The Writings of Carl Schurz/From William James, March 16th, 1900

Carqueiranne, France, March 16, 1900.

I came near sending letters of “bravo” to both you and Mr. Cockran after your Chicago speeches last summer [autumn], but I did n't; but now comes the Nation with a brief account of your Philadelphia address, which stirs my heart to overflowing. Thank God that you exist in this crisis! We shall of course be beaten; but your warning that we shall never abandon the fight, no matter how many generations of agitators it takes, is the right kind of talk for McKinley and the people to hear. The instincts of adventure and of mastery, and the pride of not receding, are of course in the way of every honest solution, but in the long run the higher conscience prevails even over these passionate forces. You can go to your grave with the sense of having been, with these speeches of yours, a pivot round which the future is bound to turn. What a rôle our country was born with—what a silver spoon in its mouth, and how it has chucked it away! I think the Administration talk, Dewey's talk, about never having committed ourselves in any way to Aguinaldo—he has, forsooth, no writing in our hand, can call no witness to any promise—is the most incredible, unbelievable, piece of sneak-thief turpitude that any nation ever practised. “Yankee trick,” indeed—after this that old sarcastic designation should be embroidered on “Old Glory” and introduced into the Constitution as our chief claim—to conceit.

The Republican party is fattened to kill. Were I at home I should vote for Bryan with both hands. There might in the next following election be a chance for the organizing of a new party. But what a rotten political machinery we have, which makes it possible for two such men as Cleveland and Reid [Thomas B. Reed?] to be now sulking in their tents!

Bless you, Carl Schurz!

Your admiring fellow-citizen.

  1. The philosopher and Harvard professor.