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This is the first and highest duty imposed by our party's platform. Upon the performance of this duty all other reforms must wait.
The test of party principles is the government they assure. The proof of good government is a contented and happy people, and the supreme test of both is the ability to guide the country through crises as well as to administer the government in ordinary times.
Our people now face a crisis; a crisis more serious than any since the war. To what party shall they turn in their dire emergency? It is true that the present crisis may not involve all equally-that there are those who do not suffer now, who may not suffer should the crisis threatened by the gold standard come on in all its fury. Human selfishness makes these deaf to all appeals. But to these, fortunately, the Democratic party has never needed to appeal to win its battles, nor does it now, save as there are some among them who can rise superior to self in the sacrifice which such a crisis demands of every patriot.
We are told that the country has prospered under the present monetary standard-that its wealth has enormously increased. Granted, but in whose hands? In the hands of the toilers, the producers, the farmers, the miners, the fabricators in the factories, the creators of the nation's wealth in peace, its defenders in war? Have they the prosperity which was theirs so late as even twenty years ago? I deny it. They deny it. None affirm it, save those whose interest it is to do so-whose profits would diminish as prosperity returns to those off whose distress they thrive.
All is indeed right between capital and capital. The "best money in the world" is none too good for those who have got it, but how is it with the 90 per cent. of our people who have "got it to get?"
How is it with those who must buy this “best money in the world" with the products of their own labor? These are the people for whom the Democratic party would legislate. What is the best money for these, is the question for all to ask who really love this land.
How else can you increase labor's purchasing power but by increasing the price of labor's products?
Is it a fair measure of values that, in our great producing section, ten bushels of potatoes must be paid for a dollar-ten bushels of oats for a dollar -six bushels of corn for a dollar-three bushels of wheat, and all other products of the soil, and mines, and the labor of all wage earners at the same ratio? Does any fair mind say this is honest money that forces such an exchange, and, if it is not a fair exchange, is it honest, is it less than robbery?
This is the condition to which the single gold standard has brought us. Under it, the appreciation of the "best money in the world" has increased the wealth of the rich, and for the same reason has increased the debt of the debtor. So it has been, so under the present standard it must continue to be.
With these object lessons about us, little need have we for history and statistics, and the studies of scholars. Little satisfaction it is to us that they have warned us long since of the deadly evil of the gold standard.
It has brought us at last to the parting of the ways. Whither shall the people go, in the way that has led to their enslavement, or in that which
offers them their only chance to regain individual liberty, lasting prosperity and happiness?
Let not our opponents charge us with creating class distinctions. Alas for the Republic, they are already here, created by the Republican policy of the last thirty years, created by the very system we would now overthrow and destroy.
Nor do we raise a sectional issue.
The nomination you tender repels the charge. None know better than I that this nomination is meant as no personal tribute, but as an assurance that our party is a non-sectional party. Not by our policy, but only by the continuance of the gold standard can sectionalism be revived.
Neither shall our opponents be permitted to terrify the people by predictions that temporary disturbance or panic will come from the policy we propose. The American people will be loyal to the nation's money, will stand behind it and maintain it at whatever value they themselves may put upon it. Once before, in the present generation, have our people been called upon to face a momentous crisis. What then said Mr. Lincoln, the chosen leader of the plain people of the land? Was he awed by threats or weakened by the wily persuasions of those false friends, who, as today, pleaded for compromise with wrong? His answer was:
If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored, contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong. ** Reversing the divine rule, and calling not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance, such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.
We know well the nature of the struggle in which we are engaged. We are anxious only that the people of the land shall understand it, and then our battle is won.
Behind the strong entrenchment of the gold standard are gathered all those favored classes it has fostered-the only "dangerous classes" of the land. Avarice and unholy greed are there, every trust and combination is there, every monopoly is there, led by the greatest monopoly of all, the monopoly of the power of gold.
With us in our assault upon these entrenchments are all those unselfish men, who, not now suffering themselves, cannot rest content with conditions so full of suffering for others, and that vaster number of our people who have been sacrificed to the small and selfish class who now resist their attempts to regain their ancient rights and liberties.
These are the patriots of 1896 the foes of a "dishonest dollar" which enriches 10 per cent, of our people to rob the rest-the defenders of the homes of the land, of public morals and the public faith, both of which alike forbid the payment of government obligations in a coin costlier to those who have to pay than that the contract calls for-the defenders of the honor of the nation whose most sacred charge it is to care for the welfare of all its citizens.
The free and unlimited coinage of silver is the sole remedy by which to check the wrongs of today-to undo the ruin of the past.
And for our inspiration we have the justice of our cause, and those cherished principles of Jefferson and Jackson which shall be our guide on our return to power:
Equal and exact justice to all men.
Absolute acquiescence in decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics.
Mr. Sewall accompanied me on my trip through New England, speaking briefly at the meeting on Boston Common and at a few other places. While not much accustomed to public speaking, he always expressed himself forcibly and in well chosen language.
He fully approved of the division of the electors with the Populists and throughout the campaign gave to the Democratic committee the benefit of his long experience in politics.
THIRD TRIP COMMENCES.
FTER three days' sojourn at home, the long trip of the campaign was begun. Mrs. Bryan did not accompany me this
time, but met me about a month later at St. Paul. I had found her a great aid in my travels because she could assist in meeting the reception committees, and thus give me more rest between stations. And then, too, she was able to insist upon more reasonable hours and greater freedom from interruption than I was able to do. At this time, however, the children were entering school for the fall and she remained to see them through the first few weeks of the term.
I found the Bryan Home Guards in uniform ready to accompany me to the train on Friday night, and a number of citizens assembled at the depot. In reply to a call for a speech, I told them that I was leaving Nebraska because I felt sure of that State, and was going into a part of the country where work was more needed.
The labors of a public speaker are often enlivened by witty remarks from persons in the audience. These interjections sometimes embarrass and sometimes aid the speaker. I remember that on this occasion when I declared that the silver cause was growing and that each day found more bimetallists than there were the day before, some one in the crowd promptly shouted, "Hurrah for tomorrow!"—a sentiment which seemed to find a response in every heart.
The people had gathered at stations along the way, and I noticed that in my own district nearly all of them addressed me as "Billy," a name seldom applied to me until after I entered politics and then, at first, by the Republicans. Sometimes for sake of euphony an "O" was attached to my surname.
The largest audience was assembled at Nebraska City, the home of Hon. J. Sterling Morton, Secretary of Agriculture, where the train stopped for a few moments.
I found that the newspaper men always counseled retirement at an early hour, though I sometimes suspected that their interest in my health was somewhat sharpened by the fact that they had to send their dispatches after I went to bed. While I desired to accommodate them, my good intentions were sometimes thwarted by the presence of
an enthusiastic crowd, which insisted on some word of greeting. After all had turned in for the night the glare of torch-lights and a shout, increasing as we approached and dying out as we departed, notified us of gatherings along the line even where the train did not stop. On this trip we were awakened at Auburn, the county seat of Nemaha, always a faitliful supporter in my Congressional contests, by a few hundred silverites who insisted on shaking hands through the window.
We arrived at Kansas City on Saturday morning and were met by Governor Stone, Hon. Lon V. Stevens, Democratic candidate for Governor, Hon. Sam B. Cook, chairman of the State committee, Hon. John I. Martin, of St. Louis, sergeant-at-arms of the Democratic National Convention, Col. M. C. Wetmore, of St. Louis, Chief-ofPolice Irwin, of Kansas City, and others.
Before leaving the car I spoke to the laboring men who were on their way to the packing houses, and took occasion to comment upon Mr. McKinley's remark that the mills rather than the mints should be opened. The following is an extract:
Kansas City Speech.
Some of our opponents tell us that we should open the mills instead of the mints. That reminds me of the man who said that his horse would go well enough if he could only get the wagon started. It is, so to speak, putting the cart before the horse. Of what use are mills unless the people can buy what the mills produce? And how can the mills be operated so long as those who produce the wealth of the country, particularly the farmers, are not able to make enough out of their products to pay taxes and interest? There is no more effective way to destroy the market for the products of the mills than to lower the price of the farmer's crops. You gentlemen who live in this city, surrounded by an agricultural country, know that there is no way of bringing prosperity to Kansas City until you first bring prosperity to those toilers upon whose welfare Kansas City rests. It does not require financiers, nor does it require railroad attorneys, to tell you where your prosperity lies; nor can these men prevent your exercising the right of sovereign voters.
I met a railroad man yesterday who told me that while he did not agree with me on the silver question, he thought an issue had been raised which was greater than the silver question, namely, whether he lived in a republic where a man had a right to vote as he pleased, or whether his vote was the property of somebody else to be used as somebody else pleased.
After breakfast the party took a tally-ho coach and attended a meeting held at the intersection of two of the principal streets.
From Kansas City we proceeded to St. Louis, stopping at Carrollton, Brunswick, Moberly, Centralia, Mexico and other places.
A congenial spirit, Hon. Champ Clark, ex-Congressman and Congressman-elect from the Bowling Green district, met us en route.