The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, July 12, 1901, Page 3, Image 3

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Eternal Vigilance.
There are some people who appear iudif
fcrent to the encroachments upon liberty, if
the encroachments appear at tho time to ho
small. There are some who fail to see in the
Porto Bican tariff duty, in the government of
Porto Rico by executive power, and in the de
nial to the Filipinos of the right of self-government,
any evil serious enough to warrant
Daniel "Webster, in a speech delivered in
the senate May 7, 1884, had something to say
on this subject. This is what Webster said:
"Every encroachment, great or small, is im
portant enough to awaken the. attention of
those who are entrusted with the preservation
of a constitutional government. We are not
to wait till great public mischiefs come, till the
government is overthrown, or liberty itself put
into extreme jeopardy. We should not be
worthy sons of our fathers were we so to re
gard great questions affecting the general free
dom. Those fathers accomplished the revo
lution on a strict question of principle. The
Parliament of Great Britain asserted a right
to tax the colonies in all cases whatsoever; and
it waB precisely on this question that they made
the revolution turn. The amount of taxation
was trilling, but the claim itself was inconsis
tent with liberty; and that was in their eyes
enough. It was against the recital of an act of
Parliament, rather than against any suffering
under its enactments, that they took up arms.
They went to wai against a preamble. They
fought seven years against a declaration. They
poured out their treasures and their blood like
water, in a contest against an assertion which
those less sagacious and not so well schooled
in the principles of civil liberty would have
regarded as barren phraseology, or mere parade
of words. They saw in the claim of the Brit
ish Parliament a seminal principle of mischief,
the ,germ of unjust power; they detected it,
dragged it forth from underneath its plausible
disguise, struck at it; nor did it elude either
"their steady eye or well directed blow till they
had extirpated and destroyed it, to .the small
est fibre. On this question of principle; while
actual suffering was yet far off, they raised
their ilag against a power, to which for pur
poses of foreign conquest and subjugation,
Rome, in the height of her glory, is not to be
compared; a power Avhich has dotted over tho
surface of the whole globe with her possessions
and military posts; whose morning drum-beat,
following the sun and keeping company with
the hourB, circles the earth with one continu
ous and unbroken strain of the martial airs of
England." '
The Cost, of War.
In an address before the Arbitration Con
ference at Lake Mohonk, New York, Profes
sor Olark of Columbia combatted the idea that
war promoted prosperity. He said that war
simply gave the present money to expand by
. mortgaging tho future, and he asserted that
war was a source of poverty rather than of
..wealth. It is strange that any one would take
issue with such a statement, and yet there are
The Commoner.
many people who imagine that war produces
prosperity. Day by day we see our war ex
penses piling up into the millions. Everyone
knows that money doesn't grow on trees, and
yet there are many who do not stop to think
that somebody is paying these enormous war
expenses. Is Mr. Ilanna paying this money
out of his own pocket? By no means. The
money comes from the public treasury and tho
people are bearing the burden and will yet feol
the burden.
The Pilgrim, a magazine edited by Willis
J. Abbott, has an interesting article on this
subject. It says:
"The people of Washington with a taste for
statistics say that we have spent in the Philippines
already something in the neighborhood of $300,
000,000. They further inform us that the appro
priations of the last congress for expenditures
growing out of war exceeded $481,000,000. These
are big figures; hard for the average man to com
prehend, though ho pays his share of them none
the less. It is true, that the way in which the na
tional taxes are collected disguise the moment
and method of payment so that one scarcely knows
that he has paid at all. But be sure that if $485,
000,000 are needed for military expenses, and the
number of families in the United States is 15,000,
000, the head of each family will have to pay about
$40 for his part in the national glory. But it is
rather in consideration of the things wo might
have had for our money that the wastefulness of
war finds emphasis. Think of" the arid lands that
might have been watered, the ship canals that
might have been digged. We might even attain
those socialistic ideals, an endowed-theatre and an
endowed newspaper with a trivial part of it. If
employment is needed for our sons, that sum
capitalized- and invested in productive enterprise
would furnish jobs for all the unemployed, and
..they would be taught useful callings, Instead of
how to deliver a. murderous thrust, or the killing
range of a rifle bullet. As for glory, why should
the general who lays waste a province enjoy a
greater share of human regard than the farmer on
a great scale who can make a desert blossom and
feed a nation?"
"Our Terms."
On his arrival at San Francisco, General
Bates, the father of the Sulu treaty, speaking
of the Sulu Islands, said:
"I found the people 'to be very much like our
.native Indians, and it seemed to me that it would
be better to get them in an' amicable mood than
to go in for an Indian war. General Otis put $10,
000 in silver at my disposal, and after they had
given all the concessions that tho government
wished I made a few presents, but they did not get
a cent until they had come to our terms."
It will be remembered that when tho Fili
pinos assured General Otis that the first shot
in the Filipino war was a mistake, and pleaded
for a cessation of hostilities, General Otis re
plied that the lighting having begun "must
now go on to the grim end." It will also bo
remembered that while earnest efforts were
made to pacify and to place in "an amicable
mood" the heathen chief of the Sulu Islands,
no effort was made to place in Van amicable
mood" the christian people of the Philippine
Would it not also have been better to have
placed the Filipinos in "an amicable mood"
rather than to "go in" for a Philippine war in
which this nation was placed in the attitude of
opposing men who were struggling for inde
pendence? . .
Gcnoral Bates says, referring to tho Sulu.
people, "They did not get a cent until they
had come to our terms." This is an interest
ing admission.
Under that treaty the heathen Sulu sultan
was given certain sovereign powers in a terri
tory over which the' sovereignty of the United
States had been asserted. Was that a part of
"our terms."
In that treaty it was agreed that tho re
ligious customs, among which polygamy was
conspicuous, would not bo interfered with, and
that was a part of "our terms."
Under that treaty it. was provided that
whenever a slave, who worked for nothing a
day, had accumulated a sufficient sum from tho
proceeds of his toil, he should have tho privi
lege of purchasing his freedom "by paying to
the master tho usual market value;" and that
was a part of "our terms?"
It is good to be tpld by General Bates that
the officers of the United States army, sent as
the special representatives of this great repub
lic to negotiate with a heathen sultan, stood
firm as rocks and would not deliver a penny of
the filthy lucre until tho old heathen came to
"our terms."
We may well imagine the sultan of Sulu
insisting that he and his people should have the
privilege of retaining human beings in slavery;
and wo can imagine on tho other hand General
Bates, proud representative of a proud people,
insisting that tho Sultan must agree that when
ever a slave on American territory could obtain
enough money with which to purchase his frce
' dom he was to bo entitled to that privilege.
It was a splendid stand that General Bates
made I There should be no monopoly on tho
privilege of purchasing human flesh beneath
the folds of the American flagl If a specu
lator has tho right to go into the market and
buy human bodies at the rate of $20 per body,
the slave himself,' should in conscience, bo
given the same privilege!
To be sure this is not a constitutional privi
lege because long ago slavery wtas taken out of
the American constitution. But in recent days
tho constitution lias lost its force and seems no
longer to be available as a guide. Yet as a
general principle it would seem to be right
that under the sovereignty of a nation that
was long ago dedicated to freedom, and that
has been baptized and re-baptized' in "liberty's
unclouded blaze," human beings held in- bon
dage should at least be given the right to pur
chase their freedom!
And this beneficent privilege, this fine
tribute to liberty is due to the firm stancl made
by General Bates who did not "pay over one
cent" to the sultan until he had complied with
"our terms!"
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The Sulu Treaty. i
. At the request of a reader of TnE Com
moner the Sulu treaty is given below. It is
now about two years since the treaty was
signed, but our flag is still flying over the Sul
tan's palace and both slavery and polygamy
remain undisturbed. The treaty reads:
'. Article I. The sovereignty of the Unites State