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NOTIFICATION SPEECH OF GOV. W. J. STONE.
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, AUGUST 12, 1896. Mr. Chairman:
We are here this evening to give formal notice of their selection to the gentlemen nominated by the National Democratic Convention as candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States. Hitherto, by immemoral custom, the pleasing duty of delivering notifications of this character has devolved upon the premanent chairman of the National Convention acting, by virtue of his office, as chairman of the Notification Committee. Except for unfortunate circumstances, unexpected and unavoidable, the usual custom would not be departed from in the present instance. I regret to say, however, that unforseen events of a personal nature have arisen whiclı make it practically impossible for the chairman of the convention, the Hon. Stephen M. White, of California, to be in New York at this time. A few days since he telegraphed me to that effect, and did me the honor to request me to represent him on this occasion. While I greatly appreciate the compliment conferred by this designation, I can not but deplore the enforced absence of the distinguished Senator from California, and I am directed by him to express his deep regret at his inability to be present and participate in the interesting ceremonies of this hour.
Mr. Chairman, the convention which assembled at Chicago on the 7th day of July last was convened in the usual way, under a call issued in due formu by the National Democratic Committee. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the manner of its assembling, and nothing in the action of the committee under whose authority it was convoked to distinguish it from its predecessors. It was in all repects a regular national convention of the Democratic party. Every State and Territory in the Union, from Maine to Alaska, was represented by a full quoto of delegates, and I may add with perfect truth that a more intelligent and thoroughly representative body of Democrats was never assembled upon the American Continent. The convention was called for two purposes: First, to formulate a platform declaratory of party principles, and, secondly, to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States. Both these purposes were fully accomplished, and accomplished according to the usages that have been recognized and the methods of procedure which have obtained in Democratic conventions for fifty years. The acts of the convention, therefore, were the acts of the Democratic party. Its work was done under the sovereign authority of the national organization; and that work was the direct out
growth of the calm, well-matured judgment of the people themselves, deliberately expressed through their representatives chosen from among the wisest, most trusted, and patriotic of their fellow-citizens in all the States.
Although all I have said is literally true, yet the fact remains, of which every one is conscious, that there were extraneous circumstances leading up to the convention which attracted unusual attention to its deliberations and invested them with unusual importance. To such an extent was this true that I may say without exaggeration that no other political convention has been assembled in this country since the civil war upon which public attention was riveted with such intensity, or in the outcome of whose deliberations not only the American people but the nations of the earth felt such deep concern. We are all familiar with the circumstances to which I refer. The existing national administration was created by the Democratic party. It is the result of the great victory won in 1892. The campaign of that year was fought almost wholly on the tariff issue. It was a war waged against the excessive, monopolistic, trust-breeding schedules of the McKinley law. The Democratic party was united almost as one man against that law, and thousands of those who believed in the policy of protection when conseryatively administered for the public good and not for private enrichment, protested against this monstrous measure of extortion for individual and corporate emolument. Opposition to the McKinley law was the dominant issue of that campaign, and the measure was condemned by an overwhelming majority of the American people. But, Mr. Chairman, I desire to say that although the tariff was made the issue of 1892, there were thousands of Democrats who then believed that a reform in our monetary system was of far greater importance than a reform in our revenue policies. I was among those who so believed. Those holding to that belief did not in any degree underestimate the importance of the tariff issue on the contrary, its importance was fully appreciated-but they believed nevertheless that the control of our fiscal affairs by a mercenary combination of Wall Street bankers, dominated by foreign influences, was more perilous to national safety and more pernicious in its effect on national prosperity than all tho tariffs the miserly hand of gluttonous greed could write. However, we acquiesced in the decision of our party convention, accepted the issue as made, and as one man rallied with loyalty and alacrity to the standard of revenue reform. We rejoiced in Mr. Cleveland's election, and confidently expected, as we had a right to, that he would bring the tariff question to a speedy settlement and strip monopoly of its opportunity to plunder the people. But in this just expectation we were doomed to disappointment. Instead of devoting himself to a prompt and wise solution of the important issue upon which he was elected, he incontinently thrust it aside and began, almost at the threshold of his administration, to exercise the great powers of his office to commit the country to a financial system inaugurated by the Republican party, and which the Democratic party had time and again condemned in both State and national conventions. In the beginning of this
attempt the masses of the people, disappointed and distressed, looked on in amazement. With absorbing interest and with constantly increasing resentment they watched the rapid development of events. As these events passed before them one by one in quick succession, and when they came to understand their full meaning and effect, resentment turned to wrath and protest rose into revolt. Then began within the Democratic party one of the most remarkable struggles that has ever occurred in the political history of this country. It was a struggle for mastery between the national administration and the great masses of plain people, who constitute the party which created that administration. The prize they fought for was the national convention. That convention was to determine whether the Democratic party should abide by the traditions of the fathers and adhere to its ancient faith, or whether it should obsequiously abandon the priciples of true Democracy and become a pliant agent to advance the mercenary ends of an insolent plutocracy. The people won. They won a glorious victory. The full significance of their triumph can not be estimated at a glance. Suppose they had lost. what then? Suppose the Chicago convention had followed the servile example of the Republican convention, what then ? If that had hap.. pened what hue would the skies now reveal to the uplifted eyes of anxious millions? Would the star of hope then have risen luminous to the meredian or have fallen with waning light upon a clouded horizon? Upon what staff would the toiling millions in field and shop then have rested their tired hands? What bulwark of defense would then have stood between the great industrial and producing classes, who constitute the solid strength and safety of the State, and the combined aggressions of foreign money-changers and anglicized American millionaires? Upon what rock would the defenders of the Constitution, the champions of American ideas and the friends of American institutions have then anchored their hopes for the future? The paramount question before the country was and is-Shall this great Republic confess financial servitude to England, or act independently for itself? Shall this Government follow, or shall it lead: Shall it be a vassal or a sovereign? The Republican convention declared for foreign supremacy-for American subserviency. It upheld the British policy of a single gold standard, fraudulently fastened upon this country, and declared that we are utterly incapable of maintaining an independent policy of our own. Confessing that the gold standard is fraught with evil to our people, and that bimetallism is best for this nation and for the world, it yet declared that we are helpless-that we must stand idle, while our industries are prostrated and our people ruined, until England shall consent for us to lift our hands in our own defense. To this low state has Mammon brought the great party of the immortal Lincoln. For years plutocracy has been winding its slimy and poisonous coils around the Republican party, and it will strangle it to death as the sea serpents of old strangled the Trojan priest of Neptune and his sons. So also it laid its foul, corroding hand on the Democratic party-the party of Jefferson and Jackson-and used all its giant strength to bend it to its purposes. Within both parties there was a mighty struggle for supremacy between: those who believe in the sovereignty of the people and those who believe in the divinity of pelf. Upon the Republican party the hand of Marcus Aurelius Hanna has buckled a golden mail and sent it forth dedicated to the service of plutocracy in this free land of ours. But in the Democratic party, thank God, the people were triumphant. There the clutch of the money power, after a tremendous conflict, was broken. The priests of Mammon were scourged from the temple, and to-day, under the providence of high Heaven, the old party, rejuvinated, stands forth, stronger and better than ever, the undaunted champion of constitutional liberty, popular rights, and national independence. The gage of battle thrown down at St. Louis was taken up at Chicago. Against English ideas we place American ideas; against an English policy we place an American policy; against foreign domination we place American independence; and against the selfish control of privileged classes we place the sovereignty of the people. The Republican platform is the antithesis of the Democratic platform. One stands for gold monometallism, the other for gold and silver bimetallism. One proposes that we wait upon other nations; the other that we act for ourselves. One proposes that the Government shall lean upon the bankers of New York and London; the other that the Secretary of the Treasury shall stand erect, confident and fearless, and assert his power to protect the rights of the people and the honor of the nation. One proposes to continue the policy of issuing bonds, the other to stop it. One declares for a European alliance, the other is a declaration for American independence. Upon these all-important questions issue is joined between the two great political parties of the Republic. Certainly there are other things of moment in which the people feel profound concern, but of all questions in the current political affairs of this day and generation the financial question rises to such supreme importance that all other subjects are practically excluded from present consideration. The Chicago convention declared in so many words that until this great, paramount issue was definitely settled, and settled right, the consideration of all other questions, upon which the people are seriously divided, should be postponed, or at least not pressed upon public or legislative attention. Around this one supreme issue the great battle of 1896 is to be fought. For the first time it has been fairly presented, without evasion or disguise. Both parties have taken position boldly. Both are confident and defiant. Between them the American people are the arbiters, and as such they are now to pass judgment upon the most important question presented to them since the storm of civil war wrecked happy homes and left its bloody trail upon the land. They are to pass judgment upon a question which I profoundly believe affects, as no other question can, noi only the present happiness and prosperity of the people, but the felicity of their children, the perpetuity of American institutions, and the well-being of all mankind.
Mr. Chairman, in all great movements, in all concerted effort, when well directed, there must be leadership. A leader should be representative of the cause he champions. He should be more than that-he should be in all essential qualities, and in the highest degree, typical of those who invest him with the dignity and responsibility of leadership.
The Chicago platform has been denounced as un-Democratic and the delegates composing the convention have been stigmatized as anarchists and socialists. We have heard much of this from a certain class of papers and individuals. On Saturday last in my own State an ex-Democratic, exSupreme Court Judge characterized the Chicago platform as "a bundle of Populistic notions, saturated brimful with socialism and anarchy," and at the same time an ex-Democratic corporation attorney of some distinction declared that American citizenship meant government "not by the unthinking, unheeding masses, but by the elements which are guided by judgment and reason.” “Unthinking, unheeding masses” is very good. “The elements which are guided by judgment and reason' is extra good. It is at least a slight modification of Vanderbilt's arrogant anathema, “Damn the people," and for this small concession we oughi no doubt to be duly grateful. Who composed the Chicago convention? From the State in which reside the gentlemen from whom I have quoted, the delegation sent to that convention was composed of farmers, lawyers, doctors, editors, merchants, manufacturers, and several of the most conspicuously successful business men in the Mississippi Valley. Among them also were eminent judges of high courts. Senators of the United States, Representatives in Congress, and the Treasurer and Governor of the State. That delegation was chosen by one of the greatest conventions ever assembled in that State, representing all classes of the very best people of the Commonwealth. What was true of Missouri was equally true of all the States. If these men could not speak for the Democratic party, who could ? If these men do not understand Democracy, who are its exponents? But these are the men who are ridiculed as an unthinking, unheeding mob, who can not be trusted in the conduct of public affairs, and these are the men who must give way to English toadies and the pampered minions of corporate rapacity, who arrogate to themselves all the virtues and wisdom of the world! Sir, the man who holds up to opprobrium such men as constituted the Chicago convention, who denounces them as cranks, anarchists, or socialists, or who in any respect impugns their intelligence or patriotism, does himself most rank injustice if he be not a knave, a slanderer, or a fool. That convention did indeed represent the "masses” of the people—the great industrial and producing masses of the people. It represented the men who plow and plant, who fatten herds, who toil in shops, who fell forests, and delve in mines. But are these to be regarded with contumely and addressed in terms of contempt? Why, sir, these are the men who feed and clothe the nation; whose products make up the sum of our exports; who produce the wealth of the Republie; who bear the heaviest burdens in times of peace; who are ready always to give their lifeblood for their country's flag-in short, these are the men whose sturdy arms