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The Republican Party

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yV hile I ara willing to admit that a goo citizen, with no very strong predisposition to look upon the dark side of things. may 6nd in souie aspeets of the present politica contest a plausible excuse for disgust an( diseouragement, I must insist, upon the other liand, that there are very strong rea sons why every lover of his country shouk feel an intense interest in the struggle, an take such part therein as liis other engage ments will permit. There are some gooc tuen who habitually sneer at "politics" as beneath their attention, and earelessl; affirm that it makes very little difiérenos whether one party or the other gains tht ascendenoy. "Politics," in their voeabu lary, means nothing more than a reckless Sénunble for political power, and the hon ors and emolumenta of' office, and tliey cannot bring theraselves to tako part in a contest so utterly selfish and degrading. It seems clear to me that such men, with the bost intentions, take a very superficia view of the political life of' the country, judging it by incidental evils and imperfec tions, and failing to understand itg real significance. No fonn of' human aotivity is perfect, or even wholly free from the taint of selfishness. Our churches and other religious associations are assumed to be under the management of regenérate men, and have in view the grandest objects ; bat the practical administraron of these bodies can hardly be said to appr..aoh an ideal standard. There are jealousies and bickerings in the fold which often mako U9 blusb, and struggles for other than the highest moral and spiritual ends that awaken regret and pain. But we do not on this account permit ourselves to speak oontemptuously of' churches; and still loss do we conclude that religión itself' is worthy of our atten tion. Is this comparison of churches with political parties, and religión with politics, unallowable and profane? I think not. Indeed, I venture to say that, if fair allowance be made for the fact that a political party, instead of being composed of a select number of' persons, adinitted deliberately after a close inquiry into their principies and aims, is of necessity open to all corners, and that it raust, if it would hope for success, seek the support of multitudes of men besides those of' the highest intelligence and the noblest aims, there is at least one such party in our country that deserves not our contempt, but has the strongest claims upon our sympathy and support ; the wonder being not that it has so many and serious faults, but that, in view of all the circumstances, it ia 80 good. While itiscertainly bad enough to be a perpetual warning against anything worse, and to enlist our utmost efforts to make it better, I boldly claim that it is doing for the nation a work not less important than that which it accomplished under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. The good man who reminded the preacher that if the Lord would have a cnurch in a certain place he must of' necessity make it out of such materials as the [lace afforded, described the exact dilemma n which all men must find themselves who seek to achieve some desirable end by means of a political party. They have no jther or better material for a party than buman nature, and this, so far as voting is concerned, they must tako as it comes and make the best of it ; and if in their strong desire for present success they sometimes aumor an uoworthy prejudice or blink at some important question, is it any cause for wonder ? I have been and still am very critical of the republican party ; but ui y criticism is ueant to reform, not to destroy. Secing as [ do that the party includes in its ranks the vast majority of the most intelligent, rightthinking and God-fearing people of the vntry, and that, in spite of its imperfections, .i, „flpirgj by a Kreat and bas in view BKw , than tuc 3:1i7ation o the country trom the . ,„ of ts wor8t elementa, a sohd south in coim._„tjon with the ignoraDce and barbarism of i,,, norih. I propose ao to time and temper my criticism as not to defeat an ebject which I hold paramount to all others. I am, for example, in favor of civil service eform, aad could almost sit up o' nights to late and exécrate the doctrine that the offices of the country are "the spoils of the vietors. " But I know that a sentiment wliifli has beoome engrained in our politics )y a practice of half a century cannot be overeóme in one or two campaigns, and I do not mean to sacrifice an attainable good d a vain effort to clutch what I know to be br the present unattainable. Knowing Jiat the great body of civil service reform ers belonging to the republican party, I confidently expeot that the party itself, af ter 'urther thought and discussion, will take up the reform and reduce it to practico. Above all, I do not propose, in my impa ience at the slowness of the republican arty in adopting this issue, to aid in reitoring to power the party that first set the oxatnple of treating the offices as "npoils," and that has persisted in the practice whensverand wliereverit has been in power. If [ am travelling on a macadamized road upon a rainy day and find my boots Ketting muddy, I do not begin the task of cleaning ,hein by plunging into theditch. I trudge on horiefully, tbanking the inventor of maoadamized roada and waiting for a favorable opportunity to get a "shine." We cannot expect to reap the harvest the same day that we sow our seed ; and as respecta civilservice reform, we are in the seed-sowing eriod. The soil in many places is hard ind rough, and choked with weeds, but some of our secd has fallen upon good round and is already springing up. Press dent Haves, whatever may be said of his shortcomings.isright-minded upon thesubect, and has done much to edúcate the (ountry toward a higher standard in the )C3towmentof the offices within his control, .magine what would have happenod if the iero of the oipher dispatches had been in lis place, surrounded hy his hungry and lcspiirato "coparceners,"and under a Nisgira tlood of impulsion f'roin the democratie tarty. I shouid think the men who four 'ear ago lnoked that way for reform, vould feel now liko woaring veils and takng the iii" - t unconspicuous seats in the Dolitical synagogue. They must be the nont forgiving of inen if they do not now ind it hard to qverlook their own folly. 1 am as anxious as any man can be to )ury the hates and animosities ariaing out f' s'uvcry and the war. I would trout the defeated peoplo of the south with perfect ustice and generosity, neither wounding hcir pridc unnecessarily nor making upon bem any unreasonable demand. I oonfens ,hat, in my judgment, the republican party las not at all times been a wise in its reatment of them as it shouid have been íspecially do I confessthat itdid not frown as it hould have done upon the knaverios of some of the "carpet-bag" governments. jut this is no rcason for assisling now in ilacing the national government under eonrol o(' the men who organized the rebellón, and who are reeking to accomplish by the hallot as much as possible of that which they failod to actiiujpliBh by the sword. I wake no l'rantic appeals to imaginary fears. It is possible the country night survive an administration led by the 'solid south" and even that the mischiefs f such an administration might be overnled lor our ooii. But I insist that it i- never wise to permit the worst and lowcst elementa of' a country to get control of it government, and that it is the dut.y of every good citizen to do what in him lies to aven such a catastrophe.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News