The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, October 27, 1911, Page 7, Image 7

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The Commoner.
OCTOBEHt iV? 1911
Chairman and Gentlemen: My feeling at being
called upon this occasion is only marred by a
feeling which I muBt frankly confess to you, that
it would have been the proudest moment of my
life, Mr. Record, if I could like you, have
opened the meeting which I believed is destined
to be historic in the annals of our republic.
Some six or eight weeks ago a distinguished
senator tried to bo humorous in the senate, an
unfortunate combination in the lack of humor
in the senator and the lack of sympathy in sur
roundings. I enjoy humor but I don't like my
contemplation of humor to be disturbed by the
creaking of the pump handle when it is wrung
out by the force pump process. This senator
thought he would be humorous by distinguishing
between the progressive and the reactionary and
so ho said 'the reactionary is one who when ho
stopB can never start again, and that the pro
gressive is one who when he gets started can
never stop, and tho sage, calm temperament of
New England forced a smile, not so much at
the humor as from tho sense of obligation to the
senator to the portrayal of the setting.
"This distinction, however, is correct and it is
a great racial significance in the race from
which you spring. Long ago in the history of
northern Europe there arose that spirit pro
jecting itself. You see that race moving west
ward overcoming every physical opposition.
You see It working along the northern shore.
You see it take possession of England and in
its more tempestuousness finally- brave the
rigors of the Atlantic and found a republic upon
this continent. Thank God you and I belong to
a race that when it gets started It never knows
how to stop. Out of the great problems wrought
in the history of tho republic there came a
crisis when a party was founded, a party that
you and I wore proud of down to a year ago
last spring. (Applause.) I am here today to
stir up no unnecessary' animosity but I am here
today to speak in tones that will not be mis
understood or mistaken. During those years
from the foundation of our party down to the'
spring of 1909, making allowance for those
imperfections inherent in human nature, our
party in the hands of the 'American people was
the great instrument which fairly well solved
the problems as they came face to face with the
development of 'our republic. But, my friandg,
nonparty can'Jive upon the mere story- of its
achievements. If there is one fundamental es
sential of republicanism it is that spirit of pro--gress
in harmony with the best Interests of this
republic which It inherited from the story of
migration to revolution, war to sacrifice, that
finally found its fruition in the establishment of
this republic.
"During those years we met some of the
gravest problems of history and it Is a proud
thing for every republican to cherish that dur
ing fifty years of the most momentous hiBtory
In all the annals of the world save that period
which covers - the advent of Christianity, his
party was the instrument used to solve these
"We stand today at the threshold of a new
and distinct movement involving no principle
that has not been either outwardly or inwardly
fundamentally republican.
"Your chairman has spoken of that more
acute stage of tho question which presents
Itself today. It is the same story, the same
Question. Abraham Lincoln in 1861 amid the
dark clouds of civil strife realized as well as
&ny American realizes today that African slavery
was a mere Incident to the struggle of the ages
find that struggle of the ages from time to time
presents the same great fundamental problem
put presents it in a different aspect today. The
problem today is whether the American people
.will be able to take back that which they have
surrendered in government, to re-clothe itself
with that power with relation to the govern
mental policy that was Inherent and natural
in every government and by so doing serve all,
or whether they shall allow that few who
through the prostitution of their government
have put the government of the great republie
m. the interests of a few.
"Now this gathering means that the people
are resolved that the people themselves shall
role and the people ruling, ruling will be in the
interest of general welfare. (Applause.)
"Against this effort is that reactionary spirit
Which has been in part yrlthin onr party as it
fcaa within every party-and within every human
agency. It would seem as though the minority
Bourbon spirit that has claimed the party, part,
And parcel, would read the handwriting on the
.wan, but, my friends, there is a common tie
that binds Bourbonism wherever it exists
BVhether facing the terrors of the French revolt-
tlon, whethor sitting on tho crumbling throno
of Spain, or whethor finding a place and seeking
power within tho political agencies of this re
public, that common tie is its blindness. Tho
Bourbon wherever ho is, is blind. All blind men
are not Bourbons but all Bourbons aro blind.
It would scorn as though tho warning that came
from rock-ribbed Maine, from tho groat state
of Massachusetts, from Now York, from Wcat
Virginia and tho warning that fairly shook
Pennsylvania until she was rocked in a storm,
the warning that involved tho loss of Ohio by
100,000 last year, would have been warning
enough for blind Bourbonism. But, no, that
was not sufficient. On tho heels of that camo
tho splendid victory last week from tho state of
"And still Bourbonism sits chattering to itself
that this is a mere momentary impulse of tho
"Now, my friends, in this movomont permeat
ing the rank and file of tho republican party
from one ocean to tho other thero still remains
one thing to bo done. Tho human is so constituted
that he over requires a symbol which shall stand
as an outward expression of tho faith within
"If today we could part the curtain that falls
in mystery on tho pagan faith we would find tho
pagan temple drawn with a pagan imago and
bo, in Its Inception in the outward expression
of the faith, wo deal in tho pagan mind. Nations
could not live without a banner, and so humans,
no matter how determined or how broad spirited,
they must havo something around which tho
purpose and policy may cluster. I am one who
has minimized the individual in the current of
human affairs, and yet I recognize that man is so
constituted that ho must havo something of the
human to stand for tho purposes within, and
after all, my friends, if we wanted to epitomize
the historic achievements of our party, in order
to do It by name we would look back thero a half
a century and wo would see 4,000,000 of human
beings hold In bondage; wo would see the at
torney general of the United States, with that
solemnity that always attaches to Bourbonism
solemnly advising the president that there was
no authority in the constitution to hold tho
union together.
"We see an uprising of the peoplo, wo see the
strife, the sacrifice we see thq shackles fall from
those 4,000,000 slaves, yet we could read it all
in ono short name, the name of Abraham Lin
coln. ( Applause.)
"We view another scene when depression over
spread our land, when strong men begged for
work and begged in vain, when tho bats wero
building their nests in tho chimneys of the mills.
We see theTe another transformation, we hear
tho whirr of the wheels, wo see tho smoke pour
forth from the chimneys, we see the man re
turning home at night with the fruits of toil in
the wages he has earned, and yet that could
be summed up in one name, the name of Wil
liam McKinley. (Applause.)
"We see another picture. Wo see a groat
people so engrossed in commercialism that the
higher ideals seem to havo been lost to view.
We see an abatement of the best and purest in
public life. We see a change come over tho
scene. We see a people, grasping for higher
ideals, wo see men brought to tho bar of justice,
we see organized effort in behalf of the people
to hold in check those giant forces that have
been developed in our midst, and, while we
might spend hours upon that picture, it is all
epitomized in one man's name, the name of
Theodoro Roosevelt. (Applause and cheering.)
"We see another picture. In a sister state, a
state that I can speak of with some authority,
having in my younger days seen, witnessed and
felt the brutal tyranny of the bi-partisan forces
that held Wisconsin in its clutch. We see one
man brave enough to defy that force, we see
him call down upon himself the bitter hostility
of that force. Every sinister effort is arrayed
against him, but he carries on his fight unflinch
ingly not tho wild fight of a dreamer, but the
struggle of one who, I have no hesitation in say
ing, in my humble judgment, is the greatest
constructive statesman of his age. (Applause
and prolonged cheering.)
"By their fruits ye shall know them, is the
highest law ever given to man for the test of
truth. (Applause.) Can it be said of a mas;
who, for a quarter of a century strews his path
way with those enmities horn of the struggle
in Wisconsin, and then receives a verdict of
100,000 majority, that his views were unsound?
No,, lacking In that share of personality which
some possess, stern, and rugged in his nature,
fearless and defiant in his fight, when that man
received last year (although his own" voice
silonccd on tho bed of pain) a ono hundrod
thousand majoritry, it was a tributo to tho wis
dom and tho soundness of tho pollclos for which
ho had stood. (Applause.)
"I don't know 1 don't like to montlon names
(laughter), but you havo got nn old gontloman
In this stato who sayB ho would llko to hang
men llko mo (laughter) I cherish no hostility
bccaiiBO I do not hold him accountable for what
ho says (laughtor) ; but among tho othor inur
murlngs of barbarism Is tho assertion that wo
men havo disrupted tho party. As an answer to
that challongo put tho 100,000 majority last
year of Bob La Follotto In Wisconsin (npplauso),
against tho 100,000 rolled up ngainst us In the
stato of Ohio. I care but Uttlo for tholr muttor
ings and their chattorlngs, and yet I do think
tho time has como whon wo as republicans
ongagod In tho strugglo of caving a party from
Bourbonism, should meet their challenge by
pointing to the states whoro Bourbonism lost
in the Inst campaign as the local leadership of
tho republican party.
"Wo pans from Wisconsin to the Amorlcan
senate A fow years ago, if thero was a close
corporation on tho earth it was tho Amorlcan
sonato. Tho ipsit dixit was binding, and to chal
lenge its correctness was troason. Its business
was boing conducted behind closed doors, but
thoro camo a change in tho sonato. Tho door '
of tho conferenco committee has been thrown
open, and tho Amorlcan sovereign now can know
what his servant is doing in conferenco work.
Of all that has been accomplished in the last
two yoars in its fundamental rolation to funda
mental progress that victory overshndows all
else. (Applause) The years of this man's ser
vices rolled by, and, as In Wisconsin, you could
not if he was In his grave repeal a law that he
ever helped to put on the statute of that stato;
so today you could not repeal a law, nor can
Bourbonism forever successfully contend against
tho proposed laws advocated by that same man.
(Applause.) Again, we havo a symbol, and that
picture is 'all epitomized in ono man's name, the
name of Robert M. La Follotto. (Prolonged ap
plause.) "I believe for one I of course voice only my
opinion, because Jt is fundamental in this move
ment that men have a right to their opinion,
and tho right to express it without boing de
nounced as traitors. (Applause.) My own opin
ion is that this great uprising, this forco that
is betraying Its presence from ono ocean to tho
other, will wasto itsolf In internal faction and
discord, unless, as in all respects of human
affairs, we take a symbol around which to
rally and within which to crystallzo our forco
and our purpose. (Applause.)
"Now tho chairman has well said that wo
could not today anticipate all the Issues of tho
future. No platform can bo drawn that will
anticipate and meet them all. But as in
the past, men llko Lincoln, McKinley and
Roosevelt took tho place of the necessity of
detail in all respects In platform, so Robert M.
La Follotto in his own llfcwork, in his grand
and triumphant achievement, is in himself a
platform that represents the progressive spirit
of the republican party. (Prolonged applause.)
"Now thero is a difference between violated
pledges and pledges redeemed, and tho American
people are not satisfied with violated pledges
even though in deathbed repentance it bo
promised that they shall eventually bo carried
out, (Applause.) Tho American peoplo de
mand that there bo genuine sincerity in pledges,
and there is no sincerity equal to that of
achievement itself. Some men in public life
must sink a plummet into tho current of Ameri
can thought and purpose to catch its drift, to
measure its depth and moasuro its force. Such
men may bo safe and they may not, but there is
ono man who docs not require to sink a plummet
into the currentof American thought and purpose,
neither to measure its force, to sound Its depth,
or to ascertain its directions; for the very In
carnation of all that is best in American thought
and purpose is Robert II. La Follette himself.'
Minden (Neb.) Courier: Archbishop Ireland
calls the initiative and referendum democratic
madness. Being a republican they could not
very well be anything else. Being a republican
he is in favor of limiting the power of the people
instead of giving them more. He says: "W
trust the people when they treat matter with
which they are conversant." He would no
doubt like to have the class to which ho be
longs have the power to determine what matters'
the people were conversant with, and the final
verdict of such egotists would be, that thoy
were not competent to treat upon any question.
I -.l j, ,M.a adlxi MiU")