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Judge Stephenson's Address on War Savings:
Electronic Edition.

Stephenson, Gilbert Thomas, 1884-1972

Funding from the State Library of North Carolina
supported the electronic publication of this title.

Text transcribed by Apex Data Services, Inc.
Images scanned by Harris Henderson
Text encoded by Apex Data Services, Inc., Harris Henderson, and Jill Kuhn Sexton
First edition, 2002
ca. 20K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,

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Source Description:
(caption title) Judge Stephenson's Address on War Savings
Gilbert Stephenson
p. [334]-337
Greenville, N. C.
East Carolina Teachers Training School
Call number C370.5 T76 v.4 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Appears in Training school quarterly. Vol. 4, no. 4 (Jan.-Mar. 1918)

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[Cover Image]

Page 334

Judge Stephenson's Address on War Savings

        JUDGE GILBERT STEPHENSON made a great talk on War Savings to the teachers of Pitt County at their meeting in January. The sum apportioned to Pitt County to be raised during the year 1918 by War Savings Certificates is $799,480. Judge Stephenson's address was the opening of the campaign in Pitt County. The teachers are organized, and in turn are organizing their schools and communities so as to make a strong and steady pull.

        Colonel Fries has made the assertion that North Carolina can raise the fifty millions of dollars she is called on to raise with the teachers talking, encouraging the sales, and educating the people until they realize the need, impressing upon pupils and parents the dire and extreme need. The teachers listened eagerly to what Judge Stephenson had to say, and entered upon their task with enthusiasm inspired by the great appeal. We are giving the speech, partly reported and partly quoted.

        He began by saying that, in face of the facts, the American people have not begun to realize the war. At the beginning of the war we had no part in it; the problems were foreign problems. The sacrifice has not yet been brought home to us, and we will not realize it until we see the maimed in the streets and look upon the horrible signs of war. "Can it be possible that our apathy is such that it necessitates the sight of the horrors to arouse us?" There is nothing on our streets that reminds us of the war, and no aircraft are threatening us from above. He sketched the picture of a scene after a Zeppelin raid--an humble London home.

        "We have never lost, and our cause is just. But we must teach that other wars are but as child's play compared to this." We, a peaceable people, are called to war, but our cause is just. "Belgium lies upon the side of the high roads of the nations, bleeding; the United States, the good Samaritan of nations, must go to her rescue." He declared it is too late now to discuss the issues that brought about the war, but now the future must be settled. "This is the culminating war of history. Indecisive war is only a truce." Peace, he said, is as far removed as it was in 1914. The peace aims show that we are more at variance than ever; there are more bones of contention than ever before. America and England will finally dictate the terms that will win, but not until Germany is beaten and we are in a position to accept or to sue for peace.

        "Germany's man power is still unimpaired, because all displaced men are replaced by men, women, and children taken from other territory. Germany's resources are still unimpaired. She has raised billions of dollars. For every dollar it has cost her, Germany has stolen one to take its place. She has stolen from Belgium alone eight billion dollars. From the French she has taken iron mines, coal mines, locomotives,

Page 335

freight cars, and many other things. From Rumania she took gasoline and benzine. Her zinc, lead, and tin she got from Poland. She has stolen even household and kitchen furniture and the stocking trinkets." The "booty shops" in Berlin where the trinkets are on sale prove this. Germany is the highway robber of nations. She has stolen $40,000,000 of booty.

        "Germany's strategic position is the same it was at the beginning. Germany is at the hub of the wheel, and the United States is at the rim. That is the explanation of why it can hold the world at bay. It takes ten times as much power for the United States to get material to the front as it does for Germany.

        "When the war is over the terms are to be dictated by Germany or by the Allies. It will not be a draw. What victorious Germany would do can be judged only by what Germany did do in 1871. It will be another story of indemnity and exaction--the story of Alsace and Lorraine repeated, only far worse. The Pan-German spirit has grown until what was done then is only a bagatelle as compared to what they would do now.

        "The United States would have to pay. Germany is resentful of our having entered the war. We must go on or under, and that means we shall forfeit our national existence forever. We are going to win, but only when American people as a whole wake up and do their full part. Everybody is only waiting to be told what to do.

        "She must give service. Her soldiers, sailors, and all who are serving in person are giving this. The Red Cross is one way in which she is giving service. The Government is getting service by the selective draft. The volunteers are giving themselves. Men and women are giving themselves and their work; some are giving up what they have to serve without salary, as Vanderlip gave up a salary of $150,000 a year to serve for $1 a year.

        "Nine-tenths of us must give our goods rather than our services. If all of the ten million go into active service that leaves ninety million at home. Most of us will go on doing the things we have been doing. Teachers will continue to teach. Our only opportunity to serve is by giving. The Government must have money to buy goods, and it must buy in the open market. Nineteen billion dollars have been appropriated. There are two ways of getting this: (1) by taxation, and (2) by loans. Only one-fifth of it can be raised by taxation as things are now. The Government is going to get the money--if not by borrowing, then by taxing. A tax receipt is exactly the value of last year's bird nest, and a bond is worth its weight in gold."

        Two billion dollars is to be raised by War Savings Stamps. Judge Stephenson gave a clear explanation of these stamps and the method for organizing the school children of the country so that the school will be the center of a thrift army.

Page 336

        "You millionaire school teachers can have only a thousand dollars of these securities at 4 per cent interest," he said. He explained that they could be cashed in for 3 per cent interest, but that the postoffice could ask for ten days notice so as to give them time to get the money in hand.

        Many are asking where to keep it; but the Government has attended to that. If it is registered the billy goat can't eat it up. The campaign has been so organized that the nickels and dimes and quarters of the children will buy thrift stamps, and these will grow into certificates, or baby bonds. The children are to be brought into this work through War Savings Societies; there must be one in every schoolroom in Pitt County. In order to have a society the school must have at least ten war savers; these members must do three things: (1) save money, (2) invest the savings in war stamps, and (3) must get others to do the same.

        This is one of the two features of the plan. The second feature is to let the children see that the child who has enough spunk to save is as much of a patriot as his brother who fights in the trenches. These savers are to be called the "Army of Thrift."

        This army is to be called the "Army of Thrift," and the members are to be called "Soldiers of Thrift." When a soldier joins he enters training. When he gets 10 different people to buy stamps he is recognized by being given a badge, and his name is published as a soldier of thrift. When he brings in 15 more names, making 25, he becomes a captain of thrift; when he has 50, a major of thrift; and 100, a colonel of thrift; 200, a general. A general's name is recorded in the Treasurer's office in Washington, and he is known as a hero of thrift. When he is made a soldier, he is ready to begin fighting. Girls, as well as boys, are soldiers in this army. They are organized into regiments. These boys are taking care of soldiers; Pitt County soldiers of thrift are taking care of Pitt County soldiers.

        Not only the money to buy things with, but the goods, is a serious matter, said Judge Stephenson. The amount of goods is limited, as we have found from the shortage in coal and sugar. He gave illustrations proving that the goods for the soldiers in camp could not be secured as fast as needed. At Camp Dix there were 50 per cent without shoes to drill in. Vanderlip, on his trip through the South, found a camp where there was hospital room for only 800, and there were 200 sick soldiers without beds.

        People are continuing to buy shoes and to buy new woolen suits, while the shoes and the woolen material is needed for our soldiers. He told the story of a manufacturer of shoes who was seen wearing patched shoes, and he said he knew well that every pair of shoes bought was just that much less depriving the soldier of shoes. A machine gun corps has been practicing with sticks instead of guns, because the guns could not be secured.

Page 337

        The remedy for all these troubles is for us to economize in all lines, and economize until it hurts. First, we must economize in food. He touched on conditions in Russia, and told of the two millions in Serbia who are starving to death. It looks as if even gluttons would be moved! We can economize in wool. It should be a badge of honor to wear last year's suit. We should economize in things needed to make war materials. For example, we can help with the gas masks. The same sort of labor that makes hats makes gas masks. We spend a hundred millions a year for millinery. "Would you ask a munition worker to stop and make you a hat? Are you not doing the same thing when you buy the thing that he makes while he could be working on munitions?" Airship factories are using the same materials and labor as automobile factories.

        At Newark, New Jersey, on one side of the street was a munition factory which was working only half the time and across the street was a phonograph factory that was working the full twenty-four hours. We insist on music boxes instead of munitions! Saving means releasing materials and labor.

        The Government wishes to teach people the invaluable lessons of thrift. Grown people will lay by who have never laid by before. Ninety-seven per cent of people past sixty are dependent. Our per capita wealth in the South is the lowest of any English-speaking people in the world. Only 7 per cent of the people in the South are money savers, against 70 per cent in New England. They save more than they spend. This should be changed.

        Another phase of the saving the speaker brought out was the opportunity the homefolks have to help save so the boys will find something when they return. The father can help take care of his sons when they return. He can make his savings an investment for them.

        If economy is taught this generation, the next will take care of itself. The children are being trained to become either thrifty or spendthrifty. We should not be satisfied until we change the figures--until 93 per cent are savers, instead of 7 per cent--the reverse of what it is at present.

        The Government is calling on every Pitt County man to give $20 per capita. "Every idle dollar is a slacker dollar; every wasted dollar is a traitor dollar; and, on the other hand, every war dollar is a patriot dollar." Even if it hurts to save, the sacrifice is infinitesimal compared to that of our boys. "I cannot conceive of anything more horrible than to have one say this: 'He failed to come to his country's call.' " We all remember the war stories we heard from grandfathers. The child will ask, "What did you do in the war?" "The test is coming to all, to young ladies as well as to men, and we must either serve or be traitors."

        In closing, the speaker quoted Vanderlip: "The number of men who will come back home will be governed by the number of men at home who made sacrifices."