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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 27, 1911)
VOLUME li, NUMBER 42
The Beef Trust, the Courts and the Law's
Delay A Lesson for the Hour
B. 0. Flower, in tho Twentieth
Century Magazine: As a concroto
example of the broak-down or tho
essential inefficiency of our present
unrepresentative government or, to
bo more exact, government represen
tative of privileged interests and ma
chino politicians tho nine-year
record of tho government's attempt
; to meto out justice to the law-defying
beef trust is impresslvo and valu
able to thoughtful friends of popu
lar sovereignty. Surely, no sane man
Imagines that Buch inefficiency, such
: delay and governmental impotence as
are hero exemplified could bo pos
elble under a genuinely popular rep
resentative government, like that
.'which prevails in Oregon, for ex
ample, or in Switzerland, or even in
England, where the government is
far more representative of tho will
- of tho voters than in America since
1 the feudalism of privileged wealth
' and tho party bosses have become
the master politcal influences.
Tho Record of Nino Years of
Recently the New York World
published a detailed chronicle of the
nine years' pretended effort of the
republican administrations, under
Presidents Roosevelt and Taft, to ob
tain a decision in regard to the
charges of law violation on the part
Subscripts' flflvormtofl Dew.
This department is for the benefit
of Commoner subscribers, and a special
rate of six cents, a word per insertion
ih n lowost rate has been made for
them. Addross all communications to
The Commoner, Lincoln, Nebraska.
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of tho beef trust. Here Is the
humiliating historic record:
May 10 Government flies petition
for an injunction against tho beof
trust in tho federal court in Chicago.
May 20 Judge Peter S. Grosscup
issues temporary Injunction.
Soptember 10 Packers file a do
murror, alleging they are not engaged
in Interstate commerce.
February 18 Judgo Grosscup over
rules tho demurrer and orders tho tem
porary injunction to remain In force,
giving tho packers till March 2, 1903,
to answor, appeal or default.
March 1 Counsol for packers an
nounce their intention of appealing to
supremo court of tho United States
against tho overruling of thoir de
murrer, but do not do so. Judgo Gross
cup then Axes April 18 as the date for
the packors to illo answer to the gov
May 27 Judge Grosscup makes tho
Injunction permanent, and tho packers
entor an appeal to tho supremo court
against tho injunction.
June Mr. Cortelyou, as secretary of
commerce and labor, orders Commis
sioner of Corporations Garfleld to in
vestigate tho beef trust.
Tho government, considering tho
Grosscup injunction as a complete vic
tory, waits for tho defendant packers
to ask tho supremo court to fix a date
for hearing tho appeal.
July 25 President Roosevelt orders
tho department of justice, through At
torney Goneral Moody, to advanco tho
beef trust case to tho calendar of tho
United States supreme court in order
that it might bo tried early in October.
January A Briefs filed in the su
premo court by both tho government
and tho packers.
January 16 Beef trust case argued
tion of railroad rebates to the packers
and violations by tho latter of tho
anti-trust law is begun in Chicago.
February 9 Renewed investigation
by a federal grand Jury of charges of
rebating and prlce-flxing, and effort
by government to provo "that the meat
trust exists and that tho National
Packing company is Its operative ma
March 21 Attorney General Wicker
sham flies a petition against the beef
trust tho National Packing company
and ten subsidiary corporations for
restraint of trade.
September 12 Federal grand jury
returns three indictments each against
L.. F. Swift, Edward H. Swift, Charles
H. Swift, Francis A. Fowler, Edward
Tllden, J. Ogden Armour, Arthur
Meeker, Thomas J. Conners, Edward
Morris, Louis H. Hoyman.
September 12 Following these in
dictments tho government flies a civil
suit for the dissblutlon of the National
Pfioklnc comnanv and the appoint
ment of a receiver. In this quit ten
subsidiary corporations and sixteen ad
ditional firms and individuals are
September 13 The packers give ball
in $30,000 apiece.
November 17 Packers protest Judge
Landis on tho grdund that in 1895 he
had been employed as a special assis
tant United States attorney in connec
tion with a prosecution against them
under tho anti-trust act.
December 15 Tho indicments against
the packers are amended and strength
ened. December 24 The packers claim the
right to havo tho civil suit tried bo
fore the criminal indictments.
December 27 Attorney General
Wickersham orders tho civil suit dis
missed in order to avoid delay in tho
December 28 Packers protest
against tho dismissal of the civil suit.
January 2 Judge Carpenter denies
a motion jof the packers that tho gov
ernment bo restrained from proceeding
against them criminally.
March 22 Judgo Carpenter overrules
a demurrer by the packers, who allege
that Judge Humphrey's immunity de
cision, is continuing in its efiects and
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January 31 United States supremo covers all future " time so long as tho
court sustains Judgo Grosscup's .injunc- nct? covered by the 1900 decision re-
hies a motion to quash tho indictment.
April 13 Packers present a special
plea that the anti-trust act itself did
not create any new crime, and henco
oven if the packers disobey the statutes
they are committing no criminal act.
May 17 Packers como Into court
again to have the indictments quashed
on the ground that there had been no
"unreasonable" restraint of trade as
defined by the suprome court in tho
"Standard Oil" decision.
h Juno 3 Packers file briefs asking for
rehearing of their motions to quash
tne inuictment against them.
July 5 Packers plead "not guilty,"
and trial is fixed for November 20, 1911.
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tlon, and tho way is clear for the
federal authorities to nrosecute' and
punish packers who continue fo defy
tho decree of tho lower court.
February 21 Special federal grand
jury called In Chicago to pass on evi
dence of violation of anti-trust law
by packors. Criminals indictments
March 4 Roosevelt transmits to con
gress Commissioner Garfield's roport on
tho beef trust.
March 29 Thomas J. Conners. eron-
eral superintendent of Armour Xr. no..
Indicted for attempting to influence a
witness beforo the grand jury in Chi
cago. April 14 Four officials of tho
Schwarzschlld & Sulzberger Co., In
dicted for obstructing tho service of
July 1 Federal grand Jury in Chi
cago indicts seventeon individuals and
flvo corporations; bonds fixed at $5,000
in cauu tutiu,
September 4 Indicted packers ob
tain an adjournment on thA crrmmri
1 they are not ready to plead.
Soptember" 21 Four officials of tho
I Schwarzschlld & Sulzberger Co, plead
other civilized country would 'such a
record be possible."
Why This Delay in Giving tho
We wish to call special attention
to tho significant admission on tho
part of the World in the first para
graph of tho above editorial, where
it states that these cases haVo been
used as a foot-ball in the federal
courts for more than nine years.
Does the World imagine for a mo
ment that such results would have
been possible if the judiciary had not
been made up largely of attorneys
who had for years been trained to
look at all great corporation cases
through the glasses of the corpora
tion magnates? Does the World
imagine that a judiciary subject to
a popular recall would have per
mitted the beef trust to enjoy im
munity for nearly ten years, while
the people were being systematically
plundered? And finally, does the
World imagine that if the beef trust
and other privilege-enjoying corpora
tions and monopolies had not been
large contributors to the political
campaign funds of the great parties,
the complexion of the judiciary and
of the law-enforcing departments of
the executive government would have
been the same as it is today?
And this brings us to one of tho
greatest fallacies that marks the ar
guments of the enemies of the judi
Prevailing Conditions Inimical to on
An independent judiciary made up
of corporation lawyers whose rise to
distinction, wealth and power has
been largely due s to their success in
fighting for privileged wealth against
popular rights and the laws of the
land, Is an impossibility, unless that
judiciary is subject to the sovereign
power in popular government the
people. And in saying hia, it is not
necessary to Infer tnatthe' judiciary
is corrupt or intentionally recreant
to Its trust, but it. is made up largely
of men whose most intimate busi
ness associates and paying clients
have been and are' master spirits in
Tho Beef Trust's Case Used as a
Foot-Ball in the Federal Courts
In an editorial leader published on
September 5th, the World thus com
ments on this shameful exhibition of
judicial and executive inefficiency:
"Elsewhere on this page we print
a chronology of the beef trust cases,
guilty to conspiracy to obtain showing how they havo been "used
"?FV allro(a,ds " are fined $25,000. as a foot-ball tn the federal courts
wwt,vwa 4u x ttuiwiu iiih a annmn.
7 TVP'L X$vtYla?
plea in bar claiming immunity from
prosecution under tho Indictments on
tho ground that tho evidence on which
it was based had been obtained by the
bureau of corporations under authority
of- congress and that Immunity had
been promised them by Commissioner
November 17 In an official statement
Attorney Gen oral Moody declares that
.no immunity waa promised and that
nuiiu oj. uiw mi urination ootained by
the bureau of corporations had been
used before tho grand Jury.
February 13 Commissiener of Cor
porations Garfield admits" under eath
that he had worked in conjunction
wiui uib uuparunont or. justice, and
. WSt: ?1ITIu.aX? .J,- OUb Humphrey
holds that tho Individuals are Immune
from prosecution under the criminal
indictments, but tho Indictments
against the corporations stand.
Anril 6 Attorn nv ftannrai iuVin.w --
cides that no appeal can bo taken from
Judge Humphrey's decision.
October lSThe department of Jus
tice decides to drop the prosecution.
September ISAnothor federal grand
Jury called In Chicago for the, prosecu
tion of tho packers for violations of the
anii1ruatIaw Is besun In Galea. He
indictments returned. .. .
December 7 Grand Jury lnvostigra-
for more than nine years.
"No other trust so vitally affects
the cost of living; no other trust has
such tremendous power to oppress
every class of citizens from the
richest to the poorest. Yet the gov
ernment's Bo-caned prosecutions have
been a continuing grant of Immunity
and after nine years the first crimi
nal case Is yet to be brought to trial
"Great corporations Nwill never
take the anti-trust law seriously If
the United States government Itself
does not take the law seriously. They
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spect It. The record in this case Is
a disgrace to, American Institutions.
It Is a scandalous thing that with all
Its power the government of the
United States tn nine years has not
yet brought a single packer to the
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