Sunday November 2, 1884


Colonel A.C. Ellis Enlightens the Austin Political Horizon -- He Talks Two Hours Without Serious Detriment -- Silver, Tariff, Chinese and Mcsweeney -- The Coon-Dog Ball and Supper -- Not Registered -- Cranky Notions -- Dry Compliments -- The Next Circus

[Correspondence of the Enterprise.]

AUSTIN, October 30, 1884

The political discourse of Colonel A.C. Ellis, on Monday Evening, was the latest sensation in that line. The Austin Democracy were out in full force, had two grand bonfires on Main street, and the little brass cannon banging away fiercely, making more noise than a whole park of artillery in war time. The National Guard Band did the music for the occasion in excellent style, and, although there was no procession, the street looked hilariously lively. International Hall was crowded to its utmost capacity, a large number of ladies being present, and numerous Republicans helping to make up the audience. The stage was adorned with green bushes, and, with the band in full uniform, presented a pleasing appearance. Hon. H. T. Creswell, Chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee, introduced Colonel Ellis to the audience, and he made a good lively address for a little over two hours. His good voice and delivery and general pleasing style impressed his audience very favorably, and he was frequently applauded. He spoke rapidly and talked more in two hours than many can in four. The following is a condensed reference to the principal points of his discourse:


He commenced by saying it was ten years ago that he first had the honor to address a meeting of citizens of Lander County in this very hall. At that time he was politically asking something for himself, but on this present occasion he only appeared in behalf of the Democratic ticket generally, and the national nominees, and neither should he resort to the repetition of those foul slanders regarding the private and domestic characters of the leading candidates on either ticket, which had already formed too much of the stock in the present campaign. He proposed to consider the respective candidates from the standpoint of their true merit and comparative qualifications. So, also, he should present and discuss the motives, acts, and national trend or drift of each party, and judging the present and future by the past, show which party was the best entitled to public confidence and support. This was a promisingly fair and candid starting out on the part of the talented speaker, but he seemed to forget all about it before he got half through, and constituted himself a special pleader in behalf of the Democratic party and its nominees. He saw nothing but usurpation, barefaced dishonesty and arrogant corruption on the part of the Republicans; while the Democracy shone forth as a model of patient, guileless innocence, and longsuffering, down-trodden ambition, whose sole desire was to once more get on deck and rescue the country from the chaos of ruin and disrepute into which it was plunged by the venal, destructive machinations of the willfully, selfishly corrupt party now in power. If he saw or knew of any good deeds by the Republican party, he did not apparently deem them worthy of mention, but claimed all good acts, deeds and intentions for the Democracy. In short, he distorted facts, and was not candidly honest in his charges and illustrations, freely laying himself open to criticism in that respect at various points. In the matter of bold, reckless assertions, he was almost equal to Cassidy, and could not fail to show that he was a genuine, consistent old dyed-in-the-wool Bourbon Democrat.

The first great burningly important measure which concerns the whole nation, and especially Lander county, said he, is called the silver question. You all remember how, like a thief in the night, silver was demonetized in 1873 at the hands of the Republican party. They had the Presidency, House, Senate and all departments of Government, therefore that party alone is responsible for that great wrong to our mining and business interests throughout the country. There was no relief from the consequent deep and disastrous depression until under beneficent Democratic rule silver was remonetized in 1878, and prosperity once more smiled throughout the land. A Democrat, of whom Mr. Woodburn has told you, formerly lived on the Comstock and whose highest ambition was to be a Justice of the Peace -- which was no criterion to judge of him detrimentally, for even Jefferson and others of our leading statesmen had similar aspirations -- this gentleman introduced a bill before Congress providing for the coinage of the silver dollar of 412 ½ grains and also for the free coinage of silver, on the same principle or privilege as that of gold. This part was stricken out by the Republicans, and among those voting against it was Mr. Blaine. He favored and advocated a dollar of 430 grains, which would debase silver still more in value, and be ruinous to our great Western silver mining interests. Colonel Ellis read the Bland bill, including the rejected free coinage provision, and went on to state that after it passed with a provision authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase from $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 of silver per month to be coined into the standard dollar of 412 ½ grains each, that Republican official, in the interest of those unfriendly to silver, always, from that day to this, has adhered to the minimum amount, and never purchased more than the $2,000,000 per month. Colonel Ellis says Blaine opposed and voted against the Bland bill, and was the enemy of silver, but the record shows very differently. Colonel Ellis also very deliberately ignored our "Silver Senator," Jones, entirely in the matter of giving him no credit whatever for his herculean efforts in the solution of the great silver problem. Yet the whole financial world knows that to Senator Jones are we principally indebted for the remonetization of silver, and the restoration of our silver dollars.

The Colonel, of course, claimed all honor for the Democratic party in the disposal of the Chinese question, that the Democratic party had fought that battle in many campaigns, and finally won it. He neglected to mention that they had any assistance from the Republicans of the Pacific Coast, but stated that only three Republicans east of the Rocky Mountains voted for the Restriction bill which is now rules. He neglected also to state that the Chinese came to the Pacific Coast in the early days of California by the direct invitation and under the fostering care and protection of the Democratic party. Democrats and Chinamen affiliated very well in those days, and would yet if the Chinese had been shrewd enough or cared to become citizens, and thus placed themselves on voting equality. All old timers will remember how the "China boys," with their little red button skull-caps, baggy-seated breeches and long tails, accompanied by their truly devilish band of music, were given an honorary position in public processions in California, and how old John Bigler, the Democratic Governor of California, presided at Chinese banquets until he naturally received the humorous soubriquet of "Mandarin John." It was not until the Republicans came into power that the Democrats discovered that their voteless Celestial brethren were all long-tailed curses of the first water.

The speaker compared the platforms of the two political parties, and showed how recklessly the Republican party has been giving away the public lands to railroads, canals, and foreigners, by millions upon millions of acres, during its reign of terror, yet omitted to mention the numerous millions of acres similarly given away by the Democracy, to say nothing of several entire States and other Government property before the Republican party came into power.

Next came the tariff. Daggett, sitting by a purling brook beneath the lovely banana trees of Honolulu, had read the platform of the Democratic party on that knotty problem in American politics, and couldn't make out what it meant, and he (the Colonel) was free to remark that the tariff planks of both parties are so worded that no living soul can understand them. He spoke of the enormous revenue which had caused $400,000,000 to accumulate as dead property in the Treasury, with $130,000,000 more surplus still coming in every year, all of no use to anybody, unless we "rake her," and yet the heavy burden of taxation goes on all the same. The Colonel was not posted, or willfully omitted to state that the great majority of that large accumulation is contingently appropriated, and in reality there is but $70,000,000 surplus in the Treasury. Moreover, if Cleveland is to be elected, and the Democracy once more to take command, which he says is sure to be next Tuesday, what objection can any hungry Democrat have to a fat Treasury, worth "raking?" As a matter of prudent provision against possible future trouble, surely a snug little home bank account of $500,000,000 in ready money is a good thing to have. When the Republicans came into power they found the whole country going to ruin and wholesale Democratic destruction, with the national. credit broken and the Treasury empty -- the Democracy had "raked" her clean. The Colonel did not claim to be a free trader, and said no statesman was, yet the more he discussed and argued this matter, the more he showed himself against a protective tariff. He attributed our lack of shipping, lack of employment in some of the manufacturing centers, and even the disadvantages of labor in the struggle with capital, to the protective tariff, which helps the monopolist far more than it protects the wages of labor and helps the poor man. He argued against labor-saving machinery, as throwing labor out of employment, saying by way of illustration, that two men, and two children, with their ingenious pin three machine make enough pins to supply three Nevadas. If such be the fact, how many hundreds or thousands of such machines will it take to supply the whole United States? He denied that the wool-growers are injured by the reduction of the tariff on wool. The reduction was only half a cent a pound, yet wool had declined ten cents.

He reviewed the respective records of Blaine and Cleveland, to the decided disadvantage of Blaine, of course. Blaine had taken advantage of his public position to benefit himself financially and otherwise. The chances are that the Colonel or any other level-headed man would do the same thing. Most public men do. The Mulligan letters he cited as showing how unfortunate Blaine was in his correspondence, yet the Colonel failed to show anything very culpable about them. Great cry and little wool -- not enough to wool the eyes of the average American voter.

Speaking of the McSweeney case, he said McSweeney was a naturalized American citizen, for several years in San Francisco, went back to Ireland, was put in prison, claimed protection from the American Republican government and it was refused. He saw McSweeney recently in New York and asked him about it. Mac stated that he never knew why he was imprisoned; didn't do anything, and was arrested, that's all he knew. Now the Colonel is smart lawyer enough to know that this is an unfair statement of the case; that McSweeney renounced his American citizenship, became an English subject, and was holding an office as such when he was arrested for seditious language, all of which however the Colonel omitted to state. He was equally infelicitous in his reference to the Kositza case.

The Colonel wound up his long and eloquent harangue with a brief review of the highly auspicious outlook of the present campaign for the Democratic party. The returns from Ohio indicated that it would go Democratic on the 4th of November. The great demonstrations in New York showed that it will go the Democratic ticket. New Jersey, Indiana and the Pacific States will fall into line, and on the 4th of November Providence will be in favor of the Democratic party in the national councils and throughout the whole county.

Three cheers were given for Cleveland and Hendricks, and the band played "Dixie." Then by way of apology, as it were, it played the Star Spangled Banner and Yankee Doodle, as the crowded assemblage filed out of the hall.

Taken as a whole, this political discourse of Colonel Ellis has no weighty effect. As a lively, interesting talk it did well enough, but even the Democrats did not believe more than half of it, and as the Republicans disbelieved the other half, the whole is repudiated. His argument was faulty, erratic and thin, therefore unsatisfactory, and did not carry conviction into the political souls of his hearers.


The grand coon-dog ball next Wednesday night will most undoubtedly be one of the most interesting events of the season. As before remarked, admission free, and coon-dog cocktails thrown in. It cannot fail to be well attended, for all the defeated candidates will be there, and all their sympathizing and disappointed friends, as well as all those who promised to vote for them (and lied). Included in the programme of dances I notice the following: Scratched Ticket Schottische; Bread and Butter Waltz; Quadrille Cheat (with throw-off delegates in the center); Sorehead Lancers; Kickers' Galop; Grand Coon-Dog Supper March. The Salt River Quadrille Band will do the music for the occasion, free of charge, being in the constant employ of the time-honored and most liberally patronized hotel at the head of the blessed old river.


This is also sure to be unanimously patronized, as it will be as free as the drinks. The music of the supper march will be the old familiar domestic aria and ditty of –

"Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard

to get her poor dog a bone."

Included in the menu I notice the following appetizing dishes: Fresh shysters on the half-shell; grilled mutton-heads, with Cleveland & Hendricks' famous sauce; Logan cutlets, served Blaine or breaded; coon-dog fricassee, with Salt River dope on the side; all aboard pudding, grand party chorus:

"I want to be a coon-dog

And up Salt River go," etc.


I notice the newspapers keep saying that Uncle Jimmy Fair is to arrive in Nevada in time to vote. But I see by the Enterprise that he is not registered in Virginia City, where he claims his residence, therefore he can't vote even if he does arrive. A crank in your city also writes me the following information: "The latest story here is that Mackay and Fair will both be here this week to work for Cassidy and Cleveland and Jones."

After his speaking the other evening Colonel Ellis did not run the round of the saloons and give the boys a drink. There is no hope of his ever getting elected for anything after such conduct. Several old stiffs bucked badly over the cold-blooded idea.

Yesterday a Piute, gazing at the large and handsome, various-colored political posters stuck up all round town, asked me: "Nudder circus come pooty soon, mebby so?" "Oh, yes! heapa biggy circus come next Tuesday. "


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