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1879. It is unnecessary here to particularize the facts and conclusions embodied in that report, inasmuch as they are before the Senate. It is sufficient for our present purpose to say that the report of the committee, which is overwhelmingly sustained by the testimony accompanying it, . constitutes a record of disgrace and crime at which patriotism must blush so long as we pretend to be a free people, and at which human nature will shudder for all time. A remarkable fact was developed by the investigations in the above-mentioned States, to wit, that those offenses and wrongs, with no material exceptions, were committed in the interest of the Democratic party and upon the rights of Republicans. They seemed to constitute a continuation of the recent history of that section of the country in which they transpired; and but for the circumstance that the public ear has become dull and the public conscience callous to the calls of duty by reason of their repetition, something would ere now have been done about it.
As it was, however, the report of the committee did not appear to be of much consequence. It would probably have created a sensation in any respectable despotic country. In America, however, it did not seem of special importance that republican government had been destroyed by fraud and violence in so far as the choice of a considerable portion of the national House of Representatives was concerned, its political complexion thereby changed, and the policy of the government greatly modified, if not wholly reversed.
At the called session in March, 1879, the Senate having become Democratic, the committee was reconstituted, and, rather than from any other cause, apparently from the necessity of political reprisal, proceeded, during the sultry season to make patient and microscopic examination of the workings of the alleged free institutions of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, both of which States were complacently cherishing a flattering belief in their political uprightness, and had hitherto been generally supposed to be the homes of law-abiding, prosperous, and happy populations.
It is, perhaps, not too much to say that their actual condition is such that, for ordinary inspection, both these States might have appeared respectably well, and the workings of republican government therein not wholly unworthy of the descendants of Roger Williams and of the Puri. tans. But, without claiming any of the merit to themselves, the minority of the committee deem it only just to say that if these ancient and hitherto honored commonwealths have suffered severely in the report of the majority, and consequently in the estimation of mankind, it may not be because they are really so much worse than they have been hitherto supposed to be by themselves and others, but rather because they have been subjected to the criticism of a political conscience, formed on the superior ideals which prevail in States with which the majority may be more familiar, and in the practices of a political party which seldom is responsible for the administration of free institutions in either of the inculpated States. If they have failed to come up to the exalted standard by which a majority almost morbidly acute and sensitive in its require. ments has tried them, it is not wholly a matter of surprise, nor should their future be considered wholly eclipsed in despair. There are many kind and encouraging words in the report of the majority which should stimulate these stricken and degenerate States in the great work of general political reformation. Notwithstanding the fact that they have been found guilty of the novel offense of " civilized," and, it may be, in some gross cases, although the committee leniently omit to charge it, even of enlightened “bull-dozing,” and of indulging in a “system of electioneer
ing dangerous and vicious, and well calculated to bring the Christian religion into the mire of politics," the committee feel that in bringing the facts to public gaze they will help to strengthen a sentiment already in existence, and aid in crystalizing it into such statutory enactments by those States as will correct the evil or punish its repetion.
"Kind words can never die," especially those of the great and good, and it is not easy to estimate how profound and powerful will be the influence of these wise and kindly admonitions in the dark days of tearful struggle which must intervene before Massachusetts and Rhode Island emerge from the slough into which they have fallen and attain to the high standard whereunto to they must attain in order to satisfy the majority. No doubt these two States were selected because of their special perversity. The minority cheerfully bear testimony that in their belief the fact that the weather was very hot in other parts of the Union, while the delights of the sea and of the shore were ever at hand in the doomed States, had nothing whatever to do with their selection. It was simply because they deserved exposure. They have been exposed. The committee has found the facts against them, and there is a complete offset to the political crimes which have so often been demonstrated to constitute almost the natural order of things in some unfortunate locali.. ties in other States—now, thank heaven, in our belief, passing away-in the proven disgrace and sin of these pretentious sisters in despised Sew England.
The minority of the committee does not, however, join with the majority in its findings as to the matters of fact proved by the evidence before the committee. On the contrary, we deny that one single allegation of fraud, misconduct, 6 civilized” or uncivilized 6 bulldozing," or intimidation, or attempted intimidation, or political misconduct of any kind on the part of any Republican, or any employer or manufacturer, or any person of any party, either in the State of Massachusetts or Rhode Island, was proven before the committee. No doubt some abuses may exist, since these States are in this world, but any impartial person will say that the committee did not find them. The conclusions of the majority are not in accordance with the facts. Not only were none of these charges proved; on the contrary, so utterly were they exploded by the intrinsic weight of evidence before the committee that no impartial man who reads the printed evidence can contradict this assertion.
We propose to follow the various findings of the committee specificalls.
MASSACIIUSET I S.
Certaiu affidavits which originated in some inscrutable manner and got into the hands of the committee by a miracle were their chart of crimes in the old Bay State. The campaign preceding the State and Congressional election in November, 1878, was one of exceptional activity and bitterness. Certain financial theories were in issue which aroused all classes of her citizens with apprehension for the industrial and social stability as well as the prosperity and honor of the commonwealth and of the whole country, and the Democratic party, under the leadership of a great man beloved by many for eminent services to his country when in supreme peril, whose dominating abilities re-enforced by the incendiary appeals and cognate doctrines of a boisterous and fanatical agitator from the far West, seemed likely to sweep the State away not merely from its ordinary political moorings, but far out upon the stormy waters of repudiation, communism, and ruin. A trifling
faction of the Democracy endeavored to oppose the irresistible tendencies among the masses of the party, but, while the spirit was willing, numerically they were not important.
The contest became practically a contest between the Democratic party, led by General Butler and what he voiced and represented on the one hand, and the Republican party on the other. The result, after an extraordinary campaign, was the defeat of the Democracy and a triumph of the conservative and enlightened forces of the commonwealth, a triumph at the polls as necessary in tbe estimation of a majority of the people of Massachusetts for the good order of society as that at Bunker Hill for its establishment one hundred years ago.
This apprehension of the fundamental nature of the issues involved alarmed the manufacturers as well as the clergy, educators, and others who seldom pay much attention to political affairs, thereby incurring a degree of criminal responsibility which they hardly realize and for which they are always ultimately punished by convulsions from which they deservedly suffer the more severely because they have more at stake than others. These classes are apt to be more selfishly absorbed in their personal interests than even the despised politicians, to say nothing of the masses of their countrymen who endeavor to discharge their political duties as well as to avail themselves of the advantages of a just administration of the laws. In due time everybody in the State was aroused to a pitch of zeal and activity rare anywhere, and which stirred up the old commonwealth in a manner most delightful and refreshing to those adjoining communities among whom the struggles of self-government had long been a serious matter.
Under these circumstances it would have been pardonable if there had been an occasional slip on the part of a proud and dignified people who had hardly felt the necessity for making a political effort for twenty years, but we aver that after the most microscopic examination of the whole State, and most strenuous effort of the majority to prove a mul. titude of wrongs on the part of Republicans, there has not been a single act of political impropriety established by evidence which could be the foundation of a just verdict for the plaintiff in a civil suit involving the most trivial pecuniary value. The efforts of the committee were only directed to establish some act of political omission or commission on the part of Republicans, and therefore it is unnecessary to speculate upon the probable result of an investigation impartially directed against the conduct of the Democratic managers in that campaign. The majority say that “the specific allegation was made that employers of labor in Massachusetts and Rhode Island coerced their employés to vote as the employers wished, and that deprivation of employment was the penalty of refusal so to do." Thereupon they say that among the data submitted in proof of that allegation was a circular (anonymous), which was in these words:
DEAR SIR: Your co-operation with the Massachusetts Republican State Central Committee is most earnestly requested. It is in your power, by the authority you can exercise over those employed by you, to maintain the honor of Massachusetts, and keep it out of the hands of spoilers and political knaves who have selected General Butler as their caudidate. His election would disgrace our State and ruin our standing at home and abroad. A thorough canvass of those you employ, and an early report to the secretary of the Republican State Central Committee, will be thankfully received.
Thereupon the committee observe that it was proved to be untrue that this was issued by authority of the Republican organization, and that its origin could not be traced, &c., and they conclude by saying that “it seemed to the committee to be a trick of partisan politics, originating with some irresponsible person and productive of no evil result to any workman."
Why, then, the committee should have paraded this document thus prominently at the head of their report seems really unaccountable.
In our opinion, the whole truth is irresistibly shown to be that it was a trick of the Democracy to create the impression that Republicans were resorting to unjust and infamous means to carry the election, and by pretended exposure to excite the indignation of fair-minded people and thereby increase the Democratic vote. (See testimony of George G. Crocker, p. 78 and following, of the evidence.)
The evidence which demonstrated that the Republicans were not responsible for this circular, as reported by the majority, also proved quite as clearly that it was a very cheap and contemptible trick of their oppo. nents, and the minority only regret that the majority forgot to say so in their report.
Much stress was laid in the hearing upon the fact that there was a political meeting of manufacturers held at the Parker House in the city of Boston during the canvass of 1878.
It seems to have been on the whole a most respectable and patriotic gathering, and productive of much good. We commend the evidence in regard to it to the earnest perusal of business men and prominent citizens of all parties. That meeting was a model of political action, and Adin Thayer, who originated the meeting and thereby raised the dead to life and saved the State of Massachusetts in a great political crisis, deserves the immortality which his speech on that occasion, if he gets justice, will insure to him. (See his testimony in full, p. 92.)
Indeed, the secret admiration of the majority must have been excited, for they fail to condemn, although they chronicle the fact that there was a meeting at the Parker House. “But,” they say, “there was no proof that any arrangement was then made to coerce employés or exercise any influence upon them. Indeed, it was expressly denied by the testimony." This is quite incorrect, for the evidence expressly shows that the great object of the meeting was to exert all the good influence possible upon employés and everybody else in the commonwealth, and the success of the meeting was very marked and its influence great upon the result of the campaign. It is the duty of every political party which has any faith in its doctrines to hold just such meetings, and the more of them the better in every important campaign. The minority commends them as one of the true methods of preserving the republic.
There was a like meeting held at Worcester, which was a decided success and greatly to the credit of all who participated. Its deliberations appear to have been patriotic and honorable, and its action and influence in every regard commendable. Many falsehoods were circulated by their opponents as to the character and objects of the meeting, for the pur. pose of exciting the prejudice and hostility of workmen, whose known independence of their employers in all the Northern States, and espe. cially in Massachusetts, makes them peculiarly liable to be influenced by any real or supposed interference with their rights, and some of these falsehoods were rehashed before the committee by those who heard them floating among the populace, but the evidence of those who were present, comprising some of the most upright men of this whole country, abundantly proved that nothing save malice could torture the purpose or the action of these men into anything not commendable in the highest degree. It was simply the discharge of a first duty of a free citizen, and entirely free from any approach to intimidation or undue influence upon others.
There was some complaint that it “dampened the ardor" of the employés, &c., but the weight of the evidence is overwhelming that it was
simply the cooling-off process of returning reason which reduced the Democratic enthusiasm, and that upon sober second thought the intelligent workman realized the unity of his interests with those of the employer, and that their harmonious action was indispensable to mutual prosperity. Indeed, the committee, while quite determined apparently to begin here, since they must commence somewhere, and condemn this Worcester meeting of a few gentlemen who saw their legitimate busi. ness threatened with destruction and themselves and their workmen likely to be involved in a common ruin, have to say (or invent a conclusion which all the evidence contradicted) that there was no case brought to the notice of your committee in which a conspiracy or un. lawful combination to coerce voters was disclosed."
It would be unpardonable to waste time (unless while idling away a summer vacation) in the further effort to vindicate the character of this meeting. We only refer to the evidence at large and to these words of Mr. John D. Washburne, the moving spirit of the occasions (see p. 104):
Q. Was it not the reflex of your purpose to have these gentlemen exercise their influence upon their employés ?-A. I should not say it in that way. It was for them to exercise their influence-excuse me for saying it again-exactly as they might have influence upon people who were or were not employed by them.
Much stress is placed upon a free-lance slip caught flying among the fuss and feathers of the campaign from the Boston Herald, an able paper, whose hand-apt to be a powerful one-is. usually against all parties, being, in fact, as one of the witnesses summoned by the committee described it in his testimony, its own organ (p. 115):
Q. Have you known of the Boston Herald for many years!-A. I have known of it; have frequently read it; but have not been a regular subscriber to it.
Q. What do you understand its politics to be?-A. I think it is very difficult for anybody to understand what its politics are.
Q. And then it is rather its own organ than anything else?-A. It is its own organ. Q. Rather than a party organ ?-A. I think so as a rule. The offensive article is as follows (p. 114): [NOTE.— The newspaper cutting was here offered in evidence by the chairman. It is as follows]:
There will probably be a good deal of “bulldozing” done in Massachusetts this year of a civilized type. The laborers employed by General Butler in bis various enterprises-mills, quarries, &c.—will be expected to vote for him or give up their sitnations. The same rule will hold good on the other side. There will be no shot-guns or threats. Everything will be managed with decorum, adorned by noble sentiments. But the men who oppose Butler employ three-fourths, if not seven-eighths, of the labor of the State. They honestly believe that Butler's election would injure their property. They know that idle hands are waiting to do their work. It is not to be expected that they will look on indifferently and see their employés vote for a destructive like Butler. Human nature is much the same in Massachusetts and Mississippi. Only methods are different. Brains, capital, and enterprise will tell in any community. It is very improper, of course, to intimidate voters, but there is a way of giving advice that is quite convincing.
This anomalous term, “ civilized bulldozing," which appears to be adopted with a certain degree of satisfaction by the committee, as well as the other expression, "convincing advice,” is utterly without signiti cance in view of the fact that not one single case of intimidation by either political party was proved before the committee.
There was testimony by defeated Democratic manipulators of voters that men upon whose votes they had relied either cast them some other way or did not vote at all. But in the complete absence of reasonable proof of the use of any unlawful or improper means to influence the action of the voter, we submit that these charges are evidence of the perfect freedom of choice among all classes rather than of coercion among any; and