Thursday, February 18, 2016


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, August 28, 1891.

A Combination.
   Editor Cortland Democrat: Several months ago a combination was formed at Cortland village, in which the contracting parties were Rufus T. Peck, Jerome Squires and John Miller of Cortland and Jones of Virgil. The purpose of this combination was to secure delegates to the Senatorial convention that would vote for Peck, and delegates to the County convention that would vote for Squires for Dist. Atty., Miller for Sheriff and Jones for County Clerk.
   The combination thus formed called around them their heelers, here and in the out towns, and commenced their work, a vote for one of the above candidates, meaning a vote for all. This meant ring caucuses and a ring convention.
   The county convention has been held and Republicans are now wondering how a body of men ostensibly representing the "G. O. P." could put in nomination such a ticket. The better class of Republicans did not want such a ticket, but they were not consulted. The work of securing the delegates was left to the local bosses and the paid retainers of the ring. They have carried out their part of the contract and now ask Republicans to vote the ticket.
   It is but simple justice to Mr. Tripp to say that he was not a party to, or responsible for the manner in which caucuses were run. He is a man of character and ability and has no sympathy with unclean methods, either in business or politics. He owes his nomination to the fact that the ring had no available man to run against him. They had also a further motive in permitting his nomination. They wanted the benefit of his character and the assistance of his purse. And last but not least, they wanted a man to trade off for the especial benefit of Peck, Squires and Miller, and they propose to trade him. If Mr. Tripp has any doubt on this subject, his doubts will be entirely dissipated a little later in the canvass.
   If it would add anything to Mr. Tripp's present feeling of security no doubt Mr. Peck would pledge him his support, but rumor has it that Mr. Tripp has a package of Peck's pledges protested and still unredeemed. A pledge from that source now would not probably go very far with Mr. Tripp.
   What excuse can the Republican convention make for their refusal to re-nominate Mr. Bushnell for County Clerk? He has served one term with great acceptability. He has discharged all the duties of his office faithfully, ably and well. The Republicans never had a better County Clerk than Mr. Bushnell, whom they have just deposed. That they concede. Party usage required his re-nomination. Nevertheless he was cast aside and a man utterly without experience is nominated for the office. Mr. Bushnell's superior fitness for the office was conceded by every one in the convention and outside of it. The only reason given for Bushnell's defeat was that he was "no politician."
   The old ring with the "spring-bottom-hat," had some idea of fitness and propriety. The new ring requires their candidates to be politicians only. Mr. Bushnell not being a politician could not render efficient aid to the Peck-Squires ring, and the fact that he could render efficient and superior service to the county went for nothing. A convention that would nominate Jerome Squires for Dist. Attorney might logically be expected to pass resolutions in eulogy of Peck, a part and parcel of the same ring.
   Mr. Bronson, when he placed Mr. Squires in nomination for Dist. Attorney, said among other things, "Mr. Squires is known to the people of Cortland County." Whether Mr. Bronson really meant the remark to be sarcastic is left in doubt, but it was certainly an unpleasant allusion, and calculated to injure Mr. Squires if true. The people of the town of Cortlandville certainly know him, or did when he was Justice of the Peace, and when they come to pay their annual tax they were powerfully reminded of his personality. If anyone has forgotten his gigantic bills presented to the town of Cortlandville, county of Cortland, let them consult the record. Squires was Justice and Miller was Constable; they "hitched well together," and their bills were altogether too large to suit the ordinary tax payer. The way Squires and Miller heaped up the costs when Squires was Justice ought to be an all sufficient lesson now.
   Is there a man in Cortland county that believes Squires ought to have been nominated for Dist Attorney? The convention said so, yet in private conversation no one will claim it.
   The same convention endorsed Peck for Senator, notwithstanding when a candidate for member of Assembly last fall he ran behind his ticket in every town in the county, and ran behind his ticket in the county seven or eight hundred and would have been behind his ticket more than 2,000, had it not been that hundreds who personally disliked him voted for him thinking it might save a U. S. Senator.
   Republicans of Cortland county, do you want to sustain the Peck-Squires ring? Can you afford to sustain it?

   At the town meeting held in this town last February, the highest vote any candidate obtained on the Republican ticket was 1087. This result was reached after two days voting and strenuous efforts on the part of the republicans to get out their entire vote. Teams were employed both days and every man who had not voted was sent for the second day and brought in and marched to the polls. This number, 1087, was all that could be mustered in the whole town after two days hard work. At the caucus last Friday, between the hours of 4 and 9 P. M., and in a drenching rain, 1077 votes were cast. Does any sane man believe that these were all Republican votes and that fraud was not in attendance at that caucus? When any man signs a statement to that effect, he simply makes a show of his recklessness or ignorance, or both. The entire east part of the town was excluded from voting at this caucus.

   The Republican Senatorial convention meets in Syracuse Sept. 5th. Uncle Rufus won't be in it to any great extent.

   If W. D. Tisdale could go into the Senatorial convention with a majority of the delegates from this county, he would be pretty likely to get the nomination.

   The Republican County Convention entirely ignored the matter of qualification in making up their county ticket Tuesday. It is by all odds the weakest ticket ever nominated by the Republicans of this county. But what else could be expected from Peck?

   The Cortland Journal claims the opposition in that county to Hon. R. T. Peck for State Senator is "unclean politics." This is really a rich expression! Pray, when have Cortland county politics been "clean?" Mr. Peck is perhaps able to answer this question.—Skaneateles Free Press.

   Homer was handsomely taken care of in the Republican convention. That town walked away with one of the nominations for Coroner, and with this handsome sop she is expected to be entirely satisfied. What does Homer propose to do about it in case she is not satisfied? is the question propounded by the Cortland politicians.

   The Republican meeting held in Wells' Hall, on Tuesday, belonged to Peck, and the delegates did his bidding to a man. While looking after the delegates for the Senatorial convention, he evidently thought it would be best to have the county convention in hand. Uncle Rufus is trying to mow a wide swath, and it's possible he may be able to house the hay.

   Up to the date of Hon. R. T. Peck's visit to Tully, the Times of that place was advocating to the best of its ability the claims of Ceylon H. Lewis of Syracuse for the Senatorial nomination. After Peck's visit the Times suddenly discovered that "Little Cortland" had claims upon the office that could not under any circumstances be ignored, and that Rufus T. Peck was the only candidate that possessed any just claims to the office. The arguments used by Uncle Rufus must have been unanswerable.

   Mr. Hubert T. Bushnell, the present County Clerk has made a model record as an obliging, reliable and entirely competent official. There was no good reason why he should not have been re-nominated and if re-nominated he would have been reelected. The only reason for leaving him off the ticket thus far advanced by the Peck ring is, "that he was no politician." The people don't want a politician in this office. They want a good business man in the place who knows how to conduct the affairs of the office properly and correctly. To exchange a thoroughly competent official for a mere politician who knows nothing about the business of the office, is neither good polities nor good business.

   The Cortland Daily Journal seems to have gone over bodily to the Republican party. Both its owner and local editor voted at the Republican caucus held in this place last Friday and when challenged on the ground that they were Democrats, swore that they were Republicans and intended to vote the Republican ticket this fall. Notwithstanding the fact that both gentlemen have within a short time repeatedly assured Democrats in this place, that they belonged to the Democratic party, their conversion to the ranks of the g. o. p. seems to have been as complete and thorough as it was sudden. Undoubtedly this result was brought about through the remarkable persuasive powers of Uncle Rufus Peck. Whatever the cause may have been that brought about this hasty conversion, we are sorry to lose two good Democratic votes at the next election If Uncle Rufus don't come off, as the boys say, pretty soon, the Democratic party in this town will hardly have members enough left to fill out the ticket.

Benjamin Harrison.
Washington Letter.
(From our Regular Correspondent.)
   WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 1891.—Mr. Harrison is certainly unfortunate in one thing. Only those republicans who already hold Federal offices, or those who are reaching out after one, speak publicly in favor of his renomination. Robert Small, the negro ex-Congressman of South Carolina, who is drawing a federal salary in that State, dropped into Washington last week, and, having succeeded by some hook or crook in getting himself interviewed by a reporter of a respectable paper, proceeded to eulogize Harrison and to say if the Southern republicans could dictate the nomination it would certainly go to him; he cast a Blaine anchor to windward by saying that the opposition which once existed among Southern republicans to Mr. Blaine was now entirely gone and that they would gladly support him if he was nominated.
   The next Harrison man to turn up in Washington was ex-Representative McComas, of Maryland, who by reason of his supporting the Force bill was defeated for re-election in a district which is strongly republican. Mr. McComas is hankering after a seat on the Federal bench; therefore it is not strange that he should say that during a tour of the northwestern States he found the people all believing that Blaine was too loyal to Mr. Harrison to become a candidate and that Mr. Harrison deserved a re-nomination and would get it. No such reports have been brought in by disinterested observers.
   If Secretary Noble has not got tired of saying that he has not resigned and does not intend to resign, the people are tired of hearing it. Just to show how public opinion regards the matter it may be mentioned that a sporting man stood in the lobby of a hotel, which was crowded with people, and offered to wager any amount from $50 to $1,000 that Noble was out of the Cabinet before the first of January and, there were no takers.
   Senator Carlisle is here looking splendidly after his long rest. He says that all the newspaper interviews with him concerning democratic candidates next year which have from time to time appeared this summer have been entirely false, as he has expressed no opinion on the subject.
   Senator Chandler, chairman of the Senate committee on immigration, has fired the first gun in what may be a very serious fight in Congress by writing a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury setting forth his views as to the legality of that official's action in accepting bonds, insuring that they should not become a public charge, and permitting the landing of any prohibited class (the Russian Jews recently permitted to land, upon the Jews in this country giving a bond to the Treasury department that they should not become a charge upon the public, are the targets aimed at). Mr. Chandler says that Congress never intended when the prohibitory laws were enacted to authorize any such system, and it is fair to assume that he proposes that the matter shall be brought to the attention of Congress.
Treasury officials say that written opinions have been furnished that department by Attorney-General Garland under the Cleveland administration and by Attorney-General Miller under the present administration to the effect that such bonds may be taken in the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury.
   The cattle on the Cherokee strip may be the cause of quite an administration row when Mr. Harrison comes back. It is said that the proposed scheme to have them remain there by transferring temporarily the titles to them to individual Indians was first suggested to the cattle barons by a prominent official of the Interior department and now Assistant Secretary Chandler, of the same department, says that the ruse is entirely too thin, and that it will not be allowed. Well, we shall see who will win. It may be a slander, but it has been said over and over again, that these cattle men would not be put off the strip, because they had a good friend who was very near, in more than one respect to Mr. Harrison, who would put them "onto" some way to stay.
   When the Weather Bureau passed under the control of the Agricultural department the statement was made that Francis E. Nipher, of St. Louis, would have been placed in charge of it had he not declined to state his politics. This was vehemently denied at the time by Secretary Rusk, but it was nevertheless true. Professor Nipher who is now here in attendance upon the meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, says that after six months persuasion he had agreed to accept the position, but when he received a telegram from a member of the cabinet signed officially, and reading; "What are your politics? Answer by telegraph," he concluded that he did not care for the position and wired as follows: "Replying to your telegram as requested, I respectfully state that I am not a politician and do not intend to engage in politics."


  1. Jeff
    I am in Ireland and searching information on Hugh Duffy (Duffey) Chairman of The Cortland Democratic Convention c.1890. You have reproduced a newspaper ad in this blog with his name.
    Do you have any more information on him? Would be grateful to know. I am

    1. Davy: Go to this link "Grip's Historical Souvenir of Cortland" and scroll to pages 117, 118. It opens in pdf: