Status: Complete

25 SEPTEMBER 1872 339

long, and have loved him much, but he is in very bad company. My friends
say, Why, Mr. Douglass, are you going to desert Horace Greeley? I answer,
No, but Horace Greeley has deserted us. It is like the story of Paddy when
he landed in the United States and first resolved to ride a mule. He knew
nothing of the use of a saddle and still less of that of the stirrups. Well, he
mounted the mule, but disdained to use the stirrups. Using a stick, he made
the mule begin to gallop, and as the animal dashed along the stirrups struck
his sides and caused him to rush madly on, nearly unseating Paddy. By and
by the mule got one of his hind legs in the stirrup, which being observed by
Paddy, he shouted: “Be jabers, if yez is going to get on, it is time for me to
get off (Laughter.) Now, as the Democratic Party has begun to mount
Horace, it is time for me to get off Horace. (Loud applause.) It is a
remarkable evidence of the intelligent instincts of the colored people of the
South, and shows how wisely they have selected in this matter, when it is
known that, not withstanding all the blandishments, they can see that with
Horace Greeley in power the old master is again brought back into power,
while with Grant in power liberty and equality prevails throughout the
land. (Loud applause.)

But I have spoken of the Democratic platform as in substance the same
as the Republican platform. In this I have been too liberal to our adver-
saries, and less than just to our friends. The Democratic platform was
doubtless intended to bear a Republican construction, and to seem like the
genuine article, but it is, in fact and in effect, as opposed to it as freedom is
to slavery. There are three or four little words in it, put in for a purpose
which makes it a political document of the most dangerous and destructive
kind.¹² As on a railroad, you have only to move the switch a single inch,
and the train is taken from the true track and hurled over the embankment,
killing and maiming the passengers. So here we have one or two little
words which change the whole direction of the country from safety to ruin,
and from liberty to slavery. The Cincinnati Democratic platform declares
itself opposed to reopening the questions settled by the Thirteenth, Four-
teenth and Fifteenth Amendments. In another place it declares for “local
self-govemment with impartial suffrage,” as against national protection
and universal suffrage.

Now, first: I object to the word “settled.” It leaves room for certain

12. The section of the Democratic platform to which Douglass alludes states that “local self-
govemment, with impanial suffrage, will guard the rights of all citizens more securely than any
centralized power." Johnson, National Party Platforms, l : 41

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