The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, May 24, 1912, Page 7, Image 7

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    MAY r''1912
The Commoner.
The Roosevelt -Taft Controversy
The Roosevelt-Taft fight goes merrilv on. At
one place in Ohio Mr. Taft said: "I've got tired
of being lied about and held up to the country
as having violated every rule of conduct when
I am not conscious that I have violated any."
In another place he declared that much of
the support now being given Colonel Roosevelt
In his fight for a renominatlon is coming from
men indicted by the Taft administration.
"To say that because a man supports ybu you
are bound up with him is to say something not
justified by the mere fact of his support. If it
were justified I could say that Mr. Roosevelt
ought not to get your votes because all the in
dicted people are supporting him, as they are,
or most of them. Mr. Perkins, a director in the
steel and harvester trusts, was influential
enough in the last administration to prevent
suits against them," he said. "He is not in
fluential enough now. He is a contributor to
Mr. Roosevelt's political fund."
In another place the president said: "My
friends, Mr. Roosevelt has introduced the issue
of the bosses. He says that I am the candidate
of the bosses, and he is against them all and
they are all against -him. You have right here,
in northern Ohio, the only man who is in full
commission as a boss, Walter Brown of Toledo,
and he is backed by Dan Hanna, who is associ
ated with all the great interests in northern
Ohio and they own three newspapers. Now that
makes a fine collection, doesn't it? Three great
metropolitan newspapers, a man with unlimited
wealth, associated with all the great special
interests and a boss to represent them in poli
tics. And yet Mr. Roosevelt says Mr. Brown is
a patriot and a progressive. I am not attacking
Mr. Roosevelt because Mr. Brown supports him.
He is just like me and just like any other per
son in politics. He takes the support of any
man who comes to him without asking him for
a certificate of character from the Young Men's
Christian Association."
In one of his speeches Mr. Roosevelt said:
"I came into this fight," he said, "only because
it had become evident that unless I did so there
was not the slightest chance of any progressive
winning the republican nomination. The re-
actionaries recognize this clearly. As a matter
; of fact they are not primarily for Mr. Taft at all.
Every republican in Ohio who votes for any man
except myself is strengthening the reactionary
"Yet Mr. Taft said he believed he would win
the nomination, because he believes the Chicago
convention will be organized by friends of the
constitutional government. I ask you to re
member just who these friends of constitutional
government are upon whom Mr. Taft relies.
They are his campaign manager, Mr. McKinley;
Mr. Lorimer from Illinois; Mr. Penrose, from
Pennsylvania; Messrs. Guggenheim and Evans,
from Colorado; Mr. Gallinger, from New Hamp
shire; Mr. Barnes, from New York, and Mr.
Keating from Indiana. And I could go on in
definitely. ".When Mr. Taft says the Chicago convention
will be controlled by the friends of constitu
tional government he means that it will be con
trolled by men such as Messrs. Lorimer, Barnes
and Penrose, and by the delegates fraudulently
seated from states like Washington, where they
"would be avowedly seated, not" because they
represented the people, but because they do not
represent the people.
"Mr. Taft is mistaken. The Chicago conven
tion will not be controlled by fraud and force
in this manner. The attempt to so control it
will be unsuccessful and if successful, it will
merely mean the ruin of the republican party."
' Here is a United Press dispatch: Toledo, O.,
May 17. Colonel Roosevelt jumped into south
ern Ohio this morning after addressing 8,000
persons hero last night. "His speech ras a much
milder arraignment of Taft policies than any he
lias uttered within the last few days. 'Ho de
voted some time to praising .Walter. Brown, of
;this city, who is at the head of the Roosevelt
organization here.
' "If any one chooses to call that typo of man
a boss, all right, it's a matter of preference for.
them to do so," said Roosevelt. The great
crowd was interested rather than enthusiastic.
There was no demonstration in the streets when
Roosevelt passed to and from tiie hali, . Rp,qse
;velt at;v$ce in .Qrowd:
"How .about .PjBridm,?" , Tcopnc; looked M
the direction of the questioner. , and, .sharnjy
3ked: "What do you know about PerkinsT'
Then a deep voice answered: "All right,
colonel, ho's drunk."
There was tho sound of a scuffle, as somebody
was pitched out of tho hall.
Following is an Associated Press dispatch:
Washington, May 17. President Taft's secre
tary, Charles D. Hilles, appeared unexpectedly
in Washington today, and at tho white houso
gave out a statement concerning tho delay in
the prosecution of the International Harvester
company during President Roosevelt's adminis
tration in 1907. It was not known hero that
Mr. Hilles had left President Taft's party in
Ohio. Ho went to join tho president again to
night. "I have come to Washington to get United
States Attorney Townsend's statement in refer
ence to the harvester trust," says the statement.
Townsend was, in 1907, one of tho attorneys
in the department of jUBtice,and made an in
vestigation of charges against tho International
Harvester company.
"It shows conclusively," tho statement con
tinues, "that President Roosevelt compelled his
attorney general to discontinue tho harvester
prosecution in tho fall of 1907, eighteen months
prior to the colonel's retirement from office.
"President Roosevelt's term expired two years
after tho matter had been placed in tho hands
of the prosecuting officer as tho result of an in
vestigation. It is quite apparent from tho
record that civil and criminal proceedings were
about to begin; that about a year and a half
before President Roosevelt went out of office
George W. Perkins took a hand in matters, and
that in a remarkably short time thereafter tho
whole matter was suppressed, stifled, strangled,
or put through some other process, which by
. whatever name you call it, I have no doubt was
quite satisfactory to tho harvestor trust. If
anybody was responsible for it besides Presi
dent Roosevelt and officials acting directly under
his instructions it does not appear from tho
"Mr. Townsend began his inquiry in the
spring of 1906. In February, 1907, Mr. Bona
parte transmitted Townsend's report to United
States District Attorney Sims at Chicago, in
structing him to take up tho matter with a
view to the institution of criminal prosecution
against the individuals and corporations impli
cated. Mr. Townsend recommended prosecu
tion. "Sims wrote that if tho report proves to be
correct, it is my judgment that civil proceedings
can be successfully maintained against
the harvester trust, and probably evidence could
be secured to convict the corporation and pos
sibly a number of the individuals concerned.
"There was more delay, of which Senator
HanBborough complained to Mr. Roosevelt, and
Mr. Bonaparte wrote to the senator that the case
would receive immediate attention. An effort
was made on the one hand to proceed with tho
prosecution; on the other hand to secure delay
through a protracted investigation by the
bureau of corporations.
"In his written statement Townsend says that
in the spring of 1908 he was abruptly ordered
to the Pacific coast to begin another investiga
tion, and was therefore compelled to drop -the
harvester matter. He says: t
" 'Attorney General Bonaparte told mo the
reason why I had not been authorized to insti
tute the harvester trust suits. Shortly after I
left Washington in thespring of 1907 tho har
vester trust people in some way learned of ray
report and asked permission of Attorney
General Bonaparte to file a written statement
by way of defense. Mr. Bonaparte considered
the statement (of the harvester trupt) not only
insufficient by way of defense, but as a direct
admission of all the essential facts, showing a
violation of the anti-trust law.
" 'Shortly afterward, Mr. Perkins (the or
ganizer of the harvester trust") called upon Mr.
Bonaparte, in company with Herbert Knox
Smith, and, I think, Cyrus H. MpCormick. They
requested Mr. Bonaparte to accompany them on
a visit to President Roosevelt for the purpose
of persuading, the president to refrain from
prosecuting the harvester trust. '.Mr. Bonaparto
refused to do so, on the ground that the written
statement filed by the harvester trust was in
pffecta qonfesplon.o'f a violatfon of the law, and
'thdreforerVhft lMrr gon,aparf;e) wou$ not gtultj
,ffB&T$ by ,iflmpprizing witty jtto u& in
"S'ffiffjtff WfperWns and W 88ffii8S5?d
I .think Mr. McCormlck) wont out and succeeded
in persuading him not to prosecute tho harvester
trust and shortly thereafter President RoobovoU
instructed Attornoy Genoral Bonaparto not to
tako action.
" 'Attornoy Genoral Bonaparto gave mo this
explanation for tho purpoBO of assuring mo that
ho had not Intentionally broken his word with
mo In the matter of authorizing me to institute
a suit against tho harvester trust. Mr. Bona
parto plainly Indicated to mo that ho was of
fended by the fact that tho recommendations of
the harvester trust had apparently had moro
weight with tho president than his own recom
mendations and advices.' "
Mr. Hilles then rofers to Colonel Roosevelt's
declaration that none of tho papers In the har
vester trust suit wore ever suppressed and re
views the recent presentation of some of tho
papers to tho Bonato. Th statement then con
tinues: "These papers show that tho harvester trust
was about to bo prosecuted for rebating, but
promised to do better, which promise was satis
factory to the attornoy general. Other trusts,
probably not of tho benevolent varloty, woro
fined for rebating, and had to sottlo in tho
"The suppressed papors show also that Mr.
Perkins was referred to as tho representative of
tho far-reaching Morgan interests; and that Mr.
Perkins said to Commissioner Smith that if tho
harvester trust was going to bo attacked, then
tho Morgan Interests 'were going to fight';
whereupon Mr. Smith wrote to President Roose
velt: " 'It is a vory practical question whether it
is well to throw away now the groat Influence
of tho so-called Morgan Interests.'
"President Roosevelt sent tho report to the
attornoy general with these Instructions:
" 'Please do not file tho suit until I hear from
"Colonel Roosevelt mot the damaging dis
closure by saying that Mr. Taft as a mombor of
the cabinet had advised tho action that subse
quently was taken. He oven alleged that if
his memory served him Mr. Taft made tho mo
tion In cabinet meeting which resulted In sub
stituting an Investigation for a prosecution.
"The records of tho war department were
then introduced by President Taft to show that
in the fall of 1907, during tho full period of tho
correspondence, he was absent from tho coun
try In the Philippines and olsewhere. Colonel
Roosovelt then said that Mr. Taft approved tho
suppression of the suit after his return in
January, 1908.
"This last charge Is disproved by the record
which shows that on November 7, 1907 (Mr.
Taft was out of the country from early in Sep
tember to late in December, 1907) Mr. Herbert
Knox Smith, tho commissioner of tho bureau of
corporations, telephoned Mr. Perkins 'at tho
president's order' that the president took the
view that the bureau's Investigation should
como before the suit.
"Why, then, would the matter be brought be
fore the cabinet for serious consideration In
January, 1908?
"If it was brought before the cabinet in
January, then Mr. Perkins had a 'scoop' of sixty
days on the president's confidential advisers.
"It is significant, too, that the order directed
Commissioner Smith to communicate with Mr.
Perkins of J. P. Morgan & Co., and not with
tho attorney of the harvester trust."
Associated Press dispatch: Washington, May
18. A statement containing portions of a letter
from Former Attorney General Bonaparto, In
which he says that Mr. Taft, as secretary of
war, took part in the cabinet meeting at which
it was decided to withhold prosecution of tho
International Harvester company because of- the
bureau of corporations' investigation, Is Issued
by Senator Dixon at the national headquarters.
Tho statement took the form of that issued from
tho White house by Charles Hilles, secretary
to tho president.
"Nothing more despicable and degrading has
ever occurred In the history of American poli
tics," the statement reads, "than the attempt
of Mr. Taft through deliberate, knowing and
sustained falsehood, to misrepresent tho facts
regarding tho case of tho International Har
vester company, and to avoid personal re
sponsibility for non-action in the court by tho
government against the. company. The state
ment issued atfhe White houso last night Is
8$t a lece of fiiVndaclty that'ljaa characterized
IhV entire 'utterance on this siiWebt!. f
(Continued on Pago 10.)