"WILLIAM MCKINLEY had been gerrymandered out of Congress in the late '80's and a lucky thing for him and for the country it was, for otherwise he probably would never have become Ohio's governor and afterward President of the United States. McKinley was a poor boy, and in his early days an old friend named Robert L. Walker, from Poland Ohio, where McKinley had attended seminary, had loaned him money with which to go to Albany and attend the law school. McKinley had never been able to pay him back, and when he was governor, Walker, who later went into the tin-can manufacturing business at Youngstown, Ohio, got in the habit of asking him to endorse his business notes. McKinley did not seem to think he could refuse, and apparently he did not keep much track of what he signed; for toward the close of his first term as governor these notes had begun to accumulate and circulate in alarming proportions. Some of them came to the Euclid National Bank, which I had organized, and as one of McKinley's friends I was asked what I thought about them. I consulted McKinley and he informed me that he owed Walker only $5,000. At that time I had a rich client named Woods who was a great admirer of McKinley, and I told him about the matter. He immediately raised a fund of $5,000 and I sent it to Walker in payment of McKinley's debt. To our great surprise we then gradually discovered that there was something like $100,000 of Walker paper in bankers' hands bearing McKinley's endorsement. While we were trying to devise means to straighten out this matter, worse befell.

"McKinley's second nomination for governor was looming up and he was on his way to New York to make a speech before the Ohio Society. When he got to Buffalo he received notice from Youngstown that Walker had failed. He immediately turned back and went to Youngstown to see him. Here a rather amusing encounter took place which we afterward enjoyed teasing McKinley about; but it was no source of amusement at the moment. Between Buffalo and Youngstown, McKinley had plenty of time to think over what he was going to say to Walker and he freely declared that he proposed to give him such a talking to as he would remember the rest of his life. But when he reached Walker's house, he found the old man in bed groaning and crying out as if in great agony. The people who were listening in the next room for the awful dressing down that McKinley had announced heard nothing but kindly admonitions, such as, 'Have courage, Robert, have courage! Everything will come out all right.'

"They didn't come out all right for a long time, and McKinley suffered intensely in his pride through all the trouble this Walker failure caused him. His financial matters were in a bad mess and there was no denying it. In ordinary times we could have cleared the affair up without much difficulty, but the panic of the early '90's was on, Schlessinger of Milwaukee had failed, and even M. A. Hanna himself, with all his great interests, was fighting for his life at that moment. However, we all got busy, and the same night twenty-five men had put up enough money to pay off all the notes that McKinley had endorsed. Mrs. McKinley deeded over all her fortune, which was not large, and the $130,000 we had raised was placed in my hands. With it I settled everything.

"At this time Foraker was fighting McKinley's renomination for the governorship, and the bankruptcy affair gave him a dangerous weapon. I could not go to the Republican state convention at Columbus, as it was impossible for me to leave Cleveland on account of the panic, but I got our Cuyahoga County delegation to promise their votes to McKinley. He made a great speech and was unanimously renominated. The convention adjourned late at night and, tired as he must have been, McKinley took the two o'clock train for Cleveland and when I arrived at the bank in the morning he was there waiting for me. He said:

"'Myron, I just came up to tell you that I know that without your prompt action last April I could never have been renominated for governor. I am going back to Columbus on the eleven o'clock train, but I wanted you to understand how I feel about it.'"

McKinley's letters to Mr. Herrick in 1893-4 contain repeated references to this Walker affair, and the whole correspondence---scores of letters, mostly written in long hand---is a proof of the beautiful affection and unselfish loyalty which bound the two men together. Not one line of self-seeking or any suggestion of political scheming can be found in it. These letters shed so much honor on both men that it is to be hoped that all of them, as well as the ones written when McKinley was President, will soon be made available to the public. They throw a fine light upon McKinley and his relations with Hanna and Herrick. They make good reading for every American proud of his country and of her statesmen. The three which follow are pertinent to the events which have just been described.

Governor and Mrs. McKinley had spent four weeks early in 1893 with the Herricks in their Cleveland home. On returning to Columbus, February 23rd, McKinley wrote:

"We reached here at 9:30---had a comfortable trip. Mrs. McKinley stood it very nicely. I cannot retire to-night without thanking you and Mrs. Herrick for the home you gave us and the cheer you brought to us in our great misfortune. It was indeed a home and we shall never forget your tender and loving hospitality. I do hope that Mrs. Herrick did not overtax herself, and you my dear friend must not work too hard.

"My mail was overflowing with sympathy and the most earnest protest against Mrs. McKinley turning over her property. Much like the letters you have already seen. I will send you a large mail to-morrow.

". . . Mrs. McKinley joins me in love to your wife and Parmely. Again thanking you from the bottom of my heart. We are your friends."

Again on March 8th he writes:

"I thank you for your kind letter of yesterday and the cheerful news it contains. We were so sorry to leave you and Mrs. Herrick. Your home has been so restful to us, and your hearts have been so tender in sympathy that it was very hard to break away.

"Give our love to Mrs. Herrick and Parmely. I enclose you a letter from Mr. W----- which please return after you have read it."

Meanwhile, McKinley learned what was being done to arrange for paying his debts---learned more, I suspect, than it was intended by his friends he should know. He wished, therefore, to make his position clear, and he sent Mr. Herrick the following formal letter, written in his own hand. I think it has never before been published:

State of Ohio
Office of the Governor
Columbus, March 14, 1893



I learn that my friends throughout the country are raising a fund for the payment of my debts, incurred through the accommodation paper signed by me for Mr. Walker. While appreciating this noble generosity on their part, I cannot consent to the use of this fund for the cancellation of my debts. As the Walker paper for which I am liable is very much scattered, and as it would seem better to have it in fewer hands, I do not object, if it be agreeable to the contributors of the fund, that their trustees buy up the paper, dollar for dollar, but I insist that they hold it, as an obligation against me to be paid off as fast as I can do it. I cannot for a moment entertain the suggestion of having my debts paid in the way proposed or in any other way than I have herein indicated, so long as I have health to earn money.

I assure you I am not unappreciative of the kindness of my friends. I am almost overcome with its boundlessness. Their faithfulness to me and their readiness to take from my shoulders this load of debt have touched me deeply and is a manifestation of friendship and confidence, the memory of which will remain with me while I live! But you and other of my friends must know that, feeling as I do, I must respectfully and gratefully decline the application of the contributions from my fellow citizens to the payment of my debts.

Very respectfully,


Facsimile of a letter from William McKinley, Jr., to a group of friends who were arranging for the payment of his debts.

To carry out his plan of reimbursing the subscribers to the fund, Mr. McKinley, up to the day of his death, sent Mr. Herrick money which he saved from his salary. Mr. Herrick invested this, and I am under the impression that when the President died it amounted to more than $200,000. I do not now know---for I failed to ask Mr. Herrick---whether the donors of the fund were reimbursed after McKinley's death; but if they were asked it seems likely that they all refused, since I have heard Mr. Herrick say that he had guarded McKinley's savings religiously, and upon the President's death he turned over a considerable sum to his widow.

As bearing upon the above, a letter McKinley wrote to Mr. Herrick in April, 1901, from the White House is interesting:

"I have your valued favor of April 12 and am much pleased with its contents. You are very kind to me and I did not need your assurance that my little investments which you are good enough to make would only be in such enterprises as are legitimate and in no way related to the Government or of a speculative nature.

"I thank you very much for the results of the investments already made. We start next Monday for our long trip. Wish you and Mrs. Herrick were going with us. Mrs. McKinley joins in love to you and Mrs. Herrick and Parmely."

Mr. McKinley's tender solicitude for his invalid wife is illustrated in the following letter which he wrote with his own hand to Mrs. Herrick when he was governor of Ohio:

"Mrs. McKinley asks me to write you. She has not yet mastered the stitch which you taught her, and desires that at your leisure you will crochet a little piece of a strip which she can have before her as an object lesson. She wants to 'get it' and she wants to know if the needle she uses is the proper size.

"Another thing---she would like to have you get her a half yard of linen cambric for tidies, such as you exhibited to her when at your home, and a steel needle suitable for the work. This is putting a good deal upon you---but we are encouraged to ask it because you have already done so much for us.

"We are very well and will be so glad if you will visit us during the pleasant weather which we are having now.

"Mrs. McKinley joins me in love to Mr. Herrick, Parmely, and yourself. Mrs. McKinley sends a dollar to buy needle, etc."

"When the panic of 1893 was over," resumed Mr. Herrick, we all started in to pick up the broken threads, and it was very hard going. I had spent many sleepless nights in that long struggle and every day was filled with intense anxiety. People often forget that the prosperity which finally settled down on our country after the Spanish-American War came only after numerous vicissitudes, lasting through many, many years. Our railroad business and our manufacturers still had to go through all sorts of children's diseases, and there were severe and drastic experiences before things got smoother. Business men had an idea then that periodic depressions and even panics were a part of the commercial cycle, that hard times were sure to follow good times, that it was too much to expect any kind of permanent stability. This made our progress jerky, partly because we expected it to be so. When things were going well, everybody jumped in to make as much money as he could and lay it up against the rainy day he believed was sure to come. It was all very exciting, but it was not healthy.

"The greatest single improvement that I see in recent American business methods, the happiest change in what the financial writers call business psychology, lies in the elimination, to a great extent, of this uncertainty, and the refusal to accept it as a natural phenomenon; perhaps this is largely owing to the stabilizing influence of our Federal Reserve system. If we don't lose our heads---and I really see no reason for doing so---the steady march we have made since the clean-up after the war ought to bring us to a proper level and enable us to hold our pace. If ultimately we find ourselves at too lofty an altitude, I believe we have the sense and the financial machinery with which to work down to a safe height without jumping over any precipice. In business as in everything else there are incurable optimists and incurable pessimists, but between the two lie many men of hard common sense who study questions for themselves and act upon their own judgment. I believe this latter category increases its numbers in our country every year. Our nation has passed the stage when a man like Bryan could scare the life out of business men with any such crazy nonsense as 'free silver.' One reason is that in his time Bryan was able to put what he called business against what he also called the common people. Almost all the people now, common and otherwise, are business men; and what is more, they would much rather take their wives' advice than some flaming orator's.

"What I had gone through in 1893 wore me out, and as soon as the subsiding panic left me time for it, I had a sort of breakdown. So I quit work in 1895, went out to California, and sailed across to Honolulu on a four months' holiday. Taking a rest did not necessarily preclude talking politics, and some of the conversations I had on the coast I like to think bore fruit when the Presidential contest came on in the following year. I naturally wanted McKinley chosen President of the United States and I helped Hanna all I could in the wonderful strategic campaign which he was organizing for McKinley's nomination. What took place among the Republican leaders during this period is generally well known, but there are some incidents, especially those in which I had a personal share, that probably have never been told publicly, and they may prove interesting.

"At Catalina Island, where I spent some time, I saw a good deal of John Cline. We often talked about the various candidates for the Republican ticket, and I think I convinced him of the wisdom of nominating McKinley. In those days California was more or less run by the railroads and it was Cline, I believe, who had much to do with swinging the railroad men and the state politicians to McKinley.

"I had told Cline that if he could get the Californian delegation pledged to McKinley and the latter afterward was elected, I would make it my business to see that a cabinet position was given to that state, for I felt sure that McKinley would do it, as being not only good politics but thoroughly deserved.

"The carrying out of that promise brought up an odd situation just before the inauguration of 1897. McKinley intended to make Justice McKenna of California Secretary of the Interior; he had served in Congress with McKenna and be knew him and liked him. Anson G. McCook of New York was slated for Attorney General. At the last minute it was discovered that McKenna was a Catholic and he could not be made Secretary of the Interior without raising violent opposition, on account of the duties devolving upon that department in connection with Indian schools and similar matters. So McKinley switched McKenna over to Attorney General, and Cornelius N. Bliss of New York was made Secretary of the Interior. Bliss accepted this portfolio only the night before the inauguration; he did not want it, but he was a good soldier and always willing to do his duty to the party and its chief. McCook in this way was left out. But this was not all. McKenna was a capable man but he was not the sort to tackle the great problems which were then presenting themselves to the Attorney General's office; so later on McKinley appointed him to a vacancy in the Supreme Court.

"This incident is a curious commentary upon religious prejudices as they at times manifest themselves in our country. The fact that McKenna was a Catholic really led to his becoming a justice of the Supreme Court. Nothing that I remember could better illustrate the foolish operation of this kind of intolerance. If McKenna's religion were an objection to his handling a few school teachers and missionaries on our Indian reservations, one might have thought that the presence of a Catholic on the Supreme Bench, and that for life, would be considered more dangerous still. But nothing of the sort happened, and McKinley, as an experienced politician as well as a high-class statesman, knew that nothing would happen. He realized that a few preachers could and probably would stir up trouble over this presumed danger to the Indian schools, because it appeared to threaten directly their ideas and interests; whereas the Supreme Court seemed too far away from anything immediately concerning them to excite their apprehension.

"There is another thing to be said. McKinley had been a colleague of McKenna's in Congress and they knew each other well; yet he never had noted to which church McKenna belonged, and when he did learn it be evidently did not believe it could affect McKenna's loyal and unprejudiced performance of his public duty. However, it did affect his availability for a certain office to the extent that, if he were appointed, his religion might arouse the criticism of a certain respected and influential element. This, naturally, McKinley wished to avoid, and he did avoid it.

"It is a great pity that these questions have to come up and that an honest man should be called upon to sacrifice a sincere sentiment of religious toleration to political expediency. We have largely avoided mixing religion in our politics, and I think it is the duty of every patriotic American to stamp out any attempt to bring that element of bitter discord into our system of government. You remember how impressed we were during our trip to Morocco with the marvellous spirit of religious tranquillity which Marshal Lyautey had brought to that fanatical country since the French assumed charge of its affairs. It might well be a lesson to other nations which think they are in the van of modern progress. It seems to me the more deeply a man feels about his own particular faith the more kindly he ought to be disposed about other people's.

"When I got back from California, Hanna was hard at work on the pre-nomination campaign. He went very quietly about this, traveling around the country and seeing all sorts of important men. The matter was pretty well under way, when he arranged for a meeting with the great national leaders in New York, a secret conference which, strangely enough, the newspapers did not get an inkling of. It was held at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, in New York. Senators Nelson W. Aldrich, Thomas C. Platt, and Matthew S. Quay, Joseph H. Manley, David B. Henderson, and possibly some others, were there. Hanna, at that time, had not done much in politics outside of Ohio. He was not yet a recognized national leader, he was just a natural one, and he had a good deal of respect for the ability and success of these men. He knew there was a strong sentiment throughout the country for McKinley and that it was contagious. He believed McKinley bad a first-rate chance of getting the Republican nomination, but he wanted to nail the thing down, and he went into this meeting with the idea that he might come out of it with definite promises and a clear plan for accomplishing what he had at heart. In those days the 'boss system' operated quite openly and the men who controlled the votes of New York, Pennsylvania, New England, etc., etc., had a way of deciding beforehand who would be nominated on the Republican ticket, and they generally had their way. At this meeting Hanna succeeded in convincing them that McKinley was the strongest candidate, and when it was over he immediately took the train for Cleveland, arriving Sunday morning.

"Mr. and Mrs. McKinley were staying at my house. I drove McKinley to the Hanna home to see Hanna and there ensued a conference between the two men which, I think, marks one of the most important moments in the recent history of our federal government. I feel that a turning point was reached there in our national politics and that the new direction has been pretty well kept up ever since.

"Hanna was very cheerful. He passed cigars around, and as we sat down in his library I could see that he was as keen as a razor blade. He said: 'I don't suppose you saw anything about that meeting of yesterday in the newspapers, did you? They all wanted it, but not a soul caught on.' Then turning to McKinley he said: 'Now, Major, it's all over but the shouting. Quay wants the patronage of Pennsylvania, Aldrich of New England, Manley of Maine. Platt wants that of New York, but he wants it in writing; you remember he was fooled on Harrison.' Then, with a sort of school-girl look on his face, he said: 'I think they are willing to leave this region to me.'

"This was my first experience on the inside of big national politics, and as I sat there listening I realized that I belonged to a younger generation and that we really did represent different ideas. Naturally, I said nothing, being fully occupied in listening to what Hanna was saying and watching McKinley. When Hanna had finished his sketch of the situation, McKinley's face grew serious---in fact, hard. He remained silent for quite a little while; then he said:

"'Marc, some things come too high. If I were to accept the nomination on those terms, the place would be worth nothing to me and less to the people. If those are the terms, I am out of it.'

"'Oh no,' said Hanna, 'not so fast. I mean that on these terms the nomination would be settled immediately, but that does not mean that their terms have got to be accepted. There is a strong sentiment for you all over the country and while it would be hard to lick those fellows if they oppose you, damned hard, I believe we can do it.'

"The frown left McKinley's face, though he did not say anything, but sat for a while looking off in the distance. Finally he asked: 'How would this do for a slogan: The Bosses Against the People? How would that sound?' Hanna agreed it would be a first-rate line to take, and as a matter of fact it will be remembered that this became the campaign cry in 1896, The People Against the Bosses.

"Things gradually took shape. One day Quay turned up. He had come to make terms with McKinley, and one by one the other important leaders decided to take him on his own terms, instead of imposing theirs. All of them except Platt. He never came in and he fought McKinley's nomination to the last moment and never made peace with him until after he was inaugurated. I remember very well that evening McKinley was nominated at St. Louis. The convention had been held in a big tent, and after the shouting was all over I left to go home. Outside the tent I saw a man standing quite alone with his hands clasped behind him under his coat tails, looking at the setting sun. It was Platt.

"This conversation that Sunday morning in Hanna's library to my mind marks an epoch. In the very early days of our country, in colonial times and afterward, the richer a man was, the more educated he was, the more prominent he was in any of the activities of his community, the more interest he took in the affairs of his government, whether that meant to him the government of the United States or the government of his own particular state. In any case, the public weal was one of the first considerations, and he gave it a lot of his time and attention. As years went by, this became changed, and in the tremendous commercial and manufacturing activity which followed the Civil War, the solid citizens of every community considered themselves too much occupied with their private affairs to give proper attention to those of the government. The bigger the town, the richer its industry, the more widespread its business, the more this became the case. New York, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, wherever you turned it was the same. And the country people were town-mad. Every boy wanted to go to the city and the worst jibe you could level at anybody without having to fight was to call him a farmer. And so even in the conduct of politics, the leading citizens among the country folks imitated the city man's indifference. The bosses ruled the rural communities just as they did the towns. All the great prizes lay in business. If men of means were interested in any kind of legislation, they contented themselves with sending a check, and they honestly thought this was all that could be expected of them. And so the 'boss system' grew up, and spread from small fry, such as the patronage controlled by Billy King, to vast entrenched power such as Platt and Quay wielded.

"If McKinley had been willing to recognize the system, his nomination would have been handed him on a platter, but fortunately for our country McKinley was not. What he said to Hanna represented a strong personal conviction, and was the outgrowth of his own honesty and a rugged patriotism. He had served fourteen years in Congress and nobody could tell him anything about 'bosses' or what their rule meant to the man in the White House. I do not believe the generality of Americans have ever properly estimated our debt to him. This is to a certain extent due to the spectacular reign of his great successor, which turned attention from the steady, plodding work McKinley had been doing that prepared the way for much that Roosevelt afterward accomplished.

"I feel that just at the time it was needed, our country received a political impulse in a new direction, and when we made a man President who had refused to owe his nomination or his election to the 'bosses,' the doom of the wretched system was sounded. Of course, it was not very perceptible at first, but it slowly went on through McKinley's term of office and received an immense impulse in the time of Roosevelt. At the present moment the young men of our country, whose fathers have left them comfortably well off devote themselves to politics and the nation's interests to an extent which did not appear possible in my time and which fortunately grows increasingly every year.

"I say to my grandson, now that he is growing up, that he has a harder task before him than ever I had. He has got enough to pay his bills and does not have to think of how he can earn his living. And so he may be tempted to sit down and enjoy himself. If he is a slacker, he will do that very thing; but if he has got the right stuff in him he will use the fact of his financial independence to devote a good deal of his time and energy to the interests of the community where he lives. It takes more courage to do this than to work for yourself, and there is nothing which makes me more happy than to notice every time I go back to Cleveland how many young men, whose fathers were my friends in the old days of struggle, are taking this laudable interest in politics. They are merely following in the footsteps of our ancestors before and after the Revolution, when having property and a name, meant giving a part of both to the public service.

"After McKinley was nominated, Hanna established the Republican national campaign headquarters in Chicago, instead of in New York as had always been done before. I went up there to see him one day and found him scared to death. Bryan was out making campaign speeches all over the country and stirring up the greatest enthusiasm. Hanna said: 'We have got to get McKinley out on the road to meet this thing and I wish you would go to see him when you get back and map out a campaign for him.' I went to Canton with Charley Dawes and told McKinley what Hanna had said. His answer was:

"'Don't you remember that I announced I would not under any circumstances go on a speech-making tour? If I should do that now it would be an acknowledgment of weakness. Moreover, I might just as well put up a trapeze on my front lawn and compete with some professional athlete as go out speaking against Bryan. I have to think when I speak.'

"This campaign, in some respects, reminds me of the one (1) just finished. A succession of delegations came almost every day from some part of the country to see McKinley at his home in Canton, Ohio. He met them on his front porch, made an address, and of course every word of it was printed in all the papers of the land. Bryan was running about all over the country, making speeches and stirring up enthusiasm with his marvellous personal magnetism; but, as a matter of fact, he did not get what he had to say any more clearly before the people than McKinley's little addresses to these delegations. The same situation had presented itself between Mr. Hoover and Governor Smith, but this time the radio took the place of McKinley's front porch and the results were identical. Both campaigns were an effort to educate the general public; and that is exactly what the general public likes, and, in our country, deserves. They want to know what the man stands for who enters himself in the contest for their votes, and I believe that the radio is going to be a great adjunct in the future to intelligent government by the people in the United States. Every candidate can tell every man and woman in the most distant homes what he stands for and how he proposes to solve the problems that will come up before him as President. Our people rarely make mistakes in their selection if they have a chance to know exactly what they are voting for.

"There are a thousand little stories about McKinley that indicate the kind of man he was, but it is all now so long ago that they wouldn't greatly interest many people. I have told you one or two just to show how he was with those who were close to him. He was devoted to his friends, and when in power he was always trying to do something for them---not from expediency or even gratitude, but just because it delighted him to do it. I think Hanna and I came first with him, but he never would do anything that either of us asked him unless he was convinced it was right, and when I say right, I mean for the public good. Long years in politics had not given him the feeling that political expediency was any excuse for doing something which honorable men could find fault with.

"McKinley was on his way to visit me when he was shot in Buffalo in 1901. As he lingered near death and while out of his head, he murmured some strange phrases about it 'all being for the best.' People thought it was merely delirium, but I am convinced he was going back to things he had once said to me. In those days the President was not followed around everywhere by Secret Service men, and when he was staying with me once he noticed a couple of detectives I had asked to have discreetly posted near my house. He insisted upon my acknowledging that I had arranged for this protection. he fell to commenting in a rather depressed sort of fashion upon his task, its burden, its troubles, the difficulty of satisfying people. 'I sometimes think,' he went on, 'what a good thing if the end of it all should come by some accident, unexpectedly, a shot say, and then all would be over and no more bickering and complaints.' Those were not exactly his words, but they convey his idea. In any case, he made me promise to remove the detectives."

Chapter Footnote

1. The Presidential campaign of 1928.




"IN 1896 William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska had been nominated by the Democrats for the Presidency because of his advocacy of 'free silver'; most people did not understand or could not understand why the gold standard was essential or what 'free silver' meant; the advocates of the latter were arguing that it would spell prosperity for the poor and especially for the farmer, who had been having a difficult time for many years. Popular cries like the 'aristocracy of gold' and the 'democracy of silver' were invented; the West was being arrayed against the East over the question and it seemed almost certain that any Republican who came out for the gold standard before the next Presidential convention met could never be nominated.

"I believe at the beginning that McKinley did not really understand the gold question or fully appreciate the underlying problem in connection with the entire gold and silver controversy but that he was strongly inclined to take the politicians' view that a 'straddle' was the only sensible and politically safe attitude. The word 'bimetallism' appealed to him as being vague enough to please the Eastern men without offending those from the West. Hanna at the start, despite his great ability and business experience, did not fully understand the philosophy of banking nor did he seem fully to appreciate the necessity of having the country declare unequivocally for a gold platform, thus eliminating all endeavors to commit the country to a silver or bimetallic standard. And in any event it seemed to him that if coming out for the gold standard would have defeated McKinley for the nomination, he was not in favor of it. To be a 'gold bug' at the beginning of the campaign was a reproach that had to be escaped at any cost.

"It is quite noteworthy that before many weeks had passed, both McKinley and Hanna had reached the conclusion that the Republican party had no alternative but to come out solidly for what was known then as the 'gold platform.' While there was much division of sentiment as to whether this might finally defeat the Republican nominees in the ensuing campaign, the conviction grew upon them as upon other party leaders elsewhere that there was no alternative but to stop any attempt of the irresponsible financiers and writers who were desirous of saddling upon the country a 16 to 1 monetary policy or any offshoot of the Bryan idea. But at the start of the campaign it was the opinion of both McKinley and his friends that this could be accomplished in a politic fashion rather than by unnecessarily antagonizing many well-intentioned voters who did not understand the entire question. It was their belief that these deluded voters were being carried away by the 'free silver' hysteria which temporarily swept portions of the country. As the campaign progressed, however, we found ourselves united in the feeling that a definite, clean-cut denunciation of the 'free silver' program was the right course to take and we made the decision to stand solidly upon the 'gold' program irrespective of the consequences.

"I was about to make a visit to New York and before starting I had a long talk with McKinley in which I outlined my ideas on this point. When I got to New York I went down to Wall Street to see J. Pierpont Morgan and we discussed the matter of the nomination, and especially McKinley's candidacy, in every detail. Mr. Morgan was rather violent in expressing his views. The monetary repudiation which the adoption of the 'free silver' standard involved was nauseating to him; he feared McKinley had a 'backbone of jelly'; he ought to come out and meet the issue squarely, etc. I pointed out that the question was not altogether one that bankers could decide---politics and the politicians also had to be considered.

"'If the bankers are on one side and the politicians on the other,' I said, 'you will divide the country at the Mississippi and we shall lose. If they hold together we can win. Let us get them together first and settle their differences afterward. The idea which people have got that the Indianapolis platform is McKinley's---and that seems to be your impression---is a good thing. It will excite less opposition to him in the convention. The fact that he has not come out yet definitely on either side is all to the good. You can't nominate Thomas B. Reed or Levi P. Morton. Both are known to be for gold, and most of the West will vote solidly against them. Any Republican who comes out now for either gold or silver will not get the nomination. Let McKinley stay where he is. He is the only man you can both nominate and elect, and once he is nominated we can take care of gold in the platform. I feel perfectly confident of that and I would not work for McKinley's nomination if I had any doubt on the subject. You must have the votes of Western men in the convention and their support afterward in the election. Old party ties are powerful, and once McKinley is nominated they will support the candidate, gold or no gold.'

"Toward the end Mr. Morgan had been listening without saying a word. Finally, when I had finished, he reached out, pulled down the cover of his roller-top desk with a bang, and got up.

"'There is not going to be any more business in this office,' be said, 'until the election is over.' Then he added: 'I have never met Hanna.'

"'He's in town,' I replied.

" 'Could you both come and have dinner with me on the Corsair [his private yacht] to-night?'

"I agreed, told him I would communicate with Hanna, which I did, he accepted and we went out to the Corsair. After dinner we took up the conversation along the same lines as in the morning and I believe Hanna that night got a good deal of education from Mr. Morgan in what the gold standard meant to our country's business. Mr. Morgan also learned a few things about how Presidents are nominated. He had never attended a national political convention, whereas Hanna and I had done so.

"About a week preceding the assembling of the convention, former Governor William R. Merriam of Minnesota and Senator Redfield Proctor of Vermont came to Cleveland. Both were strong 'gold' men. We arranged with Hanna that we four would go to St. Louis a few days before the convention, which we did in Hanna's private car. We drew up a 'gold' plank as we thought it ought to appear in the platform, and it was inserted without much change as we wrote it. This plank followed some suggestions and a draft submitted by Mr. McKinley. One of the suggestions came from Senator Robert M. LaFollette of Wisconsin, who at that time was a strong Republican partisan. However, Hanna was not yet convinced of the wisdom or necessity of making such an unequivocal party declaration at that time. He wanted to make the campaign on the protective tariff, of which McKinley had been the most distinguished advocate for many years. With this tariff campaign idea still in his mind, Hanna one day during the convention said to me: 'You d----d bankers will upset this whole thing yet, if you keep on.'

"In St. Louis, all of us McKinley men got immediately in touch with the leaders from the various states whom we knew, especially the men from the West, and made a strong plea for party unity. 'Whatever we do, let's avoid a split,' was the burden of our conversation. Party loyalty in those days was very strong, and in most cases it overcame the distaste for the gold plank which was felt by many of these men. In this way the sensational bolt from the convention of a group of Westerners became numerically only a small affair, But it was a pathetic scene when Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado and his friends arose and, with tears streaming down their cheeks, walked out of the convention.

"I was keenly devoted to the fight for the gold standard. I was perfectly certain that the issue had to be met squarely, but I wanted it met with as united a party front as it was possible to present. I wanted the fight to be made against Bryan as an advocate of 'free silver' and not against Republican friends. I counted upon the cohesive power of party ties during the convention and our ability to get the voters to understand during the campaign of education that was to follow. The great masses of Americans were against repudiation; the task ahead of McKinley and his managers in the autumn campaign was to see that the voters understood that 'free silver' really meant repudiation and nothing else."




"AFTER McKinley was elected in 1896 he said to me one day: 'I suppose the only thing you want is to be Secretary of the Treasury.' I told him that I did not want to be Secretary of the Treasury, and even if I did, the last thing in the world I would let him do would be to appoint me. I recalled to him what had been said when others of his friends and myself had paid off his debts, namely that 'we owned him,' and all that balderdash, adding, 'If you appoint me to a cabinet position it will look like the proof that what they had predicted has come true.' McKinley smiled what looked to me very much like a smile of relief, and I think he was pleased at my declining. He probably knew and feared just as much as I did what the effect of any such appointment would be on the public, but I feel sure his devoted friendship and loyalty would have made him run even that risk if he thought I wanted a cabinet position. My appointment would have been a mistake in every way. I was an unknown man outside of Ohio and did not carry any weight in the financial or political world. Moreover, I was just getting straightened out after the terrible business complications brought on by the panic of '93 and I owed it to my associates and myself to get our affairs in better shape than they were before dropping everything for public office.

"Roosevelt wanted to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy and the Bellamy Storers of Cincinnati were both keen to help him. They asked me to suggest him to McKinley. They probably thought I would be willing to do this on account of what had happened when I was trying to pay off McKinley's debt three years before. When we were gathering that money together, I telephoned to Mr. Storer in Cincinnati and told him what the plan was. He and his wife each immediately sent me $5,000 for the fund. Of all the people whose subscriptions were accepted, they were the only ones that I feared might possibly want something in the future as an acknowledgment. A number had offered to subscribe whose money I refused to take for this very reason. That fund had to be as free as human foresight could make it of any implied obligation; it was purely an effort on the part of personal friends and admirers of McKinley who were determined to help him out of the situation into which carelessness and his old benefactor Walker had plunged him. We wanted to save a friend's political life---a career we believed full of future usefulness to the country---and none of us was thinking of any reward. The moment the Storers suggested that I help Roosevelt, all this flashed through my mind.

"When I spoke to McKinley about it, he asked: 'What do you know about Roosevelt?'

"'Not much,' I replied.

"'I suppose you are asking me because the Bellamy Storers want it.' And he added: 'We have only got a majority of one in the Senate and we ought to do everything within reason to avoid offending Platt. He hates Roosevelt like poison and, moreover, I don't like the idea of making an appointment solicited by the Bellamy Storers, on account of the fact that they sent a subscription to that fund.'

"I told McKinley that it seemed to me here was a chance to do something entirely appropriate and which they wanted. I was afraid, on the other hand, that if this was refused they might come after him for something much bigger. This idea appealed to him, but he asked:

"'What am I going to do about Platt?'

"'Have a frank talk with him,' I replied. 'He wants to make it up and if you send for him and show your willingness to be friendly, you will see that he will be only too glad to come into camp.'

"McKinley did this and Platt was much gratified. He came to the White House and a long conversation ensued. He promised his support to the administration without making any obnoxious terms. Finally, by way of introducing the delicate matter of Roosevelt's appointment, McKinley remarked:

"'I have some obligations to New York people who probably are not your friends. How would it do to handle such cases in the following way: Suppose that I have under consideration the appointment of some man from New York; I will ask you to come over to the White House; the newspaper men will know it, of course, and when the appointment comes out they will infer and say that it was made after consultation with you. Some of these people might be your friends and some of them not, but the public will not know one from the other. In this way it will not be said that I am appointing to office your declared enemies in opposition to your wishes.'

"Platt was perfectly satisfied with this arrangement. Then McKinley brought up the subject of Roosevelt for Assistant Secretary of the Navy. At this Platt absolutely blew up. 'Anybody but that fellow,' he said. 'Well,' answered McKinley, 'you might say the same thing about others.' 'No,' said Platt, 'anybody but him.' Platt would not give up for a long time, but finally he grumblingly agreed. He told McKinley he would keep away from the Senate when Roosevelt's name came up for confirmation and in that way people could infer that Senator Murphy was sponsor for the appointment.

"The first time I went to Washington after Roosevelt was appointed, he invited me twice to lunch and each time he said very handsomely to those present: 'Gentlemen, Mr. Herrick is the man whose influence obtained for me this place."'




FROM 1900 to 1903, when he was elected governor of Ohio, Mr. Herrick was a very busy man, still unwilling to accept public office at the hands of the President or to seek it through election by the people. The country was feeling a vast flow of prosperity, and nowhere was it more abundant than in Ohio and Cleveland. Mr. Herrick went in for railroading extensively, organized the Illuminating Company of Cleveland, took a leading part in various building associations, helped to organize the Carbon Company (now the Union Carbide & Carbon Corporation), took a hand in the Quaker Oats Company, and all the time presided over the destinies of the Society for Savings. Everybody was making money and Mr. Herrick was getting his share. He took little part in McKinley's second nomination and election because those events came about almost automatically.

"When McKinley entered on his second term in 1901," said Mr. Herrick, "he told me emphatically that he thought I ought to leave business and take a post in his administration, but I was not prepared to see it that way, for I was quite satisfied where I was. I was absorbed in business, the big things we were getting started in those days deeply interested me and I wanted to see them through. Moreover, my wife had no desire to quit our home and circle of friends for the arduous social duties of an embassy.

"The formal offer of the ambassadorship to Italy came about in quite a curious way. I was on a visit to New York, and while there Mr. Pierpont Morgan, the elder, asked me if I could not suggest to McKinley the idea of sending George von L. Meyer to Rome. Senator Lodge wanted him appointed, so that his son-in-law, Augustus Gardner, could take Meyer's place in Congress; and he had asked Mr. Morgan's help. I agreed to support the candidacy of Meyer, but when I got back home in Cleveland I found a letter from McKinley offering me the post in Rome and suggesting that I come to Washington and discuss the matter with him.

"I had no intention of accepting and I had already committed myself to Meyer's candidacy, but I went to Washington, as I was always glad to talk over anything with McKinley. Before I had a chance to see the President I went up to the Capitol, and there I met Lodge, who exclaimed at once: 'When are you going to Italy?' I answered: 'I am not going to Italy. I declined.' I could see that Lodge was pleased with this, though be did not say anything to me about Meyer. That evening when I saw McKinley I told him I did not want to go to Rome and I suggested he appoint Meyer. After some talk McKinley agreed to this on one condition, which was finally set down in writing. Meyer was to go to Italy, but as soon as I was ready to take the post he was to resign and I would be appointed. This arrangement was put up to Meyer, who accepted it, and he was immediately nominated. McKinley's idea, as he explained it to me, was the following: 'You get your business affairs in order, so that you can leave them. Then you can go to Rome, and at the end of a year or so you can come back and be Secretary of the Treasury. You refused to come in my first administration but I want you in this one.'

"McKinley doubtless remembered one of the reasons I had put forward when I declined the Treasury portfolio four years back. I had told him that I was not well enough known either in the political or the financial world to command the confidence of the country in such an important post as Secretary of the Treasury and that my appointment would be a mistake. I remember very well that when I said this he looked somewhat relieved. He doubtless thought that I wanted to be Secretary of the Treasury and that I rather expected him to give me the post. At the same time he knew, without my telling him, that my appointment would not be a strong one with the country, but he had enough personal confidence in my ability to offer me the place and he wanted to prove his friendship and affection in the most unmistakable way. Therefore, when I indicated to him that it would not be a good appointment and why, he was both glad he had proposed it and just as glad I had refused. What he now suggested was an ingenious method of meeting the objection, and was a new evidence of his feelings toward me which touched me deeply. He thought that after I had been ambassador to a great power for a year or two I would become a more conspicuous figure in the public eye and that my transfer then to the Treasury Department could be brought about as a natural move. His long experience in politics also suggested the wisdom of setting down the arrangement in writing. That is why it was done.

"It will be remembered that in 1898 John Hay had been brought home from London to become Secretary of State, and his appointment had met with universal approval. Of course Mr. Hay was already a great national figure when he went to London and no comparison can be made between his case and mine, but the success of this transfer may have suggested to McKinley the plan he had devised for me.

"While I was in Washington on this occasion McKinley suggested that I talk to John Hay about the business. It was always a privilege to talk to Mr. Hay about anything, so I went. He was very kind in urging my acceptance, One of his arguments interested me particularly, and ten years afterward set me a sort of precedent. He said that he had really wanted to go to Rome at the time McKinley offered to send him to London in 1897. I think this was on account of personal rather than political reasons, and sprang from Hay's artistic tastes and literary occupations. 'My family outvoted me on that question,' he laughingly added.

"Mine did the same eleven years later. I don't think Mr. Hay suffered from the results of this plebiscite and I know that I do not regret the outcome of mine.

"After McKinley was shot, Roosevelt wrote me that on his own account as well as because of McKinley's known wishes, he wanted me to carry out the agreement that had been made and go to Rome as ambassador. However, Roosevelt did not say anything about my coming back later on to be Secretary of the Treasury. In those days Roosevelt and Meyer were not the close friends they afterward became, but in any case, the new President's letter was a fine proof of his loyal desire to carry out McKinley's wishes in cases where they had been clearly expressed. Meyer also showed himself quite ready to live up to his agreement, and I thought he showed a first-rate spirit about the whole matter. When he was home on leave he came out to see me in Cleveland and we arranged for my taking over his house in Rome whenever he should give up the post. I remember he had a lot to say about the bad plumbing and other inconveniences in that Roman palace. One day a newspaper published a paragraph about our ambassador to Italy in which' occurred this phrase: 'George von L. Meyer is Mr. Herrick's appointment and he does not know how long he is going to be able to keep his place.' I immediately cabled Meyer announcing that I had no intention whatever of accepting the appointment as ambassador to Italy and that he could use my telegram as he saw fit."




LIKE so much that happened in Mr. Herrick's life, his becoming governor of Ohio was due to the interplay of strong personal attachments and wholly unforeseen events. At the beginning of 1902 nothing was farther from his thoughts than running for any elective office. His business interests had become not only extensive but also complicated, and his refusal to enter McKinley's cabinet in 1897 and again in 1901 had been in some measure due to this situation. But now a political fight arose in which his old friend Mark Hanna considered that Colonel Herrick's help was essential in an election upon whose outcome Hanna thought depended the vindication of his reputation. In this point Herrick was explicit:

"When McKinley made John Sherman Secretary of State it caused a vacancy in the United States Senate to which Hanna was appointed by Asa S. Bushnell, then governor of Ohio. Bushnell did not want to do it, for he was not friendly to Hanna, but he had to do it. At the end of this short term, Hanna would have to be elected by the state legislature if he was to remain senator for the long term, and a big political fight was expected. In fact, there could be no doubt on that subject, for the Democratic newspapers of the state and even of the country were full of cries about political bribery and corruption in Ohio, and it was evident that a warm time lay ahead in the elections for the new legislature which would choose a senator. Hanna was mad through and through at the vicious attacks which were being directed at him and he made up his mind to leave no stone unturned to win. Now, Cuyahoga County was normally Democratic, and Hanna thought that if I would run for governor I might carry Cleveland and northern Ohio for the Republican ticket. So he came to me and urged me to run as a favor to him.

"Hanna was too old and intimate a friend to be refused, if I could help him in this emergency, so for the first time since I had been elected city councilman I became a candidate for office.

"I don't believe anybody was more surprised at this situation than myself and I undertook the contest more through friendship and good-natured acquiescence in Hanna's idea than anything else. I really hadn't any particular desire to be governor. The result justified Hanna's political acumen, for I carried all northern Ohio and was elected, beating the famous Tom L. Johnson by the biggest majority that had ever been seen in Ohio up to that time. It was called the 'Campaign of the three H's': Hanna, Herrick, and Harding, the latter being candidate for lieutenant-governor. The legislature was strongly Republican and Hanna was triumphantly elected United States Senator. He was as happy as a lark at what be justly considered his vindication by the people in the face of the mud his enemies had been slinging at him.

"Strangely enough, one of the issues in that campaign was the Republican demand for subsidies to build up a national merchant marine, and I have often thought what a pity it was that this important question was allowed to slumber so long after we had raised it. Imagine what a difference it would have made if our merchant marine had been built up during the two years preceding the Great War! For one thing, we would have been forced to fight sooner than we did, and when we finally went in, think what a marvellous help a big merchant fleet would have been to us!

"My two years as governor [1904 and 1905] turned out to be very happy ones. I really enjoyed the work, as so often proves to be the case, once I made up my mind it had to be done. I arranged my business affairs so that they could get along perfectly well without me. I had not been elected governor as a 'reform candidate' and I was tied by no pledges to clean up the state, but I hated delay, disorder, and waste almost as much as I hated corruption, and the unbusinesslike methods of running public institutions seemed to me absolutely criminal. They offended every idea I had learned to practise in my own affairs.

"There is little interest in my going into the details of the laws I proposed or combated, fights with the state legislature, or the measures for improvement it passed. The best picture I can give of the sort of things which filled my term is to tell how I was defeated when I came up for reelection. My downfall in that contest was brought about by a curious combination of the anti-saloon element and race-track gamblers. To this was added the opposition of local politicians whose graft had been endangered by my interference. We have seen similar combinations since, but it was a new thing to Ohio in 1904.

"The Cleveland race track was situated at Bratenahl, a suburban village. Betting was definitely prohibited in the Ohio constitution. But no attempt to enforce the clause had ever been made and I am not at all sure that I would have gone out of my way at that time to do anything very different from my predecessors if the race-track owners had not themselves brought up the issue. For one thing, there were so many abuses I considered more important that I could not afford to use up my ammunition by firing at every piece of game I saw. Another point was that I had to husband the support I needed for more serious struggles.

"The owners of the Bratenahl track decided to close up the saloons which had sprung up in the village and which took away trade from the bars in their race enclosure, and they had gotten a law through the legislature which accomplished that end. But they reckoned without the mayor of Bratenahl. He was a courageous and energetic fellow, and he told the race-track people that if they closed up the saloons in his town he would close up the betting booths on their track, and he did. A campaign was started against race track gambling, the law was put into motion, and the track owners were getting the worst of it. They therefore got a bill introduced in the legislature authorizing betting at race tracks, and after a big fight and fierce lobbying it was carried by one vote. It came up to me for approval just before the legislature adjourned. I was urged, since I declared I could not approve it, at least to desist from vetoing it and let it become a law that way. I sent the bill back with the statement that it was contrary to the express provisions of the state constitution, that it was not in the interest of public morality and I would not approve it. This stirred up a terrific storm and brought down criticism from even my oldest friends. They seemed to think I was a pretty poor sport.

"Of course my action pleased the preachers, but an unfortunate incident shortly afterward brought down upon me their wrath and more than counteracted this favorable impression. When I came into office in 1904 I had appointed as my secretary a man whom I had known for years before and liked, but unfortunately he had acquired the drink habit in the meantime, although he concealed it to the best of his ability. A delegation of Methodist preachers came to Columbus one day to see me on the saloon question, and in my absence my secretary received them. Unfortunately he seemed to be drunk, and getting angry and violent he threw the delegation out of the office. They were furious, of course; and as soon as I returned they came back to see me. The first thing they demanded was that, in their presence and that of newspaper men they had brought with them, I reprimand the secretary and dismiss him. I told them that I was not defending his conduct and I would take suitable disciplinary action if investigation showed it was warranted, but I was not going to humiliate and ruin my subordinate in any such way just to please them. The preachers got hot, so did I, and finally I told them that I thought my secretary must be right and they could get out of my office and please never come back.

A photograph taken at the McKinley farm at Medina, Ohio, in 1900. From left to right, Parmely Herrick, Dr. Rixey, "Farmer Jack" Adams, President McKinley, Myron T. Herrick, and the President's secretary, George B. Cortelyou.

After the victorious "Campaign of the Three H's" in which Mark Hanna was elected United States Senator, Mr. Herrick Governor and Warren G. Harding Lieutenant Governor of Ohio.

"So here were the preachers, the anti-saloon men, and the sporting element of Ohio all offended. To these could be added the small-fry politicians who resented many other things. One afternoon I went to my office forgetting it was Saturday. Finding nobody there and having nothing to do I walked over to the state penitentiary and got in without it being known who I was. Walking about the place I found things which excited my suspicion and distrust. This was my start in a round of close personal inspections of all the public institutions and a cleaning up of abuses, theft, and mismanagement which prevailed in many of them. This was reported and exaggerated by the newspapers and brought down upon me the enmity of an influential political class whose graft had been thwarted or whose security had been disturbed. When the elections came on a little while later, I was attacked from three different sides. I was described as a drunkard, and details of my alleged sprees were handed around very freely; I was attacked from the pulpits of the Methodist and Baptist churches as an enemy of religion;---"they tried to ostracize me and Mrs. Herrick in Cleveland society as 'blue stocking reformers' and traitors to the class, while ward politicians worked against me as a meddler. Newspapers which ordinarily might have supported me politically came out against me for one or another of these reasons. The Catholics alone were my consistent friends. I was defeated, and I returned to private life which I refused to quit until, in 1912, I accepted to go to France as ambassador."

There were two amusing outgrowths of this fight which the preachers and racing men waged together against Mr. Herrick, and they illustrate two traits in his character---his good nature and his shrewdness. Early in 1915, when he had just returned from France, covered with glory and a fellow citizen whom everyone in Ohio was proud of, he was invited by the Epworth League to make an address in one of the Methodist churches in Cleveland, from whose pulpit he had been denounced as a drunkard during his second campaign for the governorship. Mrs. Herrick was indignant at what she felt was the effrontery of such a request, but her husband did not allow this consideration to sway him, so he accepted. He began his speech by saying:

"I am very glad to accept the invitation of the League to make an address in this church. I remember that ten years ago it was from this very pulpit in which I stand that I was called so many hard names, and it seems funny that I should be occupying it to-day. I am really the same man now that I was then; nothing essential has changed about me except that I have a little more experience. One thing I can say which may gratify this audience and that is that during all the years I was in France I never got drunk a single time." Then pausing to let this remark sink in, he continued, "And I may as well add for your information that I never was before." The ambassador here smiled broadly and then proceeded with the discussion of the subject he came to speak on.

At the time he was defeated for governor, the Cleveland Leader was being outfooted as a paying property by the Plain Dealer. Mr. Herrick got an option on the Leader. The new law authorizing betting at race tracks was then being pushed (it never passed) and several of the wealthy men who had helped to defeat Mr. Herrick because of his veto the year before decided to buy the Leader if they could and use its powerful influence for the bill. Mr. Herrick knew of this and in his negotiations for the purchase of the paper he intentionally let his option lapse two days before trying to renew it. The other crowd rushed in, bought the paper, and dropped a very large sum in the transaction. He thus paid off his misinformed temperance opponents with a piece of humor they could appreciate and his wealthy enemies with a loss they could distinctly feel. "However," as the ambassador later put it, "they all became my friends afterward and I think still are."

Immediately after his term of office was concluded, Herrick returned to Cleveland and with characteristic energy immediately set about to pick up the threads of business and civic affairs.

The largest banking institution to go under as the result of the panic of 1907 was the Knickerbocker Trust Company, of New York. Heroic efforts were at once made to formulate some plan by which the institution might reopen. As a means to this end Herrick, Henry C. Frick, and Lewis Cass Ledyard were made trustees, with full power to select such directors and officers that the company might regain the confidence of the community. In this they were successful, and it is noteworthy that neither Herrick nor Mr. Frick nor Mr. Ledyard accepted any recompense for this service.

He served as Republican national committeeman in 1904, and during the convention of 1908, which nominated Taft, he was not only delegate at large from Ohio but, in addition, chairman of the Ohio delegation and an important figure in the events at Chicago.

Chapter Thirteen

Table of Contents