Page images

simplicity and purity which was conceived by our fathers and through which alone we can send down to posterity the beneficent institutions for which they struggled.

We are sometimes asked what has the Democratic party done? When we look back and see the difficulties it encountered and the obstacles it had to overcome, instead of complaining that it has not done more, we wonder that it has been able to do so much. For twenty-seven years it has not had at any time the President and both branches of Congress. Whenever it has attempted reform for the last twenty years it has had to combat the Republican party in control of some branch of the government. After the war closed it found its enemy, the Republican party, intrenched with power, holding every branch of the government. It had the House and the Senate by more than three-fourths majority. It had an army of one hundred thousand officers ready to do its bidding at a nod. It found the citizen disfranchised, driven from the polls. It placed the ballot in his hands and bade him go forth as a free man and exercise the rights his fathers gave him. Over the veto of President Hayes it recoined the silver dollar and started it back to the pockets of the people. It stopped the reckless giving away of public lands. As stated above, not an acre has been wasted since the Democrats got either house of Congress after the war. It found proscriptive jurors, test oaths on the statute books. Before your free-born citizen could sit on a jury in the federal courts, in some of the States, if the law was strictly administered, he must take these oaths. It repealed the law imposing them, and made good citizen

ship and fidelity to the Constitution the test of fitness. It has secured the people impartial juries. It found Congress annually raiding the treasury, and perennially emptying its vaults, by the most extravagant appropriations ever planned by a prodigal or voted for by a faithless public servant. And it inaugurated retrenchment. It found millions squandered on a rotting and worthless navy, and under the administration of our wise and fearless President, Cleveland, by judicious expenditure, is again placing on the water vessels of which the people may be justly proud.

The Democratic party claimed that the government ought not to force its paper upon the citizens, while it refused to receive it for government dues, and this reform has been inaugurated, giving a uniform currency for all. And, finally, what is more than all for the integrity and the perpetuity of our system, it hovered around these dismantled and dismembered States of our magnolia land in the dark hour of their desolation. It held that while the Union was indestructible, it was composed of indestructible States. One by one it gathered them up and set them back on terms of equality in the national firmament, where they cluster and shine, growing brighter and brighter as the years roll on. Many other things might be said, but Democracy needs no eulogy save a truthful statement of what it has done.

The Democracy ruled the country for nearly seventy years. When did it ever turn out the officers of a State elected by the people and put in those who were not? When did it disperse by military force the Legislature of a

State lawfully assembled? When did it disfranchise freeborn citizens? When did it send troops to the polls or claim the propriety of doing so? When did it send deputy United States Marshals to the polls, having no higher authority than the policeman's club and no higher ambition than to do henchmen's service, to arrest and harass our free-born American citizens? When did it flood your federal courts with jurisdiction filched from the State courts ? When did it demonetize silver or issue Treasury warrants which it refused to take in payment of government dues? When did it give sixty-four millions of dollars in bonds to railroad corporations? When did it tax the salaries of a hundred thousand officers for campaign purposes, threatening expulsion from office if the payment was refused? When did it ever pass through its Congress laws that were violations of the Constitution?

Never! Never!! Never!!!

To preserve the principles so admirably expressed by Jefferson, and maintain the liberty of the citizen, the rights of the States and the constitutional vigor and integrity of the Union have been and will continue to be the "Aims of the Democratic Party."


« PreviousContinue »