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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 4, 1906)
MAY 4, 1906
WAS THE 1896 CAMPAIGN ONLY A DREAM?
Tn 189G tho democratic national convention
adopted a platform, one of tho planks of which
follows: "But for this decision by the supremo
court (the adverse decision on the income tax;
there would be no deficit in the revenue under the
law passed by a democratic congress in strict
pursuance of the uniform decisions of that court
lor nearly one hundred years, that court having
in that decision sustained constitutional objec
tions to its enactment which had previously been
overruled by the ablest judges who had ever sat
on that bench. We declare that it is the duty of
congress to Use all the constitutional power which
remains after that decision, or which may come
from its reversal by the court as it may hereafter
be constituted, so that the burdens of taxation
may be equally and impartially laid, to the end
that wealth may bear its due proportion of tho
expenses of the government."
That plank was denounced by republican edi
tors and republican orators, and democrats were
called "anarchists" because they presumed to
"criticise the courts."
The editorial remarks of the New York
Tribune made after the election of 1896 were
fairly representative of the tone employed by re
publicans generally in the treatment of the Chi
cago platform, and particularly that plank above
quoted. The' Tribune said that the democratic
movement of 1896 was "a malicious conspiracy
against the honor and integrity of the nation,"
"Its nominal .head was worthy of the cause.
; Nominal, because the wretched, rattle-pated
boy, posing in vapid vanity and mouthing re
sounding rottenness, was not the real leader
of that league of hell. He was only a pup
pet in tho blood-imbrued hands of
the revolutionist,' and
other desperadoes of that stripe. But ho was
a willing puppet, Bryan was, willing and
eager. Not one of his masters was more
apt that he at lies and forgeries and blas
. phemies and all the nnmeloss iniquities of
that campaign against tho Ten Command
ments. He goes down with the cause and
must abide with it in the history of infamy.
He had less provocation than Benedict Ar
nold,Jess intellectual force than Aaron Burr,
less manliness and courage than Jefferson
Davis. He was the rival of thorn all in de
liberate wickedness and treason loathe repub
lic. His name belongs with theirs . neither
the most brilliant nor the most hateful luHho
list. Good riddance to it all, to conspiracy and
conspirators, and to the folil menace of re-k
pudialion and anarchy against the honor and
the life of the republic."
On April 18, 1906, Theodore Roosevolt elect'
ed to the presidency of the United States' "as a
republican, sent to congress" a special messago
dealing particularly, with the decision of Federal
Judge J. Otis Humphrey in the beef trust case.
Mr. Roosevelt referred to tho judgment in tho
beef trust case as "a miscarriage of justice." Mr.
Roosevelt also said "I can hardly believe that the
rule of Judge Humphrey will be followed by other
judges." 'Referring to the tendency of the times,
Mr. Roosevelt said: "The danger nowadays is,
not that Innocent men will be convicted of crime,
but that the guilty man will go scott free. TlVls
Js especially the case where the crime is one of
greed and cunning perpetrated by a man of wealth
in the. course of those business operations where
the codo of conduct is at variance not merely with
the codo of humanity and morality, but with tho
code as established in the law of the land." Re
ferring to Judgo Humphrey's decision Mr. Roose
velt said: "Such interpretation of tho law comes
measurably near making tho law a farce."
The plank in the democratic naUonal plat
form of 1896 for the adoption of which democrats
were denounced as anarchists is decidedly tamo
in comparison with tho language used by the
president, elected as a republican, in commenting
upon tho decision in the beef trust case.
In 1896 democrats pointed in a mild way to
the fact that the court's decision in tho income
tax case waff out of harmony with the uniform
decisions for nearly one hundred years, and ex
pressed tho hope, by implication, that tho court
as thereinafter constituted might revorse tho
decision. .But Mr. Roosevelt was not at all mild
In his arraignment ot -.Tvwice Humphrey's decision.
-"A miscarriage of justice," no caiio jann
added "such Interpretation of the law come,
measurably near making tho law a farce."
Yet some .of the very republican editors -who
In 1896 denounced as "anarchists" democrats who
had Indulged in the very mild reference to tho
income tax decision are now enthusiastically
commending the president of the United States,
who was elected as a republican, for the plain
language he used when, in a special message to
congress, he condemned Judge Humphrey's de
cision. "" Recalling the terrible accusations made
.against them in 1896 by the very men who are
today "out Heroding Herod," a democrat must
vigorously pinch himself to be assured that ho
is not dreaming.
WILL MR. ARMOUR REPLY?
Mr. J. Ogden Armour, head of the Armour
Packing company, and looked upon as the head
and front of the beef trust, recently published
in the Saturday Evening Post a series of articles
defending the beef packers. He very earnestly
denied that there is a beef trust and was espe
cially emphatic in his denials of a private car
trust and also that there is unspeakable filth
in the preparation of packing house products.
While he did not refer' to Upton Sinclair by
name, it was quite evident that Mr. Arnjour had'
Mr. Sinclair's book, "The Jungle," in mind when
he so strenuously denied that every law of health
and cleanliness was violated in the packing
houses . i
In ' the May issue of Everybody's Magazine
Mr. Sinclair makes reply to Mr. Armour's de
nials, and Mr. Sinclair has much the better of
the argument. ' '
Mr Armour makes much fi government in
spection, but lie 'fails to make mention of the
fact that this inspection refers only to export
meat, and that carcasses condemned by govern
ment inspectors are subject only to the laws of
the state and municipality in which the packing
house is located. The Chicago inspector who tried
to inject kerosene into the condemned carcasses
Jn order that the meat could not be palmed off
on the public, suddenly found himself out of a
Mr Armour also offered as a defense the
claim that if such things as Mr. Sinclair relates
actually happen, the packers would be subjected
to unlimited blackmail. Mr. Sinclair retorts by
offering a sample case wherein Mr Armour did
nay a man $5,000 to make an affidavit contradict
ing a former affidavit setting forth some disgust
ing details of the meat packing business as con
ducted ii the Armour plants, and follows it up
with the charge that Mr. Armour is constantly
paying blackmail in order to prevent exposure.
Then, to clinch the matter, Mr. Sinclair offers
in evMence the court records wherein the Armour
Packing company has entered a plea of guilty
and paid-fines for adulteration of meat products.
At Shenandoah, Pa., on June 16, 1905 the Ar
mour Packing company pleaded guilty to adul
terating "blockweirst" and paid a fine of $50.
It paldBa fine of $50 at Greenburg, Pa . or sel ling
"ore-served" minced ham. And in addition to
the court records, Mr. Sinclair Quotes the Tenth
Biennial Report pf the Minnesota State Dairy
and Food Commissioner, in which report on page
173, the "Shield Leaf Lard" of he Armour com
pany is officially branded as illegal;' and- again
on page 176, the "Vegetol," and on page 182- the
"Shield Lard," both Armour products are brand
ed the same way. . ...
. Replying to Mr. Armour's denial of the ex
istence of a beef trust Mr. Sinclair says: "T
know that he (Mr. Arniour) gets up and stand,
at the telephone every morning at 7 o'clock, and
fixes the prices which are to be paid for live
stock throughout the markets of the United
States on that day; I, know this from men who
have stood at the other end of the telephone
when ho did it."
"The Jungle" was of itself a terrific indict
ment of the whole packing house business, but
Mr. Armour, in view of Mr. Sinclair's reply in
the May issue of Everybody's Magazine, would
have done well to remain quiet in the hope that
the people might forget.
THE REBUILDING OF SAN FRANCISCO
No one acquainted with American pluck and
enterprise especially with western pluck aud en
terprise doubts for a moment that the new San
Francisco will be greater and better than . the
old. Earthquakes have happened before in that
section of the country, but they did not deter
the people from building.
It will be a greater, cleaner,- sarer San Fran
cisco; a monument to the pluck and determina
tion of a race that is never conquered. It will
add another chapter to the story of indomitable
courage written of American enterprise, ol which
Chicago, Boston, Johnsjiown, Galveston and Balti
more are other chapters. Tho spirit of the
'Forty-niners still exists, and will continue to ex
ist as long as the western world stands. Men
who want to catch an inspiration to renewed
courage should, keep their eyes on the city by the
SUSPENDING THE RULES
Referring to the San Francisco situation tho
Kansas City Journal, a zealous opponet of the
trades unions, says: "But San Francisco's
troubles are not over. Think of the labor strikes
when the work of rebuilding gets well under
On the day that the Journal printed the
above paragraph the wires carried the announce
ment that the building trades unions of San
Francisco, in order to facilitate the work of re
building, had decided to suspend all union rules,
allowing union men to work with non-unionists.
Now if the men who employ labor will act as
fairly as the labor unions, there will be no trouble
in. San Francisco.
At the time Judge O'Sullivan of New York
called District Attorney Jerome to account in
the matter of insurance companies' contributions
to campaign funds, Mr. Jerome intimated chat
he might have warrants issued not only for
George W. Perkins, but for George B. Cortolyou,
postmaster general, and for Cornelius N. Bliss,
treasurer of the republican national committee.
Now that Justice Greenbaum of the New York
supreme court has decided that because of these
contributions George W. Perkins should be prose-'
cnted for larceny, Mr. Jerome might call Messrs.
Gortelyou and Bliss to account. If the funds
were stolen republican committee officials wero
THE BLIND MAY SEE
Referring o the several bills introduced in
congress providing for the removal of the tariff
for the benefit of San Francisco, the Chicago
Record-Herald says: "The question Is not one
of opening the tariff controversy, but for giving
the earthquake cities tho help they need." But
it ought at least to serve to open the eyes ot
some of those who have been blinded by the
false pleas of republican standpatters.
The Baltimore Sun says: "There will never
be an end of corrupt practices in New York or
In any other state until campaign committees are
required to make public the amount of every
contribution they may receive, whether $1 or
$10,000, and to give publicity under oath to every
expenditure, however great or small the samo
The Sun's suggestion Is a good one. Pub
licity should be given to every contribution, how
ever small, and it is also of the highest importance
that the publicity be made before the vote Is
cast. If the publicity is given before the people
go to the polls' they will have an opportunity to
learn the character of the influences behind tho
several candidates. It is to be greatly regretted
that many who are seriously advocating the pub
licity program with respect to campaign contribu
tions do not lay proper emphasis upon the de
sirability of giving the information to the public
prior to election day. '
BUT HE TOLD THE TRUTH
The Washington Post hastens to say that
when Mr. Roosevelt referred to "fortunes swollqn
beyond all healthy limits" in his recent address
he "spoke more as an individual than as chief
In whatever capacity Mr. Roosevelt spoke
he told the truth when he said that there are in
this country a number of "fortunes swollen beyond
all healthy limits." He missed an opportunity
when he failed to suggest that one of the reme-
dies for these "swollen fortunes" is the destruc
tion of special privileges under the law, and that
another is the income tax.
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