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Letter From Hon. T. F. Bayard

Letter From Hon. T. F. Bayard image
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Tho political cccurreneeB of the ast two years, as they are boing daily brought o light from thoir recesses of diJionest coucealmeut, shouldtcach tho people of the United Staten tho ercr-recurriDg need of stamping vitli the cvurest condenmatioucvurything tliat tendH to wcalcn and imptur Dio great principio of freo and fair eleoüons. Tho dïstingnishlog feature -tho vory safety-valTO ia our plan of Goverument - is tho meaii8 providod, in the process of freo elections, for tho pconlc. to correct thoir errorn and retrievo their political inislakcs, whether by vokiog misplaccd trusts and punishing those whj havo deceivod them, or changiüg the drift of political mcasures that liavo provcd hurtful, o that, tanght by experioncc, thoy mity provent the repetition of tho disaster. Tho great issue of the iromediftte future is, ia my judgment, the rcassertion of tbia idea, aud tlie polemn and resoluto determination by our coun:rjmcn that elections shnll be free, shall be the actual expresión of the opinión and wishes of Ibe citizens, aud tbat thoy shall be honestly and f ully acquiesced in by the dcfeated party. See to wbat contsequences a different courne and theory havo led tho party called Itepublican at the last Presidential elcction, and how close upon the rocks the ship of state was drivcn, nntil, thanks to the patriotic aud masteriy self-coutrol which animated the Democratie party, she was rescued and rendered capable of carrying her precious freight of human happiueas and hopes upon noiv and, let us trust, successful voyages. Tho underlying idea of our institutions- free choice by the poople, and honest aud honorable acceptanco of the popular verdict as final by all partics - has been tvbolly disreganied and contemned by the Ilepublican leaders ; and, to use the latiguago of one of the most conspicuous and iuflueutial amoug thun - Hon. John Sherman, tho present Secretary of the Treasury - in a late letter lo the Ohio Repnblican conference, "Theonly threat that endangers tho public weal and ssfety i( the restoracion of the Democratie party to power. ... I cannot but regard its restoration to power as tho only danger that really threatens our public peaco and safety." Mr. Shcriuiui is called a Republicau, and has often held. aud now holds. au office which is coupled wilh an oath to support the written charter of his country's Government; yet he does not hesitate, in his partisau zeal. to make this open, defiaut proclamation that everything is to be suboidinated to the onc idea of preventing a political erganization embraciug in itn membership a largo majority of his fel low-citizens, from again obtaining uuder law the control of ihe admiuiutration of the constitutional powers of their Government, which f or seventy years of unbroken honor aud prosperity it had exercised. The üght already throwu by Cougrossional invostigation upou the action of Mr. Sherman and bis visiting asauciates in Louisiaua iu tho fall of 1876 - the means and methods then resortcd to, and of which they so freely availed themselves to acconiplish the one great end of depriying their political opponents and the Amorican people of tho just fruits of a laborious aud earnest effort bjf the lawf ui methods of popular election to obtain reform in administration and relief from local misrule so vilo that it was spreading like poisou from the unhappy communitieí, where he and his party had catablished and keiit it throughout all tho arteries of our federal system - may now bo better compreheudod, au they ckarly appcar in he characters and caroers of tho Andersons, the Wollsea, tho Kelloggs, and the Jenkees, that motley and ribald group of political miscreants, male and female, in whose hands Mr. Sherman and his party had placed tho wires of low and proflígate pohtical management which has converted popular elections into what would seem a horrible farce, were it not bo filled with tragical consequences. The American people havo & sure romcdy for overy political evil in the periodical rocourse to a free ballot. Leave that right unimpaired and they will retrieve their errora and correot their mistakes aud follies; but, if deprived of it, they will be roducedto the single alternativo of perpetual and degrading submission to admitted wrong, or a resort to forcible resistanco to rid themselves of oppression. Mr. Sherman and his allios would close the door of relief through the orderly and la ful cbange of rules and policies by the honest and honorable acceptance of the reauits of popular electione, and his brother, the General of the armies, is reported latoly to have made the gratuitous but pregnant avowal, at the National Military Acadetny, that the army of the United States, under his commaud, would unhesitatr ingly be employed to sustain the tenuro of a President, without regard to the right or justice under law of his title to tho oftice. The Fourth of July, 1878, and every day between that and the election day in 1880, are tho fit aud proper days for the American people to coneider what anewer ehould be given at the polls to such propoisitions- for tho calm and delibérate coutemplatiou of such ideaa, so as to shape their issues iu the simple integrity and nianly spirit of 177G. Let them proclaim as their resolves : That they will have free election in all the 8tates. undisinrbed and unawtd by Federal interf erence, civil or military. 2. The verdict of tho peoplo rendered at the polls shall be faithfully recorded, and f hall be accepted and obeyed. 3. That the men or the party who shall stand in tho way of these KBOlves shall be withered by the wrath uf an earnest and honost people, who love civil libertyaninsnrined iu llepublican inntitution?, andintend to preserve it for themselvesand their postority. The issue is not lees vital than thif, and nutil it rhall havo been settled dcliuittly in accordancO with those resolves, and so uumistakably that no man sha 1 venture to queation or gainsay thero. all o!her (uestions, however interesting, may wisaly ba postponcd. It 18 now the great essential in support of which not only every Democrat but all Justmindetl and conservativo citizonsof tveryparty must rally; aud when it has teen Becured then we may afford to differ and array ourselves at will upou questioiiáof pohtical economy, whose importanco I fully ïccoguize, but which pale into insignificance beforo tito pressing and primary questions, Shall our elections be free, and ehall their results be acquieeced in and obeyed by all f Itespectf ully yours, T. F. Baïard.


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Michigan Argus