The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, October 20, 1898, Page 7, Image 7

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'Cbe Conservative.
( Formerly governor of Now York. )
[ Speech delivered at The Stnto Grangers' Con
vention , Thouwuid Inland Parlc , AxigiiHt 17 ,
1807 ] .
It is not always when one is called
upon to muko a speech that ho really
has something he
have today. When I was invited up here
to address the Grangers I accepted the
invitation promptly , not because of the
good time I remember having had here
with you a few years ago , but because
I knew no better audience to address
on the subject uppermost in my mind
than one composed of my old neigh
bors and farmer friends of the state of
New York. You have had in the past
plenty of advice from mo as to your
crops and agricultural methods. You
know what a favorite topic that is with
mo , but today I am going to branch off
and talk to you about those horrible
creatures you read and hear about
financial combinations and trusts. I
have always believed in being perfectly
frank , and I know it isn't popular nor
fashionable nowadays to say much in
defence of organized capital , but if all
people said exactly what they thought
there would not bo so many misunder
standings or so much perversion of
truth , and I think if all people said
exactly what they think about trusts
there would not bo so much nonsense
spoken and written about them.
Hard times are responsible for a great
deal of suffering , but the worst feature
of them is that
demagogues and unsound thinkers to
wrongly influence public opinion. In
such times seeds of discontent and pre
judice are planted which germinate and
grow like poisonous weeds in a garden ,
until common sense and industry pluck
them out and cast them aside. We
have been through such a period during
the last few years and the demagogues
have had so much to say , that some
people fear the very bottom of society
is falling out. Because people have
been poor the rich are blamed. Busi
ness was dull , it was claimed , because
there was no money. There was no
money because the money power had it
all locked up. Industrial competition
had been killed by the combinations oJ
capital. Thus at the doors of the rich
was laid the responsibility for misery
and the hard times have been used to
excite prejudice against all who hold
property , whether acquired by inheri
tance or by hard work. This feeling ,
will certainly diminish with the return
of good times , but such sentiment is a
firebrand whose smoldering embers will
work injury even after the flames have
been quenched. Among those who
come to our shores from , foreign lauds
indoctrinated with socialistic or anarch
istio ideas such a prejudice is not un
mturol , but there should bo no chauco
'or it to spread or grow in genuine
American hearts , and those who for
selfish or political reasons stir it up deserve -
servo the shame , not the favor of the
All alleged evils which agitate a com-
nunity nmst finally bo analyzed by the
cold logic of com-
SENSE. mon souso. When
a person is very sick it is easy to make
rim think ho has almost any kind of
disease , but when he is well you will
lot find him an easy prey to imaginary
ailments. So it is with a community.
When business is dull , crops are poor ,
prices are low and employment is scarce ,
the people only know the deprivations
which they suffer , and any plausible
explanation is accepted as the true cause
to the effect. Sometimes it is one
theory that captivates ; sometimes it is
another. When prosperity is restored
and idleness vanishes , people cease to
brood over imaginary causes of misery
and vie with their neighbors in getting
all they can of the good things of life
instead of sulking enviously because
others have been fortunate and they
have not. Lucidly for us all for who
has not felt the results of the last four
year's stagnation in business and indus
try an end of hard times seems to be
in sight , and there are enough evidences
of returning prosperity to permit us to
look at things as they are without
being prejudiced by pessimistic and dis
couraging conditions.
In discussing trusts or similar combi
nations of capital we must lay aside
such prejudice and
passim ng
gOgUOS Hko to
arouse and measiu-o their evils or their
benefits by ordinary standards of intel
ligence and common sense. We find
by such observation that the trust is not
in itself necessarily bad ; but whatever
its nature it has come into existence in
strict accordance with the law of social
progress the law of co-operation and
organization. To inveigh against trusts
merely because they are trusts is to cry
out against combinations of human
effort and possession in every field of
activity to set one's self against the
laws of progress and in favor of retro
gression and anarchy. The tendency
of the times in industry and commerce ,
in charity , or in science is all towards
co-operation and organization ; and thai
tendency , exhibiting itself in a small
and comparatively unimportant way at
first , has become more and more an im
portant feature of our civilization anc
an essential accompaniment in every
field of effort.
For centuries there were few indus
trial or commercial enterprises thai
could not bo di-
CAPITAL. individuals acting
each for Irimself and without associatioi
with others ; but with the growth of
trade and the multiplication of indus
tries and transportation facilities , asso
ciations of individuals , acting as corpor
ations were necessary to conduct largo
enterprises and finally the corporations
; hemselves were forced by conditions to
combine , when engaged in the same line
of effort , in order that greater econo
mies , better results , and more profits
might be attained. These are the pres
ent so-called corporate monopolies and
trusts. They are to bo judged just as
individuals are to bo judged by their
deeds. Because ono combination of
capital enjoys for a time a complete
monopoly and uses its power tyranically
and unjustly , all combinations of capi
tal should not be denounced , no more
than all churches should bo condemned
because one has been intolerant , or all
statesmen denounced because one has
been corrupt. It sounds largo to speak
of the millions of money represented by
certain corporate combinations , but
those millions are not in gold or in sil
ver , but in factories , in steamships , in
railroads , giving employment to hun
dreds of thousands of men , feeding
thousands and thousands of families ,
enriching the entire land , and sometimes
enriching and sometimes impoverishing
the shareholders and managers of these
great interests. Such combinations
should be judged broadly by the way
they exercise their power , by the bene
fits which such a system of co-operation
confers , not by occasional exhibition of
greed or tyranny.
The bitterness which we occasionally
see exhibited towards great corporate
combinations is
which has manitested itseli in all gen
erations against industrial progress. It
is the same spirit which has opposed
the introduction of labor-saving ma
chinery. Every advance has meant
some sacrifices some men thrown out
of their former employments , some oc
cupations destroyed , some readjustment
of industrial conditions. When Cart-
wright invented a power loom in 1785
there was so much opposition on the
part of the operatives that they burned
a mill containing 500 of the looms .because
they feared the new invention would
mean less work. Today half a million
people find employment at the looms in
the Uirited States alone , receiving wages
of over $160,000,000 a year and over
$600,000,000 worth of their product is
turned out annually. Recall the old la
borious process of separating by hand
the cotton fibre from the seed and con
sider what a benefit to mankind lias re
sulted from Eli Whitney's invention
and now by the advantage which com
bined capital has been able to take of
that and other mechanical devices over
seven million bales of cotton are pro
duced in our country every year and
over $250,000,000 worth of cotton goods
.aro put on the market annually. If the