The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Charles Francis Adams, Jr., November 5th, 1900


New York, Nov. 5, 1900.

Thanks for your letter of Oct. 13th [30th] with enclosures. I hope the correspondence may have done some good.

Now on the eve of the election let me say to you that for a considerable time I have not expected Mr. Bryan to succeed. The Kansas City Convention gave my hopes the first shock. Still, if after his splendid Indianapolis speech against imperialism Bryan had retired into silence, resting his case on that speech, he might have had a chance. But when he then went into the field and indulged in all sorts of loose talk which sounded far more dangerous than it really was, thus bringing various other things, especially the money question, into the foreground, I became more and more confirmed in the belief that he would not be elected.

I should then for various reasons have preferred to stay out of the campaign and to remain at my summer home in absolute quietness, had I not thought that the campaign offered a better opportunity for bringing to the attention of the people the facts and arguments against imperialism than we had had before or might have afterwards. The situation reminded me somewhat of that of 1872 when I had to make up my mind as to whether I should go into the campaign for Greeley. I was, of course, extremely disgusted with Greeley's nomination. There could be no doubt as to his defeat in the election. But I concluded to go into the campaign for him because the Liberal Republican movement was intended to be a means for reconciling the North and the South. It accomplished much in that direction. It would have missed that object if those who had originated that movement had abandoned it on account of mere dissatisfaction with the candidate. I therefore went actively into that campaign, and I am not sorry for it in the retrospect.

But when saying that for a long time I have had no hope of Bryan's election and that in spite of this feeling I took part in the campaign for educational purposes, I do not mean to suggest any change of opinion on my part as to whether Bryan's election would not on the whole have been better for the country than McKinley's. I still believe so, and I do this after a very dispassionate consideration of all the objectionable features of Bryan's character and surroundings.

We may talk that over at leisure when we meet again. . . .