Page images
PDF
EPUB

By the courtesy of Mr. M. W. McDonald, of Galion, O., this picture is reproduced on another page.

The largest Ohio crowd was found at Canton. I give below the speech made there. I was glad to be able to pay a compliment to my opponent, and repeated before his neighbors what I had said. elsewhere in regard to his personal character.

Canton Speech.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: When I received notice a short time ago of the organization of a silver club in this city, I little imagined the tremendous sentiment which seems to be behind the club. I am glad to meet the people of this city, the home of my distinguished opponent, and am glad in their presence to testify to his high character and great personal worth. I shall be satisfied if as an individual I may be able to stand beside him in public esteem. But, my friends, this is not a contest between individuals. It matters little to the American people whether your distinguished townsman or myself occupies the chief executive position in this, the greatest nation upon earth, but it does matter a great deal for what policies the President shall stand. In this campaign the personality of the candidates is lost sight of entirely in the principles for which the candidates stand. In my own State and in my own city there are many people who believe that the interests of the country will be better served by the election of my opponent, and I am gratified to know that in his home there are so many who believe that the interests of the country will be best served by his defeat. He is your neighbor, as we ordinarily use the word, but I beg you to turn to the Scriptures and there read the parable of the neighbor, for while I may not be your neighbor, geographically speaking, I may be your neighbor in the sense in which the word is used in the parable. In this contest I hope to be the neighbor of those who have fallen among thieves. He is a neighbor who, in the hour of distress, brings relief. At this time, when we are cursed by an European financial policy which our opponents tell us we must endure until relief comes to us from abroad, I believe that that man is the neighbor of all the toiling masses who asks for the immediate restoration 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. I tell my neighbors at home that I shall bear them no ill will if they believe that my opponent should be elected, and I have so high an opinion of my opponent that I know he will say to his townsmen here that every one should be free to make his ballot represent a freeman's will, although it may result in keeping your distinguished citizen among you as a neighbor still.

Learning on my departure from Chicago that some effort was being made to coerce railroad employes into the support of the Republican ticket, I took occasion to mention the subject at Alliance, where many railroad men were gathered. The following is an extract:

Alliance Speech.

The employer and the employe have a right to differ in politics. Remember that we live in a nation where the salary which a man receives does not purchase

his citizenship. No wages are high enough to include citizenship. The dollars which are paid for the labor of the hand or mind are paid for labor and not for votes.

This subject was referred to in several subsequent speeches.

The Pittsburg reception committee met us at Canton and a large crowd greeted us at the depot. The Pittsburg meetings were a surprise both in attendance and in enthusiasm. After witnessing an unusual demonstration, I said:

Pittsburgh Speech.

I thought it might be necessary in coming so far towards the East to bring with me a few of our people to keep up the enthusiasm while I defended the principles set forth in the Chicago platform. But after seeing a few audiences like this I am wondering whether I should not take a few of you back with me to set an example of enthusiasm to the people of the West. It is no longer "the wild West," it is the wild East now.

In the speeches at Pittsburg, I discussed the general principles of government, avoiding campaign issues as far as possible. After the meetings, Mrs. Bryan and I attended a reception given by the Samuel J. Randall Club and were notified of our election to honorary membership in the club, she having the distinction of being the only lady to whom the compliment had been paid.

We left the next morning over the Pennsylvania for New York. Hon. James Kerr of Pennsylvania, Clerk of the House while I was in Congress and during the late campaign a member of the Campaign Committee, met us at Pittsburg and took charge of our party to New York. Our train only made a few stops, the principal ones being at Altoona, Harrisburg, Lancaster and Philadelphia, where large crowds were gathered.

It was dark when we reached New York and we were met by Chairman Jones of the National Committee, Mr. St. John, Treasurer, Mr. Sewall and a number of others. The weather being very warm we were quite fatigued by the journey and went at once to Mr. St. John's residence on Thirty-Fourth street.

CHAPTER XX.

AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.

T1

HE next day was spent in resting and getting my speech into print. So much was said at the time about the Madison Square Garden meeting that I need only refer to it briefly. Before the hour appointed for the notification exercises, the hall, which had been tastefully decorated, was filled to its utmost capacity and more were on the outside than were able to secure tickets of admission. Hon. Elliott Danforth, the New York member of the Notification Committee and, during the campaign, chairman of the New York State Committee, presided at the meeting and delivered a brief address of welcome. In the absence of Senator White, Governor William J. Stone, of Missouri, delivered the letter of notification, preceding the delivery of the speech which will be found below.

Mr. Stone's Speech.

Mr. Chairman: We are here this evening to give formal notice of their selection to the gentlemen nominated by the National Democratic Convention as candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States. Hitherto, by immemorial custom, the pleasing duty of delivering notifications of this character has devolved upon the permanent chairman of the National Convention acting, by virtue of his office, as chairman of the Notification Committee. Except for unfortunate circumstances, unexpected and unavoidable, the usual custom would not be departed from in the present instance. I regret to say, however, that unforeseen events of a personal nature have arisen which make it practically impossible for the chairman of the convention, the Hon. Stephen M. White, of California, to be in New York at this time. A few days since he telegraphed me to that effect, and did me the honor to request me to represent him on this occasion. While I greatly appreciate the compliment conferred by this designation, I can not but deplore the enforced absence of the distinguished Senator from California, and I am directed by him to express his deep regret at his inability to be present and participate in the interesting ceremonies of this hour.

Mr. Chairman, the convention which assembled at Chicago on the 7th day of July last was convened in the usual way, under a call issued in due form by the National Democratic Committee. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the manner of its assembling, and nothing in the action of the committee under whose authority it was convoked to distinguish it from its predecessors. It was in all respects a regular national convention of the Democratic party. Every State and Territory in the Union, from Maine to

Alaska, was represented by a full quota of delegates, and I may add with perfect truth that a more intelligent and thoroughly representative body of Democrats was never assembled upon the American continent. The convention was called for two purposes: First, to formulate a platform declaratory of party principles, and, secondly, to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States. Both these purposes were fully accomplished, and accomplished according to the usages that have been recognized and the methods of procedure which have obtained in Democratic conventions for fifty years. The acts of the convention, therefore, were the acts of the Democratic party. Its work was done under the sovereign authority of the national organization; and that work was the direct outgrowth of the calm, well-matured judgment of the people themselves, deliberately expressed through their representatives chosen from among the wisest, most trusted, and patriotic of their fellow citizens in all the States.

Although all I have said is literally true, yet the fact remains, of which every one is conscious, that there were extraneous circumstances leading up to the convention which attracted unusual attention to its deliberations and invested them with unusual importance. To such an extent was this true that I may say without exaggeration that no other political convention has been assembled in this country since the civil war upon which public attention was riveted with such intensity, or in the outcome of whose deliberations not only the American people but the nations of the earth felt such deep concern. We are all familiar with the circumstances to which I refer. The existing national administration was created by the Democratic party. It is the result of the great victory won in 1892. The campaign of that year was fought almost wholly on the tariff issue. It was a war waged against the excessive, monopolistic, trust-breeding schedules of the McKinley law. The Democratic party was united almost as one man against that law, and thousands of those who believed in the policy of protection when conservatively administered for the public good and not for private enrichment, protested against this monstrous measure of extortion for individual and corporate emolument. Opposition to the McKinley law was the dominant issue of that campaign, and the measure was condemned by an overwhelming majority of the American people. But, Mr. Chairman, I desire to say that although the tariff was made the issue of 1892, there were thousands of Democrats who then believed that a reform in our monetary system was of far greater importance than a reform in our revenue policies. I was among those who so believed. Those holding to that belief did not in any degree underestimate the importance of the tariff issue-on the contrary, its importance was fully appreciated-but they believed nevertheless that the control of our fiscal affairs by a mercenary combination of Wall street bankers, dominated by foreign influences, was more perilous to national safety and more pernicious in its effect on national prosperity than all the tariffs the miserly hand of gluttonous greed could write. However, we acquiesced in the decision of our party convention, accepted the issue as made, and as one man rallied with loyalty and alacrity to the standard of revenue reform. We rejoiced in Mr. Cleveland's election, and confidently expected, as we had a right to, that he would bring the tariff question to a

speedy settlement and strip monopoly of its opportunity to plunder the people. But in this just expectation we were doomed to disappointment. Instead of devoting himself to a prompt and wise solution of the important issue upon which he was elected, he incontinently thrust it aside and began, almost at the threshold of his administration, to exercise the great powers of his office to commit the country to a financial system inaugurated by the Republican party, and which the Democratic party had time and again condemned in both State and national conventions. In the beginning of this attempt the masses of the people, disappointed and distressed, looked on in amazement. With absorbing interest and with constantly increasing resentment they watched the rapid development of events. As these events passed before them one by one in quick succession, and when they came to understand their full meaning and effect, resentment turned to wrath and protest rose into revolt. Then began within the Democratic party one of the most remarkable struggles that have ever occurred in the political history of this country. It was a struggle for mastery between the national administration and the great masses of plain people, who constitute the party which created that administration. The prize they fought for was the national convention. That convention was to determine whether the Democratic party should abide by the traditions of the fathers and adhere to its ancient faith, or whether it should obsequiously abandon the principles of true Democracy and become a pliant agent to advance the mercenary ends of an insolent plutocracy. The people won. They won a glorious victory. The full significance of their triumph can not be estimated at a glance. Suppose they had lost, what then? Suppose the Chicago convention had followed the servile example of the Republican convention, what then? If that had happened what hue would the skies now reveal to the uplifted eyes of anxious millions? Would the star of hope then have risen luminous to the meridian or have fallen with waning light upon a clouded horizon? Upon what staff would the toiling millions in field and shop then have rested their tired hands? What bulwark of defense would then have stood between the great industrial and producing classes, who constitute the solid strength and safety of the State, and the combined aggressions of foreign money-changers and anglicized American millionaires? Upon what rock would the defenders of the Constitution, the champions of American ideas and the friends of American institutions have then anchored their hopes for the future? The paramount question before the country was and is-Shall this great Republic confess financial servitude to England, or act independently for itself? Shall this Government follow, or shall it lead? Shall it be a vassal or a sovereign? The Republican convention declared for foreign supremacy-for American subserviency. It upheld the British policy of a single gold standard, fraudulently fastened upon this country, and declared that we are utterly incapable of maintaining an independent policy of our own. Confessing that the gold standard is fraught with evil to our people, and that bimetallism is best for this nation and for the world, it yet declared that we are helpless-that we must stand idle, while our industries are prostrated and our people ruined, until England shall consent for us to lift our hands in our own defense. To this low state has Mammon brought the great party of the immortal Lincoln. For years plutocracy has been

« PreviousContinue »