The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 08, 1911, Page 3, Image 3
BSSw W'tWil"wwt wgwi'P yommcii mimyiyfWHMpmMH ft The Commoner. 8EPTEMBER 8, 1911 3 i 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 targets. "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. CALLS IT UNGRATEFUL "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. ' REFERS TO POLITICS "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 that. "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. ; . THE WOOL BILL "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 standpatters. "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 TARIFF BOARD "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. NOT STAND FOR PRETEXT "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. NOT ILL CONSIDERED "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. ASTONISHED AT STATEMENT "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." 1 TRUST PRICES VS. WAR PRICES 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 legions: 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. $7.75. 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. Cheese. Sugar. Molasses. Beef. Shoulders. Coffee. 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. --? i 9i in cUt-.