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"As I went downstairs to the room in which the New York delegates were gathered, I made up my mind that the wise course was to take the aggressive at once, and with all possible force. Accordingly as soon as I entered the room, I announced to half a dozen men that I had just had a conversation with Senator Platt; that Senator Platt had informed me that I must take the nomination for the Vice-Presidency and that if I did not I would not be nominated for Governor; that this threat rendered it impossible for me to consider accepting the VicePresidency; that I intended to announce immediately that I was a candidate for Governor and would fight for the nomination, and that every man who voted for my nomination for VicePresident must do so with the understanding that I would see that the people in their turn understood that he was thus voting at the direction of Mr. Platt, in order to remove me from the Governorship; that I should make this statement instantly in the full meeting, that I would make it to the newspapers afterwards, and that I would fight for the nomination on this issue. The minute that I took this position the whole effort to bring pressure upon me collapsed. There was great confusion, and one of Senator Platt's lieutenants came to me and begged me not to say anything for a minute or two until he could communicate with the Senator, whom he was certain must have been misunderstood by me. I laughed and said that I had very clearly understood him, but that of course I would wait for a few minutes until he could be communicated with. In three or four minutes this gentleman came downstairs, saying that the Senator wished to see me again, that he was very sorry he had spoken in a way that caused me to misunderstand him, that he was under the influence of opiate to reduce the pain caused by the injuries he had received, and that he supposed he had expressed himself badly in consequence. Accordingly I went upstairs, and Mr. Platt substantially repeated this explanation to me, saying that he was sorry if he had shown temper or expressed himself badly, and that of course in view of my feeling the effort to nominate me for Vice-President would be abandoned, and that he wished me to be assured that he and all his friends would favor my renomination as Governor. I thanked him, bowed, and w«nt downstairs. The delegates took their cue at once. No further effort was made to nominate me for the Vice-Presidency at this New York caucus and they voted to present the name of Mr. Woodruff."
The caucus of the New Yorkers had been held on Tuesday night, June 19. In the papers on Wednesday morning, every attempt was again made to create the impression that the Roosevelt candidacy was dead. An account of the decision of the New York delegation was telegraphed all over the country. The fact was nourished that Mr. Roosevelt was advising his friends to vote for ex-Secretary John D. Long; and the persistent efforts to nominate the Governor against his will were ascribed to the desire of the "Bosses" of New York and Pennsylvania to "run" the Convention and embarrass the administration. Mr. Hanna himself was at the bottom of these renewed efforts to get Mr. Roosevelt out of the way; but this time they had the appearance of being forced. The correspondents pointed out that the matter could not be considered settled, until Mr. Roosevelt had declared definitely that he would refuse absolutely to accept the nomination. No such declaration had been made. In a statement published in the press on Tuesday morning, he had said merely that in his opinion he could help the national ticket most in case he were renominated for Governor; and he begged his friends to respect his wishes.
If the only forces working in favor of Mr. Roosevelt's nomination had been Senator Platt's wish to transplant such an "erratic" but thrifty political plant out of the green valley of New York state politics and the purpose of the Quay machine, which had formally indorsed the Roosevelt candidacy, to embarrass the administration, Mr. Roosevelt would never have received the nomination, and the administration, represented by Mr. Hanna, would not have been in the least embarrassed. But the difficulty was that the Roosevelt candidacy had developed a spontaneous strength which astounded the candidate himself and really did embarrass Mr. Hanna. Before the meeting of the Convention no one had suspected either the extent or vigor of the demand for Mr. Roosevelt's nomination. A large proportion of the Republican voters had willed that his name should be on the ticket; and no amount of discouragement either from the candidate or from the National Committee could break their will. The delegations from certain Western states insisted that they would nominate him in spite of any opposition from any quarter. They would not listen even to an absolute refusal on the part of the candidate himself to accept the nomination.
No political leader in a democracy can trifle with a plain popular mandate — no matter how inconvenient its consequences may be. Mr. Roosevelt was sincere in his wish to avoid the nomination. He had every apparent personal interest in desiring to continue his career as Governor in New York. But he was staggered by the insistence of the sentiment among the delegates. For that reason he left the door slightly ajar, and the majority of the Convention pushed him through the opening. He and Mr. Hanna, either alone or together, could have beaten "Boss" Platt; but they could not and did not dare to disobey their common master. Such an unequivocal and enthusiastic expression of a popular preference both deserved and commanded acquiescence, and in acquiescing Mr. Roosevelt had this consolation. If from one point of view his transfer to the Vice-Presidency looked like the incarceration of a very promising political career in a cold storage box, from another point of view such a flattering evidence of the Sovereign's favor looked like the finger of Destiny.
Mr. Hanna, on the other hand, had no such consolation. Again and again he had thought and announced that the Roosevelt candidacy was dead. But on Wednesday morning, after its technical murder at the hands of the New York state delegation the night before, it proved to be more alive than ever. Mr. Hanna was taken by surprise, but he was not discouraged. He had come to the Convention with the intention of securing a Vice-Presidential candidate who in his opinion could be depended upon to continue Mr. McKinley's work, and he would not yield his purpose. He continued for some time further to use his own influence and the credit of the administration in an effort to stem the tide. He was prepared, if necessary, to carry the fight to the floor of the Convention. By so doing he was taking a grave risk, for, even had he succeeded, his success would have awakened deep resentment. Already there was a growing undertone of discontent and criticism, because the general preference for Mr. Roosevelt was meeting with organized opposition — emanating from the representative of the administration at the Convention.
According to the veracious Mr. Platt, it was he who persuaded Mr. Hanna to abandon his opposition. He tells of a conference between the two on Tuesday night, while the caucus of the New York delegation was in session, which ended in Mr. Hanna's conversion and the latter's promise "that night" to issue a statement approving Mr. Roosevelt as nominee. This account runs on about the same level of accuracy with Mr. Platt's other contributions to history. Mr. Hanna's statement was not given out on Tuesday night. On Wednesday he was systematically collecting all his own forces and those of the administration for the purpose of preventing the Governor's nomination. What the result would have been, had he been allowed to continue the fight, is doubtful; but his own friends and those of Mr. McKinley feared the outcome. They were as much afraid of the resentment, which would have been caused by an administration victory, as they were by the loss of prestige, which would have resulted from defeat.
A friend of both the President and Mr. Hanna's, Mr. Charles G. Dawes of Illinois, who understood the risk of further opposition, expostulated with Mr. Hanna. He was told that Mr. Hanna was only carrying out the President's wishes. Thereupon he called up Mr. McKinley on the long distance telephone, explained the situation to the President at length and the risk of committing the administration to any uncompromising opposition to the general sentiment of the Convention. He was instructed by Mr. McKinley to ask Mr. Hanna to discontinue all opposition. As soon as Mr. Hanna was informed of the President's wishes he immediately yielded — not without some chagrin and bitterness of spirit, but with the loyalty which he always exhibited and upon which the President confidently counted.
It was on Wednesday evening that Mr. Hanna learned of the President's wishes, and about the same time he was informed that the unwilling candidate had also signified his consent. Late that night, after many consultations with leaders from all over the country, Mr. Hanna gave out the following statement:
"The administration has had no candidate for Vice-President. It has not been for or against any candidate. It has desired that the Convention should make the candidate and that has been my position throughout. It has been a free field for all. Under these circumstances several eminent Republicans have been proposed, all of them distinguished men with many friends. I may now say on behalf of all of these candidates, and I except no one, I have within the last twelve hours been asked to give my advice. After consulting with as many delegates as possible in the time at my disposal I have concluded to accept the responsibility involved in this request. In the present situation, with the strong and earnest sentiment of the delegates from all parts of the country for Governor Roosevelt, and since President McKinley is to be nominated without a dissenting voice, it is my judgment that Governor Roosevelt should be nominated with the same unanimity." This proclamation, which was very ingenious, but not wholly candid, did of course settle the matter. Mr. Hanna's "advice" was accepted. No other name was presented to the Convention for Vice-Presidential candidate; but curiously enough it was not presented by the candidate's own state. The effective demand for Mr. Roosevelt's nomination had come from the West, and to Iowa, as the only Western state which had favored a serious local candidate, was accorded the honor of placing Mr. Roosevelt's name before the Convention. Colonel Lafayette Young made the speech accompanying the nomination, and Mr. Roosevelt received 925 votes out of 926 — one delegate from New York, presumably the candidate himself, having failed to vote.
The dislike which President McKinley and Mr. Hanna felt towards Mr. Roosevelt as Vice-Presidential nominee was natural, but the immediate effect of the nomination was as fortunate for them as its ultimate effects were for Mr. Roosevelt. The Republican ticket was decidedly strengthened by the presence on it of one who at that time was, more than any other single man, the hero of the Cuban war. The facts that both the President and Mr. Hanna had been opposed to the war, that they had been reluctant to accept its consequences, and that in their political system the most important object of political policy was the encouragement of business, — all these facts made