Is the War Ended?
October 25, 1872 — Cooper Institute, New York City
Stripped of all sophistry, of all extraneous personal matters, and brought down to the naked fact, the question which the people are to answer on the 5th of next November is, is the war ended? Mr. Morton told us at Philadelphia that so far from the war being ended, the old battle is going on between the boys in gray and the boys in blue. Gerrit smith tells us that that there is an absolute necessity for the reelection of General Grant, since the anti-slavery contest is not ended. Mr. Morton might have told us that the Republican Administrator had no new policy. It has not. The policy that it wishes to carry out is a war policy still, based on the necessities of war, growing out of the needs of war, else why continue the methods of war in times of peace?
Surely the people believe this if they are to sustain the men who make these declarations and those that sustain them. Twenty-two prominent delinquents in the Revenue Department, thirty-nine post-office culprits and thirty others market thieves in other departments of the Government; two millions and a half of the people’s money stolen. Shall much men as Morton in Indiana, Cameron in Pennsylvania, Carpenter in Wisconsin, and Conklin in New York be continued and supported in this country? The most ardent supporters of the Republican party only say that they must be sustained because they sustain Gen. Grant — that these must be supported because they support and sustain the present administration, and because the continuance of the present policy of the Administration is essential to the preservation of the republic. What else but absolute faith in such assertions as these could induce men of interest, men of honor, and men of integrity to sustain and support this same Administration, with part, at least, of its policy? The tree is known by its fruit, and what fruit has this Administration borne, and what does it bear to-day?
Who is General Grant? Who are his companions? A man, says the old proverb, is known by the company he keeps. And what company does our honorable President keep? I come from Pennsylvania, and I am sorry for it just now — and she has just elected a certain Governor [John F. Hantranft] by 35,000 majority. Who and what is this Governor? A man who, as Auditor of the state, connived at, if he was not actually engaged in, the robbing of the state’s rust and the using of the bonds of the sinking fund for purposes of gambling. And how was he elected? He was commended to the office by a Penitentiary convict on one side, and General Grant on the other. He was hand-in-glove and arm-in-arm with men serving out their time in the State Prison; they are taken out, they indorse him, and before the words are cold on his lips the President comes to the front and says I desire the election of this man — the two pillars to support and bear up the Governor of Pennsylvania being a state convict and President Grant. Such are Grant’s friends. One may well say in all humility and with his mouth in the dust, GOD SAVE THE REPUBLIC!
But he is charged with many other things besides bad companionship — charged by others. He is charged with an undue fondness for cigars and wine, with which luxuries his friends and officeholders see that he is abundantly supplied; he is charged with loitering by the sea, and his peculiar organ in New York last summer commended hi – commended the President of the Untied States for his self-denial in leaving Long Branch for a day to attend a Cabinet meeting at Washington; with retaining thieves and robbers in office; with filing public positions with his personal friends and relatives. But what of these charges? The great question is, Is Grant fit to be President?
[In responding herself to this question, she gave a running sketch of Grant’s delinquencies, dwelling upon the objections urged against him which led to the meeting of the Cincinnati Convention, which assemblage she commended on which great admiration. She introduced the name of Sumner as a leader in the reform movement, and Greely as the nominee of the Cincinnati Convention.
The Cincinnati movement was opposed by the assertion that the war was not yet ended. This was sought to be substantiated by the alliance of the Democrats with the movement. But, if ever the politicians were beaten down and crushed, they were so beaten down and crushed at Cincinnati; and if ever the Democratic party was crushed, it was crushed at Baltimore, when its representatives placed it on the Reform platform, and closed the proceedings by singing, “The Battle-Cry of Freedom.”
[She denounced] . . . that class of people who express their determination not to vote this fall; those who say, “I won’t vote for Grant; no, I won’t vote for Grant; but I ain’t sure about Greeley; I don’t exactly like Greeley; I guess I’ll stay at home. If the war is not ended, it is the duty of every man to vote for the Administration that will carry it through to a successful termination. If the war is ended, ten it is the duty of every citizen to vote for an Administration that will not enforce a war policy in time of peace. In response to the assertion that the country was never so prosperous as now, this assertion completely ignores the South.
I know some Republicans are here who are sitting in that most uncomfortable position commonly known as astride the fence. I know there ae plenty of men thus hesitating about and pattering with the supreme interests of the hour. I want them to listen to one word I have to say to them. It is pure cowardice to seek safety in negations. The American man, the citizen who does not cast his vote on the 5th of November next ought to be branded soul deep with the word coward. Many say, I do not believe in Grant; but then they will not vote for Greeley. Their neighbors, on the contrary ,go and vote for Grant; whereas, if they should cast their votes in equal numbers against him, both sides would be equal. But if your neighbor casts his vote for Grant and you keep yours at home, you give two to the man you denounce.
[ She gave a vivid picture of the desolation and financial ruin prevalent throughout the South, and urged] . . . that it was time to call off the dogs of war from that desolated region and give it an opportunity to revive. An Administration in these States, begun in usurpation, has ended in rapine. A debt has been heaped upon them that generations cannot pay off. The Southern labor question and the relation of the negro to politics was discussed at length. She contended that the former slaves having been elevated to the full status of citizens, will all the rights and privileges of the whitest white men, should no longer be considered as a special and distinct class. Republics know no difference among their citizens. There should be no class legislation. If a million citizens — the black voters of the South — cannot secure their rights under the Republic without special legislation in their behalf, the Republic should cease to exist. But, some say, the people of the South are not to be trusted. Then when are they to be trusted? They can yield no more; can promise no more; legislation can do no more for them. but you say if they are really in earnest in their protestation of loyalty, they will manifest it by voting for General Grant and the Republican party. What is the difference in the candidates, you say. I thank you, Jew, for that word. You say no woman should support Greely because he has never put pen to paper nor opened his lips on behalf of woman.
Some have said to me, why do you, a woman, stand up and defend a man who has used his paper and his power to persistently to trample down your rights and scoff at your desires and demands? And the administration papers have said for months past that no woman has yet been found to lift up her voice in behalf of this man, who constantly spit upon their womanhood; the women who have aught to say, say it for the other man. What is this man? A man whose interest was first in his shop and hides; secondly, in the blood and smoke of the battlefield; and third, in his cigars and the White House and the power it gives him. What has this many done, by action or by word, to uplift the dignity of American womanhood?
But what has Grant done, he whose heart was first in his tannery and hides, next in the blood of men, and last in his cigars, the White House, and the power of his position, but has never raised his voice or given the aid of his position in behalf of women?
IMPERTINENT QUESTIONS AND SHARP REPLIES.
[A voice in the audience — who saved the country?]
Who saved the country? The people of the United States saved the country. Who saved the country? [A voice — the soldiers.]
Yes, the men who fought under General Grant, and who had there learned lessons of loyalty and who gave his voice and his pen to the removal of the great cause of the war, for twenty-five years in the columns of the New York Tribune. But Horace Greeley has said that when the women demand the ballot they shall have it, and I say that until the women are ready to exercise it they should not be granted it. Why? Because we have enough indifferent, and enough supine, and enough lazy, and enough careless voters already.
Now, the question is — and you are to pass upon it next November — shall the results of the war be dragged on and dragged on and dragged on through bitterness and sorrow for selfish and political ends for years, or shall they be closed up really, broadly, humanely and at once? On this the world will question us and history will write its record concerning us. Nay, the last sentence of the war record has not been put down yet; history waits for it. The sentinel waits in silence and in darkness at the castle door. He hears a read — “Who comes there, and have you the countersign?” The man advances and whispers the magic word, and the sentinel stands aside and says: “The countersign is correct; pass on.” So with the final sentence of the war record to be written; history will challenge the American nation. As it advances on the 5th of November it says, “Friend with the countersign.” History will say, “Advance, friend, with the countersign.” American then advances and responds, “Liberty for all and justice for every man.” History then drops her pen, writes in characters of everlasting light and glory and makes answer, “The countersign is correct, pass on,” and sounding on through the ages and centuries, echoing and re-echoing goes the cry, “Pass on.” Pass on, then. O grandest and best of nations; pass on, America, to the throne and empire of the world.
Source: The New York World Report, October 26; The New York Sun, October 26.