Raleigh, NC Speech, 1896-09-17

Speech by William Jennings Bryan.

Speech by William Jennings Bryan
Thursday, September 17, 1896 at 7:00pm
Nash Square, Raleigh, NC

Source: STOPS IN THE CAPITAL CITY, Nominee Bryan Reaches Raleigh and Addresses an Audience in Nash Square., Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition), Friday, September 18, 1896; The First Battle: A Story of the Campaign of 1896, 1896

"The trip through North Carolina has been so well managed that at the close of the second day I am feeling better than I did when I commenced talking to the people of the State. I have followed somewhat the example of the man who, in seeking employment in Southern Illinois, urged in his behalf that he never became tired, hungry or sleepy. After he had been at work for a little while, his employer, going out into the field, found him resting tinder a tree, and, reminding him of what he had said, received his explanation, namely, that he rested before he got tired, ate before he got hungry, and went to sleep before he got sleepy. It has been a great pleasure to note the interest which the people of this State are taking in the campaign, and while their demonstrations of affection and interest sometimes come near keeping me from getting into the place of speaking and out of it, yet I feel as your own great statesman, Vance, once said. Some one asked him if it did not nearly kill him to have the people pulling him around and shaking hands with him. He replied: 'Yes, it does nearly kill me, but if they did not do it, it would entirely kill me.' So, while it is rather hard to bear up under all the affection that is bestowed upon a candidate, it is a great deal easier to get along with it than it would be to get along without it."


"...At last we have the line drawn so that a man can take his place on one side or the other, and the result is that a great many Republicans who had hoped to secure bimetallism in the Republican party have now given up hope and joined with those who demand the immediate restoration of free coinage, and some in the Democratic party who had sought to further the gold standard by secret means, have now joined with the Republican party, and a few, instead of going all the way, have stopped at the half way point to rest a moment before completing their journey. You may rest assured that the lines now drawn are drawn, not temporarily, but permanently. The man who leaves the Democratic party today, when the party is taking up its fight for the common people, must understand that if he comes back he must come back in sack cloth and ashes. Not only that, but he must bring forth works met for repentance. The men who are in the employ of trusts and syndicates and combinations are not leaving the party for their country's good; they are leaving their party for their party's good."


"...There was a banker down in Oklahoma who told his depositor that money was not as important as it used to be. 'Why,' said the banker, 'if you deposit money in my bank you give a check for a given amount and it goes through various hands, and finally some one deposits it at the bank. No money changes hands. I merely transfer the amount on the books from one account to the other. Don't you see, money is not as important as it once was?' The depositor replied, 'I am glad to hear that. I have been keeping my money on deposit with the idea that it was just as important as ever; but now that you have shown me my mistake, I will draw out my money and go on checking as I did before.' 'Well, in your case that will not work,' said the banker. No, it won't work. The very people who tell you that money is not as important as it used to be are the ones who regard money as just as important as it ever was if you owe them and cannot pay."

"...I am informed that the Republican National Committee has sent out circulars to various religious papers and organizations, calling attention to a danger which they say threatens these religious organizations if we have the free coinage of silver. I want you to remember that the Republican party and the Republican speakers, and the Republican candidates, most of them, have denounced the Democrats for trying to array class against class. I want to say to you that the Republican party is doing more in this country today to array class against class than any party that ever existed in the United States. (Cheers.)

The Republican party appealed to either class, or nearly every class, and attempted to array that class against others. They appeal to the laboring man and tell him the gold standard gives him a higher-priced dollar for his wages, without telling him that it also makes it impossible for a very large number of men who want to labor to get a chance to earn one of these high-priced dollars. (Cheers.) Out in our state the Republican Committee of one of the counties appealed to the school teachers, trying to show them that a gold standard was a good thing for them, thereby trying to set the school teachers against the rest of the people, and now they have appealed to the church organizations and church papers and are now trying to array them against the free coinage of silver."


"Well, I could stand any appeal made by the advocates of the gold standard to almost any class better than the appeal made to the preachers and teachers of religion. If there is one thing that the church people of this country could afford to array themselves against it is the gold standard as it is being advocated by the American people at this time. (Applause.) And yet the Republican party is appealing to church people to take their side upon the side of the gold standard. How things have changed in the last 1,800 years. Look at the people who are at the head of the gold standard propaganda in the United States. Look at the bondholding class and the money changing classes, and turn back 1,800 years, when the meek and lowly Savior threw the same kind of people out of his temple, because they had made his house a den of thieves. (Enthusiastic cheering.)

And then think that these people come and appeal to the ministers of the gospel and the church papers to save them from the wrath to come. (Laughter and applause.) My friends, when our ministers of the gospel denounce the great mass of the people who stand behind free silver, when these ministers have denounced these advocates of free coinage and have taken their places upon the side of these aggregations of wealth, I remind them that when the Savior was here, it was the common people who heard him gladly, the very people whom the ministers call anarchists and socialists. (Great applause.)

My friends, when I find—there are not many of them, but they are quite conspicuous—when I find these men casting their lot upon that side and exhausting abusive language in their description of the great masses of the people of this country, I feel like saying to them that if they will take their chances with Dives, I will risk my chances with Lazarus.

Decide whether you want to support the present financial policy or not."

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World-Herald (Morning Edition)
  • Published: Omaha, NE
  • Citation: 1
  • Date: September 17, 1896