132 SIX THE EVENING JOURNAL Monday, August 13, 1917 Subscription Rates: Single copy 2c By carrier, weekly 10c
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VOTES, NOT JAIL SENTENCES
HAVING pardoned the silent sixteen suffragists for creating a disturbance - by standing quietly with the banners while an unruly mob leered at them - President Wilson has indicated his belief that they worse sinned against than sinning. However, to accept executive leniency would be awkward since, in that event, they would be under moral obligations to discontinue the picketing. Not wishing to forego what they believe to be an inalienable right, the martyrs to the cause at first were disinclined to accept the pardon, but reconsidered, evidently believing that a free suffragist can do more for the movement than one under lock and key. That is the only logical procedure. They have no become an issue, whereas their picketing practice was simply a matter of ethics. We altogether disagree with the toplofty attitude of the New York Times, which characterizes the conduct of the pickets as "unseemly and disgraceful demonstrations." Not a word of disapprobation for the cowardly mob that was the real offender against the law and whose leaders have earned the contempt of all red-blooded men. We deny that the pickets were obstructing the government now engaged in war. We might agree that they were embarrassing a negligent congress by their constant reminders of delayed justice, but the onus, clearly, is not on them. Why shouldn't the President be reminded of what the administration is neglecting? Other heads of nations are feeling the pinch applied by a persistent democracy. Kaiser Wilihelm is compelled to ponder his derelictions in regard to the restricted election franchise, and Lloyd George already had agreed to equal suffrage, which the British women have nobly earned. American women stand ready to respond just as freely, just as loyalty, just as unselfishly to the calls upon them, now that the United States is involved. Why wait until the war is over the accord what should be granted with spontaneity now? Considering it as a war measure, congress should have the Susan B. Anthony amendment to the Constitution reported out of committee forthwith, give it unanimous approval, and start it on its way to ratification by the various state legislatures. That will require three years to bring to a focus. In one hour congress can acquit itself of the measure. If it neglects to do so, it will remain an incubus on the national lawmaking body for months to come. Once before the two houses, it cannot fail of adoption. We hope the President will cut the Gordian knot by insisting on a vote.
vided for in the administration bills. Under the terms of the proposed act, soldiers, sailors and marines would be enabled to obtain insurance on their lives for the term of the war in sums from one thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars, the government taking the risk and the men paying the premiums. The rate would be, approximately, $S on $1,000 of insurance, and the premiums would be met by installments held out of ordinary commercial insurance, but the government can afford to cut rates, having no solicitors in the field. Cost to the government for two years is estimated at $556,650,000, or less than six per cent of the cost to the country of conducting the war. In its general features the bill has been approved by the advisory committee of insurance representatives called in conference by Secretary McAdoo last month. These experts, notes the secretary of the treasury, opposed the grant of any government insurance over and above the compensation, but favored, in addition, the payment by the government or $1,000 in each case of death in the discharge period or within five years after discharge of service, in lieu of insurance. All such insurance, of course, would be non-assignable and claims limited to wife, children and other specified near of kin. The measure will probably come up in the two branches of congress as soon as the war tax bill is out of the way.
PRESIDENT HOLDS PICKETS GUILTLESS
IN his open letter to members of congress of both house, Mr. J. A. H. Hopkins - to whose call on the President in their behalf the imprisoned suffragist pickets owe their release - bares the attitude of mind borne by the Executive toward his uninvited White House neighbors. According to Mr. Hopkins, the President stated that he had never, at any time, objected to the pickets nor had they annoyed him. To quote verbatim:
He accepted my statement and took it as his own, that the sixteen pickets had not violated any law nor any ordinance and were absolutely guiltless. He criticized the judge's introduction of the Russian banner into the trial as quite out of place, and volunteered the statement that he, the President, did not consider this banner was either treasonable or seditious.
It is gratifying to The Evening Journal to know that its viewpoint of the incident, expressed in these columns at the time, is precisely that held by President Wilson. We deprecated the picketing, we deplored the introduction of the Russian banner as injudicious, but insisted that it was neither treasonable nor seditious. As for the alleged violation of law, we asserted that the pickets broke no statute; that the onus of obstructing traffic rested with the rioters, certainly not with the sixteen silent suffragists in white. Their only guilt was in a breach of ethics, which is hardly actionable. To quote Mr. Hopkins again:
He finally asked me what I thought should be done, and when I "[illegible]" him a "[illegible]" a "[illegible]" had been suggested he immediately called my attention to the fact that this would be only a temporary measure of relief and did not at all solve the real measure of relief and did not at all solve the real problem, which he agreed could only be solved by the passage of the Susan B. Anthony amendment. He told me that he could not add to the war program unless he considered additional measures were necessary as war measures, which, however, he was justified in doing if an emergency existed.
It has been our contention that the emergency does exist; that with twenty millions of women disfranchised at a time when the country is vitally in need of their services, their abilities, their intuitive propensities to the right, is to place a handicap on their best endeavors and to that extent weakeri the nation's defenses. If the President had accompanied his pardon with a statement urging that the real solution of the problem was in the hands of congress much adverse senatorial criticism of the Jones-Hollis mature might have been averted and the joint amendment, long held up in committee-room, reported out for consideration by congress. Senator Cummins has succeeded in getting the resolution on the calendar. We hope he will press it to a vote.