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WILLIAfl J. BRYAN, EDITOR AND PROPRIETOR.
Vol. i. No. 49.
Lincoln, Nebraska, December 27, 1901.
$1.00 a Year
New Year's Day Resolutions.
While a good resolution can be made at any
season, the beginning of the New Year seems an
appropriate time for "turning over a new leaf."
It ought not to be difficult to give up a bad habit
since an intelligent self-interest prompts one to
do that which will be of benefit to himself, and yet
some special stimulus is often necessary.
The Commoner is published primarily for the
support and advancement of democratic principles.
The editor desires to aid in securing those reforms
which he believes would be helpful to the people
generally, but he recognizes that under the most
just government and the most perfect laws individ
ual happiness would largely depend upon individual
merit. Even when the government does all that it
can it cannot make a wicked man happy or protect
a thoughtless man from the trouble which his
As our lives are built upon ideals, the greatest
service which can be rendered to one is to raise
his ideals and give him a broader view of life. A
parent does this by example and by daily precept;
the teacher in the pulpit and in the school room
does the same and the editor is not without re
sponsibility. Every one, in fact, has some in
fluence on some one and that influence ought to be
exerted for good.
' What is the value of an ideal? Sometimes it
measures the difference between success and fall-urW-betweenhanpiness
Instead of "recommending that each reader of
The Commoner give up that habit which his own
conscience most condemns, the editor suggests that
the readers spend a part of New Year's Day consid
ering this proposition, namely, that every one
owes it to himself, to his kindred and to his coun
try (not to speak of his obligation to his creator),
to so develop and use his body, head and heart, as
to contribute the most possible to the welfare and
happiness of mankind. If this proposition is
scund, then it follows that each individual is in
duty bound to do whatever increases, and to ab
stain from doing whatever decreases, his useful
ness. ,, ,
If, during 1902, the readers of The Commoner
will measure life by this rule, there will be less to
regret at the end of the year, no matter what the
administration may do.
Improvement becomes an easier task when
one's conduct is regulated by a high and deter
mined purpose. There is inspiration in the phil
osophy of Socrates and his words are commended
to those who are earnest in their desire for self
improvement. When the illustrious Greek was about
to be condemned to death, and his friends urged
him to spend more time preparing his defense, he
replied that he had panned his whole lire in prepar
ing his defense for he had gdne through life "doing
nothing but considering what was just and what
unjust doing what was just and abstaining from
what was unjust," and he rightly considered this
the best preparation for his defense against any
charge that could be preferred.
The Philippine Tariff.
On another page will be found an abstract of the
Philippine tariff measure passed by the house of
representatives, practically by a party vote. It is
one of the most shameless pieces of legislation
ever proposed by any party and it ought to seal the
political fate of any man who supports it. Eng
land, in her oppression of the American colonies,
was never guilty of anything more tyranical, and
even Spain, whose despotism aroused our country
to armed protest in behalf of Cuba even Spain
lacked the refined cruelty which republican leaders
practice with seeming enjoyment. While the West
Indies were under the rule of the Castillian they
enjoyed free trade with the mother country and
had representation in the imperial parliament,
but the Filipinos, after co-operating with us
against Spain, were bought like chattels from a
vanquished foe, and placed under the control of
high-priced carpet bag officials. Now they are to
bo shut out from commercial intercourse with the
United States by a high tariff wall constructed to
enable a few American manufacturers to grow
rich at the expense of the rest of the people and
denied representation in the legislature which
taxes them. The democrats in the house of repre
sentatives have greatly strengthened their party
by their vigorous opposition to the measure. The
short time given for debate in the house makes it
imperative that the democrats of the senate shall
present to the public through the Congressional
Record the facts relative to colonialism as thus far
Secretary Gage's Report.
In his. annual report Secretary of ,th Treasury"
-' Gage-has recomm6nded'',a-'ShippIn,g-simsidy'fTtho "
repeal of minor war taxes; a central bank; the
creation of a national clearing house of national
banks;' the enlargement of the limit of subsidiary
silver coinage to $120,000,000, and the asset cur
Concerning the latter proposition, Secretary
Gage's recommendation embodies practically the
provisions of the Overstreet bill or the McCleary
bill. The secretary of the treasury appears to be
fully convinced as to the propriety of this plan.
He thinks that at least two beneficial results would
follow. He thinks that $G0,O00,00O in United States
bonds, now in security, would bo gradually re
leased for sale in the general market. The im
pounding of the greenbacks as security for the
bank notes would, he thinks, relieve the govern
ment from all the burdens now incident to their
redemption to an extent of $200,000,000. For the
balance of $146,000,000 in legal tender notes which
would then be outstanding, the $150,000,000 in gold
now held as a special redemption found would
soon be excessive. If this were reduced to $140,
000,000 the greenbacks would become virtually
what Secretary Gage thinks they ought to be in
reality, gold certificates. In reality, Secretary
Gage's plan contemplates the actual retirement of
the greenbacks and the substitution of a na
tional banking currency for the government cur
rency, giving to the national banks, in addition
to the enormous power they already possess, the
privilege of doing an immense amount of business
on wind. This is "sound finance;" this would be
the realization of "a wise and business-like finan
cial policy," according to the republican theory.
This represents, in the most presentable form,
the purpose of republican financiers. The Ameri
can people have not yet begun to realize the re-'
sponsibilities "they were assuming when they
elected and re-elected the republican party to
power; but day by day the plans of republican
leaders are being unfolded; and "little by little,
but steadily, as man's march to tho grave," the
republican leaders are transforming liberty into
license, and no one need be surprised if "asset
currency'' and branch banks, in a short time, be
The Commoner's Future.
My attention has just been called to a copy of
tho Denver Evening Times containing an inter
view with some one giving his namo as "Eddy"
and claiming Lincoln as his residence. In this
interview Mr. Eddy Is quoted as saying: "It Is
stated on reliable authority that W. J. Bryan
will retire from the newspaper business when
the first year's existence of The Commoner ex
pires. The paper has been a wretched failure
and it Is well known around. Lincoln that Mr.
Bryan is very much disgusted with the lack of
support of the enterprise."
The statement made by Mr. Eddy Is not only
absolutely false and entirely without foundation,
but it bears evidence of the malice which seems to
actuate alarge number of republicans. No paper
having respect for its reputation would publish
such an Interview without inquiring Into Its truth.
As to tho support which the paper has received,
the readers will be pleased' to know that evory
week of the paper's existence has shown an in
crease in subscriptions over the preceeding week;
there are more paid subscriptions in force at this
aaj than at any previous time.
While the annual subscriptions for the first year
do not expire until the latter part of January,
renewals have been coming in for more than a
month and arc increasing every day.
My own purpose has been stated so often
that it ought not to be neces&ary to repeat It.
The Commoner was not established as the result
of a sudden Impulse; it had been under considera
tion for several years. I am deeply interested in
the reforms which I have been advocating and shall
continue to advocate them.
My determination to devote my life to tho
study and discussion of public questions was
formed before I became a candidate for the presi
dency and that determination has not been changed
by defeat. The newspaper field has been chosen as
tho one best suited to this purpose and I expect to
own and edit The Commoner during the remainder
of my days. While the success of the paper has
been greater than I had any reason to expect it
would be, the publication would have been con
tinued even if the support had been much less cor
dial and the circulation much more limited. Tho
Commoner is a permanent occupant of the journal
istic field. Its influence will depend upon the size
of its circulation and upon the extent to which it
is quoted, but those who desire to read a paper
devoted to the discussion (from a democratic
standpoint) of political, economic and sociological
questions can subscribe lor The Commoner, or re
new their subscriptions, with perfect confidence
that they will recfive the paper for the full term
of their subscription. I appreciate the commenda
tion which has already been bestowed upon the
paper and hope to make it worthy of a constantly
A correction can hardly be expected from those
papers which published the Eddy Interview with
the intention of injuring The Commoner, but it 13
.hoped that other papers will give as much promi
nence to the answer as they gave to the interview.
The Good Old Days.
The Hungarian societies of New York, on De
cember 8, celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of tho
visit of Louis Kossuth in America. General Daniel
E. Sickles, who participated in the reception given
to Kossuth when he arrived in New York, wa3
one of the speakers. General Sickles described