The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, November 15, 1907, Page 5, Image 5

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NOVEMBER 15, 1907
The Commoner.
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trallzatlon Is the greatest foo that popular gov
ernment has to encounter, for it is supported
by arguments that are plausible. "Can you not
rust the people of tho nation?" asks tho friend
..Of centralization. "Are they not tho same in
dividuals who mako tho laws in the various
.states?" Yes; but tho government is best when
4t is nearest tho people, and the people can act
-anost intelligently upon the questions about
hich they are the best informed. Tho people,
.through the framers of our constitution, wisely
delegated to the federal government the powers
.necessary for tho conduct of national affairs
and as wisely, reserved to the states and to
themselves the right to control tho affairs of
the state and the community.
Wo can never be sufficiently thankful for
the wisdom manifested by those who launched
our nation upon its splendid career and laid the
- foundation for the success we have enjoyed.
SDhe governmental structure they framed will
never be outgrown, for it is as well adapted to
to, nation of three hundred millions of people as
It was to a nation of three millions the gen
feral government welding tho nation together
Into one harmonious whole, and the state and
iocal governments guarding the home, the
school, the property, the liberty, and the life
of the citizen.
The fourth special advantage is our relig
ion. While this is shared by nearly all the coun
tries of Europe, it has not yet been accepted by
tho vast populations of the east. It is gaining
& foothold in Japan, China and India, but we
can not yet count among its votaries one per
cent of the Orientals. Accustomed as we are
to-the Christian forms of worship, to the insti
tutions of charity and mercy which Christianity
had founded, and to the Ideals introduced by
the "Man of Galilee, we are apt to under-estimate
the influence which His religion has exerted
upon American and European society. When
its fruits are compared with tho fruits of Mo
hammedanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Con
ufcianism, its great superiority is easily seen.
Mohammedanism degrades women, and is
propagated by force; Christianity recognizes
woman's rightful place as the companion and
helpmate of man, and teaches the omnipotence
of love.
Hinduism countenances the worship of gods
made of wood, of brass and of stone; Christi
anity rests upon the belief in one God tho
creator and preserver of all, to be worshiped in
spirit and in truth.
Buddhism, a reformation of Hinduism, re
gards life as an affliction, the only escape from
which is through absorption into the Great
Spirit and tho loss of individual identity; Christi
anity views life as a great opportunity, crowned
by a higher existence which stretches through
Infinite ages.
Confucianism contains a code of morals
which, if embodied in life, would make man a
negative quantity, harmless at best; Christianity
purifies the heart, and makes life a living spring,
pouring forth constantly of that which refreshes
and invigorates. Justice is the highest virtue
taught by Confucianism, while Christianity adds
to justice benevolence and compassion.
Christianity presents the highest concep
tion of human life that the world has ever
known. According to this conception, service
is the measure of greatness, and this conception
must of necessity bo victorious over those pre
sented by other religions. This conception of
' life has led multitudes to consecrate themselves
to the uplifting of their fellows; and, at home
and abroad, they have oeen content with a bare
living, relying, for reward, upon the consclous
' ness that they are contributing to the happiness
' and welfare of others and to the progress of
. the race.
The list above given by no means exhausts
the reasons for thanksgiving, but more than
"enough has been said to show that Thanksgiving
. ' day deserves commemoration among- us.
A word could be added about the nation's
prosperity but for the fact that it might raise
a question as to the cause; some attribute it
' to an era of good crops, coupled with such an
increase in the volume of money as to make
prices remunerative, while others attribute it
to acts of legislation and to industrial policies.
But thanksgiving Is of little value if our
expressions of gratitude have no effect upon our
own conduct. Appreciation of blessings Is shown
by acts rather-than by words. If we regard
citizenship as a priceless inheritance, we should
resolve to transmit it, not only unimpaired but
improved, to tho next generation; If our educa
tional system .has been a boon to us, It should
be extended and amplified for tho boneflt of pos
terity; If tho resources of our country have a
value beyond computation, It behooves us to
see to It that these resources aro not squandered
and that tho bounties which tho Creator Intend
ed for all shall not bo monopolized by tho cun
ning, the craft, and tho nvarico of a few; If our
government gives to life, liberty, and prosperity
greater protection than any other government
grants, wo can not excuso ourselves if we rail
to preserve It, In all its purity, for our children
and our children's children; If In our religion
we find a consolation, a life-plan, and a mornl
uplift, wo can not but earnestly desire and
embody tho desire In deeds that those shall
bo shared by those about us and by those also
who, though separated from us by seas, aro
bound to us by that primal tie that links each
human boing to every other. Written by Mr.
Bryan for tho Novomber numbor of the Circle
Is Mr. Roosevelt Retreating?
In it's Issue of Wednesday, November C, tho
Now York World says editorially: "Tho World
is able to state today, on most reliable infor
mation, that Mr. Roosevelt, without changing
his policies has determined upon a radical
change In his political methods. Instead of
continuing with sweeping charges and somi
80cia?istlc demands for now legislation, ho is to
proceed on lines of calm thought and modera
tion and sober judgment."
Other newspapers print statements which
would seem to bear tho stamp of authority all
along tho same line as indicated by tho World
editorial. A sample is that printed in tho St.
Louis Globe-Democrat (rep.) in a dispatch undor
date of Washington, November G. This is In
terpreted by some as In the nature of an au
thorized statement and is as follows:
.President Roosevelt expects a numbor of
business men, bankers and financiers from Now
York City and other commercial centers to visit
him between this and the time for the congress
to meet.
Tho president Is greatly surprised to discover
the amount of misinformation possessed by these
leaders in trade and finance as to his attitude
toward corporations. He welcomes visits to tho
Whlto House and goes to considerable troublo
to explain the things upon which they have a
mass of misinformation. Today ho talked in
that connection with Charles E. Mellon, one
of the leading railroad men in Now England,
and on Monday ho had a conference with
Messrs. Garry and Frick of tho United States
Steel company.
The president today expressed himself as
aghast at the way in which leading men view
his public utterances. He believes they secured
their misinformation from the headlines and edi
torials of that portion of the press in the United
States which has either purposely or unwittingly
misrepresented him.
The president does not have it In mind to
mako any radical change in the position he has
assumed towards wrongdoers, whether they be
corporations or individuals, but he is going to
considerable pains and trouble to explain just
what his position is and has been. In all of
these conferences he "stands pat" on what he
has said in the past.
As an example of the misunderstanding on
the part of recent prominent callers at the White
House, it was pointed out today that they were
of the opinion that ho had said, in the course
of public utterances, that ho believes a majority
of the business in the country was conducted
dishonestly and unlawfully. The president
points out that what he did say was just the con
trary, and he challenges any one to find any
thing In any of his speeches or messages, or even
in his correspondence, which Indicates otfrcr
than that he believes a majority of the busi
ness enterprises of the country are conducted
on strictly legitimate and honest lines, and that
whatever criticisms he has offered have been
of a dishonest minority.
Again, the general accepted fallacy, even
among business men and financiers, who are
usually well informed on all matters of public
interest, is that the president has said that he
thought many of the leading corporation heads
ought to be "in jail." As a matter of fact, tho
president has never said In any of his speeches
that he thought any of them ought to be in
jail. What he did say, In effect, in his Nai-
villo speech, was that ho oxpootod to continuo
to prosecute thoso who had boon successful in
the practice of dishonosty.
It is a matter of oaay recollection that dur
ing tho past summor tho attornoy general, Mr.
Bonaparte, is reported to have said, in tho courso
of his facetious discussion of tho activities of
his department, something to tho effect that
somo of tho leaders should bo In Jail. The In
terview in quostlon was published during tho
absenco of tho president from Washington, and
it is unnccoHiary to say, did not havo his appro
val, either beforo or sine Its publication.
As a further Indication of tho president's
real attltudo, at this time and In tho past, and
of It being generally misunderstood, his utter
ances relative to tho Sherman anti-trust law can
bo cited. Rccontly, ono of his callors wild In
effect: "Mr. President, what this country needs
at this time is some ono bold enough to sacrlflco
himsolf for the public good by denouncing tho
Sherman anti-trust law most vlgorounly, so that
tho congress will amend it In the particulars
where It needs amending. That Is a most In
iquitious law, in that it does not discriminate
botweon combinations which aro harmless and
may bo even In tho interests of tho consuming
public, and thoso which aro evil and opcrato
against tho public interest."
Tho president asked his visitor If ho wan
familiar with recent messages to tho congress
of tho United States. Tho visitor replied that
ho was.
Tho president Insisted that if ho was fa
miliar with tho message which ho sent to con
gress at Its last session he would not have offered
this suggestion. Tho president then sent for a
copy of his last message and read from It por
tions in denunciation of tho Sherman anti-trust
law which wore fully as strong and emphatic
as anything that his visitor had said. Tho sur
prise of his visitor was manifest.
Examination of that mossago shows that
the president said: "It Is unfortunate that our
present laws should forbid all combinations In
stead of sharply discriminating between those
combinations which do good and thoso combina
tions which do evil. It is a public evil to havo
on . tho statute books a law Incapable of full
enforcement, because both judges and juries
realize that Us full enforcement would destroy
the business of tho country."
In tho mossago preceding tho last ono tho
president also used this language: "It has boon
a misfortune that tho national laws havo hitherto
boon of a nogativo or prohibitive rather than"
an afflrmalivo kind, and still more that they havo
in part sought to prohibit what could not bo
effectively prohibited, and have In part, In their
prohibitions, confounded what should bo al
lowed and what should not be allowed. It Is
generally useless to try to prohibit all restraint
on competition, whether this restraint be reason
able or unreasonable, and where it Is not use
less it is gonerally hurtful."
These expressions may be taken as correct
ly reflecting, at tho present time, tho views of
President Roosevelt.
Mr. Roosevelt wont to his homo In Oyster
Bay to cast his vote. In speaking of his visit
and departure the Now York World says:
Tho president left New York a changed
Individual. His appearance and his bearing
were that of a sobered, reflective man. There
was in his face a look of deep responsibility, of
grave thoughtfulness, not seen before by those
who know him.
From now on there will be a different plan
of campaign conducted from the White House.
Tho president is firm In his declarations that
"thero Is to be no change In his policy of antag
onism toward predatory wealth and. illegal cor
porations, but hJs. methods are- to bo modified,
his attacks made more discriminate, and hio
warfare less destructive.
The events of the past two weeks In tho
financial world have .had remarkable effect upon
Mr; Roosevelt. The crash of banks, the cry
of strangled business, the frightened hoarding
of money, have deeply impressed him. The
hours of his journey yesterday were given more
to sober reflection than to animated conversation.
If final argument were needed to complete tho
remarkable change In the nation's chief execu
tive, It was furnished by the sight of Manhat
tan's besieged sky scrapers of finance as his
tugboat passed by tho foot of Wall fc'treet and
skirted the Battery.
The day marked the end of Indiscriminate
presidential denunciation, of Intemperate lan
guage, of wholesale indictments, of Incessant
(Continued on Page Six) ,
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