Page images

obligations calling for products of the soil for payinent. We have our representatives in congress. We reward them for their fidelity to our interests; we punish them for fidelity to yours.'

"This, in my judgment, is not a far-fetched illustration, but depicts the exact condition against which production today protests. The debtor's obligation, true, does not call for wheat in specific terms. It calls for dollars, but by legislation we have made the dollar three times as large in purchasing power or in measuring values as it was before. We talk about gold being the only money of intrinsic value, and attempt to befog and mystify the masses by telling them that it has intrinsic value, when its value is merely the artificial product of legislation.

"Enact a law, to be rigidly enforced, providing that no meat of an; kind, whether 'fish, flesh or fowl,' except mutton, shall be used for food. What will be the intrinsic value of your beef cattle, of your swine, your poultry, and your fish tomorrow? The mutton-headed monometallists would tell you that the great increase in the value of mutton was because of its intrinsic worth. Let this nation and the commercial nations of the globe enact a law tomorrow, that neither cotton, nor silk, nor fabric should be used for clothing or covering, forbid the factories of the world to spin or weave aught but wool, and what will be the intrinsic value of cotton or silk thereafter ? Wool will be king; its value will be enhanced, but cotton, hemp, and silk will be as valueless as weeds or as gossamer webs.

"With the mints open to free and unlimited coinage of both gold and silver there has never been a moment when silver has not maintained its parity with gold, and a ratio of 16 to I commanded a premium of more than 3 per cent over gold. And if, by some fortunate discoveries to-morrow, gold should be found in great quantities sufficient to lessen the income of the annuitant, the bondholding, or the fixedincome class, there would arise a demand for the demonetization of gold and the establishment of the pearl, ruby, or diamond standard of values. Whatever standard can bring to grasping hands and greedy hearts the most of the toil, the sweat, and unrequited efforts of his fellowman, this standard will be demanded by the representatives of greed, and must be resisted by those who represent humanity and Christianity.”

United States Senator Julius C. Burrows, of Michigan, in replying to the free coinage argument, said:

“Coin silver dollars at the ratio of 16 to i or 20 to 1 and you have a dollar intrinsically worth less than the gold dollar, and coin such a dollar as that-permit the owners of silver bullion to bring to the mints of the United States, and have manufactured into dollars, a certain number of grains, worth in bullion much less than after they are coined, is a proposition to which I cannot give my assent.

“But it has been stated and repeatedly asserted that the present silver dollar is the 'dollar of the fathers.' That statement is not true. It is not the dollar of the fathers,' and the fathers if living would repudiate such an assumption as a reflection upon their integrity and sagacity. The silver dollar of the fathers was intended to be and was in fact practically equal to the gold dollar in intrinsic value.

"This contest for the free coinage of silver began in 1874, and it has been prosecuted with unceasing vigor ever since. Why? Up to that time the silver dollar was worth more, intrinsically, than the gold dollar, being worth in 1873 $1.03 as compared with gold.

"Up to that time the coinage of silver dollars in this country had been very limited. One would think from the tenor of this discussion that all at once a great outrage had been perpetrated upon silver, that it had been stricken from our monetary system at a blow, by the force of law, when the fact is that from 1793 to 1805, a period of twelve years, we coined but 1,439,517 silver dollars. From 1806 to 1836, a period of thirty years, we did not coin a single silver dollar. From 1836 to 1873, a period of thirty-seven years, we coined only 6,606,321 silver dollars. In eighty years we only coined a total of 8,045,838 silver dollars. So long as silver remained more valuable than. gold there was no clamor for the free coinage of silver, but in 1878, when resumption was an assured fact, and the people had decreed that they would keep faith with their creditors and pay their unredeemed promises, then the champions of cheap money turned their attention to silver, finding it had declined in value from $1.03 in 1873 to $0.89 in 1878.

“The battle is now renewed under the plea of bimetallism, and the advocates of the free coinage of silver seek to delude the people by asserting that they are in favor of bimetallism while its opponents are not. We have bimetallism to-day.

“The free and unlimited coinage of silver at any of the ratios named will destroy bimetallism and will reduce this country to a single standard, that of silver, and that depreciaied, and I am suspicious that for this very reason some gentlemen are anxious for its triumph. The opening of the mints of the United States to the unrestricted minting for individuals of silver into legal dollars at any ratio to gold less than the commercial value of both metals, under the pretense of aiding the cause of bimetallism or for the purpose of establishing or maintaining bimetallism in the United States, is simply playing upon the sentiment and credulity of the American people.

Mr. Bryan toured the country during the campaign, and spoke in all

[graphic][merged small]

sections of the country. He went into the eastern states, where the opponents of the free silver doctrine were strongest and made numerous speeches, but did the most of his work in the south and west. His fame as an orator drew thousands to hear him, and under the spell of his eloquence millions were brought to believe with him. When the campaign was well under way, and the Republican leaders had in a measure checked the spread of the free silver doctrine, they put forward again the doctrine of a protective tariff, and declared it to be the real issue before the people, and its maintenance necessary to the renewed prosperity of the nation.

Governor McKinley remained at his home in Canton during the exciting summer of 1896 and there received the homage of hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens. People of all ages and classes visited him and day after day he made speeches to those who asked for light. He exhibited his wonderful familiarity with the concerns of the people, by pointed remarks touching the welfare of every interest that sought his advice, and proved that the people had made no mistake in their estimate of him.

The result of the election was, McKinley, 7,061,142 votes; Bryan, 6,460,677. In the electoral college McKinley had 271 votes and Bryan 176.

Senator Hanna, who had managed the campaign, gave the following description of it in a speech before the Union Club at Cleveland :

"Mr. Toastmaster and Gentlemen of the Union Club—I have a great feeling of relief tonight. Such a feeling of relief and joy as I never had before, and I never was so happy as I am tonight. (Cries of “so are we,” and applause.) My friends, this comes very near to being an anniversary. About two years ago—not quite that long -I began my work of devotion and love to our chief. Two years ago I took from him my inspiration. When he laid upon me that confidence which he left and said to me, My friend, I trust you withi my future,' he also said, “Mark, there are some things I will not do to be president of the United States (applause and cheers), and I leave my honor in your hands.' And from that day, nearly two years ago, began this campaign.

“It was rather quiet at first (laughter), what the boys are likely to call 'a still hunt,' but it is true that it had its birthday nearly two years ago today. I embarked upon that duty with a full heart for a man whom I loved because I had learned to respect and honor him. It was a mission of love inspired by that noble character which has no peer in the world. (Tremendous applause). I will not weary you with an account of details of the early stages of that campaign. I

« PreviousContinue »