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“Frank Osborne will talk to you fully and he will explain to you all. I start out to-morrow for the remainder of the campaign. The outlook is surprisingly favorable. “Your friend, “W. McKINLEY, JR.”
A little over a month later, after he had been defeated for reelection to Congress, he wrote to Mr. Hanna as follows:–
“CHICAGo, ILL., Nov. 12, 1890. “MY DEAR MR. HANNA : — “I have your kind favor of Nov. 10. I am here for a little rest — sorry not to have seen you when last in Cleveland — may run up there before my return to Washington, but am not certain. At all events I will see you. “I agree with you that defeat under the circumstances was
for the best.
“I am sincerely
“P. S. There is no occasion for alarm. We must take no backward step.”
Evidently from the foregoing note Mr. Hanna had not been at all discouraged by the Republican defeat in the fall of 1890 — at least in so far as Major McKinley's political future was concerned. He evidently argued that inasmuch as the legislation with which McKinley's name was associated had been disapproved by public opinion, it was just as well for McKinley to retire from a region of political action in which he had incurred unpopularity, and to continue his career in some other part of the political battlefield. At all events the plan rapidly took shape of nominating McKinley for governor in the summer of 1891; and this plan was successfully accomplished. The Convention was held in June, and the Major was placed at the head of the ticket, practically without opposition. He was not opposed by Foraker; that gentleman had other irons in the fire. The Legislature elected in the fall of 1891 named a Senator to succeed Mr. Sherman; and Mr. Foraker was anticipating and seeking an enlarged sphere of usefulness in Washington. The very fact which may have smoothed the way for the nomination of McKinley threatened the political future of another of Mr. Hanna's political friends — John Sherman himself. In the campaign which followed, Mr. Hanna had, consequently, two objects to accomplish, both of which demanded unusual efforts. It was extremely necessary to elect Mr. McKinley. His political future was not necessarily compromised by the unpopularity of the McKinley Bill and his failure to be returned to the House of Representatives, because a turn of the tide might bring his policy of high protectionism back into favor. But a defeat in his candidacy for governor might well be disastrous to the presidential candidacy, which both of the friends already had in mind. It would create the impression of an insecure hold on the people of his own state, and thereafter it would be difficult to keep his figure before the public as a presidential possibility. Yet there was no certainty of McKinley's election. Republicanism was suffering a temporary eclipse all over the country. Foraker had been defeated two years before. The state of Ohio, which was always Republican on presidential years, frequently disconcerted the party machine by going Democratic on off years. But the sentorial fight complicated the election still further, and aroused in Mr. Hanna an almost equal interest. He continued to be a close political friend of Senator Sherman, and for personal reasons ardently desired both the victory of the Senator and the defeat of Mr. Foraker. The failure to reëlect Mr. Sherman after his long service in the Senate would in Mr. Hanna's eyes have been a disgrace to his native state. Yet in order to return Mr. Sherman to the Senate, it was necessary to canvass the whole state by districts, and to see that enough candidates for the Legislature were pledged to vote for him. In the campaign of 1891 Mr. Hanna gave even more of his time to Senator Sherman's candidacy than he did to that of Major McKinley. He undoubtedly took much more pains to secure Mr. McKinley's election than he did in the case of an ordinary Republican candidate; but his efforts for his friend were confined chiefly to raising money. He could trust the State Committee to work hard for the regular candidate for governor. Mr. Sherman's interest, on the other hand, required personal direction, and Mr. Hanna assumed a large part of the work. His correspondence during these months is filled far more with the details of the Sherman, than with those of the McKinley, campaign. He went, indeed, to unusual personal exertions to secure for McKinley a large campaign fund. He solicited contributions over his own personal signature, not merely in Ohio, but from manufacturers in Chicago and Pittsburgh, on the ground that the defeat of McKinley would be interpreted as a further disaster to the general cause of protection. While frequently rebuffed on the ground that Ohio ought to take care of her own protectionists, he obtained some little money from these irregular sources. He seems to have been unusually successful in collecting money in Cleveland, some of which went to the candidate himself for personal expenses. On August 30, 1891, he wrote to Mr. Hanna : “I am a thousand times obliged for your letter with enclosure. I will forward it at once to the State Committee. I beg you will give to all of my friends who participated my sincere thanks. It was most generous of you and others; and I have to thank you most of all.” Two weeks later he writes: “Your favor of September 7 I find here upon my return home to-day. Please receive my sincere thanks for your goodness, and now I beg to suggest that you forward direct to the Committee any other contributions that may be placed in your hands. I have sufficient to defray my personal expenses.” The payment of the personal expenses of a candidate had long been customary. Garfield received an allowance for his entertaining at Mentor during the campaign of 1880, and later in 1896 the National Committee allowed McKinley $10,000 for personal expenses. In the case of Mr. Sherman's candidacy, Mr. Hanna's efforts were not confined to raising money. A good many thousand dollars were indeed contributed — partly by Senator Sherman himself — for the purpose of assisting legislative candidates in doubtful districts; and this money was placed in the hands of the chairman of the State Executive Committee, Mr. W. M. Hahn, who was favorable to Mr. Sherman's reëlection. But in addition special efforts had to be made to pledge legislative candidates to Sherman rather than to Foraker, and in case a pledge was refused to bring the pressure of local public opinion upon an adverse or doubtful nominee. Agents were sent all over the state to carry on this work. Not a district was neglected which offered any promise of a fruitful return. In the beginning Senator Sherman had not taken very seriously the threatened opposition. Later, however, Captain Donaldson, a state committeeman who for years had made a specialty of looking after the legislative districts, and who was an ardent supporter of Mr. Sherman, was placed in charge of the details of the canvass. He calculated on being able to secure some fifty-three votes for Sherman in the caucus; but in order to do so he needed some $10,000 to spend in the doubtful counties. He went to Cleveland, and explained the situation to Mr. Hanna, who promised him the money. Senator Sherman himself selected the man to whom the disbursement of this fund was intrusted. They did not count upon any votes from Hamilton County, in spite of Mr. Sherman's expectations to the contrary, but a unanimous delegation from Cleveland was considered indispensable. Mr. Hanna took personal charge of his own county — the importance of which may be judged from the following extract from a letter of Senator Sherman to Mr. Hanna, dated Sept. 22, 1891. “I am assured,” he writes, “from Columbus that if the nominees for the Legislature from Cuyahoga County are substantially solid for me, it will settle the senatorial contest and greatly relieve the canvass. So I feel that you are fighting the battle for the state.” A week later, after the local primaries had been held, he writes: “You made a glorious fight in Cleveland, for which I am under a thousand obligations to you. The result is extremely gratifying, and I agree with you that without the active support you and others have rendered, we might have been defeated by superior organization.” On election day Mr. Hanna and his friends won a decisive victory. In a year of general Republican defeat, Mr. McKinley was elected governor by an unusually large majority. Immediately thereafter, Thomas B. Reed, the former Speaker, who had stumped Ohio during the campaign, wrote to Mr. McKinley, “I am much rejoiced over your victory, which is the M
only bright spot in the last elections. Your State Committee gave me a hard season, but it was wound up so delightfully at Mark Hanna's that if you ever want to coax me to do anything you had better send Hanna.” The Legislature was Republican by a good majority.
Senator Sherman's friends calculated on the face of the returns that he would beat Foraker in the caucus, and they were surprised to find shortly after the election that the most confident claims were made from the Foraker headquarters of a Foraker victory. Certain members of the Legislature, including three from Cleveland, who were either pledged to Sherman or were counted upon by his managers were threatening to backslide. A week before the caucus Mr. Hanna went to Columbus and took personal charge of the Sherman campaign. The situation looked desperate; but it was saved, so Mr. Sherman himself stated to his friends, by Mr. Hanna's energy, enthusiasm and ability to bend other men to his will. Three of the Cleveland representatives, who had gone into hiding, were unearthed and forced into line. When the caucus was held, Senator Sherman received fifty-three votes to thirtyeight for Foraker.
On January 9 Senator Sherman wrote to Mr. Hanna the following letter: —
“MY DEAR SIR : — “Now, after the smoke of battle is cleared away, I wish first of all and above all to express to you my profound gratitude and sincere respects for the part you have taken in the recent Senatorial canvass. I feel that without you I would have been beaten. It was your foresight in securing the Cleveland delegation that gave us the strongest support and made it possible to counteract the evil influence of the Hamilton County delegation. “You have been a true friend, liberal, earnest and sincere, without any personal selfish motive, but only guided by a sense of what is best for the people of Ohio and of the country. I wish you to know that I appreciate all this and will treasure it as long as I live and only wish the time may come when I may in some way show that I am deserving of all your kindness.