|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||Bourke Cochran, a Man Made by Occasions|
;! BODRKE GOCERAN, A ' MAN MADE BY OCCASIONS f . ( What He Thinks of the Common Problems of Human Life ' ana Endeavor Character Study By His Friends j His Tribute to His Political Foe The Soft U Side of His Character. H This is not an interview with Bourke ! . Coekran. It is a statement of what he . stands for and what he is, based on t la)kt with him and those who know " him best political friends and political opponents. The man seems to be with- i I out iersonal enemies. I He has few intimates. His best V 1 friends, he told me, are ex-Speaker Thomas Drackett Heed and General j , Lioyd r.ryce. There is something in j what follows of what was s-aid by Mr. Heed, by Geftcral Bryct, by members f of Tammany hall. Some of the latter 1 feel that he has deserted the organi- t zation. and are likely to say harsh I things in consequence, but all of thorn I find something to commend in the - , man's character a.s well. It is a tribute I to the man to admit that a.!! his friends ; " see points in hint for criticism and I that all his opponents rind points in him i for praise. 5 Pourke Coekran is a man whose 45 years have tilled his face with those furrows which write the story of strong cii. racteristi.ns. Physically he is mag-, mag-, niiicent. Tall, broad shouldered and with a splendid chest, his looks on a public platform help his wonderful oratory ora-tory to sway his audiences. His body is the bodv of an athlete, anil in each f its HMiini,.; it shows the trained Ft ronir man. jut as m each f his voids he shows the trained speaker. dresses carefully, but simply. Mentally Men-tally he is both a giant jn. strength and i . a gymnast in quickness. His mind is thoroughly stored with information on rim opt evorv topic under the sun. He is a great -reader. Ilis faculty for earnest ear-nest and eloquent speech is recognized 1o be greater rhan that of any oth r in. in of this time. The nvttion has produced pro-duced few great orators. He is always intensely wrapped up in whatever he undertakes, and is capable of doing ;i-;ly what to almost anv other man would require prodigious effort. His mind e. ever active. He is always discussing dis-cussing to himself all kinds of problems fro p.i every point of view, and this is vh it makes him in a measure ready ' for all occasions. his carper. j ' h- is. his marvejlous eloquence and his impressive manner of handling his ; . body on a platform' which have made him important, but if he had not gained gain-ed prominence in that way his keenly analytical mind would have carried him to success in any event. He is esen- j liaily fair, and always honest. He does I not care for ollice, although he ha.s ! served in congress and may very likely terve again. He is a rich man, and lias made his money himself. As a lawyer he is in great demand, and some of the largest fees on record have been paid to him. He was born in the county of Sligo, Ireland, in and wa.s educated largely in France. He came to .America in 1S71. and began by teaching French and Latin. As ho taught he studied law, and for a time j after his admission to the bar, prae- I ticed his profession in "Westchester i county. 11h began to make a reputation j in Now York City with the first word , he uttered in arguing his first cas". It was not an important one, but the elo-i elo-i iiuen. -o of the advocate set the town talking. He ha.s been, connected with j many famous- cases in the courts. I among them the Jacob Sharp boodle alderman affair, ami the defense of t Kemjnler. the murderer who was the first man to be killed legally by eleo-iricity. eleo-iricity. He entered politics in 1SS1, and vnt t : congress in IVvfi. His law practice prac-tice became so great that it was diffi cult 101 ii i id 10 anciin 10 ins roiisiTcf- sional duties and he wanted to resign, but was persuaded not to. After that he decided never to accept a political olliee again, but returned to congress in l'.d. in order to prevent a fplit in Tammany hail, of which he was then one of the nmst prominent members. Ir. !eed. it is said that it wa? largely wing to the advice and assistance of Coekran that Richard Croker achieved his lower. RISES TO ALL OCCASION'S. "It is the man's great ability to rise to whatever occasion confronts him that is his moft marked and valuable characteristic," ex-Speaker Peed sa'id to me. The two occasions which he rose to most magnificently were the Chicago conventions in lsS4 and 1S1. At the latter on he opposed the nomination of C, rover Cleveland in a speech of thrilling power. Although he did not convince thp convention that Cleveland was the wpiiis man to nominate, he won a tremendous personal triumph. In his recent argument at the trUiSt 'inference in Chiearo he achieved an-h an-h r oratorical victory. He is a Democrat Demo-crat first, last and all the time, yet his best friends are Pepublicans. A TRIBUTE TO BRYAN". Mr. Pryan has ha a no such opponent oppo-nent as Pourke Coekran. Circumstances Circum-stances are ever putting the two men in opposition. Put Mr. Pryan has never qtieMtioned Mr. Cockran's complete integrity in-tegrity ,,f purpose. Earnestly, continually contin-ually r.nd ably, Mr. Coekran has op--os;-d Mr. Pryan, yet the other day he sail p, me. when I asked him his opinion opin-ion of the great free -silver leader, that lie was lad of the opportunity to pay a tribute to )iim 'I knew Pryan well." he said. "I Ferwd with him for four yotais in the "ways arid nvans committee of the house, and wr met almost every day m what might be called the intimacy , of piilitii-al association- Pryan per-J per-J sonally is one of the iiurcst men I ever met in politics or out. His devotion ; to public welfare as he understands it. ; is more liu-e the l,,Ve of a wnnwn fori' her chihl or I,. .. i i n I . the cxpr.'svion of a jiollitician's mind. I do not bi li, ve that after many years q active participation in politics and three year of leadership, his moral nature na-ture has become colored by even the shadow of a selfish motive, or that in order to ho elected president tomorrow iie would consent to temporize with his belief or evade the expression of it. I asked him about McKinley. , "I have only the slightest acquaintance acquaint-ance with him. We both served in the lifticth congn-ss but we rarely met. My support of hire, in IS96 was in no way induced by his jNersonalitv, but came about because I felt that his election elec-tion was absolutely n-cessa ry in view ( of what I considered the dangerous tendencies of the Chicago platform" OUR GREATEST PROBLEMS. I asked him what he considered the greatest problem before the country now. "It is the preservation of our repub. bean form of government. This will be affected by what we do in the matter mat-ter of territorial expansion. First of all we. must preserve and govern well the territory which we have already. 1 am willing to see annexed to the United States any land in which our present form of government can be established es-tablished and maintained. That cannot can-not be done in the Philippir.es. We have races enough already." He explained his monetary views. "I am not necessarily a 'gold man,' but a single standard man. I stand for one piece of metal as a money unit. Let it be silver or let it be gold. It matters mat-ters little which it is. But let us have one standard." Considering the Nicaragua canal he said: "1 am not prepared to say whether the Nicaragua route should be followed or not. But I believe absolutely in the building of a canal. We musi connect the two oceans at the point of greatest possible proximity to the center of American commerce the United States. I will say further that I am convinced that this canal should be constructed d.v the government. Finally, in summing' up his political opinions, he said: "I stand for the impartiality of government, gov-ernment, and the minimizing of government. gov-ernment. The more civilized men. becomes be-comes the less he needs government. Oovernment must favor neither side. If capital is arrayed against labor, government must be strictly fair to both sides. The relations between employer em-ployer and employed are not service, but partnership, and should be so regarded. re-garded. Trade unions, for instance, do not raise wages directly, but they affect production favorably by enabling employer em-ployer and employee in fixing the" basis of distribution of their joint product. Wages cannot be raised or lowered by anything but the volume of production." produc-tion." The men who did not agree with what Bourke Cochran said about trusts at Chicago even Mr. 'Bryan- himself were the first to express admiration of the way in which, he said it. And so it is with the man. The men who do not agree with him are the first to praise his honesty of purpose, his strength of character and the fineness of his men, tal and moral fibre. GEN. LLOYD BRYCE ON COCKRAN. Lloyd Brice has been Bourke Cockran's Cock-ran's friend for a dozen years. It would be hard to imagine two men apparently ap-parently more widely differing. k- ran is tall, stalwart, commanding in nis carriage and his expression. General j Pryce is of middle height, slight of build and has the nervousness of the man who reads and studies continually, forgetting that he has a. body. It is j easy to believe from his looks that j Pourke Coekran was once a leader in Tammany hall; it would be impossible j to think such a. thing of Bryce. The massive strength, deep voice and rugged rug-ged lined face of Coekran contract strongly with the slender frame, cultured cul-tured tones and delicately featured countenance of the author of such novels as "Friends in Exile," "Lady Plan-he's S'alon," and the editor of the North American Review. Yet they regard each other with the affection of boyhood. "Pourke Cockran's strongest points, I think," said General Bryce, "are his acumen in rorecasiing political events , I and his adaptability to circumstances. : The man is extraordinary, too, in having I achieved so great a success while mak-s mak-s in-g so few enemies. This is a key i to his nature. He is one of ihe few i really string men I have met who have almost no personal antagonists. I ; might almost go so far as to say the only weak point in his character is his incapacity to bear a grudge. He is a strong friend but a poor hater. Indeed, In-deed, the fancied enmity of anyone wounds him to a degree that is hardly realizable, and on one occasion at least I remember his go'ing far out of his way to conciliate a person who bore him an unreasonable dislike, simply , because, as he told me, the enmity of I anyone hurt him beyond measure. His power over his mind, his adaptability, and his faculty of rising to whatever occasion may confront him are illustrated illus-trated by two events in my acquaintance acquaint-ance with him. He was visiting with me the district which I then repre-senied repre-senied in congress and was called on to address a body of school children. Instantly he had their sympathy and friendship. Every word he said was a word which they could understand, which interested them, and yet, instead cf 'taking down' to them, he seemed to bring them up to his own level. He held those children enthralled from the beginning of his address until its finish, and to this day, I can see their little faces turned up to him in wrapt wonderment. won-derment. QUELLING A RIOTOUS MEETING. "The other occasion to which I allude al-lude and in forcible contrast was at Omaha during the campaign of 1S96. At the request of some of the prominent promi-nent members of the Republican party, I te-ck charge of Mr. Cockran's campaign, cam-paign, realizing that by relieving him of the details of the campaign, such as the arrangement of meetings, etc., etc., that his extraordinary powers could be better focussed on the questions ques-tions at stake, and I would thus myself my-self be contributing by most effective service to the cause of sound money and good government. Of course, the feeling of hostility to the stand Coek- Democrats, and especially so in Omaha, the stronghold of Mr. Bryan. Indeed before we had reached there, a deputation depu-tation joined us at a way-station and told us that threats of violence were in the air. Some hours later on our arrival when in front of the hotel, and as we were forcing our way through' a dense mass of people, a rough-looking man signed that he would like to speak with me. I followed him out of the crowd wheir he informed me that Mr. Coekran would never be allowed to address the inhabitants of Mr. Bryan's Bry-an's state, and that if he attempted to do so five thousaHl people from the slaughter house brd bound themselves i to break up the meeting at any cost. I never knew that the town boasted such a large proportion of abattoirs to make credible so extensive a conspiracy, but I confess the nature of the conspirators' employment had a disagreeably significant signifi-cant sound and a depressing effect on me. A PANIC IMMINENT. "The meeting was held in a great disused dis-used bicycle hall, and there were over 20,000 people present. I had seen tempestuous tem-pestuous public meetings in different parts of the world before, but never one equal to that. At the extreme left some 5,000 or 6,000 men were gathered, shouting shout-ing and waving red flags. The confusion confu-sion grew with each moment, the derisive de-risive cries of the hostile crowds swelling swell-ing into absolute pandemonium. In the very midst of it a skylight fell, and the hubbub was increased by several women wo-men going into ysterics. A panic which might result in serious loss of life was imminent. "It was at this moment Mr. Coekran stepped to the front of the platform. He paused for an instant. The noise and confusion rather augmented than subsided. sub-sided. It was, as if we were standing on a frail dock extending out into the sea during a storm, with the breakers accentuating in force, until they prom ised to submerge all in a vast gulf of anarchy. "At last he raised his hand, and in a temporary lull attracted the crowd by an unexpected allusion to the virtues of Mr. Bryan. Then while their curiosity was excited he enlarged upon these virtues, vir-tues, and expressed the opinion that there was only one good quality in which Mr. Bryan was lacking, a qual- ity too little appreciated in this world, but nevertheless important viz., common com-mon sense. SAVED THE SITUATION. "The effect wis electrical. The howl of protestation gave way to a burst of amused applause. From that time on Mr. Coekran had the audience in the hoiiow of his hand. At the end of the meeting the wave which had promised to break over him with destructive force rose again, swelling onward and carried him off the platform victorious and triumphant. "I dwell on these two occasions, the km i:.'tfi$ i mi Characteristic Picture of Mr. Cochran as He Appears When. Addressing an Audience. j first when he addressed the school the second, when TTe controlled the mob, because they illustrate the man's character. char-acter. In the first where simplicity and gentleness could count he was instinctively in-stinctively simple and he was gentle. In the second, where a great emergency arose he rose to the emergncy. That is what I wish to emphasize, Bourke Coekran always rises to the emergency which is before him. "Indeed, the measure of the emergency emerg-ency is the measure of his display of ability to master it Mr. Cockran's opportunity op-portunity is in tempestuous times. It is the storm, the opposition that brings him out. ... There is something in his - ' very physical appearance that seems made to ride the storm. He does not fascinate the crowd like Gladstone he dominates it like Gambetta like Mirabeau like Danton I might almost say. Of course, I am- speaking more of his personal domination than of his political opinions for these, I think, are strangely conservative, and if revolutionary rev-olutionary times should ever come I can see him in my mind's eye dominating dominat-ing the hosts of disorder, as he did at Omaha impr2ssing them with his lion-esque lion-esque personality and bringing them back to reason and to common sense. "Mr. Coekran has an extraordinary fondness for country life and rural sports. Surrounded by his dogs he leads in the country the life of the idealist ideal-ist that he is. 'I have often been troubled over some question.' he has frequently observed to me, 'and found the answer in the placid eyes of a cow-as cow-as I have stopped in the field to scratch her forehead.' A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS MAN. "Mr. Coekran is a deeplv religious man I think the most sincerely religious relig-ious man I have ever known. In his curious make-up, too, there in much of the simplicity of the child, and I think he is never quite so genuinely happy as when rolling over the grass with some J "fry 1 Bourke Cochran, (From Latest Picture, Taken Especially for the Inter- mountain Catholic.) little playfellow of 5 or 6 years, who invariably bullies him to a heart-rending degree. But as I have already said, the children's school meeting in the crowded tenement district of this great congested city and that uproarious meeting at Omaha must be taken together to-gether to understand the man. "In closing, allow me to state that this tribute to my friend may receive enhanced value by the fact that in many of Mr. Cockran's political and economic views I have found myself in absolute disagreement with him. "I have spoken of his incapacity to hate this incapacity is strictly confined to individuals. His capacity to hate concentrates itself upon what he deems unjust. Injustice, wrong, outrage, bloodshed he hates with the force of his entire nature, and this hate, I think, might sometimes cloud his judgment." judg-ment." The thoughtful newspaper correspondent, correspon-dent, whose constant business it is to dicu men ana attairs, gams a birds-eye birds-eye view of public events and characters. charac-ters. Such a one is E. J. Edwards the famous "Holland." He has closely observed ob-served Mr. Cockran's career since he first became prominent, and speaks with knowledae. He also is a political opponent of Mr. Coekran, but an earnest earn-est admirer. "Pourke Coekran," he said, "has the nature of a true orator, which must be almost that cf a poet. Roscoe Conkling was full of the tricks of extemporaneous extemporane-ous declamation; Coekran has none of them. He does not write first what he afterwards talks from the platform. Of course ho prepares for his speeches, but his preparation is without manual work. He has an ability which few speakers have possessed. After reading up whatever references he neds, as AVendell Phillips did. he lies on a sofa, turning them over in his mind until he is full of his subject. But that is all. What is to be done with this material depends on the inspiration of the first moment on the platform, as it also did with Phillins. "I have heard him speak many times. He has a higher oratorical inspiration even than John R. Fellows had, and the man that has tha.t rarely ha3 executive ability. He would not be a gocd man to appoint to the place recently given to Elihu Root, for instance. He lacks the capacity for executive detail necessary neces-sary in a secretary of war. Coekran must be a leader on the moral and intellectual in-tellectual side, and Coekran prefers being be-ing that kind of a "leader to holding office. He has ceTtainly achieved such leadership in New York. Coekran is always right on moral issues. The tariff, in, which, the Republican extremists extrem-ists oppose Coekran, has no moral side. I know of not one single case involving a matter of absolute right and wrong where Coekran has failed to see clearly. With his qualities of sympathy, eloquence elo-quence and clear insight into affairs and public sentiment, he could have done what he liked with Tammany Hall if he had been willing to let himself him-self down; but he has not. Cockran's tendency, since the days wherf, by one of the most magnificent efforts of will power x navo ever neara or, lie overcame over-came an unfortunate turning toward stimulants it amounted to a disease that gripped and held him has been steadily upward. When I first saw him he was striking in appearance, but shabby in appearance. His change into tha clear eyed, strong featured, well groomed man of today has been remarkable. re-markable. "He is now a man of the highest culture and of striking capacity for highest social relations. His case has been an illustration of the fast that wealth is not necessary to him who would be accepted by the best. He must give for what he gets, to be sure, and Coekran gives of an infinite- sriMi charm. Coekran is a stimulator. He is a gentleman by nature and by cultivation. cultiva-tion. This was illustrated. When his wife died, her considerable property would have gone to him, but he turned it over to her sister. He is not a wit, nor is his senee of humor keen, but in j conversation, as well as on the platform, plat-form, his poetry, imagery and flow of diction are remarkable. His memory is not less than wonderful. This is an advantage few orators have possessed. Seward and Chase had good memories; Blaine's was less perfect; Depew has none." So, to wind up with, it is easy to find Bourke Cockran's friends, and they talk cf him most pleasantly. It is hard to find his enemies, and they criticize not the man, but his opinions. The man's honesty and integrity of purpose pur-pose are never questioned. It is hard to believe that a man so regarded by important people in a great community is other than worthy of high respect, no matter how earnestly one may oppose op-pose his political and economic views. EDWARD MARSHALL.