The Cortland Democrat, Friday, January 11, 1889.
"Some Crumbs of Political Wisdom."
Under the above heading the Cortland Standard of last week took occasion to give Col. F. Place a puff for the excellent manner in which he had discharged his duties as Clerk of the Board of Supervisors and then publishes the following:
"The Colonel will be all the better fitted by his recent experience to fill the same place in 1889, and we hope that his election will end forever the choice of Democratic clerks by Republican Boards. The Republican party in Cortland county has recently had two illustrations of what this kind of work leads to.
"James Dougherty, a Democrat, was twice elected clerk of Republican Boards of Supervisors. Last fall he turned up as a Democratic candidate for District Attorney and made a strong run against the Republican nominee. Mr. Bronson, aided largely by the endorsement which Republican Supervisors, without cause and without proper deliberation, had given him.
"R. Walworth Bourne was three years ago appointed deputy county clerk. Last fall he made use of the acquaintance and popularity which he had courted while serving under a Republican clerk to run for Sheriff and do his level best to beat Mr. Borthwick.
"These two instances are simply illustrations of the truth that the Republican party never receives any support or any benefit from Democrats to whom it is weak enough to give office or position. Its favors are simply used to put a keener edge on the knife which is sooner or later thrust between its ribs. Moreover, when Republicans appoint Democrats to positions which could be just as well and in almost every case better filled by Republicans, they insult and weaken their own party. They say in effect, 'There is no Republican who is capable of filling this position, consequently we appoint a Democrat.' The lessons of the last campaign ought to make this fad plain even to those who had before been too blind to see it.
"If it is desirable to educate and help elect Democratic candidates for county offices, our Supervisors should keep right on selecting Democratic clerks and our county officers should continue to appoint Democratic assistants. But if they do, the rank and file of the party should take a hand in occasionally and square accounts. The creature should never be allowed to get the idea that he is greater than his creator, either in politics or anywhere else."
Now it will be quite plain to the average reader, that the Standard’s desire to hit ex-county Clerk William H. Morgan and others a rap, was the prime inducement to the words of commendation for Col. Place. The crime that Mr. Morgan committed was the very serious one of making R. Walworth Bourne, Deputy Clerk. Mr. Morgan succeeded Mr. Bourne in office, and as he had never had any experience, he did the best thing he could do in appointing a careful and experienced man to the place and the people were satisfied. There was no Republican in the county except perhaps Col. Place, who was engaged in other business, who had ever had experience in the duties of the office. Even now the County Clerk has been forced to send to the State of Colorado, to get a competent Republican Deputy. But why should the Standard find fault with Republicans for voting occasionally for competent Democrats to fill responsible positions?
Did not the Standard oppose the entire republican county ticket in 1882 and support the Democratic ticket after being promised a share of the printing that these officials are supposed to control? Why did the Standard support the Hon. L. J. Fitzgerald for State Treasurer in 1885 and again in 1887? Of course Mr. Fitzgerald as President of the Cortland Wagon Company controls a vast amount of printing, but that fact ought not to cause our neighbor to leave his own party in order to support a rank Democrat. It looks very much as if the editor of the Standard had marked out a rather severe rule of political action for the rank and file of the party to pursue, reserving to himself the right to kick over the traces whenever he thinks his personal fortunes will be advanced by so doing. It is true that he has feathered his own nest pretty well by supporting Democratic candidates, but we can’t for the life of us see the consistency of refusing to allow other members of the party the same privileges he arrogates to himself whenever his interests or convenience seems to require it.
On the 25th day of October, 1888, the following clergymen, in this place, allowed themselves to be publicly placed on record in the Cortland Standard in reference to the candidacy of Warner Miller for the office of Governor of this State. We quote extracts from the statements of each:
Rev. John Arthur, rector of Grace Church.—"The temperance question in politics should be made use of as a means to an end. He is strongly in favor of the rigid enforcement of the present laws upon the statute books, and commends Warner Miller for the firm stand he has taken for high license."
Rev. Dr. H. A. Cordo, pastor of the Baptist Church.— "I know him (Miller) to be a thoroughly honest, upright, conscientious man, a pronounced Christian gentleman, a man who as governor of our State would strongly array himself on the side of morality, social order and every thing looking to the best interests of the community and the highest welfare of the State."
Rev. Geo. P. Avery, pastor of the Methodist Church, "wished merely to say that he has been personally acquainted with Warner Miller for about eight years and regards him as "one of the most purest, magnificent men in the whole country, and he thinks that Hill is so far inferior to him in every respect, including his position on the temperance question, that there can be no comparison between the two."
Rev. J. L. Robertson, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, announced himself as heartily in favor of high license and "agreed with Dr. Cordo in regretting exceedingly that this question (the temperance question) had ever descended to politics, as he did not think it properly belonged there. Accordingly, he believes in the position taken by Warner Miller and greatly admires the pluck that he has shown in taking his stand so boldly and unmistakably. Clearly he has shown that if made governor he can be depended on to do the most in his power for the cause of temperance…Governor Hill may be especially relied upon to further, as far as he can, the interests of the liquor traffic."
Rev. Joseph Kuiskern, retired, was "favorably inclined towards high license and consequently approves of the position taken by Warner Miller."
Rev. Geo. H. Brigham, formerly a Baptist minister, now connected with the American Baptist Missionary Union—"Believing that Hon. Warner Miller, as well as the great mass of Republican temperance men, does not regard high license as a finality, but rather at this time, in this state, the best thing we can hope to attain. I do and shall endorse his position, and do regard his election over Governor Hill, the accepted champion of the liquor interests, most desirable and I am unable to see how any intelligent, and consistent temperance man can think or feel otherwise."
On the night of the 13th of November, Warner Miller made a speech in New York city, and during the course of his remarks he said:
"When I accepted the nomination my chances of being elected were exceedingly slight. I did not expect that I could win. My wife did not want me to take it. I told her, however, that I believed it was possible to keep down the Prohibition vote and thereby save the State for Gen. Harrison. I started in with that object in view. It was accomplished."
Whether it was fortunate or otherwise for our local clergymen, that they were permitted to certify to the temperance principles of Mr. Warner Miller before election instead of after, they must decide for themselves. It must be very plain to the ordinary layman however, that their certificates to his honesty, uprightness and christian character do not comport with his own estimate of himself as given in the speech above quoted. It will occur to the reader doubtless that while Miller knew himself pretty well, the learned priests were either decidedly innocent or else they were banking heavily upon an acquaintance before they had been properly introduced.
Miller very bluntly tells them that he knew he could not be elected and that his only object in running and espousing the high license cause [tax], was to keep down the prohibition vote and thereby save the State for Gen. Harrison. In other words he did not care a fig for high license or high morals, his sole object being to defeat the only party that is truly and honestly in favor of temperance, and elect the candidate of a party that hates the Prohibitionists with a hate that knows no bounds. Can a man who would lend himself to such a purpose be considered "a thoroughly honest, conscientious, upright man, and a pronounced christian gentleman?" Do our instructors in morals and religion believe it right for a public man to deceive the people upon a great moral question like the temperance question? How long would they be able to secure a congregation if they preached such doctrine from the pulpit? The old western frontiersmen are quoted as saying that "the only good Indians are dead ones."
We suggest that the expounders of divine law would do well in the future, to keep this homely saying in mind, merely substituting the words "Republican politicians" for "Indians," and they will be able to avoid the humiliation of having certified to something that never existed.
It would be interesting to know how our Reverend friends expect to reach any temperance reform except through politics. It cannot be reached through the church because a large majority of the pastors prefer the success of the Republican party to temperance reform. If Warner Miller had been elected Governor he wouldn't have helped the cause because he says very plainly that he was only trying to kill the temperance party and elect Harrison. The Prohibitionists will have to make the fight alone. Will the church be found in the future, as in the past, bolstering up the rear of the Republican party in successful opposition? When will the prelates learn that Republicanism is not Temperance and that Temperance is not Republicanism, or that Christianity is not Republicanism or Republicanism Christianity? When they learn this they will be able to see that it isn't possible for a Christian minister to be anything but a Prohibitionist.
Mr. Harrison wants to hear "a bugle call throughout the land demanding a pure ballot." And yet he thinks of awarding a seat in his Cabinet to John Wanamaker who raised $400,000 for the corruption of the ballot. Let us have a little consistency, Benjamin.—N. Y. World.
Colonel Wm. W. Dudley, who wrote the infamous letter from the Republican Committee rooms in New York before election to his heelers in Indiana, directing them to corral the floaters in blocks of five and to let none escape, has not dared to show himself in that State since election, for fear of being punished for his share in bribing the electors of Indiana. The rascal knows that he deserves punishment and he fears that if he should go home he would receive the reward which his rascality justly deserves.
The wholesale bribery indulged in during the last election has served to arouse public sentiment to the danger which portends if something is not done at once to suppress the crime. Various remedies have been suggested but so far as we have seen none have appeared that were not objectionable in some respect, or if not objectionable, they would fall short of accomplishing the purpose intended. The N. Y. World has discussed all of the measures thus far proposed and has pointed out the faults each contained. It is not an easy question to solve. The law as it now stands punishes the briber and the bribee alike, and as everybody knows is a dead letter. As both are liable to severe punishment neither will expose the other for fear of being himself punished. The DEMOCRAT has always believed and held that the only way to stop the business would be to punish the party who offers the bribe and let the party to whom the bribe is offered go free. Disfranchise the party offering the bribe, imprison him for a term of years and impose a good round fine upon him and we believe it would result in putting a stop to the practice. There are very few men who would care to place themselves at the mercy of the man who would sell his vote, and thereby incur the risk of disfranchisement, imprisonment and a fine. Even if such men could be found, the conviction of a few of them would soon result in deterring all who might be inclined to indulge in the hazardous undertaking from engaging in the business. It is not very likely however that the legislature will enact any such law, for heretofore the law makers have been very industrious in passing laws upon this subject which simply facilitate and stimulate the business, and we presume the present legislature is no better than those which have gone before.