in his hands. This letter he here
reproduces, along with another to General Harlan
of Kentucky, since appointed by President Hayes
to be a Judge of the Supreme Cotirt.

Mr. Anderson, — You are at liberty to use the
note on the other page as an introduction to General
Harlan, who is one of the Commission, and you can
talk to him as freely as to me. You should say to
Nash, if inquired of, that I have the agreement.

Stanley Matthews.
184



IN REPLY TO GENERAL HAWLEY

Cincinnati, March 29, 1877.
Gen. J. M. Harlan :

Dear Sir, — This will be presented to you by Mr.
James E. Anderson, who may desire to communicate
with you confidentially.

Yours truly,

Stanley Matthews.

Headquarters Republican Party of
Louisiana, Mechanics' Institute,
New Orleans, September 25, 1876.
To R. B. Edgeworth, Esq., Supervisor of Registra-
tion, Parish of Plaquemime, La.
Dear Sir, — It is known to this Committee, from
examination of the census of 1875 [the fraudulent one
above referred to], that the Republican vote m your
parish is three thousand ; and the Republican majority
is two thousand two hundred.

You are expected to register and vote the full
strength of the Republican party in your parish.
Your recognition by the next State Administration
will depend on your doing your full duty in the
premises ; and you will not be held to have done your
full duty unless the Republican registration reaches
three thousand, and the Republican vote is at least
three thousand.

All local candidates and committees are directed to
aid you to the utmost in obtaining this result, and
every faciUty is and will be afforded you; but you
must obtain the result called for herein without fail
Once obtained, your recognition will be ample and

^^ ' Very respectfully, &c.

185



RATCLIFFE HICKS

Other letters explaining the modus operandi of
" not failing in the results expected " appear in
testimony. But this was not all. More specific
instructions were given orally to the supervisors.
Mr. Edgeworth testifies thus : —

" Governor Kellogg came to the parish in company
with Governor Warmouth, Judge Pardee, District-
Attorney Price, and others. I showed him letter of
instructions of 25th of September. Governor Kellogg
told me it was extremely necessary to have that
majority from that parish, and that I must by all
means send in that majority from that parish. I told
him I thought it was impossible ; the registration
would not reach three thousand, and it was impossible
to do it. Governor Warmouth brought eight men
from New Orleans and placed them at the different
polls. These men are now all office-holders at New
Orleans. They went to the polls and remained there
all day."

And he further testifies that " after the election
Governor Kellogg said to me that I had not carried
out his expectations."

When the question came up in Congress as to
how the electoral vote of Louisiana should be
counted, there were two Republican Congressmen
from Massachusetts who, by their commanding
talents and the purity of their lives, to-day outrank
all men in the Republican party in New England.
One of them to-day is president of Amherst
College, — President Seelye ; the other is that man
who last year refused a Republican nomination for
186



IN REPLY TO GENERAL HAWLEY

governor in Massachusetts, — Henry L. Pierce, ex-
mayor of Boston. Here is what these men said
when they voted to give the electoral vote of
Louisiana to Tilden and Hendricks. These are
the words of ex-Mayor Pierce on counting the
electoral vote of Louisiana : —

" That gross frauds were committed in the canvass
of votes is admitted, I believe, by both parties; and it
is also admitted that the returning board acted in the
discharge of their duties in an arbitrary and illegal
manner. I should be recreant to my convictions if I
neglected to place on the imperishable records of the
House my dissent from the rule which it is proposed
to establish."

Here is what President Seelye said : —

" No nation, said Niebuhr, ever died except by
suicide ; and the suicidal poison is engendered not
so much in the unjust statutes of government, as in
the immoral practices of a people which the govern-
ment is unable to punish and unable to restrain. It is
because I fear that the strict and accurate interpreta-
tion of the Constitution applied by the electoral vote
of Louisiana would imperil that vote in the future, and
incur the very danger which the Constitution intended
to avoid, that I am unable to concur with such an
application."

There was one Republican in the Senate of the
United States whose magic eloquence and tran-
scendent genius places him at the acknowledged
head of the Republican party. When the question
187



RATCLIFFE HICKS

came up in the Senate of counting the electoral
vote of Louisiana, Conkling turned to his Republi-
can colleagues and said, " Gentlemen, you may do
as you please ; but, as for me, I will have no part
or lot in this gigantic steal." He went out of the
Senate Chamber declining to vote, and left it to
others to consummate the greatest steal of nineteen
centuries.

And now for four long years the Democracy of
America have waited in patient silence to redress
the greatest wrong ever committed, and to punish
the most deadly blow ever struck at American insti-
tutions. But the hour of our deliverance draws
nigh. The free men of America are aroused, and
are marching to victory. The Democratic party
has outlived a score of parties, and will outlive this
Republican party that seeks to maintain itself in
power by feeding the fires of sectional hatred, and
by arraying one section of our common and blessed
country against the other. Methinks I hear the
beginning of the wild cheers of the stalwart De-
mocracy which will go up to heaven on the ides of
November next, over a country redeemed and dis-
enthralled from Republican rule. Methinks I can
read in the courses of the stars in heaven that
a savior has been born to purify, elevate, and regen-
erate the politics of America ; and that fifty millions
of people are waiting to welcome with loud acclaims,
as President of the proud Republic of the West, the
great soldier-statesman, Winfield Scott Hancock.



TO THE TAX COMMISSION OF
CONNECTICUT

To THE Tax Commission of Connecticut :

I HAVE read with deep interest the discussion
from time to time before your Commission. It
seems as if all efforts were made principally to
shield some particular interest, and to transfer its
burdens to some other interest. This is sticking in
the bark. It is chasing a shadow and ignoring
the substance.

I know we are an old-fogy State, and that re-
forms move slowly here. But if we are to have
any change, let us have one for the better ; or let
us continue on in our old ways until the whole com-
munity shall have become so disgusted with our
present system that we shall be ready to cut it up
root and branch.

One of the principal branches of governmental


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Online LibraryRatcliffe HicksSpeeches and public correspondence of Ratcliffe Hicks .. → online text (page 10 of 18)