Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

in order to know anything about the question. The financier has been getting along so well that he thinks it is not necessary for him to worry, while the farmer has been suffering so much that he is trying to find what is the matter. The farmer knows that by making money scarce he makes money dear and property cheap.

My friends, we have had our financial legislation run by those people who have made more in an hour gambling in stocks and bonds, and gambling in what the farmers produce, than all the farmers of the Union could make producing their crops.

Congressman-elect Handy was with us during the day and presided at the evening meeting. At Wilmington I followed somewhat the line of argument pursued at Milwaukee. I was the guest here of Mr. B. Lundy Kent, who arranged the meeting at which I spoke some months previous when it was difficult to find any silver advocates in the city.

CHAPTER XXXV.

RELIGION AND POLITICS MIXED,

N the course of my remarks at Wilmington, I referred to the po

IN

sition taken by some of the ministers, and used the following language (I quote from a report of the speech which appeared in the Wilmington Evening Journal):

Extract from Wilmington Speech.

You will find in our cities preachers of the gospel, enjoying every luxury themselves, who are indifferent to the cries of distress which come up from the masses of the people. It was told of a princess in a foreign land that, when someone said to her, "the people are crying for bread," she replied, "Why don't they eat cake?" Tell some of these ministers of the gospel that men out of work are driven into crime, and they cannot understand why everyone is not as well off as themselves. When I have seen preachers of the gospel using even more bitter speech than politicians against the clamorings of the people, I have wondered where they got the religion that they preach. My friends, the common people were never aided in their struggles by those who were so far beyond them that they could not feel their needs and sympathize with their inter

ests.

There were some inaccuracies in the report, but it was substantially correct. This passage was severely criticised by one of the ministers of the city, and was commented upon elsewhere. I do not believe that the sentiment there expressed can be successfully assailed. No minister claims to be entirely beyond the reach of those influences which beset, and to a large extent mold the characters of others. No minister whose position is such as to prevent actual contact with the poor and the needy can fully appreciate their condition. In saying this, I do not mean to reflect upon the members of that calling, because no one has a higher respect for them than I. But I mean to state a general rule which applies to people in all callings, professions and occupations. In stating the rule, I do not mean to deny that there are exceptions, but the rule is of general application. We can only become acquainted with a subject by study, and we cannot study a subject until it is brought to our attention. One of the Latin poets speaks of the cares "which hover about the fretted ceilings of the rich." The poor, knowing nothing of these cares, are apt to misjudge and misunderstand the rich. The rich, knowing nothing of the pri

vations and hardships of the poor, are apt to misunderstand and misjudge the poor. The extremes of society know too little about each other; both would be better if the acquaintance between them was intimate.

I did not often refer to ministerial criticism, because it was in the same line with criticism from other sources. The gold standard minister used the same arguments as the gold standard banker, the gold standard business man and the gold standard politician, just as the silver preacher used the same arguments as the silver banker, the silver business man, and the silver politician. I found in every church. preachers and laymen who bitterly denounced both my platform and myself, while in every church I found both ministers and laymen who supported me and approved of the policies which I advocated. The Republican National Committee sent a circular letter to various church societies, pointing out the harm which, according to the gold standard doctrine, free coinage would bring to those engaged in church work. I referred on a few occasions to this appeal to the churches.

At Albany I suggested that there was one argument which might be made by the gold standard advocates, if they could find a minister who looked at the question purely from the standpoint of dollars and cents. That argument was this, that the gold standard produces want and destitution; that want and destitution result in an increase in crime; that an increase in crime might increase the demand for ministers to counteract it. At Raleigh, N. C., I referred to a violent denunciation uttered against me by a New York preacher, and added that I would take my chances with Lazarus if he was willing to risk his chances with Dives. I believe that he afterward replied that the lot of Lazarus would have been different if he had tried to pay his debts in a 50-cent dollar. At Fredericksburg, Va., referring to the Republican appeal to ministers, I said that the gold standard, by diminishing the incomes f the church members, would finally attack the ministers' salaries, cren if it had not done so already, adding that I would give to my opponents the support of all the ministers whose salaries were paid up to date, if I could have the support of all the ministers whose salaries were behind. After the meeting a clergyman notified me that according to that arrangement he would have to be classed among my supporters.

At Youngstown, O., I read a letter which had been sent out a few days before by a Presbyterian society, calling attention to the

fact that a great many home missionaries were months behind on their salaries, and mentioning several instances of great privation.

In order that readers of this volume may know how some of the clergy regarded the silver plank and the candidate, I give a few

extracts.

September 27th the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst, in a sermon delivered at the Madison Square Presbyterian church, New York, said:

I am not here to argue the financial question. The present conditions illustrate the truth I am trying to drive home. National prosperity will come back when confidence comes back, when the nation gets its feet out of the quagmire and back onto solid ground. The business of the nation is done on credit. Credit is based on mutual confidence. Mutual confidence does not exist today and attempts are being made, deliberate and hot blooded, to destroy what little of it remains. I dare, in God's pulpit, to brand such attempts as accursed and treasonable.

The Rev. Dr. Robert S. McArthur, of the Calvary Baptist church, West Fifty-seventh street, New York, on September 13th, said:

There cannot really be any conflict between labor and capital, when both are rightly understood. Labor is capital and capital is merely the fruit of labor. Let us not allow any distinction to be made. Nearly all of the American people belong to the toiling masses. The pen is often a far more heavy instrument of labor than the pick or the shovel. He is the enemy of the toiling masses who would pay for their labor in depreciated coin. These Populistic orators who are trying to make wage earners believe that they should be willing to take a fifty-three cent dollar for one hundred cents' worth of work are the enemies of mankind.

Speaking of my letter of acceptance, he said:

Really the author of that composition must be a very commonplace sort of a citizen. It may be well doubted if ever before since the foundation of the Republic so weak a production came from the hand of a man who aspired to be the President of the United States. It reads as though the author had neither hope nor heart in his cause. The whole letter is marked by an absence of thought. It seems clearly to show that the writer has lost courage, heart, hope, push and pluck. Yet in it he still shows his sympathy with some of the most dangerous planks of the platform on which he stands.

On the question of civil service reform, he said:

Civil service reform is a great moral issue. In the years to come the interest in this reform shown by the Presidents I have named, and particularly by President Cleveland, will redound to their glory. The ignorance of the candidate for the Presidency of whom I am speaking in regard to civil service reform would be unworthy of an alderman in a small city. Were this man not a candidate for President, as I have said, his letter would be unworthy of notice, but should he be elected he will have control of hundreds of thousands

of offices.

He writes as though he knew nothing of and cared to know nothing of the laws governing appointments. Perhaps I need not worry myself, for the American people will see to it that he never has the dispensing of offices from the chair of the President of the United States, the chair higher than the loftiest room beneath God's throne tonight.

On Monday, October 2, there appeared in the press of the country a statement made by Archbishop Ireland in response to a request from twenty-seven business men of Minnesota. After denouncing other planks of the platform, he said:

The question before the people of America today is the coinage of silver by this country independently of the great commercial nations of the world at the ratio of 16 to 1. The boast that the United States is able alone to whip England and the rest of the world into coinage of silver at 16 to 1, or to force the value of silver up to $1.29 an ounce, is mere nonsense. We are a great people, indeed, but we have not yet grown to that commercial strength that our country means the commercial world. Herr Bismarck counseled the United States to go ahead and make the experiment all alone. Yes, and some Americans quote his advice as an authority. The sly old fox would, indeed, be pleased to see America make the experiment and go to the bottom of the sea.

I am absolutely convinced that the laboring classes will suffer most of all from free silver coinage; but will not the farmers be benefited? Will they not receive a higher price for their products? May be a higher price-but not a higher value. Of what use is it to have a dollar instead of a half dollar, if a dollar can purchase no more than the half dollar?

I may of course be mistaken. But I have come to look upon the present agitation as the great test of universal suffrage and popular sovereignty. Can the people defend the public honor and the institutions of the country at the polls, as they have done on the field of battle? Can they be so calm and deliberate in their judgment, so careful to weigh all things in the scale of reason, and to avoid all rash experiments, that they can be trusted with the settlement of grave, social and political problems? That is the question that is before us at the present moment.

At the Central Congregational church in New York, on September 13, the Rev. A. J. F. Behrends said, among other things:

Today we are at the cross roads of our period of national existence. When it is proclaimed that a grain of gold representing the cost of production of 31 grains of silver is an equivalent for 16 grains of the latter metal, we are confronted with a bold bare-faced falsehood. Such a doctrine leads on the trail of anarchy. Thirty-five years ago the liberty of a people was hunted to its lair, and it was preserved with the bayonet. The people of the United States will assemble this fall as they did in 1861, only instead of the bayonet the ballot will be used to prevent repudiation and preserve the nation's honor. This is not a political sermon, but I want to warn those who would run the ship of state against the rocks of discredit and dishonor that Columbia would probably get the worst of it, and I would save generations ahead from misery and suffering.

« AnteriorContinuar »