Page images



POPULIST NOMINATION TENDERED AND ACCEPTED. ENATOR WILLIAM V. ALLEN, of Nebraska, chairman of the Notification Committee appointed by the Populist Convention, tendered the Populist nomination in a letter, which will be found below.

Populist Notification.

Madison, Neb., September 15, 1896.

Hon. William J. Bryan, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Dear Sir: At a convention of the People's party, held at St. Louis from July 22d to 25th, of the current year, you were unanimously nominated for President of the United States, to be voted for at the approaching general election. It was known at the time that you had been nominated by the Democratic party at its convention held at Chicago a few days before that time, and that you would, in all probability, accept the same in a formal manner. Your nomination by the People's party, was not, therefore, made with any thought that you were a Populist, or that you accepted all the doctrines declared by the St. Louis platform. It was due largely to the fact that the money question is the overshadowing political issue of the age, and because you have at all times been an unswerving, able, and fearless advocate of the free and unlimited coinage of silver and gold, on terms of equality, at the mints of the United States, at the ratio of sixteen to one.

It was thought also that the observance of a patriotic duty required a union of all reform forces, and the convention took the liberty without solicitation or consulting you, of placing your name before the people as its standard bearer. The convention was in doing so guided by deep solicitude for the common welfare, acting on its own motion, prompted alone by a desire to bring about the best attainable results.

So much has been said respecting the rehabilitation of silver by again placing it in our coinage acts in the position it occupied when stealthily demonetized by the act of 1873, that it would be idle for us to discuss the question. You will observe by the closing language of the St. Louis platform, that the convention recognized the money question as the great issue of the day, and because Populists believe that you are in accord with them on this question, you will receive their ballots in November.

It has at no time been expected, nor is it now, that you will abandon your the candidate who stands upon a platform shall endorse the utterances of the the People's party platform, however gratifying the latter would be to all Populists. It must be understood that the party does not abate one jot or tittle of loyalty to its principles. We have declared ourselves in favor of many important reforms, and go farther than you or your party have gone. These reforms

[ocr errors]

are, in our judgment, essential to the liberation of the people from present unjust and iniquitous industrial bondage.

In accordance with precedent of our party, we take this method of notifying you of your nomination. We shall not send a committee, according to old party custom. In sending this letter of notification of the great honor that has been so justly conferred on you by our party, it is needless for us to assure you that you have the confidence and esteem of all. Your splendid abilities, known integrity, competency and eminent fitness for the position, justly entitle you to a high rank among the great statesmen of the nation.

We feel that in the event of your election, which now seems certain, that you will carry into execution the principles of monetary reform, to the end that the people shall enjoy better industrial conditions. It is not anticipated that this can be done with undue haste, or so suddenly as to wrench or disjoint the business interests of the country, but that it will be done gradually and in a way to infuse confidence and hope of better conditions for all.

The People's party will exact of you no promises, farther than those made in your public utterances and exemplified in a life devoted to the welfare of the race, nor will it ask you to abandon the party of which you are an honored member. In your nomination our party has risen above mere partisan surroundings adopting a high plane of patriotism, believing that a division of forces would result in the election of William McKinley, the foremost advocate of a deeply burdensome and unnatural taxation and the criminal policy of the single gold standard, resulting ultimately, if not in some manner checked, in the complete destruction and disintegration of our form of government.

Your elevation to the Chief Magistracy of the nation would be regarded as a vindication of the right of the people to government, and we entertain no doubt that you will prove a worthy successor of the immortal Jefferson and Lincoln, and, that your public life, like theirs, will illustrate the purity and loftiness of American statesmanship. Your extensive and intimate knowledge of public affairs, and the duties the office will impose, gained in a life that has been devoted to upholding the cause of the people, as well as your keen insight into the condition of our country, in our judgment, highly qualify you, to bring about a change in a way that will work injury to none and justice to all, thus making our Government in fact, as it is now in form only, a government "of, by and for the people."

We have the honor to be

Your most obedient servants,
William Vincent Allen, Chairman.
M. W. Howard, Alabama.
Homer Prince, Arkansas.
T. V. Cator, California.
Henry C. Balsinger, Colorado.
Joshua Perkins, Connecticut.
Chas. Beadenkoph, Delaware.
S. S. Harvey, Florida.
Guy Clopton, Georgia.
Jas. P. Clough, Idaho.

Darrance B. Currier, New Hampshire.
John W. Hays, New Jersey.
T. E. Lincoln, New York.
Wm. A. Guthrie, North Carolina.
O. G. Major, North Dakota.
J. C. H. Cobb, Ohio.
J. W. Marksbury, Oregon.
Helen S. Johnson, Pennsylvania.
Jos. Moore, South Carolina.
Joseph B. Moore, South Dakota.

A. J. Streater, Illinois.
Seymore Riddle, Indiana.
W. H. Robb, Iowa.
W. A. Harris, Kansas.

C. E. Lugg, Kentucky.
J. W. Crawford, Louisiana.
L. C. Bateman, Maine.
Ira L. Guilford, Maryland.
Conrad Reno, Massachusetts.
D. P. Deming, Michigan.
J. M. Bowler, Minnesota.
John A. Bailey, Mississippi.
W. R. Littell, Missouri.
W. L. Hewett, Montana.

J. H. Burnham, Tennessee.
J. C. Kearby, Texas.
James Hogan, Utah.
Niles E. Baker, Vermont.
Major Mann Page, Virginia.
Mat. Ward Fitzgerald, West Virginia.
Campbell W. Bushnell, Washington.
J. W. Vaughn, Wisconsin.
D. H. Davis, Wyoming.

W. O. O'Neill, Arizona.

J. H. Turner, District of Columbia.
M. M. Milligan, New Mexico.
Ralph E. Bray, Oklahoma.

Dr. J. W. Wharton, Indian Territory.

J. M. McCormack, Nevada.

My letter of acceptance was issued shortly afterward, and is reproduced here:

Letter Accepting Populist Nomination.

Lincoln, Neb., October 3, 1896.

Hon. William V. Allen, Chairman, and others, members of the Notification Committee of the People's Party-Gentlemen: The nomination of the People's party for the Presidency of the United States has been tendered me in such a generous spirit and upon such honorable terms that I am able to accept the same without departing from the platform adopted by the Dmocratic National Convention at Chicago.

I fully appreciate the breadth of patriotism which has actuated the members of the People's party who, in order to consolidate the sentiment in favor of bimetallism, have been willing to go outside of party lines and support as their candidate one already nominated by the Democratic party and also by the Silver party.

I also appreciate the fact that while, during all the years since 1873, a large majority of the Democratic party and a considerable minority of the Republican party, have been consistent advocates of the free coinage of silver, at the present ratio, yet ever since the organization of the People's party its members have unanimously supported such coinage as the only means of restoring bimetallism. By persistently pointing out the disastrous effects of a gold standard and protesting against each successive step towards financial bondage, the Populists have exerted an important influence in awakening the public to a realization of the Nation's present peril.

In a time like this, when a great political party is attempting to surrender the right of the American people to legislate for themselves upon the financial question, and is seeking to bind them to a foreign monetary system, it behooves us as lovers of our country and friends of American institutions to lay aside for the present such differences as may exist among us on minor questions, in order that our strength may be united in a supreme effort to wrest the Government from the hands of those who imagine that the nation's finances are only se


cured when controlled by a few financiers and that national honor can only be maintained by servile acquiescence in any policy, however destructive to the interests of the people of the United States, which foreign creditors, present or prospective, may desire to force upon us.

It is a cause of congratulation that we have in this campaign not only the support of the Democrats, Populists and Republicans who have all along believed in independent bimetallism, but also the active co-operation of those Democrats and Republicans who, having heretofore waited for international bimetallism, now join with us rather than trust the destinies of the nation in the hands of those who are holding out the delusive hope of foreign aid, while they labor secretly for the permanent establishment of the single gold standard.

While difficulties always arise in the settlement of the details of any pian of co-operation between distinct political organizations, I am sure that the friends who are working towards a common result always find it possible to agree upon just and equitable terms. The American people have proven equal to every emergency which has arisen in the past, and I am confident that in the present emergency there will be no antagonism between the various divisions of the one great body which is marching to repel an invasion more dangerous to our welfare than an army with banners.

Acknowledging with gratitude your expressions of confidence and good esteem, I remain, Very truly yours,


Senator Butler delivered the notification to Mr. Watson, the Populist candidate for the Vice-Presidency.




GIVE below the speech delivered by Mr. Sewall at the notification meeting at Madison Square Garden and his letter of acceptance, which was published some weeks later.

Mr. Sewall's Speech at Madison Square Garden.

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Committee: You have given me official notice of my selection by the Democratic National Convention as its candidate for Vice-President.

For the courteous terms of your message and the kind personal expressions I thank you.

Having been present at that great convention I can more truly estimate the honor its action has conferred.

It was the greatest and most earnest convention in the history of our party. It was closer and more in touch with the people. The delegates were there to voice the sentiments of their constituents, the people of the party, for the people of the party controlled and conducted that convention.

The Democracy of the country realize that all the great principles of our party are as potent and essential to the well-being of the country today as they have always been, and as they ever will be, but the overshadowing issues before the country now, made dominant by the distressed condition prevailing throughout our land, is the demand for reform in our existing monetary system.

Our party and, we believe, a great majority of the American people, are convinced that the legislation of '73 demonetizing silver was a wrong inflicted upon our country which should and must be righted.

We believe that the single gold standard has so narrowed the base of our monetary structure that it is unstable and unsafe, and so dwarfed it, in its development and in its power to furnish the necessary financial blood to the nation, that commercial and industrial paralysis has followed.

We believe that we need and must have the broad and expanding foundation of both gold and silver to support a monetary system strong and stable, capable of meeting the demand of a growing country and an industrious, energetic, and enterprising people; a system that will not be weakened and panic stricken by every foreign draft upon us; a system that will maintain a parity of just values and the nation's money, and protect us from the frequent fluctuations of today, so disastrous to every business and industry of the land.

We demand the free coinage of silver, the opening of our mints to both money metals without discrimination, the return to the money of our fathers, the money of the Constitution, gold and silver.

« PreviousContinue »