Horatio S. White, in Florence, wrote a short note on a small card to Sam: “the enclosed I found in Mr. Fiske’s pocket book after his death. It belongs in your hands’ [MTP]. Note: the file notes, “The enclosure was SLC to Willard Fiske, 16 June 1904, 06872….”
November 4 Friday – At the Grosvenor Hotel in N.Y.C. Sam wrote to Joe Twichell.
Oh, Dear! get out of that sewer—party-politics—dear Joe. At least with your mouth. We had only two men maybe who could make speeches for the two parties & preserve their honor & their dignity. One of them is dead. Possibly there were four. I would have believed John Hay could do it. I am sorry for John Hay; sorry & ashamed. And yet I know he couldn’t help it. He wears the collar, & he had to pay the penalty. Certainly he had no more desire to stand up before a mob of confiding human incapables & debauch them than you had. Certainly he took no more real pleasure in distorting history, concealing facts, propagating immoralities, & appealing to the sordid side of human nature than did you; but he was his party’s property, & he had to climb away down & do it.
It is interesting, wonderfully interesting—the miracles which party-politics can do with a man’s mental & moral make-up. Look at McKinley, Roosevelt & yourself: in private life spotless in character; honorable, honest, just, humane, generous; scorning trickeries, treacheries, suppressions of the truth, mistranslations of the meanings of facts, the filching of credit earned by another, the condoning of crime, the glorifying of base acts: in public political life the reverse of all this. McKinley was a silverite—you concealed it. Roosevelt was a silverite—you concealed it. Parker was a silverite—you publish it. Along with a shudder & a warning: “He was unsafe then. Is he any safer now?”
Joe, even I could be guilty of such a thing as that—if I were in party-politics; I really believe it.
Mr. Cleveland gave the country the gold standard; by implication you credit the matter to the Republican party.
By implication you approve the whole annual pension-scoop, concealing the fact that the bulk of the money goes to people who in no way deserve it. You imply that all the batteners upon this bribery-fund are Republicans. An indiscreet confession, since about half of them must have been Democrats before they were bought.
You as good as praise Order 78. It is true you do not shout, & you do not linger, you only whisper & skip—still, what little you do in the matter is complimentary to the crime.
“It means, if it means anything,” that our outlying properties will all be given up by the Democrats, & our flag hauled down.[”] All of them? Not only the properties stolen by Mr. Mc Kinley & Mr. Roosevelt but the properties honestly acquired? Joe, did you believe that hardy statement when you made it? Yet you made it, & there it stands in permanent print. Now what moral law would suffer if we should give up the stolen ones? But—
“You know our standard-bearer. He will maintain all that we have gained”—by whatever process. Land, I believe you!
Shall we turn over “our” Canal to men who tried to defeat the treaty enabling us to build it? Oh, by no means! Let us leave it in the Presidential hands that made it ours—by methods which might even have wrung a shudder out of the seasoned McKinley.
By George, Joe, you are as handy at the game as if you had been training for it all your life. Your campaign Address is built from the ground up upon the oldest & best models. There isn’t a paragraph in it whose facts or morals will wash—not even a sentence, I believe.
But you will soon be out of this. You didn’t want to do it—that is sufficiently apparent, thanks be!—but you couldn’t well get out of it. In a few days you will be out of it, & then you can fumigate yourself & take up your legitimate work & again & resume your clean & wholesome private character once more & be happy—& useful.
I know I ought to hand you / some guff, now, as propitiation & apology for these reproaches, but on the whole I believe I won’t.
I have inquired, & find that Mitsikuri does not arrive here until tomorrow night. I shall watch out, & telephone again, for I greatly want to see him.
My, but his people & the Russians are making an astonishing fight! It is the human race at its very finest
that noble race which was made out of the excrement of the angels. If God
has any sense of
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.