Tuesday, December 15, 2015


1892 People's Party campaign poster. James Weaver for President and James Field for Vice-President,

The Cortland Democrat, Friday, May 22, 1891.

Free and Unlimited Coinage of Silver—The Power to Make and Issue Money the Sovereign Right of the People—Down with National Banks as Banks of Issue —Ready for 1892.
   CINCINNATI, May 20.—It was no accident that the new party enthusiasts scored heavily in the adoption of the report of the committee on rules.
   The Massachusetts delegation, which controlled the rules committee, fearing that the platform committee's report would be adverse to immediate action for a third party, conceived the idea of providing in the rules committee's report for a national committee, and Delegate Brown, of the Bay State, in explaining the rules to the convention, gave warning that the adoption of the report meant a new party, his idea being that there could be no executive committee without a third party.
   When the convention reassembled a letter from L. L. Polk, which was read, advising this conference to issue an address and defer action on a third party until 1892, caused a breeze. A motion to refer it to the committee on resolutions was carried.
   Mr. Fish, Minnesota, argued that Polk's letter was ill-timed, and claimed that it showed how useless it would be to refer the third party question to the meeting in 1892, at which Polk and his followers will be leading spirits.
   Ignatius Donnelly, chairman of the committee on resolutions, then climbed upon the rostrum and caused a whirlwind of excitement by declaring that the committee on platform was a unit for the organization of a third party. Two alternatives were presented, he said, either to ignore a third party or divide the friends of reform. He gave way to Robert Schilling, of Wisconsin, secretary of the committee, who read the platform, as follows:
   Your committee on resolutions begs leave to submit the following:
   First—That in view of the great social, industrial and economical revolution now dawning upon the civilized world and the new and living issues confronting the American people, we believe that the time has arrived for a crystallization of the political reform forces of our country and the formation of what should be known as the People's Party of the United States of America.
   Second—That we most heartily endorse the demands of the platforms as adopted at St. Louis, Mo., in 1889, of California in 1890, and Omaha, Neb., in 1891, by industrial organizations there represented, summarized as follows:
   a. The right to make and issue money is a sovereign power to be maintained by the people for the common benefit, hence we demand the abolition of national banks as banks of issue, and as a substitute for national bank notes we demand that legal tender treasury notes be issued in sufficient volume to transact the business of the country on a cash basis, without damage or especial advantage to any class or calling; such notes to be legal tender in payment of all debts, public and private, and such notes when demanded by the people shall be loaned to them at not more than 2 per cent per annum upon non-perishable products as indicated in the sub-treasury plan, and also upon real estate with proper limitation upon the quantity of land and amount of money.
   b. We demand the free and unlimited coinage of silver.
   c. We demand the passage of laws prohibiting alien ownership of land and that Congress take prompt action to devise some plan to obtain all lands now owned by alien and foreign syndicates, and that all land held by railroads and other corporations, in excess of such as is actually used and needed by them, be reclaimed by the government and held for actual settlers only.
   d. Believing the doctrine of equal rights to all and special privilege to none, we demand that taxation (national, state or municipal) shall not be used to build up one interest or class at the expense of another.
   e. We demand that all revenues (national, state or county) shall be limited to the necessary expenses of the government economically and honestly administered.
   f. We demand a just and equitable system of graduated tax on incomes.
   g. We demand the most rigid, honest and just national control and supervision of the measures of public communication and transportation and if this control and supervision does not remove the abuses now existing, we demand the government ownership of such means of communication.
   h. We demand the election of President, Vice President and United States Senators by a direct vote of the people.
   Third—That we urge united action of all progressive organizations in attending the conference called for February 22, 1892, by six of the leading reform organizations.
   Fourth—That a national central committee be appointed by this conference to be composed of a chairman, to be elected by this body and of three members from each state represented, to be named by each state delegation.
   Fifth—That this central committee shall represent this body, attend the national conference on February 22, 1892, and if possible unite with that and all other reform organizations there assembled. If no satisfactory arrangement can be effected, this committee shall call a national convention not later than June 1, 1892, for the purpose of nominating candidates for President and Vice-President.
   Sixth—That the members of the central committee for each State where there is no independent political organization, conduct an active system of political agitation in their respective States.
   Additional resolutions, not a part of the platform, were presented. They recommend favorable consideration of universal suffrage, demand treasury notes to pay soldiers equivalent to coin, favor eight hours a day, and condemn the action of the World's Fair commission with reference to wages.
   The name of the new party, the "People's Party of the United States," elicited a magnificent outburst of applause and so frequently that the great hall seemed to reverberate continuously. A recess was then taken, after which the roll of names called for members of the national committee, three members from each State being appointed, instead of one member, as in the case of the old parties.
   The Alliance Congressman, J. G. Otis, of Kansas, nominated H. E. Taubeneck, of Illinois, as chairman of the national executive committee. There was a great outburst of cheers when Taubeneck's name was mentioned.
   W. R. Lamb, of Texas, seconded the nomination, saying he had watched Taubeneck's record and was satisfied.
   Taubeneck was chosen by acclamation. Loud calls for Taubeneck brought that gentleman to the rostrum, where he made a brief, but manly and modest speech, thanking the delegates. He said: "Gentlemen, you see before you all that is left of the celebrated Independent party in the Illinois legislature, so often called the Big Three." He added that he scarcely felt equal to doing the position of chairman justice, but he would do the best he could, and would rely upon the assistance of the other members of the committee. He said they were standing on the brink of a conflict between capital and labor, and the longer the conflict was postponed the worse it would be.
   "Our politicians," he said, "might as well try to stop a cyclone or the movements of the stars, as to avoid this issue."
   A few moments of confused preparation of adjournment sine die ensued, then the chairman's gavel fell, and the first convention of the People's Party of the United States had passed into history.
   To-night it is reported that many members of the national reform organization, headed by President W. W. Jones, of Illinois, have withdrawn from the People's Party because of the defeat of the prohibition resolution.


  •    The Standard of last week attempts to reply to an article published in the DEMOCRAT two weeks ago, charging that Mr. Clark was endeavoring to give all the credit for the Normal School appropriation bill becoming a law to Assemblyman Peck and Senator Hendricks, both Republicans, when no one knew better than Mr. Clark, that almost the entire credit belonged to Mr. Hugh Duffey, of this place. The Standard says that the DEMOCRAT "plainly suggests" that "His Excellency" (Gov. Hill) "at first proposed to kill the bill in order to hit Mr. Peck, but was finally persuaded to lay aside personal and political spite and do a perfectly just and proper act through the influence of Mr. Duffey." There is not a word in the article, published in the DEMOCRAT, that could possibly be tortured into any such meaning. We expressly said that the Governor "was opposed to every bill making large appropriations," and this was the only ground for his opposition. The idea that Gov. Hill would load his howitzer to fire at so small a mark as Peck presents is preposterous. On the 2d of Apr. the Standard did give Mr. Duffey and Mr. Fitzgerald credit for assisting in the work of putting the bill through, but that was when the bill was not yet out of the woods. In its issue of May 7th, however, when the bill had become a law, it published a long article giving almost the entire credit to Peck and Hendricks, naming them particularly, and in a general way giving "others'' credit for doing what they could. If the editor of the Standard is not endeavoring to make political capital out of his wholesale claims it certainly looks that way.

       In commenting upon the action of the authorities in New York with reference to their prosecution of the "boodle aldermen" in that city, the Binghamton Republican is moved to say:
       "The course of the boodler cases illustrates the ebb and flow of public sentiment. If Judge Marline had remained District Attorney of New York, or if Nicoll had been elected to succeed him, and prosecute while public sentiment against corporation thieves was at its ebb tide, most or all of the boodlers would have been convicted and punished with Jaehne. The boodlers and boodle influences saw after the conviction of Jaehne and the trial of Sharp, that they must place delays in the way of justice until the tide of public sentiment flowed out. They succeeded, and all the untried boodlers escaped.
       It was the same with the Tweed gang. Tweed, like Sharp, was prosecuted in the heat of public indignation, and died in custody; but the rest of his gang escaped, and after the high tide of public sentiment flowed out they returned to New York to live, blessed with the respect of their neighbors and the public generally, as well as by an abundance of wealth."
       Comparisons are said to be odious but we cannot under existing circumstances, refrain from calling the Republican's attention to the fact, that in 1875 one Samuel J. Tilden, then Governor of this State, discovered the fact that the State treasury had been robbed of millions of dollars by a ring of canal contractors and that he immediately began an investigation which resulted in showing that one J. J. Belden of Syracuse, was one of the principals of the ring, the members of which had become rich by reason of the State's losses.
       The proof was positive and the wickedness of the scheme was just as clearly proven. After a long and tedious legal fight, however, the members of the ring managed to get out of the scrape, and save a large amount of their ill-gotten gains. Time had allayed the excitement of the people and justice went awry. Every delay that could be devised by able counsel was interposed "until the tide of public sentiment flowed out." Two or three years later, and "after the high tide of public sentiment flowed out," Jim Belden returned to Syracuse to live, not only "blessed with the respect of his neighbors and the public generally, as well as by an abundance of wealth," but he was twice honored by being nominated and elected by the Republicans to the office of mayor of Syracuse. Since that he has been three times nominated and elected to represent this district in Congress by the Republican party.
       Tweed, the Democrat, was tried and convicted and died in jail. Belden, the Republican, is honored by his party and is elected to look after their interest in Congress. It would seem as if there might be some food for thought in this comparison even though it be odious.

    James J. Belden
    William "Boss" Tweed.
    •    Hon. James J. Belden has offered to erect in Syracuse a building for a public library at a cost of $150,000, to be donated to the city. The city will doubtless accept the donation with thanks. William M. Tweed gave the poor people of New York $50,000 worth of coal one cold winter, and Republican papers said he was entitled to no credit for doing so, because he had first robbed the taxpayers of the money. Republican papers are now praising the generosity of Mr. Belden. It is gratifying to know that after many days the people are to come by a trifle of their own, even if they have nothing to say as to how that little shall be expended. It may be of benefit to somebody.

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