The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 17, 1901, Image 1

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    The Commoner
Vol. i. No. 17.
Lincoln, Nebraska, May 17, 1901.
$1.00 a Year
William J. Bryan.
Editor and Proprietor.
Criminal Speculation.
If a crime is defined as an act the doing of
which is prohibited by law, stock speculation
cannot be considered criminal, but when the
word crime is used in its broader sense to de
scribe an act which offends against morality or
the public welfare, it certainly includes that
species of gambling upon the market which en
dangers the community as well as injures the
participants. A record of Wall Street's
doings for the last week is an indictment
against our boasted civilization. That such
transactions are allowed is as much a reflection
upon the intelligence of the country as it is
npon the conscience of the people. It is little
less than amazing that a few men should be per
mitted to corner the market for their own selfish
purposes, beat down the price of one stock and
::kboom the price of another stook, demoralizing
business and jeopardizing the interests of all
classes of society. It is reported that the
slump in stocks amounted to seven hundred mil
lions in value, and that the New York banks
had to put up nearly twenty millions of dol
lars to prevent a panic. How will the his
torian describe an age in which a petty thief is
severely punished while great criminals go un
whipped? It often takes an object lesson to
arouse the people to the evils of a bad system
and the recent fluctuations in the stock market,
costly as they have been, will be cheap if they
lead to legislation which will put an end to
stock gambling, erroneously described as
Corporations Enter Parliament.
From London dispatches it would seem
that corporation influence is manifesting itself
in the English parliament. The following is
in point:
The discussion in the house of commons today
of a private bill conferring additional powers on
the London & Northwestern railway led to a great
deal of acrimonious recrimination. John Burns,
who, with the opposition generally, opposed the
measure; was called to order by the speaker for
stigmatizing some of the railroad representatives
in the house as "ornamental guinea pigs." Mr.
Burns' special reference was to Mr. Macartney, who
was elected a director of the London & North
western railroad after having been appointed
financial secretary to the admiralty.
The bill was finally rejected by a vote of 210 to
202, amid prolonged cheering,
Mr. Swift MaoNcill, a liberal member, en
tered a protest against Mr. Macartney's vote in
favor of the bill on the ground that he was
pecuniarily interested. Mr. Macartney's right
to vote wafl defended on the ground of prece
dent, Mr. Balfour going to his rescue. Sir
Henry Campbell-Bannorman and John Dillon
advocated a rule prohibiting directors of cor
porations from voting under such circum
stances. Mr. Kier-Hardie said that the House
ought to adopt a higher standard of purity and
declared that there was a strong feeling in the
country "that the House was becoming more
and more corrupt financially." Ho declared
that "the working people regarded the House
as an annex to the stook exchange."
All this goes to show that corporate influ
ence is making itself felt on the other side of
the Atlantic and that there, as here, it is being
exerted in behalf of privileges and favors an
tagonistic to the interests of .the common peo
ple. It also shows that those who are under
corporation influence lose all sense of propri-
ples sot forth by the republican party of today.
The reader referred to objectB to the preva
lent practice of "ransacking antiquated centu
ries to find a suitable standard for present day
actions." Ho says: "All the nations are mov
ing forward in conformity with the growth of
knowledge, the birth of new thought, and the
expansion of ideas; and it is neither wise, in
telligent, nor patriotic to condemn progressive
men and advanced measures."
The difficulty with this republican reader is
that he fails to distinguish between motion and
progress. Motion is change of place; progress
is movement forward. Ho fails to distinguish
between growth and inflammation. The republi
can party is not making progress; it is in motion,
but the motion is backward instead of forward.
ety and insist upon voting upon questions iii j The doctrines which it now advocates are not
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" J UUVsY CVJ.V UO ViVl UlOtUi Vi J.1I I lCl 11VI I Bill
which they are pecuniarily interested.
The Effect of Diet.
It is reported from Havana that the Cuban
Commissioneis upon their return gave ade
is not an invention of modern origin; it is
ancient. It rests upon the doctrine of brute
force, and force was. the foundation of empires
in the past and is the foundation of the mon
archies of the old world today.
SS&SL Sain-was-therstman to act.uponHhe im-
eluding the social attention shown them. 'Sb'mo
objection was made to the recording of the cn-
tertainment part of the report, but the objec
tion was very properly over-ruled.
The republican leaders have expert knowl
edge on the effect of diet. In the campaign of
1900 they addressed their arguments to the
stomach rather than to the head or heart.
They insisted that a full meal was the summit
of human hope and their theory exhibited
some signs of popularity. History testifies to
the mollifying effect of food distributed
to the poor in the days when plutocracy was
destroying the glory of the Koman empire. If
the Cuban commissioners were won over to the
Piatt amendment at the banquet table, it is
only fair that this new evidence of the potency
of pleasant viands should be preserved in the
Cuban archives. If they swallowed their ob
jections to foreign interference and washed
them down with wine the fact should be prop
erly authenticated.
There are those who insist that the disposi
tion can bo changed by diet and much evidences
can be adduced in support of the proposition.
Many a man has visited Washington with a dis
position to serve his constituents and has found
that disposition gradually changed by a diet of
champagne and terrapin.
Motion, Not Progress.
A republican reader of The Commoner
and The Commoner is glad to have republican
readers cbmplainB because this paper refers
with approval to the principles of Jefferson,
Jackson and Monroe and condemns the princi-
4JcrjalisJj.o idea. He killed his brother and
wore the brand of a murderer forever after
ward. Imperialism has been killing ever since.
It disregards human rights and moral princi
ples. The fact that a nation instead of an in
dividual commits a wrong does not change tho
character of the act; neither does the fact that
punishment is delayed justify us in believing
that it can be avoided. There is only one
sound rule, namely, that every violation of
human rights will bring its punishment if a
great many join in tho violation, the punish
ment will be greater when it comes.
The principles of Jefferson, Monroe and
Jackson are referred to because they were
sound principles at the time they were applied,
and they are still sound. They can be forgot
ten; they can be ignored, they can be trampled
upon,, but their truth cannot be destroyed.
Upsetting the Government,
Kef erring to. the Porto Bico case now pend
ing in the Supreme Court, Senator Spooner of
Wisconsin recently predicted that the court'g
decision would support the administration'
policy of imperialism. He based his predic
tion on the belief that "The Supreme Courd
will not dare to upset the government." What
Senator Spooner meant was that the Supreme
Court would not dare to upset the administra
tion. Since we have assumed imperialistic
habits we have unconsciously employed im
perialistic phraseology. For instance, in tho
good old days when our republican form of
government was jealously guarded, none