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necessary, he thought, for the Government to fix a price reasonable to
all interests involved.

Therefore it was not intended to put a limit on the size or the
comprehensiveness of any corporation, further than that it should not
stifle competition, except by greater efficiency in production and
distribution. If this should happen, then the people and the Government
would be protected by publicity, by their representative on the board
of directors and by the fixing of prices, if necessary.

It had been shown by the career of one of the greatest industrial
combinations that the world has yet known, that there was a limit where
size and inefficiency met. The only way that this corporation could
maintain its lead was through the devious paths of relentless monopoly.

Dru wanted America to contend for its share of the world's trade, and to
enable it to accomplish this, he favored giving business the widest
latitude consistent with protection of the people.

When he assumed control of the Government, one of the many absurdities
of the American economic system was the practical inhibition of a
merchant marine. While the country was second to none in the value and
quantity of production, yet its laws were so framed that it was
dependent upon other nations for its transportation by sea; and its
carrying trade was in no way commensurate with the dignity of the coast
line and with the power and wealth of the Nation.



CHAPTER XLV

BURIAL REFORM


At about this time the wife of one of the Cabinet officers died, and
Administrator Dru attended the funeral. There was an unusually large
gathering, but it was plain that most of those who came did so from
morbid curiosity. The poignant grief of the bereaved husband and
children wrung the heartstrings of their many sympathetic friends. The
lowering of the coffin, the fall of the dirt upon its cover, and the
sobs of those around the grave, was typical of such occasions.

Dru was deeply impressed and shocked, and he thought to use his
influence towards a reformation of such a cruel and unnecessary form of
burial. When the opportunity presented itself, he directed attention to
the objections to this method of disposing of the dead, and he suggested
the formation in every community of societies whose purpose should be to
use their influence towards making interments private, and towards the
substitution of cremation for the unsanitary custom of burial in
cemeteries. These societies were urged to point out the almost
prohibitive expense the present method entailed upon the poor and those
of moderate means. The buying of the lot and casket, the cost of the
funeral itself, and the discarding of useful clothing in order to robe
in black, were alike unnecessary. Some less dismal insignia of grief
should be adopted, he said, that need not include the entire garb.
Grief, he pointed out, and respect for the dead, were in no way better
evidenced by such barbarous customs.

Rumor had it that scandal's cruel tongue was responsible for this good
woman's death. She was one of the many victims that go to unhappy graves
in order that the monstrous appetite for gossip may be appeased. If
there be punishment after death, surely, the creator and disseminator of
scandal will come to know the anger and contempt of a righteous God. The
good and the bad are all of a kind to them. Their putrid minds see
something vile in every action, and they leave the drippings of their
evil tongues wherever they go. Some scandalmongers are merely stupid and
vulgar, while others have a biting wit that cause them to be feared and
hated. Rumors they repeat as facts, and to speculations they add what
corroborative evidence is needed. The dropping of the eyelids, the smirk
that is so full of insinuation is used to advantage where it is more
effective than the downright lie. The burglar and the highwayman go
frankly abroad to gather in the substance of others, and they stand
ready to forfeit both life and liberty while in pursuit of nefarious
gain. Yet it is a noble profession compared with that of the
scandalmonger, and the murderer himself is hardly a more objectionable
member of society than the character assassin.



CHAPTER XLVI

THE WISE DISPOSITION OF A FORTUNE


In one of their confidential talks, Selwyn told Dru that he had a
fortune in excess of two hundred million dollars, and that while it was
his intention to amply provide for his immediate family, and for those
of his friends who were in need, he desired to use the balance of his
money in the best way he could devise to help his fellowmen.

He could give for this purpose, he said, two hundred million dollars or
more, for he did not want to provide for his children further than to
ensure their entire comfort, and to permit them to live on a scale not
measurably different from what they had been accustomed.

He had never lived in the extravagant manner that was usual in men of
his wealth, and his children had been taught to expect only a moderate
fortune at his death. He was too wise a man not to know that one of the
greatest burdens that wealth imposed, was the saving of one's children
from its contaminations. He taught his sons that they were seriously
handicapped by their expectations of even moderate wealth, and that
unless they were alert and vigilant and of good habits, the boy who was
working his own way upward would soon outstrip them. They were taught
that they themselves, were the natural objects of pity and parental
concern, and not their seemingly less fortunate brothers.

"Look among those whose parents have wealth and have given of it
lavishly to their children," he said, "and count how few are valuable
members of society or hold the respect of their fellows.

"On the other hand, look at the successful in every vocation of life,
and note how many have literally dug their way to success."

The more Dru saw of Selwyn, the better he liked him, and knowing the
inner man, as he then did, the more did he marvel at his career. He and
Selwyn talked long and earnestly over the proper disposition of his
fortune. They both knew that it was hard to give wisely and without
doing more harm than good. Even in providing for his friends, Selwyn was
none too sure that he was conferring benefits upon them. Most of them
were useful though struggling members of society, but should competency
come to them, he wondered how many would continue as such. There was
one, the learned head of a comparatively new educational institution,
with great resources ultimately behind it. This man was building it on a
sure and splendid foundation, in the hope that countless generations of
youth would have cause to be grateful for the sagacious energy he was
expending in their behalf.

He had, Selwyn knew, the wanderlust to a large degree, and the
millionaire wondered whether, when this useful educator's slender income
was augmented by the generous annuity he had planned to give him, he
would continue his beneficent work or become a dweller in arabs' tents.

In the plenitude of his wealth and generosity, he had another in mind to
share his largess. He was the orphaned son of an old and valued friend.
He had helped the lad over some rough places, but had been careful not
to do enough to slacken the boy's own endeavor. The young man had
graduated from one of the best universities, and afterwards at a medical
school that was worthy the name. He was, at the time Selwyn was planning
the disposition of his wealth, about thirty years old, and was doing
valuable laboratory work in one of the great research institutions.
Gifted with superb health, and a keen analytical mind, he seemed to have
it in him to go far in his profession, and perhaps be of untold benefit
to mankind.

But Selwyn had noticed an indolent streak in the young scientist, and he
wondered whether here again he was doing the fair and right thing by
placing it within his power to lead a life of comparative ease and
uselessness. Consequently, Selwyn moved cautiously in the matter of the
distribution of his great wealth, and invoked Dru's aid. It was Dru's
supernormal intellect, tireless energy, and splendid constructive
ability that appealed to him, and he not only admired the Administrator
above all men, but he had come to love him as a son. Dru was the only
person with whom Selwyn had ever been in touch whose advice he valued
above his own judgment. Therefore when the young Administrator suggested
a definite plan of scientific giving, Selwyn gave it respectful
attention at first, and afterwards his enthusiastic approval.



CHAPTER XLVII

THE WISE DISPOSITION OF A FORTUNE, CONTINUED


"If your fortune were mine, Senator Selwyn," said Philip Dru, "I would
devote it to the uplift of women. Their full rights will be accorded
them in time, but their cause could be accelerated by you, and
meanwhile untold misery and unhappiness averted. Man, who is so
dependent upon woman, has largely failed in his duty to her, not alone
as an individual but as a sex. Laws are enacted, unions formed, and what
not done for man's protection, but the working woman is generally
ignored. With your money, and even more with your ability, you could
change for the better the condition of girlhood and womanhood in every
city and in every factory throughout the land. Largely because they are
unorganized, women are overworked and underpaid to such an extent that
other evils, which we deplore, follow as a natural sequence. By proper
organization, by exciting public interest and enlisting the sympathy
and active support of the humane element, which is to be found in every
community you will be able to bring about better conditions.

"If I were you, I would start my crusade in New York and work out a
model organization there, so that you could educate your coadjutors as
to the best methods, and then send them elsewhere to inaugurate the
movement. Moreover, I would not confine my energies entirely to
America, but Europe and other parts of the world should share its
benefits, for human misery knows no sheltering land.

"In conjunction with this plan, I would carry along still another.
Workingmen have their clubs, their societies and many places for social
gathering, but the women in most cities have none. As you know, the
great majority of working girls live in tenements, crowded with their
families in a room or two, or they live in cheap and lonely boarding
houses. They have no chance for recreation after working hours or on
holidays, unless they go to places it would be better to keep away from.
If men wish to visit them, it must needs be in their bedrooms, on the
street, or in some questionable resort."

"How am I to change this condition?" said Selwyn.

"In many ways," said Dru. "Have clubs for them, where they may sing,
dance, read, exercise and have their friends visit them. Have good women
in charge so that the influence will be of the best. Have occasional
plays and entertainments for them, to which they may each invite a
friend, and make such places pleasanter than others where they might go.
And all the time protect them, and preferably in a way they are not
conscious of. By careful attention to the reading matter, interesting
stories should be selected each of which would bear its own moral. Quiet
and informal talks by the matron and others at opportune times, would
give them an insight into the pitfalls around them, and make it more
difficult for the human vultures to accomplish their undoing. There is
no greater stain upon our vaunted civilization," continued Dru, "than
our failure to protect the weak, the unhappy and the abjectly poor of
womankind.

"Philosophers still treat of it in the abstract, moralists speak of it
now and then in an academic way, but it is a subject generally shunned and
thought hopelessly impossible.

"It is only here and there that a big noble-hearted woman can be found
to approach it, and then a Hull House is started, and under its
sheltering roof unreckoned numbers of innocent hearted girls are saved
to bless, at a later day, its patron saint.

"Start Hull Houses, Senator Selwyn, along with your other plan, for it
is all of a kind, and works to the betterment of woman. The vicious, the
evil minded and the mature sensualist, we will always have with us, but
stretch out your mighty arm, buttressed as it is by fabulous wealth, and
save from the lair of the libertines, the innocent, whose only crime is
poverty and a hopeless despair.

"In your propaganda for good," continued Dru, "do not overlook the
education of mothers to the importance of sex hygiene, so that they may
impart to their daughters the truth, and not let them gather their
knowledge from the streets.

"You may go into this great work, Senator Selwyn, with the consciousness
that you are reaching a condition fraught with more consequence to
society than any other that confronts it, for its ramifications for evil
are beyond belief of any but the sociologist who has gone to its
foundations."



CHAPTER XLVIII

AN INTERNATIONAL COALITION


Busy as General Dru had been rehabilitating domestic affairs, he never
for a moment neglected the foreign situation. He felt that it was
almost providential that he was in a position to handle it unhampered,
for at no time in our history were we in such peril of powerful foreign
coalition. Immediately after receiving from Selwyn the information
concerning the British-German alliance, he had begun to build, as it
were, a fire behind the British Ministry, and the result was its
overthrow. When the English nation began to realize that a tentative
agreement was being arrived at between their country on the one hand,
and Germany and Japan on the other, with America as its object of
attack, there was a storm of indignation; and when the new Ministry was
installed the diplomatic machinery was set to work to undo, as nearly as
could be, what their predecessors had accomplished.

In the meantime, Dru negotiated with them to the end that England and
America were to join hands in a world wide policy of peace and
commercial freedom. According to Dru's plan, disarmaments were to be
made to an appreciable degree, custom barriers were to be torn down,
zones of influence clearly defined, and an era of friendly commercial
rivalry established.

It was agreed that America should approach Germany and Japan in
furtherance of this plan, and when their consent was obtained, the rest
would follow.

Dru worked along these lines with both nations, using consummate tact
and skill. Both Germany and Japan were offended at the English change of
front, and were ready to listen to other proposals. To them, he opened
up a wide vista of commercial and territorial expansion, or at least its
equivalent. Germany was to have the freest commercial access to South
America, and she was invited to develop those countries both with German
colonists and German capital.

There was to be no coercion of the governments, or political control in
that territory, but on the other hand, the United States undertook that
there should be no laws enacted by them to restrain trade, and that the
rights of foreigners should have the fullest protection. Dru also
undertook the responsibility of promising that there should be no
favoritism shown by the South and Central American governments, but that
native and alien should stand alike before the law so far as property
rights were concerned.

Germany was to have a freer hand in the countries lying southeast of her
and in Asia Minor. It was not intended that she should absorb them or
infringe upon the rights as nations, but her sphere of influence was to
be extended over them much the same as ours was over South America.

While England was not to be restricted in her trade relations with those
countries, still she was neither to encourage emigration there nor
induce capital to exploit their resources.

Africa and her own colonies were to be her special fields of endeavor.

In consideration of the United States lifting practically all custom
barriers, and agreeing to keep out of the Eastern Hemisphere, upholding
with her the peace and commercial freedom of the world, and of the
United States recognizing the necessity of her supremacy on the seas,
England, after having obtained the consent of Canada, agreed to
relinquish her own sphere of political influence over the Dominion, and
let her come under that of the United States. Canada was willing that
this situation should be brought about, for her trade conditions had
become interwoven with those of the United States, and the people of the
two countries freely intermingled. Besides, since Dru had reconstructed
the laws and constitution of the big republic, they were more in harmony
with the Canadian institutions than before.

Except that the United States were not to appoint a Governor General,
the republic's relations with Canada were to be much the same as those
between herself and the Mother Country. The American flag, the American
destiny and hers were to be interwoven through the coming ages.

In relinquishing this most perfect jewel in her Imperial crown, England
suffered no financial loss, for Canada had long ceased to be a source of
revenue, and under the new order of things, the trade relations between
the two would be increased rather than diminished. The only wrench was
the parting with so splendid a province, throughout which, that noble
insignia of British supremacy, the cross of St. George, would be forever
furled.

Administrator Dru's negotiations with Japan were no less successful than
those with England. He first established cordial relations with her by
announcing the intention of the United States to give the Philippines
their independence under the protection of Japan, reserving for America
and the rest of the world the freest of trade relations with the
Islands.

Japan and China were to have all Eastern Asia as their sphere of
influence, and if it pleased them to drive Russia back into Europe, no
one would interfere.

That great giant had not yet discarded the ways and habits of
medievalism. Her people were not being educated, and she indicated no
intention of preparing them for the responsibilities of self
government, to which they were entitled. Sometimes in his day dreams,
Dru thought of Russia in its vastness, of the ignorance and hopeless
outlook of the people, and wondered when her deliverance would come.
There was, he knew, great work for someone to do in that despotic land.

Thus Dru had formulated and put in motion an international policy,
which, if adhered to in good faith, would bring about the comity of
nations, a lasting and beneficent peace, and the acceptance of the
principle of the brotherhood of man.



CHAPTER XLIX

UNEVEN ODDS


Gloria and Janet Selwyn saw much of one another in Washington, and Dru
was with them both during those hours he felt necessary for recreation.
Janet was ever bubbling over with fun and unrestrained humor, and was a
constant delight to both Gloria and Dru. Somewhere deep in her soul
there was a serious stratum, but it never came to the surface. Neither
Gloria nor Dru knew what was passing in those turbulent depths, and
neither knew the silent heartaches when she was alone and began to take
an inventory of her innermost self. She had loved Dru from the moment
she first saw him at her home in Philadelphia, but with that her
prescience in such matters as only women have, she knew that nothing
more than his friendship would ever be hers. She sometimes felt the
bitterness of woman's position in such situations. If Dru had loved her,
he would have been free to pay her court, and to do those things which
oftentimes awaken a kindred feeling in another. But she was helpless. An
advancement from her would but lessen his regard, and make impossible
that which she most desired. She often wondered what there was between
Gloria and Dru. Was there an attachment, an understanding, or was it one
of those platonic friendships created by common interests and a common
purpose? She wished she knew. She was reasonably sure of Gloria. That
she loved Dru seemed to admit of little doubt. But what of him? Did he
love Gloria, or did his love encompass the earth, and was mankind ever
to be his wife and mistress? She wished she knew. How imperturbable he
was! Was he to live and die a fathomless mystery? If he could not be
hers, her generous heart plead for Gloria. She and Gloria often talked
of Dru. There was no fencing between these two. Open and enthusiastic
admiration of Philip each expressed, but there were no confidences which
revealed their hearts. Realizing that her love would never be
reciprocated, Janet misled Philip as to her real feelings. One day when
the three were together, she said, "Mr. Administrator, why don't you
marry? It would add enormously to your popularity and it would keep a
lot of us girls from being old maids." "How would it prevent your being
an old maid, Janet?" said Dru. "Please explain." "Why, there are a lot
of us that hope to have you call some afternoon, and ask us to be Mrs.
Dru, and it begins to look to me as if some of us would be disappointed."
Dru laughed and told her not to give up hope. And then he said more
seriously - "Some day when my work here is done, I shall take your advice
if I can find someone who will marry me." "If you wait too long, Philip,
you will be so old, no one will want you," said Janet. "I have a feeling,
Janet, that somewhere there is a woman who knows and will wait. If I am
wrong, then the future holds for me many bitter and unhappy hours." Dru
said this with such deep feeling that both Gloria and Janet were
surprised. And Janet wondered whether this was a message to some unknown
woman, or was it meant for Gloria? She wished she knew.



CHAPTER L

THE BROADENING OF THE MONROE DOCTRINE


In spite of repeated warnings from the United States, Mexico and the
Central American Republics had obstinately continued their old time
habit of revolutions without just cause, with the result that they
neither had stable governments within themselves, nor any hope of peace
with each other. One revolution followed another in quick succession,
until neither life nor property was safe. England, Germany and other
nations who had citizens and investments there had long protested to the
American Government, and Dru knew that one of the purposes of the
proposed coalition against the United States had been the assumption of
control themselves. Consequently, he took active and drastic steps to
bring order out of chaos. He had threatened many times to police these
countries, and he finally prepared to do so.

Other affairs of the Dru administration were running smoothly. The Army
was at a high standard of efficiency, and the country was fully ready
for the step when Dru sent one hundred thousand men to the Rio Grande,
and demanded that the American troops be permitted to cross over and
subdue the revolutionists and marauding bandits.

The answer was a coalition of all the opposing factions and the massing
of a large army of defense. The Central American Republics also joined
Mexico, and hurriedly sent troops north.

General Dru took personal command of the American forces, crossed the
Rio Grande at Laredo, and war was declared. There were a large number of
Mexican soldiers at Monterey, but they fell back in order to get in
touch with the main army below Saltillo.

General Dru marched steadily on, but before he came to Saltillo,
President Benevides, who commanded his own army, moved southward, in
order to give the Central American troops time to reach him. This was
accomplished about fifty miles north of the City of Mexico. The allies
had one hundred thousand men, and the American force numbered sixty
thousand, Dru having left forty thousand at Laredo, Monterey and
Saltillo.

The two armies confronted one another for five days, General Benevides
waiting for the Americans to attack, while General Dru was merely
resting his troops and preparing them for battle. In the meantime, he
requested a conference with the Mexican Commander, and the two met with
their staffs midway between the opposing armies.

General Dru urged an immediate surrender, and fully explained his plans
for occupation, so that it might be known that there was to be no
oppression. He pointed out that it had become no longer possible for
the United States to ignore the disorder that prevailed in Mexico and
those countries south of it, for if the United States had not taken
action, Europe would have done so. He expressed regret that a country


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Online LibraryEdward Mandell HousePhilip Dru Administrator : a Story of Tomorrow 1920 - 1935 → online text (page 12 of 14)