Bryan Draws a Large Audience

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 5, 1905

Bryan Draws a Large Audience

Closing Number of the Y.M.C.A. Court Was By The Orator.

Talked on Trip Around World

He Saw Many Things of Interest, But Put the United States at The Head of the List – Orator is Bald and Fat, but Just as Magnetic.

William Jennings Bryan, taken about 1907. Image from Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3b41852/

Between twelve and fifteen hundred people attended the lecture by W.J. Bryant (sic) at the armory Monday night. Most of them had heard him before, but the charm of his oratory and genial presence never grows old with audiences.

Since he was here the first time in 1895 he has made several political speeches here and appeared once on the Chatauqua grounds. He has changed in appearance in those eleven years. He is downright bald now, and has added weight to the point of being fat. But his voice is of the same clear, mellow tone. It filled the large auditorium, while he spoke without an effort. He is lecturing constantly, but the exercise of this voice has no effect on its fine quality.

Mr. Bryan eschewed the subject of politics, saying he was happy and contended (sic) with his condition as it is and thought he had better not talk about politics while he felt that way.

His address at Fort Dodge was the story of his observations on his trip abroad, the journey around the world.  Those who followed the lob gook of the journey in his letters to the newspapers at the time were already familiar with the incidents he told orally here. But it was a treat for them to hear it told again by Bryan himself. Whether the smoothness of his address and the wonderful facility with which he uses the right word in the right place is the result of hard work or extemporaneous effort the effect is that of off-hand conversation with apparently not a thought as to the make-up of the sentences.

Mr. Bryan and his family made the trip around the world traveling westward from the United States. He reversed that order in his lecture, beginning with observations about Europe and ending with Japan. Mr. Bryan showed his patriotism by his comparisons which in all cases were in favor of the United States. It is pleasant to hear, but perhaps the people of this country need to hear more of the things they are surpassed in.

As one looks back on the lecture it seems to have been scattered fragments arranged with no particular order in mind. When a 25,000 mile trip is described in one hour and fifteen minutes there must needs be some pretty big jumps.

The most interesting points of the address were of the presentation at the court of the King and Queen of Norway, the reception by the Emperor of Japan, both of which functions were exceedingly ceremonious and decidedly brief. Amusement was created by Bryan’s descriptions of his graceful bows and efforts to follow the proper customs even to the extent of wearing evening clothes at 9 o’clock in the morning. He said it always looked to him as though a man had missed the last car when he appeared in a swallow-tail coat in the morning.

Bryan said he was nearest to royalty among the Dattos in the Philippines. He sat alongside their royal sovereign under two red umbrellas. Bryan has a good story in this connection which always brings a laugh. When they were awaiting the approach of this Datto ruler he was heard firing a salute. They counted the sounds and it am0unted to twenty-one. That is the president’s salute and Bryan was touched by the courtesy – but the firing continued. This must be for the second term, they thought: but when they passed the forty-second guna nd started on the third term they felt uneasy.

Bryan drew comparisons between Confucianism, the religion of China, and Christianity and thought the negative principles of the Oriental religion probably had much to do with China’s stagnation for 2,000 years.

Bryan expects to see Japan adopt Christianity just as that country has adopted the other means of progress of western nations.

Tribute was paid by the speaker to the doctrine of international peace and the conspicuous part President Roosevelt took in bringing the Oriental war to a close. He also gave King edward a compliment and said he enjoyed his call upon him and found him affable and easy of manner, the most democratic ruler in Europe.

Bryan had a visit with the Czar of Russia, but feared from the way he had acted since then he had not accepted his advice. He thought it was of some value to his own reputation to have been alone with the Czar half an  hour for he had been called an anarchist ten years ago, but the Czar of Russia was very shrewd in finding out anarchists and yet he had confidence enough to permit him to have an audience.

The hardest thing in making a trip around the world is to get good drinking water. they bought boiled water and bottled water, but occasionally found all that was really imported about the bottled water was the labels. He thought all nations should do more honor to the hen. All the way around the world they depended on eggs for food and untainted nourishment.

Mr. Bryan came to Fort Dodge from Omaha.  He was entertained while here at the residence of E.H. Rich.

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