The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 03, 1911, Page 3, Image 3

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MARCH 3, 1911
true that no oher nation could claim any ad
vantage by virtue of this treaty, it is also true
that we have- thereby placed ourselves under
moral obligations to maintain an open canal
for the ships of all nations at all times, in war
as well as in peace."
Other signers of the statement are: Henry
Wade Rogers, dean of the Yale law school; John
Graham Brooks, lecturer on economics; Francis
Lynde Stetson, attorney, of New York; Ida Tar
bell, historian; N. O. Nelson, manuacturer, St.
Louis; B. P. Wheeler, attorney of New York;
Samuel P. Capen, president of the American
board of commissioners for foreign missions,
Boston; Marcus M. Marks, and Thomas Mott
Osborne, manufacturer, Auburn, N. Y.
Denver, Colo., February 17 Editor Com
moner: I enclose an editorial from the Outlook
of February 4 that may be interesting. It is a
pleasure to see the eastern journals showing
the courage and good sense to quote from a
western man, especially Mr. Bryan. It indicates,
among other things, that Mr. Bryan's sayings
are noted, measured and used effectively, even
by those who do not support him in presiden
tial campaigns. WAYNE C. WILLIAMS.
"We have received the following letter in de
fense of Senator Lorimer:
"Editors of the Outlook: I have just read your
article in the Outlook of January 7, on Sena
tor Lorimer, and am constrained to say that
the misstatements, the omission of important
points, the unfairness of the article all the
way through, are sufficient to condemn the
entire article and will to every one who has
read the evidence and who wishes to' know the
truth and be just. You do not
know the feeling among the people of Illinois.
The great majority believe it a' conspiracy
against Senator Lorimer, primarily for many
reasons fostered by a great newspaper the
writer evidently refers to the Chicago Tribune,
which deserves highly honorable mention in
this connection and from motives we under
stand out here; and .only those who have paid
little attention to the evidence and care little
about it, but have been misled by the Outlook
and other conscienceless papers and persons,'
doubt Lorimer. Spme day, mark my word, the
automatic transfer and movement of this money
(the bribe money,) the source, the motive", the
purpose, will be revealed, and will clear, beyond
all question, Lorimer and his friends.
"Jacksonville, Illinois, January 14.
"We have just four things to say in repJ to
Mr. Davison: First, the Oujtlook has very care
fully followed the court evidence in the trials
connected with the Lorimer case, and has gone,
In many instances, to the original records in
Chicago. It has made a careful examination
of both the majority and the minority reports
of the senate committee sent to Chicago to
Investigate the charges of bribery and corrup
tion connected with Mr. Lorimer's election. Its
opinion that the legislature which elected Mr.
Lorimer was shamelessly corrupt is not based
. upon sentiment, but upon' facts which are re
garded even by Mr. Lorimer's defenders in the
"United States senate as conclusively proved.
Second, we think we do know the feeling of
the people of Illinois, in spite of Mr. Davison's
statement to the contrary. We believe that
feeling to be one of chagrin and shame, and
we assert that if popular senatorial elections
were in operation Mr. Lorimer would be so
sure of defeat as hardly to take the trouble to
be a candidate. Third, we do mark Mr. Davi
son's words that some day Mr. Lorimer will
prove his Innocence. "Some day" will not do;
now is the time for Mr. Davison to make his
revelations, If Mr. Lorimer's friends will bring
some real evidence to show that there was no
bribery and corruption in his election, the Out
look will be happy to print it. Fourth, Mr.
Bryan, a1 few years ago, in making a public
speech on the subject 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,
began his address in the following effective
manner: " 'Thou shalt not steal' is a self-evident
proposition. A self-evident proposition is
one which cannot be argued. If you should say
to a man 'Thou shalt not steal,' and he replies,
'Hold on a1 moment I would like to argue that
with you!' don't argue with him, search him.
In like manner, we say to Mr. Davison that,
in view of the uncontroverted evidence, tne
pplitical defenders of Mr. Lorimer's election
need, not argument, but investigation. 'From
the Outlook.
The Commoner.
Lincoln and the Initiative and Referendum
Sometime ago Tho Commoner printed tho
following current topic:
"An interesting story relating to Lincoln is
printed In the Kansas City Star and is vouched
for by Mr. A. H. McCormick. It will probably
causo considerable discussion among tho students
of Lincoln literature. The Star's story follows:
'There are not many people who know that
President Abraham Lincoln looked into tho
future during the civil war and prophesied that
tho next generation following him would see
the initiative and referendum adopted by every
state in the union.' This is the statement of
A. H. McCormick, a member of tho last legis
lature from Crawford county, Kansas, and re
publican nominee for re-election. 'I heard
President Lincoln tell General Grant and
General Meade that tho initiative and referen
dum was bound to become universal in the
United States,' said McCormick. 'I was a' union
soldier. Just a short time before the breaking
of the confederate lines In front of Petersburg,
President Abraham Lincoln visited General
Grant at City Point on the James river. At
that time I was crippled In the loft arm by a
musket shot and was detailed as mail agent for
the Second corps. I frequently made trips from
the front to City Point. One day General De
Forbian gave me a letter and ordered me to
deliver it to General Meade. He asked for a
reply. When I entered General Meade's tent
I found with him General Grant and President
Lincoln and two other officers. They had evi
dently been talking earnestly about Switzerland.
They stopped when I entered 'the tent. I pre
sented my letter to General Meade. He read it
and said: Tell the general 'Yes.' I was about
to withdraw when a sudden thunder shower
burst. General Meade turned to me and said:
'Soldier, sit down and wait for the rain to
quit.' I sat on a camp stool in rather a dark
corner of the tent. Apparently not noticing my
presence President Lincoln continued the con
versation evidently where he had left off when
I came in. Turning to General Grant, he said:
'General, the day will come, but it will not be
In your day or mine, when every state in this
union will have the initiative and referendum.
When that day comes the people will rule, tho
people will rule.' As he said this he brought
his fist down on the table with such vehemence
that he overturned the ink bottle. I knew short
hand. I sat there and took the conversation a?
it was given. When I returned to my camp I
made two copies of President Lincoln's remarks.
I sent one copy home and kept the other. I
carried it in my family Bible. I still have it.
It was many years after before I realized what
President Lincoln had meant by the initiative
and referendum. I became an advocate of the
principle. It was I who introduced In the last
house 'house concurrent resolution No. 2.' This
called for the initiative and referendum. It was
lost. I Intend to try again this winter if I am
sent back to the house."
Later the following self-explanatory letter was
, The Brooklyn Economic and Social .Club, Resi
dence, 91 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, N. Y. Brook
lyn, N. Y., Dec. 5, 1910 Editor Tho Commoner:
I am profoundly interested in the statement In
The Commoner of Nov. 25th regarding Lincoln's
assertion as to the initiative and referedum.
Do you think it is reliable? Even in Switzerland
they did not have the initiative and referendum
until 1869-70, (according to Murray's New
English Dictionary.) It seems somewhat re- '
markable that Lincoln should have made a
statement of the kind, using the words con
joined together as wo do today, to General
Grant. It seems a little as though the good
soldier must have dreamed it.
Will you not klridly give me a little word of
reassurance or otherwise, as I hate to quote
from so honest a man as Lincoln and not feel
strongly assured of the fact that I am telling
the truth.
Your kindly compliance with my request will
be greatly appreciated. Respectfully yours,
State of Kansas, Legislative Department.
House of Representatives; Topeka, Jan. 20,
1911 Editor The Commoner: Yours of January
15th at hand. Will say the interview with me
was almost correct. General DeTroblran's name
is spelled DeFrobrian In the interview which Is
wrong. Now, when I entered the tent, I heard
the word "Switzerland" used, so supposed they
were referring to that. If you will look up the
matter you will find that the agitation In regard
to direct legislation In Switzerland commenced
in 18 03 and was very intonso in tho winter of
1864 and 1865.
Another mistake made in tho intorviow was
that tho shorthand notes aro In a llttlo poclcot
bible carried during tho war and aro on tho
margin of tho book and not In tho family bible.
The copy I sent homo was lost. Yours truly,
a. h. Mccormick,
in switzerland
The Standard Encyclopaedia says: "In somo
cantons of Switzerland a method resembling
the referendum has been practicod sinco tho
sixteenth century. Tho present form was adopted
in tho canton of St. Gallon in 1830. In 1848
in spite of conservative opposition, tho referen
dum was, by tho action of tho radicals, in
corporated in tho Swiss fedoral constitution, and
in 1874 its application was extended."
Tho "Encyclopaedia of Social Reform" says:
"The homd of tho referendum and tho initia
tive is tho Swiss republic, whore from times
almost Immemorial tho peoplo of at least somo
of her cantons, and notoriously of Uri and
Apponzell and tho two Untorwalds, have met,
in assemblies, or landsgomoinden, in the open,
and decided laws by a direct popular vote. As
however, tho cantons grow In population, and
tho confederation took in towns and cities, this
was not always possible, though tho custom
still obtains in Uri, Apponzell, Glarus, and tho
two Untorwalds. Yet even in tho cities at
various times all the citizens vero asked to
vote on certain measures, as In Berne and
Zurich at the, time of tho reformation, to see
how many were Protestants. Borne, from 1469
to 1524, Is said to have taken sixty referen
dums. The referendum appears too, in a rudi
mentary form as early as tho sixteenth cen
tury, in tho cantons of Graubunden or Grosona
and Valias, 'before those districts had become
full-fledged members of the Swiss confedera
tion, and while they were still known as Zugc
wandte Orte , or associated states. Delegates,
from their several communes met periodically,
but were always obliged to refer their decisions
to the communes themselves for final approval.
In tho same manner tho delegates from tho
various cantons to tho old federal diet, or as
semblyof the Swiss confederation, referred
their votes to these states. In 1802 tho con
stitution of tho Helvetic republic was referred
to a popular vote. Most of tho Swiss cantonal
constitutional changes havo been made by tho
referendum, and their constitutions now usually
require that all Such changes be thus made. St.
Gall 'gave the' people the right to prevent a law
coming into force in 1831; rural Basje, In 1832;
Valais, 1839; Lucerne, 1841. 'Valals, in 1842,
passed a' measure referring all laws to the
people, but tho peoplo , voted against the law.
Vaud; in 1845, and Berne, in 1846, adopted
tho optional referendum. In 1868, after an agi
tation largely led by the socialist, Karl Burkll,
the Compulsory referendum was adopted and the
initiative, if one-third of the members of the
great council, or 3,000 citizens, demanded it.
Thurgau, Berne, Schaffausen, soon followed, till
tho referendum exists today in all the Swiss
cantons except Frlbourg. Ten have the com
pulsory, eight the option referendum, six the'
landsgomeinde, The federal referendum was
established in 1874. The federal Initiative was
adopted by a vote taken July 5, 1891." - - w"7'
The government is attempting to cure a deficit
in the postal revenues by increasing the fate
on the advertising pages of magazines. Some
of the opponents of the Increase suspect that the
objedt of tho postofflce department is less in
tended for raising revenue and more for em
barrassing' the magazines which have been
prominent In reform work. Whether there is
any ulterior motive or not, it Is hardly wise to
begin an increase in revenues by such new im
positions until an honest effort has been mado
to correct the over-draft caused by excessive
payments to tho railroads. If the railroad
charges for carrying mafl "aro reduced to tho
level of their charges for carrying express, the
postofflce department will not have so much
difficulty making the receipts equal the expenditures.
The American Homestead, a monthly farm
journal of national scope, will be gent to all
Commoner subscribers, without additional cost,
who renew their subscriptions during the raontiv
of March when this notice is mentioned.
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