June 28, 1866: Captain Magwire campaigns

St. Charles Hotel
The St. Charles Hotel, Cape Girardeau, MO

The Cape Girardeau Argus of June 28, 1866 reports on a visit from a state Democratic noteworthy, Capt. George A. Magwire. I can’t find much about Magwire, other than some land dealings and a couple of lawsuits, so it appears he didn’t rise to any high office. He did make a big impression on the conservative unionists in the area, apparently. Reading between the lines, it appears that he had a pretty tough time in Cape Girardeau itself — the Radicals who supposedly were cowed into “a decent, respectful silence” were still being “loud-mouthed” and “turbulent” as successive speakers took the rostrum. The radicals at Hamburg, MO were more reserved, and then he had quite the triumph in Jackson — then as now more solidly conservative than Cape, I guess.

The Campaign Opened

Political speaking at Cape Girardeau, Hamburg and Jackson — Conservatism Rampant, Radicalism Couchant.

According to appointment, Captain Geo. A. Magwire, by request of the State Central Democratic Committee, addressed the citizens of Cape Girardeau County from the balcony of the St. Charles hotel in this city Tuesday evening, June 19th, taking for his theme the political iniquity, destructive policy and unpatriotic course of the Radical element. The captain did not confine himself exclusively to the discussion of the unenviable merits of [Senator Charles D.] Drake, [Governor Thomas] Fletcher & Cox but took the party in all its ramifications from Thaddeus of Berkshire, to Babcocke of unknown parts; and if ever gangrened flesh suffered from the scalpel, the Radicals caught it in the operation they underwent at the hands of this skillful young doctor of radical putridity. Argumentative and caustic, he went at the Radicals in a masterly effective style, to their utter discomfiture, and achieved a total demolition of their bayonet-sustained, fraudulently enforced, cur-dog politics. Of course they attempted to howl him down, and assailed him with snappish blackguardism; and we were not a little surprised to see Tom Stockton, a negro who had attained much commendation for good behavior, disgrace himself by joining an outside rabble, who in the beginning thought they could intimidate so small a man as the Captain. Tom, if you wish to sustain yourself for the future, don’t be found again in such company as the U.S Deputy collector, our long-legged wide-mouthed county judge Smith, Pres. Whitney, or Common Pleas Judge Jimmy McWilliams et allii, even if they do shout loud. If that little Radical crowd in front of the beer saloon didn’t catch a Tartar when they waked up Capt. Magwire, then we don’t want a cent. He turned on them with such cutting invective and inimitable satire that they were but too glad to compromise with a decent, respectful silence.

Capt. Magwire went on to say that it was possible to augment the numerical strength of even so bad a party as the Radicals, but disturbing conservative orators on public occasions was not calculated to have that effect, as the loss of two radical votes at Warrensburg, resulting from a radical attempt to silence Frank Blair, would prove. After speaking one hour and a quarter, to the unbounded satisfaction of his friends and the loudly demonstrated chagrin of his enemies, Captain M., with a graceful and eloquent peroration, withdrew from the stand where he had distinguished himself by a complete subdual of his turbulent, loud mouthed opposers, to give room to

Col. Clark of Mississippi

The Colonel briefly stated that he was a warm supporter of Andrew Johnson, an advocate of Conservative Democratic principles, and a bitter opponent of the Radical party in its mildest and every phase, and every iniquitous proceeding, and closed by announcing himself a Congressional candidate, to be governed by the action of the Democratic Convention, and pledged to support its nominee.

Judge Green

then took the stand, and occupied the time with an effective argument, so lucid, sententious and unanswerable that every intelligent hearer was satisfied that the Conservatives were justly vindicated, and the Radicals so completely busted that their pitiful howls bore a ludicrous resemblance to the yelpings of a scalded dog.

Who Was It

took a position on the opposite side of the street and attempted something -whether a reply or not – could not be clearly ascertained? -but if it was, he took good grounds, for he was standing on the steps of the Argus office, and better ground a Radical couldn’t occupy. Whoever he was, it is certain he was not disposed to throw any light on the subject or his countenance — a commendable thing probably — as it is reasonable to suppose that one would not dignify and exalt the other, and be was by no means desirous of making his shame public.

A Cowardly Scoundrel

Some dirty, cowardly scoundrel, who bears about the same resemblance to a decent man as a boiled dog to a spring chicken, illustrated his sneaking propensities by throwing a rock into a window of the St. Charles, striking and severely injuring an old man. The guilty wretch who threw the stone was evidently wincing under the merited flagellation he had just received from the fiery Captain Magwire, and sought a true Radical mode of exhibiting his spleen, by a sneaking, cowardly act in the dark.

On Thursday 21st inst. Capt. Magwire made an effective and fruitful speech at Hamburg, Scott county. – His audience were composed mostly of Radicals with a large delegation the most respectable Radicals from Commerce. They were all gentlemen, and listened to him with marked attention, extending to him every courtesy due from them to a stranger. He was answered by Col. Foster of the last named place, who maintained his political opinions and fought the arguments of his opponent with the firmness and the kind politeness of a true gentleman. Mr. Magwire concluded amid the hearty applause and kind greetings of the assembled crowd.

On Saturday, he addressed the good people of Jackson, the county seat of Cape Girardeau. The assembly here was so large that all could not hear this great and triumphant philippic. Every time he hit — and he did hit often and hard — the new Constitution, Charles D. Drake, Tom. Fletcher, and his bought pups, the applause which he received made the welkin ring. The ladies vied with one another in rosy cheeks and approving smiles. The hospitality which every home profusely offered — the sweet music which gushed from many a rosy lip, and sprang from many a tapering finger, made the Captain feel that he was a welcome and desired guest. His reception here was an ovation.

We are under many obligations to Capt. Magwire for this visit to Southeast Missouri. The good which he has accomplished has far surpassed our most sanguine expectations; and while we return to him our hearty thanks, we still with pleasure anticipate the time when we shall see his pleasant face again. Captain, many of the fair ones complain that last week they suffered from the “palpitation of the heart.”

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