The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan

By William Jennings Bryan; Mary Baird Bryan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII

FRIENDSHIPS

SO much is flippantly told about the fair-weather friends in politics who flock about the successful candidate and then desert him in times of trial, that I shall take this opportunity to record a few instances of heroes who came under my personal observation. I omit the names out of consideration for those who had been personally connected with the incidents and who may not regard them in the same spirit in which I regard them.

First I mention a Congressman and one of the Ways and Means Committee. He had retired from Congress in 1896 and resumed charge of a large mercantile business in the town in which he resided. He was an advocate of bimetallism when in Congress and took a large interest in my first Presidential campaign. He was one of the well-to-do men of his city and a director in the bank in which he kept his store account. Like most merchants, he enjoyed a credit in the bank and borrowed money from time to time to discount his bills.

In the midst of the campaign he was called before the directors of his own bank and informed that his interest in me was injuring the bank and then he was told that his notes could not be carried any longer if he continued to support my candidacy. He was* put to a test to which I have never been subjected. There has never been a time since I was grown when my bread and butter depended upon the will or favor of any other person, and therefore never a time when I incurred any financial risk in exercising political independence. It was not so with the friend of whom I am speaking. Heknew that he could not at that timesecureloans elsewhere if the bank of which he was a director refused to accommodate him, but he did not hesitate for a moment.

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