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MCKINLEY AS A CAMPAIGNER
TRIP IN THE FALL OF 1894 - "PROTECTION HIS BATTLE-CRY.
Always in Demand as a Campaign Speaker — After the Panic of 1893- Overwhelmed with Invitations from all Sections Wonderful Enthusiasm of his Audiences A Flying Trip to Chicago Speaking to an Indiana Crowd of Two Thousand from a Car Platform with the Thermometer below ZeroAddresses the Students of Chicago University - Speaking at the Auditorium Eulogies of Washington and Lincoln — The Fall Campaign - Speeches in Nineteen Different States - One Hundred and Fifty Thousand People Hear him in Two Days in Kansas - Speaking Seventeen Times in One Day Addressing the Working-men before Breakfast — His Journey of over Two Thousand Miles to New Orleans to Make One Speech - His Reception by the Southerners Men and Women Jump upon the Platform to Shake Him by the HandHis Trip to the Coal Region of West Virginia Makes Three Hundred and Seventy-one Speeches in Seven Weeks - Returns in Good Health.
OVERNOR MCKINLEY was from the very beginning of his Congressional career in great demand as
a campaign speaker, but never was that demand so great as in the year 1894. The panic subsided in the latter part of 1893, but an era of depression in business followed. The winter was one of suffering and distress everywhere among the working classes. The question of organ
ized relief forced itself upon every State. The Democratic organs predicted immediate recovery after the repeal of the "silver purchase act," but the gloom only settled deeper over the industries of the country. The administration and its approved agents in Congress were secretly at work upon "tariff reform" and business men everywhere hastened under cover. All industry, except for immediate needs, practically stopped, and an army of unemployed were thrown upon the charity of the more fortunate.
To the great protectionist leader all eyes now turned. Back to the Republican party, as McKinley's plurality of 80,000 had demonstrated, were flocking the now undeceived voters of the country. They saw in him a man whose predictions every one of them had come true, whose advice had been sound, and whose counsel they had rejected to their sorrow. They saw him in his true light, the faithful friend of the laboring, industrial, and financial interests of the country. The Ohio Republican State committee was overwhelmed with demands for McKinley, not simply from every county in Ohio, but from thousands of places in almost every State in the Union. It was a physical impossibility for one man to meet more than a small fraction of the demands that were made upon his time.
In February he went to Pennsylvania to assist his old friend, Galusha A. Grow, in his candidacy for Congressman at large, and on the 15th he addressed the largest political mass meeting ever held in Pittsburg. The following description of his reception there, taken from the Pittsburg Times of the next morning, will indicate the character of the ovation he received, not simply there, but wherever he went during that year.
"When the great protectionist arose on the stage, the four thousand people in the building arose also, and a more cordial greeting was never tendered a speaker. Cheer after cheer, long and loud, rolled like contending waves over th greatest audience ever assembled in the historic hall. All the while the famous Republican warrior stood watching the extraordinary outburst. In front of him, as far as he could see, in the rear of him, and on every side of him, his admirers stood waving their hats and handkerchiefs, and shouting a welcome that seemed strong enough to live forever. There seemed no end to the applause. There were no bounds to the enthusiasm. Again and again the cheering was renewed, and each outburst was stronger than the other. Finally the people climbed upon their chairs, and with one mighty effort united their voices in three cheers for McKinley our next President.' Then they gave three cheers more, and finally yielded to the speaker."
After a reference to the coming election in Pennsylvania, he said: "What do we want -- all of us? Prosperity. How can we get it? The way to begin to get it, is to defeat the party which destroyed it. The way to resume prosperity is to resume power, and that, I take it, is what you intend the Republican party shall begin to do here and now."
At the close of a discussion of the character of the Wilson bill, which had then been introduced, he said:
"The Democratic free-traders are also always talking about relief to the people. The only relief they have brought thus far is relief from labor. How do How do you like that kind of relief? They have created another phase of re
the relief committee
a free trade committee."