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and a party more united than it has been since 1892 loyally supported him; but even a united party could not overcome the handicap of Mr. Bryan's political record. He was weaker than his party, as shown by the vote for Governor in New York, Minnesota, Illinois and elsewhere; weaker than his issues, which he made still weaker by the stupendous folly of posing as Roosevelt's heir.
Mr. Bryan's overwhelming defeat is made the more significant by reason of Mr. Taft's vulnerability. The Republican candidate had to bear the burden of general hard times; of a million men out of employment; of business interests complaining and dissatisfied; of a steadily increasing cost of living; of an unparalleled disaffection of labor leaders; of an unparalleled disaffection of the Negro vote; of Republican factional fights in the great pivotal States of New York, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois; of a reactionary platform which he was obliged to modify in his speech of acceptance; of an insidious use of religious prejudice and bigotry against Mr. Taft's liberal and advanced belief; of a popular resentment against Mr. Roosevelt's determination to name his successor and a Proxy.
The hard-times issue alone was a burden under which a far stronger candidate than Mr. Taft might have succumbed. It is the first time in the history of the country that a great panic, so far as the popular vote is concerned, has not defeated the party in power. But Mr. Bryan has been proved unsound on so many financial and economic questions in the past that the Republicans turned their own responsibility for hard times into a source of strength. Nothing contributed more to Mr. Taft's elec tion than the belief of workingmen that his triumph would make for the restoration of prosperity, while Mr. Bryan's eelction would further retard good times.
For Mr. Taft personally The World has very high respect. While he is pledged to Mr. Roosevelt's policies,
he is not pledged to Mr. Roosevelt's violent methods. In so far as Mr. Taft shows a judicial, magisterial, independent spirit in administering the affairs of his great office we promise him emphatically the hearty suport of The World.
We believe the country is tired of Roosevelt government by denunciation, of rough-riderism, of jingoism and of cowboy administration in general. It wants the Presi'dency restored to the dignity of the fathers without sacrificing any of the elements of strength and wise radicalism which made for the general welfare of the people.
It wants no Proxy in the Presidency. It wants no more personal government. It wants a rational, progressive government by due process of law, and therein lies Mr. Taft's greatest opportunity of service to his fellow-countrymen.
WILLIAM J. GAYNOR
UPREME COURT JUSTICE WILLIAM J. GAYNOR was one of the most colorful and engaging figures in the public life of New York City and State. The World had more than once urged him upon the attention of the leaders of the Democratic party as fit material for a reform Governor. But he was too independent to suit the local bosses and had, himself, no liking for political activity when it might mean giving up a high place on the bench only to be defeated at the polls. Finally, however, he was persuaded to stand for Mayor by a combination of political and civic committees which promised for him an easy victory and something like an era of good feeling when elected. His crusty temper prevented such an insipid result of his election, but he had most of the qualities that make a great Mayor, capacity, courage, boldness and ingenuity. His life was shortened by the bullet of a would-be assassin.
JUDGE GAYNOR'S INDEPENDENCE
[October 26, 1909]
JUDGE GAYNOR's libel suit against The World for the publication in its evening edition of one of Mr. Brisbane's entertaining articles in behalf of Mr. Hearst is to be accepted as further proof of the Democratic candidate's militant independence.
If Judge Gaynor, in the midst of the campaign, brings suit against The World, which is his chief newspaper supporter, we have high hope that as Mayor he would be equally courageous in starting litigation in the public in terest. That kind of a man could bring all the tax dodgers to time, collect the franchise taxes that the corporations have evaded for years and compel the traction companies to fulfill their contract obligations. That is what we want a Mayor to do.
New York needs a Mayor who is not afraid to start lawsuits against anything or anybody and who will not be swerved by personal considerations of any sort.
A VICTIM OF DUTY
[August 10, 1910]
THE attempt upon the life of Mayor Gaynor is another startling reminder of the dangers of courageous public service. It came about through no excitement of faction nor as a result of any secret conspiracy. The act of an individual of little consequence as human units are estimated, it nevertheless directs attention very sharply to rapidly changing conditions and to tendencies in political thought that are full of peril. Seemingly, no other man was safer yesterday morning in this community than the honored Mayor of New York. Actually, he was sneakingly pursued to the ship on which he was to sail for a European holiday and shot down as might have been the victim of a vendetta. In profound sorrow for the deed and its possibilities and in sympathy for the suffering magistrate and his family but one voice can express the feelings of this people.
Elected by a party, Mayor Gaynor had become in seven months distinctively the people's magistrate. By
his fidelity, by his simplicity, by his shaping of means to ends, by his directness of purpose and by his zealous devotion to duty he had almost disarmed honest criticism. He found existing laws sufficient for his needs. From them he drew his authority, but it was he who furnished the initiative and the energy. Exercising no doubtful power, he vitalized the Mayorality, corrected abuses, inaugurated sweeping reforms and economies and gave an unmistakable impulse for good to every municipal agency. In him were centred many hopes of patriotic citizenship in a sphere much wider than that of his office. In his ripening career good men saw much that was promising for city, State and country. Following the shock which a deed like that of yesterday everywhere produces must be the solemn realization that the loss of such a man by means so foul and wanton could be regarded only as a national calamity.
There is no other tyranny like that of assassination. Despotic everywhere, it is outrageously so in a republic. It is the assertion of one man's will against the will of millions. It is absolutism that is matchless in all the bloody records of power and crime. It aims to kill not only a man but his office; to nullify not only the law but government; to change not only incumbents but systems and policies; to substitute the rule of one for the rule of the majority.
Resorted to by those having only a sordid personal grievance, assassination in its origin has aspects even more paltry in comparison with the momentous interests which it assails. When political pillage and favor become so well intrenched that an individual selfishly resists with arms in his hands the introduction of better methods 'damaging to himself we have an impressive illustration of the gravity of the evils with which true reformers have to contend. It is possible, furthermore, that we have in such outlawry an explanation of the timidity and ineffi