A political quote about Matthew Sorin

“It may readily be granted that there are many unpleasant things in politics. It is said that in the early days of Minnesota, Matthew Sorin, of Red Wing, was running for office in Goodhue County. He was a man of worth and character, but he was abused and slandered by an unprincipled opponent. He bore it meekly for a while, when at last, deciding on a defense, he called a public meeting. He reviewed the character and conduct of the small politicians who, in the absence of principles and patriotism, serve themselves instead of their country by abusing better men. His opponent, sitting back in the crowd, sprang to his feed angrily exclaiming: ‘Mr. Sorin, do you mean me, sir? do you mean me?’ With a look of scorn and utter disdain, Sorin answered: ‘You sir? No, sir. I was on a downgrade, sir, but I hadn’t yet gotten down to you sir!’ It is one of the traditions of Red Wing that this cutting response actually drove the offended out of town, for he met it upon every hand until he could stand it no longer.”

S. Arthur Cook, The Essence and the Ethics of Politics: Individual Messages to the Public Conscience (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1915), p. 53.