The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, September 26, 1901, Image 1

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    Che Conservatiw.
One dollar and a half per year in advance ,
postpaid to any part of the United States or
Canada. Remittances made payable to The
Morton Printing Company.
Address , THE CONSERVATIVE , Nebraska
City , Nebraska.
Advertising rates made known upon appli
Entered at the postofflce at Nebraska City ,
Neb. , as Second Class matter , July 29 , 1898.
Herbert Spencer
GOVERNMENT BY says : "The power
THE PEOPLE. of an apparatus
primarily depends ,
not on the ingenuity of its design , but
on the strength of its materials. Be his
plans never so well devised , yet if our
engineer has not considered whether the
respective parts of his structure will
bear the strains to be put upon them ,
we must call him a bungler. Similarly
with the institution-maker , if the people
ple with whom he has to deal are not of
the requisite quality , no cleverness in
his contrivance will avail anything. Let
us not forget that institutions are made
of men , and that , frame them together
as we may , it is their nature which
must finally determine whether the in
stitutions can stand. These social forms
which we regard as all potent , are
things of quite secondary importance.
What mattered it that the Eoman Ple
beians were endowed with certain privi
leges , when the Patricians prevented
them from exercising those privileges by
ill-treatment carried even to the death ?
What mattered it that our Statute Book
contained equitable provisions , and that
officers were appointed to enforce them ,
when there was needed a Magna Charta
to demand that justice should neither be
sold , denied , nor delayed ? What mat
ters it even now , that all men are de
clared equal before the law , when mag
istrates are swayed by class-sympathies ,
and treat a gentleman more leniently
than an artisan ? If we think that we
can rectify the relationships of men at
will , we deceive ourselves. What Sir
James Mackintosh says of institutions
that they are not made , but grow
applies to all social arrangements. It is
not true that once upon a time men
said : 'Let there be law , ' and there was
law. Administration of justice was
originally impracticable , Utopian , and
has become more and more practicable
only as men have become less savage.
The old system of settling disputes by
personal contest , and the new system of
settling them by State arbitration have
co-existed throughout all ages ; the one
little by little taking the place of the
other outgrowing it. The , feudal bar
on , with castle and retainersmaintained
his own rights , and would have con
sidered himself disgrawd by asking
legal aid. Even after -be had agreed to
regard his suzerain as umpire , it was
still in the lists , and by the strength of
his arm and his lance that he made
good his cause. And when we remem
ber that equally among lords and labor
ers this practice long lingered ; that un
til lately we had duels , which it was
thought dishonorable for gentlemen to
avoid by applying to a magistrate , and
that even still we have pugilistic fights ,
which the people try to hide from the
police , we are taught that it is impossi
ble for a judicial system to become effi
cient faster than men become good , it
is only after public morality has gained
a certain ascendancy that the civil power
gets strong enough to perform its sim
plest functions. "
And this deliberate declaration by
one of the foremost sociological students
and writers of the world , teaches Amer
icans that , their government can never
be better than the people out of whom
it is made. It instructs us that the
homes and the schools , the parents and
the teachers are , in a Republic , more
than in any other form of government ,
the moral and intellectual dynamos
that evolve the thoughts and character
which control and conserve , energize ,
or paralyze and corrupt , or destroy the
social and political fabric.
Dr. Ben Franklin , in a speech made
at Philadelphia , September 17 , 1787 , on
the last day of the convention which
created the Constitution of the United
States , said :
"I think a general government neces
sary for us , and there is no form of
government but what may be a blessing
to the people if well administered ; and
believe further , that this is likely to be
well administered for a course of years ,
and can only end in despotism , as other
forms have done before it , when the
people shall have become so corrupted
as to need despotic government , being
incapable of any other. "
And at no time since its issuance , on
September 17 , 1796 , nine1 years after the
speech of Dr. Franklin , above quoted ,
has there been more reason than there
is today for the careful study of the
wise , far-seeing and patriotic farewell
address of George Washington to his
countrymen. That grand admonition
contains this :
"There is an opinion that parties in
free countries are useful checks upon
the administration of the government ,
and serve to keep alive the spirit of
liberty. This , within certain limits , is
probably true ; and in governments of
a monarchical castepatriotism may look
with indulgence , if not with favorupon
the spirit of the party. But in those of
the popular character , in governments
purely elective , it is a spirit not to be ' . ' > s
encouraged. From their natural tend'J' ' -
enoy it is certain there will always be
enough of that spirit for every salutary
purpose. And , there being constant
danger of excess , the effort ought to be ,
by force of public opinion , to mitigate -v
and assuage it. A fire ought not to be
quenched ; it demands a uniform vigil
ance to prevent its bursting into a
flame , lest instead of warming , it should
"It is important , likewise , that the
habits of thinking in a free country
should inspire caution , in those entrust
ed with administration , to confine
themselves within their respective con
stitutional spheres , avoiding in the
exercise of the powers of one depart
ment to encroach upon another. The *
spirit of encroachment tends to consol
idate the powers of all the departments
in one , and thus to create , whatever the
form of government , a real despotism.
"A just estimate of that love of power
and proneness to abuse it , which pre
dominate in the human heart , is sufficient - '
cient to satisfy us of the truth of this
position. The necessity of reciprocal
checks in the exercise of political power ,
by dividing and distributing it into
different depositories and constituting
each the guardian of the public weal
against invasions by the others , has
been evinced by experiments ancient
and modern , some of them in our coun
try and under our own eyes. To pre
serve them must be as necessary as to
institute them * * * * .
"Of all the dispositions and habits
which lead to political prosperity Re
ligion and Morality are indispensable
supports. In vain would that man
claim the tribute of Patriotism , who
should labor to subvert these great
pillars of human happiness , these firm
est props of the duties of Men and
Citizens. The mere Politician , equally
with the pious man , ought to respect
and to cherish them. A volume could
not trace all their connections with pri
vate and public felicity. Let it simply
be asked , Where is the security for
property , for reputation , for life , if the
sense of religious obligation deserts the , .
oaths , which are the instruments of investigation - " *
vestigation in courts of justice ? And
let us with caution indulge the supposi
tion that Morality can be maintained
without religion. Whatever may be
conceded to the influence of education