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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (April 30, 1909)
APRIL 30, 1909 -.,
direct answer to that question, I should be in
plined to say, "yes, it is time."
Mr. Bynuin. And quit humbugging.
Mr. Bryan. Yes; and of all the humbugs that
the farmer has to contend with, the greatest
humbug is the man who objects to restraining
legislation whenever the farmer is to be the
air. Williams, of Mississippi. And who sneers
at a measure because the farmers want it.
Mr. Bryan. Yes, Mr. Chairman, we have had
this doctrine of "non-interference" preached to
us until it is getting to be quite familiar now.
But we understand that whenever any great
corporation comes here and wants something,
the doctrine of "non-interference," is not by any
means so emphatically proclaimed. It is only
when we attempt to do something that interferes
with the practices of corporations that objection
Mr. Tawney. Does the gentleman's remark
apply to the sugar trust?
Mr. Bryan. Yes, sir, it does; and I want to
Bay to my friend from Minnesota (Mr. Tawney)
that I do not like the bill which the senate
is about to give us (applause on the democratic
side), although it gives to the sugar trust less
advantage than the McKinley bill, which your
people passed, gave to it.
Mr. I-Iaugen. Will you vote for it?
Mr. Bryan. I will vote to cut it down just
as much as I can.
A Member. And to cut it out?
Mr. Bryan. To cut it down and cut it out.
I am going to try to make that bill as good as
possible. But, sir, the senate will have to do
exceedingly Dad work with that bill if it is not
a great deal better than the law which is now
upon the statute book. (Applause on the dem
Now, Mr. Chairman, I only rose to address
the committee briefly. I thought I was going
to finish my remarks in ten minutes, and would
have done so had not other points been brought
out by the interruptions. But I simply want
to leave this proposition to be thought of by
those who are considering this bill, and to be
answered by those who are opposing it; first, if
speculation affects the price of the product spec
Mr. Goldzier. Does it?
Mr. Bryan (continuing). What right has the
speculator to affect that price?
Mr. Goldzier. Will the gentleman yield for
a question? Do you assert that it does, one
way or the other, affect the prices, and if so,
I ask the gentleman to furnish the proof.
Mr. Bryan. I presume the gentleman from
Chicago will discuss this question. I am anxious
he should, for I am sure he will present all that
can be said on his side of it with a great deal
of intelligence, and in that time he can spread
on the records of the house any conclusive proof
that he has that gambling in farm products does
not affect the price either way.
Mr. Goldzier. I have none, but the onus
proband! lies on you. You seek the enactment
of a law to suppress gambling in these products,
which you say affects the price. Now I call on
you to produce the proof of that fact.,
Mr. Bryan. Mr. Chairman, I affirm, on in
formation and belief, that gambling in such pro
ducts does affect the price, and I will state why
I so believe. I believe it because when you get
together a large amount of money and invest
it that way it is possible to raise or lower prices;
and if that is possible, I have just enough con
fidence in the retention of human nature by the
men on the boards of trade to believe that what
they can do with their money they will do. But
it is not necessary to rely on presumptive evi
dence entirely. I am not compelled to base my
argument on the fact that it is possible to affect
the price and that, therefore, it is probable that
the price will be affected. I can point to the
fact that, time and time again, it has been done';
that, time and time again, men have, by specu
lation on the board of trade, raised prices or
lowered them, entirely independent of the law
of supply and demand.
When we show that it can be done, when we
show that according to human nature it will in
all probability be done, and when we show that
it has been done often, we have presented enough
proof, at least until our opponents offer some
evidence on their side.
Mr. Harter. Will the gentleman allow me to
interrupt him for a question? I understand the
gentleman to say that speculation in grain has
time and time again raised the price above the
proper rate in the markets of the world. Will
the gentleman kindly give us the country and
the dates when this was done?
Mr. Bryan. I do not remember that in the
brief remarks I have made today I have made
any such statement as the gentleman from Ohio
puts in my mouth. What I have said is this:
That I do believe and the facts, as well as the
logic, of the the situation justifies the belief
that on innumerable occasions speculation on
boards of trade in the price of products has
affected the price of the products speculated in.
What I desire is to eliminate, so far as legisla
tion can eliminate them, such elements of un
certainty as grain gambling contributes.
Mr. Allen. Will the gentleman let me ask
him a question?
Mr. Bryan. Certainly.
Mr. Allen. I wish to ask if the gentleman has
not read that argument I have, at least an
argument showing that this speculation has in
creased the price, and therefore it is to the
benefit of the farmer altogether.
Mr. Harter. There is no question of that.
Mr. Bryan. Does the gentleman from Ohio
That that is a legitimate effect?
I certainly do.
The gentleman from Ohio, who
has been representing a district agricultural to
some extent, is now, I believe, going to become
a resident of Philadelphia, and I would like
to know how he will justify before the people
of that city who buy wheat, a policy, plan, or
process which will make them pay more for
the wheat than they could otherwise bo com
pelled to pay.
Does the gentleman really desire
Yes, sir; In a word.
Well, I will answer it tomorrow.
But briefly, now: The "gentleman from Penn
sylvania or Ohio" would not by law raise the
price of grain, nor would he be willing to re
duce it, but he would allow every American
citizen the privilege of buying or selling as he
pleased, and leave the consequences, whether
there would be an increase or decrease of price,
to the legitimate laws of trade.
Mr. Bryan. I must differ from the gentleman
from Ohio. My position is this: If two men
are betting as to which can spit the nearest to
a crack in the floor, and the floor belongs to
them, I may not be justified in Interfering; but
when their betting affects the price of a pro
duct which my people either use or produce, and
by that betting increase the price to the con
sumer or decrease the price to the producer, I
am justified In interfering. I believe such gamb
lers ought to be restrained just as much as if
these speculators waited until the farmer sold
his wheat, and then by ttealth or force took
the money from him, if the price is reduced,
or waited until the consumer labored and earned
his wages, and then took from him that portion
which would be measured by the increased price,
if the price is raised.
That states the difference between the gentle
man from Ohio and myself on that proposition,
perhaps as clearly as I can state it.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I will not delay the com
mittee longer. I was recapitulating. It is neces
sary either for the people who are opposed to
this bill to prove that gambling does not affect
prices, either to the consumer or to the pro
ducer, or if it does, to justify that interference
with natural laws. If they admit that that In
terference is unjust and ought to be regulated,
then they must advocate regulation either by the
state or by the federal government. If they will
secure regulation by the state government which
will be effective, well and good; but, Mr. Chair
man, I for one am not willing to withhold the
strong hand of the general government at the
request of those people who plead for state
restraint, and yet, who exercise all the influ
ence they have to prevent the state government
from doing the very thing which they ask you
to leave to the state.
We find a great deal of complaint in the
country now. We find criticism of various laws,
and sometimes criticism of bad laws is erron
eously construed Into a criticism of government
itself. But, sir, it was said by Andrew Jackson
and I had the honor to quote it a few days
ago that "there are no necessary evils in gov
ernment. Evils exist only in its abuses." The
abuses of government may exist either in spe
cial legislation, which gives to one man an ad
vantage over his fellow men, or they may exist
in the refusal of government to exercise the
restraining powers which are imposed upon it
when it takes from the individual the right to
I believe, Mr. Chairman,' that if we would
take the Declaration of Independence and apply
its principles to every proposition brought be
fore us; if we would measure every piece of
legislation by its principles, we could distribute
tho blessings of government equally through
out all the land. And insofar as my judgment
will lead mo aright, I desire to join the members
on this sido of tho houso or on tho other sido
of tho house, in passing such laws, first, ns will
restrain every man from injuring his fellow-man,
in order that each may bo permitted to enjoy
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happinoss. Not
that wo in that way can tako away the differ
ences between men. So long as thore are differ
ences in physical strength, in character, in in
tellectual ability, in industry, and in habits,
thero will bo differences among men. But, airs,
wo can prevent the government from exaggera
ting tho differences which it needs. Wo prevent
government from giving to those who havo and
from taking from thoso that havo not. By the
strong arm of tho law we can restrain man from
inflicting upon his fellow-man any injury dictat
ed by that selfishness which must over bo re-
strained, if man is to bo fit for society and citi
EXTEND THE EDUCATIONAL WORK
Amsterdam, N. Y., April 17. I am personally ,
much interested in tho educational series which
you have in your groat weekly, but hero in tho '
east where your ideas are not understood, whore A
the greatest needs for political education are
unfulfilled, tho democratic party has no news
papers and even tho news agencies hold back
your paper, making it almost impossible to pro- '
cure a copy.
Now for one thing, I would think that if you
could get these small democratic papers to run
that series, of course after tho entire course has
run in your paper, it would reach thousands of
voters who never would or could bo reached
in any other way. It was tho political ignor
ance, the hold that largo republican manufac
turers and merchants, through tho medium of
advertising; it was this hold over tho small
democratic dallies that made them disloyal or
only half-hearted; these different reasons caused
your defeat in tho oast last fall.
Now, Mr. Bryan, this is not meant for pub
lication in your paper, but is written entirely
out of friendship, as you are my ideal in Amor- '
lean public life, tho man who would rather bo
right than president. I am a young man, finan
cially poor, or I would attempt to do something
more for you and the cause than this, but at '
least you have my heartfelt wishes.
A. D. ANDERSON.
"THE MASTER'S VOICE"
In its issue of Wednesday, April 21, the Phil-
adolphla North-American, a republican paper, '
prints a long, editorial entitled "The Master's
Voice." In this editorial the North American
denounces Senator Aldrlch, tho republican
The North American says that although Rhode
Island is the tiniest state in the union, its sen
ator "lays down tho law to ninety million of
Americans in forty-five commonwealths, almost
every one of which is an empire by comparison
with Rhode Island."
The North American says: "But when tho
Rhode Island corner grocer Aldrlch made as
much of a statement as he cared to make about
what he proposes to allow this country to havo
in the way of a tariff, the representatives of a -supposedly
free people listened reverently to
his insolent ultimatum. For Aldrlch does not
speak for Rhode Island. Through him speak
Wall Street and Standard Oil and every one of
the moneyed powers of prey."
But Aldrlch also speaks for the republican
party and the North American, as well as other .
republican papers that now protest, had every
reason to know that the triumph of republi
canism meant tho triumph of Aldrichlsm.
The North American says that on tho tariff
question Mr. Aldrlch is "playing the same
swindling game that lie played last year with
the currency." And the North American con
cludes thus: "We shall see to what extent
Aldrlch of Rhode Island can make of the pres
ident a nullity ana of tho republican party a
pledge-breaking liar." The editor oj! the North
American is simple, indeed, if he expected from
Mr. Aldrlch any other attitude than he now as
sumes. He is simple, indeed, if he expects a
political party that derives its campaign funds
from highly protected trusts to do anything
against the special interests of Its benefactors.
He Is simple, indeed, if he does not know that,
an a republican leader, Aldrlch towers above
them all and that Aldrichlsm Is the real spirit
of tho republican party. '.'
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