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"The matter of indemnity for our wronged citizens is a question of grave concern. Measured in money alone, a sufficient reparation may prove to be beyond the ability of China to meet. All the powers concur in emphatic disclaimers of any purpose of aggrandizement through the dismemberment of the empire.
"I am disposed to think that due compensation may be made in part by increased guarantees of security for foreign rights and immunities, and, most important of all, by the opening of China to the equal commerce of all the world. These views have been and will be earnestly advocated by our representatives.
"The government of Russia has put forward a suggestion that in the event of protracted divergence of views in regard to indemnities the matter may be relegated to the court of arbitration at The Hague. I favorably incline to this, believing that high tribunal could not fail to reach a solution no less conducive to the stability and enlarged prosperity of China itself than immediately beneficial to the powers."
From the first invasion of China by foreign troops, the president pronounced firmly against any settlement of the trouble which included a partition of the empire. It was believed that such an act was contemplated by some of the European nations, and President McKinley made it clear that such a thing could never be consummated with the consent of this government. As a result of this stand a settlement was reached, which is believed to have been just and honorable to all.
Four years of William McKinley's rule had worked wonders for the American republic. Before his election there had been lethargy in commercial circles. Industry had been circumscribed, prices were low, and money was scarce. Immediately upon the announcement of his election, the material condition of the country began to improve. Capital came out of its hiding place. The captains of industry took their place in the ranks, and the prosperity of which he had talked during the summer of 1896, at Canton, began to dawn.
Before the end of his first term, the country had been placed on a sound financial basis, the question of tariffs had been adjusted to the satisfaction of the majority of the people, a great war had been fought, and by far the greater number of the victorious armies had returned to pursuits of peace. More than one hundred thousand square miles of territory had been added to the country, and the administration was engaged in establishing government over these new sections, and providing for the welfare of their peoples.
Under such circumstances there was only one name mentioned for the presidency among republicans in 1900, and that was William McKinley.
The convention met in Philadelphia, June 19. It was called to order by Senator M. A. Hanna, chairman of the national committee, amidst the greatest enthusiasm. There were 906 delegates, and they shouted with an exuberance rarely heard apart from such a gathering. In his opening remarks, Chairman Hanna said: "We are now forming our battalions under the leadership of our general, William McKinley," and a roar arose that continued for several minutes. He then introduced Senator Wolcott, of Colorado, as temporary chairman of the convention. In his address, Senator Wolcott said:
"The spirit of justice and liberty that animated our fathers found voice three-quarters of a century later in this same City of Brotherly Love, when Fremont led the forlorn hope of united patriots who laid here the foundation of our party, and put human freedom as its cornerstone. It compelled our ears to listen to the cry of suffering across the shallow waters of the gulf two years ago. While we observe the law of nations and maintain that neutrality which we owe to a great and friendly government, the same spirit lives today in the genuine sympathy we cherish for the brave men now fighting for their homes in the veldts of South Africa. It prompts us in our determination to give the dusky races of the Philippines the blessings of good government and republican institutions, and finds voice in our indignant protest against the violent suppression of the rights of the colored men in the south. That spirit will survive in the breasts of patriotic men as long as the nation endures, and the events of the past have taught us that it can find its fair and free and full expression only in the principles and policy of the republican party.
"The first and pleasant duty of this great convention, as well as its instinctive impulse, is to send a message of affectionate greeting to our leader and our country's president. William McKinley. In all that pertains to our welfare in times of peace his genius has directed us. He has shown an unerring mastery of the economic problems which confront us, and has guided us out of the slough of financial disaster, impaired credit, and commercial stagnation, up to the high and safe ground of national prosperity and financial stability. Through the delicate and trying events of the late war he stood firm, courageous and conservative, and under his leadership we emerged triumphant, our national honor untarnished, our credit unassailed, and the equal devotion of every section of our common country to the welfare of the republic, cemented forever. Never in the memory of this generation has there stood at the head of the government a truer patriot, a wiser or more courageous leader, or a better example of the highest type of American manhood. The victories of peace and the victories of war are alike inscribed upon his banner."
The second day's proceedings of the convention introduced Senator H. C. Lodge, of Massachusetts, as the permanent chairman of the body. Twenty thousand people attended the session, in the expectation that President McKinley would be renominated, but for the time being they were disappointed. In his opening speech Chairman Lodge said:
"Dominant among the issues of four years ago was that of our monetary and financial system. The republican party promised to uphold our credit, to protect our currency from revolution and to maintain the gold standard. We have done so. Failing to secure, after honest effort, any encouragement for international bimetallism, we have passed a law strengthening the gold standard and planting it more firmly than ever in our financial system, improving our banking laws, buttressing our credit, and refunding the public debt at 2 per cent interest, the lowest rate in the world. It was a great work well done."
Concerning the war with Spain he said:
"Here they are, these great fears: A war of a hundred days, with many victories and no defeats, with no prisoners taken from us,,and no advance stayed; with a triumphant outcome startling in its completeness and in its world-wide meaning. Was ever a war more justly entered upon, more quickly fought, more fully won, more thorough in its results? Cuba is free. Spain has been driven from the Western hemisphere. Fresh glory has come to our arms and crowned our flag. It was the work of the American people, but the republican party was their instrument.
"So much for the past. We are proud of it, but we do not expect to live upon it, for the republican party is pre-eminently the party of action, and its march is ever forward. The deeds of yesterday are in their turn a pledge and proof that what we promise we perform, and that the people who put faith in our declarations in 1896 were not deceived, and may place the same trust in us in 1900. But our pathway has never lain among dead issues, nor have we won our victories and made history by delving in political graveyards.
"We are the party of today, with cheerful yesterdays and confident tomorrows. The living present is ours; the present of prosperity and activity in business, of good wages and quick payments, of labor employed and capital invested; of sunshine in the market-place and the stir of abounding life in the workshop and on the farm. It is with this that we have replaced the depression, the doubts, the dull business, the low wages, the idle labor, the frightened capital, the dark clouds which overhung industry and agriculture in 1896. This is what we would preserve, so far as sound government and wise legislation can do it. This is what we offer now."
In such an atmosphere of optimism the convention proceeded to adopt the platform on which the candidate should ask the suffrages of the American electorate. That document set forth that four years before—
"When the people assembled at the polls after a term of democratic legislation and administration, business was dead, industry was paralyzed, and the national credit disastrously impaired. The country's capital was hidden away and its labor distressed and unemployed.
"The democrats had no other plan with which to improve the ruinous conditions, which they had themselves produced, than to coin silver at the ratio of 16 to 1. The republican party, denouncing this plan as sure to produce conditions even worse than those from which relief was sought, promised to restore prosperity by means of two legislative measures—a protective tariff and a law making gold the standard of value.