The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 13, 1901, Image 1

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    The Commoner.
! .,. r nv
Vol. i. No. 34.
Lincoln, Nebraska, September 13, 1901.
$ioo a Year.
The Nation Mourns.
The nation bows in sorrow and in humil
iation in Borrow because its chief executive,
its offioial head, is passing through the valley
of the shadow of death in humiliation he
cause the president of our republic has fallen
a victim to the cruel and cowardly methods
employed in monarchies where helpless and
hopeless subjects Bomtimes meet arbitrary
power with violence.
In morals and in the contemplation of law
all lives are of equal value all are priceless
but when seventy-five millions of people select
one of their number and invest him with the
authority which attaches to the presidency
ho becomes their representative and a blow
aimed at him is resented as an attack upon all.
Beneath the partisanship of the individual
lies the patriotism of the citizen, sometimes
dormant, it is true, but always active in hours
of peril or misfortune. While the president's
life hangs in the balance there are no party
lines. The grief of personal friends and close
political a&sociate.s may. be more poignant but
tjieir sympathy is not more sincere than that ex-
te&ded-by-political opponents. Altliough,nono.
but his family and his physicians are admitted
to his room, all his countrymen are at his bed
side in thought and sentiment and their prayers
ascend for his recovery. It was characteristic
of his thoughtfulness that, even amid the ex
citement following the assault, he cautioned
his companions not to exaggerate his condi
tion to his invalid wife.
The latest dispatches give gratifying news
of his improvement, but there is still deep so
licitude lest unfavorable symptoms may yet
And the humiliation! Are our public serv
ants those who are chosen by the people and
who exercise for a limited time the authority
bestowed by the people are these to live in
constantfear of assassination? Is there to bo no
difference between our constitutional govern
ment and those despotic governments which
rest, not upon the consent of the governed, but
upon brute force?
There is no place for anarchy in the United
States; there is no room here for those who
commit, counsel or condone murder, no matter
what political excuse may be urged in its de
fense. The line between peaceful agitation
and violence is clear and distinct. We have
freedom of speech and freedom of the press in
this country, and they are essential to the main
tenance of our liberties. If any one desires to
criticise the methods of government or the con
duct of an official, he has a perfect right to do
so, but his appeal must be to the intelligence
and patriotism of his fellow citizens, not to
force. Let no one imagine that he can im
prove social or political conditions by the
shedding of blood.
.Free governments may be overthrown, but
they cannot bo reformed, by those who violato
the commandment, Thou shalt not kill."
Under a government like ours every wrong
can be remedied by law and the laws are in the
hands of the people themselves. - Anarchy can
be neither excused nor tolerated here. The
man who proposes to right a public wrong by
taking the life of a human being makes him
self an outlaw and cannot consistently appeal
to the protection of ythe government which he
repudiates. He invites a return to a stato of
barbarism in which each one must, at his own
risk, defend his' own 'rights and avenge his
own wrongs.
The punishment administered to. the would
be assassin and to his co-conspirators, if he has
any, should be such as to warn all inclined to
anarchy that while this is an asylum for those
who love liberty it is an inhospitable place for
those who raise their hands against all forms
of government. '
abor Day.
frM"?' Ty
Labdr Day wag quite generally observed this
year. ' This is, in itself, a gratifying sign. A
review of the speeches made in the various
cities shows that the two subjects considered
were, first, the dignity of labor and, second,
labor's share of the rewards of toil.
It ought to be unnecessary to emphasize the
fact that all honest labor is honorable,but there
is such haste to bo rich and such fawning be
fore inherited and suddenly acquired wealth
that it requires all the influence that Labor
Day can exert to relieve manual labor of the
odium into which it seems to be falling. There
is a Bible text which is especially appropriate
for consideration on Labor Day. It is a part
of the old Mosaic law, but it is twice quoted
with approval in the New Testament. It
reads: "Muzzle not the mouth, of the ox that
treadeth out the corn." If the dumb beasts
whose physical strength we utilize must
not be neglected, with how much greater
force does the injunction apply to our
brethren of flesh and blood whose brawn and
muscle furnish society with food and fuel, with
clothing, shelter and all the comforts of life.
And yet every decade sees a less per cent of the
wealth produced remaining in the hands of the
wealth producers. This condition is neither
just nor satisfactory. The toilers on the farm
and in the factory have cause to believe that
they are being cheated out of a part of their
One of the things that labor has reason to
fear is the effect of private monopoly. The
trusts have been growing rapidly during the
last few years . and all wgo-arncrg are me
nauced by them. Some have suggested that
the employes should join with the employers
in controlling the industries and then divide
the advantages of higher prices. Such a prop
osition is immoral as well as impolitic. Tho
employes could no more justify aiding tho
trusts to extort from the consumers, oven if
they could share in tho results, than an honest
citizen could justify giving aid to a highway
man on promise of part of the plunder.
, But such an agreement would bo as unwise
as wrong. If trust made articles are sold at
high prices, compared with other products, tho
demand will bo reduced and labor thrown out
of employment.
In a test of endurance the farmer can stand
it longer than the man in the factory, but why
should the laboring man in tho city array him
self against his best friend tho farmer?
The trust hurts tho consumer first, and then
tho producer of raw material, and last and pos
sibly most tho laborer. All three sliould com-
bine to destroy the private monopolies now in
existence and to prevent tho creation of any
- new monopolies- v "nfessj ;
Next to the trust in its evil effect upon
labor is what is known as government
by injunction. According to our theory
of government, the executive, legislative and
judicial branches should be kept separate and
distinct, but it is coming to bo the custom for
the judge to issue an order declaring an act to
bo unlawful which before was lawful and then
to assume the prerogatives of the executive and
enforce the law,-while as judge he sits without
jury to condemn the person whom he is prose
cuting. The main purpose of this judicial
process is to deprive tho accused of trial bj
jury, and while every citizen should resist thi
attack on the jury system the employes of grea
corporations arc just now its special victim.
The wage-earners as a part, and as an im
portant part, too, of society, arc interested in
all questions which effect our civilization, but
.they arc at present experiencing the necessity
of reform along the lines above suggested.
It was noticeable everywhere that those
who addressed the people at labor- day meet
ings pointed out the fact that wrongs could
only be remedied at the ballot box. Mayor
Reed of Kansas City stated the case aptly when
ho said that the laboring men were not law
breakers but should be law-makers.
' Jackson, in his celebrated message vetoing
the extension of the bank charter, said that the
humbler members of society wer the victims
of injustice whenever the government, by
granting legislative favors and privileges, mad
the rich richer and the potent more power-