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St.Louis in 1904, Mr. Bryan, declining then matter with you? Did he take your to run a third time, returned the commis- temperature?” Aunty replied: "'Deed sion, as he put it, which he had held for sir, I don't know what all he done took. eight years as leader of the party. The I ain't had time look 'round yit, but dem climax of this, one of his most affecting no 'count niggahs liable take anything." speeches, was in these words:
Mr. Bryan wasn't sure that Mr. Roosevelt “You may dispute whether I have fought had left him even his temperature. That a good fight; you may dispute whether I was a good joke in 1905. In 1913, it is a have finished my course; but you can not pure matter-of-fact statement to say that deny that I have kept the faith.”
Mr. Bryan has, between Democrats and And the faith has triumphed. The Progressives, been spoiled of every idea free coinage of silver, even if you regard he ever had. it as an utterly mistaken and mischievous
III idea, was, after all, only a passing expres
There shines out in Mr. Bryan's life a sion of the doctrine that human rights
personal quality without recognition of are higher than property rights. On the
which no analysis of his character is subject of the relationship of the man and
complete — a quality which indeed is its the dollar, the thought of the Nation has been completely revolutionized within the
core and key.
Where, outside of the story of this man's last sixteen years — and it is that revolu
life, shall you find a candidate for Congress tion which has given birth to the whole
at the close of the campaign gravely and programme of economic reform and social
gently presenting his adversary with a justice with its concern over the welfare of
copy of Gray's "Elegy," expressing good women and children, workingmen's in
wishes for his foeman, whether the morsurance, and all the rest of it. The initia
row's balloting gave or forbade him tive and referendum, which might have been a rare zoological specimen, so far as
The applause of listening Senates to commost people knew, when Mr. Bryan began mand! to advocate it, is here. Direct nomina Where, in the annals of hot partisan tions, campaign publicity, the responsi- strife, will you find an orator, facing the bility of the courts to the people, are popu- enmity of a frenzied national convention, lar and triumphing doctrines. The Con- throwing away a point because he had stitution has been altered to permit the caught sight of a wife in the throng of ten popular election of United States Senators thousand? and the imposition of the income tax.
The first draft of Mr. Bryan's resoluIs this failure or success?
tion asking for the withdrawal of Mr. Ryan Indeed, so thorough has been the tri- and Mr. Belmont from the Baltimore umph of Mr. Bryan's faith that, unless convention contained a passage referring he shortly finds new articles for it, he will to the methods by which Mr. Taft had be left behind by the progressive temper of just obtained his re-nomination at Chicago. the country. It was after Mr. Roosevelt's It was the climax of the resolution. When election to the Presidency eight years ago, Mr. Bryan came down from the platform during a dinner at which they were both after the dramatic speech offering this present, that I heard Mr. Bryan humor- resolution, his friend and old-time secreously charge the Republican President tary, Mr. Robert F. Rose, pulled him by with having "stolen his clothes." Mr. the coat and said: “What became of the Bryan told how an old darkey woman lying passage about Taft?” Mr. Bryan turned sick had finally sent for the white physi- his head and asked in reply: “Why, didn't cian in the neighborhood, the colored you see that Mrs. Taft was in the gallery?" "doctor" having failed to give her relief. Where, in all the chronicles of JefferThe new physician said: “Well, aunty, sonian simplicity, more or less spontaneyou had to send for me after all, didn't ously practised in Democratic times at you? What did that old fraud do for Washington, is a match for this? — you? Did he find out what was the Mr. Bryan now rides in a carriage furnished by the Government and driven however, taxed Mr. Bryan's strength to by an Irishman who has conducted the the limit of his endurance. Starting from Secretaries of State about Washington for Rock Island, having had no sleep at all nearly a quarter of a century. Mr. Bryan the night before on account of continimmediately became interested in his ued conferences, the candidate journeyed coachman, as he does in everybody across lowa, traveling by trolley and steam, associated with him in any capacity. A making twenty-two speeches before he day or two before the delivery of the St. reached the end of his programme. He Patrick's Day speech which, by its com saw to it that the correspondents on the ment on the abolition of the House of train were snugly provided for in Pullmans, Lords, caused some comment in England, and then disappeared. A little later his the Secretary asked his driver if he were secretary found him stretched out on a going to the St. Patrick's Day dinner hard seat of a wretched car at the back of which the Irish societies of Washington the train. He was utterly exhausted, but were giving. No, the driver wasn't going. had not failed to see everybody else com"Well, I should like to have you go," fortably in bed before he fell down to his said Mr. Bryan, “and I'll see that you get own comfortless rest. an invitation.” Accordingly, on the night Of his public labors, everybody knows; of March 17th, the banquet at which the of the long hours at his desk, the public Secretary of State spoke was graced by knows nothing. At the close of the camthe presence of his coachman, who was paign of 1896, after the staff of corresponconspicuously placed, not only at the table, dents had departed from Lincoln, he found but on the programme; for, being a guest that there still remained unanswered of honor and bearing the name of “Barry,” 60,000 letters. Every one of these was which takes alphabetical precedence over answered, with Mrs. Bryan's help. It “Bryan” and “Belmont,” for instance, the took the two of them a year and a half. coachman found that lo! his name led all An instance of Mr. Bryan's conscienthe rest!
tiousness was afforded a friend who once The conscientiousness of the man is found him working over-time signing unbelievable. Only his capacity for work several hundred photographs which had makes it possible to execute the duties been sent in for his autograph. Near by sat he lays upon himself. His labors as a his brother, Mr. Charles Bryan, idly scribcampaigner will never be matched. I bling a signature which an expert could have myself been on the train with Mr. not have told had not been written by Bryan when he made an average of fifteen “William J. Bryan.” The suggestion speeches a day for the best part of a week, that Mr. Charles Bryan's aid would and this is not an unusual record. So far greatly facilitate the writing of those autoas I know, his hardest day's work was done graphs provoked an indignant response in Missouri during the close of the cam- from Mr. Bryan. paign of 1908; starting from St. Joseph at
IV four o'clock in the morning, Mr. Bryan concluded his thirty-second speech at The word that describes Mr. Bryan half past one o'clock on the following is simplicity. He is that quality incarnate. morning. By midnight the newspaper He might be a character imagined by correspondents were to a man utterly Dickens — whose characters are traits, worn out. One or two of them heard the characteristics, qualities, personified. Mr. beginning of his last speech, which was Bryan is simpleness personified. His heart made in the open air, as most of the others is simple, and his mind is simple, almost had been, and which was expected to last obvious. His moral strength is the singlefive or ten minutes. Mr. Bryan actually ness of his conscience, the definiteness spoke an hour and a half with undiminished with which, shaking off accidents and power. A few hundred men had waited complications, it sees, laid bare, the core up for him, and he gave them his best of the matter, the issue between right
Another day's work of that campaign, and wrong. There abides the greatness
and lovableness of the man. His popu- that its magnificence is such that it inlarity lies in the corresponding simplicity spired the sacred lines: of his mind; its instinct to restrict itself
What though the spicy breezes to primitive truths—some would call them
Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle, commonplaces. His mind does not range.
Where every prospect pleases It has no fancy for exploring. It rests
And only man is vile. well content in the land of everyday things. So do the minds of the vast majority of
It is the narrative of a simple-hearted us. He has a warm imagination and a
traveler, written for his neighbors at tendency toward florid imagery, the most
home, unsophisticated, unpretending.
His mind is not only democratic; his impressive stage presence Americans have
mental habit is curiously humble. He ever seen, the most wonderful voice that
quotes like a school-boy. No platitude ever fell upon ravished ears, and an un
is so undeniable but he likes to adduce erring understanding of the mind of the
authority for it. “Jefferson states," common man — because it is his own.
“Emerson William J. Bryan has a democratic
tells us” — what they tell
us is that all men are created equal or mind; he will no more allow himself to
that the dreams of one generation become become a mental aristocrat than a social one. Emerson, Longfellow, Mrs. Hemans,
the accepted facts of another.
“An eminent Swiss, Mr. Carl Hilty, Luise Mühlbach, are good enough for him.
declares that regular employment at some He has no desire, to sample outside the
work which satisfies the conscience and the staple authors who have endeared them
judgment is essential to any true enjoyselves to the common people. He is no
ment of life.” Why drag in Hilty? We Brahmin. He affects no knowledge of
should as soon take William J. Bryan's art, the drama, the opera, or advanced
word for it as Hilty's. I adduce this literature. He owes nothing to Bernard
noticeable habit as a striking evidence of Shaw, Maeterlinck, Hauptmann, Hardy, Ibsen, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Amiel,
the simplicity and humility of his mental
processes. Royce, James, Bergson, not even to
The figures which fill his historic imagiWilson's masters, Burke, Bagehot, to
nation are such as those of Napoleon, Wordsworth or Lamb. The exception
Demosthenes, Nero, David and Elijah, is Tolstoi, to whom he was drawn by the
and, first of all, Jesus of Nazareth. He Russian's literal idea of the Christian life.
draws his allusions from American history, His own nearest approach to the writing
the French Revolution, and a few wellof literature was his “Reply to Letters
tried and perfectly good classical subjects, from a Chinese Official,” in which he
like Scylla and Charybdis. And from argues the superiority of Christian over
the Bible. Mr. Bryan's speeches and pagan civilization with a gravity which
writings are crammed with Biblical quoappears a trifle over-literal when we know
tations, allusions, and illustrations. He that the “Chinese Official's" letters were
talks about Belshazzar's Feast; about a hoax. Besides, Mr. Bryan has written
Naboth's Vineyard. “Mene, mene, tekel, a travel book. He tells the story of his
upharsin!” he cries with impressive emjourney around the world in a chronicle
phasis. He goes about the country dewhich faithfully records every movement and extends due thanks for every courtesy
livering lectures, on what subjects? “The
Prince of Peace;” “Thou Shalt Not Steal;” received from consuls and fellow-travelers.
"Is the Young Man Absalom Safe?” “The The book contains much valuable sta
Price of a Soul;” “Character;" "Faith;" tistical information and is illustrated with
"Missions." Including these addresses photographs of the Bryans, on shipboard and camel-back, standing by the Pyramids,
in volumes of his speeches, he puts under in Japanese gardens, and at the entrance
each one the notice: to Buddhist temples. It is repeatedly
(This address is not copyrighted and can be stated that the scenery is fine; at one point
republished by any one desiring to do so.) it must have been, for the author notes Mr. Bryan has been addicted to Biblical
quotations all his life. Mrs. Bryan tells observed to contain only water. “ You of the manner in which he asked for her must drink the health in champagne!” exhand. The time having come when it was claimed one of the banqueters across the appropriate that a pointed conversation table. “No,” Mr. Bryan quickly replied, should take place with her father, the “your Japanese heroes won their victoyoung man began thus:
ries drinking water; I am drinking their “Mr. Baird, I have been reading Pro- health in water. When you win victories verbs a good deal lately, and I find that on champagne, I will drink your health in Solomon says: “Whoso findeth a wife, champagne.” findeth a good thing and obtaineth favor His theology is of the old-fashioned of the Lord.'”
variety. “Evolution” to him still means "Yes," Mary Baird's father replied, the descent of man from the ape. His “But Paul suggests that while he that batteries are never silent against "the marrieth doeth well, he that marrieth materialist who is endeavoring to drive not doeth better."
God out of the universe.” He is strong Dismayed only for a brief moment, the on foreign missions. He is not ashamed aspiring youth rejoined:
to adhere to the religion of miracle, of “Paul may have said that, but surely salvation through the blood of the Saviour, Solomon would be the better authority on and to preach it in public and private, with this point, because Paul never married.” the zeal of an apostle.
I have no doubt that Mr. Bryan's hold His philosophy of life is as simple as on the people is due in large part to his his theological faith. The world is a great habitual use of Scriptural illustration. It and serious place, but after all, living in it is is ceasing to be true; it has already ceased a perfectly plain matter. Right is right, to be true in Eastern cities; but the people and wrong is wrong. Choose you this of the United States still know the Bible day whom ye will serve. If the Lord be and are deeply affected by references to it. God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow The East does not understand how great him. To this disciple of the Lord everya part the pulpit and the Chautauqua thing is clear — the path of duty in priplatform play in the West, nor how much vate life, the assurance of immortality, Mr. Bryan's influence derives from the the problems of the currency, of the tariff, fact that he is the best known preacher of and of international politics. I really righteousness throughout vast sections of suppose Mr. Bryan never had a religious the land.
nor a political doubt. Mr. Bryan is a deeply pious man. He He sees simply — sees everything in a holds family worship daily. He says definiteness, a distinctness, which to other grace at every meal — at dinner his family observers it does not possess — sees everyaudibly join in the words of thanks. He thing in its idea, its elementary essence, has never been heard to use a profane nor as a Platonist might say. He visualizes an indelicate word, and such is the irradi- like a child or a primitive man: that is a ance of his character that he never hears house, and this is a tree; that is Imperialone. He does not, literally, know one ism and this is the Money Power. A card from another. He does not know word or a phrase possesses no connotathe taste of liquor nor tobacco. Finally, tions; it holds but a single, unchanging he gives away, for charitable and religious meaning; and, above all, it has its definite purposes, more than he keeps for himself moral assessment in the world of things. and his family. This is out of a chapter There is “Wall Street” — not a phrase which may not be written during Mr. including, to be sure, the idea of great and Bryan's lifetime, but the statement is true. manifold financial functions, but mainly
Yet this total abstainer admits that he suggestive of power often opposed to the once proposed to drink wine- under a cer- general welfare; no, nothing like that. tain condition. In Japan, at a dinner at “Wall Street," for Mr. Bryan, is as which the health of Admiral Togo was definitely, as vividly, a personification of being drunk, Mr. Bryan's glass was evil as Apollyon was to Bunyan's hero. These are the "privileged classes”. They It is a rare and priceless quality stand apart, easily distinguished, from the simplicity. Perhaps it is an adequate, “masses.” See them. Count them. The as well as an unusual, equipment for a idea that the masses and the classes pass Minister of Foreign Affairs. into each other does not suggest itself. All this can be said about Mr. Bryan Everywhere, for Mr. Bryan's literal mind, without the slightest suggestion of disthere are great gulfs fixed. He is not paragement. In the presence of the Godinfluenced, his judgments are not rendered like power which the thousands at Baltiless positive, by any suspicion that things more saw wielded — surely the most magmay, after all, be just a little complex. nificent human spectacle this generation He is detained by no conception of life has witnessed — what matters it that the and history as the resultant of confused orator is not a speculative philosopher? and warring currents, involved motives, When one is talking of one of the Boanconflicting duties, unconscious ironies; he erges or a Chrysostom, it is to pick no flaw is disturbed by no consciousness of the in his genius to remark that he is not a bewildering contradictions of struggle and connoisseur of mezzotints or a member of passion in which the world-travail works the Browning Society. Mr. Bryan could itself out. A simple man, all is simple not be what he is — and be otherwise than to him.
he is; he could not have the power of his And does it need to be said how tre- sublime simplicity and still be a sophismendous a power over the people is this ticated member of genteel, commonplace faculty of simple vision? No Amiel ever society. Nature, to make him a Bryan, led a people. Too much thought paralyzes has miraculously shielded him from the in the world of action; only he who sees diverting, complicating temptations of simply will smite. The simple man is the culture, as a saint is shielded by divine confident man.
grace from the temptations of the world, About the time of the announcement the flesh, and the devil. Mr. Bryan is a of the Administration's attitude toward modern monk. the Chinese loan, I had an opportunity His literal belief in the Bible, his innoof chatting with the Secretary of State. cence of artistic culture, his lack of interest It seemed to him that there could be only in aught but well-approved literature, his one possible stand for Democrats to take indifference to social distinctions — all in the matter; it was wonderful to him these things are the other face of that that anybody could think the question supreme moral simplicity which is the worth discussing. There were two kinds secret of his power over his great army of of people in the world: aristocrats and followers-a power greater, probably, than democrats. There were two theories of any other man has ever wielded in the government: the aristocratic and the history of our country. democratic. On the democratic theory of government, there were four reasons which forbade the United States from Mr. Bryan confesses that he had looked backing the bankers who wanted to lend forward with considerable fear to the takmoney to China. Mr. Bryan ran off the ing of office. He had not held office for four reasons on his fingers. That was all many years. He had lost, if he had ever there was to the Chinese question. It had, the office habit. He was used to reduced to the simple issue between being in the opposition. But he has found aristocracy and democracy. He was it most delightful. He has found it a conscious of no complications, no qual- very great satisfaction to be associated ifications, no side considerations. I with a man like Mr. Wilson, a man of am not questioning the justice of clear mind, definite thoughts, and precise Mr. Bryan's conclusion. I agree with speech. Mr. Bryan speaks warmly of it, for that matter. But I am com- the delights of the Cabinet meetings, menting on the simplicity of the grounds which are conducted in the spirit of the on which he reached it.
utmost freedom and candor, but where