Republican Wine Bibers and the First Annual Banquet

“There was a little incident in connection with the charity ball in New Haven Monday night that has resulted in a breach between Lynde Harrison, ex-judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and a member of the third house for various interests, and George E. Maltby, member of the Executive Committee of the Republican League Club of New Haven, whose elegant quarters are located in the handsome structure adjoining the Hyperion theatre on Chapel street. As a result of this incident the Executive committee will soon be called upon to hear charges preferred by Mr. Maltby against Mr. Harrison for a violation of the rules of the club, and counter-charges of Mr. Harrison against Mr. Maltby for conduct unbecoming a gentleman.

‘In order to clearly comprehend the issue,’ says the Register, ‘it must be known that the’ Republican League club is connected by a sort of back-door entrance with the Hyperion theatre. It has been the custom with members of the club to use this connection as a means of getting into the club house when social gatherings like the Charity ball are taking place in the theater, and the club house has been thrown open to the friends of members, who have found it a convenient place to lay aside their wraps and also to get refreshment when they wanted it.

On account of the presence of ladies on such occasions, it has been customary for the executive committee to make a rule that no liquors or wines be served by the club’s caterer. About two weeks previous to the Charity ball, the executive committee held a meeting and passed a vote directing that no liquors be served in the club on that night. The house committee was directed to see that this order was enforced. This committee consists of George E. Maltby, H. E. Benton, and H. C. Warren. Mr. Maltby, being the chairman, naturally was charged with the greater part of the responsibility of the measure. The members of the club were generally informed of what had been done so that they could govern their actions accordingly.

On the night of the charity ball the wine lockers were closed and members who ailed for liquors were refused, Judge Harrison among the number. He protested against the carrying out of the order. This was about midnight and Mr. Harrison and his friends had to go away without champagne. Early in the morning, when the club house was not crowded with people, Mr. Harrison entered with a party of friends and summoned a waiter and sent him over to a little room in the ear of a restaurant adjoining the opera house for two bottles of extra dry which he had previously ordered there. The waiter brought the wine and was about to enter the apartment where Mr. Harrison and his guests including several prominent gentlemen and ladies, were seated, when George E. Maltby of the House committee ordered him to stop.

‘No wine can be served here to-night,’ said Mr Maltby. He reminded Mr Harrison that it was unbecoming in a member of the Executive Committee to break one of its own rules and that as chairman of the House Committee, he could not allow any such proceedings. The rule had been enforced during the evening upon other members and it would not be fair to allow one man any privileges denied to another. Mr. Harrison said he had got the wine outside and it was nobody’s business but his own if he drank it here.

Mr. Maltby was firm. The upshot of it was that the waiter had to take the wine back to the little room where he got it and Mr. Harrison, not to be outdone, went and brought in the bottles himself. He had the wine, but he was not much better off then, for he had no glasses and it would not be convenient to attempt to drink out of the bottles. Mr. Harrison then ordered glasses and the waiter brought them, but again he was prevented from going in with them by Mr. Maltbv. who persisted that it was a clear violation of the spirit of the rules.

Mr. Harrison brought the glasses himself and in passing Mr. Maltby remarked, ‘I don’t suppose you will attempt to prevent me from going in, will you?’ Mr. Maltby did not make such an attempt and Mr. Harrison and his friends had their wine. Later there was a stormy scene when Mr. Harrison told Mr. Maltby that he was no gentleman and the latter responded in a similar manner.

The Register savs: ‘Mr. Maltby, it is understood, will prefer charges against Mr. Harrison for violating the rules. There were few witnesses of the affair, but probably there will be no difficulty in convincing the Executive Committee of the facts. But it is said Mr. Harrison will bring Mr. Maltby before the Executive Committee on charges of conduct unbecoming of a gentleman. The general opinion seems to be that the chairman of the House Committee will be sustained in his endeavor to impartially enforce the rules. What the further result will be cannot be predicted.'”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America, The Waterbury Evening Democrat, Friday, Feb. 17, 1888. (top) Image courtesy of the John Brown Biographical Soiciety, “The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans,” by Rossiter Johnson, 1904

-Image courtesy of the New York Times, Times Machine, Friday, February 17, 1888
-Image courtesy of, The Boston Globe, February 17, 1888

“Quite a rumpus has been stirred up among the members of the Young Men’s Republican League, one of the most prominent political organizations in the State and containing about 600 of the young and middle-aged Republicans of the city. The club rooms are in the mansion formerly belonging to United States Marshal Carll and adjoining the Hyperion Theatre, which was formerly known as Carll’s Opera House. On Monday night the grand charity ball was held at the Hyperion Theatre, and the league have passed a resolution or bylaw to the effect that whenever there is a ball or other gathering in the theatre, Caterer Bradley shall not be allowed to dispense wines or liquors, as it might cause those present some annoyance. On such occasions the club house has been thrown open to members and their friends, who have found it a convenient place to deposit their wraps, overcoats, etc.

About two weeks previous to the ball the executive committee of the club held a meeting and voted that on the occasion of the charity ball that no liquors should be dispensed, and the house committee was directed to see that the order was enforced. George E. Maltby, a prominent business man of the city, was the chairman of the committee, and Judge Harrison, the chairman of the Republican State central committee was also a member. But soon after midnight Mr. Harrison with a party of friends concluded they should like some champagne. He summoned a waiter to bring him a couple of bottles. The waiter refused to do so, and stated that he had been so ordered by Mr. Maltby. Mr. Harrison then called down the caterer, Mr. Bradley, but that worthy also refused to honor the order, and said the room was locked up and that other members had been refused the same privilege.

Mr. Harrison was obliged to go without his wine for the time being, but soon after he summoned a waiter and sent him to a little room in the rear of an adjoining restaurant for two bottles of extra dry, which he had previously ordered. The waiter brought the beverage, and was about to enter the apartment where Mr. Harrison and his lady and gentlemen guests were, but Mr. Maltby ordered the functionary to stop. He said emphatically, ‘No wine can be served here tonight.’ As the house committee hire the caterer, of course the waiter obeyed Maltby and disobeyed Judge Harrison.

Maltby reproached Harrison for breaking a rule that he had helped to make, and Harrison retorted that, as he had got the wine outside, it was neither Maltby’s or any one’s business where and when he drank it. The waiter had to take the wine back, and Harrison followed him and brought back the bottles under his own arm. But he had no glasses, and when the waiter attempted to bring them he was again stopped by Maltby, and finally the wealthy little judge had to go and get the glasses himself and wash them.

But he and the wine got there all the same, and after it had been drunk and Mr. Harrison’s guests had gone elsewhere Mr. Harrison sought out Maltby, and although the latter was much his superior in size the little judge in several languages in which the United States predominated, told Maltby what he thought of him. Bystanders say that the language was vigorous and incisive. Maltby replied in about as heated a strain. No blows were struck and no duel will be fought, but within the Young Men’s Republican League there is a schism that will last for some time.”
-Excerpt courtesy of, The Boston Globe, February 17, 1888

The First Annual Banquet Given by the Republican League a Success in Every Particular, A Gay and Festive Scene at the Hyperion, Impromptu Toasts Responded to by Prominent Men, General E. Greeley Presides

“The stars and stripes waving gaily over the entrance to the Republican league last evening indicated that something more than usual was transpiring within the portals of that elegant club house, and well may the club be proud of its first dinner. It was a success in every particular, not only in the number of prominent Republicans present, but in the enthusiasm and good feeling that seemed to pervade the entire assembly.

As early as six o’clock some of the guests began to arrive, particularly out-of-town members who had come in on the afternoon trains. An informal reception was held in the spacious parlors of the league, the committee receiving all with a friendly grasp of the hand and making introductions where parties had not before met. At seven o’olock dinner was announced and the guests were ushered through the lobby of the club house directly into the Hyperion, where the banquet was spread.

The tables were laid upon the large stage of the theater, and as the party passed down the center aisle of the auditorium and ascended the platform, a scene of marvelous beauty and brilliancy greeted them. Hundreds of quivering lights, masses of fragrant flowers and waving palms and ferns, the flash of silver and glass gave to the whole an air of enchantment and pleasure. The banquet committee had done their work well.

A card with the name of the guest was on each plate, the tables, four in number, being marked A, B, C and D, so that all were seated with but little trouble or confusion, a glance over the faces at the tables revealed the presence of many veterans who had participated at the birth of the party, together with others of a younger generation of Republicans, who had inherited the principles which allied them with the party of progress, of equal rights and human liberty.

The menu was as follows:

-Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, the New Haven Morning Journal and Courier, February 24, 1888

After the menu was served General Greeley, president of the Republican league, who presided at table A, rapped the members to order. He congratulated the club for the success of its first annual banquet. He hoped it would be the first of many to follow.

“Gen. Edwin S. Greeley.” -Image courtesy of, The Evening Star, Washington D.C., Monday, March 4, 1889

‘We organized this league on the eve of a great political cloud, yet there was courage enough in the Republicans to think that the principles of the Republican party could never be defeated. And so we organized this club. To -day we have increased our membership so as to count among our numbers many of the most prominent men of the State. We intend to make it a good one thousand members before the next campaign.

We have been unavoidably deprived of the presence this evening of two members one. General Hawley, (applause) who had made a previous engagement; the other, United States Senator Platt (applause) has also been detained, but thought at the last moment he could come. As I am no speech maker myself, and as I intended to make no speech, I will call on our distinguished friend, ex-Governor Harrison. (Pro longed applause with three cheers.)

Mr. Harrison: ‘It is impossible for me to make any fitting response to this demonstration. There are reporters present. They have always been very kind and I hope they will drop their pens and let me speak this time in peace. The Republican party; its glories in the past and its glories of the present. That is what I will talk about. No respectable person in either party could say that the other party was a conspiracy to do harm to the country. The difference between the two parties is a difference in the methods of interpreting the Constitution of the United States. The great question in the late war was, is this a nation or a confederacy of nations.

The war was to determine that question. The Republican party saved the nation. (Applause.) The great achievement of the Republican party was that of the war. I don’t forget that many Democrats went with us; but it is history that the Republic fought the Democratic party of the South with arms and the Democratic party in the North at the ballot box. It believes that government by the people should be for the people. This would all have been done away with if the war had resulted differently.

That was the great glory of the Republican party in the past. It was through Grant that we secured an apology from England for her treachery to us during the war. I can’t spend time telling what the Republican party has done tor twenty-four years. This brilliant record will endure forever. The calm historian of the future will say that the Republican party has been the most noble and the most powerful political force that ever entered – into human history. Its glory in the future. Is there any glory for it in the future? (A voice ‘Yes.’)

The Democratic party is necessarily a free trade party. It has always been, although many of them feigned protection. Protection for the sake of protection; that is what the Republican party wants. There are free traders in the Republican party. They belong in the Democratic party. (A voice ‘Good.’) The protectionists in the Democratic party will come into the Republican party. They belong there. The drift is that way. (Applause.)

We are raising a product not raised in any other country – a product more valuable than all products – the American man (applause.) He is the man who will govern this country and will continue to govern it. He must be surrounded by suitable conditions, that he can have for himself and family comfortable shelter, home, clothing, wholesome food and plenty of it, a reasonable education and at least some innocent recreation that is need-ful to his health.

How can he have this environment! By having high wages and by no other way. If they are not high enough they must be made so (applause). How are they to be made higher! Only one way, by protecting this American man against pauper labor on one side of the world and pauper labor on the other side (applause). The State can’t do this. The national government can do it. It never will be done in the hands of a party that will not accept as right the principles of protection for the sake of protection.

It is coming, however. The country will not dare attack the American man of the future. When the Republican party has presented this American man of ours then the Republican party will have achieved in the future all the glories it has achieved in the past.’ (applause).

Mayor Bulkeley of Hartford, a life long Republican, was next introduced. Three cheers were given for him.

‘We meet here to review our fealty to the Republican principles. If the choice of the next national convention should fall on either of our Connecticut brethren, I feel sure that the Republican party in this State would be heard long and loud. I thought to come here for a friendly and social time and did not expect to say anything. I feel rather embarrassed that Governor Harrison should say that the intellectual treat would come off after he had finished. If the Republican party should call from his retirement that magnetic statesman, Blaine, I am very certain the Republicans of Connecticut would be found leading the van for victory (cheers).

It is a great pleasure to me, my friends of New Haven, to be here to-night. I recognize in such gatherings the life and vitality of the great party that was organized thirty years ago and at once sprung into vigorous manhood. It carried this country through a war and brought peace and prosperity. Defeat at last came, but the rank and file was never dismayed. Victory again is near.

Hon. N. D. Sperry responded to the toast of ‘Merchant Marine and How to Build it Up.’ He said that this subject was one of so much importance that he could not do it justice in the short time he had given him to speak, even if he had the ability. He said the sooner we got foreign flags off our ships and put on the stars and stripes, the better (applause.) After a graphic account of the merchant marine he concluded by hoping to see the day when America would own her own ships and Americans man them.

E. F. Bushnell sang, ‘Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep,’ so well that he was obliged to respond to an encore. Three cheers were given for him.

The toast, ‘The Ruinous Free Trade,’ was responded to by Gen. S. W. Kellogg, of Waterbury. He said he had been enjoying his dinner until the chairman leaned over and asked him to respond to a toast. That spoiled the rest of his dinner. He said the tariff was somewhat of a chestnut, but that it will be launched forth again in the coming campaign before the American people with as much life as ever. The Republican party, he said, believed in a protective tariff for the benefit of people of all classes. There is going to be a reform in the tariff and within the next three years. Gen. Kellogg said many humorous things and was frequently applauded.

Congressman Charles A. Russell had come expecting to be entertained and not to furnish entertainment. He had not come in conventional dress for a banquet, and plead for his attire as being a member of the ‘Home Market’ club. He said the clothes he wore were the work of home industry, but he couldn’t say so much for his dress suit left in Washington in which he moved about in the atmosphere of free trade in that city.

‘Exercise the courage of your convictions (applause). Don’t be afraid of the scarlet garment. If protection is sound and has brought good results, then it is good in its entirety to build up the nation. In the coming campaign talk nothing but protection as the main issue. There are the victories of the past which were the outcome of courageous principles. The battles in the future must be won in that way. Mr. Blaine’s letter (applause) is received at Washington, I can say, with sincerity.

‘I come to say that in the weakness’ of members should be the strength of principles. I come to speak words of encouragement from Washington. In speaking of civil service reform Congressman Russell said he did not know where to find it in the Democratic party. He said that in Washington recently he met a dude who was carrying an umbrella, although it did not rain. When asked why he had it raised he said: ‘It’s raining in London, don’t you know.’

‘I ask you, Mr. President, if we have not to-day just such a class of people who are trying to de-Americanize us?’ Mr. Russell referred to the surplus in the treasury and to other things with which his being in Washington has made him familiar. He said several funny things and was frequently applauded. When he had concluded three cheers were given in his behalf.

Herbert E. Benton told a happy reminiscence and then spoke of the Republican league. He said victories were not won by wearing dress suits and marching at the head of processions, but by getting out and working among the boys.

Dr. Newman Smyth responded to the toast ‘The Clergy In Polities.’ He evaded saying anything of politics, only that he had been a lifelong Republican, and remarked that as far as politics got with the clergy was in eating a good dinner at a Republican league banquet.

F. D. Pavey, a young Republican, spoke of alleged Democratic reform. He advised young men to go into the Republican party, the partv of the highest principles.

Judge Lynde Harrison responded to the toast, ‘Republicanism in Connecticut.’ ‘At this late hour, after an exhilaration of this kind, it is easy to predict success. It is in the cold, calm hours of reflection that precede a campaign and in the long, dreary days, that things at times look dark. It is then that we feel that banquets do not win victories.’

The judge then spoke very graphically of the work done by the Republicans in this state since the organization of the Republican party. He paid high tributes to many of the Republicans present, especially to Gen. E. S. Greeley. He predicted that at the campaign in November next the Republican steamer would come into port ahead of all others.

A. P. Hitchcock, editor of the Palladium made a few remarks on the ‘Power of the Press,’ after which at 12:30 o’clook the members of the league sang ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ and the first annual banquet of the Republican league was at an end. In every respect it was an event with a big E.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, the New Haven Morning Journal and Courier, February 24, 1888

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