The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, January 01, 1917, Page 19, Image 19

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    W'V T"T-f -
The Commoner
Insurance tables. No city can afford to allow
an institution to be built up that can not live
except as It lessens the productive value of the
people of tho town. Wo would not license an
institution to spread disease among hogs; why
license saloons to spreads disease among men,
and by depraving this generation, close tho door
of hope to children before they see the light of
The economic argument should be convincing
even to those who are not open to the moral ar
gument; but there is a moral argument. There
is an awakening in this country; the conscience
of the people is being aroused, and the voters
are beginning to recognize tho moral responsi
bilities assumed by those who vote for the li
censing of the liquor traffic. You are going to
have a chance in this congress to vote on the
licensing of saloons in the District of Columbia;
you may have a chance to vote on the question
of submitting a prohibition amendment to the
people of this country. Let me ask you to re
member the responsibility that one takes upon,
himself who votes on the side of tho saloon.
There are three things that the saloon needs be
sides customers; it needs the capital to run it;
it needs the liquor to sell; and it needs the votes
that bring it into existence. The saloon can
not live without votes. The votes are as neces
sary as either the capital or the liquor. The man
who furnishes the capital receives his pay in
dividends, and his name is sometimes written
above the door. The. man who furnishes tho li
quor receives his profit on the liquor, and you
sometimes see his advertisement out in front of
the saloon. Tho man who furnishes the votes
is the silent partner. And what does he receive?
Nothing but the disgrace of being a partner and
sharing moral responsibility for the harm that
the saloon does.
I take it for granted that no member of con
gress would do a thing that he is asnamed to
write down and make a matter of record. Let
mo Buggest, therefore, a way in which you may
put yourself to the .test before you vote to li
cense a saloon anywhere. Take a pen and .ink,
and a piece of paper and write down "I (your
name) know that the saloon is an evil, and I do
not know who will conduct the saloons that will
come into existence as a result of my vote, but,
without knowing who the dftloon-keepers will
be and knowing that the saloon is an evil, I here
by declare my willingness to share moral re
sponsibility with those men, whoever they are,
for any harm that they may do in the conduct
of their business," and then sign your name to
it, and read it to your wife, and then frame it
and hang it on the wall!
I say to you, my friends, that the time is com
ing iB near at hand when the American peo
ple will refuse to become partners with those
who are in the liquor business.
The only arguments that they make today are:
First, that the government needs the royenue.
That argument can be used in favor of the li
censing of any evil. Someone has suggested
that burglars would give a larger percentage of
their collections, and the burglar only takes
loose personal property, while the saloon takes
from the., home, husband, fatherland son, and
would take wife, another, -and daughter if it
could; and the saloons kill a hundred where the
burglar kills one.
The second argument is that you can not en
force the law. Can they by such threats induce
you to become partners with those who boast of
their lawlessness? We have very few anarchists
In this country; as they are usually described
men who carry red flags, march in parades and
erak on street, corners and they do not have
much influence. The real Anarchists in number
and in power are the-men who stand behind the
1'quor interests, and -who tell you in advance that
thoy will defy your "government and disobey your
laws. These men ask you to be their partners
in this lawlessness!
Every big question as last becomes a political
Question. The parties may try to avoid it, but
do not let them delude you by telling you it will
disturb the harmony of the party to oppose the
saloon. ,1 need not tell you that the saloon dis
turbs the harmony of the party whenever you
attempt to do anything towards regulating it.
If they are. closing at twelve o'clock at night, and
ypu want them to close a't a quarter to twelve
o clock, you have a. contest on your hands; they
all profess to belicvo that tho liberty of tho
country is in danger. Wo had a fight in Ne
braska over closing at eight o'clock, and ono
man, doubtless conscientious in his position, and
very much alarmed for fear tho rights of tho
people would bo Invaded, kept count of tho votes
as thoy wero cast, and when ho found thnt a
majority had voted for tho law, he throw up his
hands and exclaimed, "My God, tho light of llb
'erty has gono out!"
Aro you afraid of disturbing tho harmony of
the party? As far back as 1908 tho liquor In
terests wero activo in several states; thoy cast
their votes according to their interests on tho li
quor question. In the state ot Indiana this year
tho liquor interests went into our state conven
tion, and, in spite of tho protests of two demo
cratic candidates f,or the senate and a democratic
candidate for governor, they forced a wet plank
into tho democratic state platform of Indiana;
and after they had smeared our party with tho
slimo of tho saloon, the voted tho republican
ticket! That is what you can expect always;
they will disgrace the party as long as thoy stay
in it and desert it whenever they can not con
trol it.
I owo all I am or hope to be politically to tho
democratic party. No man who ever lived in
this country was more indebted to a party than
I am to tho democratic party. It took n
when a young lawyer in Nebraska, without a
name that was known, and without fortune. It
made me a candidate for congress, and after
that a candidate for president; three times tho
democratic party has given me the nomination,
and it never cost mo anything to bo nominated
for president. They have made it possible for
me to accomplish whatever I have been able to
accomplish, and I would not be true to that
party if I was not willing to take any risk to
save my party from being buried in a drunkard's
If you want to know what party is to control
tho future, you must find out what party is draw
ing the young men from the colleges and schools,
for tho young men who enter the party today
will dominate it tomorrow. The democratic
.. party can not appeal to the young men of this
country if it allows itself to become the cham
pion of the brewery, the distillery and the sa
loon. Twenty-three states have already gono
' dry, and in the last campaign at least four more
indicated their endorsement of prohibition. Be
fore 1920 more than thirty states out of forty
eight will be dry. Today a majority of tho peo
ple of the United States live in dry territory.
Today a majority of tho representatives in tho
house have already voted in favor of a national
amendment. If there is any moral force in tho
doctrine that the people rule, then, when a ma
jority of the people, speaking through a majority
of their representatives, have declared against
the saloon, it is, from that day on, an outlaw,
and God forbid that my party shall be the cham
pion of an outlaw!
We glory in the last campaign. We not only
won all that we fought for, but we got a great
deal thrown in that we did not expect. One of
the richest blessings that came with this election
was the fact that it set the' democratic party free
from obligation to the Uquor interests. The
great wet cities were willing to turn this gov
ernment back to tho predatory interests, and it
was left to the prohibition states of the west and
south to save the party and the nation from tho
wet cities of the east. We had seventeen of the
twenty-three dry states. We had ten of tho
twelve states where women vote.
What shall we do in the next campaign? Shall
we -repudiate the people who gave us our vic
tory and cast in our lot with those who tried to
def eat us? Shall we part with these friends who
Baved us, in order to ally ourselves with those
who would have annihiliated us?
Now that -1s the position of the democratic
narty But, while taking the prohibition side is
an opportunity to us, it is a necessity to the re
publican party. The republicans lost out on the
old issues; they must find some issues that will
win back the states that have, until this year,
been republican. What issues have they? None,
except the prohibition issue. We are likely to
have a rivalry between the democrats and re
rl,,hiirans to see who will get there first!
P And if you will pardon me, I shall tell you a
story that some of you who live In the cities
Say not understand, but will be understood by
thoso who Hvo In tho country; it illustrates the
proposition that, when ono party starts on thfs
subject, tho other must, because neither party
can afford to have tho other dischnrgo Us liquor
element upon it.
Tho Btory is this: A farmer went to a veterin
ary surgeon to get somo inedicino for a horso
that had a soro throat, and tho doctor gavo tho
farmer somo powder and a long tin tube. The
man wont out with tho powdor and tube, but
came back in a little while looking ffcry much
"Did you follow my InstrucUons?" inquired
tho doctor.
"Doctor, I tried to," said tho farraor. "I put
tho tube down tho horse's throat, as you direct
ed, the end of tho tube at the placo that wan
sore, and was just about to blow tho powdor
onto tho diseased part, when tho horso coughed
and I tqok the mcdiclno!"
Now It makes a great deal of difference which
party blows first on UiIb subject! If tho demo
crats tako the lead they will drive tho men In
terested in the liquor traffic Into tho republican
party. ' Then the republican party will get all
our bad mon, and, goodness knows, they havo
enough bad men now without ours. But, If thoy
blow first, wo will get all their bad men, and
wo haven't room for any moro! These men stand
together; they know no los'alty to party; thoy
havo no Interest in anything except tho amount
they can make selling a thing they know to bo
injurious. If thoy will combine against the homo
in favor of the saloon, why should wo not com
bine for the homo against tho saloon?
Tho democratic party is the party of the peo
ple, and tho homo is tho people's citadel. Tho
democratic party can not afford to be untruo to
tho home, the unit of society. Therefore, when
the line is drawn, there is but one thing for the
democratic party to do, and that Is to tako tho
moral side of this question. I present It to you
as tho gospel of right; it is also the gospel of
The democratic party haB outlived tho taunt
that it is a whiskey party; it is perfectly re
spectable now for a democrat to drink no liquor
at all. A majority of tho states that aro dry go
democratic at every election. I appeal to you
as democrats, democrats who lovo your party,
democrats who want to put your party on tho
highway to success I appeal to you to put tho
democratic party on the side of tho mother, tho
child, the homo and humanity, and not allow it
to be made tho champion of the most mercenary,
tho most tyrannical group that ever entered
politics for tho purpose of debauching parties
and corrupting government. I thank you.
(Mr. Bryan finished speaking at 1:25 a. m
after which the banquet meeting was informally
i Department of Labor
Office of tho Assistant Secretary
December 21, 191C. .--
Hon. W. J. Bryan, -s-"
co Tho Commoner, -
Lincoln, Nebraska.
Dear Mr. Bryan:
In answer to your call through The Com
moner, my name is at your service (so far as II
can be used with propriety in view of my present
official connections) for promoting your cam
palen against the alcoholic-beverage ring..
While I have never been in sympathy with the
policy of regulating or abolishing tho liquor
traffic for. sumptuary reasons, I am in favor of
doing away with it root and branch, in tho in
terest of clean politics.
The liquor ring is the left bower of Invisible
government. It travels in couples with the fi
nancial ring referred to as "Wall Street." It
masquerades as democratic 'in the open (to the
injury of tho democratic party) and aeals with
republican rings In secret to the demoralization
of both parties and the great injury of the gov
ernment. When you kill tho liquor ring you di
vest the Interests of most of their political power.
Most heartily yours,
The Don't Worry club has an excellent chance
to increase its membership materially by 9:lrctx
larizing the various gentlemen who have aspir
ations to become speaker of the next housev ,