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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (March 10, 1911)
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MARCH 10, -1911
had given out an interview expressing the
opinion thatthero should he an investigation.
Governor Deneen also declared Lorimer's propo
sition to elect the governor to the senatorship
had involved the use of democratic votes, and
Mr. Deneen expressed doubts that election by
such a course would have the effect of healing
breaches in the republican party, as Mr. Lorimer
had expressed confidence it would.
" 'Mr. Lorimer gave reasons why the demo
crats would -support me. I failed to see any
reason why they should support me,' said the.
writer of the long telegram. 'The truth is,1 he'
added, 'that this bi-partisan combination was
formed to defeat me,' and went on to say that
the combination had made corrupt alliances
with interests that could not use him.
"Senator Owjen criticised Mr. Lorimer for not
appearing before the investigation committee.
He declared the question was not so much one
as to a seat in the senate as of whether the
senate should stifle bribery and corruption or
encourage such practices. He denounced the
bi-partisan combination as 'thievish and kna
vish.' He was strongly of the opinion that the
'jackpot combination should be still investi
gated. 'We should not rest until we have dug
up the 'jackpot by the roots.'
"By this time a number of senators had left
the chamber and Mr. Owen stopped to com
ment on their absence. Saying he would 'like
to have a photograph of the scene, he exclaimed:
" 'I appeal against the senate to the people.
I am not Bpeaking now to the senate. I am
speaking to the master of the senate. A master
ful hand will place its.elf on the senate and will
purge it of its members who do not respect the
will of the people.'
"As for himself, the senator said, he would
not stultify himself by giving his vote to the
doctrine laid down by the committee on privi
leges and elections. Believing that doctrine to
be immoral, he would have none of it, not even
if he should be the only man to oppose it.
"Apparently in the face of much opposition
from his own state, Senator Simmons, of North
Carolina, delivered a brief address, giving the
reasons why he would support Mr. Lorimer. He
said that on the evidence taken he could not
justify himself in voting to displace him, not
withstanding he thought there were fraudulent
sciiemes practiced in the Hlinois legislature.
" 'I do not believe the senator from Illinois
bribed anybody to cast a vote for him, and I
do not believe the evidence is sufficient to war
rant us in believing that anybody was bribed
by anyone for that purpose,' said the North
"When Mr. Simmons yielded the floor, Mr.
Lorimer, himself adressed the chair, evidently
to the surprise of most of the senators. He
rose only to speak of Governor Deneen's tele
gram to Senator Owen. Taking up that message
in detail he said an examinaton of it would
verify all of the statements that he (Mr. Lori
mer) had made to the senate.
"Senator Smith of Michigan succeeded Mr.
Lorimer in-, addressing the senate. The senator
expressed a conviction that the committee had
not gone fa.r enough In its investigation, nor
was the country satisfied with the extent of the
investigation. Mr. Smith said he could not find
it in his heart to condone the offense with
which he believed the Illinois senator to be
"Senator LaFollette also spoke briefly in oppo
sition to Mr. Lorimet. Mr. LaFollette declared
'every line of the testimony convicts the senator
not of obtaining his seat by bribery, but of being
a participant in the bribery.'
"He turned toward the seat gf Senator Lori
mer at the left. People in the gallery arose to
see what the object of all this denunciation
would do. There was an instant of intense
" 'The gentleman is not in his seat,' Mr. La
Follette said, as he turned away from it to
face the senate He went on then to review tha
circumstances which he considered substantiat
ing his position and declared it was impossible
that Mr. Lorimer should not have knon what
was going on.
" 'Wo cannot say -just where the mrfiey came
from,' he said, 'but we know that a large amount
of it was used.'
"Senator Burrows, chairman of the committee
on privileges and elections, which investigated
the Lorimer case and made its report exonerat
ing the accused senator, was on his feet trying
to interrupt. He tried to read from the minority
report whiph declared that the evidence did not
prove complicity on Lorimer's part in the
alleged bribery, '
" 'Does the senator yield?' asked the presid-
!?g l??l- Tne hand of ih0 clck hovered over
Se 5? fiK.ur ma.rk and tho PC0Dl kld their
breath. The chairman's gavel was in the air.
t r, iiUBA a mTlnute Just a minute cried Mr.
LaFollette. 'I know what the senator wants
to say. You never can prove a thing like that,
but you can know it. I don't know where
the money came from that was used in an effort
to defeat my own re-election to tho senate, but
I do know that a part of it came from Wall
"Bang! The gavel fell and Senator LaFol
lette sank back with the phrase 'Wall Street'
on his lips. A tremor of hysterical laughter
ran through tho galleries.
" 'The hour of one-thirty having arrived,'
said tho vice president, 'the secretary will report
the resolution' It was read: 'Resolved, That
William Lorimer was not duly and legally
elected to a seat in the senato of the United
States by tho legislature of the stato of
"'The secretary will call tho roll.'
" 'Mr. Aldrich' and the vote was on."
OPINIONS ON THE VERDICT
Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph-Herald: "Tho
nation's disgrace is written in the vote of the
United States senate confirming Lorimer's right
to a seat in that body. The vote put the cap
stone on what Elihu Root described as a 'foul
conspiracy against the integrity and purity of
bur government' "
Philadelphia North American, republican: "A
good man, murdered last month by an irrespon
sible assassin, was bitterly denounced a few
years ago because he wrote a series of articles
which he called 'The Treason of the Senate.'
For the first time we feel impelled to add a word
of criticism to the burden put unfairly upon
David Graham Phillips while he lived. He had
no right to pre-empt a title that never was
completely deserved before today. For only
now does a sickened nation observe an open,
shameless union of the 'old guards' of both
nominal parties sacrificing personal decency,
political principle, party and public needs to
save the official place of the beneficiary of the
foulest corruption in the history of American
Denver Times: "The downward revision of
the tariff that did not revise downward; the
Ballinger case; the Lorimer vindication; the
existing effort to block reciprocity with Canada:
they furnish the material for a ponderous indict
ment that cannot be easily answered."
Louisville (Kentucky) Courier-Journal: "It
was logical that the senate, which on Tuesday
-voted to deny the people the right to elect its
members, voted to sustain the title of William
Lorimer to his seat, notwithstanding the fact
that it had been clearly proved that the most
flagrant fraud in his interest had corrupted the
legislature which gave, him that seat. There
are too many ..United States senators who do
not wish to have any more to do with the
people than they can help. Any sort of legisla
ture is good enough for them, and for some
of them the rottener the legislature the better
it suits their purposes. The senate by its action
in retaining Lorimer demonstrated anew it has
less respect for Itself than the people have for
it as an institution. There is no question that
the people would have it spotless in the sight
of the world. There is no question that among
the senators themselves Lorimer is by no means
alone in his consciousness that, in their cre
dentials, it is far from spotless, It is natural
that other 'spots,' as they say in the produce
market, should have sympathized with Lorimer,
and have stood by him. It is natural even that
there should have been some sympathy for him
as a human being, just as there Is for other
human beings who get 'in bad.' But the decisive
factor in the vote was the influence of the com
mittee which investigated Lorimer's case. Tho
men who composed this committee had no idea,
when they formulated their report, how pro
foundly the country was interested in this
matter. They formulated it as lawyers, looking
no further than the shell of the law, and tak
ing the course of least resistance. When they
realized how greatly they had shocked the
moral sentiment of the people there was nothing
for them to do but stand by their action and
make the best of It. The Lorimer case became
their own caso. It was they, more than Lorimer,
who were on the defensive and they fought
desperately against the condemnation of them
selves which an expulsion of Lorimer would
have implied. Among them were some of the
most conspicuous figures of the senate; several
of them individually commanded a much greater
Influence than Lorimer himself could do, and
collectively they made such a struggle that it
would have been almost a miracle If they had
been turned down. As it was, they escaped con
demnation by only 6 votes, an escapo from which
they and Lorimer will extract scant comfort."
ELECTION OF SENATORS DEFEATED
Tho election of senators by popular voto was
defeated in tho United Statos senate during the
same week that William Lorlmor was given
authority to rotain his seat. Tho vote stood:
Against tho proposition 33
For direct election 54
Two-thirds majority necessary.
Tho story is told by tho Associated Press In
this way: "Washington, Fob. 20. The senate
' defeated tho resolution proposing an amend
ment to tho constitution to provide that senators
bo elected by direct voto of the people. A fight
had boon made by the supporters of the measure,
as was indlcatod by the voto. Fifty-four sena
tors stood for the resolution and thirty-throo
against it. Though this division showed so
largo a majority to favor popular elections, the
number was not sufficient by four to carry the
measure, which required a two-thirds vote.
Immediately after tho reading of the journal tho
popular voto resolution was taken up. So long
had the resolution been beforo the senate and
so carefully had tho membership been canvassed
by its supporters and its opponents that it was
recognized from tho moment the question was
brought up that It would go down in defeat.
"Though it had been understood that dobate
would shut off on the measure when called
up Senator Bacon, who determinedly has op
posed the resolution as altered undor tho
Sutherland amendment placing the control of
elections in tho hands of congress, hoped to havo
an amendment adopted that might render tho
measure acceptable to some of tho southern
senators. The Georgia senator's effort was to
provide that federal supervision of tho elections
should apply only in thoso states wherein tho
legislatures had failed to designate the manner
and method of holding the elections.
"Vico President Sherman ruled tho Bacon
amendment out of order and the roll call was
begun. It was followed with deepest interest.
For a moment it was thought the calculations
would be upset, for when Senator Galllnger's
name was reached his answer was aye. Looks
of surprise were exchanged by many senators,
for tho long debate on the question had de
veloped no more inveterate ertemy to tho resolu
tion than the New Hampshire sonator. Tho clerk
had received several more responses beforo it
had occurred to Mr. Galllnger that something
was wrong. He arose in some haste and had
his name shifted to the nays.
"The roll call was: Yeas Bailey, Bovoridge,
Borah, Bourne, Bradley, Briggs, Bristow, Brown,
Burkett, Burton, Carter, Chamberlain, Clapp,
Clark (Wyoming), Clarke (Arkansas), Culber
son, Cullom, Cummins, Curtis, Davis, Dixon, Du
pont, Frye, Gamble, Goro, Gronna, Guggenheim,
Jones, LaFollette, McCumbor, Martin, Nelson,
Nowlands, Nixon, Overman, Owen, Peynter, Per
kins, Piles, Raynor, Shlvely, Simmons, Smith
(Md.), Smith (Mich.), Smith (S. C), Stephen
son, Stone, Sutherland, Swanson, Taylor, Thorn
ton, Warner, Watson, Young 54.
"Nays Bacon, Bankhead, Brandegeo, Bulk
ley, Burnham, Burrows, Crane, Depew, Dick,
Dillingham, Fletcher, Flint, Foster, Galllnger,
Hale, Heyburn, Johnston, Kean, Lodge, Lori
mer, Money, Oliver, Page, Penrose, Perry, Rich
ardson, Root, Scott, Smoot, Taliaforro, Tillman,
Warren, Wetmore 33.
"The absentees were Senators Aldrich, Craw
ford, Frazier and Terrell of Georgia. It was
announced that, had they been present, Frazier
would have voted aye, Terrell, nay. Thero was
no announcement about Mr. Aldrich. Senator
Crawford, entering after the roll call was com
plete, said ho had been delayed "by a stalled
street car and would have voted aye.
"When the resolution was declared lost, thero
was no demonstration of any sort. From the
democratic side of the floor, thero were several
modulated calls of 'good, good!' The Suther
land amendment had made the measure unpopu
lar with some of the far southern senators.
"Senator Borah, who has been in charge of
the resolution for tho election of senators by
direct vote, was gratified over the result, not
withstanding ho lacked four votes of getting
tho requisite two-thirds.
" 'When it is demonstrated,' he said, 'that
the senate stands within four of two-thirds it
Is certain that the real fight Is over.
" 'The resolution will be again introduced
at the first session of congress,' he said, 'regular -or
extraordinary, and urged unremittingly. The
next congress, in my judgment, will pass favor
ably on tho resolution.' "
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