The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, April 01, 1918, Page 6, Image 6

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The Commoner
19L. 18, NO. 4
Governor and a Wet Senate Block
Prohibition Ratification in Nebraska
Ratification of the national prohibition con
otitutlonnl amendment was blocked at the recent
upcclal session of tho Nebraska legislature
through tho position taken by Governor Neville
and tho refusal of the "wet" majority of tho
state senate to allow the question to come di
rectly before that body. The house of represent
atives had previously voted to ratify the amend
ment by tho overwhelming vote of 60 to 7.
Governor Neville, in his call for a special ses
sion to moot on March 2G, refused to include
tho question of ratification among the subjects
to bo considered by tho legislature. -
Governor Neville also refused to deliver to tho
legislature the national prohibition amendment
placed in his hands by the federal congress, and
lator refused to placo the same before the legis
lature when requested to do so by the lower
houso by an almost unanimous vote.
Tho "wet" senate effectually completed the
program by the adoption of a "gag" resolution,
known as tho, Henry resolution, by a vote of
18 to 13, which committed the senate to tho con
sideration only of those subjects mentioned in
tho governor's call.
Tho wet line-up stood intact on two other
amendments intended to get the prohibition
amendment before tho senate. Later tho fact
was brought out by tho Nebraska State Journal,
which published a translation of the official in
structions to the German voters by the German
American Alliance, showing that the governor
and eighteen state senators who defied public
opinion woro endorsed for election at the time
of tholr election in the fall of 191G. The German-American
Alliance also indorsed Senator
Hitchcock at tho same election. Of the eighteen
"wet" senators, ten came from dry districts.
Below will bo found the news account of the
proceedings of tho Nebraska legislature, and
tho official indorsement of Governor Neville and
the eighteen anti-ratification senators by
tho German-American Alliance, together
with resolutions, telegrams and letters
as published by the Nebraska State Journal,
showing the effort made by the more patriotic
citizens of Nebraska to ratify the national pro
hibition constitutional amendment.
. Prom the Nebraska State Journal, March 20.
W. J. Bryan told the Nebraska legislature in
' a speech before 2,000 persons at the city audit
' orium Tuesday night that the failure of the gov
ernor to includo as one of its special tasks the
ratification of the national prohibitory amend
ment did not deprive it of the power or the duty
of proceeding to do so for the state.
A voto upon ratification or rejection was a
duty imposed upon the state legislature by the
federal constitution, and it was none of the gov
ernor's business nor has ho any power or au
thority to prevent action by omitting it from the
call. Mr. 'Bryan took judicial notice of the fact
that tho state senate was wet last sess'on, and
his speech was largely a marshaling of argu
ments why it should vote to ratify the amend
ment. If tho legislature should fail or refuso to rat
ify the amendment at this special session, Mr.
Bryan said that the only domestic Issue before
tho people would bo the election of men to the
next legislature who stand for ratification. He
said ho hoped that democrat, and republicans
would put up only men who were pledged openly
for ratification, and It it happened that both
candidates wore opposed, then there should bo
an independent named to represent ratification.
."Do that," he said, "and I'll promise you I'll
cvomo back and use whatever Influence I have
with any voter to defeat any man who does not
stand for ratification."
Elmer E. Thomas of Omaha presided at the
meeting. He had started in to tell the people
present that Mr. Bryan was upon a speaking
tour of tho nation urging the ratification of the
national prohibitory amendment as the accredited
representative of 'all of the temperance organ
izations of the nation, when Mr. Bryan appeared
on. the stage and he Immedlatley gave way de
claring that nobody in the world could introduce
woiildn't'Try.10 UC" audience a he
Every seat on the main floor was taken, there
were a hundred or more standing, and every seat
in the gallery within reasonable hearing dis
tance was occupied when Mr. Bryan began
shortly after 8 o'clock. He spoke for an hour
and a quarter, and at the conclusion hundreds
pushed their way to the stage to shake him by
the hand. The impromptu reception lasted fif
teen minutes. Just before the convention ad
journed it adopted unanimously resolutions call
ing upon the legislature at the special session to
ratify the amendment, and pledged itself, if the
h jlslature did not, to at once launch a campaign
to secure a legislature "American in both
Mr. Bryan began his speech by noting the fact
that this was his birthday. He said that for
thirty years his Lincoln friends had been calling
him back to celebrate his birthday, but that none
of these had taken a more delightrul form than
this meeting.
The fight to secure the ratification of the pro
hibitory amendment to the federal constitution
was the greatest moral fight in wihch he had
ever taken part, and he was happy that it was
rapidly approaching a triumphant conclusion.
"When I celebrate my fifty-ninth birthday a
year hence," he said, "thirty-six states will have
ratified this amendment and two years from now
when I am sixty, there will not be a single sa
loon in the United States. You may think I am
sanguine, but I really find it difficult to keep up
with the procession. Confident and hopeful as
I am by nature, the course of events, in this in
stance, outruns my expectations."
From the Nebraska State Journal, March 26.
William Jennings Bryan, in a personal and
open letter to the members of the Nebraska state
legislature, urges speedy action by both houses
in ratifying the national prohibition amendment.
Mr. Bryan says that consideration of the amend
met is a duty imposed upon the legislature by
the constitution of the United States, and that
if it does not ratify a legislature will, no doubt,
be elected that will do so.
Mr. Bryan, however, argues that delay ought
not to be the policy. Why compel another con
flict to elect a legislature that will ratify when
the verdict of the state is known in advance, he
asks. Delay means a hundred millions a month
to the liquor trade that would otherwise be
available for food and clothing and shelter, and
it also means inviting the national liquor deal
ers' association and its ally, the German-American
alliance, to insolently thrust themselves
again into state politics.
Six reasons are given why action should be
taken, the overwhelming vote for prohibition in
Nebraska, the economic argument against the
saloon, the moral argument, the success of pro
hibition that has removed one source of oppo-'
sition, tho fact that the continued use of grains
for liquor-making robs the table and the soldier
of needed food, and that liquor should not be
allowed to be made to sap the strength of the
men behind the army any more than the soldiers
in the trenches.
Mr. Bryan also makes a special appeal to the
democrats in the legislature. He tells them that
the democratic party is committed to prohibi
tion, and that those who oppose it register their
dissent from a judgment already rendered The
letter of Mr. Bryan reads as follows
GENTLEMEN: As you will doubtless deal with tho question
of ratifying the national prohibition amend
menta duty imposed upon you by the consti
tution of the United States "and, therefore a
subject to be dealt with whether specially men
tioned by the governor or n'ot I venture to
call your attention to the march of events since
you were chosen to the positions which you now
occupy. ,uu uow
FirstThe state of Nebraska has by twenty-
S ohiblt?onandTa3rity, adPted HtitSo5l
prohibition. The amendment was adopted nn
the day when you were elected. In your Z
min?8 ;Unif fr or gainst trainent
ment, but the adoption of . the amendment
- 0S
niTTnDW mWTVT u7l?.rnM Ctt7TVTAmVrn t ?
From the Nebraska 'State Journal !
April 12. ;- ' J
If the will of the voters of Nebraska, j
as expressed in the last election, had t
been followed, the national prohibition A
amendment would' have been ratified by
a large majority. Ten of the senators ji
who assisted in blocking ratification ren-
resented 'dry senatorial districts, as will
be seen. by the following table of ma-
jorities: - ' . s
-. Dry. Majority in g
, Each District g
fS fftfnathr Mattes G4R
Senator Gates 129
Senator W. N. 3Yilson ;..,. -.;. ...... 457 2
Senator Soost . . . . . ..' .'. .... 900 gi
Senator Albert . . .- 584?
Senator Lahners ...... -. 675 g
Senator Buhrnian . ." . . ji.Vs-. .... 376 5
Senator Samuelson ........... . 1,874
Senator Adams v. . . . 3,026 M
ft Senator Willis Wilson ..i: 2,882
- ... M
i) !M
changes the situation and presents to you ai
entirely different issue. Before the election yoj
, .j.j . j
crave exnression to your muiviuuai opinions m
since the adoption of state prohibition you deal 1
with a Question which Las been settled in tun
state settled beyond any probability of change
The lee-!slature recoenized this in making stat
utory provision for the enforcement of -
You know, as you did not know be
fore the election, the sentiment of the state
on this subject, and you also know the senti
ment in favor of national prohibition is mucl
stronger than the sentiment in favor of state
prohibition because the larger the unit, the
more certain the enforcement of the law. Op-
posHion to this settled and- finally expresses
sentiment of the state would he a repuaiauoi
of the fundamental principle . of democracy
the rierht of the neonle to rule for tho estaV
Itahmant of whinh throughout the world we are
nrw TOOfflnir nr nnnronoflATitorl war. The DGOPll !
of the United States have not only furnish
more than a million men to defend tne prin
ciple of democracy with their lives, but thei
have loaned the government more than six bil
lions of dollars with which to pay the expcnsei
of the war. Can you, as legislators, reiu&u w.
give expression to this known and emphaticallj
declared sentiment of the state?
Second Every economic argument used be
fore the adoption of prohibition has grow
stronger during the past year.' It is now knofl
in all that the iiro nf IntmrieaHne lidUOr w
pairs the productive power of men as well a!
their fighting powerT Can you, as legislators,
refuse to protect tho economic strength of our
producers or lessen the man power of our pop
ulation? Third All the moral arguments that haj
heretofore had weight have increased
strength. The man who votes on tne smc
the l'quor dealer can not escape the responsi
bilities of a partner, and this responsibility
enormously increased when the individual acu
in a representative capacity where his vote ww
are required for ratification, and, while it loo
now as if wo might have more than the nece
sary number, it MAY require the vote of
braska to secure national prohibition. u ,
vote in either house may decide the question o
ratification. Can anyone, of you afford to ta
iinnn hlmcalf rV. v.,, afMlltv of cu
v.,v,.. uimuvtl WHO &1U.V13 JDOlJUUOiU"" ..
tinuing saloons in this country, knowing, as
must know, the evils inseparably connect
with the liquor traffic?
Fourth The laws which have gone into ef
fect since you were elected have removed e
niieao tViof nrn-.n i i i . rriiran in "'
v,i.o uiut oumo uuuoat luuu imvo b"-" . v
past for the belief that prohibition could noi
mado effective. The supreme court has sustain
the Webb-Kenyon law, and the states, noff
position to enforce their statutes, have banisne
the saloons, and real prohibition has convert
many who heretofore thought the saloons oei
than prohibition laws not-enforced. The anw
ment to tho postoffice appropriation bill lias a1-.
; aided hy withdrawing the1 -instrumentalities