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J. McHenry Jones:
Address to the State Republican Convention, 1896

- from the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, July 31, 1896


The Speech of James McHenry Jones, Wheeling's Magnet Colored Orator, Seconding the Normination of George W. Atkinson for Governor, at Parkersburg.

Following is the eloquent speech of Professor J. McHenry Jones, seconding Mr. Atkinson's nomination in the state Republican convention at Parkersburg. It created great enthusiasm and is published by general request. Professor Jones said:

"On the field of Gettysburg, it is said, that the soldiers wearing the blue and the gray, were buried after the battle in long trenches, one upon another. A traveler who passed over that immortal battle ground a few days afterward, declared that the earth over which these soldiers so gloriously died and under which they were so ignominious covered, swayed up and down. This may be fact or fiction, but he who observes the signs of the times must be congizant of the tremors from an irresistable ground-swell which began at St. Louis and will not cease until it rolls incompetent Democracy out of the white house.

"I misinterpret the spirit and intelligence of the American people, if by their permission, that herd of wild-eyed fanatics which broke loose at Chicago, ever heads toward the national capital.

"The Republican party is confronted to-day, as it has been in the past, with wild speculations and untenable theories; but true to its traditions, it fearlessly faces the blatant slogan of error with the gleaming torch of demonstrated truth.

"The history of our party is simply a record of the triumphs of right. We were right in 1856, at the birth of Republicanism. Right in 1860, under the leadership of the immortal Lincoln, right in '61, when it was determined that one flag should wave over an undivided country and liberty should not perish from the face of the earth. Doubly right in 1863, when it was finally concluded that the life of the nation demanded the freedom of the slave. Right under the peerless leadership of that matchless soldier, Grant; right in the resumption of specie payment under Hayes, right under Garfield, right under Harrison, eternally right when under James G. Blaine and William McKinley, were welded in a common chain protection and reciprocity.

"We are right to-day, when against the tumult and above the roar of the babel of populism, we re-assert our intention to defend to the last ditch the national honor, and preserve inviolate and untarnished the institutions transmitted to us from our forefathers. And the grand old party will be right in November when it wrings from the red mouth of populistic Democracy, the black, the hissing tongue of anarchy.

"West Virginia is naturally Republican. The canididate named was born within her borders. It will not be necessary to look into the misty record of the forgotten past, to extract his name from the cobwebs of oblivion. He is known from where the rugged Alleghenies lift their giant shoulders up into the trackless blue, to where the fretful Kanawha unites with the muddy Ohio, on her restless mission to the sea, from the eastern pan-handle to the southern extremity of the state, the name of and fame of George W. Atkinson is a by-word in the mouths of an admiring people.

"The logical candidate, his is a fitting name with which to close the century. The nineteenth century grows apace. Already the fading glow of approaching twilight throws its lengthening shadows around us. Soon the rosy morn of a new century, fresh fallen from the finger tips of God, will dawn upon a waiting world. As the purple curtain of the new born century is slowly lifted, and the God of day, his ruddy face dripping with golden perspiration, sends his first fierce gleam athwart the oceans of time, may he discover the union's fleet of states, after a three years' battle with contending forces, moving steadily, majestically forward. The flagship of McKinley, the harbinger, the advance agent of a better day, far in the lead. The twin relics of free trade and free silver deeply buried beneath the rolling wave. Confidence after four years wandering in the dismal swamp of Democratic delusion, returned to fill her accustomed place in the company of her friends, while Hope, her sister, dips her golden pencil in the rainbow hues of heaven and writes upon the emblazond, the imperishable records of the republic -- prosperity, protection and patriotism.

"The good ship West Virginia cut loose from Democratic moorings, must be directed by a helmsman trained to the sea, a pilot with a cool head, discerning eye, pure life, strong arm, open hand and patriotic heart.

"Ohio county believes that these qualitifications are transcendently developed in the superb statesman, erudite scholar, far seeing party leader and christian gentleman, the Hon. George Wesley Atkinson.

"Therefore, in the name of the Republicans of Ohio county, whose idol he is, in the name of the unconditional Republicans of West Virginia, who love him as their friend, I heartily second the nomination of the next governor of West Virginia."

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