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CHARLES H. JONES, 1848-1913: EDITOR AND PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT
Thomas S. Graham
© Copyright by
Thomas S. Graham
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
|: From 1869 until 1897 Charles H. Jones was, with few inter-
| ruptions, editing one or more periodical publications. Between
I 1868 and 1907 he wrote or edited more than a dozen books and many
I- magazine articles. In addition to this he carried on a wide cor-
fc ' ■
§ respondence with personal friends, relatives, and political or
I business associates. As a result the present-day researcher is
I . confronted with a formidable amount of published and unpublished
I information relating to his life and career.
I I am indebted': to many individuals and institutions for
S- ■• ' : "■•■,'■■ ■:■.■ :
I their help in locating and making available these materials. I
I also owe a debt of thanks to the people who gave advice and encour-
f > ■
U- agement in the preparation of this study. Mrs. Carl G. Freeman,
Bat Cave, North Carolina, granddaughter of Charles H. Jones,
graciously permitted me to use the Charles H. Jones Papers which
are in her possession. Mr. Richard A. Martin of Jacksonville
made available Xerox copies of most of the material in the Jones
Papers and helped to initiate this project. Professor Julian
Rammelkamp of Albion College pointed out several sources relat-
ing to Jones' career in Missouri journalism and offered many
suggestions relating to interpretation.
I wish to thank Miss Elizabeth Alexander and the staff of
the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, as well as the staff
of the University of Florida Research Library, for their assistance.
Mr. Sherman L. Butler, Interlibrary Loan Librarian, provided inval-
uable aid in locating and securing numerous rare published items
and a large number of microfilmed newspapers. I would also like
to thank the staffs of the following libraries: Haydon Burns
Library, Jacksonville; Florida State Library, Tallahassee; Joint
jjjjiv ■• Universities Library, Nashville; Chicago Public Library; Washing-
U ton University Library, St. Louis; Missouri Historical Society
Library, St. Louis; and St.- Louis Public Library. Copies of the
St. Louis Mirror were made available by the Carol McDonald
Gardner Rare Book Room, St. Louis Public Library.
I am grateful to the members of my graduate committee,
Professors Samuel Proctor, E. A. Hammond, Lyle N. McAlister, Ancil
N. Payne, Claude C. Sturgill, and Manning J. Dauer for their sug-
gestions and evaluations. My committee chairman Samuel Proctor
is due particular thanks for his counsel and criticism and for his
judicious editing of the manuscript.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABSTRACT • v
I A GEORGIA BOY ON PARK ROW 1
NOTES TO CHAPTER I '• • 19
II FROM LITERARY GENTLEMAN TO NEWSPAPER EDITOR ... 23
NOTES TO CHAPTER II 45
III INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM 50
NOTES TO CHAPTER III 73
IV EDITOR AS POLITICIAN 79
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV 115
V FLORIDA'S GREATEST NEWSPAPER 125
NOTES TO CHAPTER V • • • 17 5
VI SPOKESMAN FOR WESTERN DEMOCRACY 188
NOTES TO CHATPER VI . • 254
VII THE SECOND DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 270
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII r 312
VIII EPILOGUE • 323
NOTES TO CHAPTER VIII 327
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
CHARLES H. JONES, 1848-1913: EDITOR AND PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT
Thomas S. Graham
Chairman: Dr. Samuel Proctor
Major Department: History
The present study is an examination of the life and career
of Charles H. Jones. Born in Talbotton, Georgia, before the
Civil War, Jones went to New York after the end of that conflict
in 1865. He became a contributor to several popular magazines,
editor of the Eclectic and co-editor of Appleton's Journal , and
a writer and editor for D. Appleton Company and Henry Holt. He
came to Florida in 1881 and established the Jacksonville Florida
Daily Times , merging it with the Jacksonville Daily Florida Union
in 1883 to form the Jacksonville Florida Times -Union . He was
active in state and national politics and also took part in the
formation of the National Editorial Association and the American
Newspaper Publishers Association. In 1887 he became part-owner
and editor of the St. Louis Republic . He left the Republic in
1893, becoming editor of the New York World , and then, from 1895
to 1897, the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch . During this
time he remained active in politics, both on the state and national
levels. He drafted the Democratic platforms of 1892, 1896, and
1900. He was a correspondent of both Grover Cleveland and William
This study is based on the publications written or edited
by Jones, other contemporary publications, and considerable
manuscript material, including the Charles H. Jones papers.
This study examines Jones' involvement in the intellect-
ual, social, political, and business questions of the second half
of the 19th century. It is particularly concerned with newspaper
history, partisan politics, and major political issues.
A GEORGIA BOY ON PARK ROW
The town of Talbotton lies northeast of Columbus in the
clay hills of Georgia. In antebellum days it was a small but
bright and prosperous community of well kept homes surrounded
by vegetable and flower gardens. Being the county seat and the
only town in the area it was a center of social life and
education. It was there that Charles Henry Jones was born on
March 7, 1848. His mother Susan Eleanor Jones was the daughter
of Stephen Greene, a cousin of General Nathanael Greene, of
Revolutionary War fame, and a cotton buyer in Savannah for a
New England mill. Charles's father was George Washington Jones,
son of a Delaware farmer, who was a dentist and part-time
physician for a health resort at nearby Warm Springs. George W.
Jones was a dark and laconic man, aloof from his children and
rigid in his ideas about family order. He had come to Savannah
where he met and married his wife. Later he moved to Albany,
where his first son James was born. In 1884 the family moved
to Talbotton where a daughter Mary was born, followed by Charles,
a daughter Sidonia, and another son George.
Susan Jones was a serious, diminutive woman of such poor
health that she was confined to her home for many years of
Charles Jones's childhood. She was intelligent and cultivated.
and was very active in the local Episcopal church. Of her
Jones would later write: "She was in many respects the most
remarkable woman I have known, and she was so much to me that
it is hard for me to analyze or discriminate. She trained my
mind and moulded my character. To her more than to all other
human beings, more than to all other influences combined, I am
indebted for what I am, for what I have been, and for what I
have done in the world." J
According to Jones's account of his education, he learned
to point out the twenty-six letters of the alphabet in his
father's prayer book before he could speak, and by the age of
four he was studying geography, arithmetic, grammar, and
history. Part of his lessons involved recitation of long
passages memorized verbatim from the text of school books. His
mother demanded that he master these lessons with perfection,
seldom offering encouragement or praise. At an age when most
children are just beginning to learn to read, he had a tutor,
first for Latin and then Greek. At the age of eleven he was
enrolled as a day student at Collingsworth Institute, a
boarding school for boys located in Talbotton. Because of the
thorough education that he had received at home the teachers
at Collingsworth set up a special course for him and one other
advanced student. Despite the demands of his studies, Jones
used his spare time to read every book that he could borrow.
Sir Walter Scott was the popular southern poet and novelist of
that day, but Jones also read Goldsmith, Bunyan, Defoe, and any
book of history or biography that he could lay his hands on.
"Drum and trumpet" histories were his favorite. An effort was
made to enroll him at the University of Georgia at age thirteen,
Jones recalled, but he was refused because of his youth.
The austere educational regime imposed by his mother,
combined with the absence of fatherly affection, had, as Jones
later realized, "a lasting influence upon my character, affect-
ing my conduct, my attitude towards others, even my views of
life. . . . One result of this attitude of both my parents has
been that during all my life it has been difficult for me to
give expression to my feelings in the customary ways. A reserve,
a reticence, a habit of self-repression has always held me back,
even when I was conscious of it and tried to overcome it."-'
Whether from his family life or from the praise he gained
because of his early precociousness, Jones developed other
lasting traits of character. The "instinct of competition,"
the drive to excel at every undertaking was apparent in him
from his youth. Combined with this striving for success was
a desire that it be rewarded with recognition, and even in
childhood "gratification of vanity" became a primary motivating
force. Competition for success and thirst for praise were to
be the theme of his life.
Among Jones's classmates at Collingsworth were Isidore,
Nathan, and Oscar Straus, the sons of Lazarus Straus, a German
Jew who had recently immigrated to the United States after the
Revolution of 1848. Mr. Straus, who ran a dry goods store, was
a respected man in the community despite his religion and foreign
ways. The Straus family moved North after the Civil War
where they became wealthy in the china importing business and
then acquired part ownership of Macy Company in New York.
Oscar and Isidore Straus became active in politics, the former
being made a member of Theodore Roosevelt's cabinet and minister
to Turkey, and the latter becoming a Congressman from New York.
Both were friends of President Cleveland. Oscar Straus re-
mained a friend of Jones during their adult lives."
Although George Jones owned only one slave, slavery was
a prominent feature of life in Talbotton, and to young Charles
it seemed part of the natural order of things. He grew up near
a town where the evils of slavery were perhaps less conspicuous,
but visited large plantations and would later recall that the
slaves seemed the happiest laborers he ever knew. As he remem-
bered it, "the fields and plantation quarters of the old South
were melodious and cheerful with song and banter and careless
laughter. And the house servants, in particular, were treated
with a geniality, even with a familiarity, that is now unknown
in the South or elsewhere."^ One incident, however, witnessed
as an eight-year-old, convinced him that slavery was somehow
wrong. Having been sent to the town square one day on an
errand, he chanced upon a slave auction being held on the court
house steps. There a slave woman and her child were separated
and sold apart. The anguish of the woman was terrifying to him,
although at the time he did not realize the full implications
of what he had seen. As he grew to manhood he became convinced
that slavery was a curse on slave and master alike. In later
years, Jones "came to the assured conviction that the Civil War
between the South and the North would have been worth all it
cost in money and wealth, in human life and in human anguish,
if it had accomplished nothing more than the overthrow of that
With the coming of the Civil War, life in Talbotton changed.
Although there was never real hunger there, some items such as
salt and coffee became scarce, and the town lost its prosperous
appearance. 11 Nearly all the town's able-bodied men, including
Jones's older brother James, enlisted in the Confederate forces.
Charles, only thirteen when the war broke out, remained behind.
According to family tradition, he once ran away to the war, was
returned home or was brought back by his father, and then en-
listed or re-enlisted during the last months of the conflict.
Later references made by Jones seem to confirm this story. His
first enlistment may have come in late 1863 or early 1864, in
time for him to see action in the Battle of Atlanta. 13 He was
home some time in 1864 and described himself as then "a soldier
who had been through the nerve-wracking scenes enacted on
battlefields." 14 In the fall of 1864 he rejoined the army and
was with Hardee's troops when they evacuated Savannah, escaping
across pontoon bridges on the Savannah River in the face of
Sherman's army. 15 As an old man he would recall to his grand-
daughter the depths to which the troops were brought during the
closing days of the war. At one time he said they were reduced
to eating vermin and chewing shoeleather, and when by chance,
he encountered his brother James in the field, he begged two
slices of bread from him, although James was hardly better off
than himself. 16 At the war's end Jones was in Columbus, Georgia,
where he was paroled by federal officers in July, 1865. "Seeing
that the South was strewn with the wreckage of war and would
for a long time offer no career to its young men," Jones departed
for the North in August to join his older sister Mary, who was
living with her husband in New York. 17
When Jones arrived in New York he was a slender, delicate
looking young man, seventeen years of age and only five feet
six inches tall. 18 He had a gaunt, hollow -cheeked look, but a
firm mouth and chin. 19 He accepted "a very lowly position"
with a dry goods store on Broadway, but worked his way into a
respectable clerking position within a year. However, he "had
no intentions of remaining in the dry goods business," and,
having saved some money, he embarked on a career as a "literary
In the winter of 1866-1867 he sent his first article to
ex-Confederate General D. H. Hill's magazine Land We Love , and,
much to his surprise , he received an acceptance notice and a
check. 21 Land We Love (later to be called Southern Magazine)
carried stories of the recent war, agricultural articles, poetry,
literary reviews and travel accounts — all aimed at a southern
audience and bearing the stamp of southern views. Following
the custom of the day, many of the articles were unsigned, so
it is impossible to identify Jones's first modest literary
The first article which can definitely be attributed to
Jones appeared in Land We Love in the issue of October, 1868.
It was a description of Chicago, apparently written from an
eyewitness account. His comments were largely favorable. The
industriousness of the people impressed him; the stock yards
and their ancillary facilities seemed a remarkable little city
in themselves, but he decried the lack of an opera house and
the public taste which would demand one. In a companion
article, published in December, 1868, Jones looked at America's
second great interior city, St. Louis. He praised the appealing
southern atmosphere of the city, with its fine churches, great
hotels, and elegant library. St. Louis appeared to move at a
more leisurely pace than its northern neighbor. Its Roman
Catholic heritage he found to be a hinderance, but the river-
front merchants displayed an abundance of energy. 24 Looking
into the future, Jones predicted that the current world-wide
trend toward urbanization would raise up great metropolises through-
out the vast expanses of the United States . He predicted that
either Chicago or St. Louis, the two major interior trade
centers, would become the nation's great city, and Jones
believed that it would be St. Louis: "We see her the seat of
Empire, and of Civilization on this continent — the imperial
metropolis of the West — the great grain emporium of the world."
This vision of St. Louis's future would gain nationwide publicity
in 1881 with the publication of L. U. Reavis's St. Louis the
Future Great City of the World; and Its Impending Triumph .
Soon Jones was writing regularly for several popular
magazines. As he would later admit, most of his writing "was
of the 'pot-boiling' kind, for I had to live by my pen." 2 **
His second article appeared in Putnam's Monthly Magazine , one
of the lively new periodicals carrying lighter reading matter
and using the latest illustrative techniques. Putnam ' s could
not pay top rates for its material, nor did it strive for the
highest standards of literary merit. Another magazine to which
he contributed was Round Table , a general interest magazine
edited by Charles G. Halpine and Henry Sedley which competed
with Nation . No signed articles by Jones appear in Round Table ,
and it is likely that his contributions were in the form of
book reviews or items from the magazine's numerous correspondents,
Literary criticism was the magazine's speciality, which it did
with dash and in a censorious style. '
In 1868 Jones began to write book reviews for the
Eclectic Magazine , an old and respected journal which was
doing a thriving business in the post-war years. The Eclectic
procured its articles by clipping them from British magazines,
an accepted and legal practice in the absence of international
copyright laws. It published short stories, religious essays,
biographical sketches, articles on popular science, and travel
accounts to suit the tastes of middle class readers — mostly
women. ^° In addition to feature articles, the Eclectic carried
several departments on art, science, and "varieties," which
were also edited by the scissors and glue pot method. About
the only areas for original writing were the literary notices,
comments in the "By the Editor" section, and the explanations
of the excellent frontispiece engravings. The quality of the
writing in the departments was very low, and even the book
notices were often purloined from other magazines.
The editor of the Eclectic was Walter Hilliard Bidwell,
a Yale-educated Congregational pastor who had turned to editing
religious journals when his voice failed. He had purchased
the Eclectic in 1846 and had edited it himself until the closing
months of the Civil War when failing health forced him to spend
much of his time traveling or resting. When he eventually
withdrew completely from editorial work on the Eclectic during
1868, Jones assumed editorial control. Although Bidwell 's
name would remain on the magazine's title page until his death
in 1881, he spent most of his time living with relatives in
Ohio or in travels around the world. Jones changed the
character of the Eclectic only in one respect: he upgraded the
"Literary Notices" department, writing the reviews himself in
the, same caustic tone used by Round Table .
The publisher of the Eclectic was Edward R. Pelton, a
young man eight years Jones ' s senior who had worked for Bidwell
since before the war, and had become Bidwell' s partner and
publisher in 1868. The Eclectic was published at 108 Fulton
Street until 1875 when its offices were moved to 25 Bond Street.
Pelton also published books, specializing in works on medicine,
and Jones did some editing for him.
In the early 1870' s Jones became co-editor of Appleton' s
Journal , a publication of D. Appleton Company noted for its
excellent art work. The magazine had begun as a weekly with a
scientific slant, but had evolved into a general literary
journal. It was not a popular success and was slowly dying.
In 1876 it would become a monthly, later it would lose its fine
illustrations, and finally it would expire in 1881. Its
editor was Oliver Bell Bunce, a pleasant man with a talent for
writing witty, sophisticated pieces for the magazine's "Table
Talk" section. Bunce would die a young man, but Jones continued
a regular correspondence with his widow for the rest of his
life. He recognized Bunce as one of the few individuals who
had ever helped him. 32 A ppleton' s Journal had an editorial
viewpoint similar to that of the Eclectic . It was coldly
Spencerian on social questions, in favor of reforms to make
government more honest, and hostile to Reconstruction programs
in the South.
By 1871 Jones had developed into a handsome, confident-
looking gentleman, and had begun to cultivate a pair of long,
whispy sideburns which would ultimately develop into a full
beard. 33 In February he married Eliza Cowperwaite of
Philadelphia, a woman two years his senior, who had been raised
by her uncle Andrew M. Erstwick, owner of the estate which had
once belonged to naturalist John Bartram. She bore the
couple's first child, a daughter who was named Dora, in November.
Fourteen months later Eliza gave birth to a son who was given
his father's name, but the child lived little more than a year,
dying late in the winter of 1874.
Jones's literary efforts were by no means confined to his
magazines. He was a contributor to Appleton's Cyclopaedia [six]
and an editor of Appleton's numerous travel guides, specializing
in southern resorts. The first book bearing his name was the
1873 edition of Appleton's Handbook of American Travel. Southern
Tour . The following year he edited and abridged a book en-
titled Recent_ J A£t_and_Sociejt^ for Henry Holt and Company. This
was followed by Vers de Societe , a collection of light poetry
published in an elegant gift style by Holt, and Africa , an
edited compilation of travel accounts. He also did an abridge-
ment of the debates of Congress and edited a version of
Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson for Holt. Jones contributed
three biographies — Gladstone, Dickens, and Macaulay — to
Appleton's New Handy Volume Series , all of which were published
in 1880. None of these books were of great literary merit, but
they demonstrate Jones's tremendous capacity for work. There
was almost certainly a great deal more writing of this sort
done by Jones, but exact titles cannot be authenticated. Jones
was well aware that most of his writing was ephemeral. He once
wrote a friend, commenting on a particularly bad book done by
a reputable writer: "I can imagine a man doing such work under
spur of necessity and consequently without blame — with ample
excuse, in fact, for the public condemns the professional
literary man to frequent pot-boiling, and he must bow to his
fate." In a subsequent letter he added, "I am sorry for any
one who has to do hack literary work under compulsion of
Jones's appetite for work was perhaps his greatest asset,
but it was also a weakness for it led to chronic health prob-
lems due to nervousness and fatigue. In the spring of 1876
when he was writing both during the day and in the evening he
suffered what he described as a "nervous collapse" or an "acute
brain attack" which prostrated him for three days. He seems
to have regarded such illnesses as part of the price of living
the literary life, for he doused himself with patent medicine
and whiskey and resumed work. He confided to a friend that had
suffered similar attacks for the past four years, and speculated
that they were inevitable. "I should not be surprised if they
become periodical, in a sense, until the candle has flickered
Probably the best treatment for his constitution was his
annual summer vacation at Middlebury, Vermont, in the Green
Mountains overlooking Lake Champlain. There he and his wife
occupied their time in hiking, attending parties, and "petty
competitions of croquet." 39 Among his companions was Julian W.
Abernethy, a thin, curly haired college student who would
shortly receive a doctorate from Yale and assume a life as a
professor of English. 40 Abernethy became one of Jones's
closest friends for the remainder of his life.
Some idea of Jones's views on the social questions which
would later play a part in his career as a newspaper editor can
be seen in the reviews he wrote for the Eclectic . Politics had
little attraction for Jones at the time, and he devoted little
space in the Eclectic on reviews of political books. E. R.
Pelton, his publisher, later testified that Jones was "strictly
a literary man" during his years in New York. Jones shared
a feeling common among intellectuals that politics was a
sordid affair, and he echoed Peter Cooper's advice that good
people ought to "overthrow the despotism of parties and
politicians. "^2 Yet reason and reform in politics seemed a
remote possibility to Jones because the general public appeared
impervious to reason on the subject of politics.^ 3 Later when
Jones was very much involved in politics he claimed, no doubt
truthfully, that he had always maintained sympathy with the
Democratic party. He did admit to voting for the Republican
candidate Grant in 1868 out of a feeling that a military man
would be magnanimpus to the South, and he declared that in
local elections he was one of the "young scratchers" who
opposed Tammany's methods. ^ The most Jones ever claimed for
his political action in New York was that he had been an early
advocate of civil service reform and a worker for Samuel Tilden
in the election of 1876. ^ 5
The most popular philosophical and social writer of the
day was Herbert Spencer, of whom Jones was at first an
enthusiastic proponent, although he later toned down his
enthusiasm without abandoning Spencerian habits of thought.
His early attraction to Spencer was based on the belief that
Spencer was dealing in pure "fact."^ He retreated some from
his position in the face of criticism leveled at Spencer, yet
defended Spencer's system as "one of the grandest scientific
generalizations of our times." 47 Jones thought that the
application of Darwinian analogies to the social condition of
mankind was realistic, and he even considered the inheritance of
political institutions a possibility. 48 He saw man as a
creature motivated by passion; the mass of mankind being
"constitutionally superior to reason." 49 He sometimes expressed
the view that "this boasted modern civilization is indeed but
a thin veneer covering a barbarism the more frightful and de-
basing because of its contrast with the surrounding aspects of
civilized life." 50 In such a world liberty, equality, and
fraternity were impossible, and probably not desirable. 51
The Eclectic had little sympathy with the efforts of
reformers or trade unions to ameliorate the condition of the
masses, indeed Jones was not sure that efforts to reduce the
gap between the rich and the poor were worthwhile, even if
possible. Differences between classes were natural, thus any
reform aimed at social equality was bound to be "spurious and
artificial." The laws governing labor and capital precluded
any substantial altering of the relative positions of capitalist
and worker, and efforts by unions to overthrow these laws had
done much harm, indeed, they were a "menace to society." 53
Jones advised workers to inform themselves of the realities of
economics and "end their suicidal and hopeless batterings with
social laws." 54 Industry, economy, and education were the
working man's best hope for self -improvement. Employers ought
to be enlightened and aware of the moral obligations inherent
in their positions, yet Jones feared that generosity could not
realistically be expected. 5 i n any case, charity ought to be
a consideration separate from business. 5 **
As his youthful infatuation with Spencer began to wane,
Jones modified his view of the human situation, becoming more
concerned with the problems of the working classes. He main-
tained his Spencerian concept of society, but tempered it with
a gradualist, evolutionary allowance for change. He speculated
that the discontent of the masses under capitalism would pro-
duce a tension which would force a modification of the social
order, and repression would simply make the final change more
explosive. His hope was that capital and labor could find
shared interests on which to found a new stability. 57
On economic questions Jones followed the line of laissez
faire orthodoxy set down by William Graham Sumner. This included
low taxes, complete freedom of contract, hostility to labor
unions, and also low tariffs. This last tenant of economic
liberalism had particular appeal to Jones. He argued that the
protective system which had been adopted during the war should
be abandoned and would be abandoned when the agricultural
populace of the nation was correctly informed on the issue. 59
On the currency question, the Eclectic held that circulation of
money was guided by natural laws, and that these laws could not
be overriden by efforts at creating fiat money. Paper money
was not real money, and gold coin was preferable to silver. 60
As a Southerner, Jones was of the opinion that the primary
problem facing the government and people was that of reuniting
a nation divided by the Civil War. He lamented in 1868 that'
the election was an occasion for stirring up the embers of
sectional "passions and animosities" which should be allowed
to die and would subside but for what he felt was their crass
exploitation by politicians. 6 ! Horace Greely, the Democratic
candidate that year, received his praise for advocating
universal amnesty for former Confederates. 62 Greeley's pro-
gram was in line with Jones's belief that the South ought to
be left alone to settle its own problems in its own way. While
the abolition of slavery was a good and necessary thing,
approved by both North and South, relations between the Negro
and his former master were something to be resolved without
outside interference. One of Jones's northern friends dubbed
him "an unreconstructed rebel" for holding such views.
Jones's most complete and unified statement of his
assessment of the sectional problem appeared in his extended
review of Albion W. Tourgee's, A Fool's Errand, published in
1880 as an article in Appleton's Journal . Jones condemned the
book because he felt it was designed to revive sectional
animosities which were once real because they were based on
actual differences, accentuated by war, but which were no
longer real. A Fool's Errand , he felt, exaggerated the South 's
hostility to "Northern" ideas, yet a person so closed-mindedly
self-righteous in his beliefs as the book's protagnoist ought
to expect violent opposition. Problems of society are complex,
he argued, and no simple answers are sufficient for them;
therefore toleration of divergent opinions is necessary. If
the North had a more tolerant attitude at present, it had not
always been so and was so now only because Northern society
contained no "offensive" group comparable to the Negro. A far
better basis for forming opinion on the question could be
gained from James S. Pike's The Prostrate State , a book which
Jones had given an extensive review in the Eclectic years before.
The unchangeable fact was, as Jones saw it, that the Negro
could rule in the South only by force of numbers, for wealth,
intelligence, and political experience were on the side of the
whites. Such books as A Fool's Errand could do little good,
and would perpetuate passions that could only hinder settlement
of "the most difficult and baffling problem that American
statesmen have to face." 65
In 1880 Jones and Abernethy began collaboration on a
"gazetteer" of some sort which would incorporate the latest
census returns. This project dragged on for months and
developed into a much larger project than originally anticipated,
a development which distressed Jones since his contract with
the publisher did not compensate him for the extra work. A
book on George Eliot which Jones was working on at the same
time came to an "ignominious end" in February, 1881, when Jones
discovered that Roberts Brothers publishers of Boston, seven
years earlier, had copyrighted and published much of the
material he wished to use. Jones sold the "biographical memoir"
to Roberts Brothers, who incorporated it into a new edition of
the book which was published in 1882. Such things led Jones
to curse the problems of life as a "Grub Street" writer. He
wrote Abernethy, "I shall yet flee away to the remotist wilder-
ness of the West in order to escape these books, magazines,
and newspapers .
The pressures of the literary work were not the only
discomforting aspect of life in New York. The weather during
the winter of 1880-1881 was very bad, and, in Jones's words,
"To go out of doors was literally to risk one's skin." Both
he and his wife were experiencing poor health. "I have been
in the habit of saying that I liked the Northern winters
better than the summers," Jones wrote in February, "but I shall
be cautious hereafter about expressing such an opinion. "'^
His spirits rose in the spring as he undertook a book on
which he would retain the copyright and which would be of
genuine worth, unlike the sort of work in which he had been
employed. The book was to be "an 'inside view' of the country's
history," and would deal with the great men and ideas which had
guided the nation. He wrote Abernethy telling him of his delight
in having full control over the book, but adding that he was
staggered by the "appalling amount of labor" which lay before
him. '3 Despite his enthusiasm for it, the book was never
completed, although Jones kept it in mind for the rest of his
life and still planned to write it at the time of his death.
NOTES TO CHAPTER I
Charles H. Jones, "Autobiography" (unpublished
autobiographical fragment, Charles H. Jones Papers). The Jones
Papers — letters, notebooks, photographs, manuscript drafts of
party platforms, and newspaper clippings — are owned by Jones's
granddaughter Mrs. Carl G. Freeman, Bat Cave, North Carolina.
Xerox copies are in the P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History,
University of Florida, Gainesville. The collection will herein-
after be referred to as JP; those things not in the Yonge
Library will be noted "original."
2 Rowland H. Rerick, Memoirs of Florida , 2 vols. (Atlanta,
1902), II, 578.
8 Ibid . , 25; Oscar S. Straus, Under Four Administrations
(Boston, 1922), 4.
Jones, "Autobiography," 40.
10 Ibid . , 42.
•^Straus, Four Administrations , 15.
12 Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , December 27, 1964;
clipping, Springfield Sunday Union and Republican , November 17,
1929; interview with Mrs. Carl G. Freeman, Bat Cave, North
Carolina, September 17, 1972.
13 Jones, "Autobiography," 56; Jacksonville Florida Times -
Union , February 9, 1888.
14 Jones, "Autobiography," 38.
15 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , November 29, 1881;
Charles H. Jones, "Sketch of Life — 1895" (unpublished autobiographical
NOTES TO CHAPTER I (continued)
Interview with Mrs. Carl G. Freeman.
17 Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , July 2 , 1886 ; Jones ,
"Sketch of Life."
Charles H. Jones, passport, number 26498, issued
February 18, 1907, original, JP.
19 Charles H. Jones, photograph, ca. 1886, original, JP.
20 Jones, "Sketch of Life."
ZJ -Ibid .
22 Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines ,
1865-1885 , 5 vols. (Cambridge, 1938), III, 46.
23 [Charles H. Jones], "Chicago," Land We Love , V (October,
24 Charles H. Jones, "St. Louis, Missouri," Ibid ., VI
(December, 1868), 126-134.
25 Ibid. , 132.
26 Jones, "Sketch of Life."
27 Ibid. ; Mott, American Magazines , III, 319.
2 ^Mott, American Magazines , III, 256.
29 "Walter Hilliard Bidwell" (obit.), Eclectic , XXXIV
(November, 1881), 720.
30 "Edward Richmond Pelton" (obit.), Eclectic Magazine and
Monthly Edition of the Living Age , series 3, I ( January- June ,
1899), bound in front of volume.
31 Samuel C. Chew, ed., Fruit Among the Leaves (New York,
1950), 23-24; Mott, American Magazines , III, 90, 417-420.
32 Jones to Julian W. Abernethy, May 26, 1889; Jones to
Dora Jones, November 1, 1908, original, JP -
33 Charles H. Jones, photograph, 1871, original, JP.
3 ^Entry for Eliza Cowperwaite, "Geneological Record," JP,
36 Jones to Abernethy, December 9, 1878, JP.
NOTES TO CHAPTER I (continued)
37 Ibid. , December 30, 1878, JP.
38 Ibid., October 20, 1876; February 18, 1877, JP.
39 Ibid_. , December 9, 1878, JP.
40 Julian W. Abernethy (1853-1923) was a native of
Burlington, Vermont. He was professor of literature at Adelphi
Academy and principal of Berkeley Institute in Brooklyn. His
extensive library and collection of American first editions
was given to Middlebury College, Vermont, on his death. New
* York Times , July 4, 1923.
^Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , November 10, 1887.
^ Eclectic , XVII (May, 1873), 635.
43 Eclectic , X (September, 1869), 369.
44 Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , July 22, August 2, 1884.
45 Ibid. , December 15, 1885; August 21, 1887.
46 Eclectic, XIX (June, 1874), 758.
47 Ibid. , XXII (July, 1875), 121.
, XVII (February, 1873), 248.
, VIII (November, 1868), 1415.
, XVII (March, 1873), 372.
, XVIII (July, 1873), 121.
, XIII (May, 1871), 633.
, XXI (March, 1875), 378.
, XVII (May, 1873), 634.
, XXIV (December, 1876), 763; XIII (May, 1871), 633.
, XXVI (November, 1877), 637.
, XXXI (June, 1880), 763; XXXIV (July, 1881), 138.
, X (December, 1869), 759.
, XXVI (October, 1877), 509.
, XXIII (January, 1876), 121; XXIII (February,
55 Ibid .
NOTES TO CHAPTER I (continued)
61 Ibid. , VIII (November, 1868), 1413.
62 Ibid., XI (April, 1870), 497.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , August 21, 1887.
6 4 Eclectic , XIX (February, 1874), 247.
"Charles h. Jones, "Sectional Fiction," Appleton's
Journal , IX (December, 1880), 564. *
66 Jones to Abernethy, April 6, 1881, JP.
6 7 Ibid . , February 7, 1881; Wit and Wisdom of George Eliot
with a Biographical Memoir (Boston, 1882) .
68 Jones to Abernethy, April 6, 1881, JP.
69 Ibid. , December 6, 1880, JP.
70 Ibid., February 7, 1881. -JP.
71 Ibid ., November 24, December 6, 1880, JP.
72 Ibid., February 7, 1881, JP.
73 Ib_id., March 14, 25, April 6, 1881, JP.
FROM LITERARY GENTLEMAN TO NEWSPAPER EDITOR
Sometime in the winter of 1880-1881 Appleton received a
manuscript of a travel book on Florida from George M. Barbour,
a Chicago newspaperman who had been living in that state for
the past year. The manuscript was turned over to Jones, who
wrote a letter to Reverend Mr. T. W. Moore of Fruit Cove,
Florida, inquiring about some points in Barbour's work. Moore
had written a book Treatise and Handbook on Orange Culture in
Florida which had been published by Pelton. In his reply to
Jones, Moore objected to some things Barbour had said, and
Jones decided to go to Florida to see for himself and gather
more material to supplement Barbour's document for publication
as a full-scale book by Appleton.
On May 25, 1881, Jones wrote Abernethy telling him of his
pending journey to Florida. Primarily it would be a business
trip, but he hoped to enjoy a restful sea voyage to and from
Florida, recouperating from his editorial labors in New York.
The prospect of a mid-summer visit in the semi-tropics,
however, seemed much less pleasant. Collecting materials for
the Barbour book would be the immediate purpose of the visit,
but Jones appended a cryptic message to his letter: "I have a
special object in mind when I say to you, save every dollar
Jones may have been considering purchase of a newspaper
in Florida at the time, but he also wanted his friend to join
him in a venture in citrus growing. During the summer, he,
Abernethy, and another northern friend combined to buy some
acreage in Orange County from John G. Sinclair, a New Hampshire
immigrant who did business in real estate and had plans for
establishing a plant for processing starch from cassava.
Perhaps Jones was influenced in his decision to enter the field
of citrus growing by the claims of "fabulous" profits to be
made in oranges with only a modicum of effort, as described in
Moore's Treatise .^ Reality proved somewhat different than
Moore had pictured it, and Jones's investment never resulted
in any citrus production, although he continued to hold the
land until 1884. 5
Jones arrived in Jacksonville, Florida, during the first
week in June. He met Moore and traveled with him looking at
the state and gathering materials for the Barbour book. But
he also talked to several individuals in Jacksonville about the
possibility of purchasing the Daily Florida Union , a journal
which had been established during the Civil War and was now
edited by Hugh B. McCallum, a man slowly dying of consumption.
Barbour had initiated negotiations for purchase of the paper
earlier, and had suggested that Jones resume conversations with
McCallum. 7 Jones talked to the Union 's editor about the pro-
posal, and, according to Jones, it was agreed that McCallum
would discuss the matter with friends and set a price. When
Jones ventured that if the price were too high he would prefer
to start a new paper rather than purchase the Union , McCallum
took the statement as a threat and vowed that he would fight
to defend the Union field.
Jones returned to New York at the end of the month,
without having reached a decision on purchase of the paper,
but he was interested in going forward with plans to take it.
"When you come down, bring every dollar you can scrape together,"
he wrote Abernethy, promising to explain everything when they
met in New York. 9 He also wrote his brother George, who he
hoped would join him in Florida, and received an encouraging
reply. Early in September he returned to Florida, after
being delayed at sea by storms off the Carolina coasts. Back
in Jacksonville Jones made some discoveries that convinced him
that he did not want the Union regardless of its sale price. 11
A check of the county clerk's office by Barbour revealed that
the Union was heavily mortgaged, so Barbour was sent to tell
McCallum that if he and Jones entered the field it would be
with a new publication. ^ Jones made an appointment to see
Assistant Commissioner of Immigration Samuel Fairbanks, and
in his office, Jones, Fairbanks, and former Republican Governor
Harrison Reed, who lived near Jacksonville, discussed the
possibilities of beginning a new paper. Reed's description of
the fractured state of Florida's Republican party convinced
Jones that a Republican paper could not survive, but an
independent-Democratic paper might attract support from both
Returning to New York early in October, Jones hurried
preparations for establishing a second Jacksonville daily
newspaper. He ordered a press and materials for the paper
from New York firms , had Barbour make preparations in
Jacksonville, and arranged to rent his New York home during
his absence. ^ In spite of the confusion, Jones invited
Abernethy to visit him in New York and congratulated him on
securing a position on the faculty of Adelphi Academy.
Abernethy' s coming to Adelphi was a great achievement, Jones
felt, "I wish the wisdom of my own step were as little open
to doubt." 15 Leaving his wife in New York and admonishing
Abernethy to call on her, Jones departed again for Florida.
November storms made the passage rough and kept him constantly
seasick during most of the voyage.
Work on setting up the newspaper's plant and offices had
hardly begun when Jones arrived in Jacksonville, where he
immediately busied himself "evolving order out of the wildest
confusion." 1 ' Despite the disorder, Jones found his enterprise
warmly encouraged by local people, and his attitude became
more confident. Delays caused by oversights in ordering of
materials or in their shipment set back the date for publication
at least a week and increased his anxiety. Not enough type had
been ordered , galley racks were ordered but not received, and an
essential part of the press could not be located. The delay cost
about $200, Jones estimated, but he confided to Abernethy that
the ultimate success of the paper was as sure as anything could
be.W During the final push to get out the first edition, Jones
remained in the newspaper offices almost all the time,
emerging only briefly to eat and sleep.
The newspaper's offices were located above Hughes' [ sic . ]
Drug Store on Bay Street at the Ocean Street intersection.
Jones provided himself with a handsomely furnished office that
impressed one resident Florida newspaperman as "the neatest
and best-appointed private sanctum in the South." The
paper would be printed on a hand powered Campbell press
designed for country newspapers. Jones and Barbour were
named in the prospectus as the paper's proprietors — Jones
providing the literary talent and Barbour the experience of
ten years' work with western newspapers. Jones would be editor
with responsibility for handling the Associated Press dispatches,
and Barbour would edit state and local news. 22 Fred W. Hoyt,
a local man with experience on several Jacksonville and
Fernandina newspapers, was managing editor. ■ The paper was
to be published daily, except Monday, an omission necessitated
by Jacksonville's ordinance against working on the sabbath.
The subscription rate of $10.00 per year, "strictly in advance,"
was the same as the Union's. *
The first edition of the Florida Daily Times appeared on
November 29, 1881. It had four pages of eight columns each,
with only two front page columns devoted to advertisements.
The telegraphic dispatches which appeared on the front page
were short, and most dealt with crime, violence, or natural
disasters. About half the paper's space was given over to
advertisements, suggesting that patronage was not a problem,
although some questioned whether Jacksonville could support two
daily newspapers. Many of the local "news" stories were
covert advertisements designed to promote Florida, a hotel, a
steamship line, or a store. The Times claimed that it had more
advertisements than it could publish. Most telegraphic dis-
patches were short to save wire charges. Longer stories
usually concerned some matter of lasting importance since they
had to be sent by mail.. The Guiteau trial was providing this
sort of material at the time. Moore's Orange Culture , Barbour's
Florida for Tourists, Invalids and Settlers , and several of
Pelton's medical books were advertised prominently. The over-
all tone of the paper was light, full of "chit-chat," with a
flippant attitude toward politics and politicians. Editorials
dominated the second page — still the core of the newspaper — and
the expected "Farm, Garden, Household" column shared page three
with seven columns of advertisements.
After a week of publication Jones could write Abernethy
that the success of the paper, despite some expected difficulties,
was "unequivocal." The Times ' s new type and uncluttered format
made it, Jones declared, "the neatest paper south of Philadelphia."
Moreover, the paper was inundated with demands for advertising
space to an extent that amazed Jones. " Abernethy wrote to
give the paper his approval, and Jones replied that it was
improving with every issue, while circulation was steadily
expanding. The success of the paper was beyond doubt, he
averred, but with success went the responsibility for getting
out the paper on schedule every day without relent. "The
curse of Sisyphus is upon me," lamented Jones.
One of the first things Jones had done on arriving in
Florida was to write Abernethy asking him to arrange with a
friend at the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican for an
exchange . Jones thought the Republican would want the Times
for news of Florida, and he believed that it was the one paper
he must have. 29 His ambition was to model his paper after the
Republican , making it known for quality and editorial content,
even though small in circulation and located in a remote corner
of the republic. 30 Jones watched for quotations from his
paper in the northern press and brought such notices to the
attention of the Times 's readers. 31 In his first editorial,
Jones outlined a policy of independent journalism which sup-
posedly would guide the policy of the paper. The Times would
be independent of political parties, not out of a spirit of
hostility, but in order to remain free of any obligations
except those owed its general readership. Thus members of both
parties could freely patronize the newspaper. 32 After a year of
publication, Jones would write that many people were "watching
with interest the experiment of publishing an outspoken, fear-
less, and independent newspaper" in a section of the country
where, he said, the press had seldom dared stand on principle.
In the first issue of the Times Jones went on to say that,
contrary to the prevailing attitude, editorial comment was not
the primary function of a newspaper. Increasingly it was the
trend for newspapers to subordinate comment on the news to
printing of the news itself. At the same time, the concept of
news was changing to include more than just politics: any
area of human endeavor was the proper sphere of the journalist.
The sciences, literature, and art should receive attention,
and it should all be done in a style which would entertain as
well as enlighten the reader. ^ Jones tried to practice the
philosophy he proclaimed. He induced Oliver Bell Bunce to do
a series of light essays on New York society for the Sunday
Times during the 1881-1882 season. On Sunday the usual
political editorials were supplanted by long essays on authors
or some aspect of literature. Jones also attempted to turn
the farm and garden column into a real vehicle for dispensing
information of use to agriculturalists in Florida's unique
climate. He solicited contributions from experts in various
departments of agriculture, and opened the column with a
series of articles by T. W. Moore.
Tariff reform and civil service reform constituted the
focal point of the Times ' s editorial stance on national politics,
and Jones continued to argue, as he had with the Eclectic , that
sectionalism and the emotional questions remaining from the
Civil War era were no longer real issues; they were sham issues
employed by politicians to avoid coming to grips with living
problems. 35 The Times endorsed a tariff for revenue only,
arguing that the surplus was dangerous, taxes were too high,
government spending was too extravagant, and high prices
caused by the tariff actually retarded industrialization in the
South. 3*> During the fall election campaign of 1882 the Times
ran a series of essays designed to educate the public on the
fundamentals of the tariff question. In taking a low tariff
stance the Times was hewing closer to traditional Democratic
lines than were the New South protectionists, such as Henry
Grady of the Atlanta Constitution . Civil service reform,
Jones argued, should be of particular interest to the South
since it was there that the worst abuses of the patronage
system had occurred. 37 From the start, the Times endorsed
Pendleton's proposal for a merit system. 3°
In local affairs, the Times crusaded to make the city of
Jacksonville more attractive, and therefore more pleasing to
resort vacationers who expected plush surroundings. Some
changes, the Times suggested, could be made easily enough by
the people themselves. They could stop emptying their slop
buckets in the gutters, clean up the rubbish on the streets,
and sweep their sidewalks and keep them in good repair.
Another more challenging undertaking would be the construction
of shell roads along the riverfront so that winter guests
could enjoy the view and the fresh air. But the improvement
that Jones probably wished to see most was the paving of Bay
Street. Running parallel to the river one block inland, Bay
Street was the heart of the town's business district. Its
surface was a mixture of sand, sawdust, and horse manure, and
after every heavy rain it became a foul smelling series of mud
flats and ponds perfectly meriting its name. Jones pledged the
Times ' s support to any project for paving the street and
volunteered twenty-five dollars toward the enterprise. J *
Before the end of 1881 the Times was claiming that it had
enough paid circulation to run at a profit, even though no
systematic canvass of the state had yet been made. By
January, 1882, it was claimed that issues of the Times were
being published in volumes matching the largest ever produced
in Florida, and on March 17, 1882, the Times published an out-
sized edition featuring a front page interview with Governor
William D. Bloxham taken from the New Orleans Times-Democrat .
The Times claimed that 5,000 copies of this edition were
printed, and that the press had run from midnight until two
o'clock the next afternoon in getting it out. By this txme
Jones declared that the Times had as large a circulation as
any newspaper in Florida, that it had no debts, and that it
was making money at a rate which had enabled him to regain
one-quarter of his original investment. That the Times was
making money is virtually certain, and it also seems likely
that it was debt free. No records have been found detailing
the finances of the paper, but Jones later claimed that he had
financed the newspaper himself, using $16,000 saved from his
literary work. 43 It appears unlikely that Abernethy or anyone
else had an interest in the newspaper.
Mrs. Jones and Dora arrived in Florida just in time for
the festivities of the winter season and were delighted by the
receptions and parties which highlighted Jacksonville's
brightest time of the year. Jones wrote Abernethy that
Mrs. Jones had proven to be "quite a belle." 44 However, her
life in Jacksonville would be quiet by comparison to that of
her husband. She seems to have involved herself with work in
the Episcopal Church and to have enjoyed an unobtrusive
association with a wide circle of friends. 45 She and Dora
were frequently out of the city during the summers vacationing
in the North. 46
Having passed the crisis of establishment, Jones set out
to boom the Times as the state's coming newspaper. Every day
there were reports of the paper's increasing success: the
Times was sold out early at the hotels, newspapers in other
states were clamoring for exchanges with the Times, extra news-
print had to be purchased because of the unexpected demand.
The public was reminded that the Times was not a local paper,
but a journal for all the state. A morning train carried the
Times to subscribers in Fernandina. Efforts were made to
secure regular correspondents in all sections of the state,
and canvassers were sent out to seek advertisements and sub-
scribers. Barbour went to South Florida in December and to
Middle Florida in January; others went up the St. Johns calling
at all the port stops. 49 Of course, there was the problem
common to all newspapers of the solicitor who absconded with
subscription money. 50 Jones even announced the opening of a
New York office of the Times . It was at 25 Bond Street,
Pelton's address, and whether or not the Times got many
subscriptions there, the mere fact of a New York office looked
impressive. 51 Another means of attracting subscribers was the
offer of a free copy of Florida for Tourists, Invalids, and
Settlers to those who agreed to take the paper for a half year
The Times' s relations with the Union were, at least on
the surface, friendly. On the advice of former Governor Reed,
Jones had written a letter to McCallum when he returned to
Florida, attempting to promote good will. McCallum wrote a
cold reply, but Jones went to the Union office and met with
McCallum and the staff. 53 A brief feud broke out in December
when the Union published a complaint that Barbour had spread
a rumor in South Florida that the owners of the Times held a
mortgage on the Union which they intended to foreclose and
that Jones, as agent for the Associated Press, had obtained a
monopoly of the dispatches , sharing them with the Union only
out of kindness. Jones denied any part in spreading sjich
rumors, and Barbour published a denial under his name, but he
still maintained that the Union was, in fact, mortgaged.
When the Union took issue with his denial, Barbour repeated
that he had not tried to spread misconceptions about the AP
dispatches, and he declared that within the past few days he
had been shown another mortgage covering nearly everything
owned by the Union . Jones closed the incident with a plea
for professional comity among editors; equating newspaper
disputes with cock fighting — amusing to the public but uselessly
destructive. 5 **
On February 10 Jones made the unexpected announcement
that Barbour had ceased to be an "employee" of the Times , and
that, contrary to popular impression, he had never owned any
interest in the newspaper. Jones said that Barbour had
promised to finance the paper jointly with him, but had failed
to do so. Meanwhile he had borrowed money to pay for everything
from car fare to his laundry bills. On January 9 Jones had
made a new contract with Barbour under which he was supposed
to collect subscriptions and advertisements, but instead he
had worked "treacherously and insidiously" against the interests
of the paper. ^ Later Jones would charge that Barbour had
allied himself to the Union and was telling potential patrons
of the Times that the paper was secretly Republican in sympathy. 58
The day after the announcement of Barbour's severance from the
Times, Jones revealed that he had done much of the writing of
Florida for Tourists, Invalids, and Settlers , hoping to nullify
the benefit Barbour gained from his reputation as the book's
On the day that Jones announced Barbour's departure, the
Times office was visited by Samuel VI. Small, a writer for the
Atlanta Constitution who was in Jacksonville looking for a
cottage where he and his invalid wife might spend the winter.
At the time, McCallum of the Union was confined to his home by
illness, while business manager Harrison Clark and chief editorial
writer John Temple Graves ran the daily affairs of the news-
paper. 61 About the beginning of March, Small became a proprietor
__ j_ l 2_ fc a-.---'!-.^- ..k^^^^^^^^a^^^^agi^gig^^ ^^^^sa^g^^i^a^^^as^^giia^^^^^^E^E
of the Union , but within a month he had gone over to the Times,
purchasing an interest of that paper. Jones wrote a long
announcement of Small's coming to the Times , and changed the
paper's listed ownership to "Jones and Small." Behind the
scenes an effort was being made to merge the two papers , but
the nature of that effort was soon to become a matter of
controversy. The Union charged that Jones and Small had been
working together in a conspiracy to ease McCallum out of con-
trol of the Union and to merge the two papers. As evidence,
a letter from Jones to Small was produced in which Jones wrote
about the conditions of a merger and the policy to be followed
until merger. McCallum was not mentioned in the letter.
Jones told a different story. He said that shortly after
the beginning of the Times he had been approached by McCallum' s
friends with proposals for a merger, but no progress had been
made at the time. Small's appearance on the scene revived
interest in a merger. Jones had begun negotiations with Small
while Small was with the Union , and he wrote Abernethy on
March 5 announcing plans for a "grand combination," but en-
joining him to keep quiet for the moment. After the dispute
broke into the open, Jones claimed that Small and friends of
McCallum had told him that Small, backed by others, controlled
the Union . As it turned out, this was not true. For his part,
Small denied the charges of collusion with Jones and explained
that he had re-sold his interest in the Union to McCallum. 5
Small remained at the Times , becoming night editor when
Charles A. Choate resigned to return to his farm near
Tallahassee. However, Jones soon found that Small was not the
asset to the paper he had expected. "Small, on whom I counted
so confidently, turned out to be the most consummate scoundrel
that it was ever my lot to be brought in contact with," Jones
wrote Abernethy. "He was drunk four fifths I sic] of the time
(never really sober) , a spendthrift, a gambler, and a bully.
In his drunken wrath one night when we were alone in the office
he drew a revolver on me to enforce a claim which [he] pretended
to have." On April 12, 1882, Small's name was taken down from
the masthead, and four days later Jones announced that he had re-
acquired Small's interest in the paper. On the previous day a
suit which Small had brought against Jones was withdrawn from
circuit court. ° Jones told Abernethy that he had paid Small
"blackmail to the tune of $250" in order to be rid of him. The
strain of running the newspaper and fighting a lawsuit with
Small had proven too much for him. "He had counted upon this
with devilish malignity," Jones explained. fi 9
Whether Jones had, in fact, attempted to use Small to
gain control of the Union cannot be determined from existing
evidence. However, there seems to be little doubt that Small
was the rascal that Jones had described. John Varnum, who was
city editor of the Times during the dispute, would later
characterize Small as a "little fraud." Small returned to
Georgia where he failed in a newspaper venture of his own. He
was then "converted" by revivalist Sam Jones and spent the
following years as a traveling evangelist, often appearing
with Sam Jones, before returning to his first vocation as a
writer for the Atlanta Constitution. Jones maintained that
both he and McCallum had been taken in by Small, and he pro-
fessed to be deeply hurt by the Union 's attempt to cast him as
a sneak. "Not being of that temperment that enables a man to
remain calm and complacent under calumny and vituperation,"
Jones declared, "I resolved deliberately at the time of that
first attempt to make the Union [ sic ] sorry for it and all sub-
sequent attempts."' 1
After the Small affair Jones considered returning North.
Directing the affairs of a daily newspaper was a great strain
even under normal conditions. In February he had written
Abernethy, "I am on the treadmill all the time, and though
there is a wonderful fascination about it, I am about worn
out. "'2 By April he felt that he was verging on physical
collapse. Jones decided to sell the Times if he could find
a buyer, and sent his attorney to see McCallum and other
potential purchasers. McCallum declined to buy at Jones's
price, and may not have had the money to do so anyway. No
other purchaser being available, Jones, perhaps encouraged by
the support he received when word leaked out that he was
planning to leave, decided to keep his paper. ^
Part of Jones's problem from the start had been his
failure to secure competent, steady staff members. 5 Hoyt and
Choate had done good work in establishing the paper, but now
both had left the Times . Jones set about reorganizing his
staff. His brother George and his city editor John Varnum,
who had both been with the paper from its inception, were
brought into partnership with him by selling them a little
less than half interest. 76 Varnum had come to Florida during
Reconstruction when his father was a general in command of
federal troops stationed at Pensacola. He had tried orange
growing, was once a deputy United States marshall, and had
come to Jacksonville to practice law with Edward M. Cheney,
a former owner of the Union . 77 After the establishment of
Jones, Varnum and Company, Jones was still one man short
because of Small's ouster. This difficulty was resolved in
June when Judge A. 0. Wright of Pensacola was made city editor.
Varnum moved up to the position of managing editor with
general supervisory duties. When John Ransom, the paper's
Washington correspondent, came into the office as news editor
in December, the Times organization was complete and relatively
stable. 7 9
During the spring and summer Jones quarreled with the
Union and the city council over the method of awarding the
contract for printing city tax lists. He charged that the
chairman of the printing committee had given the contract to
his rival even though his own paper had sent in a bid only
one-tenth that of the Union . 80 The Times blasted this as
"collusion, back-stairs methods, and betrayal of public
interests." 81 At first the council decided to ignore the
action of the chairman of the printing committee and awarded
the contract to Jones. Having secured the city printing, Jones
proclaimed the Times "Official Paper of the City," but promised
that all profits from the contract above printing costs would
be donated to the public library to show that he had been
motivated only by a sense of fair play.^2 Jones also asked
for competitive bidding on all future contracts. -* On May 17
the Union , which had printed the tax lists under authorization
of the printing committee chairman, presented a bill to the
council for $451.34, and the Times requested $46.66 for the
same work. When the council voted to pay the Union and took
no stand regarding bidding on future contracts, managing editor
Varnum ridiculed the decision and city attorney John Hartridge's
argument supported the decision.
This sort of personal attack was an invitation to
retaliation, and Varnum was warned that he would be assaulted.
On July 1, as he was returning to the Times office from dinner,
he was confronted by Hartridge in front of a Bay Street store
and was hit in the face. After a scuffle Hartridge called off
the fight, proclaiming to the crowd which had gathered that he
had whipped his defamer. The next day the Times ran a blow-by-
blow account of the episode and editorially decried the fact
that such ruffianism was tolerated by the law. Writing
privately to Abernethy, Jones said that Hartridge was one of
the "turbulent young bloods" who had been running the town.
Jones claimed that the assault on Varnum was intended to
intimidate the Times , but, he wrote, they "didn't scare worth
a cent and served him up next morning in a style that probably
made his hair stand on end." Jones believed that Hartridge and
his friends were "cured" for the time being, but he confessed
that he seldom went on the streets without fear of being
assaulted. 87 Hartridge was found guilty in the mayor's court
of disorderly conduct and was fined $5.00. 88 The question of
city printing was resolved in October, when the Times outbid
the Union for the contract, and, once again, Jones titled his
journal the "Official Paper of the City." 89
The city election passed quietly in the spring of 1882.
The Times did not give direct endorsement to either slate of
candidates, but it was clearly biased toward the predominantly
Democratic "Conservative" ticket. The "Citizens" slate was
backed by the Republicans, who the Times characterized as
largely propertyless Negroes. The Republican convention was
ridiculed in a long story, complete with Negro dialect. 7 "
Morris A. Dzialynski, the "Conservative" candidate for mayor,
defeated former Mayor J. Ramsey Dey. The Times considered this
a victory for sound, businesslike government, but expressed
doubts about the quality of the board of aldermen elected since
they represented the class of party workers to which Hartridge
In April the steamboat City of Sanford burned on the
St. Johns above Jacksonville. Jones sent an artist to sketch
the wreckage, then scoured Jacksonville trying to find an
engraver who could produce a woodcut. The crude, small result
of this effort, the Times 's first attempt at an original
illustration, was run on the front page with a story of the
accident. A second, larger illustration, probably done by a
Savannah engraver, carried several days later, was hardly
better. The Times was forced to admit that the engravings had
been badly handled, but it congratulated itself on what it
called one of the most lively feats of journalism ever
attempted in Florida. 92 However, the attempt was not repeated.
Illustrations, other than cuts running with advertisements,
were scarce in the Times , although occasionally some small,
high quality portraits would accompany a feature story on an
author or other notable. 93 Illustrations were equally rare
in the Union , but it did gain notice in January, 1882, by
running several front page pictures of various personalities
• -, 94
involved in the Guiteau trial.
The Times strengthened its reputation for controversial
editorializing by its handling of an incident which occurred
in May. A passenger on the Fernandina and Jacksonville Rail-
road was hit in the head and seriously injured following an
argument with a railroad employee named Bailey Smith. The
Times not only denounced the crime, but criticized Mayor
Dzialynski for signing Smith's bail bond and suggested that
city officials were trying to hush-up the matter in order to
protect the town's reputation. 95 When two friends of Smith
came to Jacksonville in the avowed intent of punishing Jones
and Varnum, the Times declared that it would not be intimidated.
The question at issue, it maintained, was whether the tone of
the Jacksonville community would be set by the Baily Smith
types and the "bloods" or by the town's better citizens.
One day it was rumored that the Times offices would be attacked
that night, and some police were sent to patrol Bay Street in
the vicinity of the office, while others watched Jones and
Vamum's homes. Jones left the Times offices at two in the
morning accompanied by the chief of police, and the night
passed without incident . Jones later wrote Abernethy that the
town had been "in a tempest of excitement. . . . They have
never had a paper before that would speak out fearlessly upon
such matters, and you would be amazed at the excitement it
aroused. If the violence had been attempted there would un-
questionably have been a lynching." 97 Jones felt that he had
won the support of the community's leading citizens in the
As the summer "dull season" set in, Jones wrote a
retrospective letter to Abernethy enumerating the successes of
the past six months. The paper had been established on a
sound footing and had successfully passed through the trauma
of getting started. He felt that the Times had the support of
the "best citizens" and it was having an uplifting effect on
the moral climate of the community. He was pleased to see
his editorials were quoted in the northern press as frequently
as any other southern editor. And finally, there was no longer
a possibility of losing money in the venture, and he could
leave at any time without loss. His original outlay had been
covered by profits and by the sale of a substantial interest
to Varnum and his brother. He expected that the paper would
lose money by continuing publication during the summer, but
he anticipated that the next winter season would bring a clear
profit of $5,000? 8 It is possible that the summer season did
not turn out as badly as Jones had expected, for a month after
his letter to Abernethy he claimed that circulation had
declined only slightly and wrote that plans were underway to
buy a new press and begin publication of a weekly.
On August 24 Jones embarked on the steamer Western Texas
for a trip to New York which he had been planning since April.
Pressures of work and the Small affair forced him to postpone
the trip, however, and shorten it from the two months he
originally contemplated to two weeks. Although he hoped
to visit with Abernethy while in New York, the main purpose
of the trip would be to purchase material for a weekly edition
of the Times which he hoped to start in September. While
in the North he would also arrange for better news service and
secure more "specials" for the coming season.
;.7rj«iMm>fWr"»" J "-" a ^" -««»™»-»-<n»i
NOTES TO CHAPTER II
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , July 3, 1887.
2 Jones to Abemethy, May 25, June 3, 1881, JP.
3 .Tacksonville Florida Daily Times , November 29, 1881.
4 T. W. Moore, Treatise and Handbook on Orange-Culture in
Florida (Jacksonville, 1877; rev. ed., New York, 1881), 11.
5 Jones to Abemethy, February 14, 1884, JP.
6 .Tarksonville Florida Times-Union , July 3, 1887.
7 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , October 20, 1882.
9 Jones to Abemethy, June 29, 1881, JP.
lQ lbid ., September 3, 1881, JP.
I 1 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , October 20, 1882.
12 Ibid ., December 28, 1881.
13 Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , August 2, 1884.
14 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , October 20, 1882; Jones
to Abemethy, October 8, 1881, JP.
15 Jones to Abemethy, October 15, 1881, JP.
16 Ibid., November 20, 1881, JP.
17 Ibid., November 7, 1881, JP.
18 Ibid .
19 Ibid., November 20, 1881, JP.
20 Ibid., December 4, 1881, JP.
NOTES TO CHAPTER II (continued)
2l Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , January 10, 1882.
22 Jacksonville Florida JDaily Times, November 29, 1881.
23 Ibid. , January 14, 1882.
24 Ibid ., November 29, 1881.
25 Savannah Morning News , December 2, 1881.
26 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , November 29, 1881.
27 Jones to Abernethy, December 4, 1881i J p -
28 Ibid. , December 11, 1881, JP.
Jones to Abernethy, November 7, 1881, JP.
30 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , October 22, 1882.
3 1 Ibid .
32 Ibid ., November 29, 1881.
3 3lbid ., October 22, 1882.
34 ibid ., November 29, 1881.
35 ib id ., December 12, 1881; June 27, 1882.
36 ibid ., December 12, 1881; June 27, November 23, 1882.
37ibid., November 23, 1882.
3 8 Ibid ., December 20, 1881.
39ibid. , December 4, 1881; January 4, February 12,
September 3, 1882.
40 Ibid . , December 29, 1881.
4l Ibid., January 27, March 18, 1882.
42 Ibid. , March 16, 1882.
43 Jones, "Sketch of Life."
44 Jones to Abernethy, February 11, 1882, JP.
45 St. Louis Republic , December 15, 1888.
46 Jones to Abernethy, June 4, 1882, JP.
NOTES TO CHAPTER II (continued)
^'Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , January 22, 1882,
4 8 Fernandina Express , March 25, 1882.
* J Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , January 17, 1882.
50 Ibid., March 23, 1882.
51 Ibid. , January 1, 1882.
52 Ibid. , January 25, 1882.
53 Ibid. , October 20, 1882.
54 Ibid. , December 28, 1881.
55 Ibid. , December 30, 1881.
56 Ibid. , January 1, 1882.
57 Ibid. , February 10, March 29, 1882.
58 Ibid ., March 29, 1882; Jacksonville Florida Times-Union ,
August. 2, 1884.
' Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , February 11, 1882;
Thomas S. Graham, "Who Wrote 'Barbour's Florida '?" Florida
Historical Quarterly , LI (April, 1973), forthcoming.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , February 11, 1882.
61 Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , January 10, 1882.
62 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , March 2, 16, 1882.
6 3 Ibid ., March 29, 31, 1882; Jacksonville Florida Journal ,
July 28, 1884.
64 Jones to Abernethy, March 5, 1882.
65 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , March 31, April 2,
66 Ibid., April 4, 1882.
67 Jones to Abernethy, April 30, 1882, JP.
68 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , April 12, 16, 1882.
69 Jones to Abernethy, April 30, 1882 j J p «
NOTES TO CHAPTER II (continued)
70 Jacksonville News-Herald , October 12, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , October 20, 1882.
7 Jones to Abernethy, February 11, 1882, JP.
73 Ibid. , April 30, 1882, JP.
7 ^ Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , October 20, 1882;
Jones to Abernethy, June 4, 1882, JP.
75 Jones to Abernethy, December 11, 1881, JP.
76 Ibid ., April 30, 1882, JP.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , December 27, 1964.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , June 7 , 1882 .
79 lb id ., November 28, December 2, 1882.
8 Ibid ., February 5, 1882.
81 Ibid., February 8, 1882.
82 ibid . , February 9, 1882.
8 3 Ibid ., March 22, May 17, 19, 1882.
8 4 Ibid . , March 18, 1882.
Ibid ., June 6, 21, 22, 1882.
86 Ibid ., July 2, 1882.
87 Jones to Abernethy, July 10, 1882, JP.
88 Jacksonvllle Florida Daily Times , July 6 , 1882 .
Ibid . , October 10, 1882,
90 Ibid ., March 30, 1882.
91 Ibid ., March 31, April 1, 5, 1882.
92 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , April 25, 30, May 3,
Ibid ., February 19, 1882.
Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , February 7, 1882.
NOTES TO CHAPTER II (continued)
95 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , May 27, 28, 1882.
96 Ibid ., May 30, 1882.
97 Jones to Abernethy, June 4, 1882, JP.
99 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , July 2, 1882.
100 Jones to Abernethy, April 30, June 4, August 8, 1882, JP;
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , August 25, 1882.
101 The Weekly Florida Times began publication in October,
1882. It sold for $1.00 per year and carried articles assembled
from the daily editions. It also contained special articles of
interest to farmers, since the weekly's readership was primarily
102 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times, August 10, 1882.
On the day after Jones sailed for New York, two convicted
Negro murderers Charles Savage and Howard James were taken. off
a train in the Middle Florida town of Madison, east of
Tallahassee, and shot to death by a party of white men. The
Times , under Varnum' s direction, condemned the crime, as did
virtually all the state's newspapers, but it went further and
demanded that the lynchers be brought to justice. Varnum
published an interview with several blacks who had come to
Jacksonville after the murders and claimed to have seen the
men who committed the crime. The story named names and gave
explicit details. Although the paper later accepted the denials
of those mentioned, Varnum continued to demand that a real
effort be made to bring the lynchers to trial. Jones sent a
signed editorial from New York saying that "indignation"
meetings and condemnatory editorials were pointless unless the
law was enforced, and he warned that settlers and northern
capital would be frightened away from the state if it became
established that the public tolerated such acts.^ Governor
Bloxham was requested to provide protection for witnesses
appearing at the trial. When witnesses to the lynchings
testified at a hearing that they saw only "strangers" in town
on the day of the murders, the Times remarked sarcastically:
"It seems that 'strangers' are such an attraction for the
people of Madison that not even a little disturbance like the
shooting down of a couple of prisoners can divert for one
moment the fixed concentration with which they are regarded."
While the remainder of the state press was willing to
condemn the lynching, it reserved its harshest criticism for
the Times . The Tallahassee Floridian declared that the Times
had outdone even the worst Radical organs by trying to blacken
the character of a whole region for the crime of a few. The
Tallahassee Land of Flowers accused the Times of attempting to
divert settlers away from Middle Florida to the benefit of East
Florida. 8 The PensaCola Commerical said that Jones had no
sympathy for white people and that he was motivated by "pure,
selfish, grasping greed, allied with inborn hate and animosity
to the Southern people, developed under the hypocritical pre-
tence of obedience to law and love of peace and good order." 9
The Times ' s answer to its critics was that if getting down to
particulars and trying to bring criminals to justice made
enemies for the paper among some people, it made friends among
others — and it sold newspapers.
When Jones returned from his trip North, the fall
Congressional campaign was underway. Jones had hastened back
because he did not wish to leave the helm of the Times during
its first election. As an independent newspaper its course
would need careful charting. "We shall probably decide the
election," he told Abernethy, "but, on the other hand, any
blundering would wreck our enterprise, which has now become too
valuable to imperil," Jones's caution was justified, for
within weeks the Times would become a controversial point of
the campaign. Democratic partisans began to charge that Jones's
ostensibly independent newspaper was secretly the organ of the
Republican party and its candidate Horatio Bisbee.
The truth of this charge cannot be determined. Varnum
would later declare that Bisbee paid Jones "one thousand dollars,
lump amount" to promote his candidacy. 12 But when Varnum made
the charge he had become a business competitor of Jones, and
thus his testimony is suspect. Clearly the Times gave more
space to Bisbee than to J. J. Finley, the Democratic nominee,
and it carried Republican advertisements on its editorial page
in a style that could easily have been taken as an endorsement,
while it ran few Democratic advertisements. But the absence of
Democratic material can be explained, and was explained by Jones
at the time, by the reluctance of Democrats to patronize the
Times . The Union and other Democratic newspapers made a con-
certed effort to discourage Democratic patronage of the Times .
The Gainesville Bee's remark was typical: "An open enemy — an
avowed Republican journal may be respected, but a secret enemy
is to be dreaded and despised. The sooner the State press
forces the' Times 'off the fence' the better for the Democracy;
or, if this can not be done, then let Democrats withdraw their
support from it, and let it seek it from a more congenial source —
the Republican party."
Whether by design or not, the Times ' s course worked to
promote Bisbee. In August Jones published a letter by
Alexander St. Clair-Abrams, founder of the town of Taveres and
a South Florida political leader, in which he charged that he
and other young men in the Democratic party had been thwarted
at the district Democratic convention by the "ring" control of
former Governor George F. Drew and his friends. St. Clair-
Abrams vowed to fight the "Drew ring" in future political
contests. While giving publicity to this division in the
Democratic ranks, the Times reported the Republican state con-
vention with fairness contrasting sharply with its biased
reporting of the local Republican convention during the spring
municipal election. However, the Times did attack Bisbee for
his high tariff views and on some other issues, and it did not
make any major criticism of Finley.
The election itself did not arouse great excitement. In
fact, the general public seemed indifferent to the contest.
Later some Democrats were to blame the apathy of white voters
for Finley' s defeat, since it was assumed that the Negores would
vote in every election, either because their votes were purchased
or because they had a .special devotion to exercising their newly
won rights. The Times was inclined to agree that apathy had
played a part in the Democratic defeat, and said that the
Democratic press had lulled the voters into a false sense of
security by emphasizing Finley' s supposed large majority in the
1880 race. But Jones was more willing to second St. Clair-Abrams' s
explanation that many young Democrats had declined to support
the campaign. '
The sweeping Democratic victories on the national level
were labeled "revolutionary." The election of Grover Cleveland
as governor of New York was of particular note, said the Times ,
for it meant that he would be elected President in 1884. Thus
on November 9, 1882, Jones staked his claim to being the first
editor in the United States to endorse Cleveland for the
The Times had apparently prospered during the election,
and made the boast afterwards that its edition carrying the
returns was the largest single issue ever sold by any Florida
newspaper. The Union , however, was nearing collapse. During
the campaign McCallum had sent John Temple Graves and other
agents around with General Finley to attend his rallies and
solicit subscriptions. The Times noted this practice and sug-
gested that perhaps the Union had slipped so far that it must
beg for charity as the party organ. By the middle of October
Jones was charging that the Union could not pay the wages of
its employees and that it was selling its editorial columns to
the Florida Central and Western Railroad in order to raise
money. Such charges were common in a time when newspapers
were expected to collapse frequently. In this case they were
certainly based on truth. The Union had been in financial
trouble for a long while, and competition from the Times was
pushing it to bankruptcy. In April the owners of the Union had
reorganized and incorporated as the Union Printing Company,
purchasing new type and equipment to upgrade the paper, but to
no avail. 22 In December Jones wrote to Abernethy asking him for
an advance payment on Jones's Brooklyn home, which Abernethy was
purchasing, explaining that he was trying to put his hands on as
much money as possible since all signs pointed to the imminent
collapse of the Union, and he wanted to be in a position to
step in when the crash came. Three weeks later he informed
Abernethy that the Union 's demise had been "postponed."
The contest between the two Jacksonville dailies was not
always confined to the printed page. The issue of the Times
which appeared on the streets on the morning of October 17 con-
tained a small item reporting that W. W. Douglass of the Union
staff had stopped a Times press boy and tried to get information
regarding the Times 's circulation. 2 ^ Douglass read the story
that morning, determined that he had been insulted, and set off
to find Jones. He did not encounter him until that evening when
they met outside a Bay Street restaurant. Douglass attempted to
strike Jones with a cane, but tripped or was knocked to the
ground as Jones retreated into the street. After a few blows
were exchanged the men were separated by the crowd which had
spilled out of the restaurant to witness the fight. Jones pro-
ceeded to Varnum's house where he washed up, and then he went to
the Times office to write a description of the fight and editorial
condemning street violence. When Mayor Dzialynski fined
Douglass only $10.00 in his court, Jones criticized the leniency
of the punishment. '
Jones's efforts to reform Jacksonville society encompassed
a broader front than denunciation of rowdyism and unsafe sidewalks.
He wished to see the intellectual life of the community en-
riched, and he wanted to make Jacksonville's residents see their
town as more than just a riverboat station. When some suggested
that the proposed new city hall be built at the lowest possible
cost, Jones dissented, declaring that the most imposing structure
possible should be erected in order to set a high standard for
the rest of the community. 28 The Times also supported an improved
public library, and Jones promised to try to get books for it
from northern publishers. 29 Metropolitan Hall, Jacksonville's
"wretched excuse for a theatre" drew nothing but scorn from the
Times. It was an upper story room whose walls were plastered
with advertisements, where the audience sat on wooden benches.
Jones declared that a more plush and comfortable facility would
be needed to please tourists and to attract something better than
the banjo pickers and migrant troupes that now visited Metropolitan
Hall. An ardent threatre goer himself, Jones applauded when plans
were announced for leasing another local hall and converting it
into a threatre to be called the Opera House.
Two days before Christmas the staff of the Times surprised
Jones in his office with the gift of a table lamp. He made a
little speech thanking his men and praising their spirit; then
cigars and mutual congratulations were passed around as the next
day's edition was set up. 31 The new season was bringing
unprecedented prosperity to the Times, and within a month Jones
was claiming that his paper had a larger circulation than that
of any paper ever published in the state of Florida. If
there was any doubt of this claim, it vanished on January 28
when a brief editorial in the Times recorded the fact that Jones,
Varnum and Company had bought the Union and all its property.
The sale had taken place in the parlor of McCallum's home the
day before. 33 There was no triumphant boasting, just a matter-
of-fact statement that the two papers would be merged, and a
new paper, the Florida Times -Union , would be published in the
old Union offices at 56-1/2 West Bay Street. 34 That same day
Jones penned a letter to Abernethy informing him of the con-
solidation: "If I can hold the field against all competitors
for a year or two I shall have one of the most valuable news-
paper properties in the South. As it is we have won a great
victory." 3 ^ He added that this turn of events had removed his
last thoughts of returning to Brooklyn. Two days later he
requested that Abernethy make as large a payment on his house
as possible since he would need all the money he could get for
some time to come. 3 " During the next two weeks Jones did little
else but labor on newspaper business. One of his most important
accomplishments was the securing of an exclusive franchise for
the Associated Press dispatches in East Florida. No other
newspaper in the region could obtain the dispatches without the
consent of the Times-Union , thus giving its owners a security
which would justify outlays of large sums of money in improving
the paper which might not have been profitable in a competitive
situation. 3 '
The first issue of the Florida Times-Union appeared on
February 4. Its circulation was less than the combined
circulation of the Times and the Union since some subscribers
had taken both, but the paper's readership was three times that
of the previous year.
The new paper was printed on the Union's water-driven
press, and the Times 's Campbell press was moved into the job
office. Since the Union 's old press was hardly capable of
handling the paper's increased volume, plans were made for
procuring a new press from the Hoe Company of New York. 38
Many of the Union 's employees were hired by the new paper,
including M. R. Bowden who joined Varnum in the city department . 39
John Temple Graves did not join the staff for nearly two weeks
and then worked only briefly as a canvasser before leaving to
co-edit the Florida Herald , an evening paper begun by the
Ashmead Brothers. In the fall Graves and Harrison Clark, the
paper's business manager, would purchase the Herald . Although
the Herald would become the political enemy of the Times-Union ,
it did not seriously rival it as a newspaper. °
With the consolidation of the papers, Jones thought it an
appropriate time to answer those who had been pressing the paper
to define its political position. He declared his belief that
a newspaper was a business, like any other commerical enterprise,
and should not be the organ of any political party. Newspaper
editors should speak for themselves — not for party leaders. The
editor should work with party leaders, not for them. Jones
declared that the paper had no "backers," and was free to chart
its own course. In politics, the paper would support government
by the people of property, education, and sobriety. Since the
r^,--..-^^w^^.^i^~.^^.JV,.-^>w^o..^,:^^~;.»^^.r-..j^* m .».^ „ i >
Republican party in the South was largely the party of what he
termed the ignorant, propertyless, and irresponsible, the Times-
Union would be on the side of Democracy most of the time. In
local elections it would ignore political lines and stand for
fair play, equality under the law, and the promotion of educa-
tion for all citizens. On national issues the Times -Union
would stand for civil service reform, a tariff for revenue only,
lower taxes, economy in government, honest government, and aid
to education based on need.
During the first weeks of the Times-Union ' s existence
Jones wrote several essays on his philosophy of journalism.
He felt that the idea of a newspaper as a purveyor of "news"
was gaining ground on the traditional view that newspapers
should be vehicles of opinion for editors and political parties.
The public's curiosity about the world around them was a sound
basis for a newspaper enterprise, he felt, and party politics
was not. The editorial page should reflect the honest convictions
of the editor, and if this evoked the hostility of some, it would
at least be worthy of respect.^ 2
As the spring municipal election approached the Times-Union
began to give a great deal of attention to the incumbent
administration's seeming lack of interest in enforcing the
Sunday law or the laws against gambling. On March 3, 1883,
Jones ran an illustrated front page feature on a gang of bunko
artists operating in Jacksonville, apparently without police
intervention. Three days later the paper carried a story
describing the excursion of a reporter around town on Sunday
afternoon, detailing the bars he entered and the men he saw
there. As a gesture of obedience to the Sunday law the front
doors of the saloons were closed, but access by side doors was
easy and the traffic in and out obvious to policemen walking
their beats. 44 The Times-Union had paid little attention to
the question since the last municipal election, but now resur-
rected it as the leading issue of the city campaign.
The agitation of the Sunday ordinance question was
evidently a means of preparing the ground for Jones's candidate
for mayor, John Q. Burbridge, who he said would unite the better
class of both parties and bring honest government to the town.
He warned that if respectable people wanted to have a better
government they would have to work for it by attending the ward
primaries where delegates to the convention would be selected
and the real decision made. But as he had feared, the profes-
sional politicians and their allies in the saloon and gambling
businesses controlled the primaries and elected their men to
the convention. Despite the Times-Union 's warning that they
would be held accountable if they did not nominate decent
candidates, the Democrats nominated William M. Dancy for mayor
and a slate of party regulars for the remaining offxces.
Thereupon Jones announced that the Times-Union would support a
"citizens" ticket if any group of prominent men would place a
slate of good men in the race. On the next day Jones took
the initiative and named his own "Citizens Ticket," composed
of men selected from both the Democratic and Republican slates.
Patrick E. McMurray, the Republican nominee for mayor, headed
the "Citizens" list, with the only other Republicans being the
candidate for treasurer and a black man for assessor.
The Times-Union campaigned hard for its slate, calling
Dancy the candidate of the gamblers and the rum dealers, and
before the campaign was over the paper had been sued twice.
James F. Rownsend, the Democratic nominee for treasurer, asked
for $5,000 damages for a story which suggested that he had
broken federal liquor laws. Manuel C. Jordan, a defeated
aspirant for the Republican nomination for mayor, brought
suit for $10,000 based on a story which alleged that he had
tried to purchase the nomination. When the entire Democratic
slate was elected, the Times-Union charged that the Democrats
had bought black voters "like swine." Although he had failed
to accomplish any goal he had set during the campaign, Jones
still attempted to claim a victory because Dancy had made a
promise of dubious value to enforce the Sunday law.
A week after the city election Jacksonville was
confronted by a much more serious problem than municipal
politics. A Negro laborer from New Orleans brought small pox
into the town, and it had spread into the black community.
The threat of epidemic diseases to communities in the nineteenth
century was a very real and present danger, and the Times-Union
had made it a point to remind its readers that constant
vigilance be maintained to keep the town clean and healthful.
Now Jones was faced with the problem of deciding whether to
publish news that the disease was already within the city. If
the Times-Union publicized the fact that the disease was in
Jacksonville it would mean the immediate exodus of vacationers
lingering in the city, quarantining by the rest of the state,
and possible reprisals against the Times-Union for bringing
these calamities to pass. Jones hesitated and did not publish
the Jacksonville Board of Health's first report, but he did
print a short story on the last page of the Times -Union saying
that several Negroes had contracted something which might be
small pox, and they had been removed from the city. After
waiting two days he printed the Board of Health's report; at
the same time criticizing the "senseless panic" which had
overtaken tourist and citizen alike when rumors of the disease's
presence spread around town. He argued that there were no
grounds for serious apprehension and that a rail center such
as Jacksonville could expect to have small outbreaks from time
to time. Cities such as New York and Atlanta were never free
from such diseases, yet life there continued regardless.
The Times-Union continued this low key approach to the problem
during the early days of the epidemic, advising vaccination of
children and the quarantining of homes where the disease was
present. 55 As Jones had forseen, the publishing of the small
pox report sent the tourists away weeks earlier than their
usual departure date, and towns on Jacksonville's communication
paths erected quarantines against the city. Jones declared
this not necessary; that the epidemic was under control and
would be stamped out within two or three weeks. "The
spectacle of the entire State gone wild with panic over a few
cases of small-pox, paralyzing trade and checking the tide of
immigration, is one of the most extraordinary manifestations
of human folly that it has ever been our fortune to witness,"
editorialized the Times-Union . 5 '
As the epidemic went into its third week the paper's
tone became more critical, and it began to take the epidemic
more seriously. Jones criticized the Board of Health for con-
structing a poorly-built pest house for Negroes on low ground
where almost half the patients succumbed to the disease. This
treatment was contrasted to that afforded wealthy whites or
any white who could get a "prominent citizen" to intercede in
his behalf. Such kindness was not only unfair discrimination,
it tended to permit the disease to spread. 58 This advice
caused some whites to accuse Jones of attempting to stir up
"race and caste prejudice," but Jones declared that that was
just what he was trying to prevent. 59 By May 3, the Times -
Union reported that no new cases of small pox had been reported
for six days, and it advised that normal business be resumed
while the Board of Health watched over the convalescing. 60
With that pronouncement, the Times-Union ceased to mention the
Although the epidemic was no longer alluded to in the
newspapers, this did not mean it had abated. The town's
leaders had decided to keep quiet about the small pox, hoping
that business would pick up as the panic subsided and that the
disease could be controlled in the meantime. Jones agreed to
cooperate with this new departure, and there was no mention of
the small pox for most of the month of May. Finally, however,
as the epidemic persisted and spread among the white population,
Jones decided to speak out. When word of his plan got around,
several leading citizens admonished and threatened him not to do
it. Ultimately Varnum (in Jones's absence), Mayor Dancy, and
Burbridge sat down to discuss a program of positive action.
On May 23 and 24 the Times-Union broke the news of the continuing
epidemic, and at the same time declared that Jacksonville
could rid itself of the disease in two months with concerted
effort. Recommendations included a new hospital for all white
patients, an improved black hospital, the supervised burning of
contaminated buildings, and the compulsory vaccination of the
i i 61
town's entire populace.
Quarantines which had been lifted were reimposed as
quickly as the railroads carried copies of the Times-Union to
neighboring towns. 62 Having raised the alarm and promoted con-
structive action to end the epidemic, the Times -Union now
returned to the theme that there was no reason for panic and
that the quarantines against Jacksonville were unnecessary.
Still, new cases were reported daily, and the arrival of
Dr. Bosso with his patent small pox cure was a sure sign that
word of the epidemic had spread far and wide. 64 Dr. Bosso
placed full-page advertisements in the Times -Union and
attracted people in droves who visited his office to buy
"protection" in the form of "Dr. Bosso's Blessing to Mankind."
Dr. Bosso would meet a swift demise two months later in
Pensacola, reportedly from yellow fever, although he treated
himself with his own medicine and insisted down to the end
that he was not infected. In Jacksonville the disease was
brought under control toward the end of June.
The experience had been instructive for Jones. He had
been warned that his course in publicizing the epidemic might
ruin his newspaper, but, instead, his efforts promoted public
good without detrimental effects to the Times-Union . Also,
the haphazard, sometimes vindictive way in which the quaran-
tines against Jacksonville had been imposed convinced Jones
that Florida needed a state board of health, and he began to
lobby for its creation.
Meanwhile Jones had become involved in a project to
construct a ship canal across the Florida peninsula. The idea
dated back to the days of Spanish Florida, but immediate
interest stemmed from a request made by United States Senator
Charles W. Jones in December, 1881, that the War Department
assemble all information gathered by previous canal planners. '
At the time, the project was endorsed by the Times as practical
and desirable. 68 A year later in December, 1882, the Florida
Ship Canal Company was organized in New York. The Times noted
its impressive list of directors, but commented that it would
believe in the canal when it saw work underway. 69 Tangible
evidence of the company's activity appeared shortly in the
form of two lobbyists who came to Jacksonville and Tallahassee
to promote the venture. They were asking the state for a one
mile right of way from the Atlantic to the Gulf and 6,000,000
acres of Internal Improvement Fund land to encourage investors
to put up the estimated $40 to $60 million needed to construct
the canal. 7" The latter request was criticized as another
"land grab," but Jones defended the idea on the grounds that
the Internal Improvement Fund had been established for just
such purposes and that no land would be granted unless the
canal were completed.
In January a bill to charter a trans-Florida ship canal
went before the legislature, and a rival bill was introduced
by a barge canal company backed by George F. Drew, J. J. Finley,
and George F. Fairbanks, editor of the Fernandina Mirror . The
Times-Union suggested that it was time for the state to act on
the canal before all internal improvement lands had been given
away and no means of attracting capital remained.' 2 The canal
bill had no easy course in the legislature. When it emerged
there was no provision for a grant of Internal Improvement Fund
lands, and the company was required to pay for its right of
way land. ^ 3 Even in this scaled-down form the Times-Union
urged its advancement, saying that the canal should be under-
taken while northern capitalists were still interested. 7 ^
In May the canal company was reorganized. Former
Tennessee Governor John C. Brown remained president, Ben Butler,
Senator William Mahone of Virginia, and State Senator Austin S.
Mann of Hernando County, Florida, were made directors. 5 At
a board meeting amonth later Mann and Jones were named as a
Florida executive committee to promote the canal, Jones
becoming a director at the same time. 7° By the summer engineers
were at work surveying possible routes for the canal and were
making confident predictions of initiating construction in
September. Jones declared that the venture was not a specu-
lative bubble and that while there were problems to be overcome
in construction of the canal they were much less formidable
than those faced in Suez.
During the summer Jones, who attended the June meeting
of the directors in Washington, traveled around the Southeast
promoting the canal. In an interview given to the New Orleans
Times-Democrat , he predicted that the Florida canal would divert
the flow of Midwestern agricultural produce from New York and
make New Orleans the chief market for European grain exports.
To those who doubted that the canal could be built he painted
the picture of giant dredges scooping out limestone rock with
ease. 78 i n July Charles P. Stone, chief engineer of the
company and an observer of the Suez Canal's construction while
in the service of the Khedive of Egypt, arrived in Jacksonville
and after a brief visit pronounced the project feasible and
possible of construction at a reasonable cost. Jones went to
New York for the next meeting of the board of directors where
Stone presented a report outlining plans for a 137.5 mile
canal which would be built at a cost of $46,000,000. The
highest elevation to be traversed would be 143 feet — somewhat
less than had been anticipated. According to Jones's dispatch
to the Times -Union , the only difficulty remaining was the
determination of means for financing the project. Fairbanks' s
Fernandina Mirror said that such talk was overly optimistic,
but Jones attributed Fairbanks 's criticism to his interest in
a barge canal.
On December 1, 1883, Jones, Mann, Choate, and A. W. Jones
of Virginia were granted a charter by the state for the Florida
Ship and Transit Canal Company. The company was authorized to
construct a canal and to sell $40,000,000 worth of stock. *
Jones left for New York to confer with the directors later that
month. He sent back promising reports of impending sales of
stock, but in a private letter to Abernethy he suggested that
all was not well with the venture. Jones remained in the
North until the directors met in New York on January 9, 1884,
and, although it is not known what transpired there, when he
returned to Florida he dropped all connection with the canal
project and did not mention the canal again in the Times -Union
except to disassociate himself from it.°^ The canal company
continued to exist for some years more, but no attempt was
made to begin construction of a canal.
In the fall of 1883 the question of the Sunday law
returned to the forefront, although the Times-Union had noted
earlier that Mayor Dancy was not enforcing Sunday closings.
On a Sunday morning late in October George W. Jones received
word in newspaper headquarters that the police were shutting down
the news stands. He left the office and walked down Bay Street
to see for himself. He then visited Bettelini's restaurant
and Togin's saloon to have a few beers and verify that the
drinking establishments were not closed down. At the mayor's
court next morning it was revealed that not all the saloons
had remained unmolested. Several bar keepers were convicted
of violating the law and were fined, along with news stand
owners William H. Ashmead and Telfair Stockton. 87 The mayor's
conversion to strict enforcement of the Sunday law was explained
by the Times-Union as an attempt to make the law so unpalatable
to the public that it would be repealed altogether. It was
pointed out that Dancy had been one of those who, a year
previously, had tried to "amend" the Sunday law to make it
more comprehensive, and it had been alleged then that his
ulterior motive was total repeal. When the mayor continued
to enforce the law rigidly against all Sunday enterprises, the
Times-Union threw its support behind a move by Burbridge to
modify the law so as to direct it explicitly against the liquor
dealers. Burbridge 's proposal was voted down in the council
by a vote of two to five. 89 Meanwhile, the question of
temperance, liquor license laws, and related subjects became
a major item of attention in the Times-Union , and Jones pre-
dicted that the question would increaseingly force itself on
the public's consciousness and into polxtics.
;i^gBia»a^i£*aaaaEaafla3aiiigaai^^ «j~nnaw>?,t^[.»*ar , -' . a^-^ . ^fag^ . ^a«T^ . T g^
In October Jones announced that the weekly edition of
the newspaper, the Weekly Florida Times , had become the most
widely circulated newspaper in the state during its first year
of existence. ^ Jones also was proud of the fact that it had
subscribers in most of the states; arid territories of the
country. Since its readers were largely rural agrarians,
there was more emphasis on farm and garden topics in the Weekly
Florida Times than in the Times-Union . J. G. Knapp was the
major contributor of articles on topics of special interest to
Florida farmers. 92 In August George W. Jones had been sent to
the Southern Exposition at Louisville to open a booth at the
Florida exhibit and distribute some 50,000 special editions of
the Weekly Florida Times , an effort which benefited both Florida
and the newspaper. ■*
The Times-Union itself had continued to prosper. After the
merger of the papers it had become apparent that the Times-Union
was outgrowing its plant facilities and in April it was announced
that a contract had been signed with Hoe Company of New York
for a $6,000 press capable of printing 3,500 copies per hour.^
In May Jones and his head pressman went to New York to inspect
the press and to arrange for increased telegraphic news and
correspondence from northern cities. In that same month the
last of the kerosene lamps were taken out of the Times-Union
building and were replaced with gas lamps. The new Hoe
press, which arrived early in August, turned out a four-page,
seven- column paper, which by winter had been enlarged to eight
columns on week days and nine columns on Sunday, making room
for more Associated Press material and other "specials." The
faster press also facilitated the publication of late evening
telegraphic dispatches. During the season the paper featured
local society notes by a Mrs. Ingram, a decided innovation in
a male profession. By the end of 1883 Jones was claiming a
circulation twice that of the old Union or Times and five
times that of any other Florida daily. Jones wrote
Abernethy: "The men and the staff seem to be working together
harmoniously, and business is booming to a degree far beyond
our most sanguine expectations."
The success of the Times-Union was not an unmixed
blessing for it meant that Jones's responsibilities grew
apace. In an effort to mitigate the stress of his habitual
dawn-to-midnight routine, Jones reorganized the staff of the
paper. John Ransom was made chief of staff with general
supervisory duties and responsibility for some editorial
writing. Howard Littlefield was given control of state and
telegraphic news, while Bowden and Wright handled local news."
John Varnum sold his share of the paper to Jones and his
brother, and became secretary of the Jacksonville Board of
« j 10 °
In an effort to improve his health and that of his wife,
Jones purchased a horse and buggy and made it a habit to take
time off from newspaper work for a daily drive around the town
and riverside. 101 To save trips between the office and his
home, Jones had them connected by telephone. All this did
not mean that Jones's life became more tranquil. If anything,
the reverse was true. Perhaps the most significant development
in his affairs was his increasing involvement in the politics
of the city and state, which, he complained, was becoming a
burden itself. 103
NOTES TO CHAPTER III
Edward C. Williamson, "Black Belt Political Crisis:
The Savage-James Lynching, 1882," Florida Historical Quarterly ,
XLV (April, 1967), 402-409.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , August 26, 1882.
Ibid ., August 28, September 1, 1882.
4 Ibid. , September 8, 1882.
Ibid . , September 13, 1882.
Ibid., September 14, 1882.
Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , September 26, 1882.
Tallahassee Land of Flowers , October 7, 1882.
Pensacola Commercial , September 15, 22, 26, 1882.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , September 17, 1882.
11 Jones to Abernethy, July 23, 1882, JP.
Jacksonville Morning News , June 6, July 14, 1886.
Gainesville Weekly Bee , June 30, 1882.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , August 13, 1882.
L5 Ibid. , August 24, 1882.
Ibid .. September 29, October 25, 1882.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , November 28, 1882;
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union, November 21, 23, 1883.
NOTES TO CHAPTER III (continued)
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , November 9, 1882.
Ibid ., September 22, 1882.
Ibid ., October 15, 1882.
Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , May 2, 1882.
Jones to Abernethy, December 10, 1882, JP.
Ibid . , December 29,1882, JP.
25 Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , October 17, 1882.
Ibid ., October 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 1882.
Ibid ., October 21, 1882.
28 Ibid., November 26, 1882.
Ibid . , February 12, December 7, 1882.
Ibid ., December 12, 14, 15, 19, 1882.
31 Ibid. , December 24, 1882.
Ibid ., January 21, 1883.
Ibid., January 31, 1882.
Ibid., January 28, 1883.
Jones to Abernethy, January 28, 1883, JP.
36 Ibid. , January 30, 1883, JP.
NOTES TO CHAPTER III (continued)
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , February 14, 1883.
Ibid ., February 4, 1883.
Ibid ., February 4, 14, 1883.
James Esgate, Jacksonville The Metropolis of Florida
(Boston, 1885), 48; Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , October 23, 1883,
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , February 4, 1883.
Ibid., February 16, 1883.
Ibid ., March 3, 1883.
Ibid ., March 6, 1883.
Ibid., March 9, 11, 14, 1883.
Ibid ., March 16, 1883.
Ibid ., March 17, 1883.
Ibid ., March 18, 1883.
Ibid ., March 24, 1885.
Ibid., March 27, 1883.
Ibid ., April 2, 1883.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , April 20, September
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 6, June 1, 1883.
NOTES TO CHAPTER III (continued)
Ibid ., April 8, 1883.
Ibid ., April 12, 13, 1883.
Ibid ., April 20, 1883.
Ibid., April 22, 1883.
Ibid ., April 24, 25, 1883.
Ibid., May 3, 1883.
Ibid ., May 23, 24, 1883.
62 Ibid. , May 25, 26, 1883.
Ibid., May 25, 26, June 17, 1883.
Ibid .. June 11, 1883.
Ibid ., June 11, 14, 17, September 7, 1883.
Ibid., June 28, July 17, 1883; for another account of
the epidemic see Webster Merritt, A Century of Medicine in Jack-
sonville and Duval County (Gainesville, 1949), 131-146.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , December 11, 1881, Jan-
uary 3, 1882.
Ibid ., July 12, 1882.
Ibid ., December 27, 1882.
7 °Ibid. , January 12, 1883.
NOTES TO CHAPTER III (continued)
Ibid ., January 14, 1883; Pensacola Commercial , January
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , January 19, 1883.
Acts and Resolutions Adopted by the Legislature of Florida
at its Twelfth Session, 1883 (Tallahassee, 1883), 93-100.
74 Ibid. , February 20, 1883.
Ibid ., May 10, 1883.
Ibid . , June 9, 1883.
Ibid ., June 15, 1883.
Ibid ., June 23, 1883.
Ibid ., July 22, 1883.
Ibid., August 21, 1883.
Fernandina Florida Mirror , September 29, 1883; Jackson-
ville Florida Times -Union , October 11, 1883.
Tallahassee Weekly Florid ian , December 11, 1883.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , December 11, 1883, Jones
to Abernethy, December 29, 1883, JP.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , September 4, 1884.
85 Ibid. , May 20, 1883.
86 Ibid. , October 23,1883.
NOTES TO CHAPTER III (continued)
Ibid .; Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , May 2, 1882.
Ibid ., November 21, 1883.
Ibid . , October 13, 1883.
91 Ibid. , October 24, 1883.
Ibid., May 12, 1883.
Ibid., August 17, 1883.
Ibid ., February 24, April 8, 1883.
Ibid ., May 20, 1883.
Ibid .. May 18, 1883.
Ibid., November 4, 1883.
Jones to Abernethy, December 29, 1883, JP.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , April 16, 1884.
Ibid ., March 21, 1884.
Jones to Abernethy, May 24, 1884, JP.
Ibid., February 24, 1884.
EDITOR AS POLITICIAN
In 1884 the Times-Union was unusually restrained in its
comments on the city elections. Mayor Dancy and the entire
Democratic slate, with one exception, were elected to office,
and the Times-Union had only the mildest criticism to make of
"the boys." The reason, as Jones was candid to admit, was
that local elections influenced state and national elections,
and that the Times-Union did not wish to hurt the Democratic
party's chances by creating internal dissension. Dancy was
given credit for having the best interests of the town at
heart, and it was even admitted that the Sunday law as it was
presently written was impossible to enforce rationally. The
Republicans had placed themselves behind a reform "citizens"
ticket, which Jones called a sham, but he declared that if a
real reform slate were ever brought forward he would "set the
St. Johns River afire" in support of it.
In spite of Jones's renewed avowals that the Times -Union
was not abandoning enlightened independence for crass parti-
sanship, it was becoming, at least for a time, more and more
a Democratic party organ and less the champion of controversial
causes. 3 But Jones had no intention of becoming merely the
servant of Democratic party leaders; he aspired to leadership
himself. Jones had great faith in the power of the press to
control public opinion and thus influence the behavior of
politicians. He observed that Charles E. Dyke, recently re-
tired editor of the Tallahassee Floridan, had never sought or
held public office but had often exerted more power than the
men who did. With Dyke's retirement, Jones predicted, the
Floridian would become just another newspaper. As editor of
the state's largest newspaper, Jones was in a position to
replace Dyke as the leading politician-editor of the state.
Before the 1884 election campaign was over, stories had begun
to circulate that party leaders objected to Jones's political
activity and resented his arrogant, know-it-all attitude about
,. . 5
The theme of party unity was not original to the Times-
Union in 1884, for the state Democracy was threatened by a
strong "Independent" movement. The movement had originated
among dissident elements in the Democratic party— disappointed
office seekers, ambitious young men, discontented cracker
farmers— but it had increasingly become a fusionist effort by
which the Republican party hoped to regain its lost power in
the state. When Jones came to Florida and established an
"independent" newspaper, some thought that he was in sympathy
with the movement, but Jones took care to explain that although
the Times was independent it was not in sympathy with the
"small body of office-seeking malcontents" calling themselves
Independents. 7 Later Jones came to look more favorably on the
Independents, who were most active in Madison County. If these
men were not simply "sorehead office seekers," Jones wrote,
and really did stand for fair elections and social progress,
then they ought to be encouraged. It was only when efforts
were made to fuse Independents and Republicans that the Times
condemned the movement.
After the fall elections in 1882, J. Willis Menard,
Negro editor of the Key West News , wrote Republican national
chairman William E. Chandler saying that if the party wanted
to carry Florida in 1884 it must place men in the federal
offices who would work with the state's Negroes. He added
that all the black leaders favored the Independent movement.
When Menard went to Washington in March, 1883, to argue for a
Republican-Independent fusion, the Times-Union said that the
movement must be resisted because the Republicans would dominate
such a coalition and, if successful, would return Florida to
government by the lower classes. Jones admitted that if the
Independents could swing enough Democratic voters over to the
fusion ticket the Independents could win with the help of the
Republicans. 11 The only hitch to the plan, Jones explained,
was that white Republicans holding federal offices would
resist the efforts of the blacks to undercut their leadership.
This would mean a split in the Republican ranks and the failure
of Independentism. 12 Jones began at once to help make this
forecast a reality by publishing a letter from Republican state
executive committee chairman Edward M. Cheney denouncing the
proposed alliance with the Independents.
The Negro revolt against the leadership of the white
Republican office-holders began to take concrete shape at a
meeting called by Menard in Gainesville on February 5, 1884,
where it was decided to enlist black support for the
Independents. 14 When the Republican convention meeting at
Fernandina renominated Bisbee for Congress, Florida's black
Reconduction Congressman Josiah T. Walls bolted the convention
and had his own name placed in nomination. The T imes-Union
printed Walls's accusation that Bisbee had packed the conven-
tion, and treated Walls's candidacy favorably since it was
expected that he had no chance of winning and would take votes
away from Bisbee. 15 In general, however, the Times-Union
decried the attempt of the blacks to take control of the
Republican party away from "respectable white Republicans.
The movement was described as a grab for spoils rather than
as a genuine party reform. This demand for more offices for
blacks meant, declared the Times-Union , "negro rule; and that
will never again be submitted to in any Southern State.
The Independents were accused of inciting race hatred and of
spreading stories that the Democrats intended to take away
Negro rights. 18 The Times-Union said that neither charge was
true: The Democratic party was the "best and truest friend"
of the Negro and was pledged to protect Negro rights, but
whites, Democrats and Republicans alike, would not vote to
place blacks in positions of power again.
The restlessness of the Negroes under the leadership of
the federal office-holders had been noted by former Governor
Harrison Reed, who proposed to Henry S. Sanford, former American
diplomat who had become a major Florida developer, that they
prevent the impending desertion of the blacks to the Independents
by offering themselves as leaders. As a step in displacing the
leadership of the "ring," Reed proposed that he, Sanford, and
several railroad men combine to establish a Republican newspaper
themselves. 20 Sanford did not agree to join this venture immedi-
ately, but Reed proceeded with his plans, fearful that Bisbee
and the "ring" would establish a newspaper themselves. It was
decided that S. A. Adams's Palatka Journal would be purchased
and moved to Jacksonville. Adams felt that the newspaper could
become asuccess in Jacksonville since business and railroad
support was assured and because local merchants were unhappy
with the supposedly high rates they were forced to pay for
advertising in the Times-Union due to its monopoly of the
Jacksonville field. 22 By April Sanford had been induced to
join the venture. He saw the Times-Union 's monopoly of the
Associated Press dispatches as a problem, but felt that if
rights to the dispatches could not be purchased from Jones at
a reasonable price, the paper could begin as a bi-weekly with
a "breezy" format to attract readers. He would have preferred
someone other than Reed as editor, but felt he would be
adequate. Sanford went to Henry Plant and other railroad men
who promised their advertising patronage. The only holdouts
among Republicans were the "ring" office-holders, but Sanford
felt they would be forced to join or be left behind. The paper
was to be "racy, newsey, & aggressive against the democrats, and
with the promotion of the material interests of Florida, through
protection, at the fore." An understanding would be reached
with the Independents, and the Republicans would back their
ticket in the state.
Sanford and Reed's Florida Journal began publication
in Jacksonville on May 26, appearing twice weekly on Mondays
and Thursdays. It had not secured the Associated Press dis-
patches and was plagued with a shortage of advertising patrons.
Part of its problems stemmed from the poor reputation
Republican newspapers had acquired over the years, many people
refusing to subscribe for fear that it would fold as soon as
the election campaign was over. The hostility of the
Jacksonville "ring" also hurt the paper, and Adams complained
that Bisbee and his friends were steering friendly merchants
away from the newspaper. 25 Because the Journal endorsed the
Independent movement the "ring" was doing its best to kill the
paper. 26 However, the Times -Union 's grasp on the Jacksonville
field was probably as great a handicap as any of the other
difficulties. The Journal aimed criticisms at Jones with
regularity, sarcastically referring to him as "the great
Florida journalist" and noting his airs of superiority.
Jones could afford to overlook most of this criticism as the
chattering of an insignificant Radical organ, but the continued
personal abuse finally led him to blast the Journal as "the
most venemous, vindictive, and defamatory sheet that is issued
in the United States to-day," but this criticism was too harsh.
?j ^jSjSS^S)iat«aK<i*fiaaa ^m»^^^
While the Republicans were backing the Independents in
1884, there was also a substantial defection of white Democratic
voters as well. The accusation that Independents were dis-
appointed office seekers had some substance, for under the
constitution of 1868 few local offices were elective. The
idea of giving the governor power to appoint county officials
had originated as a Republican device to prevent the election
of Democrats and also to keep major state offices in the hands
of whites, but when state government returned to the hands of
the Democrats, it worked to prevent the election of Republicans
However, many local Democrats, particularly in counties out-
side the black belt where there was no threat of blacks' being
elected, resented the centralization of power in Tallahassee.
Benjamin Harrison of Palatka wrote the Times-Union saying that
"young Democrats" felt the system was a failure and wanted a
constitutional revision to permit county elections.
George Troup Maxwell, a Democrat- turned-Independent, wrote
that Independentism had its origins in 1879 when Governor
Bloxham refused to call a constitutional convention even after
the Democratic caucus had endorsed the idea. Charles Fildes,
editor of the Gainesville Weekly Bee and a convert to Indepen-
dentism, admitted that he and other South Floridians felt that
they had been denied positions in state government because of
favoritism for black belt, "Tallahassee Ring," men. There
were indications that farmers and working men resented the
Bloxham administration's seeming preference for wealthy
investors and corporations. In June farmer elements withdrew
from a precinct caucus in Putnam County, vowing their intention
of holding a caucus of their own. Toward the close of the
campaign the Times-Union declared that a forged letter was
being circulated over the name of the Democratic nominee
saying that blacks and "poor whites" should be kept away from
the polls. It also published an apology from the Democratic
nominee to the Jacksonville Workingmen's Association for his
failure to make an address before them during the campaign.
The Independents held their convention at Live Oak on
June 18, with about a hundred white and Negro delegates in
attendance, watched by a curious crowd of Democrats and local
blacks. They adopted a platform denouncing the Democratic
party's alleged favoritism toward railroads, corporations, and
large land holders. The platform denounced Governor Bloxham's
sale of 4,000,000 acres of land to Philadelphia businessman
Hamilton Disston and land grants to the railroads. The Inde-
pendents called for a free ballot and a full count, a railroad
commission, the convening of a constitutional convention, local
option liquor laws, and an end of give-aways to big land
speculators. Frank Pope, a young lawyer of Madison County, was
nominated for governor and Jonathan C. Greeley of Jacksonville,
a Republican, for lieutenant governor. The Times-Union com-
mented editorially that it did not think the alliance between
Pope and the Republicans would succeed, and the movement would
therefore come to nothing. However, contrary to Jones's
expectations, the Republican convention did throw the weight
of the party behind the Independent candidates, although Pope
and Greely were "endorsed" rather than nominated outright .
This may have been a tactic to lessen the stigma of "Radical"
support which could be expected to scare away potential defectors
from the Democratic ranks.
The Democrats faced the task of preserving party unity
under pressure from the Independents aimed at fracturing white
solidarity. The incumbent governor, William D. Bloxham, had
several solid achievements to his credit and would have been
the natural choice for renomination except that he was the
focus of Independent charges of "ring rule" and pro-corporation
favoritism. Moreover, he had announced that he would not be
a candidate due to grief over the recent death of his daughter.
When Bloxham made his withdrawal announcement, Jones questioned
whether this might not be a passing sentiment, and Bloxham' s
name remained among those mentioned for the position, but it is
probable that he sincerely did not want a second term. A
professor from the Lake City agricultural college who visited
Bloxham in the summer of 1884 described Bloxham as "broken down,"
stricken with grief, and determined to retire from politics.
The Times-Union declared that Bloxham 1 s retirement from the
field was in the best interest of the party since some of the
controversial actions of his administration had earned him
many enemies, and the party needed a candidate who would not
alienate any segment of the public.
By April the men being mentioned most often for the
nomination by the Times-Union were Bloxham, Drew, and Mann.
Bloxham still maintained that he was not a candidate, but his
friends believed that he would accept the nomination if it
were offered him, and he sometimes encouraged this idea.
Drew was seen by the Times-Union as a good candidate and a
man who could attract the votes of Northern immigrants and
Independents because of his identification with the progressive
wing of the party. Mann, a personal acquaintance of Jones,
was the candidate of South Florida. In May Drew openly
declared his candidacy.
During June rumors of a Bloxham-Drew feud began to
circulate. At the Putnam County convention it was stated by
some that Drew would not support Bloxham if he were the nominee
of the party, but this was denied at the time by Drew s friends.
To investigate these rumors a Times-Union reporter was sent to
interview Drew on June 10. The result was a bombshell: Drew
declared flatly that he would not support Bloxham because
Bloxham had taken the nomination away from him in 1880 after
having promised not to enter the contest. Drew stated that
this year Bloxham was playing the same game by publicly dis-
avowing interest in the nomination while permitting his friends
to seek it on his behalf. Bloxham sent a denial of the story
to the Times-Union and repeated his declaration that he would
not be a candidate.
Privately Bloxham wrote Jones that he feared the Drew
interview would create "bitter feelings" and hurt the party's
chances in the election. Bloxham told Jones that he was
anxious to see a new man nominated, but he was reluctant to
make a final disavowal of his candidacy unless Drew would do
... . 48
Dyke, one of the leaders in securing Bloxham' s nomination
in 1880, gave an interview to the Tallahassee Floridian
saying that he had worked for Bloxham' s nomination in 1880
without Bloxham' s knowledge and that Drew could not have
secured renomination in 1880 in any event.
The immediate reaction to the interview was that Drew
had knocked both himself and Bloxham out of the race, and that
the party should take advantage of the situation to nominate a
third man. 50 Some thought that Jones had maneuvered Drew and
Bloxham into a situation where they would kill each other off,
but this theory is flawed by the fact that Jones was returning
from the Republican national convention in Chicago when the
interview was made.
The Democratic state convention was held in Pensacola,
the home town of Edward A. Perry, and its selection was viewed
as an indication of Perry's strength in the race for the
nomination. 52 Jones was among those who advocated the selection
of Pensacola earlier, probably because he had decided that
Perry was the man to support for the nomination. Jones had
not been elected as a delegate to the convention, but a
Jacksonville delegate gave Jones authorization to attend as
his alternate. Jones went to Pensacola, a "straggling and
sleepy-looking" town, with forbodings of disaster because of
the Drew-Bloxham embroilment, but this threat evaporated when
both Bloxham and Drew refused to allow their names to be entered
in the contest.
During the convention Jones telegraphed back to the Times-
Union that Bloxham had written a letter in behalf of Perry,
and, despite an "authorized" denial in the Tallahassee
Floridian , Bloxham was supporting Perry. During the early
balloting Perry, Comptroller W. D. Barnes, and Samuel Pasco of
Monticello divided the convention's votes fairly evenly. Pasco,
the chairman of the state executive committee, had a Harvard
education and may have been suspect in the eyes of black belt
conservatives. When Barnes withdrew after three ballots, Perry
was nominated. A week later Bloxham wrote Perry that the
story of the endorsement letter had been devised to drive
Drew's friends to Pasco. He admitted that he had favored him
or Barnes for the nomination, but Bloxham suggested that Perry
try to stop press reports that he was responsible for the con-
vention's decision. Jones was almost certainly aware of
the circumstances behind Perry's nomination, but he supported
him vigorously during the campaign, denying that he was the
candidate of Bloxham, the "ring," the railroads, or the rich.
At the convention Jones had been a member of the committee
on resolutions and the sub-committee on the platform. He read
the final draft of the platform to the convention, defending
its low tariff plank against Alexander St. Clare-Abrams ,
Charles Dougherty, and other advocates of protection. After
a heated floor fight the tariff plank was altered to suit
the high-tariff men. 59 The proposal to call a constitutional
convention was welcomed by delegates outside the black belt
and was accepted by the black belt as representative of the
overwhelming sentiment of the party. Anti-ring spokesmen felt
the platform was too complimentary of the Bloxham administration,
but were satisfied by the endorsement of a new constitutional
convention which presumably would end the centralization of
power in Tallahassee.
The platform also contained an endorsement of
Grover Cleveland for the Democratic nomination. Later Jones
and Mann were to claim that they and the "progressive element-
maneuvered the convention into an instruction for Cleveland
over the opposition of the old-line Democrats, who backed
Thomas F. Bayard as a southern man. 61 It is probable that
Jones and Mann led the move to endorse Cleveland, but several
newspapers representative of conservative Democrats had come
out for Cleveland before the convention, indicating that
Cleveland had supporters in both wings of the party. Jones,
despite his 1882 endorsement of Cleveland for the presidency,
was a late arrival on the New York governor's bandwagon. He
had favored Tilden's nomination until the summer of 1884
when it was apparent that Tilden could not make the race due
to a paralytic stroke, and it was not until June that the
Times-Union decided that Cleveland should be the nominee.
The convention of the Second Congressional District to
nominate a candidate for Congress convened in Palatka a week
after the Pensacola convention. While a summer thunderstorm
drenched the town, the delegates labored through fourteen
indecisive ballots, and then recessed for dinner. During the
adjournment prior to the evening session Charles Fildes
attempted to assault Jones in a local hotel lobby. Fildes,
editor of the Gainesville Bee and brother-in-law of Frank Pope,
had been elected as a delegate, but had since come out with an
endorsement of the Independent movement. Jones had raised
the question in the Times-Union whether Fildes should be
allowed to sit in the Democratic convention. During the night
session Fildes, having declared that he was armed and would
fight to speak, entered the hall and attempted to address the
convention. He was shouted down and evicted from the premises
by the sergeants at arms. When the excitement of the
incident died down, the delegates proceeded to nominate
Charles Dougherty, an orange grower and member of the state
legislature from Volusia County.
Jones received the nomination of Dougherty, who had
fought him on the tariff plank a week earlier, with little
enthusiasm, but declared that he was the party's choice and
must be supported. 65 Jones was not the only one dissatisfied
with Dougherty's nomination, and opposition to him within the
ranks threatened his chances of election. While Jones said
his nomination was secured by good organization, others
attributed it toward politics or wire pulling by the
"Tallahassee Ring." 66 Despite his early antipathy toward the
Democratic nominee, Jones worked hard for his election,
appearing at Dougherty rallies and lending him the support of
his columns. 67 As time passed, Dougherty appeared to be gaining
strength and proving wrong those who felt he would be an easy
. , 68
mark for Bisbee.
Although Jones was in the thick of state politics, he
was, if anything, more interested in the Presidential race.
In June he had gone to the Republican convention in Chicago
and had been invited on the floor as a guest of the national
committee. He talked to Whitelaw Reid, the politician-editor
of the New York Tribune , who accurately predicted that Blaine
would receive the nomination. Jones noted the enthusiasm for
Blaine among the delegates, but said his nomination would
lead to Democratic victory in November because reform Republicans
would not vote for Blaine.
A month later Jones again went to Chicago as a spectator
at the Democratic convention. Earlier he had expected to go
as a Florida delegate, and his name was entered as a candidate
for a spot on the delegation at the Pensacola convention, but
it had been removed on the request of some Middle Florida
delegates. 70 His first reaction at the convention was one
of disappointment, for it appeared that the New York Democrats
were so divided between the Cleveland men and the Tammany men
that there was no hope of carrying the state in the fall.
His spirits revived as it became apparent that Cleveland would
have little difficulty in securing the nomination. He spent
a good deal of time observing the labors of the platform com-
mittee, and expressed admiration at its adroit handling of
sensitive issues. He was particularly interested in the
tariff plank, since he had predicted that the low tariff stance
which had been rejected at Pensacola would be adopted by the
national convention. However, the plank adopted at Chicago
was equivocal and not squarely low tariff. 71 Jones left Chicago
with a train load of Georgia delegates who sang and cheered
on their journey and congratulated Jones for the Florida
delegation's solid support for Cleveland.
Early in August Jones received a letter from Cleveland
complimenting his labors for the party and expressing the hope
"that the work will be so well done, and the result so decisive,
that there will be no temptation to our opponents to attempt
to steal the State." 73 This reference by the Democratic nominee
illustrated the lingering fear that the Republicans would
attempt to repeat their "steal" of 1876 in which Florida's
electoral votes had been decisive. Cleveland possibly invited
Jones to visit him for a conference and asked him to act as
his campaign representative in the state. Late in September
Jones traveled North to see Senator Arthur Gorman, Cleveland's
secretary Daniel Lamont, and other Democratic leaders, and he
was among the steady stream of callers who spoke with Cleveland
in his executive office in Albany on September 23. Cleveland
assured Jones of his confidence in victory, but Jones found
him uninterested in talking about the campaign. Jones described
him as "rather above the medium height, stout, but not too
stout for symmetry. He has a fine, clear grey eye which meets
you with a look of candor and friendliness; and his whole
appearance is that of a man who is robust and hearty in mind
as well as body."
During the remainder of the campaign Jones worked
dilligently for the election of Cleveland, devoting, perhaps,
more attention in the Times-Union to national politics than
to the state races. After the election, Mann wrote Cleveland
saying that Jones "did more work in the Campaign for the
national ticket than any other man in the state." Mann was
possibly writing in the hope of sharing with Jones in the
fruits of success, but his assessment of Jones's work may
well be accurate.
The Times-Union treated the national contest as a battle
between right and unrighteousness: "the question at issue is
moral rather than political." Blaine and his supporters
represented the worst in American society and character:
"Surrounding and supporting him, running his campaign and
placing him under obligations for services rendered, is the
most nefarious gang of political freebooters ever brought
together in any age or country." The Times-Union gave
credence to every slanderous story about Blaine concocted
during the campaign. Cleveland, on the other hand, was
pictured as the personification of the country's moral
conscience. 79 The only "political" issue which intruded into
the discussion of the candidates was the tariff. Florida
citrus growers feared that duties on Mediterranean and
Caribbean citrus would be lowered by a Democratic administration,
but Jones argued that only taxes on necessities of life would
be lowered and that the duties on citrus, a luxury, would be
The campaign, national and state, was extremely emotional,
and as it drew to a close the Times -Union assumed a tone of
extreme partisanship. Almost daily the people were reminded
of the horrors of Reconstruction, workers were advised to burn
the mills of employers who attempted to coerce employees to
vote Republican, and warning was given that "thousands" of
Georgia Negroes would attempt to enter the state to vote
fraudulently. 82 Because it was thought that these out-of-
state Negroes would be permitted to vote by "swearing in"
their votes at the polls, the Times-Union declared that only
properly registered voters should be permitted to vote. This
stance aroused the ire of Republicans who said that it was a
device to permit registration officials to arbitrarily dis-
franchise Negro voters. 83 The Times-Union ran a daily tabu-
lation of registered white and Negro voters in Duval County
and urged whites to register so that the Negro majority in the
county could be reduced. 84 By election day Jones was satisfied
that a white majority would be polled in the state
and district if frauds were prevented. He advised Democrats
to behave peacefully and obey the laws.
The Times-Union building was a center of activity in the
hours and days after the polls closed. On the evening of
election day a lime-light stereopticon was set up in the
business office window to project returns on a screen affixed
to a building across the street. Crowds of excited whites
and Negroes milled in the street below waiting for the latest
returns to come in on the wire, cheered pictures of their
favorite candidates, and read advertisements by local merchants.
Citizens from around the state who could not wait for the
mails to bring the results telegraphed Jones to get the latest
news. Sales of the paper reportedly soared above the 5,000
mark for days after the election.
Returns from the state brought news of victory, but the
closeness of the gubernatorial race brought sobering realiza-
tion of how serious the Independent movement had been and
demolished the Times-Union 's confident prediction that Perry
would carry the state by 8,000 votes. The margin was only
half that. The Democrats did, nonetheless, sweep the election.
Dougherty won the Congressional race in the second district by
a larger margin than expected.
The early news of the national election seemed "almost
too good to be true": after a lapse of a quarter century, a
Democrat seemed to have won the White House. The day after
the election the Times-Union proclaimed Cleveland's victory
was almost assured, but on Thursday the picture seemed less
certain, as the Associated Press doctored its dispatches to
suppress news of Cleveland's win in the state of New York.
Finally even the die-hard Associated Press was forced to
admit Republican defeat, and when conclusive dispatches came
in over the wires to Jacksonville Thursday night bells were
rung and a cannon fired in the darkness to celebrate the
victory. Friday morning's paper proclaimed: "Cleveland's
Election is Beyond Doubt."
After the rigors of the campaign and the elation of
victory had passed, Jones was despondent. "I feel sluggish
and apathetic and inclined to question whether the game was
so fascinating or important as to justify burning the candle
at both ends," he confided to Abernethy. "The truth is the
magnitude of the business and the responsibilities of my
political position become more fettering every day. I feel
sometimes as if I were in a vortex from which there is no
escape." He continued:
Yet the work was of a character that might well
enlist the ardor and zeal of every thinking man.
Here at the South, in any State in which the result
is in doubt, a campaign such as we have just passed
through is in the strictest sense of the word a
battle for civilization. The contest in the
National arena was equally a struggle for the
maintenance of republican institutions in their
purity. I have felt all along that much more
hung upon the result than the mere question as to
the supremacy of the Republican or the Democratic
party. The Independents sounded the true key-note
of the campaign — the issue was moral rather than
political. The nomination of Blaine was a challenge
to the moral sentiment of the country, and if
he had won success through the corrupt and
corrupting agencies upon which he ostentatiously
placed his reliance I verily believe that the
country would have entered upon a course that could
not have been arrested without a resort to some-
thing like revolution. ...
For myself personally the campaign has wrought
results that would open up large possibilities if
I were an ambitious man. I am now recognized both
inside and outside the State as the head of the
Democratic party in the state, and as having con-
tributed most to the brilliant victory we have
won all along the line. The homage and gratitude
offered me is somewhat overpowering, but it does
not elate me in the least. I accept it as
vindication of my past course, but it does not
tempt me to reach out for more. I have no taste
for politics. . . .
Jones's success in politics, although probably less
important than he seemed to have thought, was paralleled by
the growth of the Times-Union . During the previous season
it had expanded in size, and illustrations, most of prominent
men, began to appear more regularly, usually in the Sunday
issues. The news content of the paper was improving as well.
Jones had been dissatisfied with the Associated Press's emphasis
on stories of crime, violence, and calamity, and had turned to
items of more substance. Probably this evolution was
facilitated by the increased volume of telegraphic news being
received by the paper, which enabled him to use some dispatches
in full and condense the sensational trivia to one-liners.
The Times had received 3,000 words per day at its inception;
this was increased to 8,000 words per day in the spring of
1884, and by fall it was taking 10,500 words daily. Part of
this increase was due to lower telegraphic rates . As a
promoter and member of the Southern Press Association, Jones
worked with the other southern Associated Press agents to get
more and better wire service for the southern states. As in
the past, the most difficult problem was organizing a system of
correspondents in Florida towns to report local news, but even
here the Times-Union continued to make progress, important
state news now being sent by wire rather than through the
In September the Times-Union leased the spacious three
story McConihe building at the corner of Bay and Laura. The
business offices, editorial rooms, job printing room and mail
room were on the second floor, and the composing room and
book bindery were on the third floor. The Times-Union 's six
presses, powered by water from the city works, were located in
a corrugated iron shed behind the building connected to the
composing room by an elevator. A new set of smaller type was
purchased which enabled the paper to carry one-sixth more news
without increasing its overall size. A circulation four times
that of the Times -Union after consolidation was claimed, and
the Weekly Times ' s circulation was set at 5,520. And already
Jones was preparing for more innovations for the future. The
previous May he had purchased a corner lot at Pine (now Main)
and Adams as the future site for a permanent Times -Union
Jones's interest in journalism extended beyond the
purvey of his own newspaper; he also undertook a leadership
role in the organization of a national press association.
In February, 1885, a group of editors from around the nation
gathered at the New Orleans Industrial and Cotton Centennial
to organize the International Editorial Association (shortly
to become the National Editorial Association) . There were per-
haps one-hundred editors presentat the seminal meeting, including
a large delegation from Florida. The Florida Press Association
had held its annual convention at the fair a short time earlier,
electing Jones president of the state organization.* Jones
was elected vice-president of the newly created national press
association, and Benjamin B. Herbert, the originator of the
idea, was chosen president. Herbert, an editor in Red Wing,
Minnesota, had sent out a circular in December, 1884, asking that
newspapermen assemble at the New Orleans exposition. The pur-
pose of the organization was to unite editors and publishers
across the country so that they might better cope with the prob-
lems arising from the increasing complexity of the newspaper
industry. The National Editorial Association became and remains
today the leading association of rural and small newspapers in
the United States.
Jones was also a leader in the Southern Press Association,
an organization composed of the Associated Press agents in the
Southeast, and he managed to have its 1885 meeting scheduled for
Jacksonville. 100 During the convention, which was held in the
Everett Hotel in April, it was decided to organize the association
as a corporation under Georgia law. Jones became one of the
original incorporators and was made a member of the executive
committee. After a discussion of problems relating to wire
service news, the visiting journalists went on an afternoon
excursion to the St. Johns bar for some snapper fishing and
returned for a evening banquet. During the succeeding
months Jones was often in New York for meetings of the
executive board of the Associated Press.
The opening of the winter season in Jacksonville brought
an influx of visitors. Along with the wealthy and the invalid
came a following of gamblers who set up their establishments
off Bay Street to entertain the vacationers. The gambling,
while illegal, was carried on more-or-less openly without
interference from local authorities. In January, 1885, the
Times-Union began a crusade against these "gambling dens,"
printing maps of their location and calling on the police to
shut them down. Mayor Dancy saw the Times-Union 's timely
concern with the city's morals as an effort to discredit his
administration and hinder his chances for re-election, but
Jones, while admitting that Dancy' s failure to enforce the law
would hurt his election prospects, denied that this had been his
motive in printing the stories. ^ Despite Jones's denial, he
very likely did have the coming city election in view. "The
election will be of exceptional importance," he declared,
"because it must be obvious to all that a sort of crisis has
been reached in the affairs of the city. For some years past the
administration of government has been so lax and inefficient
and of late has become so definitely bad that almost the entire
body of respectable citizens is in a state of revolt against
it. . . . Shall the present state of things continue and grow
worse: or shall a new deal be made in the interest of reform?"
Since it was not an election year, Jones was prepared to
make a fight with the city Democratic organization, regardless
of the turmoil it would create within the party. The
candidate advanced to head the reform movement was Alderman
Marshall C. Rice, a man tainted by his past association with
city government. Prodded by the Times-Union 's leadership,
many older, politically inactive citizens turned out for the
ward primaries to elect delegates to the city convention.
Jones ran for a place as a delegate in his home ward and was
badly beaten, but enough pro-Rice delegates were elected to
win the nomination for him. The rest of the Democratic
ticket was composed of party regulars, a situation that Jones
and the reformers were obliged to accept. The Republicans
and some Democrats put up a "Citizens" ticket headed by
Charles B. Smith, but Rice and most of the regular Democrats
swept to victory in an election that was marked by the
customary vote buying. Jones was well aware that the "reform"
effort had been feeble, but for once at least, he declared, the
weight of citizens outside the party ring had been felt.
The new administration, as it turned out, was little changed
from the old, but to his credit, Jones continued to hammer at
the gambling issue into the summer when the election was long
With the return of a Democrat to the White House, the
distribution of federal offices became a matter for consideration
by Florida Democrats. Having been a leader in the campaign, it
was expected that Jones would wield considerable influence with
the incoming administration. 111 However, he seems to have made
little attempt to influence distribution of patronage during
the first few months after the election. In December, 1884,
he did sign a petition — along with Bloxham, Perry, Pasco and
a few others — recommending Senator Charles W. Jones for
Attorney General, but Jones admitted to signing only one other
petition and declared that he had declined to endorse a dozen
other men for various offices. 112 Jones felt that Cleveland's
refusal to make a clean sweep of Republican office-holders
was a good policy, and he defended it against the outcry of
loyal party men who had waited years for a chance to enjoy the
spoils of office. 113 However, Jones was not indifferent to
events in Washington. In the spring he declined an invitation
by Abernethy to accompany him on a vacation to Europe, saying
that he could not risk leaving the paper unattended or departing
the country before the federal offices were disposed of.
The one federal position that Jones was seriously concerned
about was the postmastership of Jacksonville. As a publisher,
he was dependent on the post office for receipt of information
and movement of his newspaper editions. When petitions began to
circulate making recommendations for the post, Jones became
concerned and denounced the petitions as a device to create a
false picture of public sentiment. 5 Party regular N. A. Hull,
a man of whom Jones strongly disapproved, was being put up for
the position with the backing of United States Senator
Wilkinson Call. Jones's opposition to Hull's appointment
prompted him to send a long letter to President Cleveland, the
major portion of which concerned the political situation in
Florida as he interpreted it:
Under date of August 4th last I received a
letter from you expressing your friendly apprecia-
tion of the work I was doing in the campaign. That
letter is my excuse for writing now. I have not
written before, nor sought a personal interview,
because I knew that during the opening weeks of the
Administration your attention would necessarily be
fully occupied by large questions of State.
I will reassure you by saying at once that I am
not after any office either for myself, or for any
relative, friend, or henchman. I am a Civil Service
Reformer in the most literal sense of the term, and
not only profess it but conform my practice to it.
I write simply to ask that when you reach Florida
appointments you will consider one or two points
which I will now briefly submit.
In Florida as in other Southern States — but more
markedly in Florida than in the rest, because of the
large infusion of Northern immigration — there is a
division and a struggle between the "old timers"
and the "new comers." This division is not political;
nearly all the whites are Democrats, no matter where
they came from. It is the last retreat of sectional
feeling. The "old timers" to rule, and are arrogant,
proscriptive, reactionary, and unprogressive. They are
willing to share the prosperity caused by the infusion
of new blood and outside capital, but there is a
tacit understanding among them that no "new comer"
shall have any political place or preferment, and on
this they stand together as one man.
Here in Florida this element was opposed to your
nomination (Senator Bayard was their favorite chiefly
because he was a Southern man) , and resented our success
in having Florida's delegates instructed for you.
They would have defeated it, indeed, had we not out-
maneuvered them at the Convention. Yet as soon as
victory crowned our efforts, they at once prepared
to appropriate the spoils, and to-day they have
their men named for every Federal office in the
State and for everything that can be "claimed"
in the Departments at Washington. And they have
this great advantage, that our Senators and
Representatives are of their way of thinking —
are their creatures in fact- — and will in substan-
tially every instance endorse and recommend their
I need hardly say that in some instances these
selections are grotesquely unfit. For example,
the post-office here at Jacksonville is by far
the most important in the State, and should be
administered on strictly business principles.
Yet the man who will be most strongly urged
upon you for appointment, is (to put it very
mildly) utterly disqualified for the position.
I respectfully ask that when the question of
filling this office is reached I may be heard,
for I have much more at stake in the proper
administration of the post-office here than all
the politicians in the State.
I have written with a considerable degree of
frankness, but it would be a mistake to infer that
I am a partisan of either faction. I train with
neither, and use the influence of my paper to
harmonize both. I have a solemn conviction,
however, that the use of the appointing power by
a Democratic Federal Executive is a matter of
serious import for the South, especially if it
be used without a clear knowledge of the forces
at work. 1°
Three days before Jones sent his letter to Cleveland,
Mann mailed a letter to the President so similar to Jones ' s
in wording and content as to suggest that Jones and Mann,
formerly partners in the Florida canal scheme, had combined
to influence patronage decisions, although there is only the
circumstantial evidence of the two letters to support this
idea. Mann's letter read:
You will doubtless remember that I called on you
in Albany, N. Y. last fall in order to give you my
views on the political situation in Florida.
You will perhaps remember what was said on that
occasion as to the leaders of our party.. I have
seen no reason to change my opinion. They are
seldom representative of the people & they come
from and represent a class who feel that the right
to rule is regulated by births —
The great body of our citizens and property owners
are a recent importation from other states who come
to Florida to make a home and not to seek an office
and they do not desire to bring upon themselves and
family social ostracism by allowing their friends the
use of their names for position either as delegates
to conventions or as members of the Legislature which
gives as a result a delegation in Washington that
represents the office holding clique and not the party
or the best interests of the State.
It is a curious fact that if the men who are now
having their claims mounted for the offices had con-
trolled the last State Convention the Florida
Delegation which went to Chicago would not have been
instructed for Cleveland as it was.
That it was so instructed was due to the earnest
and skillful efforts of the Times Union and its able
Editor Col. C. H. Jones who also was Chairman of the
Committee on platform and Resolutions and with aid
of the progressive element carried the convention
You will perhaps recollect the fact that I
mentioned the Times Union as the first paper in the
south to name you as a Candidate.
It is no more than just to Col. C. H. Jones the
Editor of that paper to say he did more work in the
Campaign for the national ticket than any other man
in the state and he is now vigorously supporting
your policy of reform. In which he voices the senti-
ment of the masses of our people who are not repre-
sented at Washington.
In order that you may understand my position here
I will say I am a native of Ohio and a cousin of
Hon. G. L. Converse and have lived in this state
over eleven years. -^ You will I hope pardon this
expression of my views.
Cleveland read Mann's letter, but it is probable that
Jones's letter did not reach his ha n ds. It was handled by an
assistant secretary who wrote a perfunctory acknowledgment
passed the letter on to the Post Office Department. -^ The
Jacksonville postmastership contest became deadlocked before
the end of spring, as Senator Call and Congressman Dougherty
could not agree on a man for the post. Call, in looking through
the papers on the contest, came across Jones's letter and
wrote a refutation to Postmaster General Vilas. Meanwhile,
the Times-Union began a persistant campaign in opposition to
Call's "meddling" in local appointments. Call replied by
writing that eventually the correspondence on file with the
Post Office Department would be published and the cause of the
Jacksonville post office impasse would be revealed. In
July or August a copy of the "old timers" letter appeared in
Florida, and its existance was hinted at by the Jacksonville
Herald. ^ b v then Jones had left the state to vacation with
his family in the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia. He
was aware that the letter was in the hands of his enemies and
sent an editorial letter to the Times-Union vowing his defiance ■
of the "Florida Dynasty," but not referring to the letter
The Times-Union was by then set firmly against Call and
and the pro-Call Herald . Call was castigated as an enemy of
the Cleveland administration because of his opposition to what
he termed the "humbug and sham" of civil service reform, and
Harrison Clark and John Temple Graves of the Herald were
ridiculed for their attempts to secure federal appointments.
The Negro Republican Jacksonville News observed: "From recent
developments, there is no doubt but that the line is clearly
drawn between the old Florida burbons, as represented by
Senator Call and the Florida Herald, and the liberal democratic
element as represented by Senator Jones and the Times-Union."
That the Democratic party was fragmented in the 1880' s
is clear. Contemporary observers such as the Jacksonville News
and Jones himself accepted the idea of a division between
Bourbons and progressives or conservatives and liberals, and
historians have also taken this view. The Disston purchase,
lavish grants of land to the railroads, and other issues which
pitted the "interests," the "corporations," or the "ring"
against the "people" caused the party to divide along lines
which make the liberal-conservative generalization valid.
However, there were other factors, such as matters of practical
politics and personality, which complicated the situation. For
example, Senator Call, son of Whig planter Richard K. Call,
seemed a Bourbon by birth, yet his battle against railroad
land grants was rapidly making him the leader of the liberal
wing of the party. Jones, a philosophical conservative and
Bloxham supporter, was a reformer in local politics and^ often
backed liberal programs, but he steadfastly remained an enemy
of Call — apparently for private reasons. Bloxham and Drew
held similar views on public policy, but the personal animosity
between them created perhaps the widest chasm within the party.
This division of the party would become even more pronounced
through the Populist decade of the 1890' s into the 20th century
,» ? ^>J,M l lU^ l lWHlJ| ll .llUm^ l JIUJ l iMWaWWJW Ii lUm i|' ^UI » ^ l lt- '> <l^^ i i j i .j ii i^mvu«imjM iw»i utf
The Jacksonville postmastership dispute was resolved in.
October, when Harrison Clark was appointed postmaster of Jack-
sonville on Call's recommendation after Hull's name had been
withdrawn. Jones was disappointed at the choice, but attempted
to picture Clark's selection as a compromise decision designed
to settle a long-standing dispute within the party. When
Hull was made assistant postmaster, the victory of "the boys"
was complete. ^° Perhaps as a consolation, Jones was asked
to name a postal clerk, in the railway mail service, but the
comparative insignificance of the appointment evoked ridicule
from Jones's enemies. x?
While Jones was waging his private battle with Call,
the state of Florida was concerned with framing the new con-
stitution called for by the resolution adopted in the fall
elections. The primary objection to the existing constitution
was its provision that county officials be appointed by the
governor rather than elected locally. This centralization of
power in the hands of the governor had become increasingly
Irksome to Democratic politicians around the state who saw
their ambitions thwarted by powers in the state capital. Often
this discontent was expressed in terms of hostility to the
"Tallahassee Ring." It was one of the foundations of the
Independent movement, and the threat that disgruntled Democrats
and Republicans might unite to force a change had persuaded
the Democratic leadership to endorse the call for constitutional
revision at the Pensacola convention in 1884.
When Jones arrived in Florida he had opposed the idea of
constitutional change, declaring frankly that the unforeseeable
consequences of a new constitution, particularly the possibility
of a return to "negro rule" in counties with black majorities,
outweighed the "vague discontent" motivating the reformers.
But slowly the Times -Union came around to the side of those
desiring a new constitution, although it demanded that the
new document be "hedged in by such restrictions as will pre-
vent its working evil in certain localities. "^l After the
decision to call a constitutional convention had been made,
Jones tried to arouse support for a plan to elect delegates
at large so that white Democrats from the black belt counties
would be represented. When this idea failed to gain approval,
he endorsed a plan whereby a joint Democratic-Republican slate
of delegates would be sent from black belt counties, but the
elections of convention delegates held in May divided along
party lines. Although the counties with Negro majorities sent
Republican delegations, the Democrats had a safe majority in
the convention. Duval County's most conspicuous member was
Thomas V. Gibbs, son of Jonathan C. Gibbs, black Secretary of
State and Commissioner of Education during Reconstruction.
In the weeks before the convening of the convention
the Times-Union instituted a daily series of proposals for
changes in the old constitution. In Jones's view, the major
problem was reconciling the demand for more elective offices
with the black belt counties' insistence that they be "protected."
Jones was willing to permit election of local officials and the
state cabinet, but did not believe that judges should be
elected, and he endorsed some form of poll tax as the only
practical means of "protecting" counties with black majorities.
Opposing this view were black belt conservatives who opposed
any change and, on the opposite extreme, the faction led by
Mann which wanted to "elect everything" and condemned the poll
tax as oppressive to poor whites as well as blacks. When
the method of selecting judges was taken up by the convention
the Times-Union vigorously urged appointment, and after a
majority of the convention voted to elect circuit judges by
district, Jones ran a heated editorial charging that the Mann
faction had made a "bargain" with the Republicans whereby the
"elect everything" Democrats would get elected judges and the
Republicans would secure defeat of the poll tax.
After writing this editorial, Jones went to Tallahassee
and was admitted to the convention as a guest. While he was
on the floor, Joseph M. Tolbert of Columbia County introduced
a resolution condemning the Times-Union editorial as false.
Mann, despite his differences with Jones on the poll tax, came
to Jones's defense and introduced a substitute resolution con-
demning the Jacksonville Herald 's handling of the incident.
Both resolutions were tabled at the wish of the vast majority
of the convention. Jones telegraphed a report back to
Jacksonville admitting that he had been wrong in accusing one
faction of the Democrats of joining with the Republicans in
the judiciary voting, but he maintained that factionalism and
personal ambition among the Democrats were enabling the Republican
minority to influence the decisions of the convention. He
predicted that the proposal to elect circuit judges by district
would defeat the new constitution. The Jacksonville Herald
reported that Mann and Jones had taken a long carriage drive
together in Tallahassee and must have decided that their dis-
agreement should not be permitted to divide them in their
common hostility to the state's "best families."
Shortly after the decision in favor of electing circuit
judges, the Democratic delegates caucused and decided upon a
compromise judiciary plan which satisfied the Times-Union .
The governor would continue to fill circuit judgeships, while
county judges and Supreme Court justices would be elected. The
remainder of the constitution appeared to be likewise a patch-
work of compromises: the cabinet and most local officials
would be elected, but the county commissioners would be
appointed by the governor. The poll tax was not written into
the constitution, but the legislature was empowered to enact
one if it desired. Other changes in the constitution, such
as the provision for better financing of schools and greater
autonomy for municipal governments, were viewed as improvements
by the Times-Union . In all, Jones felt that the improvements
outweighed the defects, and the Times-Union endorsed
The adjournment of the constitutional convention coincided
with the culmination of Jones's fight with Call and the Herald
over the Jacksonville post office, and the two threads merged into
a general campaign by the Times -Union against the "Florida
Dynasty," which, it charged, controlled appointed offices under
the present system and would oppose the new constitution as an
attack on their monopoly. The "old timers" letter was passed
from hand to hand by Jones's enemies, but Jones maintained
that he had nothing against "old residents" in general, only
against the "place-holding clique." He defined the "Florida
Dynasty" as: "The persons who by reason of 'family,' or the
habit of recognizing their claims to be consulted, have access
to and a preponderating influence with the appointing power."
Jones predicted that the new constitution would be ratified
over the objections of the dynasty — as it was that fall.
Christmas, 1885, marked another milestone for the Times-
Union, for it was the last holiday that the staff would take
from publishing the paper. From that day on the newspaper
would appear seven days a week, without the former breaks on
Sundays and holidays. During the year the paper had continued
its steady expansion in size and circulation, and as early as
March six-page Sunday editions were being run off. The
physical plant of the company was increased by the addition of
a faster press, a steam engine to power all the presses, and a
folding machine to cut, paste and fold the sheets.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , March 28, April 3, 1884.
Ibid., April 6, 1884.
Ibid ., December 30, 1884.
Ibid ., July 17, 1883.
Ibid ., September 30, 1884.
Edward C. Williamson, "Independentism: A Challenge to
the Florida Democracy of 1884," Florida Historical Quarterly ,
XXVII (October, 1948), 131-156.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , May 30, 1882.
Ibid ., August 17, 23, November 1882.
Ibid., August 23, November 11, 1882.
J. Willis Menard to William E. Chandler, November 27,
1882, quoted in Peter D. Klingman, Josiah Walls: Florida's
Black Congressman of Reconstruction (Ph. D. dissertation, Univer-
sity of Florida, 1972), 201.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , March 30, 1883.
Ibid ., October 10, 1883.
Ibid ., November 2, 1883.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV (continued)
Klingman, Josiah Walls , 204.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , September 4, 1884.
Ibid . , May 3, 1884.
Ibid ., July 29, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union, August 2, September 20,
Ibid., August 14, September 20, 1884.
Harrison Reed to Henry Sanford, January 30, 1884, San-
ford Papers, box 136, Henry S. Sanford Memorial Library, Sanford,
Florida. Microfilm copy, P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History,
University of Florida, Gainesville.
Reed to Sanford, January 30, 1884, Sanford Papers, box 136.
S. A. Adams to Sanford, April 22, 1884, Sanford papers,
Sanford to William Astor, April 25, 1884, Sanford Papers,
Adams to Sanford, June 12, 19, 1884, Sanford Papers, box
Ibid . , September 2, 16, 1884, Sanford Papers, box 136.
Ibid., June 19, 1884, Sanford Papers, box 136.
Jacksonville Florida Journal , July 22, Akgust 28, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union, December 10, 1884.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV (continued)
Jerrell H. Shofner, "The Constitution of 1868," Florida
Historical Quarterly , XLI (April, 1963), 356-374.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , November 6, 1883.
Ibid., June 24, 1884.
Gainesville Weekly B6e , January 19, 1884.
Palatka Daily News , June 6, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , October 25, 1884.
Ibid ., June 19, 1884.
Ibid., June 20, 1884.
Ibid., July 25, 1884; Klingman, Josiah Walls , 210.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , November 22, 1883.
Ibid . ,
Samuel Proctor, ed., "An Educator Looks at Florida in
1884, a letter of Ashley D. Hurt to his wife," Florida Historical
Quarterly , XXXI (January, 1953), 212.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , November 23, 1883;
February 22, 1884.
William D. Bloxham to Philip Thompson, May 29, 1884,
William D. Bloxham Papers, Florida State Library, Tallahassee.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 15, 1884.
Ibid ., May 27, 1884.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV (continued)
Palatka Daily News , June 11, 12, 13, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , June 11, 1884.
Ibid . . June 13, 14, 15, 1884.
Bloxham to Jones, June 14, 1884, Bloxham Papers.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , June 21, 1884.
Ibid., June 12, 1884; Palatka Daily News , June 13, 1884;
Tallahassee Land of Flowers , June 21, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Journal , June 26, 1884; Pensacola
Commercial , June 21, 1884.
Palatka Daily News , May 3, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 29, August 26,
Ibid., June 29, 1884.
Ibid., June 7, 25, 1884; Pensacola Commercial , June 5, 1884;
Ruby Leach Carson, "William Dunnington Bloxham, Florida's Two-Term
Governor" (M. A. thesis, University of Florida, 1945), 245-246.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , June 26, 27, July 2,
1884; Pensacola Commercial , June 28, July 3, 1884; Jacksonville
Florida Journal , July 3, 1884.
Bloxham to E. A. Perry, July 7, 1884, Bloxham Papers.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union . August 5, 1884.
Ibid ., June 27, 1884.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV (continued)
Pensacola Commercial , July 2, 1884.
Clipping from Tallahassee Weekly Floridian enclosed in
Jones to Daniel Lamont, July 18, 1886, Cleveland Papers, Library
of Congress, Washington, D. C. Microfilm copy, University of
Florida Library, Gainesville; A. S. Mann to Cleveland, April
24, 1885, Cleveland Papers.
Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , June 17, 1884; Ocala Banner ,
April 4, 1885.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , October 16,1883; May
9, June 11, 1884.
64 Ibid., July 1, 2, 3, 1884; Pal atka Daily News , July 2, 3,
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , July 3, 1884.
Pensacola Commercial , May 14, 1884; Jacksonville Florida
Times -Union, July 15, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, July 16, September 9,
Ibid., October 22, 1884.
Ibid .. June 4, 5, 7, 1884.
Jones to Abernethy, May 24, 1884; Jacksonville Florida
Times -Union , August 26, 27, 1885.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , July 1, 9, 10, 12, 1884.
Ibid ., July 13, 1884.
Quotation from Grover Cleveland to Jones , V, quoted in
August 4, 1884; Ibid., August 9, 1884.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV (continued)
Jones to Abernethy, August 10, 1884, JP.
New York Times . September 24, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , September 27, 1884.
Mann to Cleveland, April 24, 1885, Cleveland Papers.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , November 4, 1884.
Ibid . , August 6, 1884.
Ibid ., August 31, 1884.
Ibid ., September 26, 1884.
82 Ibid. , October 24, 29, 1884.
Ibid ., October 16, 1884.
Ibid., October 23, 24, 26, 1884.
Ibid., November 2, 4, 1884.
Ibid., November 5, 1884.
Ibid ., November 8, 11, 1884.
William T. Cash, History of the Democratic Party in
Florida (Tallahassee, 1936), 76.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , November 5,6, 7, 1884.
Jones to Abernethy, November 16, 1884, JP.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , November 16, 1882.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV (continued)
9 Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 20, October 30,
Ibid ., June 19, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , November 16, 1882;
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 8, 1884.
95 Jacksonville Florida Times -Union . May 15, October 30, 1884.
Jacksonville Florida Weekly Times , October 2, 1884; Jack-
sonville Florida Times -Union , October 30, 1884.
Ibid . , May 18, 1884. The Times -Union was subsequently
located there, however.
Ibid ., February 21, 1885.
B. B. Herbert, First Decenniutn of the National Editor-
ial Association of the United States (Chicago, 1896), 50; Edwin
Emery, History of the American Newspaper Publishers Association
(Minneapolis, 1950), part 4, p. 1.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 3, 10, 13, 1884.
101 Ibid. , April 2, 3, 1885.
102 Ibid. , June 2, 11, July 25, 1885.
Ibid., January 20, 22, 1885.
Ibid ., February 3, 1885.
Ibid ., March 15, 1885.
106 Ibid. , March 15, 1885.
107 Ibid. , March 15, 27, 1885.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV (continued)
Ibid ., March 20, 24, 25, 26, 29, 1885.
Ibid ., April 7, 1885.
Ibid ., April 24, June 17, 1885.
Ibid., April 30, 1885.
W. D. Bloxham to Cleveland, December 10, 1884, Cleveland
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , March 15, 18, 22, 1885.
Jones to Abernethy, May 24, 1885, JP.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , February 26, March 31,
Jones to Cleveland, April 27, 1885, quoted in Tallahassee
Weekly Floridian , clipping enclosed in Jones to Daniel Lamont,
July 18, 1886, Cleveland Papers.
George L. Converse (1827-1897), member of Congress
Mann to Cleveland, April 24, 1885, Cleveland Papers,
Octavius L. Pruden to Jones, May 2, 1885, Cleveland
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , August 1, 1886.
Ibid., July 11, 1885.
Ibid ., August 1, 1886.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV (continued)
Ibid . , August 26, 1885.
Ibid . , September 9, 13, 24, 1885.
Jacksonville News , n.d., quoted in Pensacola Commercial ,
October 10, 1885.
126 ' ■ ■
Samuel Proctor, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, Florida's
Fighting Democrat (Gainesville, 1950), 55-60; Wayne Flynt, Duncan
Upshaw Fletcher, Dixie's Reluctant Progressive (Tallahassee, 1971)
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , August 11, October 7,
8, 16, 1885.
128 Ibid. , December 16, 1885.
Ibid . , December 8, 1885; Palatka Daily News , December
Jacksonville Florida Daily Times , January 1, 1882;
January 11, 1883.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , January 1, May 17,
1884; October 25, 1884.
Ibid ., February 3, 1885.
Ibid., February 13, April 21, May 3, 6, 1885.
Eldridge R. Collins, "The Florida Constitution of
1885" (M. A. thesis, University of Florida, 1939), 208.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , July 15, 1885.
Ibid .; Ocala Banner , May 23, 1885; Edward C. Williamson,
"The Constitutional Convention of 1885," Florida Historical Quarterly ,
XLI (October, 1962), 121.
NOTES TO CHAPTER IV (continued)
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , July 18, 1885.
Journal of the Proceedings of the Constitutional Con-
vention of the State of Florida (Tallahassee, 1885), 377.
139 Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , July 21, 1885. An
examination of the roll call votes on judiciary elections shows
that no single faction of Democrats voted with the Republicans.
^Jacksonville Daily Florida Herald , quoted in Oca la
Banner, August 28, 1885.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , July 22, 1885.
142 Ibid. , August 4, 1885.
Ibid ., August 9, 14, 18, 26, 1885.
Ibid ., April 26, May 14, November 8, 1885.
FLORIDA'S GREATEST NEWSPAPER
On January 8, 1886, the temperature began to fall in
Jacksonville, and for the next four days Florida experienced
the coldest weather in memory ' and, it was speculated, "prob-
ably the coldest spell of weather known in Florida since
white men first set foot on it." The Times-Union 's headlines
announced: "Frost Line Gone to Cuba," and, while boys skated
on Bay Street 's frozen puddles, efforts were begun to assess
the damage done to the state's citrus industry. At first the
worst was feared, and the Times-Union advised that the state
not try to hide the damage and begin all over again, if
necessary. Meanshile, stories began to appear in northern
newspapers to the effect that the freeze had made a desert of
the citrus belt. Soon it became clear that, while there had
been severe damage in many areas, there was less destruction
than many first thought and nothing like the calamity which
was being reported in the North. Jones assumed a more
optimistic tone on the question and began trying to nullify
the poor publicity the freeze had given the state.
Jones had a plan for combating the poor press received
by the state due to the cold, and he took his proposal to the
Florida Press Association which met in Gainesville during the
second week of February. His suggestion was that he and a
delegation of Florida editors attend the convention of the
National Editorial Association and invite a representative
group of editors from the North to visit the state and inspect
the frost damage themselves. Jones's plan was one argument
used to gain support for his re-election as president of the
association. Jones was not a particularly popular figure with
the state press. His often controversial stances in the Times-
Union and his arrogance had aroused the enmity of many, and
his success had, no doubt, made some jealous. Frank Harris of
the Ocala Banner noted that the Times-Union had become like a
whale among the minnows of the state press. One practice
which rankled with some of the state's editors was Jones's
request that they publish annually the Times-Union 's
prospectus in return for exchange rights. To Jones's way of
thinking this was a fair bargain since he was trading a daily
for a weekly, but some editors regarded this as blackmail.
John Temple Graves of the Herald tried to take advantage of
this antipathy toward the Times-Union to put together an
"anybody but Jones" movement. At Gainesville, where the
association met in the new brick court house, there was much
sidewalk lobbying before the convention. Many of the men
there were meeting each other for the first time, and Jones
apparently made a good impression, for he was re-elected with
only two dissenting votes. He was also delegated to select
seven association members to go to the National Editorial
Association convention in Cincinnati.
Jones was jubilant over his victory in Gainesville. He
wrote Abernethy telling how the plot to "humiliate" him had
been crushed, and declaring that for the first time since
coming to Florida the other editors in the state were rallying
around him. He published a quotation from the formerly
unfriendly Ocala Item which said: "Mr. Jones made a host of
friends among the members of the association who had not met
him before, by his courteous and able discharge of the duties
of his position." Frank Harris, who had been a persistent
critic, noted, "He is a splendid officer and wears upon
acquaintance." A When a delegation of association members
later visited his home to present him with an inscribed gold-
headed cane, Jones published a note of thanks to the state
press and apologized for past differences:
The least attractive side of journalism is its
asperities. Under the provocation of attack
and the stimulus of retort we editors are apt
to write things which we ourselves forget almost
as soon as the ink is dry, but which rankle and
fester in the hearts of him who received the
feathered dart. I am conscious of having winged
more of these shafts than I like to recall at
this moment; but I am also conscious of the
fact that for my brother journalists of the
State I have never had, and have not now, any-
thing but the friendliest feelings of esteem
and good will. 13
Jones went to the Cincinnati meeting of the National
Editorial Association with Mann and several other representatives
of the state press. During the year since the first meeting
in New Orleans he had corresponded with Herbert and others in
.-i. . mnMi > rii™ . T M >r , ^rnr-i«.y^r<tt-TFrntT™v»M^^*r^i^
firming-up the organization of the association. * As incumbent
vice-president, Jones shared platform responsibilities with
Herbert, and, as at Gainesville, he impressed attending delegates
with his skill as a presiding officer. Jones won a hotly con-
tested race for the presidency, and presented Herbert with a
gold-headed cane at the end of the convention. Mann, in the
meantime, displayed citrus and orange tree branches which he
had brought from Florida, and he and Jones invited a delegation
of editors to visit Florida to see for themselves the effects
of the highly publicized freeze. Jones had already made
arrangements with the railroads and hotels in Florida to pay
expenses for the visiting editors. The N. E. A. excursion
party left directly from Cincinnati for Florida, where they
were ushered around the citrus groves in the southern interior.
The tour concluded with a banquet in Jacksonville. Jones
congratulated the state on the wide publicity which it would
gain from the Associated Press's report of the press excursion
and the editors' own accounts in their papers.
Jones's success at the Florida Press Association meeting,
his election as president of the National Editorial Association,
and his increasing influence in the affairs of the city and
state were extremely satisfying to him. Jones confided to
Abernethy that his added commitments as a public figure were
making serious inroads on his time, but that he seemed
irresistibly drawn deeper into public life. He summed up
his feelings in a letter to Abernethy written just before the
annual city election:
It does seem as if honors are crowding somewhat
thick upon me of late — too thick for the time I
have at command to enjoy or appreciate them.
They bring me little consolation, except per-
haps the sense of gratified pride, and present
themselves rather in the light of additional
contributions to a burden almost too heavy to
carry already. . . . The most striking feature
of recent developments is the extent to which
my old-time enemies are coming over. . . .
The truth is becoming more apparent every day
that I have proved too much for "the boys",
and my steady growth in influence has intimidated
them. Nobody knows how or when the smouldering
volcano may belch forth again, but there are
many signs that the battle is won, and that I
am now as safe here as I would be in New York.
It has been a wonderful experience to look upon,
and if ambition were not dead within me, I could
grasp almost anything I want. Meanwhile, it is
a bitter pill for many of "the boys" to swallow,
and you may be sure I don't try to sugar-coat it
for them. 1 **
The city election again featured a contest of Jones
versus the regular Democratic organization. Jones endorsed
the re-election of Mayor Rice, admitting that his administration
had not changed the pattern of city government very much, but
blaming persisting problems on city officials under the mayor.
Jones tried to organize support to secure Rice's renomination
in the ward primaries, where the real determination of city
government was made, but the Times-Union ' s endorsement and
Jones's caucusing gave the opposition evidence to back their
claim that Rice was "under the thumb" of the Times -Union .
The ward primaries were controlled by the regular organization
and proved a disaster for Rice, eliminating him from the
running. The Democratic convention nominated William M. Dancy,
former mayor and experienced city politician, to head a
"reform" ticket, which, as Jones pointed out, was composed of
the same men who had regularly held office. Dancy declined the
nomination as a gesture to restore harmony in the party, and
it was pressed on Patrick McQuaid, a Board of Trade member
acceptable to Jones. With the Times-Union 's support, McQuaid
and the Democrats were again installed in office, although
Jones regretted the outcome almost immediately when it became
evident that McQuaid, like Rice before him, would head a city
administration unsympathetic with his views.
Preceeding the election a new newspaper, the Jacksonville
Morning News , began publication in Jacksonville. It was edited
by John Varnum, and carried the United Press dispatches. This
was the first direct competition Jones had faced in Jacksonville
for three years. The Herald had maintained a modest existence
during this time, partly with the patronage of the city and
county printing contracts, but the Times -Union had seldom felt
it necessary to take notice of its intown rival. Now both the
News and the Herald became involved in a heated newspaper war
against the Times -Union . Varnum knew something of the Times -
Union's inside history and kept up a daily stream of personal
attacks on Jones. The reasons for Varnum's hostility toward
his former partner are unknown, but they may have arisen simply
from business competition. Jones hit back at Varnum, reporting
that the News was in financial trouble and explaining that
Varnum's personal attacks were a result of his inability to
write on other subjects. Finally in May Jones filed suit against
Varnum and the stockholders of the News , asking no money, but
declaring that he wanted to get Varnum and his friends on the
witness stand so that the charges made against him might be
During the city election the feud between the Times -Union
and the other Jacksonville papers became even more heated*
Jones charged that the News , ostensibly Democratic, was being
kept alive by Republican financial aid in order that the News
might create dissention among the Democrats. 3 The Times-Union
also carried articles purporting to show how small the circu-
lation of the News was. A letter sent to news dealers in other
towns showed that few copies of the News were sold outside the
city, and it was declared that "sources" in a position to know
placed the News 's circulation at about 600 copies per day. 2 ^
Varnum published a "sworn statement" that his circulation had
never fallen below 1,100 and was growing steadily. 2 ^ The
Herald's circulation was said to be only one-fifth that of the
Times-Union . 26 The Times-Union ' s willingness to put claims of
circulation to a test probably certifies the greater accuracy
of its claims.
Since his days as editor of the Eclectic Jones had been
interested in the "labor question," and as strikes became more
frequent during the late 1880' s, he began to devote increasing
attention to economic problems. By in large his ideas had
changed little. They were generally orthodox and conservative,
but there was a progressive element to his thinking. He saw
strikes as both wasteful and futile because capital had the
resources to defeat labor in a match of force. He believed
labor organizations were desirable if they remained under the
leadership of "sensible" men like Terence V. Powderly of the
Knights of Labor, and employers should be willing to sit down
to discuss their differences with the representatives of
organized labor. The danger was that unions would be taken
over by self-interested agitators who would not listen to
reason. An editorial of March, 1886, set down this idea
We wish the wage-earners success in every reasonable
attempt they make to secure a larger share of the
joint product of labor and capital. But the lawless-
ness which says to the employers you must grant our
demands or we will destroy your property and stop
your business, and which says to Other workers you
shall not work whether you want to or not — such law-
lessness as this not only deserves no sympathy, but
if not repressed, it will o drag down the social fabric
in irretrievable anarchy.''
Jones's concern with labor problems was not that of a
disinterested observer, for he had encountered increasing
difficulties himself with the local members of the typographical
union. In November, 1885, many of the Times-Union 's employees
quit after Jones refused to accede to demands that work be done
under union regulations . Other individuals had become dis-
satisfied and left in the succeeding months because of wage
disputes. Finally the union decided to make an issue of the
demand for higher wages. A union meeting of all Jacksonville
printers and compositors was held on Sunday, April 4, and after
some tentative and fruitless contacts with Jones and the pro-
prietors of the other publishing establishments in the town,
a strike was called for the following day.
On Monday night the Times-Union ' s composition room stood
lighted and empty as nearly all the force joined the strike.
Having realized the seriousness of the union's threats, Jones
had taken the precaution of telegraphing earlier for help, and
he now sent out a series of telegrams confirming that the
strike was on. Meanwhile, his brother George and some of the
editorial staff set to work inexpertly setting type for the
next day's issue. A country editor visiting the city, his son
and a handful of others in the city came in to help with the
task. Outside on Bay Street the strikers congregated, talking
among themselves and attempting to prevent the remainder of
the staff from going to work. The strikers established their
own newpaper, the Evening Appeal , to present their cases to
The day following initiation of the strike, a two-page
edition of the Times-Union appeared in Jacksonville, and for
the next few days the paper issued small, error-filled
editions. On Tursday replacement printers and compositors
began arriving in Jacksonville by train, led by a professional
strike breaker who had recruited them. The striking workers
tried to organize a boycott of the Times -Union by local adver-
tisers, but seem to have failed. The Times-Union 's attitude
toward its striking employees was at first conciliatory, but
became more strident as time passed. The strikers attempted to
break the solid front of the employers by various strategies,
but found them organized and prepared to wait out the strike.
By May the strikers stopped publication of their newspaper.
In June the union paid the train fare for some "rats" ("scabs"
in contemporary parlance) to get them out of Jacksonville,
only to find that the publishers were glad to see them go since
they had proven to be somewhat unsavory characters. This
final device having failed, the union met on June 14 and
agreed to divide the remaining strike funds among themselves
and go their own ways.
During this time Jones's dispute with Senator Call over
federal appointments was continuing, both in the pubic press and
privately in Washington. Jones had seen Cleveland in December,
1885, when the President asked him to find if J. J. Finley
would accept the post of receiver at the land office in
Gainesville. After visiting Finley, Jones reported to
Cleveland that he would accept the position, and he declared
that Finley 's appointment would please the great majority of
Florida Democrats. ' Finley, now an aged war hero, was apparently
above factional fights in the party since Call had earlier
recommended him for another federal post.^° Call's first
recommendation for the receiver's office had been John G.
Sinclair, the Orange County grove developer from whom Jones
had bought acreage. Jones charged that "a well known man,"
perhaps Sinclair himself, had told him that Call recommended
Sinclair in the knowledge that he would not accept, in order
to refute Jones's charge that newcomers were discriminated
against by the state's representatives in Congress. Call
denied the charge, but Jones reasserted the story's truth.
In March Call sent a letter to Daniel Lamont, Cleveland's
friend and private secretary, saying that he had received a
letter from a man in Florida who claimed to have heard Jones
brag that he "had more influence with President Cleveland
than any ten men in Florida" and that the President would talk
to Jones when he would not talk to Call. "I desire this
statement to be communicated to the President," Call wrote,
"in order that. . . I may expose the character of this man,
in the community and state, where he lives; and furthermore in
order that he may know the character of the man who professes
to speak for him." Call went on to admit that he had seen
the "old timers" letter and some other letters from Jones in
the files and had copied them in order to show leading
Democrats in Florida how they were being misrepresented to
the President. Call declared that he felt he was doing his
duty in copying the letters and was confident that Cleveland
would not be "a protector of persons engaged in slandering
and bearing false witness against their fellow-citizens."
Call was evidently trying to cover himself against!
possible charges by Jones, which Jones had already hinted at
in the Times -Union, that Call had abused his Senatorial
privileges by divulging private correspondence to government
officials. *• It is doubtful that Jones made the exaggerated
claims to influence with the administration which Call charged,
but, on the other hand, Jones was not a man to underestimate
his own importance, and the Times-Union had tried to create
the impression that Call was out of favor with the administra-
tion because of Hull's appointment as assistant postmaster in
Jacksonville and Call's opposition to civil service reform. ^
Lamont wrote a formal reply to Call, saying that Cleveland
could not be held responsible for Jones's "alleged assertions
as to his influence," and denying that Call has ever been
refused admission to see the President, but Lamont did not
take up the question of the "old timers" letter. ^3
In the summer the "old timers" letter was brought out
for use against Jones during the campaign for the Democratic
Congressional nomination. Jones realized that the letter,
which had been circulating for almost a year and had been
alluded to several times in print, was about to be published
by his enemies. On July 6, he penned a strongly-worded letter
to the President:
Under date of April 27th, 1885, I wrote you a
letter marked "personal and private." It was on
the general political situation in Florida,
touched only in one paragraph upon the Jackson-
ville post office, and was quite obviously a
private letter, to be read and destroyed, or
read and filed among private papers as dis-
tinguished from public archives.
In spite of this, what purports to be a
"sworn copy" of this letter is now in the
"""' _ "'."" ■'JJFFfiZhjgi&v&tngAt '>-•• y-^-Vte: a&^^''iS^ rarai^ ^
possession of certain persons here who are for
slanderous imputations. I am further informed
that what purport to be copies of this "sworn
copy" are being distributed through the State
to be used to my detriment in the pending cam-
paign. I retained a copy of the letter, made
at the time, which, with your permission, I will
publish to refute the falsehoods that are being
based upon it. I respectfully ask, further, that
you ascertain if possible and inform me who has
violated your private correspondence, and how a
"sworn copy" of a private letter written to you
could be obtained.
I enclose you an article which I have written
for publication in tomorrow's paper.
I understand, of course, that a private
citizen, comparatively a stranger, can have no
private correspondence with the President of the
United States in the strict sense of the term.
Yet if it be true that a letter written and
addressed to you, marked "personal and private" is
liable to turn up in the shape of "sworn copies"
in the hands of the writer's political opponents or
personal enemies, it is time that fact was clearly
and generally understood.
My opinion is that some one who has access to
Executive papers has violated or prostituted the
privileges of his official position, and I
respectfully ask that you ascertain who it is
and kindly let me know. 44
The enclosure mentioned by Jones was a short editorial
notice from the Times -Union saying that he had written the
President to discover who had "stolen" the letter. The
publication of this "Stolen Letter" editorial on July 7 was
followed by the immediate printing of the letter in the
Herald and then in the News and other newspapers in the state,
In the face of its disclosure Jones assumed a bold front,
castigating the publishers of the letter as thieves and
declaring that the charges in the letter were true. He did
explain that in using the term "old timers" he had not meant
^M. l /yvrvT'"* !, *w^
to include all the established residents of the state but only
the "Bourbon" element. He also said that southern immigrants
to the state suffered as much, if not more than northerners,
from the prejudices of the "old timers." 5 Jones also added
that since the letter's publication he had been told by many
people that they approved of what he had said.^
The Herald ridiculed the idea that the letter had been
"stolen:" "The charge is simply foolish and weak, and an
evidence of frantic helplessness. ... We pointed out at the
time, that Mr. Cleveland refused to receive a private letter
from Mr. Jones; that his private Secretary Mr. Lamont, openly
and freely, in his official capacity, showed the letter to an
active and prominent politician of this city."^ The News
published a copy of the letter with the word "we" changed to
"I" in several places to make it look as if Jones were
claiming more for himself than he actually had. The News's
opinion was that this letter was proof of Jones's hatred of
Southerners. 48 The Weekly Tallahassean exclaimed that the
letter took not just the cake but "the whole bakery," while
the Palatka Daily News predicted that the letter had "dug the
editor's political grave in Florida." The Tallahassee
Floridian attempted the most reasoned refutation of the letter,
declaring that northerners held more than their share of offices
and that Cleveland's nomination in 1884 had not been opposed
by the "old timers" in the state. 50
WWJ.3 5 WM.WWJJ'>!
When Cleveland did not reply to his communication of
July 6, Jones sent another to Lamont explaining that a story
was being circulated that Cleveland had given the letter to
him and "that you amused yourself by showing it around among
Florida men, one of whom took a copy of it." Jones avowed
that he did not believe the story to be true, but, "At any
rate, no citizen of a free Republic is so low that he is not
entitled to an explanation of such an outrage as the use made
of this letter involves." This second letter prompted
Cleveland to draft a reply to Jones. Cleveland had just
returned from his honeymoon, during which he and his bride
had been annoyed by the constant prying of newspaper reporters.
Never very tolerant of the press, Cleveland was outraged by
this latest episode. His letter of reply to Jones may reflect
this disgust with newsmen in general as well as his impatience
with Jones ' s imperious demands :
I confess to some surprise at the tenor of your
last letter to me and a later one to Colonel Lamont.
There are several millions of people in the
United States who have much more time to write
letters to the President than he can possibly find
I have not written, as you requested, an
explanation of the manner in which something
claimed to be a letter from you to me but which
you declare was not a true copy, found its way
into print, because I knew that I could not
account for its appearance, and for the further
reason that I could not exactly see why I should
become in any way involved in a newspaper war over
the publication of a letter which you said was not
a copy of one in my possession.
Your letter, containing as it did, an allusion to
the post-office at Jacksonville, was sent to the
Postoffice Department to be put with other papers
touching that subject, so that when it was under
consideration the suggestions made would not be
overlooked. There it remained until one day the
Postmaster General came to me with it and said that
he had been applied to for permission to take a
copy, but instead of complying he had it brought
to me. I, of course, at once determined that no
copy should be taken of it and then and there
resumed it into my custody and put it away. I
have not seen it since until today when after a
hunt of more than an hour I have found it. I
herewith enclose it to you with the assurance
that no one but myself has seen it since it came
into my possession.
I am surprised that newspaper talk should be
annoying to you, who ought so well to understand
the utter and complete recklessness and falsification
in which they so generally indulge.
When after one of your interviews with me, kind
friends put under my eye what perported to be an
account of some dreadfully foolish things which
you had said, I did not allow them to disturb me
at all — feeling perfectly confident that the
alleged interview was false. 52
Since Jones had already publicized the fact that he had
written Cleveland for an explanation, he must have felt obliged
to print the letter in full so that he could not be accused of
misrepresenting the reply. When the letter appeared in the
Times-Union the News labeled it a "stinging" rebuke to Jones's
impertinance." 53 However, the letter did prove that the News
and the Herald had not been truthful about the "old timers"
letter and how it came to public notice. Jones said that
Cleveland's reply proved that his letter was "stolen" after
Postmaster General Vilas refused to permit a "prominent states-
man" to make a copy of it. He believed that the "kind friends"
who had shown Cleveland the "foolish things" Jones was supposed
to have said were the friends of this same "prominent statesman."
"Af'i"*. * TJ— -. •
On the day that he published Cleveland's letter, Jones
sent a humble note thanking the President for taking time to
write a personal letter. After apologizing for having dis-
tracted him Jones explained, "I would not have troubled you
about a 'newspaper war,' for to newspaper abuse I am as indif-
ferent as a man can well be who has been rendered callous by
it. . . .it was stated and reiterated on the authority of a
'prominent politician' (generally understood to be Senator Call)
that the copy was obtained in a way that showed that I per-
sonally was held in contempt at the White House." Jones
closed with an expression of "warm admiration" for the President
and vowed that, although he was constantly misrepresented by
his enemies, he had never uttered a word against him.
The "old timers" letter had been brought up as an issue
because of Jones's active participation in the struggle for the
Democratic Congressional nomination. The race in the Second
District had attracted the attention of many Democratic
challengers to Dougherty because it was evident that the party
nominee would probably have little difficulty winning the general
election. William M. Dancy, John Temple Graves, and Albert W.
Owens were Jacksonville's contenders for the nomination. All
were regular party men and had their supporters in the
organization. Jones threw the backing of the Times -Union behind
Dougherty, saying that Jacksonville would lose his support for
needed federal projects if Duval sent an anti-Dougherty
delegation to the district convention in Ocala. The Herald
iHHi •^v^ : T?'??^7--; ,g ^
backed its editor Graves, while the News praised both Dancy
and Owens and denounced the town's "budding new ring of
politicians" headed by "Boodle Jones." The Duval County
ward primaries were indecisive. The Times-Union claimed that
Dougherty had won the most delegates, but the News declared
that Ownes and Graves had a solid majority between them and
called for Graves to resign from the contest in favor of
Owens. When Graves did drop out of the race, the News said
that Owens was certain to receive Duval's support unless there
was fraud at the convention. °
The News 's warning against fraud was probably made in the
knowledge that the pro-Dougherty delegates were being organized
by Jones, ex-Mayor Rice, John Q. Burbridge, and others. On
the morning of the county convention the Dougherty delegates
caucused in the parlor of the Tremont House at the corner of
Pine and Forsyth to plan strategy, and, it was later charged,
prepared to bolt should they not be able to control the con-
vention. The convention convened at noon, July 3, in the circuit
court room of the Freedman's Bank Building, one of the town's
most substantial buildings. Events at the convention would
later become a matter of controversy, but the basic outline of
the gathering is clear: there was a test vote on the seating
of contesting pro and anti-Dougherty delegations from a county
precinct, and, after the vote, the defeated side, feeling that
it had lost control of the meeting, created a disruption to
prevent the convention from preceeding. The Dougherty delegates
picked up the official papers of the convention, adjourned to
the Tremont House, and there elected a pro-Dougherty delegation
to the district convention. As this "convention" was adjourning,
Owens appeared and requested that the delegates return to the
regular site of the convention and proceed with the selection
of a Duval delegation. Owens then returned to the Freedman's
Bank where the rump assembly nominated a pro-Owens delegation
to the district convention.
The Times-Union , of course, claimed that Dougherty's men
had been in the majority at the convention and had acted
properly in not allowing the Owens delegates to obstruct the
convention. The News took the opposite view, declaring that
the Dougherty men bolted when it became clear that Owens would
receive the backing of the majority in the convention. Both
sides published detailed ILsts of delegates which purported to
show that their candidate had majority support, and although
there is no definite way of knowing the truth, the Owens sup-
porters seemed to have made the better argument. In any case,
the Owens faction stoutly defended their case and rebuffed
the Times-Union ' s proffer of a compromise agreement for the
sake of party harmony.
Meanwhile Dougherty had remained in Washington, and, in
his absence, Jones became a center of attention during the
remainder °f July as other counties held their conventions.
Anti-Dougherty newspapers published the "old timers" letter,
while Jones used the communications network of his newspaper
•••':>; -::■■- •"•;?■ ::•:;, iv.-'.-r&i.. ' ■=•'>-;■:■•'; y-^r-.V--.'-;'-':-..- ,<••■' .v>A:^< : v-^vV.-' : '"^-^"'^ ■!■•■.' '^^^^ • - ■■ ■ ' ' ■■■■. ^, ■■■■>■■ ■
to collect information on late developments and dispatch' pro-
Dougherty messages to the sites of other county conventions.
On the eve of the district convention, the News admitted that
Dougherty commanded a majority of the delegates and thus could
refuse to seat either Duval delegation, thereby insuring the
two-thirds vote necessary for nomination.
Jones left for Ocala with the Dougherty delegation on
the day preceeding the convention, and attended a caucus of
Dougherty supporters that night. Ocala was packed with
delegates and the verandas of the Ocala House, one of the
state's largest hotels, were spilling over with excited con-
ventioneers. The assembly was convened at three on the
afternoon of August 4, but the credentials committee's inability
to resolve the Duval delegation contest forced an adjournment
until that night. Frank Harris, anti-Dougherty editor of the
Ocala Banner , observed that "Charles H. Jones, editor of the
Times -Union , was, of course, one of the leading spirits of the
occasion, and the individual on whom all eyes rested as he
marched among the throng. Everybody who knew this distinguished
journalist by reputation, but on whom their eyes had never
consciously gazed, asked every other person: 'Is Jones here,
and which is the man?'" 65
At the evening session the credentials committee still
did not appear, so time was spent listening to speeches while
a delegation was sent to demand the report. Finally, the
credentials committee filed into the hall and the chairman
announced that, by a 9-8 vote, the committee had decided to
recommend that both Duval delegations be barred from the con-
vention. The minority had voted to seat the Owens delegates,
and an effort was made to have the convention adopt the
minority's report. At one in the morning a vote was taken on
the question, and the minority report was rejected by a large
margin. Thereupon Owens took the stage and asked that Dougherty
be nominated by acclamation. The convention shouted its approval,
the band played "Dixie," and Jones's victory was secured.
Harris of the Banner called Dougherty's renomination "the most
remarkable ever achieved in a political contest in Florida."
Harris believed that Owens had been cheated out of Duval's
support, but, despite the means resorted to, he gave Jones
credit for securing Dougherty's nomination. The Times -Union ,
Harris declared, had made itself feared, and in politics most
men were motivated by fear.
Dougherty returned to Florida on August 24. He was met
at the Jacksonville station by a small crowd of supporters
and driven to the Duval Hotel where a Negro band was playing to
attract a crowd. Dougherty made a brief speech from the hotel
balcony, after which Jones rushed up to shake both his hands
in congratulation. The conspicuousness of Jones in the
Dougherty campaign was noted by the Democratic regulars in
Jacksonville, who claimed that it was really Jones's race more
than Dougherty's. Later they were to call for Jones's dismissal
from the county executive committee, declaring that he would
drag Dougherty down to defeat in the county. At the county
convention to nominate candidates for the state legislature,
a resolution was introduced censoring Jones for the "old timers"
letter and for his "treachery" to the party, but it was voted
down when Dancy made a speech calling for party unity.
For most of the campaign the Times-Union concerned
itself with efforts to unite the Democratic party behind
Dougherty. The Republican candidate Jonathan Greeley, who had
been the Independent candidate for the lieutenant governor in
1884, was almost ignored, although he made it a regular part of
stump talk to read from the "old timers" letter. In line with
his casual approach to the Greeley candidacy, Jones published a
humorous account of what was alleged to be "Greeley's Great
Speech." It began: "The first thing I want to talk about is
the Tariff ['hurrah for Mr. Tariff*]. In dealing with this
subject I ought to inform you that Tariff is not a man ['hurrah
for Mrs. Tariff']." 71 The day following the publication of
the "speech" Greeley filed a $25,000 suit for damages against
the Times -Union . Instead of ignoring the suit as unworthy of
attention-^which it probably was — Jones launched into a more
serious attack on Greeley, implying that he was a grasping,
selfish banker with no sympathy for the public. He later
publicized charges that Greeley had lived with a Negro woman
and hinted that they might be true. Greeley thereupon
changed his suit from one for "libel," but by then the Times -
Union was reporting, no doubt correctly, that Greeley had no
chance of election.
Toward the end of the campaign the Times-Union began to
devote more attention to the referendum on the proposed con-
stitution. Jones felt sure that the new state charter would
pass, although ratification was opposed by Democrats in Middle
Florida and in counties with black majorities such as Duval
and Escambia. In Jacksonville an anti-ratification petition
was circulated with the signatures of many party regulars and
some leading citizens. A few days before the election the
Times -Union ran a letter from Governor Perry in support of the
The election itself passed uneventfully. In the evening
a large crowd gathered in the streets outside the Times -Union
building and on adjacent verandas to see the returns projected
on a large canvas. Jones had arranged to have returns tele-
graphed from all across the state, and had assigned runners to
bring returns from outlying settlements to the nearest tele-
graph office. ° As expected, the new constitution was adopted,
although seven Middle Florida counties and Escambia and Volusia
voted against it. Dougherty's victory had also been anticipated,
as he more than doubled his plurality of 1884. Although Duval
County voted for ratification of the constitution, it went
against Dougherty and elected Republicans in the legislative
The election of Dougherty capped a year of prosperity
for the Times -Union . In March Mrs . Eliza Jones had made a
rare public appearance when she threw the main switch at the
new American Edison Electric Light Company central plant to
turn on newly installed lights in the Times-Union building.
Electric lights were not the only innovation at the newspaper.
During the summer the Times-Union began running illustrated
feature stories purchased from syndicates which supplied plates
for both text and pictures. Such plate matter would soon
become regarded as the material of second-rate newspapers, but
at the time it marked an advance over that Floridians had been
accustomed to see in their newspapers . Increasing circulation
made improvements in press facilities necessary. A Hoe double
cylinder press arrived in November, along with a New York
mechanic to help assemble it. A new cement foundation was
prepared in the press room to receive the 28,000 pound, 28 foot
press. Although the paper was now taking 10,000 words of
telegraphic news per day, it was necessary to use a great deal
of clipped or syndicated material to fill its pages.
It was probably sometime during 1886 that a bright Negro
teenager from LaVilla named Jim Johnson began work for the
Times-Union as a delivery boy at $2.50 a week. He and his
companions would come to the building at four in the morning
to pick up their papers, fold them, and deliver them to the
homes of subscribers. Soon Jim worked his way into a job in
the newspaper plant, working at various jobs including office
boy for the editor, who was known as "C. H." by the employees.
He shared the staff's pride in working for the "greatest
newspaper in Florida." He aspired to be an editor himself, and
did in 1895 become editor of a short-lived Jacksonville paper,
the Daily American , which was perhaps the first Negro daily in
the United States. In 1912 Jim Johnson (then James Weldon
Johnson) made a national reputation with his fictional Auto-
biography of an Ex-Colored Man , and in 1921 he became the first
Negro executive secretary of the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People.
The Times-Union opened the new year with the startling
declaration that Florida's winter tourists were "missing." A
newspaper crusade was started to discover what had happened to
the "missing tourists" and to determine means of getting them
back. According to a count made by the Times-Union , hotel
arrivals in Jacksonville were down by more than 1,000 compared
to the last season. At first the Times -Union blamed the decline
on the refusal of southern railroads to pay commissions to
travel agents who were directing visitors to California. It
was pointed out that railroad rates to California were lower
than those to Florida. The hotels of Florida were also blamed
for failing to advertise as vigorously as their California
As might be expected, the Times-Union declaration that
something was wrong in Florida met with widespread denials by
those who feared that such publicity might scare away visitors.
One argument which probably had merit was that tourists were
coming to Florida in as large or larger numbers than ever, but
were bypassing Jacksonville to visit other areas of the state
opened by the railroads.
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In years past almost all tourists coming to the state
had at least stopped in Jacksonville before proceeding to
their destination, and many remained in the city or at nearby
settlements such as Mandarin during the whole winter season.
The most popular excursion into the interior of the state in
previous years had been the trip by river steamboat up the
St. Johns River and Oklawaha River to Silver Springs, where a
large hotel and several smaller boarding houses had been
established. But by 1887 the railroads had opened a wide
path to such places as St. Augustine, Palatka, Ocala, Sanford,
Orlando, and Tampa. The editor of the Tampa Journal complained
that what the city needed was more hotels to house the winter
visitors who were flocking to that new resort' town in ever-
Some professed to believe that Jones had raised the
issue simply as a means of inducing advertisers to purchase
space in the Times-Union . The Jacksonville Herald disputed
the figures published in its competitor and maintained that
Jones only thought tourism was decreasing because he allegedly
could not sell as much advertising or as many papers as in the
past. The Tallahassee Weekly Floridian also disputed the
figures used by Jones, saying that the state's larger hotels had
been ignored. Jones replied that he had sent stamped return
envelopes to all the state's hotels, but had not received replies
from many. Despite this shortcoming, he declared that the
attempt was worth while because no one else had tried to make a
Illlg^ijg'^^^ggreg^^^aigfgj^g g^a^g^sBs^E^^^BEB^Ba^B^B ^^aaa
After two weeks of discussing the question, the Times -
Union began to suggest possible remedies for the phenomenon
of the "missing tourists." The state was adivsed to establish
an advertising commission to attract both tourists and permanent
residents. Hotel men were admonished to form a combination
which would advertise and negotiate with railroads for lower
rates, promising the railroads more traffic for their cooperation.
It was suggested that the Jacksonville Board of Trade take the
lead in forming a federation of local boards. w The familiar
call for cleaning up Jacksonville and building shell roads
along the river was renewed.' 1 On February 10 Jones published
an editorial, "Let Us Dish California," which electrified the
city. It was a proposal that the state stage a "Sub-Tropical
Exhibition" in Jacksonville during the 1887-1888 season. For
a modest $25,000 a grand exhibition hall could be built to
house agricultural and industrial displays, horse races and
sculling races on the St. Johns could be held, a Seminole
Indian camp could be created, and other activities sponsored
which would publicize the state in the manner of the recent
Atlanta and New Orleans expositions. The Times-Union offered
to donate the first $1,000 toward the fund for the exposition.
Actual planning was undertaken immediately which would lead
to the successful launching of the exposition in the next
A month after beginning the "missing tourists" series,
the Times-Union reported that some railroads were setting lower
a. ■jj.imUfcfciW.- ■«ig;a^ai^.aB^»««^ifc>aE&J6aSjfcf' Jbii.i<i**> : •" -
excursion rates for Florida, and shortly the heads of the
southern railways were said to have decided upon lower rates
for their roads. However, the tabulation for February
indicated that the month's tourist traffic was still off from
February of a year before. * In May Jones sent letters to 484
hotels in the state inquiring about their business during the
past season. Only 138 replied, and many of the larger hotels
did not answer, but the raw figures showed a decline of nearly
8,000 from the 1885-1886 season. This final tabulation drew
another round of denunciation from the state press.
The attention given to railroad rates during the "missing
tourist" episode was typical of the Times-Union 's concern with
railroad affairs. In part, Jones's interest in railroads
stemmed from the necessity of having mail schedules that would
facilitate rapid delivery of his newspaper, and any railroad
which seemed to be ignoring the needs of the Times -Union or of
Jacksonville was criticized. ' One aspect of Jones's dispute
with Senator Call had been their disagreement over Call's
proposal that Internal Improvement Fund lands granted to the
Florida Railway and Navigation Company be forfited. Jones
admitted that the state had sometimes been too liberal in its
grants of land, but in this case he argued that the land grant
was needed to insure completion of the road. In February,
1887, the Times -Union began a concerted campaign in behalf of
a proposal to establish a railroad commission in Florida. In
the past it had opposed a commission on the grounds that it would
scare away capital needed to construct a rail system in the
state. ^ Now the Times-Union declared that railroad rates were
discouraging travel and trade in the state and that lower rates,
by stimulating use of the railroads, would actually benefit the
railroads. 100 When the Jacksonville Board of Trade, many of
whose members were railroad men, passed a resolution designed
to cripple the proposed commission bill, Jones spoke against
. 101 ,
it. Despite such opposition, the legislature passed an act
establishing a state railroad commission that year.
In February Jones went North to take part in the
organizational meeting of a new association of newspaper
publishers. During the National Editorial Association con-
vention of the previous winter at Cincinnati, an attempt had
been made by William H. Brearley, advertising manager of the
Detroit Newsy to initiate an organization of newspaper business
managers. His plan did not receive the sympathy of the
National Editorial Association, whose membership was largely
made up of rural weeklies; thus Brearley returned to Michigan
and began publicizing the idea of an association composed of
the business managers of large, urban dailies. His efforts
led to the calling of a convention for February 16 in Rochester,
New York.- 1 -"- 3 Forty-six newspapermen, with one exception from
the Northeast or Midwest, met at the Powers' Hotel and elected
the "dynamic southern colonel" Jones to the temporary chair-
manship. The first day of the meeting was devoted to opening
addresses, some discussion of publishing problems, and
consideration of the organizational structure to be adopted.
At Jones's suggestion the name "American Newspaper Publishers
Association" was adopted for the organization.
On the second day of the convention the publishers
grappled with questions which have continued to dominate the
American Newspaper Publishers Association conventions down to
the present. Perhaps the most important problem was that of
advertising, especially relations with the new advertising
agencies which had sprung up to service the needs of regional
or national businesses. Intense competition between newspapers
for advertising had often forced managers to accept advertising
at unprofitable rates; thus an effort was made to agree on a
standard of advertising rates to which all member newspapers
would adhere. It was decided that the American Newspaper
Publishers Association would compile a list of reputable
advertising agencies with whom a publisher could work with
confidence. Other problems relating to distribution of large
editions, new mechanical devices, libel laws, postal service,
and labor unions were discussed. At the end of the second day
an election of officers was held, and Jones was chosen to be
one of the five directors who would act as an executive body
and make rules for admission of members.
While serving as a director of the American Newspaper
Publishers Association, Jones retained the presidency of the
National Editorial Association. In September, 1887, he attended
W— ■— M— ^ win wiiii i
the third annual convention of the National Editorial Association
in Denver, Colorado. On the first day of the meeting Jones
gave the presidential address to an audience assembled in the
Chamber of Commerce building. Apart from the expected comments
on the prosperity of the organization, he made the suggestion
that the National Editorial Association draft a simple libel
law, incorporating the idea that malice of intent must be proven
in libel cases against newspapers, and that this proposed law
be lobbied for by National Editorial Association members in
every state. The press needed the protection of such a law,
Jones declared, so that it might be free to expose crime and
misconduct to the public. He closed his address with a plea
for professional courtesy and expressed the hope that the
association might help to develop a spirit of fraternity now
sorely lacking among editors.
On the second day of the convention Jones delivered
another major address, "The Duty of Journalists Toward the
Labor Problem," in which he said that the press was largely
responsible for the "labor problem" because it had educated the
laboring masses to conditions around them and had spotlighted
the gap between the rich and the poor by emphasizing the antics
of the 'vulgar rich." Although there was little that could be
done in terms of economic reforms to change the existing state
of inequality, newspapers could promote a peaceful resolution
of the labor problem by taking a sympathetic view of the
workingman's lot and by denouncing the crimes of the rich with
the same vigor used in condemning the excesses of striking
After the business of the convention had been completed,
the editors embarked on a tour of the state, with President
Jones acting as spokesman for the junketeers at every place
visited. The sightseeing ended back in Denver with a banquet
at the Windsor Hotel where Jones was presented with a gold-
headed cane. Jones had considered visiting California after
the convention, but instead returned to Florida by way of
St. Louis, Chicago, and the Atlantic coast. He did discuss
the California boom with men he met on his journey and announced
that it was a "bubble" which would shortly remove itself as a
threat to Florida's prosperity.
In Jacksonville's spring municipal election the reform
insurgents had mounted the most serious challenege yet attempted
against the Democratic regulars' hegemony in local government.
In February a Young Men's Burbridge Club had been organized to
boost the candidacy of Burbridge and fight the city ring. Jones
backed his friend and put the Times-Union 's support behind the new
club. When the local Democratic executive committee refused to
adopt a slate of reforms proposed by the club designed to prevent
corruption of the party primaries, the Burbridge supporters
boycotted the Democratic primaries and set up their own slate
of officers as a "Citizens" ticket. Jones endorsed the
"Citizens" slate, although expressing his disappointment that
more prominent citizens would not become actively involved in
the city's politics by running for office. The ticket was
a composite of Negro Republicans, labor union representatives,
and reform-minded Democratic businessmen. The reformers
swept the election, with the exception of the office of trea-
surer, although it was necessary to purchase large numbers of
black votes to carry the day. Jones justified the purchase of
votes by explaining that the reformers had decided to "fight
the Devil with fire," and he claimed that Burbridge could have
won an honest election too, if one were possible in Jacksonville.
In the evening the victors paraded the streets and stopped
outside the Times-Union building to receive Jones's congratu-
lations before going to Burbridge 's home for a celebration.
Prominent in the festivities were several blacks who had
supported the movement, and Alderman Duncan U. Fletcher, later,
to become United States Senator.
The major item of political interest on the state level
was the election of a new United States Senator to fill the
seat of incumbent Charles W. Jones, who, for mysterious reasons,
had been residing in Detroit, Michigan, and was not seriously
considered for re-election. Stories were rife that he was
insane. Senator Jones had not attended a session of Congress
for more than a year, and because of this the Times -Union had
called on Governor Perry in 1886 to appoint a successor, but
l^WM^«»:l»WW%»W^ j AS»( ; ».^ I M^U WI I HM l » l
Perry said then that he felt he lacked this authority when the
existence of a vacancy was in doubt. The mystery of the
missing senator remained unsolved through the remainder of 1886.
Jones wrote to Brearley, the Detroit News ' s advertising manager,
for the "rock-bottom facts" on the case and got the reply that
Senator Jones was engaged in a hopeless courtship of a wealthy
Michigan citizen's daughter. In March, 1887, there was a
report that Senator Jones would return to Florida to seek re-
election with a sensational explanation of his behavior, but
the senator never appeared. He had, in fact, gone mad. That
fall his son began measures which led to his commitment at the
state asylum in Dearborn, where he died ten years later.
The leading candidates to replace Jones were well known
by the spring of 1887, for lobbying in their behalf had been
carried on openly during the previous year's meeting of the
legislature. The favorites were former Governor Bloxham
and Governor Perry. Samuel Pasco was considered a worthy man,
but lacking the personal following of Bloxham or Perry.
Mahlon Gore of the Orlando Reporter suggested that peninsular
Florida unite behind one candidate, and he advanced John G.
Sinclair as that person. J. J. Finley also was proposed as
an honest man and faithful party servant of many years.
Frank Harris of the Ocala Banner thought that "C H for C W Jones
would not be a bad exchange," and the News accused Jones of
wanting to be senator, but he was not openly discussed as a
candidate. On February 13, 1887, the Times-Union endorsed
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Bloxham as the most popular Democrat In Florida. Perry was
urged to complete the term to which he had been elected, while
Pasco was suggested as the man to succeed Perry as governor.
The Times-Union predicted a calm election in which the best man
would be chosen on the basis of merit; instead there was a long,
grudgingly-fought battle for the Democratic nomination which
left the already divided party more disorganized than ever.
The Times-Union 's endorsement of Bloxham on February 13
seems to have been part of a plan evolved by Jones for insuring
his election to the Senate and for increasing Jones's power in
the party. The plan, if it existed, probably involved Jones,
Congressman Dougherty, Bloxham, John A. Henderson of Tallahassee,
and possibly Pasco. The strongest evidence for the existence
of some sort of political agreement is a letter which Jones
wrote to Dougherty on February 8 in which Jones said, "The
combination we discussed when I saw you is about perfected." I
shall come out for Bloxham this week, after seeing Henderson
who is to see me this next Friday." Jones discussed his
plan to endorse Bloxham with former Governor Drew and perhaps
to Senator Mann, and may have asked them to join his "combination."
Drew later said that Jones had told him the "old timers" had
coalesced around Perry and that Bloxham was anxious to join
the progressive faction of the party. However, both Mann
and Drew were ardent enemies of Bloxham, and one or both of
them leaked word of the "deal" to the press. The Orlando
Reporter , the Palatka Dally News , and the Tampa Weekly Journal
played up the story of the bargain in late February and March,
but Jones at first shrugged it off as campaign gossip.
As the legislature prepared to convene, Jones began to
denounce the bargain charges more strenuously, demanding that
those making the allegations bring forth their proof. * On
April 7, Gore of the Orlando Reporter went to Tallahassee and
acquired sworn statements from Drew and Mann attesting that
Jones had told them he had an agreement with Bloxham "in black
arid white" regarding plans for cooperation in elections and
control of patronage. The affidavits were published in the
Palatka Daily News the following day and copies were rushed to
Tallahassee for the inspection of the legislators gathered there
to elect a new senator. Jones replied with a sworn state-
ment published in the Times-Union contesting the Drew and Mann
affidavits , and he also printed a letter from Bloxham denying
the charges. On following days Jones published letters from
Dougherty and Pasco denying knowledge of a deal.
In the face of such diametrically opposed charges and
denials it is difficult to determine where the truth lies.
Drew and Mann were implacable enemies of Bloxham, so their
testimony is clouded by their interest in seeing Bloxham
defeated. Jones did not deny talking to them about his
endorsement of Bloxham, and it is possible that he. made some
statements to them which were exaggerated into the story of
the "deal." One intriguing suggestion made at the time was
that Jones himself exaggerated the importance of his association
with Bloxham and that this was the source of the idea that
there was a bargain. This might account for Jones's letter
of February 8 to Dougherty. Yet the evidence tends to support
the idea that Jones and Bloxham did have an understanding. One
more item bears on the question: In 1895 Jones wrote a short
autobiographical sketch in which he said, "When I left Florida
I had the U. S. Senatorship in my grasp as completely as is the
pen with which I now write." This must have been an
exaggeration, but Jones could hardly have had a basis for such
a claim unless he had reached an agreement with one or more
powerful party leaders.
The Democratic caucus which would designate the next
senator convened at eight on the evening of April 12 with the
widespread expectation that the race would be deadlocked
between the Bloxham and Perry forces. The Times-Union correspondent
reported, "The woods are full of dark horses, in fact, every
budding statesman here has his lightning rod up." Two ballots
were taken, with Bloxham and Perry dividing the bulk of the
votes almost evenly between them, with a scattering of the
remainder over a handful of others including Jones. Neither
was close to the fifty-seven votes needed to nominate. Samuel
Pasco, veteran state party leader from Monticello, was in
Tallahassee but refused to allow his name to be entered.
Twice more during the week the Democratic legislators caucused,
again with similar results. On the eighteenth there was great
excitement in the hotels and streets as forces seemed to be
rallying around the two favorites. That evening's session
saw Bloxham's total reach 47, but when the session adjourned
at two in the morning Perry led 47-41. For the next days
balloting continued in an atmosphere of depressed solemnity,
then on April 21 Pasco permitted his name to be placed in
nomination for the first time. There was a renewed wave of
enthusiasm, but the result was a three way deadlock, replacing
the dual deadlock. As April turned to May, Bloxham and
Drew, the chief Perry supporter, renewed their dispute of 1884,
while ineffectual balloting continued. Finally Bloxham and
Perry both agreed to withdraw, and Pasco was nominated on
May 18, five weeks after the start of balloting.
While the battle for the Senate seat was going on in
Tallahassee, a serious threat to the Times-Union ' s existence
arose in Jacksonville. Following the city election, John N. C.
Stockton organized a corporation to establish a high quality
newspaper in competition with the Times-Union . Among the
company's stockholders were Frank P. Fleming, James P. Taliaferro,
J. M. Barrs, G. W. Bentley, George F. Drew, A. W. Owens, John
Varnum, Harrison Clark, and a number of other prominent men.
As the Times-Union pointed out, this list of stockholders
included many "ward bosses," several directors of the National
Bank of Florida, Call supporters, and railroad men. Jones
met the challenge by reorganizing the ownership of the Times-
Union as a corporation with himself, his brother and his wife
Nannie, Abernethy, J. F. Welborne (Chairman of the Democratic
Executive Committee), and F. W. Hoyt (president of the Bank of
Fernandina) as stockholders. For a time Jones negotiated
with several bankers for their support, but broke off when they
suggested selling stock to some parties of whom Jones did not
approve. In May Jones went to New York to purchase a new
set of type and arrange for added news and features for the
Times-Union . In an effort to cut off the competition from
a source of telegraphic news, Jones contacted United Press
International, but failed to secure a franchise.
During the first days of May the Stocktons purchased the
News and at the end of the month bought the Herald , merging the
two papers into the morning News-Herald . When the Herald was
consolidated, John Temple Graves left Florida to begin a
successful career in Georgia journalism, while several other
Herald employees started an evening paper called the Metropolis .
The News-Herald was almost exactly like the Times-Union in size
and foremat, and it carried the dispatches of the United Press.
Cassius E. Merrill, formerly editor of the Nashville World , was
brought in as editor. The News-Herald was moderately favorable
to Call — in contrast to Jones's deliberately anti-Call slanting
of the news — and it favored the Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West
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Railroad over the Florida Railway and Navigation Line which
the Times-Union championed. The News-Herald also opposed the
new railroad commission which the Times-Union had helped
promote. Unlike its predecessors in Jacksonville journalism,
the News -Herald began with a scrupulous avoidance of any
mention of the Times-Union , a policy which was reciprocated by
The truce between the two papers lasted all of two weeks.
The Times-Union then began to charge that a "syndicate" had
been established to break the Times-Union , which was standing
in the way of their domination of state politics. The News-
Herald declared that Jones was an "ass" to interpret competition
as a conspiracy against him, and said this attitude showed that
the Times-Union represented only Jones, while the News-Herald
spoke for the whole party. The debate then shifted to '
attempts by each paper to pin the "Republican" label on the
other. Jones pointed out that Varnum, until recently a
Republican, was a member of the News-Herald ' s staff, while the
News-Herald countered by saying Jones had been a Republican
when he came to Florida. Jones reacted strongly to this
charge, writing, "Whatever my faults (and they are no doubt many),
they do not lie in the direction of the turncoat and the
trimmer." As part of his effort to refute this charge, he
wrote Abernethy, asking him to copy, sign, and return a draft
letter Jones had written himself, attesting to his soundness on
on Democracy. He also asked for a letter from another friend,
who had once referred to him as "an unreconstructed rebel."
Jones published the letters in the Times-Union and reported to
Abernethy that "they effectually crushed out the slander."
Jones was almost certainly telling the truth in professing his
Democratic background, but there was probably an element of
truth in a statement by Harrison Reed published in the News-
Herald ; "If Mr. Jones was not, at the time he established his
paper in this city, a Republican, he certainly attained money
under false pretenses."
The newspaper war continued Into July, although the News-
Herald tried to avoid playing the role of foil for Jones and
held its criticism to a minimum. Jones constantly pounded away
at the theme that the News-Herald was a "sham," and that its
news dispatches were faked and its circulation inflated with
free or cut-rate subscriptions. The Times-Union reported that
Standard Oil millionaire Henry M. Flagler, who was then
building the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, purchased
1,500 copies per day. The News-Herald responded in the
middle of July by offering a bet that its circulation was
greater than that of the Times -Union . Jones replied by
pointing out that the press owned by the News-Herald was too
small to put out a newspaper the size of the Times-Union , that
a survey of the news dealers showed the Times-Union far ahead
in sales, and that no newspaper could attain a legitimate
circulation of even 1,000 copies in less than a year. 158 At the
end of July hostilities were called off by both sides. Jones
reported to Abernethy that he had gotten "the nincompoops down
now and must keep them down." 159 The News-Herald may have
decided that attacking the Times-Union was a self-destructive
enterprise. Frank Harris of the Ocala Banner ventured that the
hostility of the state press toward the Times-Union had made
Jones "the biggest man in Florida." 160
In October the fight between the two morning dailies
flared up again. The Times-Union declared that the News-Herald
was losing money at a rate of $2,000 to $3,000 per month because
its circulation had not grown much over that of the old News ,
while expense of putting out the paper had increased tremendously. 161
The News-Herald renewed its challenge for a comparison of cir-
culation, but the Times-Union refused to open its books for
inspection by an impartial committee, and the News-Herald would
not consent to a count which surveyed only street sales and not
subscription sales. It is likely that the Times-Union did
have a larger paid circulation, but the acknowledged predominance
of the News-Herald in subscription circulation suggests that
much of its readership received the paper free or below listed
The opening of Flagler's Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine
during the 1887-1888 season made it a much more important tourist
center than previously and an attractive market for Jacksonville
newspapers. In November the Times-Union opened an office in
St. Augustine to service subscribers and handle distribution,
but sending the newspaper there proved to be a problem since
the railroad to St. Augustine was a branch of the Jacksonville ■,
Tampa and Key West Railway, a line hostile to the Times-Union .
In December the News-Herald announced that it had chartered a
"News-Herald special train" to St. Augustine to speed its
editions to the public. The Times-Union declared that the
"special newspaper train" was nothing but a freight train, and
filed a protest with the Railroad Commission when the Jackson-
ville, Tampa and Key West Railway refused to carry shipments of
the Times-Union to St. Augustine. In January the Commission
reported that it could not act on the case because it did not
involve discrimination but refusal altogether to accept freight.
Jones threatened to fight the case and perhaps call for an
amendment to give the commission more power, but in February an
agreement with the road was worked out so that the Times-Union
was taken to St. Augustine.
Meanwhile, the News-Herald had problems of its own. During
the winter of 1887-1888 three editors John Varnum, Cassius
Merrill, and Stanley Fletcher were fired or resigned. The Times-
Union took advantage of the situation to publish recriminating
statements from Merrill and Fletcher attesting to the internal
problems of the News -Her aid . However, the News-Herald , at
least on the surface, seemed to be in good condition and ably
edited in 1888. The Times -Union likewise appeared to be as
prosperous as ever and claimed an ever increasing circulation.
It was admitted by the Times-Union that Jacksonville could
support only one first rate newspaper, and both continued to
claim that their rival was about to succumb to the competition.
In the autumn of 1887 an election was held to select a
new city government under the terms of the Constitution of 1885.
A revised city charter had been adopted which expanded Jackson-
ville's boundaries to mclude Fairfield and LaVilla, thus giving
the city a Negro majority and a decided Republican voting
majority. Although the Times-Union had not entirely agreed
with Mayor Burbridge's administration, Jones wished to see him
remain mayor and tried to argue that an election could not be
held under the new charter until the legislature met and set
up machinery for holding an election. When it became
evident that an election would be held, the Times-Union advocated
that leaders of the two parties consult with leading citizens
to establish a good slate of candidates who could then be voted
into office with little opposition.
After a great deal of negotiating, a convention of
Republicans, Democrats, "citizens" representatives, and labor
union leaders met and selected a nominating committee which
drew up a "citizens" slate of candidates. The ticket was
headed by Republican Charles B. Smith, with the 18 aldermen
posts evenly divided between the two parties. The Times-Union
noted that five of the Republican candidates were black and that
^ ^gg^^^^^g^TT^^Sgg^^TO^^^^^T^^^ ^^^
ten of the nominees were associated with labor unions. The
Democrats, both the Burbridge faction and the party regulars,
thereupon withdrew their support from the "citizens" ticket and
nominated one of their own. However, the Times-Union was hardly
satisfied with the Democratic slate, declaring it to be too
much tainted with "ring" influences.
After all this maneuvering, the election went quietly,
with the Republicans and labor elements winning most of the
seats. The Times-Union judged the new government an unknown
quantity, but pointed out the good elements in it. The News-
Herald voiced the regular Democrat's disappointment in the
results, and suggested that a move be made to have the city
turned over to a commission appointed by the governor. The
Times-Union opposed this plan since it seemed that it would lead
to control of the city government by the regular clique which
had the ear of the governor, but ultimately this was the plan
adopted as a means of preventing Republican-Negro government
The feature attraction of the 1887-1888 season was the
Sub-Tropical Exposition, which opened in a spacious exhibition
hall constructed on the waterworks grounds just north of the
city. The Times-Union had suggested the idea the previous winter
during the "missing tourist" controversy, and Jones had been
one of the prime movers of the organization in the succeeding
months. 177 Early in the summer of 1887 Jones resigned his
membership on the Exposition's executive committee, perhaps
because of disagreements with other members, but the Times-
Union continued to promote the project. In December a
special "Sub-Tropical Exposition Edition" of the Times-Union
was printed and distributed throughout the state and country
to publicize the event. The most celebrated visitor to the
exhibit was President Grover Cleveland, who arrived in February
for a parade down Bay Street, speeches, and an evening banquet
in the St. James. Jones was conspicuous as a platform guest
and escort of Mrs. Cleveland, perhaps indicating that his
relations with the White House remained good. After a special
morning tour of the exhibit hall, the President departed for
St. Augustine as the guest of Henry Flagler for a private
The imposing Hotel Ponce de Leon was St. Augustine's main
attraction of the season. This magnificent tourist resort was
by far the most luxurious edifice constructed in the state up to
that time, and it, along with other hotels later built in South
Florida, and in Tampa may have been partly responsible for the
continued decline in Jacksonville's tourist population noted by
the Times-Union . According to the count made by city editor
Bowden, Jacksonville had even fewer visitors than the year
before. The News-Herald denounced the Times-Union 's stories
as a plot to wring advertising money out of the hotel owners
and predicted that Jacksonville had a "Glorious Future" as a
tourist center. But the Times-Union was probably correct
in its portrait of a declining tourist industry in Jacksonville,
which was increasingly becoming a center of commerce and industry.
However, there was another reason for the "phenomenal
dullness" of the season: yellow fever. Jones knew it was in
Florida and privately referred to it in a letter to Abernethy,
but publicly the Times-Union discounted or ignored rumors of
the fever in South Florida. On January 17, 1888, Jones
sent an Associated Press bulletin out carrying a statement of
the Tampa Board of Trade denying that there was any fever in
that city. The following summer and autumn Florida would be
ravaged by the worst epidemic in the state's history, but by
then Jones was no longer in Florida.
It was Jones's involvement with the national press
associations which led to his departure from Florida. In
February he went to Indianapolis for the second convention of
the American Newspaper Publishers Association, taking with
him the usual boxes of citrus and tropical fruits. He was the
presiding officer of the convention in the absence of
President William Singerly, and was elected vice-president of
the association for the coming year. The topic of advertising
and relations with advertising agents dominated discussion
during the convention, but Jones presented a paper on "Govern-
ment Control of the Telegraph" in which he argued that public
ownership of the wires would give government a potentially
dangerous element of control over the press. In April Jones
and his wife traveled to New Orleans for the convention of the
Southern Press Association, where he was elected president of
the association. After the convention, the Associated Press
agents visited Jefferson Davis at his plantation "Beauvior" on
-1, Tf 187
While in New York at an American Newspaper Publishers
Association executive committee meeting, Jones was offered the
editorship of the St. Louis Republican by Charles W. Knapp, a
major owner of that paper. Jones thought about the proposal for
several days, then agreed to come to St. Louis if he could sell
the Times-Union on reasonable terms. Returning to Jacksonville,
Jones opened negotiations with potential purchasers, including
several backers of the News-Herald and his old political
opponents. Jones found that he had more in common with some
of his enemines than he thought, and an agreement was reached
whereby a new company, the Florida Publishing Company, would
purchase both newspapers. J. J. Daniel was made president of the
company, and Thomas T. Stockton was made treasurer and business
manager. The final passing of papers took place on April 27.
On that day Jones penned a letter to Abernethy revealing his
I have an announcement to make that will astound
you. I have sold the Times-Union [ sic ] and am going
to St. Louis to take the position of editor-in-chief
and General Manager of the old "Missouri Republican,"
one of the five leading Democratic newspapers in the
United States. I am also to secure a proprietary
interest in the same on favorable conditions; and
have a chance, I think, to acquire a fortune and
make a great reputation. 189
On the day after writing Abernethy Jones vacated the
Times-Union 's offices, on May 2 news of the merger was announced
to the general public, and at the end of the week Jones departed
for St. Louis. Eliza Jones remained behind to supervise
packing before following her husband West.
When the announcement of Jones ' s move to St . Louis reached
the state press the reaction was mixed. The Pensacola Commercial ,
long an antagonist of the Times-Union , labeled Jones a man with
"neither principles or conscience" and declared that it was
glad to see him go. Frank Harris of the Ocala Banner wrote:
"If Mr. Jones ever returns to Florida he will be held in much
higher esteem as his great service to the State was only
realized and appreciated when his removal to St. Louis was
announced." But Jones received probably his most flattering
tribute from John Temple Graves, then editor of the Rome
Tribune in Georgia, who called Jones "one of the brainiest and
most remarkable journalists in the country." Graves recalled
when Jones had first arrived in Jacksonville, "a dapper little
fellow, with a pale scholarly face, resolute mouth, quick
energetic movements, and plenty of confidence in himself. ...
From that day to this, he has been the most marked man in
Florida, more talked of, more criticized, better hated, and by
a few better followed than any one man in the State." Graves
j ^PWWBWitWj ^i WUHll « iiljJJHg l ^»-»UJ
felt that the "ruling elements" had been right in opposing
Jones, but Jones "was ever at his best in a fight and never
seemed to have the faintest consciousness of being whipped. . . .
Lacking in physical courage, he was simply unconquerable in
spirit, and inexhaustible in resources, and although paper after
paper was started to down him, and combination after combination
formed to crush him, he managed somehow to come out of every
encounter smiling, confident, and stronger than ever. . . . But
in his withdrawal from Florida, that State loses at once the
most striking figure, the most dominant personality, and the
stormiest influence, it has ever known."
NOTES TO CHAPTER V
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , January 14, 1886.
Ibid ., February 11, 28, March 13, 1886.
Ibid., January 30, 1886.
Ocala Banner , n..d., quoted in, ibid . , March 21, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , September 29, 1885.
Ibid ., April 4, 1886.
9 Ibid. , February 12, 13, 14, 1886.
Jones to Abernethy, February 17, 1886, JP.
Ocala Item , quoted in Jacksonville Florida Times -Union ,
February 19, 1886.
Ocala Banner , February 19, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , February 21, 1886.
Herbert, First Decennium , 63.
Ibid . ; Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , February 24,
25, 26, 1886.
Herbert, First Decennium , 120; Jacksonville Florida Times-
Union , February 23, 27, 28, March 7, 1886.
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Jones to Abernethy, February 17, 1886, JP.
Ibid., February 17, 1886, JP.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union . February 21, 23, March
7, 14, 18, 21, 22, 26, 1886.
Ibid ., March 27, 29, 1886.
Ibid ., April 22, 1886.
Ibid., May 16, 1886.
Ibid., August 18, 1886.
Ibid., August 29, September 17, 1886.
25 T ,
Jacksonville Morning News , September 14, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , September 8, 1886.
Ibid ., February 15, 1886.
Ibid ., March 6, 1886.
Ibid .. March 24, 1886.
Ibid ., April 7, 15, June 11, 1886.
Ibid., April 7, 13, 1886.
Ibid . , April 7, 9, November 18, 1886.
Ibid ., April 9, 1886.
Ibid ., April 11, 1886.
iWWItte&k&M**Kt.m*#,.IIJU.Mnmm, l ui I
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Ibid., April 13, 16, 22, 1886.
Jacksonville Morning News , June 8, 1886; Jacksonville
Florida Times -Union , May 10, June 8, 11, 15, 1886.
Jones to Cleveland, January 4, 1886, Cleveland Papers.
Wilkinson Call to Cleveland, October 30, 1885, Cleveland
Jacksonville Florida Times Union , February 5, 6, 1886.
Call to Lamont, March 22, 1886, Cleveland Papers.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , December 24, 1885.
Ibid ., February 11, 1886.
Lamont to Call, March 23, 1886, Cleveland Papers.
Jones to Cleveland, July 6, 1886, Cleveland Papers.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , July 7, 10, 1886.
Ibid., July 14, 19, 1886.
Clipping from Florida Herald , enclosed in Jones to
Cleveland, August 1, 1886, Cleveland Papers.
Jacksonville Morning News , July 9, 11, 1886.
Tallahassee Weekly Tallahassean , July 14, 1886; Palatka
Daily News , July 15, 1886.
Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , July 15, 1886.
Jones to Lamont, July 18, 1886, Cleveland Papers.
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Cleveland to Jones, July 25, 1886, quoted in Jacksonville
Florida Times -Union , August 1, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , August 1, 1886; Jack-
sonville Morning News , August 3, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union ,' August 1, 1886.
Jones to Cleveland, August 1, 1886, Cleveland Papers.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , June 30, 1886.
Jacksonville Morning News , June 22, 23, 30, 1886.
Ibid . , June 1, 1886; Jacksonville Florida Times -Union ,
Jacksonville Morning News , June 3, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , June 4, 1886; Jacksonville
Morning News . June 7, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , June 4, 1886; Jackson-
ville Morning News , June 7, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , June 11, 15, 21, 1886;
Jacksonville Morning News , June 17, 23, 24, 25, 1886.
Ocala Banner , July 23, 30, 1886.
Jacksonville Morning News , July 28, 1886.
Ocala Banner , August 6, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , August 4, 5, 1886;
Jacksonville Morning News , August 5, 7, 1886.
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , August 15, 1886; Ocala
Banner , August 13, 20, 27, 1886.
Jacksonville Morning News , Augus t 25 , 1886 .
Ibid . , August 29, September 9, 1886.
Ibid., September 26, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , October 6, 1886.
Ibid ., October 8, 12, 1886.
Ibid ., October 23, 1886.
Ibid .. October 29, 1886.
Ibid ., October 28, 1886.
Ibid., October 25, 1886.
Ibid ., November 2, 3, 4, 5, 1886.
Ibid ., March 6, 1886.
Ibid ., September 19, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , October 17, 29, December
17, 24, 1886.
James Weldon Johnson, Along This Way, The Autobiography
of James We Id on Johnson (New York, 1933), 8.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , January 5, 6, 7, 8,
13, 16, 1887.
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Ibid., January 13, 1887; Tampa Journal , January 19, 1887.
Palatka Daily News , February 3, 1887.
Tampa Journal , January 19, 1887.
Jacksonville Daily Florida Herald , May 3, 1887.
Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , May 5, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , May 8, 1887.
Ibid . , January 27, 1887.
Ibid ., February 1, 1887.
Ibid . , February 6, 1887.
Ibid., February 10, 23, March 10, 1887.
Ibid ., March 1, 1887.
Ibid ., May 8, 1887.
Tallahassee Weekly Floridian , May 5, 1887; Jacksonville
Daily Florida Herald . May 3, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , December 2, 1883, Janu-
ary 17, 1884; January 3, February 22, 1885; December 1, 12, 1886.
Ibid ., April 23, 1886.
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Ibid., February 17, 1883; January 31, 1885.
Ibid., February 28, March 23, 1887.
Ibid., May 6, 7, 1887.
ia«7 looi ?T ^ L ° n8 ' " Florida ' s Fi "t Railroad Commission,
1963)!" lls-ltT ' F1 ° rida Hlst0rlca1 SHglterl^ XLII (October ,
Emer Y> American Newspaper Publishers Association . 18-19.
IhlA', 15-17; Jacksonville Florida Times -Union . Febru-
Emer y> American Newspaper Publishers Association . 6-29.
Jones to Abernethy, September 9, 1887, JP.
Herbert, First Decennium , 139.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union . October 10, 1887.
Ibid., October 16, 1887; Herbert, First Decennium . 180-184.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union . October 9, 1887.
Ibid., February 5, 9, 24, 26, 29, 30, 1887.
Ibid., February 28, 1887.
Wayne Flynt, Duncan Upshaw Fletcher. Dixie's Reluctant
Progressive (Tallahassee, 1971), 12. '. ~
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 5, 6, 1887.
Ibid ., February 10, 20, 23, 26, March 2, 17, 20, April
Ibid ., February 2, March 20, 1886.
Ibid ., April 24, 1886.
Ibid ., March 6, 1887.
Ibid ., October 13, 1897.
Ibid., April 5, 1886.
Ibid ., October 3, 1886.
Ocala Banner , March 25, 1887.
Ibid . , December 3, 1886; Jacksonville Morning News ,
June 9, 1886.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , February 13, 1887.
S. S. Harvey to Call, January 2, 1888, Cleveland Papers.
Jones to Charles Dougherty, February 8;, 1887.
Tampa Weekly Journal , March 14, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , March 2, 14, 1887;
Palatka Daily News , March 17, 1887; Tampa Weekly Journal , March
24, 31, 1887.
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 3, 1887.
Palatka Daily News , April 8, 1887; Jacksonville Florida
Times -Union , April 9, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 9, 1887.
Ibid ., April 11, 13, 1887.
Palatka Daily News , April 10, 1887.
Jones, "Sketch of Life."
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , April 13, 1887.
Ibid., April 13, 1887.
Jacksonville News -Herald , September 16, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , May 1, 1887.
Jones to Abernethy, July 13, December 22, 1887, JP.
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , May 29, 1887.
Ibid ., July 2, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , July 3, 21, 1887.
Jacksonville News -Hera Id , June 19, July 11, August 10,
24, September 5, November 27, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , June 26, 1887.
Jacksonville News -Herald , June 18, 30, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union . July 15, 17, 1887;
Jacksonville News -He raid , August 11, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , July 3, 1887.
Jones to Abernethy, August 8, 1887, JP.
Ibid., September 9, 1887, JP.
Jacksonville News -Herald , October 27, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , July 21, 1887.
Jacksonville News -Herald , July 17, 19, 21, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , July 18, 1887.
Jones to Abernethy, September 9, 1887, JP.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , August 28, 1887.
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Ibid., October 30, December 4, 1887.
Jacksonville News -Herald , December 3, 5, 7, 10, 1887;
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , December 6, 10, 1887.
Jacksonville News -Herald , December 20, 1887.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , December 27, 1887;
February 24, 1888.
Ibid ., January 11, February 23, 1888.
Jacksonville News -Herald , November 21, 22, 1887; Jack-
sonville F]££i^a_Timesj : Union, February 19, 26, 1888.
Ibid., January 24, 1888.
Ibid ., March 6, 14, 1888; Jacksonville News -Herald ,
March 7, 1888.
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union , November 22, 28, 1887.
Ibid ., November 29, 1887.
Ibid. , December 6, 7, 1887.
Ibid . , December 7, 1887.
Ibid., December 8, 9, 1887.
Ibid ., December 14, 15, 16, 18, 25, 1887.
Jacksonville News -Her aid, December 14, 1887.
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , December 15, 18, 25,
Ibid ., February 6, 14, March 25, April 9, 1887; January
Ibid . , May 3, 1887; Jacksonville News-Herald, November
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , December 5, 1887.
Ibid ., February 23, 1888.
Ibid . , December 3, 1887.
Jacksonville News -Her aid , December 2, 1887.
Jones to Abernethy, December 22, 1887, JP; Jacksonville
Florida Times -Union , January 30, 1888.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , January 17, 1888.
Charles S. Adams, Report Covering the Work of the
Association During the Yellow Fever Epidemic , 1888 (Jacksonville,
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , February 8, 9, 10,
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , February 8, 9, 10,
Richard A. Martin, The City Makers (Jacksonville, 1972),
NOTES TO CHAPTER V (continued)
Jones to Abernethy, April 27, 1888, JP.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union , May 2, 8, 1888.
Jones to Abernethy, August 5, 1888, JP.
Pensacola Commercial , May 5, 1888.
Ocala Banner , June 22, 1888.
Rome Tribune , n.d., quoted in Ocala Banner , May 18,
SPOKESMAN FOR WESTERN DEMOCRACY
The step from Jacksonville to St. Louis was a major one
for Jones. The city of St. Louis had a population larger than
all of Florida, elected more Congressmen than the state of
Florida, and was the largest city southwest of Chicago. While
it had not lived up to expectations as the "Future Great City
of the World," as Jones and others had predicted in the 1860 's,
it was the fifth largest city in the country and the commercial
center of a region covering several states.-'- It was slower in
its pace than Chicago, with a declining remnant of its old
French population, a larger number of German forty-eighters, an
increasing Irish population, many Negroes, and a substantial
Jewish community. The twisting cobblestone streets of the
riverfront ran west past low, smoke blackened brick buildings,
through teeming slums where lone policemen hesitated to venture,
out to the new western suburbs of large homes and the green
lawns of Forest Park. The Merchants Exchange, near the
Republican building, was the center of mercantile activity
where the agricultural produce of the Mississippi Valley was
a r jr ' ..'j ' yu .- Hum "ttct J^wJ■J.■t ■ ^■■''■ ? v/T l t ^^!*J^ ' ^' ^ ^^ ^^ ^'«f ^■ ^B ■^ ^ ^ ■!a^ ■ ■e ^ *t - ^ - ^™^-H™w<»&\r&*a^Fif i va i >r j rK. wr '■ ■ w ^^-~"T^'I^r?j^^?.!^.r:-Jf"!
The city boasted many newspapers, including several
German language presses, but the leading dailies were the Globe-
Democrat , the Pos t -Dispatch , and the Missouri Republican. The
Globe-Democrat , despite its name, was a Republican paper, and
its editor Joseph B. McCullah was reputed to be one of the best
in the business. The Post-Dispatch was Joseph Pulitzer's first
newspaper and was still his property, although Pulitzer had
moved to New York to edit the World . The Missouri Republican .
was the oldest Democratic newspaper in the Southwest, taking
its name when "Republican" was synonymous with "Jef fersonian."
Despite its long and noteworthy history, the paper had fallen
on hard times, and Jones was expected to return it to the front
ranks of national journalism.
On May 12 Jones completed purchase of a one-quarter
interest in the newspaper, paying $92,500 for the stock. He
also made an agreement with Charles W. Knapp whereby the stock
of both men would be voted to insure that Jones would become
vice-president of the company and editor with complete control
of editorial policy. Charles W. Knapp remained president of
the company with responsibilities for the business affairs of
the newspaper, although George W. Jones would shortly follow
his brother to St. Louis from Jacksonville to become the
newspaper's business manager. Charles Knapp 's father, John
Knapp, had already retired from active affairs in the business
due to failing health and would die before the end of the year.
^^l^^gB W B SfiS^^^Bfe H^^B^B^S^S^^SSHfflS
The Republican 's former editor, William Hyde, had been a
leading figure in Missouri's politics during Reconstruction and
had been recently appointed postmaster of St. Louis. Hyde was
noted for having once knocked Pulitzer down in a street fist-
The history of the Republican building was perhaps symbolic
of the newspaper's decay. Completed in 1872, it was a five
story Victorian monument abounding with corinthian columns,
gargoyles, and over-arched windows. Its location at Third and
Chestnut near the riverfront had once been the center of the
city's business section, but over the years the city had grown
away from the area, and the building had decayed with the
neighborhood. A few years after Jones arrived at the Republican
Theodore Dreiser, then a novice reporter looking for work, was
struck with the building's dinginess:
The office was so old and rattletrap that it was
discouraging. The elevator was a slow and wheezy
box, bumping and creaking and suggesting immediate
collapse. The boards of the entrance-hall and the
city editorial room squeaked under one's feet. The
city reportorial room, where I should work if I
secured a place, was larger than that of the Globe
and higher-ceiled, but beyond that it had no
advantage. The windows were tall but cracked and
patched with faded yellow copy-paper; the desks, some
fifteen or twenty all told, were old, dusty, knife-
marked, smeared with endless ages of paste and ink.
there was no sign of either paint or wallpaper.
The windows facing east looked out upon a business
court or alley where trucks and vans creaked all
day but which at night was silent as the grave,
as was this entire wholesale neighborhood. 7
The changes Jones instituted in the paper marked a clear
break with the past. The name Missouri Republican was dropped
to eliminate confusion over party sympathies and perhaps to
symbolize that the newspaper had entered a new era. The issue
which reached the streets on May 31 was almost an entirely new
paper. It was slightly longer, had new clearer type, the old-
fashioned front page advertisements were gone, and the masthead
now read: St. Louis Republic , "The People's Paper." Efforts
were made to improve telegraphic news service by joining a
syndicate of the Boston Herald , Chicago Herald , Pittsburg Post ,
and New York Sun — the latter paper's services being especially
important because of the Sun 's cable communications with Europe.
Jones endeavored to print stories of substance, and did not
exploit sensationalism in the news columns, but by today's
standards there was much more space devoted to lurid trivia.
The Post-Dispatch and Globe-Democrat still enjoyed a superior
staff of local reporters, but the Republican had previously
been competitive in local news coverage. As a service to "the
people" the Republic instituted a free want advertisement policy
in some departments, a move which may have been aimed at
increasing city circulation.
Perhaps the most drastic change attempted was the
reduction in price from five cents to three cents. It was
announced that this innovation was designed to bring St. Louis
into line with modern newspaper prices in eastern cities, and it
^ ^,;jg " j! W ^|!^
was predicted that the other city newspapers would have to join
in or go out of business. There was a problem with the news-
boys, who wished to continue selling the papers at five cents,
and St. Louis was supposedly diffident in circulating pennies,
but the Republic ran daily reminders how these difficulties
could be avoided. The three cent experiment continued until
March of the following year, when it was announced that the
price would return to its former level due to the lack of
pennies in circulation. Possibly the price was raised for
other reasons which the paper's management did not wish to
In an introductory editorial, "Our Policy Outlined,"
Jones sought to reassure those who regarded the Republican with
"ancestral affection" that the Republic was the same paper,
"rejuvenated and inspired with new energy," and it would now
be "found in the front rank of the liberal and progressive
Democracy." He said the paper would fight to lay the memories
of the war to rest, but would oppose centralization and
"paternal government." Public education, civil service reform,
and tariff reform would be supported. Editorial policy would
be conducted "in conformity with a deep-seated conviction that
Democratic principles are grounded not merely in political
expediency, but in moral right and social needs, and hence it
will be with the people and for the people, as against
capitalistic greed and corporate oppression." But he added that
corporate wealth was the foundation of civilization and
deserved as much protection as private property and therefore
"turbulent agitation" would not be condoned. While the Republic
would be a Democratic newspaper, it would not be obnoxiously
partisan and would cultivate the readership of Democrat and
Republican alike. 12 By in large Jones was able to live up to
these promises, although his newspaper was never as independent
of partisan spirit as he would lilce to claim.
During the first weeks after the change in management,
the Republic ran thousands of words telling of the wonderful
reception given the new paper. Individuals on the street were
interviewed to get their reactions, praise from advertising
patronage were given prominent attention. But the thing that
stood out above all else was the prominence of Charles H. Jones:
"the great Southern editor," "writer of national reputation,"
"gentleman of rare attainments and an indefatigable worker."
The Republic printed the New York Sun's announcement of the
change: "Jones is at the helm, and there is new blood in every
department, and bounce everywhere. From being a 5-cent blanket
sheet, with wall-poster advertisements and the general air of
having been edited with a shovel, our esteemed contemporary
has put on the external aspects of a first-class metropolitan
journal, with news predominating over advertisements and brains
over both. ... Jones has arrived. In fact, he is on deck
in command. . . ." 14 Such inflated self-eulogy drew critical
comments, even from friendly sources, and it aroused the scorn
of hostile ones, but there may have been method in Jones's
policy of advertising himself in his own paper. A writer for
William Marion Reedy's St. Louis Mirror (perhaps Reedy himself)
thought he knew what it was:
He adopted a course radically opposed to the
conservatism which had for seventy years been the
paper's too monotonous characteristic. He exploited
himself to impress upon the public the fact that
the men who had made the Republican obnoxious in
its unprogressiveness, were out of control. 1°
People bought the Republic to see what kind of
damphool thing he was going to play next. All
the time they thought he was making an ass of
himself he was really making monkeys of them,
and the paper's circulation went up until, for
the first time in twenty years, the word dividend
was defined to stockholders in checks. '
Jones threw himself into his new enterprise with enthusiasm,
working as hard as he had ever worked in his life, yet relishing
every minute of the labor. After two weeks with the paper he
wrote his daughter Dora, then attending school in New York, that
his heart was in the business and he was confident that it
would turn out a success. A month later he wrote Abernethy:
"I am working extremely hard, but the success we are achieving
is very encouraging. I have never known anything like it. We
have made as much progress in two months as Pulitzer did with
the world [ sic ] in a year. I feel contented and hopeful — more
so than ever before in my life. * Even the acid attacks of
the Glove-Democrat and Post-Dispatch did not discourage him:
^"%yy'? j ^-^^-" * w '^
"Every newspaper in the city has joined the chorus against me,"
he told Abernethy, "but I am not dismayed — in fact, rather
enjoying it, especially as I think I am getting the best of it.
The trouble is I am rattling their dry bones." The experience
of piloting a "huge newspaper" was exhilarating.
By the middle of June the Republic claimed that its city
circulation had increased by 50 percent, and it predicted that
the paper's entire circulation would double in 60 days. 21 This
reported increase can be partly attributed to the ordinary rise
in circulation in an election year, and some of it was probably
the result of free distribution and simple exaggeration, but it
is highly probable "that the Republic was enjoying a boom of
major proportions. By fall a circulation of over 45,000 was
being attested to in sworn statements, and it was claimed that
the Republic had a larger circulation in the states of Missouri,
Illinois, Arkansas, and Texas than any other paper and was the
fastest growing newspaper in St. Louis.
The Globe-Democrat was the Republic 's major competitor
because it was a morning paper and depended on subscribers
outside of the city for much of its circulation. It had enjoyed
a substantial lead in circulation over the Republican for many
years past, and it was claiming an average circulation of more
than 47,000 in the summer of 1888, but the Republic was rapidly
closing the gap, and by the end of Jones's tenure in 1893 had
achieved virtually the same circulation as the Globe-Democrat.
The Post-Dispatch , an afternoon paper with the bulk of its
circulation concentrated in the city, was claiming a circulation
of only 33,000 in the spring of 1888, but it was the most rapidly
growing of the three and would far outstrip its rivals by the
mid-1890 's. 24
One of the first things Jones did as editor of the Republic
was to pick a fight with the Globe-Democrat , probably in the hope
of sparking the reading public's interest. The Republic called
attention to the out-dated format, the staid contents, and the
conservative editorial policies of the Glob e-Democrat , also
noting the higher price typical of the "old five-centers of the
state-coach period." 5 When a Texas newspaper said people in
that state preferred the Globe-Democrat because of its better
news coverage, the Republic pointed out that in recent issues
it Imd run more telegraphic news than its rival, while the Globe-
Democrat padded its pages with "snake stories, whole columns of
faith-cure clippings, Spiritualistic [ sic ] drivel, and all kinds
of odd and end exchange clippings." There was some truth in
this charge, for McCullah deliberately kept the Globe-Democrat
sedate, while at the same time sprinkling it with snake stories
and the like to keep up reader interest. The Globe-Democrat
had written approvingly of the reformation at the offices of its
competitor, but when Jones began to refer to McCullah as the
"fat assistant" of the newspaper's president Daniel Houser, the
Globe-Democrat began to slip in a few remakrs about the "Adonis
of the Everglades" and "Jones, Late of the Swanpoodle (Fla.)
'Slasher'." 2 ** When the Republic charged that the Globe-Democrat ' s
editorials on Arkansas were stirring up a race war, the Globe-
Democrat called Jones "a Yankee tramp recently imported into
this city from Florida," who had sneaked the back streets of
Jacksonville to avoid chastisement for his practices of personal
journalism. Jones responded by printing a letter from former
Mayor Burbridge certifying Jones's southern parentage and
praising him for his work as a civic-minded promoter of Florida's
While concentrating on his morning competitor, Jones did
not ignore the evening Post-Dispatch , like the Republic a Demo-
cratic paper but less involved with the party organization.
Pulitzer shared the resources of the New York World with the
POst-Dispatch , giving that paper high quality features such as
Sunday [Supplement material not available to other St. Louis
newspapers. The illustrations of the Post-Dispatch were better
than the Republic 's, but the layout of the paper was, if any-
thing, more conservative. Jones began his contest with the
Post-Dispatch by harping on the fact that Pulitzer marketed a
12 page paper in New York for two cents but charged five cents
for an eight page paper in St. Louis. The Post-Dispatch had
ignored Jones's arrival in St. Louis but reacted to this
campaign by charging that the Republic had scissored a story out
of a Chicago paper and run it as a "Special to the Republic."
The Post-Dispatch 's editorial continued:
When Brer Jones announced that he had placed his
small savings in the lean treasury of the old
Republican there was a certain sympathy felt for
him as for a harmless imbecile who had been con-
fidenced out of his money. But he is evidently a
fraud of the first water, and his attempt to impose
on the intelligent reading public of St. Louis with
petty swindles that would not go down in the
Okeefinokie [ sic ] Weekly Everglade explains very
fully why the aforesaid reading public pay 5 cents
for a newspaper with news in it and do not pay 3
cents for journalistic swindle with fakes in it. 31
At the bottom right-hand corner of the page carrying the
Post-Dispatch * s attack, a story of a hold-up in Texas appeared
under the headline "Wore a Red Bandana." The next day's
Republic carried a denial of the charge that it faked news,
and declared that it was the Post-Dispatch which faked stories
such as ivWore a Red Bandana," which was allegedly clipped from
the Republic and run in the Post-Dispatch without acknowledg-
ment." The Post-Dispatch returned the fire on the following
day, and charges of fraud flew both ways for weeks. Fortunately
for Jones the managing editor of the Post-Dispatch ran away with
the wife of a well-known St. Louis theatre owner during the
dispute, and the Republic ran front page stories of this
"shameless and cold-blooded depravity" daily. The Post-Dispatch
slackened its assaults for the moment.
Jones had hardly settled at his desk at the Republic
before delegates began arriving in St. Louis for the Democratic
national convention. As the local organ of Democracy, the
Republic occupied a special position, both as servant of the
visiting pressmen and, for the moment, the spotlighted mouth-
piece of the party. As Cleveland's renomination was a foregone
conclusion, the Republic 's attention was first turned to the
question of the vice-presidential nomination. Allen G. Thurman,
the "Old Roman" of Ohio politics, was the leading contender
for second place on the ticket, despite his poor health and
advanced age. Press speculation swirled about whether he would
accept the nomination if it were offered to him, and it seemed
certain that he would be offered the position if he indicated
that he would accept. On June 2 the Republic published what
was apparently the first definite statement from Thurman that
he would indeed accept the nomination if it were offered to him.
Jones used the exclusive interview to acclaim his newspaper
enterprise: "The sensation of the day in journalistic circles
is The Republic's "scoop" in obtaining direct from Judge Thurman
the first authoritative announcement that he would accept the
Vice-Presidency. It is acknowledged to be the biggest thing of
the kind achieved in recent years; and yet it was due to the
position of The Republic in the journalism of the Democratic
party that it should be made the medium of the announcement."
During the convention Jones kept a close watch on the
activities of the Committee on Resolutions, as he had in the
Democratic convention of 1884. He wished to see a genuine low
tariff clause incorporated in the platform, and lobbied for
such a plank in the columns of the Republic . Despite his
famous tariff reform message of 1887, Cleveland had made it
known that he wished the tariff plank to be moderate, but
Henry Watterson, editor of the Louisville Courier- Journal and
draftsman of national platforms, wanted a decisively low
tariff plank. The Republic 's emotional campaign against the
"combine" of Senator Arthur P. Gorman, leader of the faction
committed to reaffirming the cautious 1884 plank, drew national
attention. When, after a long caucus, the platform sub-
committee reported out a generally low-tariff plank Jones
patted himself on the back for having saved the tariff reform
cause. This inflated view of the Republic 's influence was
probably unrealistic in the case of the platform, as it
certainly was in its claim to have secured the vice-presidential
nomination for Thurman.
The Republic 's coverage of the Republican convention later
in the month was unashamedly biased against both the Republicans
and Chicago. Chicago was portrayed as a haven for anarchists,
while the Republicans were pictured as a combination of "the
sleek type of the class produced by monopoly greed at the North
and the unwashed type of the ignorant and shiftless class of
the South." The Republic was pleased when the opposition
chose to make a square fight on the tariff issue by stoutly
endorsing protection in their platform.
The Democrats' decision to fight the election on the
question of tariff reform may have cost Cleveland the election
because it antagonized business and frightened much of the
public. The mistake was compounded by making William H. Barnum
national chairman and Calvin S. Brice chairman of the executive
committee. Barnum, a Michigan iron ore producer, and Brice,
a northeastern lawyer, were both protectionists and were indif-
ferent to the call for a "campaign of education" on the tariff.
For his part, Jones threw the Republic enthusiastically and
unreservedly behind the low tariff, anti-trust campaign. He
accused the Republicans of wishing to raise tariff rates to
prohibitive levels which would force the American people to
buy only from the trusts. 40 The Republic also played on sectional
and class themes which would increasingly become a hallmark of
Jones's thinking. The election was seen as a contest between
the protected rich business community and the unprotected workers
and farmers; between the Northeast, grown fat on protection,
and the South and West, increasingly indebted to the Northeast.
Harrison was declared to be an enemy of the workingman because
of his role in breaking the strike on the Ohio and Missouri
Railroad in 1877. The use of "Pinkerton armies" was denounced,
and the use of court injunctions in labor disputes was condemned
as having great potential for oppression. Cleveland's record
as a civil service reformer was defended, and his careful
vetoes of pension bills were contrasted to the reckless passage
of such bills by Congress.
On the level of state politics, Jones had assured local
party leaders that until he learned something of Missouri
politics he intended to maintain a neutral posture and would
treat all Democratic candidates fairly. But as the race for
the Democratic gubernatorial nomination developed into a
heated battle, Jones piloted the Republic into the fray in
behalf of St. Louis Mayor David R. Francis, a young man of the
post-Reconstruction generation of Missouri politicians and a
highly successful dealer in grain at the Merchants Exchange.
The other candidates for the nomination were Governor Albert P.
Morehouse, who had succeeded to the governorship upon the death
of John Marmaduke in December, 1887, and Congressman John Glover
of St. Louis. Ostensibly Jones 1 s excuse for enlisting Francis's
behalf was that Glover and Morehouse, in cooperation with
St. Louis "boss" Edward Noonan, had entered into a conspiracy
to defeat Francis. According to Jones, Francis had the
backing of the Merchants Exchange and St. Louis businessmen,
while Glover was being put up by the "rings" and liquor interests
to insure the defeat of their enemy Francis. Actually,
Francis had his own "ring" backing from Ed Butler, a man who
had risen from the humblest of origins in Ireland to become a
successful and wealthy blacksmith and ward politician. Glover
reacted to the Republic 's unfriendly treatment of his campaign
by explaining that "Jones of Florida" was new to the state, and
Jones replied that he was learning fast enough to make "political
47 , j
fakirs and side showmen" uncomfortable. When Glover accused
Jones of backing Francis because of "certain monetary trans-
actions," Jones demanded proof and forced Glover to admit that
he had relied on gossip in making his charges.
After Francis won the Democratic nomination, the Post-
Dispatch , which had backed Glover, refused to endorse the nominee
of the party and declared that it would be better to elect a
Republican than to allow Francis and Butler to gain permanent
control of the Democratic party. It accused Francis of fraud
in his 1885 election as mayor, of gambling in grain, and of
neglecting his duties as mayor while running for governor.
The Republic , said the Post-Dispatch , licked the "boots of the
mayor" and condoned party bossism because its survival depended
on "party pap." 50 The Republic replied by charging the Post-
Dispatch with infidelity to the party and by saying that the
Post-Dispatch ' s pious anti-bossism was a sham since Elbert E.
Kimball, the Republican nominee, was the creature of Republican
On the day after the election, the Republic published an
immense edition running over 100,000 copies, and sent a special
train, decked with flags and posters of crowing roosters,
speeding south with the news that early returns from New York
showed an increase in Democratic turnout which indicated a
Democratic victory. The next day brought sobering facts:
New York had been lost to Harrison and with it the election.
The Republic said that the Democrats had overestimated the
public's knowledge of the evils of class legislation and its
remedy, while the West had not yet reached the decision to un-
shackle itself from the Northeast. Perhaps the most important
lesson of the campaign, as far as Jones was concerned, was
found in the loss of New York. David B. Hill was credited with
giving the state to Harrison by "knifing" Cleveland — which he
probably did. Hereafter, Jones declared, the Democratic
party should never again trust either Hill or New York in a
presidential election. The party of the future must be the
party of the West, and the West could be won for Democracy on
the tariff issue. The development of the West and its continued
growth in years to come was seen by Jones as the determining
factor in the future course of the party:
When we say that in the Democratic party the West must
lead, we are talking practical politics, and we will
talk it without cessation on all proper occasions
until on and after the session of the next Democratic
convention. It is not put forward as the view of
superior honesty. It is the view of practical common
sense, and if the Democratic party has not the courage
to obey the dictates of common sense, it will be
beaten in 1892 as it was in 1888. 55
Missouri remained safely Democratic, and Francis was
elected governor by a comfortable margin over Kimball, a G. A. R.
commander and easy target, but Francis's victory was spoiled
by Republican success in his home town. Francis blamed the
defeat in St. Louis on Noonan and his friends, vowing to repay
them for what he felt was treachery. 5 ^ The St. Louis returns
also reflected poorly on Jones. All three of the city's
Congressional seats switched from Democratic to Republican, a
disaster which was enough to give control of the House of
Representatives to the Republicans and brought demands for
Jones's removal as editor of the party's organ in St. Louis. ^'
Jones reacted to the reversal by writing that Republican
hegemony in the House simply meant the public would be given
a graphic illustration of Republican rule and thus ultimate
rejection of their program would be accelerated. ^8 At the time
this sounded like sour grapes, but it proved to be an accurate
forecast of events to come.
The Republic blamed the loss of St. Louis on vote buying,
importation of "Negro ruffians" to vote as repeaters, and the
"saloon vote."-^ The real causes of the defeat may have been
the low tariff campaign, Francis's unpopularity with organized
labor, and the hostility of the Noonan city Democrats, although
there were some indications of fraudulent registrations of
blacks before the election. The Post-Dispatch , ostensibly
Democratic, had all during the campaign characterized Francis
and the Democratic Congressional candidates as the minions of
the "bosses," and this hostitlity must have hurt the party to
some extent. ^ Within a week after the election, the Republic
declared "war to the knife" with the "political saloon," running
a flamboyant crusade in front page illustrated articles which
demanded a high license law to shut down the city's dives.
Perhaps more realistic as a step toward election reform, was
the Republic 's endorsement of the Australian secret ballot
system, which was shortly introduced in Missouri. 6 -*
A month after the election Jones's life was touched by
tragedy. Eliza Jones had arrived in St. Louis from Jacksonville
in a "precarious" state of health. She enjoyed the "delightful
quarters" and comparative luxury of hotel life in the city, but
the demands of her husband's profession prevented him from
spending time with her, as they always had. However, Jones
did take the opportunity to purchase some small gifts for his
wife which had long been deferred. 64 He hoped that the advent
of cooler weather would improve his wife's health, but instead
she caught a cold that developed into pneumonia. Jones wrote
Abernethy: "I find it hard to give up hope, but the physicians
give little encouragement," and he told him to prepare his
daughter Dora, who was living in New York, for the worst. On
the night of December 9, numbed by opiates, Eliza Jones died.
After a brief local service attended by a few friends and
business associates, including Charles Knapp, acting-Mayor
George W. Allen and Governor Francis, Jones took his wife's
remains back to Brooklyn to be buried with their son at
The blow of Eliza's death was crushing. Dora returned
from New York to live with her father, and he arranged his
5gjg ^jg|^gf |9j^ 8^^igSjggjj&^
schedule so that he could remain with her in his hotel parlor
during the mornings reading and talking. He believed that he
could not afford this time away from the newspaper, yet felt
remorse for having allowed his business to separate him from
his family: "I feel my heart eaten up with unavailing regret
when I think what a slave I made of myself for years, and how
little time I gave to my poor little wife who was craving
companionship." Only in work did he find escape from his
emotions, and, while the routine of business seemed dreary and
depressing, it would become more than ever the center of his
life in the months to come. °
During the closing days of the Cleveland administration
Jones went to Washington and New York for a two week visit.
While in New York he presided over the third annual meeting of
the American Newspaper Publishers Association, president
William Singerly of the Philadelphia Record being absent due
to illness. The newspapermen discussed the usual topics of
advertising and other problems of management, but the feature
event of the convention was an afternoon trip to a printing
company in Brooklyn for a demonstration of the new linotype
machine, an improvement which some feared since it might
reduce the cost of publishing a newspaper and thus increase
competition in an already highly competitive field. The meeting
closed with a cordial banquet at the Hoffman House where Jones
was among the several speakers of the evening. ^
Early in his administration Governor Francis moved to
secure friendly relations with the editor of the paper which
had played an important role in his election. Francis sent
flattering letters to Jones explaining his feelings on contro-
versial issues and suggesting how they might be handled in the
Republic. 70 He included in one a clipping from the Saline
County Progress . "I thought you might want to know," he wrote,
"what kind of impression an 'importation from the Everglades'
makes upon a denzen of the wilds of Missouri." Jones was
amiable to the alliance with Francis, and for the next four
years they would work together, although, it was rumored, not
always harmoniously. Jones was too independent-minded to be
merely the servant of a man or party faction. Francis's
secretary had already noted that "the new man on the Republic
[ sic ] is a pretty hard customer to handl[e]."
Jones's bias in favor of the Francis faction of the party
was noted by the Post-Dispatch , which declared that Francis,
the "interests," and the bosses controlled the Republic for
their own selfish purposes. 73 One of the most important instances
of Francis-Jones cooperation developed out of a relatively
trivial incident. Francis wished to send several companies of
Missouri militia to the Washington Centennial celebration which
would be held in New York in April. Francis's enemies in the
legislature succeeded in killing a bill appropriating the
necessary money, and the sending of the militia became a test
of strength during the opening days of the new governor's
administration. Francis wrote Jones asking him to use his
"facile and vigorous pen" to promote the idea of sending the
militia to New York and to deflate a plan, which Francis
believed originated with his enemies at the Post-Dispatch , to
hold a celebration in St. Louis. He also offered to take
Jones to New York with him to make contact with eastern
Democrats and to act as an aid to the grand marshall of the
Centennial parade. Jones gave favorable publicity to the
Governor's plans for displaying the militia in New York, for
which Francis was grateful, but Jones declined to accompany
him to New York, remaining instead in St. Louis to act as
chairman of the local celebration which Francis had at first
opposed.' 6 Francis finally sent the militia to the Washington
Centennial at his own expense and was reimbursed by the state
legislature the following year.
The spring municipal election saw Jones join the Francis-
Butler combine in backing acting-Mayor George W. Allen for mayor.
Allen was a stockholder of the Republic and one of the few
friends Jones had made since coming to St. Louis. Opposing
Allen for the Democratic nomination and for control of the
Democratic machine in St. Louis was Robert M. Noonan, a young
real estate broker who had lost the nomination in 1885 to Francis
and had been his enemy ever since. The Republic characterized
Allen as the candidate of the respectible elements, while
picturing Noonan as the demagogue candidate of the slums.
The Globe-Democrat echoed the Republic 's view of Noonan, and
after he secured the nomination it ran the Republic 's anti-
Noonan editorials as a prominent part of its campaign to elect
J. G. Butler, the Republican candidate. The anti-Francis
Post-Dispatch had a more sympathetic view of Noonan, calling
him the workingman's candidate. 81 The Republic did not change
its view of Noonan very much after his nomination, but declared
that the Republican ticket was more boss-ridden than the
Democratic. Noonan was successful in securing his election
as mayor, but most of the city's other offices went to the
In national politics the Republic concentrated on
continuing the "campaign of education" on tariff reform. Jones
believed that the Democratic mistake in 1888 had been to wage
a half-hearted campaign for tariff reform and then for only six
months preceeding the election. 83 The strike at the Carnegie
mills at Homestead that summer gave the Republic an opportunity
to point out that in the last election Carnegie had argued that
high tariffs made high wages " t and now he was announcing another
wage cut of 20 to 6Q. percent. The Carnegie workers, however,
deserved what they were getting because they had "selfishly"
voted for a high tariff in 1888 in the expectation of sharing
the spoils. When coal miners went on strike in Clay County,
Indiana, because of similar pay cuts, the Republic pointed out
that these were the same men who carried "Protection and
Plenty" banners for Harrison the previous year. They were
learning by experience, it said, but hopefully had now compre-
hended the lesson. -* The tariff was made to bear the blame not
only for low wages, but also for high prices, scarcity of goods,
and long work days.
The second major editorial theme of the Republic was that
the West had taken the lead in national politics . Because of
its emphasis on this idea, the Republic credited itself with
"contributing largely to the development of that aggressive
and confident tone which now characterizes the Western Democracy.""'
The New York-Solid South combination could not be expected to
win very often for the Democrats, it argued, but if the old
Northwest could be secured, it and the traditionally Democratic
West and South would give the party an unshakable foundation.
To those who said the large bloc of votes in New York were "an
unanswerable argument," the Republic replied that New York had
brains and money, and would continue to be a major power, but
New York could not swing elections by itself and, moreover, its
vote was subject to the whims of Tammany. When the New York
Sun failed to see the "political revolution" which the Republic
detected in the Democratic gains in Iowa and Nebraska in the
fall elections of 1889, the Republic declared: "West of the
river there is not a single State where Republicanism has any
right to control with its doctrines of high tariff taxation and
usurpation of the prerogatives of the States. "89
One reason that Jones backed the Western idea was that
the alternative seemed to be an eastern orientation under the
leadership of New York Governor David B. Hill, a man the
Republic called "one of the most ignorant, narrow and unscrupulous
pot-house politicians who ever pretended to be a Democrat or
knifed a Democratic ticket." 90 In June Jones published on the
Republic 's front page the results of a letter sent to editors
in the South and West asking if they believed Hill should be
the party's next nominee and if the party should move to a
western orientation. The replies showed what was already well
known: that Hill was not popular in the South and West, but
many editors felt Jones was wrong in stressing sectionalism, and
advocated that the party seek a candidate of national stature. = ,J -
When Hill's southern tour later that fall turned into a fiasco,
the Republic commented that he could have saved himself the trip
by reading the Republic . Although Jones was utterly serious
in his dislike of Hill, the anti-Hill campaign was not without
its more humerous side. When the Republic chided Charles Dana,
editor of the New York Sun and Hill adovcate, with the "poem:"
"Oh Dana!/ Be saner!" the Sun replied:
Now Brother Jones his razzer hones
And sweares in goose-flesh-raising tones
That he will spill the blood of Hill
And the Robber Tariff smite and kill;
So stand from under ere peals the thunder
And falls the lightning to blot and tear;
For Brother Jones is loaded for bear;
Aha, Brother Jones ! 9 ^
The man who Jones considered as a possible presidential
candidate and leader of the Western idea was former Governor
John M. Palmer of Illinois. The idea of a Palmer candidacy
suffered from the fact that he was seventy years old; however,
he was from the state which the Republic declared to be the
keystone to Democratic success in the old Northwest. The
ticket of Palmer and William C. Whitney of New York was tenta-
tively advanced as one which would be sure to carry Illinois,
New York, and Indiana. 95 By the summer of 1889 it was becoming
clear that Cleveland would not drop out of sight or be pushed
aside by Hill, and this led to the definitive statement of the
Republic 's editorial position on the next Democratic nomination:
"The candidate of the Democratic party in 1892, if he come from
New York, will be Gover Cleveland . If New York refuses to
present Mr. Cleveland , the candidate will come from the West.
This is official, final, and authoritative."
The Republic had never ceased to hold a friendly attitude
toward Cleveland, even after his defeat, and it maintained that
he was the only eastern man who was a national figure. He was
admired not only for his civil service and tariff stands, but
also because he had brought the South back into the Union and
appointed southern men to federal office. In January, 1889,
Jones sent a personal letter to Cleveland, enclosing an
editorial which he would run in the Republic . "It may interest
you," he wrote, "not as the tribute of a personal friend and
admirer, but as an expression of the sentiments of the Western
Democracy." The editorial, which appeared in the Republic on
January 16, said that Cleveland had been right to make a fight
on the tariff in 1888 and that the Democratic party was united
and had won more votes on this issue than on any other. Only
the treachery of Hill and others had beaten Cleveland, but the
fight for tariff reform would go on, and people like Hill ought
to get out of the Democratic party.
Jones's private life remained darkened by the shadow of
Eliza's death. Writing to Abernethy, he observed: "It is
one of the sorrowful facts of human life that whatever is
painful seems to prolong itself in the memory, while pleasure
and happiness are evervescent as a strain of music. Whatever
may be behind the great mystery, the dead are at peace, and
this cannot be said of us who are living." For a few months
Dora remained in St. Louis and was a consolation to her father,
but in the spring Jones decided to send her to Europe to continue
her education. She was first placed in a boarding school near
Paris, then at Montreaux in Switzerland. Jones kept up a steady
correspondence with his daughter, telling her of his plans to
install her as mistress of his household in a new West-end flat
when she returned. Jones's mother came to St. Louis to spend
the spring and summer with him — a rare occasion, even though she
had lived in Holly Hill, Florida, for several years while Jones
was in Jacksonville. However, most of the time Jones devoted
himself to his work, avoiding his empty suite of rooms at the
Southern Hotel. He wrote Dora, "I spend a rather dull routine —
from the hotel to the office and from office to hotel. That is
about the record. Yet I keep well and with [ sic ] tireless capacity
for work — bless be the man that invented work!" 1 ^ 1 His health
had not been good during the winter, but it improved during the
year, and he began to feel more hearty and robust than in years,
putting on enough weight to force alterations in his clothes.
His whiskers and hair, which had been streaked with grey even
during his days in Florida, were rapidly greying, and within a
few years would be completely white.
In the summer of 1889 it was decided that the United States
should sponsor a world's fair to be held in 1892 commemorating
the discovery of the Americas. The Republic enthusiastically
endorsed the idea of the exposition, and suggested that St. Louis,
as the central city of the nation, would be the most fitting site
for the fair. From the beginning Jones led in the organization
and planning for St. Louis's bid for the fair. Numerous
committees were established in July and August to contact
businessmen, politicians, and government officials to determine
what kind of inducement the city could offer to get the fair.
Late in August Jones was selected permanent chairman of the
St. Louis World's Fair Committee, with, as he said, "plenary
powers to do everything that is to be done." The chairmanship
gave Jones an opportunity to publicize himself and win great
laurels for his newspaper if St. Louis's bid for the fair succeeded.
As part of his duties, Jones drafted and distributed
thousands of pamphlets presenting St. Louis's case for holding
the fair. The central theme of the argument was that St. Louis
was a typical American city, with a central location and
experience in staging fairs, and exhibitions. It was believed
that Chicago would combine with St. Louis in preventing the
fair from going to New York, and that New York would then throw
its weight behind St. Louis if it could not have the fair itself.
In order for St. Louis to have a solid base for pressing its
claim it would be necessary to secure the backing of the states
in the South and Southwest; thus Jones stressed the advantages
which would accrue to the South from locating the fair in a
southern city. In a pamphlet "An Address to the People of the
South and Southwest," Jones made his appeal, in part, on
sectional loyalty, saying if the fair were held in the North,
southerners would have to travel great distances to visit it
and "when they get there they will find themselves almost
strangers and under the dominant influence of Eastern spirit and
ideas." 105 This pamphlet was attacked by the Post-Dispatch and
Globe-Democrat as injurious to St. Louis's cause, but Jones
passed off such criticisms as the jealousy of rivals.
With the approach of Congress's convening, serious efforts
were made to raise a subscription among St. Louis businessmen
to guarantee a $5,000,000 fund for staging the fair, although
it was assumed that Congress would make supplemental appropriation
for the fair as well. Jones and Governor Francis worked
jointly in this effort, and in November departed for New York
and Washington to press the city's campaign. In the latter
city they opened headquarters at the Williard Hotel and talked
to a throng of politicians and newspapermen. By the end of
the month they were back in St. Louis to report on their eastern
expedition. 107 All of this was very irritating to the Post-
Dispatch , which criticized the governor's "strutting" about
the country with "his newspaper man Friday."
In January, 1890, Jones returned to Washington at the
head of a large St. Louis delegation. On Janauary 8 Jones
appeared before the Senate committee studying the fair and
described St. Louis as "the great central inland metropolis
of the United States." He spoke for an hour and five minutes
without notes. 109 The Post-Dispatch 's Washington correspondent
reported that the speech was long, windy, and lacking substance,
but Jones felt that his presentation had been one of the better
ones given. He wrote Abernethy, "I won quite a triumph, and am
now regarded as a 'coming man' politically in our State. ...
If I had political aspirations I could regard this as a very
good start." Jones remained in Washington lobbying for his
city and attending a constant round of dinners and receptions.
For a while he managed to gain access to the floor of the House
of Representatives where he plied his arguments until he was
.. ■■ ^.-rawtfaamMIICMaMMMaigBS^^
spied by the Chicago delegates who forced his removal. He
confided to Abemethy that the race seemed to have narrowed down
to St. Louis and New York: "At any rate, we have beaten
Chicago, unless I am greatly mistaken, and that is what I set
out to do." 112
Jones may have been mistakenly optimistic in January, but
by February he was willing to admit that Chicago seemed likely
to get the fair. The concensus of the St. Louis and New York
newspapers was that the Republican party leadership had decided
on Chicago as the site for the fair and that this insured
victory for that city. 113 There was some dissension among the
St. Louis newspapers because of the defeat. The Republic said
that the city's chances had been hurt by the Post-Dispatch and
Globe-Democrat 's "knifing," while the Post-Dispatch maintained
that the leaders of the fair committee had damaged the city's
effort by exploiting their positions to puff themselves.
All were willing to concede that Chicago had perhaps gotten
stuck with a "white elephant," and Jones admitted privately
that St. Louis did not want the fair once it became established
that Congress would not make an appropriation for it. Jones's
connection with the World's Fair did not end with the defeat of
St. Louis's bid to sponsor it. In May he was appointed by
Governor Francis to be one of Missouri's two members on the
, ^ 116
national Columbian Exposition commission.
Following the World's Fair vote in Washington, Jones
went to New York where he was one of the featured speakers at
a formal banquet of the Southern Society in the Lenox Lyceum.
The guest of the evening was former President Cleveland, who
sat at the head table with other speakers, including Jones
and John Temple Graves. The atmosphere was cordial, with much
singing and toast making, but Jones ventured a discordant note
in his speech on "The West and South." After an opening
reference to New York's generosity in taking the "children of
the South" to her heart — an allusion to his own youtli — Jones
spoke on the theme of continuing sectionalism in the United
States, noting that the Northeast was as sectional in its out-
look as were the South and West. In politics this sectional
solidarity could not be overlooked, and the West, because of its
growth, could no longer be safely ignored by any party which
hoped to survive. However, for the moment the Democratic party
was fortunate to have as its leader a man who was recognized as
a national rather than a sectional leader, and that man, Grover
Cleveland, with the "tramping legions of Western Democracy"
behind him, was sure to lead the party to victory in 1892. The
speech was well received, and the references to Cleveland en-
thusiastically applauded, but later press comment on it was
more critical. "My speech attracted more attention than any
other made," Jones wrote his daughter, "and is still the theme
of much discussion in the newspapers, some of it highly abusive,
as I expected."
During his stay in Washington Jones met Mrs. Lily Parsons,
a vivacious woman of twenty-five who was either a widow or
divorcee. Jones described her to his daughter as "one of the
most beautiful women in Washington," yet "with force of character
which you will respect." 119 He fell in love with her. Shuttling
back and forth between St. Louis and Washington that spring as
he courted her, he nearly ruined his health fretting over the
possibility of being rejected. But late in the spring she
consented to marry him. 120 After a quiet ceremony in Washington
on July 19, 1890, they left on a honeymoon tour of Europe
where they joined Dora. All three returned to the United States
Jones's marriage seems to have made a decided improvement
in his outlook on life. In a letter to Dora, he admitted that
Lily's influence had "made me feel gentler and more kindly
towards all the world. The old pride and haughtiness and
sternness are greatly modified." 122 The change was evident in
the Republic — at least for a few months. Jones's name and face,
usually so prominent in its pages, disappeared for a time, and
the editorial page assumed an uncommon serenity — or at least
The Republic celebrated its second year under Jones's
management in June, 1890. Continued increases in circulation
were claimed, but the most concrete proof of the paper's
prosperity was the purchase of two $40,000 presses from Hoe
Company of New York. The new machines capable of producing
50,000 twelve-page newspapers per hour, were as large an order
as Hoe had ever shipped to the West. It was placed in the
summer of 1889, and the presses began operation in October,
1890. 123 The installation of electric lighting in the entire
Republic building was another sign of prosperity. But perhaps
the most pleasing aspect of the Republic 's success was the
influence which Jones felt the paper had on the opinions of
men in politics. In the anniversary issue he published
several dozen letters solicited from Democratic statesmen which
praised the Republic as a leading organ of party doctrine.
Jones believed that the letters constituted "the most remarkable
tribute ever paid to a newspaper."
Competition with the other St. Louis newspapers for cir-
culation and advertising remained keen. Premiums and contests
remained two of the most popular devices for boosting circulation,
Beginning in 1890 the Republic offered large engraved pictures
to purchasers of the Sunday edition and to patrons of the want
advertisement columns. A contest to guess the population of
St. Louis according to the new 1890 census ran during the
spring and summer, followed by the offer to subscribers of a
complete ten volume set of the Encyclopedia Britannica at low
cost. 126 When the Globe-Democrat and Post-Dispatch reduced
their prices in the spring, leaving the Republic the only five-
cent newspaper, the Republic called the move a desperation
effort by the other papers and said that the public would gladly
pay more for a better newspaper. 127 The competition between
the Republic and Globe-Democrat for circulation in the country
around St. Louis led to the chartering of special early morning
trains by each company to rush their newspapers to Southern
Illinois where they would catch the Chicago to New Orleans
express on the Illinois Central Railroad. This practice led
to increased circulation in the South, but proved too costly
for either paper to maintain except for Sunday editions.
Advertising was the other barometer of newspaper success,
and each of the three major St. Louis newspapers boasted of
its patronage and kept careful watch on advertising space of
its competitiors, calling any shortcomings to the attention of
the public. Jones spoke on competition between newspapers for
advertising patronage at a meeting of the Missouri Press
Association in January, 1890, where he decried the lack of
cooperation between newspaper men which permitted advertisers
to play one against the other and force rates down to runious
levels. However, he felt that if a publisher had the courage
to set just rates and stand by them, advertisers would eventually
be forced to accept the rates. 129 Perhaps Jones was wrestling
with that problem at the time, for in November of that year he
admitted that total advertising volume in the Republic was down.
He explained this by saying that the loss was due to the omission
of unprofitable legal notices and by the refusal of some major
advertisers to insert their advertisements in the Republic at
new, increased rates. This latter problem was a good one, Jones
argued, since it was one faced by growing newspapers. He added
that the higher rates had resulted in an overall increase in
advertising income, despite the decrease in advertising space.
The editorial page of the Republic continued to feature a
constant barrage of editorials on tariff reform, and there was
no doubt that the Republic intended to fight the fall Congres-
sional elections on that issue. In the spring the topic had
been modified to include a scrutiny of the sugar trust and the
beef trust, and in April the plight of Kansas farmers who were
losing their mortgaged farms by sheriff's sales was- taken up,
. „ . . 131
but the underlying theme of tariff reform remained constant.
As it turned out, the Republicans played into the hands of the
Democrats on this issue by passing the McKinley Tariff which
increased rates to even higher levels . In a prophetic editorial
the Republic stated: "The outline of the McKinley tariff bill
sent out by the Associated Press shows plainly that the Republican
party is about to make the greatest blunder in its history."
By June the Republic was predicting disaster in the West for
the Republican party because its tariff policies had "converted
the Western States into mortgaged provinces." 133 When the fall
Congressional campaigns were in full swing, the Republic was
running full-page, illustrated broadsides against the McKinley
Tariff. One of these showed farm implements and listed their
domestic price as compared to the lower price at which the same
implements could be purchased overseas. Another followed a
laboring man from the time he put on his flannel shirt (taxed
100 percent) in the morning until he was laid to rest under a
slab of marble (taxed 68 percent) . An appeal was made to
St. Louis's wealthier classes on the basis that the tariff would
cost the city $1,000,000 a year in decreased trade due to the
impoverishment of the Southwestern trade territory.
On the day following the election, the Republic appeared
with Democratic roosters roaring from its front page. "Democratic
Tidal Wave Rolls In. . . It Is Revolution," read the headlines.
In the most sweeping Democratic victory since 1856, the
Democrats made startling gains in the West and took control of
both houses of Congress. The recapture of St. Louis's three
House seats by Democrats was particularly gratifying to Jones ,
who had been severely criticized for their loss in 1888 and
had paid close attention to them during this campaign.
According to the Republic , the victory assured Cleveland's
renomination in 1892.
Jones had once felt that John M. Palmer of Illinois, a
Western man, might be the Democratic candidate for the Presidency.
In March, 1891, Palmer was elected United States Senator from
Illinois by the state legislature. His election had been
certain since the fall elections because the Illinois Democrats
had endorsed him as their candidate for the Senate prior to the
elections — thus the election of a Democratic majority to the
legislature insured the election of Palmer. By this means the
public, for the first time, had a direct voice in the selection
of their United States Senator. Jones had a special interest
in Palmer's victory, since he had been backing Palmer and this
more democratic method of choosing Senators for nearly two years. MO
The Republic proclaimed Palmer's victory as a sure sign that
the Democratic party was on its way to capturing Illinois and
the West in 1892. In a speech at a Palmer rally in Springfield,
Illinois, Jones declared that if the new method of election
Senators were adopted in all states, the Senate would "cease to
be a club of millionnaires , the members of which regard their
desks as breastworks behind which they rise, gun in hand, to
defend the personal or corporate interests whose boodle bought
them." He went on to strike his favorite theme:
I make this prediction: That as goes Illinois in
1892, so goes the Union. And if it goes Democratic,
that will be the end of the hoary superstition that
the only avenue to Democratic victory in presidential
elections is through a combination between the South
and New York, with New York always in the lead. The
agricultural West is the natural breeding-ground for
Democratic principles, and until Democracy is rooted
deep in Western soil it will not attain the bloom
and fruitage of permanent control of the Union. ^2
While iii Illinois, Jones had a conference with Palmer and
found that he had no desire to run for the Presidency. Jones
communicated this information to Cleveland in a letter and
enclosed a clipping of his Springfield speech, saying, "It has
made something of a sensation. There can be no doubt that the
West is on the eve of a great political upheaval." Cleveland
answered the letter immediately, evidently taking exception to
Jones's line of thought, for in Jones's next letter to Cleveland
he explained in response to a comment by Cleveland:
The policy I have pursued for the past three years
with "The Republic" has been based on the convic-
tion that the agricultural West and not the manu-
facturing East is the real field in which to win
that kind of Democratic victory that comes from the
campaigns of education and that means permanent con-
trol of the Government. I am not preaching discord
but harmony between these sections and peoples whose
interests are identical. 1^4
Cleveland's own chances for the Presidential nomination in
1892 were menaced by the increasing prominence of the free
silver issue, which was threatening to displace Cleveland's
favorite issues of governmental and tariff reforms . As an
advocate of the gold standard, the former President was becoming
less appealing to a party gravitating toward free coinage of
silver. Jones, a sound money advocate since his first utterances
on the question as editor of the Eclectic , had constantly argued
that the money issue could "take care of itself until more
urgent questions are disposed of." 5 Jones wanted to keep
tariff reform at the front of the party's attention, and in
this he was in agreement with Cleveland . The Republic had taken
the position that Cleveland, while not presently for free
silver, was concerned with the money problem and could possibly
be won over to free silver eventually. Cleveland, however,
had made his mind up on the question and was not leaning toward
a modification of his ideas. On February 10, 1891, he tackled
the question head-on in a letter to the New York Reform Club in
which he referred to free silver as "the dangerous and reckless
experiment." The Republic joined the chorus of western and
southern newspapers which denounced the letter, saying that the
ex-President was "honestly and courageously wrong." 148 However,
the Republic softened its blow by speculating that Cleveland,
goaded by gold standard Democrats, just "broke loose" in his
customary blunt manner, and it reiterated the belief that he
could be educated on the issue. At any rate, although Cleveland
might have damanged his prospects to be the party's nominee,
there should be no split in the party ranks over this issue. 149
In April Lon V. Stephens, Missouri's youthful state
treasurer, went to visit Cleveland, carrying letters of intro-
duction from Jones and Governor Francis. After the interview,
Stephens talked freely about his conversation and gave a report
to the Republic 's correspondent in which he said Cleveland told
him he would stand by his letter to the New York Reform Club
despite its unpopularity in the West. However, according to
Stephens, Cleveland went on to say that he had not expected the
"direful consequences" of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act and
he would not take a definite stand at the present, either for
or against, a free silver proposal should the party adopt one.
The interview was intended to show that' Cleveland was not as
hostile to the free silver movement as his Reform Club letter
had indicated. Jones wrote Cleveland immediately after publishing
Stephen's interview, saying that he hoped Stephens had expressed
Cleveland's sentiments accurately and that he had not violated
Cleveland's confidence in publishing the story.
Meanwhile, Stephens discovered that his loose talk had
gotten to New York Telegram a nd New York Herald reporters who
published their own exaggerated accounts of the interview with
Cleveland. Stephens rushed a telegram to Cleveland saying that
the New York newspaper accounts embarrassed him; then he wrote
the former President a longer letter explaining how his
imprudence had led to the New York articles. He enclosed an
intereview with Jones taken from the Republic , in which he
denied the accuracy of the Telegram 's account of the interview.
Despite his apologies, Stephens added: "I am confident from
opinions of prominent political leaders and newspapers in
Missouri, that I have not injured you in Missouri, but to the
contrary, unless your partial denials throw discredit upon my
statements as were made to the St. Louis Republic's New York
correspondent, you will be strengthened throughout the West, in
the even you shall become a candidate for the Presidential
nomination . "152
The intent of the Stephens interview and other elements of
the Republic 's editorial policy was to neutralize the money
question by calling it a divisive issue, the resolution of
which ought to be postponed until after the next election.
Until then the tariff should remain the prime concern of the
party. Other demands for reform legislation were likewise
pushed aside with the argument that what was needed was not
more laws but the repeal of "thelaws which for 25 years have
put the nipple of the nursing bottle in the mouth of New
England and forced the rest of the country to furnish the milk."
Beginning in July, 1891, and running for the next year, the
Republic carried a weekly column on tariff reform by William L.
Wilson. By the fall of 1891 the silver issue was all but
ignored while agitation of the tariff question received constant
Jones put his popularity in Missouri in jeapordy on behalf
of the cause of tariff reform and Cleveland's candidacy,
although Jones may have harbored the hope that if he placed
Cleveland 's interest ahead of his own he would be rewarded with
a high federal appointment should Cleveland be nominated and
elected. Jones's boldest break with public opinion in his home
state was on selection of the new Speaker of the House. Missouri's
candidate was William H. Hatch. Although the Republic had
endorsed his candidacy when it was announced in November, 1890,
Jones decided at an early date to back Roger Q. Mills because
he was the leading exponent of tariff reform and Cleveland's
choice for the speakership. In March, 1891, Jones wrote Cleveland
that he intended to keep the tariff issue at the forefront of
public attention and would back Mills for Speaker. He warned
that "adroit men" such as Senator Gorman and Charles A. Dana of
the New York Sun were at that moment in the South working for
the election of Charles F. Crisp of Georgia. Crisp was
popular in the South and West because of his free silver views,
but he was opposed by Jones because he was a protectionist and
supporter of David B. Hill, who was now Senator from New York
and Cleveland's chief opponent for the Democratic nomination.
In April Jones sent Cleveland a telegram from his Washington
reporter which said that Crisp was pretending to favor Cleveland
and tariff reform but secretly was in sympathy with Hill and
protectionist Democrats. Jones also enclosed a typical anti-
Crisp editorial from the Republic which carried the same
message: Crisp and his friends were speaking in favor of
tariff reform now so that they could gain power and subvert ..real
Jones's advocacy of Mills over favorite son Hatch and
silverite Crisp brought down widespread criticism on him from
newspapers and party men in his own state and the West. He
was also accused of trying to "boss" the state party because
he went to Washington to work for Mills and requested that
Hatch drop out of the race. When Crisp was elected to the
speakership, Jones denounced Hatch as the tool of the "forces
of reaction" who were threatening to set the party back to
1880 in its stand on the tariff. He had harsh words for
Missouri congressmen who voted for Crisp and denounced
"New South" protectionists as traitors and "plutocrats in
the pupa stage. "160 For the moment, Jones was out of harmony
with important elements of the party in his state, but his
relations with the state's leading Cleveland Democrat, Governor
Francis, had also come to the breaking point.
In the spring of 1892 the Jones-Francis alliance ended —
an event that had been long expected. Jones had grown out of
sympathy with many of Francis's ideas on major issues,
particularly with Francis's belief in the gold standard. Also,
Jones had begun to associate with anti-Francis politicians
such as Mayor Noonan. As early as the winter of 1889-1890
rumors were circulating that leading Democrats in the state
were upset with Jones's high-handed manners and attempts to
"dictate" to the party. It was alleged that Francis and Jones
had quarrelled after Jones's speech at the Southern Society
banquet in February, 1890. Nevertheless, during 1890 and 1891
Jones steadfastly denied that there was any lack of harmony
between himself and Francis or the rest of the party in the
The ostensible reason for the final break with Francis
was the contest for the at-large delegate seat at the Democratic
national convention customarily assigned to St. Louis. Francis
wished to see his personal friend and state chairman C. C. Maffitt
sent as the St. Louis delegate, and Jones wanted to go himself.
He wrote Cleveland in May, "It is probable that I will be at
Chicago at the head of the Missouri delegation, and [I] expect
to be on the platform committee." At the same time, Francis
was writing to party leaders around the state saying that Jones
had made a combination with Noonan to have himself elected
delegate-at-large, and declaring that his success would be "a
slap at myself." 163 Francis detailed his reasons for opposing
Jones in a letter to Judge E. H. Norton, an old time leader in
I do not like his policy and believe, if not checked,
he will disrupt the party in the State. He is self-
opinionated, dictatorial and overbearing, has been
in the State but four years and attempts to teach
Democracy to such men as yourself and to read out of
the party all of those who do not agree with him.
His professed platform of "Cleveland or a Western
man" is, in my opinion, a mere subterfuge to disguise
his real opposition to Cleveland and I think he wants
to nominate Boies or Palmer or any man who will
acknowledge that Jones was the most powerful influence
in bringing about his nomination. 1 "
There may have been another reason for Jones's opposition
to Francis which had no connection with politics. It was rumored
that the governor's wife, Jane Perry Francis, a beautiful woman
from Missouri's social elite, would not accept Mrs. Jones as an
equal. 165 The story was told that Jones had attempted to bring
his new wife to Jefferson City to be introduced and had been
snubbed by Mrs. Francis, supposedly because of Mrs. Jones's
allegedly scandalous life in Washington before her marriage.
Privately Lily Jones admitted to having had a "troubled" life,
but there may have been nothing more scandalous in her past than
a divorce. However, little is known of her life prior to
her marriage to Jones. The second Mrs. Jones was an attractive,
intelligent, and socially aggressive person whose personality
may simply have clashed with that of Mrs. Francis. Whether this
story has any merit or not, it was given wide publicity. There
were, however, ample reasons for the Jones and Francis rupture
unrelated to personal animosities.
While Francis was attempting to prevent Jones's election
as a delegate to the Chicago convention, he was also engaged in
an effort to oust Jones from the editor's chair at the Republic .
One member of the state press had written Francis, "I cannot
understand why this man Jones is retained at the head of the
party organ in Missouri when his work as a disorganizer is so
apparant." Francis wrote another party leader that Jones
ran the Republic for his own benefit, while doing injury to the
party, the commercial interests of St. Louis, and the stock-
holders of the newspaper. When Maffitt told a reporter for
the Kansas City Times that plans were underway to remove Jones
and that one attempt had recently failed, Francis sent a note to
Maffitt expressing his disbelief that Maffitt would admit such a
thing since it might make it impossible to get rid of Jones.
Charles W. Knapp was probably cooperating with Francis in an
effort to purchase enough odd-lot shares of Republic stock to
enable the directors to vote Jones out of power. This attempt
to remove Jones failed, probably because of Jones's stock voting
contract with Knapp which still had a year to run.
MSB r raruwH T y^
The convention to select delegates to the Democratic
national convention met at Sedalia on May 11. Both Jones and
Maffitt opened rooms in local hotels to entertain their sup-
porters, although it was generally known that Maffitt would
receive the backing of the St. Louis delegation. Jones's only
chance was to gain the support of rural delegates for a "harmony"
plan by which both Maffitt and Jones would be sent to Chicago.
Jones had the backing of Noonan, former Congressman William
Stone, and railroad lawyer William H. Phelps, "the political
field Marshall of the [Jay] Gould system in Missouri." It
is possible that the "harmony" movement needed no deliberate
manipulation, for apparently many country delegates had decided
that the only way to preserve party unity was to elect both
Jones and Maffitt. Francis was opposed to the plan for
sending two at-large delegates from St. Louis; he wanted to
see Jones defeated. However, by the time the roll call vote
reached St. Louis, Jones and Maffitt had already secured enough
votes to insure their election. Jones went to the platform to
request that his backers in St. Louis cast their votes for
Maffitt as a gesture of reconciliation. This move brought a
visibly angry Governor Francis to the podium to declare that
although Maffitt was the choice of St. Louis, he would request
that Maffitt's supporters reciprocate the token of harmony by
casting their votes for Jones.
As Democratic delegates began arriving in Chicago for the
national convention, it was speculated in St. Louis that
Governor Francis might be offered the vice-presidency. As a
stanch Cleveland man and a westerner, Francis was seen as a good
choice to balance the Democratic ticket. At the same time,
reports began to circulate that Jones also was being considered
for the vice-presidency. Jones was a Cleveland supporter, a
western man, and, as an editor whose newspaper employed union
typographers, he might be an attractive foil to Republican
vice-presidential nominee Whitelaw Reed of the New York Tribune
who was currently engaged in a heated dispute with the Typo-
graphical Union. It was also suggested that a boyhood school-
mate of Jones's (probably Oscar Straus) would contribute
$30,000 to the campaign if Jones received the nomination. In
an interview Jones denied that he was interested in the vice-
presidency, yet at the same time he gave credence to the idea
that there was a movement in his favor and offered several
reasons why he would be a good choice. The Post-Disptach
explained the Jones boomlet as a device inspired by Jones to
weaken Francis as a possibility for the position. At Chicago
neither Francis nor Jones would be prominently mentioned for
Jones went to the Chicago convention with several goals
in mind: He wished to become a member of the platform committee,
he wanted to have himself elected national committeeman or state
chairman, and he wanted to help secure the nomination of Cleveland.
Success or failure hinged on the decisions reached at a caucus
of the Missouri delegation on June 20. Jones had written the
platform adopted at the Sedalia convention which contained a
pro-Cleveland plank. At the caucus on the twentieth, Jones
tried to argue that the delegation was already bound to support
Cleveland because of this plank, but William C. Marshall, a
St. Louis delegate, said that the plank adopted was only a
"request" not an "instruction." This effort of anti-Cleveland
forces to free the delegation from the unit rule was watched as
an indication of whether or not a "stop Cleveland" drive could
be mounted by the Hill or Boies men. William H. Phelps, who
had supposedly helped Jones get to Chicago, was backing Boies.
In this case, Jones found himself on the side of the Francis
men, who feared that some Missourians would vote for favorite
son, Congressman Richard "Silver Dick" Bland, thus injecting
the silver issue into the convention. The debate over the
Missouri delegation's vote lasted from ten in the morning until
one in the afternoon. Finally the delegation adopted a resolution
which Jones had written down on a small slip of paper: "Re-
solved that the chairman be instructed to cast the unanimous
vote of the Missouri delegation for Grover Cleveland as long as
he is before the convention as a candidate." The nomination
of Cleveland was probably already a foregone conclusion, but
the action of the Missouri delegation helped to stamp out the
last flickers of hope among the Hill and Boies men.
The second important decision to come out of the Missouri
caucus was a defeat for Jones. J. Griff Prather, a close
friend of Francis, was selected national committeeman over Jones,
and Maffitt, who was elected chairman of the delegation, would
later be re-elected state chairman, defeating Jones in the
process. But Jones was assigned the state's place on the
Committee of Resolutions which he had desired.
The platform committee convened on the evening of June 21.
Jones was elected chairman of the committee without difficulty
when ex-Secretary of State Thomas F. Bayard withdrew from the
race in favor of Jones. It can be assumed that he was given the
chairmanship with the assent of the Cleveland managers. Jones
immediately offered to read the platform he had drafted, but
some on the committee interpreted this as an effort by Cleveland
supporters to rush their views into adoption without debate.
Also, there were many inside and outside the committee room who
wished to be heard, and it was decided that the early part of
the session should be devoted to hearing the addresses of groups
desiring mention of certain questions in the platform. Among
the petitioners was Susan B. Anthony, who asked for a plank
endoring women's suffrage. At eleven p.m. the committee
adjourned, and the sub-committee on the platform, composed of
11 representative men, began the real work of hammering out
the platform. - A reaffirmation of the 1888 platform was
expected, and no major difficulties were anticipated, except
perhaps some small ones with the money plank. As it
developed, the platform was to result in the only genuine battle
of the convention.
Working from Jones's original draft, the sub-committee
made some minor changes in his wording (such as substituting
"Republican" for "Radical" in describing the opposition party)
and added a number of planks designed to appease a variety of
special interest groups (not including the women's suf f ragetts) .
The first major change in the draft was made with regard to the
tariff plank. Cleveland desired a moderate plank, and his
agents Whitney and Vilas were at the convention to secure a
tariff plank acceptable to Cleveland. Jones's original tariff
plank called for a tariff "for revenue only" and denounced the
"Tariff law enacted by the Fifty-first Congress as the culmi-
nating atrocity of class legislation." It is not known whether
Cleveland approved of this original plank, and Jones later
declared that he knew Cleveland's views on the tariff only from
his published statements, but the actions of Whitney suggest that
the original plank was too strong for Cleveland's taste. ° 9 The
sub -commit tee, however, acted to make Jones's plank even more
strongly in favor of tariff revision. The McKinley Tariff was
named specifically and a paragraph was added attributing wage
cuts, strikes, and the general depression to high tariff rates.
Having made these changes, the sub-committee turned its
attention to the money plank.
As expected, the declaration on money occupied most of
the committee's time, Jones had sounced out Cleveland on the
issue in a letter of May 4, sending the former President a
copy of a plank which he believed would placate the silverites
and be acceptable to the East. Jones said he expected to be on
the platform committee and would like to know if Cleveland
would support a "compromise" plank such as the one suggested.
It is not clear whether Cleveland replied to Jones or not, but
Jones incorporated the paragraph into his draft platform,
adding a section denouncing the Sherman Silver Act in language
typical of free silver advocates. Jones's original plank
called for the "free" coinage of both metals, and in the sub-
committee this word became the bone of contention between
silverites Thomas Patterson of Colorado and J. W. Daniel of
Virginia, on the one hand, and the Cleveland men Vilas, Bayard,
and John R. McPherson of New Jersey, on the other. The free
silver advocates later said that all members of the sub-committee
had declared their support of bimetalism, but that some feared
that the use of the word "free" would frighten Easterners. For
their part, the silver men feared that a plank omitting the
word "free" would be interpreted as an endorsement of the gold
standard. " The impasse on wording of the money plank lasted
until dawn, when the sub-committee adjourned. A meeting of the
full committee was scheduled for eighat a. m.
At the morning meeting of the full committee Whitney
requested that the sub-committee change the tariff plank to
make it more protective, and his proposal was accepted. Whitney's
plank dropped Jones's tariff "for revenue only" paragraph and
replaced it with a weaker declaration that "necessity of
government is the only justification for taxation." But more
importantly it added a paragraph admitting the value of pro-
tection in fostering the "healthy growth" of industry and
warning that "many industries have come to rely upon legislation
for successful continuance, so that any change of law must be
at every step regardful of the labor and capital thus involved.
Jones later claimed to have opposed Whitney's substitute,
predicting that the convention would not accept it.
On the money plank Whitney was inclined to accept
inclusion of the word "free," and spoke to the other Cleveland
men in support of its incertion, but they were adamant, and by
vote of the full committee the word was not included. The plank
finally adopted contained a toned-down denunciation of the
Sherman Act, a pledge to coinage of 'both gold and silver," and
some cautious language about the dangers of instable money.
The convention convened at five- thirty p. m. with the
adoption of the platform as the first item on the agenda. After
a delay of more than an hour, Jones was introduced by the
chairman and began by apologizing for the delay in reporting
the platform. Interrupted by cries of "louder," he waved for
silence, and continued, saying that he would ask former
Secretary Vilas to read the platform, after which he would
"move the previous question upon the adoption of the platform."
This brought shouts of "no" from the silverites and low tariff
delegates who thought an attempt was being made to railroad
the platform through to adoption. Thomas Patterson of
Colorado, the leading silver ite on the platform sub-committee,
rose to say that the minority wished to be heard before the
vote on adoption of the platform. Vilas then proceeded to
read the platform draft, but when he reached Cleveland's name
in the first paragraph there was a tumultuous demonstration
for the convention's favorite which delayed completion of the
reading for twenty minutes. When Vilas had concluded, Jones
stepped up to move its adoption, then yielded to Lawrence Neal
of Ohio, who asked that Whitney's straddle plank on the tariff
be stricken and replaced with a paragraph denouncing protection
and calling for a "revenue only" tariff. The galleries then
took up a chant for Henry Watterson, framer of past Democratic
platforms and champion of tariff reform. Watterson was escorted
to the podium where he denounced the majority plank as a
"monstrosity." Vilas spoke for the Whitney plank, saying that
it was virtually the same as the 1884 plank which Watterson had
once approved. Jones then came to the front again and offered
to accept Neal's paragraph as an "addition," but Watterson and
others declared that they wanted outright repudiation of protection.
By this time the debate on the substitute was rapidly dissolving
into confusion; a motion to re-submit the platform to committee
was introduced and then ignored; amidst much turmoil and
questioning of what was being voted on, a roll call vote was
begun. After a tortuous count, during which many delegates
rose to protest that their votes were being cast against their
true wishes because of the unit rule, the Neal substitute was
adopted by a substantial majority.
When Patterson came to the podium to make his speech for
a stronger pro-silver money plank it was past midnight, rain
was pounding on the roof of the hall, and the delegates were
anxious to proceed with the nomination of Cleveland. Patterson
tried to make himself heard over the din, but forfeited his
opportunity by announcing that he was proposing only one
addition to the money plank: the "five letter word. . . free."
This elicited laughter and shouts of "four." Patterson's
appeal for a hearing failed to restore order, and in a hurried
voice the amendment was shouted down.
The day following adjournment Jones spoke to Watterson
and members of the Missouri delegation, telling them that he
had originally supported a "revenue only" tariff plank — which
he had— but because of his efforts to appease the Cleveland
forces at the convention his explanation was discounted by many.
When a newspaper article appeared purporting to quote Jones as
saying that Cleveland had been responsible for the majority
tariff plank, Jones sent a denial to George F. Parker,
Cleveland's lieutenant who handled publicity:
By letter and word of mouth I have been asked at
least a hundred times whether Mr. Cleveland was
responsible for the Tariff plank originally re-
ported by the Committee on Resolutions. . . .
To these questions I have invariably replied that
I knew nothing whatever of Mr. Cleveland's views
except in so far as they were stated in his pub-
lished reference. I have been extremely careful
on this point, as I knew there was dynamite in it. 201
In fact, Cleveland had desired something like Whitney's
original plank and was disgruntled by the convention's rejection
of his attempt to straddle the issue. On July 9 he wrote
Whitney: "Ever since I read the plank in the platform to which
you refer, I have been very much annoyed and fearful about it.
I am irritated too because I can plainly see the thing was
started in malice and carried out in malignity." Cleveland
blamed the affair on Tammany Hall and Watterson, and mulled over
the idea of rejecting that part of the platform.
When intimations of Cleveland's unhappiness with the
tariff plank reached Jones, he sent Cleveland a letter advising
him that a backdown on the tariff plank might cause the party
to lose the Midwest. He added that he did not think the
Republicans would be able to alarm the public with the idea
that the plank would be interpreted in a radical way so long
as Cleveland remained moderate in his public position. Jones
predicted that the Democrats would carry Illinois, Wisconsin,
and Indiana in the election because the rural people had been
awakened to the benefits of tariff reform.
In his letter of acceptance Cleveland devoted most of his
attention to the tariff issue, taking a more moderate view than
the platform but not emphasizing any disagreement with it. He
said that he believed in a tariff for revenue, omitting "only,"
but added that he did not believe in free trade.
Cleveland wished that Whitney, who had done an excellent
job for him at Chicago despite the difficulty over the tariff
plank, to head the Democratic National Committee. Whitney was
reluctant to take the post, so Cleveland asked prominent party
leaders to urge Whitney to accept the post. Jones was one of
those who approached Whitney on the subject, for he wrote
Don Dickinson of Michigan in July that Whitney had told him
"that he can accomplish more by being a free lance, unburdened
with the details that fall upon the chairman, than by accepting
the chairmanship." Jones went on to ask Dickinson if he had
any other choices for the post, adding that whoever was chosen
"should not be simply a Plutocratic figure-head, but whose
leadership will be an inspiration to the rank and file of the
party. For 12 years the chairman of the National Committee has
been a burden for the Democratic party to carry instead [ sic ] of
help." 205 The post eventually was filled by a party functionary,
while Whitney played the role he wished and was the real director
* .1, • 206
of the campaign.
The 1892 Missouri Democratic convention was held at
Jefferson City on July 19, and former Congressman William J.
Stone of Nevada, Missouri, was nominated for governor. His
nomination was a victory for the Noonan-Jones-Phelps-Stone
faction. Stone had earlier been instrumental in rallying
rural support for Jones's election as delegate to the national
convention. The Francis-Maffitt Democrats had supported
Judge James Gibson of Kansas City.
Despite his pre-convention opposition to Stone, Francis
campaigned for the Democratic nominee, although it was rumored
that the two men would not be able to work together within the
party. Stone ran well behind Cleveland in St. Louis in the
November general election, an indication of his lack of sup-
port in the city, and within a short time of the November
balloting, a definite rift between the rural-Stone Democrats
and the St. Louis-Francis Democrats had developed.
The national campaign in the fall of 1892 ran along lines
the Democrats hoped for, with the disruptive silver issue
remaining in the background. The Populists appeared to be a
severe threat to the Democrats, and the election was expected
to be close. The returns, however, showed that Cleveland had
not been in any danger. He carried the doubtful eastern states
of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, and, as Jones had
predicted, the midwestern states of Indiana, Illinois, and
Wisconsin. Cleveland could have won without New York, a fact
which the Republic dubbed a "Revolution." It was predicted that
Illinois would replace New York as the key to election victory,
that the West would become dominant in the Democratic party,
that the Republican party would go the way of the Whigs, and
that the subjugation of the West and South by the Northeast was
at an end.
Cleveland's victory, for which he had labored and
sacrificed, was a triumph for Jones. He received messages of
praise from party leaders for his work and for the influence
of the Republic in carrying the West. Jones sent congratu-
lations in reply, including a telegram to the President-elect:
"Accept my heartfelt congratulations and the same from millions
of democrats of the west and southwest to whom your triumphant
election comes like the benediction that follows after prayer
this is a great day for our party for our country and for the
cause of popular liberty everywhere."
Having played a prominent part in the campaign in the
West, it was assumed that Jones stood high on the administration's
list for reward. Governor Francis occupied a similar position,
and it shortly became a matter of speculation and controversy in
Missouri as to which would be rewarded with a post in the cabinet.
Maneuvering had begun even before election day. A friend of
Francis reported on November 2, 1892, that he had talked to
Congressman Bland, who had pledged his support for any worthy
Missourian: "My fears were that he would [be] for C H Jones
not that he is partial to him personally but being at the head
of the Republic [ sic ] He in common with all politicians would
support him in 'Timorem'." Among the telegrams Jones
received after the election was one from William M. Davidson
and James P. Taliaferro, leaders in the Florida Democratic party,
which stated: "if Florida can serve you please command us
would rejoice to see you postmaster general." The pro-
Francis Post-Dispatch worked against Jones's candidacy, reporting
that his "ambition is regarded as a joke" with the President,
who considered Jones a "fussy little man." When the Republic
advised against a special session of Congress to repeal the
McKinley Act, a move which Cleveland also opposed, the Post-
Dispatch declared that Jones had abandoned his tariff reform
principles to curry favor with the President-elect.
After the new year it became apparent that the Post-Dispatch
was correct in its belief that Jones had no chance for a cabinet
position. It is possible that Jones had never wanted it from
the beginning and only made the appearance of aspiring to the
cabinet in order to weaken Francis's chances. Jones had
always stated that he did not want public office and two years
later he would repeat that he had "no political ambitions. . . .
I like to have influence in and upon politics, but I believe in
exercising it as an editor and not as a politician." From
Cleveland's point of view there were several things wrong with
Jones: he lacked an established national reputation, he was un-
safe on the money question, he was a newspaperman, and he was an
extreme and controversial partisan. Such men did not get
cabinet appointments in the second Cleveland administration.
Thus Jones's efforts were definitely oriented toward stopping
Francis after January 1, 1893.
In January Francis received the backing of the state
Democratic caucus and the endorsement of the Missouri House of
Representatives for a place in the cabinet. His friends,
national committeeman Prather and state chairman Maffitt, went
in his behalf to visit Cleveland at Lakewood, New Jersey, where
he and Mrs. Cleveland were spending the winter. Despxte
this backing from his home state, Francis's chances for a seat
on the cabinet seemed to fade as time passed. Then in February
Francis again became prominent as one of the leading contenders
for a post as Secretary of the Interior or Agriculture. On
February 13 Senator Vest had an interview with Cleveland at
Lakewood to urge Francis's appointment to the cabinet. The Post-
Dispatch reported that Cleveland informed Don Dickinson that
Francis would be appointed if he received the approval of Maffitt
and Dalton. Another story later given wide credence stated
that Cleveland decided to appoint Francis and sent Dickinson to
New York to make the announcement. Dickinson supposedly met the
Republic 's Washington correspondent, who learned of Francis's
pending appointment and asked that the announcement be delayed
until he could contact Jones. On February 15 Jones telegraphed
Cleveland: "An important telegram has been sent to Gen. Dickinson
for you today from the governor of Missiouri Lt. Gov. Members of
the senate and other prominent democrats." According to the
story, Stone and other anti-Francis Democrats sent Cleveland and
Dickinson a barrage of telegrams which caused Cleveland to
rescind his appointment of Francis. *
It cannot be known whether the story of Jones's frustration
of Francis's cabinet ambitions is true in all its details, but
Jones's telegram of February 15 proves that Stone and other
Missourians did oppose Francis's appointment after Vest's visit
to the President-elect when Francis was thought to be one of
the leading contenders for a cabinet position. There is no
evidence in the biographies or memoirs relating to the Cleveland
administration which would indicate that Francis was offered a
cabinet position, however, it is significant to note that four
years later, in the fall of 1896, Francis was made Secretary of
the Interior to fill the place vacated on the resignation of
Cleveland's second administration was a time of reordering
in the Democratic party. Many of the men in the South and West
who had been supporters of Cleveland in his first term of office
now actively placed themselves in opposition to the leader of
their party or found themselves shut out from the White House.
The widening division between farming West and industrial East,
the silver question, and the problems growing out of the uni-
versal depression of the 1890 's were underlying factors in the
estrangement. For some individuals there were specific issues
that led to the split. Patterson of Colorado departed on the
silver question, Watterson exchanged heated letters with
Cleveland on the tariff issue and never spoke to him afterward,
Missouri Congressman Champ Clark said that Cleveland never
forgave those connected with the repudiation of the original
tariff plank in the 1892 platform. 223 Jones was among those who
broke with the President, although the specifics of his parting,
if there were any, are unknown. As late as March, 1893, Jones
was writing Cleveland in regard to distribution of patronage,
but these letters, although they contained no hint of animosity,
were his last. 2 ^
Jones had already made the acquaintance of two western
Democrats who were later to become antagonists of Cleveland.
He had visited John Peter Altgeld of Illinois in September, 1892,
and reported to Cleveland that he found him "a very clear-headed,
conservative man of the business type. . . the very antithesis
of a 'rainbow chaser'." Jones was also advising a young
Nebraska Congressman, William Jennings Bryan, to acquaint him-
self with the facts regarding the concentration of wealth in
the United States so that he would be better prepared to fight
for an income tax. Jones told him:
the most effective weapon against Plutocratic policy
is the graduated income tax. . . Eastern Plutocrats. . .
dreaded nothing more. . . I do not believe there is
any way in which a member of the House could impress
himself on the country more effectively than by fighting
such a measure through. lb
On May 18, 1893, Jones's connection with the Republic as
editor came to an abrupt, if not unexpected, end. "There was
an intense row and I was on the losing side," Jones wrote
Abernethy on the day after his firing. Jones surely knew
that he could expect at least a fight when his five-year stock
voting contract with Charles Knapp expired in mid-May. Three
months before Mrs. Eleanor Knapp, widow, of George Knapp, filed
suit against the directors of the Republic organization to
regain control of $19,000 worth of stock originally belonging
to the George Knapp estate. What part this suit played in
the ousting of Jones cannot be determined, but a later reference
by Jones to "those women" who put him out suggests that its
significance was crucial. ^ However, the driving force behind
the movement to get rid of Jones was David R. Francis. Reportedly
Francis had set about quietly purchasing Republic stock and had
secured enough to swing the balance against Jones. ^30 Part of
the campaign against Jones involved whispered insinuations
attacking his wife and family life. He was assailed by "social
innuendo" in an "atmosphere filled by his enemies with strange
rumors and threats. "231 The <jay after Jones's fall, the Globe-
Democrat ran a front page story, illustrated with a cartoon of
Jones, which said that Mrs. Jones had a "secret connection" in
Washington which had caused Mrs. Francis to shun her and had
led to the Jones-Francis fight. "I have been greatly out-
raged in St. Louis," Jones would write a friend — probably with
reference to thse personal attacks. 2 "
A precise accounting of Jones's influence on the Republic
is impossible due to lack of concrete figures on circulation and
advertising income, but it is clear that he found an old and
well known paper in the midst of a business slump and restored
it to a competitive position in St. Louis and the surrounding
countryside. An anonymous writer for the St. Louis Sunday
Mirror said that Jones did not make the Republic "a great paper
but he made it modern, he made it new. He all but resurrected
a corpse.' ^ The testimony of contemporaries, such as Theodore
Dreiser, who worked as a reporter for both the Globe-Democrat
and the Republic , indicates that the Republic lacked the physical
facilities and financial backing of its contemporaries, but had
competent men directing its affairs. 35 The Republic had
virtually overtaken its morning competitor the Globe-Democrat
in circulation by the time Jones left, and after his departure
it became the most widely read morning daily in St. Louis for a
time. 3° Thereafter the fortunes of the Republic , in which
Francis eventually became the predominant stockholder, were on
the wane until the paper's demise during the First World War.
Jones wrote a brief evaluation of his work with the
Republic in an 1895 autobiographical sketch:
For nine years prior to my assuming control the
paper had not paid a dividend. Seven months after
I took charge it paid a dividend and has been paying
dividends ever since, besides investing about
$160,000 in new presses, machinery and equipment.
Nearly every man now on the paper, including Mr. C. W.
Knapp, was there when I took charge, and the paper
was dying in their hands. The general belief is
that it will die again: in fact the process of
decay is already begun. -*'
Jone's reference to the "process of decay" probably was
based on his experience in disposing of his Republic stock.
Four months after Jones's departure, William Vincent Byars, the
Republic 's chief editorial writer, reported that some of the
paper's stockholders were dissatisfied with the way the paper
was being run. Jones replied that these same stockholders had
wanted him gone and would now have to suffer the consequences.
After selling his Republic stock in the spring of 1894 Jones
wrote to Byars again about conditions at the newspaper:
What a wreck is there! On the basis of that sale,
comparing it with the three preceeding my demise,
my leaving has cost the stockholders (of whom I
was one unfortunately) just $350,000 in 10 months.
And if what I hear about the condition of affairs
is true I would not get within 25 per cent of what
I sold for. This is what comes of trying to run a
newspaper tail end first. 239
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI
Department of the Interior, Census Office, Report on
Population of the United States at the Eleventh Census: 1890 ;
(Washington, 1895), I, 2, 84, 221, 370.
Max Putzel, The Man in the Mirror, William Marion Reedy
and His Magazine (Cambridge, 1963), 12; Theodore Dreiser, A Book
About Myself (New York, 1922), 89, 92, 98, 101, 220.
Charles C. Clayton, Little Mack, Joseph B. McCullagh of the
St. Louis Globe-Democrat (Carbondale, 1969) .
Jones, "Sketch of Life," 4; St. Louis Missouri Republican ,
May 13, 1888.
Putzel, Man in the Mirror , 24.
Dreiser, Book About Myself , 206.
St. Louis Republic , June 10, 1888.
Ibid ., May 31, 1888.
Ibid., March 4, 1889.
Ibid., May 31, 1888.
Ibid ., June 4, 7, 9, 1888.
Ibid . , June 8 , 1888 .
Ibid., June 5, 1888.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
St. Louis Mirror , May 19, 1893.
Ibid ., March 5, 1896.
Jones to Dora Jones, July 17, 1888, JP.
Jones to Abernethy, August 5, 1888, JP.
Ibid .. October 20, 1888, JP.
St. Louis Republic , June 17, 1888.
Ibid., November 30, December 20, 1888.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat , May 26, 1888; Jim Allee Hart,
A History of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (Columbia, Missouri,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , April 15, 1888.
25 St. Louis Republic , June 22, 1888.
Ibid ., June 24, 1888.
Putzel, Man in the Mirror , 26.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat , June 5, 27, 1888; St. Louis
Republic , June 4, 6, 1888.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat , September 8, 1888.
St. Louis Republic , September 10, 1888.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , June 26, 1888.
St. Louis Republic , June 26, 1888.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Ibid ., July 8, 9, 10, 11, 1888.
Ibid ., June 2, 3, 4, 1888; New York Times , June 3, 1888.
St. Louis Republic , June 1, 6, 8, 1888; New York Times ,
June, 4, 5, 7, 1888.
St. Louis Republic , June 8, 1888.
Ibid ., June 15, 17, 21, 1888.
Ibid., June 21, 1888.
Allan Nevins, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage (New
York, 1932), 365, 370, 415.
St. Louis Republic , June 28, August 17, 1888.
41 Ibid. , June 1, 7, 1888.
Ibid . . June 2, August 30, 1888.
Ibid ., June 20, August 16, 1888.
Ibid ., August 12, 1888.
Cosmo J. Pusateri, A Businessman in Politics: David R.
Francis, Missouri Democrat (Ph. D. dissertation, St. Louis Univer-
sity, 1965), 97-99; St. Louis Republic , June 30, 1888.
Ibid., August 8, 1888.
47 Ibid. , July 21, 1888.
Ibid ., July 31, August 4, 1888.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 29, 30, 1888.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
50 Ibid. , October 20, 23, 24, 1888.
51 St. Louis Republic , October 15, 16, 26, 1888.
Ibid ., November 8, 1888.
Nevins , Grover Cleveland , 427 .
St. Louis Republic . November 9, 19, 1888.
Ibid ., December 10, 1888.
Pusateri, Businessman in Politics , 126.
New Orleans Times -Democrat , n.d., quoted in St. Louis
Post-Dispatch , November 15, 1888.
St. Louis Republic , November 8, 1888.
59 Ibid. , November 8, December 29, 1888; March 4, 1889.
Ibid . , November 5, 1888; Pusateri, Businessman in Politics ,
St. Louis Post -Pis patch , July 1, October 13,1888.
62 St. Louis Republic , November 10, 11, 1888.
Ibid., November 25, 1888.
Jones to Abernethy, August 5, October 20, 1888, JP.
Jones to Abernethy, December 7, 1888, JP.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat , December 10, 1888; St. Louis
Republic , December 11, 1888.
67 Jones to Abernethy, January 15, 1889, JP.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Ibid . , December 26, 1888, JP.
New York Times , February 14, 15, 1889; St. Louis Republic ,
February 15, 16, 25, 1889.
David R. Francis to Jones, January 29, 31, April 9, May
10, 22, 23, 1889. David R. Francis Papers, Missouri Historical
Society Library, St. Louis.
Ibid., November 26, 1888, Francis Papers.
M. A. Ganning [ ?] to B. M. Anderson, June 26, 1888,
Francis Papers .
St. Louis Republic , January 3, 4, 9, 1889; St. Louis
Post-Dispatch , June 26, December 12, 22, 1889.
Pusateri, Businessman in Politics , 142.
Francis to Jones, March 27, 1889, Francis Papers.
Ibid ., April 9, 19, 1889, Francis Papers.
Pusateri, Businessman in Politics , 147.
Ibid., 166; Francis to Jones, March 27, 1889, Francis
St. Louis Republic , February 9, 12, March 24, 1889.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat , March 28, 31, 1889.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , March 19, 29, 1889.
St. Louis Republic , March 28, 29, 1889.
Ibid ., July 3, 1889.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Ibid., May 20, July 16, 1889.
Ibid., June 25, 1889.
'ibid., July 15, 1889.
Ibid., May 31, 1889.
"Ibid., March 17, June 24, 1889.
Ibid., November 7, 14, 1889.
Ibid., January 13, May 24, 1889.
"ibid., June 15, 1889.
"ibid., November 5, 1889.
Ibid., June 21, 1889.
Ibid., April 3, 1889.
Ibid., March 12, June 25, 1889.
Ibid., May 15, 1889.
Ibid., January 18, February 28, 1889.
Jones to Cleveland, January 15,1889, Cleveland Papers,
Jones to Abernethy, December 9, 1889, JP.
100 Ibid . , January 15, 1889; Jones to Dora Jones, June
26, August 21, October 14, 1889, JP.
Jones to Dora Jones, May 1, August 3, 1889, JP.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Jones to Abernethy, May 26, 1889; Jones to Dora Jones,
August 14, November 10, 1889, JP.
Jones to Abernethy, August 28, 1889, JP.
St. Louis Republic , August 25, September 7, 1889.
Ibid . . September 25, 1889.
Ibid., October 16, 1889; St. Louis Globe-Democrat ,
October 15, 1889; St. Louis Post-Dispatch , October 8, 14, 16,
St. Louis Republic , October 23, November 13, 16, 20,
Ibid . , November 24, 1889; St. Louis Post-Dispatch ,
December 4, 5, 9, 1889.
St. Louis Republic , January 9, 1890.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , January 9, 1890; Jones to
Abernethy, January 16, 1890, JP.
St. Louis Republic , January 18, 28, 1890.
Jones to Abernethy, January 16, 1890, JP.
St. Louis Republic , February 2, 5, 6, 25, 1890; New
York Times , February 25, 1890.
St. Louis Republic , February 25, 1890; St. Louis Post-
Dispatch , February 25, 28, 1890.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , February 25, 1890; Jones to
Dora Jones, March 1, 1890, JP.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
St. Louis Republic . May 24, 1890.
Ibid., February 23, 1890; New Yo rk Times, February 23
1890. — J '
Jones to Dora Jones, March 1, 1890, JP.
Ibid., June 8, July 16, 1890, JP.
Ibid ., June 8, 11, 1890, JP.
Ibid., June 21, July 13, August 4, 1890, JP.
Ibid., June 11, 1890, JP.
St. Louis Republic . August 25, 1889; October 5, 1890.
Ibid . , August, 1889.
Jones to Dora Jones, June 21, 1890; JP.
St. Louis Republic . March 21, 30, April 14, July 14, 1890.
St. Louis Post -Pis patch . May 25, 1890; St. L ouis
Republic . May 25, 26, 1890.
St. Louis Republic , May 3, October 25, 1890.
Ibid., January 25, 1890.
Ibid., November 3, 1890.
Ibid., March 22, April 11, May 2, 10, 1890.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Ibid . , March 20, 1890.
Ibid ., June 14, 1890.
Ibid ., October 25, 1890.
Ibid . , November 1, 1890.
Ibid . , November 4, 1890.
Ibid . , November 5, 1890.
Ibid . , November 1, 2, 1890.
Ibid . , November 6, 1890.
Ibid ., July 10, 13, 1889; March 4, 1890; March 13,
Ibid., March 13, 1891.
Newspaper clipping, enclosed in Jones to Cleveland,
March 30, 1891, Cleveland Papers.
Jones to Cleveland, March 30, 1891, Cleveland Papers.
Ibid ., April 22, 1891, Cleveland Papers
St. Louis Republic , November 29, 1889.
Ibid ., October 23, 1889; November 28, 1890.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Cleveland to President, New York Reform Club, quoted in
Nevins, Grover Cleveland , 467.
St. Louis Republic , February 18, 1891.
Ibid ., February 19, March 4, 1891.
Jones to Cleveland, April 22, 1891, Cleveland Papers.
Lon V. Stephens to Cleveland, April 23, 28, 1891, Cleve-
St. Louis Republic , June 22, 1891.
Ibid., April 16, 1891.
Ibid ., June 13, 1891.
Jones to Cleveland, April 22, 1891, Cleveland Papers.
Ibid ., April 22, 1891, Cleveland Papers.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , December 8, 9, 10, 26, 1891.
St. Louis Republic , December 8, 1891.
Ibid . , December 10, 1891.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , February 13, May 4, 1890; St.
Louis Republic, June 16, 1890.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Jones to Cleveland, May 4, 1892, Cleveland Papers.
Francis to George H. Boughner, April 22, 1892; Francis
to James H. Waugh, April 22, 1892, Francis Papers.
Francis to E. H. Norton, May 3, 1892, Francis Papers.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , May 24, 1892.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat , May 19, 1892.
Jones to Dora Jones, June 11, 1890, JP.
C. J. Walden to Francis, May 18, 1892, Francis Papers.
Francis to N. 0. Nelson, May 16, 1892, Francis Papers.
Francis to C. C. Maffitt, May 18, 1892, Francis Papers.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch . April 20, 1892.
, Ibid ., May 15, 1892.
St. Louis Mirror , May 19, 1893; Pusateri, Businessman in
Politics , 213.
Francis to Norton, May 3, 1892, Francis Papers.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , May 12, 1892.
Ibid., June 18, 1892.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Cleveland Leader , June 19, 1892; St. Louis Chronicle ,
undated clipping; St. Louis Star-Sayings , undated clipping, JP.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , June 18, 1892.
"Platform Missouri Dem 1892," JP.
Jones to Cleveland, May 4, 1892, Cleveland Papers;;
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , June 20, 21, 1892.
New York Times , June 21, 1892.
Pusateri, Businessman in Politics , 201.
Original copy of resolution, JP.
Pusateri, Businessman in Politics , 215; St. Louis Post-
Dispatch , June 20, 1892.
Nevins, Grover Cleveland , 489.
Denver Rocky Mountain News , September 1, 1895, clipping,
New York Times , June 20, 1892; St. Louis Post-Dispatch ,
June 19, 22, 1892.
Kirk H. Porter and Donald Bruce Johnson, National Party
Platforms, 1840-1968 (Urbana, 1956), 86-89; "Democratic Platform
of 1892, Draft as Submitted by C. H. Jones. After First Revision."
Jones to Cleveland, September 10, 1892, Cleveland
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
"Democratic Platform of 1892, Draft as Submitted by
C. H. Jones. After First Revision," JP.
Jones to Cleveland, May 4, 1892, Cleveland Papers.
"Democratic Platform, Original Copy," JP.
Denver Rocky Mountain News , September 1, 1895, clipping,
Official Proceedings of the National Democratic Conven-
tion, Held in Chicago, 111., June 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, 1892 (Chi-
cago, 1892), 77.
St. Paul Dispatch , June 24, 1892, clipping, JP.
Porter and Johnson, Party Platforms , 88.
Official Proceedings, 1892 , 75; St. Louis Post-Dispatch ,
June 23, 1892.
Official Proceedings, 1892 , 75-90; St. Louis Post-
Dispatch , June 23, 1892.
Official Proceedings, 1892 , 93.
St. Louis Post -Pis patch , June 24, 1892; St. Paul Dis-
patch , June 24, 1892, clippings, JP.
Jones to George F. Parker, September 10, 1892, Cleveland
Cleveland to William C. Whitney, July 9, 1892, quoted
in Mark D: Hirsch, William C. Whitney, Modern Warwich (New York,
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Jones to Cleveland, September 15, 1892, Cleveland Papers.
St. Louis Post -Pis patch , September 27, 1892.
Jones to Donald Dickinson, July 13, 1892, quoted in,
Robert Bolt, "Donald M. Dickinson and the Second Election of
Grover Cleveland, 1892," Michigan History , 49 (Marck, 1965), 34.
Nevins, Grover Cleveland, 493; Hirsch, William Whitney ,
Pusateri, Businessman in Politics , 202.
Ibid ., 218.
St. Louis Republic , November 9, 22, 1892.
St. Louis Republic , undated clipping; E. B. Erving to
Jones, November 9, 1892; W. C. Whitney to Jones, November 10,
1892; Oscar Straus to Jones, November 10, 1892; J. P. Altgeld to
Jones, November 10, 1892; W. M. Davidson and James P. Taliaferro
to Jones, November 11, 1892, JP.
Bolt, "Don Dickinson," 38; Jones to Cleveland, November
9, 1892, Cleveland Papers.
E. Y. Mitchell to Francis, November 2, 1892, Francis
W. M. Davidson and James P. Taliaferro to Jones, Novem-
ber 11, 1892, JP.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , December 22, 1892.
Ibid ., November 15, 1892.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
Pusateri, Businessman in Politics , 220.
Jones, "Sketch of Life."
Nevins, Grover Cleveland , 513-515.
Pusateri, Businessman in Politics , 219; St. Louis Post-
Dispatch , January 6, 1893.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , February 14, 1893.
Jones to Cleveland, February 15, 1893, Cleveland Papers.
St. Louis Mirror , March 5, 1896.
Henry Watterson, Marse Henry (New York, 1919), 144;
Grover Cleveland , 492; Champ Clark, My Quarter Century of Ameri-
can Politics , 2 vols. (New York, 1920), I, 320.
Jones to Cleveland, March 18, 22, 1893, Cleveland Papers.
Ibid ., September 15, 1892, Cleveland Papers.
Jones to William Jennings Bryan, May 8, 1893, quoted
in Louis W. Koenig, Bryan: A Political Biography of William
Jennings Bryan (New York, 1971), 129.
Jones to Abernethy, May 19, 1893, JP.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , February 26, 1893.
Jones to William Vincent Byars, September 7, 1893,
William Vincent Byars Papers, Missouri Historical Society Library,
NOTES TO CHAPTER VI (continued)
St. Louis Globe-Democrat , May 19, 1893.
St. Louis Mirror , March 5, 1896.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat , May 19, 1893.
Jones, to Byars, July 31, 1893, Byars Papers.
St. Louis Mirror , May 19, 1893.
Dreiser, Book About Myself , 205.
Hart, History of Globe-Democrat , 168.
Jones, "Sketch of Life."
Jones to Byars, September 7, 1893, Byars Papers.
Ibid ., April 28, 1894, Byars Papers.
i^E!^gg.~y"^''' !r7 ^*^"/~";~-"'?qyg ^..^fty^
THE SECOND DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
In the immediate aftermath of his defeat Jones remained
in St. Louis, undecided on his future plans and uncertain
whether he would remain a stockholder in the Republic . In
June he departed from the summer heat of St. Louis to vacation
with his wife on the seaside at Asbury Park. 2 He had more on his
mind than a relaxing vacation, however, and was soon engaged in
negotiations with several parties in an endeavor to return to
newspaper work. One of these was Joseph Pulizer, who was at
the time dissatisfied with the management of both his newspapers,
the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World . Jones ,
however, was not interested in joining another newspaper simply
as an employee, and he discussed the possibility of purchasing
the Post-Dispatch from Pulitzer. The difficulty in negotiating
a purchase was Jones's lack of ready money, since most of his
assets were still tied up in the stock of the Republic . When
word reached the staff of the Post-Dispatch i n St. Louis that
Jones was negotiating to purchase the paper they became con-
cerned, and Jones feared they would try to block the sale. "I
wish you would try to pacify those P-D alarmists," Jones wrote
Byars. "They may make trouble." Jones also told Byars that
he was planning on conferring soon with Pulitzer at the oceanside
villa "Chatwood" in Bar Harbor, Maine, and expected to reach
some kind of agreement. He felt that he could gain control of
the Post-Dispatch if he could raise the purchase price, and he
asked Byars to write or talk to western silverites who might
be interested in an organ for the silver cause. "Without a
powerful newspaper in the Central West to fight their battles,
in my judgement they are hopelessly beaten," Jones wrote.
"Their 'conventions' wont amount to a whistle in a gale of wind."
On July 14 Jones wrote Byars that he was leaving for Bar
Harbor and expected to return to St. Louis within two weeks.
He asked Byars to telegraph a warning should Post-Dispatch
editor Samuel Williams leave St. Louis to try and stop the deal.
Jones's visit to Bar Harbor was longer than expected, and two
weeks later he was still there talking with Pulitzer. He reported
to Byars that his efforts to purchase the Post-Dispatch had been
thwarted by his inability to borrow money due to the general
business panic of the spring. "The stars in their courses have
fought against me." But the day after writing Byars, Jones
closed a deal with Pulitzer: he would go to the New York World
as Pulitzer's "recognized personal and official representative. . .
with all the responsibilities of the position and with powers
coequal with the responsibilities." Pulitzer had never given
such a broad grant of authority to any of his previous editors,
but Jones told Byars that he would not have settled for less.
"So this is what the fool stockholders of The Republic have
done for me! I owe them much thanks.""
In 1893 Joseph Pulitzer was blind, with a serious nervous
disorder which prevented him from undertaking the stressful
labors of daily newspaper work, but he still maintained a close
surveilance of all which went into the World and sent frequent
messages to his editors regarding matters of policy and manage-
ment. The affairs of the World had been in a state of flux for
many months due to Pulizer's inability to find an editor-in-
chief to suit his wishes. At the moment the World had no
single man in the office with general supervisory powers.
William H. Merrill was the chief editorial writer, Solomon S.
Carvalho was acting as publisher, and Don Seitz was business
manager.' The reasoning behind Pulitzer's choice of Jones as
the man to assume command over the entire enterprise remains
obscure. Seitz speculated that Pulitzer had "always respected
vigorous opponents and the colonel had been a lively one."
It has also been suggested that Jones's personal charm and
abilities as a talker overwhelmed Pulitzer's better judgment,
or that Pulitzer, always suspicious of his employees, wanted
to bring in an outsider with loyalty only to himself.
Jones had not always been an admirer of Pulitzer in the
past. He had criticized the World 's hostility to Cleveland
during his first administration and distrusted Pulitzer's
partiality toward David B. Hill. 10 In a speech before the
Missouri Press Association in 1889, Jones had said that
Pulitzer was a successful journalist but not an influential one
because of his lack of principles. 11 In 1889 the Republic
carried an editorial criticizing the New York newspapers for
their provinciality, and in an accompanying story Pulitzer was
criticized for pitching the tone of his newspaper to appeal to
the lowest common denominator. Jones had been one of the
thousands who attended the opening of the twenty-story World
Building in 1890, and he may have met Pulitzer then.
Jones ' s appointment as editor of the World was received
with general favor by the press, who saw Jones as a talented
writer and organizer, but some expressed reservations about
his "pronounced opinions" and his attitude on the money question.
His "Populist" whiskers also came in for comment, one journalist
venturing, "At all events, the average of the beauty of New
York journalists will be raised considerably by the advent of
the Colonel. "^ The Pittsburg Post 's comment was probably the
Col. Jones is the first big man who has served under
Mr. Pulitzer. Col. Cockerill had a reputation, to be
sure, but it was as a newspaperman, rather than a
publicist. Jones is a crank in a way and not much of
an editor. But he is a virorous writer and will
attract attention to himself which Mr. Pulitzer will
not relish. The chances are, therefore, that Jones
will not last long on the World. 15
Jones left Bar Harbor and went immediately to New York.
He later confided his feelings at the time to his friend Abernethy!
As I approached New York on my return from Bar
Harbor, bearing my commission as editor of THE
WORLD, my thoughts turned back to that period
twenty-eight years ago, when I came to New York
for the first time, a friendless boy with hardly
an acquaintance in this great city and scarcely a
dollar in my pocket. You know, as few do, what
laborious years intervened between these two
events. I feel less elation than one might suppose. °
On the second or third day of August Jones walked
unannounced into the editorial offices in the gold-gilt dome
atop the World Building carrying a blue envelope containing his
letter of authority from Pulitzer. The old hands at the World
were "astonished." Seitz was amazed that Pulitzer would ignore
"those who had done much to hold the paper together successfully"
and give the editorship to a man who had "no knowledge of the field."
To Seitz, Jones seemed tainted with Populism and other ideas
"remote from those ideals which had solidified in the World."
Carvalho, formerly the wielder of most authority, was, in
Seitz' s words, "quite flattened out." 17 Walt McDougall, the
World 's leading cartoonist, was antagonized when Jones, "before
he had been many minutes in the office," began to lecture him
on how the cartoon features were to be done . McDougall con-
sidered Jones a "pompous half-portion with the verbal output of
an Atlantic City auctioneer." 1 " Jones's editorship was doomed
almost before it had begun by the hostility of the staff. As
Seitz explained, Jones, with his whiskers and "ladylike manners,"
could not gain the confidence and respect of his associates,
and, unable to impress his authority on them, "he was soon
Jones might have made a success of his chance with the
World if he had not been so precipitous in testing the extent
of his authority under his contract with Pulitzer. Shortly
after he arrived in New York, Congress convened in special
session to consider Cleveland's demand that the Sherman Silver
Act be repealed. The South and West opposed repeal, unless
the law were replaced with a new act providing for free coinage
of silver. The World supported the Northeast's sentiment in
favor of unconditional repeal and had been pursuing a forceful
campaign in favor of repeal since June. At Bar Harbor Jones
had promised Pulitzer that he would refrain from writing
anything on the money question, but in mid-August he went to
Washington where he took the place of theregular correspondent
and began to send back pro-silver reports of the Congress's
activities. His dispatches were intercepted in New York by
Carvalho, who refused to publish them and telegraphed Pulitzer
to inform him of Jones ' s actions . Jones returned to New York
in a rage, but found that Pulitzer would not support him. His
powers as editor-in-chief were diminished, and he was thereafter
watched closely by Pulitzer and the other members of the staff. "
Instead of bringing centralized oversight to the management
of the World , Jones was caught up in the existing system of
shared responsibility which Pulitzer had fostered whereby each
editor checked the other. The result of this clumsy and punitive
system was, in McDougall's words, "a cutthroat contest between
a number of ambitious, jealous, hard-working and able men. . .
ill-concealed enmities or open combat prevailed in every
department." "It produced a reign of suspicion and hatred,
a maelstrom of office politics." Theodore Dreiser, who took
a job with the World in November, 1894, just before Jones's
departure, found the atmosphere there different from that of
the Globe-Democrat or Republic . Dreiser noted the spying of
one editor on another, the constant battle to please Pulitzer
at another's expense, and the atmosphere of fear which seeped
down through the ranks to affect even the lowliest reporter. J
During his first months at the World , Jones devoted most
his attention to foreign news service, staff organization,
feature departments, and news gathering, finding, he said, a
surprising lack of system in the latter section. He did
little writing for the editorial department, where Merrill and
a half-dozen writers handled the bulk of the work, but Jones
was not happy with the editorial page as it was being run. To
keep editorial comments up to the minute in relevance, he
demanded that the writers do their work in the evenings after
the day's news had come in. 5 By St. Louis standards the
editorial writers lived an easy life, Jones felt, declaring
that he could write in an hour what they did in a day. He
wrote Byars that the editorial page was too bland, and he
particularly objected to the "paragraphs" (the short one and two
sentence comments typical of that day's editorial pages):
The World's Editorial page now is least satisfactory
to me in its paragraphs. I have been writing five or
six a day myself, although overwhelmingly busy with
other things, to try and give point and snap to it.
I never knew before what it was to crave pointed,
pungent and epigramic paragraphs. I have a staff of very
capable writers, but the mind of every one of them is
analytical and expository rather than centripetal and
the paragraphs they produce read like passages clipped
out of longer editorials. 2 ?
Jones had wanted Byars to come with him to the World from
the time that he completed negotiating with Pulitzer. Byars,
who was labeled a "Christian Communist" by one St. Louis writer
and who shared Jones's feelings on the money question, had been
Jones's editorial mainstay at the Republic. Jones warned him
that if he came to the World he must suppress his convictions
on silver. Until an opening could be found for him, Jones
asked Byars to send in editorials by mail, for which he would
be paid by the item. 29 Jones advised Byars that Pulitzer
insisted that editorials be kept simple so that the. meaning of
a passage could be grasped in an instant. ° He passed on a
few other hints regarding Pulitzer's preferences in writing:
"Mr. Pulitzer insists on short editorials. His favorite saying
is that 'three editorials a column are six times as good as one
editorial a column in length.' He also likes short, epigramic
sentences. He professes a great horror for conjunctions."-' 1
Byars began sending in material that summer and continued the
practice until July, 1894, when he came to New York to join the
World staff. 32
Jone's editorship, while not satisfactory to either
himself or the other members of the staff, continued through
the winter and spring without any major breaks with Pulitzer.
Then on June 26, 1894, the American Railway Union, a radical
organization headed by Eugene V. Debs, called a nation-wide
sympathy walkout on behalf of the workers striking against
Pullman Company. The strike spread across half the nation, and,
although it was largely peaceful, some scattered violence near
Chicago evoked an emotional outbrust from the press. The World
termed the action of the strikers "war against the Government
and against society." 33 On July 2 a federal court in Chicago,
acting with the advice of a railroad attorney recommended by
Attorney Genral Richard Olney, issued an injunction against
the strikers, and on President Cleveland's orders federal troops
were sent in to enforce it. On the day the injunction was
issued, Jones wrote an editorial entitled "No Federal Encorach-
ment," in which he declared that the railroad managers were
bringing the federal government into the strike on the side of
the railroads "under a strained interpretation of the law. . . .
Such an injunction as that drawn by two coproration attorneys
and granted yesterday by Judges Grosscup and Woods is a
monstrous invasion of the people's rights." He argued that
this use of federal power to fight the railorad corporations'
battles for them constituted an expansion of federal authority
unparalleled in United States history. ^ On the Fourth of
July Jones ran an editorial entitled "Usurpation by
Injunction," which stated that Jefferson's fear of the
judiciary as the greatest threat to liberty was being proved
true by the actions of the courts, backed by a "corporation-
These two editorials started the chain of events which
led to Jones's departure from the World . Pulitzer's attention
was immediately called to Jones's break with past policy, and
he was removed from control of the editorial page and permitted
to work only with the news departments. " Editorial notice of
the strike was dropped for a few days, then resumed on its
former basis. It was declared that in the face of "rebellion"
it was not appropriate to quibble over theories of states'
rights. Jones was summoned to Bar Harbor, where he defended
his stance on the strike, and, according to Seitz, vowed that
he would write "Usurpation by Injunction" into the next
Democratic national platform. ^° Pulitzer's reaction was sur-
prising in the light of his customary ruthlessness with anyone
who challeneged his authority: he offered to sell Jones a major
interest in the Post-Dispatch and make him editor of that paper.
Jones, perhaps because- he still hoped to achieve success as
editor of the World , declined the offer, and for the moment the
awkward situation in the World offices continued.
In December Jones went to St . Louis for two weeks at the
request of Pulitzer, who was about to intorduce a new program
there designed to restore prosperity to the sagging affairs of
that newspaper. The Post-Dispatch , which had been making huge
circulation gains in the late 1880 's and early 1890' s, lost
circulation in 1894, and the prospect for the future was for
increased competition from the evening Chronicle and Star-
Sayings. Jones returned from St. Louis to confer with
Pulitzer late in December, whereupon Pulitzer again asked him
to go to the Post-Dispatch as editor, "at least for a time."
Pulitzer cited "out difficulties, and your enviroment [ sic ] in
the World office" as reasons why Jones ought to accept his
offer, but he concluded his argument with a threat: "The change
in St. Louis takes effect on January 1, and apropos of this
I wish you would give me your exact understanding as to our
Bar Harbor agreement. Will there be anything left of it after
January 1? Were our relations not mutually terminable at will?"
Given the choice of the Post-Dispatch or nothing, Jones
accepted, but he set explicit terms upon which he would go:
I am willing to go to St. Louis on the basis you
propose to me last summer, namely, that I be allowed
to purchase a majority interest in the stock of the
Post-Dispatch, so that I can utilize my knowledge of
the field and exercise whatever abilities I may have
to the full and with entire freedom of judgement and
action. It is only in this way that I can be of the
highest service to the Post-Dispatch. The people of
St. Louis and the southwest know what kind of a news-
paper I will make it left untrammelled. If they know
I am untrammelled, they will look for that kind of a
newspaper eagerly. Even if it sounds egotistic, I
think I can say with truth that every intelligent
reader in Missouri, southern Illinois, Kansas,
Arkansas and Texas would turn with attention to any
newspaper in St. Louis that they know I control and
direct. That was so before I came to The World. I
now have the added prestige of having been The World's
editor. But none of these advantages would accrue
if I returned there simply as an employee, even if
I were willing to do so.
Under conditions that leave my individuality free
play I can make an editorial page that will be just
as valuable for getting and holding circulation as
anything that can be done in the news columns. I
will make a newspaper that will make its influence
felt throughout the West, and in national politics
I will write or largely determine the platform of
the next Democratic National Convention. ^2
Pulitzer departed New York on the day after Christmas to
spend the winter at Jekyl Island off the coast of Georgia,
leaving negotiations in the hands of Carvalho. A contract was
drafted and sent to Pulitzer whereby Jones would pay $80,000
immediately and a total of $300,000 over a five-year period for
a majority protion of Post-Dispatch stock. Pulitzer refused
to agree to this arrangement, telegraphing Carvalho that further
negotiations would be unnecessary due to the tremendous success
of the price reduction in increasing the Post-Dispatch 's
circulation. According to Carvalho, Jones "turned white" on
learning that Pulitzer was no longer interested, but on the
same day Pulitzer sent a second telegram asking Carvalho to see
if Jones would go without an agreement to purchase majority
interest but with complete control of the paper as editor and
manager. Jones was agreeable to this proposal if he could
purchase a one-sixth interest for $80,000 and receive a five-
year contract giving him "full control." An agreement was
drawn up incorporating these points, whereby Pulitzer would
make Jones editor and manager at a salary of $10,000 per year.
Included in the contract were provisions that Jones agree not
to hold any political office and that gross receipt for 1895
and 1896 must exceed those for 1894 and 1893 respectively or
the contract would be void. Jones went to Jekyl Island
during the first week of February to see Pulitzer and sign
the papers. He then returned to New York and from there went
directly to St. Louis.
Jones arrived in St. Louis on February 14 and went
immediately to the Post-Dispatch offices. Samuel Williams,
then editor, had received a long, concilliatory letter from
Pulitzer asking him to make Jones comfortable and explaining
that he had decided to remove him in order to give the Post-
Dispatch "a stronger hand and permanent head." Jones's first
act as editor was to take Pulitzer's name down from the mast-
head on the editorial page and replace it with his own. A
published note from Pulitzer explained to the paper's readers
that poor health had forced him to relinquish "responsibility
and control over its columns," and an editorial by Jones announced
that he would make the Post-Dispatch a western paper. Someone
telegraphed Pulitzer telling him that his name had been removed
from the paper, and Pulitzer replied that it must be put back,
but Jones replaced it on his own initiative — with his name
remaining just below. Jones did restrain himself on silver
and largely ignored the money question for the first two
months of his tenture.
A potentially serious dispute developed between Jones and
Carvalho over the new by-laws proposed for governance of the
paper under Jones. Carvalho inserted a clause stating that the
board of directors would have final authority over the newspaper,
its employees, and its manager. Jones objected to this, main-
taining that it was contrary to the provisions of his contract
with Pulitzer. However, Pulitzer refused to change the by-laws
and suggested that Jones test them in court, but he declared
that he would not interfere with Jones's control of the paper
so long as he did not "foreget my sensibilities." At the first
meeting of the board of directors in March the by-laws were
adopted as Carvalho had drafted them over Jones's dissenting
vote; however, Pulitzer did not make any effort to obstruct
Jones's management afterwards.
When Jones arrived at the Post-Dispatch a circulation boom
was in full tide due to the reduction in price to one cent.
Canvassers were scouring the city and countryside signing up
subscribers, many of whom were, however, delinquent in paying
for their subscriptions. Jones brought his brother George over
from the Republic , where he had remained after Jones's departure,
and began to reorganize the circulation department on a more
businesslike basis. Within a week after his arrival, Jones
eliminated almost 2,500 names from the subscription lists, and
and large reductions were continued on into the summer until
the newspaper was put on a "rock bottom" basis. Yet, Jones
claimed, overall circulation held up, and revenue from circula-
tion exceeded every previous year, except 1893. Income from
advertisements was also up during 1895, but advertising manager
William C. Steigers would report in September that some
advertisers had withdrawn their patronage in objection to
Jones's editorial policies. Net profits were up significantly
from 1894 for the year. At the end of the year it was
decided to increase the price of the paper for country sub-
scribers to two cents. This was done because the one cent price
was hot enough to cover the cost of handling and mailing copies
to the country. Jones made the increase in the face of
intense competition from the other St. Louis newspapers (which
reduced their prices to one cent at about the same time) , but
the move was in line with his belief that every aspect of the
newspaper must pay its own way. In the spring of 1896 the Post-
Dispatch cut out much of the legal advertising which it had been
carrying because it did not bring in enough income to justify
the space used. Profits continued to increase during the
first half of 1896. 58
Jones's eighteen month absence in New York had done
nothing to cool his hostility to Francis, Francis's supporter
in city politics Ed Butler, or the Francis-Maffitt wing of the
Democratic party. The St. Louis Mirror reported that soon after
returning to St. Louis, Jones met with Governor Stone and his
men, and they had decided to destroy Francis's influence in the
party. In March and April the Post-Dispatch struck blows at
the Francis organization, root and branch. During the city
election campaign it enounced the Democratic party for allowing
"Butlerism" to infect its operations, and declared that it would
prefer to see victory go to the Republicans, rather than to
Butler and the "respectible" backers who financed his operations.
When the Republicans did sweep nearly all of the municipal
offices, the Post-Dispatch not only approved but exposed alleged
corruption in wards where Democrats did win. Having attacked
the rank and file of the Francis Democrats , the Post-Dispatch
then turned to flay the Merchants' Bridge and Terminal Company,
of which Francis and Maffitt were directors, for supposedly
making price fixing agreements with other bridge companies .
However, the major battle between the Stone Democrats and
the Francis Democrats came over the money question. In the
spring of 1895 there was a widespread movement in the West for
calling state conventions to express public sentiment in favor
of free coinage of silver. Although Governor Stone endorsed
the idea of a convention, there seemed to be little support for
the idea in Missouri. In any case, Jones felt that the only
way that a convention would be called would be if the Post-
Dispatch pressed for it. Chairman Maffitt, who supported the
gold standard, was reluctant to issue the call for a party
convention, but the Post-Dispatch threatened that unless he did,
another means of convening the party would be found. Jones
warned the public that Francis and the Republic would fight to
prevent the convention because they realized that the gold
forces would be defeated, but apparently the Francis-Maffitt
faction decided not to make a fight which they were sure to
lose, and Maffitt issued the call for a convention to assemble
at Pertile Springs on August 8. For a time the Post-Dispatch
fretted over the possibility that the railroads might use their
influence to pack the convention with gold men, but when the
silverites arrived in Pertile Springs with a solid majority of
the delegates, Jones declared that this showed that the influence
of the railroads could be beaten. The convention adopted a
brief platform, written by Jones, which endorsed the free coin-
ing of silver at a ratio of 16 to 1. A plan to double the
size of the state committee in order to increase the number of
pro-silver members was also passed, although Maffitt continued
to hold his seat as party chairman despite his offer to resign.
When the legislature met in April and May the Post-Dispatch
ran a campaign against the "railroad lobby," publishing a front
page cartoon showing Missouri Pacific lawyer William Phelps
whipping legislators like cattle into the state house. The
cartoon was condemned by a resolution of the House, and before
the session was over the Post-Dispatch 's reporters were barred
from the Senate chambers for similar offenses. According to
the Post-Dispatch the session was a case of the governor and
the people against the Missouri Pacific and the "interests."
Anti-lobby and worker protection laws failed to pass during
the session, providing an opportunity for the publication of
roll call votes in which the "tools of the railroad lobby" were
marked out. The Post-Dispatch declared that although the ses-
sion was a failure, it had revealed to the people the extent
of "lobby'': control. 70
About the time the legislature was meeting, the St. Louis
Mirror carried a humorous story about an incident during dinner
at the Planters Hotel when Jones, every hair in his beard
quivering with rage, refused to eat the rib of beef set before
him: "'Away with it,' he cried, 'I will have none of it.
Millions for defense, but not a sou marque for tribute to
Armour and his gang.'" According to the story, Jones swore he
would write a vegetarian plank into the next Democratic plat-
form and ordered the staff of the Post-Dispatch to eat only
horseradish and oyster crackers. Whether the tale was based
on a real incident or not — and the Post-Dispatch did run an
editorial against the beef trust shortly thereafter which
offered vegetarianism as a possible means of breaking the trust—
the story illustrated the passion with which Jones had moved
into the camp of the reformers. When the Supreme Court began
to negate parts of the income tax law as it applied to the
wealthy, the Post-Dispatch advocated a constitutional amendment
to provide for a comprehensive income tax law. When
William Vanderbilt staged one of the elaborate balls typical of
the era, an editorial warned: "It is a question how long the
toiling, thinking people of this country who earn their living
by honest work will stand the costly burden of a vulgar
aristocracy who accumulate their luxurious surplus by oppres-
sion and robbery under the forms of law." But above all the
Post-Dispatch became the advocate of free silver and the
enemy of Francis, the Republic , and all gold standard supporters.
Jones published long sections from the silverite tract Coin's
Financial School , ran educational series on "The Money Question,"
and gave credence to the idea of an "international gold con-
spiracy" aimed at controlling the finances of the world.
Jones's course in steering the Post-Dispatch away from its
"traditional character and principles" by advocacy of silver and
by injecting the paper into a factional fight within the
Democratic party finally goaded Pulitzer into action late in
the summer of 1895. Pulitzer believed that free coinage of
silver was "false and wrong in morality, public honor and public
welfare, was just like advocating counterfit money, and I did
not think any paper of mine should do that." Carvalho after -
consultation with Pulitzer and Samuel Williams sent a "friendly
warning" to Jones that Pulitzer considered the management of the
paper under Jones "practically a failure." He demanded that
Jones change the paper's policy toward free coinage of silver
and the "Stone Democratic faction," and urged that George W. Jones
be replaced as business manager by a "more competent" man.
Jones, who was taking a brief vacation at Asbury Park, did not
answer Carvalho's letter, and a week later a second letter
reiterating the same three demands was sent to Jones: "It
would be pleasanter and more agreeable if you pledge prompt
and loyal compliance, to make these changes at once. If,
however, you do not pledge prompt and loyal compliance, a
meeting of the Board of Directors will be called, when the
matter will be laid before it that it may immediately proceed
to take action to protect the Post-Dispatch from the danger
and folly of its present management." Three days later
Carvalho telegraphed that a meeting of the board of directors
had been called for September 21 at the Post-Dispatch offices.
When Jones returned to St. Louis he wrote a long letter to
Pulitzer saying that Carvalho's letters and demands must have
been sent under a misapprehension since every charge Carvalho
had made regarding conditions at the paper could easily be
disproved. He denied that the paper had been a failure under
him, "but a conspicuous and gratifying success." He then
proceeded to a lengthy commentary on the issues of the Stone
faction and the silver question:
Those who know that I am not the man to make an
organ for any man or faction. I shall be able to
prove, from the files of the Post-Dispatch itself,
that I have collided with the so-called Stone faction
on more points than with any other. I shall also be
able to prove, by private letters, that I have
refused to affiliate in any way with any party or
faction. I have even refused to join clubs or
associations for the avowed reason that I was
determined to keep in position to make an entirely
free and independent journal. Governor Stone is my
friend, and we are in accord in our general views
on public policy; but no one knows better than he
that my course as editor has never been controlled
by personal considerations. I could have remained
editor of the Republic until now if I had been
willing to conduct a personal faction organ. Some
one has purposely misled you in this matter. . . .
In regard to the silver question, I cannot de-
grade myself in my own eyes and disgrace myself in
the eyes of the people who have trusted me by telling
them that I have changed my views on a question that
vitally concerns them, when I have not. What I have
written on the money question I have written from
conviction, and I do not hold my convictions subject
to some one else's change of mind. . . . When you
made me editor of the Post-Dispatch you knew as well
as you know now that I was and am a free silver man. .
It is difficult for a New Yorker to understand the
strength and intensity of the feeling in Missouri,
Illinois and other Western and Southern States, in
favor of free coinage. The rank and file of both
parties are overwhelmingly for it. Every newspaper
that has tried to breast this sentiment has suffered
terribly. The St. Louis Republic has lost money
during the last six months, during which the Post-
Dispatch has enjoyed great prosperity. °0
At the directors meeting of September 21 Jones presented
the other directors in attendance — Carvalho, White, and Williams-
with a temporary restraining order prhibiting them from inter-
fering with his management of the paper. Prevented from taking
steps to curb Jones, the only item placed before the directors
was a recommendation by Jones that a $40,000 dividend be
declared. This motion was voted down— ostensibly because it was
thought that the surplus funds might be used to construct a
permanent building for the newspaper— but probably to keep the
newspaper's profits out of Jones's hands. While Jones's
petition to make the restraining order permanent was pending,
Pulitzer struck at Jones by denying the Post-Dispatch access
to the features and facilities of the World . Jones declared
in a Post-Dispatch editorial that he would search for means of
replacing these materials, but he added: "For one thing, all
entanglements with Eastern or Plutocratic influences are
definitely severed." On February 17, 1896, Judge L. B.
Valliant made the temporary injunction permanent, and Pulitzer
appealed the case to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Despite the mounting interest in the coming election, the
Post-Dispatch 's editorial page in the spring and early summer
of 1896 was lacking in consistent themes and forceful presenta-
tion. This was unusual for a paper edited by Jones, and the
reason in this case is fairly certain: Jones was seriously
run down by his work and was entering the long period of illness
that would force his retirement from newspaper work. At the
Republic Jones had always had Byars as a more than able support,
and when he returned to St. Louis he wanted to bring Byars with
him. He told Pulitzer, "With me off the paper and: you absent,
he would be a very dangerous man on The World editorial staff."
After coming to St. Louis he had tried unsuccessfully to entice
Byars out, and a year later, in April, 1896, Lily Jones wrote a
personal letter to Byars pleading with him to reconsider, since
she feared that her husband would break under the strain, but
Byars declined. The man who Jones did bring in was Albert
Lawson, formerly the Post-Dispatch 's representative at the
World . Lawson wrote back to Byars saying that work was twenty
times as great with the Post-Dispatch as with the World , but was
tempered by the unusual courtesy shown him by Jones . "I think
he has been under a great strain and is suffering the result
and wants to get out of the hard work and the details for a
time. He is not very well and some of the staff suffer from
it, not a little at times, though, on the whole, he is much
better that way than he used to be. A month later Byars
reported, "He is not as well as he was on the Republic and
will do well to take good care of himself."
As early as the middle of 1895 the Post-Dispatch began
making predictions that the election of 1896 would be fought on
the issue of free silver and that the country would divide
into eastern and western camps over this issue. It advised
the Democrats to concentrate on capturing the South, West, and
Midwest— abandoning the Northeast to the forces of capitalism
and gold. Jones had already taken a step toward securing
the West for silver by writing a recommendation into the
Pertile Springs platform declaring for an early state convention
in 1896. Jones was confident that the silver advocates could
carry the Missouri convention, and, if it were held early,
stimulate the efforts of silver forces in other states. There
was some effort by gold standard supporters to set the date
back, but the convention was called for mid-April, making
Missouri the first Democratic state to hold its convention.
Francis organized a state-wide "sound money" effort to elect
gold standard men in districts where they stood a chance of
being elected, but the effort largely failed. The Sedalia
convention was a triumph for the silver forces. A strong
platform endorsing free coinage of silver was adopted and
resolutions denouncing the Republic and praising the Post-
Dispatch were passed. The St. Louis Mirror declared that
Jones had turned the party organization in Missouri into
chaos because of his fight against Francis. Jones's efforts
had helped to eliminate Francis permanently as a power in state
The Jones-Francis vendetta was not an unemotional affair.
Charles Chapin, who Jones had made city editor and who later
became famous as city editor of the World , recounted an episode
in his autobiography which could have ended tragically:
One day there was something printed in the paper
in connection with the mysterious drowning of Dennis P.
Slattery that so aroused the anger of Francis, he came
stalking into the Post-Dispatch office, accompanied by
his brother Tom, angrily demanding to know where the
editor was. I told him that Colonel Jones was in his
office on the floor above and he and Tom Francis went
up the staircase two steps at a time.
I saw my assistant, Kinney Underwood, another fiery
little Southerner, grab a revolver from a drawer of his
desk and rush up the stairway behind them. I followed.
The two Francis brothers were in the editor's sanctum,
when I got there, demanding an immediate retraction.
Colonel Jones was at his desk, white of face but
coldly dignified. I found Kinney Underwood in an
adjoining office, that was divided from the editor's
sanctum by a glass partition through which every
action of the men inside could be watched. Underwood
was crouched behind a desk, revolver in hand, the
weapon leveled at David R. Francis. The latter had
his back turned to him. Francis never knew how close
to death he was. One move to draw a weapon and
Underwood would surely have killed him.
With that imperturbable dignity that characterized
our spunky little editor, I heard him tell Francis to
dictate to a stenographer what he wished to have printed
by way of retraction and I saw him at least pretend to
go ahead with his work while this was being done. When
the stenographer had written it out Colonel Jones care-
fully read it and struck out more than half of it with
his blue pencil. He handed the revised item back to
Francis to read.
"I'll print that much and no more," calmly remarked
Francis read and gave a nod of approval.
Colonel Jones turned to Tom Francis. "Take your
brother out of here," he said, jerking his thumb in
the direction of David R. and resuming the writing
from which he had been interrupted. They went away. 92
In the winter of 1896 Jones had been concerned that eastern
"sound money" forces might gain control of the Democratic na-
tional convention, but as the spring wore on it became increasingly
apparent that the free silver movement would sweep the conven-
tion in its tide. The major problem of the silverites was
the selection of a candidate because there was no one man of
stature who could command the allegiance of the entire West and
South. The leading candidate was Missouri's Richard "Silver
Dick" Bland, and it was he that the Post-Dispatch settled on as
the candidate to back, although the paper was somewhat restrained
in its support. Bland's greatest problem was that he was as
colorless as his name: "He is a farmer and looks like a farmer,"
the Post-Dispatch pointed out. Bland's most important asset
was his long-standing dedication to the cause of free silver,
which made him "the personification of the issue." 95 The man
Jones definitely did not want as the party's candidate was
Grover Cleveland, who was no described as the champion of the
Northeast rather than leader of the whole nation. 96 In the
fall of 1895 Cleveland was suggested for a third term as the
only one who could restrain the silver deluge, although
Cleveland himself entertained no ambitions for a third term
as the only one who could restrain the silver deluge, although
Cleveland himself entertained no ambitions for a third term. 97
The Post-Dispatch denounced this effort to secure a third term
for Cleveland as a violation of American tradition as well as
When the Republican nation convention met in St. Louis in
mid- June, Jones was in the process of writing a draft of the
platform to be submitted to the resolutions committee at the
Democratic national convention. He was visited by William Jennings
Bryan, who was attending the Republican convention as an
interested spectator. Jones had corresponded with Bland,
Missouri Senators Vest and Cochrell, and other party leaders to
sound them out on issues to be included in the platform, and
he no doubt welcomed Bryan's contributions. Bryan later wrote
that he considered Jones "a very able man, entirely in sympathy
with the progressive ideas of the party. "" Bryan claimed that
he wrote the plank on silver, but Jones did not acknowledge
his authorship, and. Jones's first draft of the platform does not
reveal who composed the money plank. Jones's first draft
was about half the length of the final version of the platform,
and he possibly did not complete it until he reached Chicago
c , 101
for the convention. Jones later wrote that he wished to
keep the platform brief, but had lengthened it because he "felt
that the time had come to assert fundamental Democratic
principles all along the line." A handful of planks on
specific issues, such as a paragraph praising the Cuban
revolutionaries, were added in committee, but chairman James K.
Jones, Senator from Arkansas, kept accretions to a minimum.
The platform reported out of the resolutions committee
declared the "money question" to be "paramont at this time,"
and opened with a declaration in favor of free coinage of
silver at 16 to 1, a denunciation of the "un-American" policy
of gold monometalism, a statement of opposition to, the
issuance of interest bearing bonds by the government, and a
declaration that only the government, not banks, could issue
paper money. A plank favoring a tariff "for revenue only"
and a declaration in support of a Constitutional amendment to
permit an income tax followed the leading statement on money.
The plank denouncing "government by injunction" was in keeping
with the platform's theme that the Democratic party was the
bulwark against "the centralization of governmental power,"
but in committee planks were added calling for stricter
government control of trusts, a strengthened Interstate Commerce
Commission, and federal aid for improvement of internal water-
ways. 4 Despite this, the Democratic platform differed from
the Populist in the absence of calls for government ownership of
monopolistic industries and its milder demands for regulation. 105
There was no mention of Cleveland in the platform, but Jones
had included one paragraph pronouncing against a third term for
the Presidency. The Review of Reviews noted that this plank
was "evidently intended, like several other portions of this
remarkable platform, to have direct and uncomplimentary reference
to President Cleveland." 106
Delegates supporting the gold standard were not satisfied
with the money plank adopted by the committee and drafted a
minority plank to offer to the convention as a substitute.
William Jennings Bryan was named to arrange for a debate on
the substitute plank before the convention, and Jones suggested
to him that he use his authority to name himself as one of the
speakers defending the majority plank. 107 Bryan was the only
leading candidate for the nomination who had not yet spoken
before the convention, and his decision to act as the concluding
speaker for the silver forces created the opportunity for him
to dilver the "Cross of Gold" speech which assured his nomina-
tion. After observing the tumultuous reception given Bryan's
address, Jones telegraphed a report to the Post-Dispatch
saying that the contest was now between Bryan and Bland. He
did not think that Bland's supporters had been stamped by the
Bryan boom, and was hopeful that Bland would receive the
nomination. When Bryan did receive the nomination, Jones
maintained that there was no reason to regret the decision since
Bryan was a sound and true advocate of the silver cause.
During the campaign the Chicago platform became a focus
of attack for the Republicans, the declaration against "govern-
ment by injunction" drawing perhaps more criticism as destructive
of law and authority than the free silver plank. Jones made
sure that he was given recognition as the author of the
"Second Declaration of independence," and defended it as a
conservative document. He said that criticism of it as radical
only showed how far the country had strayed from the principles
of the nation's founders. The comment of the Chicago Tribune
on Jones's authorship was typical of the rhetoric employed by
conservatives during the campaign:
It was the "Majah" who made the plank for rotten
money, for national dishonor, for swindling creditors,
for breaking down the national currency, for industrial
and commercial panics, for discrediting the Supreme
Court, for shutting off the national revenue, for
encouragement of Altgeld and Debs, for breaking
down the civil service. These are all the earmarks
of the "Majah," and what he couldn't think of was
supplied by the crazy Western fanatics. 1 -'-
The Post-Dispatch was, along with William Randolph Hearst's
New York Herald , perhaps the most influential pro-Bryan news-
papers of the campaign. -Many of the major Democratic newspapers
across the country refused to back the nominee of the party. 112
Bryan paid tribute to the "excellent service" performed by the
Post-Dispatch , but Bryan's opponents declared that Jones's
newspaper helped to generate the tone of hatred which
characterized the campaign: "He made the Chicago platform
mean all its opponents claimed and more. . . . His hatred
had blood in it." The St. Louis Mirror warned that Jones
had become an "Enemy of Society." 11 * When St. Louis merchants
pinned gold badges on their employees and turned them out to
parade for gold a few days before the election, Jones placed
the staff of the Post-Dispatch , all wearing silver badges, along
the parade route to jeer the procession. Editorially the
Post-Dispatch asked the gold standard marchers:
You are wearing a yellow badge. Are you willing,
in cold blood, to take your place alongside the
enemies of yourself, your fellow workmen and wage
earners, and your country? Don't you know that
the men at the head of this enormous aggregation
of capital that is solidly backing Republicanism
and the gold standard spend a large part of their
time in Europe; that many of them are aliens who
despise this country too much to become naturalized
or to vote; that they are hand in glove with the
money syndicates of Europe; that their speakers
have advocated the shooting down of American citizens
who dare to vote against their interests, the capture
and imprisonment of Mr. Bryan, the Presidential
candidadate of the masses, and the substitution of
a "righteous monarchy" for the Republic founded by
Washington and Jefferson? 11 ^
The Post-Dispatch advised the working man to take off
his gold badge, "throw it in the gutter, spit upon it, and
stand up like a man and proclaim yourself free."
On election day the nation divided along sectional
lines. Bryan carried the South and all but five states west
of the Mississippi, while McKinley carried the Northeast and
old Northwest. With McKinley* s victory the Post-Dispatch
turned abruptly to a sober, conciliatory tone. "Let us have
peace," it said. 17 Jones did not view Bryan's candidacy as
a mistake or his defeat as a disaster; instead it was said that
the campaign had purged the party of traitors and plutocrats
and had left the party machinery better organized than before
the election when control of the party was in doubt. -^ The
reason for the Post-Dispatch 's about face was economic: the
paper was being boycotted by several local advertisers who
objected to its editorial policies. Samuel Wilson had warned
Jones more than a year earlier that if he adopted a pro-silver
policy he could expect a boycott by "the local plutocratic
influences (very strong and of wonderful solidarity!) ."H9
The newspaper had also lost some circulation in the city
during the campaign, but this had been more than compensated for
by the large increases in circulation in the countryside.
After the election Jones made a direct and open appeal to
advertisers for their patronage, asking whether they could
afford to ignore the largest advertising medium in the city.
A second reason for Jones's interest in winning back lost
advertising was his agreement with Pulitzer, which stipulated
that he must increase the paper's profits to the level of 1893
or lose his contract. In order to meet these terms, Jones
was forced to make cuts in the Post-Dispatch 's expenses,
including the dismissal of some key employees. -^
Another threat to Jones's control of the Post-Dispatch
was ended in January when the Supreme Court of Missouri, by
a 3-2 vote, decided that his contract with Pulitzer was binding
on the board of directors, and therefore Jones could exercise
complete control of the paper for the duration of his agree-
ment. The only remaining obstacle to Jones's continuance
at the Post-Dispatch was Pulitzer's attitude, and, surprisingly,
Pulitzer was not adverse to seeing Jones remain in control.
"There is nothing in reason that I would not do if he stayed,"
Pulitzer stated. Despite the fight for control, despite
the boycott of advertisers, despite Pulitzer's withdrawal of
the World 's features, Jones had made the paper pay. In addition,
if Pulitzer were to get rid of Jones he would be faced with the
task of finding a replacement. However, Jones had decided to
resign as editor, and did so on June 27, 1897. Negotiations,
which had begun two months before, led to the repurchase of
Jones's one-sixth share for the $80,000 he had paid for it,
plus $45,000 representing one-sixth of the paper's profits
during Jones's tenure. -*
Two factors probably dictated Jones's departure. The
most immediate was the deterioration of his own health and the
protracted illness of his wife. The other was that Jones
was not willing to continue a relationship which permitted
Pulitzer to hinder and harass him, and that would terminate in
1900 when he might find circumstances unfavorable for a break.
He reportedly offered to purchase control of the Post-Dispatch
from Pulitzer, and when he was refused, sold out himself. He told
a Globe-Democrat reporter before leaving St. Louis that he
expected to be back in the -business before the campaigns of
1898, but that he would only return as the editor of his own
In an attempt to regain their health Jones and his wife
departed shortly for a vacation in Europe which would last for
more than a year. They spent the winter in the dry, warm
climate of Egypt, and they were in Rome in the spring when
the Spanish-American War began. 128 Jones returned to St. Louis
in July, 1898, and it was rumored that he was attempting to
resume newspaper work. He reportedly tried unsuccessfully to
purchase the St. Louis Star , and it was even suggested that
he was negotiating with Pulitzer again. 129 Jones looked into
newspaper properties elsewhere but he declared that he would
not again take a position as a salaried employee, and he could
not find a newspaper which he could purchase on what he felt
was a reasonable term. Jones blamed his failure to secure a
newspaper on the increasing business orientation of the press,
which he termed "counting room journalism."
He also complained that the independence of the press
had been subverted by big business:
Pressures by the moneyed interests and their
corporation allies is brought to bear upon
advertisers and by them transmitted through the
"business office" of the newspaper to the pro-
prietors; and the instances are extremely few
in which this pressure is effectually resisted.
In most instances there is no desire to resist
it, for during the last twenty years the moneyed
interests have not overlooked the importance of
owning or otherwise controlling the newspaper press
of the country. . . . Journalists who take
themselves seriously, who regard the work of
moulding public opinion as a high vocation, who
believe in duty and are willing to accept responsi-
bility, who would rather champion the rights of the many
than defend the privileges of the few, are
finding it more and more difficult either to enter
or to remain in the newspaper field, whether as
employees or proprietors. -*0
Sometime in 1898, probably in the fall after his return
from Europe, Jones suffered what he described as a "breakdown"
or "nervous collapse." 1 ^ Others called it "appolexy" or a
"stroke," but it seems probable that his attack was a nervous
trauma of some sort, for he does not appear to have suffered
any noticeable physical or mental damage of a permanent
nature. Whatever his illness, it apparently ended his
plans for returning to active newspaper work.
He decided to settle in New York, a city which he had
always found congenial, taking an apartment at the Dakota
Hotel on West Seventy-Second Street. In the spring of 1899
he organized the Lockwood Trade Journal Company, consolidating
three old properties of Howard Lockwood, the Paper Trade
Journal , the American Stationer , and Lockwood 's Directory .
This company published, and continues to publish, the Paper
Trade Journal , a magazine devoted to the paper industry. Jones
brought his brother George, who had remained in Missouri in
newspaper work, to New York as manager of the journal. In
1904 Jones and his brother purchased another trade magazine,
Tobacco , and formed the Tobacco Trade Journal Company .
These properties provided Jones's income for the remainder of
1 his life.
Despite the termination of his newspaper career, Jones
remained active in politics. The United States was technically
at war with Spain in January, 1899, although actual fighting
in the war with Spain had ended months before. The Senate
debate on ratification of the Treaty of Paris which would
restore peace spotlighted the "new issues" of imperialism and
militarism which were threatening to displace the issues of
1896 in the public forum. Jones's friend, William Vincent Byars,
wrote him suggesting that the Democratic party embrace the
"new issues," and make anti-expansionism the major thrust of
party policy. Jones disagreed with this idea, holding that
opponents of expansion had always lost in American history and
that the party must acquies to this tendency for growth. "I
am not myself eager for expansion," he wrote Byars. "I would
be glad to see the attention of our people restricted to internal
questions for another hundred years. ™ Jones believed that
the question of imperialism would be settled before the election
of 1900, clearing the way for resolution of the domestic
questions which he had enunciated in the platform of 1896.
Yet developments seemed to be forcing the "new issues" to
the fore. The return of prosperity to the West was alleviating
problems in the farm belt which had fueled the Populist and
reform movements of the early and mid-1890' s. In an interview
with the New York Tribune , Jones admitted that the McKinley
administration would probably get credit for the rise in
farm prices, but he pointed out that Southwestern cotton
growers were as bad off as ever and that the agricultural
community was aware that conditions overseas had more to do
with the return of good times than anything done by the
„ *,* 136
While the causes of domestic discontent were lessening,
other events were intensifying the debate on imperialism. In
February the Filipinos rose in revolt against their American
"liberators," and shortly afterward the Senate ratified the
Treaty of Paris, making the Philippine Islands a possession
of the United States. Jones had agreed with William Jennings
Bryan in hoping that the Congress would adopt a resolution
promising independence to the islands, but no such declaration
was forthcoming, instead business interests began to discuss the
profits which might accrue from an Asian trade station.
Puerto Rico, which Jones believed would be made a territory
and prepared for statehood, was put on a. colonial status. Cuba
was not permitted to assume self-government, but was ruled
by a United States military government. A bill to increase the
size of the standing army to a size unprecendented in peacetime
was introduced in Congress. It was such events that led the
Democratic party to reject the idea of making the platform of
1900 a duplicate of the platform of 1896 and to declare imperialism
"the paramount issue" of the campaign of 1900. 13 ^
Jones spoke out against expansionism even though he was
inclined to believe that it should remain a secondary issue. He
was particularly opposed to the "McKinley Syndicate's "
"piratical policy" in the Philippines: 138
The plain truth is that never since the shot
was fired at Lexington that echoed around the
world have men wearing the uniform of the United
States and standing under its flag been engaged
in such sorry and shameful business as that which
has recently occupied our troops at Manila. No
newspaper heroics can hide the repulsive?.fact that
there American soldiers, enlisted for a war whose
avowed purpose was the liberation of Cubans from
Spanish oppression, used the most powerful and
deadliest engines of modern warfare for the
slaughter of half -armed men, who came together
originally to aid us agaist the Spaniards and who
believed themselves to be engaged in precisely the
same work that our forefathers awoke to when Paul
Revere in his midnight ride summoned them to con-
flict. And I believe it to be true that this is
the conviction and the feeling of nearly all thought-
ful and patriotic Americans. If here, as in England,
the masses : can be blinded and misled by the news-
paper and political Jingoes, then it is difficult
to contemplate hopefully the future of the republic.
In fact, the republic as we know it will have no
In March, 1899, Jones wrote an article for the St. Louis
Mirror , "The Menace of Militarism," in which he argued that the
debate over imperialism was only one aspect of the larger
question of militarism. He wrote against the proposal to
increase the size of the army, saying that such a course would
lead to the subversion of American ideas and the institution of
a militaristic philosophy such as existed in Old World auto-
cracies. He believed that this would mean higher taxes and
cultural retrogression, and would turn the nation's young
men into "uniformed loafers." He also pointed out that while
the Spanish -American War had brought the question to public
attention, the impulse toward militarism pre-dated the war:
"The truth is, that ever since President Cleveland used Federal
troops to invade a State and put down a labor strike, thus
establishing a 'new precedent,' it has been the settled pur-
pose of the great interests that have bought the Republican
party organization, by putting up its campaign fund, to
increase the regular army and to have it so stationed as to
overawe the great cities." °
However, as late as April, 1900, Jones was declaring that
the platform of 1900 would be a reaffirmation of the
declarations of 1896. In a Jefferson day speech he declared
that "the Democratic Platform of 1900 is already formulated,"
and in a letter to party publicist Willis J. Abbot Jones
stated, : "There is no need of a long platform this year. The
■ WttTT^^f«nM t »rei<im«MMg-gflre«>M»^^
reaffirmation of the Chicago Platform (which has been burned
into the hearts and minds of the people) will cover most of
the ground. The new issues can be covered in a few terse and
weighty paragraphs." 141 Bryan also favored a second campaign
on the platform of 1896, but Jones may have been even more
adamant than Bryan in refusing to make concessions designed
to win support in the East. When Bryan made friendly overtures
to New York boss Richard Coker, Jones suggested that Tammany
might be brought into line by force rather than by conciliation. 142
Jones did not want the "sulkers or traitors of 1896" to be
invited as leaders of the party, and stated that it would be
better to lose with Bryan and the principles of 1896 than to win
with a policy of expediency."
At the Kansas City convention it was decided that
imperialism and the "new issues" would be placed at the head
of the platform as the leading questions of the campaign. Bryan
had not favored this. In an article for the North American
Review published in June he had written, "The issue presented
in the campaign of 1900 is the issue between plutocracy and
democracy." Jones had written the draft of the platform
which was adopted but it is not known if he was responsible
for the emphasis on imperialism. Senator James K. Jones of
Arkansas, who had led the fight against ratification of the
Treaty of Paris the year before, was chairman of the platform
committee, and it may have been he who induced the change.
The only major controversy over the platform involved Bryan's
inslstance that a declaration in favor of free coinage of silver
be included. Many party members had wished to see this issue
bypassed since it was no longer a vote-winning question in the
West and would be certain to alienate the East. 146
The platform was a failure as a campaign device. The
anti-imperialism pronouncements failed to arouse the attention
of a public which had come to consider the acquisition of the
Philippines and Puerto Rico a settled question. The money
plank gave the Republicans a weapon to use against their opponent
and permitted them to avoid a negative campaign of defending the
administration's expansionist policies. However, no "issue"
seems to have influenced the conduct of the campaign, except
the issue of "Prosperity," and there the Republicans held an
unassailable position. 147 Bryan's defeat was among the most
decisive in United States history.
The campaign of 1900 was Jones's last venture into
politics. Less than a month after the election he and his
wife sailed for Europe, where they would remain for the rest
of Jones's life, except for a few brief visits to New York. 148
On one of these occasions he brought his granddaughter
Dorothy Martyn, Dora's oldest child, back to Europe with him
to attend school. She became his frequent traveling companion
during the summers. Jones and his wife spent most of their
time wandering from place to place, wintering in Egypt or on
the Italian Riviera and spending the summers in Paris and at
various German health resorts taking the "cures." In 1906
he purchased the first of several automobiles he would own,
a 24 horsepower Panhard. During that summer he made a number
of "tours" of France, then the world's most automobile conscious
nation, and the folowing spring he explored the roads of French
Algeria and Tunesia. In that year his health began to fail,
and in 1908 he suffered what was probably a heart attack while
in Egypt. In 1910 he decided to settle down to live the
life of a country gentleman. He purchased a chateau overlooking
the tiny village of Dinan on the Ranee River in south Brittany. 152
He returned to New York in the fall of 1912 for a short
business trip and then sailed immediately for Italy, leaving
his wife in New York. On the voyage he caught a cold, and upon
arrival in Italy he went to the sanitarium of Dr. Oster at
Ospedaletti. There he was confined to bed. He wrote a short
note to Dora, saying, "I have never felt so sick in my life."
A week later he wrote: "I am terribly weak but the awful feeling
of sickness has nearly passed away. I expect to leave my room
tomorrow for the first time in two weeks .... It has been
dreadful to be so sick and alone, but such is my fate. I will
write more fully as soon as I am able. I can hardly hold the
pen." Two weeks later, on January 27, 1913, he died.
His remains were returned to New York and placed by the
side of Eliza Jones in Greenwood Cemetary. Lily Jones sur-
vived her husband for only two years, dying at a health resort
in Sharon Springs, New York, in August, 1915. His brother
George died less than a year later in his New York home on
January 20, 1916. 158
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII
St. Louis Chronicle , n. d., clipping, JP.
Jones to Abernethy, June 22, 1893, JP.
Jones to Byars, July 11, 1893, Byars Papers.
Ibid., July 14, 1893, Byars Papers.
Ibid., July 30, 1893, Byars Papers.
Ibid., July 31, 1893, Byars Papers.
DonC. Seitz, Joseph Pulitzer, His Life and Letters
(New York, 1924), 178-190; Allen Churchill, Park Row (New York,
1958), 63. ~
Seitz, Pulitzer, His Life , 194.
W. A. Swanberg, Pulitzer (New York, 1967), 182.
Jacksonville Florida Times -Union . December 12, 1886;
St. Louis Republic , November 24, December 5, 1888.
St. Louis Republic , June 6, 1889.
Ibid ., May 19, 1889.
Swanberg, Pulitzer , 182; St. Louis Republic , December 11,
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
Rochester Post -Express , Lockport Mirror , Albany Times -
Union , Syracuse Herald , Washington Evening News , St. Louis Globe-
Democrat , St. Louis Chronicle , undated clippings, JP.
-••" Pittsburg Post , August 3, 1893, clipping, JP.
Jones to Abernethy, September 5, 1893, JP.
Seitz, Pulitzer, His Life , 193-194.
Walt McDougall, This Is The Life ! (New York, 1925), 142.
Seitz, Pulitzer, His Life , 194.
Ibid ., 195.
McDougall, The Life , 243.
Walt McDougall, "Old Days on the World," American Mercury ,
IV (January, 1925), 24.
Dreiser, Book About Myself , 469.
Jones to Byars, August 30, September 13, 1893, Byars Papers,
Ibid ., August 13, 1893, Byars Papers.
Ibid ., January 5, 1894, Byars Papers.
Ibid ., August 19, 1893, Byars, Papers.
Ibid ., July 31, 1893, August 7, 1893, Byars Papers;
St. Louis Mirror, May 19, 1896.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
Jones to Byars, August 7, 1893, Byars Papers,
Ibid . , August 19, 1893, Byars Papers.
Ibid . , August 14, 1893, Byars Papers.
Ibid., July 7, 1894, Byars Papers.
New York World, July 2, 1894.
Ibid ., July 3, 1894.
Ibid ., July 4, 1894.
Seitz, Publizer, His Life , 196.
New York World , July 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 15, 1894.
Seitz, Pulitzer, His Life, 196,
Joseph Pulitzer to Jones, December 2, 1894, quoted in
Charles H. Jones, Respondent, vs. Samuel Williams, Florence D.
White, S. S. Carvalho and the Pulitzer Publishing Company,
Appellants (St. Louis, 1896), 13.
Jones to Pulitzer, December 25, 1894, quoted in Charles
H. Jones, Respondent, 13-14.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
Ibid ., 17.
Original contract, Charles H. Jones vs. Samuel Williams,
et al . , Circuit Court archives, St. Louis, bundle 866A. Herein-
after cited as bundle 866A.
Pulitzer to Samuel Williams, February 8, 1895, quoted
in Charles H. Jones, Respondent , 32r33.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , February 14, 1895.
Charles H. Jones, Respondent , 38.
Pulitzer to Jones, March 16, 1895, quoted in ibid . , 43.
Charles H. Jones, Respondent , 50.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , October 3, 1895.
"Affidavit of William C. Steigers, September 28, 1895,"
L. B. Valliant, "Memorandum," bundle 866A.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , December 31, 1895,
Ibid., March 2, 1896.
Ibid., July 31, 1896.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
St. Louis Mirror, May 19, 1896.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , March 7, 17, April 2, 3, 4, 8,
Ibid., April 14, 1895.
St. Louis Mirror , March 5, 1896; Jones to Byars , April
16, 1895, Byars Papers.
St. Louis Post -Pis patch , May 3, 1895.
Ibid., June 23, July 12, 16, 1895.
Ibid., August 1, 7, 1895.
"Pertile Springs Platform," draft copy, JP.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 4, 1895.
Ibid., April 23, 25, May 21, 1895.
Ibid., April 27, 1895.
Ibid., May 12, 26, 1895.
St. Louis Mirror, April 18, 1895.
St. Louis Post -Dispatch , April 28, 1895.
Ibid., April 9, May 21, 1895.
Ibid., Akgust 30, 1895.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
Ibid., April 14, May 6, 8, June 11, 1895,
Valliant, "Memorandum," bundle 866A.
Solomon S. Carvalho to Jones, August 31, 1895, quoted
in ibid . , bundle 866A.
Ibid., September 7, 1895, quoted in Charles H. Jones,
Respondent , 56 .
Ibid., September 10, 1895, quoted in ibid ., 56,
Jones to Pulitzer, September 14, 1895, quoted in ibid . ,
"Affidavit of Charles H. Jones," bundle 866A.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , October 12, 1895.
Valliant, "Memorandum," bundle 866A.
Jones to Pulitzer, December 25, 1894, quoted in Charles
H. Jones, Respondent , 13-14.
Jones to Byars, April 16, 1895; Lily Jones to Byars,
April 18, 1896; Byars to Lily Jones, April 20, 1896, Byars Papers.
Albert Lawson to Byars, June 15, 1896, Byars Papers,
Ibid., July 5, 1897, Byars Papers,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , August 6, 15, September 29, 1895.
Pusateri, Businessman in Politics , 268.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
St. Louis Post Dispatch , April 16, 21, 1896,
St. Louis Mirror , March 5, 1896; Pusateri, Businessman
in Politics, 278.
Charles Chapin, Charles Chapin's Story (New York, 1920),
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , January 17, 21, February 11,
June 1 , 1896 .
Ibid., April 16, 1896.
Ibid., June 20, 1896.
Ibid., April 30, 1896.
Nevins, Grover Cleveland , 684.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , November 23, 1895.
William Jennings Bryan and Mary Baird Bryan, Memoirs
of William Jennings Bryan (Philadelphia, 1925), 108; William
Vincent Byars, An American Commoner: The Life and Times of
Richard Parks Bland (Columbia, 1900), 234.
Bryan, Memoirs, 108; "Chicago Platform of 1896, First
Draft, June 17, 1896," JP.
New York Times , July 7, 1896.
Jones to Willis J. Abbot, April 10, 1900, JP.
St. Louis Post -Pis patch, July 9, 1896.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
Porter and Johnson, Party Platforms , 97-100; "The
Platform as Adopted," JP.
Louis W. Koenig, Bryan: A Political Biography of William
Jennings Bryan (New York, 1971), 188.
"The Free Coinage Plank," Review of Reviews , XIV (August,
Charles M. Wilson, The Commoner William Jennings Bryan
(New York, 1955), 209.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , July 10, 1896.
Ibid., July 11, 1896.
Ibid ., July 15, 1896; "The National Democratic Plat-
Chicago Tribune , July 10, 1896, clipping, JP.
Paul W. Glad, The Trumpet Soundeth: William Jennings
Bryan and His Democracy (Omaha, 1960), 172.
William Jennings Bryan, The First Battle; A Story of
the Campaign of 1896 (Chicago, 1896), 443; St. Louis Mirror ,
December 17, 1896.
St. Louis Mirror , March 5, 1896.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , November 11, 1896.
Ibid., November 12, 1896.
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
Ibid., November 3, 4, 5, 1896.
Williams to Jones, April 30, 1895, quoted in "Affidavit
of Charles H. Jones," bundle 866A.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch , November 13, 1896.
Ibid . , November 7, 1896.
Jones to Byars, November 7, 1896, Byars Papers.
Supreme Court of Missouri, "Mandate," filed May 24,
1897, bundle 866A.
Seitz, Pulitzer, His Life , 233.
St. Louis Mirror , September 24, 1896; St. Louis Globe-
Democrat , undated clipping, JP.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat , July 10, 1898; St. Louis
Mirror , July 14, 1898.
St. Louis Mirror , July 28, 1898.
[?] Democrat and Journal , undated clipping, JP.
James K. Jones to Jones, February 23, 1899; Jones
Chapin, Charles Chapin's Story . 171; New York Evening
World , January 27, 1913, clipping, JP. "^
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
"Charles H. Jones," obit., Tobacco , January 30, 1913,
Jones to Byars, April 7, 1899; Byars to Jones, April
10, 1899, Byars Papers.
St. Louis Mirror, March 30, 1899.
New York Tribune, April 18, 1899, clipping, JP.
Jones to Byars, April 7, 1899, Byars Papers; Porter
and Johnson, Party Platforms , 113.
St. Louis Mirror, March 30, 1899.
New York Evening Post , February 15, 1899, clipping, JP.
St. Louis Mirror , March 30, 1899.
Jefferson Day speech, manuscript; Jones to Abbot.
April 10, 1900, JP.
Koenig, Bryan: A Political Biography , 304.
Jefferson Day speech, manuscript; unidentified news-
paper clipping, JP.
Paolo E. Coletta, "Bryan, McKin ley, and the Treaty of
Paris," Pacific Historical Review , XXVI (May, 1957), 145; Glad,
Trumpet Soundeth , 74.
W. J. Bryan, "The Issue in the Presidential Campaign,"
North American Review, DXXII (June, 1900), 753.
Glad, Trumpet Soundeth , 74; Bryan and Bryan, Memoirs ,
NOTES TO CHAPTER VII (continued)
Thomas A. Bailey, "Was the Presidential Election of 1900
a Mandate on Imperialism?" Mississippi Valley Historical Review ,
XXIV (June, 1937), 43.
"Outline of Travel," pocket notebook 1910, original, JP.
Dorothy Martyn is now Mrs. Carl G. Freeman, Bat Cave,
Charles H. Jones, "From Paris to the Desert of Sahara,"
Automobile , XVII (October 10, 1907), 477-480; "Autoing in Algeria
and Tunis," Automobile , XVIII (October 17, 1907), 527-530; "Auto-
ing in Northern Africa," Automobile , XVII (November 14, 1970), 739-
Jones to Dora Jones, December 15, 1907; ibid . , November
1, 1908, original, JP.
Notation for September 25, pocket notebook, 1910,
Jones to Dora Jones, January 6, 1913, original JP.
Ibid . , January 14, 1913, original JP.
New York Sun , February 24, 1913, clipping, JP.
Notation for Lily Jones, "Daily Reminder, 1940,"
New York Times , January 21, 1916.
In 1901 A. S. Mann attempted to revivie the cross-Florida
canal project and wrote to Jones to enlist his aid. His letters
reached Jones in Egypt, where he and Mrs. Jones had taken
residence to escape the cold and dampness of the European
winter. Jones declined to join Mann in the project, saying:
"I suppose you know that since my residence in Florida I have
taken a prominent (or rather an influential) part in shaping
Democratic party policies, and I am on record as opposed to
Government undertakings such as the Nicaraguan and Florida
canals would be."
An assessment of Jones's place in history is made more
difficult because he may have been more influential than he
was prominent. He was not an office holder or a very well-
known public figure in his own day, and he has been almost
completely ignored by historians. Whatever influence he had
on his times was exerted in the realm of ideas through his
role as newspaper editor and publicist. Jones felt that he
had played an important part in shaping the attitudes and
opinions of both the general public and political leaderhsip, but
he was almost certainly deluded in this exalted opinion of
himslef . Yet even a critical contemporary writer for the
St. Louis Mirror could declare that Jones was a primary
originator of Populist ideology and that he supplied the
"brains" for the 1896 campaign while Bryan furnished only the
voice. Whatever his place in moulding the events and ideas
of his day, it is clear that the times impressed themselves on
During his years as a magazine writer and editor in
New York he reflected the prevailing attitudes among intellectuals
which have come to be called social Darwinism. His desire for
governmental reform, was typical of the era. His writings
against Reconstruction were part of a larger body of literature
which argued that the resolution of the race question in the
South should be left in the hands of white southerners.
In Florida Jones was one of a long line of promoters and
publicists who made a career of stimulating development in the
tropical frontier state. His cross-Florida canal plan, lobbying
for harbor development, demands for municipal improvements,
and defense of railroad land grants were in harmony with the
attitudes evidenced by Governors Drew, Bloxham, and Fleming
and with private citizens such as Henry M. Flagler and William D.
Chipley. The campaign to bring the World's Fair to St. Louis
and the promotion of Jacksonville's Sub-Tropical Exposition
were conducted in this same spirit.
Jones is difficult to assess as a newspaper editor
because he held ideas which were in part conservative and in
II, part progressive. His practices of personal journalism and
|| his belief that the editorial page was the heart of a newspaper
were a continuation of traditional attitudes that had greatly
diminished even in his own day. Yet his businessman's attitude
toward the press, his concern with news gathering and wire
services, and his role in establishing the national press
organizations placed him aong the innovative editors of the
Joseph Pulitzer period in American journalism.
Jones must also be considered as a politician, for he
Sir was not content to take part in the political process simply
f|§ as an editor. He became involved in matters of practical
politics. It is not clear whether Jones ever aspired to public
office. The Florida election of the United States Senate in
1887 and the Jones-Francis contest for a place in Cleveland's
cabinet are instances which indicate that he may have wanted a
public post on the state or national level. Indeed, it is
difficult to believe that a man of Jones's vanity would not
have been attracted by either of these positions, but Jones
himself denied that he wished to hold office. As an editor,
he used his position to advance the interests of politicians
he favored, to attack politicians he did not favor, and to
promote his own power in politics. He was not without
principles, but he could repress principle for the sake of
expediency. However, he does seem to have had a genuine concern
for the general public good, although there certainly was
an element of self-interest in adopting popular causes as
Hopefully, this study of the interaction of an
individual with the men and ideas of his times will contribute
to the better understanding of life in the second half of the
NOTES TO CHAPTER VIII
Jones to A. S. Mann, February 9, 1901, Austin S. Mann
Papers, P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, Gainesville.
2 St. Louis Mirror, March 5, 1896; July 11, 1898.
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Tallahassee Weekly Florid ian, 1881-1887 .
Tallahassee Weekly Tallahassean , July 14, 1886.
Tampa Weekly Journal , March 14, 24, 31, 1887.
Washington Evening News , n. d.
Freeman, Mrs. Carl G., Bat Cave, North Carolina, September 16, 1972.
Florida State Documents :
Acts and Resolutions Adopted by the Legislature of Florida at its
Twelfth Session , Tallahassee: Charles E. Dyke, 1883.
Journal of the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of the
State of Florida , Tallahassee: N. M. Bowen, .1885.
Charles H. Jones vs. Samuel Williams, et al 4 , Circuit Court archives,
St. Louis, bundle 866A.
Thomas S. Graham III was born August 11, 1943, in Miami,
Florida. He was educated in the public schools of Ft. Lauderdale,
graduating from Stranahan High School in June, 1961. He attended
Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, for one year, and then en-
rolled at Florida State University. He received a Bachelor of
Arts degree in history in December, 1965, and a Master of Arts
degree in history in August, 1967. From January, 1967, until
July, 1969, he was a teacher and athletic coach in the secondary
schools of Orange County, Florida. Since September, 1969, he has
pursued work toward the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the
University of Florida. During that time he has worked as a grad-
uate teaching asssistant and as editorial assistant to the Florida
Historical Quarterly .
He is married to the former Susan Rae Kettlety of Orlando,
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of History
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
^Wi-k,^,, Q Upl^ru^
Manning J. Dc
Professor of/ Political Science
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
E. A. Hammond
Professor of History
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
,yle N. McAlister
Professor of History
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Ancil N. Payne
Professor of History
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion
it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and
is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Claude C. Sturgill
Associate Professor of History
This dissertation was submitted to the Department of History in the
College of Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate Council, and was
accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree
of Doctor of Philosophy.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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