B BY GEO. L. DILLMAN V V
A. M. ROBERTSON
BRUCE BROUGH, PRINTER: SAN FRANCISCO
Somebody, probably Bacon, who has been
blamed with many things, including Shake-
speare, said "Principles are reached by in-
duction" Some may be. It is also submitted
that they may arrive another way. The induc-
tion method is not in accord with the story of
Newton, the apple and the Law of Gravity.
Accident and inspiration may at times be
Principles must stand the test of induction.
Any fact in contradiction will upset any
alleged principle. "The Principle" here
formulated did not arrive as a result of con-
sistent study. It came out of a clear sky. This
is its genesis:
When I was a young man, I had charge of
a division of railroad construction. There
was a dispute with a bridge contractor. Some
extra work was necessary. If it were my fault,
it should be estimated and paid for. If it were
his fault, he should do it at his own expense. So
far as "The Principle" is concerned, it makes
no difference which was right. He appealed
to my superior, who came and looked into the
matter, told me that my other work would take
all my time and that he would send another
engineer to take charge of that bridging.
In a day or so the bridge engineer came
with the usual letter. The last paragraph, how-
ever, said, "This does not relieve you of any
responsibility for that bridging." I slept over
the letter, put the new man to work in the
morning, as one of my crew. He had charge
of the bridging, under my direction. That was
not what the resident engineer had intended,
nor what the bridge engineer had understood.
It was what I interpreted the letter to mean.
The viewpoint does affect the reason.
The matter was passed up to the resident
who again came down, hot-foot, to settle the
thing. My reply to his question was to call his
attention to the last paragraph of his letter,
adding, " You can't saddle me with responsi-
bility and deny me authority to execute it. If
you take from me all authority, you must
relieve me of responsibility. 1 '
The idea then expressed, with no premedi-
tation, has grown into this formulation. It
was good then. Its importance increased (to
my understanding) for years. Now I know
it is the most important item of knowledge so
far formulated by and for the human brute.
Its presentation has been intermittent, one
interruption being the World War. It has been
so well received by well known executives of
the World that it is now known to be true en-
tirely aside from my own consciousness. "The
Principle" will not be copyrighted. I thank the
many friends who have allowed me to quote
Geo. L. Dillman.
San Francisco, June 1922.
Authority and Responsibility should
A^EW understand this. Others partially
understand it. To some it is so patent
that the words seem synonymous.
Yet they are perfectly antithetic. Its im-
portance lies in:
1. Its universality, applying to every act
or failure to act, of every individual, every
community of individuals, up to nations
and combinations of nations.
2. Its practicability, requiring no con-
census of opinion to operate it. Each indi-
vidual will operate it to the extent he under-
3. Its simplicity, being much simpler
]6 //}'!; JHE PRINCIPLE
than these or any words in which it can be
4. Its infallibility. Every accordance is
right. Every right act is in accord. Every
violation is wrong. Every mistake, error,
sin or crime is a violation. Every accordance
is rewarded. Every violation is punished.
Bacon says, "Words in all languages are
commonly false or inadequate marks or
signs of things and by no means convey just
and perfect notions." This is a perfect no-
tion. That reader and writer may be en
rapport, these definitions are in order:
Authority is the right to do something.
The abstract right without the means of
performance is null. So to the right must be
added the means of performance.
The means are various, according to cir-
cumstances. Tools, strength, money, repu-
tation, organization, courage, are some of
them. The potency of any means of perfor-
mance is enhanced by knowledge of how to
use them. Without knowledge, authority is
often unused, misused, perverted.
So authority is complete when the right
to act and the means of performance are
THE PRINCIPLE IJ
joined to a knowledge of when, where and
how to use them.
Authority is naturally desirable. We all
want to own things, to control things, to
use things, to do things. An overwhelming
majority of the human race wants to boss
the job, no matter what it is. Each and
every one of these things is right and proper
when the authority of ownership, control,
use, performance, is accompanied by the
corresponding responsibility of possession,
use, action. Otherwise they are wrong. Au-
thority includes all that is desirable. There
is nothing anyone naturally wants that is
not some form of authority.
Responsibility is also of various kinds,
physical, moral, financial, etc. Whatever
its intimate nature, its general nature is a
load to be shouldered, a burden to be borne.
Responsibility is naturally undesirable. It
is sometimes shirked. Passing-the-buck is a
common human activity. But it is the price of
authority. It must be paid or penalty follows.
The necessary relation of authority and
responsibility is what this is about. It is
called "The Principle."
1 8 THE PRINCIPLE
Authority and responsibility should lie
together. Every act in accordance spells
advance, success. Every act in violation
spells failure, trouble. Since there is only
one way to be right and many to be wrong,
examples of violation are more common
than examples of accordance. Bacon says,
"In the raising of axioms, negative in-
stances have the greater weight."
Take a man driving a horse.
1. Horse properly hitched. Man in con-
trol. Knows how to drive. Safe trip. Author-
ity and responsibility with man.
2. Same man, same horse. Man drunk,
lines break or, in some manner, man loses
control. Docile horse. Goes home. Avoids
collisions. Safe trip. Authority and respon-
sibility with horse.
3. Same man, same horse, same loss of
control. Horse gets scared, runs away. Au-
thority with horse. Responsibility scat-
tered, with the man, passing vehicles,
4. Same man, same horse, same loss of con-
trol, passenger. Passenger recovers control.
Authority and responsibility with passenger.
THE PRINCIPLE 19
5. Guest gets rattled, grabs lines, neither
controls nor allows driver to. Disaster.
And so on, with an infinite number of
variations. We are the drivers. We are the
horses driven. We are passengers. We are
passers-by. We are cognizant of our abili-
ties. We are ignorant. We shoulder our
responsibilities, sometimes help others. We
butt in. We shirk. We pass the buck. We
let others butt in to our affairs.
There is no trouble possible that does not
come from some violation of "The Princi-
ple." Generally it comes direct and
promptly to the violator. It always reaches
him finally. Violation is all that provokes
righteous anger. We are angry when it
affects us and ours. We despise the violator
when it affects others.
"The Principle" is a true yardstick to
measure the meanness or greatness of men,
singly and collectively, past and present,
dead and alive. It measures us all. It is the
one thing that will justify ourselves to our
own souls. We can't dodge it. Nobody can.
Since men are judged by their perfor-
mances, "The Principle" is also a perfect
2O THE PRINCIPLE
measure of the greatness or meanness of all
acts or failures to act. Every clause of
every treaty or edict or declaration or con-
stitution or statute since the dawn of his-
tory can be measured by it, has been right
or wrong as it accorded with or violated it.
As one reads history and biography,
"The Principle" is in evidence in each inci-
dent, each character; advance and success
in accordance always; trouble and failure
in violation, just as certainly.
"The Principle" is put into operation by
these three don'ts, which cover every case
of contact and conduct:
1. Don't butt in. Butting in is excercising
some form of authority when you do not
shoulder the corresponding responsibility.
If the responsibility lies elsewhere or you
are unable or unwilling to shoulder it,
don't butt in.
2. Don't shirk. Carry your natural or
acquired responsibilities. Shirking your
share of a joint load puts extra burden on
your associates, at times to the breaking
point. Don't overload yourself. Don't have
to call for help. You may not get it. The
THE PRINCIPLE 21
attempt to accept responsibilities beyond
one's ability to execute them causes suicides
and fills our asylums. Don't pass the buck.
3. Don't let anybody butt into your af-
fairs. This sounds warlike. It is warlike. It
is the only justification for war. It's a per-
fect justification. The individual or the or-
ganization or the nation that violates this
"don't" deserves the slavery that ensues. If
the butter-in is stopped at the beginning,
there is no resentment on his part. If it is
allowed to continue a little, the idea of
vested rights gets into his mind and it is
harder to stop. If it is allowed to continue,
it becomes a divine right. That was Ger-
many's case. The German people were for
the Government, not the Government for
The line between one's own business and
the affairs of others is usually very plain.
There are cases where it is not so plain but
it is always there. The most important pur-
pose of education is to enable one to dis-
cern it, that 'The Principle" may be prop-
22 THE PRINCIPLE
"The Principle" is a Natural Law. To
the extent we know natural laws, we are
educated. To the extent we are in accord
with Natural Laws, we are successful. To
the extent we violate Natural Laws, we are
failures. Natural Laws never change. Our
perceptions change. Our knowledge in-
creases but Nature's Laws are fixed.
"The Principle" is a wonderful rule of
conduct. To-do-or-not-to-do is an every
day question with everybody, often many
times a day. The facts examined in the
light of "The Principle" will give the right
answer every time. Without it there is often
much doubt. With it, we make no experi-
ments, take no chances, run no risks. Any-
thing that puts authority and responsibility
together is right. Anything that separates
them is wrong. There is no other right, no
The statements made are so broad it
hardly seems they can all be true. They are
true, every one. Truth never clashes with
other truth. Truth clashes with error and
errors with each other but no two truths
are ever contradictory or inconsistent.
THE PRINCIPLE 2J
Contradiction is proof that supposed truth
is not entirely so. Another thing. Truth may
exist without our perceiving it. If you can
see "The Principle," it is yours. Don't take
another's say-so for it. That would be a
violation of "The Principle" itself.
Magna Charta, the Edict of Nantes, the
Declaration of Independence, the Consti-
tution of the United States, are applica-
tions of "The Principle." Some of the
amendments of the last are violations.
Taxation without representation was a
violation. We seceded from England
largely on that account. If we had been
given representation, we might be a Colony
of Great Britain today. Our secession un-
doubtedly helped other British colonies to
get representation, or their own parlia-
All the sins of commission consist of
butting in, wielding authority without re-
sponsibility. All the sins of omission are
shirking, refusing to wield authority when
it should be done. AH the sins of slavery, or
submission, are letting some one else butt
in to our affairs.
24 THE PRINCIPLE
This is a big thing. All principles are big
things. That's what principle means. Its
application is co-extensive with human
activity. It invades the physical world.
The effect of posting or trussing an arch
hurts it as an arch. The attempt to make a
dam tight in more than one place weakens
the dam, sometimes to destruction. Load-
ing a bridge beyond its capacity, steam in
a boiler beyond the strength of its joints,
current through a wire beyond its capacity
to carry juice, tension in a rod beyond its
strength, are all violations of "The Prin-
ciple," therefore failures. Strength or ca-
pacity is authority. Load is responsibility.
To the individual, "The Principle" is a
safe guide in all performances. A Natural law
is higher than a man-made law. It is more
important that it be obeyed. Man-made
laws change. Natural laws are permanent.
One may escape detection or, on detection,
avoid punishment for a breach of man-made
law. No such immunity exists for violation
of Natural laws. So the fiction that ignor-
ance of the law is no excuse has a founda-
tion jieeper than is*generally considered.
THE PRINCIPLE 25
To parents and children "The Principle"
is most important. When parents are in
accord, each shouldering their own and
recognizing the other's responsibilities, con-
ceding authority for their execution, the
happiest family is the result. We are not
far removed from barbarism. Civilization
is a thin veneer. It was almost rubbed off
in the World War. In family affairs fre-
quently one or the other wants to be boss.
Sometimes both do. When the question is
settled, if the dominant one carries the
responsibilities and the other concedes such
dominance, the result is still a very happy
combination. When either butts in to the
other's affairs or shirks their own responsi-
bilities, the result is friction, trouble, un-
In the case of children, growth from in-
fancy needs "The Principle" at every step.
Authority may be given as fast and as far
as responsibility is felt, but never faster.
The youth given liberty, tools, horses, au-
tomobiles, money, beyond his feeling of
responsibility for each of those things, is
awfully handicapped in life. "The curse of
26 THE PRINCIPLE
wealth" and "The blessings of poverty" are
proverbs arising from ability and inability
respectively, to violate "The Principle."
Volumes could be written on applica-
tions of "The Principle" to politics. A very
common trouble is our way of campaigning.
When the elected one comes to office with
no strings on him, the best results ensue
with that officer. By pre-election promises,
party or personal fealty, the officer has ob-
tained only the responsibility of office, hav-
ing ceded the authority for the sake of
election. Then the Civil Service Board
compel him to work with tools of their, not
his, selection. The result is less then good.
He fails, partly or wholly, as a result of
conditions. One who understands "The
Principle" will not accept office under those
conditions. That is the main reason why
inferior minds clamor for office and men of
better intelligence refuse to stand for elec-
tion. The recall is for the elected one, or
political oblivion or both. If he makes his
promises good, he ruins his future. If he
repudiates them, his past is vulnerable.
The man best fitted to administer an office
THE PRINCIPLE 27
is often entirely unfitted to obtain it. The
people suffer and they should. They curse
politics and it is their own fault. They
should not require or allow pre-election
promises. The man who knows exactly
what he is going to do in any future case is
generally a liar anyway.
If there is any one thing the lay mind
can understand it is that our Constitution
contemplated three branches of govern-
ment, with some checks between, generally
acting independently, with defined author-
ity in each case. Whether that is the best
may be a matter of opinion, but that intent
is the fact. These are the Legislative, the
Executive and the Judicial.
The President, largely through patronage,
has affected Congress. This began under
Jackson and has increased until it is now
fairly complete. The President either dic-
tates legislation or is consulted about it
prior to enactment. So the laws of Congress
are the President's ideas instead of the
mind of Congress. The President is butting
in to the extent of such control. It is a
change in form of Government, a leaning
28 THE PRINCIPLE
toward autocracy. It makes no difference
what the President's name is. It is the
biggest graft in our whole system. Graft of
money is insignificant by contrast. Ordi-
nary graft is to gain power. This is graft of
power itself. It is weilding power without
Congress is shirking. The Constitution
gave it authority to do specific things.
Passing the buck to the President is as bad
as the President's butting in. Congress
should not do the first nor allow the second.
President and Congress are not immune
from Natural laws. They are punished for
violation, same as others. Violation by both
is the reason for their being called "Dicta-
tor" and "Rubber stamp" respectively.
The serious thing is that the country suffers.
Organization is the welding of parts into
units. Its purpose is to develop strength by
concerted action. A battering ram is organi-
zation. Organizations are battering rams.
Their keynote is subordination. Every part
must be subordinate. The ultimate superior
must be subordinate to the purposes of the
THE PRINCIPLE 29
There is no difference in principle be-
tween civil, military, political, business or
other organizations. That is, the same ideas
make for success or failure. There is a differ-
ence in the penalties paid for failures.
Discipline is the habit of subordination.
It exists willingly, thro' appreciation of the
necessities of the case; or forcibly, thro' fear
of punishment. The latter is the Prussian
variety. The efficiency of an organization is
directly related to its discipline. Insubordi-
nation in any degree is akin to a balky mule.
The rest of the team has to pull the mule as
well as the rest of the load. Sometimes they
"The Principle" teaches all there is to
organization, discipline, efficiency. Super-
iors should have ability and be given au-
thority. They must be considerate and
shoulder responsibility. Subordinates are
guided by the same rules. There are de-
grees of subordination. They must not butt
in to superiors' affairs. They must initiate
subordinate moves and carry on.
This brings up the Initiative of the Sub-
ordinate. Some years ago, Captain (now
3O THE PRINCIPLE
Admiral) Sims made a talk on this subject
to the Naval Militia of Philadelphia. After
expurgation by Mr. Daniels, it was pub-
lished. That was applied to military organi-
zations. It applies to all organizations.
The efficiency of any organization de-
pends largely on the initiative of the sub-
ordinate. The purpose, the movement of
the moment, general directions, should
proceed from the head down. All details
that can be left to subordinates should be
so left. It relieves the head, encourages the
subordinate, develops esprit de corps, gets
things done, done right, done promptly.
Heads of affairs frequently say they have
no one in their organization to succeed
them. The fault is theirs. They have never
allowed their subordinates any latitude.
They have attended to unnecessary details
themselves. The result is bad, for the sub-
ordinates, themselves, the organization.
The only way to learn how to do anything
is to do it.
Like other things, initiative can be over-
done. When it applies to any but subordi-
nate moves to the known end, it is insub-
THE PRINCIPLE JI
ordination and may be as disastrous as
direct disobedience of orders.
Ethics is defined as the basic principles of
right action. "The Principle" covers them
Morality has reference to mental attitude
rather than performance. There can be
nothing immoral if "The Principle" is fol-
lowed. Everything immoral is violation.
Law and its administration are not en-
tirely satisfactory in any country. Statutes
are sometimes wrong. Judicial findings
sometimes do wrong. The influence of pull
is frequent. Since nothing is permanently
settled till it is settled right, laws are con-
Nobody in the trial of a case is interested
in abstract justice. The parties and their
attorneys are after a verdict. They are fre-
quently not particular how they get it.
The witnesses are generally partial. The
alleged experts, no matter how unbiased
they start, are as partial as the attorneys,
once their opinion is formed. The presiding
officer should be and generally is neutral.
He is so hedged about with rules of evi-
32 THE PRINCIPLE
dence, precedents, court procedures, cus-
toms, that his concern largely, sometimes
wholly, is to avoid error, subsequent rever-
sal and its consequences in reputation.
Every item in the unsatisfactory state of
the law is a direct violation of "The Prin-
ciple." Partial interest, self interest, local
interest, pull, compromise, expediency,
sophistry, politics, delay, all are violations.
Justice would be vastly improved if "The
Principle" were a guide in the enactment
of laws and in the rulings and findings of
Religion is many things to many people.
They all teach right living here, proper con-
duct in this life. There is not much agree-
ment about our origin. That is beyond
change, so it is interesting as throwing some
light on the hereafter. There is little agree-
ment, except hope, about the hereafter.
There is quite general agreement that good
conduct here will be rewarded there, if
there is any "there."
Heaven and hell may be here or here-
after. If here, acts in accord with "The
Principle" are rewarded here, every day,
THE PRINCIPLE 33
visibly. Acts in violation are punished.
If hereafter, as a universal rule of conduct,
it teaches right living here and the reward
hoped for hereafter, or vice versa, as the
case may be.
"I intend to use your gospel as oppor-
tunity offers. Responsibility is a big
thought. Recognition of it and the conse-
cration that follows is all that is vital in
any religion." Chas. A. Murdock, S. F.
Philosophy is a compound of eternal veri-
ties, with their applications. The first
philosophers sought the base of things.
Some found air, some earth, some water,
some fire. Another school found ideas,
logic, mathematics, religion.
Bacon discarded all earlier philosophies,
accused Aristotle of confounding philos-
ophy with logic, Plato of mixing it with
religion, others of other faults, and founded
a philosophy of works, to be reached by a
contemplation of Nature.
German writers have written at length
on what they call philosophy but have de-
veloped nothing new. Their discussions
34 THE PRINCIPLE
have descended to wrangling over defini-
As an eternal verity, as a basis of things,
as a perfect idea, as resulting in works, as
a Natural law, "The Principle" is truly
philosophic, no matter what school is
"The Principle" guides thought, there-
fore action. Minds are increased in
strength by it. Interest in all literature,
history, biography, fiction, the daily news,
current discussions, humor, is increased by
it. A lecturer on psychology said that
'The Principle" was the best expression of
practical or applied psychology ever form-
ulated. Maybe it is. It is a foundation of
every other branch of learning, why not
Any man who knows his business is
educated, whether he can read and write or
not. If he sticks to his business, he suc-
ceeds. Schooling is of less importance in
education than is usually credited. School-
ing alone is never education. When one
tries to operate beyond their ability, they
fail or, if they succeed, the success is acci-
THE PRINCIPLE 35
dental. There are so many ways to be
wrong to each one way to be right, these
accidents are remarkable.
Judgment teaches you what to do. It is
born with us. Skill teaches you how to do.
It is acquired by practice. "The Principle"
teaches you when to do. It can be learned
right here. It is not taught in the schools
either by precept or practice. Yet it is the
veritable trunk of the tree of knowledge.
Labor is the most respectable thing in the
World. It seems about the only thing that
is intrinsically respectable. The greatest
satisfaction comes from some construction
with our own hands, without help. The
man with the hoe is to be envied, not
Why is he despised? Because he despises
himself. He is envious. He is ambitious.
He enters into political combinations that
get laws passed exempting him from opera-
tion of general laws, outlawing himself by
statute. He joins unions. They decree
various things, who may work, who may
learn how to work, who may employ, who
may not. The whole World seems to be
36 THE PRINCIPLE
making rules for the other fellow, not for
themselves. Unions fall in line. All such
things violate "The Principle."
What's the answer? Follow "The Prin-
ciple." Organize if you want to. Strike if
it's to your advantage. Apply the three
don'ts. Don't butt in. Don't shirk. Don't
let any one butt into your business. And
especially don't agree beforehand to let
others butt into your affairs. That means
don't promise to follow some other fellow
till you know where he is heading.
A Natural law is higher than any statute.
Statute law, through fear of political re*
prisals, has exempted labor unions from
prosecution and legal penalty for certain
acts. They cannot avoid the penalty for
the breach of Nature's law, irresponsible
authority. When they know and apply
"The Principle," they will gain the respect
they deserve, their own and others.
Capital is the surplus product of labor. It
is available until wasted, sometimes for
generations after its accumulation. It is
stored power, one form of authority. When
used with a feeling of responsibility, it is
THE PRINCIPLE 37
good. When used without such feeling, it
is bad. The wrong lies in its irresponsible
A lot is said about the conflict of capital
and labor. Examination shows no conflict.
Irresponsible performances of either arouse
antagonisms of the other. The careless
observer has come to think the conflict
natural and unavoidable. It is absolutely
avoidable by applying "The Principle."
The Commonwealth Club of California
had an evening to discuss Capital and
Labor. The Committee changed the sub-
ject to Employer and Employe, making
three parties interested, employer, em-
ploye and the public.
The proponent of Capital or Employer
stated that he disagreed with the Commit-
tee. He did not think the public were to be
considered and made his talk from that
The proponent of Labor or Employe
recited that Capital, being the product of
Labor, Labor was going after its own. He
assumed that labor and labor-unions were
38 THE PRINCIPLE
Neither of these men was called down.
One said "The public be damned." The
other proposed highway robbery. Yet
the Commonwealth Club is made up of men
of good intentions.
Some years ago a rich man called in one
of his railroad presidents, proposed a cer-
tain thing, giving instruction that it be
done. The president demurred.
"Can't I do as I please with my own?"
"Not entirely. This is a public utility.
It must render service. Your proposal
would deteriorate service and make me
liable for breach of laws regulating service."
"Will you do it?"
"I will not."
In a few years the aforesaid rich man lost
control of that railroad, also of all other
railroads in which he was interested. He
is in no sense a railroad man, which had
been his ambition and the ambition of his
father, from whom he had inherited great
wealth and railroad prestige.
The wrong of capital is getting into ir-
responsible hands. The wrong done by
THE PRINCIPLE 39
such capital is not a good reason but is
somewhat an excuse for the wrongs of labor.
"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth"
is bad practice. Two wrongs never made
a right. Observance of "The Principle"
will avoid all such conflicts.
Employment, a job and a salary, are
always in request. Unemployment is not
solved by any Country. At times, it is
very serious. No work, no pay. No
money, no food.
Employment is one form of acquired
authority. The employe who shoulders
his responsibilities, makes good, is con-
tinued longest in employment and hired
first after unemployment. When the other
way, he is first fired and last hired.
What brings steadiest employment, big-
gest pay? It isn't brains, or strength, or
knowledge. It is dependability. Physique,
brains and knowledge are desirable, but
reliability is the real thing. Dependability,
reliability, are entirely indicated by "The
Principle." The questions are:
Can and will he shoulder the responsibil-
ity of place?
4<3 THE PRINCIPLE
Can and will he prove dependable?
Will he take pride in his work?
These exact questions may not be asked
but they are in the mind of every employer
of labor, whether the employe be the man
with the hoe or a railroad president.
The Panama Canal is a wonderful
example of violation, then partial accord,
finally full accord with "The Principle."
First, Wallace tried to shoulder the re-
sponsibility of performance under a Com-
mission in Washington. He wasn't a
member of the Commission at the start.
He didn't get far.
Then Stevens undertook the same re-
sponsibility. He was a member of the .
Commission, had more authority than
Wallace, but his Commission had its office
and president in Washington. Stevens
made some progress. Then a set of con-
ditions arose under which Stevens felt that
his authority was not commensurate with
his responsibility. He severed his connec-
tion with the work, not before he had things
going well. So much was this the case that
Colonel Goethals said once when patted on
THE PRINCIPLE 4!
the back "I was preceded by a man who
understood transportation. My progress
is somewhat due to Stevens' plan for the
removal and disposal of the material of
Then the responsibility was taken by
Goethals, with full authority. He was
Chief Engineer. He was President of the
Commission. The rest of the Commission
were largely his subordinates. The result
was the most successful construction or-
ganization in the history of the human race.
Wallace and Stevens were sacrificed to
the education of Washington. They failed,
not from lack of ability but from lack of
authority. Goethals or anyone else would
have failed from the same cause. Goethals
understood "The Principle." He didn't
attempt to shoulder the responsibility till
he had sufficient authority.
The writer was Chief Engineer for a
railroad company, the Treasurer being,
say Brown. Brown was also the manager of
a bank, the depositary of the company.
Brown sent word that the appropriate
thing would be for me to keep my personal
42 THE PRINCIPLE
account with his bank. The reply was that
I was working for the railroad for so much
per, that when the "per" arrived, it was
mine to handle as I saw fit.
Brown wanted to send one of my assist-
ants off for a month on some private work,
asking one day when it would be convenient
for him to go. The reply was that it would
never be convenient, that he was needed
where he was, that if he went, he would be
Brown asked why a certain firm was not
patronized. After investigation, the reply
was that we could do better.
Brown issued an order that all bills in
excess of five dollars should not be paid in
the field but be sent to his office for pay-
ment. I called Brown's attention to the
fact that this would hamper the work. His
reply was that the order had been issued
after consultation with the President and
it must be obeyed. This correspondence
was bundled up and sent to the President
with about this letter: "Despite Mr.
Brown's statement to the contrary, I do
not believe that you are issuing your orders
THE PRINCIPLE 43
over his signature. If I am mistaken, you
may replace me as soon as convenient. I
am personally countermanding the order
in cases where obedience will hamper the
work." The order was countermanded.
When the purchase of right of way began,
Brown sent word that he had some men he
wanted put on that work. The reply was
"If you will be entirely responsible for the
integrity and ability of these men, they will
be put to work at once. If I am to be in any
way responsible, you may submit their
names and qualifications."
Brown's last meddling act was to return
some bills asking that the necessity for the
purchases be written across their face. The
reply was "These bills seem regular. They
have the O. K. of the engineer who made
the expense. They have the approval of
the resident engineer in charge of that di-
vision. They have been further approved
in my office and have been sent to your
office for payment. As for the necessity,
it is none of your business in any way, shape
Brown was sent to the penitentiary for
44 THE PRINCIPLE
embezzlement. If he had been allowed to
butt into my affairs, I might have been
smirched. As it was, I had sustained
intimate business relations with a rascal
for two years, with never a chance to lose a
cent or a particle of reputation, by applying
"The Principle." Application is always
good. It is wholly worth while.
The writer had a chance to apply "The
Principle" in organizing troops for France
in 1918. He talked it directly. He showed
its application in every day affairs. The
usual formula with new officers was "We
have commissions and uniforms. They
make us look like officers but do not make
us so. Our commissions give us the right
to make ourselves officers if we have the
ability. Your business is to develop the
efficiency of the enlisted man. To the
extent you do it, you are officers. To the
extent you fail to do it, you are not officers,
no matter what your commissions say. My
principal business is to see that you do it.
This is the general problem. Let's go to it.
If doubts arise as to details, come and see
me. That's what I'm here for."
THE PRINCIPLE 45
Similar instruction to non-coms had a
visible effect in esprit de corps. That
battalion went to France in a good humor,
worked eleven hours a day for months
without a murmur and their barracks were
the show barracks of Camp Montoir.
One young man volunteered for service
in North Russia after the armistice. In
June, 1919, he wrote me a chatty letter
from a box car alongside Lake Onega, tell-
ing of his work, the Country, the people, and
added "I want to keep in touch with you.
I specially want to thank you for "The
Principle." It has kept me out of most of
the trouble I have rubbed against and
gotten me out of the rest of it."
The officers liked it. The men liked it.
Its application makes a good organization.
It effects the best kind of discipline. There
are two ways to spoil a man, abusing him
and coddling him. Fair treatment de-
velops him and nothing else does. "The
Principle" teaches what fairness is in every
case, in every detail of every case.
Business is getting production to the
consumer. It is a necessary activity, a
46 THE PRINCIPLE
little overdone, according to some. It in-
cludes banking, transportation, storage,
advertising, wholesaling, jobbing, retailing,
with their thousands of details.
When business serves, it is good. When
business makes others serve it, it is bad.
Each kind can be accurately judged by
Value is a word much used in business.
It doesn't mean anything. AH value is a
matter of opinion. There is no part of
value that is anything else. Yet the term
is used in business as though it were a
matter of ascertainable fact. This is one
of the fictions of business. There are
others. This is written, not to point out a
particular reform but to advertise "The
Principle," by which all reforms can be
In a business, there is always a nominal
head. If this is also an actual head, pos-
sessing the means (knowledge, initiative,
funds, judgment; in other words, authority)
the result is success. Every trouble comes
of somebody's butting in or shirking. Both
crimes are sometimes committed by the
THE PRINCIPLE 47
same act. The owners butt in and inter-
fere with the management; the manager
butts in, interferes with details, withholds
authority where he expects responsibility;
departments clash; subordinates fail to
obey orders; a thousand and one things go
wrong. On proper analysis, every one of
the troubles, partial failures, complete
failures, can be traced to some violation of
The Navy League was organized to arouse
the Country to our need of a larger Navy.
When that was done, its original purpose
was fulfilled. So far, so good. Organizing
for a desirable and legal purpose is always
good. Some dropped out at this stage of
the performance. There was still a large
paying membership. With no chance for a
membership expression, the purpose was
changed. It was to do other things, to knit
for the sailors, to publish a paper.
Its head started to butt into the affairs
of the Secretary of the Navy. The paper
published a statement reflecting on the
Secretary of the Navy, that was never
proven, on the alleged say-so of someone
48 THE PRINCIPLE
that was never named. Look at all that
violation of "The Principle." Mr. Daniels
has been charged with many things about
which I know little or nothing. If his every
other act was wrong, resistance in this case
The President of the League had the
welfare of the Navy at heart. He may have
intended to benefit the Navy and the
Country by his action. His method was
wrong, to himself, to the Navy League, to
the Secretary, to the Navy, to the Country.
He had violated 'The Principle."
The Constitution of the United Sates
started out with well defined authorities.
The Legislature was to do specific things in
specific ways. So with the Executive and
State Constitutions were generally in
accord, but have lately varied considerably
from that of the United States. The main
divergences lie in enacting what should
have been statutes as constitutional pro-
visions. So we have various ideas existing
in various degrees, as laws, some of which
violate "The Principle."
THE PRINCIPLE 49
Civil Service is one of them. It started as
a cure for "Turn the rascals out" or "To
the victors belong the spoils." The disease
was not very serious. The cure is many
times worse. We are cursed and hampered
by Civil Service Commissions in National,
State, Municipal, affairs. They dictate
who may be employed and examine dis-
missals, sometimes ordering re-instate-
ments. Their legal authority is great,
their assumptions greater. In no single
case is Civil Service a move toward effi-
ciency or economy. In every case it
hampers and is expensive. In no case is
any responsibility shouldered for the au-
Commissions generally are wrong. Here
is cited specifically the Interstate Com-
merce Commission, the California Railroad
Commission, all other California Commis-
sions, even to the Commission to regulate
Commissions, the Board of Control.
Every large railroad company in the
United States, every considerable public
service corporation in the State of Cali-
fornia has a department for the sole purpose
5O THE PRINCIPLE
of appearing for those corporations before
the Commissions regulating them. The
result is extra cost with no benefit. In-
creasing the tax eaters at the expense of
the tax payers is bad political economy.
"The Principle" is violated in this way.
Commissions are given irresponsible au-
thority by the law creating them. Such
authority relieves the corporations of re-
sponsibility. In the mix-up, Commissions
are greedy for power, corporations are
greedy for profits and the public pay, the
The Initiative and the Referendum, to be
intelligently administered, requires every
voter to study every law, every detail of
every law, so enacted. The consequence is
that they are not intelligently administered,
do not add to efficiency, complicate voting,
confuse the people, make expense with no
benefit. We employ legislators to make
laws, pay them for it, then do it ourselves.
And so we get the privilege of voting on the
California Water and Power Act, choosing
between Socialism and the inefficiency of
our Railroad Commission.
THE PRINCIPLE 5!
The Recall of elected officials relieves
every one of them from responsibility. The
recall of Judicial decisions spells anarchy.
That has not yet been accomplished but is
threatened. It is entirely in line with the
other political fads. It is just as logical as
Civil Service, Regulative Commissions as
they are administered, the Initiative or the
Referendum. These things are all per-
fectly measured by "The Principle."
"The Principle" has had a great many
approvals, by men of the present, men of the
recent past and men long gone. It has
been practiced more than preached. Care-
ful search will show that it has also been
preached, many, many times.
"Every one shall die for his own iniquity.
Every man that eateth the sour grape, his
teeth shall be set on edge." Jeremiah,31,30.
"He that thinks of the greatness of his
place more than the duty of his place shall
soon commit misprisons." Sir Francis
"Let us stand to our authority or let us
lose it." Coriolanus.
"Thus can the demi-god authority make
52 THE PRINCIPLE
us pay down for our offense, by weight. The
words of heaven, on whom it will, it will;
on whom it will not, so. Yet still 'tis
just." Measure for Measure.
"Stay, where's your commission, Lord?
Words cannot carry authority so weighty."
"I have told him Lepidus was grown too
cruel; that he his high authority abused."
Antony and Cleopatra.
"My duty will I boast of, nothing else."
"My duty pricks me on to utter that
which else no worldly good should draw
from me." Two Gentlemen from Verona.
"I should not urge thy duty past thy
might." Julius Caesar.
"But 'twas a maxim he had often tried,
that right was right and there would he
abide." The Squire and the Priest.
"The path of duty was the way to
"Because right is right, to follow right
were wisdom in the scorn of consequence."
Tennyson in Fatima.
"A sense of duty pursues us ever. It is
omnipresent like the Deity. If we take to
THE PRINCIPLE 53
ourselves the wings of the morning and
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
duty performed or duty violated is still
with us, for our happiness or our misery."
"He who through force of will or of
thought is great and overlooks thousands,
has the responsibility of overlooking."
"Men seek to be great; they would have
offices, wealth, power, fame. They think
that to be great is to get only one side of
Nature the sweet, without the other side
the bitter." Emerson.
"Let us have faith that right makes
might; and in that faith dare to do our
duty as we understand it." Lincoln.
"When an end is legal and obligatory, all
the indispensable means to that end are also
legal and obligatory." Lincoln.
"If the British Government in any way
approach you directly or indirectly with
propositions which assume or contemplate
an appeal to the President on the subject
of our internal affairs, whether it seem to
imply a purpose to dictate or to mediate or
54 THE PRINCIPLE
to advise, or merely to solicit or persuade,
you will answer that you are forbidden to
debate, to hear or in any way to receive,
entertain or transmit any communication
of the kind." Lincoln, to our Ambassador
"To act in absolute freedom and at the
same time to realize that responsibility is
the price of freedom, is salvation." Elbert
"A corporation, no more than an indi-
vidual, can be bound hand and foot and yet
be active and give good service." Theo. N.
"There is a tendency on the part of
Bureau officers to reach out for more
power, even if they do not assume author-
ity which the law does not give them."
John W. Weeks, 1915.
" The Principle' is undoubtedly violated
by many of our present day practices, both
social and political. It is well for us to be
jarred into thinking whether each item of
the established order is in fact the right and
true practice." Harry M. Wright, Master
in Chancery, U. S. Court, S. F.
THE PRINCIPLE 55
"You have put the matter in a very
interesting way." Max Thelen, San Fran-
"Hope you will spread the truth of 'The
Principle' far and wide." Harry F.Atwood,
Lecturer, Chicago, 1921.
"I have been following 'The Principle*
for the last thirty-five years, discovering it
like yourself early in life, since when I have
insisted on putting it into operation in
everything I have undertaken." Geo. W.
" 'The Principle' is indeed a corner-stone
to an orderly condition of society and can-
not be too strongly emphasized." Dr.F.W.
Durand, Stanford University, 1916.
"Thank you for your address on respon-
sibility and authority, which I have read
with much interest and with which I fully
agree." Jas. K. Lynch, Gov. Fed. Res.
Bank, S. F., 1917.
"I have been an upholder of 'The Prin-
ciple' for many years, but, until I read your
paper, I was not aware that it was so far-
reaching." Wm. Kent, Mechanical En-
56 THE PRINCIPLE
"I cannot imagine any success unless
power goes with responsibility. It is the
principle upon which I have always acted
and am acting now." Admiral W. S. Sims,
"I believe every word of it and have
practiced The Principle' for years. It may
be of interest to you to know that the
affairs of the Pacific Fleet are administered
in accordance with The Principle' set forth
in your article." Admiral Hugh Rodman,
' The Principle' is so pithy and so worth
while that I would like to reprint it for free
distribution." Alfred Bickford, Ex. Sec.
Assoc. Industries of Seattle, 1921.
: The Principle' has many applications
in my profession of medicine and surgery,
As you say, it applies to all activities."
Admiral McCormick, M. C, U. S. N. 1921.
"I thoroughly enjoyed reading The
Principle.' Thank you." Admiral H. B.
Wilson, U. S. N., 1921.
" The Principle' is really a big thing and
I see its applicability very often. I use it
lots of times, giving you more or less
THE PRINCIPLE 57
credit." Alex. T. Vogelsang, Ex-Assistant
Secretary of the Interior, Washington,
A great many common every day expres-
sions are partial statements of "The Prin-
ciple," such as:
"Mind your own business."
"Don't bite off more than you can chew/'
"Don't butt in."
"Quit rocking the boat."
"Look out for deep water."
EIGHT HUNDRED COPIES
OF "THE PRINCIPLE" HAVE BEEN PRINTED, OF
WHICH FIVE HUNDRED ARE FOR PRIVATE
DISTRIBUTION BY THE AUTHOR
THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY