The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 06, 1901, Page 3, Image 3
The Commoner. V 3 - see that "Field Marshall Earl Roberts, V. C., K. G., war offlce, Pall Mall, S. W." Is a director of the British India Steam Navigation com pany (ltd.), Kanan Devan Hills Produce com- ' - pany (ltd.). If you refer to the King's Regula- tions, para. 419, you will see that "Ofllcers on full pay are not -permitted to join the direc- torate of any public, industrial, Or other com pany, without permission from the war office." It would bo of interest to know whether Mr. Brodrick gave Lord Roberts permission to join the directorate of the above companies, one of which has had, and doubtless will again have, its ships employed by the government. Certainly such a state of things is unprece dented, as the commander-in-chief figuring on the directorate of trading companies, hid ad dress being given "War Office!" Not so very long ago, when Lord Roberts was commanding in Ireland, his name was published in a prospectus as a director of a tea company. On that occasion the war office intervened, and Lord Roberts withdrew from the directorate. Do Mr. Brodrick's views on this matter differ from these of his prede cessor? Yours obediently, OBSERVER. The Dean of Durham has written as fol- lows to a correspondent: "The Deanery, Durham, 21st Oct., 1901. "Dear Sir: I am afraid I cannot give you much answer to yourx question, but will try, briefly. "1. I regard the proclamation as wrong in itself, and certain to do much harm, by em bittering the struggle. "2. Arbitration would have been most useful at the beginning. Now I fear our pol icy has made it very difficult. Our govern ment has alwayd held that we cannot submit . the matter to arbitration. "3. I have no suggestions to make. We are lapt in a dreadful darkness, and do not know what is being done. The ancient way used to be by intervention of some neutral power. But of this I see no sign. So long as . the country supports the ministry I see no hope of- escape, and in that I see many serious .risks both in South Africa and elsewhere. It is clearly an advantage to the states of Eu-' rope that we should be so occupied and ex hausted.; and one cannot tell where the next trouble will begin or when. In fact, the sky is dreadfully dark all round, and every ,month adds enormously to our losses and risks. If wo could convert the people of England to their ancient indignation at violence and attacks on the weak, we might compel the government to make peace, and release us from the present evils. But all organs of speech are against us still, and the saner part of the population are left helpless and speechless. One has still faith, in the true benignity of the gospel, but with it there is the feeling, that the Divine Will punishes us for our errors, and I can see that this is upon us now, in jthe paralysis of -activity, and the helplessness; caused by the tremendous waste of income and of human life. I wish I could write more cheerfully. , Yours faithfully, '" j. "(Signed) G. W. KITCHIN." In addition to these criticisms of the govern ment the same paper contains a dispatch from Brussels -saying that a movement has been organ ised by the Amsterdam dockers' union to boycott English ships, and that the .union has sent repre sentatives' to Belgium and the French ports. - An other dispatch, this one from Berlin, says that the firm Qf Koch & Co., of Erfut, has declined to exe cute an order for helmets for the British on the gxound that he cannot be in any way connected with the extinction of the Boer nation. . A careful perusal of the protests being made against the destruction' of self-government in South Africa ought to lead the republicans, of this country to repudiate the policy of their party, which is advocating in the orient the same suicidal policy which England is carrying. on in South Africa. JJJ Anti-Anarchy Bills. It is probable that. a number of bills directed against anarchy will be introduced at the coming session of congress, and all of them should be examined carefully to see that freedom of speech is not attacked under the guise, of an attempt to extinguish anarchy. Congressman Curtis of Kan sas Jias given out for publication a bill which he hag drawn for the suppression arid punishment of anarchists. The text of the bill is as follows: , tt Sec. 1. That every person who shall, , within the United States, unlawfully and wil- fully kill or assault with intont to kill the president or vice president, a member of the president's cabinet, the chief justice or a justice of the supreme court of the United States, shall be deemed guilty of a crime against the gov ernment of the United States and upon convic tion thereof shall suffer death. Sec. 2. That if two or more persons within the United States conspire to put the president -or vice president of the United States, a mem ber of the president's cabinet, the chief jus tice or a justice of the supreme court of the United States to death, each of them shall bo deemed guilty of a crime against the govern ment of the United States and upon conviction thereof shall suffer death. Sec. 3. That every person who shall, with in the United States, incite, encourage, pro mote or advocate an assault, with intent to kill, upon the president or vice president of the United States, a member of the president's cabinet, the chief justice or a justice of tho supreme court of the United States, shall bo deemed guilty of a crime against tho govern ment of tho United States, and upon convic tion thereof shall suffer death. Provided, that nothing in this section shall bo held or con strued to prevent a candid, full and fair dis cussion of public events and public measures, nor to prevent just and fair criticism of any public officer. Sec. 4. That every person who shall, with in the United States, incite, encourage, pro mote or advance the overthrow of the gov ernment of the United States, or who shall diffuse the doctrine of anarchy, shall bo deemed guilty of a crime against the govern ment of the United States, and upon convic tion thereof shall suffer death. Provided that nothing in this section shall be held or con strued to prevent a candid, full and free dis cussion of public events and public measures nor to prevent just and fair criticism of any public officer. Sec. 6. That every person who shall join, organize or aid and assist in organizing or be long to an anarchist society, club or, organiza tion, or who shall join, organize or aid or as sist in organizing or belong to any Other so ciety, club or organization, the object of which is to overthrow, subvert or change the govern ment of tho United States, shall be deemed guilty pf a crime against tho government of the United States, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by confinement at hard labor in any United States penitentiary not less than twenty years or during life in tho discretion of the court. Sec. 6. That every person who shall know ingly write, print or publish, or shall cause to bo written, printed or published, any edi torial, article, letter, circular, picture or car toon, intended and designed to expose the president or vice president of tho United States, any member of tho president's cabinet, 0 the chief justice or any justice of the supremo court of the United States, to public hatred, scorn or contempt, shall be deemed guilty of a crime against the government of the United States, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by confinement at hard labor in tho United States penitentiaries not more than ten years, nor leas than one year. Provided that .nothing herein shall be held or construed to 'prevent candid, full and free presentation of " public events and public measures, nor to pre vent just and fair criticism of any public officer. Sec. 7. That all prosecutions under this act shall be in tho United States circuit or district courts of the district wherein tho crime was committed. A federal commission is now revising the laws and has suggested a bill which provides that kill ing, or assaulting with intent to kill, a president, vice president, member of the cabinet or judge of the supreme court shall be punishable with death if tho assault is made upon the official for tho purpose of obstructing or Interfering with the ad ministration of tho government. This qualification is an essential one and should be added to Con gressman Curtis' bill. The commission suggested it upon the theory that it was necessary in order to, give the federal government jurisdiction, but It is defensible upon the ground of public policy as well. If tho public official is attacked by one who aims to strike at the government through the official, the attack becomes an offense against the people. If, however, the assault is a personal mat ter, and not directed against the officer in his offi cial capacity, it is entirely different. To protect officials against anarchists it itf not necessary to separate them from other persons insofar as the ordinary relations of life are concerned. Section 3 of Congressman Curtis' bill contain a proviso which is opon to criticism and may es tablish a censorship of tho press. Tho provision "that tho section shall not bo hold or construed to prevent a full and candid discussion of events," etc., is not necessary to that section. No ono has a right to incito, encourage, promote or advise an assault with intent to kill tho president or any one elso, Tho man who does so should bo held equally guilty with tho man who commits tho act. A clear line can bo drawn between criticism, no matter whether it is fair or unfair, and tho ad vocacy of violence of any kind, In any rorm or un der any circumstances. Section 5 also provides a punishmont for anyone who incites, encourages, etc., tho overthrow of tho government of tho United States. That much la plain. But when the section fixes a penalty for tho diffusion of "tho doctrine of anarchy," it becomes obscure. The word anarchy should bo defined. In the campaign of 1890 tho advocates of tho Chicago platform were, by somo partisan republicans, de nounced as anarchists. Tho law ought not to bo such as to give tho dominant party an excuse for prosecuting as criminals all tho members of tho op position party. If anarchy is defined as tho doc tiino that the government ought to bo overthrown, It ii covered by tho first part of tho section. If it is anything else, or includes anything elso, it ought to bo defined so that tho lawmakers will know what they are punishing. Section 5 provides a punishment for any ono who organizes or belongs to a society or club, tho "object of which is to overthrow, subvert or change tho government of tho United States." The words "overthrow" and "subvert" are plainer than tho word "change." Tho language is broad enough to apply to. tho advocates of imperialism, for thoy certainly want io "change" tho government of tho United States from a government based upon the consent of the governed to a government based upon tho doctrine of brute force. But it would hardly be fair to indict and prosecute all imper ialists. The word "change" might also bo con strued to apply to amendments proposed to the constitution. Somo of tho republicans say that the constitution will have to bo ameuded before the trusts can be destroyed. Whilo wo have no assurance that an amendment is necessary, still it would be unfortunate to havo a law which wou,ld enable republicans to withhold an amondment (if one is necessary) on the' ground that it would be a criminal change in our government. There is. a popular dqmand for the election of Unlte'd States .senators by direct yote of, tho people. It is to ,fco hoped that the republicans will not give any of tho senators a chance to oppose the change on tho ground that they would incur criminal liability. Section G is the section most likely to be abused. It is directly aimed at the public press and It cannot bo enforced without a strict censor ship. Who is to decido whether an "editorial, ar ticle, letter, circular, picture or cartoon" is "In tended or designed to expose the president or vice president of the United States, ajiy member of the president's cabinet, the chief justice or any justice of the United States, to public hatred, scorn or contempt?" It would bo difficult to write a law that could be more easily used by a politi cal party for the suppression of criticism. Tho provision that "nothing herein shall bo held or construed to prevent candid, full and free presen tation of public events and public measures, nor to prevent just and fair criticism of any public offi cer," would be no protection, because the admin lnistration would construe to suit Itself the words "candid," "just" and "fair," and upon appeal from the lower court the members of the supremo court would have a personal interest in sustain ing a law that would shield them from criticism. It Is hardly possible to suppose that any congress ever elected in this country or ever to bo elected would enact a law containing such a restriction upon the freedom of the press as Is set forth in section 6 of Mr, Curtis' bill, but it Is well for friends of a free press .to be on their guard. " Let the law punish those who commit murder, who , attempt murder, or who advise- murder; let it restrain violence or the counselling of violence; let i,t discriminate between those who would re form government and those who would entirely overthrow it, but let it not attack in any way, directly or indirectly, the freedom of speech or the freedom of the press. No administration or offi cial should be shielded from criticism. If criti cism is just and fair it ought to have weight; if it i3 unjust and unfair it will not only be harmless to tho accused, but, in tho long run, helpful to him. Even if unjust and unfair criticism were harmful, the remedy proposed is more dangerous than the disease. We can better afford to subject a few men to unmerited criticism than to risk tho operation of a' censorship which, administered by partisans, would suppress honest criticism and silence complaint by tho threat of a criminal process.