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    John S. "Rip" Ford Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages, 7.5" x 10.5", San Antonio, July 15, 1896. Ford, a doctor, lawyer, newspaper publisher, Presbyterian Church Sunday School teacher, and Texas Ranger, writes one year before his death to Captain John J. Dix, Jr., a former Texas Ranger under his command during the Civil War. Together they had protected Texan borders against invasion by the Union Army. Over the years, their long working relationship developed into a close personal friendship through which their political opinions could be expressed.

    After jokingly scolding Dix for failing to write ("When you absquatulated [sic] from San Antonio it was supposed you would be back in this blessed town promptly, or if not, you would have the decency to write a respectfully worded letter."), Ford dives into politics, including commentary on the upcoming presidential race between Democrat William Jennings Bryan and Republican William McKinley. At the Democratic National Convention, held less than a week before this letter was written, Bryan had given his famous "Cross of Gold" speech in which he advocated the silver standard and lambasted those who supported the gold standard. This speech must certainly have caught the attention of Ford, who was a supporter of Bryan. Ford feared, though, that the Populist Party (the "Third Party") would nominate someone else and splinter their vote. In part: "The democratic nominations aroused us for a while. It is possible the 'sound Money' section of the British may make nomination, if they do it will take votes from Bryan, and prevent those lovers of gold from voting for McKinley. If the Third Party vote generally for Bryan I believe we can beat them. Provided we work hard and all vote for the right man. The Third Party may turn crazy and nominated candidates. That destructive course would simply divide the silver vote, and beat us, I fear. That would be a fool hardy game."

    Turning from politics to economics, Ford writes of the pain that the nation still felt from the Panic of 1893: "Times are harder in San Antonio than when you left. Money is about impossible to get. The drouth [sic] gave a back seat to everything relating to cash. Money is harder to obtain. Credit is dead. . . . Almost every working man is idle. If these things increase how can common people procure the means of livelihood? How long before the want of bread and meat will cause convulsions, and the use of force to obtain them?" Since the situation was so dire, Ford let Dix know whom he blamed: "The advocates of a gold currency have abandoned the constitution of the United, and are clamoring for gold alone. . . . They have forgotten Washington's Farewell address, have allied themselves with the British, and are now moving heaven and earth to reduce the people of the United States to a state below that of England." This insightful letter on the political and economical environment of 1896 is docketed on verso, presumably by Dix. Lightly age toned with a faint verso dampstain at upper left. Small separation at one fold. Fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
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