The Harvard-Yale debate, on the subject "That a young man casting his first ballot in 1892 should vote for the nominees of the Democratic party," was held last night in Sanders theatre, before a very large and appreciative audience. Governor William E. Russell presided and introduced the speakers in turn. Each speaker spoke for fifteen minutes.
The debate was opened by R. D. Upton of Yale, who spoke on "The party of progress and modern ideas." Many things have been urged against the Democratic party, but it is essentially a party of reform, nominating Grover Cleveland, who become the head and consolidated that party, and won for it a glorious record. The Republican party, while it possessed great sentiments had also great unity, but when it lost them, it became broken. While the Republican party has became a party of selfish expedients, the Democratic party protects individual freedom. The Democratic party of today is a champion of peace, purity and reform. It stands for freedom and progression, - a party which is, and not one which has been.
G. P. Costigan of Harvard followed, speaking on the silver question. The future must be judged only by the present, and what the Democratic party stands for today it must next November. Twenty-three Democrats in the Senate have declared in favor of free coinage and only two against it. Leaving out of account the few Western silver producing states and Massachusetts, where both parties are opposed to it, Democrats are in favor of free coinage. The coinage of silver dollars in the United States is so limited that gold can redeem them, and so the gold standard is maintained and the money condition of the United States is sound. Unlimited coinage of silver dollars would make it impossible for their country to redeem them in gold. No doubt it would be rash for the United States alone to undertake free coinage of silver, yet this is what the Democratic party is trying to bring about today. In 1875 the Democratic party fought for inplated paper currency, today it fights for inflated silver currency. That party, controlled by the spirit of inflation, is only held together by its opposition to the Republican party. It is a "dense" party and has accomplished nothing.
The question of tariff reform was then treated by W. E. Thoms of Yale. Our position on this question is best stated in the words of Grover Cleveland. "We enter on no crusade of free trade but to care for the interests of American laborers." The Mills bill was to prevent the draw on many millions. We maintain fifteen millions as the cost of the tin experiment and this retards us in many things. From the McKinley bill we have got increased taxation. We believe in free raw material, and do not think that our great industries will perish if we have less taxation on the necessaries of life. The Democracy stands for equality, progress and protection in its highest sense.
R. C. Surbridge of Harvard followed, speaking on the the tariff. Which shall a man choose - a tariff sufficient to pay our debts and support our government, or one of revenue only and raised without discrimination? We must judge the Democratic party, not by their promises, but by their purposes as defined in the Mills bill and their present attitude in Congress, After their opposition to the McKinley bill and declaring that they would work for tariff reform, they are trying to force a bill worse than their '88 bill, The Democratic party does not carry out the measures which it has thrust forward so eagerly.
The closing argument for Yale was made by W. P. Aiken, who spoke on other inducements. There is a distinct retrogogation in the Republican party, and the reason of that is the danger of prosperity. The Republican party has waxed strong on favoritism and has corrupted its leaders. The legislation of the last few Republican Congresses has gone beyond just bounds. It can be overcome only by strong opposition. The last Democratic administration did more to bind the party together than all those preceding. The great generals of the Republican party have passed any and the camp followers have come to the front.
A. P. Stone made the closing argument for Harvard. In considering the pension legislation, he argued that it was unjust for the United States to neglect the very men who had helped to unite them. With regard to Southern elections, the Republican party has appealed to more prejudices and championed no cause, butis it right that four million voters should not be allowed to vote for the men who represent them? The injustice exists and there must be some remedy. In connection with civil service reform, what has been the result while Cleveland was president? He had made more changes than was made in any other administration. There are corrupt men in the Republican party but they do not control it. The Democratic party has descrted the American system of protection, it opposes the fitting reward of the very men who made its existence possible, and allies itself to corruption. The Republican party has manfully met and mastered all problems of the last thirty years.