The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1914, Page 2, Image 2
Hiw The Commoner VOL. 14, NO. 4 K : - T 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 TUB DEMOCRATS and A MAJORITY OF THE 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. T HIE "SURRENDER TO ENGLAND" 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 exist." 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 fuge. SUBSIDY OR NO SUBSIDY 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 people? 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 BE CALLED AGAIN TO THE FACT THAT VERY FEW OF THE ROUTES BETWEEN ANY TWO PORTS ON THE ENTIRE ATLANTIC AND GULF COASTS ARE SERVED BY MORE 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 why FOUR-FIFTHS OF THE REPUBLICANS in congress voted AGAINST the repeal of the riS?8' WhUe F0UR-FIFTHS OF THE DEMO CRATS in congress joined the president in favoring the repeal of the law ggantfng bounties. THE PRESIDENT'S APAft 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. TITE UNITED STATES AS A WORLD TOAVER 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!" . W. J. BRYAN.