The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 08, 1911, Page 3, Image 3

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The Commoner.
8EPTEMBER 8, 1911
Clark Replies to President Taft
Following is an Associated Press dispatch:
Quincy, 111., Aug. 29. Champ Clark, speaker
Of the national house of representatives, before
leaving here early today, replied emphatically
to President Taft's speech of defiance to insur
gent republicans and democrats, delivered at
Hamilton, Mass., last Saturday. In a signed
Interview, the speaker accused the president of
pot stating facts. Ho said he did not reply for
the insurgent republicans who, "no doubt will
take up the cudgels in their own behalf."
He declared among other things that if the
tariff board is to be used as a pretext for delay
ing tariff revision downward, the democrats
will cut off its supplies.
"President Taft's speech at Hamilton, Mass.,
last Saturday," said the speaker, "can only bo
described as remarkable when the history of
the recent past is considered.
"He essayed the rather large stunt of running
amuck on both democrats and the insurgent
republicans in congress, singling out Mr. Under
wood and myself particularly as democratic
"I accept his onslaught as a badge of honor.
"The president and I are personal friends.
He has done me many kindnesses and I have
tried to repay them as far as opportunity has
served. He is, as a rule, a' most amiable gentle
man, but at the same time ho seems to have
been in a bad temper; because he sees defeat
etaring him in the face. I would say nothing
unkind about him, but I can not and will not
permit him personal strictures and his bad mis
statement of historical facts to go unchallenged.
"The president's criticism of Mr. Underwood
and myself, which is essentially a criticism of
all democrats in the house and senate because
all democrats stood together, is absolutely un
called for and it is as ungrateful a performance
as I can remember; for if it had not been for
the action of the democrats in the house in
both the Sixty-first and Sixty-second congresses
In lining up almost unanimously in favor of
reciprocity with Canada, he would have been
the most thoroughly discredited and humiliated
president since the days of Andrew Johnson.
"With all the influence and patronage of his
great office, he could not muster a' majority of
house republicans for reciprocity in either the
Sixty-first or the Sixty-second congresses. After
we pulled him out of the hole in the Sixty-first
congress, he wrote a letter of thanks to Mr.
HcCall, of Massachusetts and the republicans
but said not a word of thanks to the democrats.
"When we repeated the performance of pull
ing out of the hole in the Sixty-second congress,
ho did divide the thanks between democrats and
republicans, that was after I and other demo
crats had expressed our opinions with consider-
able force and bluntness about his letter of
thanks to Mr.McCall.
"The president says we did not play politics
about reciprocity but that we did play politics
about the taTiff. The only politics we played
was to keep faith with the people and to reli
giously redeem the promises we made in order
to win the election in 1910 which is the best
and noblest sort of politics.
"If any politics was played on reciprocity,
the president himself played it personal at
"He seems to think that we ought to have
adjourned so soon as reciprocity was disposed
of that is, he seems to think that congress is
composed of a lot of school boys to be ordered
about by him as head teacher; but he was fore
warned by both Mr. Underwood and by myself
that If he called the extraordinary session we
would pass tariff bills and such other bills as
the democrats deemed advisable. He will not
deny that statement.
"We made the best record of constructive
'statesmanship made by any congress In the
game length of time in a generation and that
fact is precisely what caused the president to
assail the democrats in congress.
"He has said the rates of Schedule K in the
Payne tariff bill were too high and should be
reduced. We reduced them. In the teeth of
his Winona speech and his other declarations
to the effect that said rates were too high and
ought to bo reduced, ho vetoed our wool bill,
which largely reduced the rates and would have
greatly relieved the people by giving them much
cheaper clothing and blankets. Ho vetoed it,
thereby going over boots and breeches to the
"We cheerfully met him on that Issue. Wo
stand for the best interests of tho masses. By
his veto he enables a handful of protected tariff
barons to continue to levy unjust and exorbitant
tribute upon the consumers of tho land. Ho
appears to hope that the consumers will kiss his
hand, which is tho hand that smoto them sorely.
"The president endeavors to convoy tho im
pression that Mr. Underwood and I advocated
his tariff commission. Wo did no such thing.
What Mr. Underwood and I did advocate and
vote for was a board of tariff experts to bo
governed by and made responsible to tho house
in general and to the committeo on ways and
means in particular; because the house is
charged by the constitution with tho duty of
originating revenue bills.
"We were never in favor of a tariff board or
commission under tho control of tho president
alone and responsive to him only.
"The president's taTiff board is composed of
able and well informed men in a general way.
I know that my friend Hon. William Howard is.
I have served In congress with him many years
and rate his capacity high, but ho is not a tariff
expert. So far as I have been able to learn, tho
others aro not experts.
"On the other hand, several members of tho
house, both republicans and democrats, includ
ing Mr. Underwood and myself, have spent a
half a lifetime studying and debating the tariff.
"It will be noted that while tho president's
conscience would not permit him to sign a bill
revising even one schedule, the wool schedule,
the rate of which he declared to be too high and
in need of reduction, without recommendation
from his board of non-experts, ho promptly
signed the outrageous Payne-Aldrich tariff bill
without the counsel, advice or tuition of any
tariff board whatsoever.
"That bill was so bad that In a house with
a republican majority we lacked only five votes
of killing it by recommitting it.
"That day twenty-four patriotic republicans
voted with us, among them Hon. J. R. Mann,
the present republican minority leader.
"It might as well be understood now as
later that if the tariff board is to be used as a
pretext for delaying tariff revision downward,
as the president is now using it, instead of
expediting genuine and salutatory tariff re
vision, its days will be few for we will cut off
its supplies. This board has already cost three
or four hundred thousand dollars and has not
given to congress any information to aid in
revising the tariff.
"Mr. Underwood and I did say that we would
gladly receive information on the tariff from
any body possessing it; but we never did say
and never will say that we, together with other
members well informed on the subject, must
wait until the president's board might get ready
to make recommendations.
"Tho president himself is a man of large
general information, as well as a man of great
ability, but he is not enough of a tariff expert
to justify him In vetoing tariff bills, which
passed the house by majorities of more than
two to one. It is not a flippant or unfriendly
statement to say that he possessed only the
'surface information' on tho tariff as Governor
DIngley denominated it which is possessed by
every citizen well informed in a general way.
"The president implies that he refused to
sign the wool bill because it was introduced and
rushed through without due consideration.
Let's see. Tho caucus of democratic members
elect to the house and congress met January
19 and selected the democratic members of the
committeo on ways and means, making Mr.
Underwood chairman. They, with their helpers,
at once began to assemble Information on the
wool schedule. ' The bill was reported to the
house about the middle of April, a period of
three months, on the preparation of one
schedule out of fourteen. Whereas the hearing
on the Payne bill with fourteen schedules be
ginning November 11, and the bill was reported
to tho house March 1 8, a period of a llttlo over
four months, devoted to fourteen schedules.
Any beginner in arithmetic knows that If it
takes three months to one schodulo and tho
framors of tho Payne bill devoted on tho aver
age only 2-7 of one month to each schodulo, wo
devoted 10 I tmes as much tlmo to a schodulo
as did Payno and his coadjutors on tho ways
and means committee.
"However and notwithstanding this tho presi
dent signed tho Payne-Aldrlch-Smoot bill and
vetoed ours. In this connection It should not
bo forgotten that when Mr. Underwood roportod
tho wool bill, every line, paragraph and section
was thoroln open to debato and that tho debato
continued until the members discussed it all
they wanted to. Instead of being slapped to
gether hastily without duo consideration It was
one of tho most thoroughly and carefully con
sidered tariff hills ever presented to any presi
dent for his signature.
"In view of the foregoing facts, It must bo
that the president forgot that all men aro
entitled to a qquare deal when ho uttered this
monstrous and prepostorous sentence:
" 'The bills bear intornal ovldcncc of tho fact
that they rested on a basis of not tariff for
revenue only, but tariff for politics only.'
"Really I do not see how ho could find It in
his heart to utter the foregoing words for which
thero is no basis of fact in tho universe.
" 'Never in tho government's history, I ven
ture to say, have Important public Interests been
dealt with In such a light hearted way, with
such absolute Ignorance of the effect of legis
lation and with such willingness to sacrifice
business interests to political oxlgenclos.'
"That is as reckless, as unfair a statement as
has been put Into print since Gutenberg In
vented movable type, and It is a personal reflec
tion on the senao, honesty, integrity and pa
triotism of every man, democrat or republican,
who voted for the bill. I resent them not for
myself alone but for all who voted as I did.
"That was a queer and suggestive picture
for democrats and tariff reform republicans to
contemplate. The president making a standpat
speech at Hamilton, Mass., on tho farm of my
good standpat friend Hon. August Peabody
Gardner, flanked on one side by Brother Gard
ner himself and on tho other by Gardner's
father-in-law, Henry Cabot Lodge, chief of pro
tective tariff highbinders. That was enough to
make a sweep.
"Tho president rushed In to create an Issue.
Wo pick up tho glove flung Into our faces and
the faces of the consumers of tho land. We
gladly accept his gage of battle. We confidently
believe that tho people will indorse our causo
and give to us the victory, for wo have right
and truth and justice on our side."
From the Index-Appeal, an authority on the
war between tho states, we learn that "trust
prices aro worse than war prices," that Is to
say, tho prices of articles In dally use are
higher now than thoy were fifty years ago, when
tho exodus of men from fallow fields to the
front left few producers at home. A statistician
has gathered figures showing tho prices of vari
ous articles in war time and now in trust time.
These figures show that In some cases trusts
are moro deleterious than cannon and charging
War Tlmo Article. ' Now.
$4.10. Flour.
14c a pound. Pork.
3c a pound. Hams.
8c-12c a pound. Lard.
15c-20c a lb. Butter.
14c a pound.
10c-18c a lb.
30c-35c a gal.
6c a pound.
5c a pound.
13c-16c a lb.
18c-20c a pound.
20c-28c a pound.
12J&C a pound.
30c-35c a pound.
35c a pound.
6c-7c a pound.
32c-38c a gallon.
15c a pound.
20c a pound.
25c-40c a pound.
Flour, it will be seen, sold for $3.65 the bar
rel less than fhat it sells for now. Yet there
aro millions of acres producing wheat now that
were not cleared in the sixties. The increase in
the total number of acres of cultivable land in
the United States, due to tho development of
the west and to irrigation has been far greater
than our increase in population. Improved
transportation, as the Index-Appeal points out,
should have helped to lower tho cost of bread
stuffs. There is a good deal of truth in the charge
that production in this country is being limited
purposely. Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch.