The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Charles Francis Adams, Jr., March 11th, 1899


New York, March 11, 1899.

I should have thanked you for your letter of the 5th more promptly had I not all these days been literally pursued by kindness. It was exceedingly gratifying to me personally, but it interfered very much with my regular occupations, and especially with my correspondence.

What you say of the character and spirit of the banquet of March 2d is undoubtedly true. It was indeed a demonstration of the unrepresented. The only power to counteract the faults and evil tendencies of political organization in our political concerns consists in the influence which the unrepresented may still exercise upon public opinion; and that influence counts after all for a great deal.

I am, for instance, not at all without hope that persevering discussion may at last defeat the imperialistic policy. That policy would certainly be defeated if the Democratic party could get rid of the silver nonsense. But even if that should not happen, the agitation in favor of a conservative policy may be made so strong as to frighten the Republican leaders out of their present conceits. At least, we should try. There is at any rate a fighting chance.

Of course, this does not touch the fundamental trouble so well pointed out by you in your banquet speech. But the influence upon public opinion which the unrepresented possess, may serve to prevent the worst results of that trouble.

Let me thank you once more for the kindness which prompted you to take so prominent and impressive a part in the demonstration of March 2d.