1869 GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN SPEECH
September 24, 1869
I had supposed, even up to the time when I commenced the work of the present campaign, that the reconstruction measures were in a condition to be considered as substantially settled, and that the Republican policy of reconstruction was acquiesced in by all parties. But the recent speech of Mr. Pendleton, the distinguished gentleman opposed to me in the present canvass, has shown that this was a mistaken view. In that speech Mr. Pendleton shows that the Democratic Party does not acquiesce in the work already accomplished toward reconstruction. They still denounce that work as unconstitutional. Their success will, therefore, be regarded everywhere as a reaction. What has been acquiesced in by all parties in Virginia is opposed by Mr. Pendleton. Bad men all over the South would accept a Democratic victory in Ohio as encouragement to again reopen and agitate the question of reconstruction. Under the policy of the Republican Party quiet has now been restored in the States lately in rebellion; industry has been revived, crops are reported excellent, cotton and sugar are again successfully cultivated, and a period of prosperity is opening up in the South. All of this would be checked and reversed by the success of the reactionary Democratic Party.
No party has yet openly declared in favor of repudiation; but we know that wherever we find a man that does declare in favor of it, from Brick Pomeroy and his New York Democrat down to the Columbus Crisis, we find them in the Democratic Party.
Mr. Pendleton devotes but eight lines to State affairs, and seems to regard them as of slight importance. Two years ago he did not think so. Then he took occasion to compare the State expenditures of the year with those of ten years previous. By that comparison there was an implied promise that if you elected a Democratic Legislature the expenditures would be diminished. How has this promised been kept? They succeeded in getting control of the Legislature, and, instead of being diminished, the State expenditures have been increased, until this year they will reach twenty-one or twenty-two millions.
Mr. Pendleton complains that in the statements of the public debts made by Mr. Boutwell, the Pacific Railroad bonds are omitted. In reply, it may be said that if those bonds were a part of the debt in August, they were a part of the debt in March, and if added to one side of the statement should be added to the other, leaving the actual reduction precisely as previously stated. Mr. Boutwell excludes the railroad bonds from his statement because in law, in equity, and in fairness, they are to be paid by the railroad companies.
Mr. Pendleton complains that diamonds are taxed at ten per cent. He knows that is done to avoid offering inducements to smugglers. An examination of the Democratic tariff of 1846, shows that diamonds were charged precisely the same duty as under the existing laws. It is a pleasant thing to be Governor of Ohio, but the office would be dearly purchased at the expense of having framed such an argument as that of Mr. Pendleton’s.