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28 STULTITIA

meeting of the Jonesville Political Economy Club,
at which I am to deliver an address. There is a
great popular movement out there, and I trust
you will not hesitate to help us out.

THE GENERAL

May I inquire the object of the meeting?

SENATOR HYHEAD

Oh, I'm to speak on direct government, the re-
call of judicial decisions; in fact, the great expres-
sive movement.

THE GENERAL

I'll do my best for you, Senator, though I con-
fess I am a little afraid some of our bureaucrats
may cite our rule forbidding the army to take
part, one way or another, in political questions.
I'll let you know by telephone, Senator.

Senator Hyhead starts to rise.

THE GENERAL

Won't you remain? We are just discussing
the subject of preserving the national honor and
safety by adequate military and naval legislation
at the present session of Congress.



FIRST DISCUSSION 29

SENATOR HYHEAD

{Looking at his watch) I am very busy, draft-
ing a bill for the protection of water fowl, but I
think I can spare a few minutes.

THE GENERAL

Captain Hawk, please ask the Chief of the Po-
litical Bureau in the State Department and the
Chief of the Bureau of Naval Intelligence of the
Navy Department to come around here right
away. I'd like them to be able to answer any
questions in their line which might come up.

Captain Hawk telephones.

SENATOR ROCK

While we are waiting, General, I want you to
make a note of young Charles Barney. You
know, the son of the great department store man.
He is a nice boy, but since he squeezed through
college he has given his father some trouble, and
now he wants to go into the army. His father
wants to take advantage of this disposition to do
something serious and I want to know whether we
can't get the young man a commission as lieu-
tenant, or something.



30 STULTITIA

SENATOR DORMANT

There's another thing that I think Senator Rock
is interested in, just as I am. What's all this
talk about abolishing military posts and concen-
tration in big garrisons?

SENATOR ROCK

Yes, we can't stand for that. Why, do you
know, General, there are four towns in my State
where the prosperity of seven or eight thousand
people depends upon the maintenance of those
military posts ?

THE GENERAL

You see, Senator, it's a very wasteful and ex-
pensive system. Concentrated garrisons are
necessary to military efficiency and the training
of large units. We think it's our duty —

SENATOR ROCK

{Coloring slightly) I can't help that. Our
constituents won't stand for it and Senator Dor-
mant and I have arranged to kill that bill.

The Colored Messenger announces Mr.
Drake and Admiral Stevens. Mr.



FIRST DISCUSSION 31

Drake is a man above 40, with black hair
and blue eyes, rather pale, slim, but strongly
built, wearing a black cutaway coat. He has
a very earnest and grave address, relieved by
a pleasant urbanity. Admiral Stevens has
the complexion of the quarter deck, but the
manner of the office. Bowing slightly to The
General and others present, he walks rap-
idly across the room, carrying a large port-
folio, and seats himself at one side of The
General's desk, while Mr. Drake, also
carrying a portfolio, shakes hands with The
General and is introduced to the others,
after which he seats himself between The
General's desk and that of Captain
Hawk, upon whom he bestows a slow and
sorrowful wink.

SENATOR DORMANT
{Nodding patronizingly in the direction of Mr.
Drake) Young man, I may say to you that I
disapprove of the policy of the State Department.
You keep mixing us up with these South American
republics. You're fooling around over in Li-
beria ; you're mixed up with these Chinese loans —



32 STULTITIA

SENATOR HYHEAD

(Speaking with a didactic precision) Yes,
there are many people in the West who strongly
deprecate the disposition of the State Department
to involve the United States with foreign coun-
tries, in order to enable Wall Street to loan them
money at great profit.

SENATOR DORMANT

Why, John Hay just proclaimed the " open
door " in China. He didn't mix us up in a lot
of trouble. We used to have friendly relations
with Latin-America without having to u run to
the fire " every time they had a revolution.

THE GENERAL

You know, Mr. Drake, Senator Dormant
doesn't believe in maintaining the Monroe Doc-
trine.

SENATOR DORMANT
(Jumps and leans forward in wide-eyed amaze-
ment) What's that, you say ! Don't believe in the
Monroe Doctrine ! (Rising, stepping forward in
evident emotion and raising his cane he says with
passion) I tell you, sir, I believe in maintaining



FIRST DISCUSSION 33

and enforcing the Monroe Doctrine up to the
hilt.

He brings his stick down on the floor with a
bang.

THE GENERAL

{Very quietly) I am glad I misunderstood
you, Senator.

MR. DRAKE

{Drily) I know. The Senator is one of those
statesmen who believe in maintaining the Monroe
Doctrine, but who won't help us safeguard it.
The Senator objects to our taking measures now
to help Central America keep out of trouble.
He's willing to let things slide in order that we
may get into as much trouble as possible later on.
Why, Senator, the Monroe Doctrine gives us a
sphere of influence and of more or less responsi-
bility all the way from the Mexican border to Cape
Horn.

THE GENERAL

{Evidently with the object of making the con-
versation more amicable) Oh, I forgot to intro-
duce you all. Admiral Stevens, do you know Sen-



34 STULTITIA

ator Rock? {They shake hands) Doctor Har-
mony, Admiral Stevens.

Doctor Harmony steps forward to extend his
hand. The Admiral bows rather stiffly.

ADMIRAL STEVENS

I know your work very well, Doctor Harmony.
It's pretty hard for us to buck the peace trust with
your hundred million dollar endowment. Mr.
Shuffler and Senator Rock here, are on your coun-
cil, aren't they?

DR. HARMONY

Yes; this great movement has enlisted their
valuable support.

ADMIRAL STEVENS

That's all very well. You enjoy the dreams.
We face the music. I don't think a referendum
would show the American people ready to turn
the other cheek. We're trustees of their honor
and it's no fun. Why no other country ever had
such a sphere of responsibility. The navy has to
maintain it. The leading European Powers are
building battleships three times as fast as we are.



FIRST DISCUSSION 35

MR. DRAKE

The Senator swears by the Monroe Doctrine,
but rejects all that logically goes with it. A Carib-
bean republic runs into debt with Europe and
won't listen to reason. We won't let Europe
seize a port and force payment. Oh, no, Mon-
roe Doctrine ! American diplomacy gets some
patriotic American bankers to hazard the money
to wipe out the European debt and put the repub-
lic on its feet. Then Senator Hyhead announces
that we sold out to Wall Street and Senator Dor-
mant says in the Senate that we must avoid en-
tangling alliances! Do you really think the
United States of America can become seriously
entangled with a little banana republic? And, if
American diplomacy needs money in the nation's
business, I ask you, ought we to apply to a black-
smith or to a banker?

ADMIRAL STEVENS

{In a gruff voice) Some day, one of our Euro-
pean friends will get tired of this and sail in and
seize a port.

MR. DRAKE

Then Senator Dormant will ask us to enforce
the Monroe Doctrine up to the hilt.



36 STULTITIA

ADMIRAL STEVENS

And the American people will have the pleasure
of seeing our little fleet of battleships sunk by
a superior force. The Monroe Doctrine will die
hard and the bones of the Navy will be its monu-
ment.

MR. SHUFFLER

( To Mr. Drake) You seem to be pretty free
with your opinions, young man, in the presence
of distinguished Senators. This won't increase
your chances for confirmation for that embassy.
You never did anything for the party anyway.



MR. DRAKE

That's all right, Mr. Shuffler. You work for
the party and I'll work for the country. I don't
care if I'm never confirmed for anything again.
It's about time somebody should talk out loud to
you if you won't listen to reason. We give our
minds and hearts and souls to special branches of
the public interest and might be supposed to know
something about them. Do you heed us? Oh,
no. We're prejudiced. It's beneath the dignity
of the Legislative to listen to the experts of the



FIRST DISCUSSION 37

Executive. I'm going out to try to explain a few
things to my fellow citizens.

THE GENERAL

Mr. Drake, these gentlemen have come here to
discuss these matters in a broad way. I know
they will excuse your over-zeal as only reflecting
the strength of your convictions. We are all
working for the interest of the nation and we can
have no serious disagreement.

CAPTAIN HAWK

General, wouldn't you like Mr. Drake to bring
out some of the points in that political memoran-
dum?

THE GENERAL

Yes. Senators, I will ask Mr. Drake, merely
as a matter of interest, to speak a little further
about the Monroe Doctrine,

MR. DRAKE

The Monroe Doctrine is most likely to be chal-
lenged in the neighborhood of the Panama Canal
and the Zone of the Caribbean. In that neigh-
borhood the republics need our help to give them



38 STULTITIA

financial and political stability; to give them edu-
cation; and to protect their people when murder-
ous grafters try to become dictators. You know
the Kilkenny cat row weVe been dealing with just
over the border for the last couple of years or
more. Well, now, south of Panama, which is a
virtual protectorate like Cuba and Santo Domingo,
we have quite a different lot of countries. Brazil,
Argentina, Chile, and perhaps others have pretty
well got to be first class countries. Some of the
other republics are backward. The United States
has no designs against any of them. All the time,
in season and out of season, whatever we do is
deliberately misunderstood. The Monroe Doc-
trine, which they should worship on their knees,
is resented. American motives and the " Yankee
Peril " are constantly exploited in their politics.
This is getting very tiresome. We can't get away
from the Monroe Doctrine in its greatest intensity
from here to Panama inclusive. We can't stand
perpetual turmoil north of there. I'm beginning
to think we ought to consider giving up the Mon-
roe Doctrine from Panama south and frankly de-
claring a virtual protectorate from here to Pan-
ama, including the republics of the Caribbean.



FIRST DISCUSSION 39

SENATOR DORMANT

{Hotly) Give up nothing. Why, we're on
friendly terms with all the world. Pshaw ! No-
body would dare to challenge the Monroe Doc-
trine. Besides, this arbitration movement —

MR. DRAKE
{Obviously trying to be affable and with a hope-
less little laugh) There you go again, Senator.
To challenge the Monroe Doctrine seriously
would be a political act. Nobody — not even
Doctor Harmony — has ever dreamed of arbi-
trating a political act. If I injure you by breaking
a contract, you can sue me; but if I steal your
horse, there you are. I have the horse, — there's
no use arbitrating whether I had the right to steal
it or not. I had the power. I've got the horse.
That's all there is about it. But to go back to
the Monroe Doctrine, if we forever hold an um-
brella over all the twenty other American repub-
lics they never will know enough to come in out
of the rain ! What good does it do us ? If some
vigorous nation made them colonies, they'd be a
better market for us than they are now. They'd
have somebody else to hate and fear. They'd
love and appreciate us then, — when it was too



4 o STULTITIA

late. Somebody else could walk the floor with
them. If weVe bitten off more than we can chew
— or if the Monroe Doctrine is out of date —
why let's admit it!

ADMIRAL STEVENS
(In rather a gruff and grumbling tone) How
many foreign ships do you expect us to stand off,
Senator, with the sample line of battleships
you've given us? And who's going to help us
out? That's what I'd like to know.

SENATOR ROCK
Speaking of battleships, we're going to have
smaller ones. These dreadnoughts don't fit half
our navyyards. Why, lots of our constituents are
kicking because no money comes to their localities
any more. The new ships are only sent to the
three or four big yards. Now the prosperity of
a dozen towns depends on getting this work.*

* Footnote: For the fact that this attitude was actually
taken, incredible as it may seem, we have the authority of the
ex-Secretary of War, the Honorable Henry L. Stimson (see
Harper's Weekly, June 21, 1913)-



FIRST DISCUSSION 41

ADMIRAL STEVENS

But we've got to have big ships. We can't be
responsible —

SENATOR ROCK

Nonsense. You'll take little ones or none at
all. Why my constituents —

MR. DRAKE

Let's get back to peaceful diplomacy. You see,
Admiral, as Senator Dormant says, Washington
said that we must have no entangling alliances.
Now we are a world power —

ADMIRAL STEVENS

Yes, from the moment we announced the Mon-
roe Doctrine, from the moment we acquired the
Hawaiian Islands or an inch of outlying territory,
it was a case of a big navy — and big ships — or
a bad thrashing.

MR. DRAKE

We've long been in for all the responsibilities.
Congress won't even give us a trained diplomatic
service to keep us out of trouble. We are given



42 STULTITIA

no adequate navy and the State Department's told,
" No, you can't make any alliances; Washington
said so." If it comes to trouble we want to be
licked; we won't be strong ourselves and we don't
want a powerful friend to help us out.

SENATOR HYHEAD

These are very fine theories, gentlemen, but you
bureaucrats are too far removed from the pulse
of the plain people. Now in my part of the coun-
try, a thousand miles from the sea coast, why
they'd laugh at me. Besides, it's preposterous.
It's all theory. (Rising and looking at his watch)
Well, I've got to go back to work. Senators, I
hope I can count on your support for that bill of
mine for the protection of waterfowl. It will be
up in a few days.

He bows toward The General and starts
toward the door with a very grave manner.
The others rise.

SENATOR ROCK

Admiral, of course you want more battleships.
Every fellow's stuck on his own business. Why,
if we listened to these departments —



FIRST DISCUSSION 43

MR. DRAKE

Doctor Harmony, I want to ask your help with
these gentlemen. You have more influence than
we have. Now as a peace proposition, we want
to bring the countries just south of us into the cur-
rent of the great economic forces — to show them
that peace and order, not fighting, will bring them
happiness and prosperity. Now isn't this the only
real peace " dope "? Aren't all your peace con-
ferences and love feasts a hollow sham? We
work through commerce and finance for the in-
ward grace of intelligent self-interest in peace.
This is the modern diplomacy, following social and
economic laws. Some newspapers tried to kill it
by calling it, " Dollar Diplomacy." You work for
the outward sign. If you help us now, your work
may mean something some day. And if we have
to go in and establish order in some country?
Well, we go to establish peace and order and jus-
tice — to make the people of that country co-
operate with the rest of the world. A long job?
Yes, perhaps. But then these people will find
after a while that they rather like peace. Be-
sides, if we don't want to put them all to school
at once, we can begin with part; or we can bottle
them up and starve them out until they've paid for



44 STULTITIA

their folly and are ready to be good. There are
many ways. But can't you see that that would
be a work of peace, too? A fight, yes; but a
fight for peace. And if we do have to send our
army into some country, God grant some fool
won't get up and promise we'll get out again!
We've got to do our present duty. We can see
and do our future duty when the time comes. By
talking sentiment and disarmament now you're
simply shutting your eyes and courting disaster.

DR. HARMONY

{Rather red and impatient) My dear Sir, I
make allowance for your professional zeal. That
is the trouble with trained diplomatists. I have
been at the great Hague Conferences. I have felt
the throb of the world's heart beating more and
more for love and peace. I know that the time
is ripe; that the day of force is gone; that the
dawn of peace is here. Now if we begin by dis-
armament and take all our questions to The
Hague —

MR. DRAKE

The Hague? Bosh! Why, America would
be a lamb among wolves at The Hague. Besides,



FIRST DISCUSSION 45

Doctor Harmony, you know and / know that con-
quest in itself profits nothing, that profit comes
by work and not by force and theft; but what does
our opinion really matter? The millions of the
nations of the world must believe what we believe.
Then we can begin to think of security without
armament.

MR. SHUFFLER

{Pompously) I agree with Doctor Harmony.
I should be unable to justify to my constituents
any extravagant appropriations to increase taxes
and build a lot of battleships that will never have
to fight. The high cost of living —

MR. DRAKE

But, my dear Mr. Shuffler, America's the only
country that can afford ample armament without
feeling it. Why in Heaven's name should we be
the one to take the risk of experimenting with dis-
armament? Europe has the age-long habit of ag-
gression and intrigue and land hunger. Europe's
made this bed. Let Europe lie upon it! It's
Europe that's howling from the pinch of military
expenditure. Let Europe howl and sweat until
the European tax payer solves his problem. But
don't let us, who waste our money in every direc-



46 STULTITIA

tion, be the ones to tempt fate, to wander around
unarmed in a den of thieves. Why, it's madness !
Mr. Shuffler yawns. The Senators look
bored and glance at their watches.

SENATOR ROCK

Oh, the country doesn't take any stock in all
this moonshine. Well, I'll have to be going.
General, be sure and return those two companies
to Perryville soon. Business is getting pretty
slack out there without the soldiers' pay-day.

All rise.

THE GENERAL

Well, gentlemen, I'm sorry to find you not yet
convinced that the country's safety requires the
passage of the President's measures of national
defense. However, we will all take a broad view,
and I am sure, at the Committee hearing, with
the data I shall have the honor to send you, we
shall arrive at some common ground.

They all say (< Good morning " and leave.
The General, Hawk, Drake and the Ad-
miral stand and look at each other with the
most hopeless expression and then hurst out
laughing.



FIRST DISCUSSION 47

THE GENERAL
You might as well attack the great wall of
China with a bean blower as talk to those men.

CAPTAIN HAWK

And these are the leaders.

MR. DRAKE

11 So this is the Forest of Arden! "

CAPTAIN HAWK

Yes, and home would be a better place, if the
people only really knew. (More cheerfully)
General, won't you and Drake lunch with me at
the Club? Admiral, won't you come? After
Mrs. Evangeline Tinker and Doctor Harmony,
I feel like getting drunk and having a fight. (He
brings down his fist in the palm of his hand) And
how I would like to enforce something up to the
hilt in the portly form of Senator Dormant!
(Turning to The General) You know, I be-
lieve he's going to turn down the loan convention
to clean up Colonia, and the Panama railroad, too.

ADMIRAL STEVENS

Doctor Harmony and the Peace Trust are
against us. Think of the harm that old man does



48 STULTITIA

with his money! You know they distributed a
hundred and fifty thousand copies of that tory lit-
tle-navy speech made in the Senate last week.
With their publications and their pensions, there's
a trust for you — a great hobby trust — the worst
and most dangerous of all.

MR. DRAKE
What an argument for the progressive income
tax that man is. Why even a government could
spend money more usefully than he does.

The Colored Messenger enters.

MESSENGER

Mrs. Riley's here, sir.

THE GENERAL

Mrs. Riley ? What's that ?

CAPTAIN HAWK

It's our char-lady. You'll see. Bring her in.

Mrs. Riley is brought in. She wears a street
dress and a bonnet and looks very surprised.



FIRST DISCUSSION 49

MRS. RILEY

Good day to you, General. Good day to you,
Captain. (To Drake) Good day to you, sir,
and what is it you want with me ?

Hawk draws from his pocket a telegraph blank.

CAPTAIN HAWK

What's the address of your son in Chicago,
Mrs. Riley?

MRS. RILEY

Daniel Riley, care of the United Contracting
Company, 74 Green Street.

CAPTAIN HAWK
{Writes it on the blank and then reads} " Mr.
Daniel Riley, etc. Have private information
Shuffler obstructing national defense bills neces-
sary safety America. My best friends here tell
me. Please, Dan, make Shuffler support them
right away. Also can't you come down to Wash-
ington, darling, to see your old mother next Sun-
day. I'm getting old and want to see you. Your
loving mother." (Mrs. Riley listens in amaze-
ment} Now, Mrs. Riley, if that draft suits you,
will you please just sit down at my desk and sign



50 STULTITIA

it? It's your telegram, you know. / will guarantee
you're right about the first part, and I guess I'm
right about your wanting to see Dan.

Mrs. Riley bustles over to the desk, with a
broad grin, and seats herself to sign the tele-
gram.

Curtain



SECOND DISCUSSION



SECOND DISCUSSION

One week has elapsed since First Discussion.

It is a rather dingy room in Mrs. Maggie Riley's
hoarding house in Washington. There are
cheap lace curtains and mournful brown rep
curtains with lambrequins , hanging in wooden-
like folds, at the four windows. On the floor
is a nondescript yellowish-brown carpet. The
walls are drab. A handsome mantelpiece with
a dingy gilded mirror above it recalls the times
when the neighborhood was fashionable. In
the left hand back corner stands an iron heating-
stove on which is a kettle, the stovepipe pass-
ing along the ceiling and into the chimney flue.
There are a cheap engraving of Washington
and a garish chromo lithograph of one of Mu-
rillo's Virgins. On the mantelpiece are an or-
namental clock that does not go and an alarm
clock that does, and two vases holding peacocks 9
feathers. Upon a dresser between two windows
at the left end of the room stand objects in white
53



54 STULTITIA

metal and red glass containing spoons; also a
very formidable cruet-stand. A square table
against the wall at the opposite end Is covered
by an elaborate knitted table-cloth with tassels
on It, Upon It stands a large glass globe, pror
tecting from all but view an Intricate wax de-
sign of highly colored fruits and flowers. The
evening paper lies beside it. There are, also,
glasses containing matches and toothpicks.
There is a long dinner table around which stand
a dozen straight chairs of the walnut period.
Mrs. Riley, neat and smiling in a black and
white gingham dress, Is adjusting upon the table
a red and grey figured table-cloth of cotton with
fringe. Daniel Riley leans with one elbow
on the mantelpiece smoking a pipe and fondly
watching his mother at her work. He is a fine
upstanding young man with jolly blue eyes and
black hair; a fine type of young Irish-American.
He Is neat, shining In a black sack suit. At the
other end of the mantelpiece stands Mr. Stone,
a labor leader, with his hands In his pockets.
He Is a portly man with hair turning grey, a
heavy moustache, a strong jaw, steely eyes, and
a determined all-sufficient bearing. Standing
near and regarding him narrowly Is Mr. Hope,



SECOND DISCUSSION 55

a socialist. He is a man of forty-five. His
complexion is sallow and his figure stooped. He
is shabbily dressed, has a nervous eager manner
and his hair wants cutting. At the other side
of the room, engaged in stroking Mrs. Riley's
cat, is a short and stout man pretty well con-
fined in a frock coat, and with a very low collar
and flowing tie of soft material. He has a
thick neck and bullet head with abundant curly
black hair, large and handsome dark eyes, a
strong nose and large and sensuous mouth. The
mobility of his face is remarkable and his man-
ner a combination of ceremony and extreme
geniality. This is Mr. Caro, a foreign-born
agitator. It is eight o'clock. The doorbell
rings. Mrs. Riley bustles out to answer it.

DAN

{To Mr. Caro) That cat purrs like a poli-
tician before election.

Mr. Caro smiles charmingly and continues to
stroke the cat.

MR. HOPE

{To Mr. Stone, continuing their conversation)
The Socialist party polled 684,000 votes last


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Online LibraryFrancis Mairs Huntington-WilsonStultitia, a nightmare and an awakening; in four discussions → online text (page 2 of 7)