The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 20, 1910, Page 5, Image 5

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    -o ,
MAT 20, im
which th ' multi-millionaires hav been enrich
ing themselves. Every session of congress will
develop just such differences and can you won
der that we, who aro marked for the disfavor
of the powerful influences at Washington should
want a governor who Is in sympathy with what
wo aro trying to doshould want the whole
statft government to be in harmony with, the
.progressive movement for better laws? . You
will understand, I am sure, that I have given
you the reasonwhy I want to see Warren Garst
nominated for governor. In addition to the
work that ho would do so splendidly at home,
It would be comforting at Washington to know
that the governor of the state was lifting up
his voice to aid us in the struggle in which wo
are constantly engaged.
Is Peoples Movement
"The present members of the house of repre
sentatives from this district and from the Ninth
congressional district and the First congressional-
district are devoted followers of
Aldrlch and of Cannon, of Payne and tf DalzelL
and they have voted and they will vote in the
future, if they are returned to congress, just as
the Aldrich-Cannon organization determines
they ought to vote. Is it strange that Dolliver
and myself, who are in the midst of one of the
fiercest conflicts ever seen in the national con
gress for principles that we believe to be vital
to the welfare of the party, of the party as well
as of the country, should want Prouty and
Byers and Darrah and Bookhart in the house
of representatives instead of Hull, Smith, Town
er, or Kennedy?
"There is nothing personal in the situation.
I covet the support and confidence of every man
in Iowa', but it is in the highest degree illogical
for any man to help me to a seat in the senate
of the United States, or to believe that I ought
to remain there, to stand for the nomination of
Hull, of Smith, of Towner or of Kennedy. The
sooner we realize that this division in the ranks
of the republican plurality is not ephemeral,
the sooner w'e appreciate that it is a movement
of the people and not .merely to gratify personal
ambitions, the sooner we will become conscious
of a great and everlasting truth."
- -On. the"1 'evening of May 16 IVEr Bryan-.spoke
at' Nebraska'vClty, Neb"., 'on itie initiative anil
referendum-, He said:
"I am here f6r three reasons. First, because
I like to come to Nebraska- City. It was in my
district when I was a member Of congress, and
the people of this county have been loyal friends
in all my. campaigns. I might justify my com
ing, therefore, on the ground that I find a real
pleasure in coming. The second reason for com
ing is that I desire to refute the charge that
has gone out over the country to the effect that
you are opposed to free speech, and would pre
vent the discussion of a public .question. The
action of your county commissioners in refus
ing to allow "me to speak in jthe court house
has been construed by the newspapers as In
dicating that you are so opposed to my position
on the initiative and referendum that you are
not willing that I should use, for the presenta
tion of my views, the court house, which is
usually open for public meetings. By coming
here and speaking in a larger hall than the
cojirt house I prove that those who desire to
discuss a pending question will be accorded a
hearing in your city and county. The third
reason for. my coming is that the very fact that
an attempt was made to prevent my speaking
here discloses the character of the 'opposition
to the initiative and referendum, and I can use
this attempt to prevent discussion as a text.
I' could, ask nothing better thap that the oppo
nents of the initiative and referendum should
do everywhere what they have done here, for
nothing would add such impetus to our cause
as the attempt on the part of our opponents to
prevent the discussion of the subject. Free
speech lies at the foundation of free govern
ment, and he who opposes free speech betrays
the spirit of the despot, even if he Is powerless
to. enforce the despotism Jthat he favors. Free
dom of speech can be defended from every
standpoint. The mlnd must be free to think
and the tongue must be free to speak if there
is to be intellectual progress. The evils that
may follow from erroneous arguments are in
finitely less than the evils that follow from the
suppression of thought. And then, any evils
that may follow from free speech are sure to
be corrected, while the evils that follow from
the suppression of thought .are much more diffi
cult to correct.
"Freedom of speech is necessary to political
The Commoner.
progress. Jefferson, the greatest of democrat's,
was & most devoted champion of free speech,
and Lincoln, who quoted Jefferson an much as
any democrat ever has, was likewise a cham
pion of free speech. 4
"Moral progress depends also upon freedom
of speech. Tho conscience must bo allowed to
cry out against what it believes to bo wrong,
apd those who aro opposed to freo speech con
fess that they aro not prepared to defend tho
thing for which they stand. Tho initiative and
referendum are advocated because they give tho
people a chance to express themselves on ovory
question, and thoso who stand back of tho
liquor traffic are very short-Blghted when they
oppose tho initiative and referendum. They
say they are afraid that if tho initiative and
referendum are incorporated in our organic law
by a constitutional amendment tho question of
county option will be presented. Lot us an
alyze their position. When they are opposed to
the .submission of the initiative and referendum
they admit that they are afraid that It submitted
it would be adopted, and that, means that -they
are not willing that we shall 'have a local ma
chinery in this state by which the people may
express themselves on a public question. Tho
attitude of tho saloon interests is, therefore,
that they are so opposed to county option that
they are not willing that the people shall have
the right to voto upon this question or any other
question; in other words they would defeat pop
ular government as it is expressed in the initia
tive and referendum rather than have tho
county option question submitted to a voto, and
some of them In this country go so far as to
oppose the public discussion of the Initiative
and referendum for fear that reform may b6
adopted, and that from Its adoption the question
of county option may be submitted to the peo
ple. They thus make the liquor question a
paramount issue, for when they make it a de
termining issue with themselves they must
expect that others will also recognize it
as a' question that must be settlod. It
is not -certain yet whether a special ses
sion of the legislature will be called, but if
it is not called it is because the liquor Interests
aTe opposed to the initiative and referendum. If
the liquor interests can control enough senators
to prevent tho submission of the question not
withstanding the fact that the democratic gov
ernor favors the initiative and referendum, not
withstanding ,. the fact that a .majority of. the
democratic senators and members favor the In
itiative and referendum, and notwithstanding
the fact that an overwhelming majority of tho
democrats of the state favor It and a largo
majority of republicans alsoif this Is the con
dition then it would seem that we must settle
the liquor question at once whether we want to
or not, in order that wo may take up other
questions the consideration of which .lis now
obstructed by the liquor interests. The liquor
interests are responsible for the forcing of the
county option question into the arena of politics,
and they have only themselves to blame for the
results that shall follow tho -growing indignation
against the impudence, the insolence, and the
sordidness of the liquor interests."
Mr. Bryan then proceeded to discuss the In
itiative and referendum as a method of legisla
tion, and its connection with the liquor
question. '
It will be remembered that the income tax
law of 1894 was declared unconstitutional by
the' supreme court by a majority of one, and
it will also be remembered that that majority
of one was secured through one judged change
of opinion between the two arguments. It now
seems that the resolution ratifying the Income
tax was defeated in tho New York assembly by
one vote, and that that one vote was cast by a
democratic representative named Friend, who
changed his vote. It seems that Friend's seat
was contested, and the election committee was
under the control of the combination that was
fighting the income tax. Mr. Murray, a pro
gressive republican from New York City, was
leading the fight in favor of tho amendment,
and when Friend voted against "the In
come tax Murray denounced Friend for
his change of position. According to the
New York Times Mr. Murray, pointing
his finger at Friend, said: "This man, in revers
ing his action on the income tax admitted that
he had to do so to save his seat. If there is an
ounce of courage in the soul that he has pre
sumed to possess let him stand up in this pres--ence
and square that statement with his sworn
obligation as a member of the assembly." After
Friend had changed his voto on the income tax
tho contest was docidod in his favor and he was
seated" by tho assembly.
Thq Springfield Republican, commenting on
Friend's flop, says:
"It now appears that ratification of tho in
come tax aimmdmont by tho Now York assem
bly was provonted by tho 'flop' or a democratic
membor, named Friend, whoso scat therein was
under contest. Ho had. been olectcd on tho
face of tho returns in a Now York City district
by a scoro or so of votes. Ills republican oppo
nent contestod tho result, and an assombly com
mittee has been having a recount. This com
mittee Is controled by machlno republicans who
aro opposed to tho Income-tax amendment. At
one time In tho count the committee found tho
republican contestant ahead, and Friend had
voted for tho amendment when it flrsj; camo up.
Tho last ballot-box, however, turned a republican
plurality of about twenty into a plurality for
Friend of threo, and so ho keopa his seat and
t)ion votes against the incomo lax amendment.
Ho explains "his 'flop' by saying ho. has been
convinced by Governor Hughes 'cogent' argu
ment against the amendment, but as this argu
ment had boon before him long bofore he voted
on tho amendraont tho first time, there aro cries
that his change-about is related in fcomo way
to tho recount. Ho himself says ho hopes tho
publicity ho is now getting will help his law
business. But for his ratting, the incomo .tax
amendment would today stand ratified by tho
assembly of tho state most counted on to voto
it down."
How proud tho capitalistic opponents of tho
incomo tax must be of tho methods which they
employed! And how proud Governor Hughes
must be of tho "cogent" reasons that wore suffi
cient to convert Mr. Friend. Tho friends of
the income tax have reason to congratulato
themselves upon tho strength of their cause.
Either Governor Hughes has very little influ
ence in tho state, or else tho Income tax senti
ment is very strong in New York. If It re
quires all of Governor Hughes' Influence, added
to tho Influence of tho predatory corporations
and the election committee, to defeat the income
tax amendment by one vote, and that a vote
coerced by the threat of expulsion, how large
would the majority In favor of the Incomo tax
amendment bo without Governor Hughes' op
position, or with" his support?
Tho Saturday Evening Post says so many
good things and strikes so many blows for clean
er politics and better government that ono does
not feel like condemning It harshly for an occa
sional mistake. It finds fault with Mr. Bryan's
statement that Jefferson's views continue their
majestic march around the earth. It asserts
that tho democratic party is weak and unable
to grapple effectively with modern problems in
proportion as it is guided by Jofforson's views.
It declares "that the reforms that have won
most popular approval of late years have been
gained-precisely by Increasing the power" of the
government and setting bounds upon Individual
liberty for example, the liberty of directors to
run a railroad as they please." The editor of
the Post was not at himself when he gave this
example, for no well informed person would ac
cuse Jefferson of endorsing tho kind of Indi
vidual liberty displayed by a railroad director
who would run the railroad as he pleased. There
is a wide difference between tho liberty of the
individual when he acts for himself and tho
liberty of an individual who acts for others.
Jefferson drew that distinction wlth great ex
actness, and while he insisted that the indi
vidual should not be unnecessarily restricted,
he was tho champion of restrictions upon thoso
who acted in a representative capacity. No one
has gone farther than he in insisting that the
representative should bo not only restricted but
carefully watched.
If tho editor of the Saturday Evening Post
will study the views of Jefferson, he will find
that whatever progress we have mado in reforms
has been made along Jefforsonian lines and that
wo would have made still greater reforms had
Jeffersonian principles been more fully applied.
If you have a word of cheer,
Speak It where the sad may heaT;
"Can you coin a thought of light?
Give It wings and speed its flight;
Do you know a little song?
Pass the roundelay along;
Scatter gladness, joy and mirth
AH along the ways of earth.
A. M. Worden, in Progress Magazine.
V '