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In a Letter He Says that

Imperialism Is a Menace.


Refuses to Take Part in Ohio Campaign

Because He Opposes the Issues

Upheld by Both Parties.

CINCINNATI, Ohio, Oct. 27. — A number of prominent German citizens recently addressed an invitation to Carl Schurz to deliver an address in Cincinnati. The following reply was received to-day:

New York, Oct. 23, 1899

Dear Mr. Rattermann: It was a matter of regret to me to be unable to accede to your request to deliver a non-partisan address on imperialism in Cincinnati on my return trip from Chicago. This was partly due to my anxiety to reach home, and because a non-partisan discussion of this question is no longer recognized. I would be pleased if this question could be taken out of party politics, because if this is not done the only choice that will be left us next year will be between a party representing imperialism and sound money, and another party which, in opposition to imperialism, will combine with it an unsound money issue. This alternative can only be avoided if the imperial policy is removed, and the first step necessary to that end is not alone the cessation of hostilities by a victory of our arms, but the relinquishment of the Philippines. If the Filipinos are not granted their independence then imperialism will be the main issue in the Presidential election next year, crowding all other issues into the background. The signs are already apparent, and I see that The Cincinnati Volksblatt warns as follows:

“Practical people are of the opinion that Mr. Schurz could be of greater service to the country if he would come to Ohio and again fight the silver swindle instead of working into the hands of the free coiners by placing annexation into the foreground. For it is a fact free coinage represents a greater danger than annexation.”

I am of a different opinion. No one can say of me that I undervalue the danger that may arise from free coinage. But I hold that imperialism is decidedly more dangerous, for it means the ruin of our free institutions. If, then, we could not oppose imperialism without working into the hands of the free coiners, as The Volksblatt says, what then? It means that three years ago, in good faith, we elected a President to solve the money question, who instead has burdened us with imperialism. In this connection the warning to speak of something else sounds peculiar.

Of what do the speakers who have been called into Ohio really speak? Did Gov. Roosevelt, for instance, dilate upon the silver question? He was principally occupied in calling us Copperheads in answer to our anti-imperialistic arguments. And the rest of the orators do likewise.

If under these circumstances I would by the agitation of the silver question aid the Republicans of Ohio to victory I would be convinced that the Administration would construe such a victory as the indorsement by the people of its imperialistic policy and make unlimited capital out of it. Toward such a result I cannot conscientiously contribute.

I am of the honest conviction that the greatest danger that now threatens the Republic is imperialism. I believe that it is our highest patriotic duty to set aside all party interests and do our best to avert this danger. It was to this end that last year I opposed the candidacy of Roosevelt for Governor in this State. I did this although I was a personal friend of Roosevelt, and worked with him for civil service reform. I believed then, and still beliecve, that his defeat with his imperialistic programme and in spite of his new earned fame would have frightened the Administration in Washington from the annexation of the Philippines, and in this manner the danger would have been greatly minimized.

Many of my acquaintances here, who were then of a contrary opinion, agree with me now that the result of the sacrifice would have been well worth the price. The situation this year appears to me to be exactly the same. If the Fall elections result in a manner that the Administration and Congress are encouraged to further progress on the path of imperialism, then, unless unlooked-for events should intervene, the main question that will confront us next year in the Presidential election will be imperialism, and, to save the Republic from her greatest danger will require unpleasant sacrifices. Such encouragement to the Administration should be withheld at any cost.

We are in the midst of a crisis in which every good citizen should regard it as his highest duty to make the less important subservient to the more important, according to his knowledge and conscience, and not permit himself to be governed simply by party considerations. With friendly greeting, yours,


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).