Next day the St. Cloud Democrat made its appearance, and I was sole editor and proprietor. Into the first editorial column I copied verbatim, with a prominent heading, the article from the Visiter on which the libel suit was founded, and gave notice that I alone was pecuniarily responsible for all the injury that could possibly be done to the characters of all the men who might feel themselves aggrieved thereby. Of the late Visiter I had an obituary; gave a short sketch of its stormy life; how it was insulted, overborne, enslaved; that it could not live a slave, and died in its new chains.
It seems strange that those lawyers should have been so stupid, or should have accredited me with such amazing stupidity when they drew up that bond; but so it was, and the tables were completely turned. To sue me for libel was folly, for in St. Paul or St. Anthony I should have had the gratuitous services of the best legal talent in the state, and they and their case would have been ground into very small and dirty dust. No famous victory was ever before turned into a more total rout by a more simple ambush, and by it I won the clear field necessary to the continuance of my work.
I still had protection from physical violence, but had no fear of legal molestation, and after the next fall election, border ruffianism fell into such disrepute in St. Cloud that loaded guns seemed no longer necessary to sustain the freedom of the press.
STATE AND NATIONAL POLITICS.
When The St. Cloud Democrat began its career as the organ of the Republican party in Northern Minnesota, the central and southern portions of the State were fairly supplied with republican papers, the conductors all being more or less skillful in the art of plowing and sowing the political field; but with no very bright prospect of harvesting a victory. Under the Lowrie dictatorship of the North, it is difficult to see how the success of a Republican could have been made possible, any more than giving the electoral vote of Southern Republican States to the Republican candidate in 1880.
To overthrow that dictatorship was the work I had volunteered to do, and in doing it, my plan was to “plow deep,” subsoil to the beam. Preachers held men accountable to God for their Sunday services, but it was my aim to urge the divine claim to obedience, all the rest of the week. I held that election day was of all others, the Lord’s day. He instituted the first republic. All the training which Moses gave the Jews was to fit them for self-government, and at his death the choice of their rulers was left with them and they were commanded to
“Choose men, fearing
God and hating covetousness,
and set them to rule over you.”