The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan

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

CHAPTER XIII
PEACE TREATIES

IN reviewing the life of Mr. Bryan, an interesting truth is brought to light, namely, the principles which he advocated were born in him and were a part of his being. None of his work gave him more pleasure than his peace treaties, which he regarded as his greatest constructive achievement.

The first instance of his peace sentiment which we can produce is a letter written by Mr. Bryan December 8, 1879, to his cousin, Thomas Marshall, of Salem, Illinois, whom he addresses as "Dear Tommie." The writer was then a lad of eighteen, writing a stiff hand and with purple ink:

'O, would that some demon might infuse into my peaceful mind a love for martial array! How unfortunate! I repeat it, alas! how unfortunate that the sound of armor, glittering steel and the gory field of battle have no claims for me! Were my disposition otherwise, I might have longed to have gazed upon the 'reunion.' But, Tom, do you know that the time is swiftly passing by when armies rule? The dawn of a brighter day is at hand. Right is beginning to rule in the place of might. I rejoice that in a few years it will not be necessary to shoot a man to convince him that you are right and to blot out a nation to prove to them that their principles are false. But we will argue this more at length when we are together Christmas."

This thread of peace may be traced through the years. Whenever the question of war was raised, he sided against it. He spoke in foreign countries on this subject. I recall his stirring address in Westminster Hall in London, July,

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