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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 28, 1908)
'4 1 WiH7WPr"TW' "
FEBRUARY 28, 1908
The following report of a speech delivered
by Congressman Gilbert M. Hitchcock of Ne
braska in the house January 24 is taken from
the Congressional Record:
Mr. Hitchcock: Mr. Chairman, I shall not
consume all the time that has been allotted to
me, and I desire only to use so much of it as
may be necessary to make some comment upon
a recent unofficial prophecy of the late official
prophet of the republican party, General Grosve
nor of Ohio. "While in the city a few days ago
he made an elaborate and carefully prepared
statement in the nature of a prophecy to the
effect that the prospective nominee of the demo
cratic party could not by any possible computa
tion be figured out as able to secure more than
166 of the electoral votes of the United States,
and in making this prophecy this prophet, re
cently out of a job, used this language:
"Bryanism has been .the bane of the demo
cratic party in the east and great middle west
for all these years."
Now, Mr. Chairman, some one has said that
"the best of prophets of the future is the past,"
and the world's greatest poet has said that "one
thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness
of warning." Therefore it happens, Mr. Chair
man, that even if the democratic party were dis
posed to take its warnings and its prophecies
from high republican sources and from assistant
republican newspapers, that party is much more
likely to look to its experience of recent years
and scan the statistics of recent elections than
it is to heed the grave warnings' of eminent
republicans who are very anxious to save the
democratic party from a terrible mistake. What
are those experiences?
In the table prepared by the eminent gen
tleman from Ohio, we find 166 electoral votes
accorded to Bryan in the approaching election,
Kentucky ' 13
Louisiana : . . . . 9
North Carolina 12
South Carolina 9
After this concession to "Bryanism" the
same prbphet proceeds to foretell which states
will surely be republican. These so-called "safe
republican states" embrace, among others, the
states of Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Mon
tana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York and Ohio.
Now for a few moments, I desire to draw atten
tion to these states, which cast in all 126 elec
toral votes, and in which democracy is alleged
by the prophet to have been so terribly dam
aged by the "bane- of Bryanism." What do
the figures of the elections show? Taking the
first state, Colorado, we find that Mr. Bryan
in the year 1900, in the last campaign in which
he was a candidate, polled 122,000 votes, and
that the democrat nominated by the democratic
party in the last camr-aign as safe and sane,
representing, as our republican friends tell us,
the real, wise, and hopeful candidacy of the
democratic party, polled only 101,000 votes four
Mr. Bonynge: May I ask the gentleman a
question? Has he the figures of 1896, when
Mr. Bryan carried the state by about 136,000
plurality, and in 1900 by 29,000 plurality? At
the same rate of figures the republicans ought
to carry the state next time by 100,000. (Ap
plause on the republican side.)
Mr. Hitchcock: I reply to the gentleman
from Colorado (Mr. Bonynge) to this effect,
that Mr. Bryan in both campaigns carried this
republican state by large majorities, and that
with the exception of Colorado every one of
these states gave Mr. Bryan substantially the
same vote in 1900 that it gave him in 1896.
(Applause on the democratic side.)
Mr. Bonynge: The gentleman was talking
about Colorado. I wanted to give the facts.
Mr. Hitchcock: I did so, Mr. Chairman.
Moreover, in spite of the fact in 1900 that the
republican candidate for president was running
Hitchcock Produces the Record
for re-election; in spite of the fact that ho had
at that time, as the republicans have not now,
the argument of the full dinner pail; in spito
of the fact that the republicans at that time
had, as they have not now. tho argument of
a successful war, Bryan carried this republican
state and can do so again. Colorado, moreover,
is the only one of the debatable states in which
Mr. Bryan's vote declined from 1896 to 1000,
and even then, after that decline, he had enough
to carry the state against McKinloy by nearly
30,000 majority. He had more than any other
democrat ever received in Colorado before or
since. (Applause on the democratic side.)
Come, now, to tho state of Idaho. He car
ried that state in 1896, and again in 1900. No
other democratic candidate for president ever
carried that state. When Judge Parker ran
and in speaking of him I speak in no disparage
ment, because his candidacy was not one in
which his personal strength was the test. His
weakness was tho weakness of the reactionary.
It was the weakness of a general who was lead
ing toward the rear and not toward the front.
(Applause.) When Mr. Parker ran in Idaho he
polled only two-thirds as many votes as Mr.
Bryan had polled four years before.
Coming now to the state of Hllnois, which
General Grosvenor denominates as surely repub
lican, because democracy there suffers from tho
bane of Bryanism, what do wo find? Wo find
that Mr. Bryan polled in that state 503,000 votes
in spite of the Hood of money which was poured
forth at tho last moment to purchase the elec
torate. We find that Judge Parker four years
later polled about 200,000 votes less. (Re
newed applause.) Mr. Bryan polled In Illinois
moro votes than any democratic candidate for
president before or since. Running four years
after Cleveland, he had 40,000 more votes, and
running four years before Parker, he polled
175,000 more votes than Parker. (Applause.)
-Does that look as though the democracy of Illi
nois was suffering from the "bane of Bryanism?"
Mr. Bryan did not carry the state then, al
though I believe he will carry it this year.
(Loud applause on the democratic side.) But
he lost Illinois by a vote whi"h was 200,000 to
the good, as compared with the reactionary can
didate. Let us now look at the state of Indiana,
which republican prophets warn us will surely,
be republican, If Bryan runs. Here we can
more emphatically repeat the statement made
by me about the state of Illinois. No democrat
who ever ran for president in Indiana, or for
any other office in Indiana, ever polled as many
votes as Bryan did in 1900 against Mr. McKin
ley, the popular and militant president of a suc
cessful war and the prophet of a full dinner
pail. In 1896 Mr. Bryan polled 43,000 votes
more than Cleveland had done four years be
fore, and he polled in 1900 35,000 votes moro
in Indiana than Judge Parker did four years
later. Does that show weakness or strength in
Now we come to the state of Montana, de
nominated as safely republican. Mr. Bryan car
ried that republican state both times; and in
1900 polled more votes than Parker did four
In Nebraska, my .own state and Mr. Bryan's
state, he carried it in 1896, and in 1900 even
though he lost it by a narrow margin ho polled
more than twice as many votes us were given to
Judge Parker four years later. (Renewed ap
plause on the democratic side.) And It may
be said, Mr. Chairman, that as a result of Bry
anism, the republican majority in Nebraska,
which had originally been nearly 28,000, has
been reduced as to be less than half that size;
and we feel confident In this year of grace, with
Bryan as our leader and candidate, we will carry
that state for him. (Loud applause on the dem
Mr. Keifer: I would like to ask the gentle
man he may have stated it, although I failed
to hear it what the vote for Bryan was in 1900
as compared with his vote in 1896 in Nebraska?
Mr. Hitchcock: In Nebraska?
Mr. Keifer: Yes.
Mr, Hitchcock: I think I can furnish tho
information. (Cries of "Go on.")
I will reply to the distinguished gentleman
from Ohio by a more comprehensive statement
perhaps than he anticipates. The total popular
vote of the United States for the democratic
candidate in the year 1900, when Mr. Bryan
ran, was 6,368,000. Four years later, when
Judge Parker a man of unimpeachable charac
ter, a man with a groat reputation as a lawyer,
a man who stood high In the Emplro state and
wherever lawyers are knownIn that campaign
Judge Parker polled 5,077,000 votes.
Mr. Keifer: A further question: Tho gen
tleman did not answer tho other. Do you know
whether Mr. Parker Is right in his statement of
a day or two ago that Bryan did not act In
good faith, and according to promise, or he
would have got moro votes?
Mr. Hitchcock: I think, Mr. Chairman, that
Mr. Bryan Is entirely able to answer personal
questions himself. My opinion is that ho acted
In very good faith and that ho carried himself
in a model way under tho circumstances. (Ap
plause on tho democratic aide.)
It will bo rorneinhercd In further answer
to tho gentleman's question, that when tho great
convention was hold in St. Louis a desperate
fight occurred In tho committee on resolutions.
Single handed and with a vigor and energy
and ability unparalleled in struggles of that sort,
Mr. Bryan for several dayB and several nights
succeeded, by his work on tho committee on
resolutions, in preventing that committee from
reporting a platform which ho could not honest
ly support and defend before tho people. After
the resolutions had been adopted, after tho
platform had been made, and after the candi
date had been nominated, or about the tlmo ho
was nominated, after tho books wore closed, that
candidate by wire made, without authority,
what ho called and his friends called "an addi
tion to tho democratic platform." And yet Mr.
Bryan wont forth in that campaign and mado
the best fight that ho was capable of In support
of that ticket.
Mr. Gaines of Tennessee: And Judge Park
er thanked him.
Mr. Hitchcock: Ho fulfilled his pledge and
received tho thanks of Judgo Parker during or
near the close of that campaign. (Applauso on
Mr. Keifer: I did not understand the gen
tleman to answer my question about tho relative
vote for Bryan in Nebraska In 1890 and 1900.
Mr. Hitchcock: I assure the gentleman
from Ohio that I am not afraid to answor tho
Mr. Keifer: You can answer It In a word.
Mr, Welsso: If tho gentleman wants those
figures I will go Into the house library and get
them in a minute and take that load off tho
Mr. Hitchcock: Unfortunately I have not
before me the figures for both years. I find
that Bryan polled 114,000 votes In tho year
1900, which was the year of his second cam
paign, and four years later Judge Parker polled
Mr. Macon: Mr. Chairman, I desire to in
terrupt the gentleman just a moment, in refer
ence to Bryan's work for the ticket that was
nominated in St. Louis.
Mr. Hitchcock: Yes.
Mr. Macon: I desire to state that he did
noble work after that convention adjourned, not
withstanding the fact that every little two-by-four
would-be statesman in that convention had
tried to drive him out of tho party.
Mr. Hitchcock: Yes, I think the gentleman
from Arkansas is eminently correct in that.
And now, as I have been Interrupted by the dis
tinguished ex-speaker and representative from
Ohio (Mr. Keifer) I want to give him some moro
figures from Ohio.
Mr. Ollie M. James: Will tho gentleman
from Nebraska permit me just a moment? The
question asked by the gentleman from Ohio as
to whether or not Judge Parker Impugned tho
good faith of Bryan would seem to lead to the
inference that Bryan did not support him loyally
in tho campaign. Judge Parker did not intimate
such a thing.
Mr. Keifer: Oh, yes.
Mr. Hitchcock: No; he did not. He simply
said that Mr. Bryan before Parker's nomination
had made speeches or statements which were
used afterwards by Parker's enemies to hurt
him, but he In no way implied that Bryan did
not support him after he was nominated.
Mr. Gaines of Tennessee: Is It not also a
fact that while he was making his great cam
paign for Parker in Indiana that Judge Parker
wired him and thanked him for his brilliant
and magnificent defense of him?
Mr. Hitchcock: Yes.
Mr. Gaines of Tennessee: I remember that
(Continued on Page 6)
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