1869 GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN SPEECH
August 13, 1869
Platform at the Courthouse
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN—A candidate, while traversing the State to make speeches, gents accustomed to hear all sorts of complimentary things said of himself; but this is the first time I have had the fortune to hear myself called good-looking.
I have been assailed in two leading articles in the central organ of the Democratic Party, charging me with being an enemy of the public schools, and this because I drew attention to the great number of acts passed by the Democratic General Assembly, authorizing City Councils, County Commissioners, and other local authorities, to increase local taxation and local debts. I did not take exception to any measures in reference to schools. I said expressly that many of these acts were wise, and called for by public opinion. What I objected to was the extraordinary number of such acts, and the large amount of taxation and indebtedness which they authorized. What I believed to be just grounds of complaint is the manner in which all these different taxes were filled up, until the aggregate seemed likely to become an unbearable burden.
In regard to the far-fetched charge that I am opposed to the public schools I have this to say: there may be a doubt as to the course the Democratic party of Ohio and its candidates for executive and legislative offices will take on the important question in relation to the public schools, in case they are invested with power; but there is no doubt about the position of the Republican party and its candidates, myself included. We mean to maintain the present American system of education by means of free schools, established and supported at the public expense. We mean to oppose the establishment of a system for the education of the youth of the State in the peculiar doctrines of any religious sect, in whole or in part, at the public expense. We believe that the separation of the State from the Church requires also the separation of the public schools from all sectarian control. Popular education is the brightest star in our civil firmament, and we don’t want it blotted out, or its luster dimmed.