The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Charles Sprague Smith, June 29th, 1905


Bolton Landing, N. Y., June 29, 1905.

I regret very much that I cannot attend your meeting next Wednesday night. I am heartily with you as to the object the meeting is to serve. The enthusiastic uprising of the popular conscience and of civic pride against corrupt ring-rule in Philadelphia is among the most hopeful signs of the times—perhaps the most hopeful of all. Of course Mayor Weaver, in his brave fight against the rapacious despotism, and the good people who stand by him with so much energy deserve all possible praise and encouragement from every true American. But the people in their righteous wrath should not forget that the thieving machine-politicians are not the only culprits to be held up to public loathing and execration. Many of them are simply poor wretches who hardly know better. Fully as guilty and even guiltier, are the “highly respectable” receivers of the stolen goods, the instigators and principal beneficiaries of the public robbery, who use the corrupt politicians as their tools in plundering the city or the State or the Nation; who, in order to fill their own pockets, contrive to debauch legislatures and executive officers; who, if they can, will buy up the bar and the bench to protect them from the exposures and punishments they deserve; who try, and sometimes quite successfully too, by an unscrupulous use of their power, to terrorize the whole business community into compliance, if not complicity, with their misdoings, and who then, posing as models of virtue and high respectability, call this “business.” These are the most dangerous pests of society in our days, and they should be duly unmasked and pilloried as such.