Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 20, 1901)
WILLIAfl J. BRYAN, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR.
Vol, u No. 48.
Lincoln, Nebraska, December 20 , 1901.
$1.00 a Year
The Prince of Peace.
Christmas is at hand, and its coming always
recalls the benediction pronounced in the presence
of the shepherds who kept their flocks by night'
"On earth peace, good will toward men."
Isaiah, the prophet, in speaking of the coming
of Christ, said that he would be called among other
things the "Prince of Peace," and immediately af
ter this prophecy as to His title follows this ex
planation of the title: "Of the increase of his
government and peace there shall be no end, Upon
the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to
order it, and to establish it with judgment and
with justice from henceforth even, forever."
It is as true today as when the prophet uttered
the words, that no government can be permanent
or insure peace unless it is .established with jus
tice. At this season of the year, held sacred in all
Christian lands and observed even by those who
are indifferent to the origin of Christmas festivi
ties, it is well for us to ask ourselves what our na
tion as a nation and we as individuals are doing to
promote peace by establishing justice? Until
within a few years our nation has bo-en known a3
a peace-loving nation; it has boasted of its small
standing army and it has had no ambition to com
pete with foreign nations in naval expenditures.
But a change has come over a portion of our peo
ple. They advocate wars of conquest which they
once .condemned; they justify military expendi
tures whieh they once denounced, and they clamor
for a navy as big as the biggest. What is to be
the end? "Was the hope of universal peace a dream?
Is right to be measured by might, and violence,
robed in hypocrisy, to be substituted for justice? .
A Kansas City minister indorses the assertion
of Maxim, the gun-maker, who declares "often at
the bayonet's point, trade, and even Christianity
have been forced upon the savages, and upon ex
clusive aifdjwarllke peoples, and now Christianity,
civilization and militarism, sisters of strange rela
tion, hand in hand, embrace the world."
Is this the construction which the modern
church is going to set upon the teachings of one
who rebuked the doctrine of hate and preached the
gospel of love?
Christmas should be more than an occasion for
the exchange of presents. It should be a season
for conscientious self-inspection by citizens in
dividually and by that great family of citizens, the
"On earth peace, good will toward men."
Iglesias' Terrible Crime.
Samuel Gompers, president of the American
federation of labor, recently protested to President
Roosevelt because of the arrest of Santiago Iglesias
by the -American authorities in Porto Rico.
Iglesias arrived in San Juan November 10, and
was Immediately arrested. The Associated press
dispatches say: "The public prosecutor asked
that he be sentenced to a term of imprisonment on
the ground that he is a dangerous labor agitator
and is continually causing unrest." On December
32 Iglesi. j was sentenced to three months' im
prisonment. It has never been regarded as a serious crime
for one to be a "labor agitator," that is, on United
Slates territory. The labor agitator has never
been regarded as a criminal. The supremo
court, in one . of its several insular deci
sions, plainly showed that there was a difference
between the government of these now possessions,
vhile they were under military authority and the
government after the peace treaty had been ratified
and congress had assumed control. Under mili
tary authority very nearly anything that happened
to suit the pleasure of the soldier in power, was
lawful. But congress has already legislated for
Porto Rico and provided it with a form of govern
menta form, it Is true, that is "wonderfully and
fearfully made" judged by well-defined American
notions but a form of government nevertheless.
And yet one who has become quite accustomed to
old-fashioned American notions and doctrines can
not entirely escape a shock when he is told that on
tenitory subject to United States jurisdiction, gov
erned by the United States law, and controlled by
United States policies, a man has been thrown into
jail and "sentenced to a term of imprisonment on
the ground that he is "a dangerous labor agitator
and is continually causing unrest."
What does the thoughtful American citizen re
quire to direct his attention to the innovations
now being fixed upon his form of government?
Who shall say that -this labor agitator is danger
ous? The decree must certainly be by the public
prosecutor, or the man in police authority in
Porto Rico. What is "unrest" which this public
prosecutor., .tellsua-this "dangerous labor agita-
tor" is continually causing? The men who found
ed this government declared that "eternal vigilance
is the price of liberty." Eternal vigilance
is but another name for "unrest." A man who agi-v
tates Is wholly harmless in the presence of an in
telligent people, if the doctrines he upholds and
the policies he supports are unwise or impractic
able. And in the presence of despotism, in the
vicinity of tyranny, the agitator Is a public ben
efactor and the man who is most dangerous to so
ciety is the one who counsels submission to wrong
and who urges the people to refuse to avail them
selves of the right of petition or of the power
which is given them through the medium of the
And now the question that must force Itself
upon every thinking American citizen is: If to bo
a labor agitator in Porto Rico Is a crime, how
long will it be before to be a labor agitator within
the United States will be an offense against the
law? And if the man who agitates in behalf of
laboring men is to be branded as a criminal, how
many days will intervene before every man who
dares stand up and protest against the policies
of the dominating party, who dares appeal to tho
people to change existing laws through the orderly
process of the ballot, who dares register manly
protest against wrong and infamy in high places
how many days, we say, will intervene before
men who make these protests will also be sen
tenced to "a term of imprisonment?"
When Mr. Lincoln said that this country could -not
endure half slave and half free, he uttered a
truth that applies to other conditions. This coun
try may not exist half subject and half citizen.
This country may not exist half monarchy and
half republic. This country may not exist half
despotism and half free. Proceedings such" as
those resulting in the arrest of this so-called
"labor agitator" are part and parcel of the trap-
pings of a monarchy and have no place in a re-"
public, they have no part in a nation of freemen.
Every step wo take towards tho monarchical no
tion, every advanco wo make towards a despotic
theory is injurious to tho republican form of gov
ernmenta form which we have for so long a per
iod of tlmo preserved at a sacrlflco of the best
Hood of our nation a form which our beat think
ers have sustained in some of tho most eloquent
speeches and essays that are recorded in tho his
tory of the world.
JJJ " '
The Meaning of Bimetallism.
A readsr of Tho Commoner asks for a defini
tion of bimetallism, and specifically Inquires
whether tho Kansas City platform demands that
tho government shall maintain the parity between
gold and silver.
Bimetallism is tho name given to tho monetary
system under which gold and silver are used as full
legal tender money at a fixed ratio, and admitted
to unlimited coinage. Tho Kansas City platform
declared in favor of tho free coinage of silver as
well as ltsv unlimited coinage, tho reason being
that freo coinage is now accorded to gold and was
formerly accorded to both metals. Under the bi
metallic system the two metals are treated ex
actly alike. A charge sufficient to cover the cost
of coinage would, however, be entirely consistent
with the bimetallic . system. Mr. Carlisle favored
ouch a charge in 1878jwhen he denounced tho gold
standard, but such a charge would create a differ
ence between the coin and the bullion value of the
coin. If, for Instance, the" government charged ono
cent for converting bullion into coin, the coin
would necessarily lose one cent by molting and
the bullion value would, therefore, remain ono cent
below tho coinage value.
Bimetallism does not depend upon any par
ticular ratio. We first had bimetallism In this
country at the ratio of 10 to 1, and afterwards at
the ratio of 16 to 1. Other nations have had bi
metallism at different ratios, as, for instance,
France, at the ratio of 15 to 1. The ratio of 1G
to 1 was specifically named in the Chicago plat
form and afterwards in Via Kansas City plat
form, first, because that was the legal ratio. exist
ing between the metals when demonetization took
place; second, because it is the ratio at which the
standard silver dollars and gold coin now circu
late; third, because the advocates of bimetallism
believe that the opening of the mints at that ratio
would create a demand for silver which would
make an ounce of silver, whether melted or coined,
worth $1.29 in gold the world over; and, fourth,,
because, if a new ratio were desired, it would be
impossible to select it intelligently without first
opening the mints at the present ratio in order to
measure the effect that free coinage would have
upon the price of silver bullion. When the Sher
man law of 1890 was enacted it' was thought that
it would utilize all the silver available for coinage,
and under the stimulus of this law-created de
mand silver rose to $1.21 an ounce, not only here,
but all over the world.
It was necessary to name a specific ratio be
cause advocates of the gold standard had for sev
eral years been securing office on indefinite or
ambiguous platforms, and then, when in office, had
been betraying their constituents. It became nec
essary to make the platform specific in order to
protect the voters from fraud and deception. That
necessity is still present; a general demand for
Powered by Open ONI