Monday, January 23, 2017

Three Twenty-Nine (1865)

        Only one line,

        Three twenty-nine.

                Three Twenty-nine.

What was it that from Ames I took,

Stowed snugly in my pocketbook,

And then resumed my saintly look?


What was it, when the act was known,

That made my pious spirit groan

'Till I would have it called a loan?


What, when my case seemed very bad,

Did I in solemn tones and sad

Swear that I never, never had?


What did Ames have in black and white

That showed me up in my true light,

And left me in a sorry plight?


What were thus proved beyond a doubt

The figures for which I sold out,

And which I since have lied about?


What, more than any other thing—

Than salary grab or paving Ring—

My downfall at the polls shall bring?



When old Garfield is elected,

        In your mind, in your mind;

We'll have spoils that we expected,

        In your mind, in your mind;

Good fat jobs and contracts sure,

Like De Golyer and Mobilier,

We can county on them, that's clear.

        In your mind, in your mind;

For we'll count him in this year.

        In your mind.

Down in Maine we'll fix the figures,

        In your mind, in your mind;

We are first class thimble-riggers,

        In your mind, in your mind;

We need only give our sign,

Which we call "329,"

But of fraud we've no design,

        In your mind, in your mind;

Old Zach, didn't think it crime,

        In his mind.

Lansinburgh Courier. October 1, 1880: 2 cols 3-4.

        The Democrats might have been able to defeat Garfield if they had concentrated on his involvement in the Crèdit Mobilier scandal (see SCHUYLER COLFAX). During the Grant administration Garfield had received a $329 dividend check for stock in Crèdit Mobilier of America. Although he had never purchased any stock in the company, he had accepted the dividend check. The Democrats were effectively ridiculing his excuse that he thought it was a campaign contribution and identifying Garfield with corruption through use of the derisive slogan "three twenty-nine" ($329). However, the publication of a letter ostensibly signed by Garfield and advocating support of unrestricted immigration of Chinese backfired. The letter was exposed as a forgery, and Garfield won the election by a close popular but comfortable electoral vote, 214 to 155.

O'Brien, Steven G. American Political Leaders from Colonial Times to the Present. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC- CLIO, 1991. 152.

Gyory, Andrew. "The Phony Document that Almost Cost a President His Election (No, Not the CBS Bush Guard Memo)." History News Network. October 24, 2004.

"An 1880 'October Surprise.'" The Blog of James A. Garfield National Historic Site. October 19, 2012.

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