« PreviousContinue »
Rock Island to Quincy, Ill., over C., B. & Q...
Total number miles traveled, third trip.....
MY LABORS ENDED.
RIGHT and early Monday morning, November 2d, we started on the last trip of the campaign. Besides our daughter Grace, who was with us until we left for Omaha, and the newspaper reporters, my wife and I were accompanied by Chairman Dahlman, of the Democratic State Committee, and from time to time by prominent Democrats, Populists and silver Republicans, who participated in the meetings along the road. Mr. Edward Bignell, of the Burlington, had charge of our train. We went to Grand Island, probably the most westerly point made during the campaign, then coming back to Aurora, proceeded to Hastings, almost as far West, and then returned to Lincoln through Harvard, Sutton, Fairmount, Exeter, Friend and Crete, at all of which places, and at some smaller ones, speeches were made. The largest crowd was at Hastings, and everywhere the attendance was proportionate to the size of the town. The Republicans were out in large numbers and all wore yellow ribbons. The presence of this color in an agricultural State gave me an opportunity to suggest that the Republican farmers ought to wear a bunch of straw as an emblem, if they wanted to wear yellow, because this would not only give them the color they desired, but would also declare their devotion to a financial system which had turned over the wheat to the financiers of Wall street and left the straw for the farmers.
The meetings were so short that no extended argument was possible, but I epitomized the issues in the statement that, as the Republicans promised to continue the present financial policy, which had resulted in an issue of bonds and in the locking up of a large amount of greenbacks and Treasury notes in the vaults at Washington, while we desired to keep the greenbacks and Treasury notes in circulation and prevent an increase in the bonded debt, the question was whether we should have more bonds and less money in circulation, or more money in circulation and less bonds.
In accordance with a nice sense of propriety, the last farce of the campaign waged by the bolting Democrats was enacted upon Nebraska soil, where they first separated themselves from the Democratic party. A number of prominent administration Democrats made up
the party on this occasion, and Hon. John P. Irish, collector of customs. at the port of San Francisco, delivered the final warning against "repudiation, national dishonor and anarchy."
When we reached Lincoln we were taken to the Lincoln Hotel and I delivered a brief address to a large crowd. We then proceeded to Omaha, stopping at Greenwood, Ashland and Gretna. It was at the last-named place that I opened my first Congressional campaign in 1890, it being then the strongest Democratic precinct in the only Democratic county in the district. My first visit to Gretna was signalized by the raising of a pole, and beneath the flag there floated upon the breeze "a banner with this strange device"-"W. J. Bryan, M. C.' This might then be called a strange device, because but few thought my election possible.
There were seven meetings in Omaha. The last one was held at the Creighton Theater, owned by and named after the Nebraska member of the Democratic Notification Committee, an ardent supporter, who traveled with us from the Missouri to the Atlantic in order to take part in the initial meeting of the campaign. This closing speech was made a few minutes before 12 o'clock, and brought to a termination the labors of the last day, of which nearly eighteen hours were employed in campaigning. Taking the shorter speeches into the calculation, I believe I addressed twenty-seven audiences, the greatest number addressed in any one day during the campaign. At several places the women's clubs took part. When I entered Creighton Theater Hon. Silas A. Holcomb, then Governor, and the next day re-elected, was making his last campaign speech; he introduced me to the audience.
The campaign was over, and its conclusion brought to me a sense of relief. No matter what the result might be, I felt I had done all within my power to bring success to the principles for which I stood, and that however small my contribution to the cause might have been, I could expect the same commendation which, the Bible tells us, was accorded to the woman who had done what she could.
The following morning we returned to Lincoln on an early train. The Bryan Home Guards met us at the depot and escorted me to the city clerk's office, where I made the affidavit required of those who fail to register, and then they accompanied me to the polling place, where I deposited my ballot. Just as I was about to vote, one of the strongest Republicans of the precinct, then acting as a challenger for his party, suggested that as a mark of respect to their townsman they take off their hats. The suggestion was adopted by all excepting one. I
relate this incident because, although the compliment was somewhat embarrassing at the time, I appreciated it, as it showed the personal good will which, as a rule, was manifested towards me in my home city by those who did not agree with me on political questions.
The Home Guards took me to the door of my house, where I thanked them for the consideration which they had shown, and the sacrifices which they made during the campaign. I may add here that I am proud of the Bryan Home Guards. During my travels I met no better disciplined club. They marched with the precision of veterans and were always ready for duty.
Mileage on Fourth Trip.
Lincoln to Grand Island, Neb., over B. & M.....
Grand Island to Hastings, Neb., via Aurora, over B. & M..
Hastings to Omaha, Neb., over B. & M...
Total number miles traveled, fourth trip......
Total number miles traveled on four trips...........