Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 1, 1915)
Mr. Bryan's Lecture
Tho following report of an Interview con
cerning Mr. Bryan's lecture on "The Causeless
War," appeared in the Hutchinson, Kansas,
News, of August 26, 19i5.
Napoleon Bonaparte ate fried onions for
breakfast and made war.
William Jennings Bryan eats fried onions for
breakfast and makes peace.
The reporter intercepted the great pacifier
just as he was about to enter tho Bisonto hotel
dining room this morning at 8:30 o'clock. The
former secretary of state said he would talk
while waiting for his breakfast.
It was then that the fact was discovered that
the Commoner has a trait of the Conqueror :a
fondness for French fried onions, for, of course,
Napoleon always took his French fried.
"Is there anything special I could have pre
pared for you, Mr. Bryan?" enquired P. J. Ma
guire, manager of the hotel, "there is plenty of
time before your train."
Nebraska's most famous son said: "If it's not
too much trouble, and if there is plenty of time,
I'd like to have a plate of French fried onions."
Then he ordered a breakfast of coffee, Bliced
tomatoes, lamb chops and graham, muffins. He
afterwards added soft boiled ejjgs.
WHAT BRYAN LECTURES ABOUT
After glancing at a morning paper for a few
minutes, Mr. Bryan turned to the reporter and
"Now, what was it you wanted to ask me?
What would you have me talk about?"
"Peace and war, anything you may say."
"I am speaking on 'The Causeless War' in
my Chautauqua work, perhaps you had better
ask me what arguments I am using."
"All right," assented the reporter.
The former cabinet member settled himself
a bit more comfortably in his chair, and then
began his interview,, speaking with, clearness,
even between bites after his breakfast was
THE TRIAL'S OF NEUTRALITY
"The address which. I am delivering begins
with a description-of .the war aa it is, and Us
injury to neutrals," said Mr. Bryan. "The war
is without precedent in the number of men en
gaged, in the, cost of carrying it on, and in the
destructiyeness of the implements employed. Its
burdens fall uppn, neutrals as well as belliger
ents, trade is interrupted, ,new systems of .taxa
tion are resorted .to, and neutral nations, . in
stead of beingj able to devote their time to do
mestic questions, are kept busy .trying to keep,
out of, tho war.'
"We are maintaining neutrality, but .our
right's' are being violated by both sides, although
neither side wants ,to injure us, the injuries
which we suffer being incident to the fighting
of the war they are, waging against each other.
"The second part of the address is devoted to:
the false philosophy out of which war has grown,
namely, the doctrine that 'might makes right
This doctrine violates the moral law' on which
we rely for the protection of life and the safe
guarding of property it also leads to the en
dorsement of the doctrine of retaliation and is
the inspiring cause df the new' propaganda of
PREPAREDNESS WILL PROVOKE WAR
"Preparedness -as, now preached will provoke
war instead of preventing it. If preparedness
becomes a national pojicy, it must be put into
operation by those who believe in preserving
peace by force arid fear and these are the ones
who are now attempting to fasten on the country
the duelist's standard of honor. The prepared
ness now advocated is so expensive that the
country would not bear the burden unless con
vinced that wo were in danger of an attack, and
this leads to the naming of other nations which
are described as enemies and as planning war
with us. This preparation, therefore, -involves
the preaching of the gospel of hatred as a na
tional policy, and this would make the people
anxious for war by the- time they were ready for
"Then, too, we could not prepare against any
particular nation without stimulating that na
tion to prepare against us. This rivalry would
compel alternate increases until both nations
would bo overtaken by bankruptcy, financial and
moral, . ....--
TELLS THE WAY OUT
"The third part of the address deals with the
way out, or. tho road to permanent peace. The
m0,8,?1 of pcaco In Europe does not Ho in an
nihlllation of one side by tho other, or in the
dictation of terms by tho victors to the van
quished, but rather in the bringing of the coun
tries together in a spirit of friendship and fel
lowship that they may cd-operatc In working out
tho destiny of Europe.
"Our nation is the nation to act as mediator,
and must remain in a position to take itdvantage
of this opportunity when the time comes. Our
30 treaties furnish us with tho machinery
for keeping out of the war. They provldo for
the investigation of all questions, a year's timo
being allowed to tho investigations. We havo
treaties with four of tho belligerents. Groat
Britain, France, Italy and Russia, and the prin
ciple has been endorsed by Germany, Austria,
and Belgium. If, however, wo should fall to
secure the settlement of any dispute, it would
be better to postpone tho final settlement rather
than to .enter this war; first, because there
would be no difficulty in securing a peaceful
settlement when tho war is over, and second, it
would be better for us to havo our war by our
selves, if we are going to have any war, rather
than to become involved in the quarrels of Eu
rope. NO MAN KNOWS THE COST
"No man could say how much it would, coat
us in men or money to take part in this war.
More than 2,000,000 men have already been
killed, and we would have to play a man's part
if wo entered the war. I do not believe that tho
American people would 'bo willing to send sev
eral thousand young men to death to prevent
Great Britain from interfering with our com
merce with neutrals or to avenge the death of
a few Americans who went on ships which thoy
should not have taken into zones that they knew
to be dangerous.
"It is as much tho duty of a citizen to avoid
dragging his country into war as it is tho duty
of the nation to protect the rights of its citizens.
But greater than the objections based on tho
number that might be killed, or the money that
might be spent, is the objection based upon the
fact that we cease to be neutral whenever wo
become, a belligerent. If we enter this war, we
must turn over tp some nation an opportunity
such as, may never come again the opportunity
to claim the promise made to the peacemaker.
And by going into this war, we will alsp throw
away tho chance to use our influence in finding
a way to apply to international relations the
code of morals that we now apply as between
' THE PEOPLE DESIRE PEACE .
"I am sure that the American people dosire
a peaceful settlement of all our disputes, and
they should make their wishes known to tho
senators and membenrwho willhavti to vote on
the declaration of war.''
'CAN YOU BEAT IT?"
The Kansas City Star Is forging to the front
as a jingo. Its latest claim to . distinction is
based upon the discovery of a new argument In
favor of preparedness, namely, that the danger of
war with Gewnany being passed, we can now get
ready for ;war without having any reason at all
we can 'now prepare just for the pleasure of
it, and to give the builders of battleships, and
the manufacturers of arms and ammunition a
market when the present war is Over.
IS IT RETALIATION?
When Mr. Taft was president ho opposed a
tax on incomes an effort was then being made
to put a tax on LARGE incomes. Now ho ad
vocates a tax on SMALL incomes to pay for pre
paredness; is it possible that he is retaliating
on the voters with small incomes-because thoy
were against him and his policy?
Evidence continues to accumulate to prove
that the world does move. The New York state
constitutional convention is seriously consider
ing adopting a short ballot proposition, in which
the governor shall make all appointments ex
cept the lieutenant governor, comptroller and
Those republicans who have so thoroughly
convinced themselves that the country is in the
grip of hard times will save themselves quite a
shock if they continue to refuse to look at the
bank clearings, the railroad earnings and the
bank reserves of gold and currency.
Sneaking of preparedness; if the excited lead
the excitable, will not both fall into bankruptcy?
War and Anarchy
" On another pago will bo found a cartoon by
McCutchoou one of his best. It represents War.
and Anarchy and thoy look tho part. On the
breast of War is Written "Might Is Right," while
on tho breast of Anarchy you read tho same doc
trine "Dynamite is Right."
Where will you draw tho Hno? If might niakc
right In international nffairn, by what logic will
you cbnvlnco tho anarchist that might in not
right in controversies between individuals or be
tween tho individual and his government? When
wo adopt the doctrine that might makes right "we
aro ready to violate tho commandments; Thb
shalt not covet, thou shalt not steal, and tho
shalt not kill, for thero is but ono codo of morals.
When this codti is repudiated by nations it n
difficult to retain it as a guldo for Individuals. If
wo sow tho wind wo must expect to reap the
whirlwind. W. J. BRYAN.
WAR AND DUELING
It is Impossible to bind tho nations to keep
tho peace. Enduring peaco must como by per
puh&ion. It can novcr como by compulsion. Ev
ery peace schemo of a federation of states, an
international arbitration court, and the like, will
be futile so long as the nations individually be
lievo their highest interest in a given caso re
quires war. Dueling persisted long after it was
forbidden by law under heavy penalities. Any
man's highest interest is his own solf-rcspcct.
When his self-respect, reacting to tho dominant
opinion of tho community, required him to ac
cept a challenge, ho fought regardless of law.
Nobody saw tho stupidity of dueling more
clearly than Hamilton, or its cruelty brought
home to him by the death of his son. Yet he
mot Burr at Weohawkon, becauso to havo re
fused prevalent opinion of his time and class
being what it was--would havo cost him some
thing dearer to him than life. A man like Ham
ilton,' reacting to that state of opinion, would
have fought regardless of any law or penalty.
Short of physical restraint, it would havo been
Impossible to bind him to keep tho peaco. Time
soon came when prevalent opinion rejected duel
ing as merely stupid and brutish; when the
duelist was regarded not as a nian of lienor but
as a troublesome fool. When that tftato 6t
opinion provailod no law was necessary to pre
Certainly nothing has been made clearer In
the last year than that European nations still
believe their highest interest in given cases re
quires war. As long as that idea prevails it is
impossible to bind the nations to keep the peace.
Timo will come; wo firmly believe and in the
not very distant future when war will bo re-'
Jected by civilized 'nations, Just as dueling has
been by Individuals; not because It involves loss'
o'f life andmoney, for many things richly worth
while involve loss of life and money, but because'
under modern conditions it Is stupid and futile,
always defeating itself; always costing more
than can be gained by it. Reducing military
operations to the mere police status of restrain
ing a Haiti or a Mexico will then come about,
of itself. Saturday Evening Post.
Governor Brumbaugh of Pennsylvania Is Re
ported to be organizing a machine in that state
that has for its object the unhorsing pf Boles
Penrose and the sending to the next national
convention of a delegation pledged to support
Brumbaugh for president instead of Penrose. If
Brumbaugh can do that he will have added 'a'
considerable number to the list of those who
still believe in miracles.
WHY NOT NATIONAL HIGHWAYS? .
Instead of doubling our expenditures for the
army and navy, why not use the extra money on
national highways? The time has come for th&
United States to develop a system of national
highways permanent hard roads which will
connect all sections of the country and form
the arteries of trade and travel. The states can
extend these highways to tho counties and the
counties can complete the" system. In time
these roads will lift the mud embargo and bring
our people nearer together an advantage so
cially and politically, as -well as economically.
The democratic congress soon to assemble
should take the initiative by creating a national
highway commission to report upoii the plan and
cost of such a system as will meet the needs of
the present and future generations.
W. J. BRYAN.
Powered by Open ONI