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John P


Reply to Congressman Hopkins.

("Chicago Mail," May, 1892.)

John P, Democratic candidate for Governor, was asked by reporter for the Chicago Mail for his views on the speech of Congressman Hopkins, temporary chairman of the Republican State Convention. The Judge smiled and incidentally remarked that the speech was most remarkable for what it didn't contain. He talked freely on Mr. Hopkins' utterances, and among other things he said:

"The speech of Mr. Hopkins, the temporary chairman of the Republican Convention at Springfield, was an illustration of the sublime confidence the leaders of the Republican party have in the gullibility of the American public. During the last fifty years great strides have been made in the industries of the world, owing to invention, to a quickening ingenuity, to division of labor, to improved machinery, and improved methods. Consequently many of the useful articles of life can be made for less than one-quarter what they formerly cost. This progress has been made in spite of the American prohibitory tariff. Mr. Hopkins had the assurance to tell the assembled Republicans that the tariff had been a blessing to the workingman and to the farmer of this country, and he pointed to the fact that some things were made cheaper now than they were twenty years ago; but he took good care not to tell them what those things could be bought for now if the tariff were removed.

"He told a story to illustrate the difference between theory and practice. Now the trouble with the tariff is that it is only in theory that it confers any benefits. Practically it has injured both the workingman and the farmer, because it compels them to pay a higher price for everything they have to buy, and it does not in the least protect the workingman's wages, while it deprives the farmer of the markets of the world. If Hopkins had wanted to tell the Republicans at Springfield the whole truth, he should have told them that we have had the most absolute free trade in labor since 1860; that the purpose of the tariff was to enable the manufacturer to sell his goods at a higher price, and that is the effect of it. If this were not so there would be no need of a tariff. Manufacturers would not give from $10,000 to $50,000 toward raising a corruption fund with which to carry an election in order to elect a man like Mr. Hopkins to maintain the tariff laws. They expect to get their money back through these tariff laws. Not only so, but they expect to get large fortunes in addition back through the tariff. Now, these fortunes are made out


of the increased price at which they can sell their goods over what they would get if there was no tariff and they had to sell their goods at the same price that the Englishman and the German and the Frenchman sell theirs.

"But while they are thus protected in their prices they import the labor they want from the pauper labor fields of Europe, so that every hour during which the protective tariff has been in existence, the laboring man has had to compete with the pauper labor of Europe; not only the labor that came here in the way of honest immigration, but the very men who contributed millions of dollars to maintain the tariff violated the laws and imported ship-loads of European pauper laborers under contract, so that according to so high an authority as T. V. Powderly, both the American born and the naturalized American laborer have been driven out of the great State of Pennsylvania, and their places filled by Huns, Poles, Italians and others, brought under contract, in violation of law. If Hopkins had wanted to tell the whole truth, he would have told the Republicans at Springfield that the billion dollar Congress which enacted the McKinley law, increasing the tariff from forty to sixty per cent., had scarcely adjourned when upward of 300 manufacturing establishments, that were to be benefited by this tariff, reduced the wages of their workingmen, so that while the McKinley law increased the price of everything the workingman had to buy, it permitted his wages to be cut down. Hopkins should further have told his audience that there are nearly forty of the leading establishments, which were built up under the tariff, chief among them being Mr. Carnegie's, employing upward of 50,000 men, that have banished organized labor from their shops and filled its place with labor imported from Europe. Hopkins should further have told his audience that, while the tariff keeps up the price of everything which the farmer has to buy, it has tended to rob us of the markets of the world, and that for ten years farms and farm products have been declining in value. Hopkins should have told the convention that all of the continental countries of Europe, as well as the countries of Asia, from which the pauper labor comes, have not only high, but in many cases prohibitory, tariffs, and have had for hundreds of years, and that it was under these tariffs that this pauperism grew up, and that the higher the tariff is in any country the more abject is the condition of the common people.

"Hopkins should have told his audience that while upward of 50,000,000 of people were being taxed by a tariff law to enable Mr. Carnegie to accumulate upward of $50,000,000, and while Carnegie was spending his time preaching to the American people what a Christian


gentleman should do with his millions, the farmers of America, from whose sweat these millions were made, found the mortgages on their farms growing larger, and the laboring men of America found that they were harder and harder driven by imported pauper labor. The Republican party has given the American laborer and the American farmer the kind of protection which the elephant gave to the partridges. When walking through the woods he ran across some partridges that had lost their mother and were in deep distress. His heart was moved with compassion; tears rolled down his proboscis, and he said to them: ‘Come, get yourselves together now, and I will be a mother to you.’ They got themselves together and he sat down upon them and covered them."