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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 28, 1913)
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FEBRUARY 28, 1913
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Something About "Joe'' Tumulty, Secretary
to the President
The Now York correspondent for the "Wheel
ing (W. Va.) Register says: When Joseph .P.
Tumulty wan appointed private secretary to
Governor Wilson some years ago friends of the
governor at least a few of them shook their
heads and said they feared he would not "make
good." They did not doubt his ability, but
they feared his youth. They did not suspect
his loyalty and faithfulness, but they hesitated
to trust his experience.
When Joseph P. Tumulty was appointed pri
vate secretary to the next president of the
United States, Woodrow Wilson, the other day,
these same doubters brought their fists down on
their desks and said:
"Best appointment that could have been
made. Will he make good? Hasn't ho made
good? Watch him. He will show Washing
ton somo things."
In selecting Mr. Tumulty as secretary to the
president after, March 4, Mr. Wilson judged the
young man's ability to give the public the presi
dent's official thoughts and actions by his suc
cess as secretary to the governor in helping to
launch Mr. Wilson's career as a statesman. The
names of many men of wide repute were on Mr.
, Wilson's list, but he joyously struck them all
off, pinning his faith on Mr. Tumulty, whose
experience in things political has been limited
to New Jersey, because 'of his abiding faith in
the young man's common sense, integrity and
good judgment, and his devotion to the new
progressive doctrines. Besides, the president
elect and his family have a genuine liking for
Mr. Tumulty knows that he is stepping into
one of the most important positions in the
country. He knows it is beset with stumbling
blocks and harassing details of all kinds. To
fill it properly as has been shown by such men
as Daniel S. Lamont, George B. Cortelyou and
TVilliam Loeb, Jr., one has to foe at once a poli
tician a diplomatist, a statesman, a tactician,
and a "jollier."
In addition ho must be acquainted with men
in all walks of life in all parts of the coun
try and must be intimately familiar with all
matters, large and small, which are pending
before congress, the president or the cabinet.
Ho must know whether or not the president can
be interrupted. He must know when Senator
Smith or Jones or Johnson calls whether he
shall keep them waiting or apprise the presi
dent at once of their presence. He must know
whom to dismiss without even bothering the
president with an announcement. Ho must
know when to step quietly into the president's
inner office and in some adroit manner do some
thing to let the visitor who is taking too much of
the president's time know that it is time to
go. But he must not offend. To offend con
tinually is the surest path to the downfall of
the secretary most of all a secretary to the
president. As has been shown in the past, a few
errors of judgment In dealing with the big. men
who call constantly at the White House can not
only embarrass the administration "but render
the secretary useless to further services.
All matters of importance which come before
the president first pass through his secretary.
All matters of importance wliich the president
Initiates are talked over with the secretary.
This latter Is done for the double purpose of
acquainting the secretary with all the facts and
phases of the matter and also to get his judg
ment. Mr. Tumulty has been in the New Jersey state
limelight since the beginning of 1907, but he
has been "in politics" since he was a school-boy,
when he began making campaign speeches for
democratic "regulars." He is n.ow in his thirty
third year. He served four years in the as
sembly, hewing an independent course, defeat
ing the political bosses on several occasions. He
attracted the attention of the president-elect,
then president of Princeton university, and re
tired to "private life" in 1910. At the same
time Mr. Wilson was nominated for governor.
They did not become acquainted until the cam
paign got under way, and they have been close
friends ever since.
Mr. Tumulty was appointed secretary to the
governor in January, 1911, and continued In
that office, giving Mr. Wilson the benefit of his
knowledge about the 'ways of New Jersey poli
ticians, even after he was made clerk of the
New Jersey supremo court in November, 19i2.
That, in brief, Is the political history of tho
man who will be the next president's secre
tary at tho White House.
Mr. Tumulty has always lived in tho fifth
ward of Jersey City, a neighborhood of hats and
tenement houses with an unsightly Little Italy
stretching along tho rugged edge of the ward.
It was hero that Joe Tumulty later did much
missionary work as a democratic progressive,
which helped Mr. Wilson to make unpopular the
tactics of the democratic bosses.
Mr. Tumulty's boyhood days were spent In
an atmosphere of politics. His father, Philip
Tumulty, father of thirteen children, was. a
politician before him. All his neighbors talked
politics in the old Fifth ward for lack of other
diversions, and young Tumulty jcaught the spirit
of the ward early. While ho was still a pupil
at St. Peter's college In Grand street, Jersey
City, conducted by the Jesuit fathers, he decided
he would be a statesman.
As a small boy attending St. Bridget's paro
chial school, Tumulty had. a very boyliko idea
that when he grew to bo a man ho would be a
first-class carpenter. His former playmates
from the flats and tho tenements tell stories
about Joe to the effect that his oft expressed
desire to bo a carpenter was based largely on
his liking for little Mary Catherine Byrne, whoso
father, Patrick Byrne, a church carpenter and
builder, lived a short distance from the Tumul
ty home. Mr. Tumulty spent much of his time
among the shavings and saw-horses in Mr.
Byrne's shop, and he daily saw little Mary.
They attended tho parochial school together and
frequently walked home together with Mary's
book tucked under his arm. Tho union was a
success in every particular, Mr. Tumulty de
clares, and he ought to know, as ho is tho father
of six children, two boys and four girls.
Mr. Tumulty studied law after his graduation
from St. Peter's and was .admitted to tho bar
as an attorney in 1902. His practice was con
fined to the trial of small cases.
It was root until after his election as gover
nor that Mr. Wilson learned that Bob Davis,
tho Hudson county boss, and former United
States Senator James Smith, of ."Ussex county,
did not take seriously Mr. Wilson's determina
tion that James B. Martjnc, the farmer orator,
who had received a plurality at the first New
Jersey preferential primaries for United States
senator, was entitled to election by tho state
Mr. Tumulty was the first Hudson county
democrat of prominence to volunteor his ser
vices to Mr. Wilson to carry on tho fight to
bring tho bosses to time. Mr. Wilson won his
fight and Martine was elected.
It is admitted that Joe Tumulty is a natural
born fighter In politics. Tho Tumulty family
has long prided Itself, on its "tumultuousness,"
and politically Joe Tumulty, like his distin
guished chief, has been progressively tumultu
ous. That is one of tho principal reasons why
ho Is going to Washington.
There is perhaps still further reward to Mr.
Tumulty than being appointed secretary to the
next president. The secretaryship usually leads
to both fame and fortune. Daniel S. Lamont be
came a power in the financial world. He has
been described as the greatest private secretary
to a president in 40 years. Grover Cleveland
trusted his judgment implicitly. George B. Cor
telyou, with a dozen choice offers to select from,
became president of the Consolidated Gas com
pany of New York at a salary which may bo any
where from $50,000 to $100,000. William Loeb,
jr., became collector of the Port of New York
and just recently has been taken up by one of
the largest smelting concerns and placed in
charge of Its administrative affairs.
"THE NEW FREED03I"
A scathing arraignment of "Big Business" Is
contained In President-elect Wilson's pre-in-auguratlon
book, "The New Freedom," a copy
of which was received by the Item recently.
The president-elect not only relteratei his
attacks npon the trusts of tho United States but
sounds a new warning to the great financial in
terests of the country. The work is one of
the most remarkable ever put in the field, both
by reason of tho bitterness of its arraignment
of the present financial system and by Its exploi
tation of a future presidential policy. No other
chief executive of the United States since t)be
declaration of Independence has porformed the
font of Mr. Wilson on the ovo of taking office.
Ho not only attacks tho trusts and monopolies
of tho country, but makes it clear that ho will
do all in his power to legitimately restoro trade
competition and Individual opportunity and to
disentangle community centralization which, ho
snys, has bocomc dangerously co-ordlnntcd.
Mr. Wilson arraigns ex-President Roosevelt
and his program of benevolent monopoly;'
strongly advocates tho policy of tho initiative,
referendum and recall, with the exception of tho
recall of the judiciary; chnrgos tho existence of
a money trust, and expounds at length his politi
cal philosophy. He explains that ho is not tho
actual author of the book, but that it Is a col
lection of tho more suggostlvo portions of his
campaign speeches put togother by William Bay
ard llaio with such Interpolations as would ren
der tho work an actual exposition of Mr. Wil
son's views. Tho book Is signod by Mr. Wilson.
Tho prefaco contains tho following:
"This book is an attempt to express tho now
spirit of our politics and to set forth In largo
terms, which may stick In tho Imagination, what
It Is that must bo done, If wo are to restore our
politics to their spiritual vigor again and our
national life, whether in trade, Industry or In
what concerns us only as families and Individ
uals, to Its purity, its self respect and Chris
tian strength and freedom."
In writing under tho subject, "Monopoly or
Opportunity?" Mr. Wilsoh says:
"I admit tho popularity of tho theory that
tho trusts havo come about through tho natural
development of business conditions In tho United
States and that it is a mistake to try to opposo
tho processes by which they havo been built up.
"I answer, nevertheless, that this attitude
rosts upon a confusion of thoughts. Big busi
ness is no doubt, to a large extent, necessary and
natural. Tho development of business upon a
largo scale, upon a groat scale of co-operation,
is inevitable and, let mo add, Is most probable.
But that is a very different matter from tho
growth of trusts, because trusts have not grown;
they havo been artificially created.
"For my part I want tho pigmy (littlo busi
ness) to havo a chance and I foresee tho time
when tlio pigmies will bo so much more athletic
than tho giants that It will be a case of Jack-the-Giant-Killor.
I take my stand absolutely, whore
every progressive ought to take his stand, on
tho proposition that private monopoly Is inde
fonslblo and intolerable And I will fight my
battle. And I know how to fight It. I am per
fectly willing that they (tho trusts) should
best any competitor by fair means; but I know
tho foul means they have adopted and 1 know
that they can bo stopped by law. What wo want
to do Is to disentangle this colossal 'community
of interests.' "
After an analysis of progressive party tenets,
Mr. Wilson finds that "tho now party legalizes
monopoly and systematically subordinates work
ing, men to them and to plans mado by tho
government both with regard to wages and with
regard to employment."
"Take the thing as a whole," says Mr. Wilson,
"and It looks strangely like economic mastery
over tho very lives and fortunes of those who
do tho dally work of the nation; and all this
under the overwhelming power and sovereignty
of tho national government.
"Tho man who Is leading the new party has
not changed his point of view since he was
president of tho United States; It Is surprising
that such a man was not again chosen president
of the United States and allowed to patent tho
present processes of Industry and personally
direct them how to treat the people of tho United
"Our system of credit Is privately concen
trated. The growth of the nation, therefore,
and all our activities are in the hands of a few
men who, even if their actions are honest,
necessarily check and chill and destroy genuine
economic freedom. The great monopoly of this
country is a monopoly of credit. So long as that
exists, our old variety and freedom and individ
ual energy of development are out of the ques
tion." Mr. Wilson alleges that monopoly has mado
Invention unwelcome and almost impossible, and
warns tho republican party that it Is being de
luded into playing false. He reiterates hln in
tention of pruning the republican protective
tariff but scouts the idea that he Is an advocate
of free trade.
The book will undoubtedly create a sensa
tion throughout the country coming, as it does,
as a forecast of what is' to bo expected of
the democratic administration. Mobile (Ala.)
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