by Edward Mandell House
from GutembergProject Website
“No war of classes, no hostility to existing
wealth, no wanton or unjust
violation of the rights of property, but a constant
ameliorate the condition of the classes least favored
House's novel, Philip Dru, was written in New Haven, Connecticut and in those days House was closer to the Taft segment of The Order than Woodrow Wilson. In fact House, as we shall see later, was The Order's messenger boy. House was also something of a joker because part of
the story of The Order is encoded within Philip Dru!
This book is dedicated to the unhappy many who have lived and died lacking opportunity, because, in the starting, the world-wide social structure was wrongly begun.
The Vision of Philip Dru
Lost in the Desert
The Supremacy of Mind
The Tragedy of the Turners
The Prophet of a New Day
The Winning of a Medal
The Story of the Levinskys
Philip Begins a New Career
Gloria Decides to Proselyte the Rich
Selwyn Plots with Thor
Selwyn Seeks a Candidate
Dru and Selwyn Meet
The Making of a President
The Exultant Conspirators
Selwyn and Thor Defend Themselves
Gloria's Work Bears Fruit
War Clouds Hover
Civil War Begins
Upon the Eve of Battle
The Battle of Elma
The Administrators of the Republic
Dru Outlines His Intentions
A New Era at Washington
An International Crisis
The Reform of the Judiciary
A New Code of Laws
The Question of Taxation
A Federal Incorporation Act
The Railroad Problem
Selwyn's Story, Continued
Selwyn's Story, Continued
The Cotton Corner
A Negative Government
A Departure in Battleships
The New National Constitution
New State Constitutions
The Rule of the Bosses
One Cause of the High Cost of Living
The Wise Disposition of a Fortune
The Wise Disposition of a Fortune, Continued
An International Coalition
The Broadening of the Monroe Doctrine
The Battle of La Tuna
The Unity of the Northern Half of the Western Hemisphere Under the New Republic
The Effacement of Philip Dru
In the year 1920, the student and the statesman saw many indications that the social, financial and industrial troubles that had vexed the United States of America for so long a time were about to culminate in civil war.
Wealth had grown so strong, that the few were about to strangle the many, and among the great masses of the people, there was sullen and rebellious discontent.
The laborer in the cities, the producer on the farm, the merchant, the professional man and all save organized capital and its satellites, saw a gloomy and hopeless future.
With these conditions prevailing, the graduation exercises of the class of 1920 of the National Military Academy at West Point, held for many a foreboding promise of momentous changes, but the 12th of June found the usual gay scene at the great institution overlooking the Hudson. The President of the Republic, his Secretary of War and many other distinguished guests were there to do honor to the occasion, together with friends, relatives and admirers of the young men who were being sent out to the ultimate leadership of the Nation’s Army. The scene had all the usual charm of West Point graduations, and the usual intoxicating atmosphere of military display.
There was among the young graduating soldiers one who seemed depressed and out of touch with the triumphant blare of militarism, for he alone of his fellow classmen had there no kith nor kin to bid him God-speed in his new career.
Standing apart under the broad shadow of an oak, he looked out over long stretches of forest and river, but what he saw was his home in distant Kentucky--the old farmhouse that the sun and the rain and the lichens had softened into a mottled gray. He saw the gleaming brook that wound its way through the tangle of orchard and garden, and parted the distant blue-grass meadow.
He saw his aged mother sitting under the honeysuckle trellis, book in hand, but thinking, he knew, of him. And then there was the perfume of the flowers, the droning of the bees in the warm sweet air and the drowsy hound at his father’s feet.
But this was not all the young man saw, for Philip Dru, in spite of his military training, was a close student of the affairs of his country, and he saw that which raised grave doubts in his mind as to the outcome of his career. He saw many of the civil institutions of his country debased by the power of wealth under the thin guise of the constitutional protection of property. He saw the Army which he had sworn to serve faithfully becoming prostituted by this same power, and used at times for purposes of intimidation and petty conquests where the interests of wealth were at stake. He saw the great city where luxury, dominant and defiant, existed largely by grace of exploitation--exploitation of men, women and children.
The young man’s eyes had become bright and hard, when his day-dream was interrupted, and he was looking into the gray-blue eyes of Gloria Strawn--the one whose lot he had been comparing to that of her sisters in the city, in the mills, the sweatshops, the big stores, and the streets. He had met her for the first time a few hours before, when his friend and classmate, Jack Strawn, had presented him to his sister. No comrade knew Dru better than Strawn, and no one admired him so much. Therefore, Gloria, ever seeking a closer contact with life, had come to West Point eager to meet the lithe young Kentuckian, and to measure him by the other men of her acquaintance.
She was disappointed in his appearance, for she had fancied him almost god-like in both size and beauty, and she saw a man of medium height, slender but toughly knit, and with a strong, but homely face. When he smiled and spoke she forgot her disappointment, and her interest revived, for her sharp city sense caught the trail of a new experience.
To Philip Dru, whose thought of and experience with women was almost nothing, so engrossed had he been in his studies, military and economic, Gloria seemed little more than a child. And yet her frank glance of appraisal when he had been introduced to her, and her easy though somewhat languid conversation on the affairs of the commencement, perplexed and slightly annoyed him. He even felt some embarrassment in her presence.
Child though he knew her to be, he hesitated whether he should call her by her given name, and was taken aback when she smilingly thanked him for doing so, with the assurance that she was often bored with the eternal conventionality of people in her social circle.
Suddenly turning from the commonplaces of the day, Gloria looked directly at Philip, and with easy self-possession turned the conversation to himself.
“I am wondering, Mr. Dru, why you came to West Point and why it is you like the thought of being a soldier?” she asked. “An American soldier has to fight so seldom that I have heard that the insurance companies regard them as the best of risks, so what attraction, Mr. Dru, can a military career have for you?”
Never before had Philip been asked such a question, and it surprised him that it should come from this slip of a girl, but he answered her in the serious strain of his thoughts.
“As far back as I can remember,” he said, “I have wanted to be a soldier. I have no desire to destroy and kill, and yet there is within me the lust for action and battle. It is the primitive man in me, I suppose, but sobered and enlightened by civilization. I would do everything in my power to avert war and the suffering it entails. Fate, inclination, or what not has brought me here, and I hope my life may not be wasted, but that in God’s own way, I may be a humble instrument for good. Oftentimes our inclinations lead us in certain directions, and it is only afterwards that it seems as if fate may from the first have so determined it.”
The mischievous twinkle left the girl’s eyes, and the languid tone of her voice changed to one a little more like sincerity.
“But suppose there is no war,” she demanded, “suppose you go on living at barracks here and there, and with no broader outlook than such a life entails, will you be satisfied? Is that all you have in mind to do in the world?”
He looked at her more perplexed than ever. Such an observation of life, his life, seemed beyond her years, for he knew but little of the women of his own generation. He wondered, too, if she would understand if he told her all that was in his mind.
“Gloria, we are entering a new era. The past is no longer to be a guide to the future. A century and a half ago there arose in France a giant that had slumbered for untold centuries. He knew he had suffered grievous wrongs, but he did not know how to right them. He therefore struck out blindly and cruelly, and the innocent went down with the guilty. He was almost wholly ignorant for in the scheme of society as then constructed, the ruling few felt that he must be kept ignorant, otherwise they could not continue to hold him in bondage. For him the door of opportunity was closed, and he struggled from the cradle to the grave for the minimum of food and clothing necessary to keep breath within the body. His labor and his very life itself was subject to the greed, the passion and the caprice of his over-lord.
“So when he awoke he could only destroy. Unfortunately for him, there was not one of the governing class who was big enough and humane enough to lend a guiding and a friendly hand, so he was led by weak, and selfish men who could only incite him to further wanton murder and demolition.
“But out of that revelry of blood there dawned upon mankind the hope of a more splendid day. The divinity of kings, the God-given right to rule, was shattered for all time. The giant at last knew his strength, and with head erect, and the light of freedom in his eyes, he dared to assert the liberty, equality and fraternity of man. Then throughout the Western world one stratum of society after another demanded and obtained the right to acquire wealth and to share in the government. Here and there one bolder and more forceful than the rest acquired great wealth and with it great power. Not satisfied with reasonable gain, they sought to multiply it beyond all bounds of need. They who had sprung from the people a short life span ago were now throttling individual effort and shackling the great movement for equal rights and equal opportunity.”
Dru’s voice became tense and vibrant, and he talked in quick sharp jerks.
“Nowhere in the world is wealth more defiant, and monopoly more insistent than in this mighty republic,” he said, “and it is here that the next great battle for human emancipation will be fought and won. And from the blood and travail of an enlightened people, there will be born a spirit of love and brotherhood which will transform the world; and the Star of Bethlehem, seen but darkly for two thousand years, will shine again with a steady and effulgent glow.”
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The Vision of Philip Dru
Long before Philip had finished speaking, Gloria saw that he had forgotten her presence. With glistening eyes and face aflame he had talked on and on with such compelling force that she beheld in him the prophet of a new day.
She sat very still for a while, and then she reached out to touch his sleeve.
“I think I understand how you feel now,” she said in a tone different from any she had yet used. “I have been reared in a different atmosphere from you, and at home have heard only the other side, while at school they mostly evade the question. My father is one of the ’bold and forceful few’ as perhaps you know, but he does not seem to me to want to harm anyone. He is kind to us, and charitable too, as that word is commonly used, and I am sure he has done much good with his money.”
“I am sorry, Gloria, if I have hurt you by what I said,” answered Dru.
“Oh! never mind, for I am sure you are right,” answered the girl, but Philip continued--
“Your father, I think, is not to blame. It is the system that is at fault. His struggle and his environment from childhood have blinded him to the truth. To those with whom he has come in contact, it has been the dollar and not the man that counted. He has been schooled to think that capital can buy labor as it would machinery, the human equation not entering into it. He believes that it would be equivalent to confiscation for the State to say ’in regard to a corporation, labor, the State and capital are important in the order named.’ Good man that he means to be, he does not know, perhaps he can never know, that it is labor, labor of the mind and of the body, that creates, and not capital.”
“You would have a hard time making Father see that,” put in Gloria, with a smile.
“Yes!” continued Philip, “from the dawn of the world until now, it has been the strong against the weak. At the first, in the Stone Age, it was brute strength that counted and controlled. Then those that ruled had leisure to grow intellectually, and it gradually came about that the many, by long centuries of oppression, thought that the intellectual few had God-given powers to rule, and to exact tribute from them to the extent of commanding every ounce of exertion of which their bodies were capable. It was here, Gloria, that society began to form itself wrongly, and the result is the miserable travesty of to-day. Selfishness became the keynote, and to physical and mental strength was conceded everything that is desirable in life. Later, this mockery of justice, was partly recognized, and it was acknowledged to be wrong for the physically strong to despoil and destroy the physically weak. Even so, the time is now measurably near when it will be just as reprehensible for the mentally strong to hold in subjection the mentally weak, and to force them to bear the grievous burdens which a misconceived civilization has imposed upon them."
Gloria was now thoroughly interested, but smilingly belied it by saying, “A history professor I had once lost his position for talking like that.”
The young man barely recognized the interruption.
“The first gleam of hope came with the advent of Christ,” he continued. “So warped and tangled had become the minds of men that the meaning of Christ’s teaching failed utterly to reach human comprehension. They accepted him as a religious teacher only so far as their selfish desires led them. They were willing to deny other gods and admit one Creator of all things, but they split into fragments regarding the creeds and forms necessary to salvation. In the name of Christ they committed atrocities that would put to blush the most benighted savages. Their very excesses in cruelty finally caused a revolution in feeling, and there was evolved the Christian religion of to-day, a religion almost wholly selfish and concerned almost entirely in the betterment of life after death.”
The girl regarded Philip for a second in silence, and then quietly asked, “For the betterment of whose life after death?”
“I was speaking of those who have carried on only the forms of religion. Wrapped in the sanctity of their own small circle, they feel that their tiny souls are safe, and that they are following the example and precepts of Christ.
“The full splendor of Christ’s love, the grandeur of His life and doctrine is to them a thing unknown. The infinite love, the sweet humility, the gentle charity, the subordination of self that the Master came to give a cruel, selfish and ignorant world, mean but little more to us to-day than it did to those to whom He gave it.”
“And you who have chosen a military career say this,” said the girl as her brother joined the pair.
To Philip her comment came as something of a shock, for he was unprepared for these words spoken with such a depth of feeling.
Gloria and Philip Dru spent most of graduation day together. He did not want to intrude amongst the relatives and friends of his classmates, and he was eager to continue his acquaintance with Gloria. To the girl, this serious-minded youth who seemed so strangely out of tune with the blatant military fanfare, was a distinct novelty. At the final ball she almost ignored the gallantries of the young officers, in order that she might have opportunity to lead Dru on to further self-revelation.
The next day in the hurry of packing and departure he saw her only for an instant, but from her brother he learned that she planned a visit to the new Post on the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass where Jack Strawn and Philip were to be stationed after their vacation.
Philip spent his leave, before he went to the new Post, at his Kentucky home. He wanted to be with his father and mother, and he wanted to read and think, so he declined the many invitations to visit.
His father was a sturdy farmer of fine natural sense, and with him Philip never tired of talking when both had leisure.
Old William Dru had inherited nothing save a rundown, badly managed, heavily mortgaged farm that had been in the family for several generations. By hard work and strict economy, he had first built it up into a productive property and had then liquidated the indebtedness. So successful had he been that he was able to buy small farms for four of his sons, and give professional education to the other three. He had accumulated nothing, for he had given as fast as he had made, but his was a serene and contented old age because of it. What was the hoarding of money or land in comparison to the satisfaction of seeing each son happy in the possession of a home and family? The ancestral farm he intended for Philip, youngest and best beloved, soldier though he was to be.
All during that hot summer, Philip and his father discussed the ever-growing unrest of the country, and speculated when the crisis would come, and how it would end.
Finally, he left his home, and all the associations clustered around it, and turned his face towards imperial Texas, the field of his new endeavor.
He reached Fort Magruder at the close of an Autumn day. He thought he had never known such dry sweet air. Just as the sun was sinking, he strolled to the bluff around which flowed the turbid waters of the Rio Grande, and looked across at the gray hills of old Mexico.
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Lost in the Desert
Autumn drifted into winter, and then with the blossoms of an early spring, came Gloria.
The Fort was several miles from the station, and Jack and Philip were there to meet her. As they paced the little board platform, Jack was nervously happy over the thought of his sister’s arrival, and talked of his plans for entertaining her. Philip on the other hand held himself well in reserve and gave no outward indication of the deep emotion which stirred within him. At last the train came and from one of the long string of Pullmans, Gloria alighted. She kissed her brother and greeted Philip cordially, and asked him in a tone of banter how he enjoyed army life. Dru smiled and said, “Much better, Gloria, than you predicted I would.” The baggage was stored away in the buck-board, and Gloria got in front with Philip and they were off. It was early morning and the dew was still on the soft mesquite grass, and as the mustang ponies swiftly drew them over the prairie, it seemed to Gloria that she had awakened in fairyland.
At the crest of a hill, Philip held the horses for a moment, and Gloria caught her breath as she saw the valley below. It looked as if some translucent lake had mirrored the sky. It was the countless blossoms of the Texas blue-bonnet that lifted their slender stems towards the morning sun, and hid the earth.
Down into the valley they drove upon the most wonderfully woven carpet in all the world. Aladdin and his magic looms could never have woven a fabric such as this. A heavy, delicious perfume permeated the air, and with glistening eyes and parted lips, Gloria sat dumb in happy astonishment.
They dipped into the rocky bed of a wet weather stream, climbed out of the canyon and found themselves within the shadow of Fort Magruder.
Gloria soon saw that the social distractions of the place had little call for Philip. She learned, too, that he had already won the profound respect and liking of his brother officers. Jack spoke of him in terms even more superlative than ever. “He is a born leader of men,” he declared, “and he knows more about engineering and tactics than the Colonel and all the rest of us put together.” Hard student though he was, Gloria found him ever ready to devote himself to her, and their rides together over the boundless, flower studded prairies, were a never ending joy. “Isn’t it beautiful--Isn’t it wonderful,” she would exclaim. And once she said, “But, Philip, happy as I am, I oftentimes think of the reeking poverty in the great cities, and wish, in some way, they could share this with me.” Philip looked at her questioningly, but made no reply.
A visit that was meant for weeks transgressed upon the months, and still she lingered. One hot June morning found Gloria and Philip far in the hills on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. They had started at dawn with the intention of breakfasting with the courtly old haciendado, who frequently visited at the Post.
After the ceremonious Mexican breakfast, Gloria wanted to see beyond the rim of the little world that enclosed the hacienda, so they rode to the end of the valley, tied their horses and climbed to the crest of the ridge. She was eager to go still further. They went down the hill on the other side, through a draw and into another valley beyond.
Soldier though he was, Philip was no plainsman, and in retracing their steps, they missed the draw.
Philip knew that they were not going as they came, but with his months of experience in the hills, felt sure he could find his way back with less trouble by continuing as they were. The grass and the shrubs gradually disappeared as they walked, and soon he realized that they were on the edge of an alkali desert. Still he thought he could swing around into the valley from which they started, and they plunged steadily on, only to see in a few minutes that they were lost.
“What’s the matter, Philip?” asked Gloria. “Are we lost?”
“I hope not, we only have to find that draw.”
The girl said no more, but walked on side by side with the young soldier. Both pulled their hats far down over their eyes to shield them from the glare of the fierce rays of the sun, and did what they could to keep out the choking clouds of alkali dust that swirled around them at every step.
Philip, hardened by months of Southwestern service, stood the heat well, except that his eyes ached, but he saw that Gloria was giving out.
“Are you tired?” he asked.
“Yes, I am very tired,” she answered, “but I can go on if you will let me rest a moment.” Her voice was weak and uncertain and indicated approaching collapse. And then she said more faintly, “I am afraid, Philip, we are hopelessly lost.”
“Do not be frightened, Gloria, we will soon be out of this if you will let me carry you.”
Just then, the girl staggered and would have fallen had he not caught her.
He was familiar with heat prostration, and saw that her condition was not serious, but he knew he must carry her, for to lay her in the blazing sun would be fatal.
His eyes, already overworked by long hours of study, were swollen and bloodshot. Sharp pains shot through his head. To stop he feared would be to court death, so taking Gloria in his arms, he staggered on.
In that vast world of alkali and adobe there was no living thing but these two. No air was astir, and a pitiless sun beat upon them unmercifully. Philip’s lips were cracked, his tongue was swollen, and the burning dust almost choked him. He began to see less clearly, and visions of things he knew to be unreal came to him. With Spartan courage and indomitable will, he never faltered, but went on. Mirages came and went, and he could not know whether he saw true or not. Then here and there he thought he began to see tufts of curly mesquite grass, and in the distance surely there were cacti. He knew that if he could hold out a little longer, he could lay his burden in some sort of shade.
With halting steps, with eyes inflamed and strength all but gone, he finally laid Gloria in the shadow of a giant prickly pear bush, and fell beside her. He fumbled for his knife and clumsily scraped the needles from a leaf of the cactus and sliced it in two. The heavy sticky liquid ran over his hand as he placed the cut side of the leaf to Gloria’s lips. The juice of the plant together with the shade, partially revived her. Philip, too, sucked the leaf until his parched tongue and throat became a little more pliable.
“What happened?” demanded Gloria. “Oh! yes, now I remember. I am sorry I gave out, Philip. I am not acclimated yet. What time is it?”
After pillowing her head more comfortably upon his riding coat, Philip looked at his watch. “I--I can’t just make it out, Gloria,” he said. “My eyes seem blurred. This awful glare seems to have affected them. They’ll be all right in a little while.”
Gloria looked at the dial and found that the hands pointed to four o’clock. They had been lost for six hours, but after their experiences, it seemed more like as many days. They rested a little while longer talking but little.
“You carried me,” said Gloria once. “I’m ashamed of myself for letting the heat get the best of me. You shouldn’t have carried me, Philip, but you know I understand and appreciate. How are your eyes now?”
“Oh, they’ll be all right,” he reiterated, but when he took his hand from them to look at her, and the light beat upon the inflamed lids, he winced.
After eating some of the fruit of the prickly pear, which they found too hot and sweet to be palatable, Philip suggested at half after five that they should move on. They arose, and the young officer started to lead the way, peeping from beneath his hand. First he stumbled over a mesquite bush directly in his path, and next he collided with a giant cactus standing full in front of him.
“It’s no use, Gloria,” he said at last. “I can’t see the way. You must lead.”
“All right, Philip, I will do the best I can.”
For answer, he merely took her hand, and together they started to retrace their steps. Over the trackless waste of alkali and sagebrush they trudged. They spoke but little but when they did, their husky, dust-parched voices made a mockery of their hopeful words.
Though the horizon seemed bounded by a low range of hills, the girl instinctively turned her steps westward, and entered a draw. She rounded one of the hills, and just as the sun was sinking, came upon the valley in which their horses were peacefully grazing.
They mounted and followed the dim trail along which they had ridden that morning, reaching the hacienda about dark. With many shakings of the hand, voluble protestations of joy at their delivery from the desert, and callings on God to witness that the girl had performed a miracle, the haciendado gave them food and cooling drinks, and with gentle insistence, had his servants, wife and daughters show them to their rooms. A poultice of Mexican herbs was laid across Philip’s eyes, but exhausted as he was he could not sleep because of the pain they caused him.
In the morning, Gloria was almost her usual self, but Philip could see but faintly. As early as was possible they started for Fort Magruder. His eyes were bandaged, and Gloria held the bridle of his horse and led him along the dusty trail. A vaquero from the ranch went with them to show the way.
Then came days of anxiety, for the surgeon at the Post saw serious trouble ahead for Philip. He would make no definite statement, but admitted that the brilliant young officer’s eyesight was seriously menaced.
Gloria read to him and wrote for him, and in many ways was his hands and eyes. He in turn talked to her of the things that filled his mind. The betterment of man was an ever-present theme with them. It pleased him to trace for her the world’s history from its early beginning when all was misty tradition, down through the uncertain centuries of early civilization to the present time.
He talked with her of the untrustworthiness of the so-called history of to-day, although we had every facility for recording facts, and he pointed out how utterly unreliable it was when tradition was the only means of transmission. Mediocrity, he felt sure, had oftentimes been exalted into genius, and brilliant and patriotic exclamations attributed to great men, were never uttered by them, neither was it easy he thought, to get a true historic picture of the human intellectual giant. As a rule they were quite human, but people insisted upon idealizing them, consequently they became not themselves but what the popular mind wanted them to be.
He also dwelt on the part the demagogue and the incompetents play in retarding the advancement of the human race. Some leaders were honest, some were wise and some were selfish, but it was seldom that the people would be led by wise, honest and unselfish men.
“There is always the demagogue to poison the mind of the people against such a man,” he said, “and it is easily done because wisdom means moderation and honesty means truth. To be moderate and to tell the truth at all times and about all matters seldom pleases the masses.”
Many a long day was spent thus in purely impersonal discussions of affairs, and though he himself did not realize it, Gloria saw that Philip was ever at his best when viewing the large questions of State, rather than the narrower ones within the scope of the military power.
The weeks passed swiftly, for the girl knew well how to ease the young Officer’s chafing at uncertainty and inaction. At times, as they droned away the long hot summer afternoons under the heavily leafed fig trees in the little garden of the Strawn bungalow, he would become impatient at his enforced idleness. Finally one day, after making a pitiful attempt to read, Philip broke out, “I have been patient under this as long as I can. The restraint is too much. Something must be done.”
Somewhat to his surprise, Gloria did not try to take his mind off the situation this time, but suggested asking the surgeon for a definite report on his condition.
The interview with the surgeon was unsatisfactory, but his report to his superior officers bore fruit, for in a short time Philip was told that he should apply for an indefinite leave of absence, as it would be months, perhaps years, before his eyes would allow him to carry on his duties.
He seemed dazed at the news, and for a long time would not talk of it even with Gloria. After a long silence one afternoon she softly asked, “What are you going to do, Philip?”
Jack Strawn, who was sitting near by, broke out--“Do! why there’s no question about what he is going to do. Once an Army man always an Army man. He’s going to live on the best the U.S.A. provides until his eyes are right. In the meantime Philip is going to take indefinite sick leave.”
The girl only smiled at her brother’s military point of view, and asked another question. “How will you occupy your time, Philip?”
Philip sat as if he had not heard them.
“Occupy his time!” exclaimed Jack, “getting well of course. Without having to obey orders or do anything but draw his checks, he can have the time of his life, there will be nothing to worry about.”
“That’s just it,” slowly said Philip. “No work, nothing to think about.”
“Exactly,” said Gloria.
“What are you driving at, Sister. You talk as if it was something to be deplored. I call it a lark. Cheer the fellow up a bit, can’t you?”
“No, never mind,” replied Philip. “There’s nothing to cheer me up about. The question is simply this: Can I stand a period of several years’ enforced inactivity as a mere pensioner?”
“Yes!” quickly said Gloria, “as a pensioner, and then, if all goes well, you return to this.” “What do you mean, Gloria? Don’t you like Army Post life?” asked Jack.
“I like it as well as you do, Jack. You just haven’t come to realize that Philip is cut out for a bigger sphere than--that.” She pointed out across the parade ground where a drill was going on. “You know as well as I do that this is not the age for a military career.”
Jack was so disgusted with this, that with an exclamation of impatience, he abruptly strode off to the parade ground.
“You are right, Gloria,” said Philip. “I cannot live on a pension indefinitely. I cannot bring myself to believe that it is honest to become a mendicant upon the bounty of the country. If I had been injured in the performance of duty, I would have no scruples in accepting support during an enforced idleness, but this disability arose from no fault of the Government, and the thought of accepting aid under such circumstances is too repugnant.”
“Of course,” said Gloria.
“The Government means no more to me than an individual,” continued Philip, “and it is to be as fairly dealt with. I never could understand how men with self-respect could accept undeserving pensions from the Nation. To do so is not alone dishonest, but is unfair to those who need help and have a righteous claim to support. If the unworthy were refused, the deserving would be able to obtain that to which they are entitled.”
Their talk went on thus for hours, the girl ever trying more particularly to make him see a military career as she did, and he more concerned with the ethical side of the situation.
“Do not worry over it, Philip,” cried Gloria, “I feel sure that your place is in the larger world of affairs, and you will some day be glad that this misfortune came to you, and that you were forced to go into another field of endeavor.
“With my ignorance and idle curiosity, I led you on and on, over first one hill and then another, until you lost your way in that awful desert over there, but yet perhaps there was a destiny in that. When I was leading you out of the desert, a blind man, it may be that I was leading you out of the barrenness of military life, into the fruitful field of labor for humanity.”
After a long silence, Philip Dru arose and took Gloria’s hand.
“Yes! I will resign. You have already reconciled me to my fate.”
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The Supremacy of Mind
Officers and friends urged Philip to reconsider his determination of resigning, but once decided, he could not be swerved from his purpose. Gloria persuaded him to go to New York with her in order to consult one of the leading oculists, and arrangements were made immediately. On the last day but one, as they sat under their favorite fig tree, they talked much of Philip’s future. Gloria had also been reading aloud Sir Oliver Lodge’s “Science and Immortality,” and closing the book upon the final chapter, asked Philip what he thought of it.
“Although the book was written many years ago, even then the truth had begun to dawn upon the poets, seers and scientific dreamers. The dominion of mind, but faintly seen at that time, but more clearly now, will finally come into full vision. The materialists under the leadership of Darwin, Huxley and Wallace, went far in the right direction, but in trying to go to the very fountainhead of life, they came to a door which they could not open and which no materialistic key will ever open.”
“So, Mr. Preacher, you’re at it again,” laughed Gloria. “You belong to the pulpit of real life, not the Army. Go on, I am interested.”
“Well,” went on Dru, “then came a reaction, and the best thought of the scientific world swung back to the theory of mind or spirit, and the truth began to unfold itself. Now, man is at last about to enter into that splendid kingdom, the promise of which Christ gave us when he said, ‘My Father and I are one,’ and again, ’When you have seen me you have seen the Father.’ He was but telling them that all life was a part of the One Life--individualized, but yet of and a part of the whole.
“We are just learning our power and dominion over ourselves. When in the future children are trained from infancy that they can measurably conquer their troubles by the force of mind, a new era will have come to man.”
“There,” said Gloria, with an earnestness that Philip had rarely heard in her, “is perhaps the source of the true redemption of the world.”
She checked herself quickly, “But you were preaching to me, not I to you. Go on.”
“No, but I want to hear what you were going to say.”
“You see I am greatly interested in this movement which is seeking to find how far mind controls matter, and to what extent our lives are spiritual rather than material,” she answered, “but it’s hard to talk about it to most people, so I have kept it to myself. Go on, Philip, I will not interrupt again.”
“When fear, hate, greed and the purely material conception of Life passes out,” said Philip, “as it some day may, and only wholesome thoughts will have a place in human minds, mental ills will take flight along with most of our bodily ills, and the miracle of the world’s redemption will have been largely wrought.”
“Mental ills will take flight along with bodily ills. We should be trained, too, not to dwell upon anticipated troubles, but to use our minds and bodies in an earnest, honest endeavor to avert threatened disaster. We should not brood over possible failure, for in the great realm of the supremacy of mind or spirit the thought of failure should not enter.”
“Yes, I know, Philip.”
“Fear, causes perhaps more unhappiness than any one thing that we have let take possession of us. Some are never free from it. They awake in the morning with a vague, indefinite sense of it, and at night a foreboding of disaster hands over the to-morrow. Life would have for us a different meaning if we would resolve, and keep the resolution, to do the best we could under all conditions, and never fear the result. Then, too, we should be trained not to have such an unreasonable fear of death. The Eastern peoples are far wiser in this respect than we. They have learned to look upon death as a happy transition to something better. And they are right, for that is the true philosophy of it. At the very worst, can it mean more than a long and dreamless sleep? Does not the soul either go back to the one source from which it sprung, and become a part of the whole, or does it not throw off its material environment and continue with individual consciousness to work out its final destiny?
“If that be true, there is no death as we have conceived it. It would mean to us merely the beginning of a more splendid day, and we should be taught that every emotion, every effort here that is unselfish and soul uplifting, will better fit us for that spiritual existence that is to come.”
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The Tragedy of the Turners
The trip north from Fort Magruder was a most trying experience for Philip Dru, for although he had as traveling companions Gloria and Jack Strawn, who was taking a leave of absence, the young Kentuckian felt his departure from Texas and the Army as a portentous turning point in his career. In spite of Gloria’s philosophy, and in spite of Jack’s reassurances, Philip was assailed by doubts as to the ultimate improvement of his eyesight, and at the same time with the feeling that perhaps after all, he was playing the part of a deserter.
“It’s all nonsense to feel cut up over it, you know, Philip,” insisted Jack. “You can take my word for it that you have the wrong idea in wanting to quit when you can be taken care of by the Government. You have every right to it.”
“No, Jack, I have no right to it,” answered Dru, “but certain as I am that I am doing the only thing I could do, under the circumstances, it’s a hard wrench to leave the Army, even though I had come to think that I can find my place in the world out of the service.”
The depression was not shaken off until after they had reached New York, and Philip had been told by the great specialist that his eyesight probably never again would pass the Army tests. Once convinced that an Army career was impossible, he resigned, and began to reconstruct his life with new hope and with a new enthusiasm. While he was ordered to give his eyes complete rest for at least six months and remain a part of every day in a darkened room, he was promised that after several months, he probably would be able to read and write a little.
As he had no relatives in New York, Philip, after some hesitation, accepted Jack Strawn’s insistent invitation to visit him for a time, at least. Through the long days and weeks that followed, the former young officer and Gloria were thrown much together.
One afternoon as they were sitting in a park, a pallid child of ten asked to “shine” their shoes. In sympathy they allowed him to do it. The little fellow had a gaunt and hungry look and his movements were very sluggish. He said his name was Peter Turner and he gave some squalid east side tenement district as his home. He said that his father was dead, his mother was bedridden, and he, the oldest of three children, was the only support of the family. He got up at five and prepared their simple meal, and did what he could towards making his mother comfortable for the day. By six he left the one room that sheltered them, and walked more than two miles to where he now was. Midday meal he had none, and in the late afternoon he walked home and arranged their supper of bread, potatoes, or whatever else he considered he could afford to buy. Philip questioned him as to his earnings and was told that they varied with the weather and other conditions, the maximum had been a dollar and fifteen cents for one day, the minimum twenty cents. The average seemed around fifty cents, and this was to shelter, clothe and feed a family of four.
Already Gloria’s eyes were dimmed with tears. Philip asked if they might go home with him then. The child consented and led the way.
They had not gone far, when Philip, noticing how frail Peter was, hailed a car, and they rode to Grand Street, changed there and went east. Midway between the Bowery and the river, they got out and walked south for a few blocks, turned into a side street that was hardly more than an alley, and came to the tenement where Peter lived.
It had been a hot day even in the wide, clean portions of the city. Here the heat was almost unbearable, and the stench, incident to a congested population, made matters worse.
Ragged and dirty children were playing in the street. Lack of food and pure air, together with unsanitary surroundings, had set its mark upon them. The deathly pallor that was in Peter’s face was characteristic of most of the faces around them.
The visitors climbed four flights of stairs, and went down a long, dark, narrow hall reeking with disagreeable odors, and finally entered ten-year-old Peter Turner’s “home.”
“What a travesty on the word ‘home,’” murmured Dru, as he saw for the first time the interior of an East Side tenement. Mrs. Turner lay propped in bed, a ghost of what was once a comely woman. She was barely thirty, yet poverty, disease and the city had drawn their cruel lines across her face. Gloria went to her bedside and gently pressed the fragile hand. She dared not trust herself to speak. And this, she thought, is within the shadow of my home, and I never knew. “Oh, God,” she silently prayed, “forgive us for our neglect of such as these.”
Gloria and Philip did all that was possible for the Turners, but their helping hands came too late to do more than to give the mother a measure of peace during the last days of her life. The promise of help for the children lifted a heavy load from her heart. Poor stricken soul, Zelda Turner deserved a better fate. When she married Len Turner, life seemed full of joy. He was employed in the office of a large manufacturing concern, at what seemed to them a munificent salary, seventy-five dollars a month.
Those were happy days. How they saved and planned for the future! The castle that they built in Spain was a little home on a small farm near a city large enough to be a profitable market for their produce. Some place where the children could get fresh air, wholesome food and a place in which to grow up. Two thousand dollars saved, would, they thought, be enough to make the start. With this, a farm costing four thousand dollars could be bought by mortgaging it for half. Twenty-five dollars a month saved for six years, would, with interest, bring them to their goal.
Already more than half the sum was theirs. Then came disaster. One Sunday they were out for their usual walk. It had been sleeting and the pavements here and there were still icy. In front of them some children were playing, and a little girl of eight darted into the street to avoid being caught by a companion. She slipped and fell. A heavy motor was almost upon her, when Len rushed to snatch her from the on-rushing car. He caught the child, but slipped himself, succeeding however in pushing her beyond danger before the cruel wheels crushed out his life. The dreary days and nights that followed need not be recited here. The cost of the funeral and other expenses incident thereto bit deep into their savings, therefore as soon as she could pull herself together, Mrs. Turner sought employment and got it in a large dressmaking establishment at the inadequate wage of seven dollars a week. She was skillful with her needle but had no aptitude for design, therefore she was ever to be among the plodders. One night in the busy season of overwork before the Christmas holidays, she started to walk the ten blocks to her little home, for car-fare was a tax beyond her purse, and losing her weary footing, she fell heavily to the ground. By the aid of a kindly policeman she was able to reach home, in great suffering, only to faint when she finally reached her room. Peter, who was then about seven years old, was badly frightened. He ran for their next door neighbor, a kindly German woman. She lifted Zelda into bed and sent for a physician, and although he could find no other injury than a badly bruised spine, she never left her bed until she was borne to her grave.
The pitiful little sum that was saved soon went, and Peter with his blacking box became the sole support of the family.
When they had buried Zelda, and Gloria was kneeling by her grave softly weeping, Philip touched her shoulder and said, “Let us go, she needs us no longer, but there are those who do. This experience has been my lesson, and from now it is my purpose to consecrate my life towards the betterment of such as these. Our thoughts, our habits, our morals, our civilization itself is wrong, else it would not be possible for just this sort of suffering to exist.”
“But you will let me help you, Philip?” said Gloria.
“It will mean much to me, Gloria, if you will. In this instance Len Turner died a hero’s death, and when Mrs. Turner became incapacitated, society, the state, call it what you will, should have stepped in and thrown its protecting arms around her. It was never intended that she should lie there day after day month after month, suffering, starving, and in an agony of soul for her children’s future. She had the right to expect succor from the rich and the strong.”
“Yes,” said Gloria, “I have heard successful men and women say that they cannot help the poor, that if you gave them all you had, they would soon be poor again, and that your giving would never cease.” “I know,” Philip replied, “that is ever the cry of the selfish. They believe that they merit all the blessings of health, distinction and wealth that may come to them, and they condemn their less fortunate brother as one deserving his fate. The poor, the weak and the impractical did not themselves bring about their condition. Who knows how large a part the mystery of birth and heredity play in one’s life and what environment and opportunity, or lack of it, means to us? Health, ability, energy, favorable environment and opportunity are the ingredients of success. Success is graduated by the lack of one or all of these. If the powerful use their strength merely to further their own selfish desires, in what way save in degree do they differ from the lower animals of creation? And how can man under such a moral code justify his dominion over land and sea?
“Until recently this question has never squarely faced the human race, but it does face it now and to its glory and honor it is going to be answered right. The strong will help the weak, the rich will share with the poor, and it will not be called charity, but it will be known as justice. And the man or woman who fails to do his duty, not as he sees it, but as society at large sees it, will be held up to the contempt of mankind. A generation or two ago, Gloria, this mad unreasoning scramble for wealth began. Men have fought, struggled and died, lured by the gleam of gold, and to what end? The so-called fortunate few that succeed in obtaining it, use it in divers ways. To some, lavish expenditure and display pleases their swollen vanity. Others, more serious minded, gratify their selfishness by giving largess to schools of learning and research, and to the advancement of the sciences and arts. But here and there was found a man gifted beyond his fellows, one with vision clear enough to distinguish things worth while. And these, scorning to acquire either wealth or power, labored diligently in their separate fields of endeavor. One such became a great educator, the greatest of his day and generation, and by his long life of rectitude set an example to the youth of America that has done more good than all the gold that all the millionaires have given for educational purposes. Another brought to success a prodigious physical undertaking. For no further reason than that he might serve his country where best he could, he went into a fever-laden land and dug a mighty ditch, bringing together two great oceans and changing the commerce of the world.”
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The Prophet of a New Day
Philip and Mr. Strawn oftentimes discussed the mental and moral upheaval that was now generally in evidence.
“What is to be the outcome, Philip?” said Mr. Strawn. “I know that things are not as they should be, but how can there be a more even distribution of wealth without lessening the efficiency of the strong, able and energetic men and without making mendicants of the indolent and improvident? If we had pure socialism, we could never get the highest endeavor out of anyone, for it would seem not worth while to do more than the average. The race would then go backward instead of lifting itself higher by the insistent desire to excel and to reap the rich reward that comes with success.”
“In the past, Mr. Strawn, your contention would be unanswerable, but the moral tone and thought of the world is changing. You take it for granted that man must have in sight some material reward in order to bring forth the best there is within him. I believe that mankind is awakening to the fact that material compensation is far less to be desired than spiritual compensation. This feeling will grow, it is growing, and when it comes to full fruition, the world will find but little difficulty in attaining a certain measure of altruism. I agree with you that this much-to-be desired state of society cannot be altogether reached by laws, however drastic. Socialism as dreamed of by Karl Marx cannot be entirely brought about by a comprehensive system of state ownership and by the leveling of wealth. If that were done without a spiritual leavening, the result would be largely as you suggest.”
And so the discussion ran, Strawn the embodiment of the old order of thought and habit, and Philip the apostle of the new. And Gloria listened and felt that in Philip a new force had arisen. She likened him to a young eagle who, soaring high above a slumbering world, sees first the gleaming rays of that onrushing sun that is soon to make another day.
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The Winning of a Medal
It had become the practice of the War Department to present to the army every five years a comprehensive military problem involving an imaginary attack upon this country by a powerful foreign foe, and the proper line of defense. The competition was open to both officers and men. A medal was given to the successful contestant, and much distinction came with it.
There had been as yet but one contest; five years before the medal had been won by a Major General who by wide acclaim was considered the greatest military authority in the Army. That he should win seemed to accord with the fitness of things, and it was thought that he would again be successful.
The problem had been given to the Army on the first of November, and six months were allowed to study it and hand in a written dissertation thereon. It was arranged that the general military staff that considered the papers should not know the names of the contestants.
Philip had worked upon the matter assiduously while he was at Fort Magruder, and had sent in his paper early in March. Great was his surprise upon receiving a telegram from the Secretary of War announcing that he had won the medal. For a few days he was a national sensation. The distinction of the first winner, who was again a contestant, and Philip’s youth and obscurity, made such a striking contrast that the whole situation appealed enormously to the imagination of the people. Then, too, the problem was one of unusual interest, and it, as well as Philip’s masterly treatment of it, was published far and wide.
The Nation was clearly treating itself to a sensation, and upon Philip were focused the eyes of all. From now he was a marked man. The President, stirred by the wishes of a large part of the people, expressed by them in divers ways, offered him reinstatement in the Army with the rank of Major, and indicated, through the Secretary of War, that he would be assigned as Secretary to the General Staff. It was a gracious thing to do, even though it was prompted by that political instinct for which the President had become justly famous.
In an appreciative note of thanks, Philip declined. Again he became the talk of the hour. Poor, and until now obscure, it was assumed that he would gladly seize such an opportunity for a brilliant career within his profession. His friends were amazed and urged him to reconsider the matter, but his determination was fixed.
Only Gloria understood and approved.
“Philip,” said Mr. Strawn, “do not turn this offer down lightly. Such an opportunity seldom comes twice in any man’s life.”
“I am deeply impressed with the truth of what you say, Mr. Strawn, and I am not putting aside a military career without much regret. However, I am now committed to a life work of a different character, one in which glory and success as the world knows it can never enter, but which appeals to every instinct that I possess. I have turned my face in the one direction, and come what may, I shall never change.”
“I am afraid, Philip, that in the enthusiasm of youth and inexperience you are doing a foolish thing, one that will bring you many hours of bitter regret. This is the parting of the ways with you. Take the advice of one who loves you well and turn into the road leading to honor and success. The path which you are about to choose is obscure and difficult, and none may say just where it leads.”
“What you say is true, Mr. Strawn, only we are measuring results by different standards. If I could journey your road with a blythe heart, free from regret, when glory and honor came, I should revel in it and die, perhaps, happy and contented. But constituted as I am, when I began to travel along that road, from its dust there would arise to haunt me the ghosts of those of my fellowmen who had lived and died without opportunity. The cold and hungry, the sick and suffering poor, would seem to cry to me that I had abandoned them in order that I might achieve distinction and success, and there would be for me no peace.”
And here Gloria touched his hand with hers, that he might know her thoughts and sympathy were at one with his.
Philip was human enough to feel a glow of satisfaction at having achieved so much reputation. A large part of it, he felt, was undeserved and rather hysterical, but that he had been able to do a big thing made him surer of his ground in his new field of endeavor. He believed, too, that it would aid him largely in obtaining the confidence of those with whom he expected to work and of those he expected to work for.
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The Story of the Levinskys
As soon as public attention was brought to Philip in such a generous way, he received many offers to write for the press and magazines, and also to lecture.
He did not wish to draw upon his father’s slender resources, and yet he must needs do something to meet his living expenses, for during the months of his inactivity, he had drawn largely upon the small sum which he had saved from his salary.
The Strawns were insistent that he should continue to make their home his own, but this he was unwilling to do. So he rented an inexpensive room over a small hardware store in the East Side tenement district. He thought of getting in one of the big, evil-smelling tenement houses so that he might live as those he came to help lived, but he abandoned this because he feared he might become too absorbed in those immediately around him.
What he wanted was a broader view. His purpose was not so much to give individual help as to formulate some general plan and to work upon those lines.
And yet he wished an intimate view of the things he meant to devote his life to bettering. So the clean little room over the quiet hardware store seemed to suit his wants.
The thin, sharp-featured Jew and his fat, homely wife who kept it had lived in that neighborhood for many years, and Philip found them a mine of useful information regarding the things he wished to know.
The building was narrow and but three stories high, and his landlord occupied all of the second story save the one room which was let to Philip.
He arranged with Mrs. Levinsky to have his breakfast with them. He soon learned to like the Jew and his wife. While they were kind-hearted and sympathetic, they seldom permitted their sympathy to encroach upon their purse, but this Philip knew was a matter of environment and early influence. He drew from them one day the story of their lives, and it ran like this:
Ben Levinsky’s forebears had long lived in Warsaw. From father to son, from one generation to another, they had handed down a bookshop, which included bookbinding in a small way. They were self-educated and widely read. Their customers were largely among the gentiles and for a long time the anti-semitic waves passed over them, leaving them untouched. They were law-abiding, inoffensive, peaceable citizens, and had been for generations.
One bleak December day, at a market place in Warsaw, a young Jew, baited beyond endurance, struck out madly at his aggressors, and in the general mêlée that followed, the son of a high official was killed. No one knew how he became involved in the brawl, for he was a sober, high-minded youngster, and very popular. Just how he was killed and by whom was never known. But the Jew had struck the first blow and that was all sufficient for the blood of hate to surge in the eyes of the race-mad mob.
Then began a blind, unreasoning massacre. It all happened within an hour. It was as if after nightfall a tornado had come out of the west, and without warning had torn and twisted itself through the city, leaving ruin and death in its wake. No Jew that could be found was spared. Saul Levinsky was sitting in his shop looking over some books that had just come from the binder. He heard shots in the distance and the dull, angry roar of the hoarse-voiced mob. He closed his door and bolted it, and went up the little stairs leading to his family quarters. His wife and six-year-old daughter were there. Ben, a boy of ten, had gone to a nobleman’s home to deliver some books, and had not returned.
Levinsky expected the mob to pass his place and leave it unmolested. It stopped, hesitated and then rammed in the door. It was all over in a moment. Father, mother and child lay dead and torn almost limb from limb. The rooms were wrecked, and the mob moved on.
The tempest passed as quickly as it came, and when little Ben reached his home, the street was as silent as the grave.
With quivering lip and uncertain feet he picked his way from room to room until he came to what were once his father, mother and baby sister, and then he swooned away. When he awoke he was shivering with cold. For a moment he did not realize what had happened, then with a heartbreaking cry he fled the place, nor did he stop until he was a league away.
He crept under the sheltering eaves of a half-burned house, and cold and miserable he sobbed himself to sleep. In the morning an itinerant tinker came by and touched by the child’s distress, drew from him his unhappy story. He was a lonely old man, and offered to take Ben with him, an offer which was gladly accepted.
We will not chronicle the wanderings of these two in pursuit of food and shelter, for it would take too long to tell in sequence how they finally reached America, of the tinker’s death, and of the evolution of the tinker’s pack to the well ordered hardware shop over which Philip lived.
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Philip Begins a New Career
After sifting the offers made him, Philip finally accepted two, one from a large New York daily that syndicated throughout the country, and one from a widely read magazine, to contribute a series of twelve articles. Both the newspaper and the magazine wished to dictate the subject matter about which he was to write, but he insisted upon the widest latitude. The sum paid, and to be paid, seemed to him out of proportion to the service rendered, but he failed to take into account the value of the advertising to those who had secured the use of his pen.
He accepted the offers not alone because he must needs do something for a livelihood, but largely for the good he thought he might do the cause to which he was enlisted. He determined to write upon social subjects only, though he knew that this would be a disappointment to his publishers. He wanted to write an article or two before he began his permanent work, for if he wrote successfully, he thought it would add to his influence. So he began immediately, and finished his first contribution to the syndicate newspapers in time for them to use it the following Sunday.
He told in a simple way, the story of the Turners. In conclusion he said the rich and the well-to-do were as a rule charitable enough when distress came to their doors, but the trouble was that they were unwilling to seek it out. They knew that it existed but they wanted to come in touch with it as little as possible.
They smothered their consciences with the thought that there were organized societies and other mediums through which all poverty was reached, and to these they gave. They knew that this was not literally true, but it served to make them think less badly of themselves.
In a direct and forceful manner, he pointed out that our civilization was fundamentally wrong inasmuch as among other things, it restricted efficiency; that if society were properly organized, there would be none who were not sufficiently clothed and fed; that the laws, habits and ethical training in vogue were alike responsible for the inequalities in opportunity and the consequent wide difference between the few and the many; that the result of such conditions was to render inefficient a large part of the population, the percentage differing in each country in the ratio that education and enlightened and unselfish laws bore to ignorance, bigotry and selfish laws. But little progress, he said, had been made in the early centuries for the reason that opportunity had been confined to a few, and it was only recently that any considerable part of the world’s population had been in a position to become efficient; and mark the result. Therefore, he argued, as an economical proposition, divorced from the realm of ethics, the far-sighted statesmen of to-morrow, if not of to-day, will labor to the end that every child born of woman may have an opportunity to accomplish that for which it is best fitted. Their bodies will be properly clothed and fed at the minimum amount of exertion, so that life may mean something more than a mere struggle for existence. Humanity as a whole will then be able to do its share towards the conquest of the complex forces of nature, and there will be brought about an intellectual and spiritual quickening that will make our civilization of to-day seem as crude, as selfish and illogical as that of the dark ages seem now to us.
Philip’s article was widely read and was the subject of much comment, favorable and otherwise. There were the ever-ready few, who want to re-make the world in a day, that objected to its moderation, and there were his more numerous critics who hold that to those that have, more should be given. These considered his doctrine dangerous to the general welfare, meaning their own welfare. But upon the greater number it made a profound impression, and it awakened many a sleeping conscience as was shown by the hundreds of letters which he received from all parts of the country. All this was a tremendous encouragement to the young social worker, for the letters he received showed him that he had a definite public to address, whom he might lead if he could keep his medium for a time at least. Naturally, the publishers of the newspaper and magazine for which he wrote understood this, but they also understood that it was usually possible to control intractable writers after they had acquired a taste for publicity, and their attitude was for the time being one of general enthusiasm and liberality tempered by such trivial attempts at control as had already been made.
No sooner had he seen the first story in print than he began formulating his ideas for a second. This, he planned, would be a companion piece to that of the Turners which was typical of the native American family driven to the East Side by the inevitable workings of the social order, and would take up the problem of the foreigner immigrating to this country, and its effect upon our national life. In this second article he incorporated the story of the Levinskys as being fairly representative of the problem he wished to treat.
In preparing these articles, Philip had used his eyes for the first time in such work, and he was pleased to find no harm came of it. The oculist still cautioned moderation, but otherwise dismissed him as fully recovered.
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Gloria Decides to Proselyte the Rich
While Philip was establishing himself in New York, as a social worker and writer, Gloria was spending more and more of her time in settlement work, in spite of the opposition of her family. Naturally, their work brought them much into each other’s society, and drew them even closer together than in Philip’s dark days when Gloria was trying to aid him in the readjustment of his life. They were to all appearances simply comrades in complete understanding, working together for a common cause.
However, Strawn’s opposition to Gloria’s settlement work was not all impersonal, for he made no secret of his worry over Gloria’s evident admiration for Dru. Strawn saw in Philip a masterly man with a prodigious intellect, bent upon accomplishing a revolutionary adjustment of society, and he knew that nothing would deter him from his purpose. The magnitude of the task and the uncertainties of success made him fear that Gloria might become one of the many unhappy women who suffer martyrdom through the greatness of their love.
Gloria’s mother felt the same way about her daughter’s companion in settlement work. Mrs. Strawn was a placid, colorless woman, content to go the conventional way, without definite purpose, further than to avoid the rougher places in life.
She was convinced that men were placed here for the sole purpose of shielding and caring for women, and she had a contempt for any man who refused or was unable to do so.
Gloria’s extreme advanced views of life alarmed her and seemed unnatural. She protested as strongly as she could, without upsetting her equanimity, for to go beyond that she felt was unladylike and bad for both nerves and digestion. It was a grief for her to see Gloria actually working with anyone, much less Philip, whose theories were quite upsetting, and who, after all, was beyond the pale of their social sphere and was impossible as a son-in-law.
Consequently, Philip was not surprised when one day in the fall, he received a disconsolate note from Gloria who was spending a few weeks with her parents at their camp in the hills beyond Tuxedo, saying that her father had flatly refused to allow her to take a regular position with one of the New York settlements, which would require her living on the East Side instead of at home. The note concluded:
“Now, Philip, do come up for Sunday and let’s talk it over, for I am sadly at variance with my family, and I need your assistance and advice.
“Your very sincere,
The letter left Dru in a strangely disturbed state of mind, and all during the trip up from New York his thoughts were on Gloria and what the future would bring forth to them both.
On the afternoon following his arrival at the camp, as he and the young woman walked over the hills aflame with autumnal splendor, Gloria told of her bitter disappointment. The young man listened in sympathy, but after a long pause in which she saw him weighing the whole question in his mind, he said: “Well, Gloria, so far as your work alone is concerned, there is something better that you can do if you will. The most important things to be done now are not amongst the poor but amongst the rich. There is where you may become a forceful missionary for good. All of us can reach the poor, for they welcome us, but there are only a few who think like you, who can reach the rich and powerful.
“Let that be your field of endeavor. Do your work gently and with moderation, so that some at least may listen. If we would convince and convert, we must veil our thoughts and curb our enthusiasm, so that those we would influence will think us reasonable.”
“Well, Philip,” answered Gloria, “if you really think I can help the cause, of course--”
“I’m sure you can help the cause. A lack of understanding is the chief obstacle, but, Gloria, you know that this is not an easy thing for me to say, for I realize that it will largely take you out of my life, for my path leads in the other direction.
“It will mean that I will no longer have you as a daily inspiration, and the sordidness and loneliness will press all the harder, but we have seen the true path, and now have a clearer understanding of the meaning and importance of our work.”
“And so, Philip, it is decided that you will go back to the East Side to your destiny, and I will remain here, there and everywhere, Newport, New York, Palm Beach, London, carrying on my work as I see it.”
They had wandered long and far by now, and had come again to the edge of the lofty forest that was a part of her father’s estate. They stood for a moment in that vast silence looking into each other’s eyes, and then they clasped hands over their tacit compact, and without a word, walked back to the bungalow.
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Selwyn Plots with Thor
For five years Gloria and Philip worked in their separate fields, but, nevertheless, coming in frequent touch with one another. Gloria proselyting the rich by showing them their selfishness, and turning them to a larger purpose in life, and Philip leading the forces of those who had consecrated themselves to the uplifting of the unfortunate. It did not take Philip long to discern that in the last analysis it would be necessary for himself and co-workers to reach the results aimed at through politics. Masterful and arrogant wealth, created largely by Government protection of its profits, not content with its domination and influence within a single party, had sought to corrupt them both, and to that end had insinuated itself into the primaries, in order that no candidates might be nominated whose views were not in accord with theirs.
By the use of all the money that could be spent, by a complete and compact organization and by the most infamous sort of deception regarding his real opinions and intentions, plutocracy had succeeded in electing its creature to the Presidency. There had been formed a league, the membership of which was composed of one thousand multi-millionaires, each one contributing ten thousand dollars. This gave a fund of ten million dollars with which to mislead those that could be misled, and to debauch the weak and uncertain.
This nefarious plan was conceived by a senator whose swollen fortune had been augmented year after year through the tributes paid him by the interests he represented. He had a marvelous aptitude for political manipulation and organization, and he forged a subtle chain with which to hold in subjection the natural impulses of the people. His plan was simple, but behind it was the cunning of a mind that had never known defeat. There was no man in either of the great political parties that was big enough to cope with him or to unmask his methods.
Up to the advent of Senator Selwyn, the interests had not successfully concealed their hands. Sometimes the public had been mistaken as to the true character of their officials, but sooner or later the truth had developed, for in most instances, wealth was openly for or against certain men and measures. But the adroit Selwyn moved differently.
His first move was to confer with John Thor, the high priest of finance, and unfold his plan to him, explaining how essential was secrecy. It was agreed between them that it should be known to the two of them only.
Thor’s influence throughout commercial America was absolute. His wealth, his ability and even more the sum of the capital he could control through the banks, trust companies and industrial organizations, which he dominated, made his word as potent as that of a monarch.
He and Selwyn together went over the roll and selected the thousand that were to give each ten thousand dollars. Some they omitted for one reason or another, but when they had finished they had named those who could make or break within a day any man or corporation within their sphere of influence. Thor was to send for each of the thousand and compliment him by telling him that there was a matter, appertaining to the general welfare of the business fraternity, which needed twenty thousand dollars, that he, Thor, would put up ten, and wanted him to put up as much, that sometime in the future, or never, as the circumstances might require, would he make a report as to the expenditure and purpose therefor.
There were but few men of business between the Atlantic and Pacific, or between Canada and Mexico, who did not consider themselves fortunate in being called to New York by Thor, and in being asked to join him in a blind pool looking to the safe-guarding of wealth. Consequently, the amassing of this great corruption fund in secret was simple. If necessity had demanded it twice the sum could have been raised. The money when collected was placed in Thor’s name in different banks controlled by him, and Thor, from time to time, as requested by Selwyn, placed in banks designated by him whatever sums were needed. Selwyn then transferred these amounts to the private bank of his son-in-law, who became final paymaster. The result was that the public had no chance of obtaining any knowledge of the fund or how it was spent.
The plan was simple, the result effective. Selwyn had no one to interfere with him. The members of the pool had contributed blindly to Thor, and Thor preferred not to know what Selwyn was doing nor how he did it. It was a one man power which in the hands of one possessing ability of the first class, is always potent for good or evil.
Not only did Selwyn plan to win the Presidency, but he also planned to bring under his control both the Senate and the Supreme Court. He selected one man in each of thirty of the States, some of them belonging to his party and some to the opposition, whom he intended to have run for the Senate.
If he succeeded in getting twenty of them elected, he counted upon having a good majority of the Senate, because there were already thirty-eight Senators upon whom he could rely in any serious attack upon corporate wealth.
As to the Supreme Court, of the nine justices there were three that were what he termed “safe and sane,” and another that could be counted upon in a serious crisis.
Three of them, upon whom he could not rely, were of advanced age, and it was practically certain that the next President would have that many vacancies to fill. Then there would be an easy working majority.
His plan contemplated nothing further than this. His intention was to block all legislation adverse to the interests. He would have no new laws to fear, and of the old, the Supreme Court would properly interpret them.
He did not intend that his Senators should all vote alike, speak alike, or act from apparently similar motives. Where they came from States dominated by corporate wealth, he would have them frankly vote in the open, and according to their conviction.
When they came from agricultural States, where the sentiment was known as “progressive,” they could cover their intentions in many ways. One method was by urging an amendment so radical that no honest progressive would consent to it, and then refusing to support the more moderate measure because it did not go far enough. Another was to inject some clause that was clearly unconstitutional, and insist upon its adoption, and refusing to vote for the bill without its insertion.
Selwyn had no intention of letting any one Senator know that he controlled any other senator. There were to be no caucuses, no conferences of his making, or anything that looked like an organization. He was the center, and from him radiated everything appertaining to measures affecting “the interests.”
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Selwyn Seeks a Candidate
Selwyn then began carefully scrutinizing such public men in the States known as Presidential cradles, as seemed to him eligible. By a process of elimination he centered upon two that appeared desirable.
One was James R. Rockland, recently elected Governor of a State of the Middle West. The man had many of the earmarks of a demagogue, which Selwyn readily recognized, and he therefore concluded to try him first.
Accordingly he went to the capital of the State ostensibly upon private business, and dropped in upon the Governor in the most casual way. Rockland was distinctly flattered by the attention, for Selwyn was, perhaps, the best known figure in American politics, while he, himself, had only begun to attract attention. They had met at conventions and elsewhere, but they were practically unacquainted, for Rockland had never been permitted to enter the charmed circle which gathered around Selwyn.
“Good morning, Governor,” said Selwyn, when he had been admitted to Rockland’s private room. “I was passing through the capital and I thought I would look in on you and see how your official cares were using you.”
“I am glad to see you, Senator,” said Rockland effusively, “very glad, for there are some party questions coming up at the next session of the Legislature about which I particularly desire your advice.”
“I have but a moment now, Rockland,” answered the Senator, “but if you will dine with me in my rooms at the Mandell House to-night it will be a pleasure to talk over such matters with you.”
“Thank you, Senator, at what hour?”
“You had better come at seven for if I finish my business here to-day, I shall leave on the 10 o’clock for Washington,” said Selwyn.
Thus in the most casual way the meeting was arranged. As a matter of fact, Rockland had no party matters to discuss, and Selwyn knew it. He also knew that Rockland was ambitious to become a leader, and to get within the little group that controlled the party and the Nation.
Rockland was a man of much ability, but he fell far short of measuring up with Selwyn, who was in a class by himself. The Governor was a good orator, at times even brilliant, and while not a forceful man, yet he had magnetism which served him still better in furthering his political fortunes. He was not one that could be grossly corrupted, yet he was willing to play to the galleries in order to serve his ambition, and he was willing to forecast his political acts in order to obtain potential support.
When he reached the Mandell House, he was at once shown to the Senator’s rooms. Selwyn received him cordially enough to be polite, and asked him if he would not look over the afternoon paper for a moment while he finished a note he was writing. He wrote leisurely, then rang for a boy and ordered dinner to be served.
Selwyn merely tasted the wine (he seldom did more) but Rockland drank freely though not to excess. After they had talked over the local matters which were supposed to be the purpose of the conference, much to Rockland’s delight, the Senator began to discuss national politics.
“Rockland,” began Selwyn, “can you hold this state in line at next year’s election?”
“I feel sure that I can, Senator, why do you ask?”
“Since we have been talking here,” he replied, “it has occurred to me that if you could be nominated and elected again, the party might do worse than to consider you for the presidential nomination the year following.
“No, my dear fellow, don’t interrupt me,” continued Selwyn mellifluously.
“It is strange how fate or chance enters into the life of man and even of nations. A business matter calls me here, I pass your office and think to pay my respects to the Governor of the State. Some political questions are perplexing you, and my presence suggests that I may aid in their solution. This dinner follows, your personality appeals to me, and the thought flits through my mind, why should not Rockland, rather than some other man, lead the party two years from now?
“And the result, my dear Rockland, may be, probably will be, your becoming chief magistrate of the greatest republic the sun has ever shone on.”
Rockland by this time was fairly hypnotized by Selwyn’s words, and by their tremendous import. For a moment he dared not trust himself to speak.
“Senator Selwyn,” he said at last, “it would be idle for me to deny that you have excited within me an ambition that a moment ago would have seemed worse than folly. Your influence within the party and your ability to conduct a campaign, gives to your suggestion almost the tender of the presidency. To tell you that I am deeply moved does scant justice to my feelings. If, after further consideration, you think me worthy of the honor, I shall feel under lasting obligations to you which I shall endeavor to repay in every way consistent with honor and with a sacred regard for my oath of office.”
“I want to tell you frankly, Rockland,” answered Selwyn, “that up to now I have had someone else in mind, but I am in no sense committed, and we might as well discuss the matter to as near a conclusion as is possible at this time.”
Selwyn’s voice hardened a little as he went on. “You would not want a nomination that could not carry with a reasonable certainty of election, therefore I would like to go over with you your record, both public and private, in the most open yet confidential way. It is better that you and I, in the privacy of these rooms, should lay bare your past than that it should be done in a bitter campaign and by your enemies. What we say to one another here is to be as if never spoken, and the grave itself must not be more silent. Your private life not only needs to be clean, but there must be no public act at which any one can point an accusing finger.”
“Of course, of course,” said Rockland, with a gesture meant to convey the complete openness of his record.
“Then comes the question of party regularity,” continued Selwyn, without noticing. “Be candid with me, for, if you are not, the recoil will be upon your own head.”
“I am sure that I can satisfy you on every point, Senator. I have never scratched a party ticket nor have I ever voted against any measure endorsed by a party caucus,” said Governor Rockland.
“That is well,” smiled the Senator. “I assume that in making your important appointments you will consult those of us who have stood sponsor for you, not only to the party but to the country. It would be very humiliating to me if I should insist upon your nomination and election and then should for four years have to apologize for what I had done.”
Musingly, as if contemplating the divine presence in the works of man, Selwyn went on, while he closely watched Rockland from behind his half-closed eyelids.
“Our scheme of Government contemplates, I think, a diffuse responsibility, my dear Rockland. While a president has a constitutional right to act alone, he has no moral right to act contrary to the tenets and traditions of his party, or to the advice of the party leaders, for the country accepts the candidate, the party and the party advisers as a whole and not severally.
“It is a natural check, which by custom the country has endorsed as wise, and which must be followed in order to obtain a proper organization. Do you follow me, Governor, and do you endorse this unwritten law?”
If Rockland had heard this at second hand, if he had read it, or if it had related to someone other than himself, he would have detected the sophistry of it. But, exhilarated by wine and intoxicated by ambition, he saw nothing but a pledge to deal squarely by the organization.
“Senator,” he replied fulsomely, “gratitude is one of the tenets of my religion, and therefore inversely ingratitude is unknown to me. You and the organization can count on my loyalty from the beginning to the end, for I shall never fail you.
“I know you will not ask me to do anything at which my conscience will rebel, nor to make an appointment that is not entirely fit.”
“That, Rockland, goes without saying,” answered the Senator with dignity. “I have all the wealth and all the position that I desire. I want nothing now except to do my share towards making my native land grow in prosperity, and to make the individual citizen more contented. To do this we must cease this eternal agitation, this constant proposal of half-baked measures, which the demagogues are offering as a panacea to all the ills that flesh is heir to.
“We need peace, legislative and political peace, so that our people may turn to their industries and work them to success, in the wholesome knowledge that the laws governing commerce and trade conditions will not be disturbed over night.”
“I agree with you there, Senator,” said Rockland eagerly.
“We have more new laws now than we can digest in a decade,” continued Selwyn, “so let us have rest until we do digest them. In Europe the business world works under stable conditions. There we find no proposal to change the money system between moons, there we find no uncertainty from month to month regarding the laws under which manufacturers are to make their products, but with us, it is a wise man who knows when he can afford to enlarge his output.
“A high tariff threatens to-day, a low one to-morrow, and a large part of the time the business world lies in helpless perplexity.
“I take it, Rockland, that you are in favor of stability, that you will join me in my endeavors to give the country a chance to develop itself and its marvelous natural resources.”
As a matter of fact, Rockland’s career had given no evidence of such views. He had practically committed his political fortunes on the side of the progressives, but the world had turned around since then, and he viewed things differently.
“Senator,” he said, his voice tense in his anxiety to prove his reliability, “I find that in the past I have taken only a cursory view of conditions. I see clearly that what you have outlined is a high order of statesmanship. You are constructive: I have been on the side of those who would tear down. I will gladly join hands with you and build up, so that the wealth and power of this country shall come to equal that of any two nations in existence.”
Selwyn settled back in his chair, nodding his approval and telling himself that he would not need to seek further for his candidate.
At Rockland’s earnest solicitation he remained over another day. The Governor gave him copies of his speeches and messages, so that he could assure himself that there was no serious flaw in his public record.
Selwyn cautioned him about changing his attitude too suddenly. “Go on, Rockland, as you have done in the past. It will not do to see the light too quickly. You have the progressives with you now, keep them, and I will let the conservatives know that you think straight and may be trusted.
“We must consult frequently together,” he continued, “but cautiously. There is no need for any one to know that we are working together harmoniously. I may even get some of the conservative papers to attack you judiciously. It will not harm you. But, above all, do nothing of importance without consulting me.
“I am committing the party and the Nation to you, and my responsibility is a heavy one, and I owe it to them that no mistakes are made.”
“You may trust me, Senator,” said Rockland. “I understand perfectly.”
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Dru and Selwyn Meet
The roads of destiny oftentimes lead us in strange and unlooked for directions and bring together those whose thoughts and purposes are as wide as space itself. When Gloria Strawn first entered boarding school, the roommate given her was Janet Selwyn, the youngest daughter of the Senator. They were alike in nothing, except, perhaps, in their fine perception of truth and honor. But they became devoted friends and had carried their attachment for one another beyond their schoolgirl days. Gloria was a frequent visitor at the Selwyn household both in Washington and Philadelphia, and was a favorite with the Senator. He often bantered her concerning her “socialistic views,” and she in turn would declare that he would some day see the light. Now and then she let fall a hint of Philip, and one day Senator Selwyn suggested that she invite him over to Philadelphia to spend the week end with them. “Gloria, I would like to meet this paragon of the ages,” said he jestingly, “although I am somewhat fearful that he may persuade me to ‘sell all that I have and give it to the poor.’”
“I will promise to protect you during this one visit, Senator,” said Gloria, “but after that I shall leave you to your fate.”
“Dear Philip,” wrote Gloria, “the great Senator Selwyn has expressed a wish to know you, and at his suggestion, I am writing to ask you here to spend with us the coming week end. I have promised that you will not denude him of all his possessions at your first meeting, but beyond that I have refused to go. Seriously, though, I think you should come, for if you would know something of politics, then why not get your lessons from the fountain head?
“Your very sincere,
In reply Philip wrote:
“Dear Gloria: You are ever anticipating my wishes. In the crusade we are making I find it essential to know politics, if we are to reach the final goal that we have in mind, and you have prepared the way for the first lesson. I will be over to-morrow on the four o’clock. Please do not bother to meet me.
Gloria and Janet Strawn were at the station to meet him. “Janet, this is Mr. Dru,” said Gloria. “It makes me very happy to have my two best friends meet.” As they got in her electric runabout, Janet Strawn said, “Since dinner will not be served for two hours or more, let us drive in the park for a while.” Gloria was pleased to see that Philip was interested in the bright, vivacious chatter of her friend, and she was glad to hear him respond in the same light strain. However, she was confessedly nervous when Senator Selwyn and Philip met. Though in different ways, she admired them both profoundly. Selwyn had a delightful personality, and Gloria felt sure that Philip would come measurably under the influence of it, even though their views were so widely divergent. And in this she was right. Here, she felt, were two great antagonists, and she was eager for the intellectual battle to begin. But she was to be disappointed, for Philip became the listener, and did but little of the talking. He led Senator Selwyn into a dissertation upon the present conditions of the country, and the bearing of the political questions upon them. Selwyn said nothing indiscreet, yet he unfolded to Philip’s view a new and potential world. Later in the evening, the Senator was unsuccessful in his efforts to draw from his young guest his point of view. Philip saw the futility of such a discussion, and contented Selwyn by expressing an earnest appreciation of his patience in making clear so many things about which he had been ignorant. Next morning, Senator Selwyn was strolling with Gloria in the rose garden, when he said, “Gloria, I like your friend Dru. I do not recall ever having met any one like him.” “Then you got him to talk after we left last night. I am so glad. I was afraid he had on one of his quiet spells.”
“No, he said but little, but the questions he asked gave me glimpses of his mind that sometimes startled me. He was polite, modest but elusive, nevertheless, I like him, and shall see more of him.” Far sighted as Selwyn was, he did not know the full extent of this prophecy.
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The Making of a President
Selwyn now devoted himself to the making of enough conservative senators to control comfortably that body. The task was not difficult to a man of his sagacity with all the money he could spend.
Newspapers were subsidized in ways they scarcely recognized themselves. Honest officials who were in the way were removed by offering them places vastly more remunerative, and in this manner he built up a strong, intelligent and well constructed machine. It was done so sanely and so quietly that no one suspected the master mind behind it all. Selwyn was responsible to no one, took no one into his confidence, and was therefore in no danger of betrayal.
It was a fascinating game to Selwyn. It appealed to his intellectual side far more than it did to his avarice. He wanted to govern the Nation with an absolute hand, and yet not be known as the directing power. He arranged to have his name appear less frequently in the press and he never submitted to interviews, laughingly ridding himself of reporters by asserting that he knew nothing of importance. He had a supreme contempt for the blatant self-advertised politician, and he removed himself as far as possible from that type.
In the meantime his senators were being elected, the Rockland sentiment was steadily growing and his nomination was finally brought about by the progressives fighting vigorously for him and the conservatives yielding a reluctant consent. It was done so adroitly that Rockland would have been fooled himself, had not Selwyn informed him in advance of each move as it was made.
After the nomination, Selwyn had trusted men put in charge of the campaign, which he organized himself, though largely under cover. The opposition party had every reason to believe that they would be successful, and it was a great intellectual treat to Selwyn to overcome their natural advantages by the sheer force of ability, plus what money he needed to carry out his plans. He put out the cry of lack of funds, and indeed it seemed to be true, for he was too wise to make a display of his resources. To ward heelers, to the daily press, and to professional stump speakers, he gave scant comfort. It was not to such sources that he looked for success.
He began by eliminating all states he knew the opposition party would certainly carry, but he told the party leaders there to claim that a revolution was brewing, and that a landslide would follow at the election. This would keep his antagonists busy and make them less effective elsewhere.
He also ignored the states where his side was sure to win. In this way he was free to give his entire thoughts to the twelve states that were debatable, and upon whose votes the election would turn. He divided each of these states into units containing five thousand voters, and, at the national headquarters, he placed one man in charge of each unit. Of the five thousand, he roughly calculated there would be two thousand voters that no kind of persuasion could turn from his party and two thousand that could not be changed from the opposition. This would leave one thousand doubtful ones to win over. So he had a careful poll made in each unit, and eliminated the strictly unpersuadable party men, and got down to a complete analysis of the debatable one thousand. Information was obtained as to their race, religion, occupation and former political predilection. It was easy then to know how to reach each individual by literature, by persuasion or perhaps by some more subtle argument. No mistake was made by sending the wrong letter or the wrong man to any of the desired one thousand.
In the states so divided, there was, at the local headquarters, one man for each unit just as at the national headquarters. So these two had only each other to consider, and their duty was to bring to Rockland a majority of the one thousand votes within their charge. The local men gave the conditions, the national men gave the proper literature and advice, and the local man then applied it. The money that it cost to maintain such an organization was more than saved from the waste that would have occurred under the old method.
The opposition management was sending out tons of printed matter, but they sent it to state headquarters that, in turn, distributed it to the county organizations, where it was dumped into a corner and given to visitors when asked for. Selwyn’s committee used one-fourth as much printed matter, but it went in a sealed envelope, along with a cordial letter, direct to a voter that had as yet not decided how he would vote.
The opposition was sending speakers at great expense from one end of the country to the other, and the sound of their voices rarely fell on any but friendly and sympathetic ears. Selwyn sent men into his units to personally persuade each of the one thousand hesitating voters to support the Rockland ticket.
The opposition was spending large sums upon the daily press. Selwyn used the weekly press so that he could reach the fireside of every farmer and the dweller in the small country towns. These were the ones that would read every line in their local papers and ponder over it.
The opposition had its candidates going by special train to every part of the Union, making many speeches every day, and mostly to voters that could not be driven from him either by force or persuasion. The leaders in cities, both large and small, would secure a date and, having in mind for themselves a postmastership or collectorship, would tell their followers to turn out in great force and give the candidate a big ovation. They wanted the candidate to remember the enthusiasm of these places, and to leave greatly pleased and under the belief that he was making untold converts. As a matter of fact his voice would seldom reach any but a staunch partisan.
Selwyn kept Rockland at home, and arranged to have him meet by special appointment the important citizens of the twelve uncertain states. He would have the most prominent party leader, in a particular state, go to a rich brewer or large manufacturer, whose views had not yet been crystallized, and say, “Governor Rockland has expressed a desire to know you, and I would like to arrange a meeting.” The man approached would be flattered to think he was of such importance that a candidate for the presidency had expressed a desire to meet him. He would know it was his influence that was wanted but, even so, there was a subtle flattery in that. An appointment would be arranged. Just before he came into Rockland’s presence, his name and a short epitome of his career would be handed to Rockland to read. When he reached Rockland’s home he would at first be denied admittance. His sponsor would say,--“this is Mr. Munting of Muntingville.” “Oh, pardon me, Mr. Munting, Governor Rockland expects you.”
And in this way he is ushered into the presence of the great. His fame, up to a moment ago, was unknown to Rockland, but he now grasps his hand cordially and says,--“I am delighted to know you, Mr. Munting. I recall the address you made a few years ago when you gave a library to Muntingville. It is men of your type that have made America what it is to-day, and, whether you support me or not, if I am elected President it is such as you that I hope will help sustain my hands in my effort to give to our people a clean, sane and conservative government.”
When Munting leaves he is stepping on air. He sees visions of visits to Washington to consult the President upon matters of state, and perhaps he sees an ambassadorship in the misty future. He becomes Rockland’s ardent supporter, and his purse is open and his influence is used to the fullest extent.
And this was Selwyn’s way. It was all so simple. The opposition was groaning under the thought of having one hundred millions of people to reach, and of having to persuade a majority of twenty millions of voters to take their view.
Selwyn had only one thousand doubtful voters in each of a few units on his mind, and he knew the very day when a majority of them had decided to vote for Rockland, and that his fight was won. The pay-roll of the opposition was filled with incompetent political hacks, that had been fastened upon the management by men of influence. Selwyn’s force, from end to end, was composed of able men who did a full day’s work under the eye of their watchful taskmaster.
And Selwyn won and Rockland became the keystone of the arch he had set out to build.
There followed in orderly succession the inauguration, the selection of cabinet officers and the new administration was launched.
Drunk with power and the adulation of sycophants, once or twice Rockland asserted himself, and acted upon important matters without having first conferred with Selwyn. But, after he had been bitterly assailed by Selwyn’s papers and by his senators, he made no further attempts at independence. He felt that he was utterly helpless in that strong man’s hands, and so, indeed, he was.
One of the Supreme Court justices died, two retired because of age, and all were replaced by men suggested by Selwyn.
He now had the Senate, the Executive and a majority of the Court of last resort. The government was in his hands. He had reached the summit of his ambition, and the joy of it made all his work seem worth while.
But Selwyn, great man that he was, did not know, could not know, that when his power was greatest it was most insecure. He did not know, could not know, what force was working to his ruin and to the ruin of his system.
Take heart, therefore, you who had lost faith in the ultimate destiny of the Republic, for a greater than Selwyn is here to espouse your cause. He comes panoplied in justice and with the light of reason in his eyes. He comes as the advocate of equal opportunity and he comes with the power to enforce his will.
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The Exultant Conspirators
It was a strange happening, the way the disclosure was made and the Nation came to know of the Selwyn-Thor conspiracy to control the government.
Thor, being without any delicate sense of honor, was in the habit of using a dictagraph to record what was intended to be confidential conversations. He would take these confidential records, clearly mark them, and place them in his private safe within the vault. When the transaction to which they related was closed he destroyed them.
The character of the instrument was carefully concealed. It was a part of a massive piece of office furniture, which answered for a table as well. In order to facilitate his correspondence, he often used it for dictating, and no one but Thor knew that it was ever put into commission for other purposes.
He had never, but once, had occasion to use a record that related to a private conversation or agreement. Then it concerned a matter involving a large sum, a demand having been made upon him that smacked of blackmail. He arranged a meeting, which his opponent regarded as an indication that he was willing to yield. There were present the contestant, his lawyer, Thor’s counsel and Thor himself.
“Before discussing the business that is before us,” said Thor, “I think you would all enjoy, more or less, a record which I have in my dictagraph, and which I have just listened to with a great deal of pleasure.”
He handed a tube to each and started the machine. It is a pity that Hogarth could not have been present to have painted the several expressions that came upon the faces of those four. A quiet but amused satisfaction beamed from Thor, and his counsel could not conceal a broad smile, but the wretched victim was fairly sick from mortification and defeated avarice. He finally could stand no more and took the tube from his ear, reached for his hat and was gone.
Thor had not seen Selwyn for a long time, but one morning, when he was expecting another for whom he had his dictagraph set, Selwyn was announced. He asked him in and gave orders that they were not to be disturbed. When Selwyn had assured himself that they were absolutely alone he told Thor his whole story.
It was of absorbing interest, and Thor listened fairly hypnotized by the recital, which at times approached the dramatic. It was the first time that Selwyn had been able to unbosom himself, and he enjoyed the impression he was making upon the great financier. When he told how Rockland had made an effort for freedom and how he brought him back, squirming under his defeat, they laughed joyously.
Rich though he was beyond the dreams of avarice, rich as no man had ever before been, Thor could not refrain from a mental calculation of how enormously such a situation advanced his fortune. There was to be no restriction now, he could annihilate and absorb at will. He had grown so powerful that his mental equilibrium was unbalanced upon the question of accretion. He wanted more, he must have more, and now, by the aid of Selwyn, he would have more. He was so exultant that he gave some expression to his thoughts, and Selwyn, cynical as he was, was shocked and began to fear the consequences of his handiwork.
He insisted upon Selwyn’s lunching with him in order to celebrate the triumph of “their” plan. Selwyn was amused at the plural. They went to a near-by club and remained for several hours talking of things of general interest, for Selwyn refused to discuss his victory after they had left the protecting walls of Thor’s office.
Thor had forgotten his other engagement, and along with it he forgot the dictagraph that he had set. When he returned to his office he could not recall whether or not he had set the dictagraph. He looked at it, saw that it was not set, but that there was an unused record in it and dismissed it from his mind. He wanted no more business for the day. He desired to get out and walk and think and enjoy the situation. And so he went, a certain unholy joy within his warped and money-soddened heart.
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Long after Thor had gone, long after the day had dwindled into twilight and the twilight had shaded into dusk, Thomas Spears, his secretary, sat and pondered. After Thor and Selwyn had left the office for luncheon he had gone to the dictagraph to see whether there was anything for him to take. He found the record, saw it had been used, removed it to his machine and got ready to transmit. He was surprised to find that it was Selwyn’s voice that came to him, then Thor’s, and again Selwyn’s. He knew then that it was not intended for dictation, that there was some mistake and yet he held it until he had gotten the whole of the mighty conspiracy. Pale and greatly agitated he remained motionless for a long time. Then he returned to Thor’s office, placed a new record in the machine and closed it.
Spears came from sturdy New England stock and was at heart a patriot. He had come to New York largely by accident of circumstances.
Spears had a friend named Harry Tracy, with whom he had grown up in the little Connecticut village they called home, and who was distantly related to Thor, whose forebears also came from that vicinity. They had gone to the same commercial school, and were trained particularly in stenography and typing. Tracy sought and obtained a place in Thor’s office. He was attentive to his duties, very accurate, and because of his kinship and trustworthiness, Thor made him his confidential secretary. The work became so heavy that Tracy got permission to employ an assistant. He had Spears in mind for the place, and, after conferring with Thor, offered it to him.
Thor consented largely because he preferred some one who had not lived in New York, and was in no way entangled with the life and sentiment of the city. Being from New England himself, he trusted the people of that section as he did no others.
So Thomas Spears was offered the place and gladly accepted it. He had not been there long before he found himself doing all the stenographic work and typing.
Spears was a man of few words. He did his work promptly and well. Thor had him closely shadowed for a long while, and the report came that he had no bad habits and but few companions and those of the best. But Thor could get no confidential report upon the workings of his mind. He did not know that his conscience sickened at what he learned through the correspondence and from his fellow clerks. He did not know that his every heart beat was for the unfortunates that came within the reach of Thor’s avarice, and were left the merest derelicts upon the financial seas.
All the clerks were gone, the lights were out and Spears sat by the window looking out over the great modern Babylon, still fighting with his conscience. His sense of loyalty to the man who gave him his livelihood rebelled at the thought of treachery. It was not unlike accepting food and shelter and murdering your benefactor, for Spears well knew that in the present state of the public mind if once the truth were known, it would mean death to such as Thor. For with a fatuous ignorance of public feeling the interests had gone blindly on, conceding nothing, stifling competition and absorbing the wealth and energies of the people.
Spears knew that the whole social and industrial fabric of the nation was at high tension, and that it needed but a spark to explode. He held within his hand that spark. Should he plunge the country, his country, into a bloody internecine war, or should he let the Selwyns and the Thors trample the hopes, the fortunes and the lives of the people under foot for still another season. If he held his peace it did but postpone the conflict.
The thought flashed through his mind of the bigness of the sum any one of the several great dailies would give to have the story. And then there followed a sense of shame that he could think of such a thing.
He felt that he was God’s instrument for good and that he should act accordingly. He was aroused now, he would no longer parley with his conscience. What was best to do? That was the only question left to debate.
He looked at an illuminated clock upon a large white shaft that lifted its marble shoulders towards the stars. It was nine o’clock. He turned on the lights, ran over the telephone book until he reached the name of what he considered the most important daily. He said: “Mr. John Thor’s office desires to speak with the Managing Editor.” This at once gave him the connection he desired.
“This is Mr. John Thor’s secretary, and I would like to see you immediately upon a matter of enormous public importance. May I come to your office at once?”
There was something in the voice that startled the newspaper man, and he wondered what Thor’s office could possibly want with him concerning any matter, public or private. However, he readily consented to an interview and waited with some impatience for the quarter of an hour to go by that was necessary to cover the distance. He gave orders to have Spears brought in as soon as he arrived.
When Spears came he told the story with hesitation and embarrassment. The Managing Editor thought at first that he was in the presence of a lunatic, but after a few questions he began to believe. He had a dictagraph in his office and asked for the record. He was visibly agitated when the full import of the news became known to him. Spears insisted that the story be given to all the city papers and to the Associated Press, which the Managing Editor promised to do.
When the story was read the next morning by America’s millions, it was clear to every far-sighted person that a crisis had come and that revolution was imminent. Men at once divided themselves into groups. Now, as it has ever been, the very poor largely went with the rich and powerful. The reason for this may be partly from fear and partly from habit. They had seen the struggle going on for centuries and with but one result.
A mass meeting was called to take place the day following at New York’s largest public hall. The call was not inflammatory, but asked “all good citizens to lend their counsel and influence to the rectification of those abuses that had crept into the Government,” and it was signed by many of the best known men in the Nation.
The hall was packed to its limits an hour before the time named. A distinguished college president from a nearby town was given the chair, and in a few words he voiced the indignation and the humiliation which they all felt. Then one speaker after another bitterly denounced the administration, and advocated the overthrow of the Government. One, more intemperate than the rest, urged an immediate attack on Thor and all his kind. This was met by a roar of approval.
Philip had come early and was seated well in front. In the pandemonium that now prevailed no speaker could be heard. Finally Philip fought his way to the stage, gave his name to the chairman, and asked to be heard.
When the white-haired college president arose there was a measure of quiet, and when he mentioned Philip’s name and they saw his splendid, homely face there was a curious hush. He waited for nearly a minute after perfect quiet prevailed, and then, in a voice like a deep-toned bell, he spoke with such fervor and eloquence that one who was present said afterwards that he knew the hour and the man had come. Philip explained that hasty and ill-considered action had ruined other causes as just as theirs, and advised moderation. He suggested that a committee be named by the chairman to draw up a plan of procedure, to be presented at another meeting to be held the following night. This was agreed to, and the chairman received tremendous applause when he named Philip first.
This meeting had been called so quickly, and the names attached to the call were so favorably known, that the country at large seemed ready to wait upon its conclusions.
It was apparent from the size and earnestness of the second gathering that the interest was growing rather than abating.
Philip read the plan which his committee had formulated, and then explained more at length their reasons for offering it. Briefly, it advised no resort to violence, but urged immediate organization and cooperation with citizens throughout the United States who were in sympathy with the movement. He told them that the conscience of the people was now aroused, and that there would be no halting until the Government was again within their hands to be administered for the good of the many instead of for the good of a rapacious few.
The resolutions were sustained, and once more Philip was placed at the head of a committee to perfect not only a state, but a national organization as well. Calls for funds to cover preliminary expenses brought immediate and generous response, and the contest was on.
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Selwyn and Thor Defend Themselves
In the meantime Selwyn and Thor had issued an address, defending their course as warranted by both the facts and the law.
They said that the Government had been honeycombed by irresponsible demagogues, that were fattening upon the credulity of the people to the great injury of our commerce and prosperity, that no laws unfriendly to the best interests had been planned, and no act had been contemplated inconsistent with the dignity and honor of the Nation. They contended that in protecting capital against vicious assaults, they were serving the cause of labor and advancing the welfare of all.
Thor’s whereabouts was a mystery, but Selwyn, brave and defiant, pursued his usual way.
President Rockland also made a statement defending his appointments of Justices of the Supreme Court, and challenged anyone to prove them unfit. He said that, from the foundation of the Government, it had become customary for a President to make such appointments from amongst those whose views were in harmony with his own, that in this case he had selected men of well known integrity, and of profound legal ability, and, because they were such, they were brave enough to stand for the right without regard to the clamor of ill-advised and ignorant people. He stated that he would continue to do his duty, and that he would uphold the constitutional rights of all the people without distinction to race, color or previous condition.
Acting under Selwyn’s advice, Rockland began to concentrate quietly troops in the large centers of population. He also ordered the fleets into home waters. A careful inquiry was made regarding the views of the several Governors within easy reach of Washington, and, finding most of them favorable to the Government, he told them that in case of disorder he would honor their requisition for federal troops. He advised a thorough overlooking of the militia, and the weeding out of those likely to sympathize with the “mob.” If trouble came, he promised to act promptly and forcefully, and not to let mawkish sentiment encourage further violence.
He recalled to them that the French Revolution was caused, and continued, by the weakness and inertia of Louis Fifteenth and his ministers and that the moment the Directorate placed Bonaparte in command of a handful of troops, and gave him power to act, by the use of grape and ball he brought order in a day. It only needed a quick and decisive use of force, he thought, and untold suffering and bloodshed would be averted.
President Rockland believed what he said. He seemed not to know that Bonaparte dealt with a ragged, ignorant mob, and had back of him a nation that had been in a drunken and bloody orgy for a period of years and wanted to sober up. He seemed not to know that in this contest, the clear-brained, sturdy American patriot was enlisted against him and what he represented, and had determined to come once more into his own.
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Gloria’s Work Bears Fruit
In her efforts towards proselyting the rich, Gloria had not neglected her immediate family. By arguments and by bringing to the fore concrete examples to illustrate them, she had succeeded in awakening within her father a curious and unhappy frame of mind. That shifting and illusive thing we call conscience was beginning to assert itself in divers ways.
The first glimpse that Gloria had of his change of heart was at a dinner party. The discussion began by a dyspeptic old banker declaring that before the business world could bring the laboring classes to their senses it would be necessary to shut down the factories for a time and discontinue new enterprises in order that their dinner buckets and stomachs might become empty.
Before Gloria could take up the cudgels in behalf of those seeking a larger share of the profits of their labor, Mr. Strawn had done so. The debate between the two did not last long and was not unduly heated, but Gloria knew that the Rubicon had been crossed and that in the future she would have a powerful ally in her father.
Neither had she been without success in other directions, and she was, therefore, able to report to Philip very satisfactory progress. In one of their many conferences she was glad to be able to tell him that in the future abundant financial backing was assured for any cause recommended by either of them as being worthy. This was a long step forward, and Philip congratulated Gloria upon her efficient work.
“Do you remember, Gloria,” he said, “how unhappy you were over the thought of laboring among the rich instead of the poor? And yet, contemplate the result. You have not only given some part of your social world an insight into real happiness, but you are enabling the balance of us to move forward at a pace that would have been impossible without your aid.” Gloria flushed with pleasure at his generous praise and replied: “It is good of you, Philip, to give me so large a credit, and I will not deny that I am very happy over the outcome of my endeavors, unimportant though they be. I am so glad, Philip, that you have been given the leadership of our side in the coming struggle, for I shall now feel confident of success.”
“Do not be too sure, Gloria. We have the right and a majority of the American people with us; yet, on the other hand, we have opposed to us not only resourceful men but the machinery of a great Government buttressed by unlimited wealth and credit.”
“Why could not I ‘try out’ the sincerity of my rich converts and get them to help finance your campaign?”
“Happy thought! If you succeed in doing that, Gloria, you will become the Joan d’Arc of our cause, and unborn generations will hold you in grateful remembrance.”
“How you do enthuse one, Philip. I feel already as if my name were written high upon the walls of my country’s Valhalla. Tell me how great a fund you will require, and I will proceed at once to build the golden ladder upon which I am to climb to fame.”
“You need not make light of your suggestion in this matter, Gloria, for the lack of funds with which to organize is essentially our weakest point. With money we can overthrow the opposition, without it I am afraid they may defeat us. As to the amount needed, I can set no limit. The more you get the more perfectly can we organize. Do what you can and do it quickly, and be assured that if the sum is considerable and if our cause triumphs, you will have been the most potent factor of us all.”
And then they parted; Gloria full of enthusiasm over her self-appointed task, and Philip with a silent prayer for her success.
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War Clouds Hover
Gloria was splendidly successful in her undertaking and within two weeks she was ready to place at Philip’s disposal an amount far in excess of anything he had anticipated.
“It was so easy that I have a feeling akin to disappointment that I did not have to work harder,” she wrote in her note to Philip announcing the result. “When I explained the purpose and the importance of the outcome, almost everyone approached seemed eager to have a share in the undertaking.”
In his reply of thanks, Philip said, “The sum you have realized is far beyond any figure I had in mind. With what we have collected throughout the country, it is entirely sufficient, I think, to effect a preliminary organization, both political and military. If the final result is to be civil war, then the states that cast their fortunes with ours, will, of necessity, undertake the further financing of the struggle.”
Philip worked assiduously upon his organization. It was first intended to make it political and educational, but when the defiant tone of Selwyn, Thor and Rockland was struck, and their evident intention of using force became apparent, he almost wholly changed it into a military organization. His central bureau was now in touch with every state, and he found in the West a grim determination to bring matters to a conclusion as speedily as possible.
On the other hand, he was sparring for time. He knew his various groups were in no condition to be pitted against any considerable number of trained regulars. He hoped, too, that actual conflict would be avoided, and that a solution could be arrived at when the forthcoming election for representatives occurred.
It was evident that a large majority of the people were with them: the problem was to get a fair and legal expression of opinion. As yet, there was no indication that this would not be granted.
The preparations on both sides became so open, that there was no longer any effort to work under cover. Philip cautioned his adherents against committing any overt act. He was sure that the administration forces would seize the slightest pretext to precipitate action, and that, at this time, would give them an enormous advantage.
He himself trained the men in his immediate locality, and he also had the organization throughout the country trained, but without guns. The use of guns would not have been permitted except to regular authorized militia. The drilling was done with wooden guns, each man hewing out a stick to the size and shape of a modern rifle. At his home, carefully concealed, each man had his rifle.
And then came the election. Troops were at the polls and a free ballot was denied. It was the last straw. Citizens gathering after nightfall in order to protest were told to disperse immediately, and upon refusal, were fired upon. The next morning showed a death roll in the large centers of population that was appalling.
Wisconsin was the state in which there was the largest percentage of the citizenship unfavorable to the administration and to the interests. Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska were closely following.
Philip concluded to make his stand in the West, and he therefore ordered the men in every organization east of the Mississippi to foregather at once at Madison, and to report to him there. He was in constant touch with those Governors who were in sympathy with the progressive or insurgent cause, and he wired the Governor of Wisconsin, in cipher, informing him of his intentions.
As yet travel had not been seriously interrupted, though business was largely at a standstill, and there was an ominous quiet over the land. The opposition misinterpreted this, and thought that the people had been frightened by the unexpected show of force. Philip knew differently, and he also knew that civil war had begun. He communicated his plans to no one, but he had the campaign well laid out. It was his intention to concentrate in Wisconsin as large a force as could be gotten from his followers east and south of that state, and to concentrate again near Des Moines every man west of Illinois whom he could enlist. It was his purpose then to advance simultaneously both bodies of troops upon Chicago.
In the south there had developed a singular inertia. Neither side counted upon material help or opposition there.
The great conflict covering the years from 1860 to 1865 was still more than a memory, though but few living had taken part in it. The victors in that mighty struggle thought they had been magnanimous to the defeated but the well-informed Southerner knew that they had been made to pay the most stupendous penalty ever exacted in modern times. At one stroke of the pen, two thousand millions of their property was taken from them. A pension system was then inaugurated that taxed the resources of the Nation to pay. By the year 1927 more than five thousand millions had gone to those who were of the winning side. Of this the South was taxed her part, receiving nothing in return.
Cynical Europe said that the North would have it appear that a war had been fought for human freedom, whereas it seemed that it was fought for money. It forgot the many brave and patriotic men who enlisted because they held the Union to be one and indissoluble, and were willing to sacrifice their lives to make it so, and around whom a willing and grateful government threw its protecting arms. And it confused those deserving citizens with the unworthy many, whom pension agents and office seekers had debauched at the expense of the Nation. Then, too, the South remembered that one of the immediate results of emancipation was that millions of ignorant and indigent people were thrown upon the charity and protection of the Southern people, to care for and to educate. In some states sixty per cent, of the population were negroes, and they were as helpless as children and proved a heavy burden upon the forty per cent. of whites.
In rural populations more schoolhouses had to be maintained, and more teachers employed for the number taught, and the percentage of children per capita was larger than in cities. Then, of necessity, separate schools had to be maintained. So, altogether, the load was a heavy one for an impoverished people to carry.
The humane, the wise, the patriotic thing to have done, was for the Nation to have assumed the responsibility of the education of the negroes for at least one generation.
What a contrast we see in England’s treatment of the Boers. After a long and bloody war, which drew heavily upon the lives and treasures of the Nation, England’s first act was to make an enormous grant to the conquered Boers, that they might have every facility to regain their shattered fortunes, and bring order and prosperity to their distracted land.
We see the contrast again in that for nearly a half century after the Civil War was over, no Southerner was considered eligible for the Presidency.
On the other hand, within a few years after the African Revolution ended, a Boer General, who had fought throughout the war with vigor and distinction, was proposed and elected Premier of the United Colonies.
Consequently, while sympathizing with the effort to overthrow Selwyn’s government, the South moved slowly and with circumspection.
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Civil War Begins
General Dru brought together an army of fifty thousand men at Madison and about forty thousand near Des Moines, and recruits were coming in rapidly.
President Rockland had concentrated twenty thousand regulars and thirty thousand militia at Chicago, and had given command to Major General Newton, he who, several years previously, won the first medal given by the War Department for the best solution of the military problem.
The President also made a call for two hundred thousand volunteers. The response was in no way satisfactory, so he issued a formal demand upon each state to furnish its quota.
The states that were in sympathy with his administration responded, the others ignored the call.
General Dru learned that large reinforcements had been ordered to Chicago, and he therefore at once moved upon that place. He had a fair equipment of artillery, considering he was wholly dependent upon that belonging to the militia of those states that had ranged themselves upon his side, and at several points in the West, he had seized factories and plants making powder, guns, clothing and camp equipment. He ordered the Iowa division to advance at the same time, and the two forces were joined at a point about fifty miles south of Chicago.
General Newton was daily expecting reënforcements, but they failed to reach him before Dru made it impossible for them to pass through.
Newton at first thought to attack the Iowa division and defeat it, and then meet the Wisconsin division, but he hesitated to leave Chicago lest Dru should take the place during his absence.
With both divisions united, and with recruits constantly arriving, Dru had an army of one hundred and fifty thousand men.
Failing to obtain the looked-for reënforcements and seeing the hopelessness of opposing so large a force, Newton began secretly to evacuate Chicago by way of the Lakes, Dru having completely cut him off by land.
He succeeded in removing his army to Buffalo, where President Rockland had concentrated more than one hundred thousand troops.
When Dru found General Newton had evacuated Chicago, he occupied it, and then moved further east, in order to hold the states of Michigan, Indiana and Western Ohio.
This gave him the control of the West, and he endeavored as nearly as possible to cut off the food supply of the East. In order to tighten further the difficulty of obtaining supplies, he occupied Duluth and all the Lake ports as far east as Cleveland, which city the Government held, and which was their furthest western line.
Canada was still open as a means of food supply to the East, as were all the ports of the Atlantic seaboard as far south as Charleston.
So the sum of the situation was that the East, so far west as the middle of Ohio, and as far south as West Virginia, inclusive of that state, was in the hands of the Government.
Western Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois, while occupied by General Dru, were divided in their sympathies. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and every state west of the Mississippi, were strongly against the Government.
The South, as a whole, was negligible, though Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri were largely divided in sentiment. That part of the South lying below the border states was in sympathy with the insurgents.
The contest had come to be thought of as a conflict between Senator Selwyn on the one hand, and what he represented, and Philip Dru on the other, and what he stood for. These two were known to be the dominating forces on either side.
The contestants, on the face of things, seemed not unevenly matched, but, as a matter of fact, the conscience of the great mass of the people, East and West, was on Dru’s side, for it was known that he was contending for those things which would permit the Nation to become again a land of freedom in its truest and highest sense, a land where the rule of law prevailed, a land of equal opportunity, a land where justice would be meted out alike to the high and low with a steady and impartial hand.
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Upon the Eve of Battle
Neither side seemed anxious to bring matters to a conclusion, for both Newton and Dru required time to put their respective armies in fit condition before risking a conflict. By the middle of July, Dru had more than four hundred thousand men under his command, but his greatest difficulty was to properly officer and equip them. The bulk of the regular army officers had remained with the Government forces, though there were some notable exceptions. Among those offering their services to Dru was Jack Strawn. He resigned from the regular army with many regrets and misgivings, but his devotion to Philip made it impossible for him to do otherwise. And then there was Gloria whom he loved dearly, and who made him feel that there was a higher duty than mere professional regularity.
None of Dru’s generals had been tried out in battle and, indeed, he himself had not. It was much the same with the Government forces, for there had been no war since that with Spain in the nineties, and that was an affair so small that it afforded but little training for either officers or men.
Dru had it in mind to make the one battle decisive, if that were possible of accomplishment, for he did not want to weaken and distract the country by such a conflict as that of 1861 to 1865.
The Government forces numbered six hundred thousand men under arms, but one hundred thousand of these were widely scattered in order to hold certain sections of the country in line.
On the first of September General Dru began to move towards the enemy. He wanted to get nearer Washington and the northern seaboard cities, so that if successful he would be within striking distance of them before the enemy could recover.
He had in mind the places he preferred the battle to occur, and he used all his skill in bringing about the desired result. As he moved slowly but steadily towards General Newton, he was careful not to tax the strength of his troops, but he desired to give them the experience in marching they needed, and also to harden them.
The civilized nations of the world had agreed not to use in war aeroplanes or any sort of air craft either as engines of destruction or for scouting purposes. This decision had been brought about by the International Peace Societies and by the self-evident impossibility of using them without enormous loss of life. Therefore none were being used by either the Government or insurgent forces.
General Newton thought that Dru was planning to attack him at a point about twenty miles west of Buffalo, where he had his army stretched from the Lake eastward, and where he had thrown up entrenchments and otherwise prepared for battle.
But Dru had no thought of attacking then or there, but moved slowly and orderly on until the two armies were less than twenty miles apart due north and south from one another.
When he continued marching eastward and began to draw away from General Newton, the latter for the first time realized that he himself would be compelled to pursue and attack, for the reason that he could not let Dru march upon New York and the other unprotected seaboard cities. He saw, too, that he had been outgeneraled, and that he should have thrown his line across Dru’s path and given battle at a point of his own choosing.
The situation was a most unusual one even in the complex history of warfare, because in case of defeat the loser would be forced to retreat into the enemies’ country. It all the more surely emphasized the fact that one great battle would determine the war. General Dru knew from the first what must follow his movement in marching by General Newton, and since he had now reached the ground that he had long chosen as the place where he wished the battle to occur, he halted and arranged his troops in formation for the expected attack.
There was a curious feeling of exultation and confidence throughout the insurgent army, for Dru had conducted every move in the great game with masterly skill, and no man was ever more the idol of his troops, or of the people whose cause he was the champion.
It was told at every camp fire in his army how he had won the last medal that had been given by the War Department and for which General Newton had been a contestant, and not one of his men doubted that as a military genius, Newton in no way measured up to Dru. It was plain that Newton had been outmaneuvered and that the advantage lay with the insurgent forces.
The day before the expected battle, General Dru issued a stirring address, which was placed in the hands of each soldier, and which concluded as follows:--“It is now certain that there will be but one battle, and its result lies with you. If you fight as I know you will fight, you surely will be successful, and you soon will be able to return to your homes and to your families, carrying with you the assurance that you have won what will be perhaps the most important victory that has ever been achieved. It is my belief that human liberty has never more surely hung upon the outcome of any conflict than it does upon this, and I have faith that when you are once ordered to advance, you will never turn back. If you will each make a resolution to conquer or die, you will not only conquer, but our death list will not be nearly so heavy as if you at any time falter.”
This address was received with enthusiasm, and comrade declared to comrade that there would be no turning back when once called upon to advance, and it was a compact that in honor could not be broken. This, then, was the situation upon the eve of the mighty conflict.
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The Battle of Elma
General Dru had many spies in the enemies’ camp, and some of these succeeded in crossing the lines each night in order to give him what information they had been able to gather.
Some of these spies passed through the lines as late as eleven o’clock the night before the battle, and from them he learned that a general attack was to be made upon him the next day at six o’clock in the morning.
As far as he could gather, and from his own knowledge of the situation, it was General Newton’s purpose to break his center. The reason Newton had this in mind was that he thought Dru’s line was far flung, and he believed that if he could drive through the center, he could then throw each wing into confusion and bring about a crushing defeat.
As a matter of fact, Dru’s line was not far flung, but he had a few troops strung out for many miles in order to deceive Newton, because he wanted him to try and break his center.
Up to this time, he had taken no one into his confidence, but at midnight, he called his division commanders to his headquarters and told them his plan of battle.
They were instructed not to impart any information to the commanders of brigades until two o’clock. The men were then to be aroused and given a hasty breakfast, after which they were to be ready to march by three o’clock.
Recent arrivals had augmented his army to approximately five hundred thousand men. General Newton had, as far as he could learn, approximately six hundred thousand, so there were more than a million of men facing one another.
Dru had a two-fold purpose in preparing at three in the morning. First, he wanted to take no chances upon General Newton’s time of attack. His information as to six o’clock he thought reliable, but it might have been given out to deceive him and a much earlier engagement might be contemplated.
His other reason was that he intended to flank Newton on both wings.
It was his purpose to send, under cover of night, one hundred and twenty-five thousand men to the right of Newton and one hundred and twenty-five thousand to his left, and have them conceal themselves behind wooded hills until noon, and then to drive in on him from both sides.
He was confident that with two hundred and fifty thousand determined men, protected by the fortifications he had been able to erect, and with the ground of his own choosing, which had a considerable elevation over the valley through which Newton would have to march, he could hold his position until noon. He did not count upon actual fighting before eight o’clock, or perhaps not before nine.
Dru did not attempt to rest, but continued through the night to instruct his staff officers, and to arrange, as far as he could, for each contingency. Before two o’clock, he was satisfied with the situation and felt assured of victory.
He was pleased to see the early morning hours develop a fog, for this would cover the march of his left and right wings, and they would not have to make so wide a detour in order that their movements might be concealed. It would also delay, he thought, Newton’s attack.
His army was up and alert at three, and by four o’clock those that were to hold the center were in position, though he had them lie down again on their arms, so that they might get every moment of rest. Three o’clock saw the troops that were to flank the enemy already on the march.
At six-thirty his outposts reported Newton’s army moving, but it was nine o’clock before they came within touch of his troops.
In the meantime, his men were resting, and he had food served them again as late as seven o’clock.
Newton attacked the center viciously at first, but making no headway and seeing that his men were being terribly decimated, he made a detour to the right, and, with cavalry, infantry and artillery, he drove Dru’s troops in from the position which they were holding.
Dru recognized the threatened danger and sent heliograph messages to his right and left wings to begin their attack, though it was now only eleven o’clock. He then rode in person to the point of danger, and rallied his men to a firmer stand, upon which Newton could make no headway.
In that hell storm of lead and steel Dru sat upon his horse unmoved. With bared head and eyes aflame, with face flushed and exultant, he looked the embodiment of the terrible God of War. His presence and his disregard of danger incited his soldiers to deeds of valor that would forever be an “inspiration and a benediction” to the race from which they sprung.
Newton, seeing that his efforts were costing him too dearly, decided to withdraw his troops and rest until the next day, when he thought to attack Dru from the rear.
The ground was more advantageous there, and he felt confident he could dislodge him. When he gave the command to retreat, he was surprised to find Dru massing his troops outside his entrenchments and preparing to follow him. He slowly retreated and Dru as slowly followed. Newton wanted to get him well away from his stronghold and in the open plain, and then wheel and crush him. Dru was merely keeping within striking distance, so that when his two divisions got in touch with Newton they would be able to attack him on three sides.
Just as Newton was about to turn, Dru’s two divisions poured down the slopes of the hills on both sides and began to charge. And when Dru’s center began to charge, it was only a matter of moments before Newton’s army was in a panic.
He tried to rally them and to face the on-coming enemy, but his efforts were in vain. His men threw down their guns, some surrendering, but most of them fleeing in the only way open, that towards the rear and the Lake.
Dru’s soldiers saw that victory was theirs, and, maddened by the lust of war, they drove the Government forces back, killing and crushing the seething and helpless mass that was now in hopeless confusion.
Orders were given by General Dru to push on and follow the enemy until nightfall, or until the Lake was reached, where they must surrender or drown.
By six o’clock of that fateful day, the splendid army of Newton was a thing for pity, for Dru had determined to exhaust the last drop of strength of his men to make the victory complete, and the battle conclusive.
At the same time, as far as he was able, he restrained his men from killing, for he saw that the enemy were without arms, and thinking only of escape. His order was only partially obeyed, for when man is in conflict with either beast or fellowman, the primitive lust for blood comes to the fore, and the gentlest and most humane are oftentimes the most bloodthirsty.
Of the enemy forty thousand were dead and two hundred and ten thousand were wounded with seventy-five thousand missing. Of prisoners Dru had captured three hundred and seventy-five thousand.
General Newton was killed in the early afternoon, soon after the rout began.
Philip’s casualties were twenty-three thousand dead and one hundred and ten thousand wounded.
It was a holocaust, but the war was indeed ended.
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