The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 14, 1906, Page 7, Image 7

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    "Wawn-wr ,
The Commoner.
President's Message and Madison Square Speech
Many renublicans who Mttorir nrnnivr,i .-.. ... . ..
Many republicans who bitterly criticized Mr.
Bryan's speech at Madison Square Garden are
now enthusiastic in their praise for Mr. Roose
velt's message. As they could find no good in tho
Madison Square speech, so they can find no ill in
the message. For the benefit of these The Com
moner hereafter reproduces paragraphs from tho
message and the Madison Square speech'. Re
publicans particularly are invited to comparo
these paragraphs:
(From Mr. Roosevelt's Message.)
The importance of enacting into law the par
ticular "bill in question is further Increased by the
fact that the government has now definitely be
gun a policy of resorting to the criminal law in
those trust and interstate commerce cases where
such a course offers, reasonable chance of success.
At first, as was proper, every effort was made
to enforce these laws by civil proceedings, but
it has become increasingly evident that tho action
of the government in finally deciding, in certain
cases, to undertake criminal proceedings was
justifiable; and though there have been some
conspicuous failures In these cases, we have had
many successes, which have undoubtedly had a
deterrent effect upon evil doers, whether the pen
alty inflicted was in the shape of fine or impris
onmentand penalties of both kinds have already
been inflicted by J.he courts. Of course, where
the judge can .see his way to Inflict the penalty
of imprisonment the deterrent effect of the punish
ment on other offenders is increased; -but suffi
ciently heavy fines accomplish much.
(From the Madison Square Speech.)
While men may differ as to the relative im
portance of issues, and while the next congress
will largely shape the lines upon which the next
presidential campaign will be fought, I THINK IT
I congratulate President Roosevelt upon the
steps which he has taken to enforce the anti-trust
law ahd my gratification is not lessened by the
, fact that he has followed the democratic rather
, than the republican platform in every advance
he lias made. Jt has been a great embarassment
.to, him that the platform upon which he was
.elected was filled with praises of the republican
party's record rather than with promises of re
form; even the enthusiastic support given him
. .by the democrats has enabled the champions of
,the trusts to taunt him with following democratic
f leadership. He has probably gone as far as ho
,. .could go without incurring the hostility of the lead
ers of his own party. The trouble Is that the Ve
'"publican party is not in a position to apply effec
tiveand thorough-going reforms, because it has
built up through special legislation the very
, abuses which need to be eradicated.
Before any intelligent action can be taken
against the trusts we must have a definition of a
-trust. Because no corporation has an absolute
. and complete monopoly of any important product,
."the. apologists for the trusts sometimes Insist that
: there are in reality no trusts. Others Insist that
it is impossible to legislate against such trusts
'-that may exist without doing Injury to legitimate
' business. For the purposes of this discussion
it is sufficient to draw the line at the point where
. competition ceases to be effective and to designate
, as a trust any porporation which pontrols so much
of thp product of any article that it can fix the
: terms and conditions of sale.
i Legislation which prevents monopoly not
only does not injure legitimate business, but act
: ually protects legitimate business from Injury.
' We .are indebted' tp tho;'younger Rockefeller for
I an illustration which makes this distinction clear.
? th defending the trust system he is quoted as say
t ing that as the American beauty rose can not
be brought to perfection without pinching off
ninety-nine buds, so that the one hundredth bud
can receive the full strength of the bush, so great
'- industrial organizations are impossible without
- the elimination of the smaller ones. It is a cruel
' illustration but it presents a perfectly accurate
": picture of trust methods. The democratic party
f champions the cause of the ninety-nine enter-
prises which are menaced; they must not be sac
""rificed that one great combination may flourish
'' and when the subject is understood we shall re
ceive the cordial support of hundreds of thousands
' of business men who have themselves felt the op
pression Of the trilRffi nr whn .,,!., w i
the effect of the trusts upon others, realize that
the r safety lies, not in futllo attempts at tho
restraint of trusts, but in legislation which will
make a private monopoly impossible.
There must be no mistaking of the Issue and
no confusing of the line of battle. The trust, as
an institution, will have few open defenders. Tho
policy of the trust defenders will bo to Insist upon
reasonable regulation" and then they will rely up
on their power to corrupt legislatures and to intim
idate executives to prevent the application of any
remedies which will interfere with the trusts.
Our motto must be: "A privato monopoly Ib in
defensible and intolerable," and our plan of attack
must contemplate the total and complete over
throw of tho monopoly principle In Industry.
We need not quarrel over remedies. We must
show ourselves willing to support any remedy and
every remedy which promises substantial advan
tage to the people in their warfare against mon
opoly. Something is to be expected from the en
forcement of the criminal clause of the Sherman
anti-trust law, but this law must be enforced not
against a few trusts as at present, but against
all trusts, and the aim must be to imprison tho
guilty, not merely to recover a fine. What is a
fine of a thousand dollars or even ten thousand
dollars to a trust which makes a hundred thousand
dollars while the trial is in progress?
If the criminal clause Is not going to be en
forced it ought to bo repealed. If Imprisonment
is too severe a punishment for the eminently re
spectable gentlemen who rob eighty millions of
people of hundreds of millions of dollars annually,
the language of the statutes ought to be changed,
for nothing Is more calculated to breed anarchy
than the failure to enforce the law against rich
criminals while It is rigidly enforced against petty
offenders. But it is not sufficient to enforce ex
isting laws. If ten corporations conspiring to
gether in restraint of trade are threatened with
punishment, all they have to do now Is to dis
solve their separate corporations and turn their
property over to a new corporation. The new
corporation can proceed to do the same thing
that the separate corporations attempted, and yet
not violate the law. We need, therefore, new
legislation and the republican party not only fails
to enact such legislation, but fails even to prom
ise. It The democratic party must be prepared to
propose legislation which wjll be sufficient.
(From Mr. Roosevelt's Message.)
Of course, a judge strong enough to be fit
for his office will enjoin any resort to violence
or intimidation, especially by conspiracy, no mat
ter what his opinions may be of the rights of the
original quarrel. There must be. no hesitation in
dealing with disorder.
But there must likewise be no such abuse
of the injunctive power as Is implied in forbidding
laboring men to strive for their own betterment in
peaceful and lawful ways; nor must the injunc
tion be used merely to aid some big corporation
in carrying out schemes for its own aggrandize
ment (From the Madison Square Speech.)
No reference to the labor question Is com
plete that does not include some mention of what
is known as government by injunction. As tho
main purpose of the writ is to evade trial by jury,
it Is really an attack upon the jury system and
ought to arouse a -unanimous protest. However,
as the writ is usually invoked in case of, a strike
the importance of the subject would be very much
reduced by the adoption of a system of arbitra
tion, because arbitration would very much reduce,
even if it did not entirely remove, the probability
of a strike.
(From Mr. Roosevelt's Message.)
I call your attention to the need of passing
the bill limiting the number of hours of em
ployment of railroad employes. The measure Is
a moderate one and I can conceive of no serious
objection to It Indeed, so far as it is in our
power, It should "be our aim steadily to reduce
the number of hours of labor with as a goal tho
general Introduction of an eight hour day. .
(From the Madison Square Speech.)
The strugle to secure an -eight hour day Is
an International struggle and it is sure to be
setttled In favor of the worklngman's contention.
The benefits of the labor saving machine have not
been distributed with equity. Tho producer han
enormously multiplied his capacity, but m far tho
owner of tho raachino has rocolvod too much
of tho incroaso and the laborer too little. TIimo
who oppose tho eight hour day do it, I am con
vinced, more because of Ignorance of conditions
than because of lack of sympathy with thoso who
toll, The removal of work from tho house to tho
factory has separated tho husband from his wlfo
and tho father from his Children, whilotho growth
of our cities has put an increasing dlstnnco be
tween the homo and tho workshop. Thon, too
more Is demanded of tho laboring man now than
formerly. Ho Is a citizen as well ns a laborer,
and must have time for the study of public
questions if he is to bo an Intelligent sovereign.
To drive him from his bed to his task and from
his task to his bed Is to deprive the family
of his companionship, society of his gorvice and
politics of his Influence.
(From Mr. Roosevelt's Message.)
The commission appointed by tho president
October 1G, 1902, at the request of both the an
thracite coal operators and minors, to Inqulro
into, consider, and pass upon the questions In
controversy In connection with tho strike In tho
anthracite regions of Pennsylvania and the causes
out of which the controversy arose, In their re
. port, findings, and award expressed the belief "that
the state and federal governments should provide
the machinery for what may be called the com
pulsory Investigation of controversies between
employers and employes, when they arise." This
expression of belief Is deserving of the favorable
consideration of tho congress and tho enactment
or its provisions into law. A bill has already been
introduced to this end.
In this age of great corporate and labor com
binations, neither employers nor employes should
.be left completely at the mercy of tho stronger
party to a dispute, regardless of the righteousness
of their respective claims. The proposed measure
would be In the line of securing recognition of
the. fact that In many strLkes the public has itself
an interest which can not wisely bo disregarded;
an interest not merely of general convenience,
for the question of a just and proper public policy
must also be considered. In all legislation of
this kind It Is well to advance cautiously, tosting
each step by the actual results; the step pro
- posed can surely be safely taken, for the decisions
of the commission would not bind the parties in.
legal fashion, and yet would give a chance for
public opinion to crystallize and thus to exert its
full force for the right.
(From the Madison Square Speach.)
I have referred to tho investigation of inter-
national controversies under a system which
does .not bind the parties to accept the findings
of the court of Inquiry,, This plan can be used
in disputes between labor and capital; in fact, it
was proposed as a means of settling such dis
putes before it was applied to international con
troversies. It is as important that we shall havo
peace at home as that we shall live peaceably,
with neighboring nations, and peace Is only pos
sible when it rests upon justice. In advocating
arbitration of differences between large corporate
employers and their employes, I believe we are
defending the highest interests of the threo
parties to these disputes, viz: the employers, tho
employes and the public. The employe can not
be turned over to the employer to be dealt with
as the employer may please.
The question sometimes asked, "Can I not
conduct my business to suit myself?" is a plausible
one, but when a man in conducting his business
attempts to arbitrarily fix the conditions under
which hundreds of employes are to live and to
determine the future of thousands of human be
ings, I answer without hesitation that he has no
.right to conduct his own business In such a way
. as, to deprive his employes of the right to life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To support
this position, I need only refer to the laws
regulating the safety of mines, the factory laws
fixing the age at which children can be employed,
and usury laws establishing the rate of interest.
The effort of the employer to settle differences
without arbitration has done much to embitter
him against those who work, for him and to
estrange them from him a condition deplorable
from every standpoint
But if it IS nnwise to make the employer tho
" sole custodian of the rights and Interests of the
employes, It Is equally unwise to give the em
ployes uncontrolled authority over the rights and
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