Bryan-Thurston First 1894 Debate (Nebraska State Journal)

This article from the October 18, 1894 edition of the Nebraska State Journal summarizes the first debate between Republican candidate John M. Thurston and Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan during the 1894 Nebraska Senate campaign. The article also presents each man's speech, in full, as well as their rebuttal statements.

The debate between John M. Thurston and Congressman W.J. Bryan was heard yesterday at the state fair grounds by at least 7,000 persons, tickets having been issued to that number. The debate opened at 2 o'clock and lasted until 4:40.

Republicans who listened to the two champions arrive at but one conclusion. By them the effort of Judge Thurston is considered a masterly oration, a legal and logical argument based on the principles of republicanism, while to them the debate of Mr. Bryan was an eloquent but illogical and inconsistent speech based on the Bryan platform, in which he frequently renounced party principles and platform planks, renouncing as he did at the close all allegiance to men or measures except insofar as he chose to favor them.

Mr. Thurston was grave, dignified and decidedly earnest. His physical condition was not the best, but the hoarseness of his voice only gave to it a deeper tone and he was heard throughout the structure. In his delivery he was slow and deliberate. Mr. Bryan was in good form and voice and delivered his first speech with his usual grace, tinged with the manner of the trained actor. In his closing address he became greatly excited from the goading argument of his opponent and kicked from under him all party props. In view of the fact that Bryan took the position of a free lance, his opponent had difficulty in confining himself to issues between the republican and democratic parties.

Owing to the lack of a large building in the city it was deemed advisable to hold the debate in mercantile hail at the fair grounds, and the big building was according seated with camp chairs and boards. Committees on each side representing the principals were given 3,500 tickets to distribute, but the supply was much too small to accommodate all who supplied. Early in the morning the skirmish for tickets commenced and continued until the scramble for place was unprecedented in the history of Lincoln politics. E.R. Sizer and James O'Shee, who had charge of the distribution for each party, were obliged to exercise forbearance in dealing with the anxious applicants.

The rush for the hall commenced at noon, two hours before the debate began. Ample provision had been made by the B & M and the Lincoln Street Railway company to carry the people, so that the building was full to the doors before the speaking commenced. That neither principal in the debate might have a superior representation in numbers two doorkeepers were at each entrance, one representing each speaker, and tickets were closely scrutinized. The necessary police protection to preserve order was forthcoming. In order to see and hear a great portion of the audience was obliged to stand. Every nook of the big building from end to end, including the four wings and space under the dome, was filled with humanity. Ladies represented nearly half of the audience.

Notwithstanding the intense party feeling natural in an audience of that kind, it was lively, good-natured gathering. Shouts and hurrahs went up from time to time while the crowd waited for the orators. Foremost among the merry makers were students from various institutions, each crowd with its peculiar yell.

Combined enthusiasm of both sides broke out a few moments before 9 o'clock, when the speakers and their parties were seen picking their way to the little stand. John P. Maule of Lincoln, chairman of the county central committee, first stepped upon the platform, followed by the signal for tremendous applause. Then came Mr. Bryan, who was likewise greeted. He was accompanied by Chairman Smyth, of the state democratic central committee. Mrs. Thurston accompanied her husband and occupied a seat on the platform. Later at an opportune moment Mrs. Bryan entered the stand and, after an exchange of greetings with Mrs. Thurston, was seated.

The first wave of enthusiasm subsided when Chairman Smyth arose and announced the terms of the debate in regard to time. Mr. Bryan was to open and close, the order to be reversed at the debate in Omaha tonight. Mr. Smyth said there would be no objections to applause, but there were to be no other interruptions from the audience, and if there were, but he believed there would be none, the time so occupied was to be added to the time of the speaker.


Mr. Bryan Outlines the Issues Which He Desires to Argue.

At the appointed time Chairman Smyth introduced Mr. Bryan as the champion of democratic [pr]inciples and tremendous cheering greeted him, lasting for nearly one minute. Mr. Bryan said:

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman and Fellow Citizens: It is difficult enough to be heard over so large an audience if everyone keeps perfectly quiet. This is not a gladiatorial combat in which victory perches upon the standard of him who combines the of most strength and skill, but it is rather a chariot race in which the contestants are drawn by forces greater than themselves. The candidates who are before you are the representatives of certain principles, and they must rise or fall as those principles are accepted or rejected. I say that those who are before you are candidates because we stand in the same position, the only difference being that while both of us are willing to serve the people as United States senator, one is named by a convention and the other belongs to a party which has made no open choice. Mr. Thurston said in his first letter in reply to the invitation to debate that if he received an office it would have to be at the free and voluntary hand of the republican party. I want to assure my friends that I expect no office at the voluntary hands of those who have no office to give. I know no other way of getting it.

Willing to Serve.

When my friend was a candidate two years ago before the legislature, and when the republicans did not have a majority in the legislature, his friends were anxious for votes from democrats or populists as well as from republicans. [Applause.] And if the next legislature has no republican majority, I imagine that my friend will not scrutinize too closely the political complexion of those members of the legislature who are willing to cast their votes for him. I think that he, like myself, will receive the votes of the legislators who are willing to vote for us and ask no questions except that they desire us as their public servants. We stand before you, then, as two men willing to be employed, and you, the sovereign people, are to determine whether you desire us or not.

In the Same Boat.

A public servant is a hired man; he is employed at a fixed salary to do a certain work, and you have not to consider his anxiety to be your servant or his ambition to be elected. You have simply to consider your own interests, and whether you can protect your rights and advance your interests by employing the one or the other. Therefore, we are before you virtually in the same position, and we come to tell you what we believe, that you may better know whether he or I can serve you best. You employ men in public service, not to think for you; you think for yourselves. You employ them to act for you. Then parties adopt their platforms in order that you may know how a man will act when he is elected, and you choose your man because of those things to which he is pledged when he becomes your servant. And the first thing that you have to determine is, what are the issues before the people and upon which side of those issues do the parties arrange themselves.

Stands on the Platform.

The democratic platform adopted at Omaha on the 26th last month is before you. I stand upon and I indorse every utterance of that platform. [Applause.] And if I am elected it shall be my duty to carry out that platform to the best of my ability.

The republican convention met on the 22d, I believe it was, of last August, and that convention adopted a platform. Whether that platform will be the chart by which my friend will be guided, if elected, we shall learn when he comes to speak. In his letter he said that he would not revise the platform of his party to gratify his personal ambition. At that convention you will remember that my friend made a speech in which he said if he were asked to write the platform of his party–and he gave a very different platform from the one which the party did write; by which platform he will be governed remains for us to see. We can tell after he has committed himself on those questions on which one he stands.

I desire to take up some of the questions which are at issue before us and discuss them this afternoon. I shall not this afternoon discuss the tariff question. I shall leave that until tomorrow night, when we meet at Omaha. But there are some questions upon which the parties are not at issue, if you take the platforms, because there are some important questions upon which the republican platform does not speak. And one of the things which we desire in this debate is to find out whether the republican candidate is going to be silent on every question upon which the republican platform is silent, or whether we can learn from him his position upon those questions which are really at issue between the parties.

Income Tax.

The first question to which I invite your attention is the income tax. The democratic platform adopted at Omaha declares in favor of the income tax as a permanent part of the fiscal system. It was a part of the Wilson bill as it passed the house and a part of the present tariff law as it passed the senate. It is limited to five years in duration, and unless some affirmative action is taken at the end of five years the tax will cease by the limitations of the law. I believe in our platform; I believe in an income tax, and if I am elected it shall stay upon the statute books just as long as I can help to keep it there. [Cheers.]

I regard it as just in principle and as wise in policy, and I ask my opponent to explain to you why the republican party would neither commend nor condemn it in its platform. If the tax is just, the republican party ought to be great enough to commend it; if it is unjust, it ought t be courageous enough to condemn it. You who are citizens of Nebraska are interested in knowing how your public servants will act upon it, for if that tax is taken off it must be put somewhere; if it is taken off from the fortunes of the rich it must be put back upon the backs of the poor. And we content that even now, with the small part to be collected from incomes, the federal revenues are paid too much by those who can least afford to pay it, and that those who deserve to pay more have been able to avoid their share of federal taxation.

Adjustment of Burdens.

The income tax is just in principle because it seeks to fit the burdens to the backs of the people; it seeks to make men pay in proportion to the protection which they enjoy at the hands of the government. How is it now? Why, with an income tax furnishing one-tenth, and not more than that, of our federal revenues, we will still collect about nine-tenths of our revenues from important duties and internal revenue taxes approximately one-half from each. Who pays these taxes? The internal revenue taxes are collected upon liquor and tobacco, and men pay them, not in proportion to their income, but in proportion to the liquor and tobacco which they use. Men do not use those things in proportion to their income, and therefore they do not contribute by this means to the support of the government in proportion to their income. I need only suggest to you that a person with an income of $100,000 does not use a hundred times the amount of liquor and tobacco, on the average, as does the man with an income of $1,000; the man with an income of $1,000,000 does not use a thousand times as much as the man with an income of $1,000. Therefore, men do not pay in proportion to their income, and when those taxes are collected they are collected from those with small incomes in larger proportion to the income than from those with large incomes.

Taxes Apportioned.

How is it with import duties? They are collected upon what we eat, wear and use. Not only are they collected upon those things which we import, but they are collected also to a still greater extent in amount upon those things which we produce at home and consume at home. Do men wear clothing or eat food or use the articles taxed in proportion to their income? You recognize that that is not the case. A man with an income of a hundred thousand dollars does not spend a hundred times as much for food as the man with an income of a thousand, or does he spend a hundred times as much for clothing. Therefore, we realize that when we collect our taxes from import duties we make the man with a small income pay a larger per cent of his income to support the government than we do the man with a larger income.

Protection to Small Incomes.

Now, we have left an exemption of all incomes under $4,000. Why? Because, those with smaller incomes paying more than their share through the other systems of taxation, we did not deem it just that they should pay the same proportion of this additional one-tenth, and, therefore, the smaller incomes were exempted, and we said to those with large incomes, "You now pay less than your share; we will tax you until those who have large incomes are brought up to the point where they pay the same proportion as those with small incomes." There ought to be an exemption in any income tax law. We do not believe that even with this one-tenth income collected from incomes over $4,000 that we now bring those with the large incomes up to their share, and I shall favor increasing the per cent that we shall collect from income taxes, rather than decreasing it, for the purpose of restoring equality in the treatment of the people. [Applause.]

Corporations Scot Free.

But only about one-half of the income tax is collected from individual incomes. The other half is collected from the net incomes of corporations. Now, my friends, d you realize that a corporation pays no tax to support the federal government? A corporation does not use liquor or tobacco; it has no small vices. It does not wear clothing or eat food. Yet you know that much of the expense of the federal government is incurred by corporations. The chairman of the committee of the judiciary stated just before the adjournment of congress that two-thirds of the business, and that that kind of business was swelling the work of the court that they would ask for additional judges.

Isn't it fair, my friends, that those corporations which call upon the general government to protect them through the courts and to protect them by the strong arm of the law, isn't it fair that they should pay their share of the expense of the government whose protection they ask? Do you realize, too, that a great many corporations enjoy special franchise; corporations like street railway companies which have the right of way in a city; corporations like gas companies; like railroad companies which have the right of eminent domain, and have to a large extent a monopoly of the business within their territory?

And all corporations have this advantage. That a stockholder can limit his liability while an individual who goes into an enterprise with all the property he has. I believe it is only fair that we should collect from those people2 per cent of the net earning, which simply means that after all the expense are taken out that the corporation shall turn over 2 per cent of that which is really the net earnings to the support of the federal government.

Reaches Foreigners.

In this way we are enabled to reach many in foreign lands who have investments in this county, and who, but for this law, could escape any contribution to the expenses of the government which enables them to amass their wealth. A person in a foreign land investing his money in a corporation here. We say by this law that those who do it shall stand on the same footing with our citizens and shall contribute from their net income to the support of their government. You must sit in judgment upon this question. If you believe that that income tax is just, if you believe that it ought to continue a part of our fiscal system, then you can ask yourselves, my friends, why it is that the republican party does not say in its platform whether it favors it or not and does not commit to its support or to its opposition those who are its candidates.

Union Pacific Lines.

There is another question to which I invite your attention, and it is a question upon which the republican party has not spoken in its platform and that is the foreclosure of the liens against the Pacific Railway company. This is a question in which our people are interested and I am surprised that the republican party did not see fit in its state platform to express itself upon a question of such vital importance, a question which is immediately before us for settlement.

I need hardly refer to your memory of the history of this railroad. The government started out to aid in the building a line from the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean, and it dealt liberally with the people who were going to manage the enterprise. It gave of land, and it gave its credit, and is made certain conditions with which the companies agreed to comply. One of the conditions was that the capital stock of the companies should be paid up in full and the companies should pay back to the general government a centain part of their receipts, or certain sums, until the entire amount should be paid back to the government. What has been done?

I think I can state without fear of contradiction that there has been no honest endeavor on the part of those corporations to comply with their contract with the government. They did not pay in their capital stock; they did not turn back to the government all that they could have done. But while they owed the government the stockholders voted to themselves dividends and paid money to themselves and let the government's debt accumulate.

Due on Mortgages.

I have a statement which I obtained Monday from the acting secretary of the treasury from the acting secretary of the treasury, Scott White, in which he says that the amount due from the Pacific railroads, principal and interest, January 1, 1885, was $108,050,000; January 1, 1890, $123,540,000, and October 1, 1894, $138,621,000. They owe more today by about $30,000,000 than they did in 1885, and yet from the time the road began they have paid out to themselves $63,000,000 in dividends and they come down now confessing that they cannot pay the amount they owe the government.

That Minority Report.

Governor Pattison of Pennsylvania was a minority member of the commission which investigated these roads and reported in 1887. Mr. Pattison says in concluding his report: "At the present prices of railroad construction it is evident that from the properties themselves the government cannot recover within $108,000,000 of the present value of the indebtedness owing to it by the bond-aided companies, and any extension of time for payment would be useless and expose to further risk the depreciation of the present inadequate security of the debt." Mr. Pattison recommended the foreclosure of these liens. The democratic convention held in Omaha in 1889 recommended in its platform the foreclosure of these liens. The democratic platform adopted at Omaha the other day recommended the immediate foreclosure of these liens as soon as they were due, and I believe in the foreclosure, and if I am your senator from this state elected by the next legislature there will be no extension of the indebtedness of the liens upon any one of these roads so far as I can prevent it, and I shall do all I can to secure the foreclosure on the first hour of the first day when the liens become due. [Applause and cheers.]

How to Reduce Freight Rates.

Mr. Pattison says in his report that had these roads dealt fairly with the government they might today have railroads to the value of $124,000,000 at an expense to themselves of $35,000,000; they could have owned them free from debt; they could have paid back to the government all the government now holds a claim for, and they could have reduced the rates for transportations $140,000,000 besides. Those roads were stocked and bonded for about three times what it cost to build them, and they have been trying to collect transportation rates which will pay interest and dividends upon three times what the roads are worth. If you foreclose the roads, if you bring them down to the actual basis of present valuation, rates can be fixed upon that, and the people can save the expense of freight rates upon fictitious capital.

Mr. Pattison says in that report that "to extend the liens of the Union Pacific lines would mean the payment of $4,000,000 a year by the people along the line in excess of the amount that need be paid if the road was capitalized at its actual value." Four millions a year for fifty years means two hundred millions of dollars. Two hundred millions of dollars to be drained from the people along the line to pay to the holders of watered stock, stockholders who have lost no opportunity to defraud the government and oppress the people over whose land they run. [Applause.]

Do Stockholders Want it?

My friend, so far as I know, has only expressed himself upon this question at one place. At Wayne, Neb., according to the report which I read in the Bee and in THE JOURNAL, he criticized my position in favor of foreclosure and said, if the report in the papers be true, that there were stockholders who would be willing to pay a million dollars to have the liens foreclosed. My friends, I want to ask you what interest a stockholder would have in foreclosing the liens on these roads, even though the purpose be to extinguish the government liens. The government liens come before the stockholder, and the government's interest cannot be wiped out until the stockholder has been wiped out, too. I want to admit that it is my judgment that a foreclosure will not bring to the people of the United States any money from this road. I doubt if today it will sell for more than the first incumbrance.

Now you have two things to consider: If you extend the liens for fifty years and the government gets its money, from whom does the government get it? It gets it from the people along the line of the road. And I want to invoke a legal principle the correctness of which I think my friend will admit: If I appoint a man to collect a debt for me, and he collects the money and puts it in his own pocket, can I collect it again, or must I lose it because of the embezzlement of my agent? Whose agent is the Union Pacific? Whose agents are these other Pacific roads? They are the agents of the general government. The representatives from all parts of the union have had a hand in the laws that regulated them.

Roads Robbing People.

The general government has authorized the roads to colleet money from the people along their lines and pay the indebtedness of the government, but the roads have collected the money and put it down in their own pockets, and Ideny the justice of the general government to authorize its agents to collect the money a second time from the people who have already paid it. [Applause.] If anybody must lose that money, let it be lost by the general government, by whose neglect the money has been squandered, and let it not be collected again from the people who have paid it once–paid it because the general government authorized its collection, and paid it because they could not prevent it.

Opposes Extension.

And, my friends, I want to take the other side. I want to express it as my judgment that if you extend the loan for fifty years, at the end of that time the government will be no nearer paid than it is today. The statement which I read to you shows that the indebtedness is increasing. If it increases thirteen million dollars in less than ten years, what will be the amount of the indebtedness at the end of fifty years if you extend the loan?

If these stockholders have not paid the government when they could have paid it, why should you give them another fifty years in which to do as poorly as they have done in the past?

A Story.

If the government is going to lose, I want to make it a preferred creditor as the man in the story made one of his creditors a preferred creditor. He was about to fail in business and he called his creditors together and after a little banquet stated his condition and asked for an extension of a year. One after another consented and finally when they had gone out a very dear friend of his stopped and said:

"Of course, I agreed to the extension, but of course," he says, "you are not going to treat me as you did these others, you are going to make me a preferred creditor."

"O, yes," he says, "I will tell you that you are not going to get anything, and these others won't find it out for a year." [Laughter and applause.]

I want, my friends, to make the government a preferred creditor and let it know right now that it is not going to get a cent, and if it is not going to, not to let it go on collecting tolls for fifty years more and let them find it out then, to the sorrow of the people along the line. [Applause.]

I want to call your attention to another question.

Paper Money.

Upon the question of paper money the republican party in its convention has not expressed itself. It is a question at issue, a question upon which every member of congress must act and every senator who represents you in the upper house.

Our platform has taken a position and it has placed itself on record in favor of three separate propositions in connection with the money question, and I ask that my opponent shall state whether he stands upon the republican platform and is silent upon this great subject, or whether he will volunteer to tell this people what he will do in case by their franchise he is made senator. The national banks are not only seeking to have more money issued upon their bonds, not only seeking to extend it from 90 per cent to 100, but they are seeking to reduce the tax upon the circulation, and are also seeking to have other kinds of security substituted for national bonds.

My platform speaks on the subject and I will indorfe its every word upon this question. It says that the right to issue paper money is an attribute of sovereignty and that whatever paper money we need ought to be issued by the federal government as the greenbacks were. [Applause.] If I am your senator, so far as I can prevent it, there will never be another dollar of paper money issued by a national bank or state bank or any private corporation. [Cheers].

Objections to National Bank.

There are two objections to the issue of money by a private corporation: In the first place, you violate the principle shat all men are created equal. Whether you have a state bank or an national bank. To give the issue of money to the bank is to confer a special privilege. At this time we see that if a man holds a bond he can draw interest upon it and use 90 per cent of the acts besides. I deny the justice of that discrimination. [Applause.] I believe that no government like ours can afford to say to one man, "You may eat your cake or keep it," and say to another, "You can both eat your cake and keep it." [Laughter and applause.]

The Money Trust.

There is a more serious objection, and that is giving the volume of the currency into the hands of private parties. The first principle of money is that the value of the dollar depends upon the number of dollars is made to depend upon the wish of private corporations, then you give into the hands who determine the volume the value of each dollar, and when you give them the determination of the value of the dollar you give them the determination of the value of all property measured by money.

Talk about a trust! There is no trust that compares in importance with the money trust. There is no trust whose influence for evil is so gigantic as a money trust, and, my friends, I pledge you to carry out the utterance of that platform and not put the volume of the currency into the hands of any private person or corporation, no matter what is the name or designation. [Applause.]

But the platform goes further than that. The platform says: "We believe that all money issued by the governmen, whether it be gold, silver or paper, should be made a legal tender for all debts, public and private." [Applause.] I believe that the government has power to give legal tender qualities to its money. The supreme court has so decided. And I do not believe that there should be one dollar of money in circulation which is not a full legal tender for all debts public and private. I do not believe that the government should allow a money to be put before the people which his good, if people are willing to receive it.

Opposes Gold Contracts.

The platform goes further and it says that no person should be permitted by contract to demonetize that money which the government makes good by law. Its opposition to the making of contracts for gold or silver or any other particular kind of money we believe in. I believe in prohibiting the demonetization by contract of the people's money. [Applause.] I believe that that money which the law makes it good for ninety-nine of the people must be good for the other hundredth man; I believe that that money which the law makes good for the common people ought to be good enough for the money lender, I don't care where he lives.

You allow a man to make a contract for gold in the first place, and if you make enough of those contracts the increased demand will raise gold to a premium, and then you allow the man to take advantage of his own wrong and collect a dearer dollar than he loaned.

More than that, one man makes a contract to pay gold, and to get the gold he must also make contracts for gold to secure himself, and thus one wrong compels, as it were, another wrong ,and you never know where the influence is to end.

But if you say that no man shall contract for a particular kind of money, you stop the first man and then the other men are not required to protect themselves by making gold tracts. Here are three separate propositions. They are propositions which hare coming before congress. One of the last bills called up and not acted upon was a bill to prevent the making of these special contracts. It will be up again. My platform says where we stand, that we are opposed to the issue of paper money by private corporations; that we believe that all money issued by the government should be made a full legal tender, and that the right to demonetize by contract that money which the government makes money by law should be prohibited.

I ask my friend will he supplement the republican platform and tell us where stands upon this question, or will he leave the people to guess what he will do when occasion arises for action. [Applause.]

Declares for Free Coinage.

And now, my friends, I have twenty minutes left in which to discuss another question. It is a question upon which my friend and I differ. My platform says something, and he who runs may read it. It declares in words like this: "We favor the immediate restoration of the free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver at the present ratio of 16 to 1 without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation on earth." [Prolonged applause.]

Republicans Cheer.

Here is the republican platform: "The republican party of Nebraska has always been the constant friend and aggressive champion of honest money, (cries of "You bet"), and it now takes no a step backward. [Cheers from the republican side.] While we favor bimetallism and demand the use of both gold and silver as standard money, we insist that the parity of the value of the two metals be maintained so that every dollar of paper or coin issued by the government shall be as good as any other." [Prolonged applause.] Now, my friends, I want my opponent to tell you what that means. [Cries of "You know."] You don't know what it means. [Cries of "He will do it."] My friends, you have confidence that he will do it. Well, my friends, there is no one in this audience who will be more delighted than I will be to hear him tell what it means. ["You will hear quick enough."]

In the platform which he said he would write for his party if he were asked to write it he did not indorse that plank. He said he believed in the free coinage of the American product. My friends, no national party, republican party, has declared for the free coinage of the American product. If he had wanted that platform to contain that declaration, there was a time to have secured it. If he had proposed an amendment in the convention then he could have found whether the republican party was in favor of it or not, and that would have been the time to advocate the free coinage of the American product.

Question of Construction.

My friends, that platform has been constructed by many people. My friends, that platform is not as favorable to American silver as the national platform adopted at Minneapolis, and yet the men who stood upon the Minneapolis platform went down to congress and voted to repeal the Sherman law; they voted against the free coinage of silver at 16 to 1, or 17 to 1, or 18 to 1, or 19 to 1, or 20 to 1.

You can find men standing on that platform who will construe it in a dozen different ways, and we are anxious now to find out what is the orthodox construction to be placed upon the platform by its greatest exponent in the state of Nebraska. [Applause.] We believe in the treatment of gold and silver exactly alike. We believe that when am an takes his silver to the mint he should have it coined and handed back to him just the same as he who takes his gold to the mint.

We believe in the unlimited coinage of silver because we have the unlimited coinage of gold. When they bring gold to the mint the director does not ask, "Where did you get this gold?" You can bring it from Australia, you can bring it from Colorado, you can bring it from Mexico. Wherever it comes from it is coined on the same terms and they ask no questions. We ask that you shall do with silver just the sam. If you believe in the equal treatment of gold and silver, you must give unlimited coinage to silver as you give it to gold. But some have said if we have the unlimited coinage of silver we will be flooded by the silver from other countries. If that argument is made this afternoon I would like to have a bill of particulars to accompany is so we will know where the silver is to come from. [Applause.] The silver of France–and she has more than we have –is coined at a ratio of fifteen and one-half to one, and French silver would have to add 3 cents on the dollar in order to be worth as much as it is at home. It cannot come from France; it cannot come from the nations which hare using silver, because they are giving it today a higher value than we would give it here under the free coinage of silver. Mexico is the only country which has any considerable quantity of silver that could come here. Her ratio is less favorable to silver than ours.

Flood of Foreign Silver.

My friends, it has been said by some that if we had a free and unlimited coinage of silver that some man abroad would buy up silver cheap and come over here and have it coined at double its value and make an enormous profit. When a man brings silver from abroad, he has it coined and it is handed back to him, and if he gets rid of his silver it must be by contract with somebody willing to take it. He can give us the silver or go home, and nobody will object to receiving the silver as a gift.

If he wants to give a silver dollar for a gold dollar, he must find somebody who is willing to give his gold dollar for the silver dollar. He cannot compel the giving of exchanging of gold for silver. If he wants to buy goods, he can only by goods with his silver from those who are willing to accept his silver for the goods. You can trust the honesty and intelligence of the American people not to allow a cheap dollar to be palmed off on us.

Not Afraid of a Cheap Dollar.

If you are afraid that some man will bring a cheap dollar here and cheat us, then, my friends, we had better have a conservator appointed, because we are liable to the same thing at home. If you think that a man can go around and buy up silver for 63 cents an ounce and come over and have it coined for $1.29 you try that same plan here at home. Just go around among your neighbors and buy everything they have at half price and sell at full price, and get rich on the difference. It is an easy thing to do only for one thing: you cannot find many who are willing to let their property go at half price. [Laughter.] And yet that selfishness on the part of the people has stood in the way of more fortunes than any other one thing. [Laughter and applause.] Whenever a man can come from England and have his silver coined at $1.29 an ounce, then that silver will be worth $1.29 an ounce whenever you can find it less the cost of getting here. So, my friends, there is no danger to be feared from that. Why, England is a creditor nation, and if there is any danger at all the danger is that if the dollar was cheap we might pay our debts with it and England might suffer.

There is far more danger of England suffering from the cheap dollar than of our suffering, and we do not believe that Nebraska will suffer.

We believe that the restoration of the gold and silver coinage of the constitution, and the free and unlimited coinage at the ratio of 16 to 1 will not make a cheap dollar, but that this nation, the greatest nation of all the nations on earth, is able to open its mines and invite here the d silver from all the nations and maintain the parity at 16 to 1, as France has maintained it as 15½ to 1 for seventy years, and that is not as great a nation as ours. [Applause.]

About the Ratio.

And now a word as to the ratio. Those who favor the free coinage of the American product do not tell us at what ratio they would coin it, and yet the ratio is the first subject that greets a man who attempts to legislate on this question. You cannot make a law for the coining of the American product until you have determined at what ratio you will coin it with gold. If my friend takes the position in favor of the free coinage of the American product, then I ask him to tell us at what ratio he is willing to coin even the American product; if he says 16 to 1 as it is against the free and unlimited coinage at 16 to 1. Free coinage of the American product at 16 to 1 would give just as much profit and benefit and bonus to the mine owner as would the unlimited coinage at 16 to 1. Therefore, those who favor 16 to 1 must not argue against the mine owner's profit.

Mine Owners' Profit.

But just a word on the mine owners' profit. My friends, do you realize that free coinage cannot bring back to the mine owner a single cent more than demonetization took away from him? If the free coinage of silver brings to the mine owner a profit it is proof conclusive that demonetization during all of these years has deprived him of it. Is it unjust in him to ask that you take away the law that has blighted his prosperity? I believe that as silver has gone down so have the prices of the staples with which we compete with India. We believe that the farmer has lost $5 by the fall in silver to every dollar lost by the mine owner; we believe that the restoration of the free coinage of silver at 16 to 1 will bring back to the farmer $5of benefit where it brings to the mine owner $1, and yet you cannot bring back to the farmer a single dollar that you did not take away from him. If you are going to change the ratio, at what point will you fix the ratio, and do you realize what it means to change the ratio? Ah, my friends, the miners of silver may be willing to change the ratio and accept any ratio that will enable them to produce their silver at a profit.

Profit to the Farmer.

The farmer profits two ways. In the first place by the demonetization of silver we have brought a demand upon gold which has raised the price of gold, increased the amount of every debt which he owes, and the restoration of silver will bring in to use both the gold and the silver and lessen the strain upon gold and stop the appreciation of money, to the benefit of the farmer and every debtor like him.

And there is another thing. The farmer has sold his wheat and his cotton in competition with silver-producing countries.

Mr. Rusk in the report of 1890, agricultural report, on page 8, I believe it is, points to the fact that because of the Sherman law the value of silver rose to $1.20 an ounce, or something like that, and that the price of the farmer's wheat rose with the price of silver, and he points out the reason for it, and you will find that as silver went down last summer, wheat went down and cotton went down; and wheat touched the lowest point known in the history of the United States at the time when silver was the lowest that it had been known. [Applause.]

Change of Ratio.

But, my friends, I have six minutes more and I want to devote a little bit of that and call your attention to the fact of the change of ratio, if you are going to change the ratio. The bullion ratio is now something like 1 to 32. If you attempt to draw the line one-half way between and make the ratio 1 to 24 it means that your silver dollar if you increase it must be a half larger than it is now, and if the nations of the world agree to the changed ratio it means that the four billions of silver in the world must be coined over into dollars half as large again it means a decrease in the number of dollars of one billion and a third; it means a decrease of one-sixth of the metallic money of the world; it means an increase in the debts of the world of billions of dollars, and a decrease in the value of property of many millions of dollars more.

The change in the ratio is a serious matter, and there is no occasion for bringing such distress upon the human race as a change of ratio; and the decrease of the volume of the currency would bring until at least you have made an effort to restore the parity at the old ratio by repealing the laws that destroyed the parity. [Applause.] But that is not the worst.

If we could do this at once and let people readjust their affairs to new conditions we might go on, but when you have changed the ratio then you must rely upon the silver that comes from the mines and coin it into dollars one-half as large again. If we have now one hundred and fifty millions available for coinage, at that time under the new ratio it would make only one hundred millions.

If today the gold and silver which can be coined annually is none too great to keep pace with the progress of the world and with tee demand for money, when you have decreased the amount fifty millions of dollars a year you have made the supply too small and have condemned your people to an appreciated standard. I ask my friend whether you can afford to change the ratio and bring these great consequences upon the human race, and yet that is what we are asked to do by those who talk about changing the ratio or as if the ratio was a matter of indifference.

Ah, my friends, this question is not confined to the American product: it is not confined to the silver of the United States; this money question is a question which reaches out and touches every human being from the time he leaves the cradle until he enters the grave; it is a question that is a broad as humanity, and upon its just solution ride the hopes and interests of all the race; and to talk of changing the ratio and coining simply the American product is to touch but the border of the garment, it is to but enter upon a small part of this enormous question which must confront the people until it is settled, and settled right.

Appreciated Standard.

My friends, I have not thought it worth while to call your attention to the evil effects of an appreciated standard; I know of no man a candidate for office in this western country who advocates a gold standard, an universal gold standard joined in by all the world, would bring more of misfortune, more of misery to the human race than the mind can imagine, or a tongue can tell. Mr. Carlisle in 1878, speaking on the subject, said that the conspiracy to destroy by legislation one-half of the world's metallic money was the most gigantic crime of this or any other age. And he said also that the consummation of the scheme would entail more of misery upon the human race than all the wars, pestilences and famines that the world had ever seen.

I believe he told the truth. I do not believe he exaggerated the fact. Any yet, my friends, who is going to bring the free coinage of silver and the restoration of bimetallism? Is it those who advocate some new fangled scheme that would take a generation to bring before the people if it had merit in it? Who is going to bring the restoration of bimetallism? I call your attention to the fact that there is not a prominent advocate of bimetallism in the United States today that is advocating it at any other ratio but sixteen to one.

If you want to restoration of silver you have got to get it through the people who believe in 16 to 1. [Applause.] We have tried those who believe in other ratios, but they were destructive, not constructive.

Wait for No Nation.

Now just one minute more. Not only must we restore silver, but we must restore it ourselves; we cannot wait for any nation on earth to help the American prople to help themselves. [Applause.] I appeal to the patriotism of those before me, to the patriotism of the people of Nebraska, and I ask them if they admit the condition? If they admit the necessity for a remedy will they not admit that we must act alone?

The worst that can from acting alone is infinitely better than the best that can come from waiting. And I appeal to you to give adherence to the platform adopted at Omaha, and declare with us, "We are in favor of the immediate restoration of the free and unlimited coinage of gold and silver at the present ratio of 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation on earth." [Applause.]

Another storm of applause followed when Mr. Bryan closed his opening address.


Discusses Issues Clearly Between the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Chairman John P. Maule presented Mr. Thurston as an advocate of republican doctrine who never followed, but always led, and as one who had lived in the state twenty-four years and needed no introduction. Before he finished there were cries for Thurston and on his appearance pandemonium broke loose. The distinguished speaker stood before the shouting assemblage for some time, but as the cheering did not cease he motioned repeatedly for silence. Order being restored, he proceeded to speak as follows:

Mr. Chairman, My Fellow Citizens: I am compelled to ask your indulgence because of the condition of my voice, but I assure you that it has republican qualities and will grow better–like the campaign–as it proceeds! [Applause.]

I am here by invitation to engage in a joint debate of those issues between the republican and the democratic parties, and I do not propose to be switched off from that purpose into a discussion of the personal candidacy of men for office. ["That is the stuff." Cheers.]

Neither the softshell democrats or the hardshell populists will have anything to do with the selection of the next senator from the state of Nebraska. [Applause.] The next senator from the state of Nebraska will be selected in the councils of the republican majority in our next legislature. ["You bet." Applause.] I care not what his name may be; we have a score of men in the republican party of Nebraska able to represent, and fit to represent, republican principles and our commonwealth in the senate of the United States.

For the Party Always.

As for me, I have no wish, I have no hope, I have no ambition which is not first, last and all the time for the republican party, and its eternal principles. [Applause.] for me, I would rather go down into the bottomless ocean of irretrievable political disaster with the flag of my party's principles nailed to the mast than to ride into the harbor of political safety under the banner of expediency, or upon the platform of any demagogue. [Applause.]

Not After Votes.

My fellow citizens, there is a difference in this country upon the question of platforms, and the people of the United States expect the republican party in power to stand by the platform it enunciates, and to crystallize into the legislation of the country those principles that its platform announces. Every platform of the republican party in this nation, when the republican party has come into power has been written by the pen of American statesmanship in the constitutional amendments and statutes of our country, but nobody in the United States expects that any other platform is made for any other purpose than to get votes upon. [Laughter and applause.]

Interested Only for the Poor.

I am asked by my distinguished friend to state what will be the position of the republican party upon the matter of the "income tax." The people of this country are no longer interested in the incomes of the rich of the country; they are interested today in finding some way, in God's name, to get incomes for the poor people he United States. [Applause.] The prosperity of our people does not rest upon the extraction of the mere pittance from the income of the rich man or the millionaire; it depends upon the addition to the income of the great laboring masses of the United States. [Applause.] And the republican party when it comes into power again proposed to devote its energies first of all to uncovering places and opening doors to that the working people of the United States may once more have opportunity to earn incomes for themselves and then there will be nor more trouble about an income tax in the United States. [Applause.]

Before and After Taking.

A democratic party once made it necessary for the people of this country to pass an income tax in order to raise enough revenue to put down the great war of the rebellion, but the republicans who stood for the tax were assailed from one end of our country to the other by the democratic party, which claimed that it was an unjustifiable tax, and that the republican party had no right to impose it; and today David B. Hill, the greatest democrat in the United States, denounces the income tax as bitterly as my friend, with all his eloquence, advocates its maintenance.


It is a little singular, my countrymen, that within eighteen months after the democratic party got in power it was compelled to levy an income tax to carry on this government. Speaking for the republican party so far as I understand its views, that party proposes to first levy a tariff in the United States for the protection of the laboring masses of our country, in order that American employment may be reserved for the people of the United States. [Applause.] And so far in the history of the legislation of this country that kind of a tariff law has been sufficient with the inspiring genius of its effect upon American development to take care of the revenues of our government, without going into the petty business of levying tribute upon the incomes of the American people. [Applause.] The income tax is all right enough in itself if we cannot get revenue for our people in any better war, but the fact of it is that a legislative act in the United States which will bring employment to the people of our country will make an income tax absolutely non-important to the people of this country. [Applause.]

"A Railroad Attorney."

My countrymen, my friend upon the other side has challenged me to a discussion of the matter of the foreclosure of the mortgage on the Pacific railroads; he has not done that here in so many words by asserting my employment by the Union Pacific Railroad company, but he has wherever else he bespoken to the people of this state. It matters not to me how often that charge is made before the people of the state of Nebraska. I came across the Missouri river twenty-five years ago. I landed here without an acquaintance or a friend. I have built myself up in this great commonwealth by my own unaided efforts and I am proud to declare it as a fact that seventeen years after I landed in this state an unknown boy I was selected without any solicitation on my part to stand at the head of the law department of the greatest railway system of the civilized world.

But, my countrymen, I am still prouder of another fact: One year ago the Union Pacific system passed by order of the circuit court of the United States into the charge of five receivers; three out of five of those men were prominent democrats of the United States; they were selected by the attorney-general of this administration after consultation with Mr. Cleveland, and I am proud of the fact that after they assumed charge of this great trust that those three democrats, having control of that board of receivers, solicited me by unanimous wish to remain as their counsel and as the counsel of the circuit court of the United States. [Applause.]

Legacy to Posterity.

And let me meet this matter here, for I cannot be present at every stump where it is placed before the people. For one year past I have neither professionally nor in any other manner represented a single railway corporation on the earth, or a bondholder, or a stockholder, or any other interest therein. [Voice: "Nor any newspaper."] No, gentlemen, I am not here to refer to the occupation of any other man.

I have this further to say: When I am dead and gone I wish to leave it as the richest legacy I can possibly leave to my boy when he reaches manhood's estate, that his father in all his professional life, whether he stood for human life or human liberty, or for property or corporation, performed his whole duty to every client he ever had without regard to whether his so doing made him popular or the reverse. And should the people of this great commonwealth ever ask me to represent them in an official place, I can simply say to them that I will bring to their service that same character of loyalty and devotion that I have always given to every client whose cause I undertook. [Applause.]

Union Pacific Mortgage.

Many great men in this country have considered the problem of the mortgage on the Union Pacific Railroad. My friend, Mr. Bryan, read to you from the minority report of Mr. Patterson that a foreclosure of the mortgage on the Union Pacific Railway company would not bring to the government of the United States a single dollar; and my friend, Mr. Bryan, admits here today that the first mortgage that stands against that property if it is to be foreclosed will take the property to wipe our the government debt; and his proposition simply is that this government of our shall cancel its debt as against the Pacific railway companies and relieve them from the burden of any further obligation to this government.

I say here that if any representative of any Pacific road had dared to take that position he would have been assailed by the entire press and the entire people of the United States of America. [Applause.]

Bryan Would Have No Voice.

Mr. Grover Cleveland, who was president of this country when the Patterson report was made, your chief (turning to Mr. Bryan), standing as the representative of your party, declared in a special message to congress in favor of the passage of some law that would secure the claim of the United States against these roads; the present attorney-general of your party has made the same recommendation; the commissioner of railways of the present administration has made the same recommendation, and both democratic committees of the present senate and house of representatives have declared in favor of legislation to gather the assets of the Pacific railways and out of them, in some practical way, to save to the people of this country at least a portion of the money owing.

I therefore take it for granted that William J. Bryan stands alone upon the proposition of canceling the Pacific railroads debt, and in opposition to his party in this country, and that he would have no voice in the passage of a Pacific measure if his party remains in power.

Would Secure the Debt.

Speaking for myself alone, and standing here as I have already declared, not representing one dollar of the stock or the bonds or the interests of the Pacific railway company without any possible interest in the solution of this debt problem, I declare to you that if I should ever stand to represent this people in the congress of the United States I would endeavor to secure the payment of every dollar of indebtedness, and every dollar that has been unlawfully or wrongfully taken from the people of the United States. [Applause.]

Alone on Paper Money.

My countrymen, the honorable gentleman has challenged me to a discussion of the paper money of the United States. He has said to you that he stands opposed to permitting any individual, or any bank, either by national or state legislation to issue any money that shall pass as such, and yet the last democratic national convention, which I understand speaks for both hardshell and softshell democrats, declared in favor of the repeal of the ten per cent tax on state banks circulation, and by that declaration and the speeches of the men who stood for that declaration declared for the right to give by state legislation to the bankers and to persons and state bank organizations the right to issue the old red dog, wildcat money of the ancient democratic party. [Laughter and applause.]

And once more I have to say that my friend stands against the record and the declaration of the democratic party of this country on that proposition, and I think he had better get off of this platform anyhow, as he has already turned it half way over. [Laughter.]

Monument of Common Sense.

My countrymen, let me state to you a great eternal truth of government, and I wish you to remember it of me in those days to come when another great monument of American common sense is planted over the grave of the unlimited coinage, the same as one was formerly planted over the grave of the greenback advocates of the United States. [Applause.] And that great government proposition is this. The people of our government are not so much interested in the kind of money we have as they are interested first in having every dollar of the country of a kind that will buy as much as every other dollar and second, in having opportunities given to the American people to turn their labor and their muscle and their wit into that good kind of dollars. [Applause.]

We have today in this country the best system of money and finance the world has ever known. Today our national banks have behind them only a 2½ or a 3-cent bond to secure 90 per cent of their circulation, and against that they are compelled to pay 1 per cent of that interest, back in the shape of a tax, and by this method of our present national banking system every dollar that is issued by a national bank in the United States, no matter how far or wide it may go, even to the uttermost ends of the earth, can stand beside any gold dollar on the surface of the globe without fear of depreciation or refusal of exchange. And I am of those–let the gentleman make the most of it–who believe that the continuation of our present national banking system is a wise thing for the people of the United States to stand for. [Cries of "Good," "Good." Applause.]

National Banks.

I need only call your attention to the fact that in the past ten years our national bank circulation has materially decreased, which is a perfect answer to any charge that there is an undue profit to the bankers of this country under the present system of issuing national bank notes for if there were today any unfair advantage or profit in that privilege the number of our national banks would be increasing instead of diminishing and their paper circulation would be added to rather than taken from.

Free Coinage.

My eloquent friend is truly great upon one proposition, and that is his advocacy of the free and unlimited coinage of silver. [Applause.] he is great upon that question because it requires greatness for one man to carry a people with him against the settled common sense of centuries of human observation and experience. [Applause.]

My friend Bryan is also the friend of the working people of the Untied States, and he stands here today and tells them that the demonetization of silver has increased the value of the gold dollar in this country. I do not know yet how much he claims the value of the gold dollar has been increased, but one of his co-laborers in the Nebraska field of demo-pop politics has stated how much eh believes the gold dollar has appreciated in value. [Laughter.]

Bryan's Friend "Cyclone."

A political combine of Nebraska calls for the purpose of convincing our people who was right to be done a distinguished gentleman from the state of Texas to enlighten them upon the political issues of the day. He has been called by the newspapers "Cyclone" Davis, and I understand he has been so truly called because he is warranted to destroy more prosperity in one speech than any cyclone nature ever organized or destruction could possibly do. [Applause and laughter.] He was also imported into this great intelligent commonwealth of Nebraska from the state of Texas, the land of the tarantula and the cactus, the home of the cowboy and paradise of the train robber. Why, in the state of Texas they suckle their babes not at the breast of nature, but at the muzzle of a 44-calibre self-cocking, bulldog revolver. [Laughter and applause.]

Affects Laboring Men.

Cyclone Davis says that the value of the gold dollar has been doubled by the demonetization of silver. [Cries of "Right, right."] Is that right? [Cries of "Yes." "No." "Yes." "No."] Was it a working man who said it was right that the gold dollar has doubled in value? [Cries of "Yes." "No."] Well, hold out if it was, then the wages of that working man have been doubled by the demonetization of silver. [Applause.] For every day's labor in the United States since 1878 has been paid for in gold dollars. Whether the man got his pay in a greenback, or a silver note, or a silver coin, it was gold to him, or he could change it for the yellow metal cent for cent at the nearest bank without any depreciation or discount (applause) and if the proposition is to the working people of our country to cheapen the value of the dollar in which his wages are paid, then I tell him he had better get a guaranty that his wages will be doubled or else he will be left in the transaction. [Applause.]

Price of Silver and Wheat.

Was it a farmer who said the value of the gold dollar had been doubled by demonetizing the silver? Then I tell him that at the end of Ben Harrison's administration when get hot 70 cents for his wheat in the state of Nebraska that he actually got $1.40 a bushel, for he was paid in the gold of the United States. [Applause.]

I don't wonder that they seek out some method of attempting to convince the farmers of this country that the depreciation in the price of wheat has come from some other reason than the success of the democratic party. [Laughter.]

Effect of Democratic Rule.

But the fact of it is, although I have not time to go into an illustration of it here today, but the fact of it is that those principles, and that prospect of power which closed the doors of American labor, cut down the price of every bushel of American wheat (applause), and you may take the crop reports of this country, and two weeks after 1 per cent of the American labor was wandering hopelessly in the land the price of American wheat was also down per cent, and side by side with the closing of the factory doors, with the loss of American improvement, with the withdrawal of American wages from American circulation, with the addition of charity people to the body politic of our country, with the addition of tables upon which good food was no longer spread, side by side with this apprehended destruction of the labor interests of the Untied States went down the price of wheat and everything that the American farmer had to sell. [Applause.]

Republican Party on Silver.

My friend upon the other side only differs with the republican party upon the silver question in one particular; the republican party stands for bimetallism in this country, just as long and to the extreme point where every dollar can be made just as good, able to buy just as much as any other dollar in the United States. [Applause.] While my friend stands for bimetallism to the extreme limit of the coinage of all the silver of the world, without regard to whether or not it can be maintained in parity with the other money of the United States.

What is Money?

What is money? Money is the standard of value. I saw once a gold coin dug from the catacombs of Rome, where it had lain buried beneath the accumulated dust of centuries; upon it was the impress of a great Cæsar; since that coin lay there Rome, "that sat on her eternal hills and from her throne of beauty ruled the world," had crumbled into ruin and decay; her flocks, her conquering legacies, her temples, palaces and triumphant arches lay buried in the ruins of antiquity; her power was gone, her nationality vanished, her very language dead and unspoken of mankind; but that gold dollar, the representative coin of a vanished government, with the impress of a dead Cæsar upon it, circulates in every market of the civilized world with the same power that it did when Rome was in her glory, and her Cæsar was crowned of men. [Applause.]

Sample of Free Coinage.

I went to a bank in the city of Lincoln and I bought those for 50 cents a piece, (holding up two Mexican dollars). [Cries of "what are they." And "I wouldn't have one of the them."] No, you are an American and you wouldn't have one of them. There is an eagle on that coin, but it is not the bird of freedom; there is an eagle on that coin, but it does not represent a government of correct governmental principles, or sound money ideas. It represents the government of Mexico that coins silver dollars free and unlimited. [Applause.]

In the United States silver dollar there are 412 grams of silver, in that dollar Mexican there are 417½ graines of grams of silver but I bought two of these dollars with one dollar of the United State. [Applause.]

Why do it? Because the republican party that, in fourteen years of republican legislation, coined and circulated sixty times as many silver dollars as had been coined from the birth of Christ up to demonetization of silver, had made every one of those American silver dollars by practical action, interchangeable in every American community with the gold dollars of the United States. [Applause.]And just so long as our government will by proper and practical legislation coin and maintain in silver so that the workingman's dollar shall have as many cents in it, and buy as many pounds of flour as the rich man's dollar, just so long will the silver dollar of our country buy two of the civilized dollars of the republic of Mexico. [Applause.]

A Deluge of Silver.

What is the free and unlimited coinage of silver? They propose that any man on the earth who has a Mexican dollar can bring it across the line and exchange the stamp of his government for the stamp of ours and make it pass here for a dollar when it only brings 50 cents today. But, my brother Bryan says, there is no danger in that, for, he says, this Mexican who brings his fifty-cent dollar over the line and restamps it at our mint cannot pass it on our people, for our people are not fools, but yet he declares in favor of a law that will make that dollar when it is restamped a full legal tender for all debts public and private, and thereby put it beyond the power of any man in the United States to receive it in exchange for the products of the United States.

What will happen when the Mexican can bring that piece of silver over here and have it recoined without expense? Then for fifty cents worth of our silver he can take back one of our gold dollars. If you are to maintain the silver dollar as good as the gold dollar if you do not propose to give us silver dollars in the United States that are as good as gold dollars, then for God's sake let us stop the foreigner now before he gets in here and makes the trade with us. [Applause.]

Fight it Out With Boyd.

My friend stands today the advocate and supporter of the Hon. James E. Boyd as congressman from Nebraska. Night before last Mr. Boyd made a speech in Omaha. The World-Herald did not publish what he said on silver, but another paper did. [Laughter and applause.] Mr. Boyd expressed his views on the silver question at some length. As long, he said, as Grover Cleveland was president there was no hope for free coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to 1. Personally he was directly interested in the extensive use of silver, as he was the owner of nine-tenths of a silver mine producing 3,000 ounces per week, but he would not favor the injection of silver into the national currency to such an extent as to endanger the credit of the nation. He said that he firmly believed that the enactment of a law for the free coinage of silver at a ratio of sixteen to one would drive $550,000000 to $650,000,000 of gold out of the country on a silver basis; he didn't believe that the passage of such a law would restore prosperity to his country, and cited the financial condition of Mexico as an example."

I suggest to the Hon. William Jennings Bryan that he challenge to joint discussion on the silver question his nominee for congress from the city of Omaha. [Laughter and applause.]

Result of Free Coinage.

My brother, Bryan, says that Europe has been buying grain of India because she could buy there cheaper, for India had free coinage of silver: does he want to put the United States and our American farmers at the mercy of the markets of England by putting them on the same silver basis that India was when England took advantage of her and bought her wheat for half price?

Take every country on this globe where free coinage of silver unlimited, prevails today, and you will find that grain is cheaper, that beef is cheaper, that labor is scarcer, that men are more poverty-stricken, and that manhood is at a depreciation–a greater depreciation than it is anywhere else in the world.

There are only two countries today that absolutely have free silver coinage, if I omit from the list some little foreign counties that cannot be counted in the world's civilization. China has the free and unlimited coinage of silver, and statistics show that every gold dollar has been drained from China, and she is left on a silver basis today; Mexico has the free coinage of silver, and you cannot find a gold dollar in a city of Mexico, unless you give up two of her silver dollars to some money shark for it. [Applause.]

Let me give you one word of advice to remember in the days to come: do not coin one dollar, do not issue one bill of any kind in the United States beyond that point where it cannot be put into the pockets of American labor with just as many cents in it as the dollar in the pocket of the millionaire. [Applause.]

The American Product.

The republican party is in favor of bimetallism as an American proposition. My friend Bryan says, "why need we fear the unlimited coinage of silver? What country will we get it from?" Let the great nation of the United States give the [?] of its [?] and its goddess of liberty without expense to the silver bullion of the earth, and the mountains of all christendom will be filled with the gold seekers; new mines will be opened to such an extent as have never been dreamed of before; the mountains of Mexico and of Asia and of South America have only been scratched for their silver deposits; where one mine has already been opened there are ten thousand silver claims yet awaiting the discovery and development of man.

The republican party says that this country is big enough, and great enough and grand enough and patriotic enough to take care, [y] adequate legislation, of the coinage of its own silver and the protection of its own American mines. [Applause.] And we insist that such a policy in this country would irresistibly lead other nations of the world to follow our example, but as long as this government should open its mint free to the silver of the world other nations would have no incentive to declare for bimetallism, or to enter into the silver coinage condition.

Our proposition is that the United States take care of the coinage of its own gold and silver and let other nations take care of themselves; we are not interested in their conditions.

Drew on the Mountains.

But, my friends, if prosperity comes to us by the more dollars we can get into circulation, and the more silver that can be coined, I have got a better proposition yet to make. Why do you go to all the trouble and expense of mining your silver? Our mountains are full of the silver deposits, why not let our government appoint a scientific commission, measures up all the silver in the mountains of the United States–it is on deposit there–it belongs to the government, it is safer there than it is in the vaults, then issue as against the whole [joblet] silver certificates payable on demand. [Laughter.]

Do you not see, my countrymen, how much better that would be? Where every man when he wanted a coin for his bill could go to the mountain and get.

We cannot afford to exchange a dollar's worth of American wheat for 50 cents worth of Mexican silver; the more trade you do in that way the more poverty stricken our people will become. We have to take care of American industries and mining with the rest, but the republican party says that a man who works in a foreign mine, who lives in a foreign country, who has no interests in the United States, who does not contribute anything to the support of this government, that that man has no right to ask the United States of America, to increase the value of the product of his toil.

From sea to sea every laboring man in this union, whether in the shops, upon the farm or in the mine, should be protected from the competition of the pauper labor of the whole world outside. [Applause.] The great trouble in this country today is not for lack of silver, it is not for lack of money, it is for a lack of the opportunity to do the work for the people of the United States.

When once more the republican party comes into power it will put money in circulation against as it did in those grand years of republican prosperity. It would not do it by opening the mines of the Untied States to the silver bullion of the world, but it will do it by opening the doors of American employment to he muscle of the United States of America. [Applause.]

Speak for Republicanism.

My countrymen, is it not necessary today that the eloquence of man's voice should plead for the republican party. We have in our country today a greater eloquence of facts, conditions; we have the eloquence of smokeless chimneys, of silent spindles, of rotting water wheels, of idle men, of cheerless homes, of blackened hearthstones, of hungry and ragged children.

The republican party proposes to put fires into the forges of American factories, to throw open the doors of American employment for American men, to put lights in the cottages of the United States, to build fires upon the hearthstones of the American people, to put food into the mouths of American women, and to reclothe the children of this country in the garments of civilization, and of strong, intelligent Americanism. And we are going to do it. [Applause.]

Ruined by Democracy.

Since the democratic party came into power the price of labor has gone down, the price of wheat has gone down, the price of been has gone down, the price of everything; business has gone down, prosperity has gone down, everything has gone down in the Untied States of America except republicanism, and that is on the boom the whole country over. [Applause.]

Oregon by the western sea has spoken, and Maine by the Atlantic; Pennsylvania and Vermont have declare the reawakening of American common sense. I read in the World-Herald two weeks ago that the municipal elections had been held in Connecticut and there was a landslide for the republican party. Yet, my countrymen, there is a landslide for the American party all of the union. You had better get on top now, my pop-demo combine, or it will slide over you and you will stay under it. [Laughter and applause.]

What Republicans Will Do.

The republican party proposes to rehabilitate American institutions and American prosperity, and build up American conditions; to give labor to American men, to spread plenty on American tables, and it proposes to do this through that genius of legislation creative in character which the republican party alone has exhibited in the United States of America for the last half of a century. [Applause.]

Marching to Victory.

Get in the American column, stand up for the American flag, stand for everything that is for the advantage and the development that this great country of ours from sea to sea; let no man fear the issue–even in the state of Nebraska. Mark what I say, there was fusion in this state in September, but in November there will be confusion to the men who had fusion in September.

Your column is forming for the American advance. In it come the old republicans tried and true, who love this country and American institutions. In this column will also gather this year those stalwart democrats who will not have their party traded off to satisfy the overleaping ambition of any man in the United States. [Cries of "Hit him again." Applause.] Side by side with them will also come that populist who has become satisfied after years of experience that he cannot secure any better government in independent organization.

This grand column for America and Americans will go marching on under the dearest flag that freedom ever bore, and in the companionship of the loyal, the true and the brave, on to the inspiring music of the union, and on to the highway of the nation's glory, to the future of the people's hopes. [Applause.]

A repetition of the greeting ovation occurred when Mr. Thurston closed his address of one hour and twenty minutes.


Rapid Speaking in the Last Twenty Minutes of the Debate.

Mr. Bryan was introduced again, this time as the "unconquered and the unconquerable." He said:

Give me your attention my friends. I want to use the twenty minutes and then you can use all the time you want afterwards. My friend has told you of the numb of democrats who are going to vote the republican ticket this year. Ah! My friends, don't you worry. Those democrats who have voted for tariff reform for thirty years are not going to desert it now. [Cheers.] Those men whose political convictions and honesty have been sufficient to bar them out of place in Nebraska are not going to kneel now to the people who have tortured them for thirty years without cause.

My friend reminds me in what he said of the man who went into Delmonico's to sell some frog legs. He said to the manager:

"Do you buy frog legs?"

He says, "We do."

"Will you take what I have to sell?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well," he says," I will bring a good many."

"Bring all you want."

"I will have a cart load."

"We will take them."

"Maybe I will have two car loads."

"We will take two car loads."

So he went out and the next day he came in with eight frogs' legs on a string and handed them in. "Well," the man said, "where are your two car loads?" He replied: "When I went through the swamp yesterday I thought there were two carloads, but I couldn't find them but four frogs." [Laughter and applause.]

My friends, you go through the republican swamp this year–and it is a swamp, my friends, that you will have to go through if you go through the republican grounds–you go through the republican grounds and you hear them holler, and you think there are lots of them, but you can't bring in eight frogs' legs in November. [Laughter and applause.]

As to Demagogues.

My friends, give me my time. I want it all. And my friend has said that it is better to ride into harbor on republican principles than to win by being a democrat. Oh, if by that he means me, I assume whatever responsibility there is in it. But in these latter days he is a statesman whose ear is tuned to catch the slightest pulsation of the pocketbook, but he is a demagogue who dares to listen to the heartbeat of humanity! [Cheers.] They called the first great democrat a demagogue. When Thomas Jefferson, who wrote that all men are created equal, when he dared to follow the promptings of his heart, to raise himself above matter, and humanity above property, they called him a demagogue. And today they call any man a demagogue who says that all men are created equal and that special privileges should not be granted by law. [Applause.]

Alludes to the Rebellion.

My friends refer to the income tax and ways they need it to put down the rebellion. Oh! I did think we might have a debate without hearing of the rebellion. [Applause.] But, my friends, it is the old argument; it is the old argument that you have heard. There were two men thinking. One of them says to the other:

"If protection don't make good wages, tell me why America with protection pays higher wages than England with free trade?" The democrat says, "If protection does make good wages, tell me why England with free trade pays better wages than German with protection." [A voice: "Germany hasn't protection."] And the other man fumbled with his coat until he pulled a button of, and finally he says:

"Who put down the rebellion, anyhow?" [Cheers.]

You stop a republican with argument and the first thing he goes back to is the rebellion. Ah, my friends, I was born in 1860. I was born too late to show my loyalty to my country, but I love my country and my fellowman s well as any man who carried a musket from '60 to '65, and I will go as far today to bring freedom to the white race of the United States as my friend went to bring freedom to the colored man. [Applause.]

My friend has said that he is opposed to the income tax, and he says that Mr. Hill was opposed to it. He was opposed to it, and so were our northeastern democrats, and as were all the republicans except a few. But, my friends, when I come to vote on these questions David B. Hill don't cast my vote. [Applause.] No eastern democrat doubts any vote. I believe in an income tax because it is just, and if I am elected I will vote for it if every democrat east of the Mississippi votes against it and all the republicans vote against it. [Cheers.]

Union Pacific Employment.

My friends, I have not referred to the employment of my friend by the Union Pacific except in this way: That on one or two occasions I said, to asking why he did not dispute this subject, I said if any person in the state is acquainted with this record of those reads he ought to be and he ought to bee able to tell us what should be done. Now, my friends, if he acts for the receivers now, and the receivers want to extend the lien, it is a question upon which our people may differ. If he represents the receivers and they want an extension, and the people of Nebraskans don't want it, I want to ask how a man can serve two masters and represent those who want it foreclosed and those who do not. [Applause.]

My friend has said that he has never had a complaint of his services. I am glad to know of the honorable career he has made but he has never before tried to serve two clients on opposite sides of the case, and he don't know which one would find fault in that case. He says they want to extend the liens. Of course they do! But, my friends, the stockholders want to extend the liens because they want to get money from the running of that road. We want to foreclose the liens and shut out the stockholders, and the government, if necessary, and put that road upon unbiased un[?] hands, and then let freight rates be fixed to pay dividends upon the actual investment, and not upon watered stock.

Don't Ask Grover.

My friends, I don't have to ask Grover Cleveland what is right upon such a subject as that. [Cries of "good"] and cheers.] I don't have to ask Attorney General Olney what is right on that subject. I don't have to ask those men who as receivers represent the stockholders. Never since I have served my people in congress has Mr. Cleveland asked me what my people want, and never have I asked him how to vote and never shall I. [Cheers.]

On the subject of the income tax my friend has stated his position. He tells you that he is opposed to it. On the subject of the foreclosure of these liens he tells you he is opposed to foreclosure, and then he goes on to the question of money. He says that my platform declares in favor of taking the tax off of state banks.

Power of Platforms.

Yes, but there is but one point on which I differ from my friend. When his platform says anything, then he believes it because his platform says it. I never have believed a thing that I did not think was true, simply because any platform said it. [Applause.] I repudiated that plank in the platform when I came before the people of Nebraska two years ago. I told them that if I was elected I would vote against taking the tax off of state banks. Why did I do that? Because I don't believe in state banks, and it don't make me believe in it to have a plank put into the democratic platform in favor of it.

National Banks.

My friend tells me he is in favor of national banks. Ah, my friend, if you believe that national bank currency is the best currency, then who can represent your ideas best but one who believes that the national bank currency is good. I point him to the time during the war, when a national bank note was never worth one cent more than a greenback. You couldn't get your gold for it then. [Applause.]

Do you tell me that a national bank note is better than a greenback, when a greenback is all you can get for it? Ah, my friend, he says that there is not much privilege in it, there is not much privilege in holding a bond and then having currency issued to the value of 90 per cent, and yet it is nothing but a loan of that 90 per cent at 1 per cent to the man who owns the bank, and yet when our farmers asked for the sub-treasury plan that would loan them money on their farms at 1 and 2 per cent, they call them anarchists, that is what they call them. [Applause.]

Sub-Treasury Scheme.

I denounce the sub-treasury scheme, because I do not believe it is just, but I dare any man to denounce the sub-treasury who advocates the national banking system. [Applause.] It is the same thing, except the sub-treasury would loan money on land, which makes bonds good, while the national banks would loan the bonds, which, if too many, make the land worthless. If I had to choose between the first or the second I would take the land to loan on instead of the bonds, but I don't want to loan on either one. I want the government to issue us whatever money we have and makes every dollar a legal tender for all debts, public or private.

Legal Tender.

My friend did not tell you where he stood on the legal tender. I asked him to state whether he believed in the power of the government to make money a legal tender or whether he believed it ought to be done; he didn't do it. I asked him to state whether he was in favor of no contracts or whether he would join me in defense of the right of any man to contract for a specific kind of money; he didn't tell you where he stood on that; he had an opportunity, and he is too able a man to miss any opportunity of impowering his cause. [Applause.]

How About Money?

Now my friend, when he came to the silver question, I think I can call you to witness that his remarks were a little vague; that his position, to say the most of it, is a little uncertain on that subject. There was much eloquence, there was much emphasis, but there was not very much of declaration as to just what he believed. It made me think of the man who was out in a thunder storm and who could only pick his way by the flashed of light, and as the thunder became frequent and the lightning flashes rather few and far between he dropped down on his knees and said, "Oh, Lord, if it is just the same to you, a little more light and a little less noise." [Laughter.]

My friends do you know where my distinguished friend stands on the money question? [Cries of "no, no."] Where are those republican friends who said that he would tell us what that platform meant? Where are they who had so much confidence before taking?

Laboring Men.

My friends I went to call your attention to one very startling fact; my friend has plead for the laboring man against the free coinage of silver for fear it would hurt him. [Laughter.] Now I Would like to know what the laboring man himself would say? There is one client that is not satisfied with his attorney. When my friend pleads for the laboring man, as his attorney, I want to tell him that the laboring man's views do not sound like this views. This is the way of it: the Bible says 'The hands are the hands of esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob." [Laughter.] Do you know what the laboring men say? The labor organizations of the United States have within a few months joined together in a petition to congress, which is signed by the head of every labor organization of any importance in the United States. Do o you know what they say? That petition says, We demand the restoration of the free coinage of silver at 16 to 1. I go to the client instead of to his attorney. I take the opinion of the man himself instead of the opinion of him who would speak for him.

Appreciation of Gold.

My friend denies the appreciation of gold. I will not discuss that; you take any monometallist, and he is the most rabid man you will find, and the monometallist will tell you that gold has appreciated. They simply differ as to the amount of the appreciation.

My friend tells you he saw a coin taken from the catacombs. Ah, my friends, you could have taken the coin that was used in the days when the brethren of Joseph visited him in Egypt, and down to 1873 that coin would have been good anywhere in the world. [Applause.] For four hundred years preceding the demonetization of silver the ratio change but two, from 14 to 16 embraces it all, yet in twenty years from that time we find the ratio falling because of hostile legislation from 16 to 1 to 32 to 1.

Those Mexican Coins.

My friends I want to speak of another thing. The strongest point made by my opponent in his silver speech was his Mexican dollar. He tells you that Mexico cannot maintain free coinage and therefore we cannot. Let every man in this audience who believes that Mexico is as great as the Untied States vote for my opponent. (Applause.) But let every one who believes that this country is not Mexico, but that it is the grandest nation ever placed on God's footstool, let him have hope that this country can yet do what Mexico cannot do. (Applause.) Why, you say you cannot light a room with the flickering flame of a tallow candle, therefore do not try an electric light; that is the argument. Because Mexico cannot do it, we cannot do it. My friends, this nation can do what Mexico would not dream of doing. This government will do what Mexico would not dare attempt, and when it is done, you cannot bring the Mexican dollar over here and trade two of them for a gold dollar, because the value of the silver bullion will be so great that a Mexican dollar will exchange with the gold dollar just as the silver dollar of the United States will exchange for the gold dollar. My friend has said he wants every dollar as good as gold. If he means that a silver dollar is a promise to pay a gold dollar I deny that he is a bimetallist, I affirm that only the monometallists want to redeem silver in gold; the bimetallist puts them on the same footing, starts them out in the race, and one is as much legal tender as the other.

[The chairman announced that Mr. Bryan had but one minute more of his time.]

In a Moment.

Ah, my friends, one minute more only. [Laughter; "stop the watch"]. One minute more to reply to that panegyric on the republican party. You, "we had Abraham for our father," and we are not objecting to the father, but oh save us from the children who call themselves sons of Abraham. Young men, you are not republican today because Lincoln was republican, you are republicans, if you are republicans, because you believe that that party will do the most good to your country. If you believe, my friends, that we who preach these doctrines and are not afraid to speak out on every republic question, if you believe that we represent those great principles of reform, and that we can do you good, come and cast your vote with us, even through you have to leave the republican party to do it. [Applause.]

About this Document

  • Source: Nebraska State Journal
  • Citation: 1-3
  • Date: October 18, 1894