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assistance the one American statesman whose experience in relation to the foreign affairs of the country would make his services peculiarly valuable. A political associate of Mr. McKinley's, whom the President-elect frequently consulted about the effect on public opinion of appointing different men to his Cabinet, clearly recollects a conversation with Mr. McKinley in respect to Senator Sherman's designation as Secretary of State. The consideration which seemed to be uppermost in Mr. McKinley's mind was the prestige which he hoped would accrue to the administration by the bestowal of the premier position in his Cabinet on Mr. Sherman. He had been elected on an issue involving the financial integrity of the country and the prosperity of general business. He wished above all to gain for the administration the confidence of the business interests, and in his opinion Senator Sherman's appointment would contribute effectually to that result. He recognized that Mr. Sherman was failing in health and mental vigor, but he argued that inasmuch as the country knew nothing about it, Mr. Sherman's name would lose none of its value to the administration. He expected to be able by giving Mr. Sherman a competent first assistant Secretary to obtain the benefit of the Senator's prestige and general advice, while at the same time keeping the departmental detail in capable hands. Such arguments may well have carried much weight with Mr. McKinley. He had never been much interested in the foreign affairs of the United States, and he probably failed to understand the gravity of the approaching crisis. He did not anticipate that within a year the country would be on the verge of war, and he had every intention of preserving peace. His attention being concentrated on the domestic situation, he naturally made his appointments with the object chiefly in mind of meeting the exigencies of the country's political and business condition. He made, consequently, grave mistakes in appointing his Secretaries both of Foreign Affairs and of War, but the mistakes were natural, if not excusable. He would have been the last man in the world to have compromised the success of his administration by naming weak men to the heads of those departments — in case he had realized his subsequent need of unusually capable assistants as Secretaries of Foreign Affairs and of War. Whether or not the arguments in favor of Mr. Sherman's transfer to the State Department would have prevailed, in case Mr. McKinley had not needed Mr. Hanna's assistance in the Senate and in case Mr. Hanna had not wanted a seat in that body, may well be doubted. But admitting that a Senatorship for Mr. Hanna constituted an important advantage of the arrangement, there was nothing reprehensible about such a redistribution of official positions among Mr. McKinley's supporters and friends. The mistake consisted, not in the arrangement itself, but in failing to understand the paramount importance at that particular juncture of the ablest possible direction of State Department. Furthermore, in estimating the probable influence of Mr. Hanna's desire for a seat in the Senate upon the tender of the Secretaryship of State to Mr. Sherman, it must be remembered that the President was running a grave risk of transferring Mr. Sherman to the State Department, while at the same time making room for an opponent rather than his most efficient friend in the Senate. As Mr. Sherman's letters indicate, they had no assurance that the new Secretary's place could and would be filled by Mark Hanna. The Governor of Ohio at that time was Asa Bushnell. He had been nominated by the State Convention of 1895, which was controlled by the opposing faction in state politics. He was far from friendly either to the President-elect or to Mr. Hanna. He would have liked to interfere with their plans. As a matter of fact, he hesitated a long time before making the appointment, keeping Mr. Hanna in the meantime in an agony of suspense. Not until February 21, two weeks before Mr. McKinley's inauguration, and five weeks after the announcement of Senator Sherman's appointment, did he write to Mr. Hanna announcing the latter's appointment as Senator, until the Legislature should have an opportunity to act.
“Columbus, February 21, 1897. “MY DEAR MR. HANNA : — “When Senator Sherman announced his intention of accepting the portfolio of the State Department in the Cabinet of President McKinley, I deemed it best not to make an announcement as to my action in the matter of appointing his successor, until the vacancy actually existed. However, the interest of the people and their anxiety to know what will be done has become so evident that it now seems proper to make the definite statement of my intentions. I therefore wish to communicate to you my conclusion to appoint you as the successor of Senator Sherman, when his resignation shall have been received. This information I have understood will have been in accordance with your desire, it having been stated to me that you wish to make certain arrangements in your private affairs.
“I wish you all success in your office and many years of health and happiness. I am
“Very sincerely yours,
The reasons stated by the Governor for his delay were disingenuous. He considered seriously the possibility of a number of alternative appointments. It is stated on good authority that he sounded several prominent Republicans in the effort to secure a man for the office, whose public services constituted a title to the distinction. But in the end he did not dare. Mr. Hanna's friends, including as they now did practically all the influential business men in the state and the majority of the important political leaders, exerted an irresistible pressure upon him. He was a candidate for a second term as Governor, and he was presumably given to understand that in case he refused Mr. Hanna the appointment, he would have no chance of renomination. Nevertheless, strong as his cards were, Mr. Hanna doubted up to the last moment whether he would get his Senatorship. Even after the announcement was published, the issue of the commission was delayed. Governor Bushnell did not actually place it into Mr. Hanna's hands until the morning after McKinley's inauguration, March 5, 1897. The delivery was made in person in the parlor of the Arlington Hotel, only a few persons being present. The commission was handed over with a great deal of formality, and, according to an eyewitness, with a total lack of cordiality on the part of the donor and of the recipient. The new Senator left immediately for the Capitol in order to be sworn in. Various reasons have been suggested for the Governor's delay in issuing the commission, of which, perhaps, the most plausible is that Mr. Hanna's colleague wished to be technically the senior Senator from Ohio.
Thus the beginning of Mr. Hanna's official career was practically coincident with the beginning of Mr. McKinley's presidential term. Mr. Hanna had obtained the particular status which he had coveted for so long, and which was the one office which offered to him a larger opportunity than ever for the exercise of his abilities as a partisan executive, as an organizer of public opinion and as a personal political force. The remainder of this book will be filled with the story of the way in which he embraced these larger opportunities and the way in which he fulfilled the responsibilities imposed upon him by his peculiar endowment of official, extra-official and personal power.
BEFORE beginning an account of Mr. Hanna's official career, it will be convenient to anticipate the actual sequence of events and tell the story of his first election to the Senate. That election did not take place until over a year after his appointment, but inasmuch as the extraordinary incidents surrounding it were the culmination of his early extra-official career in Ohio politics, they can best be related in the present sequence.
When Mr. Hanna was appointed Senator, he had made no definite decision to seek election as his own successor; but after he had once occupied a senatorial seat his political future and prestige came to depend more than ever upon his presence in the Senate. To have occupied such a position by virtue of the Governor's selection and then to have shirked a submission of his title to the people and the Legislature of his state, would have been an act of weakness and cowardice, of which he was incapable and which would have reacted injuriously upon his personal prestige. Once having been named Senator, he was compelled to seek the confirmation of an election; and once having announced his candidacy his success became a matter of keen personal feeling. For the first time in his life he threw himself ardently into a campaign whose object was the fulfilment of a specific personal ambition.
His candidacy, which was announced in the most public manner, met in the beginning with practically no open hostility within his own party. The opposing faction had been temporarily silenced by the popularity and prestige which Mr. Hanna had obtained as a result of the successful presidential campaign. The State Convention assembled in Toledo on June 23, 1897. Mr. Hanna was in complete control. The Convention of 1895 had established a precedent in Ohio politics by nominating James B. Foraker for Senator. The Convention