The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan

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

CHAPTER XIX
THE FINAL YEARS

CHRONOLOGICALLY considered, the Democratic National Convention of 1920 at San Francisco takes first place in a record of Mr. Bryan's last five years.

I was glad Mr. Bryan made the campaign for delegate- at-large. It did him good to meet his old friends again. The result of this canvass made Mr. Bryan a delegate-at- large with ten of the sixteen delegates supporting him, a notable victory. Condensing the convention details, there was a strong movement in the Democratic party to stand for an increase in the alcoholic content of beer and wine, and many delegates had been chosen in harmony with that plan. The convention was "wet" and had no use for Mr. Bryan and his temperance policies. Mr. Bryan stood his ground, bringing in a minority report from the Comrnittee on Resolutions, and explaining the proposition included in this report. I append a brief extract from his remarks:

"On the night of the sixteenth day of last January when, at the nation's Capital, we celebrated the Pass- over from the old era to the new, I was honored by the leaders of this great cause with the privilege of being the last speaker at the meeting. I watched the clock, and when it was within one minute of the time when this nation would become saloonless for evermore, I quoted a passage from the Bible--the language in which the angel assured Joseph and Mary that it was safe to take the young child Jesus back to the Holy Land--you recall the words: 'They are dead that sought the young child's life.' [Applause.] When you remember that King Alcohol has slain a million more children than Herod

-472-

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