The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1914, Page 2, Image 2

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The Commoner
VOL. 14, NO. 4
: -
should obey, but ho takes a similar risk if he is
not willing to a8sumo responsibility for a change
of plan where conditions compel tho change.
If tho disobedience of tho subordinate ofllcer is
duo to cowardico or to tho substitution of a
selfish for a patriotic interest, ho is condemned;
hut ho is likewise to bo condemned if, either
from cowardico or because of a selfish interest,
ho permits tho interest of his country to bo
Jeopardized rather than live up to tho responsi
bilities which his position imposes upon him. In
tho case under consideration, tho president takes
tho responsibility for an official act which he re
gards as necessary to his country's welfare, and
tho people must decide whether or not he is
justified; and those who refuse to act with him
also assume responsibility and they too must
abide the judgment of tho public.
Such a change has taken place since the Balti
more platform was adopted. Had the democrats
in convention assembled been confronted by tho
condition which now exists and had they known
what those now know who voted for repeal, no
such plank would ever have been placed in tho
platform. Tho convention's attention was not
oven brought to tho fact that a majority of tho
democrats in tho house had voted against the
free tolls measure, and that it had, in fact, been
passed by a combination of A MINORITY OF
REPUBLICANS. Tho platform plank which is
now helhg worshipped as if it were the only
plank In tho platform was in reality a rebuke
to tho democrats in congress when tho conven
tion had reason to suppose that it was endorsing
tho action of a majority of the democrats when
it' endorsed the action of congress. It was more
than that; it was, in fact, though not upon its
face, an endorsement of tho doctrine of subsidy
which tho party had taken pains to denounce in
tljo same platform.
. Third, moreover, this plank of the platform
deals with an international question and must
ho accoptod with tho understanding that we act
jointly with other nations in international af
fairs. Even if tho plank had not been contra
dicted by another plank in tho platform; even
if it had not concealed a subsidy policy repug
nant to democratic principle aud history; even
if it had not robuked tho democrats in congress;
even jlf c-nditions had not, changed, still dealing
with an international question, it should be token
as the expression of a wish rather than aB tho
expression of a determination, for no nation can
afford to purchase a small advantage in tho face
of a universal protest. If a nation desires to
array itself against tho world, it should be sure
that tho thing which it is to gain is worth what
it costs.
Tho president, knowing that e.very commercial
nation except our own construes tho treaty as a
pledge of equal treatment, would have been
recreant, to his trust had ho failed to point out
to the American people that our diplomatic rela
tions would be seriously disturbed by the carry
ing out of tho free tolls policy.
The friends of free tolls gave conclusive proof
that they Wero conscious of tho weakness of
their position when, in opposing the repeal of
free tolls, they attempted to appeal to prejudice
rather than to reason. They charged with a
vqhemenco that increased as the case grew more
desperate that tho president was "surrendering
to England."
What has Groat Britain done to justify the
accusation that she is trying to dictate to this
country? She has simply called attention to tho
.terms of the treaty and asked for arbitration of
tho question of construction, in case this gov
ernment differs from tho British government in
the construction to be placed upon tho language
Tho very men who are so insistent upon con
struing the treaty to permit free tolls delayed for
months tho ratification of the treaty with Great
Britain because of their opposition to any arbi
tration of the subject. In other words, they con
strued tho treaty to permit discrimination and
then objected to allowing cny international court
to express an opinion upon tho subject If nR
a matter of fact, tho treaty grants the rlehil
which Great Britain claimed, is it a "surrendo
to Great Britain" for our nation to repeal a law
that raised that question? Tho repeal of tho
law can not bo construed o bo a construction of
tho treaty. It is simply a refusal on tho Z
of "the United States to raise that ques ?on in
that way. In tho controversy over the Welland
canal. Canada withdrew a discrimination which
she had made in favor of Canadian ships "in
order that no cause for friction' with the United
States authorities in regard to the matter should
Why cannot the United States withdraw a dis
crimination for tho same reason? When the
treaty involved was before the senate for ratifi
cation, an attempt was made to so amend it as
to permit a discrimination in favor of coastwise
vessels, but it was voted down by a decided ma
jority. With this record to support them, is it
strange that foreign nations question our right to
make an exception in favor of American vessels?
Before passing from this branch of the sub
ject it is worth while to remember that this is
not the first time democratic legislation in behalf
of tho people has been denounced as a "sur
render to England." Every time our party has
attempted to reduce the tariff we have been con
fronted with the charge that tho lowering of the
tariff would benefit England and that we were
surrendering our markets to foreign manufac
turers. This sham issue was raised by the bene
ficiaries of protection; they claimed to possess a
superior patriotism, but every well-informed
citizen knew that their real reason was not
patriotic but selfish. They were growing fat
through the taxation of the American people and
they attempted to appeal to prejudice merely to
divert attention from the real issue. It is a fact,
the significance of which will hot be overlooked,
that those who are using this "surrender to Eng
land" slogan now are using it to secure the same
sort of advantage that the protectionists secured.
This time the benefit is to go into the pockets of
tho owners of vessels engaged in the coastwise
trade, and knowing that they can not defend their
position with democratic arguments, the advo
cates of free tolls attempt to create a prejudice
against the nation which entered into a treaty
with us, and which happens, also, because of its
large shipping interests, to be the country most
interested in preventing discrimination. The
"surrender to England" argument is being used
now just as it has been used in the past and for
the benefit of the same selfish interests, but now
that the people have secured tariff reduction
they can no longer be frightened by this subter
When we come tq consider the repeal measure
upon its merits, there are just two questions to
bo decided:
First, is it desirable for the democratic party
to abandon its historic position and become the
advocate of subsidies and bounties? And sec
ond, if it is desirable, what is the democratic
party willing to sacrifice in international prestige
and in world influence in order to secure the ad
vantage which these subsidies promise to a few
No party can afford to adopt a principle with
out considering how far the principle extends or
what its adoption involves. In the past the
democratic party has been able to consistently
oppose every form of governmental favor be
cause it has stood for "equal rights to all and
special privileges to none." -It has not only op
posed the bounty when given directly, but it has
with equal earnestness opposed the bounty given
indirectly through a protective tariff. It has de
nounced as unconstitutional the voting of the
people's money into the pockets of the few who
can secure the ear of the legislator. Having
grounded itself upon a principle, it could follow
that principle wherever it applied and by its
steadfastness to that principle, it has converted
a nation. Suppose it now turns its back upon
that principle and embarks upon the subsiding
1 feI' vessels; where cart it draw the line'
ImCnfreCea?nnce established make it
difi cult for the party to oppose each new appli
cation of the principle which will be demanded'
If we are to give bounties to coastwise vessels
for one reason, we will bo aslced to give bounUes
to some other corporations for reaLns equally as
good; and the party's power to protect the pub
lic treasury will be paralyzed.
"With the exception of the Pacific coast triii
proper i was shown that the line ?rafilc is
handled by comparatively few companies Jd
that these are largely controlled by Sir oa is
and shipping consolidations. Thus in fi!!!!s
Atlantic and gulf coastwise tdewrtual of
all inland waterway and purely loca coVrlers)
54.5 per cent of the total number of steamers in
the trade and 61.9 per cent of the tonnage
Seven lines, operating 71 steamers of 175,971
gross tons in the coastwise trade, belong to the
Eastern Steamship corporation and the Atlantic
Gulf & West Indies steamship lines, and repre
sent in the aggregate nearly 30 per cent of the
total number of steamers and 32 per-cent of the
tonnage. Combining the two interests," it ap
pears that the railroads and two Atlantic coast
shipping consolidations control nearly 85 per
cent of the steamers and nearly 94 per cent of
the gross tonnage engaged in the entire Atlantic
and gulf coastwise trade. ATTENTION MAY
THAN ONE LINE (pp. 369-370, 382, 382)."
The 'law prohibits the use of the canal by
vessels when owned by railroads with which the
vessels would compete, but the' report shows
how these vessel owners have dealt with the pub
lic in tho past.
The advocates of free tolls argue that the sub
sidies voted to ships in the coastwise trade will
come .back to the public through, decreased
freight rates on the transcontinental lines. This
is the same old protectionist argument. This
reduction as a matter, of fact is improbable be
cause the water rate is so much below the freight
rate that the reduction of ?1.2.5 a ton in the
water rate will not compel a reduction in the
transcontinental rates. But even, if it could be
shown that free tolls would reduce transconti
nental rates, it should be remembered that these
rates, if excessive, can be reduced by the inter
state commerce commission. Why should we dis
turb our foreign relations in order to do at the
isthmus what we can dp djrectly by .regulation?
When the student of this subject understands
that the republican party is the friend of
bounties and that the democratic party is the
inveterate foe .of bounties, he .will understand
congress voted AGAINST the repeal of the
CRATS in congress joined the president in
favoring the repeal of the law ggantfng bounties.
The president's right to expect the" support of
congress when he deals with foreign nations is
so strongly presented in Congressman Palmer's
2X1 Jf ( 2 a?Peara on another page) that the
subject need not be elaborated here. The chief
executive speaks for the nation in international
affairs, and it is only fair to assume that he
speaks advisedly when he declares that inter-
wio! Tth thep nations is seriously em
barrassed by the free tolls law which he seeks
dePea i Th,ef democrats and republicans who
JfnPi e? t0 UiS appeal wiU fila lt easy t0 de
fend their course the burden, of proof will be
on those of either party who rejected his advice.
ho, if JhG democratic party were willing to
be guilty of apostacy to its principles; even if it
SSS Cn'inced that th republicans had been
g , in favoring subsidies and the democratic
ft hi imnB ? opposinS them, how much would
wnri?ifl B t0i)ay in natIoal prestige and in
Z L n"rC,6Ir the Allege .of following at
,edw G republica Procession on this
f " We ccPy today a proud position
pal n& "10 nations; we are the foremost advo
mmL n PfaCe and arbitration; we are becoming
ZZ nn mre a ,moral factor throughout the
tini ' pnCaA we afford to surrender this posj
nriSl JXS r aff0rd t0 bGlittle tn9 sreat enter
Fsthmus? reaChed its consmniation at the
tfiliLtnni niV.e8res t0 be measured by in
,1n? et?1Cal standards, how unworthy
that A?pSlfh P ?&?nstn and t0 threaten to use
aroLn ?S? in Wi are ready to fiSht" does not
tii?iP n in en,thufsla?m that it did a. few cen-
Which ffiS,nn?rUte"f?,Pee 1S n0t ttfl leVGl UPn
tho n i,St?nSaiUoil,8ett es lts controversies today;
weVuGOTntoBd?.0t Wlmt We AN d' but What
of IntioSw !!iStJVf, strewn with tbe wreck
ful- thev lt aSted i lat they wer all power
law "liS d?W? Under Jehvah's inexorable
iawf-and the "God who ruled over Babvlon is
blGe0cilaedll0onSm,Ulin,e y?' " Question must
counting o? ,S J2Pal pTIncPfe8. and not by the
What shall it ?,rnfifreeim?nt8 iind battleships,
whole 1 id nnfi f a n,f t!n U " conquers the
Urn? Xhf?d Ses ,its faith ,n the doctrine
that lighteousness exalteth a nation!" .