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Introductory lecture, Stanford University 1 


Second lecture, Stanford University 30 

Third lecture, Stanford University 62 


Fourth lecture, Stanford University 92 


Fifth lecture, Stanford University 124 


Sixth lecture, Stanford University 165 

Lecture delivered at University of Michigan 185 *- 


North American Review 222 - 


North American Review 245 - 




At University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 273 


General Harrison's last argument before the Supreme 
Court of the United States 298 


Delivered before the Union League Club, Chicago 331 


An address delivered at State House, Indianapolis 358 


Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis 361 


The Century Magazine 367 

Continental Hotel, Philadelphia 371 


First memorial exercises held at the University 376 


Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis 382 


Carnegie Hall, New York 388 


The Interior, Chicago 419 


Carnegie Hall, New York 426 


The Forum 454 



At the Commercial Club, Indianapolis 466 


Marquette Club, Chicago 472 


Chicago 479 


Camp Mount, Indianapolis 482 


Asbury Park, New Jersey 486 - 


Long Branch, New Jersey 488 ^ 

Paris, France 490 


At the Ecumenical Missionary Conference 497 


At the Ecumenical Missionary Conference 505 


At the Ecumenical Missionary Conference 511 


Indianapolis 518 


At the Columbia Club banquet, Indianapolis 521 



Delivered at. Stanford University, March 6, 1894 

When I yielded to the request of Governor Stan 
ford and consented to deliver some lectures before 
the students of this university, I confidently expect 
ed that he would be here to give me that stimulus 
and encouragement which a genial and familiar 
face, reflecting a friendly approval that does not 
wait upon performance, affords to one who enters 
upon an unaccustomed work. As we shall, on the 
ninth instant, observe the anniversary of his birth, I 
will reserve for that occasion my tribute to the vir 
tues of a friend whose death I now first realize, 
because he is not here. 

I am glad to have even so slight and casual a 
part as that of a non-resident lecturer in the work 
of this young but already great university. If 
my presence is only occasional, and my contact 
with these eager minds and generous hearts less 



near and constant than I could wish, I must the 
more be careful that whatever direction I may 
give to your thoughts and whatever impulses I 
may kindle in your hearts shall be true and ele 
vating though they be small. 

The lectures which I contemplate will be rather 
popular than technical especially while we have 
under consideration the constitution of the United 
States, and the history of its development and 

If the national constitution were in fact what 
Mr. Gladstone described it to be "the most won 
derful work ever struck off at a given time by 
the brain and purpose of man," the work of the 
commentator would be abbreviated, if not simpli 
fied. He would not need to go back. It was, 
however, not a work struck off at a given time; but, 
in a strong sense, a development the ripe fruit of 
experience, and not a discovery, not a revelation. 
The harmonious adjustment and definition of the 
powers of the national and of the state governments 
was more nearly than anything else original and 
constructive work. As a whole it is, perhaps, more 
nearly, though not altogether, what Mr. Glad 
stone described the British constitution to be, "an 
organism which has proceeded from progressive 
history." This being true, we can not rightly es 
timate the merits of its framers, nor rightly un 
derstand its articles without some knowledge of 


the historical progression which culminated in this 
admirable and enduring civil organism. I can not, 
however, in these preliminary lectures, do more 
than give you a hasty and not very closely 
connected outline of those events and civil conten 
tions which, beginning in old England, resulted 
first in the establishment of popular governments 
in the colonies and states and finally spread over 
these necessary and inestimable local systems a na 
tional popular government supreme in all things 
affecting the common interests of all the people. 

My aim is not so much to make lawyers as to 
promote a broad and intelligent American citizen 
ship. Our civil institutions are safe only while 
in the keeping of a generation that loves them; 
and the love of institutions however it may be 
with another sort must be educated. We guard 
and keep our treasures that which is not valued 
we suffer others to take without resistance. 

It will be my purpose to show you the beauty, 
strength and adaptation of the constitution of the 
United States, and thereby to make your love of 
our institutions deeper and more intelligent. I 
will not ask you to love everything that is Ameri 
can; but I will ask you to shun the example of 
those who love anything for no better reason than 
that it is not American. American history and biog 
raphy have had a great revival in these centennial 
years, and every young American should eagerly 


avail himself of his improved opportunities to be 
come acquainted, not only with the great events in 
our history, and with our great men, but with the 
connecting chains of small events and with the 
characteristics and virtues of the inconspicuous but 
sturdy people. It is not my purpose to describe 
what an alliterative friend of mine called the "pre 
natal prophecy and preparation" of our country. 
A study of English history and of the English con 
stitution will greatly aid your understanding of 
our colonial history and of the development of 
our national and state constitutions; but I can 
not go very far into that field. The English con 
stitution is not, as you know, like ours, a written 
instrument, containing a formulated system of fun 
damental law, of permanent and paramount obli 
gation, apportioning the powers of government and 
providing particular methods by which amend 
ments may be added. England has no such writ 
ten document. The word "constitution" is there 
used in its wider sense, to indicate a civil sys 
tem and order defined partly by writings, as the 
Magna Charta, but chiefly by long-established 
usage, and recognized precedents. The limitations 
of the powers of the sovereign, and the rights of 
the people are, however, pretty well defined, and 
very jealously guarded, though they are without 
codification. We have become so accustomed to 
a book to article and section that we have all 


but lost the wider and primitive meaning of the 
word "constitution" as applied to a state. It would 
be impossible, I suppose, for a convention of the 
publicists and statesmen of England to codify the 
English constitution to the acceptance of the crown 
and of the commons. The powers of the crown, 
though they now give little trouble in practical ad 
ministration, are hardly capable of an acceptable 
definition. The codifiers would be compelled, I sup 
pose, to write that the prime minister is appointed 
by the crown, if they followed the letter; but if 
they recorded the fact, they would write that he is 
chosen by the majority in the house of commons. 
And if they should attempt to define the method 
of expressing that choice, they would find it im 
possible to be precise for the party leader, who 
must be prime minister, is not selected by ballot. 

We have just now an illustration of what I 
have said. Mr. Gladstone has surrendered the 
privy seal and his position as prime minister in 
the English cabinet. Lord Rosebery has been 
called to take his place. There was no formal 
vote in the house of commons. He was pointed 
out as the most conspicuous and acceptable leader 
of that party, after Mr. Gladstone; and so was 
chosen by the queen. Perhaps she would have pre 
ferred, if she had acted with absolute freedom in 
her choice, to have called Lord Salisbury to be 
prime minister; but the precedents would have 


been so rudely violated by such a choice that 
trouble would have ensued for her. Therefore, 
her choice in the selection of her prime minister is 
not free. He is chosen, as I have said, rather by 
the assent though without formal expression of 
the majority party in the house of commons, and 
holds his place, as you know, subject to be sur 
rendered whenever a majority in the commons 
fails to sustain any measure which he has proposed. 
It was quite impossible to organize the Amer 
ican Union without a written constitution. Eng 
land has been described as 

"A land of just and old renown. 
Where freedom broadens slowty down, 
From precedent to precedent." 

But the organization of the great republic was 
a work of exigency. When government by the 
king and the parliament was overthrown, and the 
sovereign power seized by the people, bills of 
rights, an apportionment of the powers of gov 
ernment between designated officers, and popular 
elections, had all to be put upon a defined and per 
manent basis. The colonial charters had familiar 
ized the people with the idea of written civil 
compacts and guaranties; and the frequent inva 
sions of their charter rights by the king and his 
governors had taught them the value, nay the 
necessity, of strict written limitations of the pow- 


ers of public officers: Precedents had been denied 
or distinguished there was need of a book. And, 
if it was reasonable and necessary that the colo 
nies, in becoming states, should substitute writ 
ten constitutions for the old charters, much more 
was a written constitution inherent in the propo 
sition to form a permanent union of the states. 
The broader freedom and the new civil organiza 
tion could not wait to be fully defined by prece 
dents a declaration and a constitution were de 

The transition from colony to state was not 
difficult, nor very radical in form. Little change 
even in the official nomenclature was involved. 
There were still governors, councils or senates, 
assemblies, judges and sheriffs. But none were any 
longer such by the gracious designation of His 
Majesty, and bound by oath to his service, but 
by the free choice of the freemen of the common 
wealth, whose servants they were. The powers 
of the legislatures were merely enlarged to in 
clude some powers before exercised or claimed 
by the British parliament. The revolution was, in 
the states, chiefly in the source of the governing 
powers. But the institution of a national govern 
ment was, both in form and substance, more a 
work of construction; and the difficulty and deli 
cacy of the task can not be overestimated. 

The national union, under the constitution, was 


freely instituted in one sense; but in another sense, 
and very truly, it was the product of coercion 
the imperious coercion of conditions. Not only 
the guiding, but the compelling hand of Provi 
dence was needed. Every other way had to be 
closed up. The selfishness, the petty jealousies, the 
baseless forebodings, that opposed, delayed and al 
most defeated the movement for an adequate gen 
eral government, have saved the men of that gen 
eration from deification, and have established the 
legitimacy of the statesmen of our time. 

The declaration of independence and the national 
constitution will hold their pre-eminence among the 
notable and influential acts in human history, and 
the men who framed and promulgated them will 
have increasing estimation and respect. But George 
Buchanan, and other prophets of liberty, had already 
announced the doctrine that the people were the ul 
timate source of the magistrate's power, and that 
the state was instituted for their good. Freedom 
of conscience and of speech and the right of the 
individual to the pursuit of happiness, were discov 
ered truths; but they were in bonds and under sus 
picion. The declaration of independence eloquent 
ly and boldly proclaimed them. The new philoso 
phy of human freedom was to be made a fact; a 
decree to take the place of philosophic musings. 

When we come to consider the work of the con 
stitutional convention we shall see that its mem- 


bers were not all wise, nor any always wise 
Washington more nearly than any other. The in 
strument was a compromise the product of the 
average sense of the convention. Its framers found 
suggestions, or warnings, in the feeble and tem 
porary European federations that preceded our 
union; but there was among these no satisfac 
tory model. What was to be provided for, and 
against, was mostly suggested by the experiences 
of our English ancestors and by our own expe 
riences during the colonial period and under the 
articles of confederation. 

The suggestion of a union of the colonies for 
special purposes was much older than the sugges 
tion of a separation from the crown. A brief 
study of these experiences, of these plans of fed 
eration, of the colonial charters, and of the first 
state constitutions, will greatly aid us in under 
standing the national constitution ; for it was large 
ly evolved from them. 

The people of the United States were a na 
tion before they were aware of the fact, and be 
fore they ratified the compact of government. 
There were diversities of race, of religion, of pur 
suit, of interests; but the colonists had ceased to 
be Englishmen, in the island sense, before the 
new oaths of allegiance were taken. The Ameri 
can antedates Concord and Lexington. Neither 
Canada, Florida, nor Louisiana was then fitted 


for partnership in an American federation. The 
people of those colonies spoke a different tongue; 
had no Magna Charta in their history, and had 
not been exercised in local government or in re 
ligious freedom. In the colonies that became 
American states the English language was the lan 
guage of the people, and the non-English admix 
ture (the Scotch, Dutch and Huguenot) was of 
adaptable stock and had, before the revolution, 
been pretty thoroughly assimilated. All these were 
men who had the habit of thinking for themselves, 
and who valued themselves two essential traits of 
a republican citizenship. Not parallels of latitude 
or longitude, not the channels of commerce, not 
bays, or lakes, or rivers, or mountain passes, de 
termined the area and configuration of the new na 
tion. The lines were run to include Anglo-Saxon 
freemen, and their allies from France and Holland 
and other lands, who had felt the hard hand of oppres 
sions, received the new gospel of liberty, and now 
waited in faith for the institution of a free state 
in which religion should be a matter of conscience 
and not of legal decree, and the value of a man no 
longer a matter of ante-natal assignment. 

Homogeneity is the essential of a true com 
monwealth. A common language, common hopes 
and purposes and interests are its progenitors. I 
do not mean that all hopes and purposes and in 
terests, great and small, must run in parallels. If 


that were the condition the state would be small 
and its people few. A safe and enduring state is as 
sured when the large dominating hopes, purposes, 
and interests of its people are common. The strug 
gle between the small local interests of the colonies 
and the large and enduring benefits of a union was 
fierce and long, and to human thought doubtful. 
Some caught the glory of the coming day, and its 
light made them blind to all small things; and for 
the majority there was the inexorable alternate a 
union with national powers, or the speedy resump 
tion of a foreign domination made more cruel by 

Some of the influences that made the American 
citizen should have our attention. And first, I re 
mark, that if a free government is to have stabil 
ity endurance its citizens must give their love 
and allegiance to institutions, to principles, to con 
stitutions, rather than to leaders. And herein is 
very largely the explanation of the stability of the 
American union, its comparative exemption from 
domestic insurrections, and its absolute immunity 
from successful revolutions. Our Spanish-Ameri 
can neighbors on the south are lovers of liberty; 
they are brave and spirited; but they have not 
learned to value civil institutions. They follow a 
cockade rather than a constitution; and the sad re 
sult is that revolution succeeds revolution, and their 
great resources lie undeveloped. Not so the An- 


glo-Saxon; for here, men may come and men may 
go, but they can not break the fast hold of the citi 
zen upon the established civil status. He follows 
a man only when the man stands for a cause; and 
loyally abides the judgment of appointed tribunals. 
All of the conditions that surrounded the Ameri 
can colonists tended to strengthen this inherited 
characteristic. They fled from oppressive laws. 
They came not to crown another king, but to build 
institutions: Their religion tended to creeds, and 
their politics to codes; and a sturdy democracy 
characterized both. 

Mr. Grote attributes to the Greeks that love for 
a constitution rather than a ruler which is char 
acteristic of the American. He says: 

"But in the mind of every man, some determin 
ing rule or system something like what in mod 
ern times is called a constitution was indispensable 
to any government entitled to be called legitimate, 
or capable of creating in the mind of a Greek a 
feeling of moral obligation to obey it. The func 
tionaries who exercised authority under it might 
be more or less competent or popular; but his per 
sonal feelings toward them were commonly lost in 
his attachment or aversion to the general sys 

And Joseph Warren, in his Boston oration, in 
March, 1772, said: "So long as this noble attach 
ment to a constitution founded on free and benev- 


olent principles exists in full vigor in any state, 
that state must be flourishing and happy/' 

The religious faith and practices of the people 
also exercised a strong influence in developing the 
American love of institutions, and in freeing men 
from subserviency to leaders. The pastor was given 
great deference, even reverence; but only as the ex 
pounder of the written Word the Word and the 
Church were before him and would be after him, 
and only to them was allegiance given. In the 
New England colonies this influence was domi 
nant. Christ individualized men and endowed 
them. He introduced a new standard of valua 
tion. That every man is possessed of an immortal 
spirit of equal value in the sight of God, is a lev 
eling doctrine as well as an elevating one. Caesar 
was to have the things that are Caesars; but the 
limitations were very strict there were things that 
could not be rendered to Caesar. The humblest of 
the king's subjects was a brother to be loved as 
himself. A king was a servant. The state bore 
the sword for the defense of innocence. The ruler 
must answer to the Great King. So the divine right 
of kings became the divine obligation of kings. 
The man for whom the Son of God died upon the 
cross, for whom the material universe had been 
builded, fitted and adorned, must not be enslaved 
and degraded. Not Plato, nor Buchanan, nor 
Locke, but the Word, read with reverence daily in 


the household, and expounded in the sanctuary, was 
the chief instructor of the body of the colonists in 
the theories of popular rights. They were icono 
clasts, but of a discriminating sort men who did 
not destroy for the mere pleasure of destroying, 
but to make room for better things. Independency 
of thought is the first requisite of the responsible 
citizen. Individual independence necessarily pre 
cedes community independence. The free man came 
before the free state; and the free state will not 
survive him. Religion had a mighty hold upon 
the men who wrought out our freedom and molded 
our civil institutions; as the public fasts, thanksgiv 
ings, prayers in congress and the legislatures, and 
the reverent appeals and strict injunctions to reli 
gious duty that abound in the military orders and 
in the correspondence of Washington, very fully 
show. There had been bigotry, narrowness, even 
cruelty, in the colonial churches it was hard to un 
learn the old lessons. But the idea of the nobility 
and freedom of the individual was there, and char 
ity was fast widening this thought to include the 
other man. The man's estimate of himself and of 
his rights was clear and strong. He only needed 
to be taught that other men's rights were quite as 
sacred and quite as clear. 

Mr. Frothingham says: "This people a new 
race, molding their institutions under Christian in 
fluences were fixed in the traits that characterize 


Americans. Without the infection of wild politi 
cal or social theories, they were animated by a love 
of liberty and a spirit of personal independence un 
known to the great body of the people of Europe, 
while at the same time recognizing the law which 
united the individual to the family and to the so 
ciety in which he is appointed to live, to the mu 
nicipality and the commonwealth which gave him 
protection, and to a great nation which met and 
satisfied the natural sentiment of country." 

Like the pioneer miners in your California 
gulches, the colonists organized communities and 
made laws adapted to the local needs. No Cortez 
or Pizarro led our colonists in plundering crusades, 
or organized their defense against savage neigh 
bors. They were not gold-seekers, but home-seek 
ers. They came in families, and were thoughtful 
of posterity. They sought a country a better 
country than that from which they had come out 
a country not only to live and die in, but to live 
and die for. The Puritan home life was austere; 
but those homes produced men and women whom 
no threat or danger could move from their convic 
tions, nor any master enslave. 

England threw her colonists much upon them 
selves; and the savage effectively co-operated in 
developing them into strong, self-reliant men. Both 
were cruel teachers, but the product was that high 
type of American manhood that finally overcame 


both. Then men and women who came to these 
distant and dangerous shores were individualized 
by the very act of coming; and every incident of 
pioneer life had the same tendency. The savage 
introduced a new human valuation that took no ac 
count of titles or ancestry, but only of achievement 
the leader was the man in front. The Indian 
wars exercised the colonists in arms; introduced 
into every cabin an effective weapon, in the use of 
which even the boys became skillful. During the 
French and Indian war the colonies furnished 
twenty-five thousand men to the English army. 
The foot of the hunter was free; for there were 
no game preserves or game-keepers in the Ameri 
can forests. 

The "frontier" has now disappeared; and the 
loss of it is a calamity. It meant cheap or free 
lands for the landless adventure for the restless, 
a new chance in life for the beaten, a school for 
the development of a free, unconventional Ameri 
can manhood and womanhood; the exercise in gov 
ernment and public affairs of our ambitious young 
men the healthy distribution of population the 
preservation of the revolutionary type of men; for 
the men of '76 were frontiersmen. 

The Indian also mightily stimulated the commu 
nity idea. Organization, the next lesson in our 
civil development, he enforced under frightful pen 
alties. Every man a neighbor, and every man his 


neighbor's keeper, was the condition of existence 
in the feeble and exposed settlements. The town 
meeting for consultation, and the village block 
house for defense and safety, were the kindergar 
tens of the republic. In the town meetings the 
man who had something to say was heard, with 
out waiting for his "betters" though he were 
only the cobbler or a truant boy who had seen the 
prints of moccasins in the adjacent woods. 

Life and living were reduced to their simplest 
elements; and, in the northern colonies, the long, 
severe winters, and the ungenerous soil, condi 
tioned both upon industry and an economy that 
was near to parsimony. Men who conducted their 
households upon lines of the strictest economy 
were sure to be watchful of public expenditures, 
and resentful of the smallest exaction that was not 
supported by a public necessity, and laid by law 
ful authority. 

Public assemblages of the body of the people, an 
indispensable incident of free government, were 
practically coincident in time with the landing of 
the colonists. They did not have their origin in 
any study of the rights of man, or of the theories 
of free government. They were spontaneous; they 
grew out of the situation as naturally as plough 
ing and seeding. What more natural than that 
these infant communities, finding themselves with 
out recourse to the old sources of civil authority 


and direction, and feeling the necessity of concur 
rence in and submission to some rules of order 
and living, should assemble the whole body of the 
people for deliberation, and give the sanction of 
the free concurrence of all, or the controlling 
weight of a majority, to rules that were to be 
binding upon all. Especially was this natural to 
Englishmen. Guizot says: "When there scarcely 
remained traces of popular assemblages, the re 
membrance of them, of the right of free men to 
deliberate and transact their business together, re 
sided in the minds of men as a primitive tradition 
and a thing which might come about again." The 
town meeting was adequate when the subjects to 
be dealt with were of a municipal character. But, 
as settlements were multiplied and common inter 
ests were developed, representative assemblies, com 
posed of chosen delegates from the towns, were 
needed, and the need produced them. Professor 
Seeley says the colonial assemblies "were not for 
mally instituted, but grew up by themselves, be 
cause it was in the nature of Englishmen to as 

The threat of tribal attacks drew towns and even 
colonies into consultation and co-operation. The 
first union among the New England colonies, made 
in 1643, recited that "Whereas we live encom 
passed with people of several nations and strange 
languages which hereafter may prove injurious to 


us or our posterity. And forasmuch as the na 
tives have formerly committed sundry insolences 
and outrages upon several plantations of the En 
glish and have of late combined themselves against 
us * * * We, therefore, do conceive it our 
bounden duty without delay to enter into a present 
consociation amongst ourselves for mutual help 
and strength in all our future concernments." They 
did not await the approval of the crown. Edward 
Winslow well said : "If we in America should 
forbear to unite for defense against a common ene 
my till we have leave from England, our throats 
might be all cut before the messenger would be 
half seas over." 

Nearness to the savage and remoteness from 
England were both favoring conditions in the de 
velopment of a hardy citizenship and of the great 
republic. If our ancestors had found this conti 
nent unpeopled and the ocean passage had been 
what it is to-day, how different the story would 
have been. Necessity, rather than philosophy, was 
their instructor in civics. The colonists could not 
know in time the pleasure of the crown, and so 
they pleased themselves, and the habit grew. In 
the absence of the anointed ruler, a count of hands 
was a natural suggestion. 

Our ancestors in older England had possessed, 
in the hundreds, shires and counties, some powers 
of local government. These had largely been as- 


sumed by the crown, but the tradition of them and 
the inherited adaptation to their use were in the 
minds and blood of their descendants. The com 
pact of government made on the Mayflower is said 
to have grown out of the mutinous disposition of 
a few persons, not of the Leyden church, and prob 
ably servants. The Pilgrims had embarked under 
a patent from the Virginia Company, and these ill- 
disposed persons insisted that if the proposed land 
ing, outside of the limits of that company, was 
made, they would be under no legal restraint. The 
emergency was met by the "solemn covenant" 
whereby they combined "into a civil body politic 
for our (their) better ordering and preservation." 
"And by virtue hereof," they said, (we) "do en 
act, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, 
ordinances, acts, constitutions, and officers, from 
time to time, as shall be thought most meet and 
convenient for the general good of the colony; unto 
which we promise all due submission and obe 

Here was an exigency. If the colonists had 
been of Spain it would possibly have been re 
solved by the choice of a captain, with arbitrary 
powers or by some bold spirit seizing the leader 
ship; but they were Englishmen and protestant 
Christians, and so the compact of government was 
democratic. Of the Mayflower compact Judge 
Story says, it was, "if not the first, at least the best 


authenticated case of an original social compact 
for the establishment of a nation which is to be 
found in the annals of the world." They did not 
announce any political maxims, as that civil gov 
ernment derives its "just powers from the consent 
of the governed," or that "all men are created 
equal"; but they applied them. The compact was 
introduced by the declaration that they were "loyal 
subjects of our dread sovereign Lord King James," 
and they at once applied for a charter from the 
crown. So far as they assumed general govern 
mental powers, it was ad interim until the crown 
should act. But as to local goyernment the or 
dering of things that required a particular knowl 
edge of the needs and changing conditions of the 
community the assumption was never intermit 
ted, and local government was never wholly lost 
in the colonies. 

A government by the English crown and parlia 
ment was, as to local and municipal affairs, not 
only incongruous but impossible. Things affecting 
the personal security, health and comfort of the 
people, must be committed in a large measure to 
local control. Local needs and conditions are so 
various that we have found it impossible for the 
government at Washington to legislate for the terri 
tories. Some general limitations, some provisions 
in the nature of fundamental law, have been made; 
but, subject to these and to the power of congress 


to annul any territorial law a power seldom exer 
cised it has been found necessary to give general 
legislative powers to legislatures chosen by the peo 
ple in each territory. When a civil government 
was given to Alaska, the best congress could do 
in the absence of a sufficient population to organ 
ize a local legislature was to declare that the laws 
of the state of Oregon should be the laws of Alaska. 
This system of local control we have also perpet 
uated in the states. Cities, towns, counties, town 
ships, school, and road districts, have many impor 
tant powers given to them some of them of a 
legislative character. No state legislature could 
satisfactorily determine all these matters though 
each locality had its representative in the body, 
and its sittings were within a half day's travel of 
the people to be affected. 

These adjustments and subdivisions of the pow 
ers of government are not so much of conven 
ience of philosophy as of necessity. Consider then 
how impossible it was that the king and parlia 
ment could satisfactorily direct the local affairs of 
the colonies three thousand miles, a six weeks' 
journey, full of discomfort and peril no represen 
tation in the parliament conditions that had 
scarce a resemblance to English life needs born 
in .a night and exigent as a savage war-cry a 
king and parliament absorbed by European inter 
ests and intrigues, ignorant of American affairs, 


and so selfish as to be unteachable and wholly 
unsympathetic these were the conditions that, 
from the landing of the first colonists, were slow 
ly, unconsciously, but inevitably, bringing to birth 
the Great Republic. As well might Gloucester 
fishermen attempt to make laws for a Sierra min 
ing camp as the English parliament for an Ameri 
can colony. 

A local control of local affairs is primitive and 
natural. Government was begun on that basis. 
The family, the original unit of human associa 
tion, made its own rules of living; so the pro 
gressive forms of association the tribe, the vil 
lage, the city, the state, the federation were 
evolved from dangers, ambitions, or needs, com 
mon to several families, tribes, villages, cities or 
states. The function of the state, whether single 
or federal, had to do with things of a general na 
ture, of common concern to the families, or tribes, 
or states, composing it such as war, peace, diplo 
macy. The English habit of local government was 
derived from the Teutonic invaders and conquer 
ors. In Germany the community organization was 
called the "mark," and the town meeting, where 
the affairs of the "mark" were discussed and de 
cided, was the "mark-moot." The conquest was so 
thorough that scarcely a trace of the Celtic inhab 
itants was left. The ground was made fallow for 
the unmixed planting of the civil system of the 


German conquerors. Names were changed, but not 
the substance. The "mark" became the "tun" or 
"township", and the local assembly the "tun-moot". 
These free and full assemblages of citizens chose 
the local officers and selected and sent four repre 
sentatives to the courts of the hundred and the 
shire. This old English term, the "hundred," be 
came familiar to all of us though, perhaps, not 
understood by all when, during the civil war, we 
heard so often from General Grant on the James 
river, and the dispatches were dated "Bermuda 
Hundred." Mr. Fiske says: "In these four dis 
creet men sent to speak for their township in the 
old country assembly we have the germ of insti 
tutions that have ripened into the house of commons 
and into the legislatures of modern kingdoms and 
republics. In the system of representation thus in 
augurated lay the future possibility of such gigan 
tic political aggregations as the United States of 

The organization of our national government 
was possible only upon the basis of a reserved lo 
cal control of local affairs; and the preservation 
of that system is essential to that popular con 
tent which is the only security for the preserva 
tion of the union. California and Maine could 
not be united under a government modeled on any 
other system. At the basis of this system is the 
palpable incongruity of including in the govern- 


ing body those who have neither knowledge of 
nor direct interest in the matters to be determined. 
At another time I will speak of the complement 
of this truth the exclusive control and direction 
of all general concerns by the national govern 
ment. The one is as essential as the other. It is 
quite as, rather more, incongruous and intolerable 
that general concerns affecting the whole body of 
the republic should be controlled or unduly influ 
enced by states or localities. If only such as are 
directly affected by the conclusions reached are to 
be admitted to the ballot and the conference, then 
all such must be admitted to a free and equal 

The colonists brought with them, not only their 
English traditions and instincts, but they stoutly 
claimed their English citizenship, and the liberties 
and personal rights that they would have possessed 
if they had remained in the old home. Many of 
the charters expressly preserved these rights.- The 
first charter of Virginia, granted by King James, 
in 1606, declared that all British subjects and 
their children should "have and enjoy all liber 
ties, franchises and immunities, within any of our 
other dominions, to all intents and purposes, as if 
they had been abiding and born within this our 
realm of England, or any other of our said domin 
ions." The charters of Connecticut, Georgia, Mas- 


sachusetts, North and South Carolina, and Rhode 
Island contained similar provisions. 

But these rights were not well defined at home. 
Some of the liberties that had been wrested from 
the crown had been resumed. The English consti 
tution, during the colonial period, was not only un 
written, but undeveloped. The contest in the col 
onies was partly concurrent and on similar lines 
with the struggle of the English people against 
kings who sought to attain absolute power. The 
rights of Englishmen, the powers of parliament, 
the limitations of the king's prerogative, were yet 
to be defined and adjusted. The present magnifi 
cent English constitutional government was in 
growth; but it had not yet attained form and 
strength in its native soil, and was not ready for 
transplanting. And, besides all this, the widely dif 
ferent conditions prevailing in the colonies, as we 
have seen, required modification and adaptation at 
the least. Self-governing, prosperous, loyal English 
colonies now exist the fruit of a defined and liberal 
home constitution, and of the disastrous failure of 
the attempt to enslave her greater colonies but 
they were impossible to that generation. 

One most important principle had, after centu 
ries of struggle, been established and set in the 
English constitution, namely, that revenues were 
not to be levied at the king's pleasure, but granted 
by a body more or less representative of the peo- 


pie. The representation was sometimes, as to many, 
theoretical rather than actual of classes rather 
than of the body of the people; but the principle 
that individual property could not be taken for the 
public use, except by the vote of a body more or 
less fully representative of the tax-payer, had tri 
umphed and the invasions of it by the king were 
becoming less frequent and more perilous. 

There was a long period of English history that 
was characterized by successful aggressions on the 
part of the crown upon the rights of the people 
and the powers of the courts and of parliament. 
Hume, speaking of the reign of James I (1603-16), 

"The great, complaisance, too, of parliaments, dur 
ing so long a period, had extremely degraded and 
obscured those assemblies; and as all instances of 
opposition to prerogative must have been drawn 
from a remote age, they were unknown to a great 
many, and had the less authority even with those 
who were acquainted with them. These examples, 
besides, of liberty had commonly, in ancient times, 
been accompanied with such circumstances of vio 
lence, convulsion, civil war and disorder that they 
presented but a disagreeable idea to the inquisitive 
part of the people, and afforded small inducement 
to renew such dismal scenes. By a great many, 
therefore, monarchy, simple and unmixed, was con 
ceived to be the government of England; and those 


popular assemblies were supposed to form only the 
ornament of the fabric, without being in any de 
gree essential to its being and existence." 

And, in a note it is said : "I have not met with any 
English writer in that age who speaks of England 
as a limited monarchy, but as an absolute one, 
where the people have many privileges." 

This may be accepted as the view of the king 
and as an approximately true description of things 
,as they were; but the great charters never ceased 
to be a part of the English constitution they were 
dormant, but unrevoked. Kings had trampled them 
under foot; but in so doing had only bedded the 
seeds of liberty in a prepared soil. 

The revolution of 1640, resulting in the execu 
tion of Charles I, and in the establishment of the 
commonwealth under Cromwell, the restoration, 
the renewal of the struggle under Charles II, and 
James II the deposition of the latter by a parlia 
ment assembled without the king's writ, the choice 
by the same parliament of William and Mary, 
their settlement upon the throne under a compact 
in the nature of a bill of rights, the increasing 
power of the house of commons, the substitution 
of annual, for life grants of revenue to the crown, 
making an annual parliament necessary all these 
great episodes in English history and in human 
progress were enacted before the interested vision 
of the English colonists in America, and were 


highly instructive and suggestive. Out of these 
struggles, and out of the reformation, had come a 
literature of liberty. The dignity and the equality 
of men the state for man, and not man for the 
state the universal fatherhood of God; and its 
corollary, the universal brotherhood of man, liberty 
of conscience and of speech all these great themes 
had found impassioned expression. What wonder 
that the colonists began very early to ask if the 
king may not lay a charge upon Englishmen at 
home by an order in council, but only by the free 
votes of a representative assembly, why should he 
do so upon Englishmen who have, for the glory 
of God and of England, braved the perils of the 
sea and of the savage? and that further and more 
searching question, by what right does a parlia 
ment in which we have no representation assume 
sovereign legislative power over us? 

The earlier charters appear to have been framed 
without any adequate conception of the commer 
cial and political importance which the colonies 
were to attain; and for a time the king was lax 
in his supervision, and not careful to maintain pre 
rogatives that seemed to involve burdens rather 
than benefits to the crown treasury. 

In my next lecture I will ask your attention to 
some of these earliest American constitutions. 


Delivered at Stanford University, March 12, 1804 

It is my purpose to-day to notice some general 
aspects of the charters under which the American 
settlements were made, and to outline the develop 
ment in the colonies of those unwritten constitu 
tions which came by use to be treated though not 
so accepted by the English crown as expressing 
the fundamental civil rights of the inhabitants. 

The colonists, in their contentions with the crown, 
demanded all the rights given by their charters, 
but they never accepted the charters as containing 
full bills of rights. If a specification could not be 
found in the charter of the colony it was sought 
in the Magna Charta; and, if not found there, in 
later English precedents; and, when all these gave 
out, in God's great charter of original and inalien 
able rights. 

The earlier charters were chiefly land grants 
rather conveyances than civil constitutions. The 



theory of the English law upon which they pro 
ceeded was that all newly-discovered lands were the 
property of the king and might be granted by him 
to corporations or individuals upon agreed terms 
and charges. Some of these American grants were 
to companies or corporations, upon which succession 
and certain governing powers of a corporate nature 
were conferred. The corporations were subject to 
what was known as the visitorial power of the 
king, and the grants or charters to forfeiture by ju 
dicial decree, for cause. 

The English parliament, at the beginning, had 
no participation in these matters. The charters 
were not submitted to it for its approval; and the 
only relation between the colonists and the kingdom 
was through the king. This fact should be kept 
in mind; for it will appear that when, at a later 
period, the English parliament asserted a sovereign 
legislative supremacy over the colonies the claim 
was denied, and the denial was grounded by some 
upon the theory that the colonies were royal pos 
sessions having the same king with the English 
but not a part of the realm of England. 

The introductory words of the Massachusetts 
charter, of 1620, were: "J ames > by the Grace of 
God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ire 
land, Defender of the Faith &c. * * * of our 
especiall Grace, mere motion, and certain knowledge, 
by the advice of the Lords and others of our Privy 


Council have for us, our heirs and successors, 
granted, ordained and established," etc. The conclu 
sion reads : "Witness our selfe at Westminster/' etc. 

Franklin, writing in 1774, said: 

"From a thorough inquiry (on occasion of 
the stamp act) into the nature of the connec 
tion between Britain and the colonies, I am 
convinced that the bond of their union is not the 
parliament, but the king. That, in removing to 
America, a country out of the realm, they did not 
carry with them the statutes then existing; for, if 
they did, the Puritans must have been subject there 
to the same grievous act of conformity, tithes, 
spiritual courts, etc., which they meant to be free 
from by going thither; and in vain would they 
have left their native country, and all the con 
veniences and comforts of its improved state, to 
combat the hardships of a new settlement in a dis 
tant wilderness, if they had taken with them what 
they meant to fly from, or if they had left a power 
behind them capable of sending the same chains 
after them, to bind them in America. They took 
with them, however, by compact, their allegiance to 
the king, and a legislative power for the making 
a new body of laws with his assent, by which they 
were to be governed. Hence they became distinct 
states, under the same prince, united as Ireland is 
to the crown, but not to the realm, of England, and 
governed each by its own laws, though with the 


same sovereign, and having each the right of 
granting its own money to that sovereign." 

This reasoning was not adopted by all of those 
who denied the supremacy of the English parlia 
ment. For the most part, as we shall see, they did 
not refine very much, but were satisfied to rest 
their opposition upon the principle that taxation 
without representation was in violation of their 
rights as Englishmen. 

The early grants or charters treated the settle 
ments as commercial adventures, and took little ac 
count of matters of civil government. In most 
cases the patentees were men who did not contem 
plate an American residence. They adventured 
their money, but not their persons; they sought pe 
cuniary, rather than political advantages; govern 
ment was an incident. The governing body of the 
corporation its board of directors, as we should 
say selected the resident governor and other officers 
and made laws and regulations, much as a railroad 
corporation does with us. But, as the visions of 
sudden wealth were dissipated from the minds of 
the patentees, and the colonists became more numer 
ous, political interests and considerations came to 
have a fuller recognition, and before long to be of 
the first importance. And so the later charters 
came more to resemble civil constitutions laws to 
have more consideration than lands, and the settlers 
more than the home adventurers. 


The American colonies have been assigned to 
three general classes, though several of them passed 
from one class to the other before the revolution. 
These classes were, first, the charter colonies. Of 
these, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island 
only, preserved their charter form. The later char 
ters were quite distinctive from the earlier, and in 
a larger or smaller degree authorized or implied 
a government by the people. Representative assem 
blies were, in some cases, authorized, and some of 
the charters were so consonant with republican in 
stitutions that they were capable of being continued 
as the fundamental law of free states in the union 
of the states. It is a very interesting fact that Con 
necticut and Rhode Island continued under their 
charters, not only during the revolution, but long 
after the adoption of the national constitution. The 
charter of Rhode Island, granted in 1663, was not 
superseded as the constitution of that state until 
1842, and the charter of Connecticut, of 1662, was 
the organic law of that state until 1818. 

In the second class, known as the royal or 
provincial colonies, the governing powers were ex 
ercised by the crown; not through interposed cor 
porate boards, or proprietors, but through gover 
nors and councils appointed by the king, and act 
ing under royal instructions or commissions. The 
instructions were made and modified at the king's 
pleasure; but under these instructions and in spite 


of them, representative assemblies were organized, 
and a large measure of popular control assumed.* 

The proprietary colonies constituted the third 
class. Here the land grants were to private indi 
viduals, and were accompanied by a grant to the 
patentees or proprietors of large powers of govern 
ment. Before the revolution all of the proprietary 
colonies had become royal colonies by the surrender 
of their charters to the king, except Pennsylvania, 
Delaware and Maryland. 

Mr. Blackstone's classification of the American 
colonies, and his view of the rights of the colo 
nists, as given in his commentaries, are these: 

"Besides these adjacent islands, our most distant 
plantations in America and elsewhere are also, in 
some respect, subject to the English laws. Planta 
tions or colonies, in distant countries, are either 
such where the lands are claimed by right of occu 
pancy only, by finding them desert and uncultivated, 
and peopling them from the mother country; or 
where, when already cultivated, they have been 
either gained by conquest or ceded to us by treaties. 
And both these rights are founded upon the law of 
nature, or at least upon that of nations. But there 
is a difference between these two species of colo 
nies with respect to the laws by which they are 

* New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Virginia (after 1624), 
North Carolina and South Carolina (after 1729), and Georgia (after 
1751) were provincial colonies. 


bound. For it hath been held that if an uninhabited 
country be discovered and planted by English sub 
jects, all the laws then in being, which are the birth 
right of every subject, are immediately there in 
force. But this must be understood with very 
many and very great restrictions. Such colonists 
carry with them only so much of the English law 
as is applicable to their own situation and the con 
dition of an infant colony; such, for instance, as 
the general rules of inheritance and of protection 
from personal injuries. The artificial refinements 
and distinctions incident to the property of a great 
and commercial people, the laws of police and reve 
nue (such especially as are enforced by penalties), 
the mode of maintenance for the established clergy, 
the jurisdiction of spiritual courts, and a multitude 
of other provisions, are neither necessary nor con 
venient for them, and therefore are not in force. 
What shall be omitted and what rejected, at what 
times, and under what restrictions, must, in case of 
dispute, be decided in the first instance by their 
own provincial judicature, subject to the revision 
and control of the king in council; the whole of 
their constitution being also liable to be new- 
modelled and reformed by the general superintend 
ing power of the legislature in the mother country. 
But in conquered or ceded countries, that have al 
ready laws of their own, the king may indeed alter 
and change those laws; but, until he does actually 


change them, the ancient laws of the country re 
main, unless such as are against the law of God, 
as in the case of an infidel country. Our American 
plantations are principally of this latter sort, being 
obtained in the last century either by right of con 
quest and driving out the natives (with what nat 
ural justice I shall not at present inquire), or by 
treaties. And therefore the common law of Eng 
land, as such, has no allowance or authority there; 
they being no part of the mother country, but dis 
tinct, though dependent dominions. They are sub 
ject, however, to the control of the parliament, 
though (like Ireland, Man, and the rest) not 
bound by any acts of parliament, unless particularly 

"With respect to their interior polity, our colonies 
are properly of three sorts, i. Provincial establish 
ments, the constitutions of which depend on the re 
spective commissions issued by the crown to the 
governors, and the instructions which usually ac 
company those commissions, under the authority 
of which provincial assemblies are constituted, with 
the power of making local ordinances not repug 
nant to the laws of England. 2. Proprietary gov 
ernments, granted out by the crown to individuals, 
in the nature of feudatory principalities, with all 
the inferior regalities, and subordinate powers of 
legislation, which formerly belonged to the owners 
of counties-palatine: yet still with these express 


conditions, that the ends for which the grant was 
made be substantially pursued, and that nothing be 
attempted which may derogate from the sovereignty 
of the mother country. 3. Charter governments, in 
the nature of civil corporations with the power of 
making by-laws for their own interior regulations, 
not contrary to the laws of England, and with such 
rights and authorities as are especially given them 
in their special charters of incorporation. The 
form of government in most of them is borrowed 
from that of England. They have a governor 
named by the king (or, in some proprietary colo 
nies, by the proprietor), who is his representative 
or deputy. They have courts of justice of their 
own, from whose decisions an appeal lies to the 
king and council here in England. Their general 
assemblies, which are their house of commons, to 
gether with their council of state, being their upper 
house, with the concurrence of the king, or his rep 
resentative, the governor, make laws suited to their 
own emergencies. But it is particularly declared 
by statutes 7 and 8, W. Ill, c. 22, that all laws, by 
laws, usages, and customs, which shall be in practice 
in any of the plantations, repugnant to any law, 
made or to be made in this kingdom relative to the 
said plantations, shall be utterly void and of none 
effect. And, because several of the colonies had 
claimed a sole and exclusive right of imposing taxes 
upon themselves, the statute 6, Geo. Ill, c. 12, ex- 


pressly declares, that all his majesty's colonies and 
plantations in America have been, are, and of right 
ought to be, subordinate to and dependent upon the 
imperial crown and parliament of Great Britain, who 
have full power and authority to make laws and 
statutes of sufficient validity to bind the colonies 
and people of America, subjects to the crown of 
Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever. And this 
authority has been since very forcibly exemplified 
and carried into act by the statute 7, Geo. Ill, c. 
59, for suspending the legislation of New York, and 
by several subsequent statutes/' 

This view was not accepted by the colonists 
and in another lecture I will point out the very con 
clusive objections to some of Mr. Blackstone's con 

We will now examine the particular provisions of 
some of the colonial charters, as general examples 
it will not be possible to refer to all of them. 

Of the charter of Massachusetts Bay, of 1629, 
Mr. Story says: "It furnished them (the colonists), 
however, with the color of delegated sovereignty, of 
which they did not fail to avail themselves. They 
assumed under it the exercise of the most plenary 
executive, legislative and judicial powers." 

Under Charles II this charter and these privileges 
were challenged, and, in 1684, the high court of 
chancery of England decreed a forfeiture of the 
charter, and a non-popular government was estab- 


lished by the king, which was continued until Will 
iam and Mary, in 1691, granted a new charter, 
uniting Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth and Maine. 
This charter reserved to the crown the appointment 
of a governor, in whom was vested an absolute 
veto upon legislation. A council was provided to 
be chosen by the assembly, and the principal officers 
of the province were to be appointed by the gover 
nor with the consent of the council. A general as 
sembly, consisting of the governor and council, and 
of representatives chosen from the towns, assembled 
once a year. This body established the courts, im 
posed taxes and made the necessary laws for the 
government of the province. The expressed limita 
tions upon the legislature lay in the veto of the 
royal governor,, and in a veto reserved to the king 
which might be exercised within three years. 

Mr. Lodge, in his short history of the colonies, 

"In Massachusetts, after the loss of the old char 
ter, a new charter was obtained which established 
a form of government more closely resembling its 
predecessor than the common provincial government 
from which some features were taken. Under the 
old system the charter of a trading corporation, 
drawn with intentional vagueness, had, without color 
of law, been converted into a foundation of an inde 
pendent state. * * * The governor, the assist 
ants, or the upper house, and the lower house were 


all chosen annually by the freemen; but by the new 
charter the appointment of the governor was given 
to the crown, the assistants or council were chosen 
by the assembly, subject to the governor's approval, 
and the representatives still continued to be elected 
by the people." 

The first patent for the Providence plantations, is 
sued in 1643 by Robert, Earl of Warwick, as gov 
ernor in chief of all His Majesty's plantations upon 
the coast of America, and his associate commission 
ers, recited the settlement by English subjects in 
the towns of Providence, Portsmouth and Newport, 
and conferred upon them a charter of incorporation 
"with full power and authority to rule themselves, 
and such others as shall hereafter inhabit within any 
part of the said tract of land, by such a form of 
civil government, as by the voluntary consent of all, 
or the greater part of them, they shall find most 
suitable to their estate and condition; and, for that 
end, to make and ordain such civil laws and con 
stitutions, and to inflict such punishments upon 
transgressors, and for execution thereof, and to 
place, and displace officers of justice, as they, or the 
greater part of them, shall by free consent agree 

There was here, as in other charters, a general 
limitation that the laws made should be conform 
able to the laws of England, so far as the conditions 
would admit. 


The charter granted for Rhode Island and Prov 
idence plantations by Charles II, in 1663, to Ben 
jamin Arnold "and the rest of the purchasers and 
free inhabitants of our island, called Rhode Island, 
and the rest of the colony of Providence planta 
tions," provided for a governor, deputy governor 
and ten assistants to be from time to time elected 
and chosen out of the freemen of the company. 
An assembly composed of the assistants and repre 
sentatives chosen from the towns was to assemble 
twice in each year "to consult, advise and determine 
in and about the affairs and business of the said 
company and plantations." The governor, assist 
ants and delegates were constituted a general assem 
bly with power to establish offices, choose officers, 
and "from time to time to make, ordain, constitute 
or repeal such laws, statutes, orders and ordinances, 
forms and ceremonies of government and magistery 
as to them shall seem meet for the good and wel 
fare of the said company and for the government 
and ordering of the lands and hereditaments, here 
inafter mentioned to be granted, and of the people 
who do, or at any time hereafter shall, inhabit or 
be within the same." Power to establish courts of 
law was granted, to prescribe the qualifications of 
electors, to prescribe crimes and their punishments, 
to organize a militia and to commission the officers 

This charter was framed upon the most liberal 


principles, and with an unselfish regard to the lib 
erties and prosperity of the inhabitants, and in con 
trast with some others and especially with the 
nagging, unfriendly and repressive policy generally 
pursued by the English kings toward the colonies 
illustrates the fitfulness and caprice that always at 
tends government by a man. 

The charter of Connecticut was granted to John 
Winthrop and others (1662), as the representatives 
of settlers already located and who had organized a 
provisional government, under a commission from 
the general court of Massachusetts, as early as 1636. 
The grant was to the persons named and "such oth 
ers as now are, or hereafter shall be admitted and 
made free of the company and society of our col 
ony of Connecticut." A governor, deputy governor 
and twelve assistants were named in the charter 
to hold office until a day named, when an election 
by the people of their successors was provided for. 
Provision was made for a general assembly, repre 
sentative of the freemen of the colony, having full 
legislative powers, subject to the laws of England 
power was given to constitute courts, to organize a 
militia, and generally to exercise full powers of 
local government. It was expressly declared that 
all English subjects who should go to or inhabit 
within the colony, and their children, should enjoy 
all the liberties and immunities of free and natural 
subjects of the English crown. 


Here also, as you will observe, popular govern 
ment was, as in the case of Rhode Island, fully pro 
vided for. The governor and all other officers were 
chosen by the people the king is in the back 
ground the parliament is seen only in the shadow 
of those vague words that made the colonial legis 
lation subject to the laws of England; the provis 
ion being "to make, ordain, and establish all man 
ner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes, or 
dinances, directions, and instructions, not contrary 
to the laws of this realm of England." 

The charter of 1606, granted by James I to the 
Plymouth Company, and to the London companies, 
under which Virginia was colonized, was without 
any concessions or guaranties of civil rights or pow 
ers to the colonists, save the general reservation to 
the settlers of all "liberties, franchises, immunities, 
within any of our other dominions to all intents 
and purposes as if they had been abiding and born 
within this our realm of England." A local coun 
cil, to consist of thirteen members, was provided 
for each colony, to be appointed by the king, which 
should "govern and order all matters and causes 
which shall arise, grow, or happen, to or within the 
same several colonies according to' such laws, ordi 
nances and instructions, as shall be, in that behalf, 
given and signed with our hand or sign manual, 
and pass under the privy seal of our realm of Eng 
land." A home council (in England), also to be ap- 


pointed by the king, and to consist of thirteen per 
sons, was provided for, to "have the superior man 
aging and direction, only of and for all matters 
that shall or may concern the government, as well 
of the said several colonies, as of and for any other 
part or place, within the aforesaid precincts." It 
will be seen that, in the last resort, everything re 
lating to government was, under this charter, re 
served to the crown. 

Speaking of this charter, Mr. Lodge says: "A 
more awkward scheme could hardly have been de 
vised. An arbitrary and irresponsible council in 
America, another almost equally so in England, the 
legislative powers reserved to the king, the govern 
ing body a commercial monopoly, and the chief 
principle of society community of property, togeth 
er formed one of the most ingeniously bad systems 
for the government of men which could be de 

The extension of this charter, in 1609, gave 
somewhat larger powers of government to the com 
pany. It established "one council here [in Eng 
land] resident," according to the tenor of the for 
mer charter, the members of which were named. 

To this council "here resident," power was given 
to appoint the governor and other officers and min 
isters and to make laws necessary for the govern 
ment of the said colony. The council was to be 
thenceforth chosen out of the company of the said 


adventurers by the votes of the greater part in their 
assembly for that purpose. 

The charter of 1611-12 provided that the treas 
urer and company of adventurers might once a 
week or oftener, at their pleasure, hold a court and 
assembly for the ordering and government of the 
plantation, which was to be composed of five per 
sons of the council and fifteen others of "the gen 
erality" of said company, assembled in such man 
ner as had been customary. This body was author 
ized to order and dispatch "all such casual and par 
ticular occurrences, and accidental matters, of less 
consequence and weight, as shall from time to time 
happen, touching and concerning the said planta 
tion." All matters of greater weight and impor 
tance affecting the public weal and general good 
and especially the manner of government to be used 
was committed to a general assembly of the com 
pany which met four times in the year and was em 
powered to choose persons to be of the king's coun 
cil for the colony and to nominate and appoint such 
officers as were requisite for the government of the 
affairs of the company and to make such laws and 
ordinances for the good of the plantation as were 
thought requisite, not contrary to the laws of Eng 
land. (These assemblies met in England.) In 
1624 the charter of Virginia was annulled by quo 
warranto in the king's bench, and Virginia became 
a royal colony. 


New Hampshire never had a charter; but under 
the royal commission for the government of the 
colony, issued in 1680, the civil organization con 
sisted of a president and council appointed by the 
king, and of a house of burgesses, or general as 
sembly, to be composed of inhabitants of the col 
ony elected by the people; but all questions as to 
the qualification of electors and of the persons 
chosen were reserved for the decision of the presi 
dent and council. The judicial powers were vested 
in the president and council, and all laws required 
their sanction. 

The charter of Carolina (which included the ter 
ritory now known as North and South Carolina 
until the division in 1732), granted in 1663 to the 
Earl of Clarendon and others, vested in the pro 
prietors full power to make laws "with the advice, 
assent and approbation of the freemen of the said 
province, or of the greater part of them, or of their 
delegates or deputies, whom for enacting of the 
said laws," should be assembled by the proprietors. 
All customs and subsidies in the province were to 
be assessed by and with the consent of the major 
ity of the free people there. Carolina became a 
provincial colony in 1729 by the surrender of the 
charter to the crown. 

In the grant to Lord Baltimore of the territory 
that became the colony of Maryland, made in 1632, 
it was provided that the proprietor and his succes- 


sors might make laws for the government of the 
colony with the assent and advice of the majority 
of the freemen or their representatives, and the gov 
ernment put into force consisted of a governor, 
council and assembly. In the latter, at the begin 
ning, every freemen was entitled to appear. Sub 
sequently a representative system was adopted and 
the legislative body divided into two chambers; the 
lower body was chosen by a vote of the freemen, 
and the upper was composed of a council* of per 
sons specially designated and summoned by the pro 

In Pennsylvania, a proprietary colony, under the 
wise and liberal administration of William Penn, 
representative government prevailed from the be 
ginning. In a prelude to his frame of government 
he declares that "any government is free to the peo 
ple under it (whatever be the frame) where the 
laws rule and the people are a party to those laws." 
The charter (1681) provided that all legislation 
should be with the consent of the freemen of the 
province or of their delegates who should be called 
in general assembly. A veto was reserved to the 
king within five years of the passage of the laws. 
The appointment of all officers was vested in the 
proprietor. But the frame of government agreed 
upon between Penn and the freemen of the prov 
ince, in 1683, provided for the election of a council 
consisting of seventy-two members, one-third to re- 


tire each year; and in the choice of this body the 
right to vote was extended to all freemen of the 

In 1701 a "Charter of Privileges for Pennsyl 
vania" was granted by Penn, with the approval of 
the general assembly. It provided for a yearly 
meeting of an assembly to be chosen by the free 
men of the province, for the election by the assem 
bly of its own officers, and gave to the assembly 
the power to judge of the qualifications of its mem 
bers, and to sit upon its own adjournments. The 
council did not participate in legislation, but was an 
advisory board to the governor so that the legis 
lative body was single and not bicameral, as the 
general practice was. The local officers were to be 
appointed by the governor upon the nomination of 
the freemen of the district in which the officer was 
to serve. 

This hasty sketch of the frames of government 
provided for these colonies will serve to show the 
measure of popular government stipulated for by 
the king; but, as I have said, the measure exercised 
by the people was much larger. 

Judge Story says that the colonists of Massachu 
setts "extended their acts far beyond its [the char 
ter's] expression of powers, and while they boldly 
claimed protection from it against the royal de 
mands and prerogatives, they nevertheless did not 
feel that it furnished any limit upon the freest ex- 


ercise of legislative, executive or judicial functions/' 
And this was, in a degree, true of the other colo 
nies. The provision in the charter of William and 
Mary to Massachusetts, for a representation of the 
freemen in a general assembly, was rather a recog 
nition of a former practice than a new grant. For, 
as early as 1634, the colonists of Massachusetts had 
demanded and secured the admission of delegates 
chosen by the towns to the general court, and 
Plymouth had a representative assembly as early as 

The royal colonies felt the common need of repre 
sentative assemblies that should participate in law- 
making, and were not slack in securing them. In 
Virginia, in the year 1619, the governor was au 
thorized, in order to allay popular discontent, to 
summon representatives and when, on July thirtieth of 
that year, the burgesses chosen by the people as 
sembled with the governor and his council, the rep 
resentative principle had its first exemplification in 

Speaking of this event and of the general sub 
ject, though not, as you will see, with perfect accu 
racy, Governor Hutchinson of Massachusetts said: 
"It is observable that all the colonies before the 
reign of King Charles II, Maryland excepted, set 
tled a model of government for themselves. Vir 
ginia had been many years distracted under the 
government of presidents and governors, with coun- 


cils, in whose nomination or removal the people had 
no voice, until in the year 1620 a house of bur 
gesses broke out in the colony; the king, nor the 
grand council at home not having given any powers 
or directions for it. The governor and assistants 
of the Massachusetts at first intended to rule the 
people; and, as we have observed, obtained their 
consent for it, but this lasted two or three years 
only; and, although there is no color for it in the 
charter, yet a house of deputies appeared suddenly, 
in 1634, to the surprise of the magistrates, and the 
disappointment of their schemes for power. Con 
necticut soon after followed the plan of the Mas 
sachusetts. New Haven, although the people had 
the highest reverence for their leaders, and for near 
thirty years in judicial proceedings submitted to 
the magistracy (it must be remembered, however, 
that it was annually elected) without a jury; yet 
in matters of legislation the people, from the begin 
ning, would have their share by their representa 
tives. New Hampshire combined together under 
the same form as Massachusetts." 

It is not my purpose to follow any further the 
origin and development of representative legislative 
assemblies in the colonies the examples given will 
suffice. The important fact to be noted is that such 
assemblies had, before the year 1700, become a 
part of the constitution of every colony except 
Georgia, and of that colony in 1754. In all of the 


colonies, except Pennsylvania and Delaware (the 
latter was under the Penn proprietorship, but had a 
separate assembly) the legislative bodies had very 
naturally assumed the form of an upper and lower 
house sitting apart. In Massachusetts, Connecticut, 
and Rhode Island, both the council and the assem 
bly were chosen by the people the council at large, 
or by the assembly, and the members of the assem 
bly in specified towns or districts. In other colo 
nies the council was appointed by the crown, while 
the delegates or assemblymen were chosen by the 
people. It does not appear that the question of the 
relative merits of a legislature consisting of a single 
body, and of one consisting of two bodies sitting 
apart was debated. That was the English system, 
and the popular or delegate body was generally an 
addition of men chosen by the people to other men 
chosen by the crown or the governor; and then, 
and most naturally, of a popular body sitting apart 
to a smaller and more permanent body chosen by a 
different method. The separate concurrence of 
each, and of the king or his representative, estab 
lished the law. In Pennsylvania there was no 
struggle for a representative assembly it was a 
part of the frame of government. Under the frame 
of government of 1682 the legislative power was 
exercised by a council and general assembly sitting 
apart; the first proposing and framing the laws, 
and the latter approving or rejecting them. The 


members of both bodies, however, were chosen by 
the people, and the laws ran: "By the governor 
with the assent and approbation of the freemen in 
provincial council and general assembly." The new 
frame of government, proposed and accepted in 
1701, provided for a single legislative body, or 
general assembly, and the laws then ran: "By the 
governor with the consent and approbation of the 
freemen in general assembly met." Penn had been 
a student of the new theories of government. 
Writing to a friend, shortly after obtaining his 
grant, he said: "And because I have been some 
what exercised at times about the nature and end of 
government among men, it is reasonable to expect 
that I should endeavor to establish a just and right 
eous one in the province that others may take ex 
ample by it." 

His frames of government are instruments most 
worthy of your attention and study. What more 
discriminating, more comprehensive, or more noble 
than the end and purpose of civil government as 
described by him : "To support power in rever 
ence with the people, and to secure the people from 
the abuse of power; that they may be free by their 
just obedience, and the magistrates honorable, for 
their just administration; for liberty without obe 
dience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is 

Let us see now how far some of the other inci- 


dents of free government were in exercise in the 
colonies. The right of petition, which afterward 
came into such prominence in the relation of the 
colonies to the crown, was generally admitted, in 
the relation of the local legislative assemblies and 
other authorities, to the people. An early law of 
Massachusetts guaranteed to every one, whether set 
tler or foreigner, slave or free, the right, in an or 
derly and respectful manner, to present to any pub 
lic court or assembly any complaint or petition. So 
the right of free discussion or free speech was an 
incident of these popular public assemblages. They 
were gathered for discussion, for the exchange of 
views; and these implied, as I have before said, a 
certain equality among those who assembled a per 
fect freedom to every member of the assembly to 
express by voice, as well as by vote, his view of 
the matters to be resolved. It was not until after 
these rights of free assembly and of free discus 
sion had been long in practical use in the colonies 
that the origin and natural and legal basis of them 
came to be much discussed. They were used as 
necessary appliances of the state in which the colo 
nists found themselves. 

A system of small civil subdivisions for the con 
trol and ordering of neighborhood affairs had been 
established in all the colonies. The titles by which 
the smaller civil subdivisions were known were va- 


rious; but they were quite alike and quite close in 
their resemblance to the early English subdivisions. 
In Virginia these subdivisions were, at the begin 
ning, designated as cities, hundreds and plantations. 
Some of these hundreds still survive as local desig 
nations. Subsequently the divisions came to be 
known, in some colonies, as parishes and counties. 
The designation of the smaller subdivisions as par 
ishes was common in the southern colonies, while 
the word town or township prevailed in the north 
ern colonies. The laying out of highways, the 
building of bridges, of prisons, of workhouses, the 
relief of the poor, and the making of other local 
regulations were committed to these neighborhood 
boards. In some of the colonies, as in Pennsylva 
nia, county commissioners were given the power to 
fix rates and to levy taxes for county purposes, and 
the townships to make rates for the support of the 
poor an arrangement still existing in many of the 
states. The general court of Massachusetts, in 
1636, passed a law reciting that "whereas particu 
lar towns have many things which concern only 
themselves, and the ordering of their own affairs, 
and disposing of business in their own towns/' and 
granting to the towns power to make orders or 
laws affecting the town, not repugnant to the gen 
eral laws, to choose constables, surveyors, etc. The 
practice of choosing selectmen in the towns already 


prevailed. A law quite similar had been adopt 
in the Plymouth colony a few years before; a: 
the same general order prevailed in Connecticut a: 
throughout the New England colonies. 

Mr. Frothingham says, speaking generally of 
the colonies and of the local subdivisions therei 
"In each the voters chose their own officers; ea 
had its courts of justice; each, in relation to its j 
culiar local interests, had a jurisdiction as wide 
its territorial limits. In this way, each locali 
provided for the concerns of social comfort and 
police, of education and of religion. This wo 
was never done for the people, but always by thei 
they tested their own decisions, and could corn 
their own judgments." 

It appears then that at and before the breaki: 
out of the revolutionary war the constitutions 
civil organizations of all the colonies had in coi 
mon, though in different degrees by charter or i 
these elements: 

First. They were subdivided into towns, to\v 
ships or parishes, and these smaller and prima 
subdivisions were combined into hundreds or cou 
ties, according to convenience. The officers of the 
were mostly chosen by the people, and were charg 
with the administration of the business of the to\\ 
parish or county. 

Second. A colonial legislature generally coi 
posed of two bodies, one at least of which w 


chosen by the inhabitants which had power to 
make laws, not inconsistent with the laws of En 
gland, and subject to the approval of the king, act 
ing directly or through his representative. In some 
of the colonies this right was rested on the char 
ters; in others its foundation was disputed, the peo 
ple claiming it as a natural right, the crown hold 
ing that it was of and at the king's pleasure. The 
limitation that the colonial laws were not to be in 
consistent with the laws of England was not, how 
ever, construed by the colonists to subject colonial 
legislation to all such laws as might thereafter be 
made by parliament, but only to the "primitive, an 
cient and fundamental laws of England," as the 
phrase ran in the West Jersey concessions. In 
New England the assemblies were chosen annually; 
in the other colonies the term of office varied, being 
three years in Maryland and seven in New York. 

Third. The right of petition, of public assem 
blage, of free speech, of trial by jury, of habeas 
corpus, were claimed; and the practice of them was 
generally allowed. Judge Story says: "It was 
under the consciousness of the full possession of 
the rights, liberties and immunities of British sub 
jects, that the colonists in almost all the early leg 
islation of their respective assemblies insisted upon 
a declaratory act, acknowledging and confirming 
them. And for the most part they thus succeeded 
in obtaining a real and effective Magna Charta of 


their liberties. * * * The trial by jury in all cases, 
civil and criminal, was as firmly and as universally es 
tablished in the colonies as in the mother country." 

If these things were a part of the British con 
stitution they were also a part of the civil order 
in each British colony. They were not all at all 
times in full exercise in England any more than in 
the colonies; but they were none the less the rights 
of Englishmen; and the colonists were English sub 

Fourth. The supreme executive powers were 
vested in the king, and were exercised by a gover 
nor (though in New Hampshire he was styled 
president), or by a governor and council. The gov 
ernor was chosen by the people in Connecticut and 
Rhode Island; appointed by the proprietors in 
Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, and by the 
crown in the other colonies. The powers of the 
governor were not, either in law or usage, uniform. 
In most of the colonies he had power to summon 
and prorogue the legislature though in Pennsyl 
vania his right to prorogue was successfully resisted 
by the assembly. He commanded the militia; had 
a veto upon legislation; the pardoning power, gen 
eral or limited; and the appointment of judicial and 
other important civil officers. He stood for the 
king; he was the alien element in the government; 
and his lot was for the most part and increasingly 
an unhappy one. If he strove to please the people 



he lost the favor of the king; if he was subservient 
to the king, he was pounded with remonstrances 
and petitions, and opposed by the assembly, to 
which he must look for supplies. 

Fifth. A judiciary whose judges were appoint 
ed generally by the governor (but in Connecticut 
and Rhode Island by the legislature) ; whose sal 
aries were, with a few exceptions, fixed by the leg 
islatures and paid out of the colonial treasuries. 

Speaking of the colonial judiciaries, Franklin 
said they were formerly, in most colonies, "ap 
pointed by the crown and paid by the assemblies; 
that, the appointment being during the pleasure of 
the crown, the salary had been during the pleasure 
of the assembly: That when it had been urged 
against the assemblies, that their making judges de 
pendent on them for their salaries was aiming at 
an undue influence over the courts of justice; the 
assemblies usually replied that making them depend 
ent on the crown for continuance in their places, 
was also retaining an undue influence over those 
courts, and that one undue influence was a proper 
balance for the other; but that whenever the crown 
would consent to acts making the judges during 
good behavior, the assemblies would at the same 
time grant their salaries to be permanent during 
their continuance in office. This the crown has, 
however, constantly refused." 

The judgments of these courts were final, except 


when appealed to the privy council of the king. 
They were domestic courts. The judges were taken 
from the inhabitants. Provision for an appeal in 
certain cases to the privy council, "to the king," or 
to "the king in council," was expressly made in 
some of the charters. 

Mr. Story says: "In a practical sense, however, 
the appellate jurisdiction of the king in council was 
in full and undisturbed exercise throughout the col 
onies at the time of the American revolution; and 
was deemed rather a protection than a grievance." 
It was held, however, by the governor in council, 
holding the supreme court of New York, in 1764, 
that the appeal did not involve a re-examination of 
the facts settled by the verdict of a jury; that the 
proceeding was rather in the nature of a writ of 

Of the relation of the colonies to each other 
prior to the revolution, Mr. Story says : "Each 
was independent of all the others; each, in a 
limited sense, was sovereign within its own terri 
tory. There was neither alliance nor confederacy 
between them. * * * They were known only as 
dependencies; and they followed the fate of the 
parent country both in peace and war, without hav 
ing assigned to them, in the intercourse or diplo 
macy of nations, any distinct or independent exist 
ence. They did not possess the power of forming 
any league or treaty among themselves which 


should acquire an obligatory force without the as 
sent of the parent state." He adds, however, that 
notwithstanding this they were "fellow-subjects, and 
for many purposes one people." 

Every colonist had a right to inhabit in any 
other colony; and, as a British subject, was capable 
of inheriting land. 

A writer says that Chalmer's researches "con 
firm and illustrate the fact that the colonists lived 
in the enjoyment of a more real autonomy and a 
do as you please enfranchisement than was shared 
by home subjects." 

And Sir Richard Sutton said, in the debate on 
the Boston port bill: "If you ask an American 
who is his master, he will tell you he has none 
nor any governor but Jesus Christ." 

In my next lecture I will ask your attention to 
some of the legal aspects of the contentions be 
tween the colonies and the mother country. 


Delivered at Stanford University, March 19, 1894 

It does not consist with my purpose to pursue 
the history of the controversies between the colo 
nies and the mother country; but a glance at the 
legal aspects of the great contentions is necessary. 

The contest was, in a large sense, single and 
common; though it naturally had diverse manifes 
tations, at different times and in the different col 
onies. It was one assault breaking upon different 
salients of the fortress of liberty. As a debate it 
was conducted, on the part of the colonies, with 
wonderful moderation, with the highest courage, 
and the most conspicuous ability. The petitions, 
addresses, and public papers of that time, proceed 
ing from American sources, are not excelled in 
style or strength by any state papers of that great 
historical period. In the earlier and middle stages 



of the controversy the remonstrances and petitions 
were full of expressions of the most devoted loyalty 
to the English king. No doubt these expressions 
were sincere, as such things go. The conception of 
a free republican state came late and doubtingly 
into the minds of the most radical of the colonial 
leaders, and could not be sent out without a cloak 
until war was flagrant. Habit, family associations, 
a proud and reverent love for the old kingdom and 
the old home, and the need of a powerful protec 
tor against foreign enemies, kept the colonists loyal, 
in a sense much as those who deposed James and 
set William and Mary upon the throne, under the 
act of settlement, were loyal Englishmen. The col 
onists did not desire separation; they were more 
than willing to remain English subjects; but they 
would suffer no curtailment of the traditional rights of 
Englishmen. More liberty, rather than less, was the 
suggestion of their experience and of the conditions 
that surrounded them. There has been much de 
bate as to the sincerity of the colonists in their fre 
quent protestations of loyalty, in view of their fre 
quent acts of resistance to the royal edicts. But 
the solution is easy; they were loyal to an English 
king who ruled within constitutional limitations and 
within their special charters, and made his govern 
ment subserve the right ends of government; but 
they would judge these matters themselves. The 
motto "The king can do no wrong" implies the 


amenability in English law of his councilors and 
ministers for wrongs done. 

This view was thus expressed in a resolution of 
the congress of 1775 (December 6th) : "But is 
this traitorously or against the king? We view him 
as the constitution represents him. That tells us he 
can do no wrong. The cruel and illegal attacks, 
which we oppose, have no foundation in the royal 
authority. We will not, on our part, lose the dis 
tinction between the king and his ministers: happy 
would it have been for some former princes had it 
always been preserved on the part of the crown." 

Speaking with fine satire of the charge that 
Americans had from the beginning contemplated in 
dependence, Justice Drayton, of South Carolina, in 
a charge to the grand jury in 1776, said: "There 
was a time when the American army before Boston 
had not a thousand-weight of gunpowder the 
forces were unable to advance into Canada, until 
they received a small supply of powder from this 
country, and for which the general congress expressly 
sent and when we took up arms a few months be 
fore, we begun with a stock of five hundred-weight! 
These grand magazines of ammunition demonstrate, 
to be sure, that America, or even Massachusetts Bay, 
was preparing to enter the military road to independ 

And George Mason, writing in 1778, says of the 
question of the first intention of the colonists: 


"Equally false is the assertion that independ 
ence was originally designed here. Things have 
gone such lengths, that it is a matter of moonshine 
to us whether independence was first intended or 
not, and therefore we may now be believed. The 
truth is, we have been forced into it." 

The inherited English reverence for the king had 
a strong hold upon the minds of the colonists. The 
most ardent and radical of the colonial leaders held 
his tongue and pen under a severe restraint when 
he spoke of the king. Such was the reverence of the 
masses of the people for the crown that, almost up 
to the time of the spilling of blood, denunciation 
of the king, or a proposal to throw off their 
allegiance to him, would have been received with 
general disfavor. When the congress of 1774 as 
sembled, the general thought and hopes of the 
people ran in the direction of a peaceable adjust 
ment upon the basis of the continued sovereignty 
of the English king. They did not complain of 
the king, but to him much as a boy might com 
plain to an absent father of the cruelties of his tu 
tor. There were historical precedents for this 
strange mingling of deference and resistance. 

The men of Flushing swore fidelity to the king 
and to William of Orange as his stadt-holder when 
they were in arms against Alva, the king's gover 
nor; and Henry of Navarre wrote to Henry III, 


"Thank God, I have beaten your enemies and your 

So the convention of deputies of New Hamp 
shire, in January, 1775, urged the training of the 
militia for the defense of the country if it should 
"ever be invaded by his majesty's enemies/' who 
were his majesty's soldiers. 

The colonists were quite sincere when they said 
they did not aim at independence; but there was 
never a time when, presented as the alternative of 
arbitrary rule, they would not have embraced it. 
Barre, in his famous speech upon the stamp act, in 
the English house of commons, said of the colo 
nists: "The people there are as truly loyal, I be 
lieve, as any subjects the king has; but a people 
jealous of their liberties, and who will vindicate 
them if they should be violated." 

In an address to the people of Great Britain, Oc 
tober, 1774, congress said: "Permit us to be as 
free as yourselves, and we shall ever esteem a union 
with you to be our greatest glory and our greatest 
happiness; we shall ever be willing to contribute all 
in our power to the welfare of the empire; we 
shall consider your enemies as our enemies, and 
your interests as our own. But, if you are deter 
mined that your ministers shall wantonly sport with 
the rights of mankind if neither the voice of jus 
tice, the dictates of the law, the principles of the 
constitution, or the suggestions of humanity, can re- 


strain your hands from shedding human blood in 
such an impious cause, we must then tell you that 
we will never submit to be hewers of wood or 
drawers of water for any ministry or nation in the 

And the congress of 1775 made this response: 
"We are accused of 'forgetting the allegiance which 
we owe to the power that has protected and sus 
tained us/ Why all this ambiguity and obscurity 
in what ought to be so plain and obvious as that he 
who runs may read it? What allegiance is it that 
we forget? Allegiance to parliament? We never 
owed we never owned it. Allegiance to our king? 
Our words have ever avowed it, our conduct has 
ever been consistent with it." 

The English government by a cabinet was not 
then in as perfect operation as now; but our an 
cestors were not pursuing an altogether fanciful 
line when they appealed to the king against the 
ministry. If one of the present English colonies 
should suffer oppression, it would justly and strictly 
be chargeable to Lord Roseberry and not to the 

It may be well here to say a further word as to 
the source of the British dominion in the American 
colonies. If that dominion had its origin in discov 
ery and occupancy, the powers of the crown and 
the rights of the colonists were very different from 


what they would have been if the dominion had 
been acquired by conquest. 

Mr. Blackstone's view was that the lands in 
America had been acquired by conquest; and the 
rules as to such colonies he states thus: "But in 
conquered or ceded countries, that have already 
laws of their own, the king may, indeed, alter and 
change those laws; but, till he does actually change 
them, the ancient laws of the country remain, un 
less such as are against the law of God, as in the 
case of an infidel country." While as to newly 
discovered lands he says: "For it hath been held, 
that if an uninhabited country be discovered and 
planted by English subjects, all the laws then in be 
ing, which are the birthright of every subject, are 
immediately there in force." 

Judge Story, in his commentaries, satisfactorily 
refutes this view and shows that the claim of En 
gland and, indeed, of all the European governments, 
to American territory, was based upon discovery. 
This was true, he thinks, even of the Dutch settle 
ments of New York, for England did not rest her 
title to that province upon conquest, but rather the 
conquest upon an antecedent right founded upon 

The Indians, Judge Story shows, were not a con 
quered people; and, if they were such, had no laws 
or organized government which could be assumed 
and enforced until the pleasure of the king was 


known. He says : "Even in case of a conquered 
country where there are no laws at all existing, or 
none which are adapted to a civilized community, 
or where the laws are silent, or are rejected and 
none substituted, the territory must be governed ac 
cording to the rules of natural equity and right. 
And Englishmen removing thither must be deemed 
to carry with them those rights and privileges which 
belong to them in their native country." 

He further shows that, even if the doctrine of 
Blackstone were right upon general principles, it 
did not apply to the American colonies. 

That we may understand what particular rights 
were claimed by the colonists as Englishmen, or 
under their charters, and the view taken of these 
claims in England, I quote here from* some of the 
most careful and notable expressions of the time. 
The right that came most to the front in the debate 
was, as I have said, the right to be exempt from 
taxes not voted by themselves; but it was soon 
found that this involved the larger question as to 
the power of parliament to legislate in other, or in 
deed in any matters, affecting the colonies. 

The prevailing English view was that the legis 
lative power of parliament extended to all colonial 
matters and was supreme. This view was ex 
pressed in a declarative act in these unambiguous 
and sweeping sentences: "All his majesty's colo 
nies and plantations in America have been, are, and 


of right ought to be, subordinate to and dependent 
upon the imperial crown and parliament of Great 
Britain, who have full power and authority to make 
laws and statutes of sufficient validity to bind the 
colonies and people of America, subjects to the 
crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever." 

But there were not a few liberal and learned En 
glish statesmen who took a different view and boldly 
opposed the oppressive measures of the ministry. 
The power of the parliament to tax the colonies 
was denied by some of these. 

About 1680 the Marquis of Halifax, a member 
of the privy council, in opposing arbitrary measures 
against the colonies, declared that "he could not 
agree to live under a king who' should have it in 
his power to take when he pleased the money 
which he (Halifax) had in his pocket." 

Mr. Burke, in his speech on the taxation of 
America in 1774, says, speaking of the contest for 
liberty in England: "They took infinite pains to 
inculcate, as a fundamental principle, that in all 
monarchies the people must in effect themselves me 
diately or immediately possess the power of grant 
ing their own money, or no shadow of liberty could 
subsist. The colonies draw from you, as with their 
life-blood, these ideas and principles. Their love of 
liberty, as with you, is fixed and attached on this 
specific point of taxing. Liberty might be safe or 
might be endangered in twenty other particulars, 


without their being much pleased or alarmed. Here 
they felt its pulse; and, as they found that beat, 
they thought themselves sick or sound. I do not 
say whether they were right or wrong in applying 
your general argument to their own case. It is not 
easy, indeed, to make a monopoly of theorems and 
corollaries. The fact is, that they did thus apply 
those general arguments; and your mode of gov 
erning them, whether through lenity or indolence, 
through wisdom or mistake, confirmed them in the 
imagination that they, as well as you, had an in 
terest in these common principles." 

Among other circumstances which had brought 
the colonists to the views of liberty held by them, 
Mr. Burke speaks of the effect of education, and 
says that in no country, perhaps, in the world was 
the law so generally studied. 

The Earl of Chatham, speaking on the bill de 
claring the sovereignty of Great Britain over the 
colonies, said: "My position is this I repeat it 
I will maintain it to my last hour taxation and 
representation are inseparable; this position is found 
ed on the laws of nature; it is itself an eternal law 
of nature; for whatever is a man's own is abso 
lutely his own; no man has a right to take it from 
him without his consent, either expressed by him 
self or representative; whoever attempts to do it at 
tempts an injury; whoever does it commits a rob 
bery; he throws down and destroys the distinction 


between liberty and slavery. Taxation and repre 
sentation are coeval with and essential to this con 
stitution." In the same speech he recites the fact 
that the palatinate of Chester had resisted a tax 
upon the ground of non-representation; and, upon 
their petition, the king had allowed their plea. "In 
short, my lord," said he, "from the whole of our 
history, from the earliest period, you will find that 
taxation and representation were always united." 

Pitt, in his speech in the house of lords, in De 
cember, 1/75, said: "Let the sacredness of their 
property remain inviolate; let it be taxable only by 
their own consent, given in their provincial assem 
blies, else it will cease to be property." And again, 
in the same speech, he said: "Let this distinction 
then remain forever ascertained. Taxation is theirs, 
commercial regulation is ours. As an American, 
I would recognize to England her supreme right of 
regulating commerce and navigation. As an En 
glishman by birth and principle, I recognize to the 
Americans their supreme, unalienable right to their 
property; a right which they are justified in the de 
fense of, to the extremity." 

A few quotations now setting forth the Ameri 
can view chiefly from the resolves of congress 
and the colonial assemblies will enable us to have 
a clear comprehension of the great issue that was 
about to be set down for trial. 

As early as 1680 we have a voice from New Jer- 


sey declaring that "it was a fundamental in their 
constitution and government that the king of En 
gland could not justly take his subject's goods with 
out their consent." 

Among the declarations of the continental con 
gress of 1765 was this: "That all supplies to the 
crown, being free gifts of the people, it is un 
reasonable and inconsistent with the principles and 
spirit of the British constitution, for the people of 
Great Britain to grant to his majesty the property 
of the colonists." 

In the address of this congress to the house of 
commons it is said "that the parliament, adhering 
strictly to the principle of the constitution, have 
never hitherto taxed any but those who were therein 
actually represented; for this reason we humbly ap 
prehend, they never have taxed Ireland, nor any 
other of the subjects without the realm." In this 
congress there was much discussion as to the basis 
or origin of the rights claimed by the colonies, and 
in the course of the discussion Christopher Gads- 
den said : "A confirmation of our essential and 
.common rights as Englishmen may be pleaded from 
charters safely enough; but any further dependence 
on them may be fatal. We should stand upon the 
broad common ground of those natural rights that 
we all feel and know as men and as descendants 
of Englishmen. I wish the charters may not en 
snare us at last by drawing different colonies to 


act differently in this great cause. Whenever that 
is the case, all will be over with the whole. There 
ought to be no New England man, no New Yorker, 
known on the continent; but all of us Americans." 
How wisely, how nobly spoken! And this voice 
was from South Carolina "All of us Americans." 
The way was long from provincial narrowness and 
jealousy to a broad nationalism; from a local citi 
zenship, of which the world took no notice, to a 
national citizenship that boldly challenged the world's 
deference. But in 1865 just one hundred years 
after the speaking of these immortal words the 
hope of the eloquent South Carolinian bursts into 
the dawn; and to-day, as never before, we are "all 
of us Americans." 

Among the resolutions adopted by the congress 
of 1774 (October 14), was the following: "Re 
solved, 4, that the foundation of English liberty, 
and of all free government, is a right in the peo 
ple to participate in their legislative council; and, 
as the English colonists are not represented, and 
from their local and other circumstances, can not 
properly be represented in the British parliament, 
they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of 
legislation in their several provincial legislatures, 
where their right of representation can alone be pre 
served, in all cases of taxation and internal polity, 
subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in 
such manner as has heretofore been used and accus- 


tomed. But, from the necessity of the case, and a 
regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we 
cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of 
the British parliament as are bona fide, restrained 
to the regulation of our external commerce, for the 
purpose of securing the commercial advantages of 
the whole empire to the mother country, and the 
commercial benefits of its respective members, ex 
cluding every idea of taxation internal or external 
for raising a revenue on the subjects in America 
without their consent/' 

It seems that the committee was hopelessly di 
vided on the question of the powers of parliament 
and that the terms used in the fourth resolution, as 
adopted, were accepted as a compromise, not of 
opinions but of phrases; a practice quite familiar 
in modern political conventions. Mr. John Adams 
suggested the declaration that, from "the necessity 
of the case" the colonists "consented" to the opera 
tion of laws regulating external commerce, exclud 
ing "every idea of taxation internal or external for 
raising a revenue on the subjects in America with 
out their consent." The one side could argue that 
this was a consent to the rightfulness of such laws, 
and the other that the laws derived their rightful- 
ness from the consent; while the denial of every 
idea of taxation left the one side free to say, in a 
particular case, that taxation was not the idea, but 
only an incident of the law; and the other to argue 


that where taxation resulted it must have been in 

This resolution has an especial significance in two 
particulars first, it declares that the colonies could 
not be properly represented in the British parlia 
ment; and second, it expresses a consent to the gen 
eral regulations of commerce by the parliament, 
provided every idea of revenue was excluded. The 
last was a compromise view a concession in the 
interests of peace; but the binding force of parlia 
mentary navigation acts was distinctly put upon the 
consent of the colonies. 

In a declaration by the congress of 1775 justify 
ing resistance after enumerating some of the colo 
nial grievances it is said: "But why should we 
enumerate our injuries in detail? By one statute 
it is declared that parliament can 'of right make 
laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever/ What is 
to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a 
power? Not a single man, of those who assume it, 
is chosen by us; or is subject to our control or in 
fluence; but on the contrary, they are all of them 
exempt from the operation of such laws, and an 
American revenue, if not diverted from the ostensi 
ble purposes for which it is raised, would actually 
lighten their own burdens in proportion as they in 
crease ours." 

The colonists would not be bound by acts of par 
liament because they were not represented there; but 


would they have accepted representation in parlia 
ment as a basis of settlement? I think not. The 
letter of appointment and instruction from the as 
sembly of Massachusetts to the delegates of the col 
ony to the congress of 1765, which assembled in 
New York, contained these paragraphs: "If it 
should be said that we are in any manner repre 
sented in parliament you must by no means concede 
to it; it is an opinion which this house can not see 
the least reason to adopt. Further, the house think 
that such a representation of the colonies as British 
subjects are to enjoy, would be attended with the 
greatest difficulty, if it is not absolutely impracti 
cable, and therefore, you are not to urge or consent 
to any proposal for any representation, if such be 
made in the congress." 

In speaking of the English opposition to the sug 
gestion that the difficulties between the mother coun 
try and the colonies might be obviated by admit 
ting representatives of the colonies in parliament, 
Doctor Franklin said: "But the pride of this peo 
ple can not bear the thought of it, and therefore it 
will be delayed. Every man in England seems to 
consider himself as a piece of a sovereign over Amer 
ica, seems to jostle himself into the throne with the 
king and talk of 'our subjects in the colonies.' ' 

They would not be taxed by parliament, because 
they were not represented in parliament, and they 
did not seek representation in parliament because it 


could not in the nature of things be adequate. It 
would have been delusive no better practically than 
the then prevailing system of maintaining colonial 
agents in London. The colonial members in the 
house of commons could not defeat, and their pres 
ence there could only give sanction to hostile legisla 
tion. Taxes might have been voted without the 
consent of a single representative of the communi 
ties from which the levies were to be raised, and 
by the votes of those whose burdens would have 
been lightened by the legislation. The grants would 
still have been by the people of Great Britain of 
the property of the colonists. The argument of 
the colonists stated in full was: We can not law 
fully be taxed by a body in which we have no repre 
sentation. We are not represented in the English 
parliament; therefore we can not be taxed by par 
liament. We can not in the nature of things have 
any real representation in the parliament therefore 
we will be taxed only by our colonial assemblies. 
Our forefathers were wise, but very practical men; 
not mere casuists or philosophers. They saw that 
an admission of the power of the parliament to tax 
them involved the destruction of their liberties and 
the confiscation of their property and with an alert 
ness and courage that was admirable they resisted. 
They would not admit the tip of the camel's nose 
inside the tent. They maintained with much learn 
ing, and with convincing force, that the parliament 


could not do this or that and this or that in 
cluded pretty much every act that affected them in 
juriously; but they made no schedule of the things 
parliament might do. They at once boldly joined 
issue with the parliamentary declaration that it was 
authorized "to bind the colonies and people of Amer 
ica in all cases whatsoever." Possibly there were 
cases in which parliament might legislate for them 
in an indirect way; but they would not attempt 
general definitions; they would deal only with par 
ticulars with the concrete and not with the ab 
stract they would see the proposed statute and ad 
mit or exclude it. Just what the powers of parlia 
ment over the colonies were was a hard question, 
and is still a hard question for the student of con 
stitutional history. ' There seems to have been no 
safe middle ground found between the admission 
of full powers on the one hand, and a total denial 
of any on the other. Satisfactory English prece 
dents were wanting. That taxes were grants to be 
freely voted by those who were to pay them, 
through their representatives, was an established 
principle. But how far general laws, such as laws 
regulating navigation and other general interests of 
the whole kingdom, might be made for the colo 
nies by the parliament in which they were not rep 
resented was not clear. It turned upon the ques 
tion, how far the principle that all laws derive their 
sanction from the consent of the governed, was a 


part of the English constitution, and upon the fur 
ther question, whether the right of Englishmen to 
have a voice in the making of the laws that were to 
govern them was possessed by the colonists. 

Mr. Story says: "In respect to the political re 
lations of the colonies with the parent country, it 
is not easy to state the exact limits of the depen 
dency which was admitted, and the extent of sov 
ereignty which might be lawfully exercised over 
them, either by the crown or by parliament." 

Of the authority of parliament, he says: "In re 
gard to the authority of parliament to enact laws 
which should be binding upon them, there was quite 
as much obscurity and still more jealousy spreading 
over the whole subject. * * * No acts of par 
liament, however, were understood to bind the colo 
nies unless expressly named therein. 

"But it was by, no means an uncommon opinion 
in some of the colonies, especially in the proprie 
tary and charter governments, that no act of parlia 
ment whatsoever could bind them without their own 

Mr. Story says that after the passage of the stamp 
act the subject was re-examined in the colonies, 
especially in connection with the declaration by par 
liament of an absolute power of legislation; and 
that many of the leading minds "passed by an easy 
transition to a denial, first, of the power of tax- 


ation, and next, of all authority whatever to bind 
them by its laws." 

He quotes James Wilson, of Pennsylvania, as 
saying that he entered upon the inquiry "with a 
view and expectation of being able to trace some 
constitutional line between those cases in which we 
ought and those in which we ought not to acknowl 
edge the power of parliament over us" ; but that in 
the prosecution of his inquiries he became convinced 
that such a line did not exist and that there could 
be "no medium between acknowledging and deny 
ing that power in all cases." 

When Governor Hutchinson, in 1773, said in an 
address to the general court of Massachusetts that 
he "knew of no line that should be drawn between 
the supreme authority of parliament and the total 
independence of the colony," it was answered by 
the general court that parliament was not supreme 
and that "the drawing the line between the supreme 
authority of parliament and total independence was 
a profound question and not to be proposed without 
their consent in a general congress." 

The governor undertook and with some success 
to point out the many illustrations in the legisla 
tion of the colony of the recognition of the validity 
and force of acts of parliament. Among these he 
mentions the settlement of the crown upon William 
and Mary by an act of parliament, and the accom- 


panying act of parliament by which oaths of alle 
giance to King James were discharged and pro 
vision made for oaths to King William and Queen 

The assembly, replying to this address of the gov 
ernor, argued that the words of limitation in the 
charter, upon the legislative power of the colonies 
namely, that the laws made should not be re 
pugnant to the laws of England had relation to 
the great charter and other laws of England by 
which the lives, the liberties, and property of En 
glishmen were secured, and not to the general legis 
lation of parliament. The right to be represented 
in the legislative body was asserted as a fundament 
al principle of the English constitution, and one 
that the parliament could not impair or disregard. 
The particular instances cited by the governor of 
submission by the colony to particular acts of par 
liament they met by the declaration that the acces 
sion of William and Mary, while not proclaimed by 
an act of the colony, was based upon the universal 
consent of the people. They declared that "a purely 
voluntary submission to an act, because it is highly 
in our favor and for our benefit, is in all equity 
and justice to be deemed as not at all proceeding 
from the right we include in the legislators, that 
thereby obtain an authority over us, and that ever 
hereafter we must obey them of duty." That while 
"they may have submitted, sub silentio, to some 


acts of parliament, that they conceived might oper 
ate for their benefit, they did not conceive them 
selves bound by any of its acts which, they judged, 
would operate to the injury even of individuals." 
Concluding, they said: "We think your excellency 
has not proved, either that the colony is a part of 
the politic society of England, or that it has ever 
consented that the parliament of England or Great 
Britain, should make laws binding upon us, in all 
cases, whether made expressly to refer to us or not." 

In the notes of Mr. Jefferson on the debate upon 
the adoption of the declaration of independence he 
represents John Adams, Lee, and others who favored 
the adoption, to have held this view of the powers 
of parliament: "That, as to the people or parlia 
ment of England we had always been independent 
of them, their restraints on our trade deriving effect 
from our acquiescence only and not from any rights 
they had of imposing them, and that so far our 
connection had been federal only and was now dis 
solved by the commencement of hostilities." The 
declaration itself makes no direct reference to par 
liament, but, in the schedule of the unlawful acts 
of the king, refers to the parliament in these terms : 
"He has combined with others to subject us to a 
jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unac 
knowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their 
acts of pretended legislation. 

It would seem that, if any power to legislate for 


the colonies was possessed by parliament, it would 
include the power to establish a system of import 
duties, common to them all for this was a subject 
that colonial legislation could not adequately deal 
with ; and yet the tea tax was generally resisted in the 
colonies as an invasion of their liberties. 

Mr. Curtis, in his work on the Constitutional His 
tory of the United States, speaking of the colonial 
congress of 1774, says: "The second question re 
lated to the authority which they should allow to 
be in parliament; whether they should deny it wholly 
or deny it only as to internal affairs; admitting it 
as to external trade; and if the latter, to what ex 
tent and with what restriction. It was soon felt 
that this question of the authority of parliament was 
the essence of the whole controversy. Some denied 
it altogether. Others denied it as to every species 
of taxation; while others admitted it to extend to 
the regulation of external trade, but denied it as to 
all internal affairs." He adds that in view of the 
fact that the right of regulating the trade of the 
whole country could not be well exercised by the 
separate colonies the alternative was either to set 
up an American legislature that could regulate such 
trade or to give the power to parliament. 

The congress, he says, determined to do the lat 
ter, thinking that they could limit the admission by 
denying that the power extended to taxation and ad 
mitting it only so far as was necessary to regulate the 


external trade of the colony for the common benefit 
of the whole empire. "They grounded this conces 
sion," he says, " 'upon the necessities of the case' 
and 'upon the mutual interests of both countries' ' 
meaning by this expression to assert that all legis 
lative control over the external and internal trade 
of the colonies belonged of right to the colonies 

It is difficult to conceive of any theory of the re 
lation of the colonies to the mother country that 
will support the pretentions and resistance of the 
colonies throughout, except that which denies in toto 
the power of the parliament to legislate for the col 
onies. If the relation was as described in the de 
bate upon the declaration of independence, from 
which I have quoted, and by Franklin a federal 
one like that of England and Scotland before the 
union then the British parliament had no authority 
to legislate for the colonies. Yet it is certain that 
many acts of parliament not involving taxation or 
revenues were recognized in the colonies as an il 
lustration, the act of 1766 forbidding the issue of 
legal tender paper by the colonies. 

In an essay by a Virginian, published in London 
in 1701, the uncertainty of the law in the colonial 
age is thus described: "It is a great unhappiness 
that no one can tell what is law and what is not in 
the plantations. Some hold that the law of England 
is chiefly to be respected, and, where that is de- 


ficient, the laws of the several colonies are to take 
place; others are of opinion that the laws of the col 
onies are to take the first place, and that the law 
of England is of force only where they are silent; 
others there are who contend for the laws of the 
colonies, in conjunction with those that were in 
force in England at the first settlement of the colo 
nies, and lay down that as the measure of our obe 
dience, alleging that we are not bound to observe 
any late acts of parliament in England except such 
only where the reason of the law is the same here 
that it is in England. But, this leaving too great 
a latitude to the judge, some others hold that no 
late act of the parliament of England do bind the 
plantations, but those only wherein the plantations 
are particularly named. Thus are we left in the 
dark in one of the most considerable points of our 
rights; and, the case being so doubtful, we are too 
often obliged to depend upon the crooked cord of 
a judge's discretion in matters of the greatest mo 
ment and value." 

Perhaps the following is a fair summary of the 
colonial view, just prior to the revolution, as to 
the force of English statute law in the colonies : 

First, the general statutes enacted before the insti 
tution of any government in the respective colonies 
were of continued obligation there, so far as they 
were applicable. This upon the principle that such 
laws were enacted by parliaments in which the col- 


onists, being then residents of England, were rep 

Second, that no later act of parliament had any 
inherent validity in the colonies; but that the su 
preme legislative power was vested in the colonial 

Certainly this is the view of the declaration of 
independence. The debate that preceded the formu 
lation and general adoption of this view was long 
and heated. Particular acts of parliament were im 
peached on narrow grounds; but there was no hold 
ing ground short of the full denial of the power of 
parliament to legislate for the colonies. The par 
liament was not a representative body as to the colo 
nies; and a system which recognized the right of 
parliament to legislate for the colonies was not a 
representative system of government. A just colo 
nial system that should preserve by suitable limita 
tions the imperial and general powers of parliament 
and reconcile them with free institutions in the col 
onies was not possible to that generation of English 
men; and a system of parliamentary government 
without representation and without agreed limita 
tions was impossible to that generation of Ameri 

It will be noticed that very many of the griev 
ances, catalogued in the declaration of independence, 
do not involve questions affecting the constitutional 
or charter rights of the colonies, but rather bad and 


vindictive administration, and so a violation of nat 
ural rights. The English government in the colo 
nies, as administered, subverted the true purposes 
of government, namely, to secure to the people the 
enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi 
ness. It was not unlawful for the king to refuse 
his assent to laws, or to prorogue an assembly, or 
perhaps to fix another than the usual place for its 
assembling. But when these things were done, not 
in the exercise of a just discretion, but vexatiously 
to deprive the people of their rights or to coerce 
them into a surrender of them to punish them for 
things lawfully done the executive power was 
abused. This power was not to be directed by whim 
or malice; but like all other forms of government, 
for the public welfare. Protection was the condi 
tion of allegiance; when the existing government did 
not protect, the natural right became the supreme 
law. The resistance made by the colonies to the 
stamp tax, the tea tax, and other assertions of the 
powers of parliament, naturally brought on a con 
flict with the king and his governors, and this con 
flict marched in the familiar and inevitable lines 
edict and proclamation, thundered against the town 
meeting and the assembly. The solitary and power 
less civil governor was reinforced by ships and sol 
diers, and the town meeting became a training 
band it only remained that these should meet and 
war was flagrant. 


But there were some other constitutional rights 
that were invaded. The right to transport persons 
accused of crime to England for trial was asserted 
by the crown. The English cabinet issued orders 
directing Governor Barnard, of Massachusetts, to 
prosecute an inquiry into the conduct of some of 
the popular leaders in Massachusetts with a view to 
transporting them to be tried for their lives, under 
the pretended authority of a statute of Henry VIII. 
In 1772 royal instructions were issued to the gov 
ernor of Rhode Island to organize a commission to 
inquire into the facts connected with the burning of 
the royal schooner "Gaspee." The governor was di 
rected by the commission to arrest the parties and 
to send them with the witnesses upon a naval ves 
sel to England for trial. The colonial assembly, 
upon the appeal of the governor and Chief Justice 
Hopkins, referred the matter to the discretion of 
the chief justice, who declared that he would not 
give an order to arrest any person for transporta 
tion to England for trial. The commission, in its 
report, condemned the conduct of the commander of 
the "Gaspee," and after much passion had been ex 
cited by this high-handed invasion of the right of 
trial, the- matter was dropped. The result of these 
attempts was widespread excitement and indignation 
in the colonies; The Virginia house of burgesses, 
on the sixteenth of May, 1769, passed a resolution de 
claring that "all trials for treason, misprision of 


treason, or for any felony or crime whatsoever, com 
mitted and done in his majesty's said colony and 
dominion, by any person or persons residing therein, 
ought of right to be had and conducted in and be 
fore his majesty's courts, held within his said col 
ony, according to the fixed and known course of 
proceeding," and that the "sending such person or 
persons to places beyond the sea t be tried is highly 
derogatory of the rights of British subjects, as 
thereby the inestimable privilege of being tried by a 
jury from the vicinage, as well as the liberty of 
summoning and producing witnesses on such trial, 
will be taken away from the party accused. " 

In 1770 the privy council inaugurated a series of 
royal instructions which ruthlessly disregarded not 
only the usages of the colonies but directly set at 
naught the provisions of the colonial charters. They 
proceeded upon the theory that these royal instruc 
tions had the force of law and practically asserted 
an unlimited and arbitrary power in the crown. 

In 1772 Governor Hutchinson, of Massachusetts, 
under instructions from the crown, refused to re 
ceive his salary from the legislature, and the judges' 
salaries were also ordered to be paid out of the 
crown treasury. This was regarded as making these 
officers dependents of the crown and freeing them 
from that restraint which the power to vote their 
salaries in the general court imposed. This "in 
definite, imperious and mysterious," as Mr. Frothing- 


ham calls it, assertion of the royal prerogative seemed 
to put every right in jeopardy. 

The passage of laws vesting the nomination of 
the council in Massachusetts in the crown, investing 
the governor with the power to appoint and remove 
judges of the inferior courts and other minor officers, 
and the governor and council with power to ap 
point sheriffs who were to select the juries, forbid 
ding town meetings except for the choice of officers, 
without the permission of the governor, and pro 
viding for the transportation of offenders and wit 
nesses to other colonies or to England for trial, was 
a complete and undeniable expression of the pur 
pose of the English government to overthrow not 
only local government, but liberty, in the colonies. 

It was said, even in the house of lords, that 
these acts invested "the governor and council with 
powers with which the British constitution had not 
trusted his majesty and his privy council'*; and 
that "the lives, liberties and properties of the sub 
ject were put into their hands without control." 


DeliTered at Stanford University, April .2, 1894 

I desire to call your attention first to some of 
the efforts that were made to effect a union of the 
English colonies in America, upon the basis of a 
continued allegiance to the British crown. 

The first American confederation was of certain 
of the New England colonies, and took form in 
1643. At that time New York, a Dutch province, 
intervened between New England and the middle 
and southern English colonies, while Canada, a 
French possession on the north, was a special 
menace to New England. Serious disputes as to 
settlements and boundaries had arisen with the 
Dutch; and the purpose of the French to restrict, 
if not to subdue, the English colonies, was not con 
cealed. The Indians, especially the Narragansetts, a 
near and strong tribe, had become unfriendly and 
were threatening the settlements. The dangers were 



common and imminent, and the conditions out of 
which they grew lasting. Not one campaign, but 
many; not the foreseen, but the unforeseen also, 
must be provided for. England was wasted by civil 
-war; and the king was thinking of his crown, not 
of his provinces. His military resources were over 
taxed in the defense of his prerogative at home and 
of his life. Neither English money nor English 
troops, neither English direction nor leadership was 
available to the New England colonies. The feder 
ation was as natural and reasonable as a block house 
in a frontier village. The articles of union were 
subscribed by the representatives of Massachusetts, 
New Plymouth, Connecticut and New Haven. 
Rhode Island, with Connecticut and New Haven, 
had three years before united in a joint letter to the 
general court of Massachusetts, suggesting a con 
federation; but poor little Rhode Island, upon the 
spiteful objection of Massachusetts, was not allowed 
to enter the confederation that was formed. These 
articles of union are of great interest; but we have 
time to notice only a few of their most important 
provisions. A common name was assumed: "The 
United Colonies of New England." The things that 
are not said in these articles are quite as noticeable 
as the things that are said. No reference whatever 
is made to the crown, save by this recital in the 
preamble : 

"And seeing by these sad distractions in England, 


which they have heard of, and by which they know 
we are hindered from that humble way of seeking" 
advice or reaping those comfortable fruits of pro 
tection which at other times we might well expect." 
Neither the taking effect of the articles nor the 
continuance of the confederation is made depend 
ent upon the consent of the king. The confedera 
tion was not limited to the exigency described in 
the preamble, but was expressly declared to be per 
petual. It was "for mutual help and strength in all 
our future concernments." The league was described 
as "a firm and perpetual" one; and, in the twelfth 
and last article, it is called "this perpetual confeder 
ation." It was instituted for "offense and defense, 
mutual advice and succor, upon all just occasions; 
both for preserving and propagating the truth and 
liberties of the gospel, and for their own mutual 
safety and welfare." If any one of the colonies 
should be invaded "by any enemy whomsoever" the 
other members of the confederation were required 
forthwith to send aid to the "confederate in dan 
ger." The expenses of the confederation were ap 
portioned. Its affairs were to be managed by two 
commissioners from each colony, who were to bring 
from their respective general courts full power "to 
hear, examine, weigh and determine all affairs of 
our war or peace, leagues, aids, charges and num 
bers of men for war, division and spoils and what 
soever is gotten by conquest, receiving of more 


confederates for plantations into combination with 
any of the confederates, and all things of like na 
ture which are the proper concomitants of conse 
quence of such a confederation, for amity, offense 
and defense." There was to be no intermeddling 
with the government of any of the jurisdictions, 
which by the third article is preserved entirely to 
themselves. Six of the eight commissioners were 
empowered to determine any matter presented; but 
if six did not agree, then the matter was to be re 
ferred to the general courts of the confederated col 
onies. The commissioners were to meet once every 
year; provision was made for extraordinary sessions 
and the places of meeting designated. No colony 
was allowed to declare or undertake a war, except 
upon sudden exigency, without the consent of the 
commissioners or of six of them. 

But the purposes of the confederation were not, 
as I have said, limited by the occasion which sug 
gested it, viz., the unfriendly and hostile attitude of 
their neighbors. The commission was required by 
the eighth article "to frame and establish agree 
ments and orders in general cases of a civil nature 
wherein all the plantations are interested for pre 
serving peace among themselves and preventing as 
much as may be all occasions of war or difference 
with others, as about the free and speedy passage 
of justice in every jurisdiction, to all the confeder 
ates equally as their own, receiving those that re- 


move from one plantation to another without due 
certificates." Provision was also made for the ren 
dition of servants and of prisoners fleeing from 
one jurisdiction into another. The annexation, by 
royal decree, of New Haven to Connecticut extin 
guished one of the parties to this compact of gov 
ernment; but the agreement was revised and con 
tinued as a league of three colonies, with occasional 
meetings of the commissioners, until 1684, when the 
charter of Massachusetts was annulled. The united 
colonies, through the commissioners, exercised the 
sovereign power of war and peace, conducted ne 
gotiations with the Indians, the French and the 
Dutch, adjusted a boundary dispute between New 
Haven and New Netherland, and exercised the 
highest powers of government; and by this early 
experiment confirmed the opinion of the necessity 
and usefulness of a union of the colonies. The 
powers of the commissioners under this confedera 
tion were quite similar to the powers of the con 
gress under the later confederation of the thirteen 
colonies. Both were leagues of friendship insti 
tuted for the general welfare and defense. The 
provision that no colony should engage in war, with 
out the consent of the others, except upon an exi 
gency, was quite like the article of the later con 
federation upon the same subject. The New En 
gland league has a suggestion also of the provision 
of the federal constitution that the citizens of each 


state shall be entitled to all the privileges and im 
munities of the citizens of the several states, and 
of the provisions for the rendition of criminals and 
fugitives from labor. The provision that no mem 
bers should be admitted to the confederation, nor 
any other plantation be received by any of the 
united colonies, nor any two of the colonies united 
in one jurisdiction without the consent of the rest, 
is quite suggestive of section 3 of article IV of the 
constitution, which provides that new states may be 
admitted by congress, but that no new states shall 
be formed within the jurisdiction of any other 
state nor by the conjunction of two states or parts 
of states without the consent of congress. An equal 
voice was given to the colonies, in the joint meet 
ings, though they differed so widely in population 
and wealth, Massachusetts having fifteen thousand 
out of an aggregate population of twenty-four thou 
sand. This plan of representation was followed in 
the congress of 1774, passed into the articles of con 
federation and continued to be used until the adop 
tion of the national constitution. The contest that 
afterward became so threatening between the larger 
and the smaller colonies had its earliest mani 
festation in this earliest confederation. The efforts 
of Massachusetts to exert more than the prescribed 
influence in the New England confederation was 
sharply resented by the smaller colonies. 

The confederacy was not unnaturally, and in 


spite of the loyal protestations of the colonial au 
thorities regarded by the crown as a movement 
full of danger to the royal authority. The commis 
sioners of Charles II arraigned the confederation as 
illegal, holding that there was no right conferred 
upon any of the colonies by charter "to incorpo 
rate with the other colonies, nor to exercise any 
power by that association"; both of these powers be 
longing to the king's prerogative. The answer of 
the Massachusetts general court declared that this 
charge was "contrary to the light of reason that al 
lows all whose journey's end is the same and whose 
way lies together to combine for their mutual help 
in all things common and just, without the least 
suspicion of taking upon them any usurped au 

Mr. Frothingham says of this confederation: 
"The powers reserved to each jurisdiction proved 
impracticable, and the provisions to promote the 
common welfare were crude. Notwithstanding 
these vital defects, the service which the confed 
eracy rendered was never forgotten: It was re 
ferred to in every period of the colonial age; and 
in seasons of peril there was a call for its revival. 
The embodiment of the idea of union was imper 
fect; but the principle of the equality of distinct 
jurisdictions, the inviolability of their local govern 
ments, and the aim of providing one system of law, 


securing to the people of all the colonies their 
rights, became fundamentals of a republican polity." 

It is probable at least that is the view most gen 
erally taken by the historians that in forming this 
union no thought of independency or of a separa 
tion from the English crown was in the minds of 
its promoters. The suggestions they followed were, 
as I have said, the natural outgrowth of conditions; 
and that these conditions were pregnant of further 
suggestions of a larger union and of separation from 
the crown was yet to be unfolded. Yet it is true, 
as was said by John Quincy Adams, in his dis 
course on the New England confederacy, delivered 
in 1843, that the confederation was "the exercise of 
sovereign power in its highest attributes." There 
was no declaration against the king in the articles, 
but he was wholly left out of them. 

Upon the accession of Charles II to the throne, 
the advantage of a union of the English colonies 
in America from a royal standpoint was recog 
nized. The hostile environment of the colonies 
menaced England through them. A union of forces 
and of resources was needed by the colonists for 
the protection of their lives and property ; by the 
king for the defense of his dominions. The advan 
tage of taking the direction of the movement was 
apparent; and, in 1660, Charles organized a com 
mission for the purpose of bringing the scattered 
colonies into a "more certain civil and uniform gov- 


ernment." James II, pursuing the same line, planned 
to unite the colonists between the Delaware *and the 
St. Lawrence under one royal governor and a sin 
gle legislative council to be appointed by the king, 
but was deposed before the plan was executed: These 
incidents and others of a later date of the same char 
acter are worthy of note as admissions by the crown 
of the advantage of a union of the colonies under 
one resident executive and one council or congress. 
This sentiment was expressed in 1696 by the lords 
of trade and plantations thus: "We humbly con 
ceive that the strength of the English there [in 
America] can not be made use of with that advan 
tage it ought for the preservation of those colonies, 
unless they be united." 

In 1677 a joint conference was held at Albany 
by Virginia, Maryland and New York with the 
Seneca Indians; and in 1684 another congress, in 
which Massachusetts participated with the colonies 
named, was held at the same place with the Five 
Nations of Indians. In 1690 the general court of 
Massachusetts, moved by the massacre at Schenec- 
tady, invited "New York, Virginia and Maryland, 
and parts adjacent" to meet the New England 
colonies in a conference to organize the common de 
fense. Only Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut 
and New York were represented in the conference 
which was held in New York. Plans of defense 
were discussed covering the northern frontier, and 


an organization of the military forces, to be contrib 
uted by each, was agreed upon. Mr. Bancroft and 
other historians characterize this assemblage as the 
first American congress. 

About the same time William Penn appeared be 
fore the lords of trade and plantations with a sug 
gestion of a plan of union of the colonies which 
was afterward presented by him in writing, and 
embraced the following provisions: First, that the 
several colonies, by appointed deputies, should 
meet once a year in time of war and once in two 
years in time of peace, to debate and resolve meas 
ures for their "better understanding and the public 
tranquillity and safety," and particularly to adjust 
matters of difference between province and province 
relating to debtors or fugitives from justice fleeing 
one province to the other, disputes as to commerce 
and matters relating to the defense of the provinces 
against public enemies; that this conference or con 
gress should be presided over by the king's com 
missioner, and that in time of war, the king's high 
commissioner should be commander-in-chief of the 
forces organized for defense. 

A memorial by the general court of Massachu 
setts to the king, in 1696, proposed that the royal 
governor of Massachusetts should also be the civil 
governor of New York and New Hampshire, and 
general of all the forces of Massachusetts, New 
York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island 


and the Jerseys. This project was naturally resist 
ed by the agents of Connecticut, New Hampshire 
and New York. But a distinguished writer says: 
"This line of recommendation had so much weight 
with the lords of trade, and harmonized so com 
pletely with their views and designs that a remod 
eling of the internal affairs of the colonies and 
unity became at length the corner-stone of their 

In reporting upon the matters submitted the lords 
of trade said: "We now humbly crave leave to add 
that the distinct proprieties, charters and different 
forms of government in several of those neighboring 
colonies, make all other union except under such a 
military head (in our opinion) at present impracti 

The recommendation submitted was that the king 
should appoint a suitable person to be governor of 
the provinces of New York, Massachusetts Bay and 
New Hampshire and that he should be also captain 
general of all the king's forces in the colonies 
named, as also in Connecticut, Rhode Island and 
the Jerseys, the chief residence of the governor to 
be at New York. The report concluded as fol 
lows: "And, in the last place, we are also humbly 
of the opinion that the general assemblies of all 
those neighboring colonies, by the prudent conduct 
of such a captain general, may be made to under 
stand their own true interests and thereby induced 


to enact such laws in their respective governments 
as shall be necessary to enable the said captain gen 
eral to execute your majesty's commissions so as 
shall be most for your majesty's service, their own 
defense and general advantage." 

Lord Bellomont was accordingly commissioned 
captain general over the provinces of Massachu 
setts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York. 

Many plans of union were, during these protract 
ed discussions, propounded in pamphlet and me 
morial; and in the course of the discussion, some 
of those elements of division which afterward ap 
peared so threateningly in the continental congress 
and in the constitutional convention are disclosed 
especially that of the basis of representation in any 
general congress or council, and a jealousy as to 
the place of its assemblage. 

The lords of trade in 1721, in a report to the 
king on colonial affairs, adopted the suggestion 
that all of the provinces from Nova Scotia to South 
Carolina should be put under the government of 
"one lord lieutenant or captain general from whom 
all other governors of particular provinces should 
receive their orders in all cases for your majesty's 
service, and cease to have any command respectively 
in such province where the said captain general 
shall at any time reside." The captain general was 
to be attended by two or more councilors deputed 
by each plantation. 


All of these efforts by the crown to effect a con 
solidation of the colonies were intended, first, to 
make a more effective use of the military resources 
of the colonies against the king's enemies, and sec 
ond, to curb, by the institution of a stronger royal 
government, the increasing demands of the colo 
nists for a fuller control of their own affairs or, 
as a writer of the time expressed it, to "prevent 
them from setting up for an independency of gov 
ernment, to the unspeakable loss and detriment of 
the kingdom." But the colonists were all the while, 
and very naturally, looking at this question from an 
American standpoint. And, running through this 
whole period, conferences between the governors or 
delegates appointed by the different colonies, to 
take into consideration the threatening attitude of the 
French and Indians, to confer with friendly tribes, 
to arrange the quota of men and supplies of the sev 
eral colonies, and other such matters of common in 
terest, were frequent. A correspondence, too, 
sprang up between the governors and even be 
tween the general assemblies, without the concur 
rence of the governors in which all these and 
other matters of common interest were the subject 
of conference. 

In September, 1753, the lords of trade directed 
the governors of the provinces to appoint commis 
sioners with a view of holding a conference and 
negotiating a treaty with the Six Nations in order 


to prevent them from aiding the French. This has 
been described as the "second call for an Ameri 
can congress, based upon the principle of represen 
tation." The congress convened at Albany in June, 
1754, and was composed of commissioners from 
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode 
Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. 
Benjamin Franklin was a member. One of the ob 
jects of the congress, as stated in the call, was to 
determine whether the colonists would "enter into 
articles of union and federation with each other for 
the mutual defense of his majesty's subjects and in 
terests in North America as well in times of peace 
and war." It was resolved unanimously that a 
union of the colonies was necessary, and a commit 
tee was appointed to examine the plans of union of 
fered and to report a plan. Of this committee 
Franklin was a member. A plan prepared by him 
was submitted, and the congress directed that copies 
of it should be sent to the respective colonies, to 
those not represented as well as to those present by 
delegates, for such suggestions as might be made; 
the purpose being afterward to submit the plan to 
parliament for enactment into law. Franklin had, 
previous to the meeting of the congress, prepared 
what he called short hints toward a scheme for 
uniting the northern colonies. The device append 
ed was a serpent separated into parts, each part rep 
resenting a colony and over it the motto, "Join or 


Die." These hints were the basis of the plan sub 
mitted by him to the congress. This scheme of 
government is especially worthy of attention; first, 
by reason of its distinguished authorship; and sec 
ond, by reason of some special provisions of it 
which, after long resistance, found effective expres 
sion in the constitution of 1787. It will be remem 
bered that Franklin, in his old age, was a member 
of the convention of 1787 also. 

The plan contemplated, as I have said, an act of 
parliament to give it effect and was intended to or 
ganize one general government which should in 
clude all the colonies; "within and under which 
government each colony (as it was expressed) may 
retain its present constitution, except in the partic 
ulars wherein a change may be directed by the said 
act." The scheme was briefly this: A president 
general was to be appointed and paid by the crown; 
and a grand .council was to be chosen by the rep 
resentatives of the people of the colonies in their 
respective assemblies. This council was to consist 
of forty-eight members. The representation of the 
several colonies was not, as in the New England con 
federation, and afterward in the revolutionary con 
gresses and in the articles of confederation, equal; 
but a specific apportionment was made which gave 
to Massachusetts Bay and Virginia seven mem 
bers, to Connecticut and New Hampshire two each, 
and to the other colonies numbers in proportion to 


their importance. Twenty-five members were to 
constitute a quorum, provided there were among 
them one or more representatives from a majority 
of the colonies. A new election was provided for 
at the end of three years, when the apportionment 
of the members was to be upon the basis of the 
money contributions of the respective colonies to the 
general treasury; no colony, however, to have more 
than seven or less than two representatives. All 
acts of the general council were made subject to the 
assent of the president general; and, in the discus 
sions upon the plan, this provision was construed 
to require the assent of the president to the selec 
tion of a speaker of the council. The council was 
to meet once every year, and could not be dissolved, 
nor prorogued; nor continued in session longer than 
six weeks at one time, without their own consent 
or the special direction of the crown. The powers 
of this general government were: To make all In 
dian treaties affecting the general interest; to make 
peace or declare war with the Indian tribes; to make 
such laws as were necessary for regulating Indian 
trade; to make all purchases from the Indians of 
lands not within the bounds of particular colonies; 
to make new settlements upon such purchases, by 
granting lands in the king's name; and to make 
laws for governing such new settlements till they 
should be formed into particular governments; to 
raise and pay soldiers, build forts and equip vessels; 


to guard the coast and protect trade. It was de 
clared that for these purposes "they have power to 
make laws and lay and levy such general duties, im 
post or taxes as to them shall appear most equal 
and just, considering the ability and other circum 
stances of the inhabitants in the several colonies." 
A general treasurer and a particular treasurer for 
each colony were to be selected by the president and 
general council to receive the taxes levied. The 
joint order of the president and council was made 
necessary to the expenditure of money. All military 
officers were to be nominated by the president gen 
eral and confirmed by the grand council before they 
were commissioned; and all civil officers were to be 
nominated by the grand council and to be approved 
by the president general before they entered upon 
their offices. 

Unlike the New England confederation and the 
confederation of the revolution this plan did not 
propose a league or confederation; but instituted a 
general government that acted, not upon constituent 
states, but directly upon the people of all the colonies. 
The laws made by the president and council, with 
in the powers committed to them, were the su 
preme laws of the land. The revenues for support 
ing the general government proposed were to be 
levied and collected by it and taken into its own 
treasury. In all matters not expressly confided to 
the general government the separate autonomy and 


administration of each colony were preserved. In a 
word we have here the principle which, after years 
of heated discussions and threatening divisions, was 
finally adopted in our national constitution. The 
proposition was premature; but it was a seed that 
was to have glorious fruitage. It was a rejected 
stone that was yet to become the chief corner 

Power is never graciously surrendered and the 
colonies did not surrender to the general govern 
ment powers which they had long exercised until 
they had been brought, under the Providence of 
God, to the inexorable contingency of the loss of 
all the powers of free government or the surrender 
of such part thereof to the general government as 
was necessary to the establishment and equipment 
of a nation. Writing after the adoption of the 
constitution, of this Albany plan, Franklin says: 
"On reflection it now seems probable, that, if the 
foregoing plan, or something like it, had been 
adopted and carried into execution, the subsequent 
separation of the colonies from the mother coun 
try might not so soon have happened, nor the 
mischief suffered on both sides have occurred, per 
haps, during another century." How far the 
thought of Franklin was, in some respects, in ad 
vance of that of his contemporaries is shown by 
the fact that the Albany plan, when submitted to 
the several colonies, did not secure the approval 


of a single one. The objections to it were vari 
ous, and some of them were good. The power of 
parliament, impliedly recognized in the very open 
ing paragraph, to make changes in the present 
constitutions of the colonies would lay them open 
to an unrestricted invasion of their liberties. The 
absolute negative of the president general upon all 
acts of the council gave too much power to the 
king's agent; but, after all, the most potent in 
fluence in the firm and unanimous rejection of this 
scheme is to be found in the unwillingness of the 
colonies to admit of any general government that 
should act directly upon the citizen. The fact 
that, when threatened by armies and fleets, they 
would only give to the confederation advisory 
powers shows how tenaciously the colonies held 
on to all taxing power. At the root of this ob 
jection lay that dominant principle of English and 
American civil life the love of local control. The 
idea of subjecting the citizen or his property to 
the direct control of any power outside of the 
colony was repugnant to the people. 

Franklin, speaking further of the plan, in the 
same note from which I have just quoted, says: 
"The crown disapproved it as having too much 
weight in the democratic part of the constitu 
tion; and every assembly as having allowed too 
much to prerogative; so it was totally rejected." 

Of this plan, Mr. Bancroft says: "This plan,. 


which foreshadowed the present constitution of the 
Dominion of Canada and the federation which 
with hope and applause was lately offered by rival 
ministries to South Africa, was at that day re 
jected by the British government with abhorrence 
and disdain." 

The failure of all these efforts to organize a 
union of the colonies under the crown might have 
been easily predicted. The plans were bottomed 
upon an act of parliament, which involved a broad 
admission of the power of parliament to legislate 
for the colonies, and left the organic act open to 
amendment by the same authority. From this time 
forward the efforts for a union of the colonies 
were to find their suggestion, not in the fear of the 
French or of the Indian, but of England the moth 
er country and to have for their object a re 
dress of civil injuries involving the liberties of all 
the colonies. 

The efforts of the crown were now naturally to 
divide, not to unite, the colonies. The conquest of 
Canada had destroyed the English interest in the 
increase of the military strength of the American 
colonies to repress and diminish it was henceforth 
the English policyr But as the interest in a union 
of the colonies waned in England it increased in 

The stamp act, and the accompanying declara 
tory resolves affirming the power of parliament to tax 


the colonies resulted in a congress which assembled 
in the city hall in New York on October 7, 1765. The 
movement for this congress had its origin in Massa 
chusetts. In May, 1764, a meeting was assembled 
in Boston to instruct the delegates of that, town to 
the general court, to remonstrate against the powers 
assumed and declared by parliament. The resolu 
tions concluded with these words: "As his majesty's 
other northern American colonies are embarked with 
us in this most important bottom, we further desire 
you to use your endeavors, that their weight may be 
added to that of this province; that, as by the united 
application of all who are aggrieved, all may hap 
pily obtain redress." 

A committee of the general court was appointed 
to correspond with the other colonies and to request 
their co-operation in such measures as might be 
necessary to present effectively the opposition to the 
stamp act. The other colonies generally acted, but 
separately, in presenting their remonstrances to the 
crown; but, in spite of these, the stamp act received 
the royal assent March 22, 1765. 

On the eighth of June following, the legislature of 
Massachusetts issued a circular proposing a meeting 
of committees from the houses of representatives 
"or burgesses of the several British colonies on this 
continent, to consult together on the present circum 
stances of the colonies, and the difficulties to which 
they are and must be reduced by the operation of 


the acts of parliament for levying duties and taxes 
on the colonies." It proposed that the meeting 
should be held in New York on the first Tuesday 
in October, and invited the appointment of delegates 
by the other colonies. 

The congress assembled in October and was com 
posed of twenty-eight delegates, nine colonies being 
represented. The other four, however, sympathized 
with the movement, though they did not choose rep 
resentatives. The colonies represented were Massa 
chusetts, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode 
Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New 
Jersey and New York. The congress agreed, after 
being in session eleven days, upon a declaration con 
sisting of a preamble and fourteen resolutions, and 
prepared an address to the king, a memorial to the 
house of lords, and a petition to the house of com 
mons. They denied the power of parliament to tax 
the colonies without their consent, affirmed that rep 
resentation in the house of commons was not practi 
cable, and therefore that taxes could only be imposed 
by their own legislatures. These resolutions and 
memorials were signed by the representatives of six 
of the colonies present; and Connecticut and South 
Carolina, which had not authorized their representa 
tives to sign, afterward gave their concurrence. The 
New York assembly, while approving the repre 
sentation of the colony in the congress, sent a sepa 
rate petition to the king. This congress did not pro- 


pose or set up any union of the colonies. It was 
called for the sole purpose of giving a joint expres 
sion of the grievances complained of and a united 
remonstrance against them. 

The union began with the next continental con 
gress that of 1/74, and has had, under the revo 
lutionary which was its first form the confeder 
acy, and the constitution, continuance and succes 
sion to this hour. 

The revolutionary government practically began 
with the assembling of congress on the fifth day of 
September, 1774, at Carpenter's hall, Philadelphia, 
and continued until the articles of confederation went 
into effect. 

Delegates were present from New Hampshire, 
Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence 
Plantations, Connecticut, from the city and county 
of New York, and other counties in the province 
of New York, from New Jersey, from Pennsylvania, 
from New Castle, Kent and Sussex, in Delaware; 
from Maryland, from Virginia, and from South 

The powers of this congress are to be gathered 
from the credentials or commissions the delegates 
brought with them. 

The credentials of the New Hampshire delegates 
empowered them "to devise, consult, and adopt such 
measures as may have the most likely tendency to 
extricate the colonies from their present difficulties; 


to secure and perpetuate their rights, liberties and 
privileges, and to restore that peace, harmony and 
mutual confidence which once happily subsisted be 
tween the parent country, and her colonies." 

The objects were stated in the Massachusetts 
credentials as follows : "To consult upon the present 
state of the colonies, and the miseries to which they 
are and must be reduced, by the operation of certain 
acts of parliament respecting America, and to de 
liberate and determine upon wise and proper meas 
ures, to be by them recommended to all the colonies, 
for the recovery and establishment of their just 
rights and liberties, civil and religious, and the 
restoration of union and harmony between Great 
Britain and the colonies, most ardently desired by 
all good men." 

From Rhode Island the credentials ran as follows : 
To join the other colonies "in consulting upon prop 
er measures to obtain a repeal of the several acts of 
the British parliament, for levying taxes upon his 
Majesty's subjects in America, without their con 
sent, and particularly an act lately passed for block 
ing up the port of Boston, and upon proper meas 
ures to establish the rights and liberties of the col 
onies, upon a just and solid foundation." 

The credentials from Connecticut were broader, 
viz. : "to consult and advise with the commissioners 
or committees of the several English colonies in 


America on proper measures for advancing the best 
good of the colonies." 

The resolve of Pennsylvania was that "there is an 
absolute necessity that a congress of deputies from 
the several colonies, be held as soon as conveniently 
may be, to consult together upon the present un 
happy state of the colonies, and to form and adopt 
a plan for the purposes of obtaining redress of 
American grievances, ascertaining American rights 
upon the most solid and constitutional principles, 
and for establishing that union and harmony be 
tween Great Britain and the colonies, which is 
indispensably necessary to the welfare and happines 
of both." 

Delaware stated the evils to be remedied with 
more particularity; the object stated in the pre 
amble of the resolution of appointment being to 
take into consideration "the several acts of the 
British parliament, for restraining manufactures in 
his Majesty's colonies and plantations in North 
America, for taking away the property of the 
colonists without their participation or consent, 
for the introduction of the arbitrary powers of 
excise into the customs here, for the making of 
all revenue causes triable without jury, and under 
the decision of a single dependent judge, for the 
trial, in England, of persons accused of capital 
crimes, committed in the colonies, for the sliut- 
ting up the port of Boston, for the new-model- 


ing the government of the Massachusetts Bay; 
and the operation of the same on the property, liber 
ty and lives of the colonists. 

The commission of the delegates from Maryland 
ran: "To effect one general plan of conduct, oper 
ating on the commercial connection of the colonies 
with the mother country, for the relief of Boston 
and preservation of American liberty." 

The object was stated in the Virginia resolutions 
to be "to consider of the most proper and effectual 
manner of so operating on the commercial connec 
tion of the colonies with the mother country, as to 
procure redress for the much injured province of 
Massachusetts Bay, to secure British America from 
the ravage and ruin of arbitrary taxes, and speedily 
to procure the return of that harmony and union, 
so beneficial to the whole empire, and so ardently 
desired by all British America." 

The South Carolina resolution ran as follows: 
"To consider the acts lately passed, and bills depend 
ing in parliament with regard to the port of Bos 
ton and colony of Massachusetts Bay, which acts 
and bills in the precedent and consequences affect 
the whole continent of America also the grievances 
under which America labors, by reason of the sev 
eral acts of parliament that impose taxes or duties 
for raising a revenue, and lay unnecessary restraints 
and burdens on trade; and of the statutes, parlia 
mentary acts, and royal instructions, which make an 


invidious distinction between his Majesty's subjects 
in Great Britain and America, with full power and 
authority to concert, agree to, and effectually prose 
cute such legal measures, as in the opinion of the 
said deputies, shall be most likely to obtain a repeal 
of the said acts, and a redress of those grievances." 

The delegates from North Carolina appeared in 
the convention on the fourth day of September and 
their credentials authorized them "to deliberate upon 
the present state of British America, and to take 
such measures, as they may deem prudent, to effect 
the purpose of describing with certainty the rights of 
Americans, repairing the breach made in those 
rights, and for guarding them for the future from 
any violations done under the sanction of public 

The plan of giving to each colony one vote in the 
congress was agreed upon on the second day of the 
meeting, September sixth; but it appears, from the 
resolution adopted, that the plan was not assumed 
to be just or permanent; but was adopted for the 
time being and until the data necessary to the estab 
lishment of a proper basis of representation could be 
gathered. The resolution was as follows: "That in 
determining questions in this congress, each colony 
or province shall have one vote, the congress not 
being possessed of or at present able to procure 
proper materials for ascertaining the importance 
of each colony." 


The union was expressed by the act of sending 
delegates; and the powers exercised by the congress 
rested wholly upon the acquiescence of the people. 
Mr. Story says that it "exercised, de facto and de 
jure, a sovereign authority; not as the delegated 
agents of the governments of the colonies de facto, 
but in virtue of original powers derived from the 

The principal work of this congress was the re 
statement of the rights and grievances of the 
colonies, the preparation of further petitions and 
addresses looking to the correction of these evils, 
and a resolve against the importation of British 
goods and the exportation of merchandise to Great 
Britain. Articles of agreement to carry this resolu 
tion into effect were signed, and commercial retalia 
tion inaugurated. A general congress to assemble 
in May, 1775, was recommended. 

The delegates to the congress of 1775 were prin 
cipally chosen by conventions of the people; and 
upon assembling the petitions of the prior con 
gress to the king having been rejected, and war 
inaugurated a state of war was accepted on be 
half of the colonies; a continental army was or 
ganized, and Washington commissioned as com- 
mander-in-chief. The congress authorized the is 
suing of bills of credit, to the redemption of which 
the faith of the colonies was pledged ; framed articles 
of war for the government of the army; created a 


general postoffice; apportioned the cost of the war 
among the colonies; authorized and prepared regula 
tions for a continental navy; and recommended, to 
the colonies asking advice, the organization of state 

The next important act affecting the relation of 
the colonies to each other and to the world was the 
declaration of independence. 

It is well, I think, to state and emphasize here two 
or three historical facts of the highest significance, in 
the study of constitutional law: 

First. Union preceded independence, and was 
by every American recognized to be a necessary ante 

Second. Independence was declared by the peo 
ple of "the united colonies/' achieved by the arms 
of the people of the "United States," and confirmed 
by treaties signed by the ambassadors of the United 

Third. The state governments were organized in 
the union and as a part of it. The states never were 
independent states, except as constituent parts of a 
free nation. No one of them was ever recognized 
as an independent state by any other state or king 
dom in the world; no one of them ever sent or re 
ceived an ambassador; no one of them ever unfurled 
a flag that was saluted on the sea. As colonies they 
had numerous agents in London; but, only as the 
United States of America, an ambassador. Inde- 


pendence was as impossible to the individual colony 
after Yorktown as before Bunker Hill. Union was 
as essential to the permanence as to the procurement 
of independence. Paine said truly that nothing but 
a continental form of government can "keep the 
peace of the continent." 

It was implied, from the first association of 
the colonies in a continental congress, that gen 
eral powers must be exercised by and through 
a general government. It was years before this 
necessary implication was fully declared in the 
constitution; but each of those years made the 
conclusion more certain. 

In his Commentaries on the Constitution, Judge 
Story says: "In the first place, antecedent to the 
declaration of independence, none of the colonies 
were or pretended to be sovereign states, in the sense 
in which the term 'sovereign' is sometimes applied 
to states. * * * So far as respects foreign 
states the colonies were not, in the sense of the 
laws of nations, sovereign states, but mere depen 
dencies of Great Britain. They could make no 
treaty, declare no war, send no embassadors, regu 
late no intercourse or commerce, nor in any other 
shape act, as sovereigns, in the negotiations usual 
between independent states. In respect to each 
other they stood in the common relation of British 
subjects. The legislation of neither could be con 
trolled by any other; but there was a common sub- 


j action to the British crown. If in any sense they 
might claim the attributes of sovereignty it was 
only in that subordinate sense to which we have al 
luded, in exercising, within a limited extent, cer 
tain usual powers of sovereignty. They did not 
even affect to claim a local allegiance." 

And of the declaration of independence he says: 
"It was an act of original, inherent sovereignty by 
the people themselves resulting from their right to 
change the form of government and to institute a 
new one whenever necessary for their safety and 
happiness. So the declaration of independence treats 
it. No state has presumed of itself to form a new 
government or to provide for the exigencies of the 
times without consulting congress on the subject; 
and, when they acted, it was in pursuance of the 
recommendation of congress." 

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, speaking of the 
declaration of independence in the legislature of 
South Carolina, in 1788, says: "The several states 
are not even mentioned by name in any part, as if 
it was intended to impress the maxim on America 
that our freedom and independence arose from our 
union and that without it we could never be free 
or independent. Let us then consider all attempts 
to weaken this union, by maintaining that each 
state is separately and individually independent, as 
a species of political heresy, which can never bene- 


fit us, but may bring on us the most serious dis 

But, clear as these propositions are, historically 
and legally, the mischievous doctrine that the union 
is a mere confederation of independent states 
with its corollary that each state may declare an 
infraction of the federal compact and withdraw 
from the union at its pleasure found root and sus 
tenance in the sectional interests which human slav 
ery engendered; and brought upon the nation the 
"serious distresses" which the eloquent South Caro 
linian foresaw and deprecated. 

Mr. Story closes the discussion of this question 
in the following words: "Whatever, then, may be 
the theories of ingenious men on the subject it is 
historically true that before the declaration of in 
dependence these colonies were not, in any absolute 
sense, sovereign states; that that event did not find 
them or make them such; but that at the moment 
of their separation they were under the dominion 
of a -superior controlling national government whose 
powers were vested in and exercised by the general 
congress with the consent of the people of all the 

The grievances set forth in the declaration are 
scheduled as common ills, though some of them .had 
only touched individual colonies. They were com 
mon because the people of all the colonies were one 


Delivered at Stanford University, Ap'ril 9, 1894 

Confederation was a fact ^ before independence 
was declared; but it was a confederation for the re 
dress of grievances, not for independence. The re 
monstrances still proceeded upon the theory that a 
benevolent king was being misled by wicked min 
isters. In the general order issued by Washing 
ton, upon the evacuation of Boston, he speaks of 
the ministerial army, not the royal army. In fact, 
King George was the real enemy. It was his proud 
and resentful spirit that sent British soldiers and 
ships to our shores and reinforced them with mer 
cenaries hired from continental rulers. But, under 
the rough touch of war, the veneer of royalty dis 
appeared, and at last the conservative and the timid 
were brought to see that a confederacy for inde 
pendence, supported by a war against the king, was 
essential. A delegate declared "we must apply for 
pardon if we do not confederate"; and to the ex- 



hortation of another, "we must hang together/' 
Franklin replied, "Yes, or hang separately." 

A declaration of independence, in the nature of 
a formal announcement of the severance of the po 
litical ties which had bound the colonies to the 
crown, was the necessary preface of the articles of 
confederation. Only a free people can act in the 
organization of a government. "Off with the old; 
on with the new" was the natural order; but it was 
not an easy transition. The attachment of the col 
onies to the mother country was stronger than they 
had themselves realized; and the fear that the as 
sociated colonies were too weak to organize a sta 
ble and successful government was strong in the 
hearts of many. John Adams, speaking of his ex 
perience in the congress of 1775, said: "But now 
these people began to see that independence was 
approaching, they started back. In some of my 
public harangues, in which I had freely and explic 
itly laid open my thoughts, on looking around the 
assembly I have seen horror, terror and detesta 
tion strongly marked on the countenances of some 
of the members." 

On the eleventh day of June, 1776, a committee of 
congress was appointed to prepare a declaration of 
independence; and, on the same day, a resolution 
was passed for the organization of a committee to 
prepare articles of confederation. The work of the 
first committee had been w r ell outlined, and an 


agreement as to grievances was not difficult. These 
had been many times scheduled in the petitions and 
addresses of the colonies and of congress. The 
hesitation was over the deduction, not over the 
premises; not that the deduction was not logical 
and imperative, but that it was so tremendous. The 
work of the committee charged with the prepara 
tion of articles of confederation was, on the other 
hand, one of great delicacy and difficulty. Less 
than a month sufficed for the preparation, adoption 
and signing of the declaration of independence; but 
nearly a year and a half intervened between the ap 
pointment of the committee to prepare articles of 
confederation and their adoption by congress. It 
was not until the fifteenth of November, 1777, that 
congress gave its approval to the report of the 
.committee. The subject was not, of course, in this 
interval, continuously under debate. Time and 
again the debate led up to difficulties that seemed 
so insurmountable, and differences so irreconcilable, 
that the subject was laid aside. The longest such 
interval was from August, 1776, to April, 1777, 
during which time the question was not debated in 
congress. When the articles had received the con 
currence of congress they were sent to the states 
for approval, accompanied by an eloquent and ur 
gent letter which concluded with this appeal: "Let 
them be examined with a liberality becoming breth 
ren and fellow-citizens, surrounded by the same 


imminent dangers, contending for the same illus 
trious prize, and deeply interested in being forever 
bound and connected together by ties the most in 
timate and indissoluble. And finally let them be 
adjusted with the temper and magnanimity of wise 
and patriotic legislators who, while they are con 
cerned for the prosperity of their own more imme 
diate circle, are capable of rising superior to local 
attachments, when they are incompatible with the 
safety, happiness and glory of the general confed 

The debate was now transferred to the states; and 
many objections were made, and many amendments 
proposed. It was not until July 9, 1778, that the 
articles were engrossed for signing and the first 
signatures attached. Several states signed on that 
day, and others at short intervals, as the delegates 
were thereto authorized; and, before January i, 
1778, eleven states had signed. Delaware and 
Maryland still held aloof, insisting upon their objec 
tions chiefly upon a settlement as to the western 
boundaries of the colonies, and the recognition of 
the principle that the crown lands became the com 
mon property of all the colonies. Delaware came in 
in February, 1779; and Maryland finally persuad 
ed, under stress and urgency which now broke sin 
gly upon her, to defer the settlement of the land 
question and to confide in the justice and generos 
ity of the larger colonies signed March i, 1781. 


The ratification of the articles of confederation, 
therefore, dates from March i, 1781. Twelve 
states had previously signed; but the articles con 
tained no provision for their taking effect without 
the assent of all the colonies. It was thus nearly 
six years after the battle of Lexington, four years 
and eight months after the declaration of inde 
pendence, and only about eighteen months before 
the preliminary treaty of peace, that a written con 
stitution was adopted by all the colonies. 

A union for the purpose of defense against a 
common present enemy is instinctive a matter of 
impulse, which we share with the brutes. We leave 
our humble brother a little way when we make the 
alliance an offensive, defensive one, and altogether, 
when we organize a permanent union to promote 
the uses of peace. Here the highest intelligence 
and something higher than intelligence unselfish 
ness, a regard for others, an appreciation of the 
common good, as the highest good, is essential. The 
history of the colonies had been characterized by 
a constant struggle for local government. The af 
fections of the people had centered there. It had 
been the source of their most prized blessings, and, 
as they believed, their defense against tyranny. 
Their experience of government outside the colony 
had been a sad one. It had always taken the form 
of oppressive and selfish meddling. It had been 
often brutal; and had become the object of their 


watchful jealousy. Of a beneficent and central rep 
resentative government, that should leave all local 
matters in local control, while administering com 
mon affairs for the common good, they had had no 
experience, and the world none that was satisfac 
tory. Mr. Bancroft well says: "They had rightly 
been jealous of extending the supremacy of En 
gland, because it was a government outside of 
themselves; they now applied that jealousy to one 
another, forgetting that the general power would be 
in their own hands." 

Still there were many very pleasant and very 
noble manifestations of sympathy and brotherhood 
between the colonies. The bells tolled in Virginia 
for the sorrows of Massachusetts, and the injuries 
specially directed against her were scheduled as 
common injuries. But, when the articles of a per 
manent union came to be settled, jealousy and self 
ishness again asserted their malign presence and in 
fluence, and well-nigh made vain the work of 
Washington and the continental congress and army. 

The dean of Gloucester wrote: "As to the fu 
ture grandeur of America and its being a rising 
empire, under one head, whether republican or mon 
archical, it is one of the idlest and most visionary 
notions that was ever conceived even by writers of 
romance. The mutual antipathies and clashing in 
terests of the Americans; their difference of gov 
ernments, habitudes and manners, indicate that they 


will have no common center of union and no com 
mon interest. They never can be united into one 
compact empire under any species of government 
whatever; a disunited people until the end of time, 
suspicious and distrustful of each other, they will 
be divided and subdivided into little common 
wealths or principalities, according to natural bound 
aries, by great bays of the sea, and by vast rivers, 
lakes and ridges of mountains." 

The long delay which preceded the adoption of 
the articles of confederation indicates that from a 
domestic point of view the urgency was not felt by 
the colonies. The revolutionary government, repre 
sented by congress, was in the exercise of per 
haps even larger powers than those proposed to 
be conferred upon it by the articles of confeder 
ation. A revolutionary government, being one of 
necessity, is not restrained in its powers, other 
wise than by the will of those who have instituted 
it. It probably seemed to many that the questions 
involved in a peace settlement and perfect union 
might well abide the issue of the war; and it seems 
to be quite probable, but for the necessity which 
became more and more apparent and more and 
more urgent, of presenting to the outside world an 
organized national government, that the adoption of 
the articles of confederation might have been yet 
further postponed. The congress had very early sent 
its diplomatic representatives to the continent; and 


they had opened negotiations which had made more 
or less progress with France, Holland, and Spain, 
involving loans of money and schemes of commer 
cial treaties, which should recompense the risks 
which the friendliness of these governments toward 
the colonies involved. Large loans had been se 
cured upon the pledge of a national credit. These 
pledges ran for their redemption into peace times. 
They were in fact, if not in form, conditioned upon 
the independence of the united colonies as a nation. 
The confidence of our foreign friends was being 
shaken by the delay in the adoption of a plan of 
government, and by the manifestations of jealous 
unfriendliness between the colonies. Their demand 
that the colonies should subscribe and publish a plan 
of government was imperious. The efforts of En 
gland to treat separately with the states greatly 
alarmed our friends. These overtures, to be sure, 
had in every instance been scornfully rejected; Gov 
ernor Trumbull, of Connecticut, saying that such 
proposals should be addressed to the supreme au 
thority, the congress of the United States. 

Lord North had taken notice in parliament of 
the failure to ratify the articles of confederation, 
and had based upon this fact conclusions unfavor 
able to the American cause. The adhesion of 
Maryland to the confederation was largely based 
upon such considerations as these. It was expressly 
recited that she was induced to forego her objec- 


tions because "the enemies of the country took ad 
vantage of the circumstance to disseminate opinions 
of an ultimate dissolution of the union." 

The address of congress accompanying the arti 
cles of confederation, contained this suggestion: 
"More than any other consideration, it will con 
found our foreign enemies * * * and add 
weight and respect to our councils at home and to 
our treaties abroad." 

But, after all, and notwithstanding the govern 
ment now organized under the articles of confed 
eration was called "a perpetual union", it was in 
fact little more than an emergency government, de 
riving all of its practical force from the pressure 
of a common danger, from external rather than in 
ternal forces. Its efficiency diminished in the ratio 
of the success of the continental arms, and disap 
peared altogether with the treaty of peace. It suf 
ficed only so long as an urgent self-interest sup 
ported the recommendation of congress, so long as 
the conflicts of small interests were held in abey 
ance by the supreme present demands of a larger 
common interest. 

As I have already said, the articles rather lim 
ited than enlarged the powers of congress. Mr. 
Winsor, in his article upon the confederation, says: 
"The fact was that congress, before 1781, with no 
defined powers, stretching what it had as it could, 


was stronger than it became when those powers 
were defined under the confederation." 

The inadequacy of the plan of confederation had 
been demonstrated in the long interval between its 
adoption by congress and its ratification by the col 
onies. "A government by supplication," as Ran 
dolph afterwards described it, whether administered 
under a written constitution, or under a revolution 
ary organization, was in everything shamefully in 
adequate for all national purposes. 

The two subjects that presented the chief elements 
of difference in the debate in congress on the arti 
cles of confederation, were the basis of representa 
tion in congress, and the question of state boun 
daries, involving the question of the ownership of 
the vast western domain over which an ignorant 
geography had stretched the boundaries of some of 
the early colonies. It is not my purpose here even 
to outline the debate upon these questions. 

The articles do not, either in form or substance, 
attract our admiration. The defects were so glaring 
and radical that Hamilton's characterization of it 
as a "senseless and futile confederation" was hardly 
too severe. The instrument opens by providing a 
severe rule of interpretation: "Each state retains 
* * * every power, jurisdiction and right which 
is not, by this confederation, expressly delegated to 
the United States in congress assembled." No room 


was to be left for the assumption of implied pow 
ers; jealous strictness, rather than a beneficial con 
struction, was to be the rule. All the powers granted 
by the articles were lodged in the congress. The 
statesmen who framed this plan of government were 
not unfamiliar with the threefold division of the 
powers of government. Such of the states as had 
already framed their constitutions had adopted this 
plan; and it had been in use almost from the begin 
ning in the colonies. A governor or chief execu 
tive, with a legislature consisting generally of two 
branches or houses, and a judiciary distinct from 
both, was a familiar organization; yet in the arti 
cles of confederation, no provision was made for a 
separate executive; and the exceptional form of a 
legislature consisting of a single branch was adopted. 
Only the feeblest and most limited judicial powers 
were given to the union. Congress was authorized 
to appoint courts "for the trial of piracies and fel 
onies committed on the high seas," and courts for 
"receiving and determining finally appeals in all 
cases of capture." The congress itself was made 
"the last resort on appeal" in all disputes between 
the states, "concerning boundary, jurisdiction, or 
any other cause whatever." An executive depart 
ment was apparently so impossible as not to have 
been seriously thought of. A president from any 
state would, it was thought, unduly magnify the 
power and importance of that state; and was 


wholly inadmissible. Every state must participate 
on a basis of absolute equality in every act of 
government. Not only was the congress so organ 
ized; but the "committee of the states" which 
was to sit in the recess of congress was made 
to consist of one from each state. The special 
committees appointed by congress generally took 
the same organization. The delegates were to be 
paid by their respective states; and so fearful were 
the states that their delegates might, from long 
service, become unduly attached to the union, that 
it was provided that the term should be one year, and 
that no person should serve as a delegate "for more 
than three years in any term of six years." And 
further to limit the independent action of the dele 
gates the power of the states to recall them at any 
time and to send others in their stead was reserved. 
The early state constitutions contained similar lim 
itations, as to the delegates in congress; and the 
same spirit appears in the provision that the presi 
dent of congress should not serve as such for more 
than one year in any term of three years. The ad 
ministrative functions of government were at first 
discharged directly by congress. Contracts large 
and small were negotiated and voted in the full 
body. Let us take a sample day from the Journal: 
(Nov. 6, 1775.) 

"The committee on claims reported that there is 


"To John Forbes, for goods and necessaries de 
livered to several rifle companies, the sum of 35 II 
10, equal to 94.9 dollars, of which sum Capt. Clug- 
gage ought to be charged with 6 2 10, and Captain 
Chambers with 4 10, the remainder to the conti 
nent; that this is to be paid per order to Blair 

"To Jane Allen, the sum of 47 o 7, and the Ven- 
dal Lands the sum of 2 o o, both sums being 130.7 
dollars, and that the same be paid, per order, to 
Henry Wisner, Esq., and be charged to the con 

"To Judah Harbow 7 12 4, and to Captain Jack 
son 13 4 6, for necessaries furnished several rifle 
companies, and that both sums be paid, per order, 
to Henry Wisner, Esq., and charged to the conti 
nent, being 52.1 dollars. 

"To Andrew Graff, for wagonage, the sum of 27 
2 6, and to Christopher Crawford, for blankets, the 
sum of 6 15, both which sums to be paid, per order, 
to George Graff, and charged to the continent, be 
ing 90.3 dollars. 

"To Richard Backhouse, for wagonage, the sum 
of 51, being 136 dollars.. 

"To Miles and Wister, by sundry certificates, 26 6 
4, equal to 70.1 dollars, of which 13 10 be charged to 
Captain Rice's company, and 35 to Captain Cres- 
sop's company; the remainder to the continent. 

"To Frederick Leinbach, by sundry certificates, 


'58 ii 5, equal to 156.2 dollars; of which 4 13 6 
to be charged to Captain Price, 3 15 to Captain Stev 
enson, 6 15 i to commissary Biddle, until it appears 
to be otherwise accounted for, and the remainder 
to the continent, to be paid, per order, to George 

"To John Murrow, for goods delivered to Captain 
Stevenson, 71 18 10, to be paid, per order, to George 
Davis, and charged to said Stevenson, being 191.8 

"To Robert Erwin, for wagonage, 169 9 3, equal 
to 451.9 dollars. 

"To Timothy Matlack, money by him paid to 
Joseph Brown, an express to Cambridge, 17 4 I, 
equal to 45.9 dollars. 

"To Jasper Stimes and Abraham Storm, for pro 
visions and carriage furnished by them to the rifle 
companies 14 9 2, New York currency, 36.1 dol 
lars, to be paid, per order, to John Alsqo, Esq. 

"Ordered that the above sums be paid." 

Soon, however, boards composed of members of 
congress were instituted; but their powers were 
not well denned, and the supervision of congress 
was constant and particular. A little later a board 
of war, composed of five members, not members 
of congress, was established. A committee of 
claims, one from each colony, developed into a 
crude treasury department; and other executive 
functions were similarly administered. But the 


lack of a constitutional executive department, with 
defined but independent powers, placed a heavy 
and well-nigh fatal weight upon the energies of 
the union. The powers of congress, under the 
articles of confederation, were these: The ex 
clusive right of determining on peace and war, 
save when a state was invaded or about to be 
invaded; of receiving and sending ambassadors, 
and entering into treaties; of deciding questions 
of capture and prize; of granting letters of marque 
and reprisal, "in times of peace;" the states being au 
thorized to issue such letters after a declaration of 
war by the United States; of appointing courts for 
trial of offenses on the seas, and of appeals in prize 
cases; to be the tribunal of last resort in con 
troversies between states; to regulate the value and 
alloy of coin, whether struck by the United States 
or the states; of fixing the standard of weights and 
measures; regulating the trade and managing all af 
fairs with the Indians, "not members of any of the 
states, provided that the legislative right of any state 
within its own limits be not infringed or violated;" 
of establishing and regulating postofHces and post 
routes; of appointing all officers of the land forces, 
except regimental officers, all officers of the naval 
forces, and of making regulations for the army 
and navy; to appoint a committee to sit in the recess 
of congress, and such civil officers as might be neces 
sary; to ascertain and apportion the moneys needed, 


and to appropriate the same; to borrow money or 
emit bills on the credit of the United States; to 
build a navy; to fix the land forces and make requisi 
tion for state quotas. 

There were some important express limitations, 
however, placed upon these general powers. The 
power to negotiate commercial treaties was so 
limited that except as to "treaties already pro 
posed by congress, to the courts of France and 
Spain," the power of each state to levy im 
posts and duties upon foreign merchandise or to 
prohibit the importation or exportation of any 
merchandise at its pleasure was not restrained, 
save by the provision that these duties should be 
equal as between foreigners and its own citizens. 
Nearly all of the important powers given were fur 
ther limited to be exercised only by vote of nine 
states; and over all was the practical and destruc 
tive, though unexpressed limitation, that no act of 
congress, even within the powers most clearly con 
ferred could be executed in any state until the state 
legislature had added its sanction. There can be 
no government in any just sense without a body of 
citizens upon which it can directly act citizens who 
owe to it a primary allegiance and upon whose per 
sons and. estates it may lay its restraints and its exac 
tions. Under the confederation congress had no 
power to draft a single man for military service, nor 
to lay and collect a single dollar of taxes, direct or 


indirect. It is true that the congressional resolves 
might have been mandatory in their form; "re 
quired" might have been substituted for "request 
ed;" for the articles bound the states to furnish 
quotas of men, and allotments of money as appor 
tioned by congress. Article XIII was as follows: 
"Every state shall abide by the determinations of 
the United States in congress assembled, on all 
questions which by this confederation are submitted 
to them. And the articles of this confederation 
shall be inviolably observed by every state, and 
the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alter 
ation at any time hereafter be made in any of them; 
unless such alteration be agreed to in a congress of 
the United States, and be afterward confirmed by 
the legislature of every state." 

But, as the use of an armed force against a de 
linquent state was the only method of enforcing a 
requisition, congress wisely used the politer term 
"request." Notwithstanding this clear provision in 
the articles,, binding the states to comply with the 
resolves of congress, instances were not infrequent 
where a state, not by inaction only, but by affirma 
tive action and explicit declaration, refused to abide 
by the determination of congress, on questions clear 
ly by the articles submitted to it. 

In December, 1779, the legislature of Virginia 
passed a resolution declaring "that the legislature 
of this commonwealth are greatly alarmed at the 


assumption of power lately exercised by congress. 
While the right of recommending measures to each 
state by congress is admitted, we contend for that of 
judging of their utility and expediency, and, of 
course, either to approve or reject. Making any 
state answerable for not agreeing to any of its 
recommendations would establish a dangerous pre 
cedent against the authority of the legislature and 
the sovereignty of the separate states." 

And in the matter of appeals in prize cases New 
Hampshire attempted by law to cut off the appeal 
expressly provided for in the articles of confedera 

We have had a good deal of modern talk about 
the power of the nation to "coerce a state;" but the 
thought is not only inaccurate but obsolete. Under 
the confederation such a question might indeed, 
did arise ; but *under the national constitution we lay 
exactions and visit penalties upon citizens of the 
United States. No commission under a state seal; 
no resolve of a state legislature, can stand between 
the national authority and the citizen who resists 
it. No power was given to congress by the articles 
of confederation to regulate commerce. Each state 
made its own tariff and took the receipts from cus 
toms into its own treasury. As a source of revenue 
this power was essential to the union; but it was 
much more than a revenue question. It was the 
sine qua non of an enduring 'union. We who have so 


much division over one tariff can appreciate the in 
describable confusion and disaster resulting from 
thirteen customs schedules. Until there was unity 
here there could be none elsewhere. The competi 
tions between the ports of different states begat new 
and revived old jealousies and animosities, and con 
fused traders by their intricacies and frequent 
changes. We could have no standing among com 
mercial nations until the power to regulate com 
merce, by granting favors or imposing exactions, 
and instituting a uniform schedule of duties was 
conferred. Our commerce was destroyed during 
the revolutionary war; and yet the absence of 
power in congress to regulate this subject left the 
enemy that had wrought its destruction at liberty 
to shut out our ships from the trade of the West 
India colonies, without fear of the retaliatory re 
strictions which her conduct suggested and de 

Story says: "While, for instance, British ships 
with their commodities had every admission into 
our ports, American ships and exports were loaded 
with heavy exactions or prohibited from entry into 
British ports: We were, therefore, the victims of our 
own imbecility, and reduced to a complete subjec 
tion to the commercial regulations of other coun 
tries, notwithstanding our boasts of freedom and 

John Adams, writing from France in May, 1785, 


to Secretary Jay, gives a graphic description of the 
embarrassments and humiliation which our foreign 
representatives suffered. He says: 

"But you will see, by a letter from the Duke of 
Dorset, which your ministers here some time since 
transmitted, that the British cabinet have conceived 
doubts, whether congress have power to treat of 
commercial matters, and whether our states should 
not separately grant their full powers to a minister. 
I think it may be taken for granted, that the states 
will never think of sending separate ambassadors, 
or of authorizing directly those appointed by con 
gress. The idea of thirteen plenipotentiaries meet 
ing together in a congress at every court in Europe, 
each with a full power and distinct instructions from 
his state, presents to view such a picture of con 
fusion, altercation, expense, and endless delay, as 
must convince every man of its impracticability. 
Neither is there less absurdity in supposing that all 
the states should unite in the separate election of 
the same man, since there is not, never was and 
never will be a citizen whom each state would sepa 
rately prefer for conducting the negotiation. It is 
equally inconceivable that each state should sepa 
rately send a full power and separate instructions 
to the ministers appointed by congress. What a 
heterogeneous mass of papers, full of different ob 
jects, various views, and inconsistent and contra 
dictory orders, must such a man pull out of his 


portfolio, from time to time, to regulate his judg 
ment and his conduct! He must be accountable, too, 
to thirteen different tribunals for his conduct; a 
situation in which no man would ever consent to 
stand, if it is possible, which I do not believe, that 
any state should ever wish for such a system. I 
suppose too that the confederation has already set 
tled all these points, and that congress alone have 
authority to treat with foreign powers, and to ap 
point ambassadors and foreign ministers, and that 
the states have separately no power to do either. 
Yet it is plain from the Duke of Dorset's letter, that 
the British cabinet have conceived a different opin 
ion. This is to be accounted for, only by conjectur 
ing that they have put an erroneous construction on 
the limitation, restriction, or exception in the arti 
cle of our confederation, which gives to congress 
the power of appointing ambassadors and making 
treaties. This limitation is confined to treaties of 
commerce; all others congress have full power to 
make. From this limitation, however, will proba 
bly arise a great deal of difficulty and delay to me. 
If the British ministry wish and seek for delays this 
will be their pretext. But, even if they should wish 
for despatch, which is not likely, they may have 
propositions to make which will fall within the lim 
itation; and, in such cases, it will not be in my pow 
er to agree with them. I can only transmit the 
propositions to congress, who will perhaps trans- 


mit them to the states; and no man can foresee when 
the answers will be received so that the business 
can be brought to a conclusion. 

"It is very possible that the cabinet of St. James 
may decline even entering into any conference at 
all upon the subject of a treaty of commerce, until 
the powers of congress are enlarged.'* 

And Washington wrote of this matter as follows: 
"America -must appear in a very contemptible point 
of view to those with whom she was endeavoring to 
form commercial treaties without possessing the 
means of carrying them into effect. They must see 
and feel that the union, or the states individu 
ally, are sovereign as best suits their purposes. 
In a word, that we are a nation to-day and 
thirteen to-morrow. Who will treat with us on 
such terms ?" 

The English statesmen saw our fatal inability. 
Lord Sheffield said: "There should be no treaty 
with the American states because they will not place 
England on a better footing than France and Hol 
land, and equal rights will be enjoyed, of course, 
without a treaty. * * * It will not be an easy 
matter to bring the American states to act as a na 
tion ; they are not. to be feared as such by us. The 
confederation does not enable congress to form more 
than general treaties; when treaties become neces 
sary, they must be made with the states separately. 
Each state has reserved every power relative to im- 


posts, prohibitions, duties, etc., to itself. If the 
American states choose to send consuls, receive them 
and send a consul to each state. Each state will soon 
enter into all necessary regulations with the consul, 
and this is the whole that is necessary." 

So apparent was the necessity of a single control 
of these matters that the congress had, as we have 
seen in the resolves of 1774, declared that "from the 
necessity of the case" they cheerfully consented to 
the regulation by parliament of their "external com 
merce." But when the confederacy was formed this 
necessary power was withheld from a congress com 
posed of delegates from each state and in which each 
state had an equal voice. The representation of 
New Jersey to the congress, in June, 1777, of the 
objections of that colony to the articles of confed 
eration, contained this paragraph, which is an early 
and forcible presentation of this matter: "By the 
sixth and ninth articles, the regulation of trade 
seems to be committed to the several states within 
their separate jurisdiction, in such a degree as may 
involve many difficulties and embarrassments, and 
be attended with injustice to some states in the union. 
We are of opinion that the sole and exclusive pow 
er of regulating the trade of the United States with 
foreign nations ought to be clearly vested in the con 
gress, and that the revenue arising from all duties 
and customs imposed thereon ought to be ap 
propriated to the building, equipping and manning 


a navy, for the protection of the trade and defense 
of the coasts, and to such other public and general 
purposes as to the congress shall seem proper, and 
for the common benefit of the states." 

This suggestion was rejected, but the "necessity 
of the case" remained, and its voice became more 
imperious as the years went on, until it was recog 
nized and fully provided for in Article I, section 8, 
of the constitution. The obstinacy with which some 
of the states held on to the power over commerce, of 
which they could make no really beneficial use, even 
in the most selfish sense, is inexplicable to us who 
have seen the happy influence of a national use of 
that power. Strenuous efforts were made, before 
and after the adoption of the articles of confedera 
tion, to get the consent of the states to the levying 
of an impost duty by congress. In February, 1781, 
congress asked the states for power to lay a duty 
upon imposts to pay the public debt and to continue 
only until it should be paid. Rhode Island selfishly 
blocked the way, though the cause of independence 
was in extremis from a lack of revenue. The rea 
sons given were that the impost would bear unduly 
upon the commercial states; that officers unknown 
to the constitution would be introduced; and that a 
revenue not directly derived from a grant of the 
states would render congress independent and be 
dangerous to the liberties of the United States. 
While congress, by a committee, was trying to re- 


move these unpatriotic objections, Virginia which 
had assented under the leadership of Richard Hen 
ry Lee, withdrew its assent, placing this action 
upon the declaration that such a tax would be in 
jurious to its sovereignty and might prove destruc 
tive of the rights and liberties of the people. Only 
the compelling and scourging intervention of provi 
dence opened the way to union and safety, and 
brought to naught these freaks of pride and selfish 

In April, 1783, congress asked the states for au 
thority, for a period of twenty-five years, to lay cer 
tain duties on specific articles, and a general duty 
of five per cent, ad valorem on all others. The 
emergency was stated by congress in the following 
terms: "It has become the duty of congress to de 
clare most explicitly that the crisis has arrived 
when the people of these United States, by whose 
will and for whose benefit the federal government 
was instituted, must decide whether they will sup 
port their rank as a nation by maintaining the pub 
lic faith at home or abroad; or whether, for want 
of a timely exertion in establishing a general reve 
nue, and thereby giving strength to the confed 
eracy, they will hazard not only the existence of 
the union, but of those great and invaluable privi 
leges for which they have so arduously and so hon 
orably contended." 

In 1784 congress requested the states to vest the 


general government with power, for fifteen years, to 
prescribe some general regulations of commerce, not 
involving revenue, but intended solely to give effect 
to our commercial treaties and to protect our peo 
ple against the hostile provisions of the navigation 
acts of Great Britain. 

Neither of these requests was granted. The 
appeal of 1783 was defeated by the refusal of New 
York to concur with the other states. That of 1784 
had no response. 

The inadequacy of the confederation, and the re 
fusal of the states to grant powers that would have 
given some force and dignity to the national gov 
ernment, drove out of congress many of the ablest 
public men. The members could not but feel as a 
personal humiliation the powerlessness of the body 
to respond to the urgent and even pathetic appeals 
of the national creditors. Washington, in one of 
his letters, notices the absence of these men from 
the national councils; but it was quite natural that 
they should prefer to serve in the assemblies of their 
own states and to participate in decrees that could 
be put into execution. It is said that, at no time 
between October, 1783, and June, 1784, were nine 
states present by their representatives in congress. 
Nothing could more strongly emphasize the decay 
of the confederacy. Mr. Winsor says: "Congress 
had not the inherent dignity to allure statesmen, 
nor did it offer temptations even to politicians." 


The appeals of congress and of Washington, of 
the impoverished veterans, driven almost to frenzy 
by want; of the friendly states of France and Hol 
land, that had so generously supplied our need by 
loans were all unavailing. The refusal of New 
York to accede to the measures proposed for a na 
tional revenue, it has been said, virtually decreed 
the dissolution of the existing government. The 
states had now finally not only refused to give to 
congress a general power to regulate commerce, 
but even to concede the power when limited to a 
term of years and to particular subjects. 

The story of the discreditable and cruel treatment 
of our creditors, home and foreign, and especially 
of the veterans of the war, can not be read with 
out shame; but perhaps it was well that the arti 
cles of confederation were not patched up, and that 
humiliation, disaster and decay should go on un 
til the people were driven to the adoption of an ade 
quate plan of government. 

The want of any power in congress to regulate 
commerce between the states was not so disastrously 
and immediately felt, because it did not have any 
relation to revenue; but this subject, like that of 
foreign commerce, was left by the articles of con 
federation, in the anomalous condition that there 
was no power of regulation anywhere. The states 
were forbidden to make treaties with each other, 
and congress was given no power to legislate on 


the subject. Some questions of internal commerce 
presented themselves and added to the general con 
fusion and distress. 

The articles contain some general provisions that 
are worthy of note. The free inhabitants of each 
state were secured in all the privileges and immu 
nities of free citizens in the several states; and in 
free ingress and regress and all the privileges of 
trade and commerce, subject to the same duties and 
restrictions as the inhabitants of the particular 
state. The reclamation of fugitives from justice 
was provided for. Full faith and credit were to be 
given in each of the states to the records, acts and 
judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates 
of every other state. The subordination of the sev 
eral states was established by the provision that no 
.state, without the consent of the United States, 
should send an embassy to, or enter into any confer 
ence, or alliance, or treaty, with any foreign nation; 
nor should any two states enter into any such 
treaty or alliance between themselves; nor engage 
in any war; nor maintain any ships of war, or 
armed forces in time of peace, except as authorized 
by congress. 

In view of these limitations, it was wholly in 
congruous to describe the states as sovereign, either 
in their relations to each other or to the nations of 
the world. 

It is an interesting fact that article n provided 


for the admission of Canada to the union. It was 
as follows: "Article XI. Canada acceding to this 
confederation, and joining in the measures of the 
United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled 
to all the advantages of this union; but no other 
colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such 
admission be agreed to by nine states." 

As a frame of government for peace, the ab 
sence of any adequate provision for a federal ju 
diciary was another glaring defect in the articles of 
confederation. The power to judge, interpret and 
enforce the constitution, treaties and laws made by 
the national government, is essential to the very ex 
istence of the government. 

Judge Story thus summarizes the defects of the 
confederation: "But they [the congress] possessed 
not the power to raise any revenue, to levy any tax, 
to enforce any law, to secure any rights, to regulate 
any trade, or even the poor prerogative of command 
ing means to pay their own ministers at a foreign 
court. They could contract debts, but they were 
without means to discharge them. They could 
pledge the public faith, but they were inca 
pable of redeeming it. They could enter into trea 
ties; but every state in the union might dispute 
them with impunity. They could contract alliances, 
but could not command men or money to give them 
vigor. They could institute courts for piracies and 
felonies on the high seas; but they had no means 


to pay either the judges or the jurors. In short, all 
powers which did not execute themselves were at 
the mercy of the states, and might be trampled 
upon at will with impunity." 

These defects, as I have said, had been disclosed 
before Maryland ratified the confederation; and we 
wonder why the accession of that state should 
have produced so much rejoicing in the army and 
throughout the colonies; but our glance is a back 
ward one. We contrast the articles of confedera 
tion with the perfected constitution the tree with 
the germ and we rightly give the tree the glory; 
but wrongly despise the germ. The masses are not 
much taught by philosophy; it does not reach them; 
experience is their faithful teacher. The national 
^constitution, like the constitutions of the states, could 
only come by development. It was not, as a whole, 
in the brain of the wisest of our statesmen. Jefferson, 
Hamilton, Franklin, Adams, either would have made 
bad work of the business if it had been left to 
either. They were wise to contribute, but not wise 
enough to complete. 

The chief use and glory of the articles of confed 
eration were that, by and through them, "a perpet 
ual union" was declared and subscribed by each of 
the thirteen colonies; and that the use of the scheme 
of government provided, by disclosing its fatal de 
fects, infallibly pointed out the essentials of a per 
fect union. They organized a general representa- 


tive government a shadowy outline; but an outline 
that, when these suggestions were defined and 
rounded, should be the most free and perfect sys 
tem of government that men have ever enjoyed. 

Bancroft says of it: "A better one could not 
then have been accepted; but, with all its faults, it 
contained the elements for the evolution of a more 
perfect union." 


Delivered at Stanford University, April 18, 1894 

The institution of state governments was a most 
important and necessary step in the development of 
the republic. The king had denounced the penal 
ties of treason against the colonists; his armies and 
fleets had inaugurated war; and the old forms of 
oath and writ had become incongruous. Independ 
ence had not yet been declared, but local affairs 
were in disorder. The assemblies had been pro 
rogued, and the royal governors had abandoned 
their duties, or sought to exercise them from gar 
risoned towns or from the decks of royal cruisers. 
Committees of safety and defense had by popular 
acquiescence assumed some measure of public direc 
tion and control; but the necessity for a more for 
mal organization of the powers of government was 
pressing hard upon many of the colonies, especially 
upon Massachusetts. It was, however, well under- 




stood by the people of Massachusetts that this for 
ward step to which their necessities so strongly 
pressed them was only to be ventured in unison 
with the other colonies. 

On June 2, 1775, John Hancock, the president, 
laid before the congress a letter from the provincial 
convention of Massachusetts, dated May 16. This 
letter set forth the difficulties they suffered for want 
of a regular form of government, and requested 
"explicit advice respecting the taking up and exer 
cising the powers of civil government," and declar 
ing their readiness to "submit to such a general 
plan as the congress may direct for the colonies." 

In response to this communication, the congress 
resolved, on the ninth of June, as follows: 

"That no obedience being due to the act of par 
liament for altering the charter of the colony of 
Massachusetts Bay, nor to a governor, or a lieuten 
ant-governor, who will not observe the directions 
of, but endeavor to subvert that charter, the gov 
ernor and lieutenant-governor of that colony are 
to be considered as absent, and their offices vacant; 
and as there is no council there, and the inconven 
iences, arising from the suspension of the powers 
of government, are intolerable, especially at a time 
when General Gage hath actually levied war, and 
is carrying on hostilities, against his majesty's 
peaceable and loyal subjects of that colony; that, in 
order to conform, as near as may be, to the spirit 


and substance of the charter, it be recommended to 
the provincial convention, to write letters to the in 
habitants of the several places, which are entitled 
to representation in assembly, requesting them to 
choose such representatives, and that the assembly, 
when chosen, do elect councilors, and that such as 
sembly, or council, exercise the powers of govern 
ment, until a governor, of his majesty's appoint 
ment, will consent to govern the colony according 
to its charter." 

This advice was closely followed by Massachu 
setts, and the action taken was declared to be "in 
observance of the resolve of the continental con 
gress." The action was provisional the govern 
ment was an ad interim one, and it followed as far 
as might be the lines of the charter. But even this 
tentative step was not taken by Massachusetts 
without the direction of the general government. 

Again, on October 6, the committee of corre 
spondence of Massachusetts addressed congress and, 
after stating the condition of the colony that the 
governor had by proclamation prevented the meet 
ing of the general court, and that all laws were, 
therefore suspended solicited the advice of con 
gress in the premises. 

New Hampshire, following the course adopted 
by Massachusetts, also applied to congress for ad 
vice and direction as to the organization of a local 
government; and with deferential patience awaited 


the delayed answer. On October 18, 1775, her* 
delegates laid before congress the following from 
their instructions: "We would have you immedi 
ately use your utmost endeavors to obtain the ad 
vice and direction of the congress, with respect to 
a method for our administering justice, and regu 
lating our civil police. We press you not to delay 
this matter, as, its being done speedily, will prob 
ably prevent the greatest confusion among us." On 
November 3, congress recommended that New 
Hampshire "call a full and free representation of 
the people, and that the representatives, if they 
think it necessary, establish such a form of govern 
ment as, in their judgment, will best produce the 
happiness of the people, and most effectually secure 
peace and good order in the province, during the 
continuance of the present dispute between Great 
Britain and the colonies." 

On November 4, 1775, South Carolina received 
similar advice, a provision being added for an army 
to defend the colony at "the continental expense." 

On December 4, 1775, in response to a com 
munication from Virginia, the congress resolved 
"that if the convention of Virginia shall find it 
necessary to establish a form of government in that 
colony, it be recommended to that convention to 
call a full and free representation of the people, and 
that the said representatives, if they think it neces 
sary, establish such form of government as in their 


judgment will best produce the happiness of the 
people, and most effectually secure peace and good 
order in the colony, during the continuance of the 
present dispute between Great Britain and the col 

On the tenth of May, 1776, congress determined 
to deal generally with the question of instituting 
state governments in the colonies, and accordingly 
resolved: "That it be recommended to the respec 
tive assemblies and conventions of the united colo 
nies, where no government sufficient to the exigen 
cies of their affairs hath been hitherto established, 
to adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of 
the representatives of the people best conduce to 
the happiness and safety of their constituents in 
particular and America in general." On the I5th 
of May a preamble to this resolution was reported 
and adopted; and the resolution is usually referred 
to that date. 

Of this resolution, John Adams, who drafted it, 
says: "It was, indeed, on all hands, considered by 
men of understanding as equivalent to a declara 
tion of independence." 

As the war progressed and fresh outrages 
aroused the people, opposition to measures like the 
resolution of May 15 was over-borne in all the 
colonies by popular uprisings, and the delegates to 
congress were freshly empowered and strengthened. 
The expressions from the several colonies favoring 


independence and a confederation usually had a 
limitation like this, in the case of Rhode Island: 
"Taking the greatest care to secure to this col 
ony, in the strongest and most perfect manner, 
its present established form, and all the powers of 
government, in so far as it relates to its internal 
police and the conduct of its own affairs, civil and 
religious." Or, as the Virginia convention ex 
pressed it: To form a confederation "provided that 
the power of forming government for and the regu 
lations of the internal concerns of each colony be left 
to the colonial legislatures." 

The state constitutions, adopted before the con 
federation (November, 1777), assumed a perma 
nent union, and made provision for local and do 
mestic affairs only. In the Connecticut act of 1776, 
continuing the charter of 1662 in force, there is this 
explicit recognition of an existing general govern 

"3. That all the free inhabitants of this or any 
other of the United States of America * * * 
shall enjoy the same justice and law within this 
state," etc. 

The first constitution of Delaware was instituted 
under the resolution of May 15 and went into 
effect September 21, 1776. It provided for the an 
nual election of delegates to "the congress of the 
United States of America" thus assuming the fact 
of a union, and that its life was to be concurrent 


with that of the state. The superior authority of 
the acts of congress in matters within its sphere 
was declared in the twenty- fourth article, as follows: 

"Art. 24. All acts of assembly in force in the state 
on the fifteenth of May last (and not hereby altered 
or contrary to the resolutions of congress * * * ) 
shall continue." 

The preamble of the constitution of Georgia, 
adopted February, 1777, recited the resolution of 
congress of May 15 and the fact that "the inde 
pendence of the United States of America" has been 
declared as the base from which it sprang; and pro 
vided for an appeal in admiralty cases to the "conti 
nental congress," and for the annual election of 
"continental delegates." 

The first constitution of Maryland went into force 
in November, 1776. The declaration of rights, 
which accompanied it, recited the declaration of in 
dependence, and declared that "the people of this 
state ought to have the sole and exclusive right of 
regulating the internal government and police there 
of," and prohibited public officers from receiving 
any present from any foreign prince or state, or 
from the United States. The control of general or 
external affairs by congress was assumed as the ex 
isting status. It further provided for the annual 
choice of delegates to congress, prescribed the quali 
fications of such delegates and provided that no 
delegate should serve for more than three in any; 


term of six years, nor hold any office of profit "in 
the gift of congress." 

The general court of Massachusetts adopted a 
constitution in 1778, but on submission to the 
people it was rejected; and it was not until 1780 
that the first constitution of the state went into 

The first constitution of New Hampshire, which 
was completed January 5, 1776, before the declara 
tion of independence, opened with this recital: 
"We, the members of the congress of New Hamp 
shire, chosen and appointed by the free suffrages 
of the people of the said colony, and author 
ized and empowered by them to meet together, 
and use such means and pursue such measures 
as we should judge best for the public good; 
and in particular to establish some form of gov 
ernment, provided that measure should be recom 
mended by the continental congress; and a recom 
mendation having been transmitted to us from the 
said congress" do, etc. It was further resolved, 
"That, if the present unhappy dispute with Great 
Britain shall continue longer than this present year, 
and the continental congress give no instruction or 
direction to the contrary" that a council be chosen 
by the people, etc. 

The constitution of New Jersey, adopted in 1776 
by a convention assembled in May of that year, con 
tains this recital in the preamble: "As the hon- 


orable the continental congress, the supreme council 
of the American colonies has advised such of 
the colonies as have not yet gone into meas 
ures, to adopt for themselves, respectively, such 
government as shall best conduce to their own 
happiness and safety, and the well being of Amer 
ica in general: We, the representatives," etc. 

The convention which framed the first constitu 
tion of New York, assembled at White Plains, 
July 10, 1776, and the instrument was completed 
at Kingston, April 20, 1777. The preamble recites 
the resolution of congress of May 15, advising 
the institution of state governments. The declara 
tion of independence is then recited at length 
and is followed by this: "In virtue of which sev 
eral acts, declarations, and proceedings mentioned 
and contained in the aforecited resolves or resolutions 
of the general congress of the United American 
States and of the congresses or conventions of this 
state, all power whatever therein hath reverted to 
the people thereof." 

The first constitutional convention of the state of 
North Carolina assembled at Halifax in November, 
1776, and completed its work in the following 
month. The second paragraph of the declaration 
of rights is as follows: "That the people of this 
state ought to have the sole and exclusive right of 
regulating the internal government and police there 
of." The constitution contained the provision "that 


no officer in the regular army or navy, in the serv 
ice and pay of the United States," should have a 
seat in the assembly; and provided for the annual 
election of delegates to the continental congress. 

The first constitution of Pennsylvania was 
framed by a convention which assembled at Phila 
delphia on the fifteenth of July, 1776, and completed 
its labors in September of the same year. The pre 
amble declares: "Whereas, it is absolutely neces 
sary for the welfare and safety of the inhabitants 
of said colonies, that they be henceforth free and 
independent states, and that just, permanent, and 
proper forms of government exist in every part of 
them, derived from and founded on the authority 
of the people only, agreeable to the directions of the 
honorable American congress." The third article 
of the declaration of rights was as follows: "That 
the people of this state have the sole, exclusive and 
inherent right of governing and regulating the in 
ternal police of the same." 

In South Carolina a provincial congress adopted, 
in March, 1776, a form of government. It provid 
ed for delegates- to the continental congress and de 
clared "that the resolutions of the continental con 
gress, now of force in this colony, shall so continue 
until altered or revoked by them." This constitution 
and the one adopted by the general assembly in 
1778 were declared by the supreme court to be sim 
ple acts of the general assembly and subject to re- 


peal by that body. The constitution of 1778 re 
ferred to the former as temporary only and re 
cited: "Whereas, the united colonies of America 
have been since constituted independent states, and 
the political connection heretofore subsisting be 
tween them and Great Britain entirely dissolved 
by the declaration of the honorable continental con 
gress;" and provided for the annual election of "dele 
gates to the congress of the United States." 

It appears, I think, from what I have said: 
First, that the state governments were not distinct 
and separate ventures, antedating the union, but 
were incident to and grew out of the union; and, 
second, that the sovereignty assumed in these first 
state constitutions was of local, or internal affairs, 
while the larger sovereignty, that had to do with 
the world, was either expressly or impliedly left to 
the union as represented by the continental con 
gress. There was nothing in any of these constitu 
tions save that of South Carolina that looked to 
or provided for any intercourse between the state 
and any foreign power. 

It will be instructive to examine with some de 
tail these first state constitutions, for in them we 
have the first systematic expressions of the Ameri 
can form of government. Most of them were in 
troduced by bills of rights, and these, upon exam 
ination, will be found to be largely re-statements of 
the natural and inherited rights that had been so 


often and so fervently defended in the addresses to 
the crown. Seeing that the powers of government 
had been so cruelly and selfishly used by kings and 
parliaments and royal governors we do not wonder 
that there 'should have been a popular affection for 
bills of rights and a most watchful care that the 
powers of public officers should be strictly defir-ed 
and limited. The objection to the national consti 
tution of 1787 that it did not contain a bill of 
rights was well-nigh fatal to its adoption, and was 
only waived in the belief that it would be as it 
was speedily removed by amendments. 

The bill of rights of Maryland, adopted Novem 
ber n, 1776, may be taken as a good general ex 
ample. It declared that the people were the source 
of all government and that the object of govern 
ment was the general good; that public officers 
were "the trustees of the public" ; that the legisla 
tive, executive and judicial functions should be kept 
forever separate; that justice should be administered 
freely, without sale, denial or delay; that trials 
should be by a jury of the neighborhood; that free 
dom of speech and of the press should be held in 
violate; the right of the people to assemble peace 
ably and to petition for a redress of grievances was 
affirmed; cruel and unusual punishments were for 
bidden; the accused was guaranteed the right to a 
speedy trial, to confront witnesses, to be defended 
by counsel; excessive bail was forbidden; ex post 


'facto laws were prohibited; the right of search limit 
ed; the right to bear arms and the freedom of wor 
ship affirmed, and test oaths and titles of nobility 

It was a noble summary of human rights, an en 
during basis for free government. The individual 
rights asserted were, in the main, the rights which 
Englishmen had achieved and the colonists had in 
herited. The division of governmental powers was 
a modification of the forms of the English consti 
tution. The king was eliminated. The dread and 
redoubtable sovereign, by the grace of God, king, 
etc., was no longer a man, but the law; and that 
law the expression of the will of the people. 

The constitutions of Delaware, Maryland, Massa 
chusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecti 
cut, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Geor 
gia and Virginia provided for the organization of 
a legislature to consist of two distinct and co-ordi 
nate branches. 

In Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode 
Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, North 
Carolina and Virginia, the members of both branches 
of the legislature were chosen by popular vote. 

In Georgia the legislative body, chosen annually 
by the freemen, on the first day of their meeting 
elected an executive council from their own body. 
The remainder of the body constituted the house 
of assembly and had full legislative power; but all 


laws were required to be sent to the executive coun 
cil for their perusal and advice. 

In New Hampshire the assembly, or house of rep 
resentatives, chose a council which, when chosen, 
was charged jointly with the assembly with legisla 
tive powers. In the constitution of 1784 a senate 
and house of representatives were provided for, 
vested with supreme legislative power, and the mem 
bers of both houses were to be chosen by popular 

In Pennsylvania, by the constitution of 1776, the 
supreme legislative power was vested in a single 
house of representatives chosen by the freemen of 
the commonwealth. A council was also provided 
for to be chosen by popular vote; but it was 
charged with executive rather than legislative duties. 

In South Carolina, under the constitution of 1776, 
a general assembly was elected by the freeholders, 
and this assembly chose from its own body a legis 
lative council, and the two bodies chose a president 
and vice-president. The supreme legislative power 
was vested in the president, the legislative council 
and the assembly. 

The constitution adopted by the convention of 
Vermont in 1777 provided for a single legislative 
body or assembly, but all bills were required to be 
laid before the governor and council for perusal 
and proposals for amendment; and, except in case of 


sudden necessity, were to lie over until the next as 
sembly for final passage. 

In Connecticut and Rhode Island, under their 
charters, which were continued, the legislative 
powers were vested in a council and delegates which 
at first met in one body, but had afterwards 
come to sit separately. The members of both 
branches were elected by popular vote. 

It thus appears that in eleven of the states the 
bicameral form had been adopted for the supreme 

George Mason, writing in 1778, said of the or 
ganization of the state governments: "There is a 
remarkable sameness in all the forms of government 
throughout the American union, except in the states 
of South Carolina and Pennsylvania, the first hav 
ing three branches of legislature, and the last only 
one ; all the other states have two : This difference 
having given general disgust, and it is probable an 
alteration will take place to assimilate these to the 
constitutions of the other states." 

The idea of giving greater permanence to the up 
per branch of the legislature appears in many of 
these constitutions. In Delaware one of the three 
councilors chosen for each county retired every year 
and the vacancy was filled by a new election. 

Under the first constitution of Maryland the term 
of office of the senators was five years, while that 


of the members of the assembly was one year. Two 
persons were chosen by popular vote from each 
county to be "electors of the senate," and these elect 
ors chose the senators. The electors of senators 
were required to take an oath "to elect without favor, 
affection, partiality, or prejudice, such persons for 
senators as they, in their judgment and conscience, 
believe best qualified for the office." 

In New York the senators first chosen were di 
vided by lot into four classes, the term of one class 
expiring each year ; thus, after the first election, mak 
ing the term of office four years, while the mem 
bers of the assembly were chosen for one year 

In Virginia the senate was divided into four 
classes of six members each, and one class chosen 

The reservation, suggested by the English con 
stitution, of the power of originating revenue bills 
to the lower and more popular branch of the legis 
lature appears in several of these early constitu 

In Delaware it was declared "that all money bills 
for the support of government shall originate in the 
house of assembly, and may be altered, amended or 
rejected by the legislative council. All other bills 
and ordinances may take rise in the house of assem 
bly or legislative council, and may be altered, amend 
ed or rejected by either." 


The constitution of Maryland contained a similar 
provision. But a wise provision, which ought to 
have been embodied in the national constitution, pre 
served the legislative liberty of the senate. It was 
expressed thus: "That the senate may be at full 
and perfect liberty to exercise their judgment in pass 
ing laws and that they may not be compelled by 
the house of delegates, either to reject a money bill, 
which the emergency of affairs may require, or to 
assent to some other act of legislation, in their con 
science and judgment injurious to the public wel 
fare the house of delegates shall not, on any oc 
casion, or under any pretense, annex to, or blend 
with a money bill, any matter, clause or thing not 
immediately relating to, and necessary for the im 
posing, assessing, levying or applying the taxes or 
supplies, to be raised for the support of government 
or the current expenses of the state." 

This additional provision defining money bills is 
interesting in view of the questions that have been 
raised between the national senate and house of rep 
resentatives in connection with the provision of the 
national constitution upon the subject : "And to pre 
vent altercation about such bills, it is declared, that 
no bill imposing duties or customs for the mere reg 
ulation of commerce, or inflicting fines for the ref 
ormation of morals, or to enforce the execution of 
the laws, by which an incidental revenue may arise, 
shall be accounted a money bill." 


In the Massachusetts constitution also it was pro 
vided that all "money bills" should originate in the 
house of representatives, the power of amendment, 
however, being reserved to the senate; and in the 
constitution of New Hampshire, adopted in 1784, 
the same provision appears. 

In the constitution of New Jersey, of 1776, the 
limitation of the powers of the council was expressed 
as follows : "That the council shall also have power 
to prepare bills to pass into laws, and have other 
like powers as the assembly, and in all respects be 
a free and independent branch of the legislature of 
this colony, save only that they shall not prepare or 
alter any money bill which shall be the privilege 
of the assembly." 

The constitution of South Carolina (1776) pro 
vided that "all money bills for the support of gov 
ernment shall originate in the general assembly and 
shall not be altered or amended by the legislative 
council, but may be rejected by them." 

In the first constitution of Virginia (1776) this 
provision appears : "All laws shall originate in the 
house of delegates, to be approved or rejected by 
the senate, or to be amended with consent of the 
house of delegates, except money bills, which in no 
instance shall be altered by the senate, but wholly 
approved or rejected." 

Some other general provisions, found in the first 
state constitutions, relating to the powers of the 


state legislatures, were that each house should be 
the judge of the election and qualification of its 
members, should have power to sit upon its own ad 
journments in some cases with the limitation that 
neither should adjourn without the consent of the 
other except for two or three days. 

The assembly, or popular branch, was invested 
with the power of presenting articles of impeach 
ment against public officers to be tried before the 
council or senate. 

The returns of the votes for governor were to be 
canvassed by the general assembly and the result de 
clared; in the event of a tie the choice was devolved 
upon the legislature. The provisions touching these 
matters were not, of course, uniform in all states. 
I call attention to these matters here as, in some 
cases, furnishing the suggestion, and in some cases 
almost the very form afterwards adopted in the na 
tional constitution. 


Let us now notice briefly the provision made for 
the exercise of the executive powers in these con 

In Delaware provision was made for the choice 
by joint ballot of both houses, "to be taken in the 
house of assembly," of a president or chief magis 
trate, whose term was three years. He was author 
ized to draw for moneys appropriated by the legis- 


lature and required to account for the same. Dur 
ing the recess of the legislature, and for a period 
not exceeding thirty days, he was allowed to lay 
embargoes and prohibit the exportation of any com 
modity. A limited pardoning power was given him, 
and other general executive powers of government. 

On the death, inability or absence from the state 
of the president or chief magistrate the office was 
devolved upon the speaker of the council "as vice- 
president"; and, in case of his death, inability, or 
absence from the state, the powers of "the presi 
dency" were devolved upon the speaker of the 
house of assembly. 

In Georgia the chief executive officer was styled 
governor and was chosen by the house of represen 
tatives on the first day of their meeting. He was 
authorized, with the advice of the executive coun 
cil, to exercise the executive powers according to 
the constitution and laws of the state; to call the 
assembly together in an emergency and to fill va 
cancies in office until the next general election. He 
was to preside in the executive council at all times 
except "when they are taking into consideration and 
perusal the laws and orders offered to them by 
the house of assembly." He was elected by popular 
vote to hold office for one year, and was not eli 
gible for more than one year in three. In case of 
the sickness or absence of the governor the presi- 


dent of the executive council was to exercise the 
powers of the office. 

Neither here nor in the case of Delaware does it 
seem that any power was given to the governor 
either to approve or disapprove of acts of the legis 
lature. In Georgia, as we have seen, the acts of 
the legislature were submitted to the executive coun 
cil for advice and amendment; but the governor 
usually the presiding officer was excluded from the 
sittings of the council when they were exercising 
this legislative power.- 

In Maryland the chief executive was also desig 
nated by the title of governor; was elected annually 
by the "joint ballot of both houses to be taken in 
each house separately/' In case of a tie a second 
ballot was to be taken, confined to the persons who, 
on the first ballot, had an equal number of votes; 
and, if a tie again resulted, the election was to be 
determined by lot. The governor could not con 
tinue in office longer than three years, and was 
afterwards ineligible for four years. On the death 
or resignation of the governor the "first named of 
the council, for the time being," acted as gover 
nor. The governor was vested with general execu 
tive powers under the law, but was expressly re 
strained from the exercise, under any pretense, of 
any power or prerogative "by virtue of any law, 
statute, or custom of England or Great Britain." 
He was authorized, with the advice and consent of 


the council, to appoint the chancellor, judges, jus 
tices, attorney-general and other civil officers, except 
such as had been otherwise specially provided for, 
and to suspend any officer not appointed during 
good behavior. It was his duty to sign all bills 
passed by the general assembly and to affix the great 
seal of state. 

In Massachusetts "a supreme executive magistrate," 
to be styled the governor of the commonwealth of 
Massachusetts, was provided for. He was to be 
chosen annually by popular vote ; the returns were to be 
canvassed and declared before the senate and house of 
representatives ; the house of representatives, by ballot, 
was to select two f the four persons having the highest 
number of votes, and the senate was then, by bal 
lot, to elect one of these, who should be declared 
governor. He was commander-in-chief of the mili 
tary forces of the state, appointed all judicial officers 
and other officers designated, "by and with the ad 
vice and consent of the council." The election of 
a lieutenant-governor was also provided for who, 
in case of the death or absence of the governor, 
performed the duties of the office during such va 
cancy. All bills and resolves of the senate or 
house of representatives, before having force as laws, 
were required to be laid before the governor "for 
his revisal." If he approved he was to signify his 
approval by signing the bill, "but, if he have any 
objection to the passing of such bill or resolve, he 


shall return the same, together with his objections 
thereto, in writing, to the senate or house of rep 
resentatives, in whichsoever the same shall have 
originated, who shall enter the objections sent down 
by the governor, at large, on their record, and pro 
ceed to reconsider the said bill or resolve; but if, 
after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the said 
senate or house of representatives shall, notwith 
standing the said objections, agree to pass the same, 
it shall, together with the objections, be sent to the 
other branch of the legislature, where it shall also 
be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of 
the members present, shall have the force of law; 
but in all such cases the vote of both houses shall 
be determined by yeas and nays; and the names of 
the persons voting for or against the said bill or 
resolve shall be entered on the public records of the 
commonwealth. And in order to prevent unneces 
sary delays, if any bill or resolve shall not be re 
turned by the governor within five days after it 
shall have been presented, the same shall have the 
force of law." 

In the first brief and temporary frame of gov 
ernment adopted in New Hampshire, 1776, no pro 
vision was made for a separate executive depart 
ment; the executive duties were assumed by the 
house of representatives and council; but in the con 
stitution of 1784 "a supreme executive magistrate" 
was provided for who was styled the president of 


the state of New Hampshire. He was elected an 
nually by a popular vote, which was to be canvassed 
and declared by the senate and house of representa 
tives; and, if there was no election, the same 
method of choice was adopted as in Massachusetts. 
The president was the presiding officer of the sen 
ate and had "a vote equal with any other member/' 
and a casting vote in case of a tie. This constitu 
tion was closely modeled on that of Massachusetts. 

The constitution of New Jersey, 1776, vested the 
government in a governor, legislative council and 
general assembly. The governor was chosen an 
nually by the council and assembly in a joint 
meeting, and he became president of the council, 
where he had a casting vote. The council chose a 
vice-president, who was authorized to act in the ab 
sence of the governor. 

In New York the first constitution provided that 
the supreme executive power and authority should 
be vested in a governor, who was to be chosen at 
a popular election and to hoH office for three years. 
He was to "inform the legislature at every session 
of the condition of the state, so far as may respect 
his department; to recommend such matters to their 
consideration as shall appear to him to concern its 
good government, welfare and prosperity; to corre 
spond with the continental congress and other states; 
to transact all necessary business with the officers 
of government, civil and military; to take care that 


the laws are faithfully executed, to the best of his 
ability, and to expedite, all such measures as may 
be resolved upon by the legislature." The governor, 
the chancellor and the judges of the supreme court, 
or any two of them, were constituted a council to 
revise bills about to be passed by the legislature. If 
the council, or a majority of them, were of the 
opinion that the bill should not become a law it* was 
to be returned to the house in which it originated 
with the objections. If, upon a reconsideration, two- 
thirds of each branch still agreed to the law, not 
withstanding the objections, the bill became a law. 
It was provided, however, that if a bill should not 
be returned within ten days after the presentation 
to the council it should be a law, unless the legisla 
ture "shall, by their adjournment, render a return 
of the said bill within ten days impracticable, in 
which case the bill shall be returned on the first day 
of the meeting of the legislature, after the expira 
tion of the said ten days." A lieutenant-governor 
was provided for, to be chosen in the same manner 
as the governor. He was, by virtue of his office, 
president of the senate, and upon an equal division 
had a casting vote. In case of the death, resigna 
tion or absence of the governor from the state the 
lieutenant-governor exercised the powers of the of 
fice. In case the lieutenant-governor should die, re 
sign, or be absent from the state, the president of 


the senate in like manner succeeded to the office of 

In North Carolina the senate and house, at their 
first meeting, elected a governor by ballot for one 
year. General executive powers were given to him; 
and, in case of his death, inability or absence, the 
speaker of the senate, for the time being, exercised 
the powers of governor; and in the case of his death, 
absence or inability, the speaker of the house of com 
mons assumed the office. No veto power was vested 
in the governor. 

In Pennsylvania the supreme executive power was 
vested in a president and council. The executive 
council was chosen by popular vote, and the president 
and vice-president annually by the joint ballot of the 
general assembly and council. 

In South Carolina provision was made for the 
choice by the general assembly and council of a 
president and commander-in-chief and a vice-president. 
It was provided that "bills having passed the gen 
eral assembly and legislative council may be assent 
ed to or rejected by the president and commander- 
in-chief. Having received his assent, they shall have 
all the force and validity of a general act of this 
colony"; and, further, "where a bill has been re 
jected it may, on a meeting after adjournment of 
not less than three days of the general assembly 
and legislative council, be brought in again." I 
think the provision which I now quote from the 


constitutions of South Carolina of 1776 and 1778 
is the only one in any of the state constitutions 
which so much as suggests that a state might come 
into treaty relations with other states. The pro 
vision is as follows: "That the president and com- 
mander-in-chief shall have no power to make war 
or peace, or enter into any final treaty without the 
consent of the general assembly and legislative coun 
cil." This peculiar provision does not appear in the 
constitution of 1790. 

The constitution of Virginia, 1776, provided for 
a governor or chief magistrate, to be chosen annu 
ally by joint ballot of both houses. With the ad 
vice of the council of state he was authorized to ex 
ercise the executive powers of government according 
to the laws of the commonwealth. The privy coun 
cil, also chosen by the legislature, were authorized 
to choose out of their own number a president who, 
in case of the death, inability or absence of the gov 
ernor, was to act as lieutenant-governor. 

These state constitutions greatly instructed the 
members of the constitutional convention of 1787 in 
their work. In fact, an outline model of a free, 
representative government its grand subdivisions 
the division of powers between these and the gen 
eral limitations upon each department, was offered 
to their hand in these state constitutions, and the 
suggestion was obvious that the more nearly the 
general government followed these outlines the more 


likely it was to meet with popular favor. I do not 
mean to be understood as saying that these state 
constitutions themselves were in any strict sense cre 
ations. They were largely the development and mod 
ification of principles and usages of the English con 
stitution, which had before been enlarged, defined 
and modified by a century and a half of American 
colonial experience. But the work of applying these 
principles, of organizing a government without a 
king, or a house of lords a republic deriving all 
of its powers from the people and exercising de 
fined powers, through officers having limited terms, 
and by prescribed methods, was a task so large and 
delicate that the first state constitution may well 
excite our admiration and surprise. My chief ob 
ject, however, in giving you so full an abstract 
of their provisions is that you may see their likeness 
each to the other and to the national constitution. 

When we contrast these admirable state consti 
tutions with the articles of confederation, we do not 
wonder that the states became strong and the union 

The state service attracted the competent and the 
ambitious, and only the most resolute and the most 
obscure remained in congress. The condition of the 
federation was so strikingly like that of a barrel 
from which the hoops had been withdrawn, ready to 
fall to pieces at a touch, that one of the favorite 
toasts of this period was "A hoop to the barrel." 


Speaking of the situation of congress about this 
time, Mr. McMaster, in his History of the People 
of the United States, says: "The stimulus derived 
from the presence of a hostile army was withdrawn 
and the representation and attendance fell off fast. 
Delaware and Georgia ceased to be represented. 
From the ratification of the treaty to the organiza 
tion of the government under the constitution six 
years elapsed, and during those six years congress, 
though entitled to ninety-one members, was rarely 
attended by twenty-five. The house was repeatedly 
forced to adjourn day after day for want of a quo 
rum. On more than one occasion these adjourn 
ments covered a period of thirteen consecutive days. 
* * * No occasion, however impressive or im 
portant, could call out a large attendance. Seven 
states, represented by twenty delegates, witnessed the 
resignation of Washington. Twenty-three members, 
sitting for eleven states, voted for the ratification of 
the treaty. * * * Neglected by its own members, 
insulted and threatened by its mutinous troops, re 
viled by the press and forced to wander from city 
to city in search of an abiding place, its acts pos 
sessed no national importance whatever." 

In the South Carolina convention for the ratifi 
cation of the constitution, the Hon. Jacob Reed said 
that he "looked on the boasted efficiency of congress 
to be farcical, and instanced two cases in proof of 
his opinion. One was that when the treaty should 


have been ratified a sufficient number of members 
could not be collected in congress for that purpose, 
so that it was necessary to despatch a frigate, at the 
expense of four thousand dollars, with particular di 
rections to Mr. Adams to use his endeavors to gain 
time. His application proved successful; otherwise 
very disagreeable consequences must have ensued. 
The other case was, a party of Indians came to 
Princeton for the purpose of entering into an ami 
cable treaty with congress; before it could be con 
cluded, a member went to Philadelphia to be mar 
ried, and his secession had nearly involved the west 
ern country in all the miseries of war." 




University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, December, 1900 
North American Review, January, 1901 

A legal argument upon this subject is quite out 
side of my purpose, which is to consider, in a pop 
ular, rather than a professional way, some of the 
questions that arise, some of the answers that have 
been proposed, and some of the objections to these 

We have done something out of line with Ameri 
can history, not in the matter of territorial expan 
sion, but in the character of it. Heretofore, the re 
gions we have taken over have been contiguous to 
us, save in the case of Alaska and, indeed, Alaska 
is contiguous, in the sense of being near. These 
annexed regions were also, at the time of annexa 
tion, either unpeopled or very sparsely peopled, by civ 
ilized men, and were further, by their situation, cli 
mate and soil, adapted to the use of an increasing 
American population. We have now acquired in- 




sular regions, situated in the tropics, and in another 
hemisphere, and hence unsuitable for American set 
tlers, even if they were not, as they are, already 
populated, and their lands already largely taken up. 

We have taken over peoples rather than lands, and 
these chiefly of other race stocks for there are "di 
versities of tongues/' The native labor is cheap and 
threatens competition, and there is a total absence 
of American ideas and methods of life and govern 
ment among the eight or more millions of inhabit 
ants in the Philippines. We have said that the Chi 
nese will not "homologate"; and the Filipinos will 
certainly be slow. Out of the too late contempla 
tion of these very real and serious problems has 
arisen the proposition to solve them, as many think, 
by wresting our government from its constitutional 
basis; or at least, as all must agree, by the introduc 
tion of wholly new views of the status of the peo 
ple of the territories, and of some startlingly new 
methods of dealing with them. It is not open to 
question, I think, that, if we had taken over only 
the Sandwich islands and Porto Rico, these new 
views of the status of the people of our territories, 
and these new methods of dealing with them, would 
never have been suggested or used. 

The question of the constitutional right of the 
United States to acquire territory, as these new re 
gions have been acquired, must, I suppose, be taken 
by every one to have been finally adjudged in favor 


of that right. The supreme court is not likely to 
review the decision announced by Chief Justice Mar 

It is important to note, however, that the great 
chief-justice derives the power to acquire territory, 
by treaty and conquest, from the constitution itself. 
He says : 

"The constitution confers absolutely on the govern 
ment of the Union the powers of making war and of 
making treaties; consequently that government pos 
sesses the power of acquiring territory either by con 
quest or by treaty." 

While this decision stands, there is no room for 
the suggestion that the power of the United States 
to acquire territory, either by a conquest con 
firmed by treaty, or by a treaty of purchase from 
a nation with which we are at peace, is doubtful, and 
as little for the suggestion that this power is an 
extra-constitutional power. The people, then, have 
delegated to the president and congress the power 
to acquire territory by the methods we have used in 
the cases of Porto Rico and the Hawaiian and Phil 
ippine islands. But some have suggested that this 
power to acquire new territory is limited to certain 
ends; that it can only be used to acquire territory 
that is to be, or is capable of being, erected into 
states of the Union. If this view were allowed, the 

attitude of the courts to the question would not be 


much changed; for they could not inquire as to the 


purposes of congress, nor, I suppose, overrule the 
judgment of congress as to the adaptability of ter 
ritory for the creation of states. The appeal would 
be to congress to limit the use of the power. 

The islands of Hawaii, of Porto Rico and of the 
Philippine archipelago have been taken over, not for 
a temporary purpose, as in the case of Cuba, but to 
have and to hold forever, as a part of the region 
over which the sovereignty of the United States ex 
tends. We have not put ourselves under any pledge 
as to them, at least not of a written sort. Indeed, 
we have not, it is said, made up our minds as to 
anything affecting the Philippines, save this : that 
they are a part of our national domain and that the 
inhabitants must yield obedience to the sovereignty 
of the United States, so long as we choose to hold 

Our title to the Philippines has been impeached by 
some upon the ground that Spain was not in pos 
session when she conveyed them to us. It is a prin 
ciple of private law that a deed of property adversely 
held is not good. If I have been ejected from a 
farm to which I claim title and another is in pos 
session under a claim of title, I must recover the pos 
session before I can make a good conveyance. Other 
wise, I sell a law suit and not a farm, and that the 
law counts to be immoral. It has not been shown, 
however, that this principle has been incorporated into 
international law; and, if that could be shown, there 


would still be need to show that Spain had been ef 
fectively ousted. 

It is very certain, I suppose, that if Great Britain 
had, during our revolutionary struggle, concluded 
a treaty of cession of the colonies to France, we 
would have treated the cession as a nullity and con 
tinued to fight for liberty against the French. No 
promises of liberal treatment by France would have 
appeased us. 

But what has that to do with the Philippine situa 
tion? There are so many points of difference. We 
were Anglo-Saxons! We were capable of self-gov 
ernment. And, after all, what we would have done 
under the conditions supposed has no bearing upon 
the law of the case. It is not to be doubted that any 
international tribunal would affirm the completeness 
of our legal title to the Philippines. 

The questions that perplex us relate to the status 
of these new possessions, and to the rights of their 
civilized inhabitants who have elected to renounce 
their allegiance to the Spanish crown, and either by 
choice or operation of law have become American 
somethings. What? Subjects or citizens? There 
is no other status, since they are not aliens any 
longer, unless a newspaper heading that recently at 
tracted my attention offers another. It ran thus: 
"Porto Ricans not citizens of the United States 
proper" Are they citizens of the United States im 
proper, or improper citizens of the United States? 


It seems clear that there is something improper. To 
call them "citizens of Porto Rico" is to leave their 
relations to the United States wholly undefined. 

Now, in studying the questions whether the new 
possessions are part of the United States, and their 
free civilized inhabitants citizens of the United 
States, the constitution should, naturally, be exam 
ined first. Whatever is said there, is final any 
treaty or act of congress to the contrary notwith 
standing. The fact that a treaty must be constitu 
tional, as well as an act of congress, seems to have 
been overlooked by those who refer to the treaty 
of cession as giving congress the right to govern 
the people of Porto Rico, who do not retain their 
Spanish allegiance, according to its pleasure. Has 
the queen regent, with the island, decorated congress 
with one of the jewels from the Spanish crown? 

In Pollard v. Hogan, 3 Howard, the court says: 

"It can not be admitted that the king of Spain 
could by treaty, or otherwise, impart to the United 
States any of his royal prerogatives; and much less 
can it be admitted that they have capacity to receive 
or power to exercise them." 

A treaty is a part of the supreme law of the land 
in the same sense that an act of congress is, not 
in the same sense that the constitution is. The con 
stitution of the United States can not be abrogated 
or impaired by a treaty. Acts of congress and trea 
ties are only a part of the "supreme law of the land" 


when they pursue the constitution. The supreme 
court has decided that a treaty may be abrogated by 
a later statute, on the ground that the statute is the 
later expression of the sovereign's will. Whether a 
statute may be abrogated by a later treaty, we do 
not know; but we do know that neither a statute nor 
a treaty can abrogate the constitution. 

If the constitution leaves the question open 
whether the inhabitants of Porto Rico shall or shall 
not upon annexation become citizens, then the presi 
dent and the senate may exercise that discretion by 
a treaty stipulation that they shall or shall not be 
admitted as citizens; but if, on the other hand, the 
constitution gives no such discretion, but itself con 
fers citizenship, any treaty stipulation to the contrary 
is void. To refer to the treaty in this connection is 
to beg the question. 

If we seek to justify the holding of slaves, in a 
territory acquired by treaty, or the holding of its 
civilized inhabitants in a condition less favored than 
that of citizenship, by virtue of the provisions of 
a treaty, it would seem to be necessary to show that 
the constitution, in the one case, allows slavery, and, 
in the other, a relation of civilized people to the 
government that is not citizenship. 

Now the constitution declares (i4th amendment) 
that "all persons born or naturalized in the United 
States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citi 
zens of the United States." This disposes of the 


question, unless it can be maintained that Porto Rico 
is not a part of the United States. 

But the theory that any part of the constitution, 
of itself, embraces the territories and their people, 
is contested by many. Congress seems to have as 
sumed the negative, though among the members 
there was not entire harmony as to the argument by 
which the conclusion was reached. It is contended, 
by most of those who defend the Porto Rican bill, 
that the constitution expends itself wholly upon that 
part of the national domain that has been organized 
into states, and has no reference to, or authority in, 
the territories, save as it has constituted a govern 
ment to rule over them. 

No one contends that every provision of the con 
stitution applies to the territories. Some of them 
explicitly relate to the states only. The contention 
of those who oppose the Porto Rican legislation is 
that all of those general provisions of the constitu 
tion which impose limitations upon the powers of the 
legislative, executive and judicial departments must 
apply to all regions and people where or upon whom 
those powers are exercised. And, on the other hand, 
those who deny most broadly that the constitution 
applies to the territories seem practically to allow 
that much of it does. The powers of appointment 
and pardon in the territories, the confirmation of ter 
ritorial officers, the methods of passing laws to gov 
ern the territories, the keeping and disbursement of 


federal taxes derived from the territories, the veto 
power, and many other things, are pursued as if the 
constitution applied to the cases. 

But, in theory, it is claimed by these that no part 
of the constitution applies except the thirteenth amend 
ment, which prohibits slavery, and that only because 
the prohibition expressly includes "any place subject 
to their jurisdiction." This amendment was proposed 
by congress on February i, 1865 the day on which 
Sherman's army left Savannah on its northern 
march ; and the words "any place subject to their juris 
diction" were probably added because of the uncer 
tainty of the legal status of the states in rebellion, 
and not because of any doubt as to whether Nebras 
ka, then a territory, was a part of the United States. 

The view that some other general limitations of 
the constitution upon the powers of congress must 
relate to all regions and all persons was, however, 
adopted by some members of the Senate committee 
in the report upon the Porto Rican bill, where it is 

"Yet, as to all prohibitions of the constitution laid 
upon congress while legislating, they operate for the 
benefit of all for whom congress may legislate, no 
matter where they may be situated, and without re 
gard to whether or not the provisions of the consti 
tution have been extended to them; but this is so be 
cause the congress, in all that it does, is subject to 
and governed by those restraints and prohibitions. 


As, for instance, congress shall make no law respect 
ing an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the 
free exercise thereof; no title of nobility shall be 
granted; no bill of attainder or ex post facto law 
shall be passed; neither shall the validity of contracts 
be impaired, nor shall property be taken without due 
process of law; nor shall the freedom of speech or of 
the press be abridged; nor shall slavery exist in any 
place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. 
These limitations are placed upon the exercise of the 
legislative power withouf regard to the place or the 
people for whom the legislation in a given case may 
be intended." 

That is to say, every general constitutional limi 
tation of the powers of congress applies to the ter 
ritories. The brief schedule of these limitations 
given by the committee is all put in the negative 
form, "congress shall not"; but surely it was not 
meant that there may not be quite as effective a 
limitation by the use of the affirmative form. If 
a power is given to be used in one way only, 
all other uses of it are negatived by necessary im 
plication. When it is said, "All duties, imposts, and 
excises shall be uniform throughout the United 
States," is not that the equivalent of "No duty or 
excise that is not uniform shall be levied in the 
United States?" And is not the first form quite as 
effective a limitation of the legislative power over 
the subject of indirect taxation as that contained in 


the fourth clause of the section is upon the power 
to lay direct taxes? 

In the latter the negative form is used, thus: 

"No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, 
unless in proportion to the census or enumeration 
hereinbefore directed to be taken." 

This discrimination between express and implied 
limitations, benevolently attempted to save for the 
people of the territories the bill of rights provision 
of the constitution, will not, I think, endure dis 

There are only three views that may be offered, 
with some show of consistency in themselves: 

First, that congress, the executive and the judi 
ciary are all created by the constitution as govern 
ing agencies of the nation called the United States; 
that their powers are defined by the constitution and 
run throughout the nation; that all the limitations 
of their powers attach to every region and to all 
civilized people under the sovereignty of the United 
States, unless their inapplicability appears from the 
constitution itself; that every guaranty of liberty, in 
cluding that most essential one, uniform taxation, is 
to be allowed to every free civilized man and woman 
who owes allegiance to the United States; that the 
use of the terms "throughout the United States' ' 
does not limit the scope of any constitutional pro 
vision to the states that would otherwise be appli 
cable to the territories as well; but that these terms 


include the widest sweep of the nation's sovereignty, 
and so the widest limit of congressional action. 

Second, that the terms, "The United States/' de 
fine an inner circle of the national sovereignty com 
posed of the states alone; that, whenever those terms 
are used in the constitution, they must be taken to 
have reference only to the region and to the people 
within this inner circle; but that, when these terms 
of limitation are omitted, the constitutional pro 
visions must, unless otherwise limited, be taken to 
include all lands and people in the outer circle of 
the national sovereignty. 

Third, that the constitution has relation only to the 
states and their people; that all constitutional limi 
tations of the powers of congress and the executive 
are to be taken to apply only to the states and their 
citizens; that the power to acquire territory is nei 
ther derived from the constitution, nor limited by it, 
but is an inherent power of national life; that the 
government we' exercise in the territories is not a 
constitutional government, but an absolute govern 
ment, and that all or any of the things prohibited by 
the constitution as to the states, in the interest of 
liberty, justice and equality, may be done in the ter 
ritories; that, as to the territories, we are under no 
restraints save such as our own interests or our benev 
olence may impose. 

I say "benevolence"; but must not that quality be 
submerged, before this view of the constitution is pro- 


mulgated? It seems to have had its origin in a sup 
posed commercial necessity, and we may fairly con 
clude that other recurring necessities will guide its 
exercise. Is it too much to say that this view of 
the constitution is shocking? 

Within the states, it is agreed that the powers 
of the several departments of the national govern 
ment are severely restrained. We read that congress 
shall have power, and again that congress shall not 
have power. But neither these grants nor these in 
hibitions have, it is said, any relation to the terri 
tories. Against the laws enacted by the congress, or 
the acts done by the executive, there is no appeal, on 
behalf of the people of the territories, to any writ 
ten constitution, or bill of rights, or charter of lib 
erty. We offer them only this highly consolatory 
thought: a nation of free Americans can be trusted 
to deal benevolently with you. 

How obstinately wrong we were in our old answer 
to the Southern slave-holder! It is not a question of 
kind or unkind treatment, but of human rights; not 
of the good or bad use of power, but of the power, 
we said. And so our fathers said, in answer to 
the claim of absolute power made on behalf of the 
British parliament. As to the states, the legislative 
power of congress is "all legislative powers herein 
granted." (Art. I, Sec. i.) As to the territories, 
it is said to be all legislative power all that any par 
liament ever had or ever claimed to have, and as 


much more as we may claim for there can be no ex 
cess of pretension where power is absolute. No law 
relating to the territories, passed by congress, can, 
it is said, be declared by the supreme court to be 
inoperative, though every section of it should con 
travene a provision of the constitution. 

An outline of a possible law may aid us to see 
more clearly what is involved: 

Sec. i. Suspends permanently the writ of habeas 
corpus in Porto Rico. 

Sec. 2. Declares an attainder against all Porto 
Ricans who have displayed the Spanish flag since the 
treaty of peace. 

Sec. 3. Grants to the native mayors of Ponce and 
San Juan the titles of Lord Dukes of Porto Rico, 
with appropriate crests. 

Sec. 4. Any Porto Rican who shall speak disre 
spectfully of the congress shall be deemed guilty of 
treason. One witness shall be sufficient to prove the 
offense, and on conviction the offender shall have 
his tongue cut out; and the conviction shall work 
corruption of blood. 

Sec. 5. The Presbyterian church shall be the Es 
tablished church of the island, and no one shall be 
permitted to worship God after any other form. 

Sec. 6. All proposed publications shall be submit 
ted to a censor and shall be printed only after he 
has approved the same. Public meetings for the dis- 


cussion of public affairs are prohibited and no peti 
tions shall be presented to the government. 

Sec. 7. No inhabitant of Porto Rico shall keep 
or bear arms. 

Sec. 8. The soldiers of the island garrison shall 
be quartered in the houses of the people. 

Sec. 9. The commanding officer of the United 
States forces in the island shall have the right, with 
out any warrant, to search the person, house, papers 
and effects of any one suspected by him. 

Sec. 10. Any person in Porto Rico, in civil life, 
may be put upon trial for capital or other infamous 
crimes upon the information of the public prosecutor, 
without the presentment or indictment of a grand jury; 
may be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense; 
may be compelled to be a witness against himself, 
and may be deprived of life, liberty or property with 
out due process of law, and his property may be 
taken for public uses without compensation. 

Sec. ii. Criminal trials may, in the discretion of 
the presiding judge, be held in secret, without a 
jury, in a district prescribed by law after the com 
mission of the offense, and the accused shall, or not, 
be advised before arraignment of the nature or cause 
of the accusation, and shall, or not, be confronted 
with the witnesses against him, and have compul 
sory process to secure his own witnesses, as the pre 
siding judge may in his discretion order. 


Sec. 12. There shall be no right in any suit at 
common law to demand a jury. 

Sec. 13. A direct tax is imposed upon Porto Rico 
for federal uses without regard to its relative pop 
ulation; the tariff rates at San Juan are fixed at 50 
per cent, and those at Ponce at 15 per cent, of 
those levied at New York. 

New Mexico, or Arizona, or Oklahoma might be 
substituted for Porto Rico in the bill; for, I think, 
those who affirm that the constitution has no relation 
to Porto Rico do so upon grounds that equally apply 
to all other territories. 

Now, no one supposes that congress will ever as 
semble in a law such shocking provisions. But, for 
themselves, our fathers were not content with an as 
surance of these great rights that rested wholly upon 
the sense of justice and benevolence of the congress. 
The man whose protection from wrong rests wholly 
upon the benevolence of another man or of a con 
gress, is a slave a man without rights. Our fathers 
took security of the governing departments they or 
ganized; and that, notwithstanding the fact that the 
choice of all public officers rested with the people. 
When a man strictly limits the powers of an agent of 
his own choice, and exacts a bond from him, to se 
cure his faithfulness, he does not occupy strong 
ground when he insists that another person, who had 
no part in the selection, shall give the agent full 
powers without a bond. 


If there is anything that is characteristic in 
American constitutions, state and national, it is the 
plan of limiting the powers of all public officers 
and agencies. "You shall do this; you may do this; 
you shall not do this" is the form that the schedule 
of powers always takes. This grew out of our ex 
perience as English colonies. A government of un 
limited legislative or executive powers is an un-Amer 
ican government. And, for one, I do not like to 
believe that the framers of the national constitution 
and of our first state constitutions were careful only 
for their own liberties. 

This is the more improbable when we remember 
that the territory then most likely to be acquired 
would naturally be peopled by their sons. They 
cherished very broad views as to the rights of men. 
Their philosophy of liberty derived it from God. Lib 
erty was a divine gift to be claimed for ourselves 
only upon the condition of allowing it to "all men." 
They would write the law of liberty truly, and suf 
fer for a time the just reproach of a departure from 
its precepts that could not be presently amended. 

It is a brave thing to proclaim a law that con 
demns your own practices. You assume the fault and 
strive to attain. The fathers left to a baser genera 
tion the attempt to limit God's law of liberty to 
white men. It is not a right use of the fault of 
slavery to say that, because of it, our fathers did 
not mean "all men." It was one thing to tolerate 


an existing condition that the law of liberty con 
demned, in order to accomplish the union of the 
states, and it is quite another thing to create a con 
dition contrary to liberty for a commercial profit. 

In a recent discussion of these questions, sent me 
by the author, I find these consolatory reflections: 
"And yet the inalienable rights of the Filipinos, even 
if not guaranteed by the constitution, are amply se 
cured by the fundamental, unwritten laws of our civ 
ilization/' Does this mean that the specific guaran 
tees of individual liberty found in our constitution 
have become a part of "our civilization," and that 
they apply in Porto Rico and the Philippines in such 
a sense that, if there is any denial of them by con 
gress or the executive, the courts can enforce them 
and nullify the law that infringes them? If that is 
meant, then as to all such rights this discussion is 
tweedledum and tweedledee the constitution does 
not apply, but all these provisions of it are in full 
force, notwithstanding. 

Perhaps, however, it should be asked further, 
whether the rule of the uniformity of taxation is a 
part of the "law of our civilization" ; for, without 
it, all property rights are unprotected. The man 
whose property may be taxed arbitrarily, without re 
gard to uniformity within the tax district and with 
out any limitation as to the purposes for which taxes 
may be levied, does not own anything; he is a ten 
ant at will. 


But if these supposed "laws of our civilization" are 
not enforcible by the courts, and rest wholly for their 
sanction upon the consciences of presidents and con 
gresses, then there is a very wide difference. The 
one is ownership; the other is charity. The one is 
freedom; the other slavery however just and kind 
the master may be. 

The instructions of the president to the Taft Phil 
ippine commission seem to allow that any civil gov 
ernment under the authority of the United States, 
that does not offer to the people affected by it the 
guarantees of liberty contained in the bill of rights 
sections of the constitution, is abhorrent. Speaking 
of these, he said : 

"Until congress shall take action, I directed that, 
upon every division and branch of the government 
of the Philippines must be imposed these inviolable 
rules : 

" 'That no person shall be deprived of life, liberty 
or property without due process of law; that private 
property shall not be taken for public use without 
just compensation; that in all criminal prosecutions 
the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and 
public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause 
of the accusation, to be confronted with the wit 
nesses against him, to have compulsory process for 
obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the 
assistance of counsel for his defense; that excessive 
bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines im- 


posed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted; 
that no person shall be put twice in jeopardy for the 
same offense, or be compelled in any criminal case 
to be a witness against himself; that the right to 
be secure against unreasonable searches and seiz 
ures shall not be violated; that neither slavery nor 
involuntary servitude shall exist except as a punish 
ment for crime; that no bill of attainder, or ex post 
facto law shall be passed; that no law shall be 
passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the 
press, or of the rights of the people to peaceably 
assemble and petition the government for a redress 
of grievances; that no law shall be made respect 
ing the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the 
free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and 
enjoyment of religious profession and worship with 
out discrimination or preference shall forever be al 
lowed/ " 

The benevolent disposition of the president is well 
illustrated in these instructions. He conferred freely 
"until congress shall take action" upon the Fili 
pinos, who accepted the sovereignty of the United 
States and submitted themselves to the government 
established by the commission, privileges that our 
fathers secured only after eight years of desperate 
war. There is this, however, to be noted, that our 
fathers were not content to hold these priceless gifts 
under a revocable license. They accounted that to 
hold these things upon the tenure of another man's 


benevolence was not to hold them at all. Their bat 
tle was for rights, not privileges for a constitution, 
not a letter of instructions. 

The president's instructions apparently proceed 
upon the theory that the Filipinos, after civil gov 
ernment has superseded the military control, are not 
endowed under our constitution, or otherwise, with 
any of the rights scheduled by him; that, if he does 
nothing, is silent, some or all of the things prohib 
ited in his schedule may be lawfully done upon, and 
all the things allowed may be denied to, a people 
who owe allegiance to that free constitutional gov 
ernment we call the United States of America. 

It is clear that those Porto Ricans who have not, 
under the treaty, declared a purpose to remain Span 
ish subjects, have become American citizens or 'Ameri 
can subjects. Have you ever read one of our com 
mercial treaties with Great Britain or Germany, or 
any other of the kingdoms of the world? These 
treaties provide for trade intercourse, and define and 
guarantee the rights of the people of the respective 
nations when domiciled in the territory of the other. 
The descriptive terms run like this : "the subjects of 
Her Britannic Majesty" on the one part, and "the 
citizens of the United States" on the other. Now, 
if the commercial privileges guaranteed by these trea 
ties do not, in their present form, include the Porto 
Ricans who strewed flowers before our troops when 
they entered the island, we ought at once to propose 


to our "Great and Good Friends/' the kings and 
queens of the Earth, a modification of our conventions 
in their behalf. 

Who will claim the distinction of proposing that 
the words "and subjects" be introduced after the word 
"citizens"? There will be no objection on the part 
of the king, you may be sure; the modification will 
be allowed smilingly. 

We have never before found it necessary to treat 
the free civilized inhabitants of the territories other 
wise than as citizens of the United States. 

It is true, as Mr. Justice Miller said, that the ex 
clusive sovereignty over the territories is in the na 
tional government; but it does not follow that the 
nation possesses the power to govern the territories 
independently of the constitution. The constitution 
gives to congress the right to exercise "exclusive leg 
islation" in the District of Columbia; but "exclu 
sive" is not a synonym of "absolute." When the con 
stitution says that "treason against the United States 
shall consist only in levying war against them, or 
in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and 
comfort," there is a limitation of the legislative 
power; and it necessarily extends to every venue 
where the crime of treason against the United 
States may be laid, and to every person upon whom 
its penalties may be imposed. 

This constitutional provision defining the crime of 
treason and prescribing the necessary proofs is a bill 


of rights provision. In England, under Edward II, 
"there was," it was said, "no man who knew how 
to behave himself, to do, speak or say, for doubt 
of the pains of such treasons." The famous statute 
of Edward III, defining treasons, James Wilson de 
clares, "may well be styled the legal Gibraltar of 

Mr. Madison, speaking of this section of the con 
stitution, says in the Federalist: 

"But as new fangled and artificial treasons have 
been the great engines by which violent factions, the 
natural offspring of free government, have usually 
wreaked their malignity on each other, the conven 
tion have with great judgment opposed a barrier to 
this peculiar danger, by inserting a constitutional defi 
nition of the crime," etc. 

Mr. Madison believed that there was a real dan 
ger that statutes of treason might be oppressively 
used by congress. What have we been doing, or 
what have we a purpose to do, that we find it neces 
sary to limit the safeguards of liberty found in our 
constitution, to the people of the states? Is it that 
we now propose to acquire territory for coloniza 
tion, and not, as heretofore, for full incorporation? 
Is it that we propose to have crown colonies, and 
must have crown law? Is it that we mean to be a 
world power, and must be free from the restraints 
of a bill of rights? We shall owe deliverance a 
second time to these principles of human liberty, if 


they are now the means of delivering us from un- 
American projects. 

The particular provision of the constitution upon 
which congress seems to have balked, in the Porto 
Rican legislation, was a revenue clause, viz., the first 
paragraph of section 8 of Article I, which reads: 

"The congress shall have power to lay and collect 
taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts, 
and provide for the common defense and general wel 
fare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and 
excises shall be uniform throughout the United 

There was only one door of escape from allowing 
the application of this clause to Porto Rico. It was 
to deny that the territories are part of the United 

It will be noticed that the descriptive term, "The 
United States," is twice used in the one sentence 
once in the clause defining the purposes for which 
only duties and imposts may be levied, and once in 
the clause requiring uniformity in the use of the 
power. Is there any canon of construction that au 
thorizes us to give to the words, "The United 
States," one meaning in the first use of them and an 
other in the second? If in the second use the ter 
ritories are excluded, must they not also be excluded 
in the first? If the rule of uniformity does not ap 
ply to the territories, how can the power to tax be 
used in the United States, to pay the debts and pro- 


vide for the defense and general welfare of the ter 
ritories? Can duties be levied in New York and 
other ports of the states, to be expended for local 
purposes in Porto Rico, if the island is not a part 
of the United States? Are the debts that may be 
contracted by what the law calls the body politic 
of "The People of Porto Rico" for local purposes, 
part of the debt of the United States notwithstand 
ing that the island is no part of the United States 
and the people are not citizens of the United States? 
But some one will say that the island is one of our 
outlying defenses, and that fortifications and naval 
stations and public highways there are necessary to 
the "common defense." Well, is it also true that 
education and poor relief, and fire and police and 
health protection, and all other agencies of local order 
and betterment in Porto Rico, are included in the 
words "the general welfare of the United States"? 
It would seem that a region of which it can be said 
that its general welfare is the general welfare of the 
United States, must be a part of the United States, and 
its people citizens of the United States. 

For the first time congress has laid tariff duties 
upon goods passing from a territory into the states. 
The necessity for this radical departure from the es 
tablished practice of the government seems to have 
been to find a safe basis for the holding and gov 
erning of regions, the free introduction of whose 


products might affect the home industries unfavor 
ably, and the admission of whose people to citizen 
ship might imply future statehood or at least the 
right of migration and settlement in the states of an 
undesirable population. That the diversity of tongues 
in the Philippines, and the utter lack of the Amer 
ican likeness in everything there, presented strong 
reasons against the acquisition of the islands, I free 
ly admit. 

It must also be conceded that when, as we are 
told, Providence laid upon us the heavy duty of tak 
ing over and governing these islands, it was very 
natural that we should seek to find a way of govern 
ing them that would save us from some of the un 
pleasant consequences which a discharge of the duty 
in the old way involved. But do we not incur a 
greater loss and peril from the new doctrine, that our 
congress and executive have powers not derived from 
the constitution, and are subject to no restraints or 
limitations in the territories, save such as they may 
impose upon themselves? 

Are the civil rights of the dwellers on the main 
land well secured against the insidiousness of 
greed and ambition, while we deny to the island 
dwellers, who are held to a strict allegiance, the only 
sure defense that civil rights can have the guar 
antees of constitutional law? Burke saw in the ab 
solute powers claimed for parliament, in the Ameri- 


can colonies, danger to the liberties of parliament 
itself. As so often quoted, he said: 

"For we are convinced, beyond a doubt, that a 
system of dependence which leaves no security to the 
people for any part of their freedom in their own 
hands, can not be established in any inferior mem 
ber of the British empire without consequently de 
stroying the freedom of that very body in favor of 
whose boundless pretensions such a scheme is adopt 
ed. We know and feel that arbitrary power over 
distant regions is not within the competence, nor 
to be exercised agreeably to the forms or consist 
ently with the spirit, of great popular assemblies." 

Are we, in this day of commercial carnival, inca 
pable of being touched by such considerations, either 
in our fears or in our sense of justice? Is it not 
likely to be true that the moral tone of the republic 
our estimation of constitutional liberty will be 
lessened by the creation of a body of civilized people 
over whom our flag waves as an emblem of power 
only? The flag can not stand for the benevolent pol 
icies of an administration. It stands for more per 
manent things for things that changing adminis 
trations have no power to change. Is it not in the 
nature of a mockery to raise the flag in Porto Rico 
and bid its hopeful people hail it as an emblem of 
emancipation, while the governor we have sent them 
reads a proclamation, from the foot of the staff, an 
nouncing the absolute power of congress over them? 


How would the pioneers of the West have regarded 
a declaration that they were not citizens of the United 
States, or a duty laid upon the furs they sent to the 
states, or upon the salt and gunpowder sent from 
the states in exchange, even if a preference of 85 
per cent, had been given them over the people of 
Canada? It is safe to say that no such interpre 
tation of the constitution or of the rights of the peo 
ple of a territory, will ever be offered to men of 
American descent. 

If the constitution, so far as it is applicable, at 
taches itself, whether congress will or no, to all ter 
ritory taken over as a part of the permanent ter 
ritory of the United States, it is there to stay as fun 
damental law. But if it is not so, an act of congress 
declaring that the constitution is "extended" is not 
fundamental law, but statute law, and may be re 
pealed and is repealed by implication, pro tanto, when 
ever congress passes a law in conflict with the pro 
visions of the "extended" constitution. If the con 
stitution as such, as fundamental law, is extended 
over new territory, it must be the result of an act 
done an act the effect of which is in itself, not in 
any accompanying declaration. 

If the act of annexation does not carry the con 
stitution into a territory, I can think of nothing that 
will, save the act of admitting the territory as a state. 

The situation of the Porto Rican people is scarcely 
less mortifying to us than to them; they owe alle- 


glance but have no citizenship. Have we not spoiled 
our career as a delivering nation? And for what? 
A gentleman connected with the beet-sugar indus 
try, seeing my objections to the constitutionality of 
the law, and having a friendly purpose to help me 
over them, wrote to say that the duty was abso 
lutely needed to protect the beet-sugar industry. 
While appreciating his friendliness, I felt compelled 
to say to him that there was a time for considering 
the advantages and disadvantages of a commercial 
sort involved in taking over Porto Rico, but that that 
time had passed; and to intimate to him that the 
needs of the beet-sugar industry seemed to me to be 
irrelevant in a constitutional discussion. 

The wise man did not say there was a future time 
for everything; he allowed that the time for danc 
ing might be altogether behind us, and a less pleas 
ant exercise before us. We are hardly likely to 
acquire any territory that will not come at some 

That we give back to Porto Rico all of the rev 
enue derived from the customs we levy, does not 
seem to me to soften our dealings with her people. 
Our fathers were not mollified by the suggestion that 
the tea and stamp taxes would be expended wholly 
for the benefit of the colonies. It is to say: We do 
not need this money; it is only levied to show that 
your country is no part of the United States, and 
that you are not citizens of the United States, save 


at our pleasure. When tribute is levied and immedi 
ately returned as a benefaction, its only purpose is to 
declare and maintain a state of vassalage. 

But I am not sure that the beet-sugar objection 
is not more tenable than another, and probably more 
controlling consideration, which ran in this wise : 
"We see no serious commercial disadvantages, and 
no threat of disorder, in accepting Porto Rico to 
be a part of the United States in that case it seems 
to be our duty; but we have acquired other islands 
in the Orient, of large area, populated by a turbu 
lent and rebellious people; and, if we do by the 
Porto Ricans what our sense of justice and of their 
friendliness prompts us to do, some illogical person 
will say that we must deal in the same way with 
the Philippines. And some other person will say that 
the free intercourse was not given by the law, but 
by the constitution." 

I will not give a license to a friend to cut a treo 
upon my land to feed his winter fire, because my 
enemy may find in the license a support for his claim 
that the wood is a common! 

If we have confidence that the constitution does 
not apply to the territories, surely we ought to use 
our absolute power there with a view to the circum 
stances attending each call for its exercise. Not to 
do this, shows a misgiving as to the power. 

The questions raised by the Porto Rican legislation 
have been discussed chiefly from the standpoint of 


the people of the territories; but there is another 
view. If, in its tariff legislation relative to mer 
chandise imported into the territories and to mer 
chandise passed from the territories into the state, 
congress is not subject to the law of uniformity pre 
scribed by the constitution, it would seem to follow 
that it is within the power of congress to allow the 
admission to Porto Rico of all raw materials com 
ing from other countries free of duty, and to admit 
to all ports of the "United States proper," free of 
duty, the products manufactured from these raw ma 
terials. As the people of the "United States proper" 
choose the congressmen, there may be no great alarm 
felt over this possibility; but it is worth while to 
note that a construction of the constitution adopted 
to save us from a competition with the territories on 
equal grounds, is capable of being turned against us 
and to their advantage. 

The courts may not refuse to give to the explicit 
words of a law their natural meaning, because of 
the ill consequences that may follow; but they may 
well take account of consequences in construing doubt 
ful phrases, and resolve the doubts so as to save the 
purpose of the law-makers, where, as in the case of the 
constitutional provision we are considering, that pur 
pose is well known. They will not construe a doubt- 
'ful phrase so as to allow the very thing that the 
law was intended to prevent. 

These constitutional questions will soon be decided 


by the supreme court. If the absolute power of con 
gress is affirmed, we shall probably use the power 
with discrimination by "extending" the constitution 
to Porto Rico and by giving to its people a full ter 
ritorial form of government, and such protection in 
their civil rights as an act of congress can give. If 
the court shall hold that the constitution, in the parts 
not in themselves inapplicable, covers all territory 
made a permanent part of our domain, from the mo 
ment of annexation and as a necessary part of the 
United States, then we will conform our legislation, 
with deep regret that we assumed a construction con 
trary to liberty, and with some serious embarrass 
ments that might have been avoided. 

There has been with many a mistaken apprehen 
sion that, if the constitution, of its own force, ex 
tends to Porto Rico and the Philippines, and gives 
American citizenship to their free civilized people, 
they become endowed with full political rights; that 
their consent is necessary to the validity and right- 
fulness of all civil administration. But no such de 
duction follows. The power of congress to legislate 
for the territories is full. That is, there is no leg 
islative power elsewhere than in congress, but it is 
not absolute. The contention is that all the powers 
of congress are derived from the constitution in 
cluding the power to legislate for the territories 
and that such legislation must necessarily, always 


and everywhere, be subject to the limitations of the 

When this rule is observed, the consent of the peo 
ple of the territories is not necessary to the validity 
of the legislation. The new territory having be 
come a part of the national domain, the people dwell 
ing therein have no reserved legal right to sever that 
relation, or to set up therein a hostile government. 
The question whether the United States can take over 
or continue to hold and govern a territory whose 
people are hostile, is not a question of constitutional 
or international law, but of conscience and histori 
cal consistency. 

Some one must determine when and how far the 
people of a territory, part of our national domain, 
can be entrusted with governing powers of a local 
nature, and when the broader powers of statehood 
shall be conferred. We have no right to judge the 
capacity for self-government of the people of another 
nation, or to make an alleged lack of that faculty 
an excuse for aggression; but we must judge of this 
matter for our territories. The interests to be affected 
by the decision are not all local; many of them are 

These questions are to be judged liberally and 
with strong leanings to the side of popular liberty, 
but we can not give over the decision to the peo 
ple who may at any particular time be settled in a 


territory. We have, for the most part, in our his 
tory given promptly to the people of the territories 
a large measure of local government, and have, when 
the admission of a state was proposed, thought only 
of boundaries and population. But this was because 
our territories have been contiguous and. chiefly pop 
ulated from the states. 

We are -however, not only at liberty, but under a 
duty, to take account also of the quality and dispo 
sition of the people, and we have in one or two in 
stances done so. The written constitution prescribes 
no rule for these cases. The question whether the 
United States shall hold conquered territory, or ter 
ritory acquired by 'cession, without the consent of 
the people to be affected, is quite apart from the 
question whether, having acquired and incorporated 
such territory, we can govern it otherwise than un 
der the limitations of the constitution. 

The constitution may be aided in things doubtful 
by the declaration of independence. It may be as 
sumed that the frame of civil government adopted 
was intended to harmonize with the declaration. It 
is the preamble of the constitution. It goes before 
the enacting clause and declares the purpose of the 
law; but the purpose so expressed is not the law 
unless it finds renewed expression after the enacting 
clause. We shall be plainly recreant to the spirit and 
purpose of the constitution, if we arbitrarily deny to 
the people of a territory as large a measure of popu- 


lar government as their good disposition and intel 
ligence will warrant. Necessarily, the judgment of 
this question, however, is with congress. The con 
stitution prescribes no rule could not do so and 
the courts can not review the discretion of congress. 

But we are now having it dinned into our ears that 
expansion is the law of life, and that expansion is 
not practicable if the constitution is to go with the 
flag. Lord Salisbury, some years ago, stated this 
supposed law of national life. In a recent address, 
Mr. James Bryce says, by way of comment: 

"He thinks it like a bicycle, which must fall when 
it comes to a standstill It is an awkward result 
of this doctrine that when there is no more room for 
expansion, and a time must come, perhaps soon, 
when there will be no more room, the empire will 
begin to decline." 

If Great Britain, with her accepted methods of ter 
ritorial growth, finds the problem of growth by ex 
pansion increasingly hard, it will be harder for us, 
for we are fettered by our traditions as to popular 
rights, at least if not by our constitution. 

But expansion is not necessarily of a healthy sort; 
it may be dropsical. If judgment is passed now, 
the attempted conquest of the Boer republics has not 
strengthened Great Britain. She has not gained es 
teem. She has not increased her loyal population. 
She has created a need for more outlying garri 
sons already too numerous. She has strained her 


military and financial resources, and has had a rev 
elation of the need of larger armies and stronger 
coast-defenses at home. The recent appeal of Lord 
Salisbury at the lord mayor's banquet for more com 
plete island defenses is more significant. Did the 
South African war furnish a truer measure of the 
empire's land strength than the familiar campaign 
ing against half-savage peoples had done? The old 
coach, with its power to stand as well as to move, 
may after all be a safer carriage, for the hopes and 
interests of a great people, than the bicycle. 

Some one will say, increasing years and retire 
ment and introspection have broken your touch with 
practical affairs and left you out of sympathy with 
the glowing prospects of territorial expansion that 
now opens before us; that it has always been so; 
the Louisiana and the Alaskan purchases were op 
posed by some fearful souls. But I have been mak 
ing no argument against expansion. The recent ac 
quisitions from Spain must present widely different 
conditions from all previous acquisitions of territory, 
since it seems to be admitted that they can not be 
allowed to become a part of the United States with 
out a loss that overbalances the gain; that we can 
only safely acquire them upon the condition that we 
can govern them without any constitutional restraint. 

One who has retired from the service, but not from 
'the love of his country, must be pardoned if he finds 
;himself unable to rejoice in the acquisition of lands 


and forests and mines and commerce, at the cost of 
the abandonment of the old American idea that a gov 
ernment of absolute powers is an intolerable thing, 
and, under the constitution of the United States, an im 
possible thing. The view of the constitution I have 
suggested will not limit the power of territorial ex 
pansion; but it will lead us to limit the use of that 
power to regions that may safely become a part of 
the United States, and to peoples whose American 
citizenship may be allowed. It has been said that 
the flash of Dewey's guns in Manila bay revealed to 
the American people a new mission. I like rather to 
think of them as revealing the same old mission that 
we read in the flash of Washington's guns at York- 

God forbid that the day should ever come when, 
in the American mind, the thought of man as a 
"consumer" shall submerge the old American 
thought of man as a creature of God, endowed with 
"unalienable rights." 


First Paper 
North American Review, February, 1901 

It is a rare pleasure to make a good end of a long 
and strenuous effort; to put wholly out of the mind 
a subject that has filled every chamber of it for two 
years. Minds are lodging-houses. The lodgers are 
of all sorts casuals and regulars, modest attic-dwell 
ers who have no call bells, and first-floor boarders 
who rent a large space and fill a larger one. Now 
and then some pretentious and exacting fellow crowds 
out every other lodger and takes the house. There 
is not wanting a sense of the dignity the house bor 
rows from this august guest; but emancipation abides 
his going. When the last truckload of his baggage 
has departed, and the door is barred against the 
spirits that have a penchant for garnished houses, 
what a glad sense of freedom the overworked mis 
tress feels ! Every room vacant, but nothing "to let." 
This will not do for a permanent state, but as a short 
experience it is ecstatic. I have known what it is 
to have an imperial tenant of the whole mind, and 
have experienced the joys of an ouster. The case 
of Venezuela, in the Anglo- Venezuelan arbitration, 



demanded the unremitting labor of two years. What 
a sense of freedom came, .when every book and paper 
connected with the case was put out of sight! I 
was again in fellowship with the undergraduates 
dancing over the grave of the calculus. The trouble, 
with the calculus is that you must work out the 
problems, you must bring the answers. If you could 
stop when one problem gets hard and try another, 
as the squirrel does with his nuts, the undergraduate 
would regard the book differently. A non sequitur 
is a hateful thing. Answers must be right. But it 
is not, I hope, a sin against a sound mind to stop 
short of an answer; you do not need to climb to 
the top of every hill you see. To raise questions, 
to speculate, to balance such pros and cons as come 
easy, and to stop short of conclusions, is admissible 
in vacation. 

The notes that follow are largely exercises of that 
sort, made chiefly during the winter days when 
there were no tenants, and the sign "to let" was not 
in the window. 

The electric, self-binding newspaper drops its 
sheaves at our feet with bewildering rapidity. The 
stackers must keep up; but a vagrant may take a 
sheaf for a pillow and lie down in the shade. 


There is an anti-war party in Great Britain and 
another in the United States. A war seems to imply 


an anti-war party. Indeed, the Gospels carry suck 
an implication in a general sense. Both here and 
in Great Britain the anti-war party has been brought 
under fire of bitter invective. We, for the most part, 
decline to discuss with the anti-war man the justice 
of the war. That issue has been voted upon and 
carried, we say, and every one is bound, not only as 
to his actions, but as to his speech. 

But is the morality of the motto, "My country, 
right or wrong," susceptible of defense? Is it not 
to say: "It is right to do wrong?" for the senti 
ment implies action. But may it not be quite the 
right, and even the necessary, thing to say nothing 
"just now"? If my father is engaged in a wanton 
assault upon another man, and blows are being ex 
changed,. I must in my heart condemn my father; 
but am I called upon to trip him, or to encourage 
his adversary by telling him his adversary is in the 
right? That would clearly be the duty of a by 
stander not of the blood of either combatant. But 
do I very much offend, or become particeps, if I with 
hold for the moment an expression of my disappro 
bation of my father's conduct? Or, on the other 
hand, can it be demanded as a filial duty that I cheer 
him on, and when his weapon fails give him an 
other? Is it unfilial to say, "Father, you are in the 
wrong stop"? I can not get him into a closet 
that I may say this in his ear. His antagonist will 
hear it. And, if I speak in the necessary hearing 


of both, can my father retort, "If I am killed, you 
are my murderer; you have encouraged my adver 
sary"? But, if the battle goes too hardly against 
him, must I not intervene and save his life? I can 
flagellate his spirit while I am binding his wounds. 
But if he is the victor, must I not bind the wounds 
of his adversary, and support his adversary's de 
mand for compensation? 

A country at war is very intolerant the home 
guards more than the veterans, and the politicians 
most of all. When war is once flagrant, public sen 
timent at least that part of it that finds expression 
demands that every citizen shall be active in sup 
port of it. To speak against the war, to impugn its 
justice, is to encourage the enemy, is to be guilty of 
the death of such of your countrymen as afterward 
fall in action. The mob may not seek you, but you 
are a "suspect" to your neighbors. You will not 
be heard to offer such specious suggestions as that 
not you who opposed but those who brought on an 
unjust war are guilty of the blood of the brave fel 
lows who are sent into action. 

Indeed, you will not be heard at all, by this gen 
eration of your countrymen, unless disasters in war 
and money burdens open the way. Your magna 
nimity and sense of justice will be praised by the 
alien people in whose behalf your voice was raised. 
They may even build monuments in your honor, as 
we did to Pitt; but the home newspapers will, while 


you live, make you wish you had never been born; 
and, when you are dead, they will now and then 
exhume your skeleton to frighten those who live 
after you. You must give your soul to torments 
and expatriate your fame. A sea will roll between 
your monument and your bones. But a monument 
is a community rather than a personal necessity. 
The free spirit of a just man does not need a perch. 

"The gentleman tells us America is obstinate, 
America is almost in open rebellion. Sir, I rejoice 
that America has resisted! Three millions of people 
so dead to all the feelings of liberty as voluntarily to 
be slaves, would have been fit instruments to make 
slaves of all the rest." 

For more than a century, American school-boys 
declaimed these words of Pitt. Virginia voted him 
a statue and New York set one up at Wall and Wil 
liam streets. 

"Congress passed," says Frothingham, "a warm 
and grateful vote of thanks to the noble advocates 
of civil and religious liberty, in and out of Parlia 
ment, who had generously defended the cause of 

In his proposed address to the king, in 1777, Burke 
said many like things, the nobility of which we have 
greatly applauded. 

The utterances of these great Englishmen are 
very like in spirit to what Senator Hoar has recently 
said about the war in the Philippines. We do not 


agree that the cases are parallel. We are persuaded 
that the Filipino and the American are unlike, and 
that Aguinaldo and George Washington have no 
points of resemblance. We have the capacity of self- 
government; we deny that capacity to the Filipinos. 
Mr. Hoar has failed, apparently, to see that the prin 
ciple that government derives its just powers from 
the consent of the governed can not be invoked by 
a people incapable of self-government. In the in 
terests of humanity, all people must be governed; 
and if they are incapable of governing themselves, 
does it not follow that some other nation must gov 
ern them? But it was not our purpose to bring into 
question Senator Hoar's conclusions, but to consider 
the measure of his guilt in giving expression to them 
as his honest convictions. 

Pitt and Burke had not only great praise with us, 
but their repute in Great Britain is now the greater 
by reason of these utterances. The Mother Coun 
try has "come around." 

Does it depend upon the outcome? If the war 
fails, do such utterances become noble and wise, and 
do they remain ignoble if the alleged aggressor is 
victorious? Is there no way to stop any war but to 
fight it out; or must the stopping of it always be left 
to the war party? In the popular judgment, gen 
erally yes; but in law and morals, how is it? The 
constitution of the United States very clearly saves 
the liberty of the citizen to say that a war is wrong. 


The statue at William and Wall streets had not 
been forgotten. 

It is not treason to say that a war is unjust. But 
if not noticeable by the law, such things may still 
be contrary to duty. Was there a duty upon Sen 
ator Hoar to keep silence? His motives were un- 
impeachably pure. All agree that he was not seek 
ing the applause of his countrymen of this genera 
tion. All agree that he has the old New England 
conscience and the old American fervor for liberty 
and human rights. Possibly, he lacks the mercantile 
spirit. He may not give sufficient consideration to 
the metals and coal and forests of the Philippines. 

But the question we are pondering is not were 
his views right, but did he offend against his coun 
try by giving expression to them? Now, it can not 
be wrong to proclaim the truth when a matter is in 
debate. Are we not compelled, therefore, to prove 
his views to be wrong, before passing final sentence 
upon him? The popular condemnation sure to be 
meted out to the men who oppose when war is fla 
grant is a mighty, repressive force. But if some 
one, for conscience' sake, assails the war as cruel 
and unjustifiable, must we not justify it ? Is it enough 
to say, "You are prolonging it; you are sacrificing 
the brave fellows whom we have sent to the front"? 
There is a semblance of unreason in charging the 
man who is trying to stop a fight with the bruises 
and wounds that ensue upon the failure of his ef- 


forts. To perfect the argument and fix his responsi 
bility, must we not introduce this major premise? 
The war is just and can not be stopped until the 
enemy has yielded. 

Is there any other conclusion of the whole matter 
than this? A patriot may, if his conscience can not 
otherwise be quieted, oppose a war upon which his 
country has entered; but if he does so, he puts his 
fame in the keeping of a distant generation of his 
countrymen, or possibly of an alien people. What 
some other people have said makes it proper to say 
here, that we must not forget that the soldier who 
rights the war does not declare it. He must not 
denounce it, nor must any patriot denounce him. 
The appeal, silent or spoken, that comes from him to 
his fellow-countrymen, not to make the war longer 
or harder, reaches the heart. He is our country 
man; he carries and keeps the flag. We must be 
tender, and careful that we do not spoil his esprit de 
corps by ingratitude, or dash his courage by a failure 
to applaud it, or wound him by imputing designs 
against his country's liberties. 

An armed rebellion against the state must usually 
justify itself by something more than a schedule of 
wrongs a chance, at least, of righting the wrongs. 
And is it not possible that this principle sometimes 
applies to rebellious consciences, and requires them 
to take the balance of good and evil? 

Of course, there must be a time for denouncing 


an unjust war; but does a troubled conscience have 
all seasons for its own, or only a time before the 
war begins and a time after it is over? The latter 
view is held by so many that it is not safe to assume 
that all who do not denounce a war approve it. 

The almost unbroken record of disaster that has 
attended the anti-war parties should have the whole 
some effect of discouraging a factious party opposi 
tion. We can get along with consciences; indeed, 
we can not get along without them, if the reign of 
the Prince of Peace is ever to be brought in. The 
emphasis should be put upon the facts that justify 
the war, rather than upon epithets. 


The newspapers gave another turn to the vagrant 
questionings in which I was indulging myself, by 
their frequent references to the assumed fact that 
the United States has become a "World Power." 
We have been a power, as that term is used by the 
law writers and in conventions, for more than a cen 
tury. We have been a power in a military sense 
on the land for many years, and by spells a naval 
power of renown. In a moral sense, we have long 
been familiar with the idea that we were the greatest 
of world powers. We have believed that we had 
found and illustrated a scheme of free, popular gov 
ernment that would in time stir the sympathy and 


emulation of all nations and bring in everywhere 
republican governments. 

Mr. Webster said: "We are placed at the head 
of the system of representative and popular govern 
ments." It is not in this familiar and sentimental 
sense, however, that we are now said to have be 
come a world power. Indeed, those who most af 
fect the term seem to be quite shy of that sense. 

What is it, how did it come about, and what ad 
vantages and responsibilities accompany the new 
status ? Great Britain and the great continental pow 
ers, with more or less cordiality, have admitted the 
fact. Did it not indeed have a European announce 
ment? Did our war with Spain make us a world 
power, or reveal to us and to the world a pre-exist 
ing fact? As a revelation, it apparently came largely 
out of the naval fights at Manila and Santiago. It 
was not the charge at San Juan hill; for, in the 
way of land fighting, we had many times done 
greater things than that. Indeed, in the way of naval 
tactics and desperate courage, Paul Jones and De- 
catur and Perry and Farragut may be taken to have 
suggested long ago to observing naval critics that 
the United States had the capacity to be a sea power. 
Nothing has happened to make us forget these and 
other great naval captains. Their ships were chiefly 
wooden, and their guns smooth-bore muzzle-loaders; 
but they came close, their holds were often flooded 
and their decks slippery with blood. Our ships went 


into a period of decay, but our navy personnel did 
not. We added some hasty scouting and cruising 
strength to our navy in the Spanish war, but only 
a little increased its fighting strength. It was not 
these additions to our naval strength that made us 
a world power. The naval fights of the Spanish war 
did not originate a naval prestige, but revived it 
caused other powers to remember that, if we set 
about it, we could build unsurpassed warships and 
fight them unsurpassingly. 

Relatively, we have been stronger as to war ves 
sels than we are now notably, at the close of the 
civil war. But there was no talk then of being a 
world power. We did not aspire to more than to 
be the American power a half world power. So, 
after all, it could not have been our ships or our 
naval victories that made us a world power. Some 
thing must be added, and it would seem that the 
addition must have relation to some new use of our 
military strength. The old use was wholly defensive, 
though the campaign might be what military men 
call "offensive-defensive." Paul Jones had entered 
the British channels. Our guns had been heard in 
the Mediterranean. The "Alabama" was sunk off 
Cherbourg. But all these visits were casual, and all 
had relation solely to American rights and liberty 
and the freedom of the seas. So, too, the Spanish 
war had its origin in an American question. We 
assumed a police duty in Cuba, because it is an Amer- 


lean island because the cry of "murder" was on 
our beat. Succor was an American, not a world 
question. We did not assume a duty to police the 
world. We expressly disclaimed any hope of re 
ward for our intervention. All this was quite out 
of the role of a world power. Indeed, it seemed 
too sentimentally fantastic to obtain the credence of 
the world powers. Some were incredulously sarcastic. 
Great Britain alone kindly made us think that she 
accepted our altruistic conceptions. 

The world powers have been those who allowed no 
geographical limitations that is, none appertaining 
to terrestrial geography. The appropriation of the 
stars must, of course, await the air-ship. We only, 
among the strong nations, have lived under self-im 
posed limitations, of two sorts one that had to do 
with geography and another that had to do with 
public morality. We have said: "We do not want, 
in any event, territorial possessions that have no 
direct relation to the body of our national domain, 
and we do not want any territory anywhere that is 
acquired by criminal aggression." And as t the 
doctrine of "spheres of influence" the modern eu 
phemistic rendering of territorial pocket-picking 
we have denied its application to this hemisphere and 
denied to ourselves the use of it anywhere. "We 
will not and the European governments had, on the 
whole, better not interfere with the autonomy and 
independence of any American state," is our rendering. 


We claimed no commercial advantages, save such 
as fair reciprocal trade treaties might give to MS. 
In all European cabinet entanglements, we were qui 
escent. The apportionment of Africa, and the "rec 
tification" of Asiatic boundaries by the division of 
lands that belonged to neither disputant excited 
American notice of an unofficial sort only. Our 
touch with the other great powers was at two points 
only: first, in the pleasant exchanges of good will, 
and, second, in the watchful care that neither our 
commerce nor our people were unjustly discriminated 
against. The great value of our markets and our 
great food surplus strongly supported our demands 
for equal trade advantages, and our increasing mili 
tary strength emphasized the value of a friendship 
unaffected by inherited animosities and free from en 
tangling alliances. Our position was, of all the na 
tions, the safest and most hopeful. Does the sup 
posed new status imply a change of position or 
policy ? 

If the world powers have any recognized creed, it 
is that k is their duty as "trustees for humanity" to 
take over the territories of all the weak and decay 
ing nations, having regard among themselves to the 
doctrine of "equivalents." Have we become a world 
power by an initiation into this bund? The only 
reason for the continued independent existence of a 
weak nation, in the judgment of the world powers, 
is found in the difficulty sometimes experienced in 


applying or disregarding, in its case, this doctrine 
of "equivalents." A world power seems, therefore, 
to be a power having the purpose to take over so 
much of the world as it can by any means possess, 
and having with this appetite for dominion mili 
tary strength enough to compel other nations hav 
ing the same appetite to allow or divide the spoils. 
A veiled expression of the same definition is found 
in the terms "colonizing nations." There has been 
an attempt to associate the United States with this 
program of civilization, upon the theory that the 
"Anglo-Saxon" has a divine concession that covers 
the earth. This appeal to a divine decree is itself 
a concession to the Anglo-Saxon common-law rule, 
that the plaintiff in ejectment must show title. 

The argument runs thus : "The earth is the Lord's 
and the fullness thereof." So much is of record. 
The next step is more difficult, for there is no prophet, 
no sealed transfer, no mention by name of the Anglo- 
Saxon. "The meek shall inherit the earth" but the 
boldest advocate of expansion dare not suggest, as 
the minor premise, that John Bull and Uncle Sam 
are of that class. That Scripture seems to lead away 
from them. We must get away from all texts, I fear. 
Perhaps this is the best that can be done certainly 
it is the best that has been done Major premise: 
God's purpose is that men shall make a full and the 
best use of all His gifts. Minor premise : Dominion 
is one of His gifts, and the Anglo-Saxon makes a 


better use of dominion than the Latin, or the Boers, 
or the Chinese. Conclusion: The Anglo-Saxon, 
therefore, executes a divine purpose when he sub 
dues these peoples and takes over their lands. 

Is not this program logically perfect and commer 
cially profitable? The man who buries his talent 
must go into darkness. We are a little hampered 
in the proposed association with Great Britain in 
this program of regeneration, by reason of the fact 
that our declaration of independence was writ too 
broad. The Briton has very carefully limited his 
charters of liberty to a declaration of his own rights, 
while we have unfortunately written into ours "all 
men." There is also a practical difficulty that must 
be thought of. We are late in getting into the busi 
ness. The vacant lands the lands occupied only by 
savages have been taken up. The business seems 
now to promise responsibility and outlay rather than 
profits. The melon-patch has been spoliated, and the 
melon cut and divided. A new boy comes upon the 
company in the wooded hollow and is invited to 
take one of the ends of the melon. There is a very 
small show of red meat, and even that is very diffi 
cult of appropriation. If he is a wise boy, he will 
go his way even though he has no scruples about 
robbing melon patches. The effusive cordiality of 
the invitation to make himself one of the party, will 
not make him forget the disproportion between the 
risks and the red meat. 


If the United States now enters upon a scheme 
r of colonization, it must plunge in put away all 
scruples; there is no time to linger shivering on the 
brink. The frame of our government is excellent; 
there are some weak states that would be bettered 
by accepting our domination; and seeing that they 
are so ignorant as not to see the advantages of ac 
cepting it, is it not our duty to compel them? Can 
we innocently stand by and see nations distracted 
property insecure, resources unused? Very many 
good people some ministers of the gospel of peace 
have been saying that they hoped Great Britain 
would succeed in taking over the Transvaal and the 
Orange Free State, because "Christian civilization" 
would be advanced by "British paramountcy" in South 
Africa. Old-fashioned moralists were in the habit 
,of scouting the maxim, "The end justifies the means." 
The imputation of this maxim to a noted religious 
order, as a rule of action, had much to do with the 
general odium in which that order was once held. 

The peace of the world has been thought hereto 
fore to depend upon the allowance of the doctrine 
that men and civilized nations have, as to other men 
'and nations, the right to do something less than the 
best with their possessions, and to judge in large 
part for themselves what is best. 

This view does not, of course, exclude the right, 
in the last resort, of other nations to intervene for the 
saving of a population from destruction by the bar- 


barous use of the civil authority. There are excep 
tional cases when remonstrance, and even armed 
force, may be justified; but, in such cases, the deliv 
ering nation must follow the role taken to the end. 

Individual and national independence implies the 
exclusive right to determine some things. Persua 
sion and remonstrance, even, have their limits, pass 
ing which they become impertinence. "It is none 
of your business," may lack some of the elements 
of polite discourse, but there are- times when it ought 
to be said. The "up-stream" wolf, as Mr. Hoar calls 
him, in the old fable, has suffered great obloquy be 
cause he felt compelled to put his intervention upon 
the untenable ground that he was injured by the 
soiling of the waters. He lived, unfortunately, in a 
day when men and beasts felt compelled to show 
that what they meddled in was proper concern of 
theirs. It was a narrow view. He should have said : 
"True, the muddy water does not come to my lips, 
but your habit of drinking it is bad; you are not 
neat; and besides you hold yourself aloof, and re 
fuse to admit my children to the sheepfold." 

What has hitherto saved the United States in great 
measure from the land lust and made her respect the 
independence and territorial autonomy of her weak 
neighbors? Was it that we did not until now feel 
the need of more territory; or was it a conservative 
timidity; or is there an American conscience that 
reprobates aggression and rejects the new doctrine. 


that the right of weak states to govern themselves 
rests not upon the consent of their own people, but 
upon the consent of the nearest world power? 

The Monroe doctrine has been understood to dis 
claim for ourselves what it denies to the powers of 
Europe. The declaration of Mr. Monroe was, Mr. 
Jefferson said, "our protest against the atrocious vio 
lations of the rights of nations by the interference 
of any one in the internal affairs of another." It 
seems to have been always the way of this states 
man to generalize. This accounts for the presence, 
in the declaration of independence, of philosophical 
maxims that now threaten embarrassment to our 
progress as a world power. We must differentiate 
ourselves. We must proceed upon the theory that 
our standards are right, and our civil organization 
and social customs most promotive of the glory of 
God and the happiness of man. The "pursuit of 
happiness" may be an "unalienable" human right, 
but does it follow that another nation is free to be 
happy in its own way if we know a better way? 

This propaganda of Anglo-Saxon supremacy does 
not seem to fall in with the program of The Hague 
Peace Conference; and we can hardly hope to or 
ganize an international court that will allow the doc 
trine. On the whole, then, might it not be better 
to withdraw this program of Anglo-Saxon para- 
mountcy? The nation that goes out to slay and to 
possess in God's name must give some other attesta- 


tion of its mission than the facts that it is the might 
iest of the nations and has an adaptable language. 

The men upon whom the tower in Siloam fell 
were not sinners above all men in Jerusalem; and 
the philosophy of the islanders among whom Paul 
fell that serpents always bite the worst man in the 
company was very quickly upset. Is it not possi 
ble that the philosophy of those who assign God's 
special approbation to the prosperous and the power 
ful may be quite as faulty? 

His intervention is more apparent when weak 
things confound the mighty. It is not safe to con 
clude that righteousness and the heaviest battalions 
are necessarily disassociated, but the tendency is that 

Now, it happens that all of the Central and South 
American states are weak states. There is not a 
harbor so defended as to bar the entrance of a squad 
ron of modern battle ships. No one of them has a 
navy that could offer the briefest resistance on the 
sea to any one of the great European powers. 
Practically, if each stood alone, its subjection by 
any one of the great powers would be quite within 
the possibilities of a great military effort. If the 
cabinets of the four great powers of Europe were 
to combine in a propaganda of colonization in this 
hemisphere, as they did in Africa using the new 
doctrine of "equivalents" the Spanish American 
.states, south of Mexico, would, unless the United 


States gave its powerful aid, inevitably pass under 
European control. The Central and South Amer 
ican states have retained their autonomy only be 
cause the United States would neither herself in 
fringe that autonomy nor allow other nations to do 
so. But for this, British Honduras might ere this 
have embraced the whole isthmus, British Guiana 
have included the Orinoco and Mexico have been 
subjected to the rule of a foreign king. 

What hinders that the small states of Europe are 
not taken over by one of the great powers? Is it 
any sense of the inherent right of these lands to a 
separate national existence or of their princes to 
their crowns ? Such sentimental considerations would 
offer no more serious obstacles than the glistening 
spider webs in the grass offer to the feet of their 
marching legions. 

These small states stand, out of deference to the 
European equilibrium. They can not be shifted on 
the lever as units without destroying the balance, 
and Great Britain is not so situated as to make use 
of continental territorial fractions. Her "walls of 
oak" would not be available for their defense. 

What a grim commentary all this is upon our 
boasted Christian civilization, upon that plaything of 
the diplomatists and the tribunals, international law, 
and upon peace conferences! The sheep have their 
security, not in the shepherd or in the fold, but in 
the watchful jealousy of the wolves. 


The fundamental principle of international law is 
the parity of nations. Arbitration is the special re 
source of the weak; but it was not available to the 
Dutch South African republics and was only avail 
able to Venezuela because of the intervention of the 
United States. 

It is of the highest consequence to us, and to all 
of the Central and South American nations, that it 
should be known to them and to the world that the 
United States will continue faithfully and unswerv 
ingly to respect the autonomy of those states; that 
we will neither ourselves dismember them nor suffer 
them to be dismembered by any European power. 
If the Spanish war, or this talk of ruling the tropics 
from the temperate zones, or of Anglo-Saxon alli 
ance and paramountcy, has bred any distrust of our 
purposes toward them, it should be speedily dispelled. 
The supposed transformation, from an American 
power to a world power, in the sense I have de 
scribed, is not to be imputed to us. Whatever may 
be in the minds of gaudy rhetoricians, we have not 
as a nation entered upon a program of colonization, 
or of subjugation, or spoliation. We have not joined 
the wolves. We have still some of the care-taking 
instinct of the shepherd; still, at least, a latent ca 
pacity for sorrow when the word "free" is eliminated 
from the name of a state. 

A merchant of my acquaintance said to a senti 
mental friend, who was troubled over the proposi- 


tion that the declaration of independence and the bill 
of rights sections of the constitution had no relation 
to Porto Ricans, but applied only to those who dwelt 
upon the mainland : "The people care nothing about 
those things; it is money, commerce, that interests 
them." That is a low view of the popular thought. 

We had in 1776 a generation of Americans that 
placed a higher value upon these sentimental things, 
and pledged to them their "lives, their fortunes and 
their sacred honor." The integrity of the Union was 
of more value to the men of 1861 than all lands 
and all lives. 

If to be a world power is to do as the world pow 
ers do, then we must disclaim this new degree which 
the European College of Applied Force has conferred 
upon us. The taking over of the Philippines has 
been declared, by those who should know, to have 
been casual of necessity the acceptance of a divinely 
imposed duty. The question of the disposition of 
them, when their people shall have submitted to 
legal authority, is said to be still open. All of which 
is to say that the acquisition of these distant islands 
does not commit the nation to a scheme of coloniza 
tion. The United States seems thus far in China 
to have stood firmly against dismemberment; not 
because of the practical difficulties of allotting^ the 
parts, but out of regard to the rights of the Chinese 
to preserve their national autonomy. But we are 
hearing now a great deal of the riches and the stra- 


tegical advantages which have come to us with the 
docile acceptance of the divine will in the Philip 
pines, and a great deal of irresponsible nonsense 
about our being a world power. If we allow our 
selves to drift into bad ways, it is quite the same as 
if we had sought them. 

The barbarous conduct of some of the allied forces 
in China, the shameless looting of private houses and 
public institutions, and the contemptuous and cruel 
disregard of all the sensibilities and rights of alien 
races which characterize the world powers, shock our 
sensibilities. We have almost more pride in General 
Chaffee's blunt letter of protest against looting and 
cruelty than in his splendid fighting. Let us not be 
a world power, in any save the good old sense 
that of a nation capable of protecting in all seas the 
just rights of its citizens, and incapable everywhere 
of a wanton infringement of the autonomy of other 


Second Paper 
North American Review, March, 1901 


The newspapers, British and American, were much 
occupied during last winter with a supposed, or 
proposed, Anglo-American alliance, more or less 
formal in character. We know that no such con 
vention was signed, and no evidence has been pro 
duced to show that the subject was even informally 
discussed by the representatives of the respective na 
tions. Mr. Chamberlain was premature and incau 
tious in giving out what seemed to be an announce 

Every one must admit that a close friendship be 
tween the United States and Great Britain is quite 
desirable, and quite in the course of nature. How 
ever complex our population may be in the matter 
of origin, if we have any derived national type it 
is English. This predisposition to friendship, how 
ever, is not because of birth-ties felt by our genera- 



tion. These tend, perhaps, more strongly in other 
directions. English nativity, as a direct influence in 
American life, is now comparatively small. But, as 
a remote and indirect influence, it has been the pre 
ponderating element in the evolution of the Amer 
ican. The thirteen colonies were English colonies, 
not only in their governmental relations, but in fact. 
The Scot and the Irishman and the Welshman, for 
the most part, made their salutations to the new 
world in the English tongue. They came as English- 
speaking people. Their accent was, at home, only 
an unavailing protest against absorption. The accent 
fell away here; it was not needed. A more effective 
protest against English political domination was 
found. As free Americans, they had no quarrel with 
the English tongue. Whatever has come since to 
the United States has been grafted upon the old 
English root. The fruit has, we think, been im 
proved, but the genus is still that of the old root. 

The Scot, the Irishman, the Welshman, the Ger 
man, the Frenchman, the Hollander, the Dane, the 
Swede, the Norwegian, has each brought a contri 
bution, and the Italian is now offering one. The 
American is a give-and-take product. But "thy 
speech bewrayeth thee" and our speech is wholly, 
and our derived institutions are chiefly, English. We 
have pride in the great poets, philosophers, jurists, 
historians and story-writers who have used the tongue 


we use, and we are grateful to them. It is a personal 

We have fellowship with the stout Britons who 
sheared the prerogatives of the king, and with the 
martyrs who died for freedom of worship. We are 
grateful to them, not to the government that perse 
cuted them. But is it logical to derive from such 
considerations the deduction that our sympathies must 
be given to every British ministry that inaugurates 
a war, without reference to its origin or its justice? 
We did not take English literature or English law 
by voluntary conveyance, upon a consideration of 
love and affection. Will not the argument for a 
friendly spirit toward Great Britain be stronger, if 
the plea of gratitude is made less of? For grati 
tude takes account, not of one incident, but of all; 
and the average between 1774 and 1898 had better 
not be struck. There may be found more things 
that it would be pleasant to forget than to remember ! 

Prior to the Spanish-American war, can the his 
torian find, in British-American diplomatic inter 
course, an instance where friendship for the United 
States led to any substantial abatement of British 
pretensions, or to a sympathetic attitude toward us 
in the times of our stress and agony, or even to the 
use of any special consideration in presenting a de 
mand for redress? The demand for the release of 
Mason and Slidell was couched in very harsh and 
peremptory terms. And it is understood that, but 


for the kindly intervention of the queen, an abase-, 
ment would have been put upon us that we could 
only have accepted with a time reservation until 
our fleets and armies had finished the work in hand. 

The attitude of the British government toward us 
during our civil war was hostile and hurtful. Its 
unfriendliness only stopped short of an open alli 
ance with the Southern Confederacy. Neither kin 
ship nor a history of ostentatious reprobation of slav 
ery was enough to overbalance the commercial ad 
vantage to be derived from trade with a non-manu 
facturing, cotton-raising nation. The threatening at 
titude of Great Britain was no small part of the 
breaking burden that weighted the shoulders of Abra 
ham Lincoln. Only the Lancashire spinners God 
bless them to the latest generation! showed an em 
bodied friendship; though there were notable spo 
radic cases. 

Is it quite logical to use the recent display of 
friendliness by Great Britain as a sponge with which 
to wipe from the tablets of memory the decisive in 
tervention of France during the revolution, and the 
helpful friendliness of Russia during the civil war? 
Or should the sponge only be used to efface any 
rancorous memory of old manifestations of unfriend 
liness by Great Britain toward us, or by us toward 
her, and to give us a clean slate upon which may 
be recorded an unbroken future of kindliness and 
good will? 


Washington did not allow gratitude to France, for 
an armed and saving intervention in our behalf, to 
be used as the basis of an alliance that would bring 
us into European entanglements; and can we now 
allow the friendly non-intervention of Great Britain 
during the Spanish war which involved no cost to 
her to be so used? The French demands upon our 
gratitude were thought to be excessive, though they 
did not insist upon a permanent naval base in New 
York harbor! 

Are not the continuous good and close relations 
of the two great English-speaking nations for which 
I pray rather imperilled than promoted by this fool 
ish talk of gratitude and of an alliance, which is often 
made to take on the appearance of a threat, or at 
least a prophecy, of an Anglo-Saxon "paramount cy?" 

The prophetic role, also, is being overworked. 
There is no emotion so susceptible to overwork as 
gratitude, and no role so silly as that of a prophet 
without an attestation. Is it not wholly illogical to 
argue that, because the British ministry, and, to a 
considerable degree, the British people, gave their 
sympathy to us during the Spanish war, an Amer 
ican administration and the American people must 
give their sympathy to the British in the Boer war? 
The major premise is wanting namely, that the two 
wars are of the same quality. The argument we 
hear so much takes no account of this element; yet 
it is necessary, to save the deduction, that both wars 


should be just or that both should be unjust. There 
are evidences, however, that this reasoning is accepted 
by many intelligent persons. I say "reasoning." 
Perhaps that is not a good word. It certainly is 
not unless we start with this major premise "Both 
wars were righteous wars;" or this "Both wars 
were aggressive, for dominion." If our Spanish 
war was waged to liberate an oppressed people, and 
the British-Boer war is waged to subjugate a free 
people, does not the "reasoning" fail? For, to say 
that we must stand by Great Britain in the wrong 
because she stood by us in the right is not reason 
ing it is the camaraderie of brigands. It must be 
admitted, however, that, should we present a claim 
of "suzerainty" or "paramountcy" over Cuba, a sim 
ilitude to the South African situation might be found. 

Is not the sympathy of Great Britain robbed of all 
moral quality, if we allow that it had its origin in 
any other consideration than a belief in the justice 
of our cause? It is to disparage the nation whose 
virtues and civilization we affect to honor, to say 
that Great Britain stood by us in a war that her 
conscience did not approve; that she kept off the 
police, while we effected a robbery. And the depths 
of moral darkness are sounded when it is suggested 
that we are to make return in kind. 

Does not a flood of gush and unreason rather 
thwart than promote a good understanding? There 
will be an ebb. Neither the British people nor the 


American people will surrender their right of free 
judgment and criticism of the acts of their own gov 
ernment, much less of the acts and policies of the 
other. Surely, every American speaker and writer 
is not now perforce either a supporter of Mr. Cham 
berlain's aggressive colonial policies, or an ingrate. 
Our freedom of judgment and criticism is surely not 
smaller than that of a Liberal member of Parlia 
ment. Government in Great Britain, even more than 
in the United States, is by party, and the control 
shifts. Is it not too hard a test of friendliness to 
say that each must shift its sympathies when the 
majority in the other shifts? 

A quid pro quo friendship between nations had 
some promise of permanency, and some value, in 
the days when kings were rulers and there was an 
anointed line. But, in these days, must not an in 
ternational friendship, to have value, unite two peo 
ples? Ministries and presidents are shifting quan 
tities. A friendship that comes in with a ministry 
or a president may go out with it or him. Only a 
union of the two peoples is worthy of a statesman's 
thought; and not incidents of friendliness, but an 
agreement in matters of principle, in general gov* 
ernmental purposes, is needed for that. 

We take our friends on the average, as they must 
take us. If the liberty to differ is not reserved, I 
am not a friend, but a toady. A man who is capable 
of a high friendship will not mention the favor he 


did you last week, when he solicits your help. Lend 
ing to those from whom you expect to receive as 
much again, is not friendship, but commerce. If 
friendship is put upon that basis, it becomes open to 
bids; and account must be taken of the extremity 
when aid was given or withheld. 

I think the great weight of opinion among the 
English Liberals was that the war with the Dutch 
republics could have been, and ought to have been, 
avoided. Many of them believe that this war is 
only a supplement of the Jameson raid. Surely an 
American may hold these opinions without subject 
ing himself to the charge that he is a hater of Great 
Britain. Nor can the repression which the British 
Liberals have imposed upon themselves, pending the 
war, be exacted of Americans. Nations can only be 
reached by process from two tribunals war and pub 
lic opinion. The arbitral tribunal has no process; 
it assembles upon a stipulation. The tribunal of 
public opinion, on the other hand, is always in ses 
sion, and must give a judgment upon all acts of 
men and nations that affect the public welfare. It 
would aid the tribunal greatly if each of the com 
batants could be compelled to plead, to declare the 
cause of the war and its objects. 

The continental congress of 1776 allowed the juris 
diction of this great court. "A decent respect/' it 
said, "for the opinions of mankind requires that they 
should declare the causes which impel them to the 


separation." The object of the war was stated with 
equal explicitness : "That these United Colonies are 
and of right ought to be free and independent states." 

In our second war with Great Britain, the mes 
sages of President Madison and the resolutions of 
congress distinctly catalogue the causes of the war 
and disclose its objects, and in our civil war the 
issue was so clear that neither malice nor sophistry 
has been able to confuse it. Mr. Lincoln consciously 
and willingly submitted the cause to "the considerate 
judgment of mankind." 

In the recent Spanish war, congress declared not 
only the cause of the war, but put the United States 
under bond to conduct and conclude it as a war for 
the liberation of Cuba. 

There is no influence for peace so strong (would 
it were freer and stronger!) as the fear of the en 
lightened judgment of mankind. And this must 
put those who influence that judgment upon the ex 
ercise of a judicial independence and impartiality. 
These judgments must not be made matters of ex 
change. Is it not bad morals, as well as illogical, 
to say: "We were recently at the bar of public 
opinion, and Great Britain, as one of the judges, 
stood by us; now she is at the bar, and we must 
stand by her"? 

There are no two countries in the world where 
thought and conscience and speech, the elements and 
the organ of a sound public opinion, are so free or 


so powerful as in Great Britain and the United 
States. And no friendship between the nations, that 
does not take account of and allow these, is a worthy 
one, or can have endurance. In the case of one's 
own country, there has been opportunity to influ 
ence public policies, and if they have gone wrong 
there will be an opportunity to set them right; while, 
in the case of another nation, we are without oppor 

Is not the inevitable tendency of any attempt to 
put Great Britain and the United States in the re 
lation of allies, to raise up and to strengthen an 
anti-British party in the United States and an anti- 
American party in Great Britain? Buried injuries 
and grudges are dug up and exploited for a domes 
tic party advantage. There are forces that become 
destructive if they are pent; and, in this regard, 
opinions and gunpowder are in the same class. If 
a friendship between Great Britain and the United 
States, that will make their immediate relations cor 
dial and unite their influence for peace and human 
progress, is to be maintained to become a status 
must it not be laid down on a moral instead of a 
commercial basis? Morals abide; commercial inter 
ests shift. It must not involve enmity to the world, 
or exact an approval by the one of every public act 
of the other. It must not be put upon grounds too 
tenuously sentimental, nor must the quid pro quo 
argument be too much pressed. It must be of a sort 


that tolerates differences of opinions and endures the 
smart of criticism. The newspapers must not be 
taken too seriously. The friendship must not be of 
a party here with a party there. Upon that basis we 
shall have racking alternations of gush and coldness. 

If the nations are to be friends, if they are to live 
together in amity and work together in their for 
eign policies, must it not be upon a basis that does 
not repel but invites the participation of all other 
nations in every project for the development and 
peace of the world and not upon the pernicious 
and futile project of an Anglo-Saxon world? The 
moral quality of public acts must be taken account 
of; greed of territory and thoughts of political para- 
mountcies enforced by the sword must be eliminated. 

Great Britain has pursued aggressively a policy of 
territorial expansion, in which the consent of the 
peoples taken over has not been taken account of, 
as having any application, until after British sover 
eignty was established. If the Dutch will forego all 
thoughts of a lost republic and become loyal sub 
jects of Great Britain, she will give back to them a 
pretty large liberty in local affairs, and take a very 
large credit for her generosity. She has not re 
garded the forcible annexation of territory as at all 

Is the friendly co-operation of the two nations to 
be rested upon the abandonment or modification of 
her traditional policy, or upon the abandonment of 


ours? In the prosecution of the "open door" policy 
that is, equal commercial privileges to all nations 
we have, perhaps, found a common basis of diplo 
matic action. To us this means, I still think, the 
recognition of the autonomy of weak nations and 
their right to regulate their own internal affairs, as 
opposed to dismemberment or the paramountcy of 
one of the great powers. Does Great Britain accept 
the "open door" policy in that sense? And is it with 
her a world or only a Chinese policy ? Are we agreed 
that the seizure or dismemberment of a weak state 
by a stronger is wrong, or only that, in the case of 
China, an agreed partition would be difficult, or 
that it might be less advantageous? 

Is it not possible that, if suitably urged, Great 
Britain might come to stand with us against the 
forcible absorption of weak states and for open doors 
everywhere? She has lost her monopoly of expan 
sion. She has found that her most loyal colonies 
buy in the best market. The people of the Trans 
vaal and of the Orange Free State will not show 
favor to a British trade-mark. The increased cost 
and competition in the business of expansion are sug 

The American people gave generously of their love 
to Queen Victoria. Her death was felt here to be 
a family sorrow. She was not associated in the 
American mind with those aggressive features of 
the British character and foreign policy that other 


nations have so much resented. The American love 
for her as a queen was largely based upon the be 
lief that her influence was used, as far as it might 
be, to ameliorate aggression and to promote peace. 
The qualities we most admired in her were those 
in which she was most unlike some British states 
men, whose names my readers are left to catalogue. 
The universal sorrow and sympathy which the death 
of the queen evoked in this country have largely con 
founded and silenced those who have been saying 
that America hated Great Britain. It is not so. But 
will it not be wise to allow the friendship between 
the nations to rest upon deep and permanent things, 
and to allow dissent and criticism as to transient 
things? Irritations of the cuticle must not be con 
founded with heart failure. 


It is quite possible that the government of a state 
may so flagrantly abuse its internal powers, may so 
cruelly treat its subjects, or a class of them, that the 
intervention of other states will be justified. It is 
an extreme case that will justify an armed interven 
tion, and the intervention must always be benevolent, 
both in spirit and purpose. The police must not ap 
propriate the property they recover from the high 
wayman. The judgment whether the case is one 
that justifies intervention must not be influenced, or 
seem to be influenced, by motives of advantage. If 


the land delivered is taken over, those who reject 
altogether the idea of an international benevolence 
or altruism will have another citation. 

The insistence of many individuals and of a very 
large section of the newspaper press that, as matter 
of "reciprocity," we must give our sympathy to Great 
Britain in the Boer war, and the frequent refer 
ences to certain crude and illiberal things in the 
Dutch administration of the Transvaal as matters 
justifying an armed intervention by Great Britain, 
have very naturally turned my vagrant thoughts to 
the consideration of the question, whether these al 
leged faults in the internal administration of the Boers 
furnished a justification for the war made by Great 
Britain upon the Boers. I put it that way, though I 
am not ignorant of the fact that the official view in 
Great Britain is that the Boers began the war, and 
that this view is adopted by the "reciprocity" school 
of Americans. Is it not possible, however, that the 
Texas view of the matter is more nearly the right 
one? In Texas, when one of the parties to an acri 
monious, oral discussion announces that the discus 
sion is ended and that he will now take such meas 
ures as seem to him to be more effective, and accom 
panies this declaration by a movement of his right 
hand in the direction of his hip pocket, he is accounted 
to have begun the war. If the other gets out his 
weapon first and kills the gentleman whose hand is 


moving toward his hip pocket, it is, not only in the 
popular judgment, but in law, self-defense. 

The Boers did not seek war with Great Britain. 
They retreated to the wall. Like the Pilgrims of 
Plymouth Rock, they did not seek, in the great trek 
of 1835, an Eldorado, but barrenness and remote 
ness a region which, as Mr. Prentiss said, "would 
hold out no temptation to cupidity, no inducement 
to persecution." 

The Pilgrims found, but the Boers missed, their 
quest. What seemed a barren veldt, on which free 
men might live unmolested, was but the lid of a vast 
treasure-box. Riches are the destruction of the weak. 
"When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his 
goods are in peace." But strong is in the positive; 
and this scripture tells us what happens when a 
stronger shall "come upon him." 

Taking the case there, however, as one of British 
armed intervention for the correction of certain al 
leged evils and oppressions of Transvaal internal ad 
ministration, what has international law to say about 
it? But is there an international law? The nations 
have never subscribed any codification. There are com 
mentators, but there is no statute book. There are con 
ventions between two or more states, which, in a few 
specified particulars, regulate rights and conduct. 
There are the moral law, the decalogue, the law of 
nature; but does the "thou" of these address itself 


to states? There are precedents, but is the nation 
that made them bound by them, if her interest has 
shifted ? Does the admiral of the strongest fleet write 
the law of the sea, not only for his antagonist, but 
for all neutrals? Is there a standard of personal 
cleanliness and domestic sanitation that is determin 
ative of the right of self-government? Has a strong 
power the right to appoint itself a "trustee for hu 
manity," and in that character to take over the lands 
of such weak nations as fail to make the best use 
of them? Is the rule that the trustee can not take 
a profit inapplicable to "trustees for humanity"? 
Does a well-grounded fear that another nation is 
about to appropriate territory to which neither it nor 
we have any rightful claim, justify us in grabbing 
it first, or in making an equivalent seizure in some 
other part of the world? Have we come, in prac 
tice, to the view which Phillimore puts into the mouth 
of those who say there is no international law: 

"The proposition that in their mutual intercourse 
states are bound to recognize the eternal obligations 
of justice, apart from considerations of immediate 
expediency, they deem stupid and ridiculous pedantry. 
They point triumphantly to the instances in which 
the law has been broken, in which might has been 
substituted for right, and ask if providence is not 
always on the side of the strongest battalions. Let 
our strength, they say, be the law of justice, for that 
which is feeble is found to be nothing worth." 


That choleric Virginia statesman, John Randolph, 
in 1800, when the subject of Great Britain's infrac 
tions of our neutral rights upon the sea was under 
discussion, gave voice to the same thought. "What 
is national law," he said, "but national power guided 
by national interest?" And a recent Chinese writer 
says : "International law is a set of precepts laid 
down by strong powers to be enforced on weak ones." 

Many questions relating to natural rights are now 
regarded as outside the domain of practical states 
manship. Has the American view changed? When 
we were feeble, questions that are now rather sneer- 
ingly called "academic" were very practical, and the 
aspirations and sympathies that are now called "sen 
timental" were the breath of American life. Our 
diplomacy was sentimental ; it had a regard for weak 
ness, for we had not forgotten our own. Never 
did we fail to let it be known that our people sym 
pathized with every effort, every aspiration, of any 
civilized people to set up or to defend republican in 

The British intervention in South Africa was not 
a response to any appeal from so much as a frag 
ment of the Boer people. They were not only con 
tent with the government they had instituted, but 
passionately devoted to it with a readiness to die 
in its defense that took no account of age or sex. 
No Boer in the Transvaal desired to become a British 
subject; but very many British subjects in the Cape 


Colony were so unappreciative of the advantages of 
their condition as such that they passionately desired 
to throw it off for a citizenship in a Dutch republic. 
In other words, the men who were discontented and 
rebellious were not the citizens of the Transvaal or 
of the Orange Free State, but those men of Dutch 
descent whose grandfathers had by conquest become 
British subjects. 

The political conditions in Cuba, when we inter 
vened, were the very opposite of those in the Trans 
vaal. Our intervention was in behalf of the Cubans. 
We co-operated to free them from the power of a 
government whose oppressions and cruelties had many 
times before driven them into rebellion. 

Great Britain's intervention in South Africa was 
against a united people, living in content an ignorant 
content, if you please under a government of their 
own construction; and the ground of the interven 
tion was ostensibly the interests of British subjects 
sojourning there. 

Many defects, incongruities and crudities in the 
Boer government and administration have been point 
ed out by the newspapers and other writers of Great 
Britain, and these have been faithfully echoed by 
not a few Americans, and by not a few American 
newspapers. Now, these faults in Boer administra 
tion, in the main, were such as affected only the 
Boers themselves, and were not infractions of the in 
ternational rights of aliens. The use made of them 


was not, openly, as a justification of the war, but 
rather as a check upon the sympathy of the Amer 
ican people, which, it was feared, might, as it has 
been in the habit of doing, go over-strongly to the 
side of a republic fighting for its existence. It was 
to say: "Don't make too much fuss over the death 
of the man, or too strict an inquiry into the cause of 
the quarrel; he was not in all respects an exemplary 
citizen." The Boers were said to have been favor 
able to slavery as an institution, and to bear a grudge 
against the British because they abolished it. Now, 
the American, whose country, until very recently, was 
the great slave-holding nation of the world, and the 
Briton, who gave his sympathy, and much material 
help besides, to the states that sought by the de 
struction of the American Union to make slavery 
perpetual surely these can not be expected to respect 
the autonomy or mourn the demise of a republic that 
is suspected of having had in the past a desire to 
hold slaves! 

These Boers are not our kind of people; they are 
not polished; they neglect the bath; they are rude 
and primitive; their government is patriarchal and, 
in some things, arbitrary. To be sure, they like these 
habits and these institutions; they abandoned old 
homes, and made new homes in the wilderness, that 
they might enjoy them; but the homes are not such 
as we should have made ; the Anglo-Saxon model has 
not been nicely followed. You have the "consent of 


the governed" yes; but Great Britain does not ap 
prove of you, and she stood by us in the Spanish 

That any self-respecting government, which was 
strong enough to make its diplomatic notes express 
its true emotions, would have answered Great Britain's 
complaints by a flat refusal to discuss them, on the 
ground that they related to matters of internal ad 
ministration; that such would have been the answer 
of the United States, if we had stood in the place 
of the Transvaal republic, can not be doubted and 
there is no more room for doubt that the answer 
would have terminated the discussion. 

If the subject of naturalization is not a matter 
to be determined by a nation for itself, and solely 
upon a consideration of its own interests and safety, 
there is no subject that is free from the meddlesome 
intervention of other states. 

And as to the government monopoly of the dyna 
mite trade, the practice of European governments 
has certainly placed that question in the schedule of 
internal affairs, resting, in the judgment of each 
nation, upon a view of its own interests, unless it has 
by treaty limited its control of the matter. 

The idea of a war waged to enforce, as an inter 
national right, the privilege of British subjects to re 
nounce their allegiance to the queen, and to assume 
a condition in which they might be obliged to take 
up arms against her, would be a taking theme for a 


comic opera. And the interest and amusement would 
be greatly promoted if the composer should, in the 
opening act, introduce the "Ruler of the Queen's 
Navy" overhauling an American merchantman in 
1812, and dragging from her decks men who had re 
nounced their allegiance to Great Britain to become 
American citizens, to man the guns of British war 
ships ! 

"If he produced naturalization papers," says Mc- 
Master, "from the country under whose flag he sailed, 
he was told that England did not admit the right 
of expatriation." 

But, in those days, the "renunciation" was sincere 
and final. The men who made it meant it meant 
to fight the king of Great Britain, if war came. Did 
these Transvaal Britons, who were seeking Boer nat 
uralization, mean that? Did Mr. Chamberlain sup 
pose that he was turning over to Mr. Kruger a body 
of Englishmen skilled in engineering and the use 
of explosives, upon whose loyalty to the Boer cause 
Mr. Kruger could rely? The climax of the fun will 
be reached when the opera composer offers this situ 
ation. Most of these men whose naturalization was 
to be forced upon the Boers were actively and ag 
gressively hostile to the Boer government. No safe 
occasion to show this hostility was missed. 

In a recent book, Mrs. Lionel Phillips, the wife 
of one of the Englishmen condemned to death for 
their connection with the Jameson raid, tells of an 


incident that occurred at Pretoria before the raid. 
A British Commissioner, Sir Henry Loch, came to 
Pretoria to discuss with President Kriiger some Brit 
ish grievances. Mr. Kriiger drove in his carriage to 
receive the Commissioner and take him to his hotel. 
Mrs. Phillips says: 

"There was a scene of the wildest enthusiasm, thou 
sands being there to welcome the queen's representa 
tive, and when he and Kriiger got into the carriage 
(which also contained Dr. Leyds) to proceed to the 
hotel, some Englishmen took out the horses and 
dragged it, one irresponsible person jumping on the 
box-seat and waving a Union Jack over Kriiger 's 
head! When the carriage arrived at its destination, 
Sir Henry, accompanied by Dr. Leyds, entered the 
hotel, and the president was left sitting in the horse 
less carriage. The yelling crowd refused to drag the 
vehicle, and, after some difficulty, a few of his faith 
ful burghers were got together to drag the irate 
president to his home." 

Now, it was for these thousands of Englishmen, 
who practiced this dastardly indignity upon Presi 
dent Kriiger, and who, with others, a little later made 
or promoted the Jameson raid, that Boer naturaliza 
tion was demanded. 

But it has been stated, upon apparently excellent 
authority, that the British Commission expressly re 
jected a form of naturalization oath that contained, 
as our form does, a renunciation of allegiance to all 


other governments. If, upon the basis of a retained 
British allegiance, suffrage, whether in local or gen 
eral affairs, was demanded for the Outlanders, the 
comic aspect of the situation disappears ; the unreason 
is too great for comedy. 

Great Britain can not, we are told, safely give local 
government to the Boers when she shall have sub 
jugated them, because she can not trust their loyalty 
to the crown; but she is seeking to destroy the re 
publics, because the Transvaal refused suffrage and 
local control to Englishmen who had attempted by 
arms to overthrow the Boer government, and who 
sought suffrage for the same end. Suffrage was only 
another form of assault in the interest of British 

Not long ago, a distinguished Briton (Goldwin 
Smith) is reported to have said: 

"Can history show a more memorable fight for 
independence than that which is being made by the 
Boer? Does it yield to that made by Switzerland 
against Austria and Burgundy; or to that made by 
the Tyrolese under Hofer? The Boer gets no pay; 
no comforts and luxuries are provided for him by 
fashionable society; he can look forward to no med 
als or pensions; he voluntarily endures the utmost 
hardships of war; his discipline, though unforced, 
seems never to fail. Boys of sixteen, a correspond 
ent at the Cape tells me even of fourteen take the 
rifle from the hand of the mother who remains to 


pray for them in her lonely home, and stand by their 
grandsires to face the murderous artillery of mod 
ern war. * * * Rude, narrow-minded, fanatical 
in their religion, these men may be. So were the 
old Scotch Calvinists ; so have been some of the noblest 
wildstocks of humanity but surely they are not un 
worthy to guard a nation. * * * If a gold mine 
was found in the Boer's territory, was it not his? 
The Transvaal franchise needed reform; so did that 
of England within living memory and in a still greater 
degree. But reform was not the object of Mr. Cecil 
Rhodes and his political allies. What they wanted 
was to give the ballot to people who, they knew, 
would use it to vote away the independence of the 

He went on to say that even in monarchical Italy, 
where he had recently been, the "heart of the people 
is with the little republic which is fighting for its in 

There has been, I think, no suggestion that this 
great Englishman spoke under the stimulus of Trans 
vaal gold. Have we come to a time when a citizen 
of the Great Republic may not express like views 
without becoming a "suspect"? Must we turn our 
pockets inside out to verify our disinterestedness, 
when we speak for a "little republic which is fight 
ing for its independence"? 

We have not long passed the time when the man 
who spoke against the "little republic" would have 


been the "suspect." A paper that I read recently 
head-lined a news dispatch, announcing the return 
of a young American who went to South Africa to 
fight for Boer independence, thus: "The Return of 
a Mercenary." Yet the act and the motive of this 
adventurous young American would, a little while 
ago, have reminded us of LaFayette or Steuben. 

Mr. James Bryce recently said: 

"Indeed, the struggles for liberty and nationality 
are almost beginning to be forgotten by the new 
generation, which has no such enthusiasm for these 
principles as men had forty years ago." 

And, at the moment when two republics are in 
articulo mortis, some of our journals congratulate us 
over the prospect of an increased trade with the 
"Crown Colonies" that are to be set up in their 
stead, and over the increased output of the Johannes 
burg mines. The emperor of Germany is reported 
to have forestalled President Kruger's personal ap 
peal by the statement that Germany's interest would 
be promoted by the British conquest of the republics. 
And Bishop Thoburn asks: "Why should people la 
ment the absorption of the small powers by the large 

Never before has American sympathy failed, or 
been divided, or failed to find its voice, when a peo 
ple were fighting for independence. Can we now 
calculate commercial gains before the breath of a dying 
republic has quite failed, or the body has quite taken 


on the rigor mortis? If international justice, gov 
ernment by the people, the parity of the nations, have 
ceased to be workable things, and have become im 
practicable, shall we part with them with a sneer, 
or simulate regret, even if we have lost the power to 
feel it? May not one be allowed to contemplate the 
heavens with suppressed aspirations, though there 
are no "consumers" there? Do we need to make a 
mock of the stars, because we can not appropriate 
them because they do not take our produce? Have 
we disabled ourselves? 

Mr. Hoar says that "by last winter's terrible blun- 
^ er * # * we have lost the right to offer our 
sympathy to the Boer in his wonderful and gallant 
struggle against terrible odds for the republic in 
Africa." It is a terrible charge. 

There was plainly no call for an armed interven 
tion by the United States in South Africa, and per 
haps our diplomatic suggestions went as far as usage 
would justify. But has not public opinion here been 
somehow strongly perverted, or put under some un 
wonted repression? If we have lost either the right 
to denounce aggression, or the capacity to weep when 
a republic dies, it is a grievous loss. 



At University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, March 23, 1897 

When one speaks to young men, and especially to 
college young men, he is not at full liberty, either 
as to his theme or the treatment of it. His words 
may carry further than he thinks. They may give 
a turn to a life. Soberness of thought and a fin 
ger board are 'among the needs of educated young 
men. There is a tendency to sprint and kick and 
tackle and to high jumping that, in the intellect 
ual field at least, needs to be restrained. There 
are many things in the social and business and po 
litical fields that ought to be kicked and tackled, 
and many barriers that ought to be jumped but 
not everything. The rush line and the flying wedge 
must be used with discrimination in moral and in 
tellectual strifes, for in them the aim should not 
be to run down an adversary, but to lift him up. 
Victories in the moral, social, intellectual and polit 
ical fields are won by bringing a majority over 
and by organizing that majority. The leader of any 



great reform should combine the zeal of a crusader 
with the wisdom of Solon. 

My purpose in this address is not so much to in 
dicate the reforms to which these young men should 
give their powers and their influence when they en 
ter a professional or a business life, as to point out 
some of the reasons why selfish interests so often 
succeed in defeating legal reforms that would, if 
they were rightly presented and pursued, command 
the support of a very large majority of the electors. 
This support is either scattered by a commingling of 
issues, by making politics of pure business; or ren 
dered futile by the inability, from one cause or an 
other, of our legislators to frame constitutional and 
suitable laws. I think it safe to say that five-sixths 
of the voters of the country favor a revision of the 
corporation laws, which shall limit the purposes for 
which corporations may be organized; supervise the 
issuing of their stocks and bonds, so that fictitious 
and watered securities may not be issued, and every 
security represent investment or actual value; re 
strain them from organizing trusts for the exac 
tion of illegitimate gains or the destruction of fair 
competition, and require such of them as serve the 
public to render that service seasonably and well. 
Small stockholders should have better protection. 
The responsibilities of the directorate should be 
greater. Corporations should not be allowed, as now, 
to avail themselves of the loose corporation laws of 


one state for incorporation, when their business is to 
be wholly transacted in another. That is to permit 
one state to legislate for another. So an even larger 
proportion of our people would give their emphatic 
support to the proposition that tax burdens should 
fall equally upon all property. But they do not, as 
every one knows. The farmer and the man whose 
wealth consists of lands, houses, live-stock, imple 
ments of trade and such like property, is taxed 
upon everything he has, though usually at less than 
its real value. It can not be hidden. But the owner 
of stocks and bonds and such like property makes 
his own inventory and the assessor has no way of 
checking the list. A "tax ferret" sometimes un 
earths the skulking securities of an individual, but 
that result only suggests that much more is in hid 
ing. Very much of the unrest and discontent that 
pervade the minds of the people would be quieted if 
every man could be convinced that every other man 
was bearing his fair proportion of the public bur 
dens. I take these two great subjects, corporation 
and tax law reforms, which have been under public 
discussion for very many years, as illustrations of the 
inefficiency of our legislative methods. 

For some reason or reasons the honest desire of 
a great majority of the people that corporate powers 
shall be limited and regulated, and that tax burdens 
shall be equalized, does not find expression in the 
statutes. My purpose is to search out some of the 


obstructive influences. First, we note that under our 
loose laws corporations have greatly multiplied. The 
railroads have penetrated to every neighborhood; and 
every county, city and town has its banking, manu 
facturing and other corporations. During the period 
of the active development of the western states ev 
ery possible encouragement was given to the build 
ing of railroads. Large subsidies were voted by the 
counties, cities and townships to secure railroad com 
munications these aids taking the form of stock 
subscriptions or of outright donations. The same 
form of aid, with large donations from private 
sources, has often been given to secure the location 
of manufacturing corporations. The old idea of the 
corporate organization was that a work requiring a 
combination of the wealth of many persons was to 
be done, such a work as an individual or a part 
nership could not accomplish, or that a public use 
was to be served, and that a corporate agency could 
be better regulated. But these ideas have be 
come obsolete, and we now have corporations en 
gaged in conducting dry-goods stores, book-stores, 
drug stores and almost every form of manufactur 
ing or mercantile adventure. These enterprises take 
the corporate form either to secure a limited liabil 
ity of the investors, or to avoid the complications 
that often arise from disagreements between partners 
as to management, or from the death of a partner. It 
follows that the persons now interested in maintain- 


ing the present loose corporation laws are very numer 
ous and are found in every locality. The employes of 
the railroads will, spite of frequent labor troubles, 
be found supporting the management and the stock 
holders when any legislation that seriously curtails 
earnings is threatened, because of a fear that such 
curtailment will require a cut in wages. This large 
body of managers, investors and employes is com 
posed of individuals of more than the average in 
fluence, especially when stirred into activity by a large 
personal interest. The sum of the investments in 
corporate enterprises of all sorts is enormous and 
its distribution very wide. Individual capitalists 
have their millions so invested, and widows, guar 
dians of orphan children, trustees, retired and super 
annuated men and women, and educational and 
charitable organizations are the holders of a vast 
amount in the aggregate of the stock and bonds 
of corporations. All the influence of this vast army 
of investors will clearly be thrown against any un 
just or destructive legislation, and very much of it 
against any restrictive legislation. In a fight against 
unjust or destructive legislation they will find many 
allies among those who have no selfish interest to 
serve and no investments to defend. There must be 
fairness in the application of the proposed legisla 
tion if the support of just and intelligent men is 

There are some things that must be taken account 


of: First, it must be kept in mind that the people 
have not only authorized but invited the organiza 
tion of all these corporations and the investment of 
capital in their stocks and other securities. To many 
of them public aid has been given, and the inaugu 
ration of the work has been attended by popular 
demonstrations of joy. Second, it must also be kept 
in mind that the bankruptcy of any legitimate busi 
ness, of a railroad company, of a manufacturing, or 
a mercantile concern, is a public injury, that is not 
compensated by destructive cut rates, temporary in 
their nature, nor by the small savings of the bar 
gain counter. Auctions and sheriffs' and receivers' 
sales ought not to be promoted. There may be no 
other way in particular cases, but they ought not 
to be the desired or necessary result of general 
legislation. Third, we can not go back to the be 
ginning, wipe everything out and construct our cor 
poration laws in the light of our present experience. 
The ideal is not possible. We must take things as 
our unwisdom, or that of our fathers, has made 
them. As to the past, we can do little more than 
mend; but the law regulating new corporate organi 
zations is wholly within our power. I do not speak 
of legal restrictions upon the power of the state to 
amend or repeal the laws regulating corporations, 
that is generally ample but of the limitations that 
equity imposes. Innocent investors in securities must 
have fair treatment. But much mending may be 


done, and ought to be. Fourth, the work of re 
forming our corporation laws is not work for ap 
prentices. The corporate system of the country is 
not only vast, but extremely intricate. The work is 
more akin to watch-repairing than to log-raising 
and yet the log-raisers have not hesitated to assume 
it. Fifth, special cases often suggest the necessity 
of curative legislation; but as most of our state con 
stitutions require that legislation relating to corpo 
rations shall be general, it is neither wise nor safe 
to assume that a particular case is a representative 
one, and to administer the remedy promiscuously. 
Sixth, in public affairs, the best attainable good is 
the thing to be sought. The professor can and 
ought to deal with ideals, but the true statesman will 
not forego a gain for good government because it 
is less than his ideal. He will not force into the 
opposition those who are willing to join him in an 
assault upon an outpost of intrenched wrong, be 
cause they will not enlist for the war. Every out 
post taken and garrisoned for the right, strengthens 
the right. A house is to be builded, and the man 
who is willing to work on the foundation should 
not be driven off because he will not hire for work 
on the dome. Seventh, the legislation must be just. 
Unjust, destructive legislation brings a reaction a 
back-set. It is either over-turned by the courts, or 
loses the support of the conservatives, who are re 
formers but not incendiaries. 


Let us see now if we can find some of the rea 
sons why things that on a popular vote would be 
overwhelmingly supported as abstract propositions,, 
by conservatives and radicals alike, fail year after 
year to secure legislative action. In about three- 
fourths of the states the legislatures meet biennially. 
The sessions, in a majority of the states, are limited 
to an average of about sixty days. If we admit, 
for the present, that in each state legislature that 
assembles there are to be found public-spirited, dis 
interested and honest men, capable of comprehend 
ing the broad subjects of the corporation and tax 
laws, and of framing laws with exactness and clear 
ness of expression, and with a due consideration of 
constitutional restrictions, still these difficulties re 
main: First, to bring these men together in a com 
mittee charged with that duty; second, to find for 
them time, during the stress of a session's work, to 
give the subject adequate study and to frame the 
laws that shall suitably and surely secure the results 
they have reached. And how are the two houses to 
find time to consider a report necessarily late in its 
presentation, within the short limits of the legisla 
tive session? The theory of these limitations of the 
legislative sessions seems to be that, aside from rev 
enue and appropriation bills, and bills of a local na 
ture, only patching and tinkering is to be done. A 
general code of laws has already been adopted, re 
ported in many cases by a commission of revision 


a quarter of a century ago, upon the body of which 
patches, large and small, have from time to time 
been placed very often with the result that "the 
rent is made worse." Now and then a member may 
be found who has given some preliminary study to 
these great questions, but as a rule the bills that are 
found in the pockets of members are of a local na 
ture, directed to the pleasing of a particular constit 
uency, or of some influential member or members of 
it. The disadvantages under which a revision of 
the laws upon any great general subject must be 
pursued by a sixty-day legislature are such that it 
is rather a subject of congratulation than complaint 
that it is so rarely attempted. 

The framing of a statute is nice work, and every 
important statute should, as to its frame and its 
phraseology, be examined by a law committee or 
at least by good lawyers. Many laws are framed 
by men who are wholly ignorant of the constitu 
tional restrictions upon the legislative power and as 
a consequence the courts are constantly and neces 
sarily annulling statutes because they are, in form 
or substance, contrary to the fundamental law. 

The inadequacies of our legislatures to deal with 
a systematic and congruous revision of the laws 
upon some of the great themes of legislation have 
many illustrations, even where they sit in unlimited 
sessions. The first disqualification for such work 
that I observe in legislative bodies is that the houses, 


as well as their committees, sit amid political and 
social distractions that are not favorable to that pa 
tient, continuous study of a single subject that is 
essential, if good, enduring work is to be done. No 
member can or ought to give his whole attention 
on any single day to one subject. He is responsi 
ble in his measure for everything that is done in the 
body of which he is a member. He must be in his 
seat every day of the session; must be recorded when 
the ayes and noes are taken; must take part in de 
bates upon other subjects, attend party caucuses, get 
door-keepers' places for his friends, welcome and en 
tertain his visiting constituents, and do innumerable 
chores for others of them. He has no uninter 
rupted hours, unless he snatches them from sleep. 
He has, in a word, neither the time nor the mental 
frame for great constructive work in legislation. It 
may be said, however, that our senators and repre 
sentatives, national and state, should devote their 
time when congress or the legislature is not in ses 
sion to the study of the great questions of legisla 
tive reform and to the preparation of bills to carry 
them into effect; and so they should. But in fact 
they do not as a rule. They are in many cases 
paid only a per diem during the actual sittings of 
the bodies of which they are members, and if paid 
an annual salary, the necessity of supplementing 
that salary by professional or other labor, or, as to 
the wealthy, of caring for their investments and' 


business, fills the vacation months with exacting la 
bors. A member of the Indiana legislature gives 
three months of his time, and perhaps a contribu 
tion in money, to the campaign for his election, and 
two months more to the legislative session, and re 
ceives from the state a total of $360, excluding 
mileage. Most of these members are men of small 
means, and it is quite unreasonable to demand that 
they shall give even the sixty days that elapse be 
tween their election and the meeting of the legis 
lature wholly and studiously to the consideration of 
the great questions that are pending for a solution. 
And again, such questions as tax and corporation 
reforms are not to be solved by individual investi 
gators in the study. There must be a comparison of 
views, debate, and the hearing of all interests to be 
affected, if crudity and confusion are to be escaped. 
The legislation will be subjected to the fire of the 
ablest legal minds in the country, as to its constitu 
tionality and as to the interpretation of its provisions. 
These gentlemen will not be required to turn aside 
from their critical study of the law, in order to 
earn a living, as the framers of the law were. The 
framer of an important law must be more than a 
master of constitutional law and of clear expression. 
He must have a practical business knowledge of the 
matters he is dealing with. There must be not only 
pathological skill, but a competent acquaintance with 
the materia medica. Corporation reform has been 


very much retarded by the flood of destructive and 
impossible bills that pours into every legislative 
body. They are the product of ill-informed minds, 
often made more than naturally incapable by malice 
or undue heat. Hysteria and spite are not the pro 
genitors of good legislation. Such bills carry the 
conservatives over to the opposition. It has been 
said and I fear with too much truth in some cases 
that these bills are often presented with no other 
purpose than to excite the alarm of the corporations 
affected, and that the mover is quite amenable to the 
influence of reason, if it is urged privately, and is 
of the right denomination. Bills to regulate the 
freight and passenger rates of the railroads of a 
state are proposed by men as ignorant of the com 
plications and difficulties of railroad management as 
a horse is of astronomy. It is usually easy for the 
corporations to defeat such legislation; for it is usu 
ally easily shown to be unjust and destructive. And 
so things move along and nothing is done. 

There were for many years pending in congress, 
renewed each session, and advocated by fiery cham 
pions, bills to forfeit the land grants of the rail 
roads. A bill to forfeit unearned lands lands 
abutting on such parts of the lines as had not yet 
been completed could have been passed at almost 
any time; but these fiery champions of the people 
would have nothing less than a forfeiture carried 
back to the date when the railroads should have been 


completed. And so the congressional battle went on, 
but made no progress, while the railroads went on, 
completed their lines and got the lands. Texas re 
cently passed an anti-trust law, so framed as the 
courts interpreted it as to make it penal for two 
merchants conducting rival stores in a cross-roads 
village, at a loss by reason of the limited patronage, 
to form a copartnership and combine their stocks 
and capital. It exempted, I think, combinations 
among farmers, for the purpose of keeping up the 
prices of farm products, from the penalties denounced 
against other combines; and the labor organizations 
always reserve the right to combine for the purpose 
of raising wages, while insisting that their employ 
ers shall not combine for the purpose of keeping 
up the prices of the products of labor. We may 
mourn the departure of the good old times when the 
blacksmith hammered out his own horseshoes; when 
the hatter made hats, and the shoemaker shoes; 
when mutton chops and ribbons were not sold in the 
same store; but we must not too hastily assume that 
statutes can re-establish the old order. The Texas 
law was too broad. There must be more consid 
eration, more moderation, more legal acumen, when 
anti-trust laws are written. A convention resolu 
tion and a statute are quite different things. In the 
next place our legislators are chosen from districts, 
not from the state at large, and are almost sure to 
be charged with some local legislation to which they 


give the first place in the apportionment of their 
'time and efforts. The favorable judgment of his 
immediate constituents is the reward he craves. 
Hence his labors are given to those things that will 
attract their notice, or the notice of some active and 
controlling element in his district. At the worst he 
becomes the attorney in fact of a boss, of a corpora 
tion, or of a syndicate. In his better state he gets 
everything he can for his district a new judge, a 
public building, the payment of a private claim, or 
a high duty on plate glass or castor beans. Upon 
questions that do not particularly affect his district, 
or that of some brother member, he will take na 
tional or state interests into consideration and give 
them weight; but he takes little account of the state 
of the treasury, or of the bad precedent to be made, 
when an appropriation for his district is pending. 
He is "agin the government" when the demands of 
his district and the demands for national economy 
conflict. There is great human nature in all this, 
and most men who have had legislative service will 
be ready to say mea culpa. He knows, or thinks he 
does, what his district wants, and feels a sense of 
injury if any brother member obstructs or opposes 
.his local bill, and so it comes about that a brotherly 
reciprocity is established, and much log-rolling legis 
lation is enacted. The idea the true constitutional 
one that every senator and representative repre 
sents, in state legislatures the state, and in congress 


the nation, precisely as if he had been voted for at 
large, instead of in a state or a district, seems to 
be losing its power, not only over our legislators, 
but in the public mind. The assumption that other 
members of a legislative body must yield their views 
as to the wisdom or constitutionality of a local meas 
ure to those of the members chosen from that local 
ity is not only impudent, but absolutely destructive 
of our civil system. This suggestion has been the 
prolific parent of bad legislation. It is not only 
quite natural, but quite proper, that much consid 
eration should be given to the information which a 
member may have as to the local status, with which 
he has a special acquaintance; but when all infor 
mation bearing upon the subject has been presented, 
every conscientious member of the body must under 
his oath vote his own convictions of the justice or 
injustice, constitutionality or unconstitutionality of 
the proposed measure. Mr. Bryce, in his American 
Commonwealth, says of this tendency to localism in 
our legislation: 

"The spirit of localism, surprisingly strong every 
where in America, completely rules them. A mem 
ber is not a member for his state, chosen by a dis 
trict but bound to think first of the general welfare 
of the commonwealth. He is a member for Browns 
ville, or Pompey, or the Seventh district, and so 
forth, as the case may be. His first and main duty 
is to get the most he can for his constituency out 


of the state treasury, or by means of state legisla 
tion. No appeal to the general interest would have 
weight with him against the interests of that spot. 
What is more, he is deemed by his colleagues of the 
same party to be the sole exponent of the wishes 
of the spot, and solely entitled to handle its affairs. 
If he approves a bill which affects the place and 
nothing but the place, that is conclusive. Nobody 
else has any business to interfere. This rule is the 
more readily accepted, because its application all 
around serves the private interest of every member 
alike, while members of more enlarged views, who 
ought to champion the interests of the state and sound 
general principles of legislation, are rare. When 
such is the accepted doctrine as well as invariable 
practice, log-rolling becomes natural and almost le 
gitimate. Each member being the judge of the 
measure which touches his own constituency, every 
other member supports that member in passing the 
measure, expecting in return the like support in a 
like cause. He who in the public interest opposes 
the bad bill of another, is certain to find that other 
opposing, and probably with success, his own bill, 
however good." 

This prevalence of the local idea affects general 
law reforms injuriously in another particular. Only 
a particular and local abuse has been observed, and 
the bill proposed takes that special direction. It 
may be right, but it is partial; it does not cover the 


whole field; and there is a certain amount of pop 
ular sympathy with the appeal that one guilty man 
ought not to be punished while scores of others 
equally guilty go free. The legislation is framed to 
meet an isolated case that has come under the ob 
servation of the member, and is not laid down on 
broad lines. 

No facts of current history are more apparent 
than these: that the senate of the United States has 
largely ceased to be what the framers of the con 
stitution intended it to be and what, for near a hun 
dred years, it was the sedate and conservative 
branch of our national legislature; and that the 
larger body, the house of representatives, has in very 
many matters involving popular feeling and excite 
ment, been less quickly responsive to these waves of 
public feeling than the senate. The house acts 
quickly; the senate talks and does not act at all, if 
there is an obstinate minority. Waiving some other 
considerations that have tended to produce these re 
sults, I think the controlling fact is this: that in 
the senate there is an entire absence of leadership, 
of any power in the presiding officer to discriminate 
between those seeking the floor, and no rule for 
'closing debate. The combined result is that any 
'senator may at almost any time introduce any sub- 
'ject and speak upon it and force a vote of the senate 
! upon it in some form. The first senator who ad- 
'dresses the chair must be recognized. In the house 


there is a strong leadership and a most effective con 
trol of the business to come before the house. Mem 
bers arrange beforehand with the speaker for recogni 
tion, and it is not thought to be impertinent for the 
speaker to ask the member what he desires to call up. 
There may be some fuming if the speaker refuses to 
recognize a member because he does not think the mat 
ter should be called up at all, or at that time, but every 
body sees that it will not do to let everybody call up 
everything in a house of three hundred and fifty- 
nine members. The speaker is chosen by the votes 
of the majority party to the leadership he exercises, 
and is always open to the advice of the members 
and to the suggestions or directions of a caucus. He 
is not administering spites or favoritism^, but is con 
ducting the policies of the majority, and holds his 
leadership only so long as he holds the confidence 
of a majority of the house. When a subject is once 
properly before the house the time allotted to debate 
is divided fairly to those indicated by the respective 
leaders on the floor, and the vote is absolutely free. 
The restraints are upon talk and upon the order of 
business, and these are self-imposed restraints in 
the public interest. In the English house of com 
mons the ministry directs the order of business. 
There is a parliamentary leader. The house may 
break away, for here too the restraint is self-im 
posed, but the break does not discard leadership 
only changes leaders. A large legislative body in 


which any member may at any time bring up any 
subject and speak upon it at any length is certain to, 
be impulsive, erratic and unsafe. 

A remark upon this topic that was wrung from 
me while in public life has been incorrectly given 
in the newspapers; but I did say that there was a 
crying need of more United States senators, and 
perhaps in that connection I did mention, by way 
of illustration, the name of one senator who never 
had any "little bills" of his own, and was in conse 
quence not afraid to oppose the "little bills" of his 
colleagues, if the national interests seemed to re 
quire it. 

The conclusion to which my observation and ex 
perience has brought me is that the legislative de 
partments, especially the legislatures of the states, 
are not capable of dealing in their sessions with the 
great law reforms that are now imperatively press 
ing for attention. The present difficulties are 
largely the result of legislation that was enacted in 
the rush and excitement of a material develop 
ment that especially as to railroads has now 
passed its climax. "Anything to get railroads" was 
then the cry. Now we have come to a time 
when they are denounced as the oppressors of 
the people, and the investors are constantly threat 
ened by destructive legislation. The fight has in 
many cases been so blind and so bitter as to 
affect all classes of business, The investment in 


railroad securities is so enormous and so wide 
ly distributed that it could not be otherwise. 
We are all involved. We can not stand apart. 

If our plan of taxation includes, notes, bonds 
and stocks they must all be listed. It is 
not essential that all property should be taxed at its 
full value. It is enough that the taxable value is 
relatively equal; but it is essential that all property 
that the law subjects to taxation should be returned 
and assessed. In a recent interview the Reverend 
Dr. Rainsford said : 

"Let me mention two instances which I person 
ally know to be true. One gentleman worth sev 
eral millions told me himself that he was assessed 
on only $30,000. He added that a friend of his, 
worth ten times as much as he, was assessed on 
$100,000. Assessments on these estates (and they 
are not estates in which there is much realty), may 
have been slightly raised since then, for this con 
versation occurred two or three years ago. But 
the evil principle remains." 

The Hon. James A. Roberts, comptroller of the 
state of New York, in his last annual report fur 
nishes some very interesting statistics and makes 
some advanced suggestions. He notes the fact 
that the addition of three and one-half millions 
to the state revenues from new excise taxes had not 
secured the expected reduction in the general tax 
rate, and says: "There is danger therefore that 


unless a determined effort is made to keep down 
unusual and extraordinary expenditures, the in 
creased income from the excise law may incite a 
desire for appropriations and thus raise the tax rate 
instead of lowering it." 

He is right. Easy come, easy go. When 
everybody feels that his money is being spent 
everybody is an economist. When one is din 
ing at the cost of another he takes no account 
of the reckoning. If a scheme of taxation could be 
devised by which the whole burden of supporting 
the state its schools, its benevolent institutions, 
its police and municipal systems would be placed 
upon the corporations and the very rich alone, its 
adoption would inaugurate an era of the decadence 
of public virtue and public spirit, and bring in one 
of public wastefulness and profligacy. It would 
pauperize in the things that are of more value than 
shekels. The contributing citizen is the watchful 
citizen; and we have none too many watchers when 
all are such. Equality and not spoliation should be 
the watchword of the tax reformer. 

In discussing the question of an inheritance tax 
Mr. Roberts gives some figures that would be start 
ling, if our own observation had not prepared our 
minds for them. The taxable value of real estate 
in the state of New York increased one hundred 
and fifty-five per cent, between the years 1870 and 
1895, while during the same period taxable personal 


property only increased six per cent. The equalized 
taxable value of real estate in 1895 was nearly four 
billion dollars ($3,908,853,377), while the taxable 
value of personal property was a little less than half 
a billion ($459,859,526). Mr. Roberts says: "Now 
it is a well known fact that the increase in value 
of personal property in this state of late years has 
been much more rapid than that of real estate, and 
that the amount of personal property owned here is 
equal to, if not more, than the amount of real 
estate; * * * The total amount of personal 
property now on the tax rolls is a trifle over one- 
ninth as much as the real estate and only a frac 
tion more than it was twenty-six years ago." He 
then states that since 1886, as shown by official re 
turns, there had been invested in corporations 
alone "nearly five times as much as the total 
amount of personal property now upon the tax 
rolls of the state." 

The New York financial press report very re 
cently noticed large shipments of gold from San 
Francisco to New York, and stated they were made 
to avoid taxation. A way must be devised that will 
bring to the tax roll this vast aggregate of untaxed 
personal property; but it will never be accomplished 
by the impulsive hodge-podge methods of sixty- 
day legislatures. 

The suggestion has been made that only such 
property as has been scheduled for taxation shall 


pass by descent or by will,' and that any prop 
erty, the ownership of which has in his life been 
annually denied by the decedent in his tax re 
turn, shall escheat to the state. There would 
seem to be a measure of justice in taking the 
tax dodger at his word and not allowing him 
to dispose of property that he has solemnly de 
clared did not belong to him. 

Taxation is not equal. Why is it not made 
approximately so, since the governing majority is 
in favor of it? Why does not this great middle 
body of the people, standing between the "pluto 
crats" and the "anarchists," and many times out 
numbering them both, make itself as effectually felt 
in correcting legal and social abuses as it does in 
stamping out fires and suppressing riots? The 
only answer is that the executive and judicial forces 
of the government act quickly and directly, while 
the legislative forces, hampered by the considera 
tions I have mentioned, and by the greater compli 
cations of the questions, seem to be inadequate to 
the work of legal reform. The making of wise laws 
is a higher and more difficult work than that of in 
terpreting or executing them. How are these and 
other great reform bills to be framed, and how are 
our legislative bodies to be roused to the exigency 
of enacting them? It seems to me that the laws 
must be framed by commissions composed of the 
ablest men in the states. The commissions must 


be given time to make a thorough study of the 
subject. When they have laid down tentatively 
the general lines upon which the laws shall be 
drawn, an opportunity should be given to the 
representatives of the interests to be affected, and 
to the public to present suggestions and objec 
tions. There should be no attempt to bring in 
the millennium on the morrow. It would be too 
sudden. The ideal can not be reached at a step. 
But we should face that way, and move. 

In my judgment, nothing has so much retarded 
the progress of these reforms as the excesses in 
speech and action of the men who have stood as 
their exponents. A brutal policeman may compel 
us to defend a thief. When a judge gives out the 
cry of the mob from the seat of the law, he does 
not promote the solution of any of the troubles we 
have, but only discloses another, and a very seri 
ous one. 

It not infrequently happens that those who un 
seat the public reason by clamorous denunciations 
of corporations are coining this inflamed and often 
uninformed public sentiment into dollars that by a 
secret slot are falling into their own coffers. Re 
form is not promoted it is only a squeeze. A 
recent newspaper paragraph puts it thus: "In Al 
bany they call them 'strike' bills; in Sacramento 
'cinch' bills; in Missouri, 'squeezers;' and there 
you are." 


When the udder has been emptied into their pail, 
the devastations of the cow in the public corn may 
be resumed and they will not see her though she 
be as big as an elephant. A tempest lifts things 
up, but they come down. It has neither sustaining 
force nor discrimination. It draws no line between 
things that ought to be reconstructed and things 
that should be utterly destroyed. 

But before the commission we must have a 
zealous, sedate, educated, organized, non-partisan, 
public sentiment. That great patriotic middle body 
of our people not a remnant but the mass must 
become something more than a fire brigade. It is 
not enough to say that there must be no violence 
the law must not only be obeyed, but it must be 
right. These and kindred reforms lag only be 
cause their supporters are not organized. There 
is no plan no effective co-operation. The first step, 
in my judgment, is the organization of commissions, 
composed of able, wise and patriotic men, to take 
up these problems and to give their undivided time 
and their most solicitous thought to their solution. 
If there could be co-operation between the states it 
would be very helpful and would tend to promote 
another much desired end harmonious legislation. 


Josephine C. Drake et al. t Executors, &c., Plaintiffs in Error, v. Daniel H. 
Kochersperger, County Treasurer, &c., of Cook County, Illinois. No. ^5. 

Elizabeth Emerson Sawyer et al+, Executors, dec., Plaintiffs in Error, v. The 
Same. No. 463. 

Jessie Norton Torrence Magoun, Appellant, v. Illinois Trust and Savings 
Sank, as Executor, <&c., of Joseph T. Torrence, deceased, and Daniel H. 
Kochersperger, County Ti'easurer, &c. No. 464. 



Washington, 1898. 

May It Please Your Honors: 

Before addressing myself to the line of argu 
ment which I have marked out, it may not be in 
appropriate to make reference to the suggestion of 
the attorney-general of Illinois that this law 
might be held by this court to be unconstitutional 



as to the third class, and sustained as to the other 
classes. We have in this law what was evidently 
intended to be a system of succession or inheritance 
taxation. This is one of several classes that the 
law defines and upon which it levies taxes. It is 
the class, if your honors please, least favored; the 
unfavored class in this legislation; a class described 
as "all others," after the two classifications that em 
brace kinship to very remote limits. It is mostly 
the stranger who is taxed by this clause. Surely 
the learned attorney-general would not ask this hon 
orable court to conclude that the legislature of his 
state would desire that the residue of the statute 
should be maintained if this part were to be de 
clared unconstitutional. Surely he would not be 
willing or have us believe that the legislature 
would have been willing that the unfavored class 
the class the legislature was most anxious to tax 
and to tax most heavily should escape, while the 
children and nearer relatives of the decedent are 
held to be subject to the operation of this law. 

There is another feature of the law which, I 
think I would be justified in saying, after listening 
to these arguments and reading these briefs, is con 
fessed by counsel to be unconstitutional. There is 
a feature of it that is not supported by any argu 
ment or by any citation which these gentlemen have 
presented to the court. They have entirely failed to 


inform the court, either in the brief or in the oral ar 
gument, of the fact that this tax is levied upon gifts 
and conveyances inter vivos, if they are made in 
contemplation of death or to take effect after death. 

MR. MORAN: They are testamentary in char 

MR. HARRISON : Testamentary in character ! Does 
this honorable gentleman contend that, when one is 
in life and in the full possession of his faculties, he 
has no natural right to endow a child by an exe 
cuted gift or conveyance, taking effect immediately, 
in contemplation of his own approaching death, 
but that that act is to be rated and put upon the 
same plane with the gifts by will of which he has 
spoken? I know it has been a part of almost every 
law taxing successions that gifts made in contem 
plation of death are included. Because otherwise 
such a law could not be executed. But, does Mr. 
Moran contend that, being in life and in the full 
possession of one's mental powers and in the full con 
trol of one's property, one may not in contempla 
tion of death take from one's safe a package of 
bonds and hand them to a friend in trust for the 
maintenance of a minor child, for whose support 
one's estate has been chargeable, upon the ground that 
the child has no natural right to such support? I 
understood that counsel, in response to a question 
of the court, admitted that the power of the owner 


over property during life was absolute. If this Be 
true and it is plainly true where is there any au 
thority, where is there any suggestion to be drawn 
from history or from legal principles, that would 
put any limitation upon the power of one who is 
nearing the limit of human life to make provision, 
by a division of his property, for those whom na 
ture has made dependent upon him? How does 
the doctrine of a "bonus" for a privilege, as my 
friend puts it, apply in such a case as that? No 
right is exercised under the statute of wills or of 
descents of the state of Illinois or from any other 
statute. If both those statutes were repealed, the 
right to dispose of property during life would re 
main. I take it for granted that there is no an 
swer to this suggestion, or it would have been 

MR. MORAN: If it had been made earlier it 
would have been answered. 

MR. HARRISON : This provision is written on 
the face of the statute, and no argument by which 
you have supported an inheritance or succession 
tax includes these transactions inter vivos. How 
could the state escheat such property? When the 
black-robed usher is seen on the distant hill, does a 
state of incapacity to dispose of property begin at 
once? Are men to be restrained from giving ex 
ercise to those natural affections with which God 


has endowed them, and from the discharge of those 
duties which the domestic relations lay upon them? 

A succession or transfer tax may be supported 
upon principles that may well include gifts and 
conveyances inter vivos, if there be nothing in the 
constitution of the state to prohibit it if it be not 
a tax on property, or be not unequally laid. We 
are not here to deny that the state may, as the 
United States did during the war, lay a tax upon 
conveyances and transfers inter vivos and upon tes 
tamentary conveyances or dispositions and upon in 

I have answered sufficiently, I think, the sugges 
tion that a part of this law may be stricken out as 
unconstitutional the tax on strangers and the tax 
on the near relatives be preserved. Your honors 
know that that was not within the contemplation of 
the legislature of Illinois; and that this law as to 
ante-mortem gifts can not be supported upon the 
propositions the gentlemen have contended for. 

It may be true, as the opposing counsel have 
suggested, that we should apologize to the court for 
occupying its time in discussing the questions 
whether there is a natural right of inheritance, or a 
natural right of testamentary disposition. But if 
your honors please, I think if we will pause for a 
moment to contemplate the condition in which so 
ciety would find itself if this monstrous power for 
which my friend contends were exercised by the leg- 


islature of any of our states, we should find a justi 
fication for this discussion. In forming their insti 
tutions, their national government and their state 
governments and constitutions, our people were 
careful to insert in bills of rights or in the bodies 
of their constitutions many limitations upon each of 
the departments of government. And, if your hon 
ors please, these bills of rights are not subject to 
the rule "expressio unius." That rule may apply 
to grants that are made and to powers that are con 
ferred, but surely this court will not say it has 
often said the contrary that there are not rights 
reserved to the people beyond and above the special 
reservations of the constitutions and the special dec 
larations of the bills of rights. There are things 
that are inherent in our system of government; that 
were born with our very institutions : rights of prop 
erty; rights of persons; rights that do not find such 
expression do not need to find such expression. 
As to tax laws and as to all laws affecting individual 
rights and liberties, the laws that are made by our 
states are to be read in the light of the fact that our 
government was builded and established for the pro 
tection of the individual, and upon the principle run 
ning through every part of its structure that men 
shall be equal before the law an equality of rights 
and burdens. 

Now let us suppose for one moment that the state 
of Illinois should repeal its law of wills and its law 


of descents. My learned friend thinks it may do 
so without violating any right. He thinks that it 
would not be an immoral thing; that it would not 
infringe any natural right; that it would not be a 
thing that could be condemned upon any principle 
of human justice or right, if they were to repeal 
those laws and, by eliminating all heirs, bring into 
force the doctrine of escheat and so take to the state 
all the property within its borders owned by its own 
citizens, and all the property within its borders 
owned by citizens of other states. No immorality, no 
natural right transgressed, nothing that should be 
shocking to our natural instincts, nothing inconsistent 
with the principles of free government! That is the 
doctrine proclaimed here. After all the care we 
have taken in forming our governments; after all 
the limitations which we find in the constitution 
of Illinois to which I shall presently refer 
requiring that all tax burdens upon property 
shall be equal; after all those limitations for the pro 
tection of the individual, that no man's services 
and no man's property, however insignificant the 
amount may be, shall be taken without due process 
of law and without compensation after all those 
precautions intended to secure men in their prop 
erty rights have things been left by the careless 
ness of our statesmen in such a position that a cas 
ual and communistic legislature of Illinois may take 
the entire body of individual property, which has 


been guarded so carefully in other particulars, at 
the death of each owner? Have we constructed 
our system of government upon a principle that 
leaves it in the power of each legislature to estab 
lish state ownership of all property? Have we been 
careful about small fractions and yet left the body 
of our property rights, and our most cherished so 
cial and family rights, in such a condition that the 
legislature of a state has the power to destroy them 
all without guilt or moral dereliction or the trans 
gression of any natural right or political principle? 
Is that the situation we are found in? 

MR. JUSTICE BROWN: Suppose the legislature of 
Illinois should do that, and a man should die leav 
ing a wife and father and mother and brothers and 

MR. HARRISON : Will your honor allow me to in 
terpolate child? 

MR. JUSTICE BROWN: No; I would like to have 
an answer to the question as put. In what propor 
tion would you divide the property? 

MR. HARRISON: I shall come to that after a 
while, if you honor will allow me. I do not say 
that these natural laws have all been written out; 
that the details of them are expressed. That is for 
the legislature to do. The federal constitution, in 
recognition of these natural laws, established be 
yond cavil the natural right of property. By so do 
ing it established, as essential attributes of property, 


the natural rights of inheritance and testamentary 
disposition; and to the states was wisely left the dis 
cretion of choosing between them according to 
state policy. But it is not an arbitrary discretion; 
it is one that is to be exercised on the lines of nature 
and those family obligations and relations which 
have characterized its exercise from the beginning. 
It is not necessary to inquire within what degrees 
of relationship natural rights of inheritance may be 
confined, nor is it necessary to declare that such 
rights may not extend to the remotest relations. 
That there may exist amongst near rela 
tions various degrees of natural rights, and that 
different rights to acquire by inheritance may be ac 
corded to different degrees of distant relations, are 
self-evident facts. These instances present essential 
differences furnishing a just basis for classification. 
But, if the statutes of wills and descents should be 
repealed, this court would find some sound basis of 
protection in the revival of the doctrine of post obit 
gifts and conveyances or in the doctrine of family 
ownership. These statutes of descents and wills 
are but the evidence of presumed and effectuated in 

Let us look a little further. May I ask my 
learned friend, if the matter of heirship is so purely 
arbitrary, whether the last legislature of Illinois 
might declare that the members elected to that leg 
islature should be the heirs to the property of all 


persons dying within the state of Illinois? If the 
designation of heirs is purely an arbitrary thing; if 
the child has no natural right, nor the wife, nor the 
brother, and the legislature has absolute power and 
arbitrary discretion, as he has told us, why may not 
the legislature name its own members as the heirs? 
If the sessions of the legislature are biennial, they 
might take unto themselves a good deal of prop 
erty before the statute could be repealed. The doc 
trine is stated just as broadly as that. The legis 
lature may do what it pleases; may take it all. 
There is no natural or fundamental right: They 
may name anybody to be heir, or they may name 
no one. And yet, if your honors please, I think 
the courts would find some way to dispose of legis 
lation that names strangers as heirs, and cuts out 
those nearest of kin. Does my honorable friend be 
lieve that the courts of Illinois would sustain a 
statute of descent that shut out child and wife and 
substituted strangers to be heirs to the estate? I 
can not believe that he does or that he would affirm 
such a power in terms. And yet his whole argu 
ment imports that the power is just as despotic and 
arbitrary as that. What has become what will be 
come upon this theory, of all our classification of 
real estate titles? What kind of a fee-simple did 
the gentleman have in mind when he said that the 
owner could only hold for life; that no heir could 
take it; but that he might during his life give it to 


some other man who might hold it during his life? 
What did those old patents of the United States, 
under which all the land of Illinois is held, mean, 
when they granted a section or a quarter section 
of land to those hardy settlers and to their "heirs 
and assigns forever"? 

MR. MORAN: Could not he alienate it? 

MR. HARRISON: Alienate it? Of course. So 
could any grantee alienate it. But the fact that it 
was inheritable that if he died without disposing 
of it and without making any testamentary disposi 
tion of it, it should go to his heirs was a part of the 
grant. But it is said those heirs were not defined in 
the patent. It did not say his children; it did not 
say his wife; it did not say his brother. That was 
left to those modifications and regulations which 
the conscience of the states and the character of 
their political and social and property organizations 
might justify the legislature in making. It did cer 
tainly involve something more than a life estate 
which might be transmuted into the life estate of 
somebody else at the pleasure of the state and taken 
at last absolutely by the state. Can the title given 
by the United States be cut off by the state of Illi 
nois by its refusing to define who the heirs shall be, 
and so taking the property itself? Such a doctrine 
as that would paralyze all thrift and industry. Why 
should men work and wear out their strength in ac 
cumulating property if it has no family perpetua- 


tion? Suppose such a law to be enacted in Illinois 
as the gentleman defends; would not the universal 
rule of the state be "Let us eat and drink, for to 
morrow we die"? All of the stimulus of thrift 
would be destroyed by the admission of such a doc 
trine as that. What is it that makes a father care 
ful? He has married a wife; he has brought a 
child into life, and his care of them is not limited 
by his own life. The care and the duty project 
themselves beyond his grave; and he feels that he 
must not that it is a privilege, but a duty growing 
out of a family relation that he must make pro 
vision for them. Does the gentleman believe that 
a man may not provide for his infant child when 
he dies; that every child is to become a foundling 
dependent upon the charity of the state? 

MR. MORAN: This is not the sort of law you 
are attacking. 

MR. HARRISON: I am attacking a principle that 
you have set up to support this law; the ground 
upon which you defend this arbitrary and unequal 
legislation, that a state may, without any breach of 
natural law or denial of fundamental rights, take to 
itself all property. I will speak of this particular 
law presently. You can only defend and uphold 
this law by this principle which you have proclaimed 
with such assured confidence. I am trying now to 
show the court what effects the application of this 
principle would have upon the communities in 


which we live. The family relation would be brok 
en; whatever obligation, whatever bond of duty, the 
expectancy of property places upon the child would 
be broken. The parent would have no motive to ac 
cumulate. The wife would be without provision. 
American society, American institutions are found 
ed on the American home in which the father and 
protector of the family is also its provider; and not 
its provider only while he lives, but is to make for 
the helpless and dependent a provision which they 
shall enjoy when he dies. Are all the benefits that 
come to the state from family association, traditions 
and descents to be destroyed? Here stands a ven 
erable man who has accumulated property through 
years of toil. Death draws near. The pulses of 
life beat slowly and with the courage of a Christian 
faith he looks into the grave. But he may not call 
his son and bestow upon him the heirlooms of the 
family. He may not take from above the mantel 
shelf the sword he wielded in his country's defense 
and put it into the hands of his stalwart son that 
he may, in his generation, wield it also for his coun 
try. The state is to take it all. There is no natural 
right. The heirlooms, the old homestead, hallowed 
by family associations, the place of birth that has 
in it not only so much of sweetness, but so much 
wholesomeness and restraint these go to the state. 
Its agent, the moment the spirit of that faithful man 
has taken its flight, steps into that abode and lays 


his hand upon all these things and carries them off 
to be at the disposal of the legislature of Illinois. 
Our social state, the property relation as we esteem 
it, all our business is builded upon the idea that a 
man's children and kin shall take that which he 
has accumulated. Can it be possible, I repeat again, 
after all the care we have shown, in protecting our 
property and our civilization, that the only thing 
that stands between us and an absolute state of so 
cialism is the passage of a law that any casual 
legislature of Illinois may enact? 

I have, as doubtless all the justices have, tried 
some will cases. I have no doubt that some of your 
honors, upon the benches of the state courts, have 
instructed juries in will cases where testamentary 
incapacity was alleged; and what is the test? First, 
did the man have sufficient memory and intelligence 
to recall his property, to know his possessions; and 
secondly, did he have sufficient intelligence and 
memory to recall those who had natural claims 
upon him and to measure their just deserts? What 
has been meant by the courts in these instructions? 
So thoroughly has this doctrine of the right of a 
child ordinarily to inherit, subject to testamentary 
dispositions and to apportionment in particular cases, 
where the love or the duty or the service rendered 
by one child may authorize distinctions so thor 
oughly has this idea been instilled into the minds of 
what Mr. Lincoln called "the plain people," that 


if you go into your own state, sir (turning to Mr. 
Moran), and empanel a jury to try such an issue 
and it is proved that the testator had declared his 
views of the family relation and of his obligations 
to be such as have been proclaimed here, the jury 
will find the testator to be non compos incapable 
of making a will. The man who would say in con 
nection with the making of a testament, that he did 
not think anybody's children had any natural right 
to share in a father's estate; that they stood in the 
same relation as strangers 

MR. MORAN: Would he not have a right to 
give all his property to strangers? 

MR. HARRISON : Undoubtedly, if he was of sound 
mind. But in all such cases these tests would be 
applied; and in that case it would be asked how he 
came to give it all to strangers. If it could be proved 
that he had said, in connection with the making 


of his will, what has been said in this court, there 
is not a jury in any of our states that would not 
return a verdict that he was of unsound mind. 
Such a verdict would be inevitable under such in 
structions as the courts give in all these cases, viz.: 
that the testator must appreciate the natural claims 
upon him. Does the gentleman say there are no 
natural claims? Has the wife no natural claims? 
How does it come, then, that in your state, sir, as 
in mine and in all of the states, I think, the provis 
ion made by law for the wife takes precedence of 


creditors? There is a share of the estate set apart 
to her that can not be touched by creditors. Will 
the distinguished gentleman tell me upon what basis 
that allowance can be sustained if she has no natural 
claim? The creditor has, he will allow, a claim that 
justice must recognize; but I do not know how a 
creditor would realize his debt if administration 
was not regulated by the states; I do not know how 
a man could recover property that was taken from 
him in life if the law did not provide writs of re 
plevin and sheriffs. Because these things are pro 
vided by legislation it does not follow that the leg 
islation may be arbitrary, or the rights given or 
regulated be taxed as privileges. It is an old maxim 
of the law that no one is heir to the living; but we 
have had an extension of the maxim. 

The conclusion would not follow, however, even 
if this monstrous doctrine were admitted, that this 
law is valid, because the state must deal with all 
its citizens, not only in tax matters, but in all mat 
ters of grace and privilege, upon principles of equal 
ity. The grace of a republican state is not a whim. 
An eastern despot may take property from one and 
give it to another upon a whim, but the legislature 
of Illinois may not take or give in that way. When 
it attempts to show its grace in the matter of testa 
mentary disposition it can not create arbitrary 
classes and consequent inequality; its grace must pro- 


ceed upon that principle of equality which must 
pervade all legislation. 

The basis of citizenship the political relation on 
which our government is founded is that of equal 
ity of burden and of right. All men may 15e re 
quired to contribute of their property to the state; 
if it is necessary for the public service, they may be 
called upon to give their lives for the state; but it 
must be proportionately and upon some principle of 
selection by lot for the draft, by rate and appor 
tionment, if property is to be taxed. You may not 
take at one rate from one and at another rate from 
another of the same class; you may not exact a 
higher rate from one than from another. You may 
make taxes ratably upon some principle of propor 
tion and equality. The intent to reach that end 
must be found in every valid tax law. I do not say 
that the law must or can be perfectly equal in ad 
ministration. I do not say that inequalities may 
not arise, of a minor sort, under every tax law; but 
I do say that the aim and the purpose of such legisla 
tion must be to put an equal burden upon every cit 
izen who is called upon to contribute. This prin 
ciple is the very breath of our free institutions. 
What other defense has the minority, if, as is 
claimed in this case, a tax upon successions may be 
fixed at any amount and be limited to particular 
classes, based on value or wealth? The whole rev 
enue of the state might be levied in Illinois upon a 


score or two of people, and all the rest of the pop 
ulation exempted from any burden of taxation. 

I do not contemplate with satisfaction the accu 
mulation of great wealth in the hands of a few in 
dividuals; but to prevent it I would not destroy the 
very foundations upon which our institutions rest. 
Least of all can those who have not wealth consent 
that there shall be introduced into our tax legisla 
tion an arbitrary principle that may assess burdens 
now for the purpose I think disclosed in the brief 
and confessed in the argument of the honorable 
counsel, to be one of the objects of the law of dis 
persing property, for this arbitrary power will at an 
other time turn and rend those who install it. As 
we have said in our brief, during the French revo 
lution they classified one degree of wealth as "super 
fluous" and took it all. I submit to my friend and 
to every right-thinking man whether we should not 
pay a fearful cost for the small relief we might get 
from tax burdens if we should introduce into our leg 
islation a principle like that for which he contends. 
This equality of burden, making every man, according 
to his means, a contributor to the expenses of the 
state, is one of the most wholesome things in our 
civil institutions. It is the paying citizen who is 
the watchful citizen. What would the people of 
Illinois care what expenditures were made by the 
legislature if the entire amount were levied upon 
twenty wealthy men in that state? The best assur- 


ance of honesty and integrity and economy in pub 
lic expenditure, is in a wide distribution of the bur 
dens of taxation because the man who pays 

The provisions of the constitution of Illinois upon 
the subject of equality are very explicit and very 
full. I do not think the constitution of any of our 
states contains any more careful provision for se 
curing an equality in taxation. As to property 
taxes, it requires that every person and corporation 
shall pay a tax in proportion to the value of his, 
her or its property. As to some specific callings 
which are named, and among which we find the 
words "franchises" and "privileges," it is required 
that the tax shall be uniform as to the class upon 
which it operates: The legislature is then given 
power to tax other subjects, but only in such man 
ner as is consistent with the principles of equality 
fixed by the preceding section. 

The supreme court of Illinois has said that it is 
a privilege that is taxed by the law under consid 
eration. Your honors will not think so when you 
read the law. The law, I think, clearly levies a tax 
on property. I know there have been decisions in 
these succession tax cases wherein it was said that 
because a lien for the tax is created on property 
that does not make it a property tax; but here every 
expression in the law shows that it is a property 
tax. The word "privilege" is not found in the law. 


What does it say? "All property, real, personal and 
mixed, which shall pass by will * * * shall be 
and is subject to a tax at the rate of one dollar on 
on every hundred dollars." That is what the law 
says; and not only that, but at another place it says 
the tax is to be on the value of this property. Run 
ning through every section of the law, the taxing 
section as well as the sections relating to adminis 
tration, is the declaration that it is a tax on property. 
In the case of Maine v. Grand Trunk and I think 
in the Home Insurance Case and others, this court 
has held taxes not to be a tax on interstate com 
merce, because the law said it was a tax on the 
franchise; and if it had not been for that declara 
tion your honors must have held in the one case 
that it was a tax on earnings, and in the other on 
property. Here we have a law that declares the tax 
levied to be a tax on property, not once, but many 
times; and as such it is subject to the rule of uni 
formity to which I have referred in the constitu 
tion of Illinois. All these provisions for equality 
are now guaranteed by the United States in the 
fourteenth amendment. As Professor Burgess 
says, the United States, by the passage of that 
amendment, ceased to occupy the position of a mere 
"passive, non-infringer of individual liberty," and 
assumed the position of "an active defender of the 
same against the tyranny of the commonwealths 


I shall not attempt to discuss the breadth and 
reach of that great amendment. It is enough to 
say that for protection against the passion of the 
state, against any temporary movement that may 
wrest the people or the legislature of a state away 
from this great rule of equality and fairness to 
which I have referred, we no longer rest solely on 
the guarantees of the state constitution, but on the 
federal constitution as well. 

The ordinary tax which our states have used is 
the property tax, and my friend defends in part the 
method of taxation introduced by this law upon the 
ground that at death the state can lay its hands upon 
property which during the life of the owner has 
avoided taxation by false returns. I recognize and 
condemn quite as strongly as my friend this secre 
ting of property from the public assessor. It is a 
crime against the state; and the man who hides his 
property in order that it may escape its fair share 
of the public burdens is a malefactor. He is of kin 
to the man who skulks when the call comes to fight 
for his country; and the man who dodges about 
from one state to another to escape taxation is of 
kin to the man who sought Canada during the civil 
war in order to avoid a patriotic duty. There is 
such an evil a very great one but it is not to be 
cured in this way. Are we to admit that our leg 
islatures and our administrative officers are inade 
quate to the duty of preventing the secreting of 


stocks and securities from the tax list? I do not 
think any legislation can be too severe that will bring 
the recreant citizen to his duty. I have no patience 
whatever with this too much talk about the privacy 
of one's own affairs that the state must not inquire 
into private business. Under our association as citi 
zens we are partners. We have come under obliga 
tions to share equally the burdens of government; 
and you have a right to know whether I am paying 
my share or not. You have a right to demand that 
I shall make a disclosure of what I have. I should 
not think it too severe a penalty for this prevalent 
offense if, in the exercise of their rightful power, 
the legislatures were to enact that a legatee should 
not take any property that the testator had fraud 
ulently concealed from the assessor. If one repu 
diates the ownership of property for a series of 
years in his tax returns it might very well be re 
garded as an estoppel when the legatee claims it. 
But the law now under consideration is not a rem 
edy for the evil. 

The Massachusetts tax commission have recently 
submitted a report to the governor of that state 
recommending that the property tax, by reason of 
the difficulty of collecting it, should be abolished, 
and an inheritance tax and some other taxes sub 
stituted. My friend would not agree to the aboli 
tion of the property tax, and he would be right. A 
succession tax ought not to be made a substitute for 


the personal property tax. The faults and defects 
in the administration of one law ought not to be 
the reason for enacting another founded on inequal 
ity. The proposition for which we contend does 
not shut out the state of Illinois from levying an 
equal and fair tax upon inheritances and succes 
sions unless it is a property tax, and so double tax 
ation under the constitution of the state. The gen 
tleman does not speak to the record when he inti 
mates that we represent people who desire to be ex 
empt from any tax. Those we represent, and in that 
they represent the common interests, are only anx 
ious that this tax shall be put upon a basis of equal 
ity and predicated upon a principle that is not de 
structive of all our social relations and all our prop 
erty interests. 

As to exemptions, the gentleman says, with great 
emphasis, What is reasonable? Who is going to 
say? Well, how does the legislature say? It is 
bound to make them reasonable. It is under pre 
cisely the same difficulty that the court is. There 
is no fixed rule. We can not say that only so much 
may be exempt in any case; we must look at the 
amount of an exemption and see whether it is one 
that is established for a public purpose ; whether there 
is a public reason to support it. In other words, 
everybody should be interested that the exemption 
be made. It should not be a favor to the class or 
individual exempted. The exemption should rest 


upon some public consideration that would author 
ize it as in the interest of all. For instance, upon 
the theory that it may cost more than it is worth to 
collect it; or upon the theory that by taking from 
those of very small means we are liable to take from 
them the power to make a living and thus throw 
the burden of their support on the community. But 
when exemptions are plainly resorted to for favorit 
ism; when they are based upon individual favor 
and a bonus to the majority, and not upon any pub 
lic consideration; when it appears that they are 
used as a means of classifying by values, then this 
court will say, that while there is a legislative dis 
cretion to do what is reasonable, that is not reason 
able and we will not sustain it. 

As to this exemption of $20,000 to each legatee 
of the first class. It might result in exempting an 
estate of $250,000 wholly from taxation if there 
were heirs enough to take it in portions of $20,000. 
That is the method of classification here; it is noth 
ing more than a class favor. It does not rest upon 
and can not be supported by any public considera 
tion whatever. It is a system of classification upon 
values. Now it is interesting to note, as we pass, 
that the constitution of Illinois, as to the tax upon 
property, does not allow the exemption of a dollar 
not even the dray and the old horse that draws 
it. So exacting is the law that every man must pay 
according to the value of what he has. The tax- 


gatherer gets his return if it is only ten dollars. 
The constitution allows the property of churches 
and schools and property used for charitable and 
such like purposes to be exempted; and the supreme 
court of Illinois has held that this provision ex 
cludes the power of the legislature to exempt any 
thing else or any other person from taxation; that 
the legislature of Illinois can not exempt so much 
as ten dollars, under the constitution of that state, 
from the property tax. When we look at the ex 
emptions in this law we see that they were mani 
festly conferred as favors; that they were resorted 
to as means of classification; that they can not be 
rested upon any public consideration; that they 
were intended to free the great bulk of individual 
property and of individuals from any tax. 

As to these exemptions and their character, a word 
or two more. There is a curious sort of classifi 
cation here. The first class consists not only of lin- 
eals ascending and descending, but of collaterals. 
It embraces brothers and sisters. To that class 
there is allowed, to each person taking a legacy or 
an inheritance, an exemption of $20,000. The first 
class includes father, mother, husband, wife, child, 
brother, sister, wife or widow of a son, or husband 
of a daughter, or any child or children adopted, or 
any lineal descendant born in lawful wedlock. So 
that if there were twenty legatees an estate of 
twenty times $20,000 or $400,000 would be 


wholly exempted. Upon what principle can this be 
justified? The answer in the appellee's brief and in 
the oral argument is that the legislature may do 
that in order to disperse estates. It is a curious 
fact that in the second section of this act, in attempt 
ing, as it seems to me, to repeat the description of 
the first class, certain members of that class are left 
out. I refer to the provision in reference to life es 
tates in the second section. Some have been left 
out, I think inadvertently. I wish your honors 
would look at that second section. All life estates 
devised to father, mother, husband, wife, brother, 
sister, widow of a son or a lineal descendant of 
the testator, with a remainder to a collateral heir, 
are exempt. In the first place, I want to call your 
honors' attention to the amount of that exemption. 
An estate for ninety-nine years or longer, as Mr. 
Guthrie has said, given to one of the persons 
named, though it might be worth $50,000 a year 
in rentals, and in its aggregate value millions of 
dollars, goes wholly without taxation. This is the 
most senseless and incongruous provision that I ever 
saw in a public statute. The remainder must go to 
a collateral or to a stranger in order to free the life 
estate or estate for years from the tax. If then a 
man left a life estate to his child and the remainder 
to his grandchild, the life estate would not be ex 
empt, but if the remainder were given to a nephew 
it would be. 


MR. MORAN: I think you misinterpret the law. 

MR. HARRISON: I am sure I do not. Let us 
read it. "When any person shall bequeath or de 
vise any property or interest therein or income 
therefrom to mother, father, husband, wife, broth 
er and sister, the widow of the son ('the wife of 
the son' is left out) or a lineal descendant during 
the life or for a term of years or remainder to the 
collateral heir of the decedent, or to the stranger 
in blood or to the body politic or corporate at their 
decease, or on the expiration of such term, the said 
life estate or estates for a term of years shall not 
be subject to any tax." What is the condition? 
The life estate to one of the persons named, the re 
mainder to a collateral. Does it not say so? Will 
the gentleman tell me what other possible interpre 
tation there can be? I am sure you will see, when 
you read it, that the life estate is only exempt 
when the remainder goes to a collateral, but that is 
only one instance of the incongruity of the law. In 
addition to the $20,000 there is given to this class 
an exemption of property that may run up into the 
millions in value. How can that be defended? Only 
upon the principle announced by appellee's counsel 
that it is not a tax at all that it is a "bonus," and 
that a bonus is not subject to the law of equality. 
They say to people of this class: We will let you 
devise life estates of any value free of tax, but if 


you want to devise anything else any other form of 
title of less value, you must pay a tax. We have 
here exemptions that constitute classifications of 
property that are based upon favoritism, and upon 
no possible public consideration. 

I now come to the progressive features of this 
tax. I do not suppose that any lawyer would de 
fend a progressive tax on property in Illinois. It 
is defended only on the ground that succession is 
a privilege, like a franchise to a corporation, as if 
each of these persons were coming to the legisla 
ture and asking the privilege to take as heir or leg 
atee. If it can not be supported upon that ground, 
and is not also free from the further limitation I 
have suggested, that even acts of grace must be 
uniform, then progressive taxation will find no de 
fense. I have shown that in the constitution of Illi 
nois the idea of uniformity, of an equal rate, is the 
dominant thought in the tax provisions. Upon 
what principle can it be said that a man shall be dis 
criminated against in this succession tax to the 
amount of $100 because he gets one dollar, or even 
fifty cents, more than somebody else? If there is 
an increase of rates it should only be on the in 
creased amounts, the same sum paying always the 
same rate. There should be so much on the first 
ten thousand and so much on the second, if any pro 
gression is allowed, and that is an extremely dan- 


gerous policy. But when you carry the increased 
rate back so that the six per cent., payable on es 
tates of over $50,000, is assessed not only on all 
above that amount, but on the first $10,000 that is 
taxed at three per cent, and the $20,000 that is 
taxed at four, we have a gross abuse of the power 
of classification. 

I want to say a word about classification, and 
then I will close. The supreme court of Illinois 
says this law makes six classes; two are classifica 
tions of persons upon the basis of kinship, and four 
are said to be classifications of property on the basis of 
value. We admit the principle that the legislature may 
classify relationship for succession taxes, and that 
only uniformity in the class is required. But if the 
basis of classification may be value or wealth, you 
have opened the way to absolutely arbitrary and un 
restrained taxation. You have broken down every 
requirement looking to equality in the constitution 
of Illinois and in the fourteenth amendment. You 
have made nugatory this great charter, the protec 
tion of which we are asking. This doctrine of 
classification appears in other matters than tax cases. 
In many of the states we have laws requiring legis 
lation to be general, and the courts have said that 
it is general if it applies to a class as to cities of a 
certain population. Upon that basis we have had 
legislation with reference to cities of the first, sec- 


ond and third class according to population, but 
always so that a city of the second class may come 
into the first class as its population increases. In 
the Gulf and Colorado case, where a special attor 
ney's fee of only ten dollars was levied in certain 
suits against railroad companies, the court said: 
"You have not adopted an admissible classification; 
it does not appear that there is any reason why rail 
road companies should pay a docket fee in certain 
cases and nobody else," and the court declined to 
assume that the legislature might have some reason 
for such a classification. It was not classification, 
and the law was declared to be in contravention of 
the fourteenth amendment. The doctrine declared 
over and over again, under the fourteenth amend 
ment, is that the legislature is to find classes, not 
make them. They are like the poets, born and not 
made. There must be some natural distinction and 
division; something that actually exists before the 
legislature acts. In this case the supreme court of 
Illinois has justified a classification based only on 
wealth; and if you admit that as applicable to gen 
eral taxes, then I repeat that every provision in 
tended to secure equality is destroyed, because of 
the evasive and illusive answer that it is equal 
within the classes, and upon a division that the leg 
islature has chosen to establish. 

It seems, then, to me and I have not had op- 


portunity or time to read to your honors the num 
erous citations which appear in our briefs that 
this right of inheritance and of testamentary dispo 
sition is natural and fundamental, in the sense we 
contend for. Blackstone and that expression of 
his has been at the root of all the foolish talk that 
has been indulged in speaks of an utterly unor 
ganized state, when there was no society at all, no- 
civil government, no control, each man for himself. 
He said that in a state like that it did not seem to 
him that the child had a natural right to take the 
property of the parent; that when a man died his 
property was res nullius, and whoever got it had it. 
Possession and the power to hold it was ownership. 
It is because there is no law that he keeps who can; 
he gets who can. But the authorities we have cited 
show that from the dawn of history in the earliest 
records, both these rights existed the testamen 
tary right and the right of inheritance. The right 
of disposition is an incident of property. Property 
is the right to possess, enjoy and dispose of a thing. 
The testamentary right seems to me to originate 
in the very nature of property and to be an incident 
of it. The right of inheritance goes back to the 
beginning, and these two great natural rights have 
come down to us sometimes this one restrained 
and the other given greater scope; now the testamen 
tary right extending only to a third of one's estate; 


now to all; and now the testamentary right limited 
in favor of the widow, so that her portion might 
be secure. These great natural and fundamental 
rights are both recognized; and though neither of 
them is written out on tables of stone, they are both 
engraved on the fleshy tablets of every man's heart. 
They have both come down to us from the earliest 
dawn of history. It does not militate against our 
proposition that these are natural rights because 
there seems to be a conflict between them. The 
one can not wholly prevail without destroying the 
other. The statute of descents, as the courts have 
said again and again, is the expression of the legis 
lature upon its conscience and duty as to what is 
the natural law as to what should be the natural 
intention and desire of a testator. The legislature, 
taking no account of the particular family relations 
in which service and duty, or insubordination and 
rebellion may swerve the application of this right 
one way or the other, defines it as applied to gen 
eral cases. The family relation and property rights 
have been built up and stand upon these two great 
natural rights. The legislature does not give them; 
it defines them. Perhaps primogeniture was quite 
natural in feudal times. There must be one head 
of the castle, that the duty to the king might be 
discharged and the defense of the castle made good. 
In every state of society there is this reason or that, 


why some preference shall be given to one or to the 
other; but both have survived and will survive as 
natural rights. When they cease to be recognized 
as natural and fundamental rights, we shall have 
dissolved the basis on which society rests. 


Delivered before the Union League Club, Chicago, February 22, 1898 

Monuments and birthday anniversaries should be 
commemorative of virtues that are still imitable. 
Scientists have reproduced some of the gigantic 
animals and reptiles of the world's early history. 
We look at them with wonder and fear, and con 
gratulate ourselves that they are extinct types. We 
have no needs that they can supply, and they no 
shapes or habits that we would reproduce. They 
could not live in our environments, nor we in theirs. 

So there have been among men monsters of power 
and violence. We can not forget them; but we are 
glad that they lived in another epoch. The almanac 
maker notes their birthdays, but there are no as 
semblages of the people. If monuments have been 
builded to them, they are likely to be overturned 
when the dynasty changes, or the commune sup 
plants the state. 

But there are men who have so won our hearts 
that we would recall them if we could. We feel the 
need of them. No change of dynasties, no outbreak 



of the mob, threatens their monuments. One can 
hardly conceive of any civil revolution, or any riot 
ous outbreak in our country that would not respect 
the monuments of Washington, and of Lincoln. 
While they lived they were at times hated by men 
and by communities; but, when the full stories of 
their lives were unfolded, when motives and pur 
poses were explored, when the unselfish natures of 
the men were understood, when the universal benef 
icence of their public services was seen, all their 
countrymen rendered them homage. 

We assemble on this anniversary of the birth of 
Washington, not so much, if at all, to bring tribute 
to him as to learn at his feet the lessons of a con 
scientious citizenship. 

The imitable qualities of Washington's character 
and life; those that did not exhaust themselves on a 
locality or a period; that are instructive not only to 
military commanders and chief magistrates, but to 
the unofficial citizen; the lessons that he taught for 
quiet days, when no drum beat calls to duty these 
are the qualities and lessons that should engage our 

Washington was a man who acknowledged his 
debt to his country, and overpaid it. His thought 
was how much, not how little, he could give and do. 

If we are not hypocrites we will endeavor to imi 
tate the qualities that we profess to admire. Wash 
ington took thought of other generations than his 


own. His sagacious vision and his anxious thought 
searched the long vistas of the future. He realized 
that unless a strong and enduring union of the 
states was established, based upon principles of jus 
tice and an equality of right, his arduous campaigns 
and his solicitous and laborious civil administrations 
would have no adequate results. He realized that 
love of country might grow cold, and selfishness 
supplant sacrifice, when commerce and wealth and 
personal and local interests should, in the unheroic 
days of peace and affluence, become dominant influ 
ences in our national life. 

In choosing for my theme, "The Obligations 
of Wealth," I am not wresting this anniversary 
from its legitimate use. We do not need to forget 
indeed, we can not forget Washington, when we 
reflect upon our obligations to the state. His life 
teaches no lesson more strongly than that the citi 
zen is under obligation to serve the state; never to 
shirk his full share of burden and sacrifice, but rath 
er to do more. 

Wealth is a comparative term; and my address 
is not for that very limited body of multi-million 
aires called by the Populist orators, "plutocrats/' A 
smaller audience chamber would have sufficed for 
them; and perhaps the orator should have been of 
the guild. I want to speak of the obligations of 
the "well-to-do" people, the forehanded, prosperous 


men and women of our communities, whether their 
estates are reckoned by thousands or by millions. 

We live in a time of great agitation, of a war of 
clashing thoughts and interests. There is a feeling 
that some men are handicapped; that the race is 
sold; that the old and much vaunted equality of 
opportunity and of right has been submerged. More 
bitter and threatening things are being said and 
written against accumulated property and corporate 
power than ever before. It is said that, more and 
more, small men, small stores and small factories 
are being thrown upon the shore as financial drift; 
that the pursuit of cheapness has reached a stage 
where only enormous combinations of capital, doing 
an enormous business, are sure of returns. 

The demand for cheapness has compacted capital 
and consolidated small enterprises. It has been 
found that many items of expense do not increase 
proportionately with an increased output; that the 
economies of a vast business are themselves a basis 
for a dividend; that the fugitive lint reclaimed 
from the air, the by-products the waste of the 
olden time make a showing on the ledger. The 
pay-roll is so long that the manager and the mill- 
worker are further apart than ever before. There 
is no personal touch. The workmen pour through 
the mill gate in the morning much as the water 
pours through the lifted head-gates. Contact is lost 
between the owner, the president, the board of di- 


rectors and the men who work. Questions of econo 
mies and of dividends are discussed in the board of 
directors' meeting; the question of wages in the 
labor assembly. There is little comparison. The 
men do not come together. The one side does not 
hear the other. 

The competition between well paid labor and 
cheap labor, that so long raged between this coun 
try and Europe, has taken on a new phase. Massa 
chusetts is complaining of the long hours and cheap 
labor of North Carolina and Georgia. The legis 
lation of Massachusetts solicitous for the health 
and welfare of her laboring population, manifest 
ing itself in limited hours of labor, in the prohibi 
tion of child labor and such things, seems to have 
put the Massachusetts mill-owner at a disadvantage 
in the competition with mills in states that do not 
impose such restrictions. The great steel mill, with 
its own railroad to the lakes, its great steamers and 
barges, its mines of ore and of coal, with the most 
improved and costly labor-saving machinery, is 
rendering the survival of the smaller and less 
perfectly equipped mills doubtful, if not impossi 
ble. The profits of the mine owner, of the transpor 
tation company, and of the mill have been consoli 

The seams which mar the face of the social land 
scape seem to be widening into chasms, and if these 
gulfs are to be filled we must establish dumps on both 


sides of them. It will aid the work if those on eith 
er side use the bridges to get a view of it from the 
other side. Wealth should neither be the object of 
our enmity nor the basis of our consideration. 
The indiscriminate denunciation of the rich is mis 
chievous. It perverts the mind, poisons the heart 
and furnishes an excuse to crime. No poor man 
was ever made richer or happier by it! It is quite 
as illogical to despise a man because he is rich as 
because he is poor. Not what a man has, but what 
he is, settles his class. We can not right matters 
by taking from one what he has honestly acquired, 
to bestow upon another what he has not earned. 

You do not injure any man if in the competition 
of life, by fair methods, by greater skill or thrift, 
you go to the front. There is nothing more whole 
some, more helpful to the striving, than the illus 
trations which every community affords of the 
triumph of pluck and thrift over hard and discour 
aging conditions. The presence of a man on the 
cliff who was but lately in the gorge is conclusive 
evidence of a path, and it is much wiser to give our 
strength to climbing than to stone-throwing. He 
should send his "hail brother" down, and we 
should send ours up. 

In the discussion of all of these social questions 
good temper is essential. Men must get together 
and use facts, not rhetoric. We do not want 
crusaders or a crusade. The crusader was an 
ignorant fellow who counted the empty sepulcher 


of our Lord of more value than His precepts. In 
social and political movements he is a destruction- 
ist, not a builder. When the house is so rotten that 
it is beyond repair, there is a call for him to clear 
the ground. But if the foundation and walls are 
strong and plumb, and it is only a question of a 
new roof or of improved interior arrangements, 
the man of destructive tendencies should be clubbed 
off the premises. But the leaky roof and unsani 
tary interior must have attention, and the architect 
and his workmen must get to work with zeal, and 
a plan. The tenants will stand together against 
the destructionists and the fire-bugs; but have a 
care, for if repairs are not promptly and wisely 
made; if the dwellers on the first floor cut off the 
heat and water from the dwellers in the attic, 
things may become so intolerable that the tenants 
of the attic will open the doors to the fire-bugs. 

Those who occupy the first floor and the commo 
dious and elegant middle stories must pay their 
share of the gas and water bills. The great mid 
dle class of our people has never failed to respond 
to the fire alarm, though they have only small prop 
erties at risk, and these not immediately threatened. 
But there i c danger that they will lose their zeal as 
firemen, if those in whose apartments the fire has 
been kindled do not pay their proportionate share 
of the cost of the fire department. 

There must be a searching inquiry into the dis- 


tribution of the heat and water supplies, conducted, 
not by a tip-taking janitor, but by a committee of 
the whole house. If there has been any monopoliz 
ing of these things, or any failure to pay for them 
proportionately, we must be as active to stamp out 
the monopoly and the injustice as we are to extin 
guish a fire. To stamp out a fire is a much simpler 
process than to correct unjust social or legal rela 
tions. The cry of "fire" arouses everybody, and 
stirs the most sluggish to instant action; but to 
ferret out a wrong is tedious, and the work neither 
attracts nor arouses us very much, unless the sting 
is under our own skin. 

The great bulk of our people are lovers of jus 
tice. They do not believe that poverty is a virtue 
or property a crime. They believe in an equality 
of opportunity and not of dollars. But there must 
be no handicapping of the dull brother and no 
chicanery or fraud or shirking. If our plan of 
taxation includes notes and bonds and stocks they 
must be listed. The plea of business privacy has 
been driven too hard. If for mere statistical pur 
poses we may ask the head of the family whether 
there are any idiots in his household and enforce 
an answer by court process, we may surely, for 
revenue purposes, require a detailed list of his se 
curities. The men who have wealth must not hide 
it from the tax gatherer, and flaunt it on the street. 
Such things breed a great discontent. All other 


men are hurt. They bear a disproportionate bur 
den. A strong soldier will carry the knapsack of 
a crippled comrade, but he will not permit a robust 
shirk to add so much as his tin cup to the burden. 

The special purpose of my address to-day is to 
press home this thought upon the prosperous well- 
to-do people of our communities, and especially of 
our great cities; that one of the conditions of the 
security of wealth, is a proportionate and full con 
tribution to the expenses of the state and local gov 
ernments. It is not only wrong, but it is unsafe, 
to make a show in our homes and on the street that 
is not made in the tax returns. 

I only allude casually to the sentimental side of 
this question, to the unpatriotic character of those 
American citizens who are niching the great privi 
leges of American citizenship. 

Equality is the golden thread that runs all 
through the fabric of our civil institutions the 
dominating note in the swelling symphony of liberty. 
The favoritisms and class distinctions which char 
acterized the governments and administrations of 
Europe were destroyed with the establishment of 
government under the American constitution. At 
the polls, before the courts, in all assemblies of the 
people, in all legislation, there was to be, not a class 
peerage, but a universal peerage. And as a corol 
lary, necessary and imperative, to this doctrine of 
an equality of right, is the doctrine of a proportion- 


ate and ratable contribution to the cost of admin 
istering the government. Indeed this principle of a 
proportionate burden might be more properly called 
an inherent part of the doctrine of equal rights. For 
one whose right to acquire and accumulate is dis 
proportionately burdened, is denied equal rights. If 
favored classes may not be created, neither may 
any class be discriminated against. In all of the 
early constitutions of the states careful provision 
was made that the burdens of taxation should be 
proportional, each man paying ratably upon what 
he possessed. The state was to gather from all and 
to dispense for the benefit of all. Whims and favor 
itism were excluded. Imposition and grace, in a 
free republican state, must be without discrimina 

It is a part of our individual covenant as citizens 
with the state that we will, honestly and fully, in 
the rate or proportion fixed from time to time by 
law, contribute our just share to all public expenses. 
A full and conscientious discharge of that duty by 
the citizen is one of the tests of good citizenship. 
To evade that duty is a moral delinquency, an un 
patriotic act. 

The tax-paying conscience is dulled in times of 
peace. When a ravaging foe threatens a popula 
tion with fire and sword men appreciate the de 
fense which the government interposes between them 
and danger. 


I want to emphasize, if I can, the thought that 
the preservation of this principle of a proportionate 
contribution, according to the true value of what 
each man has, to the public expenditures, is essen 
tial to the maintenance of our free institutions, and 
of peace and good order in our communities. I do 
not say that every tax must be universal and touch 
all property of every kind. The general property 
tax must do so, but I recognize the fact that excise 
taxes and franchise taxes, and such like, may be 
levied in addition to the general property tax, and 
that the requirement as to such taxes is only that 
they shall be uniform in the class which is sub 
jected to them, and that the classification shall be 
natural and not arbitrary. 

If we do not hold to this rule of proportion and 
uniformity, everything becomes subject to the 
whim of the legislature. The whole revenue of a 
state may be derived from contributions exacted 
from a very small minority of its population, the 
majority going free. To allow such a system is 
not only to rob the minority thus unduly burdened, 
but is to rob the state of that which is essential to 
its healthy existence, and indeed to the life of re 
publican institutions. Honesty and carefulness in 
public expenditure will them have no effective watch 
ers. The watch of the minority will be ineffectual, 
and the majority will be careless as to the use of 


funds, to the accumulation of which it has not con 

In his second annual address to congress, deliv 
ered in December, 1790, President Washington 
spoke with gratification of the state of the public 
revenues, and said that the prompt payment of the 
public dues was (I quote) "an honorable testi 
mony to the patriotism and integrity of the mer 
cantile and marine part of our citizens." 

The house of representatives, in responding to 
this address, said: "Nor can we learn without an 
additional gratification that the energy of the laws 
for providing adequate revenues have been so hon 
orably seconded by those classes of citizens whose 
patriotism and probity were more immediately 

Probity, integrity and patriotism seem to have 
been thought, in those early days of the republic, 
to have a very direct relation to tax-paying. 

For very many years an opinion has been preva 
lent that the great bulk of the personal property of 
the states, especially of the class denominated "se 
curities," including stocks, bonds, notes, mortgages 
and such like, has escaped taxation. With a very 
few exceptions the great fortunes in this country 
are invested in such securities. There is, of course, 
in the aggregate, a somewhat wide distribution of 
the stocks and bonds of some of our great corpora 
tions, but it seems probable that these smaller 


holdings are in a fairer degree represented in the 
tax returns. The delinquency appears to be largely 
located in our great cities. 

Recent investigations by students of political 
science, and recent tables prepared by state tax 
officials, have disclosed an appalling condition of 
things. The evil seems to have been progressive 
until, in some of our great centers of population 
and wealth, these forms of personal property seem 
to have been almost eliminated from the tax list. 

In 1870, in the state of New York, the personal 
property assessed amounted to twenty-two per cent, of 
the total property assessed. In 1896 the proportion 
of personal property assessed had fallen to twelve and 
four-tenths per cent. 

Comptroller Roberts, of that state, declares that 
as a rule this class of property escapes taxation. 
The taxable value of real estate in the state of New 
York increased between 1870 and 1895, T 55 P er 
cent., while the value of taxable personal property, 
as shown by the assessment, within the same time, 
increased less than six per cent. 

Mr. Roberts expresses the opinion that the in 
crease in the value of personal property has in fact 
been much more rapid than that of real estate, and 
that the value of the personal property owned in 
the state is at least equal to, if not more than, the 
value of the real estate. He states that from two 
and one-half to three billion dollars of personal 


property, taxable by law in New York, escapes 
taxation every year. 

In an article published in the Forum in 1897, in 
advocacy of a progressive inheritance tax, he takes 
107 estates, which he says were selected at random 
in the comptroller's office, and contrasts the amount 
of appraised personal property found after death, 
with the amount returned for taxation the year be 
fore death. He says that of this number of estates, 
thirty- four, ranging in value from $54,000 to over -$3,- 
000,000, were assessed the year before the decedents' 
death absolutely nothing. These 107 estates dis 
closed personalty at death to the aggregate amount 
of $215,132,366; and this enormous aggregate had 
the year before the respective deaths of the owners 
been assessed at the amount of $3,819,412, or one and 
seventy-seven one-hundredths per cent, of the actual 
value of the property. 

In 1874 the board of state assessors of New 
York reported to the legislature as follows: 

"From our examinations we are satisfied that 
less than fifteen per cent, of the personal property of 
the state liable to taxation finds a place on the rolls 
of the assessor. * * * The amount of personal 
property assessed in some of the counties is less 
than the banking capital, and the same is true of 
thirty towns and cities, among which are some of 
the most prosperous in the state." 

In 1892, the tax board said: "Laws for the 
assessment of personal property have failed to do 


their work, and the failure becomes more complete 
and more unjust with every successive year." 

The tax commission of Massachusetts, which 
reported to the governor a few months ago, shows 
that the total valuation of real estate in that state 
for taxation was, in 1896, $2,040,200,644, and the 
total valuation of personal property, assessed in 
the same year, was $582,319,634 about one- 

As to the tax upon securities, or intangible prop 
erty, as it is called, the commission says: 

"In each of the cities a few persons of unusual 
conscientiousness make returns. Such persons 
are accordingly taxed fully, and, as a rule, much 
more heavily than their less conscientious neigh 
bors. * * * From the testimony which assessors 
have given before us, there is a grave suspicion that 
sometimes sworn statements are falsely made, and 
that perjury is added for the sake of evading or re 
ducing taxation." 

Concluding the discussion upon this subject, the 
majority of the commissioners say: "That the 
great bulk of intangible property taxable by law is 
not reached, is admitted on all hands. It is proved 
beyond doubt by the sensitive records of the stock 
and bond market. Securities of all sorts, taxable 
in Massachusetts, but not taxable in New York 
and in other states, are publicly bought and sold 
every day at the same prices in the different markets. 


If taxed according to law in Massachusetts, at a 
rate of from one to one and a half per cent, of 
their selling value, they could not possibly com 
mand the price in Massachusetts which they com 
mand in other states; nor could they be sold side 
by side with shares in Massachusetts corporations, 
or with mortgage loans, at such prices as to yield 
about the same interest on the same investment. As 
a matter of fact, securities of the same solidity and 
yielding the same income are sold side by side, 
with no material difference in quotations, whether 
they are taxable or not taxable. Taxable securities 
are bought and sold every day, not on the basis of 
being taxed in fact, but only on the basis of some 
incalculable and disregarded possibility of their 
being reached by taxation." 

A gentleman of prominence, residing in one of 
the smaller towns of New England, recently told me 
that there had resided in his town for many years 
a gentleman who was reputed to be wealthy, whom 
he supposed to be worth, perhaps, a million dollars, 
and who was assessed for $100,000. He died, and 
when his personal property was scheduled by his 
executor it was found to amount to about six mil 
lion dollars if I recall the figures accurately 
and when this property went upon the assessment 
roll of the town the tax rate was reduced one- 
half. In other words, this gentleman, living in 
neighborly relations to his fellow-citizens and dis- 


charging apparently with kindliness all of the obli 
gations of citizenship, had been every year of his 
residence in the town defrauding his neighbors by 
compelling them to contribute to the public expense 
a share that he should in honesty and good con 
science have discharged. He was filching from 
every hand that was extended to him in neighborly 
confidence. His alms were of other men's goods. 

A newspaper report of addresses by the advo 
cates of the single land tax to some Massachusetts 
tax assessors, contains some extreme but interesting 
statements. A prominent New York lawyer is re 
ported to have spoken with an amazing frankness 
as to his personal and professional participation in 
"tax evasion, thus: 

"They maintain a system which is worth a great 
deal of money to me, and in these hard times every 
little counts, and when I think how much they save 
me in taxes and how much they put into my pocket 
by the maintenance of their system of taxes I feel 
grateful to them. I feel grateful to the western 
farmers, because they pay my taxes. It is not 
necessary for me to tell lies in New York to get rid 
of this taxation; it needs nothing but a little clever 
management. I manage it for many of my clients. 
One of them is a clergyman's widow, who would 
no more tell a lie than anything in the world, but 
I have so managed her property as gradually to re- 


duce it, until this year I got her off the list en 

The appeal tax court of Maryland, responding 
to an inquiry from the tax commission of that 
state, in 1881, said: 

"We utterly fail in reaching private securities of 
any description. Here and there only have they 
been returned by some conscientious holders." 

The report of the revenue commission of Illinois 
of 1886 discloses that practically the same state of 
things exists in your state. Indeed, so glaring and 
outrageous is this withholding of personal property 
from the tax list, and so great are the inequalities be 
tween the counties of your state resulting from this 
practice, that I notice the labor commission of Illinois 
recommends the abandonment of the attempt to col 
lect taxes upon personal property. 

The statements which are attributed by the 
bureau of labor, in their report, to eminent citi 
zens of Chicago, as to tax conditions here, are 

Professor Bemis, in a recent letter in the Inde 
pendent, speaking of affairs here in Illinois, and of 
some revelations made by your Tax-Payers De 
fense League, makes a comparison between the 
commercial agency ratings and the tax list, and 
gives this instance: "A certain banker, rated by 
Bradstreet's among the millionaires, is assessed at 
$1,200, or less than one per cent, of his personal 


property; while a poor woman, Mrs. McGuire, is 
assessed on her real estate at twenty-three per cent, of 
its value. The question naturally arises, How long 
will there be any respect for government or law if 
these things are allowed to continue?" 

In conclusion he says: "A great awakening all 
over the country is needed and that speedily, in 
order that the people may appreciate the enormity 
and injustice of existing methods of state and local 
taxation, and may be impelled to effect changes 
that shall make of the state an instrument of right 
eousness rather than what it is now in this matter 
of taxation a conniver at fraud and creator of in 

It is easy to see how this offense against moral 
ity and patriotism has grown to such proportions. 
The very sense that inequality is injustice has pro 
moted it. One man sees that his neighbor is not 
making a conscientious tax return, and that if he re 
turns his property honestly he will pay dispropor 
tionately. The result is that his conscience finds a 
salve in the saying, "Everybody does it." 

It is probably also true that under the tax laws 
of many of our states double taxation results and 
tax-payers take it upon themselves to remedy this 
defect in the law, not by the methods prescribed 
by the constitution, but by leaving off from their 
tax returns such stocks and securities as they sup 
pose to be taxed in other states. 


Our system of state governments and the lack 
of uniformity in our state laws undoubtedly result 
in some injustice and inequality, but the conscienti 
ous tax-payer must abide by the law. The military 
power of the state responds to his call to protect 
his property from lawlessness; but the appeal of 
the law breaker to be delivered from the law break 
er is not so strong as that of the law abiding citi 

Wealth evokes jealousy, and the strong arm of 
the law is often invoked to protect it from the so 
cialist and the anarchist. It must pay its fair pro 
portion of the cost of making this defense or the 
vigor of the defense may fail. 

Our oath of fealty includes all the laws, the 
small as well as the great, the inconvenient as well 
as the convenient. The compact to obey the laws is 
the basis of our civil system, the only guaranty of 
social order, and the test of good citizenship. 

Taxes are a debt of the highest obligation, and 
no casuist can draw a sound moral distinction be 
tween the man who hides his property or makes a 
false return in order to escape the payment of his 
debt to the state, and the man who conceals his 
property from his private creditors. Nor should 
it be more difficult to follow the defaulter in the one 
case than in the other. If our taxes were farmed 
out to an individual or to a corporation they would 
be collected. There would be a vigilant and unre- 


lenting pursuit. The civil and criminal processes 
of the law would be invoked with effect, just as 
they were against* fraudulent debtors under the 
bankrupt law. Is it not possible to secure public 
officers who will show the same activity? 

When to this enormous and crying evil is added 
the corruption which it is alleged characterizes the 
appraisements of real estate in some of our great 
cities, we have a condition of things with which 
we dare not palter. We must establish, and at 
once, a system that shall equalize tax burdens. The 
men of wealth in our great communities should 
lead the movement. This great club, organized as 
a rallying center for loyalty and patriotic citizen 
ship, should hear a call as loud and imperative as 
that which came to its members during the years of 
the civil war. 

Mr. Lincoln's startling declaration that this 
country could not continue to exist half slave and 
half free may be paraphrased to-day by saying that 
this country can not continue to exist half taxed 
and half free. 

This sense of inequality breeds a fierce and un 
reasoning anger creates classes, intensifies social 
differences, and tends to make men willing to pay 
their debts in half dollars. The just sacredness of 
these money obligations, the right of the holders to 
be paid in money of full value, will be clearer to 


these angry men if they see that these securities 
are paying their lawful taxes. 

If there is not enough public virtue left in our 
communities to make tax frauds discreditable; if 
there is not virility enough left in our laws and in 
the administration of justice in our courts to bring 
to punishment those who defraud the state and their 
neighbors, is there not danger that crimes of vio 
lence will make insecure the fortunes that have re 
fused to contribute ratably to the cost of maintain 
ing social order? 

If we are to admit that the obligations of public 
duty and of personal veracity and integrity are so 
little felt by our people, and that our administra 
tive and judicial processes are so inadequate that 
tax frauds can not be measurably restrained, hope 
for the country is eclipsed. 

The failures which have accompanied, in an in 
creased ratio, the attempt to collect the personal 
property tax, have led many tax reformers to favor 
its total abolition, and the substitution of other 
forms of taxation. The failure of the wealthy 
holders of these intangible securities to pay their 
just proportion of the cost of government has 
stimulated a demand for special forms of taxation 
and for progressive taxation, with a view in some 
measure to recoup to the community the losses 
which are inflicted by evasive or fraudulent tax 
returns. The people will not consent that the 


present state of things shall be accepted as a per 
manent condition. 

The spirit of discontent is rife. The farmer, the 
man of moderate circumstances, has unfailingly 
and unfalteringly rallied to suppress mob violence 
and to preserve the peace of our communities. 
These men are not agrarians or socialists or anar 
chists, or covetous of other men's goods, but they 
will not, and should not permit the tax burdens 
upon their smaller properties to be doubled by the 
evasions and frauds of the holders of these intangi 
ble securities. 

Professor Seligman, of Columbia University, a very 
eminent authority on political economy, says: 

"The farmers here, like the landlords there, 
(Florence, Italy), complain with justice that, ow 
ing to the failure of the tax on intangible personalty, 
they have to pay not only their share but the share 
of others. * * * The townsman's personalty 
practically escapes. Hence the unrest of the pres 
ent day; hence the dissatisfaction of the rural dis 
tricts; hence the continual efforts made to enforce 
the taxation of personalty by the system of sworn 
returns known as the listing system.' ' 

The personal property tax, he thinks, does not 
secure equality, but incites to dishonesty, and does 
not respond to the American sense of justice. He, 
however, represents the farmer as responding to the 
suggestion of the abolition of the personal property 


tax thus: "If the state succeeds in collecting only 
a part of the tax, is that any reason for our aban 
doning the whole tax and saddling ourselves with 
the remainder?" 

A very great difficulty in the proper adjustment 
of the state tax laws is forcing itself upon the pub 
lic mind, growing out of our federal organization. 
Before the adoption of the constitution, when each 
state made its own tariff laws, the power to levy 
imposts was practically nullified by the competitions 
between the states. They underbid each other. The 
solution was found in confiding the tax upon im 
ports wholly to the national government, which could 
establish and maintain equal rates in all parts of 
the United States. 

In a measure the same embarrassment is now be 
ing felt in the framing and administration of the 
tax laws of the several states. Real or simulated 
changes of residence are made from one state to 
another, with a view to finding the most favorable 
tax conditions, or the most pliable assessors. 

Professor Seligman suggests the necessity of the 
"spirit of interstate comity," with a view to ar 
ranging "for a substantially identical treatment of 
these complicated tax questions," and adds: 

"If the American attempts at voluntary co-opera 
tion be not successful, the time may yet come when 
these will be replaced by compulsory co-operation. 
In a community where the pressure of economic 


forces has made us primarily citizens of the United 
States, and only secondarily citizens of the separate 
states, a system of taxation, based upon the idea 
of separatism and mutual jealousy rather than of 
unity can not permanently endure." 

It is not easy, however, to see how a federal con 
trol of these questions can be established. The 
states are not likely to surrender such important 
powers to the national government. 

Yet I think it would be quite well to assemble a 
convention of tax commissioners from all the states 
to discuss this intricate and exigent problem. Pos 
sibly some general principles might be agreed upon 
that would remedy the just complaints of double 
taxation, especially in the case of corporate proper 
ties and securities. 

I can not believe, however, that it is impossible 
so to stir the consciences of our people, so to stimu 
late the independence and courage of our assessors 
and of our courts and prosecutors, as to secure a 
fairly general enforcement of the personal property 
tax. I know that men hesitate to call a neighbor 
to judgment in this matter. We have too much 
treated the matter of a man's tax return as a per 
sonal matter. We have put his transactions with 
the state on much the same level with his transac 
tions with his banker, but that is not the true basis. 
Each citizen has a personal interest, a pecuniary in 
terest, in the tax return of his neighbor. We are 


members of a great partnership, and it is the right 
of each to know what every other member is con 
tributing to the partnership and what he is taking 
from it. It is not a private affair; it is a public con 
cern of the first importance. 

Perhaps there should be a general proclamation 
of amnesty and a new start, for many men have 
been enticed into these offenses by the belief that all 
others were offending. 

The pulpit, the press, every agency that deals with 
public, social and moral questions should lend its 
help. There should be committees of public safety; 
for, my fellow-citizens, I do not exaggerate when I 
say that the public safety is involved in a more equal 
administration of our tax laws. Returns and assess 
ments must be honest and equal. If there are ine 
qualities in the law they must be remedied by legis 
lation, and not by the usurpations of the individual. 

I think we must assume that there are very few, 
if any, of our states prepared to consent to the abo 
lition of the personal property tax. 

As a supplemental tax, levied within the require 
ments of equality and uniformity, a succession or in 
heritance tax may be well enough, if the state consti 
tution permits it; but the principle of progression, a 
higher rate for large estates, seems to me to be in 
consistent with that rule of proportion and equality 
which should characterize all taxation. The practical 
question, the one our people must solve, and solve 


speedily, is the enforcement of the personal property 
tax and the equalization of real estate assessments. 

If no other remedy can be found, perhaps the 
state might declare and maintain an estoppel against 
the claim of any man or his heirs to property, the 
ownership of which he had disclaimed in his tax re 

If a succession tax is used to recoup the taxes 
unpaid during life, it should be so framed as to 
reach the guilty and save the innocent. Perhaps a 
higher rate could be levied upon property as to 
which paid tax bills are not produced. 

What has already been accomplished in Chicago 
gives a gratifying hope that a public sentiment can 
be created that will relieve our states from the scan 
dals and frauds which have characterized the admin 
istration of the tax laws. 

It is not within the purposes of this address to 
propose in detail the needed reforms, but rather to 
emphasize the need, and to suggest that our men 
of wealth should themselves come forward and take 
the lead in these reforms; that they should not only 
show a willingness, but a zeal, to bear their full 
proportionate share of all public burdens. If they 
do not the sense of injury is so strong that ways 
will be found, I fear, to exact more than is equal. 
To do justice is the best safeguard against injus 


State House, Indianapolis, March 6, 1893 

I do not think, even if the circumstances were 
more favorable than now surround us, I could say 
more than the fewest words of thanks. Four years 
ago, if the calendar is consulted, I left you to as 
sume high responsibilities. If I should consult 
heart and mind I should say it is ten years since I 
bade good-bye to my Indianapolis friends. Not the 
rising and the setting of the sun, but our experi 
ences, give the true sense of duration. I came back 
to Indianapolis for since I came to manhood, I 
have had no other home. Suggestions of an attract 
ive sort were made to me to make my home else 
where, but it seemed to me that the only home for 
me was Indianapolis. I am too old to make a new 
home; not too old, I hope, to renew those old asso 
ciations that make this so dear a home, and to take 
within the circle of my affectionate regard this mul 
titude of new faces that I see here to-night. This 
city has made a wonderful growth since I left it. 



I shall have to learn again the landmarks. Change > 
improvement, expansion and increase are everywhere 
apparent, and in all this I rejoice with you. The 
State of Indiana has made corresponding increase. 
Factories and homes have greatly multiplied, our 
population has greatly increased. Wealth has been 
developed, and I trust and believe that with this ad 
vancement along material lines there have been a cor 
responding increase and development of the heart 
and of the home which alone can make a great peo 
ple. The nation, too, has had its growth and de 
velopment; some new lines of progress have been 
indicated. Within the past few weeks I had the 
pleasure of lifting over one of the greatest merchant 
steamships that floats upon the sea that flag of 
beauty that hangs before me. I regarded it as the 
precursor and pioneer of the return of that time when 
the American flag was seen in every sea and the 
American navy was held in estimation by other na 
tions. Only one week ago I had the pleasure of 
seeing the greatest ship that has ever been built in 
America a battleship, which, when completed, would 
be able to cope with the greatest ship that England 
has upon the sea float from her ways into the Del 
aware with the name "Indiana" on her side. I will 
not speak to you of those duties which these years 
of absence have brought me, or of their perform 
ance. I left you with but one certainty, and I re 
turn with that the certainty that I had no other 


motive in my heart than the honor of the flag, the 
sacredness of the constitution and the prosperity of 
all our people. I come to you again accompanied 
by a great sorrow, but I trust and your presence 
here gives me your witness unattended by any 
shame growing out of the discharge of my public 
duties. Add to your great kindness and to this 
great welcome which you have extended to me to 
day, the further kindness of excusing me from at 
tempting to speak to you further. I shall be glad 
to carry out the arrangement of the committee, and 
to take as many of you as I may by the hand, and 
in these days and weeks that are to come to meet 
you in my home, in your homes, as opportunity may 
offer. May God bless you all. 


Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis, September 4, 1893 

CITIZENS Has not Indianapolis already spoken to 
you? Have not these gay streets, these waving flags, 
these smiling faces, given you assurance of welcome 
to the capital of Indiana? Can I add anything to 
that magnificent demonstration that has already 
greeted your eyes? 

We welcome you to-night because we are in accord 
with you. A distinguished senator of the United 
States objected to the Chinese because they did not, as 
he said, "homologate." I want to assure you that you 
do, thoroughly, "homologate" with us. To make a 
reception altogether pleasant to hosts and guests, there 
are mutual qualities to be thought of. There must 
be sympathy between the two; and I declare to you 
that citizens of Indianapolis and of the state are in 
thorough sympathy with the organization and the 



aims of the Grand Army of the Republic. 
We welcome you because you have the 
"arduous greatness of things done" in behalf of the 
flag and of the country. I see before 
me men who stood with Thomas in the last shock 
at Chickamauga who hurled back that advancing and, 
for a time, irresistible wave of rebel bayonets that 
threatened to sweep our army into the Tennessee. 
I look into the faces of men to-night who stood in 
the bloody angle at Gettysburg, and threw back that 
desperate charge, that, had it won, would have 
opened Washington to the rebel army. I look 
into the faces of men to-night who, in their in 
dividual service in the army, have performed deeds 
of heroism and courage; who, riding with flashing 
saber over rebel guns, have carried the stars and 
stripes to victory. I look into the faces of 
men who at the bayonet's point have pushed 
back their country's enemies and have plant 
ed its flag on rebel ramparts. I look into the faces 
of men who have shed their blood and dropped their 
limbs upon the battlefield, and who walk among us 
to-night, maimed, dismembered, that the honor of 
the flag might be untarnished and the union un 
broken. Can Indiana fail to welcome such? 
Our hearts and our homes are open to you. 
If we bowed the knee to any, it would be to you. 
Can it be possible that, while the survivors 
of this great struggle are still with us, while 


they walk our streets, a generation has come on for 
getful of their great achievements? Has the moth 
of avarice, the canker of greed, so eaten into the 
hearts of this generation that they are unmindful of 
these men? God forbid. When the great 
struggle of the revolutionary war was over, 
this country was bankrupt, the notes that it had 
issued were valueless, it was without credit at home 
or abroad, and too many turned away from the just 
claims of the soldiers that had followed Washing 
ton from Cambridge to Yorktown. The army pleaded 
in vain for justice at the hands of the government 
it had saved, but they had to deal then with a bank 
rupt government, without the power to redeem its 
pledges, an impoverished people who had spent their 
all already in that eight years' struggle. 

No such excuse can be offered now. This coun 
try is rich in the great resources of these accumu 
lated years. Our people can find no excuse for in 
gratitude toward the soldiers of the land in their 
inability .to meet their just demands. You are as 
sembled to take thought for those things that con 
cern the interests of your comrades comprising this 
great organization, and of those who stand without 
it. The American soldier of the civil war has not 
been commercially greedy. He was not tempted to 
service by his monthly stipend. If there had been 
no other impulse than eleven or thirteen dollars a 
month we should have had no army. The men that 


went to the front were not impelled by sordid pur 
poses of hope or gain. And when the war was over, 
their thought was not of dependence upon the govern 
ment, but upon their own right arms. I saw 
that great parade, with the gallant and la 
mented General Sherman at its head, sweep by the 
treasury of the United States, and there was not a 
greedy eye turned toward it. Every eye was 
toward home, and the hurrying footsteps were 
bent thither. Every boy who had been spared 
in the great struggle was anxious to be again at the 
plow, or in the shop, or in the office, to take up 
again the work he had laid down that his country 
might live. Their hearts went faster than the 
quickstep of the march, on to the humble homes 
from which they had gone out, to the loved ones 
they had left there. And all these years, in every 
community, in every trade, the soldier has been a 
workman; his family have eaten of the fruits of his 
own toil. As long as God gave him strength of 
arm, he wrought and ate the bread of independence. 
Only when he became the veteran of time, when as 
I have said before the parallels of age drew close 
about the citadel of life, and the arm that had 
wrought so bravely for his country and so sturdily 
for his family, lost its strength; only then did he 
turn his hopeful eye toward the government for re 
lief. The Grand Army of the Republic has 
rightly claimed that the man who fell by the 


way in the battle of life, from disease, or casualty, 
or advancing years, and lost the capacity to main 
tain himself, should be cared for by the nation he 
helped to save, and not be dependent upon 
the township poor- fund. I do not propose to discuss 
the pension question. Many considerations limit me 
in the discussion of it; but I may say this, that 
when congress, in its generous recognition of the 
rightful claims of the soldier, has passed a law for 
his benefit, we may and we will demand that it shall 
be beneficially construed. It is a familiar 
maxim of the law that remedial legisla 
tion is to have a favorable interpretation in the in 
terest of the evil to be remedied. Secondly, we 
may and we do insist that in the administration of 
the law the soldier's integrity and honor shall not 
be wantonly impeached. A presumption will 
be indulged in his favor. We do not ask 
that any who have fraudulently obtained a place 
upon the pension roll shall be kept there, but we 
do ask that that other familiar maxim of the law, that 
fraud is to be proved and not presumed, shall be 
applied to the soldier's claim. These general prin 
ciples and I can not go into details I think must 
be acceptable to every right-thinking, patriotic man. 
We are impatient only with those who start with 
a prejudice against the soldier. 

Now, my comrades, I have to talk again to-night, 
and you will excuse me from further speech. You 


are welcome. Indiana and Indianapolis, since that 
shot at Sumter reverberated through our streets, 
have been loyal to the flag, the constitution and 
their defenders. We said of those who went to the 
front amid the blessings and tears of the commu 
nity, "Brave boys are they, gone to their country's 
call." There was no voice of detraction then. We 
welcomed those who were spared to return, with 
open arms; the great war governor of Indiana 
spoke for its citizens earnest, enthusiastic words of 
commendation and love. That your stay here among 
us may be pleasant; that the meeting of this en 
campment may be characterized with good temper 
and with hearty agreement, is my sincere hope. 
Your expressions should be characterized by tem 
perance, soberness and conservatism, and at the 
same time by such clearness and decision that no 
one shall misunderstand what the Grand Army 
means. I hope to see many of you personally dur 
ing your stay; and, if we can send you from us 
after your work is complete, with pleasant impres 
sions of this city that we love so much, we shall be 
glad that you have come, and will cherish long in 
our remembrance this great event. 


The Century Magazine, November 3,1893 

You ask my opinion of the suggestion of Lafayette 
Post, G. A. R., of New York city, that military in 
struction and drill be used in all schools for boys. It 
is good in every aspect of it good for the boys, 
good for the schools, and good for the country. A 
free, erect, graceful carriage of the body is an ac 
quisition and a delight. It has a value in commerce 
as well as in war. Arms and legs are distressing 
appendages to a boy under observation, until he has 
been taught the use of them in repose. The chin is 
too neighborly with the chest, and the eyes find the 
floor too soon; they need to have the fifteen paces 
marked off. The sluggish need to be quickened, 
the quick taught to stand, and the willful to have 
no will. The disputatious need to learn that there 
are conditions where debate is inadmissible; the 
power and beauty there is in a company moved 
by one man and as one man. Athletic sports 
have their due, perhaps undue, attention in 



most of the colleges and high schools ; but in the graded 
schools, within my observation, exercise is casual and 
undirected. None of these exercises or sports is, 
however, a substitute for military drill; and some of 
them create a new need for it. A good oarsman 
need not be erect or graceful; a good arm and 
plenty of wind meet his needs. The champion "cy 
clist" is not apt to have square shoulders. The foot 
ball captain is so padded that a safe judgment can 
hardly be formed as to his natural "lines"; but a 
good leg and momentum seem to me a non-expert 
to be his distinctive marks. In baseball the pitcher 
seems, to an occasional observer, to have parted with 
all his natural grace to endow the curved ball. 

A military drill develops the whole man, head, 
chest, arms and legs, proportionately; and so pro 
motes symmetry, and corrects the excesses of other 
forms of exercise. It teaches quickness of eye and 
ear, hand and foot; qualifies men to step and act in 
unison; teaches subordination; and, best of all, qual 
ifies a man to serve his country. The flag now gen 
erally floats above the school-house; and what more 
appropriate than that the boys should be instructed 
in the defense of it? It will not lower their grade 
marks in their book recitations, I am sure. If rightly 
used, it will wake them up, make them more healthy, 
develop their pride, and promote school order. In 
the centennial parades in New York, in April, 1889, 
the best marching I saw was that of some of your 


school children. The alignment of the company front 
was better than that of the regulars or of the Sev 
enth regiment. 

If all the school boys of the North had, from 
1830 on, been instructed in the schools of the sol 
dier and of the company, and in the manual of arms, 
how much precious time would have been saved in 
organizing the Union army in 1861. We were in 
a very low state, as a people, in military knowledge 
and training when the great civil war broke out 
volunteers in plenty, but few soldiers. I very well 
remember how hard it was for me to learn which 
was the right of the company, and to understand 
why it continued to be the right when the right 
about had made it the left; and how we had, in 1862, 
to send to a distant city to find a drill-master com 
petent to instruct the company officers, not one of 
whom could go through the manual of arms; and 
how the regiment, after a few half-learned lessons in 
the company drill, was sent to the seat of war with 
guns which they had never loaded or fired. Fortu 
nately, the men had the American adaptability and 
quickness, and our adversary only a little better prep 
aration. It will not be safe to allow war to come upon 
us again in that state, for war's pace has greatly 
quickened, and the arms of precision now in use call 
for a trained soldier. Under our system we shall 
never have a large standing army, and our strength 
and safety are in a general dissemination of mili- 


tary knowledge and training among the people. 
What the man and citizen ought to know in order 
to the full discharge of his duty to his country should 
be imparted to the boy. Nothing will so much aid 
to enlarge our state militia, and to give it efficiency 
and character, as the plan proposed. The military 
taste and training acquired in the school will carry 
our best young men into the militia organizations 
and make those organizations reliable conservators of 
public order, and ready and competent defenders of 
the national honor. 


Continental Hotel, Philadelphia, December 22, 1893 

good friend and your good neighbor and presi 
dent, Mr. Charles Emory Smith, invited me to 
be present to-night, I felt a special demand upon 
me to yield to his request. I thought I owed him 
some reparation for appointing him to an office, 
the emoluments of which did not pay his expenses. 
Your cordial welcome to-night crowns three days of 
most pleasurable stay in this good city of Philadelphia. 
The days have been a little crowded. I think there 
have been what our friends of "the four hundred" 
would probably call eight 'distinct functions, but your 
cordiality and the kind words of your presiding officer 
quite restore my fatigue and suggest to me that I shall 
rightly repay your kindness by making a very short 

It is my opinion that these members of the New 
England Society are very creditable descendants of 


the forefathers. I am not right sure that the fore 
fathers would share this opinion if they were 
here, but that would be because of the fact 
that, notwithstanding the load of substantial vir 
tues which they carried through life, their taste had 
not been highly cultivated. 

I dread this function which I am now attempting 
to discharge more than any other that ever meets 
me in life. The after-dinner speaker is unlike the 
poet; he is not born, he is made. I am 
frequently compelled to meet in disastrous com 
petition about some dinner table gentlemen who 
have already had their speeches set up in the news 
paper offices. They are brought to you as if they 
were fresh from the lip. You are served with what 
they would have you believe to be "impromptu 
boned turkey." And yet, if you could see 
into the recesses of their intellectual kitchens, 
.you would see the days of careful preparation which 
have been given to those spontaneous utterances. 
The after-dinner speaker needs to find some 
where some one un worked joker's quarry, 
where some jokes have been left without a label on 
them. He needs to acquire the art of seeming to 
pluck, as he goes along in the progress of his speech, 
as by the wayside, some flower of rhetoric; he seems 
to have passed it and to have plucked it casually, 
but it is a boutonniere with tin-foil around it. 
You can see upon close inspection the 


mark of the planer on his well-turned sentences. 
The competition with gentlemen who are so cul 
tivated is severe upon one who must speak absolute 
ly upon the impulse of the occasion. It is either in 
capacity or downright laziness that has kept me 
from competing in this field which I have described. 

It occurred to me to-day to inquire why you had to 
associate six states in order to get up a respectable 
society. Now, .my friend Halstead and I have no 
such trouble. We are Ohio born, and we do not 
need to associate any other state in order to get up 
a good society wherever there is a civil list of the 
government. If you would adopt the liberal charter 
measure of the Ohio society I have no doubt you 
could subdivide yourselves into six good societies. 
The Ohio society admits to membership everybody 
who has lived voluntarily six months in Ohio. No 
involuntary resident is permitted to come in. 

But this association of these states and the name 
New England is part of an old classification of the 
states that we used to have in the geographies, and 
all of that classification is gone except New En 
gland and the South. The West has disappeared, 
and the Middle West can not be identified. Where 
is the West? Why, just now at the point of that 
long chain of islands that put off from the Alaskan 
coast, and, if I am to credit what I read, for I have 
no sources of information now except the not abso 
lutely reliable newspaper press, there are some who 


believe that there are wicked men who want to 
hitch the end of that chain on to another island far 
ther out in the sea. If that should be done, the West 
would become the East, for I think the Orient has 
generally been counted to be the East. 

I would not, however, suggest a division of the 
New England Society. It is well enough to keep 
up an association that is one, not only of neighbor 
hood and historical associations, but of sentiment: 
Let the New England Society live, and I fancy it 
will not be long till you enjoy the distinction of be 
ing the only great subdivision of the states. For, 
my fellow-citizens, whatever barriers prejudice may 
raise, whatever obstruction the interests of men may 
interpose, whatever may be the outrages of cruelty 
to stay the march of New England, that which made 
the subdivision of the Southern states and all that 
separated them from the states of the West and of 
the North will be obliterated. 

I am not sure, though the story runs so, that I 
have a New England strain. The fact is that I have 
recently come to the conclusion that my family was 
a little overweighted with ancestry, and I have been 
looking after posterity. 

One serious word, gentlemen. The New England 
character and the influence of New England men and 
women have made their impress upon the whole coun 
try; for even in the South, during times of slavery, 
educated men and women from New England were 


the tutors and instructors of the youth of the South 
in the plantation home. The love of education, the 
resolve that it should be general, the love of home 
with all the pure and sacred influences that cluster 
about it, are elements in the New England char 
acter that have a saving force incalculable in this 
great nation in which we live. 

Your civil institutions have been free and high and 
clean, from the old town-meeting days until now. 
New England has believed in and practices the free 
election and the fair count. 

But gentlemen, I can not enumerate all of your 
virtues; time is brief and the category long. Will 
you permit me to thank you and your honored 
president for your gracious reception to-night? 



March 9, 1894 

What I shall say to-day will be the unstudied tribute of 
a friend to the memory of a friend. My acquaint 
ance with Governor Stanford was not long a half 
score of years would cover it but I saw him dur 
ing those years under many varying conditions, 
and was now and then brought into such touch 
with him that his mind and heart were very fully 
revealed to me. 

This visit to California, to Palo Alto, to the Le- 
land Stanford Junior University, is one that I have 
looked forward to for a year with great interest 
and with great anticipations. Not a little of that 
interest was centered in the fact that the arrange 
ment involved a meeting with Governor Stanford 
here at the scene of his greatest work. My com 
ing is saddened by his absence. As I remarked the 



other day to the students, I realize now first that 
he is dead. When one dies at a distance from us we 
hear of the event and our minds receive it as a truth, 
but the heart does not realize it until we come to 
some place where we might expect to meet our 
friend. It is the vacant chair in the family; it is the 
absence from accustomed places that brings to us 
the realization of the loss of a friend. I had learned 
to have a very high regard for Governor Stanford; 
to see in him some of the noblest attributes that 
adorn human nature, and chief among these was 
the gentle, loving character of his nature. Too often 
those who have been enabled by successful business 
enterprise to gather about them all the luxuries of 
wealth so that everything is tributary to them, come 
to be unsympathetic and forgetful of their fellow- 
men, to be narrow and selfish. Such was not the 
influence of his great possessions upon him. His 
wealth was a vehicle of charity. We have not a 
few families in this country who, from generation 
to generation, seem to concentrate all their ener 
gies upon the accumulation of great fortunes and 
the entailment of them upon their children. Such 
as these may be stars of the first magnitude when 
only four hundred are assembled, but the Lick tele 
scope can not find them when the world is gathered. 
Wealth has come to be condemned; to be under 
suspicion, because of its selfishness; not because it 
is in itself a thing that has not high and great uses 


not because it is necessarily a barrier over which 
human hearts may not pass. 

The considerateness of Governor Stanford, dur 
ing the four years that I spent last at Washington, 
always touched me. He seemed to realize the bur 
dens of the great office which I held, and always 
approached me in a manner almost apologetic, that 
he should intrude any further care or business upon 
my attention. In all his relations to men in public 
life he was modest, kindly and considerate, and 
often added a suggestion of practical wisdom to the 
consultation that roused our admiration and not in 
frequently secured our adherence. 

What a great thing it is when one may have a 
Founders* Day to commemorate his birth! How 
short human life is, and how inadequate! When 
men die we say their earthly work is ended; and 
for a majority, and to a majority, to our limited 
observation, it is largely true. Of course, no good 
life ends at death; but the threads of influence such 
lives have started extend over limited spaces, touch a 
few hearts, and are undiscovered to the common 
eye. There is not time in a human life to complete 
a great work. There must be succession. Perpe 
tuity is essential to great works; and no one more 
fully realized this than Governor Stanford. He 
was an organizer. His thoughts were large, and he 
understood the philosophy of bringing other men 
into partnership with his designs, of enlarging the 


individual touch by co-operation. Take the two 
great enterprises with which he was associated. The 
transcontinental railway what a wide and strong 
organization was necessary to its accomplishment! 
Not one man! What could one pick or one shovel 
or one engineer do in the construction of that great 
enterprise? It was a scheme that needed to have 
brought into it many men of diverse mental attain 
ments, and the muscle of many laborers, and all 
these into a system that worked like a perfected ma 
chine all this he did. And this great highway of 
commerce, which in the future years shall bear an 
increasing traffic between the East and the West, 
and shall carry, with increasing comfort, speed and 
safety, generations yet to be born, is one of the 
great works that will perpetually praise him. This 
is one of his biographers, and it has written on the 
rocky faces of the Sierra canons the story of his 
participation in one of the great achievements of the 

This university is his other and better biographer 
not a highway of commerce but a highway of 
the soul, upon which the aspiring feet may perpet 
ually be borne to the heights of truth and learning. 
And here, how perfectly can we see this fine faculty 
of design; of organization; of bringing in that 
which is needful; of using the element of perpetu 
ity. For, when these learned men who now instruct, 
and this generation of students, have passed away, 


there will be new instructors standing yet nearer to 
the summits of truth, to instruct a generation of 
students full of a nobler enthusiasm for learning 
and for the elevation of the race. It is as men as 
sociate themselves with such institutions that their 
memory is perpetuated. Why is Washington freshly 
and ever in our hearts? Why is his natal day per 
petually kept in remembrance? Because he associ 
ated himself with the deliverance of the colonies 
from foreign domination and oppression, and with 
the institution of a system of government that has 
brought liberty, happiness and freedom to this great 
continent, and will carry them on to generations to 
come. Napoleon we read of; we analyze his char 
acter and study his military genius much as one of 
these professors and with little more reverence 
might examine and explain to a class the articulated 
skeleton of some unknown man. He did not asso 
ciate himself with any great thing in the interest 
of man, with any great state or institution that had 

But I will not detain you longer. Our sorrow 
for the loss of a friend is greatly mitigated when 
we can assemble as we do to-day, surrounded by 
evidences that, not only in the family circle, but 
throughout all this coast, throughout all these states, 
and, indeed, throughout the world, he will be held in 
perpetual veneration and respect. 

One loved child was lost, but the promise the 


Abrahamic promise shall be fulfilled to him his 
children shall be more than the sands of the sea, for 


Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis, September 25, 1894 

MY FELLOW-CITIZENS The delightful duty has 
been assigned me by the state central committee of 
the Republican party of Indiana to preside over this 
great meeting. I am to be its chairman, not its 
speaker, and I congratulate you on that fact. 
I brought the distinguished gentleman, to whom you 
are to listen, to this hall this afternoon without send 
ing any courier in advance to find whether there were 
enough people for him to speak to. 

I notice in the audience here to-day, with great 
satisfaction, the presence of many of our older fel 
low-citizens. The old men are fond of telling of 
the "good old times," but the times to which they look 
back with so much delight are glorified in the fact 
that the processes of nature and of providence have 
covered the things that were hard and brought out 
in the memory those things that were sweet and 
pleasant. But the good times which I have in mind 
are not good old times, but very young good times, 



so young that only the unweaned babes have no 
memory of them. Only two years ago this country 
was not only the most prosperous country in the 
world for that it had been before but it stood 
upon the highest pinnacle of prosperity that it had 
ever before attained. This is not the ver 
dict of politicians; it is the verdict of the com 
mercial reporter; it is the expressed opinion of those 
men who make a profession of studying business 
conditions. The last two years have been years of 
distress and disaster. 

The losses of them defy the skill of the calcu 
lator. It has been said, I think not without reason, 
that they exceed the cost of the great civil war. 
These losses have not been class losses; they have 
been distributed. The holder of stocks and bonds 
has found his wealth shrinking, and so has the 
farmer, and the workingman has found his wages 
shrinking. There has been a general participation 
in the calamities of the last two years as there was 
a general participation in the prosperity of the pre 
ceding years. The great national debts, like those of 
the civil war, have sometimes their adequate compen 
sation. Great as was the cost of the war for the 
Union, we feel that it was adequately compensated 
in the added glory that was given to the flag and in 
the added security that was given to our civil insti 
tutions and the unity of the nation. 

But the losses of these last two years have no such 


compensating thought. There is no good to be got 
ten out of them, except for guidance. They seem to 
be of retributive nature, like the swamps into which 
the traveler has unwarily driven, that have no amel 
iorating circumstances, except as they teach him to 
keep on the foot-hill and to follow the road that is 
on the hilltops. Our people seem to be inclined to 
make the most that can be made out of these years 
of disaster. We were told in the old times the rich 
were getting richer and the poor poorer; and to cure 
that imaginary ill our political opponents have 
brought on a time when everybody is getting poorer. 
I think that I remember to have heard of an inscrip 
tion once upon a tombstone that ran something like 
this: "I was well; I thought to be better; I took 
medicine, and here I lie." 

Our Democratic friends have passed a tariff bill 
that is approved so far as I can learn by only six 
Democratic senators and nobody else. We 
hear of the little coterie of senators whose 
names I could not mention, perhaps, for they have 
not been well identified, but their numbers has gen 
erally been fixed at a round half dozen who de 
cided what the tariff bill should be, and they are 
pleased with it, and nobody else. Mr. Cleve 
land has repudiated it, and has declared that it 
involves "perfidy and dishonor;" that it was shame 
ful in its character and in the influences that pro 
duced it; that he would not even put his name to it. 


All of the leading Democratic papers in trie country 
have condemned it both of the old stalwart variety 
and of the mugwump variety. The Democratic chair 
man of the ways and means committee has con 
demned it, and the entire Democratic majority in the 
House of Representatives. Now that is a great mis 
fortune. It is a misfortune that the Democratic party 
was not able to evolve a tariff bill that that party 
would accept as a settlement of the tariff question. 
But it is not accepted as a settlement. 

In the very nature of things, a bill thus passed, 
and thus characterized, can not be a settlement; and 
already we have the proclamation from Mr.- Cleve 
land, and from Mr. Wilson, that this is only the 
beginning of the crusade against American indus 
tries; that the war is to go on. Now that is a great 
misfortune. If we could only prove by our Demo 
cratic friends that we were in the bottom of the 
well, dark and damp and dismal as it was, we would 
have begun to look up and see whether we could 
not find some star of hope; we would have begun 
to anoint our bruises, and try to build some scaf 
fold by which we might try to climb out. But we 
are told that there are greater depths yet in store 
for us. And so this country is to be held in a state 
of suspense upon this question. 

It can be ended in just one way, and that is by 
overwhelming Republican victories in November. 
[When New York gives Levi P. Morton 75,000 ma- 


jority and Indiana her state ticket 25,000, and Illi 
nois and those states that have wavered fall again 
into line, and the next congress is Republican, there 
will be an assurance that we have found the end of 
this disastrous condition. 

I think the Ohio Democrats the other day declared 
that all these disasters of which we speak came upon 
the country under the McKinley bill. Well, to be sure, 
the McKinley bill was a law until that twenty-ninth 
day was it of August, when the Gofman bill was 
passed, but it was a law in restraint. It had been 
arrested. We were listening from day to day to the 
prophecies that in two weeks, or three, or four, it 
would be repealed. It was not a law in the sense 
that any merchant or manufacturer could act upon 
it. It was dead in a business sense, though alive in 
the statute. Why, sir, it would be just about as 
reasonable to complain of a man who had been seized, 
handcuffed and locked up in a cell for not support 
ing his family as to complain of the McKinley bill 
during this period of suspense. And then we are 
told that under the McKinley bill the price of wool 
went down under protective duty and since it has 
been made free it is going up; that sugar on the 
free list was higher than sugar with a forty per cent. 
duty. All this notwithstanding the old doctrine that 
the duty was always added to the cost of the domes 
tic article. 

But, my friends, I do not want to detain you 


from that entertaining feast to which you are in 
vited. I am glad that Indiana to-day gives so royal 
a reception to Governor McKinley. He has en 
deared himself to all by his record as a gallant young 
soldier, battling for the flag. He has honored him 
self, his state and the country by his conspicuous 
service in high legislative and executive places. No 
man more than he is familiar with these questions 
that now engage the public thought. No man is 
more able than he lucidly to set them before the peo 
ple. I do not need to invoke your attention to what 
he shall say. He will command it. I have now the 
pleasure of presenting him to you. 


Carnegie Hall, New York, October 81, 1894 

very great, but, I somewhat fear, a very impossible 
audience to speak to. You seem to be quite 
inclined to do your own talking, and you are 
doing it very well. I thought I had made 
an inflexible resolution that I would not speak 
in this campaign outside the limits of Indiana. But 
I have found, as has often happened before in my 
experience, that inflexible resolutions have to bend. 
I did not make this resolution because I saw 
any impropriety in one, who had received at 
the hands of his fellow-citizens the highest civic 
honors, addressing his fellow-citizens of any of the 
states upon public questions. I was not quite will 
ing to accept the philosophy of some that the only 
appropriate habiliment for an ex-president was 

At the same time I very fully realize that I am 
under limitations in discussing public questions. I 



can not say very much about the last administra 
tion, and it is somewhat delicate for me to speak about 
the present. 

But, my fellow-citizens, men are of very little 
consequence in the administration of our public af 
fairs. They do not turn events. The important 
matter is the principles or policies that the respective 
parties represent, and of these I feel very 
free to speak. And if you will give me your atten 
tion I will for a little while give you my views as 
to the tendency of the policies of the Republican 
party, which I believe to be beneficent and helpful 
and patriotic, and of the tendencies of the policies of 
the Democratic party, which I believe to be hurtful 
and destructive. 

In this great country of ours, this sisterhood of 
states, this union under one flag and one constitu 
tion, there is such a community of influences, such 
an intermingling of influences, that no election can 
in any proper sense be said to be local. It is of con 
sequence, and ought to be of concern to all the peo 
ple of the United States from the St. Johns to Puget 
Sound, whether the governor of the state of New 
York shall be a man of clean personal life, a man 
who illustrates in his own life and history the vir 
tues of high American citizenship, whether he shall 
be a man who loves our free institutions, who ap 
preciates the sanctity of the ballot-box and the equal 
ity of men before the law, or whether he shall be a 


man who companies with those who prostitute the 
ballot-box, who companies with those who degrade 
public office and public administration. It is 
of consequence to the whole people whether 
the great state of New York shall have at the head 
of her executive department a typical, upright, pure 
American citizen, or one who regards these things 
from a low standpoint and looks only to party ad 
vantage rather than to the public weal. I have de 
parted from my resolution not to speak out of my 
own state, because I could not seem to be indifferent 
to the contest which is on in New York. Because, 
being in your city upon personal concerns, I would 
not have any one think that I could be indifferent to 
the success of pne whom I esteem and love as my 
friend. I believe the candidate of the Republican 
party, Levi P. Morton, to be altogether worthy of 
the support of his fellow-citizens, altogether qualified 
for the highest exercise of the high duties of governor 
of this great state. 

He is not untried or unexercised in public af 
fairs; he has represented this country at one of the 
most important foreign courts with distinction and 
honor; he has represented a constituency in this city 
in the congress of the United States, and as vice- 
president he presided with a grace and dignity and 
power over the senate of the United States that was 
unsurpassed. I am able to say that few men have ever 
exercised the office of vice-president with more ac- 


ceptance, with more honor and more dignity than 
Levi P. Morton. 

Nor do I regard this great contest which is being 
waged in the state of New York for pure, clean, 
decent, municipal government as a local issue. 
The whole country watches that great strug 
gle. It has read with amazement and disgust 
the revelations of municipal corruption and debauch 
ery which have been laid before the public ; it watches 
with anxious solicitude the decision of the question 
whether there is power in the body politic of this 
great city to cleanse itself from these impurities and 
reassert decent government. It is coming to 
be recognized by all students of public gov 
ernment that the question of municipal control 
and management brings these institutions and prin 
ciples to their severest test, and we watch from all 
our cities, great and small, throughout the country, 
this great contest which is now being waged in the 
city of New York. I hope, sincerely hope, that we 
shall have another illustration to be added to those 
which we have had in the past, that however patient 
the people may be, however neglectful, however un- 
watchful for a season, when things have become ut 
terly bad, men without reference to party rally to 
the defense of their institutions and their homes and 
set things right once more. 

There are national questions as well involved in 
this contest in New York. A congress is to be 


chosen, and these constituencies in the great city of 
New York are to exercise an important influence in 
deciding the question whether the control of the 
house of representatives at Washington shall be 
wrested from the Democratic party. 

I want, with your permission, to call your atten 
tion now to something looking to the situation and 
the condition of the country, as viewed from a na 
tional standpoint. Our government at Washington 
has now a more important relation to the business 
of the country than ever before. In the olden days, 
when our money was furnished by state banking in 
stitutions and when our interstate commerce was 
left to regulate itself or without regulation, we did 
not so much appreciate the important touch which 
the national government has upon the business af 
fairs of the country. Now all our money is issued 
from Washington. Now the regulation of these in 
terstate railroads has been assumed by congress, 
and now we realize as we never have before that the 
question of the tariff touches strongly every man's 
interest, whether he be rich or poor, throughout 
the whole country. Men have been debating 
this tariff question from the platform until 
it seemed to be threadbare. It seemed as if it was 
an interminable discussion, but there has come into 
the debate an orator of the most convincing and 
persuasive power, and that is experience. Ever 
since the time when the national government 


assumed the function of providing currency for the 
people, all through these years since the war, the 
national government has either been in the control 
of the Republican party or that party has been in 
possession of one branch of the administration, so 
that its policy could not be contravened. It has been 
the constructive party; carrying this country through 
a great civil war; it developed a financial system that 
stands unassailed to this day; called also to provide 
extraordinary revenue for extraordinary emergencies, 
it introduced the protective tariff. 

From that day to this our people have known no 
other system than the protective system. The Demo 
cratic party has now been called to a position of re 
sponsibility. For these thirty years it has been an 
irresponsible party, but in 1892 full control was given 
to that party to execute its design. Prior to that time, 
having a president or the house, the senate blocked the 
way against radical legislation, but in that year it 
was invested with complete control, and suddenly 
these gentlemen who had been platform-makers for 
thirty years, were called to the unaccustomed duty 
of making law. 

Now it is as we are to be governed by parties, 
and as all these questions, tariff and finances in 
their various forms, are to be settled by party elec 
tions and party votes of the highest consequence 
that the views and principles and purposes of the 
respective parties should be defined and understood. t 


The trouble with the Democratic party now is that 
it is an incoherent party. Who could tell what 
it was going to do, what its position upon 
the tariff question was ? If I may speak of that posi 
tion historically, it was that the revenues of the gov 
ernment should be raised by customs duties and that 
our manufacturers and our workingmen should at 
least have the benefit of such measure of protection as 
came from laying duties upon foreign imports ade 
quate to the support of the general government. 

This incidental protection was talked of by every 
one as a thing conceded and desirable, but when they 
came to frame their platform of 1892 this doctrine 
was overthrown, and the party went into that cam 
paign upon the proposition that protection, all pro 
tection, protection incidental r of a purpose, were 
unconstitutional. This declaration, in spite of the 
court decisions, in spite of the opinions of the most 
eminent jurists in our country, was adopted as the 
principle upon which the Democratic party was 
pledged to revise the tariff and administer the gov 

All business requires that there shall be some fore 
cast, some foreknowledge, some estimate of what is 
to come. But when the Democratic party took up 
the work of revising the tariff, forecasts became im 
possible; no busines man could tell upon what basis 
the tariff was to be adjusted. If a party is to act 
wisely for the common good, there must be some co- 


herent principle adopted and accepted by the masses 
of the party, which we may expect to find exempli 
fied in the laws they make. 

But how have we found it? 

I think, perhaps, of all the insects the grasshopper 
is the one most without an objective point. No 
one can ever tell, nor does he know himself, when 
he jumps, where he is going to alight; it 
may be on the crown of a sunflower, or it may be 
in a horse pond. And so this lack of pur 
pose, this lack of harmony, of which I have 
spoken, and which I shall presently illustrate, per 
vaded the party, and was largely instrumental in 
producing that disastrous depression under which 
the country has been laboring for two years. I said 
in a casual conversation with some newspaper peo 
ple a year and a half ago, when I was here, that I 
feared Mr. Cleveland had a wild team to drive. 
It has turned out so. It did not require a prophet to 
say that it would turn out so, for these Democratic 
representatives, chosen from these widely scattered 
districts over the whole country, had been pledging 
themselves to any view of the tariff question or of 
the financial question that seemed to them in their 
respective districts likely to bring them a few votes. 
When they came together they were embarrassed by 
these pledges and promises, and the confusion of 
tongues at the building of the tower of Babel was 
scarcely greater than the confusion of voices that we 


had at Washington when the tariff bill came to be 
considered. He who would ride in a coach would do 
well to look to the team as well as to the driver ; and it 
is absolutely essential to the safety and comfort of the 
passengers that the driver and the horses should have 
the same objective point. 

Now, my friends, with reference to this bill that 
was referred to. It came into the house with apolo 
gies from the chairman of the committee that had 
drafted it. It was seized upon by the house and 
transformed before its final passage, and if the 
Democratic house of representatives, charged with 
the administration of the business concerns of this 
great country, had passed their bill and sent it to the 
senate, they would have created a deficiency of 
sixty odd millions the first year and a permanent de 
ficiency of fifty millions in the revenues of the govern 
ment. What would these business men think of a 
directory, charged with these great concerns, drafting 
a bill, the purpose of which was to provide a revenue 
for the expenses of the government, that should pass a 
bill creating this enormous deficiency; and a bill that, 
if it had become a law, would have compelled the 
secretary of the treasury to go into the bond market 
to realize money to conduct the ordinary affairs of 
the government? But this was not all. When 
the bill came to the senate, what a babel of 
voices was there! The finance committee of the sen 
ate prepared and reported several hundred amend- 


rnents, and thought they were conducting the bill 
to its passage. The Republicans were debating the 
measure as reported by the finance committee when 
they waked up one day to the knowledge of the fact 
that the bill was in fact under consideration in a 
Democratic caucus, and that the bill which they 
were to debate and upon which the senate was to 
vote was to be a wholly different bill from that re 
ported by the finance committee. Four hundred ad 
ditional amendments were prepared in Democratic 
caucus to submit with this bill. What a characteri 
zation of this work that is ! A bill framed by the 
house to create a deficiency that would have ruined 
the government; a bill tinkered by the finance com 
mittee in hundreds of points, and then finally passed 
into the hands of the Democratic caucus committee 
that reported four hundred more amendments to it. 

Am I not right in saying that the party is an in 
coherent party ? 

How was this finally adjusted? You will remem 
ber that when the repeal of the Sherman bill was 
pending, Mr. Gorman, of Maryland, undertook to 
engineer a compromise measure. He claimed to 
have the approval of the secretary of the treasury, 
and he thought he had of the president. He had a 
disastrous experience with that attempt to engineer a 
compromise. When it became apparent that neither 
the house bill nor the senate finance committee bill 
could pass the senate, it became necessary that some 


other senator should take up the business of trying 
to engineer a compromise tariff bill. Mr. Gorman 
had had experience and declined. So Senator Jones, 
of Arkansas, an estimable gentleman, undertook 
the work; and in a speech in the senate he 
has told us how he went about it. He took the bill 
as it was with the finance committee amendments and 
went about to each Democratic senator and asked 
him what he found objectionable in the bill, and 
what changes must be made to obtain his vote 
and he tells us that he carefully noted with pencil on 
the margin of the bill (those bills are printed with 
large margins) the objections of each senator. Now 
what was that process? It was simply equivalent to 
going to each senator and saying: "What will you 
take to vote for this bill ?" And without reference to 
any principle, without reference to any thought that 
was common or of a party nature, that bill was 
adapted to the demands of the different senators. 
A senator who had a collar and cuff interest in his 
state looked eut for that interest. The Alabama sena 
tors thwarted Mr. Cleveland's demand for free raw 
material so far as coal and iron were concerned. They 
insisted upon a reduction of the duty upon coal and 
iron, and it was yielded. And so through the senate 
that process went on, and this bill was made. 

Now, my countrymen, I do not stand here to say 
anything unkind of individuals. But I do stand 
here to submit to the intelligent judgment of the 


citizens of New York, without regard to politics, 
whether that is the way to make a tariff bill. 

Well, finally, forty-three votes which was the 
number required were obtained for the bill. One 
Democratic senator voted no, and, though he de 
nounced the bill so bitterly, I believe he is now try 
ing to point out to you some of its virtues. The bill 
went to the president no, first it went back to the 
house in congress. The house conferrees, after a long 
session and you will remember that from these con 
ferences the Republicans were altogether excluded; it 
was a meeting, a conference, of the senators and mem 
bers of the house who were of Democratic politics. 
Weeks and weeks they discussed these differences be 
tween the senate and the house, the house conferrees 
declaring that they would never agree to the senate 
bill; that it was violative of Democratic principles, 
whatever they may be, and that they would never 
agree to it. They waked up one morning to a 
knowledge of the fact that the senate itself had re 
pented of passing the bill, and that if the bill ever 
got back on the table of the vice-president, it would 
be killed in the senate. And so the dreadful alter 
native was presented to the party of taking the sen 
ate bill or adjourning without passing any tariff 
bill at all. 

And these managers on the part of the house, 
who had said, and who have repeated over and 
over again that the bill was in violation of all Dem- 


ocratic thought upon the tariff who have even 
hinted, yea, more than hinted; who have charged 
that it was presided over in large part by the in 
fluence of gigantic trusts these men finally accept 
ed the bill rather than accept the alternative of go 
ing to the country and confessing their incapacity 
to legislate upon the subject. It would have been a 
misfortune, I agree, for the Democratic party if it 
had failed to pass a tariff bill, perhaps not greater than 
that which awaits it now, but still a misfortune; 
but what a godsend it would have been to the country ! 
There is not a Democrat who hears me to-night, and 
I hope that there are some who do, who does not 
know that if it had been announced that that tariff 
bill was dead and that this congress would adjourn 
without any legislation, there would have been an in 
stant revival of business all over the country. There 
is not one of these gentlemen who has any relations to 
Wall street that would not have regarded a tip that 
that thing was to have happened as an equivalent to a 
fortune, and would have gone into the street on the 
long side to the extent of his credit. And it has 
happened before, I am sorry to say, that events that 
have been disastrous to the Democratic party have 
been good for the country. 

Now let us trace this bill a little further. It went 
to the president, it went to the president in a constitu 
tional sense. I am not sure that he ever allowed it to 
get near him actually. Some of the newspaper gentle- 


men insisted that it remained in the next room until the 
ten days had expired. Now, what did the president 
say about it? He said, speaking from a party stand 
point, that it was a bill characterized by party per 
fidy and dishonor. And what did he say about it 
from the standpoint of the structure of the bill itself? 
He said that it was full of inconsistencies and cru 
dities. I do not quote his exact terms, but the sub 
stance of them. He said that it was unequal. He 
said that he could not see why wool should be on 
the free list as raw material and iron and coal taxed. 
There never was a stronger appeal made to any 
man in public office than was made to Mr. Cleve 
land to give his approval of that bill. His office was 
thronged by prominent Democrats, telling him that 
his veto of the bill, or even his refusal to sanction 
it, would be disastrous to the party. But, in spite 
of all this pressure, so settled was his conviction 
that the bill was a miscarriage that he refused to ap 
pend his name to it, and wrote to Mr. Catchings a 
letter defending his course in doing so. 

Now, my countrymen, that is the result of thirty 
years of Democrat platform-making and campaign 
discussion a bill that nobody approved. I have not 
read a newspaper, whether of the straightout Demo 
cratic persuasion or what you call in New York the 
mugwump character, that has approved this bill. It 
is without any newspaper sponsor. It is without a 


sponsor among the public men of the Democratic 
party. It is nullius filius. 

Now, what have we a right to expect from the 
party? Is not this a low statement of the obligation 
the Democrats were under to the country that they 
would frame a bill which they would stand by them 
selves? We could not expect that they would frame a 
bill that would please Republicans, but we had a right 
to expect that they would frame a tariff bill to 
which, when they had completed it, they would 
give their assent, upon which they would stand as 
a settlement of this interminable, distracting ques 
tion. Instead, they have given us a bill that 
they have immediately set about to mend, for 
it was part of the caucus resolution in the house 
that, while it accepted this senate bill, it would 
immediately at that session pass important bills 
amending the bill and send those bills to the senate, 
and would stay there until the senate acted upon 
them. And forthwith several important measures 
very important as regards revenue were passed by 
the house of representatives and sent to the senate 
for its action. It is quite possible, indeed probable, 
that but for the intervention of Mr. Carlisle the free 
sugar bill that came from the house might have been 
passed by the senate. Although the house had passed 
a bill creating an enormous deficiency we might have 
hoped for a better knowledge of this question on the 
part of the senators, but they were rushing on to 


pass this free sugar bill when Mr. Carlisle, in alarm, 
sent to Senator Harris, of Tennessee, a letter begging 
him not to allow it to be done, and telling him if 
it was done, it would create an enormous deficiency 
in the revenues of the government. The Democratic 
house passed a bill that would have sent the govern 
ment into the bond market to pay its expenses, and 
the Democratic senate would have repeated the error 
but for the intervention of Mr. Carlisle, staying their 

And now what has all this cost the country? Who 
is statistician enough to calculate the enormous 
losses that have fallen upon the country as a result 
of this attempt of our Democratic friends to revise 
the tariff, if I may call that a revision which was in 
deed intended to be a demolition? There has been 
some attempt to fix the responsibility of the evil times 
which came upon the country on Republican legisla 
tion. Let us consider that question now for a moment. 
What was likely to be the effect of passing from the 
McKinley bill to a law framed on the lines of the Chi 
cago platform ? I can well understand how a man may 
be a free-trader or a tariff-reformer without any im 
peachment of his mental or moral standing. But I can 
not understand how any man of sound mind could'have 
supposed that we could pass from the McKinley bill 
to a bill framed upon the lines of the Chicago plat 
form without a business convulsion that would shake 
the country to its center. 


What was the first result? It was a pause. Mr. 
Cleveland, himself, in his letter to Mr. Wilson, de 
scribes the country as timidly awaiting this experi 
ment of legislating upon the tariff. Is it not reasonable 
that, when this matter is under consideration, and 
an element of uncertainty as to price is introduced 
into almost every product of our mills, they should 
stop and pause? Was it to be thought of that our 
mills would go on running to the full, storing up 
their product in warehouses, when there was imme 
diately before them the prospect of a severe cut in 
the customs duties paid by competing articles that 
come in from foreign countries? No, my country 
men, it was inevitable; it was a thing that any sane 
man must have contemplated, if he thought about it, 
that a period of paralysis and rest would come into 
all our business ventures. And what did come? I 
will not attempt to picture the sad state in which our 
country has been during the last two years. Call it a 
panic it is hardly a proper name for it, for a panic 
implies movement, and this was death. The character 
of the condition was this : There was a shrinkage, a dry 
ing up. Every man who had securities found them 
shrinking. Every man who had real estate found 
it shrinking in value and hard of sale. Every man 
who worked for his living found his place imperiled 
or his wages reduced. Whoever is responsible, what 
ever policy is responsible for bringing this condition 
upon the country, carries a very heavy burden for the 


suffering that has come into the houses of our honest' 
working people. Men who had never in their lives be 
fore applied for charity came to the relief committees 
with a blush upon their cheeks and with bowed 
heads as for the first time they found that their own 
arm, willing and strong, was unable to maintain 
them and their families. They said at first: 
"The Sherman bill," and our Republican friends 
who had passed it promptly came forward to the 
message of Mr. Cleveland and gave their votes for 
the repeal of the bill. It was a measure which, judged 
from the conditions which prevailed when it passed, I 
believe was justified. But the expectations of those 
who passed it were disappointed, and I believe its re 
peal was justified. 

But it became very apparent after the passage of 
that bill that the crushing weight that rested upon 
the industries and energies of this country had not 
been lifted; it was there still, apparently with undi- 
minished weight. The money that had been drawn 
out of the banks flowed back, and from that day to 
this the bank vaults in our great commercial cen 
ters have been full of money, and there has been no use 
for it. No new enterprises, no enlargement of the 
lines of business in any direction, but contraction! 
And from that day to this we have had a condition 
in which money was abundant and cheap, but 
abundant and cheap as it was, our people did not find 
the condition such that they had the courage to use 


it in business. What is it that our Demo 
cratic friends want to accomplish, if they have 
the purpose, in this tariff crusade? They tell us 
that we are fenced in, hemmed in by our tariff pol 
icy, and that if these fences, as Mr. Wilson called 
them, when he was dined by his London friends, were 
taken down, we should have great expansion in our 
business; that what we need here is to open the mar 
kets of the world. This is a very resonant expres 
sion, and a very fond one with Democrats. I feel 
sometimes that I should like to call upon some of 
them to specify what they mean by it. I had a 
friend once in Indiana who had been very popular 
in a certain town, but by reason of some connection 
with a railroad project there, had become very 
unpopular and did not visit the place for several 
years. Thinking, however, the clamor against him 
had subsided, he went back to make a speech, 
and began by saying: "I am very glad to meet my 
friends again to-day," when some one in the audi 
ence called out "Name them, please; name them." 
I feel like asking those gentlemen to name those 
markets ; they are too general ; they say they have set 
about getting them, by getting free raw material 
for our manufactories. My countrymen, of course, 
what they have in view is to enable our manufact 
urers to produce as cheaply as the manufacturers 
of Great Britain and Germany and France, so that 
they can sell as cheaply in the markets of the world. 


We had already provided for our manufactories by 
the rebate that was allowed in the tariff of 1890. 
But does not every man of sense see that if this plan 
is to be carried out, there is one thing more that 
must be done. Our manufacturers, if they are to com 
pete in the general markets of the world in the 
sale of woolens and cottons and other like prod 
ucts, must not only have free raw material, but they 
must have men and women who will work at the 
same wages that are paid abroad. The wool 
that is in a coat is a very small part of its 
cost. It is the carding, and spinning, and dyeing, 
and weaving, the wages, the labor that goes into it, 
that make its cost; and if we are to compete in the 
markets of the world, selling our goods at the same 
price with the nations of Europe, we must get our 
labor as cheap as they get theirs. And yet our friends 
are always shy of admitting that. Indeed, in the last 
campaign, they seemed to promise that they would 
bring in a time when every man would sell what he 
had to sell, high, and buy what he wanted to buy, low, 
forgetting that there was a buyer and seller in every 
transaction and that it could not be high and low. 

No, it had just as well be admitted that this chasing 
after the markets of the world involves scaling down 
the wages of our working people; for how 
can one compete, who pays for his labor two dollars 
a day, with another making the same product who 
pays fifty cents a day? He must go out of the mar- 


ket or cut down wages, so that the workingmen of 
our country, and all men must suffer; for this is not 
a question for workingmen only; it is a question that 
goes to every right- feeling man and right-thinking 
man, however independent his circumstances in life 
may be. I can not help but feel that, in a country 
like ours, where our social security and the good order 
of our communities depend upon a well-conditioned 
and well-disposed laboring people, and where the de 
fenses of our flag and our institutions depend upon 
the strong arm and patriotic hearts of our workingmen 
I can not help but feel that it would be a disaster to 
bring in a condition of wages in this country so low 
that hope would go out of the heart of the man who 
toils in the mill. Unless there is hope in the heart, some 
promise of better things, some margin of comfort, 
some ladder for the feet of his children to climb to 
heights that he had not attained; unless these 
things are in the heart, you may expect anarchy to 
increase and social disorders. 

I have stated before and have been called to ac 
count for it here, I think, in New York, by one in 
very high position, that I thought things might be 
too cheap. Whenever anything that I wear on 
my back or use in my house is produced at so 
low a cost that the man or woman who makes 
it does not get a decent, comfortable living out 
of the making of it, I ought to be ashamed to 
wear or to have it. I suppose there are not many 


agriculturists here, but the agriculturist knows that 
fences are to keep things out as well as to keep things 
in. And these fences of ours have inclosed the brightest 
landscapes, the most fertile fields, the richest meadows 
and pastures, the sunniest hillsides and the stateliest 
woods that are to be found in the world. 

The story of our progress during these thirty 
years of protection was marvelous, unequaled, with 
the increase in population having been more than 
equaled by the increase in wealth; and a commit 
tee of the senate, constituted of Democrats and Re 
publicans, to inquire into the effect of the tariff law 
of 1890, reported that under it wages had appre 
ciated and the cost of living to our workingmen had 

Out on the range beyond these fences of ours I 
am sure the grass is not so good. The range 
is already overcrowded, and the angry and horned 
cattle that browse upon it are coming up to our 
fences and putting their heads through the cracks 
to get some of our grass. I think it is quite better 
that, instead of tearing the fences down and 
making everything common, we should have some 
convenient gates that we can let in what we 
want to and get out what we want to. We are 
not under a few disadvantages in this strife with 
the markets of the world. We are not a coloniz 
ing nation. England, France, Germany, Italy are en 
gaged now in a mad struggle to take up every part of the 


earth that is not already in the possession of one of the 
great powers. They have carved up Africa and Asia, 
and are seizing the islands of the sea and establishing 
their armed hosts and their governors and their steam 
ship communications with such places, and it gives 
them an advantage. We are not on equal terms. We 
can not enter into this ruthless struggle to seize the 
lands of other people. Thank God, American diplo 
macy has always been a sentimental diplomacy, and 
every one of the young South American republics has 
found a cheer and a helping hand from this great 
republic. We do not push our commerce upon unwill 
ing people at the bayonet's point. We do not fire our 
cotton and our wool and our opium from the mouths of 
great guns. We are at a disadvantage. 

We are not a colonizing nation. Indeed, it has 
been thought improper even to take up an island or 
two, and, not only a commercial island that was im 
portant, but one that occupied a military and naval 
position of great strategic interest and necessity to 
the United States. 

Then again in this contest for the commerce of 
the world we are without steamship lines. Our 
communications, our naval marine, has not been re 
established yet; and until we have great steamship 
lines plying regularly and swiftly to these countries 
with which we would trade, we can not compete 
with the nations that have. So long as it remains 
true that a man or merchandise must go from Rio 


to Liverpool in order to get to New York, we are 
not in a good position for competition. And 
then again these fields have been largely occu 
pied. We should come into many of them as a new 
trading nation in many branches of commerce. 
Already English and German and French and other 
agents have sought out the peculiar demands of these 
countries and have adapted their products to sale 
there. Already they have established banking in 
stitutions, so that exchange is easy between these 
foreign ports and London. That has not yet been 
done by us, though I hope it may be, and New York 
may stand in such relation to many of these great 
South American countries. So that we are in too 
much of a hurry, I think, to take down our fences. 
But that is not all. There is good reason to believe 
that this excuse for these tariff reforms is not wholly 
sincere, for, my countrymen, we had already, under 
section 3 of the tariff law of 1890, known as the 
reciprocity section we had already secured the most 
advantageous commercial arrangements with many of 
the great South and Central American countries, with 
Cuba and Porto Rico, and even with Germany itself. 
We had secured terms that gave us the markets of Cuba 
for American breadstuffs and provisions, and for an 
important line of manufactured products upon terms 
no other nation in the world could enjoy, and that 
gave us practically the control of the trade. 
We had even found Germany's interest, she 


being a large exporter of beet sugar to the 
United States, was such as to induce that great em 
pire to make a favorable arrangement with us as to 
the introduction of American products into Germany 
in exchange for free sugar in the United States. 
This had cost us nothing. We had given to American 
households free sugar. A notable item of diminished 
cost in the household of the poor is free sugar; and we 
have not reduced the wages of a single American 
workman. We had got it without cost, save as the 
public treasury surrendered the revenues. How was 
this regarded abroad? The Democratic platform of 
1893 called it a sham reciprocity. 

How was it looked upon in England? The Lon 
don chamber of commerce memorialized the govern 
ment to appoint a commission to devise some method 
to counteract what they called this American com 
mercial crusade. The president of the associated 
chambers of commerce of Great Britain declared that 
British trade with those countries had fallen off in 
that year some $24,000,000, and that this was strongly 
due to the American reciprocity plan. And recently 
I noticed in an English newspaper an article congratu 
lating itself upon the fact that under the new 
tariff bill this arrangement had all been overthrown. 
I believe that through these arrangements and 
by them, through our nearness to the Cen 
tral and South American countries, and to 
the islands in the West Indies, through that 


bond of sympathy that exists between sister repub 
lics, we had a large field for foreign trade that, by 
the proper encouragement for the establishment of 
steamship lines, would have greatly stimulated Ameri 
can productions, both in agriculture and in the me 
chanic arts. And this was all thrown away, every one 
of these arrangements stricken down, and stricken 
down by gentlemen who excuse their whole project 
only upon the theory that they want the markets of 
'the world. I think that we may well call the Demo 
cratic party to account for its failure to deal with 
these great public questions in an intelligent and 
patriotic manner. I do not believe there is a Dem 
ocratic business man who, if he were a stockholder 
in a concern whose directory had dealt like this with 
great affairs, would not at the next stockholders* 
meeting elect a new board. And yet after all this 
dreadful time we have had, after drawing the coun 
try through this slough of despond, we are still told 
that the end has not yet been reached; that the work 
is to go on. Mr. Cleveland tells us that, Mr. Wilson 
tells us, and the Democratic senators tell us that. It 
is very distressing information. It is always a com 
fort when we can say that the worst has happened, and 
that there is nothing worse in store for us. If we could 
only know that we were at the bottom of the well, and 
that no other depths yawned for us, we would anoint 
our bruises and look up and see if out of the darkness 
some star did not show itself, and then try to get out 


of the hole. But these gentlemen all tell us that this 
war is to go on; but they are not quite sure to have 
their own way about it. This congress has three 
months more of life and only three. A great deal of 
that time will be required to frame the necessary appro 
priation bills. And if, as I believe, the congress chosen 
this fall is Republican, all the balance of the time of 
the session, I am sure, will be taken up by our Repub 
lican senators explaining to their Democratic col 
leagues what the election this fall meant. And we 
shall have an end of this destructive war on our Ameri 
can industries. 

I have wondered why our Democratic leaders 
should hate an American smokestack. And yet 
they have in these campaigns described the American 
manufacturer as a thieving robber-baron. They have 
had no terms but those of denunciation for him. I 
never could see why this could be so why it was 
an offense against society or the country for a man 
to build a mill and give employment to men and 
women at decent wages inside of it. But 
these appeals have been made, and the minds of 
the workingmen were inflamed against their employ 
ers. They were made to believe that the man who 
paid them wages was their enemy, and they must 
assume toward him the attitude of hostility. They 
were told that the benefits of protection were not 
equally distributed, and that the manufacturer got 
too much. Other men were told if they did not 


work in protected industries they got no benefit 
from protection; as if there was not a gradation be 
tween wages, the common wages of the common la 
borer on the street up to the skilled man in the 
shop. If the skilled man or engineer gets $20 a 
month, will the laborer on the street get $i a day? 
There is a relation of these things. This question 
touches all labor. And it is sophistry to attempt to 
separate labor into two classes, one in the protected 
industries and one out of it. All are alike interested, 
and yet their minds have been poisoned, and they were 
told that we lived under a system that made the rich 
richer and the poor poorer; and by way of curing it 
they brought in a time when we were all poor. 

My countrymen, I wish we could banish epithets 
from our public discussion. I wish we could get 
our people all to understand that when we have 
prosperous times they are good for everybody; 
not equally, one may gain more than another; 
but when we have good times everybody shares 
them in his measure. And when we have evil 
times, every man shares the sorrow of them. We are 
in our social and civil life so knit together that it is 
an impossible condition of things when the times can 
be prosperous for some of our people and disastrous 
for others. Let us take that lesson to our hearts. Let 
us put bitterness out of them. Let us stop these envy- 
ings and these jealousies, and look at these questions 
from the standpoint of a common love for a common 



country, and a brotherhood among the citizens of that 
land. The workingman is told that the um 
brella that sheltered him and his employer is not 
held quite level. He was getting too much of the 
drip. He was made angry and he said: "I will 
smash the umbrella and we will both be out in the 
wet." But the poor fellow forgot that the employer 
had a rubber coat, while he was in his shirt sleeves. I 
think we are wiser now than we were. Adversity is a 
great teacher. Experience exacts a high tuition, but 
we carry its lessons a long time. The Democratic 
party was uninstructed and inexperienced. All of the 
cost we have suffered has been brought about in an 
effort to educate it to the management of the 
government. It has been a very costly experiment, 
and I submit to you whether we had not better close the 

I think that the great masses of every political creed 
and of every religion are patriotic lovers of their 
country, and that according to their lights they are 
willing to serve it. It is a country worthy the love 
of us all. It has a noble history, a history illus 
trated by great deeds, a history sanctified by 
great sacrifices, a history that has set in the galaxy 
of the world's great statesmen some enduring names, 
a history that has set in the rolls of the military 
chieftains names that are at the top, a country that 
has fought a great war to a successful issue without 
a standing army. A country that has preserved a 


vast domain, domestic peace, and individual security; 
a country that has riches untold, a country whose flag 
the world recognizes as the emblem of a great power 
resting upon the affection of its own people. 
It is worthy of our love. It should be be 
fore everything else but God. Wife, children, 
mother, lover all these men have put aside for it, 
and they have poured out their blood in its defense, 
glad that they might thus contribute to the security 
of their country and the honor of the flag. 
Is it too much, then, to ask you, my coun 
trymen, here to-night, in this great national 
crisis, in this time when our American workmen 
are suffering and out of employment, in this time 
when wages are going down and hope is going out, 
to stand by that good American doctrine that would 
maintain these wages at a living standard and de 
fend our homes against an enemy more fatal to our 
peace and prosperity than any armed legions that 
could be marshaled against them the invasion of pau 
perism ? 

I read this morning that the operatives of Fall 
River, after a loss of a million or more in wages 
and the exhaustion of their union treasury funds, 
have returned to work at the scale proposed. I went 
only a week or two ago through a busy section of 
my own state, where industries, stimulated by the 
discovery of natural gas as a fuel, have sprung up in 
the last six years with marvelous rapidity. I walked 


through lines of workmen from some of those shops 
bearing on their hats this legend: "Wages 221-2 
per cent, off." So it is down, down, down! My 
countrymen, let us stop this war on American in 
dustry and American homes. Let the greatest of the 
manufacturing states, by her people in this election, 
speak in a voice that shall be heard from ocean to ocean 
in condemnation of those who have brought these 
disasters upon the country. I believe that will be the 
verdict of the country. 


In "The Interior" Chicago, August, 1896 

Why should I be asked to write about education, 
who am not an educator? In truth, all I under 
stand as to this particular is only this: that the 
greatest and most important difficulty of human 
science is the nurture and education of children. 
There is a sense in which we are all educators un 
licensed teachers. We have no roll of our pupils 
they are a truant lot, and take their lessons in a cas 
ual way. We are seldom conscious that we are im 
parting instruction, and the pupils do not know that 
they are taking lessons. Perhaps the sum of what 
is learned in this way is greater and more potent 
in the life of the pupils than what is learned in the 
schools. The former is absorbed; the latter may be 
only a skin polish. If this educational number of 
The Interior is dedicated to the schools, I can con 
tribute only reminiscences; but if it is educational in 
the broader sense, I might indulge in some sugges 
tions; and, for the increased room it will give me, I 
shall assume that it is so. 



When the boy is six, or it may be seven years of 
age, the parents say: "It is time we were putting 
him in school." My dear, deluded friends, he has 
been "in school" since he was eighteen months old; 
and for the most of that time he was a scholar with 
out opinions and without doubts; he controverted 
nothing, save only when his physical desires were 
crossed, and was more alert, observing, curious and 
retentive than he will be again. Nothing has be 
come commonplace to him. He has acquired his let 
ters can read a little; but has any grown person 
ever had a conversation with him? He has been 
lectured, teased, chaffed and petted; has had some 
moral and religious precepts imparted to him. His 
antics of body and mind have been laughed at; but 
has any man or woman ever had a conversation with 
him? He has had, perhaps, governesses and nurses, 
but never in most cases an adult companion. He 
may be pert in some things and ways, but he has a 
store of things that he hides, and will only uncover 
to a chum. Every boy and girl needs an adult chum 
as an educational force. Consider the case of a boy. 
He has been brought into a vast workshop, where 
the most subtle forces and the most intricate mechan 
isms are humming and whirling; into a vast picture 
gallery where thousands of canvases, great and 
small, are hung; into a great auditorium where on 
many stages clowns and tragedians are acting and 
reciting. He needs help; for a habit that will in- 


fluence, yes control, his intellectual life is now being 
acquired. Is he to have a wandering or a fixed eye; 
a habit of attention or of mental dissipation? Per 
ception is near the base of all intellectual growth. 
That men can see, and see not, was one of the Bible 
paradoxes that my infant mind hearing heard not. 
But the explanatory words "perceive" and "under 
stand" make the saying not only plain but profound. 
Seeing is a mental, not an optical fact. The great 
men in every department of labor are the men who 
seeing, see, and hearing, hear. A "scatter-brain" 
may run on to a bee tree, but he can not be depended 
upon to supply the table with honey. We note many 
mental "characteristics" in men. We say this one 
has a good memory, and this one great reasoning 
powers; but from a mental standpoint there are in 
truth only two great classes among men the men 
who give attention and the men who do not. 

The first command on the drill ground is "atten 
tion;" and it ought to be the first in the nursery, the 
home and the school. The best way to cultivate the 
memory is to get a focus and then to give a proper 
exposure. The most of the things we have forgot 
ten are things we never knew. As soon as a child 
is old enough to notice anything, he may be taught 
to make his notice particular and not casual. 

"The clay is moist and soft; now, now make haste, 
And form the vessel, for the wheel turns fast." 


Why did the good God make things to differ 
the leaf and bark and seed, only enough alike to in 
dicate the family, and yet no counterparts in any 
family if not for our notice? You can make noth 
ing of a boy to whom a tree is a tree, until you 
have taught him that it is not so. The boy who has 
learned to distinguish a beech from a box alder will 
make other distinctions more easily. I am persuaded 
that we make too little of childhood in our educa 
tional system. The schoolroom gets him soon 
enough, perhaps too soon, and with too hard a grip; 
but the guide of the two, three, four and five-year 
old has been too much off duty. Do not mistake me. 
The pupils are not to be called in from play; there 
is to be no hour; they are not to be crammed, nor 
their feet set in paths, nor to have any suspicion that 
they are taking a lesson. The object is not knowl 
edge, but the training of a faculty that is then very 
alert the faculty of perception. Do not plan to 
bring objects to their notice so much as to lead them 
to notice more accurately things that have already 
attracted their notice. Do not try to be exhaustive, 
but only to add something. Senator Stanford told 
me that in the training of his young horses he al 
ways stopped the exercise inside the fatigue limit. 

The faculty of description, of making others see 
and enjoy what you have seen and enjoyed, is the 
handmaid of perception, and the two should walk 
together. Do not do all the talking; let the child 


have a chance. Montaigne says : " Tis the custom 
of schoolmasters to be eternally thundering in their 
pupils' ears, as though they were pouring into a fun 
nel. * * * I would not have him alone to in 
vent and speak, but that he should also hear his pu 
pils in turn." The tank may be full, but if there is 
no tap how shall we draw from it? Composition 
will be made easy, and the accuracy of the child's 
observation will be tested by drawing him on to de 
scribe what he has seen. To make giving out easy 
is quite as much in the way of education as a fa 
cility of storing up. The filling of the corn crib im 
plies the emptying of it. It may be well enough to 
have children commit to memory worthy verse and 
prose, but a description is better mental exercise than 
a recital. Remember the little fellow is often very 
modest and very easily squelched. A laugh, and 
as a little friend of mine gave the scripture at fam 
ily prayers "there was a great clam." The old 
saying, "Children should be seen and not heard" has 
no truth in it, as applied to family life. Every 
child should be heard, not intrusively, but often, 
and with attention and sympathy. You are at great 
pains about his table manners what he shall eat, 
and that he shall not eat it with his knife; but we 
have authority for saying that what comes out of 
the mouth is more important. 

I would not take any of the frolic out of a child's 
life no lifting of the finger, no pedantic gravity, 


no forcing or cramming but I would make play and 
story, the walk, the evening hour upon the knee, all 
contribute little by little to the development of the 
faculties of observation and description. It will 
make the inevitable composition on the cow much 
easier and more instructive if the writer has ob 
served that all cows do not have horns, and that the 
long brush tail is not worn so much for the milk 
maid as for the flies. Said a little girl, who had 
with her class just written about the cow, "Mr. Har 
rison, there was one thing every one of us forgot." 
"What was that?" I asked. "Why, that the cow 
has a compound stomach." The truth was, I sus 
pect, that they had never known it, had never ob 
served the vigorous chewing of the cow as she stood 
in the barnyard. But these were city girls, and the 
milkman, and not the cow, should have been as 
signed 'for their theme. 

The person, boy or girl, man or woman, who has 
acquired the habit of attention, of close observation, 
and the faculty of describing what has been observed, 
is an educated person in a truer sense than many an 
other who is more learned. The former is in the 
way of becoming an intellectual pioneer the latter 
may be only a bin of mixed wheat. It must be that 
in looking at things for six years a habit of looking 
will be acquired, and it is immensely important that 
it should be a right habit. Bacon says: "Certainly 
custom is most perfect when it beginneth in young 


years, this we call education which is in effect but 
an early custom." 

I hope these suggestions, misapplied, will not get 
any of my young friends into trouble. I do not re 
commend the rod as a means of fixing the attention; 
though in a way it has that effect. In the case of the 
child in the home, the lessons should be chiefly given 
as the stimulant was given to the teetotaler, in Mr. 
Lincoln's story "unbeknownst to him." 


Carnegie Hall, New York, August 27, 1896 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN I am on the Republican 
retired list, not by reason of any age limit nor by 
the decree of any convention, but voluntarily that the 
younger men might have a chance, and that I might 
have rest. But I am neither a soured nor a bed 
ridden citizen. My interest in my country did not 
cease when my last salary check was cashed. I 
hoped to add to relief from official duties retire 
ment from the arena of political debate. But the 
gentlemen having in charge this campaign seemed 
to think that I might in some way advance the in 
terest of those principles which are not less dear to 
me than they are to you, by making in this great 
city a public address. I thought they greatly mag 
nified the importance of anything that I could say, 
but I could not quite content myself to subordinate 
what others thought to be a public duty to my pri 
vate convenience. I am here to-night not to make 



a "keynote" speech, but only to express my personal 
views, for which no one else will be in any measure 
responsible, for this speech has not been submitted 
to the judgment of any one until now. 

I shall speak, my fellow-citizens, as a Republican, 
but with perfect respect for those who hold differ 
ing opinions. Indeed, I have never had so much re 
spect for Democrats as I have now; or, perhaps, I 
should say I have never had so much respect for so 
many Democrats as I have now. That party has 
once more exhibited its capacity to be ruptured, and 
a party that can not be split is a public menace. 
When the leaders of a party assembled in conven 
tion depart from its traditional principles and advo 
cate doctrines that threaten the integrity of the gov 
ernment, the social order of our communities and 
the security and soundness of our finances, the party 
ought to split and it dignifies itself when it does 
split. A bolt is now and then a most reassuring 
incident, and was never more reassuring and never 
had a better cause than now. 

But these Democratic friends, who are disposed 
more or less directly to help the cause of sound 
finance in this campaign, ought not to expect that 
the Republican party will reorganize itself because 
the Democratic party has disorganized itself. The 
Republican party, if sound money triumphs, as I be 
lieve it will, must, in the nature of things, consti 
tute the body of the successful army. We ought not, 


therefore, to be asked to do anything that will af 
fect the solidity, the loyalty, the discipline or the en 
thusiasm of the Republican party. 

The Republican party fronts the destructionists and 
trumpets its defiance to the enemies of sound money. 
It will fight, however, without covering any of the 
glorious mottoes and inscriptions that are upon its 
banner. When the house is on fire and many of 
our Democratic friends believe that to be the pres 
ent domestic situation the tenant on the top floor 
ought not to ask the tenant in the basement to bury 
any of his opinions before he joins the fire brigade. 
And our Democratic friends who realize as we realize 
the gravity, the far-reaching consequences of this 
campaign, ought not to ask the Republican party to 
reorganize itself; or to put aside any of the great 
principles it has advocated, in order to win Demo 
cratic votes. If this opinion is sincerely held, as 
they insist and as I believe, it ought to determine 
their action without reference to what anybody else 
may do. And I submit to these gentlemen, for whose 
opinions I have the highest respect, whether, if it 
be true, as they say, that the success of the Chi 
cago nominee would plunge this country into irre 
trievable commercial distress and drag the nation's 
honor in the dust, there can be any question for 
them but this: "How can we most surely defeat 
the Chicago nominee?" 

Neither conventions nor committees can create 


issues, nor assign them their places in a campaign. 
That is the leading issue of a campaign which most 
agitates and most interests the people. In my opin 
ion there is no issue presented by the Chicago con 
vention more important and vital than the issue 
raised as to the powers and duties of the national 
courts and the national executive. The defense of 
the constitution, of the integrity of the supreme 
court of the United States, and of the president's 
power and duty to enforce all of the laws of the 
United States without awaiting the call or the con 
sent of the governor of any state, has again be 
come an important and living issue. Tariff and 
coinage laws will be of little moment if our consti 
tutional government is overthrown. When we have 
a president who believes that it is neither his right 
nor his duty to see that the mail trains are not ob 
structed and that interstate commerce has its free 
way, irrespective of state lines, and courts that fear 
to use their ancient and familiar powers to restrain 
and punish law-breakers, free trade and free silver 
will be appropriate accompaniments of such an ad 
ministration, and can not add appreciably to the na 
tional distress or the national dishonor. 

There is only one rule by which we can live use 
fully as a nation or peacefully as citizens. It is the 
rule of the laws, constitutionally enacted and finally 
interpreted by the judicial tribunal appointed by the 
constitution. When it becomes the rule that vio- 


lence carries its end, we have anarchy a condition 
as destructive to honest labor and its rewards as 
death is to the tissues of the human body. 

The atmosphere of the Chicago convention was 
surcharged with the spirit of revolution. Its plat 
form was carried, and its nominations made with ac 
companying incidents of frenzy that startled the on- 
loo'kers and amazed the country. The courts and the 
president were arraigned for enforcing the laws, and 
government by the mob was given the preference 
over government by the law enforced by court de 
crees and by executive orders. The spirit that ex 
hibited itself in this convention was so wild and 
fierce that Mr. Bryan likened it to the fiery zeal that 
possessed the crusaders who responded to the im 
passioned appeals of Peter the Hermit to rescue the 
sepulcher of our Lord from the hands of the infidels. 
His historical illustration was more apt then he knew, 
for the zeal of the crusaders was a blind and ignorant 
zeal; they sought to rescue the transient and ineffect 
ual sepulcher that had held the body of the Son of 
God, while* they trampled upon the precepts of love 
and mercy which He had left for their guidance in 
life. He tells us further that this silver crusade has 
arrayed father against son, and brother against 
brother, and has sundered the tenderest ties of love. 
Senator Hill, watching the strange proceedings, had 
to extend that brief political creed from which he 
has gained so much renown. He felt compelled to 


say: "I am a Democrat, but I am not a revolu 
tionist." Senator Vest, realizing that they were in 
augurating a revolution, reminded the convention 
that revolutions did not begin with the rich and pros 
perous. Mr. Tillman felt that the change in the 
management of public affairs was to be so radical 
that he proposed sulphur fumigation for the ship be 
fore the new crew took possession of it. 

Now, my friends, all these things indicate the 
temper in which the platform was adopted and the 
nominations made. There was no calm deliberation. 
There was frenzy. There was no thoughtful search 
ing for the man who, from experience, was most 
able to direct public affairs. There was an impuls 
ive response to an impassioned speech. Not amid 
such surroundings as these, not under such influ 
ences, are those calm, discreet things done that will 
commend themselves to the judgment of the Ameri 
can people. They denounce in their platform inter 
ference by federal authority in local affairs as a vio 
lation of the constitution of the United States and a 
crime against free institutions. Mr. Tillman, in his 
speech, applied this declaration. It was intended to 
be a direct condemnation of Mr. Cleveland, as presi 
dent of the United States, for using the power of 
the executive to brush out of the way every obstacle 
to the free passage of the mail trains of the United 
States and of interstate commerce. My friends, 
whenever our people elect a president who believes 


that he must ask of Governor Altgeld, or of any 
governor of any state, permission to enforce the laws 
of the United States we have surrendered the vic 
tory the boys won in 1861. 

In 1 86 1 the question was raised whether the 
United States coufd pass its troops through Ken 
tucky to meet a rebel army in Tennessee. We were 
four years in settling the question fully but it was 
settled forever. My friends, this division of pow 
ers between the general and local authorities is a 
plain and easy one. A disturbance which is purely 
local in a state is a state affair. The president can 
not send troops or lend any aid unless the legisla 
ture calls upon him for help, or the governor, if the 
legislature is not in session. But when a law of the 
United States is resisted, it is the sworn duty of the 
president to execute it; and this convention arraigns 
the president for doing what his oath compelled him 
to do. Comrades of the war for the Union, sons 
of those that went out to battle that the flag might 
not lose its luster, will you consent, after these years, 
that the doctrine that was shot to death in the great 
war shall be revived and made victorious in a civil 
campaign ? 

But this assault does not end there. The supreme 
court of the United States and the lower federal 
courts are arraigned because they use the familiar 
writ of injunction to suppress violence, to restrain 
men from breaking the law; and that platform plain- 


ly means I will show you that it was so under 
stood in the committee on resolutions that when 
the supreme court, exercising its constitutional pow 
er and duty, gives an interpretation to a law of the 
United States that is not pleasing to congress, they 
will increase the number of judges and pack the 
court to get a decision to please them. 

Our fathers who framed this government divided 
its great powers between three great departments 
the legislative, the executive and the judicial. They 
sought to make these independent, the one of the 
other, so that neither might overshadow or destroy 
the other. The supreme court, the most dignified 
judicial body in the world, was appointed to inter 
pret the laws and the constitution, and when that 
court pronounces a decree upon any constitutional 
question, there is but one right method, if we dis 
agree, to overturn the decree, and that is the meth 
od pointed out by the constitution, to amend it to 
conform to the views of the people. Mr. Hill said 
in his convention speech as to this assault upon the 
court: "That provision, if it means anything, 
means that it is the duty of congress to reconstruct 
the supreme court of the country. It means" and 
now note his words "and it was openly avowed 
that it means the adding of additional members to 
it or the turning out of office and reconstructing the 
whole court. I will not follow any such revolution 
ary step as that." 


You are to answer, then, my fellow-citizens, in 
all the gravity of a great crisis, whether you will 
sustain a party that proposes to destroy the balance 
which our fathers instituted in our system of gov 
ernment and to inaugurate the policy that whenever 
a tumultuous congress disagrees with the supreme 
court and a subservient president is in the White 
House, the judgment of the court shall be reconsid 
ered and reversed by increasing the number of 
judges and packing the court with men who will 
decide as congress wants them to. I can not exag 
gerate the danger of this assault upon our constitu 
tional .form of government. One of the kindest and 
most discriminating critics who ever wrote with a 
foreign pen about American affairs, Mr. Bryce, in 
his "American Commonwealth," pointed out the dan 
ger growing out of the fact that the constitution 
did not fix the number of the supreme court judges, 
and that it was possible for a reckkss congress and 
a reckless executive to subordinate and practically 
destroy the supreme court by the process I have just 
described. After speaking of this he says: "What 
prevents such assaults on the fundamental law? 
Nothing but the fear of the people, whose broad, 
good sense and attachment to the principles of the 
constitution may be generally relied upon to con 
demn such a perversion of its powers." 

Our English friend did not misjudge us, I think. 
The sound, good sense of the American people, 


when an issue like this is presented, can be depended 
upon to save the courts from the threatened destruc 
tion. The question is whether Mr. Bryan's view 
or Mr. Tillman's view of a constitutional question 
shall prevail, or that of the august tribunal appointed 
by the constitution to settle it. The courts are the 
defense of the weak. The rich and powerful have 
other resources, but the poor have not. A high- 
minded, independent judiciary that will hew to the 
line on questions between wealth and labor, between 
the rich and the poor, is the defense and security of 
the defenseless. 

I do not intend to spend any time in the discussion 
of the tariff question. That debate has been won 
and need not be protracted. 

It might have run on eternally upon theoretical 
lines. We had some experiences, but they were his 
torically remote, and so not very instructive to this 
generation. We needed an experience of our own, 
and we have had it. It has been a hard lesson, but 
a very convincing one, and everybody was in the 
school-house when it was given. Mr. Depew, whose 
absolute accuracy and verity when he tells a story you 
all know, in telling that story of our talk on the 
White House 'steps, did an unintentional injury to 
my modesty. I did not say or for a moment sup 
pose that any influence or act of mine had lifted the 
tide of American prosperity to a mark on the stone 
higher than any other flood record. The Republican 


policies were the lifting forces. As I have more than 
once said, it is a conflict of policies, not of men. 
And in this tariff debate, if it is to go on, we have 
history so fresh and recent, history so indelibly writ 
ten on the hearts and minds of our people, that cer 
tain things must be admitted, and among those 
things is this historical fact that in 1892 we had the 
most prosperous times, the most general diffusion of 
prosperity, and the highest mark of prosperity that 
we have ever attained as a nation. 

Now what has happened since? Then our busi 
ness prosperity was like the strong current of a 
mighty river flowing bank full; now itis like a fail 
ing spring in an August drought. A panic in 1893 
of a most extraordinary character has been succeed 
ed by a gradual drying up less and less and less, un 
til universal business distraction and anxiety pre 
vail in all our communities. I do not believe there 
has ever been a time, except perhaps in the very 
stress of some active panic, when watchfulness even 
to the point of desperation has so characterized this 
great metropolis as it does to-day. Men have been 
afraid to go away for a vacation. They have felt 
that they must every day in this burning heat come 
into the city and watch their business. That is the 

What has brought it about? Gentlemen, who is 
there to defend the Wilson tariff bill? Who says 
it is a good tariff measure? I do not believe a 


Democrat can be found to say that it is. Mr. .Cleve 
land repudiated it. It was so .bad that he would 
not attach his official signature to it, and it became 
a law without it. He said it was full of incongru 
ities and inequalities. And yet it was a better one 
than he wanted to give us. What has been the re 
sult of that measure? When, two years ago, dur 
ing the Morton campaign in New York, I discussed 
this question, I said that the old Democratic doc- 
'trine was that the burden of our. public expenses 
should be laid upon importations, that the tariff 
should provide for the cost of running our govern 
ment, and I pointed out then how our Democratic 
friends had left that platform and were now endeav 
oring to obtain revenue by internal taxation rather 
than to allow the support of the government to fall 
upon the importations of foreign goods. What has 
been the result? One of these experiments in inter 
nal taxation, the income tax, was held to be uncon 
stitutional by the supreme court. 

So eager were our Democratic friends to put di 
rectly upon our people, according to the English sys 
tem, taxes to support our government, that they 
passed an unconstitutional act in order to levy inter 
nal taxes and help out a tariff bill which had reduced 
the duties upon imports. Now, what has been the 
effect of that? The Wilson bill has failed to pro 
duce revenue enough, supplemented by our internal 
taxes, to maintain the government. There has been 


an annual deficit approaching $50,000,000, and the 
national treasury has been continually in a state of 
embarrassment. Our manufacturers, left without ade 
quate protection, have been successively and grad 
ually closing up and putting out their fires. But 
not only has it produced this effect, it has directly 
and strongly contributed to the financial depression 
that we are in. The maintenance of the gold re 
serve at $100,000,000 by the government for the re 
demption of our notes is essential to confidence in 
the stability of our finances. When the government 
reserve runs down people begin at once to say : "We 
may come to a silver basis; gold is going out; the 
reserve is going down." 

But how can you keep a gold reserve of $100,000,- 
ooo when you have not got $100,000,000 in the 
treasury all told? How can you maintain the gold 
reserve when you have an annual and continual def 
icit in your income? 

So that, my friends, this tariff bill has not only 
contributed by increasing importation, by taking 
away needful support from our own manufacturers, 
but it has contributed by increasing the silver scare 
to bring us into the condition of distrust and dis 
may which now prevails. The bond sales have been 
made necessary by reason of this deficit. It is one 
thing when you have a good surplus in the treasury 
to keep up the gold reserve, and quite another when 
you have no surplus at all. 


But I do not intend to follow the tariff question 
further. I am quite as much, however, opposed to 
cheapening the American workingman and working- 
woman as I am to cheapening our dollars. I am quite 
as strongly in favor of keeping day's work at home 
as gold dollars. If it could be known to-night that 
that gallant soldier, that typical young American, 
that distinguished and useful statesman, William Mc- 
Kinley of Ohio, would certainly be elected president, 
how the bears would take to cover on the stock ex 
change to-morrow! 

My friends, as a Republican I am proud of many 
things, but I can sum up as the highest satisfaction I 
have had in the party and its career that the pros 
pect of Republican success never did disturb business. 

In connection with this financial matter, do we all 
realize how important the choice of a president is? 
Do you know that as the law is now, without the 
passage of any free coinage law at all, it is in the 
power of the president of the United States to bring 
the business of this country to a silver basis? All 
he has to do is to let the gold reserve go, to pay out 
silver when men ask for gold, and we are there al 
ready. It is only because the presidents of the United 
States that we have had, and the one we have now, 
have regarded it under the law as their public duty 
to maintain that parity between our gold and silver 
coins which the law declares is the policy of the gov 
ernment, and because they have had the courage to 


execute the powers given to them by the resumption 
act to carry out that declaration of public law, that 
we are not now on a silver basis. I undertake, 
therefore, to say that if Mr. Bryan or a man holding 
his views were in the presidential chair, without any 
legislation by congress we should be on a silver basis 
in a week's time. 

Three or four years ago, when 1 was in New York, 
one of those reporters who hear things that are not 
intended for them, got hold of a remark of mine about 
the wild .horses that Mr. Cleveland had to handler- 
I simply meant by that what has been since demon 
strated, that he did not have a compact or solidified 
party behind him; that the Democratic party in con 
gress represented every shade of "ism" that had ever 
been produced in the country, and that he could not 
get on with it. My prophecy has become a verity. 
They abandoned him, and now, as that caution was 
meant to indicate that we needed to look out for con 
gress as well as our president, this caution is intend 
ed to show you at this time that we need to look after 
our president if we would avoid the calamity of hav 
ing this country put upon the Mexican basis of 

The silver question what is it? Do we want sil 
ver because we want more money, a larger circulat 
ing medium ? I have not heard anybody say so. Mr. 
Bryan is not urging it upon that basis. If anybody 
were to give that as a reason for wanting free sil- 


ver, he would be very soon confounded by the fact 
that free silver would put more gold out of circu 
lation than the mints of the United States could pos 
sibly bring in in years of silver, and that instead of 
having more money, we should have less. Our six 
hundred and odd millions of gold driven out of cir 
culation will reduce the per capita money of this 
country between $8 and $9. So it is not for more 
money. We have an abundant supply of circulating 
medium gold, silver, national bank paper, green 
backs, treasury notes, fractional silver. We have 
something like $23 per capita of our population. 
What is .it, then, that creates the demand for free 
silver? It is openly avowed it is not more dollars, 
but cheaper dollars, that are wanted. It is a lower 
standard of value that they are demanding. They 
say gold has gone up until it has ceased to be a 
proper standard of values, and they want silver. But 
how do they want it? Now, my friends, there is a 
great deal of talk about bimetallism and the double 
standard, and a great deal of confusion in the use 
of these terms. Bimetallism is the use of the two 
metals as money. By a double standard we mean 
that we shall have a gold dollar and a silver dollar 
which shall be units of value by which all property 
and all wages and everything is to be measured. 
Now, our fathers thought that when they used 
these two metals in coinage as money units a double 
standard they must determine the intrinsic relative 


value of the two. That a comparison of the markets 
of the world would show just what relation one 
ounce of silver bore to one ounce of gold; how 
many ounces of silver it took to be equal to one 
ounce of gold, and they carefully went about ascer 
taining that ratio. Thomas Jefferson and Alexan 
der Hamilton gave their great powers to the deter 
mination of that question. They collected the mar 
ket reports and when they had found what appeared 
to be the general and average relative value of the 
two metals they fixed upon a ratio between them. 

Now, what was the object of all that? Why did 
they not "lump" it? Because they fully understood 
that unless these dollars were of the same intrinsic 
value both of them could not be standards of value 
and both could not circulate. Why, every boy 
knows that it is essential that the length of his stilts 
below the tread shall be the same. What is the law 
that governs here? It is just this simple law of hu 
man selfishness and self-protection that if you have 
two things either of which will pay a debt and one 
is not as valuable as the other, you are sure to give 
the less valuable one. It is upon the principle that 
a man who can pay a debt with one dollar won't 
give two precisely that. So that unless these two 
units maintain approximately the relative value as 
signed to them in coinage, so that sixteen ounces of 
silver is worth one ounce of gold, you can not make 
such dollars circulate together. The one that is the 


more valuable the man will keep in his pocket, or 
he will sell it to a bullion broker, and everybody 
will use the other. It is an old law, proclaimed 
years ago in England by Gresham, that the cheaper 
dollar drives the better one out. It has been illus 
trated in our history repeatedly. It has been illus 
trated in the history of every commercial nation in 
the world, and everybody can see why it is so. You 
might just as well say that if we had two kinds of 
bushels, if the law should declare that sixty pounds 
of wheat was a bushel and thirty pounds of wheat 
was a bushel that the farmer would deliver wheat 
by the sixty-pound measure. 

Now, so nice were our fathers about this adjust 
ment that they went into decimal fractions. We say 
1 6 to i. In fact, that is not the ratio. It is 15.988 
plus. It is so near 16 that we call it 16, but the 
men who made our silver dollar and our gold dol 
lar were so nice in their calculations that they went 
into decimal fractions, into thousandths, to adjust ac 
curately the coinage to the commercial ratio. Now, 
what do these people propose to do? To take any 
account of thousandths? No. When the markets of 
the world fix the relative value of silver and gold 
at thirty or thirty-one ounces of silver to one ounce 
of gold, they propose to say sixteen. Well, my 
friends, there has been nothing more amusing and 
yet I fear that with the thoughtless it may have been 
in some measure misleading than the repeated dec- 


laration of Mr. Bryan that everybody admitted that 
bimetallism was a good thing there is no debate on 
that subject and that the debate of the campaign 
has come down to this fine point: "The Republicans 
say that we can not have this good thing without 
the consent of England, and we say we can have it 
ourselves," and he has endeavored to pivot this great 
campaign with its tremendous issues upon that pin 

We hear a great deal about the great resources 
and wealth and power of this country, and I do not 
allow anybody to go beyond my appreciation of 
them; but what is the use of talking about all that 
when you do not propose to put this wealth and power 
and influence behind the silver dollar at all. As 
things are now, the silver dollars that we have are 
supported by the government; its wealth and its 
pledge are behind them. The government has issued 
these dollars on its own account not for the mine 
owner and it has pledged its sacred honor that it 
would make every one of them as good as a gold 
dollar. And that is a powerful support. Without 
it, disparity between these two metals would at once 
show itself in the markets. There would be some 
reason in the talk which our Populistic friends in 
dulge in when they speak of the power of this gov 
ernment, if they proposed to put this power behind 
their free coinage. But they do not. They propose 
that the men who dig silver out of the mines may 


bring it to the mint and have it stamped and handed 
back to them as a dollar, the government having no 
responsibility about it. 

These men would reject with contempt the propo 
sition that free coinage should come with a pledge 
on behalf of the government to maintain the parity 
of the two dollars. But this appeal is well adapted 
to touch our American bumptiousness, and well 
adapted to touch that prejudice against England 
which many people have. But can we do this thing 
ourselves? Is it a question whether we will do it, or 
wait somebody's consent? Not at all. 

I will tell you what this government can do alone. 
It can fix its money unit. It can declare by law what 
shall be the relative value of an ounce of gold and an 
ounce of silver, but it can not make fchat last declara 
tion good. It is unquestionably fully within the power 
of the government to bring this country to a silver 
basis by coining silver dollars and making them legal 
tender. This government can say you shall take 
these dollars in discharge of any debt owing to you, 
notwithstanding you may have loaned gold dollars; 
but it can not say, and enforce its decree, if it should 
call out the regular army and navy and muster all 
our great modern ships and add the militia, and put 
William J. Bryan in command of them it can not 
enforce the decree that one ounce of gold is the 
equivalent of sixteen ounces of silver. Not only that, 
not France and England and Germany can do that 


unless the markets respond. Why? You may 
make me take a. silver dollar for a debt, but you can 
not make me give as many yards of cloth for a sil 
ver dollar as I have been in the habit of giving for 
a gold one. 

If I have a gold dollar in this hand and a silver 
one in that, and you declare they are equal, and I can 
take the gold dollar to a bullion broker and get two 
silver dollars for it, I know it is a lie. If I have 
nothing but a gold dollar, I will not give that gold 
dollar for twenty pounds of sugar. I will take it 
to a broker and get two silver dollars for it, get 
the twenty pounds of sugar and have one silver dol 
lar -left. So it is, my friends. We can of ourselves, 
of our own wisdom, declare the unit of value. We 
can coin silver freely, but we can not make sixteen 
ounces of silver equal to one ounce of gold unless 
it is. And it is not unless the merchants take it at 
that rate. It is trade; it is the merchant; it is the 
man who exchanges and deals in these things who 
fixes the relative value, and if you do not adopt in 
coinage the value he fixes, the gold dollar will go 
out of circulation. 

What is another consequence? In this connection 
these gentlemen say, "Why! didn't we win the bat 
tle of Bunker Hill? Didn't we whip the British 
at Yorktown? And do you mean to say we can't 
do it again ?"^ The logic of these gentlemen if I 
may use such a term in connection with such balder- 


dash is that a nation that can do these great things 
and establish its political independence can also be 
financially and commercially free. It can not be free 
of the laws of trade. You can say that ten muskrat 
skins are equal to ten beaver skins, but that does not 
make it so; the fur trader is stronger than congress 
in settling that question. 

The free coinage of silver now is the financial and 
moral equivalent of a declaration that fifty-cent pieces 
are dollars. They might just as well pass a law that 
half dollars are dollars. That would not make it so, 
would it? It would be a legal dollar, but it would 
not buy a dollar's worth of anything. The mer 
chant would take care of himself. A man keeps a 
store down here on Broadway, and that law is go 
ing into operation to-morrow. He summons all his 
clerks, buys twenty-five cents' worth of pencils, and 
before he opens his store in the morning he has 
marked up his goods to the new scale. He can do 
that. But there are great numbers of people who 
enlist our interest, and some of them enkindle our 
sympathies, who can not use the pencil. Take the 
workingman. He can not go to the pay-roll with 
a pencil and mark it up. He has got to consult 
somebody. He has to enter into an agreement. He 
must get another man's consent before he can mark 
up his wages. Then there is the pensioner, those 
that are receiving pensions from this government for 
gallant deeds done in the war, or for the loss of loved 


ones. They can not take their pension certificates, 
and where they read $8 make them read $16. They 
must wait for an appeal to congress, and a eongress 
that is Populistic in character would be unsympa 
thetic, I fear. 

What can the depositors in our savings banks, 
this great company of widows and orphans, the peo 
ple of small means, who are putting by a few pen 
nies daily against a hard time in life, what can they 
do when this change eomes? Can they take their 
bank passbook and where it says $10 write $20? 
Not at all. Take the men who have life insurance 
a man who has providently taken out a policy 
that his widow and children might not come to want 
when the bread-winning hand was stricken in death 
can they, where the policy reads $5,000, make it 
$10,000? No. 

Can the managers of these institutions make it 
right with them? No. This policy coerces integ 
rity. However honest a president of a savings bank 
may be, however full of sympathy the president of 
a life association may be, he is compelled to say: 
"All of the loans of this company are scaled down 
to fifty-cent dollars. We loaned dollars that were 
worth one hundred cents; we are now being paid 
in the reduced dollar. Although our integrity re 
volts against it, our honesty is coerced and we must 
pay the widow one half." 

My friends, these men surely do not contemplate 


the irretrievable and extensive character of the dis 
aster, disturbance and disruption which they are pro 
posing for all of us in all our business affairs, great 
and small. Take the laboring man; how full of 
sympathy they are for him. My countrymen, I 
never spoke a false word to the laboring man in my 
life. I have never sought to reach his vote or in 
fluence by appeals to that part of his nature that lies 
below his intellect and his conscience. I have be 
lieved, and I believe to-day, that any system that 
maintains the prices of labor in this country, that 
brings hope into the life of the laboring man, that 
enables him to put by that which gives him a stake 
in good order, in the property of the country, is 
the policy that should be ours, is the true Ameri 
can policy. I have resisted in many campaigns this 
idea that a debased currency can help the working- 
man. The first dirty errand that a dirty dollar does 
is to cheat the workingman. 

My. friends, a cold, statistical inquiry, non-parti 
san in its character, was made by a committee of the 
Senate in 1890 and some following years. The com 
mittee was composed of Democrats and of Republi 
cans, and they set out to study as statisticians the 
relative prices of commodities and wages at differ 
ent periods in the history of our country. This in 
vestigation covered the years of the war when we 
had a depreciated currency. It showed how prices 
of goods went up 1 and in what proportion labor ad- 


vanced. Goods went up rapidly, because the pencil 
process is a quick process. Wages went up haltingly 
and slowly, because the employer had to be per 
suaded and the pencil wouldn't serve. Now, I have 
here somewhere a memorandum of some of those 
facts resulting from that investigation. Labor in one 
period advanced 3 per cent. Goods, the things the 
man had to buy out of his wages for his family and 
his living, advanced 18 per cent. Through another 
period the laborer's wages advanced 10 1-2 per cent, 
and the price of goods advanced 49 per cent. In an 
other period the wages of the laborer went up 25 
per cent, and the price of merchandise advanced 90 
per cent. In another period the laborer's wages went 
up 43 per cent, and the prices of goods 117 per cent. 
Now, these statistics are the result of a cold, scien 
tific inquiry made by men of both parties to deter 
mine what the truth was, and the truth they found 
was an enormous disparity between the advance of 
the cost of living and the advance of wages. La 
borers, men who work, whether with head or hand, 
would do well to take these facts to heart and settle 
the question after that broad, deep inquiry to which 
Mr. Bryan invites them, as to whether they want to 
enter into another experience such as they had dur 
ing the war, when wages advanced so slowly and 
tediously, and the cost of their living moved up so 

I have sketched very hastily some of the evils that 


will result from this change to a debased dollar 
a contraction of our currency by the exporting of our 
gold and a readjustment of everything. I read the 
other day in a paper a most amusing description of 
the troubles of the ticket agent at Laredo, a station 
on the Mexican railway, who had to sell tickets to 
people who came from the United States with United 
States money, going into Mexico, and to people who 
came out of Mexico and who offered him Mexican 
money. He had a large book bound of yellow scratch 
paper, and he had to cover one whole sheet in his cal 
culation usually when he sold a ticket. That is what 
would happen everywhere. Everything would have 
to be readjusted, the whole business of the country 
would have to be readjusted, and while that process 
was going on uncertainty would characterize busi 
ness, resulting in panic and disaster. 

Now, who will get any benefit? Well, the man 
who owes a debt that he contracted upon a gold 
basis and is able to pay it with a fifty-cent dollar. 
He and the mine owner, who gets an exaggerated price 
for the products of his mine, are the only two people, 
or classes of people, that I can see that would have 
any benefit out of it. My friends, the people who 
advocate this class legislation, this legislation favor 
able to the mine owners, and who offer this tempta 
tion of repudiation to the debtor class, are members 
of the party that has for thirty years been declaiming 
against class legislation. 


They make a strong appeal to the farmer. They 
say it will put up prices. Well, in a sense, yes. 
Nominally, yes. Really, no. If wheat goes from 
fifty cents to $i, the price has been increased, you will 
say; but if the price of everything else has gone 
up in the same proportion a bushel of wheat won't 
buy for the farmer any more sugar or coffee, or 
farming implements, or anything else that he has 
to purchase. If that dollar won't buy for the farm 
er any more than the one he has now, where is the 
good to anybody of introducing these fictitious prices ? 
It would work very well for the farmer if the prices 
of wheat, hay, oats and rye would double and noth 
ing else would double, but if everything doubles, who 
is the richer? Only the man who bought when we 
had an honest dollar and paid in a debased one; 
only the mine owner who uses this government to 
add fifty cents, more or less, to the value of every 
dollar's worth of metal that he produces from his 

My countrymen, this country of ours during the 
troublous times of the war had severe trials, but 
these financial questions are scarcely less troublous 
than those. During those times we had accumulated 
a debt so large that many of our pessimistic Demo 
cratic friends told us we could never pay it. We had 
a currency which we were compelled to make a legal 
tender that the constitution might live. But no 
sooner had the war ended than the great conscience 


of this people declared that the nation that had 
crushed the great rebellion, that had lifted itself to 
a peerless position among the nations of the earth, 
should not continue to have a depreciated currency. 
We resumed, and we made our greenback dollar 
a par dollar in gold. Shall we now in these times, 
when all the ills we suffer are curable if we will pass 
a revenue bill that will generously replenish the 
treasury of the United States, that will generously 
protect American labor against injurious competition 
and bring back again full prosperity to all our peo 
ple shall we now contemplate for a moment or al 
low to have any power over our hearts and minds 
this temptation to debase our currency and put our 
country financially alongside the Asiatic countries? 
Does not every instinct of national pride, does not 
every instinct of self-interest, does not our thought 
ful interest in others, does not our sense of justice 
and honor rise up to rebuke the infamous proposition 
that this government and its people shall become a 
nation and a people that debases its currency to make 
debt-paying more easy? 


The Forum, October, 1896 

Before smokeless powder was invented, an army 
was sometimes wrapped in the black gases belched 
from its own guns. Its soldiers were, in some re 
spects, safer than when the air was clear, but the 
effectiveness of its guns was greatly lessened. The 
silver orators do not use smokeless powder, and, 
though the great political battle has only begun, the 
air is already thick. Let us go to a hilltop, or a 
tree top, and see if we can not trace the lines at 
a few points. 

The free-silver leaders do not seem to me to deny 
what their opponents assert namely, that the free 
coinage of silver at the ratio of 16 to i will, if the 
relative commercial value of gold and silver remains 
unchanged, wipe out about one-half of every existing 
promise to pay money; that every promissory note, 
bond, savings deposit, bank deposit, building associa 
tion certificate, life insurance policy, pension, salary 
and wage contract will be affected precisely as if the 
note, bond, certificate, deposit book, contract or pen- 



sion certificate had been surrendered for a new One 
in which was written one-half the amount of the 
old. "How much owest thou unto my lord?" And 
'he said, "A hundred measures of oil." And he said 
unto him, "Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and 
write fifty." 

A Northwestern senator told me, when the silver 
debate was on in the senate in 189091, that a 
Southern senator had said to him, "I do not want 
you to think that I am a fool. I know that the free 
coinage of silver will scale the debts that my peo 
ple owe and that's what we want. We are poor 
and in debt." The senator thus addressed replied, 
"Well I think you have saved your intellectual in 
tegrity, but at the cost of your moral integrity." 
When Senator Hill, of New York, in the Chicago 
convention, pressed this objection to free coinage, and 
Senator Vilas, of Wisconsin, declared that free coin 
age was robbery, Mr. Bryan, in a speech that won 
him the nomination for the presidency, had 'only this 
to say in reply: 

"But if he means to say that we can not change 
our monetary system without protecting those who 
have loaned money before the change was made, I 
want to ask him where, in law or in morals, he can 
find authority for not protecting the debtors when 
the act of 1873 was passed, but now insists that we 
must protect the creditor?" 

Senator Hill offered an amendment to the plat- 


form to carry out his thought that when the United 
States degraded its coined dollars, their legal-tender 
quality should not extend to existing contracts. 
Some of the newspapers reported that the resolution 
was adopted unanimously; but that must have been 
a mistake, unless the convention in the confusion 
failed to understand the question. I have not seen 
an official copy of the platform, but it is understood 
that the presiding officer declares that Senator Hill's 
amendment was rejected. It would have taken the 
soul out of the free-silver campaign; and, so far 
from offering the relief that Mr. Bryan promises to 
the farmer-debtor, would require him to buy gold at 
an enormous premium to pay his debt, while he sold 
his products for silver. 

The quotation I have made from Mr. Bryan's con 
vention speech and every other speech that I have 
seen seems to me to affirm the legal and moral right 
of the United States to degrade its money standard, 
to pay its obligations in the debased coin, and to give 
to its citizens the right to discharge their debts in 
the same way. He meets the champion of the doc 
trine that the dollar of payment should be as good 
as the dollar borrowed, with a general denial and a 
counter-claim. The counter-claim is presented in be 
half of the debtors of 1873 who, he intimates, were 
injured by the dropping of the silver dollar from our 
coinage in that year. 

It is the supposed injury to the debtors of 1873 


that he proposes to recoup from the creditors of 
1896. He takes no account of the fact that the debtor 
and creditor classes are not fixed classes in this coun 
try; that the debtor of 1873 may be the creditor of 
1896; and that the counter-claim pleaded in behalf of 
the debtors of 1873 would be levied on their own goods 
in considerable part, and be paid to the men who 
are supposed to have despoiled them in 1873. About 
the only bond that runs twenty-five years are railroad 
and other corporate bonds. Farm mortgages rarely 
run more than five years. The railroads, the banks, 
the large corporations, and the United States are the 
great debtors of 1873, who are still in the debtor 
class; and among their creditors are the thrifty poor, 
the widow, the orphan, and the disabled veteran. 
The proposition is that these great debtors shall now 
be permitted to discharge their obligations in dol 
lars worth one-half of the dollars now in use. I 
must qualify that statement: it is not that they shall 
be permited, but compelled, to pay in the debased 
dollar. Dishonesty is not made optional but compul 
sory; for, while the United States must receive its 
taxes and customs dues, and the banks their loans, in 
the new dollar, they can not pay in the old. And, 
more than all this, we are promised legislation that 
shall prohibit us from promising to pay in gold the 
gold we have borrowed. If the debtor is too hon 
est to set up the defense, I suppose the court will 


be required to appoint a guardian ad litem to file 
the plea for him! 

Only one chance of escape is offered to us from 
the conclusion that one of the great historical par 
ties of the country is now making a campaign for 
the repudiation of one-half of all the indebtedness 
of the country national, corporate and individual 
and that is found in the suggestion that free coin 
age will raise the value of silver sufficiently to make 
the silver dollar the commercial equivalent of the 
gold dollar. This suggestion was put forth when 
Mr. Bryan was, in some measure, under the influence 
of that conservative sense of responsibility which is 
usually felt by the man who is proposed for the 
greatest office instituted by the constitution. But it 
is not a proposition upon which the free-silver ad 
vocates agree, I think. It is not put to the front of 
the campaign it was not so well thought of as to 
appear in the platform, either as a probable result 
of free coinage, or even as a thing to be desired. To 
borrow an illustration from S. S. Prentiss, Mr. 
Bryan uses the suggestion that silver will rise to a 
parity with gold as a heavy bird of flight uses the 
limb of a dead tree for a perch the bird keeps its 
wings extended and in gentle motion while it tries 
the strength of the limb. I have not observed that 
Mr. Bryan has much argued the point. Indeed, he has 
been sharply taken to task by friends for making it. 
It destroys the whole silver program. They say that 


gold has appreciated; that the gap between the sil 
ver and the gold dollar has been wholly caused by 
the rise in the value of the gold dollar; that the sil 
ver dollar is, therefore, the old and true measure of 
values. Now, if free coinage will lift the value of 
sixteen ounces of silver to the present value of one 
ounce of gold, silver will then be as obnoxious as 
gold. The whole scheme will fail for the scheme 
is to keep silver where it is. Gold, they say, cre 
ated the disparity by going up; and, if equality is 
again to be established, gold must abandon its giddy 
flight and come down to its heavy and conservative sis 
ter. They see that a proposition to degrade the gold 
dollar, by the use of an alloy, to the present bullion 
value of the silver dollar would be a proposition too 
raw for the palates of the people. So they let gold 
go as Mr. Bryan said, they will neither give nor 
ask quarter in the fight against it. By the free coin 
age of silver at the present ratio gold will be ban 
ished from our currency and from our country for 
no man will be fool enough to give a gold dollar 
for what a silver dollar will buy, when he can ex 
change his gold dollar for two silver ones; and no 
dollar that is at a premium that is worth more than 
its face will circulate as money. 

But it is not true, as Mr. Bryan seems to intimate, 
that the law of 1873 changed our money standard to 
the injury of the debtor class. The silver dollar 
was dropped from our coinage, but it was not then 


a cheap dollar, but a par dollar the 371 1-4 grains 
of pure silver contained in it were the full equiva 
lent, as bullion, of the 23.22 grains of pure gold 
contained in the gold dollar. The recent treasury 
department circular (No. 123) shows that the av 
erage bullion value of 371 1-4 grains of pure silver 
during the year 1873 was $1.004; that is, the com 
mercial ratio between silver and gold was 15.92 
to I, while our coinage ration was 15.9884 to i. It 
is not fair, then, to liken the change in our coin 
age laws made in 1873 to that now proposed. The 
former involved neither dishonesty nor oppression. 
The dollar that was dropped and the dollar that was 
retained were commercial, as well as legal, equiv 
alents; and the change did not favor the creditor 
class nor injure the debtor class. There had been 
coined from the beginning of the government up to 
1873 only 8,031,238 silver dollars; and if we may 
indulge the impossible suggestion that all these dollars 
were in circulation in 1873, the debtors then had only 
8 million silver dollars to use in paying their debts, 
while now they have more than 438 millions of full 
legal-tender silver dollars to use in that way. 

In order to make good the charge that the law of 
1873 wrought the injuries imputed to it, the asser 
tion is made that the gold dollar has appreciated 
gone up. And how do they set about proving that 
gold has gone up? Condensed, the argument is 
this: It takes more wheat to get a gold dollar than 


formerly, and, therefore the gold dollar has gone up. 
But the deduction from that premise is in the alter 
native either gold has gone up or wheat has gone 
down. Commonly, we would say wheat is lower, and 
would seek the explanation in a large general crop or 
in diminished consumption. We know that these 
things do affect the price of wheat and will continue 
to do so under free silver coinage. Drought and rust 
and the cinch bug, a full European crop, the increas 
ing output of Russia, India and Argentina, closed 
American mills, and enforced economy in the homes 
of American workmen these things always have af 
fected and always will affect the price of wheat. An 
other thing to be -taken into account in this connection 
is the production of gold for if a large wheat crop 
means, commonly, a lower price, so a large crop of 
gold must mean a lower value for gold. The 
world's production of gold in 1873 was $96,200,000, 
and only in two years since then has it fallen be 
low that figure. All other years show an increase 
and the last five years a steady and enormous in 
crease. In 1894 the production was $180,626,100, 
and the product for 1895 is estimated at $203,000,- 
ooo. The production of silver has increased from 
$81,800,000 (coining value) in 1873 to $216,892,- 
200 in 1894, and is estimated at $226,000,000 for 
1895. Or, to state the production in fine ounces, 
gold has increased from 4,653,675 ounces in 1873 
to 9,820,125 ounces in 1895, and silver from 63,267,- 


187 ounces in 1873 to 1 74 79^^75 ounces in 1895. 
In view of these considerations and of these fig 
ures as to production, who is wise enough to say 
that gold has gone up or silver down, or how much 
either metal has varied? And yet it is assumed that 
the silver dollar has been a true and stable meas 
ure of value, that it has neither gone up nor gone 
down since 1873, an( ^ tnat ft would be honest to re 
turn to that standard and settle all contracts by it. 
Now how is this to be proved? or do our silver 
friends think it worth while to prove anything? 

This illustration, used by Mr. Bryan, is the only 
attempt at argument I have seen: If he says a 
man able to perform his contracts should offer to 
pay one dollar per bushel for all the wheat brought 
to him, would not the price of wheat go up to a dol 
lar? But the United States is not to buy the silver 
it only puts a stamp on it, and returns it to the 
owner. It is rather as if a miller should offer to 
take all the wheat brought to him, to grind it into 
flour without charge, to put each one hundred pounds 
of the flour into a barrel, to stamp on the head of 
it "this is a barrel of flour," and to return it to the 
owner. How would the price of wheat, or of flour, 
be affected by that transaction? 

There are many people, I suppose, who would 
scorn to take advantage of a law that allowed them 
to have a full discharge from their debts upon the 
payment of fifty cents on the dollar, but who do pot 


feel humiliated by the suggestion that they shall pay 
them with a coin called a dollar, but worth only 
fifty cents as compared with the dollar they borrowed. 
It is said to be the old dollar the dollar of the con 
stitution, and of the fathers, and they are beguiled. 
It is neither the constitution does not require con 
gress to coin silver dollars at the ratio of 16 to i, or 
at any other ratio, or at all. It confers upon congress 
the power "to coin money, regulate the value there 
of, and of foreign coin/' and neither gold nor silver 
is anywhere mentioned in the constitution save in a 
section prohibiting the states from doing certain 
things, where it says: "No state shall * * * 
make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in 
payment of debts." It is not the old dollar, nor the 
dollar of our fathers; for their dollar was based upon 
the then existing commercial ratio between silver and 
gold. If it had been suggested to Hamilton or to 
Jefferson that while the commercial ratio between sil 
ver and gold was 31 to i we should coin silver dol 
lars at the ratio of 16 to i, they would have sug 
gested the writ de lunatico inquirendo. They fol 
lowed the commercial into three decimal numbers to 
find the coining ratio; and these claim to be their 
followers who say that the commercial ratio should 
be entirely disregarded. The former sought a ratio 
that would keep both dollars in circulation the lat 
ter, one that gives gold to Europe and associates us 
with Asia. 


But, in fact, there is no reason to believe that sil 
ver would appreciate as the result of free coinage, 
to a parity with gold at the present ratio. All that 
is guesswork a guess not so much in the direction 
of the desires of the silver people, but to allay the 
fears of those who dread silver-monometallism, 
while desiring as large a use of silver as is consist 
ent with the parity of our gold and silver dollars. 
Two of the leading free-silver senators, when the 
Sherman bill was pending, were, I know, much more 
positive than Mr. Bryan is now that the purchase 
by the government of 4,500,000 ounces of fine sil 
ver per month would take up the silver surplus that 
they said was weighing down the market price, and 
so make and keep our silver dollar at par with the 
gold dollar. The actual result was that 371 1-4 
grains of pure silver worth on the average in 1889 
.724 advanced in 1890 to .926, and then declined 
each year until, in 1894, it reached the low limit 
of .457. Shall we trust these prophets again to our 

The demand for more legal-tender greenbacks in 
1873 was tne product of depressed commercial condi 
tions, as is the present demand for free silver coinage ; 
but the former was based upon the assumption that 
our per capita circulation was too low; that we did 
not have enough money. The latter is not based 
upon that assumption, but upon the assumption that 
the money we have is too good not more dollars, 


but cheaper dollars is the demand not a silver dol 
lar that will abide with the gold dollar, but one that 
will exile the gold dollar. What the red flag is to a 
bull, gold is to the free-silver advocates. It excites 
their rage; they want to gore and toss it. 

Other nations that are upon a silver basis are 
struggling to be rid of the depression and trade dis 
advantages that it entails. A depreciated currency, 
with its always present tendency to fluctuations, is, 
whether judged by philosophy or history, a curse. No 
intelligent commercial people is now content to use 
such a currency except under the severest necessity 
nor to continue its use beyond the time of possible 
relief. It is easy to fall into the slough and hard 
to get out of it but it is harder to remain in it. 
This great people will not consent to have a double 
standard unless each money unit is the commercial 
equivalent of the other; and if they must have a sin 
gle standard they will have the best. 



"No mean city." The apostle Paul, when he used 
these words, was in the hands of a Roman guard 
that had come on the run to deliver him from a 
Jewish mob. The captain of the guard believed him 
to be the leader of a band of murderers, but he did 
not think that he should be lynched. Paul appealed 
for identification and for consideration to the fact 
that he was a native of Tarsus in Cilicia a citizen 
of "no mean city." To be ashamed of the city you 
live in is a lesser sorrow than to have the city 
ashamed of you, but still a heavy sorrow. There is 
great comfort when a column of residence is to be 
filled, and a Boston hotel clerk is watching the evo 
lution of the name, in not being put to any disguise 
or ambiguous abbreviations. Is there a greater tri 
umph in life than to lift your eyes from the reg 
ister to the arbiter of destinies on the other side of 
the counter and to see that his fear that you might 



blow out the gas has been allayed? That Indian 
apolis is not an Indian reservation with a classical 
termination is now generally known in the Eastern 
states, and also by some of our English kin. It 
seems that our English cousins only acquire geog 
raphy by conquest, and only recognize political 
subdivisions that they make themselves. The geog 
raphy of lands to which they have lost title seems 
to go hard with them as witness the recent inquiry 
of a high English prelate whether New England was 
a part of Massachusetts. 

Paul used no superlatives in his reference to Tar 
sus; he reserved them for the city that hath foun 
dations. He assumed that there was carrying force 
in the name itself; that the help of granulated ad 
jectives was not needed "no mean city/' He left 
something to the captain's knowledge and imagina 
tion. He was proud of Tarsus; that is clear, and 
he was not a man to be satisfied with negations. 
The city had done something distinctively great, and 
I set out the other day, with the help of the ency 
clopedia, to see if I could find out what it was. I 
find in the first place that it was a great seat of 
learning. Its schools were of the highest excellence, 
and the fame of them was as wide as Greek and Ro 
man scholarship. Strabo said they were superior 
to those of Athens and Alexandria. Paul was a 
man of letters, as well as of faith. He was a lo 
gician; a non sequitur was an abomination to him, 


as it ought to be to a newspaper man. As he was 
proud of the schools of Tarsus, so we are of the 
schools of Indianapolis. It is "no mean city." 

As the schools of Tarsus surpassed those of 
Athens, so our* public schools, judged by most com 
petent educational experts, are not surpassed by those 
of any city in the United States. But what part, 
my friends of the Commercial club, have you and 
I had in making our schools what they are? We 
have paid our school taxes with more or less cheer 
fulness or with none at all. But has the Commer 
cial club or the Board of Trade ever tendered a re 
ception to the faithful men and women who have 
placed the city of our love upon a pedestal of 
honor? One of the oldest, most devoted and suc 
cessful of our school workers recently said: "We 
rarely hear from the public save when some one 
wants to find a place on the pay-roll for a niece or 
a cousin." There are now, I am told, in our city, 
in addition to the truant class, 1,000 children for 
whom there are no school accommodations. A 
general tax for public schools implies a school roof 
and a school desk for every child, and they should 
be provided. The compulsory education law of the 
last legislature should be backed by a supporting pub 
lic sentiment. We should have, not a listless, far- 
apart pride in our schools, but the pride of touch 
and participation. Our school board should know 
that while the Indianapolis public will tolerate no 


filching, no self-seeking, no rings, it will stand by 
against all assaults that have their origin in self- 
interest, or in the egotistical assumption that the 
critic is infallible. 

Tarsus was further celebrated for its magnificent 
roads, we are told. The "ships of the desert" that 
bore the products of the interior through the passes 
of the Taurus to the sea did not have their roll in 
tensified by the right foot finding a hole and the left 
a hillock. The roads were favorable to an even 
keel. A city that you can not get to comfortably 
is a "mean city." And here we may raise the note 
of exultation an octave or two above that of Paul 
though there may be a perceptible quaver when 
the memory of a drive to Irvington or Crown Hill 
sweeps over the choir. But our great railway sys 
tem saves us. Where is there a city that offers such 
facilities of ingress and egress? They may not only 
come from the north and the east, the west and the 
south but they may box the compass and still get 
here. If a man does not desire to go to any place 
in particular, but has a fancy to travel "sou' sou' 
west," or "east by south," we can furnish him a 
smooth road. 

Tarsus was besides a free city, and the seat of an 
important commerce. These were, so far as I know, 
the special distinctions of Tarsus. No doubt there 
were others that history has not preserved. But the 
ideal city must have other excellences., It must be 


a city where people diligently mind their own busi 
ness, and the public business, and do both with a 
decent regard to the judgment and rights of other 
men; a city where there is no boss rule in anything; 
where all men are not brought to the measure of 
one man's mind, or to the heel of one man's will; a 
city whose citizens are brave and true and gener 
ous, and who care for their own; a city having the 
community spirit, but not the communistic spirit; 
where capital is respected, but has no temples; a city 
whose people live in homes, where there is room 
for a morning glory or a sweet pea; where fresh 
air is not delivered in pint cups; where the chil 
dren can every day feel the spring of nature's green 
carpet; where people are not so numerous as to sug 
gest that decimation might promote the general wel 
fare; where brains and manners and not bank bal 
ances, give ratings to men; where there is neither 
flaunting wealth, nor envious poverty; where life is 
comfortable and toil honorable; where municipal re 
formers are not hysterical, but have the habit of keep 
ing cool; where the broad judgment of a capital, 
and not the narrowness of the province, prevails; 
where the commerce in goods is great, but not great 
er than the exchanges of thought and of neighborly 
kindness. We have not realized all these things. 
We count not ourselves to have attained, but we 
follow after. 

This is a commercial club; but, after you have ex- 


hibited sites and statistics to the man seeking a business 
location, he will want to know about the homes, the 
schools, the churches, the social and literary clubs; 
whether it is a place where domestic life is conven 
ient and enjoyable; where the social life is broad and 
hospitable, where vice is in restraint; where moral 
and physical sanitation have due provision, where 
charity is broad and wise a city to which men will 
grow attached, to which they will come back. 

Gentlemen, you may add these things to the trade 
statistics of Indianapolis. A city offering the most 
alluring inducements to commerce and production, it 
is pre-eminently a city of homes. 


February 12, 1898 


ago, when the pressure of other engagements made 
it apparent that it would be impossible for me to 
make any preparation suitable to the dignity of this 
occasion, I withdrew a previous acceptance of the 
invitation of the club. But the committee, with quite 
an undue sense of the importance of my presence, 
arranged to facilitate my coming and going, and 
promised for themselves, and for you, so far as they 
were able, if I would come, to be content with but 
a few words from me to-night. 

The observance of the birthday of Abraham 
Lincoln, which has become now so widely estab 
lished, either by public law or by general custom, 
will more and more force the orators of these oc 
casions to depart from the line of biography and 
incident and eulogy and to assume the duties of ap 
plying to pending public questions the principles illus- 



trated in the life and taught in the public utterances 
of the man whose birth we commemorate. 

And, after all, we may be sure that that great sim 
ple-hearted patriot would have wished it so. Flat 
tery did not soothe the living ear of Lincoln. He 
was not unappreciative of friendship, not without am 
bition to be esteemed, but the overmastering and dom 
inant thought of his life was to be useful to his coun 
try and to his countrymen. 

On his way to take up the already stupendous work 
of the presidency, he spent a night at Indianapolis. 
The arrival of his train was greeted by many thou 
sands of those who had supported his candidacy. 
They welcomed him with huzzas, as if they would 
give him token of their purpose to stand by the re 
sults declared at the polls. Yet it seemed to me hardly 
to be a glad crowd, and he not to be a glad man. 
There was no sense of culpability either in their 
hearts or in his; no faltering; no disposition to turn 
back, but the hour was shadowed with forebodings. 

Men did not shrink, but there was that vague sense 
of apprehension, that unlocated expectancy of evil, 
which fills the air and disturbs the beasts of the field 
when the unclouded sun is eclipsed. When the col 
umn is once started in the charge there are cheers, 
but there is a moment when, standing at attention, 
silence is king. 

Before us stood our chosen leader, the man who 
was to be our pilot through seas more stormy and 


through channels more perilous than ever the old 
ship went before. He had piloted the lumbering flat- 
boat on our western streams, but he was now to 
take the helm of the great ship. His experience in 
public office had been brief, and not conspicuous. He 
had no general acquaintance with the people of the 
whole country. His large angular frame and face, 
his broad humor, his homely illustrations and simple 
ways, seemed to very many of his fellow-country 
men to portray a man and a mind that, while acute 
and powerful, had not that nice balance and touch 
of statecraft that the perilous way before us demand 
ed. No college of arts had opened to his struggling 
youth ; he had been born in a cabin and reared among 
the unlettered. He was a rail-splitter, a flatboatman, 
a country lawyer. 

Yet in all these conditions and associations he was 
a leader at the railsplitting, in the rapids, at the 
bar, in story-telling. He had a comparatively small 
body of admiring and attached friends. He had re 
vealed himself in his debate with Douglas and in his 
New York speech as a man most familiar with Amer 
ican politics and a profound student of our institu 
tions, but above all as a. man of conscience most 
kind in speech, and most placid in demeanor, yet 
disturbing the public peace by his insistence that 
those theories of human rights which we had all so 
much applauded in theory should be made practical. 

In the broad common-sense way in which he did 


small things he was larger than any situation in 
which life had placed him. Europe did not know 
him. To the South and to many in the Northern 
states he was an uncouth jester, an ambitious up 
start, a reckless disturber. He was hated by the 
South, not only for his principles, but for himself. 
The son of the cavalier, the man who felt toil to be 
a stain, despised this son of the people, this child 
of toil. He was going to Washington to meet mis 
givings in his own party, and to confront the fiercest, 
most implacable and powerful rebellion of which 
history gives us an example. Personal dangers at 
tended his journey. The course before him was 
lighted only by the lamp of duty ; outside its radiance 
all was dark. 

He seemed to me to be conscious of all this, to 
be weighted by it, but so strong was his sense of 
duty, so courageous his heart, so sure was he of his 
own high purposes and motives and of the favor of 
God for himself and his people, that he moved for 
ward calmly to his appointed work; not with show 
and brag, neither with shrinking. He was yet in 
a large measure to win the confidence of men in his 
capacity, when the occasion was so exigent as to 
seem to call for one who had already won it. 

As I have said at another time, the selection f 
Mr. Seward for secretary of state was a brave act, 
because Mr. Lincoln could not fail to know that for 
a time Mr. Seward would overshadow him in the 


popular estimation, and a wise one, because Mr. 
Seward was in the highest degree qualified for the 
great and delicate duties of the office. A man who 
is endowed for the presidency will know how to be 
president in fact as well as in name, without any 
fussy self-assertion. 

He was distinguished from the abolition leaders 
by the fairness and kindliness with which he judged 
the South and the slaveholder. He was opposed to 
human slavery, not because some masters were 
cruel, but upon reasons that kindness to the slave did 
not answer. "All men" included the black man. 
Liberty is the law of nature. The human enactment 
can not pass the limits of the state; God's law em 
braces creation. 

Mr. Lincoln had faith in time, and time has jus 
tified his faith. If the panorama of the years from 
'6 1 to '65 could have been unrolled before the eyes 
of his countrymen would they have said, would he 
have said, that he was adequate for the great oc 
casion? And yet as we look back over the story 
of the civil war he is revealed to us standing above 
all men of that epoch in his capacity and adapta 
tion to the duties of the presidency. 

It does not seem to be God's way to give men 
preparation and fitness and to reveal them until the 
hour strikes. Men must rise to the situation. The 
storage batteries that are to furnish the energy for 


these great occasions God does not connect until the 
occasion comes. 

The civil war called for a president who had 
faith in time, for his country as well as for him 
self; who could endure the impatience of others and 
bide his time. A man who could by a strong but 
restrained diplomatic correspondence hold off for 
eign intermeddlers and at the same time lay the sure 
basis for the Geneva award, a man who could in all 
his public utterances, while maintaining the author 
ity of the law and the just rights of the national gov 
ernment, breathe an undertone of yearning for the 
misguided and the rebellious; a man who could hold 
the war and the policy of the government to its orig 
inal purpose the restoration of the states without 
the destruction of slavery until public sentiment 
was ready to support a proclamation of emancipa 
tion; a man who could win and hold the love of the 
soldier and of the masses of the people; a man who 
could be just without pleasure in the severities of 
justice, who loved to forgive and pardon. 

Mr. Lincoln loved the "plain people," out of whose 
ranks he came, but not with a class love. He never 
pandered to ignorance or sought applause by appeals 
to prejudice. The equality of men in rights and bur 
dens, justice to all, a government by all the people, 
for all the people, was his thought no favoritism 
in enactment or administration the general good. 


He had the love of the masses and he won it 
fairly, not by art or trick. He could, therefore, ad 
monish and restrain with authority. He was a man 
who could speak to all men and be heard. Would 
there were more such! There is great need of men 
now who can be heard, both in the directors' meet 
ing and in the labor assembly. 

Qualities of heart and mind combined to make 
a man who has won the love of mankind. He is be 
loved. He stands like a great lighthouse to show 
the way of duty to all his countrymen and to send 
afar a beam of courage to those who beat against 
the winds. We do him reverence. We bless to 
night the memory of Lincoln. 


February 22, 1898 

LEAGUE CLUB OF CHICAGO As much as I have talked, 
I do not love it, and if there was ever a time in my life 
when I talked for talk's sake I have left that time 
behind me. Whatever strength I have to talk which 
the excessive, superabundant and overflowing kind 
ness of my fellow-citizens has given me, I feel un 
der a conscientious obligation to use for my country. 
The work which this club has undertaken and from 
year to year so successfully executed is worthy of 
wide imitation. We are living in an age when great 
things crowd upon each other, when men's minds 
and hearts are full of those interests which pertain 
to themselves and their families. The struggle of 
life, and especially of business life, seems to be get 
ting more and more intense with every year, and it 
is a worthy example which this club has set to these 
great business organizations throughout the country, 
to forget for this day all the rush and roar of pomp, 



to close these great marts of trade, and to torn their 
thoughts and to engage the thought of die children 
with those things that pertain to our country. 

My fellow-citizens, we have a country not simply 
under a bond of constitution that demands die fealty 
of every man, but we have much more a country 
to which the hearts of all the people of die states 
are given. 

We need to cultivate the sentiment of public duty, 
and in die life of Washington we have a record of 
a life that was devoted to it We too much forget 
that we owe a public debt that we may not cast off. 
But, my countrymen, if we are to have peaceful 
times and prosperous times, if this government is 
not to become a prey to corruption, if it is not to un 
settle from those great foundations on which our 
fathers placed it, there must be watchfulness and ef 
fort on the part of all our citizens. You have under 
taken * good work in calling the attention of die 
children to the lessons of Washington's life. We are 
a great people in power. Let us be great in person, 
great in integrity of personal life, in that integrity 
of patriotism which makes men ready not only in 
time of war, when the drum-beat rouses our hearts 
to an impulse of patriotism to rush forward to 
death, but steadfast defenders in times of peace. 

We stand now in the awful shadow of one of the 
most tragic events that has ever happened in our his 
tory, and yet we stand with die poise, with die self- 


possession of a peoplo \\ho understand their might 

and can abide the development oi time. \\Y .ue 

not a hyMeiu-.d luopU We can wait, and we will 
know our dnt\ \\IUMI it shall be revealed. We can that in a time like this there are grave 

ie-ponsihilities de\o!\mi; upon the president ol the 

United States, single responsihihm lie may not 
ill \iile with any man. Let us stand about him, 

strengthening him in the e.ilm assurance this 

great country ilesires only what is right and can wait 
until the facts are known before it issues its procla 

I thank yOU for the coidialily \\huh yon 

have ^lun\n me to-day. Twice \\nhm a week 1 h.i\e 

spoken in ChieaiM>. \ .MI h.ue si> >!'UMI asked me here 

that I thought to crowd my speeches a little so that 
I might satiate you. I thank you for yom mo t 
kindly welcome, and in what I have said to-day I 

ha\e ende.iuued to present to \<m seemed t> 

bo the duties of a true, conscientious citizenship 


May 3, 1898 

NATIONAL GUARD soon to have another designation 
as a battery of the army of the United States. 

Yesterday some of my young lady friends called 
upon me and asked me to say a few words in 
connection with the presentation to this battery of 
the flag which they had prepared. My engagements 
are such that I have been negativing all invitations 
to make public addresses, and I might have denied 
the ladies though my desire to please them was 
very strong but I could not deny myself the grati 
fication of a word of greeting, of commendation, and 
a godspeed to you and to all the brave young fel 
lows who have so promptly answered our country's 
call to war. The Indianapolis Light Artillery has 
won the highest laurels as a militia organization. You 
have vanquished all competitors, you have won fame 
for the state. As Indianians we are proud of you. 
You will take the field under the very best auspices. 



Your officers and men have attained a high efficiency 
in drill. You have already a high esprit de corps. 
You have been first in peace. You must not, can 
not, will not, be second in war. You have attained 
great efficiency in dismounting your own guns, and 
now you are to try what you can do in dismount 
ing the enemy's guns. 

You have, as a trained and organized militia, a 
great advantage over the volunteers of 1861-62. Our 
foes are not, thank God, those of our own house 
hold. That was war for the life of the Union; this 
a war for humanity. That for ourselves; this for 
the oppressed of another race. We could not escape 
this conflict. Spanish rule has become effete. We 
dare not say that we have God's commission to de 
liver the oppressed the world around. To the dis 
tant Armenians we could send only the succor of a 
faith that overcomes death, and the alleviations which 
the nurse and the commissary can give. But the op 
pressed Cubans and their starving women and chil 
dren are knocking at our doors; their cries pene 
trate our slumbers. They are closely within what 
we have defined to be the sphere of American influ 
ence. We have said: "Look to us, not to Europe/' 
and we can not shirk the responsibility and the dan 
gers of this old and settled American policy. We 
have, as a nation, toward Cuba the same high com 
mission which every brave-hearted man has to 
strike down the ruffian who, in his presence, beats 


a woman or a child and will not desist. For what, 
if not for this, does God make a man or a nation 

We have disclaimed in the face of the nations 
of Europe, who are now dividing continents much 
as hungry boys might divide a melon, that we have 
a purpose to seize and appropriate Cuba. We go to 
set her free; to give to her own people that which 
we have claimed and established for ourselves the 
right to set up and maintain a government suitable 
to their own necessities, controlled by their own suf 
frages. We covet from her, as from all the nations 
of America, only the offices of good neighbors and 
the fair and natural exchange of commerce. We do 
hot deny dominion to Europe in order to seize it for 
ourselves. But we may justly, I think, in the West 
Indies, and in the far Eastern sea, where our gal 
lant navy has won so splendid a victory, hold some 
little unpeopled harbors where our cruising warships 
may take coal and find a refuge when in stress. 

I do not doubt that speedily though no man 
can set the times which God plans that this great 
work to which the United States has addressed itself 
will be completely and permanently accomplished. I 
congratulate you, my young friends, that you are to 
have a part in it. I challenge your interest and your 
duty, that you quit yourselves like men; that you 
enter upon your duties with the seriousness and sense 
of obligation, which will make you efficient and vie- 


torious in your campaign. Let us not forget that there 
is in all this a moral impulse, and that the soldier 
who goes from this high impulse of moral courage 
is the best soldier after all. 

Those women send you to the succor of the starv 
ing and oppressed women of Cuba. They can not 
carry the flag into battle, but they bring it to you 
who can. And to its significance and glory as the 
national emblem they add the beauty of their love 
and their charge that you bear it in honor and bring 
it home in triumph. 




At Hathaway Inn, Asbury Park, New Jersey, July 4, 1898 

I recall with pride that this great natal day of our 
independence is made memorable by the fall of Vicks- 
burg and now again by the capture of the first Spanish 
stronghold in Cuba. I am one of those who did not 
see how war could be avoided. When is it possible 
for an American to see a woman beaten by a brute 
and not raise a punishing arm? When 200,000 men 
and women are permitted to starve by the callous cru 
elty of a barbarous nation, then I believe the power 
of that nation must be effaced from the islands they 
have so abused. 

Our grievances in 1776 pale by the side of the 
barbarous cruelties practiced by Spain. Let the Ger 
mans and Frenchmen say what they will, this is no 
war of conquest, but a war for humanity. Europe 
feels as she never felt before for America. Dewey's 



first glorious achievement at Manila set the pace and 
has made it impossible that any vessel of our navy 
or any regiment of our army should ever falter in 
the face of the enemy. 

It is time for Europe to understand that the 
American navy is the match for any navy in the 
world. The sneers over there are forced, and now 
we are glad to know that our land forces, who do 
not fight at 3,000 yards, but look into the very eye 
of the adversary, have shown around the hills of 
Santiago that they keep pace with the gallant navy. 

In the West an impression prevails that our New 
York and Eastern millionaires are a dilly dally, washy 
kind of a set. But we have seen the cowboy and the 
millionaire dash up the bloody slopes side by side. 
We have discovered that wealth does not necessarily 
enfeeble or sap the patriotism of the American heart. 
Then again we have witnessed the boys who 
wore the gray in 1861 fighting in the ranks with the 
boys who wore the blue. I have always felt that 
when Texas charged with Massachusetts and New 
Jersey the charge would be invincible. 

And now we have another band of hero dead. 
These fallen soldiers ennoble a nation more than the 
achievements of commerce. Believe me, gentlemen, 
out of this war will come increased prosperity and 
a more united people, possessed of a mighty power 
that will insure protection and safety for all time 
to come. 


Long Branch, New Jersey, July 5, 1898 

We had heard, before the declaration of war, of 
the barbarities that were being perpetrated in Cuba. 
They seemed to pass belief. That quiet recital made 
by Senator Proctor, of Vermont, in the United States 
senate, aroused the nation. 

I do not think there has been made in any legis 
lative assembly in the world in fifty years a speech 
that so, powerfully affected the public sentiment as 
that. And yet there was not a lurid adjective in 
the speech. It was a restrained description of the 
barbarities practiced chiefly upon women and children 
by the Spanish rulers in Cuba. Senator Proctor said 
to me in conversation in New York: "I could not 
in the senate recite the worst of the atrocities of 
which I found evidence in Cuba. The treatment of 
the women among the reconcentrados was too brutal 
to be spoken of in public." 

Could we stand by and not correct those who 
could be capable of perpetrating them? It seemed 
to me not. The cries of these starving women and 



children penetrated our bed chambers and came to us 
like ghastly visions of the night, and for one I could 
not understand why God had made this nation great 
and strong if it was not for an hour and a work 
like that. We have said to the whole world this 
is the exclusive sphere of American influence, and 
by that declaration we proclaimed our duty to re 
press such atrocities as were being perpetrated in 

The war is waged on Red Cross lines, for hu 
manity, for the relief and succor of the starving and 
the helpless. And how magnificently it has been 
waged! Can human sympathy be too large, can wo 
men's love be too strong for those brave fellows of 
our army and navy who have added new glory to 
the standard of the nation and have greatly lifted 
it in the respect of those countries of Europe that 
respect only war power? 

The comfort of a sheeted bed and what your 
Western boys used to call a 'boiled shirt' is inde 
scribable to those who have never missed the com 
forts of their homes, and when there is added the 
gentle ministration of women, a vision of the open 
door of heaven seems to come to fever-stricken, 
wounded men. 




July 4, 1899 

The observance of the anniversary of the Ameri 
can declaration of independence in France has a pe 
culiar interest to me. We observe the great event 
not in the land immediately affected by it, the dear 
homeland but in the land of Lafayette, the land 
whose sympathetic interest and whose large trust in 
a poor and struggling people did so much to con 
vert the declared right to be free into the fact of 
freedom. We may believe but we can not affirm 
it that in the longer end we alone might have won 
our freedom. In an extremity that seemed to make' 
the result of our appeal to France determinative, she 
gave us succor of money to replenish an exhausted 
treasury, of gallant men to fill our depleted ranks, 
of ships to break harassing blockades, and to pro 
tect our ravaged coasts. Mr. President, the patri 
otic sire has handed down to his patriotic sons this 
story of a generous intervention. It is not a forgot- 



ten episode it is told every year in our public 
schools to hundreds of thousands of our American 
youth. We have grown strong, but we have not 
ceased to be grateful. 

When America forgets her debt to France she 
will be unworthy and incapable of an international 
friendship. Mr. President, we have other friends, 
but we have none whose friendship involves or im 
plies enmity to France. We are pleased when she 
is prosperous and grieved when she is troubled. 

France has quite naturally adopted for herself the 
republican form of government which she helped 
us to establish and we believe her people have given 
to their civil institutions their hearty and enduring 
allegiance. That, Mr. President, is in my opinion 
the test a constitution, a form of government, a 
body of civil institutions, to which the love and al 
legiance of the people are given. Men may come 
and men may go, but the government endures. The 
course of events, the public thought may be influ 
enced by great men, but the anchor holds they may 
not supplant the constitution. The man on horse 
back, the man with a cockade, is not to be feared 
the love of the people is set upon something that en 
dures. This, Mr. President, is the security of the 
United States, and will be the security of every free 
people that cultivates it. 

Our public men, our political parties, often divide 
upon questions affecting the construction of our 


written constitution; but with all our varying 
thoughts of what it is in this particular or in that, 
we give our allegiance to it, and not to our leaders. 
Fortunately for our peace, the American constitu 
tion provides a tribunal for the final and unappeal 
able decision of all questions affecting the construc 
tion of the constitution, and, at the same time, opens 
a way by which it may be made to express the pop 
ular thought, but one not so easy as to give way to 
hasty and unconsidered popular feeling. 

Washington spoke of the supreme court, as organ 
ized under our constitution, at one time as the key 
stone of our federal arch, and at another as the great 
pillar that bears up the fabric of our civil institu 
tions. Its decisions have now and then evoked pro 
tests from the people, and these in at least one in 
stance obtained that wide concurrence of the states 
which was necessary to make the constitution con 
form in that particular to the will of the people. 
But, speaking broadly, this great tribunal has even 
more than realized Washington's high conception of 
its value. A tribunal whose decision in all matters 
between individuals, or between individuals and the 
state, is accepted, if not with full assent, at least with 
loyal acquiescence, is essential to social and public 

The United States is most favorably situated for 
the cultivation of peaceful relations with other na 
tions. In the affairs of nations beyond seas, no 


question of the balance of power has ever disturbed 
us. Our neighbors could not contest our supremacy, 
but we will never use our power to their dis 

If the thought of any general scheme of coloni 
zation could now enter the mind of any American 
statesman, it would surely be corrected by the man 
ifest fact that the islands and the continents have 
already been divided. The United States is not, I 
am sure, ambitious to take the crumbs that remain. 
Her policy always has been, and I am sure we will 
not depart from it, to preserve the most friendly 
relations with all the nations of the world, and to 
extend her commerce, not by force of arms, but by 
the enticements and advantages of her superior prod 
ucts. She has never failed, whether in Greece, in 
Armenia, or in South America, to let it be known 
that she reprobated cruelty and persecution, but she 
has not felt that she had a commission to police the 

She would gladly have welcomed the settlement of 
the Cuban question by the establishment of a hu 
mane, just and liberal government of that island un 
der Spain. It was only because she believed that 
the true purposes of government, the ends for which 
it is constituted, had been lost sight of there, and 
because Cuba was almost in sight of her shores, and 
the cries of her people entered into her sleep, that 
she intervened. The American people will rejoice 


if the Cubans shall establish a free, stable, independ 
ent government. We have incurred responsibilities 
there and in the Philippines, and we will not fail to 
discharge them at any cost. 

It is too late to debate the question whether it 
might not have been wiser to have made our cam 
paign in the Philippines purely a naval campaign, or 
the other question whether destiny or our own choice 
involved us there. We have assumed responsibili 
ties toward the peaceable people there, toward Spain 
and toward the world, and we must establish order 
as a necessary preliminary to the consideration of 
any question as to the ultimate destiny or disposi 
tion of the archipelago. 

We are proud of the achievements of our army 
and navy, and are glad if European misapprehen 
sion as to our naval construction and seamanship 
is removed. We are glad if a truer appreciation of 
the vast war resources of the United States prevails, 
glad only because it gives security in the hemisphere 
in which we are placed, not because it is a threat to 

American diplomacy has been, I think, peculiarly 
sentimental. Our moral intervention for the op 
pressed and our later intervention by arms have been 
in the interest of liberty, not of gain. 

It will not be thought unnatural, in spite of all 
past differences and strifes, if a peculiar friendliness 


should be felt by us for those of our language and 
race across the channel; but no one has suggested, 
Mr. President, that by reason of this natural and 
influential fact and motive, either Great Britain or 
the United States should assume all the animosities 
and quarrels of the other. The contingency of a gen 
eral combination of all the powers against one or 
the other of these nations, threatening its destruction, 
need not be taken much account of until it arises. 
Suffice it to say that the friendship of the United 
States for Great Britain is not enmity to the world. 
A high sense of what is right and honorable, a due 
sense of obligation, fairness in our commercial in 
tercourse, and friendliness in our personal inter 
course, toward all who will allow us to be friendly, 
are, I think, the American thought and policy. 

Mr. President, the United States now more than 
ever sympathizes with every practicable suggestion 
and movement that tends to diminish the influence 
of arms in the determination of international ques 
tions. Arbitration has halted because of the diffi 
culty there has been in finding a purely judicial 
tribunal, one that would consider international ques 
tions with the same indifference to the parties and 
the same impartiality of judgment which character 
ize our courts in the trial of questions between in 
dividuals. When such a tribunal can be attained 
and the faith of the nations in the fact of its attain- 


merit confirmed, disarmament will be nearer and the 
grievous burdens which the maintenance of armies 
imposes upon industry will be lifted. America will 
hail the glad day. 


Carnegie Hal, New York, April 19, 1900 

I count it a great honor a call to preside over 
the deliberations of this great body. It is to asso 
ciate oneself with the most influential and enduring 
work that is being done in this day of great enter 

My assignment is to the chair not to the speaker's 
desk. The careful and comprehensive program that 
has been prepared for the convention will, in its or 
derly development, bring before you the whole sub 
ject of foreign missions in all its aspects. Gentle 
men whose learning and special experiences will 
give not only interest but authority to their ad 
dresses, will discuss assigned topics. 

We shall have the arithmetic of missions, the mus 
ter rolls, the book increase, the paymasters' accounts; 
some will need these. 

We shall have before us some veterans from the 
mission outposts men and women who have exhibit- 



ed in their work an unsurpassed steadfastness and 
heroism, whose courage has been subjected to the 
strain of time. They have been beleaguered; they 
have known the weariness of those who look for suc 
cor. From them we shall hear what the gospel has 
done for tribes and lands; and, best of all, what 
it has done for the individual man and woman. 
These reports will be the consolidated reports of the 
whole mission work of all the detachments of the 
evangelical protestant army. 

Hours for daily devotional exercises are assigned. 
The greatest need of the foreign field is a revived, 
reconsecrated and unified home church. And this 
conference will be fruitful and successful in propor 
tion as it promotes those ends. There will be, I 
hope, much prayer for an outpouring of God's spirit. 

The gigantic engines that are driving forward a 
material development are being speeded as never be 
fore. The din of the hammer and the axe, and the 
hum of wheels, have penetrated the abodes of soli 
tude the world has now few quiet places. Life is 
strenuous the boy is started in his school upon the 
run, and the pace is not often slackened until the 
panting man falls into his grave. 

It is to a generation thus intent to a generation 
that has wrought wondrously in the realms of ap 
plied science that God in His Word, and by the 
preacher, says : All these are worthy only, and in 
proportion as they contribute to the regeneration of 


mankind; Every invention, every work, every man, 
every nation, must one day come to this weighing 
platform and be appraised. 

To what other end is all this stir among men 
this increase of knowledge? That these great agen 
cies may be put in livery and lined up in the halls 
of wealth to make life brilliant and soft, or become 
the docile messengers of a counting house or a stock 
exchange, or the swift couriers of contending armies, 
or the courtiers who wait in the halls of science to 
give glory to the man into whose hand God has 
given the key to one of His mysteries? Do all 
these great inventions, these rushing intellectual de 
velopments, exhaust their ministry in the making 
of men rich, and the reinforcing of armies and 
fleets ? No. 

These are servants, prophets, fore-runners. They 
will find a herald's voice; there will be an annuncia 
tion and a coronation. The first results seem to be 
the stimulation of a material production and a fiercer 
struggle for markets. Cabinets, as well as trade 
chambers, are thinking of the world chiefly as a 
market house, and of men as "producers" and "con 
sumers." We now seldom have wars of succession, 
or for mere political dominion. Places are strategic 
primarily from the commercial standpoint. Colonies 
are corner stalls in the world's market place. If the 
product tarries too long in the warehouse, the mill 
must shut down and discontent will walk the streets. 


The propulsion of this commercial force upon cabi 
nets and nations was never so strong as now. The 
battle of the markets is at its fiercest. The great 
quest of the nations is for "consumers." The voice 
of commerce is: "And my hand hath found as a 
nest the riches of the people : and as one gathereth 
eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth." 

But with the increase of commerce and wealth the 
stress of social difficulties is not relieved but rather 
increased in all of the great nations. The tendency 
is not to one brotherhood but to many. Work for 
the willing at a wage that will save the spirit as 
well as the body is a problem of increasing tapgle 
and intricacy. Competition forces economical devices 
and names wages that are, in some cases, insufficient 
to renew the strength expended. It suggests, if it 
does not compel, aggregations of capital, and these 
in turn present many threatening aspects. Agencies 
of man's devising may alleviate, but they can not 
cure this tendency to division and strife and substi 
tute a drift to peace and unity. Christ in the heart 
and His gospel of love and ministry in all the ac 
tivities of life are the only cure. 

The highest conception that has ever entered the 
mind of man is that of God as the father of all 
men the one blood the universal brotherhood. 
It was not evolved, but revealed. The natural man 
lives to be ministered unto he lays his imposts upon 
others. He buys slaves that they may fan his sleep, 


bring him the jeweled cup, dance before him and 
die in the arena for his sport. Into such a world 
there came a King, "not to be ministered unto but 
to minister." The rough winds fanned His sleep; 
He drank of the mountain brook, and made not 
the water wine for Himself; would not use His 
power to stay His own hunger, but had compassion 
on the multitude. He called them He had bought 
with a great price no more servants but friends. He 
entered the bloody arena alone, and dying, broke all 
chains and brought immortality to light. 

Here is the perfect altruism; here the true ap 
praisal of men. Ornaments of gold and gems, silken 
robes, houses, lands, stocks and bonds these are 
tare when men are weighed. Where else is there a 
scale so true? Where a brotherhood so wide and 
perfect? Labor is made noble the King credits the 
smallest service. His values are relative; He takes 
account of the per cent, when tribute is brought into 
His treasury. No coin of love is base or small to 
Him. The widow's mite he sets in His crown. Life 
is sweetened; the poor man becomes of account. 
Where else is found a philosophy of life so sweet 
and adaptable a philosophy of death so comforting? 

The men who, like Paul, have gone to heathen 
lands with the message, we "seek not yours but 
you," have been hindered by those who, coming 
after, have reversed the message. Rum and other 
corrupting agencies come in with our boasted civili- 


zation, and the feeble races wither before the hot 
breath of the white man's vices. The great nations 
have combined to suppress the slave trade. Is it too 
much to ask that they shall combine to prevent the 
sale of spirits to men who, less than our children, 
have acquired the habits of self-restraint? If we 
must have "consumers," let us give them an inno 
cent diet. 

The enemies of foreign missions have spoken 
tauntingly of the slowness of the work and of its 
great and disproportionate cost, and we have too ex 
clusively consoled ourselves and answered the criti 
cism by the suggestion that with God a thousand 
years is as one day. We should not lose sight of 
the other side of that truth one day with Him is 
as a thousand years. God has not set a uniform 
pace for Himself in the work of bringing in the 
kingdom of His Son. He will hasten it in His day. 
The stride of His Church shall be so quickened that 
commerce will be the laggard. Love shall outrun 
greed. He exacts faith. He will not answer the 
demand to show a course of stone in His great 
cathedral for every thousand dollars given. But it 
may justly be asked that the administrators of our 
mission treasuries justify their accounts; that they 
use a business wisdom and economy; that there be 
no waste; that the workmen do not hinder each 
other. The plowing and the sowing must be well 
done. These may be and should be judged; that is 


men's part of the work. But the care of well planted 
seed is with God. We shall have reports from the 
harvesters showing that He has given the promised 
increase some thirty and some an hundred fold. 

Gifts to education are increasingly munificent. 
University endowments have been swelled by vast 
single gifts in the United States during the last 
few years. We rejoice in this. But may we not 
hope that, in the exposition of the greater needs of 
the educational work in the mission fields, to be pre 
sented in this conference, some men of wealth may 
find the suggestion to endow great schools in mis 
sion lands ? It is a great work to increase the can 
dle power of our great educational arc lights, but 
to give to cave dwellers an incandescent may be a 
better one. 

Not the least beneficent aspect and influence of 
this great gathering will be found in the Christian 
union that it evidences. The value of this is great 
at home, but tenfold greater in the mission field, 
where ecclesiastical divisions suggest diverse prophets. 
The Bible does not draw its illustrations wholly from 
the home or the field, but uses also the strenuous 
things of life the race, the fight, the girded soldier, 
the assault. There are many fields; there are di 
verse arms; the battle is in the bush and the com 
rades that are seen are few. A view of the whole 
army is a good thing; the heart is strengthened by 
an enlarged comradeship. It gives promise that the 


flanks will be covered and a reserve organized. After 
days in the brush the sense of numbers is lost. It 
greatly strengthens the soldier and quickens his pace, 
when he advances to battle, if a glance to right or 
left reveals many pennons, and a marshaled host, 
moving under one great leader to execute a single 
battle plan. 

During the Atlanta campaign of our civil war the 
marching and fighting had been largely in the brush. 
Sometimes in an advance the commander of a regi 
ment could see no more than half of his own line, 
while the supports to his right and left were wholly 
hidden. To him it seemed as if his battalion was 
making an unsupported assault. The extended line, 
the reserve, were matters of faith. But one day the 
advancing army broke suddenly from the brush into 
a savannah a long narrow natural meadow and 
the army was revealed. From the center, far to the 
right and left, the distinctive corps, division, brig 
ade and regimental colors appeared, and associated 
with each of these was the one flag that made the 
army one. A mighty spontaneous cheer burst from 
the whole line and every soldier tightened his grip 
upon his rifle and quickened his step. What that 
savannah did for that army this world's conference 
of missions should do for the church. 



April 21, 1900 

It would have been more appropriate if some one of 
our distinguished foreign guests had been assigned 
to the pleasant duty of acknowledging the generous 
and kindly welcome which has been brought by the 
president of the United States and by the governor 
of New York state, to this great conference. 

But in behalf of the delegates who, from far and 
near have gathered in this conference, I return to 
the president of the United States our most hearty 
thanks for his presence here to-night. Perhaps 
some of our foreign guests miss the display, and the 
regalia, and the sound of trumpets with which the 
chief executives of foreign nations make their prog 
ress and are greeted by their subjects. Could any 
thing be more simple, and when the mind receives 
the thought, anything more grand and majestic, than 
the simple presence of an American president here 



to-night! We were quite prepared, sir [to President 
McKinley], because you are known by your fellow- 
countrymen as a Christian gentleman, that you should 
extend to these who are assembled the sympathy and 
fellowship of one who has part with them in the 
work of setting up God's kingdom in the world; 
but it was kind, sir, that you should leave those duties 
that some have recently called simple, and which, at 
least you and I know, are arduous and exacting to 
the very extremity of human endurance, and should 
add to them the labor of travel, that you might witness 
here on behalf of this Christian nation the sympathy 
of the whole country with this great foreign missionary 

Of course, it was no trouble for Governor Roose 
velt to come here. Indeed, I think he rather likes 
to get away from Albany, and if we may believe 
those unfailing chroniclers of the truth, whose rep 
resentatives are here before me, he is not infre 
quently here for the purpose of having consultations. 
He availed himself of the few moments that we 
spent together in the reception room to consult me 
about a matter, and when I had given him my opin 
ion, he said : "Well, that is what I was going to do 
anyhow, no matter what you would say," I felt very 
lucky that I had hit upon the conclusion at which 
he had already arrived. We are glad to have from 
him these hearty words of commendation of the 
cause of missions. I think you can receive as the 


truth what he has said. In my observation of him 
he has a passion for the truth. The only trouble 
I ever had with managing him and you know, as 
he has confessed, how thoroughly I did that was 
that it seemed to me he wanted to put an end to all 
the evil in the world between sunrise and sunset. 
He was not willing to take as much time sometimes 
as I thought was necessary in order not to fracture 
things too much, though we never differed as to the 
end that was to be attained. He wanted to get there 
very quickly I am, perhaps, a little bit too conserv 
ative and slow but it is pleasant to have in his per 
son one known to us all to be so thorough a soldier 
of righteousness and right-doing; to hear from him 
to-night his testimony to the work of missions, a 
work in this country and yet a work among savage 
tribes, a work identical with that which in a foreign 
field other missionaries are working out. 

Mr. Chairman, these personal greetings are delight 
ful to us, coming from these two great executive offi 
cers, but it is not so strange, for were their personal 
sympathies less fully given to this cause than we 
know them to be, it would be quite in line with their 
office that they should come and speak to a Chris 
tian assembly here to-night, and encourage the 
work of spreading Christianity throughout the 
world. Upon what conservative element is it that 
the security and peace of our community depend? 
Out of what do those maxims of life come tKat malce 


it decent, that curb passion, that limit selfishness, 
and that bind men together in common purposes for 
the security and happiness of communities? It is, 
indeed, in and out of this sacred word of God that 
a system of morality has come that makes life sweet 
and gives to it possibilities that would otherwise be 
out of thought. It is reported that the aged Ger 
man chancellor, Prince Hohenlohe, recently said as 
he looked about over the world, its struggles, and 
strifes, and distress, and grief, that it seemed to him 
that that geological era had returned when the sau- 
rians, gigantic monsters, walked the earth in their 
devouring forms. He was addressing, I think, a 
meeting of scholars, and he turned to scholarship as 
giving him hope for a world that seemed to be greedy 
for the destruction of its own members. Ah, my 
friends, not scholarship, not invention, not any of 
these noble and creditable developments of our era 
not to these, but to the word of God and the 
church of the Lord Jesus Christ must we turn for 
the hope that men may be delivered from this con 
suming greed and selfishness. 

"Thy neighbor as thyself" that second great 
commandment of our Lord in that and in the power 
which it has already obtained, and the power it shall 
yet obtain over the hearts and minds of men, is our 
deliverance from this perilous condition of which 
Prince Hohenlohe spoke. The church is not a rev 
olutionary hooter. The church cf God, as it was 


started in its way by its Lord and Master, did not 
stir up rebellion, did not set men against their gov 
erning officers. "Tribute to whom tribute is due." 
Let Caesar have his tribute. Respect for our magis 
trates as the representatives of the chief magisterial 
power above, our gospel teaches. And these mis 
sionaries going into these foreign lands do not go to 
disturb the political conditions of the states that they 
enter. Not at all. They preach no crusade; incite 
no rebellion, but work by instilling the principles of 
the gospel of Christ the doctrine of the parity of 
man that God has made of one blood all people 
that not titles and not robes, not the outer things 
at all, but the heart is the seat of judgment and es 
teem; and this doctrine working its quiet way 
through the world will yet bring in the Kingdom that 
is promised. Thy brother as thyself; thy neighbor 
as thyself. Do we count the growth of the church 
by our membership roll? Has the gospel done noth 
ing more? Ah, think for a moment, my friends. 
If you could blot out of your statute books, out of 
your constitutions, out of your codes of morals, out 
of your social and family institutions all that is de 
rived from the sacred book, what would there be 
left to bind society together? 

I thank you, and again I thank our distinguished 
friends in your behalf, for their presence and words 
of cheer to-night. It is a great thing that this great 
city, so full of stir, and rush, and business, should 


have been so moved upon t>y this conference as to 
present to us to-night this magnificent assembly. 

May the Lord God, in whose hands are the hearts 
of all men, turn our hearts to Him, and keep you, 
Mr. President and Governor Roosevelt, and the 
rulers of all these nations represented here, in His 
peace and love. 


May I, 1900 

I was designated to speak the opening word when 
this conference assembled, and the duty is laid upon 
me to-night to speak the closing word. I do not 
like to regard this as the end of the conference. We 
shall have no more lectures; the teachers will be re 
tired; we shall not gather here any more, but it 
seems to me that we might call these exercises to 
night commencement exercises. It is the way the 
colleges have, you know, when the professors are re 
tired, and the class-rooms are closed, and they have 
the last meeting. They call it a commencement, and 
a very appropriate word it is. What has taken place 
was preparatory, it was fitting out people; it was 
setting up a mast and springing the sails a very 
essential sort of work, but of no great account if it 
stops there. The ship must spread her sails; she 
must turn her prow away from the dock; she must 
throw off her moorings, and. with her cargo of mer 
chandise or of human lives, go out upon the sea 


on an errand somewhere, to carry something or 
somebody where it is needed. That is what all this 
means. And so I like to think of this conference 
as a school that is holding to-night its commencement ; 
and of these missionaries who have been privileged 
to come back, either to their native land or at least 
to one of the homelands of missions, as men who 
have been taking here a post-graduate course. Of 
those of us who are delegates, as Christian men and 
women, we have come here to make reports about 
the work and to listen to the story of what has been 
done; not to rest in the pride of it, but to find in 
it an inspiration of greater things yet to be done. 

Do you know, my friends, that these ten days of 
the ecumenical conference on foreign missions in 
New York have been days full of significance and 
import? I have spoken before to many great audi 
ences. I have seen the political spirit in this coun 
try kindled to a white heat. I have in this hall ad 
dressed great political assemblages, but I never have 
been associated with a political campaign where the 
interest was sufficient to fill this hall and three or 
four overflow halls and churches three times a day 
for ten days. It is a revelation to the city of New 
York and to the United States, and to the world. 
Men have not taken account of these things; they 
are taking account of them now. There is scarcely 
a business house or office in New York where they 
have not been talking of these great meetings. 


Well, if it is commencement, then every one who 
has been privileged to sit here, every one who has 
any part in these meetings, is under pledge to go out 
into life with a renewed resolve to do more and to 
do better for foreign missions than he has ever done 
before. It has failed of its purpose if it has not 
touched your heart as it has touched mine, with a 
deeper sense of obligation to our Lord to help in 
the work of evangelizing the world. Every one of 
the mission boards which has been represented here, 
and every allied board and agency in the cause of 
missions, home and foreign, ought to feel an impe 
tus and stimulus, and ought to have its treasury 
filled as never before by the grateful offerings of 
churches who feel their debt to their Lord. 

The great Christian unity, comity whatever you 
call it; we had better not puzzle over names it sim 
ply means, my good bishop, [addressing Bishop 
Doane] that your heart and mine have been drawn to 
gether and touched, and we are more than ever before 
brothers and brethren. I do not think at all that it 
means that the Presbyterian church is to dissolve itself, 
or that the Protestant Episcopal church is to abandon 
its honored and useful place among the Christian work 
ers of the world ; not at all. The impression we want 
to make, that we must make, upon Christians at home 
and in mission fields, is this, that we have one Prophet, 
one Lord, one Book. 

Why, I do not suppose that any enemy who might 


confront the United States would be left in doubt 
at all in a campaign that the Seventh cavalry and 
the Twenty-second infantry were fighting for the 
same flag. And so it ought to be among the Chris 
tian churches. We have spent an immense amount 
of strength very foolishly in discussing the question 
as to which of the churches has most strictly pre 
served the apostolic form. Now that is a question 
that never will be settled in this world, and I think 
that questions that can never be settled might just 
as well never be discussed. I have said, that that 
question will never be settled in this world, and my 
judgment is and I say it reverently, too that it 
will never be settled in the next, for when the Lord 
comes in His glory, when He is seen in fulfillment 
of the Father's mighty promise and the travail of 
His soul, and the world has come to Him, and every 
knee has bowed, and every tongue confessed, there 
will be no consideration of the question as to which 
of the churches was nearest to the apostolic form. 
It will be to the faithful ones out of all churches: 
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant." 

Is not this supreme loyalty to the holy catholic 
church universal the church whose names are writ 
ten in heaven? Is not that consistent? Is it im 
pinged upon or hurt by love to my own church ? Not 
at all, any more than the love I bear for the state 
I live in impairs the sincerity or faithfulness of my 
allegiance to that great Union o'f the states whose flag" 


floats over us all. I do not think a man who does 
not love his state, the city where he lives, the 
neighbors who are about him, the home of his 
father and mother who has not some special at 
tachments will ever make a good citizen of the 
United States. I believe this spirit, this discriminat 
ing spirit, this spirit of love and fellowship has 
been mightily set forward by this great conference. 
The army will co-operate, the cavalry will not say 
to the artillery: "We have no need of you," and 
the artillery will be particularly careful to stop fir 
ing when the cavalry charges. Of all the demoral 
izing incidents that can happen to an army, the 
worst is to be fired into by mistake for it can never 
be done purposely by some of its own men. We 
expect fire from the adversary; but when, as has 
sometimes happened in a campaign in the timber or 
brush, or in confusion, a supporting column, for 
getting that men of their own flag are in front of 
them, deliver their fire, no troops in the world can 
stand it; it is demoralization; it is dismay. Breth 
ren, we will take care as never before that we do 
not stand in the way; that we do not by any possi 
bility deliver a shot that shall find its mark in any 
of the regiments that march under the banner of our 

And now, to these gentlemen who have so gra 
ciously expressed the thanks of the visiting delegates 
and missionaries, may I be permitted to say in your 


behalf that we are all debtors. No one ever received 
a prophet of God into his House that did not receive 
more than he gave. You have brought to us these 
precious women who have come from mission fields; 
you have brought to us, into our hearts and into 
our homes, sanctifying and inspiring influences with 
which the breath that perished is not to be compared. 
We part with you in sorrow, and yet, bitter as they 
are, the Christian partings always are cheered by 
the promise of the great gathering where all who 
love the Lord shall see each other again. We thank 
you for your gracious and instructive words; we 
thank you for the inspiration you have given us; 
we hope that you have caught from our hearts some 
of the love we bear you, and that you will go back 
to the Lord's appointed work stronger for our 
prayers and for our sympathy. 

And now, as we bring this meeting to a close, 
may I not assure you all that the prayers of the 
church in America will be offered with a frequency 
and a fervor they have never had before, and that 
the pockets and the purses of the American people 
will be opened with a generosity they have never 
shown before, to conduct this great world-work 
a work which is to bring in the day when the king 
doms of the earth shall become the kingdoms of our 

God bless you all, abide with you in your places, 
strengthen your hearts, fill them with the converts 


that He knows so well how to convert, and give you 
success in your devoted efforts to make known His 
name to those who are in darkness. 


On Sunday, Fall of 1900 

I suppose the special work among railroad men 
did not have its origin in any opinion that railroad 
men were in greater need of the comforting and 
strengthening influence of the gospel of Christ than 
other men. Every man's need is so extreme in that 
respect that we can not make comparisons. Per 
haps rather it has its origin in the fact that those 
who were managing these things thought that to get 
hold of railroad men would be to occupy a strong 
strategic position in the fight for good morals and 
religion, because you are stirring about so much. 
Knowledge increases when men go to and fro, and 
most of you are going to and fro. The railroads 
themselves are getting to understand that mechani 
cal skill is not hurt any if it is backed up by good 
moral character indeed, they are beginning to make 
some requirement in that direction looking exclus- 


ively to the business side of railroad management, 
not because they are Christians, but because railroad 
property is safer in the hands of men who are re 
sponsible. I fancy that a man who believes that he 
will not only be applauded by the president of the 
road, but will have the applause of the King of the 
Universe the Lord God is not less apt to stay in 
front when a collision is imminent. The man who 
receives the religious idea that he may please God 
in running a lathe or an engine that to do things 
well and conscientiously, scrupulously, is pleasing 
not only to the boss of the shop, but to God is a lit 
tle more apt to be scrupulous and honest and care 
ful and brave than if he did not believe these things. 
So that there can be no doubt that the old idea about 
railroad men, very much like that about the 
"roustabouts" and mates on the old steamboats 
when it was thought that steamboat men could not 
manage "roustabouts" without an immense amount 
of profanity that they must be rough is giv 
ing way. It is not necessary. If you are picking 
out a brave man now, you can't say: "Always take 
the man that swears the most." There used to be 
a thought of that kind in connection with soldiers 
that a soldier must be a rough, boisterous, swear 
ing, drinking man. But General Howard and others 
took that notion out of the minds of men. It is the 
conscientious, God-fearing soldier that will stay the 
longest in a hot place. 


I am not here to make a speech, but only to ex 
press by my presence and these few words my in 
terest in this work and to assume formal direction of 
the exercises of the afternoon. 




December 31, 1900 

My toast has great scope. I do not think of 
anything that may not, without glaring inappropri- 
ateness, be connected with it. A late speaker should 
always choose such a toast. Where the antecedent 
orators are addicted to ranging, it is the only way 
to save an untrodden fence corner with a few clumps 
of bunch grass dry but nutritious. I do not speak 
of flowers, for I foresaw that there would not be 
enough left for me to make a boutonniere after our 
senators had been heard! 

Columbia should have been the name of the 
western hemisphere the republican half of the 
world the hemisphere without a king on the 
ground the reserved world, where God sent the 
trodden spirits of men to be revived; to find, where 
all things were primitive, man's primitive rights. 

Royal prerogatives are plants that require a 


walled garden and to be defended from the wild, 
free growths that crowd and climb upon them. 
Pomp and laced garments are incongruous in the 
brush. Danger and hardships are commoners. The 
man in front is the captain the royal commission 
to the contrary notwithstanding. The platoon and 
volley firing by the word would not do the open 
order, one man to a tree, firing at his own will and 
at a particular savage, was better. Out of this and 
like calls to do things upon his own initiative the 
free American was born. He thought he might get 
along with kings and imperial parliaments if they 
were benevolent, and did and allowed what he 
wished, but they were forever doing their own pleas 
ure, as the way of absolutism always is. And so 
he found it necessary first to remonstrate and then 
to resist. 

Now a remonstrance implies an argument. The 
acts complained of must be shown to have infringed 
a right. At first he talked of English rights, but 
it was not long until he began to talk about human 
rights. The British parliament was, under British 
law, supreme could repeal the Magna Charta. He 
turned to the colonial charters, surely they were ir 
revocable grants, but the crown courts held other 
wise. What kings and parliaments had given, they 
could take away. And so our fathers were driven 
to claim divine endowment and to allow it to all 
men, since God had made all of one blood. To 


write the argument otherwise was to divest it of 
its major premise. The grand conclusion no king 
or parliament can rightfully take God's gift of lib 
erty from any man was thus riveted to the eternal 
throne itself. We made for our convenience an ex 
ception in the case of the black man; but God erased 
it with a sponge dipped in the white man's blood. 

This divine law of individual liberty allows the 
restraints that are necessary for the general good, 
but it does not allow either a man or a civil com 
munity to exploit for selfish gain another man or 
another community. 

The so-called Anglo-Saxon and especially the; 
American branch of that great family should rev 
erently and humbly thank God for the pre-eminent 
power and influence He has given to it; for organ 
ized freedom and for astounding wealth. Verily He 
hath not dealt so with any other people. The gifts 
of wealth and power, whether to man or nation, are, 
however, to be soberly taken and wisely used. 

I estimate the gift of the governing faculty to 
be God's greatest gift to the Anglo-Saxon, and in 
the constitution of the United States, with its di 
vision of powers, its limitations upon the governing 
departments and its sublime reservations in the in 
terests of individual liberty, I see the highest achieve 
ment of that most rare faculty. 

I have no argument to make, here or anywhere, 
against territorial expansion, but I do not, as some 


do, look to expansion as the safest or more attract 
ive avenue of national development. By the ad 
vantages of abundant and cheap coal and iron, of 
an enormous surplus of food products, and of inven 
tion and economy in production, we are now lead 
ing by a nose the original and the greatest of the 
colonizing nations. Australia and New Zealand 
loyally send their contingents to South Africa but 
Great Britain can not hold the trades of her colo 
nies against American offerings of a better or cheap 
er product. The Central and South American 
states, assured of our purpose not only to respect, 
but to defend, their autonomy, and finding the peace 
and social order which a closer and larger commer 
cial intercourse with the world will bring, offer to 
our commerce a field the full development of which 
will realize the Eldorado. Hail to Columbia, the 
home of the free, and from which only freedom 
can go out! 

The tune of "Hail Columbia" has for me some 
unpleasant associations. Before we started on the 
Atlanta campaign it was proclaimed in orders from 
division headquarters that the first strain of "Hail 
Columbia" should be the call of the first brigade. 
And so it became associated with falling tents and 
wet and weary marches. When, after much march 
ing and some fighting, we had spread the scant can 
vas allowed us; had rinsed our only, or our extra 
shirt, and hung it out, with our wet blankets, to dry; 


had found the most adaptable concaves of a bed of 
poles; had just received the infrequent mail from the 
hands of our faithful chaplain, and were deep in 
the long-distance newspaper account of what we 
had done and were about to do from some near 
hilltop the first strain of "Hail Columbia" rang out, 
and the temptation to substitute another spelling of 
the first word, or at least to shorten the sound of the 
"a," was irresistible. The "general" came next, and 
after an interval, just long enough for the resump 
tion of the wet shirt and the rolling of the blankets, 
the "assembly/' and quickly afterward "to the col 
ors." When we were in line "Hail Columbia" had 
done its dreadful work, demolished a camp and scat 
tered among its unsightly debris the fragments of a 
broken command. Then for the first time a 
human control of this diabolical enginery appeared 
in the shape of an orderly with a long white en 
velope stuck in the belt that supported his bloodless 
saber. Now, I like to know where I am going be 
fore I pack my trunk. Is it strange that I still feel 
an impulse to reach for my overcoat when I hear 
"Hail Columbia"? 

And now, hail to the Columbia club an asso 
ciation of loyal, liberal-minded Republicans organ 
ized, not to control primaries or to divide the spoils 
of office, but to maintain the ascendency of Repub 
lican principles and to promote friendliness and good 
will among its members. I recall the occasion and 


the circumstances of your organization and the ar 
dent readiness with which you on every occasion ren 
dered honor and service to me as the party's candi 
date and as your neighbor. These things abide in 
my memory; they are stored where no vicissitudes 
of life can disturb them. But they are more than 
mere pleasant reminiscences. They are bonds of 
friendship and inspirations to duty. 

The decapitation of the ex-president, when the 
oath of office has been administered to his successor, 
would greatly vivify a somewhat tiresome ceremo 
nial. And we may some time solve the newspaper 
problem, what to do with our ex-presidents, in that 
conclusive way. Until then I hope an ex-president 
may be permitted to live somewhere midway be 
tween the house of the gossip and the crypt of the 
mummy. He will know, perhaps, in an especial way, 
how to show the highest honor to the presidential 
office and the most courteous deference to the pres 
ident. Upon great questions, however especially 
upon questions of constitutional law you must give 
an ex-president his freedom or the axe and it is 
too late to give me the axe. 

Any Democratic friends who may share your 
hospitality to-night will pardon me for saying to any 
of them who have cast beguiling looks toward me, 
that the Democratic party has never been less at 
tractive than now. No plan of reorganization sug 
gests itself to me exceot that suggested by a wag- 


gish lieutenant of my regiment to a captain whose 
platoons were inverted. He said: "Captain, if I 
were in your place I would break ranks and have 
the orderly call the roll!" Perhaps even this hope 
ful program may fail from an inability to agree as to 
the roll and as to the orderly. 

Gentlemen of the Columbia club, I congratulate 
you upon the opening of this magnificent club house 
and thank you with a full heart for your many acts 
of kindness. 



Adams, John 75, 125, 142-145 

Adams, John Quincy 99 

Anti War Party, An 223-230 

Arbitration, International 239-242, 495 
Asbury Park, N. J. 

Address at banquet of the Cincinnati 486 


Bancroft 110, 111, 129 

Bellomont, Lord 103 

Blackstone 35-39,68 
Boer War 219, 220, 257-270 

Bryce, James 219 
Burke 70, 71, 210, 211 


Canada 152 

Charters, The Colonial 30-35, 42-48 

Chinese War 243, 244 

Cleveland, Grover 400, 401 

Colonies, The American 10-123 
Columbia Club, Indianapolis 

Address at banquet 521-527 
Commercial Club, Indianapolis 

AcWress at banquet 466-471 

Compulsory Dishonesty 454-465 

Confederation, The American 124-154, 183 

Congress, 1774 and 1775 115-119 



Constitution, The National 1-29, 189-221 

Constitution, The English 4-6, 26 

Curtis (Author Constitutional History U. S.) 84 


Declaration of Independence; 120, 122, 123, 125, 126 

Drayton, Justice, 64 

Ecumenical Missionary Conference 

Addresses as Honorary Chairman 497-517 


Military, in Schools 367-370 

Of Children 419-425 

Executive, The State 173 

The National 429-435 


Forum, The 

Article on Compulsory Dishonesty 454-465 

Frothingham 98 

Franklin, Benjamin 32, 59, 77, 105-110 


Gladstone, William E. 2, 5 

Grand Army of Republic 

Address at National Encampment 361-366 

Great Britain 

An alliance with 245-257 

Hamilton, Alexander 442 

Hawaii 188 

Hoar, George F. 226-228 

Hohenlohe, Prince 508 

Hutchinson, Governor 50, 81, 90 



Address upon return to in 1893 358 

Commercial Club "No Mean City" 466-471 

Flag presentation, Light Artillery 482-485 

Columbia Club banquet 521-527 



Inheritance Tax Cases of Illinois 
Argument in Supreme Court 


Jefferson, Thomas 
Judiciary, The Colonial 
The National 

Kruger, Paul 

83, 442 

59, 60 



Law Reforms, Some Hindrances to 

Lecture at Ann Arbor 
Lincoln, Abraham 
Lodge, Henry Cabot 

Madison, James 

Marquette Club, Chicago 

Address Lincoln's Birthday 

Mason, George 

Mayflower Compact 

McKinley, William 

Military Instruction in Schools 

Miller, Mr. Justice 

Monroe Doctrine 

Morton, Levi P. 


New England Society of Pennsylvania 
Address at banquet 






382-387, 506 



239, 242 
390, 391 


Paris, France 

Address American Chamber of Commerce 490-496 

Parliament, The English 27, 28, 69, 70, 73-85 

Penn, William 48, 49, 53, 101 

Pensions, 363-365 

Petition, Right of 54, 57 

Philippines, The 188, 189 

Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth 122 

Pitt, William 71, 72, 226 

532 INDEX 

Political Speeches 

McKinley meeting, Indianapolis, 1894 382-387 

Meeting, Carnegie Hall, New York, 1894 388-418 

Meeting, Carnegie Hall, New York, 1896, 426-453 

Porto Rico 188, 189, 193, 208-216 

Railroad Men's Christian Association 

Address as presiding officer 518-520 

Rainsford, Rev. Dr. 292 

Red Cross Society 488-4S9 

Roberts, James A. 292-294, 343, 344 

Rosebery, Lord 5 


Silver Question, The 405, 439-465 

Spanish War 232, 253, 262, 482, 486, 488, 493 

Stanford University 

Lectures at 1-184 

Founders' Day address 376 

States, The 155-185 

Story, Judge 68, 69, 80, 121, 122, 152 

Tariff, The 384, 396-418, 435-439 


Union League Club, Chicago 

Address Washington's Birthday, 1898 331-357 

Address Washington's Birthday at banquet 479-481 


Victoria, Queen 256 


Washington, George 9, 14, 332, 333, 342 

Wealth, obligations of 

Address Union League Club, Chicago 331-357 

Y\Tilson, James 81 

Winslow, Edward 19 

World Powers 230-244 




MW 1 4 1969 


Book Slip-50m-12,'64(F772s4)458 


Harrison, B 

Views of an