THE NEW DEMOCRACY.
A Handbook for Democratic Speakers and Workers.
An Outline of the Methods of the National Volunteers of Democracy and of the Volunteer Speakers Bureau.
Price: Cloth, 75 cents; Paper, 25 cents.
By WALTER VROOMAN,
ST. LOUIS, MO.
Witt Printing Co.
THE NEW DEMOCRACY.
Upon the close of the 1896 national campaign, it was decided at an informal conference of several of the leaders of the Democratic party, to establish a bureau of speakers for the continuous propaganda of Democratic principles by new and young men, while the acknowledged leaders of the party were busy in the Senate and House of Representatives. In December, 1896, headquarters were opened at St. Louis.
Several hundred speakers soon became attached to this bureau, and it was decided to form a permanent organization, that would bring together not only the speakers but all the workers of the party. The outcome of this has been the organization of the National Volunteers of Democracy, with the Speakers’ Bureau and Training School as a special department. Each volunteer is expected to assist in forming regular Democratic clubs, except where for special reasons it is found advisable to organize Silver or Populist clubs, and also to build up and strengthen clubs now in existence.
Heretofore, the handbooks for Democratic speakers and workers, have been so stuffed with statistics and figures as to burden and confuse the minds of their readers, consequently there is a demand for something simpler, for something that will give a bird’s eye view of the political situation, with suggestions as to best methods of work and speech.
It is to supply such a handbook to Democratic speakers and workers, and to outline the plans of the Democratic Volunteers, that this little book has been written.
St. Louis, Mo., June 1, 1897.
The New Democracy is the Old Democracy. It is likewise the only Democracy, and in July, 1896, after years of suppression, it became the Regular Democracy.
The Democracy taught by Jefferson and Jackson is the Democracy of Bryan, Stone and the Chicago platform. But the victory at Chicago of true Democracy over the counterfeit that for years fraudulently used its name was not however a finality; it was a beginning, and what was there accomplished nationally is yet to be accomplished locally in many states and cities. We have not only to push on to new and local victories after taking the central citadel, but what is of greater importance, must hold the positions already taken.
It was said that at the Chicago Convention we not only “raised the dead” but “cast out devils.” We must remember, however, that there are other devils, which in many places still possess the party locally, and the miracle of casting them out can only be performed by the power that comes of unselfish patriotism.
It is noble to fight for a righteous cause, but it is glorious to WIN in a righteous fight. The exposure of Republican lies, the betrayal of their every promise made prior to the last general election, the perfidy back of their pre-election threats, have made Democratic victory reasonably certain in 1900. When the country has been cursed four years more by the infamous gold standard and monopoly rule, the majority of the people will favor a radical change. WE CAN BE DEFEATED ONLY IN ONE WAY. Let us repeat this. There is but one possible way by which the producing classes can be defeated at the polls in 1900; that is by the same old trick used by tyrants in all ages, the placing of their own lieutenants as the leaders of the people.
The plutocrats fully appreciate this. They know that the people, weary of Republican misrule, will vote another party into power, hence their only salvation is to guide and control. They can do this in but one way, by having the opposing army officered by generals of their own choosing. It makes no difference how big the army, if the enemy chooses its officers, it is doomed.
This was the trick by which monopoly defeated Democracy in several states during the recent campaign. The forces of the people were hastily organized. The recruits were strangers to one another. By a bold move on the part of plutocracy, backed by ample corruption funds, the willing tools of the money power were in many places made leaders of the very army formed to destroy the money power. As a consequence, we, the people, CAST the votes, while in many places the gold standard representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties COUNTED them; and incidentally failed to count MANY.
In 1900 the people may poll any number of votes, but, if we fail to stamp out such traitors as David Bennett Hill, Calvin S. Brice, Wm. C. Whitney and John G. Carlisle, who use the Democratic name only to defeat Democratic principles, and who claim friendship for the poor man only to add his product to the fortunes of the rich; unless we expel these conspirators and hypocrites from the Democratic party, with all their abbettors and partners in fraud, we will be defeated in spite of our overwhelming advantage in numbers.
Democracy now means the people against the organized money power. It is simply insanity for us to prepare for battle and select as drill masters, men whose salaries are paid by the very money power against which we fight.
Suppose a million American soldier boys were to march with flying flags and beating drums, against an invading army of Cossacks and Turks, and that by some trick the wily Czar and Sultan should secure the appointment of Russian and Turkish officers over our troops. Should we be surprised if thousands of our brave boys were led headlong into ditches and slaughtered like rats in a trap and our magnificent army cut in pieces by half as many European king worshippers?
We should not be surprised. And no man who knows anything about war could have been surprised when such fate befell the magnificent army of raw recruits led last year by Bryan against the invasion of the European moneyed despots. We were cut to pieces, ambushed, scattered and defeated solely by the treachery of subordinate leaders whom our great champion and the people trusted, who, by sympathies, self-interest and custom, were bound to the very money power that we were fighting to overthrow. And now the very men who sold out the people, who defeated the cause of American independence and fastened upon our nation the rule of the European money power for four more years—these same men, led by that adept in low cunning, that master of political knavery and arch enemy of popular rights, David Bennett Hill, are trying to get a foothold again in the party they have just defeated, are again trying to gain the confidence of the millions whose liberties they sold, and whose children they are now trying to betray into perpetual slavery.
Some may say that it is impossible for these conspirators ever again to get a hold on the Democratic party. Such over-confidence is always a fatal weakness in war. When we know that the only possible way for plutocracy to continue to rule our country is by corrupting the Democratic party and placing its own agents in Democracy’s counsels, and that the united money power of the world, will during the next four years (aided by the best talent that can be bought by unlimited funds), attempt to man Democracy’s army with plutocracy’s hirelings. Our business is not to lull ourselves into a false belief of security, but to work by day and watch by night to defeat the enemy. It is not for us to proudly boast that there is no danger, for there is danger, GRAVE DANGER, SOLEMN AND AWFUL DANGER, THAT WITH AN UNLIMITED USE OF MONEY AND THE PURCHASE OF THE BEST POLITICAL GENIUS AND CUNNING OF OUR COUNTRY BY MONOPOLY, WE MAY AGAIN BE BETRAYED ON THE EVE OF BATTLE.
When the outcome of our struggle is a world to be gained or lost, civilization to go forward or be derailed, all that is dear to us, all that is most sacred in life saved to us or snatched from us, we cannot be too alert, too eager, or too anxious; cannot prepare or organize too thoroughly for the primaries that are to decide the leadership and control of Democracy in the contest of 1900. We should, each of us, swear in the name of God and man, that all the power and influence we possess shall be earnestly exerted from now until 1900 in ridding our party of these parasites who are in it only to destroy it. We should bitterly oppose the selection of any man for election judge, precinct captain, ward committeeman, city committeeman, county committeeman, state committeeman, national committeeman, or any other place of trust in our party, who is known to be in sympathy with, or friendly to, the gold standard, or to any one of the giant trusts now helping destroy our Republic.
If we would destroy the trusts, we must be led only by known enemies of the trusts. If we would be victorious in this conflict against plutocracy, we must follow only leaders whose records prove clearly that they are absolutely free from entangling alliances with plutocracy.
Some say we must harmonize all elements. We cannot harmonize the interests of the man who steals and the man who is stolen from, any more than we can harmonize fire and water. We only weaken our cause by trying to get the men against whom we are fighting to join us.
Some one exclaims we must have the gold Democrats with us, or we are lost. THERE CAN BE NO SUCH THING AS A GOLD DEMOCRAT. The Democratic party stands for the abolition of the gold standard and every other monopoly by means of which scheming monopolies rob the public. A gold Democrat is as much an impossibility as a round square, white lamp-black or a red-hot icicle. The plutocrats who left the Democratic party and enlisted under the banner of Mark Hanna, will never join us except for the purpose of defeating our plans. They will never work for the success of the Democratic banner, unless they themselves carry that banner, and lead us, its followers, into their own traps, wherein we shall be despoiled. For the vote of every traitor and deserter, gained by such cowardly attempts at compromise, we shall lose a hundred loyal votes through sheer despair.
We do not need the gold bugs. If they are honest in their professed change of heart, they will vote for honest, fearless candidates as well as for those of the milk and water brand, or who have no definite programme except their secret pledges to moneyed constituents. If they have not experienced a change of heart, we do not want them, for it is better that they remain open enemies than that they become professed friends, seeking an opportunity again to betray us.
We do not object to receiving in the ranks the man who comes back to the Democratic party and says: “I deserted you, but I wish now to return to the fold; I was a traitor during the last campaign, but I am willing to vote with you hereafter.” But the manhood, the self-respect, the enthusiasm of Democracy do object and register a vigorous protest to permitting these deserters to assume places of responsibility with power to sell the people out again.
No one objects to the gold-bugs returning to our fold any more than we should to the blind regaining their sight or to sinners desiring to wash away their sins, but we do object to these sinners returning at the price of giving our party organization over into their hands.
A PERTINENT ILLUSTRATION.
An ominous example of the methods being used to capture Democracy by the money power was afforded by the lawless militarism brought into play by the gold bugs at the recent municipal Democratic convention of St. Louis, when, their fraud being discovered, and legitimately defeated by the people at the primaries and at the convention, they appealed to the last resort of despotism everywhere, the force of arms.
For many years a clique of unscrupulous politicians controlled St. Louis Democratic conventions. Early in the April campaign, Mr. Hugh Brady, for many years Chairman of the Democratic City Central Committee, stated in an interview published in the St. Louis papers that a clique of “machine” politicians had “fixed the machine” to nominate Mr. Edwin Harrison for Mayor. The street railway managers, who last fall knifed Bryan and the Chicago platform, came to the front as Mr. Harrison’s supporters. Mr. C. C. Maffitt, who bolted the party last fall, headed his delegation, and in several other wards the Harrison delegations were led by gold boltocrats. The “machine” was for Harrison, and Hugh Brady declared the “machine” could nominate any man it wanted.
The men who supported Mr. Lee Meriwether for Mayor were all aggressive Bryan Democrats and opposed not only the gold standard, but also opposed street car domination in city affairs. They appealed from the “machine” to the people. They pointed out how the leading supporters of the “machine” candidate were gold boltocrats and street railway managers, who use their political influence to escape paying hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxes legally due the City Treasury. They insisted that franchises to monopolize the public’s streets ought to be sold, not given away, to private corporations. And on this platform they secured enough delegates to control the convention.
On the morning following the primary election, even the Republic, the organ of the “machine,” admitted that Mr. Harrison had but 134 delegates, while the opposition had 153.
When the delegates opposed to Mr. Harrison united in supporting Mr. Meriwether, it was apparent that nothing short of fraud and force could prevent the defeat of the machine. Accordingly, Mr. Ed Devoy, Chairman of the Central Committee, called the convention to order and hurriedly announced as its governing officers Messrs. Lutz, Barrett and Wand, the three campaign managers of the “machine” candidate.
Scarcely was the announcement made when ex-Governor Norman J. Colman rose and protested against the attempt to muzzle the convention, and nominated for chairman Mr. Sterling P. Bond. Upon Devoy’s refusing to put this motion, one of the delegates, R. T. Brownrigg, made the motion which was duly seconded, and Gov. Colman put the question to the convention and it was carried by a majority of the delegates. In a similar way secretaries and sergeants-at-arms were elected, the convention refusing to accept the slate prepared by the machine.
After the committees had been appointed and reported, nominations for Mayor were made, and on the second ballot Lee Meriwether received 155 votes, eleven more than a majority of all the delegates elected, and he was accordingly declared the nominee of the Democratic party.
Thereupon ensued a scene more worthy of Russia than of the American Republic. Foiled in the attempt to carry the primaries; foiled again in the effort to force their own tools upon the convention as governing officers, the gold men and the street railway managers who were present on the floor of the convention, played their last card in the game to defeat the candidate pledged to make them pay their taxes, and ordered their servant, Devoy, to do by force what he had failed to do by fraud. A Board of Police Commissioners lent themselves to this shameful assault upon American liberty, and ordered three hundred armed police to drive from the hall the delegates opposed to Mr. Harrison. Sterling P. Bond, John J. Fitzwilliam and W. A. Brandenburger, the duly elected chairman and secretaries of the convention, were brutally assaulted by the police. Mr. Bond was carted away to jail in a patrol wagon. Mr. Meriwether, who had been called on to address the convention after his nomination for Mayor, was thrown from the platform by two policemen, and, in company with a majority of the delegates, was forcibly expelled from the hall.
Since the 9th of November, 1799, when Napoleon’s grenadiers drove the French deputies out of their convention hall at the point of the bayonet, history affords no parallel to this outrage by the St. Louis boltocratic politicians.
That in claiming a convention has no right to elect its own presiding officers the gold boltocrats were utterly wrong in custom as well as equity, will be seen by recalling the manner in which last year the Chicago Convention refused to accept Senator Hill, the National Democratic Committee’s suggestion for chairman, and instead elected Daniel, a silver Senator from Virginia.
Although the St. Louis papers subsequently supported Mr. Harrison, whose nomination was only accomplished by the illegal use of three hundred police, those same papers did not hesitate to say, the morning after the convention, that the action of the machine was illegal and tyrannical:
A WARNING FOR THE FUTURE.
Might never makes right. The candidate whose nomination rests not upon ballots but upon the clubs and guns of three hundred policemen, cannot be the rightful nominee of Democracy, which means people’s rule, not police rule. When appeal was made from the outrage of the corrupt political machine, the Court of Appeals decided that the matter was beyond its jurisdiction, that no Court has the power to review the action of the Election Commissioners, even though they certify to the nomination of a candidate without a shadow of right to such nomination.
Had the Court consented to examine the evidence and gone into the merits of the case, it could not but have decided that the rightful nominee for Mayor was Mr. Meriwether, who had the affidavits of a majority of the delegates showing that they had supported him in the convention.
This high-handed attempt of the gold boltocrats to tyrannize over the convention resulted in Democracy’s defeat. But despite the stinging rebuke administered by an outraged people, the machine is again endeavoring to fasten itself upon the Democratic party of St. Louis.
The same tactics, and even more desperate and lawless ones, will be used by the gold plutocrats throughout our country. The people must be prepared to meet them.
What are the best methods of preparation? It is to give some suggestions as to methods, and to increase, the vigilance of the patriotic Democrats and friends of humanity in whose hands it may fall that this little volume has been written.
The immediate purpose of the Democratic Volunteers is to organize and carry on in the most effective way the campaign for 1900. They seek to build up and foster the Democracy of Jefferson, Jackson, Bryan and the Chicago platform by seeing, first, that the common people remain in control of the Democratic party; and, second, that the Democratic party, representing the common people, gets control of the country in 1900. It is further hoped that the Volunteers thus organized and trained, will become a permanent force in the history of our Nation; a power in the guidance of the forces behind the nation’s progress; a means of uniting the best intelligence of our race with that faith and deep religious purpose which permeate the common people, and of expediting the conscious co-operation of individuals with those giant forces that are slowly but surely destroying the old, and building up the new civilization. Our plan appeals principally to young men. Our methods are new, at least to this generation, and as we believe that the great battle in which we are engaged must be led by the most vigorous, active and courageous amongst us, we depend principally upon young men for leadership and work.
Knowing that our principles are eternal, and that in proclaiming them we have the support of the great common people of posterity, and of God, the Volunteers are expected to assume, upon all occasions, an attitude of absolute confidence.
We are to utilize every force and every means that perception can discover or ingenuity devise for the forwarding of our movement. We are to proceed, not only by usual, but by unusual methods, taking possession of resources never before thought of in political campaigns or religious crusades. Our principles are to be declared both in public and in private, and propagated methodically and persistently in every existing institution, organization or association of men and women.
The church is the center of activity for many. This class can be reached best by having our truths come to them through the channel by which they usually receive their opinion and ideals, namely, the church. There are other hundreds of thousands whose lives center about the liquor saloons. To reach these our speakers must go to the saloons. In many agricultural communities, it is customary to hold meetings in school houses, while in good weather, picnics, barbecues and all day gatherings take place in the woods. To these various customs our speakers must adapt themselves. In some sections the camp-meeting lasts for a week or two, in great tents, or in special woodland resorts, permanently constructed and kept for that purpose. Our Volunteers will find here opportunities for effective work.
But for reasons of economy, the greater part of our work will be done outdoors. Plutocracy can afford to hire a dozen halls where one drawing speaker can be secured. Our movement has a dozen speakers to every hall we can afford to hire. We will consider first, therefore, methods of outdoor speaking.
The easiest, the most economical, the most fruitful of the Volunteer speaker’s work, will consist of unadvertised outdoor meetings. There is probably not a city, village, or town in America in which a man with a strong voice, mounting some emergency platform and calling out that he has something important to say, cannot, in a short time, attract a considerable crowd. If his message be direct, condensed, sincere and well delivered, he can hold the crowd in any except the most inclement weather. Coming as a surprise does not lessen the effect, if the words are well directed. People who could not be induced to enter a hall to hear a lecture, people who, if the meeting had been advertised, would purposely remain away, will stop and listen to an outdoor speaker; they will be interested, and may even be converted if the truths are well presented.
Of course, many passersby will listen only for a few minutes and proceed on their way. An outdoor crowd is always a changing one, but this merely necessitates a special outdoor method of treatment. Indoors, an address is expected to be continuous; one point must lead up to another; a line of thought must be followed so as to produce interest cumulative to the end. Outdoor speaking, on the other hand, must be made up of short, concise points, each complete in itself, so that no person can listen for a single minute without getting something to carry away with him. Anecdotes should be freely interspersed, but in condensed form.
As the audience is compelled to stand, often on damp ground, and in chilly or excessively hot weather, it is necessary that outdoor speaking should never, under any circumstances, take upon itself the qualities of a pedagogical lecture. On the other hand, it must be made up of illustrations, word pictures, and pungent assertion of those fundamental truths known to be most essential.
HOW TO ARRANGE SUCH MEETINGS.
The speaker arrives in a strange town, having entered afoot, by horse, or by rail. If he have friends in the town, his work will, of course, be less difficult, and it will be comparatively easy to procure a horse and carriage (or a wagon).
The vehicle secured, let him drive to the principal street, stop at the corner selected as the meeting-place, and, standing on the seat, let him announce (his voice pitched high, but not strained, dwelling for at least two seconds upon each word) that a meeting will be held in a few minutes at which “the people will be told how our country can be freed from the curse of Hannaism and monopoly” (or some similar striking expression). Then proceeding to the next corner let him repeat the announcement, and so over the village, or, if it be a city, over as large a section as he can conveniently cover. By making a dozen or more of these announcements he can always gather about him the nucleus of an audience.
If unable to secure a vehicle he may go afoot, carrying a chair to serve him as a speaker’s platform. As efficient work can be done in this way as in any other.
In addressing the five or the fifty men, women and boys who compose this audience, it is requisite that he should begin in the same high key and the same deliberate manner and tone in which he made his announcements, addressing himself not to the few in front of him, but to the listeners in front of their stores half a block away. After speaking thus for five minutes, more or less, and arousing the enthusiasm and interest of distant listeners, he should suddenly turn his eyes and attention from all who are more than fifty feet away, and proceed in his natural tone of voice. Very often persons standing in front of stores and shops, lining the streets for two or three squares, when the speaker changes and lowers his tone and directs his remarks to his immediate audience, will come near to hear, if possible, the completion of some interesting point.
In large cities where there is much noise from street cars and wagons, this work is more laborious, and from start to finish the speech will require all the energy the speaker possesses to keep his crowd together and to increase its number. But in smaller places, or in quieter neighborhoods of large places, after the first announcements, outdoor speaking can be reduced to a very moderate exercise. The average man, after a month’s practice, can speak outdoors two or three hours a day, divided into three or four speeches, without any great fatigue, and keep it up the year round, resting only upon days so rainy, stormy or bitter cold, that men will not, for any inducement, stand outdoors.
PRE-ARRANGED APPLAUSE ONE-HALF OF ORATORY.
If friends can secure the free service of a drum corps, a brass band, or a quartette of singers, to help draw the people together, the speaker’s work will, of course, be greatly lessened, and much will be done toward saving the voice and energies otherwise necessarily expended in attracting an audience. He will thus be enabled to concentrate all his powers, convincing and teaching his hearers.
But in the absence of drums or music, there is nothing so helpful to the speaker in getting a crowd and in holding it after it has congregated, than a little skilfully pre-arranged applause. If several men, helped by a dozen boys, take their places around the speaker, and from the start take off their hats and cheer lustily about every three sentences, not only does the noise attract attention and draw listeners, but it impresses deeply those who are present, so that each word of the speaker has its effectiveness multiplied. A few men, starting off in this way (if the speaker is bright and forcible), will be joined by half the audience, and, in outdoor speaking, generous applause doubles the effect of oratory. It not only adds weight to the speech, but it strengthens and cheers the speaker, stimulating him to his highest efficiency. It infuses new blood into his veins and new breath into his lungs. It quickens his heart beats and helps clear his voice. It at once establishes a rapport between the talker and the talked-to, and converts what might otherwise be a number of isolated units into a sort of organism, the vital principle of which is one central enthusiasm voiced by the speaker.
To convince the friends of the movement of the necessity for loud cheering from the start by pre-arranged, conscious effort, is often quite difficult, although it is important. Much tact and skill are required to select a dozen young men before the meeting, and train them in a few minutes so that they will follow the cue of the man who is to lead the applause and cheer when he gives the word.
A very important point, where young boys are concerned, is to stop their cheering when the leader stops. Unless you have a confederate of tact and personality there is danger that the boys, once started yelling, will enjoy it so hugely that they will keep it up in a disorderly way, and injure the meeting much more than they help it. But properly drilled, a dozen young boys are worth almost as much as a drum corps. Under proper leadership, they will stop instantly at the pre-arranged signal, and enjoy the military precision. Ten minutes training by an experienced man will suffice to complete their education in this regard.
The outdoor campaigner should never fear repetition. The average outdoor listener is not averse to hearing something that he has heard before, but is averse to anything dull, statistical or requiring laborious mental effort. In fact, from the standpoint of economy, three or five addresses made on the same street corner for three or five successive days, will accomplish much more for the cause than the same number of addresses delivered each one in a different town or locality. The apostle of the New Democracy, traveling from place to place, should stop at least two or three days in each village, even if he has only one speech and must repeat it over with variations each time. If he is resourceful and has a few anecdotes and illustrations for each day, it will pay him to stay a week in each town, as it takes two or three days for new hearers to become familiar with his objects, aims and attitude of thought. The writer has often found that more real, direct converts are made to the people’s cause on the sixth or seventh day in a town, than during all of the previous days combined.
Thought is like seed. Whatever be the soil, like all vegetable life, it must undergo three stages, planting, developing and fruit bearing. With the majority each stage of development requires a season; one speaker sows, another waters, and another gathers the ripe fruit. But a brain adjacent to an empty stomach, idle arms or a bankrupt business, offers a more fertile soil for new ideas, and there are some such minds in every town wherein all these processes can be carried on under the tutelage of one man; some such persons in despair at the beginning of the week, who can, by the close of the week, be brought to the light, their gloom dispelled, and a nobler civilization ever after clearly pictured before their eyes, the object of their life’s endeavor. There are many persons who, by one series of meetings, are actually converted from ignorant participants in existing injustice to active workers for the true state yet to be. The whole tenor and ideals of their lives are transformed by knowledge vitalized by faith.
When a week’s meetings are contemplated in country towns, experience suggests that the best time to start is on Monday and that the meetings all week should lead up to one or two grand demonstrations on Sunday, when the largest crowd of the week can be gotten together, and when, by the aid of a Scripture lesson, a prayer and a couple of patriotic songs, the enthusiasm can be carried highest.
LITERATURE THE BASIS OF THE MOVEMENT.
No outdoor meeting can fill its mission nor make use of half its opportunities, without the sale of literature, which enlarges and completes the points touched on by the speaker. The object of an outdoor speech is to interest, to stir the emotions of men, dispel their lethargy and despair, plant in them hope and faith, and prepare them to think out, read out and study out the great National problem. The attention of men, that is, the real, serious concentration of their minds upon great things, is so rare that when you once have it the opportunity should be utilized fully. Those who are interested by the outdoor speech should be urged to develop that interest into knowledge, conviction and action. This can only be done by inducing them to read some book or pamphlet, explaining in detail the points suggested by you and backing up your assertions by careful arguments. Ten pamphlets, or books, sold at a meeting where men’s hearts have been opened and their prejudices melted by enthusiasm, are worth more to the cause than ten thousand books and circulars distributed from door to door. The sale of ten small ten-cent pamphlets at a meeting is at least half the value of the meeting. In this movement one chicken raised is worth more than a whole brood hatched; one fighting rooster is worth three dozen eggs. One campaigner, armed with facts and possessing contagious faith in our creed, necessarily becomes a permanent, creative force in the community in which he lives.
Literature is one element in the production of such centers of power, not literature scattered wildly, but literature placed carefully in the hands of those who have been prepared by the personal appeal of a sincere advocate to see and understand the points enunciated. So bountiful has free literature become and so ocean-like is the flood upon political subjects, that it is difficult to get men to open a pamphlet on political or social subjects when distributed to them in their normal condition. But first arouse them by a stirring address, and they will willingly study what otherwise they could not be induced to consider even superficially.
Not only should the speaker try to sell as many books and pamphlets as possible at the meetings, but he should try to leave in every community or section of a great city covered by him, some worker who will get a stock of such literature and continue its sale until another impulse is given the movement by the visit of another Volunteer.
ADVERTISED OUTDOOR MEETINGS.
Very often a little coterie of enthusiasts will think that with the aid of a few handbills they can get a great crowd of their stupefied, over-worked and discouraged fellow beings to give up their other engagements and walk to some out-of-the-way place or corner of the town to listen to their speaker. Our friendly promoters do not know that to the eye of the multitude the bills suggest only an uninteresting harangue or the visionary proclamations of a dreamer that in no way concern them. The result is that very often instead of a thousand greeting the speaker, all eager for information and ready for a change of heart, as anticipated, there are a dozen or so already familiar with his teachings and sharing his opinion on all important subjects and half as many idle curiosity seekers without influence in the community. The speaker is discouraged and the ardent reformers are chilled to the bone and despairingly admit to each other that the citizens of their particular community are more perverse and hardened against new ideas and reforms than the residents of any other locality under the sun.
If, instead of the preparation for an out-of-the-way meeting and the laborious provision of seats for people who never came, a few circulars announcing the meeting and containing two or three gems of thought had been distributed and the speaker had mounted a wagon or box in the center of town as heretofore suggested, the meeting would probably have been a success.
Except on occasions of great excitement, when men are drawn together by some celebrated orator, or on holidays, when they expect, under any circumstances, to leave their homes and work and betake themselves with their families to the woods and fields, it is important to hold outdoor meetings where an audience can be gathered largely from passersby.
A speaker talks to one hundred, one thousand or more hearers, but by proper co-operation on the part of the press his words are often carried to tens of thousands more. Where the press is not absolutely united for the purpose of maliciously misrepresenting or suppressing the speaker’s words, at least half of his work consists in the silent appeal to auditors he never sees, those who read his words as reported in the papers. A few suggestions may, in this connection, be found of value.
First, have printed, typewritten, or copied by hand, all the essential points of your speech, ready to be handed to the newspaper representative. Properly prepared manuscript, written on one side of the paper only, will often be published in full. It may be thrown into the waste basket. But any paper will publish more of a man’s speech, if he has neatly prepared his manuscript beforehand than otherwise.
Next, get personally acquainted with each editor, entering into a pleasant conversation with him and trying to make him your personal friend. By this means a Volunteer can often use the press of the opposite party to propagate his views. The original purpose of a newspaper was to give news, and very often, even in these degenerate days, the instinct of a newspaper man to give news, if encouraged and stimulated a little, will become strong enough temporarily to overcome his prejudice, and possibly overcome his appreciation of the plate matter supplied by Mr. Hanna’s agents free of charge. He may even give a column or a half-column, describing the meeting of the New Democracy, quoting freely the words of the speaker.
In dealing with Democratic, Populist and other friendly papers, there is a secondary opportunity for useful work. It is to show the editors how they can force the plate matter and ready-print establishments to furnish news concerning the Democratic Volunteers to all their customers, by simply demanding information on that subject. Even request the editor to write a letter, telling of the intense interest of his constituents in the Volunteers, and urging that his ready-print matter contain something weekly from the Volunteer’s National office. A sufficient number of such letters cannot fail to have the desired effect. Let every Volunteer aim to secure the co-operation of a few editors, and the work is done. The ready-print establishments that remain stubborn should lose their patronage.
The Volunteers are organized, not to do the easy things that have been done in the past and are now being very satisfactorily done by others, but rather to do what others have left, and are leaving, undone. In communities where the New Democracy is strong and the people are already in the habit of gathering periodically and during political campaigns nightly, it requires no organization of Volunteers to provide men to instruct and amuse them to their entire satisfaction. Our work is to do what others have not done and cannot do; to gather crowds where others have failed; to create interest where there is no interest; to make friends where we have no friends, and, WHERE WE ARE ALREADY STRONG AND DOMINANT IN A COMMUNITY, TO TEACH OUR FRIENDS AND BROTHERS TO SO SYSTEMATIZE THEIR EFFORTS AND ENTHUSIASM AS TO BE MOST USEFUL IN EDUCATING AND GAINING THE SUPPORT OF LESS ADVANCED COMMUNITIES ELSEWHERE.
In arranging indoor meetings, it is essential, in order that our work may be fruitful, to get out other than what is known as “the same old crowd.” There are a few people of both parties in every community who are always interested in politics, and who attend nearly all party meetings. On such, ammunition is largely wasted. A speaker should never be satisfied to address a small crowd, the majority of whom are already in accord with his principles. His object should be to bring in new men, to get in fresh blood. The motto of each of us should be, “I came not to bring the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
To secure the attendance of the non-political class, it is, therefore, expedient, in addition to the regular speeches, to provide some form of entertainment, such as vocal and instrumental music, a dramatic rendition, or a children’s performance.
When an audience is assembled particularly to enjoy the entertainment and incidentally from curiosity to see and hear the strange speaker, it is well for the speech to be built from materials furnished by the local performers. If children have participated, there is no happier way to begin than by telling how enjoyable were their songs and recitations, how thrilling the thoughts born of their happy faces and hearts throbbing with youthful hopes. The speaker might tell how, looking into their bright eyes, his thoughts turned toward the future, where he saw the obstacles against which these children will have to contend, the difficulties they will meet in getting started in life, the unfair advantages over them possessed by the children of special privilege. By taking the children who participate as a text and riveting the attention of the audience upon them instead of considering the rights of men in general, he can gain at once, not only the attention, but the sympathy and the very hearts of those who listen.
If the entertainment is a musical one, the speaker might begin by describing the state of mind produced by the sweet harmonies just listened to. By recalling the difference between the discord produced by ten men tuning their musical instruments and the harmony resulting when they play the same instruments together, he has an illustration applicable in several ways: suggesting the harmony and orderliness of the state that we are fighting for, the economy of concert in our political methods, and numerous other points, which, if given in a conversational way, will arrest the attention of even the women and the children. Let him then proceed with simple axiomatic truths that can be grasped by every hearer, abundantly illustrated, and the crowd will be induced to attend future meetings.
There are a thousand cues given and illustrations suggested by a preliminary entertainment that can be made the gateway to the sympathies, affections and intelligence of those who listen. Convince the audience that the questions treated are neither abstract nor incomprehensible, but simple and tangible, and concern their personal welfare and the future of their families, and self-interest will impel them to listen to specific arguments backed by facts and figures.
The Volunteer who aspires to attract vast audiences and transplant the hopes and thoughts that flourish in his own mind to the fertile soil of other minds, must first learn that the passion to instruct, though a noble instinct, must be curbed ruthlessly, else instead of an orator the “would-be” will find himself a bore. The passion to impart knowledge, like the other human passions, when given free rein to exercise itself unrestrained, defeats its own ends and at last destroys itself.
How many old speakers we know who long ago looked forward, as hundreds of young men now look forward, to becoming orators, with power to sway the multitudes, to guide and lead them to higher things. But instead of orators we call them fossils. Instead of attracting they repel. They begin whenever permitted and never stop until so commanded. They are brought out and used in emergencies when no one else can be obtained, but never otherwise. They are common hacks. Why is this? Not always because such men do not possess ability. Some of them have followed the world’s greatest thinkers throughout their intricate reasonings and profound solutions of life’s most serious problems. But at the very start they conceived wrong notions concerning the function of a public speaker, an erroneous impression as to the utility and object of a speech or popular address.
We have often noticed that superior minds are overlooked on popular occasions and some man with less capacity and knowledge, far less endowed with mental treasures, is called upon to do the honors of the occasion. Why? Because he has the faculty of addressing himself directly to the listeners and of adapting himself to their frame of mind.
To those who would become speakers and avoid the mistakes that cause the majority of failures, the following rules will be found valuable:
1. Do not try to tell all you know at any one time.
2. Do not try to appear deep, learned or poetical.
3. Do not try to prove every statement you make.
4. Use statistics sparingly.
5. Address yourself, not to the kind of men and women you would have made had you been the Creator, but to the actual men and women who have been created, who fill your halls and make up your audiences.
6. Make your talk personal and apply every point to the wants, woes and sentiments of your listeners.
7. Never regret the half hour or the hour occupied by the music, recitations, drama, or other entertainment preceding your speech.
8. Do not manifest impatience at the time consumed in short talks by local speakers.
9. Remember that generally all the good that it is possible for you to accomplish if your audience by preliminary exercises is brought into rapport and sympathy with you, can be accomplished in half an hour. If you can get the complete attention of your audience for half an hour, they will have sufficient matter to fully occupy their thoughts the rest of the day and night, and not only this, if your talk is interesting and they go away hungry instead of satiated, they will gladly attend the next meeting.
10. Be satisfied if you interest your hearers and be not greedy to instruct. For those really interested by oratory will instruct themselves by means of literature which is the only source of real instruction. Oratory should win sentiment and stir interest; literature performs the work of education. The speech fulfils its mission if it persuades men to read aright.
A meeting that is half entertainment or if illustrations, anecdotes and stories be included under the head of entertainment, a meeting that is nine-tenths entertainment and one-tenth direct statement of fact and reasoning therefrom, is of far more value than a three hours’ bombardment with facts, figures, arguments and the soundest reasoning, directed by a master. The average human mind, as God made it and as our present unsocial life has unmade it, will become wearied by such an effort and leave the meeting with the firm resolve not to attend another. Such meetings cannot be held often and do not win the sympathies and co-operation of men nearly so much as a meeting planned and arranged on the basis of adaptation to the capacities of the average listener and his multiform emotions and mental wants. This is the secret of the success of the popular churches. They do not try to teach the people too much. They do not strain that organ, very weak in the average human mind, known as the logical faculty.
Far more progress can be made in any community by instituting a successful series of meetings, wherein serious reasoning occupies a minor portion of the time, the rest filled in by entertainment, than can be gained by meetings that furnish a perfect mine of wealth in the way of food for thought and intellectual feasting for the few who have the power to appreciate such things.
LIFE IS SHORT.
The length of the man’s speech should be measured, not by his own physical endurance nor the time that his breath lasts, not by the amount that he has to say nor even by the capacity of his audience to listen or to remain in the room, but in every case it should be measured by the capacity of his hearers to enjoy.
Most political meetings are too long. Very often two or three speakers are engaged, each harboring the erroneous opinion that duty requires him to talk an hour. Now, any speaker who cannot say something good, useful and inspiring in fifteen minutes, is incapable of saying anything good, useful or inspiring at all.
Except in times of great excitement or in out-of-the-way country districts where meetings are few and the hearers, like savages in a forest, must gorge themselves when they have a chance, the speaking should never, on any occasion, last more than an hour and a half.
Where there are three speakers, not only should each be limited to half an hour but the chair should be filled by a man with pluck and personality sufficiently great to tap the speaker on the shoulder when his time is up.
I have seen more hoggishness displayed at political meetings than ever at a dinner table. The man who sits down at a table and eats everything in sight before his friends arrive, is a gentleman compared with the fellow who occupies the time of his colleagues at a public meeting; because, if by one man’s greed all the food on the table is eaten, other food can be obtained, but when some oratorical hog monopolizes the opportunity of his fellow-speakers, he takes from his colleagues what can never be replaced.
Our volunteers will accomplish a great work for humanity indeed if one of their number succeeds in inventing a method to stiffen the backbones of presiding officers sufficiently to enable them to sit down on that species of “bore” who push themselves to the front, ask to speak first by pledging to quit at a specified time and then talk on until the audience begins to disperse. Few people appreciate the great loss caused to a party or movement by the vacillating weakness of presiding officers and the greedy instincts of men who like to be heard and, in order to satisfy this instinct, “hog everything in sight.”
One mission of the volunteer speaker is to teach etiquette to the political speakers of our own party and when “Ex-Governor So-and-So” and “Prosecuting Attorney Other-man” and “Judge Dry-Bones” and “Ex-Judge Old Fogy” and “The Honorables” and “The Colonels” and “The Generals” and the bulldozing youthful speakers assume to occupy time not intended for them, to take the chairman by the arm and stand by his side until he redeems the pledge made before the meeting and stops the mouth of the insolent fellow who has not sense enough to regard the rights of his fellow-workers.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION.
If a prominent man, known to be long-winded and lacking in this one requisite of a gentleman, is present and it is uncertain that the presiding officer has the courage necessary to call him down at the right time, our voluble celebrity should be told that the position of honor being the last on the program, it has been POSITIVELY given to him. Thus the other speakers will have a chance to plant a few ideas in the minds of their auditors before they are hopelessly wearied. Although the last speaker may injure the general effect of the meeting by his prolonged and drawn-out harangue, the self-assertive and independent ones among the listeners can, at least, leave the room when they get fatigued, without missing the opportunity of listening to those whom they came to hear. This point is purposely emphasized, and strong language not inadvertently used.
Where more than one speaker participates, there is nothing more essential for a successful meeting than that each speaker be limited in time by a pre-arranged plan, and that each be forced by the presiding officer strictly to observe that limit.
MORE THAN TWO MILLION MEMBERS.
The success of the Christian Endeavor movement in the Protestant churches is due almost solely to their method. The Christian Endeavor Societies have no new message to the world; they advocate no reforms; they do not add anything to the teaching of the church; do not even take it back to any of those sublime truths of the past largely ignored and forgotten by the modern church. But there is one simple reform in the method of carrying on religious meetings to which the Christian Endeavor Societies owe their success, and by means of which alone they have gained more than two million members in little more than a decade. This great and valuable secret is their system of two or three minute addresses, and their requiring participation in the meeting by every member.
Some of us are familiar with the old time Protestant prayer-meetings, composed of five or six old men, from ten to thirty middle-aged and old women, with a scattering boy or girl forced to attend by parents. The prayers were long. The talks were dry. The presence of a young man or woman was always a surprise.
The Christian Endeavor Society with the same theology, the same message, the same hymns, not even having a new impulse, a new moral ideal, or a new hope for the betterment of the world, but merely by requiring each member to say a few words and requiring that they say no more than a few words, has succeeded in joining together over two million young people into a prayer meeting society. Young people and prayer meetings! Always before suspicious of each other! Presto change! Two million young people organize in fifteen years to attend prayer meeting. The explanation of this miracle is ENFORCED BREVITY.
Short speeches, the extinction of bores, and the participation in each meeting in some way by every listener are so far as method goes the essentials for a great popular movement.
Good manners that have been taught to most of the world as regards eating and drinking have begun to be introduced into the world of meetings, religious and political, and when we see a feature, a little reform of this kind, building up in a few years one of the largest and most formidable religious organizations in the way of numbers that the world has ever seen, the organizers and workers of the new Democracy should profit thereby and at least learn the lesson, “Don’t bore the people.” It were better that the long-winded talker were a Republican or that he were thrown into the sea than that he should be allowed to destroy our meetings by his prolonged and learned discourses. Flee from the long-winded man, or else turn on him and make him sit down when his time is up. Or do with him as you do with the man who displays swinish proclivities when you invite him to dinner, DON’T INVITE HIM AGAIN.
THE BUREAU OF VOLUNTEER SPEAKERS.
A community feels that it needs to be awakened, and desires to arrange a series of meetings. How can suitable speakers be had? So often a mistake is made. A speaker goes off on a tangent; he carries his hearers into a labyrinth of statistics and details, from which he cannot extricate them; he makes one “break” that alienates more votes than his whole speech wins, or in other ways proves himself incapable of accomplishing good for the community that he visits.
Heretofore such a man, by bulldozing prominent politicians into giving him letters of recommendation, might impose himself on one community after another, and continue for years to injure the party. By proper co-operation of the party with the Bureau of Volunteers Speakers, this evil, in a large measure, can be avoided, because this Bureau does not send a man to speak until it is thoroughly acquainted, not only with his character, but his capacities and judgment, and knows his method of argument and what he is to advocate. When young and comparatively inexperienced speakers are sent out, it is known beforehand what is to be said, as their speeches are prepared and rehearsed in advance. They must know what they have to say, and not trust to inspiration, which often results in perspiration for the speaker, and exasperation for the hearers.
Every speaker sent out will present the great fundamental truths of our movement and not waste time in arguing details, which only supplies our enemies with new weapons to use against us. His speech beforehand has been pruned and criticised; the dead branches lopped off; the twigs and vines cleared from the trunk of the tree, and he is prepared to do only such work as will make converts and deepen the convictions of those already with us.
There exists no other Bureau or Headquarters in America, through which Democratic organizations can obtain at all times the best talent, and never fail to get a man who will strengthen their local organization.
Again, when meetings are held regularly in a town and a work of systematic education is carried on, it often happens that one speaker following another repeats over again the same statistics, the same arguments and even the same stories heard before, thereby tiring the audience. But when a community is supplied regularly by the National Bureau, each speaker takes up a different phase of the great problem, recapitulating only the few fundamental truths on which our movement rests. Each presents also something new, bright and spicy of his own. By this arrangement every community can enjoy the benefits of a succession of good speakers every month or week during the whole four years, and escape the persecution of those unteachable bores, who think themselves speakers. The crowds at these regular periodical meetings will increase, because each time they will hear something just as good as the last time, with added special features, the result of individual genius.
At present, when a speaker is wanted, anybody is invited who happens to be available, his abilities being measured by his own recommendation, or by letters bulldozed from prominent men, who, for reasons of political prudence dared not offend so energetic a fellow. A community in this way may secure a good speech occasionally, but often the speaker is a positive injury to the cause. One poor speech in a series does more to lessen the general interest and reduce the size of the crowds thereafter, than can be overcome by half a dozen good speeches.
Of course, where the local Democracy can secure the services of some one of our national leaders, no bureau mediation is needed, but our national leaders are few and the work before us limitless, therefore the service of the Volunteers’ Bureau in training, equipping and guaranteeing a large number of new speakers who can be secured at any time, by any community, at a moderate expense, is meeting with hearty response by Democratic clubs generally.
The best way to make a strong club anywhere is to institute a series of meetings, all the year round, and, by having at least one able speaker each time, never to disappoint the audience.
Let each town and village establish a lecture course at once, and place itself in communication with the Volunteers’ Bureau. The more numerous and closer together such villages and towns are, the smaller will be the expense to each community and the easier will it be to make up regular circuits for speakers.
THE CO-OPERATION OF CONSTITUENTS NECESSARY.
Although every speaker sent out is guaranteed to do effective work, the leaders of each community are urgently requested to report to headquarters at once, the success or short-comings of each speaker and meeting. Without such co-operation, the Bureau cannot keep that oversight of its hundreds of speakers necessary to raise the standard of work to the highest efficiency. It is assuredly the duty of local workers to give straight-forward reports to headquarters, of the short-comings and “breaks” on the part of the representatives of our Bureau, who represent our party and for whom our party is responsible as well as to report the benefits resulting from each meeting. The fact should also be emphasized that each representative of the Bureau receives a letter of recognition and instruction once a month from headquarters, and his standing with the Bureau should be judged solely by such letters or by direct correspondence. We must be able, when any speaker fails on his part to fulfill our requirements, to cease our connection with, and our responsibility for him.
METHODS OF TRAVEL.
For those very respectable speakers of the old school who go to a town only when sent for and speak only at meetings properly advertised and pre-arranged, who are blessed with a goodly supply of that eminently obstructive article, the chief burden on every popular movement, commonly called dignity, there is no advice needed as to methods of travel. For such well regulated exponents of bimetallism and reform about the only advice that can be given is “be sure that your car fare is sent to you before boarding the train.”
But to another class of speakers, those who make up the rank and file of Democracy’s Volunteers, those whose purpose and power of will are such that no obstacles, no stumbling blocks, no hardships can embitter or delay, those in whom the fire of enthusiasm for humanity has burned up their dignity and who in starting out do not ask whether they have means to go respectably and comfortably and quickly or not, but one question presents itself, namely, “Can I get to my destination in time to deliver my message?” The methods used by such will be various.
When we have the money to buy railway tickets and when cars go at the proper hour, we will travel by rail. Otherwise we will drive when we can conveniently secure a horse and vehicle, or we will gladly mount the saddle or a wheel. But when car tickets, carriages, saddle horses and bicycles are alike impossible, the man fighting for principle will rise superior to his dignity and dependence upon small comforts and taking a bundle of literature and a small bag will, before starting, ask himself only, “Are my shoes good?”
EXPERIENCE FAVORS TRAVELING TWO BY TWO.
The early Christian disciples went out preaching the gospel by twos. Throughout history and in the experience of those living, it has been found that the will and intensity of purpose of the average man is better preserved and that he more easily overcomes obstacles, troubles and disappointments if in traveling among strangers he has companionship. Therefore although, at times the Volunteers may travel as individuals, lonely and homesick, still, wherever it is practicable, we advise our speakers to travel by twos. It is much easier to walk five, ten, twenty, or even forty miles in a day, from one town to another with a companion. Not only is loneliness overcome, but two speaker and workers have more than twice the influence upon a community that either would exert separately. Besides it is safer, and, in case of sickness or accident, there is some one to go for help or to “tell the story.”
Two young Volunteers start out for a month’s campaign in the cause of American liberty. We have no money, the extent of our capital being a bundle of Democratic literature, an appointment from the Bureau of Volunteer Speakers and a good pair of shoes each. We start at seven o’clock in the morning from town “A.” It is twenty miles to “B” where we wish to speak at night. We walk six miles by nine o’clock and are then overtaken by a farm wagon in which we are allowed to ride eight miles, when it leaves our road. We give the driver a pamphlet, thanks and a blessing and we part. It is now eleven o’clock and we walk six miles further when at one o’clock we reach our destination.
In ten minutes we have found a friendly Democrat who, after looking at our letters, shakes our hands, takes us to his house and provides food. After resting a couple of hours after dinner, we make an outdoor talk as suggested in Chapter three, and announce a night meeting.
If those who profess the name Democracy in this village are overburdened with sham dignity and devotion to what is old and inefficient and refuse to recognize or aid the appointed speakers of the people’s cause, we must be ready to rely on other resources. Our afternoon collection may amount to ten cents or it may reach fifty cents or a dollar. The crowd may, however, refuse to contribute anything. We may sell literature sufficient to supply our wants, or the gold standard and the trusts may have caused such a scarcity of cash that we cannot sell anything. We may be compelled to get our supper and maybe breakfast by trading a pamphlet to a grocer for crackers and cheese. After speaking in the afternoon and evening if we should meet with no success or recognition, expediency would suggest that we shake the dust from the soles of our feet and proceed on our journey toward a more friendly community, while the oppressor prepares the way for the work of education later.
In some places friends will supply car tickets; in others they will procure a carriage or wagon and deliver us to the next town. From other villages or towns we may have to proceed as we started and as the apostles used to travel, walking along the dusty road, the frozen ground or through mud or snow. This method of travel is not only now practiced by many of our speakers, but can and will become the method of thousands more. It is a thoroughly practicable and sensible method of teaching truth against great odds and adds to the force of the speakers’ message by proving him sincere.
That this plan of campaigning is altogether feasible the writer can personally attest from actual experience. Years ago, as a mere boy, I became intensely interested in the principles of the New Democracy and starting without money, without friends or any organized assistance, impelled merely by enthusiasm for humanity and hatred of that tyranny through which my race and family had suffered, I traversed in this way every county in the State of Kansas, circulating thousands of pamphlets in which were pointed out the way to a nobler civilization. While still a boy I also walked or rode with friends through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. I was often interfered with by persons disposed to disagree, but at every village and town and city through which I passed, I stood up in the open street in a carriage, on a dry-goods box or a chair and proclaimed my faith that the poor people need not suffer as they do if they would but unite in behalf of their own interests and use the ballot against oppression and tyranny.
Very often I was without money, and I then discovered that my early study of hygiene could be turned to good account. I found that the great capitalists, aided by Edward Atkinson and the soup house reformers, in trying to devise a diet for the poor that might enable them to work for less wages, though failing in this, had at least given me a pointer. I found that their bill of fare lacked but one ingredient to make it very endurable, and that was enthusiasm and youthful hope and fire. I added this ingredient and was independent of the world.
HYGIENE AS A WAR MEASURE.
Those Volunteers who intend not only to try to speak for the cause during the next four years, but have determined to fight for the continuation of our Republic in spite of all obstacles, should learn how independent the body really can be of what are usually termed the necessaries of life.
As an invalid child I attended a course of lectures delivered by one Dr. O’Leary. This distinguished gentleman, with the theatre stage, which he used as his platform covered over with polished skeletons, manikins, human heads in chloroform and colored pictures of the various parts of the human frame, impressed my young mind deeply. At that time, I remember I had been “given up” by my parents and the doctor, as a child who could not possibly be raised. I was accustomed to thoughts of death and for years constantly expected a visit from the dreaded monster. No memory is more distinctly engraven on my mind than the nights when, with eager eyes fastened on this wonderful man and his mysterious skulls and manikins, my heart throbbing, my face aglow, I listened in rapt attention, that possibly I might catch some secret that would help me defeat death and add strength to my frail body sufficient to do battle with life’s hardships.
After describing a boy who died at about my own age because his nervous system had been deprived of the proper life-giving elements which had been taken from his food by modern processes, the Professor took up a handful of wheat letting it fall repeatedly through his fingers, stating that each grain of wheat contains in it all of the elements required to sustain human life. He said that civilization, by taking away the outside, the most nutritious part of the wheat, had struck a blow at the physical development of our race. He declared that man can live for years on whole wheat requiring no other article of diet, and that the outside of the wheat especially, now thrown aside as bran and fed to the cattle, contains the elements of bone and nerve fibre, that, while the lady who eats only the choicest white bread, made of the finest flour, has to substitute gold for parts of her teeth, the teeth of the cattle that eat the bran are perfect. He gave as an illustration the march of Caesar and his legions through Gallia, when Caesar’s soldiers often for weeks at a time were without provisions and were compelled to feed on whole wheat alone which they would snatch in handfuls from the fields as they marched, thresh in the palms of their hands and grind with their molars. The crushing of the hard wheat grain gave the teeth exercise while the crushed bran and surface of the grain supplied those elements required in the construction of bone and teeth. “At the present time, nineteen centuries after,” so this doctor said, “there are numerous skulls of these same soldiers of the great Caesar to be seen in the London Museum and as a result of their wheat mastication, every tooth is as sound in these skulls, as whole and free from decay as when heathen Rome was Mistress of the World and Caesar was King.”
A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.
Whether this astounding statement of the learned doctor has any basis of truth or not I do not know, but that the lesson he sought to impress by it is true, my own experience can attest. During a period of several years, with another young enthusiast, I subsisted on a diet of bread and apples except when these could not be had, when we repaired the waste of our bodies by eating whole wheat, a bag of which we constantly carried with us for “emergencies.” Often we have subsisted on whole wheat and clear water alone for several days, and even a week at a time. During these periods we did not notice that we lost flesh. Of course we had very little to lose, but our vigor and the intensity of our enthusiasm and faith in our powers, all of which depend largely upon the amount of nutriment carried from the stomach to the brain, and various nerve centers, were not in the least diminished. Later on we found that when convenient, we could obtain more nourishment from the wheat with less chewing by having it boiled, but when boiled, we could not carry with us a week’s rations without fatigue, and boiled wheat will become sour in the summer time while whole dry wheat will keep for years, and, like feminine beauty, remain ever fresh. It is the most condensed form of digestible food known to man.
Of course where men have dissipated and their powers of digestion have been undermined by intoxicating liquor, tobacco, or the habitual use of highly spiced and over-prepared foods, any coming down to a natural diet like this is a severe hardship. But for a young man with firm faith and good health, NOT TO BE IMPEDED IN HIS DESIRE TO BECOME AN ESSENTIAL FACTOR IN THE GREATEST MOVEMENT OF HISTORY BY THE MERE FACT THAT HE HAS NO MONEY WITH WHICH TO PAY CAR FARE AND BUY GOOD FOOD AND CLOTHES, the suggestions here given will be found helpful. I would not advise others to do, what I have not done or am not willing to do myself. The fact is, however, that any young man, in good health, and formed of the right kind of “dust,” can travel, without any money from one end of the country to the other speaking daily, and accomplish much for our cause, even if he does not meet more than one true friend in a thousand miles. But the comforts and vices and follies of civilization he must be able to do without.
This austere and ascetic mode of life is not commended for its own sake. The suggestion is merely thrown out as one possible way of beginning work, so that no young man in good health can claim that he would have done wonders for the cause had he not been prohibited by poverty. No such excuse exists. Healthy single men can live and thrive if buoyed up by hope and faith and manly purpose, and travel the world over on a quarter of the wages of a day laborer.
NOT CIVIL BUT MILITARY.
To those persons who may possibly criticise these suggestions as tending to encourage a lower standing of living, thereby indirectly aiding in the lowering of wages, I will simply say that I am not giving suggestions for methods of civil life but only military suggestions to be acted upon in time of war. The battle is now on. No conflict of the past ever appealed more strongly to the sublime qualities in human nature than the present war of the people against the united plutocracy of all countries. It is therefore appropriate and timely to give any and all suggestions that may be of value to those bearing the brunt of the people’s battle.
Can it be urged against the half starved Cuban patriots that because they have learned how to subsist through months on roots and berries, and sugar cane their habits are likely to lower the standard of living in Cuba? In answer the smallest boy would say that the Cubans eat berries this year in order to eat watermelons next year, that they chew slippery elm and sheep sorrel to-day in order to have roast beef, oysters and plum pudding to-morrow. They are now eating the food of the animals and sleeping in the open fields with the beasts and dying, as the cattle die, by order of a butcher, that their countrymen and their children and their children’s children hereafter may live as free men, enjoying the heritage of a free Cuba and all the varied gifts of civilization.
Did our forefathers of the Revolutionary War lower the standard of living and decrease wages or injure the cause of labor or of trade-unionism, because, in fighting for country they were willing to go without shoes, staining with blood from their wounded feet the projecting icy rocks that gashed them as they marched against the British? Oh, no! Our forefathers went without shoes that we might have them. They went hungry and cold and gave up their individual comforts and lives, that we, their descendants and fellow-countrymen, might have greater comforts, increased liberties and life more abundant.
When General Francis Marion with his brave soldier boys was lying in at Snows Island on the Pedee River, North Carolina, preparing to make another one of his surprising and brilliant raids on the enemy, an officer from the British post at Georgetown was dispatched to visit him to treat for an exchange of prisoners. The blooming Britisher was blindfolded and carried by a circuitous route into camp. The bargain arranged, he accepted an invitation to dine. The meal was served on pieces of bark and consisted entirely of roasted potatoes of which General Marion ate heartily, requesting his guest to profit by his example, repeating the old adage that “Hunger is the best sauce.” “But surely, General, this cannot be your ordinary fare” said the well fed adversary. “Yes it is,” replied Marion, “For months at a time my men have lived on roasted potatoes, and we are especially fortunate on this occasion to be able to provide a double allowance to set before so honorable a guest.” The young foreigner was so overcome with admiration for the brave patriots fighting for their country in such a spirit that on his return to Georgetown he retired from the service, declaring his conviction that men who could with such cheerfulness, endure the privations of such a life, could never be subdued.
The blooming Britisher was right. The God of William Tell, of Cromwell, of Washington and Marion, of Garrison and Lincoln, of Moses and of Bryan, never has and never will permit such enthusiasm and faith and patriotism to go unrewarded. Men with purpose so intense, whose flame of patriotism burns so brightly as to consume their love of comfort and dependence upon external things, can never be subdued by hired Hessians nor the combined forces of opulence, ease and greed.
Going out in such a spirit, demanding three full square meals each day for every human being born into the world, yet to obtain this end willing ourselves to live like Marion’s band on roasted potatoes, like the Cuban patriots on sugar cane and berries, or on graham bread and apples, or to ease our hunger if necessary by grinding with our teeth dry whole wheat, we will in the name of God and humanity take this country and rescue our world from those who now make of it a living hell.
This unconquerable, independent spirit that rises above physical conditions, social limitations, comforts and luxuries, is and always has been the conquering spirit of the world, always the sure omen of victory.
If Marion and his band could rise superior to physical appetites in fighting for thirteen little colonies away off from the great centers of civilization; if the followers of Gomez and the immortal Maceo can march over perilous mountains and through deadly marshes, suffering continually for want of food and drink, and for years swing with almost supernatural skill their deadly machetes against the brutal hordes of Spain, in order to free one little West India isle, then surely we, who see the brutal arm of a united world plutocracy striking down and destroying all that has been bought so dearly by Washington, Marion, and Lincoln, about to enslave the world’s home and refuge of freedom for a hundred years, we should not be unwilling to make any sacrifice, take any risks, perform any drudgery.
In defending our country we decide the destiny of the human race. We fight to make seventy millions of people free and eventually to free the world. Ours is the most sublime, the most terrific, the most inspiring of all historic struggles.
In fighting we will take the advice and learn what we can from any source however humble. We will listen to the hygienist, the vegetarian, even to the soup house reformer, if their words will help free us from those chains of poverty that paralyze the arm of the ordinary slave and make him impotent to strike back against his oppressors.
The man who, because he earns his bread by labor, is looked down upon by the companions of his youth and, because of his helplessness and his clothes, is fenced out of respectable society, such a man requires condensed and highly spiced food. He craves wine and beer and whiskey and every condiment and stimulant that can raise his spirits, depressed by failure, disappointment and the slow plodding life that offers no advancement. Continual drudgery, without opportunity for promotion, engulfs man in a gloom uncheered by a ray of hope.
The reformer, the friend of labor, the idealist, the true Christian believe that such victims should not only have the best food and drink, better clothes and better homes, but that they and their children should also have a chance to rise, should never be debarred from opportunities for advancement or for utilizing any talent or genius before discovered or that may hereafter be discovered, that might lift them to a plane of distinction and honor.
We believe in luxury; so much so that we believe every poor man’s family should have an opportunity to enjoy all those healthful and normal luxuries which invention and progress have placed within the reach of men. But the greatest of all luxuries, that which is more appetizing than pepper or salt or cinnamon or garlic, that which is more stimulating than beer or whiskey or even champagne, and which must precede in the hearts of the masses the procurement of all these other and lesser luxuries, is that divinest gift of Heaven—hope. Give a man all the other luxuries that the world affords, and take away hope, and his blood thickens, his eye becomes dull, his color heavy and his pulse irregular. But allow him only dry bread in the open air and sunlight by a flowing brook, and give him hope, and his eye flashes, his heart throbs quicken, his face flushes, his muscles harden and all his physical and mental powers are ready for instant application.
We, the Volunteers of the New Democracy, have an abundant supply of this stimulant more powerful than any liquor, more appetizing than any condiment, more soothing than any narcotic, giving power and increased facility without reaction. We have hope. We have faith. We have purpose. We have absolute knowledge that our cause is just. We know that we shall win. We cannot be suppressed. We cannot be put down. The world is ours. WE ARE INVINCIBLE.
NO RAILWAY PASSES.
In starting out to destroy plutocracy, the first thing the average weakling does is to approach some senatorial or congressional tool of the very plutocracy that he thinks he is opposing, and ask him to beg plutocracy for a weapon to fight it with, free of charge. In other words, in opposing the trusts and monopolies, among which the railroad monopoly is one of the most tyrannical and corrupt, he asks for a free railway pass.
The railroad pass is the most corrupting instrument in American politics to-day. It buys for a small price our congressmen and senators, our county and state committees of both the Democratic and Republican parties, our bosses in both parties, our editors, Democratic and Republican, our preachers, Democratic, Republican and Prohibition, and many of our Democratic lecturers and speakers. Even many of our labor leaders make themselves impotent in this great struggle by accepting railroad passes. Our labor statisticians, from the National office in Washington to the smallest State branch, aid in smothering facts and giving life to fiction in order to ride on railroad passes.
Our speakers, in accepting the gage of battle laid down by plutocracy in the late campaign, must neither ask nor accept favors of our enemies. We must defy them. Rather than ride on railroad passes we should walk.
We should learn from that venerable Cuban patriot, Maximo Gomez, who, when offered a sop by the brutal despotism against which he was fighting, although it was presented to him by those two eminent yet despicable toadies of European tyranny, Messrs. Cleveland and Olney, refused point blank to consider their degrading propositions and answered: “We do not accept favors of Spain. We hate Spain. Our business is not to ask favors but to fight.”
DEFY THE RAILROADS.
During the late campaign the railroad corporations united not only to aid in continuing the gold standard by the use of corporation funds but in robbing our people of a free ballot by the most treasonable acts of coercion and intimidation. There is not a giant stock jobber, tax dodger, labor skinner or other law protected thief in the country who has stolen more than one million dollars from widows and orphans and other unsuspecting investors, who has not been aided and abetted in his nefarious schemes by the railroad corporations. There is not a single monopoly nor trust that preys upon legitimate trade and commerce but has been fostered in its unnatural growth by railroad discrimination. There has not been a single reform advocated for the benefit of the common people during the last thirty years, but has been fought bitterly by the railway officials.
We cannot destroy plutocracy, we cannot fight the trusts, we cannot fight the gold standard unless we are willing to defy the railroads.
If, during our coming Congressional campaign, the railroads continue their habit of monarchical coercion and intimidation, depriving American citizens of their right to a free ballot, we must be sufficiently intelligent and determined to co-operate with the enraged and long-suffering people who will then be forced to declare for government ownership of all public highways thus destroying, at a single blow, this most dangerous and tyrannical form of plutocratic despotism.
We cannot afford to ask for railway passes. If we cannot pay our fare and cannot secure a horse, WE MUST WALK.
Before describing our method of fitting up and sending out Bryan wagons, something should be said about the use of the word “Bryan,” and of Mr. Byran’s request that his name should not be used by clubs and organizations.
The word Bryan no longer belongs to any one man. It has become the common property of all who love liberty. The word Bryan became the cry of exultation at the birth of the New Democracy. At this most momentous historic event of the present century when an ideal was grasped from the upper realm of books, of hope, of morality and religion, brought down to the world of fact and embodied in flesh and blood; when what before was a dream, a philosophy, an aspiration, suddenly allied itself with physical agencies and created a political power that surprised the world, the one cry into which the long oppressed millions breathed their joy, their hope, their hate, their devotion to their fellows, their defiance of their enemies was the magic word, Bryan! Bryan! As this one word was repeated and cheered and cried aloud to express both hope and anger, promise and defiance, it became sacred. It flitted from the possession of the single human mite whom it had pleased God to appoint as the herald of the new dispensation, and became the common heritage of humanity.
At the Chicago Convention one citizen lost his name, but the world found it and the word Bryan became the battle cry of all who fight for freedom or strive for justice.
As this individual citizen of Nebraska cannot by any act or blunder in the future, efface the mark that he has made upon history’s scroll nor smother the fire of enthusiasm his eloquence has lighted nor imprison again in his single breast the wondrous truths breathed out of it that now fill the whole world, so neither shall he rob us of the one magic word, once his own, NOW OURS, which, wherever uttered, kindles lethargy and inertia into enthusiasm and fills the abode of gloom with the light of hope.
The people need a key-note, a battle cry, one single word that expresses all they believe and feel and hope. We have such a word. It is BRYAN. We intend to keep it and utter it wherever and whenever it will cheer us or help our cause. And if again one individual citizen’s modesty prompts him to interfere with our rights, our only answer will be: “Hands off, honored sir,” or, in the immortal words of Pennoyer of Oregon, “You tend to your business and we, the people, will tend to ours.”
BEST WAY TO START.
Where one or two or three persons are willing to start on a trip from town to town, and, with the co-operation of their friends, can secure a large covered wagon and two horses with a supply of condensed food, we would commend this as the most economical and efficient method of campaigning as it affords not only means of transportation, but supplies a dwelling house to the occupants, and at the same time, by the proper application of paint to the covered wagon, the wagon itself and the horses may become living missionaries, continuous and convincing speeches in themselves, by their presence protesting against the continuation of existing political barbarism. If at the top of the cover is painted in large letters, the words, “Bryan wagon,” every child, every woman in the farthest country district, every passerby, whatever be his race, religion or education, will know instantly that this wagon, now passing through the country, is one of the army of wagons being used in the work preparatory to the decisive battle of modern times to be fought in 1900. A few well-chosen sentences painted on the wagon and American flags at the top, will make it serve as the best possible advertisement for meetings.
MAKE YOUR ENEMIES ADVERTISE YOU.
The moment this wagon arrives in town every gossip, every old woman, every street gamin, every enemy of Democracy is converted at once into an advertising medium for the propaganda of our cause. The wagon, the horses, the dried beef, the apples, the whole wheat, the literature and everything that the wagon contains become subjects for conversation in the village. The Bryan wagon is the center of interest and the Volunteers who live in it are objects of curiosity. By meeting time the people are prepared to listen with open eyes and open mouths, drinking in every word of the speaker’s message.
Its work done, the wagon moves on to the next town but the sight of it is a powerful aid to the memory of every inhabitant of the village. Each will recall time and time again the character of the speakers and the words and prophecies that they uttered, so that when the next speaker, traveling on his shoe leather or maybe in a palace car wearing silk hat and patent leather shoes, arrives and tells the people how they can free themselves from the money power, they will remember the wagon and the men who lived and traveled in it and spoke from it.
It is well to have the wagon so constructed that, when the time for meeting arrives, by removing the top it can be used as a speaker’s platform and the announcements made from the front seat as it is driven from corner to corner.
Let a thousand such wagons be started out at once and kept on the road for four years visiting every country school district every village from Maine to New Mexico and from Texas to Oregon, each carrying an abundant supply of literature.
Let every Democrat patronize the Volunteers liberally, purchase from each a quantity of literature for distribution and sale and throw in a piece of silver as the hat is passed around. When possible supply them with substantial and well-cooked meals so that they can better stand their heroic diet when they find no friends.
Start the hat agoing at once in each community, and let the town or the county that purchases a Bryan wagon put the name of such county, town or village on the cover. Let counties in Colorado, Arkansas and Texas fit out such wagons and start them toward the heathen territory of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Maryland.
ABOLISH NAKEDNESS AT HOME BEFORE GOING ABROAD.
Let the money heretofore sent by our religious friends to teach the naked savages of foreign islands to be ashamed of their nakedness and to desire clothes, be applied now to the conversion of America to the conviction that every citizen of our own country who wants clothes should have a chance to earn them. If America is destroyed by that arch-devil worship, gold idolatry, if our Republic goes down amid the horrors of a violent revolution and military despotism, following in the footsteps of Rome and Greece and Egypt, what will result from our missions in foreign lands? They will become relics of the past because no possible teaching can then convince the poor heathen that our religion is a saving power. When the very country from which the missionaries come is the helpless victim of greed, avarice and organized crime, how are other races to be tempted to follow our example? Let us rather turn our missionary money for the next four years, ALL OF IT, into the coffers of the New Democracy, and start our wagons toward the doubtful states from every Democratic and Populist stronghold. Let the more civilized people of Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, where the creed of progress has reached the greatest altitude in earth’s history, share their increased physical, intellectual and moral development with the less progressive and more barbarous states that fringe the ocean uniting us with decaying Europe.
Such friendly action will not only be rewarded by the satisfaction that always follows a righteous act, but the givers will be blessed of God. Nothing that a man can do, or a woman, or a child, will accomplish more good in this world or gain greater reward in the land of the hereafter, than the giving of their dollars and dimes and pennies for the starting of Bryan wagons. In this way the western and southern centers of thought and unselfish patriotism may uplift and educate those states where greed, political corruption and the infamies of Hannaism still hold undisputed sway.
Let the churches of the Western states hold entertainments, let suppers, masked balls, ice cream socials, cider picnics and barbecues be held by the good women of every village and the proceeds devoted to the equipment of “Bryan wagons.” And after they are started out, each well provisioned with literature, blankets and food, and containing two good speakers and workers, the good women who raised the money to start them should continue their benign activities and proceed at once to raise a fund to keep on hand, so that when our missionaries send tidings of persecution, accident or neglect, they can be answered at once by a generous remittance.
In order to insure the permanency of the venture, and that the wagon and horses may continue to serve the cause even if the men traveling with them desert their posts, a bill of sale or transfer of the wagon and horses should be sent to our National headquarters or to our state officers on the day of departure. The friends of the organization would then be communicated with in advance wherever the wagon went, and in case either one or both the speakers tired or deserted, the vacancies would be filled at once from headquarters, and in the meantime the horses and wagon would be cared for.
There can be no greater aid to the success of a “Bryan wagon” than for the volunteers to carry with them and be able to play a banjo, guitar, violin, or small organ. Music is one of the world’s forces and as rare music, like all rare things, is a very small part of the whole, it is not necessary that our music be of that sort. If we have the best arguments, we can afford to let the other side have the best music. But we must not, for this reason, give up music altogether. Therefore a man who is proficient in any musical instrument that can be played out doors, is a valuable acquisition to a Bryan wagon. But by far the most popular and most effective music in the world, if well rendered, is the exercise of the human voice in song. To open a meeting with music always strikes a sympathetic chord with the people. It aids and strengthens every word that follows. If our speakers do not know how to sing when they start out, they should practice singing our songs until they do know. This should be part of the young speaker’s education.
Another advantage of the “Bryan wagon” is that it can carry a certain amount of baggage the “shoe leather traveler” cannot possibly take with him. For those who do not possess an unusual oratorical talent, a small stereopticon or magic lantern with views picturing the principles of the New Democracy in effective colors, will prove a valuable aid. Reform stereopticon views have been produced in great variety, and the method of enlisting the eye wherever possible to strengthen the impressions made through the ear is sound policy. In securing collections for the payment of expenses, the average citizen is more likely to give his nickel or dime towards the support of the travelers if he has heard a dime’s worth of music or seen a dime’s worth of comic and interesting pictures in addition to instruction gotten through the medium of the speaker’s voice.
BICYCLES AND DEMOCRACY.
Where a man doesn’t care to walk, and where it is inconvenient or distasteful to travel by means of the “Bryan wagon,” that most modern and popular conveyance, the bicycle, should not be despised as a means of disseminating truth. The bicycle is one of the revolutionary factors of our age. It is the enemy of tobacco, liquor and all other vices that arise from abnormal desires created by a sedentary life. It is the friend of health, strength, red cheeks and clear heads. Where there are good roads it is an excellent means of travel, and a strong wheelman can easily speak every night at a different town by using the wheel, and still have plenty of time to advertise each outdoor meeting.
A bicycle, too, is an excellent companion to a Bryan wagon, because while the wagon is slowly moving from one village to another, the wheelman can be scouring along the side roads distributing small circulars to the scattered countrymen, telling them of the meeting in the next town the coming day or night. In fact, one of the most important truths for every friend of the New Democracy to learn while very young, is that our enemy, plutocracy, utilizes every invention and element of civilization for the perpetuation of its power. In opposing plutocracy we cannot be narrow, prejudiced, superstitious, nor allow preconceived ideas as to dignity, custom, personal appearance or respectability, to interfere with our free motion and our energetic conflict.
We fight with every weapon that by any honorable means can be secured. We travel by every means that will emancipate us from the limitations of time, space and poverty. We accept as allies every friend who will aid in impressing upon our fellow mortals the solemnity of the opportunity that confronts them and the malignity of the enemy that is destroying our common race and country.
Grasp every force in earth, in sea, in air, which by ingenuity, wisdom, persistence, or heroism can be utilized in lessening human pain or adding to human joy; which can be of service in forwarding these grand principles that will, by one social and political transition, abolish the primary sources of human misery.
A young man, of splendid physique, of bright and formidable eye, the very picture of strength and courage, who became an admirer of Mr. Bryan during the late campaign, and, after careful and extensive reading forsook the Republican party, embraced the New Democracy and enlisted the week following the election as a Volunteer Speaker and worker. He is an active member of the Young Men’s Christian Association and of the Christian Endeavor Society.
The first meeting he was asked to attend was held over a saloon. This image of youthful power and courage walked through the bar-room of the saloon with a disparaging air, sat down at a table beside the writer, answered a few questions in a gloomy and dissatisfied manner and said diplomatically that he had an engagement at another end of the city and could not remain. He had promised to help arrange another meeting a few blocks away and the next day partly fulfilled that promise by carrying a bundle of circulars from the printing office to two men who were to distribute them. He then suddenly dropped out of sight and has never, so far as the movement is concerned, shown up since.
It has been learned that to a fellow churchman he remarked that he had been attracted by the high and noble ideals of Mr. Bryan, had expected to work for the cause, but that his attendance at a meeting in a saloon was so offensive to him that he lost all heart and had given up participation in the movement in consequence.
This man is only the type of a considerable class who would like to have their fellow beings clean but would never help wash them, who would dearly love to have them good but are too narrow to help save them; who admire the poetry of patriotism but who cowardly shrink from those sterner duties of which patriotism consists.
Think of a follower of Jesus Christ refusing to preach patriotism to men because they are gathered in or over a saloon, after having been denied the opportunity of meeting in a church or even a church yard. If Jesus Christ had been so squeamish and “gentlemanly” as to have confined his services to the respectable people, the early church would have died before it was born. In no age has there been sufficient vitality in the classes that call themselves respectable to give permanent form to any social or religious movement. Those who wish to do great things only in a respectable manner never do great things. A man cannot at the same time be both great and respectable.
In order to be respectable, he must stifle genius and cover with the ashes of artificiality all the deepest passions of the soul. He must destroy his individuality and trim his sympathies as he does his beard, like the barbarous Northmen when they entered Rome.
Love for humanity that can be checked or dissipated by inartistic surroundings, contact with vice or the coarse companionship of intemperate men is not love at all, it is a mere fad, a fitful remnant of a religious instinct long since eaten out from within.
Imagine a mother talking about how she loves to have her baby clean and sweet and wholesome, and then picture her refusing to undergo the hardship required in making her child sweet and clean and wholesome. Such a mother would be no mother at all, unless, perchance, a stepmother or mother-in-law.
The young man referred to is a typical specimen of a sniveling, impracticable and worthless counterfeit of religion, the only function of which is to emasculate and weaken our youth. It serves to ease their consciences and displace the instincts that prompt to goodness. For courageous self-sacrifice, it substitutes the mumbling of prayers; instead of active, righteous contact with the world it demands the attendance at meetings in which love is expressed toward a phantasy millions of miles up into the stars, while the Living God of Heaven and earth is forgotten, and where imprecation, denunciation and charges of wickedness are dealt out to those manly and courageous persons who lift out a helping hand to the poor instead of praying for them and who fight to make this world and this life heavenly instead of paying their debts to their fellow creatures with mansions in the skies.
The refusal of this young man who, according to his own statement, believed that the future welfare of the Nation depended upon the triumph of the principles represented by Mr. Bryan, to assist in spreading those principles in saloon meetings, means that his religious and social training had unfitted him to do any great or noble thing, unless in conformity with his Sunday-school manufactured tastes as to nicety and elegance.
The young man sees the giant tree, injustice, and offers to assist in cutting it down but, when we hand him an ax, refuses to take off his coat and returns it saying that his little hatchet at home has a blue ribbon around it and that he won’t cut with any other.
He sings “Rescue the Perishing” at the Christian Endeavor meeting, a pretty girl with pink cheeks and cherry lips on each side. The cheeks and lips and song are so pleasing, he thinks he will go further and help rescue the perishing. After careful study he is satisfied that people are perishing for want of his friendly services and the services of others like himself. Yet, when he is assigned a place to work, he abruptly leaves his post of duty and goes back to prayer meeting, because, poor boy, no carpet is on the floor, no angel pictures grace the wall, and the tobacco smoke about him is offensive.
Innocent creature! Let him continue to sing his hymns and say his prayers surrounded by pretty girls In the Christian Endeavor meeting and pretty boys who should have been born girls, while the great forces of reform fight the battles of the living God, conquer evil, destroy injustice and lift up the fallen. We can do without him and without his kind.
Not that we want to. We do not. We need all possible help. We will not judge harshly all those who now are given over to such innocent amusements. For the delicate white hand, the girlish student face, the timid mamma’s boy, taken from the prayer meeting and the Christian Endeavor Society, once taught to see the great truths of social salvation and human progress, does not always retreat in holy horror when confronted with conflict and the smoke of battle. On the other hand, such timid, singing, praying boys often become National heroes. Before manhood is discovered by the growth of hair on the face, manly character sometimes reaches maturity, with qualities developed, not only superior to tobacco smoke at a saloon meeting, and the naughty cuss words of the fellows who drink there, but to the smoke of powder and the thunder of cannon.
Do not overlook nor belittle soft men, but ignore only those who stay soft after you have tried the hardening process. For where one heart may be formed of milk and water, the liquid state of another may be that of molten steel, and may only require the cooling process of an outdoor breeze to make it withstand the continuous persecution and conflict of years.
There is no unholy place where men should not go who are fired by a passion for justice. It is a fact that one of the centers of the social life of the great cities of America and of Europe is the liquor saloon. How much we may deplore this fact or the evil results that we see flowing from it, is entirely another question. The fact remains in spite of our deploring, our shocked ideals or our sympathies wrung by the desolation and death caused by it, that the center of the social life of our great cities, the place where society meets, (not that floating, top-heavy buoy that calls itself society, but real society, the people) is the liquor saloon.
At present it is managed in America, not with any reference whatever to its social function, but merely for the private profit of individuals. In order to increase their private profits and to defend their special interests, the men who manage these saloons, as a general rule, abuse their powers and add inconceivably to the horrors of the vice of intemperence trying, by unnatural and vicious methods, to increase their gain.
Not only this, but as the saloon is the center of the social life of our American cities, the proprietors of saloons and the manufacturers of liquors, who have associated their interests, have a terrible and unnatural advantage in controlling the political power of the people with whom they come in contact. They do not have to go where the people are because the saloon keeper, in the natural and usual performance of his business, is already in the midst of the people. He always has a crowd. He is the greatest preacher of modern times. He does not have to invent new methods for REACHING THE MASSES. He does not have to scratch his bald head and say, “O, Lord! why are my sheep deserting me?” The saloon keeper always has a congregation, always a choir, is always surrounded by men in need of a friend, and, like other members of the human family having a strange mixture of greed and sympathy, cruelty and fellow-feeling, he exercises his charitable instincts and lends a material helping hand to the members of his congregation quite as often as do the five thousand and twenty thousand dollar a year ministers who preach not to men drinking, but often to men who have already drunk their fill.
The saloon keeper preacher, however, lacks one advantage possessed by his more fortunate compeer of the church pulpit, for, where a member of the saloon congregation has a perfect right to answer back and correct misstatements, slanders and unjust vituperation, the friend of the common people who happens into the fashionable city church service must bite his lips and remain silent while the name of Jesus, the revolutionist, the poor man’s friend, is used to strengthen vile calumny against His brave modern apostles who are fighting to realize practically in government the principles represented by the cross.
Therefore, one of the most promising fields for the social reformer, for the man who drinks beer and the man who drinks water, for the man who smokes cigars and the man who washes his teeth before every meal with charcoal powder and lives on vegetables, is the liquor saloon. It is always open and you can go in without buying. You can take a seat free of charge and you can talk. You have as much right to talk as the bartender, and even if opposed to your principles, good business judgment, if no other motive, prompts the average saloon keeper to be tolerant. He cannot afford to drive away any large percentage of his customers. You have a right, and even in the Republican saloons you can get permission to declare the gospel of monopoly’s downfall in the back room, in the hall upstairs or in the main saloon, once a week, without paying anything for heat, light or hall rent. These are already furnished for the people who now go there. You do not need to advertise the meeting, for there is always a crowd about the saloon. After you have held two or three meetings they will grow in size and draw the frequenters from other resorts.
The average saloon crowd is as open to conviction and as ready to be taught concerning the moralizing of government and the establishment of justice in the world as the average church congregation, and they will treat you as civilly and listen as attentively even though every man present disagrees with you.
Let the hundreds of saloons throughout our great cities be selected as a mission field for the new gospel of manliness and brotherhood. Christ went among publicans and wine-bibbers. We can afford to go among wine-bibbers, even when they are Republicans. Our crowd may be small at times but the kind of work that moves the world and builds up civilization is work that is regular and continuous.
Let the Volunteers organize by twos, and the one, two or three evenings a week that they can give to the cause, let those who choose this work go to a saloon and tell the fellows there that under a proper social system, each one of them can afford to have a home as sociable and homelike and comfortable as a saloon; that, after they declare their independence of the party whip, and, instead of obeying parties, command them to do their bidding, they can soon have such opportunities that they won’t have to drink to forget their troubles, because they will have no troubles; that they won’t have to drink in order to imagine that they are happy, because they will have real happiness; that after the gold standard and monopoly are overthrown, there will be a hundred different pleasures and opportunities opened to them, that these will produce intoxication just as delicious as that produced by wine and beer, and that every poor man who wants to drink will be allowed to drink, not slops and refuse, but the same fluids that now give the gout and dropsy to die millionaire.
The way to get up a saloon meeting is to see the proprietor, tell him you are a Democrat, not a fraudulent, makebelieve hypocrite, using the Democratic name to defeat Democratic principles, not an agent of the gold bugs trying to corrupt the Democratic party, not an attorney for monopoly attempting to pervert the Democratic organization to help millionaires rob Democratic voters, but that you are a real dyed-in-the-wool, anti-monopoly, Jeffersonian, Jacksonian, Bryan Democrat, standing with all fours on the Chicago platform, the enemy of its enemies, the foe of its traducers, and the opponent, uncompromising and implacable of every man who upholds the infamous British Rothschild gold standard of money. Tell him that you would like to talk to his customers and a few others in his place every week, and show them how, by united political action in the Democratic party, they can be made just as happy as if they were drunk seven days each week.
He will let you come, and if you talk straight from the shoulder, you will have a larger crowd at the second meeting than at the first. If you keep the work up a year continuously, you will not only have your name enrolled in the book of heroes, kept by the Democratic leaders, but also in the book kept by the Divinity who guides the Nations. You will be rewarded in this world for your sacrificing labor if you live until the people crush monopoly, and if not, you will at least have that consciousness of duty done which knows no time nor space.
Heroism and the spirit of martyrdom and of self-sacrifice are historical factors as real, as tangible and as much a part of human nature as greed or hunger. The young Volunteers who forsake home, business and personal ambition to help save our Nation from the money power, starting in the name of humanity astride bicycles, horseback, afoot and in Bryan wagons, preaching the new gospel of glad tidings without money and without price, eating whole wheat, dry bread and apples, with a square meal only now and then to remind them of the good times coming, are not impelled by any strange or new force in society. They are not the disciples of a new cult or ism, the latest off-shot from the great tree of life. They are not a new product of civilization but on the other hand they are the real conservative and belong to the true nobility of the human race, that brotherhood of heroes, patriots and martyrs of all ages and nations, as old as the human family itself.
On the other hand, the essentially NEW PRODUCT of our civilization is the man who does not believe in heroism, who has stifled the nobler instincts with which nature originally endowed him, and fills his whole mind’s horizon with the one image of gold. Those in whose minds avarice has devoured all other instincts and desires to the point of moral insanity, are the only strange or new off-shoots. They alone are the special and characteristic product of our particular period, distinguished above all else by its complete surrender to the one passion—greed. The real cranks and monstrosities are not those who are in line with historic humanity, but rather those who have crucified their humanity on “a cross of gold” in accord with a temporary social perversion.
HEROISM AND SOMETHING MORE.
Some say it is the weakness of our movement that we depend too much on heroism and patriotism and other of the weaker instincts and uncertain qualities of human nature and therefore the movement must fail. Successful movements appeal to the more substantial motives and instincts, such as cupidity, sectional pride, etc.
While it is true that we appeal first of all to the patriotism of our citizens, to the heroic in man and to those deep religious and moral sentiments of which heroism and patriotism are the highest product, and while it is true that we regard these sentiments when fully drawn out and properly applied, and during great occasions of National peril, as being stronger than cupidity, sectional pride, or even regard for life, and that the exercise of these qualities by vast bodies of men have repeatedly, during each century throughout the history of our race, saved the dominance of the Caucasian race and all those principles and institutions that give value to the modern world, and, while we intend during the four years to come, preparatory to the greatest crisis of history, to continue to appeal first and foremost and all the time to patriotism and heroism, love of justice and fellow feeling, still, we intend to utilize every force and every means that will aid in bringing about the better world for which we hope.
We recognize that while in a moment of enthusiastic ardor, a man will give his life for a principle, and that during hours of deep religious fervor, brought about by the preaching of gifted orators, people renounce their old ways of living and often divide up their property with the church and the poor, that such occasions are comparatively rare, while every man born of woman desires food about three times a day, that he desires clothing and suffers for the want of it during every one of his sleeping and waking hours, that during a large portion of his life intense feelings and regard are turned toward some woman, and that nearly all men are at nearly all times vain, not in any bad sense, but that they desire the respect and the confidence of their fellow men, and when opportunity offers, strive to be conspicuous and influential, and desire to be feared and loved and admired for unusual qualities, possessions or acts.
Therefore, to make our movement completely and wholly successful, we appeal first to patriotism and heroism, the noblest and highest qualities produced by centuries of religious and moral training, but secondarily we appeal to men’s ambition, their love of gain, their desire to eat, to be clothed, to marry, to become influential, their vanity, their imagination, their love of activity and all the qualities that they possess.
It does not lessen a soldier’s courage for him to know that if victorious in battle he is to be promoted, or that if a city is taken or a country conquered, he is to have a plantation where he can rest in peace when his gray hairs come with his children healthy and happy about him. There is no need to dissect with the surgeon’s knife of close analysis the motives and minds of men in order to separate every little vanity from the noble and unselfish impulses with which it is interwoven, nor to cut away and lay apart from the strong patriotic desire to serve one’s country, every little individual and personal hope that in the event one’s country is served and saved, those who bear the brunt of the battle will be especially favored and secure first recognition in the universal enjoyment consequent upon such victory. By taking human nature as we find it with its admixture of the heroic and prosaic, its mingling of selfish and altruistic aims, we seek to make every impulse serve the cause of humanity by contributing to the one end—triumphant Democracy.
THE ROLL OF HONOR.
The most important feature of the Democratic Volunteers’ organization, is the honor roll, on which is recorded the work done by each Volunteer. To all faithful workers are issued semi-annually certificates of honor, and to those who perform services of unusual merit special medals and other awards of recognition.
One copy of the honor roll is kept by the National leaders in a safe-deposit in St. Louis, and a duplicate copy by the great leader of Democracy at his home.
By this system, each worker knows that everything he does is recorded at headquarters, and is kept there for all future time for reference by our national leaders, when they wish, either in asking for services or bestowing favors, to find the real, deserving, fighting material in our party. Each worker knows, also, that it is the end of the unjust custom, whereby one or two loud-mouthed adventurers, who have done nothing but who claim all, in the hour of victory cast aside the unselfish workers, whose years of patient labor gained the victory. With an account kept of the sacrifices made, the clubs organized, the members secured by each party worker in our country, there can be no more climbing into favor on the shoulders of others, but, instead, each man stands on his own bottom, reaping the fruit and recognition of his own work, and is assigned to leadership as the result of the exercise of his own genius and talents. At present, every Congressman, Governor or President elected to office, is punished sufficiently to offset all the pleasures and satisfactions of having been successful by the impossible task of trying to disentangle the various claims of the men who helped elect him. But no such discordant scramble need ever recur, for the Volunteers will, in the future, keep an exact history of the service rendered by every party worker, and, in Congressional parlance, each fellow will know exactly “where he is at.” The system is as carefully thought out and perfected as that of any standing army.
The roll of honor appeals to the strongest instincts in man, which have been utilized in every successful social or religious movement since the dawn of history. If he is vain, it appeals to his vanity. If heroic, it stimulates his heroism. If ambitious, he sees the way to get place and position is to merit them by faithful work and that they cannot be had by cheating the rightful owners out of the fruits of their victories, to which he has not contributed.
In the Catholic Church and in many other institutions through all the centuries, as among the followers of Napolean and Caesar, men have often given up their lives for a medal or a bit of ribbon. For such rewards England to-day gets almost as much service as from her vast pay-roll.
By proper organization, vanity can be made to offset cupidity. It is as strong an instinct, and we have the means of satisfying it. To-day the name of England’s Queen cannot inspire as great enthusiasm in the majority of the English speaking race, as does the name of William Jennings Bryan. The enthusiasm now aroused has sufficient force to accomplish all our ends. What we need is simply to harness this Niagara, organize this power, and apply it systematically and continuously. It can be done. It is being done. Never in the history of our country has the year following a great political campaign been the scene of such a rejuvenation of the defeated party as has taken place since our late repulse.
As every plant must shoot down two roots for sustenance, before putting forth a new twig, so we have decided to plant the roots of our organization prolifically throughout the Southern and Western states, where our cause is strong, thereby securing the support for a continuous and aggressive campaign before sending our Volunteers into the doubtful states and those still given over to the idolatrous worship of the golden calf.
Each congressional district in the Southern and Western states can be made by contributions of one cent, five cents, ten cents at a time, collected by the Volunteer Speakers, to support permanently one organizer in Republican territory.
There are many different ways to work. One is by educating and agitating and by advancing our principles indoors and outdoors upon every possible occasion by public speeches. Another is to go to work quietly, and, by personal man-to-man solicitation, to organize regular ward or precinct clubs in one’s own town or county. This is the first thing to be done, where no regular Democratic club exists independent of boodling bosses. But, anyhow, get five true and tried workers enlisted and forward their names to headquarters. They will then receive monthly instructions for carrying on and enlarging the work. When a club is already formed, the Volunteer is to build it up by increasing its membership and educating its members, and defeating, as club officers, any man who is known to apologize for the existence of any monopoly whatever. After this try to establish a league of the clubs in the county, city or state, known to be formed on right principles.
In the centuries to come, there will be no prouder title to boast of, no higher family honor, no more distinctive mark of aristocracy, than this record in black and white that one’s forefather belonged to the band of patriots who, through four years of persecution and struggle, succeeded in driving from American soil, that last representative of historic tyranny, organized plutocracy.
In a cause as holy as ours, false modesty is as unwise as false dignity. When we realize that money represents human effort, that it gives multiplied power either in war or peace and that the possession of money, with its accompanying power to an almost unlimited extent, is enjoyed by our enemies, it is well for us to admit at the start that we, every Volunteer of us, must make constant efforts wherever speaking or working, to raise funds, on however small a scale, for the great work before us. One humble but time-honored method, which has proved useful in every popular movement, recorded in history, is that of “taking up a collection.” People may laugh at it and the collections be small but we must not be deterred by ridicule nor discouraged by the apparent insignificance of the returns. This is the only way to give all the people systematically and persistently a chance to contribute according to ability to the cause that means liberty and the opening of opportunity to them. Therefore, let no speaker listen to advice from the timid and over-modest, who shrink from the sneers and taunts of the over-nice, but at every meeting let them pass around the hat after the manner of our forefathers. We must also remember that in every audience, however small, there may be some penitent Croesus awake to existing evils but as yet with no clear vision of a remedy, with power and will to help but lacking knowledge as to where such help should be given. Sudden conversions are not unknown where the message of truth is delivered with sincerity and simplicity. There are thousands of rich men at this moment who, if properly appealed to, would give liberally to the cause that to them seemed likely to promote the general welfare. There are many human hearts now waiting, like the Pool of Bethesda, for the angel’s touch, which shall “trouble” their calm and transform them into sources of healing for the woes of humanity. No speaker knows but he may be the one destined to open up these closed fountains of power. The heights and depths of human nature lie beyond our ordinary vision. A man’s power of response to an appeal in behalf of those who suffer is not always graven on his forehead, so that “he that runneth may read.” In any audience there may be some listener, apparently indifferent, in whom all the preliminary processes of conversion have already taken place, and who needs only the warm breath of an atmosphere charged with unselfish enthusiasm to complete the work of regeneration. Such cases are on record. Within a few years, the gift of a million dollars was received by the promoters of a reform movement in New York, not from an habitual contributor to such enterprises, but from a sudden convert, a man ordinarily cold and indifferent to humanitarian movements, and before unresponsive to his brothers’ needs. Perhaps it was not the need that previously had failed to stir his heart, but only the methods of helping that had not satisfied his mind. There are rich men and women to-day, honestly desirous of bringing about better social conditions and willing to make sacrifices to that end, but who, so far, have found none of the methods suggested practicable. To such we may appeal with certainty of response, thereby being furnished with the sinews of war by those who owe their wealth to the very system we oppose.
And why not? Because a man has been thrown into a brutal and wasteful contest and has come victorious from the struggle is no reason why he should wish his children and humanity at large to be forced into another of the same kind. Such a man well knows that he, too, in spite of apparent success, is also a victim. He sees the possibilities of life under a better social system—the order, the beauty, the harmony, the possible development of higher faculties and extinction of those that link him with the brutes. All this he sees, and even while scrambling with the rest for possession of the booty, he would hail with joy any change that promised to relieve his children from a like sad necessity.
Starve fifty Sunday school teachers for a week, lock them in a cage together, throw in a roast of beef, a plum pudding, a pitcher of soup, a plate of pickles and a pot of beans, at the same time telling each to get what he can, as no more will be furnished for a month; and a swinish scramble will at once ensue, in which two thirds of the food will be wasted, and in the end one man will have a pocket full of plum pudding, another a handful of pickles, and the strongest the roast beef to himself in a corner.
Let it be understood that he who gets the roast beef is no worse than the others, nor will he, because of his success, NECESSARILY favor an indefinite continuation of such brutal scrambling. The difference between him and the least successful is a difference in strength, NOT NECESSARILY A DIFFERENCE IN AIM. To-day, most men are actuated by the same spirit. To desire success and a share of life’s gifts is right and normal. It is the political system under which we live that has transformed this natural and healthy impulse into a devilish desire to absorb not only all wealth but all opportunities.
To remedy this radical evil, it is not enough to change individuals; we must change the system. It is, of course, to be expected that the impulse to change our present barbarous monopolistic methods will come from those who have failed in the scramble for riches. For the possession of wealth naturally tends to promote in the minds of those who possess it, a certain degree of satisfaction with the methods by which it has been acquired and a tendency to oppose any change. A spirit of toadyism and fear of social ostracism also induces many to sacrifice their highest ideals. Great fortunes often destroy the independence which it might be supposed they would secure to their possessors; yet, in spite of the temptations of wealth and the unwritten, but none the less rigidly enforced mandates of a heartless society, not a few are ready to make the required sacrifices in order to advance the interests of our common humanity.
To such partially awakened minds, it ought not to be difficult to show that the times are ripe for a solution of existing problems other than that offered by charitable associations. For eighteen centuries the Good Samaritan has been the working model of the church and society, yet the number of the wounded and robbed on the world’s highway has so increased that the gigantic systems of modern charity are inadequate to meet the increasing demands upon them. Why? The answer is clear. No very keen intelligence is required to see that one very important duty has been neglected by the Good Samaritans of all times. Occupied with caring for the wounded, they have neglected to hunt down the thieves, who have accordingly increased in numbers and boldness. It is time for us to leave effects and study causes, to organize at once to hunt down the thieves, for, when these are routed, there will be fewer victims on whom to exercise charity. Why plan educational and charitable institutions in the slums when the causes that produce the slums are left untouched? Why add another to the five hundred churches of a great city, when the influence of the money power makes the preaching of the real gospel well nigh impossible, thus largely destroying the usefulness of those already built? Instead of new homes of charity, let us organize to end the need for charity. Instead of building one new school, the true educator will ally himself with those forces that seek, through public action, to place education within the reach of all. Instead of building a new church, the devout Christian or Jew will divide his substance with the party that aims to make possible the application of the principles of religion to the everyday affairs of life and to all social institutions.
Never was there a cause that appealed more strongly than ours to a man’s generous instincts. In the middle ages all Europe was fired by the idea of wresting the Holy Sepulchre from infidel hands; to-day Greek and Cuban patriots are laying everything upon their country’s altar for the sake of national honor and freedom. Our cause is nobler, larger than any of these. Not Christ’s tomb, but the race He died to redeem; not an insignificant nation, but humanity is through us pleading to be rescued and restored to liberty. Our appeal is not to a class, a church or a nation; it is to MEN for MAN.
ONE DOLLAR GIVEN TO OUR CAUSE WILL ACCOMPLISH MORE FOR THE ALLEVIATION OF HUMAN SUFFERING, FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRUE CIVILIZATION, THAN FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS SPENT FOR ANY COLLEGE, CHARITY OR CHURCH. As hundreds of poor men have sacrificed all they possessed, given up home and the comforts of family life, to travel from town to town urging the principles of the New Democracy; so will there be rich men, who, feeling their RELATIONSHIP TO HUMANITY TO BE MORE BINDING than any ties uniting them with a selfish class, will also give up the larger part of what they have and lay it on the altar of their country.
Those who feel the divine impulse to give to this movement will give double by giving promptly, and will have the added personal joy of seeing some of the results of their generosity. Not all the results, because each dollar given to this cause starts a train of consequences for the happiness of men and for the peace of society that will continue as long as this old earth is inhabited by mortals. The effect of every penny, given by the smallest child or the poorest servant girl, may produce results for good that will be felt by mankind through all the generations to come.
It is not unreasonable for us to ask for constantly, and to expect to receive a single donation of a million dollars sometime during the coming four years. Such donations have many times been given to causes less holy than ours, and in emergencies not to be compared to it in importance. We can in reason hope for several gifts of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars each, and many of not less than one thousand dollars, and thousands of lesser gifts proportionate to the purses of the poor who will regard it not as a duty, but as a privilege to thus co-operate with God. Such amounts have been subscribed to a single college and to a single religious denomination within the memory of the youngest reader. Can we not rationally expect that even more will be given to the movement which is to multiply many times the usefulness of all colleges and churches?
But do not trim your sails nor adapt your arguments to the rich, in order to secure donations, but speak bravely and fearlessly in behalf of justice and the rights of the people, and, if special selfish interests are thereby alienated, unselfish interests will be drawn to us.
Although generous help may be expected from those who have been enriched by the very system that we seek to destroy, nevertheless it is a fact that, as a class, the rich are satisfied with the system of injustice that has given them their riches, and, as a class, will oppose now, as they have opposed during all history, every reform or change that promises improvement to the masses. Therefore the bulk of the money to be raised for the people’s cause must probably be given by the people themselves according to their means.
We should for this reason not only call for donations and pass around the hat at meetings when the people are enthusiastic, but, in forming clubs in every township throughout our country, we should try to induce each to appoint its most active and popular man as Treasurer, and especially to instruct him to collect every week or month, a regular subscription, HOWEVER SMALL, from every friend of our movement in his community. In this way, we can establish a system similar to “Peter’s Pence,” and the missionary contributions of the Protestant churches, and raise a fund during the coming four years that will be a wonder to ourselves and a menace to our enemies.
It may be asked, if the Volunteer Speakers work without pay, many of them living on heroic diet and traveling on foot, what need of money? To this it may be replied that the legitimate and honest uses for money in promoting any cause are too many to enumerate. The field is large and workers of many kinds are needed. Though many of our speakers will travel and work continuously without compensation and the vast majority will give their time without any reward even for their expenses, still, to utilize properly the Volunteer work of the thousands who are willing to make such sacrifices, it is very desirable that we have at least one paid organizer in each Congressional District, and, if possible, in each county one who will receive a moderate salary and who will be held responsible for all the routine work required in his territory. The Volunteer workers and speakers in any locality can be made many times as effective, if there is some one man responsible to the national office for the methodical arrangement of the work and the systematic utilization of their services. It is also highly desirable that every Volunteer be given a bountiful supply of the very best literature on economic subjects. Money is also needed for our central school for Volunteer Speakers in St. Louis, where those with hearts afire to speak for Democracy can come, and within one, two or three months, be trained and equipped with a practical knowledge of the details of the work in which they wish to engage.
But it is folly to enlarge further upon the need of money. Every person who appreciates the nature of our struggle knows that everything we do can be done more effectively with additional funds.
To educate the people, the first essential is that the educators know exactly what they wish to teach and the ultimate purpose of such teaching.
In the previous chapters are outlined methods of reaching and persuading people. More important, however, than any manner of speaking, traveling, advertising or gaining an audience is it that our speakers never lose sight of the few great basic principles of our movement, and that they keep these central truths steadily before the eyes and minds of the people.
The principal danger to be overcome in every popular movement is that in the adaptation of the central truth of the movement to local and temporary requirements, the truth itself may be lost in a multitude of petty intricacies.
In the beginnings of the great religions when they spread irresistibly over the world, their teachers held firmly to a few great salient truths. But the influence of every religion waned when its ministers, forgetting its real object, gave themselves up to details of worship and church government. This is also the history of nearly every Christian denomination. In their vigor and youth, they dwelt principally upon the great primary themes. When these were forgotten or neglected, the movements themselves lost their power.
The weakness of the people’s movement to-day is that our leaders abandon too often the center of the stream, drawn away by the side currents and little eddies. The intricacies of finance, statistics and details of administration, often absorb their whole attention. Those who would guide the crowd to a higher civilization forget the object of their endeavors, the crowd forgets; then medley and Babel. Instead of marching toward the goal, the multitude halt by the wayside, and go to arguing over the incidents of the journey. The compass, governed by fixed and universal laws, that acts regardless of the turns in the road, no longer directs them. They are at the mercy of the local, the incidental and temporary. When they give up the main road to wander off in bypaths, unity and progress cease; division, disorder and disintegration begin.
The silver question, the question as to the power of the Supreme Court Justices, the railway question, are all merely incidental to the one great fundamental conflict that has been waged for centuries, the conflict of the general welfare resting on right against the special interests that thrive by wrong, of liberty against tyranny; the people against plutocracy. This conflict should be kept in the forefront by every Volunteer, who should urge continuously and repeatedly upon his hearers the few great simple truths of Democracy, holding these out in bold relief, like mountains above the rolling slopes and projecting crags that lead up to them, keeping the popular mind centered on the goal of their efforts, the North Star, as it were, of progress.
Revolutions and special evolutions are brought about in human affairs, NOT SO MUCH BY THE DISSEMINATION OF A GREAT MULTITUDE OF IDEAS, AS BY THE CONCENTRATION OF A MULTITUDE OF MINDS UPON A SINGLE IDEA. This single idea, however, cannot be of a local or temporary nature. It must, on the other hand, be comprehensive and of sufficient import to stir the very souls of the masses. A mere question of currency, transportation or judicial powers, however important, even if absolutely requisite to further progress, is not capable of producing the universal enthusiasm required to institute any fundamental innovation. The truths on which the popular mind is to be focused, must be self-evident, general, and their application not limited to a short time or a special locality. With the people’s attention fixed upon a great moral truth universally applicable, their faces all turned toward, their eyes fixed on one star of deliverance, it is easy to convince them that to realize their goal no sacrifice can be too great. Men are prepared to act intelligently concerning currency, transportation or other incidental reforms when their enthusiasm and purpose are fully aroused and their attention is fixed upon universal laws about which there can be no doubt, hesitancy or confusion. Absorbed in great things, the petty causes of strife and dissension disappear. We can gain unity only when, leaving details to tried leaders, the people concentrate their attention on those simple realities, self-evident and capable of being understood by all, the attainment of which forces the righteous settlement of details and of all questions dependent and incidental.
THE WORLD BIG; GOD GOOD; MAN ALONE RESPONSIBLE.
The first such central truth, self-evident to every man, to be proclaimed tirelessly by the Volunteers, is that the earth is large enough and rich enough to supply all the good things of life to every human being born on it. Urge that especially since the triumphs of modern science is it possible for man to satisfy every natural craving, every healthy desire, every reasonable hope and dream, without any man being compelled to sacrifice another human being to his purpose.
The great and the humblest mind alike can see this truth. It stands out an impregnable tower of strength above all minor and subsidiary questions. It is unanswerable, incontravertible and DYNAMICALLY IRRESISTIBLE. The earth is large enough and rich enough and human energy sufficient to produce in abundance everything required to supply every natural, healthful human desire. This means that the world, now made hell by human greed abetted by ignorance and prejudice, might just as well be heaven. The misery caused by poverty, tyranny and neglect, can be displaced by happiness, plenty and liberty for all.
Following this and demonstrable from it by the eternal laws of Logic is the conclusion that the one primary and all-important duty of every man seeing it is to do all he can, after providing for his simplest physical wants, to help systematize and civilize human effort and overcome prejudice so as to obtain this result.
The immediate effect of the practical acceptance of this one self-evident truth is almost inconceivable. Once convince men that their sufferings are unnecessary, that science has placed in their hands all the power and materials needed which rightly applied will give to all men the satisfaction of all their normal desires, and you at once transform the world.
The most formidable obstacle in the way of further progress is not that men are insufficiently versed in political economy or lacking in intelligence, but it is that the people are without hope. Popular effort has so often been thwarted by selfish cunning, great moral enthusiasms dissipated by the science and superior organization of tyranny, that men have lost heart.
Despair is the chief opponent of progress. Our greatest need is hope. The people must have faith that something can be done.
The majority of men know of public measures that would be beneficial if an upward step were possible, but they are overwhelmed by a multitude of incidental obstacles and petty disappointments that cloud their small horizons and shut off from sight the great universal and historic forces that are slowly but surely working out their destinies.
Convince men that our country is large enough and rich enough to give them all an opportunity to work and earn sufficient to support their families and educate their children properly, convince them that their present poverty and sufferings are wholly the result of social crimes, and, if they can believe that this change is actually to be brought about, you change the whole base of their operations and revolutionize their attitude of mind. They are then ready to co-operate with those bold thinkers who have studied out the details of social progress.
Our speakers cannot dwell too long upon, cannot repeat too often, this one all-important, fundamental truth, the basis of all right political thought and action, namely, that the world is all right, nature is lavish, God Almighty is generous, and that human invention has multiplied many times the gifts that God originally gave to man, and now the human family might just as well sit down amid merry-making to the great feast steaming before us, prepared through ages of endeavor, but for a miserable dog in the manger.
Proclaim everywhere that organized greed is this dog. Teach that the highest patriotism consists in striking it, that the only martyrs are those devoured by it, that to kill it is the sublime mission of this generation.
Do not try to teach many things, but urge with all the passion of your being at all times and in all places, the self-evident and fundamental truth that our world contains everything required to make men happy. If want exists, it is the result of crime. Those who profit by this crime try to convince us that nothing can be done to prevent it. Our work is to create hope and courage and let the people know that this crime can be stopped, the criminals caught and punished, and the purposes of God and nature be permitted to proceed unmolested. Tell the people they can put an end to their sufferings, that misery results from human, not from natural causes, and that it need not be. Teach and preach and cry aloud this one fact. Repeat it indoors and out, with all the fire and intensity within you. Each convert will become a center, and our cause will spread irresistibly.
Therefore, Volunteers, do not weary your hearers with statistics and historical or legal minutiae; do not cram them with detailed arguments relating to questions of a local or temporary nature; do not confuse them by trying to explain all the intricacies of a financial system soon to perish from off the earth. Rather even let the sophistries of an opponent go unanswered. But concentrate all your energies upon helping turn the attention of the people away from petty and vexing intricacies to these few great central truths, which, if once clearly seen, make all else plain.
The man who comprehends fully the truth that our world, since the discoveries of modern science, is capable of giving every human being all the good things of life, that as civilization is now blessed and glorious to some so it can be made to all—such a man will forsake all small purposes at once and devote himself thereafter to the realization of his ideal. Nothing else in the world can compare to this work in importance. When he learns that there is but one great party that stands for progress, he will immediately ally himself with that party.
Though in large cities the shelter admitted to be the most accessible to the poor, who wish to discuss methods for improving their condition, is the corner saloon, yet in country districts it will be found that the churches still cling to many of their ancient virtues and will be found open and hospitable to every traveler who has a suggestion to make for the good of the community.
Whatever a speaker’s prejudices may be against any church or against all churches, when he consecrates his life to the cause of humanity through the Democratic party, he must suppress such prejudices and regard all buildings as existing for use. And a true Volunteer is always certain that the highest use that can be made of any building in the world is to have taught in it the truths of human brotherhood and progress as embodied in the New Democracy.
In securing a church building for purposes of instruction, it is best not to mention the name of our movement. The name that we have adopted being an old name and used by various people for various purposes has been used upon numerous occasions by bad people for bad purposes. Even the word politics, which, in reality, means the science and art of government, has come to mean, in the minds of many, a mere personal contest for gain and position. The sacred banner of Democracy has often been dragged into these degrading brawls and the principles designated by the banner and name lost sight of. For these reasons and on account of the limitations of the average human judgment, it is well in dealing with church committees to discard all political names and to ask only for permission to speak in behalf of human brotherhood, social improvement or methods of helping the poor. The fact that human brotherhood can only be realized by men through the establishment of Democratic principles need not be told the committee, but had better be reserved for the audience. The fact that justice is a mere dream, intangible and unreal, unless, by political action on the part of the many, the few who profit by injustice are deprived of their privileges (or, in other words, until the Democratic program is carried out), makes it eminently proper that church buildings be opened to our speakers as often as possible. Of course, when the churches of a town are controlled by scribes and Pharisees, as they were when Paul was a volunteer speaker some centuries ago, unless some other building can be had, we must follow Paul’s example and make our rostrum in the open street or field; but where the church buildings are controlled by Christians instead of gold worshippers, by sincere men who desire justice and brotherhood and to help the poor, then, however different our prejudices, our personal likings or our superstitions may be, we should grasp our newly acquainted brothers by the hand and arrange with them for meetings in the church for the examination of methods whereby religion can be made practicable and applied to human affairs.
To the charitable who are really to be found here and there in the village and agricultural churches, we must make plain that no amount of teaching or preaching, applied internally or externally, can ever benefit the poor, until organized society recognizes men’s rights, women’s rights and children’s rights as equal to money rights. Buildings owned by Catholics, the different Protestant denominations, by Jews, both reform and orthodox, and by free-thinking societies, can all be secured for the promulgation of these moral truths, if our workers will divest themselves of prejudices and don a tactful address. The success of this plan lies altogether in the judgment, personality and breadth of mind of the Volunteer who attempts the task.
When you approach the trustee of a Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic or a Jewish church, remember that the building, the use of which you ask, has been paid for by contributions given at a sacrifice by earnest men and women, with minds turned towards the solemn and higher things of life. However mixed with ignorance, superstitious fear or motives of vanity, these buildings, in the smaller towns and agricultural communities, are associated with thoughts above and separated from personal controversies and material things and, if you can convince those in control that you wish to present facts, views and ideas of a helpful nature to the community, not incongruous with the teaching of their faith, you will generally receive an affirmative answer.
It is common in country districts for laymen, persons neither ordained nor licensed as ministers, to speak from Christian pulpits at regular church services. This custom should be utilized. A lecture in a church building on a week night may attract the more studious or the more curious of the community and supply them with rich materials for right thinking; but a lay sermon to a regular congregation, backed by the regular services and the presence of the minister, carries with it a force and authority possible on no other occasion. A Volunteer, by reciting, under such auspices, a simple story of the crimes against God and humanity perpetrated by the money power, and describing feelingly the effect of unnecessary poverty on the souls and characters of men, will not only stir the congregation to a new sense of patriotic duty, but will furnish material to the country minister enabling him to add a new flavor to the food of his flock for months to come. In those outlying districts where God has not been entirely superseded by gold in the church, a large part of the educational work of our movement can be accomplished in this way.
The farmers compose a large part of our country’s population and vote. They still believe in healthful religion and its power to affect human life. They can best be reached on Sunday and very often better through the church than in any other way. The reason that the great cities have not responded so quickly and so enthusiastically to our movement as the country districts is that vice, crime and disease in the great cities have, to a large extent, eaten away the capacity for appreciating justice and brotherhood, and destroyed in a large class the fundamental virtues of courage, manliness, patriotism and belief in the supremacy of good. It is to the country, where these virtues are still fresh and normal, that our movement must appeal principally. In the city there are a thousand places of amusement and dissipation for every idle hour. The boy coming from school or work, the mechanic after his day’s labor pass the open saloon, filled with music and merry-making, the theatre, with its novelties, laughter and appeals to all the emotions, the gambler’s den, the game tables, the dives and a hundred other places, always open, some positively and immediately hurtful to both health and morals, others absorbing time, attention and vitality.
In the country, however, work or study done, a man or boy has not so many places of amusement. There is much more inducement than in the city to attend some church entertainment, some healthful neighborhood ball, and much more time and energy left for meetings at the school or church for the discussion of social problems and questions of national or class well-being.
Thus the Volunteer who would teach farmers and villagers must accept the church as one very promising field of work.
No day is more appropriate for effective work in behalf of human brotherhood than Sunday. By common consent it has been set aside by the majority of civilized races for serious thought, meditation and worship, and what is more befitting this day than to think out, study out and talk out the solution to the great problem of human justice and brotherhood. To speak for the New Democracy on Sunday is no more than to gather in the fruit of all the great religions that have come down to us. The New Democracy is not religion and those who proclaim its truths are neither preachers nor priests, but it is religion’s highest product. The great religions of the world, nurtured by God’s hand and growing out of the fertile and sympathetic souls of the men and women of all climes and all centuries, have at last produced a practical ideal capable of being realized in actual life. This product is the New Democracy. It is the answer to the prayers of the ages. It is God’s gift granted in answer to the cries of suffering of injustice and poverty throughout the world. It is God’s method of redeeming society, of saving our nation, now well-nigh unto death, from greed and sin. Let each retain his attachment to his own sect and religion, but instead of quarreling about sectarian differences, let us unite in realizing our common dreams of brotherhood. Instead of building new walls to separate us, let us make one platform so large that on it all earnest sons of God can stand erect, confident of His presence.
Centuries before Jesus Christ traversed the plains of Galilee and bathed in the troubled waters of the Jordan, there was one Buddha who, despising the superstitions of his time, gathered about him others who, like him, believed that the larger part of human suffering was unnecessary and could be extinguished by human agency. This band traveled throughout the most populous districts of Western Asia teaching the great truth that the object of life’s endeavor should be to lessen pain and to increase joy. Their one command was “cease causing pain; do not kill or cause to suffer any man or animal.” And within two hundred years, from this little band and from this one whole-hearted man, an enthusiasm for mercy and love and justice overspread a third of the human race. Buddha’s teachings were free from the multitude of miserable superstitions that haunt the people who bear his name to-day. His teachings, with those of Zoroaster, Confucius, Mencius, Moses and Christ, in their purity, attempted primarily to induce men to live as brothers, to teach men that individual good is social good and that both duty and true happiness consist in devotion to others—to the commonwealth.
Some preachers, however, get so in the habit of prophesying that, when their prophecies are fulfilled, they think it wicked and heretical to believe it. They refuse to believe their own eyes when they see the answer to their prayers. So deep-rooted has grown their habit of prayer that the means has become an end. They ask no longer to get what they ask for but for the exercise of asking, which they call pious. Their prayers answered, they are astounded. Now that their prophecies are fulfilled, they open their unbelieving eyes in wonderment and condemn those who stop asking for what is already given.
DON’T ASK FOR WHAT YOU HAVE.
Christ many times used the relation of a child to its father to represent the relation of man to God. When a boy begs his father for a sleigh and pony, and, after much pleading, the father grants his request, the boy stops asking, accepts the gift with thanks and proceeds to take a ride. If he were to continue on his knees pleading for them after being told they were in the back yard subject to his orders, we should call him a simpleton. What is the use of his saying, “Oh, papa, please, dear papa, give me a pony and sleigh,” when papa has already given it and is anxious to see it driven past the house. If the boy has any sense at all, upon first seeing his father drive his new pony toward home, he will stop praying, take off his hat, throw it up in the air, and hallo a “Hurrah for pop.” He will jump into the sleigh, go for his best girl, and not show up again till two o’clock in the morning.
For centuries the human race has longed and prayed and hoped for a time when justice would be possible on earth, when the reign of brutality would be superceded by the triumph of justice and brotherly love. This desire, this deep yearning, has taken definite expression in the ceremonials and prayers of all religions, and in the grand prayer given us by Jesus Christ:
The soul of the universe has found expression in the Divine Hand that guides the course of nations, and has answered the prayers of the churches and the heroes and the saints. And that justice, which for centuries has been an object of prayer, has become, for the first time in history, a tangible, definite thing, capable of realization. What we have asked for, God has made possible. Why now crawl longer in the dust like worms beneath the feet of tyrants, when God bids us rise and stand erect? Why continue to pray and plead for what God has already placed within our reach? Tell the preachers to stop praying for this gift, already ours, and accept it as God gave it. THIS SIMPLE ACT OF ACCEPTING GOD’S ANSWER TO THE PRAYERS OF THE GOOD AND THE TRUE OF ALL PAST CENTURIES, IS THE PROGRAM OF THE NEW DEMOCRACY.
I ask father for a horse and sleigh. Now that he brings it to me, I stop asking for it, and take a ride. We have prayed during centuries for an era of justice. The New Democracy is the fulfillment of God’s prophecy. It is the greatest moral tidal wave that ever thrilled with new life this old world of ours. It embodies the practical program by means of which the Infinite Intelligence is leading humanity to its inheritance.
HUMANITY’S SCOUTS HAVE FOUND THE WAY.
A body of pioneers lose their way in the wilderness. After days of weary trudging and hunger, they kneel and pray to God for guidance to food and shelter. In the midst of their devotions, a scout returns and rudely interrupts them, crying, “Get up, boys, stop your prayers; I have found the main road, and we are only ten miles from town.” What should our pious travelers do? If they have an ounce of common sense, they will jump to their feet, brush the dust from their trousers, and follow their deliverer. Should we not call them insane, on the other hand, if, accustomed to hunger and thirst, they had come to believe prayer and privation the ends of life, and, if instead of rising up and accepting God’s answer to their prayers, they should continue to grovel and pray on?
After eighteen centuries of prayer and privation, of hunger and thirst, the couriers and scouts of the human race have returned, and to their kneeling, miserable brothers they cry aloud, “Arise, cease your prayers for already they have been answered. We have found the road and the promised land is near. Hunger and thirst are no longer necessary. Let thanksgiving and praise to God now take the place of begging petitions for that which He hath already granted us.”
As true religionists, is it our duty to say to these scouts, “Stop, you infidels, you interfere with our devotion?” Such a policy is insanity. These teachers are not infidels. They are not enemies of religion. Otherwise God would not have revealed to them His plan for answering the prayers of the millions and fulfilling the prophecies of past ages.
We have been praying: “Lead us aright. Show us the way to realize Heaven in this world.” Humanity will now stop asking and accept, as a child from its father, God’s last and greatest gift. The weary travelers of earth will see that the privations of centuries are no longer necessary. They will stop pleading with Heaven for the manna to be had by simply putting forth their palms.
PRISONERS OF THE BASTILE.
For an explanation of the action of those poor, irrational creatures who are so accustomed to privation and prayer that when relief comes they only continue to pray, failing to recognize that their prayers are answered, we can only point to the last poor inmates of the French bastile. The most prominent and intellectual citizens of France, they had been torn from their homes without a trial, thrown into dungeons containing not a single ray of light, fed there on bread and water from year to year until lonely and in torture their hair turned prematurely white and their bodies withered. When, at the first stroke of that most glorious of revolutions, the bastile doors were opened, and the soldiers of the people broke down the huge iron gates and doors, crying aloud in the name of liberty, “You are free, you are free, come out long imprisoned brothers,” the populace were astounded to find that many of the poor, white-haired, white-bearded, pale-faced prisoners, instead of walking out into the long-wished for sunlight, clutched the walls of their cells, clung to their prison floors and cried in fear. They had to be torn from their gloomy haunts by main force by their rescuers. Their years of trouble, of darkness and gloom had destroyed their power to enjoy the light of freedom. Many of the brightest intellects of France had thus been dimmed. Their souls, once afire for freedom, had burned out in despair. They had become maniacs.
So now there are devotees of religion, so inured to the gloomy slavery of poverty and injustice, so in the habit of praying for relief, that when the bold servants of God strike down with their ready hammers the prison walls, and freedom’s air and sunlight stream in, these poor souls are horrified, paralyzed by the very light and atmosphere for which they have been praying. “Go away,” they say, and, crying, they clutch their cell walls refusing to be free. They, too, have become maniacs. But the majority of the human race will not refuse freedom’s balmy breeze or the sunshine of liberty. At the call of the New Democracy they will throw down their broken chains of poverty, leap through their open prison doors, and cheer with might and main as the majority of the prisoners of the bastile cheered a century ago when they were given freedom’s light.
THE COMMANDMENTS GROWN WITH THE WORLD.
If men claim that we are to be forever satisfied with the commands, “Thou shalt not steal,” and “Thou shalt not kill,” we will answer that these commands have grown, and that under the banner of the New Democracy we shall declare in thunder tones to all the world, “thou shalt not be killed,” “thou shalt not be robbed,” and not only this but also, “thou shalt not allow thy brethren to be killed,” and, “thou shalt not allow thy brethren to be robbed.” These commands have developed still further, so that the cry shall go up from sea to sea that our present and past systems of thievery, robbery and murder shall be swept away, that the teaching of the churches against thievery, robbery and murder, through all the centuries, has borne fruit, and that now, not only shall the poor, dependent teachers of abstract truth proclaim between hymns and prayers, “thou shalt not steal,” and “thou shalt not kill,” but that the whole people shall Join in one mighty chorus, and declare that public thievery, robbery and murder must cease from off the earth and that our social and political systems shall be made to conform to the teachings of our religion.
To those who oppose us in the name of religion, let our answer be, “We do not fight the church; without the church and its teachings for nineteen centuries, the New Democracy would have been impossible.” The New Democracy is an outgrowth of all religions. Religion has protected and kept alive, through the barbarous past, the great moral truths that we are now applying to actual life. Even if the church or any part of the church or priesthood or ministry attempts to oppose us, we will simply laugh with God at every futile effort to stem the flood, the source of which is their own teaching through nineteen centuries. For the church, or any part of it, to oppose or belittle or criticise the New Democracy, is for the tree to disclaim its own fruit, for the rivers to disown the sea, for the fountain to dry up its stream, for the mother to cast aside her child.
The founders and prophets of all the great religions taught the principles of justice and brotherly love. The New Democracy makes possible their realization.
What nobler work can any man engage in on Sunday than the proclaiming in open air or behind closed doors these eternal truths, or tell of the new impulse that is fast taking hold of men to weave these truths into the texture of our social institutions.
Another of the few foundation truths upon which the structure of the world’s present progress is being reared, a truth that cannot be too often told nor too continuously urged, is that THERE ARE ONLY TWO PARTIES IN THE WORLD.
One party consists of those who, seeing wrong, try to end it; seeing injustice, strive to abolish it; and, being told of possible improvements, investigate and EXPERIMENT, hoping to attain them.
The other party is made up of those who cannot see wrongs when practiced upon others, who are blind to injustice for fear of the unjust, and who, being told of possible improvements, antagonize their instructors, in defense of the private interests of themselves or their masters, that might by change be jeopardized.
The fight now is not simply a continuation of the old fight that has been going on from ancient times, but is the world climax, the end of the struggle. Those who produce and trade and teach, earning their money by honorable exertion, are forming all along the line, against those who are too lazy to work, too stupid or too proud to trade or teach, but who wish to grow rich by acquiring other people’s property. The honest masses who believe in law, order and progress, are approaching a decisive contest for permanent supremacy with the dishonest classes who, in order to defend their systems of plunder, utilize in their service the combined forces of ignorance, superstition, toadyism, lawless cunning and the force of arms.
If the lawless, irresponsible dictators of industry and commerce are successful, then liberty, constitutional government and personal security are at an end, civilization is derailed into an abyss, and retrogression displaces progress through another age of barbarism. Gold becomes the only God, and bayonets the only prod to duty. The university, the press and the pulpit will all be made permanent attachments to the one despotic machine which is to control every source of communication and instruction, and stifle all thought and aspiration that does not strengthen the ruling power.
On the other hand, the people’s victory will end class rule forever, and gradually abolish all special privileges and monopolies by means of which one man holds an unjust advantage over another. The people holding the reins of power will apply the best talent, experience and energy possessed by man to the establishment of justice, order and public achievement. This is the situation confronting our country and the world. It is the situation as it confronts every individual man. The war is universal. There are no non-combatants. Everyone is affected by the outcome. Each has the power to help decide the result. Whether in compliance with or against our will, each of us must participate and assist one side or the other.
Which shall it be? The party of the people or the party of tyranny. This question presents itself alike to the citizen of America and the inhabitant of Europe. Since the historic people’s victory at Chicago, July 6, 1896, the people’s party in America has taken the name “REGULAR DEMOCRATIC.” In Germany, France and England it is known as the “Social Democracy;” in the Balkans and Asia Minor it is the “Greek;” and in the West Indies, the “Cuban Army.”
When once the masses realize that the same class of adventurers, tax-gatherers and oppressors of labor who in this country have gotten absolute control of the Republican political machine, are the present friends, the advisers and colleagues of the despots, plutocrats and military leaders of Europe, that their families are intermarrying, their interests being pooled, their cause becoming one, their interests identical, all their plans and hopes one and inseparable, then will it be impossible for designing demagogues to mislead or confuse them further. When it becomes generally understood that the forces of reaction throughout the world are one, then will the common people come into closer union and bind themselves together as a unit.
The union of those who profit by tyranny necessitates the union of all who believe in liberty. The internationalism of millionaires is creating an internationalism of the common people. The situation is being so simplified that all may comprehend clearly the two forces whose conflict extends over the modern world. All minor and secondary divisions and issues are swallowed up. The international aspect of the problem does not, as one might at first suppose, confuse the mind, but, on the other hand, simplifies the issue so that none can mistake concerning it. Old prejudices, reverence for party names, sectional hatreds, sores left by historic feuds, religious differences and affiliations with local political machines, in which self or friends are interested selfishly, all tend to cover up the real issues, when only the local end of the fight is studied.
But, when we learn that the same class that induced the governments of Europe and America to co-operate with Spanish murderers in starving, killing and torturing tens of thousands of our patriotic brother Americans in Cuba to protect the value of their Spanish bonds and got these so-called Christian governments to assist the Turk, supply him with arms and drill and general his soldiers for the massacre of hundreds of thousands of defenseless Armenians and Greeks, to secure the continued payment of interest on their Turkish bonds; that this class is made up of the same individual bondholders who are gaining control, through syndicates, of our American breweries, distilleries, railroads, street car companies, gas companies and other manufacturing and commercial institutions; that they are ever ready mercilessly and barbarously, by murder or giant fraud, to advance their interests, regardless of duty to humanity, country or to God, all of which they deny; and, when we prove that this class now controls absolutely the machinery of the Republican party in America, and is trying again to control Democracy, the masses, in their fury against it will, regardless of historic prejudices or past or local political affiliations, unite in common defense of home and country to stamp it out.
THE PARTY OF EXPERIMENT.
Our enemies say ours is a party of EXPERIMENT. We admit it. No forward step in the world’s history, no achievement in science, art, literature or politics has ever come but by EXPERIMENT.
We are not, however, the only party of EXPERIMENT. The plutocrats, who now control our country, also believe in EXPERIMENT, only their experiments are in the direction of further despoiling the people without adding to popular rage, and of tightening their grip upon our property, our lives and liberties without inciting to rebellion.
One man experiments with surgeon’s knife upon the body of another, chloroformed or a corpse. But suppose the chloroform ceases to act or the corpse proves a case of suspended animation, rises up snatches the surgical instrument, ties his tormentor to the couch and begins to experiment on him. The EXPERIMENT in either case may be equally beneficial to science, equally dangerous to the victim. But the personal value of the EXPERIMENT to either of the principals depends, in a large measure, upon WHETHER HE IS THE EXPERIMENTER OR THE MAN EXPERIMENTED ON.
The millionaires united are at present experimenting on the people. The records of their discoveries are doubtless of great value to political science but when the unfortunate public, heretofore thought dead or safely hypnotized, arises and with ghastly alacrity, begins to EXPERIMENT on its doctors, not only will science be equally benefited, but the “corpse” will enjoy the operation hugely.
This outcry on the part of the plutocrats against political experimenting means simply that they want to do all the experimenting themselves.
OUR ENEMIES ARE THE INNOVATORS.
A family, sheltered for many years to their entire satisfaction by an old homestead, that also protected their property, suddenly discovers that their silverware is fast disappearing with many heirlooms, jewels and valuable papers and pieces of furniture. They discuss a plan for changing the locks and, with the aid of a skilled mechanic, make an examination of every wall, floor, door and window with a view to a general overhauling and repairs. A neighbor makes serious objection and in a solemn manner appeals to his friends not to interfere with the ancient landmarks nor lay an irreverent hand upon the old homestead, that served their father so well and that sheltered them and protected their property so long. His only object in thus warning his friend against dangerous innovation being grateful reverence for which has been so useful in the past.
Supposing the owner to be possessed of common sense, his answer will be: “Yes, my friend, the old homestead has served me and my fathers well for a long period of years and I had never intended to irreverently destroy it. But I have discovered that some stranger has already laid an irreverent hand upon our home and broken the locks of our doors and windows. We find that he has cut a hole in the floor of our side closet and effected entrances through the roof and the cellar window. The home which once protected us serves no longer as a protection, because mutilated by an intruder. If the house still protected us as it did our fathers we should be satisfied; but, since others have changed it, we, in self-protection, must adapt ourselves to the changed conditions. It is not the old house that protected our fathers that we are changing, but the new house, the changed house, the mutilated house—this it is that we wish to renovate and re-adapt, so that it may again be made to serve us as did the old one. The same outside framework, the same old flag-pole, brown front and corner stone remain, but many of the foundation stones are gone, the strength of the house, its power to serve and protect us have been taken away so that we are in constant fear of its caving in upon us. Therefore, we shall repair it thoroughly or else remove to another.”
Our government for many years served the people well. Its past is sacred. It protected our fathers, made our lives and our fortunes possible and we are tempted to give weight to the arguments of a compatriot when he says to us: “Touch not the ancient landmarks; do not lay irreverent hands on our government; do not seek to change its laws or institutions; it has served us well and we should show our gratitude by protecting it and by opposing innovation.”
In answer, however, we are forced to say that, although we have the same flag-pole and flag, the same brown front and corner stone, an enemy has for years been removing one foundation stone after another. He has removed the vital parts from the locks of our doors and windows; made entrances through the roof, the floor and cellar, so that our silver is now disappearing, our jewels and our heirlooms are missing, and our liberty, our lives and our property are in danger.
WE ARE NOT THE INNOVATORS. WE ARE THE VICTIMS OF INNOVATION. We seek to battle against the invaders who have mutilated our government and would destroy us. We strive to make our government, of which now only the shell remains, serve us as it served our forefathers, capable of affording us that shelter and protection, which is the true function of government, and which our forefathers intended we should have.
TWO GOVERNMENTS IN MORTAL COMBAT.
We have two distinct governments in our country, whose interests are antagonistic and irreconcilable. One government is the United States; the other, the United Trusts and Syndicates. The former is democratic; the other despotic. This inner-treasonable despotism controls our industry, commerce and means of life and pleasure. It is using the United States government as a machine to enforce its decrees and extend its dominion, hoping soon to abolish the last vestige of popular rule. It is world-wide in its extent, and only uses local and national governments as means of power.
The United States enacts laws openly. The United trusts and syndicates enacts laws secretly. Disobedience to our state laws is punished only after a public trial, but the merchant who breaks a trust law is ruined without a trial, the laborer who ignores it is secretly blacklisted; the minister who defies it is forced out of the church, and the lawyer disregarding it loses his profitable practice. The nation enacts a law and the trust officers laugh at it so far as it applies to them, and then, by gaining control of the law-enforcing power, use this law as an additional club in the subjugation of their victims.
When the people attempt to defeat a new aggression on the part of the trusts by carrying out the plan of some renowned thinker, known to be uninfluenced by special interests, the emissaries of the trusts scatter the people by crying: “EXPERIMENT.” “An untried and Utopian scheme,” “Innovators.” While the patriots argue as to whether their plan is really an EXPERIMENT, the enemy captures a new position.
The United Trusts and Syndicates, by experimenting constantly and pushing forward all along the line and at the same time by convincing the United States not to EXPERIMENT, succeeds in approaching the same relation to its rival government that a live ant sustains to a dead worm. By incessant and fearless activity, and by using our constitution, traditions and flag as a blind, this irresponsible despotism is fast nearing the time when it hopes to throw off its mask and publicly usurp supreme power. Not a day passes but these organized conspirators try some new EXPERIMENT, attempt some new aggression never dared before, attack some nearer outpost of the people’s liberties heretofore thought impregnable.
Often these EXPERIMENTS fail. The people are sometimes bull-headed, and repulse the attack with loss to the United Trusts and Syndicates. But failing once, twice or a hundred times, do they cease to EXPERIMENT? Even though they lose millions in attempting some audacious act, do they therefore refuse to attempt another act equally bold? Never. They see clearly that all enterprise, all progress, all victory, all increase in power and dominion, result only from repeated EXPERIMENTS. The boldest of all EXPERIMENTS was the hatching of the conspiracy that gave their present organization birth. EXPERIMENT gave them all they have. They live and grow by it. To stop EXPERIMENT is to stop action, for the modern world is a new world and in it there are no tried and beaten paths. The floods and glaciers of innovation have carried away the ancient landmarks, and by raising new barriers and structures largely shut off from all progressive peoples, even the kindly rays from the lamp of experience. Not agitators, but science and invention, have pushed us away from the ancient world, with its well-worn roads and lighthouses, and where we walk now human feet never trod before. The light from our foreheads is our only lamp, and eternal truth our only guide, prefer to EXPERIMENT, OR TO BE EXPERIMENTED ON; TO BE THE SURGEON, OR THE CORPSE.
The Democratic party in power in 1900 controlled by the common people will, without doubt, EXPERIMENT boldly. It will lead our government into new and untried ways, as our enemies very clearly and very truthfully predict. It will, without doubt, commit blunders and make mistakes. The one thing that above all and in spite of all it is pledged to do, is to arouse the United States government from its paralysis, stupor and corpse-like state of being experimented on, and declare that whatever the EXPERIMENTS of the future, instead of being made ON THE UNITED STATES, THEY SHALL BE MADE BY THE UNITED STATES.
When the victimized people declare their independence, through their own government, of the despotism of the trusts, it will necessarily be an EXPERIMENT.
Every time General Grant ordered an attack on the forces defending negro slavery, he tried an EXPERIMENT. Never could he tell exactly what the result would be. There might be more dead Union men than Confederates, or there might possibly be more dead Confederates than Union men. The one thing of which he was certain, however, was that his duty consisted in going ahead, and, when defeated, he gathered his troops together and tried again. He knew that, if followed long enough, his plan would crush the Confederacy.
So each attack on the white slave power to-day is an EXPERIMENT. We cannot at any time foretell the immediate result. An attack on a special monopoly may fail. Many times we may be repulsed with loss, but by constantly renewing the attack and continuing to press forward we shall eventually triumph. During the late war, the southern states defended black slavery. They lost. Black slavery was abolished. To-day, the southern states, dominated by the common people, have espoused the cause of liberty and to the oppressors of the North and East they say, “White slavery also must be destroyed.”
Both parties are parties of EXPERIMENT. The only difference is that we avow ours openly and write them in our platform, while the experiments and aggressions of the Republican party are planned in secret and executed in dark corners where only traitors and adventurers are allowed admittance.
To hesitate and refuse to EXPERIMENT is to tie our hands and remain inactive, while our enemies harass us, rob us, and assault us from all directions. It is as important to weaken the enemy as it is to strengthen your own forces. Therefore, when by an extensive literature the money-power instill in the people a horror of EXPERIMENT, they palsy their limbs and incapacitate them for defense.
Therefore, the Democratic Volunteers will frankly admit the charge that they favor EXPERIMENT and will boldly proclaim that EXPERIMENT is one of the foundation stones of their creed. By ceaseless and tireless repetition in every community of our nation we will ask the people to begin to EXPERIMENT on their own account, instead of permitting EXPERIMENT to longer remain a monopoly in the hands of those who continually decry it. We will ask them to decide whether they will longer remain objects of EXPERIMENT, or, by government action, begin to EXPERIMENT on their persecutors.
When the nature of the present world conflict is understood, those who favor the people’s cause will cease to receive any further instruction or advice whatever from their enemies or the allies or agents of their enemies.
If America declared open war upon Britain should we put the slightest confidence in any statement, emanating from English sources as to the best line of attack? And, if a coterie of young Britishers were to enter our camp and advise our soldiers to open fire in a northward direction, should we not rather suspect an attack from the enemy on the south? Is it not a rule in war always to fire in the direction opposite to that advised by your enemies? In all business and other practical affairs of life is it not universally recognized as the extreme of folly to accept as facts the statements of those who may profit by our discomfiture?
Most assuredly! And it is time for the merchants and workingmen of America to apply to their political struggle these simple maxims so well established elsewhere.
Imagine a courtroom filled with spectators and a group of culprits being tried for wholesale theft. The strongest evidence has been produced by both the prosecution and defense and the result is in doubt. Anxious crowds are waiting in suspense for some decisive stroke that shall give an advantage to one side or the other. The counsel for the defense arises and plays his last card by an eloquent appeal in behalf of the prisoners, basing his plea entirely on the superiority of his witnesses. He shows that they stand much higher in the community than the witnesses for the prosecution, who are poor, untutored countrymen. “My witnesses,” says he, “include the leading men in your community—your parson, the principal of your high school, and the editor of your paper. Yours are mere yahoos and ignoramuses, not capable of exercising judgment in such a case as this.” A murmur of assent passes around the room. There is a cheer of confirmation, and the jurors nod their heads significantly.
The prosecuting attorney, instead of making a speech, plays his last card by taking the jury to the stable, where they discover that the horse on which the teacher rode to court is one of those stolen from Farmer Hayseed’s stable, and further he proves that the suit of clothes worn by the parson on the witness stand was made of the very piece of woolen goods taken from the country storekeeper, and that the coins that fill the purse of the respected editor are the same identical marked coins accumulated by Widow Jones for her old age and taken from her money drawer on the night of the crime in question. No speeches, no arguments are necessary after this. The jurors purge their memories of the testimony for the defense, and the culprits are sent to prison.
In the great case of “The People versus Monopoly,” now being tried at the bar of Public Opinion, the defense, beaten upon every other point, bases its last plea upon the superiority of its witnesses. It is claimed that the authorities on finance, the press and the pulpit are witnesses in defense of Monopoly. We acknowledge this, and in answer wish only to take the jury, who are to decide this case, to the homes of these witnesses, where they can see for themselves that they are sharers in the plunder that has been taken from the plaintiffs.
The first important witness in behalf of the defense is the great metropolitan press, the peculiar and special product of the dying years of the present century.
Now, the modern newspaper is a corporation, formed for the one purpose of paying dividends to stockholders. In order to make money it must serve the people who have money, for now all the profits of the great dailies are derived from the sale of space in their columns, the receipts for the sale of papers not covering expenses. The business manager, with a few exceptions, controls the editorial department and dictates all policies. So we poor wayfarers, hungry for information concerning some important interest, seize upon a learned editorial in a great metropolitan daily, and while we think we are being instructed by the weighty opinion of some friendly and scholarly writer, we are in fact reading THE PAID ADVERTISEMENT of our enemies, placed in the paper to confuse us. When, in the news department, we read a speech or an interview, it is often so garbled that the meaning is quite changed. And what we consider to be a simple statement of fact is often a doctored narrative, containing fictitious figures, and printed for the sole purpose of misleading the public.
The attempt of the gold press to array the agricultural producers against the city laborers, and the mechanics against the agriculturists is cruel and deliberate. And this power to deceive and mislead carries with it the power of life or death.
Suppose I were to go to Mr. Jones and tell him that Mr. Smith had declared to me that he was going to shoot him on sight, and that I had seen him purchase a revolver for that purpose; and then I should go to Mr. Smith and tell him that his friend Jones had just armed himself to the teeth for the purpose of killing him, stating that I had heard him swear and curse and declare before heaven that Smith should not live another day. Now, suppose these two neighbors, heretofore warm friends, were to approach each other, and Smith, as a precaution, would reach his hand toward his hip-pocket, and Jones, in order to save his life, would pull out his weapon and fire, both men shooting each other at the same time.
The result would be TWO DEAD FOOLS, the victims of ONE LIVE LIAR.
The power to deceive great masses of people by simultaneous and premeditated conspiracy on the part of the papers owned by monopoly, carries with it the power to weaken the masses by dividing them in a struggle over false issues; and while they fight among themselves, to rob them and legislate their children into slavery.
Here are the words of the great journalist, John Swinton, before the New York Press Association, in response to a toast, “The Independent Press:”
“There is no such thing in America as an independent Press, unless it is in the country towns. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare express an honest opinion; if you express it, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid one hundred and fifty dollars a week for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things. If I should permit honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, like Othello, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. Any man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job. The business of the New York journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and race for his daily bread, or for about the same thing—his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an ‘Independent Press.’ We are tools and the vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, all are property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”
In the case of “The American People versus the Banks and Trusts,” we have found, by personal examination, as also by the confession of a member of the family, John Swinton, that the money which inflates the purse of the prominent editorial witness consists of the marked coins that made up a portion of the booty in question. No sane juror will believe the testimony of such a witness.
CLERGY NEEDS SYMPATHY, NOT BLAME.
It is also claimed that God’s ministry has offered its testimony in behalf of the defense. It is not my purpose to say anything against the clergy, because if there is an abused and ill-treated class of men on the face of the earth to-day, who need pity and prayer and succor, it is the men who have dedicated their lives to the Christ who was killed by the rich of His time, and who are now dependent for their living, their children’s food and their wives’ clothing, upon the blended piety and pride, the virtues and vanities of the rich of to-day.
In all that inconsistent barbarism, which we call civilization, there is no man who needs sympathy so much and deserves blame so little as he who is attempting at the same time to preach for God and to get his living from God’s enemies, to build monuments to the Christ who lived and died for the poor, and gain the material and cost of these monuments by flattering those who are grinding the faces of the poor.
Many clergymen have told me how their hearts have bled for the victims of social injustice; how in anguish they have wept over the piteous cries for help uttered by their dying brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ; how, bursting with indignation, they have longed to strike a blow against the brutality that crushes Christ’s little ones in order to grind from their bones and blood colossal and unnatural fortunes. But they said, “We must conceal our tears and swallow our indignation, though it chokes us. We dare not speak out—we could neither destroy the tyrant nor save the victims. We would only succeed in dragging down our own wives and little ones into that dark stream of poverty, from which those who have once fallen in can never hope to rise. First of all, we must live—and then do what little we can to temper the reign of injustice and oppression. The overthrow and destruction of this system of injustice rests upon the shoulders of God and the common people.”
I would ask the workmen of the country who are rapidly leaving the churches not to judge the clergy harshly, because the majority are dumb in your behalf and because a few openly and blatantly champion the cause of the oppressors.
But I must also ask you to place no confidence in their testimony in this political trial, for their lips often utter words their hearts fain would withhold, and they often pray for success to the banner for which they cannot fight.
Let us not condemn them because they are bound with chains of dependence, but let us rather include them among those whom we shall liberate when we establish a POLITICAL SYSTEM WHICH SHALL SET ALL MEN FREE.
In the case of “The American People versus the Money Lending and Bondholding Class,” we find that the long, flowing garb of the ministerial witness, that at first inspired our confidence in his testimony, because of the holy office it suggested, is made of the very cloth, a part of the plunder, the disapperance of which is the basis of the present trial. The testimony of such a witness, cajoled, terrorized, and a sharer in the booty taken, is also without value.
THE TESTIMONY OF THE COLLEGE AUTHORITIES.
Now, as to the college professors: From the earliest times down to the present day, learning has been fostered, patronized and supported by wealth. The kings and nobility of various times and nations, too stupid or lazy to acquire distinction in the field of scholarship themselves, have vied with each other in gathering around them the greatest scholars, musicians, poets and minstrels, as well as the greatest athletes, the most beautiful and voluptuous women, the fastest horses, and the most interesting curios of every description. Some of the patrons of learning and art have been really serious in their devotion to the beautiful and true. It is, perhaps, one of the greatest encomiums that we can pronounce upon the wealth of the world, that in all ages it has supported learning as the stalk supports the flower. This condition of affairs has not existed, however, without causing an undesirable dependence on the part of the beneficiaries.
Who has passed through the great art galleries of the Louvre at Paris, and beheld the acres of canvas, covered with the work of the immortal Rubens, without being filled with anger and disgust as he thought of the genius and years of toil which, instead of being devoted to conceiving and executing new masterpieces to delight and inspire all future ages, were applied to daubing the vain and cruel countenance and the unattractive person of the patroness who gave him his bread?
The first and greatest universities in this land were founded, have been built up, and are at present supported by the bequests and donations, the gratuitous contributions of the rich. The vast undying benefits that have flowed from this wealth, which have been devoted to learning, ancient and modern, cannot easily be overestimated. What the world would have been without the enlightenment which has come from this source it is not easy to imagine. We should hold in high esteem the solitary student who, in past ages and to-day, gropes his silent, difficult way towards those hidden truths in science, in history or in art which will one day enlighten and beautify the world. We should be lovers of all that is beautiful, and all that is true, and all that is lovable in this great world of ours. Music, painting and sculpture, the sciences, literature and history, should be to all sources both of inspiration and of light. With all our hearts let us welcome these products of man’s talent and genius.
The historian is the hinge linking the present to the past. His office is not only a useful, but a sacred one. Scholarship is like womanhood—one of the most holy and sacred things in the world. But, like womanhood, when prostituted, it becomes the most debased. He who muddies with error and personal prejudice the fountain of pure truth is an enemy to his race. But let us not attempt to blame nor censure individuals. We know that wealth has been the friend of learning; that in all times past those who have devoted their time to the pursuit of truth or beauty have been dependent upon the support of the rich and powerful. You say that if wealth has been the friend of learning, it is only natural that learning should be the friend of wealth. Yes, this is exactly the fact in the case. Learning is the friend of wealth for two reasons: One, because she feels grateful for past favors; the other, and greater, because she is hopeful for favors to come.
It is well known in educational circles that any college found propagating “heresies” like “free silver” or “government ownership of the railroads”—in other words, any institution which does not distort and curtail its teachings so as to bias the student in favor of the single gold standard and the eternal reign of monopoly—will be cut off without a dollar by plutocracy and doomed to a future of comparative impotence and uselessness for lack of funds.
What is the result? The president of a large private university, knowing that his reputation for success or failure depends upon the growth of his university as compared with that of neighboring universities, continually trims his sails to secure favors of those who have money to dispense. It is a common thing for a college president to make what he calls a “begging tour.” He endeavors to show to those who are supposed to have money to bestow that his university is in great need, and can make the best possible use of “sound” money in propagating “sound ideas.”
A good illustration of this is the tour which Brooker Washington, the famous colored orator, the President of the Tuskegee Institute, made in 1896, through the North and East. He is a man of intellectual power. He is, no doubt, thoroughly devoted to the enlightenment of his race; but the way he flatters and cajoles the rich, advocates the gold standard, overlooks and keeps silent about their corruption and crimes, and assents to their plans for further aggrandizement, is a lesson which every patriot can study with profit. He has become a pet and fad among the wealthy classes of New York and New England. Even Harvard in 1896 conferred upon him an honorary degree. He has doubtless gotten heavy endowments for his college, but he has had to fawn and flatter and stultify his manhood to do it. And he has given a striking example of what almost every college president must do to a greater or less extent.
The fact is, that PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES, DEPENDING AS THEY DO UPON THE CHARITY AND CONSCIENCE MONEY OF THE RICH FOR SUPPORT AND GROWTH, LIKE ALL THOSE WHO LIVE BY CHARITY, HAVE ACQUIRED THE FAWNING SPIRIT OF SERVITUDE AND DEPENDENCE, AND FAITHFULLY LICK THE HAND THAT FEEDS THEM. “Verily the ox knoweth his master’s crib.”
Many college presidents dare not use any but “orthodox” gold standard text-books, and professors who dissent from the views of these books are forced to swallow their own opinions and propagate error.
Many of “our great authorities” are mere sycophants of wealth, creatures of the millionaire, placed by him in the same category as his musician, his ballet dancer or chaplain, all valuable dependents. The money lord of creation often builds the college (Chicago University, for example), places the poor book-worm in the position that makes him a “recognized authority,” and the “authority” must dish up statistics as a cook dishes up his delicacies to suit the taste of his master. If he refuses he loses his job, and is no longer a “recognized authority.”
Young men are not only taught in many instances that the rights of monopoly and money are more sacred than the rights of men and women, but are shown frequently that if they want to make a success in life, and be an honor to their family and their college they must ally themselves with the powerful corporations and trusts and keep their skirts clear of all popular and reform movements.
The recent action of the Yale students who brutally attempted to insult the honored guest of their city, Mr. Wm. J. Bryan, is not without significance.
The authorities and the respectable element among the students were no doubt, deeply humiliated by such a disgrace. Yet it is fairly plain that the dogmatic, uncharitable and violent opposition to Free Silver indulged in by the professors, has contributed its part toward causing this exhibition of anarchy and puppyism.
There is a wide distinction however, between professors and professors.
There are numerous truly great men who are aristocrats at heart, who love luxury and culture and refinement, whose friends are principally among the rich, whose sympathies are with the rich, and whose interests in life are bound up with the prosperity of the wealthy classes. These men oppose popular rights as conscientiously as did the old Feudal Lords. They all oppose the New Democracy.
There are many others—men of splendid intellect, but utterly without principle—who are mere dishonest, mercenary tools of the highest bidder, willing to distort and manufacture history, tamper with statistics, and lie like “shyster lawyers.”
As, for instance, the learned professor of the Chicago University, who declared with brazen effrontery that whatever might be charged against Mr. Rockefeller of the Standard Oil Trust, no one could say that he had accumulated his millions in any way that interfered with the accumulations of others.
Again there are a few university “authorities” who, at the risk of their living and the success of the institutions they represent, have told the truth fearlessly. They oppose monopoly and the gold standard. But their testimony is buried beneath the overwhelming mass of prejudice, sophistry and misinformation supplied by their colleagues.
Very distinct from any of these classes is that swarm of cowardly pusillanimous book-worms, who, as underlings in the large universities, and as full-fledged professors in the small colleges, retail at second-hand with stupid pertinacity and pig-headed bitterness, all the errors of the “authorities,” together with new ones of their own special brew.
It is by the prejudiced and purchased testimony of such men as these that the monopolies of the country try to prove that empty stomachs are full, bare backs clothed, and that a constantly growing and appreciating dollar is an honest one. It is with such untrustworthy witnesses that they attempt to prove to us that the men who have stolen our property are more honest than we.
The teacher witness for the defense may be more “respectable and learned” than the witnesses of the prosecution, but when we see that the universities are built and professors’ salaries paid from the booty wrung from the people—in other words, “that the teacher rides to court on one of the very horses taken from Farmer Hayseed’s stable” it does not take us long to decide that this testimony is misleading and false.
Therefore, the workmen, merchants and tax-payers who compose the jury, which is to hand in its verdict in 1900, must refuse to consider the testimony of these collegiate, pulpit and editorial witnesses, who are proven to be sharers in the tribute forced from the people by that gigantic and almost sublime system of world exploitation carried on scientifically and persistently by those powerful “trusts” which have cornered the world’s gold and monopolized nearly every necessity and comfort of life.
The pivotal point in this campaign is the question of the reliability of witnesses. Not only do opinions differ, but the history, statistics, and facts, advanced by the defenders of monopoly and the gold standard contradict the history, statistics and facts discovered by the champions of the people. There can be only one truthful history of the crime of seventy-three, and the seventy-three other crimes of the shirkers against the workers. Figures do not lie. Only one set of statistics, as to the rise in the value of the gold dollar, can possibly be correct. Facts do not conflict. When men contradict each other upon a question of fact, one side is wrong.
Whose history and statistics are we to believe in this campaign?
Are we to believe the interested, prejudiced, purchased witnesses of corrupt wealth, or are we to believe the testimony of the witnesses of the people—men who have sacrificed and suffered in order to tell the truth.
It is because the classes who have the advantages of culture and leisure, always care more for their own comforts than for truth and justice, that these problems, my reader, must be worked out, by the millions made of the same identical common mud that you and I are.
As William E. Gladstone has said, all the reforms brought about in England during the last century, and of which all her citizens now boast, “were at first merely impossible ideals in the minds of the ignorant and fanatical poor,” and were carried through by the working people “in opposition to the cultured and leisure class.”
It is because those who possess the power and the learning to lead mankind aright have always proven recreant to the trust imposed upon them, that God, in directing the course of human history, has invariably swept this class aside and accepted as His instruments the poor, the simple-minded and uncorrupted. From the birth of the primitive church among the poor fishermen of Galilee to the abolition of chattel slavery by an agitation instituted by social and political outcasts, the hand of God moving in the world has invariably brushed aside the rich and powerful with the intellectual parasites that swarm about them, and in building nations, religions, or instituting great reforms, has uniformly chosen the normal, healthy material at the base of society still uncorrupted by luxury.
VOTE YOURSELVES RICH.
Those who have been voted rich, not by their own votes, but by our votes, the votes of the common people, are now engaged in proving to us THAT WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY DONE FOR THEM WE CAN BY NO POSSIBLE MEANS DO FOR OURSELVES.
Having accumulated immense fortunes by means of vote enacted legislation, THEY PREACH TO US THE UTTER FOLLY OF OUR HOPING FOR ANY GAIN FROM THE SAME SOURCE.
So interested are they in our proper economic education, that they are willing to supply both text-books and teachers. They love learning and from purely philanthropic motives seek to make us wise.
But what is their wisdom so willingly imparted? From what follies are they so anxious to guard us?
TO VOTE OUR ENEMIES RICH: THIS IS WISDOM.
TO ATTEMPT TO VOTE OURSELVES RICH: DANGEROUS FOLLY.
Their science teaches that IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE INSTRUMENT WHICH IS THE SOURCE OF THEIR WEALTH TO BE OF ANY EFFECT IN BEHALF OF THOSE WHO WIELD THE INSTRUMENT.
Text-book in hand they say to the people, “It is impossible for you to vote yourselves rich.”
Strictly speaking, it is unnecessary for the people to “vote themselves rich.” WE, THE PEOPLE, ARE ALREADY RICH. We are rich by the gift of nature and the will of God. Each scientific discovery and invention, wrung by toil, genius and martyrdom from the strange earth and firmament that greeted primeval man, has added to our riches. We are now rich, but are debarred by force from the possession of our own. We are heirs, not only to the riches of the earth as originally created, but to all those opportunities for utilizing these natural treasures, resulting from the accumulated knowledge and skill of the centuries. But we are kept from our inheritance.
We have been deprived of our wealth by vote-enacted legislation, and it is vote-enacted legislation that will again give us possession.
Our enemies say contemptuously that government can no more increase wages by legislation than it can increase the size of your foot or the length of your arm, for the increase or decrease in both cases is governed wholly by natural law.
“Let the poor,” they say, “stop agitating and hoping to become prosperous through legislation, and instead let every man go to work building his own home and fortune, and all will be well.”
“The Government cannot legislate a single dollar into existence.”
“The remedies for poverty are industry, frugality and temperance.”
These are the things they say. But suppose we watch their acts instead of listening to their words. Then we learn that, while for us they point in one direction to the road that leads to fortune they seek this road themselves by going the opposite way. We, who have followed their advice, have been impoverished; they, who imitated their acts, have been enriched.
POTATOES AND POLITICAL ECONOMY.
I ride to market with a load of potatoes, the result of sweat and labor for half a year. A ruffian knocks me off my wagon, takes my seat and drives away.
Questions: Shall I ask a policeman to help me catch the despoiler, or shall I “cease agitating and go to work?” Shall I arm myself and, with the help of friends, take back my own, or shall I return to the farm and “practice industry, frugality and temperance?” Is it nobler, manlier, more courageous of me to get possession of my potatoes by fighting, or, forsaking them, to go to work and raise another crop for the next thief?
Honest and contented labor under these circumstances is dishonorable.
WHEN A MAN IS ROBBED, THE WAY FOR HIM TO GET MONEY IS NOT TO WORK FOR IT BUT TO FIGHT FOR IT. To tell a man that he cannot possibly make any money by talking nor get any potatoes by agitating police officers is absolutely true, PROVIDED, the man has been loafing all year and has not been robbed of his crop. But these demonstrations of the economists go into the waste basket, when the fact is made plain that the man, seeking by government aid to get potatoes, has already earned them by hard labor, but is deprived of them by the criminal act of another. Under such circumstances, the man who, instead of fighting and pursuing, applies himself to honest toil, is a coward.
Men who, wrongfully deprived of their property, go to work to earn more, thus providing additional booty for their despoilers, are unworthy a better fate. Honor impels a true man to fight, not work, when a wrong is suffered either by himself or friends.
To quietly plow while another eats the result of last year’s plowing, to contentedly plant while another reaps, to submissively bow one’s head beneath a yoke and receive the kicks and jeers and sneers of the drivers, are not the acts of a man nor the duties of a citizen, but the follies of an ass. When a true man, after gathering his harvest, sees his product taken by another, he mounts his horse, before planting again, and with pitchfork, shotgun or other efficient weapon, starts in hot pursuit. He seeks to recover last year’s product before trying to raise another crop.
Therefore, when government-made millionaires try to persuade the working people, small tax-payers and business men to stop meddling with politics and instead to work harder in the hope of laying by something for old age, they really desire them to cease defending their property and to continue creating more for others to enjoy.
The learned professor teaches that “the government cannot legislate into being a single dollar, nor a dollar’s worth of wealth.” From this premise, he reasons that a dollar legislated into one man’s pocket must necessarily be legislated out of another man’s pocket. He then concludes that the poor cannot legislate themselves comfortable without to the extent of their gain depriving another class of their earnings.
If my neighbor accompanied me to market with a load of potatoes and I were to ask a policeman to help me take his load from him, the economists’ words would apply. The government, through its agent, the policeman, could not double my wealth without robbing my neighbor. But this is not the situation. I came alone. A stranger assaulted me and took both wagon and potatoes, leaving me very poor. Now, in spite of the professor’s words, the state, in the person of its officer, can abolish my poverty and give me a wagon filled with potatoes without doing injustice to any one else. I can be made happy without depriving any other being of what he has earned, and I do not ask the state to legislate into existence a single potato. I simply ask that the potatoes already existing as the result of my labor be taken from the highwayman and returned to their rightful owner.
This is what the masses ask. Not that the government give them anything produced by others, not that the government attempt to create anything independent of the labor of its citizens, but that it return to them their own. We demand the capture of the highwayman, monopoly, and that the opportunities taken from us by him be restored to us.
We not only demand but we are actually organizing for the pursuit. The Democratic Volunteers are superintending the preliminaries and in 1900 law and order are to be established, the adventurers suppressed, and restoration made. The issuance of the nation’s money, now a private monopoly, controlled by bankers, will again be made a function of government, and the people will be permitted to exchange their products without paying revenue to their enemies for the means of exchange, which is their own creation. Other wrongs will be righted with equal facility.
Each victim, however, must be taught that his vote is both horse and hound for pursuing, and both gun and rope for punishing and reclaiming. Our vote is our one weapon, our one means of defense, and source of power.
The value of legislative control to our enemies is shown by the desperation with which they oppose any effort on the part of the people to recover it. They know it to be the true creator of their fortunes, and they look to it alone for future “fruits of labor” and “rewards of genius.”
We are rich, but we have been ousted from our patrimony. How shall we recover it? By the same means through which we lost it, namely, legislation. The oppressions that curse man are all entrenched in, and owe their power to, legislation. If we are to be freed from them, it will be by legislation. In primitive times, government was openly, frankly exercised for the enrichment of a class at the expense of the mass. For ages the “right divine” was believed in honestly. Later when its justice was denied, its benefits were seen to be too valuable to be relinquished. So duplicity was employed, and the art of “plucking the goose without making it squeal” was invented.
Money-making heretofore has not been so much a function of government as money-taking, and this function can be made to work one way as well as another.
If thieves by government action can despoil honest men, honest men by government action can despoil thieves.
If legislation has been made the instrument of crime, it also can be made the instrument of restoration. No personal temperance, thrift and industry can enrich men so long as the power to legislate rests in other hands. Labor makes wealth but legislation decrees how it shall be divided. When the people legislate directly and intelligently the division will be in accord with justice. By the ballot we can enter upon our inheritance.
Poverty exists and we are told that it is the natural order, with which legislation has nothing to do. There has been told no more transparent lie. Wealth is created by the union of man’s labor with nature’s gifts. What is it but legislation that keeps apart in unnatural divorce these two that God hath joined together? What but legislation can remove the barriers and allow them again to come together?
Legislation CAN make money; so lavishly that no man need want. How? By making conditions favorable to labor, and securing the laborer in the fruit of his toil.
WE CAN ACTUALLY VOTE RICHES INTO EXISTENCE.
Our instructors say, “Government cannot legislate a single dollar into existence.” Let us see.
While riding to market with a crop of potatoes, I am dispossessed. In the struggle a portion of the crop is injured. The highwayman, in escaping, lames the horses by overdriving. Instead of going to work the next day, in company with an officer, I start in pursuit. The robber, alert, removes to another state at an expense of half his booty. Whether successful or not, my time, the officer’s time and the thief’s time are all wasted, in addition to three-fourths of my product.
Now, my neighbors and I, who together make up the government, suppress brigandage. Instead of three fourths of my crop being wasted by struggle for possession, it is all sold the very day it is carted to market. Instead of exchanging my hoe for a gun and chasing another man, I plant another crop of potatoes. Instead of helping me in the chase the policeman grows a crop of his own, and the bandit, knowing beforehand that it is impossible to live by robbery, ceases to watch for possible victims and raises his own potatoes instead of taking mine.
Without proper governmental interference the three of us have only a portion of one crop of potatoes between us. AS THE RESULT OF GOVERNMENTAL ACTION, WE HAVE THREE FULL CROPS. THE GOVERNMENT, BY LEGISLATIVE “EDICT” OR “FIAT,” if you please, CREATES TWO AND THREE-QUARTERS CROPS OF POTATOES. WE CAN VOTE OURSELVES RICH.
And of each dollar voted into our pockets, not more than fifteen cents will be stolen property reclaimed. The other eighty-five cents will be a new product, rescued from waste or destruction.
The saddest feature of our present industrial cannibalism is that where one dollar is stolen at least seven dollars are wasted. THE PREVENTABLE WASTES OF CIVILIZATION CAN MAKE EARTH A PARADISE.
PROSPERITY, “THE McKINLEY” AND OTHER BRANDS.
We can vote our country prosperous. But it is very essential that we understand clearly WHOM we mean when we say “country.” We have been voting for one kind of prosperity for a long time, even before the “McKinley brand,” was on the market. Our mistake has been in not asking the “Advance Agents” to tell us whose prosperity they represented.
If a burglar is emptying your wife’s jewelry box, and filling his trousers pockets with the contents of your safe, prosperity to him means ruin to you, and your success means the burglar’s death. So, in the larger affairs of our nation, the kind of prosperity hoped for by the plunderers of the people means ruin to their millions of victims, while good times for the workers, the farmers, the merchants, mean hard times to our despoilers.
We now have the best times the world has ever seen. Mr. Rockefeller, or Robafellow—one is his name, the other ought to be—has an income of forty thousand dollars a day, and it is increasing. No country in the world has ever produced so much; never were there barns so bursting with grain, or warehouses so filled with clothing, furniture and jewels; never before so many men making from five to forty thousand dollars a day.
This great National Joint Stock Company of ours, with its seventy million stockholders, is doing a thriving business and making barrels of money. There is only one objectionable feature. It is that after the labor of these seventy millions of people, their genius, their suffering and their sweat, are converted into wealth, the dividends are given to a few hundred men, while the rest of us pay the assessments.
We do not need better times. Anybody who wants to make more than forty thousand dollars a day is a hog. The real issue is not whether we shall have hard times or good times, prosperity or panic in the abstract, but it is whether that prosperity and good times, now monopolized by the few, shall become the inheritance of every child of God.
THIEVES TAKE PANIC WHEN PURSUED BY HONEST MEN.
If a select company of burglars and safe-blowers were to enter your village and relieve a number of your merchants of the contents of their safes, their stocks of jewels, silks and clothing, and were to secure all of the finest horses from half the neighboring farms, and utilize them in getting the booty safely to the nearest forest, they would no doubt, while unpacking their wealth and feeding their horses, after their hasty trip, congratulate one another upon “their remarkable prosperity.” They would be very apt to brag about the unusual “good times.” But if, as the sun rose over the tree-tops and they were repacking their goods they saw suddenly the glistening pitchforks of half a hundred angry farmers and the determined furious faces of as many brawny workmen and merchants, bent on reclaiming their property—there would be a PANIC.
The plunderers of the world are enjoying good times at the expense of the masses. Their profits are as fabulous as their methods are cruel. But in the midst of their celebration feast, their crime is discovered, and the pitchforks of five million farmers glistening in the morning sun, the angry faces of four million city workmen loom up in the distance, and the result is PANIC and loss of confidence—(among the revelers.)
As we approach November, 1900, this panic will increase. But as there wells up the sound infernal of their weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, there will be heard still louder, the voices of millions singing their chorus of deliverance. As these offenders look into the grave where lies buried their every plan for selfish aggrandizement, to us, their innumerable victims, that same grave will be the open window through which we behold the land of promise.
See Republic, March 20, 1897.
Witness the following extracts:
Police Commissioner Bannerman in Globe-Democrat, March 22, 1897:
“The trouble was all started by Ed. Devoy refusing to allow Bond’s name to go before the convention as chairman. The whole thing was a scheme on his (Devoy’s) part to split the convention. Of course it was wrong to send Judge Bond to the Four Courts in a patrol wagon.”
Republic editorial, March 21, 1897:
“Committee Chairman Devoy made a mistake in surrendering the gave before the delegates had elected a temporary chairman. A convention holds within itself the right to choose its temporary officers.”
Post-Dispatch editorial, March 31, 1897:
“The blundering began with Chairman Devoy. It was his duty to recognize any delegate who desired to move a substitute for the committee’s report. Devoy failed in his duty and furnished provocation for all that subsequently occurred.”
Post-Dispatch editorial, March 22, 1897:
“Dr. Lutz had no right to a place on the platform until he was chosen temporary chairman by a vote of the convention. He had no more right than any casual visitor to himself take the vote of the convention on himself as temporary chairman. The plain fact is that the whole of these preliminary proceedings were in every particular irregular, unparliamentary and void.”
Post-Dispatch editorial, March 23, 1897:
“The delegates who asserted their right to choose their temporary officers were within their right in doing so, and in fact only did their duty. THE RIGHT IS SACRED.”
Globe-Democrat, March 23, 1897:
“The attitude of Assistant Chief Kiely is regarded as having been strained in the interest of the Harrison crowd and significant of the Police Commissioners’ domination in Democratic politics.”
Special suggestions for Sunday work see chapter IX.
Of course the most effective methods of presenting our cause can only be hinted at in a text-book. A month or several months of personal training is requisite to give the student a real understanding of the difference between the old method and the new. It is, therefore, urged that as many of the younger speakers as possible attend and take direct, personal instruction from the Faculty of the Volunteers’ School in St. Louis.
Advertising methods: Tickets afford the best method of advertising meetings of all kinds. It is a personal, definite invitation, and the surest “crowd-gatherer.” In large cities it may be necessary to issue from fifty thousand to one hundred thousand, and have them carefully distributed, in order to get out two thousand persons. In smaller places the percentage of waste is not so great. Get the co-operation of the press, if possible, but do not rely upon it. To the last moment there is always danger of its deserting to the money power, as the latter can bring almost irresistible pressure to bear upon it. Print on every ticket a short list of the best books, i. e., Lloyd’s “Wealth against Commonwealth,” Ely’s “Socialism and Social Reform,” “Ten Men of Money Island,” “Coin’s Financial School,” etc.
A volume of songs, prepared for our volunteer work, and for all sorts of Democratic meetings, will be ready shortly, and can be obtained of our National Bureau or from any of our volunteers.
A letter lies before me now from a talented and earnest young minister of the Episcopal church, in which the writer despairingly declares that he dare not preach the social and economic doctrines of Christ, lest he bring ruin upon his wife and children. “The money-power,” he declares, “has control of the church and Christ’s ministers must either trim their sails to catch the wind of its favor or suffer temporal shipwreck. It is easy to say that the Christian should be ready to meet any martyrdom, but it is equally true that it is not from within the bosom of the church that such trials should come.”
For part of this chapter credit is due to Carl Vrooman.
See detailed account of the lawless Anarchistic methods used by Standard Oil Trust to destroy competitors in “Wealth Against Commonwealth” by H. D. Lloyd.
When a monopoly becomes a government monopoly, its nature changes entirely, and all that was objectionable disappears. The evil pertaining to a monopoly is its exclusiveness. When private monopoly becomes government monopoly, it is no longer exclusive, for the whole people enjoy its benefits alike. Unity of administration is not an evil if the resulting benefits are shared by all. The only possible way to destroy the great monopolies is to convert them into government functions, and administer them as the post office, the army, navy, weather service, the public schools and parks are now managed. There is no other way to destroy our new industrial despotism.
Read “Socialism and Social Reform,” by Prof. R. T. Ely; also “Wealth against Commonwealth,” by H. D. Lloyd.
If you want legal evidence to prove the existence of gigantic steals and robberies, read Lloyd’s “Wealth Against Commonwealth,” Harper Bros., and the “Seven Financial Conspiracies.”