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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (March 22, 1901)
VOL. I. NO. 9.
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, MARCH 22, 1901.
$1.00 a Year
VUlllleinrk J. Bryeire.
Editor and Proprietor.
The death of Benjamin Harrison, soldier, law
yer, orator, statesman and ex-president, removes
one of the most conspicuous figures in American
life. He ran the gamut of public olliceand'evcry
where met the expectations of those who gave him
their support. He served in the Union army for
three years during the civil war, beginning as a
second lieutenant and finally winning the brevet of
He was a lawyer of great learning and expe
rience, one of the ablest of those who have oc
cupied the White House.
As an orator, he deserves a place among the
b?st of his generation. His numerous speeches
during his presidential term showed a wide range
of knowledge and great felicity of expression.
In the Senate and as chief executive he dis
played rare qualities of statesmanship and retired
from office universally respected. . - - ., .
lie was a strict partisan while in office, but his
uprightness and official integrity were always con
ceded by his j)olitical opponents.
After his retirement from the presidency, he
returned to the practice of law, adding to his pro
fessional income by lectures and magazine articles.
After the Spanish Avar, he gave expression
to his belief that the Filipinos were entitled to in
dependence and insisted that the honor of the
nation required that the promise made to Cuba be
kept. While he supported the republican ticket
in the last campaign he could not conscientiously
make speeches in support of the Philippine policy
of the administration, and after the election he on
several occasions stated his views with great force
His reverence for American principles and for
the traditions of the nation led him to sympathize
with the Boers in their unequal struggle for lib
erty and his last words showed that the fate of the
South African Republic was a matter of deepN con
cern to him. The Cincinnati Enquirer thus de
scribes his closing hours:
On the night preceding" the sudden attack o ill
ness Mr. and Mrs. Harrison called on A. L. Mason
and incidentally the conversation turned to ques
tions of national import, concerning which Mr. Har
rison spoke with unusual freedom. During his talk
he particularly laid stress upon the independence of
Cuba, saying that America was pledged to bring this
ubout. He also expressed himself with reference to
trusts, mournfully dropping the remark, " It looks as
If force and greed rule the world."
In his semi-conscious condition when the senti
nels of discretion and propriety had gone from their
posts, and the mind of the man was wandering, he be
gan to speak of the Boers and their hopeless struggle
for national life. Ills voice was weak and trembling,
his thoughts were not connected, but the listeners
bending over him could hear words of pity for the
dying fanner republic.
An Impotent Remedy.
President TIadley, of Yale college, in a recent
speech at Boston, renewed a recommendation
which he made some months ago to the effect
that there should bo a public opinion which
would drive the trusts out of existence regardless
of statutes. The earlier dispatches quoted him
as saying that we would have an empire here
within twenty-five years unless something was
done to destroy the trusts, but he has since denied
making any such prophecy. The mere fact that
so prominent an educator recognizes the menace
of private monopolies is both significant and en
couraging, but the remedy which ho suggests is
an impotent one. Public opinion is necessary,
first, to enact, and second, to enforce law, but
public opinion alone will never give the public
protection from the trusts.
It would not be safe to keep horses if public
opinion was the only protection society had
against horse stealing. A man is influenced by
-the-public olinion-withwh.ich'he-comes -into-con
tact and the horse thief does not associate with
those who have conscientious scruples against
larceny; neither docs the trust magnate associate
with those who object to trusts. It will be a
long time before the opinion of an ordinary
mortal or, for that matter, of all the ordinary
mortals, has any influence upon the man who can
make a fortune in a year by preying upon those
Mr. Rockefeller would be indifferent to a
petition signed by ninety-nine per cent of the
people asking him to lower the price of oil (even
at the risk of decreasing his donations to colleges),
but he would heed a law made and executed by
a majority of the people.
All credit to President Hadley for his effort
to create a public opinion against trusts, but that
public opinion must be crystalized into punitive
statutes before it will check the trust evil.
The Situation in St. Louis.
In the last number of The CoiwroNER there
appeared an editorial entitled "A Sample of Har
mony," which called attention to the attempt
which, is being made in St. Louis to elect Mr.
Wells on the democratic ticket, notwithstanding
the fact that he opposed the national ticket in
1890 and 1900, and still refuses to accept demo
cratic principles, though willing to accept a dem
The St. Louis Republic in last Saturday's issue
seems to admit the facts stated in that editorial,
but attempts to avoid the conclusions drawn from
them. It says:
Mr. Bryan naturally does not care much about
municipal government in big cities. That is a prob
lem with which he has never been called upon to eon-
tend. But St. Louis democrats care a great deal; not
only as citizens, but as party men. If the' do not
tiiko the best course in municipal politics thej' will
dwindle into a small political body in a short time.
The comments on St. Louis politics in Mr. Bryan's
paper have not the weight of knowledge or of sym
pathy. The Republic is in error. Mr. Bryan does
care about municipal government in big cities,
but he does not expect good municipal govern
ment under the administration of a man who be
lieves in making the President an emperor, and
who is willing to let the trusts control the national
administration. The man who sees no danger in
imperialism, a large standing army, ware of con
quest, private monopolies and the other policies
for which the republican party now stands is not
likely to give the people of any city, largo or
small, a wise, just or economical administration.
The mind of an intelligent man is consistent and,
as no one doubts the intelligence of Mr. Welle, it
is fair to assume that ho would be as willing to
allow local corporations to control a city admin
istration as he has shown himself willing to allow
larger corporations to control the national admin
istration. It is no answer to say that the republi
can candidate may bo as bad as Mr. Wells. The
democratic party is not responsible for a republi
can administration and can make political capital
out of the wrong doings of such an administration.
But if Mr. Wells is elected the democratic party
must assume responsibility for what he does. If, as
-Js-probableewuld.rjmJJiajcity according to the
latest and most approved republican methods, the
demoorats wpuldbe compelled torepudiatcjhis ad
ministration or obliterate the distinction between
republican methods and democratic methods.
Ex-President Cleveland has written another
letter this time to the Orescent Democratic Club
of Baltimore in which he gives expression to
his yearning desire to have the democratic party
"return" to what he regards as true democracy
and correct principles. If this was his first ut
terance of the kind it might be attributed to a
transitory impulse, but he has said the same thing
so often as to indicate that a fixed, and constant
longing possesses him. The letter reads:
My Dear Sir Your invitation to attend a meeting
of the Crescent Democratic Club in celebration of its
twenty-ninth anniversary reaches me as I am leaving
home for so long an absence, that it will prevent my
participation in this interesting work.
All the political signs of the times indicate most
impressively the necessity of increased activity and
aggressiveness in the ranks of Democracy. There were
days when Democratic principles, advocated in Dem
ocratic fashion, gave guarantee of Democratic su
premacy or at least strength and influence in our
Why should there not be a return of those days?
The answer to this question is not found in less
applicability than formerly of Democratic doctrine to
present conditions. On the contrary, there never was
a time when they were more needed to cure evils
which afflict our body politic, and there never was a
time when our countrymen would be more willing to
accept Democracy as they once knew it as a safeguard
against existing and threatened ills.
T am convinced, however, that if our party is to
gain its old prestige and become again a strong and
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