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shattered that hope. Already they are alarmed at the impotency of a boodle campaign, when all of the great moral forces of the peopic are solidly united in defense of American institutions. The revulsion of the American people against this boodle campaign during the last ten days has so united them that victory is now assured.
The People's party made this revolution possible. Let every one do his duty and fail not. Let our boast be that we are American citizens, and that American citizens are more than partisans.
This done, the cohorts of domestic and foreign greed will be driven from our legislative councils and the domination of American institutions; this done, and the betrayed Republic will be redeemed and American prosperity restored. The men and the party that achieve such grand and patriotic results in this crisis will be the men and the party of the future. It has been left for the People's party and the silver Republicans to make the party sacrifice and to do the patriotic work necessary to accomplish this result.
The People's party must do it, for no other party will; the People's party will do it. Therefore, the People's party will be the party of the future. The American people will recognize it as the agency that saved the day when their interests were at stake; the American people will rally around its banner as the party to contend against the enemy of good government in the future. Every man to his post, and the victory is won.
Marion Butler, Chairman;
H. W. Reed,
George F. Washburn,
John W. Breidenthal,
M. C. Rankin,
C. F. Taylor,
J. A. Edgerton, Secretary.
After a campaign is over, it is sometimes possible to point to mistakes in management which affected the result, but I do not believe that any one will be able to point out a serious mistake made by either of the above committees, nor can one point to an instance in which either committee failed to improve an opportunity presented. Their work deserves the greater commendation when it is remembered that many of those prominent in the three committees had had but little previous experience in political management.
PREPARING FOR THE CAMPAIGN.
HE days which intervened between the return from the convention and the departure for New York were spent in Lincoln, with the exception of one day when I went to Omaha to meet the people of that city. The reception there was conducted with Democratic simplicity, consisting of an impromptu escort from the depot to a platform erected at the intersection of 15th and Douglas streets, where I was welcomed by Mayor Broatch, made a brief address and shook hands with the crowd.
At Lincoln the time was spent, first, in answering telegrams and letters of congratulation, then in receiving delegations en route to the Populist and Silver Conventions at St. Louis, then in receiving news from the conventions, and afterwards in the preparation of my Madison Square Garden speech.
The action of the National Silver Convention was known in advance, but there was considerable uncertainty as to the result of the Populist Convention. The Populists were divided in sentiment into three classes. First, there were those who were in favor of endorsing the Chicago ticket entire; second, those who were in favor of endorsing the ticket to the extent of the Presidential nomination, but in favor of a Populist for Vice-President; and, third, those who favored the nomination of a Populist ticket entire. It was noticeable, too, that, as a rule, the States in which the Populists and Democrats had been in the habit of co-operating against the Republicans sent delegations more friendly to fusion than the States wherein the Populist party had been a menace to Democratic supremacy. I fully realized the embarrassment which differing conditions brought about. In Nebraska, the Populists and Democrats had in several campaigns acted together, noticeably in the election of Hon. William V. Allen to the United States Senate, and in the election of Hon. Silas A. Holcomb, Governor. Then, too, in Nebraska, the Populists, Democrats and silver Republicans had acted together in carrying on the educational work in behalf of bimetallism, and this association made co-operation in national politics easier. In fact, I believe that my nomination can be attributed
more to the friendly relations existing between the Democrats, Populists and free silver Republicans than to any other one cause.
The opposition of the Populists to the nomination of Mr. Sewall placed me in an embarrassing position. Throughout the entire campaign it was the most trying feature.
When the convention decided to nominate the Vice-President first it became apparent that it would select a Populist for that office, and Senator Jones wired me giving his opinion and asking mine. These dispatches were published before my nomination, and referred to by Mr. Weaver in his nominating speech. The delegates took the position. that, whether I was a candidate or not, they had a right to nominate me if they desired to do so. When the nomination was finally announced I gave to the press the following statement, which contains. Senator Jones' telegram and my reply:
When the Populists decided to nominate the Vice-President first Senator Jones, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, wired me as follows: "Populists nominate Vice-President first. If not Sewall, what shall we do? Answer quick. I favor your declination in that case." I answered immediately: "I entirely agree with you. Withdraw my name if Sewall is not nominated." These dispatches were published in this morning's papers and the convention understood my position. In spite of this it has seen fit to nominate me. Whether I shall accept the nomination or not will depend upon the conditions which are attached to it. My first desire is to aid in securing the immediate restoration by the United States of the free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation.
The Republican platform declares that, the bimetallic system should be restored, but asserts that we, as a people, are helpless to secure bimetallism for ourselves until foreign nations come to our assistance. We cannot afford to surrender our right to legislate for ourselves upon every question, and so long as that right is disputed no other question can approach it in importance.
I appreciate the desire, manifested at St. Louis, to consolidate all the free silver forces, and regret that they did not nominate Mr. Sewall also. He stands squarely upon the Chicago platform and has defended our cause against greater opposition than we have had to meet in the West and South.
The Populist platform is, on many questions, substantially identical with the Chicago platform; it goes beyond the Chicago platform, however, and endorses some policies of which I do not approve. All that I can now say is that my action will depend entirely upon the conditions attached to the nomination.
I shall do nothing which will endanger the success of bimetallism, nor shall I do anything unfair to Mr. Sewall.
This interview was my only public utterance in regard to the nomination until my letter of acceptance was written.
I received by mail a letter written by Mr. Sewall immediately after the nomination of Mr. Watson, and before the above interview appeared in print. This letter was afterwards published by Mr. Jones and I reproduce it here because it shows the attitude in which Mr. Sewall stood during the campaign. He would have been willing at any time to sacrifice his own ambition for the good of the cause, had his withdrawal been thought wise by the leaders of the party; but there was never a time when, in their opinion, his withdrawal would have aided the success of the ticket. The letter reads:
Bath, Me., July 25, 1896.
Hon. J. W. Bryan, Lincoln, Nebraska.-My Dear Mr. Bryan: In view of the action of the St. Louis Convention, I cannot refrain from giving you my thoughts upon the situation. My advices are that you have been nominated a candidate for President and Mr. Watson for Vice-President. I also learn from press dispatches that you are somewhat undecided whether you ought to accept or decline. Now, I desire to say to you, with the utmost frankness and good feeling, that you must not allow any personal consideration for me to influence you in your action. I desire you to do just what you believe to be best for the success of our ticket. The principles which we are fighting for are so paramount to any personal consideration that the latter should not have any weight or influence whatever with your action. I cannot for a moment allow myself to be a factor in any action on your part that would, in the slightest degree, hazard an electoral vote for
Your sincere friend,
Looking back over the campaign I am now convinced that under the conditions then existing two Vice-Presidential candidates were better than one, and that, notwithstanding the embarrassment at the time, the silver cause made a better showing than it would have done if Mr. Sewall had withdrawn in favor of Mr. Watson, or Mr. Watson in favor of Mr. Sewall.
Scarcely a day passed between the adjournment of the convention and election day that I was not asked to confirm or deny some campaign rumor. Stories in regard to promised cabinet appointments came first. After the discussion had proceeded far enough to interest the public, I gave out the following statement, under date of August 2:
I have not directly or indirectly promised any office of any kind to any person whomsoever, and shall not during the campaign promise any office of any kind to any person whomsoever.
I may add that with the exception of less than half a dozen minor postoffices, nobody during the campaign asked for any appointment or promise of appointment.
In consultation with the National Committee I had favored the opening of the campaign in New York City, believing that it would arouse the enthusiasm of our supporters to attack the enemy first in the stronghold of the gold sentiment.
The determination to read the speech was formed as soon as its preparation was commenced. This being the first speech of the campaign, it would necessarily be subjected to hostile criticism by the opposition press and I was compelled to choose between an extemporaneous speech, which would be less concise and comprehensive, and a speech which, because read from manuscript, would disappoint the audience. I knew, too, that in order to secure the publication of an accurate report of the speech in the daily papers it would be necessary to furnish a copy in advance of delivery, and I knew that if delivered from memory it would be taken down in shorthand and compared with the copy furnished to the press. After weighing the relative advantages of, and objections to, the two modes of delivery, I concluded that it was the part of wisdom to disappoint the few thousands who would be in the hall in order to reach the hundreds of thousands who would read it in print. Having decided to use my manuscript it was necessary to make the speech as brief as possible because the crime of reading a speech increases in heinousness in proportion to its length.
In order to emphasize the silver question as the paramount issue of the campaign I left to my letter of acceptance all the other parts of the platform, making an exception only of the income tax plank which has been misconstrued and bitterly assailed. As is usual in the preparation of a speech for an important occasion, the matter was the subject of such continuous consideration that it not only occupied my thoughts by day, but at once suggested itself if I awoke in the night. While I was endeavoring to construct a fitting conclusion to the speech, there occurred to me, during one of these moments of wakefulness, the idea which was afterward employed, namely, the comparison between a Columbia waiting for foreign aid and the Goddess of Liberty enlightening the world. This conception was afterward illustrated by the New York Journal, and it has always seemed to me to represent most appropriately the difference between financial independence and the doctrine of servile acquiescence in a foreign policy.