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have consented to any decisive utterance, had he not been convinced that the great majority of his friends and his party were unalterably in favor of it. Every one of the participants in the preliminary conferences considered it desirable, and their united recommendation constituted a constraining force which Mr. McKinley could not ignore. Such being the case, any controversy as to the precise time and occasion of the insertion of the word "gold" into the actual draft becomes of small importance. It would have been inserted anyway, not by any one man or by the representatives of any one section, but because the influential members of the party, except in the Far West, had become united on the subject. Credit, however, particularly attaches to those Middle Western politicians and business men, who had the intelligence to understand and the courage to insist that the day for equivocation in relation to this essential issue had passed, and who persuaded Mr. McKinley that he must stand on a gold platform even at some sacrifice of personal prestige and perhaps at some risk of personal success. If Mr. McKinley had failed to consent to the insertion of the word "gold," and had prevailed upon all his intimate friends to assume the same attitude, he might possibly have prevented his own nomination. At all events, as soon as Mr. McKinley's opponents arrived, they immediately began an attack.on what was manifestly the weak point in the McKinley fortifications. They knew that his nomination was assured, unless, perchance, he could be placed in opposition to the will of the Convention upon some important matter, and of course they represented a part of the country, in which public opinion in general was more united in favor of the gold standard than it was in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. Senators Lodge and Platt reached St. Louis on Sunday. They learned of the controversy over the currency plank, but not about the decision actually reached. Senator Lodge went immediately to the McKinley headquarters. In his ensuing interview with Mr. Hanna the latter gave him no encouragement about the insertion into the plank of the word "gold." Mr. Lodge and exGovernor Draper were shown the drafts of two resolutions, one of which was understood to have just arrived from Canton, and neither of which committed the party to the gold standard. Senator Lodge then told Mr. Hanna that these drafts were unsatisfactory, and that Massachusetts would demand a vote upon any similar plank. After some further talk Mr. Lodge went away, but he served notice on Mr. Hanna that efforts would be made to consolidate the sentiment in the Convention opposed to any "straddle." By Monday night the advocates of the gold standard had a majority of the Convention rounded up in favor of an unequivocal declaration in its favor.
Of course, this was precisely the result which Mr. Hanna wanted. The evidence is conclusive that on Friday night both he and Mr. McKinley were prepared to accept a decisive gold plank (which he personally had always approved) but, as he says in his letter to Mr. McClure, his part of the business was "to prevent any discussion of the subject outside of the Committee on Resolutions, which would line up any factions against it." That is, he proposed to leave the action of the Convention on the plank uncertain, until the Committee on Resolutions could launch a draft which would have the great majority of the Convention behind it, and which would constrain the doubters and the trimmers. By failing to tell Senator Lodge that a draft containing the word "gold" had already been accepted by McKinley, he astutely accomplished his part of the business. He arranged for the consolidation of the sentiment in favor of the gold standard, while he prevented any consolidation of the sentiment against it, except on the part of the irreconcilables. If he had announced as early as Saturday or Sunday that a declaration in favor of the gold standard would be supported by Mr. McKinley's friends and probably adopted by the Convention, a considerable number of half-hearted and double-minded delegates might have been won over by the leaders of the silver faction. And it might have seemed like a desertion by McKinley of the pro-silver delegates, who had been prevented by the ambiguity of the candidate's previous attitude from opposing him.
The text of the plank as it came from the Committee and appeared in the platform, read as follows: —
"The Republican party is unreservedly for sound money. It caused the enactment of a 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 coinage of silver, except by international agreement with the leading commercial nations of the earth, which agreement we pledge ourselves to promote; and until such agreement can be obtained the existing gold standard must be maintained. All of our silver and paper currency must be maintained at parity with gold, and we favor all measures designed to maintain inviolably the obligations of the United States, and all our money, whether coin or paper, at the present standard, the standard of the most enlightened nations of the earth."
A comparison of the foregoing text with the draft worked up by the preliminary conference discloses only unimportant changes. The "free and unlimited coinage of silver" gets along without the "and unlimited." The draft wants an international agreement with "the commercial nations of Europe," whereas the plank is not satisfied with an agreement with anything less than the whole earth. The plank pledges the party to promote such an agreement, and the draft does not. In the plank "we believe that" is very properly omitted before "the existing gold standard," which is to be "preserved" in the plank and "maintained" in the draft. The plank does not favor the use of silver as currency, and in this respect it is a palpable improvement over the draft. The actual wording was the result of the scrutiny and cooperation of very many minds; and on the whole the last version, the one actually presented to the Convention, is the best. But this version was, of course, the result of the closest kind of criticism applied to the original McKinley draft. It was first worked over by the conference of Mr. McKinley's friends and reduced to the form given on page 197. This form was placed in charge of WilliamR. Merriam, the only man participating in the conference, who was also a member of the Committee on Resolutions. It was submitted by him at Mr. Hanna's request to the chairman of the Committee and presumably received his approval. Mr. Merriam is the connecting link between the preliminary conferences of Mr. McKinley's supporters and the Committee on Resolutions. Mr. Foraker, in his pamphlet on "The Gold Plank," published in 1899, asserts that the last draft which he received directly or indirectly from Mr. Hanna did not differ essentially from the form originally brought to him from Canton by Mr. J. K. Richards. On the other hand, Mr. Merriam states explicitly that he, at the suggestion of Mr. Hanna, submitted on Monday evening the draft containing the word "gold" to Mr. Foraker and Senators Lodge and Platt. Senator Platt in his "Autobiography" (p. 325) confirms this statement. "That night (Monday) Governor Merriam came to Mr. Platt and Mr. Kohlsaat went to Mr. Lodge with the draft of the original Hanna plank with the word 'gold' inserted, and with the statement that it would be conceded." Mr. Kohlsaat confirms the statement of an interview with Mr. Lodge on Monday. Mr. Lodge himself testifies that the gold plank was finally drafted at a meeting of the sub-Committee on Resolutions by Mr. Foraker, Governor Merriam, Edward Lauterbach of New York and himself. Senator Proctor and Colonel Herrick corroborate the assertion that the draft submitted by Mr. Merriam was identical with the draft upon which the preliminary conference had agreed three days earlier. This testimony establishes the method whereby the original draft was transmitted to the Committee on Resolutions; and it justifies the inference that in respect to this detail Mr. Foraker's recollection must be at fault.
The Committee on Resolutions is technically responsible for the plank, and to a certain extent was actually responsible. Most assuredly it improved the phrasing of the resolution; but the testimony on which the foregoing narrative is based proves that the Committee merely confirmed a decision which in substance had already been reached. Not until Monday night was Mr. Hanna ready to have the matter finally settled. In the meantime he was allowing the delegations from New York and Massachusetts to do the work for him of consolidating the sentiment of the Convention in favor of an unequivocal declaration in favor of the gold standard. Responsibility for the result was widely distributed. No one man or group of men can claim more than a minor share. The gentlemen who participated in the preliminary conferences and who secured Mr. McKinley's consent to the insertion of the word "gold," played an important part, but even if no such conferences had taken place the Eastern states could and would have forced a declaration in favor of gold. The party had become more united on the subject than its leaders realized, and there was a general and an irresistible convergence towards the goal of a single standard. That the salutary result was accomplished without a more serious bolt on the part of disaffected delegates was due chiefly to the way in which Mr. Hanna manoeuvred to get the Convention to declare itself and so to give its action a higher momentum and a more authoritative force. As he says, "the whole affair was managed in order to succeed in getting what we got," and he might have added 'at the smallest possible expense.
None of the delegates to the Republican Convention of 1896 who insisted upon a declaration in favor of a single gold standard realized what the consequences of their currency plank would be. They anticipated a certain amount of disaffection, but they judged that the Democrats were so hopelessly discredited that they could afford to alienate a few silver states in the Far West. As a matter of fact, the resulting bolt of the Colorado delegates and others did not look serious, and the Republican leaders returned to their homes, satisfied that their work had been well and safely done. But their satisfaction did not last very long. The subsequent action of the Democratic National Convention did something to excuse, if not to justify, Mr. McKinley's dread of the currency issue. For a while it looked as if the very means taken to establish the gold standard might result in its disestablishment.
No wonder that the action of the Democrats at Chicago took every one by surprise, for it was without precedent in American political history. A Democratic administration was repudiated by a Convention of its own partisans. No attempt was made to defend its chief measures. On the contrary, the repeal of the Silver Purchase Act, which had been accomplished under the leadership of a Democratic President, was violently attacked. What the country needed was not less silver currency but more, and the best way to get it was to take down the bars and coin all the silver offered. The nomination was bestowed upon a young and comparatively unknown man, who had carried the Convention away by his eloquent denunciation of a currency system based on gold. Thus the Democrats refused to be placed