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Reflection on the Victory of John W. Geary Over the White Supremacist Heister Clymer

Posted By on September 27, 2016

An editorial from the Harrisburg Telegraph, 15 October 1866, on the election of John W. Geary as Governor of Pennsylvania, over the avowed white supremacist Hiester Clymer:


There has never been a man elected Governor of Pennsylvania who as fairly earned the position as has John W. Geary.  We do not pretend to write that other men who have filled the Gubernatorial chair were nor worthy of its honors, nor do we desire to be understood as writing that all who have reached that proud position reflected credit on the office. Some there were who disgraced the high office, and some are still living, hoary with age, who within the past four years could not do sufficient to bring disgrace as well as destruction to the country.  Such as these, however, are merely the base politicians, who have lived for plunder, and who, being unable ever more to plunge their arm up to the shoulder into the public treasury, were ready to pull the Government to pieces themselves or assist in the treason of other engaged in the same work.  But Gen. Geary, unlike all these, was willing first to peril his life in defense of his native State, before he became a candidate for the Governorship thereof.  The hero of two wars, he fought for the honor of our flag in a foreign land, and participated next in the struggle to preserve the national life from the attacks of its intestine foes.  Such a man is indeed worthy of his native State’s highest honors, as he will fairly requite the confidence of the people just so enthusiastically confided in him.  He has never been what may be called a politician, yet he possesses, in an eminent degree, more of the essential qualifications of a statesman than Mr. Clymer.  Without intending to be harsh with a fallen foe, it is nevertheless true that of all the public men in Pennsylvania, Hiester Clymer is the most shallow and superficial. nature never intended him for a statesman.  He might have made a good confectioner or dancing master, but to lead in the government of a State, he is absolutely incompetent as is W. H. Wallace incompetent or unwilling to tell the truth in a fair issue between his faction and any of its opponents.  On the contrary, John W. Geary is entirely made of different stuff, has been differently educated, and is a vastly different man.  He is a man of truth and veracity, and his administration will prove him to be such.  He does not understand double dealing and despises those who resort to it.  Compelled to battle with the world from his early youth, he knows how to deal with it false pretenses and dispose of those who resort to such means for success.  He never theorizes.  He is practical in all his views.  When Buchanan sent him to Kansas, it was this very determination to be practical which made him enemies among the slaveholders then concocting a monstrous wrong.  John W. Geary, in Kansas, implanted that feeling in the national heart which afterwards enabled the people of the United States to resist the slaveholders’ rebellion.  He proved at that time that not all Democrats were not dough-faces like James Buchanan, as he established on the battlefield, that one Southern man could not whip two Northern men.  This is shown by the records of Geary’s career in aiding to crush the rebellion, wherein it is clearly set forth that in the fights out of which he came victorious, he invariably led inferior forces, as to numbers, when compared to those against which he fought.

It is well for Pennsylvania that John W. Geary was elected Governor on Tuesday last.  The election of Hiester Clymer would have entailed dire calamity on the State.  But we are  saved from all that.  We will have a man at the head of the affairs of State not only able to guard and administer them with integrity and ability, but competent also to aid in maintaining the  national honor, and of dealing with domestic as well as foreign affairs.

Editorial from Newspapers.com.


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