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The nomination of Mr. Sewall was made unanimous, and after resolutions complimenting Temporary Chairman Daniel, Permanent Chairman White and Acting Chairman Richardson, together with Chairman Harrity, of the National Committee, the convention adjourned sine die.
While I had known of Mr. Sewall's advocacy of free silver as a member of the National Committee, I was not personally acquainted with him until the convention met. My first meeting with him occurred just after I had concluded my speech in favor of the adoption of the platform reported by the majority of the committee. He came to announce himself in favor of my nomination for the Presidency, and to suggest the advisability of proceeding at once to the nomination. A similar suggestion was made by others, but I asked our delegation to take no part in the matter and leave the convention to adjourn or proceed, according to the decision of the other delegations.
After his nomination he called upon me at the hotel, and we exchanged congratulations. As I knew him better, acquaintance ripened into friendship and I learned to esteem him for his many sterling qualities.
He stood squarely upon the Chicago platform, and was ready to defend it at all times. Although in possession of a large income, he favored an income tax; although connected with a national bank, he was opposed to the law which allowed national banks to issue currency. The fact that he advocated free coinage and the income tax. and opposed banks of issue, notwithstanding the influences which surrounded him, demonstrated both the depth of his convictions and his possession of moral courage.
I give below a biographical sketch:
Biographical Sketch of Hon. Arthur Sewall.
Arthur Sewall, third son of William Dunning and Rachel Trufant Sewall, was born in Bath, Maine, Thanksgiving Day, 1835. His father was a prominent merchant and ship builder of Bath, and Senator in the Legislature of his State. His grandfather was Joseph Sewall, of Bath. His great-grandfather was Drummer Sewall, who settled at Bath, 1762, was an officer of the French and Indian war, and of the Continental army, was muster master for the Province of Maine to the close of the Revolution, and afterwards a member of the Massachusetts Convention of 1788, called to ratify the Federal Constitution, and of the different conventions called to secure the separation of Maine from Massachusetts. He was fifth in descent from Henry Sewall, Mayor of Coventry, England, whose grandson married Jane Dummer, and emigrated to Newbury, Mass., 1634.
Arthur Sewall was educated in the common schools of Bath. At an early age he went from Bath to Prince Edward's Island, trading and securing ship timber, which he sent to the ship yards of the Kennebec. Returning when less than twenty years of age, he entered his father's ship yard, and in 1854, formed a partnership with his senior brother, Edward, under the name of E. & A. Sewall, taking the business of the old firm.
In January, 1855, the two brothers launched their first ship, the "Holyhead," of over 1,000 tons burden, a large ship in those days, followed the same year by another. In the twenty-four years of their partnership they built thirty-nine vessels of the largest tonnage for their class and time.
In 1879, upon the death of his elder brother, the firm name was changed to Arthur Sewall & Co., the partners of which are Mr. Sewall and his nephew, Samuel Sewall, and his second son, William D. Sewall. Under the present firm, the activity in ship building continued, and in 1890 they launched the ship "Rappahannock," of over 3,000 tons burden, then the largest wooden ship in the world, as had been a former "Rappahannock" launched by William D. Sewall, half a century before.
Then followed the "Shenandoah," Susquehanna," and the "Roanoke," the latter being at the time of her launch, as she is now, the largest wooden ship afloat. In 1893 the yard was fitted with a steel plant, and from it was launched the next year the "Dirigo," the first steel sailing ship built in America.
Through the present era of decadence of our merchant marine, Mr. Sewall has never lost faith that ultimately the United States would regain its power and pre-eminence on the seas.
Aside from his work as a ship builder, he has had part in opening up the resources of his native State. His father had been a pioneer in the railroad development of Maine, and he succeeded him as director of Maine's chief railway system, of which later he was for nine years the president. He also has been connected with railroad and other enterprises in the South and West and in Mexico. He has been for twenty-six years president of the Bath National Bank.
He married in 1859 Miss Emma Duncan Crooker, and has two sons, Harold Marsh and William Dunning Sewall, and four grandchildren. His religious faith is that of the New (Swedenborgian) church.
In politics he has always been a Democrat, and as a member of
the minority party of his city and State has held but few elective offices. From his own party, however, he has received frequent proofs of confidence.
He was delegate to the National Democratic Convention at Baltimore, which nominated Greeley in 1872, and again to that at Cincinnati, which nominated Hancock in 1880. He was also a delegate at large to the convention which nominated Cleveland in 1884. In 1888 he was present at the Democratic Convention at St. Louis, and was then elected a member of the Democratic National Committee, and was a member of the executive committee of that organization for the campaign of that year.
He attended the Chicago Convention of 1892, and was again elected to the National Committee and made a member of the Executive Committee.
In 1893 he was the nominee and unanimous choice of his party for United States Senator, against Eugene Hale, Republican.
His views on public questions have always been positive and unconcealed. He believes in an American policy, commercial, foreign and financial.
Of the free coinage of silver he has always been an advocate, and believes it must be the basis of any financial policy. He is opposed to the present national banking system, although business necessities have forced him to avail himself of it. On this point and on the issue of free coinage he expressed himself at the time of his nomination, as follows:
There are thousands of business men in the East who are turning away from the single gold standard. It is not a class issue. In my opinion there is not a legitimate business in this country but that would be benefited by the restoration of silver to its rightful place in our national currency. I have been an advocate of silver ever since Congress demonetized that metal in 1873. I held at the time that a mistake had been made, and have had no reason since to change my mind. There are two sides to every question, and as an individual banker, I have a perfect right to take a position opposite to those who constitute the majority in the banking business. As I said before, this is not a technical question nor a class issue.
As a member of the National Committee he opposed the gold men at every point in the preliminary organization of the Chicago Convention, and voted for Daniel against Hill for temporary chairman. In consequence of this action he was dropped by the Maine delegation from the National Committee. On the same day he telegraphed his wife that he was now out of politics forever and for
good. Within thirty-six hours he was nominated for the second highest position within the gift of his party.
Unexpected and unsought as was this nomination, Mr. Sewall recognized at once the honor it conferred and the duty it imposed. Of the convention he said in reply to an address of welcome home from his fellow citizens of Bath:
We have had a convention, and it is of that I would speak to you. It was a great convention, yet it did not seem to me to be a partisan one. It seemed more like the uprising of the people, and they seemed to be controlled by one idea, and that idea has filled me for years. They knew that this country is in deep distress, that it has been in distress for years, and that the great trouble is with our monetary system, and they believed, as I believe, that there is but one remedy.
They entertain no dishonest or dishonorable idea, but they demand that we be carried back to the money of our fathers, to that monetary system under which this Government flourished for so many years; and they believe that is the only road to prosperity.
FTER a Sunday's rest at the home of Mrs. Lyman Trumbull, and a visit to the newly made grave of her husband, we left Chicago early in the afternoon of Monday, the 13th, accompanied by a party of newspaper correspondents. Business called me to Salem, Illinois, my birthplace, and this made our homeward journey rather a roundabout one. We found the people assembled along the line at the more important stations, and it was necessary to respond to several calls for a speech. The largest crowds were gathered at Champaign and Mattoon. At the former place I met General Busey, with whom I had become well acquainted while in Congress. At Odin we changed cars, and while waiting for the train had an opportunity to meet many old acquaintances. When we reached Salem, we found the town illuminated and the citizens out en masse. We were escorted to the home of my sister, Mrs. Baird, where we greeted relatives and friends. The next day a brief visit was made to Centralia, where a largely attended reception had been prepared. On Wednesday, a meeting-for Salem a very large one-was held in the court house yard.. Hon. L. M. Kagy, who was for two years my law school classmate and roommate, presided, and nearly all the Democrats and Populists, and many Republicans, took part. As the meeting was, to some extent, non-partisan, I tried to avoid political questions.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: I have no disposition to talk politics today, and shall leave the discussion of public questions to those who are to follow me. Returning to the scenes which surround my early home, the memories of early days crowd out all thoughts of the subject upon which we may differ. I remember with such grateful appreciation the kindly feeling which has always been manifested toward me here, regardless of church or party lines, that I shall say nothing to divide upon any subject those who are assembled today. This is the place of my birth, of my boyhood and of my early manhood. Three blocks south of this spot I first saw the light of day; a little to the northwest I lived from the age of six until I was twentythree, and I shall never cease to be grateful to the parents who took me to the farm and there allowed me to acquire during vacation days the physical strength which will be needed in the campaign upon which I am entering. It was in this court house, by the side of which we meet today, that I first