The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 08, 1908, Page 7, Image 7

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MAT 8, 190S ,
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The Commoner.
Republican Publishers and the Paper Trust
Evidence of the arbitrary raising of nrices
to consumers by the paper trust and showing the
understanding in the paper mills with respect
to the limitation of output, was presented to a
special house committee at Washington, April
28. This question will, perhaps, figure largely
in the coming campaign. It will be well for
every Commoner reader to inform himself upon
it. The story is told by the Washington cor
respondent for the Chicago Record-Herald (rep)
in this way: "For the third day John Norris,
chairman of the committee on legislation of the
'American Newspaper Publishers' Association,
occupied the stand and has not even yet ex
hausted his store of information, based on re
ports from publishers, great and small, all over
the United States, relative to the far-reaching
effects of the combine's work.
One of the important developments today
was evidence showing that the Hearst publica
tions, printed in several cities, have a special
low price on paper they consume. In the house
yesterday Mr. Dalzellread an editorial from one
of the Hearst papers opposing the fight which
the publishers of the country as a whole are
making for the free listing of wood pulp. The
republican standpatters have sought to make
much of this and of similar editorials from the
same source.
As the testimony piles up the fact is becom
ing more perceptible that the investigating com
mittee is hostile to those who in response to
Speaker Cannon's long list of whereases were
quick to volunteer all Information at their com
mand with regard to the facts of. the paper sit
uation. Chairman Mann, especially, is bent on
rubbing in his opinion that the publishers ought
to expect little consideration at the hands of the
republican members of congress. Speaker Can
non himself could not play the part better than
Mr. Mann is playing it.
There never has been anything purporting
to be an investigation by a special committee of
Congress so thoroughly characterized by lack, of
judicial temperament and desire to treat what
might be called the prosecuting witnesses fairly
as this present affair. The committee sits dur
ing the sessions of the house, and when the elec
tric bell in the committee-room proclaims that
there is a roll-call in the chamber Chairman
Mann will remark to the witness, sneerlngly
and sarcastically, that the "democratic filibus
tering friends of the publishers" are assisting to
delay the investigation, as the committee must
adjourn in order to let the members vote. It
happened twice today. When the bell rang the
first time, about noon, Chairman Mann said:
"That means that your telf-appolnted prophet
and special ally (Minority Leader Williams)
has demanded that we stop here, and he is doing
It to help you hasten the hearing."
Previously Mr. Norrio had ignored such re
marks, but this time he said: "If our professed
friends of the majority had done what they have
avowed themselves extremely anxious to do, the
wood pulp proposition would have been passed
three weeks ago and thf-re would be no roll
calls on that aecount."
Right here Mr. Mann declared that he
'didn't see how the publishers could claim to
have any friends among the majority after all
the abuse they had heaped upon it.
Despite the marked antipathy of the chair
man of the inquisitors, Mr. Norris went ahead
when opportunity offered laying the ground
work for the specific cases of the combine's
operations which it is Intended to present later.
Mr. Norris began his recital for the day
by submitting further evidence regarding the
shutting down of mills. Particular attention
was called by him to the statement of the Ham
ilton (Ohio) Daily Republican News, that it
closed down because of "no water." Mr. Nor
ris ridiculed the Idea of the claim of no water at
Niagara Falls.
Leaving this phase of the question, Mr.
Norris quoted a number of publishers as having
knowledge that the product of independent mills
either had been acquired by large selling agen
cies or the sale of their output merged.
He submitted answers to a number of
questions propounded to newspapers showing
that agents stated that th6 Wisconsin- Mills had!"
been sold tolthe International cbinpany; that "the
output, of the Booth mill in Canada was con
trolled by Allen McEnnery & Co., Chicago; that
the Carthage, N. Y., mill (West End), was con
trolled by the Central Ohio Paper Company and
that the A. W. Butler Paper Company had a
special mill in New York; that tho excess of the
St. Croix company was taken by the Internation
al company; that th.e International company
was buying from tho St. Regis; that the treas
urer or some other officer of tho International
company had bought a block of Finch, Pruyn
& Co. stock; that the Oswego Falls Pulp and
Paper Company, supposed to bo independent,
was represented at meetings of the manufac
turers in New York and that the Finch interest
in the Finch-Pruyn company had boon acquired
by the International Paper Company.
Turning his attention to the subject of
dates of meetings of paper manufacturers to
consider prices, Mr. Norris placed in evidence''
statements by many newspapers on the subject,
showing that such meetings had been held.
Statements relating experiences of publish
ers with Canadian mills also were put in evi
dence. Some publishers certified that they were
receiving Canadian paper at the. same prices as
from mills in the United States; others spoke of
the disinclination of Canadian mills to take or
ders or enter into contracts, preferring to sell in
the open market. Another publisher had hoard
of a Canadian agent in Chicago offering a better
price than American mills, but said that when
he was sought It was found that he had raised
his price and left town. In one case, in 1904
05, a publisher bought satisfactory paper in
Canada for less than he could, get It In the United
Replying to Mr. Mann, Mr. Norris -said ho
was unable to state how many Canadian mills
were closed. The Sturgeon Falls mill, he said,
had not been a financial success and was shut
down. He understood this was not duo to any
defects In manufacture, but primarily to "early
and high financing."
Mr Mann remarked that it tjeemed. rather
strange that with the great advance in the price
of paper and the opportunity, of the Canadian,
mills to furnish paper at tho higher price they
would be compelled to close at this time be
cause they could not be operated profitably. He
thought the Publishers' Association should seize
the opportunity to acquire the mills.
To that suggestion Mr. Norris replied' that
his association received on;San average of 'fareb
propositions a week, containing opportunities
for location of news print" paper mills in Canada
with limitless timber tracts and nimerous power
He said that one consular report showed
that in the province of Quebec there were
745,000,000 cords of wood pulp timber, "enough
to keep the United States In spruce wood for
all of its paper manufacturers for over 200
years if there was not a particle of reproduc
tion in any other Canadian forests."
"You don't share In the views of Mr.' Pln
chot, the chief forester," said Mr. Mann, '"that
the enormous consumption of print paper and
wood pulp is going to deplete all the forests in
North America within the next seven or ten
years." $
Mr. Norris replied that tho chairman .,was
anticlpatlng a branch of the subject to which ho
would give special attention, "and on which we
will excite your lively interest as affecting tho
price of wood and the speculation In wood
According- to further statements by -publishers,
as" submitted by Mr. Norris, in a major
fty of instances they could get paper In sufficient
quantities when they wanted it. Not a fewv"
howeverj had their supply curtailed.
After Mr. Norris had submitted testimony
showing that supplies of paper had been shifted
from one mill to another or from one agency to
another, he was subjected to a cross-fire of
questions by the committee, bearing more par
ticularly on the quantity of paper consumed by
the Hearst publications. fr, Norris asserted
that those publications took one-fourth of the
entire output of the Internatiqnal Paper Cpm
pany, or 300 tons aTday ' , u
"Do you know at whatrate Mi. Hearst geta
'this paper?"' "Chairman Mfeba Inquired. '
Mr. Norris said he knew only from street
fnilr n b&Mr. Stafford K there had boon any
talk about Mr Hearst's contract, Mr. Norris
sa d there had been considerable. Ho mentioned
Jf8 f ?:92. $1.04 and $1.90 and said ho
understood that somo comparatively recent set
tlement had been mado, but whether it was an
?Ly a?X de? or th0 rcsalt ot n old con
tract providing for a re-adjustment at a given
timo ho could not say. Ho was not, ho said,
informed as to tho length of tho contract period.
u t ,Vor,r,s volunteorod tho statement that
the New York Jburnal was not in sympathy with
the present Inquiry.
Answering further questions, Mr. Norris
said tho rumorod prices to Mr. Hearst vcrc for
paper delivered at tho newspaper offices.
Mr. Norris then put in evidence tho state
ments of publishers from every part of tho coun-.
try to tho effect that thoro was a constant in-
terchango of information among papor-makors1 "
respecting prices and that they know of quota
tions mado by othor agencies or mills. Almost
without oxcoptlon tho publishers stated that
the paper makers wore in collusion and that tho
quotations seemed to bo very uniform.
Replying to a question by Mr. Mann, tho
witness said that tho visits of soiling agents,
which formerly had been frequent, had stopped,
and added that no visits from paper-selling agen
cies has boon mado for a considerable period bo
foro tho several inquiries of the publishers had
been mado.
In roply to a question by Mr. Stafford, Mr.
Norris declared It to bo tho contention of tho
publishers that customers have been apportioned
to particular mills. "How that was arranged
through brokerage houses," Mr. Norris said,
"we do not protend to know." Tho practice,
ho declared, had been almost uniform. Tho
various reasons given by tho paper-makers for
tho adoption of an agreed scale was stated by
Mr. Norris through quotations from a number
of publishers, in which they ascribed tho in
creased cost of labor and material as being prln- ;
cipally responsible for the higher cost of paper.
On tho other hand, some of tho publishers do-f
clared that the dealers and jobbers had told' ,
them their prices were governed by uniform ad-
vances by the mills, and that advices from ono
company of a change would bo followed in twenty-four
hours by similar advices from othor
Tho vast forest resources of tho Pacific ,
Mr. Norris. but he said that because of an iri
sufficient water power advantage could not bo
taken of the opportunity to use that timber.
Mr. Mann called attention to tho proposi
tion in congress for water rights on the Snako
river, Washington, which, he said, tho president,
had announced his Intention to veto. "Why
dont you go up to tho president and use your
influence with him?" ho Inquired.
"If," said Mr. Norris, "you knew howf
amusing your talk is to mo, you would appro-
elate some of the things you are saying."
"We are told now by Gifford Pinchot, who"
in this matter speaks through tho voice and J
tongue of the president of the United States,"
asserted Mr. Mann, "that there can bo no de-
velopment of .water power in this country for''
some time to come." -'
Mr. Norris said he did not know what .the
purpose of the inland waterways commission
was except for the creation of water powr.
"The primary purpose," said Mr. Mann, '
'ls to draw salaries."
Mr. Norris refuted tho contention of tho
manufacturers that the increase in price has
been partly due to higher fre'ght rates, and
submitted a communication from the interstate
commerce commission showing the freight rates
from the principal mills to the larger consuming
points, from which it appeared that with one
or two exceptions there had been no increase
for several years, and in two instances tho
statement showed a reduction in rates.
Mr. Nqrris next submitted an estimate. of- -the
daily output of news print mills in tho, east,,
and west. This showed that mills In New York,
New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine were .pro
ducing, i60& tons a day. Including tbe Inter
national Company, the production was 2,07 -tons.
He estimated that the western mills' pfo-
duced 800 tons, or a total of 3,607 tons a day.
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