The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, January 26, 1912, Page 3, Image 3

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    5S!!Si?g5www'fPwy,fwyTTi'','T"TwTT;" wwpwwupipwwyywy
."( y, f
t.,FwrT" ;
- ir t fT"""
The Commoner.
Supreme Court "Pulled the Teeth" of
the Sherman Law
Mr. Bryan has contended that the supreme
court Standard Oil decision in which the court
legislated the word reasonable into the statutes
eliminated the criminal clause of the Sherman
anti-trust law. That this is the view also taken
by trust lawyers is evident from many pleas
recently filed. It is particularly shown in court
proceedings at Detroit described in the follow- .
ing dispatch:
Detroit, Jan. 16. Whether the recent Stand
ard Oil decision of the United States supreme
court did not eliminate the criminal feature
from the Sherman anti-trust law was a question
that arose today in the United States district
court. Arguments were in progress before
Judge A. C. Angell on a motion made in behalf
of the Colwell Lead company, of New York, to
quash indictments in the government's case
against the "bathtub" trust.
Former District Attorney Frank H. Watson,
special counsel for the government, sent a tele
gram to Washington to summon Edward B.
Grosvenor, special assistant to the attorney
general, and Mr. Grosvenor is expected to appear
before Judge Angell Thursday and argue for the
government against the motion. There will bo
no hearing tomorrow.
Likelihood of a postponement of the trial,
which is set for January 30, appeared this after
noon when Judge Angell received with evident
interest a suggestion from Attorney Henry E.
Bodman, for Ihe defense, that if the pending
motion to quash was sustained, the government
could appeal at once directly to the United
States supreme court, wjiile if the ruling was
against the defense, the matter could not reach
the supremo court until after an expensive trial.
"If I dismiss the case, it seems that my ruling
could be reviewed by the supreme court of the
United States," commented Judge Angell, after
hearing Mr. Bodman's suggestion.
Mr. Bodman had argued that if the conten
tions f'dised by 'the defense were' found by Judge
Angell to be of sufficient force to justify atten
tion at the hands of the United States supreme
court, it would not only be better for the two
score defendants in the case, who are scattered
all over the country, .but would be more in har
mony with the general principles of justice, if
a supreme court decision dould be obtained be
fore the defendants and the government had
been put to 'the expense of a long trial.
President Taft's name was injected into the
case today when Attorney Bodman, arguing in
favor of the motion to quash, said:
"If the Sherman law had been shown to Judge
Taft when it was being drafted, if ho had been
asked whether it could be sustained as a crimi
nal act, and if it was so drawn that a person
.subject to its provisions could not teU until
ho had been tried whether he had violated the
act or not, Judge Taft would, in my judgment,
have advised that such a statute could not be
' Mr. Bodman referred to the Sherman law
under present conditions as a veritable trap in
which a man might suddenly find himself liable
to imprisonment after having conducted his
business carefully with the advice of lawyers.
"The United States department of justice is
not the great oppressive machine pictured yes
terday by counsed for defendant," declared
Attorney Frank H. Watson in opposing the mo
tion to quash indictments in the government's
criminal case against the "bath-tub" trust.
"I never knew of a case," he continued,
"where a rat was pinched that it didn't squeal,
and probably the department does appear op
pressive to those who disobey the law.
"We do not believe that this court is in
terested in the conduct of the department of
justice, as long as the papers presented here
are legal and fairly set forth a case."
Mr. Watson declared that he himself examined
before the grand jury witnesses whom counsel
for the Colwell Lead company of New York de
clared did not appear and that the government
in its investigation found that of the American
proportion of 93 pe cent of the world supply
of enameled sanitary supplies, the defendants
controlled 85 per cent.
Judge Angell asked if there would not be
some force to the contention of the defense if it
appeared that the grand jury acted entirely on
hearsay evidence. Mr. Watson in reply cited
a court decision to bear out his contention that
the presumption was that the jury acted on
competent evidence.
Mr. Watson declared that the tariff, which was
mentioned yesterday, had no bearing on the
case, that it was quito a different matter to raise
prices through an economic policy from raising
them through a business combination that
obliterated competitors.
The constitutionality of the Sherman anti
trust law, ho declared, had been declared by the
supremo court within the last few weeks in the
Swift case.
Judge Angell said this was perhaps the first
time a court had been asked to decide whether
an Indictment under the Sherman law must
classify an alleged restraint of trade as unreason
able within the meaning of the Standard Oil
"A judge Is placed in a very delicate position
in having to pass upon that point at this time,"
he said.
The Carnegie Steel company had a book value
of $84,000,000 at the organization of the United
States Steel corporation in 1901. But Mr. Mor
gan for tho trust paid $420,000,000 in first
mortgage bonds to get it, and Mr. Carnegie says
he has since learned that Mr. Morgan would
have offered $100,000,000 more had the Car
negie crowd held out. -
Tho difference between the Carnegie book
value and what the Morgan Steel trust would
have paid is $436,000,000. Mr. Carnegie affects
the belief 'that this sum chiefly represents actual
value. He is evidently mistaken. It was the
monopolistic measure of Mr. Carnegie's com
petitive "trouble" value in tho steel industry
at that time.
The Carnegie plan had large trouble value
when the earlier monopolizers, Moore & Co.,
talked of ,$250,000,000 for it. It added enor
mously to that trouble value by threatening to
build a great tube-works at Conneaut, 0., by
which prices were to be cut $10 a ton. And Mr.
Morgan paid the troublo price for what? To
preserve trouble and competition, or to get rid
of them?
The question answers itself. There was tho
intent to monopolize in the building of tho
Steel corporation, and the measure of proof of
the intent is in hundreds of millions of dollars.
But even though there was intent to monopo
lize, has there been the effect of monopoly in
the Steel trust? Mr. Roosevelt has proved a
negative to his own satisfaction. He has shown
that the trust controls less than 55 per cent of
the country's output, of which less than 2 per
cent belongs to tho Tennessee Coal and Iron
company, which he allowed the trust to absorb.
He has said:
"I do not believe that these figures can be
successfully controverted, and if not success
fully controverted they show clearly not only
that the acquisition of the Tennessee Coal and.
Iron properties wrought no change in the status
of the Steel corporation but that the Steel cor
poration during the decade has steadily lost
Instead of gained in monopolistic ch'aractor."
But Mr. Carnegie now declares that "the day
of competition is over" in the steel trade. It
is over because combination has reduced control
to ci few men who can sit down together and
"agree to fix prices and maintain them." And
he comes to the same conclusion so illoglcally
reached by Mr. Roosevelt control of prices by
government instead of by competition.
Mr. Carnegie unwittingly proves an intent to
monopolize against the Steel corporation. He
now asserts a monopolistic effect of which he
is so great a beneficiary. And what was likely
to be the consequence to competition of massing
over half an industry in a $1,500,000,000 entity?
If the Steel trust has been losing in monopolistic
character it is no fault of Mr. Roosevelt. But
it still retains that character and Mr. Carnegie's
word is hardly needed to prove it. New York
Everything at the recent Jackson Day dinner
in Washington was as smooth as silk. There
was not a cloud in the sky, not a discordant
note, and as Dr7 Cook, the Original Discoverer
of the North Polo, would express it, the ice was
good, tho wcathor fine and tho travelling easy,
Bryan was there and Champ Clark and Marshall
and Hearst and Woodrow Wilson. Tho papers
told about how Mr. Bryan received moro ap
plause' than all tho rest of them put together,
how ho smiled upon this one and paused long
enough to pass tho time of day with that one
and, finally, how ho ongaged himself in earnest
conversation with the governor of Now Jersey
by whom ho sat during tho blissful evening.
Some of tho papers Immediately came to tho
conclusion that he was making his last will and
testament in the interest of the likeliest man,
in some respects, who has appeared In politics
for many years and pictures wero printed of
those twain standing under the full glare of tho
calcium side by side, thinking, perhaps, of
cocked hats or anything else that would inako
them "look pleasant." It looked like such "a
dead sure thing" that when Mr. Bryan reached
Philadelphia, it was reported in one of the
papers of that somnolent community that Mr.
Bryan had declared that "Woodrow Wilson was
tho moBt available of tho democratic presiden
tial candidates and tho most progressive of
any." When Mr. Bryan reached New York, ho
denied that he had over made such statement,
and Is reported by tho Sun as follows:
"It is not true that I spoke of Governor Wil
son as being tho most progressive of tho candi
dates who are being talked of. I want, of
course, as a progressive myself, to see a man
nominated who will represent tho ideas of tho
progressive element; but I did not say that
Governor 'Wilson was tho best representative
of that element. If you wero to ask me now
which o( tho several men who have boon men
tioned as possible nominees I would support as
representing progressiveness, I could not answer
you. I am in doubt and I hope that before any
attempt Is mado to reach an understanding
there will be the fullest discussion of tho quali
fications of those who are being talked of as
possibilities. For myself I want more light be
fore I commit myself to anyone."
Which is to say that all tho candidates who
care anything at all for Mr. Bryan's favor are
put on probation, and will have to "come to
time" before they can be assured of good and
regular standing. They are "up against it," as
the street says, and wo shall all watch for signs
of "progressiveness" in them hereafter with
some alarm lest they overdo tho business of
making themselves wholly acceptable to the
man who will not sleep when tho dead have
been awakened, or crouch when tho world Is at
war with tyrants, or fail to make hay while the
harvest is ripe. It would appear from tho story
in the Sun that Mr. Bryan is not at all uncer
tain that he can do a little turn himself in
knocking things into a cocked hat, if he bo
so minded. Charlotte (N. C.) Observer.
Three hours out from Washington, Mr. Bryan
threw off the semblance of reserve and con
firmed the prevailing Impression that he fancies
Woodrow Wilson above the other aspirants.
But the inference is drawn from the language
of his avowal that Bryan's decision Is not final.
That is, Woodrow Wilson's fine points do not
fill Bryan's eye entirely. The field is still open
to competition, and he who in the interim may
have overtaken and surpassed the Jerseyman in ,
keeping the true doctrine to the fore shall enter
the convention carrying the Bryan indorsement.
No effort longer is being made to discount the
supremacy of Bryan. The developments of
Jackson day dispelled all illusions to tho con
trary. The managers of every boom admit
openly or tacitly that no candidate who does not
come out unreservedly for "progressive" Bryan
ism stands any sort of chance to get the nomi
nation. This is hardly in the nature of news
to the conservative wing of the democratic
party, which body of voters, as this newspaper
said a day or so agp, already have come to
understand that their votes are not wanted.
They are the allies of plutocracy, whereas the
money devil plank in the Baltimore platform is
to have preference over the declaration on the
tariff, if Bryan's express wishes are respected.
Bryan's nominal choice of a candidate nar
rows the field of speculation in the east, owing
to tho general belief that no man could go
farther than Woodrow Wilson has gono and still
retain the confidence and support of the bulk of'
the party. This aspect of the new situation Is a
matter of rejoicing in the camps of the western
candidates, with the exception of Harmon. They
may go as far as they like, which is vastly far
ther than the last dares go without Counting
public opinion of all shades.
. The Crystallization of Bryan feeling, follow-
, i w WJiWat4.