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Harper's Weekly Editorials on Carl Schurz/Mr. Schurz's Speech 1

< Harper's Weekly Editorials on Carl Schurz


The speech delivered in Brooklyn a fortnight since by Carl Schurz is a model of the true method of political discussion. It is perfectly clear in statement, resistless in logic, and moderate in tone. It was very effective in delivery, and yet is entirely free from clap-trap. It is remorseless in its exposure of the significance of all the facts which it marshals, yet there is no touch of intentional injustice or misrepresentation. From the time that Mr. Blaine was nominated there have been a great many Republicans, who read only the most unscrupulous party organs, constantly asking, “What are the Mulligan letters, and why is Mr. Blaine said to have traded in his office?” such Republicans will never learn from the organs, because by common consent they refrain from publishing the letters, or from referring to them and attempting an explanation. They tell us that this or that distinguished man is satisfied to vote for Mr. Blaine; that his opponents are soreheads and Pharisees; that they have some secret mean motive; that they are at best a contemptible crew; but they do not explain Mr. Blaine's own words.

In Mr. Schurz's speech Republicans will find the whole story plainly told, and the essential significance of this election fairly and strongly set forth. The Blaine orators have celebrated the worth and the services of the Republican party, and they have done this as a reason for supporting a candidate whose official conduct they do not attempt to explain or defend, saying either that the charges are old, or that they have been settled, or that they do not believe them. That the charges are old is of no importance if they are true; that they have been settled is untrue, since a great body of Republicans who are perfectly familiar with them do not know of any settlement; and that orators say that they do not believe them is merely an expression of opinion, and not evidence or explanation. The argument thus far offered for the support of Mr. Blaine would require the support of Dorsey if he were the candidate.

Mr. Schurz's speech is a refreshing and remarkable contrast to the speeches of the Blaine orators. The only reply to it which has been attempted is the same old slang-whanging personal abuse and ribaldry that were poured out upon Seward and Sumner when they pleaded for justice and honesty in politics. But happily experience has shown that the argument which is addressed to the intelligence and the conscience of the American people is never lost.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).