Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Temperance Movement Part 4

As with any movement that becomes political unfortunately there comes corruption. Another interesting aspect of the Temperance Movement was an event called The Whiskey Ring. This ring basically was involved with fraud and over taxes alcohol for the purpose of lining their own pockets. In John McDonald's book Secrets of the great whiskey ring ©1880 you can read another part of this movement.

Below is a copy of the Preface

Nearly five years have elapsed since my conviction as a member of the Great Whiskey Ring of 1875, or, more properly, of the Ring the exposure of which occurred during that year. Five years is but a short while to those whose current of life flows with the melody of prosperity and contentment, but to him whose memory is seared by the basest ingratitude man ever showed to man ; whose sacrifices for those in power above him have ruined a life, in the debris of which his eyes, can never unbend their fixed gaze at his own bitter humility, it is ages.

In this introduction to my thorough exposure of the whiskey frauds culminating in 1875, it is my desire to qualify a most unenviable position ; one which I have no disposition to shrink from, however false appearing those sleuth hounds, fresh from a gluttonous feast of public blood ; those abusers of trust who cry "thief" loudest in order to deflect the gaze of justice from their own villanies, seek to make it. I do not approach the bar of public opinion at this day, laying bare the hideous deformities of recreant high-place officials, for the purpose of vindicating myself. Far from it. Denying nor affirming nothing as to my own guilt, the law has spent its force upon me ; I have paid the penalty, and further claims against me no man has ; I am, therefore, entitled to a considerate hearing in what I have to say.

Thoroughly appreciating how prone the public will be to throw discredit upon my statements, I have determined t» omit much that is unsupported by written or other corroborative evidence, and confine myself to charges which I can prove by overwhelming testimony. Every step, therefore, is cautiously made, and if there is a singe libel contained in this book I am amenable to the law, the burden of which few men have felt more heavily. Each declaration is made as if I were iinder oath, and in order that the true story shall appear unabridged I have dealt liberally only with the facts in which I have been as equally unsparing of myself as of all others implicated with me.

During the rigid investigation of the U. S. Grand Jury, when nearly every man in the nation believed that many of the highest officials in Washington were beneficiaries of the whiskey fund, I was asked a thousand times to disclose the secrets I was believed to possess. Indeed, I was promised immunity from punishment if I would become an informer; but those secrets were not revealed, for reasons easily understood : I was an appointee of President Grant, and as his friend and the recipient of his favors, certain obligations were created which I was not forgetful to regard. Gen. Babcock was the President's private secretary, and there will be few to contradict me when I say that he was, in a great measure, the President's chief adviser, especially in cases were his private matters were concerned. I regarded Babcock's instructions as those emanating from the highest authority, and however my obedience to their orders may be considered, thev were the excuse for my actions. Having become identified with the purposes of my superiors, sharing their benefits and entrusted with their confidence, when disclosures were made and the hour of sacrifice was at hand, I could not assume the character of a base ingrate to escape a punishment which, missing me, would involve the entire nation in the deepest disgrace. If I were convicted I knew that the tenure of my punishment would be limited to the disposition of him in whose hands the pardoning power was vested ; having received his promise of an immediate pardon I put on the sackcloth of disgrace and, .from the high position I had so many years maintained, I descended to the most humiliating, stigmatical depths—a felon's cell. For seventeen months I -wore the garb of infamy, that leprous, foul, polluted character which gnaws at sensitive nature "like a worm in the bud." I not only suffered this restraint of liberty with its unending night-mare of moral death, but lived on to see the honest accumulations of many years of patient labor wasted because I could not protect it, and from an ample fortune upon my entrance into political life I was reduced to penury when released. Those in power forgot me and their promises ; they feared to issue me an immediate pardon because of the pressure of public opinion, which might become intensified against them at suoh a bold interference to defeat the sentence of the court, and I was therefore permitted to languish until my forbearance would endure no more ; then I demanded my pardon, under threats of exposure if it were not immediately granted, and I was released at once.

To those who will cavil at my course, the question will be suggested, " Why are these disclosures made now, when the time for their effective use, in the courts, has passed:" Grant's re-nomination would have afforded a more plausible pretext for the publication of these disclosures—viewed from a strictly partisan standpoint, and unfortunately a great many persons can discover no merit in anything which may be devoid of political complexion. The purpose of this publication now has a broader base to rest upon than mere personal vindictiveness or political influence. It is to expose the villainies of an administration the very mention of which should excite a righteous indignation and befoul the atmosphere; but though the crimes of Marius, who sold offices in the public places of Rome, were as virtues, compared with many of the corrupt acts of Grant's administration, yet there is a very large percentage of American citizens whose eyes cannot penetrate beyond the military glory with which Grant is clothed; who parade his statesmanship and would reward his crimes with an honor no other American ever held or sought. It is with an earnest and will considered belief that Gen. Grant will be a, disturbing factor in the politics and purity of the nation solong as his infamies remain hidden, which furnishes one of tha reasons for this exposure, and with . this contribution to the literature of uncovered venality goes forth the hope that tha supporters of the Grant administration will find the proofs herein which will cause the blush of shame to mantle their cheeks for having lent their aid to perpetuate infamies of such magnitude as were constantly developing while Gen. Grant was our Chief Magistrate, who, as will be conclusively shown, was an active participant in the frauds laid bare in this work.

I have included the venal acts of Gen. James A. Garfield, because of his position now as candidate for the Presidency, and to forwarn the nation against abuses in office which he will certainly inaugurate if elected.

I have no affiliation with the Democratic party further than my desire to see the return of honest principles, and above all, " honest acts," which will reclaim the nation from the disgrace visited upon it by corrupt officials, among which class the public will include.

John Mcdonald,
Formerly Supervisor of Internal Revenue /or the district embracing Missouri, Arkansas* Texas, Kansas, Indian Territory and New Mexico

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