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There remains for brief consideration one other factor in the campaign. The Chicago platform may be compared with the Newcastle programme; it was meant to furnish an Adullam wherein every variety of discontent with the existing order might find some promise of alteration appealing directly to itself. For the mining West there was free silver; for the farming West free trade. The South needed no incentive beyond the hated name of Republicanism. But what about the North and East? Here was committed the decisive and irreparable blunder of the campaign. It was decided to stir up labour against capital: so far, from a partisan point of view, the Democratic counsel was good. The blunder lay in the pivot selected for the agitation.
It is probable-if universal report can prove anything, it is certain that the Chicago platform owed what were called its Anarchistic features to Governor Altgeld of Illinois. He is a man of unquestionable ability, and all but his bitterest enemies allow that in most respects he has made a good governor. On the other hand, his own political associates hardly take the trouble to deny that he is self-seeking, insincere, utterly reckless of means, and not over loyal. He won the name of Anarchist-most unreasonably, if Americans or anybody else ever allowed reason to enter into their heads when once the word Anarchism is abroad by pardoning certain criminals who had been concerned in rioting and bombthrowing in Chicago some eight years ago. The explanation of it was not love of Anarchism, but love of self. He had made a com
pact with the Socialists and Anarchists, who are very strong among the herding foreigners of Chicago, to release these men in exchange for their solid vote when he stood for Governor of the State. Such deals are of daily occurrence in the United States, and this particular deal no more proved Mr Altgeld an Anarchist than the widespread suspicion that he bartered Democratic votes for M'Kinley as President against Republican votes for himself as Governor argues him a Republican.
Now, Governor Altgeld had come into collision more than once both with the Federal authorities at Washington and with the Supreme Court of the United States. Riots had stopped the mails, and the President not unnaturally felt himself justified in using Federal troops to restore order. Mr Altgeld chose to consider this a personal affront, and posed as the champion of the prerogatives of the State as against the nation. He said that if Federal troops came into Illinois again, they would find State troops to oppose them. And there can be little doubt that he secured the insertion into the Chicago platform of the attacks on Federal authority and the Supreme Court, more out of personal pique than any deep-laid design to overthrow society. that as it may, the battle-ground was the very worst that could have been chosen. The more the Americans commit the selection of their everyday judges to popular suffrage, the more they cling to the paramount authority, dignity, and independence of the Supreme Court. The more they decentralise and bestow the minor functions of sovereignty upon the
State, the more they cherish the final attributes of sovereignty committed to the central Government. The attitude is natural, reasonable, and universal. Im
agine, then, the horror and indignation when they saw the ultimate safeguards of the Constitution fiercely assailed. The assault meant less than it seemed to mean, for in reality it represented little but the private spite of an individual. But the opposi tion to it was collective. With the more stable classes it did the
democratic canvass more damage than free silver itself. To the floating masses of working men, many of them out of work, and many newly arrived immigrants, hardly able to babble a few words of American-English, what was the use of an attack upon the Supreme Court to them, or what knew they of the Federal authority and the status of the State? In a word, this part of the programme did it an inappreciable deal of good, and an incalculable deal of harm.
This is perhaps a sufficient, though necessarily a fragmentary, outline of the principal forces in play during the election. There rallied to Mr M'Kinley all the solid respectable classes who had business to make or mar, all the classes who imagined that protection would put money in their purse, and all law-abiding citizens who were frightened at the bloodless spectre of sham Anarchism. Mr Bryan had to depend on the silver interest, which finished his Old Guard; on such part of the agricultural interest as he could pick up by economic clap-trap; on such part of the labour interest as he could influence by vapid generalities about revolutionary projects which offered no benefit to anybody; on the South and on the lifelong Democrats, who knew that he had been regularly nominated by the regularly chosen representatives of the party, and who would sooner think of changing their nationality than of voting against a presidential candidate so accredited. The potency of the last named influence was shown by the gold Democratic movement. Not a man of those prominently connected with it but would have
voted, and probably did vote, directly for Mr M'Kinley. But
to detach the rank and file of the Democratic party, it was necessary to put up candidates bearing the name of Democrat, and appealing to the memory of Jefferson. dominant in American politics is the party name over the party principle.
With the joint appeal to so many shades of thought and sentiment, adding thereto a personal canvass unsurpassed for courage, endurance, and personal glamour in the whole history of popular agitation, Mr Bryan, it will be said, ought surely to have won the country. But here lay the radical blunder of his party and his platform. In the attempt to gather together malcontents of every denomination for the grand assault on substance and respectability, they wholly forgot the regular Democratic voter, who really was the backbone of their cause. More: they actually went out of their way to estrange him. They mazed him with heresies about the currency; they frightened him with bogies about the Constitution. In one word, they could not have their cake and eat it. To gain
the silver Republicans, the Populists, and the Anarchists, they threw away the Democrats.
And now, what has been the net result of the momentous struggle? What has been gained and what lost? What dangers to the future prosperity and stability of the country have been laid and what revealed? The first result is plain. The victory of Mr M'Kinley has averted, for four years at least, an experiment in finance which must have been at the best hazardous and attended with cruel individual hardships, and at the worst ruinous to the national credit and the national industries. That has been done, but how far does that go Will the battle have to be fought all over again in 1900? The present probability is that it will. The battle has been fought on an economic issue, and there is no great probability that four years hence the economic conditions will have materially changed. The price of silver is not likely to go up. In the Rocky Mountains - not to mention the Broken Hill mine, and including the rich lodes of Kootenay in British Columbiathere is silver enough to rebuild half the cities of America. The moment that for any reason the price goes up, it will pay exploiters to mine a lower grade of ore: down it will go again. Nor is there any likelihood that the next four years will see Western agriculture in better estate than it is to-day. Just now the farmer's pockets are full; he is paying the store-keeper what he owes, and he is making up the arrears on his mortgage. But in few cases is he paying off the whole principal. Wheat has gone up beyond his rosiest dreams; but it is only one crop, and he was a long way behind. Next year, and the next, and the next, the wheat-harvest in India
is not likely to fail; it is much more likely to fail in Dakota and Kansas. As regards silver and farming, 1900 may be expected to find the field as white to Mr Bryan's harvesting hand as has 1896. Riper, indeed, since four years more of depression must convince the doubter of this year that free silver may perhaps have had something in it after all.
On all this, beyond doubt, Mr Bryan and his friends are counting, when they so jauntily inaugurate the contest which is to land them in power at Washington in the second year of next century. But if this dream is ever to harden into fact, one lesson must be learnt from the abortive effort which is just dying away. There must be something better to attract the working man. There is no need to set labour against capital: labour is already set against capital far more grimly in the United States than anywhere in the world. The fomenters of discord have only to stand by and let the hostility accumulate for yet four years more. Already it has come to this, that the etiquette of every strike demands not only picketing and importation of blacklegs, and other tame European methods, but revolvers and dynamite almost from the very outset. Homestead and Coeur d'Alene and Leadville witness it, and the tale of victims is hungrily conned over in many a labourer's cabin. The train is laid; it waits only the match.
It wants no great acumen to forecast the formula of 1900. It will be war against the trusts. It was part of the stock-in-trade this year, but it was not prominently displayed. You can hardly fight an election on more than two main issues: otherwise parties overlap. This year the Democrats chose silver for one, and the Republicans
forced Protection upon them for the other. Denunciations of trusts were rapturously received, but free silver and Protection gave the sentiment no room to breathe. Now, a campaign against trusts would awaken no such dismay as greeted the attack upon the Federal sovereignty and the Supreme Court. On the contrary, it would tend to unite all classes. Industrial enterprise in the United States has been left far freer from legal fetters than in European countries. Little is done by the State; all is left to the initiative of the individual. The owner of a plot of ground in New York or Chicago can put up a building of twenty storeys, if he has the mind and the capital, without troubling himself either about his neighbours' ancient lights or the width of the street. The apparent negligence is explained partly by the Americans' horror of retarding mechanical progress, and partly by their reliance on competition. They have cast overboard the law as the safeguard of individual right, and put themselves under the protection of competition, and of it alone.
Now, a trust, in its exacter acceptation, is the very negation of competition. It is a combination of all the producers of a necessary article to regulate its price to their own profit and the loss of the public. Here the Americans have made an exception to their general rule, and passed laws forbidding such corporations to trade in the life-blood of their fellow-men. But these laws are either not stringent enough to meet the case, or, like most laws in the United States, go unenforced. To what extent trusts which are, or should be, illegal exist it is not easy to determine. It is their obvious interest to lie as close as possible. But some there certainly are
such as the Standard Oil Trust and the Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal Trust. Many Americans have much to say for the first: commanding the whole supply of oil, but also commanding an enormous machinery of distribution, advertisement, and the like, it supplies oil at an exceedingly low price. The mechanical conditions of this age are such that a great field lies open for the use of oil in directions unsuspected a generation ago. But when the Standard Trust has taught millions of people to rely on oil for every purpose— has made oil, in short, a necessity of life-what then is to prevent it from raising the price, and decamping with a booty immeasurably richer than if it had never first allured the people into dependence upon it? Not the law certainly, for the Standard Oil Trust is believed to violate the law by its very existence.
It may be only in the imagination of labour-agitators and sensation-mongering journalists that trusts exist to control the price of every necessity of life. Absolute control of supply is probably rare; combinations among the leading producers, who are strong enough to set the tune to the market, are probably very common. Whether that be so or not, it is indisputable that the power of associated capitalists is daily riveted more firmly upon the United States. One very galling instance of it is found in combinations among great employers of labour-railway companies, for example-to keep a mutual black-list. If a working man offends one of them, whether in time of strike or on his own initiative, he will get no employment from any. Men have changed their names and disguised themselves in vain to escape this merciless and omniscient boycott. That
these great industrial organisations crush out all small private traders goes without saying. Worse still, the law is at their command for a price. A bribe to a judge or an attorney, it matters not in what form conveyed, will protect them from violations of any statute already in force. A bribe to a few politicians will secure any new statute they may desire to promote their business at the public expense. They even maintain their own members in legislative bodies, pocket assemblymen, pocket congressmen, pocket senators, like any magnate of Georgian days. They stand beside and above the law, and they use their immunity to empty the pockets of the citizen and to fill their own.
Here, then, is the weak point of the Republicans. They have triumphed this year because all the powers of money were on their side. They can hardly throw over Mr Hanna and his trusts in 1900. If Mr Bryan and his associates will strike straight and hard at this heel of Achilles, they may yet avenge this year's defeat. It is difficult to see four years ahead, especially in the United States, where a President's term of office is as a generation in Europe. But at present only two obstacles present themselves. One is that Mr Bryan's obstinate fanaticism-supposing him to secure another nomination—may again burden the ship with free silver with free silver he will never capture the East, unless in times of direful depression and distress. The other obstacle is a curious idiosyncrasy of the American character. While he is shouting the loudest at the abuse of riches, he is never altogether sincere in desiring their downfall. Their transfer to better hands, assuredly their disappear
ance from society, no. never forget that he may one day, as like as not, be a great capitalist himself he generally considers himself equipped with all the qualities that go to make a great capitalist. Therefore he regards the wealth of others as in some measure held in trust for him, and protects the prerogatives of capital with a prospective and contingent jealousy.
This feeling might even yet rescue the trusts from the reward of their iniquities. But it cannot save them for ever. The longer they remain undisturbed the firmer seated will be their power; the harder, therefore, will it be for the prospective and contingent monopolists to win through to the coveted future. One by one the ambitious clerks and operatives will conclude that there is no chance for the poor man until the present priests of the dollar are swept from their seats. As this hostility grows and hardens, capital and its parasites will become apprehensive, and guard their privileges ever more closely and more pitilessly. Where is it to lead? The world has never yet seen an industrial war. The slave-wars of old time, and many civil wars later, show, however, that a great contest can be organised on other than a territorial basis. The astonishing military aptitude of the people of the United States would supply the soldiers, the leaders, and the strategy. Such a war would disengage itself from riots breaking out over the whole country; it might easily grow into the most awful massacre the world
The salvation of the United States will be to purge itself from corruption and greed, at once and thoroughly. It is not to be expected from Mr M'Kinley; but the