(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Uncle Joe Cannon The Story Of A Pioneer American"

Keep your Card in This Pocket 

Books will be issued only on presentation 
of proper library cards. 

Unless labeled otherwise, books may ^ be 
retained for four weeks. Borrowers finding 
books marked, defaced or mutilated are ex- 
pected to report same at library desk; other- 
wise the last borrower will be held responsible 
for all imperfections discovered. 

The card holder is responsible for all books 
drawn on his card. 

Penalty for over-due books 2c a day plus 
cost of notices. 

Lost cards and change of residence must 
be reported promptly, 

PUBLIC mm 

Kansas City, Mo. 
Keep Your Card in This Pocket 




UNCLE JOE CANNON 




i own thus, 



JOSEPH GURNEY CANNON 
Speaker of the House of Representatives 



Uncle Toe Canman 

.:***. ' ^/' *!* 



Tlie Story of a Pioneer American 



to 
L. WHITE BUSBEY 

for 20 years bis private secretary 




NEW YORK 

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY 



COPYRIGHT, 1927, 

BY 
KATHERINE GRAVES BUSBEY 



June, 1927 



PRINTED IN THE 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



MR. CANNON'S FOREWORD 

I am one of the great army of mediocrity which 
constitutes the majority. I have made little effort 
to separate myself from that majority, and it has 
not been difficult for me to keep in sympathy with 
the average citizen, for I have always belonged to 
that class, if it is a class. All -my experiences have 
been as an average man. 

Many of my friends have urged rne to write a 
book, but aside from a great respect for the cau- 
tion of Job when he said, f *Ob, that mine adver- 
sary had written a book" I have never in my dis- 
cussion of public affairs conformed to a literary 
style. I have jollo^ued the methods adopted when 
riding a western circuit, a sort of catch-as-catch- 
can argiiment. To write is foreign to all my tastes 
and inclinations. I never wrote a speech and held 
it in respect long enough to deliver it. 

If rny experiences in public life, and my asso- 
ciations with the men who have accomplished 
imich in legislation in the last fifty years, are of 
value to the present generation, the story must be 
written by some one else. I have gone over the 
record of my span of life with Mr. Busbey in a 
reminiscent way, and he has sifted the grain from 
the chaff. It is my story, but his book. 

J. G, CANNON 



EDITOR'S NOTE 

My husband, L. White Busbey, who died in Oc- 
tober, 1925, was, during Mr. Cannon's Speaker- 
ship, his, private secretary. How he came to 
receive that appointment he tells in a diary entry 
made at the time: 

" 'DEAR BUSBEY: 

" Tlease call at the Speaker's Room 
before 11:30 or after the House ad- 
journs today. 

" <J. G. CANNON/ 

tc ln response to the above note, dated November 
10, 1903, I called at the Speaker's Room on my 
way to the Press Gallery. Mr. Cannon had been 
elected Speaker the day before, and his room was 
crowded with members. His greeting to me was, 
*Fm glad you have come. I want you to take that 
desk. You are Secretary to the Speaker/ 

"I was taken by surprise as I had never sought 
public office, had never done any secretarial work 
and had no desire or intention to give up my work 
as the Washington correspondent of the Chicago 
Inter Ocean. I so told the Speaker. 

" 'Oh, that's all fixed/ responded the Speaker. 



vi EDITOR'S NOTE 

"I stopped in Chicago on my way east and Hinman, 
the Editor of the Inter Ocean, agreed to loan you 
to the House when I explained we needed you. 
You are not to be a secretary, for I never had one, 
but I need an assistant who knows men and meas- 
ures, has political sense and the confidence of the 
Press Gallery. You are to be Speaker in this room 
and stand between me and the outside world that 
thinks it has business with the Speaker. You are 
also to be the man responsible if there is any news 
in this place and the boys in the gallery do not get 
it/ 

"I had known Mr. Cannon as I had known other 
public men in Illinois and the West, not more inti- 
mately. There was nothing personal about the 
selection. Mr. Cannon wanted a man of my train- 
ing, and I seemed to fit in. The editor of the 
Chicago Inter Ocean wired me that he had con- 
sented to Mr. Cannon's request because it was of 
a character that could not be refused a draft on 
the office for government service. 

ec "You will/ the Speaker went on, 'find your 
hands full, for so far as I have looked into the 
matter the Speaker has control of the south half of 
the capitol, manages the police, runs the res- 
taurant, settles the contests over committee rooms 
and is a general Poo Bah. That's you. So take the 
oath/ 



EDITOR'S NOTE vii 

"Thus began my more intimate acquaintance 
with Mr. Cannon which continued for twenty 
years." 

Many o Mr. Cannon's friends in Congress and 
his other admirers in public life had repeatedly 
urged him to write the story of his career, believ- 
ing that it would be a valuable contribution to 
American political history. That he could never 
be persuaded to do. It was then suggested to Mr. 
Busbey that lie, with Mr. Cannon's consent, should 
be his biographer. To this Mr. Cannon offered no 
objection, but he indicated that whatever was 
written about him should preferably be not in the 
conventional form of biography but rather as a 
narrative of his life and times and such observa- 
tions upon them as seemed pertinent. Mr. Busbey 
describes the circumstances under which the ma- 
terial which is practically Mr. Cannon's auto- 
biography was secured. Mr. Cannon was asked 
to write a foreword to the book, which it was 
hoped would be, in effect, his own estimate of him- 
self and the history of his country which he had 
in part made. He could not be induced to do this, 
all he would do was to write the brief letter of 
approval. 

Various things, illness among others, forced Mr. 
Bxisbey to delay publication. At the time of his 
death a large part of the manuscript had been 



viii EDITOR'S NOTE 

revised, and his notes, diaries and drafts made it 
comparatively easy to complete the work in con- 
formity with the plan designed by him and ap- 
proved by Mr. Cannon. He requested I would, if 
possible, take up the pleasant task and finish what 
he had begun. This I have endeavored to do. 

KATHERINE GRAVES BUSBEY 

Washington, D. C. 
December, 1926. 



CHAPTER 



CONTENTS 

PACTS 

FOREWORD iii 

EDITOR'S NOTE . . . . v 

INTRODUCTORY NOTE .... xiii 

I A QUAKER HERITAGE .... 3 

II LIFE ON THE WABASH . . . . 23 

III A RANK IN JUSTICE 50 

IV THE AWAKENING OF AMBITION . . 63 
V WARTIME 86 

VI THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED . . . .117 

VII HOW TlLDEN LOST THE PRESIDENCY . 141 

VIII A FAMOUS QUORUM . . .164 

IX FIFTY MILLIONS AND No QUESTIONS 186 

X ROOSEVELT AND THE PRESIDENCY . .199 

XI SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS . . 216 

XII THE BATTLE or THE INSURGENTS . . 243 

XIII A DISTINGUISHED LOBBYIST . . . 270 

XIV THE PRESIDENCY AT A BARGAIN PRICE . 282 
XV CHEAP POSTAGE AND PUBLICITY 292 

XVI SOME STIRRING SCENES AND PERSONAL 

ESTIMATES 303 

XVII RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS . . .326 

XVIII RETROSPECT 352 

INDEX 357 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 
JOSEPH GURNEY CANNON . . . Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

UNCLE JOE 82 

JEALOUS JIM 138 

THE DANAID WHO Is CONDEMNED TO FILL A 

LEAKING VESSEL 1 62 

THE REED-McKlNLEY-CANNON CONTEST . 166 

CLEARING THE ROAD A STRONG MAN IN THE 

RIGHT PLACE 170 

FIFTY MILLIONS FOR DEFENSE . . . .186 
THE VERY WICKED LITTLE BOYS . . .194 

THE VICTORY OF THE McKiNLEY TARIFF . . 198 
AND THE ELEPHANT MINDS . . . .212 
CANNON GOING INTO ACTION . . . .212 

PREPARED FOR THE WORST 212 

"WHO Is STEERING, ANYWAY?" .... 224 
THE SPEAKER As HE HOPES IT WILL BE . . 244 
THE DONKEY'S TURN TO LAUGH . . . 250 
THE TARGET 250 

"REPORTS OF MY POLITICAL DEMISE ARE 

GREATLY EXAGGERATED" . . . .250 

ONCE CLOTHED WITH POWER, Now ALMOST 
BARE, HE'S LOST His PULL, BUT SAVED His 
CHAIR 260 

MARK TWAIN 276 

MOSES "THE GREAT LAW GIVER" IN ACTION . 300 



FACING PAGE 



xii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

W 

NOT BIG ENOUGH FOR SPEAKER CANNON . .300 

THE SPIRIT OF 1906 - 300 

POOR UNCLE JONAH 324 

A TENACIOUS JONAH . . . . . .324 

CANNON REPROVES CARRANZA . . . .324 

TRAINING THE CABINET BIRDS . . . .330 

JOE CANNON . . . . . - .348 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

To the world Mr. Cannon was "Uncle Joe/' 
It was the world's tribute of affection. It be- 
tokened both respect and intimacy. There have 
been few men in public life who have been so uni- 
versally liked; even his opponents liked him after 
their broken heads were mended and that horrible 
moment when the club laid them low was forgot- 
ten. Men disagreed with him., but they admired 
him for his honesty, his integrity, his adherence 
to a code from which he never swerved. They 
brought many accusations against him; he was a 
'"czar," autocratic in his rule of the House, In the 
hands of a small group of favorites, narrow, par- 
simonious in the expenditure of the public funds; 
but no one, even when passion ran highest, ever 
accused him of being governed by an unworthy 
motive or using public position to advance his pri- 
vate Interests. He was stubborn, it was often said, 
but it was the stubbornness of honesty guided by 
principle. 

The men who knew him were legion; but few 
knew the real man. There was in him a vein of 
emotion (it was the drop of French blood In his 



xiv INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

makeup), an exquisite sentiment, a softness that 
seldom revealed itself to the public. Like most men 
of strong will, of courage, of fixed principles, he 
had the timidity and shyness of an unformed 
youth; like the youth stirred by noble passions- he 
seemed to think it disgraceful to lay bare his soul. 
The least vain of all men, it was difficult to induce 
him to talk about himself. If he was approached 
directly the result was nearly always disappoint- 
ing; he either conveniently forgot or jerked out a 
few words that meant nothing. It was only when 
something unloosed the flood of memory that he 
talked. An incident would recall his boyhood 
days, a speech in the House would bring back a 
great Congressional figure of the past, the death of 
a public man would open the long closed door of 
recollection. Even then he was not fluent, he 
merely sketched an episode instead of painting a 
picture. 

I could do only one thing, and that was to be 
content with the sketch for the moment and wait 
for a more favorable moment for the gaps to be 
filled in; to say to him a week later, sometimes after 
a lapse of many weeks: ''You remember you told 
me about so and so. What I want to know is what 
happened after this or that." Whereupon Mr. 
Cannon would furnish the lacunae, not always at 
once but eventually. 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xv 

Mr. Cannon had another peculiarity. "When he 
talked, even when he talked in the first person and 
told about his early life and experiences, it was with 
an air of detachment, giving me the feeling that 
he was relating things he had seen and heard rather 
than those which so intimately concerned himself. 
That came from his modesty, I think; an impres- 
sion fortified by his only criticism of my work. 

After he told me of the death of his father, I 
asked him to read over the rough draft of my 
manuscript.. He did so and handed it back to me 
saying he did not like it at all. I told him it was 
precisely as he had described it, but if I had misun- 
derstood him I would of course make the neces- 
sary corrections. I had correctly quoted him, he 
said, but he objected to all "this damned T busi- 
ness/' as he expressed it. He then suggested that 
instead of putting the narrative in the first person 
it should be made impersonal. Naturally I told 
him I would do nothing of the kind, and explained 
that the public would not be interested in what I 
thought Mr. Cannon had said or done, but did care 
to read in his own words the story of his life. It 
took me some time to argue this and finally to con- 
vince him that I was right, and the discussion ended 
by Mr. Cannon saying grudgingly and evidently 
still certain that he -was foolishly allowing himself 
to be persuaded against his sounder judgment: 



xvi INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

< Oh, do what you like. I don't care, but there's 
too much T business these days. Everybody says 
what T did, as if there was nobody else in the 
world to do anything. It doesn't seem right to 



me/ 5 



In public life Mr. Cannon was vehement, often 
violent, disliking his opponents with a hearty de- 
testation, and yet there was seldom if ever any- 
thing personal about his dislike, and never any 
malice- He had a contempt for a Democrat, a free 
trader, a professional agitator,, a demagogue or a 
hypocrite. I doubt if he ever reasoned about it; 
he accepted these aversions as natural; they were 
as much a part of the man as his religion; like his 
religion they were inborn. How could any sen- 
sible man be a free trader, how could any one but 
a knave be an agitator, was it not proof that a 
demogogue must be a liar? 

He was always a fighter, and a fighter does not 
exhibit his softer side to the public. "When he 
w^nt into a fray he was a man of frenzied gesticu- 
lation, fists thumping his desk or one clenched hand 
smiting his open palm with resounding thwacks; 
his waistcoat unbuttoned, very often his collar, 
his necktie disarranged, his coat sleeves, by some 
peculiar trick, riding high up on his arms and show- 
ing a greater expanse of shirt sleeve than was con- 
ventional. Nor was he over nice in the choice o 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xvii 

his language when he led an assault, or considerate 
of the feelings of his opponents. He was a hard 
hitter, and he stood up to punishment manfully. 

Mr. Cannon was an evolutionist. Perhaps even 
he would today be classified as a Modernist, al- 
though creed and dogma were subjects we seldom 
discussed; but I do know that he profoundly be- 
lieved in the ascent of man, that his faith taught 
him the world never stands still but is always go- 
ing forward, that life was slow but nevertheless 
sure progress, that civilization had brought man to 
his present high spiritual plane and would even- 
tually lead him to greater heights. 

He was always an optimist. As a man advances 
in years it is natural for him to look back on his 
youth, to think of it as the golden age, and uncon- 
sciously he takes his revenge on time by contrast- 
ing the simplicity and ease of the past with the 
harshness and complexities of the present. That 
Mr. Cannon never did. He held memory in affec- 
tionate recollection; as a boy his ignorance made 
him see the world through the fancy of vivid 
imagination; but as he grew to man's estate, as he 
left youth behind and came to maturity, as he ad- 
vanced and developed with the years, his philosophy 
deepened and broadened, he became more tolerant, 
he realized that the world was a better place than 
it had been in his boyhood. 



xviii INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

The greatest episode of Mr. Cannon's career was 
the revolution in his own party which has its place 
in American history as "Insurgency/* He was not 
responsible for it* He inherited it. The Speaker 
was not merely the presiding officer of the House. 
He was the party chief, and all Speakers had always 
recognized the duty they owed to their party. 

Mr. Cannon was always a stout party man. 
"Parties rise and fall, principles are immutable/' 
he once observed. The rule of the majority was 
his cardinal article of political faith. He believed 
that parties were necessary in the American form 
of government; that power must be entrusted to 
the party having the support of the majority of the 
voters of the country, and that without parties a 
democratic form of government can not exist. He 
had an utter contempt for the so-called Independ- 
ent later to be known as the "Insurgent" who 
refused to submit to party discipline and considered 
his conscience a safer guide than the judgment of 
his associates. To Mr. Cannon this was arrant 
hypocrisy nor was he ever able to understand why 
the Independents believed they alone had a con- 
science and boasted of their superiority. What he 
felt he expressed in an address on Grant before the 
Middlesex Club of Boston, on April 30, 1910, a 
month after the battle of Insurgency had been 
fought in the House of Representatives. "When 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE six 

somebody forsakes the concrete wisdom of all the 
ages, as developed in the experience of a people 
who are competent, and says, C I am wiser and better 
than all the rest of you/ and flocks by himself and 
proclaims, as I have frequently heard them, that 
'God and one are a majority/ I always feel like 
saying, 'My poor, simple friend, did you ever stop 
to think that God is a majority without one? 5 " 

For some years before Mr. Cannon was elected 
Speaker there had been a spirit of revolt in the 
Republican Party; it was the real or imaginary 
grievance of the "West against the East; it was 
fostered and encouraged by Mr. Roosevelt and 
culminated in the organization of the Progressive 
Party which defeated Mr. Taf t, elected Mr. "Wilson 
and ended Mr. Roosevelt's political career. It is 
another of those sardonic little jokes of history 
that Mr. Roosevelt, who more than any other man 
made the inarticulate Insurgency articulate, should 
have been strangled by his own creation. 

But Mr. Roosevelt had been President. The 
Insurgency destroyed whatever chance Mr. Can- 
non might have had to be nominated for the presi- 
dency; and that, it must not be forgotten, was his 
great ambition. He took his defeat manfully and 
with the philosophy that was part of his nature, 
but he felt the injustice of which he was the victim, 
and it left its scar. It was a thing about which he 



xx INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

could say little. He was wise enough to know that 
a man with a grievance, who is continually parad- 
ing it, makes himself ridiculous and becomes a 
nuisance to his friends. 

My relations with Mr. Cannon naturally 
brought me very close to him, but there were cer- 
tain topics he never broached, and it would have 
been an Impropriety for me to have suggested 
their discussion* In what I am about to say Mr. 
Cannon is not my authority nor have I thought it 
advisable to consult any of his close friends, yet I 
believe I interpret his feelings correctly and reveal 
the man. As I have said elsewhere, thousands 
thought they knew * c Uncle Joe/ 5 but in my belief 
only a few really knew Joseph G. Cannon. 

Mr. Cannon never admitted that his ambition 
was to be president of the United States; in fact, 
when his name was mentioned In connection with 
the presidency, which was not infrequently, he de- 
precated the suggestion. Before his first election 
as Speaker he did not deny that the Speakership 
was his ambition, he made no concealment of his 
hope that his party would continue to show its 
confidence in him by a re-election, but the presi- 
dency, that was another matter. This was 
neither hypocrisy nor mock modesty. In Mr. 
Cannon's composition there was little of either. 
Few men in public life were more direct or less in- 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxi 

clined to soften speech by eupheuism. There was 
little conceit in Mr. Cannon, and he had no exag- 
gerated estimate of his abilities but I am sure he 
did not consider himself intellectually unfit to be 
President. He had come in contact with the 
leaders in public life; he was able correctly and 
justly to appraise them. He had a penetrating 
shrewdness. He knew how many of the men writ- 
ten about in the newspapers as great were only 
near great. 

In our peculiar system of politics one thing is 
taboo. No man may be an avowed candidate for 
the presidency. For almost every other office, with 
the exception of the Supreme Court and perhaps 
one or two other high and important offices, it is 
permitted a man to be a candidate and campaign, 
but not for the presidency. The office must seek 
the man, not the man the office. Hence, uncon- 
sciously almost, there has arisen a code of etiquette. 
A man's friends may secure the nomination for 
him, if they can; his own attitude must be that 
of the modest young maiden who, with downcast 
eyes, chastely waits to be wooed. He must not 
reject what has not been offered him, for that 
would be intolerable presumption; he must ap- 
preciate the high honor that has been conferred 
upon him by the mere mention of his name. That 
is as far as he may go. Consequently it was not 



xxii INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

surprising that when it was suggested to Mr. Can- 
non by his well wishers, by sycophants, by the 
parasites who thought there was profit to them- 
selves in Mr. Cannon's elevation, he should have 
dismissed it as the expression of friendship or the 
motive of selfishness and treated it lightly. 

And then there was Lincoln. 

Almost every public man from the Middle West, 
from. Illinois especially, who was contemporaneous 
with Lincoln, was inspired and exalted by him* 
The relation Lincoln held to those men from Illi- 
nois was entirely different to that of the men of 
the rest of the country. They had known him as 
a boy, they had seen him grow up, he had been one 
of them; they came to respect and admire and 
revere him, but there was nothing mysterious about 
him. To the men who belonged to the generation 
that came after Lincoln, and Mr. Cannon was of 
them, the stories told about Lincoln divested him 
of anything superhuman or as a man set apart from 
his fellows. On the contrary, he was intensely 
human; a man merely, and nothing more. Here 
were men who had worked and played with him 
on the farm when they were barefooted boys; who 
had wrestled him and taken part in the rough sports 
of the pioneer country; who had served in his com- 
pany in the Blackhawk campaign; who had bought 
whiskey and groceries from him; who had known 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxiii 

him as a failure with debts he was unable to pay; 
who had seen him the struggling lawyer content 
with meagre fees. There were men, a few, who 
were able to see in him the seed of his future great- 
ness, but to most, except for his size and superior 
physical strength, there was nothing to distinguish 
him from his compeers. 

It was after Lincoln had become President, it 
was especially after his death made him the heritage 
of the ages, that every young man beginning his 
public career looked to Lincoln as his exemplar; 
some deliberately prepared themselves to follow in 
his footsteps and to be rewarded even as he was, 
others in their vanity believed, given the same op- 
portunity, for the second time there would be a 
Lincoln to save the Union. 

Mr. Cannon was of the land of Lincoln. Like 
Lincoln he had come from the South; like Lincoln 
he had been brought up in that pioneer western 
country. Both men had lived the life common to 
the youth of that day. It was the hard, rough 
life of the clearing and the farm; the settlement 
hewn out of the wilderness. As their tasks were 
similar, so were their recreations, except that Lin- 
coln, because of his extraordinary sinews and thews, 
enjoyed the boisterous contests of strength, while 
Cannon, of slighter physique, delighted more in 
dancing, for which he had a natural sense of 



xxiv INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

rhythm, and singing 3 having an uncultivated but 
good voice. Both men left the farm to go into the 
store and learn something of trade, both turned 
to the law, and with both the law naturally led 
to politics. Up to a certain point their lives ran on 
parallel lines. 

Mr. Cannon never considered himself a Lin- 
coln; but I think it is not at all improbable that 
he may have thought to himself, as men will in 
the privacy of their own communing, that, given 
the opportunity, he might leave his impress upon 
the country. Mr. Cannon, in my opinion, apart 
from all prejudice, was a greater man than the 
country imagined. A man of unconquerable 
intrepidity and of incorruptible integrity, as was 
said of John Adams. Combined with courage, 
honesty and fixed principles, he had political sense 
and a deep understanding of human nature. He 
knew men, because all his life he had been mixing 
with men and stacking his wits against theirs. 
People said that he was uncouth, but had they 
not said the same about Lincoln? He was ac- 
cused of indulging in profanity, but was not the 
same charge brought against Grant and Sheridan? 
The truth is, these men from the West, who be- 
longed to that era, who had been brought up on 
the prairie and experienced the rugged life of the 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxv 

pioneer, brought with them to Washington the 
flavor of the soil and the tang of the farm, and 
their speech was racy of the land. It is a good 
thing they had these qualities. The Civil "War 
and the era that followed needed men with iron in 
their blood and a certain roughness of manner and 
expression. 

In an address at Pittsburgh on Lincoln's Birth- 
day, 1910, Mr. Cannon said: 

"Lincoln was always a politician, always a par- 
tisan . . ." 

What he said of Lincoln he could have said of 
himself. He was always a politician, always a 
partisan, and he felt no shame in being either, or 
deemed that it required apology. It was the Lin- 
coins and Cannons and thousands like them who 
were taming the forest and subduing the wilder- 
ness, content to call themselves Americans without 
qualifying adjectives for their greater glorifica- 
tion. 

At the time of his first election to the Speaker- 
ship, a position in dignity and importance second 
only to the Presidency, no man was more highly 
regarded by the country or held in greater affection 
by his associates than Mr. Cannon. If he then 
hoped that the Presidency was not beyond his 
reach, he must have known that the Insurgency 



xxvl INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

revolution ended his aspirations. With Insurgency 
in Mr. Cannon's mind was always closely con- 
nected the unfairness with which he believed he 
had been treated by the American Newspaper 
Publishers 5 Association and the press generally. 

When Mr. Cannon first came to Washington, he 
was thirty-six years old, an unknown country 
member with only a local reputation, but shrewd, 
far-seeing and ambitious. Either because he had 
foresight enough to appreciate that nothing could 
help him more than the friendship of the news- 
paper men, or because it just happened and was 
not deliberate and I am unable to say which 
he soon established friendly relations with the 
Washington corps. He was always a picturesque 
picture. He smacked of what then to the effete 
East was the wild and wooly West. His expres- 
sions were quaint; he was good for a story. He 
made copy. He was a perfect subject for cartoons. 
As he grew in service his relations with the press 
grew. There sprang up a mutual liking. But I 
have an idea that long before his active political 
life was approaching its close, Mr. Cannon was not 
so sure that the attentions of his newspaper 
friends had put the score in his favor. Through 
his own unaided efforts he had reached a command- 
ing position in politics. He was one of the leaders 
in the House, He was one of "the few great na- 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxvii 

tional figures. Yet the papers still treated him 
jocularly, and long ago lie had taken himself seri- 
ously. Not too seriously, not so seriously that he 
wearied himself and bored his friends, for he re- 
tained his sense of humor and his philosophy was 
his balance wheel. That he was "Uncle Joe" to 
his friends and the country at large "Uncle Sam's 
Uncle Joe" as a newspaper writer wittily wrote 
naturally pleased him. It was a tribute of affection 
and esteem. It was the same tribute the country 
paid Lincoln when they called him "Honest Abe." 

But in politics nothing is more injurious to a 
man's success than to establish a reputation for 
humor. In Congress he will always be listened to, 
on the platform he will draw a large audience, for 
men like to be amused and made to laugh, but for 
some mysterious reason we distrust them. We like 
our statesmen to be solemn; we like them, to put 
it bluntly, to be rather dull and not excessively 
brilliant. Mr. Cannon's well meaning newspaper 
friends, who believe they were doing him a service, 
continued to use him as the peg on which to hang 
their amusing stories, and Mr. Cannon could do 
nothing. The man who was known throughout 
the length and breadth of the land for his drolleries, 
his peculiarities, his originality, was "Uncle Joe," 
and "Uncle Joe," he must remain to the end. 

Mr. Cannon, as I have already said, had in him 



xxviii INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

a deep vein of sentiment, yet no one knew it or 
even suspected he owned that priceless possession. 
In all the columns written about him there was 
never a hint of this, and he was under the daily 
observation of the keenest and most alert members 
of the newspaper profession. It remained for a 
woman, who was not a Washington correspondent, 
who met Mr. Cannon for the first time, to make 
the discovery. A reporter for the New York 
World, who wrote under the pseudonym of "Kate 
Carew" came to Washington in 1904 and asked 
me if I could arrange for her to have a talk with 
Mr. Cannon. She, like all the rest of the world, 
had read much about Mr. Cannon's distinguishing 
characteristics, but she wrote: 

"They [the tobacco chewing and profanity] 
don't typify him because they are non-essentials 
in the composition of a very punctilious and de- 
bonair gentleman of middle age, with a great deal 
of natural dignity, very vital, very much in love 
with the world and sunshine and people; gallant, 
gay, with graceful social gifts and a store of old- 
fashioned chivalry, unaffected, keen, clean, Ameri- 
can, masculine, and, though renowned for his 
humor, not a bit more remarkable for that quality 
than for a deep and strong fibre of sentiment, 
which I make bold to proclaim the most essential 
of his attributes." 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxix 

I agree further with Kate Carew in what she 
wrote about Mr. Cannon's humor. He was cele- 
brated for it and it made him a great reputation, 
but curiously enough he was not a humorous man. 
What men called humor was really a native phi- 
losophy and the power to put in a sentence the 
essence of life or a complex problem in the words 
of an epigram. He never did this deliberately nor 
was pleased by the music of his own phrase. 
These things came naturally, unpremeditated and 
spontaneous, and having been said and served their 
purpose, were forgotten. It was characteristic of 
him that when Kate Carew asked whether men in 
public life could be impartial, his reply was te the 
only thoroughly impartial man is a dead man. 5 * 

She described him as "lean, erect, elastic, and in 
no hurry to sit down. In his dress and department 
there is a jauntiness which belies the Methodist cut 
of his grey beard and the Presbyterian length of his 
upper lip. . . . He leaned forward and looked at 
me with an honest, benevolent twinkle in the for- 
get-me-not eyes. They are very direct eyes. They 
insist upon being met squarely by some other pair 
of human eyes. Always the gaze is free and fear- 
less and natural, and very human and pleasant to 
encounter. There is style in his conversation, style 
in the literary sense and I am afraid it is losing 
its flavor in the reporting. An extra adjective or 



xxx INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

two would ruin it. It belongs to the golden time 
of English before adjectives were made to do duty 
for phrases the time when the Bible was trans- 
lated and the Pilgrim's Progress written. I think 
the Elizabethans talked something like Joseph Can- 
non, of Danville, Illinois/ 5 

The relations between President Roosevelt and 
Speaker Cannon were widely discussed, both be- 
fore and after their most intimate association. No 
two men were more unlike. Except that they were 
both Republicans and believed in their Republican- 
ism as an article of faith, they had little in common. 

Roosevelt was that curious anomaly, a natural 
conservative with progressive tendencies; a Fed- 
eralist of the Hamiltoiiian school who believed in 
a strong centralized government and who more 
than once stoutly maintained that what the law 
did not absolutely prohibit the government might 
do, and to him "Government*' was merely a polite 
euphemism for the President. Cannon was equally 
a conservative but accused of being a reactionary; 
he scorned the imputation of having any sympathy 
with Democratic political principles, so passionate 
was his devotion to the Republican Party and all 
that it stood for. But at heart he was a Jefferson- 
ian, who believed in the rule of the people. 

Unlike Roosevelt, he was a strict constructionist 
of the law and the Constitution; the Government, 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxxi 

which to him was not the President alone, but the 
President and the Congress, might do nothing ex- 
cept that which the law, in pursuance of the Con- 
stitution, had put in precise terms. Beyond that 
the Government might not go by a hair's breadth. 
There was another reason Washington thought 
it could count with reasonable certainty upon a 
clash between the President and the Speaker. 
Those inconvenient persons with good memories 
and the faculty for using them at embarrassing 
times recalled that when Roosevelt was a Civil 
Service Commissioner and later Assistant Secretary 
of the Navy, Cannon was Chairman of the Appro- 
priations Committee. Both as Commissioner and 
Assistant Secretary, Roosevelt had gone before the 
Committee to defend his estimates and ask for 
more money than the current appropriation, only 
to encounter the stern opposition of the Chairman. 
Here again this antithesis which marked the two 
men was sharply disclosed. Roosevelt believed in 
the civil service system, a permanent secretariat 
and a life tenure for the minor employees of the 
Government. To Cannon all those things were 
foolish. It was more in consonance with his prin- 
ciples to reward the man who worked than the man 
whose only claim was his superior knowledge. Mr, 
Cannon believed the harvest of victory was to be 
garnered in the Federal offices; the soft and com- 



xxxil INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

paratively well paid life of a Government employee 
he thought demoralizing to a young man; life ten- 
ure would create an aristocratic and privileged 
class, which was naturally contrary to the beliefs 
of a Jeffersonian political philosopher. Roosevelt 
was always careless about money matters and 
looked upon the Government as holding a bottom- 
less purse. As Civil Service Commissioner he 
wanted more clerks, more money, and he seemed 
rather annoyed, and not a little surprised, that his 
modest requests should not be instantly granted. 
In the Navy Department he was always asking for 
more, for no matter how large the Navy was, it 
would never have been quite large enough for him. 

Cannon felt it was his duty to draw the purse 
strings tight. For years he had sat at the head of 
the table across which passed the estimates of the 
Governments. For years he had listened to the 
pleas for money, and more money, and still more 
money, hearing explanations which did not con- 
vince him, discussions that failed to move him. 
He knew in advance almost every argument that 
could be presented. In the end the knife sank deep 
and the estimates were cut. 

In those earlier days there were some lively 
passages between the youthful Civil Service Com- 
missioner and the young Assistant Secretary of the 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxxiii 

Navy, breezy, Impetuous in the certitude of his 
own inerrancy, and the older, more deliberate and 
experienced Chairman, having no private ends to 
serve but with his eye always on the balance sheet. 
Between the two men there was nothing personal. 
Neither cut across the orbit of the other. Neither 
had ambitions that the other could thwart. 
Neither could have the imagination to picture the 
time when the one was to be President and the other 
Speaker, both, within their respective spheres, to 
wield enormous influence. It was simply the clash 
of two temperaments, and especially of two antag- 
onistic schools of thought. 

McKinley and Cannon had been long and close 
friends. It was an intimacy that had grown and 
deepened with the passing of the years; until the 
day of McKinley's death Cannon remained his 
friend and companion, his political adviser and 
confidant. Between Roosevelt and Cannon there 
had never been any intimacy, and outside of offi- 
cial intercourse no association or companionship. 
Socially they met on no common ground. The dis- 
parity of age and tastes precluded frequent meet- 
ing. There were many people to predict that the 
door of the White House, which always swung 
open to Cannon during the McKinley regime, 
would now seldom be open to him. As Speaker, 



xxxiv INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

the President would have to receive him officially, 
but both would contrive that these occasions 
should be as infrequent as possible. 

These prophets who predicted woe so jubilantly 
were wrong. For a long time, for nearly six long 
years, they waited expectant. There were many 
opportunities for friction, but both men were per- 
verse enough not to take advantage of their oppor- 
tunities. It was only in the last year of Roose- 
velt's Administration that the break came. Mr. 
Cannon went constantly to the White House and 
a steady stream of letters, personal as well as offi- 
cial, flowed between the White House and the 
Speaker's Room. The personal correspondence be- 
tween two of the most original men in American 
public life covered seven years of most interesting 
political history. The hundred or more letters in 
Mr. Cannon's private files embrace all sorts of sub- 
jects, some almost trivial, as the President thought 
of a story or experience that might interest the 
Speaker. Some were short notes requesting the 
Speaker to come and have a talk, and others dis- 
cussed proposed legislation in more or less detail. 

In some of the letters the President repeated the 
views of Senators, Representatives, business men, 
college men, labor men and ministers, who had 
poured suggestions into his ear, all so earnest and so 
conflicting that he felt the need to unload them on 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxxv 

the Speaker. He rarely proffered a specific request; 
he would suggest legislation and ask the Speaker 
to talk it over with "Payne, Dalzell, Foss, Tawney, 
Hepburn, Hull and others who would have to 
do the work in Committee/ 3 He addressed his 
correspondent as "Mr. Speaker/ 5 "Mr. Cannon/' 
"Dear Friend/ 5 "Uncle Joe 55 or "Czar Joe/ 5 accord- 
ing to his mood and the seriousness or the humor 
of his communication. 

This interesting collection of letters Mr. Cannon 
hoped would not be made public because he re- 
garded the letters as purely personal communica- 
tions which did not belong to the public; but he 
permitted me to read them and tell the story of 
the relations between the President and the Speaker 
of that day. 

Mr. Cannon had a longer service in the House of 
Representatives than any other man. The men 
who voted for him when for the first time he ap- 
pealed for their suffrage died, and their sons main- 
tained the family tradition by keeping him in Con- 
gress. The young man now became the veteran, 
old in years, enriched by experience, the last of a 
great line, still sitting in the House, defying op- 
position, indifferent to the ambitions of younger 
rivals. Twenty- three times 46 years the citi- 
zens of his District gave him their confidence, 
their votes and the majority. Eight years he held 



xxxvl INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

the Speaker's Chair, a longer continuous service 
than any other Speaker. Taking these facts at 
their face value one would be inclined to think 
that Mr. Cannon was the master politician of his 
time, perhaps the most adroit and astute politician 
of any time. He must have known all the tricks 
of all the politicians, and knowing them have prac- 
tised them. Many of his colleagues often asked 
him to tell them how he managed to survive while 
they fell. 

The truth is that although Mr. Cannon knew the 
theoretical requirements of his profession he rarely 
employed them. In the ordinary sense of the word 
he was not a politician. In his later years, he 
showed how little he cared for the art of politics 
by antagonizing the three most powerful forces in 
our complex social system; and any one has at times 
been sufficient to destroy a politician. In one elec- 
tion, he remarked with grim humor, he had to 
withstand the combined assault of the press, labor 
and the Church. Yet he weathered through. A 
more yielding politician would have compromised, 
temporized, reached some sort of modus vivcndL 
Not Joe Cannon. He fought back, asked for no 
terms and gave no quarter. He could not be a 
politician because he had in him that Quaker char- 
acteristic which the world calls obstinacy, but 
is really conscience. 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxxvii 

He was an obstinate man; there is no doubt 
about that. He was an intense individualist, and 
his political training and heredity strengthened his 
political philosophy. A man of the people, hard 
work his portion in his younger days, there was 
nothing in his environment or associations that 
should have made him the opponent of labor. 
Nor was he, but it was against his principles that 
labor, or for that matter any class, should be given 
special privileges, or that labor should arrogate to 
itself the right to say under what conditions men 
should work. 

Mr. Cannon's earliest recollections were of the 
men who hewed their way through the wilderness. 
He had seen and been a part of the greatest of all 
epics in American history. He had known the in- 
justice and degradation of slave labor. Everything 
was abhorrent to him that restricted man from 
exercising his unhampered rights. When by cun- 
ning or the indifference of legislators any group 
secured monopolistic control it was detestable. 
This, to him, was only another form of slavery. 
Hence he opposed the labor union when it came to 
Congress demanding special legislation. "With 
equal firmness he opposed the press when it asked 
for legislation for its own profit. Although per- 
sonally he was extremely temperate, he denounced 
prohibition because it abridged individual liberty. 



xxxviii INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

The late Samuel Gompers was the President of 
the American Federation of Labor when Mr- Can- 
non was speaker. On Mr. Gompers, as the repre- 
sentative of organized labor, devolved the duty of 
securing legislation which labor demanded and 
which Mr. Cannon believed, in the interest of the 
whole people, should be prevented. Both men were 
strong willed, both were firmly convinced of the 
justice of their respective causes. Had Gompers 
been less stubborn, had Cannon been less obstinate 
and more conciliatory, they might have worked 
out a compromise that would have been fairly 
satisfactory, but neither was willing to surrender. 
It was a long and bitter contest. Mr. Cannon, I 
think, fairly detested Gompers and could find 
nothing good in him; I have no doubt Mr. 
Gompers fully reciprocated this feeling. It was 
unfortunate this conflict existed. It disturbed 
Mr. Cannon's serenity, it distorted his views in 
regard to labor, it gave the public a false and some- 
what unfair opinion of him. These assaults 
wounded him. He was sensitive to criticism de- 
spite the general belief that he cared nothing for it 
and he felt the injustice of the attacks made 
upon him. 

Mr. Cannon had little affection for President 
Wilson. That was natural. Mr. Cannon was a 
Republican and high protection was his faith; 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xxxix 

Mr. Wilson was a Democrat and high protection 
was his abomination. Mr. Cannon honestly be- 
lieved the Democratic Party was unfit to govern, 
and that because of its incapacity misfortune al- 
ways followed the accession of the Democrats to 
power* This was not prejudice but a sincere con- 
viction. 

In an address on Lincoln when the Wilson Ad- 
ministration was still serving its novitiate, Mr. 
Cannon showed his contempt for Mr. Wilson and 
all his works. te l do not intend/* he said, "to 
prophesy concerning the present Administration. 
Mr. Wilson is our President for the time being and 
the Democratic Congress is our Congress, making 
laws under which we all must live, and we will 
obey the law and grin and bear whatever ills may 
come. President Wilson is engaged in smashing 
precedents. Some one has said that a precedent 
embodies a principle, and the human race has been 
living under precedents since the days of Moses. 
Some of them may have led to the ways of error, 
but the Devil was the first smasher of precedents 
and the Devil has been busy through several thou- 
sand years trying to smash good precedents. I 
would not intimate that the Devil could get into 
the White House grounds with a strict Presbyte- 
rian on guard, but some of the precedents he is 
smashing had good origin and have lived in good 



xl INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

repute through a hundred years. They are Demo- 
cratic too. He has delivered his messages from the 
throne of the Speaker of the House. In that he has 
smashed a precedent of a hundred years and fol- 
lowed one of the thousand years of autocratic gov- 
ernment before the days of Washington and Jeffer- 



son/' 



The League of Nations always excited Mr. Can- 
non's scorn, and he missed no opportunity to ridi- 
cule it and point the moral of his tale. One day 
when there was a discussion of revenues and appro- 
priations he asked: "I wonder if it would not soon 
become a League of Appropriations?" and went on 
to say: "That is the principal danger in a League 
of Nations. It would extend the scope of the as- 
pirations of the men and women who devote a 
large part of their time and energies to searching 
for something somewhere in the world calling for 
an appropriation by Congress/ 9 

At the termination of the Sixty-seventh Con- 
gress, on March 4, 1923, Mr. Cannon, then at the 
age of eighty-seven, retired from Congress and 
public life, and passed the few remaining years of 
his life, removed from politics or party strife, in 
the serenity of Danville, by common consent its 
First Citizen. He was now an old man. The years 
had robbed him of that extraordinary vitality and 
spirit of youth that had kept him young and had 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xli 

made him defy time long after lie had passed the 
allotted age of man. Mr. Cannon was sixty-seven 
years old when he was elected Speaker for the first 
time, he was seventy-seven when he was defeated 
for re-election to the Sixty-third Congress which 
met in April, 1913. Everybody believed his race 
was run, and had he followed his own inclinations 
and good judgment and not allowed himself to be 
overpersuaded, I believe he would have made no 
further attempt to re-enter the political arena, but 
at the next election, two years later, he offered him- 
self as a candidate and was elected. It was a great 
tribute to the veteran. It was a token of affection 
and esteem. Following his return to Congress he 
remained in Congress for eight more years. 

In his eighty-sixth year he announced to his con- 
stituents that he would not be a candidate for re- 
election. He wrote: ec lt has been said that all that 
grow, grow old; and while I hope I have grown 
in wisdom, I realize that I have grown old in years 
and passed four score and five, more than half 
those years in the House as your representative. 
This is the golden anniversary of my first nomina- 
tion and election to the House, and 'silence is 
golden/ It is an appropriate time for old heads to 
give way to young hearts, alert and active minds, 
and vigorous bodies." 

It was on March 4, 1923, that the place that had 



xlii INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

known him for so long was no more to know him. 
On that day, for the last time he entered the House 
as a member. His term had expired and his Con- 
gressional career was at an end- Before the hour 
of final adjournment arrived the House bade their 
venerable colleague Godspeed. A paragraph from 
two speeches, one made by a Republican and the 
other a Democrat, were representative of all. Mr. 
Hicks, the Republican said: "I want to say to 
Uncle Joe that he takes with him to his home in 
Danville, 111., not only the respect and veneration 
of this House, but he takes with him also the affec- 
tion and the love of every member of this body/* 

Mr. Sisson, of Mississippi, asked his political as- 
sociates to express te our very deep appreciation for 
the goodness and greatness of Mr. Cannon, who 
has been longer in this House than any other man 
ever served in the House of Representatives. God 
bless you, Uncle Joe; you go with our love, you go 
with our admiration, you go with our best wishes." 

That year Danville celebrated Mr. Cannon's 
eighty-seventh birthday by a great parade and 
other festivities; <e the largest demonstration of the 
kind ever staged in the Middle West, perhaps the 
greatest birthday party ever given in the history of 
the United States/' the Danville Commercial- 
News said. 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE xliii 

The principal address was made by Mr. James 
J. Davis, the Secretary of Labor, who asserted: 
"In the hearts of the American people, that same 
reverence that claimed Lincoln as 'Honest Abe* has 
made Joseph Gurney Cannon, 'Uncle Joe 5 to Amer- 
ica and all the world." 

Mr. Cannon returned his thanks to his neighbors 
and friends in these words: 

"Friends, this demonstration of your affection 
is in itself compensation for my half century of 
public service. The extent of my gratitude cannot 
be weighed or measured. To all, my heart goes out 
in thankfulness. 

"It is good to have lived and worked with you. 
You are my neighbors. You are the people I have 
served in Congress through two generations. You 
are the people with whom I intend to pass the re- 
mainder of my days. 

"To you, to all the people of America, from my 
observations of half a century, I bring this message: 
Have faith. Often you feel that you detect a 
great uneasiness, an unrest, a threatening under- 
current in this Government. This is neither new 
nor unusual. I have learned that America will rise 
to meet her problems- I have learned that good 
will triumph over evil. 



xliv INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

"Have faith in the Government of your fathers. 
"Show your faith by works to support that 
Government. 

"Have faith that right will prevail" 

Mr. Cannon died in Danville on November 12, 
1926, in his ninety-first year. 

L. WHITE BUSBEY. 



UNCLE JOE CANNON 



CHAPTER I 

A QUAKER HERITAGE 

QUAKER and Huguenot, God-fearing and 
man-loving people, hunted from the haunts of 
Christian civilization; nonconformists in religion 
and noncombatants in war these were my an- 
cestors. 

The Cannons were Huguenots in the days when 
Huguenots were massacred for their faith and 
their insurgency. The family came through Eng- 
land, Ireland, Canada and New England until it 
found a welcome from the Quakers in the hills of 
North Carolina. My mother was a Hollingsworth 
and her lineage went back to George Fox. The 
Hollingsworths were Quakers and came from 
England to North Carolina by the way of Holland 
and New England. So I am Quaker and Hugue- 
not, with French, English, Irish, Scotch and Dutch 
blood mixed to some extent, and possibly related 
to all the parent stocks of the country. So if there 
be peculiarities in my make-up it may be due in 
part to heredity, in part to early environment, and 
in part to the result of early teachings and the 
respect, if not veneration, which we all have for 
our forebears, I have noticed that this is one of the 

3 



4 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

big elements in our civilization and in a measure 
responsible for some of our greatest conflicts. "We 
like to believe in the wisdom of our fathers, and 
we are as ready to fight to defend their convictions 
as we are for our own. But I am not much of a 
Quaker, I fancy, for I am too fond of a fight, and 
instead of turning the other cheek I put up my 
fists when necessary. However, New Garden, 
North Carolina, was my beginning, and there are 
the graves of more of my ancestors there than can 
be found anywhere else. 

The experiences and simple faith of my ancestors 
are rather stubbornly exemplified in their move- 
ments. I can trace them back to old Nantuckct 
in New England and on back to old England, and 
they seem always to have been peacefully but per- 
sistently refusing to sacrifice their convictions for 
their comfort in dwelling in harmony and undis- 
turbed with those among whom their lot was cast 
for the time being. That was the way of the 
Friends from their earliest history down to the 
present. In the old graveyard at Nantucket I have 
seen the headstones bearing the names of Hoi- 
lingsworths and Coffins and Folgers, and they are 
testimony of this pioneer instinct to move on when 
they found the restrictions of civilization, and the 
customs and laws of men, in conflict with their 
faith. The Puritans were a splendid people. 



A QUAKER HERITAGE 5 

caulay tells us they had long hair and talked 
through their noses. However that may be, we 
do know that they were stern evangelists, carrying 
their piety at the end of a club, and otherwise 
giving virtue a heartless and odious aspect. The 
Hollingsworths, the Folgers, the Coffins and the 
other Friends in Nantucket found they could not 
live in New England and be free; so they emigrated 
to the South, where there was greater freedom in 
religious thought and practice. They went to 
North Carolina which, in its beginning, held out 
the promise of freedom of conscience; in fact, so 
much freedom did it offer that it was known as 
the Botany Bay of the New "World; for there debts 
contracted prior to coming to the State could not 
be collected, and the natives asked few incon- 
venient questions. So my ancestors left New Eng- 
land and went to North Carolina to escape perse- 
cution for religious independence. "Whether it 
was conscience or the spirit of the pioneer that 
made them dissatisfied with their lot I shall not 
undertake to say. Probably something of both. 
There in the hill country of North Carolina they 
settled, where they were free to live their lives 
according to their own peculiar faith. The vil- 
lage of New Garden was peculiarly Quaker. 
They lived in peace and had their share of pros- 
perity such as was known in that day. They were 



6 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

progressive and had an academy, and there my 
father was a teacher before I was born. At last It 
seemed they had entered the promised land. Un- 
disturbed they could enjoy the liberty of worship 
and live without going to war or contesting in the 
courts. It was the most congenial place in all 
Christendom for Quakers and Huguenots two hun- 
dred years ago, and New Garden is known all over 
the United States where there are Quaker settle- 
ments. 

My grandfather, Samuel Cannon, was born In 
the north of Ireland and came to New England 
with his parents. He is said to have been a stub- 
born man who believed in every man attending to 
his own business. Growing weary of Puritan 
supervision he moved to Guilford county where 
other hectored people had preceded him, for he had 
heard that North Carolina was a land of liberty, 
where men were free to follow their religion and 
politics and the Puritan was not held up as a model 
to imitate. There my father was born left 
an orphan and an infant. Two maiden Quaker 
sisters then came to the village and asked for him. 
They brought him up in the Quaker way, sent him 
to the Quaker Academy, and helped him to a 
medical education. He married into a Quaker 
family, taught the Quaker school and practiced 



A QUAKER HERITAGE 7 

medicine. He became a Quaker by adoption and 
so I had a birthright in the Quaker Society. 

But into that perfect Eden too came the serpent, 
and those restless wanderers came in contact with 
a social system with which they were not in har- 
mony. They had been taught to believe in the 
equality of man in the sight of God, and to them 
slavery was abhorrent. As the institution spread 
from the coast to the hill country and came closer 
and always closer to the Friends at New Garden 
they became dissatisfied; once again the pioneer 
spirit took possession of many of them and once 
more they made the trek across the mountains to a 
new country where their consciences would not be 
hurt by their neighbors and their customs. As 
they had set out from Massachusetts to the South 
in search of a place where they could find freedom 
of religion, so it seemed desirable to them to leave 
North Carolina and look for a new land where the 
law of their God would not be violated. So they 
moved on, and I, as a child, became a part of that 
migration. 

Some of those Quakers who emigrated from the 
South to the West became leaders in the Under- 
ground Railroad movement which aided slaves to 
escape to Canada. They were honorable, con- 
scientious and peace-loving people, but their con- 
victions against slavery were so strong that they 



8 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

were willing to ignore the law and assume grave 
risks to aid other human beings of another race and 
color to secure the same freedom they claimed for 
themselves. The Quakers also had scruples against 
bearing arms, but in the cause of freeing the slaves 
they forgot, or set aside, their beliefs and it is said 
that the per cent, of Quakers which went into the 
Union Army was greater than that from any other 
religious denomination. The Quakers of that day 
were a c 'peculiar people" and did some inconsistent 
things, but these were generally along lines for the 
betterment of humanity. They recognized the 
law, and when they disobeyed it and were con- 
victed they accepted the verdict without com- 
plaint, and continued to adhere to their principles 
regardless of law. 

That emigration of Quakers from the Carolinas 
in the thirties and forties was not an ordinary 
migration inspired by adventure, wanderlust, or 
the hope of material advantage. More than eight- 
een thousand Quakers left the South for the 
Northwest in about ten years and the real force 
behind the movement was not economic, or the 
hope of an asylum for the men and women who 
were a part of it. They were leaving old estab- 
lished homes in a beautiful country with fertile soil 
and congenial climate where they had enjoyed 
prosperity, and they were going to a new country 



A QUAKER HERITAGE 9 

where they knew from reports of pioneers they 
would confront many hardships, with sickness, and 
years of toil before they could make new homes. 
Those gentle Quakers were leaving the sunny and 
rich Southland, which they loved as home, for one 
great purpose, the freedom of their children from 
competition with slave labor. They could not, in 
accord with their faith, own any human chattel, 
and in the South they knew the coming genera- 
tions would have to compete with slave labor. For 
the sake of their children who were to be brought 
up free, in fact as well as in thought, they could 
not live where those conditions prevailed. They 
carried the Declaration of Independence to its logi- 
cal conclusion. I doubt whether there is a parallel 
in all history to this Quaker emigration from the 
slave states to the Northwest that had been for- 
ever dedicated to freedom by the Ordinance of 
1787. 

Abraham left Mesopotamia to find a land in 
which he could found a race of his own. Moses led 
the Children of Israel out of Egypt to a land where 
they might escape slavery for themselves. The 
Pilgrim Fathers sought the shores of America to 
escape the punishments of an intolerant Old 
World. "William Penn undertook his holy experi- 
ment that the Friends might escape London Tower. 
The Quakers left New England and went to the 



10 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

South to prevent having their ears cut off for re- 
fusal to obey the religious laws of the Puritans. 
All these migrations had personal sufferings to leave 
behind and personal aspirations to realize. But the 
Quakers who left the Southland in the forties had 
only the welfare of the corning generation for their 
inspiration and guide. They chose to surrender 
established homes and wander halfway across the 
continent to give an equal opportunity to their 
children in a land consecrated to liberty. Their 
whole thought was for the men and women who 
were to follow; that they might work out their 
economic salvation without competing with servile 
labor in a country where logically all labor should 
be free and on an equality. It was the most un- 
selfish and practical hegira in all history. 

There were several families in the little emigrant 
train which started out of New Garden. The 
wagons came, stopped in front of the house, the 
family goods were loaded, and with my mother 
and aunt I was placed 011 top and we started for 
the West, My mother's face was sad, I could see 
that she had been crying, and as we moved away 
I wondered why she cried out: "Good-by, North 
Carolina; good-by, civilization." I did not under- 
stand what she meant. I understand it now. 
She was leaving civilization to go into the unknown 
terrors of the Western wilds, as she pictured them. 



A QUAKER HERITAGE 11 

We stopped at Greensboro to take on some sup- 
plies we should need on the journey. I remember 
one of the purchases, a box of matches, was placed 
in the care of my aunt. That box of matches was 
one of the most precious possessions of the party. 
It cost a shilling or twenty-five cents, and it was 
carefully protected so that we could be sure of it 
in case of an emergency. We borrowed fire from 
houses and settlers' cabins along the road when we 
could, but when far from the settlements the 
matches were the only means of starting a fire for 
the camp at night. When our emigrant train left 
Greensboro it was made up of fifteen Quaker fam- 
ilies from Guilford county, but as it moved north 
into Virginia other Quaker families joined until we 
had quite a respectable number. We crossed the 
Dan River near Danville, Virginia, and to me it 
was a great river, as great as the Wabash or the 
Mississippi, of which the people constantly spoke, 
for we were going to the Wabash country where 
other Friends from North Carolina had already 
settled. One night we stopped at a place where 
there were springs. I afterwards learned that it 
was White Sulphur Springs, then one of the most 
famous resorts in the country. It was gay with 
holiday people, and there was music, and there for 
the first time I heard a band. I don't remember 
much more of that part of the journey. I knew 



12 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

my mother was unhappy. Even a young child 
knows when its mother is unhappy. I think I 
tried to comfort her, and I remember she kissed 
me, but it was not like the way she kissed me in 
North Carolina. 

The lonesome part of our journey was in what is 
now West Virginia, which was sparsely settled and, 
in the mountainous part, rough for travel. There 
were few roads and those mere trails along the 
river banks. It was a very dreary and trying 
journey with few settlements and the only people 
we met were mountaineers. White Sulphur 
Springs gave us the last glimpse of social life which 
we had until we crossed the Ohio River at Marietta, 
the first settlement in Ohio and the first in the 
Northwest Territory. With few roads and none 
of them macadamized our natural movement was 
to the North to some point on the National Road, 
so from Marietta we followed the old road along 
the Muskingum River to Zanesville where we 
struck the National Pike. 

That National Pike in 1840 was the most 
crowded thoroughfare in the country, with more 
life as compared to the rest of the country than the 
Grear White Way in New York now, and more 
typical of Americanism than any place I know of at 
the present time. It had been begun in the admin- 
istration of President Monroe and gradually ex- 



msilm A QUAKER HERITAGE 13 

tended from Washington westward toward St. 
Louis. It was the great connecting link between 
die East and "West, projected to hold the Missis- 
sippi Valley and country beyond in the Union. 
(There were no railroads in the West, not even to 
Pittsburgh, and the National Pike was the great 
highway along which the emigrant traveled as did 
government agents, the mails, and the stage 
coaches. There were brought together the East 
and the West, the North and the South, and they 
'all recognized that the National Pike was the com- 
mon highway of the Nation, the common meeting 
place of the people regardless of section, class, or 
condition. Every man from everywhere could 
travel the National Pike in his own way and feel 
that he had a part ownership. 
j) The scene shifted and I entered the big world 
flvhen we struck the National Pike, for, to me, it 
Deemed to be centered or stretched along that great 
highway. We were never out of sight, and almost 
in intimate company, with people from all parts of 
the country. There were Senators and Representa- 
tives, Governors and Judges, prominent business 
men and lawyers, traveling in gayly painted 
coaches drawn by fine horses with handsome trap- 
pings as for a county fair; and they traveled 
rtipidly over the smooth highway with the drivers 
cracking whips and blowing horns as they ap- 



14 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

preached the stage stations. There were also big 
Conestago freight wagons with six horses driven 
with a single rein on the leaders, the driver astride 
the wheel horse. There were mail coaches and dis- 
patch riders of the Pony Express. The express 
riders excited my envy as they rode at full gallop 
and at the stage stations sprang from the saddle of 
one horse to that of another and continued their 
galloping. The news of the world was carried by 
those boys, and then and there I determined that I 
would be a dispatch rider of the Pony Express and 
ride from St. Louis with dispatches for the Presi- 
dent of the United States. Such was my first 
dream of going to Washington. But few boyish 
dreams are realized, and many years later I entered 
the capital as a mere Congressman and by the rail- 
road which had superseded the old National Pike 
as the highway of travel. 

The Appian Way, that most celebrated highway 
of history which I read of in after years, and along 
which the Emperors of Rome traveled in state, 
seems insignificant as compared to the National 
Pike as it appeared to a boy in 1 840. The Appian 
Way was twenty feet wide, but the National Pike 
was sixty feet; wide enough to permit eight coaches 
to move abreast, to let the private coach of Sena- 
tor Thomas H. Benton 011 his way home to St. 
Louis, the regular passenger coach filled with 



A QUAKER HERITAGE IS 

travellers from England and New England tour- 
ing the West, the mail coach, the Conestoga 
freighter, the "movers" in their covered wagons, 
and the dispatch riders, travel side by side, and 
still leave room for emigrant trains, droves of cat- 
tle, or even slaves, and no one was compelled to 
turn out to give the more aristocratic or faster 
travelers the right of way. There was room for 
all and with it there was good cheer, hospitality, 
true democracy and a free life. To the people 
seeking new homes in the "West, as they drifted 
down from New York and New England and up 
from the Southland, making their march into the 
land of promise, it was the American highway of 
progress. That mingling of the people from the 
two sections of the country, even then holding to 
diverse ideals, did much to soften antagonisms and 
make a united people in the "West. The brilliant 
Henry W. Grady, of Georgia, long years after- 
wards suggested that the marriage of the Puritan 
and the Cavalier took place in Illinois. That may 
be true, but the courtship certainly began on the 
old National Pike. 

It was along this National highway that a con- 
siderable part of the campaign of 1840 was fought 
out with overwhelming odds for Old Tippecanoe, 
log cabins, and hard cider, all of them typically 
American at that time, though all have disappeared 



16 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

in the progress and prosperity of America in these 
past four score years. "Tippecanoe and Tyler, 
too" is the first political battle cry I can remember. 
It tripped lightly on the tongue and even a child 
could shout it without knowing its meaning. As 
our covered wagons passed through cities, towns 
and villages and along the highways, we came in 
contact with the most remarkable political demon- 
strations that have ever been seen in this country. 
It was the presidential compaign in which General 
William Henry Harrison was the Whig candidate 
and President Martin Van Buren the Democratic 
candidate for reelection. It took its place in history 
as the Log Cabin and Hard Cider campaign. Gen- 
eral Harrison, as the hero of the battle of Tippe- 
canoe, was the idol of the West, especially of Ohio 
and Indiana, where he had been Governor of the 
Indiana Territory and defeated the British and In- 
dians at Tippecanoe in 1811; and had represented 
Ohio in both House and Senate. He was the great 
Commoner to the people of that section, while 
President Van Buren appeared to them as the repre- 
sentative of aristocracy. Those Western Whigs 
believed that President Van Buren was in league 
with Europe and drank only French champagne 
and lived in luxury typical of the East and foreign 
to the necessities and the ideals of the West, where 
log cabins were the houses of the people and hard 



A QUAKER HERITAGE 17 

cider the popular beverage for merry making, and 
it had almost as much kick as the President's cham- 
pagne. Oh 5 yes, they had whiskey which they 
made from their corn, but hard cider was the "wine 
of the country" and as closely associated with the 
log cabin as corn pone and wild game for food. As 
our little Quaker emigration train moved into the 
West it met this "Whig Enthusiasm for General 
Harrison, which took new and strange shape with 
processions of log cabins on wagons surrounded 
with all the trappings of the frontier, rifles and 
coon skins at the doors, and cider barrels with 
young women serving hard cider to old and young 
without a prophecy of the eighteenth amendment 
and the Volstead Law. Quaker that I was, I 
learned and was permitted to sing: 

Should good old cider be despised, 
And ne'er regarded more? 
Should plain log cabins be despised, 
Our fathers built of yore? 

Come, ye, whatever betide her, 
To freedom have sworn to be true, 
Prime up with a cup of hard cider, 
And drink to Old Tippecanoe. 

Strict temperance people as those Quakers were 
and very serious in their views of life, they caught 
the infection of this Western political enthusiasm 



18 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

and soon became a part of it as they emerged from 
the South into the Northwest across the Ohio River 
at Marietta. For many years this place was the 
first landmark of my recollection. I could not go 
back beyond that trip through Ohio and Indiana. 
It appeared to me that I had my beginning there on 
the old National Pike in the hurly burly of the Log 
Cabin and Hard Cider campaign. 

There were many taverns not inns or hotels 
but big taverns along the Old Pike for the accom- 
modation of man and beast. They were located 
not more than ten or twelve miles apart and they 
were centres of hospitality, from the big stable 
yard at night filled with stages and freighters, their 
horses and drivers, to the cheerful tap room, the 
most popular place in the tavern, where whiskey 
was sold for three cents a glass without any exhibi- 
tion of drunkenness, for whiskey was as common as 
cider in the West in those days and many of the 
taverns were required by their licenses to keep 
whiskey as a necessary part of the accommodations 
for the traveling public. A Volstead law in 1840 
would have produced another Whiskey Rebellion. 

Our Quaker colony did not patronize the 
taverns except in emergency, for we were econom- 
ical and preferred our camp fire, and also because 
the Quakers were strict temperance people and saw 
more harm in the tap rooms than good in the din- 



A QUAKER HERITAGE 19 

ing room* But to the younger members of the 
colony the taverns were places of great attraction 
because there was life, bustle, excitement, hospital- 
ity, and they were representative of the big world 
so new to the boys and girls from the Quaker 
settlement in North Carolina. 

We passed through Richmond, Indiana, and 
tarried a day or two to visit other Quakers who had 
preceded them from the Carolinas. It was the first 
Quaker settlement in the West and we had friends 
there who could give advice to those who decided 
to go on to the Wabash country. Indianapolis 
was then a small country town with the National 
Pike as the only connection with the East. We. did 
some shopping there and then left the Pike and 
trekked due west into the wilderness. The home- 
stead laws had not been dreamed of and the settlers 
bought their land from the Government land 
agents or from other settlers who had the wander- 
lust and wanted to penetrate further into the great 
West. 

The big prairies in Illinois lay just beyond with 
millions of acres ready for the plow, but the settlers 
sought the timber, even those who went on into 
the frontier following the timber lines into south- 
ern Illinois and Missouri. It is said that when 
Thomas Jefferson stood on the border of the 
prairies he gravely predicted they would not be 



20 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

settled in a thousand years. The early settlers of 
the West held to that view and, seeking homes in 
the timber, slaved for years clearing the land to 
make room to plant corn while the prairies looked 
like a great sea on which no one dare venture except 
to hunt prairie chickens. They were land hun- 
gry, perhaps an instinct handed down from our 
progenitors who lived in the trees, Mr, Bryan to the 
contrary notwithstanding. Indiana was a state in 
1840 and so were Illinois and Missouri, but the 
settlements were all along the rivers and in the 
timber belt. The prairies were given over to wild 
game. True, the prairies were wet and regarded as 
swamp land, but that was not the main reason they 
were slow in settlement. The people sought the 
timber belts because they had never known any 
other way of making a farm but by hewing it out 
of the woods. No one dreamed in 1840 that the 
great prairies of Illinois would within half a cen- 
tury become the granary of the world and also 
produce more warmth and power from the coal 
that lay under the rich black soil than any other 
state in the Union. 

The North Carolina Quakers stopped in the tim- 
ber belt along the Wabash River, built their 
frontier settlement and spent years in preparing 
the land for the plow. They soon realized that they 
had made a great sacrifice in giving up their homes 



A QUAKER HERITAGE 21 

in North Carolina to carry out the principles of 
their faith, but they did not complain or weaken. 
They made their new settlement in the woods and 
put behind them the comforts of the past believing 
it was according to the Divine Plan, and I think it 
was. 

After the close of the long session of Congress, 
in 1922, with railroad strikes tying up transpor- 
tation, I concluded again to trek to the West along 
the old National Pike. As we whirled over a splen- 
did road in a big touring car I confessed my dis- 
appointment. It was not the picturesque highway 
of 1 840 and the scenes I held in memory could not 
be reproduced. The wide sweep of the road with 
its green swards bordering it and the big sycamore 
trees that shaded it were gone, as were the turreted 
culverts which then rose like castles at every 
stream. The taverns had disappeared and with 
them the tap rooms and their hospitality. A garage 
is more serviceable than a stable yard in these days, 
but not so quaint. The land owners had encroached 
on the right of way, building their fences up to 
the pavements, destroying some of the impression 
of roominess and opportunity for resting by the 
side of the road to watch the panorama of travel 
as it moved in opposite directions one of the most 
pleasant diversions of men. I do not complain, 
but first impressions of the National Pike do not 



22 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

harmonize with present day realities of a flying 
trip from "Washington to Danville, in an auto- 
mobile. I got more fun out of the slow move- 
ments of an emigrant train which traveled four 
months along the way than I did four days in an 
automobile. The old Pike is for quick travel now 
and I drove nine hundred miles without seeing 
much save other autos whizzing by in the opposite 
direction; like most automobilists we did not per- 
mit any one to pass us going the same way. I was 
told afterwards that I met old friends on the Pike, 
but who could recognize friend or enemy in this 
mode of travel of touch and go? I am under the 
impression that I saw more people in a mile in 1 840 
than I did in one hundred miles in 1922, and my 
father had time to stop and talk and get acquainted 
with hundreds of people in 1 840 where I could not 
stop for anything but to take in gas for the ma- 
chine instead of for myself. I like to retain the 
pictures of the National Pike in 1840 for they were 
more national than those along the road today, 
more democratic and more cosmopolitan. 

From Old Tippecanoe to Harding has been the 
greatest transformation ever wrought in the world 
in four score years, surpassing the dreams of the 
most lively imagination, and that transformation 
has been produced largely by those and their 
descendants who traveled West in covered wagons. 



CHAPTER II 

LIFE ON THE WABASH 

IT is a long journey from North Carolina to the 
Wabash even now with the fast express trains, but 
it was a longer journey when I first travelled the 
road into the West. Thousands and thousands of 
people from the East and the South made the 
journey over that long road, inspired by the senti- 
ment expressed in an old song, one verse of which 
I remember: 

"To the West, to the West, to the land of the free, 
Where the mighty Missouri rolls down to the sea; 

Where a man is a man if he's willing to toil, 

Where the humblest may gather the fruits of the 
soil" 

The rivers and the Great Lakes were nature's 
highways and the Wabash was a part of the high- 
way to the South and the Gulf of Mexico. It is not 
surprising that the Wabash became famous in his- 
tory, story and song. There is no river in all the 
Mississippi Valley whose name is more familiar to 
the country than that of the Wabash, which today 
is a quiet stream without much commerce and with 

23 



24 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

little claim to a prominent place in the Rivers and 
Harbors bills, but was a part of the old highway 
from the frontier to the centers of civilization 
and the outside world before the railroads were 
built. 

The Wabash was then frontier country with Illi- 
nois and Missouri the only two States beyond. All 
the remainder of the "West in 1340 was territory, 
and a good part of it still belonged to Mexico, 
while the Oregon country was so little known 
that statesmen in Washington were willing to trade 
it off to Great Britain for fishing rights in New- 
foundland waters. Indiana and Illinois were 
farther in time and effort from New York than 
Chicago is now from the Philippines. Chicago was 
then a town of five thousand population; St. Louis 
sixteen thousand; Indianapolis two thousand five 
hundred and Cincinnati, the metropolis of the 
West, had fifty thousand people. The Queen 
City seemed destined to remain the metropolis of 
the West with the highway to the sea flowing by its 
door; and the Wabash was a branch line of that 
highway. My first excursion into the world from 
thl West was on a flatboat down the Wabash, the 
Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, with 
f arm products for that market. It was a common 
experience in that day. 

The Wabash country was in a free State, but 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 25 

there were many people who had come from the 
South and were not opposed to slavery. Some 
like the Friends had come to Indiana because they 
detested slavery, and others had come because 
they were too poor to own slaves or land in 
the slave country. The slave-holding immigrants 
went on across Indiana and Illinois into Missouri 
where they could take their slaves with them and 
have them recognized as property. As these well- 
to-do emigrants passed through Indiana and Illinois 
with their horses and cattle, their slaves and their 
household goods, travelling in rich caravans, they 
were the envy of the poor settlers who regretted 
that the laws of Indiana and Illinois did not offer 
inducement for them to settle in those States but 
compelled them to pass on to Missouri where a man 
could take all his property and find security for it 
under the law. 

The Wabash country was forest covered and 
agriculture had to wait on the axe and the mattock. 
The land must be cleared before it could be planted 
and there was as hard work ahead of those pioneers 
as any ever faced in this country, with the prairies, 
the richest soil on the American continent, lying 
just beyond unoccupied and no purchasers for 
them. "Whole generations wore out their lives 
clearing the land while the prairies remained public 
land which the Government could not sell at any 



26 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

price. These North Carolina Quakers were like 
many other immigrants from the South who sought 
the timber and shunned the prairies because they 
had been accustomed to consider timber lands the 
best farm lands, and they looked upon the prairies 
as they had upon the swamp lands in the South. 
So they went into the timber, and by herculean 
labor chopped and grubbed out their own civiliza- 
tion in the sweat of their faces. 

A great newspaper of the East, a few years ago, 
criticised me for saying that Lincoln made fence 
rails from walnut trees. Why, walnut was the 
principal hard wood timber of the Wabash valley. 
I have seen thousands and thousands of walnut 
logs split into fence rails, and I have seen millions 
of feet of walnut timber burned to get rid of it. 
The early settlers were looking for a place to plant 
corn and wheat, oats and rye, potatoes and turnips, 
and they burned as fine walnut timber as ever grew 
anywhere, to clear the ground and make farms. 
It is all very well to bewail this sacrifice now when 
walnut is rare and valuable, but those people 
seventy years ago were making the country fit for 
civilization and the walnut and butternut trees 
were in the way of civilization. They were a part 
of the wilderness. 

The last of the walnut forests of the "Wabash 
was a few miles from Danville. It was preserved 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 27 

for many years and was the most valuable piece of 
walnut timber to be found In this country. It 
was sold recently for half a million dollars to be cut 
and sent to market. It may represent one idea of 
conservation, but I doubt If It added anything to 
that part of the country, even in Its present great 
commercial value. The surrounding sections were 
cleared half a century ago, and they have been 
producing valuable crops and helping to develop 
a great agricultural State. They have produced 
enough from the soil to pay for the walnut timber 
even at the present price several times over. The 
man who saved that section of walnut timber 
merely buried his talent and his heirs have dug it 
up to put It on the market. 

The new settlement of the Quakers was in Park 
County, Indiana, at a place now called Annapolis. 
There my father located on an eighty acre tract of 
land and with his sons began to chop out a farm, 
build a log cabin and begin the life of a pioneer. 
There I spent my childhood and early youth. That 
pioneer life, so different from anything In this 
country today, was a life of work in the open and 
it called for energy, enterprise and cooperation of 
the frankest sort. There was no surplus or hired 
labor, no slave labor. The work of building up a 
community had to be done by the settlers them- 
selves, their wives and children. "We had no eight 



28 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

hour law, no child labor law, no maternity law, no 
compulsory school law in that settlement. We all 
worked from morning till night in the woods and 
fields and then did the chores afterwards. There 
were no distinctions in the pioneer settlement ex- 
cept one, and that was between the worker and the 
drone. The latter could not long remain in any 
one place. He was given his walking papers, de- 
ported by his own means of locomotion. It was as 
much a part of our social system that the children 
should work and aid the parents as it is now that 
the parents should protect the child and give it the 
opportunity for schooling to qualify it for citizen- 
ship. From the time I was able to ride a horse or 
hold a hoe or swing an axe or grasp the handles of 
a plow, I went into the woods and the fields to take 
my share of the work in making a farm and culti- 
vating it. Some of those experiences were trying, 
and if I have been accused in later years of using 
the language of emphasis that is not considered ap- 
propriate for the Sunday School, I hope it may be 
set down to force of habit of speaking out where 
none were to hear save myself and the horses that 
pulled the plow that caught in the root of a sap- 
ling and then let it loose to fly back against my 
shins, or make the handles of the plow swing into 
my ribs with enough force to break half of them. 
Such experiences provoked strong language or Ian- 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 29 

guage not common in a Quaker meeting, and what 
in later years has sounded like profanity was simply 
the echoes o days on the Wabash nearly four score 
years ago. 

In those days work was not considered hardship; 
no set of young people, youths and children, ever 
had a better time or got more enjoyment out of 
life then we did, and none ever had better health, 
except for the ague. We did not have the public 
library or the college, or the theatre and opera; 
but we had a few good books, and these formed 
the nucleus of a circulating library, and the weekly 
newspaper from New York or Cincinnati Horace 
Greeley's Tribune was the favorite which were 
read and cared for until they were literally worn 
out. "We worked and we played, and we played 
just as hard as we worked. "We had our log school 
house with its puncheon floor, its split logs for 
benches, and one writing desk at which we took 
turns. We had our spelling schools, our debating 
societies, our singing schools, our dances, and our 
sleighrides, and we did not long for the life of the 
city, nor did we envy other young people their 
pleasures of another sort. We were entirely satis- 
fied with our own. 

Youth was just as buoyant, just as hopeful, just 
as ambitious then as now, and I sometimes think 
it was even more irrepressible, because we had our 



30 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

everyday tasks on the farm or about the house to 
take up the serious side of life, and school was as 
much of a recreation as is the theatre now. We 
went to school with enthusiasm when the oppor- 
tunity came, and we seized on a book, no matter if 
it was rather dull, with spirit, because it was a 
change from the routine of the ordinary workday. 
There is nothing like complete change to add spice 
to life, and the boys and the girls in the frontier 
settlements had this opportunity for change every 
day in the year, the change from work to play, and 
the necessity of making play out of work when 
they were in the fields and clearings. 

A log-rolling was a frolic though it was the 
hardest and most difficult work before the fron- 
tiersman. He and his boys might chop down the 
trees, burn the brush and grub up the saplings, 
but when it came to getting together the logs for 
burning there was needed the combination of ef- 
fort, and the whole community turned out to help. 
The men with their teams, and the boys to drive, 
came to help snake these logs together for burning, 
and the women and the girls came to assist the 
women of that particular household to prepare the 
dinner and the supper for the workers in the clear- 
ing. It would be impossible to find work calling 
for greater physical effort and endurance than that 
of log-rolling, and yet it was work done on that 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 31 

neighborly plan of helping your fellowman with- 
out money and without price, in the spirit of fun 
with as much jollity as was ever seen at a German 
picnic. There was danger, too, in the work, but 
no one cared for the danger. And when the work 
was finished or the night called a halt, those men 
and women, boys and girls, who had put in more 
hours and more effort than on any task at home, 
went away singing or laughing and chatting over 
the day's outing, as though they had been to the 
circus or to a picnic. Harvest time brought about 
the same combination of effort. The farmers 
joined in the fields if they ripened a few days apart, 
and with sickle and scythe and cradle they made 
music to accompany their work, and while they 
would sweat under the hot sun they were merry, 
and the man who would growl or complain in the 
harvest field was as near an "undesirable citizen" 
as we had in those days. 

I often read by the firelight. I would not say 
I studied, for that would imply effort to prepare 
myself for some better life in a contest with ad- 
verse circumstances. I was not conscious of any 
unusual self-denial or extraordinary effort. Read- 
ing to me was a recreation, and I indulged in it 
whenever I had a chance. The firelight was the 
best light I had. It was better than the lard dip, 
or even the tallow candle. Nobody had gas, and 



32 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

we did not have the kerosene lamp on the Wabash. 
Firelight was as good a light as we had, and I think 
it has not been much improved on for the individ- 
ual blessed with good eyes and youthful enthus- 
iasm, for there was comfort as well as convenience 
in lying on your stomach on the floor with a book 
open under your nose in front of a bright open fire* 
Yes, it was sometimes warm, but no boy ever 
minded the heat any more than he did the cold. 
He would forget both in his interest in other things 
that opened up a new world to him. 

It might be the Bible, or Josephus, or Rollings 
Ancient Rome, or Shakespeare, or Bunyan, or Ben 
Franklin, or Horace Greeley's Tribune) it was all 
new to the boy who lived on the Wabash and whose 
world was the frontier clearing. He did not study 
as a task; he devoured such reading as came to his 
hand as he would devour salt pork and hominy 
when his stomach was empty. His mind was ready 
to receive impressions from the outside world 
through books or newspapers, and it was recreation 
and not study. It was good fortune rather than 
good judgment that placed standard literature in 
the way of the boys on the frontier. We were bet- 
ter off for our constant companionship with books 
that have lived through the ages than we should 
have been with many of the modern Best Sellers. 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 33 

Don't waste any sympathy on the boys who read 
by the firelight seventy years ago. 

They were not conscious of any self-denial or 
any tedious study under great difficulties, any more 
than they were conscious of hardships in working 
from morning till night regardless of eight hour 
laws or school age. They had enough to eat, and 
their work made them ready to eat. They found 
a few good books and they devoured them remem- 
bering what they read, and that was education. It 
was not a collegiate course, but it was often better 
in that the teachers at hand were the books that 
had lived through many years, and are today con- 
sidered as valuable as when first given to the world. 
I had to read the Bible through every year from the 
time I was nine years old until I was fifteen. I 
read and reread Shakespeare, and Rollings History y 
Aesop 9 s Fables and Plutarch's Lives and those old 
characters were very real to me when a boy and 
have been ever since. The Bible has all my life 
furnished me with texts and illustrations, as use- 
ful in political discussions as they are to men whose 
profession it Is to preach the Gospel. 

We did not have any Fifth Avenue palaces or 
Danville houses on the "Wabash, and we were not 
troubled about the genuineness of imported rugs 
from India or old masters from Paris. We were 
never victimized in that way. But we had a roof 



34 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

over our heads and a floor under our feet, though it 
might be only hard clay, with a big fireplace and a 
chimney of mud and sticks on the outside; and you 
know it is said that the chimney is the greatest 
evidence of civilization, for where the smoke 
ascends from a chimney there is proof of organized 
human effort and home. That makes civilization. 
The man who began life on the frontier, especially 
in the timber, first put up a square house of logs, 
and chinked the cracks with mud. He put on a 
roof of clapboards and he had a home. It might be 
that there was only one big room for parlor, dining 
room and kitchen, but that saved trouble in house- 
keeping and was large enough for the man and 
his wife and even for the small children. And as 
his family grew he put up a lean-to and then an- 
other log house with an open porch between that 
and the old house, and if necessary he continued 
in time his improvements until his log house ex- 
tended into half a dozen rooms, with porches con- 
necting them, and plenty of room to entertain his 
friends. 

As a rule the floors were bare of carpets, but 
when a woman became "aristocratic" she cut and 
sewed rags enough to weave into a hit and miss 
carpiet to cover the floor of the spare room, and 
there was more beauty in those old rag carpets, with 
their bright bits of color, in the warp or in the 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 35 

woof, or in both, than can be found in some of 
the antique rugs. Our house in the new settlement 
became somewhat distinguished by reason of a car- 
pet in the Hying room. That carpet was the prod- 
uct of my mother's enterprise and labor. She saved 
all the discarded clothing of every description, cut 
them into strips, sewed them together, colored some 
of them with natural dyes she made from shrubs 
and roots, and took them to a woman who had an 
old hand loom and wove them into a rag carpet. 
That carpet attracted general attention through- 
out the neighborhood; it created some jealousy and 
the suspicion that mother had "aristocratic" ten- 
dencies. It was, however, only a little transplan- 
tation of some of the civilization of North Caro- 
lina and the natural desire of a woman to make 
a house in the backwoods more attractive as a home, 
and it was a beginning in the way of making the 
frontier homes more homelike, and an education in 
work and thrift for the children as well. Rag car- 
pets appeared in other homes, and those homes be- 
came domestic establishments where not only rag 
carpets, but homespun cloth and yarn for stockings 
were made by the mothers and the girls, who thus 
became a very important element in the industrial 
life on the frontier. The women did not go shop- 
ping every time they wanted a spool of thread, a 
pair of stockings or a piece of cloth for a dress or 



36 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

even for a coat and trousers for their men* The 
women had their spinning wheels and their hand 
looms always conspicuous features of the furni- 
ture and they made merry as they made the 
greater part of their needs in the way of clothing 
and bedding. 

We had no trouble about pure food laws or 
canned foods, for the meat came from the hog pen 
or the pasture where the cattle and sheep grew fat, 
the butter from the family churn, and the canned 
berries and preserves were homemade. The great 
fireplace served for cooking and baking, as well 
as the heating plant. With a roof over your head, 
a floor under your feet, and a fire to warm and to 
cook, there is no question about being in civiliza- 
tion, and we considered ourselves not only civilized 
but very comfortable in our frontier homes. 

The home was the industrial center. We had no 
factories, and the products of cotton and woolen 
mills were luxuries for Sunday or holiday dress. 
The women on the frontier made much of the ordi- 
nary material for workday wear, as well as fash- 
ioned it into clothing. The spinning wheel and 
the hand loom were familiar articles in many homes 
and the girls were taught to use them in making 
linen and linsey-woolsey, while many of the men 
were fair cobblers and made the boots and shoes 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 37 

for the family when there was a lull in outdoor 
work. 

A spelling match was a spirited contest between 
rival day schools, and the contests were almost as 
lively and more effective than the college contest 
over football and base ball to the present genera- 
tion: but then we had no need for athletic con- 
tests in school hours for we had those at the log 
rollings, the house raisings and harvest time, as well 
as in snowball battles, and the games of shinney* 
There was often great excitement as the rival 
champion spellers stood on opposite sides of the 
school room and the teacher, exhausting the old 
spelling book, took to the dictionary and began to 
hurl unusual and difficult words at them, and when 
the contest was ended the champion who had 
spelled down everybody else was a hero as well as 
the acknowledged best scholar in that neck of the 
woods. It was not necessary to introduce reformed 
spelling in those days, because we learned to spell 
according to the best authority and we did not 
forget. It was a disgrace not to spell well, and 
what a hubbub would have been created by any 
effort on the part of the Government to reform 
spelling by making it easy! 

Then there was the singing master. The coun- 
try has lost through his departure. He taught 
everybody to sing and where all could sing and 



38 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

did sing there was not much use for church choir, 
and no conscious loss in the absence of the opera. 
The singing master was a unique and picturesque 
character. He belonged to the whole community, 
more even than did the school master or the circuit 
rider. He belonged to a day that has gone, and 
the boys and the girls of this generation have missed 
nothing more attractive in the old life than the 
singing school, and no more disinterested friend or 
picturesque character than the singing master. 
Following the admonition of St. Paul he insisted 
on serving the Lord with gladness and singing and 
making melody in the heart. 

The singing master traveled about from one 
community to another, organized classes or sub- 
scription schools, and taught everybody to sing. 
He recognized no exceptions but insisted that every 
one could sing and that every one must sing. 
While the Quakers did not have music as a part of 
their religious services, the young Quakers went to 
singing school and we all learned to sing. I have 
not in recent years been able to impress my musical 
talent on either my children or my friends and 
colleagues in Congress, but I have never doubted 
my ability to sing and have got considerable com- 
fort out of my efforts. I sometimes think it is as 
good as a faith cure, for no one can sing without 
feeling better for trying to make melody with the 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 39 

lips which will also make melody in the heart. 
It might be a good idea to reincarnate the singing 
master and teach every man, woman and child to 
sing in a time of hysteria and confusion and 
conflict. It may be that the neglect of the gift 
of the Creator and the turning almost univer- 
sally to mechanical invention for music has had 
something to do with unrest and dissatisfaction. 
We have the victrola in the home and in the theater 
and we sit silent listening to the grinding of the 
machine and looking at the moving pictures as 
though we were tongue tied. I would prefer to 
get back to the old custom of singing at home, in 
the congregation and in the concert hall, and have 
the singing master come back to give us confidence 
in ourselves by standing up with his command, 
"everybody, ready, sing ! " I believe we would have 
a more hopeful view of life if he insisted we all 
should sing. 

The debating society was another institution we 
had in the pioneer days that has been permitted 
to fall into disuse except in the colleges. What- 
ever success I have had in legislative life and in de- 
fending legislation on the floor, I owe largely to 
the debating society we had in the Quaker settle- 
ment on the Wabash. My father insisted on the 
boys discussing questions at home and often we 
assembled in the living room, took up some ques- 



40 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

tion of the day and debated It, I on one side and 
one of my brothers on the other, while father 
acted as umpire. Then we had a debating society 
in the settlement and there took sides and debated 
questions that were beyond our intimate knowl- 
edge, but we learned to think on our feet, to think 
and to talk at the same time, something that is 
not always observed by members of Congress. 

Some years ago Representative Landis had an 
old Hoosier constituent visit him and took him to 
the gallery of the House while I was having some 
difficulty with an appropriation bill. I suppose I 
was kept busy with questions and replying to them 
with some spirit. Mr. Landis' friend asked him 
who it was speaking, and when the Representative 
replied, '"Mr. Cannon,'* he said, "I was sure I knew 
him. I have not met Mr. Cannon since he was 
elected to Congress many years ago but I was a 
member of the same debating society down on the 
Wabash, and he has the same manner of debating 
now he had then/ 5 

A house raising was a frolic, and a quilting bee 
was a social gathering in the same way that an 
afternoon tea Is today. The ladies had an oppor- 
tunity to gossip while they put in the stitches and 
there was better opportunity for real confidential 
gossip over a quilting frame than any other con- 
trivance ever invented, 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 41 

The circuit rider, the religious revival and the 
camp meeting were not identified with the Quaker 
community, but they were a conspicuous part 
of the pioneer life in the West. They ministered 
to the religious and the emotional side of man's 
nature, and they also helped along social inter- 
course by furnishing a place for general assem- 
blage of the people without regard to sect or doc- 
trine. We could all go to the revivals in winter 
and to the camp meetings in summer, whether we 
were Quakers or Presbyterians or Methodists, for 
the invitation was general and specific to all sin- 
ners. Some of the sermons and some of the prac- 
tices at these gatherings might not appeal to the 
people now as sanely religious, or be recognized 
by the churches as contributing either to the spir- 
itual or moral tone of the community; but the 
frontier had no more self-sacrificing men than the 
old circuit riders who rode through the woods and 
across the prairies winter and summer, preaching 
and exhorting the people to a better life and in- 
spiring hope in a future. They were evangelists 
of the old type, devoting their lives to a labor of 
love, without money and without price. I have 
been reminded of the old camp meetings by some 
of the Chautauquas of today. This most popular 
assemblage, where the people come together for 
social enjoyment, to hear popular orators and to 



42 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

be educated as to the developments of the Govern- 
ment, its shortcomings, and how to make it as per- 
fect as Heaven, has come nearer to occupying the 
place held by the camp meeting in the old days 
than any other assemblage of modern times. 

Several years ago I had a very flattering offer 
to go on the Chautauqua circuit for a season, and 
Secretary Leslie M. Shaw urged me to accept. I 
replied that it suggested the old camp meeting and 
that I would feel as though I were invading a field 
for which I was not fitted, as I could not put my- 
self in the mental state of the circuit riders I had 
heard exhort the people to repentance. Mr. Shaw 
agreed that the Chautauqua suggested the camp 
meeting of other days, but he said, there was one 
material difference there were gate receipts. 
" We have combined the camp meeting of your early 
days with the more modern vaudeville, and now 
while we call sinners to repentance we also en- 
tertain them. They pay their money and take 
their choice, and the box office is the vital as well 
as the profitable part of the machinery. The peo- 
ple go to be instructed, hope to be entertained and 
know from the prospectus that they will see and 
hear noted or notorious characters. You will ap- 
pear in the latter class and you will draw because 
you are the best advertised man in America, as the 
greatest Czar that ever ruled an unwilling; people, 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 43 

They will listen to you, and I know that you will 
soak the grass with enough cold, practical common 
sense to prevent it catching fire when the next per- 
fervid orator comes along to tell them that the 
world is all upside down, and show them that rev- 
olution is the only plan of salvation/ 3 

Still the Chautauqua did not appeal to me, even 
with the alluring prospect of the box office re- 
ceipts. There was a story told of one of the early 
circuit riders of Illinois, which came to my mind 
when the Secretary hinted at the profits. That 
old circuit rider loved hunting game as well as 
souls and he could not always forget his sport when 
engaged in the divine calling. One morning as 
he proceeded to the camp meeting he saw signs of 
a fox and set a trap where he could keep his eye 
on it during the sermon. "While preaching he saw 
the trap fall; without changing the sing-song tone 
of his delivery, he said, "Brethren, keep your minds 
on the text while I go out and kill that fox." 

We did not have the circus on the "Wabash, but 
the great moral, natural-history show, which, ac- 
cording to the bills, presented an illustrated his- 
tory of the world from the creation, with the wild 
beasts from the jungles of Africa and the moun- 
tains of Asia, and samples of the aboriginal man 
from the islands of the South Seas. Van Amberg's 
Great Moral Show was an institution of that day 



44 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

which traveled over the country in a wagon tram, 
with the elephants and camels and the giraffe 
driven along in the caravan so that they could be 
seen by the boys who got up early enough in the 
morning to get a glimpse as the show passed by. 
It came to Rockville, the county town, seven 
miles from my home, and old Ephraim, the col- 
ored man who worked for my father, offered 
to take me to see the show. Uncle Eph was 
as anxious as I to go, and we got permission 
on the theory that he would take care of me. 
Father gave us the money and we started before 
daylight to walk that seven miles to Rockville. 
When I got tired Uncle Eph took me on his back 
and "toted" me, as he expressed it. We reached 
the show grounds before the tent was up, and we 
watched the tent raisers with as much interest as 
we did later what was inside the tent. Van Am- 
berg's was the first great show that I remember. 
I believe it was the first big traveling show in this 
country. It was not a four-ringed circus, but a 
menagerie with trained animals, and clowns, and 
a few bare-back riders. It was considered a part 
of one's education to go to Van Amberg's to study 
the wild animals of the world. When the per- 
formance opened Uncle Eph and I entered the tent. 
We looked at the elephant and the camels and the 
lions and tigers. These were all wonderful to me 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 45 

and also to Uncle Eph, but what held our atten- 
tion longest was the big baboon, who stood up in 
his cage, manlike, bigger than I was. Uncle Eph 
was greatly impressed with the animal that bore a 
resemblance to the human, and we stood a long 
while in front of the cage. 

Uncle Eph was always respectful and sociable 
with everybody he met. When we stopped in 
front of the baboon's cage he took off his old hat 
and, with a nod of his head, said: "How is you?" 
The baboon stood holding to the bars of his cage 
and staring at us. Uncle Eph repeated this ques- 
tion, and getting no response he looked the animal 
over for a moment and said, "That's right: you 
keep your mouth shut or they'll have you out in 
the field hoeing corn like me," and we went away 
to continue our round of the cages. "We saw all 
Van Amberg's Show that day, and Uncle Eph 
"toted" me a good part of the way home. I re- 
member that first show better than any other, but 
I remembered as the chief event of the day the 
attempt of Uncle Eph to interview the big baboon, 
and the philosophy of the old negro. I have seen 
men make reputations for wisdom with their fel- 
lows just as the baboon did with Uncle Eph. It 
is not a bad rule. 

My father was a country doctor, not a graduate 
from a medical school and licensed to practice 



46 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

medicine. We did not have many doctors of that 
kind down on the Wabash in the Forties, though 
there was no place in the West where there was 
greater need for them. My father was just a man 
of some school education and more self -education 
who studied such medical books as he could get, 
and they were few, but who necessarily studied 
disease and such remedies as he could secure, and 
he gave his time to ministering to the sick in one 
of the worst malarial districts I ever knew. Some- 
body had to do this and he was better equipped 
than anybody else in the neighborhood; and years 
after we moved to Indiana, and he had given prac- 
tically all his time to this work, the Cincinnati 
Medical College sent him a diploma. He had never 
been to that college or any other medical school, 
but he had made some reputation as a country doc- 
tor and the diploma was given him as a recognition 
of his work something like the honorary degrees 
the universities and colleges today award to men 
who have gained some reputation. I have one or 
two of these and I am certain that my father de- 
served the diploma he received more than I de- 
served the degree of Doctor of Laws. 

We had standard diseases and standard remedies 
on the Wabash. We had ague as a regular dis- 
ease and it was not difficult to diagnose. You could 
feel it and you could see it with the naked eye. 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 47 

Other people could also feel it when the patient 
had the chill for he shook the house. Our stand- 
ard remedies for ague were calomel, castor oil and 
quinine, and they were not measured out on the 
apothecary's scales. Ten grains of calomel was a 
dose for a congestive chill, followed with a big 
dose of castor oil and then all the quinine that could 
be poured into the victim. "We did not have cap- 
sules to protect the quinine until it got into the 
stomach. It was in powder and had to be swal- 
lowed raw or diluted in water and in either case 
it was medicine, patently so to the patient in try- 
ing to swallow it. 

The Methodists abounded in the little crossroads 
town where my father practiced medicine. We 
would go to Methodist meetings and revivals. It 
gave a ten-year-old boy queer notions to see people 
fall and agonize at a camp meeting and to hear 
preaching that smelled of fire and brimstone and, 
oh! the unpardonable sin! I did not understand 
exactly what it was, but there was no forgiveness 
for it. I asked Brother Evans, a North Carolinian 
and a good Methodist, what it was. He was sort 
of stumped, but after swallowing a couple of 
times, he said, tc lt is the curse of God/* Plowing 
in the clearing, where the roots broke loose and 
hit him on the shin, a boy had to think of some- 
thing. One day I was plowing and got to think- 



48 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

ing and thinking and thinking, and the first thing 
I knew out came the unpardonable sin. The rocks 
and mountains might have fallen on me the next 
minute and been welcome. It ran along a week 
and mother saw that something was the matter. 
She was a woman of great common sense. Taking 
me up on her lap she said: "Joseph, what's the mat- 
ter with thee? Tell mother/ 3 I told my story. 
"Son/* she asked, "why didn't thee tell mother 
before?" I replied that I was afraid. "But/' she 
urged, "thee did not intend to curse thy Maker?" 
"No! No! mother/' "Thee did not intend to 
curse thy Maker and He has already forgiven 
thee/' Never did learned judge on the bench de- 
fine crime better, and the peace which came to 
Christian when the rock fell off his back, as de- 
scribed by Bunyan, did not equal the peace which 
came to the ten-year-old boy when my mother 
kissed me and put me on the floor. Wonderful 
they were, those mothers of that great population 
which spread through the Middle West and to the 
Pacific coast. 

I recall a great Methodist revival in Parke 
County, Indiana, About everybody was con- 
verted and amongst others little Jimmie Henshaw. 
He came into the small store where we sold every- 
thing from a quart of tar to a skein of silk. I 
was waiting on a customer but as soon as I could I 



LIFE ON THE WABASH 49 

said: "Jimmie, did you join? 55 "Yes/' lie replied. 
"Why did you join?" I asked. "I want to go to 
heaven/ 5 lie said. "Why do you want to go to 
heaven, Jimmie?" "So I will get all the ginger- 
bread I can eat forever and ever/' That was Jim- 
mie's idea of heaven* 



CHAPTER III 

A RANK INJUSTICE 

THE most painful incident in my early life 
was the taking of my father's horses by the Sheriff 
to pay a fine for employing a free negro to work 
on the farm. I suppose that incident made a 
greater impression on me as a boy in Indiana than 
did the tragic death of my father a few years 
later. It was a human tragedy and I could fix 
the responsibility and fight it. Fve been fight- 
ing it for sixty years. It was the denial of 
the right to work and receive pay for voluntary 
labor. My father had given work and wages to 
a man whom he helped to freedom in a free State, 
but the laws of that free State punished him. If 
there is one conviction that has predominated over 
others to influence my actions as a private citizen 
and in public life, it is that every man of every 
condition has the right to earn his daily bread in 
the sweat of his face, and that no man nor group 
of men should be permitted under sanction of law 
to deny or abridge that right. The Quakers left 
their homes in North Carolina with all the tradi- 
tions that hold men to a settled community life 
and emigrated to the West for one purpose to es- 

50 



A RANK INJUSTICE 51 

cape contact with servile labor; and yet the most 
trying incident of that new life in a free State was 
the punishment of my father for exercising the 
right to employ and pay a free man for his labor. 
We lived in the Quaker settlement in Parke 
County, Indiana, and the settlement centered about 
Bloomingdale where the Friends* Meeting House 
was built. Those Quakers had all come from the 
South to get away from contact with slavery. 
Back in the forties the Woodward family in our 
settlement came into an inheritance through the 
death of a relative in Alabama. Their inheritance 
was in money and in slaves. The Quakers were no 
more averse to inheriting property than were other 
people, and the money would have been accepted 
without question or reference to anybody, but the 
slaves raised a serious question. The Quakers did 
not believe men, even black men, could be re- 
garded as property, and the Woodwards were much 
troubled about their legacy. They took the ques- 
tion into the Quaker meeting where it was seri- 
ously and prayerfully considered in the men's 
meeting, then in the women's meeting, and later 
in solemn joint conference; and finally a formal 
minute was adopted and entered upon the records 
that the slaves in Alabama should be brought into 
Indiana, manumitted and provided with land to 
begin lives of independence, The money part of 



52 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the inheritance should be used to purchase land, 
build houses, provide such farm implements as 
were needed, and, in fact, the whole amount of 
the money inherited was to be expended for the 
benefit of the slaves. Not a dollar was to be re- 
tained by the heirs for their own use. As conscien- 
tious Quakers they accepted the judgment of that 
meeting, and the whole business in connection with 
the inheritance was to be conducted by those rep- 
resenting the Friends 5 Society. The end in view 
was not only to strike the bonds of slavery from 
half a hundred human beings but to give them 
a fair start in life as free men and women. 

My father was chosen to go to Alabama, settle 
the estate, and bring the property North. With 
the proper legal documents he started on his jour- 
ney. This was before the days of railroads in the 
West, and he embarked on a small steamboat on 
the Wabash, transferring to another boat when 
he reached the Ohio to proceed to New Orleans. 
He returned the same way, bringing with him the 
negroes and about $50,000 in gold. "When he ar- 
rived there were men who declared they would 
prevent the landing of the negroes. These men 
went to the river landing and when the boat tied 
up notified my father that he could not bring the 
negroes on shore. They threatened him with vio- 
lence if he attempted it. You know the Quakers 



A RANK INJUSTICE 53 

from the days of George Fox have borne testimony 
against war and fighting, as they have against slav- 
ery, but for all that they have not hesitated to fight 
when necessary to support their beliefs. My father 
was a man of peace like all his neighbors in the 
Quaker settlement, but he did not carry his ad- 
vocacy of peace to the point of surrendering his 
convictions or shirking a duty. He quietly said 
that he intended to bring the negroes ashore, and 
whoever opposed him must take the consequences. 
The captain of the boat slipped a pistol into his 
hand, and placing himself at the head of the ne- 
groes my father marched down the gangplank. 
There was no occasion for him to use his pistol. 
The sight of a Quaker with a gun in his hand, 
cocked and ready for use, was enough to convince 
the crowd he would shoot if necessary. He had an 
old-fashioned Quaker conscience and was not to 
be intimidated. I believe he would have accepted 
responsibility for the death of any man who by 
violence had stood in the way of his executing the 
trust given him by the Friends 5 Meeting, just as 
some of his forebears suffered death rather than 
surrender a religious conviction. 

The negroes were landed and the terms of set- 
tlement decided upon by the Friends' Meeting were 
carried out to the letter. The money was used to 
purchase land and upon it the negroes were set- 



54 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

tied. They were a high type of the American 
negro, in the main they were well equipped for 
supporting themselves; some were carpenters, one 
a bricklayer, one a tailor, one a blacksmith, two 
or three were house men and others were farmers. 
They became owners of small tracts of land, and 
I doubt if there ever was a more prosperous negro 
settlement made by manumitted slaves. 

The so-called "Black Laws 55 were then in force 
in Indiana, and similar laws obtained in Illinois. 
Any one employing a negro, unless the negro prior 
to the employment had given bond and security 
that he would not become a charge on the State 
or County, was subject to indictment and penalty 
upon conviction. Some of these negroes were tem- 
porarily employed by farmers near the settlement. 
My father hired one of them as a field hand, and 
my brothers and myself worked with him on the 
little eighty acre farm that was being cleared and 
improved. While other men accepted service from 
the negroes as barbers or cooks, my father was se- 
lected for prosecution under the Black Laws be- 
cause he employed a negro as a farm hand and paid 
him wages. That was the crime in the eyes of his 
opponents. It was not that any of these men 
wanted the work themselves or objected to the 
negro doing the work. Their objection was that 
he should be paid. 



A RANK INJUSTICE 55 

There were many men in that part of Indiana 
who resisted or refused to obey the Black Laws. 
Some of them were professed Abolitionists follow- 
ing the preachings of William Lloyd Garrison and 
Wendell Phillips, and some only desired to keep 
slavery out of the West and prohibit it in our Na- 
tional Territory. They were, however, all classed 
as "Black Abolitionists 53 by the supporters of slav- 
ery or those who did not have the courage to take 
any position. The Quakers were not Abolitionists 
and my teachings at home were not against the con- 
tinuance of slavery in the South where it had ex- 
isted from the beginning of the Republic. I was 
never tempted to raise a flaming sword against this 
institution in the South. I was taught to get away 
from it if possible. My father had made some sac- 
rifice to escape its contact. The Quakers were be- 
tween the two fires of conflicting ideas. They had 
brought these negroes into the State and given 
them their freedom, and they recognized that the 
former slaves must have work and wages to live. 
They had to become a part of the productive life 
of the community or become a burden. 

The coming of the negroes caused great excite- 
ment in our county, especially among those, later 
to be Republicans, who had great admiration for 
Henry Clay. The cry was raised by the Demo- 
crats that the bringing of negroes into the Quaker 



56 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

settlement endangered the peace and safety of the 
county, and the negroes and those who brought 
them into Indiana should be prosecuted if a law 
could be found to reach them. As the negro em- 
ployed by my father had not given bond to indem- 
nify the county if he should become a public 
charge, my father was indicted for giving him 
work, and the cry went up that the tc damned Abol- 
itionist Cannon would now get what he deserved/ 3 
The duty laid upon my father to bring those 
negroes into Indiana to give them their freedom 
placed him in a peculiarly embarrassing position 
toward the Black Laws of the State. He was the 
one person held responsible for the coming of the 
negroes, and drew upon himself the criticism and 
abuse of those who were opposed to having black 
men in that part of the country. He did not defy 
the law simply to show his contempt for it. He 
had to choose between the constitution of the 
State, which prohibited any man from being in- 
dentured to another or compelled to labor without 
pay except for crime, and the law of the State 
which prohibited any man from giving employ- 
ment to a negro except where that negro had given 
bond that he would not become a public charge 
on the community. That requirement was a farce, 
for the Quakers were following the one plan by 
which these former slaves could earn a living and 



A RANK INJUSTICE 57 

give a guarantee that they would not come on the 
community as mendicants. 

My father knew full well he would be prose- 
cuted. Feeling ran high; he was certain to face 
a prejudiced jury and a hostile judge. He was con- 
victed and heavily fined. A country physician, he 
owned a small farm fairly stocked. All his worldly 
possessions were not of value to exceed three thou- 
sand dollars. The Friends* Meeting and political 
friends offered to pay the fine. His reply was: 
"Nay, nay, the fine will not be paid. Let the law 
take its course, and the fine be collected under the 
law." The fine was collected, and a large part of 
his stock, horses and cattle, was levied upon by 
the sheriff and sold to the highest bidder, until 
the last cent of fine and cost was satisfied* 

I recollect during the course of the trial hearing 
Thomas N. Nelson, of Terre Haute, my father's 
attorney, a courageous and able lawyer, say to the 
Judge: et ls it not true, your Honor, that the negro 
barber who shaved your Honor this morning, and 
who is occasionally employed as a useful servant 
at dinners given at your hospitable table, has not 
given the bond required by law, and is not your 
Honor as guilty as Dr. Cannon of violating the 
laws of the State, and is not every member of this 
jury who was shaved by this colored barber equally 
guilty with each member of the bar?" 



58 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

It was true that the negro barber had not given 
the bond required by law. It was also true, being 
the only barber in the county town, that he shaved 
the presiding judge, the members of the bar and 
jury; and in God's chancery, if not under the letter 
of the law, each juror, each member of the bar, 
and the Judge himself, were as guilty of violating 
the law as was my father then on trial at the bar. 

At that time the common law practice obtained 
in Indiana, and the judge had what was called the 
last speech; that is, after the case was closed, the 
Judge charged the jury, and on this occasion he re- 
viewed the evidence and the law, and cautioned 
the jury to pay no attention to the address of the 
defendant counsel touching the services of the 
barber; for while it was true that the negro barber 
had not given the bond required by law, his work 
as a cook from time to time in the preparation of 
dinners and following his trade as barber was not 
"employment" to constitute a violation of the 
statute. 

Governor Coles, the second Governor of Illinois, 
had a like experience. He was a man of means, 
had owned slaves in Virginia, had been private sec- 
retary to President Madison, was an educated 
Southern gentleman, but when he emigrated to 
the West and settled in Illinois he brought his slaves 
with him as free men, gave them land near his own 



A RANK INJUSTICE 59 

farm, and helped them in their new life. He en- 
tered into the politics of the Territory and became 
the second Governor of the State, During his ad- 
ministration a movement was started for a consti- 
tutional convention to repeal the clause prohibit- 
ing slavery in the State. The Governor took an 
active part in defeating the agitation and contrib- 
uted his whole salary to the campaign* That an- 
gered his opponents who wanted to make Illinois 
a slave State like Missouri and Kentucky, and they 
took advantage of the Black Laws to annoy him. 
Governor Coles was indicted, tried, convicted and 
heavily fined for disobeying those laws in giving 
work to his former slaves who had not given bond 
not to come on the county for support. The Legis- 
lature remitted the fine, but the Circuit Court held 
that the Legislature exceeded its authority. Later 
the Supreme Court of the State overruled the lower 
court and reversed the decision. There was such 
a deep seated prejudice against giving the black 
men equality of opportunity in work and wages 
that the Governor of Illinois became one of the 
first victims of the law. 

Much of the agitation of the slavery question at 
the time of my father's conviction centered in the 
West. There was the Dred Scott case in the courts 
in St. Louis and then in the Supreme Court of the 
United States, with the contention of the negro's 



60 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

counsel that his residence in Illinois and Wisconsin 
Territory had made him a free man. There was 
also the repeal of the Missouri Compromise which 
prohibited slavery in all the territory north of the 
Missouri state line. These questions attracted gen- 
eral attention throughout the country, and they 
focused in Illinois and Indiana where there had 
been division and contention over slavery from the 
time the States were admitted into the Union. 
About one half the boundary of Illinois divided the 
State from slave territory. Kentucky on the 
southeast and Missouri on the West. There was 
more or less intimate communication between the 
people who recognized slavery as legal in Ken- 
tucky and Missouri and those who did not in 
Illinois. The southern half of Illinois projected 
like a wedge into slavery, and there were no people 
in the country who were subject to so much and 
such bitter agitation over this question as were 
the people who lived there. The southern part of 
Indiana had the same conditions and the same agi- 
tation. 

Everybody in that section of the country read 
or talked about the Dred Scott case and the repeal 
of the Missouri Compromise. It was easier to get 
up an argument and incite a quarrel about slavery 
than anything else that concerned the whole peo- 
ple. The early settlers were at war with each 



A RANK INJUSTICE 61 

other on this question, and prejudice guided. 
The Puritan and the Cavalier fought like Kilkenny 
cats through all the early years of the West, as 
they represented the extremes on this old issue 
of slavery. In the southern part of Indiana we 
had comparatively few New England people, and 
the average opinion of the Puritan was that ex- 
pressed by Peter Cartright, the old Methodist cir- 
cuit rider who once defeated Lincoln for the 
Illinois legislature. Cartright declared that all 
Yankees were imps of the devil who lived on oys- 
ters instead of honest cornbread and bacon. 

I saw my father's horses and cattle sold to sat- 
isfy that judgment and the injustice of the whole 
affair made a lasting impression. My father did 
not complain when the Sheriff seized his property. 
I think I never saw him and my mother more 
serene under any trial than they were under that 
one. I never did quite adopt all the philosophy of 
the Quakers and I could not accept the views of 
my father and mother that we had not suffered a 
great wrong at the hands of the law. But our 
stock was taken and we were poorer than we had 
been because the law did not permit my father to 
employ a black man to work for him and pay him 
wages the same as he would to any other free man. 
I remembered every detail of that first personal 
contact with the slavery question. In recent years 



62 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

some of my critics have accused me of accepting 
too much responsibility. "Well,, I had a good ex- 
ample, and I would have been unworthy the mem- 
ory of that Quaker who sired me if I had tried to 
shirk responsibility when the test carne and, put 
in the place of responsibility, did not stand up to 
be counted. I am rather glad that the criticism 
has not been the other way,, for no one has ever 
accused me of looking for a goat. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE AWAKENING OF AMBITION 

MY father was drowned in 1851. There was 
a freshet and Sugar Creek was high. The neigh- 
bors all considered it hazardous to attempt to ford 
the stream, but father had a patient on the 
other side and he refused to be influenced by any- 
thing except the man needing his care. He rode 
into the creek; the horse returned to the stable 
with an empty saddle. We knew what had hap- 
pened and I started at once to try to find his body. 
I saw where the horse had entered the creek and 
I anticipated that he would again be carried 
by the current just as he had with my father. 
I climbed into the saddle and rode into the water. 
The neighbors said I was foolhardy and some 
wanted to prevent my making the venture. But 
I was a boy of fourteen and felt confident that 
I could stick to the back of the horse and go 
where he went. I thought in that way to locate 
the place where my father had gone down. I 
am satisfied that my theory was correct, but the 
swift current had swept him down stream. We 
never found the body. I became in reality the 
head of the family. My older brother was in school 

63 



64 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

and mother and I agreed that he must remain until 
he could graduate in medicine and take father's 
place. I went to work in a country store, received 
one hundred and fifty dollars a year and lived at 
home. We managed to get along and kept the little 
farm. So at fourteen I entered upon my business 
career, 

I was satisfied with my life as a clerk and the 
possibility of some day becoming a partner in the 
business, I had five hundred dollars saved and felt 
independent. But we had a sensational law suit 
in Annapolis and I was called as a witness. I went 
to testify with fear and trembling, became fas- 
cinated with the legal battle and exultant over the 
success of the attorney for the prosecution. He 
secured a verdict against the slanderer of a young 
woman. I determined to be a lawyer, and I would 
have gone hungry and in rags to realize the am- 
bition then awakened. 

A young woman, who might now be called hoy- 
denish but was then called a tomboy, became the 
victim of gossip, and her father took the matter 
into court. She was one of those girls who liked 
the boys and made no concealment of her liking. 
She was a good fellow, and all the young men of 
the town enjoyed being in her company. She was 
more popular with the men than she was with the 
women, and some of the women discussed her ac-* 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 65 

tions too freely. One woman, who constituted 
herself the moral censor of the village, allowed her 
criticism to go beyond what the apparent facts 
warranted. She talked about the girl's life and 
acts in a way to take from her all character- It 
was a very serious situation for the girl and her 
family. Her father brought suit against the 
woman for slander. 

A good many witnesses were summoned to tes- 
tify to the character of the girl. I was one of 
them. I had met her frequently at dances and 
parties, had been on sleigh rides with her and liked 
her. I knew no cause for suspicion against her ex- 
cept that she was full of life and enjoyed the com- 
pany of young men and did not hesitate to say so. 
I believed her to be as good and pure as any girl 
in the community. While I felt I could and should 
say everything in her favor, I disliked the ordeal 
of a cross-examination upon my knowledge of a 
young woman's character. 

When the trial began everybody in the commu- 
nity was present. A distinguished attorney from 
Indianapolis appeared for the defense, and John 
P. Usher, of Terre Haute, for the prosecution. I 
became deeply interested in the discussions of the 
lawyers as to the admissibility of evidence. It 
opened up a new view of the law to me. I saw its 
relation to justice, and how innocence might be 



66 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

made to appear guilt through evidence that is not 
admissible under the rule of the law. In giving my 
testimony I was careful that it should not be in- 
validated or weakened either by hearsay or undue 
expression of opinion. I wanted to help that girl. 
I believed she had been unjustly criticised and her 
character had been smirched by gossip inspired by 
envy. I wanted my testimony to help her and I 
made it simple and direct. I stuck to that simple 
and direct testimony through the cross-examina- 
tion, and did not allow the insinuations of the at- 
torney on the other side to anger me into making 
a slip. I watched the whole case, the handling of 
the witnesses 011 both sides, and was impressed with 
the way Mr. Usher disposed of those who had only 
hearsay gossip to repeat on the witness stand. I 
listened to the arguments and was further im- 
pressed with the way Mr. Usher cleared away the 
mists of gossip to show that there was not a single 
fact revealed that would cast reasonable suspicion 
on the character of the girl. I rejoiced with her 
friends in the verdict in her favor and against the 
author of the malicious gossip. 

I went back to the country store thinking of the 
case and how the man trained in the law had saved 
that girPs character, had restored it to her and 
given her a future. It seemed to me the most im- 
portant event in the history of our community. 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 67 

The lawyer who had disposed of slanderous gossip 
and restored character to that girl was a hero in 
my eyes. The law, it seemed to me, was a profes- 
sion more important than that of teacher or 
minister. It held in its hands the scales of justice 
and protected them from the sacrilege of malice. 
I wanted to be a lawyer, but I had no education. I 
had read the Bible, and history, and some philos- 
ophy. I had never read any law books. I sup- 
posed a college education was necessary to become 
a lawyer, but I had no hope of getting a college 
education. 

I resumed my daily routine of selling needles 
and tar, muslin and nails. But my heart was no 
longer in my work. My thoughts were with that 
lawyer in Terre Haute. I bought a law book and 
began studying it. I soon determined to become 
a lawyer, whatever the difficulties. I told my em- 
ployer of my determination. He discouraged me, 
said I would make a good business man but a very 
poor lawyer, and he offered me a salary of five hun- 
dred dollars a year, and at the end of a year an in- 
terest in the business. He did not dissuade me, but 
he induced me to continue for a time in his employ. 

We had an exciting political campaign that fall 
and there was a big mass meeting in Annapolis. 
John P. Usher and Oliver P. Morton were the 
speakers, The trained logic of those men con- 



68 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

vinced me that I must be a lawyer in order to do 
things wisely and realize an ideal that had entered 
my brain. After the meeting I went forward with 
others to meet and shake hands with those great 
men. I introduced myself to Mr. Usher, told him 
I had been a witness at the trial he had conducted, 
and he was kind enough to say that he remembered 
me on the stand and that he had been impressed 
with the character of my testimony and the way 
I had passed through the cross examination. Then 
I blurted out my ambition. I wanted to be a law- 
yer and asked him if there was any hope. He asked 
about my education and said it was not a very good 
foundation; but when he saw the look of discour- 
agement in my face he said with hard work I might 
become a lawyer, but he pointed out the difficul- 
ties in the way, I told him I had five hundred dol- 
lars saved and I was ready to spend every cent of 
it and face starvation to become a lawyer. He took 
me by the hand and said I would succeed, and I 
might come any time to Terre Haute and take a 
place in his office and have access to his library. I 
quit the store as soon as my employer could get 
another clerk and went to Terre Haute to study 
law. 

The ambition to be a lawyer and working the 
raw material of a country boy into a master of 
law are two very different things. I had no train- 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 69 

Ing to help me In the study of law. My education 
vy-as deficient, my habits of study defective. My 
reading had been haphazard, devouring whatever 
I could get hold of history, poetry, fiction, the 
Bible, the weekly newspaper, an old novel, adver- 
tisements or sermons, anything in print. The 
printed page was a sort of gospel to those who had 
few books, and I had read everything that came 
to hand with a respect for type which is not so 
common today. There was an excellent law 
library in Mr. Usher's office, but he was a busy 
man, traveling the circuits in western Indiana and 
eastern Illinois, and he was not in the office enough 
to be of much assistance to me even in the way of 
advice how to arrange and pursue my reading. 
I was much of the time alone, with a wealth of 
learning on the book shelves and no one to show 
me how to take advantage of my opportunities. I 
was starving in the midst of plenty. I was tempted 
to go at the problem as I had read the dictionary, 
from cover to cover, to begin on the top shelf at 
the left hand corner and read all on that shelf be- 
fore beginning another; but Mr. Usher generally 
came home Saturday afternoon and he would, If 
not too busy, tell me what to read to fit me for a 
short term in the law school. I read indiscrimi- 
nately, probably little was of immediate value, but 
it all came in handy in later years, for in Congress 



70 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

bits of tKat early law reading have come to life at 
unexpected times to aid me in my legislative work, 

It was not an idle life, and yet it seemed to me 
as near loafing as anything I ever did. That was 
the summer of 1856 when I was twenty years old, 
and it was the first summer I ever passed without 
physical labor. It seemed like loafing rather than 
work to sit in an office all day and do nothing but 
read. I remained in Terre Haute a year and that 
library was a revelation to me for Mr. Usher had 
many books other than text books on law. I read 
everything I could lay my hands on and got a 
pretty liberal acquaintance with standard litera- 
ture. Then I went to the Cincinnati Law School 
for six months, using up the remainder of my five 
hundred dollars, my savings of five years' work 
in the country store. 

Those six months in Cincinnati gave me a val- 
uable experience in more things than the law. It 
was my first acquaintance with city life, with its 
business activity, its educational advantages and 
its culture. At that time Cincinnati was the me- 
tropolis of the "West with a population of about 
one hundred and fifty thousand, with great traffic 
and travel on the Ohio River and on the railroads 
to the East, West and South. Chicago and St. 
Louis were far behind the Queen City of the West 
in population and everything else that made a 



AWAKENING QF AMBITION 71 

metropolitan centre. Its schools and colleges at- 
tracted young men from the West and the South 
as well as from Ohio* It was the city of the border, 
between freedom and slavery, and Mrs. Harriet 
Beecher Stowe made the Ohio River the barrier 
which Eliza crossed on the floating ice to reach 
freedom. There were stations of the underground 
railroad all along the northern bank of the Ohio 
River active in giving first aid to the runaway 
slaves, to the great irritation of the slave holders 
in Kentucky. Cincinnati was a city of many Ger- 
mans, who brought to their new home the customs 
and habits of the Fatherland; their love of music, 
their open air enjoyment, their liking for beer 
which they drank freely without becoming intoxi- 
cated. "Over the Rhine 55 had a definite meaning 
which it has long since lost. 

It is curious how the development of our coun- 
try and the growth of cities have confounded the 
wise. Cairo, Illinois, in 1850 was the "great city 
of the "West 55 in prophecy and In the speculations 
of eastern capitalists. Situated at "the most im- 
portant confluence of rivers in the world 55 and at 
the center of the American Republic, at the south- 
ern terminus of the Illinois Central, it was ex- 
pected, as the entrepot between the northern and 
southern markets, to dominate commercially the 
Ohio, Wabash, Tennessee and Cumberland valleys 



72 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

as well as the great northwest, becoming, as a great 
inland emporium, the largest city in the world. 
In 18 50, however, Cairo had two hundred and 
forty-two inhabitants, living largely in wharf 
boats and small temporary shanties, waiting for 
the marshy bottom lands to be reclaimed from the 
overflow of the rivers. It was about that time 
that Charles Dickens visited the United States and 
afterward wrote Martin Chnzzlewit. We thought 
he was unkind in his pictures of some features 
of American life and enthusiasm, but possibly 
Dickens did not draw his caricatures beyond the 
pictures which we tried to draw as honest prophe- 
cies. Cairo is now a prosperous city, but it is not 
the commercial center of the world and probably 
never will be, and Dickens' pictures are as amusing 
to Americans as they were to Englishmen nearly 
eighty years ago. 

It was a time of excitement along the border, 
and Cincinnati was the center of political agita- 
tion. Men of all factions In politics could be found 
among the students in the law school and there 
were public meetings and debates between men 
who had wide reputations as public speakers and 
statesmen. It was there I heard Stanley Matthews 
and Henry B. Paine both later to become United 
States Senators and one a member of the United 
States Supreme Court discuss the slavery ques- 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 73 

tion. Both ardent Democrats, they assailed Presi- 
dent Buchanan for his attacks on Senator Stephen 
A. Douglas and his effort to destroy Douglas as 
the leader of the Democratic party. Douglas had 
expressed himself as opposed to the Le Compton 
constitution in Kansas, and the President, trying to 
keep in harmony with the dominant faction of his 
party in the Senate, had sought to read him out of 
the party. Northern Democrats rallied to the de- 
fense of Douglas, and the first great political 
meeting I attended was addressed by Stanley Mat- 
thews and Paine in defense of Douglas. I had heard 
Oliver P. Morton at Rockville, Indiana, the year 
before when he renounced his allegiance to the 
Democratic party and took his place against slav- 
ery, but this meeting in Cincinnati gave me nay 
first impression that the agitation was splitting the 
Democratic party along the old Mason and Dixon 
line and that it meant a political alignment on sec- 
tional lines. 

This was to me a life of opportunity, and al- 
though five hundred dollars would not go far in 
the city in six months, I had a good time and 
learned as much outside the law school as in the 
lecture room, though we had excellent lawyers 
for teachers. In my class were men who later 
made their mark in one way or another. Noyes, 
who afterward became Governor of Ohio, was one; 



74 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

Berry, of Kentucky, who had a brilliant career in 
the House, was another; and still another was J. N. 
Free, who afterwards became known all over the 
country as the ^'Immortal J. N.," the most pic- 
turesque crank, the most cheeky mendicant, and 
one of the best advertised men in the United States 
half a century ago. He traveled over the country 
by rail and steamboat, stopped in first class hotels, 
and was written about in the newspapers, paying 
his way with the coin of presumption and never 
condescending to work for anybody or give a serv- 
ice for anything. So you see we had all varieties 
of genius in that class. 

I did not confine myself to the law school or to 
the political debates. I had other advantages in 
Cincinnati. One of them was to hear Moncure 
D. Conway, the great Unitarian preacher. He was 
one of the foremost pulpit orators of that day, and 
he had recently become the preacher at the Fourth 
Street Unitarian Church. He preached a series of 
sermons which were biographical studies of great 
figures in history, and I went to hear him every 
Sunday evening. His subject might be Paul, or 
Luther, or Melanchthon or some more modern 
character; his treatment and method made an ap- 
peal to me that was different from any other re- 
ligious discussion I had heard. It was a new order 
of preaching to me as there was little of doctrine 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 75 

or creed and much of example drawn from history. 
I also saw Booth and other of the older actors who 
made reputations on the stage. It was, all In all, 
the most instructive six months I ever spent any- 
where, for a new world had opened to me and 
everything contributed to my future efforts as 
well as stimulated my ambition to become a 
lawyer. 

One of my preceptors in the law school was Bel- 
lamy Storer, who impressed me as a very able 
teacher of the law. Thirty years later I served with 
his son in the House of Representatives, that Bel- 
lamy Storer who became famous because of his 
violent dispute with Mr. Roosevelt when he was 
President. Another twenty years passed and as 
Speaker I welcomed to the House a nephew of the 
second Storer, Nicholas Longworth, also a Repre- 
sentative from Cincinnati. These associations in 
the House recalled my early experiences in the old 
law school which gave me my diploma to prac- 
tice law. 

In the spring, with my money all spent and no 
regrets, and my sheepskin in my pocket, I went 
back to Terre Haute to practice law. I was ready 
again to go into Mr. Usher's office and do what 
work he would give me. But he said, "Nay, nay, 
my boy. You are a lawyer now and must strike 
out for yourself. Stand on your own feet, how- 



76 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

ever feebly, for that is the only way to gain 
strength. Go over Into Illinois, find some promis- 
ing town where there are not too many lawyers 
and hang out your shingle. You can't take a place 
in my office and I advise you not to take a place 
in any man's office but your own/ 5 It was the 
best advice I ever received, not appreciated then 
as much as in later years, but it made an impression 
that lasted, and while in Congress I secured some 
places about the Capitol for several young men 
from my district that they might have much of 
their time for school, but when they were through 
with their school I cut off the patronage and sent 
them back home, to abuse me, no doubt for six 
months or a year and to thank me all the rest of 
their lives. That was the way with me in regard 
to Mr. Usher's advice. I regretted taking it for six 
months and then found it so valuable that I 
adopted it as an axiom. When a young man has 
made a special effort to equip himself for a specific 
work he should be set to work at that job and not 
forget what he has learned. 

I followed Mr. Usher's advice and went to Shel- 
byville, Illinois, which was as far as my funds 
would take me. I rented a little room on the main 
street of the town for an office, hung up my di- 
ploma, found a boarding house and settled down 
to wait for the clients who did not come. As the 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 77 

weeks went by and my small savings diminished 
and disappeared, I grew discouraged and thought 
of the country store where I might have been a 
partner with a decent income. I owed for my 
board and I needed clothes,, and I thought I needed 
some tobacco because I had learned to chew and 
smoke when I was fifteen, but the clients did not 
come and one day, in my discouragement, I took 
down that diploma from the Cincinnati law school, 
smashed the glass and frame and ground the sheep- 
skin under my heeL It was one of the bluest days 
in my life* The kind woman with whom I 
boarded consoled me and assured me that she would 
wait for me to earn the money to pay her for my 
keep. She was my good angel who encouraged me 
by her confidence. I continued the struggle, 
earned a few dollars in handling a case for a farmer 
before a justice of the peace, and a few dollars in 
preparing papers for another farmer, but as a law- 
yer in Shelbyviile I was not a success. 

Douglas County was cut off from Coles County 
about that time and named after Senator Stephen 
A. Douglas, and Tuscola was made the county seat. 
I concluded to cast my lot with the new county 
and moved to Tuscola, still owing my board bill 
but with the blessing and encouragement of the 
woman to whom I owed it, and after a year I was 



78 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

able to pay her, to bring my mother and younger 
brother Will to Tuscola, and start a home again. 

"When my father died years before and I became 
the head of the family at the age of fourteen, my 
mother reminded me that I would probably al- 
ways have to look after brother Will. He was 
near-sighted, with white hair and eyebrows and 
very light eyes; a typical albino. It was a tradi- 
tion that children with those physical characteris- 
tics were not bright and would always be depend- 
ent on others. Mother had that feeling, and so did 
I in the beginning. But Will did not conform to 
tradition. While I was sitting in my office waiting 
for clients that did not come, he was hustling for 
a living. He started in the real estate business in 
a small way and made enough and a little over to 
keep going. He invited me to join him, and it was 
my first success since I had abandoned my place in 
the store at Annapolis. I was inclined to the belief 
that I ought to have remained in business and I 
might as well give up the law. But to that my 
brother would not listen. He insisted that I con- 
tinue in the law and make the real estate business 
a side issue. He would look after that end of the 
work and I could be his partner, sharing in the 
earnings while I devoted all the time necessary to 
the law when I could secure clients. This boy 
whom I was to take care of had turned the tables 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 79 

on me. He was looking after me and he did it 
better than I looked after him. I secured some law 
business and we made a living. I attended the ses- 
sions of the court in various places, became ac- 
quainted with other lawyers and came to be known 
as one of the lawyers of the district. In the mean- 
time my brother was increasing his business and 
dividing profits with me. 

I had been out on the circuit several weeks and 
when I returned Will met me at the train and said 
''Joe, I suppose you'll swear, but I have made a 
venture in business and have taken you in as a 
partner/' 

I was surprised as I could not think of any busi- 
ness Will was capable of handling, but I asked him 
what it was. "Fve started a bank and taken you 
and another man in as partners. We've each got 
five thousand dollars stock and we're bankers." 
He took me to a little shack where he had located 
a big iron safe and there was the bank. I could not 
conceive of having five thousand dollars of any 
kind of property or collateral, but we got a charter 
and that was the beginning of the Second National 
Bank of Tuscola, Illinois, of which I have been a 
stockholder for three score years, and it was the 
beginning of the business career of William Can- 
non, who, before his death twenty-five years ago, 
was recognized as one of the most successful busi- 



80 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

ness men In Illinois. Brother Bill took me into 
partnership way back before the Civil "War, and 
he kept me as a partner through all his successes 
until his death. The boy with weak eyes and white 
hair who was to be my charge, by good ventures in 
land and enterprises to build up the communities 
in which he lived, gave me a competence which 
provided for my family while I gave my efforts to 
public life. 

But for the partnership with Brother Bill, I fear 
that I would not have broken the record for long 
service in Congress, for while some people are al- 
ways criticising the salaries of Congressmen as too 
large, I have been compelled, even with modest 
living, to spend more than my salary every year 
I have been in Washington. I also owed to that 
near-sighted man much of the knowledge of busi- 
ness affairs that I have had to deal with in Con- 
gress, and I admit that some of my political acute- 
ness, if I have such, was acquired from Brother 
Bill 

I married a Methodist girl, a Yankee from Con- 
necticut, whose family settled in what was known 
as the Connecticut grant in northern Ohio, which 
includes Cleveland and all that strip of country* 
She came out to Illinois to teach school on the 
prairies, but I convinced her that she had better 
quit teaching school and reside there permanently. 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 81 

She crossed over to the other shore years ago. I 
do not belong to any church now. After I mar- 
ried Mary Reed, Nathan Pickett, who was my 
father's executor, and two other Friends, journeyed 
to my home In Illinois and were my guests over 
Sunday. Monday morning they said, ''Joseph, we 
would like to see thee." I knew what was coming. 
I said, ''Come along, Mary, they won't mind/* 
"Thee knows what we have come for/* they said, 
and then began to reproach me for having ignored 
the discipline by marrying a woman of another 
church without asking permission, and said I must 
express regret. This I bluntly told them I would 
not do* I could not see the distinction between 
saying I was sorry for having committed a breach 
of discipline, which was a mere formality, and re- 
gretting having married the woman I had chosen. 
So I ceased from that moment to be recognized 
as a Quaker in good standing. 

My wife was inclined to reproach herself for 
being the cause of this breach with the Friends, 
but I used to tell her jokingly that these censors 
did not wait long enough to give me an oppor- 
tunity for repentance. They came, I reminded 
her, only four months after we were married, but 
if they had waited a year or so, who knows what 
I might have said. But there never were any re- 



82 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

grets, thank God! Neither differences of religion 
nor anything else came between us. 

In 1860 I was a candidate for District Attorney 
and was defeated. Then in 1861 I was elected 
District Attorney for the new district created by 
the Republican legislature. It was my introduc- 
tion to politics. In the campaign I had some ex- 
periences that were pleasant and some that were 
not, but I discovered that in politics as in every- 
thing else a man has to depend on his general repu- 
tation for square dealing, and he will not suffer in 
the long run from misrepresentation. 

I tramped over the prairies in the winter and 
spring making the campaign, for the election was 
in March. There was a large Quaker settlement 
in one part of the district and they supported me 
because they had known and respected my father. 
It was not a speechmaking campaign but a house 
to house visitation. It was a democratic district 
but circumstances helped me. One of these was 
falsehood. We had in our village a man who con- 
sidered himself the censor of all other people's con- 
duct and he had no love for me. One day as I 
passed a group of men on the street corner, my 
face red from the March wind and also as a nat- 
ural accompaniment of red hair, our moral censor 
commented. He said to the others in the group: 
''There goes that young fellow, Joe Cannon, and 




fhotograpii oy Under-wood & Underwood 
UNCLE JOE 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 83 

look at him as an example of the politicians we 
have in this new Republican party. Just look at 
his red face and nose. That tells the story. He 
is a fit candidate for the gutter rather than for 
Prosecuting Attorney for this district. " I did not 
hear this condemnation at first hand, but a mem- 
ber of the Supreme Court of the State, and a Dem- 
ocrat, who lived in that town, heard it and resented 
it. He stopped and joining the group said, "I heard 
your remark about Joe Cannon and I suspect it 
is not the first time you have made it. I don't like 
that kind of political warfare. I am a Democrat 
and I have been giving what influence I have to 
the election of the Democratic candidate for Dis- 
trict Attorney. But I know Mr. Cannon and his 
family. I know that he and his brother are living 
here with their mother, leading sober, industrious 
lives, and not loafing on street corners to gossip 
about their neighbors. I know that your insinua- 
tions are a mean libel on that young man; the 
meanest that can be thrown at toy man, and know- 
ing them to be libels I propose to resent that kind 
of politics by giving my vote to Joe Cannon." 
The influence of that Judge was of great advan- 
tage to me and it came because of misrepresenta- 
tion. I was elected. 

That was another experience which impressed 
upon me the fact that the real lawyer kept justice 



84 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

before him as the prime object of his profession. 
The Judge had no reason to favor my election as 
District Attorney, except that I had been slandered 
by one who had influence enough to injure the rep- 
utation of a young man who was not well known 
in the district. The district contained several 
counties in Central Illinois, and I am prouder of 
the fact that I represented the people of various 
parts of that judicial district as Prosecuting At- 
torney and Representative in Congress for more 
than sixty years, holding their confidence, than 
I am of anything else in my public life* 

I have tried to follow the principles of law in 
legislation, and to guard against makeshifts which 
become precedents. My experience on the circuit 
in Illinois, when we had to travel from place to 
place, look into the cases as presented, and pro- 
ceed to trial without careful study of law books, 
compelled me to carry my law in memory and 
grapple with the situation on the spur of the mo- 
ment. The lawyers who rode the circuit in the 
West had little time for the preparation of argu- 
ments. They had to indulge in the catch as catch 
can method of argument. That was my practice, 
and it became a habit that has clung to me through 
my legislative career. I have never prepared 
speeches, \I have studied the subject and tried to 
be prepared for emergencies in defending bills when 



AWAKENING OF AMBITION 85 

I had charge of them on the floor. There are dis- 
advantages in such methods when making attack, 
and there are advantages in defense. One of these 
is that you will not make speeches to consume time, 
and will only speak when you have something to 
say that may count. Some men in defending bills 
have a weakness for debate that leads them into 
controversies that retard rather than aid the meas- 
ure. The majority of attacks made upon a bill be- 
fore the House are not effective, and can be passed 
over without attention. The man in charge of a 
great bill must be ready to expkin every para- 
graph, and then trust to the intelligence of other 
members not to be misled by criticism that does not 
outweigh the merits of the paragraph. A lawyer 
does not make speeches merely to be heard* He 
talks for effect. That was one thing I learned in 
the practice of law on the circuit. 



CHAPTER V 
WAR TIME 

A MAN'S work is often cut out for him by 
circumstances regardless of his own plans and am- 
bitions. I don't suppose I was born to be- 
come a military hero, but I was like other young 
fellows of that day and ready to enlist and 
fight for the mere love of fighting, perhaps. I 
didn't, and it is not worth talking about. It is 
ancient history and relates to conditions that have 
been forgotton in the reunion of the people under 
one flag and one government at Washington. 
Only as a reminiscence is the story excusable in 
these busy patriotic days when we are engaged in 
the great "World War, with the world relying on 
our country to save it from the domination of an 
imperial autocracy. I did not become a soldier in 
1861 because I had a job which I could not let go 
of when President Lincoln called for 75,000 vol- 
unteers for three months to put down the rebel- 
lion. I had been elected District Attorney for the 
Twenty-seventh Illinois judicial district and had 
taken up the work of that office before Fort Sum- 
ter was fired on. The older men at home did not 

think I should resign and make necessary a special 

86 



WAR TIME 87 

election. Governor Yates held to that opinion, 
and as my resignation would have to be accepted 
by him, his was something more than a curbstone 
opinion. 

Illinois went against Lincoln in 1862, and from 
that time until 1864 the Southern sympathizers 
continually tried to hamper the Government in 
putting down the rebellion. In 1 8 64 there was the 
murder of seven Union soldiers in front of the 
courthouse at Charleston, which is the blackest 
spot in Illinois history. The men, who had been 
home on furlough, met at Charleston to take the 
train back to the front. It was the day for the 
opening of the Spring term of court and was ob- 
served as a sort of holiday, the farmers coming 
from all parts of the county. Their teams were 
parked about the public square and it afterward 
developed that many of these men had guns hid- 
den under the straw in the wagon beds. The sol- 
diers stacked their guns at the railroad station, and, 
unarmed, went to the courthouse to meet and say 
good-by to friends. They were shot down like mad 
dogs and the Sheriff of the county, leaving his 
place in the courtroom, led the mob to an unpro- 
voked attack on the unarmed soldiers. One of the 
officers was shot in the doorway of the courtroom, 
and there was evidence that the shot came from 
inside, 



88 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

This Charleston riot was the worst thing that 
happened in any Northern State during the war, 
and it shows what kind of people I had to deal with 
as State's Attorney for that district. I knew that 
I was in daily and nightly danger of being mur- 
dered by these disloyal men, who as openly as pos- 
sible showed their opposition to Lincoln and the 
war, calling it "Lincoln's war/ 5 and the soldiers, 
"'Lincoln's hirelings/ 5 I prosecuted the leaders of 
the mob who murdered the soldiers at Charleston; 
that is, those who did not get away and escape to 
Canada, where they remained until President John- 
son pardoned them. 

In 1864 General Richard Oglesby, who had 
won great reputation as a soldier and had been 
wounded, was nominated as the Union candidate 
for Governor. He was one of the most striking 
orators we had in Illinois and a man of undaunted 
courage. Oglesby announced he proposed to speak 
in Charleston, notwithstanding threats against his 
life; but he knew that part of the State and had 
lived there before the war. Threats only made him 
the more determined. He gave instructions to ar- 
range for his meeting in the court-house yard 
where the attack on the soldiers had been made. 
A good many soldiers home on furlough insisted on 
accompanying the General to Charleston to pro- 
tect him in case of attack. As State's Attorney it 



WAR TIME 89 

was my duty to be there, but I would have gone 
anyway. There was a large crowd, apparently 
pretty evenly divided politically. Many men 
were armed and I expected trouble* as I am confi- 
dent there would have been but for the dramatic 
introduction of Oglesby. He introduced himself. 
There was no chairman and nobody on the little 
platform with him. He stepped up on this small 
stand, about the size of a dry goods box, threw 
back his head, dilated his nostrils, inhaling the air, 
and then shouted, "I smell blood! I smell the blood 
of Union soldiers. I smell the blood of Dr. York, 
here foully murdered by traitors to their country, 
your neighbors and mine, a nobleman, soldier and 
citizen, shot in the back by as damnable cowards 
as ever wore the form of human beings !" Then 
lifting his hands as though in supplication and 
speaking in solemn and reverent tones he uttered 
words most terrific: 

"May God Almighty damn the souls of those 
cowardly murderers who committed that hellish 
crime here in the shadow of the temple of justice. 
May God eternally damn the souls of the damned 
cowards who stood by and saw without protest 
that foul murder of Union soldiers. May God in 
his infinite wisdom eternally damn in everlasting 
hell all the cowardly conspirators who have plotted 



90 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

against the government and murdered its defenders 
here in Illinois, the home of Lincoln/' 

So startling was this language and yet so truly 
did it represent the sentiments of many men in 
that audience that some of the older Methodist 
and Baptist preachers gave it their sanction by fer- 
vently shouting "Amen/ 5 while others gave vent 
to their pent up feelings with expressions similar 
to those of the General. His opponents were so 
amazed by the Old Testament arraignment that 
they were literally stricken dumb and did not re- 
cover their powers of speech until the close of the 
meeting, and then they retired without attempting 
to create disorder. 

Oglesby spoke for two hours. He carried his 
audience with him. Had any man attempted an 
assault or an interruption, his life would not have 
been worth much; so completely was the crowd 
under Oglesby's spell and moved by his patriotism. 
He carried the State for Lincoln and the whole 
Union ticket. Oglesby stamped out treason and 
became the idol of the people of Illinois without 
regard to party. Three times he was elected Gov- 
ernor and sent to the United States Senate; while 
Democrats voted for their own candidates they 
idolized "Old Dick," as he was familiarly and af- 
fectionately called to the day of his death. Cour- 
age in politics is as effective as in war, and Oglesby 



WAR TIME 91 

never showed the white feather in either. A man 
who is honest but a coward is unfit to govern. 

"Old Dick 3 ' was a remarkable man and had a 
remarkable and romantic career. His father was 
a planter in Kentucky and the owner of many 
slaves, but when he died his estate was heavily 
involved and the slaves were sold at auction. 
Oglesby was a young lad when this catastrophe 
fell on his home, and he was greatly distressed when 
his favorite among the slaves, Mose, crying like 
a child, was put up for sale. The boy had never 
seen Mose show emotion. He rushed up to the 
block and demanded to know why he was crying. 
"Oh, Dick, Fse gwine to be sold down the ribber 
and I'll neber see Mandy and my pickaninnies any 
mo. 35 "They shan't sell you down the river/' the 
boy shouted, "I'll buy you myself," and he turned 
to the auctioneer to make a bid, but the family 
had nothing left. 

After the settlement of the estate Dick was sent 
to his sister who lived near Decatur, Illinois. There 
he worked about a livery stable, picked up a little 
schooling, met Joe Jefferson's father traveling 
through the country with his company, struck up 
a life time friendship with young Joe and wanted 
to join the troupe, but his sister would not give 
her consent. He enlisted and went to Mexico 
where he made an excellent record as a soldier, got 



92 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

home just in time to catch the gold fever and drive 
a six mule team from St. Louis to California, en- 
tered the mines and with a partner cleaned up 
about twenty thousand dollars in gold dust, only 
to have it stolen by another miner. Oglesby got 
back his team and made more money than by dig- 
ging for gold; with a stake of about twenty-five 
thousand dollars he sold his team and took the boat 
for Panama. He came home by the Isthmus and 
the Mississippi River, but stopped in New Orleans 
long enough to have his gold converted into coin 
at the Mint. "When he again appeared in Decatur 
he was a rich man for the community. 

Then he recalled his promise to buy Mose. The 
negro was on a plantation in Kentucky and was 
about to be sold again, but he was old and prac- 
tically worthless. Oglesby bid more than Mose 
was worth in his best days, manumitted him, pur- 
chased a little plot of ground with a comfortable 
cabin and left enough money with a friend to see 
that the old negro should be comfortable as long 
as he lived. Oglesby then started for a tour of the 
Holy Land. "When he returned to Decatur the 
minister insisted that he tell the people about his 
pilgrimage and for four nights he talked from 
seven o'clock until midnight about his experiences, 
and while he presented a graphic picture of the 
sacred places* he was not particularly solemn about 



WAR TIME 93 

It and amused as well as instructed his audience,, at 
times using language that some of the more devout 
thought sounded like profanity. Oglesby was the 
only man I ever knew who could use cuss words 
in a pulpit without having an ordinary church goer 
feel that he had said anything improper. ?t Old 
Dick" was a wonderfully interesting man and the 
last time I saw him was a few weeks before he died* 
As we walked to the elevator in the Congress 
Hotel, Chicago, he turned to me and said, "Joe, 
don't it beat the devil that just when we have 
learned to live we have to die?" 

Once in those troublous days, during the Civil 
War, I stood very near to death. I was spared, I 
believe, because there was work for me still to do. 
I had to try a man named Clem for having killed 
a soldier in Danville in one of those frequent riots. 
I thought then, and still think, that the evidence 
was conclusive and sufficient to justify any impar- 
tial jury to bring in a verdict of guilty, but the 
jury was not impartial, there was more than one 
man with Southern sympathies, and Clem was 
defended by D. W. Voorhees, of Indiana, later to 
be the Democratic Senator from that State. Even 
in those days Voorhees was noted for his eloquence 
and his power before a jury; he had the reputation 
of securing more acquittals than any other man, 
and when he could not get his client off he man- 



94 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

aged so to confuse the jury that it was not able to 
agree. Voorhees resorted to his usual tactics. He 
played to passion and sectional feeling. He knew 
there were men on the jury who had no love for 
Lincoln and believed he had made wanton war on 
the South, and to whom Clem's sentiments were 
not obnoxious. So the jury brought in the verdict 
Voorhees asked for and his client was turned free. 
The following morning I was sitting in front of 
the Randolph Hotel on the public square, my chair 
tilted back and my feet on the hitching rail. Some 
people have said of me that I never can think un- 
less my feet are higher than my head; as to that 
I do not know, but I confess it is a posture I like, 
even though there may be others more graceful. 
I had been talking to a man named Smith and 
thinking that Justice had stumbled when she 
turned Clem loose on the community, perhaps to 
commit murder again, when Clem came up. He 
was a big fellow, standing over six feet and mus- 
cular. In a rough and tumble encounter he could 
have broken me in two without much exertion. 
He began to revile me, swearing vilely and calling 
me shameful names. Loudly and profanely he an- 
nounced that I was a nuisance to the community 
and he proposed to give me a dose of my own medi- 
cine. He would not, I had a feeling, open fire on 
me in the presence of so many witnesses, but he 



WAR TIME 95 

hoped to provoke me Into a fight and then claim 
he shot in self-defense fearing his life was in peril; 
probably relying on some of his cronies to swear 
they had seen me make a threatening gesture. 
Clem's right hand was in the neighborhood of his 
left breast pocket, where he carried his gun. 

In such circumstances a man thinks quickly and 
acts on intuition I suppose the modern scientists 
would say his subconsciousness comes into play, 
but In those prairie days we knew nothing of the 
mysterious working of the mind and simply relied 
on Instinct. I knew if I took my feet down and 
stood up, In all probability Clem would pull his 
gun and fire without another word. So I deter- 
mined to bluff him. "Without altering my posi- 
tion, but slightly turning my face, I told him he 
was too much of a coward maybe I called him a 
damned coward to look me squarely in the eye 
as he killed me; what he liked was to sneak up on 
his victim and shoot him from behind when there 
was no one present to be able to identify him as 
the murderer. It may be the man was a coward, 
perhaps he realized there was too big a gallery; 
no doubt I owe much to my friend Smith. For 
as soon as Clem began his verbal assault, Smith 
reached into his hip pocket and brought out a big 
navy revolver which he cocked and held ready, 
and took good care Clern should see it. Smith was 



96 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

a man noted for his cool nerve and steady aim. 
Had Clem fired at me Smith would undoubtedly 
have shot him down like a dog. For a second or 
two Clem wavered and I wondered whether I 
should ever see the light of day again, then one 
of his friends sprung forward, took him by the arm 
and dragged him away. My feet came down from 
the rail. 

Those were great days in Illinois and Illinois had 
great sons, mostly by adoption, because we were 
too young to have founded families, but these men 
are a part of the history of the State of which we 
are proud. I told you of the dramatic speech made 
by Governor Oglesby. I heard another speech 
which, as I recall it, suggested the master of stage 
craft rather than a man who had nothing of the 
theatrical in him but was inspired by holy zeal and 
his passion for the oppressed. 

Owen Lovejoy and his brother, Elijah, had come 
from Maine to the West* They brought with them 
their political convictions against slavery and the 
courage to assert their convictions wherever they 
happened to be. Every schoolboy knows the story 
of Elijah Lovejoy's martyrdom for free speech, but 
only those who knew his brother Owen personally 
realized that he was quite the equal of Elijah in 
ability and in courage. Owen Lovejoy lived at 
Princeton, Illinois, which was one of the important 



WAR TIME 97 

stations on the Underground Railway, and he was 
one of its most active and energetic agents helping 
the escaped slaves to freedom. I heard him deliver 
several speeches in the campaigns of 1860 and 
1 862, but the most unexpected and effective speech 
I think I have ever heard was at the little town of 
Greenup, in Cumberland County, then as now a 
Democratic community. The population had 
come from Kentucky and Virginia and they sym- 
pathized with the South on slavery. When it was 
announced that Owen Lovejoy would make a 
speech in Greenup, word was sent over the county 
that he would not be permitted to talk. I lived 
in Coles County and drove across country to at- 
tend that meeting. There was a large crowd in 
the little town, many men having been drawn 
there in anticipation of trouble. Some of Love- 
joy's friends feared that he might suffer the fate 
of his brother Elijah and fall another victim of free 
speech. When the meeting was called to order 
there was suppressed excitement in the crowd as- 
sembled in the open square. The Lombard 
Brothers, who had sung at Lincoln's meetings and 
become famous in the campaign of 1860, re- 
mained the most popular campaign singers in the 
West for many years. During the "War they went 
South to sing in the Union camps and did much 
to cheer up the soldiers with their songs. They 



98 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

were at Greenup that day, and it was hoped their 
songs would put the crowd in good humor and 
possibly save trouble, but while the songs pleased 
the majority, you could hear such expressions as 
"niggerskin" and <c damn abolitionist" from those 
who were bent on mischief. 

Lovejoy sat on the platform apparently indiffer- 
ent to the warnings he had received, and after the 
singing he rose to speak. The confidence and cour- 
age of the man put strength in his friends and 
curiosity in his opponents. Lovejoy looked over 
the crowd, turning his eyes from group to group 
as though to read their purpose. Then, with grave 
deliberation, he began: 

* e l have been told that Owen Lovejoy would not 
be here today, and that if he did come he would not 
be allowed to speak. The oldest member of my 
family lies in his grave over at Alton on the Mis- 
sissippi, a victim of mob violence. He died in de- 
fense of liberty. It is the most a man can do in any 
cause. I will speak here today. 35 

You could hear the leaves rustle, his voice being 
the only other sound to disturb the air. The crowd 
was silent. Lovejoy had thrown a spell over them. 
He was not afraid, and his opponents knew it from 
the moment he rose to his feet and uttered that de- 
fiant declaration. They listened, and from the be- 
ginning he spoke in plain unequivocal language, 



WAR TIME 99 

calling a spade a spade when occasion required. 
He said: 

*I am called an abolitionist. Some Republicans 
are afraid of being classed with. me. If I am an 
abolitionist, make the most of it, and you must 
know that there are many more like me." 

He had exquisite control of his voice. He be- 
gan like a lawyer trying a criminal case before a 
jury. He looked out over the crowd as he said: 

*T11 try this case and I want twelve men, all of 
them Democrats, to stand up*" 

Then with judicial solemnity he charged the 
jury: 

"You will well and truly hear the statement 
touching the question I am about to put, and a true 
verdict render as you shall answer at the last judg- 
ment day/ 5 

After a pause, Lovejoy resumed: 

"On a plantation, in the distant Southland, in 
the low miasmatic swamps, there was a woman. 
She was young, handsome and under God's law 
had as much right to live and control her own ac- 
tions as any of us. She was of one eighth African 
and seven eighths white blood, just like your blood 
and mine. The overseer of the plantation where 
she was held in bondage sought to persecute her be- 
cause she would not assent to his advances. She 
escaped into the swamps. Bloodhounds were set on 



100 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

her trail. She boarded a little steamboat which 
plied on a small river which emptied into the great 
Father of Waters. In the fullness of time she 
landed at the first station in Illinois, name not 
given, and proceeded from station to station. 
Finally she arrived in Princeton. I myself, Owen 
Lovejoy, was the keeper of that station at Prince- 
ton. She came to my house hungry and told me 
her story. She was fairer than my own daughter, 
proud, tall and beautiful. She was naked, and I 
clothed her; she was hungry, and I gave her bread; 
she was penniless and I gave her money. She was 
unable to reach the next station, and I sent her to 
it. So from station to station she crossed the 
Northland far from the baying dogs on her trail, 
and out from under the shadow of the flag we love 
and venerate into Canada. Today she lives there a 
free and happy woman." 

As Lovejoy reached the end of this simple re- 
cital women sobbed and men swore. He lowered 
his eyes to his audience again and thundered: 

"As you shall answer to God, what would you 
have done? Get up. Rise, men, and give your 



verdict." 



And men did straighten up, forgetting their par- 
tisan differences for the moment and shouted 
back: 



WAR TIME 101 

Tou did right, "We would have done the 



same/ 5 



Lovejoy finished his speech and there were no 
interruptions. His simple eloquence and his cour- 
age won him the respect and even the admiration 
of an audience that had gathered to prevent him 
from speaking. 

The war governors contributed much to the 
success of Lincoln's administration in dealing with 
the rebellion, especially Governor Morton, of In- 
diana. He understood this problem as did Lincoln, 
and he was wise in counsel and firm in execution 
of all plans made to resist the plots to destroy the 
Union. He knew the danger that would come 
with Kentucky going over to the Confederacy 
and what that would mean to Southern Indiana 
and Illinois, where the family and neighborly ties 
reached across the Ohio River and were strong 
enough to carry many of the people in sympathy 
with their kin and friends on the Kentucky shore. 

Morton was especially alert to this danger and 
was one of the earliest and most astute of Lin- 
coln's advisers in regard to keeping Kentucky In 
the Union. He went to Washington soon after 
Lincoln's inauguration to discuss affairs. He was 
convinced from the beginning there would be war, 
and he began to get ready for it. He urged Lin- 
coln to call for volunteers, and he was ready before 



102 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the call was issued and among the first of the Gov- 
ernors to forward regiments to Washington. He 
was energetic and courageous in his patriotism and 
there was no man in all the West so hated and re- 
viled by the rebel sympathizers and Copperheads 
as was Oliver P. Morton of Indiana. 

I first saw and heard Morton when he ran for 
Governor in 1856. It was at Rockville, in Parke 
County. My home was at Annapolis and I rode 
over to hear a joint debate between Morton and 
Willard, the Republican and Democratic candi- 
dates. They were both handsome men, and to me, 
great orators. "Willard was the more fluent in 
speech, and probably the more attractive to the 
ordinary listener, because he was easy in manner, 
had a fine command of language, with plenty of 
similes and good stories. But I preferred the solid, 
even sober, logic of Morton, for he was in deadly 
earnest and appeared to have his whole heart in the 
issue at stake. Originally a Democrat, he had been 
given political preferment by that party, but he 
could not stand the Kansas-Nebraska Bill; he 
joined the new political organization known as the 
Republican party, and had been a delegate to the 
first national convention that nominated Fremont 
for President. He had been selected as the Republi- 
can candidate for Governor against his own inclina- 
tion, but he had enlisted in the cause and he would 



WAR TIME 103 

not shirk any responsibility put upon him. He en- 
tered into the campaign with almost religious en- 
thusiasm, but he did not let enthusiasm run away 
with his logic. As I remember him at Rockville 
that day he was the handsomest, most manly man 1 
ever saw. He was then about 33 years old, solid 
in figure, and his deep voice in its earnest discussion 
of the issues made a great impression on the boy 
from the Quaker village. He appeared to me as a 
knight raised up and clad in armor for that battle. 
That first impression of Morton was never effaced. 
He was defeated, and in 1860 he was denied the 
nomination for Governor, which was given to 
Colonel Henry S. Lane. Morton was nominated 
for Lieutenant Governor, and it was probably for- 
tunate that he had the second place, for the Re- 
publican Legislature elected the Governor to the 
Senate and left Morton as the Executive of the 
State, where he did his greatest service for the 
Union. 

The morning after Sumter was fired upon Mor- 
ton telegraphed the President offering six thousand 
men for defense of the Government. He was so 
persistent in his importunities that he secured arms 
from the "War Department, and Indiana was among 
the first States to place men in the field. He was 
alert in every loyal undertaking, and he kept alive 
the spirit of patriotism in his State, in spite of the 



104 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

efforts of a large body of men, many of them 
prominent in politics and influential leaders, who 
openly sympathized with the South. 

With thousands of its virile men at the front and 
the reverses to the Union loudly exploited by an 
unfriendly press, Indiana fell back into the Demo- 
cratic column in 1862* The Legislature was not 
only politically opposed to Governor Morton, but 
it was hostile to the National Administration, and 
in sympathy with those who were trying to destroy 
the Union. The men who were in control in the 
Legislature tried to disgrace Morton by investiga- 
tions of his Administration and especially the use 
of appropriations that had been made by the State 
to equip the troops. They withheld appropriations 
to meet obligations Morton had assumed as Gov- 
ernor to purchase arms, and also appropriations 
for the State institutions and to meet the interest 
on the State debt. This placed Governor Morton 
in an embarrassing position, and it would have 
destroyed a weaker man. But Morton never knew 
the meaning of the word surrender, and he shoul- 
dered the responsibilities, organized a Financial De- 
partment and appealed to the loyal people of In- 
diana for funds to provide for the necessities of the 
State. Riley McKean and other railroad men 
loaned him a considerable sum and various counties 
voted money for the State, while private citizens 



WAR TIME 10S 

made contributions. It was a wonderful testi- 
monial of confidence in the Governor but these 
loans and contributions would not have carried the 
State far had not Morton found friends in other 
parts of the country to assist him* 

It was one of the most critical times of the War 
period, not only for Morton and Indiana but also 
for the Union. The Knights of the Golden Circle 
were operating in Indiana, and there was a con- 
spiracy to alienate the Northwest. Morton was 
surrounded by conspirators in secret and open hos- 
tility in the Legislature. His life was in danger, 
but above all was the danger from the disunion 
sentiment in control of the State, with the bravest 
and best men at the front. Secretary of War 
Stanton saw the situation as did Morton, and he 
believed in Morton to the extent that he determined 
to find some way to help him. He discovered an 
appropriation of several million dollars made by 
Congress and placed at the disposal of the President 
to be used in equipping State troops, and he gave 
Morton a warrant for two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand dollars to meet the obligations he had incurred 
in equipping the Indiana Regiments. This did not 
save the credit of the State as the money was not 
available to pay the interest on the State debt. 
Then Morton went to New York to the fiscal 
agents of the State and laid the whole matter be- 



106 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

fore them. The bankers agreed to meet the emer- 
gency and pay the interest on the bonds. Their 
faith in Morton was the best example of that kind I 
have ever known in this or any other country. This 
man without financial means of his own, secured 
personal credit of nearly a million dollars to care 
for the obligations of a State whose Legislature 
was so openly disloyal as to refuse to appropriate 
the money to keep its most sacred obligations from 
going to protest. 

For two years Governor Morton carried the State 
on his broad shoulders alone. He was the State. 
He saved it from bankruptcy, from disloyalty and 
from anarchy. No State in the Union ever owed 
such a debt of gratitude to a public servant as 
Indiana owed to Morton. He ruined his health, 
but he redeemed his State, exposed the conspiracies 
that had centered there and punished some of the 
conspirators. But he had the milk of kindness in his 
heart and some of these men condemned to death 
were saved by him, and I have been told that one 
of them is now a prominent citizen of a Western 
city, where he assumed to rule through the agency 
of a big newspaper which he owns. 

I knew Morton in the early days before the War. 
I knew him when he was Governor, and I knew 
him when he was in the Senate. Many times have 
I gone from the House to the Senate to see that 



WAR TIME 107 

bravest of men carried In and placed in his swivel 
chair where he could address that body, speaking 
with more force and his words having more weight 
than those of other men who stood on their feet 
and thundered out their rhetoric. No man who 
heard Morton speak from his chair pitied him. He 
wielded the same influence from that chair that he 
did when I saw him in the strength of his early 
manhood carrying alone the State of Indiana on 
his shoulders* 

You youngsters of the second generation to 
whom the Civil War Is tradition only, the children 
of this generation to whom the Civil War is very 
ancient history read In books, can have no idea of 
the efforts made by the disloyalists of the North 
to discredit and defame the President, to embar- 
rass and hamper him at every turn. Nothing was 
too small or too dastardly for them to do. Had they 
fought openly one might have had some respect for 
them, but their attacks were always made under 
cover, they lurked in the dark like cowardly as- 
sassins; when they could not strike at Lincoln 
directly they sought to wound him In other ways. 
Charleston Is associated in my recollections, In ad- 
dition to the other things I have told you, by one 
of the most despicable attempts to bring the name 
of the President Into disrepute. As the State's At- 
torney it placed me In a more awkward position 



108 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

than anything else I had to deal with in an official 
capacity. 

Abraham Lincoln, as you know, lived in Charles- 
ton in his earlier years; one of his debates with 
Senator Douglas was held there in 1858, and the 
people made a great demonstration over him as a 
favorite son of whom they were justly proud. The 
last time I met and talked with Lincoln was when, 
as President-Elect, he came to the village to say 
good-by to his stepmother before leaving the State 
never to return, and I think, although of this I 
am not sure, that was the last time he ever saw her. 
The relations between Lincoln and his stepmother 
were of the most unusual character. He was nine 
years old when his father married for the second 
time, and from that moment she had the love and 
affection for him a mother has for the child whom 
she has brought into the world. She was his 
mother, in all except the accident of birth. She 
nursed and cared for him; she soothed and en- 
couraged him. A woman of strong qualities, she 
had much to do in forming Lincoln and making 
him what he was. He always acknowledged this 
and had for her the most tender love and respect 
and veneration. It was this woman who was first 
in his thoughts and to whom he felt he owed a 
debt which could never be repaid. 

Mrs. Lincoln was honored by her neighbors and 



WAR TIME 109 

tlie loyal people of the State not only as the mother 
of the President (and nearly everyone regarded her 
as such and forgot that she was a stepmother) but 
also because of her own exemplary life. She was a 
"good neighbor/* as folks say in a small commun- 
ity, kind, charitable, always willing to help when 
help was needed. None of us dreamed she was in 
danger of any attack or that she would be used as 
the means to wound her beloved son. One day I 
received an urgent summons of a most secret nature 
to come to Charleston. When I arrived there I 
found the Judge and the Clerk of the Court in 
conference and evidently greatly agitated. They 
laid before me a charge of theft against Mrs. Lin- 
coln. I said such a thing was impossible, that there 
must be a mistake, as I could not believe a woman 
whose whole life had been so irreproachable could 
steal, and I should require the most convincing 
evidence before I would consent to prosecute. 
They told me there was no question of Mrs. Lin- 
coln's guilt. She had made a full confession and 
admitted having stolen. I had had some trying 
experiences as an attorney, but this was the most 
trying of all. How was it possible for me to 
prosecute the aged woman who stood in the rela- 
tion of mother to the President of the United 
States? I flatly told the Judge I would do nothing 
of the kind, or at least not until I knew more about 



110 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the matter and made a personal investigation. I 
said to him that I thought more likely she was the 
victim of a conspiracy, and I felt sure it was an- 
other phase of the Copperhead war* 

The first thing I did was to go out to the little 
farm where Mrs. Lincoln lived to get the facts 
from her and find out about the so-called confes- 
sion. As might have been expected I found her 
very nervous, but I asked her to tell me in her own 
way just what had happened. She had been in the 
village store, she explained, and looking over some 
calicoes had taken a small piece home with her to 
see if it matched some goods of the same sort she 
had purchased before. Probably she did not speak 
to the clerk; other women often did the same thing 
and no one ever accused them of being dishonest or 
trying to steal. But Mrs. Lincoln had been seen 
putting this little piece of calico in her pocket and 
going out of the store without paying for it, and 
that was enough to bring against her the charge of 
shop lifting, although we did not have that term 
then. She was arrested on a charge of stealing 
property, worth a few cents at most, and she was 
too conscientious to make denial, and I imagine 
too proud to offer excuses; and I have no doubt 
she thought of the disgrace she was bringing on the 
honored son in the White House. 

There was I ? the State's Attorney, commissioned 



WAR TIME 111 

to prosecute all offenders against the law, facing 
the woman who confessed she had taken property 
not her own without paying for it. I assured her 
she had done nothing wrong and had nothing to 
fear. I went back to the Judge, related to him all 
the circumstances and said that if we prosecuted 
Mrs. Lincoln we should be joining in a conspiracy 
to injure the President; and I proposed to him that 
as men, and not officers of the court, we engage in 
a little conspiracy of our own. Then and there, 
on our own responsibility, we decided to wipe the 
charge and the confession off the records, and at 
the same time we sent for the complainants and 
forcibly expressed upon them our disgust at their 
conduct and the contempt in which we held them; 
and warned them if they gave any publicity to the 
affair the consequences would be unpleasant. In 
short we threw, if not the fear of the Lord at least 
the fear of the Law, into them, and they were duly 
scared and considered it advisable to keep quiet 
rather than risk running up against the wrath of 
the Judge and the State's Attorney. 

I suppose what we did was quite illegal and, had 
the facts become known, rendered us liable to im- 
peachment and dismissal from office, if not worse, 
but I have never regretted the part I took in the 
conspiracy. There are times when a judicial officer 
may take some liberties with the strict letter of 



112 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the law in the interest of justice, and certainly this 
was a time. We either had to prosecute an inno- 
cent woman who had not consciously done any 
wrong but was the victim of men contemptible 
enough to strike the President through his mother, 
or help the success of a vile conspiracy. I have run 
into some pretty mean conspiracies in my life but 
nothing more infamous than this, and I like to 
think we administered justice with common sense. 
Lincoln never knew of the near arrest of his 
mother. It is curious that in all the biographies 
and histories and stories told of Lincoln this in- 
cident has never been related and I think this is 
the first time it has appeared in print. I tell it now 
simply that you may know what Lincoln had to 
contend with and the desperate and despicable 
methods of his opponents. 

I did not have an intimate acquaintance with 
Abraham Lincoln, and yet I feel that I knew him 
well. That feeling is common in Illinois. I went 
to Illinois in 1858, and began the practice of law 
in the same judicial circuit where Mr. Lincoln had 
practiced for many years, and where he had many 
clients and intimate friends. In fact, everybody 
in that part of Illinois knew Mr. Lincoln, or knew 
much about him, so that no man could be with 
them long without feeling that he, too, was ac- 
quainted with him. 



WAR TIME 113 

My first meeting with Mr. Lincoln was in June, 
I860, when the Republican State Convention was 
held at Decatur to select delegates to the National 
Convention. I lived at Tuscola, and with a party 
of young chaps drove across the prairies to Decatur 
to attend the convention. The distance was about 
forty miles and we traveled in a two horse farm 
wagon. When we drove into Decatur and through 
Main Street, one of our party, Archie Van Deven, 
said "There's Abe/* and called out to a tall man 
on the sidewalk, "Howdy, Abe/* to which Mr. Lin- 
coln responded with like familiarity, "Howdy, 
Arch." A little later one of our party wanted to 
send a telegram and we went to the railroad station 
where the only telegraph office in the town was 
located. There we met Mr. Lincoln, and Van 
Deven expressed surprise at seeing him and asked if 
he had come to the convention. Lincoln looked 
at his questioner for a moment and then with a 
drawl replied: "Fm most too much of a candidate 
to be here, and not enough of one to stay away." 

The convention was held the next day in an open 
space or lot between two buildings. Posts made 
from saplings had been set into the ground at the 
open ends of the lot as a support for a roof of green 
boughs to serve as a shade, and rough boards were 
placed on short lengths of logs to form the seats. 
Two ends were open. The convention was prac- 



114 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

tically out of doors. I went to the convention and 
was in the crowd outside the line of supports for 
the roof of boughs. Soon after the convention 
was opened there was a call from the platform to 
open a passage and let through John Hanks and 
Dick Oglesby, who carried two big walnut 
rails that had been split by Lincoln and Hanks. 
The crowd surged back and Hanks and Oglesby 
carried the rails to the platform where they were 
placed, with a cotton streamer bearing the legend: 
"These rails were made by John Hanks and Abra- 
ham Lincoln in 1830/ 5 

A little while later in the proceedings there was 
another announcement, this time from the outside: 
"Mr. Lincoln is here/* He had appeared on the 
outskirts of the crowd, was instantly recognized 
and his presence announced to those on the plat- 
form. The cry went up to bring him to the plat- 
form, but there was no way of getting through the 
crowd that filled the whole place and surrounded 
the platform. Oglesby was talking, but what he 
said was drowned by cries, "Make way for Mr. 
Lincoln/' The crowd refused to give way and 
some one shouted, "Pass him along, boys," and soon 
I saw him coming in a recumbent position over the 
heads of the crowd, his body held by scores of 
hands, as he was passed along. I had heard of such 
a proceeding but never in my life had I seen a man 



WAR TIME 115 

passed over the heads of a crowd. Mr. Lincoln's 
extreme height and his spare figure made a picture 
that was not soon forgotten. Straightening him- 
self and mounting the platform where Oglesby 
was still speaking, Lincoln sat down. He had 
hardly become seated when some one shouted * c Let 
Abe speak/ 5 but Lincoln refused to talk. He was 
asked if he had split the rails that had been brought 
on the platform and he replied: "'John Hanks says 
I split those rails* I don't know whether we did 
or not, but we have made many a better one." 

I did not see Lincoln again until after his elec- 
tion as President. Already there were threats of 
war, of secession, and of assassination, but he was 
the same cordial, unassuming, seemingly common- 
place man of that day in Decatur. I was on the 
train going from Tuscola to Mattoon and met Mr. 
Lincoln who was also on the train, going to Charles- 
ton to pay a last visit to his stepmother who lived 
at Farmington, a few miles from that place. He 
was, of course, the most distinguished man on the 
train and he was constantly surrounded by people 
who wanted to shake hands and have a word with 
him. But he was just one of the passengers in the 
day coach. He had no body guard, and Senator 
Tom Marshall of Coles County was his only travel- 
ing companion. I was again introduced, but ex- 
changed only a few words with him, because 



116 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

everyone was anxious to meet him. That was the 
last time I saw Lincoln. I was not in Washington 
during his administration. I became the intimate 
friend o many men who were intimate with Mr. 
Lincoln, and from them I no doubt absorbed much 
of this feeling that I knew the man almost inti- 
mately. 

The reputation of Mr. Lincoln as a story teller 
did him an injustice, not only for the stories he 
told, but for many that are apocryphal, which have 
created the impression that he told stories simply 
to be entertaining. Judge David Davis, Governor 
Richard Oglesby and other men who were closely 
associated with Mr. Lincoln always insisted that he 
never told a story except to illustrate a point in an 
argument and make it plainer, and never for the 
love of mere telling' the story or causing a laugh. 
Lincoln's whole life was given to the consideration 
of serious problems before the people; he gave his 
life to the people, not only in the final sacrifice, 
but in all his study and efforts from the time he 
enlisted in the Blackhawk War. 



CHAPTER VI 
THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 

I WAS first elected to Congress in 1872. It 
was a reform year, the beginning of a decade of 
ee reform" which shook up the virtues as well as 
the vices of the people. Nothing was right 
and nobody was safe from the reformers. They 
were busy with social, religious and political re- 
form. The whole country experienced an emo- 
tional upheaval and Illinois seemed to be the center 
of the disturbance. We were only a few years 
from the close of the Civil War and the bonds 
which had held together the people of the North 
through that great struggle became raveled and 
tangled. Perhaps it was the after effect of the war. 
It was the reaction from the strain of those four 
terrible years of conflict. Men cannot go through 
a prolonged emotional crisis and not pay the price. 
It is what war always does; it makes people hysteri- 
cal and temporarily throws them off their balance. 

All the alleged virtues and vices of the people 
were in the caldron and being stirred by the re- 
formers of all sorts and trades. The churches 
furnished the greatest agitation for change and 
against change, with heresy trials, denominational 

117 



118 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

divisions and scandals. The Presbyterian church 
brought to trial for heresy Professor David Swing 5 
one of its most influential theological teachers, 
charged with having delivered a lecture in a Uni- 
tarian chapel u and thereby aided to promulgate 
heresy"; for having used "unwarrantable language 
with regard to Penelope and Socrates"; because he 
had eulogized John Stuart Mill, "a well known 
Atheist/' and had departed from the vital points 
of Calvinism. Professor Swing was acquitted but 
he left the Presbyterian church and organized an 
independent church in Central Music Hall and be- 
came the best known and most popular preacher in 
the West. The Methodists in that same period ex- 
pelled for heresy Dr. Thomas, one of their most 
prominent preachers, and he too organized an inde- 
pendent church which divided with that of Profes- 
sor Swing the popularity and patronage of the 
people of Chicago for many years. The Episcopal 
church developed a schism which resulted in the 
organization of the Reformed Episcopal church. 
Mr. Cheney of Chicago led that revolt. The 
Beecher trial in Brooklyn received more attention 
from the press of the country than any political 
movement and added to the religious ferment. 
Then came the great Moody and Sankey revival in 
Chicago which attracted the notice of the whole 
country. We also had grave controversies over 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 119 

reading the Bible in the public schools; compulsory 
public school attendance, which aroused the Ro- 
man Catholics and Lutherans who had their pa- 
rochial schools and did not send their children to 
the public schools, and the question of admitting 
the children of negroes to the public schools. We 
had a revival of temperance agitation with wo- 
men's crusades against the saloons, praying In the 
street or going in and adopting the methods of 
Carrie Nation with her hatchet, smashing every- 
thing they could find In the saloon. "We had 
learned discussions whether beer is a food or an 
Intoxicant. We had the Irish fighting the Ger- 
mans; there was an attempt made to revive the old 
spirit of Knownothlngism. We had labor troubles, 
riots, lockouts and the great railroad strike In 1 877; 
we had Grangers and Greenbackers as well as Dem- 
ocrats, Republicans and Liberals. The mixup was 
general. The agitation for reform and the resist- 
ance to change was widespread In Illinois and 
created as great a conflict of moral and social Ideas 
as I ever knew In this country. I have seen similar 
movements in later years but I do not believe since 
that time there has been such a ferment over all 
phases of social organization, religious, moral, busi- 
ness and political theories as swept the West in the 
decade beginning in 1870. 

That year I sought the Republican nomination 



120 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

for Congress In the district where I now reside, 
but was unsuccessful. In 1872 I was nominated 
and elected to Congress. I was a Republican then 
as now and while the various agitations and the 
Liberal movement threatened to sweep Illinois 
from Its old moorings, I was elected and President 
Grant carried the state by sixty thousand majority. 
Many of my personal and political friends were 
carried away by the Liberal movement as some of 
them had been swept from their old courses by the 
other reform agitations. The fervid denunciation 
of the Grant administration had an effect In the 
beginning of the campaign, but in Illinois the Lib- 
eral party received more adherents because of the 
prominence and popularity of its leaders. David 
Davis, associate justice of the United States Su- 
preme Court and an old friend of Lincoln, was a 
candidate for President before the Liberal conven- 
tion, and he had for rivals two other very popular 
men. Senator Lyman Trumbull and Governor 
John 3VL Palmer, all of them Illinois men. They 
had all been stanch supporters of Lincoln, though 
Trumbull and Palmer were formerly Democrats. 
All had large personal f ollowlngs and they had the 
support of the Chicago Tribune, whose editor, 
Joseph Medill, had also been a great friend of Lin- 
coln. The Liberal movement had the leaders and 
the press and for a time it appeared to be sweeping 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 121 

the State like a prairie fire, but the coalition with 
the Democrats, with Horace Greeley as the candi- 
date of the conglomeration, made it a mob of dis- 
appointed and disgruntled politicians with nothing 
but their grievances for a platform, and Grant re- 
ceived the largest majority that had been given to 
any candidate for President up to that time. I 
rode into Congress on the returning wave of con- 
fidence in Grant. He had been more abused than 
any other President except Lincoln, and as in the 
second election of Lincoln so in the second election 
of Grant, tie voters resented the vilification that 
had been heaped on the head of the Silent Com- 
mander who tiad led the Union Armies to victory. 
The Liberal movement in Illinois had its comedy 
side althougk for a time we regular Republicans 
had to take It seriously and could not afford to 
treat it as a joke. The Liberals could no more for- 
get their old political methods, which they con- 
demned, than could other politicians. They de- 
nounced the Crant administration as corrupt and 
given to political trickery, but when they got 
started with rival candidates they turned upon each 
other with the same denunciations. The Western 
Liberals did not want Charles Francis Adams or 
Charles Sunnier or any other disgruntled Eastern 
Republican t:o come in and appropriate the move- 
ment whicli tad started in Missouri and spread over 



122 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

into Illinois, and they said uncomplimentary things 
about the Eastern Liberals. The Illinois Liberals 
were able and willing to furnish the candidate for 
President and they argued that Illinois would be 
the battle ground on which to beat Grant. So far 
they were agreed, but with three popular candi- 
dates in Illinois they got into a tangle at once, with 
the followers of David Davis criticising Senator 
Trumbull, the followers of Trumbull charging 
that Davis should not drag the judicial robes into 
the dirty pool of politics, and the followers of Gov- 
ernor Palmer insisting that he was the logical can- 
didate because he had raised the issue of State rights 
against President Grant sending Federal troops into 
Chicago during the great fire of 1871. 

The Chicago Tribune gave its support to Trum- 
bull and did not take kindly to Davis. The Chi- 
cago Journal denounced Trumbull as a Ku Klux 
candidate who wanted to be a Ku Klux President 
riding "into the political Jerusalem on a Ku Klux 
ass." The Chicago Times favored Davis. The 
newspapers down the State divided in the same way 
and before the Liberals got their movement under 
way they were divided and as critical of each other 
as they were of the Republicans. Long John Went- 
worth, a former Democrat, and Leonard Swett, a 
former Republican, took up the cause of Davis and 
organized a flying squadron to move on to Cin- 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 123 

cinnati with the assurance of free railroad trans- 
portation for the shouters for Davis. This brought 
down upon the head of Davis the charge that he 
was trying to pack the convention with Chicago 
hirelings. The eastern Liberals joined in this de- 
nunciation of Justice Davis and helped further to 
demoralize the Illinois ''reformers/* 

Palmer dropped out and his followers went over 
to Trumbull and the forty-two Illinois delegates 
divided equally between Davis and Trumbull. In 
the meantime a group of powerful editors, includ- 
ing Horace White of the Chicago Tribune, Murat 
Halstead of the Cincinnati Commercial, Henry 
Watterson of the Louisville Courier Journal, and 
several more who were trying to handle the con- 
vention, were joined by "Whitelaw Reid of the New 
York Tribune, and through some sort of super- 
human wisdom they brought about the nomination 
of Horace Greeley, the most radical of the old line 
Republicans and the high priest of protection. 
Greeley had not been mentioned as a candidate but 
he too had quarreled with Grant and he was 
selected as the messiah of political reforms, includ- 
ing tariff reform, which nearly all the editorial 
council had presented as one of the greatest neces- 
sities to bring the country back to prosperity and 
righteousness. The coalition of Liberals and Dem- 
ocrats, which was later effected, suggested that it 



124 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

was made up on the basis of agreement on antip- 
athies with harmony only in their mutual dislikes. 
But I am simply trying to tell the story of the Lib- 
eral movement in Illinois. The friends of Davis, 
Trambull and Palmer returned from Cincinnati in 
anything but an enthusiastic state of mind* They 
had started out not to organize a new party or go 
over to the Democrats,, but to frighten Western 
Republicans into a repudiation of the Grant ad- 
ministration and pave the way for Davis or Trum- 
bull as the Republican candidate. Political re- 
vivals are more or less like other revivals and once 
started it is difficult to stop them. 

The Liberal movement did not frighten the 
Illinois Republicans but cemented them behind the 
Grant administration and with General Dick 
Oglesby as the candidate for Governor we had an 
old-fashioned Republican campaign which swept 
all Republican candidates into office notwithstand- 
ing the opposition of labor, prohibition, greenback 
and other groups of which we had been more or less 
afraid in the beginning of the campaign. The 
Liberal movement was the greatest political fiasco 
I can recall in our history, and it cleared the atmos- 
phere for a time as it disintegrated, the Republi- 
cans returning to their old political affiliations and 
the Democrats insisting they had never been outside 
their party ranks. Senator Trumbull and Gov- 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 125 

ernor Palmer went over to the Democrats, and 
four years later David Davis became the candidate 
of the Independents for Senator and was supported 
by the Democrats to assure the defeat of Senator 
John A. Logan. In the Senate Davis more often 
affiliated with his old Republican associates than 
with the Democrats. 

My old friend Lucian Dunbar, of Sterling, who 
was a delegate in the Congressional convention 
which nominated me in 1 872, recently wrote to me 
and I think he gives a better description of that 
event than I can. He says: 

"Dear Old Time Friend: 

"Your announcement that you will retire from 
Congress has forcibly reminded me of your first 
nomination. Vividly do I recall the talks and 
balloting at Tolona. At that time I was living at 
Charleston and although but 3 years old was one 
of the seven delegates from Coles County. 

"After having been placed in nomination the 
talks of the candidates H. P. H. Bromwell, Jesse 
Moore and yourself were about like this: 

"Mr. Bromwell said he had served one term in 
Congress during which time he had lost a lucra- 
tive law practice which he had about regained 
during his two years* retirement, and only sought 
the nomination at the solicitation of friends; in 



126 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

fact, rather preferred to remain at home In the 
practice of law, but If the convention, etc., etc., 
etc. 

<c Then came Jesse Moore, of Macon, a presiding 
elder of the M. E. Church, who had served one term 
in Congress, but preferred his religion to politics; 
wanted to stay at home to work for Christ and his 
church but would accept the nomination if, etc., 
etc. 

cc Then came your respected self, who said: 

"Boys, you have listened to my good friend, Mr. 
Bromwell, and my beloved brother, Jesse Moore. 
You see that neither of them really wants the nom- 
ination but, by God, I want It, and I want it 
damned bad, too, etc. 

"Well, you will remember the many ballots, the 
final withdrawal of Mr. Bromwell and your nomi- 
nation with the aid of the Coles County delegation, 
and it Is a matter of pride to me that I had the 
honor to cast my vote for you at that time. I 
know of no other man living who was a delegate 
to that convention/' 

Mr. Bromwell had served in the Thirty-ninth 
and Fortieth Congresses but in 1868 was defeated 
for the nomination by CoL Jesse Moore, who was 
the presiding elder of the Decatur district of the 
Methodist conference. "With his military record 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 127 

and his church connections he had a strong follow- 
ing in that Congressional district, and with Grant 
as the candidate for President in 1 8 68 3 and the mili- 
tary spirit dominant, Colonel Moore was able to 
defeat Mr. Bromwell for the nomination and there 
was no love lost between them. 

I think Mr. Bromwell spoke frankly when he 
told the convention that he did not care for the 
nomination. He was in the race to defeat Colonel 
Moore and he did what he could to bring about my 
nomination. The convention was in session three 
days and there was a stubborn contest, Mr. Brom- 
well remaining in the race until he could see the 
way to withdrawing his name and aid my nomina- 
tion. 

I have never flattered myself that my first nomi- 
nation and election to the House was either the re- 
sult of foreordination or of good political strategy. 
I was simply the instrument used by Mr. Bromwell 
to defeat his rival, and of the spirit of fight to the 
finish. I guess I was a political accident, as the 
political writers of today would say, and the acci- 
dental recurrence appears to have followed bi- 
annually for fifty years, for the Republicans 
placed me in nomination every two years since 
1872, and with two exceptions have given me the 
election. So, my appeal is not to be too hard on 
political accidents. Try them out just the same as 



128 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

though they were foreordained for political life. 
They may make good and accomplish something 
worth while. I came to Congress when we were 
In the throes of reconstruction from the Civil War. 
I go out of Congress while the nation Is confront- 
ing great problems left to it by the greatest foreign 
war ever known. Between these two tragic 
periods of history we have made greater progress 
and had greater prosperity than was ever recorded 
in a like period here or anywhere else in the world. 
I am thankful to have had a modest part In legisla- 
tion which I believe helped us to write this glowing 
chapter in American history. 

I have always followed the principle that Gov- 
ernment is established for the benefit of the people 
and not the people created to fit Into a particular 
Government; and I have always been Inclined to 
follow the old plan of the beginning of the Federal 
government and leave much of the Government to 
the States, and minor political divisions. I have 
never troubled myself about being suspected of 
believing In State Rights, and but for the slavery 
question and the civil war, I believe we would still 
be more devoted to State Rights than we are, and 
we would continue to look to the State Govern- 
ments for our domestic laws rather than to Con- 
gress. But what has been done cannot be easily 
undone and Congress has practically taken the 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 129 

place of the State Legislatures as the body to appeal 
to when any community desires to change the law 
or add to It or subtract from It. 

In some respects I am an old fashioned Demo- 
crat. Do you know that the contest during the 
Civil War was as to whether or not the limited 
jurisdiction of the United States should be de- 
stroyed by the will of any state? It was decided 
in the negative. And yet, the cry that was then 
lifted up for local self-government in municipal- 
ities, in townships, in counties, in states letting 
each citizen daily come in contact with the Gov- 
ernment he helps to create and pays for by direct 
taxation It is a proposition that is absolutely nec- 
essary to be realized by all of us and enforced by all 
of us, if we are to remain competent for self gov- 
ernment. No man can walk for another. No man 
who is worthy of exercising the franchise can walk 
under the shadow of another man's hat rim. The 
farther we get away from this idea of local self- 
government in municipality, in township, in 
county and in state, the less competent we are to be 
good citizens. 

In my second campaign for Congress in 1874 
I had a very clever candidate against me who had 
the support of both Democrats and Greenbackers. 
That was the year of the greatest Greenback de- 
velopment in the West, and they made me a lot of 



130 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

trouble. James H. Pickerel, of Harristown, the 
Democratic candidate, was a clever politician and 
campaigner who kept me on the jump. He was a 
farmer and stock raiser and had a fine bull which 
he took to the county fairs to exhibit; when a 
crowd gathered to see the bull he would make a 
political speech. 

I had an appointment to speak at the county 
fair at Champaign, and while I was making my 
speech from the stand, Pickerel trotted out his bull 
a little distance away and began his performance, 
attracting a part of the crowd. It irritated me 
but it was a fair game and I thought I would try to 
turn the tables. I was about the end of my speech 
and realized that I could not hold the crowd much 
longer, so I shouted to the fellows who were drift- 
ing over to Brother Pickerel: C I see there are three 
candidates here, Mr. Pickerel, the bull and me, and 
I would like to know whether you are going to 
vote to send Pickerel or the bull to Congress in 
my place/* 

I got the crowd back with applause and could 
have continued, but I thought it a good place to 
stop. I heard references to that incident all over 
the district, and I ran Pickerel and the bull out 
of the campaign. 

My first speech in the House brought me my 
first publicity. I didn't bribe the "Washington 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 131 

correspondents to write about me; I did not court 
publicity and did not appreciate it In the begin- 
ning* It was thrust upon me, but I soon learned 
that an Introduction with a laugh is better than 
no Introduction or a mere mention as ct also spoke/ 3 
I became the butt of the House as the Hayseed 
Member from the Wild and Woolly West and I 
held that title for many years. 

James G. Blame was the Speaker of the House 
in the Forty-third Congress and there were a great 
many very distinguished Members whose names 
hold conspicuous places In our history. There were 
Benj. F. Butler, George F. and Rockwood Hoar* 
and Henry L. Dawes, of Massachusetts; Hale and 
Frye, of Maine; Stewart L. Woodford, Samuel S. 
Cox, Fernando Wood, Clarkson N. Potter, William 
A. Wheeler and Thomas C. Platt, of New York; 
James A. Garfield, Charles Foster, William Law- 
rence, Hugh J. Jewett, Lawrence T. Neal, Milton 
Say lor and Isaac R. Sherwood, of Ohio; William S. 
Holman, James N. Tyner, of Indiana; Samuel J. 
Randall, William D. Kelley, and Charles O'Neill, 
of Pennsylvania; Charles B. Far well, William R. 
Morrison and John McNulta, of Illinois; George 
W. McCrary, James Wilson and John A. Kasson, of 
Iowa; James B. Beck and John Young Brown, of 
Kentucky; Joseph R. Hawley and William H. 
Barnum 3 of Connecticut; James H. Blount and 



132 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia; Julius C. Bur- 
rows, Omar D. Conger and Jay A. Hubbell, of 
Michigan; William Walter Phelps, of New Jersey; 
Roger Q. Mills, of Texas; Alexander Mitchell, 
Philetus Sawyer and Jeremiah M. Rusk, of Wiscon- 
sin; Jerome B. Chaff ee, of Colorado; Stephen B. 
Elkins, of New Mexico, and George Q. Cannon, 
of Utah. 

All these men played a conspicuous part in 
American history, all were more or less prominent 
then, nevertheless I thought I had a message even 
for older and more experienced legislators. Speaker 
Elaine had assigned me to the Committee on Post 
Offices and Post Roads, and the Chairman of that 
Committee made me Chairman of the subcommit- 
tee on Revision of the Postal Code. I was gratified 
at the assignment for I had brought with me sev- 
eral bills to amend the Postal Code, and as Chair- 
man of the subcommittee I believed I would have 
an opportunity to get them before the House. One 
of them was to change the method of collecting 
postage on second-class matter, another to provide 
penalties for sending obscene matter through the 
mail, and another to restore in part the franking 
privilege which had been abolished by the Forty- 
second Congress. I thought they were all very 
important, got them approved by the Committee 
and reported to the House. I was then loaded for 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 133 

a speech to enlighten the House and the country. 
But I had only got into "secondly" In my advocacy 
of the first bill when William Walter Phelps, of 
New Jersey, suggested that "the Gentleman from 
Illinois" must have oats in his pocket. There was 
a laugh and 1 retorted that I not only had oats in 
my pocket but hayseed in my hair, with the ad- 
mission that "the "Western people generally are 
affected in the same way, and we expect that the 
seed, being good, will yield a good crop, I trust ten 
fold." This could not be considered as wit or 
humor but it served to give me the attention of the 
House and more publicity than it deserved. I be- 
came the "Hayseed Member from Illinois" to the 
readers of the metropolitan press and my notoriety 
spread through the country. Mr. Phelps was one 
of the scholarly and clever men of the House and 
he took up my retort in a bright speech in which 
he said that the "gentleman from Illinois with an 
eloquence that was untutored but very effective, 
whose imagination flashed along the iron network 
of his logic in a way that fairly astonished the 
House, spoke of a great many things that filled me 
with amazement. He spoke of the hayseed in his 
hair and under the magic touch of his voice that 
hayseed glowed around his head like a halo of the 
martyrs; and when he spoke of the oats in his 
pocket, it was with such force and such eloquence 



134 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

that I knew he felt them." Representative Cobb, 
of Kansas, rushed to my defense and also of hayseed 
and oats, which only gave Mr. Phelps another op- 
portunity further to emphasize my western quali- 
fications for educating the whole country on the 
shortcomings of former Congresses. 

It was grist to the mill of the newspaper corre- 
spondents not only for that day but for many days 
until I became the sole possessor of a new style of 
hair dressing. The cartoonists also found sugges- 
tions for pictures that made my features familiar 
to the whole country and I suppose that I owe to 
that speech the beginning of my figuring in car- 
toons for nearly fifty years. I made one of the 
longest and most elaborate speeches on that bill that 
I ever made on the floor and but for the interrup- 
tions and the hazings I received from the older 
members and the opposition from the metropolitan 
press which aroused the rural members, I suspect I 
might have failed in my first legislative effort. 
But there was a good deal of hayseed in that House 
and being good seed it passed the bill over the 
united opposition of the floor leaders of both parties 
in the House. After that experience I went back 
in speechmaking to the method forced upon me 
when, as a young lawyer traveling a country cir- 
cuit, I had to prepare my case in the saddle and 
fight with the catch as catch can plan. I consid- 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 135 

erect the facts I had to deal with and used them If 
necessary but did not make speeches to consume 
time or to cumber the Record. More legislation 
Is delayed and embarrassed by too much speaking 
by the defenders than by the opponents. If I had 
not made a long speech I might not have invited 
someof the opposition I encountered. But "William 
Walter Phelps helped me out with his suggestion ot 
oats In my pocket, and I took advantage of that 
interruption to add the hayseed and won on that 
Issue. 

Those early legislative days taught me something 
else besides the value of publicity. The Forty- 
second Congress had increased the salaries of mem- 
bers of Congress the much derided and bitterly 
assailed "salary grab" as It was called and cut off 
the franking privileges of members. The succeed- 
ing Congress, the one In which I became a member 
for the first time, reversed the action of its imme- 
diate predecessor, by reducing the salaries to their 
former figures and restoring the franking privi- 
lege; but the men who had been members of the 
last Congress did not dare sponsor the return of the 
free postage, fearing they would again be de- 
nounced as grafters and plunderers of the Treas- 
ury. As a member of the Post Office Committee 
lately arrived with hayseed In my hair, what more 
appropriate than that I should be made the goat? 



136 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

I didn't know it at the time; perhaps had I known 
it I might have declined the part assigned to me, or 
being rash and young, who knows but what I 
might not have defied fate? Being inexperienced 
I was ready to be led to the slaughter. I offered the 
bill to restore the franking privilege and made my 
speech in favor of it. And then I began to see 
a light. I was surprised that some of the men who 
had impressed upon me the justice of the bill and 
the great honor conferred upon a new member by 
being intrusted with the management of legisla- 
tion of such importance, now got up and not only 
spoke against the bill but made sport of me. It 
was rather a disillusionment, but I was forced to 
admit that I had been made the goat, and that no 
matter what happened I should probably get the 
worst of it, so I came to the conclusion that I had 
little to lose and might as well fight it through. 

The newspapers, the metropolitan press espe- 
cially, paid me much attention by satirically com- 
plimenting me for trying to restore the old graft of 
the frank by which I or any fellow hayseed could 
bring his horse, his cow, his chickens, pigs and 
household furniture and the family Bible to Wash- 
ington at the expense of the Government. Much 
of this was in a spirit of fun, but I was not in a 
position to appreciate their sardonic humor. Nor 
was it encouraging when old Members who had 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 137 

asked me to take up the bill now requested to be 
allowed to oppose it to keep In good standing with 
the newspapers. I think many city Members had 
to do some clever campaigning with the country 
Members to induce them to furnish the majority 
and make it appear as hayseed graft, although prac- 
tically all the city Members were as anxious to have 
the frank restored as the hayseeds, but they had to 
keep an eye on their constituencies. There is no 
man on earth so anxious to anticipate the demands 
of a wise, intelligent and just public sentiment as 
the Member of Congress who goes back every 
twenty-four months to have his commission re- 
newed. 

The experience in that first effort as a legislator 
was valuable to me in the after years. I learned 
that speeches do not necessarily express the opinion 
or desire of the Member, and there are times when a 
Member will not vote for what he wants if there are 
enough votes to carry the bill without recording 
his own vote. There must almost always be a goat 
in the House to take the responsibility for doing or 
refusing to do something in the face of criticism. 
I had a very good start and training for that kind 
of work in my first Congress and I have had my 
share of it in the past fifty years. I have been at 
different times termed a reformer and a reactionary 
and have had my reforms and reactions denounced 



138 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

or approved long after they had been forgotten. 
That has been some consolation for the criticism 
and abuse at the time of action. 

As I look back to that time when first I entered 
the House, now more than forty years ago, another 
thought occurs to me. Elaine was in the Speaker's 
Chair, the last of a continuous line of Republican 
Speakers from the beginning of the Civil War. 
Blaine was a great Speaker, and no one ever thought 
of criticising him for being a partisan. How times 
have changed! Nowadays a Speaker is expected to 
be nothing more than a Sunday School teacher, 
to pat all the good little boys on the head and turn 
the other cheek when the bad boys use him as a 
target for their bean shooters. Blaine was not only 
the Republican leader of the House but also of the 
country. He was fair to the Democrats, but they 
never took exception because he was a Republican 
and considered it his duty to use such influence as 
he possessed to further legislation in harmony with 
Republican policies. I think it would have been 
considered something of a joke for any one to have 
found fault with a Republican Speaker because he 
considered the Republican majority in the House 
responsible for legislation and looked upon himself 
as the representative of that majority. I can not 
picture Blaine a political eunuch, a nonpartisan in 




From Judge 
JEALOUS JIM 

McKinley and Elaine Bidding for the Leadership of the Republican Party 



THE ILLINOIS HAYSEED 139 

any position he might be called upon to fill. It 
would have been as amusing to see Speaker Elaine 
a mere moderator over the House as it would have 
been to see John G. Carlisle, or Tom Reed, or Henry 
Clay performing in that manner. They were all 
virile men, and the men who elected them to the 
Speakership expected them to use their strength in 
the cause o government as their parties understood 
It, not to sit in the Speaker's chair like a Hindoo 
idoL 

The men on the floor were also party men, and 
they made no apologies for their party principles. 
They fought out their contests as the people fought 
them at the polls. It was their loyalty to the prin- 
ciples in which they believed that made them strong 
men, and made the Congress truly representative 
of the people. The readiness of men to fight for 
what they believed the best policies of government 
not only gave us a representative government but 
clean legislation, because the minority was watch- 
ful and vigorous in holding the majority to strict 
account as the party responsible for legislation, 
When we abandon political parties representing 
policies in which the people believe, we fly to 
anarchy or despotism or both. Time and again I 
have seen a portion of the people under the spell of 
hero worship ready to give all authority to the one 



140 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

man who for the moment was their idol; but this 
is never lasting, the idol is found to be only clay 

and, knocked off its pedestal, is stamped in the mud. 
"We Americans are a sentimental people, but we 
temper seniiment with practical shrewdness. 



CHAPTER VII 
HOW TILDEN LOST THE PRESIDENCY 

THE history of the Electoral Count is known 
to every high school boy. I do not propose to add 
my contribution, but simply to tell you how the 
White House stood open to Tilden and was 
swung to in his face because one Democratic 
Member of the House outwitted another Demo- 
cratic member. Had that one Member been 
a slower thinker and the other quicker to see how 
adroitly he was being tied and muzzled, Tilden 
and not Hayes would have been declared elected 
President. I do not recollect ever having seen the 
story in print. 

Samuel J. Randall was the Speaker of the House, 
and on him devolved the chief responsibility to 
keep the House from Political anarchy and the 
country, for the second time in a little more than 
a decade, again being plunged into civil war. 
Partisanship was intense; on both sides of the 
Chamber as well as throughout the country passion 
raged fiercely. Every Republican was certain 
Hayes had been legally elected and the Democrats 
were trying to steal the Presidency; every Demo- 
crat was no less certain the Republicans, having 

141 



142 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

conquered the South In battle and held it in subjec- 
tion by Federal bayonets, was determined to pre- 
vent it from exercising the right of franchise. 
The fierce struggle began the day after election 
and lasted until the inauguration of President 
Hayes on March 4, 1877. No man was neutral, 
and in those days, perhaps because the wounds of 
war were still open and in every home there were 
poignant memories, we took our politics more 
savagely than we do today. Passion was every- 
where. 

The Republicans had a majority in the Senate, 
in the House the Democrats were in control. That 
threw upon them the major responsibility, and it 
made Mr. Randall, as the Speaker and leader of his 
party, the central figure. His chief lieutenants 
were Fernando Wood, of New York, and Henry 
Watterson, of Kentucky, famous and powerful as 
the Editor of the Louisville Courier Journal. 
Randall was a Protection Democrat, Wood a Tam- 
many Brave, Watterson the parent of the Star-eyed 
Goddess of Tariff Reform. Temperamentally the 
three men were as different as they were in eco- 
nomic beliefs, but in fundamentals they were alike. 
All admired Tilden and believed he had been duly 
elected; all set their faces against revolution, and 
confronted with the choice between revolution and 
legal methods did not for a moment hesitate. At 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 143 

the time all three men were accused of betraying 
their party, but they lived to receive the plaudits 
of their fellow men. 

The Republicans had carried all the Northern 
States except New York, New Jersey, Connecticut 
and Indiana; the Democrats all the Southern States 
except South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. The 
Democrats claimed the electoral votes of these 
three Southern States and a majority of eighteen 
in the electoral college. If those votes were counted 
for Hayes, he had a majority of one. It was as 
certain as anything could be that the two houses 
would not agree and that no candidate would be 
declared elected. 

Various plans were proposed as a way out of the 
deadlock, and finally, with the approval of Mr. 
Tilden, as generally understood at the time, the 
Electoral Commission was created to consist of 
fifteen members, five Senators, five Representatives 
and five Justices of the Supreme Court. The Dem- 
ocratic House selected three Democrats and two 
Republicans; the Republican Senate appointed 
three Republicans and two Democrats; and the law 
named four of the Justices by designating their cir- 
cuits, these four to select the fifth member from 
the Court. The gods delight in odd numbers, and 
the tutelary deities must look with peculiar affec- 
tion upon the politics of a democracy, because in 



144 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

this country we settle all our controversies by ma- 
jorities, and usually by the odd man. It was the 
odd man of the Commission, that one Justice to be 
selected by the other four, who would decide who 
had been elected President. 

On Friday, February 9, the Commission by a 
vote of eight to seven, decided the Florida contest 
in favor of Hayes, and the next day, when the 
result was reported to the House, there was wild 
excitement on the Democratic side. Proctor 
Knott, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and 
acknowledged author of the Commission plan, 
moved to recommit the report to the Commission. 
Randall ruled the motion out of order, his ruling 
was accepted, and the Commission's action was 
final. After that decision there was ceaseless and 
bitter partisan agitation throughout the country, 
for it was obvious that the Florida case wotild be 
the precedent for similar decisions in Louisiana and 
South Carolina, and Hayes would be declared 
President. The friends of Tilden now brought for- 
ward objections to the count of the vote of Oregon 
and Wisconsin. 

The Commission decided the South Carolina 
contest on February 27, and its report was laid 
before the House the next day, four days before 
the expiration of the Congress and the term of 
President Grant. Then began the last desperate 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 145 

filibuster, with Springer, of Illinois, leading it, sup- 
ported by a majority of the Democrats* It was a 
peculiar situation, the conservative Democrats and 
all the Republicans lined up with the Democratic 
Speaker, while the radical Democrats were oppos- 
ing him. Fernando Wood of New York was the 
floor leader of the men behind the Speaker and he 
had General Garfield, Eugene Hale, George F. 
Hoar and O. D. Conger, all Republicans; and 
Henry Watterson, Ben Hill, John Young Brown 
and L. Q. C. Lamar, all Democrats, as his lieuten- 
ants; Springer, of Illinois, and Roger Q. Mills of 
Texas, led the fight against him and the Commis- 
sion. The Republicans at no time took the lead. 
They were simply the reserve column of the con- 
servative democrats, ready to lead their support 
if needed. 

The filibuster began on the last day of February 
and continued through the day to prevent the 
House from taking up the report of the Commis- 
sion on the South Carolina contest; for with that 
case settled the count would be practically finished 
and Hayes elected. Just as the Wisconsin vote was 
about to be taken up Mills made the boldest and 
most dangerous contribution to the confusion. 
He offered what he claimed was a privilege resolu- 
tion that the House proceed immediately in 
obedience to the Constitution to choose a President 



146 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

from the three persons having the highest number 
of votes on the list of those voted for as President. 
This the Constitution requires, when no immediate 
candidate has received a majority of the electoral 
votes. Mills was determined to precipitate a con- 
flict and compel his party to throw overboard the 
Commission and the law creating it, and he was a 
clever and stubborn fighter with a large following 
on the Democratic side. Randall instantly saw the 
danger of this move and the impossibility of refus- 
ing to recognize Mills whose right to present the 
resolution could not be denied. He promised Mills 
that his resolution should be considered at the 
proper time, and he permitted the debate to cover 
a wide field. It ran through Thursday and that 
night, and toward morning the late Joe Blackburn, 
of Kentucky, made a speech which was picturesque 
in its extravagance. It was now Friday morning, 
he said, the day on which the Savior of the world 
suffered crucifixion, and the night of the day when 
constitutional government, justice, honesty, fair 
dealing, manhood and decency were to suffer cruci- 
fixion among a number of thieves. He regretted 
that the blow had come, not from his political op- 
ponents, but from his misguided friends, and I have 
never forgotten his quotation: 

So the struck eagle, stretched upon the plain, 
No more through rolling clouds to soar again. 



T1LDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 147 

Views Ms own feather on the fatal dart, 

That winged the shaft that quivered in his heart. 

After the Wisconsin vote had been canvassed, 
which settled the contest in favor of Hayes, Speaker 
Randall conceded it was the proper time for Mills 
to offer his resolution, but the fiery Texan saw how 
neatly he had been trapped and hotly declared he 
had been tricked by the Speaker and withdrew the 
resolution. Had Mills* resolution been put to a 
vote, Tilden and not Hayes would have gone to the 
White House. By throwing the presidential elec- 
tion into the House, the vote would have been 
taken by States, the majority in eacht State delega- 
tion determining how the vote should be cast. 
That would have given Tilden twenty three states 
and Hayes fourteen with Florida not voting as the 
delegation was equally divided. If Mills had been 
a little quicker witted or Randall a less astute par- 
liamentarian, how different history might have 
been written! At that moment Tilden had the 
presidency in his grasp, and Randall dashed it from 
his hands. Fame is not always statesmanship. 
Sometimes it is adroit manipulation. 

I lived at the National Hotel, which was the 
principal headquarters for Southern politicians. 
Alexander H. Stephens, former Vice President 
of the Confederate States, and many other Southern 
members lived there, and it was a gathering place 



148 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

for the men who came from the South to see Tilden 
installed in the White House. Senator Ferry of 
Michigan, President of the Senate, who presided 
over the joint sessions and was the depository of the 
packages of electoral votes, also lived there and his 
rooms were the center of attraction for Republi- 
cans who thought he needed protection in that 
Southern atmosphere. But Stephens and Ferry 
were congenial neighbors of mine and we talked 
over the situation more calmly than the lobby 
could realize. Stephens was philosophic and not 
ready for another Civil War over the election of 
Presidents, and Ferry was one of the best-natured 
men I ever knew. 

Worailey's Hotel at the corner of 1 5th and "H" 
Streets was another center, particularly for eating 
and drinking. And the rumors that almost hourly 
came from that place were ominous, conflicting 
and picturesque. There met the men to settle the 
fate of the nation, and the news that leaked out 
from Wormley*s was mysterious as well as cocksure 
and contradictory news of compromise, of 
frauds and deals, of bribery and corruption. Wall 
Street had put up a big fund to buy the Returning 
Board of Louisiana for Hayes; Wall Street had 
bought the same Returning Board for Tilden. The 
names of some of the most conspicuous Republi- 
cans and Democrats in the country were freely 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 149 

mentioned and printed, for libel laws then as now 
appeared to be silent in political controversy, and 
men believed what their environments and their 
prejudices led them to believe. The Speaker and 
other members of the House who refused to count 
in Hayes were to be arrested by order of President 
Grant. The air was full of rumors, all of them 
positive and explicit to convince members of the 
House that hell had broken loose in the National 
Capital and there was no pitch hot enough to deal 
with the situation. 

Early in Hayes' Administration John Sherman, 
his Secretary of the Treasury, removed Chester A. 
Arthur as Collector of the Port of New York. 
Apparently not a matter of great moment except 
to the victim of the official axe, but it was to have 
the most momentous consequences. Without con- 
sulting Conkling or Platt, the New York Senators, 
the President appointed Theodore Roosevelt as 
Arthur's successor. Conkling was not the man 
meekly to submit to his rights being invaded or his 
dignity affronted by an Ohio Secretary of the 
Treasury. Conkling defeated Roosevelt's confir- 
mation. After Congress adjourned the President 
gave a recess commission to Edwin A. Merritt, and 
after a stiff contest he was confirmed when Con- 
gress met in December, 1878. This was the begin- 
ning of the bitter factional fight in New York 



150 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

that lasted for a dozen years and cost one President 
his life. 

Chester A. Arthur was one of the principal lieu- 
tenants of Senator Conkling, and the Theodore 
Roosevelt who was nominated as Collector and de- 
feated by Conkling, was the father of President 
Roosevelt. Now see what a strange thing is life, 
or luck or fate call it what you will; and what 
fantastic patterns it weaves with the lives of men. 
Hayes was not a strong man; Conkling was the 
most dominant figure in the public life of his time; 
seemingly Hayes was the least unlikely of all men 
to go out of his way openly to defy Conkling. 
That defiance led to a remarkable train of political 
events* "Within four years of his removal as Col- 
lector of the port of New York, Chester A. Arthur 
was President of the United States; within twenty- 
four years from the time when the Senate refused 
to confirm the nomination of Theodore Roosevelt 
as the Collector of the port of New York, his son 
was President. Both men entered the "White House 
across a grave; Arthur succeeding his chief Gar- 
field, dead from a fanatic's hand; Roosevelt taking 
up McKinley's burden when his heart was stilled 
for ever by a half -crazed youth. The parallel goes 
further. Garfield did not want Arthur on the 
ticket with him as the vice presidential candidate; 
McKinley not only opposed but tried to prevent 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY in 

Roosevelt's nomination, Under practically the 
same circumstances and for almost the same rea- 
sons two New York men became President by the 
assassination of two Ohio Presidents, and both 
Arthur and Roosevelt were two of the most popu- 
lar Presidents we have had. The stone rejected be- 
came the chief stone of the temple. 

Hayes may be given credit for good intentions,* 
but his methods were peculiar to say the least. The 
office of Collector of the Port is outside of civil 
service rules, it was a place properly belonging to 
the Senator, and when Hayes made an appointment 
without consulting Conkling, what could Conkling 
do but accept it as an open declaration of war and 
notice served upon him that he need not trouble 
to file any other recommendations at the White 
House? In other appointments Hayes followed 
the same course. He made his own selections, 
Conkling and his sympathisers asserted, or ac- 
cepted the recommendation of men who were not 
in political sympathy with the great mass of the 
party. The immensely important political patron- 
age of the Treasury was placed in the hands of John 
Sherman; all the most lucrative appointments were 
reserved for Ohio, and neither the President nor 
his Secretary of the Treasury could see beyond the 
borders of that State when they talked so elo- 
quently about the necessity of introducing the civil 



152 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

service system Into the Government. Some of the 
dissatisfied Republican Senators did not hesitate to 
say that President Hayes' idea of a civil service sys- 
tem was a scheme by which every Ohio politician 
could be put on the Government payroll and kept 
there until he died. It was assumed as a matter of 
course that no Ohio politician would ever resign. 

The feeling created found Its expression even in 
the Cabinet. At a meeting early in the life of the 
Administration the President announced three or 
four personal appointments he intended to make In 
the diplomatic service. He had not consulted 
Secretary of State Evarts and the announcement 
took the Secretary by surprise. He calmly replied, 
*'Mr. President, I have never had the good fortune 
to see the great western reserve of Ohio of which 
we have heard so much." The President did not 
catch the quiet sarcasm of his Secretary of State 
until some of the other members of the Cabinet 
smiled and then all broke Into a loud laugh in 
which the President belatedly joined without much 
sign of merriment. 

Garfield, who succeeded Hayes, I knew well and 
admired, having served in the House with him. 
He was a handsome and magnetic man, and one of 
the most eloquent orators who ever sat in the 
House. He had a commanding figure, a massive 
head and a wonderfully musical voice. His speech 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 153 

nominating Sherman in the Chicago convention is 
known to every reader of political literature, and 
is considered his greatest utterance. It was a strik- 
ing oration. Garfield has been called a weak man. 
I think it would be fairer to say of him, his will 
power was not equal to his imagination, and both 
were inferior to his personal magnetism. He had 
great charm and attracted his fellow men. He 
could picture what ought to be done, but he 
quickly changed his mind, which gave him the 
reputation for being variable, for easily making a 
promise and as lightly disregarding it. Even some 
of his warmest friends and admirers admitted this 
while they regretted it, and it made them fear he 
was temperamentally unfitted for the presidency* 
After Garfield's nomination the New York dele- 
gation nominated Arthur for the vice presidency, 
and the Ohio delegation, of which Garfield was 
chairman, voted solidly for Arthur. Thus it was 
made to appear that Garfield was anxious to atone 
to Arthur for the affront he had suffered at the 
hands of Hayes. Whether Garfield promised Conk- 
ling the disposal of the New York patronage, as 
was subsequently asserted, will always remain in 
doubt, but what early became manifest was that 
President Garfield did not intend to consult Conk- 
ling any more than had Hayes. I think the quarrel 
between Garfield and Conkling was one of the most 



154 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

disastrous things that ever happened to the Repub- 
lican party, and It had consequences much more 
serious than the circumstances warranted. I am 
frank to say that I think Garfield was to blame, but 
while Conkling was merely insisting upon what by 
the unwritten law of politics was his right, a little 
tact on the part of Garfield, and a more concilia- 
tory attitude on the part of Conkling, could easily 
have led to a satisfactory compromise. 

It had long been accepted as a matter of course 
that high Federal appointments, such as Collectors 
of Customs, Marshals, District Attorneys and 
others, were political and to be made by the Presi- 
dent on the recommendation of the Senators be- 
cause the Senate must confirm the nominations. 
Even Senators of the opposition party have insisted 
on being shown consideration in the appointment 
of Postmasters in their home cities, and I have 
known a nomination to be rejected on the simple 
statement of a Senator that it was personally offen- 
sive to him. Some of the most bitter quarrels be- 
tween Senators and Representatives from the same 
State have been caused by the President's following 
the recommendation of the Senators instead of the 
Representatives. Speaker Reed could not secure 
the appointment of the Collector in his home city 
because President Harrison accepted the recom- 
mendations of Senators Hale and Frye, both of 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 155 

whom lived in other parts of the State. I have 
never in my long service been able to secure the 
appointment of a Federal official in my own dis- 
trict except the Postmaster, without the endorse- 
ment of the Republican Senators from Illinois. 
"With this universal custom, it is rather strange to 
me, and was at the time, to hear men talk and to 
read in the newspapers of Conkling's imperial as- 
sumption to name the Collector of Customs in New 
York, and praise of President Garfield for making 
an appointment offensive to the New York Sena- 
tors. It was openly charged at the time that the 
President secured the confirmation of Robertson as 
Collector by the promise of patronage to other Sen- 
ators; certainly other Senators did secure the nomi- 
nation of men they wanted appointed to office. 
While I had no love for Senator Conkling, I have 
always regretted that inconsistent and autocratic 
assumption of power by Garfield. 

This foolish, petty quarrel over such a trivial 
thing as an appointment, led to the murder of the 
President, the enforced retirement from public life 
of the foremost figure of his day, the defeat of the 
ambition of a man who was the idol of thousands 
of Americans, and the loss of the presidency at the 
succeeding election. The historian writing from 
the record, who had not lived while history was be- 
ing made, would record the facts and express his 



156 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

amazement that two strong and powerful men oc- 
cupying high station could be so childish, and he 
would feel there was a deeper and more obscure 
cause* I suspect that is the way a great deal of 
history has always been written, and that history 
is a mixture of fairy tale, imagination and igno- 
rance. 

Elaine was the evil genius. He had long been 
at enmity with Conkling. Both were strong- 
willed, vain, impetuous; both were ambitious and 
high strung; both had great confidence in them- 
selves and their abilities; neither was of a concilia- 
tory disposition nor willing to admit an error. The 
friction began when both were members of the 
House; they indulged in personalities on the floor, 
their feelings became so bitter that neither forgave 
the other nor had any personal relations. Blaine 
exercised great influence over Garfield; I have al- 
ways thought it was shortsighted and unfair for 
Blaine to have used his influence and his position as 
the head of the Cabinet to provoke a quarrel be- 
tween the President and Conkling by insisting 
upon an appointment offensive to the Senator and 
in no way connected with the State Department. 
It was a stupid thing for Blaine to do. He had not 
surrendered his ambition to be President, and when 
he was nominated and defeated in 1884, it was at 
the hands of New York he met defeat, although 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 157 

Conkling was then out of politics. Conkling re- 
signed Ills seat when the Senate confirmed Robert- 
son as Collector. He saw an opportunity to do 
something spectacular, to Indulge in the dramatic, 
which he always loved. As Lord Paramount of 
New York he would order his Legislature to re- 
elect him (merely an empty formality),, and show 
the President and Elaine that he was Master of his 
State. He would come back to Washington greater 
and more powerful than ever; he would make the 
President understand that New York was simply a 
geographical expression. It was Conkling who was 
the State. And to swell his own triumph he carried 
Thomas C Platt in his train. He ordered Platt to 
resign; Platt, unknown and unimportant, did so. 
Platt, later to be the powerful "Boss" of the Re- 
publican party of New York, to whom Presidents 
deferred, at that time was merely cc Me Too" Platt, 
the echo to the Imperious voice of Conkling. It 
would add to Conkling's triumph to elect not only 
himself but also his faithful servitor. 

Conkling was a man of very great ability, he was 
an experienced politician, he knew the ways of 
men, their selfishness and their fears, but he forgot 
one thing, and that often happens when a man Is 
eaten up with vanity or hungers for revenge. 
What Conkling forgot and he would have been 
the first to recognize it had he been acting as agent 



158 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

or counsel instead of principal was that a newly 
elected President is perhaps the most powerful ruler 
on earth. The President freshly come into the 
"White House has unlimited patronage at his com- 
mand, favors to bestow without end. The Presi- 
dent can make men as he can unmake them. No 
matter what Influence a Senator wields in his State, 
it is insignificant compared with that of the Presi- 
dent, with the appointments yet to be made and 
the commissions still to be signed. Time and time 
men have tried to fight the President, and never 
have they succeeded. Conkling suffered the usual 
fate. The Legislature rejected him and threw in 
Platt for good measure. That was the end of 
Conkling. He retired from politics and went back 
to the practice of law. It was the conclusion of 
one of the most dramatic chapters in American 
political history. Garfield's indecision was as much 
to blame as Elaine's overweening ambition and de- 
sire for revenge and Conkling's vanity. 

Garfield's assassination was of course the result 
of the political quarrels which immediately fol- 
lowed his inauguration, but I think the press can- 
not escape its responsibility. Liberty of the press 
became license for scandal and abuse, the ^Half- 
breeds" and ''Stalwarts" were represented on the 
verge of conflict, the public mind became inflamed, 
and a crack-brained aspirant for a petty office con- 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 159 

eluded he had a grievance that justified murder. 
There were more scandals published and circulated 
about Garfield and Conkling in that summer of 
1881 than I ever heard except in the Presidential 
campaign of 1 8 84, when the grave was robbed and 
youthful indiscretions revived to regale the people 
with stories that, if true, would have made both 
Elaine and Cleveland unfit to hold the office of 
President. It was the same thing in 1 8 8 1 when no 
scandal was too mean and degrading to be attached 
to the names of the President and the New York 
Senator, both of whom had been in public life, in 
the House and Senate for many years, respected 
and honored. Garfield had the distinction of hav- 
ing been elected to the House, the Senate and the 
Presidency all within a year, so that he had to resign 
two positions to become President. 

Vice President Arthur was the fourth man to 
become President by the death of the elected Presi- 
dent, and with the exception of Theodore Roose- 
velt was the most successful and popular executive 
to reach the White House at the hands of an as- 
sassin. President Arthur began his administration 
by making it clearly understood he had no friends 
to reward or enemies to punish. No longer were 
there to be any party feuds. No man ever in- 
herited more factional troubles, and no man ever 
handled them with greater skill or in a better way 



160 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

to compose difficulties and unify his party. He 
did more. Arthur came into the "White House 
with the reputation of being nothing but a ward 
politician and knowing little about anything else 
except ward politics. He was practically unknown 
to the country, and the country pictured him a 
typical Tammany "roughneck/' illiterate almost, 
coarse, with a fondness for large diamonds and 
flashy clothes. The '"politician 35 was an ideal Chief 
Executive, dignified, courtly, a man of fine tastes, 
well read, and he quickly won the respect of the 
country irrespective of party divisions. His mes- 
sages compare favorably with those of his prede- 
cessors and also his successors, and he showed more 
consideration for Congress than did Garfield, who 
had won his fame in Congress, while at the same 
time he displayed firmness when he came to exer- 
cise the veto power. If comparisons are permis- 
sible, President Arthur exhibited the v same qual- 
ities of leadership that distinguished President 
Harding forty years later. Like Harding he looked 
the part. He was a handsome man, always knew 
just what to do to make his callers easy in his pres- 
ence, yet he encouraged no familiarity. He was 
President, at the same time he was a citizen like 
other citizens, only temporarily clothed with power 
to execute the laws. His political training stood 
him in good advantage when he had to handle the 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 161 

numerous problems arising out of the presidency. 
He was master of the situation in which he had been 
placed by a national tragedy, and that was early 
recognized by Senators and Representatives and the 
country generally. 

We all liked and admired President Arthur and 
I believe he would have been renominated and 
elected for another term had it not been for the 
insatiable ambition of Blaine and the damned fool- 
ishness of his friends. Blaine had been bitten early 
in his career by the presidential spider, and from 
that wound a man never recovers. The White 
House always beckoned him, and his followers 
could not forget the two defeats of their idol or 
abandon the belief that Conkling and his faction 
had engineered both. Nothing would compensate 
them but Elaine's election as the just reward for 
all that he had been made to suffer. Conkling was 
beyond them, but Arthur, Conkling's creature, 
the beneficiary of his treachery, could be made the 
vicarious sacrifice. 

Arthur was defeated by his trousers, and curi- 
ously enough those particular nether garments were 
worn more by his well-meaning but fool friends 
than the President. Arthur was a gentleman and 
dressed the part as have most of the Presidents, but 
his publicity agents were not content with that. 
The impression the country had when Arthur first 



162 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

came into the "White House was a ward politician 
with a weakness for startling clothes. To remove 
that impression his kind friends went to the other 
extreme. Daily they filled the newspapers with 
descriptions of what he wore, the number of times 
a day he changed his suits, the various pairs of 
trousers his valet pressed, his huge stock of neck- 
ties of all colors and styles. It was intended to 
make the country see Arthur as he really was, in- 
stead of which he was made to appear ridiculous. 
His opponents were quick to perceive that if they 
could persuade the country, the West especially, 
that instead of having a statesman in the White 
House they had only a fashion plate or a tailor's 
dummy, a good deal could be made out of it, for in 
the West at that time the common people were not 
particular about the fashionable cut of their clothes 
or the color of their neckties, but considered they 
were complying with the rules of good social cus- 
tom if they had one Sunday suit and a working 
suit. They soon began to inquire if the President 
had time for any official work when he had to 
change his clothes so many times a day. Those 
western people were at that time described as 
* Vild and woolly 5 ' by the newspapers of the East, 
especially in New York, and the contrast they made 
between the elegant manners and fine apparel of 
the President and the uncouth manners and careless 




From Judgt 
THE DANAID WHO IS COXDEMXED TO FILL A LEAKING VESSEL 

A Contemporary View of President Arthur 



TILDEN LOST PRESIDENCY 163 

dress of the westerners prejudiced the "West against 
Arthur as * e a New York dude/ 5 It was as cruel a 
misrepresentation as I ever knew and I have had 
some experiences in that line* but never as a 
sartorial paragon and it was started by the news- 
paper correspondents who were trying to pave the 
way for the President's nomination in 1884. It 
helped to defeat hinij and again defeat the Repub- 
lican party. 



CHAPTER VIII 
A FAMOUS QUORUM 

IN Thomas B. Reed there was combined the 
greatest intellect with the greatest courage, the 
keenest appreciation of humor and the greatest 
command of sarcasm I ever knew. He was a 
born leader, a natural ruler of men, and in my 
opinion no man who presided over the House 
before him or has come since can compare with 
him. I am afraid of the "brilliant man/ 3 Tom 
Reed was the exception. "We owe him a great 
debt. When he came to the Chair he found the 
rules of our House so framed that they made it 
possible for a minority to defeat the will of the 
majority, for a few men to obstruct many; rules 
made to prevent business rather than to despatch 
it. Men saw the folly of this code, but they said 
it had always been and therefore it could not be 
changed. It has often been said by superficial ob- 
servers, foreign no less than American, that we 
are a radical people, always experimenting and al- 
ways seeking after novelty. In truth, we are con- 
servative; we shrink from change until we are 
driven to it. We like our traditions, and it is 
because we have so few of them that we cling to 

164 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 165 

those we have. "Would any except a conservative 
people defeat a President in December and then al- 
low him to remain in authority until the following 
March? But we do it because it was done by the 
Fathers, and what was done by the Fathers we 
venerate. 

Reed was an iconoclast. He had reverence for 
the past, but he was not hampered by the strait- 
jacket of tradition. Single-handed lie carried 
through a revolution. Only a man of undaunted 
courage could have done this. Only a man of great 
ability, with a philosophical conception of par- 
liamentary law and the fundamental principle of 
the right of the House of Representatives to gov- 
ern itself , could have created a code that was ac- 
cepted by his partisans and made their own by his 
opponents; that received the sanction of the Courts 
and the approval of the common sense of the peo- 
ple. This Reed did. 

When the Fifty-first Congress met in Decem- 
ber, 1889, Reed, McKinley and I were the Republi- 
can candidates for the Speakership, and he won in 
the caucus. Let me be honest. It is the hypocrisy 
of politics for a defeated candidate to say his de- 
feat brings him no disappointment, that his suc- 
cessful rival is the better man, that the caucus, or 
convention or party has shown true wisdom and 
made the wisest choice. No defeated candidate 



166 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

really believes this; instead of subscribing to the 
rare wisdom displayed by the delegates or mem- 
bers, deep in his heart he knows they are fools and 
incapable of appreciating merit. After the vote 
was given to Reed I congratulated him as in duty 
bound, but the Speakership was my ambition. I 
was vain enough to believe that I was as good a 
man as Reed I put it moderately, as I tried to 
persuade myself I must be fair and not be gov- 
erned by prejudice and being a "Western man it 
was more fitting that the "West should have the 
Speakership than the East. I do not know how 
McKinley felt about his defeat, as we never ex- 
changed confidences on the subject, but I am quite 
prepared to believe his feelings were not very dif- 
ferent from mine. That was before I knew Reed 
as well as I came to know him later. Having been 
honest in telling things which men generally keep 
to themselves, you will believe me when I say with 
perfect honesty that no one better appreciated 
than I what a fortunate thing it was for the coun- 
try and the party that the caucus elected Reed 
Speaker and not McKinley or Cannon. Perhaps, 
after all, wisdom resides in a caucus rather than 
in an individual. Reed was the man for the place 
at that time. I don't think McKinley was; he was 
too amiable, too sweet-tempered, too reluctant to 




From Judge 



THE REED-MCKINLEY-CAXXOX CONTEST 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 167 

encourage innovation. I am quite sure I was not. 
It required Reed to count a quorum. 

Reed and I had been the minority members of 
the Committee on Rules when Carlisle was Speaker, 
and in a purely non-partisan way we had often dis- 
cussed the necessity of some method being devised 
to destroy the filibuster, which made it possible for 
a small minority to defeat the will of the majority. 
After Reed became Speaker and Chairman of the 
Committee on Rules, and I became his lieutenant 
in parliamentary procedure, we began the more 
serious consideration of the question as a party 
measure to enable the majority to conduct the 
public business and enact into legislation the prin- 
ciples approved by the voters in the election. 

I had been in the House for nearly twenty years 
and had more experience in parliamentary contests 
than Reed. He drew on my knowledge and often 
deferred to my judgment; for while Reed never 
needed anybody to make up his mind for him, he 
was never so cocksure of himself that he scorned 
advice or suggestion or thought he knew better 
than anyone else. He was a man without fear, 
and I think with very little vanity. He made 
many enemies because he could not tolerate a fool, 
a knave or a hypocrite, and he seldom if ever tried 
to hide his feelings. I have known no other man 
in public life who had his power of sarcasm or 



168 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

sardonic wit, who in half-a-dozen words could an- 
nihilate an opponent or, what was worse, make him 
appear ridiculous. He was a man of colossal in- 
tellect, a deep, clear and philosophical thinker; who 
read everything and forgot little; who had a con- 
tempt for the meanness of shallow human nature 
and detested the petty tricks of petty politicians. 
Reed was never a politician, nor could he enter into 
their minds. He tolerated his constituents, but I 
think it is fair to say he did not love them. 

Shortly after one of his elections which is a 
time when probably every member of the House, 
with the recollection of the election fresh in his 
memory, has a more or less sentimental regard for 
his constituents and is thinking how he can im- 
press them with his greatness and hold their votes 
for the next election he was asked to secure some 
condemned cannon from the War Department to 
decorate a soldiers' monument soon to be dedicated 
in one of the cities of his District. Reed's answer 
was characteristic. He thought, he wrote the 
Committee, he had been elected to Congress to take 
part in legislation and not to act as an errand boy. 
However, perhaps he was mistaken; and if his Dis- 
trict wanted an errand boy they must find him 
somewhere else. It was Reed all the way through. 
Condemned cannon no more interested him than 
office seekers or appointments; he hated them as 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 169 

much as he did being bored, and nothing seemed 
to him more foolish than to have to listen to the 
weak or ignorant man or woman, puffed up by 
conceit and without an original idea. But you 
must not gather from this that Tom Reed was a 
misanthrope, who looked upon himself as a supe- 
rior person and set himself above his fellows. He 
was a charming companion, a good story teller and 
witty, kind and sympathetic, whose friends loved 
him as much as his enemies abominated him. He 
enjoyed the society of pretty women and they 
greatly admired him; but he always insisted that a 
woman must have brains as well as beauty to be 
attractive to men. Reed judged other men by him- 
self. Cleverness more than anything else appealed 
to him. Few men in our political history have been 
so savagely aspersed and so bitterly denounced as 
Reed. He was the object of the most extreme par- 
tisan attack and venomous abuse. He was the 
original American political "Czar/* to millions of 
people he was a tyrant worse than any Rome ever 
had, they believed he was brutal in his manner and 
conversation, took mean advantage of the Demo- 
crats simply for politics, and stopped at no dis- 
honesty if it would help his party and injure his 
enemies. 

I remember an incident that showed the impres- 
sion lodged in the minds of the public. Reed sat 



170 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

one night at dinner next to a pretty woman, the 
wife of a prominent Democratic Senator, whom 
he had just met for the first time. At the begin- 
ning she was almost silent, replied very curtly to 
his conversation and showed her dislike plainly; 
but as the dinner went on she came under his 
charm, her manner changed completely, and be- 
fore the dinner was over she said to him with some 
confusion: 

"Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize to yon. From 
what I had heard, I thought you were a dreadful 
person and resented having to sit next to you, and 

now >s 

"And now," Reed drawled out, ""you resent that 
I forgot to bring my horns to dinner/* 

Perhaps because of the false impression that was 
created, perhaps because of the intense prejudice 
which was never effaced, the country did not prop- 
erly appreciate Reed's greatness and he holds only 
a secondary place in the American Hall of Fame; 
yet I maintain that he was the greatest of all our 
Speakers, that he rendered inestimable service to 
the country when he had the courage to defy tra- 
dition and bring in the Reed Rules of parliamen- 
tary procedure and showed himself one of the 
leading authorities of the science of parliamentary 
government. He would probably have been nom- 
inated for the presidency instead of McKinley had 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 171 

he not been the victim of treachery. He took his 
disappointment manfully. When the man who 
betrayed him attempted to explain Reed silenced 
him by drawling out: "God Almighty hates a 
quitter. 35 That was all He had been stabbed In 
the back, but it was not in him to put his wounds 
on exhibition or complain of the pain they caused 
him. 

When the House met In December 1 8 89, we had 
a majority of four only, entirely too small to be 
pleasant, and so close to the vanishing point that 
the Democrats felt almost certain, under the ad- 
vantage for obstruction given them by the rules, 
they could filibuster against the tariff bill we pro- 
posed to pass and prevent the passage of any other 
legislation they opposed. There were several Dem- 
ocratic seats contested by Republicans, and if the 
contests were decided In favor of the Republicans 
and while contests are always decided on their 
merits yet curiously enough they usually follow 
the complexion of the political majority our total 
vote would be correspondingly increased. Reed 
requested the Committee on Elections to dispose 
of these cases as early as possible. 

It was a passionate fighting House from the be- 
ginning* The campaign of the year before had 
been bitter and acrimonious and the memories of 
the campaign had not been forgotten, the Demo- 



172 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

crats were angry at having lost the election, and 
they were determined not to allow us to enjoy 
our victory in peace. Our narrow majority, the 
knowledge that we were going to pass a tariff 
bill, that Lodge was pressing his Federal Election 
bill, which was a menace to Southern control; and 
other important legislation on our programme 
made the Democrats resolve to take the fullest ad- 
vantage of the rules which gave to the minority 
the real command over legislation. The majority 
must enact legislation to justify the confidence of 
the people in having placed them in power, while 
all that the minority had to do was merely to ob- 
struct and prevent the passage of laws. That 
House, on both sides of the aisle, had more than 
a usual number of men of great ability, long 
service and experience as parliamentarians. On 
the Democratic side, in addition to two former 
Speakers, Randall and Carlisle, both of whom were 
acknowledged as two of the greatest Speakers, were 
"W. C. P. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, and his 
nephew, C. R. Breckenridge, of Arkansas; James 
B. McCreary, of Kentucky; Charles R. Crisp, later 
to become Speaker, and James R. Blount, both 
of Georgia; Oates, and Joe Wheeler, of Ala- 
bama; Holman, Shively and Bynum, of Indiana; 
Springer, of Illinois; Catchings and Hooker, of 
Mississippi; Amos Cummings, of New York; 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 173 

Outhwaite, of Ohio; McMillan and Richardson, of 
Tennessee; Mills and Sayers, of Texas; and Harry 
St. George Tucker, of Virginia. On the Repub- 
lican side were Joseph McKenna, subsequently to 
become an Associate Justice of the United States 
Supreme Court; Hopkins, Payson, Hitt, and 
Rowell, of Illinois; D, B. Henderson, afterwards to 
be elected Speaker; Lacy, Conger and Dolliver, of 
Iowa; Dingley and Boutelle, of Maine; Lodge, 
Banks and Walker, of Massachusetts; McComas, of 
Maryland; Burrows, of Michigan; Mark Dunnell 
and John'Lind, of Minnesota; Tom Carter, of 
Montana; Payne and Sherman, of New York; Mc- 
Kinley, Butterworth, Grosvenor and Burton, of 
Ohio; Bingham and Dalzell, of Pennsylvania; La- 
Folette, of Wisconsin, and Clarence Clark, of 
Wyoming; all were virile partisans, some of them 
veterans, others were to win their spurs later. 
There had been no such militant House since the 
Civil War. 

The Democratic leaders had in effect told us that 
we could expect no help from them and whatever 
we did would have to be through our own men. 
This was practically impossible with a bare 
quorum, which was all we had until Democrats 
were turned out and their seats filled by Repub- 
licans. Half a dozen or so of our members were 
likely to be absent on account of sickness or urgent 
business reasons and to break a quorum all that 



174 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the Democrats had to do was purposely to stay 
away or to remain silent when their names were 
called, for the rules in force at that time permitted 
a member to be in his seat and refuse to answer 
when his name was called, in which case he was not 
recorded. No business can be transacted by the 
House unless a roll call discloses the presence of a 
quorum. The Democratic tactics were simply to 
block business by the obstruction of silence* Reed 
saw that some method must be devised to destroy 
the power of the filibuster, the greatest obstacle 
to the legislative control of the majority. But we 
had precedent to overcome, and precedent is fre- 
quently the enemy of common sense. The fili- 
buster was a recognized parliamentary weapon, and 
its use by both parties had always been regarded 
as legitimate. Elaine when Speaker, and he was 
considered one of the greatest parliamentarians of 
his time, had refused to use his power to destroy 
the filibuster. I suppose there was the feeling that 
however subversive the filibuster was to the rule 
of the majority, it was, like the knife of the revolu- 
tionary, the last desperate resort against tyranny; 
the majority of today might be the minority of 
tomorrow, and no minority could allow itself to be 
disarmed. Hence not only in Congress but also 
in the State Legislatures the filibuster was used by 
a fighting minority. It shows Reed's independence 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 175 

and courage that he was uninfluenced by these 
considerations. If a filibuster was morally wrong 
and that was Reed's conviction it was as in- 
defensible when the Republicans were in the mi- 
nority as when, being in the majority, they were 
the victims of the Democratic minority. 

Reed did not act impetuously or under sudden 
inspiration, as some people have tried to make out. 
It was a deliberate action based upon deep con- 
viction. He knew it to be right and he knew it 
was necessary. He had given the subject long and 
serious consideration. He was the leader of a rev- 
olution, and he had read history too closely not to 
know the fate of the rebel who fails. Reed care- 
fully matured his plans, he felt sure of himself and 
his position, he was confident the Republican side 
of the House would follow him to the end; he sat 
waiting until the Democrats gave him the oppor- 
tunity for striking the decisive blow. The battle 
opened on "Wednesday, January 29, 1890. It was 
characteristic of Reed that he gave no advance 
notice either to the public or to the House, 
Neither Republican nor Democrat knew that Reed 
was ready to stage the revolution. He sent no 
word either to McKinley or me. He had previ- 
ously told us to be constantly in readiness for he 
did not know when the time for action would 
come, but on that eventful morning we went into 



176 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the House and sat at our desks with no premoni- 
tion that before the day was over history would 
be written. 

After the customary routine proceedings Mr. 
Dalzell, of Pennsylvania, a member of the Com- 
mittee on Elections, moved to take up the con- 
tested election case of Smith vs. Jackson from "West 
Virginia, to which Mr. Crisp, of Georgia, objected 
and demanded a roll call. The vote was 161 in 
the affirmative and two in the negative, or less 
than a quorum, and Mr. Crisp did what is the 
right of every Member, and called the attention 
of the Speaker to the fact. Under the old rules 
it would have been the duty of the Speaker to 
direct the Sergeant at Arms to secure the attend- 
ance of the absentees, and until they made their 
presence known by voting no business could be 
done. The absentees were not so numerous as the 
tally suggested. As a matter of fact almost their 
entire strength was in the House, but they were 
pursuing their old tactics and sat silent. Paying 
no attention to Crisp, Mr. Reed, in his ordinary 
tones and without the slightest trace of excite- 
ment, directed the Clerk to place on the roll the 
names of members present but refusing to vote. 
It was the opening gun. Crisp shouted he ap- 
pealed from the decision of the Chair; Reed slowly 
and deliberately named alphabetically the names 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 177 

of the Democrats who had refused to vote, and 
called, 'Mr. Breckenrldge of Kentucky/ 5 

Breckenridge was a member of the famous Ken- 
tucky family, noted for his oratory and musical 
voice, which caused him to be called "silver 
tongued Breckenridge"; a handsome man with a 
powerful head and a mass of silver hair, a striking 
figure and usually one of the most courteous in his 
manner and in speech one of the most polite. 
Courtesy and polish had gone, so infuriated was 
the Kentuckian with Reed's revolutionary meth- 
ods. He rushed down into the tc well" in front of 
the Speaker's rostrum and was immediately fol- 
lowed by the entire Democratic side. There these 
angry men hurled insults at the Speaker, shook 
their fists in his face and denounced him as a ty- 
rant. Had there been a leader to propose tearing 
Reed out of the Chair I verily believe the attempt 
would have been made. But Reed never appeared 
more admirably calm, more like a big, good-na- 
tured boy in manner and appearance, as with his 
.beatific smile he serenely gazed upon those furious, 
shouting Democrats and waited for the disturbance 
to subside. Then, when the tumult had partially 
died down, Reed, in drawling, slightly sarcastic 
tones said: "The House will be in order." 

What really angered the Democrats, I think, was 
their failure to make Reed mad and cause him to 



178 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

lose his temper, and their surprise that he should 
have done what nobody believed was possible. 
"When the Democrats rushed down into the "well" 
and began to assail him he showed his annoyance, 
but nothing more. His temptation was great to 
answer back and how he would have enjoyed it! 
but he closed his lips tight, he stood erect at his 
desk and waited until the storm had subsided. 
What could the Democrats do? They must have 
felt they were making a ridiculous spectacle of 
themselves, and as there was nothing to be made 
by jostling each other in front of a Speaker who 
seemed deaf to insult and indifferent to abuse, the 
only thing left to them was to troop back to their 
seats. Then this incomprehensible man continued 
to call the roll where he had been interrupted, the 
Democrats after each name was called drowning 
his voice and Reed patiently waiting until the tu- 
mult had in a measure died down when he named 
a few more men. Nothing could divert him. His 
purpose was to prove and place on record the fact 
that a quorum was present. It took him several 
hours to do this, but when his work was finished 
it was established that not only was there a 
quorum, but practically the entire membership was 
present in the House. This done, Reed addressed 
the House and for the first time since he had taken 
the Chair that day he was listened to in silence and 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 179 

with respect. His action, he explained, was strictly 
legal and based on the provisions o the Constitu- 
tion, Crisp and Carlisle spoke for the Democrats 
and I for our side. On McKinley's motion the 
House then adjourned as everyone was tired out 
by the excitement and wanted a chance to rest* 

However, the battle was not yet over. "When 
the House met the next day the contest was re- 
newed by the Democrats refusing to approve the 
Journal, usually a perfunctory proceeding, and 
again Reed had to count a quorum. I have seen 
many ludicrous scenes in the House, but none ever 
to equal what happened while this was going on. 
Bynum, of Indiana, was a man generally well liked 
by the House, although very much of a partisan. 
When Reed called Bynum's name, Bynum, tall and 
lank, with a loud voice, rushed from his seat down 
the centre aisle and stood in the "well" in front 
of the Speaker's desk. Unlike the day before, he 
was not followed by the Democratic side but had 
a solitary supporter it was a sort of valiant 
knight going to battle attended by his faithful 
squire Martin of Texas. Martin was a character. 
He got into the newspapers the day after he ar- 
rived in Washington for the first time, and that 
is no small achievement for a new Member. Mar- 
tin, according to the newspaper stories, was accus- 
tomed to candles and oil lamps and had never seen 



180 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

a gas jet until he arrived, carpetbag in hand, at a 
boarding house near the capitol. That night on 
going to bed, not knowing how to turn out the 
gas, he calmly blew it out as he would an oil lamp, 
and there might have been a vacancy in the Texas 
delegation had not the people in the boarding house 
smelled the escaping gas and arrived in time to 
save his life and warn him against the consequences 
of blowing out the gas. 

After adjournment the previous evening Reed, 
McKinley and I briefly discussed the events of the 
day. We told him he had handled himself splen- 
didly, that his method had been perfect and he had 
undoubtedly smashed the filibuster. Reed said it 
was his intention to give the Democrats all the 
rope they wanted, as the more they had the more 
they would get themselves entangled. He would 
do nothing that had the slightest suggestion of op- 
pression or depriving the members of their rights. 
If they wanted to talk or try to obstruct or call 
him names he would allow them the full measure 
of their enjoyment, but whenever it was necessary 
to disclose the presence of a quorum he would do 
so, no matter how long it took or what measures 
had to be employed. He asked us if we approved. 
We told him nothing could be better. 

So when Bynum took the centre of the stage I 
was not surprised that Reed listened patiently to 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 181 

his invective, Bynum stood facing the Speaker, 
Martin moved over to Bynum's left and stood with 
one foot on the first step leading to the dais. I 
don't know how seriously Bynum took himself, 
whether to him it was just another political fight 
and a glorious opportunity to get his name in every 
newspaper throughout the State; but Martin was 
deadly serious. He came from a part of the coun- 
try where men do not suffer insults tamely. He 
had been a frontiersman and led an adventurous 
life; according to his code an opprobrious word was 
quickly followed by a blow, or if the word was not 
resented a man proclaimed himself yellow and for- 
feited the respect of his fellows. Martin must have 
been puzzled by the proceedings of the day before 
and thought the time had come for action. Bynum 
declaimed in great style. The Speaker was a ty- 
rant* Martin, like a chorus, repeated, ct Tyrant, 
sir," addressing the Speaker. The House faintly 
laughed and Bynum looked surprised, and then 
went on pouring out his abuse, and at the end of 
every sentence there was the echo from Martin. 
By this time the House was in a roar, even the 
Democrats joining with us. The scene was too 
comical not to laugh. Meanwhile poor Bynum 
was dreadfully annoyed. There was no way of 
suppressing Martin, and he made Bynum's passion- 
ate denunciation a joke instead of a dramatic ar- 



182 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

ralgnment, as Bynum intended it should be. Fi- 
nally Bynum warned the Speaker that inch by inch 
the Democrats would fight for their liberties, even 
if at the last the fight had to be carried on from 
the grave. It was good as that sort of thing goes, 
but any effect it might have created was spoiled 
by the irrepressible Martin shouting to Reed: "Do 
you hear that? "We'll fight," and with his sleeves 
rolled up he looked as if he was going to begin the 
war right then and there. If Reed had shown 
alarm I am afraid the comedy might have been 
turned into tragedy, but he seemed to be enjoying 
the performance as much as all the rest of us. He 
gazed benignly at Martin, while the angry Texan 
glared at him, who, seeing there was no fight in 
Reed according to the Texas code of ethics, turned 
to Bynum and exclaimed: "Hell, he won't fight," 
and dragged him away, while the House went into 
a paroxysm of laughter and liberally applauded 
both men for having entertained us. 

That was practically the end of the filbuster, 
and although from time to time the Democrats 
tried to use their old tactics, Reed was always ready 
to count a quorum whenever it was necessary, and 
Reed's parliamentary revolution was an accom- 
plished fact. It is curious how men become 
famous. Martin was known the country over as 
the Congressman who blew out the gas. Repre- 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 183 

sentatlve Jerry Simpson, of Kansas, had fame 
thrust upon him because it was disclosed he did 
not follow the fashion of the effete East and wear 
socks; and te sockless Jerry" he was to all men. 
Once when the Democrats tried to escape from 
the House to avoid being counted by Reed and he 
ordered the doors locked to prevent their flight, 
renown came to Buck Kilgore, another Texas mem- 
ber. He was a huge man, and when he attempted 
to leave by the light swinging door opening into 
the Speaker's lobby and found it locked, he gave 
it a kick and the frail lock sprung back. It wasn't 
a great feat of strength, any ordinary boy could 
have done the same thing, but the public got the 
idea that alone and unaided he had battered down 
one of the solid doors of the capitol and was a 
marvel of physical prowess. So Kilgore took his 
place among the immortals. 

"We were defeated in the next Congress and the 
Democrats came in with a thumping majority* It 
was hardly to be expected they would reenact the 
Reed rules, they readopted the old rules and we 
were such hardened sinners that we filibustered 
without shame, Reed leading us. If the Demo- 
crats really liked that sort of thing we were quite 
willing to give them all they wanted. The fol- 
lowing Congress the Democrats were again in con- 
trol, but their majority had been cut to pieces. 



184 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

They saw they must either make the Reed rules 
their own or they would be at our mercy. It was 
Hobson's choice. They made a wry face and swal- 
lowed the Reed rules, and I suppose no man In our 
political history ever had a greater triumph. The 
rules which the Democrats denounced as Infa- 
mous and so bitterly fought were now Democratic 
rules in good standing. The vindication of Reed 
had come at the hands of his political opponents. 
My relations with President Harrison were al- 
ways cordial. It was said of him that he was cold, 
indifferent, inconsiderate and ungrateful. Harri- 
son was a deeply religious man, and it was the sneer 
of Washington at that time that "they opened 
oysters with prayer at the White House." A mem- 
ber of the House was laid up in bed with a heavy 
cold, and one of his colleagues said it was not sur- 
prising, he had an interview with the President 
and foolishly forgot to wear his overcoat and ear 
muffs. Such were the sarcastic things said about 
Harrison, but they were not my experience. I 
do not think I ever made an unreasonable request, 
and I know he was never indifferent in considering 
my recommendations. My position in the House, 
my relations with Reed as Speaker and the early 
coolness that developed between him and the 
President, at times caused me some embarrassment, 
but as I never indulged in the recreation of tale 



A FAMOUS QUORUM 185 

bearing I got along very well. I suppose I could 
have contributed to the ill feeling by repeating 
the remarks each made about the other. It was 
amusing though to hear them. Reed had the 
tongue of a wasp and Harrison distilled poison like 
an adder; the dislike was cordial and undisguised. 
The safe thing was to avoid discussing any matter 
that involved Reed. 



CHAPTER IX 

FIFTY MILLIONS AND NO QUESTIONS 

McKINLEY did not want to go to war with 
Spain. Neither did Reed, Speaker o the House. 
Nearly all the leaders were opposed to it, but 
there was an almost overwhelming sentiment for 
war on the Republican side 9 and the majority of 
the Democrats were equally as strong for bundling 
Spain out of Cuba and giving the Cubans their 
independence. Jingoism was rampant. Thou- 
sands of petitions came to Congress demanding 
war, the annexation of Cuba, and other danger- 
ous things. The Government was being forced 
into war without powder and shot enough for 
the first round, with an army lacking proper 
equipment, and a navy deficient in many things. 
The destruction of the Maine precipitated matters. 
The President knew that war was inevitable, but 
we were not prepared the fact is, we have never 
been prepared for war and the President could 
not get ready without an emergency appropriation. 

Sunday evening, March 6, 1898, President 
McKinley sent me urgent word to come to the 
White House. I went at once and was taken to 
the library. His greeting expressed his apprehen- 

18<5 




FIFTY MILLIONS FOR DEFENSE 
McKinley and Reed Support War With Spain 



From Judge 



FIFTY MILLIONS 187 

sioii. "Cannon, 53 he began, "I must have money 
to get ready for war. I am doing everything pos- 
sible to prevent war but it must come, and we are 
not prepared for war. Who knows where this 
war will lead us; it may be more than war with 
Spain. How can I get the money for these ex- 
traordinary expenditures?" We were still stand- 
ing where the President had met me when I en- 
tered the room. He had the matter on his mind 
to the exclusion of everything else. I had known 
McKinley from the time he entered the house in 
1 877 and I had never seen him display greater anx- 
iety. His manner was grave; his face showed the 
lines of care. It was not his way to show concern* 
He had the philosophical temperament that sus- 
tained him in times of depression. He went 
through the stormy scenes in the Fifty-first Con- 
gress and to defeat in 1890 buried under his own 
McKinley bill, as was his party, without any sign 
of emotion. But the country was facing a for- 
eign war for the first time in half a century and 
was not ready* It would mean the transport of 
troops over sea for the first time in our history. 
He felt we had reached a crisis and the people were 
driving the Administration to desperate measures. 
A sensitive and humane man, the criticism of the 
press, especially that which held him responsible 
for sending the battleship Maine to Havana on a 



188 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

call of courtesy only to be destroyed and hundreds 
of men murdered, and the opposition in Congress 
hurt him. He did not sit down but paced the floor 
with quick nervous strides while we talked. I had 
gone over the reports of the Treasury and felt sure 
we could make an appropriation of fifty million 
dollars without embarrassment and without hav- 
ing to provide for a bond issue or new taxation. 
We had a surplus and we could spare fifty million 
dollars for national defense. I suggested to the 
President that if he would send a Message to Con- 
gress the next day recommending an appropriation 
I would undertake, with the cooperation of Sena- 
tor Allison, Chairman of the Appropriations Com- 
mittee of the Senate, to have the bill passed before 
the end of the week. 

The President liked the idea of an appropriation, 
but he hesitated at the Message. He said he could 
not do that while he was still negotiating with 
Spain. It would be accepted by Europe as equiva- 
lent to a declaration of war and he would be ac- 
cused of double dealing. He did not want to do 
anything to precipitate matters, but he must have 
the money. He knew from his long experience in 
Congress that none of the money authorized in 
the regular appropriation bills could be used be- 
fore the first of July unless there was an emergency 
clause making it immediately available. He asked 



FIFTY MILLIONS 189 

if this could not be done in the Army and Navy 
or Sundry Civil bills and a part of the appropria- 
tion used to purchase ships, transports, ammuni- 
tion, guns, and supplies. I called his attention to 
the fact that under the law as it stood appropria- 
tions could only be made in accordance with rec- 
ommendations and estimates from the Executive 
departments and that the appropriation would be 
subject to a point of order in the House, which 
might defeat his purpose and add to his complica- 
tions. I suggested it would be more embarrassing 
for him to be charged with diverting appropria- 
tions than it would be to send a Message recom- 
mending an appropriation for the national defense. 
He saw the force of ray suggestion, but he insisted 
that he could not send the Message and keep the 
record of our foreign relations clear* Finally the 
President asked if I could not report from my 
Committee a bill making the appropriation for the 
national defense without any Message, and I agreed 
to introduce a bill if he would prepare it. The bill 
had to originate in the House. The President 
walked over to the table and wrote on a telegraph 
blank a single sentence: **For national defense fifty 
million dollars." It wasn't a bill nor a Message 
nor an estimate, but it was the President's memo- 
randum as to what he wanted done, and I put the 
slip of paper in my pocket. 



190 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

I went to my hotel to prepare a rough draft of 
the bill Somebody had to take the responsibility, 
and as I was Chairman of the Committee on Ap- 
propriations I concluded to introduce the bill and 
report It if my Committee would stand by me, 
as I was sure it would. The bill would give notice 
to the world that we did not have to consult finan- 
ciers and bankers about raising the money. I 
thought that would be quite as important as the 
advantage it would give the War and Navy De- 
partments in advancing their preparations. I did 
not consult any one, for the simple reason that 
after I had determined on my own action I did 
not care to argue the question. It seemed to me 
a case for prompt action, and that it might save 
the Government hundreds of millions and many 
lives to have fifty millions at once and get ready 
for effective war instead of being driven into hos- 
tilities unprepared. I believed we would call the 
bluff of the European Powers who were allowing 
it to be more than suspected they would be com- 
pelled to protect their own interests in Spanish 
bonds if there must be war. It might also impress 
Spain with the determination of this Government 
and induce her to give up the struggle in Cuba, 
thus averting war. The President's memorandum 
simply indicated the amount of the appropriation, 
but it had to be elaborated to enable the President 



FIFTY MILLIONS 191 

to use the money. I drew a rough draft of the bill 
making it as short as possible, providing that the 
money should be placed in the hands of the Presi- 
dent to be used for each and every purpose in con- 
nection with the national defense and that the 
appropriation should remain available until Janu- 
ary 1, 1 899, instead of July 1, 1 898, on which date 
all appropriations lapsed unless specifically pro- 
vided otherwise. 

There was more unanimity, more harmony and 
more real enthusiasm on the floor that afternoon 
when I reported the bill than I ever saw before or 
since. There was no division of sentiment. Every- 
body was for the appropriation. As I was leaving 
the Capitol that Monday evening after introduc- 
ing the bill, I met Speaker Reed. We walked to 
the street car together and he asked, "Joe, why did 
you do it?" "Because it was necessary/' I replied. 
"I suppose I should have consulted you but you 
had left the Appropriation Committee to my di- 
rection, and after considering the whole situation 
I felt that this was the only way to get ready for 
the war that is sure to come. We can't prevent it. 
If I had consulted you and you did not approve I 
would have introduced the bill anyway without 
your approval, and that would have given you 
cause for feeling that I had not been quite sincere 
in seeking your advice." 



192 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

"Perhaps you are right. Perhaps you are right/ 3 
the Speaker commented and we never discussed 
the matter afterward. 

When we declared war against Germany in 19 17 
Congress, with the Democrats in control, put in 
the hands of a Democratic President one hundred 
million dollars for the national defense. The prec- 
edent was there; just as nineteen years earlier Dem- 
ocrats joined with Republicans in supporting the 
President, so now Republicans were no less anxious 
than Democrats to show the world that when the 
country's safety is in peril Americans know no 
party, and politics end at the water's edge. The 
bill reported from the Committee on Appropria- 
tions by Swager Sherley, its Democratic Chairman, 
in 1917, was in every respect identical with the 
bill I drafted and reported in 1898; the same lan- 
guage was used with a single exception; instead 
of fifty million dollars the amount was doubled. 
Before the close of the war Chairman Sherley re- 
ported another National Defense bill, giving the 
President fifty millions more to spend at his dis- 
cretion and not requiring him to make a report 
how the money was spent. When Congress acts 
to meet a war emergency it does it without stint 
and without haggling. President Wilson used his 
last fifty millions in the peace negotiations and a 
Republican Senate that rejected his League of Na- 



FIFTY MILLIONS 193 

tions, did not question the expenditure or demand 
a report of disbursements, though the President 
sent a partial report to Congress. I never read that 
document. I did not care to know how the money 
had been spent. It had been appropriated in the 
same way that I had recommended fifty millions 
be placed in President McKinley's hands, and I 
never had any doubt about the discretion of either 
McKinley or "Wilson. I can examine carefully esti- 
mates for civil expenditures, sometimes prune 
them, but I have never hesitated about war ap- 
propriations. 

No two men were more unlike than Cleveland 
and McKinley; unlike in everything. Cleveland, 
a bachelor, had the selfishness of the bachelor who 
considers nobody but himself; McKinley married 
young and was devoted to his wife, who was for 
many years an invalid. I have never known any- 
one more considerate; he was always thinking of 
her and doing delicate little things to give her 
pleasure. He was gentleness itself. Cleveland 
seemed not to care much about friends or want 
many of them; McKinley wanted every man to 
like him and be his friend. 

After the defeat of Spain McKinley asked me 
to be one of the Commissioners to negotiate the 
terms of peace. I told him I was flattered by his 
offer, but I felt myself to be as well qualified to 



194 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

negotiate a peace treaty as I was to be President of 
Harvard. My place I felt was in the House, where 
I could be of greater service than on the Commis- 
sion. McKinley did not want to keep the Philip- 
pines, that is the whole archipelago, although he 
was willing to retain the island of Luzon. Then 
he made his tour of the West* The Western peo- 
ple, with their inheritance of spreading out and 
acquiring new territory, wanted to keep every foot 
of territory formerly belonging to Spain except 
Cuba. McKinley was an astute politician and like 
Lincoln tried to keep in touch with the people in- 
stead of being a mile ahead of them. He wanted 
their support for his policies in the questions aris- 
ing out of the final settlement of the war. He re- 
turned to Washington convinced there was no way 
out of it and he would have to take over all the 
Philippines. It was either that or displeasing the 
West and running the risk of grave complications 
with some of the European powers and Japan. 
Perhaps McKinley made a mistake, but it was a 
mistake which could not have been avoided. 

It was because McKinley was gentle and had a 
love for his fellowmen that many persons said he 
was weak, had neither policy nor will of his own, 
and did whatever stronger men directed. Em- 
phatically this is not true. No one who was famil- 
iar with his history or served with him could with 




THE VERY WICKED LITTLE BOYS 
Dana and Pulitzer Shooting Beans at Father Grover 



From Judge 



FIFTY MILLIONS 195 

truth call McKinley weak or wanting In character. 
"We were together through seven Congresses; we 
fought in many party contests; we were rival can- 
didates with Reed for the Speakership; we were 
his associates on the Committee on Rules. I knew 
McKinley intimately. He was a born leader; a 
man nature intended to be a leader of men. 

General Crook told me a story which explains 
this quality of leadership. McKinley, then a cap- 
tain, was on General Crook's staff at the battle 
of Opequan and Cedar Creek. The battle was 
going against the Union Forces, and General Crook 
sent Captain McKinley with verbal orders to Gen- 
eral Duval to bring up his reserve division by the 
main road and get into action. McKinley found 
the road blocked with dead and wounded soldiers, 
dead and wounded horses and broken down 
wagons, but he saw a parallel road* He delivered 
his orders to General Duval and explained the sit- 
uation. Duval was an old regular, accustomed to 
obeying orders from his superior officer. He asked 
what road General Crook ordered him to take. 
McKinley was not a phonograph. He rose in his 
stirrups, saluted and said: "General Duval, you 
are commanded to move by the dirt road which 
parallels the pike, and get your division into action 



at once." 



After the battle was won General Crook sent 



196 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

for his young staff officer and asked him if he de- 
livered his orders to General DuvaL McKinley 
said he had, but not exactly as directed, and he 
explained the situation. Crook asked him if he 
fully comprehended the consequences to himself in 
changing an official order. McKinley told him he 
knew it might mean courtmartial and even death, 
but he took the chance because it was impossible 
for Duval to move his division by the main road. 
"Well/* replied General Crook, * e the change saved 
the day* and I congratulate you/' That was the 
man they accused of not having a will of his own. 
As a debater McKinley had few equals. He had 
a good voice and a well stored memory, he was 
quick to see a point and answer it. In opening the 
debate on the McKintey tariff bill he told what pro- 
tection had done for the workingman. Mills, of 
Texas, the protagonist of free trade, denied that 
protection had done anything for the workingman 
and said owing to the tariff it was impossible for 
a workingman to buy an all wool suit of clothes 
for ten dollars. This McKinley denied. One of 
the Democratic members of the House at that time 
was Leopold Morse, of Boston. He was born in 
Bavaria. After a very little schooling he came to 
our country as a youth; made money, saved it and 
prospered. At the time I am speaking of he was 
the head of the firm of Leopold Morse & Co., the 



FIFTY MILLIONS 197 

largest clothiers in Boston. Naturally the subject 
Interested him, and when McKinley talked about 
the ten dollar suit of clothes Morse interjected: 
"He couldn't buy it for that in my store." Alas 
for poor Morse! McKinley was always a lucky 
man, and this was an illustration. "Without a word 
he opened his desk and drew from it a package. 
"We wondered what was to come as he deliberately 
untied the string and disclosed to our astonished 
view a suit of clothes. Then McKinley went on 
to say, fixing his attention upon Morse, he had de- 
clared that the workingman could not buy a good 
suit of clothes for ten dollars, but here he had a 
suit which appeared to be of excellent materials, 
and he would ask the members to examine it. 
While the suit was passing from hand to hand, 
McKinley went on, and t here Is the receipted bill/ 5 
Some one asked to have the bill read, and McEon- 
ley, again turning to Morse, with a smile, said he 
did not intend to embarrass his friend from Bos- 
ton, but as he had invited it he would read. The 
bill was from Leopold Morse & Co. for tc one all 
wool suit of clothes, price ten dollars/ 5 The whole 
House was in a roar, even the Democrats could not 
refrain from laughing because the situation was 
so amusing, while our side rocked. Poor Morse 
left his seat as soon as possible, but he did not hear 



198 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the last of It from his Democratic colleagues for 
many a long day. 

But Morse, as I have said* was shrewd, and he 
turned his discomfiture to profitable account. Of 
course the Boston newspapers, on both sides of the 
fence, made much of the incident in the House of 
Representatives, and Morse and his store received 
much publicity, perhaps more than he really cared 
for. Morse saw the business value of this, and 
promptly advertised his ten dollar all wool suits of 
clothes. 



CHAPTER X 
ROOSEVELT AND THE PRESIDENCY 

THE story of the Republican National Con- 
vention in 1904 begins in 1900 at Philadelphia 
with the nomination of Theodore Roosevelt for 
Vice-President. That was the dramatic feature 
of the convention and it was the prelude to 
1904. It was the only time in our political 
history when a man was nominated for a high 
office over his protest and that of the man whose 
name was placed at the head of the ticket. Gov- 
ernor Roosevelt declared that under no cir- 
cumstances would he accept the nomination for 
Vice-Presldent. He preferred to run again for 
Governor and believed he could be reelected. Sen- 
ator Hanna, as the Chairman of the Republican 
National Committee and personal representative of 
President McEonley, did not want Roosevelt nom- 
inated for Vice-President and frankly said it would 
not be agreeable to the President. It was known 
to many Republican leaders that Mr. McEonley 
wanted Cornelius N. Bliss* of New York, his Sec- 
retary of the Interior. If Bliss should not be ac- 
ceptable to the convention his second choice was 
John D. Long, of Massachusetts, his Secretary of 

199 



200 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the Navy, but neither Roosevelt, "Woodruff, of 
New York, nor Dolliver, of Iowa, was satisfactory 
to him; and Mr. Hanna went so far as to say that 
Roosevelt's nomination would be an unfriendly 
manifestation toward the President who was to 
lead in the fight for another Republican admin- 
istration. Notwithstanding this and the emphatic 
and explosive protest made by Roosevelt, he was 
nominated by acclamation, as President McKinley 
had been nominated for President. It was the most 
contradictory outcome of the most contradictory 
situation we ever had in a Republican National 
Convention. 

That peculiar result was brought about by two 
great and resourceful political leaders, each work- 
ing toward a different end. Senator Thomas C. 
Platt, of New York, who had been responsible for 
Roosevelt's nomination for Governor of New York 
in 1898, did not believe the Governor could be re- 
elected and he did not want to risk losing the State 
in a presidential year. Nor could he without dan- 
ger defeat Roosevelt's renomination, for that, too, 
might imperil the State ticket. Roosevelt was pop- 
ular, he was the one military hero of the Spanish 
War, the public believed it was Roosevelt's Rough 
Riders who conquered Spain and gave the Cubans 
their freedom. In Philadelphia Mr. Roosevelt, 
with his love of the theatrical, wore his campaign 



ROOSEVELT 201 

hat and a reel bandana handkerchief about his neck 
to recall his gallant exploits. He was the one man 
the delegates from the South* the Middle West and 
the Far West wanted to see, to look upon his flash- 
ing teeth, and shake his hand. Platt was too ex- 
perienced in the mob psychology of a political con- 
vention not to recognize these signs. The only 
way Platt saw to escape from his embarrassment 
and keep harmony in the Republican party in New 
York, was to gently kick the Governor upstairs 
and bury him in the political obscurity of the Vice- 
Presidency. It was after the nomination had been 
made, Roosevelt still bitterly protesting, that a 
man, I've forgotten who it was, very close to Platt, 
told with a grin the old variety theatre joke. It 
was the story of a man who said he had two broth- 
ers, both of whom mysteriously disappeared. One 
went out West and was never heard of again. The 
other was elected Vice-President. 

Senator Quay, of Pennsylvania, did not particu- 
larly care about Platt's embarrassment in New 
York or Roosevelt's desires or wishes, or the Presi- 
dent's preferences for a running mate. What he 
did care about was to wrest from Senator Hanna 
control of the party machinery through the dele- 
gates from the Southern States. Hanna had been 
against Quay in his contest for a seat in the Senate 
two years before and Quay had not forgotten. 



202 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

For a good many years Quay had objected to the 
plan of representation In Republican conventions 
based on population and representation In Con- 
gress as unfair to the States that furnished the elec- 
toral votes to make possible Republican Presidents. 
Hanna, as Chairman of the National Committee* 
distributed the patronage in the South and with 
this leverage could dictate the nomination to be 
made In 1904 as he had McKInley's nomination in 
1900. Quay saw an opportunity to unite with 
Platt in opposition to both McKinley and Roose- 
velt, and possibly secure the adoption of his pro- 
posed rule. There were many delegates from the 
West who resented Hanna's announced purpose to 
name the candidate for VIce-President as well as 
for President, and they were ready to aid Quay In 
putting an end to the mastery through Southern 
delegates who did not represent Republican voters 
or the possibility of Republican presidential elec- 
tors. The two forces led by Platt and Quay be- 
came strong enough to threaten Hanna's domi- 
nance, who saw he must capitulate to one or the 
other and either accept Roosevelt, as demanded by 
Platt, or the new rule proposed by Quay. Hanna 
surrendered to Platt, accepted Roosevelt, and de- 
stroyed the Platt-Quay alliance, which left him in 
possession of the Southern delegates to the next na- 
tional convention. With that valuable political 



ROOSEVELT 203 

assetj had McKinley lived out his term, Hanna 

would in all probability have been able to name 
McKInley's successor. 

There was talk of McKinley for a third term but 
the President disposed of that by a frank and full 
statement that under no circumstances would he 
be a candidate for a third nomination, nor would 
he accept the nomination If made. It was the 
fullest and most explicit repudiation of a third term 
ever made by a President, and It was effective. 
Roosevelt In the campaign, as the candidate for 
Vice-President, had added to his popularity, and 
his friends throughout the country began quietly 
to discuss his nomination In 1904. There was also 
some gossip that Senator Hanna would aspire to 
be the successor of McKinley and the party organ- 
ization In the South became of Importance. "Wil- 
liam Lorlmer, who was called by his opponents the 
ct Blond Boss of Illinois," was a devoted personal 
and political friend of Roosevelt and he secured 
an endorsement for the Vice-President as a can- 
didate for President from an Illinois convention In 
that summer of 1901. The Roosevelt boom was 
started In Illinois and Lorlmer was its promoter. 

Roosevelt's friends now began to look over the 
ground in the South to see If there could not be 
a new alignment with new leaders among the col- 
ored Republicans. For several years the Repub- 



204 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

lican vote in the South had been falling off until 
there was no longer an effort made to have a Re- 
publican organization that extended beyond the 
Federal officeholders. To Roosevelt's friends, 
casting about for a colored leader, Booker T. Wash- 
ington seemed the man who could build up a mili- 
tant organization. His character and ability gave 
him a standing conceded to no other negro in this 
country. It was quietly suggested that if Dr. 
Washington could be persuaded to go into politics 
he would, because of his executive ability, not only 
be able to reorganize the party in the South, but 
he could free it from the taint of merely living 
on patronage used to deliver delegates in national 
conventions. The friends of Roosevelt began to 
cultivate Professor Washington and won him over 
to their plan, but he insisted that he must not be 
advertised as a political leader. He would continue 
to work as he had in the past for the moral and 
industrial betterment of his people, but he would 
now add to his other work political education and 
try to build up an organization with character 
and urge the negroes to be governed by political 
principles rather than to be delivered to political 
hucksters by Federal officeholders. They had gone 
far enough in this plan to project a visit of the 
Vice-President to the Southern States, under the 
direction of Professor Washington. Friends of 



ROOSEVELT 205 

Colonel Roosevelt in New York arranged with Pro- 
fessor Washington to invite the Vice-President to 
visit Tuskegee, Alabama, in the fall of 1901, for 
the ostensible purpose of making an address to the 
students of the Tuskegee Institute* They also 
planned Roosevelt should visit the old Bulloch 
home in Georgia where his mother was born, and 
where he could meet prominent Republicans. 

Few men in public life, in "Washington or else- 
where, know of the project. The assassination of 
President McKinley made Roosevelt President, and 
the trip to the South, so quietly planned, was as 
quietly abandoned. 

It was therefore at Philadelphia in 1900 that the 
story of the nomination of Roosevelt at Chicago 
in 1904 began. Roosevelt had not been in the 
White House a year before it was recognized that 
he would be renominated without opposition. All 
the talk about his being unsafe passed in a few 
months and the party, conservative as well as rad- 
ical, was united in his support. There was a spas- 
modic outburst in the House one day over the pos- 
sibility of the Speaker's becoming a candidate, but 
the Illinois Republicans had already, with the 
Speaker's approval, indorsed Roosevelt's candi- 
dacy. Mr. Roosevelt requested that I should be 
named the permanent chairman of the convention, 
and he selected his Secretary of War, Elihu Root, 



206 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

for temporary chairman. Everything was care- 
fully worked out in advance. Mr. Roosevelt was 
the leader of the party I don't think it would be 
exaggeration to say that he was the party's dictator 
and he had the support and cooperation of every 
other leader Hale and Frye, of Maine; Platt, 
of Connecticut; Aldrich^ of Rhode Island; Gallin- 
ger and Chandler, of New Hampshire; Proctor, of 
Vermont; Platt, of New York; Penrose and Quay, 
of Pennsylvania; Foraker, of Ohio; every man who 
commanded political influence was behind him* 
He was as completely the undisputed leader of a 
united party as any President who ever held the 
reins of government. There was no friction or 
contest in the convention of any kind, except a dis- 
pute over the number of delegates that should be 
allowed to Hawaii in the next convention. 

A few days after the convention a celebration 
in honor of the semicentennial of the Republican 
party was held under the oaks at Jackson, Michi- 
gan, the party's birthday. I lacked a few months 
of my majority in 1856 and could not vote for 
Fremont, the first candidate of the party, but I 
have voted for every candidate since, beginning 
with Lincoln. John Hay delivered the principal 
speech and told how it had steadily adhered to its 
fixed principles. That is why it has held the con- 



ROOSEVELT 207 

fidence. It has not wavered. Men change, but 
principles are eternal. 

Soon after Roosevelt's election In 1904, It was 
widely published that owing to my Influence the 
President had taken out of his message a recom- 
mendation for tariff revision. The President, It 
was said, had decided to make the recommenda- 
tion, the Cabinet agreed with him, and It was In 
the message when given to the Press Associations 
In advance of the assembling of Congress, but had 
been eliminated before the day of release because 
of the Speaker's persuasion. For this story there Is 
this basis of truth. 

On the last day of November, President Roose- 
velt wrote me a long letter relative to the future 
policy of the party, and embodied a tentative sug- 
gestion In reference to the tariff. He did not say 
that this was a paragraph from his forthcoming 
message, although It was In quotation marks* He 
said he thought of making such a recommendation 
to Congress and Invited my opinion. I received 
the letter at Danville just before leaving for Wash- 
ington* I called on the President soon after my 
arrival and we had a very frank conversation* I 
agreed with him in some of his suggestions but I 
advised against opening a tariff discussion In De- 
cember which could not be concluded until next 
summer, especially when the President admitted 



208 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

that the business o the country was most satisfac- 
tory* 1 did not know what effect our conversa- 
tion had. I did not know that his quotation sent 
to me had in fact been embodied in the message. 
I do not know now. All I know is that there was 
no tariff recommendation in the message when it 
came to Congress. 

Roosevelt began his administration with an in- 
vestigation of the trusts and the prosecution of 
the Northern Securities Company, which resulted 
in the passage of the Anti-Trust law and the crea- 
tion of the Department of Commerce and Labor* 
That was a beginning to cause a good deal of ap- 
prehension among conservative business men, who 
feared all the things that had been said of Roose- 
velt's impetuosity and love of novelty were true, 
and that there was hard sledding ahead for busi- 
ness. The only consolation they could find was 
that Knox was Attorney General, and they hoped 
he would be able to keep the President within 
limits. With the first year of his administration 
the uneasiness was relieved. Roosevelt, business 
found, had a bark that was considerably worse 
than his bite, although often his bark was annoy- 
ing enough, 

Roosevelt's mind was ever active, and there were 
times when he was more ready to listen to agi- 
tators and theorists with wild schemes than to take 



ROOSEVELT 209 

sober counsel of men of practical experience who 
preferred to let well enough alone rather than go 
tilting at windmills or chasing rainbows. I have 
already said that after Mr* McKinley's death Roose- 
velt was full of tariff revision. Now economics 
was a subject of which he knew nothing. I say this 
without in any way disparaging him. He fre- 
quently admitted it. Economics, figures, statistics, 
schedules, a balance-sheet all those things meant 
nothing to him. They made no appeal to him 
they seemed to him dull sordid things. A curious 
thing considering that Roosevelt was a man of 
powerful imagination* and to a man of vivid fancy 
one would think the romance of business, which 
has been the inspiration behind all our marvellous 
achievements, would stir his pulses. He was stirred 
when he recalled the pioneer battling the elements 
and the Indian* he glowed with pride at the recol- 
lection of the heroes who step by step pushed for- 
ward the outposts of civilization over mountain 
and plain and who could rely only on their own 
courage and resource to ward off death and suffer- 
ing. 

To Mr. Roosevelt, I think, the pioneer, the 
hunter, the trapper, the soldier, were heroic fig- 
ures, almost heroes of mythology, while the busi- 
ness man he pictured safe and secure from attack 
who thought only of his profits and was indiffer- 



210 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

ent to the onward sweep of civilization. I think. If 
the truth be known, Mr. Roosevelt rather despised 
trade and failed to understand that without com- 
merce there could have been no civilization. And 
yet the pioneer and the little shopkeeper of the 
pioneer days, and after him the small merchant who 
was succeeded by the captain of industry, were in 
no respect different, except that the merchant took 
greater risks. The pioneer broke into new ground 
not because he was an apostle of civilization but to 
benefit himself. He went from the South to the 
then unbroken lands of the West, as my parents 
did, because he saw opportunity; under the heat of 
the sun and through deep snows he climbed the 
mountains facing unknown peril because there 
called him the promised land where life was to be 
better and richer. It was profit, always profit, 
that allured him. So it was with the man of busi- 
ness* The hardships of the pioneers were his, heat 
and cold, privation and the Indian, there was no 
distinction, and while the settler brought with him 
only his meagre stock of household goods and his 
strong right arm and his courage, the merchant in 
addition had put his money in his stock to be sold 
for the comfort of the community, and what his 
right arm lacked in strength he made up in shrewd- 
ness and intelligence of a different order. The 
storekeeper, let it be admitted, was frequently cun- 



ROOSEVELT 211 

nlng and took advantage of the misfortunes of his 
neighbors, but without him they would have had 
a harder time. The men who bridged the rivers 
and built the railroads were not the only pioneers. 
Roosevelt's first suggestion for tariff legislation 
came, strange to say, from the very men who, as a 
class, have always been opposed to '"tariff tinker- 
ing/ 5 A group of manufacturers of agricultural 
implements in the "West thought they saw a large 
field abroad if they could secure cheaper steel, and 
they began an agitation for tariff revision* Their 
arguments had been presented to me, but I was 
not impressed. I have never believed the tariff 
should be framed in the interest of a class or a 
group, but should be for the benefit of all, of 
manufacturers and workingmen alike. The coun- 
try at that time was prosperous, manufacturers 
were satisfied with their profits and workingmen 
with their wages, and it did not seem to me either 
good business or sound politics to dislocate business 
and bring about hesitation and uncertainty by a 
tariff revision. We know from long experience 
that no matter how great an improvement the new 
tariff may be, it almost always results in the party 
in power losing the following election. A man 
may do the brilliant thing in politics and personally 
get a lot of fun out of it, but for the sake of his 
party he had better do the safe thing. 



212 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

One clay about the middle of February, 
Mr* Roosevelt invited me to the White House. I 
did not know what he wanted* but I went to the 
White House was shown into the Cabinet 

room. Sitting about the table were Senators Al- 
drich, of Rhode Island; Allison, of Iowa; Hale, of 
Maine; and Platt, of Connecticut; Cullom, of 
Illinois; Penrose, of Pennsylvania; and Representa- 
tives Payne* of New York; Dalzell, of Pennsyl- 
vania; Grosvenor ? of Ohio; Tawney, of Minne- 
sota* and Dolliver, of Iowa. The President came 
in as buoyant as always, and seemingly with noth- 
ing more important on his mind than a game of 
tennis. He explained briefly that a good many 
people had urged him to say something in his inau- 
gural address about the tariff, and his own. inclina- 
tion was to indicate he would recommend to Con- 
gress that it should take up the question of re- 
vision when it met in the following December. 
He asked us to give him the benefit of our views, 
and turned to Senator Aldrich to start the dis- 
cussion. Aldrich, I knew, had made his arrange- 
ments to go abroad almost immediately after the 
adjournment of Congress and spend several months 
investigating European currency systems, there- 
fore, I was surprised when he briefly commended 
what the President had suggested. I knew, or at 
least I thought I did, that he was opposed to any 




From The New York Herald 
AND THE ELEPHANT MINDS, JUST AS HE USED TO 




From The A r i York Herald 

CANNON GOING INTO ACTION 



t. 




From The New York Herald 
PREPARED FOR THE WORST 



ROOSEVELT 213 

revision at that time, but whether he did want 
to lead the opposition to the President thought 
It was politic to wait for a more favorable oppor- 
tunity I am unable to say. Allison and Hale gave 
a qualified and I thought not over-enthusiastic 
endorsement of the suggestion and so did Payne, 
Tawney and Grosvenor, but Platt was vigorous 
In his opposition. The President then asked for 
my opinion and I said Platt had expressed It. Mr. 
Roosevelt had been sitting on the table* swinging 
his legs, listening, asking a short question now 
and then, but for him remarkably quiet. "When I 
finished he got up, and with a grin said: te lt is evi- 
dently the consensus of opinion that the tariff 
should not be revised until after the next presi- 
dential election. 5 * 

That was the end of the tariff conference. As 
we drove away from the White House we were 
amused, and laughed at the way the President an- 
nounced his decision "the consensus of opinion 55 
two, Platt and I being heavily outnumbered by 
the others. Perhaps Platt and I may have influ- 
enced Roosevelt to some extent, but my belief Is 
that he saw tariff revision would provoke a long 
and acrimonious debate and interfere with other 
legislation in which he was much more interested, 
and the wisest course was to drop the tariff, with 
all Its dangers, and take up other subjects more 



214 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

popular and attended with fewer risks. At any 
rate, that was the last of tariff so far as Roosevelt 
was concerned* and during the rest of his Admin- 
istration neither in private nor in public did he 
ever again refer to revision. That was Roosevelt's 
way. 

Talking of the tariff reminds me that in recent 
years the newspapers have given me credit for hav- 
ing originated the term cc standpat" as applied to 
national politics, and although I have often denied 
it they still insist I am the author. The first time, 
I believe the expression was used in its present day 
political meaning was in Senator Hanna's last 
speech in the Ohio campaign of 1903, when he 
urged the Republicans of Ohio to "stand by the 
National Administration and compare the condi- 
tions of your firesides today with those which ex- 
isted eight years ago and make up your minds, 
and when you have made a decision stand pat/* 
I am supposed to be the original standpatter (a 
most useful and admirably descriptive word, by 
the by), but that honor belongs to Senator Hanna. 

One of the greatest foreigners I have known 
was James Bryce. When he was Ambassador in 
Washington he used to call on me two or three 
times in the course of a session at the Capitol We 
would talk about politics, American history and 
the early life of the West, which greatly inter- 



ROOSEVELT 21S 

ested him. One day when we were chatting about 
politics and politicians our conversation turned on 
President Roosevelt, for whom the Ambassador had 
much admiration but whom he frankly confessed 
he did not quite understand. I told him a story 
about the President to make a certain point clear. 
With a chuckle Mr. Bryce related the story attrib- 
uted to John Morley, the distinguished English 
statesman and historian, after his return to Lon- 
don from America. It was a dinner party and a 
lively young woman said: "Mr. Morley, you have 
seen this wonderful man in Washington about 
whom all the world is talking. Now what do you 
think about him?" 

Rather ponderously Mr. Morley began: ct You 
may take every adjective on every page of the Ox- 
ford Dictionary, good, bad and indifferent, and 
you will find someone to apply " cc That*s too 
complicated; can't you tell us in half a dozen 
words?" the young woman cut in impatiently. 
"In half a dozen words," Morley repeated. "Half 
St. Paul, half St. Vitus." 



CHAPTER XI 
SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 

AFTER 1 became Speaker of the House, my con- 
ferences with President Roosevelt were frequent, 
two or three times a week when Congress was In 
session* and sometimes daily. The President would 
write a note asking me to stop on my way to the 
capitol, or his secretary would telephone a similar 
message to my house. My calls were so frequent 
they excited comment and may have created the 
belief in the "influence" I exercised over the Presi- 
dent; but almost invariably I called at his request 
and did not seek an appointment. There were re- 
ports in the newspapers of friction between us, 
which Roosevelt took notice of on one occasion by 
writing me: "I care not a rap about the reports of 
clashes and the predictions of clashes between you 
and me. We can handle that matter ourselves. 
Come up some evening for a long talk, Tuesday or 
Wednesday or Thursday evening about 9:30, if 
you can, so that we shall be free from interrup- 
tion, and let me know when to expect you." 

Usually, we found It more convenient to meet 
in the evening, especially when we wanted to be 
undisturbed, and it was then, sitting about the fire 

216 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 217 

in Ms study, we talked things over until midnight 
or later. "We did not always talk shop. Neither 
of us had lived lives without Incident, and some- 
times when 1 went to the White House at his re- 
quest he began with a story about the West, or 
he would recall some experience and say I must 
have known something similar in the early days 
In Indiana, for he knew the history of the West 
better than any historian I ever met* Sometimes 
he had a real problem of Government policy which 
he wanted to discuss and we would talk for sev- 
eral hours. At times I had the Impression that 
Roosevelt was using me as a means of either meet- 
Ing opposition to one of his theories by arguing 
the question, and at other times of clarifying his 
own views by threshing out the subject from every 
point of view* 

It would be tiresome to try to tell of aE the 
things that came up and were discussed In those 
seven years of the Roosevelt administration* There 
were many new advances made in legislation and 
administration. As I have said, we did not always 
agree; In fact, we more often disagreed, but seldom 
In principle and usually as to practical methods. 
Roosevelt had the outlook of the Executive and 
the ambition to do things; I had the more confined 
outlook of the legislator who had to consider ways 
of meeting the expenditures of new departures 



218 UNCLE JOE CANNON . 

and expansions in Government. These talks were 
seldom official. They were more the presentation 
of two schools of government by two men who 
recognized there were two sides to every qitjiion 
and who had opposing theories* 

His office was like a magnet to draw to it every 
one who had new theories of Federal power. He 
would listen to any marfwha had an original idea, 
though iij telling me of some of these experiences 
he would laugh over the way he had wasted time 
in permittftig the latest genius to present something 
entirely new, so new, in fact, that he had read 
about it when a boy in school and long since for- 
gotten. But many of these suggestions appealed 
to him and he wanted to talk them over with some- 
body he knew would oppose them, and while I 
would try to show the impracticability, if not the 
danger, of these propositions he would defend them 
whether convinced or not. I did not always know 
when he was in earnest and when arguing for the 
sake of argument. 

In these conferences our differences were on 
principle and never personal. We had our own 
responsibilities and defended them. He recognized 
the Speaker as representing the majority of the 
House. The President could not confer with 
all the members and he looked upon the Speaker 
as their spokesman representing the organization 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 219 

of the House; and at that time the Speaker could 
with assume to speak for the organiza- 

tion. The Chairmen of Committees conferred 
Speaker as to legislation before their Com- 
mittees, and the Speaker's room became a clearing 
house where the views of the majority were freely 
discussed,, and the Speaker could intelligently pre- 
sent the majority opinion* to the President. It was 
a workable plan and Roosevelt, whatever he may 
have permitted the Insurgents to think, conferred 
with the Speaker, on all proposed legislation 
throughout his administration. I think Mr. Roose- 
velt talked over with me virtually every serious 
recommendation to Congress before he made it, 
and he requested me to sound out the leaders in 
the House, for he did not want to recommend leg- 
islation simply to write messages* He wanted re- 
sults and he wanted to know how to secure re- 
sults with the least friction. He was a good sports- 
man and accepted what he could get so long as the 
legislation conformed even in part to his recom- 
mendations. 

It was at times difficult to deal with Mr. Roose- 
velt because he did annoying things. I recall two 
incidents that were decidedly embarrassing. Mr. 
Roosevelt was the author of the law creating a 
Bureau of Corporations and he used the law to 
withhold from the public the report on the absorp- 



220 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

tion of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company by 
the United States Steel Corporation* On January 
2$, 19G2, the Senate passed the bill introduced by 
Senator Kaute Nelson of Minnesota, creating the 
Department of Commerce and Labor* The House 
amended the bill and passed it on January 17, 1903. 
One of the House amendments created a Bureau of 
Corporations which was required, under the direc- 
tion, of the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, to 
compile* publish and supply useful information 
concerning corporations doing an interstate busi- 
ness. This amendment did not satisfy Mr* Roose- 
velt. He sent for Senator Nelson and suggested 
a change, and showed him the substitute he pro- 
posed. This gave the Commissioner of Corpora- 
tions, under the direction and control of the Secre- 
tary of Commerce and Labor, the authority to in- 
vestigate any corporation engaged in interstate 
commerce and to gather information and data to 
enable the President to make recommendations to 
Congress for legislation for the regulation of cor- 
porations engaged in interstate commerce. The in- 
formation thus obtained, or as much of it as the 
President might direct, should be made public. 
This amendment gave the President discretionary 
power as to what part of the report of the Commis- 
sioner of Corporations should be made public. 
Senator Nelson did not like that part of the amend- 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 221 

ment, but he agreed to submit It to the conferees, 
who were Senators Hanna, Nelson, and Clay, and 

Representatives Hepburn, Mann, and Richardson,, 
of Iowa. 

"While the conferees were considering this 
amendment, President Roosevelt summoned two 
newspaper correspondents to the "White House and 
told them that the Standard Oil Company was 
trying to defeat the amendment because it was 
regarded as a weapon against the trusts. He held 
in his hand a number of telegrams which he told 
the correspondents were exact copies of telegrams 
sent by John D. Rockefeller to Senators Allison, 
Aldrich, Hale, Spooner, Kean, Platt, of Connecti- 
cut; Depew, Lodge, Elkins and Nelson. The tele- 
gram read as follows: 



are opposed to any antitrust legislation. Our 
counsel will see you. It must be stopped. 

"Signed, JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER/* 

President Roosevelt assured the correspondents 
he had seen the telegrams and he felt justified in 
giving this information to the public, but the Presi- 
dent was not to be quoted as making any statement. 
The correspondents must assume full responsibility 
for whatever they wrote, but, he reiterated, he had 
seen the telegrams. It was then late in the evening 
and the correspondents wrote dispatches based on 



222 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the information given them by the President of the 
United States. They communicated their source 
of information to their editors in private. The 
story that John D. Rockefeller had personally en- 
tered the fight against the so-called Nelson substi- 
tute, prepared by President Roosevelt 3 created a 
sensation and the next day telegrams began to pour 
in on members of the Senate and House. These 
had their effect. The conferees agreed to the Nel- 
son substitute and both Senate and House adopted 
the conference report. 

After the bill was passed and had been signed 
one of the Senators named as having received a tele- 
gram from Rockefeller sent for the correspondent 
who wrote the story and told him Mr. Rockefeller 
had sent no telegrams, or at least none from him had 
been received by the Senators named. As for him- 
self, he had never met Mr. Rockefeller or received 
from him any telegram or letter on any subject 
whatever. The correspondent made a careful in- 
vestigation and received categorical denials from all 
the other Senators. They knew who was respon- 
sible for the story, but they had not made public 
denial because it would reflect on the President. 
They were ready to submit their files and allow the 
correspondent access to the telegraph company's 
records for any message sent to them from Mr. 
Rockefeller, This investigation demonstrated that 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 223 

the Rockefeller telegrams originated in the brain 
of the President. This Mr. Roosevelt later quite 
frankly admitted. In a letter to Senator Clapp, of 
Minnesota, sometime afterwards* he wrote that 
the newspapers at the time of the passage of the 
Bureau of Corporations bill in February, 19 03, 
contained full accounts of the publications of the 
telegrams from Standard Oil people protesting 
against the bill Of course at that time he had 
rather heated arguments with a number of up- 
holders of the Standard Oil people in the matter, 
but he had forgotten the details of them. All he 
knew he said, was that he got through the bill and 
it was largely the publication he gave to these tele- 
grams that enabled him to get it through. 

An episode no less sensational occurred in Feb- 
ruary, 1906. President Roosevelt was an earnest 
and enthusiastic advocate of the Navy, and he lost 
no opportunity to impress the importance of this 
subject upon Congress. Early in my administra- 
tion as Speaker, with other Republicans in Con- 
gress, I had a conference with the President as to 
the needs of the Navy. He thought there ought 
to be large increases, but we were so rapidly increas- 
ing the appropriations for the Navy and the Army 
it seemed to some of us desirable that a policy 
should be defined so that Congress might be able 
to determine the total appropriations, keep these 



224 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

within the revenues, and be fair to all departments 
of the Government. The President agreed with us 
and the* policy was to authorize two battleships and 
the necessary complement of other ships and tor- 
pedo boats to keep the Navy at a stage of high 
efficiency. This policy was followed until the 
trouble with the Japanese in California. Then the 
President became uneasy and wanted not only more 
battleships and torpedo boats, but also large ex- 
penditures at Pearl Harbor in the Sandwich Islands 
for fortifications, etc. 

In February, 1908, while the Naval Committee 
of the House was considering the naval appropria- 
tion bill, I received a long letter from the Presi- 
dent, marked "personal and confidential/* Not 
only was it so marked^ but the first sentence was: 
"From the very nature of this communication it 
must be treated as confidential, but you may show 
it to the Chairmen of the Committees on Appro- 
priations, Naval Affairs, Military Affairs and such 
other Republican leaders as you think advisable/* 
I read the letter and then sent for Mr. Tawney, 
Mr. Foss and Mr. Hale, the Chairmen of those three 
Committees, and submitted it to them. It gave an 
indefinite presentation of possible trouble with the 
Japanese and urged increased appropriations for the 
defenses of the Pacific Coast and at Pearl Harbor, 
and a larger authorization for the Navy. The 




From Harpefs Weekly 



; *WHO IS STEERING, ANYWAY?" 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 225 

letter did not impress me as presenting a very alarm- 
ing condition, nor did it seem to impress the others* 
We talked it over at length agreed that the 
President had said too much to assure us of peace^ 
and not enough to indicate trouble. "We thought 
in a matter of this kind where there was to be 
such confidence* he ought to give more details that 
would make the situation clear. We ought to 
know the whole truth, not a part of it, if there was 
a situation pointing to war. I called on the Presi- 
dent a few days later and told him 1 thought he 
had said too much for my peace of mind and too 
little to make clear an emergency calling for war 
preparations. After I returned to the Capitol the 
President sent me another letter, also marked con- 
fidential, in which he said he could not, for diplo- 
matic reasons, reveal the situation as it appealed to 
him. The result was the Committee did not re- 
port an increase. The bill authorized two battle- 
ships, and when it was taken up in the House, about 
the middle of April, the majority of the Democrats 
and some Republicans tried to cut the authoriza- 
tion to one battleship* while Representative Hob- 
son, of Alabama, and some others advocated four 
battleships. 

Captain Hobson had always tried to secure larger 
appropriations than the Committee reported. He 
was earnest in his appeal for a greater Navy and he 



226 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

was busy on the floor as well as in debate. He 
showed to several Democrats a copy of the letter 
from the President to the Speaker. Among these 
was Representative Shirley, of Kentucky, a mem- 
ber of the Committee on Appropriations, who 
knew of the confidential letter I had received and 
shown to the Chairman of that Committee. Mr. 
Shirley asked Mr, Hobson to show the letter to Mr. 
Tawney, and the three men came to the Speaker's 
Room and asked to see the original They com- 
pared the two and found them identical except for 
the introductory sentence, which was omitted from 
the copy. Mr. Hobson was embarrassed, but he 
frankly apologized to the Speaker for the use he 
made of the letter and said he had been tricked. 
I don't know how he came by a copy of a con- 
fidential letter addressed to the Speaker, and I did 
not ask him. I felt he had been imposed upon, and 
I dropped the matter. The Committee bill passed 
and the two battleships were authorized. The let- 
ter is still held in confidence, but since a copy of 
it was used on the floor of the House by a man who 
had never seen the original, it may not be a breach 
of confidence to tell this story. 

I early learned that long speeches by the Member 
in charge of an appropriation bill do not help it 
along* A fair explanation of the items is the wise 
policy. "When I was Chairman of the Appropria- 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 227 

lions Committee I made it a rule to give a full and 
fair explanation of the bill and then watch the 
House, to determine what effect the opposition was 
having^ for there is always opposition from the 
minority* who regard it as a sacred duty to criticize 
the majority, I had an interesting experience in 
the Fifty-seventh Congress. The "White House 
needed some repairs and President Roosevelt's 
family required more room. It was proposed to re- 
move the executive offices from the President's resi- 
dence and build an office just west of the "White 
House so as to have it near the President and at 
the same time entirely separate the business and the 
domestic establishments. Congress authorized the 
repairs and also the construction of an Executive 
Office. It was the general impression that the whole 
business would cost in the neighborhood of fifty 
thousand dollars, but Mr. Roosevelt placed the 
work in the hands of a New York firm of archi- 
tects who prepared plans which practically 
amounted to reconstructing the interior of the 
White House and adding two extensions. It was 
a more ambitious scheme than I had led the House 
to anticipate when the authorization was made, 
but the President approved the plans and the work 
was proceeded with at a cost of six hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars. When I reported a defi- 
ciency bill with this six hundred and fifty thousand 



228 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

dollars 1 started a debate* 1 explained 

the bill as fairly and clearly as 1 could, knowing 
there would be much opposition. I sat down wait- 
ing an opportunity to ask for a vote, As the debate 
increased in personal abuse* John "Wesley Gaines, of 
Tennessee, sprung a new line of attack by calling 
attention to the sale, at auction, of the sideboard 
presented to Mrs. Hayes by the W. C T. U. as a 
testimonial of her prohibition of liquor at the 
White House table. Mr. Gaines gave the history 
of the sideboard, and then, in a dramatic manner, 
such as Gaines was master of, he demanded that I 
explain why the sideboard of the W. C. T. U. now 
rested in an Avenue saloon for the service of 
whiskey. The House was in an uproar and some 
of the Republicans who did not like Roosevelt, 
and were afraid of the temperance vote, were get- 
ting restive. The situation seemed to call for a 
diversion, and I, rising to reply to Gaines, tried to 
assume the same dramatic attitude as my interroga- 
tor and said very solemnly: tc Mr. Chairman: We 
are told that good Abigail Adams was wont to 
hang the White House wash in the East Room to 
dry* Great God. What has become of that clothes 
line?" 

The House broke into a roar of laughter and as 
it began to subside, I demanded a vote. The item 
was passed without division* That one minute bit 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 229 

of buffoonery you could not dignify it with the 
name of speech- created the diversion to get away 
from debate that had no place In considering an 
appropriation bill. It saved time and embarrass- 
ment to many Members who would have felt com- 
pelled to vote against the Item If the debate had 
continued along the line of Mr. Games* criticism* 
A laugh turned the tide and passed the bill. It 
was not wit or humor. It was only a diversion 
to save a bill from serious discussion of a question 
that had as much place in the House as would a 
discussion of the Pope's Bull against the comet. 

Speaking of Mrs. Hayes* W. C. T. U. sideboard 
reminds me that shortly after Mr. Hayes came Into 
the White House, Secretary of State Evarts* who 
was a delightful host, diplomatically hinted tod&e 
President that at the State Dinner to the diplo- 
matic corps wine ought to be served, and the Presi- 
dent laughingly told him Mrs. Hayes had control 
of the domestic establishment, and he must exercise 
his diplomacy upon her. But Mrs. Hayes 5 temper- 
ance principles were too rigid to allow her to make 
any discriminations, and it became the custom for 
men invited to a White House dinner to fortify 
themselves for the ordeal somewhat as they do in 
these Volstead days and take a cocktail just before 
going to the White House. Later the confectioner 
who supplied the ices for the President's table dis- 



230 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

covered that he could concoct an ice in an orange 
rind with a very good mm center, and orange Ice 
soon became a favorite. I don't know whether 
Mrs. Hayes had any knowledge of the real con- 
struction of these Ices but she had a sense of humor 
and 1 doubt if the discovery would have much dis- 
turbed her. She was an old-fashioned wife and 
mother and disciplined her children in an old-fash- 
ioned way, for I have heard her sons long afterward 
boast that they had been spanked In the White 
House. That Is a distinction not many people may 
claim. 

In the last year of his administration President 
Roosevelt became involved In a quarrel with the 
House of Representatives, and In my judgment he 
was to blame. The Committee on Appropriations, 
In 1908, amended the Sundry Civil Appropriation 
bill to limit the activity of the Secret Service. 
That service had like Topsy <c just growed" and 
for years some of Its operations had been without 
warrant of law* This had become so serious that 
the Chief of the Secret Service admitted to the 
Committee he was compelled to commit perjury 
every time he signed the payroll for his operatives. 
The law had always restricted the work of the 
Secret Service to the detection of counterfeiting. 
There was no authority for the protection of the 
President, but after the assassination of President 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 231 

McKinley that was unofficially done, and event- 
ually the law was changed to include It among the 
official duties of the Secret Service. The Chief of 
the Service asked to have removed all limitations 
on the appropriation of one hundred and twenty- 
five thousand dollars so that the money might be 
used in any way he and the Secretary of the Treas- 
ury considered for the best interests of the Gov- 
ernment* The Committee on Appropriations de- 
clined to remove the limitation. 

I knew nothing about the matter until I re- 
ceived a personal letter from the President in which 
he said: c *Of course, the provision about the em- 
ployment of the Secret Service men will work very 
great damage to the Government in its endeavor 
to prevent and punish crime. There is no more 
foolish outcry than this against spies; only crimi- 
nals need fear our detectives." I did not then fully 
understand to what the President referred until it 
was explained to me by Mr. Tawney, Chairman 
of the Committee. 

I was not consulted about President Roosevelt's 
last annual Message, nor was it submitted to me in 
advance of publication, as had been all of the 
former Messages of Mr. Roosevelt. I was as much 
surprised as any one when it was found that this 
Message contained an assault upon Congress, and 
especially upon the House of Representatives, be- 



232 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

cause of the amendment limiting the activities of 
the Secret Service. The President's Message as it 
was read from the desk created a sensation, All the 
recommendations made in the Message were for- 
gotten In the indignation produced by the criticism 
of the legislative department of the Government. 
It caused a storm on both sides of the Chamber, 
and members were ready and eager at once to pass 
a vote of censure and return the Message to the 
President with the announcement that the House 
of Representatives would not receive a message of 
that character from the President. 

I have always thought that President Roosevelt 
was led into this serious error of judgment by list- 
ening to talebearers instead of continuing his policy 
of discussing legislative matters at first hand with 
those who had charge of legislation. Had he ad- 
hered to that policy he would not have had any 
friction with the House. The Chief of the Secret 
Service was not in my judgment a safe or reliable 
source of knowledge as to the motives that gov- 
erned members of Congress. The agents of the 
Secret Service constructed for the edification of 
the President a fantastic story. They represented 
to him that the House was under the influence of 
the Speaker, who in turn was influenced by an 
article written by his Secretary before he became 
Secretary to the Speaker. It was as ridiculous as 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 233 

taking seriously the opinions of the village gossip. 
But this affair illustrated better than anything that 
occurred during the Roosevelt Administration the 
danger of having the President surrounded by men 
attempting to poison his mind against those who 
represent a coordinate department of the Govern- 
ment. I hope we shall never have another such 
incident in this Government, for as I read history 
it was by such methods that some of the greatest 
mistakes were made by able and popular rulers in 
the past which led to demoralization, conflict, and 
their downfall. 

"When the reading of the President's message was 
concluded I called to the desk leaders on both sides 
of the Chamber, counselled moderation and sug- 
gested that the House could not afford to be pre- 
cipitate or do an offensive thing because it be- 
lieved that the President had been offensive and 
advised adjournment without taking any action. 
In further conference in the Speaker's Room it 
was decided a special committee should be ap- 
pointed to consider the action to be taken. It was 
also agreed that no member of the Committee on 
Appropriations to whom the President had made 
personal reference, or any other member who had 
cause for personal feeling, should have anything 
to do with the decision. 

Two days after the message had been received 



234 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

Representative James Breck Perkins, of New York, 
rose to a question of privilege and offered a resolu- 
tion calling attention to the offensive language 
used by the President and providing for a special 
committee to report to the House. Mr. Perkins 
was one of the President's warm personal friends, 
from his own state, and had always been identified 
with his supporters in New York. He was Chair- 
man of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a scholar 
and an author, and one of the most even-tempered 
men in the House. No better man could have been 
selected for such a delicate duty. The resolution 
was adopted unanimously. I at once appointed as 
the members of the committee, Mr. Perkins, as 
Chairman, Mr. Denby, of Michigan, Mr. "Weeks, 
of Massachusetts, Republicans; and Mr. Williams, 
of Mississippi, and Mr. Lloyd, of Missouri, Demo- 
crats. The three Republican members were all 
warm personal friends of President Roosevelt and 
none of them had ever had any differences with 
him over legislation or patronage. Mr. Williams 
was the minority leader of the House and Mr. 
Lloyd was the Chairman of the Democratic caucus. 
Mr. Perkins secured a unanimous report from 
his committee which was presented to the House 
in less than a week. The report requested the 
President to furnish the House with any informa- 
tion in his possession which would justify the Ian- 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 235 

guage used in his Message. The resolution was 
agreed to without division. President Roosevelt 
still had it in his power to make peace with the 
House. But he declined to do so. He was stub- 
born. While quick to demand an apology from 
others, it was his weakness never to be able to admit 
a wrong or retract a false accusation. I had no 
conferences with the President over the matter 
until after the adoption of the resolution, and I 
had no knowledge that the President desired to 
confer with me until after the opening of the 
House on December 17, when the Committee made 
its report. Just at 12 o'clock on that day, after I 
had taken the Chair and called the House to order, 
the President's Secretary called up the Speaker's 
Room by telephone and delivered a message from 
the President to the Speaker. The message was a 
peremptory command for the Speaker to come to 
the "White House for a consultation with the Presi- 
dent. It was to be at once. My Secretary who re- 
ceived this telephone message explained to the 
President's Secretary that the Speaker had taken 
the Chair, the House had been called to order, and 
the Special Committee was ready to report. The 
President's Secretary replied that his message should 
be delivered to the Speaker notwithstanding he was 
in the Chair, and to give him the further message 
that the President desired to see him before the re- 



236 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

port of the Special Committee was taken up in the 
House. 

"When the Secretary to the. Speaker brought the 
message to the Chair, Mr. Perkins was on his feet 
demanding recognition to present his report. That 
report was of the highest privilege. I held the gavel 
in the air for a moment as my Secretary delivered 
the President's telephone message* which was prob- 
ably the only one of its kind ever sent by a Presi- 
dent to the Speaker of the House. I was indignant, 
but the business in hand saved me from making 
any comment. I simply brought down the gavel 
and recognized Mr. Perkins. Then I told my 
Secretary to telephone the President's Secretary 
just what had occurred and to say that the Speaker 
would be pleased to call upon the President as soon 
as the report of the Committee was disposed of. 

It may have been that the President's Secretary 
was more peremptory in telephoning his message 
than the President intended, but it would not have 
made any difference had the message been more 
polite. The President knew or should have known 
that the report was to be presented that morning. 
He knew that he could have seen the Speaker at 
any time in the week that had intervened or at an 
hour of that particular morning before 12 o'clock, 
but for some reason he had his Secretary call the 
Speaker's Room by telephone just at the hour when 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 237 

he knew the Speaker must, under the Constitution, 
take the Chair. It looked like a test between re- 
spect for the President and duty. The Speaker had 
no hesitancy in making a choice* 

After the adoption of the report of the Special 
Committee, I went to the White House. The 
President was in an ugly mood and we came nearer 
a personal quarrel than at any other time of our 
acquaintance. He was wroth with the House and 
he intimated that I was responsible for the whole 
trouble. He declared that he would send a Mes- 
sage to the House that would give the Members 
very little satisfaction, and he rather satirically ex- 
pressed regret that in his Message he would be com- 
pelled to present evidence that would implicate 
men very close to the Speaker, in fact the Speaker's 
own Secretary. In language more forcible than 
polite, I told the President that I had not the slight- 
est desire to interfere with his Constitutional pre- 
rogative to send any kind of a Message which he 
desired, but that the House would take care of its 
dignity and reputation in its own way. I added 
if he thought the Speaker could be intimidated by 
the threat to implicate his friends and his own 
Secretary in any manner whatever or however em- 
barrassing the publicity might be, he had yet really 
to get acquainted with the Speaker of the House. 
The Speaker's Secretary would have to take care 



238 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

of himself; the Speaker would perform his duty 
to the House without regard to either the President 
of the United States or the Secretary to the 
Speaker. 

I had no idea what the President meant by this 
veiled threat of implicating my Secretary*, and I 
did not wait to inquire. I was indignant that the 
President of the United States should for a mo- 
ment think so little of me as to believe that I could 
be influenced in my official duty as Speaker of the 
House by threat of coercion. When I returned to 
the Capitol I called my Secretary into the private 
office and told him what the President had said. 
He was not surprised as he had received intima- 
tions from newspaper friends that he was to be 
given what he called honorable mention in the 
President's Message because of a newspaper article 
he had written while a Washington correspondent 
and before he accepted the position as Secretary to 
the Speaker. This made the President's conversa- 
tion still more puzzling, for I could not believe that 
he had so lost his wits as to try to intimidate the 
House of Representatives because of a newspaper 
story published five years before the Congress was 
elected. 

We did not receive the President's second Mes- 
sage until after the holiday recess, and I hoped that 
the good cheer of the holiday season might pervade 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 239 

the White House to such an extent that he would 
take advantage of the overtures that had been made 
and explain to the House that his language had 
been misunderstood. But that was not Roosevelt's 
way. The Message came in on January 4th, and it 
was more offensive than the one to which the House 
had taken exception. Sure enough there was a 
reference to Mr. Busbey, Secretary to the Speaker, 
and the President intimated that Busbey had in- 
spired the whole fight against the Secret Service. 
The President gave a long extract from a news- 
paper article published in 1903, or five years earlier. 
I had never seen this article before, had never dis- 
cussed the matter with Mr. Busbey, did not know 
that he wrote any criticism of the Secret Service, 
and did not know what his views were* And I did 
not care. 

Mr. Perkins, in his speech, alluding to this sec- 
ond Message, treated the reference to my Secretary 
with delightful sarcasm. In discussing the alleged 
hostility of the House Mr. Perkins said: "What is 
that evidence? Is it found in the records of the 
House? No, Is it found in the reports of speeches 
made upon the floor of this House? No. It is ex- 
humed from the columns of a newspaper published 
years before the members of the Sixtieth Congress 
had even been elected. Your Committee does not 
believe that a statement made in 1903, even by a 



240 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

newspaper reporter, is conclusive evidence of the 
motives which govern the votes of Congressmen 
in 1908." 

The use of that old newspaper article by Presi- 
dent Roosevelt was the weakest political move I 
ever knew him to make. I have always felt that 
the President must have left the preparation of 
that part of his Message to others, for he was too 
good a politician to make a deliberate attack upon 
Congress because of a newspaper article. But the 
President was angry at that time and influenced 
perhaps by men who had no political sense. It was 
remarked by many people that some of President 
Roosevelt's advisers were so deficient in political 
judgment that it was fortunate lie had a weakness 
for doing things himself. 

Some time after his controversy I asked Mr. 
Busbey who had really inspired that article. He 
promptly replied: "Roosevelt." I was astounded 
and asked him to explain. He said: "After the as- 
sassination of President McKinley, President Roose- 
velt was very much out of patience with the Secret 
Service and talked very freely with newspaper 
correspondents about the necessity for reorganiz- 
ing. He said so far as he could learn the principal 
purpose of the Secret Service men in travelling with 
the President was to pose for their pictures as his 
protectors, but when President McKinley was shot 



SOME ROOSEVELT METHODS 241 

down a poor negro had to catch the assassin and 
then be pummelled by the Secret Service man for 
doing it. After President Roosevelt had his own 
accident in Massachusetts and was thrown from his 
carriage by collision with a trolley car, he was again 
very free in his criticism of the Secret Service and 
threatened to abolish that part of its duties which 
assumed to protect the President. Both President 
Roosevelt and Secretary Cortelyou, who was with 
him in the carriage, were satisfied that the Secret 
Service man on the box with the driver had been so 
interested in the crowd that he had failed to see 
the car that collided with their carriage. But since 
this Secret Service man lost his life in the accident 
by falling under the wheels of the car, the President 
said he could not find fault with a dead man. I 
had several conversations with him regarding the 
Secret Service and it was his criticism which in- 
duced me to look into the matter and write the 
article which he attributed to your inspiration/* 
So I was made the vicarious sacrifice for a news- 
paper article written by one of the President's ard- 
ent admirers who had listened to his criticisms of 
the Secret Service and been inspired to write those 
criticisms as his own. Because I appointed that man 
Secretary to the Speaker, the President used this 
old article to throw upon me the responsibility for 
the limitations put upon the Secret Service in an 



242 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

Appropriation Bill It looks like a sort of a double 
cross for the Speaker, but it Is too funny to be taken 
seriously. 

The House promptly referred the President's sec- 
ond Message to the same Committee and three days 
later the Committee recommended that the Message 
be laid upon the table* The House adopted the re- 
port by an almost unanimous vote. For the first 
time since the administration of Andrew Jack- 
son the House of Representatives refused to accept 
a Message from the President. 

It was a matter of keen regret to me that this 
friction should have arisen in the last year of Presi- 
dent Roosevelt's Administration. I had sincere ad- 
miration for the President and, notwithstanding 
the cause for an open breach in our friendly rela- 
tions, I continued to visit the White House and 
made it a point to congratulate him on the election 
of President Taf t, and expressed the opinion that he 
had contributed more than all other influences to 
that happy result. People must not take too seri- 
ously the reports that President Roosevelt and I be- 
came personal enemies and political opponents be- 
cause of that one clash. I hope I am incapable of 
such petty meanness. 



CHAPTER XII 
THE BATTLE OF THE INSURGENTS 

MY first acquaintance with the Committee on 
Rules from the inside began when Speaker Carlisle 
appointed Tom. Reed and me the Republican mem- 
bers. Our only duties were to meet, vote against 
what the Democrats proposed, and oppose it in 
the House. Of course it didn't do us any good, 
because the Democrats had the majority, and in 
politics, as Reed remarked after one of these ses- 
sions, virtue is of less importance than a reliable 
majority. But our Republican colleagues would 
have felt defrauded if we hadn't fought, and the 
Democrats would have been deprived of their en- 
joyment* So we fought, and everyone was happy. 
In the next Congress I was on the majority side of 
the Committee with Reed and McKinley, and had 
to report the Special Rules to the House because 
Reed was in the Chair and McKinley was busy with 
the tariff bill. I had plenty to do on the floor in 
defending the Rules, but not in the Committee. 
The Democratic members would come to the 
Speaker's room and jokingly inquire the purpose 
of the meeting. Reed, in his drawl, would respond, 
"Another outrage," and read it. The Special Or- 

243 



244 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

der would be made. Reed, McKinley and I voted 
to report it, and the two Democrats voted ad- 
versely. That would be the end of the meeting. 
A lot of sensational nonsense was printed about 
the meetings of the Committee when I, as Speaker, 
was its Chairman, and newspaper correspondents 
and magazine writers worked their imaginations 
to the limit, but the truth is our meetings were 
informal and delightful affairs, very different from 
the popular idea created by the press. Our pro- 
ceedings were so perfunctory practically always 
the vote was three Republicans for the Rule and 
two Democrats against it that while Mr. Dalzell 
was putting the Rule in proper parliamentary lan- 
guage the rest of us had a delightful, gossipy visit. 
Representative "Williams, of Mississippi, the senior 
Democratic member, was never more entertaining 
than when he attended a meeting of the Commit- 
tee, and he always had a new story that he had kept 
to tell us after he had demanded to know the lat- 
est outrage. And even De Armond, of Missouri, 
the second Democratic member, who was always 
very serious on the floor, would unbend more in 
the Committee than anywhere else. It was the 
only place I ever heard De Armond tell a good 
story. Anyone entering the Speaker's room when 
the Committee was supposed to be in session, rob- 
bing the House of its rights and the people of their 




from tiarper j s 
THE SPEAKER OF THE LOWER HOUSE AS HE HOPES IT WILL BE 

With apologies to A. CAKWANI, the Italian sculptor, ^hose statue "Dante in Hell," 

was reproduced in Harper's Weekly tor April 2, 1910. 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 245 

liberties, would usually have found five men sitting 
there chatting about things remote from the sub- 
ject before the Committee. These meetings were 
our best times for a visit, for we could close the 
door to the Speaker's room and talk without being 
interrupted by other Members. 

An amusing thing happened once. It was the 
unwritten law that members of the Committee 
should not ask for a Rule for bills in which they 
were personally interested unless to meet an emer- 
gency. Mr. Williams, despite this Informal agree- 
ment, wanted a Special Rule to secure a vote on his 
Bill to enlarge the Marine Hospital Station at New 
Orleans because of the yellow fever quarantine. 
The Texas Democrats were opposed to Mr. Wil- 
liams' bill and prevented its coming to a vote under 
the standing rules. Mr. "Williams consulted me 
and I agreed with him that It was an emergency 
and needed a Special Rule* Dalzell and Grosvenor 
also agreed, and I called a meeting of the Commit- 
tee. Dalzell drew the Rule for Williams and it was 
put to a vote. All voted for it except De Armond. 
Solemnly he voted no, and painfully explained that 
since the minority leader had been seduced and was 
no longer able to recognize the outrage It devolved 
on the second minority Member to keep clear the 
record of the Democratic party. For the sake of 
consistency he would have to denounce the out- 



246 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

rage, and he did. When the Rule was reported to 
the House by Mr. "Williams, Mr. Dalzell played the 
only practical joke I ever knew him to be guilty of. 
Williams supposed that Dalzell and Grosvenor 
would of course support him on the floor as they 
had in the Committee, and after he had explained 
the necessity of the Rule he was dumbfounded to 
hear Mr. Dalzell proceed to assail it in unmeasured 
terms. Dalzell had not spoken for more than a 
minute before the whole House recognized that he 
was repeating word for word Mr. Williams* stereo- 
typed introduction to a speech against all Special 
Rules reported from the Committee, and Mr. Wil- 
liams joined in the laugh at his expense. Dalzell 
ended his speech as soon as the House saw the joke, 
and the Rule was adopted by an overwhelming 
majority, Republicans and Democrats, with the ex- 
ception of those from Texas, voting for it. 

Many of the Insurgents were honest and really 
believed they were the victims of the Speaker and 
a self-appointed cabal, but more were dishonest 
and disgruntled and loaded their failures on the 
Speaker. Members who introduced foolish or un- 
constitutional bills, not with the slightest hope that 
they would become laws but simply to cater to a 
demagogic or ignorant element in their districts, 
were able to tell their constituents the bills would 
have been passed had it not been for the opposition 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 247 

of the Speaker, thus creating the belief that the 
Speaker was a "Czar" and controlled by the ^in- 
terests." Cannonism was anything that dwelt in 
the imagination of people who did not like Cannon; 
it was the things in the minds of those people who 
undertook to make Cannon appear a very bad and 
improper person; it was the root of all evil when a 
member of the House ran full tilt on the rules 
which he voted to adopt and found they are harder 
than his soft head. Solemnly and with bell, book 
and candle Cannonism has been damned by Bryan, 
damned by La Folette, damned by Cummins, de- 
nounced by their satellites and consigned to per- 
dition by the metropolitan press and the country 
weeklies. I have tried, but failed, to find the dif- 
ference between Cannonism and Carlisleism, or 
Reedism, or Crispism, or Hendersonism, or the 
"ism" of any other Speaker who has presided over 
the House during the long years I have been a 
member. It will be the "ism" of every Speaker 
who succeeds Cannon, who will enforce the rules 
honestly and impartially, and holds his self-respect 
to be more precious than mere fleeting popularity. 
It is as easy to find a certain kind of popularity as 
it is to pick up pebbles on a stony beach, and the 
one is worth just about as much as the other. 

The opening gun of the Insurgency battle was 
fired on Wednesday, March 16, 1910. It was one 



248 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

of the most exciting and dramatic days in my serv- 
ice in Congress,, and I doubt if any other Speaker 
had a similar experience. In the space of two 
days the Czar was dethroned; or, to stick to sober, 
matter-of-fact language without any frills, the 
Speakership was taken from me amid the rejoic- 
ings of my enemies, and it was then handed back 
to me. So if I was rebuked for being a Czar, per- 
haps also I have the right to flatter myself, without 
forfeiting my modesty, that my patriotic virtues 
were not ignored. Men do queer things when they 
allow their prejudices to cloud their brains. Mr. 
Norris, of Nebraska, nominally a Republican, in- 
troduced a resolution creating a new Committee on 
Rules. Instead of a Committee consisting of five 
members, appointed by the Speaker, of which he 
was the Chairman, the new Committee was to con- 
sist of fifteen members, elected by the House; and 
the Speaker was to be ineligible for membership. 
Theoretically the Republicans had a majority in 
the House, but a combination of Insurgents and 
Democrats would put us in the minority. You 
can see the purpose of Norris* resolution. It would 
have given the Democratic-Insurgent combination 
control of the Committee; the Speaker, instead of 
being the political director of his party in the 
House, would have become simply the presiding 
officer with authority only to put motions and de- 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 249 

clare the result of votes; and the power to control 
the business of the House, to determine what legis- 
lation should be considered and how and when, 
would be lodged in the hands of the combination 
on the Committee, representing not a majority of 
the electorate but two opposing minority factions. 
It was revolutionary* It was worse than that. 
It was the recognition of anarchy under the color 
of law. It would upset the tradition and prece- 
dents of our Government faithfully observed since 
the adoption of the Constitution, and it would 
overturn the rule of the majority, which is the 
principle upon which democracy must rest. Our 
leaders saw what was aimed at. To me it was ob- 
vious that if the House adopted the Norris Resolu- 
tion I must at once relinquish the Speakership. 
Champ Clark, of Missouri, always my political op- 
ponent but long my personal friend, later to be 
crowned Czar and know the joys and sorrows of 
the Speakership, was the Democratic leader of the 
House. He has told in his Quarter Century of 
American Politics the story of that attempted coup 
to subvert a Republican majority by a Democratic 
minority and prevent a Republican Administration 
from carrying out the will of a majority of the 
voters of the country. Mind you, I have not one 
word of criticism of Mr. Clark. It was his duty 
to his party to resort to any legitimate tactics to 



250 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

obstruct the majority. There were traitors in the 
ranks of his enemy, and he made use of them for 
his own advantage. The proceedings were revolu- 
tionary, and Champ Clark, honest man that he was, 
blunt and plain spoken, did not fear to avow the 
truths In the course of the debate that followed 
he said: We had made up our minds months ago 
to try to work this particular revolution that we 
are working here today, because, not to mince 
words, it is a revolution/ 5 

This bold declaration of the Democratic leader 
that a majority of the House of Representatives, 
as law-makers, was in a revolution against estab- 
lished law was a shock to some of his followers. 
They did not relish the word. It sounded too much 
like Mexican political reforms, and many Southern 
Members resented it. Mr. Clark made another ad- 
mission that was equally uncomfortable to his fol- 
lowers when he declared that there was an alliance 
between the Democrats and Insurgents. The In- 
surgents had been claiming they were still good 
Republicans, and that they were simply trying to 
reform the rules. To be told by their new leader 
they were no longer good Republicans but excel- 
lent assistant Democrats, allied with revolution- 
aries, would need a good deal of explaining to their 
constituents. Insurgency the West would en- 
courage, but not revolution that put the Demo- 




From The Xeu* York Herald 

THE DONKEY'S TURN TO LAUGH 




THE TARGET 



From The New York Herald 




From Harper's Weekly 

''REPORTS OF MY POLITICAL DEMISE 
ARE GREATLY EXAGGERATED" 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 251 

crats in control. But the Insurgents wanted my 
scalp to take back to the "West and put on ex- 
hibition to show what happens to a Reactionary 
when the Insurgent hosts take the warpath. 

At the opening of Wednesday's session, after 
the routine business had been disposed of, Judge 
Crumpacker, Chairman of the Committee on 
Census, called up a joint resolution to provide for 
taking the census of 1910. This was the raising 
of the curtain on the farce that was to follow. If 
I was given to moralizing, I could spin you a fine 
yarn on the inconsistency of men and how bravely 
they ride roughshod over their own rules and regu- 
lations when these stand in their way, but the facts 
are enough to point the moral. Crumpacker was 
somewhat tinged with the vice of Insurgency until 
he became an Insurgent against Insurgency. Com- 
ical, you remark. Of course, but no one is more 
insistent upon his rights than the man who has no 
regard for the rights of the other fellow. Crum- 
packer claimed it was a mandate of the Constitu- 
tion that the census be taken that year, and a 
mandate of the Constitution overrode any rule of 
the House. I think now, as I thought then, that 
logic was with Crumpacker; the Parliamentarian 
looked up the precedents and the rulings of former 
Speakers, which sustained Crumpacker, and I ruled 
in his favor, feeling in my bones there would be an 



252 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

appeal from my decision. The House, that Is the 
Democrats and the Insurgents, was In that happy 
frame of mind that whenever the Speaker showed 
his head somebody was bound to heave a brick at 
him to keep every one In good temper. Fitzgerald 
of Brooklyn promptly appealed from my ruling 
and the majority voted that I was wrong. So In a 
House supposed to have a Republican majority a 
Republican Speaker, In a parliamentary sense, was 
knocked down, kicked about and his face rubbed In 
the sand. 

The next day Crumpacker renewed his demand 
for the resolution as a Constitutional right. That 
put his new found friends, his Democratic and In- 
surgent allies, in somewhat of a quandary. They 
must either reverse their action of the day before 
or refuse to provide for the census. Some members 
attempted to convince the House that If the Con- 
stitution didn't work on Wednesday (and that in 
effect the House had decided) it had also been put 
out of commission on Thursday. So far as I was 
concerned, I could afford to be Indifferent. To me 
it did not seem to be In accordance with the respect 
due to the House or the dignity of the Speaker that, 
having made a ruling the day before and had It re- 
jected by the House, I should within twenty- four 
hdurs rule on the same question and, in all proba- 
bility, again have it declared without validity. I 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 253 

declined to make a fresh ruling, but I decided to 
let the House determine the matter. This left no 
alternative to those who had voted to overrule the 
Speaker except now to vote to reverse their own 
action or to make it impossible to take the census. 
Efforts were made to have Crumpacker ask for 
unanimous consent, which would have been an 
easy escape from the dilemma, but to that he would 
not agree. To him it was a Constitutional privi- 
lege or nothing, and to that he stuck. There were 
learned arguments on both sides, and when at last 
after considerable debate a vote was taken it was 
once more decided that the rules were superior to 
the Constitution, and Crumpacker and his census 
resolution remained waterlogged. Then Mr. Un- 
derwood, of Alabama, saw a way to untie the knot. 
Making no mention of the Constitution, he offered 
a resolution that the census bill be declared "in 
order today," but the House had already voted 
that the bill could not be considered "today, 5 * so 
Underwood, in compliance with jocular sugges- 
tions offered from our side, changed "today" to 
"now," and in that form the resolution was 
adopted. Thus after two days of idle debate the 
wheels again turned. 

Representative Norris, of Nebraska, who had 
contended in the debate that the rules prohibited 
any bill from being considered by the House until 



254 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

after It had been reported by one of the Commit- 
tees, now offered a resolution to create a new Com- 
mittee on Rules. He admitted that his resolution 
was in defiance of the rules, as the resolution had 
never been properly introduced, or considered by 
any Committee, or reported to the House. He had, 
he said, opposed Crumpacker's plea of Constitu- 
tional privilege, but the majority having reversed 
its position and given the census bill a Constitu- 
tional privilege, he claimed the same privilege for 
his resolution. And in that, I must say, Norris was 
right. The House having made itself ridiculous in 
the space of two days and publicly declared that it 
was bound by no rules and had no regard for logic 
or consistency, why should it not continue to main- 
tain the record? The fact is, the House for the 
time being had gone a little mad and was no longer 
governed by reason or established parliamentary 
procedure. Throughout the remainder of the day 
and the night and the following day the House 
discussed whether the Norris resolution was in or- 
der. It was St. Patrick's Day, and like many other 
observances of that anniversary, the transactions in 
the House were diverting to one not actively en- 
gaged in metaphorically throwing bricks. The 
Insurgents were bent on driving the snakes out of 
America as well as Ireland, and they were able to 
persuade themselves that the big snake that once 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 25J 

coiled itself about the fabled Laocoon and his sons 
occupied the Speaker's chair and had the whole 
government in its coils, crushing out the life and 
liberty of the American people. 

The galleries had filled rapidly after the news 
went out that the Norris resolution was up for 
debate, and the corridors were soon choked with 
excited people. Senators came over to see the fun 
and to give advice or inquire as to the Speaker's 
plans. Letters and telegrams came by the hundreds 
and newspapers had sensational first-page stories. 
If I had not decided on a definite course of action 
I would have been disturbed by the advice to re- 
sign to save the party that came from opportunists 
of high and low degree. But I recalled that 
when Aaron laid his hands on the head of a live 
goat and confessed the iniquities of the Children of 
Israel, putting all their sins and transgressions on 
the head of the goat, it was by the hand of a fit 
man the scapegoat was sent out into the wilderness; 
and I wondered who would be the fit man to lead 
this new scapegoat out to the wilderness. Would 
it be the President or some of the Senators who were 
trying the old feat of walking a slack rope in a 
strong wind? I gave no heed to the suggestions 
that I resign to save the party which was already 
split by a handful of Insurgents going over to the 
Democrats. I had already made up my mind what 



256 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

I would do, but the time for action had not yet 
come. 

I had been in the Chair from noon to midnight 
and then went to the Speaker's Room to sign some 
papers. About two o'clock I strolled back into 
the House and went on the floor to chat with some 
o the Members. Cooper, of Wisconsin, from 
whom Insurgency oozed at every pore even when 
he was in a state of suspended animation, which 
was not often, was reciting in elaborate detail the 
woes of the Insurgents. One of the most pictur- 
esque of the tribe of Insurgents, he was in many 
respects a clever man, a good musician, a convinc- 
ing talker and an amusing story teller, but he had 
little knowledge of legislative machinery and ap- 
parently no desire to learn. He was satisfied with 
his way of doing things, and was annoyed when 
everybody else did not agree with him* Cooper's 
most violent outbreaks were after I became 
Speaker, but I was not the cause of his fall from 
grace. It antedated my administration, going back 
to the time when Reed was Speaker. Mr. Cooper 
had been assigned to the Committee on Rivers and 
Harbors, and was the second Republican on the list 
when Chairman Hooker was appointed to the Fed- 
eral Bench and resigned his seat in the House. 
Cooper assumed he would be appointed Chairman 
by Reed, but Reed left the Chairmanship to the 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 257 

Members, who preferred Theodore Burton, of 
Ohio. Then and there Cooper became an Insur- 
gent. We were always told Insurgency was a great 
moral Issue; it was, the issue of one Committee 
Chairmanship. On such momentous questions does 
the fate of parties hinge. Cooper will always be an 
Insurgent wherever he is, either in this life or the 
life to come, I imagine. 

Cooper's account of the wrongs of Insurgency 
was a moving tale, and as I listened to the indig- 
nities these heroes had suffered at the hands of the 
Speaker, I confess my indignation boiled up and I 
said to myself that the Speaker must be a great 
villain and something really ought to be done about 
it. It was a pathetic story as Cooper, with burning 
eloquence bursting from an overcharged heart, told 
of the martyrdom of this little band of zealots. 
The name of each man was in turn pronounced 
and inscribed on the roll of saints. And then he 
told of the cruelty inflicted upon Representative 
Augustus D. Gardiner, of Massachusetts, familiarly 
known as "Gussie/* the son-in-law of Senator 
Lodge. This dreadful Czar, all hoofs and horns 
and tail, had crushed Gardiner and removed him 
from his Chairmanship because he had dared to op- 
pose the Speaker. I suppose I must have been in- 
fected by Mr. Cooper's recital of this modern 
slaughter of the innocents, at any rate it seemed an 



2J8 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

opportune time to put a question, and I asked 
Mr. Cooper to allow me to Interrupt him. Per- 
mission having been granted I requested Mr. Gardi- 
ner to be good enough to tell the House why he 
was not reappointed Chairman of the Committee. 
Instantly the House, which had been somewhat 
noisy, quieted down, the members intent on every 
word. Nobody knew what I was after, but every- 
one realized I had a card in reserve, because I had 
made a rather unusual play. It is not customary 
for the defendant's lawyer to take the prosecutor's 
witness and use him to support his case, but the 
lawyers of the House saw clearly this was what I 
proposed to do. Mr, Cooper was playing the part 
of the prosecuting attorney and had cited Mr. 
Gardiner as his witness, and I made Mr. Gardiner 
my witness. Obviously I expected he was going 
to help my case. It was just another dramatic 
touch to the theatrical scene, and members and 
the occupants of the galleries were curious to see 
how the plot would develop. 

Smilingly Gardiner arose. He had the blond 
hair and blue eyes of the optimist, the rounded face 
and good-natured mouth of the humorist, but he 
also had a mouth that could shut with the snap of 
a steel trap, and eyes that could become hard and 
cold in their anger and blaze in their indignation. 
A good friend and rich in his sympathies, but quick 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 259 

to flame into passion to rebuke a dishonorable or 
unworthy action. Quiet, composed, still with that 
humorous smile playing about his lips, in his nerv- 
ous, quick and energetic manner, he proceeded to 
explain that having learned he was to be reap- 
pointed chairman of his old Committee, he had 
asked the Speaker to give him another assignment, 
because if he were honored with a Chairmanship 
after acting with the Insurgents, he would never be 
able to convince them that he had not sold out to 
the creator of all their woes, the wicked old Speaker. 
He would be compelled to insurge even at times 
against his own judgment, as proof to his Insurgent 
associates that he was loyal to their sacred cause and 
had not betrayed them for a handful of Congres- 
sional silver. It was all the vindication I needed. 
"When he finished and sat down, a great burst of 
applause swept over the House. But it was not for 
me. No, no, don't imagine that for a moment. It 
was the spontaneous tribute of courage. Gardiner 
had done a very fine thing, and the House was 
quick to recognize it and pay him homage. He 
might have disappeared from the House when I 
called upon him to testify; he might have been 
evasive or failed to remember, and in that case he 
would have made me ridiculous and created the im- 
pression I had tried to make use of him and he had 
properly exposed me. But of that Gardiner was 



260 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

incapable. Whatever lie did, whether in public or 
private life, was that of an honorable man, a man 
punctiliously honorable and honest in everything. 
The House of Representatives, in some respects, 
I think, is the most peculiar assemblage in the 
world, and only a man who has had long experience 
there can fully know its idiosyncrasies. It is true 
we engage in fierce combat, we are often intense 
partisans, sometimes we are unfair, not infre- 
quently unjust, brutal at times, and yet I venture 
to say that, taken as a whole, the House is sound at 
heart; nowhere else will you find such a ready ap- 
preciation of merit and character, in few gather- 
ings of equal size is there so little jealousy and envy* 
The House must be considerate of the feelings of 
its Members; there is a certain courtesy that has 
to be observed; a man may be voted a bore or 
shunned as a pest, and yet he must be accorded the 
rights to which he is entitled by virtue of being a 
representative of the people. On the other hand, a 
man may be universally popular, a good fellow, 
amusing and yet with these engaging qualities 
never get far. The men who have led the House, 
whose names have become a splendid tradition to 
their successors, have gained prominence not 
through luck or by mere accident. They have had 
ability, at least in some degree; but more than that, 
they have had character. And that is why the 




Prow Harper's Weekly 

ONCE CLOTHED WITH POWER, NOW ALMOST BARE, HE'S LOST HIS 
PULL, BUT SAVED HIS CHAIR 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 261 

House* without regard to faction or party, honored 
G_ardiner. He Lad shown character. 

Gardiner was one of the finest men I have known 
in my public life. He was fearless, courageous and 
absolutely honest; intellectually honest, I mean, 
which is a quality not so common among public 
men as it ought to be. Gardiner was self-willed 
and a born rebel; had he lived at the time of the 
Revolution he would have taken his place in his- 
tory with Sam Adams. As long as he remained a 
Member of the House he was an Insurgent; he re- 
belled against the rules of the Democratic House 
with the same enthusiasm he did against those of 
the Republican House; he rarely voted for caucus 
candidates, he refused to follow leaders, he opposed 
Roosevelt and Taft as vigorously as he did me. 
But he was a rebel on principle and not because he 
had a personal grievance, he harbored no malice; 
he and I remained good friends until he resigned 
his seat to enter the Army and meet his untimely 
death when he went to war against Germany. He 
was one of the men you could fight and yet admire, 
for he never struck below the belt and never 
whined over a fair blow from an adversary. When 
the revolution collapsed on the afternoon of March 
19, "Gussie" Gardiner was one of the first members 
to congratulate me and commend my course. 
That was Gardiner, a hard and manly fighter with 



262 UNCLE JQE CANNON 

a frank and friendly admission when he was beaten. 
About half the members of the House are law- 
yers, and all of them have had a varying experi- 
ence in campaigning. In both there develops a 
sixth sense; the successful lawyer intuitively knows 
"when he has made his point with the jury and fur- 
ther argument would damage his case; the experi- 
enced campaigner can feel the reaction of his audi- 
ences, and he guides himself accordingly. A good 
speaker, whether in court or on the platform, must 
not make the mistake of so many young orators 
and mix the serious and the amusing. You may 
wring tears from the eyes of men and arouse their 
emotions and make them think, or you can throw 
them into laughter and send them away won by the 
ridiculous, but to attempt to scramble two antago- 
nistic elements makes an omelette nobody wants. 
Cooper had stalked through our little play as the 
tragic muse, grim, dripping calamity, voicing 
catastrophe, and on that sustained note he might 
have made his impression, but when I brought 
Gardiner on the stage to play the part of comic 
relief, as actors call it, the House saw the joke and 
was more in a mood to grin than to weep. Gardi- 
ner's smiling but simple statement . was so good- 
humored and convincing that it took the pathos 
out of Cooper's tragedy and the dramatic became 
anticlimax., StillN Cooper maundered along, and 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 263 

when he ran down other men relieved him and kept 
the dreary oratory of the all-night session going. 
We were ready to adjourn at any moment, but the 
Democrats and Insurgents would not allow us, and 
the only way we could revenge ourselves was to 
compel them to maintain a quorum. Many of the 
Republicans went home and to bed, leaving our 
foe to make the best of it, and when absent Mem- 
bers had to be rounded up to answer to their names, 
in some mysterious manner the Sergeant-at-Arms 
managed to find more Democrats and Insurgents 
than Republicans. This angered the opposition, 
and the Sergeant-at-Arms was called before the 
House to give an explanation, but being a seasoned 
old Republican sinner he gave the Members little 
satisfaction. Then to get even the Democrats 
moved to commission one of their special em- 
ployees an Acting Sergeant-at-Arms so that he 
could rout out Republicans from their nice warm 
beds and drag them through the cold to the bar of 
the House. When the man came to me for war- 
rants of arrest, I refused to issue them, because the 
whole performance was clearly illegal. The Ser- 
geant-at-Arms is a duly elected officer of the House 
and gives a heavy bond for the proper performance 
of his duties, but if a handful of Members can ap- 
point an "Acting" Sergeant-at-Arm$ a*id order 
him to arrest Members, no one would be safe from 



264 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

illegal arrest and no one could be held responsible 
for unlawful actions. Yet my refusal to recognize 
this gross infraction of the law was a little later that 
same night denounced on the floor of the House as 
further evidence of my Czarlike assumption of 
power and intolerable and presumptuous arro- 
gance. Thomas Jefferson ought to have lived and 
framed another Declaration of Independence. 

About three o'clock in the morning I resumed 
the Chair and remained in it until seven when I 
went for a bath and breakfast. Returning to the 
Speaker's room at the capitol I found it crowded 
with Senators, Members of the House, newspaper 
men, personal and unofficial friends, all more or 
less excited and all anxious to know my plans. 
Soon after I entered the House, called the body to 
order and, after the formalities were over, an- 
nounced that I was ready to rule on the question of 
whether it was the Constitutional privilege of a 
Member to offer a resolution for a change of the 
rules* I cited rulings and precedents of other 
Speakers, referring especially to an identical resolu- 
tion offered by Roger Q. Mills, of Texas, on De- 
cember 13,1 876, and overruled by that great Dem- 
ocratic Speaker, Samuel J. Randall. ''There was 
criticism/' I said in closing, "grave criticism of the 
rules in those days as there is today, but no man in 
that House thought of appealing from a decision so 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 265 

consonant with reason. Planting himself upon the 
law made for the House by Mr. Speaker Randall, 
appealing from the passion of this day to the just 
reason of that day, the Chair sustains the point of 
order and holds that the resolution is not in order/' 
When I finished a great wave of applause swept 
over the Chamber,, many Democrats joining with 
the Republicans in approval of my ruling, but 
when the applause and confusion subsided Norris 
appealed from the decision of the Chair and with 
the aid of practically the entire Democratic side, 
together with forty-three Republicans, overruled 
the Speaker for the second time. 

Norris was now master of the situation and he 
was too shrewd a politician not to take advantage 
of it. After a brief debate his resolution changing 
the composition of the Committee on Rules was 
adopted amid great confusion and then he moved 
the adjournment of the session. I recognized the 
motion, which was privileged, but asked him if he 
would withhold the motion for a moment to per- 
mit the Chair to make a statement. This he did 
and I proceeded to review the political situation, 
calling attention to the fact that the same rules 
had been in force in the House for many years 
under both Republican and Democratic Speakers 
and that for sixty years the Speakers had been 
members of the Committee on Rules, that there was 



266 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

no coherent Republican majority In the House; 
that a new majority had been created which ought 
to have the courage of its convictions and logically 
meet the situation, and as it was the highest Consti- 
tutional privilege for an actual majority of the 
House to choose a new Speaker at any time, I was 
ready to entertain a motion to declare the office of 
Speaker vacant and for the House to proceed to the 
election of a new Speaker. I did not have to wait 
long for the motion, which was offered by Repre- 
sentative Burleson, of Texas, later Postmaster Gen- 
eral in Wilson's cabinet. Norris still yielding, I 
declared the motion of Burleson in order, called the 
Republican floor leader, Mr. Payne, to the chair 
and walked out of the House. 

There was great excitement on the floor of the 
House. Senators rushed in to advise their Members 
and the Democrats were busy conferring with one 
another but there was little time for discussion or 
consultation for the clerk was calling the roll, Re- 
publicans were responding with lusty ee Noes/ 5 old 
line Democrats with "Ayes," and the whole House 
watching the Insurgents all but nine of whom 
flocked back to the Republican ranks and voted 
"no." I was given more votes than at the begin- 
ning of Congress and when I went back to resume 
the Chair I received a demonstration from both 
sides such as the House has seldom witnessed. My 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 267 

main purpose had not been to confuse my oppo- 
nents and secure a dramatic victory. The House 
was admittedly in revolution. I refused to resign 
and become responsible for creating a worse con- 
dition than existed. The election of a new Speaker 
would, in my judgment, have precipitated another 
contest which I feared would continue to the end 
of the session and leave all pending legislation, in- 
cluding the appropriation bills, unfinished and the 
Government without the means of support. The 
Democrats and Insurgents had the votes to elect a 
new Speaker, but I did not believe they could hold 
together. The Insurgents did not dare vote for a 
Democrat for Speaker, and the Democrats did not 
dare to vote for an Insurgent and they would not 
vote for a regular Republican. I was willing to 
surrender the gavel to any Speaker who received 
the votes of a majority of the whole House, but I 
felt it was my duty to continue in office until a 
majority elected my successor. 

Burleson did not know my plans nor did any 
other Member of the House. I have always sup- 
posed that he acted on the spur of the moment and 
on his own initiative but recently Representative 
Claude Kitchen, of North Carolina, afterwards the 
Democratic floor leader, told me that he and Burle- 
son had a conversation the night before and, both 
fearing the Speaker might spring a surprise, they 



268 UNCLE JOE- CANNON 

prepared the motion which Burleson offered. I 
know nothing as to the correctness of that state- 
ment. I think I do know that no regular Republi- 
can had any part in it for the simple reason that I 
did not take any of them into my confidence, not 
that I did not have full confidence in them, but 
because it was my own responsibility and a multi- 
plicity of counsel on such a matter often demoral- 
izes rather than helps a situation. 

The Insurgents secured a new Committee on 
Rules and the Speaker was not a member of it. 
But John Dalzell, who had long been a member of 
the old Committee on Rules, was made Chairman. 
The Republicans were all stalwarts, satisfied with 
the old Committee, and the minority members were 
all Democrats of the old school. There was not 
an Insurgent on the Committee. The new Com- 
mittee had an increased membership, divided on 
party lines as before, and it functioned as had the 
old Committee. The one significant difference 
was a Committee room and a Committee clerk to 
add to the expenses of the House. Mr. Dalzell had 
been the working member and ruling spirit of the 
old Committee because of his parliamentary knowl- 
edge and experience in preparing Special Rules, and 
he continued to be the ruling spirit of the new 
Committee as well as its Chairman. If anything 
else was accomplished by the revolution I do not 



BATTLE OF INSURGENTS 269 

remember. It seems to me, regarding the matter 
quite dispassionately, the Insurgents accomplished 
about as much as did that famous King of France 
who marched his forty thousand men up the hill 
and then marched them down again; doubtless 
to the profit of the shoemakers and the improve- 
ment of the sweet tempers of his soldiers. But 
Cannonism was dead, dead as a doornail, dead as a 
last year's birdnest, dead as a defeated presidential 
candidate and is there anything deader than that? 
dead as an exploded campaign sensation; but 
the rule of the majority lives and government is 
not the whim of a handful of men who don't know 
what they want and when they get it want some- 
thing else. It's a damned good thing to remember 
in politics to stick to your party and never attempt 
to buy the favor of your enemies at the expense 
of your friends. 



CHAPTER XIII 
A DISTINGUISHED LOBBYIST 

I REMEMBER old Peter Cartwright, the mili- 
tant Methodist preacher of the West, who de- 
nounced the Yankees as barbarians because they 
ate lobsters and oysters instead of good ham and 
bacon, and who, when he visited New York, 
said he purchased a small axe to blaze the way 
from the hotel office to his room. So when I have 
read the books of Mark Twain and laughed over 
some of his characters there has been a dim recol- 
lection of something close akin to them I have 
known in real life. Tom Sawyer is the most nat- 
ural boy I ever met between the covers of a book, 
and Colonel Mulberry Sellers is a daily visitor to 
the national capital. In fact, the last time I met 
Mark Twain he admitted that he was playing the 
part of Colonel Sellers and trying to make me see 
there were millions in it, for he had come to Wash- 
ington to lobby for the copyright bill He had no 
aversion to the term lobbyist, but recognized his 
temporary vocation while in the capital just as he 
recognized men in their various disguises all 
through his life. 
He was an author asking protection for his work, 

270 



DISTINGUISHED LOBBYIST 271 

He took over a part of the enthusiasm of Colonel 
Sellers as he talked to Members of Congress about 
the great benefits of the copyright bill, and he 
showed some dissatisfaction, if not disgust, when he 
discovered that other people were taking advan- 
tage of his efforts and his influence. He came into 
the Speaker's Room one day, as he was accustomed 
to do every morning, and said, te See here, Uncle 
Joe, does every fellow who comes here get hitched 
up to a train he does not want to pull? I came 
down here to pull the copyright bill through Con- 
gress because I want the copyright on my literary 
work extended so that I can keep the benefits to 
myself and family and not let the pirates get it. I 
hitched my locomotive to that car, and just when 
the locomotive got under way it had to be halted 
to attach a new car, then another and another, 
until now the steam is getting low and the train is 
so long I don't know whether it will move or not. 
And I don't know that I want to pull it now with 
all sorts of cars attached which have no possible 
relation to the purpose I had in coming to Wash- 
ington or the legislation I believe necessary for the 
protection of my literary work/ 5 

I told him he had had the usual experience of 
men who want to reform the world by legislation 
according to their own views. There are always 
people ready to help them. He had that under- 



272 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

standing of human nature that made him quick to 
see the difficulties that surround legislative effort 
without making him suspicious that the other fel- 
lows 5 efforts were not just like his own wisely 
selfish but he insisted that there ought to be sev- 
eral classes of trains in legislation as there are on 
the railroads so that real inspiration and "canned 
goods" should not be hooked up together in the 
same train* I agreed with him, but those who were 
insisting on cooperating with him did not. They 
were all determined to get on the same train with 
so popular an engineer. 

He had influence with Members of Congress and 
he was frank to admit his purpose. He came to 
lobby for a bill and was not ashamed to admit that 
he had an interest in the legislation he sought. 
There was no altruistic humbug about him. He 
wanted to go on the floor of the House to lobby, 
but those confounded "Cannon Rules 3 * prohibited 
him, and they likewise so bound the Speaker that 
he could not recognize another Member to ask 
unanimous consent to admit Mark Twain or any 
other man to the floor. Mark studied those rules 
and discovered that the only exception made was 
to those who had received the thanks of Congress. 
So he wrote to me and, acting as his own messenger, 
came to my room one cold morning and laid the 
letter on my desk. It was as follows: 



DISTINGUISHED LOBBYIST 273 

Dec. 7, 



DEAR UNCLE JOSEPH: 

Please get me the thanks of Congress not next week, 
but right away! It is very necessary. Do accomplish 
this for your affectionate old friend and right away! 
By persuasion if you can, by violence if you must. For 
it is imperatively necessary that I get on the floor for 
2 or 3 hours and talk to the members, man by man, in 
behalf of the support, encouragement and protection of 
one of the nation's most valuable assets and industries 
its literature* I have arguments with me also a barrel. 
With liquid in it. 

Get me a chance! Get me the thanks of Congress. 
Don't wait for the others there isn't time furnish 
them to me yourself, and let Congress ratify later. I 
have stayed away and let Congress alone for seventy-one 
years, and am entitled to the thanks. Congress knows 
this perfectly well; and I have long felt hurt that this 
quite proper and earned expression of gratitude has been 
merely felt by the House and never publicly uttered. 

Send me an order on the Sergeant~at-Arms. 

Quick! 

"When shall I come? 

With love and a benediction, 

MARK TWAIN. 

After reading his letter I repeated what I said 
about the embarrassment of those rules not only as 
affecting him but also the Speaker, and lie laughed 
as he said his joke must have been pretty clear for 
me to catch the point at the first reading. I called 
my messenger and said to Twain, "I am in full 
sympathy with you and will help you lobby. Neal 



274 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

will take you to the Speaker's private room, which 
is larger, more comfortable, and more convenient 
than this one. That room and the messenger are 
yours while you stay, and if you don't break a 
quorum of the House it will be your own fault/' 

He installed himself and the messenger went on 
the floor whispering to Champ Clark, Adam Bede 
and others on both sides of the House, and in a 
few minutes there was not a quorum on the floor. 
They were all crowding into the Speaker's private 
room to see Mark Twain and promise him to vote 
for the copyright bill, for he allowed no admirer 
to escape. After the day's session Mark came to me 
to say that those confounded rules were not so bad 
after all and that he didn't object to a "Czar" 
who abdicated and allowed him to occupy the 
throne room. 

We sat together one night at a Gridiron dinner 
where there was lots of fun at the expense of pub- 
lic men and we laughed at the burlesque skits. On 
leaving he invited me to lunch with him the next 
day. I replied I would be glad to come, but I 
never ate lunch. "So much the better," said he, 
"neither do I. Come, and we'll let George Harvey 
eat the lunch while we talk." We sacrificed Har- 
vey's stomach for an excuse to chat over old times. 
George Harvey complained we were selfish, but 



DISTINGUISHED LOBBYIST 275 

Mark insisted we were true philosophers, and I 
agreed with him. 

The old fashioned lobbyist no longer cuts any 
figure in "Washington because for him we have sub- 
stituted what may be called Politics by Propa- 
ganda. The way to secure legislation and escape 
all suspicion of ulterior motive, is to form an as- 
sociation and proclaim its object as moral The 
next step is to organize a committee of highly re- 
spectable men and women to act as a figurehead 
and have the actual work done by paid agents, 
who profess great interest in their work, but whose 
real interest is in their salaries. These paid agents 
will then industriously haunt the corridors of the 
Capitol and tell Congress what certain citizens de- 
mand in the way of legislation, and what they 
think is good for other citizens to have, whether 
they want it or not. Propaganda has taken the 
place of politics of the old school where the repre- 
sentatives of parties gathered in convention and 
adopted platforms to be the foundation of the cam- 
paign for election. The propagandists care little 
for party conventions or party platforms. They 
wait for the Congress to meet and then bring their 
legislative proposals forward as nonpartisan and for 
the general welfare of the people. The reformers 
of today have backed off the stage Sam Ward, the 
prince of lobbyists fifty years ago. Few of the so- 



276 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

called reforms that have been enacted into legis- 
lation in the last dozen years were much discussed 
in political campaigns or embodied in political 
platforms on which members of Congress were 
elected. Propagandists have made the bold asser- 
tion that they represent the demands of the great 
American people, and Congress has accepted the 
voice of Propaganda as the voice of God* Can- 
didates for office and proposed laws are advertised 
in the same way as safety razors and face powders. 
I remember telling a little story at one of our con- 
ventions out home of the Yankee and his razors as 
applicable to our opponents. I heard the story 
sixty years ago, but it is pertinent in this connec- 
tion. The razors he made were no good. The 
Yankee was asked what he made the razors for. 
"Made them to sell," the Yankee replied. So it is 
with the highly paid moral lobbyists of today. 
They have something to sell, and they don't give a 
hang whether it works or not. 

If you accuse them of lobbying and using the 
disreputable tactics of the lobbyist they deny it, 
but nevertheless that is what they do. They brow- 
beat, bully and intimidate; they bribe by offering 
their support, not infrequently by promises of 
financial assistance; they threaten if they meet with 
resistance. You may say Members of Congress 
ought to have more courage and not surrender to 




Photograph by Underwood & Underwood 
MARK TWAIN 
The Most Popular Lobbyist 



DISTINGUISHED LOBBYIST 277 

coercion, but every member of Congress seeks pub- 
licity and at the same time fears it. Without pub- 
licity he cannot hope to succeed; with too much, 
especially of the wrong sort, he is bound to fail. 
Great latitude is permitted the man who asserts he 
speaks not for himself but as the mouthpiece of 
society. You can openly confront your political 
rival or your political opponent, you can answer 
the Editor who slanders you or the disgruntled 
office seeker who abuses you, but it is much more 
difficult to refute the calumnies of the man who 
professes to want nothing, who has no interest to 
serve except the cause of morality or the good of 
the people. To me Politics by Propaganda is one 
of the greatest dangers we have to face. It is an 
invitation to hysteria and rash experiment. We are 
a people who like novelty and the short cut to per- 
fection. We are always able to make ourselves 
believe that the social millennium is just one lap 
ahead and we can catch up with it if only Congress 
will enact some new f angled law or impose a new 
prohibition. When parties adopt a platform and 
commit themselves to a course of action they pro- 
ceed with deliberation, they are governed by the 
combined wisdom of all their members, the ex- 
tremists are restrained by the modernists, and the 
party goes steadily forward to do the work for 
which it was created. Party government is intelli- 



278 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

gent responsibility. Politics by Propaganda is an 
appeal to emotion, and as meaningless and transient 
as most emotion. The clever scoundrel is less to be 
feared in Government than the well-meaning in- 
competent. The scoundrel knows there's a limit 
beyond which he dare not go; the man who means 
well but is foolish never knows where his folly 
may lead him. 

It was Samuel Gompers who introduced the 
blacklist into lobbying and politics and he once 
boasted that he had blacklisted all the members of 
Congress who voted contrary to his wishes. I was 
blacklisted by Gompers and his association in 1906 
when in a speech opposing the Pearre Injunction 
Bill I said: "I would rather quit public life at 
seventy, and quit it forever, than to retain public 
life at a sacrifice to my own self-respect. I will not 
vote for any law which will make fair for me and 
foul for another. The blacklist is the most cruel 
form of oppression ever devised by man for the 
infliction of suffering upon his weaker fellows." 
I have never been opposed to men or women or- 
ganizing for their protection. 'We all do It. The 
churches understand that if they did not organize 
they would not be worth a song sung in a hurri- 
cane. We have destroyed slavery and class dis- 
tinctions no longer legally exist, and yet we have 
demands for legislation which, if enacted, would 



DISTINGUISHED LOBBYIST 279 

revive the old belief that was shot to death by the 
Civil War, that only some labor is free, and that 
the class distinction of labor is to be encouraged 
for the benefit of all of us. To that pernicious 
doctrine I will never subscribe. 

Mr. Gompers' hostility led to an amusing inci- 
dent. I was one of the men blacklisted by him and 
he not only went to my district in person but em- 
ployed the whole machinery of the American Fed- 
eration of Labor to accomplish my defeat, Mr. 
Gompers came to Danville on Labor Day in 1906 
to make a speech, and while it was generally un- 
derstood there should be no partisan politics in con- 
nection with the observance of that holiday, he 
made a bitter speech against me. It so happened 
that in the parade a liquor dealer had a sign which 
read "Drink Old Cannon Whiskey." Mr. Gompers 
inquired of some of the local labor leaders if I was 
responsible for the sign, and they jokingly replied 
that I not only manufactured the whiskey but 
gave it my own name. That was enough for Mr. 
Gompers, and he made his speech with that as a 
text, accusing me of corrupting youth for the pur- 
pose of robbing them, and that I had the Soldiers* 
Home located in my home city so that I could sell 
to the veterans the product of my stills. The 
speech was amusing to the people of Danville, in- 
cluding the union men who knew that Mr, 



280 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

Gompers liad aided rather than injured me by 
using gossip to attack me in a speech in my home 
city. 

The Rev. P. A. Baker, President of the Anti- 
saloon League, took up Mr. Gompers' charge and 
became quite violent in his strictness; denouncing 
me as a man occupying one of the highest official 
positions in the country who had no higher sense of 
responsibility than to manufacture whiskey and 
give it my own name. Mr. Baker's home is in Co- 
lumbus, Ohio, and it so happened that "Old Can- 
non Whiskey" is made in Kentucky for a firm in 
that city and has been since the days of the Civil 
Wan Its label bears a picture of a cannon and its 
name came from the ordnance rather than from 
any individual. Not long after the speech of Mr. 
Gompers and Mr. Baker had been reported in the 
newspapers of the country, I received a formal let- 
ter from an attorney in Columbus, enclosing a copy 
of the trademark of Old Cannon Whiskey with 
the date of its register, and inquiring by what right 
I was using that label. He had been instructed 
by the distiller to begin legal proceedings against 
me for appropriating a registered trademark. The 
incident showed the intelligence and sense of re- 
sponsibility of two distinguished leaders of great 
movements; that they were ready to use any mali- 
cious gossip which appeared damaging to the man 



DISTINGUISHED LOBBYIST 281 

they opposed. Incidentally they made themselves 
ridiculous before their own followers in my home 
city. The only result, so far as I was concerned, 
was to brand both men as foolish if not vicious s 
and to aid my campaign instead of injuring it. 



CHAPTER XIV 
THE PRESIDENCY AT A BARGAIN PRICE 

IN January, 1908, Mr. Herman Ridder, the 
owner of the New York Staats-Zeitnng, came to 
my room at the Capitol to discuss the efforts 
of the publishers to secure free print paper, pulp 
wood and wood pulp, the raw materials out 
of which paper is made, from Canada. This cam- 
paign had been going on for months. The news- 
paper proprietors asserted they were at the mercy 
of the paper trust which charged them exorbitant 
prices, and the only way to break this monopoly 
was to revise the tariff and make print paper and 
the raw materials free of duty. Republicans in 
both Houses considered it was inadvisable to dis- 
cuss the tariff at that time because of existing po- 
litical conditions, and the refusal of the Democrats 
in the House as well as in the Senate to allow the 
tariff to be revised in a single interest, made legis- 
lation impossible, and I so told Mr. Ridder. 

Several bills to do what Mr. Ridder wanted had 
been introduced and referred to the Ways and 
Means Committee; the Republican members of the 
Committee decided it was unwise to attempt a re- 
vision of the tariff at the session immediately pre- 
282 



PRESIDENCY AT A BARGAIN 283 

ceding the presidential election. Mr. Williams, the 
minority leader, made this a party issue. He 
pledged Democratic support, prepared a petition to 
discharge the Ways and Means Committee from 
further consideration of the subject, had a table 
placed in front of the Speaker's desk and appealed 
to twenty Republicans to sign. These, with the 
full Democratic membership, which had already 
signed, would make a majority. Not a single Re- 
publican signed the petition. The whole affair was 
looked upon as one of those bluffs sometimes played 
by politicians. 

Mr. Ridder was not disheartened. He had great 
confidence in his powers of persuasion. He pro- 
posed to secure an agreement from Senators Aid- 
rich and Culberson, the majority and minority 
managers, to allow the bill to go through the Senate 
without amendment. I wished him success, but 
doubted it. He came back a few days later with 
what seemed to me the astounding statement that 
everything had been happily arranged. He had 
seen Aldrich and Culberson and they had promised 
to let the bill go through the Senate without 
amendment, if I would put it through the House. 
Surprised, I made enquiries only to learn that Mr. 
Ridder had either misrepresented or misunderstood 
the attitude of both Senators. As I expected, they 
had agreed to nothing. It was not the week for 



284 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the Hon and lamb to gambol merrily on the green. 
I suggested to Mr. Ridder if there was a paper 
combine the publishers had their remedy in pro- 
ceedings against the manufacturers under the 
Sherman anti-trust law, but this they did not ac- 
cept. Some of the Republican members, fearing 
newspaper hostility, talked about holding a caucus 
to bring the Stevens Bill, which was the bill the 
publishers wanted passed, from the "Ways and 
Means Committee into the House, and I assured 
them I would be governed by the action of the 
caucus, whatever it might be. But it was made 
evident a majority of Republicans could not be 
secured to pass the bill In the following April 
the Associated Press held its general meeting and 
adopted a resolution asking Congress to * 'grant 
immediate relief from the exactions of combina- 
tions of paper makers." Congress was accused 
of employing dilatory tactics "to prolong present 
conditions and to carry over to another session of 
Congress every proposition designed for relief/' 
This was pretty heavy pressure to put on Con- 
gress because these two organizations, the Asso- 
ciated Press and the American Newspaper Pub- 
lishers Association, represented practically the 
entire newspaper press of the country. I had 
introduced a resolution, which the House adopted, 
for the appointment of a select committee to en- 



PRESIDENCY AT A BARGAIN 285 

quire into the cost of paper and wood pulp, and 
that was all I could do. 

One beautiful morning early in May Mr. Ridder 
came to my house. He was as radiant as the sun- 
shine outside, and when he entered the library, 
where I was going over my mail, he simply bubbled 
with enthusiasm. Without delay he proceeded to 
business, and in substance this is what he said: 

"Uncle Joe, you know my position with the 
publishers and my influence with the newspapers 
of the whole country; I can and do speak for 
them. Now, you give us free print paper and 
we'll make you President of the United States. 
When the Stevens Bill becomes a law I'll give 
a grand banquet here in Washington to celebrate 
our victory. You will be the guest of honor 
and the publishers will be your hosts. That ban- 
quet will be in fact the convention to nominate 
the next President and you will be the nominee. 
The convention in Chicago will only be a ratifica- 
tion meeting. We will adopt resolutions in favor 
of your nomination and election as President. The 
newspapers in our association represent all political 
parties. We will all unite and we will make you 
President if you will only give us free print paper. 
What do you say?" 

What could I say in reply to such an outburst 
of confidence as to what the great American press 



286 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

intended to do for a humble citizen in exchange 
for the small boon of free print paper? I was dis- 
posed to treat him as a humorist, but my caller was 
not in a joking mood. He was on a business er- 
rand, and that he might properly impress me he 
proceeded to repeat the plan with greater detail. 
As an additional proof of his good faith, he assured 
me that my secretary should be in charge of the 
plans for the banquet, he should help to prepare 
the resolutions, and edit the Associated Press re- 
port before it was sent out. I confess I was puz- 
zled for a moment as to the attitude I should take. 
Then I said, tc My dear sir, there is an old story 
printed in a very old book, about a very superior 
gentleman who possessed great power and greater 
confidence in his power in this wicked world, 
meeting a plain man of simple tastes but who was 
suspected of having rather close relations with the 
Supreme Power. The gentleman with influence 
and confidence took the plain man of simple tastes 
up into a high mountain, pointed out to him all 
the beautiful valleys lying below and said: "All 
these will I give you if you will only fall down and 
worship me/ But when he said this he knew that 
the other man knew that he did not own a single 
foot of that land/ 5 

Still my caller did not seem to comprehend. He 
did not catch the point of the story, so there was 



PRESIDENCY AT A BARGAIN 287 

nothing for me to do except bluntly to rebuke 
him. I said: "Mr. Ridder, you ought to forget 
what you have said, and I will try to. I do not 
care to compromise with my self-respect by even 
remembering that such language was addressed to 
me. Good day." He left me without apparent 
anger or sense of shame, and still seemed to think 
he had made a fair and honorable proposal to ex- 
change the highest office in the United States for 
a bill in the interest of a special class. A few hours 
later he entered the Speaker's room at the Capitol 
in a towering rage, and before several other callers 
declared that if he did not secure the legislation 
demanded he would support Mr. Bryan for Presi- 
dent and contribute one hundred thousand dollars 
toward his election. He would turn the press of 
the country against the Republican party. This 
was my last interview with Mr. Ridder. 

I often thought it over and don't know exactly 
what to make of it. Of one thing I am quite cer- 
tain, and that is the American Newspaper Pub- 
lishers Association and the Associated Press, taking 
these two great organizations as a whole, had given 
Mr. Ridder no commission to come to Washington 
and offer me the Presidency in exchange for my 
treachery. What I think probable is that a few 
publishers and editors, knowing little of Congress- 
men or public affairs, but believing what ignorant 



288 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

scandal-mongers have often printed, that Con- 
gress is a corrupt body and its members can be 
bought, had said to Ridden "Go to "Washington 
and see if you can do business with Cannon. You 
probably can't get him with money, because from 
all accounts he's one of the few men who can't 
be bought, but of course, like every other politi- 
cian, he wants to be President, and you might use 
that as bait/' Then Ridder, who was a man of 
luxuriant imagination, or some other man with 
an equally vivid fancy but stunted conscience, 
startled the crowd by explaining: '"Boys, here's the 
game, well tell the old man we'll make him Presi- 
dent, we'll tell him we control the press of the 
whole country and anything we say goes, and the 
damned old fool'll eat it up." Then they all 
laughed and thought it a good joke and told Ridder 
to go ahead and see whether I would bite. I don't 
think any of them ever intended Ridder should 
be as crude as he was, but Ridder got excited, con- 
sidered himself a deep student of human nature, 
and had sized me up as a weak old man who could 
be fooled by any preposterous promise, and made 
the proposition. Naturally when I rejected it and 
rebuked him he was angry and was resolved to get 
even, but I could never see that the incident ever 
did me any real injury. The newspapers held me 
responsible for their having to pay more for news- 



PRESIDENCY AT A BARGAIN 289 

print than they thought they ought to pay. I was 
heavily muckraked. Impetus was given to the 
campaign against "Cannonism," I was a conven- 
ient man of straw to tilt against. Except for such 
minor inconveniences I don't know that I have 
any great complaint. 

Three years later, on April 19, 1911, I made 
a speech in the House on Canadian Reciprocity. 
A representative of the publishers, Mr. Herman 
Ridder, I told the House, came to see me demand- 
ing something be done, which was impossible. 
"There was some nasty talk, to which I will not 
refer and it is not necessary to do so; but I have 
been hammered from that time to this, though I 
believe they have let up on me now, inasmuch as 
I am no longer the Speaker, and I am enjoying a 
little season of rest. It is all right. I am seventy- 
five years old, and, whatever they do, when I ap- 
pear at the gate of either of the places where men 
go hereafter, whether I go where they wear asbes- 
tos halos or those of muslin, I will walk with my 
head erect and say, *I retain my own self-respect. 5 
I am not going far into the matter here. I am go- 
ing to run over the personal part of it as rapidly 
as possible. Many things happened about that 
time, and threats were made that if the Republican 
Party did not promptly put print paper upon the 
free list that great and good man who headed the 



290 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

Publishers* Association, Mr. Herman Bidder, would 
support Mr. Bryan for the Presidency and contrib- 
ute one hundred thousand dollars to his election. 
We did not pass that bill, and when the time came 
Mr. Ridder was made treasurer of the Democratic 
national committee, and I guess he gave you boys 
on the Democratic side fifty thousand dollars, did 
he not? The newspapers say so, and I have never 
seen it denied/ 5 

To another editor connected with a paper in 
Minnesota who offered the support of the free and 
independent press on a condition, I sent the follow- 
ing letter: 

Dear Sir, 

The Speaker has received your letter with reference 
to the amendment to be offered to the Post Office Appro- 
priation Bill providing for the discontinuance of the 
practice of printing business addresses on envelopes by 
the Government. The Speaker has received a great 
many similar letters, but yours seems to be the most 
direct in its appeal to the Speaker to use a power 
which he does not possess under the Rules, and could 
not attempt without becoming, in fact, an autocrat. 

You say, "if you will exercise that great power with 
which you have been credited to save the measure from 
defeat on a point of order, I have no doubt the editors 
will greatly appreciate the favor, and will not view this 
act as critically as though it were done in some cause in 
which they were not interested." 

This seems to be a very frank confession that the 



PRESIDENCY AT A BARGAIN 291 

editors do not view with alarm any exercise of power, 
whether just or unjust, whether under the Rules or in 
defiance of them, so long as that power may be used for 
their benefit. The Speaker appreciates your frankness, 
and is sorry to have to inform you that the Post Office 
Bill is before the Committee of the "Whole House, and 
if a point of order were made against the amendment 
you desire, the ruling must be made by the Chairman of 
the Committee of the whole House and not by the 
Speaker. 

Representative Lawrence, of Massachusetts, is the 
Chairman of the Committee of the Whole while the 
Post Office Bill is under consideration, and it will be 
his duty to rule on this question should a point of order 
be made against it. 1 have no idea how Mr. Lawrence 
would rule, but I think I can assure you that he will, as 
a good parliamentarian and honest man, and a man 
who regards his oath of office as sacred, follow the rules 
and precedents of the House as they have developed in 
more than a hundred years; that he will not follow his 
own personal inclinations, nor those of the Speaker. 
And I might say he would be guided neither by the 
desire to secure the favor nor the displeasure of the 
editors of Minnsota or any other part of the country. 



CHAPTER XV 
CHEAP POSTAGE AND PUBLICITY 

"WHEN I was elected to Congress in 1872 pub- 
lications went through the mails without prepay- 
ment and the duty of collecting postage from the 
subscribers was put on the thirty-three thousand 
postmasters of the country. There was no way the 
Post Office Department could tell whether the 
postage had been collected. It was such a pica- 
yune business, this collecting five or six cents 
a quarter from patrons of the postoffice, that even 
honest postmasters would not give proper at- 
tention to it, and report to the Department. 
There may have been some dishonesty but there 
was more carelessness, and a system that en- 
couraged careless handling of Government ac- 
counts was a bad system. Apart from the neces- 
sity for changing the system was another reason 
to appeal to me. I had all my life felt the need 
for the better distribution of information and 
knowledge. I had as a boy ridden ten and even 
twenty miles to secure a newspaper for the neigh- 
borhood that it might have the news. I had ex- 
perienced the hunger for books that no one can 
understand in this day. I had been intimate with 

292 



POSTAGE AND PUBLICITY 293 

the struggling country editor whose work was 
labor of love; I had felt that the circulation of the 
magazines of fifty years ago was a distinct exten- 
sion of education and culture; that they had 
brought to the people the best literature of their 
day, and it was the proper function of the Post 
Office Department to aid in bringing this literature 
to the people without making revenue the first 
consideration. 

The bill I introduced, which subsequently be- 
came law with slight amendment, madfe the pound 
the unit of payment, provided that the publica- 
tions should be weighed in bulk at the office of 
mailing, and the postage prepaid by the publisher. 
The rates were reduced and this caused the bill 
to be objected to on the ground that the Govern- 
ment was losing money on second class matter, 
but I contended that the prepayment of postage 
would bring in a greater revenue. 

"We are continually told that history repeats it- 
self, and just as now many publishers think I am 
opposed to their interests, so at the beginning of 
my Congressional life I had to meet their opposi- 
tion. They brought pressure to bear to defeat 
my bill and complained it was a great injustice 
to them. They did not like having the cost of the 
postage transferred from the subscriber to the pub- 
lisher. They said they could not increase the price 



294 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

of their publications to the subscribers, and if they 
paid the postage they would lose money. I was 
satisfied that when the subscribers were relieved of 
the petty annoyance of paying postage every quar- 
ter they would not object to having the postage 
added to the subscription price. It has worked 
out that way. The publishers, as we all know, 
have not lost money, on the contrary, they have 
built up enormous mail circulations and made great 
fortunes. The people have also gained. They are 
no longer isolated, cut off from the best reading 
matter, out of touch with current thought. The 
Post Office Department is like a great root spread- 
ing many feet under ground and nourishing the 
mighty oak. It is the tap root of civilization. 
There is not a hamlet, even half a dozen little 
houses far removed from the village or the town, 
to which the rural free delivery carrier does not 
go. And on his back is his pack of knowledge. 
The daily newspaper from the large city, the 
weekly magazine, the monthly review; the more 
pretentious books to amuse or instruct are in the 
humble carrier's pack; the little settlement may 
be remote from the road and strife of the metrop- 
olis, knowing it only by repute, but the post office 
enables men to travel far and wide. It costs the 
Government money, the Government loses money 
on every piece of printed matter it transports, but 



POSTAGE AND PUBLICITY 295 

it is because the Government recognizes the educa- 
tional value of the press that the percentage of 
illiteracy in the United States is lower than in any 
other country and our standard of civilization is 
higher than elsewhere. 

I believe we had better publicity forty years ago 
when the party press was the rule and the so-called 
independent press the exception, than we have now. 
The correspondents in the press gallery then felt 
their responsibility for reporting the proceedings 
of Congress. Then men representing papers in 
sympathy with the party in power were alert to 
present the record their party was making so that 
the people would know its accomplishments, and 
those representing the opposition party were eager 
to expose any failures on the part of the Adminis- 
tration. The press correspondents performed their 
functions in government just as did the Members 
of Congress. The men in the press gallery now are 
perhaps as able and conscientious as their predeces- 
sors, but there has gone much of the serious dis- 
cussion of legislative matters. It has given way to 
what is considered more entertaining reading. The 
cut of a Congressman's whiskers or his clothes is 
a better subject for a human interest story than 
what he says in debate. The gossip of what might 
have been done or what should have been done 
takes the place of what has been done. From the 



296 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

newspaper point of view, I can understand, noth- 
ing is news that is not unusual or out of the ordi- 
nary run of events. When I was elected Speaker 
I gave instructions to my messenger that the 
Speaker's Room was to be open to the newspaper 
correspondents. I did not think there would be 
much news in the Speaker's Room, but I wanted 
to remove the air of secrecy and mystery that al- 
ways surrounds any place where newspaper men 
cannot go. I sometimes think that this effort to 
allow the newspapers access to everything in the 
Speaker's Room was not an entire success, for there 
were many curious calls and many freak letters 
coming to the Speaker, all of which furnished the 
correspondents with tc human interest stories" and 
contributed to the modern development of news 
rather than to legislative publicity. 

I remember one day in 1910 there were six or 
seven very important subjects under consideration 
at the Capitol. Senator Lodge's committee on the 
high cost of living began its hearings; the Agricul- 
tural Committee of the House had the conserva- 
tion question before it with testimony from 
experts; the Judiciary Committee took up proposi- 
tions to amend the Sherman anti-trust law; Sena- 
tor Bailey delivered what was said by Senators to 
be one of the greatest Constitutional arguments 
ever made in the Senate; the special committee on 



POSTAGE AND PUBLICITY 297 

the Ballinger-Pinchot investigation heard impor- 
tant testimony; the House passed the naval bill car- 
rying appropriations o one hundred and thirty 
million dollars, and the Senate debated the postal 
savings bank bilL I thought it a great day for 
news and expected to read reports of each of these 
proceedings in the morning paper. But I found 
next morning that all these things which I had re- 
garded as important had been subordinated to a 
postcard received by the Speaker the day before* 
The postcard purported to be from a group of 
young ladies in Ohio requesting the Speaker to 
open a matrimonial bureau and secure husbands 
for them as the best way to reduce the high cost 
of living. 

The Puritans cut off the ears of my Quaker an- 
cestors who came to Boston in an early day, and 
that is probably the reason I was not born in New 
England. The Puritans had another custom with 
which I have some sympathy. They introduced 
the ducking stool for malicious gossips. If that 
custom had continued down to the present day 
just think what New England would have lost in 
the way of modern newspapers! Or if the new 
development by the editors had been persisted in, 
the Charles River embankment might today be 
decorated with ducking stools and every morning 
there might be presented the spectacle of pub- 



298 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

Ushers, editors, correspondents and reporters ready 
for their morning baths at public expense. It is 
a singular commentary on our intellectual devel- 
opment that in an era when women are entering so 
many of the fields of endeavor long monopolized 
by men and are competing with them in serious 
work, those to whom we look as publicists and 
teachers the editors and publishers should have 
monopolized the one function which from the 
earliest times was supposed to belong to old ladies 
who had nothing else to do but meddle with the 
affairs of others and gossip about them. 

Years ago at the Gridiron Club I said to its 
members I would leave to them the stories concern- 
ing myself, and I would never contradict a story 
or an interview. They gave me no reason to com- 
plain. They were not only my friends, but they 
were intelligent and experienced men, knowing as 
much about public affairs as I did, and at least they 
did not make me appear an ass or ignoramus. But 
that license was soon appropriated by others, and 
I have been represented as saying and doing so 
many fantastic things that I often wonder what 
sort of a man I really am. 

A good many interviews remind me of one in a 
Venezuelan newspaper. Several years ago I was 
in Caracas and while attending a reception at the 
President's palace an attache of President Castro, 



POSTAGE AND PUBLICITY 299 

who spoke a little English and acted as interpreter, 
informed me that the reporters desired to meet me 
and secure an interview. He kindly offered to act 
as interpreter so that the reporters would not mis- 
represent what I should say. The reporters were 
introduced, they were bright fellows, and through 
the interpreter told me many interesting things 
about Venezuela,, President Castro, the Govern- 
ment and the revolution. They knew their own. 
country and government and could talk about 
them with intelligence. The next morning the 
papers had extended interviews with Speaker Can- 
non, "the Director General of North America," 
and one of them was enterprising enough to print 
it in English. It was so ridiculous as to be very 
funny. Mark Twain never did anything better 
in his humorous pictures of American politics than 
did this Venezuelan reporter in his serious effort 
to interpret what I said about the Government of 
the United States, its policies, and President Roose- 
velt. The interpreter had translated my English 
into Spanish and the reporter had then translated 
it back into English, with the result that I was 
represented as the Director General of North 
America, and a Venezuelan revolution was a con- 
servative Government as compared with the United 
States in peace. 

That effort of a reporter to interview a man who 



300 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

could not understand a word of his questions and 
who could not understand a word of the answers 
delivered through an interpreter who had a very 
indefinite and insufficient knowledge of the Eng- 
lish language and the United States, was not much 
more ridiculous than some of the interviews I have 
read in American newspapers. Take for instance, 
an interview on the Rules of the House written by 
a young man who had never attempted anything 
more ambitious than reporting a society function 
or a dog fight until he came into the Speaker's 
Room one day and overheard a group of old corre- 
spondents. Members, and the Speaker, chaffing 
about the rules and some of the amusing contests 
over them. The young reporter listened to this 
ridiculous chaff and the next morning he had an 
interview with Speaker Cannon on the rules of 
the House that quite rivaled the effort of the Vene- 
zuelan reporter* 

I have sometimes heard newspaper men boast 
that they had to prepare interviews with public 
men with very little assistance from their subject. 
I can well believe this, judging from some of my 
own experiences, and I have come to look upon 
interviews as the product of the reporter rather 
than the man interviewed. In looking over the 
great number of published interviews credited to 
me I can find very little of myself, very few of my 




From The New York Herald 

MOSES "THE GREAT LAW GIVER" IN ACTION 




Front The New York Herald 
NOT BIG ENOUGH FOR 
SPEAKER CANNON 




Frew The New York Heralb 
THE SPIRIT OF 1906 



POSTAGE AND PUBLICITY 301 

thoughts or expressions, and a great deal that I 
have seen from time to time credited to other peo- 
ple. In fact, I have come to look upon my name 
as simply a convenient vehicle to carry anything 
that may be found in an encyclopedia of eccen- 
tricities attributed to public men in the last hun- 
dred years. I have paid little attention to these 
alleged interviews and stories touching myself, but 
the license to credit men in public life with the 
thoughts and fancies of reporters has in recent 
years, in some cases, been carried to a dangerous 
extreme. 

I once said to McKinley that it was easier for 
a politician to get along with a reputation as a 
sinner than with a reputation as a saint. I had 
been accused of being a profane man who played 
cards and showed other evil tendencies, while Mc- 
Kinley had a reputation for being thoroughly good 
and kind and gentle, who never swore or took a 
drink or played a game of cards. He admitted 
there was much force in my argument, after his 
campaign for Governor of Ohio. He had numer- 
ous annoyances and many embarrassments because 
of his public reputation, and he charged it to the 
newspaper men. He couldn't talk plainly to peo- 
ple because of his gentleness, and he could not take 
a glass of beer without shocking some of the tem- 
perance people who had endorsed him as a strict 



302 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

prohibitionist and teetotaller. He had to be gen- 
tleness itself to maintain the character the press 
had given him. On the other hand, I could do 
much as I pleased without unduly shocking any- 
body, for little was expected from me. If I showed 
ordinary gentility and some familiarity with so- 
cial customs or with the Bible and other good lit- 
erature, I simply caused surprise at my improve- 
ment or I could throw the responsibility on the 
newspapers for having misrepresented, if not hav- 
ing slandered me. McKinley admitted that I had 
the best of the argument and that it was wiser for 
a politician to have a reputation as a sinner than 
to be too much of a saint. 



CHAPTER XVI 

SOME STIRRING SCENES AND 
PERSONAL ESTIMATES 

THE House of Representatives is very human. 
It is a responsive audience; it can be moved to tears 
and give itself up to laughter, but its mood 
is merely of the moment. The clamor of party 
bitterness can be hushed or laughed at under 
the magic of the skilled orator, and when his 
voice no longer charms or amuses, passion again 
rages. It is a curious assemblage, this House of 
ours. We saw a striking illustration of this in 
188 5, when the bill was passed restoring Grant 
to his old rank of General. The Democrats had 
unseated a good many Republicans among others 
McKinley and one of the contests still un- 
decided was that of James Wilson, of Iowa, famil- 
iarly known as "Tama Jim/' When the Demo- 
crats unseated McKinley they did not know they 
were electing him President; and the first selec- 
tion McKinley made for his Cabinet was Tama 
Jim to be Secretary of Agriculture, who served un- 
der three Presidents, a longer service than any man 
in our history. 

The report of the Committee declaring that 

303 



304 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

"Wilson had not been legally elected was not called 
up for action until February 28, four days before 
the final adjournment of Congress. The Repub- 
licans determined to fight the report, and if neces- 
sary filibuster. There was really nothing in the 
fight except politics. Wilson had served his term, 
his Democratic opponent would have only a few 
days as a Congressman, and the not unimportant 
item of the back salary, which would be paid him 
for having done nothing; but both sides wanted 
a fight to wind up the session in good style. It 
was the Saturday before adjournment and the 
inauguration of President Grover Cleveland, the 
first Democratic President since the Civil War. 
We started the filibuster on old-fashioned lines. 
The roll was called on motions to adjourn, and 
that was all the business we did. We adjourned, 
as usual over Sunday, but renewed the filibuster 
on Monday morning, March 2, when we had a re- 
cruit from a most unexpected quarter. Roger Q. 
Mills, of Texas, one of the most prominent mem- 
bers on the Democratic side, offered a resolution 
that the House should refuse to take any part in 
the inaugural ceremonies. A bombshell indeed. 
A Democratic President about to be sworn into 
office and the Democrats remaining away. What 
had Mr. Cleveland done even before he had become 
President? Mills, always a vigorous speaker, was 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 305 

furious. The Senate Committee on arrangements 
had assigned seats to the House of Representatives 
at the rear of the platform. This was an insult to 
the dignity of the House, and Mills announced he 
would not consent to sit with the bootblacks and 
the servants while Senators were in the place of 
honor. Of course, we sympathized with Mills and 
shared with him the slight put upon us by the 
Senate, but really we were delighted. Thanks to 
Mills, precious time was being used up, which was 
exactly what we wanted. "We agreed with our 
Democratic friends that it was a dirty trick. 
When a scrapping Democrat proposed that the 
Capitol police should be immediately mobilized 
just what they were to do no one ever knew we 
egged him on like naughty boys trying to make 
a pup fight. Finally the Democrats saw they were 
making themselves ridiculous, Mills* resolution 
was voted down, and we turned to the more serious 
business of again calling the roll. 

Late Tuesday night Samuel J. Randall, the Dem- 
ocratic floor leader, moved to suspend the rules 
and pass the bill giving Grant the rank of General 
The Speaker held the motion to be out of order. 
Randall next moved to displace the election case, 
but this also was ruled out. The fight continued 
to grow uglier hour after hour, and on the morn- 
ing of March 4, when Members should have been 



306 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

preparing to attend the ceremonies of inducting a 
new President into office, the Chamber was filled 
with as angry a lot of men as I ever saw without 
calling it a mob. It looked like a deadlock until 
the hour of final adjournment. About an hour 
before adjournment Randall again moved to take 
up the Grant bill Bennett of North Carolina, 
who had the election case in charge, jokingly said 
he would consent to the passage of the Grant bill 
after the election contest had been voted on. 

Agile as a cat, Tama Jim sprang to the top of 
his desk and began to wave his long arms in an 
effort to secure recognition. "When the confusion 
had partially subsided "Wilson shouted out that if 
the House would put Grant upon the retired list 
he was willing to be sacrificed. Instantly the 
House was stunned into silence by this unexpected 
declaration. The galleries were crowded with visi- 
tors come to the inauguration ceremonies, and 
among them were many old soldiers, men who had 
fought with Grant and those who had fought 
against him; and the former Confederates had the 
same feeling for the dying commander as his own 
men. The piercing rebel yell mingled with the 
applause of Northern men in the galleries and on 
the floor. Without another word, without even 
a roll call, Frederick, Wilson's opponent, was de- 
clared elected. As Frederick was being sworn in 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 307 

Wilson slowly walked up the main aisle, the gal- 
leries and the Members again cheering him, and 
left the House. Instead o the Congress ending 
in disorder, a spirit of bitterness and some of the 
great appropriations bills hanging in the air, good 
feeling prevailed, a wave of patriotism and sym- 
pathy swept aside partisanship, and all legislation 
was properly completed. 

Strictly speaking, Grant was never legally re- 
stored to his rank and never legally commissioned. 
It simply shows, as Tom Reed once said to me, 
"There are times when to obey the law is to make 
an ass of the law. 53 As soon as the bill was passed 
by the House it was rushed over to the Senate, 
the Clerk of the House having hard work to worm 
his way through the corridors, thronged with 
former soldiers and others who were still excitedly 
applauding the House for having honored their 
hero. It was now past twelve o'clock. There was 
no longer a House of Representatives, the Senate 
of the Forty-eighth Congress had passed out of 
existence, the term of the President had expired. 
If you want to be a strict constitutionalist, there 
was at that precise moment no Government. 
There are times when Congress can be so punctili- 
ous that failure to dot an i or cross a t is suffi- 
cient ground to make one House reject the legis- 
lation of the other; and there are times when one 



308 UNCLE JPE CANNON 

House might leave out all the t's and is and pretty 
nearly the whole alphabet and no one would care. 
Twelve o'clock had come and gone, but in both 
Houses the clocks had been set back, and officially 
noon had not arrived, no matter what the heavens 
might say. 

As soon as the Secretary of the Senate received 
the bill he presented it to the presiding officer, who 
signed it and sent it to Mr. Arthur, by grace of 
the clocks still President of the United States. In 
the President's Room, across the corridor from the 
Senate Chamber, Mr. Arthur was waiting- He 
immediately signed the bill and simultaneously sent 
his last message to the Senate, nominating Grant 
to be General. There was another great burst of 
applause when the message was read, Senators on 
the floor as well as the occupants of the galleries 
joining. Mr. Edmunds, who was presiding, was 
a stickler for the rules and a strict observance of 
the proprieties of the Senate, but he did not con- 
sider it necessary to give the usual admonition that 
manifestations of approval from the galleries were 
not permitted by the rules of the Senate. After 
all, what are rules between friends? 

If everything had been done in order a motion 
would have been made to refer the nomination to 
the Committee on Military Affairs, but without 
waiting for a motion, the Chair himself proposed 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 309 

again violating all rules and precedents that the 
nomination be considered in open session. This 
was done and the confirmation unanimously ap- 
proved. The commission had already been made 
out and signed by the horological President, and 
as soon as word reached him of the confirmation he 
immediately dispatched it by special messenger to 
gladden the last hours of the great commander. 

Representative Charles Boutelle, of Maine, an 
intense admirer of General Grant, had followed 
the bill from the House to the Senate and thence 
to the President. As the gavel was about to fall 
and the Speaker was beginning to inform the mem- 
bers that the moment of final adjournment had 
come, the main central doors were flung open, 
Boutelle hurtled through them as if he had been 
picked up by a cyclone, and it seemed as if with- 
out touching the floor he landed more than half 
way down the aisle. The Speaker, with his gavel 
held suspended, blandly enquired: "For what pur- 
pose does the gentleman rise?" Breathless from 
his exertion Boutelle was just able to gasp out that 
the Senate had confirmed Grant and he was now 
restored to his former rank. Once more the House 
rocked with cheers. Everybody looked round for 
Tama Jim, the man who had made this possible, 
but he was nowhere to be seen. His spirit, how- 
ever, still ruled the House. I suppose the Speaker 



310 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

did adjourn the House, or perhaps it just ad- 
journed itself, but Republicans and Democrats in 
brotherly love, the bitterness of the past forgotten, 
linked arms and made their way through the 
choked corridors to the platform on the East front, 
where they meekly took the places assigned to 
them in the rear, even Roger Q. Mills, as amiable 
as everyone else, forgetting his annoyance and his 
ruffled dignity at having to sit with "the boot- 
blacks of the Senate. 5 * 

Another scene, no less dramatic, was when 
Elaine, in June, 1876, in the words of Robert G. 
Ingersoll, "tore from the throat of treason the 
tongue of slander, 5 * and exposed the vile conspir- 
acy of the Mulligan Letters. It was only a week 
before the meeting of the Republican National 
Convention in Cincinnati, with Elaine one of the 
leading candidates. No man in our politics was 
more loved or more hated. To his admirers he 
was "The Plumed Knight, 55 his honor untarnished; 
to his opponents he was the sum of all iniquity. 
His enemies resorted to every disgraceful trick to 
destroy him. They tried to make the country be- 
lieve Elaine was dishonest and that he had used his 
power as Speaker to promote legislation in which 
he had a pecuniary interest. He demanded an in- 
vestigation and was exonerated. 

The Committee on Judiciary had been in- 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 311 

structed to investigate the affairs of the Union Pa- 
cific Railroad, and it was gossip that evidence to 
involve Blaine had been secured through the Mul- 
ligan letters. These had been written by Blaine 
to Warren Fisher of Boston, stolen by James Mulli- 
gan, a man in his employment, and brought to 
Washington to be laid before the Committee, but 
in some mysterious way Blaine secured their pos- 
session. This was the situation when on Monday, 
June 5 y in the presence of a full House and crowded 
galleries, he got up to speak. He asserted that the 
Committee under the guise of investigating the 
Pacific railroads was really investigating him, and 
while he had no objection to that, the honest thing 
would be for the Committee to investigate him 
by name. Next he told of the history of the Mulli- 
gan letters. He admitted he had the letters and 
the Committee had tried to secure them, but the 
correspondence was his, and he challenged the right 
of the Committee or the House to say what should 
be done with his private correspondence. Then oc- 
curred the most dramatic incident in Congress. 
Nothing like it, I think, ever happened before, cer- 
tainly nothing like it has happened since. Sud- 
denly without a word to lead up to the climax, he 
opened his desk, brought out a package and, hold- 
ing it high above his head for every one to see, 
and in a voice which rang through the Chamber, 



312 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

said he was not ashamed to have the letters read, 
and invited "the confidence of forty-four million 
of my countrymen, while I read these letters from 
this desk/' 

It was so surprising, so totally unexpected, that 
for a moment no one knew what it meant. Blaine 
had been represented in the press as doing every- 
thing to prevent the letters reaching the public, of 
having with tears in his eyes implored the Commit- 
tee not to ruin him; he had gone down on his knees 
before Mulligan and swore he would commit sui- 
cide if the letters were published. For a moment 
the Republicans were as astounded as the Demo- 
crats. The pause was only long enough to mark 
the proper dramatic emphasis. Confidence in their 
leader, admiration for his boldness and strategy, 
brought the Republicans to their feet, a cheering, 
shouting, half hysterical mass, in which the gal- 
leries joined. For a few minutes the House was 
Bedlam. The Democrats sat mute, scowling and 
bewildered. The man they singled out for humil- 
iation was about to read the evidence on which 
they relied to break him. 

"When order was restored Blaine began to read. 
There were not more than a dozen of these letters, 
and as a sensation they were not worth the paper 
upon which they were written. They solely con- 
cerned Blaine's private business affairs, and were 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 313 

of interest only to him and Fisher. But Blaine had 
still another situation to stage, in its way, al- 
most as startling. As he finished reading the last 
letter and handed the package to the official re- 
porter he walked down the centre aisle, and stand- 
ing in the well with all eyes upon him, he turned 
to Proctor Knott and asked if he had sent a tele- 
gram to Josiah Caldwell to appear as a witness 
before his Committee. Knott said he did not know 
CaldwelFs address, and he also walked down the 
aisle close enough to Blaine almost to touch him. 
Thus the two men stood facing each other. 

Blaine asked Knott if he had received a telegram 
from Caldwell; Knott began tc l will explain/' but 
Blaine cut him short and demanded a plain yes 
or no. Knott asked Blaine how he knew about the 
dispatch, and Blaine came back sharply, "When 
did you get it? I want the gentleman from Ken- 
tucky to tell this House when he received that 
dispatch." Knott, confused, hesitated; Blaine, 
putting his hand in his pocket, sprung his second 
surprise of the day. He pulled out a little slip of 
paper. It was a copy of CaldwelPs dispatch from 
London, received by Knott five days before, which 
he had kept to himself. Knott had to make some 
explanation, and he told the House Caldwell 
cabled he had read the testimony to Thomas A. 
Scott vindicating Blaine, and his own knowledge 



314 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

corroborated that of Scott, Before making Cald- 
welPs dispatch public, Knott said, it was thought 
advisable to secure confirmation from Caldwell, 
but his address was unknown and the Committee 
was trying to secure it. Elaine's triumph was 
complete. Again the Republicans cheered their 
champion until they were hoarse. 

I have participated in many exciting contests in 
the House in the last half century, but that was 
the most dramatic of all. Those two men, both 
handsome and impressive in bearing, with voices 
trained to make speech most effective, face to face 
in the arena of the greatest legislative body in the 
world, supported by their partisans and surrounded 
by a company of the most distinguished men of 
the time, impressed me like a revival of the tourna- 
ments at King Arthur's court. I confess that I 
was not an impartial witness, for I was a partisan 
then and something of a hero worshipper. But I 
never knew a live man who was strictly impartial. 
I have heard men say they were impartial, but I 
knew they were fooling themselves. A dead man 
may be impartial, not a live one. Certainly no- 
body in the House on that afternoon even tried 
to appear impartial We were as lusty in our par- 
tisanship as a lot of men at a prize fight. 

I wouldn't give three whoops for a man whose 
heart did not beat faster, whose eyes did not take 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 315 

fire, whose spirit did not swell, who would not be 
moved to laughter or to tears by a song from the 
heart, by a woman's pleading, by noble oratory or 
noble acting, by the carols of birds and the voices 
of young children, by any human action through 
which the spirit in one spoke to the spirit in others. 
I cheered Elaine that day until my voice frazzled 
to a squeak and weakness made me inarticulate. 

Grover Cleveland was an honest man and cour- 
ageous, sincere, with the interests of the country 
at heart as he conceived them, but as a President he 
was not a success. He disrupted his party. His 
was a personal administration. A stubborn man, 
he demanded that his party do as he demanded in- 
stead of consulting them. That is always a mis- 
take. No President can play a lone hand. If he 
wants to give the country an effective administra- 
tion he must encourage team work. 

Mr. Cleveland was elected on a tariff reform 
platform. In his inaugural address he stressed the 
importance of immediate revision of the tariff, but 
in the following August he called Congress in extra 
session, not to repeal the McKinley law, but to re- 
peal the Sherman Silver Law. It was to the latter 
Mr. Cleveland attributed the acute business de- 
pression then existing. "We Republicans knew bet- 
ter. We ascribed it to the fear of a low tariff which 



316 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

would enable foreigners to invade our markets and 
bring about a reduction in wages. 

He broke with his party on Silver, and was di- 
rectly responsible for making the Democrats the 
free silver party. The President was accused of 
having fallen into the hands of his political oppo- 
nents and advocating Republican rather than Dem- 
ocratic policies* That, of course, was nonsense; 
there never was a better Democrat than Cleveland, 
but he was as tolerant as Jackson in having his own 
way and seemed to think his opponents had no feel- 
ings. It is true the Republicans helped Cleveland 
to secure the repeal of the Sherman Act, but we 
were not playing politics. We believed the Sher- 
man law was a menace to the country and we were 
glad to have it out of the way. My purpose is not 
to discuss the tariff, but simply to call attention to 
the mistake Mr. Cleveland made in trying to turn 
his party about face. That is a difficult thing for 
a President to attempt. Democrats were agreed 
on the necessity for tariff revision and split on the 
money question. Mr. Cleveland did what every 
Republican had tried to guard against. He divided 
Democrats on geographic lines. The East was for 
gold and the West for silver. By the time the next 
Democratic convention met in 1896 the division 
was clearly marked. The opponents of free silver 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 317 

were merely a handf uL Cleveland was practically 
read out of his party. 

The Republican convention, held two weeks 
earlier, nominated McKinley on a gold platform. 
The Eastern Republicans demanded a gold plank 
as the price of their support; the great majority of 
the "Western Republicans, excepting those from the 
Silver States, were more interested in McKinley 
and Protection than they were in silver. Senator 
Platt, of New York, convinced Mark Hanna of 
the wisdom of that policy, and, after a sharp strug- 
gle, it was adopted. Then occurred a dramatic in- 
cident, perhaps the most dramatic incident ever 
witnessed in a Republican convention. The great 
hall was packed when up rose the venerable and 
gaunt form of Senator Teller, of Colorado. The 
crisis of the convention had come. It was in an 
atmosphere of tense excitement that he slowly 
walked to the front of the platform. He was re- 
ceived with a storm of cheers. He had inspired in 
the silver men of the West a faith that was almost 
akin to religious fervor; even his opponents, who 
agreed with him on everything else except the coin- 
age of silver, could not but respect his sincerity and 
the depth of his convictions. To Teller this was 
not a question of politics or economics. To him 
it was a matter of conscience; as he viewed it, op- 
portunity was presented for the debtor class to 



318 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

escape from the greed and financial slavery im- 
posed upon them by their creditors, "the Wall 
Street bankers/ 3 as the "West phrased it. A life- 
long Republican, a sincere believer in the principles 
of his party, the old man was forced to choose be- 
tween his party and his conscience* He did not 
falter. 

His speech was not eloquent Teller was never 
a great orator and his emotion made his words 
limp and hesitant, but no one who sat there that 
day will ever forget. The words have long been 
lost to me, but the impression remains, as vivid 
and moving as if it were yesterday. He knew that 
he was outnumbered, that he was in a hopeless 
minority, and the majority, hostile and ruthless, 
was determined to put a gold plank in the platform 
regardless of the feelings of the silver Republicans 
of the West, but to Teller that was all the greater 
reason for him to make his final plea and admonish 
his associates of their folly. It was his duty. He 
warned them of their danger and urged them to 
remember that if they did what they threatened, 
he and other men sitting as delegates in the con- 
vention would be compelled to vacate their seats 
and renounce the Republican party. It was a mov- 
ing appeal. In national conventions, as a rule, 
the effect of a speech is to create passion or arouse 
excitement. There was some cheering when Teller 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 319 

in concluding pleaded that he be allowed to re- 
main with his friends and party associates, but not 
at the price of his honor; but the effect produced 
on most men by the impassioned plea was a feeling 
of vague uneasiness and disquiet. They asked 
themselves whether he was a prophet wiser than 
his fellows; whether the evils he predicted would 
follow. 

The gold plank was adopted. "When the result 
of the vote had been announced Teller arose. He 
was joined by Senator Dubois, of Idaho, and a few 
others, and led by Teller, tears streaming down his 
cheeks, the little band walked slowly out of the 
hall At first a few faint hisses were heard and 
then a little sporadic applause, but almost at once, 
as if an order had been issued, all demonstration 
ceased. The emotion of a great crowd, nervously 
overwrought, is a curious thing, but in a crowd of 
Americans there is always a feeling of respect for 
the defeated who has made a gallant fight. Teller 
and his followers had buried their hopes; it was 
not the moment either to cheer or to revile. It 
was a solemn occasion, and as befitting its solem- 
nity, they were to be allowed to depart in silence. 

Cleveland's repudiation by his party completely 
changed Democratic principles. The party threw 
off its old conservative tendencies and fathered the 
radicalism of the Grangers, the Populists and other 



320 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

dissatisfied elements anxious to try rash and vision- 
ary experiments. No man in public life since the 
Civil War, except Andrew Jackson, had done so 
much to change political conditions as did Mr. 
Cleveland when he challenged his party after his 
second inauguration. "While in office his great 
qualities were not appreciated; it was only after 
he retired, and especially since his death, that the 
country took the real measure of the man and con- 
ceded that he was one of the outstanding Presi- 
dents. 

I once had some reputation for trying to econo- 
mize in Government expenditures and appropria- 
tions. I must, however, acknowledge that Presi- 
dent Coolidge did more in that line in one year than 
I did in the ten years I was Chairman of the Com- 
mittee on Appropriations. With a budget law 
authorizing the President to make the budget 
through his Bureau of the Budget and one Com- 
mittee on Appropriations in the House authorized 
to report appropriation bills, President Coolidge 
was able to cut the expenditures by a billion dol- 
lars the first year of his Administration and he pro- 
poses to cut deeper and deeper while he continues 
in office. 

The Fifty-first Congress, when I was Chairman 
of the Committee on Appropriations, appropriated 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 321 

a billion dollars for the two years, or half a bil- 
lion dollars annually. Through the press and in 
the political campaign that followed, we were de- 
nounced as having created a billion dollar Con- 
gress; Speaker Reed retorted that this was a billion 
dollar country. That billion dollars in 1890 
seemed to be a tremendous amount of money for 
Government expenditures, but it now looks pica- 
yunish as compared with appropriations of the 
Sixty-fifth and Sixty-sixth Congresses covering 
the expenses of this Government in the "World 
War. Those two Congresses appropriated more 
than forty billion dollars more than our total 
wealth when I was elected to Congress, more than 
all the expenditures of the Government from its 
beginning down to the year 1917, three times as 
much as all the gold produced in the world from 
the time Columbus discovered America down to 
the present. 

"We had a public debt of nearly a billion dollars 
before we entered the war. At the beginning of 
President Har ding's administration we had a public 
debt of more than twenty-five billion dollars, with 
an annual interest charge of more than a billion. 
The Harding and Coolidge administrations cut off 
three billions of the debt in three years and one 
hundred and twenty million dollars a year in in- 
terest. The annual expenditures the last year of 



322 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the Wilson Administration were more than five 
billion dollars; we were paying for the war. In 
President Coolidge's second year the annual ex- 
penditure was three billion dollars; we were saving 
after the war. Harding and Coolidge whittled 
down the expenditure and enabled Congress to 
whittle down the appropriations, and Coolidge is 
still whittling. As an economist, he has the record 
not only for this country but for the world* I 
hope the President's success in economy will lead 
the American people to learn something about liv- 
ing within their incomes and saving something for 
an emergency. 

President Harding showed good judgment when 
he selected Charles G. Dawes as the first Director 
of the Budget. I have known Dawes for nearly 
thirty years; knew his father before him, who 
served in Congress with me more than forty years 
ago; knew his brothers and know his family. The 
General has good blood as well as good training and 
experience. He can play the political game, but 
always plays it on the square. In the preliminary 
campaign in Illinois in 1896 I did not know that 
Charlie Dawes had become a citizen of Illinois until 
I discovered that he had committed the state to 
McKinley against Senator Cullom, who was our 
favorite son. He had located in Illinois quietly 
and canvassed the situation and when the State Re- 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 323 

publican Convention met the poll was for McKin- 
ley. Charlie Dawes had done that. "When Mc- 
Kinley appointed him Comptroller of the Currency 
some of the older heads wagged uneasily. He was 
too young to control all the national banks, but 
he made good and was soon recognized as an au- 
thority on finance as well as on banking. 

After the death of McKinley he resigned as 
Comptroller and again demonstrated his practical 
knowledge by establishing a bank of his own in 
Chicago which soon took a commanding place in 
the banking world; when war came, without a 
thought of these great interests under his control, 
he passed them on to others while he joined Per- 
shing in France. There, coordinating the purchase 
of supplies and other expenditures for the army, 
he saved billions for the Government. He saw the 
economic necessity of cutting red tape and he did 
it, and thereby helped Pershing to get his men to 
the front. 

As an advocate of the national budget, I was 
one of those who recommended Dawes to Presi- 
dent Harding as Director of that new economic 
machine and he made it work from the start, hold- 
ing the executive departments to their necessities 
instead of allowing the gratification of their de- 
sires. He lopped off nearly a billion dollars of ex- 
penditures in the first year, and then again re- 



324 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

signed. General Dawes was a victim of an inves- 
tigation by a Democratic committee that went to 
France to inquire how he spent the money and 
whether he kept strictly within the law, but in 
Paris the committee discovered that Dawes was 
one of the most popular men in all France and they 
did not care to put him on the grill They waited 
until he came back to Chicago and then they called 
him to Washington to explain. His explanations 
were so emphatic and so clear to the man in the 
street, although at times not strictly parliamen- 
tary, that he became the whole show and the com- 
mittee quit in disgust and never made a report. 
As a politician and a business man Dawes has shown 
extraordinary common sense and he has also had 
experience as well as ability. As Vice-President, 
Dawes, like Roosevelt, may be rather lost as Pre- 
siding Officer over the Senate, but I predict that 
he will keep the Senators in a quandary as to what 
he may do next. 

Among my friends I do not remember one who 
more impressed me with his devotion to the effort 
to better mankind that the late Cardinal Gibbons, 
whose home was in Baltimore and who often came 
to Washington and had a comprehensive under- 
standing of political as well as of religious ques- 
tions. I attended many of the Thanksgiving 
breakfasts at St. Patrick's church house in Wash- 




From The New York Herald 



POOR UNCLE JONAH 





From The New York Herald 
A TENACIOUS JONAH 



From The Independent 
CANNON REPROVES CARRANZA 



SOME STIRRING SCENES 325 

ington when the Cardinal was the host and the 
President, members of the Cabinet and Congress 
were guests, and I sometimes met the Cardinal to 
talk over questions pending in Congress. Immi- 
gration was one in which we were both interested. 
I think we both regarded the restricting of immi- 
gration by literacy tests as wrong and not likely 
to improve the character of immigration. I dis- 
cussed this with Cardinal Gibbons and with Presi- 

* 

dent Roosevelt and sometimes the three of us ex- 
changed views. 



CHAPTER XVII 
RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 

THE Maine delegation in the House was a small 
but powerful one when I took my seat. It had 
only four members, and it was always noted 
for its ability. It is extraordinary that a little 
State like Maine should have sent to the House 
Blaine, Hale, Frye, Reed, Dingley, Boutelle and 
Littlefield. These Maine men placed their stamp 
upon more legislation of national importance 
than any other like number of men from one 
State in the history of the Government. Hale 
and Frye were opposites in temperament and 
methods of work. Frye was one of the finished 
orators in Congress and ranked with the most pleas- 
ing speakers in either Senate or House. He was 
gentle in his manner and made friends and kept 
them. Hale was just the opposite. He never made 
a set speech in his life, he did not cultivate the art 
phrase, but throughout his career in Congress he 
was ever alert and kept himself informed as to 
every stage of all important legislation. He was 
an indefatigable worker in committee and always 
in his place on the floor, observing the legislative 
wheel as it turned out laws. 

326 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 327 

I had many tilts with Hale in conference on im- 
portant appropriation bills when I was at the head 
of the Committee on Appropriations of the House, 
and while I found that he was tenacious and at 
times arbitrary in manner, I also found that he had 
the ability to defend his position, and he was prob- 
ably no more stubborn in his position than I was 
in mine. Like all Senators he became impressed 
with the idea that the Senate was of a little higher 
dignity and less called upon to yield than the 
House. For the Senate I have always had great 
respect and admiration. As an institution it serves 
a great and honorable function, but in some re- 
spects it is unrepresentative of the people, owing 
to its composition and rules. Take a tariff bill, for 
instance. There it becomes a disturbing element. 
In the Senate, legislation, to a large extent, goes by 
unanimous consent. Nevada, with a handful of 
people and very few manufacturing interests, has 
as many votes as the great State of New York with 
its millions of people and widely diversified indus- 
tries. The sparsely populated State of Wyoming 
has but a single member in the House and two rep- 
resentatives in the Senate; Pennsylvania, an Em- 
pire within itself, also has but two. The Senate 
is not representative of the wealth of the country; 
the House is. 

When in 1 893 the Wilson Bill was going through 



328 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

the Senate Mr. Quay found that the provisions of 
the Iron and steel schedule were not satisfactory 
to Pennsylvania. He determined that it should be 
made satisfactory, and one day when the bill was 
proceeding quietly on its way Mr. Quay took the 
floor for debate. He talked all the rest of that day* 
The next day he took the floor again, and it was 
observed that as soon as he read a sheet of manu- 
script the pile was replenished by his secretary. It 
was evident to those in charge of the bill that Mr. 
Quay was holding it up, determined to delay, if 
not to prevent, its passage. There was no way, 
under the peculiar rules of the Senate, to take him 
off the floor or limit his time; he could go on as 
long as his physical strength endured; he did not 
have to confine himself to a discussion of the sched- 
ule or the tariff in general, but he could talk about 
anything under the sun. The Senate had to make 
terms with Mr. Quay and he got what he wanted. 
One reason the Maine members left their mark 
on Congress was that they were all strict party 
men; they never diverged by a hair's breadth from 
the principles of the party or entertained any fan- 
tastic notions that they were better than their 
party. Individuals are ephemeral. Today they 
are in positions of trust, tomorrow they may be 
in retirement, in their graves, in disgrace. But 
party is like a rope of many strands, wherein the 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 329 

strength of one adds to the strength of the whole. 
Party is a past with a record. It is the present and 
the future. It is something so definite and tan- 
gible that the voter can deal with it. Its acts are 
an open byway. Its motives cannot be concealed. 
It is not subject to sudden and unexpected changes 
of policy or sudden and unexpected aberrations. 
It is an institution, and from its traditions and 
faith it speaks. 

Dingley was an able man and a methodical 
worker. I served with him on the Committee on 
Appropriations and followed his lead when he be- 
came Chairman of the Committee on Ways and 
Means because he had a better knowledge of the 
details of the tariff than any other man. "While 
Mr. Dingley was very serious about his work and 
sincere, he was shrewd enough to have many of 
the items in the Dingley bill fathered by other 
members, especially when they might attract un- 
desirable attention coming from the Chairman of 
the Committee. Maine had a good many interests 
to be protected, for it is still one of the greatest 
lumber states and also has large agricultural in- 
terests. Mr. Dingley cleverly induced Western 
members of the Committee to father a number of 
the items in the timber and agricultural schedules 
because there was a general impression they ap- 
plied particularly to Western products. He put 



330 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

forward the "Western men in defense of his bill and 
some of the strongest protectionist^irguments were 
made by Hopkins, of Illinois; Tawney, of Minne- 
sota; Dolliver, of Iowa, and other "Westerners who 
were members of the Committee. Yet no Chair- 
man of the Committee on Ways and Means ever 
had his own way in making a tariff bill more than 
did Mr. Dingley. He did not advertise himself as 
a leader, but he led just the same and more suc- 
cessfully than if he had occupied the floor to the 
exclusion of others and had accepted responsibility 
for all the items. He invited cooperation and se- 
cured it. 

In the summer of 1897, while Congress was in 
extra session to revise the tariff, some of our en- 
terprising people in Chicago conceived the idea of 
having e< a business man's tariff" with business men 
constructing its framework. Moses P. Handy, 
who had been the Chief of the Publicity Bureau 
for the World's Fair in Chicago, was still engaged 
in promoting Chicago enterprise through pub- 
licity, and he suggested this idea of a business man's 
tariff. One Saturday Handy and half a dozen 
others met at luncheon and the suggestion was 
at once developed by the organization of the 
"Business Men's League of America." The men 
at the table became the League and it was resolved 
that the tariff should be revised in a thoroughly 




From Harper's Weekly 



TRAINING THE CABINET BIRDS 

The Instructor "Now, Then, All Together: 'It Is the 
Pest Tariff the Country Has Ever Had' " 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 331 

businesslike method under the advice of the 
League. A committee was appointed to go to 
Washington and lay the plans of the League be- 
fore Congress. Mr. Handy, Fred W. Peck and 
some others were the self-constituted committee to 
represent the League in "Washington, and they took 
the train for the East the next morning, arriving 
in Washington about noon on Monday. They 
went from the train direct to the Capitol to round 
up the Illinois members. Their business was too 
pressing for them to wait until they could go to 
the hotel and remove the travel stains. The Ding- 
ley bill had passed the House several months be- 
fore the organization of the ''Business Men's League 
of America" and had also passed the Senate with 
numerous amendments. The bill was in confer- 
ence, and Mr. Dingley was guarding the secret of 
the Conference Committee so closely that not even 
the other members of the Ways and Means Com- 
mittee could learn from him what items had been 
agreed to and what were still in disagreement. 

Our Chicago friends wanted to know all about 
the details of the conference. They first called up 
Senators Cullom and Mason, but neither was a 
member of the Finance Committee of the Senate. 
The Senators sent them to my Committee Room 
and I didn't know and hadn't tried to find out what 
the conferees had agreed upon. I took them over 



332 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

to the Ways and Means Committee and calling out 
Representative Hopkins, the Illinois member of 
the Committee, turned them over to him. They 
told Hopkins the purpose of their visit. They 
wanted to see the work of the conferees at once 
so that they could tell whether it was a business 
man's tariff. Hopkins was not much of a joker, 
but the proposition was so novel that he took them 
into the Committee Room and introduced them to 
Mr. Dingley. The spokesman for the League said 
he understood the bill was in conference and be- 
fore it was agreed upon Mr. Dingley should allow 
the League representatives to take the bill to their 
hotel and go over it carefully. They would mark 
their approval or their disapproval on each item 
and make suggestions as to how all these details 
should be worked out in a business man's tariff. 

The amusing thing was, these Chicago men, some 
of the best business men in the country, were in 
dead earnest. They were absolutely sincere in 
their proposition, and like so many other keen busi- 
ness men, absolutely ignorant of the ways of legis- 
lation; and there was the funny part of the whole 
affair. The "Ways and Means Committee had held 
hearings all through the previous winter, repre- 
sentatives of every industry in the United States 
had appeared and given their views. The Com- 
mittee had spent weeks on the preparation of the 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 333 

bill, and the Senate Committee on Finance still 
more weeks in the preparation of amendments. 
Yet a persuasive publicity agent had been able to 
induce these captains of industry to come to Wash- 
ington and seriously lay their proposal before Mr. 
Dingley. The old man was as serious as were the 
Chicago men and he indignantly repudiated the 
unheard of and impossible suggestion. The only 
man who saw the joke was Hopkins, and he suf- 
fered the usual fate of the man who butts in. 
Handy and his friends were angry because Mr. 
Dingley would not submit to them the conference 
secrets and let them decide what should be done; 
Mr. Dingley was indignant with Hopkins for 
trifling with him and arranging the interview. 

Mr. Dingley died in 1899, and Mr. Hitt, a bon 
vivant with a sense of humor, insisted that his death 
was due to high living. This was at first an as- 
tounding suggestion, because there was no man in 
Washington more temperate in his habits or more 
given to simple food. Mr. Hitt, however, said that 
in this simple life lay the explanation. Dingley 
lived in Washington as he did up in a small town 
in Maine, taking a very plain breakfast, a luncheon 
of bread and milk, and a frugal meal "for dinner. 
He did not know the taste of terrapin and grouse 
and canvasback, and had no more idea of the effect 
of champagne than he had of absinthe. As a mat- 



334 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

ter of fact he was a strict prohibitionist and never 
touched liquor in any form. He lived this abstem- 
ious life until he became Chairman of the Ways 
and Means Committee and the responsible leader 
of the House in revising the tariff. Then he had to 
accept invitations to banquets and public dinners 
of various kinds. He went and ate what was 
placed before him, paying no attention. He was 
absorbed In his work. He ate merely as necessity 
demanded and what was on his plate. He could 
not tell what he had eaten. He never knew, and 
as Mr. Hitt says, he may have been the victim of 
high living, an unconscious victim who had no 
more Idea of enjoying a fine dinner than he had of 
flying. 

An incident at a small dinner is typical of Tom 
Reed's ready wit and Dingley's inability to see a 
joke. It was a dinner given by a Maine man to 
Reed, Dingley and a few others. Now Reed liked 
a glass of wine at his dinner for, in the words of St. 
Paul, "his stomach's sake/' but our host being from 
Maine, he could not offer drink to his guests. In 
those days half way through dinner there was al- 
ways served what was known as a Roman punch, 
which was simply a water ice flavored with 
whiskey, rum or a cordial. When the Roman 
punch came on Reed fell upon it avidly, but Ding- 
ley, sitting across the table, tasted it gingerly, again 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 33S 

approached it cautiously, then laid his spoon down 
and said in his mournful voice with his sorrowful 
countenance and Dingley always looked like a 
man who had just lost his best and dearest friend: 

"Tom, there's rum in that/ 5 and his words and 
tone were a reproach to move the deepest sinner. 

Reed leisurely finished his punch and turning to 
the table drawled out: 

"That's the difference between Nelson and me. 
He knows rum the moment he tastes it; I had to 
finish mine before I discovered it." 

The table roared, but Dingley never cracked a 
smile or said a word. 

Boutelle was a picturesque character. He was 
bluff, hearty, big. To him the Civil "War was not 
quite over and he thought it was for the spiritual 
good of the Southern Democrats it was beyond 
his comprehension how any decent Northerner 
could be that despised thing, a Democrat to wave 
the Bloody Shirt, and in particularly exuberant 
moments ram it down their throats. Apart from 
politics Boutelle was kind, gentle and charitable; 
he would put himself to a great deal of trouble 
and inconvenience to do a man a good turn even 
a Democrat; or to relieve the distress of an unfor- 
tunate. He had gone to sea as a boy I have no 
doubt ran away from home in storybook fashion 
worked his way up to be a captain; served in the 



336 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

United States Navy during the Civil "War, and at 
the conclusion of peace he deserted the sea to be- 
come the editor of a small paper he owned. As 
master mariner and editor he had the precise train- 
ing to make an opinionated man sure his judgment 
was final and to regard every man who differed 
with him either knave or fool. 

I have been told there are some captains who 
look with contempt upon a calm sea as fit only for 
children and old women and are never happy un- 
less there is a storm and they can show their skill. 
When Boutelle got up to speak one instinctively 
thought of the sailor. His desk was his quarter- 
deck. He knew the storm was coming, and he 
enjoyed it. Big, bluff and with a voice that car- 
ried to every corner of the house, he seemed to take 
positive delight in making the Democrats squirm. 
They stood it as long as possible, then some member 
would break loose. Boutelle was happy. He was 
for many years Chairman of the Naval Commit- 
tee of the House, and when he brought his bill to 
the floor there was no lack of entertainment for 
the galleries. He went into the work of passing 
a naval bill with a marling spike, and he did not 
stop using it until the bill was passed. He could 
get into more controversies in shorter time and 
with more zeal than any other man I ever knew. 
And yet he was a good legislator and he succeeded 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 337 

because lie always had the Maine men with their 
different kinds of influence to help him, and the 
House respected him for his professional knowl- 
edge and patriotism. 

Charles E. Littlefield, who succeeded Dingley, 
burst on the House like a meteor. He came with 
industry and volubility so developed that when he 
jumped into debate there was a sensation. His like 
had rarely been seen in the House. He could talk 
so fast that the official reporters were in danger 
of losing their jobs, and with his torrent of words 
there was a full accompaniment of ideas and ar- 
guments. He soon became known as a perfect 
engine for work. He added to these qualities 
courage, which is often wanting among legisla- 
tors. Littlefield had the courage to stand up 
against Samuel Gompers and other labor leaders 
in the Committee on Judiciary when many Mem- 
bers in far less danger than he were willing to sur- 
render. The labor leaders served notice on Little- 
field they would blacklist him, and they kept their 
word. In 1906 they sent money and workers an4 
speakers into his district to employ every method 
of bulldozing, blacklisting and boycotting known 
to the most desperate agitators, but they did not 
defeat him nor did they cause him to change his 
attitude toward their legislation. I went to Maine 
in the last week of the campaign and I never saw 



338 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

a more disreputable fight made against any one. 
As I was also on Mr. Gompers 3 blacklist I could 
enter Littlefield's campaign in the same spirit as 
he did, and I was as free there to defend my poli- 
cies touching labor legislation as I was in my own 
district in Illinois. The triumph of Littlefield in 
September did more to check the boycott of Mem- 
bers of Congress and give them courage than any- 
thing else in the campaign. Had Littlefield been 
defeated in September, I believe we would have 
lost the House in November. 

The House of Representatives is no place for 
cowards or for men who lose their self-respect be- 
cause some assassin of characters selects them for 
his victims; and I am thankful that I have known 
few such timid men in the House in the years of 
my service. Sometimes the dear people will say 
it with flowers, but flowers will be wrapped about 
a brick. If he is at all sensitive he will have a hell 
of a time. We are always being accused of a liking 
for compromise the sin of cowards, the unthink- 
ing say with fine scorn, but remember this, no im- 
portant legislation can ever be had without com- 
promise. 

In the closing hours of the Fifty-seventh Con- 
gress when we were in conference on the General 
Deficiency bill we became deadlocked on an item 
of forty-seven thousand dollars. It had been pre- 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 339 

sented by Senator Tillman, of South Carolina, as 
a claim against the Federal Government arising out 
of the War of 1812, and to offset claims of the 
Government against the State. The auditors of 
the Treasury Department, after a careful investi- 
gation, found that Uncle Sam owed South Caro- 
lina exactly thirty- four cents. But you know how 
they do business in the Senate, and Tillman knew 
it, too. Practically nothing can be done except by 
unanimous consent. So Tillman got his item in the 
bill, and then when he learned the House conferees 
refused to accept it, coolly told Allison and Hale, 
the Senate managers, it was a case of his money or 
an extra session. He would either get his appro- 
priation or filibuster until adjournment and force 
an extra session. About midnight on March 3, I 
told the Senate conferees there would be no more 
discussion; the House would not agree to the ap- 
propriation, and the Senate must accept the respon- 
sibility for what might follow. About 3 o'clock 
in the morning of March 4th Senator Allison came 
over to my Committee room to make a final ap- 
peal. He admitted everything I charged against 
the vicious method of legislation that permitted 
one Senator to hold Congress by the throat, but 
he begged that I would yield because the expense 
of any extra session would be far greater than Till- 
man's forty-seven thousand dollars. After con- 



340 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

suiting the other House conferees I told Allison 
that in reporting an agreement I would explain 
to the House what had happened. I then went on 
the floor and made the report of the conferees. I 
told the House why we had been held there all 
night and why the conferees had at last agreed to 
yield to legislative blackmail to prevent an extra 
session. I used plain language and called it legis- 
lative blackmail, I did go outside the rules in my 
criticism of the Senate which permitted that kind 
of blackmail. 

"What I said that morning created something of 
a sensation in the Senate. It had a long solemn 
session which was very much like an old-fashioned 
Methodist experience meeting. Senators expressed 
their regret that a Member of the House should 
have transgressed propriety and the rules of par- 
liamentary decorum and made an indecent assault 
upon the Senate, "the greatest and most dignified 
legislative body in the world." It was rather amus- 
ing to me to hear Allison and Hale regret my rude- 
ness and gravely assure the Senate there had been 
no compulsion on the Senate conferees to induce 
them to stand for this item; the Senator from South 
Carolina had not once approached the Committee 
room during the conference, nor had any other 
Senator employed threats in the conference room. 
It was more amusing, however, to watch the faces 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 341 

of Allison and Hale when Senator Tillman thanked 
them for their assurances of the correctness of his 
methods and then declared, "The Palmetto State 
was left out in the cold. I simply shut my jaw 
down on the proposition that I would have that 
money or I would have an extra session; and I was 
in position under the rules of the Senate to enforce 
it, thank God!" In this one sentence, Tillman dis- 
posed of the explanations of Allison and Hale and 
admitted the correctness of my statement. 

I was a member of a Special Committee ap- 
pointed by Speaker Carlisle in 1885 to investigate 
conditions on the Indian reservations. Our chair- 
man was Judge Holman, of Indiana, for many 
years known as the "Watch Dog of the Treasury. 
He was as careful in little things as in big, in dol- 
lars as he was in millions. He kept an eye on the 
expenditures of the disbursing officer who was with 
us, and would not let us ride in Pullman cars in 
the daytime. The Pullman was a sleeping car 
and the Judge would honor the requisitions fyr 
berths at night, but in the day time we had to ride 
in the day coach or pay our own Pullman fares. 
When we stopped at a hotel he was very cautious 
about the expense and demanded a room without 
a bath, but there the other members of the Com- 
mittee drew the line and insisted that while study- 
ing the Indians we might at least stick to civilizing 



342 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

customs, just as an object lesson in kindergarten 
training, and we insisted upon baths. Judge Hoi- 
man groaned every time he had to approve one of 
these extravagant vouchers. 

William R. Morrison, one of my Democratic 
colleagues from Illinois, was known to the country 
as "Horizontal Bill" because as Chairman of the 
"Ways and Means Committee he introduced a bill 
providing for a horizontal reduction of the tariff. 
He didn't get very far with it, but the name stuck. 
Morrison did not like some of his Democratic as- 
sociates, one of them being "William M. Springer, 
of Springfield, of my State, who had a weakness 
for breaking into the lime light regardless of the 
inconvenience he caused other Members. "While 
serving his last year in the House Morrison was 
taken seriously ill and his colleagues from Illinois 
were much concerned. "We visited him and tried 
to cheer him up as best we could. One evening 
when I called at his hotel I found him discouraged 
and apparently without hope of recovery. I 
chatted for a while and he broke in with: "I sup- 
pose if I die the House will take some notice of the 
fact and some of you will say something about me 
and my service. That will be all right and my 
family will appreciate it." After a moment's 
silence, he added, "But Joe, if Bill Springer starts 
an oration I want you to move to adjourn." I aft- 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 343 

erwards thought that last remark turned Morrison 
back to recovery for he did get better after that 
talk and I did not have to go to parliamentary ex- 
tremes to prevent Springer from taking a conspic- 
uous part in memorial services for Horizontal BilL 
He got well and lived for many years of honorable 
and useful service as Chairman of the Interstate 
Commerce Commission. 

"When "William H, Moody, of Massachusetts, 
came to the House in 1 89 5 he wanted to know, and 
his bump of enquiry was at times embarrassing. 
That spirit of wanting to know impressed me and 
I asked Speaker Reed to appoint Moody a member 
of the Committee on Appropriations. I thought 
he would be a valuable member, and he was: he 
was energetic as well as intelligent. When he left 
the House to become Secretary of the Navy in 
1902, we continued our intimate relations. He 
displayed the same energy and intelligence in the 
Cabinet he had shown in the House, and that was 
also true when he went on the Supreme Court. It 
was a personal sorrow when he was stricken down 
in his robust health, unable to perform his official 
duties. The last time I saw Justice Moody was in 
the summer of 1911, when I was in Massachusetts 
with Representative Weeks. Accompanied by 
Representative McCall we went to call upon him. 
We found the Justice in an invalid chair unable 



344 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

to lift his hand to his mouth, helpless as a child, 
but his intellect was as keen as ever and he was 
better informed on the political and business con- 
ditions of the country than we who were direct 
from Washington. "We talked politics, medicine 
and religion, and I never saw more brilliancy of 
mind in the man than in that hour. As we were 
about to leave he told his nurse he wished to drink 
a toast. A bottle of wine was brought in, his 
glass had to be lifted to his lips by the nurse, but 
J before taking his sip he said: "Here's a toast to you, 
my good friends. May you live on to be a hun- 
dred, Uncle Joe, and be the same youthful spirit 
that I have ever known you. To you, Sam 
and John, long health and happiness; and to me, 
speedy dissolution." Then he drank the toast. 

I could not drink it. I was unable to say any- 
thing for a moment, but after a pause tried to cheer 
him up. He knew his condition and his wish was 
an earnest prayer for release from his suffering. 
He did not need our consolation. He was not de- 
spondent. We, his guests, in sound health, were 
the despondent ones in that room. He it was who 
turned the conversation to other things when he 
saw the impression his toast had made upon us. 
His was the philosophy of a man facing the inevi- 
table. He had fought disease with the same cour- 
age he had fought for right principles in govern- 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 345 

ment, but after consulting the best medical men 
of the country he knew that his work was done, 
his fight finished, and he had only to wait for the 
end. 

I left that cottage in Haverhill both glad and 
sorry I had gone to see my friend. I realized that 
he was never more calmly judicial in Congress, 
in the Cabinet, or on the Supreme Court bench 
than he was when he looked death in the face and 
serenely, cheerfully welcomed its embrace without 
a murmur and without forgetting the courtesies 
to others or that fine feeling he had for his friends. 
It was like Moody. He had all his life wanted to 
know about material things; when he realized that 
his work was done he wanted to know the unknow- 
able and speedily. 

"We had a revival meeting out in the Wabash 
country when I was a boy, and the old Hardshell 
Baptist preacher, in the fervor of his exhortation, 
declared that infant damnation was the law of the 
Almighty, when an old lady jumped to her feet 
and shouted, "I thank my God that's a lie. 55 I feel 
like following the example of that old lady when 
I hear some of our modern exhorters denouncing 
men in public life and declaring that the whole 
body politic is corrupt. 

I think it could be demonstrated 
prominent in public life have as a rule held to 



346 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

higher ideals than the average citizenship that they 
represent. Still, we have sensational gossip about 
Congress, and Congress investigates to uncover its 
own corruption without any other evidence than 
idle gossip. You can't make man honest by legis- 
lation. Law is not alone in the Statutes. It is in 
the spirit of the people. Greater than laws, greater 
than written constitutions, is a just, an intelligent 
and a righteous public sentiment that moulds and 
controls all things under our civilization. It is 
often believed by the public that members of Con- 
gress are indirectly bribed by being given tips on 
suj-e things in the stock market. Well, Fve had 
some experience in that line. Yes, I have had op- 
portunities to make money since I came to "Wash- 
ington; I can look back and see how I could have 
made half a dozen fortunes by accepting offers to 
let me in on the ground floor, and I can also see 
how I might have lost a dozen fortunes by accept- 
ing similar offers. In the long run, by taking all 
the friendly promoters at their word, I would have 
been bankrupt at least twice to my winning a stake 
once. I guess a statesman is considered an easy 
mark. 

Soon after I came to Washington, a man from 
Colorado reached Washington with a wonderful 
discovery. He was a metallurgist, a chemist, a 
scientist, and a genius. He had found what the 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 347 

world had been searching for more than a thou- 
sand years. It was a process by which base metal 
could be converted into gold. He was not a com- 
mon fakir, but a highly educated man and a 
scientist of standing. The scientists who gather 
about the Smithsonian Institute were convinced 
that at last an American had turned the trick. I 
met a learned Justice of the Supreme Court who 
had looked into the invention and shared the en- 
thusiasm of the scientists. He assured me that a 
man who had a thousand dollars to invest would 
become a millionaire in a few years. The learned 
Justice regretted that he did not have the thousand 
dollars, but he was ready to advise any other man 
more fortunately situated to get in on the ground 
floor and let the future take care of him and his 
family* I had been a man of frugal ways and had 
saved a thousand dollars. I had the money in bank 
and I took the advice of the jurist and the scientists 
and got in on the ground floor. The scientists and 
other less scientific dreamers, including myself, are 
no longer looking for millions but would be quite 
happy to get back our thousands. 

A few years later I was on Newspaper Row, on 
Fourteenth Street, where the newspaper men had 
their offices, and I met Uriah Painter, one of the 
veteran Washington correspondents. He was also 
a good business man. Painter asked me if I had 



348 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

ever seen a telephone and I confessed that I had not. 
We went Into his office and he walked over to a 
little box on the wall. He put a little instrument 
to his ear, rang a bell and spoke into the box. He 
said, "Hello, Puss, how are you? I want you to 
speak to Mr. Cannon, who is here in my office/* 
He handed me the receiver and putting it to my 
ear, as I had seen him do, I heard Mrs. Painter's 
voice distinctly. It was amazing. Then he told 
her to play on the piano and I heard the music. It 
was magic. I was very much interested, and Mr. 
Painter told me about the young Scotchman Bell, 
how they were organizing a company and insisted 
the men who invested their money could not lose. 
He said if I had a thousand dollars to invest, I 
would be sure to double, perhaps quadruple my 
money in a few years; I might even make ten thou- 
sand by getting in on the ground floor. I had 
been much impressed by hearing a human voice 
that I recognized came out of that little piece of 
metal, when I knew that the speaker was several 
blocks away; but I was even more impressed by 
the proposition to get in on the ground floor. I 
remembered my experience with the wonderful 
discovery to make gold out of any old thing, and 
I said, "Nay, nay, Brother Painter, Fve tried these 
get-rich-quick inventions and I am done/ 5 

Not long afterwards I went down to the office 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 349 

of the Superintendent of Railway Mails to get a 
young man appointed to that service. The Super- 
intendent, Theodore Vail, was a bright young fel- 
low, accommodating and always ready to help me 
when he could. That morning Mr. Vail was not 
there. His assistant told me that poor Vail had 
suddenly become moonstruck and resigned to be 
the manager of a telephone company that had been 
foisted on the market. Vail had saved up about 
four thousand dollars, and in a crazy moment he 
had blown it all in on telephone stock and resigned 
from the Government service. Worse than that, 
he had persuaded every friend in the office who had 
a dollar to let him have it for investment. We all 
liked Vail and were much concerned about his 
sudden madness, for he was a good Superintendent 
of Railway Mails and we thought he had a future 
in the service. We condemned him for the reck- 
less use of his influence over other young men in 
the service who had saved a little money, and we 
did not know what would become of them when 
the magic bubble burst and the telephone stock 
went like that of the company that was to make 
gold out of junk. 

Some years later, I was in Boston and met Theo- 
dore Vail. He was round and jolly and looked 
prosperous. He was the President of the Ameri- 
can Telephone Company and the Western Union 



350 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

Telegraph Company. I asked a mutual friend how 
much Vail was worth, and he said at least twenty- 
five million. All those fool friends who had let 
Vail have their savings thirty years ago had made 
money. They accepted the offer to get in on the 
ground floor on telephone stock and I refused. I 
had been a member of Congress and Vail and his 
friends had been poor devils working in the tread- 
mill. I had the same opportunity as Vail but I 
guessed on the wrong card. 

I ought to have acquired wisdom, for I was 
older when another friend showed me a wonderful 
machine for setting type. It seemed almost human 
as it picked out the little matrices, dropped them 
into a box and another arm poured molten type 
metal into the box and out dropped a solid line of 
type. It was called the Mergenthaler type setting 
machine and was as wonderful as the telephone. 
My friend said they were organizing a company to 
put the machine on the market, and if I had a 
thousand dollars to invest he would get me in on 
the ground floor. "Wonderful as the invention 
seemed, I could not forget my feelings in getting 
in on the ground floor to scoop up gold from scrap 
iron and having the floor fall in with my thousand 
dollars. So I again said that while the Mergen- 
thaler machine was a wonderfully clever toy to 



RANDOM RECOLLECTIONS 351 

catch gudgeons, I would keep my thousand dollars 
in bank and my check book in my pocket. 

The only sure thing that was really sure I turned 
down. The summer after I ceased to be Speaker, 
I was offered one hundred thousand dollars to go 
on the Chautauqua circuit. I was to go across the 
continent from Boston to San Francisco and ex- 
hibit myself fifty times, speaking on any subject 
I selected from fifteen minutes to two hours at 
each meeting. Although I did not accept the offer, 
I was at one time almost tempted. One of my 
friends, the most convincing public speaker I ever 
knew, pointed out the damage being done at that 
time by the Chautauqua in engaging speakers who 
advocated revolutionary doctrines. It was the evo- 
lution of the old camp meeting into the modern 
vaudeville show, with the pretence of being edu- 
cational and the hysteria that comes from a re- 
ligious atmosphere. He and other men like him 
had gone on the Chautauqua circuit to combat the 
mischief, and he thought I should join them and 
do my part. However, never having made a public 
speech for money, this idea of being part of a barn- 
storming aggregation did not appeal to me, and the 
only sure thing I let go. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

RETROSPECT 

I FEEL that I have lived In the years of the 
greatest progress toward higher civilization the 
world has ever known. If all that has been 
done for mankind in those years should be blotted 
out life would be harder, and to the youth 
now coming forward to take up the burdens and 
the responsibilities in America it would be almost 
unendurable. It would deprive probably one half 
of the people of their occupations. It would extin- 
guish all the electric lights and take away the work 
of engineers and men engaged with them in han- 
dling this great and mysterious power wrested 
from nature. It would silence all our telephones 
and the click of the telegraph. It would stop the 
sewing machine and still the song of the reaper and 
the mower. It would return men to the back- 
breaking drudgery of the scythe, the sickle and 
the cradle. It would close the great asylums for 
our unfortunates and rob humanity of some of 
the greatest discoveries for the subjugation of dis- 
ease. In a word, it would wipe from the pages of 
history the most beneficent and useful inventions 
the world has known and we should be back in 

352 



RETROSPECT 353 

what, to the people of today, would be considered 
an age of barbarism and almost savagery. 

I congratulate myself that I have seen a greater 
advancement in civilization than did all the men 
from the days of Moses to the days of "Washington, 
and that I have lived among the men who took 
the lead in this progress, for the inspiration and 
the energy which have accomplished so much have 
been in this country where invention has been en- 
couraged more than anywhere else in the world, 
and where the spirit of freedom has supplied the 
faith and the means to develop new ideas. 

When the reaper was invented there were pes- 
simists who saw in this labor-saving machine a pur- 
pose to rob labor of its just opportunity, but it has 
widened the scope of the agriculturist and today 
millions of acres of wheat are grown where for- 
merly they were counted in hundreds. We have 
harnessed the elements to become the servants of 
man, and they have added to his diversified indus- 
try, giving him greater opportunity and more lei- 
sure and relieving him of much painful drudgery. 
This has broadened his ideas and given him a wider 
view. Invention has guarded the lives of the 
workers and taken away, as much as possible, the 
dangers incidental to their occupations. The air 
brake, the pneumatic coupler, and other similar de- 
vices have lessened the danger to life and limb in 



354 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

transportation. Inspection, proper supervision, 
and a hundred inventions have made more endur- 
able the life and health of the miner, the factory 
employee, and the public at large. 

At the same time we have a broader conception 
of the duty we owe our fellow man. We no longer 
turn our back on suffering and disease. We have 
made wonderful progress in science, in medicine, 
in surgery. My little boy died before he was a 
year old, choked to death with diphtheria. We had 
no antitoxin for diphtheria then. Today we try 
to cure, to care for, to ameliorate the condition of 
the sick and the unfortunate. We believe every 
child entitled to an education and a fair chance 
in life. We condemn cunning and knavery, and 
while laws may be imperfect we endeavor to ad- 
minister them with impartiality. 

We have abolished slavery and imprisonment 
for debt, reduced the number of capital crimes, 
improved prisons, softened the treatment of crim- 
inals, and in everything concerning man become 
more humane and considerate. We have taken 
women and children under our especial care and 
tried to protect them from brutal exploitation. 
As I look back on the years that have passed since 
I first saw the light in the hills of North Carolina, 
I am thankful that my life has been cast in pleas- 
ant places, and that men have been constantly 



RETROSPECT 355 

striving to reach higher ideals. For that reason it 
seems a crime to me to wail about our future, to 
accept the absurd ideas of a few malicious theo- 
rists and to have doubts about the present and fu- 
ture of our country. 

"We have become more tolerant in everything 
and reached a much higher ethical standard. We 
do not interfere in the religion and rights of other 
people. We can worship the Deity according to 
our own conception of him and no two individuals 
who ever lived worshipped the same god. Each 
man's conception of Deity is different. If we have 
erred at all and allowed our tolerance to become too 
catholic it has been in the gentleness with which 
we have treated the preacher of pessimism, the man 
who tries to bring back the days of ignorance and 
array man against man, and class against class. 
This is the one crime against civilization which 
ought not to be condoned because it seeks to undo 
all that has been done. 

When I think of the persecution of my ances- 
tors, both in England and New England, how they 
suffered because of their faith and the way they 
made it real in their lives, I can realize how far we 
have gone on the long road toward the teachings 
of the Master, who was the greatest political 
teacher the world has ever known. In this country 
we have followed his teachings to the end that men, 



356 UNCLE JOE CANNON 

not things, are the source of o.ur governing power. 
It is the voice of the people at the fireside that rules. 
It is the people who rule themselves and govern the 
nation. 



INDEX 



Abolitionists, 55 

Adams, Abigail, 228 

Adams, Charles Francis, 121 

Adams, Samuel, 261 

Adams, President John, xxiv 

JEsop's Fables, 33 

Alabama, 51-52 

Aldrich, Nelson W., 206, 212, 221, 
283 

Allison, William Boyd, 188, 212, 221, 
339 

American. Federation of Labor, xxxviii, 
279 

American Newspaper Publishers Asso- 
ciation, xxvi, 284 

American Telephone Company, 349 

Ancient Rome (Rollins), 32-33 

Annapolis (Ind.), 27, 64, 67, 78, 102 

Anti-Saloon League, 280 

Anti-Trust Law, 208 

Arthur, President Chester A., 149- 
163, 308 

Associated Press, 284 

Baker, Rev. P. A., 280 

Ballinger-Pinchot Investigation, 297 

Banks, Nathaniel P., 173 

Barnum, William H., 131 

Battle of Cedar Creek, 195 

Battle of Opequan, 195 

Beck, James B., 131 

Bede, Adam, 271 

Bennett, Joseph B., 306 

Benton, Thomas H., 14 

Berry, James H., 74 

mble y xxx, 32-33, 119 

Bingham, Henry Harrison, 173 

Blackburn, Joseph, 146 

Blackhawk War, xxii, 116 

"Black Laws," 54-59 

Blame, Speaker James G,, 131-132, 

138-139, 174, 310, 326 
Bliss, Cornelius N., 199 
Biount, James R., 131, 172 
Booth, Edwin, 75 
Bcwtdlc, Charles, 173, 309, 326, 335- 

337 



Breckenridge, C. R., 172 
Breckenridge, W. C. P., 172, 177 
Bromwell, H. P. H., 125-127 
Brown, John Young, 131, 145 
Bryan, William Jennings, 20, 247, 287 
Bryce, Ambassador James, 212-213 
Buchanan, President James, 73 
Bunyan, John, 32 
Bureau of the Budget, 320 
Bureau of Corporations, 219, 223 
Burleson, Albert Sidney, 266, 268 
Burrows, Julius C., 132, 173 
Burton, Theodore, 173, 257 
Busbey, L. White, 235 ad seq. 
"Business Men's League of America," 

330-333 

Butler, Benjamin F., 131 
Bynum, William, 172, 179-182 

Cairo (III), 71-72 

Caldwell, Josiah, 313 

California, 92, 224 

Canadian Reciprocity, 289 

Cannon, George Q., 132 

Cannon, Joseph Gurney: Ability as 
politician, xxxvi; address on Grant, 
xviii; ambition for Presidency, xix 
ad seq.; ambition for Speakership, 
xx; ambition to be lawyer, 64; break 
with Roosevelt, xxxiv, 230 ad seq.; 
Chatauqua offers, 42-43, 351; cheers 
for Blaine, 314; Cincinnati Law 
School, 70; death, xliv; dress, xxix; 
elected District Attorney, 82; elect- 
ed to Congress, 117, 120; evolution- 
ist, xvii; father, 6, 28, 44-47, 50 ad 
seq., 63, 78; fighter, xvi; first goes 
to Washington, xxvi; first speech in 
House, 131; grandfather, 6; head of 
family, 63, 78 j heritage, 3 ad seq.; 
interview with McKinlej 1 , 186 ad 
seq.; interview with Ridder, 282 ad 
seq.; interviewed in Venezuela, 298; 
Jeflfersonian, xxx; length of service, 
xxxv, xli; marriage, 80-82; meetings 
with Lincoln, 108, 113, 115; mod- 
esty, xiv; mother, 3, 10, 48, 78; 
357 



358 



INDEX 



nearly murdered, 93-96; older 
brother, 63; opinion on Democrats, 
xxxix; opinion on League of Nations, 
xl; opinion on Wilson, xxxviii; op- 
ponent of labor, xxxvii; opportunities 
to get rich, 345 ad seq.; overthrown, 
248; party man, xviii; physique, 
xxiii; pioneer life, 24 ad seq.; read- 
ing, 29-33; relations with press, 
xxvi-xxvii, 130-137, 296-302; repu- 
tation as humorist, xxvi-xxix; 
Speaker, xli, 216 ad seq.; Shelbyville, 
111., 76; suggestion to Roosevelt, 
207-208; Terre Haute, 68; training 
in debate, 39-40; trip West (1840), 
10 ad seq.; trip West (1922), 21; 
vein of sentiment, xiv, xxviii-xxx; 
younger brother, 78-80 
Cannon, Samuel, 6 
"Cannonism," 247, 269, 289 
Carlisle, Speaker John G., 139, 167, 

172, 179, 243, 341 
Carter, Tom, 173 
Cartright, Peter, 61, 270 
Castro, President of Venezuela, 298 
Catchings, Thomas Clendinen, 172 
Chaffee, Jerome B., 132 
Chandler, William Eaton, 206 
Charleston (111.), 87-90, 107-111, 115, 

125 
Chicago, 24, 70, 93, 118, 122, 286, 

324, 330 

Chicago Journal, 122 
Chicago Times, 122 
Chicago Tribune, 120, 122 
Cincinnati, 70 ad seq., 122-123, 310 
Cincinnati Commercial, 123 
Cincinnati Law School, 70 ad seq. 
Cincinnati Medical College, 46 
Civil War, xxv, 86 ad seq. 
Clapp, Moses E., 223 
Clark, Speaker Champ, 249, 274 
Clark, Clarence, 173 
Clay, Speaker Henry, 55, 139 
Cleveland, President Grover, 193, 304, 

315 ad seq. 
Cobb, Amasa, 134 

Coles County (111.), 77, 97, 115, 125 
Coles, Governor of Illinois, 58-59 
Colonel Mulberry Sellers, 270 
Committee on Agriculture, 296 
Committee on Appropriations, 188 ad 

scq., 224, 226, 230, 320, 327, 343 
Committee on Census, 251 
Committee on Elections, 171, 176 
Committee on. Foreign Affairs, 234 



Committee on Judiciary, 144, 310, 337 
Committee on Military Affairs, 224, 

308 

Committee on Naval Affairs, 224, 336 
Committee on Post Offices and Post 

Roads, 132 ad seq. 

Committee on Rivers & Harbors, 256 
Committee on Rules, 167, 195, 243, 

248, 265, 268 
Committee on Ways and Means, 282, 

329, 332, 334, 342 
Committee of the Whole, 291 
Conger, Omar D., 132, 145, 173 
Congress Hotel (Chicago), 93 
Conkling, Roscoe, 149-159 
Conway, Moncure D., 74 
Coolidge, President Calvin, 320 
Cooper, Henry A., 256-258 
Cortelyou, Geo. B., 241 
Cox, Samuel S., 131 
Crisp, Charles R., 172, 176, 179 
Crook, General, 195 
Crumpacker, Judge, 251 
Cuba, 186 ad seq. 
Culberson, Charles A., 283 
Cullom, Shelby Moore, 212, 322, 331 
Cumberland Valley, 71 
Cummings, Amos, 172, 247 
"Czarism," xiii, 42, 169, 247 ad seq., 

274 

Dalzell, John, xxxv, 173, 176, 212, 

244, 268 
Dan River, 11 
Danville (111.), xl, xlii, 22, 26, 95 ad 

seq., 207, 279 
Danville (Va.), 11 
Danville Commercial News, xlii 
Davis, James J., Sec. of Labor, xliii 
Davis, Judge David, 116, 120, 122-125 
Dawes, Vice-President Charles G,, 322- 

323 

Dawes, Henry L., 131 
De Armond, David A., 244 
Decatur (111.), 91, 113 
Declaration of Independence, 9 
Denby, Chas. A., 234 
Department of Commerce & Labor, 

208, 220 

Depew, Chauncey, 221 
Dickens, Charles, 72 
Dingley, Nelson A., 173, 326-335 
Dingley Tariff Bill, 329-335 
Dolliver, Jonathan P., 173, 200, 212, 

330 
Douglas County (111.), 77 



INDEX 



359 



Douglas, Senator Stephen A., 73, 77, 

108 

Dred Scott Case, 59-60 
Dunbar, Lucian, 125 
Dunnell, Mark, 173 
Duval, General, 195-196 

Edmunds, George F., 308 
Electoral Commission, 141 ad seq. 
Electoral Count, 141 ad seq. 
Elkins, Stephen B., 132, 221 
Evarts, William Maxwell, 152, 229 

Farmington (111.), 115 

Farwell, Charles B., 131 

Ferry, Thomas W., 148 

Fifty-First Congress, 165, 187, 320 

Fifty-Seventh Congress, 227, 338 

Fisher, Warren, 311 

Florida, 144 

Foraker, Joseph Benson, 206 

Forty-Eighth Congress, 307 

Forty-Third Congress, 131 

Foss, George E., xxxv, 224 

Foster, Charles, 131 

Fox, George, 3 

Franklin, Benjamin, 32 

Free, J. N., 74 

Fremont, John Charles, 206 

Frye, Eugene, 131, 154, 206 

Gaines, John Wesley, 228 
Gallinger, Jacob H., 206 
Gardiner, Augustus D. 257-262 
Garfield, President James A., 131, 145, 

150-163 

Garrison, William Lloyd, 55 
Gibbons, Cardinal, 324-325 
Gompers, Samuel, xxxviii, 278-281, 

337 

Grady, Henry W., 15 
Grangers, 119 
Grant Bill, 303-310 
Grant, President Ulysses S., xviii, xxiv, 

120-124, 144, 303-310 
Great Britain, 24 
Great Lakes, 23 

Grecley, Horace, 29, 32, 121, 123 
Greenbackers, 119, 129 
Greensboro (N. C.), H 
Grcenup (111.), 57 
Gridiron Club, 274, 298 
Grosvenor, Charles Henry, 173, 212, 

245 

Guilford County (N, C.) 6, 11 
Gulf of Mexico, 23 



Hale, Eugene, 131, 145, 154, 206, 212, 

221, 224, 326, 339 
Handy, Moses P., 330-333 
Hanks, John, 114 
Hanna, Mark, 199 ad seq., 214, 221, 

317 
Harding, President Warren G., 22, 160, 

321-322 
Harrison, President William Henry, 1 6- 

17, 22, 154, 184-185 
Harvey, George, 274 
Haverhill (Mass.), 345 
Hawaii, 206 
Hawley, Joseph R., 131 
Hay, John, 206 
Hayes, President Rutherford B., 141 ad 

seq. 

Hayes, Mrs. Rutherford B., 228 
Henderson, D. B., 173 
Hepburn, William P., xxxv, 221 
Hicks, Josiah D., xlii 
Hill, Ben, 145 
Hitt, Robert R., 173, 333 
Hoar, George F., 131, 145 
Hoar, Rockwood, 131 
Hobson, Richmond P., 225-226 
Holman, William S., 131, 172, 341 
Hooker, Charles Edward, 172, 256 
Hopkins, Albert S., 173, 330, 332 
Hubbell, Jay A., 132 
Hull, John A. T., xxxv 

Illinois, xxii, 19-20, 23 ad seq. 3 60, 75, 

80 ad seq., 101 
Illinois Central Railroad, 71 
Indiana, 16, 18, 23 ad seq., 60, 101, 

103 ad seq, 
Indianapolis, 19, 24 
Ingersoll, Robert G., 310 
Insurgency, xviii, 243 ad seq. 
Interstate Commerce Commission, 343 

Jackson, President Andrew, 316, 320 

Jackson (Michigan), 206 

Jefferson, Joseph, 91 

Jefferson, President Thomas, xl, 19, 

264 

Jewett, Hugh J., 131 
Johnson, President Andrew, 88 
Josephus, 32 

"Kate Carew," xxviii 
Kansas, 73 

Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 102 
Kasson, John A., 131 
Kean, John, 221 



360 



INDEX 



Kelly, William D., 131 
Kentucky, JS-60, 71, 97, 101 
]ilgore, Buck, 185 
Kitchen, Claude, 267 
Knights of the Golden Circle, 101 
Knott, Proctor, 144, 315 
Knownothingism, 119 
Knox, Philander P., 208 

La Follette, Robert, 173, 247 

Lamar, L, Q. C, 145 

Landis, Charles B., 40 

Lane, Col. Henry $., 103 

Lawrence, William, 131 

League of Nations, xl, 192-193 

Le Compton constitution, 73 

Lincoln, President Abraham, xxii-xxv, 

xxvii, 26, 86-88, 97, 101, 206 
Lincoln, Mrs., 108-112 
Lind, John, 173 

Littlefield, Charles E, 326, 337-338 
Lloyd, James T., 234 
Lodge, Henry Cabot, 172, 173, 221, 

257, 296 

Logan, John A., 125" 
Log Cabm and Hard Cider Campaign, 

16 

Long, John D., 199 
Longworth, Speaker Nicholas, 75 
Lombard Brothers, 97 
Lorimer, William, 203 
Louisiana, 1 44 

Louisville Courier Jour-naif 123, 142 
Love joy, Elijah, 96-9% 
Lovejoy, Owen* 96-101 

Madison, President James, 58 
Maine, 96 

Minn, James R., 221 
Marietta (Ohio), 12, 18 
Marine Hospital Station, 245 
Mark Twain, 270 ad se$., 299 
Marshall, Thomas, 115 
Martin Chuzzlewit, 72 
Martin, William H., 179-183 
Mason, "William E., 331 
Matthews, Stanley, 72-73 
Mattoon (III.), 115 
McCall, John E., 343 
McComas, Louis Emory, 173 
McCrary, George W., 131 
McCreary, James B., 172 
McKean, Riley, 104 
McKenna, Joseph, 173 
McKinley, President "William, xxxiii, 
150, 165-166, 170, 173, 175, 179, 



U6 ad set., 240-241, 243-244, 301, 

303, 323 
McKinley Taritf Bill, 187, 196, 243, 

315 

McMillan, Benton, 175 
McNulta, John, 131 
Medill, Joseph, 120 
Mergenthaler Type Setting Machine, 

350 

Merritt, Edwin A., 149 
Mexico, 24, 91 
Mill, John Stuart, 117 
Mills, Roger Q., 132, 145-146, 173, 

264, 304, 310 
Mississippi River, 24, 92 
Missouri, 19, 60 
Missouri Compromise, 60 
Missouri River, 23 
Mitchell, Alexander, 132 
Moody and Sankey, 118 
Moody, William H., 343 
Moore, Jesse, 125-127 
Morley, John, 215 
Morrison, William R., 131, 342 
Morse, Leopold, 196-198 
Morton, Oliver P., 67, 73, 101-107 
Mulligan, James, 311 
Mulligan Letters, 310 ad seq. 
Muskingum River, 12 

Nation, Carrie, 119 

National Defense Bill, IB 6 ad se$. 

National Hotel (Washington), 147 

National Pike, 12 ad seq. 

Neal, Lawrence T., 131 

Nelson, Knute, 220, 221 

Nelson, Thomas N., 57 

Newfoundland, 24 

New Garden (N. C), 4 

New Orleans, 24, 52, 52, 245 

New York, 24, 105 

New York Staats-Zeifitng, 282 

New York Tribune, 29, 32, 123 

New York World t xxviii 

Norris, George W., 248 ad seq. 

North Carolina, 3 ad seq. r 23, 50 

Northern Securities Company, 208 

Northwest Territory, 12 

Noyes, Governor of Ohio, 73 

Oglesby, General Richard, 88-93, 96 f 

114-116, 124 
Ohio, 12, Iff, 18 

Ohio River, 12, 18, 24, 52, 70-71 
Old Cannon Whiskey, 279-281 
O'Neall, Charles, 131 



INDEX 



361 



Ordinance of 1787, 9 
Oregon, 24, 144 

Paine, Henry B., 72-73 

Painter, Uriah, 347 

Palmer, Governor John M., 120, 122- 

125 

Parke County (Ind.), 27, 51, 102 
Payne, Sereno E., xxxv, 173, 212, 266 
Pearl Harbor, 224 
Pear re Injunction Bill, 278 
Peck, Fred W., 331 
Penn, William, 9 
Penrose, Boise, 206, 212 
Perkins, James Breck, 234, 236, 239 
Phelps, William Walter, 132-135 
Philadelphia, 199 
Philippine Islands, 24, 194 
Phillips, Wendell, 55 
Pickett, Nathan, 81 
Pickerel, James H., 130 
Pilgrim's Progress, xxx 
Pittsburg, xxv, 13 
Platt, Thomas C, 131, 149, 157-158, 

200 ad seq., 206, 212, 317 
Plutarch's Lives, 33 
Politics by Propaganda, 275 ad seq. 
Pony Express, 14 
Post Office Appropriation Bill, 290 ad 

seq. 

Post Office Department, 292 
Potter, Clarkson N., 131 
Princeton (III), 96, 100 
Proctor, Redfield, 206 
Progressive Party, xix 

Quakers, 4 act seq. 

Quarter Century of American Politics 

(Clark), 249 
Quay, Matthew $., 201-202, 206, 328 

Randall, Speaker Samuel J., 131, 141 

ad seq., 172, 264, 305 
Reed, Mary, 80-82 
Reed, Speaker Thomas B., 139, 154, 

164 ad seq., 243, 256, 307, 321, 326, 

334, 343 

Reid, Whhelaw, 123 
Richardson, James Daniel, 173 
Richmond (Ind.), 19 
Ridder, Herman, 282 ad seq. 
Rockefeller, John D., 221-223 
Rockville (111.), 44 
Rockvillc (Ind.), 73, 102 
Roosevelt, President Theodore, xix, xxx 

ad scq. t 75, 159, 199 ad seq., 324 



Roosevelt, Theodore (Sr.), 149-150 
Root, Elihu, 205 
Rusk, Jeremiah M., 132 

St. Louis (Mo.), 13, 14, 24, 59, 70, 92 
St. Paul, 38, 74, 212 
St. Vitus, 213 
Sawyer, Philetus, 132 
Sayers, Joseph Draper, 173 
Saylor, Milton, 131 
Scott, Thomas A., 313 
Second National Bank of Tuscola, 79 
Secret Service, 230 ad seq. 
Shakespeare, 32-33 
Shaw, Leslie M., 42 
Shelbyville (111.), 76 
Sheridan, General Philip Henry, xxiv 
Sherley, Swager, 192 
Sherman, John, 149, 153, 173 
Sherman Silver Law, 315 
Sherwood, Isaac R., 131 
Shively, Benjamin F., 172 
Simpson, Jerry, 183 
Sisson, Thomas U., xlii 
Sixtieth Congress, 239 
Sixty-Seventh Congress, xl 
Sixty-Fifth Congress, 321 
Sixty-Sixth Congress, 321 
Sixty-Third Congress, xli 
Smith vs. Jackson, 176 
Smithsonian Institute, 347 
South Carolina, 144, 339 
Spain, 186 ad seq. 
Speaker's Room, the, xxxiv, 226, 235, 

243, 264, 271, 287, 296 
Spooner, John C., 221 
Springer, William M., 145, 172, 342 
Standard Oil Company, 221, 223 
Stanton, Secretary of War, 105 
Stephens, Alexander H., 132, 147 
Stevens Bill, 284 ad seq. 
Storer, Bellamy, 75 
Stowe, Mrs. Harriet Beecher, 71 
Sugar Creek (Ind.), 63 
Sumner, Charles, 121 
Supreme Court, xxi, 59, 72 
Swett, Leonard, 122 
Swing, Professor David, 118 

Taft, President William Howard, xix, 

242 

Tammany, 160 
Tawney, James A., xxxv, 212, 224, 

226, 231, 330 

Teller, Henry M., 317 ad seq. 
Tennessee Coal and Iron Company, 220 



362 



INDEX 



Terre Haute (Ind.) 67 ad scq,, 75 

Tilden, Samuel, 141 ad seq. 

Tillman, Benjamin R., 339 

Tippecanoe, Battle of, 16 

Tom Sawyer, 270 

Truxnbull, Senator Lyman, 120, 122- 

12; 

Tucker, Harry St. George, 175 
Tuscola (III), 113, 115 
Tuskegee (Ala.), 205 
Tyler, John, 16-17 
Tyner, James N., 131 

Underwood, Oscar, 253 
Underground Railroad, 97 
Union Pacific Railroad, 311 
United States Steel Corporation, 220 
Usher, John P., 65-70, 75-76 

Vail, Theodore, 349 

Van Amberg's Great Moral Show, 43- 

45 

Van Buren, President Martin, 16 
Van Deven, Archie, 113 
Venezuela, 298 
Virginia, 11, 97 
Volstead Law, 17, 18 
Voorhees, D. W., 93-94 

Wabash River, 11, 20, 23 ad scq., 71 

Wall Street, 148 

Walker, Joseph Henry, 173 

War of 1812, 339 

War with Germany, 192 



War with Spain, 186 ad seq. 

Ward, Sam, 275 

Washington, D. C, 22, 101, 194, 270, 

324, 346 

Washington, Booker T., 204-205 
Washington, President George, xl 
Watterson, Henry, 123, 142, 145 
Weeks, John W., 234, 343 
West Virginia, 12 
Western Whigs, 16 
Western Union Telegraph Company, 

349 

Wentworth, Long John, 122 
Wheeler, Joe, 172 
Wheeler, William A., 131 
Whiskey Rebellion, 18 
White, Horace, 123 
White House, the, xxxiii-xxxiv, 186, 

212, 221, 227, 237, 242 
White Sulphur Springs, 11-12 
Williams, John Sharp, 234, 244-245 
Wilson, James, 131, 303 
Wilson, President Woodrow, xix, 

xxxviii, 192, 322 
Wisconsin, 60, 144 
W. C. T. U., 228 
Wood, Fernando, 131, 142, 145 
Woodford, Stewart L., 131 
Woodruff, Representative, 200 
Wormley's Hotel (Washington), 148 

Yates, Governor of Illinois, 87 
Zanesville (Ohio), 12 




c 

CD 



1203260