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of public policy in antagonism to that of his candidate and friend.
McKinley's opinion remained unchanged until the very eve of the Convention. Mr. Kohlsaat asserts that on Sunday, June 7, he spent hours trying to convince Mr. McKinley of the necessity of inserting the word "gold" in the platform. The latter argued in opposition that ninety per cent of his mail and his callers were against such decisive action, and he asserted emphatically that thirty days after the Convention was over, the currency question would drop out of sight and the tariff would become the sole issue. The currency plank, tentatively drawn by Mr. McKinley and his immediate advisers, embodied his resolution to keep the currency issue subordinate and vague. According to Mr. Foraker, Mr. J. K. Richards came to him at Cincinnati some days before the date of the meeting of the Convention, bringing with him direct from Canton some resolutions in regard to the money and the tariff questions prepared by the friends of Mr. McKinley with his approval. Mr. Foraker had been slated for the Committee on Resolutions; and the McKinley draft was placed in his hands with a view to having them incorporated in the platform. The currency plank as handed to Mr. Foraker began as follows: —
"The Republican party is unreservedly for sound money. It is unalterably opposed to every effort to debase our currency or disturb our credit. It resumed specie payments in 1879, and since then it has made and kept every dollar as good as gold. This it will continue to do, maintaining all the money of the United States, whether gold, silver or paper, at par with the best money of the world and up to the standard of the most enlightened governments.
"The Republican party favors the use of silver along with gold to the fullest extent consistent with the maintenance of the parity of the two metals. It would welcome bimetallism based upon an international ratio, but until that can be secured it is the plain duty of the United States to maintain our present standard, and we are therefore opposed under existing conditions to the free and unlimited coinage of silver at sixteen to one."
The resolutions mentioned by Mr. Foraker were placed in his hands on Monday or Tuesday, June 8 or 9. Mr. Foraker, however, did not reach St. Louis until Saturday morning; and in the meantime a good deal had been happening there and elsewhere in respect to the currency plank. Mr. Hanna had already gone to St. Louis. When he arrived he had in his possession a draft of certain resolutions, presumably the same which had been taken to Mr. Foraker by Mr. J. K. Richards. He was joined in St. Louis early in the week by a number of Mr. McKinley's friends and supporters; and in the group a lively discussion almost immediately arose as to the precise wording which should be adopted in defining the currency policy of the Republican party. This group consisted in the beginning of Senator Redfield Proctor of Vermont, Colonel Myron T. Herrick, General Osborne and Mr. Hanna himself. Mr. Hanna was so busy in rounding up his delegates and in attending to other details that he could not give much of his time to the conferences over the platform, but he was in and out and knew what was going on.
Towards the middle of the week the group of gentlemen participating in these conferences was increased by several accessions from the number of Mr. McKinley's friends in other states, among whom may be mentioned Mr. Henry C. Payne, William R. Merriam and Melville E. Stone. After his arrival Mr. Henry C. Payne became particularly active in getting the conference together and in having the platform typewritten anew, after every change, and in having copies supplied to each participant. On Wednesday morning Mr. Hanna handed to Mr. Payne the draft of the currency plank as prepared by McKinley with the request that it be revised by the conference and put into final shape. The discussion continued on Thursday. After an agreement had been reached on certain changes Mr. Payne was asked to prepare another draft for discussion on the following day, which was Friday.
On Friday morning Mr. H. H. Kohlsaat of Chicago joined the conference, having come over from Chicago in response to a telegram particularly for that purpose. Mr. Kohlsaat's relation to the whole matter was peculiar. He was a friend of long-standing both of Mr. McKinley and Mr. Hanna. He had, of course, been favorable to the former's nomination, but in the newspapers which he controlled he had combined an earnest advocacy of Mr. McKinley's selection with an even more earnest and insistent advocacy of the single gold standard. He states that he had not been allowed by Mr. McKinley and Mr. Hanna to assist in the contest for the delegation from Illinois, because they were embarrassed by his attitude on the currency question. With the addition of Mr. Kohlsaat the members of the conference consisted of Mr. Payne, Colonel Herrick, Senator Proctor, ex-Governor Merriam and Mr. Stone. Mr. Hanna was present a certain part of the time, but he had so many other matters which required his attention that he was frequently being called off.
There is some conflict of testimony as to proceedings of the conference on Friday. Colonel Herrick states that the final draft had been substantially submitted and accepted on Friday morning. Mr. Kohlsaat, on the other hand, declares that in the draft forming the basis of discussion at the beginning of the conference the word "gold" was omitted. This draft read as follows:
"The Republican party is unreservedly for sound money. It caused the enactment of the law providing for the resumption of specie payments in 1879. Since then every dollar has been as good as gold. We are unalterably opposed to every measure calculated to debase our currency or impair the credit of our country. We are therefore opposed to the free and unlimited coinage of silver except by agreement with the leading commercial nations of Europe, and until such agreement can be obtained we believe that the existing gold standard should be preserved. We favor the use of silver as currency, but to the extent only that its parity with gold can be maintained, and we favor all measures designed to maintain inviolably the money of the United States, whether coin or paper, at the present standard, the standard of the most enlightened nations of the earth."
The foregoing draft was furnished by Colonel Herrick. It differs in one or two minor respects, and in one essential respect, from the draft which, according to Mr. Kohlsaat, formed the basis for discussion at the conference of Friday. The minor differences are merely matters of order and may be ignored. The essential difference turns upon the insertion of the word "gold" before "standard." According to Mr. Herrick the draft prepared by Mr. Payne contained the word "gold." According to Mr. Kohlsaat the decision to insert that word was reached only after a protracted discussion and a sharp controversy between himself and Mr. Hanna. Not until four o'clock in the afternoon, after Mr. Hanna had withdrawn, was an agreement obtained. In view of the unanimity of his friends Mr. Hanna gave his consent and agreed to urge its acceptance on Mr. McKinley. It was Colonel Herrick who telegraphed to the candidate and obtained his approval. According to the testimony of Colonel Herrick, Mr. Kohlsaat, Mr. Merriam and Senator Proctor, the whole matter was settled, so far as Mr. McKinley and his friends were concerned, by Friday night.
In the several accounts of these conferences, the one doubtful point is whether or not the word "gold" was contained in the draft prepared by Mr. Payne. The matter is not of great importance, except in respect to Mr. Kohlsaat's claim that he, more than any single individual, was responsible for its insertion and that he was calleda"d—d fool" by Mr. Hanna for his pains. The only available account from Mr. Hanna himself of his own relation to the gold plank is contained in the following letter to A. K. McClure, written on June 28, 1900.
"my Dear Mr. Mcclure: —
"I am in receipt of yours of the 21st inst., which has just been reached in my accumulation of letters. I do not care to have go into print all that I told you personally in regard to the gold plank of the St. Louis platform. When I went to St. Louis I took with me a memorandum on the tariff and financial questions drawn by Mr. McKinley. During all the discussions there prior to the action of the Committee on Resolutions I showed it to a few friends and had it rewritten by the Hon. J. K. Richards, the present U. S. Solicitor General. It was but slightly changed by those who considered it before it went to the Committee and as presented was passed by the Committee with little or no change. My part of the business was to harmonize all sections and prevent any discussion of the subject outside the Committee which would line up any factions against it (except the ultra silver men). In that I succeeded, and felt willing to give all the credit claimed by those who assisted. The original memorandum is in the possession of a personal friend, whom I do not care to name without his consent. The whole thing was managed in order to succeed in getting what we got, and that was my only interest.
"M. A. Hanna."
The foregoing letter, while it throws no light upon the time and occasion of the insertion of the decisive word into the draft supplies the clew which enables us to interpret Mr. Hanna's own behavior, both during these conferences and thereafter. He himself was in favor of the gold standard, and in favor of a declaration to that effect. But partly because of his loyalty to Mr. McKinley, and partly because he did not want any decisive step taken until the sentiment of the delegates had been disclosed, he preferred to have his hand forced, and he did not want to have it forced too soon. Although a decision, so far as Mr. McKinley and his friends were concerned, had been reached on Friday, public announcement of the fact was scrupulously avoided; and Mr. Hanna evidently proposed to avoid it as long as he could. It was essential, considering the divergence of opinion among Mr. McKinley's supporters, that the candidate's official representative should not assume the position of publicly and explicitly asking the Convention to adopt the gold standard. Mr. McKinley's personal popularity would suffer much less in case every superficial fact pointed to the conclusion that the gold standard was being forced on him by an irresistible party sentiment.
As a matter of fact such was the case. As the delegates gathered in St. Louis, the friends of the gold standard learned for the first time their own strength. Business men east of the Mississippi had been reaching the conclusion that the country could never emerge from the existing depression until a gold standard of value was assured. They and their representatives learned at St. Louis that this opinion had become almost unanimous among responsible and well-informed men. Mr. Hanna received shoals of telegrams from business men of all degrees of importance insisting upon such action. The substantial unanimity of this sentiment among Republican leaders, particularly in the Middle West, clinched the matter. Mr. McKinley would not