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pression in the wonderful harmony and power of his voice. His sentences rang out, now with an accent of superb disdain, and now with the stirring challenge of a bugle call.
"We do not come as aggressors. Our war is not a war of conquest; we are fighting in the defence of our homes, our families, and posterity. We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned. We have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded. We have begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came. We beg no longer; we We entreat no more; we petition no more. defy them!"
As Mr. Bryan pronounced these spirited words, the great hall seemed to rock and sway with the fierce energy of the shout that ascended from twenty thousand throats. When he flung out the sentence "We defy them!" the leaderless Democracy of the West was leaderless no more. In that very moment, and in that burst of wild applause, it was acclaiming its new chief.
standard is a good thing, we ought to declare in favour of its retention and not in favour of abandoning it; and if the gold standard is a bad thing, why should we wait until other nations are willing to help us to let go? Here is the line of battle, and we care not upon which issue they force the fight. We are prepared to meet them on either issue or both. . . .
"It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors when but three millions in number had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation. Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to seventy millions, declare that we are less inNo, my dependent than our forefathers? friends, that will never be the verdict of our people: Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good, but that we cannot have it until other nations help us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we will restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States has it. If they dare to come out into the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost. Having behind us the producing masses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests, the labouring interests, and the toilers everywhere, we will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: You shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorns-you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!"
"You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favour of the gold standard. We reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms, and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.
"We go forth confident that we shall win. Why? Because upon the paramount issue of this campaign there is not a spot of ground upon which the enemy will dare to challenge battle. If they tell us that the gold standard is a good thing, we shall point to their platform and tell them that their platform pledges the party to get rid of the gold standard and to substitute bimetallism. If the gold standard is a good thing, why try to get rid of it? I call your attention to the fact that some of the very people who are in this Convention to-day and who tell us that we ought to declare in favour of international bimetallismthereby declaring that the gold standard is wrong and that the principle of bimetallism is better-these very people four months ago were open and avowed advocates of the gold standard, and were then telling us that we could not legislate two metals together, even with the aid of all the world. If the gold
The scene enacted in the Convention, as Mr. Bryan finished speaking, was indescribable. Throughout the latter part of his address, a crash of applause had followed every sentence; but now the tumult was like that of a great sea thundering against the dykes. Twenty thousand men and women went mad with an irresistible enthusiasm. This orator had met their mood to the very full. He had found magic words for the feeling which they had been unable to express. And so he had played at will upon their very heart-strings, until the full tide of their emotion was let loose in one tumultuous shout which seemed to have no end. When order was partially restored, the substitute resolutions offered by Senator Hill were rejected with cries
of derision, as were two other amendments afterwards proposed by him; and then the free-silver platform was adopted by a vote of 628 to 301. Having taken this action, the delegates, exhausted by the day's exciting scenes, adjourned until the following afternoon.
Over night, the question of the candidate to be nominated was earnestly discussed. It was evident that Mr. Bryan had suddenly leaped into a prominence which made him a formidable competitor for the highest honours. Before his address, no one had thought of him as a presidential candidate. Mr. Bland of Missouri, who
JOHN M. PALMER
was popularly styled "the Father of Free Silver," possessed the largest following. But now there were many who believed that their true leader had been revealed to them in Mr. Bryan. Mr. Bland was able and experienced; but he lacked the fire and the genius for command which the young Nebraskan had so strikingly exhibited. Hence, when the Convention reassembled, and proceeded to the selection of a candidate, although the first ballot showed Mr. Bland to have received 235 votes, Mr. Bryan came next with 119, the number necessary to a choice being 502. Thirteen other gentlemen* received.
*Among them were Senators Hill, Turpie, Tillman and Teller; Mr. Boies of Iowa, Mr. Russell of Massachusetts, Vice-president
scattering votes. On the second and third ballots, both Mr. Bland's and Mr. Bryan's following was increased; but on the fourth, Mr. Bryan led with 280 votes to 241 for Mr. Bland. When the roll was called for the fifth time, Mr. Bryan lacked only 12 votes of a nomination, and at once 78 delegates changed their votes from other candidates to him, thereby making him the choice of the Convention. Subsequently, Mr. Arthur Sewall, a wealthy ship-builder of Maine, was nominated for the Vice-Presidency.*
The action of the Convention was received in the West with immense enthusiasm, in the South with doubtful approbation, and in the East with anger and dismay. Over the offices of some Democratic newspapers, flags were hoisted at half-mast. Many journals expressed strong disapproval. Not a few openly avowed their purpose of supporting the Republican candidates. The Western silver men were described by these papers as being really Populists who had stolen the name of Democrats. The gold delegates, returning from the scene of their defeat, set themselves to stimulate this feeling, where they did not take refuge in significant silence. "Are you still a
Democrat?" an intimate friend asked of Senator Hill. "Yes," replied the Senator; "I am a Democrat still;" adding after a significant pause-"very still." Naturally, the Republicans rejoiced at these evidences of Democratic dissension. It appeared for a few days as though a victory over Mr. Bryan might be won almost
Stevenson, Mr. Blackburn of Kentucky and Mr. Pennoyer of Oregon. Of the gold delegates, 178 refused to take part in this ballot; and 162 abstained from voting further.
*Five ballots were taken before Mr. Sewall was chosen, his chief competitors being Mr. J. C. Sibley, Mr. J. R. McLean (Ohio), Mr. G. F. Williams (Massachusetts) and Mr. Bland. More than 250 gold delegates refused to take part in the balloting for a vice-presidential candidate.
The following comments in the New York World of July 11th are sufficiently characteristic of conservative Democratic sentiment at the time:
"Lunacy having dictated the platform, it was perhaps natural that hysteria should evolve the candidate. . . There is no doubt as to the result of the election, except as to the size of McKinley's popular and electoral majority."
without a struggle. But very soon this view was seen to be erroneous, and Mr. McKinley's managers perceived with genuine alarm that the contest was to be one of the fiercest ever fought in American political history. For though in New England and New York, Mr. Bryan was certain to lose many votes, this loss would be offset by the thousands of votes which would be given him by the "Silver Republicans" and by the Populists in the Western States. On July 22d, these two parties held conventions in St. Louis, and each of them nominated Mr. Bryan for the Presidency, though the Populist Convention substituted the name of Mr. Thomas E. Watson of Georgia for that of Mr. Sewall as its candidate for the Vice-Presidency. Already a section of the Prohibition Party, known as the "broad gaugers," had adopted a platform favouring the free coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1. It was plain, therefore, that Mr. Bryan would receive a very heavy vote from sources outside the pale of the regular Democracy. Moreover, as time went on, many conservative Democrats who had earnestly opposed the silver movement were still so far affected by their sentiments of party loyalty as to prefer any Democratic candidate to a Republican. It was for the purpose of drawing the votes of these men away from Mr. Bryan that the gold Democrats summoned a convention which met at Indianapolist on September 2d, and, adopting the name of "National Democratic Party," nominated for the Presidency General John M. Palmer of Illinois, and for the Vice-Presidency General Simon B. Buckner of Kentucky. This Convention, to which forty-one States and three Territories sent delegates, adopted a platform condemning "the Populist Conventions of Chicago and St. Louis," urging the maintenance of the gold standard, and highly commending "the fidelity, patriotism, and courage" of President Cleveland in fulfilling "his great public trust," in maintaining "civil order and the enforce
*Those Populists who opposed a direct alliance with the Democratic Party were styled "Middle-of-the-road men."
†Governor Roswell P. Flower of New York was temporary chairman of the Convention, and Senator Caffery of Louisiana its permanent president.
ment of the laws," and in upholding "the credit and honour of the nation."*
The Democratic nominations were no sooner made than the whole country perceived the supreme issue of the campaign to be the silver question. Even Mr. McKinley ceased to discourse upon the tariff, and addressed his visiting delegations on the one subject of the currency. The Republicans took up the cry of "sound money," and made that the party slogan. Active canvassing began at an unprecedentedly early date. There was no interval of rest and apathy. Mr. Bryan himself forced the fighting, and made the first aggressive move by journeying in August to New York City in order that he might receive the formal notice of his nomination in the Madison Square Garden. As he expressed it, in a phrase that was much criticised at the time, he wished first to present his cause "in the heart of what now seems to be the enemy's country." His intention created a genuine panic among the Republicans. Although in their public prints they had sneered at Mr. Bryan's oratorical powers, although they had derisively dubbed him "the Boy Orator of the Platte," and although they had absurdly described the famous peroration of his Convention speech as "blasphemous," they were secretly afraid lest his eloquence should produce the same effect in New York as it had in Chicago. But Mr. Bryan him-' self knew better. He was wise enough to understand that the conditions in Chicago could not possibly be reproduced in New York. He was aware that public expectation had been worked up to so extravagant a pitch that were he Demosthenes and Cicero in one, he must inevitably fail to satisfy it. He therefore very sensibly declined to attempt what would have been impossible-in other words, he refused to compete against himself. When he appeared before the immense audience in New York, he read a very carefully prepared address, well reasoned, temperate, and plausible, but with no attempt at eloquence whatever. His opponents at once
*See Hopkins, Political Parties in the United States (New York, 1900).
+Speech at Lincoln, Nebraska, August 8th. See Bryan, The First Battle, p. 300 (Chicago, 1897).
set up a howl of derision, and even many of his own supporters were for the moment much chagrined. Nevertheless, he had acted wisely, and he had followed an excellent precedent; for Mr. Lincoln, when he first came to New York after receiving the Republican nomination in 1860, had also read his speech and had declined to trust to his gift of improvising. But the circumstances of the meeting at the Madison Square Garden were undoubtedly unfortunate for Mr. Mr. Bryan. The night was one of intense midsummer heat. The sweltering audience was kept waiting in extreme discomfort. The notification speech of Governor W. J. Stone of Missouri was inexcusably long, while Mr. Bryan himself spoke for nearly two whole hours. A feeling of relief was experienced by the Republicans when they found that their formidable adversary had at least performed no miracle of eloquence in "the enemy's country."
But Mr. Bryan gave them no cause to relax their efforts to defeat him. With astonishing energy, he planned and carried out four long journeys through the country, speaking at every place of importance in the doubtful States. On a single one of these progresses, he travelled more than twelve thousand miles, and was everywhere received by enormous gatherings and with intense enthusiasm. The funds for his campaign were scanty. All the financial interests of the country were arrayed against him. His managers had no great sums to lavish in subsidising newspapers, in circulating documents, in hiring bands, and in decorating whole cities with political banners. Mr. Bryan, in fact, fought singlehanded against the party of wealth; yet almost alone, he made his foes strain every nerve to compass his defeat. It was estimated that not less than 5,000,000 persons heard him speak, and among them there were few who showed him anything that savoured of discourtesy. Almost the only exception was found in an incident at New Haven, where the students of Yale University interrupted his address with yells for McKinley and jeers for Mr. Bryan and his cause. But this was an
*Bv Mr. R. F. Rose of the Associated Press. See Bryan, op. cit., p. 618.
exceptional incident and one which only the New York Sun had the hardihood to defend. It would, indeed, have been very difficult for any fair-minded person, after hearing Mr. Bryan, to feel aught but a sincere personal respect for him. The tone of all his speeches was admirable. He dealt with principles alone and not with persons. Although showered with abuse by the Republican and Gold Democratic newspapers, he never condescended to reply in kind; and for his chief political adversary he had only words of courteous consideration. Speaking in the town of Canton, Mr. McKinley's home, he saidand the sentences were very characteristic of his manliness:
"I am glad to meet the people of this city, the home of my distinguished opponent, and I am also glad in their presence to testify to his high character and great personal worth. I shall be satisfied if, as an individual, I may be able to stand beside him in public esteem. . . . I tell my neighbours at home that I shall bear them no ill-will if they believe that my opponent should be elected; and I haye so high an opinion of my opponent that I know he will say to his townsmen here that every one should be free to make his ballot represent a freeman's will, although it may result in keeping your distinguished citizen among you as a neighbour still."
Very different from this was the treatment accorded Mr. Bryan by his adversaries. They could find nothing in his private life to censure; but they circulated absurd and wholly baseless stories, besides misrepresenting the whole tenor of his political teaching. They professed to believe that he had once been a strolling actor; they denounced him as an anarchist and an enemy of public order. Some phrases in the Democratic platform relating to the income tax decision were so garbled as to make it appear that Mr. Bryan desired to abolish or discredit the Supreme Court. Thousands of men,
women and children were led to think of Mr. Bryan as the incarnation of riot, revolution and ruin. Some of the bitterest of the attacks upon him were made by the organs of the gold-standard Democracy. Thus, after Mr. Bryan had delivered an address at Louisville, the Courier-Journal