Mr. Charles F. Murchison to Lord Sackville.


Sir: The gravity of the political situation here and the duties of those voters who are of English birth, but still consider England the motherland, constitute the apology I hereby offer for intruding for information.

Mr. Cleveland’s message to Congress on the fishery question justly excites our alarm and compels us to seek further knowledge before finally casting our votes for him as we had intended to do. Many English citizens have for years refrained from being naturalized, as they thought no good would accrue from the act, but Mr. Cleveland’s administration has been so favorable and friendly toward England, so kind in not enforcing the retaliatory act passed by Congress, so sound on the free-trade question, and so hostile to the dynamite school of Ireland, that by the hundreds—yes, by the thousands—they have become naturalized for the express purpose of helping to elect him Over again. The one above all of American politicians they consider their own and their country’s best friend.

I am one of these unfortunates, with a right to vote for President in [Page 1668] November. I am unable to understand for whom I shall cast my ballot, when but one month ago I was sure Mr. Cleveland was the man. If Cleveland was pursuing a new policy toward Canada temporarily only and for the sake of obtaining popularity and continuation of his office four years more, but intends to cease his policy when his re-election is secured in November and again favor England’s interest, then I should have no further doubts, but go forward and vote for him.

I know of no one better able to direct me, sir, and I most respectfully ask your advice in the matter. I will further add that the two men, Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Harrison, are very evenly matched, and a few votes may elect either one. Mr. Harrison is a high-tariff man, a believer on the American side of all questions, and undoubtedly an enemy to British interests generally. This State is equally divided between the parties, and a mere handful of our naturalized countrymen can turn it either way. When it is remembered that a small State (Colorado) defeated Mr. Tilden in 1876 and elected Hayes, the Republican, the importance of California is at once apparent to all.

As you are at the fountain head of knowledge on the question, and know whether Mr. Cleveland’s present policy is temporary only, and whether he will, as soon as he secures another term of four years in the Presidency, suspend it for one of friendship and free trade, I apply to you privately and confidentially for information, which shall in turn be treated as entirely secret. Such information would put me at rest myself, and if favorable to Mr. Cleveland, enable me, on my own responsibility, to assure many of our countrymen that they would do England a service by voting for Cleveland and against the Republican system of tariff. As I before observed, we know not what to do, but look for more light on a mysterious subject, which the sooner it comes will better serve true Englishmen in casting their votes.

Yours, very respectfully,

Charles F. Murchison.

To the British Minister,
Washington, D. C.