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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 1, 1915)
Maddened by Scent
It is now about a year since the St. Louis Re
public in a leading editorial proposed that tno
13th day of August be celebrated in this country
as Peace Day. Why? Because on that day 18
peace treaties were ratified by the United States
senate. These were 18 of the treaties, now num
bering 30, which provide fcr investigating all dis
putes of every kind and description. Four of
theae are made with the belligerent nations:
Great Britain, Italy, France, and Russia. Ger
many, Austria, and Belgium have approved of
the plan outlined in -these treaties, but the
treaties with them have not yet been completed.
The plan was offered to all nations and has not
yet been Withdrawn. This plan furnishes the
machinery by which this government can pre
serve peace with honor, and the treaties had no
more enthusiastic supporters a year ago than
the St. Louis Republic. But a change has come
over the spirit of the Republic. It is now shout
ing for blood, for war against Germany as
lustily as any of the members of the pro-ally
press. It scouts at the idea that an American
ought to avoid the danger zone and, by so doing,
keep this country out of war. It puts the legal
right of the American to consult his on con-,
venience above his obligation to consider his
Why this change? Is it. maddened by the
scent of blood? Is it an aroused brute instinct
that leads its editor to bellow at the sight of
red, or is he so much more interested in the
success of one of the belligerents than in his
own country's welfare that he is willing to
plunge this country into war, and sacrifice hun
dreds of thousands of brave men to establish
the right of an American to bo indifferent to the
interests of his own country and countrymen?
, If a distant war can cause such a transforma
tion in the Republic in one year, what could be
expected of it if we had a year of fighting in our
own country? ' ' ,
' "l" ' ,W. J. BRYAN.
The following appropriations have been made
for the army and navy during the past ten years:
1905 $ 97,505,140.94
this it will be
seen that we are now
spending two-hundred and fifty millions a year
on preparedness ten times as much as we
spend on the agricultural department that looks
after the interests of the farmers the largest
group in this, the greatest agricultural nation in
the world. Why should the expenditure for pre
paredness be doubled as the jingoes now demand?
Is it too quiet for the nerves of a few people who
have beqome excited by the 'war in Europe ?4
Or is it to give employment to hip builders and
the manufacturers of arms? No matter what
the excuse, the country can not afford to lose
its head and the people can not afford to tax
themselves unnecessarily to get ready for war
especially when the spirit of hatred engend
ered by the policy, of preparedness will inevit
ably lead to war. If we have any money to
spare there are any number of USEFUL objects
for which it may be spent. The preparedness
now being preached is not only needless, but
WHAT IF ?
Did you ever stop to think what would, hap
pen IF every depositor demanded his money the
same day, or IF everybody ordered the samo
kind of food at the same time, or IF everybody
went to sleep at once, or IF everybody committed
suicide the same moment. No, you know theso
things, while POSSIBLE, are not PROBABLE,
and therefore you go on about your work. But
these things are just about as probable as the
imaginary dangers that the jingoes are conjur
ing up as an excuse for frenzied preparedness.
Then and Now-Why this Change?
"AUGUST 10, PEACE DAY"
On August 13 eighteen peace treaties were
ratified by the United States senate. The Re
public has suggested that this date be cele
brated in the future as "Peace Day" in com
memoration of the ratification. In discussing
this suggestion Secretary of State Bryan points
out that "we have no partcular day set apart
for the consideration of matters connected
with the growing subject of peace."
Is there any reason why the American
Peace society should not fix upon August 13
as an annual "Peace Day" to be observed by
its members in all parts of the country? On
no other date so far as is known has world
peace taken a greater step forward. The
treaties are epoch-making in spirit and in
terms. They make war a remoter possibility
than ever before so far as the United States
The American Peace society has been in
existence for well-nigh a century. In all that
time there has been no one act on the part
of the United States that had more sig
.. nificance as making for national and univers
' al peace tllan'th'e ratification of these treaties.
The world will not soon forget the tu
: multous days of August, 1914. That month
will loom redly in the annals of strife. All
the more reason then that we should cele
brate August 13 as the anniversary of our
longest step away from the horrors of battle.
That date and deed, will stand out vividly
against the red background of the Old
World's wars. St. Louis Republic, 1914.
Mil. BRYAN'S CRAVEN' GOSPEL
Mr. Bryan, as expected, has seized the oc
casion of the sinking of tho Arabic to urge
xm the Amorican public those peculiar views
which led to his resignation from the cabinet.
He begins by admitting all of the contentions
of the administration as to tho rights of Amor
ican citizens In transit on the high seas and
ends by urging tho passing of laws to keep
Americans off the ships of belligerents and '
restrain the exportation of munitions of war.
In short, Mr. Bryan's policy is a policy of
"scuttle." He would advise that wo avoid
fighting for our rights by renouncing thom
whenever a bullying foreign power threatens
them. Shades of Warron and Putnam, of
Washington and Marlon and John Paul Jones!
Think of the bumptious folly, according to
this view, of the embattled farmors who fired
the shot heard round the world! Why did not
they pay those taxes to his Majesty George
III, and save their powder and their travail
of soul? Valley Forgo might have had rabbit
tracks over It In a certain long, hard winter,
instead of the footsteps of men whose feet
were done up in blood-encrusted rags. And
the heroes of Marathon and Thermopylae.
Just a few thousands In tribute to Persia
and there would have been no war!
The Union soldiers In tho civil war sang:
"John Brown's body lies molderlng In tho
But hiB soul goes marching on!"
The now gospel of Mr. Bryan ought also to
break Into song:
"Uncle Sam's rights have been trampled in
But his precious skin Is whole!"
There is no more un-American utteranco
oan American public man on record than
this craven counsel that wo forgot the tra
ditions of the great days of this republic, for
get the example of the fathers, f6rget the his
tory of patriots and patriotism and submit to
any abridgment of our rights which Germany
may insist upon In order to save our own
skins. If American security should be main
tained at such a price as that, Amorican citi
zenship would be no distinction, but a dis
grace. Wo thank God that tho resolute man
in tho White house for whose word the na
tion waits, harbors no such view of tho easy
surrender of national rights to avoid tho
trouble of defending them. St. Louis Repub
lic, Aug. 24, 1915.
REPLY TO ROOSEVELT'S INTERVIEW
Attention having been called to ex-President
Roosevelt's interview published in Sunday morn
ing's papers, Mr. Bryan, in an interview given
to Minneapolis papers, August 23rd, said:
"Yes, I have read Mr Roosevelt's Interview.
He insists that the breaking off of diplomatic
relations would not be harsh enough. He wants
deeds, by which I presume he means war. Well,
fortunately he does not now act for the Amer
ican people. If ho were president, we would
have been in this war long ago. The country
has reason to be grateful that we have as pres
ident a man who loves peace and who is trying
to find a peaceful way out of our disputes with
both Germany and Great Britain.
"The breaking off of diplomatic relations
would not help the situation; it would simply give
the jingoes an excuse to say and do things that
might make it more difficult to prevent war. It
is much easier to get into a fight then to get out
of it, and the people do not want war. They do
not believe that a cause of war exists. We can
not afford to send hundreds of thousands of
soldiers to death to avenge the death of a few
who took unnecessary risks. The obligations of
citizenship are reciprocal and our people should
have more regard for the country's welfare than
to travel on belligerent ships going through tha
war zone, especially while tho president is deal
ing with these diplomatic Questions.
"If they have no regard for the country, they
should be restrained. A mayor orders people to
keep off the streets while he is suppressing a
riot surely the president would be justified in
requiring Americans to keep out of the danger
zone while he is restoring respect for Interna
As the campaign of 1916 approaches is it not
worth while to consider the advisability of pro
viding by appropriation for tho legitimate ex
penses of the campaign? Tho public is inter
ested in the proper presentation o( the claims
of the various parties; why not set apart a sum,
say ten cents for each voter, for educational
work and divide it among the party organiza
tions according to the vote cast at the last gen
eral election? This would give all a fair chance
to bo heard and, would lessen tho influence of
Mr. Roosevelt recommended this some years
ago it is about the, only good thing advocated by
him that was not taken from a democratic plat
form. Tho plan is worth trying and The Com
moner commends the idea to the attention of
congress. W. J. BRYAN.
If you want to enlist two powerful Interests
against preparedness, just propose that tho in
crease in revenue demanded by the jingoes bs
met by an additional tax on whiskey and beer; or
will congress dare to lay it on the masses?
Not much satisfaction in sitting in a hole In
the ground watching for a chance to "snipe?
fellow mortal before he "snipes" you.
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