The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 01, 1914, Page 14, Image 14

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The Commoner
rVQL.. 14,-NO- 12
open llko fountains to pour for them the re
freshing water in the dcHort? Hut, onco across
the Jordan, all this ceased; thenceforth they ate
their bread by the sweat of their brows. They
had passed from being carried to being con
querors. That is what these stones, standing
gray and silent, day and night before the Jewish
people, meant. They meant that the children
wero to hold and preserve what the fathers had
bequeathed to them. And when, today, we aro
asked ''What means this stono of Plymouth?"
"what moans this one day that juts into tbo run
of days as Plymouth Rock into tho crash of tho
sea, let this same answer be ours; it means that
wo, tho descendants of those who dared all for
political and personal religious liberty, are to
hold and preservo what they held dear, what
they deposited upon theso western shores, that
bleak, December day, cold and cheerless, the
waters of Plymouth bay, dark and angry,
snarling with tho white tooth of the foaming
waves about thoir vessel, on all sides the un
broken forest, gloomy and unknown, contain
ing incredible hidden dangers, the cold wind
among the pines moaning a threatening warn
ing and a sad lament anticipatory of the suffer
ings to be borne. To them, what to a coward
would havo been a refusal, was God's invita
tion. They accepted it roverontly, gratefully,
trustingly. Soon tho block house rose; around
it the log houses wero built; and, like the ever
spreading ripplo on the water into which a ston0
has been cast, that little circle of Puritan life
spread out from tho rough bay into which God
dropped it that long ago 21st of December, till,
with resistless power it holds the world within
its circumferenco today.
What did they deposit here? As we this
morning look back, oh, so proudly to the Puri
tans, wo can not fail, I think, to be impressed
with this indubitable fact they made thG spirit
ual life first. Temporal prosperity was no con-
sideration whatever with those men and women
of tho Mayflower. This does not mean they
wor0 mere idealists; this does not mean they
wore visionary enthusiasts; this does not mean
they wore regardless of the needs of themselves
or others. They wero practical men; they were
man of affairs, far sighted, keen, wise. The oft
ridiculed but nono the less coveted by those who
do not havo it "Yankee shrewdness" can be
traced directly to those grand telling qualities
of the men and women who reared the first
Christian homes on these shores. But the spirit
ual was first;, tho spiritual was always regnant
with them. To the spiritual they made business,
education, government, everything, subservient.
They were organized in that "mean town of
Scrooby" that they might worship and serve
God truly; for that they went to Holland; for
that they braved the ocean; for that they came,
knocking with untrembling and imperious hands
at tho fast locked door of tho new world. Well
has Mrs. Hemans sung,
"What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, tho spoils of war?
They sought a faith's pure shrine."
I know it was their devotion to the spiritual
that later hung Mary Dyer in Massachusetts;
that advertised for sale in Salem Cassandra'
Soutlrwick; that begot tho Quaker legislation
of 1658. But tho pure gold is always enveloped
"with worthless ore; there is no rose without
its cruel briars; and when the gold or rose is in
tho realm of mind and soul, shall it not be ac
companied thero too by the environing excres
cences of the humanity that holds it. Admitting
all their faults, there can be no doubt that the
moving and controlling power of tho Puritans
was their devoticfn to the supremacy, the un
challenged supremacy of the spiritual; and that
from this flowed all the wondrous power which
'has permeated American life and .institutions;
to that subserviency of the material to the spir-
itual all these. can be traced,, as the rivers, are,
traced to their mountain streams and springs. ',
What means this stone? What -means this
one day of the year? It moans a recollection of
th founders of the nation. But it means more
than that It means a review of the principles
as well as the persons on which our national
lifo wan founded. And it means even more than
this. It means that the descendants of the fa-
' therss shall preserve the optional' principles ihe
fathers gave. It means that this must still be a
people whose God Is not money, not power, not
upremacy among the nations of the world, not
pleasure or sensuous ease. Not the potent ma
chinations, or superficial, loud insistency vof dom
inant classes, but tho one eternal God. It means
that tho spiritual must still reign supreme in'
tho lifo of the American people.
Starting with this great foundation fact, the
fathers advanced to that memorable com
pact in tho cabin of the Mayflower; a
compact, says one, which "contains in its few
brief phrases the germ of all written constitu
tions." That compact laid down under all
American life this great principle; the for
tunes of life and tho opinions of individual men
must be held in obedience to common interests
and to the common good; that order was not
only heaven's first law but the law of society;
that obedience to lav tho will of the majority
properly expressed was to be the measure of
all individual right and all individual privilege.
Against this rock principlo of American lifo
and institutions, tho fierce waves havo hurled
themselves, from timo to time, with destructive
menace, as tho waves of the angry sea against
the Mayflower. Tho disregard for social com
pact, the disregard for law, the subserviency of
law to class Interests, the domination of polit
ical lifo by organizations of men with class in
terests at stake, and many other fierce waves, -beat
against this foundation of American life as
the wild waters of Plymouth bay rocked the com
pact in the cabin when those brave men put
their signatures to it. Is it not well then for
us to gather, for similar companies of people to
gather in cathedrals, in churches, in the meet
ing house in country villages from north to
south, from east to west and ask "What means
this day?" Is it not well to be told, "it means
that the vital principles of American life shall
be remembered, crowned with reverence, and
valiantly preserved against all that threatens
Revert once more, for just a moment, to the
scene with which wo started, the Jewish child
ren around the pile of twelve gray, stones. When
they asked "What mean these stones?" they
would not fall, I am sure, to carry away with
them one supreme, inspiring meaning. Could
any one tell them of tho past of their nation,
could any one warn them in their present and
not lay upon their hearts that this God, so won
derful in His deliverance, His providing, His
guiding, His sentinelling the nation through all'
its history, was still the God of Israel? 1 can
feel the joy that would impart to them; I can
share the pride that would inspire; I can thrill
as they thrilled to hear that although the fath
ers had passed, their principles remained as
these stones remained; that the God who inspired
them, who opened the way, was still with His
people. And I can feel it all, because that is
what this day means, to me; means or should
meanI pray you let it mean this to you.
Those stones from Jordan were potent remind
ers that God ruled; that the world belongs by
God given right to righteousness. When the
Hebrews entered the land beyond the Jordan
they entered a land that belonged to them It
seemed to belong to the wicked, th,e ignorant
the vicious who held it; these thought it was
theirs by right of possession. But God had H
long before tho wicked held it, and God's pos
sessions belong to His heirs, the children of God
Sometimes evil seems so regnant that we think
!!"Ue !T!iaitlle D?vil said to Christ in the tempta-
fo?;hnM?i0,J,W,,t rr?lD nie' a11 sha11 be thiie.
for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever
JiiSn6!' LBut ifc iB the Devil that saw
that, not God. The word of God is "the earth
is the Lord's and tho fullness thereof." And
just as God drove out ignorance and sin before
His people centuries ago. so God 'will do is
doing today It is not always easy in the smoke
and noise of battle to tell liow the battle is go!
tag; so it may be difficult to see in the conten
tions so apparent to us here or there that an
is still our God. But It Is true' Is re
sistlessly as the earth swings its God marked
path through the myriads of stars, does t e will
of God go its resistless way through -i?l Til
strifoind strugglo about it. iniougl1 a11 e
As you go away this morning, turn your evos
to- that ?reat 'shaft, peerless-for simple dLStv
and majesty, towering day and night into the
sky, be the sky golden with sunlight or W
with clouds; be the air a gentl fephyr tv
howling tempest. It may sway a fraction under
the pressure, it may yield a very little to the
heat or cold; hut there always, each state woven
m stone into its grand unity, .the monument to
the father of his country stands, silent strno
unchanging, rooted deep into earth, its hen,i
among tho stars, pointing to heaven. n
you see it this Thanksgiving morning "say to
yourself, "What mean those stones''" a(
from the far past some voice will sneak ti
eternal meanings of God to your soul
The New War Taxes
The emergency war tax bill, passed by con
gress October 22, went into full effect December
1. The purpose of the measure was to provide
an additional revenue of $105,000,000 with
which to make up the estimated deficiency that
would likely follow the shrinkage of revenues
on imports due to the European war. The tax
will bo in effect thirteen months, until December
ol, 1915.
Three classes of stamps are provided by the
government for the payment of the new taxes
One class will be for use only on proprietary
articles, another for winos, the third for docu
ments. The law provides heavy penalties for
failure to comply with tho provisions 61 the
act. For the information and convenience of
its readers The Commoner reproduces the fol
lowing schedule from the Philadelphia Public
Ledger, showing the kind and denomination of
stamps which must be used and on what they
must be placed:
The special taxes vrhich, though reckoned
from November 1, with payment extended' as
late as December 10, are as follows:
Brokers ; , . , oq
Pawnbrokers . . . . , ...'; . 50
Commercial brokers .-....- .''"'.' 20
Custom House brokers ...'.'' 10
Commission morchants 20
Proprietors of theatres, museums and
concert halls where an admission is
charged to be taxed as follows: ' ' ' "
Where the seating capacity is not more
than 250 'mmm $25
Seating capacity not more than 500 ! ' ' ' 50
Seating capacity not more than 800 75
Seating capacity of more than 800 100
.Proprietors of circuses . . . . . 100
Proprietors or agents of all other public
exhibitions or shows not; heretofore enu
merated io
Lecture lyceums (Chautauquas) agricul
tural or industrial fairs or exhibitions un
der the auspices of religious or charitable
associations are exempt from this. tax.
Bowling alleys and billiard ro'omsy for
each alley or table -. ...... :$5
Tobacco dealers, 50000 pounds annually $0
One hundred thousand pounds annually. . 3 2
Over 100,000 pounds annually. 24
Other tobacco dealers doing business of
?200 a year, a shop $4. SO
Tobacco manufacturers, 50,000 pounds a
year : $0
One hundred thousand pounds a year... 12
rwo'hundred thousand pounds a year... 18
Four hundred thousand pounds; a year. . . 24
One million pounds a year .00
Five million pounds a" year 300
Ten million pounds a year 000
Twenty million pounds a year ' 1200
Over 20,000,000 pounds a year 2490
Cigar manufacturers, 100,000 cigars a
year ; 3
Two hundred thousand cigars a Vea'r. ... 12
One million cigars a year 50
Five million cigars a vear 150
Twenty million cigars a year . . . 600
Forty million cigars a year. . . 1200
Oyer 40,000,000 cigars a year 2496
Cigarette manufacturers, 1,000,000 cigar
ettes a year , . 12
Two million cigarettes a year! '.'''!''' 24
Five million cigarettes a year 60
Ten million cigarettes a year. : 120
Eifty million cigarettes a year 600
One hundred million cigarettes a year. . . 1200
Over 100,000,000 cigarettes a year 2496
lhe war stamps, whose use is compulsory be
ginning December 1, .will be seenon av-ide va
riety articles. The stamp taxes follow:
Bonds, -debentures, certificates of indebt
edness by any association, company or
corporation, new issues, $100 par value.
Each .5c
Sales or agreements' to sell' 'stock, s'lOO
par value. Each 2c.
-Agreements of -sale of products 'oV mer-
cnandise or -exchanges, each $100. . . . lc.
Promissory notes, except bank notes for
circulation and reuewalr, each $100. . . 2c.
Bundles shipped by freight and express. . lc
lelegraph and telephone companies, on
r, efQ" messago over 15c ; . . ' lc.
certificates of profits of 'corporations, etc.",'