The GOSPEL TRUTH
CHARLES G. FINNEY
To James Monroe
20 October 1874
[MS in James Monroe Papers, Oberlin College Archives, 30/22, in the hand-writing of Rebecca Finney]
Oberlin Oct. 20th 1874.
Hon. James Monroe,
My Dear Son, I write
this note / not to call out an answer
and provoke discussion, but simply
to explain myself. Until on my
way to vote, I had no doubt that
you had been made acquainted with
the views of your constituents on the
question of currency expansion.
But a conversation on the way, led to a
doubt on this subject, which determined
me to ask you. I had never heard any
other than regret expressed in view of
your vote last winter on that question,
and have understood that there was no danger
of your repeating that vote under similar
circumstances. I was therefore taken aback
when you announced your determination to
do so. In few words I will state my reasons
for not being able to vote for you, which
inability makes me very sad.
1. I regard it as wrong for a party
to repudiate any plank of its platform.
Contraction and a return to specie payments
as soon as practicable, was a plank in the
republican platform. 2. I believe it wrong
for Congress to violate the pledges on this
point, that they have so often given.
3. I believe that expansion, by issuing
more Green-backs, is the sure road
to repudiation. You did not mean
it, but it means repudiation.
4. The expansion of green-back currency
is a dishonor to the country, and a fraud.
5. There should be a party of honor in Congress
and you lost the opportunity to belong
to it, and be one of its leaders. This
greatly grieved me. The reason you assigned
for your vote, in your speech, to wit, that
the people thought that they needed more
green-backs, both startled and grieved me.
If party pledges, repeatedly given, are to be
so lightly disregarded woe to our republic!
I regard this question as the most solemn
and important of any one before the
nation, and the passing of that act,
vetoed by the president, has I fear, sealed
the doom of the republican party. Indeed,
I think it should do so. What reason have
we to trust in their present, or future
pledges? The republican leaders have
trusted to the bad record of the democrats,
as a sufficient guaranty of their success,
but I think this a delusion. Nothing but a
new party can keep the democrats out
of power, bad as their record has been
Outside of the leaders, the republican
party, is very generally distrusted,
and it deserves to be. I would vote
for it, to keep the democrats out of
power, but not because I have confidence
in it. When such a man as you, will
yield to a clamor for the repudiation of
the platform, and the most solemn and repeated
pledges of the party, I must with grief
and indignation stand back.
Please observe, it was the vote on the
bill vetoed by the president, that
so astounded me. Do not understand me
as having any personal feelings on
this subject. Your error in politics
has not set aside my love of you
as a son, but you did miss such
an opportunity. Again I say, I neither
seek, nor desire, any discussion upon
this subject. Do not, therefore, reply,
as my only wish was to explain
myself. That you, and your constituents
generally, do not understand each other, I
God Bless You.
C. G. Finney