The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Edward M. Shepard, October 7th, 1900


Bolton Landing, N. Y., Oct. 7, 1900.

Many thanks for your kind letter of October 26. about my speech. I am afraid your Republican friend who found my argument unanswerable, but who nevertheless will vote for McKinley to head off Bryan, expressed the feeling of a large multitude.

Mr. Louis Ehrich of Colorado Springs writes me:

In July I endeavored to get Mr. Bryan to make a public declaration to the effect that, if elected, he would take advantage of no loopholes in the present currency law in order to further his financial views; that he desired legislation on this subject only as the result of the conversion of the opinions of the American people, and that until such conversion of sentiment had been unmistakably declared, he would in no wise interfere with the present money standard. At that time Mr. Bryan objected to making such a declaration, principally because he thought it would look like truckling to the Gold Democrats for their votes. I am at the present time again endeavoring to have him make such a public statement. Senator Jones agrees with me in its advisability and so do many others. My own belief is that it would secure many doubtful votes, and that in addition it would greatly help to prevent a panic in the case of Bryan's election.

I fully agree with Mr. Ehrich. In fact, I believe that just such an explicit statement is the only thing that can prevent McKinley's reëlection. And I do not see why Mr. Bryan should not make it, as it would really only be a declaration—a declaration proper under any circumstances—that he will faithfully execute in letter and spirit the law as it stands.

My private opinion is that, if the election were to take place to-morrow, McKinley would be reëlected by a strong majority. Such a declaration, just as Mr. Ehrich proposes it, and the issue of imperialism resolutely advanced to the foreground again—which Mr. Bryan has strangely neglected—may prevent such a result; but I believe nothing else can.

I see by the papers that you are to preside at the great Bryan meeting in New York. You are thus in a position which may make Mr. Bryan listen to you perhaps more than he otherwise would. And I would entreat you to use your influence as strongly as possible in the direction indicated. It would, however, be much better if Mr. Bryan made such a declaration before coming to New York.