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The Republican Party And The Temperance Question

The Republican Party And The Temperance Question image
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I sin and ahrajtbaYebeenarepnwcan, votinjr ii straiglit republkaw ticket evor tinos 1 rast my maulen voto for Lincoln in 1860. I cxpcct to remain a repnblican, until a party arises which sliall more fu 1 1 v represent the best intclligence and moral sensc of tlie jtfople upon qucstlons of natlona] and statc poliey. In dUcUMing, therefore, ;i question ot tmmecHate Importancebothto the peoplc nul the will 1; unilerstood thnt I consiüer it from a republlcan itandpoint. Evory man who lias kept hlnuelf informcd as tn oiirrcnt evcnts. and v;illicit tho ell) and flow of public opinión durinr iiic pwtyear, ia awara ottnt fací ttaata temperancemoTement, OMontlally dlfferlng from iiny whlch wc have known In the pan as to the principie on whlch It reet, hui been InauKuratea in the Btate, and grown to soeti proportions ttiat political manasen and politlcal partías can no lonjter regard t wirli Indiflerenoe, however much they muy deprécate IU agftation. It Men to me that it will not hc. possihle to Ignore thla queatlon; and that the dictatea otcomiiioii prudenoe and wisdom ihould lndnce tli; leader? of '"ir party to carefully examine the new departure In Ihe Interwtool iu party ltaelf Whilc' the thlrd party prohlbltlonlsM ilaini) the republlcan party at even eonventlon. and Hiurge ui) to it th failuie of uil pnst tempéranos ktgtelatlon, the limpie tan remaini that In the republlcan party il to be found the. reat bulk of the chru tian, mora! nml tempéranos sentiment ot' state; mul that tbts element wnuld ho very glad to sustain :my mensure which iiiluriicd fair promise ot euccoM in mltlgatIng or deatroylng the groat cvil of tlio liqnor trnfflc. As, liowcver, temporalice legislatlon of the pasl twenty year bni been expertmental, and lias nót proved to bc tatlsfac toiy in its practica] operulion, mul as the republican party lutTlng been contintiously in power durlng tlmt pertod, baa had to thoaldei all the reeponelbillty tor these fallare, It Is tiot at all siirprislnir tlmt. thoufrh ao largoly compoMd of tempernnoe men, tt Is not anxious to load iisclt down with ivsponsihilily tor l'iirtlier legMlatlon of that kind. It is, howerer, apparent to even a earetbaerrer, that thli question, Itlce BanqnoV jrhost, "wlll not down." All the pmmt of ttir managen will not arall to bury it; and it may as well be accepted as onc of those polltlco-soeial proWetns.which must bc workcd out by the neooasity which the irogressive thought of the ftgc lays spon us. Kvcu if tho temporáneo man mare xonerally content to accept tlie " license law," and pollM lnw compromlM aa a present tettlement of the question, the liquor n are not. The lattcr havo organized as the " Michigan liquor dealers protective assoiiation," and avow their purposc to secure a legislature which will so emascúlate the taid lawi as practically to Hood the state with free whisky. They declare openly tlmt they will o'lTer the solid bostility of the trade to any politica] party that will not pledee itself to thoir interest; and in view of 'tbis fact- aml the further fact tliat for the flrat time in the liistory of Michinn the general temperaace sentiment is betng Consolidated and thoroughly organiaed - it Mema t me full time for us to stop mul se-ttle the question as to the policy of the republican party In the impending 8tru};gle. In the past the party has bceu placed bctween the horns of' a dilemma, cithcr one of which was particularly uncomfortable and danprerous. To squarely antagonize the tempéranos sentiment in the party, and declare in the interest of the whisky men would bc to coinmit politica! "hari-kari." To declare in favor of total prohibition would be equivalent to lopping ofTalei; in the shape of the Germán vote. The tax and pólice bilí business of 1878 was an attempt to avoid both these liorna, but I think that everv thonghttUl and Bftgacioua republiean is saiisfied that it will not answer. Neither the tempérame men nor the whisky men are content with it. Both of these bitterly antatronistic extremes unite in an aaganít upou it, and it cannot long stand. Both elementa are far botter oicanimd and equipped for the fray than everbefore; and the situation, in view of the importancc of the next elcction, would be a matter of profoond concern to every earnc-t republican had not the wise aetion of the temporánea men in their state convent.ion opeued a way of escape from the dilemma in which we would ceitainly again have bren placed. It muy be ])roper to observe that our republican leaders have nót given due place in tlicir calculations to this new movement amoni; the temporalice men, and have not comprehendcd the siernificance of the substantial unity which for the first time in tlie liistory of the contest obtains among that clement in tbc state. That a temporáneo convention could be assembled iiumherinf; fivo hundred and twenty-seven delegates, reyresentinT two hundred and eight organizationsfrom more than forty counties in the state, and when, by the early oncominK of the hay harve-t one-half of the reffolarly appointcd delegates were preTcnted from comiii}r at all, is a very significant fact in itself. That this convention of temperance men, representIng every shadeof political opinión, should be entifely harmonious, and agree with substantial unanimity npon the political phase of their work, is a more signiticant faet, and one well worthy the attention of both the party leaders and the party pross. I have considera! with some Care ili" position taken by this state conTentlon, and anderstand it to be snbatantially as follows : First - ïhcy propose to ask no expression nf opinión (rota any politician, nor any ileliverance from any political party upon prohibición. Second - Thoy propose to relieve all parties of responsibility untll the main guestion, as to whether there shall or shall not he a prohibitory policy in thc átate, R defi nitely settled by tbe people tliemselves. Third - Tbey plant themselves upon tbo broad reneral principie- a principié as oíd ns free government - that the people have a riht to establish for tliemselves such xlitical principies in tbeir constitutioii as " tliey tliink will best effect tbe safety, peace and prosperity of tbc state." I do not see how it is posible for any party professinjr to represent the free people of a tree state, to antnfronize this position without utter stultifieation. It is quite possible that that zreat political paradox, the democratie party, mayoppose the relegation of the question to the eople; but I uu juitc sure that the republiean party, the bottom principie of whosc creed is einbodied In the utterances of the immortal Lincoln : " A government of the people, by the people, and for the people," will not deny this rifjht. As a member of the " party of the people,'' I am, therefore, In favor of the indorsement. hy our repubUoan state oonvention, of the non-partisan position of the temperance men, for the following reasons : First - A declaration in favor of remitöng this question to the piople in the t'orm of a constUntional amendment neltker commits tin' individual repablican nor the party for or against the principie nf prohiSecond - It saddlp non the pany ... responsibility for the 8OO0688 nr faihue nl that principie - tliat rests with the people at lange. Thinl - It avoids the committal of the party as a whole to any bae element In it, Fourth - It takes the question out. of politics, as a party nieasure, and simply sends it to the tempérame and llquor men to decide in a square stand-up lijrht among themselves and without mpeol to party. Flfth - It is a proposttion uliirli i a perfuctly fair one ti all oonoerBed, and no honest man, whetlier he be a prohibition ist or a free whisky man, cun Objeol on any reasnnubic firmituís t(i bavinr the responsibility fnr the trlnmpb or aefeat of liis prlnolplee placed dlreetly In bis own liands. Sixth- It will not only relleTC the party from its present li]eiiinii, bilt makel ts caoae and luty in all future legislatlon plaln and olear. ne other reason reachlngdown Into thfut ure and I am done, Por every thlrd party prohiblHonlst In Michigan there are ten prohibltionlit to be found in the republiean ranks. These men have not sunilered tlieir rilation with the repnblican party, becauM thev have recognized the great dtffloultíeí In the way of a riant solulum of tbis problem, and lmve believed that the party has been honejtly strivini; down through the yean to fina that iolutlon. They have clung to the party through all of the diltieulties and failuws of the past, and have congtituted that grand element of the party which stands for the pureat rellgioua lentl ment, the hlghett moral señas, and the best iBtelltgence of the Btate. Aocordlngto Cbe reporta made In the late state convent ion, lilty tbousand of these men have signed the petition pruylng for the submission of the constitutional amendnient, and it is fair to presume that the number will be doablí d before the fall elections. A denial by the republiean party or a republiean legislatura of the constitutional righta of these men to DAM direetly upon thisqtiostion would result in tbc orgUDilstlon of a party which would be sulliciently formidable to upset all exlstlng political comlitious in the stat", in the near future. I would reoommend a Btudy of tliis qneetion toonr party leaders, and the adoptlon of a plank In our state platform giving no expression upon prohibition or tícense, lmt almplysayina that the party 1 wllhng to li-ave the final seUeniont "t tlie question to the people nt lurge in the IBOpe of B constitutional amendment, A TKMPBBANCE RKPUBUCAH. The Clüvelantl Leader has maile a diligent search of Winfield S. Hanooek'l i v i 1 record, umi finils these to be the faetn: On the subject of currency, bo Ia a mags niticent lookmg fellow. Ou the snbjeot O) the tarill', he is B splendid soldier. On the subject of free trade, hewearss brilliant uniform. On the subject Of the harbor and rivci hnproveuients, he makesa grand apimaranee on horsebaofc On civil service reform, he has a line mil itaiy bearing. On tbe so cftlled reform of the adminla tratlon it the government, iie is a modern Mural. On tbc subject of our forelgn relations he reara a splendid mimtache. On tl' school question, he Isa handsonw looking man. On alloiher quesöons of public poliey he has u ïuartial bearing.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News