The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Herbert Welsh, April 16th, 1904


New York, April 16, 1904.

I am glad to know that you approve of the principles maintained and the policy advocated in my McClure article on the “Race Question.” It is one of the most difficult problems we have to deal with and, as you are well aware, there is nothing harder to reason with than prejudice. The reception my article received in the South has been such as might have been expected: the constant iteration and reiteration of the assertion that the Southern people know better how to treat the negro and how to solve whatever problems may be connected with him than Northern people ever can. At the same time I have succeeded in stirring up discussion of the question in the Southern papers in an unusual degree and have thus given, possibly, a new impulse to the education movement. I have in order to enjoy the milder air of the South, after having been abed with bronchial catarrh for several weeks, spent some time at Hampton and studied more closely the working of that institution. I am happy to say that my experience has been exceedingly satisfactory. The school is doing the best kind of work and exercising the healthiest kind of influence. What I saw there has been a real inspiration to me, and it is a hopeful thing that similar institutions—most of them, to be sure, on a smaller scale—are springing up in various parts of the South.

I think that the men interested in Southern education—I mean especially those living and active in the South—are gradually coming to the conclusion that the two things, education and suffrage, must go together, and that the movement against suffrage is logically a movement against education, as strikingly exemplified in the case of Governor Vardaman of Mississippi. Mr. Murphy of Alabama whom you probably know, and whom I look upon as one of the sincerest advocates of education, has just published a book which is full of powerful argument. The leaven is working and, I have no doubt, good results will follow; but even in the best case we shall have to be patient.

As to the Philippine matter, there has been a paper in circulation asking the two political campaigns to pronounce in favor of Philippine independence. The success of that paper has been beyond all expectation. It has been signed by dozens of college presidents with President Eliot of Harvard at the head, scores of professors, ever so many Episcopalian bishops and clergymen, Cardinal Gibbons, several Catholic archbishops and bishops and no end of prominent private citizens. I suppose it will be ignored by the Republican National Convention, but I shall not be surprised if it would encourage the Democratic Convention to put forth some energetic pronouncement. Cleveland has published a very strong paper against imperialism and, as far as I can see, among the Democratic leaders the sentiment prevails. The Administration seems to have become somewhat alarmed at this new demonstration and is sending Secretary Taft around to make speeches in which he tries to convince people that independence ought not to be promised to the Filipinos, and that at any rate it should not come in less than something like one hundred and fifty years. These speeches are not without effect, for Secretary Taft enjoys general esteem as a sincere man and is believed by many people to understand the Philippine question better than anybody else, but the feeling in favor of independence seems to have been growing and spreading of late and developing into a great force. The efforts he has made to induce capitalists to invest money in the Philippines have so far been unavailing.