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THE NEBRASKA INDEPENDENT.
3 THE WARD BOSS A Former Www Yrkr pks Good . Word for That Mnh Abased Iadlvldnal Editor Independent: Many persons have been astonished to learn that Mayor Low's reform administration in i.ew York city is worse if anything than the rule of Tammany, and they have vaguely ; wondered why. Rail, against it and preach against it as we may, the boss and the machine are permanent fixtures in American poli tics, and always will be until the in itiative and referendum and nomina tions by primary come more generally in vogue. Many republicans and not a few democrats and populists believe that direct legislation is doomed to be a flat failure, and they point to the de feat of so many constitutional amend ments in Nebraska as proof of their claims. The experience with constitutional amendments here proves but little one way or the other. The framers of the constitution of 1875 believed in mak ing the constitution very difficult to amend and they succeeded admirably. They followed the Hamiltonian idea of keening: the government as far away from the people as possible. Nothing short of a sweeping popular uprising will ever amend the constitu tion of Nebraska, because of our form of ballot and method of submission. All over the state this year, in various counties, smaller questions were sub mitted to the voters, and these were carried or defeated by an intelligent active vote, and not decided by the inactive or passive voter who said "no" by saying "nothing. Until direct legislation comes, then, the ward,' boss is a permanent fixture, whether, .we like it or not. Some of the reasons are well stated by the late Paul Leicester Ford in his admirable novel, "The Honorable Peter Stirling." (Henry Holt & Co., New York., 43rd edition, 1901.) "Broadly speaking," says the Hon orable Peter (who was a Tammany ward boss), "all persons of sound mind are entitled to vote on the men and the laws which are to govern them. Aside from this, every ounce of brain or experience you can add to the bal lot, makes it more certain. Suppose you say that half the people are too ignorant t to vote sensibly. Don't you see that 'there is an even chance, at least, that they will vote rightly, and if the wrong half carries the election, it is because more intelligent people have voted wrongly, have not voted, or have not taken the trouble to try and show the people the right way, but. have left them to the mercies of the demagogue. ... A government of the 'best' men is not an American govern ment. That is the aristocratic idea. That the better element, so-called, shall compel the masses to be good, whether they wish it or no. Just as rne makes a child behave without re gard to its own desires. With grown men, such a system only results u widening the distance between the classes and masses, making the latter more dependent and unthinking. Whereas, if we make every man vote he must think a little for himself because different people advise him contrarily, and thus we bring him nearer to the more educated. He even educates himself by his own mistakes; for every bad man elected, and every bad law passed, make him suffer the results, and he can only blame him self. Of course we don't get as good a government or laws, but then we have other off-setting advantages. "We get men and laws which are the wish of the majority. Such are al most self-supporting and self-administering. It is not a mere combina tion of words, printing ink and white paper which makes a law. It is the popular sentiment back of it which en forces it, and unless a law is the wish of a majority of the people who are governed by it, it is either a dead let ter, or must be enforced by elaborate police systems, supported oftentimes with great armies. Even then it doe"? not succeed, if the people choose Jo resist. Look at the attempt to gov ern Ireland by force, in the face of pop ular sentiment. Then, too, we get a stability almost unknown in govern ments which do not conform to the people." "I ook at it as a contest," he con tinued, speaking of reform movements, "without regard to the merit of the cause. On one side we have bosses, who know and understand the men in their wards, have usually made them selves popular, are in politics for a living, have made it a life-study, and by dear experience have learned that they must surrender their own opin ions in order to produce harmony and a solid vote. The reformer, on the contrary, is usually a man who has other occupations, and, if I may say so, ha3 usually met with only partial success in them. By that I mean that the really successful merchant, or banker, or professional man cannot take time to work In politics, and so only the less successful try. Each re former, too. Is sure that he himself is right, and as his bread and butter Is not in the issue, he quarrels to his heart's content with his associates, so that tney can rarely unite all their force. Most of the reform movements in this city have been attempted in a way that is simply laughable. What should we say if a hundred busy men were to get together tomorrow and de cide that they would open a great bank, to fight the clearing-house banks of New York? Yet this in effect is what the reformers have done over and over again in politics. They say to the men who have been kept in power for years by the people, 'You are scoundrels. The people who elect ed you are ignorant We know how to do it better. Now we'll turn you out' In short, they tell the majority they are fools, but ask their votes. The average reformer indorses thor oughly the theory ''that every man is as good as another, and a little bet ter.' And he himself is always the better man. The people won't stanl that. The 'holier than thou' will de feat a man quicker in this country than will any rascality he may have done." We may not wholly agree with the Honorable Peter Stirling in all he says, but there is so much truth in most of it that whether we like it or not we cannot shut our eyes to the fact One great . difficulty with the populist party as a political organiza tion has been that its members ex pected to accomplish too much in a short time, and then pouted because the world wasn't reformed in &, day, forgetting that it takes years ,to ac complish substantial results, y Nebraska is a case in point. Start ing out with a platform stating the grand fundamental truths upon which the party hoped to win, the people's independent party, aided by the demo crats and some republicans, did finally win. ,The officers elected were not omniscient; they were not infallible; but they gave the state the best ad ministration it ever had. Of course the ousted party went about it syste matically to create discord and dis sensions in the populist ranks. Ev ery little mistake was magnified and harped upon as an enormous crime and strange to say, or perhaps not strange, after all thousands of pop ulists fell into the trap and joined in the clamor against the very men they had elevated to office. It is Peter Stir ling's ward boss against the reformer as he knew him. Starting out with a general declara tion in favor of public ownership of the railroads, and strict control until that time came, the populist platform continued until 1898. By that time the insidious work of the republican press and ward boss had had its ef fect, and the whole railroad question was dropped to take up a mere wran gle over the pass question. Apparent ly it was expected that if eight state officers would eschew the use of passes, not only would that evil be abolished, but also the whole rail road question would be settled in short order. It was the ward boss against the reformer and the ward boss final ly won. Two thousand shrewd republi can ward bosses riding the length and breadth of the land without money and without price and some people believed they could defeat them per manently by an army of men on foot! Nobody defends the pass system but it will never be abolished by the tactics in vogue since 1898 as the re sult of populists and democrats draw ing their political inspiration from re publican newspapers. If instead of throwing away a useful weapon in fighting the enemy, the populists and democrats had said to the railroad companies, "We demand a free pass for our people to offset every one you issue to the republicans," and enacted a law compelling railroad companies to file reports of all passes issued, doubtless today there would not be one-tenth as many issued and cer tainly no more than there are today. The Honorable Peter Stirling be lieved in accomplishing all the good he ccAild with the means at hand, and was too practical to defeat himself by Pharisaical ranting. I would recom mend that book to Nebraska reform ers. EX-KNICKERBOCKER. Abolish the Senate Editor Independent: There seems to be a great demand by democrats and populists to have our constitution so changed that senators shall be elected by a direct vote of the people. Bryan and other leaders have strongly advo cated it. I cannot see why we could not go a r m ...PIANO BENCH..; $6.25, rRklGHT REPAID ;. 100 MILES. i We guarantee Safe Delivery No. 156. A richly finished, waxed or polished, quarter sawed oak, piano bench; shaped French lees standard size and height QC Also in polished mahogany finish $Uiu Sent on approval. Send for Free Catalogue. Everything to furnish a home, and we guarantee every piece we sell. Money refunded if you are not H satisfied. & GUENZEL GO. 1 1 18-1 1 26 N Street, Lincoln, Nebraska. Furniture, Carpet, Drapery, Queensware, Hardware :J wuijl whip BWMWBA1 aw g step further and change the constitu tion so as to abcjlish the senate and senators, both state and national. The senate is neither 'more nor less than the house of lords dea. True, we have no house of lords, but we do have an equivalent of aristocracy in the wealth and plutocracy that govern and con trol our country to a greater extent than most of us are willing to admit, and more than a free people should permit. We call ourselves a republic, and doubtless we are the nearest on a large scale to being a true republic of any ever formed. The best informed politicians seem to agree that after all we are only a compromise government, midway, so to speak, between a peo ple's government and a kingly or mon archical government a compromise between the Jeffersonian and the Ham iltonian ideas. If we were truly a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," what need would there be for two classes of representatives or a lower. house for the masses and an up per house for the classes, the so-called higher classes of wealth and aristoc racy? . , If we are all equal before the law and only one class what need is there for more than one set of lawmakers, appointed and selected, so to .speak, to assemble and lick our necessary laws into shape, and when donesend the work back to the people for their ac ceptance or rejection. If accepted, keep the same committee for future work. If rejected, let the people se lect another committee who will do the bididng of their masters, thesov ereign people. We would soon have more stable laws and better govern mentat least as good as the people '-ere who made the laws. What is the use of haying two branches or two sets of servants to do the people's bidding if, as we claim, we are free and equal all sovereigns only one class according to law? With an intelligent and free people, it would seem that one set of representa tives should be ample to do all that is of vital use for such people's govern ment. So why hot wipe out our old house of lords, and let the whole peo ple take their place? They cannot do worse, and should make an ample bal ance wheel to the lawmaking machin ery. J. E. R.. MILLAR. Lincoln, Neb. Trusting of the Trusts. Editor Independent: The question in the minds of sober thinking people is the trusting of the trusts. The good trusts, and the bad trusts which! Lodge can't tell! He couldn't tell which 'twas before he "caught it," no more than could the Dutchman his twin colts for the reason, as he said, "One looked so much like both he couldn't tell to'der from which." No more can Lodge. All the difference In them lies in the capacity of their "tentacles" and the disposition for "reaching out" in the men behind them. The latent power in them may "sleep," but it is there. These holders and venders of our commercial wealth force at their own option, by secret lines and methods of control, a regulated supply as may best count for their own interests up on the' necessitated patronage of the people. And .the people thus far' have not been able through their own gov ernment to obtain any relief from this arbitrary state of things. Senator Lodge has arithmetically figured the trusts into two classes, the ratio of which, as he states it, is so. far as Indicating the evil involved a libel xn plain truth-telling. As "collateral" evidence of this "In a way" I give the opinion of "Patrick" on the trusts bearing on this same point as he told it to "Michael": "Now about thim thrusts, Moike," said Pat, "I ra'son this way: Whim th' divil makes one thrust that bates a man, that, be a good thrust for the divil, but a bad thrust for the man! So whin the divil and the thrusts go pards by me logic I proves the same as Siniter Dodger be tellin' whin he says 'there be nointy-folve ' good thrusts to ivery foive bad thrusts.' See! Moike! me truth-tellin' be e'kal to Siniter Dodger's truth-tellin' ony way!" Michael: "I see yer p'int, Pat; yer moighty near bein' a sthatesman!" FRANCIS KEYES. Longmeadow, Mass. Was Silver Demonetized? Editor Independent: In your ar ticle heeded "Is Silver a Legal Ten der," you say "the silver dollars nev er was demonetized." That is true ( the coined silver, but not of the un coined silver money which was just as good as the coined silver for the pay ment of debt. The coined silver of the United States was but a small part of the whole amount of silver in the world and it was all good money of the United States for it could be made so if the owner was willing to have it so. If the uncoined silver was not now demonetized, prices would be much higher and it would be much easier and perfecay fair to the creditors to ;-iy all old debts of the nation, the state and the Individual. The democratic national platform of j 896 says: "We demand the free and unlimited coinage of both silver and gold at the present legal ratio of 1G to 1 without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation." . J. II. NEWMAN. Charlevoix, Mich. (It is customary to say that the act of 1873 "demonetized silver," although the real facts are that it simply pre vented further monetization of the white metal that is, it dropped out the silver dollar from the list of coins which might be minted. Uncoined sil ver is not money, consequently It could not, strictly speaking, be demonetized; but it could be, prevented from ever becoming money in thi3 country at least and that is what the "crime of '73" did Ed. Ind.) Plumbing and Heating Estimates Furnished J. 0. cox 1333 O Street, Lincoln, Nebraska W "NT ii