The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, January 12, 1899, Page 4, Image 4

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4 "Che Conservative
The republic is H huge laboratory of
civics , a laboratory in which strange
experiments are performed , but by
which , as in other laboratories , wisdom
may arise from experience , and once
arisen may work itself out into virtue.
It is not true that the government
"which is best administered is best. "
That is the maxim of tyranny. That
government is best which makes the
best men. In the training for manhood
lies the certain pledge of better govern
ment in the future. The civic prob
lems of the future will be greater than
those of the past. They will concern
not the relation of nation to nation , but
of man to man. The policing of far-off
islands , the maintenance of the ma
chinery of imperialism are petty things
beside the duties which the higher free
dom demands. To turn to these empty
and showy affairs , is to neglect our own
business for the gossip of our neighbors.
Such work may be a matter of necessity ;
it should not be a source of pride. The
political greatness of England has never
lain in her navies nor the force of her
arms. It has lain in her struggles for
individual freedom. Not Marlborough
nor Nelson nor Wellington is its expon
ent. Let us say rather Pym and Hainp-
den , and Gladstone and Bright. The
real problems of England have always
been at home. The pomp of imperial
ism , the display of naval power , the
commercial control of India and China
all these are as the "bread and cir
cuses" by which the Roman emperors
held the mobs from their thrones. They
keep the people busy and put off the
day of final reckoning. "Gild the dome
of the Invalides , " was Napoleon's cyn
ical command , when he learned that
the people of Paris were becoming des
The people of England seek blindly
for a higher justice , a loftier freedom ,
and so the ruling ministry crowns the
" of India. "
good queen as "Empress
Meanwhile , the real problems of civiliz
ation develop and ripen. They care
nothing for the greatness of empire nor
the glitter of imperialism. They must
bo solved by men , and each man must
help solve his own problems. The de
velopment of republican manhood is
just now the most important matter
that any nation in the world has on
hand. We have been fairly successful
thus far , but perhaps only fairly. Our
government is careless , wasteful , and
unjust , but our men are growing self-
contained and wise. Despite the annual
invasion of foreign illiteracy , the indi
vidual intelligence of men stands higher
in America than in any other part of
the world. The bearing of the people
at large in these days is a lesson in it
self. I watched the crowds around the
bulletin boards the other night in San
Francisco. These men were laborers
for the most part , loafers , some of them ,
not as a whole belonging to the favored
classes. But they did not form a mob.
They were there as so many individ
uals. They did not lose their
heads. They kept the bearing and
the reserve of gentlemen. I saw no
rowdyism , no disorder , no raw enthus
iasm. The war news , false or true , pla
carded on the walls , was exciting in its
nature , but the men were not excited ;
they were ready to act when the time
came for action. They gave no vulgar
display of sentiment when action was
impossible. Compare the behavior of
the American people , in this and other
trying times , with that of the masses of
any other nation , and we see what de
mocracy has done. And we shall see
more of this as our history goes on.
Free schools , free ballot , free thought ,
free religion all tend to enforce self-re
liance , self-respect , and the sense of
duty which are the surest foundation of
national greatness.
An active foreign policy would slowly
change much of this. The nation
which deals with war and diplomacy
must be quick to act and quick to
change. It must , like the Oregon , be
able to reverse itself within its own
length. To this end , good government
is a necessity , whether it be self-govern
ment or not. Democracy yields before
diplomacy. Republicanism steps aside
when war is declared. "An army , "
said Wellington , "can get along under
a poor general. It can do nothing un
der a debating society. " In war the
strongest man must lead , and military
discipline is the only training for an
army. In a militant nation the same
rules hold in peace as in war. We can
not try civic experiments with a foe at
our gates. A foe is always at the gates
of a nation with a vigorous foreign pol
icy. The British nation is hated and
feared of all nations except our own.
Only her eternal vigilance keeps the
vultures from her coasts. Eternal vigil
ance of this sort will strengthen govern
ments , will build up nations ; it will not
in like degree make men. The day of
the nations as nations is passing. Na
tional ambitions , national hopes , na
tional aggrandizement all these may
become public nuisances. Imperialism
like feudalism belongs to the past. The
men of the world as men , not as nations ,
are drawing closer and closer together.
The needs of commerce are stronger
than the will of nations , and the final
guarantee of peace and good will among
men will bo not "the parliament of na
tions , " but the self-control of men.
But whatever the outcome of the
present war , whatever the fateful
twentieth century may bring , the primal
duty of Americans is never to forget
that men are more than nations ; that
wisdom is more than glory , and virtue
more than dominion of the sea. The
kingdom of God is within us. The na
tion exists for its men , never the men
for the nation. "The only government
that I recognize , " said Thoreau , "and it
matters not how few are at the head of
it or how small its army , is the power
that established justice in the land ,
never that which establishes injustice. "
And the will of free men to bo just one
toward another , is our best guarantee
that "government of the people , for the
people , and by the people , shall not per
ish from the earth. "
God of our fathers , known of old-
Lord of our far-flung Imttlu lint-
Bununth whoso awful Hand we hold
Dominion ovur palm and pine
Lord God of Hosts , bu with us yut ,
Lust wo forget lust wu forgut 1
The tumult and thu shouting dius
Thu captains and the kings dupart
Still stands Thinu ancient Sacrifice ,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts , bu with us yet ,
Lest wo forgut lust wu forgot !
Far-called our navies mult away
On dunu and headland sinks thu fire
Lo , all our pomp of yusturday
Is one with Ninevah and Tyro !
Judge of the Nations , sparu us yut ,
Lest we forget lust we forget !
When the sudden strain came on our
navy last spring , a good many laud-
machinists were hired on the engineer
force , because men with experience on
shipboard could not be gotten together
fast enough. Contrary to what was
expected , machine-shop hands from
country towns proved to be more valua
ble men for the work than trained ex
perts from city shops. Their experience
in makeshifts and improvised methods
with inadequate tools , gave them re
sources in emergencies , such as arise at
sea , where men who were used to hav
ing everything just right were compara
tively helpless.
The I-am-holier-than-thou style of
many of the frayed-out fanatics and
unfrocked priests who are teaching six-
teen-to-oneness in currency and advocat
ing special legislation for "the poor
man" in the state of Nebraska is becom
ing more and more dogmatic , presump
tive and assumptive. Their wings are cut
ting through their shoulders and soon
they will become full-flying angels.
Populists declare that having a mil
lion of dollars destroys a man's heart ,
shrivels up his sensibilities and sours
all the milk of human kindness in his
nature. But the populists ore mistaken ;
when the man has the money his heart
may be all right ; it is when the money
has the man that his heart hardens and
Colonel Bryan says that free coinage
of silver is not dead. Neither is Mr.
Jim Corbett dead. The question of who
struck Billy Patterson is also still open
for discussion by those who have a taste
for it.
W. Atlee Bui-pee & Co. , whose adver
tisement appears on another page of this
issue , are seedsmen of world-wide repu
tation for integrity and fair dealing.