Bryan for Senator

William Jennings Bryan's newspaper reports the events of his nomination at the state convention, emphasizing the joining of forces to defeat the Republicans and the deep history of the Democratic Party.


Democratic State Convention Nominates Him by a Unanimous Vote

His Friends Have a Good Majority and Harmony Prevails

Ed P. Smith Chosen Temporary Chairman and W. D. Oldham Permanent Chairman

Galleries Filled With Railroad Men and Obstructionists to the Wheels of Progress

Opposition Tries Vainly to Create a Disturbance by Every Means at Their Disposal

Otoe County Anti-Bryan Delegation Give a Chance to Vote, but Indignantly Withdraws

Ticket of Principle Put in Field—Seceders to the Number of Fifty Put Up Straw Ticket

  • For Governor Silas A. Holcomb
  • For Lieutenant Governor J. N. Gaffin
  • For Secretary of State S. I. Ellick
  • For State Treasurer G. A. Luikhart
  • For State Auditor J. C. Dahlman
  • For Attorney General D. B. Carey
  • For Superintendent of Public Instruction W. A. Jones
  • For Commissioner of Public Lands and Buildings S. G. Kent

Nebraska's democracy captured Omaha yesterday and it was predicted in the morning that when the state convention opened not a delegate would be missing.

Chase and some of the northwest counties [?] not only their delegates, but also their alternates. These had agreed to meet at the train that there might be no lack of representation, and when all got there they decided to come on to the convention.

Republican headquarters were not lively yesterday morning, there being no little interest as to what was going on about the Paxton, with the result that the republicans abandoned their own haunts for the democratic wallows.

The populists had a conference at their [?]

As to Withdrawing

Mr. Devine did not come, but it was thought he would arrive yesterday afternoon to hear the arguments why he should pull out of the congressional race in the Third. [Devine]was reported as being unwilling to [?] to advice to withdraw from the race in this district in the present situation.

The Castorites were busy scheming all the morning to confuse the Bryan men and sought to bring about a plan to rattle them and get an advantage of a temporary organization. To effect this the Castorites sought to induce W. H. Thompson, who is well known as a silver man, to be their candidate for chairman in the interests of [?] harmony. But Mr. Thompson promptly declined. Then the same compliment was tendered by the Castorites to R. A. Batty. He, too, refused it. Finally Matt Miller was selected to lead the Castor fight to get control of the convention.

Tobias, the Statesman.

Tobias Castor sat in the "statesman's" room, No. 14, at the Paxton, made memorable by Morton, Laird and others, and he had reports from his lieutenants. A sentinel was posted outside the door, commanding a view of the stairs and of the entrance to the cafe, in which Secretary [Sheean] sat handling out tickets for delegates to chairman of their senatorial districts.

Many a longing look was cast by the out-of-town democrat who was not a delegate, at the door of Castor's room, for a big batch of tickets had been started for it and everywhere else tickets were scarce as railway passes among the silver men.

All the open talk and the badges were for Bryan and free silver. The Richardson county delegates wore handsome white silk badges with the portrait of Bryan and the legend "Richardson, 16 to 1" upon them. The Douglas county badges were of red, white and blue, and inscribed, "Douglas for Bryan and Free Silver."

A Bryan man could not get a ticket into the convention for a million dollars, while every known anti-Bryan worker had a pocket full of the coveted pasteboards. This was readily understood to be a very skillful packing of the galleries with administration yellers to howl down the majority. The Bryan people were not born yesterday, however and at once formed a plan of action which was to foil the state central committee by arranging to throw open the doors as soon as the temporary organization was perfected. Of course the gallery howlers would have the best of it up to that time, so far as volume of noise was concerned, but with reinforcements with practically untired lungs ready when business should some up the majority was ready for the fray of furore.

Called to Order

Delegates and visitors began crowding late Exposition hall half an hour before the time set for the convention to assemble. The demand for tickets during the morning far exceeded the supply, and a number of local and state politicians stood on the outside looking enviously at the fortunate ones provided with the little pasteboard tickets.

Large United States flags were draped across the back of the stage, and were flanked by large engravings of Cleveland and Bryan. From the gallery railing depended the national colors.

The delegates and visitors were seated in a more orderly manner than is usual with gatherings of such size. The preliminary arrangements were good. Dan Honin was master of ceremonies until the convention assembled. He had the center of the hall divided according to congressional districts, the Third, Fourth and Fifth in front and the First, Second and Sixth in the rear. The arrangement was a compliment to the country, the city districts being behind them. An efficient corps of ushers seated the delegates.

Senator Allen's tall form appeared while the delegates were assembling, and before he found a seat among the spectators he was given a hearty round of recognition and applause.

The Fight for Chairman

"The convention will please be in order," said Chairman Euclid Martin at 2:25 p.m., and the call for the convention was read.

Chairman Martin then said that in accordance with established custom the central committee would recommend Hon. Matt Miller for temporary chairman. Judge Crawford of Cuming County seconded the nomination. Mr. W. S. Shoemaker at once offered an amendment that Ed P. Smith be made temporary chairman. The motion was greeted with applause and a hundred seconds.

Congressman Bryan, who was elected as a delegate from Lancaster County, arose at this point and when the cheers had subsided said in substance: "I think we might as well understand each other in the beginning to save trouble. We, who stand for free coinage at 16 to 1, believe that the state central committee postponed their convention in spite of the wishes of a large body of democrats; and we believe that the object was to defeat their wishes; and when the state committee found the party overwhelmingly against it it might as well have taken the chairman the majority proposed. But it has refused to do this. We might as well commence the fight now. We have had conventions in which the chairman refused to recognize the majority. I want to say that any delegate who comes here instructed for 16 to 1 cannot disregard it. I ask those who are with me vote for Ed. P. Smith [Applause]

Dr. Englehart of Butler was recognized and said that Mr. Miller would not under any circumstances accept the office and that Butler county seconded the nomination of Ed P. Smith.

Miller Makes a Speech.

Mr. Miller then rose and told the convention that he was not seeking the office and came to the convention instructed for Bryan and 16 to 1 for silver. And that he hoped there would be no fight; that he would be as well pleased whatever the result and would bear no ill will to any delegate voting against him. If elected he would be fair to all sides.

C. J. Smyth called for the yeas and nays by counties.

R. A. Batty of Hastings said Adams had met the enemy and declared for 16 to 1. He seconded Smith's nomination.

Matt Miller then rose to withdraw, but a majority wanted the roll called and each county put on record.

Sam Wahlbach of Grand Island said he wanted to square himself with the convention, and that he was not opposed as intimated by Mr. Thompson, to Bryan and the free coinage of silver.

Each mention of Bryan and free silver at 16 to 1 was greeted with applause. Smith by Acclamation.

Matt Miller secured the floor, and, in a few words, withdrew. W. H. Thompson moved that Ed P. Smith by nominated by acclamation and the motion carried with a rush. Mr. Smith was brought forward and received an ovation. Mr. Martin gracefully turned over to him the large hammer used for a gavel.

Mr. Smith made a particularly vigorous and patriotic speech in calling the convention to order, and was frequently applauded. He said:

"I accept this commission at your hands and thank you for the expression of your confidence. I accept it not as a tribute to myself, but as a tribute to the younger democracy of this state with who I am pleased to class myself, and for them I thank you. I accept it as tribute to the incorruptible, undefiled hustling democracy of Douglas county, a democracy that can fight each other like the devil at the primaries and fight the republicans one harder at the polls, and for each and all of them I thank you.

"Without [?] to belittle others or unduly [?] own importance I measure [?] when I say that it is the most [important] state convention ever held by our part in Nebraska, and the most significant [sic] convention since the national democratic convention of 1892. Conventions in other states this year may have possessed more than local interest, but from the east and [from the west], from the north and from the [south] the inquiry, 'What will [ Nebraska ] democrats do at their state convention?" Let me ask, then, that your actions here today be guided by wisdom, and your cause prompted by patriotic motives.

"Since you last met to nominate candidates for state offices the democracy of the nation has won its most signal victory. It has passed through a campaign fought with all the energy and with all the bitterness possible between mighty and contending forces. In that campaign we were opposed by all the power that concentrated capital and consolidated wealth had accumulated in thirty years of republican misrule. Gigantic trusts, pools and syndicates that plot, combine and negotiate for the amassment of millions in the hands of the few at the expense of the brawn and muscle of those who eat honest bread in the sweat of their faces; all these were arrayed against us, backed by the solid phalanx of those enriched by the unjust levy of tariff taxes, but in spite of all this and in the face of all this opposition— thanks be to God and to the good sense of the people generally—we done 'em up, and after many years of republican misrule, during which time the clutches of the greedy were fastening more and more tightly upon the vitals of labor, we threw off the monster and again placed both branches of congress and the executive in the hands of the democratic party. By a majority such as is seldom seen the democratic party was returned to power and entrusted with the duty, among others, of revising the tariff, which under republican rule made plutocrats and paupers and had enabled one to have a castle in Scotland and forced another to exist in a dugout. That trust has been but partially executed. A handful of traitors in our own party, backed by the solid republican representation in the senate, has prevented the complete consummation of our desires, and the democratic party owes to itself the duty of placing the seal of its condemnation on the head of every democrat and denouncing as false to his party and faithless to his trust, whether from New York, New Jersey, Maryland or Louisiana, he who dared stand in the way of tariff reforms. An avowed enemy can be tolerated, but the traitor in the camp is only equaled by one who steals the livery of heaven to serve the devil in.

Death Blow to McKinleyism.

But notwithstanding this we have dealt the death blow to McKinleyism and brought about a great change in that law. We have placed wool on the free list, thus enabling manufacturers to get the imported raw material cheaper and furnish work to thousands of laborers in this industry, and at the same time furnish an increased market for our home product. We said to the farmer who sells his wheat in the markets of the world in competition of wheat raised in every clime, that hereafter no man shall extort from you an increased price for your binding twine trust, but if you sell that wheat in the markets of the world you shall have the privilege of buying your twine on that same market without paying a tribute to the binding twine trust. We said to the poor devil who has braved the dangers and endured the hardships incident to pioneer life and lived in a dugout or sod house, that hereafter no tax shall be placed on lumber, but you may buy your lumber where you please, and no Philetus Sawyer shall compel you to pay $2 per 1,000 for that privilege. We reduced the tariff on woolens and flanels so as to enable the wife and mother to more warmly and comfortably clothe her children. We aimed to follow the language of that greatest of tariff reformers as outlined in that magnificent message of 1887, where he said the taxation of luxury presents no feature of hardship, but the necessaries of life used and consumed by all our people, the duty on which increases the cost of living in every home, should be really cheapened. Following out that doctrine we enacted the income tax that compels capital to bear a fair share of the burdens of the government. By reason of the pressure of these traitors in our camp we were enable to carry out all the reforms we desired, but we must not forget that four or six renegade democrats could not have retarded or obstructed the progress of reform had they not been aided and abetted by every republican in the United States senate. If there had been one republican in all that body willing to join hands with the democrats in favor of tariff reform what a blessing it would have been, but from Maine to California and from Michigan to Nebraska not one republican senator could be found who would raise his voice or cast his vote in favor of a reduction of tariff. My countrymen, what a tribute to the republican Party.

Cleveland Is Remembered.

"We are told in sacred history that before the Almighty rained fire and brimstone upon the plains of Sodom and Gomorrah he looked over the whole field and found one single, solitary man worthy to be saved from, destruction, but if he were to look upon the republican side of the United states senate today where, Oh where, would he find one man worthy to be saved from political destruction, and, unless I mistake the sentiment of Nebraska democrats, you will see to it that the senior senator from Nebraska is not saved from the wreck. Let us give honor to whom honor is due —and I think all must agree that no man has labored more earnestly and been more faithful to the cause than has Grover Cleveland. His great sage of '87 sounded the keynote as it had never had been sounded before. It was because of the bold stand that he took on that question that he was defeated in 1888, but that same bold, patriotic stand elected him in 1892 by an over whelming majority, and when the future historian correctly records the events of the nineteenth century he will accord to Grover Cleveland a position among the most honest, the most patriotic and the most fearless of all our presidents, and as a tariff reformer it will record him as a leader among the leaders and a brave warrior among those in the front ranks.

Coinage of Sliver.

"Another great question now demanding the attention of our party leaders is the question of the coinage of silver. On this question your action here today will be watched with peculiar interest by people in every state in the union, and it is probable that a few persons in foreign lands will wait for the outcome of this convention. Whether your action will meet with the approval of all of our party or not is not for me to say, but, be that as it may, in no event can we afford to forsake the people, and if we are right we can afford to hew to the line, let the chips fall where they may. The founders of our government decreed by the constitution that gold and silver should be money. No power was conferred upon congress to demonetize either or to fix a single standard. Daniel Webster declared over fifty years ago that both gold and silver constitute the legal standard of value in this country, and that congress had no authority to establish any other standard or displace this standard.

"For nearly a hundred years of our nation's existence we honored that standard, the free coinage of gold and silver without discrimination against either, and during which time we contested again and established anew our national independence; we fought the great war for the union of the states; we extended our domain from the narrow strip along the Atlantic until it extended to the Pacific and acquired the very ground on which we now exist; we doubled, trebled, quadrupled our population, our wealth and our business transactions. We saw the Thomas Jefferson, the James Madison, the Andrew Jackson devote their lives to the service of their country, but it remained for the peculiar brand of statesmanship as embodied in John Sherman to strike down one metal and take the first step toward reducing us to a single gold standard. There may be some in the democratic party who are imbued with that kind of patriotism, but they are gradually growing less and less, and your presence here today indicates that they are not numerous in Nebraska.

Stand by Their Colors.

"Ever since that injustice, not to say crime, against the American people was committed in 1873, the democratic party has labored to right that wrong and even under the most trying circumstances, be it said to the everlasting credit of our party, that in 1893 a majority of the democrats of both houses of congress, unawed power and uncorrupted by federal patronage, still remain true to the principle of free coinage of both gold and silver at a ratio of 16 to 1. I don't say that a man cannot be a good democrat without indorsing that ratio, but I do say that so long as a Vest, a Cockrell, a Morgan, a Colquit, a Brown, a George, a Daniels, a White, a Fithian, a Sibley, a Stone and a W. J. Bryan favor the free coinage at that ratio 1 feel that in democracy is of a pretty good brand if I follow their lead.

"The signs of the times are encouraging front Michigan to South Carolina, from California to Ohio. Ohio, that state which contains the fountain head of goldbug issue, but which also contains that grand, that noble, that venerable, white-headed patriot, Allen G. Thurman, has just declared again that they will take their inspiration from Thurman and not front Sherman, and to be faithful to their country and their party, and renewed their allegiance to silver at the ratio of 16 to 1. No question in American politics can ever be settled until it is settled right, and I beg of you to write today the platform of democracy as it will be repeated in the national platform, and on which we will sweep the country in 1896. You can do it, and the sentiment which I think you entertain leads me to believe you will do it. The hopes of the common people are centered on this great and growing west.

Will Look to the West.

"When the wise men of old started out to seek the savior of mankind, the light of the world, they traveled not to the east, but to the west, and when the great body of democracy shall convene in 1896 they will look not to the east, but to the west, for the political saviors, and who dares say their eyes may not light on Nebraska?

"The condition of affairs in our state also demands your most careful attention. Under long continued republican rule, boodleism has become a virtue and political theft is no longer regarded as a bar to political preferment. Corporate dictation is the law and too many state officials and too many candidates are mere figureheads doing the bidding of railroad corporations whose hirelings they are. Bigotry and religious intolerance have full sway and men are ostracized if they dive worship God according to the dictates or their own conscience. With this condition confronting us let us remember that measures are more than men, our duty to our country is above all other obligations and he serves his party best who serves his country best. "The right of the people to select their own rulers is pure democracy. The election of senators by popular vote is in line with the principals of our party. The people of this state are alive to the fact that we have within our ranks one who by reason of his honesty, his ability and his patriotic devotion to the interests of his people is most admirably fitted to represent our state in the United States senate. Let me ask that you listen and respond today to the demands of the people. Then when the light shall be renewed in that senate, the fight for a further reduction of taxes and for the restoration of the money of the constitution, the voice of the masses of the west will be heard, and in the front ranks bearing the banner of tariff reform and free silver, not one but both, will be found Nebraska's most honored statesman, William J. Bryan." [Loud and prolonged applause].

Committees Appointed.

Dan B. Honin of Douglas. F. J. Morgan of Cass and C. E. Appgar of Adams were elected secretaries of the convention.

John McManigal of Lancaster moved that a committee of seven be appointed on credentials. Carried.

F. J. Lange of Douglas moved that a committee of seven be appointed on permanent organization. Carried.

C. D. Casper of Butler moved that a committee of seven be appointed on rules and Order of business. Carried.

Chairman Smith announced the following committees:

On Credentials — McManigal of Lancaster, Thompson of Hall, Connor of Douglas, Devries of Dodge. Carson of Fillmore, Crawford of Cuming.

On Rules and Order of Business — Casper of Butler, White of Frontier, Brain of Rock, McKee of Thayer, Thomas of Colfax, [Casse man] of Brown, Rourke of Hall.

On Permanent Organization — Hale of Madison, Lange of Douglas, Walsh of Red Willow, Oglesby of Cherry, Vance of Seward, Fritz of Thurston, Patin of Lancaster.

Adjourned forum [sic] Hour.

C. J. Smyth moved to adjourn for one hour. The motion was seconded but the chairman could not put it at once on account of loud calls for Bryan. He asked for quiet and the motion was carried and the convention adjourned to 4:15.

The delegates were prompt in getting back to the hall, but it was nearly 5 o'clock before Chairman Smith rapped for order and called for credentials from several counties which had not reported.

Dan B. Honin came in with a pitcher of water and the crowd yelled, "Honin, Honin." He responded in a dramatic manner, which brought down the house, that the railroad tickets should be countersigned by the secretary so that the delegates could get reduced rates.

The convention was growing restless, and when George Tierney of Douglas stated that the committee on credentials would [not be ready to report] for an hour, and moved to adjourn until [6] o'clock, the motion was almost, unanimously adopted. J. A. Connor of Douglas said the committee would report in fifteen minutes and wanted the delegates to stay, but it was pretty near supper time and a big majority decided to have something to eat before proceeding to the real work of the convention.


Committees Report —Otoe's Anti-Bryan Delegation Withdraws.

Every seat in Exposition hall was filled and several hundred men were standing at 8:40 when the convention reassembled. In the galleries were a number of local republicans and they were reinforced just before the convention was called to order by a large number of railroad republicans and railroad administration democrats from the state. They had been very prominent in the Paxton lobby and around headquarters while the convention was adjourned. And where they were, and there only, were railroad passes and other inducements, in abundance.

The doors were thrown open on motion of W. S. Shoemaker.

Chairman Manigal said the committee on credentials had considered contests from three counties and had tried to be fair to all sides. One year ago at Lincoln he had been a "we a minority," but this year the report was unanimous.

The contests were from Madison, Otoe and Thayer, and there being no opposition presented to the convention, the delegation from Madison, headed by F. J. Hale, and that from Thayer, headed by H. D. Church, were seated. The report favored seating both delegations from Otoe county in the interest of harmony and each delegation be given half of the county's vote. Only verbal testimony and no affidavits were filed. The report was adopted unanimously.

Rolfe Takes His Own Medicine

D. P. Rolfe of Otoe, who was the chairman whose rulings precipitated a majority bolt in the county convention, arose and said he refused to accept the terms and would withdraw.

He was told he had that privilege, and went out with his eighteen men amid laughter, cheers and hisses.

The majority delegation, headed by Harry Boydston, remained. George W. Leidigh asked that they be given recognition and they were accorded the right to cast the full vote.

On Order of Business

The committee on rules and order of business reported as follows:

Mr. Chairman: Your committee appointed to formulate a plan to expedite business with out confusion, would respectfully submit the following rules and order of business:

First—The appointment of a committee resolutions.

Second—The expression of our choice by the nomination of a candidate for United States senator.

Third—Hearing the report of the committee on resolutions.

Fourth—Election of a state central committee.

Fifth—Nomination of candidates for State offices.

The report was unanimously adopted.

Robert Clegg of Richardson moved that a committee of seven be appointed on resolutions. The motion was carried and the chair appointed: Clegg of Richardson, Smyth of Douglas, Thompson of Dodge, Dalhman of Dawes, Killigar of Nemaha, Stevens of Adams and Marvin of Gage.

Permanent Organization.

The committee on permanent organization recommended the election of Hon. W. D. Oldham of Buffalo as permanent chairman, amid that Messrs. Honin, Morgan and Appgar, who were elected secretaries in the afternoon, be continued in the office.


Good Old Democratic Doctrines Good Enough for Him.

Mr. Oldham was escorted to the chair and was received with loud cheers. Many remembered his "pull down your hats and spit through your teeth, democrats" at the silver conference and knew something good was coming. Mr. Oldham said:

I would be an ingrate indeed if I were not touched by the magnificent compliment accorded me by inviting me to preside over the deliberations of the greatest convention that has ever assembled in the history of the state of Nebraska. I feel that the honor cast upon me is far beyond my deserts, but I know it is not intended as a personal compliment to me, but rather as an encouragement to the young democracy of the west, of the state of Nebraska, where it requires a hero to profess himself a democrat.

It seems to me as I look out on the faces of those present before me, the honest, thinking, working democrats, more than I have ever seen at any one time since I have been in the state of Nebraska, it makes me feel like that man described by Sam Jones when he said he felt just as though he did not have anything against anybody on earth. That is the way I feel, and while I feel that I have nothing against anybody I do feel I am here to engage with you in an earnest, hard fight for honest principle. It is principle and not men for which I shall fight.

I have heard the remark made that this is a populist convention and these men have arrayed themselves as populists and not as democrats. I say to you that there is not one man that believes as I do that is a populist, or any member that will sit idly down and allow the members of this convention to go away from the principles of the democrats party over to the populists.

In the name of the immortal Jefferson I demand that we keep the principles with us, the principles of the old democracy, and I stand here as one of the young democracy, as one that loves the principles of the old democracy, to advocate these. I feel that there was never a principle written by the inspired pen of Thomas Jefferson that is not now just as applicable as it was 100 years ago. I believe that this is a fact that we have lost sight of and that a redress for our troubles can be found by a clearer recognition of this in our legislation. I believe these principles are immortal, and were written for all time, and for all conditions. I believe in the dollar of our daddies, in the good old honest silver dollar of the democratic party, that it maintained for sixty years at a parity and at the ratio of 16 to 1. [Applause.] It was good enough for our fathers and it is good enough for me. [Applause.]

Arraigns the Republican Party.

As one of the young men of the democracy I want to arraign the republican party for The demonetization of silver. The demonetization of silver was a crime. It is on their hands like the blood on the hands of Macbeth. In anguish of mind Lord Macbeth cried "Out, out," but it would not out. This blood is on their hands. In the name of the democratic party, which for sixty years maintained the parity of silver, we arraign the republican party as an accessory in the destruction of silver. Nor did we come here to go into a wholesale assault upon the administration. We every one of us believe that Grover Cleveland is an honest man. We do not believe in the protection which follows a man on beyond the dark valley and puts a tax on his tombstone.

Mr. Oldham said he wanted to see harmony, "not in great big flaky chunks, but restorable harmony." It was not for him to outline the work, but without having seen a member of the committee or knowing anything about it he was satisfied the platform which would be submitted would be democratic in ever; plank and splinter. It would contain immortal democratic doctrines.

One pleasant duty would be to nominate a United States senator. He was not hero, worshiper, but he would be an ingrate, and so would every man in Nebraska, if he did not owe a duty to the man who unheralded and alone had gone to the United States congress and had worked hard and nobly for Nebraska. The convention a year two would not have recognized his work, it was given out that the democrats of Nebraska had turned down Bryan, but now the people had spoken, the people of Nebraska, and the verdict was changed. The people now demanded Bryan, and were going to have him.


Unanimously Nominated by the Delegates as Their Choice.

Dr. Edwards of Lancaster had the honor to move that the convention nominate for the senate, as provided in the laws of the state, and that Hon. W. J. Bryan, now their representative in congress, be nominated. He would demand a call of the house.

The chair asked if any others were proposed for nomination, but none were heard. Thompson of Hall seconded the nomination of Mr. Bryan, but thought a call of the house unnecessary. There was not a democrat in the convention who was not in favor of Mr. Bryan, Mr. Thompson said, and he moved as a substitute that a call of the house be suspended and Mr. Bryan decared nominated by acclamation.

However, several insisted upon a call of the roll by counties and it was had.

As the call proceeded and county after county cast its vote for Bryan the enthusiasm increased. When Otoe was called and cast a full vote for Bryan the convention cheered. Douglas, Lancaster and other counties were also cheered. Each county cast its full vote for Bryan and when the roll call was finished a hush fell upon the assemblage. Not a word was spoken for several moments and then a delegate from the Sixth district moved that the nomination be made unanimous. The motion was seconded and expressed by a rising vote. As the delegates rose as one man they commenced cheering and were soon joined by the galleries.

The cheers changed to "Bryan! Bryan! Bryan!" in a moment, and when he could be heard. Chairman Oldham appointed Messrs. Kitchen, Dahlman, Thompson and Meyer a committee to escort Mr. Bryan to the platform.


Clause Relating to Use Money Question Causes Some Discussion.

Before the committee appointed to escort Mr. Bryan to the platform had been able to fulfill its duty the committee on resolutions came in and the report was read by C. J. Smyth. It was:

We, the rank and file of the democracy of Nebraska, at last in convention assembled, send greeting to the common people. who constitute the strength of the democracy of the nation.

We renew our allegiance to the principles taught by Thomas Jefferson and courageously defended led by Andrew Jackson, and we demand that the great political problems of the day be solved by the application of these principles to present conditions.

Believing that a public official is a public servant and deserving of praise or censure ace according to his acts, we commend President Cleveland for his honest and economical administration of the government and dissent from such of his financial views as are repugnant to the teachings of the fathers and opposed to the welfare of the people. [Applause.]

Believing that "all men are created equal," and that all are alike entitled to the consideration of government, we denounce as unjust and unjustifiable the protective tariff system which, through the instrumentality of class legislation, robs the many for the benefit of the few. We demand a tariff for revenue only, and point to the Wilson bill as it passed the house of representatives as a reasonable fulfillment of the promises made by the democratic party in the campaign of 1892. While we do not condone the acts of those democratic senators who modified the Wilson bill in the senate, we accept the bill as it finally passed as the best measure attainable under the circumstances, and as a great improvement over the McKinley law. [Applause] We especially approve of the income tax and favor its retention as a permanent part of our revenue system. We indorse the language used by Hon John G. Carlisle in 1878 when he denounced the "conspiracy" to destroy silver money as "the most gigantic crime of this or any other age," and we agree with him that "the consummation of such a scheme would ultimately entail more misery upon the human race than all the wars, pestilences and famines that ever occurred in the history of the world." [Cheers] We are not willing to be parties to such a crime, and in order to undo the wrong already done, and to prevent the further appreciation of money, we favor the immediate restoration of the free and unlimited coinage of silver and gold at the preset ratio of 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation on earth. [Cheers.]

We regard the right to issue money as an attribute of sovereignty and believe that all money needed to supplement the gold and silver coinage of the constitution, and to make the dollar so stable in its purchasing power that it will defraud neither debtor nor creditor, should be issued by the general government as the greenbacks were issued; that such money should be redeemable in coin, the government to exercise the option by redeeming them in gold or silver, whichever is most convenient for the government. We believe that all money issued by the government, whether gold, silver or paper, should be made a full legal tender for all debts, public and private [applause], and that no citizen should be permitted to demonetize by contract that which the government makes money by law.

We are in favor of the election of United States senators by direct vote of the people, and in case the senate refuses to allow an amendment which will secure the direct election of senators we are in favor of calling a convention of states to submit such an amendment for ratification by the states.

We are in favor of a constitutional amendment making the president ineligible for re-election.

We are in favor of the operation of the telegraph to connection with the postal system.

We are in favor of a literal pension policy.

We are in favor of the arbitration of differences between corporate employers and their numerous employes [sic] . [Applause.]

We are in favor of the foreclosure as soon as due of the liens of the government against the Union Pacific and other Pacific railroads. [Applause.]

Relieving that the duty of the representative is to represent the will and interests of his constituents we condemn as undemocratic any attempt by caucus dictation to prevent the representative from voicing the sentiments of his people on public questions.

We believe in the right of every individual to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience [cheers], and we condemn as un-American and contrary to the spirit of our institutions any attempt to apply a religious test to the citizen or to the official. [Applause.] We appeal to all democrats who have been led into political hostility, to the members of any church to remember the principles of religious liberty promulgated by Thomas Jefferson and defended by the party which he organized. [Cheers.]

We approve of the maximum rate bill passed by the last legislature and favor its reenactment if it is declared void by the court on account of irregularities which can be remedied.

Mr. Smyth read in a distinct voice and an impressive manner. Different planks were loudly cheered, the one regarding the religious test being most loudly applauded.

Minority Report.

Mr. Marvin said he desired to submit a minority report and was recognized at once by the chair. He said that he differed from the majority on the money plank. He then read the following resolution, which was applauded from various parts of the house. The resolution was:

We hold to the use of both gold and silver without discrimination against either metal or a charge for mintage and the maintenance of its equal exchange value by either international agreement of such safeguards as shall [assure] the maintenance of this parity, and the equal power of every dollar, at all times, in the markets and in the payments of debts.

He said that it was the same plank on which Cleveland and Bryan had been elected. A voice cried. "That's not true," regarding the latter statement.

Mr. Meisner of York offered a motion that all censure of the president be stricken from the platform. He offered an amendment to that effect. Motions were at once made to lay the minority report and the Meisner resolution on the table. By request of W. H. Thompson the money plans of both reports were read again. Chairman Oldham then, in an inimitable manner, ruled the Meisnes resolution out of order and the convention laughed until it was tired. Mr. Meisner was not a member of the committee on resolutions.

Mr. Thompson said he was a delegate to the national convention and when that convention adopted the Chicago platform it believed it was adopting a ratio of 16 to 1.

Minority Report Defeated.

The roll was then called on the motion to lay the minority report on the table. As several of the first counties voted "no'' there was applause, but it was weak compared with that which greeted Douglas, Lancaster and other big counties when they voted solidly to lay on the table. It was noticed that most of the cheering in favor of the minority report came from the gallery and from a crowd of visitors which blocked the south doorway, and not from the body, of the hall occupied by delegates.

When Keya Paha county was called a voice called, "One vote no." Secretary Honin challenged the vote and requested the man who cast it to step forward. He did not do so and it developed that it was cast by a railroad administration trigger who happened to know that the delegate from Keya Paha was not present. There were calls of "Put him out!" but Secretary Honin continued to call the roll and there was no trouble.

When Washington county was called there was some more fun. The chairman voted the delegation "no" and J. H. Waldo of Blair said that was not right by a "blamed" sight. The chairman wanted to read the instructions, but he was drowned in the confusion.

Judge Batty got the floor and referred to the national convention of 1884, and said that the unit rule and Instructions were recognized by democrats.

The chair ruled that the delegation should be polled and voted as a unit, the majority to rule. Judge Doane wanted the instructions read before the delegation was polled. The chair ruled the poll must be first. The poll was: Yeas 4 and nays 2; three being absent. The chairman then read the instructions after considerable confusion. The money instruction was a "straddle," made up in part of the Chicago platform. Mr. Bryan obtained the floor and asked that the vote of the county be recorded as "no," for the reason that the instructions were for the Chicago platform, and the people who sent them had a right to say how they should vote. After winning a great victory he did not want one vote which was not the free expression of the people of any certain section through their representatives.

How the Vote Stood.

The secretary announced the vote as 392 for and 159 against laying on the table. The announcement was greeted by a demonstration of mingled cheers and hisses, the latter principally from the railroad corner. The motion to adopt the majority report was then put and carried by a viva voce vote.


A Resolution Passed Commending Their Action in the House

C. J. Smyth then offered the following resolution:

We fully indorse the course of Hon. W. J. Bryan in congress, and we compliment Senator Allen and Congressmen McKeighan and Kem on the work done by them in behalf of the people of Nebraska.

It was not pandemonium, but it was not very far from that. Finally Mr. Marvin got the floor and objected to indorsing any populists.

Then W. S. Shoemaker got up on a chair and attempted to tell the convention why it should indorse these populists. Chairman Oldham said he would not have the convention broken up by a mob and would clear the galleries if order could not be obtained.

W. S. Shoemaker finally was heard and said the reason this resolution should be passed here was that when the tariff bill, the money question and the federal election law were up Allen, McKeighan and Kem voted with the democrats.

Mr. Smyth said this resolution was read in committee and signed by all members except Mr. Marvin. Senator Allen was a better democrat than Brice, Gorman or Murphy. [Applause.]

After Mr. Smyth finished Matt Miller said he was in favor of commending any man who was democrat judged by his actions.

Mr. Marvin rose to offer a substitute resolution and the convention again resolved itself into a mob.

The chair put the motion to adopt the resolution, offered by Mr. Smyth on behalf of all the committee except Mr. Marvin, and declared it carried.

Mr. Marvin insisted he had no objections to indorsing Mr. Bryan, but so far as the others named were concerned, a populist convention was the place for them to receive their encomium. [Cheers.]

Mr. Thompson said the democrats in McKeighan's district had indorsed this course and McKeighan ran as a democrat as well as a populist [Applause.]

Mr. Marvin withdrew his request for a roll call and the resolution was adopted. Mr. Bryan was then introduced.


Tells His Friends Exactly Where He Stands —No Equivocation.

Mr. Bryan, after the applause which greeted him on making his appearance had subsided, said:

"Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen of the Convention and Fellow Citizens: I am not going to assume to make a speech, for it is not an hour for the presentation of the issues of the campaign, and no words which I can say would effectually express the sense of gratitude which I feel at this distinguished honor which at your hands I have received. I regard the United States as the greatest legislative body of the greatest nation upon the earth, and you can impose upon a fellow citizen no graver responsibility than to voice the sentiments and to protect the rights of each man or human being in that great position.

"When I look back four years ago, when at the hands of some who are present in this convention, I received my first nomination and went forth and with them won and unexpected victory, due but little to myself, when I remember how few at that time thought that the nomination so granted was aught but an empty compliment, and then realize that tonight, within four years since that time, you have seen fit to commend what I have humbly tried to do, and have said by your voice that it is your will that I make the race for this high office, I can hardly realize that so much of history has been made in so brief a time.

Nothing to Take Back.

"I look back over what I have tried to do with nothing of regret except I have been able to do so little of what I have desired to do. I have realized as each day passed more and more the magnitude of the work, and more and more the exactitude of such a position. I want to say to you that I have striven as best I could to carry out your wishes as expressed at the convention and to protect your rights, as I understood them, and to do my duty as I saw it. I believe from your vote tonight that you will give me credit for having at least made an earnest attempt.

"I could not promise more fidelity in the future than I have tried to give in the past. The experience, which by your suffrages I have been able to earn, will be used, if by your suffrages again I am made a member of the upper part of congress.

"I feel, my friends, that there are great questions in which our people are vitally interested, and I am glad to feel, as was stated by the chairman, that every difficult problem can be solved without introducing any new principles, but by the application

About this Document

  • Source: Omaha World Herald
  • Citation: 1
  • Date: September 27, 1894