The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan

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

CHAPTER X
BRYAN AND WILSON--A COMPARISON AND A CONTRAST

I REALIZE that in speaking of Mr. Bryan's work as Secretary of State, I am dealing with matters about which there has been much discussion and much disagreement. The reason which may justify me in undertaking this work is that I was always Mr. Bryan's confidante. From our marriage in October, 1884, until his death in July, 1925, he found in me a sort of mental safety valve. We discussed men, questions, and events with a freedom which relieved his mind. Without boasting, I am sure I understand and know him better than anyone in the world, and that I owe it to his work to leave an accurate record.

Whether or not I am wise enough, whether or not I may say too much or too little, there is one thing I must make clear. No one but myself is responsible. I have consulted no one; none of Mr. Bryan's family, no members of the Wilson Cabinet, none of his friends. The entire responsibility is my own.

President Wilson and Mr. Bryan in some particulars resembled each other. The same races had mingled their blood in the veins of both--Scotch and Irish--with perhaps more Scotch than Irish in the first, and more Irish than Scotch in the second. Both were of clean blood; as far back as the family is traced--through three or four generations--on either side there was industry, sobriety, and religious zeal; apparently no black sheep in either flock. Each man remembered his father with profound veneration, and each attributed to the father a large share in whatever success the son may have attained.

Another point of likeness is their connection with Virginia. Mr. Wilson's father lived in Steubenville, Ohio, and removed to Staunton, Virginia, in 1849, Here, seven years

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