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   Chapter 22 No.22

Philip Dru: Administrator; A Story of Tomorrow, 1920-1935 By Edward Mandell House Characters: 4221

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

Dru Outlines His Intentions

The day after this address was issued, General Dru reviewed his army and received such an ovation that it stilled criticism, for it was plain that the new order of things had to be accepted, and there was a thrill of fear among those who would have liked to raise their voices in protest.

It was felt that the property and lives of all were now in the keeping of one man.

Dru's first official act was to call a conference of those, throughout the Union, who had been leaders in the movement to overthrow the Government.

The gathering was large and representative, but he found no such unanimity as amongst the army. A large part, perhaps a majority, were outspoken for an immediate return to representative government.

They were willing that unusual powers should be assumed long enough to declare the old Government illegal, and to issue an immediate call for a general election, state and national, to be held as usual in November. The advocates of this plan were willing that Dru should remain in authority until the duly constituted officials could be legally installed.

Dru presided over the meeting, therefore he took no part in the early discussion, further than to ask for the fullest expression of opinion. After hearing the plan for a limited dictatorship proposed, he arose, and, in a voice vibrant with emotion, addressed the meeting as follows:

"My fellow countrymen:--I feel sure that however much we may differ as to methods, there is no one within the sound of my voice that does not wish me well, and none, I believe, mistrusts either my honesty of purpose, my patriotism, or my ultimate desire to restore as soon as possible to our distracted land a constitutional government.

"We all agreed that a change had to be brought about even though it meant revolution, for otherwise the cruel hand of avarice would have crushed out from us, and from our children, every semblance of freedom. If our late masters had been more moderate in their greed we would have been content to struggle for yet another period, hoping that in time we might agai

n have justice and equality before the law. But even so we would have had a defective Government, defective in machinery and defective in its constitution and laws. To have righted it, a century of public education would have been necessary. The present opportunity has been bought at fearful cost. If we use it lightly, those who fell upon the field of Elma will have died in vain, and the anguish of mothers, and the tears of widows and orphans will mock us because we failed in our duty to their beloved dead.

"For a long time I have known that this hour would come, and that there would be those of you who would stand affrighted at the momentous change from constitutional government to despotism, no matter how pure and exalted you might believe my intentions to be.

"But in the long watches of the night, in the solitude of my tent, I conceived a plan of government which, by the grace of God, I hope to be able to give to the American people. My life is consecrated to our cause, and, hateful as is the thought of assuming supreme power, I can see no other way clearly, and I would be recreant to my trust if I faltered in my duty. Therefore, with the aid I know each one of you will give me, there shall, in God's good time, be wrought 'a government of the people, by the people and for the people.'"

When Dru had finished there was generous applause. At first here and there a dissenting voice was heard, but the chorus of approval drowned it. It was a splendid tribute to his popularity and integrity. When quiet was restored, he named twelve men whom he wanted to take charge of the departments and to act as his advisors.

They were all able men, each distinguished in his own field of endeavor, and when their names were announced there was an outburst of satisfaction.

The meeting adjourned, and each member went home a believer in Dru and the policy he had adopted. They, in turn, converted the people to their view of the situation, so that Dru was able to go forward with his great work, conscious of the support and approval of an overwhelming majority of his fellow countrymen.

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