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The Albany meeting was largely attended and, for an out-door meeting, very enthusiastic. I spoke for about a half an hour, but shall only quote a few sentences:
The Democratic party met in convention at Chicago, and a majority of the Democrats of the United States, speaking through their regularly chosen representatives, adopted a platform and nominated a ticket. It is not to be expected that every person will find in any platform all that he desires, and nothing that he does not like. But when a citizen is called upon to vote, he endorses that platform which gives him the best assurances of securing the most important things which he desires. It is proper, aye, more, it is necessary, that the candidate who stands upon a platform shall endorse the utterances of the platform, and I stand before you to declare in your presence that I endorse every word and every syllable of the platform adopted at Chicago. But while I do so, I expect in this campaign the support of many Democrats who are not willing to endorse all that the platform declares for. In a campaign there is always some overshadowing issue; there is always some paramount question which, more than any other, determines the allegiance of those who support the ticket. In this campaign we appeal with confidence to those who are opposed to a longer continuation of the gold standard policy by the United States. The Democratic party has begun a war of extermination against the gold standard. We ask no quarter; we give no quarter. We shall prosecute our warfare until there is not an American citizen who dares to advocate the gold standard.
FROM ALBANY TO CLEVELAND.
UR train left Albany at 9 o'clock and after making several stops reached Utica about 11:30. At Schenectady, Amsterdam and a number of other places the people had gathered at the station to manifest what friends described as "interest," and what opponents termed "idle curiosity." The crowd at Utica was so large that it was difficult to make them hear and the lateness of the hour forbade any exended speech. Here again a falling platform carried down a number of persons.
During the next day large meetings were held at Syracuse; Rochester and Erie, with smaller ones at other places along the line. The meeting at Syracuse was presided over by Mayor McGuire, who referred to the fact that the home of Governor Seymour had been near that city, and this recalled to my mind the first campaign which I remember when, as a boy, I hurrahed for Seymour and Blair. At Rochester, ex-Secretary of State Cooke presided and ex-Congressman Greenleaf, a former colleague in the House of Representatives, sat upon the stage.
At one of the smaller stations along the route a middle-aged farmer entered the car. He wore a widebrimmed hat, and was in his shirt sleeves. Standing more than six feet in height, with broad shoulders, a high forehead and an intelligent face, he was a splendid specimen of manhood. Coming through the car he stopped at my seat, shook hands and said:
"I have always been a Republican, but I am for silver. We farmers know what is good for us," and then quickly made his exit through the rear door. He had left his team a few feet away, and as the train pulled out we saw him following the plow across the field. He impressed me as a typical American citizen, one who thought for himself and then made his vote express his convictions.
Before reaching Buffalo we were met by Hon. Norman E. Mack, of the Times, whose gallant fight for the ticket was very much ap. preciated, Judge R. C. Titus, Hon. Jacob Stern, and others. We made only a brief stop at Buffalo and then went on to Erie, Pa., stopping for a moment at Dunkirk. The Democratic clubs of Pennsylvania were
assembled in convention at Erie and the attendance was so large that three large halls were filled. My last speech was to the members of the clubs and the meeting was one of the most demonstrative held in the East. This was in the district which Mr. Sibley had represented in Congress, and in which he was again a candidate. In a speech made the next morning, at the close of a reception given at the hotel, I took occasion to point out the necessity of electing a Congress pledged to silver. The following is an extract:
The people are engaged in this fight because they believe that the triumph of the principles represented by the Chicago platform is absolutely essential to the welfare of our nation. This is not merely an attempt to secure the Presidency in order to divide the offices among a few of the people. Offices cut no figure in this campaign. I believe my experience has been rather an unusual one. The people who have come to me have come with suggestions as to what can be done to help the cause and no one has come to ask me for the promise of an office in case of my election. I have not discussed patronage with anybody. I shall not discuss patronage with anybody during this campaign. A man who in the midst of a great battle stops to negotiate as to what official position he is to occupy when this battle is over is unworthy to hold any position. Nor are we satisfied with securing the Presidency. The President alone is powerless to secure legislation. He does not express his approval until the Senate and House have joined in a measure, and I appeal to you, if you are interested in the success of our cause, to use your efforts to secure a Senate and a House, as well as a President, favorable to these reforms. The Senate is practically secure. We have reason to believe that the Senate which convenes on the fourth of March next year will be in favor 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. But it is necessary that we should have the House also. The House today is in the hands of the enemy and we must take possession of the House in order to put any good measure into operation, and I beg you in every Congressional district in this nation to see to it that no man shall receive a majority of the votes, if you can help it, unless he goes there to fight for the money of the Constitution from the day that he takes his seat until the last day he occupies a place in the House. You have in this district a man who has been tried and not found wanting. You have in this district one of the ablest, one of the most fearless, one of the most eloquent advocates of this great cause. His voice has been heard all over this land and you will be guilty of a desertion of this cause unless you make Joseph C. Sibley your member of Congress at this election.
I reiterated this sentiment at every convenient opportunity because I felt that the election of a bimetallist to the Presidency would be of no avail unless he was supported by a Congress in harmony with him on the money question. I took occasion in the Erie speech
to commend my friend Sibley, who is deserving of all the good things that can be said of any candidate for office.
We returned to Buffalo the next day, and after a reception at the hotel, I addressed one of the largest indoor meetings of the campaign, and later spoke from the balcony of the hotel. Ex-Attorney General Charles F. Tabor presided at the first meeting. I give below a small portion of the speech:
I am aware that in the making of a platform it is impossible to please all. I recognize that people who think will differ, and that a platform often contains declarations which the voter does not like and omits things which he would like to have included. But platforms are not written by all of the party; they are written by a majority of the party. And when the majority writes a platform the other members of the party must either accept it or get out of the party. Either the majority must rule or the minority, and it is better for the minority to be alienated than for the voice of the majority to be suppressed.
Speaking of the improbability of international bimetallism, I said:
Our opponents tell us that they will try to secure an international agreement, and that they simply desire to maintain the gold standard until other nations will help us to let go. Can you expect the restoration of bimetallism from those who wrote the St. Louis platform? Never, until you can gather grapes from thorns and figs from thistles. Those who are responsible for the gold standard are not the ones to whom we must look for deliverance. As well might Pharaoh have been expected to lead the children of Israel out of bondage, as to expect the Republican party to break the shackles of the gold standard.
On the following morning, in company with Judge Titus, Mr. Mack, District Attorney Matthews and others we took an electric car for Niagara Falls, and, after a view of the surrounding country from the tower, spent an hour in a trip down the rapids and back. Taking the train from Niagara Falls, we proceeded, with the customary stops along the road, to Knowlesville, where a farmers' picnic was in progress. This meeting was the first distinctively farmers' meeting addressed and I noted with much interest the depth of feeling manifested by the advocates of bimetallism here. The speaker's stand was built in a grove, and the trees served as a gallery for a large number of boys and young men. The meeting was presided over by Hon. Marcus A. Phillips, a former member of the Legislature, who left the Republican party after the adoption of the St. Louis platform. The presence of so many men who were engaged in agricultural pursuits led me to relate a conversation which I had had only a few weeks before with an old college friend. He was a man of excellent education and exemplary habits, and lived in Central Illinois upon a farm of great fertility. He
was telling me of his experience upon the farm and how impossible it was for him to pay the rent which the farm had formerly brought, and at the same time, out of his diminishing income, provide for the necessities of his growing family. The tears filled his eyes as he pointed to three children playing upon the floor and told me that the saddest thing he had to contemplate was his inability, under existing conditions, to give them such an education as he desired them to have. Knowing that this incident is multiplied ten thousand times throughout the land, I have found it difficult to express, in language entirely parliamentary, my indignation when I consider our financial system, which thus brings privation to the creators of wealth, and undeserved advantage to the money owners and money traders, who advocate the gold standard under the pretense that they are supporting a sound financial system and an honest dollar.
We found it so difficult to get through the crowd to our carriage that we missed the train upon which we had intended to return to Niagara Falls, and did not reach that place until about 8 o'clock. The time, however, was pleasantly spent in a visit to Medina, the home of Hon. James A. Hanlan, a delegate to the Chicago convention, who arranged for the Knowlesville meeting. Here we met two Nebraska. friends, Prof. T. M. Hodgman and wife.
A large crowd assembled in front of the Cataract House, in Niagara Falls, and I delivered a speech, rather non-partisan in its character. Early next morning the local committee took us out to the Government park, where we obtained an excellent view of the falls. I have been deterred from attempting to describe the beauties of Niagara, because the work has been so well done by other visitors. No one can view the falls or the rapids without being impressed with the grandeur of this specimen of nature's handiwork.
The ride to Hornellsville was made without any incident of special importance. Upon arrival we found that Mr. C. A. Dolson had more than redeemed the promise which he made in regard to attendance when he visited Upper Red Hook and arranged for the meeting. The audience was mainly agricultural, and yet contained a larger proportion of townsfolks than the Knowlesville gathering. I took occasion here to comment upon the habit, so prevalent among the advocates of the gold standard, of using obscure and ambiguous terms. The following is an
It is the object, or at least should be, of public speakers to aid their audiences to understand the merits of disputed questions, and it is an evidence of