Special Reports

Before the monkey trial, Wm. Jennings Bryan spoke in Kennewick

The very notable William Jennings Bryan, on his way to Spokane to speak at an election rally steamed through Kennewick by train in 1924. He spoke to the town's schoolchildren while the train made a brief stop. This event was ten months before the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial."

Jennings had been to the area years earlier, he had been scheduled to travel through Pasco on March 31, 1900 on his way to speak in Yakima.

Wm. Jennings Bryan speaks at station

By the The Kennewick Courier-Reporter

Published on Sept. 18, 1924


Wm. Jennings Bryan spoke briefly to a crowd of about 500 people this morning from the rear platform of N.P. Train No. 334. Col. Bryan was en route from the coast to Spokane where he speaks tonight. News of his coming was received here soon enough for the schools to be dismissed and the word passed through the business section.

Seeing the number of children in the audience Co. Bryan directed his remarks chiefly to them.

"I prefer to talk to children for what you tell a child lasts longer than what you tell an older person," he said. "In fact the things we do and the things we hope to do are not for ourselves but for our children and our children's children. The chief interest of all old people is in children. All of us work and labor in the hope that we may be able to leave our children money. And this is a perfectly legitimate and laudable ambition. It is not well, however, that we leave our children too much money. The child's anticipation of great wealth may stifle his ambition and dry up his industry and prove a detriment rather than a benefit. Far better that we leave our children good government than great wealth.

"Since early manhood I have been enlisted in the cause of good government. When any man works for a great cause does the man more good than he does god to the cause. I was once introduced as a man who had risen to great heights. I questioned the truth of the introduction, for no man rises but is lifted up. It is like a balloon ascension. The man who holds onto the ropes will be carried up by the balloon. He doesn't push the balloon up, the balloon furnishes the lifting power. And if I have risen above the crowd it is because I have taken hold of the right side of public questions and held on.

"My father gave me one valuable bit of advice I have never forgotten and it has been worth more to me than the money he left me. He said: 'Align yourself on the side of the right. You may be in the minority, but if you are in the minority and right, some day you will be in the majority. If you are in the majority and wrong some day you will be in the minority. Right is bound to prevail in the end'.

"So it is I have always fought on the side of the people in the great democratic party. I have had the satisfaction of seeing those things for which I fought in the minority, finally, adopted by the majority. I am still fighting for the right and for the great progressive principles of the democratic party."

Col. Bryan's parting message was to vote for Bryan and Davis which he corrected to Davis and Bryan as the train carried him beyond the hearing of his audience.

Col. Bryan did not come west as a political campaigner but on a Chautauqua lecture tour which he concluded in Tacoma Monday night. He was accompanied on the train by Mayor Brown of Seattle and Ben Hill, democratic nominee for governor.

When the train pulled into the station here, Lane K. Larson presented Co. Bryan with a large bottle of Church's Grape Juice with the compliments of the Church Mfg. Company.

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