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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (March 11, 1910)
WARCH 11, 1910.
r vamfrfj ""r"ir")ST "tjlyt1 'jrB 'Hfnw i-'
to believe It and that the president sent It to mo
because he did believe it and wanted mo to be
lievo it against this contention." ,..,
Mr. Pinchot here referred to the record con
cerning his letter of dismissal from Presidents
'What have you to say to the charge that you
were disrespectful to the president?" asked Mr.
"I contend that the expression of an honest
belief that the president had acted under a
misapprehension is not disrespectful."
"What, now, as to showing a ladle of confi
dence in the purpose of the president to take
the defense of the people's rights in his hands."
"If the president had signified his intention
to take matters in his own hands I would have
been happy to leave it there. But the presi
dent's letter showed he would continue to leave
it in Ballinger's hands and that he had great
confidence in Mr. Ballinger."
"What as to your being insubordinate?"
"I was not but I do not desire to lay stress
on that point. I should have been insubordinate
without a second thought if I should have con
sidered it necessary to bring the facts bofore
"Were you in fact Insubordinate?"
"As a matter of fact I was not. But I have
no desire for a personal vindication. I would
rather not go into that question."
"Why not?" asked the witness' attorney.
"Because it is not important and I regard
it unnecessary to bring out a difference of opin
ion between Secretary Wilson and myself. It
would be a painful thing to get into a contro
versy with him and for that reason I have kept
Senator Nelson pressed his question as to
whether or not Mr. Pinchot had consulted the
secretary before sending the letter.
Mr. Pinchot said he would decline to answer
the question unless it was put up by the whole
committee. A motion to press the question was
put and unanimously carried.
"Did you consult with the secretary before
sending that letter?"
The witness proceeded to explain his answer
by saying he went to Secretary Wilson on Jan
uary 3 and told him Senator Dolliver had re
quested information from the forest service and
that the secretary made no objection.
"We discussed at length the right of Senator
Dolliver to get the information from me as to
the president's order forbidding subordinates to
give information to congress. Secretary Wilson
said: 'You and I will have no trouble about
that order,' or words to that effect. I believed
I had his consent. I described to him the sit
uation as to the controversy before the Interior
department and the forest service; I told him
of the intention of our opponents to magnify
what had been done by Price and Shaw and
myself. I thought the only wise thing for us
to do was to lay our hand down on the table,
admit what we had done and force the congres
sional inquiry to the points where it ought to
"I was convinced that Secretary Wilson fa
vored my effort to defend Price and Shaw al
though he did not favor my plan of getting
publicity at the same time the other did. I
felt I had, however, secured his permission to
write to Senator Dolliver."
The cross-examination of Mr. Pinchot was
delayed until Secretary Wilson, who desired to
take the stand at once, could be heard. The
grizzled old official, who holds the record for
cabinet service, was plainly agitated when he
took the oath as a witness and when he began
to testify his voice was high pitched and
strained. "The secretary proved impatient at
some of the questions put to him on cross-examination
and became somewhat mixed as to
just what letters were being referred to by his
questioners and resentful of any inference other
than his own that they wished to draw from his
Mr. Vertrees, counsel for Secretary Ballinger,
took the direct examination.
"You have heard what Mr. Pinchot has said,
have you any statement to make?" he asked.
'Some of the things Mr. Pinchot has said
here a good many of them," began Secretary
Wilson, are correct, but there are other things
that are not correct."
The secretary brought his fist down on the
table with a resounding whack. He then con
tinued: "He never got my consent to "send that letter
to the senate there are two things in it that
would have made it Impossible for me to have
given my consent. He attempted to review and
Judge the mental processes of the president.
He also assumed the authority that was inino
Secretary Wilson said he had tried for two
months or more to get a report from Mr. Pin
chot concerning the alleged activity of the forest
service in the Glavis matter. Ho said Mr. Pin
chot kept delaying making a report to him.
"And what did ho finally bring you?"
The witness stated Pinchot sot Shaw and
Price to work to prepare a report to him. For
some reason or other this report wan nothing
moro than their opinion of their own work.
"Now, gentlemen, I know comparatively noth
ing of what you are considering here. I have
read something about it in the papers and know
what tho president said. Mr. Pinchot wants you
to believe that because I reasoned no objection
to his writing letters to Senator Dolliver regard
ing departmental matters that ho had a right to
write what ho did. Ho had no such authority
from me. I knew nothing of it. The question
before this committee is: 'Did ho havo my
consent to write that letter?' He did not. I
never saw it. I never hoard of it until I read
it in the Congressional Record."
The cross-examination of Secretary Wilson
was begun by Attorney Pepper, but it was soon
taken out of his hands by the four democratic
members of the committee who took turn about
in plying the cabinet officer with questions. Tho
republicans took practically no part in tho ex
amination. In reply to Attorney Pepper Secre
tary Wilson said he would forgive Mr. Pinchot
for his assumption of authority over the disre
spectful subordinates of the forest service, but
that ho could not forgive tho part concerning
MR. TAFT'S LETTER TO PINCHOT
In his testimony before the Ballinger investi
gating committee, Gifford Pinchot read into
evidence the full text of a letter written to him
by President Taft from Beverly, as follows:
Beverly, Mass., September 15, 1909. My Dear
Gifford: I inclose herewith a letter which I am
about to send to Secretary Ballinger for such
use as he sees fit, in reference to the charges
made by Glavis against Secretary Ballinger,
Pierce, Dennett and Schwartz. I have reached
this conclusion only after a full consideration
of Glavis' statement and their answers to it,
but I never reached a conclusion based on a
stronger conviction than this one Is.
Glavis seems to be a man who has acquired
but one idea, and who has allowed his suspicions
to grow to such a point as to be altogether dis
ingenuous in tho statement of evidence which
he adduces to sustain his attack upon his su
periors. I have made no reference to you In this letter,
which will probably be made public, because I
do not wish to bring you into tho controversy
at all. I have advised Mr. Ballinger and his
subordinates that I wish your name left out
of tho matter in their answers and references,
should it become necessary, as is not unlikely,
to send the whole record to congress. I am
aware from tho tono of your letter and from
your conversation with me that you did not give
to Mr. Ballinger the confidence and trust which
I do; and in this respect I think you do Mr.
I think you have allowed your enthusiastic
interest in the cause of conservation, and your
impatience at legal obstacles and difficulties to
mislead you in this regard, and that Glavis
himself has led you to regard as suspicious a
number of things which, when weighed in the
light of all the circumstances you now know,
are lacking in evidential force to sustain such
a previous charge as that of bad faith against
officials who have heretofore shown themselves
to bo entirely trustworthy.
I write this to urge upon you that you do not
make Glavis' cause yours. You had no access
to the records which Glavis had access to, and
you did not know the explanation for some of
the things that Ke pointed out as suspicious
which he ought to have made known to you and
I can not for a minute permit him to remain
as a subordinate in the interior department or
in the public service. It would be fatal to
On the other hand, I wish you to know that
I have the utmost confidence In your conscien
tious desire to serve the government and the
public, in the intensity of your purpose to
achieve success in the matter of conservation of
national resources, and in the Immense value
of what you have done and propose to do with
reference to forestry and ..kindred methods of
conservation, and that I am thoroughly in sym
pathy with all of these policies and propose to
do everything that I can do to maintain thorn,
insisting only that the action for which I bc
como responsible, or for which my administra
tion becomes responsible, shall bo within tho
I write this letter in ordor to prevent hasty
action on your part in taking up Glavis' caugo
or In objecting to my sustaining Ballingor and
his subordinates within the interior department
as a reason for your withdrawing from tho
I should consider it one of tho greatest losses
that my administration could sustain if you
wero to leave it, and I sincerely hopo that you
will not think that my action In writing tho in
closed letter to Secrotary Ballingor is reason
for your taking a step of this character. When
a man has beon unjustly treated, as Secrotary
Ballingor has been in tho manner pointed out
in tho letter, a copy of which I send you, it
is my duty as his chief, with tho knowledge
that I havo of his official integrity and his lack
of culpability, to declare it to tho public and do
him justico, however great inconvenience may
arise in other respects.
I havo been greatly disturbed by tho public
discussion carried on In the press, from which
it is inferred that your bureau Is arrayed against
tho interior department and that material Is
being furnished for both sides from official
I was especially distressed by McITarg's re
ported interviews, though I bellevo ho now re
pudiates any criticism or slurring remarks con
cerning President Roosevelt. Ho was an effi
cient officer, but he talked too much and wildly,
and his withdrawal relieved mo. I must bring
public discussion between departments and
bureaus to an end. It is most demoralizing and
subversive of governmental discipline and effi
ciency. I want you to help mo In this. I can
enforce team work If I can keep public servants
out of newspaper discussion.
Very sincerely yours,
WILLIAM H. TAFT.
INTIMIDATED AND SILENCED
Washington, D. C, March 3. "I am intimi
dated in my representative capacity as a mem
ber of the house," shouted Representative Steen
erson of Minnesota, In tho house today when
charging that largo sums of money had been
raised by ship-owners to improperly influence
members of congress in behalf of tho ship sub
Mr. Stoenerson, who is one of tho house in
surgents, demanded recognition from tho speak
er on a' question of personal privilege to mako
reply to an attack made upon him in the "Amer
ican flag," published at Cleveland, O., In the In
terest of ship subsidy. Tho speaker ruled that
inasmuch as tho attack had been caused by a
private letter written by Mr. Steonerson it could
not be brought out in the house.
Mr. Steonerson declared that tho merchant
marine league of the United States, with head
quarters in Cleveland, "conspired and associated
together for the purpose of unduly influencing
congress and creating hostility against all per
sons opposed to such legislation."
He wanted a committee appointed to investi
gate these charges to determine whether a con
spiracy did exist.
Representative Underwood of Alabama, up
held the contention of Mr. Stoenerson.
"If a conspiracy of that kind has been
formed," insisted Mr. Cooper of Wisconsin, "it
is the subject for a criminal action and should
be investigated by a federal grand jury."
Speaker Cannon cited precedents to show that
the question raised was not one of personal
privilege and on motion of Mr. Payne the en
tiro matter was referred to tho committee on
tho Judiciary. Associated Press report.
THAT PACIFIC MAIL CONTRACT
Washington dispatch to the Philadelphia
North American (rep.): "Secretary of War
Dickinson made no attempt to justify the ex
isting contract made with the Pacific Mail
Steamship company, except upon the ground of
necessity, in his statement today before the sen
ate committee on inter-oceanic canals. He ad
mitted the contract was a bad one, that it had
caused him embarrassment and that something
Bhould be done to Improve the existing situa
tion. But he contended that at the time the
contract was made, it was necessary in order to
maintain through transportation between At
lantic and Pacific coast ports by way of tho
Isthmus of Panama. The contract in question
gives 70 per cent of the through rate on all
shipments to the steamship company, leaving
the government but 30 per cent for transport-
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