Mrs. Mary E. Lease In Westmoreland, Kansas.
Enormous Turnout -- Over 7,000 People President, and that When Everybody was Busy with Harvest -- What Does it Mean?
To the Editor of the Advocate.
At the request of many friends, I will try to give a brief account of Sister Lease's tremendous ovation in our county last week. About the 4th of July the first hills were struck stating that Mrs. Lease would talk to us on the 17th inst. Many of us thought what the g.o.p. press tried to make us believe, that owing to the extremely busy season there would not be much of a turnout.
But early in the morning on the 17th, carriages, buggies, carts, hacks, lumber wagons and everything that people could grove adjoining our county seat, until long after noon. Every sub-Alliance in the county was there and thousands of people besides. Sister Lease, in response to her introduction, just before dinner, said: "I was told that the Alliance was going to pieces in this county; but if this is one of the pieces, the Republican Party had better get upon its knees and say ‘God have mercy on my soul! What shall I do to be saved?’" After dinner Sister Lease held that magnificent audience. Spellbound for three long hours, with one of her matchless speeches. As Judge Fitzgerald said afterwards, "Them's my sentiments; I can't talk." Your space is too valuable for me try to give even a sketch of her speech. Next day, the 18th, the county Alliance held its annual election of officers. Last year's officers were re-elected. Sister Lease, after speaking in the court house the night before, made two speeches that day, and then at night went to Merry Mount Alliance, about 7 miles from Westmoreland, and spoke again -- making live speeches in a day and a half. We must express our fears that we shall kill our good sister at that rate. Next day she went by carriage over twenty miles to Frankfort and there took the train for Concordia, where she spoke on the 20th.
Now, Mr. Editor, what does all this mean? Do people have their grain in the field, in many cases yet uncut, their corn not yet laid by, and all the farm work crowding as it seldom does crowd (for the wet season made work behind) -- do people leave all this work just to picnic, or simply to hear a woman talk? No! It means that we feel that there is a screw loose somewhere in our political machine, and we are going to stop the wagon, get down and find out where it is. Sister Lease told us where a good many parts of the machine were badly out of order, and we will try by November 3, 1891, to start in towards the repair shop if we can't do any better. But we think this gathering indicates that we shall not only get the old machine to the shop, but that we shall get it mended "a right smart bit," and get it so it will run with less oil, i. e. taxes, and do better work in the future.