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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 26, 1909)
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WILLIAM J. BRYAN, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR
OL. 9, NO. 7
Lincoln, Nebraska, February 26, 1909
Whole Number 423
R. BRYAN BEFORE THE NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
iln accordance with an invitation formerly ex-
tded to him several weeks ago Mr. Bryan ad-
issed a joint session of the legislature at
icoln, February 17. . In the beginning Mr.
cyan said that in speaking to the legislature
wanted no more weight to attach to his
rds than they deserved according to their
fgument. He hoped no one would say he at-
mptcd to dictate to the legislature. It was a
sflection on that body to have any insinuation
lat any man could dictate to it. The Lincoln
Neb.) Journal gives the following as the sub
stance of Mr. Bryan's remarks:
'The representative stands to act for those
mo elect him. There are two theories of his
ifunction, the one that he is selected to think for
his constituents and to act as he sees fit, and
fthe other that the constituents think for them
selves and send the representative to the legis
lature to act for them. The latter is essentially
iemocratic, taking the word in its broader sense.
That is why we have a roll-call. It is that the
people at home may know how each one of you
rvote on measures and to gauge the attitude of.
Itheir representative by his stand on measures
iwhich they as constituents have already thought
rout for themselves. Every representative should
tact in the daylight, that all men may know what
he does officially. There is such a thing as em-
ibezzlement of power. I hope the time will come
hwhen men may be whipped into prison for a
pbetrayal t)f power, for having used the delegated
trust for private gain.
"My views on this matter I expressed last
fcfall in my notification speech and with your.
)ermisslon I will read a- few lines from it: 'And.
a may ad,d a platform is binding as -to what it
fbmitd as weir-asd'wtiafit contains. According
Cto the democratic idea the people think for "them
selves and "select officials to carry out their
wishes. The voters are the sovereigns and offi
cials are -the servants employed for a fixed time
and at a' stated salary to do what the sovereigns
want done, and to do it in the way the sov
ereigns want it done. Platforms are entirely
in harmony with this democratic idea. A plat
form announces the party's position on the
auestions which are at issue and the official is
not at liberty to use the authority vested in him
to urge personal views which have not been
submitted to the voters for their approval, lr
one is nominated on a platform which is not
.satisfactory to him, he must, if candid, either
decline the nomination, or in accepting it, pro
pose an amended platform in lieu of the one
I adopted by the convention.'
"I would have felt myself bound by every
Ipledge of the party platform if I had been elect
ed and would not have felt myseir at liDerty to
have proposed important legislation that was
MR. BRIAN BEFORE THE NEBRASKA
A PRAYER FOR PEACE
THE PRESIDENT'S LIBEL SUIT
A HUGE BRIBE
MR. ROCKEFELLER'S "MEAN TRICK"
A TRIBUTE TO THE COMMONER
HUMAN BEINGS SOLD AT AUCTION
THAT FISH PROBLEM .
EDUCATIONAL SERIES COMMISSION
FORM OF CITY GOVERNMENT
LETTERS FROM THE PEOPLE
COMMENT ON CURRENT TOPICS "
WHETHER COMMON OR NOT
NEWS OF THE WEEK
not mentioned in the platform on which I made
the race. Representatives have u more compli
cated situation to face. Many of them have run
not wholly on the state platform, but also on
local platforms, which they have promulgated
and on which largely they have been elected.
Every man who was elected on a known issue,
be that issue state or local, ought to vote as
ho promised or resign and go home. If there
were in the party platform a plank of which
I did not approve I would urge its fulfillment
with as much zeal as if I did approve it, because
my confidence in the right of tho majority to
rule is greater than my confidence in rJlty own
judgment. The democrats have a party reason
for carrying out the party pledges. The repub
licans may -feel justified in making political capi
tal out of any failures of the democrats to ful
fil their promises."
Some things not in the platform justify at
tention and careful consideration of their mer
its, continued tho speaker. He spoke of the
bill which appropriated funds for tho erection
of a monument to Abraham Lincoln and while
he would say nothing as to the amount he hoped
tho legislature would see fit to deal liberally by
it. Lincoln had founded a party but he is now
too big to be claimed by any party, ho is indeed
too big to be claimed by any nation. He be
longs to the world.
Second, Mr. Bryan hoped the legislature would
be generous with the Historical Society build
ing, and would follow the lead of other states
in creating a place to shelter the history of the
commonwealth as it develops.
Third; a bill on which he could not; speak so
freely, but- In-theadvautages. of which he had
absolute confidence,, the initiative and referent
dum. He believed in the fight of the people to
initiate laws and to sit in judgment on them
when originated by the legislature. If this law
could be put in force by statute he would not
Xavor it until it had become a plank in some
paTty platform. But the bill in question merely
provides for the submission of the question to
Fourth, the school of citizenship. Mr. Bryan
said that since his name had been connected
with the bill he felt that he should explain his
connection with it. He had had a conversation
with the chancellor and the chancellor had
brought the matter of such a school to the at
tention of the board of regents. Then with
their approval Mr. Bryan had mentioned it to
some members of the legislature. The bill, how
ever; merely endorses the plan already adopted
by the regents and only groups the courses into
a school. Mr. Bryan said that he thought col
leges neglect training in this respect, and the
bill is intended to further the study of the duties
Fifth, the Carnegie pension fund for college
professors. Mr. Bryan declared that the need
for better pay for teachers in the public schools
and colleges did not warrant the state in humil
iating itself by asking as mendicants that some
rich man should help the state bear a burden it
is the duty of its citizens to assume. The source
from which such aid might come had much to
do with its acceptance, he thought, and in the
present case put it beyond the reason for ac
ceptance. "This Carnegie fund," said Mr.
Bryan, "is the most insidious poison that now
threatens our nation. It will do more harm to
us than all the efforts of the millionaires. If
the trust principle is correct the work of con
solidation will go on and on until all Industry
is centered in the hands of a few men, who will
dole out to the people their daily pittance of
bread. The steel trust now is the mightiest of
all these factors. So strong was it that It forced
the president of tho United States to give his
consent to its absorbing against the law one of
its competitors. And at its head is Andrew
Carnegie, the man who would pension our teach
ers. Its earnings last yeaT were ?15Q,000,000,
and enough was extorted from our state to pay
all the salaries of all the teacherc of our uni
versities and colleges. Shall we say, then,-that
he may have the prlvilego of stopping tho
mouths of our professors and warping their
teachings in consequence of what ho gives them
from month to month? I do not ask you to let
me influence you. If my argument Is sound
take it, for tho reasoning of the voter is as
sound and tho question will not be settled now.
If In after years It is found that tho acceptance
of this gift has caused tho warping of teachings
in our institutions of learning, tho voter will
take the first opportunity to frown on tho party
that allowed It."
Sixth, tho Oregon plan of election of United
States senators by direct voto of tho people. Mr.
Bryan spoko well of the proposition, saying It
was the best scheme that had been figured out
until tho United States senate sees fit to step
aside and let the will of tho people rule in this
regard. It was not a partisan question, for a
few years ago the republican legislature had .
adopted a resolution approving tho popular elec
tion of senators by a vote of 85 to 5.
Seventh, the publication of campaign contribu
tions before election. Mr. Bryan touched on
this, one of the most popular planks in tho dem
ocratic platform Inst fall. He hoped the bill
in IhiB state would becomo a law. And ho
hoped the state would go further and put a law
on the statute books which would limit tho
expenditures of candidates for office so that tho
man who can afford to spend $100,000 for hla
office will bo on the same footing as the man.,
who can spend but $5,000. , ,
Eighth; physical valuation of railroads. This
was one of the state platform pledges of tho
democrats. Mr. Bryan declared that it was not
a hardship on tho railroads. It prevented tho
demagogues from makiritJtprrfrtnnrttyfcondir'
tioiis which really do not' exist. Publicity would
prevent it. It would allow railroads to appeaj
before tho logfslnturo Uko honest men tolling
their case to the committees instead of as form
erly .trying to control tho members by peculiar
methods of their own. .
Ninth, and last, the guaranty of bank, de
posits. Mr. Bryan was glad to see that an agree
ment had been reached on this Important meas
ure. He believed tho bill as drawn would insure
the absolute protection of tho depositor, and
would work no hardship on the bank. He then
went into the merits of tho question and argued
as during the campaign on its justice to tho
small depositor as well as is now given to thoso
who deposit largo amounts.
DON'T FORGET THE PEOPLE
In an address delivered at Hattiesburg, Miss.,
Mr. Taft, referring to the Panama canal, said:
"I am going to push that work, and I am going
to stand behind the men who are doing it."
That Is all very well; but don't forget, Mr.
Taft, to stand behind the people who are pay
ing for that work. Don't forget that their in
terests are paramount to all others.
A PRAYER FOR PEACE
Let there bo light, Lord of Hosts'.
Let there bo wisdom on the earth!
Let broad humanity have birth!
Let thero bo deeds, Instead of boasts!
Within our passioned hearts Instill
The calm that endeth strife;
Make us Thy ministers of Life;
Purge us from lusts that curse and kill! ;
Give us tho peace of vision clear
To see our brothers' good our own,
To joy and suffer not alone;
The love that casteth out all fear!
Let woe and waste of warfare cease,
That useful labor yet may build
Its homes with love and laughter filled!
God, give Thy waywaTd children peace!
William Merrell Vories, in the Advocate
of Peace (Boston).
Hachiman, Omi, Japan.
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