Imágenes de páginas


The volume before us contains some of the public addresses made by Senator Beveridge during the past ten years. They have a wide range of subject, yet from two standpoints they will be found to possess coherence and unity. The convictions and intellectual processes of a man whose mind and character give him the right to claim the attention of his fellow citizens, are never unrelated and detached. And the carefully prepared public addresses of a sincere man who really expresses himself in his utterances will show how his mind works, what he believes, and what tendencies he represents. This collection of addresses, therefore, has unity in the sense that it reveals the intellectual quality and the public personality of the speaker, and shows us what his attitude is toward the political and social problems that have occupied our attention in the past decade.

On the other hand, this varied series of addresses has unity in the great fact that every speech is an attempt at the interpretation of some phase of the indivisible life of our own times in the United States. For those who are interested in the author, the volume interprets Senator Beveridge. For those who are interested in our contemporary life and problems, the volume reminds us of much that we have been doing as a nation, and presents what is, in effect, a consistent analysis and theory of contemporary American progress.

Mr. Beveridge is an orator in a time when orators are very few. We have many cogent speakers, and many more who are cultivated, fluent, and agreeable. But oratory is an art of itself, often analyzed and described, and which I have no need to discourse about. Usually there must be strong conviction in the heart of the orator, there must be constructive imagination, and there must be the kind of faith that helps the speaker to inspire his hearers.

Mere rhetoric and the flowers of speech do not constitute oratory in a high sense — and the reader will find that Mr. Beveridge does not rely upon tricks or devices — although this entire volume is on the plane of the orator, and not upon that of the essayist, the debater, or the expositor. Mr. Beveridge has amply shown in other published writings a rare power to narrate and describe; and on countless occasions he has shown his force and talent as an expositor or a debater. But here we have the orator's interpretation of the men and the movements of his own time, and the setting forth of his own hopes and convictions in the realm of social and political life. He believes in the country, in the greatness of its destiny, in the fulfilment of its providential tasks, in the adequacy of its institutions, in the fitness of its constitutional system for the treatment of new problems as they arise. He believes in the plain people, and knows that the country's future lies in the broadening of opportunity for the children everywhere.

In his own experience and observation as a western boy, he finds it easy to understand the qualities of men INTRODUCTION

like Lincoln and Grant, and not less easy to understand an Oliver P. Morton or a Marcus A. Hanna. His addresses on School and Nation and Child Labor show his firm grasp of Jefferson's idea that the child is the most precious asset of the State, and that his right training and symmetrical development are to be placed above all other social duties. His addresses on Methodism, Frances E. Willard, and James Whitcomb Riley further reveal his sympathetic appreciation of great movements and influences that affect the national life and character.

Mr. Beveridge was elected to the United States Senate from the State of Indiana in January, 1899. He was thirty-six years old,, had practised law for about twelve years, and had held no public offices. His election to the Senate from a great state noted for its able public men was a high tribute to his talent and to his personal force. We had only then concluded our treaty of peace with Spain and acquired the Philippines.

Our problems of colonial administration were bound to give us much concern, and to occupy a leading place in the discussions of Congress, as well as in the Presidential campaign of the following year. It was characteristic of Mr. Beveridge that he should have determined not to take his seat in the Senate until he was as well qualified to speak on those questions as any other man in the body. Not only did he prepare himself by a study of the legal and constitutional questions involved and by the reading of the whole literature of colonial administration as practised- by other countries, but he resolved to go to the far East, see what we had taken upon ourselves in the

« AnteriorContinuar »