Although California, beginning in 1860, cast its presidential vote for 

Republican candidates in six of the next seven elections and usually chose 

Republican congressional delegations, Los Angeles remained a Democratic 

stronghold until the 1880s.  Democratic presidential candidates Franklin Pierce 

in 1852 and James Buchanan in 1856, both of whom captured the state's electoral 

vote, carried Los Angeles County with slightly over 50 percent of the vote.  In 

1860 Abraham Lincoln, aided by a fatal division within the Democratic party, 

took California's electoral vote although less than one-third of the voters 

supported him.  In the county the two Democrats, John Breckinridge and Stephen 

Douglas, outpolled Lincoln by more than 3-1, with Breckinridge of the Southern 

Democratic wing leading all candidates.

    Secession further divided Los Angeles Democrats but they continued to 

support their party.  In the midst of the Civil War Democratic candidate George 

McClellan led Lincoln in the county, 744-555.  Four years later county voters 

preferred Democrat Horatio Seymour over Gen. Ulysses Grant by a 3-2 margin, and 

Grant's plurality over Horace Greeley in 1872, the first time a Republican 

presidential candidate had carried Los Angeles, resulted from a split in the 

Democratic ticket.  By 1876 county Democrats were united again and Samuel 

Tilden led Rutherford Hayes by over 500 votes.  

    The political complexion of both county and city changed with the rapid 

population growth of the 'eighties.  The great influx of adult men from 

Northern states in the East and Midwest increased Republican strength and 

altered the direction of local politics.  Starting with James Garfield's 61 

vote plurality in the election of 1880, Republican presidential nominees began 

a period of dominance in the county that continued for several elections.  That 

was reflected in the decision by the Republican party to hold its state 

convention in Los Angeles, for the first time, in 1886.   In the city, 

Democratic candidates continued to be elected mayor with some frequency, but 

after the election of 1883 the council had Republican majorities more often 

than not.  

    The city's newspapers reflected this change in the political makeup of Los 

Angeles.  At the beginning of the decade the two dailies were the evening 

Express and the morning Herald.  Republican papers were short-lived before 1880 

and either folded or changed their politics.  The Express began with a 

Republican slant in 1871 but, with a change of editors and proprietors, was 

endorsing Democrats by 1880.  Long-time Los Angeles newspaperman and historian 

William Spalding classified the Express as "independent."  The Herald was 

consistently Democratic from its founding in 1873.  

    While other Republican papers appeared briefly during the 1870s, when 

Nathan Cole and Thomas Gardiner published the first issue of the Times in 1881 

it was the only Republican daily in town.  As such, it used a large portion of 

its editorial and news columns to promote Republican policies and candidates.  

Throughout the decade the paper followed this openly partisan approach so 

typical of journalism at that time.  

    That partisanship was apparent in the letters column as well.  The 

overwhelming proportion of letters printed by the Times either supported 

Republican candidates or attacked the Democratic party and its nominees, 

whether local or national.  Intertwined with partisan differences of opinion 

regarding the tariff, free trade, civil service reform and other issues that 

separated the two major parties in the 1880s was a lingering animosity incurred 

by the recently concluded Civil War.  That was particularly noticeable in 

national contests, especially presidential elections.  Democrat Grover 

Cleveland's campaigns in 1884 and 1888 were a focal point for Republican 

Angelenos, many of them Union war veterans who looked upon Cleveland's 

Democrats as the party of treason and secession.  This letter by "Old Vet," 

written in the closing days of the 1884 campaign, paraphrased the frequently 

expressed view that Northern veterans would "vote as they shot" - Republican.

                          {Times, Oct. 28, 1884, p.2}

                       A Veteran Gives the True Figures.

              To the Alleged Man and Brother, Editor of the Herald of 

         Democratic Unfairness:  Verily, verily, thou must have seen 

         through the bottom of several glasses darkly on Saturday 

         nIght last, judging by your estimate of the number in the 

         Republican line.  The Army and Navy League, alone, had just 

         thirty files of four men each.  Please refer to your 

         lightning calculator and see what you get as a result, and 

         remember that this was but one of the many organizations in 

         line, in nearly all of which the Union veterans were numerous 

         and conspicuous.  As to our marching--well, we old boys did 

         manage to hobble along, notwithstanding the effects of rebel 

         lead and inhuman treatment in Southern prison pens that the 

         most of us carry; but with all that, we will be up and coming 

         on November 4th--single, by twos, by fours and in 

         platoons--and cast our ballots as we did just twenty years 

         ago, ninety-five per cent. for the cause of the Union and 

         supremacy of our glorious flag, and in this contest that 

         cause is represented by Blaine and Logan, for whom we shall 

         vote--"and don't you forget it."

              Till then, "good bye, my lover, good bye."    

                                                 OLD VET.


    The Republican party won the White House in every election from 1860 to 

1884.  One reason for their continued success after the Civil War was the 

"bloody shirt," an effective Republican tactic that based campaigns on the 

horror of the war and blamed Democrats, Northern and Southern, for the misery 

inflicted upon the nation.  "You got your crutches from - a Democrat," snarled 

Republican orator Robert Ingersoll in campaign after campaign until the mid-

1890s.  The former soldiers to whom he spoke, like "Old Vet," dutifully put 

aside any objections they as farmers or laborers had with the Republican 

platform and cast their votes for the Grand Old {Republican} Party.

    By the late 1870s Democrats had regained control of the ex-Confederate 

state governments and by their consistent support of Democratic presidential 

candidates had earned for that region the nickname of "the Solid South."  

Cleveland's election in 1884 was seen by Los Angeles Republicans, who voted 

along with the majority of the state's voters for James G. Blaine, as a hollow 

victory, based on repressive Southern politics that took advantage of a flawed 

electoral college system and rewarded Democrats for disfranchising potential 

black voters.  Along with their criticism of the electoral system, Republicans 

carped about Cleveland's lack of moral character, as represented by his 

avoidance of military service in the Civil War and his fathering of an 

illegitimate child.  The denunciation of the Democratic candidate as a draft 

dodger and a womanizer would sound familiar to voters a century later, while  

the biting sarcasm in "Confederate's" letter would compare favorably with that 

of modern commentators.

                         {Times, Oct. 26, 1884, p. 5}

                        Plain But Momentous Questions.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  The issues involved in 

         this political campaign are so patent that elaborate argument 

         would seem to be unnecessary.  If, for the next ten days, the 

         Republican papers of the country would keep something like 

         the following questions at the head of their editorial 

         columns they would so clearly and so forcefully present the 

         great facts and principles to which public attention should 

         be solicited that the commonest understanding, readily 

         apprehending their true character, and perceiving the 

         relative attitude in regard to them of the two great parties, 

         would need no additional enlightenment or incitement.

              1. Would the party that within the past twenty-five 

         years, in its caucuses and conventions, in Congress and on 

         scores of battlefields, with all its power, its diabolical 

         power of voice and pen, of sword and musket, labored to 

         destroy the best government ever organized by man; to disrupt 

         the most prosperous country on which the sun has ever shone, 

         now be the most trusted guardians of its vast and varied 


              2. Probably the ocean was never crossed by a steamship 

         whose fastidious passengers did not find enough to criticize.  

         But though the coffee is occasionally muddy and the chicken 

         ancient, yet what should we think if, to remedy the little 

         unavoidable annoyances, it were gravely proposed to displace 

         the men who for twenty-five years, and without a serious 

         accident, had carried the mighty vessel through wind and 

         storm, through icebergs and furious breakers, safely landing 

         her every passenger, and to reinstate officers and crew who 

         by a hellish device, by unmitigated and unpardonable 

         treachery and perfidy once deliberately undertook to steal 

         the cargo of that same grand old ship, and to sink her in 

         mid-ocean, leaving the passengers to provide for themselves 

         as best they could?

              3. If Cleveland is elected three-fourths of his 

         electoral votes will come from the "Solid South," which would 

         have the right to demand, and without a doubt would demand, a 

         proportionate influence in his administration.  Are the 

         people of the North, scores of thousands of whose sons were 

         starved in Southern prisons, and are sleeping in Southern 

         graves, willing to entrust the Government to the very men who 

         plotted the most infamous and gigantic rebellion of the 

         world, and who, when they were conquered, instead of being 

         shot for high treason, as by the code of civilization they 

         richly deserved to be, and as they would have been in any 

         other government on earth, by a leniency unparalleled in 

         history, were admitted to the identical Congress from which, 

         with heaven-defying perjury they seceded, but for a quarter 

         of a century have been "solid" against every great 

         Congressional measure on which, as experience has clearly 

         shown, the prosperity of the country depends.

              4. Would the interests of the laboring man be more 

         effectually fostered and protected by the party that till 

         twenty years ago, moved heaven and earth to extend the 

         institution of slavery and to bind still more tightly upon 

         the limbs of 4,000,000 of the laborers of the country the 

         shackles of a perpetual and dehumanizing bondage; and through 

         use of its acknowledged representatives declared that even 

         the white laborers of the North were but the "mud sills of 


              5. Would the nation be more prosperous under a free 

         trade policy that would enable England to supply our markets 

         with manufactured articles, thus closing our factories or 

         reducing the wages of our artisans to the pauper-scale of the 

         Old World?

              6. Would not the pulpit and the religious press of the 

         country be utterly divested of their moral power to rebuke 

         sin, if by the voice of the American people libertinism gets 

         practically declared to be no barrier to the highest official 

         station and the completest social recognition, and would not 

         the effect be most demoralizing upon the youth of the land   

         would not the standard of morality be unavoidably lowered?

              7. If, as we have been told in so many words, the 

         private life, the individual character need not be taken into 

         the account when the necessary qualifications for office are 

         considered, may not men, revoltingly corrupt in their private 

         relations, occupy the pulpit, and be eminently useful and 

         reputable as the ministers of religion?  May not men who are 

         reeking with the virus of licentiousness properly become 

         professors in our young ladies' seminaries? and might not 

         Judas Iscariot have protested against construing as 

         inconsistent with truest apostleship, his little private 

         matter in connection with the thirty pieces of silver?

              8. Would, or could, a man of refined sensibilities 

         welcome to intimate social relations with his family, to his 

         table and his fireside, such a man as Grover Cleveland is 

         known to be?  Or, if such a man were elected to the highest 

         office recognized by the constitution, would not a refined 

         and right minded husband and father experience irrepressible 

         disgust and recoil on introducing, even at the White House, 

         his own wife and daughters, and allowing a notorious betrayer 

         of women, though he were the President of the United States, 

         to take them by the hand?  Would not such appalling 

         indifference to chastity, if it should become general, be 

         certain to react with tremendous power upon the domestic life 

         of the country?

              Any man of average intelligence and conscientiousness, 

         who will seriously consider the character of these questions 

         and their bearing upon present political issues, can hardly 

         remain in doubt as to the vote he should cast, and if any 

         deplore the introduction into the family newspaper of matter 

         so offensive to a refined taste, they should consider that by 

         the nomination of Grover Cleveland for the Presidency they 

         were wantonly and defiantly flaunted in the face of the 

         American people, and now they cannot safely be ignored.  

         Yours truly,                            


                         {Times, April 29, 1885, p. 2}

                          Letter From "Confederate."

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  There have been a 

         great many sarcastic remarks in the Republican papers 

         concerning the appointment of Confederate soldiers to 

         prominent positions by President Cleveland.  If the writers 

         of these articles would calmly and reasonably consider the 

         condition of things, they would perceive the justice of the 

         appointment of Confederates to position by a President 

         elected by the votes of the Democratic party.

              Who are more justly entitled to the appointments?  Did 

         they not, during four years of a bloody war, bear the banner 

         of Democracy against the aggressions of the Republican party?  

         Since the war have they not reconquered the Southern States 

         for the Democratic party?  Have they not been consistent in 

         their fight against the radicalism of the Republican party?

              What right have the stay-at-home Democrats in war times 

         to any recognition to honors by a Democratic President?  Did 

         they not leave their brother Democrats in the South to risk 

         their lives in the struggle, while they at the North took the 

         oath of allegiance to the Lincoln government, and professed 

         to be loyal and against their brethren in the field?  It is 

         true they voted for McClellan, and have never spared an 

         opportunity of voting with their Southern brethren, but 

         always avoided any danger?

              The election of Cleveland was a Confederate victory, as 

         much so as Bull Run, or any other battle won by the 

         Confederacy during the war.  We brought the Solid South, 

         which we had conquered, into a solid line, and aided by the 

         Northern Democrats and a few sore-headed Republicans at the 

         North, we secured enough electoral votes to elect our man.  

         It matters little whether that man ever risked his life or 

         not in defense of the Confederacy that was the true 

         representative of straight-out Democracy for so many years.  

         He was elected by our votes, and he is honorably recognizing 

         the men who put him into office.  As it was a Confederate 

         Democratic triumph, the purest element of National Democracy, 

         it is but just and fair that every important office should be 

         given to that portion of the party, and President Cleveland 

         honors himself in faithfully recognizing the Solid South, 

         without which the Democratic party could not be victorious.

              Let the Republican papers look at this matter 

         reasonably, and they certainly will not revile President 

         Cleveland for being faithful to the men who placed him in 



                        {Times, July 16, 1886, p. 2}

                            Ought to be Pensioned.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  President Cleveland 

         was drafted during the civil war and sent a substitute.  Said 

         substitute was killed at Gettysburg.  Now the President 

         fought, bled and died for his country by proxy.  During a 

         visit to the Gettysburg battlefield it is said the President 

         was visibly affected when he pointed out the spot where he 

         was killed.  Now is not the President, or Mrs. Cleveland, 

         entitled to a pension?                        


    As the 1888 election approached concern over the automatic 153 electoral 

votes that a Democratic candidate would receive from the Southern states 


                         {Times, April 27, 1887, p. 9}


              Los Angeles, April 25.--[To the Editor of the Times.]  

         Every loyal Republican is anxious to see elected a Republican 

         President.  The time for voting will soon be at hand--a year 

         is but a flash, and then the contest comes.

              At the first look, what do we see?  It is an appalling 

         view.  On the face of our Democratic opponents there is the 

         suspicious and vicious 153.  On every Democratic face is 

         branded the ever-present 153.  Every Democratic leader boasts 

         of 153.  The present Democratic President is labeled 153.  

         The next campaign starts under the boastful guarantee of the 

         153 electoral votes for the Democratic nominee, and every 

         Democrat winks with the pleased expression, "We have only 48 

         electoral votes to make our majority."  The voter has heard 

         of this 153, but what shall it be called?  It becomes an 

         astounding absurdity in our American politics--absurdity 

         unbounded; absurdity diabolical!  From whence hast thou come? 

         O, shades of Jefferson! is this what you send to torment us?  

         Heroic Jackson, is this the legacy entailed by the war on a 

         suffering people?  Surely it must be some ghost of departed 

         days that brings this absurdity of a guaranteed 153 electoral 

         votes at the beginning of a canvass.

              A party absurdity produced by force.  Did Jefferson and 

         Jackson depend on force of that kind to sustain a Republic?  

         Have we not grown into a new kind of Republic, such as 

         Jefferson and Jackson never dreamed of?  An absurd Democracy!  

         A bastard Democracy!  A child born of the South, but adopted 

         and nursed by northern Democrats, since the Democratic party 

         accepts the absurdity.

              The American people will some time ask, How many bastard 

         children shall we have of this prolific 153?  We are no 

         longer a Republic!  We are no longer a Democracy--only a 

         bastard one born of the 153 absurdity.  It is time sensible 

         Democrats realized this as an absurdity, and called upon 

         their party leaders to repudiate it as "unconstitutional."

              Will not loyal Democrats consider--will they not, in all 

         seriousness, ask whether this kind of 153 is not of a foreign 

         and un-American spirit, and whether, in its final effect and 

         influence, it may not mean their own destruction and the ruin 

         of the whole country?  It is certain that power obtained by 

         fraud cannot be held except by continuing the fraud--the 

         horrors that it will bring are too terrible to contemplate.

              If Cleveland refuses to run for a second term, it is a 

         sign that one Democrat at least, is convinced it is not for a 

         good reputation to be seated in the presidential chair by 



                         {Times, Aug. 28, 1888, p. 6}

                            Electoral Inequalities.

              Compton, Aug. 25.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  I find 

         in the electoral and popular vote of 1884 these facts:

                             Electoral Vote.            Popular Vote.

         Alabama..........         10                      152,489

         California.......          8                      196,641

         Georgia..........         12                      142,648

         Wisconsin........         11                      319,870

         South Carolina...          9                       91,497

         New Jersey.......          9                      206,753

              From this it appears that 15,000 in Alabama have the 

         same vote in the Electoral College as 24,000 in California; 

         11,000 in Georgia are good for 31,000 Badgers in Wisconsin; 

         while 10,000 South Carolinians are equal to 23,000 Jersey 


              I had supposed the old fallacy of "one southerner good 

         for three northern men" was shot all to pieces during the 

         war, and surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.

              Why is this thus?                       



    The anti-Chinese feeling, widespread in the state in the 1880s, had each 

party concerned that it would be characterized as not aggressive enough in its 

hostility to the Chinese.  Editor Otis reflected his Republican leanings in the 

editorial postscript he attached to this inquiry from "Harrison Man."

                         {Times, July 23, 1888, p. 3}

                             Naturalized Chinamen.     

              Los Angeles, July 11.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         How many naturalized Chinamen are there in the United States?  

         A Democrat claims 10,000 who vote the Republican ticket.

                                                HARRISON MAN.

              [The Democrat who told you that is a liar and doubtless 

         a horse-thief into the bargain.  It is said that there are 

         about 13 naturalized Chinamen in the city of San Francisco, 

         and probably the entire number in the United States does not 

         reach 100.  At least 97 of these will instinctively vote for 

         Cleveland.--Ed. Times.]

    Boyle Workman, whose father was a Democratic mayor of Los Angeles in the 

late 1880s, recalled that both major political parties tried to buy elections 

by recruiting voters among Indians, Mexicans and others whom he believed should 

not be participating in the political process.  Since each party printed its 

own ballots, distinguished by their color, it was easy for party hacks to note 

how the ringers voted, rewarding them with a dollar or two per vote after the 

ballot went into the box.  

    African American voters were in a separate category.  Republicans had 

supported their enfranchisement at the end of the Civil War, correctly assuming 

that blacks would vote for the party of emancipation and Lincoln.  Their vote 

would not only serve as a means of gaining control of the ex-Confederate states 

but in many Northern states the black vote could be the difference between 

victory or defeat since the two major parties were nearly equal.  Even in Los 

Angeles the black vote potentially held the balance of power, with the two 

major parties separated by a relatively few votes.  J. J. Warner, Benjamin Hays 

and J. P. Widney estimated that in 1875 black voters in the city numbered about 

75 out of a total African American population of 175.  {Historians have 

neglected the story of the county's first black voters, so far unidentified.}

    When in 1888 the Prohibition party chose as its candidate for constable S. 

B. Bows, a carpenter and the first African American to be nominated by any 

political party in Southern California, Republicans feared that black 

defections from the Grand Old Party might result in Democratic victories.  This 

gave added significance to a report that Thomas Pearson, editor of one of the 

city's two black newspapers, was involved in an effort to lead blacks into the 

Democratic camp.  The "3000 colored votes" claimed by the authors of the 

following letter was probably an exaggeration since the total black population 

of the county, including women and children, was only 1817 in 1890, and the 

city's black population was 590.  Robert W. Stewart, co-author of this letter, 

was one of the city's two black policemen.  Patrick M. Hickman was listed as a 

teamster in the 1888 city directory.  The subject of their letter, Robert C. O. 

Benjamin, described by historian William J. Simmons as "Lawyer - Author - 

Editor - Champion of the Race," had been in California only a short time before 

coming to Los Angeles in the late 1880s.  

                         {Times, Sept. 15, 1888, p. 3}

                               Benjamin Bounced.

              Los Angeles, Sept. 13.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         In the issue of Saturday, September 8th, the Weekly Observer, 

         a paper published in this city, ostensibly in the interest of 

         the colored Republicans, appears an editorial headed, "The 

         Republican County Central Committee a Humbug."  The editor of 

         the Observer has taken a big job, under contract with the 

         Democratic boodle gang, in which he is to deliver to that 

         party the 3000 colored votes of this county,

              As we are some of those voters, we wish to inform R. C. 

         O. (Recently Converted Over, by the boodle process) Benjamin 

         and his right bower, T. (Tickle me and I'll tickle you) 

         Pearson, late delegate to the Republican State Convention (by 

         the begging process), that he will find it a hard matter to 

         deliver the goods.  When the colored men of this county need 

         a guardian, they will not choose a jack-leg lawyer with solid 

         South white blood in his veins.  Nor do they need a boss of 

         the same stripe, nor yet an oath-bound league by which they 

         can be led blindfolded into the Democratic camp.  It is a 

         great pity that this man Pearson has forgotten so much, when 

         the colored men need a Moses to lead them, and still a 

         greater pity that Benjamin has not sense enough to keep his 

         mouth shut.  Just how much this shyster and his right bower 

         have got of the surplus the Democrats are so anxious to get 

         rid of is as yet a secret between them, but we will wager a 

         possum skin that the lawyer gets it all in the end.

              But a few weeks ago this halfbreed Benjamin went to 

         Boyle Heights and made a speech, in which he said: "I am 

         loaded to the muzzle!  I am ready to go off with the wrongs 

         of my people at the South, where they are not allowed to vote 

         their sentiments."  Yet, in a week we find him ready to 

         defend ballot-box stealing and fraud on the people, in the 

         Fourth Ward of this city.  Then he was a rampant, hot 

         enthusiastic Republican.  Now he says the colored vote "is 

         not solid for the county ticket."  Whence comes this sudden 

         change, this cold wave?  Why does he now want colored men put 

         under oath to obey their leaders and officers of a league?  

         Is it to keep them true to the Republican faith?  Is it not 

         more probable that Democratic boodle is at the bottom of this 

         remarkable change.  Now, we wish to say to all colored men 

         who think anything of themselves, their country and its 

         progress, and who remember their previous condition under 

         Democratic rule, that to join a secret political society, 

         with oaths to bind you, to the will of any man, or set of 

         men, is to yield up your manhood, your liberty of thought and 

         action; it is to enter into voluntary slavery of mind and 

         body, and the outcome of it all will be to find a Democratic 

         ticket in your hands on election day.  We are glad that but 

         35 out of 3000 have so far been found who could be induced to 

         join such an unpatriotic, hellish union.

             (Signed)                   R. W. STEWART.

                                        P. M. HICKMAN.

    The Prohibition party was the strongest third party in Los Angeles in the 

1880s.  Many Republicans, while sympathetic to the anti-liquor position taken 

by that party, were not content to confine their politics to a single issue.  

As the 1888 presidential election approached, they looked upon Prohibition 

candidates as likely to draw enough votes from Republicans to guarantee another 

Democratic victory.  Republicans who were inclined to stray from a straight 

party vote in order to support Prohibitionist candidates in local elections 

were told that they not only wasted their ballots but, at the same time, 

contributed to Democratic victories.  

                          {Times, July 2, 1888, p. 5}

                   The Prohibitory Party -- Its True Object.

              Los Angeles, June 28.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  

         Would you please answer the following questions, called forth 

         by your article in Tuesday's issue on the above topic:

              1. What are the exact words uttered at the recent 

         Prohibition Convention in Indianapolis in which it was stated 

         that the purpose of this party is to destroy the Republican 


              2. What are the "false pretenses" under which it is 

         carrying on its movements?

              3. What are the proofs of "the alliance between the 

         saloon interest and the third party," and of the desire of 

         the liquor traffic for the overthrow of the Republican party?

              Kindly give the undeniable facts and the exact words 

         spoken, not even opinions.  Actual proof of the statements 

         contained in the last question cannot fail to bring back a 

         good many into the Republican ranks.  Yours very truly,

                                                 A. INWOOD.

              [The sentiment quoted below was, more than any other, 

         subscribed to and applauded by St. John and his associates 

         lately assembled in national convention at Indianapolis:

              Cleveland will be elected in 1888.  The Prohibition 

         party will elect its candidates in 1892.  We'll destroy the 

         Republicans first, after that the Democrats.

              The following utterance is also significant:

              "Our mission this year is not so much to elect our own 

         ticket, for we do not expect to do that, but to bury the 

         Republican party so deep that it will not be in the way in 

         1892."--[Rev. Dr. Goodwin, Prohibitionist, Los Angeles.

              This furnishes a sufficient reply to all the above 

         questions.--Ed. Times.]

                          {Times, Aug. 6, 1888, p. 7}

                         An Opinion About an Opinion.

              Los Angeles, Aug. 4.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  By 

         accident I recently picked up a copy of the Pacific Opinion, 

         ostensibly a temperance paper (prohibition, probably), which 

         shows from the first to the last line that it is an annex to 

         the Democratic party, and its intense hatred of the 

         Republican party.

              This sheet publishes a fac-simile copy of a city saloon 

         license with the caption, "The Shame of Our Civilization."  

         The caption would come nearer the facts did it read, "The 

         Shame of the Prohibition Party in Los Angeles."

              It is an undisputed fact that the Prohibitionists 

         favored the Democrats in our last municipal election, and by 

         its votes placed that party in power in this city.  They are 

         thus responsible for an increase of over 40 per cent. of 

         saloons in this city, and they seem to enjoy their handiwork.

              It is well known to the leaders of the Prohibition party 

         that prohibition is an impossibility so long as the 

         Government of the United States legalizes the manufacture of 

         spirits by a tax, and so long as it, by collecting millions 

         annually, supervises its manufactory and remains a factor in 

         the copartnership.

              They know full well that until this tax is abolished 

         there is no possible chance for the success of prohibition, 

         and yet they are abusing our party for incorporating in its 

         platform a clause recommending the repeal of tax on the 

         manufacture of spirits.

              That party, by becoming a tail piece to the Democratic 

         party during the last national election, shows its utter 

         insincerity, its desire for unlimited whiskey, by assisting 

         to place that party in power.  They well know that their 

         candidate sold the Republican party out to the Democracy; 

         that he was never sincere, hence we hear little of him in 

         their organs except as an occasional lectures upon 

         temperance, a principle which he crucified to its death.

                            C) THE MURCHISON LETTER

    Benjamin Harrison's narrow victory over Cleveland in 1888 has been 

attributed in part to the so-called "Murchison Letter," which was first 

published in the Times {but should not be considered a letter to the editor}.  

During the campaign Pomona Republican George Osgoodby, using the alias 

"Murchison," wrote to Lord Lionel Sackville-West, British minister to the 

United States, asking how a former English citizen now residing in California 

should vote in the upcoming election.  The answer - that Cleveland would be 

more favorable to Britain - and the original query were published in the Times 

after Osgoodby shared the reply with Otis.  The letters were reprinted in 

papers across the nation and alienated Irish-Americans, who otherwise might 

have voted for Cleveland, and offended other potential Democratic voters who 

were upset at what seemed to be foreign interference in an American election.  

Harrison carried Los Angeles county by over 3000 votes and won the state by 


    While the Times gave a great deal of publicity to the letters, and 

eventually revealed the true identity of "Murchison," few letters from 

Angelenos appeared in the paper regarding the affair.  This was one of them.

                      {Times, Nov. 27, 1888, p. 6}
                   Bounty or Pension for Wolf Scalps.

              Long Beach, Nov. 19.--[To the Editor of The Times.]  It 

         has been the custom and law of countries and States to pay 

         bounties for wolf, coyote and wild-cat scalps.  Now, 

         Murchison of Pomona set a trap in the United States and 

         caught an English wolf, and Grover Cleveland went to his 

         rescue and got bit, which will necessitate a trip to Dr. 

         Pierce's medical institution in Buffalo, New York, for 

         treatment.  When Grover found himself bit, he got mad, 

         swelled and bowed his neck like a buffalo bull, and went for 

         Mr. Wolf.  He chopped off his head and tail, and Secretary 

         Bayard sacked him, and sent him back to England, to await the 

         disposition of Her Majesty.

              Now, though I am 83 years old, I have not lost the sense 

         of justice.  I think that Murchison should at least receive a 

         bounty or be pensioned for his services in catching the wolf.  

         That is my old fogy way of thinking.

                                              HENRY LYSTER.

                            (Who has voted for 16 Presidents.)

                             D) THE VOTING PROCESS

    The political corruption of the post-Civil War decades would eventually 

culminate in major changes in the way Americans conducted their elections.  

Those changes had not yet begun by the 1880s, but in the next quarter century 

reformers, outraged by Boss Tweed in New York, Boss Buckley in San Francisco 

and irregularities such as Boyle Workman reported in Los Angeles and which 

occurred all over the country, would institute procedures to guarantee that 

ballots were not only secretly cast but that they were honestly counted.  In 

addition, through the trilogy of direct legislation - the initiative, recall 

and referendum - voters would be given greater power.  Los Angeles would be a 

pioneer in the use of these devices.  The conditions that brought about 

political reform in the Progressive Era were touched on in part by several 

letters that appeared in the Times during the 1880s.  Both "Quis Vituperavit" 

and Horace Bell, the latter in a letter printed in an earlier chapter, made 

reference in June, 1882, to two officeholders who were ex-convicts without 

naming either.  One can only wonder if Bell wrote both letters.  The 

officeholders were not identified.

                         {Times, June 10, 1882, p. 3}

                           MORE ABOUT THE PRIMARIES.

         Something of Our Convicts.  How They Save Their Citizenship.

              Editor Times:  To a stranger or new comer the 

         disgraceful proceeding of the late Democratic primaries, the 

         purchasing of votes, seems unaccountable; to one who has 

         observed this time honored custom it is quite plain.  The 

         lazaroni the vagabondi, that interesting class of our 

         liberty-loving citizens who go to make up and constitute the 

         purchasable vote, are in reality the balance of political 

         power.  Their votes elect judges, ministerial officers, 

         municipal rulers, Justices of the Peace, Constables and all 

         others; and must be secured at whatever cost.  This lazaroni 

         are the fruits of a mistaken clemency.  A vicious leniency in 

         dealing with the rascals who are sent to the penitentiary, 

         who are invariably restored to citizenship on the expiration 

         of their terms of servitude, if not pardoned before their 

         terms are half expired.  Few good men get into a 

         penitentiary, still fewer good men get out.  Only in very 

         exceptional and rare cases should a convict be restored to 

         citizenship, and still rarer should he be permitted to hold 


              We must have in Los Angeles county at the very least 500 

         ex-convicts, who have been pardoned or restored to 

         citizenship, two of whom hold office in this would be 

         virtuous city, and these 500 ex-convicts are on terms of 

         absolute political eqality with our best citizens, and wield 

         the balance of power by selling their votes to the highest 


              Five hundred ex-convict voters in our county and two 

         office holders in our pretty little city!

              Think of this, oh, ye virtuous citizens, and answer the 

         question of whither are we drifting?  And if not afraid of 

         being assassinated by some ex-convict assassin, give 

         expression to your highest sentiments by speaking out and 

         driving from power and place all men who deal in the 

         purchasable vote or countenance those who do.

                                          QUIS VITUPERAVIT.

                          {Times, Nov. 4, 1884, p. 2}

                              False Registration.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  I am told by those who 

         have examined the Great Register of this county that in the 

         small precinct of Santa Monica there are about eight names 

         that should not by right be there.  Some of these names are 

         parties living here who have not been twelve months in the 

         State; and some are wholly unknown to the old residents of 

         the precinct.

              Now if this proportion runs throughout the county it 

         would indicate nearly six hundred erroneous registrations.

              I think greater care should be exercised by our local 

         registration officers in matters that so closely affect our 

         free government.                            

                                  "FAIR COUNT."

              Santa Monica, Oct. 31, 1883. {1884? - Ed.}

                         {Times, Aug. 28, 1886, p. 2}

                      Kicking Against the One Year Rule.

              To the Editor of the Times--Sir:  Owing to the fact that 

         the political cauldron is in such a violent state of 

         ebulition, my attention has been called to the laws of 

         California, regarding the exercises of the elective 

         franchise.  I find that according to their provisions, a 

         resident of any State must wait one year after removing to 

         this, before he is admitted to citizenship.  Now this appears 

         to me to be a great injustice to thousands who have already 

         come, and thousands more who will come to make their 

         permanent abode in this commonwealth.  Take my own case as an 

         example.  I was born in an Eastern State forty years ago, and 

         have ever since been a citizen of the United States, and yet 

         for the crime of coming to this Coast to live, I am for a 

         whole year debarred the priviledge of exercising one of the 

         most highly prized rights of an American citizen.

              In many of the States the time required is only four or 

         six months, which gives the State ample time to ascertain 

         whether a man is a fit subject to exercise this right.  The 

         most ignorant and degraded being from Europe can come to this 

         commonwealth and become a citizen, with all the rights that 

         it implies almost as soon after reaching the boundaries of 

         the State, as the most intelligent native American who is so 

         unfortunate as to have been born outside of California.  It 

         is high time this unjust law was repealed, and one more in 

         keeping with the genius of our institutions and the demands 

         of justice and right enacted.

                                        G. A. WOOD, M. D.

                                  268, South Spring Street.

                          {Times, June 2, 1888, p. 3}

                           A Saloon No Place for It.

              Los Angeles, June 1.--[To the Editor of The Times.] I am 

         no Prohibitionist, but myself and many others object to have 

         polls opened in a saloon as is and has been the case in the 

         Fifth Ward.  I consider it a great honor to be an American 

         citizen and endowed with the franchise privilege.  I hold my 

         vote as a sacred trust to be exercised with due deliberation 

         and careful consideration, and contend that the surroundings 

         of the ballot box should be of a noble character to inspire 

         us with patriotism, and to do justice to the question before 

         us.  Such being my idea I will not disgrace my franchise 

         privilege by going into a saloon to vote.

                                                   A VOTER.