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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 3, 1907)
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MR ROOSEVELT'S REPL Y TO " UNDESIRABLE CRITICS
- tffc' ';
On April. 23, Mr. Roosevelt made public a iSt- 4
ter addressed to Honore Jnxon of Chicago, chap
man of Hie Cook county Moyer-Hnywood confer
ence. The letter was in reply to criticisms made
because of Mr. lioosevelt's reference in his public
-"statement .replying to E. H Harflmau to Moyer
and HayVood'iis "undesirable citizens." The- lefc-.
ter follows: , ,
"Dear Sir: I have received your letter of. the
inth Inst in which you Inclose the draft of the
forninl letter which 'is 'to follow, t have bqqn
- notified that several delegations -bearing similar
requests are on the way hither. In the letter you,
On behalf of the Cookcounty . Moyer-Haywood
conference," protest- against certain language I
used in a receht letter which you assert to be
designed to influence the course of justice in the
case of the trial for murder of Messrs. Moyer a ad
Haywood.. ' -.."
' - "I entirely agree with you that it is improper
to endeavor to 'influence the course of justice
whether by threats or in any similar manner. For,
" this reason I iave regretted most deeply the ac
tion ot such organizations as your own Ju-iiudcr-"
taking to accomplish this very result in the very
case of which you speak. , : .
"For instance, your letter Is headed 'Cook
Coun'ty Moyer-Haywood-Pettlbone Conference,'
'with the headlines 'Death Cannot, Will Not anil
Shall Not Claim Our Brothers.' This shows that
you arid your associates are not demanding a fair
trial or working for a fair trial, but are announc
ing in advance that the verdict shall only no
one way and that you Will not tolerate any other
verdict Such action is flagrant in its impro
priety, and I join heartily in, condemning it.
"But It Is a 'simple absurdity to suppose that
because any man is on trial for a, given offense
- he is therefore to be freed from all criticisms
upon his general conduct and manner of life. In
my letter to which; you object, I referred to a
certain prominent financier, Mr. Harriinan, on the
one band, and' to Messrs. Moyer, Haywood, and
pebs, on '.the other, as hejng equally undesirable.
"itzens. ,It Is qs foolish to assert tliafc tlUsw,a,
designed, to influence the trial of Moyer;,andHay
wbod asv to' assert tlmt 1'trwas de'slgned to influ-
,"cnce..the,suits.,that..l?aye been brought against Mr.
Ilarriirian.'r I neither expressed nor-indicated any
opinion as to whether Messrs. Moyer and Hay-
' wood were guilty of the murder, of Governor
Steunenberg. If they are guilty they certainly
ought to bo punished. If they are not guilty they
certainly ought not to bo 'punished.
"But no possible outcome, either of the trial
or the suits, can affect my judgment as to the
undeslrabllity of the type of citizenship of those
whom I mentioned. Messrs. Mo3rcr, Haywood arid
Debs stand as representatives of those men who
have done as much to discredit the labor move
ment as the worst speculative financiers or most
unscrupulous employers of labor and debauchera
"of legislatures have' done to discredit honest cap
italists and fair-dealing business men.
"They stand as the representatives of these
men wlio, by their public utterances and manl-
festos, by the utterances of the papers they con
trol or inspire, and by the words and deeds of
those associated with or subordinated to them,
habitually appear as guilty of incitment to or
apology for bloodshed and violence.
"If this does not constitute undesirable citi
zenship then there can never be any undesirable
citizens. The men whom I denounce represent
the men who have abandoned that legitimate
movement for the uplifting of labor .with which I
have the most hearty sympathy; they .have-adopt-
ed practices which cut them off from those who
lead this legitimate movement.
"In every way, I shall support the law-abiding
and upright representatives of labor, and In no
way can I better support them than by drawing
the sharpest possible line between them, on the
one hand and, on the other hand, those preachers
of violence who are themselves the worst foes of
the honest laboring man.
"Let mo repeat my deep regret that any body
- of men should so far forget their duty to their
country as to endeavor by the formulation of so
cieties and In other ways to influence the course
of justice In tills matter.. I have received many
such letters as yours. Accompanying them were
newspaper clippings announcing demonstrations,
parades and mass meetings designed to show that
the representatives of labor, . without regard to
the facts, demand .thqacqutt,al of Messrs. llayr
wbodt'afid'M6yeY.' Such meetings ;can, ofcpurae,
be designed only to coerce court or jury in ren
dering a verdict, andth.ey therefore, deserve all
the' condemnation which you Jri your letters say
should bd awarded to those who endeavor im
properly to influence the course of justice.
"You would, of course, bo entirely within 3'oiir
rights it j'ou merely announced that you thought ,
Messrs Moyer and Haywood wore desirable ellj
zens, though in Mich case I should take frank Issue
with you and should say that, wholly wilhout -regard
to whether or not thoy are guilty of this "
crime for which they are now being tried, thuy
represent atf thoroughly undesirable a type of cit
izenship as can he found In this country, a type -which,
hi the loiter "'to which you so unreason
ably take exception, I showed not to he confined'
to. any one class, but to exist among some repre
sentatives of great capitalists, as well as among
some representatives of wage workers.
"In that letter I condemned both types. Cor- ,
tain representatives of the great capitalists "hi
turn condemned me for Including Mr. Ilarrlmnu
In my condemnation of Messrs. Moyer and Iluj'
wooth Certain of the representatives of labor In
their turn condemned me because I Included.
Messrs. Moyer and Haywood as undesirable citi
zens together with Mr. Ilarriman.
"I am as profoundly Indifferent to the con
demnation In one case as In the other. I chal
lenge as a right the support of all good Americans,
whether wage earners or capitalists, whatever their
occupation or creed, or In whatever portion of
the countiy they live, when I condemn both tho
typos of bad cltisenBhip which I have held up to
rcprObatlon. It seems to me a mark of utter in
sincerity to fail thus to condemn both, and "to
apologize for either robs the man thus apologizing
of all right to condemn any wrongdoing In any
men, rich or poor, In public or In private life,
'-'You say you ask a 'square dear for Messrs.
Moyer and Haywood. So do I. When I fki.v
'square deal' I mean a square deal to every one;
It Is equally a violation of the policy of the square
deal for a capitalist to protest against the denun
ciation of a capitalist who is guilty of wrong-'
d6ihg'";ahd. for a labor leader to protest against
the denunciation of a labor leader who has been
guilty of wrongdoing. I stand for equal justice
to both and, so far as In my power lies, I shall up
holdY justice whether Jiie man ndcused of guilt
has behind Jiira. the wealthiest, corporations, the
greatest, aggregations of riches in the country, jr
whether ho bas behind him the most Influential
labor organization in the country, Very truly yours,
Washington, D. 0., April 29. When Mr.
Bryan said to the members' of the peace confer
ence that lie "wanted to make money contra
band of war," that he wanted "to see The Hague
conference so fix It that the iinanclers of one coun
try can not wax. fat over the misfortunes of an
other country," he raised a ,new issue- and one-
r that should fairly and rightly be considered. In
ternational law now prohibits the sale from any
nation of warships, of submarines, of munitions
of war. And yet it does not prohibit the lending
of money, the buying of bonds. If Germany and
v England should blaze into war neither country
could buy munitions of war in the United States,
but either one could send their 'securities here and
borrow money for the purpose of paying for the
.war material they needed. What is the difference?
If some, of our manufacturers of. submarine boats
can not sell their vessels here in the United
states, but our financiers, our men of means can
buy the bonds of foreign countries, and the money
-they contribute can be used to purchase boats of
this sort, there seems to bo no distinction. Mr.
Bryan's point of view seems to be well taken. If
we make sliips, cannon, the -ordinary mechanism
.Of-war contraband of war, why not make dollars
'contraband also? Mr. Bryan has presented a new
note to. the pe'ace conference, He has suggested
an entirely new idea. He had offered a sugges
tion which, If carried to logical conclusion, would
. do much to prevent the continuance of war. War
is. fought byboys. It Is a matter of record that
the soldiers who have offered themselves as food
for powder are nearly all" under twenty-four years
of age. It Is fought on credit, because the nation
that makes war js compelled to borrow from other
nations the money necessary for its enormous ex
penditures. Ife.is wortl while to think whether
the suggestion which Mr. Bryan has made, name-
. ly that tho borrowing of money, should be as
Illegal as the buying, of guns and warlike material
is -not right and just and proper. I offer this
merely as a suggestion, but It seems- to me that
it Is worth consideration. ' " '' '
TSovr that the United States has allowed two
telegraph companies, which in fact are one, to
control the whole business of telegraphy ltseems
fair to contrast what Is being done abroad and
what Is being done here. We think that we are
the most progressive people; we think, "and with
some reason, that we arc using the telegraph
more than any other people on earth. But within
one month we have found that we are the victims
of a monopoly and that this monopoly is not mere
ly over-charging us for its service, but it Is killing
our goose that lays for It the golden eggs. The
Western Union and the JPostal Telegraph company
might do much; they are doing nothing, unless
they are doing us. I have at hand a consular
report which shows the-, difference between the
use of the, telegraph In .Great Britain and in the
United States. Like all consular reports, it- Is
full of figures and would be uninteresting if I
detailed it here. Therefore I summarize it If'
anybody cares enough about it to wish for the
original, a letter to me will bring it Between
. 1870 and 1000' the population of Great Britain
increased 32 per cent, and the population of the
United States 121 per cent In the same time the
use of the telegraph in Great Britain- increased
8S8 per cent and in the United States 788 per cent. ,
The population of our country increased nearly
fiv times as muck as that of Great Britain and
the business of our telegraph companies fell short
of the increase there? Why? Because under the
present system of telegraphy the people are com
pelled' to pay extortionate prices and to question
whether their messages are ever properly de
livered. Business men know that a letter isjil
ways delivered to them and that a telegram Is car
ried by a slovenly boy, and if the office bappens
to be closed a- notice Is left Saying that the tele
gram may be had at the central office of the com
pany. The mail service is so much better than the
telegraphic service that it has, come to be the fact
that men are. sending Important matters by mall
rather than by telegraph. That is what has resulted
from the present' .domination of the telegraph
companies. Some time the government will taka
. over the telegraph system and handle Itas It does'
and 'should handle the postofllce department.
The vote In the Pennsylvania legislature last
week rejecting by a large majority a resolution
endorsing Theodore Roosevelt for a third term.
Is very significant Coming as it does at a
time when It Is alleged that Senator Penrose, ot
conspiracy dlnmr fame, is going to declare-w'lth
Senator Bourne, of Oregon, for a third term for
Roosevelt, and when Senator Knox, close friend of
the president, has objected to the use of his name
as a presidential possibility, It points to the way "
the wind blows. That the two' United States sen
ators from Pennsylvania should be brought into
line for Roosevelt at a time when a resolution en-'
dorslng the president for a third term Is ..Intro
duced "into the Pennsylvania legislature,, may be
a mere coincident, but I think not Too'raany of
these resolutions -have been Introduced Into-stato
legislatures lately, too many men In public Ilfo
have shown a disposition to call in newspaper men
and dictate long interviews endorsing Roosevelt '
for a third term, to be reconciled upon any theory
of mere coincidence.
- Why all these gratuitous interviews? Why.
all these requests from the president to numerous
politicians everywhere to confer with him at the
White House? Why all those resolutions endors
ing Roosevelt for a third terra introduced in state
legislatures throughout the land'L Why the politi
cal war In Ohio? Why the wholesale discharge
of ariti-Rooseyelt men from the public service?
Why the wholesale use of public patronage to build
UP a mighty Roosevelt machine. Why docs Knox
decline to allow his name to be used? Why is.
Penrose whipped Into line by a threat that Henry
O. ITrick of Homestead strike and steel trust in
famy, will he given a senatorial toga If he doesn't
behave? WI13' is a foolish story of gigantic cor
porate conspiracy against the Roosevelt policies
seduously circulated from .the-Whlte House? Why
are all thdse things and much more done at th:
dictation of the president?
Or for Roosevelt?.
WILLIS J. ABBOTT.
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