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

[page 2]

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.

[page 3]

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

[page 4]

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

fully believe.

God Bless You.

C. G. Finney