The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, November 01, 1913, Page 5, Image 5

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The Commoner
Governments Can Endure Only by Consent of the Governed
The President, at Swarthmoro College,
Swarthmore, Pa., October 25, 1913.
Your Excellency; Mr. Clothier, Mr. President:
That greeting sounds very familiar, and I am
reminded of an anecdote told of that good artist
but better wit, Oliver Herford. On one occasion
being seated at his club at lunch a man whose
manners he did not very much relish came up to
him and slapped him on the back and said,
"Hello, Ollie, old boy, how are you?" He looked
up at the man somewhat coldly and said, "1 don't
know your name and I don't know your face, but
your manners are very familiar." The manners
exemplified in that cheer are delightfully
I find myself unaffectedly embarrassed today.
I "want to say, in sincere compliment, that I do
not like to attempt an extemporaneous address
following so finished an orator as the one Who
has just" taken his seat. Moreover, I am some
what confused as to my identity. I am told by
psychologists hat I would not know who I am
today if I did "not remember who I was yester
day; but when I recollect that yesterday 1 was
a college president, that does not assist me in
establishing my identity today. On the .con
trary, this very presence, the character of this
audience, this place with its academic memories,
all combine to remind me that the greater part
of my active life has been spent in companies
like this, and it will be difficult for me in what
follows of .this address to keep out of the old ruts
of admonition which I have been accustomed to
follow" in the role of College president.
No one caii stand in the presence of a gather
ing like this., on a day suggesting the memories
which this day suggests, without asking himself
what a college is. for. There have been 'times
when I have aUBpected that certain undergradu
ates did not know! I remember that in days of
discouragement as a teacher I gratefully recalled
the sympathy of a friend of mine in the Yale
faculty who said that after twenty years of
.teaching he had copie to the conclusiQn that .the
tiuman 'mind had" infinite resources for resisting
., the introduction of knowledge. Yet I have my
serious do.ubts as to whether the main object of
B, college is the, introduction of knowledge. It
. may be t;ke transmission of knowledge through
the lmman system", but pot much of it sticks.
Its introduction is temporary: it is for the disci
pline, of the hour. Most of what a man learns in
college he assiduously forgets afterward. Not
because he purposes to forget it, but because the
, crowding events of the days that follow seem,
somehow, to eliminate it.
What a man ought never to forget with regard
to a college is that it is a nursery of principle
and of honor. I can not help thinking of William
Penn as a sortof .spiritual knight who went out
upon his adventures to carry the torch that had
been put in his hands, so that other men might
have the path illuminated for them which led to
justice and. to liberty. I can not admit that a
man established his right to call himself a college
graduate by showing me his diploma. The only
way he can prove it is by showing that his eyes
are lifted to some horizon which other men less
instructed than he have not been privileged to
see. Unless he carries freight of the spirit, he
has not been bred where spirits are bred.
This man Penn, representing the sweet enter
prise of the quiet" and powerful sect that called
themselves Friends, proved his right to the title
by being the friend of mankind. He crossed the
ocean, not merely to establish estates in America,
but to set up a free commonwealth In America
and to show that he was of the lineage of those
who had been bred1 in the best traditions of the
human spirit. I would not be interested in
celebrating the memory of William Penn if his
conquest had "been- merely a material one. Some
times we- have been laughed at, by foreigners
in particular, for boasting of the size of the
. American continent, the size of our own domain
as a nation? for they have, naturally enough,
suggested that we did not make it. But I claim
that every race and every man is as big as the
thing that he takes possession of, and that the
size of America is in some sense a standard of
r the size and capacity of the American people.
And yeE the mere extent of the, American con
quest is not what gives America distinction in
' the annate of .the world,, but the professed- pur
pose of the conquest which -wa-tp see to it that
every foot of this land should be the home of
-free, self-governed people-who -should have no
government whatever which did not rest upon
the consent of the governed. I would like to
believe that all this hemisphere is devoted to the
samo sacred purposo and that nowhere can any
government endure which is stained by blood or
supported by anything but the consent of the
The spirit of Ponn will not be stayed. You
can not set limits to such knightly adventurers.
After their own day is gone, their spirits stalk
the world, carrying inspiration everywhere that
they go and reminding men of the lineage, the
lino lineage, of those who have sought justice
arid right. It is no small matter, therefore, for
a college to have as Its patron saint a man who
went out upon such a conquest. What I would
like to ask you young people today Is, I low
many of you have devoted yourselves to the like
President Wilson issued IiIb first
thanksgiving proclamation, naming
Thursday, November 27, as a day de
voted to gratitude for the people's bless
sings. The proclamation reads:
"The season is at hand in which it has
been our long respected custom as
a people to turn in praise and thanks
giving to Almighty God for his manifold
mercies and blessings to us as a nation.
The year just passed-has been marked by
manifestation of his gracious and benefi
cient providence. We not only have had
peace throughout our own borders end
with nations of the world, but that peace
has been brightened by multiplying evi
dences of genuine friendship, of mutual
sympathy and understanding und of the
happy operation of many devating in
fluences both ideal and. of practice.
' '
"The nation not only -has- been pros
perous, but has proved its capacity to
take calm counsel amidst the rapid move
ment of affairs and deal with its own-life
in a spirit of candor, righteosness and
comity. Wo have seen the practical
completion of a great work at the
Isthmus of Panama, which not only ex
emplifies the nation's abundant resources
to accomplish what it will, and the dis
tinguished skill and capacity of its public
servants, but also promises the begin-,
ning of a new age, of new contacts, new
neighborhoods, new sympathies, new
bonds and new achievements of co-operation
and peace.
" 'Righteousness exalteth a nation,'
and 'peace on earth, good will towards
men' furnish the only foundations upon
which can be built the lasting achieve
ments of the human spirit. The year
has brought us the satisfaction of work
well done and fresh visions of our duty,
which will make the work of v.he future
better still.
"Now, therefore, I, Wooodrow Wilson,
president of the United States of America,
do hereby designate Thursday, the
twenty-seventh of November, next, as a
day of thanksgiving and of prayer and
invite the people throughout the land to
cease from their wonted occupations and
in their several l.omes and places of wor
ship and render thanks to Almighty God.
"In witness whereof I have hereunto
set my hand and caused the seal of the
United States to be affixed. '
"Done at the city of Washington this
twenty-third day of October, in the year
of our,Lopd one thousand nine hundred
and thirteen, and of the independence of
the United States of America ttie one .
hundred and thirty-eighth.
- By the president:
W. J. BRYAN. (Seal),
"Secretary of State."
adventure? How many of you will volunteer to
carry those spiritual messages of liberty to the
world? How many of you will forego uny tiling
except your allegiance to that which Is Just and
that which Is right? Wo dlo but once, and w
die without distinction if we arc not willing to
die the death of sacrifice. Do you covet honor?
You will never get It by serving yourself. Do
you covet distinction? You will get It only '
the servant of mankind. Do not fofgot, tb$n,
as you walk these classic places, why you r
here. You are not hore merely to prepare to
make a living. You are hero In ordor to enable
the world to live moro amply, with greater vIrIsh,
with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.
You are here to enrich the world, and you Im
poverish yourHolf if you forget the errand.
It seems to mo that there Is no great difference
between the ideals of the college and the Ideala
of the State. Can you not translate tho one
Into tho other? Men have not had to come to
college, lot mo remind you, to quaff tho fountain
of this inspiration. You arc merely more privi
leged than they. Men out of overy walk of life,
men without advantages of any kind, have seen
tho vision; and you, with It written largo' upon
every page of your studies, arc the more blind
if you do not see It when It Is pointed out. You
could not be forgiven for overlooking It. They
might have been. But they did not await in
struction. They simply drew tho breath of life
into their lungs, felt the aspirations that must
come to every human soul, looked out upon their
brothers, and felt their pulses beat as their
fellows' beat, and then sought by counsel and
action to move forward to common ends that
would be crowned with honor and achievement.
This Is the only glory of America. Lot overy
generation of Swarthmoro men nnd women add
to the strength of that lineage and tho glory of
that crown of life!
Thirteen out of tho forty articles that ciiter
into the primary cost of living have been taken
off the dutiable list and placed on the free Hat by
the now democratic tariff law. Two only of tho
forty wore on the free list as arranged by the
republicans. In but one of tho forty was ho
chango made by tho democrats, but In evory
other item tho reduction ranges from 30 to 70
per cent. Does anybody really doubt that the
cost of living will be reduced under such conditions?
The Trust Question Next
The President and Congress will soon be ready
to take up the trust question, the next question
that demands decisive action. The President
has not yet outlined a detailed policy, but he
has given us the principle which will guide him,
and that leaves us in no doubt as to the course
he will pursue. In his speech of acceptance he
reiterated the position taken in four Democratic
national platforms, namely, that a private
-monopoly is indefensible and intolerable. As
he has an excellent understanding of the English
language no one understands it better--he
knows what words mean and how to use them.
Since he regards a private monopoly as inde
fensible, we can assume that he will not attempt
to defend it, and as he believes a private
monopoly intolerable, we can assume that he
will .not tolerate it.
The Democratic party is the only party that
ever dared to lay the axe at the root of the tree
and attack the principle of private monopoly.
Both the Republican party and the Progressive
Republicans have dealt timidly with the trust
question; both of these parties have had promi
nent representatves of the trusts among their
leaders. The Democratic party is able to deal
with the subject from the standpoint of the
people, and it will stand behind the President'
in his effort to secure legislation that will make
a private monopoly impossible. .., -
Governor Hiram Johnson of California is quite
.sure that there will be no amalgamation of the
republican and progressive parties even tUewr
tho Sherman law cannot be stretched to iakttrtt
any restraints in political trades. Mr. JehiiMft
is apparently insistent that when he -eatri ,'!(
a partnership that the other fellow kafe m
thiag more than experience to contribute tO'Jtk
capital account.
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