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$329 - Extraordinary Effect of a Label bearing that Inscription

[Friendship Chronicle, Vol. 1, No. 36, October 13, 1880]

Our ordinarily quiet village has been for several days the scene of an unwonted excitement, indeed an eruption of a very inflammatory element of public feeling has scattered a perfect lava flood of red hot invectives and ashes of bitterness over the whole community.

On Sunday morning last those who had occasion to be early abroad were startled or angered, according to their political proclivities, to see, slips of white paper bearing the inscription in bold type


pasted on the store fronts, windows and show cases of our leading Republican merchants.

Angry men congregated in knots and talked loud and long about the matter and even the more devout church goers found the sign “$329” an unpleasing accompaniment to their worship.

Several leading Democrats of the town were vehemently denounced for having “compassed this outrage,” among them the senior editor of the CHRONICLE being singled out as a ring-leader, although he was sick in bed at the time the pasting was done and knew as much about the matter anyway as though he had been in China or among the Hottentots.

The affair which simmered over Sunday fairly came to a boiling point on Monday.  Threats of criminal prosecution were made and in one case, that of a perfectly innocent young man, very illegal and utterly unjustifiable violence was threatened.  Several of our Republican friends went far beyond all reason and acted as though “the innermost honor of their households had been assailed.”

We have no desire to justify in the slightest degree the act of some very silly persons.  It was utterly stupid if not actually malicious to “adorn” the store windows and show cases with the labels $329.  The effect would have been quite as good if the sidewalks and horse blocks had been selected and we must certainly confess that it was very foolish business to invade the business premises of our merchants, even though they be political supporters of the perjured-$329-Garfield.

But if the conduct of these unwise “person or persons unknown” is to be reprobated the subsequent behavior of some of our Republican friends is to be censured as equally indecorous. In the first place they can find no justification for recklessly accusing perfectly innocent persons and charging conspiracy in a most promiscuous and illogical manner.  Further their attempted bulldozing of young men to bear witness to what they know nothing of will not bear the light of disinterested investigation.  Then, bad as the matter undoubtedly was, it was grossly exaggerated and for political effect the public mind was kept inflamed.

We sincerely regret the occurrence and have nothing to say in defense of the perpetrators of this Democratic outrage, if our Republican friends are pleased to term it so, but the latter on their part displayed a lamentable want of dignity and a sensitiveness in regard to the $329 labels which we cannot attribute solely to the fact that their neat show cases and handsome store windows were ornamented by them.

We should here mention that the labels in question were printed in the ordinary way of business by the foreman of the CHRONICLE job printing department, who by the bye, we are sorry to say has Republican tendencies but who of course was unaware of the fact that an improper use was to be made of them and no more responsible therefor than Mr. Van Orsdale would be for malicious damage inflicted on the panels of the Post Office door by a pair of boots purchased at Mr. Bradley's store.  Of course there is nothing indecent or in anyway objectionable in the simple label “329” although an improper use may made of such a label, but the printer's responsibility ceases as soon as he has completed his work and received his pay which was duly forthcoming in this instance.

A word to our fellow Democrats.

Remember, thus far all the dignity and honor of the campaign has been with us.  Our standard bearer is a spotless gentleman, a chivalrous soldier.  Let us take pattern by his high standard and not seek to secure even a temporary advantage by mean tricks, bulldozing, perjury, corruption and other prominent characteristics of James A. De Golyer, Credit-Mobilier, Garfield, the Republican candidate for President-- Price $329.

For more information on James Garfield, the Credit Mobilier Co. Scandal and $329 go here.

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Created on ... November 03, 2002

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