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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (July 6, 1906)
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Some Very Distinguished "Calamity "Howlers
Only a "few years ago men who complained
of tho tendency in this country toward corpora
tion domination and injustice generally to tho
masses, -were denounced as "calamity howlers."
But all the complaints made by democrats, popu
lists or independents In 189G would not compare
with the complaints now registered by men of all
political parties against tho grave conditions with
which the' people are confronted, conditions every
where recognized as a menace to popular gov.
From every source where the American sys
tem is respected, comes wordB of warning to
the American people that they must arouse them
selves if they would not lose all that is worth
having in a republic. It is noticeable, too, that
some of the strongest notes of warning are
sounded in this day by men who only a few years
ago were denouncing as "calamity howlers" those
men who foresaw conditions with which Amer
ica is now face to face.
Of course newspaper readers have observed
that these protests from thinking men are com
ing thick and fast, but one is better able to
understand the widespread feeling of fear for
the safety of our Institutions when looking over
a single copy of a daily "newspaper he com
piles these notes of warning from different
As a hint along this line, the following ex
tracts concerning recent instances will be inter
esting: JacobGould Schurmann, speaking at Cornell
University said: "The idle rich are an execres
cence in any properly organized community. And
in a democratic republic, in which every man has
a vote, be assured that the rights which con
vention grants' to property would be swept -away
if the propertied classes become idle, luxurious,
selfish, hard-hearted and indifferent to the strug
gles and toils pf less fortunate citizens. The
vice of the age is that men want wealth without
undergoing that toil by which alone wealth is
created. "The love of money and the reckless
pursuit of it is undermining the national char
acter. But the nation, thank. God, is beginning
to perceive the fatal danger. The reaction
caused by recent revelations testifies to a moral
awakening. At heart the nation is still sound,
though its moral sense has been to long
hypnotized by material prosperity. We must re
strain the brutal and predatory pursuit of wealth
by laws for the protection of the weak and for.
the equalizing of opportunity.
"Among the rich and well-to-do business and
professional classes 'grafting' has been so com
mon that the very idea of commercialism has be
come a byword and a reproach. -Financiers,
capitalists, corporations may be the most conspic
uous sinners; but equally guilty is the merchant
who cheats his customers, or the lawyer who
shows his client how to circumvent the laws, or
the scholar who glorifies his patron's success in
business irrespective of the methods by which
that success was achieved, or the preachers who
transfigures the ruthless oppressor and robber of
six days into the exemplary Christian of the sev
enth. "We are dealing with the virus of a universal
infection. The whole nation needs a new baptism
of the old virtue of honesty. The love of money
and tho reckless pursuits of it are undermining
the national character."
Stewart L. Woodford was the orator at the
Northwestern University commencement. Mr.
Woodford was the American minister to Spain,
prior to the Spanish-American war. In his address
he said: "It is not in the slum, the tenement
house, the fetid atmosphere of the places where
the poor half live that anarchy and socialism
are bred. It Is the way that you and I treat
the poor, the way we spend our money, make
use of our money, the disregard of law on the
part of "great corporations, the business principle
that might make right that fosters these creeds
and endangers the State.
"The rich man, who uses the influence of his
wealth to. evade the law is above all others in
tho community a traitor to the best interests of
our land. Upon the rich falls the heaviest respon
sibility for upholding the law. Their wealth has
been earned under the law, and is secured to them
"Corporations exist as creatures of the law;
they have no natural, no Inevitable personal exis
tence. They exist for the good of the community.
Upon every stockholder, director and officer of
a corporation rests an obligation to obey the law
that Is far greater than that of the average in
dividual, if is incumbent upon you students, who
aro gathered hero tonight, to use your influence,
in mis great problem, not to destroy the corpora
tlon, but to compel it to bo law abiding.
'Were not our forefathers moro scrupulous
In the matter of their social duties than we?
Is there not In this generation a growing dispo
sition to construe the law for one's self, to obey
it when it suits our purpose, to disregard it when
it inconveniences our ambitions? Reverence for
the law is the corner stone upon which all our
commerce is founded. If it falls into decay, tho
nation Is In peril."
Mr. Timlin recently elected to tho Wisconsin
supremo court bench is quoted by tho Chicago
Record-Herald as saying "A millionaire should
not be eligible to a seat in the United States
senate." Mr. Timlin said: "See to what pitch
the vulgar rich have brought this body, which
promised in its inception to bo tlu grandest
-legislative body," etc.
Bishop Charles Tyler Olmstead, speaking at
Syracuse before tho annual convention of the
Central New York Episcopalian diocese, declared,
"the Church of Jesus Christ should not be in
alliance either with individuals or corporations
whoso principles and methods are known to bo
illegal and corrupt. Tho church can never gain
by getting wealth which paralyzes her proper
"The moral earthquakes that have occurred
in the commercial and financial world have doubt
less caused much suffering to those who stood
.on-the line of their action," said the bishop, "but
the effect of them will unquestionably bo whole
some in tho end. Nothing but such a 'rough
shaking' could bring to the surface the faults
that lie beneath, and nothing but publicity will
prevent their continuance in the future.
"And is it not time for the church to speak
plainly about these things? It is not wise to be
fash or hysterical in our utterances concerning
this or any other matter. There is a good deal
of excuse, undoubtedly, for a feeling of pessimism,
as one thing after another is disclosed, showing
that men can bo just as cruel, just as relentless,
just as ready to despoil their fellow men as they
ever were. The robber-barons of the past lived
.in their castle- fortresses and openly ravaged
their neighbor's goods with fire and sword. The
'barons' of the present day live in their peace
ful villas and quietly ravage whole communities
by methods known to the trade which the law
finds it difficult to prevent.
"And It is hard to keep from being discour
aged sometimes, when we see tho strong tendency
to corruption still existing in our Christian civiK
ization. The outcry and tho Indignation of the
past year show that hope still lives. But we do
need some plain words on the subject. All tho
talk about 'tainted money' seems to me to be
beside the mark. Money itself, I suppose, can
not be tainted; but it may at times represent
a tainted partnership; and it is not well for the
church to have her tongue tied by any such
coalition, because it is her duty to be ready to
denounce wickedness in high places as well as
in low places."
At the commencement exercises of the Co
lumbia University, President Butler declared that
the protests now being made are not confined to
the visionaries, but that manyoj the most cau
tions classes havo began to distrust the capacity
of society as now organized to protect itself
against freebooters and to prevent law and jus
tice being made powerless before the greed for
Secretary of the Interior Ethan Allen Hitch
cock delivered an address at the Harvard Uni
versity commencement dinner. He said: "While
it is historically true that this is the home of
the physically brave, it is a question in my mind
whether it is not too much the land of the
free and too little the land of the morally brave.
In other words, whether or not in various direc
tions license has taken the place of liberty and
corruption has run riot at the expense of patriot
ism. "It is the . smooth and machine-ridden legis
lator whose conscience has been cauterized by the
appeals and demands of his supporters, upon
whom responsibility for wrongdoing must rest.
It Is the vote of such legislators which in a
large measure governs the passage, amendment or
appeal of legislation that encourages or prohibits
Iniquitious enactments and offer opportunity and
inducement to the pension shark and the horde
of unconscionable grafters whose business it has
been and still is to rob the government of the
The secretary then told of the confession of
a confederate who was not getting his share ol
the spoils which led to the disclosures of tho con-
spiracy under which hundreds of thousands' of
acres of public domain had been stolen Jn tho
northwestern and Pacific coast states, and which
resulted in the enforced retirement of a com
missioner of the general land oflico and the con
viction of over GOO individuals. In conclusion,
the secrotary paid tribute to the Invaluable aid
of the department of justice, and to tho inspira
tion and support "of that famous son of Harvard
tho president of tho United States." '
THE PRIMARY PLEDGE
As this copy of The Commoner may be Tead
by some one not familiar with the details of tho
primary pledge plan, it is necessary to say that
according to the terms of this plan every demo
crat is asked to pledge himself to attend all of
the primaries of his party to bo hold between
now and the next democratic national convention,
unless unavoidably prevented, and to secure a
clear, honest and straight-forward declaration of
tho party's position on every question upon which
the voters of the party desire to speak. Those
desiring to be enrolled can either write to Tho
Commoner approving the object of tho organiza
tion and asking to havo their names ohtere'd on
the roll, or they can fill out and mail the blank
pledge, which is printed on page 14.
Extracts from letters to Tho Commoner fol
James Summers, Rippoy, Iowa Enclosed find
twenty-six signatures to the primary, pledge.
J. N. Baxter, New Martinsville, W. Va.
Please find enclosed primary pledge for the pro
tection of principles best suited for poor and
middle classes of tho American citizen. Without
that view In mind it would not be very particular
whether we attend the primaries or elections.
You can rest assured that every subscriber from
this state to The Commoner and all other truo
democrats jnourn the loss of that pure, honest
and gentlemanly governor of Ohio, John M.' Pat- '
C. E. Bushong, Charles Town, W. Va. Please
find enclosed the primary pledge, which I shall'
earnestly endeavor to most heartily support, as'
a regular democrat. Best wishes for the success
of The Commoner.
Matt Ream, Grayford, Md.-Enclosed pleaso
find primary pledge with eighteen signatures.
E. M. Bushong, Woodstock, Va. You will
please find enclosed the primary pledges of my
sons, H. L. Bushong and if. L. Bushong, and my
self, which I desire to have added to your list,
as I am a warm supporter of the democratic party
and have been for the last forty years, I Bhall
endeavor to do all in my power in its support.
Be3t wishes to .The Commoner for its wonderful
W. J. Hailey, Ev.erton, Mo. Tho accompany-.,
ing list of sixty-seven signers of the pledge has
been delayed in transmitting on account of sick
ness. Several of these are already subscribers
and many of them read their neighbor's paper.
I believe in the honesty and love of fair play
of the masses and think they will yet vote to
right the wrongs of 189G and 1900.
S. M. Butts, Jasper, Kan. I send thirty
five signatures to the primary pledge.
A. Hammrich. Waynesville, W, Va. En:
closed find four pledges. I hope we will all go
to the primaries with clean hands and clear
hearts, and nominate the men who stand for
prinqiple and not for money.
A. A. Nabers, Eastman. Miss. Please find
enclosed list of fifteen signatures to the primary
pledge. Send me a few blanks and I will try and
send you other lists. I hope we will have a
democratic victory' in the next campaign.
Henry A. Parsons, Kansas City, Kansas
"Herewith are the 'names of Henry A. Parsons
and twenty-four others to the primary pledge.
Long live The Commoner! It is doing a great.. '
work. I have not missed a democratic primary
in twenty-five years. .
W. R. Norton, Red Star, Miss, Enclosed find
primary pledge taken from your paper. Also
see an old copy of an address published in 1899,
which defines my position in regard to the plat
form of 1896. I would like to send you a copy
of the minutes of the county convention just
prior to the state convention which instructed
for Parker, but I have only one or two and I
wish to keep them. I got a good democratic reso
lution through the county convention, but tho
convention indorsed Parker above my protest.
Then I was for Hearst as opposed to Parker.
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