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Garfield. The Garfield scheme was generally attributed to the fer-
tile brain of Secretary Elaine. Invitations were issued for a Peace
Congress of the independent governments of the two Americas, but
they were withdrawn by President Arthur to give Congress an op-
portunity to act. A number of bills was introduced into the two
Houses, but beyond the appointment of a commission to visit the Cen-
tral and South American Republics nothing was done. In 1886 Mr.
McCreary, of Kentucky, introduced a bill into the House providing for
an international conference at Washington, and for " considering
questions relating to the improvement of business intercourse be-
tween said countries, and to encourage such reciprocal commercial
relations as will be beneficial to all and secure more extensive mar-
kets for the products of each of said countries." In opposition to the
views of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Belmont, of
New York, made a minority report that contained at least one preg-
nant suggestion. "Nothing is now so desirable for our own people,"
he said, " as a free and reciprocal interchange of products between
ourselves and the people of other nations on this continent. But
what now hinders such free interchange so much as our tariff laws?
If this Government shall invite Brazil, Mexico, and the Republics of
Central America and South America to join us in a conference to pro-
mote such free and reciprocal interchange of products, what conces-
sions in our tariff schedules is the President to be authorized to in-
struct our commissioners to propose on our part? The question of
our own tariff will naturally and immediately come up for discussion
and consideration. Shall, for example, our commissioners be author-
ized to offer to the Argentine Republic to admit its wool into our
ports free of duty? No one can be more sensible than I am of the
great advantages which in our country flow from the free commercial
intercourse unvexed by tariffs or custom houses, which the Federal
Constitution secures. I wish by some possible and wise contrivance
those advantages now enjoyed by and between Maine and California,
Florida and Alaska, could be realized by and between every nation
and every producer on this hemisphere from Baffin's Bay to Cape

A bill, almost identical with the McCreary bill, had been intro-


duced into the Senate by Mr. Frye, of Maine. Jt passed the Senate
June IT, 188G, but did not become a law until May 24, 1888. Under
it an International American Conference was called to meet in Wash-
ington, October 2, 1889. James G. Elaine was President of the Con-


ference. It remained in session until April, 1890. The Conference
adopted a report which recognized the policy of reciprocit}', and the
" need of closer and more reciprocal commercial relations among
American States." Secretary Blaine submitted this report to the
President, June 19, 1890, with an exhaustive review of its contents.
Its gist was that out of a total of $233,000,000 imports furnished to
Chile and Argentine alone in 1888, England contributed $90,000,000,
Germany $43,000,000, France $34,000,000, and the United States only
$13,000,000, and this notwithstanding the facts that our ports were
nearest, and the bulk of those imports were of articles we were ac-
tually manufacturing better than and as cheaply as foreign nations;
that in 1868 our total exports were $375,737,000, of which $53,197.000,
or 14 per cent., went to Spanish America, while in 1888 our total ex-
ports were $742,3(18,000, of which $09,273,000, or only 9 per cent., went
to Spanish America, and that it was the unanimous judgment of the
delegates that our exports to these countries and the other Republics
could be increased to a great extent by the negotiation of proper
reciprocity treaties.

These views obtained recognition in the Tariff Act of 1890, which
provided that " on and after the first day of January, 1892, whenever
and so often as the President shall be satisfied that the government of
any country producing and exporting sugars, molasses, coffee, tea,
and hides, raw and uncured, or any of such articles, imposes duties
or other exactions upon the agricultural or other products of the
United States, which, in view of the free introduction of such sugar,
molasses, coffee, tea, and hides into the United States, he deem to
be reciprocally unequal and unreasonable, he shall have the power,
and it shall be his duty to suspend, by proclamation to that effect, the
provisions of this Act relating to the free introduction of such sugar,
molasses, coffee, tea, and hides, the production of such country, for
such time as he shall deem just, and in such case and during such
suspension duties shall be levied, collected, and paid upon sugar, mo-
lasses, coffee, tea, and hides, the product of or exported from such
designated country, as follows." Here follow the rates in detail, the
rate on sugar being from 7-10th of a cent per pound to 2 cents per
pound, according to test; on molasses 4 cents a gallon; on coffee 3
cents per pound; on tea, 10 cents per pound, and on hides 1^ cents
per pound.

With such comprehensive legislation a silver purchasing and



coinage act, and a radical Protective Tariff, with still more radical
Reciprocity features- it is scarcely surprising that the country, in
the height of a Period of Discontent, was aghast at the work of the
bold spirits in Congress responsible for these measures. Keaction
was to be expected, but in the election for members of Congress in
1890 it was greater than even the most sanguine Democrat could have
expected. In as many as seventeen States not a single Republican
Representative was elected: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida,
Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ne-
braska, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vir-
ginia, and West Virginia. Five States chose only one Republican:
Connecticut, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Wisconsin;
and four States sent only two Republicans: Indiana, Kansas, New Jer-
sey, and Tennessee. The Republican strength in the Republican
States was: For California and Michigan, 4 each; Iowa and Massa-
chusetts, 5 each; Illinois, 0; Ohio, 7; New York, 12; and Pennsylvania,
IT. Seven States with only one Representative sent Republicans:
Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, and
Wyoming. The other States that had full Republican delegations
were: South Dakota and Vermont, 2 each, and Maine, 4. In the
52d Congress the House of Representatives contained only 88
Republicans to 235 Democrats, and 8 Farmers' Alliance Democrats.
The revolution was so sweeping that the Republicans had scarcely a
sufficient number of members to represent the minority on the com-

The 52d Congress, although there was an overwhelming-
Democratic majority in the House, was not, like its predecessor, a
business Congress, and it developed no broad statesmanship or cour-
ageous attempts at legislation. There was no attempt at the repeal
or a general revision of the McKinley Act. Instead, a series of
bills was introduced relating to special articles, such as the IOW T -
ering of duties on the manufacture of wool and on tin plates, and
the placing of wool, binding twine, etc., on the free list. These make-
shifts were the occasion of animated discussion, and most of them
passed the House. The whole purpose of the Democratic leaders was
to shape the issues based on the legislation of the 51st Congress
for the Presidential campaign of 1892, and to stimulate the discontent
of the people, so as to bring the Democrats back to power in both
the executive and legislative branches of the Government. As a par-
tisan policy this proved successful, but only to result in another re-
action more complete and permanent than that of 1890-92.

On one question the 52d Congress showed a disposition to
take distinct grounds in opposition to the theories previously held by


both parties on the free coinage of silver. The Act of 1890 had failed
to realize the expectations of the silver producers. The Democrats
of the South and West began to regard the " free and unlimited coin-
age of silver " as their only panacea for depressed industrial and
trade conditions. To meet their views Mr. Bland introduced into the
House the measure known as the Bland Free Silver Coinage bill. He
pressed it with his customary vigor, and was hopeful of its success,
but when he demanded the previous question to put it upon its pas-
sage he was met by an unexpected vote of 148 nays and 148 ayes. A
sufficient number of Eastern Democrats voted with the Republicans
to defeat it. Charles F. Crisp, of Georgia, had been chosen Speaker
in opposition to William M. Springer, of Illinois, because of the sup-
port of the Free Silver element in the House, and he served the men
who had elected him by breaking the tie in favor of the bill, but it was
afterward beaten by dilatory motions.

The 51st Congress was popularly known as the " Billion-Dol-
lar Congress," because of the enormous proportions of the appropria-
tions voted by it. Notwithstanding its successor was the " Do-Noth-
ing Congress," the appropriations of the 52d Congress ex-
ceeded those of the 51st by $44,000,000. One cause of the im-
potence of this Congress the offspring of discontent and reaction
was the fact that the majority was too great; it was unwieldy, and it
proved too unsophisticated and awkward for dealing with serious
questions. But the " popgun " method of treating the tariff had its
advantages on the eve of a Presidential campaign.



Republican National Convention at Minneapolis The Candidates
Platform Opposition to Harrison Mr. Blaine's Candidature-
Dramatic Scenes in the Convention The Ballot Harrison Nom-
inated Attempt to Stampede the Convention McKinley
Whitelaw Reid Nominated for Vice-President Democratic Na-
tional Convention Grover Cleveland the Favorite A Virulent
and Bitter Platform The Presidential Candidates Cleveland
Nominated Adlai E. Stevenson for Vice-President The Peo-
ple's or Populist Party an Aggressive Campaign Republican
Measures Assailed Result of the Elections A Democratic Tri-

RESIDENT HARRISON'S Administration was not suf-
ficiently partisan to arouse the enthusiasm of the party,
but no distinct purpose to resist the President's renomina-
tion was evinced until within a few days of the Republi-
can National Convention, which was called to meet at Minneapolis,
June 7, 1892. It was not known that the opponents of the President
would present the name of William McKinley to the Convention, and
Mr. Blaine was not supposed to be a candidate. As Secretary of
State he had exerted a powerful, if not controlling influence, over the
policy of the Administration, and he seemed content with his com-
manding position. But suddenly, only four days before the meeting
of the Minneapolis Convention, he resigned from the Cabinet to be-
come a candidate for the Presidency. It was then too late, as the
result afterward showed, but his erratic action was not out of keep-
ing with the previous history of his distinguished career.

The Minneapolis Convention was the first departure from the recog-
nized Convention cities since the organization of the Republican
party Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Chicago. Fremont
and Grant for his second term were nominated in Philadelphia, Lin-
coln was nominated the second time at Baltimore, and Hayes was
nominated at Cincinnati. The Chicago nominations were: Lincoln in
I860, Grant in 18(>8, Garfield in 1880, Blaine in 1884, and Harrison in
1888. Why Minneapolis was chosen in 1892 it would be difficult to
say, unless its purpose was to gratify the Northwest. The majority
of the delegations were compelled to pass through Chicago on their


way to the Convention, and for the others Chicago was as easy of
access as Minneapolis. As a departure the experiment did not prove

Three days were spent by the Convention before the presentation
of the names of candidates for President of the United States was
reached. William McKiuley was made President of the Convention,
and a Platform was adopted favoring Protection for American indus-
tries, bimetallism with legislative restriction, a free ballot and an
honest count, extension of foreign commerce, the enforcement of the
Monroe Doctrine, separation of church and state, efficient protection
to railroad employees, reduced postage and extension of free mail de-
liven', civil-service, the Nicaragua canal, admissions of Territories
as States, the World's Fair, and pensions; and opposing Southern
outrages, pauper immigration, trusts, and intemperance.

The leaders of the Elaine forces were Senator Quay, of Pennsyl-
vania; Thomas C. Platt, of New York; Joseph II. Mauley, of Maine,
and J. S. Clarkson, of Iowa. They were determined and aggressive
lighters, and did not give up the hope of beating Harrison until they
were themselves beaten. " When they went into the Convention at
last night's session," wrote a well-informed correspondent on the
fourth day, " they were reduced to the necessity of making a demon-
stration. They had been thrown into a panic, which they could not
disguise, by the bold expedient of the Harrison managers in calling
their delegates to make a display of their strength at midday. The
caucus proved, as it was intended to do, the determination of the
issue, and when the 4(53 men got together, Harrison's nomination was
practically assured. It did not suit the purposes of the opposition to
recognize this. They had gone so far that a cold plunge could hardly
make them any worse off. They undertook to recover some of their
lost prestige by forcing an issue on the report of the Committee on
Credentials, and fought desperately from 8 o'clock until nearly 1.30 this
morning to get something out of it. It was an issue on which it was
perfectly well understood that the Harrison people were forty to fifty
votes weaker than on the main question. On this account the Op-
position expected to win. When the first test was won by the Harri-
son men by 463 votes, exactly the number that had been counted at
the Market Hall meeting, it was noticed that a majority of the Con-
vention was elbow to elbow under the leadership of Depew r on the
floor. Exact figures had a striking and impressive effect in show-
ing that the organization of the Harrison forces was altogether com-
plete, and could not be broken even on a side issue. The next ballot,
taken on the majority report of the Credentials Committee, gave the
Harrison people thirteen additional votes. It left the opposition in a


state of depression, and was the event which absolutely determined
the hopelessness of the Elaine cause."

Finally, when the presentation of the names of candidates was
reached, and the call of the States was ordered, Senator Wolcott, of
Colorado, was the first to answer. He was one of President Harri-
son's bitterest opponents in the Convention, and the audience settled
down in full confidence of hearing something worth hearing. He
made no efforts for theatrical effect, but plunged into the middle of
his speech, saying that one man was needed to carry the country
above all others, and he named him " James G. Elaine." At the
mention of the name flags \vere whisked out of pockets, fans were
waved in air, delegates and spectators rose to their feet, and for two
minutes Senator Wolcott calmly surveyed a howling, whistling mob
below and above. The cheers would die down until the howling mob
could catch its breath, then the war cry would be taken up again,
but finally delegates and spectators resumed their seats. Then Wol-
cott went on in a clear, ringing voice with his eulogy. Some of his
words and sentences that called out the most applause were these:
" Reciprocity;" " Our candidate has never been President of the
United States, but he will be; " " There is a mistaken notion that pub-
lic office is a personal gift; " " I rejoice that the opportunity is given
me to cast my vote for a man who seeks everything for his country
and nothing for himself; " " He stands for all that is brightest and
best in American statesmanship; " " There is no true Republican who
will not follow where he leads; " " We pledge our unfaltering and
loyal support to James G. Elaine." More cheers were evoked as he
closed, but it was not like the old Elaine days.

When Indiana was called the venerable ex-Secretary of the Navy,
Richard W. Thompson " Uncle Dick " rose in his place and stood
for a moment as if in doubt. Then, as cries of " Platform! platform!"
came from all parts of the hall, he walked straight and steadily up the
aisle and ascended the speaker' s tribune. There was something
in his plucky manner and sturdy bearing, despite his 83 years, and his
white hair and w r rinkled visage, that awakened the admiration of the
whole multitude, and as he placed General Harrison in nomination
as the " Warrior Statesman," the Harrison forces went wild in their

After Harrison was named the call of the States was continued.
When Minnesota was called W. H. Eustis, a millionaire Minneapolis
lawyer, made a speech seconding the nomination of Elaine, which
however, provoked only perfunctory applause. At this point oc-
curred one of the dramatic episodes of the Convention. While the
cheers were rapidly dying out a pretty woman, with a sweet, girlish


face and blue, sparkling eyes, rose suddenly among the mass of men
and women behind the chairman's desk. She was Mrs. Carson Lake,
of Washington. In full view of the vast multitude she waved a silken
umbrella round her shapely head and cried: " Elaine! Elaine! James
G. Elaine! " Then she grasped her sun umbrella, pure white, with a
white silk cord and tassel, opened it, and swung it round her head
and danced it up and down, sometimes grasping it with one hand and
sometimes with both. " Elaine! Elaine! " she cried again, and
thousands of people in the galleries, and the Elaine people among the
delegates rose in a mass and shouted. Mrs. J. S. Clarkson, who sat
beside her, caught the enthusiasm, too, and springing to her feet,
waved a silken flag, and even Mrs. Kerens, whose husband was a
stanch Harrison man, added her mite to the tribute to Elaine. It ran
wildly, outburst after outburst. Big " Tom " Reed, who sat just in
front of Mrs. Kerens, took up the movement. His face melted into a
broad grin, and he stood and shouted in honor of his old-time enemy.
All over the hall the delegates were crying " Elaine! Elaine! James G.
Elaine!" Delegates opened their umbrellas and waved them aloft.
Judge Thurston, of Nebraska, waved a big white umbrella with
Elaine's name in big black letters. An Illinois delegate, standing
on his chair, fan in hand, led the cheers of " Elaine! Elaine! " on the
floor like the leader of a chorus in a comic opera. Then the band
brought up the rear of the procession with a melody, and just as the
crowd in the galleries and on the floor started the stamping again,
Chairman McKinley began to pound the table with his gavel. His
call brought most of the delegates to order for a minute, but the
confusion in the galleries continued. Again the chairman pounded
the table, and again his signal mingled with the echoes. After
thirty-one minutes of pandemonium. Governor McKinley's voice was
at last heard, requesting that as a matter of safety, suggested by those
having a knowledge of the building, the stamping of feet be discon-

There was another outburst of applause when New York was
reached. This time it was a Harrison demonstration. To Chauncey
M. Depew was committed the task of seconding Harrison's nomina-
tion. His speech was one of the best to which the Convention
listened, and it was finished to the cheering and shouting of the mul-
titude and the waving of flags and banners. Harrison also had his
fair champions, and they started in to outdo the Elaine episode.
Three or four ladies, with Mrs. Depew as a leader, stood on the high
platform, waving handkerchiefs, fans and flags, and calling out to
the thousands to shout " louder, louder, louder." The frenzied crowd
obeyed their call. High it arose; then dying away, then bursting


out afresh. "Harrison! Harrison!" they cried. "Glory, glory halle-
lujah." Some one started the song, and sweeping over the wild furore
of cheers came the well-known strains. It was superb. While the
swelling anthem filled the building a group of men appeared with an
immense portrait of the President. The shouts and shrieks were re-
newed. It was like a storm with screaming winds and beating sea
accompaniment. It was too much for some of the irritated Elaine
men, and presently a follower of the Plumed Knight came rushing
down the broad aisle carrying a splendid silken banner of the Chi-
cago Elaine Club, having on its front the features of the man from
Maine. The hosts of Elaine men jumped to their seats. Their Joan
of Arc was again waving her white sunshade. It was now a contest of
voice against voice, cheer against cheer, of portrait against portrait.
The banner of Elaine was planted defiantly in front of the portrait of
Harrison. The Harrison bearers pushed their \vay beyond the in-
truder and carried their burden back and forth in the aisles, while
the band high up near the roof struck up the " Star Spangled Ban-

Warner Miller, of New York, gave the Elaine men another chance
to prove their lung power by following Depew with a speech for the
Maine candidate. The speechmaking only closed when Wisconsin
was called, Senator Spooner speaking for Harrison. W T hen the roll
was finished only two names were before the Convention, Harrison
and Elaine; but a sign of the attempted stampede that was to be
made later was shown in the midst of a Elaine outburst, when an al-
leged Elaine delegate appeared with a picture of McKinley mounted
on a pole, and paraded with it up and down the aisles, to the delight
of a large part of the supposed Elaine delegates.

The scenes attending the balloting were among the most exciting
ever witnessed in a National Convention. It was a hand-to-hand
encounter between the Harrison column and the politicians whose
hearts were set upon the defeat of the President. There was only one
ballot, but even in tabular form it showed the inherent interest of a
struggle extending over two hours. The vote was: Harrison, 535^;
Elaine, 182; McKinley, 182; Thomas B. Reed, 4, and Robert T. Lin-
coln, 1.

From the time of the previous adjournment at two o'clock in the
morning until the balloting began there was no cessation in the work
of President Harrison's opponents. The effect was to convince the
Ohio delegation that McKinley could be nominated if Ohio would
unite upon him. This meant a direct loss of at least twenty votes for
Harrison from Ohio, and, perhaps, defections all along the line. But
Ohio yielded to the temptation reluctantly, and in the end only be-


cause the voting showed a spontaneous movement for McKinley that
seemed irresistible if McKinley's State gave the signal for a stampede.
The plan was to throw as much of Elaine's strength as possible for
McKinley before Ohio was reached. Beginning with Alabama's
seven votes the scheme gave promise of success, Connecticut, Massa-
chusetts, Michigan, and New York all developing unexpected Mc-
Kinley strength, partly at Harrison's expense, but mostly at the ex-
pense of Blaine. When Ohio was reached more time was asked, but
Chairman McKinley directed the roll to be called. Then Mr. For-
aker, rising, said, " I announce that Ohio casts two votes for Harri-
son and forty-four for William McKinley, Jr." There was a wild,
deafening shout, but Mr. McKinley, as the noise subsided, was heard
addressing the Ohio delegation. " I challenge the vote of Ohio," he
said. " You can not," responded Foraker, with a good-natured " you-
are-in-it-uow " wave of his hand. " You can not." " I am a member of
the Ohio delegation," Governor McKinley replied. " You have left
the delegation and your alternate is serving. We do not own you,"
responded Foraker, crisply. McKinley persisted, and the delegation
was polled. When the result was announced it was found that one of
the two Harrison delegates had receded, and only McKinley's alter-
nate voted for the President. Oregon followed for McKinley, and

Online LibraryGeorge Oberkirsh SeilhamerHistory of the Republican party (Volume 1) → online text (page 54 of 61)