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THE PROGRESSIVE FARMER
Tuesday, August 2, 1904. X 1 EDITORIAL CURRENT EVENTS: THE DRIFT OF THINGS AS WE SEE IT. Excepting the assassination Thursday of M. von Plehve, the Russian Minister of the Interior, last week was barren of events of the first order of importance. The meat packers' strike continued and grows more ominous; Tuesday the National Democratic Executive Committee met and elected Thomas Taggart, of Indiana, as National Chair man; Wednesday a delegation of prominent Re publicans broke the news gently to Mr. Theodore Roosevelt that he had been named as his party's candidate for President; in the Far East several minor battles between Jap and Cossack were reported. The Assassination of Von Plehve. The assassination of M. von Plehve, the lead ing member of the Russian cabinet, was by far the most momentous event of last week- The Czar alone excepted, there was no more powerful man in the Russian Government than Von Plehve; it is possible, in fact, that the Czar him self was a less potent factor in the administration than his great minister killed by a bomb thrown by a Finnish anarchist last Thursday. The con sternation excited in Russia was much like that caused by the fatal attack on President McKinley. Unlike our President, however, Von Plehve had done much to arouse the hatred of the masses, had done much to stir the bitterest furies in the human breast; and he had long lived in hourly dread of the assault which came last week. The reactionary policy of the" aristocratic Russian monarchy had no fitter exponent than Von Plehve. He believed that the common people had no rights that the government was bound to respect. The crudest instances of Russian tyranny the massacre of the Jews at Kishinev and the heart less oppression of Finland were ascribed to him, and the Czar has for years been led to favor a more drastic policy than he would have endorsed but for the influence of Von Plehve. It is worthy of note that the dead niinister's predecessor was also assassinated, and that only a few weeks ago General Bobrikoff, Governor of Finland, was shot by some fanatic crazed by the sufferings of his country. We would not be understood as justify ing these assassinations, but they are the natu ral and inevitable results of efforts to govern peo ple in the twentieth century by the cruel methods of the Dark Ages. Political Notes. We do not know very much about Mr. Tag gart, the new Democratic Chairman, except that he was the leader of the Parker forces in his State and has always been an earnest party worker whether the nominee was Cleveland or Bryan. We are inclined to regard him as the best selec tion that could have been made preferable to Sheehan of New York, Gorman with his foxy tricks, or August Belmont with his Wall Street alliances. Perhaps the ruling motive in the selec tion of Mr. Taggart, however, was a desire to give representation to the Middle West, both can didates on the Presidential ticket being from the East. One of the features of last week was the rumor and its prompt denial by the gentleman involved that Mr. Henry G. Davis, the venerable Vice Presidential candidate, was about to commi matrimony. Mr. Davis is eighty-one years old and as the Vice-President's chief business is to wait for the President to die, the country is still won dering why a man of his years was named for sec ond place on the ticket. And this reminds us that one of the happiest political articles of the year is Mr. Dooley's letter on the Vice-Presidency which he begins with the two scintillating para- graphs which we have reprinted in another column. Judge Parker will be formally notified of his nomination August 10th, and his letter of ac ceptance will appear shortly thereafter. Perhaps no other letter of acceptance for twenty-five years has been awaited with so much interest. Barring his gold standard telegram, the people know prac tically nothing of Judge Parker's personal opin ions and how the party platform will be modified by these opinions. There is no difference, so far as known, between his financial policy and that of the Republican and the people are anxious to see to recur to Mr. Dooley again whether or not there is justification for the Irish philoso pher's latest remark: " 'Has th' candydates accipted th' nommyna- tion f'r prisident? asked Mr. Hennessy. 'No.' said Mr. Dooley, fth' commities haven't med up their minds whether they will give th' Dimmy- crat nommynation to Rosenvelt an' th' Raypub- lican nommynation to Parker, or vicay varsy. It don't make much diff'rence annyway.'" Except on the negro question which still re mains the paramount issue in the South the par ties are undoubtedly nearer together than at any other time for the last twenty years. And with the two parties less sharply divided as to great political issues, the personality of the Presiden tial candidates, of course, will be an unusually im portant factor in this year's campaign. The Democratic State Executive Committee of North Carolina also met Tuesday. Senator Simmons was unanimously re-elected Chairman and Mr. A. J. Feild Secretary. A set of rules to govern the holding of party primaries was adopt ed, and a general sentiment in favor of the legal ixed primary was reported. This system now obtains, we believe, in every other State which has disfranchised the larger part of it3 negro citizens. The Committee also decided to work for joint canvasses between Democratic and Republi can candidates. Among our political notes the defeat of the dis pensary in the Wilmington election last week should also have attention a defeat by a majority of 690 in a total vote of 1,902. This is the first important election of the year in which the tem perance forces have failed. The liquor question is likely to play a very large part in the State campaign this year, and Senator Simmons is quoted as saying that the Watts Law will be one of the leading issues of the campaign. Joseph W. Folk for Governor of Missouri. The nomination of Joseph W. Folk for Gover nor of Missouri last week is a notable triumph for decency in politics. No one else in America has done so much to expose and punish bribery and corruption in office, and the fact that the com mon people of Missouri stood by him and brought him promotion instead of the political death with which the corrupt boodlers and bosses threatened bim this should be an inspiration to every Amer ican who is working for a nobler civic life. In this connection, it may be interesting to recall what we wrote of Mr. Folk nearly two years ago when his work had only well begun: "A year or two ago Mr. Folk was a young St. Louis lawyer of not unusual prominence, and to help him along his friends urged his nomination for Circuit Attorney. The machine did not see any reason to object, and he was nominated, every body supposing that Mr. Folk would be satisfied to plod along in the well-worn paths of his prede cessors. True, he did say that if elected he would do his full duty without fear or favor, but that was not unusual platitude. And so he was elected, and immediately set about protecting the public interests of his city, believing with all his soul that 'a public ofilce is a public trust and that he ought to stop short of hie duty for no man or set of men. Very soon he discovered evidences of corruption among the influential 'Honorables' who made up the city council, and it had never occurred to the unsophisticated Mr. Folk that a corrupt man should be free from prosecution because of wealth or social position, or the prefix 'Hon.' attached td his name. And so the young Circuit Attorney continued his 'pernicious activity collecting evidence and mak ing himself generally obnoxious to the bribe-takers and bribe-givers of old St. Louis. No influence could swerve him from what he thought to be the line of duty, no threats moved him, no prom ises allured. Corrupt Republicans and corrupt Democrats shared alike. He went on with the prosecution, calmly but with terrible earnestness. The corruptionists who laughed at first either fled the State or turned State's .evidence in the hope of lightening their sentences. So the work has gone on, and justice has been meted out to more than one of the high and mighty. And never should St. Louis forget its heroic young Circuit Attorney. He has shown both courage and pa triotism in a degree that has been surpassed by no warrior in the world's history." Mr. Folk's parents, it may be worth while to say, were natives of Bertie County, N. C, and two of his brothers are graduates of Wake Forest College. His election as Governor is assured, and many Republicans are demanding that their party nominate no one in opposition to him. Alexander Hamilton Again. In connection with our comment on the centen ary of the death of Alexander Hamilton last week, we think it will interest the average reader to give another paragraph as to the part played by the famous financier in the making of this Govern ment. It is decidedly singular, when one comes to think of it, that so much of the policy of our American republic has been shaped by a man who frankly declared (June 26, 1787) : "I do npt think favorably of republican government." "The best form of government." he said, "is the British" and the British system then was infinitely less democratic than now. Hamilton's great ob ject was to build up a strong centralized govern ment. Perhaps the best brief outline of his pol icy is given in the biography written by one of his admirers, Charles A. Conant (Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Publishers), and recently reviewed in The Progressive Farmer : "Hamilton advanced a doctrine which was eag erly embraced by the party which was growing up around him, but which was as resolutely op posed by the other party. This was the doctrine of the implied powers granted to the new govern ment by the Constitution. It is doubtful whether the Constitution would have been ratified by Vir ginia and other States if this doctrine had been set forth and defended in the State conventions by the friends of the Constitution. This by no means implies that the policy and doctrine of Hamilton were not wise and far-sighted. Hamil ton had definite aims before him, and it was his legitimate mission to educate public sentiment up to the point of accepting those aims and of grant ing him the means for carrying them out. The doctrine of the 'implied powers' rested upon the theory that unless they were directly prohibited by the Consitution, all powers were granted to the government by implication which were found necessary and proper for carrying out the powers specifically granted. Jefferson came to believe, if he did not believe at the outset, that the govern ment was pne of delegated powers and strictly limited to those enumerated in the Constitution. The doctrine of Hamilton, from this point of view, was revolutionary. It meant the conversion of a government holding limited delegations of power from the people and the States into a government making supreme power, capable of taking an infinite variety of measures whenever Congress, in the exercise of its discretion, believed that such measures would contribute to the well being of the Union. The State governments, coming closer to the people than the Federal government, were most directly threatened by this assumption of power, and it was as the cham pions of State rights as well as democratic ideas that Jefferson and his friends took their ground as the advocates of the strict construction of the Constitution."