If there is ever to be again, as there once was, a strong and substantial Republican party at the South, or a party by any other name that will openly oppose the ruling oligarchy of that section,—as I have every reason to believe will eventually take place,—it will not be through the disposition of federal patronage, but in consequence of the acceptance by the people of that section of the principles and policies for which the National Organization stands. For the accomplishment of this purpose and for the attainment of this end time is the most important factor. Questionable methods that have been used to hold in abeyance the advancing civilization of the age will eventually be overcome and effectually destroyed. The wheels of progress, of intelligence, and of right cannot and will not move backwards, but will go forward in spite of all that can be said and done. In the mean time the exercise of patience, forbearance, and good judgment are all that will be required.
Another fact which seems to be overlooked by many is that the so-called Solid South of to-day is not the menace to the country that it was between 1875 and 1888. During that period the Solid South included the States of Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. Those States at that time were as reliably Democratic as Texas and Georgia. Such does not seem to be true of them now, and yet I venture the assertion that the disposition of the federal patronage in them had very little, if anything, to do with bringing about the change. What has been done and is being done in those States can be done in others that are located south of them. As strong as the Republican party is there is one thing it cannot afford to do, and that is to encourage or tolerate the drawing of the race or color line in any efforts that may be made to break up and dissolve what now remains of the Solid South. One of the cardinal principles and doctrines of the Republican party,—the principle that has, more than any other, secured for it the loyal and consistent support of those who represent the moral sentiment of the country,—is its bold and aggressive advocacy and defense of liberty, justice, and equal civil and political rights for all classes of American citizens. From that grand and noble position it cannot afford to descend in an effort to find new and doubtful allies. If it should in an evil moment allow itself to make such a grave blunder, such a criminal mistake, it will thereby forfeit the confidence and support of the major part of those upon whom in the past it has relied,—and never in vain,—for its continuance in power. There is nothing in the situation that would justify the experiment, even if it were thought that a little temporary and local advantage would be secured thereby.