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•y r t ifik jj










DUKE




•

UNI

E R S I T Y

P U B L I C A T I O

FIFTY
Y E A R S OF
PUBLIC
LIFE










FIFTY
Y E A R S OF
PUBLIC
LIFE
D A N I E L




C.

R O P E R

IN C O L L A B O R A T IO N W ITH

F R A N K

H.

L O V E T T E

"For the true Liberal in the country in which we
live, there is but one country,— the World; but one
religion^— love to God and man; one politician,
to benefit and elevate the human fam ily

D urham , North Carolina

DUKE U N I V E R S I T Y PRESS




C opyright ,

PRIN TED

1941,

by

IN T H E

T he D uke U niversity P ress

U N ITED

STATES OF

A M ER ICA ,

B Y T H E SE EM AN P R IN T E R Y , IN C ., D U R H A M , N . C.

To
the many friends, living and dead, who by
spoken or written word have helped me with the
discouragements mastered or lost along my way







Preface
Y A kindly old man who had witnessed much of the confusing
propaganda of his times I was told that in my life’s journey I
should believe nothing that I heard and only half that I saw. W hile
this admonition is overdrawn, it nevertheless contains a cautionary
truth needed by all of us in weighing our observations and in assess­
ing the values of life. In preparing the material for this book I have
endeavored not to disregard this warning. Accordingly, I have dwelt
upon the virtues of home life, the value of friendships and of co­
operative interest in human beings engaged in efforts looking to the
benefit of society.
The three score and ten years covered by my memory and herein
recorded constitute without doubt the most important period in hu­
man history for our country and for the world, measured by any
standard which the reader may employ. Probably the most sig­
nificant development in this era is the gradual evolution of American
thought with regard to our responsibility for all classes of people
in our own country and for the alleviation of the distressed and
needy everywhere.
I am not a pessimist with eyes toward the graveyard of despair.
As to ultimate results I am an optimist sustained by my faith in my
country, in its citizenry and in the great evolution of those forces,
moral and spiritual, that w ill survive this era and take on new life
after this war, building a better world in which to live. In the light
of these concepts I invite the reader to travel with me over the his­
toric period covered by this book. If in doing so, he is strengthened
m his belief in his country, in his determination to co-operate with
duly selected leaders, and if he becomes convinced that this is the
only way that peace can be brought about and preserved, my efforts
in the preparation of this record will not have been in vain.
T h e many individuals who have graciously co-operated with me

B







viii

PREFACE

in checking and constructively criticizing the manuscript are too nu­
merous to mention here by name. T o every one of them I hereby
extend my sincere thanks and deep gratitude.
D. C. R.

Contents
CHAPTER

PAGE

i. O ld P
ii.

T

T

he

D

lan tatio n

3
j5
33
57
77
9°
io7

ays

R ’s

hree

h i. T h e So u t h C ar o lin a L egislatu re
iy .

W

v. T

ash in gto n

R isin g T

he

vi. P rivate L
v ii.

C otton T

ix.

T

x.

W

x ii.

ife

A gain

M y G reat O ppo r tu n ity

v iii.

x i.

ide

he

akes

il so n

W

ins a n d
of

T o A vert P

xv. P e a ce

and

xvi. A G r e a t E

in

of

185
196

230

P

ersonal

xx.

T

he

T

u rn in g of t h e




172

1928

he

C am pa ig n
ra

D ays

2 16

T

E

en

C loses

x ix .

ew

T

eadjustm ent

oover and t h e

x x ii . A N

168

P r o h ib it io n

H

he

x4-6

B reakdown

x viii.

x x i. T

130

orld

163

ollars

poch

S ch ism

he

W

W ar

and

R

in t h e

oses

h ysica l

x i ii . A B i l l i o n D
x iv. N ar cotics

L

123

pward

B ig g e s t B usiness

T h e W eb

xvii. T

Me U

D

S id e

and

234

ebacle
of

It
P o litic a l T

M y Surprise

246
256

id e

-

261
267




CONTENTS

X
xxiii.

Secretary

x x iv . T

he

of

C a b in e t

C ommerce
at

W

273
287

ork

xxv. T h e B l u e E a g l e
xxvi. A
xxvii.
x xviii.

laska:

T

he

T

uropean

x x ix . I L
xxx. T

U

and

H

305

R eclam atio n

315

Interlude

eave t h e

he

ou se

reasure

R eh abilitatio n
E

296

O

fficial

nexpected

H

325
F a m ily

appens

x x x i. T h e E nd of A n E ra
x x x ii. S e t t i n g O u r H

o u s e in

. 341
351
369

O rder

378

A ppen d ices

403

I ndex

409




FIFTY
Y E A R S OF
PUBLIC
LIFE




CHAPTER I

O ld Plantation D a y s
C R IS P , breezy morning of early November, 1872, when I
was but five years old, was to provide what is now my
earliest recollection. I stood beside my father on the piazza
of our home in South Carolina. W e looked upon a scene which was
characteristic of the “ Tragic Era.” Out beyond the great oak tree
which overhung the road, a column of blue-coated soldiers passed
by. N ever before had I seen so many men with guns, nor could I
comprehend the reason for them. M y father watched the unwel­
come procession in tight-lipped silence.

A

“ W ho are they?” I inquired with childish curiosity. “ And what
are they going to do with their guns? Are they on their way to
shoot somebody?”
H e took my hand, drawing me closer to him. “ T h ey’re Yankees,
my boy,” he replied. “ Yankee soldiers.” H e spoke in a way that
left no doubt of his resentment. And then he added, “ T h ey’re here
to guard the election next Tuesday j to see that all the Negroes vote
for carpetbaggers.”
I was much too young to understand the significance of the word
“ vote,” yet child that I was, I sensed that these outsiders were
unwanted, that their mere presence was an insult and oppressive to
my father and our neighbors. T h e ominous tramp tramp sounded
from the dusty road, from which came also bursts of boisterous
laughter and snatches of song. M y father did not speak again until
the alien column had disappeared down the road. Then he led me
into our sitting room to the open fire. T h e sight of the soldiers had
depressed him, darkening his naturally merry countenance. Feeling
that something was wrong, I began to ply him with questions.
“ W here did the soldiers come from? W ho will they shoot with
the guns? Negroes? W hat is a voter”







4

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Affectionately, he took me on his knee, for ours was a relation­
ship closer than the usual bonds between father and son. M y mother
having died when I was two and one-half years old, he seldom let
me far from his sight. “ The Yankees from the North defeated us in
the Civil W ar,” he began in explanation. Then, in a simple way that
I could follow, he accounted for the presence of the soldiers. South
Carolina and the other Southern states, he told me, had been fighting
for self-government since the surrender of Lee at Appomattox. So
far they had failed to get it. Instead they had been governed by
bayonets and the sword, by tyranny beyond the abuses of the slave
trade. The carpetbaggers, outsiders from the North who did not
like us, were running the South, looting, stooping to crime and ex­
tortion. In conclusion, he said, “ The murder of President Lincoln
was the worst blow we could have had.”
“ W h y?” I asked. “ Was he for our side?”
H e was slow to answer, but finally said, “ The war, my boy, was
properly settled. I was against secession in 1861. Then I lived in
North Carolina, and when my state left the Union, I helped get
up a company of soldiers. W e were known as the Scotch Boys. W e
fought four years and many were killed. It was awful— but the
things going on today are even worse than war.”
What I learned that morning had a profound effect upon me.
M y childish eyes were opened, for I learned that I, together with
my family and all the whites in our part of the country, lived under
a black and fearful cloud. W e had to fight for the sunshine of lib­
erty. There would be no true liberty until those blue-coated soldiers
had gone back to the land from which they came.
ii

Indeed, it was a changing, altogether an upside-down, world into
which I was born in 1867* The South was broken in everything save
her proud spirit. Although many of my father’s comrades never
mustered courage to begin anew, he neither lost his self-command
nor sense of humor in defeat, not during the ten dark, bloody, terrifying years of Reconstruction. The iron nerve fibers it took to sur­
vive the “ Tragic Era” may be illustrated by my father’s own expe­
rience. H e was one of the leaders of the Scotch Boys who marched
away to martial music and the spirited strains of “ Dixie.” The kisses

OLD PLANTATION DAYS

5

of beautiful women— wives and sweethearts— were warm upon their
lips, tender goodbyes lingered in their ears, and they left in the
fervor of glory. Eager to acquit themselves nobly in their section’s
cause and certain of victory, they had a joyous departure— such as
few armies of the world ever experienced. Thus enthusiastic was the
early spirit of the Confederacy. W hat a contrast was their home­
coming.
There were four long years of increasing hardship and illness,
of starvation and battling against impossible odds. Then, finally, the
bitter cup of gall— defeat. T h e farm my father left behind was near
Laurinburg, North Carolina, not far from the South Carolina state
line. W hile fighting for the Confederacy, he had no idea his homeplace lay in the path of Sherman’s destructive march to the sea. H ow
revealing, therefore, his homecoming. Upon reaching the farm he
saw his ruin. Not one building had been left standing. A ll had been
transformed to ashes. H is livestock had been slaughtered or driven
away. Not so much as a ploughshare remained, since General Sher­
man’s men had made a clean sweep of all his belongings. A ll he
now possessed besides the barren farm were his ragged gray uniform
and the relics of war, his canteen, knapsack, and musket. T h e future
was not a happy prospect.
Fortunately for the vanquished, the word “ neighbor” had a
sweeter connotation in 1865 than, perhaps, it has today. M y father
was well and favorably known in the Scotch community which strad­
dled the line between the Carolinas. His immediate neighbors, the
Covingtons, extended him every help in their power. T he following
year, 1866, he married my mother, Henrietta M cLaurin, of M arl­
boro County, South Carolina. She prevailed upon him to give up
the place in North Carolina and to live in her state. H e purchased
her ancestral home, the house in which both she and I were born.
It is something of a tragedy to be an only child 5 more of one to
be left motherless at less than three. Y et, in my case, this tragedy
was somewhat mitigated by an affectionate aunt, my mother’s young­
est sister, and by a kindly father. Another who would have sought
to kill any person attempting to injure one hair of my head was
Lindy, the Negro mammy, who loved me as if I had been her own.
I f I fell, stubbed a toe, or bumped a knee, if I got the slightest cur
or bruise, it was Lindy who pacified me with endearing words and







6

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

rendered first aid. So with all this attention and the worshipful
respect of a host of genuinely happy pickaninnies I did not suffer
the ennui of the average only child.
A fter that day in 1872 when I first saw Yankee soldiers, my
father often talked to me about the war. It was his custom to take
me along when he made trips over the plantation or visited relatives
and neighbors. These rides, frequently on horseback, with me in
the front of his saddle, afforded many conversations. One of his ex­
periences, related at that period, made an indelible impression.
Toward the close of the war, he, along with a large group of
fellow soldiers in the Confederate Army, was taken prisoner by
raiders from Sherman’s army who were then on their march to the
sea. A ll the Confederate prisoners were lined up, examined, and
recorded. Each one was asked, “ Did you volunteer into the Con­
federate Arm y?” And then, “ W ere you drafted into the service
against your convictions?” “ I was always against secession,” was one
of the stock replies, for the prisoners all feared harsh treatment and
possible execution. Another reply was, “ I was overpersuaded.”
M y father had opposed secession until his state took action, but
the false replies of his fellow Confederates disgusted him. Finally
his turn came, and the inquisitor for the Federal troops approached
ftim, asking, “ H ow about you? W ere you a Union man at heart,
too?” “ N o,” replied father defiantly. “ I was never a Union man.
I was the most ardent secessionist that ever wore the gray uniform—
or followed the Stars and Bars.” Think of my father’s surprise when
the officer extended his hand. “ You are the first secessionist I have
found today,” he said. “ Out of respect for truth, I shan’t imprison
you. Instead I’ll give you a passport home.” M y father was thus
released and permitted to start on the homeward journey.
In the years of Reconstruction, our farm was heavily mortgaged,
and my father was often burdened with his financial situation. One
day, seeing he was more unhappy than usual, I asked him why con­
ditions were so hard for us. “ It’s the same old tragedy, son,” he
replied. “ W e’ll be many a day and many a year paying for the
war. W e have to lift ourselves by our bootstraps. This condition
must be borne by me and by your generation before recovery.”
Perhaps it was in part because of this load my father carried, and
to some extent his desire for someone to act as my mother, that he

OLD PLANTATION DAYS

7

remarried. I was seven years old at the time. I already knew Miss
Lucy M cC oll and liked her. She was of our Scotch settlement, and,
while much younger, had been a dear friend of my mother. I, there­
fore, welcomed her with joy the day my father brought her to our
home as his wife. She proved as devoted and helpful to me as if I
had been of her own flesh and blood. She was a companion and an
inspiration to me.
hi

Father Tim e has a trick of laying a rosy wreath upon childish
memories, yet I am sure that, barring the war and the tragic hard­
ships of Reconstruction, there has never been a happier social phase
of life upon this continent than that existing in the South during
what we have come to call Plantation Days, before and following
Reconstruction up to the launching of industry there in the eighties.
Before entering upon some of the experiences of my childhood there,
it may not be amiss to give a general idea of the community, and also
of the plantation where I was born.
M y native county, M arlboro, was contiguous to Richmond
County, North Carolina. In Richmond County my father, John
W esley Roper, was born and spent his childhood and young man­
hood. W ithin these two counties, and radiating outward, the popu­
lation was preponderantly Scotch. N ot long after the battle of the
Scottish clans at Culloden, in April, 1746, there was a mass migration
from Scotland. A large number of these immigrants settled on the
Cape Fear R iver near W ilm ington, North Carolina. Those who
came first brought others, and Scots kept coming to the Carolinas up
to the outbreak of the Revolutionary W ar.
One of the most notable of those who came was the Jeanne d’Arc
° f the Highlanders, Flora M cDonald. She headed one of the larg­
est groups coming to North Carolina, settling them in Cumberland
and Robeson counties, and it was from her identical group that many
of the Scots in my community were descended. These Scottish de­
scendants were a thrifty people, learning early in their American
experiences how to be self-sustaining upon the land. T h e best farm­
ers found that by making cotton a surplus crop they would never be
broke. Therefore, unlike many others of the South, they did not
have to maintain large credits and wait a year to settle their bills







8

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

upon the annual sale of their cotton. They were co-operative, deeply
religious, and clannish in their loyalties to each other.
In this community there was little need for money except when
the time came to pay taxes, which were negligible. M any families
kept bees for the production of honey; they cured their own bacon
and hams; did spinning and weavingj held quilting parties, which
were enjoyable social events. And well do I remember the corn
shuckings and log rollings, the barn raisings and the brick burnings.
A ll the neighbors turned out to lend a hand and partake of the
sumptuous feasts that followed these enterprises.
T he same Scottish names recurred so frequently in our com­
munity that they often proved confusing to strangers. A story is told
of a traveler coming into the community for the first time. Address­
ing the first person he met, he asked to be directed and informed as
to the names of the people living up the road. H e was selling a
household utensil and desired to approach them by name.
“ The first house,” he was informed, “ is the home of M r. M cFall.
Just beyond, on the other side of the road— that’s where M r.
M cLeod lives. The next house is M r. M cCoy’s, and after that you
come to M r. M cDougall’s. On farther— that’s M r. M cDougallM cCoy’s place.” T h e stranger suddenly got the idea he was being
imposed upon, and pulled angrily on the reins of his horse. “ That’s
enough,” he stormed. “ Goodbye to you. I suppose I ’ve been talking
to M r. M cFool-M cFool!”
Few strangers came our way in those days. But always a most
welcome visitor from the outside world was James Shovlin, an itiner­
ant Irish peddler. H e passed a week-end at our home at least once
each month. H e was a man of high type, a graduate of one of the
leading Irish universities, and deeply religious. H e sold fine linens
imported from Belfast. I have always remembered Shovlin’s account
of his difficult crossing of the ocean to come to America. H e was a
colorful narrator, and his vivid account of the voyage fired my youth­
ful imagination. It was charming to hear about a foreign country
from a foreigner, the more charming because of Shovlin’s rare Irish
wit. M y father had high respect for religion, but was not at that
time so obsessed with it as Shovlin. I mention this because of the
incident I am about to relate.

OLD PLANTATION DAYS

9

One beautiful M ay day father and I were sitting beneath the oak
tree at the roadside in front of our home. T h e trees in all directions
were in full foliage; the birds seemed to realize that it was spring;
there was a profusion of flowers all about, and the cotton was being
chopped out to a stand. W hile we sat there drinking in the beauty
of the springtime, who should come along but Shovlin, his pack upon
his back, walking with his vigorous swinging stride.
“ H o, there, Shovlin,” my father greeted him. “ G lad to see you.
Put down your pack and rest a while.”
Shovlin, all smiles and laughter, put down his pack and sat be­
neath the tree.
“ H ow are the neighbors’ crops?” my father inquired. “ A nd what
news do you bring from your travels?”
Shovlin cleared his throat with considerable ceremony. “ M r.
Roper,” he began, “ the most impressive thing for me this beautiful
day are the lessons Nature is trying to teach— the lessons of the
warm and friendly sunlight— the song of the mocking bird— the
beauty of the flowers— the deep sentiment of the Negro spiritual
as he hoes the corn and cotton. A h, M r. Roper, as I hear and see
all this— I feel in my own heart the operations of D ivinity.”
M y father had listened attentively. H e was silent for a moment,
and then he replied, “ Shovlin, as little as you and others may think
it, I, too, sometimes feel the operations of the H o ly Spirit upon my
soul.”
Now as a child I had never heard the word “ operate” used ex­
cept in a medical way. N early every motherly woman, white and
black, who came along would tell my father that I was suffering from
the only known childhood disease, worms. An important remedy
administered to me was Jerusalem Oak seed and molasses, a terrible
dose. Frequently after I had taken it they would ask just how it
“ operated.”
The good Shovlin was so enraptured with the beauties of nature
that he had scarcely heard my father, while I had hung upon his
every word. “ Look, M r. Roper,” Shovlin said, making a grand ges­
ture toward the cotton fields and the near-by flowers, then pointing
upward to the bright sun. “ H ow magnificent!” And turning back
to us, he asked, “ W hat causes these things?”







Io

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

It seemed to be my turn to speak, and he was now looking at me.
I turned to my father. ‘T i l tell you, father,” I said, “ I believe it’s
worms that’s operating on you.”
This well-nigh sacrilegious announcement provoked the full
depths of Shovlin’s Irish sense of humor. H e literally rolled upon
the ground, so hearty was his laughter, and as he rolled, he said,
“ M r. Roper, I believe the boy is right.” H e was never to forget the
incident, and for a long while thereafter I was to be reminded that
I should keep religion and “ worms” separated.
In those days of remote towns and inns, it was an unwritten law
in our home that no one would be charged for a night’s lodging.
Shovlin usually stayed with us on his trips, and he always managed
to leave behind some choice piece of linen, or other item admired by
my stepmother, in payment for his lodging.
The plantation upon which I was born contained five hundred
acres, a part of which was woodland, the remainder in pasturage or
cultivation. It was located midway between the Atlantic Ocean and
the mountains, about one hundred miles from Charlotte and a like
distance from Wilmington. This immediate section had soil of the
sandy loam variety with a clay subsoil. Thus, the land, unlike that
in some other sections of the South, was easily improved and lent
itself readily to general farming. That made it unnecessary to de­
pend entirely upon cotton. But the cotton influence was powerful,
and it was the money crop of practically every planter in our section
of the Carolinas.
About one hundred Negroes, many of whom had come through
the war period with our people, lived and worked upon our planta­
tion. They were among the happiest people I have ever known, far
happier in their modest cabins than the plutocrat of today in his
palace. They lived, worked, and sang in amazing harmony.
The home proper— I was grown before I heard the word “ resi­
dence” — had been built by my grandfather. It was painted white;
the design was semicolonial, a little like the Dutch colonial archi­
tecture of today. A story and one half in height, its expansive breadth
extended in two wings with a spacious piazza across the front. One
entered the house by either of two doors at left and right, there being
no center hall. These doors were never locked. The rooms of the
house were large, two having open fires, and there was a chimney

OLD PLANTATION DAYS

ii

at each end. T he house was spacious, comfortable, and homelike.
For a growing boy it was a sheltered place to spend childhood, and
it was only a few miles from the L ittle Peedee River, known as a
good fishing stream.
There was scarcely a time of the day or night when our planta­
tion did not resound with music. T h e colored mammies sat in the
cabin doors and sang to their kinky-headed pickaninnies; all sang in
the cotton and corn fields. Once my father said, uY ou don’t have to
watch the Negroes work when you can hear them sing. But when
the singing stops, you’d better take a look and see what the trou­
ble is.”
In 1877, or when I was ten, we bought our first kerosene lamp.
M y parents regarded it as dangerous, and they carefully warned
me against having too much to do with it. About this time, however,
a traveling “ fake” came along with a yellow powder which he guar­
anteed would, when mixed with the kerosene, make the lamp abso­
lutely harmless. M oreover, the lamp would never explode. M y
good stepmother, always wishing to protect me, bought a quantity
° f it, and thereafter I was permitted to get a little nearer the lamp.
At the time we paid twenty-five cents a gallon for kerosene. I have
always felt a little more kindly towards John D . Rockefeller because
fiis activities brought fuel oil down to about one fourth the price
it was when I was a boy.
In those post-bellum days matches were exceedingly scarce. I
was charged with the duty of keeping the fires, including the chop­
ping of wood. W e paid a quarter for a wooden box containing about
two dozen matches, or about the same amount as for a gallon of oil.
Our home being seven miles from the nearest town, when the match
supply was exhausted and we had no coals of fire, it became necessary
to borrow fire. I was sent to one of the neighboring homes for a
burning “ chunk” of oak or hickory. Sometimes I obtained two “ fire
rocks.” By striking them together, creating friction, over a handful
of fleecy lint cotton, I learned how to create fire. This was a great
discovery. It prompted my first reflections on geology.
In the early years I played with the darky children, there being
no white child near by, and, too, I liked them better as playmates.
They respected me. Their mothers and fathers insisted that they
do so, with the consequence that I was a privileged character, looked







i

2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

up to and loved by them. A ll the Negroes were deeply religious, and
the fervor of their faith in God was something never to be forgotten.
On warm summer nights in religious revival days they could be
heard praying as far as a mile away. Their religious meetings fre­
quently broke into manifestations of sublime ecstasy.
One of the older Negroes, Uncle Ben we called him, used to
pray nightly from his cabin. H e prayed so earnestly and with such
feeling that his neighbors and any who chanced to hear him could
not resist the temptation to linger and listen to his invocations. The
theme of his prayer usually took the turn of an entreaty to God to
come and get him, to descend and take him home to Heaven. H e
avowed that he had had enough trials and tribulations. H e told God
he wanted to be “ transferred.” A group of the colored boys had ac­
cumulated upon his threshold one night when he was praying with
more energetic fervor than usual. H e at last came to the point where
he called upon God to come and “ transfer” him at once. Then
one of the boys rapped upon his door. “ W ho’s dat?” he called.
His voice trembled with fear and emotion. “ It’s the Lord,” the boy
replied. “ The Lord you’ve been prayin’ to.” In a flash the old darky
replied, “ You needn’t come in, Lawd! There ain’t nobody home.”
M any of the Negroes believed in the power of conjuring.
Whether or not this faith in the so-called magic is an importation
from the jungles of Africa, or whether a ramification of voodooism,
or some of the old strange cults that obsess tribal peoples in various
parts of the world today, I cannot say. Fundamentally, it bore strik­
ing similarity to some of the isms prevalent among modern whites.
The imported conjure doctor of plantation days was an individual to
be embraced and feared at one and the same time. His influence
among the darkies was widespread.
Once my father wanted to get rid of a Negro with whom he
had disagreed. H e gave him a certain length of time in which to
move. One day in the very next week, I walked out of our house to
see a strange Negro who was circling it at intervals. His behavior
was weird and mystifying. H e did not act like an ordinary home
Negro, and I had never seen him before. W ho could he be, and
what was he doing? H e wore Sunday clothes: a long coat and an
unusual type of hat. H e did not appear to notice me, but began a
slow tour of the house, mumbling his words as he walked. At one

OLD PLANTATION DAYS

i3

corner when he had completed the round, he paused a moment, then
started upon a second encirclement. By now my childish curiosity
had been whetted to fever heat. Still, I could see no sign or overt
act upon the stranger’s part which gave cause for alarm. It was per­
haps his third trip around the house when I saw him stop at the steps
of one of the entrances and, taking a small package from his pocket,
place it carefully under the steps. A fter that he went away. I ran
immediately to a near-by cabin where I knew there was a young
colored boy whom I could trust. I told him what I had seen and
asked him to investigate. H e promised to do so. T h e next day he
reported to me. This stranger, he learned, was a conjure doctor, one
who performed mysterious acts that none could fathom or explain.
The package he had placed under the steps contained conjure medi­
cine. The conjure specialist had been retained by the disagreeable
tenant, and the doctor had placed the conjure medicine beneath the
steps so that my father would walk over it. In so doing, according
to the theories of conjure, my father would be influenced in favor of
the tenant he had ordered to leave. T he package contained blood­
stained rags and grain, probably a form of religious sacrifice.
M y father laughed good-naturedly when I told him what had
taken place. But the remarkable outcome was that he re-employed
the Negro and let him stay on. I teased him about it for years, sug­
gesting on later occasions that he avail himself of conjure, when some
dilemma presented itself. H e, of course, denied its efficacy. Y et,
even today, one wonders if, to some extent, conjure is not sometimes
called into play by materia medica.
Our Negroes were believers in ghosts, but could never convince
me- H ere is an illustration. A Negro excitedly advised that he had
seen a ghost. H e was asked to describe the ghost. H is answer was
as Allow s: “ I know it was a ghost because when I reached out to
touch it, it wasn’t there, and when the ghost reached out for me, I
wasn’t there!”
In those times a religious “ protracted” meeting was being held
ln South Carolina, and the preacher was making great appeals to
arouse his congregation. H e said in the course of his propositions:
M l of those who wish to go to H ell rise.” No one rose. “ A ll those
who wish to go with me to Heaven rise.” No one rose. H e then
said: “ W hat is the matter with you people? Are you stone deaf?”







I4

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

One man rose in the audience and said: “ W e do not wish to go to
either of them places. W e are satisfied right here.”
M y father was typically English and a Roper through and
through. H e was five feet ten and weighed a hundred and sixty
pounds. Because of his merry, witty manner, he had many friends.
H e took a leading part in the community endeavors, more especially
the long fight for self-government in the 1870’s, of which more later.
H e had dark hazel eyes that danced when he spoke, and, always
radiating good will and cheer, he early became a local leader in the
common cause. In the year 1876, I remember distinctly that we had
a surplus of one thousand dollars after the sale of our cotton. M y
father was in the W ade Hampton campaign solely to help free the
state from oppression. H e gave every cent of our savings to this
campaign, going “ on time” for our supplies until the next crop.
H e himself was not musical, yet I never met a man who was
fonder of listening to good music. The Scottish song services were
events in those days. They were held at a different home each week,
and always under the direction of a singing master. The singing was
performed in the old-time do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti-do manner, yet it was
surpassingly beautiful and satisfying. Many were the splendid voices
in the community, and while the fiddle was the most prominent in­
strument, the banjo and the guitar were popular among the darkies.
W hat has ever been more beautiful than to sit upon the broad piazza
of a plantation home on a warm summer night, breathing soft breezes
scented with magnolia and jasmine, with millions of stars in the sky
and the whole countryside mellow with moonlight, the darkies plain­
tively singing and strumming their banjos and guitars, accompanying
voices of deep-throated bass and silver tenor singing the old songs
that enlarged the heart and graced the gentler days of our country’s
history? H ow thankful I am for the influence of such a hallowing
environment.

CHAPTER II

T he Three R 's
Y F A T H E R was not educated in the approved sense of
the word as used today, modern education being a rarity
among the pioneers who then lived in the Carolinas. It
was the heyday of the three R ’s— reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic.
One who knew his three R ’s and knew them well was considered to
have enough education for all practical purposes. But my father,
who had an astonishingly retentive memory for history, was a vora­
cious reader of all the good books available to him. Alexander H .
Stephens was his favorite American historian, and he virtually mem­
orized the Stephens history, being able to quote pages and pages of
it when conversation turned upon the events it chronicled. H e was
especially accurate when relating items of history pertaining to the
Civil W ar.

M

In retrospect it seems little short of amazing that my father ac­
quired so high a degree of understanding from his limited oppor­
tunities. But in his modest way, he was a scholar. H e was particu­
larly fond of the Jewish historian, Josephus. I remember that one
of his first arguments to me concerned the divinity of Christ. H e
quoted from Josephus: “ Christ was a marvelous man, if it be proper
to call him a man.” And he considered this a great admission by a
historian who, although rejecting the Nazarene, was almost one of
his contemporaries. T h e Bible, of course, was in every Southern
home— even in many cases in the homes of Negroes who could
neither read nor write. E arly in my childhood, my father bought a
New Testament of large print. Each of the chapters began with a
large capital letter. I learned my A B C ’s from them.
Perhaps the next most valued book of the house was the bio­
graphical volume, Lossing’s Em inent Americans. M any winter
nights my father sat beside the open fire and read aloud from it.







!6

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

W hat exciting episodes and worthy human achievements this book
unfolded! It brought to life a whole pageant of heroes: Washington,
O ld Hickory, the gentle Lee, and the dashing, death-defying Stone­
wall Jackson. They stirred my plastic imagination. Then there was
the dramatic account of the capture of M ajor Andre with his dis­
grace. Father would stop to explain how the papers which con­
demned the M ajor were discovered in his boots. “ Those papers,”
declared my father, “ are in the State Library at Albany, New York.
Some day, son, if you ever have the chance, go and see them.”
As was to be expected, one who had served four years in the
Confederacy was intrigued by the life of Napoleon. It was an age
in which military prowess was glorified, and my father read and
talked much of the life and campaigns of Bonaparte. Frequently a
tinge of sentiment entered these discussions, for he deeply sympa­
thized with Josephine, Napoleon’s unfortunate wife. More interest­
ing, however, both to him and to me, were his accounts of the career
and alleged execution of the colorful Marshal Ney. This part of the
discussion always brought us to the absorbing mystery which en­
shrouded the end of Ney.
M y father held with those who did not believe that the French
officer was executed. This school credited the report that the old
army friends of the Marshal, who were charged with the duty of
putting him to death, had spirited their former commander to safety
— that he had escaped on the eve of his scheduled execution and had
come to America. Definitely, it had been established that a strangeacting Frenchman had made his appearance in North Carolina not
long after the supposed execution, and this newcomer had organized
a school. M y father placed the location of the school at about one
hundred miles from the farm where he was born. There were rec­
ords in my father’s possession which showed that the age and de­
scription of the mysterious teacher tallied closely with those of M ar­
shal Ney. And these old records also disclosed that the Frenchman
became visibly agitated when the name of Napoleon was mentioned
in his presence. Moreover, upon his deathbed, the teacher’s last
words to his physician bore out the theory of his identity, for they
indicated that he had once been associated with Napoleon. A ll this
was fascinating and absorbing to my childish mind.
I was taught respect for books and an appreciation of their in-

THE THREE R’s

17

estimable value. W e had in our home, also, fragmentary works of
Shakespeare and Francis Bacon. T he second mystery to which I was
introduced was the question of whether or not Bacon wrote Shake­
speare. T h e controversy was fresh and spirited in this period, but
my father did not become a partisan. Other books we had were his­
tories of some of the Southern states, broken sets of Tennyson and
Longfellow , H istory of the O ld Cheraws , covering our segment
of the Carolinas, and that book without which no home library, how­
ever small, was complete— Pilgrim ’s Progress. M y father knew these
books amazingly well. Y et, one day when he was quoting Shake­
speare to a group of friends, I questioned him. “ Aren’t you afraid,”
I whispered, “ you’ll make a mistake— misquote?” H is reply was
characteristic of his unfailing sense of humor. “ Son,” he said, “ I
never quote Shakespeare before people who know anything about
Shakespeare.” H e had me there.
W ith this background I was constantly being prepared by my
father for the day when I would start to school. It was a deplor­
able fact that the schools of the period were ungraded and loosely
conducted. The public school money seldom lasted more than sixty
days. A fter it was exhausted, those parents who could afford to do
so supported privately organized schools. A central location would
be chosen by the better-off residents of the community and a special
teacher employed to conduct the continuation school. M y father
always supported these privately financed extensions, and when the
time came he took a daily interest in my school progress. H e wanted
me to be better equipped for life than he had been, but neither of
us knew the best course of study to pursue. That, in my father’s
opinion, was a matter for the guidance of the teachers. And I was
destined to be most fortunate in this important respect.
M y kinsman and devoted friend, T . B. Stackhouse, a graduate
of W offord College, was my first schoolteacher. H e boarded at our
house, and together we walked a mile to the one-room schoolhouse,
where about thirty boys and girls congregated for the fundamentals
of education. I was between seven and eight years of age when this
schooling began.
An amazing incident of the experience still lingers in my mind.
In this school term a youngster named Dargan M cDaniel entered
our school from another district. H e, it seemed, was not taking his







18

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

education seriously. Noting his obvious indolence, M r. Stackhouse
descended upon him one morning. “ Dargan,” he declared threaten­
ingly, “ you aren’t studying! Now get this straight j if you don’t get
down to work, I ’m going to thrash you!” The rest of us were all
eyes and ears, but the redoubtable Dargan was by no means abashed.
“ M r. Stackhouse,” he replied drolly and almost in a note of utter
hopelessness, “ I can save you trouble there. M y last teacher, M r.
Stafford, he tried that. It didn’t do any good.” The laughter
throughout the room was unrestrained until we were called to order.
I was eleven when M r. Stackhouse founded another school at
Red Bluff on the Little Peedee River. The new school was four
miles from our home. There were frequent rains, chilly winter
winds, and muddy roads, but, notwithstanding the terrors of the ele­
ments and the impediments of formidable mud puddles, I walked
to and from school each day. The school money ran out as usual,
but those parents who could afford the cost chipped in, and M r.
Stackhouse was retained. In those days the teacher would sometimes
board in the homes of his pupils.
Naturally we had summer vacations. M y father believed in hard
work, but we found time for some swimming and hunting and fish­
ing. W e had no daily papers, but any important item of news quickly
found its way to us by the relay system. One of these instances in
which news came by messenger is clear in my mind. I was a boy of
fourteen, swinging on the front gate. Suddenly I heard the clatter
of hoofs and looked up the road to see a neighbor galloping toward
our house. H e reined his mount as he drew nearer; then, shouting
in an excited voice, he said: “ T h e President’s been killed! Garfield!
H e’s dead!” H e rode on, like Paul Revere of old, to inform the rest
of the community. T he assassination had occurred the day before,
July 2, 1 881. It made a profound impression upon me. I did not
see how the nation could continue without its president. Indeed, I
was actually surprised the next morning to find that the sun rose as
usual, that the flowers were still blooming, that the pleasant country­
side was calm and serene. I had spent a restless night.
ii

Childhood passes quickly, leaving recollections that seem to have
been episodes of a fantasy. I was fourteen now, ready for my pre­
paratory work at the Laurinburg, North Carolina, H igh School. For

THE THREE R’s

i9

me entrance that fall to this new school, with its enrollment of one
hundred and twenty-five students, was a major event. It was the first
time I had lived away from home, and it gave me the feeling that
at last I was more or less on my own. M y closest friend, Julius Lane,
who lived near me and had been a comrade from early childhood,
went to Laurinburg at the same time. H e furnished a buggy, and I
had the privilege of borrowing a mule from my uncle, Colonel James
Turner Roper, who lived at Laurinburg. Thus, Julius and I were
able to drive home on Fridays, coming back in time for school on
Monday mornings. In this way we saved board money. This was
fortunate. W hile treated to a new and broadening mode of life
in which I was in contact with fellow students from other sections,
I, at the same time, remained under my own home influence.
The school was conducted upon a high plane. W illiam G. Quakenbush, of Orange County, North Carolina, was its principal. H is
three capable assistants, all men of strong Christian character, were
instructors who taught with unrelenting zeal, at all times seeking to
inspire us with a heartfelt desire for knowledge and its blessings.
They made us dig into the very core of every subject. W e had to
learn. There was no respectable alternative. No boy who ever went
to school to Professor Quakenbush would ever forget him. H e was
a one-legged man, a little stooped because he was continually on
crutches. One of his legs had been amputated in childhood after he
had been bitten by a jackass. H e never smoked, but he chewed cigars
continually. I thought this the height of extravagance.
M r. Quakenbush taught Latin and Greek and supervised the
school. The community loved him wholeheartedly because he en­
tered into the work and spirit of so many of its activities. There was
no end to the man’s energy, and his benevolent and wise philosophy
was always an inspiration. But he was not easygoing. I f anything,
he was on the austere side, ever insisting upon more work and study.
H e lost no opportunity to impress the importance of character in
the making of a gentleman. I often wondered how one small head
could hold all he knew.
I boarded with my uncle, who loaned Julius and me a mule
on week-ends. Uncle Turner was approximately twelve years older
than my father and, likewise, a veteran of the Confederate Army.
H e, too, took an active interest in my schoolwork. W e frequently







20

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

took walks, during which he questioned and advised me. W hen in
the mood he told me experiences from his own interesting life. One
of these concerned D avy Crockett, hero of the Alamo, whose motto,
“ Be sure you are right, then go ahead,” had swept the country. I
had read a great deal about Davy Crockett. I knew the background
of his pioneer days, his hunting exploits, his oddities both at home
and in Washington. H is last great adventure during the Texas
Revolution against the Mexicans, that brave death struggle that
brought his tragic end in the massacre at the Alamo, had aroused me
as had no other bit of American history up to that time. W hen Uncle
Turner told me that he had once met Crockett, I pressed him for
details. H e cheerfully supplied them.
As a boy of fifteen, Uncle Turner had once stayed overnight in
Raleigh. Early in the evening he had gone out upon the public square
to see a bear which one of the natives had captured and was exhibit­
ing in an enclosure near the statehouse. W hile looking at the bear,
who should walk up but D avy Crockett. A small coterie was already
following the popular idol to observe him at close range. M y uncle
joined them. Crockett, according to my uncle, was all that he had
been pictured and described by the press. A striking, powerful
figure, the Tennesseean wore his celebrated coonskin cap. And, to
the delight of the crowd, he began making witty remarks about the
bear, soon drifting into accounts of some of his own hunting expe­
riences in the Appalachian Mountains. H e said that, upon his first
return from Washington to his home, several of his constituents
wanted to know what the people of the capital were like. H e had
answered by telling them that the chief difference was the way in
which they ate their meals. “ For instance,” Crockett said, “ they have
breakfast when the sun is one or two hours high, or when you fel­
lows have done practically a half a day’s work. About one or two
o’clock in the day they have what they call lunch, and ’way in the
night, they have their dinner.” When a constituent asked, “ Davy,
when do they eat their supper?” Crockett had told them, “ They
don’t get that until the next day.”
in

In the summer of 1884 father wished to send me to Wofford
College. Money was scarce, and knowing his stringent financial con­

aH H H H B

THE THREE R’s

2i

dition, that he was having to borrow to defray my expenses, I spent
the summer selling a book, The Pathway of Life. This house-tohouse canvassing took me far and wide in Marlboro County. I
cleared fifty dollars for the summer’s work. And how proud I was!
It was enough to outfit me, including a new suit, shoes, and hat. I
bought the clothes from a merchant who was an old friend of the
family. It was gratifying to be able to pay cash. I looked forward
to the day when I would wear them to college.
T he W offord term opened on October 7. I had to journey two
days and part of a night to get to Spartanburg, which, as the crow
flies, is only about one hundred and twenty-five miles from my home.
I went to Laurinburg by buggy, thence via the old Carolina Central
Railroad, now the Seaboard Airline, to Charlotte. A fter a consider­
able delay at the latter city for train connections, I went on to my
destination via the Richmond and Danville, now the Southern Rail­
road. A t last, grim y with cinders, exhausted from the shakings and
careenings of the rattling, puffing “ modern” train, almost overcome
by the heat, and suffering agony from my new shoes, I reached Spar­
tanburg. One almost had to be a Spartan to stand the journey.
W offord was on the outskirts of this quiet and peaceful old town,
and my first impressions of it, as I set foot upon the still green cam­
pus, were distinctly reverential. Other young men were sauntering
singly and in groups across the grassy plain, coming and going at the
entrance of the imposing buildings, which, flanked by five or six
attractive brick residences, stood at the end of a long walk. I noted
the sturdy oak trees and the shady pine grove. There was no great
hustle and bustle; rather it seemed as if the half leisurely movements
of the W offord students were guided by a sense of confident purpose.
The atmosphere was one of dignity and quaint charm. I liked it from
the start. I determined to make the most of my opportunity and
privilege in being there.
T he details of matriculation did not take long. I presented cre­
dentials, and a member of the faculty helped me to select the sub­
jects I was to pursue. A room was assigned, and I became a fullfledged student of W offord. Those first few days at college were
filled with the activity of orientation, making new friends and assid­
uous application to my books. Just one unfortunate circumstance
marred those first days. M y new shoes were killing me. Unfortu­







22

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

nately, I had no others. Nor could I exchange them, for I was many
miles from the store in which I had bought them. It was an impasse.
But a sadder feature of the shoes, of which I did not learn until
several weeks had passed, was not that they hurt my feet.
Purchase of the new outfit had been a first experience at “ trad­
ing” or shopping with the particular merchant from whom they were
bought, although he was a good friend of the Roper family. I had
paid cash. Imagine my chagrin and resentment upon learning that
he had charged the whole outfit to my father’s account at his store.
O f course, it was not intentional fraud j the man was notoriously
careless in his business methods. Nevertheless, I had lost the money
for which I had worked and walked and talked so hard in the blaz­
ing summer heat. The incident was a rude shock, one which afforded
a valuable lesson for all the future. It awakened me to the impor­
tance of using bank checks in paying bills and of getting receipts where
they were paid in cash. This shock and hardship disturbed my sleep
for several nights.
A t W offord I rose early, just as I had back home, usually taking
a walk. I had been there but a few days when, one morning along
the woods path just off the campus, I met the President, Dr. James
Henry Carlisle. H e was a man six feet four inches tall with long,
flowing hair, moustache, and beard, and large intelligent eyes that
were deep-set and penetrating. H e paused as we were about to pass.
“ Good morning, young man,” he said. “ A fine morning.” “ Good
morning, sir,” I returned. “ It is indeed.” H e stood looking at me
a moment or so, and then he said, “ I wonder if you have a special
thought for this fine day.”
In all honesty I had to confess that I did not have any particular
thought, and I was slightly embarrassed because his mighty presence
overawed me. H e did not seem the least bit surprised. “ Let me
suggest to you,” he said, “ that you never leave your room in the
morning without having one. It will keep you encouraged and bal­
anced. Since you don’t have one today, let me give you one.” “ Yes,
sir,” I said in some confusion, while he regarded me with close
scrutiny. “ The way you approach people in early life,” he declared,
“ will decide your destiny. Since there are only two ways of approach­
ing people, it is very important that you consider them and make no
mistake. One way is negative, the other positive. Under the nega­

THE THREE R’s

23

tive, you approach people suspiciously, impressing upon them that
you lack faith and confidence in them. Y ou will not get their co­
operation and you w ill fail. U nder the positive, you w ill approach
people with confidence and faith that will prompt them to believe in
you and follow you. Y ou w ill thereby establish confidence, co-opera­
tion, and leadership, and you w ill succeed.” W ith those words, D r.
Carlisle bowed and passed on. I was never to forget them. M any
times they would serve me w ell in afterlife. But that early morning
meeting was just a beginning, a preliminary taste of the rich philos­
ophy that w elled from his unquenchable fountain of wisdom. H e
taught you to think and not to “ keep on talking after you had stopped
thinking.”
.
On another occasion, he said, “ Ponder on this: Confidence is a
plant of slow growth. M ind how you cultivate and protect it.” T h e
consideration of those words brought the whole credit system to my
mind. I resolved to live within my means, but when obliged to have
credit, vigorously to strive to protect the obligations it entailed. T h e
world did not owe me a living unless 1 gained the confidence of others
and co-operated with them in the correct way to live. M oreover, his
words gave me new breadth of thought, lifting me to a higher plane.
Sectionalism had no place in a nation composed of individuals, with
business so interdependent and interrelated.
D r. Carlisle, I soon found, was an institution within himself, the
very backbone of W offord, the inspiration of every boy. W h ile his
specialty was mathematics, at the end of each recitation period he
would have us lay aside our books and tell him what we thought we
had learned that day under the other professors. H e was much
interested in etymology, or the derivation of words. Each day every­
body in the class tried to bring a new word for discussion. One day
M r G regg, a member of the class, was asked what he had learned
from his Latin professor. “ Doctor,” he answered, “ I have been
thinking of the word restaurant. I haven’t pursued the word fully,
but I am suggesting, sir, that the analysis of the word is this: Res,
meaning thing; and taurus, meaning bull. Hence, a restaurant is a
bully thing!” D r. Carlisle did not criticize the young man, but while
the rest of us laughed heartily, he merely smiled and said, “ I sug­
gest, M r. G regg, that you take that up tomorrow with your Latin
professor.”







22

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

nately, I had no others. Nor could I exchange them, for I was many
miles from the store in which I had bought them. It was an impasse.
But a sadder feature of the shoes, of which I did not learn until
several weeks had passed, was not that they hurt my feet.
Purchase of the new outfit had been a first experience at “ trad­
ing” or shopping with the particular merchant from whom they were
bought, although he was a good friend of the Roper family. I had
paid cash. Imagine my chagrin and resentment upon learning that
he had charged the whole outfit to my father’s account at his store.
O f course, it was not intentional fraud; the man was notoriously
careless in his business methods. Nevertheless, I had lost the money
for which I had worked and walked and talked so hard in the blaz­
ing summer heat. The incident was a rude shock, one which afforded
a valuable lesson for all the future. It awakened me to the impor­
tance of using bank checks in paying bills and of getting receipts where
they were paid in cash. This shock and hardship disturbed my sleep
for several nights.
At Wofford I rose early, just as I had back home, usually taking
a walk. I had been there but a few days when, one morning along
the woods path just off the campus, I met the President, Dr. James
Henry Carlisle. H e was a man six feet four inches tall with long,
flowing hair, moustache, and beard, and large intelligent eyes that
were deep-set and penetrating. H e paused as we were about to pass.
“ Good morning, young man,” he said. “ A fine morning.” “ Good
morning, sir,” I returned. “ It is indeed.” H e stood looking at me
a moment or so, and then he said, “ I wonder if you have a special
thought for this fine day.”
In all honesty I had to confess that I did not have any particular
thought, and I was slightly embarrassed because his mighty presence
overawed me. He did not seem the least bit surprised. “ Let me
suggest to you,” he said, “ that you never leave your room in the
morning without having one. It will keep you encouraged and bal­
anced. Since you don’t have one today, let me give you one.” “ Yes,
sir,” I said in some confusion, while he regarded me with close
scrutiny. “ The way you approach people in early life,” he declared,
“ will decide your destiny. Since there are only two ways of approach­
ing people, it is very important that you consider them and make no
mistake. One way is negative, the other positive. Under the nega-

THE THREE R’s

23

tive, you approach people suspiciously, impressing upon them that
you lack faith and confidence in them. Y ou w ill not get their co­
operation and you will fail. U nder the positive, you w ill approach
people with confidence and faith that w ill prompt them to believe in
you and follow you. You w ill thereby establish confidence, co-opera­
tion, and leadership, and you will succeed.” W ith those words, D r.
Carlisle bowed and passed on. I was never to forget them. M any
times they would serve me well in afterlife. But that early morning
meeting was just a beginning, a preliminary taste of the rich philos­
ophy that welled from his unquenchable fountain of wisdom. H e
taught you to think and not to “ keep on talking after you had stopped
thinking.”
On another occasion, he said, “ Ponder on this: Confidence is a
plant of slow growth. M ind how you cultivate and protect it.” The
consideration of those words brought the whole credit system to my
mind. I resolved to live within my means, but when obliged to have
credit, vigorously to strive to protect the obligations it entailed. T h e
world did not owe me a living unless I gained the confidence of others
and co-operated with them in the correct way to live. M oreover, his
words gave me new breadth of thought, lifting me to a higher plane.
Sectionalism had no place in a nation composed of individuals, with
business so interdependent and interrelated.
D r. Carlisle, I soon found, was an institution within himself, the
very backbone of W offord, the inspiration of every boy. W hile his
specialty was mathematics, at the end of each recitation period he
would have us lay aside our books and tell him what we thought we
had learned that day under the other professors. H e was much
interested in etymology, or the derivation of words. Each day every­
body in the class tried to bring a new word for discussion. One day
M r. G regg, a member of the class, was asked what he had learned
from his Latin professor. “ Doctor,” he answered, “ I have been
thinking of the word restaurant . I haven’t pursued the word fully,
but I am suggesting, sir, that the analysis of the word is this: Res ,
meaning thing; and taurus , meaning bull. Hence, a restaurant is a
bully thing!” D r. Carlisle did not criticize the young man, but while
the rest of us laughed heartily, he merely smiled and said, “ I sug­
gest, M r. G regg, that you take that up tomorrow with your Latin
professor.”







24

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

H e often repeated that “ the young student who does not have a
case of homesickness now and then, either has no happy home or is
unworthy of one.” He seemed to sense it when one of us was low
in spirit, and many fine philosophical thoughts were handed down to
us from the rostrum at morning chapel. One which made a lasting
impression upon me was: “ While you are planning to spend a dollar
foolishly, your parents are planning how to save a dollar that you
may stay in college.”
At the beginning of this, my freshman year, I helped to organize
an eating club among classmates which materially reduced expenses
for us. There were twenty-two members of the club, and the college
gave us space for a kitchen and dining room. One member was given
free board for acting as steward, or buyer and supervisor. The club
was a success from the outset. W e had an organ and excellent musi­
cal talent in our ranks j thus the early evening gatherings, before
dinner, were occasions to which we looked forward. W e had a con­
stitution and bylaws to which each member subscribed, and regula­
tions specifying a certain hour for bedtime. It was my first experience
in student government. I have never lived more happily than with
that group. The amazing thing, in looking back upon it now, was
that my table board cost less than ten dollars a month. The new
mode of life quickened my interest in the outside world. Sectional­
ism began to fade from my horizon as a result of contacts with other
young men from distant sections and in the light of intellectual
growth due in a large measure to the strong influence of Dr. Carlisle.
•Yet, up to now, I had not thought of any career except that of a
Southern planter.
There was a young man in my class, Choice Evans, whose father
represented the Spartanburg District in Congress. During the Christ­
mas recess of 1884, young Evans visited his family in Washington.
He returned to college with a glowing account of what he had seen
and whom he had met. I found myself warmly interested despite
the South’s lack of sympathy for the new national government, due
to the scars of Reconstruction. Hitherto I had not thought an officer
of the government to be much more than a policeman. I now began
to recognize the dignity and prestige of the Federal service. Uncon­
sciously, a seed had been planted in my mind, although a number
of years were to elapse before it germinated.

THE THREE R’s

25

Although we had interclass sports at W offord, the large-scale
intercollegiate contests which captivate the public of today were un­
thought of. I participated in some of the baseball, football, and other
games, and I have since regretted that I did not take greater interest,
for contests on the athletic field are as valuable in their development
and instruction as the activities of the classroom. One outstanding
event of that year was a hike to a hallowed spot near Spartanburg.
M y father’s love of history and biography had been transmitted to
me in earlier years. I recalled that the Revolutionary battlefield of
Cowpens was only nine or ten miles from Spantanburg. Because of
its decisiveness in contributing to the success of the Revolution, it
was sometimes called the “ Bennington of the South.” It was there
that 1,100 British contended against 1,000 Americans with the result
that only 12 Americans were killed and 60 wounded against 800
British killed, wounded, and captured. In that first year at W offord
I inquired concerning the exact location of the battlefield. Partly be­
cause I wanted to see this hallowed ground, and partly in order that
I might later tell my father about it, I got together a group of
friends and we hiked the rugged distance to the battlefield. T he
trip was slightly disappointing because there was so little trace of
the famous conflict. W e, however, identified the exact location, and
all had the satisfaction of having visited the spot which had an im­
portant bearing upon American independence.
M y freshman year passed quickly. By living economically, I kept
my total expenses within two hundred and fifty dollars. In fact, my
four years of college were to cost my father this annual amount.
Summer teaching slightly supplemented it, and I taught that first
summer until it was time to return to college in the fall.
T h e sophomore year was to provide one of my first major trage­
dies. This event will be better understood if we bear in mind some­
thing of the mode of life at W offord. Dr. Carlisle and his staff had
never engaged in a drive to swell the student body. There were only
about one hundred and twenty-five students, it being his belief that
the small college was the salvation and hope of the American edu­
cational system. A larger number, he thought, tended to eliminate
personal contact between faculty and student. “ If the student body
ever reaches two hundred and fifty,” he said, I 11 go out the back­
door.”







26

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Nevertheless, the Wofford dormitory facilities were inadequate
for this small student body. This situation was ameliorated by the
kindly patronage of the good families of Spartanburg, who gladly
co-operated by taking young men into their homes to board. Dr.
Carlisle approved this system, since it gave the boys so provided for
a home atmosphere, with all its influence in building character. Dur­
ing that first year I had gained the friendship of J. D. Williams, a
classmate who came from one of the lower counties. We became very
close friends, and agreed to room together upon our return the fol­
lowing autumn. Thus, in the fall of 1885, we became roommates.
There are few closer relationships than that which binds common
spirits as college roommates. Since each of us was a candidate for the
Bachelor of Arts degree, there were times when one could assist the
other. If it was a mathematical problem, or, perhaps, a translation
of Latin, or some mystery attached to the fascinating study of chem­
istry with its perplexing qualitative and quantitative analysis and the
stubborn unknowns, or any other of numerous things, there was al­
ways the chance that one could give the other the desired lift. We
told each other our boyish secrets. W e studied together 5 we walked
together; and often in the night’s darkness we lay in our separate
beds, discussing the problems of our present world and speculating
upon its tomorrows. I had never had a brother,1 and this new rela­
tionship— deepest friendship and trust— thrilled me. I greatly treas­
ured it. Either of us would have fought for the other.
One night, early in May, 1886, J. D. came to our room after
supper complaining that he did not feel well. He went to bed ear­
lier than usual. The next morning he made no move to arise when
I got up at the customary time— the ringing of the college bell. He
looked pale and haggard. I asked him if he intended going to classes.
“ I don’t think I can make it,” he said. “ Maybe a day in bed will
fix me up. You can explain to the professors.” “ What about some
breakfast?” I asked him. “ Can I bring you something?” He waved
down the suggestion. “ No,” he replied. “ I don’t think I care to
eat.” Noting his pallor, and by now convinced that he might be
sicker than he thought, I suggested calling the college physician.
“ No,” he murmured, “ Go on. I’ll be all right.”

1 By my father’s marriage to Miss Lucy McColl, I had two half-sisters and
two half-brothers.

THE THREE R’s

27

I left J. D . with some misgivings. There were reports of typhoid
fever in Spartanburg j so I determined to look in upon him as soon
as my first classes were over. This I did. B y now it was apparent he
had a fever and was not all right, as he had expected to be. H is eyes
were dull and listless. Genuinely alarmed, I hurried to call D r.
Dean. A short while later his case was diagnosed. Typhoid fever!
T h e job of caring for J. D . and giving him his medicine fell largely
to me, although there was never a shortage of boys who wanted to
help. I commenced the long and grueling vigil. J. D . fought coura­
geously to get w ell, but the ravages of fever took daily toll of his
youth and strength. H is decline was visible from day to day. Three
weeks later, in our little room, I saw my beloved companion die.
T he shock of it was too much for me. I collapsed, going to bed with
a temperature— and the almost certain conviction that I, too, would
meet a kindred fate.
There happened to be another young man at W offord who came
from my neighborhood in Marlboro County. John Tatum stepped
into the breach and helped nurse me. I did not have the exact symp­
toms J. D . had had; so at the end of a week, D r. Dean decided to
send me home. I left school on a stretcher with John Tatum accom­
panying me. D r. Carlisle went with us to the train, presenting me
with a large bottle of cologne and recommending that I bathe my
face with the lotion. Luckily, I reached home without senous conse­
quences. A fter a few weeks’ rest I was my old self again M y case
was rediagnosed as a bilious fever induced by strain and anxiety.
Fortunately, the term examinations had been passed, and, except for
commencement exercises, school was over. D r. Carlisle wrote to me
later. I have always treasured the memory of that letter. One thing
he wrote was: “ Remember, Daniel, there is a place for you in the
world.” It was his way of manifesting sympathy and encouragement,
of assuring me of his continued interest. Often in later years I have
taken a lesson from that letter. Recalling ten or a dozen friends,
unheard-of in a year or so, I have written them. In such cases I have
been amply repaid by their appreciation, their gratitude at knowing
someone was interested in and thinking of them. Surely the world
needs more of this brand of sympathy and encouragement.
W hile in W offord College, in the autumn of 1885, I became one
of the founders of the South Carolina Gamma Chapter of the Sigma







28

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. I was impressed then, as I am now, by
the opportunity which the fraternal spirit, whether in or out of col­
lege, has of serving humanity. Fraternities, however, need to guard
against snobbishness and to stress character and scholarship. Such
fraternal groups, if wisely formed, may be of advantage after col­
lege life. Some years ago, while we were crossing the ocean, an
Englishman, in replying to my question as to how he liked the
United States, said: “ Your people have not sufficient home centers
where families and friends can gather and exchange experiences and
counsel for their common good.” A fraternity wisely conducted in
college and in later life might assist in satisfying this need.
The fever epidemic at Spartanburg and the death of my room­
mate changed the course of my life. I was discouraged from return­
ing to Wofford. I had heard much of Trinity College in North
Carolina, and my father, being biased in favor of all things North
Carolinian, was not adverse to the change. So it was decided that I
enter Trinity at the beginning of my junior year.
On the night of August 31, 1886, I was getting my things to­
gether for the college change. M y stepmother was assisting me.
Suddenly, a strange and deep rumbling came to our ears. It sounded
as if some tremendous train of freight cars had bumped together.
The house shook as if it might be going to collapse and fall. There
was a lull, and then another violent rumbling, mightier than the
first. W e were on the verge of panic. “ It’s an earthquake!” my
father shouted. W 11 bet you Florida has sunk.” It was, indeed, the
P
Charleston earthquake, although we did not know it at the time.
The rumblings died away, and my father began to explain that Flor­
ida was composed of alluvial soil reclaimed from the sea. I recalled
how he had always predicted that it would sink some day. By now,
however, the quake seemed to have spent itself, and we walked out
upon the grounds. No appreciable damage had been done, but we
were convinced that it had wreaked havoc elsewhere. A ll the Ne­
groes were agitated. They thought the end of the world had come,
and we could hear them for long distances, praying.
Charleston, we learned the next day, was the hardest hit, the
damage there running into thousands of dollars. Shortly afterward
an amusing story came to us from that city. A protracted Negro
meeting was being held in the colored section of Charleston on the

IV

Trinity College, then in Randolph County, North Carolina, to
which I transferred in the autumn of 1886, was not unlike W offord.
It, too, had a high moral tone and a religious atmosphere. Its faculty
maintained a close personal relationship with the student body.
There I continued the same course upon which I had embarked at
W offord, and there was no such memorable incident as the tragedy
of my sophomore year. The senior year, however, was marked by
some little change. John Franklin Crowell of ^ale was elected Pres­
ident of Trinity. It was a bold step for the trustees to take at this
time. It attested the breadth of their minds and vision, for D r.
Crowell was a Yankee.
Considerable misgivings were felt by some of the students, but
I did not share them. M y first visit to the sanctum of D r. Crowell,
nevertheless, caused me to wonder if the distrustful students had not
been right. Just as I began to talk to him, a strange clock in one
corner of the room went into strange actions. A little bird appeared,
crying “ Cuckoo! Cuckoo!” I had neither seen nor heard of a cuckoo
clock. It must be a Yankee trick, I thought, an effort to embarrass
or test me. I appeared not to notice it, but concluded my business
with Trinity’s new President. A long time elapsed before I learned
that the cuckoo clock was an innocuous innovation in the field of time­
pieces.
A t this first conference I thought I sensed that D r. C iow ell was
not pleased with the rural environments of the College. Soon he
was frankly advocating the removal of the institution to an urban
community and was quoted as saying that it must be gotten out of
the woods and taken to town.” The removal of Trinity to Durham




- - - .
-.............

night of the quake. W hen the first tremor was felt, the Negro
preacher attempted to quiet and console his parishioners. But when
the second prodigious rumble and shake-up came, he sprang from the
pulpit and led his terrorized congregation out of the church. As he
sprinted across the churchyard, a neighbor’s dog, loosed from his
block but still with the chain about his neck, playfully sprang upon
the colored preacher in the darkness. The preacher, panic-stricken
and hysterical, yelled: “ H old on, M r. D evil! Take away them
chains! I ’ll go, but I’ll go without chainin’ !”




3o

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

was accomplished before Dr. Crowell resigned the presidency. He
and his successor, Dr. John C. Kilgo, enlisted the interest of Wash­
ington Duke and his sons, Benjamin N. and James B. Duke, in the
support of the College; a contribution by the father made possible
the removal to Durham. Through the influence of Washington
Duke’s daughter, Mrs. Mary Lyon, the College admitted women
as students on the same terms as men. Benjamin N. Duke took a
personal interest in expanding the educational facilities of the Col­
lege during the administration of President Kilgo and enlisted in
that undertaking the help of his brother.
When President Kilgo was elected a Bishop of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South (1910), he was succeeded by a remarkable
man, then Dean of the College, the late William Preston Few, who
retained the confidence of the Dukes. It was his good fortune to
participate in the foundation of Duke University with the support of
an Endowment set up in December, 1924, by James B. Duke; he
remained at the head of the enlarged institution and before his death
in 1940 had the satisfaction of seeing it recognized as one of the
important universities of the country.
The founder of the University, James B. Duke, was farseeing
and great-hearted. In his lifetime and through the Endowment that
he established he gave liberally to other colleges in the region with­
out regard to creed or color as well as to hospitals, to orphanages,
and to superannuated preachers. His purposes in founding the Uni­
versity are indicated in the eighth article of the Indenture of Trust
which governs his benefaction. “ I have selected Duke University as
one of the principal objects of this trust,” he says, “ because I recog­
nize that education, when conducted along sane and practical as op­
posed to dogmatic and theoretical lines, is next to religion, the great­
est civilizing influence. . . . And I advise that the courses of this
institution be arranged, first, with special reference to the training
of preachers, teachers, lawyers, and physicians, because these are most
in the public eye, and by precept and example can do most to uplift
mankind, and second, to instruction in chemistry, economics and his­
tory, especially the lives of the great of earth, because I believe that
such subjects will most help to develop our resources, increase our
wisdom and promote human happiness.”
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in June, 1888. I returned

to M arlboro County, ready, I thought, to face the world. On this
point I was soon disillusioned. I had been prepared for nothing in
particular. Hence, I thought of teaching at least long enough to get
money for something else— probably, I thought, to read law and
settle in Seattle, Washington.
v
Professor N . D . Johnson, one of the educators of Marlboro
County, had a large consolidated school about seven miles from my
home. W hen I returned from Trinity, he made me an offer to teach
there, and I accepted, at a salary of forty dollars a month and my
board. I had done summer teaching, but this was my first job as a
regular, full-time teacher. I tried to profit from the training and
lessons of my old professors, and the memories of M r. Quakenbush
and D r. Carlisle served me in good stead. The important thing, I
saw, was to imbue my pupils with the intrinsic desire to know for the
sake of knowledge; and I was not unmindful that if I could inspire
them with the proper appreciation for fundamental traits of high
character I would be doing more for them than I could do by pound­
ing into them, to be repeated parrot-fashion, the contents of all the
books in Christendom. A t the end of the term, but not wholly to
my surprise, Professor Johnson was unable to pay my salary. M y
father solved this problem by a timely suggestion. H e had me ob­
tain from M r. Johnson an order upon one of the local merchants for
four hundred dollars worth of fertilizer, and bought the ordei from
me.
H om e life and the pleasant environs of my boyhood were still
dear to me, despite the four years at college. I loved the plantation
and its colored people. I loved to look in at the cabin doors and
greet the friendly darkies I had known since boyhood. In conclud­
ing this phase relating to my school days, I cannot resist the tempta­
tion to recall one further incident from that period. In a year when
the cotton was coming up slowly because it had been so dry all spring,
my father and I went out into the fields to determine whether or not
we were going to get a “ stand.” It was a bright Sunday morning in
M ay. W e made such a thorough inspection of the situation, in view
of the possibilities of crop failure, that we found upon looking at the
time, we were too late for services at our Methodist church. T he







32

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

church was four miles away and we could not possibly get there in
time. “ Too bad,” my father said. W e were starting home. Sud­
denly, he stopped. “ Tell you what, son,” he said, “ let’s go and listen
to Caesar.”
Caesar Munnerlyn was the colored pastor of a Baptist church at
the eastern border of our plantation M y father knew that Caesar
respected and liked him, for he had furnished the dusky clergyman
a mule and buggy in order that he might more conveniently serve his
parishioners. “ I’d like to hear him,” I replied, and we turned in
the direction of the little church. The Negro services were already
underway when we arrived. The church was jammed almost to ca­
pacity. Because we were the only whites, we slipped into remote
seats near the rear door. Caesar was reading his text from the third
chapter of St. Matthew. It referred to John the Baptist. In sten­
torian tones he read: “ And the same John had his raiment of camel’s
hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts
and wild honey.” H e had completed the reading before he noticed
the presence of my father and me. He must have remembered the
mule and buggy, for as he began to preach and refer to his text,
John the Baptist became John the Methodist throughout the sermon
thereafter. It is my opinion that no greater courtesy was ever exer­
cised than that of Caesar Munnerlyn, willingly sacrificing the Holy
Spirit to please a white Methodist friend.

CHAPTER III

T he South Carolina Legislature
^ H E T R Y I N G S H A C K L E S of the carpetbagger had been
cast off by the people of my state at the time I started to
school. Reconstruction at the point of a bayonet 01 muzzle of
T
a rifle was no more, thanks to the courage of the political leaders
of our era. Y et there still remained the dark fear that history might
repeat itself. Against the possibility of such repetition, the whites
were unified. T hey were determined to resist any movement, po­
litical or otherwise, that might bring back carpetbag and Negro
domination. T he uppermost need and universal desire was for gen
uine reconstruction— for improvement of the educational system, o
agricultural and transportation conditions, and for honest and more
economic government.
T he conservative Confederate hero, General W ade Hampton,
was the Reconstruction governor. The native white elements had im
plicit faith in him, but as subsequent events were to determine, it
was not a time for conservatism. Tillmanism, of which more ater,
was beginning to rattle the bones of reform, and in time wou d
sweep through the state with the speed and unleashed force of a foi est fire. T h e social and economic revolution among the farmers was
in full ascendancy by 1890. As a schoolteacher, I was in direct per­
sonal relationship with families of the agricultural class. Their prob
lems were never far from my doorstep. This influence, soon to be
increased by even closer contact, was to determine the pattern of my
future life.
T h e year 1888-89 with N . D . Johnson at Pine Grove, although
not very profitable from the financial view, gave me valuable expe­
rience and a degree of personal confidence. The next year was
marked by another event of far more importance than money. It
Was the year in which I was married. Pine Grove, the site of the







34

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Johnson School, was a typical rural community. Life centered round
the local Methodist church and the large schoolhouse. Although in
the midst of the Scotch settlement, the Pine Grove center was located
where the Scotch and English Quaker stock met and intermingled.
When I went to Pine Grove the Reverend W ill Ford, a Wofford
schoolmate, was the minister of the local Methodist church. Early in
the fall of 1888, he confided that he was expecting to be married in
the near future. His bride was to be Miss Julia Fletcher. “ How
would you like to be my best man?” he asked. “ I would consider it
an honor,” I replied. “ Then it’s agreed,” he said, and he went on
to tell me that Miss Lou McKenzie, whom I had not met, was to be
Miss Fletcher’s maid of honor. Miss McKenzie was Miss Fletcher’s
cousin.
Upon being introduced to Miss McKenzie, my reactions were
similar to those of any other young man who realizes he does not care
to look farther in the selection of a wife. Miss McKenzie’s mother
had been a warm friend of my own mother, and the families were
well acquainted. She lived four miles north of Pine Grove, while I
lived seven miles to the south. Those being the horse and buggy days,
young men vied with one another as to who could present himself
in the smartest rig, whether horse or mule drawn. M y rig was by
no means among the best; in fact, it was quite poor. Furthermore,
we wrote very few letters and did not meet oftener than at monthly
intervals. Our friendship, however, deepened and flowered into the
state still known as love. I appreciated more a definition of love
suggested by a friend at Wofford, “ an inward inexpressibility of an
outward all overishness.”
About this time my father gave me a bit of advice, unconsciously
describing Miss McKenzie. “ When you select a wife,” he said,
“ make sure she is the daughter of a mother of high ideals. And look
to it that her mother has a practical personality that will impress upon
the daughter both personal and domestic virtues.” I told him I had
found her, and he was soon to acknowledge her as such. Miss Mc­
Kenzie and I were married on Christmas Day, 1889, exactly fifty-two
years ago as this is being written.
From serious challenges and difficult problems of the past, I felt
that I was taking a rather hazardous step in marrying before ade­
quately preparing for the support of a wife. I was a poorly paid

THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE

35

schoolteacher, and she was engaged in teaching a very small school
in order to accumulate sufficient funds to repay a note which she had
given a friend to cover her college expenses. I was encouraged to
make the step, however, by two things. First, I found our ideas on
the practical approach to life to be very similar, and we were in thor­
ough understanding of each other’s condition j namely, that we had
nothing. Further, our objectives in life were similar, and we both had
good health.
_
Our plan for the future covered the following points, which
believed made it possible for two people with a thorough understan
ing of each other’s purposes, and a thorough conviction of the neces
sity of co-operation, to win through. Each was to understand the nan
cial situation of the other, and to try and save something from w at
ever we earned, however small that amount might be. W e believed
this would protect us from extravagance and encourage co-operation.
As a part of this we were to create a home environment of happiness
which would attract to that home, however poor, people engage in
sound objectives in life. This would give us the advantage 0 co
operative endeavors from the outside. Furthermore, any chil ren
that we might have would be assisted in their development^ as we
would, through contacts with worth-while people with genuine o
jectives. W e would strive to gain the confidence of our fellows
through correct living and thus interest other people in helping us
to find the way of life, and incidentally assist in protecting us rom
the “ wild horses” of life. This involved good w ill toward others and
a helpful attitude in controlling selfishness and greed. W e wou
strive not to acquire riches except sufficient to feed and equip wit a
practical education our children so that they would not become a
charge on the community. These objectives having been attaine ,
we would strive to have a comfortable home, paid for, t e environ
ment of which would be attractive to our children and friends.
As I have said, the year with N. D . Johnson was not pro ta e,
but it gave me a wider acquaintanceship throughout the county, an
I saw the fruits of my efforts in the reaction of some of the patrons
of the school. I was requested by the people of my home commu­
nity, seven miles away, to consolidate six small schools in that, oca
ity and form an academy to be put into operation the following } ear.
This I did with the efficient aid of Daniel J. Currie, a recent honor







36

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

graduate from the University of North Carolina. This consolidated
school or academy was located at Tatum, just two miles from the
plantation where I was born. It was to Tatum that I took my bride,
and we boarded with one of her cousins, a lovable man, Dr. John C.
McKenzie, the physician of the community.
The consolidation of the small schools and the responsibility for
the new institution were to prove a great strain. Chief of the difficul­
ties was the grading, or proper assignment, of students, many of
whom had previously had different and often inconsistent textbooks.
I knew something of this from my experience at Laurinburg High
School. I recalled that on my arrival there a teacher had asked what
grammar I had studied. “ Smith’s Grammar ” I had told him. He
threw up his hands in a gesture of disgust. “ Forget about it,” he
said, “ and forget everything you learned from it.” At Tatum, I met
these problems as best I could. Mrs. Roper taught a group of very
young students not sufficiently advanced to be classified in the acad­
emy. Her advice helped to solve the many problems occasioned by
the responsibility for one hundred and twenty-five students. We had
our hands full.
Life in the home of Dr. McKenzie was very pleasant. He was
a kindly man of the old school of gracious manner, benevolent, with
the genuine sympathy of the country doctor of those bygone days.
H e entered into every community activity, but he had one fault. Out
of that fault I learned a valuable lesson, one never to be forgotten.
Soon after moving to his home, a few hundred yards from the acad­
emy, I saw one morning that he was in a rather dilapidated physical
condition. He was haggard and his eyes were red. In a jocular way,
I said, “ Doctor, you’ve had too many drinks. How does this com­
port with your eldership in the Presbyterian church?”
H e stared at me while he collected his thoughts. Finally he
spoke. “ Young man,” he said, “ you have caught me at an eddy.
Let me illustrate to you how unfair and how narrow it is to judge
a man at an eddy.” Here he paused and extended one hand in the
direction of the river, about fifteen miles away. “ Go with me,” he
resumed, “ in your imagination to the Pee Dee River. You will prob­
ably approach the river at a point where some object has turned the
course of the stream, creating an eddy. If you were to judge the
river at this point, you would say it is flowing east. But if you were

THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE

37

wise enough, you would wait to make up your mind about the course
of the river, until you examined it an another point. A t that point,
though, the stream would probably have encountered another eddy
and would be flowing west. Now, you should be wise enough to go
to a near-by cliff, where you could see the full course of the river.
You would from that point see that the stream was not running east
— not running west— but flowing due south. W h y can’t you be as
careful and liberal in examining the full course of the stream of my
life? And why can’t you acknowledge with all my faults that the
volume of the stream is consistent and onward— in the interest of
the best and not the worst of life?” I have since tnanked the good
doctor many times for that lesson.
11

From the time we were married, Mrs. Roper and I dreamed of
a home of our own. W e often discussed it at length. Together we
planned and gradually arrived at a harmonious conclusion of what
we could make of it without anything to buy the land or build the
house, except energy and faith. James B. Breeden, the wea t lest
man in the county, was a friend of my father. I knew that he some
times loaned money on mortgages. W ith everything to gam an
nothing to lose, I went to him. I told him that we wishe to uy
eighty-three acres of land for twenty-two hundred and fifty dollars.
H e studied me gravely and in silence. “ I have no money,
went
on. “ T h e only security I can offer, besides the mortgage, is my c ar
acter and reputation in the community. I will insure my li e or
enough to cover the loan. If I live, I firmly believe I can pay or
the land and insurance. If I die, the insurance will repay the oan^
W hile he hesitated, I told him that my wife and I hoped to make
the farm self-sustaining, though I expected to supplement my income
by writing some life insurance. It was a happy moment w en e
nodded his head and told me that he would make the loan. ^ But,
he added, “ I ’ll have to charge you 10 per cent interest.’
hair
enough,” I told him, for at the time the rate did not seem exorbitant.
I requested that I be given five years to repay the loan. I feared his
heavy drinking might destroy him within five years and that is ^ eirs
would clamp down on me. H e generously said: “ I shall be willing
to give you the five years, and you go and get D . D . M cColl, 1 resi-







38

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

dent of the Bank of Marlboro, to draw the papers.” This I did. In
the next few days we purchased eighty-three acres on the same road
as my father’s home and about two miles away. Father then gave
us ninety-three acres on the opposite side of the road from our pur­
chase. W e then had one hundred and seventy-six acres. The problem
was now the building of a house. It was solved by my father giving
me the lumber and brick.
The first contractor to whom I presented the problem was a
friend, Joshua Parker. He proved to be too skeptical. “ How much
do you propose to pay for this house?” Parker wanted to know.
“ Just what I can earn while you are building it,” I replied. He
shook his head. “ I’m sorry,” he said, “ you’ll have to excuse me. I
don’t think I want the job on that basis.”
There was nothing more to be said, and I sought out another
contractor. This time it was William McCollum, of Scotch stock.
He took the construction job, which cost eight hundred and fifty
dollars, father and I furnishing all materials. I was fortunate enough
to make that amount of money during the several months of the
home’s construction. O f the old Dutch Colonial style, the house had
one story, a porch on three sides, a center hall entrance, four large
rooms in the main part of the house, and an ell containing dining
room and kitchen.
Mrs. Roper and I moved into the house during the autumn of
1890, at the height of the Tillman agitation for agricultural reform
and almost coincidental with the date when the Tillman forces
were swept into control of South Carolina’s state government. I
bought the farm when the price of cotton was about ten cents a pound
and mortgaged it for the full amount at 10 per cent interest. By the
time the first interest was due, cotton was four cents a pound, and
I could not pay the interest. In the meantime, our first baby had
arrived and I saw no way to provide for the family. This was a
terrible shock for me and came near embittering me with the “ mills
of the Gods.”
I resigned as teacher of the academy at the end of the first year,
June, 1890. The strain of the work was undermining my health, and
I felt the need for more life out of doors. In giving up the work,
I derived satisfaction from the accomplishment of that year. Not
the least of these achievements was the successful training of a group

TH E SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE

39

of hand-picked young men in the art of oratory. Nine in the group
competed at commencement time for a gold medal. I cannot recall a
finer exhibition. Their training and development were to help them
in later years. One of the nine is today Superintendent of Education
in Marlboro County, South Carolina. Another is a prominent citizen
of Riverside, California. A third became a state senator in Oklahoma
and died in that service. A fourth is a member of the Supreme Court
of Arizona. A ll nine made their marks in the world. I do not take
credit for their success, but I believe that their enthusiastic initiation
in that academy, and the personal attention given them, contributed
to their future destinies.

A fter leaving the Marlboro H igh School I entered a new field
of endeavor, life insurance. A visit from a most courteous and who esome insurance agent, while I was teaching at Tatum, first impresse
me with the benefits of life insurance. This agent presented insur­
ance to me in a different light from that in which I had previously
viewed it. I gave him my first application for a policy of a thousan
dollars, the amount needed to reimburse my father for his expenses
in sending me to college. Later that autumn when 1 began writing
insurance I took out a policy of five thousand dollars with Mrs.
Roper as beneficiary, to protect her against the mortgage on t e
farm.
Mrs. Roper’s father died when she was seven. H er mother ran
the farm and trained her; therefore, she could manage as we as
W ith her splendid, practical co-operation I was able to associate insur­
ance and farm work. L ife with her became a real partnership,
omit details of this experience. M y insurance territory was main y
Marlboro County, and mine was the task of increasing the conscious
ness of insurance opportunities and responsibilities. I rode up an
down the county, day by day, meeting farmers at their p ows, in
their barns, and otherwise, coming at all times into persona ac
quaintance with their families. I was fortunate in writing some appli­
cations for small amounts and in making many friends. This rubbing
of elbows with fellow citizens was to bring interesting res ts.
en
I had written insurance about eighteen months, meanwhile looking
after my farm, friends suggested that I run for the state legislature.







40

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

That first phase of my experience in public service was influenced
by the political and economic conditions in the community. In that
era the Southern people were enthusiastic over efforts to industrialize
the South, which may be said to have first taken substantial form at
the Atlanta, Georgia, Cotton Exhibition held in the autumn of 1881.
I recall the large newspaper headlines accompanying articles in the
Atlanta Constitution the next day after the opening of the Exposition
reading as follows: “ n e w e r a o p e n s f o r t h e s o u t h . ” The author
of one of these articles described a feat that was accomplished at the
Exposition: “ The Governor of Georgia wore at the Exposition Ball
last night a suit of clothes made entirely of cotton, the cotton being
picked from the field yesterday.” A new cotton mill had just been
erected in this field in the suburbs of Atlanta. The industrial slogan
was “ Bring the Cotton Mills to the Cotton Fields.” According to
the article, the economic advantages and practical results of associat­
ing locally cotton manufacture with cotton growing had now been
proved.
Illustrations were used by speakers and writers to show that
manufacturing was displacing agriculture in its first hold upon the
people of the South, and especially in South Carolina. It was alleged
that New England was “ skimming the cream” of Southern growers’
milk by taking our raw products and preparing them for consump­
tion, then reselling them to the Southern people at great profits. One
impressive illustration hung around a homely table blessing of a
clergyman in Darlington County, the Reverend Simpson Jones. On
the day after Christmas the clergyman called on a family of his
parishioners by the name of Owl. The family had just finished their
dinner when Dr. Jones called. He was immediately invited to din­
ner, being advised, however, that they had pretty well picked the
bones of the carcass of the turkey. He insisted upon giving another
blessing for the food, which was as follows: “ God bless these Owls
who ate this fowl and left the bones for Simpson Jones.”
I was deeply impressed with manufacturers and the ingenuity of
New England people from whom we were getting so many finished
products, and I decided to make a trip to Boston to see what these
New England people looked like. I went to Baltimore by train and
thence by the Merchants and Miners Line to Boston, and stopped at
the old Adams House, where I ate a good New England dinner.

THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE

41

In the lobby after dinner, I made the acquaintance of a very gracious
New England gentleman who was willing to talk and give me some
information. I asked him if he could tell me some of the funda­
mental reasons why the N ew England people were so select, so in­
genious, and so successful in manufacturing. W ith a twinkle in his
eye, he spoke as follows: “ D id you come in this morning against a
heavy East wind?” I answered “ Yes.” “ Did you have baked beans
for your dinner?” I admitted that there were baked beans on the
table. “ In these two things you have the answer to your question
as to why the people of N ew England are so select. It is this: Per­
sons of weak lungs are soon cut off by East winds and those of weak
stomachs are early killed by baked beans! W e have here a survival
°f the fittest.”
Our talk convinced me that in South Carolina we, too, needed
eliminations if we were to succeed in a variety of endeavors to get
Us away from the one-crop system. Among these I visualized better
educational advantages for the masses of the people, and I was
gratified that Governor Tillm an was launching such efforts in the
Clemson Agricultural and Mechanical College for farmers’ sons, and
also in the W inthrop Normal College at Rock H ill for the farmers’
daughters. Next we needed to get rid of hookworm, control pellagra,
provide better health supervision, and encourage rather than repel
efforts to supplant agricultural civilization with industrial progress.
The wonderful service of the Rockefeller Foundation in the study of
Southern health problems was soon to be rendered.
The year 1889 had ushered in a new era both in national and in
South Carolina politics. In the election of 1888 I cast my first Na­
tional Democratic ballot and lost in the defeat of Grover Cleveland
Sy Benjamin Harrison. D uring this political upheaval, Ben Tillm an
^ his agrarian uplanders to victory in South Carolina. T he United
ed
States had functioned under the Constitution exactly one hundred
>ears, thirteen unstable colonies along the Atlantic seaboard having
grown to thirty-eight states and ten territories, the whole of which
comprised a large sector of the North American Continent. America
celebrated her centennial in April, 1889.
The event of this year to affect my career most notably was the
organization of the Farmers’ Alliance into a national body. T h e same
Vcar marked the beginning of the Populist party} it was also the year







42

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

of the Johnstown Flood; and the first Pan-American conference was
held. There had been little political change in the years immediately
preceding. Everywhere reforms were demanded, and the United
States embarked upon her second century, as one historian has put it,
“ not to follow the beaten pathway of previous years, but to travel
new roads, sail uncharted seas, to live and learn from year to year.”
The North had recovered, but the wounds inflicted upon the
South by the Civil War would not be healed for many troubled
decades. She had been set back a hundred years, becoming a land
where brave pride did lip service for hidden pathos. Her foremost
problem, however, was not rehabilitation upon the ashes of the de­
struction caused by military occupation or such ruthless devastation
as had been visited upon her by generals like Sherman. Her great
problem now was the changing order, which in South Carolina meant
the passing of control from the landed aristocracy to the white
masses. This internal strife grew to such incendiary proportions at
times that it flared forth in wholesale riots and bloodshed.
Previous to 1865, an aristocracy of planters controlled South
Carolina. O f the sixty-three men who, either as governors or United
States Senators, were honored by the state between 1778 and 1865,
but two of the number were of humble birth. The average South
Carolina plantation in 1795 contained three hundred and ten acres.
Despite the greatly increased population, this average had risen to
five hundred and ten acres in 1850, though 80 per cent of the white
population did not have ten slaves per family on the eve of conflict
in i860. Accordingly, it is seen that the state was in the grip of
aristocracy— a wealthy, tenacious minority implemented to rule both
the white and black masses. Under this economic and political en­
slavement, human rights would seem to have been subordinate to
property rights, as witness the qualifications for service in the state
legislature. The Constitution of 1790 had provided that membership
in the state legislature be restricted to those “ possessing a freehold
estate of 500 acres and ten negroes, or real estate to the value of 500
pounds sterling.”
The Civil War, however, destroyed that feudalism. At the close
of the war, according to a recent historical writer, “ stores were
closed; roads were out of repair. Charleston was ca city of ruins, of
desolation, of vacant houses, of widowed women, of deserted ware-

THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE

43

houses and of wharves overgrown with rank weeds.’ Columbia,
where much treasure had been stored, was a wilderness of ruins.
Ashley H all, M iddleton Place, Porcher House, and the homes of
W illiam Gilmore Simms and W ade Hampton were in ashes. Slaves
and Confederate bonds had become worthless, and land had fallen
to one third of its former value.” 1
I was but one year old when, in 1868, the newly emancipated
Negroes elected the members of the State Constitutional Convention
in South Carolina. Tw o years later, when the census of 1870 was
taken, the state contained 415,812 Negroes and 289,667 whites.
However, no less than 50,000 white men had been killed in the war,
had emigrated, or had been disfranchised because of service in the
Confederate Army. So in most districts the Negroes could outvote
the whites by four or five to one. W hen the Constitutional Conven­
tion assembled, it contained 75 colored and 51 white members. O f
the 51 whites, but 23 were actual residents of the state. T h e con­
vention was called to order by Tim H urley, a wandering jockey from
Northern race tracks.
iv
During Reconstruction the Southern people learned the terrible
lesson that “ any government at all” is preferable to anarchy. There
were times when the people in South Carolina craved the security of
military rule under a capable and just officer of the United States
Army, and it was learned that democracy, if it was to be saved,
required intrinsic sacrifices from its defenders. Let us look at some
examples of the outlawry with which we had to contend.
During the period of near-anarchy, my own and the adjoining
counties of South and North Carolina were terrorized by the Low ry
gang. These outlaws ruthlessly preyed upon our people for a num­
ber of years. It seemed impossible to run them down. Similar gangs,
some of them better known, were active in other states, as for instance
that of Jesse James in Missouri. The lair of the Low ry gang was
Well known to everyone in our Carolina region, a locality called
Scuffletown in Robeson County. The houses were constructed for
defense, and provided with underground passages leading from one
to another. T he Lowries always seemed to have information about
„ ' Francis Butler Simkins. T h e T i l l m a n M o v e m e n t in S o u t h C a r o l i n a (Durham,
N-c., , 926),p . 5.







44

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

everybody in the countryside. Doubtless a few curried favor with
them by furnishing information to their leader, “ Boss” Strong.
“ Boss” was a lieutenant under the general command of Henry Berry
Lowry. Their operations were often dramatic. They would give
written notices that whosoever set out to pursue them would be am­
bushed and killed. Thus, more than a dozen of our best young men
were slain, some in broad daylight, others in the dead of night.
Finally, a reward of five thousand dollars was offered for “ Boss”
Strong, dead or alive.
When I was about two and one-half years of age, my father
returned home one evening from his mercantile establishment in
Bennettsville. He was told by some of our Negroes that several
members of the Lowry gang had been passing and repassing our
home during the day. After arising from the supper table he took
me in his arms and carried me to my mother’s room. She was an
invalid, near the point of death, and my father’s first thought was
for her protection. As he came out of my mother’s room into the
sitting room, two members of the Lowry gang sprang from either
side of the door and covered him with their pistols. One of the men
was “ Boss” Strong. “ Put up your hands!” he commanded. M y
father was a man of courage and he had a cool head. Four years in
the war had steeled him. “ M y wife is very ill,” he told Strong in
a quiet voice. “ I beg you not to enter her room.” Strong believed
him. “ Not one of my men,” he replied, “ will be permitted to harm
a hair of her head. We only want your money. W e’ll hold you
under arrest while we search for it.” “ There’s no money in the
house,” my father replied. “ A ll I have is in the store at Bennetts­
ville.” Strong was not convinced. H e and members of the gang
pried in drawers and corners. Finally, they carried away my mother’s
small writing desk, which contained valuable papers but none that
were negotiable. They also took two suits of clothes. Later, one of
the suits was returned; and the writing desk, with its papers intact,
was discovered under the Red Bluff Presbyterian Church, a mile dis­
tant. About a year after the night of that holdup, James Donahue,
a friend of my father, came to the house and spent an evening at
our fireside. Donahue lived in Robeson County, North Carolina, his
home being about fifty miles from our plantation. In the course of

— *

THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE

45

the conversation, my father informed Donahue that a reward of five
thousand dollars had been placed on the head of “ Boss” Strong. Our
visitor seemed interested, but remained silent. H e sat gazing into
the fire for several minutes; then, without a goodbye to anyone, he
quietly withdrew. Tw o weeks later, “ Boss” Strong was killed. D on­
ahue got the reward and thereupon disappeared.
Several years later we learned the inside story of the outlaw’s
death. Donahue had spent three days near the lair of the outlaws in
Scuffletown. One evening, while hiding near the abode of “ Boss”
Strong, he heard what seemed to be a hilarious welcome. H e was
certain that the “ Boss” had come home. H e edged in closer until
he maneuvered to a position where he could look in at a cat-hole
which had been cut in the bottom of the door for the use of the
Strong cat. It was Strong all right. H e was surrounded by members
of his gang. Someone asked him to play the harmonica, and he lay
down upon the floor to do so. Donahue put his pistol through the
hole and shot the bandit leader. There was sudden and great con­
fusion. An outlaw cried, “ H is harp bust. It’s killed him !” Donahue
wheeled and fled, making a successful getaway. The gang then be­
gan to disintegrate, the last three of them being doomed to hang in
Bennettsville some ten years later. Donahue, in self-protection,
added M cQueen to his name and moved to Florida. Nineteen years
later I saw him when he paid a return visit to Maxton, North Caro­
lina. James Donahue M cQueen was quite affectionate, speaking of
my father in the kindest way. Inviting me to join him in Florida,
he offered to bequeath to me his large orange grove. I believe he
died a few years later, but I did not inherit the orange grove.
v
South Carolinians in 1876 reached the peak of resentment against
the carpetbagger and the anarchy his misrule had brought. Although
but nine years old, I remember distinctly, as if it were of recent
years, that unforgettable campaign of W ade Hampton and the Red
Shirts. Those shirts were symbolic of the bloody breasts caused by
the bayonet, the bullets of rifles, and the sword. South Carolina was
united in that memorable campaign. It was the final struggle for
home rule and self-government. W ell do I recall hurried trips about







46

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

the county with my father, the sight of long columns of the Red
Shirts marching along the roads. Unlike the members of the KuKlux Klan, these political crusaders wore no masks. They had to
intimidate and counteract the carpetbagger and his proteges. There
seemed to be no other way.
Political meetings were held everywhere, in schoolhouses, in
churches, and in the open spaces. General Hampton had commanded
the cavalry corps after Jeb Stuart’s fall in May, 1864. H e was a hero
to all, and I shall never forget his commanding appearance, his
massive head, broad beard, his burning, penetrating eyes which
glowed beneath bristly brows, or how his voice boomed like a bass
drum, and how the audiences shouted back their prolonged and fren­
zied applause. Despite all our efforts, the carpetbaggers claimed the
victory in the state. The electoral vote of the nation was finally
allotted to Hayes and Wheeler. But Wade Hampton had been
elected governor, and after some carpetbag resistance he was in­
augurated. W e had won a local victory. The rejoicing of the people
beggars description. It was a relief to find that the new President
at Washington— Hayes— was both an honest and intelligent national
leader. He kept his promise to the people of the South. On April
10, 1877, the Federal soldiers marched out of the capitol at Colum­
bia. Soon all were withdrawn from the state. Tyranny was no more.
Civil law and public order were speedily re-established.
I have often been glad that I was too young to feel the full
sorrow of the Reconstruction period, although I absorbed much of
the feeling which stirred the breasts of my elders. Carlyle McKin­
ley, a beloved South Carolina poet, epitomized the spirit of the peo­
ple of the state in that “ Tragic Era.”

1876
Naked and desolate she stands,
Her nam a byword in all lands,
e
Her scepter wrested from her hands.
— She sm a queen despite their bands!
iles,
SO U TH C A R O L IN A IN

Her crown is lying at her feet,
And m
ockers fill her rulers’ seat;
The spoiler’s work is near com
plete.
— Her broad, fair bosom still is sweet!

THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE
They’ve wasted all her royal dower;
They’ve wrought her wrong with evil power;
And is she faint, or doth she cower?
— She scorns them in her weakest hour!

47

Her daughters cling about her form,
Their faith and love still high and warm;
They trust in her protecting arm.
— Her dark eyes brook a wrathful storm!
She bides her time— a patient Fate!
Her sons are gathering in the gate!
She knows to counsel and to wait
And vengeance knoweth no too late!
The old order passed amid many tragedies. Former overseers,
frequently the type of men maintained to subjugate and discipline
rebellious slaves, now bought portions of the lands held by then
former employers. T he recent aristocrats could not pay the wages
demanded by their liberated slaves, and the extravagance of the old
order had left them unfit to manage their affairs under the new stress
and strain. T h e poor whites added bit by bit to their own lands, and
the merchants, growing rich from the credit system, sometimes took
their pay in acres when dollars were not forthcoming. T he passing
of the old order did not affect small property owners so acutely. I f
anything, it benefited them by giving them a new importance during
this transition period of nearly twenty years. Because of their ad­
amantine stubbornness, the aristocrats in most cases clung vainly to
the privileges of the old order.
Benjamin Ryan Tillm an, born in the upland county of Edgefield
in the year 1847, was the firebrand destined to seize the leadership of
the new order, clamoring for the control which was gradually slip­
ping from the nervous fingers of the passing aristocracy. A champion
° f the farmer, violator of cherished tradition, dramatic, courageous,
and sometimes profane, he was always earnest and convincing in his
speech, and his success prompted, in years to come, many to try’ to
follow suit in South Carolina and elsewhere. Ben Tillm an had a
spine of steel and a deeply rooted purpose. None other could have
led so successfully the movement it was his destiny to head. None
other could have displaced a South Carolina leadership guided by







48

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Confederate heroes. Peculiar circumstances had hardened Tillman
until he was almost antisocial in his hatred for the old ruling class.
Moreover, a terrible malady, contracted after he volunteered at
seventeen for the Confederate service, had necessitated an operation
which almost cost him his life and left him with but one eye. I am
of the opinion that this suffering and its result had an enduring effect
upon his character.
Benjamin Ryan Tillman, Sr., father of Governor Ben, was an
innkeeper on the road between Augusta, Georgia, and Edgefield,
South Carolina. He was acquitted of a charge of murder in 1837. He
died when Ben was two. Governor Ben’s mother, later described by
him as the strongest woman I ever met,” took over the management
of her estate without the services of an overseer and increased her
landownings from eighteen hundred to thirty-five hundred acres, the
number of her slaves from fifty to one hundred. This hardy and ca­
pable woman was the mentor of the future governor in the days of his
youth. She gave him his first instruction. Later he became a vora­
cious reader, devouring the contents of every book he could find in
home and neighborhood. His early life was distracted by the mis­
fortunes of his older brothers. Thomas, first born of the family, was
killed at Churubusco. John, another brother, “ wild, dissipated and
handsome,” had bullied his mother during the absence of George at
Harvard. In Ben’s diary is an account of the scene between the two
brothers when George returned home: “ I recall as yesterday a scene
witnessed between the two. When George took him to task, he
threatened to kill him [George], and got his pistol. George tore his
shirt open, saying, ‘Shoot, you damn coward. You are afraid to shoot,
for no brave man ever threatened a widow and orphans as you have
done.’ After waiting for a moment with his broad bosom open,
George turned and walked upstairs, and John slunk off.”
John was killed in i860 by the Mays brothers, John C. and
George, who alleged that he had outraged the honor of their family,
and the Edgefield Advertiser of October 10, i860, gives an account
of their trial and acquittal. Oliver, another brother, was killed in
Florida in the same year. His death was the outgrowth of a quarrel
occasioned by a domestic difficulty. Henry died of fever, and James,
a gallant captain of the Gray, died of wounds received in Confederate
service. George, later convicted of manslaughter, served two years in

THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE

49

the Edgefield jail. This fate of his sole surviving brother further
embittered Ben and increased his class hatred. Thus it may be seen
that the early life of South Carolina’s future governor had few, if
any, mellowing influences. Environment shaped him for the stormy
course which lay ahead.
VI

As clearly as if it had happened in recent years, I remember the
first time I ever saw Tillman. It was the occasion of his first brush
with the world beyond his native hills. H is personality, bitter and
audacious, was unleashed with all the sarcasm and virility of his soul.
On this day in 1885, when I was eighteen years old, he made a
speech at an agricultural meeting at Bennettsville, my county seat.
No one who heard that speech ever forgot his first impressions of
Ben Tillman. It was the bombshell which projected him into public
life, the intensifying of the sensationalism which inflamed his career
with a halo of fire.
That single bright eye flashed when he castigated the courthouse
ring, the lawyers generally. W hat powers of invective had this man
who could quote from the classics in one breath and swear in the
next! The substance of his Bennettsville address was that the farm­
ers were w illfully oppressed. H e demanded a square deal for them.
H e charged that the state was doing nothing for agriculture, and that
so long as the state solons were controlled by the clubmen of Charles­
ton and Columbia, by the aristocrats, there was slight chance of im­
provement. H e recommended agricultural experiment stations, a
real agricultural college, and numerous other reforms. Chiefly, his
address was an indictment of the old order, an appeal to class hatred
and class consciousness. W hile most of his listeners were hostile to
him, the farmers who had come as spectators soundly applauded his
vitriolic accusations against the aristocracy. Such outspokenness was
new to them. It struck a responsive chord. This young man named
Ben Tillm an, they said, would be heard from.
That meeting resulted in the call for a later meeting. Tillman
began to write letters to the newspapers and to go up and down the
state making speeches. At the time he disavowed any ambition for
office, but his impassioned leadership brought to his heels such a
tremendous following that he had to give ear to public clamor. Con-







5o

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

sequently, he was elected governor in 1890, just one year after Amer­
ica began her second century under the Federal Constitution. While
the whole country was crying for progress and change, Tillmanism in
South Carolina was an established reality. He was about to put into
effect many reforms, some of which are still today monuments to his
memory. South Carolina had a part in the bloodless revolution
sweeping across the nation.
During his candidacy for a second term, in 1892, when Cleve­
land was re-elected President, I entered the stormy South Carolina
political arena. I had joined the Farmers’ Alliance in 1890. That
organization, founded in Texas without political attributes, had be­
come national in scope and influence. Tillman had sought to domi­
nate the Alliance in South Carolina. Seeing this to be impossible,
he had jumped upon the band wagon and endorsed the Alliance plat­
form with great enthusiasm. Among the planks of this platform,
the following appealed strongly to me:

To labor for the agricultural classes in the science of econom govern­
ic
ment in a strictly nonpartisan spirit.
To suppress personal, local, sectional, and national prejudices, all un­
healthy rivalry, and selfish am
bition.
In the wake of the Farmers’ Alliance and out of it had arisen the
Populist party. The Alliance leadership had argued that the farm­
ers’ movement had to be based upon a nonpartisan educational pro­
gram. The progressives held at first, however, that such a program
would profoundly influence political action. Consequently, the Popu­
list party was to outgrow the Alliance, swallowing it in its entirety.
In 1890 I had faced the issue of whether to remain with the
conservatives or depart from their ranks; that is, whether I could
serve the state best by enlisting in the new Populist party, or by stay­
ing in the regular Democratic ranks and working for the principles
enunciated by the Farmers’ Alliance. I chose the latter course.
The primary system had just come into being in South Carolina.
Republican rule having been crushed, a Democratic nomination was
now tantamount to election. The friends I had made teaching school
and canvassing the county for the insurance company encouraged me
to run for the legislature. I had lectured some for the Alliance and

T H E S O U T H C A R O L IN A L E G IS L A T U R E

5i
had attended many of its meetings. There were six candidates that
year to represent Marlboro County, three of whom were to be
elected. The political fever, heightened by much agitation, was pas­
sionate and extreme. For instance, my schoolmate and dearest per­
sonal friend, the boy with whom I had gone fishing in adolescence—
Julius J. Lane— did not support me. H e had aligned himself with
the Populist forces. But his father, Dr. James H . Lane, our family
physician, was on my side.
Along with the five other candidates I stumped the county. Most
of our meetings were held in the open air, some in connection with
picnics. Frequently the debates grew hot and involved personalities.
Women could not vote; few of them were in the audiences. In the
first place, they risked embarrassment from language that might be
used by hecklers, if not by some of the speakers. Secondly, with such
a high tide of dissension there was always the likelihood of trouble.
In one of my first speeches I was heckled by a woman. Evidently
she had been prompted to try to abash me.
“ Young man,” she cried in a shrill voice, “ what would you do
if you got to the legislature?” I stared at her. I knew she had not
been too successful in raising her family. I regarded her steadily
while a hush came over the crowd. W hen I had absolute attention,
I replied: “ One of the first things I would do, would be to introduce
a bill making it unlawful for all women to train children. And there­
fore, the children— our leadership of the future— would be put under
certain women, well equipped for the job.” I heard no more from
her.
Colonel Robert C. M cIntyre, one of my chief opponents, was an
erudite scholar of the old classical school, and a man of splendid
character. But his appeals to the masses went airily over their heads.
References to Shakespeare, to the Iliad and the Odyssey, or to Bacon,
were beyond the comprehension of his audiences. His verbose and
stilted rhetorical flights left the farmers cold. Another opponent was
Thomas I. Rogers, a resourceful and talented attorney. H e would
have made an influential representative, but he was on the wrong
side to succeed in 1892. H e was opposing Tillm an and the Farmers’
Alliance movement. Although youngest of the six, I ran second,
probably because I had never previously been before the public and







52

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

hence had no record to defend. The other two elected were James
M. Covington and Milton Stackhouse, both men of character and
sound judgment.
An aftermath of the election brought me considerable amuse­
ment. During the campaign, a teacher, John M. Moore, running
for the office of County Superintendent of Education, inexperienced
in politics, had told the rest of us that he had in his notebook enough
names of those who promised to vote for him to guarantee his elec­
tion. He was one of the worst defeated candidates. I met him
shortly afterward. “ What happened to all those people whose names
you had in your book?” I asked him. He laughed good-naturedly.
The campaign,” he said, “ has taught me something I never knew
before. This county contains twenty-five hundred of the biggest liars
I ever met.”
VII

On November 22, 1892, I took my seat in the legislature. I was
twenty-five, inexperienced, unsure of myself, and unacquainted with
the bearded farmers and Confederate heroes Tillmanism had swept
into office. But my heart beat nervously with the hope that I might
render an acceptable account of my stewardship. Little did I realize
how fortune was to favor me in this respect. There were about a
hundred representatives and less than half that number of senators in
the legislature when I took my seat in the House. What a strange
and contrasting array they presented. Bearded Confederate officers
and typical upland farmers side by side with the erudite and cultured
aristocrats from Charleston and the lowland country. Considerable
prejudice existed in the rural districts against dwellers in the large
city. Tillman’s purge of the lawyers in his campaigns resulted in
there being scarcely enough members of the bar in the legislature to
draft the routine bills. A single example, vivid in my mind, will
suffice to illustrate the unsuitableness of some of the members.
Early in my legislative experience I became acquainted with “ Cit­
izen Josh” W. Ashley, of Anderson County, in the hill country. In
the words of a South Carolina historian, “ Ashley was a typical repre­
sentative of the rising white democracy of the up-country. Although
illiterate and clownish, he was practical, intelligent, and a man of
considerable wealth. A radical champion of the poor whites, he was
notorious for his alleged holding of Negroes in peonage, and’ in 1912

THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE

53

he became known for having led a lynching party without the inter­
ference of [Cole] Blease, then governor.” 2 It was a source of amuse­
ment to fellow members that Ashley was frequently confused over
procedure and terms. For a long time many members of the legisla­
ture had been trying to put through a dog tax bill to encourage sheep
culture. It was agitated again in 1892-93, and when other legislative
business dwindled we got around to the dog tax bill. The bill per­
mitted the shooting on sight of mad dogs running at large. (There
was considerable prejudice between those of Ashley’s class and mem­
bers from the cities.) During a discussion of the dog tax bill M r.
Bacot, a learned representative from Charleston, arose, and on being
recognized by the Speaker, said: “ M r. Speaker, I wish to improve
the language of the bill by suggesting that where the words ‘mad
dog’ occur, there be substituted the words ‘rabid dog.’ ” John Ashley
immediately claimed the floor. “ M r. Speaker,” he declared, “ any­
body can tell the gentleman from Charleston knows nothing about
the country and has no feeling for the poor people. W hat in the
name of common sense would become of the poor folks and their
gardens and little cabbages if all the rabbit dogs in the country were
killed?” T he House re-echoed with waves of unrestrained laughter.
W e had voted upon the liquor question in the November state
election of 1892, prohibition having carried in the referendum by a
substantial majority. But no provision had been made, or suggested
to the voters, as to how the measure would be effected. T he ballot
had been simply, “ Prohibition, Yes or N o.” An absolute prohibition
program had been planned by the State Prohibition Executive Com­
mittee headed by L . D . Childs, a former member of the House.
Marlboro, my county, had not had a saloon within its borders in
seventy-five years. It was known as the driest county in the state j
therefore, prohibition was not an issue there. The people of the
county also favored state-wide prohibition.
A few days after the legislature convened, I was visited by M r.
Childs and two other gentlemen representing the State Prohibition
Executive Committee. “ W e ’ve talked to a lot of the old members,”
their spokesman informed me. “ They are hiding behind their beards.
A ll are afraid to introduce the Committee’s prohibition bill, afraid
they may lose personal prestige. W e’ve talked it over. You, as a
2Simkins,




The

T i l l m a n M o v e m e n t in S o u th C a r o lin a ,

p. 17611.




54

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

representative of dry Marlboro County, must introduce the bill.” I
hesitated briefly and then remarked that since I had no prestige to en­
danger and no ambition to continue in public service, I would intro­
duce the bill. Perhaps it awed me just a little bit, since I was inex­
perienced with legislative procedure. But I did not find it a difficult
task. When the bill was reached on the calendar, I made a brief
speech and at the proper time called for the yeas and nays. The older
members feared opposing the bill because of the mandate of the
people. In consequence, it passed the lower house by a good ma­
jority.
The story in the Senate was different. That body was controlled
by Governor Tillman, who opposed absolute prohibition, favoring
rather a highly restricted method of control. Accordingly, in the
Senate, the enacting words of the “ Roper Bill” were stricken out and
a substitute inserted providing for what subsequently became the state
dispensary system. Tillman had got the idea from Larry Gantt,
a Spartanburg editor and one of his closest advisers, who had seen the
system operate in Athens, Georgia. Athens, a college town, had bor­
rowed the idea from Sweden. The House finally compromised with
the Senate by passing the substitute bill, and the dispensary system
was thus adopted. Accordingly, my first political work was to assist
m causing South Carolina to undertake a most extraordinary adven­
ture in public ownership. It was the first state to make such an
experiment in the distribution of liquor.
M y cousin, John L. McLaurin, then Attorney General, himself a
power in politics, questioned my attitude at the time I introduced the
bill. “ You are opposing the will of the Executive,” he cautioned me.
What of it?” I replied. “ Think of your political future. You can’t
go against the Executive.” “ I didn’t know I was elected to reflect the
exclusive will of the Executive,” I answered. “ If that was why I
was elected, they might just as well have sent any stump.” I then
informed him that I would continue regardless of the consequences.
I recall an embarrassing circumstance, in this connection, at dinner in
the Governor’s mansion. A number of my colleagues were present,
and i intoxicants were •served. When I declined to indulge I wasl umade
.1
r
1
O
’
cvvlL
the butt of pleasantries.
The dispensary system of South Carolina, soon to draw national

TtJE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE

55

attention, gave the state a monopoly. It was managed by a board of
control composed of the governor and two state officials. The coun­
ties also had boards of control, and the dispenser had to be a man who
could prove he did not drink and had had no past connection with
liquor interests. A ll purchasers had to file applications. T he liquor
was sold in sealed packages to adults only between sun up and sun
down, and the package could not be opened on the premises. No
intoxicated man, minor, or man known to have used liquor to excess,
was eligible as a purchaser.
I need not detail the stormy wave of protest and rebellion which
was caused by the passage of the Dispensary Bill. Governor Tillm an
appointed constables to enforce it, and after early difficulties he won
a clear-cut victory over his angry opponents. During the fourteen
years of its existence, the annual profits to the state averaged
$465,OCX), which largely went to the schools. That it materially re­
duced the consumption of liquor may be inferred from the fact that
in 1892 there were 613 bars in the state, whereas the total number
of dispensaries was never to exceed 146. Poor administration, how­
ever, permitted the rise of “ blind tigers,” which brought disruption
to the system. Mismanagement and corruption doomed the experi­
ment to eventual failure. It helped to blaze the trail for the absolute
prohibition to come in subsequent years.
Fortunately for me, Tillm an was honest and incorruptible. M y
introduction of the original bill did not cause a rift with him, since
I voted for the substitute measure. The session ended shortly after
its passage, and I went back home to Mrs. Roper and our two chil­
dren. I was sure that my public service was ended, for at the time
I did not know in what opinion I was held by Tillman. I felt he
would oppose me if I tried to run again.
But my fears were unfounded. A few weeks after returning home
I received a telegram from U rey Brooks, Clerk of the State Supreme
Court at Columbia, requesting that I come to the capital to see him.
W hen I reached his office he showed me a telegram from his uncle,
Senator Matthew C. Butler, reading as follows: “ Ask D . C. Roper
to come to Washington to see me as early as convenient for him.” I
said to Brooks, “ Advise the Senator I will report to his office. M ay
I go next week?” I recalled that Senator Butler had been present in







s

6

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

the chamber when the prohibition bill was pending and had spoken
to me briefly at the time.
I returned to Marlboro County, borrowed fifty dollars from a
most generous and helpful friend, Pressley Mangum, of McColl,
South Carolina, and took the next train for my first visit to the Na­
tion’s Capital, wondering what was in store.

CHAPTER IV

Washington

T

^ T H E P A N IC O F 1893 was on
earnest, and from Maine to
California the whole country was divided over the silver
issue. Even before I left the train which bore me into the
old Union Station, at the corner of Sixth Street and Pennsylvania
Avenue, on the morning of M ay 9, I heard ardent hopes expressed
that conditions would be relieved and good times brought by the
Cleveland Administration. Arriving a few moments later at the
H otel Metropolitan, I heard the pros and cons of bimetallism as I
waited in the lobby to register. “ Congress must repeal the Sherman
A ct!” “ Cleveland ought to call a special session of Congress.” Such
was the temper of the national capital on the day I arrived to confer
with the Senator. I was somewhat familiar with the silver issue, but
had not given it serious study. I knew that W all Street was on a ram­
page ; that the bankers and industrialists were waging outspoken war
against the government j and that the price of farm products had
dropped to the lowest level in many years. Still I was not quite con­
vinced that all these evils could be traced to any one group. Both
Republicans and Democrats had voted for the Silver Purchase Bill.
I reserved opinion, but determined to look further into the subject.
M y immediate concern on that bright spring morning was to get
to the office of Senator Butler and learn what he wanted with me.
As soon as I had been shown to a room by a Negro bellboy and had
a light breakfast, I hurried to the Capitol, where I was soon greeted
by General Butler. H e told me that he wished me to act as clerk
of the Interstate Commerce Committee of the Senate, of which he
was the new chairman. I told him that I would welcome the assign­
ment if I could be permitted to complete my term in the South Caro­
lina legislature. This was agreed to, and soon thereafter I was sworn
into the Federal service in the rooms of the Sergeant-at-Arms, Colo­
nel J. D. Bright of Indiana.







58

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Upon returning to the Committee room where the Senator
waited, I looked out upon Pennsylvania Avenue and saw bicycles,
thousands of them! Where did so many cyclists come from, and
what was it all about? I had never seen anything comparable to the
sight. They practically covered the whole avenue, all coming toward
the Capitol. In a little while the Senator was at my side. I pointed
to the approaching procession. “ Look,” I said, “ What does it mean?”
He laughed. “ They’ve come from all over the country. They want
good roads.” And then he pointed to a contraption resembling a
large wheel which stood in one corner of the office. It was covered
with names. “ That,” he remarked, “ is one of their petitions. There
are more than fifteen thousand names upon it— cyclists, manufac­
turers, and dealers. Fifteen thousand of ’em. That’s a record.” A l­
though not even Senator Butler knew it at the time, from this bicycle
lobby there was to spring the impetus for modern highways, result­
ing in the legislation which later was to set up a Bureau of Federal
Roads to supervise Federal aid to the states. Thus, the bicycle, not
the automobile, first sought Federal highways. And thus, almost by
accident, and with no solicitation on my part, the entire course of my
life had been changed. From the role of a South Carolina planter,
schoolteacher, and insurance solicitor I had been transformed into a
Federal official.
ii

The stories of railroad scandals, involving the so<alled “ Robber
Barons” ; of the rise of Jay Gould, the Vanderbilts, and the Hills;
of bribery and corruption of legislative leaders; of land grabs in the
guise of rights of way comprising thousands of square miles; of secret
rates to favored corporations; of rebates; and of the dumping of
lavish sums into the campaign chests of political parties need not be
repeated here. Even at the time I arrived in Washington much of
the odium that had been an outgrowth of these railroad episodes had
died away. The Interstate Commerce Act, passed in February, 1887,
was the opening wedge with which the Government first sought to
regulate big business. As such it was a milestone in American history.
This is not the place to describe the technical phases of this important
act and its regulations “ in the public interest and necessity.” Briefly,
its purpose was to end railroad scandals and ameliorate conditions

WASHINGTON

59

caused by them by insuring that the railroads respond to the expand­
ing requirements of interstate commerce.
The act prohibited special rates to favored shippers; it prohibited
also rebates and other unfair practices, such as discrimination between
persons and places. Pooling was declared illegal, and all rate sched­
ules were required to be published. The act set up the Interstate
Commerce Commission to hear complaints, to supervise interstate
roads, and to assist in bringing suits against offending companies. The
Interstate Commerce Committee, of which I was now secretary, had
a dual function. It was at one and the same time a watchdog organi­
zation and an agency for framing new railroad or related legislation
considered necessary to meet changing conditions. The Committee
may be said to have been the “ railroad eyes and ears” of the Senate.
M y duties as Clerk of the Committee were not burdensome, yet
this is not to say they were not important. The Committee held ex­
tended hearings, at which the major officials of all interstate railroads
and steamship lines appeared to testify. In addition to attending to
much of the official correspondence, I acted at these hearings in the
manner of a court clerk. It was my job to see that the proper wit­
nesses were called in the correct order and to see that testimony was
accurately recorded and put in proper form before its dispatch to the
Public Printer. I had to answer inquiries for information and to see
that Senator-Members were informed of the dates of meeting in
order to insure a quorum.
It so happened that I assumed my duties at the beginning of the
hearings upon proposed amendments to the Interstate Commerce
Act. The “ Long and Short H aul,” to this day a controversial prob­
lem, was one of the principal issues at those hearings. As the hear­
ings proceeded, my mind reverted to the discussions in the Farmers’
Alliance meetings of the phraseology in the Interstate Commerce
Law which read that “ they [the railroads] shall not charge more for
a short haul than for a long haul under substantially similar circum­
stances and conditions, over the same line running in the same direc­
tion.” This language was as confusing and perplexing to us then as
that of a Kansas law passed in the same era which read: “ W hen two
trains are meeting, both shall stop and remain standing until one
passes.” I was naturally hopeful that in the hearings and discussions,







60

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

the committee would be able to clarify this language describing the
long and short haul provisions.
John K. Cowan, counsel for the Baltimore and Ohio, was one of
the first witnesses at the hearings of 1893. He was a robust, impressive
man of towering height, muscular physique, splendid countenance,
and large well-poised head. I listened attentively to his testimony.
It was an amazing recital of facts and figures that included a veritable
encyclopedia of the most complicated statistical data. There seemed
to be nothing which in the remotest way might have concerned the
operation of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway which Mr. Cowan did
not have, either at his tongue’s end, or at the tips of his fingers. It
was easy to see that the Senators were likewise impressed.
When Mr. Cowan had concluded his testimony, he asked me
when the copies of the hearing would be available. I gave him an
approximate date. “ I’d like to have a thousand copies,” he informed
me. I told him his request would be impossible. Our printing appro­
priation was limited and the most I would be allowed to give him
would be six copies. “ I’d like to send each B. and O. agent a copy,
and one to every official of the lines,” he said. “ What can I do about
it-” Although I had not been long with the Committee, I had learned
a few of the “ ins and outs” of government procedure. Accordingly,
I suggested a way in which Mr. Cowan might obtain the desired
copies j namely, to arrange through the Public Printer to keep the
type standing after the normal quantity of the hearings had been
printed. By payment for labor and paper, Mr. Cowan could get his
thousand copies at a fraction of the expense involved if the material
should be duplicated elsewhere.
I attended to this for him, and a few days afterward he came into
the Committee room to see me. “ I feel that I owe you something,
Roper,” he said. I promptly refused compensation, for I had merely
acted in an official capacity. Mr. Cowan, however, was too grateful
for the service to turn lightly away. “ Wouldn’t you like a trip some­
where?” he now asked. “ Tell me, surely there’s some place you’d
like to go.” He kept pressing me for an answer, and finally I had to
admit that one certain trip had always been in the back of my mind
from early childhood. “ Tell me,” he said, “ and I’ll see that you get
there.” I told him I had always wanted to visit Albany, New York,
for the purpose of examining the papers found in the boots of Major

WASHINGTON

<
5i

Andre. H e laughed heartily. “ That’s no trip at all,” he said. “ But
I shall certainly see that you get there.” Not long afterward he made
good his word, and Mrs. Roper and I received trip passes to Albany.
W e made the trip and examined the Andre papers which my father
had mentioned years before.
As I became better acquainted with members of the Committee
and got into the routine of my work, I was pleased to learn through
the attitude of Chairman Butler and others that my services were
considered satisfactory. Senator Camden of W est Virginia, one of the
members, came to me about this time and offered me the cashiership
of his bank back home, but I declined. The acceptance of this oppor­
tunity might have changed the course of my life. The art of stenog­
raphy was coming into greater use in the nineties, and it appealed to
me as a desirable accomplishment. Accordingly, I enrolled in a short­
hand class, going to school at night. About the same time, I heard of
a school of mnemonics, or the strengthening of one’s memory for
orderly facts. In this school I also enrolled.
M y shorthand, however, was destined to be a total loss. One
day when Senator Butler had to hurry away to keep an appointment,
he thrust a considerable sheaf of correspondence into my hands, ask­
ing me to answer all the letters. I did so and left the copies on his
desk. Evidently satisfied with the answers I had given, he intrusted
all correspondence to me from that time on, except the few letters
requiring personal replies. W e got along together most amicably
from the outset. The Senator had been a M ajor General in the Con­
federate Army, having lost one leg at Brandywine on the way to
Gettysburg. H e wore a cork leg, which was scarcely noticeable. Be­
ing tall and handsome, he largely discounted his infirmity; and his
kindhearted, lovable nature, his cool head, and his aggressive use of
facts instead of oratory on the floor of the Senate endeared him to
his colleagues. H e enjoyed both popularity and prestige.
hi

It was true that the railroad scandals had subsided, but that eter­
nal personality of Washington, the big-time lobbyist, was still with
us, an ever-present agitator in the interest of the railroads he repre­
sented. There was constant lobbying, and the use of railroad passes
by government officials had not then been abolished.







62

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

One railroad abuse which shocked my sense of patriotism was the
promotion of extra mail during the government weighing period.
The government payments to the railroads for the transportation of
mail were based upon an average taken during a thirty-day period.
This period, due to railroad cupidity and government stupidity, was
advertised in advance. A ll the mail carried by the railroads during
the appointed thirty days was weighed and this thirty-day period
taken as the average weight carried in all other thirty-day periods
prior to the next advertised weighing month. Consequently, it was
decidedly to the interest of the railroads to promote extra weight
during the weighing period. Agents for the railroads openly can­
vassed government offices, Representatives and Senators, and private
concerns, urging them to engage in large-scale mailing in order to
inflate the general mails in the weighing period. W ell do I remem­
ber lobbyists coming to the committee rooms, calling me aside and
urging that I co-operate with them to the extent of sending out copies
of hearings, public documents, or other printed matter while the mail
was being weighed. Some Senators periodically waited for this pe­
riod to flood the mails with “ franked” speeches and agricultural bul­
letins, government reports, and anything they could include. A few
Senators and Congressmen went so far as to turn over their “ franked”
envelopes and contents to lobbyists for the railroads. The lobbyists
cheerfully saved them the trouble of licking the envelopes. Thus the
Government, for many years, paid the railroads on a false and in­
flated basis. The dishonesty was obnoxious to me, and more than
once I heard Senator Butler declaim against the vicious system.
The use of passes by Senators and Representatives was an open
secret which gave currency to an amusing story. A ll newspaper edi­
tors and correspondents were known to have annual railroad passes,
and into this category fell Colonel Henry Watterson, editor of the
Louisville Courier-Journal, as did one of the Courier-Journal's cor­
respondents, a certain Mr. Smith. O f course the passes were stamped,
“ Not transferable,” and it was the duty of the conductors to seize
any railroad pass in the possession of a passenger not entitled to it.
One day on the Louisville and Nashville Railway a passenger pre­
sented the pass that had been issued to Mr. Smith, correspondent of
the Courier-Journal. The conductor scrutinized him suspiciously
“ You may be Mr. Smith,” he declared, “ but I don’t recognize you ”

WASHINGTON

63

“ But I ’m Smith,” the passenger protested. “ And I work for Colonel
H enry Watterson.” “ In that case,” the dubious conductor replied,
“ we’ll soon find out. Colonel Watterson happens to be in the car
ahead. Suppose you come up and be identified.” There was nothing
for the impostor to do but comply with the request. H e could not
escape from the moving train. The conductor, perhaps with a
vision of triumph, led him forward. H e stopped at the seat occupied
by a most distinguished-looking passenger. “ Colonel Watterson,” he
said, “ this man tells me he works for you, that his name is M r.
Smith.” “ Yes,” was the reply. “ Sit down, Smith.” T h e impostor
was bewildered at his luck, but he sat down as requested, and the
conductor, apologizing, left the two. The two men talked briefly, but
after a time the conversation began to lag. T he impostor, who had
borrowed the pass from the real Smith, had had such a pleasant and
unexpected reception, he became conscience-stricken. Finally, he de­
cided to apologize, now feeling sure that Colonel Watterson was
testing him and biding his time. “ It was magnanimous of you, Colo­
nel Watterson, to save me from embarrassment. You knew all the
time I wasn’t Smith.” A smile circled the lips of the other. “ Com­
pose yourself, young man,” he said, “ I don’t happen to be Colonel
Watterson, but I am riding on his railroad pass.”
rv
Washington, in 1893, had a population of less than two hundred
and fifty thousand, and had not yet dreamed of many of the impos­
ing structures which grace its pretentious avenues today. Only the
principal thoroughfares were paved, some with cobblestones, while
many streets of less importance were noted for their numerous mudholes. The automobile had not yet made its appearance. Cycling
was in vogue, and up and down Pennsylvania Avenue bicycles were
seen amid a variety of vehicles drawn by horses. T he Pennsylvania
Avenue cars were pulled by an underground cable, which often
failed to work, delaying passengers.
An important travel facility not to be overlooked was the large
bus known as the Herdic which traversed Sixteenth Street and Penn­
sylvania Avenue, and ascended the hill to the Capitol. On the streets
before reaching Capitol H ill it was drawn by two horses, but at the
foot of the H ill a second team was added, and these four horses, with







64

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

the exhortation of two drivers and great effort, were able to pull the
Herdic to the Capitol entrances. The driver of the Herdic was also
its conductor, collecting the ten-cent fares and furnishing change. An
old gentleman named Huger Godbold, of Marion, South Carolina,
had come to Washington at my insistence to take a small job in the
Government Printing Office. He called on me one night after his
first ride in the Herdic to tell me that he had never been treated
with greater consideration and courtesy in his life than by its driver.
“ For instance,” he said, “ I gave him a dollar to pay my fare, but
he handed me back all the change. I had a free ride.” The old gen­
tleman had been unconscious of the fact that he was expected to
deposit a dime in the fare box. He was so contrite when I explained
this to him that he spent two days searching for that conductor to
give him the dime.
Washington had experienced a building boom during the seven­
ties. The socially ambitious had built pretentious homes, the street­
cars had made their first appearance, and from the stones current
upon my arrival in 1893, gambling and social climbing had figured
as prominently in the post-bellum capital as matters of government.
Yet the mushroom city, the population and physical proportions of
which had been increased by the war, still had many aspects of a
country village. Celebrities walked the Avenue without attracting
undue attention. Hawkers, usually of foreign birth, peddled fruit
and vegetables, oysters, chestnuts, milk, and the like in the streets.
The country cried “ Hard times,” but lavish, shining black carriages,
drawn by showy horses that were equipped with silver- and nicklemounted harness and driven by liveried Negro coachmen, were very
much in evidence.
Many of the picturesque figures of earlier days had disappeared,
or were now in seclusion, but one who was probably as notable as any
before him, namely, Mark Twain, happened to be one of the first
whom I saw. He came to the Capitol wearing one of the white suits
which distinguished him winter and summer. Leading political fig­
ures flocked to his side and hung upon his words. It surprised me to
see him receiving such universal attention, for hitherto I had so glori­
fied political figures that I had never envisioned them paying homage
to an author. This new experience helped to readjust my sense of
values. Only a few years earlier Walt Whitman had been discharged

HHHHHI

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65

from his humble post in the Interior Department because his Leaves
of Grass had embarrassed Harlan, Johnson’s Secretary of the In­
terior. And there were still tales of John Burroughs and M rs. Southworth. Much, too, was said of the glittering social era graced by
Kate Chase, most popular Washington woman since D olly Madison,
and of Mrs. Hamilton Fish, Mrs. “ Puss” Belknap, Mrs. John A.
Logan, and Blanche Butler Ames. Some of these women, it was said,
had figured as effectively in the destiny of the nation as had their
husbands. In 1894 I met Clara Barton when she came to the Capitol
and to the Interstate Commerce Committee to get the Red Cross
insignia approved by a resolution of Congress.
In listening to the experiences of Federal and Confederate vet­
erans as told in cloak rooms and committee rooms, I caught a new
vision of life, perceiving that courage and devotion to a cause are
necessary to an enthusiastic and satisfied life, that courageous men
will readily give themselves for causes to which they are devoted.
This was strikingly evident from the conversations I heard among
veterans of the Civil W ar. Moreover, it dawned upon me that inter­
pretation of truth, or the righteousness of either side of a question
depended upon the sources of information and an open-minded wil­
lingness to examine different views. I could sense that each group of
formerly opposing officers had been mellowed through personal con­
tacts and by the enlightenment due to a study of both sides of the
war situation. It was gratifying to witness the understanding and
affection that daily developed among these men. I reached the con­
clusion that the “ conference method” tended to promote knowledge,
and co-operation was the only procedure with which to meet the chal­
lenges of increasing complications in our economic and social life.
v
It goes almost without saying that the brief legislative experience
in South Carolina had whetted my eagerness to see the United States
Senate in action. Being with the Interstate Commerce Committee
carried the privilege of the Senate floor, and frequently I had to
exercise that privilege to confer with Senator Butler and others. M y
first visit to the Senate, however, was to the gallery, and there I
looked down upon an array of men, not a few of whom were all but
canonized in the public eye— military heroes— men worshiped by







66

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

countless thousands of Americans with fanatical zeal. Among them
were such well-known generals as John T. Morgan, Alabama ; Joseph
R. Hawley, Connecticut j Wilkinson Call, Florida; Alfred H. Col­
quitt, Georgia; John M. Palmer, Illinois; Charles F. Manderson,
Nebraska; Edward C. Walthall, Mississippi; Matt W . Ransom,
North Carolina; Matthew C. Butler, South Carolina; Isham G. Har­
ris, Tennessee; William B. Bate, Tennessee; and Eppa Hunton,
Virginia.
The political trend was to glorify the war, to dignify and exalt
military men. The stranglehold of radicalism had been broken and
such relentless partisans as Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens
had passed from the picture, yet, despite the Democratic victory and
sympathy of President Cleveland, the South had not recaptured her
rightful place in national affairs. But the silver issue was then para­
mount.
Cotton was selling at four and a half cents and wheat ranged
between ten and thirty cents a bushel in the hands of the farmer.
There had been a panic in the stock market. Industries had closed
their doors; there had been runs upon banks and resultant bank fail­
ures. The big cities had their bread lines, and the country had the
most unemployment ever known up to that time. What was to be
doner The Republicans blamed the Democrats, charging that the
Silver Purchase Act and the Government’s inflation of the currency
at the rate of $4)500)000 a month by the purchase of silver bullion
and issuance of treasury notes for an equivalent amount was the in­
trinsic cause of the depression.
Cleveland and the Democratic Congress had been re-elected on
the tariff issue, but in August, 1893, the President called an extra
session of Congress to quell the rising tide of opposition to the silver
purchase law. Although subsequent events have branded the judg­
ment of the big financiers who opposed it as psychological hysteria,
and most of the leading nations of the world have abandoned the
gold standard today, the acute temper of the public mind had to be
considered. Cleveland met the challenge. William L. Wilson of
West Virginia introduced the repeal measure in the House. Wilson,
Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, was also Floor
Leader. His brilliant leadership won victory in the House; at least
fifty Democrats and many Republicans who had favored free silver

WASHINGTON

67

three years before now changed their votes and supported the repeal
measure. In the Senate it was a different story. For nearly three
months the silver men of both parties filibustered against a vote.
Jones of Nevada talked six days, and Allen of Nebraska occupied the
floor for fifteen consecutive hours. It was the first filibuster I had
witnessed.
There have been few such debates in the Senate. I left the Inter­
state Commerce Committee room one afternoon about sundown,
hurrying to the Senate gallery, because word had come of the show­
down and fight to a finish. I arrived as Senator W illiam B. Allison
of Iowa took the floor. H e launched into the silver issue, but from
time to time he departed from the theme to talk about anything and
everything that came to mind. Much of it, I reasoned, was for home
consumption, and to get into the record statements that might have
taken months in the normal parliamentary procedure. But his amaz­
ing presentation held me spellbound. W hen the sun rose the next
morning, I had not left my seat in the gallery. Senator Allison was
going ahead with no sign of diminished strength. It was amusing
when at last he yielded the floor to a colleague, saying, “ M r. Presi­
dent, I have discussed but one phase of the many points in this highly
important subject; but in courtesy to my colleagues, I will temporar­
ily surrender the floor.” The doughty Allison, who wore a long
beard and was noted for having refused the Secretaryship of the
Treasury, sat down. That speech was perhaps the high spot of his
thirty years in the Senate.
The Cleveland Administration was having rough sledding be­
cause of hard times, but many of the President’s difficulties were due
to his disregard of professional politicians. Gresham, his Secretary
of State, had been a strong contender for the Republican presidential
nomination in opposition to Hayes. H e entered the Cleveland Cabi­
net to revenge himself against Hayes’s Hawaiian policy. George B.
Cortelyou was another example. At the time I first met M r. Cortelyou, in 1893, he was private secretary to Robert E. M axwell,
Fourth Assistant Postmaster General. Not long afterward he was
transferred to the W hite House.
Years afterward M r. Cortelyou gave me an account of the trans­
fer. “ Some time after I first met you,” he said, “ M r. M axwell told
me he had recommended me for stenographer of the President. I







68

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

immediately went to see M r. Cleveland. ‘Mr. President,’ I said,
‘certainly you would not want me in your office, because I am a Re­
publican.’ The President replied, ‘Mr. Cortelyou, I understand you
are a gentleman, a man of integrity and honor; that you are devoted
to your country’s service, and also an expert stenographer.’ ‘Mr.
President,’ I answered, ‘I do claim all that.’ ‘Very well,’ he said,
‘you may go to work at once.’ ” This incident enables us the better
to appreciate Cleveland’s long and successful battle for civil service
reform.
vi

General Butler had been in the Senate about fifteen years when
I reached Washington. Since he was one of the Seniors, his friends,
I was soon to learn, were not confined to members of his own party.
One morning while I was at work at my desk, I looked up to see him
entering the room with Senators Matthew S. Quay and J. Donald
Cameron, both of Pennsylvania. The General’s arms were locked
with those of his two friends. He introduced me to them, and after
they had gone away, he said, “ What do you think of those gentle­
men?” “ General,” I replied, “ you know I am fresh from South
Carolina. I can’t help having a strong feeling about Reconstruction
and the carpetbaggers. That is the only kind of Republican I have
ever known, and I’m satisfied that if a picture of you, with your arms
linked with those two Republicans, had been taken just now and used
against you in the coming campaign when you run against Tillman,
you wouldn’t get a baker’s dozen of votes.” H e gave me a critical
smile, and I knew that more was to come. “ Listen to me, Roper,”
he said. “ I’d like to tell you a story. After you’ve heard it, if you
still think there aren’t any good Republicans, I’ll never lock arms
with those two Senators again.”
This is what he told me. “ When my uncle, Andrew Pickens But­
ler, was in the Senate (1846-57), Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania
presented his credentials, and they were challenged. Bear in mind
that Simon Cameron was the father of the Cameron you just met.
It was the influence and vote of my uncle, then Chairman of the
Committee on Privileges and Elections, that seated Simon Cameron.
Years later (1878) when the Radicals were trying to unseat all
Southerners, I presented my credentials. They were immediately
challenged and referred to the Committee on Privileges and Elec-

WASHINGTON

69

tions. Donald Cameron, who had succeeded his father as Senator
from Pennsylvania, was a member of that committee. I made my
statement before the committee and felt very troubled about it, be­
cause I was coolly received. W hile I awaited the outcome, a Senate
page came to me. ‘Are you M r. Butler of South Carolina?’ he asked.
I told him that I was. ‘General Cameron,’ he informed me, ‘is at the
other end of this corridor and wishes to speak with you.’ M y heart
sank to my boots, but upon approaching the elder Cameron, he said,
‘Young Butler, I have come down from Pennsylvania today for one
purpose. That is to show to you and your people of South Carolina
that there is some milk of human kindness left in the human breast.
Your uncle seated me in this body. I am here to seat you!’ Turning
to the page, he said, ‘T ell Senator Cameron to come out.’ When his
son appeared, he said, ‘Don, this is Butler of South Carolina.’ The
son nodded and told his father he had seen me before the committee.
‘ I want him seated,’ declared the elder Cameron. ‘Pm sorry,’ replied
the son. ‘Pm already committed against him.’ The old General
drew back his shoulders and looked squarely into the eyes of his son.
‘Don,’ he said, ‘that doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. H e’s got
to be seated! ’ And I was seated the next day.”
M y comment was: “ General, I was wrong. There evidently are
some good Republicans.” I felt that I was beginning to depart from
the sectionalism that had been the curse of the country for a genera­
tion. This striking case in which men of opposing sections of the
country had risen above it came too close home to be forgotten or dis­
regarded. But for a Pennsylvania Union General’s kindness of heart,
I would never have had my first opportunity in the Federal service.
Yet another startling surprise, coming to me at about the same time,
was the information that “ Dixie” was not written by a Southerner,
but by Daniel D. Emmett, of Ohio, in 1859.
VII

I thought I knew the meaning of the word “ persistence” before
coming to Washington, but I had not had enough experience with
the “ office-seeker” to know the full strength of that important word.
Many South Carolinians who knew me, and who at the same time
desired favors from Senator Butler, addressed their petitions to him
through me. In September, 1893, I received the following telegram







70

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

from Dr. J. Eugene Jarnigan, of Pee Dee: “ I am being hounded
night and day by these revengeful Tillmanites. For God’s sake have
me appointed a United States Consul. I’ll go anywhere, regardless
of salary, as I can pay my own expenses. M y great desire is to write
back to these damn Tillmanites from a foreign post and sign myself,
‘United States Consul.’ ”
Dr. Jarnigan had served with me in the legislature. As he indi­
cated, political feeling was running high back home. I immediately
showed the telegram to Chairman Butler and other members of the
Interstate Commerce Committee. A ll found it interesting and felt
this modest gentleman should be helped. General Butler requested
me to come to his home the next morning and accompany him to the
office of the Secretary of State. Judge Gresham received the General
with the warmest friendliness, immediately asking what he could do
for him.
“ We are seeking a consulship for a very worthy South Caro­
linian,” the General replied. Judge Gresham threw both hands high
in the air to indicate that it was hopeless. “ I’m sorry, General,” he
said, “ there isn’t a one left.” The General did not give up. “ Hold
on, Judge,” he said, “ M y constituent is a most worthy man. He
doesn’t care where you send him, and he doesn’t need a salary. In
fact, he’s willing to go to the northeast corner of H ell if you’ll only
pay the freight. His sole desire is to be able to write letters back to
his political enemies in South Carolina and sign himself, ‘United
States Consul.’ ” Judge Gresham laughed with genuine enjoyment.
“At least,” he remarked, “ he’s a modest man. We shall see what we
can do for him.” And after passing a few pleasantries, General But­
ler and I proceeded to the Capitol. In about a week, President Cleve­
land sent to the Senate a nomination reading as follows: “ Dr. J.
Eugene Jarnigan of South Carolina, Consul at Roatan, British Hon­
duras.”
It was evident that Secretary Gresham had found both a hot and
remote place for our “ modest man.” So we wired Dr. Jarnigan to
come to Washington and to be sworn in. He came immediately and
was soon sent merrily on his way, not seeming to mind the torrid
climate of Roatan. Nearly two months later, I received from Dr.
Jarnigan a letter, nicely sealed in one of those long, blue, linen-lined
envelopes of the State Department. It read as follows: “ I have

WASHINGTON
arrived in Roatan. I
palmetto trees with a
endeavoring to save
suredly, my friend, I

7i

am now suspended in a hammock between two
native on either side armed with palmetto fans,
what little vitality remains in m y body. A s­
am in the northeast corner of H e ll.”

There was always the danger, it seemed to me, of politics over­
riding efficiency, and for that reason I admired President Cleveland
because of his efforts to extend and strengthen the civil service. An
example of this danger occurred in m y own experience. One day a
M rs. Bethune, whose husband was employed in the W ar Depart­
ment, came to see me. She said that she was obliged to have her
husband promoted, since they needed more money to live on and
educate their children. “ Y ou know your husband better than I do,”
I said. “ T e ll me, M rs. Bethune, where you think he would best fit.
W here would he have the best opportunity to display his talents?”
M rs. Bethune was a woman of striking sincerity and outspoken hon­
esty. H e r reply was unique: “ I must be frank with you. M y hus­
band is the best prepared man for H eaven and the poorest prepared
man for earth that I ever met.” W hat could you do for her, assum­
ing you had a conscience?
V III

Some of the modern faddists may be amused to learn that I was
once an autograph collector. H andwriting analysts, while perhaps
not as general as conjure doctors, had already in my childhood begun
to exert their public influence. Before coming to W ashington I had
acquired the autograph fancy, although not quite with the same zeal
as I have since seen it manifested. I had written to Bismarck, Cardi­
nal Gibbons, and P. T . Barnum, requesting their autographs. Bis­
marck had not replied, and I learned afterward that he never acknowedged communications unless they were written in German.
But Cardinal Gibbons had written me a letter much to be treasured.
I was never to forget it, when in future years numerous young men
wrote to me either for autographs or for advice. P. T . Barnum had
not only written me a personal letter, affixing his signature to it, but
he also had sent me a copy of his autobiography. O f course, I had
the autographs of friends. Therefore, on first sight of the military
heroes and other distinguished figures of the United States Senate,
my autograph proclivities envisioned fertile ground. I hit upon the







72

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

idea of hiring a page to collect them for me. W hen I found one willing to undertake the task and paid him five dollars, the results came
rapidly. Soon I had the autograph of every member of the Senate.
It was the golden age of the raconteur. T h e Senator gifted with
memory and the ability to tell a humorous story always found him­
self surrounded by willing ears. M any were the stories of the Civil
W ar and of previous administrations and the political figures who
peopled the human scene of Washington. H otel lobbies, cafes, and
the cloak rooms of House and Senate were haunted by storytellers.
A story relating to the administration of Harrison and T y le r was
one of the favorites. T yler, it is said, was a heavy drinker. H e fre­
quently visited the saloons in the company of a friend from Virginia,
who always insisted upon being introduced as “ John W . Dade of
Virginia.” During the thirty days T yler was Vice-President, Dade
was his daily and constant companion. They visited many saloons
together, T yler always paying the bills. W hen W illiam H enry H ar­
rison died, after having been President but thirty days, T yler, of
course, was promoted to the W hite House. H e had scarcely oriented
himself in the new environment and duties when he was called upon
by “ John W . Dade of Virginia.” H is former drinking companion
had outfitted himself with silk hat, a cane, smart gloves, and spats.
T yler received him and asked what he could do for him. “ John,”
declared Dade, “ you have a good job as President of the United
States. I need a job. Can’t you give one to me?” T y le r looked him
over carefully and said, “ W hat on earth, John Dade, could you do?”
T he Virginian shook his head doubtfully. H e did not seem to know.
Finally, he said, “ John, Pm looking for a sinecure.” T y le r laughed.
“ In that case, I ’ll see what I can do for you.”
A few days afterward, Dade was appointed Superintendent of the
District Jail. On hearing of the appointment, Dade immediately
dressed in his best, including silk hat, spats, gloves, and cane. H e
proceeded to the jail to take over, and it may be inferred that he
stopped at one or two cafes on the way, to bolster his new authority
with liquid fortitude. Arriving at the jail, Dade commanded that all
the inmates be brought into the patio. This included men and
women, black and white. W hen the transfer from the cells and bull
pens had been effected, Dade paraded before the assembled convicts.
“ Friends,” he informed them, “ I am a Virginia gentleman. I am

WASHINGTON

73

John W . D ade of Virginia. O ur new President has appointed me
superintendent of this great institution. As a Virginia gentleman it
is always m y policy to treat other people as Virginia gentlemen and
ladies. That is the way I propose to treat all of you so long as you
support me and act right. But I give you notice now, those of you
who fail me w ill suffer for it. I ’ll turn the last mother’s soul of you
out in the cold, cold world, and then you’ll have to scratch for a
living.”
Cleveland being the first Democratic President since the C ivil
W ar, there was great clamor throughout the South for him to visit
various cities there. H e eventually consented, taking his twenty-twoyear-old bride, who had already captivated the critical social leaders
of the capital. A ll of them had watched her with discerning eyes and
whispered the fear that one so young and inexperienced would not
acquit herself creditably as the First Lady. Cleveland’s Southern tour
was a veritable procession of triumphs. H e was acclaimed with fren­
zied enthusiasm by record-breaking crowds. Nowhere was his recep­
tion more lavish and enthusiastic than in M ontgom ery, Alabama, the
state’s capital. T h e Governor of Alabama fairly outdid himself in
preparation for the event. H e ordered a new phaeton to be drawn
by four magnificent horses, and the horses were equipped with silvermounted harness imported from N ew York. A strapping mulatto
driver who had been especially trained for the occasion was outfitted
in a suit with four rows o f brass buttons up and down his breast, a
sort of drum major’s hat with a smart plume, and other ornaments.
T h e Governor had for years' had a special Negro bodyguard.
O ld Jake, now quite along in years, approached the Governor during
the preparations. “ G u v’nah,” he said, “ I ain’t never seen a Presi­
dent. I alius wanted to see one befoh I died. Ain’t they some way
you can fix it so’s old Jake can git to see this here President that’s
cornin’ to M ontgom ery?” T h e ground from the station to the Capi­
tol at M ontgom ery is a gradual incline. This was the route by which
the parade would ascend to the Capitol. Accordingly, the Governor,
sympathizing with the wish of his old bodyguard, had a platform
erected for Jake’s sole use. T h e great day arrived and passed with
all the pomp and splendor which the Governor had planned. That
night, when the festivities were over, he thought of Jake and won­
dered what his trusted servant’s impression of the President had







74

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

been. He, therefore, sent for Jake, whose beaming, black counte­
nance was soon at the threshold. “ W ell, Jake,” he asked, “ did you
see the President?” “ Yassuh, boss,” Jake replied. “ I seed him
good.” “ How did you like him, Jake?” “ H e sho’ looked fine! I
ain’t never seen a man in my whole life that looked so fine! My,
how he did sit up there drivin’ them hosses! And them brass buttons
and that fine hat! But say, Guv’nah, there’s one thing I wants to
know?” “ What’s that, Jake?” The old Negro frowned strangely.
“ Who in the world was that funny-looking ole fat man sittin’ in the
back seat with you?”
IX

The Sherman Silver Act was repealed at the special session of
1893, but the country had not heard the last of free silver. Nor did
repeal of the act cause anything more than a temporary alleviation
of distressed economic conditions. Even the leadership of the silver
forces broke in that long fight, yet one there was who died with his
boots on. He was a young member of the House of Representatives,
William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska. Handsome, silver-tongued,
sincere in his convictions and fearless in debate, the young freshman
Congressman early had attracted the attention of Speaker Reed, now
displaced on the Democratic reorganization of the House by Crisp of
Georgia. Reed was still leader of his party. And it was often said
of him that he only vied with men whose ability he respected. To
be noticed by Reed was a distinction, and soon after Bryan’s appear­
ance in Congress he had attracted Reed’s attention. When the silver
forces crumbled, long after Bland and other leading Democratic silverites had given up, young Bryan fought on. Closing the debate
for the silver men after a final filibuster of one hour, he declared,
“ I hope we are wrong but we are not. Silver will yet lay aside its
grave clothes and its shroud. It will yet rise, and its rising and reign
will bless mankind.”
The alertness and headwork of Tom Loftin Johnson, from the
Cleveland, Ohio, District, taught me a new trick of legislative acu­
men. Johnson was a devotee of Henry George, the single-tax ex­
ponent. Failing to get George’s Progress and Poverty printed as a
public document, he got several members of Congress to join him in
reading portions of the book into the Congressional Record. When
they had had it all published in the Record, they brought the pieces

WASHINGTON

75

together and published Progress and Poverty as a public document.
U nder the “ franking” privilege it could now be mailed to anyone in
the United States.
In addition to the silver issue and the forthcoming fight over the
tariff, which always occupied the attention of the W ays and Means
Committee, Congress was debating the deportation of the Negroes
and their colonization in A frica; the Force B ill, which had for its
purpose the promotion of Negroes to Congress in Southern districts
where the N egro population exceeded the white j the removal of the
Capital to St. Louis; civil service reform ; and the problems of agri­
culture. T h e Farmers’ Alliance had not given up the fight, its pro­
gram now being to lower the tariff for the benefit of agricultural
interests in opposition to the high protection rates demanded by
industrialists. A nd Cleveland declared open war on the trusts. I was
keenly interested in all these legislative clashes, losing no opportunity
to visit the House gallery or the Senate floor, the privilege of which
I had by reason of my clerkship.
I remember that in one of these discussions a House member from
Illinois wandered far afield from the subject under consideration, and
Speaker Charles F . Crisp, failing to get him to relinquish the floor,
ordered the Sergeant-at-Arms to seat the Representative. Shaking his
mace in front of the orator, the officer finally seated the rebellious
member. Im m ediately thereafter former Speaker Reed rose and
asked for the floor. T h ere was complete silence as every member
waited to hear Reed’s comment. H e spoke as follows: “ M r. Speaker,
I never knew what was meant in H o ly W rit by the ‘wild ass of the
desert’ until I witnessed the performance just concluded.”
I saw much during these days of the two Senators from North
Carolina, General M att W . Ransom and General Zebulon B. Vance.
Both were men of striking personality, but quite different. General
Ransom was unique. It was said that because of his extreme courtesy
and urbanity no one could collect a debt from him unless he was
good and ready to pay it. I said to him one day in his office: “ Sir,
when w ill you find time to answer that large stack of letters on
your desk?” H is answer was: “ Young man, nine out of ten letters
which I receive, answer themselves if I keep them long enough.”
One morning while I was in Senator Ransom’s office, there came
into the room a superannuated Methodist preacher from North Caro-







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

lina by the name of Barrett, who had been in Washington for several
weeks endeavoring to get Senator Ransom to indorse him for ap­
pointment as a United States Consul. As a rule, the Senator would
meet as near the door as possible persons to whom he did not wish to
give much time. While shaking their hands most graciously he would
gradually back them out the door. Once in the hall, he would say:
“ I am sorry, sir, but I have an important committee meeting.” The
visitor would thus be dismissed before he could go very far into his
business.
The preacher had been backed out of the room before, and this
morning when the Senator backed him up a bit he reversed his posi­
tion and was backed into the wall. H e then said: “ Senator, I must
know this morning whether it is your intention to indorse me for a
Consulship. M y money has given out and I can remain here no
longer.” The Senator was now up against it. H e had to make a
reply. Stretching out his arms full length in a characteristic gesture,
he said: “ Mr. Barrett, are you not a minister of the gospel called
by Almighty God to preach his word?” Mr. Barrett answering in
the affirmative, the Senator continued: “ Mr. Barrett, God forbid that
I should do anything to controvert His Divine W ill.”

CHAPTER V

T he Rising T ide

A S T H E financial panic of 1 893 moved into the difficult five
years’ depression to follow, everybody seemed to place the
-A- -iX-blame at someone else’s door. T he Republican party, which
happened to be out of office, blamed the Democrats, who happened
to be in. T h e Western free-silverites lashed out against the sup­
porters of the gold standard. Capital and labor, first in Pittsburgh in
1892 and then in Chicago in 1894, fought battles that brought blood­
shed and almost took the form of civil war. Coxey’s Arm y of unem­
ployed workers marched from the W est into Washington, where
some of its members were arrested and imprisoned. Socialists had
placed their first national ticket in the field in 1892. T he hard times
gave the movement added impetus.
Cleveland, fighting for amelioration and reform in the face of
mounting unpopularity, never stooped to base levels of compromise
or petty politics. H e reaffirmed the Monroe Doctrine in the Vene­
zuelan boundary dispute, issuing an ultimatum to Great Britain
which declared that the United States was ready to fight for the
maintenance of that doctrine. H e instituted the Government For­
estry Service and promoted the conservation of public lands. But at
the drop of a hat the people of the country were ready to blame him
for any and all ills. T he tariff fight of 1894, in which Senator Gor­
man and other Democratic leaders rebelled against the party pro­
gram was in reality nothing more than an attempt by the President
to solve the nation’s growing economic problem. Out of this melee
of strife and clamor, and from the substance of dissatisfaction, itself,
was to arise a new progressivism. Younger men, whether silverites
or believers in low tariff, but all irritated and incensed by the old
order with its bickerings and delays and goaded by increasing hos­
tility to the stilted leadership of the “ generals” in Congress, cried out







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

as with one voice for a “ Moses to lead them out of the wilderness.”
Soon that Moses was to appear. W e shall hear his battle cry and
attend the scenes that paved the way for a victorious articulation at
the ballot box in 1912.
M y own political philosophy, meanwhile, was being colored and
expanded daily by the events that transpired in Washington. M y
circle of political acquaintances was daily broadened. Walking down
F Street with Senator Butler, we encountered the mighty Reed,
mighty in more ways than one, for he was well over six feet tall and
weighed fully two hundred and fifty pounds. W e stopped in the
middle of the street, and I was flattered that he talked to me as
casually and upon terms as familiar as if I had been one of his col­
leagues. In other informal meetings I met Senator Vest, author of
the immortal tribute to the dog. M y committee duties brought me
into close contact with many other leaders of the day. Almost in­
variably, when I encountered these men a second time, they spoke
to me and called me by name. I came to realize that a memory
for names was a priceless knack of the successful man in public affairs.
Up to now, I had been reluctant to take sides, even in my own
mind, as the great national political issues of the day unfolded. But
conditions were so deplorable that my very conscience began to assert
itself. And there were times when my impotence to play a more
important part stirred my ambition and at the same time brought a
feeling of frustration.
A favorite story in the Senate and House cloak rooms when I
first came to the Capitol was that of Congressman John Allen of
Mississippi, who had only shortly before retired from Congress. He
was a dynamic character, and the story of how he came to Congress
was always repeatable and interesting. Allen’s political opponent
launched his campaign on the basis of his war record and in his
speeches would say that if the officers of his command in the army
would support him as faithfully in his political campaign as they did
in the war, he would certainly be elected to Congress. The resource­
ful John Allen in reply would say: “ I join you [the audience] in
admiring the war record of my opponent, and I join in urging all
the officers under him in the war to support him on election day.
All that I ask is that the privates support me.” The result was that

THE RISING TIDE

79

A llen was overwhelmingly elected. E ver afterwards he was known
as Private John Allen.
On February 7, 1894, Mrs. Roper joined me in Washington.
There were no apartments to speak of except the Cairo. It was con­
sidered a “ new-fangled curiosity” because it was twelve stories high,
the tallest building in town. W e had three children nowj so we rented
a house at 243 Eighth Street, N. E. It is true that I had made fre­
quent visits home, but the coming of my family helped to cement me
to the Federal service. Mrs. Roper brought Henrietta, or Rett as we
called her, the colored nurse of the children. One day while Rett was
taking the baby for an airing she forgot her duties and station in life.
Rett had never been to a city before and had never heard a brass
band. There happened to be a parade, or celebration, in the neigh­
borhood. W hen the brass band blared forth, Rett could not resist
such prodigious music. She forgot baby, carriage and all, and ran
with the procession that was hurrying to hear the band. It was some
time before Mrs. Roper could be convinced that the child would ever
again be safe in Rett’s care.
M aking friends and enlarging social contacts was never a prob­
lem in Washington. I knew a great many people already. South­
erners, and Northerners as well, affected by the neighborly influence,
were naturally sociable. W e affiliated with Epworth M . E. Church,
South, then at Seventh and A Streets, N. E ., and soon Mrs. Roper
was almost as much at home as she had been in South Carolina.
M oreover, scarcely a week passed in which some old friend or ac­
quaintance from our section did not arrive on government business or
for a sight-seeing tour.
Senator Butler had unfailing courtesy for all South Carolinians
who called upon him, whatever their request. This was hardly true
of all his colleagues. W hen Attorney E. W . Pettus of Alabama
called upon Senator John T . Morgan and asked that he be consid­
ered for a Federal judgeship, Senator Morgan referred him to his
colleague, Senator Pugh. “ I ’ll be glad to help you,” he told Pettus.
“ However, my colleague, Senator Pugh, comes up next year for reelection. I’m sure he would like to have the honor and advantage of
taking the initiative in securing your appointment. Suppose you call
upon him. T e ll him I ’ll be glad to co-operate.” Pettus went imme-







80

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

diately to Senator Pugh, but found him in an irritable state of mind.
“Pettus,” said Pugh, “ you are too old to be appointed to this judgship. I can’t present your application or support you.” Pettus was
six feet three. He rose from his chair and stood looking down at
Pugh with a silence that withered the Senator. Then he said, “ So
you think Pm too old to be a judge?” Pugh nodded in the affirma­
tive. “ W e’ll see about that,” Pettus told him. “ Maybe I’m not too
old to come to the Senate in your place. I’ll start my campaign im­
mediately.” He turned away without saying more. The following
year he defeated Senator Pugh.
ii

William L. Wilson, of West Virginia, later to become Postmaster
General in the Cleveland Cabinet, was the author of the tariff bill
in the House. The bill passed that body without major change or
incident, but in the Senate it met a tough row. Gorman of Maryland,
Brice of Ohio, Smith of New Jersey, and Murphy of New York de­
cided that the bill should incorporate more protection for industry.
A stock tip on sugar went the rounds, and it was rumored that Gor­
man, because of his eagerness to protect the sugar refineries in Balti­
more, would filibuster until the tariff on sugar was increased. Sen­
ators began to speculate in sugar, and the price went very high. Six
hundred amendments were tacked onto the Wilson bill by the Sen­
ate, and the final outcome was the passage of a tariff bill so disgusting
to President Cleveland that he would not sign it, but permitted it to
become a law by lapse of time. The outcome of the tariff conflict,
in which Cleveland had been bitterly denounced by leaders of his
own party, was a sugar scandal and an investigation. Thus a Con­
gress which had played into the hands of the Republicans discredited
itself before the country.
I had not forsaken the tenets of the Farmers’ Alliance, and I had
leanings towards the progressivism of the Populists, that short-lived
but useful party which did much to provoke constructive thought and
awaken the farmers of the country to the struggle between industry
and agriculture. The reaction to the tariff bill, I thought, would later
find a means of expression. The elections of 1894 certainly bore out
my anticipation. The Democratic majority was turned into the small­
est minority since the Civil War. Those defeated included Bryan of

THE RISING TIDE

8i

Nebraska and Champ Clark of Missouri. T he Democrats who sur­
vived were living exponents of futility. W illiam Jennings Bryan
became a newspaper editor, but he took time from his duties to accept
invitations to speak in different parts of the country. H e was waging
a one-man war for bimetallism.
There was at the same time a rising tide of political revolution in
both major parties. M y native state was no exception. Governor
Ben Tillm an, having won a political control of South Carolina that
was very near absolute, defeated Senator Butler. It was an era of
change, one in which clashes between special interests became har­
bingers of the mightier conflict then dimly seen upon the horizon.
T he preponderant Republican majority did not reorganize the
Senate and take over the committees until 1895. Although General
Butler retired, Senator Gorman, now Chairman of the Interstate
Commerce Committee, requested that I remain as its clerk until the
approaching Republican reorganization. Therefore, I was in W ash­
ington when Tillm an arrived. A t our first meeting, he shook hands
with me, but did not engage me in conversation. His first speech,
awaited with much curiosity because of his already well-heralded in­
dividuality, was characteristic of the man and evoked widespread
comment. It was directed at the President. According to the account
given by Arthur W . Dunn:

He read it, having thus prepared it, he said, so that he would not
overstep the bounds of Senate decorum. What he might have said but for
this precaution I cannot imagine, for it was sizzling hot as it was.
He made up in action what he felt was suppressed by such careful
preparation. “Pitchfork Ben” was never in better form. He would shout,
flourish his arms, grind out his words between set teeth, and run all the
gamut of impassioned oratory and invective. Occasionally he would spin
around like a toe dancer, the proof sheets of his speech waving in the air.
“If I had known,” he said at one point, “that Grover Cleveland
would have turned out to be the traitor that he is, I would have delivered
the electoral vote of South Carolina to another candidate.”
During his speech a page boy placed a glass of water before him, but
he waved the boy away.
“I never wet my whistle when I am talking,” he said. “I can’t run a
windmill on water.”
There was a titter in the galleries checked by the presiding officer.
“ Poor muffled brutes in the galleries,” Tillman commented.







82

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
He derided senatorial courtesy. “Senators sneak away into the cloak
rooms,” he said, as a number of them left the cham
ber, “but they can’t
hide them
selves from the people.”1
It was my privilege during this period to attend a session of the
first public legislative hearing upon woman suffrage. Senator Hoar,
Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, was in charge. The
room was crowded with women, he and I being the only men pres­
ent. It was in this same era that Emmeline Pankhurst, militant Eng­
lish suffragette, was agitating the women of America. Upon one of
her entrances to the country she was detained at Ellis Island in the
same manner as any foreign immigrant. The excitement of the
women at this hearing needs no description. Male statesmen still
regarded woman suffrage as a joke. Some of Senator Hoar’s critics
sought to fasten upon him the epithet, “ Granny Hoar,” but it would
not cling to a man like him. H e was one of the great Senators of
the period, perhaps the last of the classical New Englanders whose
services had been so important in our first century of national life.
His mind was of the school of the Adamses, Ralph Waldo Emerson,
and James Russell Lowell.
The Hoar-Beveridge debate on the annexation of the Philippines
is a worthy example of a great stateman’s scintillating intellect. Said
the Senator from Indiana: “ Today, we have one of the three great
ocean possessions of the globe, located at the most commanding com­
mercial, naval, and military points in the Eastern seas, within hail of
India, shoulder to shoulder with China, richer in its own resources
than any equal body of land upon the globe, and peopled by a race
which civilization demands shall be improved. Shall we abandon it?
That man little knows the common people of the republic, little un­
derstands the instincts of our race, who thinks we will not hold it fast
and hold it forever, administering just government by simplest meth­
ods.” Hoar replied: “ Yet, Mr. President, as I heard this eloquent
description of wealth and glory and commerce and trade, I listened
in vain for those words which the American people have been wont
to take upon their lips in every solemn crisis of their history. I heard
much calculated to excite the imagination of youth seeking wealth, or
the youth charmed by the dream of empire; but the words, Right ,
1 Arthur Wallace Dunn, F r o m H a r ris o n to H a r d in g ( z vols. 5 New York and
London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons; The Knickerbocker Press, 1922), I, 169-170.

THE RISING TIDE

83

Justice , D u ty , F reedom were absent, my friend must permit me to
say, from that eloquent speech.” T h e fight of Senator H oar was to
be won long after he was dead.
hi

Through 1895 and the following year the political pot was sim­
mering, and the presidential bees were buzzing. So bitter was the
sentiment against Cleveland that a resolution was voted by the H ouse
of Representatives denouncing a third term for any President. On
the Republican side there was much talk of Reed and some sentiment
for M cK inley. T h e Democratic leaders were talking of Bland and
Senator T e lle r of Colorado. W illiam Jennings Bryan, the young
Nebraska Congressman who had been defeated in 1894, was not men­
tioned as a presidential possibility, although it was thought the silverites might control the convention. L e t it not be thought that all
silverites were Democrats. T h e Republicans of the W est were almost
united against the gold standard, and many had voted for the Sher­
man Act. T h ere were rumors that the silver issue might split the
Republican ranks before the next national election.
I had no personal choice for President in the pre-convention
months. Y e t, the Federal service had awakened m y political con­
sciousness, and m y interest in the stirring issues of the period had
been quickened. None but he who endured and observed the eco­
nomic chaos o f the times can fu lly appreciate their severity. Neces­
sity gave birth to the surge of progressivism which clamored for
leadership. But how on earth could the defeated, split, and discour­
aged Democrats of m y party unite upon a leader? A miracle would
have been necessary to preserve the party from disintegration. T h e
waters were muddier in 1896 than they had been in 1895. T h e R e­
publicans had reorganized both houses of Congress, and I was pre­
paring to leave W ashington to go into private endeavor in N ew York.
First came the Republican Convention at St. Louis. Senators
L od ge and P latt forced a gold declaration into the party platform ,
thus antagonizing the silverites, who walked out of the convention.
One of the newspaper reporters, the ex-Congressman Bryan of N e­
braska, became so excited that he leapt to the top of the newspaper
desks and stepping from desk to desk maneuvered himself to the
front row where with a smile of satisfaction he watched the departing




84

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

silverites. Throughout the convention hall there were yells of, “ Go
to Chicago! Take the Democratic train!” A smile of great joy
wreathed Bryan’s broad face, and his eyes twinkled with immense
delight.
Three weeks later the Democratic Convention convened in Chi­
cago. Senator Tillman was one of the first arrivals, going with many
demands and cloaked with considerable authority. It was fore­
ordained that there would be a silver debate. Senator Tillman, chair­
man of the South Carolina delegation, a member of the national
committee and a member of the committee on resolutions, having
reserved these three important places for himself, demanded of Sena­
tor Jones that he be given an hour on the silver side. Senator James
K. Jones, permanent chairman of the convention, told him he was
afraid of a speech of such length, suggesting that it might tire the
delegates. “ I’ll have an hour, or nothing,” Tillman protested. “ No
crowd ever gets tired when I’m talking.” He got the hour.
William Jennings Bryan was a delegate to the convention, but
he and the other members of his delegation encountered a contest for
their seats. The Bryan forces finally won out. The silverites, recol­
lecting his fight in Congress, urged and pressed him into the debate.
Let us recall it in his own words as recorded by Mrs. Bryan in her
Memoirs of his life:

I




Senator Tillman’s speech did not present our side to the satisfaction of
the friends of bim
etallism It was a strong speech— he could not m
.
ake
any other kind— but it presented the question as a sectional issue between
the south and west with northeast states on the other side. . . . When
Senator Tillman was through, Senator Jones took the platform and an­
nounced to the Convention that the Committee did not endorse the sec­
tional argument by Senator Tillman. This increased my responsibility
because it threw the whole burden on my closing speech.
Senator Hill followed Senator Tillman and m a very strong speech.
ade
He was at his best and presented the arguments on his side with consum
­
m skill and adroitness. The effect upon the audience was apparent and
ate
the nervousness of our delegation increased as he proceeded.
He was followed by Senator Vilas, a m of high standing in the
an
party, large experience in politics, and great ability as a lawyer. He
pounded the advocates of free coinage without mercy.
Near the close of h speech Governor Russell of M
is
assachusetts, who
was the third and last m on the gold side, cam back to Senator Hill’s
an
e

f/fi
r ' •.
*

y,

seat with evident excitement and protested that Senator Vilas was not
going to leave him any time. My seat was so near to Senator Hill’s that
I could hear the conversation. I immediately stepped across the aisle to
Senator Hill and suggested that I was willing to have the time extended
to give Governor Russell the time he wanted, the same period to be added
to my time . . . it added about ten minutes to my time and I needed it for
the speech I was to make. This was another unexpected bit of good for­
tune. I had never had such an opportunity before in my life and never
expect to have again. . . .
The excitement of the moment was so intense that I hurried to the
platform and began at once. My nervousness left me instantly and I felt
as composed as if I had been speaking to a small audience on an unimpor­
tant occasion. From the first sentence the audience was with me. My
voice reached to the uttermost parts of the hall, which is a great advan­
tage in speaking to an assembly like that.
I shall never forget the assembly on which I looked. I believe it un­
rivaled in any convention ever held in our country. The audience seemed
to rise and sit down as one man. At the close of a sentence it would rise
and shout, and when I began upon another sentence, the audience was
still as a church. . . .
The situation was so unique and the experience so unprecedented that
I have never expected to witness its counterpart.
At the conclusion of my speech the demonstration spread over nearly
the entire convention.2
T h e closing paragraph of that speech merits quotation. It was
among the most notable political speeches ever made in Am erica; I
was electrified by a mere reading of it:

My friends, we declare that this nation is able to legislate for its own
people on every question, without awaiting for the aid or consent of any
other nation on earth; and upon that issue we expect to carry every state
in the Union. I shall not slander the inhabitants of the fail state of Massa­
chusetts nor the inhabitants of the state of New York by saying that, when
they are confronted with the proposition, they will declare that this nation
is not able to attend to its own business. It is the issue of 177^ over again.
Our ancestors, when but three millions in number, had the coinage to
declare their political independence of every other nation; shall we, their
descendants, when we have grown to seventy millions, declare that we
are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, that will never
T h e M e m o i r s o f W i l l i a m J e n n i n g s B r y a n , by Himself and His Wife Mar}
Baird Bryan (Philadelphia: The John C. Winston Co., 1925), pp. 112-115.







g<
5

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

be the verdict of our people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the
battle is fought. If they say bim
etallism is good, but that we can not have
it until other nations help us, we reply that, instead of having a gold stand­
ard because England has, we will restore bim
etallism and then let Eng­
,
land have bim
etallism because the United States has it. If they dare to
com out into the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing,
e
w will fight them to the utterm
e
ost. Having behind us the producing
m
asses of this nation and the world, supported by the commercial interests,
the laboring interests, and the toilers everywhere, w will answer their
e
demand for a gold standard by saying to them: “You shall not press down
upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify man­
kind upon a cross of gold.”3
The convention went into what amounted to a stampede for
Bryan. Instructed delegations began to break the next day, and on
the fifth ballot Bryan became the Democratic nominee. As everyone
knows, Bryan was defeated through the campaign which Mark
Hanna engineered in behalf of McKinley. The election was close.
A change of thirty-four thousand votes in the states of Ohio, Indiana,
and Kentucky would have given Bryan a majority in the electoral
college.
Perhaps at least another generation must pass before a just esti­
mate can be placed upon the character and public services of William
Jennings Bryan. But those who knew him and labored at his side
appraise him highly in the living present. Most of the professional
historians have not appreciated the profounder aspects of the great
rural American political movements. To this deeper democratic unfoldment of the national life Bryan made lasting contributions. His
eloquent speeches actually converted sordid and self-seeking men to
loftier standards of conduct. They became devoted followers of the
light which he held before the anxious eyes of the people. Bryan’s
heart and soul developed the incoherent groups of progressives into
a national movement. In 1896, despite all reactionism and more to
come, progressivism became a living force. His “ Cross of Gold”
speech ended a period, a generation in which the masses were dead­
ened by carelessness and despair.
Bryan was a typical rural American, representing farmers and
villagers. Under him they went into battle against the political and

THE RISING TIDE

87

economic powers of the conventional political leadership which devel­
oped in the East during the generation following the C ivil W ar. H is
coming changed the course of our political history because the rural
W est and South were reunited by his leadership. A nd for sixteen
years it was Bryan’s destiny to lead Democratic progressives against
what they regarded as entrenched plutocracy. T h e rural American
epic really began with the Revolutionary W ar. It came to its great­
est era of power and victory in the period from Thom as Jefferson
to Abraham Lincoln. Bryan kept its spirit alive.
W hen it came to practical policies, the “ Great Commoner” did
not always succeed in finding his way. For instance, his theory that
the free coinage of silver would solve all economic problems was a
misconception. H is fiscal theory per se was half true, as was to be
demonstrated in a later period. E ven in 1900 the larger annual
world production of go ld was constantly increasing the amount of
money. Bryan, however, seemed to crave the pleasure of throwing
himself into a fight for a cause, seeking for complicated questions the
answer “ yes” or “ no.”
I had the good fortune to be present at Madison Square Garden
when he made his speech of acceptance in 1896. I shall never forget
that night. W hen he was introduced he turned pale 3 after he had
uttered a couple of sentences he regained his color and composure,
making an address that has lived in m y mind and heart through all
the succeeding years. E veryone whose face I saw, and almost every
one I spoke with afterwards, was strongly impressed by the speaker’s
sincerity and force. A s Bryan himself said again and again in words
which should be classic American utterances, “ A speaker cannot con­
vince others beyond his own conviction.” “ There are plenty of good
heads in this country,” he commented. “ Education has multiplied
intelligence j but I am looking for the man whose heart is sound and
true.”
Bryan always drew large crowds, but he himself told me a story
which elucidates his partial political failure. In a W estern state, at
the railway station of the town where he was scheduled to speak, a
stranger approached him. T h e man wore bespattered boots and
clothes. “ Colonel Bryan,” he said, “ I have ridden fifty miles to hear
you speak tonight. I have always read every speech of yours that 1







88

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

could get hold of. I would ride a hundred miles to hear you make
a speech. And, by gum, if I wasn’t a Republican, I’d vote for you.”
They liked to hear him speak, but not enough of them would vote
for him.
At one of the Bryan birthday dinners I asked him which, in his
opinion, was his greatest speech. H e turned the question back at me,
and I told him' I supposed it was the “ Cross of Gold” speech that
gave him the first Democratic nomination. “ You are wrong,” he
replied. “ M y greatest speech, and the one I wish to be remembered
by longest is ‘The Prince of Peace.’ ” Two passages from that elo­
quent oration are superb, those in which he referred to immortal­
ity and the Resurrection:

If the Father deigns to touch with divine power the cold and pulseless
heart of the buried acorn and to m it burst forth from its prison walls,
ake
will He leave neglected in the earth the soul of man, m in the im
ade
age
of his Creator? If He stoops to give to the rose bush, whose withered
blossom float upon the autumn breeze, the sweet assurance of another
s
springtim will He refuse the words of hope to the sons of m when
e,
en
the frosts of winter com
e? If matter, m
ute and inanim
ate, though
changed by the forces of nature into a multitude of forms, can never die,
will the im
perial spirit of m suffer annihilation when it has paid a brief
an
visit like a royal guest to this tenement of clay? No, I am sure that He,
who, notwithstanding His apparent prodigality, created nothing without a
purpose, and wasted not a single atom in all H creation, has m provi­
is
ade
sion for a future life in which man’s universal longing for immortality will
find its realization. I am as sure that we live again as I am sure that we
live today.
In Cairo I secured a few grains of wheat that had slum
bered for m
ore
than thirty centuries in an Egyptian tom As I looked at them this
b.
thought cam into my mind: If one of those grains had been planted upon
e
the banks of the Nile the year after it grew, and all its lineal descendants
had been planted and replanted from that tim until now, its progeny
e
would today be sufficiently num
erous to feed the teeming m
illions of the
world. An unbroken chain of life connects the earliest grains of wheat
with the grains that we sow and reap. There is in the grain of wheat
an invisible something which has the power to discard the body that we see,
and from earth and air fashion a new body so much like the old one that
we can not tell the one from the other. If this invisible germ of life in
the grain of wheat can thus pass unim
paired through three thousand resur-

THE RISING TIDE
89
rections, I shall not doubt that my soul has power to clothe itself with a
body suited to its new existence when this earthly frame has crumbled into
dust.4
Behind all the actors on the political stage were the sterner reali­
ties. T h e y took two essential forms. There had now grown up, cen­
tered in N ew Y ork, the greatest power of organized wealth in the
history of the world. On the other side was the unfolding social or­
ganization of a hundred million people, spread over the vast area of
the land and gifted, perhaps, with the power and ability to rule
themselves and their country once they found skillful leadership.
Some of the political leaders who bestrode the scene were fading
away. T h e lasting solutions, if they come, w ill be of the life of
the whole people.

4I b i d . , pp. 5x0-511.







CHAPTER VI

Private L ife Again
Y F IR S T Washington years had passed swiftly, almost as
if they had been a like number of months j it was a period
of constant excitement and enlightenment to a young man
intent upon the vision of good citizenship and usefulness in the
world. Those first contacts and associations with the nation’s leaders
were never to be forgotten. I regretted the necessity of passing on
to a new scene, yet at the same time I was thankful for some hope of
supporting my family through the business world.
Before the foreseen reorganization of the House and Senate I
had hoped for some opportunity that would permit me to carry into
private life such experience and knowledge as had been gained with
the Interstate Commerce Committee. Through a great many con­
tacts there had come such offers as one to become cashier of a bank
at Martinsburg, West Virginia, but none of these had been in line
with my studies in transportation, railway financing, and the like.
Then came the offer which I accepted, the management of the office
of Mr. Charles E. W . Smith of New York, a financier engaged in
the reorganization and financing of street railways and other public
utilities.

M

The prospect of life in New York was not too alluring. The job,
however, was welcome, for I now had a larger family and was at
this time alarmed over the health of Mrs. Roper and our infant
daughter, both of whom were seriously ill with gastritis. At the
same time the doctors found it necessary to remove a large cyst from
the mother. The lives of the mother and child were both despaired
of. Dr. W . P. Carr of Washington told me that a dose of castor
oil might save the mother, but that her fever was so high that her
heart might not stand the strain in case her temperature dropped rap­
idly. H e then said that under the conditions he did not care to take

PRIVATE LIFE AGAIN

91

the responsibility of giving the medicine. “ W ell, doctor, as I under­
stand you, she will likely die if she does not get relief soon, so I
w ill take the responsibility and give her the oil,” I said. T h e effect
was as the doctor had predicted, but a strong heart saved her.
O ur fam ily physician had advised against sending the family to
South Carolina because of the summer climate. T h e Washington
summer was an equally formidable outlook, as was the thought of
having them in N ew Y ork under the conditions. Luckily, the gen­
erosity of my new employer solved the problem. As soon as I dis­
cussed it with him, on my arrival July 10, he offered me the use of
his beautiful and quiet home at Morristown in the New Jersey hills.
“ W e ’re going to Seagirt for the rest of the hot season,” he said.
“ Y ou’re welcome to the house rent free, and by fall you’ll be able
to find a comfortable apartment either in the city or in one of the
suburbs.” I was overjoyed and almost without words with which to
thank him. I quickly communicated the good news to M rs. Roper.
Then I returned to Washington to assist her with the details of
moving. W hen the change was finally effected, much of our worry
was eliminated. In the new environment both she and the child be­
gan to improve.
Perhaps there has never been a more dramatic year in the history
of our two political parties than that of 1896- As previously men­
tioned, I reached New Y ork in time to hear the Bryan speech of
acceptance. Although I had no intention of participating in politics,
it was natural that one so recently from the Washington political
scene would follow closely all the events of the drama unfolding
from coast to coast. The location of our office was 15 W all Street,
and the whole financial section seemed to be teeming with political
talk. T h e gold standardites had all but despaired of M cKinley’s elec­
tion. Those who had heard or read the speeches of Bryan and
learned of the large crowds attending his meetings could see no
chance of his defeat. T h e partisans of both sides seemed to fear the
end of the world if their favorite candidate failed to reach the W Fite
House. So intense was the political agitation that business almost
came to a standstill.
Meanwhile, I bent to my new duties and found them both pleas­
ant and interesting. T hey were in definite contrast to the Federal







92

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

service, yet I could never come to consider them of equal importance
with the work I had been doing in Washington. A lot of the work
was “just listening” to those who presented “ propositions.” In this
capacity it was understood that I was to take as much of the burden
off my employer, Mr. Smith, as possible.
Some of the “ propositions” were unusual to say the least. I
could see the line of callers in advance and tried sometimes ahead of
time to size them up by appearances and speculate upon the probable
business to come. I recall one most distinguished-looking man with
silk hat and long impressive clerical coat who waited one day. I
wondered if he were not some important transportation magnate. At
last his turn came. “ You are Mr. Roper?” he asked in a gracious
manner. I told him that I was. H e shook hands with a polite bow
and sat down. With a pleasing, even beautiful command of English,
he told me a long story. H e was an inventor who, not unlike hun­
dreds of others— and he mentioned Alexander Graham Bell— had
walked the streets of New York and other cities looking in vain for
someone who would listen to him. “ People are like sheep,” he said.
“ They won’t listen if they have to think. They don’t understand me.
It would take too much effort of mind for them.” And he went on
to recite a struggle of years in which he had tried to convince the
scientific leaders and electrical wizards of the country that he had
developed a method for transmitting electric power without the los­
ing step-down. His method, he said, would transmit power over long
distances without the inefficient transformers then in use. It would
revolutionize the power industry. It was worth millions, he alleged,
declaring that the very revolution it would cause was the chief reason
he could get no support from the industry.
I had to inform him that our concern was not fashioned to finance
ideas, our operations being confined to the financing of existing utili­
ties. But I did listen to him sympathetically despite the fact there
was nothing I could do except finally try to pass him on to bankers
who, I hoped, would not have the fictional “ glass eye.” “ I guess
they won’t understand me either,” he said as he picked up his silk
hat and bowed goodbye. Often I have wondered whether or not he
was misunderstood, for his invention may have gone with him to
the grave. I was very sorry indeed for him. The incident made me

PRIVATE LIFE AGAIN

93

think of P. T . Barnum’s difficulties, the weeks he spent in W a ll Street
trying his best to convince the bankers that Jenny Lind was a good
risk for importation and seeking to establish that the great European
singer was a splendid investment for a concert in the newly acquired
Castle Garden, now the N ew York Aquarium. H e later justified his
prophecy by presenting her there to vast audiences for a whole week
and collecting the largest admission one performer had ever grossed
in all history. A fter that incident the bankers had always listened to
him, some clamoring to participate in his ventures.
T h e street railways were undergoing their period of greatest ex­
pansion at that time. W e assisted numerous cities, such as Montreal,
Cleveland, Atlanta, San Francisco, New Orleans, and a host of
smaller towns. In some cases we helped refinance water and electric
power companies, it not being unusual for them to be owned by the
same corporations as the transit facilities. There were still cries of
hard times, yet it was an era of national expansion, an age of inven­
tion. Our towns and cities were becoming modernized. T he country
was in transition from a predominantly agricultural citizenship to
one dominated by industry. T h e population was shifting from farm
to city.
In about sixty days after I had been settled in my office at 15
W all Street, N ew Y ork City, or about the middle of September,
1896, I was visited by m y friend, General Matthew C. Butler, of
South Carolina, who had been defeated for renomination to the
United States Senate by Governor B. R. Tillm an. General Butler
told me that he was interested in keeping in the United States what
he thought to be very valuable patents owned by John Philip H o l­
land for submarine boats and was afraid that these patents might be
purchased by Germans who knew about them. Especially was he
concerned because of the fact that the first boat built by M r. Holland
under his patents had not performed satisfactorily and had been re­
jected by the United States Navy. T he General was firm in his con­
viction that submarine boats would be successfully constructed under
these patents, and he approached me, he said, in the hope that I
might be able to get capital in New Y ork to purchase these patents
and relieve M r. H olland of financial distress, thereby saving the
patents for this country. I told the General that, since boats of this







94

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

character could be used only under the direction of the Navy Depart­
ment, I did not think capital could be raised privately unless the
Navy Department would agree to buy or otherwise utilize the boats
constructed. H e was discouraged and very fearful that this country
would lose the patents. However, two years later (in 1898) under
the sponsorship of the Crescent Shipyards at Elizabeth, New Jersey,
Mr. Holland produced a satisfactory boat which was accepted by the
Navy.
11
Back in Washington an exceedingly strange situation prevailed.
Cleveland, eventually to be vindicated on most of his controversial
policies, was silent during the Bryan-McKinley campaign} and he
was still unpopular. Yet the man never lost his courage, never com­
promised his principles. In one of his final messages, he made a pro­
nouncement against communism which seems prophetic in the light
of subsequent events. H e said: “ Communism is a hateful thing and
a menace to peace and organized government; but the combined
wealth and capital, the outweening of overwhelming cupidity and
selfishness, which insidiously undermines the justice and integrity of
free institutions is not less dangerous than the communism of the
oppressed poverty and toil, which, exasperated by injustice and dis­
content, attacks with wild disorder the citadel of rule. H e mocks
the people who propose that the government shall protect the rich
and they, in turn, will care for the laboring poor.” There are some
Americans who, at this time, will consider Cleveland’s words an ex­
cellent summation, and who will admit that history has vindicated
his uncanny foresight.
The election of McKinley did not bring an end to the bitter at­
tacks upon Cleveland. A ll sorts of personal abuse were directed at
him, going to such extremes that I am sure there were many, such
as I, who were glad the maligned President and his wife were soon
to retire, if for no other reason than that of respect and sympathy.
About the time of that election Mrs. Roper and I brought the
children to New York City, giving up Mr. Smith’s beautiful home
on account of the return of his family from the seashore. The mother
and baby were recovering their health. W e rented an apartment in
an uptown residential neighborhood after the October leasing period

P R I V A T E L I F E A G A IN

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had passed, and the agent was evidently so glad to get the rental
that he failed to ask us if we had children. It did not occur to us to
tell him. N or did we realize that we were moving into a neighbor­
hood in which there were no children. Neither of us relished what
we knew would be the cold contrast to living in Washington and
Morristown, but there was no alternative.
O ur worst suspicions were confirmed a few days after moving
into the apartment. A woman who had seen the faces of the four
little Ropers at the window rang our bell. M rs. Roper went to the
door. T h e stranger said, “ I ’ve called to inquire about the welfare of
the four children I just saw at your front window. Are you their
mother?” Surprised at the intrusion and still wondering what the
woman meant, M rs. Roper admitted that she was. “ Pm from the
Presbyterian Church down at the corner,” the woman volunteered.
“ A re your children in Sunday School?” M rs. Roper told her that
we had just moved into the neighborhood, having been in the house
less than a week. She could have told her that both of us had always
taught Sunday School and served on the boards and committees of
our church, but she was too indignant. “ I came to say, if they weren’t
already in Sunday School,” the woman went on, “ I would like for
you to bring them to our church.” W hen M rs. Roper made no reply,
she added, “ It’s quite unusual to see so many children in this part of
town. Y ou must be new to this part of the world. And to have so
many children— you must be from the Southern states.” Resenting
her tone and attitude, M rs. Roper just continued staring at her, and
the woman said, “ That must be it. Y ou’re either from the South, or
you’re Roman Catholic.” “ Y ou may have it either way,” my wife
replied. “ Place me in either group. Both are kind to little children,
and you may be assured of the welfare of ours.” T he woman went
hastily away, but M rs. Roper never got over the incident and could
never reconcile herself to the neighborhood.
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In addition to analyzing financial statements of utility companies,
interviewing callers, and assisting M r. Smith with correspondence,
reports, appraisal summaries, and such, I was called upon to make
occasional investigations. T h e first investigation of major importance
took me to the Far W est in the spring of 1897* W e had an applica­

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95

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

tion for refinancing an irrigation plant at Mountain Home, Idaho.
The company required additional funds to enlarge the irrigation
project. It was impossible for Mr. Smith to go at the time; so he
delegated the investigation to me. The recollections of that, my first
trip west, are not important as to the details of the business transacted,
but because of the near tragedy in which I was almost a victim, and
which furnished the supreme scare of my life.
The frontier days were not too far back on the calendar in 18.97
for one to see many strange things on a trip from New York to
Idaho. Indians, of course, and cowpunchers and ranchers gathered
in large numbers at railway stations and upon trains. As one got
farther west and farther away from the Eastern cities, one’s traveling
companions became more communicative. They spun yarns of the
frontier days, of stage and train robberies, of cattle rustlers, stam­
pedes, and all that motion pictures have since presented in the Sat­
urday night thrillers. Nevertheless, there was nothing to suggest
that I was soon to be impressed with the futility of sectionalism and
to have a thrill fully as sensational as those that were subjects of the
“ W ild West” stories.
On the diner of my westward train I engaged in conversation at
the breakfast table a physician who told me he was a native of Ger­
many and had been educated there but was now practicing medicine
in Chicago. I referred to the spiritual lessons all nature was striving
to teach that morning. “ The educators and the educated of Ger­
many,” he said, “ have abandoned that line of thought.” “ If you are
correct,” I replied, “ if Germany has abandoned efforts to give spir­
itual forces a stabilizing place in human affairs, then a dangerous
reawakening awaits the otherwise great people of Germany.” H e an­
swered, “ Folderol!” “ I have always been impressed by two things,”
I declared. “ The miraculous order of the universe compared with
the disorder in human relations, its wars, hatreds and its disrupting
jealousies. The other feature that has supported me in accepting spir­
itual righteousness is that part of H oly Writ known as the Golden
Rule. It is the finest code of civil procedure ever given the human
race. It took cDo unto others as you would that they do unto you ’ to
perfect society and preserve peace, order, and happiness among the
peoples of the world. Now until you have given the world some-

PRIVATE LIFE AGAIN

97

thing better than this rule, you should be willing to accept and work
under it.” W e were nearing Chicago and he had to leave. “ I f your
line of talk were used more,” he said, “ and creeds stressed less, the
world would, I confess, be better regulated.” L ittle did I realize
that many times I would recall this conversation in view of the role
later played by certain German leaders.
A t the Mountain H om e railway station I was met by M r. A . C.
Clark, mayor of the town and superintendent of the local irrigation
plan. H e knew that I was there to get information to guide my N ew
Y ork sponsors in deciding whether they would follow M r. Clark’s
recommendation to enlarge materially the Mountain H om e project.
I, therefore, had to be most discreet in dealing with him. H e was
very courteous to me, taking me first to his own home to meet his
wife. She showed me wonderful canned and preserved fruit from the
irrigated trees, which she had. M r. Clark was anxious that I should
make a good impression on the people and to that end felt impelled
to give me some safeguarding advice.
“ Y ou must be careful how you speak about the C ivil W ar,” he
warned. “ W h y is this?” I asked. “ Because,” said he, “ there are a
lot of unreconstructed Southerners in these parts. W e have them out
here from as far south as Kentucky.” I then realized that he had
mistaken me, a South Carolinian, for a Yankee, since my letters of
introduction were all from N ew Y ork City. H owever, I did not cor­
rect him for fear that he might impeach the report I was to make
should my findings be contrary to his recommendations. “ W hat kind
of citizens do these Southerners maker” I asked. “ Oh,” said M r.
Clark, “ they are pretty good citizens, but they are still damn rebels
and do not refer to the war.”
Out of such small incidents important changes sometimes come.
W hen I returned home I told M rs. Roper of this conversation, and
we agreed to make every endeavor not to raise “ damn rebels” in
our family. T h e future would see us take precautions against this
by sending our children to colleges in different states, one to the
Naval Academy at Annapolis, one to W est Point, one to the Univer­
sity of Michigan, one to Bowdoin in Maine, one to Duke University,
one to the Randolph-Macon College for Women, and one to Vassar.
I was reminded of an aged woman, born and nurtured in the







9g

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

South, who was endeavoring to impress upon her nephews and nieces
the beauties of the South and its people, when one of the young men
spoke up: “ Auntie,” he asked, “ do you think that all the virtues
originated in and have been preserved by the Southern people?”
“ No, not all, but most of them,” she replied. “ Do you think that
Jesus Christ was a Southerner?” The old lady hesitated a moment
and said: “ H e was good enough to be a Southerner.”
In the course of my inspection of the country I made a trip to
Snake River, a distance of about fifteen miles. The country was so
rough that I used a span of two good horses and a strong buggy. I
had loved horses from childhood days on the farm, and after leaving
the city and making the long, tiresome train trip from the East, I
held the reins with a feeling of satisfaction and well-being. It was a
pleasure to be driving through the crisp spring air, to be so foitunate
as to have good horses, and to see this strange new country. I did
not see a single sign of civilization after leaving Mountain Home
until I reached the river— nothing except some charred embers and
ashes of sheep campfires with here and there a dead coyote.
I must have driven ten miles and was within about five or six
miles of the “ rimrock” of Snake River when I heard a great rum­
bling in the distance. Looking toward the western horizon, I saw
a long line of moving objects, black shapes enclouded with dust, and
then I saw that they were coming toward me at a terrific speed. In a
flash I comprehended what they were— wild horses! The blood al­
most froze in my veins. Now they were in full view, a whole drove
of them. A great black, much larger than the rest, was in the lead.
Their heads were in the air, and they were snorting crazily, coming
on and on. The clatter of their hooves filled the air.
In what I was sure was my last moment, my thoughts were of
my wife and four delicate little children so far away. There was
nothing I could do but breathe a prayer as I pulled hard upon the
reins. The mad, surging animals were within thirty feet. Another
second and they would be upon me! But in that last second, thanks
to Divine Providence, the miracle happened. Their leader broke to
the right. The drove that carried death in every hoof beat missed
my horses by a few feet. It was incredible. Not until the last one
had passed could I realize my remarkable deliverance. There are

PRIVATE LIFE AGAIN

99

not words to describe m y tremendous relief, or m y heartfelt thanks
at such a narrow escape from destruction. It was a happy, although
much shaken, investigator who reached the river and the small habi­
tation there an hour later.
IV

N either M rs. Roper nor I could fu lly adjust ourselves to N ew
Y ork life, although the neighborhood in which we lived was adja­
cent to Riverside D rive and Grant’s Tom b, a section far more de­
ligh tfu l than most others in the city. T h e river panorama afforded
magnificent views, a grassy park and a pleasant enough place to take
the children. But we could not grow fond of a neighborhood where
next-door neighbors neither knew nor cared to know each other. A
change was deemed advisable. I got in touch with E lw ood L . Gernand, of Baltimore, M aryland, whom I had met ten years before
when he was general agent for the M utual L ife Insurance Com ­
pany of N ew Y o rk for South Carolina. H e was now general agent of
the State M utual L ife Assurance Company for M aryland, Pennsyl­
vania, and the District of Columbia. It was a great pleasure to be in
contact with him again, for I regarded him as one of the noble souls
of m y life’s acquaintance. H e offered me a contract on commission
basis with a small drawing account. I remember his comment: “ Our
big difficulty is in finding real men— men of intelligence with char­
acter and a diplomatic approach, and men who w ill stick. I wish our
schools realized it. I ’m sure that modern education could do a lot
in this regard— teaching youngsters personality.” Subsequently, I
had an artist copy for my children a sign in his office reading: “ Keep­
ing everlastingly at it brings success.”
I accepted the offer of M r. Gernand. It greatly aided me in
caring for my growing family. As time went on, his fine character
was an inspiration. T o illustrate his belief in the scarcity of available
men, however, he told me a story. “ A few years ago,” he said, “ one
of my friends in Baltimore received a peculiar letter. It went some­
what as follows: ‘D ear John: I ’ve gone into business in a little store
near Cumberland. I ’ve already invested about $1,000 and I want
you to send up a man from Baltimore to manage this business for
me. H e should be a good buyer— you know what I mean— an allaround man. A nd a good salesman too— one who w ill take an inter-







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

est in the community and its enterprises. H e should be willing and
able to approach, handle and lead people. Better, too, if he is a
churchman and willing to conduct a Sunday School class, if need be.
Now, John, I know you’ve got him in Baltimore. Won’t you please
send him at once?’ ” “ M y friend John replied as follows: ‘Dear
Jim: Letter received. Man you need is either in Heaven or in busi­
ness for himself.’ ” “ You’re not classing me with the man Jim
wanted?” I said to Mr. Gernand, as we both laughed at the story.
Mrs. Roper and I moved the children back to Washington in the
autumn of 1898. The McKinley Administration had rounded out
its first year of power, and I saw no chance of re-entry into the Fed­
eral service. The Maine had been blown up in the harbor of Havana
on February 15, 1898, and it looked as if war was inevitable, due to
the agitation of insurgents in Congress and to sensational yellow
journalism. At heart I was in favor of Cuban independence, influ­
enced no doubt just as were many others by the sensational stories of
Spanish cruelty. But all predictions were that it would be a naval war
of brief duration, and there would be no necessity for recruiting a
great mass of troops. Besides, I had not been able to accumulate
capital in the expensive living conditions of New York, and unless it
reached the dire point where my country definitely needed men of
my age, I felt that my duty and responsibility lay with my wife and
four children. I pulled through this very trying economic era only
by the marvelous co-operation of a resourceful wife. She could cook,
nurse, and guide both the children and myself with sound advice and
good cheer.
v
The insurance business in 1898 was by no means what John W .
Dade of Virginia would have called a sinecure. At times one gained
the idea that all the good prospects were insured and the others either
uninsurable or adamant in their sales resistance. In some homes and
offices the insurance agent found himself placed in the class of the
itinerant book agent, or perhaps the present representative of a large
brush concern. One of my most discouraging moments came one
Saturday afternoon in the fall of 1898 in Baltimore. I had started
out Monday morning with twenty names from the city poll list. By
two o’clock Saturday afternoon I had called at the place of business

PRIVATE LIFE AGAIN

x0 1

of every person except one and had not been accorded a satisfactory7
interview by anyone. Discouraged and tired from a solid week of
walking, I headed for the office to report the list worthless.
A fter walking about two blocks I had a distinct signal in my
mind that I sensed as saying; “ Y ou have not completed the task as­
signed you. See the remaining person whose name is left on the list
so you can make a complete report to the office.” I turned around
immediately and was soon at the address. T he sign on the door
read, “ D r. J. C. H em iker, Stomach Specialist.” T h e doorman, think­
ing I wished to be treated for m y stomach, seated me at the end of a
long list of patients, and after about an hour and a half I was ushered
into the office of the physician. I approached him thus: “ Doctor, I
do not need to have my stomach treated. I have taken advantage of
your hospitality to ask permission to discuss a form of life insurance
I believe w ill interest you.” H is answer was, “ I wish to relax for a
few minutes. Since you are in here, I ’ll give you the time I give a
patient. T h a t’s fifteen minutes.” I thanked him and, placing my
watch before me, proceeded without interruption until the time had
expired. Picking up the watch, I said, “ Doctor, m y fifteen minutes
are over. I thank you for your courtesy and for your great kindness
in permitting me to talk insurance to you.” H is answer was: “ Y ou
have presented life insurance more attractively than it has heretofore
been presented to me, and if you wish to take your place at the end
of the line of patients in the waiting room, I w ill, when your turn
comes, give you fifteen minutes more.” I thanked him and took my
place in the line of those seeking relief from stomach troubles. A t the
close of m y next fifteen minutes I had the physician’s application for
$5,000 insurance. T h e commission of $75 enabled my economical,
Scottish wife to meet the living expenses of our house for thirty days
more. As much as I needed the $75, the experience taught me a les­
son of much greater future use: N ever leave a job incomplete. M ain­
tain your faith and perseverance.
I had been convinced for years of the value of insurance, of the
intrinsic fam ily and national necessity of it. Y et, already I saw faults
in the general insurance structure and setup, many of which, but not
all, were to be remedied by later legislation. As early as 1890 I
gained the belief that the agent of each insurance company repre-







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

sented all, because he bore the message of a social movement. Most
young men who sold insurance then went into the field as competi­
tors, and there was no little knifing and slander among the larger
companies as well as the small ones. Education toward co-operation
had been a slow process, but immense progress had been made.
M y new work with Mr. Gernand carried me over the District of
Columbia and the state of Maryland. The only drawback to it— the
one regrettable feature— was that I had to be away from home part
of each week. I missed Mrs. Roper and the children, and to these
absences I was never to be reconciled. But the work proved to be an­
other instructive course in the great academy of experience. I had
to deal co-operatively with many different types of people. In a
sense I was engaged in a quasi-public service. And I was never hap­
pier than when it fell my lot to notify some bereaved one that my
company’s check had been issued. It was also sometimes a source of
far more than financial disappointment to encounter those who needed
insurance but could not pass the physical examination.
One of the latter I have never forgotten because of his droll and
pungent sense of humor. I happened to be working one week in
Harford County, Maryland, with John A. Evans, Mr. Gernand’s
representative in that locality. “ Roper,” he said, “ I want you to meet
a great character. H e’d buy insurance in a minute, but he can’t pass
the physical examination. Just the same we’ll have a few minutes of
fun, and maybe he can suggest some prospects.”
Accordingly, Evans and I went to call upon his friend, Mr.
Fisher. W e found the gentleman propped up in a wheel chair, con­
valescing from a severe stomach ailment. He was not very compli­
mentary concerning servants of the public, and he spoke derogatorily
of doctors, saying that they were not prepared for their work. He
seemed to infer that everyone who called a doctor needed insurance.
A local doctor had sent him to a famous Baltimore hospital for ob­
servation and diagnosis. H e had arrived while the older doctors as­
signed to his particular malady were on vacation. Thus two interns
diagnosed his case for an operation, but in performing the operation
they made the incision in the wrong place. There was nothing to do
but sew him up again, for he was too weak to stand a second incision.
For several days afterward the interns used a stomach pump upon

PRIVATE LIFE AGAIN

I03

him. T hen one day an intern approached his bedside and told him
that his life was rapidly ebbing. “ I f you have any preparation to
make for death,” the intern said, “ I advise you to make it now.” “ I ’ve
got preparations to make,” Fisher retorted, “ but I ’ll make ’em at
home.”
T h e y had to surrender him; so he returned to his home in H ar­
ford County. A fter four months Fisher was on the road to recovery.
H is escape was so notable that word of it got back to the Baltimore
hospital, and to his surprise one day he received a letter from the
dean of that institution. “ D ear M r. Fisher,” it read, “ W e heard of
your marvelous recovery. W e would like for you to give a brief
history of the case so we may insert it in the fall bulletin as one of
the hospital’s unusual accomplishments of the year.” Fisher’s reply
was as follows: “ D ear Doctor, In answer to your letter would advise
that thanks to God and a strong constitution I have been able to re­
cover from your treatment.” It is unnecessary to say that M r. Fisher
waited in vain to read his letter in the fall bulletin of the institution.
Evans and I were about to take leave of M r. Fisher when he
raised himself up a little way in his wheel chair. “ I ’ve got a prospect
for your W ashington man,” he said and pointed a finger in m y direc­
tion. “ I f he can sell H ezekiah H uff, he’s better equipped for his
job than those Baltimore doctors who tried to send me to H eaven.”
Evans laughed. “ I ’ll see what we can do with him,” he promised.
A s we were going away, I asked him to tell me more about H ezekiah
H uff. It seemed from his reply that all the insurance men in striking
distance had at one time or other called upon him. H e lived several
miles away, and soon thereafter I crossed the threshold of M r. H u ff’s
home. H e was sitting in the combined kitchen-dining room with his
wife. M rs. H u ff was knitting one of the old-fashioned woolen socks,
familiar to that era. I told M r. H u ff that I had called to show him a
form of life insurance I thought would interest him and his wife.
“ I don’t want any durned life insurance,” he said. “ I don’t need
insurance; and I guess I know how to handle m y affairs and take
care of my fam ily. I ’ve got one boy and one girl and this farm is
free of debts. I ’m leaving the farm to the boy and I ’ve got several
thousand dollars invested for the girl at 6 per cent.” I then asked
him what about the wife who had mothered his children and shared







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

his struggles. “ The children,” he said, “ they’ll take care of her.” I
then suggested that the mother would be happier if she did not have
to depend upon them in later years, that if she were made independ­
ent by life insurance, the atmosphere of her children’s homes would
be a little cheerier and their welcome more enthusiastic. And I told
him more about the policy. Mrs. Huff suddenly dropped her knit­
ting. “ Hezekiah,” she said over her glasses, “ them is facts.” I was
then able to have Mr. Huff examined with the understanding that he
could return the policy without payment at the end of thirty days in
the event he decided not to take it. H e kept it until the end of the
thirtieth day and sent his check.
A little while after that experience, thanks to the Baltimore in­
terns and Mr. Fisher, I applied the lesson to my own family. I took
out an additional policy for my wife and worked out a plan whereby
each of our children would be insured upon entrance to college.
Their policies were for the estimated cost of their four years in stand­
ard institutions, and the policies were made payable to the mother as
trustee for the family. This had for its purpose the safeguarding of
the family resources against financial loss through death before gradu­
ation, a loss which might endanger the education of younger children,
and it served the purpose of impressing upon each child his or her re­
sponsibility to the family unit, the family solidarity of interest. As
no child was to die during the educational period, something was to
be saved for each of them by having their policies written at such an
early age.
VI

It is not my purpose to detail important historical events which
have been often chronicled elsewhere. But, to refresh the memories
of those who may have forgotten, the Congressional resolution which
precipitated the Spanish-American W ar was passed April 25, follow­
ing February 18, 1898, the date of the sinking of the battleship
Maine. The grounds stated in the resolution were evasive, much like
the straddle in a party platform. Congress, without reference to the
Maine , said, “ The Cuban people are, and of right ought to be, free
and independent.” Soon after the passage of the resolution came the
destruction of the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay, the landing of an
American army near Santiago, the destruction of the Spanish fleet as

PRIVATE LIFE AGAIN

i 05

it came out of Santiago harbor, and the surrender of Santiago itself.
Cuba was free.
There was great confusion in W ashington during the SpanishAmerican W ar, and a chaotic political period closely followed the
victory. Seldom have political favors flown so thickly about the na­
tional capital. It must be said that President M cK in ley was never
in favor of the conflict, or of the conquest of the Philippines, which
was to follow Cuba’s alleged liberation. Y e t once the war had be­
come a reality the able man in the W hite House, himself a veteran
of the Union A rm y, did all that one President with many incapable
subordinates could do to conduct the W ar Government in an efficient
manner. There was much dissension among the generals in the
army. Theodore Roosevelt was forging to the front by every pos­
sible means 5 a hundred thousand needless troops had been assembled
in the camps; Tam pa was glutted with supplies; and the political
soldiers were in their heyday.
In this period I got two distinct and lasting impressions of weak­
nesses in our mass attitudes. T h e feat of Adm iral George D ew ey in
destroying the Spanish fleet in the harbor of M anila without the loss
of American life made a profound impression on continental A m er­
ica. In fact, it was the greatest impression that I had up to that time
witnessed. T h e event was frequently referred to as the greatest since
the homage accorded to General U . S. Grant at the close of the Civil
W ar. D ew ey was a popular idol, the like of which I had not known
up to that time. I f the public had voted at the height of his popu­
larity, he could easily have been elected President of the United
States.
A considerable fund was raised by popular subscription to buy
him a home, and a house located on Rhode Island Avenue near Con­
necticut Avenue in Washington was presented to the Adm iral. Then
one day he presented the house, as he had a perfect right to do, to
his wife, the widow of Colonel H azen. Upon her marriage she had
transferred her church membership from the Episcopal to the Roman
Catholic church of which Colonel H azen was a member. Overnight,
by this act, D ew ey’s popularity was destroyed, and he could not have
been elected to any office by the public, however humble. This reac­
tion made a profound impression upon me as an illustration of the
thinness of political fame and the deep-seated religious intolerance in







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

the country. Mrs. Dewey later transferred the house to the Ad­
miral’s son by his former wife, and, for what reason I do not know
she again became an Episcopalian.
Admiral Dewey’s remains rest in the Episcopal Cathedral in
Washington where those of Mrs. Dewey were deposited on her de­
cease. In her will, which was not opened until some time after her
funeral, she directed that her body be interred in the Arlington Na­
tional Cemetery and that the Admiral’s remains should be removed
there from the Cathedral. This direction, however, has not been
obeyed.
An example of political audacity is told of Walter Preston
Brownlow, a Representative from Tennessee. One of his constituents
had applied for a war job, preferably service overseas. Brownlow
secured his appointment as an interpreter and wired him to report to
Tampa, Florida. A few days later a wire from official headquarters
in Tampa reached Brownlow in Washington. “ Your constituent,” it
read, “ cannot speak Spanish. How can his appointment as interpreter
be justified?” Brownlow is said to have wired the official in Tampa,
“ Send him on. How in hell can you expect him to speak it until he
gets over there?”
I note this confusion incidental to the Spanish-American War to
give an idea of the scene in Washington, and for its bearing on the
period to follow. Perhaps the war itself served to whet my desire to
re-enter the Federal service, yet there was Tillman, whom I could not
ask for endorsement, sitting in the old Senate seat of General But­
ler; it was a Republican administration, however much the war had
softened party lines in the departments. Nevertheless, I was becom­
ing increasingly tired of the traveling part of my job and the ab­
sences from home.
I do not remember how it was first suggested to me. Perhaps
someone told me, or maybe I read of it. In any event, it was an­
nounced that a large number of clerks were to be employed for the
coming Federal Census of 1900. An examination was to be held
upon a specified date. I talked it over with Mrs. Roper. If I could
only pass that examination there would be an end to nights in dinky
hotels and boardinghouses, to exposure in winter and the rigors of
muddy roads. I could be home nights with my wife and children
who needed me. I decided to take it regardless of the thousands of
others who might engage in the national competition.

■._

M y G reat Opportunity
^ H E T U R N of the century found me anxiously awaiting the
result of the civil service examination I had taken in the
- autumn of 1899. I still covered my insurance territory, but I
believed that I had passed the examination. Congressman James
Norton, of M ullins, South Carolina, shared my suspense, for he rep­
resented the O ld Sixth, my home district, and he was w illing to
urge my immediate appointment to the Census staff if I qualified.
Then came the good news. T h e examiners reported m y name
upon the list of successful aspirants. M y first thought was of Senator
Tillm an. T o qualify was one thing, to receive an appointment to a
position was quite another j for throughout the country, hundreds
had taken this examination, and the list of eligibles far exceeded the
number of positions to be filled. Suppose Senator Tillm an opposed
m y appointment— what then? H e was at the height of his W ashing­
ton influence, and the bureaucrats in the capital feared the lash of
his fiery attack and vitriolic tongue. H ad he forgotten the dispensary
fight in the South Carolina legislature? H ad he forgotten that I was
a protege of his political opponent, Senator Butler? There was no
way of knowing without a direct approach. H aving opposed him, I
did not feel that I had the moral right to request his assistance. I
decided, however, to forestall, if possible, any opposition from his
office. So it was that one day I summoned my political courage and
called at Senator T illm an ’s office. H e received me with a reserve
that I thought held a good deal of quiet scrutiny. Briefly I stated
my case. “ I don’t feel that I have a right to ask you to help me,
Senator,” I concluded. “ A ll I ask is that you say nothing against
me.”
H is single eye regarded me without a flicker. Suddenly, he rose
and extended his hand. “ I ’ll go you one better, Roper,” he said with







1 o8

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

all the warmth which endeared him to his many adherents. “ PR
write a letter commending you.” That was more than I had hoped
for. It filled me with the surge of gratitude one man feels for an­
other when the imagined enemy deals kindness instead of a blow.
It deeply touched my emotions, and I thanked him in the best words
at my command. As I left the Senate Office Building, I had the feel­
ing that I would get one of those jobs. And I also tried to determine
upon some way of repaying Ben Tillman for his magnanimity.
At the risk of being accused of preachment, I will say here that
a devout faith in God, faith in my beloved wife and in myself, has
sustained me in all my adult endeavors. Prayer that guidance might
be granted me lighted the way in all the periods of anxiety and the
transitions which punctuated my career. That Ben Tillman’s attitude
had been softened was indeed heartening. I hurried home to tell
Mrs. Roper.
ii

Early in the new year I received an official communication signed
by former Governor Merriam of Minnesota, who was Director of the
Census. His letter requested that I report upon a certain day for a
conference. It is strange how one’s hopes will skyrocket at the least
ray of promise, only to be dashed by the first shadow that darkens
them. I called at the building then used by the Census near First and
B Streets, N. W ., where I saw a sizable crowd of other young men
in the waiting room. Finally, my turn came. I met Governor M er­
riam, who asked me a few questions, then turned me over to Mr.
S. N. D. North, Chief Statistician for Manufactures.
Mr. North’s questions were much the same as those his superior
had asked, routine questions which were prompted by the summary
of my education and experience given when taking the civil service
examination. Presently he handed me a typewritten list of topics for
census investigation, such as iron, wood pulp, chemicals, lumber,
glass, etc. “ Look these over,” he said, “ and tell me if there are any
with which you are familiar.” I glanced down the long list, item
for item. M y spirits fell. There was nothing on the list with which
I had had personal or technical experience. I passed the list back to
Mr. North. “ I’m afraid, sir,” I told him, “ I couldn’t qualify with
any special knowledge of these materials.” H e seemed surprised.

MY GREAT OPPORTUNITY

T 09

It was as if he had expected me to try and bluff my way. H e smiled,
too, as though glad to find I was honest and not a poseur. Suddenly,
he knitted his brows. “ South Carolina,” he murmured. “ L e t’s see
now. Y o u ’re from the South. W e had a man for another job. But
he got drunk on us. W e ’ve got to get somebody else. D o you know
anything about cotton? D id you ever work— ”
It was at about that point the buzzer sounded at the side of his
desk. Governor M erriam wanted him. Before I could begin to an­
swer, he excused himself and left the room. H e had asked if I knew
anything about cotton. H is words were fresh in my ears. A s I sat
there waiting, a wealth of long dormant memories awoke within me.
D id I know anything about cotton? W hat Southern boy didn’t know
something about cotton? And where, indeed, could be found any
man with the old plantation background of whom it could be said
cotton was not a part of him; that cotton was not of the essence of
his very life blood? H o w often since childhood had I read and been
thrilled by those beautiful words of H enry Grady: “ Cotton— what a
royal plant it is! T h e world waits in attendance upon its growth;
the shower that falls whispering upon its leaves is heard around the
earth; the sun that shines on it is tempered by the prayers of the
people; the frost that chills it and the dew that descends from the
stars are noted, and the trespass of a little worm upon its green leaf
is more to England than the advance of the Russian army upon her
Asian outposts. It is gold from the instant it puts forth its tiny shoot.
Its fibre is current in every bank and when, loosing its fleeces to the
sun, it floats a sunny banner that glorifies the fields of the humble
farmer, that man is marshaled under a flag that w ill compel the
allegiance of the world and wring a subsidy from every nation on
earth.” Numerous other eloquent tributes to cotton had been writ­
ten, but none of them had the same power to stir the emotions as
my own cherished memories. It did not tax my imagination to call
them forth; they had been indelibly graven— those hallowed scenes
which came to mind when I thought of cotton, of cotton, king of all
world crops!
I recalled the early years in South Carolina, visualizing the pic­
turesque scenes altogether inseparable from the happiest memories of
that distant past. April was planting time. H ow eagerly all looked
forward to that event! M y father and stepmother; our neighbors







j j0

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

and friends ; the Negroes too. Earlier the ground had been pre­
pared. The first spring rains had come, followed by warm southerly
winds, then the long awaited day of first planting.
It was my father’s custom to give the word shortly after sunrise.
From cabin to cabin it was relayed among the Negroes. Their quar­
ters resounded with activity and excitement. As if it had been some
supernatural and magic spirit, cotton was in the very air. The con­
tagion of it swept through the ranks of those loyal ex-slaves and their
descendants. First would be planted the fifty acres in front of our
home. W e discussed the work at the breakfast table, hurrying the
meal. Presently, it was announced that my father’s horse was sad­
dled and waiting at the front door. He pushed back his chair and
said that I might go with him. In high gratitude I tagged along j he
lifted me to the front of the saddle and then mounted behind me.
The Negroes were on their way, singing as they trooped down the
road in the bright sunshine, laughing sometimes as they filtered
toward the broad moist fields, all seemingly as eager for the work
ahead as if it promised to be a happy outing. W e rode toward the
acres where already some of the Negroes had commenced the plant­
ing They were of all ages, from darkies with bent backs and hoary
heads to the shiny-eyed pickaninnies who sat between the rows and
watched their parents and grandparents do the work which they had
done all their lives. Except for the noonday meal, the planting con­
tinued all day. Then, at sundown, two words rang out, “ Quittin’
time!” The tired darkies, not singing so lustily now, began to leave
the fields, wending slowly back toward their cabins. There was the
spirit and feeling of a day’s work well done.
That scene had never been without inspiration. What Southern
man or woman has not seen cotton in the sparkling dew of morning,
or after a spring rain? How could anyone fail to respond to cotton’s
serene magnificence when bathed in moonlight? “ Dixie,
Old Black
Toe” _songs such as “ Swing Low Sweet Chariot” these and scores
more must have been inspired by cotton. Surely, those dear old songs
cannot have the same meaning to those who have never seen broad
acres of cotton in bloom or ready for the harvest; nor to those who
have never seen the rhythm of the cotton toilers, singing with such
beauty that the passing traveler never failed to pause and listen.

MY GREAT OPPORTUNITY

xxr

M r. North had not returned to the room. I had but a vague idea
of w hy he had asked the question, and therefore in that interim I
found m yself unfolding a whole mental album of cotton memories.
There was the time when as a child— perhaps I was ten— I had been
driving two teams as power for our cotton gin. In moving from one
team to the other I had caught my foot in a part of the revolving
apparatus pulled by the horses. M y foot had been well-nigh pulled
off before a friendly N egro saw my predicament and halted the
teams. I recalled my father’s donation of our entire cotton profit for
the year— one thousand dollars— to the W ade Hampton campaign.
Thus, the whole exciting journey of cotton from planting time to its
delivery at railroad platforms or the levees ran like a pageant before
my eyes.
H enry Grady had not been wrong when he spoke of prayers.
There was a season of drought and prayers for rain; a bad stand and
prayers for improvement; fear of a distressed market and prayers
again. M any had been the anxious days and weeks, for cotton held
the key to every fam ily’s destiny. It meant new clothes, new furni­
ture, new agricultural appliances, mortgage payments— often finan­
cial liberation. T o some it meant education; to others, the realization
of fondly cherished dreams. There was no certainty about King Cot­
ton, the Monarch wore a crown of gold, yet over his head lurked the
fear of failure and distress.
But when the crop was sold profitably, our entire community was
filled with rejoicing. I am sure that this was equally true in other
cotton communities in the South. On the occasion of the annual col­
lection of money, men brought presents to wives and children. New
items of luxury appeared at every hand. King Cotton’s halo had shed
universal glory; the magic of cotton had fulfilled its promise. I
thought of Marse Chan, that word picture drawn by Thomas Nelson
Page in which he gathered the plantation Negroes in a Christmas
E ve celebration. T he ceremonies were opened with a prayer by the
local Negro preacher. W hile he prayed, the Negroes became rest­
less, and there was a shuffling of feet in anticipation of the approach­
ing dance. As many readers w ill remember, the old preacher con­
cluded: “ Oh, Lord, let the occasion excuse the sin. Christmas comes
but once a year and let every poor negro get his share. Oh, Lord,
what a blessing it would have been if old Santa had been born twins.







1! 2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Then we would have had two Christmases a year and maybe one
would have settled here.”
About ten minutes had passed and Mr. North came back to his
desk. “ W ell,” he asked, “ how about the cotton? What do you know
about it?” Briefly I told him how my early life had been associated
with cotton growing and ginning. He nodded approval. “ There’s
great agitation,” he said, “ for an accurate census of cotton gins. It
is alleged that English forecasts are puffed-up estimates to force down
the price, that they are not reliable. The cotton planters lose a for­
tune every year on this account.” He went on to explain how the
census of 1880 had attempted to measure the crop by trying to obtain
the figures of cotton ginned from the ginners. “ But we found we
were away off,” he said. “ A year later when the cotton market fig­
ures were tabulated, our estimates of the crop proved far below its
actual size. Apparently our men missed a lot of the gins.” I ex­
plained to him how this was easily possible. The old-fashioned gin
houses were used for many things besides ginning cotton, especially
in the season following the disposal of the cotton. Planters stored
vehicles and machinery under them. A stranger looking at such a
building would not have suspected it to be a cotton gin. I went into
detail, for I suddenly found myself wanting that chance very much.
Finally Mr. North seemed convinced. “ The salary isn’t much,”
he said. “ One thousand dollars a year.” The figure was something
of a blow. How could I possibly support a wife and five children on
that amount? I told Mr. North of my family situation. Ih en I said,
“ I’ll take the job on one condition. I’ll try to prove I can do it to
your satisfaction. If I haven’t made progress to that end in three
months, I’ll resign. If I do prove it, I’ll expect an increase in salary.”
He laughed pleasantly. “ Are you ready to start right away?” I told
him that I was. “ Good enough,” he said. “ I’ll put through your
appointment.” And he named a day upon which I was to report. I
thanked him and we shook hands. On the way home I decided to
spend the intervening days learning everything I could learn about
cotton’s age-old background and present-day uses.
Thus I undertook to convince Mr. North, Director Merriam, and
doubtful members of Congress that a census of the cotton ginned
could be taken accurately. There was at the time a depressed cotton
market, a condition which gave rise to much economic distress

MY GREAT OPPORTUNITY

11 3

throughout the South. During the C ivil W ar cotton had sold for
$ 1.01 p2 per pound. By 1898 it had dropped to $.049, although in
1899, the year of my civil service examination, it had risen again to
$.076. T h e prices had been low for ten years, and these prices were
for delivery on the floor at New Orleans. Prices at the farm were
even lower. Tike the farmers in other sections of the country, dis­
satisfied at the agricultural depression generally, the cotton planters
in many instances blamed the fe d e ra l Government for their predica­
ment, thus complicating my task.
The 1899 crop exceeded nine million bales of an average weight
of 500 pounds. That crop had a value of about $35° jOo0jC O j which
>0
with the seed value constituted an important part of the income of
the nation’s farmers. About three fourths of the crop was exported,
largely to the Manchester mills of England. W hat a long way cot­
ton had traveled to reach this crop supremacy. Note the figures. In
x795 j three years after the invention of W hitn eys gin, production
was only 35,000 bales. B y 1800, it had risen to 155,0003 by 1801, to
210,5263 by 1810, to 373,0003 by 1848, to 2,867,0003 by 1870, to
4,352,0005 by 1880, to 6,606,0003 by 1 8 9 1 ,to 9)000,000.
Thoughts of what had happened to the 9,000,000 bales produced
the previous year fired my imagination and caused me to realize that
the task ahead was a clear-cut opportunity for national service. No
other plant was so important to the human race, and no othei plant
had had such a transforming influence upon civilization. Any fruit,
any lumber tree or mineral, any cereal could be dispensed with and
a substitute found. But there was then no all-inclusive substitute for
cotton which could be produced upon a large scale 5 nothing which
could begin to replace it for a thousand potential uses. Civilized man
slept between cotton sheets. H e arose to dry his face upon a cotton
towel. H e walked forth upon a cotton carpet, putting on cotton
clothing. H e ate breakfast from a table covered with a cotton cloth.
A ll through the day and at every turn he made use of cotton. No
wonder it had been called the “ Handmaiden of Civilization.”
I knew that cotton was a barometer of business generally. Cotton
and the price of cotton affected a billion people. It was the pulse of
world trade. This magnitude and scope inspired me. B y accurate
crop figures speculators might be curbed 3 foreign agents might be
prevented from beating down the price by false forecasts. Therefore,







!

j4

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

by touching this “ pulse” I would be able to render important service
to my country. M y predecessors had failed. I was sure that I could
succeed. The problem was to take some of the chaos out of cotton.
Cotton prices had previously been influenced by blind and greatly
exaggerated estimates of the unharvested crop. The Department of
Agriculture statistics covered the commercial year, that is, the quan­
tity of cotton coming into sight between August i and July 31, rather
than the amount grown in a single year. The problem was to get
information concerning the growth of the year rather than the cotton
that came into sight during the cotton commercial year.
Because of the large requirements of the English cotton mills,
English estimators, such as the Neill Brothers of London, made it a
practice to issue exaggerated estimates of the cotton crop as a means
of forcing down the price, about the time the American farmers were
beginning to send their cotton to market. Thus the Southern planters
were losing enormously every year. A force-down of a cent a pound
on the 1899 crop, for instance, would have resulted in a loss to the
American growers of $45,000,000. This fact illustrated to me the
vital importance of a dependable cotton census.
Cotton gin manufacturers in the cities of Birmingham, Alabama,
and Atlanta, Georgia, were kind enough to permit me to copy from
their records the names of the persons to whom they had sold gin­
ning machinery. Mail inquiries to these persons, however, developed
the fact that most of them were merchants and distributors of cotton
machinery in their communities. This made it very difficult to per­
fect a list of ginneries and took a great deal of time. When this list
was practically correct, it could not be expected that more than about
40 per cent would answer and give the necessary statistical informa­
tion. Repeated requests would always leave a considerable margin
of unanswered inquiries.
At this juncture, with the approval and assistance of the Director
of the Census, the Postmaster General was induced to supplement
our other gin inquiries with a note over his signature, addressed to
the postmasters of the localities where we had failed to get the ginners to reply. Furthermore, there were four counties in the two
Carolinas where I had become acquainted with many of the people
while canvassing for life insurance some years before. These counties
were Marlboro and Marion in South Carolina and Richmond and

MY GREAT OPPORTUNITY

115

Robeson in North Carolina. Through personal appeals to the people
in these counties, I was able to establish the fact that a certain pro­
portion of the ginneries had been overlooked in the June canvass by
the census enumerators. I applied the percentage of the overlooked
ginneries in these four counties to all the other cotton-producing
counties and thus secured the estimated number of overlooked estab­
lishments. Adding this estimated number of overlooked ginneries
to the number that had actually been reported, I secured the figure
which I accepted as the total number of ginneries in the country.
T o the estimated overlooked ginneries I attributed the average num­
ber of bales of cotton actually returned by those actually reporting,
and the cotton thus estimated I added to the reported cotton and
secured a close approximation of the total crop of the year.
One of the most serious obstacles encountered in obtaining this
information was the insistence of the ginners that they could not see
how their returns of cotton ginned would help the farmers. I tried
to persuade them by saying that “ if you give me the truth it will
protect you against the untruth of your enemies.” Still another factor
which I suspected had played a part in the failure of the 1880 census,
and with which I was now confronted, was the Southern planter s
suspicion of the Federal Government. W hy would the Federal
Government want to pry into his personal affairs? W hy did they
want to know how much cotton he had grown r H e still remem­
bered the Reconstruction days when his cotton had been stolen.
W hat were these Yankees coming back now for? Thus, without
definite knowledge, I was sure that I sensed the two big reasons for
the previous census failure. ( 1 ) The census takers had not found all
the cotton gins. ( 2 ) The suspicion of the planters had forestalled
their inquiries.
hi

T he cotton gin schedules were an innovation in the census files
in Washington. About this time we acquired a young^ Danish mes­
senger, Christian Hanson, whose task was to distribute various
schedules from one desk to another. One day he approached me with
much perplexity. “ M r. Roper,” he asked, “ in the name of God what
kind of gin do they make out of cotton down South?” I had to
explain that one of the few things cotton had never been adapted to
was use as a beverage.




m
r
fifflf




j r6

F IF T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

Every laugh helped, for it was sometimes difficult to keep my
chin up in this new work. From the start, I could sense the doubt
in the minds of my superiors. Moreover, several abusive letters came
to the Bureau from Southern ginners who resented the intrusion of
the Federal Government into their affairs.
I received many fine responses to my letters from merchants,
millmen, postmasters, county officers, including sheriffs and deputies,
and close personal friends in the Carolina counties which I visited
personally. It was on one of these trips that I encountered “ Uncle
Peter” Covington, one of the old Negroes who had worked on my
father’s plantation. H e made a special visit to see me when he heard
I was in the community. “ I wants to do something for you,” he told
me. “ I feels obleeged to do something for you.” “ I appreciate that,
Uncle Peter,” I replied, “ but I don’t know of anything I could have
you do.” “ I’se jes got to do something,” he said. H e stood fumbling
with his tattered hat, an earnest look in his large, kindly eyes. I
thought a moment. His sincerity, coupled with old memories of his
loyalty, made the situation pathetic. On a sudden thought I said,
“ Uncle Peter, I’ll tell you what. If you’d really like to do some­
thing for me, go home and pray for me.” A beatific smile lighted
his face. “ I does that already,” he quickly responded. “ I prays for
you every night o’ my life.” Surprised, I asked him how he did it.
“ W ell,” he said, “ I drops to my knees. Fust I prays for myself.
Then I prays for my family. Then I prays for everybody in the
whole world. Ain’t you in on that, too?”
I had to admit that I was. And despite the fact that his prayer
was not exclusive, I appreciated Uncle Peter. I had always been en­
couraged by the unshakable philosophy of the Negro and stirred by
the charm of his music. If at any point the Negro had been dropped
from my life, I would have been poorer. M y association with him,
seeing his noble adjustment to a humble role, had helped me to
undertake my hardest tasks. If in some respects I had failed, it was
doubtless due in part to my forgetting his philosophy and hopeful
attitude. I have never forgotten a philosophy thus given me by a
good old Negro when I asked him why it was that Negroes do not
commit suicide. His explanation was as follows: “ When a Negro
gets worried, he sits down, and when he sits down he goes to sleep!”
The ginners, for the most part, had not been accustomed to keep-

MY GREAT OPPORTUNITY

x xy

ing records. In some cases they marked their ginnings on the walls
with charcoal. I f the walls were cleaned, off went the records. No
laws required uniform records and the giving of census information.
However, I was able to convince most of the ginners that their
co-operation in the keeping of such records was greatly to their own
benefit. As the more intelligent planters and ginners saw the value
of the new system, it grew in favor.
Since some ginners employed round bale presses and since it was
necessary for statistical purposes to reduce such to equivalent square
bales, I inquired of ginners the character of press used. They some­
times relieved the tension of the inquiries with humor, as in the case
where the ginner’s name was Bailes. H e was a community squire.
H e answered with his business card, underscoring Squire (square)
Bailes. I was gratified that it had been demonstrated that full gin­
nings would constitute an accurate measure of cotton production for
a given year.
I had never experienced greater delight than that which was mine
when both M r. North and Governor Merriam commended me on
the result. M y salary was increased to eighteen hundred dollars,
and my superiors were soon discussing the advisability of frequent
cotton ginning counts.
M y early trips in organizing the cotton ginning field took me
throughout the Southern states. This travel, while not altogether
pleasant, was instructive and interesting. One afternoon in August,
1904, I was on a train coming from Natchez to Jackson, Mississippi.
A gentleman approached me and said: “ D o you belong to this com­
munity?” “ N o,” I replied, “ I am a native of South Carolina.”
“ A h,” he said, “ So am I, but I left old York County forty years ago
and the old hills there were, through erosion, about washed away. I
suppose they are all gone by this time.” I could not help replying,
“ No, my dear sir, it is a better country since you le ft!” A t first he
seemed irritated at this reply, but upon reflection laughed and passed
on.
On the same trip from Natchez to Jackson, Mississippi, I met a
very disconsolate young man on the train who told me that he was
greatly disappointed in his journey through the South, since he had
not been able to find any of that Southern hospitality of which his
grandfather had so often spoken. I ventured to suggest: “ You have







! 1g

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

been traveling, no doubt, from railroad station to hotel and from
hotel to railroad station, and you have not really seen the Southern
people. If you will stop with me tonight in Jackson, I will see if we
can’t find some Southern hospitality.” “ Whom do you know in Jackson?” he inquired. I replied: “ Not anyone, but Southern hospitality
is easy to find when you are possessed with the proper amount of
good will and a friendly attitude.”
H e did stop with me in Jackson, and after dinner we walked
up to the old Capitol Building, for the new building had not then
been completed. There we found a guard armed with a rifle. To
him I said: “ This is the first time I have ever noticed a guard using
a rifle to protect a statehouse in peace time.” H e answered coldly:
“ This is the way we do it.” Then, in order to get him interested, I
said: “ M y dear sir, I would like very much to show my friend here
the beautiful paintings in the Capitol.” H e replied: “ It is too bad
that you are just about one hour late. A ll the buildings are now
closed and the lights turned off.” Trying another approach, I said:
“ If I had known that I was going to meet you here, I would have
brought a letter of introduction from your old friend, Senator ‘AnsiP
J. McLaurin.” He then got up and asked: “ Do you know Ans?” I
answered: “ Yes, I have the pleasure of knowing him. H e is a dis­
tinguished Senator in Washington, representing your state with great
satisfaction.” His attitude changed completely, and he said: “ W ell,
then you and your friend shall see the paintings.”
H e had both ends of the Capitol lighted. After we had passed
through and seen the beautiful paintings, he guided us into the pri­
vate rooms of the clerk of the Supreme Court. There was a table set
with a white cloth and refreshments consisting of cakes and wine.
I said to my young friend: “ Please walk up and partake of Southern
hospitality.” As we walked out of the building, the young man re­
marked: “ How in the world did you do that? It is the first time
I have ever witnessed any Southern hospitality.” I replied: “ In
order to make friends you simply have to be friendly.”
For three years I conducted the cotton census almost entirely by
mail, the work gradually gaining approval. Representatives and
Senators from the cotton states now gave warm support. One of our
best friends in Congress was Representative A. S. Burleson of Texas.
H e early saw the value of the work and lent personal assistance as it

M Y G R E A T O P P O R T U N IT Y

i 19

developed. Like me, he had grown up in a cotton-growing region and
from his early life had been concerned with the problems of the
planters. Later he advocated a special appropriation in order that we
might employ field men. The first appropriation, fifty thousand dol­
lars, was made for the year 1903. Under its terms we were per­
mitted to employ one hundred and twenty-five men for a few reports.
A n initial problem was to determine the method by which the
field men were to be chosen. M r. North at first favored their selec­
tion through the State Republican organizations, since the adminis­
tration was of that party. It was clear to me that to select the field
men in this way would wreck all I had worked so hard to accomplish.
T he Southern planter still remembered the carpetbagger, and the
rank and file of the Southern population was solidly Democratic. It
scarcely needs to be said that in that era, Southern Republicans, aside
from the few who had gone south from other sections, were generally
in disfavor. But I had to have men who could command respect and
obtain the co-operation of all the planters and ginners. It was a deli­
cate subject, but I discussed it frankly with M r. North with all the
diplomacy I could muster. I finally convinced him that the men
could best be secured through members of Congress from the cotton­
ginning states.
T he success of the work now seemed assured. Not only Southern
Congressmen but many from other sections as well saw and appre­
ciated its value. The next appropriation was increased to $250,000,
and we doubled the number of field agents. By 1907 we had six
hundred and twenty-six agents, whose compensation was based on the
reports to be made and the number of ginneries to be canvassed in
their territory.
IV

In this year I made my first trip to Europe for the purpose of
planning a series of reports showing at intervals the distribution of
American cotton. W e knew that approximately three fourths of the
cotton grown in this country was exported. W e now sought to learn
how it was distributed at home as well as among the various countries
that were buying our cotton.
Mrs. Roper accompanied me on the European journey. W e sailed
on the S.S. Baltic of the W hite Star Line, M ay 6, 1907. Aside
from being stuck on a sandbar near Ellis Island all of the first night,







j 20

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

nothing eventful took place on this our first sea voyage. W e were
much interested, however, in observing our fellow passengers, Mr.
and Mrs. Andrew Carnegie and their daughter. Their obvious fam­
ily devotion and courteous attitude greatly impressed us.
We were sailing to Liverpool, but stopped first near Queenstown
to discharge passengers going to Ireland. I had expected to see a
great many Irish at this stop, but such did not prove to be the case.
“ Where are all the Irish?” I asked one who was handling a boat at
Queenstown. “ By faith,” he said, “ they emigrated to America some
years ago.”
We reached Liverpool on May 15* I immediately called upon
Mr. Charles Stewart, editor of the Liverpool Cotton Gazettey the
world’s outstanding cotton trade journal, and also visited the Liver­
pool Cotton Exchange, the world’s largest cotton-marketing place.
Later we inspected the Liverpool warehousing system. This visit
required two days, after which we took a train to Manchester. The
immensity of the Manchester mills was a revelation to me. brom
the tiny beginnings inaugurated by Edward, the Weaver King, about
1350, they had become the core of the world’s largest industry. Sir
Charles W . McCara, President of the International Cotton Spinners
and Manufacturers Association and Member of Parliament, received
me most cordially and gave a luncheon in my honor, which was at­
tended by the heads of the various Manchester mills. W e discussed
many aspects of the American cotton trade, as well as possibilities for
increasing the cotton trade between our two countries.
The English emphasized the need for better ginning and packing
in order that our cotton might be shipped more safely and eco­
nomically. The conversation then turned upon the American cost of
production. “ What does it cost to produce a pound of cotton in
America?” Sir Charles asked me. I told him that there were great
differences in cost, explaining that under the best conditions cotton
could be grown for as little as six cents a pound j but under less favor­
able conditions, I went on, it might cost as much as ten cents. “ But
why do you wish to know?” I asked him. Sir Charles smiled. “ If
we knew what it cost to produce a pound of cotton in the United
States,” he said, “ we could add the cost of transportation and han­
dling, and we would know what we ought to pay for it over here.”

MY GREAT OPPORTUNITY

I2 I

“ That price,” I replied, “ would not maintain the type of agricultural
civilization we are trying to develop.” And I could not help deriving
secret pleasure from the knowledge that my statistical work was a
helpful agency in protecting the American farmer against that form
of exploitation.
I had not expected to go to Vienna, but on the invitation of the
English millowners I decided to attend the International Cotton
Congress to be held there the following week. After a brief visit to
London we left for Vienna, arriving in the middle of the Corpus
Christi celebration, a beautiful religious fete, which has always re­
mained fresh in my mind. I had never seen a great city so given
over to a religious celebration, or a street so wonderfully decorated
as the famous Ringstrasse, filled with happy people in their best
clothes and bright costumes. One heard music at every turn. The
joy of the people was contagious.
W e arrived just in time for the opening session of the Interna­
tional Cotton Congress. Upon entering the auditorium where it was
held, I recognized H arvey Jordan, of Atlanta, and several other
Americans, and I was immediately invited to the rostrum. The regu­
lar morning program was suspended in order that I might address
the delegates. O f course I talked about cotton, but I took occasion to
compliment the various countries represented upon the fine type of
immigrants they had sent to our shores in earlier days. “ Those I
refer to,” I went on, “ are of the agricultural class. They make ex­
ceptional farmers, and they take to the land. If we had more of their
type, your cotton would be packed better, and it would also be freer
from waste.”
I had not realized that the addresses were supposed to be cen­
sored before delivery, and I had exercised wide latitude in my re­
marks. A t conclusion of the address, in which I had remarked that
we were unable to digest the newer type of immigrant, but that mar­
velous opportunities still awaited the older types, and that all the
countries as well as the United States would profit by their migration,
I was surrounded by four secretaries representing England, France,
Germany, and Italy. T hey requested copies of my remarks, asking
that they be permitted to strike out all I had said about immigration
and labor. “ W hy, indeed?” I inquired. “ W e’re willing that you







122

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

take our surplus from the cities,” they said, “ but we cannot spare the
types you have referred to.”
Mrs. Roper and I returned to London via Munich, Berne, and
Parisj and I completed my notes on the distribution of American
cotton. By now we were anxious to get home to our children, al­
though thankful for the opportunity of having had a pleasant Euro­
pean visit.

Cotton Takes Me Upward
tN M Y R E T U R N to Washington, my superiors in the Bu­
reau of the Census assigned me to a general study of textiles,
wool and silk as well as cotton. Perhaps this study soon ef­
fected another change in my career.
I had become increasingly fond of Congressman Albert Sidney
Burleson, more especially, I believe, because he had taken such a sin­
cere interest in my work on cotton. His personal magnetism and
wholesome friendliness endeared him to practically all who knew
him. W hen the Democrats won the Congressional elections of 1910,
reorganizing the House of Representatives on March 4, 1911, Oscar
W . Underwood of Alabama became chairman of the W ays and
Means Committee, which was also now the Committee on Commit­
tees, and had as one of the first tasks on its program the revision of
the Payne-Aldrich Tariff. M r. Burleson, a member of the Appro­
priations Committee, was much interested in the tariff revision. One
day he telephoned me to meet him on a matter of importance. I
hastened to his office at the Capitol, where he wanted me to meet
M r. Underwood. “ Your long study of textiles,” he declared, “ makes
you a proper man for Clerk of the Ways and Means Committee.
Some of the members know very little about the tariff— next to noth­
ing about cotton and textiles.”
W e immediately went to the office of M r. Underwood, where I
learned that he desired the formulation of a statistical basis for the
study of the tariff schedules. After M r. Burleson discussed my ex­
perience and our long and pleasant friendship, M r. Underwood in­
formed me that I was the man he wanted. That same day I was
sworn in.
M y first work in the new job was to prepare a public document
entitled the Tariff Handbook. This was a statistical compilation,



I




j 24

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

which found favor among the Representatives and Senators. It was
an analysis of our imports and exports, recording domestic produc­
tion and consumption of various products and raw materials.
M y study revealed three general purposes that might be served
by a customs tariff. ( i ) It might be only a tax to secure revenue for
the support of government. (2) It could be used as an instrument to
foster particular industries, stressing the original idea of fostering in­
fant industries. (3) It might serve as an instrument for commercial
reciprocity by utilizing it as a means of retaliation against foreign
countries for unjust discriminations.
The third aspect was especially interesting at the moment because
President Taft’s reciprocity program was before the Ways and Means
Committee at the time. Our Congress subsequently approved it, but
it was rejected in the following Canadian election.
The tariff is one of the least understood subjects pertaining to
the Federal Government. In Cleveland’s time, it will be recalled,
the whole tariff situation got out of hand; the same chaos has many
times been repeated. O f especial note was the selfish attitude of in­
dustries no longer infants. An exception was the broad and generous
attitude of Andrew Carnegie. In 1911, when asked to testify in
Washington concerning the advisability of a tariff on steel, he an­
nounced that he did not want one, explaining that his company was
so efficiently organized that foreign nations could not compete with it.
M y investigation disclosed that the first tariff act, passed July 4,
1789, carried in its preamble as one of its objects, “ to encourage and
protect manufacturers.” The nation’s agricultural and manufacturing
interests had always been sharply divided because of the tariff. Many
Western farmers and Southern cotton planters held that a tariff on
manufactured articles merely increased the cost to them. But there
was another reason: our exports of rice, raw cotton, and tobacco had
reached $24,000,000 by 1832. The Southern planters were alarmed
over the possibility of losing the British markets, so vital to their
existence. Accordingly, they opposed high tariffs on manufactured
goods.
The problem in 1911, as always, was to find a middle ground. And
what a difficult problem it was! No two manufacturers in testifying
before the Ways and Means Committee gave the same cost of pro-

COTTON TAKES ME UPWARD

l

25

duction. M r. Underwood was the most patient of men, a splendid
manager, and a great executive. H is colleagues universally respected
his excellent leadership. H ow well I remember tiresome witnesses
who repeated what others had said, or what they, themselves, had
previously testified. Sitting beside him, I sometimes suggested, “ M r.
Chairman, we have that information. Can’t you so advise him in
order that we may proceed?” Frequently the witness was a member
of Congress. “ H e’s got it in his system,” M r. Underwood would
whisper. “ It’ll have to come out, and it’s better that he take the time
of the Committee than of the whole House of Representatives and
put the taxpayers to that additional expense.”
The lack of co-ordination among the manufacturers was a con­
tributing cause of the tariff muddle. Even such a lowly thing as a
cheap penknife, according to the hardware manufacturers, had pro­
duction costs of wide variance. I repeat, it was my conclusion that
the manufacturers had themselves largely to blame for the tariff
muddle.
ii

Aside from my experience in the South Carolina legislature, I
had never played a political role. As was noted above, however, Ben
Tillm an’s magnanimity had deeply touched me. One day I called
upon him to pay my respects and to ask how I might return the
courtesy. I found him cordial and apparently glad to see me. M y
surprise was never greater than when he made his request: “ Roper,”
he said, “ is M rs. Roper a good cook?” I told him that she was, ex­
plaining that she had been brought up in a Scotch community where
every girl was trained in the domestic arts. “ W ell enough,” he said.
“ There’s one thing my mouth’s watering for, and I can’t seem to get
it in Washington. That is some good cornbread.” “ Senator,” I re­
plied, “ you shall have it and you shall have it soon.”
Mrs. Roper did send Senator Tillm an the cornbread on more
than one occasion, and at a later date he was to dine in our home.
It was early a part of our policy to bring friends into the home from
many walks of life in order that the children might meet them and
get a broader view of human nature. W e tried not to be partisan in
this, and one of the most interesting dinner guests we ever had was
former Speaker Joseph G. Cannon.







! 26

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

The tariff job was by now well in hand. The election year of
1912, however, found my interest centered in Democratic hopes,
largely because I knew those two friendly rivals, Champ Clark and
Oscar W . Underwrood. On this account I attended my first Jackson
Day Dinner— not the hundred-dollar variety of today, but one that
cost about three dollars. This was my first important politico-social
event. W e met in the old Raleigh Hotel, about three hundred of us,
amid the greatest tension. There was a rising Democratic tide, yet
there was a fear that Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryan
would split the party; for Wilson had previously written a letter
stating that he would “ knock Bryan into a cocked hat.”
When we arrived, I beheld a rostrum occupied by many distin­
guished figures of the Democratic party. John H . Bankhead was
there as manager for Oscar W . Underwood. Senator William J.
Stone of Missouri attended in the same capacity for Champ Clark.
William Jennings Bryan sat among them in his own right, as did
Woodrow Wilson, then Governor of New Jersey, and that always
delightful orator, Senator Bob Taylor of Tennessee. Speculation was
widespread as to whether Bryan would answer the challenge of W il­
son. A ll eyes were upon the Commoner. It was an immense relief
when, speaking toward the last, he paid his most eloquent respects to
all the preceding speakers including Wilson. Everyone appreciated
the harmony, and all looked forward to a winning year in 1912.
When we were getting rather sleepy about two o’clock in the
morning Senator Bob Taylor roused us and held our attention for an
hour with his delightful oratory. “ I realize,” he began, “ that there’s
a bad taste in every man’s mouth at this hour of the morning. In my
suburban town in Tennessee, a gentleman chanced to be traveling
home on a street car one evening, on a car that contained a number of
colored passengers, tired from the day’s labor. The white gentleman
had just bought some quinine pellets before boarding the car. Look­
ing across the aisle, he discovered a colored workman sleeping with
his mouth open. The temptation was too much for the white man.
H e put two of the quinine pellets in the colored man’s mouth. The
colored man moved his feet, then his tongue, and then he began to
roll his eyes. Rousing, he addressed the white man. “ Boss, is you a
doctor?” “ No,” replied the white man, “ I’m not a doctor. W hy,

CO TTO N TAKES M E UPW ARD

1 2?

do you want one?” “ M ister,” the darkey said, “ something terrible
has happened to me.” “ W hat do you think it is?” “ I don’t know,”
the gagging colored man replied, “ but if it’s as bad as it tastes, my
bile am done gone and busted.”
This story, told with all the histrionic expression, winking of the
eyes, etc., at Senator T aylor’s command, kept us wide awake until
three. There being no night transportation at that time in W ash­
ington, I had to walk two miles home. By early spring, 1912, the
political pot was seething, for Democrats generally were confident of
victory. Champ Clark seemed to have the upper hand, and most peo­
ple around the Capitol expected his nomination. Clark and Under­
wood, however, were the best of friends. Neither ever seriouslyattacked the other.
I attended the June convention in Baltimore. Although friendly
to my chairman, M r. Underwood, because of Clark’s control of the
majority of votes and because I believed in majority rule, I thought
that he should be the nominee. A t this convention Bryan made his
electrifying speech against Tammany H all, refusing to vote longer
for Champ Clark and switching to Woodrow Wilson because Charles
F. M urphy, the Tammany leader, had suddenly cast all of New
Y ork’s ninety votes for the Missourian.
Tw o days after the fiery Bryan speech I happened to be sitting
with M r. Underwood in the old W ays and Means room at the Capi­
tol. W hile we were talking, a messenger entered to deliver a tele­
gram. M r. Underwood looked at it in silence for a moment, then,
without comment, passed it to me. It read as follows: “ Woodrow
Wilson very likely to be nominated within next few hours. W e can
now effect a deal giving you nomination for Vice-President with him.
W ill you accept?” “ M r. Underwood,” I volunteered, “ the answer
in my opinion is ‘yes.’ The ticket would have an excellent chance.
Moreover, it would be a wonderful way to climax your career and a
great compliment to the South.” M r. Underwood shook his head
“ I can’t do it, Roper,” he said. “ I ’d rather be United States Senator
from Alabama.”
As the world now knows, Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey and
Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana were nominated and elected. One
day shortly after the election I received a surprise visit from my old







! 28

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

friend, Congressman Burleson, who had been in Chicago managing
the Western Speakers’ Bureau for the Democratic campaign. I had
not seen him since the June convention at Baltimore.
Mr. Burleson reviewed his work in the campaign, and I knew
that he was in close touch with Colonel House because of the loyal
service he had rendered to Wilson. “ Roper,” he said, “ I’d take it
as a great favor if you would get Mr. Underwood to write a letter to
Colonel House suggesting me for the Wilson Cabinet.” “ Mr. Un­
derwood doesn’t write very strong letters of recommendation,” I
replied. “ M y regard for you is such that I’d like to dictate the letter
myself.”
This was agreed to, and I did dictate what I thought was a strong
letter. Mr. Underwood hesitated, but finally signed it. Early in
January Mr. Burleson came to inform me that he had a chance at
two Cabinet positions. “ I believe,” he said, “ I have the choice of
being Secretary of Agriculture or Postmaster General. I want you
as my first assistant wherever I go.” “ Which,” I asked, “ do you
prefer?” “ Agriculture,” he said. M y reply was: “ I think you’d make
a mistake. It’s too technical and scientific. With your practical ap­
proach to things, I believe you’d have a tendency to make too many
radical changes. The Post Office Department is more suitable for
you and thoroughly organized. You could accomplish things there
for the country and the party.” H e finally concurred.
On Sunday morning after the inauguration, before I was out of
bed, the telephone rang. It was M r. Burleson. “ Can you spend most
of the day at my office at the Post Office Department?” he asked. I
promised that I would do so, and after a quick breakfast I hurried
downtown to the fantastic old stone building on Pennsylvania Ave­
nue. “ I’m sending your nomination as First Assistant Postmaster
General to the President in the morning,” he announced. “ H e will
send it immediately to the Senate. I don’t want you to mention it to
your Congressman or Senator. This appointment is being made on
merit.”
I worried again about Senator Tillman, knowing that all Sena­
tors like to be consulted about such appointments, but I promised
Mr. Burleson not to mention the appointment to anyone. W e spent
the morning outlining a program for Burleson’s administration. His

COTTO N TAKES M E UPW ARD

i 29

plan was to increase the parcel post weight allowance from eleven
pounds to a hundred pounds, and he hoped to reduce the postage on
first-class mail to one cent an ounce. However, of greater importance,
we felt, was the appointing of Fourth Class Postmasters from the
classified civil service. Under President Taft they had been in­
ducted into the civil service by Executive Order and without exami­
nation. Believing that better men could be obtained by examination,
we decided upon this method of obtaining them.
I was sworn into the office of First Assistant Postmaster General
on March 14, 1913. I had come a long way to reach this point— to
what is known in Washington as the Little Cabinet. Upon reflection
I realized that I owed my new opportunity almost entirely to cotton.
Perhaps what most appealed to me about the new job was the oppor­
tunity for so many human contacts with men from every part of the
country. Y et I little realized how interesting, instructive, sometimes
pathetic, and frequently humorous these contacts would be.







CHAPTER IX

The B iggest Business

the //orId

H E N I became First Assistant Postmaster General, I
knew little about the organization and procedure of the
postal system j still less about its magnitude. I was startied at the outset to learn that by whatever comparison, number of
employees, scope and complexity of operations, or volume of business
handled, the United States Postal Service was the “ biggest business”
in the world. The Postal Savings Division was America’s largest
bank. It was an added interest to realize that I was working for the
only government department which maintained a direct line of con­
tact with Americans everywhere in the world. As First Assistant
Postmaster General I was responsible under the Postmaster General
for the appointments of all postmasters, of whom at that time there
were 58,020, the organization and management of the collection and
delivery of all classes of mail, and the provision and control of per­
sonnel and equipment engaged in this work throughout the United
States.
Two major tasks confronted me immediately upon assuming my
new duties. During the preceding Congress the Parcel Post Law had
been enacted to take effect January 1, 1913. This law expanded the
postal service to include a parcel express service, which created an
immediate need for more commodious working quarters in all post
offices and for additional postal clerks and carriers, as well as for a
large expansion and reorganization of the vehicular services.
It had long been an American political tradition to use postmas­
terships as reward for party loyalty and service and as a means of
strengthening party organization. Because I was to handle the ap­
pointment of postmasters, I saw that I would be confronted with the
public conviction that I was primarily a politician. This was a new

T H E B I G G E S T B U S IN E S S IN T H E W O R L D

i 31

experience, and I was soon to conclude that post-office patronage was
more a liability than an asset to the party.
No great imagination is needed to visualize my problems in this
new role. The Democrats had been out of office for sixteen years.
In every city, town, and hamlet hope of victory, inspired by the dig­
nity and idealism of W oodrow Wilson, had induced men to fight the
1912 campaign battle. An overwhelming number of these, undoubt­
edly influenced by the old slogan “ to the victor belong the spoils,”
now claimed their “ rightful” reward, and to me it seemed that all
wanted it in the form of postmasterships.
One evening about this time when dining at our home, Postmas­
ter General Burleson inquired of me: “ Roper, what are your five boys
planning to be when they grow up?” “ If present conditions,” I re­
plied, “ as revealed at my office, are a criterion, they will all be appli­
cants for postmasterships.”
For each vacancy there were at least six applicants. A ll came with
high recommendations, high-sounding letters of praise, and all
brought political influence to bear upon my office. M y waiting room
teemed with candidates, their friends, and impressive committees
urging the appointments. For every appointment made, I realized
that we would probably make five enemies. For many years the pos­
tal appointments had been regarded as Congressional patronage.
Strict adherence to that custom, I knew, would be the only way that
I could save myself from destruction. But, even so, I owed a duty
to my chief and to the nation. That duty was to see to it that every
man appointed was competent.
Early in those days, an applicant from a Midwestern town wrote
me in castigation of his two competitors: “ There are three candidates
for Postmaster of this place and I am one of them. I feel called upon
to tell you the inside truth about the other two. M r. A. is a drunkardin fact, he stays drunk most of the time. You certainly couldn’t put
a post office in the hands of a drunkard. Mr. B. is a gambler, and I
know you wouldn’t put public funds in his control. Naturally, if you
send an investigator out here to report on M r. B., his friends will
try to prove he isn’t a gam bler; but I ’m willing to bet you fifty dol­
lars I can prove he is!” M y correspondent having eliminated himself







i 32

F IF T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

as well as his competitors, I sought and found a new man for the
place.
I was visited early in 1914 by the father of the present Associate
Justice of the Supreme Court, Frank Murphy. Fie brought his young
and attractive son. The father was an applicant for a postmaster­
ship. From examination of the file, I was able to inform Mr. Murphy
that his appointment would be forthcoming without delay. This
pleased him and the young son. This incident was vividly recalled
by the following letter of M r. Justice Murphy written in reply to
one from me about his promotion to the Supreme Court:

Your kind and encouraging letter has touched m more than I can
e
express. I was particularly pleased to receive it because I recall that m
y
first visit to Washington was for the purpose of calling on you in the pres­
ence of my father. The kindness you showed to both of us is something
that I will cherish as long as I live.
With my very grateful thanks and my warmest wishes to you always,
Sincerely,
(Signed) Frank Murphy.
Some of the experiences of those early times seem fantastic as I
look back upon them. One of the most curious incidents was fur­
nished by Dr. Mary Walker, the Civil W ar nurse who attained no­
toriety in an earlier period when, through Congressional Resolution,
she secured the right to wear man’s attire. For those who do not
remember, Dr. Walker based her appeal for legislative relief on the
ground that the long flowing skirts worn by women of the time were
not conducive to health or to the services required of nurses. She
came now, about fifty years after the Civil War, as a candidate for
the postmastership at Oswego, New York. “ How old are you, Dr.
Walker?” I asked her one day, confident that her response would
reveal technical grounds for the unpleasant duty I foresaw. Adroitly
she changed the subject $ yet I was convinced that she was fully sev­
enty-five. There had been evidence of her senility at various times
when she had fallen asleep in my waiting room. She persisted, how­
ever, in her candidacy with a mixture of subtlety and courtesy, amus­
ing if unsuccessful. One illustration appears in a letter to me, after
I had questioned her legal residence in Oswego by telling her that
I had seen her upon the streets of Washington for several years.

T H E B I G G E S T B U S IN E S S IN T H E W O R L D

i 33

The letter read as follows: “ I am inviting you and President Wilson
to visit me at my home in Oswego for a week-end. Now it may be
that you and the President will not wish the people of Osw'ego to
know that you are there. If so, I suggest that you and the President
get off the train at the water tank just before you reach the railroad
station. The path leading from the water tank will bring you to the
rear of my house where I will be watching for you.” I naturally
awaited word from President Wilson before accepting the invitation
of D r. W alker, and since I never heard from him, her letter was
never answered. Nor was she appointed to the office.
One of the most difficult problems in a democracy is to get its
citizens to co-operate in supporting the agencies designed to serve the
people. Too frequently the attitude is to work constantly against
rather than for the laws and regulations. This tendency7 is to be ob­
served even in the postal service. One night as I was inspecting the
distribution of mail in a Chicago post office, one of the distributors
brought to me a letter addressed as follows: “ J. Y . Joyner, 80 miles
due west of Chicago.” These freak and puzzle addresses were not
unusual. Some people seem to enjoy the perverted idea that it is
smart to test and to embarrass those who are charged with the distri­
bution of mail, overlooking the fact that they are delaying service to
others and increasing the expense of all. A knowledge of the postal
facilities and a desire to co-operate with those in charge should be
fundamental in our country. T. he above letter, I may add, was suc­
cessfully delivered.
11

It was frequently difficult to mediate disputes and conciliate dis­
tinguished members of the party who could not agree on the appoint­
ment of postmasters. Tw o who seldom agreed wcie Secretary of
State Bryan and Senator Hitchcock, both of Nebraska. Bryan con­
sidered himself the leader of the Nebraska democracy by right of
“ eminent domain.” Y et, according to custom, the postal patronage
belonged to the Congressman if he was of the administration’s politi­
cal party, except in the case of the United States Senator’s home post
office, which through courtesy belonged to the Senator} otherwise,
the post-office appointments were controlled by the state organization
of the party in power.







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F IF T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

Apropos of M r. Bryan and Senator Hitchcock, I was told the
following story: An old farmer and his wife were sitting before the
fireside in their Nebraska home. The wife was a kind and gentle
soul who had suffered much from the rough and tactless nature of
her husband. As they sat together upon a particular evening, the cat
and dog lay peaceably on the hearth in front of them. “ Look how
sweet and peaceful they are,” the wife remarked. “ They play to­
gether all day, and now in the evening they are as gentle to each
other as two good Christians should be.” The old farmer snorted
contemptuously. “ Tie ’em together,” he growled, “ and you’ll see
how quick they’ll fight.” Such ready wit and well-directed anecdotes
relieved the tension many times and made it easier to carry on.
But some of my duties fell beyond the possibility of a happy
ending. W e had such a case in Kentucky. A postmaster had de­
faulted, and upon an investigation by one of our inspectors, he was
indicted, tried and convicted, and sentenced to the penitentiary. Just
before he was to be transferred to prison a committee of six promi­
nent men from his locality came to my office to make a final appeal
for him. I heard them patiently, listening without interruption until
the last speaker had closed his argument for the condemned man.
They spoke feelingly of his family and the loss and humiliation to
be suffered if he served his prison term. It was a moving appeal, and
there was no mistaking their sincerity. The stigma of having a con­
vict father would be on little children, upon the wife who would now
have to devise new means for the family support. I had no discretion
in the matter. I had sworn to uphold all the laws of the Federal
Government in the conduct of my office. Therefore, I had to decline
the appeal, stating as I did so that I was trustee for all the American
people.
“ Is there no appeal from your decision?” the chairman of the
delegation asked gravely. “ Yes,” I replied. “ There are two appeals;
first, to the Postmaster General; and then, if you are still unsatisfied,
you have the right to go to the President of the United States.”
“ Would you object to our going over your head?” he asked. M y
answer was immediate. “ Not at all. If I am wrong, I will be cor­
rected. If I am right, I will be sustained.” I then had them con­
ducted to the office of Mr. Burleson. I left them with him without

T H E B I G G E S T B U S IN E S S IN T H E W O R L D

i 35

commenting upon the case. Late that afternoon M r. Burleson came
into my office. “ I heard that Kentucky delegation,” he said. “ I sus­
tained you on general principles, but I was amused at what that
chairman said about you.” “ W hat did he say?” I inquired. “ H e
said: ‘W here did you get that First Assistant? W e argued the case
with him until we were exhausted. H e listened to all we said, but
turned us down cold. H e ’s got the face of a Methodist bishop but
the heart of a Kentucky night-rider.’ ” M r. Burleson was to tell the
story about me on many later occasions.
hi

Among the first callers at the Post Office Department was Louis
M cH enry Howe, who introduced himself as Special Assistant to the
new Assistant Secretary of the N avy, Franklin D . Roosevelt. M r.
H owe soon proved his clear understanding of the political situation
in New York State, and it was manifest that he was devoted and
loyal to “ Franklin,” as he called the Assistant Secretary. H is mis­
sion, in representing his chief, was to obtain men of high character for
the offices to be filled. From that time on he was a frequent caller
and of great assistance in the discharge of a difficult task, that of arbi­
trating between Charles F. M urphy, Grand Sachem of Tammany
H a llj Norman E. Mack, National Committeeman from the State;
and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy. The grade and character of
the postmasters selected in New York were effectively heightened by
the co-operative action of M r. Howe and the Assistant Secretary.
Something of the abnormal partisanship we sometimes encoun­
tered in those prewar days may be illustrated by an incident which
occurred about this same time, when the pressure was greatest. One
day I had a caller from the M iddle West. H e entered my office with
an air of great determination, as if he were positive of gaining the end
desired. “ M r. Roper,” he began ponderously, “ I am here to get you
to change the name of my town. I’d like to have it done at once so
I can prove to the people back home that the Democrats are running
things down here, and that we’re going to undo the mischief the Re­
publicans put over on us.” “ That’s not so easy,” I replied. “ Chang­
ing the name of an important town like yours is a vital thing to the
business interests of the community. Did you bring a petition from
them?” “ N o,” he said. “ It isn’t necessary. The Republicans changed







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F IF T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

the town name arbitrarily. I ’ve got to prove to the people that we’ve
got as much power as they had by changing it back.” “ But that’s not
our policy,” I told him, going on to explain that politics would not
change the names of towns or cities during our administration. W e
could only make such changes after a showing from the business
interests, and a large majority of them at that, which proved that the
change was requested for urgent and satisfactory reasons. H e left my
office in a disgruntled mood. I do not suggest that the conference
had anything to do with it, but I am compelled to record the fact that
he committed suicide a few weeks later.
So it went day by day, the odd, the fantastic, and the droll; some­
times tragedy. Not all who came to see me were of the importuning
variety. Many came through patriotic motives and with a sincere
desire to be of help, for there were some who recognized the nervewracking toll of such a job. On March 15, 1913, less than two weeks
after the inauguration, when the parade of office-seekers was of swol­
len proportions, one caller informed me that there were at least one
hundred people in the waiting room. “ You ought to lock your door,”
he said. “ If you don’t, you’ll be dead in six months.” “ It’s all a
matter of attitude,” I answered him. “ I think I would come nearer
being dead in six months if I did lock the door. I leave it unlocked
so that people can peep in once in a while and see how busy I am.
It makes most of them sympathetic. On the other hand, I try to
think that everyone who comes in will try to help, not hurt me. If
I can keep that attitude, I ’ll be able to relax when they come in.
I won’t suffer from the nervous strain of the wrong attitude.”
W hile talking with him I thought of the words of that early
morning pedestrian I had met at Wofford College years before, when
I first met Dr. James Henry Carlisle. H e had asked me if I had a
thought for the day, suggesting further that I approach people with
confidence rather than suspicion. I had always tried to follow his
advice. But if ever I needed it, the time was now. Certainly one
never knew what the next moment would bring forth.
A man entered the office one day with one of the most power­
fully worded letters of endorsement I have ever seen. It was from
his Congressman, and, according to the letter, the sterling character,
amazing ability, and remarkable personality of the constituent fitted
him for anything within the Presidential appointing power. A ll he

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1 3y

wanted was to be postmaster of his home town. T o my utter aston­
ishment, I had scarcely finished interviewing the applicant when the
same Congressman telephoned me to disregard the letter completely.
“ It’s just one of those things,” he said over the telephone. “ You
know— things you have to do once in a while. I ’ll have another rec­
ommendation for you in a few days. I just didn’t want to let this
fellow down.”
M y good friend, Congressman C. C. Dickinson, once indorsed a
rather unique applicant from the Missouri district which he repre­
sented so ably and for so very many years. Judge Dickinson was
such an honorable soul that he could not simulate enthusiasm for a
cause for which he lacked real conviction. I remember the case viv­
idly. H e came into my office and placed an envelope on the desk.
“ I am asking you to appoint this man, my county manager, postmas­
ter at his county seat.” Observing his manner carefully, I asked:
“ W hat’s wrong with your man, Judge?” “ W rong?” he queried.
“ W hy do you ask a thing like that?” “ From your actions,” I replied.
“ W hat’s the matter with my actions?” he questioned. “ I’m very
anxious to have this man appointed.” “ W e won’t quarrel over it,
Judge,” I said, “ but I wish you would please tell me what’s wrong
with him.” “ Roper,” he said, “ you’ve always been fair and consider­
ate of me. I ’ll tell you the truth. H e’s blind in one eye.” “ H ow
well can he see out of the other one?” I asked. A doleful expression
crept over the Judge. “ Not so well,” he said. “ Evidently, then,” I
said, “ you are expecting me to send a Post Office Inspector to look
your man over and turn him down?” “ No,” he replied, “ you mustn’t
do that. I f he’s to be turned down, you have to do it yourself.”
“ Then bring him to Washington,” I replied.
Judge Dickinson did so. The man arrived about a week later,
and the Judge brought him to my office. Preceding him a few paces,
he whispered to me: “ Please handle him with extreme care. It cost
me fifty dollars to get him here.” After they were seated, I ad­
dressed the applicant. “ Judge Dickinson,” I told him, “ is in a rela­
tionship of loyalty to you that’s very much like that of Damon and
Pythias. H e ’s anxious to have you appointed postmaster. I can say
that if you aren’t appointed it won’t be his fault. The fault will all
be mine.” Going on, I explained that the office required a man ca







! 38

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

pable of much clerical work, also one who could distribute mail with
speed. Accordingly, I asked him to read me a few passages and to
write a few sentences. H e had to dig out two pairs of glasses, using
one over the other before he could read. H e wrote with much hesi­
tancy and considerable nervousness. With every effort not to appear
abrupt, I then undertook to explain to the applicant why it would be
unfair to him as well as to the Department to appoint him. “ A ll our
offices,” I told him, “ are officially inspected by the postal experts, the
United States Post Office Inspectors. These highly trained men are
schooled in every detail of postal operation. They quickly detect the
slightest weakness or flaw in the work of any employee, whether it
be a clerk or a postmaster, and they are sworn to report these defects
with official recommendations which are sometimes recommendations
for dismissal. They are the official and personal representatives of
the Postmaster General. Suppose you were to be appointed and the
office inspected. The inspector would be compelled to tell us that
your eyesight was bad, that you could not rapidly distribute mail.
There would be no other course but to remove you. This would be
regarded by your family as a disgrace. Certainly you would not ask
me to disgrace your family?”
The Missourian appeared utterly crestfallen. I could tell that he
had greatly counted upon the appointment, but that he saw the truth
in my explanation. “ I hadn’t thought of it like that,” he said slowly.
“ If that’s the way it is, you’re saving me and my family by not let­
ting my name go through. I guess I ought to thank you for turning
me down.” It was apparent that he was a man of high character,
humble though he was, and the circumstances made the interview
one that was not without pathos. The manner in which it was han­
dled relieved the conscience of Judge Dickinson and removed all
possibility of dissatisfaction from his loyal constituent. After the
semiblind man returned to his home, he wrote me a letter of thanks
and sent me a package of big-pumpkin seeds to be planted on my
farm in South Carolina. Judge Dickinson’s gratitude was to be dis­
played toward me for several years to come.
In April, 1915, that very remarkable woman, Mrs. Potter
Palmer, of Chicago and Florida, called on me and requested that a
post office be established in the neighborhood of her property hold-

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ings on the west coast of Florida below Sarasota and that the name
“ Venice” be given to it. I said: “ Mrs. Palmer, may I ask how you
happened to decide on Venice as a namet” She answered: “ I have
spent considerable time in Venice, Italy, and the Venetian Bay has
always appealed to me. It is both beautiful and soothing. I find that
the reflection of the afternoon sun on the water near my Florida
home has a similar appearance. It really has much of the attraction
of the Venetian Bay.” T h e purpose of the Department is to elimi­
nate duplication of names in the different states in order to effect easy
and accurate distribution and handling of mail. A careful canvass,
however, failed to discover any serious conflict in the case of the
request of Mrs. Palmer, and a post office was accordingly established
with Venice as its name.
iv
As soon as the work of appointing forty thousand Fourth Class,
eleven thousand Third Class, and seven thousand First Class Post­
masters, and of assisting in the complete reorganization of the service
so as to improve the facilities for handling the new parcel post and
other extensions of the service was well in hand, the fascinating his­
tory of communications claimed my attention to such a marked
degree that I decided to write a book, The United States Post Office
(N ew York, 19 17), about our postal service. There is no need here
to enter upon a detailed history of the postal service, but it may be of
interest to recite a few noteworthy facts. Briefly, the postal system in
the United States had its crude beginnings in the seaport coffeehouses.
H ere sea captains coming from abroad deposited letters intrusted to
them by relatives and friends of the settlers in the colonies. The
letters were usually left upon a table or tacked upon what would
correspond to present-day bulletin boards. In Virginia, mail from
abroad was passed along from plantation to plantation, and there was
a legal penalty of one hogshead of tobacco against any planter who
failed to pass the mail along to the next plantation. The home of
Richard Fairbanks in Boston was the first post office established on
this continent. This official act of the Massachusetts Assembly was
passed in 1639.
W ith the development of stage routes the intercolonial postal
system came into being. Benjamin Franklin may be truly said to




vtT ~




140

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

have been the father of the American postal system. H e was ap­
pointed a surveyor of the posts by the Crown in 1736. Since he was
the editor and owner of Franklin's Journal in Philadelphia, it was
highly important that he develop the efficiency of the embryonic
postal system in order that his publication might reach those sub­
scribers who did not live in his home city. As a surveyor of the
posts, Franklin was the first Post Office Inspector. His duty was to
bring the “ postmasters to account,” and the simple accounting system
which he inaugurated was the basis for an accounting system which
needed but few changes in succeeding years.
I cannot pass over this period of my public career without saying
a few words about the Post Office Inspectors. More than once it has
been said that they constitute the most efficient body of men in the
world. I could never have performed the task assigned to me with­
out their assistance. John C. Koons was Chief Inspector during my
incumbency. A word to him and in from one to twenty-four hours
he had a skilled, sealed-lipped expert working on any problem which
confronted me. Whether it was a matter of personnel malfeasance,
an ocean mail robbery, some peculiar situation in Alaska or Puerto
Rico, the establishment of a Star Route, or the consolidation of two
post offices in the Kentucky mountains, one of the secret agents of
the Inspection Service was on his way.
I learned that Noah Webster was one of the early inspectors, and
the archives of the Department revealed his instruction to proceed
to Norwalk, Connecticut, to investigate and determine, if in reality
the person responsible for robbing the mails there had not been one
Matthew Reid, the postmaster. When John Wanamaker was Post­
master General he announced to the Inspectors, “ You are my eyes
and ears, but not my mouth.” I found no cause for his having used
the last word in his admonition. The Inspectors proceeded under the
slogan that the “ stamp and the seal are sacred,” and as the oldest
secret agency in the United States Government, they adhered to the
policy, “ no photographs— no interviews.” They risked grave dan­
gers, but left their guns in their desks or at their homes except upon
most unusual occasions. Whether the problem was the selection of a
site for a new post office, a stock fraud, a patent medicine swindle,
or some other questionable enterprise operated through the mails,

THE BIGGEST BUSINESS IN THE WORLD

i4 i

there was a postal inspector who was expert in the problem at hand.
Not once did they fail me.
H ow beautiful, how expressive, and how true are the following
words written by D r. Charles W illiam Eliot, then President of H ar­
vard University, and Woodrow Wilson, President of the United
States, concerning the postal service:

Messenger of sympathy and love,
Servant of parted friends,
Consoler of the lonely,
Bond of the scattered family,
Enlarger of the common life,
Carrier of news and knowledge,
Instrument of trade and industry,
Promoter of mutual acquaintance,
Of peace and good will
Among men and nations.
V

T he idealism of President Wilson was early apparent to all who
had. become a part of his administration. As an idealist he could not
tolerate conditions which he saw to be badly in need of reform. As
First Assistants to Cabinet officers did not attend the regular Cabinet
meetings, I gained my early impressions of the President through
my close association with M r. Burleson. M y own tendency to progressivism had flamed with my affiliation with the Farmers’ Alliance
years before. I had been filled with hope until Bryan’s defeat caused
a crumbling of the highly crystallized progressive sentiment. But
now, it seemed, with such an idealistic and respected leadership in
the W hite House, those of us who dreamed of reform and wanted
to work for it were on the eve of victory.
The new parcel post system enabled the farmers of the country
to mail fruit, produce, and vegetables to the doors of consumers.
W e fostered a co-operative movement between producer and con­
sumer, causing lists of products for sale and the addresses of the
farmers offering them to be posted in post offices. W e encouraged
postal exhibits at county fairs and state expositions, all designed,
through the co-operation of civic agencies, to teach the public how
to use the mails to best advantage and to reveal the difficult task we







! 42

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

had in maintaining a high state of efficiency. Our internal reforms
were too numerous and complicated to detail here. Suffice it to
say, we standardized equipment and procedure, sent inspectors into
the large and small post offices to give personal instruction, and did
our utmost to raise the postal system to a still higher plane with
each passing month.
One field of exploration in which we were interested may sound
radical to those who are opposed to government ownership. Mr.
Burleson appointed me chairman of a committee to investigate the
desirability of government ownership of all means of communication.
I quote briefly from our findings, which were made after a study of
all systems of communication, both here and in Europe:

1. . . . That Congress declare a Government monopoly over all tele­
graph, telephone and radio communication and such other means for the
transm
ission of intelligence as may hereafter develop.
2. . . . That Congress acquire by purchase at this tim at appraised
e
value the commercial telephone network, except the farmer lines.
3. . . . That Congress authorize the Postmaster General to issue, at
his discretion and under such regulations as he may prescribe, revocable
licenses for the operation, by private individuals, associations, com
panies and
corporations, of the telegraph service and such parts of the telephone serv­
ice as may not be acquired by the Government.
The same committee subsequently made an almost identical report
for the territories of Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii. But suddenly
the thunder of war in Europe diverted attention from domestic re­
forms.
President Wilson had called Congress into extra session in April,
1913. In doing so he broke a precedent of a hundred years’ standing
by appearing personally to deliver his message to a joint session of
House and Senate. In this memorable address he urged the necessity
of immediate and constructive legislation. Perhaps never in history
was legislation of the first magnitude enacted with more amazing
rapidity.
The Underwood Act, the tariff bill for which I had helped lay
the foundation by gathering information while Clerk of the Ways
and Means Committee, was passed October 2. The Federal Reserve
Act, completely revising the financial system of the country and
admittedly one of the most constructive pieces of legislation upon the

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W ORLD

143

United States Statute Books, followed in December. Passage of the
Federal Land Bank Act came after a little delay, thus affording the
farmers, who were still suffering from the panic of 1893, an oppor­
tunity to borrow money without paying excessive rates of interest.
The Federal Trade Commission was set up to curb unfair trade prac­
tices and cutthroat competition. T he Clayton Anti-Trust Act became
a reality, with the necessary teeth in it to clamp down upon monopo­
lies guilty of restraint of trade.
Numerous other less important items of legislation were en­
acted, but the President had inherited from the previous administra­
tion a condition in Mexico which was a dark threat. President D iaz
had been forced into exile by the revolutionist, Madero. European
hands in Mexico had pilfered the country of millions. But Madero
proved to be an idealist without the strength to rule. Accordingly,
the government was seized by General Huerta, February 18, 191 3Madero and his Vice-President, Suarez, were brutally murdered
four days later. Huerta had wired to President T aft, I have over­
thrown the government and therefore peace and order will reign.
M r. T aft had refused to recognize his government.
Carranza and Villa revolted against Huerta. W hen President
Wilson was inaugurated, he not only refused to recognize Huerta
but sent John Lind, former Governor of Minnesota, to Mexico to
induce Huerta to resign. Huerta refused. The arms embargo against
Mexico was lifted, and soon Carranza and Villa had all the arms they
wanted. American citizens were ordered to leave Mexico, or stay at
their peril, and when the great oil center, Tampico, became danger­
ous, American warships were ordered to leave that port. During the
crisis an unarmed detachment of sailors from one of the American
warships landed to obtain supplies and was arrested. Admiral Mayo
demanded the release of the prisoners, an apology, and a salute of
the American flag. T he prisoners were released, but the salute was
refused.
President Wilson acted expeditiously. H e ordered the American
fleet to Vera Cruz, April 20, 1914- H e appealed to Congress for
authority to take such measures as were deemed necessary for pro­
tection of American interests, and the next day a force of marines
landed and engaged the Mexicans in a sharp battle. Nineteen Amer­
icans were killed and seventy wounded.







144

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

The real reason for seizing Vera Cruz was to prevent the landing
there of a cargo of ammunition from a German steamer, the Ypiranga. This cargo contained fifteen million rounds of ammunition
and five hundred machine guns. A three-cornered conference be­
tween Secretary of State Bryan, Secretary of the Navy Josephus
Daniels, and M r. Wilson resulted in the order to Admiral Mayo to
take Vera Cruz at once. Even so, President Wilson was not yet
aware of Germany’s efforts to stir strife between Mexico and the
United States or that the German prayer was, “ Gott strafe the Mon­
roe Doctrine.”
By July 15, 1914, Huerta had quit the dictatorship. Carranza
was in control, and General Pershing had been sent to the Mexican
border on a punitive expedition. The W orld W ar was declared the
following August 4, and no one wanted war with Mexico. Therefore,
when the three great powers of South America— Argentina, Brazil,
and Chile— offered to mediate between Mexico and the United
States, President Wilson accepted. For almost two years the Mexican
situation had absorbed the new administration. But war was averted.
VI
In my official capacity it was necessary to attend various functions
and social affairs. Among these were some of the White House re­
ceptions, and dinners and receptions given by members of the Cabinet
and the Diplomatic Corps. I thus met President Wilson soon after
the inauguration and several times in succeeding months, but in a
purely perfunctory way. It was apparent that he was reserved in
personal contacts. This dignity did not detract from, but rather gave
an allure to his leadership and commanded the high respect of all
who knew him.
M y first private interview with him was held at the White House.
It had to do with an official matter. I presented the case as briefly
as possible. He, in turn, with the precise and orderly logic which
characterized all his actions, replied in a manner which showed how
thoroughly he had grasped every detail of my presentation. Without
wasting a word he gave me the only logical decision to be had, yet
his language was so well chosen and his diction so remarkable, one
might have thought the interview had been deliberately prepared and

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145

well rehearsed. I left the room with the feeling that I had com­
muned with a lofty, but lonely, spirit.
There was, indeed, something about him which was apart from
the average man, a spiritual quality which transcended the common­
place. H ow often I pitied him in those stormy days when he was
trying to keep us out of war! Nineteen fourteen passed, and in 1915
certain incidents made the imbroglio of the veiled future seem in­
evitable. The routine of my work carried me on, ever more sym­
pathetic to the Chief Executive laboring under the shadow which hov­
ered over America. Then came 1916. It was a campaign year. Theo­
dore Roosevelt had virtually called President Wilson a coward for
not joining the A llied cause. It looked as if Germany would win, for
thousands of tons of A llied shipping had been sent to the bottom of
the sea. On the other hand, American business, judging from postal
receipts, a never failing index, had recovered from the first effects of
the European conflict. Our factories were humming. Our farm prod­
ucts were rising in price. But our national self-respect was not yet
out of danger. There were taunts and insults from Germany. Politi­
cal strife was agitated because of the situation. Surely, I thought,
America would not swap horses in the middle of the stream.
I had served more than three years in the Post Office Depart­
ment at the time of the Democratic convention. This time that meet­
ing was a mere formality, little more than a few speeches and the
unreserved endorsement and renomination of W oodrow Wilson.
On July 15, 1916, Colonel House came to Washington and con­
ferred with President Wilson and Postmaster General Burleson con­
cerning the campaign. Directly thereafter M r. Burleson came into
my office. “ Roper,” he said, “ Vance C. McCormick has just been se­
lected Chairman of the National Committee by the President. H ow
would you like to go to New \ ork and head the Bureau of Organi­
zation for the campaign?” I must confess to a feeling of great emo­
tion. I tried not to reveal it and do not believe that I did. But look­
ing up at my loyal chief, I said, “ Nothing in the world would please
me better.” “ Then it’s a go,” he said. “ The President and Colonel
E. M . House want you to do it.”
I did not resign that day, but I left the old Post Office Building
with the feeling that I could have been paid no higher compliment
for the work I had done there.







CHAPTER X

Wilson Wins and Loses
N R E SP O N SE to a telegram from Colonel E. M . House, I
visited him July 24, 1916, at his summer place at Lake Sunapee,
New Hampshire, to discuss the campaign. The Colonel met me at
the station, and we rode to his cottage, where I was greeted by Mrs.
House and their two daughters. The Colonel and I found a com­
fortable place on the front porch on the lake side of the home and
began our first conference on the campaign plans.

I

His initial statement was: “ Roper, this is not going to be an easy
campaign, but with definite organization and detailed work it can
be won. M y idea is to launch it and conduct it in every detail as if
we were campaigning for the election of a county sheriff.” “ This
can be approximated,” I interposed, “ by using methods that would
keep the headquarters informed on the strong as well as weak points
that are developing for our ticket throughout the country, ascertain­
ing the causes for the same and making a continuous study and anal­
ysis of the pros and cons of the campaign efforts. There has been too
great a wastage of both literature and speakers in past political cam­
paigns. By this study and through our contacts,” I added, “ we can
eliminate a lot of the old waste and inefficiency.” The Colonel then
asked: “ How do you think this can best be accomplished?”
W e were interrupted by the announcement of luncheon, and
joined Mrs. House and the daughters in what was for me a delight­
ful exchange of views relating to political conditions in Washington
and the beauty and attractiveness of New Hampshire as a summering
place. The luncheon over, the Colonel and I took a walk through
the spruce and pine forests to the rear of the cottage.
As we walked in the shade and quietude of those woods, I said:
“ Colonel, you have devoted many years to constructive political serv­
ice in Texas and the nation.” “ Yes,” he replied, “ I have.” “ Then,”

WILSON WINS AND LOSES

147

I continued, “ you are a mystery to many people because they can’t
conceive of a man working so long and industriously as you have with
no selfish motive. Please pardon me for asking you, but is there any
office in the gift of the President you would like to fill?” H e stopped
on the wooded path, turned, and looked me straight in the eye. “ I
do my best work behind the scenes,” he said. “ I like to confer with
people interested in good government and to try to help those
charged with the great responsibilities of leadership. There is one
position that I feel needs to be developed as a useful agency to the
President. Someone should collect, analyze, and present for his guid­
ance facts about trends and conditions and shifts in political senti­
ment. These duties should belong to the Vice-Presidency of the
United States. That office should be developed into a very useful
agency for the President and the people, and that I believe I could
do.”
H e then resumed our campaign discussion interrupted by the
luncheon by asking, “ H ow shall we organize to make sure we re­
elect W ilson?” I replied that I thought we should carefully select
key men from the National Democratic organization throughout the
country, explaining that I had become rather intimately acquainted
with many through the appointment of postmasters during the pre­
vious three years. “ Probably a thousand,” I added, “ who are in close
and accurate touch with political sentiment and reaction. Upon them
should be imposed the responsibility of keeping in touch with and
reporting upon conditions at intervals of two weeks. These would
constitute a vanguard of the field organization. The rest of the or­
ganization in less important states and localities would not report so
often.” I suggested that our inquiries of these key reporters be sim­
ple and precise. M y illustration was something like this: “ (1) W hat
factors in your territory are now adverse to the election of Woodrow
Wilson? (2) W hat specific political problems strongly interest your
people? (3) W hat character of literature and type of speakers would
best meet conditions in your territory?” W e finally returned to the
cottage, both committed to a further study of the plans. I took the
late afternoon train for New York.
Through the always ready and effective service of Vance C. M c­
Cormick, National Chairman of the Democratic party, I secured
work quarters in the second story of a loft in East 39th Street,







148

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

where I must say I found the heat of that August about the most
oppressive I have ever encountered. This, no doubt, was intensified
by the vigorous work we undertook and the long hours we kept.
Among the assistants who co-operated with me most effectively
was Loring Black, who served as a connecting link with the New
York City Democratic organization, and my faithful secretary,
Lawrence A. Baker, son of my long and very dear friend, James
M . Baker, of South Carolina, then Secretary of the United States
Senate. Later, on the recommendation of Colonel House, I was
joined by Thomas B. Love, of Dallas, Texas, a man of great energy,
marvelous memory, and force of character. I had daily contacts
with Colonel House, and Congressman Cordell H ull, of Tennessee,
came up and spent the day with us now and then.
During continuous contact with Colonel House in this campaign
and subsequently, I discovered nothing mysterious about him. I be­
lieve that he is most accurately described as a consulting expert on
politics, without retainer, and an adviser and assistant to officeholders
on political and public reactions. H e liked the limelight of confer­
ences with interesting personages.
There has long been contention over who first mentioned Wilson
as a successful contender for the Presidency of the United States.
I received the impression from Colonel House that, he felt, he had
the honor of first presenting Wilson to the people of Texas, but in
the course of my contacts with Thomas B. Love, of Dallas, I reached
the conclusion that this was probably not entirely accurate. I base
this upon facts which I got from Love himself.
On the day Wilson was elected Governor of New Jersey, No­
vember 8, 1910, Love sent him the following telegram: “ I heartily
congratulate you upon your magnificent campaign and the people of
New Jersey upon your election as Governor. I am for you for Presi­
dent of the United States in 1912.” Immediately thereafter Love
began to organize Texas for Wfilson.
On April 18, 1911, Love wrote Governor Wilson a letter in
which one paragraph read: “ I am very desirous of arranging for you
to deliver an address in this city during the Texas State Fair in
October of this year, and I will be glad to have you indicate your
disposition and probable ability to meet such an engagement. If you
can arrange to be in Dallas about that time, we can arrange to bring

WILSON WINS AND LOSES

149

together to hear you a great throng of people from all portions of
the State and make a great opportunity of the occasion.”
Wilson immediately wrote that he would be glad to meet such
an engagement. Love later arranged for the invitation, which was
accepted, Wilson speaking three times in Dallas (once at the Fair)
and once at Fort W orth at an evening meeting on the same day.
Love went with the Governor to Fort W orth on the interurban train.
On this trip to Fort W orth, Love related that he said to Governor
Wilson substantially the following: “ Governor, there is a very able
man who is a citizen of Texas and a native of Texas but who lives
in New York a large part of each year. His name is Colonel E. M .
House. H e is for Judge Gaynor for President, or was when I last
heard from him, but Gaynor is not going to be in this race. I would
rather have Colonel House’s opinion upon a sheer question of po­
litical tactics than any man I know, and I wish you could find some
way to get in touch with him.” Wilson replied immediately: “ M y
friend W alter Page has been telling me about this same man, Col­
onel House. I have never met him but hope to in the near future.”
W ithin about two weeks after this, Love went on to say, he re­
ceived a letter from Colonel House saying that Governor Wilson
had called at his H otel Gotham apartment the day before and had
spent an hour with him, and that he intended to support him (G ov­
ernor W ilson) for the Presidency and was coming to Texas within
a few weeks and wanted to see Love. Love had the kindliest feel­
ings for Colonel House, but he insisted that there could be no doubt
that after W ilson’s speech at the Dallas Fair in the fall of 1911
Texas was sure to go for him, and that Colonel House had not met
Governor Wilson nor in any wise supported him until after this
Dallas Fair meeting.
W ith the W orld W ar raging in Europe, with taunts and insults
from Germany occurring almost daily, I was more and more imbued
with the urgent need of re-electing Wilson because I felt sure that he
had a grip on the situation that would make his continuance in office
for the best interest of the country. Never before had I been so im­
pressed with the soundness of the old slogan, “ Don’t change horses
in the middle of the stream.” Furthermore, it seemed to me that he
had achieved more progressive legislation in the space of four years
than had been enacted during the previous fifty. The progressive







j 50

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

dreams which had been mine as a member of the Farmers’ Alliance
in South Carolina were more and more in my mind. The question
therefore that I mulled over every night and tried to act on every
day was how to convey these messages and impressions most effec­
tively to the party organization throughout the country.
ii

Chairman McCormick organized the campaign headquarters into
appropriate bureaus. Principally, they were designated as: Finance,
Publicity, Speakers’, and Organization. Robert W . Woolley, for­
merly of the New York W orld was selected to handle publicity,
while Homer S. Cummings, then a prominent Connecticut lawyer
and National Committeeman from that state, was in chaige of the
Speakers’ Bureau. Henry Morgenthau, Sr., was Chairman of the
Finance Committee; W . W . Marsh was Treasurer with W . D.
Jamieson, Assistant Treasurer. I was in charge of Organization. The
main headquarters were located at Madison Avenue and 40th Street,
New York City.
Colonel House had no office other than his apartment on 53d
Street, which was in conformity with his retiring and self-effacing
disposition. At the outset and before the Colonel’s mature plan had
been placed in the form of a written memorandum, which came as a
result of numerous conferences with those charged with management
of national headquarters, we decided that Peace, General Prosperity,
and Preparedness were the things we had to sell to the country,
resting our case upon the domestic regeneration already accomplished
by progressive legislation.
After state and county managers had been appointed through the
regular channels, they and the speakers were instructed to emphasize
the Federal Reserve Act, still opposed by big business and most of
the bankers; the Rural Credits Act, which had taken the farmers out
of the grip of the loan sharks; the Underwood Tariff Law, which
had lowered the prohibitive barriers that would have been disastrous
to our foreign trade; the Income Tax Law, which had established a
more equitable method of taxation and increased the sources of
revenues; the Industrial Employees Arbitration Act, which had pro­
vided the machinery for settlement of controversies between capital
1 See Note, p. 159.

and labor; the first child labor law; the Federal Trade Commission
Act, aimed at monopolistic control and unfair trade practices; the
Adamson Eight Hour D ay Law for the benefit of railway employees,
which prevented a general strike on all major railroads in the coun­
try; and the first steps toward Philippine Independence. T he party
had also declared for woman suffrage.
In addition to these incontrovertible reforms, we instructed all
organizers and speakers in the field to stress the high ethical and
moral principles which had characterized the Wilson Administration,
virtues which had sprung from the very character of the man in the
W hite House and which had toned up the entire nation, bringing
hope and the light of a new progressivism for the benefit of millions
out of stagnation and reaction. Later in the campaign the slogan
uH e has kept us out of war” was adopted, and a poster with the
President’s picture and this slogan upon it was dispatched throughout
the country.
The chairman and his entire staff soon realized that we faced one
of the most unusual political fights in history. Theodore Roosevelt
had already taken the platform for Justice Hughes, the Republican
candidate. In bitter and vitriolic speeches T . R. condemned Wilson
for not leading an attack upon Germany. “ If I had been President,”
he declared, “ when the Lusitania was sunk I would have seized
every German ship in American harbors.” This, we knew, would
alienate from Hughes the votes of German sympathizers. T he coun­
try, however, was divided into pro- and anti-Allied sentiment, and
there being no way adequately to appraise it, it was at first doubtful
whether Roosevelt would win or lose votes for Hughes.
\ et another factor, two of them perhaps, gave our organization
great cause for fear. The Republicans had millions of dollars to our
thousands, and up to that time the Democratic party had been nor­
mally. the minority party. These were obstacles not lightly to be dis­
counted. Moreover, there were some who actually believed Presi­
dent Wilson wanted to lead us into the war. M any thought that he
had moved too rapidly even in his constructive domestic legislation.
hi

It was a fact unknown to W ilson’s critics that he had foreseen the
war clouds over Europe and had done his utmost to prevent the holo-




gr
r




15 2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

caust which was to follow. Colonel House had been in Europe in
February, 1916, as an unofficial ambassador of Wilson in an effort
to halt the war, but the British believed that there could be no Euro­
pean security until the German military regime was vanquished. In­
deed, Colonel House was considered, not only by British statesmen,
but also by French and German high officials alike, as the one man in
the world who had any chance to effect a peace.
In addition to Colonel House’s efforts, Walter Hines Page, our
Ambassador in London, had charge of the German Embassy there
after hostilities began, and for two years there had been a constant
effort through diplomatic channels to stop the war. England, how­
ever, had taken the position that she was fighting our battles as well
as her own. Germany had gone too far to turn back, and France had
suffered such irreparable damage, the cause of peace was hopeless.
But the inside story could not be told to the voters of America with­
out the risk of offending one or the other group of belligerents.
Therefore, the slogan, “ He has kept us out of war,” seemed to be
the most logical and effective way in which the challenge to Wilson
could be met. Meanwhile, Wilson, in answer to the Hughes and
Roosevelt charges, insisted that the Republican program would lead
us into war and stood upon his record that he had kept us out. But
Roosevelt continued to jeer and sneer at Wilson as though he was
the prize coward of earth.
During those hectic days, we were constantly being besieged by
American foreign elements. One day a group of Germans was in my
office declaring that they were battling for world peace. Then, on
the heels of their visit, there would come a committee of Sinn Feiners
threatening to vote for Hughes because we were unwilling to risk
war in order to free Ireland from British rule. Before the campaign
was at its peak I learned that there were many thousands of foreign
birth in Cleveland alone; that Norwalk, Connecticut, contained more
Hungarians than any city except New York. The votes of those of
foreign birth would probably be decisive in Ohio, and only the ex­
penditure of a few thousand dollars would be necessary to turn
the trick. Thousands of Russian immigrants were opposed to their
native country, and many of them favored the German side in the
war because of their hatred for the Czar. I found that a great
number of Mexicans in the Southwest, both native-born and immi-

WILSON WINS AND LOSES

153

grants, were also conscious of the importance of their votes. Some
strongly favored W ilson’s attitude toward their country while others
violently opposed it. Each day brought its dilemma, some problem
in which a step in either of two directions might alienate a large
block of votes.
Under the system of taking a census of opinion, based in reality
upon my cotton work of years before, it was possible to get a fairly
accurate forecast of sentiment about every ten days. But a single
speech by either candidate, or an untoward incident or piece of prop­
aganda, might affect this sentiment. Therefore, this polling had to
be repeated constantly. A letter written to the President by Colonel
House on September 30, contains a paragraph illustrating the use
made of this polling process: “ Roper tells me that to-day we stand to
win by five per cent in Indiana. H e has sent out new slips in order
to get the results of the eight-hour law. These will not be in and
tabulated until the end of next week. H e does not know whether it
will increase or lessen the percentage.” 2 The Adamson Eight H our
Law had angered big business and the railroad magnates. It was
being used against us by the Republicans with many strange twists
and what I considered to be exaggerations.
The Wilson forces were greatly heartened on September 29 by
the interview secured by Colonel M ilton A. McRae of the ScrippsMcRae Syndicate in which H enry Ford declared for Wilson. This
news was widely circulated throughout the country. Ford’s reasons
for supporting the President were substantially as follows: (1 ) As a
peace-loving American citizen, he believed that Wilson would con­
tinue to keep the country out of war. (2) H e believed in the Wilson
policy of equal rights between capital and labor, with a fair field for
all and special privileges to none. (3) Wilson was not supported by
W all Street. (4) Wilson was fighting “ the interests” and showing it
by his refusal to be “ rushed into war with Mexico, sacrificing the
lives of thousands of young Americans to save the dollars that W all
Street had invested in Mexico on a gamble.” (5) Wilson was for the
eight-hour law in labor, and Ford believed from experience that the
eight-hour law would help business. (6) As for the tariff, which the
" Charles Seymour, T h e I n t i m a t e P a p e r s o f C o l o n e l H o u s e (Boston and New
York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1926-28), II, 373. Indiana was lost to the Republi­
cans by one per cent.




iriffT




154

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Republicans insisted should be revised to save prosperity after the
war, Ford thought it to be a hothouse remedy. It might make busi­
ness sprout for a little while, but its effect was artificial, and it could
never produce a hardy permanent business plant. If we could not
compete on even terms with any country on earth, we ought to quit.
(7) Ford believed that the President had hit the nail on the head
in the previous week when he said: “ The relations of capital and
labor must be regarded as a human relationship of men with men.
Labor must be regarded as a part of the general partnership of
energy which is going to make for the success of business men and
business enterprise.” “ I am a Republican,” the manufacturer con­
cluded, “ but Pm for Wilson. I am a Republican for the same reason
I have ears— I was born that way. I am for Wilson because I believe
he can do more to enhance the prosperity and insure the peace of this
nation than any other candidate. Anyone who does not want peace
and who wants to gamble with prosperity should vote against him.”
IV

At the height of the campaign, when it seemed as if victory would
soon be within our grasp, Wilson was made the target of character
assassination. The vilest and crudest attacks were made upon his
private life. While the question of countering probable deleterious
effects was primarily the responsibility of Woolley, our publicity
man, the whole organization was affected. It had passed beyond the
usual whispering campaign, and partisans in the enemy camp were
shouting the charges from the housetops. Before a means of check­
mating those attacks had been devised, many letters, mostly from
women, began to be received. These letters were in criticism of Mr.
Wilson’s second marriage. More than a year had elapsed since the
death of the first Mrs. Wilson, yet his critics heaped vitriol upon
his head for the marriage.
Soon a worse fate seemed to doom us. Mr. Morgenthau’s office
was out of money. H e had been advancing personal funds until his
own private fortune had been depleted by a large sum. There were
demands by mail and wire from every part of the country. To have
admitted to the organization that we had no money would have
brought speedy disaster. The paid workers in many instances would
have walked out. Those blue days around headquarters were very

WILSON WINS AND LOSES

1 55

discouraging to those of us who thought that we had done our own
jobs to the best of our abilities. There is something so absorbing
about such work that even the humblest workers in the field find it
contagious. Almost when as a boy I had heard that Garfield was
dead, I now wondered whether the sun would rise again if we should
lose the election of the man in the W hite House. I foresaw the wreck
of the progressive program I had believed in and fought for since
early years. The Republicans were reported to have ten million dol­
lars, while our treasury was empty. Big business was against us. The
banks would not lend to us. W hat could be done? No one in head­
quarters had the answer.
I shall never forget the happy day when Fate intervened. Breckenridge Long came into headquarters with Thomas L . Chadbourne.
They must have read the situation in our faces. McCormick, W oolley, Cummings, and several of the rest of us were in conference.
Breckenridge Long listened carefully to what we had to say. H e in­
quired about our figures and estimates of the relative standing of the
two candidates in the various states. “ Just wait for me a few min­
utes,” he said. “ I ’m going out and see what I can do.” W e waited.
H e was absent perhaps an hour. W hen he returned, he laid a certi­
fied check upon the desk of McCormick. In our eagerness, I believe
that most of us, perhaps including M r. Morgenthau, pushed forward
to see the figures. I suppose our eyes blinked. One hundred thou­
sand dollars! “ That’s a personal loan,” he explained. “ I guess some
of us had better get busy and raise some real money.” “ I ’ll start
now,” Tom Chadbourne offered. “ I think I know where I can get
it.” Our spirits rose swiftly. T he magnanimous act of Breckenridge
Long put new faith and courage into all of us. If we needed more,
we got it when Chadbourne went into action. H e and his committee
produced what to me was the most fabulous sum I had ever seen;
namely, six hundred thousand dollars.
“ And now,” said W oolley, “ I’m going to start working on that
scandal. I ’ll send somebody over to interview the good lady who is
spreading these stories.” W ithin a few days this was attended to.
“ Don’t you realize what you are doing?” the woman was asked.
“ Y ou’re defaming the character of the President of the United States.
Don’t you know that all those statements are scandal that they are







I 56

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

false?” “ Maybe so,” was her reply. “ But you’ll have to admit it’s
good politics.”
That answer struck me with the vileness of perverting the truth
in a democracy. Maybe such tactics were suitable to the old world
and its intrigues and political machinations, but a democracy needed
to be founded on truth, and any effort to deceive the people was
inimical to our form of government, whether in national campaigns
or in group or individual dealings.
Close upon the heels of this incident Woolley obtained from
Dr. James H . Taylor of the Southern Presbyterian Church, Presi­
dent Wilson’s pastor in Washington, a frank and bold statement de­
nouncing the slanderers. Mr. Wilson’s brother-in-law, Dr. Stockton
Axson, published an article in The New York Times which effectively
put an end to the scandalmongers.
W e had come out of two close places. The tactics used by the
opposition made us more determined to win. W e redoubled our
efforts. From then on we worked night and day, concentrating upon
the weak spots, that is, the sections of the country where hard work
had a chance of success, leaving the lost states to their fate.
v

1 hat Colonel House had confidence in our methods and in even­
tual success, despite the Republican claims and the last-minute feeling
of apprehension which comes to every campaigner, is evident from
his last letter to the President before the returns came in:

New York, November 4, 1916.
Dear Governor:
I have taken a final survey of the field, and I cannot reach any other
conclusion but that the fight is won. The H e r a ld poll to-morrow will in­
dicate your election, but their distribution of votes does not agree with
ours. In my opinion, our figures are infinitely m accurate. It is the
ore
first tim we have ever known in advance, with any degree of certainty,
e
the final result.
I cannot tell you how satisfactory the cam
paign has been from start
to finish. From McCormick down to the m insignificant worker, there
ost
has been unity of purpose without bickering, or fault-finding of any sort
whatsoever.
Woolley, Roper, Wallace, and som of the others have done really
e

W IL S O N W IN S A N D L O S E S

157

brilliant work, and Gordon tells me that the early hours of the morning
have often found them still at it.
I have perfect confidence in the result.
Affectionately yours
E. M. House3
Then came the final night. H enry Morgenthau, Sr., Chairman of
our Finance Committee, gave a dinner at the H otel Biltmore for
his co-workers and Cabinet members and their wives, including also a
few personal friends. From the outset it was a depressing affair.
The first returns were from states regarded as doubtful. T hey came
in rapidly, but only a few from which he thought a little comfort
might be derived did Morgenthau read. Shortly after seven o’clock
special early editions of The New York Times and the New York
M orning W orld , announcing that Hughes had swept the country,
were distributed among the guests. Then came a flash that Hughes
had carried Michigan by fifty thousand. W e knew that the polls in
that state would not close for an hour. Chairman McCormick arose
and asked to be excused, saying that he wished to “ return to head­
quarters and be with the boys in defeat.” W oolley jumped up and
caught him by the arm. “ Vance,” he said, “ we’re not licked. W e
haven’t had a return from a single state we expected to carry, except
Kansas, and we know it’s all right.”
W e had just finished the soup course of what had promised to be
a sumptuous feast, but I left also. I had known that we would have
to win in the West, because of the Eastern financial interests and their
influence. But when the Republicans began to parade the streets in
celebration of the Hughes’ election, there was consternation in our
headquarters, especially among those who had counted upon carry­
ing the large Eastern states.
I thought of Minnesota and of what had happened there. Early
in the campaign, the Youth Organization of that state had pledged
itself to the progressive principles of the Administration. I had re­
ceived a letter from Z. H . Austin, an insurance man of Minneapolis,
informing me in substance that the deterrent to carrying the state was
the old and ultraconservative organization under Fred B. Lynch,
National Committeeman. “ H e is now at headquarters in New
York,” Austin had written. “ Presumably he is advising Chairman
3 Ibid., II, 381.




isfff




! 58

F IF T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

McCormick, and he will tell you Minnesota is rock-ribbed Republi­
can, and any money spent here by our party will be wasted. You
keep Fred Lynch in New York,” Austin continued, “ and we will
carry Minnesota for Wilson.” I was fond of Lynch, but I liked
Austin’s fighting qualities. Accordingly, I conferred with McCor­
mick, who agreed to keep Lynch busy in New York. Since that time
we had worked with Austin and the Youth Organization. I knew the
result would be close. I was not to know until a day or two later
that we had lost Minnesota by about three hundred votes or the rea­
sons why.
They proved to be as follows: The youthful Democratic organiza­
tion had become so cocksure from the progress of its campaign that it
had claimed victory ten days in advance of the election. These bold
claims had thrown the Republican organization into panic, with the
result that the Republicans sent in a wrecking crew of six or eight of
the best available speakers who could be found to make a last-minute
whirlwind campaign to stem the Democratic tide. Even that lastminute work would not have won Minnesota except for what hap­
pened on election night. Knowing that the polls in the Western
states did not close for several hours after those in the East, and fear­
ing results in the Western states, Republican National Headquarters
wired the front pages of the New York newspapers to the Western
cities and had them posted on bulletin boards in the vicinity of poll­
ing places. The psychology of this worked two ways. Those who had
not yet voted, thousands of laboring men who wanted to be on the
winning side, changed their votes. Those who felt the advance pangs
of defeat turned away from the polls in discouragement. Thus we
were to lose Minnesota by a narrow margin. The same thing hap­
pened in other Western cities in other states and caused me to con­
clude that there should be a Federal law preventing the announce­
ment of any election results until all polls are closed in all states.
Many people deserted our headquarters that night. I scanned the
returns and tabulated them against my own figures until about mid­
night. The day had brought such strain that I crossed the street to
the Hotel Touraine and lay down in my room for two hours. Then
I was aroused by my friend, James A. Edgerton, and returned to
headquarters, where I ran into William Gibbs McAdoo, Secretary of
the Treasury. Neither of us had entirely lost faith, and by three

WILSON WINS AND LOSES

159

o’clock that morning it was evident that some of the Western states
were close indeed. W e knew that the polls were guarded by Repub­
licans in some of these states, and the possibility of irregularities
made us apprehensive. A fter a discussion of the situation, McAdoo
joined me in the dispatch of fifteen hundred telegrams to men in our
Western organizations urging them to exercise the utmost vigilance
to prevent irregularities, such as the removal of ballot boxes, or per­
mitting ballots to be counted unless in the presence of Democratic
watchers.
Others have told the story of the tension of the next twenty-four
hours. As the little doubtful states hung in the balance, the skeptics
were criticizing Robert W oolley for the Democratic deficit of six hun­
dred thousand dollars, money he had spent largely in an effort to
stem the slander campaign against Wilson and to meet other sub­
versive forces. Those who criticized him so severely, even after the
outcome, should consider the strain at our headquarters, especially
in the Publicity Bureau. It is a fact that we incurred a deficit of six
hundred thousand dollars, and that W oolley was widely blamed.
Nobody can be sure, however, that the expenditure of a large part
of that sum was not necessary to win. W ho was wise enough then
or is now to say what part was spent unwisely?
Wilson won by 277 electoral votes, when 266 would have been
sufficient. I had the satisfaction of victory, and I was confident that
we had retained the man in the W hite House whom domestic and
world conditions needed for the world’s highest office. Grave as was
the international scene, we who had fought for him believed that
America could escape the war. I feel sure that President Wilson be­
lieved it too. But in the face of his transcendant idealism, the forces
of evil were drawing us nearer the brink. Soon the taunts, the in­
sults, the atrocities of German military madness would test the steel
of the President whom we had worked to re-elect.
NOTE

A letter from Colonel House to President Wilson concerning our con­
ference at his summer home and his plan for the campaign printed by
President Seymour in T h e I n tim a te P a p ers (II, 360-363) from a draft
dated June 20, 1916, are here appended:







i6 o

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
New London, New Ham
pshire
July 25, 1916.

Dear Governor:
. . . I hope they will not disturb you too m about the cam
uch
paign.
There is no need why you should be bothered with the details.
Roper was here yesterday, and I feel satisfied that we will have the
only efficient organization that has ever been constructed in a Democratic
national campaign. Roper seem to understand the job and appreciates its
s
im
portance, and we have agreed to keep in close touch with one another.
I suggested a coordination between the organization, Publicity, and
Speakers’ Bureau. The centre of this should be the organization, and
Roper will be able to tell Cummings the kind of speakers that are needed
in each particular section, and will tell Woolley the kind of literature to
send. I have asked him to explain this to McCormick and let him bring
about the coordination him
self. . . .
Affectionately yours
E. M. House.
H o u s e ’s P l a n o f C a m p a i g n

In preparing the organization I would suggest that the following States
be classified in this way:
Class 1. Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia,
Indiana, M
issouri, Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Class 2. Maine, M
assachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado, California, Ore­
gon, and Washington.
Class 3. Rhode Island, W
isconsin, Michigan, M
innesota, Iowa.
We should put forth our maximum effort in the States of Class 1, a
strong effort in those of Class 2, and a lesser effort in those of Class 3.
There are seven States in Class 1 of prim im
e portance, which we
should and m carry. These States should be divided into units of not
ust
larger than 100,000 voters.
By having the State organizations cooperate closely with the national
organization, it will not be over-difficult to have the certain Republican
and certain Democratic voters of these units segregated. This can be done
by writing to the precinct chairm in those units and obtaining from them
en
lists of the entire electorate, putting the absolutely certain Republicans and
absolutely certain Democrats in one class and the fluctuating voters in
another.
This independent vote should be classified as to race, religion, and
former affiliations. Roughly speaking, we m assum that in a unit of
ust
e

100,000 voters, eighty per cent of them will be unchangeable voters,
which would leave twenty per cent that can be influenced by argument.
The size of these units must necessarily depend upon the size of our
campaign fund. If it is small, a larger unit will have to be considered; if
sufficient money is raised, a smaller unit can be made. The smaller the
unit the more successful, of course, will be the result.
Literature, letters in sealed envelopes, and personal appeals should be
made to each of these doubtful voters.
One member of the Campaign Committee should be placed in charge
of the organization of these units, with nothing else to do. He, in turn,
should place one man in charge of each unit. The duty of this man should
be to keep in touch not only with the State Executive Committee of his
particular unit, but also with each one of the doubtful voters in that unit.
The State Executive Committee should cooperate by giving to the
man in charge of the unit the names of precinct chairmen, and also the
names of influential citizens of Democratic persuasion in each precinct,
and give information as to what things that community has a special in­
terest in.
The influential men in these units that favor the President’s policies
should be invited to the National Headquarters and should be seen by
the Chairman in person, by the member of the committee in charge of the
organization, and by the man in charge of the particular unit from which
the visitor comes. The subtle flattery which an invitation of this kind car­
ries will win the best endeavors from those to whom it is extended. In
addition, it gives the manager in charge of organization and the man in
charge of the unit a personal touch with the situation that he cannot get
otherwise.
If the campaign is organized in this way, it will not be difficult at any
tim after the first of September to know just where we stand.
e
The man in charge of these units should ask of the local Democrats in
charge, what argument we are using appeals most to the voters of his
community. This enables us to soft pedal in some directions and push
harder in others.
Towards the end of the campaign, the best Democratic workers in
each precinct, of each unit, should be given charge of certain voters to see
that they cast their votes on election day. If this is not done, a valuable
percentage of the vote will be lost because of lack of interest or from a
desire to do something else.
The literature of the campaign should be considered as a whole. Cer­
tain issues should be decided upon as being the ones upon which the







1 62

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

cam
paign is to be fought. When these issues have been determined, the
treatment of each issue should be likewise determ
ined, and the best writers
obtainable should be given the task of preparing articles, letters, or speeches
upon the particular subject. These should be short, eloquent, and con­
vincing.
Dead-beats and political hacks should not be em
ployed by the Com­
m
ittee at the instance of politicians from various States, particularly those
States that are unalterably Democratic or Republican. Almost every cam­
paign organization is filled with such m They com recommended by
en.
e
United States Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and leading editors of
their respective localities, and are a clog to the organization.
I would suggest holding as few com ittee m
m
eetings as possible with­
out giving offence. In lieu of this, I would consult m bers of the organ­
em
ization individually. In this way, each one consulted would feel that the
cam
paign manager and him
self were running the cam
paign. General
m
eetings prom friction and take a lot of tim
ote
e.
Instead of having m bers of the organization coming in at will to
em
discuss matters, I would fix a tim to see each. Som of them should be
e
e
seen each day, others twice a week, and still others once a week. They
should be invited to m notes of the things to be discussed and to save
ake
the discussion of them until the tim allotted to them. An infinite amount
e
of tim and trouble will be saved if this plan is adopted.
e
I would suggest that at the beginning the Chairman should ask the
cooperation of everybody in avoiding personalities and friction of any kind,
within the organization, and I would state that all would have a square
deal and when differences arose they should be discussed openly and with
good feeling.
The Speakers’ Bureau should be informed that all speeches to be m
ade
m be based upon the issues as outlined by the Campaign Committee and
ust
as indicated in the cam
paign literature.
Coordination between the national^ and State cam
paigns should be
brought about, so that there may be no friction or m
isunderstandings.

T

~^H E E L E C T IO N was over, and the rejoicing was wide­
spread. A ll that remained for those of us to do who had
worked in the national headquarters was to “ break camp” and
remove the property of the National Committee to Washington. The
anxious, grueling months in New York had proved a severe strain,
and I was glad to return to my home and family for a much needed
rest. While it had been the most exciting experience of my life, it
had taken its toll, which could only be overcome by a vacation. This
I could arrange, for as yet I had reached no definite conclusion for
my work of the future. Naturally, I felt that I might return to some
branch of the government service; but no promises had been made to
me, nor was there any understanding of this sort with anyone. The
uncertainty of world conditions due to the World War made it ex­
tremely difficult to arrive at decisions or to forecast what another day
might bring. Germany had threatened a repetition of her ruthless,
unrestricted submarine warfare. Our country bristled with war
sentiment.
Back in Washington at last, I rested for a few days and then
journeyed to South Carolina for a brief visit with my son-in-law and
daughter, Mr. and Mrs. David R. Coker, of Hartsville. The re­
mainder of my vacation was spent in Washington. During the latter
part of this rest period, the idea of writing a book about the Post Of­
fice, something I had planned to do for several years, evolved into
a decision. In consequence, from December i until March 22, and
with the valuable co-operation of my faithful and efficient secretary,
Franklin C. Parks, The United States Post Office became a reality.
The thought of getting the inside story of the mails to the American
public was gratifying, yet not more so than the inner pleasure it gave
me to sponsor something symbolic of my appreciation of and a testi-







! 64

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

monial to those who had served with me in the effort to raise postal
standards.
Toward the latter part of this time Postmaster General Burleson
and Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo called me into a conference.
“ As you know,” Mr. Burleson said, “ the amended Revenue Act pro­
vides for a Tariff Commission. The President has selected Dr. F. W .
Taussig, Professor of Economics at Harvard, to be chairman. He
knows of your experience with the Ways and Means Committee and
would appreciate it if you could send him a list of men who would
be available and desirable for the Commission. I agreed to submit a
list immediately. It was prepared within the next day or so, while
with Franklin C. Parks I applied myself to finishing the book.
Mr. Burleson called me again in a few days. This time he in­
formed me that the President wanted me to serve as Vice-Chairman
of the Tariff Commission, that he had given me the twelve-year, or
long, term and wanted me to be responsible for the Commission’s
organization. I was sworn in March 22, 1917. For the fifth time,
I was in the Federal service. The other commissioners, soon sworn
in, were: Dr. F. W . Taussig, Chairman; Edward P. Costigan, of
Colorado; William S. Culbertson, of Kansas; William Kent, of Cali­
fornia; and David J. Lewis, of Maryland.
The question of the tariff had been a bone of contention since the
birth of the Republic. If one cares to go back farther, the Boston
Tea Party may be a worthy starting point. Tariff schedules and the
niceties of the American tariff setup had always been complicated.
However, the basic principles of our tariff were, in reality, quite
simple and readily understood. I had some knowledge of the Reve­
nue Act, for I had followed with interest all legislation affecting the
branches of government with which I had had experience. The new
Tariff Commission, I was aware, was to be a fact-finding body, based
on the theory of a customs tax for revenue. Protection to industry
was to be incidental. Moreover, it was expected by the President who
had inspired the legislation that the law would be administered ac­
cording to his own theory: that customs tariff rates should be ar­
rived at on the basis of the difference between the cost of domestic
production and that of similar goods from foreign countries. In my
experience with the Ways and Means Committee I had already

T H E W EB OF W AR

^5

learned how impossible it was to obtain accurate knowledge of costs
of production even at home. Therefore, I anticipated that our task
at the Commission would not be easy. Furthermore, the war had
completely scrambled international trade.
The Commission members were congenial and fully appreciative
of the outstanding reputation and ability of the Chairman. W e held
a preliminary meeting, following which we proceeded to the routine,
but less important, duties of forming a working organization prop­
erly staffed, housed, and equipped. In a little while the Commission
was an efficient and smoothly functioning organization. At first meet­
ings were held almost daily; since we were supposed to be a fact­
finding body created to advise the President and Congress, many
schedules and commodities were considered. At the very outset, how­
ever, we saw the impossibility of obtaining accurate production costs
from foreign countries since little, if anything, was available from the
belligerents in the European war. The details of the Commission’s
work during my six-months service would have little interest. The
absorbing question when the Commission was organized was whether
or not America would have to go to war. The answer came when I
had been a member of the Commission less than two weeks.
11
Woodrow Wilson had worn himself ill trying to avert our entry
into the war. His sympathy was with the Allies, as a limited number
of his closest friends knew, yet he regarded it as his supreme duty
to preserve peace. Because of our detachment from the conflict he
had been accused of favoring “ peace at any price.” Earlier, he had
prevailed upon the Germans to refrain from their ruthless submarine
policy of sinking neutral and unarmed merchant ships and of sending
passenger ships laden with women and children to the bottom of the
sea. But by February the Germans had become desperate for vic­
tory. The British blockade was gradually having the effect of bring­
ing about a slow, but sure, starvation of the Germans. In view of
these facts, in March, soon after his inauguration, the President be­
gan a new series of notes to both Germany and the Allies. Those
were days when our future role hung in the balance, anxious days for
all who did not want war. Then came the note to Germany request­
ing what her peace terms would be. The answer was an insult. There







166

F IF T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

was no longer an alternative. On the night of April 2, unforgettable
to anyone living in Washington, the President addressed a joint ses­
sion of Congress.
Long before the appointed hour great throngs poured out upon
Pennsylvania Avenue. Everywhere flags were flying, and a guard of
cavalry was drawn up in front of the Capitol. Faces were grim, and
there was little laughter. As the time drew near, the Senators walked
in slow procession from their own wing of the Capitol to the House
of Representatives. In filed the members of the Cabinet and the Su­
preme Court; and in the gallery reserved for the diplomatic corps
one saw the emissaries of foreign countries. At last the President
entered and mounted the rostrum immediately in front of the Speak­
er’s platform. There was a hush as all present rose in respect to him.
H e began in a tone of deepest solemnity. The packed chamber lis­
tened to his every word in almost breathless silence. He outlined the
crisis, but without an overt declaration. The audience listened in­
tently a few moments longer. Then he said:

There is one choice we cannot m
ake, we are incapable of making;
we will not choose the path of subm
ission and suffer the m sacred
ost
rights of our nation and our people to be ignored or violated. The wrongs
against which we now array ourselves are no com on wrongs; they cut
m
to the very root of human life.
It is a fearful thing to lead this great, peaceful people into war, into
the m terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seem to
ost
ing
be in the balance. But the right is m precious than peace, and we shall
ore
fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts, for
democracy, for the right of those who subm to authority to have a voice
it
in their government, for the rights and liberties of sm nations, for a
all
universal dom
inion of right by such a concourse of free people as shall
bring peace and safety to all nations and m the world itself at last free.
ake
To such a task we can dedicate our lives and fortunes, everything that we
are and everything that we have, with the pride of those who know that
the day has com when America is privileged to spend her blood and her
e
might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace
which she has treasured. God helping her, she can do no other.
His voice stopped. There was a silent moment. H e was through.
The audience burst into a mighty cheer. Although everyone knew
that the Senate and House had to ratify the declaration, they knew

T H E W EB OF W AR

16 7

equally well that our Congress would doubtless have been mobbed
had it not done so. That same night the Senate voted ratification
by 82 to 6. The House passed it the next morning by a vote of
373 to 50. The President affixed his signature at 1:19 P.M .,
April 6. Before the night of the sixth was over, American troop
trains had begun to move, Western soldiers coming eastward to be
near points of embarkation. W e had joined the other democratic
powers of the world in the effort to stamp out German militarism.




m




CHAPTER XII

To Avert Physical Breakdown
PO N O U R E N T R Y into the war, Washington changed
from a quiet and orderly city to a hub of such great and hur­
ried activity that the scene sometimes bordered upon chaos.
Government officials carried unprecedented burdens. In addition to
their regular jobs they now had the burdens of the war. They served
on committees, were welded into co-ordinating agencies, and had to
make public addresses, both in and out of Washington. The morale
of the American people, although requiring no stimulation as to the
rightness of the step which had been taken, nevertheless had to be
heightened to the point where the prodigious tasks of war work, in­
cluding the raising of huge funds, would be met swiftly and surely.
As a member of the new Tariff Commission, I seemed to have my
hands full already, but hardly a day passed in which there was not
some call to additional service. The same was true of the other com­
missioners. W e had to attend outside meetings, luncheons and din­
ners, and often to speak at rallies. The Liberty Loan and other great
drives had to be executed in staccato fashion. What a credit to the
American people that no single drive failed. Not many weeks passed
before it became evident that unless something was done we would
give way to nerves. One of my colleagues, Commissioner Kent of
California, found the solution. Commissioner Kent1 had frequently
mentioned the nervous strain upon government executives, but one
day he came into my office to say that he had formed a plan to keep
us physically fit. “ I’ve been talking to Walter Camp about it,” he
said. “ W e need exercise— not just occasionally, but systematically,
every few days.” Walter Camp was then Director of Physical Train­
ing at Yale University. “ I think I can get Camp to come down,” he
went on. “ How would you like to come in with us?” I told him I

U

1 Commissioner Kent gave to the Government the great California red fir forest
preserve, now known as M uir Woods.

T O A V E R T P H Y S IC A L B R E A K D O W N

1 69

thought that it would be a privilege to do so. H e suggested that we
get together an informal group at his home. In this conversation we
discussed various people who might be interested, both of us making
suggestions.
As the result of this planning, the health club was soon formed.
Walter Camp came to Washington for two days of each week, and
on those days we met at seven-thirty each morning in Commissioner
Kent’s backyard. Camp put us through a half hour of physical drill,
calisthenics which corresponded to the army setting-up exercises.
After this vigorous session we ran around the block and returned to
the Kent home. There we had a delicious breakfast prepared under
the supervision of Mrs. Kent, the Commissioner’s gracious wife. W e
discussed many questions, developing fellowship that helped us to
meet the challenges of the times. The participants numbered, per­
haps, twenty, among whom were Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the
Interior} John W . Davis, Solicitor General} Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Assistant Secretary of the Navy} Edwin F. Sweet, Assistant Secre­
tary of Commerce} Louis F. Post, Assistant Secretary of Labor} and
others of note. Commissioner Kent never permitted any member of
the club to assist in meeting its expense.
I am impelled to record here the kindly interest of another out­
standing man in those nerve-wracking days, one who also was filled
with a deep interest in human beings} namely, John Skelton W il­
liams, then Comptroller of the Currency. On the Friday before La­
bor Day, 1917, he visited me at my office in the Tariff Commission.
After we had exchanged greetings, he extended an invitation for the
week-end. “ You need a real rest over Labor Day,” he said in his
friendly way. “ I won’t take no for an answer, either. I want you to
have your bag packed and down here at the office tomorrow at noon.
I’m going to call for you and take you to my summer place up at
Pen Mar.”
I did need the rest and was glad to accept his invitation. So it
was that he called the next day, accompanied by two other guests,
Robert S. Brookings, founder of the Brookings Institution, and Dr.
L. S. Rowe, Director of the Pan-American Union. I knew it would
be a delightful outing. W e reached Pen Mar about dark, visiting with
his family and the other guests for a short time before the evening







170

F IF T Y Y E A R S OF P U B L IC L IF E

meal. At dinner I was much surprised when Mr. Williams asked
Grace, because many people regarded him as being austere and un­
sympathetic. I was more surprised after the meal when the servants
followed us into the drawing room. Our host went to a side table
and opened a large family Bible. He read the major part of a chap­
ter and then offered an evening prayer. The servants withdrew, and
the service was over. During the rest of the evening the guests
mingled in most entertaining and absorbing conversation.
The next morning, being Sunday, Mr. Williams took us to the
Episcopal Church, and then, when the services were over, he said,
“ How would you like to pay a surprise call on the McAdoos? They
live just two miles away.” I answered that I would like to do so.
“ Fine,” he said, “ we’ll drive over after dinner.” I had no idea that
there might be a surprise for me at the McAdoos’, but we had been
close friends long before the campaign work in New York. There­
fore, I anticipated the trip with pleasure. We drove over shortly
after dinner, both Mr. and Mrs. McAdoo meeting us at the door.
McAdoo spoke first. Turning to Mrs. McAdoo (daughter of
Woodrow Wilson), he said, “ Eleanor, here’s the man we were just
talking about for Commissioner of Internal Revenue.” The state­
ment took me by complete surprise. In the next breath he continued,
“ I told her you were a man I’d be willing to risk my reputation as
Secretary of the Treasury on. Do you understand? In connection
with the collection and handling of war revenues that must be col­
lected under the bill now in conference between the two Houses.”
This surprising announcement was startling. “ That’s very compli­
mentary of you,” I replied. “ Not at all,” he said. “ But would you
be willing to resign your twelve-year job at $7,500 to accept the tem­
porary job as Commissioner of Internal Revenue at $6,000?”
It took me a moment to grasp the situation. The new Revenue
Bill and the collecting of the new income tax meant that the Com­
missioner of Internal Revenue would have to raise a great part of
the stupendous sum necessary to prosecute the war. It would be a
war service. I did not hesitate. “ I see,” I replied. “ It’s a war serv­
ice. I can’t refuse you. It’ll be a pleasure to work with and under
you.” We entered the house with the others. The matter was not
discussed further, but riding back to the Williams’ house that after-

noon I gave it a lot of thought. It would be my sixth government
job— under the circumstances one of the hardest tasks in the Federal
service.
During my stay with the Tariff Commission I had not had time
to formulate much in the way of new ideas about the tariff. M y
views had crystallized gradually since the days when I had been
Clerk of the Ways and Means Committee. In the environment of
that committee, my tariff views had been somewhat modified from
the set conception I had brought to Washington from South Caro­
lina. Listening in at hearings day after day, I had adjusted my origi­
nal views of “ tariff for revenue only” to our expanding industrial
system with allowance for some incidental protection. Also, I had
witnessed the effect of cotton mills moving south from New Eng­
land and the investment of Southern money in these new mills. In
a tariff debate about that time, Senator Tillman said, “ I am against
a protection policy of tariff, but if we must have it, I want my share.”
Thus, I sensed the tendency of a breaking down of the rigorous
Southern opposition to “ some tariff.”
On the other hand, I believed that the “ high protection” theory
would eventually break down through excessive greed and its cer­
tainty of creating monopolies. Through our Liberty Loan activities
we were lending large sums of money to European nations to prose­
cute the war. How was this money to be returned to us except by
lowering tariffs and admitting their goods into our markets? Already
I had been shocked at the sinister motives of those interests that
would protect their greed by all manner of subterfuge and dishon­
esty, such as log-rolling and vote swapping by members of Congress
and efforts at vote purchasing by outside interests.
Apparently, though, my tariff days were over. M y dominant
thought now was to discharge the patriotic duty which William Gibbs
McAdoo was about to intrust to me.







A Billion Dollars in Ten Days
N E OF the first statements issued to the press after I was
sworn in as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, September
25, 1917, ran as follows: “ It matters little whether any man
acting as a t a x s l a c k e r is the paid agent of Germany. He is doing
the Kaiser’s work, he is doing the Kaiser’s will, he should have the
Kaiser’s reward. He is a traitor, and as a traitor you should know
him.”

O

There were literally thousands of things to be done, including a
complete reorganization of the Bureau and the inauguration of a
brand-new setup for the complicated task which lay before me. The
one overpowering thought never to be lost sight of was: W e had to
win the war. W e could not win it without money. W e could not
win it without the products of the income and other new taxes levied
under the provisions of the new Revenue Act of 1917, then in con­
ference between the two Houses of Congress.
Several days intervened between the time of my appointment,
confirmation by the United States Senate, and the arrival of my
commission from President Wilson. I tried to put them to advan­
tage. With the permission of the Secretary of the Treasury, William
Gibbs McAdoo, at this juncture I conferred with the Honorable
Claude Kitchin, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and
Chairman of the Conferees on the bill. In this conference I explained
to Chairman Kitchin that the bill was very inadequate and that I
foresaw grave difficulties in administering it unless certain changes
could be made. Primarily I requested a provision giving the Com­
missioner of Internal Revenue authority to appoint advisory boards
to assist in the administration of the new law. I told him that these
boards could be formed as voluntary committees, but I preferred to
have them authorized by Congress. The astute and conscientious Mr.

A BILLION DOLLARS IN TEN DAYS

i 73

Kitchin slowly shook his head and explained that the bill then in
conference was none too popular with the country. For the first time
in history, Congress was passing a law which probed into the per­
sonal and private affairs of American citizens to an extent never
dreamed of before. Uncle Sam was putting his hand very deeply in
the pockets of his citizens. To take the bill from the conferees and
refer it again to open debate in the two Houses, M r. Kitchin contin­
ued, would be disastrous and would materially delay and interfere
with collecting revenue to meet war emergencies. I told him that I
understood and that we would therefore proceed to utilize commit­
tees rather than boards.
A few hours after this conference, I received my commission
signed by President Wilson and Secretary McAdoo. After being
sworn in to office, I immediately proceeded with a study of the inter­
nal organization of the Bureau. I turned to Joseph H . Callan, who
had been associated with me in the Post Office Department, first as
my secretary and then as Superintendent of the City Delivery Serv­
ice. He had gone with me to the Tariff Commission, where he was
Assistant Secretary. From there, at his own request, he accompanied
me to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. “ Joe,” I said, “ your first job
is to head an inventory committee. I’d like for you and your com­
mittee to find out just what it is we are taking over; that is, take an
inventory of the Bureau.”
Callan, applying his unusual energy and intelligence, soon found
that we needed space for the enlarged organization required under
the new act, also that a complete reorganization of personnel, both
in the Bureau and in the field, was imperative. It is well to recall
that the income tax amendment to the Constitution was enacted Feb­
ruary 25, 1913. Previously, the principal sources of Federal income
were the customs tariff and excise taxes. The first income tax law
under the Sixteenth Amendment was approved October 3, 1913, ef­
fective March 1, 1913. This law imposed a normal tax of 1 per cent
on the net incomes of individuals, estates, trusts, and corporations.
The surtax rate was graduated from 1 to 6 per cent on net incomes
in excess of $20,000. In the Revenue Act of 1916 the normal rate
was practically doubled, and the surtax ranged from 1 per cent on
net incomes of $20,000 to 13 per cent on net incomes of $2,000,000







174

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

or above. The next income tax law, that of 1917, passed October 3,
1917, and retroactive to January 1, 1917, was the law that I was be­
ing inducted into the Bureau to administer. It imposed the highest
rates ever enacted up to that time.
The war news from Europe was daily more terrifying. Govern­
ment expenditures were skyrocketing. None could foresee how many
billions of dollars would be needed to win, since our Allies depended
upon us for money as well as for men. Speed, therefore, was of the
essence of my problem. We had to find men who were efficient, ef­
fective, and thoroughly trustworthy to administer the big income
tax law upon which so much depended.
In my “ cabinet” I had Joseph H. Callan, who had been associated
with me in the Post Office Department and also at the Tariff Com­
mission} Executive Assistant Paul F. Myers} Franklin C. Parks from
the Post Office Department} Clarence B. Hurrey, formerly of the
Post Office Department, then an employee of the United States
Chamber of Commerce; John E. Walker, who had succeeded me as
Clerk of the Ways and Means Committee; James M. Baker, for­
merly Secretary of the United States Senate; J. Craig Peacock, Sec­
retary of the Excess Profits Tax Reviewers. These men had difficult
tasks involving complicated and baffling problems in organization and
in conducting their respective units of the bureau. They all justified
my high faith in them.
It was necessary to arouse a public consciousness of the partner­
ship relation formed by this drastic Internal Revenue Act if we
were to achieve co-operation between the Government and the tax­
payers in administering the law with justice and equity. To this end
we created a committee of attorneys who, as described to the public,
were to review from time to time the decisions of the legal forces of
the Bureau. This first group of outside attorneys consisted of Samuel
Untermeyer, Arthur A. Ballantine, and D. J. Kelleher.
W e then brought into the family an Advisory Committee on
Excess Profits consisting of Cordell H ull, Chairman; Thomas S.
Adams, Professor of Economics at Yale University and already an
advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, Vice-Chairman; E. T.
Meredith, of Iowa, later Secretary of Agriculture; Stuart W.
Cramer, a cotton manufacturer of Charlotte, North Carolina; J. E.
Sterrett, of Price Waterhouse Company of New York City; W. D.

A B IL L IO N D O L L A R S IN T E N D A Y S

17 5

Simmons, of Simmons Hardware Company, Philadelphia} S. R.
Bertram, a New York banker} and Henry Walters, President of the
Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Through the assistance of the Certified
Public Accountants’ organization, a group of tax reviewers was cre­
ated which afterwards became the basis of the present-day Tax Ap­
peals Board. This combination of advisory groups— lawyers, busi­
nessmen, and accountants— served as a great bulwark for efficiency
and helped to establish public confidence.
One illustration of the effectiveness of this setup is worth noting.
One morning a Mr. Kavanagh, of St. Louis, called to see me,
complaining that he had been improperly assessed to the amount of
$40,000. “ W hy don’t you get some man in here that knows some­
thing about business?” he asked. I answered quietly: “ Mr. Kavanagh,
Pm glad you have come here. If you can, I would like to have you
stay here about two days and study the setup of the Bureau. I think
that it will help to straighten out your difficulties.”
Mr. Kavanagh consented and I turned him over to Mr. Callan
for the next two days. When the complainant returned late in the
afternoon of the second day, there was a smile instead of a frown on
his face. He had met men of whom he had heard for years but had
never seen; he had not dreamed that they were now in the Bureau.
“ Mr. Commissioner,” he said, “ I want to apologize to you. I want
to apologize for my ignorance of what you are trying to do. I had
no idea you had such men as I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
Not only have I been convinced that you don’t owe me $40,000, but
I’m convinced that I owe you $2,500!” and he explained why. Put­
ting out his hand to say goodbye, he concluded: “ I’m sending my
check with the proper explanation to the collector of our district.
I assure you it’ll be a pleasure to do so.”
The incident was one of many that brought me great satisfaction
in this work. I felt that my committee had been justified, and I was
grateful to those who had helped toward this constructive achieve­
ment.
Not all of my interviews were so pleasant as that with the busi­
nessman from St. Louis. One morning I began to get calls from
Capitol H ill: Congressman A. was calling, or Senator B. They
were introducing me to a man at that time visiting them in their of­
fices. I said: “ Send your man along.” The man arrived while a num-







17 6

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

ber of people waited in my rather large office. I asked them to be
patient while I saw this latest caller first, since he had an urgent
matter. Mr. A. noted the people sitting around and asked if he
might see me in my private office. “This is my private office,” I re­
plied, “ if your business affects the government.” “ Oh,” he said. “ I
thought I might get to talk to you privately.” I repeated that we
were in my private office for government work.
“ I came here,” he said in what was almost a whisper, “ to tell
you where you can collect a lot of money for the Government. I
know the people and you can get the goods on them.” “ Then pro­
ceed,” I said. “ And give me names.” “ Oh,” he replied, “ I’ve got
to have a contract with you before I give any names.” “ What kind
of a contract?” I asked. “ I want 15 per cent of what you recover for
turning them in.” I looked him squarely in the eye. “ Are you an
American citizen?” I asked. “ Do you want your country to win this
war?” “ Certainly I am,” he said in a tone that was slightly arrogant.
“ And why do you ask?” “ Because,” I answered him, “ you’ve made
an impression on me to the contrary. Certainly no good citizen would
think of profiting on the understated taxes of his neighbors— people
unfamiliar with the intricacies of this complicated tax law, not if he
were a good citizen and had the right attitude toward his own people
— and the right attitude toward defending his country in this war.”
Mr. A. said nothing, but a flush was on his face. In the next
moment I said, “ I demand from you the names, but with the distinct
understanding there’ll be no commissions paid to a man spying on
his neighbors.” He seemed determined to bluff it out. “ I couldn’t
give them to you,” he said, “ without conferring with my associates.”
“ Associates?” I replied. “ So you have accomplices in your efforts to
defraud your own government?” His face reddened again. “ Listen
to me,” I told him. “ I’d have you arrested immediately but for one
thing. Maybe you are confused by the old ‘informer fee provision’
of the whiskey law, which provides fees for those who guide revenue
men to stills. On this account I’m letting you go in peace. But it’s
with the understanding that you are to bring back those names im­
mediately— names and addresses.”
I can see him now as he double-quick-stepped out of the office
with his long coat tails actually swinging in the air. But I never saw

him again. W e had to deal with all types of people and saw many
efforts to defame character.
From my experience as Clerk of the Ways and Means Commit­
tee, as a member of the Tariff Commission, and as Commissioner of
Internal Revenue I became convinced that we could never hope to
get a perfect tax law or secure a tax administration satisfactory to all
the people. However, as complications in taxation increased, it was
more and more necessary to strive toward improved tax legislation
and equitable administration. With the Government in partnership
with business, it was increasingly important that the partners co-op­
erate for their common good and not antagonize each other. This
idea lay at the foundation of my plans for organizing the Bureau of
Internal Revenue.
Because many serious charges were reaching the Bureau alleging
tax frauds and irregularities involving important taxpayers, and
sometimes employees of the Internal Revenue Service, I decided to
create an Intelligence Unit to investigate such charges and to increase
the sources of information needed to protect both the Revenue Serv­
ice and the public from increasing frauds. Having high admiration
for the Post Office Inspectors, based on personal knowledge, I went
to the Postmaster General and told him that I needed at least six
Inspectors for the creation of this unit. Little did I realize that I
was about to form one of the most important and indispensable units
of the Federal service.
Mr. Burleson, always co-operative, agreed for me to have “ six
men of my own choosing— but no more.” However, I got away with
seven. They were: Elmer Irey, Hugh McQuillan, Arthur A. Nich­
ols, Everett Parker, Arthur Smith, Herbert B. Lucas, and Frank
Frayser. Irey was made chief of this unit, a position which he holds
with great distinction today (1941).
Perhaps I can most effectively illustrate the service of this Intel­
ligence Unit to the Bureau and to the public by giving two examples.
The files of the Intelligence Unit show that the first investigation,
which netted the Government a million dollars, related to a conspir­
acy on the part of two Certified Public Accountants doing business
under the trade name of X and Company, New York City, with an
Internal Revenue Inspector. The statement of the case is as follows:







!78
FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
It was their practice to call on individuals and business concerns having
substantial incom and suggest to them that they participate in a “fool­
es
proof” schem to defraud the Government of taxes. The fee which they
e
asked was set at 20 per cent of the am
ount of taxes defrauded.
The plan was a deliberate fraud and consisted of falsifying and de­
stroying records. The dishonest Internal Revenue Inspector’s part in the
conspiracy was to m the official exam
ake
ination of the fraudulent return,
report superficial changes, and otherwise accept the return as filed.
One of the taxpayers approached by the group prom reported the
ptly
solicitation to the Collector of Internal Revenue at New York City.
The Intelligence Unit was called upon to investigate the matter. This
Unit then was in the process of organization. There was only one Post
Office Inspector other than the Chief of the Unit whose transfer to the
Intelligence Unit had been effected. This Inspector was the entire field
force of the Unit, operating under the direction of the Chief at the tim
e
this case was assigned to the Unit for investigation. Within a few weeks,
and prior to com
pletion of the investigation, he was assisted by others who
were as prom
ptly as possible transferred from the Post Office Inspection
Service.
The stage was set for the apprehension of the accountants and Reve­
nue Inspector. When the latter and one of the accountants left the tax­
payer’s office, they were taken into custody by the Special Agents. They
found $2,000 on the Revenue Inspector, the m
oney having been m
arked
for identification earlier in the day and then returned to the taxpayer for
use in making the paym
ent.
As a part of a prearranged plan, the files of the accounting firm were
seized. Examination disclosed that the defendants had prepared the in­
com tax returns of one hundred and fifteen firm and individuals. Each
e
s
of these cases was investigated very carefully. In alm every instance
ost
substantial am
ounts of additional taxes were found to be due. It was clear
that the conspirators had followed the sam plan of defrauding the Gov­
e
ernment of taxes throughout their entire clientele.
The additional taxes disclosed, as a result of the exam
ination of their
clients’ returns, amounted to m than $i,000,000 exclusive of penal­
ore
ties. The disclosure of this fraud was highly publicized. It served to put
dishonest accountants, Internal Revenue em
ployees and taxpayers on no­
tice that there had been created an organization with which they would
have to contend in any attem
pted fraudulent practices.

wwt*

A B IL L IO N D O L L A R S IN T E N D A Y S

179

The following is another case of a different type:

Mr. A., an attorney, was engaged in the practice of crim
inal law at
Washington, D. C., for several years. One of his clients was Mr. X., an
aged, wealthy and eccentric individual. X. had been sued on several oc­
casions by women who charged that he had assaulted them Although A.
.
was retained to act as Mr. X.’s attorney in these cases, he evolved a black­
mailing schem whereby large settlem
e
ents could be obtained from Mr. X.
through “frameups.”
Associated with A. in this conspiracy were B., a disbarred attorney,
and C., a bootlegger, who procured the women. These women would call
to see X. at his apartment under various ruses and later would bring suit
claiming that they had been criminally assaulted by X.
The women were represented by attorneys who acted upon the in­
structions of B.; while A., on the other hand, would advise X. to settle
the cases. Upon A.’s suggestion, X. would pay over large sum of m
s
oney
to him with instructions to obtain settlem
ents. During the years 1930 and
1931 X. was swindled out of more than $100,000. The women who
were involved received only nominal am
ounts. In one instance, X. paid
$35,000 to settle the case of one woman. Only $1,500 of that amount
was paid to her. The balance was retained by A., who paid B. and C. a
sm share for their part in the “frameup.” The settlem
all
ents with the
other women were sim
ilar.
A. did not report any of this incom on his returns. It was established
e
that his correct incom for the years 1930 and 1931 was $49,771.98 and
e
$100,621.22. He had reported but $19,103.32 and $40,325.18, respec­
tively, for those years.
Total additional taxes and penalties in the amount of $32,985.34
were established. A. was indicted for tax evasion and on December 27,
1933>sentenced to serve eighteen m
onths in the Atlanta penitentiary and
to pay a fine of $10,000.
Where many law enforcement agencies have failed, the Internal
Revenue Investigators have succeeded. A 1 Capone and Waxy Gordon
are just two of the now notorious Americans who could corroborate
my statement. And it is with the deep pride of authorship I view the
fine deeds of this, “ my old unit.”
n
In those feverish days there were almost daily conferences with
the Secretary of the Treasury and his financial counselors. The early







180

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

tide of resentment against the income tax law was gradually broken
down. Yet there were those who pointed to their large contributions
to the patriotic drives of the day and asked why the Government
wanted to go into their private affairs. We expected to make mis­
takes, but I tried to see that such mistakes were adjusted expedi­
tiously. The campaign to stimulate public confidence was unceasing.
One instance of it is vivid in my memory.
Robert J. Cuddihy, publisher of The Literary Digest, had been
instrumental in getting my book on the Post Office published. When
I saw the need of widespread education and publicity among the peo­
ple of the country, I also sought a way to enlist the clergy of America
in our cause. But how could I reach them? I thought of Cuddihy.
Perhaps The Literary Digest had such a mailing list. This proved
to be true. Cuddihy came to Washington, and I outlined my plan to
him. H e informed me that his mailing list included one hundred
and twenty-five thousand clergymen. “ How can I fit in?” he then
asked. “ If I send you one hundred and twenty-five thousand en­
velopes will you run them through your stencils?” Continuing, I
asked him if he would help me prepare a letter to the clergymen of
the country asking them to set aside two or three Sundays upon which
they would tell their congregations the importance of financing the
war through the income tax. He arose and began to pace silently up
and down the room. Finally, he turned to me. “ Roper, I’ll do more
than that. I’ll carry a full-page free advertisement in the Digest for
six months. And I’ve got in mind the heading for the page. W e’ll
call it, ‘ t h e g l o r y o f p a y i n g t h e i n c o m e t a x . ’ ” Cuddihy, noble
soul that he was, kept his word.
What a strange assortment of replies these letters brought. A
small minority were protests, but thousands responded with cheerful
affirmatives. Some even mailed their sermons to me. I shall never
forget one letter from a superannuated clergyman in the Middle
West. “ Dear Mr. Commissioner,” he wrote. “ Am appealed to by
your letter, but I am superannuated. I haven’t got a pulpit any more.
Enclosed you will find two dollars. It’s all I can spare from my
little income, but I’m sending it in the hope you can find somebody
to preach the sermon for me.” I sent him a letter of gratitude and
returned his two dollars, telling him to procure a goods box and,

Businessmen were deriving one inestimable benefit from the new
law. Complicated and technical as were its minutiae, they were learn­
ing how to keep accurate records of profit and loss. A portion of the
large corporations, however, found themselves lacking in men with
the requisite training to meet the law’s complex character. Thus be­
gan the drain upon our best men. W hile the Bureau was growing
and was to reach a personnel of twenty-five thousand in my time as
Commissioner, business was continually skimming the cream of
trained men from our organization. As man after man left to accept
financial beguilement, the condition gave cause for alarm. I called in
my “ Little Cabinet,” Callan, Parks, Hurrey, Talbert, Walker and a
few others, and we evolved a plan to start our own training school.
That same day I wired Homer S. Pace of the Pace and Pace
Accounting Schools in New York. The next morning he was in
Washington, and we had a long talk about the exodus of trained per­
sonnel. The outcome was the organization of a night school under
Mr. Pace’s supervision. The Heads of Divisions in the Bureau be­
came Mr. Pace’s professors. The school was housed in the upper
story of the old K Street Auditorium, later known as the K Street
Market. W e soon had twelve hundred students who obtained their
training without tuition. In this way we successfully met this chal­
lenge. M y policy was never to discourage a man who could improve
his financial status by leaving us. Unrest was harmful for the Bu­
reau, and I wanted to help those who wished properly to help them­
selves. This policy tended to keep us all co-operative and effective
in the work.
hi

There were legal snarls, accounting discrepancies of wide vari­
ance, and similar daily events that made us shiver in our boots. One
proposal well-nigh baffled all of us; namely, the dilemma of Henry
Ford and the Dodge Brothers. Mr. Alfred Lucking, Henry Ford’s
attorney, came to see me. “ You’re aware,” he began, “ that Mr.
Ford and the Dodge Brothers have reached the parting of the ways.
One side or the other must be bought if the industry is to be pre­
served. The only way,” he continued, “ that the deal can go through







! 82

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

is for you to give us an advance valuation of the stock and let us
know what the total tax will be.”
Here was a transaction of a nature I had never faced. M y reply
to Mr. Lucking was that we could not decide hypothetical cases, or
pass upon trades not yet made. “ But think, Mr. Commissioner,
Lucking protested, “ you have an exceptional opportunity. By help­
ing effect the sale, you’ll save one of the country’s largest industries.
And at the same time you will collect several million dollars in
taxes.”
I then assured him that I was interested in doing both; so I asked
him to give me a few hours to confer with advisers. Mr. Lucking
agreed to call back that afternoon. I summoned Mr. Percy S. Tal­
bert, our most experienced tax expert. After stating the case, I asked
if he was willing to appraise and fix a valuation upon the Ford stock.
“ Quite willing,” he replied, “ if you’ll let me have two field men
I have great confidence in.” He named them. “ Get your men,” I
told him, “ and proceed to Detroit.” I didn’t hear from Talbert for
two weeks. When he came back, he laid his report upon my desk.
He had fixed the valuation at nine thousand dollars a share. He had
facts and figures that convinced me, and after a careful analysis of
them, I approved the report. The Ford-Dodge transaction went
through. The Government collected several millions in taxes.
The Excess Profits Tax, something entirely new in the field of
American taxation, was perhaps the most difficult problem encoun­
tered. Under the law the tax was based on invested capital. It
quickly developed that strict accounting procedure in determining
invested capital resulted in many instances in grave inequities. The
larger, more highly capitalized corporations were found to be unduly
favored, while many of the smaller companies, particularly “ family”
corporations and those whose income depended principally on per­
sonal services, were heavily penalized. Insofar as discretionary action
was legally possible, these serious defects in the law were overcome
through prompt administrative action and later confirmed by reme­
dial legislation. In certain classes of cases average earnings over a
period of years for invested capital were substituted as a more equi­
table base for determining the excess profits tax.

A B IL L IO N D O L L A R S IN T E N D A Y S

183

IV
A ll the great war drives had their anxious moments, times when
it appeared that failure rather than victory would write the final
chapter. In those crises it was the responsibility of leaders on the
home front to inject new spirit and intensified vigor into their cohorts.
It did not seem to me that we were fighting an ordinary war. Rather,
it was the volcanic reaction of the accumulated forces of evil and
oppression against centuries of progress from barbarism toward civili­
zation. “ W hile our soldiers and sailors pay the full price,” I told
my field men, “ you will be giving your vigilant, unselfish and in­
defatigable service with quick understanding and keen enthusiasm to
keeping open the life stream of revenue that finances the nation in
both peace and war. And let no man lack the knowledge of just
how the paying of his tax is a part in the winning of the war. Every
dollar of liberty tax supports many dollars of liberty loans.” And
then came a day when it seemed to me that I was being asked to do
what only Divine Providence could accomplish.
Early one morning Secretary McAdoo summoned me to his
office. This in itself was certainly not unusual. But upon this particu­
lar morning I was asked to drop everything and come as quickly as
I could. I wondered if some serious mistake had been made and if
so what it might have been. Perhaps, I thought, there had occurred
a costly error, or some invasion of private rights, which had been
reported to the White House. These and scores of kindred imagin­
ings, which would be meaningless to those unversed in the labyrinths
of departmental procedure, raced through my mind. “ Roper,” the
Secretary began, and a silence fell over the room, “ the President has
just signed the Revenue Act of 1918. You know what the changes
are. There are so many that the forms cannot be printed and dis­
tributed over the country between now and March 15. Not only that
— the average person doesn’t know a thing about this new law. It
changes classifications, all the exemptions— practically everything.
And the taxes are due on March 15.” H e paused a moment, and
I nodded that I understood. I had expected that there would be
some delay.
“ W e’ve got a worse worry than that, Roper,” M r. McAdoo con­
tinued. “ The European situation has thrown our balances out of
gear. W e must have from this act a billion dollars by March 15 to







j

84

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

meet the country’s outstanding certificates.” I must have felt a little
faint, for knowing our normal collections, knowing of the individual
delays caused by the tempo of the times, the collecting of a billion
dollars in less than two weeks— about ten days, eliminating two Sun­
days— could scarcely be expected with anything short of a miracle.
“ We can’t default on our securities,” Mr. McAdoo went on. “ And
we have important European commitments.”
I was trying to think and trying to think fast. Every day of the
war had increased my faith in the American people. I had seen them
rise to emergencies day after day, week after week. I had seen them
respond to the old cry of “ Give till it hurts.” I believed that a
proper appeal would bring response. My own voice must have
sounded a little strange to me, but there was only one way, and I
thought I saw that way. Looking at Mr. McAdoo, I said, “ We’ll
have to appeal to the people.” “ In what way?” he inquired. “ By
asking them to estimate their taxes. We can adjust them later.” He
nodded. “ I believe you are right. Suppose you make the appeal.”
I told him that I would, and the conference ended. I hurried back to
my office, relieved that the suspense was over, but overwhelmed with
this new burden— this veritable mountain, as it were, which had to
be scaled and surmounted.
It was one of the most exciting days of my life. Within an hour
the appeal was being made. Washington newspapermen, press asso­
ciations, every channel of communication was employed. Soon the
wires burned with the message that the American people were to
estimate their taxes in order to preserve the credit of their country.
They were to estimate them and pay at least one fourth on March
15. Adjustments would be made later. What days were those which
followed! The postal service was glutted. Nothing like it was ever
seen at the collector’s offices, perhaps will ever be seen again. By
check and money order, sometimes cash, the American people began
to respond to that appeal. The aisles of the Internal Revenue quar­
ters were filled with letters containing money. The lights burned
all night as a literal army of workers opened the mail and recorded
the individual returns. May I here say a final word in praise of my
fellow American taxpayers, the collectors, and our entire field and
office staff who are still living and who responded to that appeal.
A ll the returns had been counted on March 15. America came
through with $1,100,000,OOO!

N arcotics and Prohibition

“^ H E W O R L D W A R revealed to our Government the shock­
ing inroads made upon the nation’s manpower by that de­
stroyer of destroyers, dope. In New York City alone eight
thousand men were rejected in the first selective draft of 1917 be­
cause they were drug addicts— eight thousand men in early manhood
destroyed by drugs. When I became Commissioner of Internal Rev­
enue (19 17 ), it appeared that something would have to be done to
checkmate this evil.
The Bureau was charged with the duty of collecting taxes on the
sale of drugs, and it was also invested with police powers for the
apprehension of offenders against the Narcotics Law. When the New
York situation was disclosed by the army, and when it was estimated
that eighty thousand men between the ages of twenty-one and thirtyfive had been rejected in the nation as a whole, it became apparent
that the total number of drug addicts of all ages in the United States
might exceed a million. Certainly here was cause for action.
In one of the early efforts to arouse the American people to this
menace a memorandum was prepared under my direction and made
public, containing the following statements:

The illicit traffic in narcotics is carried on almost exclusively by denizens
of the underworld and unprincipled manufacturers and importers of drugs.
There are, of course, som unprincipled m to be found among those
e
en
who advertise themselves as practicing physicians and retail druggists, but
m of the illicit traffic is carried on by exconvicts who procure their sup­
ost
plies from wholesalers and importers through surreptitious channels.
It is said to he a slogan in the underworld that six months unmolested
in the peddling of dope means independent wealth. T he consequence is
that among the dope peddlers are found the worst type of criminals, who
formerly gained their livelihood by blowing safes, picking pockets, and other
practices which have been found to lead more rapidly to jail sentences.




'

~v - w
*
-




! 86
FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
The profits exacted from the addicts are alm unbelievable. For exam
ost
­
ple, heroin bought in quantities at $20 an ounce is peddled in adulterated
form at from $2 00 to $300 an ounce. In one raid recently m by the
ade
Internal Revenue officers, two large steam trunks were seized contain­
er
ing alm 4,000 ounces of narcotics. At peddler prices $800,000 worth
ost
of dope was confiscated.
Thus began our campaign.
The subject was not entirely new to me. I had visited state insti­
tutions, including hospitals for the insane. On these visits, I had
inspected wards where patients were pointed out as having been ad­
mitted because of dope, men and women who, we were informed,
had lost the use of their brains through addiction to drugs. What
pathetic spectacles they presented; the sight of them was etched upon
my memory forever. Again, while I was with the Ways and Means
Committee— perhaps while we were working on the very bill which
restricted the sale of drugs, the Harrison Bill— the valued manager
of my South Carolina farm was killed by dope. This man had
worked for me for twenty-two years, and there had never been a
cross word between us. He was always faithful to his task. He made
it a practice never to drink until his farm crops were in; then, after
the harvest, he went on periodical sprees. On one of these, and when
he could obtain no more to drink, he asked a druggist to give him
something for his nerves. What he got proved to be an overdose of
some kind of narcotic which killed him.
The history of narcotics is relatively unimportant here. In this
country their widespread use became alarming about the beginning
of the twentieth century, so much so that many state laws were passed
to control the traffic. When the state laws proved to be inadequate,
the Federal Government intervened with the Harrison Acts, known
as the Anti-Narcotic Laws. Since I had worked with Congressman
Francis Burton Harrison, the author of these laws, while Clerk of the
Ways and Means Committee in 1911 and 1912, I naturally took a
great interest in following through with their administration when I
became Commissioner. But the latter experience disclosed to me how
inadequate they were to eradicate the peddler.
Now we had the menace of the peddler at the gates of our army
camps, and even at the doors of our schools. Investigation by a spe­
cial committee headed by Representative Henry T. Rainey of Illinois

N A R C O T IC S A N D P R O H I B I T I O N

1 87

revealed that thousands of drafted men had been dismissed from the
army when found to be drug addicts. Moreover, some of them had
systematically developed the habit after entering the army in order
to insure their dismissal. Many and highly ingenious were the de­
vices used by the peddlers to get the dope into the camps. It was
concealed in pies, in boxes of candy or cakes. There were instances
where paper was soaked in a narcotic solution; by chewing the paper
the addict could get the effect of the drug. In other cases the dope
was concealed in knitted goods, such as sweaters, gloves, or helmets,
sent as gifts.
Inadequate as was the Harrison Law, four thousand persons had
been prosecuted under it with about three thousand convictions.
Knowledge that the whole physical and moral stamina of the indi­
vidual weakened under the constant use of narcotics, that the more
drug addiction the country had the greater would be its volume of
crime, that the more drug addiction the quicker would be the break­
down of moral standards, suggested this as a possible field for con­
structive action. Consequently, the recommendations for the Revenue
Act of 1918, which was approved February 24, 1919, included two
important provisions: (1) that there be levied a license tax of twentyfour dollars a year on importers, manufacturers, and producers of
narcotics, and a license of twelve dollars on wholesalers, retailers, and
practitioners; (2) that a commodity tax of a cent an ounce be imposed
on all manufacturers of such drugs and that their purchase be made
unlawful unless they were contained in a stamped package.
Under these provisions any person selling, producing, dispensing,
or prescribing narcotics would be required to have a Federal license
revocable on any abuse of the privilege. Purchasers of narcotics had
to obtain them from licensed dealers. Therefore, when an agent of
the Internal Revenue Bureau discovered an addict and found dope in
his pockets not contained in a stamped package, it was prima facie
evidence of violation of the law. These two provisions gave teeth to
the law and made possible the foundation of the Narcotic Unit of
the Bureau— a unit destined to grow in succeeding years into an or­
ganization in which the nation might justly take pride.1
1 A t present

(1941)




the N arcotic Unit

is headed by H. J.

Anslinger.




188

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
ii

Enforcement of the new law called for increased personnel, but
for the first time the country had a system of control. Immediately,
there were protests, for the dope addict is not confined to the lowly
poor and the vagabond. Two interesting cases stand out in my mind.
From Maryland the agents reported an entire family that had fallen
victims to paregoric. Husband and father, wife, sister-in-law, and
daughter— all were addicts except the father. He confessed that he
had mortgaged his home for four thousand dollars, spending the
entire sum and much of his additional earnings to keep the rest of
the family in narcotics. Paregoric could then be purchased at any
drugstore without a physician’s prescription and with no restriction
upon the druggist.
Another case was that of a young attorney from North Carolina
who came to my office in the Bureau at Washington. “ Mr. Commis­
sioner,” he pleaded, “ your new regulation further restricting narcotics
is going to drive me out of this country to Canada.” “ What regula­
tion?” I inquired. The man was faultlessly dressed and of attractive
appearance. “ Your regulation drastically reducing the amount of
dope one person can buy. I’ll have to leave my wife and two chil­
dren. I’ll have to give up a successful law practice.” I looked at him.
“ How tall are you?” I asked. “ Six feet,” he replied. “ And you mean
to tell me,” I said, “ that a man as big as you, a man with your edu­
cation and standing, would forsake the only things that are sacred in
life for the sake of a little habit?” He dropped his eyes in shame, and
his voice evidenced his embarrassment, as he said, “ I can’t help it,
Mr. Commissioner.” “ Does your family know of this?” I asked.
“ No,” he replied. “ They have never suspected me.” I reflected for
a moment, finally coming to a decision. Looking up at the young
lawyer, I said, “ How about giving me the name of your local physi­
cian? I’ll write him a letter. I’ll ask him to make a study of your
case. I should like for him to assume the responsibility, and I’ll ask
him to make such recommendations as he feels your case justifies.”
It would seem unnecessary to go further into the details of the
enforcement machinery set up in the Bureau of Internal Revenue for
the control of narcotics during my administration. We tried to meet
the challenge of the times, especially the challenge of the dope ped­
dler who sought to prey upon soldiers. But as was the case with

NARCOTICS AND PROHIBITION

189

every other law, public sentiment was the real measure of our suc­
cess. This led me to the conclusion that if the public, always incensed
at the doping of race horses, could be aroused into one half the same
state of indignation over the destruction of human beings by im­
proper drugs, the problem would be easier of solution.
A court case illustrates further the character and importance of
the public service rendered by the Bureau in administering these
laws:

As the result of an arrest on November 26, 1918, Government offi­
cers were enabled to break up a group of illicit peddlers in narcotic drugs
who obtained their supply by stealing or otherwise obtaining official order
forms and having them filled at wholesale drug houses. On that date the
officers, having received information that a large purchase of drugs was to
be made at a wholesale drug store at Little Rock, Arkansas, visited the
store and observed that a woman had just given an em
ployee therein an
order form in the name of J. N. Thompson, Memphis, Tennessee, for 70
ounces of morphine and 10 ounces of cocaine. They left the store and
remained outside until the order had been filled and then arrested the
woman.
This woman later implicated H. Diggs Nolen of the H. D. Nolen
Drug Company, Memphis, Tennessee, who had used the store as a cover
for his unlawful activities, and his brother, Floyd Nolen. H. Diggs Nolen
had given her the order form and told her to execute it herself and Floyd
Nolen accompanied her to Little Rock, Arkansas. The officers kept the
Nolen store under surveillance and on January 17, 1920, H. Diggs Nolen
m
ade a sale of narcotics without a prescription or order form and was
arrested. Floyd Nolen pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve a year
and a day in the Federal Penitentiary, Atlanta, Georgia, and to pay a fine
of $500. H. Diggs Nolen was tried; however the jury disagreed. He
later pleaded guilty and was fined $500 and costs.
H. Diggs Nolen had served a term of imprisonment in the Federal
Penitentiary for using the m with intent to defraud, and Floyd Nolen
ails
had also served a term of imprisonment for safe blowing.
Day after day cases were brought to my attention where drug­
gists, physicians, and hospital nurses surrendered to greed. Finally
I concluded that four things were necessary to enforce the antinarcotic
laws: (1) There must be vigorous support by the American Medical
Association of an educational program among both physicians and
people. (2) Other marketable crops must be substituted for the







1 9o

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

opium poppy wherever it is grown. (3) The laws must have vigorous
and uncompromising enforcement adequately financed and efficiently
managed. (4) Profits must be eliminated from the sale of narcotics,
by manufacturing and distributing them at cost for proper uses.
hi

All my life I had been in favor of temperance in the use of
alcoholic beverages. I agreed substantially with the statement of
David Lloyd George:

Our enem today is not a foreign foe but undernourishm and lack
y
ent
of m
eans to earn a sufficient and honorable livelihood in the hom of the
es
land. In that struggle drink still plays its old part as the m dangerous
ost
ally of the enem forces. It is well worth our while to take thought how
y
best this m
enace can be dispelled. It is the part of wisdom first to under­
stand the size and urgency of the problem when that is clearly recog­
;
nized, we m hope that there will be enough good business sense in the
ay
com unity to enable it to be dealt with in a businesslike fashion.
m
Little did I dream, however, when I became Commissioner of In­
ternal Revenue, that prohibition would take the form of a Constitu­
tional Amendment in my time and, under the Volstead Act, be
thrown into my lap for enforcement.
Soon after the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect I was
called before the Appropriations Committee of the United States
Senate and asked to discuss plans for its enforcement and at the same
time to submit estimates as to the probable cost. I began my state­
ment by emphasizing the fact that I had worked to create public
support for the Bureau as a tax-collecting unit of the Government.
I urged that I thought I had made progress along those lines and
felt it to be necessary to hold the ground so gained. I asked the Com­
mittee to release us from responsibility of enforcing prohibition, sug­
gesting that it was really a police function. Otherwise, I feared that
the Bureau might revert to its former status in the days when its
chief task was the collection of the excises on whiskey and tobacco.
“But where would you have it go?” a member of the Committee
wanted to know. “ To the Department of Justice,” I replied. The
members of the Committee agreed that the task probably should go
there eventually, but desired that I organize the machinery and lay
the foundation for immediate enforcement. At this point a Senator

NARCOTICS AND PROHIBITION

x9 1

on the Committee, who was inclined to indulge in what was about
to be prohibited and who seemed to have been indulging earlier that
day, spoke up in a rather thick voice: “ Commissioner,” he said, glar­
ing toward me, “ how many men’ll it take to enforce your law?”
“ Senator,” I replied, “ that depends upon you and me as citizens. A
law is no stronger than the public sentiment for or against it. If you
and I support the law, and others do likewise, we will need a mini­
mum of personnel. If we don’t support it, a whole army couldn’t
enforce it. A ll depends on wise education to enlist public support.”
H e made no further reply.
The final result was that enforcement was thrown into the Bu­
reau. Thus I received from Congress a gift which I neither sought
nor desired, Uncle Sam’s incorrigible child. The storm and strife,
the shedding of blood which attended the rise of the bootlegger and
the speakeasy, the millions acquired by organized gangdom were not
then foreseen. But events proved that the people were not willing
to rally their support behind the measure.
Personally a dry, my views expressed to the Senate Committee
were based upon a desire to maintain the dignity of the Bureau as a
tax-collecting agency. Nevertheless, when it became my responsibility
to enforce the Volstead Act, I called in several of the Internal Rev­
enue Agents. These field men were to be the nucleus of my enforce­
ment organization. Much, I knew, depended upon the methods pur­
sued by the enforcing officers at the outset. In our first conference I
spoke of the obstacles ahead. “ There are two approaches,” I exhorted
them. “ First, you may take an attitude of rigid severity and pursue
it beyond the bounds which people will support. By doing so you
will create enemies for the law and defeat its purposes. The other
W a y , which I regard as constructive, is to proceed gradually through
education. This will enlist a majority of the people. You can use the
strongest sort of action against those who violate the law by manu­
facturing intoxicants. Here, a very large majority of the people,
including those who have legally been put out of business, will co­
operate. Next, you should be alert in pursuing those who transport
and sell intoxicants. The public is also prepared to support you in
this. I advise you to r e s p e c t t h e h o m e s a n d p e r s o n s o f A m e r i c a n
c i t i z e n s . Because of the strong sentiment that protects a man’s domi­
cile in a democracy, you should not forcibly enter private residences.







i

92

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

And you must k e e p y o u r h a n d s o u t o f o t h e r m e n ’ s h i p p o c k e t s .
Americans will not as yet tolerate such interference with their per­
sonal rights.”
How hard it is to keep men from tyranny! The difficulites which
I foresaw soon developed. Many enforcement officers proceeded as
policemen would against criminals. Meanwhile, the whole educa­
tional temperance movement collapsed. When reliance was placed
wholly upon the law and its enforcement, educational work prac­
tically ceased.
The history of prohibition enforcement is too well known to be
recounted here. In the brief period it was under my supervision, the
organization was set up. By exercising considerable diplomacy I was
able to get both the Anti-Saloon League and its enemies led by Sen­
ator Pomerene of Ohio to indorse John F. Kramer, of Mansfield,
Ohio, as the first National Prohibition Administrator. He proved to
be a man of character, integrity, and force. But in some of the states
the problem of finding capable men in sympathy with the law to
serve as directors was frequently distressing. Men indorsed by their
political organizations and by city and state officials applied for the
positions; when talking with me, one of them frankly admitted that
he had voted against the amendment and was not in sympathy with
the law. Nevertheless, such applicants professed willingness to give
it lip service and to uphold their oaths, but I knew we could never
succeed in getting public support with such directors.
From my experience, however, I became convinced that a system
of control was nearer a solution to the problem than prohibition. The
words “ anti” and “ prohibition” are repugnant to the American peo­
ple. They build a psychological wall in front of the individual which
creates within him a defense mechanism, leading him to indulge in
that which is prohibited. It is the old story of “ You are striking at
me, so I will strike back.” Both narcotics and whiskey have their
proper place and legitimate uses. The purpose of government should
be to provide for proper uses and prevent abuses. The Province of
Ontario, Canada, has succeeded very well in its liquor control. The
profit-grabbing tactics of the management of the liquor business, the
promotion of saloons by the breweries, adulteration, and many other
undesirable practices are abuses which necessitate control in an un­
restricted system.

NARCOTICS AND PROHIBITION

193

When I look back upon those days, I prefer to remember that I
was trying to render a patriotic service, that the Bureau was suffi­
ciently strengthened to collect the war taxes in greater amount than
had been collected in the previous fifty years of its history, that the
Special Intelligence Unit under Elmer L . Irey was set up, and that
we secured the necessary legislation to establish the Narcotics Unit
and make possible an effective crusade2 against the dope peddler, the
unprincipled physician, and the smuggler.
As Clerk of the Ways and Means Committee, as a member of
the Tariff Commission, and as Commissioner of Internal Revenue,
I had had a long experience with taxes. I concluded that there could
be no perfect tax law, none which could be administered to the satis­
faction of all the people. Yet it is imperative to move toward im­
proved tax legislation and superior administration. W ith the Gov­
ernment in partnership with business it is important that the partners
aim at their common good, avoiding antagonisms as far as possible.
The Income Tax Law represented an effort to assess a tax accord­
ing to the individual’s ability to pay. But this result could be per­
verted by maladministration, if field examiner, taxpayer, or chief
administrator strayed from the path of equity. Furthermore, I saw
that exemptions did not contribute to the integrity of results. I would
have preferred to eliminate exemptions from the law and to have
lowered the rates accordingly. I had long since arrived at the conclu­
sion that the larger the proportion of the people who contribute to the
upkeep and welfare of the Government, the greater the country’s
safety— provided, of course, the individual taxpayer is not overtaxed.
Early in 1920, I called upon the new Secretary of the Treasury,
David F. Houston, and told him that I desired to resign. The war
was over. The revenues for meeting its emergencies had been col­
lected, and prohibition enforcement had been put into its initial
stages. I asked that my resignation be made effective as of March 31,
1920. M r. Houston very graciously asked that I think the matter
over. “ You might regret it,” he said. I answered that I did not
think so. I had got through the hard job of collecting eleven and
one-half billion dollars without a scandal. I was thankful that this

2In a single year the Narcotics Unit arrested 7,465 violators of the law. From
these violators there was confiscated opium with a value of $593,500; morphine,
$58,320,700; heroin, $1,375,500; a total of $60,289,700.







! 94

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

great tension had not impaired my health, except for exhausted
nerves which, the doctors said, required a rest. Another reason for
wishing to retire was that I had been unable to save money from
my government salaries. I wanted to rest and then decide upon some
future career outside the Federal service. I therefore persisted in
submitting my resignation to the President through Secretary Hous­
ton.
It was my good fortune in the war era to have the co-operation
of Republicans as well as members of my own party in performing
the duties of the office which I had resigned. As evidence of this
fact I prize particularly a letter from former Speaker Joseph G.
Cannon:

J. G. Cannon
18th District Illinois
HOUSE O F R E P R E S E N T A T IV E S U . S.

W
ashington, D. C.
March 30, 1920
H
onorable Daniel C. Roper
Com issioner of Internal Revenue
m
Dear Mr. Roper:
The date rem
inds m that tom
e
orrow you will of your own choice
return to private life after ten years of public service. I regret that the
Government is to lose your services, for in m long public life, I have not
y
known a m efficient, faithful and courteous public servant.
ore
I hope that the future has in store for you rewards m substantial
ore
than those in public life; and I further hope that our paths m cross
ay
occasionally to enable m to greet a personal friend though a political
e
opponent.
Personally, I regret that you are going.
As ever with respect,
(J. G. Cannon)
The following letter from Woodrow Wilson was the climax of
my experience as Commissioner:
T H E W H IT E HOUSE

W
ashington
6 March, 1920
My dear Mr. Roper:
I have received with regret your resignation of the office of Com is­
m
sioner of Internal Revenue. I know som
ething of the personal reasons

NARCOTICS AND PROHIBITION
195
which influenced you to tender your resignation and I see no other course
than to accept it, to take effect, as you request, at the close of business on
March 31, 1920.
You have served the Government for many years in different difficult
positions and always with distinction. You have now served the nation for
nearly two and one half years as Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The
duties of this position during your tenure of it have been immensely diffi­
cult and complex, but you have discharged them with singular efficiency.
I want you to know with what satisfaction I have watched your conduct
of the affairs of your office. You take with you into your private activities
my warmest thanks for the service you have rendered to the nation and
my best wishes for your success and happiness.
Cordially yours,
(Signed) Woodrow Wilson.







- C H A P T E R XV

Peace and Readjustment
GAIN I was free to chart a new course of life. The burdens
of the war years had weighed heavily, taking their toll of
__
.my strength, and I had seen others in key positions break
under the stress ar.d strain of the times. Never before, and not since,
have I seen men work with finer consecration to duty. They knew
no limit of working hours, but gave to the full extent of their respec­
tive capacities. Whatever other mistakes may be imputed to the W il­
son Administration, dereliction of duty cannot justly be included.
The men in the important posts exhibited a patriotism and self-aban­
donment in the national interest which had all the fervor and inten­
sity of a religious crusade. It was a battle front with many discour­
agements and casualties, with moments of despair and moments of
victory. It is an undying tribute to that leadership that with all the
great emergency spending, with the era’s confusion and pressure, a
militant and scrutinizing opposition could not uncover a single inci­
dent of material scandal or defalcation.
A homely incident which took place in the family of Josephus
Daniels illustrates the pressure of the war days. The noted editor,
Arthur Brisbane, took issue with the Secretary of the Navy on cer­
tain matters of policy. His criticism was sharp and acrid, and it trou­
bled Daniels no little to find one of America’s foremost editors
carrying this criticism to ends which he felt were unjustified. It was
a time when the Administration sought unity among all the people,
yet the Secretary- decided, under all the circumstances, to let the criti­
cism go unanswered, much as it hurt him to feel victimized without
justification in fact.
One day the postman brought a long envelope addressed to the
Secretary’s small son. It bore the return address of Arthur Brisbane.
Young Daniels eagerly grabbed the letter from his mother’s hands

PEACE AN D READ JU STM EN T

1 97

and ran away with it. For a considerable interval the youth refused
to divulge its contents, but that night, when the Secretary of the Navy
came home, his son finally showed it to him. It was a most courteous
note of apology for the previous criticisms of his father, and it re­
quested that the Brisbane column be watched carefully for more
about the matter and for an article which would be exceedingly com­
plimentary to his father. Pressed for an explanation, young Daniels
confessed that he had written a protest to Mr. Brisbane. “ I told
him,” he said, “ that if he knew how hard my daddy worked, how
many times he had walked the floor all night long, trying to think
of the best things to do to win the war and save our country, he
wouldn’t treat you that way.” A few days later, the Brisbane column
carried a eulogy of Daniels, emphasizing the fact that he was one of
the hardest workers to be found in the government service.
The first few weeks of my freedom were spent in a Baltimore
clinic, where I underwent diagnosis and treatment for what amounted
to nothing more than frayed nerves. Following this rest cure, I took
a sea voyage to the Bermudas, coming home for a further rest. The
press of official business had left me little time to do more than fol­
low the trend of national and international developments, although
my contacts were such that I usually knew what was going on and
sometimes had advance information of things which were to happen
in the future. Now that I was out of the government service I had
time to think, to review the great transition already taking place as
a result of the war.
11
The armistice of November 11, 1918, had caused a measure of
disappointment in certain quarters, perhaps because the public blood
lust had been fed upon stories of German atrocity for the purpose of
whetting the national morale. There were some in the country who
would have liked to see our soldiers carry the fight to German soil,
visiting upon the Kaiser’s empire destruction and devastation of the
same brand as that suffered by Belgium and France. Others had an­
ticipated a triumphant entry into Berlin. Naturally, these elements
clamored for a Shylock’s peace. I did not know to what extent Colo­
nel House would be able to influence the President, but I had the
utmost confidence in the emotional equilibrium of the “ President’s







! 98

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

other self” and, knowing of his earlier efforts to prevent the war, I
believed that he would have outstanding prestige at the conference
tables.
On January 28, 1919, I wrote to Colonel House, then in Paris,
as follows:

I have been greatly concerned about your health, and am gratified to
learn through the public press that you are regaining your health and
strength. You need to be yourself fully in handling the very im
portant
m
atters with which you will be concerned during the next several weeks.
It m be pleasing to you to learn that the new
ay
spapers throughout the
country which I have exam
ined have been uniform in their interest and
courteous notices of you. The expressed opinion is general that you have
m such intelligent and profound study of the situation as to m you
ade
ake
a key figure at the peace table. The only concern of your friends is over
your health.
The way in which the President has presented Am
erican ideals to
European audiences is a source of great inspiration. Many, indeed, felt
that his analysis and presentation of world dem
ocracy is the m potent
ost
weapon against chaos, which Bolshevism was rapidly bringing to the world.
The m im
ost portant problem in the history of the world are resting upon
s
the representatives at your conference.
There is throughout our own country—socially, com ercially and
m
politically— a state of unrest. This is especially true in the com ercial
m
lines dependent upon shipping and the cultivation of m
arkets for the output
of our farm and factories. There is hand to m
s
outh caution in all indus­
trial lines and this gives anxiety to labor, and concerns us all with the
period between now and the tim when the relationships between coun­
e
tries are established by the peace term and the final treaties. Certainly we
s
m not lose by reactionary tendencies all we have fought for in the War.
ust
Without quoting the letter in its entirety it is sufficient to say that I
went on to suggest the organization of a movement in the United
States for the purpose of fostering public sentiment favorable to the
President’s principles.
Colonel House replied, February 16, 1919:

I appreciate very m your writing to m under date of the twentyuch
e
eighth ultim Your letter gave m m inform
o.
e uch
ation of value and I
thank you m tim for your kind concern respecting m health. I am
any es
y
quite well now though I still have to be a little careful.

PEACE AN D READ JU STM EN T

1 99

I hope very much that a movement such as you outline to interpret
to the people of the country the principles for which the President is con­
tending in Europe may be started. . . .
On April 17, 1919, he wrote again:

The work here has been strenuous and trying, but we are now bring­
ing the most important questions to a close. We are pushing from every
direction in order to have peace as quickly as possible, for even with the
Treaty signed, it will take many months for the world to properly function
once more.
The Peace Conference which convened at Paris, January 18,
1919, drew together the representatives of thirty-one nations, exclu­
sive of Germany, Austria, Turkey, and Bulgaria. President Poincare
injected a hostile note into his opening address, which he concluded
as follows:

This very day forty-eight years ago, on the 18th of January, 1871>
the German Empire was proclaimed by an army of invasion in the Chateau
of Versailles. It was consecrated by the theft of two French provinces.
It was thus a violation from its origin and, by the fault of its founders,
it was born in injustice. It has ended in oblivion. You are assem
bled in
order to repair the evil that has been done and to prevent a recurrence of
it. You hold in your hands the future of the world. I leave you gentlemen
to your grave deliberations and declare the Conference of Paris open.
President Wilson immediately proposed for permanent Chair­
man, Premier Clemenceau, who was accepted by the assembly; and
after a brief address from him the meeting adjourned. The first
plenary session of the Conference was held ten days later.
President Wilson had been ushered into Paris in triumph. A ll
the nations of Europe hailed him as the “ Peacemaker.” Even Ger­
many, whose press had sneered at him contemptuously, now hailed
him as the hope of the world. At the first plenary session, therefore,
it is no exaggeration to say that the eyes of the world were upon him.
No chief of state had ever attained the prestige which surrounded
our President at that moment. Among other things, he said: “ W e
are not here alone as representatives of governments, but as repre­
sentatives of peoples, and in the settlement we make we need to
satisfy, not the opinions of governments but the opinion of mankind.”







200

FIFTY ye a r s o f p u b l ic l if e

It would be unprofitable to rehash the rumors and reports of dis­
sension behind the scenes, plots and counterplots, undercover alli­
ances, strife between the President and Colonel House, between
Colonel House and Mrs. Wilson, jealousies among the leaders of
the Great Powers, which came in time. At this session resolutions
were passed favorable to creating a League of Nations, the same to
become an integral part of the Treaty of Peace. In an “ eye for an
eye, and a tooth for a tooth” atmosphere, a commission was named
to draft a plan for the League, which “ should be open to every civi­
lized nation which can be relied on to promote its objects,” with a
provision deferring for future determination whether or not Ger­
many had regained the respect of the world sufficiently to be worthy
of admission.
Another commission with a membership composed of two repre­
sentatives of the five Great Powers and five representatives to be
elected by the other Powers was named to investigate and report upon
( i) “ The responsibility of the authors of the war” ; (2) “ The facts
as to breaches of laws and customs of war committed by the forces of
the German Empire and their allies on land, on sea and in the air
during the present war” ; (3) “The degree of responsibility for these
offenses attaching to particular members of the enemies’ forces, in­
cluding members of the general staffs and other individuals, however
highly placed” ; (4) “ The constitution and procedure of a tribunal
appropriate to the trial of these offenses.” This same commission
would also report upon (1) the amount of reparations which the
enemy countries ought to pay; (2) the amounts they are capable of
paying; (3) the method, form, and time in which payment should
be made.
It is thus apparent that the pound of flesh was the first order of
business. The intention of the representatives was to force a trial
of the Kaiser and his General Staff, including the responsible heads
of the governments allied with Germany. Moreover, German repa­
rations would be limited only by the vanquished nation’s ability to
pay. Having propagandized the German people repeatedly with
pamphlets and press appeals to the effect that the Allied nations had
no quarrel with them but were fighting to abolish Kaiserism and the
military caste, it was now proposed to saddle upon them one of the

PEACE AND READJUSTMENT

201

most severe punitive burdens of history. A ll this, despite the fact
that under their monarchical system of government they had no voice
in declaring or perpetuating the war.
On February 14, 1919, President Wilson presented to a plenarysession the draft of the League of Nations, announcing that it had
the endorsement of fourteen nations. Seven speakers followed him
and pledged their governments to its support. The President left
that night for Brest, to sail for the United States. H e came home to
urge support of the League, although he was soon to return.
The Supreme Council, or Council of Ten, including two repre­
sentatives each from Great Britain, France, Japan, and the United
States now turned to the question of what form of government the
territory freed from enemy rule should have. A plan of mandatories
was formulated for colonies and backward nations. When the Presi­
dent returned on March 26, the Council of Ten, in order to expedite
“ The Peace,” was divided into two bodies, a Council of Foreign Min­
isters and a Council of Four. The Council of Four included Premier
Orlando of Italy, Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and President Wilson.
The demands upon Germany were announced April 14. On April 16,
the Germans were invited to send delegates “ to receive” the treaty.
Now the question of Italy’s claims in the Adriatic arose. President
Wilson announced on April 23 that he did not believe Italy should
receive Fiume. The Italians were outraged. Premier Orlando and
his delegation withdrew from the Conference and left Paris.
The German delegation began to arrive at Versailles on April 25.
On April 28 the Conference, in the absence of the Italian delegates,
adopted the revised Covenant of the League of Nations. Geneva was
selected as the seat of the League, and Sir Eric Drummond of Great
Britain was named Secretary General. On April 30, the Council of
Three (Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and Wilson) agreed to give
Shantung to Japan with the proviso that it later be turned over to
China. Following this action, the Italian delegation returned from
Rome, just in time to participate in the dissection of Germany.
The meeting with the Germans was to be held in the Palace.
They had been held virtual prisoners at the Hotel des Reservoirs
since their arrival. On May 1, the first official meeting with them
took place. In an introductory speech Premier Clemenceau explained







202

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L I F E

the conditions of the meeting. There were to be no oral discussions
of the terms. Within fifteen days the Germans were to submit any
written observations they cared to make. Clemenceau read aloud the
headings of the treaty. Then he shouted: “ Has anyone any observa­
tions to make?” Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau raised his hand.
“ Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau has the floor,” said Clemenceau. The
Count did not rise, but read his speech while he remained sitting. In
substance he said that to accept sole guilt for the war would be a lie.
He accused the Allied nations of murdering hundreds of thousands
of innocent Germans since the armistice became effective by a continu­
ation of the British blockade. None of the delegates replied to his
speech.
The conditions imposed upon Germany— burdensome in their
detail perhaps— were probably to have the most far-reaching conse­
quences of any “ peace terms” in human history. Germany’s Euro­
pean area was reduced one sixth. There was indeed the possibility
of its being reduced one fifth, if the plebiscites in the Saar, Schleswig,
and East Prussia should go against her. An area of 34,437 square
miles was absolutely detached. She lost about seven million inhabi­
tants, or one tenth of her population, but this loss comprised peoples
largely of non-German blood and anti-German sentiment. The treaty
abolished the German General Staff and reduced the German Army
to an eventual 100,000 men, including 4,000 officers. Inter-Allied
Commissions of Control were authorized with power to establish
headquarters in Berlin, these to prevent rearmament and remilitari­
zation by stealth and double-dealing. Conscription was abolished.
Germany was not to manufacture munitions for foreign governments.
Her navy and all her colonies were surrendered.
In the eighth section of the treaty Germany acknowledged her
complete war guilt. She agreed to pay for the destruction she had
caused in the following manner: (1) to pay within two years twenty
billion marks in gold, goods, ships or other specified terms of pay­
ment, her total obligations to be determined by a Committee of In­
quiry and made known to her not later than May 1, 1921; (2) in
acknowledgment of this debt, to issue gold bonds to the amount of
twenty billion marks, payable not later than May i, 1921, and fortt
billion marks between 1921 and 1926 with interest at 5 per centj

PEACE AN D READ JU STM EN T

2o 3

(3) an additional forty billion marks in gold bonds were to be deliv­
ered under terms to be fixed by the committee; (4) all sums de­
manded were to have priority over the service or payment of any
domestic German loan.
Additional provisions in the treaty were as follows:

Germany to renounce all territorial and political rights outside of Eu­
rope; Germany to recognize the total independence of German-Austria,
Czecho-Slovakia and Poland; all German forts for fifty kilom
eters east
of the Rhine to be razed; all Heligoland fortifications to be dem
olished and
the Kiel Canal to be open to all nations; Germany to revert to pre-war
“m favored nations” tariffs without discrimination; Germany to accept
ost
highly detailed provisions for the internationalization of roads and rivers;
Germany to pay shipping damages ton for ton; Germany to devote her
resources to rebuilding the devastated regions; Germany to accept the
League of Nations in principle but without imm
ediate m bership in the
em
League; Germany to cede to Belgium 382 square m of territory
iles
between Luxemburg and Holland; all Hohenzollern property in AlsaceLorraine to go to France without payment; France to gain possession of
the Saar coal m regardless of the result of a future plebiscite; Germany
ines
to accept abrogation of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty; Germany to perm the
it
formation of no m
ilitaristic societies; the German army to be demobilized
within two months after Peace was signed; the Allies to retain German
hostages until persons accused of war crimes were surrendered; Germany
to lease to Czecho-Slovakia wharfage in Hamburg and Stettin for ninetynine years; the Rhine to be placed under control of an Allied-German
Commission; parts of the Elbe, Oder, Danube, and Niemen rivers to be
internationalized.
If we stopped at this point without further explanation, the case
against the Allies would appear black indeed. However, it is well to
recall the established fact that had the Germans won the war, the
peace terms imposed by them would have made the foregoing con­
ditions seem mild. No understanding of the seeming harshness of the
Allies is possible without taking into account the prevailing temper of
the German people. “ This is the devil’s work!” lamented Mathias
Erzberger, head of the German Armistice Commission. The Allies,
he charged, had brought Germany to a “ desert of hopelessness in
which we look around in vain for an oasis where springs the well of
humanity.” But his own words, written late in 1914 and made public







204

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

on April 20, 1919, indicate what he would have demanded for a vic­
torious Germany:

Germany m have sovereignty, not only over Belgium but over the
ust
,
French coast from Dunkirk to Boulogne, and possession of the Channel
Islands. She m also take the m in French Lorraine and create an
ust
ines
African German Em
pire by annexing the Belgian and French Congos,
British Nigeria, Dahomey, and the French West Coast.
In fixing indem
nities, the actual capacity of a state at the m ent
om
should not be considered. Besides a large im ediate paym annual in­
m
ent,
stallm
ents spread over a long period should be arranged. France could
be helped in m
aking them by decreasing her budget of naval and m
ilitary
appropriations, the reductions im
posed in the peace treaty being such as
would enable her to send substantial sum to Germany.
s
Indem
nities should provide for the repaym of the full costs of the
ent
war and the dam of the war, notably in East Prussia; the redem
ages
ption
of all of Germany’s public debt and the creation of a vast fund for in­
capacitated soldiers.
There were violent protests throughout the German Empire. The
German people apparently could not realize that they had lost the
war. Few of them had any real comprehension of the vast damage
and destruction which their military forces had wrought. The world
remembered, whilfe she loudly proclaimed that the peace terms meant
her destruction, how her intellectual leaders, three hundred and
fifty-two university professors among them, had united on June 20,
1915, in petitioning the German chancellor to make sure that France
was “ enfeebled politically and economically without any considera­
tion,” and to levy upon her a “ heavy war indemnity without any
mercy.” Thus in an atmosphere of hate and passion, engendered by
her own attitude, Germany shed crocodile tears.
In replying to the German protests, Clemenceau summed up the
situation:
The conduct of Germany is alm
ost unexam
pled in hum history.
an
The terrible responsibility w
hich lies at her doors can b seen in the fact
e
that not less than 7,000,000 dead lie buried in Europe, w
hile m
ore are
incapacitated because Germany saw fit to gratify her lust for tyranny by a
resort to war. The Allied and Associated pow believe they will b false
ers
e
to those who have given their all to save the freedom of the world if they
consent to treat the war on any other b than a a crim against hum
asis
s
e
an-

*

PEACE AND READJUSTMENT
2o5
ity and right. Not to do justice to all concerned would only leave the
world open to fresh calam
ities. If the German people them
selves, or any
other nation, are to be deterred from following the footsteps of Prussia;
if mankind is to be lifted out of the belief that war for selfish ends is
legitimate to any state; if the old era is to be left behind, and nations as
well as individuals are to be brought beneath the reign of law, even if
there is to be early reconciliation and appeasem it will be because those
ent,
responsible for concluding the war have had the courage to see that justice
is not deflected for the sake of a convenient peace.
Notwithstanding all the protests, internal upheavals in Germany and
in other nations, Germany and the Allied Powers signed the Peace
Treaty on June 28 at Versailles.
President Wilson returned to the United States on July 8, to re­
ceive the greatest ovation ever given an American up to that time.
Although strenuous opposition was developing to the treaty under
the leadership of isolationist Senators, such notables as former Presi­
dent Taft, Charles Evans Hughes, former Attorney General Wickersham, President Lowell of Harvard, President Gompers of the
American Federation of Labor, Luther Burbank, Lyman Abbott,
John Burroughs, Jacob H. Schiff, Henry P. Davison, and others
were included in a group of two hundred and fifty prominent Ameri­
cans petitioning the Senate to ratify the treaty immediately and
without reservations. Herbert Hoover returned from his food dis­
tribution work in Europe to urge its acceptance in order to hasten
European restoration.
In spite of these appeals, the controversy over the provisions
of the treaty brought wider rifts the more it was prolonged. Presi­
dent Wilson appealed to the people in a cross-country speaking
tour which took him to California. Chief objection to the treaty was
to Article X , providing military aid to any League member victim­
ized by aggression. Others contended that the treaty abrogated the
Monroe Doctrine, that it made us “ a policeman” for the petty squab­
bles of Europe. The President gave determined and categorical re­
buttal to the objectors, but on September 26 he was stricken with an
illness at Wichita, Kansas, and had to return to the White House,
never fully to recover.
On November 10, the Senate rejected the treaty. On March 19,
1920, it was returned to the President unratified. The President’s







20<
5

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

great fight “ to make the world safe for democracy” was lost. Even
when he asked authority to accept a mandate over Armenia, such
mandate having been tendered him by the League, his request was
declined by the Senate by a vote of sixty-two to twelve.
Pertinent to this crumbling and collapse of America’s progressive
leadership is a story attributed to the President. During Mr. W il­
son’s ride down the Champs Elysees, on the occasion of his reception,
and the tumultuous, transcendent ovation from the French nation,
President Poincare is said to have remarked, “ Mr. President, this is
the greatest reception France has ever given anyone. Don’t you think
it a wonderful tribute to you?” “ Yes,” President Wilson replied.
“ Indeed, it is. But you must remember it was only three days be­
tween Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the Crucifixion.”
A significant aftermath of the war was that the United States had
changed from a debtor to a creditor nation. When debt adjustments
were made, the country which had refused to participate in the vic­
tors’ spoils, found itself holding the sack for about $11,000,OCX),000,
owing on the European war account by the foreign governments.
Many idealistic Americans, who sincerely believed that we had
fought to preserve democracy, favored outright cancellation of this
debt. I concurred with these. Others opposed the idea. What seemed
to me to be a trend more fraught with destructive possibilities than
eventual loss of the war debts was the alarming amount of American
capital poured into foreign countries by the international bankers of
Wall Street. Of course, in certain instances, these loans afforded a
potent stimulus to American production, but in other cases they were
used to finance the construction of factories to manufacture goods in
competition with our own. Our economy also faced the increased
agricultural production of the European countries made possible by
the return of soldiers to the land. Thus it was foreordained that our
own greatly stimulated and expanded agricultural production, made
possible by wholesale use of the tractor and other machinery, and by
the cultivation of vast areas in the Great Plains which would have
best been left untouched, would soon lose much of its European
market. This would occasion economic recoil and distress prices with
perhaps ruin for the many American agrarians who had invested lav­
ishly in land at wartime prices.

PEACE AND READJUSTMENT

207

As Commissioner of Internal Revenue charged with the duty of
collecting the income taxes, I probably observed these various trends
from a superior point of vantage. Most of all, I deplored the flight
of American capital to Europe for any but humanitarian purposes,
rehabilitation, and the restoration of order to supplant the chaos
of war.
President Wilson’s failure to obtain the League of Nations which
he wanted, one in which we would have had parity with Britain, was
a shocking blow to all who subscribed to his progressive ideals. The
tidal wave of recriminations and vilification that swept the country
gradually dimmed the hopes of all who sought a continuation of
progressivism, for reaction was evident on every hand. A ll were
tired of war, tired of European problems. The isolationists were in
their heydey.
hi

I had resigned without fixed plans for the future. It had long
been my policy not to discuss business offers while in the Federal serv­
ice. Now that I felt rested and saw a return of former vigor, I real­
ized the necessity of shaping a future course. Fortunately Thomas
L. Chadbourne, prominent corporation attorney of New York who
had helped save the day for the Democratic Committee’s depleted
campaign funds in 1916, had already thought of me and invited me
to New York. In extending the invitation, he indicated that it was
for the purpose of discussing a desirable business connection. Knowing
his large-scale outlook and magnanimous tendencies, his association
with substantial enterprises, I was delighted at the prospect and com­
plied with his request. I found Mr. Chadbourne in excellent spirits
and manifesting an attitude toward public servants that was indeed
refreshing.
“ You’ve had a man’s-sized job collecting the war taxes,” he said.
“ It’s been exhausting to you physically and financially. And all the
time, even though I’ve been doing a lot of things for the Govern­
ment, I ’ve been earning money. I’ve been in business. I’d like to
show my appreciation for your public service by giving you an op­
portunity to help reorganize some companies I’m interested in. They
need reorganization and consolidation from their expanded war ac­
tivities.” H e went on to tell me that one of the companies, the







208

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Marlin Rockwell Corporation, normally a ball-bearing manufactur­
ing company, had made rifles for the Government during the war.
The demand for rifles being over, a major readjustment had to be
made. During the conversation he offered me the presidency of the
Marlin Rockwell Corporation for a twelve-month period of reorgan­
ization at a salary considerably in excess of that which I had had from
the Government. My duties would be to analyze the corporation and
its subsidiaries and then recommend a plan of readjustment together
with financial estimates of the budget that would be required to ef­
fect the transition.
I told Mr. Chadbourne that he owed me nothing for my services
to the Government, but I welcomed the opportunity that he offered.
Accordingly, I was made President of the Marlin Rockwell Corpora­
tion. It was understood that I would not be called upon to pursue tax
problems growing out of the past operations of the company and
affecting the period in which I had been Commissioner of Internal
Revenue. “ There is just one other thing,” I said. “ I’d like to see
McAdoo nominated for President. We need the right man to suc­
ceed Woodrow Wilson. He should be a progressive.” “ I agree
with you,” he replied. “ I have no objection to your exercising your
proper political rights, just so long as you give the proper attention
to the business.”
I became President of the Marlin Rockwell Corporation in April,
1920. Thus began an interesting phase of my life, which was to be
enhanced by frequent contacts with that great American, B. M.
Baruch, and his estimable brother, Dr. H. B. Baruch. B. M. Baruch
had rendered exceptionally useful services to his country in the first
World War as head of the War Industries Board. Their sympa­
thetic attitude and counsel upon financial matters greatly assisted and
encouraged me. I can never forget them or Thomas L. Chadbourne.
It was a national campaign year, and many looked forward to the
conventions. The Democrats were meeting in San Francisco, and
because of the vigorous opposition to President Wilson and the
League of Nations, it was obvious we had a hard fight ahead. Never
were the voters so befogged with perplexing issues. These issues
were becoming clear-cut. In many states the League of Nations was
the main question. There was a mixed pro-German and anti-war

PEACE AND READJUSTMENT

209

element whose voice could already be heard in the West in hatred of
Wilson. The Sinn Feiners made demands with which the Demo­
cratic leaders could not comply. Republican propaganda was directed
at Italian and Greek immigrants, who were told that Wilson, while
at the Peace Conference in Paris, had been the enemy of their home
countries. There were as many Republican prohibition advocates as
could be found among Democrats, but the Democrats were blamed
for the Eighteenth Amendment.
The Republican Convention had been held, and Harding and
Coolidge had been nominated before the Democrats met at San Fran­
cisco. M y candidate, as I have indicated, was McAdoo. Out in Cali­
fornia numerous leaders awaited word from the White House— word
that never came. The President felt that a third term was necessary
to enable him to carry out his foreign policies. H e was ill and broken,
but marvelously courageous and willing to give his last ounce of
strength for his lost cause. In my opinion McAdoo did not require
the support of his father-in-law, despite the cries of “ heir apparent,”
“ just another Wilson,” and the like. H e was big enough to stand
upon his own feet} and certainly he could have been nominated on
his own party strength had it not been for the President’s conviction
that he, alone, could lead the cause.
I had my bag packed and was ready to join the McAdoo support­
ers in San Francisco, when McAdoo himself restrained me. W e had
a long conference about the situation, and he refused, under the cir­
cumstances, to be a candidate. I remained near and in frequent con­
tact with him in New York. Despite his refusal to run, his name was
presented to the convention and developed great strength. I remem­
ber well midnight telephone calls to two leaders in our largest cities.
In my postal work I had known Charles F. Murphy, the Tammany
leader, because of his activity in New York patronage. W e had en­
joyed pleasant personal relations. When it appeared there might be
a chance to nominate McAdoo despite the fact that he was not a
candidate, I telephoned Mr. Murphy. “ I’d like to knowr if you’d do
me a favor,” I began, when we had greeted each other across the
miles. “ I’ll be mighty glad, Roper,” he replied, “ if it’s anything I
can do.” “ Get the New York delegation to vote for McAdoo a few
times,” I urged. “ H e’s my man— just a few times, how about it?”







2 10

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

I’ll never forget his answer. “That’s something I can’t do,” he said.
“ We’ve got to vote for somebody who can carry New York City.
I’ve got thousands of jobs to think about.” In an almost identical
conversation with George Brennan, of Chicago, I got the same answer.
“ Roper,” he said, “ do you realize I’ve got 5,550 jobs to protect?”
Consequently, the two big delegations never voted for McAdoo,
though he made an excellent showing under the circumstances.
The nominee instead was James M. Cox. He had been three
times Governor of Ohio, had an outstanding record, and was a suc­
cessful newspaper publisher. Franklin D. Roosevelt, young, vigorous
and progressive, added much strength to the ticket as nominee for
the Vice-Presidency.
IV

In 1920 the Democratic party was greatly hampered by lack of
money. Cox was on a special train in the West. One day we were
advised that the train was about to stop in Montana for lack of funds.
I was asked to help find money. At once I communicated with Mr.
Chadbourne. He came to my office at 342 Madison Avenue, and I
explained the situation. Mr. Chadbourne declared that he did not
believe Cox was laying enough stress upon domestic issues. He was
saying too much about the League and not enough about the things
in which the masses were most interested. “ Why, for instance, doesn’t
he take a strong position for law enforcement? He should promise
enforcement of the Prohibition Amendment. Take my own case.
I’ve got about $50,000 worth of wines and liquors in my cellars. If
the law was enforced I’d be made to disgorge. I’d be put upon the
same basis as the workingman without those stores. If Cox will
promise to enforce the law against the rich as well as the poor, I’ll
see that the campaign train is financed.”
I suggested that he write a telegram, and the message was sent to
Cox, but no reply was ever received. The campaign train, however,
was not stopped. Bryan deserted the campaign, it was understood,
for the same reason. He did not think Cox took a sufficiently firm
stand on the question of prohibition. People were weary of the
war and of war talk. They were tired of appeals to the humani­
tarian side of their minds. Harding urged them to “go back to

PEACE AND READJUSTMENT

2II

LaFollette postponed his progressivism until 1924, and the result
is history. Harding was elected. The hopes of the progressives were
crushed, and for the time being the progress of reform was halted.
v
At the end of the year with the Marlin Rockwell Corporation I
returned to Washington. It had been a valuable and profitable expe­
rience, but I could never have been satisfied to live in New York
with my children, even at a fabulous salary. After establishing my
Washington office I was soon to have a professional experience which
indicates a state of mind upon which we should reflect in our efforts
to assimilate the foreign born.
A client of foreign birth and from a remote city called upon me
to take his tax case. The Federal Government, he claimed, had
treated him unjustly. The Government was demanding $600,000,
alleging fraud. This amount was so large that my firm was suspicious
of his integrity. Our first step was to tell him our ideas about taxa­
tion. Our purpose, I told him in substance, was to seek justice be­
tween the Government and a client. As he was charged with fraud,
we should like to have letters from a few of his business friends and
neighbors testifying to his character and standing. “ I’ll get you
twenty such letters,” he quickly replied. “ This thing is embarrassing
me. I have a daughter in Smith College, a son in Yale University.
They would be disgraced if I went to the penitentiary. That’s what
the United States Attorney wants to do to me.” “ W e’ll see about
that,” I told him, “ after you get the letters.”
It was about a week before he returned, bringing the twenty let­
ters from prominent persons of his community: clergymen, a direc­
tor of the Community Chest, a Y .M .C .A . secretary, leading bankers,
and other men of importance. W e took his case, but had not worked
°n it long when we discovered that he had been scandalously dis­
honest with the Government. Confronted with the proof, he con­
fessed to the charge. “ Please tell me,” I said to him, “ in the light
°f these discoveries, how you were able to get these letters?” “ It’s
hke this,” he replied. “ I deal honestly with everybody in my busi­
ness relations. I contribute to all the charities of the town. It’s good
business to do that. But I was brought up in a country where we hate







2 I2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

the Government. That’s the reason, I guess, why I do all I can to
get out of paying taxes.”
Here was a man who had taken out citizenship papers, yet had
not grasped the fundamentals of American citizenship. I began to
work upon him at that point. We talked freely of our democratic
system of society. I argued that it was not only his duty to pay his
honest taxes, but also to work and vote for an honest, efficient Gov­
ernment and its maintenance. After some length he promised to
keep but one set of books and to keep those accurately; also, to pay
all taxes due the Government. We finally adjusted his trouble by
arranging for him to pay the additional tax, and he was kept out of
jail. I am sure that we changed his outlook and inculcated in him a
respect for the United States Government.
Here was an illustration of the necessity of better educational en­
deavors on the part of those in charge of Americanization work. I
could not help reflecting also that this man’s conduct bore a close
analogy to the oil and liquor scandals which cursed that period. It
was an evil time— inflation, boom, gambling, with the public moneymad in the hegira of morals and philosophy that attended the Great
War. If we learned any lesson from those days, it was perhaps that
real security and happiness must be founded upon better preparation
of immigrants for citizenship and the stressing of such homespun
virtues as honesty, faith, and the Golden Rule.
There were many interesting tax cases during the period. I had
appealed to the American people to estimate their own taxes, and
they had done so with the result that the returns had been made in
such haste that adjustments were necessary. In fact, they were inevi­
table under such a complicated law. When the trained accountants of
big business were baffled by some of its provisions, one does not won­
der that the individual taxpayer had troubles. I enjoyed this practice,
because it was enlightening as to the attitudes of people and afforded
an opportunity for social service to the country.
The Harding Administration was now well under way. Strange
stories went their rounds, but one was inclined to discount them as
the machinations of overzealous partisans. On my own side of the
fence there were subsurface whisperings for McAdoo. Early in 1921
I drove with Mr. and Mrs. McAdoo from their home in New York

PEACE AND READJUSTMENT

2j 3

to their country place at Huntington, Long Island. I told him that
in my opinion he could never be nominated from the state of New
York. “ Some of the city bosses,” I said, “ are a necessary evil. It’s
a pity they are willing to sacrifice the nation in order to protect a few
city jobs.” “ What would you suggest?” he asked. “ W hy not go to
California?” I asked in turn.
Not that night, but shortly afterward, he informed me that he
had received an offer as legal counsel for Edward L . Doheny, the oil
magnate of Los Angeles. “ While developing a general practice in
California,” he said, “ I’d have the advantage of one client at the
start.” There certainly was no discernible objection to having Doheny
as a client, and nothing sinister about it. McAdoo moved to Los
Angeles.
vi
The incoming of the Harding Administration had occasioned a
shake-up of wide proportions in the various departments of the execu­
tive branch of government. Numerous W orld War agencies were
naturally liquidated. The Republicans, out of power for eight years,
promptly moved into the various key positions. Countless economic
problems either existed or were in the making, as a consequence of
the war, but the time had not come when business, agriculture, and
the public generally, imputed any widespread economic responsibility
to government. The doctrine of laissez faire and the law of supply
and demand were regarded as the stabilizing factors of free enter­
prise.
1 he League of Nations was in operation without the membership
and counsel of the United States. A growing reaction existed among
the debtor nations, who charged that we had formulated a peace and
withdrawn from the responsibility of assisting in its maintenance.
Nevertheless, leading figures in both major political parties recog­
nized the danger of competitive armaments, and from the public
generally arose a reaction against war almost amounting to a con­
certed cry for total disarmament. Senator William E. Borah was a
leading figure among the advocates of arms reduction, both as a safety
measure for the peace of the world and to relieve the peoples of
leading nations from the burden of military taxes. Having forsaken
our Allies in the League of Nations experiment, the country now,







2 14

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

under the sponsorship of Senator Borah, embarked upon a course cal­
culated to insure our isolation.
In the Naval Appropriations Bill of 1921, Senator Borah forced
a resolution upon the Harding Administration requiring it in sub­
stance “ to invite the governments of Great Britain and Japan to send
representatives to a conference which shall be charged with the duty
of promptly entering into an understanding or agreement by which
the Naval expenditures and building programs of each of the said
governments . . . shall be substantially reduced annually during the
next five years to such an extent and upon such terms as may be
agreed upon.” This resolution brought about the Washington Con­
ference, which lasted from November 12, 1921, to February, 1922.
France and Italy were finally included in the Conference, and the
smaller nations were represented by observers. The chief result was
the Five Power Naval Treaty, fixing the ratio of naval strength of
Great Britain, the United States, and Japan upon the 5-5-3 basis. The
world hailed this conference as a step toward eternal peace. Indeed,
1,878,073 tons, or 60 capital ships, were scrapped. Of these, 30 be­
longed to us, 23 to Britain, and 17 to Japan. The treaty failed to
provide any limitation upon submarines or smaller ships. It was not
foreseen that our own profligate military sacrifice, the literal throw­
ing away of new battleships built at a cost of millions of dollars,
would result in a veritable international race to build the smaller
ships, or that the results of this conference amounted to a major and
decisive diplomatic victory for Japan.
There were rumors of strange goings-on during the Harding Ad­
ministration, criticisms that corrupt politics played too large a part in
the Washington scene. But public interest in government had waned
in a great degree since the American defeat of the League of Nations
and the retirement of Woodrow Wilson. In fact, this decline of in­
terest was perceptible from the date of the armistice. Millions of
Americans who had sacrificed time and means for the concerted war
effort now turned to their personal affairs, content to leave the gov­
ernment to officials. The brief Harding Administration, therefore,
was without distinction insofar as the outside public considered it at
the time. America looked forward to peaceful pursuits and to a re­
turn to “ normalcy.”
The sensational news of President Harding’s death from pto-

PEACE AND READJUSTMENT

215

maine poisoning was flashed from San Francisco on August 2, 1923,
where on his return trip from Alaska he had halted for emergency
treatment. It had the immediate effect of startling the nation. At
the same time it revived many of the rumors already current, and
produced others wilder than those previously circulated. Where there
was so much smoke, it was contended, there was necessarily some
fire. The immediate succession of Calvin Coolidge to the Presidency,
however, served to stifle these rumors and to divert public attention.
Coolidge typified the simple American virtues. H e was an exponent
of New England thrift and economy, a terse-speaking, laconic, homespun product of the Vermont hills. H e had been Governor of Mas­
sachusetts and was prominently mentioned for the Presidency in
1920. His aged father, a Vermont farmer, administered the oath of
office to him with the Coolidge family Bible, and this act of simple
drama had an endearing effect upon the American people. If there
had been those who had their doubts about Harding, such was not
the case with Coolidge. H e had a clean record. H e did not indulge
in idle mouthings, and, at the outset, America had faith in him.
A Coolidge characteristic, too little recognized, seemed to me to
be outstanding} namely, his philosophy of letting things run their
course, of permitting adverse forces to spend themselves. This was
noted in his dealings with overzealous groups who stormed the
White House.
It is related that Ruth Hanna McCormick was determined to
gain recognition for the populous Polish element in her district by
having a candidate of that nationality appointed to a Federal judgeship. As a climax of her efforts she is said to have brought a substan­
tial group of impressive-looking Poles to Washington for an audience
with Coolidge. A ll were dressed in their best, immaculately groomed.
Mrs. McCormick led the delegation to the semicircular arrangement
of chairs arrayed for them in front of the President’s desk. Brief but
fevered orations were delivered to impress Mr. Coolidge. A tense
silence filled the private office when the final speaker concluded. Mr.
Coolidge waited a moment. A sly smile spread over his face. “ Do
you see this fine new carpet?” he asked, pointing downward. W on­
dering what he was leading up to, his listeners nodded. “ It’s a fine
carpet,” he said. “ A new one, and it cost a lot of money. W e had
another good one. It was fine, too. But Mrs. McCormick wore it
out coming here to get a Pole appointed to a judgeship.”







A Great Epoch Closes
"^H E F U L L E X T E N T of the whisperings and rumblings at­
tending the Harding Administration did not become public
1
knowledge until after President Harding’s mysterious death.
My own suspicions of the “ Ohio gang” were predicated upon both
reports and personal knowledge. I had been in New York but a
short time when Joseph H. Callan, my former Executive Assistant
in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, came to New York to see me,
evidently quite disturbed.
“ A very extraordinary matter has arisen,” he informed me. “ I
came to consult you about it.” He went on to say that he had been
approached in an effort to obtain release of a large quantity of whis­
key from bond without the prescribed reasons for it. Indeed, he
said, he had been offered a considerable sum of money to get the
withdrawal permit approved. “ Your duty is clear,” I advised. “ You
should report the matter at once to the Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, who in turn should acquaint the Secretary of the Treasury
and the President.” Callan agreed, but said that if he did not com­
ply with the request, those making it threatened to obtain their wish
by an order from the White House. The whiskey was released a
few days later and by a request from the White House. The first
public knowledge of irregularities in the Harding Administration
came through the appointment by the Senate on February 12, 1923,
of a committee to investigate alleged malfeasance in the Veterans’
Bureau. An amazing scandal was revealed in connection with the
building of veterans’ hospitals and the failure to provide for the dis­
abled soldiers. Colonel Charles R. Forbes, Director of the United
States Veterans’ Bureau, and James Thompson, a contractor, were
indicted. Forbes resigned three days later. In subsequent proceed­
ings Forbes was sentenced to two years in Leavenworth.

A GREAT EPOCH CLOSES

2 17

In May, 1921, at the request of Secretary of the Interior Albert
B. Fall, President Harding by Executive Order had transferred the
naval oil reserves at Tea Pot Dome, Wyoming, and Elk Hills in
California, to the Interior Department. Secretary of the Navy Denby
carried out the order of transfer without open protest. These rich
reserves were subsequently leased at sums ridiculously below their
values to Edward L. Doheny and Harry F. Sinclair. The leases
were made secretly and without competitive bidding. When news of
the relinquishment of these valuable properties to private interests
became known, Senator Robert M . LaFollette introduced a resolu­
tion demanding the fullest investigation.
The Coolidge Administration was well under way when the Sen­
ate Committee, headed by Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana,
brought the full truth to light. Secretary Fall had accepted a
$100,000 bribe from Sinclair. In the proceedings Sinclair was found
guilty of contempt of the Senate and of jury-shadowing by private
detectives in his employ. H e was sentenced to and served a term in
the District of Columbia jail. Secretary Fall availed himself of all
possible legal delays and did not serve the prison sentence pro­
nounced against him for bribery until 1929. Thomas W . M iller,
Alien Property Custodian, was also convicted and sentenced to
prison for malfeasance; Harry Daugherty, Harding’s appointee as
Attorney General of the United States, was forced out of office by
Coolidge; and many others were involved in exposures of scandals
which probably transcended anything the country had ever known.
Some who did not go to prison saved themselves by the narrowest
margins through technicalities, destruction of records, and the like.
Women and whiskey, “ gambling and fixing,” were disclosed as
the pet diversions of the “ Ohio gang,” and the testimony of his inti­
mates reflected on the dead President. The former Attorney General
Daugherty outwitted his interrogators by destruction of his personal
records, explaining that he did so to prevent a stain from being placed
upon the name of President Harding. Mrs. Harding’s action in de­
stroying the President’s private papers was unprecedented and in­
creased the cloud enveloping the memory of her husband. The
President had lived every waking moment after his first six months
as Chief Executive in horror of exposure and disgrace. W hile on the







218

fifty years of public life

ill-fated trip to Alaska in the summer of 1923 he received a code
message, the contents of which were never made known to anyone,
which almost caused his collapse. His death on August 2 in San
Francisco was officially attributed to ptomaine poisoning. One rumor
had it that he was poisoned, another that he committed suicide. It is
far more likely that fear and worry, the awful horror of impeach­
ment and disgrace, were the poisons which impaired his digestion and
caused his death. Coolidge, who had sat with the Cabinet as VicePresident, Hughes, Hoover, and others of the Administration es­
caped the stigma of its scandals.
11
In early September, 1923, I received a telegram from W. G.
McAdoo, advising that my son, Captain James H. Roper, was at the
point of death in Los Angeles and suggesting that I come at once.
In great distress of mind Mrs. Roper and I took the next train for
the West. We found our son unconscious. The attending physicians
had not located the prime cause of his illness. We took the chance of
moving him to the Good Samaritan Hospital with the aid of two
nurses. The seat of the trouble was found to be an infected tooth,
and we decided, nothwithstanding his weakened condition, to have
it extracted at once. This was a nerve-wracking experience for Mrs.
Roper and me, one of the many difficult bridges of life.
The former Secretary of the Treasury, as was noted above, had
moved to California to begin the practice of law with Edward L.
Doheny as his first client. The Doheny relationship with Secretary
Fall and the negotiation for leasing of the naval oil reserve took
place before McAdoo’s connection and without his knowledge or
legal advice. When Doheny’s past dealings with Fall became known,
McAdoo severed professional relations with his wealthy client. I
was worried and disappointed. I advised McAdoo to issue a public
statement renouncing any ambitions for the Democratic nomination
as of that year. After the atmosphere had cleared, after the public
could have definite knowledge that he had no part in the oil leases
in question, there would be time enough to make his bid for the
Presidency. This he refused to do.
My own confidence in McAdoo was unimpaired. Therefore, I
did not quit the political fight for him. While a visitor at McAdoo’s

A GREAT EPOCH CLOSES

219

residence, 5 Berkeley Square, Los Angeles, in October, 1923, I
had met Doheny before the break of the oil scandal in the fol­
lowing February. The oil magnate was a dinner guest along with
others. But I neither asked nor received from him any contribution
toward the preconvention campaign expenses. Indeed, we received
only small contributions, and those from friends scattered over the
country. Many of McAdoo’s supporters lived in the South. The
Southern people have never been large contributors to political cam­
paigns, probably because the South has but one major political party,
and the Southern vote is taken for granted. During the McAdoo
mobilization we were told that a woman in Georgia, reputed to be
wealthy and a former schoolmate of McAdoo, was much aggrieved
because she had not been asked to make a,contribution. Not wishing
to leave a stone unturned, I borrowed a hundred dollars for our
committee and sent Marion L. Fox to Augusta to get the contribu­
tion. I hoped that it would be as much as five thousand dollars. Mr.
Fox soon returned. The woman had received him most graciously.
With many thanks for the privilege of being included, she handed
him her check for twenty-five dollars.
Our work of organization proceeded largely by personal letters
to Democratic friends in various states. W e knew that Alfred E.
Smith would make a determined bid for the nomination. W e knew
also that we were up against the two-thirds rule and that our chief
hope lay in having such an early majority over Smith that his forces
would eventually succumb. I knew how hopeless it was to think
that we would ever get the votes of New York and Illinois.
hi

The final tragic months of Woodrow Wilson’s life, as he lay
physically and spiritually broken from the collapse of his efforts in
behalf of a better world and from the slander of his traducers, re­
vealed the devotion of those who believed in him, some to the point
of fanaticism. While news of his failing strength filtered out of the
S Street residence, sad-eyed men and women gathered in the street
before it, standing there in silence or speaking in whispers, many with
heads bowed in prayer. It was winter, yet some of these withstood
the cold, all hoping for a miracle which might prolong the life of
the man within the residence. They forgave his failures and his







22O

FIFTY yea r s of pu b l ic l if e

faults, and in the last anxious hours, theirs was a “ watchful waiting”
without hopej their sorrow, for a martyr not to be deserted in death.
The end came February 3, 1924. The grief, first manifested in
S Street, swept across the nation as patriotic men and women forgot
and forgave, only remembering that Wilson had been our leader in
the gravest crisis of American history. Some recalled words from one
of his most famous speeches, that delivered in September, 1919, at
St. Louis:

This Nation went into this war to see it through to the end, and the
end has not yet com This is the beginning, not of the war but of the
e.
processes which are going to render a war like this im
possible. There are
no other processes than those that are proposed in this great treaty. It is
a great treaty, it is a treaty of justice, of rigorous and severe justice, but
do not forget that there are m other parties to this treaty than Germany
any
and her opponents. There is rehabilitated Poland. There is rescued Bo­
hem There is redeem Jugo-Slavia. There is the rehabilitated Ru­
ia.
ed
m
ania. All the nations that Germany m
eant to crush and reduce to the
status of tools in her own hands have been redeem by this war and given
ed
the guarantee of the strongest nations of the world that nobody shall in­
vade their liberty again. If you do not want to give them that guarantee,
then you m it certain that without your guarantee the attem will b
ake
pt
e
m again, and if another war starts like this one, are you going to keep
ade
out of it? If you keep out of this arrangem that sort of war will com
ent,
e
soon. If you go into it, it never will com We are in the presence, there­
e.
fore, of the m solem choice that this people was ever called upon to
ost
n
m
ake. That choice is nothing less than this: Shall America redeem her
pledges to the world? America is m up of the peoples of the world.
ade
All the best bloods of the world flow in her veins, all the old affections, all
the old and sacred traditions of peoples of every sort throughout the wide
world circulate in her veins, and she has said to m
ankind at her birth:
“We have com to redeem the world by giving it liberty and justice.”
e
Now we are called upon before the tribunal of m
ankind to redeem that
im ortal pledge.
m
I was one of those who made a pilgrimage to the Wilson home
during his last illness. Broken as he was at the time, he recalled
the visit during the war when I had taken my five sons to meet him.
Three of them were then in the sendee, one was a cadet captain in
high school, the fifth in the graded schools. It was with a sense of
pride that I presented them to the President, explaining that D. C.,

Jr., was going to camp at Plattsburg, John W . was in the graduating
class at Annapolis, and James in a camp near Washington. On my
last visit to him, a short while before his death, he called me back
from the small group with which he had shaken hands and said,
“ I wanted to ask you about those boys of yours.” I told him I was
thankful that all had returned from the war, although D. C., Jr.,
had been severely wounded in the battle of the Argonne Forest. It
was clear that the invalid had aged and deteriorated from his illness,
but that instance of thoughtfulness refuted the exaggerated rumors
of his mental condition. On the day of his death, only a short time
before breath left him, his faithful and efficient physician, Admiral
Cary T. Grayson, took with him for consultation Dr. Sterling Ruffin
of Washington. H e told the President of the presence of Dr. Ruffin
for further consultation, whereupon Mr. Wilson, scarcely able to
speak, whispered, “ Grayson, do you not remember the old adage,
£
Too many cooks spoil the broth’ ?”
At the time of his death many memories of the man came to my
mind, but at the same time his passing seemed to emphasize the grave
need for a progressive leadership of the brand that he had given to
the country. The oil scandals had been exposed and the national
conventions were in the offing. The chances of a Democratic victory
had never seemed better, but already there was confusion in the party
ranks. Countless thousands must have paused at the death of Wilson
to wonder if, after all, he had not been right, if the greatest Ameri­
can mistake of all time had not been the rejection of the League of
Nations without a sincere effort to harmonize the differences of opin­
ion over the details of its functioning. Would the prophecies of the
dead President come true? Had we thrown away all we had fought
for by rejecting the League?
Among others with whom I was brought into close association in
this period, I greatly admired the loyalty of the late President’s
daughter, Mrs. Wm. G. McAdoo. The following letter fully attests
her keen interest in the record of her father and in the political
aspirations of her husband:

Dear Mr. Roper:
I was dreadfully disappointed when I found that you had gone Tues­
day afternoon and that I had not had an opportunity to see you again.
I wanted to see you for just one reason, hut it was a very important reason







222
FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
to m I wanted to tell you again, as I had tried to tell you in Washing­
e.
ton, how m your wonderful loyalty, friendship, and devotion to Mac
uch
touches m heart. It is one of the m beautiful things I have ever known
y
ost
and I never think of you without a feeling of com
fort and renewed
strength because, in all these troubled tim he has such a friend as you.
es,
I have lost m faith in so m people since the days when father first
y
any
went into politics, but, tho’ that is very sad, I have the happiness of know­
ing that I have learned to recognize the few who are fine and true. You
are one of those few and I shall always feel a very deep gratitude and
affection for you.
We are both a little worried because you are so tired and do not seem
well. Isn’t it possible for you to take a little real rest? Get away where
you won’t talk politics, please, dear “Mr. Yopie.” [My nam as pro­
e
nounced by Mrs. McAdoo’s little daughter.]
And that rem
inds m that in all the stress and strain, I forgot to
e
thank you for the lovely books you sent the children. They loved them
and we all thought it very dear of you to think of them They won’t ever
.
forget you—they speak of you still. We are nearly hom and we are
e
very happy because of that. It is hard to be away from those two little
dancers.
Give our love to Mrs. Roper and keep for yourself our deep adm
ira­
tion and affection.
Most sincerely yours,
/s/ Eleanor W. McAdoo.
Feb. 2ist, 1924
IV

No man or woman who attended the Convention of 1924 in the
old Madison Square Garden will ever forget it. This country has
never seen its like and is not likely to see its like again. In the blaz­
ing August heat the conflicting forces of McAdoo and Smith had
their tug of war. The delegates were seated upon approval of their
credentials. The McAdoo forces being in the majority, we selected
Pat Harrison, Senator from Mississippi, for temporary chairman.
He was splendid in this position and made an excellent opening
speech. Thomas J. Walsh, Senator from Montana, was the perma­
nent chairman, and there could not have been a better one.
Tension and strife, the Ku-Klux Klan, galleries filled with Smith
partisans from the sidewalks of New York— it was a colorful show.

A G R E A T E P O C H CLO SES
A delegation from the Northwest brought a carload of snow and
threw snowballs in August. The Californians, gay and confident, with
a spirit that was joyous, had several carloads of oranges. For the
first time in history, women took the rostrum. Mrs. Leroy Springs,
of South Carolina, and Mrs. Isetta Jewell Brown, of West Virginia,
electrified the vast audience with their eloquent and brilliant ad­
dresses. One saw William Jennings Bryan moving about the floor
from delegation to delegation. H e wore a palm beach suit and
fanned himself with a cardboard fan, similar to those which used to
be presented at county fairs by the local furniture store. The Gov­
ernor of Colorado and the Minister to Nicaragua engaged in a slugfest that would have been worth money in the prize ring. Chairman
Walsh ruled this mad arena wonderfully well. Arthur Brisbane,
dean of American newspapermen, sat in the galleries and deplored
the deadlock between Smith and McAdoo. And had there not been
a final yielding of both sides, the convention might theoretically be in
session now. After every ballot there was a parade around the floor,
bands playing, frenzied delegates screaming and shouting. What a
spectacle, and what rampant enthusiasm when either side gained so
much as two or three votes! And who will ever forget the stentorian
tones of the Governor of Alabama who, as chairman of his state
delegation, yelled on every ballot, “ Twenty-four votes for Under­
wood !”
How picturesque it was! Most of the titans of the war and
prewar days were still living. Many were present and fighting for
one side or the other. Almost to a man, the chosen of the Wilson
Administration were behind McAdoo. After the seventieth ballot,
I joined Mr. and Mrs. McAdoo at breakfast to canvass the situation.
Earlier that morning it had looked as though prolongation of the
struggle would bring about complete disintegration of the party.
Therefore, I suggested to McAdoo that Smith be nominated if we
could have an understanding that the Smith forces would help us
nominate McAdoo in 1928. This proposal was promptly rejected by
Mr. and Mrs. McAdoo on the ground that the Tammany machine
would then be in control of the National Democratic organization.
I informed him that some of our most intimate friends, one of them
being Mr. Chadbourne, were about to go to Smith in a four years’
Program, so that by 1928 the New York Governor would be the best







224

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

advertised man in the United States. The events of the next four
years were to show how successfully their work was done.
The feverish, chaotic days of that convention were so trying that
many of us would have broken down had it not been for a note of
levity introduced from time to time. For example, in the keynote
address Pat Harrison said at one point, “ What this country needs is
a Paul Revere.” There was prolonged cheering. Later it was learned
that some of the delegations had misunderstood him, thinking he had
said, “What this country needs is real beer.”
Recurring to my recommendation in February that McAdoo step
aside, I had later changed my opinion. It would have been improper
for him to retreat under the oil fire; his record was clean. He could
not have corrected the error had he yielded to the calumny of the
hour. He was right; I was wrong.
The McAdoo-Smith feud was primarily a struggle between the
industrialism of the North and East and the power of the country­
side in the South and West. The rural group was then and still is
the stronger; however, the abandonment of the two-thirds rule for
nominations will probably soon transfer control to those states having
large urban populations.
I am positive that the Ku-Klux Klan influence in the convention
was greatly exaggerated and a real detriment to the McAdoo inter­
ests in that it put Catholics on the defensive and alienated many who
otherwise might have been for McAdoo. This influence was unfairly
blamed on the South, when on Long Island, in Connecticut, and
in northern New Jersey, fiery crosses were burning while the conven­
tion was in session, and thousands of the hooded, bemasked members
of that reprehensible order were in conclave. Indiana had already
furnished a national scandal because of the Klan. The united manner
in which the South was to aid in nominating Smith four years later
should dissolve the last remnant of accusation that the Klan was a
dominant influence in Southern democracy.
That convention witnessed the last appearance of William Jen­
nings Bryan upon the stage of American politics. The old fire was
diminishing now; the silver tongue lacked some of its former in­
tonations of oratorical music, but all the graciousness and courage,
all the gentility and wholeheartedness of the peacemaker remained.
At a crisis in the convention, Bryan took the platform. The Tam-

A GREAT EPOCH CLOSES

2 25

many policemen had opened the doors and permitted a veritable
mob of hoodlums to mount to the galleries. When Bryan started
to speak, there were hisses, boos and cat-calls, raucous shouting. Did
these uncouth, undisciplined and unassimilated rowdies think they
could move the spiritual mountain on that platform? If so, they
soon found themselves mistaken. Bryan waited until the storm over­
head had spent itself. Then quietly, modestly and with his immense
and ineffable grace, he spoke to the delegates, as a kind father might
have addressed his own family.
“ Insulting outcries,” he said in substance, “ have little meaning
for me. The things they represent must be a passing phase in our
national life.” H e pointed upward to the noisy galleries, saying,
“ You do not represent the future of our country. The leaders are
not in the galleries .” What a fitting close, and how dramatic an end­
ing to his long and useful political career!
Perhaps more than anything else, that episode caused the dele­
gates to realize the necessity of compromise in lieu of disintegration.
John W . Davis was nominated. H e was one of the country’s ablest
lawyers, too conservative for leadership that year, but no Democrat
could have been elected after that convention.
v
The convention over, I returned to Washington. Upon my ar­
rival I found a telegram from Davis asking me to come back to
New York for a conference. I acceded to his request immediately,
finding him at the home of Frank L. Polk. When he asked whether
the McAdoo forces were going to support him, I replied in the affirm­
ative. “ Governor Smith called upon me this afternoon,” the nominee
informed me. “ H e suggests that I appoint Thomas J. Spellacy of
Connecticut as Chairman of the National Committee, and that I put
him in charge of the campaign.” “ No matter who is appointed,” I
replied, “ you won’t be able to carry a single state in the ‘W all Street
zone.’ But if Governor Smith thinks you can carry one or more states
in this area, why not create two national campaign headquarters?
Have one for the New York area and another for the rest of the
country.” H e nodded, and I went on: “ Put Spellacy in charge of
the New York office. H e’s an ideal man for it. Then you can appoint
a national chairman for the rest of the country.”







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Clem L. Shaver, of West Virginia, had done so much to bring
about the nomination of Mr. Davis that I thought he was the logical
choice for chairman. “ While he is somewhat inarticulate and not as
active or aggressive as you might wish,” I urged, “ you wont have
to lie awake nights worrying about sins of commission. You know
he will be loyal. He has good political judgment.” Mr. Davis con­
curred in this analysis. Shaver became the chairman, and Spellacy
was put in charge of the “ Wall Street zone.” I am sure that he did
his best, but no state in that area was carried by Davis. The result
is history. Coolidge swept the country. We embarked upon what
many considered to be the golden era.
VI

After the Fourth of July, 1925, I took my family on a trip
through the Great Lakes. On the return through Chicago I was
knocked down on Michigan Avenue by an automobile turning the
corner near the Blackstone Hotel. In an unconscious condition I was
taken to St. Luke’s Hospital. An examination revealed that I had
six breaks in one leg and a fracture of the skull. The attending physi­
cians despaired of my life. These same doctors were later to tell me
that good blood and a wholesome attitude toward life were the two
factors which saved me. During this illness, Captain J. J. McDonald,
a Washington friend, wrote me as follows: “ I understand the doctors
think you may die. They told me when I had a severe accident that
I had but one chance in one hundred to live. I simply said, ‘Doctor,
I will take it.’ I suggest that you do likewise.” I followed his sug­
gestion. Friends from various parts of the country, having read of
the accident, wrote or wired me, and all these messages aided my
fight for recovery. Two who were outstanding in their attentions
and solicitations were Cyrus McCormick and Alexander Legge, both
of Chicago. I shall never forget the sympathetic kindness of the
entire staff of that hospital. M y convalescence was made as interest­
ing as was possible under the circumstances.
Mrs. Roper had always maintained a policy of refusing to break
bad news to me in times of strain. She knew the affection and esteem
in which I held the outstanding figures of my own generation. Thus,
when William Jennings Bryan passed from life at Dayton, Tennes­
see, during the Scopes trial, I was still in the hospital, and she did

A GREAT EPOCH CLOSES

227

not tell me for fear it would aggravate my condition by upsetting
and disturbing me. I learned of his death from one of my doctors.
The dramatic aspect of his passing while defending the Bible, as he
interpreted it, dying as he did in a peaceful sleep, afforded much food
for thought and many recollections of his role in American life.
Less than two months earlier the final curtain had descended upon
the long and stormy career of Robert M . LaFollette. I found my­
self linking together the lives of four men: Theodore Roosevelt, who
had died in 1919, Woodrow Wilson, LaFollette, and Bryan. They
had been the “ big four” of the progressive era. The death of Bryan
had brought a most significant historical period to a close.
Bryan was laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery, a right he had
gained from his service in the Spanish-American War. His passing
caused me to reflect upon many things, for the character of an age
of change is marked by nothing so much as the personalities of its
leaders. When I came to Washington in 1893, four outstanding
young men were making their beginnings in national political life.
Roosevelt was a Civil Service Commissioner. Bryan was a member of
the House of Representatives. That Bryan was a leading member is
indicated by the fact that on May 30, 1892, he was chosen to deliver
the annual memorial address at Arlington. These two men, with
their careers shrouded in the mists of the future, met socially from
time to time. An interesting bit of fiction might be written retailing
their imaginary conversations at casual meetings.
Woodrow Wilson, then a young professor of jurisprudence and
political economy at Princeton University, was a friend of Roosevelt.
Wilson’s excellent book, Congressional Government, had been pub­
lished in 1885. By 1893 he was a well-known scholar and publicist.
Robert M. LaFollette had already served six years in the House of
Representatives. H e left that House of the Congress before Bryan
arrived. Later these two became warm friends.
Those four careers inspired, during that generation, great flashes
of insight and inspiration. Their leadership, above all others, moved
the nation in 1896-1916 to face its problems with aspirations toward
progress. Their voices were in command in that era of change. Each
m his turn ascended the heights. Two were to win the Presidency,
each for two terms. The two others had been nominated for this
high office. Finally, I saw all in turn fade from the scene— each







228

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

broken and sick at heart in disappointment over apparent failure.
By the autumn of 1925, they were all gone. Certainly life is a great
stage and such men are among its great actors, suggesting reflections
on the nature of success and failure.
The World War was the great tragedy of their age. Despite
that colossal blow to civilization, more fruits of American progressivism should have ripened and have been harvested during the first
quarter of the present century than was the case. We were weakened
by the fact that these four strong men were not marshaled together
in the great battles for reform and social progress. Fate decreed—
fate and an antiquated political system—that they should be divided,
not only as two and two, but as one and one.
Theodore Roosevelt would have been a much greater leader had
he been willing from the first to accept and defend in the face of
defeat the advanced positions of Robert M. LaFollette. The voice
of William Jennings Bryan would have resounded through the world
during all the ages to come had he after 1913 fully accepted the
leadership of Woodrow Wilson. He should not have consented to
be made Secretary of State, because he was not qualified for that type
of administrative work. He should have supported Wilson only as
a generous colleague and friend. Had Bryan in 1914-18 seen Europe
and the World War as Wilson saw them, he might have rendered
more enduring services in the cause of world peace. And who can
measure and adjudge the fruits of victory for all the world if there
had been added to Wilson and Bryan the dynamic character of Theo­
dore Roosevelt. In 1919 in Paris, Theodore Roosevelt, who had
died in the early days of that year, would either have mastered
Clemenceau or have driven him from the council table. With Roose­
velt supporting the League, this country would have joined and have
given it wholehearted support. Great as he was, however, Wilson
was not strong enough in that crisis to enlist the services of Bryan
and Roosevelt. A Washington or a Lincoln might have found room
in either war or peace for the continued and ardent co-operation of
both. In those times we needed, in fact, a composite of the four men,
Wilson, Roosevelt, Bryan, and LaFollette.
In Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln the American people pro­
duced leaders whose personalities dominated crucial periods of po-

A GREAT EPOCH CLOSES

229

litical change and social transition. Each of these possessed that con­
summate strength which wins obedience from lesser leaders and
merges their strength to influence the general public. Roosevelt,
Wilson, Bryan, and LaFollette had each done his best. A ll deserve
to be held in great honor, but the tasks to which they set their hands
remained unfinished.







^ H E D R A M A TIC EVENTS which marked the Madison
Square Convention in 1924 aroused and intensified issues not
destined to be forgotten with the defeat of John W. Davis.
Militant Catholic elements and the disgruntled wet faction of the
Democratic party clamored for greater recognition. These segments
of the party contended that Governor Smith, if nominated, could
have been elected in 1924, maintaining that his record for social and
labor legislation in New York State would have attracted the labor
vote from Coolidge. With extreme vigor they contended that a grow­
ing disrespect for the prohibition laws and the Eighteenth Amend­
ment made their repeal imperative and that Smith was the logical
leader for this movement. As a result of this division in the Demo­
cratic ranks, a number of my friends, including Thomas L. Chadbourne, joined the Smith movement, taking the position that the
time had arrived for a definite settlement of the liquor question.
“ I have faithfully stood by McAdoo in all his campaigns up to
now,” said Chadbourne in 1924. “ But now I’m for A 1 Smith, and
I believe he’ll be nominated in 1928.” He added that he thought the
nomination of Smith would afford the people an opportunity to meet
definite issues, since the New York Governor was noted for his frank­
ness. I did not deny this quality, but it seemed to me that the Presi­
dency was too high an office to be pivoted upon a single minor issue.
Other qualifications were demanded, I thought, qualifications of in­
finitely more intrinsic importance to the American people than the
attitude of a candidate on liquor.
Let me emphasize my admiration for Governor Smith’s enviable
and progressive record as Governor of New York. As that state’s
Chief Executive for four terms his remarkable achievements are
fully known to all who either read a New York newspaper during

T H E SC H ISM O F 1928

231

that time or followed his career in the national magazines. Members
of all parties and factions agreed that he made New York one of its
ablest governors. Having been brought up under the tutelage of
Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson, I was doubtful of the coun­
try’s reception of Smith’s Tammany affiliation. Many had not for­
gotten how the switch of Tammany to Champ Clark at Baltimore
had ruined his chances. The mere thought of a Tammanyized Na­
tional Democratic Committee would, I felt, be anathema to thousands
of leading Democrats throughout the country, not for reasons of
sectionalism but because of their dislike of machine politics. More­
over, the wounds of Madison Square Garden would not be entirely
healed in the coming campaign. Furthermore, I did not believe that
the country was ready to accept Smith’s position on the liquor ques­
tion, despite the growing trend toward repeal. The religious issue
was important but far from being paramount.
The judicious attitude of Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana
in conducting the Senatorial inquiry into the oil scandals and the fair
and impartial manner in which he had presided over the previous
chaotic Democratic convention endeared him to thousands of his fel­
low Democrats. He, too, was a Catholic, but he was a Western man
and a dry. There were extreme rumblings of unrest in the great agri­
cultural sections of the West. The collapse of European markets and
the growing surplus of agricultural commodities plus the deflation
caused by shrinkage of land values, consequent foreclosures and a
general tightening of credit in the rural regions, made it necessary
that the Federal Government lend at least its ears to the cries of the
Western farmers and Southern cotton planters. Such outstanding
men as Senators McNary, Borah, Hiram Johnson, Heflin of Ala­
bama, and Smith of South Carolina were urging agricultural relief
and at the same time warning the country that unless prompt action
were taken there would be an economic catastrophe. It looked, there­
fore, as though the farm voters were about to register a mighty
protest if ignored. I failed to see how a candidate from the “ side­
walks of New York” would appeal to this large segment of the
American population.
1
1
After the failure of McAdoo to win the nomination at Madison
Square Garden, it did not seem probable that I would ever again play

4






232

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

any important part in national politics. The apparent prosperity
under the Coolidge Administration seemed to be affording com­
plete satisfaction to the dominant financial interests of the country.
Nevertheless, the power of such wealthy men as John J. Raskob, the
DuPonts, and others associated with Smith in a society opposed to
the Eighteenth Amendment was not to be esteemed too lightly.
More and more, it seemed probable that he would win the nomina­
tion in 1928. I conceded that he might be nominated, but I at no
time thought that he could be elected.
Consequently, I turned more to the affairs of private life. My
Washington practice was fairly remunerative, and I found time to
keep alive pleasant social contacts both in the capital and by corre­
spondence, adhering to my long custom of writing occasionally to a
number of friends from whom I had not heard in recent months.
The time passed swiftly, and while the convention of 1924 still
seemed like an event of yesterday, the year 1928 rolled around.
Coolidge issued his famous “ I do not choose to run” statement from
the summer White House in the Black Hills of South Dakota and
thereby gave Secretary of Commerce Hoover a free hand in the Re­
publican primaries. By that time it was evident that no contender
had developed the strength to forestall the nomination of Smith,
much as I favored Senator Walsh.
Under the influence of that splendid and liberal American, Jesse
H. Jones, the convention of 1928 met at Houston, Texas. The Re­
publicans, meeting earlier at Chicago, had nominated Hoover. Their
platform was a pledge of eternal prosperity, the full dinner pail and
a rising standard of living, Hoover later supplementing these pledges
with one for the abolition of poverty— a statement so unfortunate as
to cause pity for him when it is examined in retrospect. Little did he
realize that his promises of two cars in every garage and two chickens
in every pot would be turned against him later and used by millions
of his fellow Americans to hold him up to ridicule.
As was expected, Smith received the Houston nomination without
appreciable opposition. The convention made a tragic mistake by fa­
voring prohibition in its platform, when all the delegates knew that
their candidate was wet. The platform had scarcely been adopted
when Smith sent a telegram to the convention accepting the nomina­
tion and at the same time repudiating the platform. This made me

THE SCHISM OF

1928

233

and other Democrats committed to the dry cause political orphans
for that campaign. The time was not yet ripe for the repeal of the
Eighteenth Amendment. If the liquor traffic was to be resumed law­
fully, the Amendment first had to be eliminated from the Constitu­
tion ; there could be no other course.
America witnessed in 1928 a political campaign the like of
which, I hope, will never be repeated. John J. Raskob, a former Re­
publican, became Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Smith ran openly as a wet. His New York accent was burlesqued by
speakers of the opposing party, and a series of cartoons in which he
was caricatured as a Tammany farmer made him an object of ridicule
in the rural regions and small towns. Numerous Democratic leaders,
such as United States Senator F. M . Simmons of North Carolina, for­
mer Senator Robert L. Owen of Oklahoma, and others of national
prestige, to say nothing of thousands of clergymen, openly climbed
aboard the Hoover bandwagon largely because of the prohibition
issue. Both sides were guilty of extreme religious intolerance. More­
over, Hoover was put forward in the wet industrial regions as a
personal believer in repeal, while in some sections of the South he
was advocated as a dry. His own utterances were tactfully vague, but
he had as a bulwark the dry plank of the Republican platform. Tam­
many H all of New York went through the worst castigation in its
history, one from which it has not fully recovered and which paved
the way for the Fusion movement that elected the progressive Mayor
LaGuardia and practically annihilated the Tammany organization
and its control of New York City political patronage and the ju­
diciary.
The election of Hoover with promises of more protective tariff,
continued prosperity, and the abolition of poverty, ushered in what
the industrial barons and bankers believed to be the beginning of
phase two of the golden age. Indeed, there were those who sensed
the approach of the millennium. The machine age would doubtless
abolish labor also. In a land of peace and plenty, the most-favored
nation of the earth, we would live without work or want, devoting
our time to cultural pursuits, while the other nations of the world
wrangled and shed blood. Their fights were not our fights. W e
would be safe and sound and rich.







C H A P T E R XVIII

Hoover and the Debacle
7

H E H OOVER E LE CT IO N had resulted from the most
spirited campaign of recent years, but it was increasingly ap­
parent that the scars left by the campaign would not be healed
for months to come, if indeed at all. Nevertheless, the inauguration
of the new President was widely hailed as a guarantee of continued
prosperity. Stock prices reacted favorably j foreign loan bonds con­
tinued to be floated among America’s small investors; our exports
seemed to be rising, and it looked as if the “ Golden Glow” would be
perpetuated. Coupled with assurances that there would be no depar­
ture from encouragement to business, which, of course, entailed di­
rect government co-operation with business modes of the hour as to
exports, debt collection abroad, and laxity in the banking system,
Mr. Hoover promised aid to agriculture. A special session of Con­
gress was called for this latter purpose which resulted in the creation
of the Farm Board, for which an appropriation of five hundred million dollars provided a revolving fund, designed to “ peg” market
prices of major agricultural commodities by government purchases.
Quite soon, however, it became evident the fund would not revolve,
and greater confusion reigned as more and more small banks failed in
the rural areas.1
In his inaugural address Mr. Hoover promised to devote imme­
diate attention to the national crime wave, which had become the
worst any major nation had ever known. For this purpose he appointed a fact-finding commission headed by the distinguished jurist,
George W. Wickersham, and composed of others prominent in re­
lated fields of sociology. The commission deliberated for about one
1 Five thousand banks with aggregate deposits of a billion and a half dollars
closed their doors between 1920 and 1929, mainly in rural regions, reflecting the
depreciation of agriculture and the liquidation of farm mortgages based on the
inflated prices paid for land purchased in the W
orld War days.

HOOVER AND THE DEBACLE

2 35

year; on the basis of extensive research it developed startling testi­
mony concerning the extent to which the modern “ gangster,” or
“ racketeer,” had honeycombed the social fabric. It was clear that the
tentacles of crime reached high into American public and business
life, that some large cities, or great sections of them, were in virtual
control of such criminals as the notorious A 1 Capone. Such men con­
trolled not merely the illicit liquor traffic, narcotics, smuggling, or­
ganized vice and the like, but had perverted labor unions and were
obtaining a lucrative income by bludgeoning private business into
paying tribute for so-called protection.
In earlier years such revelations might have inspired a band of
vigilantes. Not in this era. Many of the offenders were declared by
the Wickersham body to be “ beyond the local law.” The Commis­
sion itself naturally lacked authority to take drastic action. There
had been no implementation of their fact-finding prerogative. The
maladministration of justice that existed was due to venal politics,
corruption of law enforcement agencies, slum conditions, immi­
gration of undesirables, and, perhaps not least of all, to the very
“ Golden Glow” of which we had become so proud. Indeed, money
or, to be more accurate, the lack of and desire for money had become
the “ root of all evil.” It is not unfair to say that this mania for the
dollar went far too high, infecting W all Street and the basic banking
structure. Laissez faire and caveat emptor were doctrines of the
hour. In the light of succeeding events, it is not unfair to say further
that the Hoover Administration (without intent or realization on
the part of the President) had begun at the very zenith of the power
of the reactionary political forces which had resisted progressivism
since my arrival in Washington during the Cleveland days.
I have no wish to be unkind to Mr. Hoover nor any desire to im­
pute culpability to him for events entirely beyond his control. Great
underlying forces were against him from the beginning. Himself
reputedly a man of great wealth, one who had spent his best years
outside the nation, he was a natural partisan of the forces, the acci­
dents, and the circumstances which had colored his mental processes.
The reality of conditions was not apparent to him. “ Prosperity was
around the corner.”
Perhaps it is well that some saw the march of events from
the sidelines. It seemed to me that the upward curve of crime and







236

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

commercial recklessness was due to an abandonment of the tenets of
the Founding Fathers of the country. In the year of 1929 export
trade rose to the all-time high of $5,240,995,000. Few realized that
we were lending more money abroad than was being returned by the
purchase of goods, and fewer knew that substantial sums of this
money were being spent for rearmament and remilitarization in
an untrustworthy Europe. By 1932 our exports were to fall to
$1,611,000,000. The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act made 1,125 changes
in the Federal Revenue Law, of which 890 increased the cost of im­
ports, thus ringing the death knell of our foreign trade.
On the day the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was signed, in 1930, I
lunched with President Hoover’s private secretary, Walter H. New­
ton. Just prior to this time a large number of nationally known
economists, many of them university professors, had joined in a
signed protest against the bill. The governments of some fifty coun­
tries were also protesting. I asked Newton whether he, as a former
member of Congress, recommended that the President sign the bill.
“ The President,” Newton replied, “ has a difficult situation. Against
the opposition of the economists, there is the support of a large num­
ber of businessmen. They argue that the bill will protect them against
the curse of eighteen more months of tariff agitation.” Hoover signed
the bill.
This tariff act caused many other countries to erect tariff walls
against international commerce. Great Britain began to formulate a
plan for drawing the entire British Empire into a tariff union against
the world, to be effective in 1932. The German people, suffering
most, were made an easier prey to Hitler’s propaganda. All the
world was afflicted by what one historian has called “ the Mad Dec­
ade.” The stock market collapse caused people to realize that some­
thing was basically wrong. They wholly rejected the theory that
prosperity lay just around the corner, and during the two years that
followed, intelligent thinkers learned more about economics than
they had learned in the previous generation.
Meanwhile, the Hoover Administration was ill-fated politically.
On the black days in 1929 and 1930, when securities fell to the
record low of all time, leading figures in the President’s party turned
against him. Bank and business failures were increasing daily; unem-

HOOVER AND THE DEBACLE

2 37

ployment reached record proportions; the farmer had lost his Euro­
pean and best domestic markets, and no ray of light came from the
funereal pronouncements of American economists. There was great
confusion among Republican members of Congress. Due to deaths,
including that of Nicholas Longworth, Speaker, the Democrats sud­
denly had a majority in the House of Representatives and organized
that body under the leadership of my old friend, John N. Garner.
An early effort was made by Speaker Garner to expedite a program
of public works on a large scale to save the masses of America’s
unemployed. The Democrats in Congress did not try to convert the
national emergency into political capital. Instead, they banded to­
gether to pass emergency legislation that might alleviate the mount­
ing national distress.
Among the Republicans there was increasing disunity and dissat­
isfaction with the man in the White House. There was, for example,
former Senator Frelinghuysen, who had contributed large sums to
the Hoover campaign, as had William S. Vare of Pennsylvania,
Senator-elect from that state, whose seat was challenged because of
alleged election frauds and excessive campaign expenditures. Natur­
ally, both being the Republican nominees, the same funds had also
been expended for Mr. Hoover, who had received an overwhelming
majority in the state. Mr. Vare was unseated by the Senate. Talking
from a chair because of illness, he made a feeble plea in his own
behalf, but the Administration made no effort to save him from pub­
lic disgrace. The seat was declared vacant, thus permitting the Gov­
ernor, a Republican elected upon the same ticket, to appoint Senator
Grundy, a high protectionist, who set up downtown offices immedi­
ately after he was sworn in and began to promote the greatest tariff
lobby effort Washington had ever known5 he, himself, was respon­
sible for the insertion of hundreds of items in the Hawley-Smoot Bill.
J. PYanklin Forte, a distinguished Representative from New Jer­
sey, and John Q. Tilson of Connecticut, Majority Leader of the
House of Representatives, were among those most active in the elec­
tion of Hoover; to Colonel Horace A. Mann, a Washington attor­
ney, was attributed credit for the Hoover campaign which broke the
solid South. Colonel William J. Donovan of New York’s famous
“ Fighting Sixty-ninth,” an outstanding W orld W ar hero, perhaps







23 8

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

restrained New York Catholics from a wholesale bolt from the Re­
publican party to Smith. For reasons never known to the public, the
new President soon parted with most of these key supporters, includ­
ing former Senator Frelinghuysen. Most of them, it was said, found
themselves to be unwelcome at the White House.
Meanwhile, Claudius H. Huston, of Tennessee and New York,
was selected by Mr. Hoover to head the Republican National Com­
mittee. His tenure was short-lived. Washingtonians were shocked
one morning to read at their breakfast tables the startling news
that Mr. Huston had been sued for eighty thousand dollars, alleged
to be evidenced by an IOU he had passed in a poker game and
had apparently repudiated. Robert H. Lucas of Kentucky, Com­
missioner of Internal Revenue, was thereupon charged with the man­
agement of the Republican National Committee, but he, too, seemed
unauthorized to dispense the spoils of the incoming Administration,
there being no centralization of authority. The President had three
secretaries, and old-line Republican Senators and Representatives
found it difficult to reach an understanding among them when they
sought to recommend one of their constituents for a Federal office.
This tended to cause further rifts in Republican ranks. During the
early days of the new Administration it was freely said that those
who had worked hardest for the election of Mr. Hoover were now
the least cherished in his esteem. Perhaps he overlooked the fact that
the men who helped make him politically might be able to help de­
stroy him, that in case of a bid for re-election four years later they
would be willing and ready to oppose him.
The Hoover Cabinet, with a few exceptions, was also politically
weak and unrepresentative of the nation as a whole. There was no
member from the South, which had given the candidate unprece­
dented support. The Secretary of Agriculture, Arthur M. Hyde,
according to Senator James A. Reed of Missouri, had been best known
in that state as a Ford dealer, not as a farmer, yet agriculture was
facing collapse. Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur, Secretary of the Interior,
was a scholarly man, but he inherited the Department from Albert
B. Fall, who had permitted it to become almost stagnant in the exer­
cise of its ancient functions. Walter Brown, of Ohio, Postmaster
General, had been an intimate of some of the discredited politicians
of the “ Ohio gang” of the Harding days. It was he who had his

HOOVER AND THE DEBACLE

239

Cabinet limousine changed in order to get one with a higher roof,
enabling him to ride in it without risking a crush of his high silk
hat. Secretary of the Treasury Mellon, hailed as the “ greatest Sec­
retary of the Treasury since Hamilton,” left many large affairs to
the Undersecretary, Ogden L. Mills. Neither intervened to stop the
flow of American billions to Europe. Secretaries of the Navy and
War, Adams and Hurley, respectively, were well-meaning, con­
scientious men. Yet neither of these projected himself into the inter­
national scene with the nerve and command which might have per­
mitted the country either to force a limitation of armaments or else
build apace with other countries. The Secretary of Commerce, Robert
Lamont, continued the Coolidge policy of encouraging foreign loans
in order to keep exports at as high a level as possible. There was a
sort of incompatibility in this whole official family. A New England
aristocrat, such as Adams, had little in common with the Secretary of
Agriculture from Missouri, and “ on the hill” Senator Moses of New
Hampshire antagonized the Western progressive elements in Con­
gress by dubbing them “ Sons of W ild Jackasses.” Legislation was
left in command of a “ freshman,” Senator Henry Allen of Kansas;
and such old war horses as Senators Borah of Idaho and McNary of
Oregon, the young progressive Bob LaFollette of Wisconsin, who
had inherited the toga of his father, Cutting of New Mexico, and
many others practically walked out on the party. Mr. Hoover
needed to remobilize and reorganize his party, calling new leaders
from the ranks. He chose to go it alone.
Following the Huston embarrassment over the poker debt, Sec­
retary of Labor James J. Davis was embarrassed by disclosures of
alleged irregularities in his fiscal relations with the Loyal Order of
Moose and the Moosehart Home and School. These complicated
misfortunes which afflicted the Hoover Administration are of course
already well known. They are mentioned here because they seem to
me to illustrate the conditions of the time, an era of disorganization,
commercial recklessness, departure from morality, and abandonment
of the higher virtues which should constantly impel public servants.
Secretary of State Stimson was regarded by Republicans— and Demo­
crats as well— as one of the ablest men in the Cabinet. Tragically
enough, however, the State Department had become too much of a
debt-collecting agency; too many of the embassies and legations had







24o

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

fallen into the status of private clubs for visiting moneylenders, and
there was not much that the Secretary could do to rectify the situa­
tion.
I would not dwell upon this period unduly, yet if it was, as it
seems to me to have been, the climax of the influence of all the reac­
tionary forces in the country and in our international relations, if it
was the apex of the events which led to the debacle of Wall Street,
to unemployment on a large scale, and to the disastrous, stricken con­
dition of agriculture, it should be so recognized. I am convinced that
it was a turning point in American history, one that needs to be under­
stood if we are to understand the grave problems the country had to
face and the experiments it made later, which are to be discussed
below. To sum it up, we had a man in the White House who did
not know what to do, who conscientiously believed in the old order of
things, who was blind to the march of international events, and who
perhaps became afflicted with the defeatism of his associates. It is
said that his Cabinet meetings lacked inspiration or any zest for
needed accomplishment.
There was in his Administration an atmosphere of distrust, fore­
bodings of the impending disasters in banking, industry, and agricul­
ture; a helpless, hopeless defeatism. For the first time in generations
we heard the President freely castigated by the man in the street.
His was far from an enviable lot. Much of the trouble he encoun­
tered, in my opinion, may be charged to his inability to develop and
maintain the winsomeness and diplomacy a man should have for
commanding leadership. For example, he lost the friendship of Colo­
nel Donovan, whose support might have enabled him to maintain a
higher prestige among the war veterans. Alas, instead, they indulged
in a bonus march upon Washington, and ex-soldiers, many destitute
and ruined by the war, were driven at bayonet points when they came
to ask for a Federal hand-out. It was sad. This hurt the President
as the news was flashed across the land.
As the months drew on and the distress of the nation increased,
as our entire banking system was threatened, the President grew grim
and taciturn. His vocal efforts to appease the excited people were of
little avail. His predictions proved to be fallacies. In the West,
there were bread riots and more than one threatened insurrection—
that by Milo Reno, farm agitator, one in Cleveland, Ohio, another

HOOVER AND THE DEBACLE

241

from the railway laborers of the country. Forty-five thousand miles
of railroad went into trusteeships, receiverships, and the like. The
textile industry became prostrate, and farm products dwindled in
value, until corn was burned for fuel. The breadlines grew longer.
Mr. Hoover had announced, during the drought and flood in Arkan­
sas, that the American people opposed any direct financial relief for
food. H e expressed the opinion that the Red Cross was doing an
adequate job in that state by feeding individuals with food costing
approximately one dollar a week. H e said that he would approve of
appropriations for feeding stock and buying seeds only. His reaction­
ary advisers cried socialism and communism at the mention of legis­
lation to meet human needs. “ It smacked of the European dole,”
they said. “ America wouldn’t stand for it.” Conditions grew worse.
Hoover had given a statement to the Scripps-Howard newspapers
that he favored government operation of Muscle Shoals, but soon
after his election he repudiated this by appointing a commission to
consider the subject and then he suppressed their report much in his
manner of handling the findings of the Wickersham group.
The financial crash had imperiled the careful plans of a lifetime
to fulfill my family duty and build security for them. I did my
best, however, to encourage progressive legislation and remedial
measures in private conversations with friends at the Capitol. Look­
ing back upon it now, I try as best I can to understand it all. At
the risk of being considered old-fashioned, I repeat my conclusion
that the abandonment of the ideals of the Founding Fathers of the
country was the chief cause. I recall some of these early lessons,
such as that of the first Thanksgiving Day, the common interests
and mutual self-help of that time in which the “ crops had been good.
They had been placed in a common storehouse and divided.” The
Pilgrims had thanked God for the blessing of peace and plenty. We
had come to look upon Thanksgiving Day as an institution, but we
had departed from the spirit which gave it birth. Instead of trying
to help our fellow man, we had tried to take money from him.
The Church had been the bulwark of our social fabric in the early
years. It had been the impelling motive for the colonization of Amer­
ica, for the building of schools and colleges, even of communities. Our
coins attest the national reverence by the words “ In God W e Trust.”
Few large-scale or important enterprises were inaugurated without







242

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

an invocation of the Deity. Sunday was a day consecrated to spiritual
enrichment and obeisance to God. Even an atheist dared not proclaim
his views too loudly, for to do so was to risk retribution from his
fellow citizens. I would stress the moral rather than the religious
point, but the time is surely at hand when the simple quest for truth
demands that we take cognizance of fundamental forces. I have sug­
gested that in 1929 the quest for money ruled the land. Compared
to the total population, the churchgoers of 1929 were fewer than
those of the 1800’s.
Men did not require large sums of money to be elected to the
United States Senate in the early years, but by 1929 it had become
almost a millionaire’s club. Hoover and his friends had spent
$1,500,000 in the primaries which preceded his campaign and elec­
tion. Such men as Harry Sinclair, Edward B. McLean, and others
of the time tossed around fifty to a hundred thousand dollars as
though such sums were modest gratuities for political favors. Samuel
Insull built an empire in the public utilities world which made of
him a respected Croesus, an honored figure, one for American youth
to emulate. He was esteemed as the apotheosis of free enterprise.
Widows, the guardians for orphans, trustful country doctors, lacking
an opportunity to get in on the “ Golden Glow” except by speculation,
contributed to the Insull plutocracy. It was an age of economic al­
chemy, and thousands were ensnared by the Insull propaganda, false
reports of conditions, the glamorous word pictures of the glib stock
salesmen who “ let them in” on the Insull companies with a promise
that they could soon resell their stocks for profits. I cite this example
with no malice, but because it was among the outstanding cases of the
time. Its trail of devastation and tragic loss has now long been of
public record.
As this fever spread over the country, it lured and corrupted the
small and the great. If a lone Christian minister chanced to protest,
even in quavering voice, telling his parishioners that they were fol­
lowing false gods by taking part in this general parade to riches, he
either was labeled an old fogy, engineered out of his pulpit, or
tolerated as one who “ had to say that sort of thing once in a while.”
In extreme cases he was termed a “ Red” or a “ Socialist.”
In every part of the land this money madness prevailed j the
Church, once dominant, was meek and subdued. Artful devices had

HOOVER AND THE DEBACLE

243

to be employed to maintain attendance and interest, and clergymen
could not afford to risk reprisals in the collection plate. I am sure
that some of them fell in with the spirit of the time as it applied to
their personal incomes and their desire for the luxuries to which even
the humblest of our people had become accustomed. The lack of
unity among communicants of all faiths made the maintenance of
Christianity itself an increasingly complex problem.
Thus the whole nation, the churches, the educational system, the
homes, everything was caught by this spirit. Colleges commercialized
athletics with highly paid coaches and subsidized football players.
Offices in city and state governments required preliminary cam­
paigns so expensive as to be beyond the reach of the simple, unwealthy patriots who in too many cases had to do the bidding of a
rich master in order to get a nomination. In some sections of the
country vote buying had become open and public. Unintelligent
voters considered it a reflection upon their loyalty to the candidate
if he was unwilling to show appreciation of their support by a finan­
cial token. A ll the while the system of small, independent retail
business was dying a lonely death amid the neighboring chain stores,
which had moved to town from the metropolitan centers. The little
businessman, too, had fallen victim to the onrush of Mammon.
During all this conquest by wealth, many men of greatest national
prestige, New York’s titans of finance, poured eleven billion dollars
of American savings into well-nigh worthless European securities,
recommending them highly to American investors, but charging the
foreign borrowers extreme rates of commission because of the specu­
lative and doubtful nature of the offerings. The basic concept of
democracy— the greatest good to the greatest number, one nation
under God— was either disregarded or given mere lip service. Even
justice required money. In some instances it cost ten thousand dollars
for printed briefs if a citizen desired to appeal a case to the United
States Supreme Court. Not even illness was exempt from this ruth­
less influence. Private rooms in leading hospitals cost from fifteen
dollars to fifty dollars a day. Surgical fees ran into hundreds and
thousands of dollars and surgical services were sometimes withheld
until payment was made. Indeed, childbirth had reached the luxury
brackets, perhaps one factor in the declining birth rate.
The old American way of moral life was being abandoned.







2^4

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

“ Keeping up with the Joneses” became a fad. We had to have big­
ger and better houses, establishments befitting our official positions
and the like. It reflected upon our business or professional standing
if we could not entertain as lavishly as some of our neighbors. We
had to have bigger and better automobiles, better clothes, etc., and
this mania was as prevalent on Main Street as on Fifth Avenue.
The former hopes of educational achievement such as, for exam­
ple, a rich American culture distilled from the combined cultures of
other lands and tempered by the intrinsic beauties of Christian expe­
rience or an amalgamation of the Christian races in a new coun­
try which would take world leadership for peace and plenty, cher­
ished previously os precious hopes, seemed now upon the verge of
disappearance. Earlier anticipation of a new and great literature, of
an advancement in all the arts, had been sacrificed to a cheapening
commercialism. We produced sex and crime novels, fantastic pulp
magazines, vulgar motion pictures accentuated with the immorality
of the old world and with the reckless mentality of producers who
failed to realize that they had accidentally or by design come into pos­
session of a powerful force for the guidance of American and world
thought.
Thus there arose, it seems to me, a perversion of all the fine
strains in a young and growing culture which might have given
spiritual leadership to the whole world. The roots of that early and
of the later perverted culture were in Christianity, in the Church,
the hope of eternity, man’s duty to man in the control of love and
hate and in the observation of the Golden Rule. Our morality had
sprung from that of the Crusaders, the Pilgrims, the Pioneers, men
of a giant spiritual stature. The American ideal was thus polluted
bv some of the things from which it had escaped to found the new
land, and was in danger of becoming a prisoner of its former enemy.
Eventually, after the tainting of other institutions, this pollution in­
vaded the American home. Money madness was reflected in the
divorce courts, in the crime wave, in a society honeycombed with
other kindred poisonous termites of evil and reaction.
There were also clouds upon the international horizon, distant as
yet, perhaps, yet portents of storms to come. We lacked unity and
unanimity. We lacked our former inner strength, which could have
quelled many of the forces that threatened us, had they become ram­

HOOVER AND THE DEBACLE

245

pant fifty or a hundred years earlier. There were rumblings at home.
Distress multiplied with increasing disaster. Problems with ugly
faces had suddenly menaced everything we held dear. The Hoover
Administration was disorganized and unpopular, even though per­
haps as sincere as could have been. Moreover, many had indulged
in the money orgy in self-defense. It is scarcely metaphorical to say
that we had become Children in the Wilderness.







C H A P T E R XI X

The Personal Side o f It
H EN H O M ER chronicled the epic journey of Ulysses
in the Odyssey, it was perhaps with the thought of sym­
bolizing to the Greeks the many dangers and disappoint­
ments that lie across the path of man in his journey through life. I
do not liken my own fairly long journey to that of the fabled Ulysses,
but every man is in a sense a Ulysses. The business cataclysm of
October, 1929, may also be regarded as a parallel to the numerous
dilemmas which perplexed Ulysses of old. Those fateful days of
financial fears and hysteria well-nigh shattered the hopes and am­
bitions of a lifetime. As the hysteria spread across the land, my
state of mind resembled that of one helplessly witnessing the sweep­
ing away of all his material possessions in a raging and consuming
fire. To make it worse, I also had from friends, near and far, frantic
appeals and requests for counsel. The tragedy of those anxious hours
brought heartrending stories and pleas. It was the greatest nervous
strain Mrs. Roper and I had ever known.

W

M y ambition had been threefold: (1) I aspired to discharge my
duty toward my family in the supplying of their normal material
needs, including that of educating the children and imbuing them
with the highest attributes of Christian character, including a proper
sense of duty to community and countryj (2) I was ambitious to dis­
charge my individual responsibilities to community and country and
to merit the respect and friendship of my fellowmen; (3) I hoped
to accumulate a sufficient estate to be able to maintain Mrs. Roper
and myself in the comfort of our own home throughout our declin­
ing years.
I had worked hard, ever trying to be prudent without sacrifice of
generosity, and up to now I believed that I had in a reasonable meas­
ure attained these objectives. When, however, I saw the best of my

THE PERSONAL SIDE OF IT

247

securities melting as snow before the rays of a hot sun, it appeared
that Mrs. Roper and I were in danger of losing the hope for our
declining years. In fact, it seemed to be an impending certainty un­
less something should stem the onrushing tide. I was reminded of
the old saying that the greatest fear to which human beings are heir
is that of starvation. I have tried not to be too personal in this ac­
count of my life and times, keeping in mind the warning in the Ser­
mon on the Mount to men tempted to exalt themselves. But it seems
necessary here to disclose the effect of this climax and collapse of
reaction upon my own ambitions and efforts of a lifetime. In such
times as the 1929 stock crash, when families face the stark reality of
misfortune they are apt to be drawn more closely together. Intimate
memories and bits of sentiment well from the pattern of the past.
It was so with me.
Much water had run over the dam since that Christmas Day in
1889 when Mrs. Roper and I were married. W e had shared our
workj we had experienced the young married couple’s pleasures in
creative achievement, such as the building of that early farm home
in South Carolina. As we had climbed rung by rung our ladder of
life during forty years, we had tried faithfully to live up to our
ideals, especially our obligations to home, church, and country. W e
had been blessed by seven children and had experienced all the joys
and trying vicissitudes of parents. With the exception of Richard F.
(Fred), who was then a Senior at Duke University, all had been
graduated from American colleges. Our first child, May, had grad­
uated from the Randolph-Macon College for Women at Lynchburg,
Virginia, in the class of 1912. James H ., the eldest boy, graduated
two years later at the University of Michigan. D. C., Jr., had left
the 1917 Senior Class at Bowdoin College for overseas service with
the American Expeditionary Force j his degree was conferred after
his return from France. Grace, our second daughter, had graduated
from Vassar College in the class of 1917. John W . was a naval
officer of the class of 1918 at Annapolis. Harry McK. was an army
officer, West Point, 1923. Mrs. Roper and I had striven to inculcate
national-mindedness in each of them, that being one reason for help­
ing them choose places of education so widely separated.
Because the friends of our children came from so many diverse
sections of America, to have them in our home tended to broaden our







24 8

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

concepts of the nation. We sought to provide that home, not just for
their friends, but as a symbol and sanctuary of family solidarity and
as a citadel where all might forgather. I urged each boy at the age
of seven to select a trade or profession, not that I thought his early
selection would necessarily be permanent, but I felt that it would
help the mother and me to keep him interested in school work.
Our family was knitted together and hence happy. Many in­
stances of their devotion to each other live in my memory. For
example, there was the time when John, who had saved ten dollars,
came to me with a serious proposition. This sum had been saved
from money made delivering newspapers and from the rewards I
paid him for getring good reports in school. It was my custom to
give each child twenty-five cents for every “ Excellent” and fifteen
cents for every “ Good” on their report cards. When they received
“ Fair” or “ Poor,” they paid me fifteen cents each. John, who was
then about ten, thus approached me: “ I want to have a talk about
Harry.” Harry was seven. “ Yes,” I said sympathetically, “ what
about him?” “ How much does it cost to get a doctor’s sign painted?”
he asked. “ I don’t know,” I replied, “ but we could go downtown to
a sign painter and find out.” This pleased him. “ All right, sir,” he
said. “ I’ve saved ten dollars, and I’d like to help Harry get his
doctor’s sign painted.” That appealed to me as being true brotherly
devotion.
Fred, the youngest boy, thought it unfortunate to be the last in
the family, not without some logic. While I was engaged in the
1916 campaign to re-elect Wilson, I received the following letter
from him, then eight:
Dear Father:
I am writing you confidentially about a bicycle. Mother says that she
has her cellar filled with old wrecks of bicycles from the other children
and she does not wish any more. It is unfortunate to be the last born in
a large family for by that time the mother is all worn out with other chil­
dren.
I am willing to sell my cat and get some money from that if you will
help me to get the balance necessary to buy a bicycle. Will you do it?
I bought the cat for four dollars, and he got the bicycle.
There were many such incidents to remind me of what our home
had meant to the family, now that we saw the homes and fortunes

THE PERSONAL SIDE OF IT

249

of others being swept away and wondered whether we, too, might
not yet experience similar disaster. It was not the first crisis in the
family. I have referred to the serious illness of Mrs. Roper and our
child in Morristown, New Jersey; to my close call after the accident
in Chicago; it is unnecessary to relate that at one time or other we
felt concern over the usual run of children’s diseases. This economic
crisis, however, was different from anything we had yet faced. It
did not matter that one had friends or experience; if the financial
structure of the country should give way, neither ability, training, nor
friends with faith in you would count for much in the chaos and
destruction sure to follow. And let no one be unaware of the narrow
margin by which at that time all seemingly sound business institu­
tions as well as private estates escaped disaster.
There are times, I think, when the one thing that will save a
man’s spirit from disintegration through fear is a rediscovery of his
sense of humor. There had been a great many Ropers in this world,
hundreds and thousands of them, and the stock had survived. Every
one of them had had his or her trials and tribulations along the cor­
ridor of time. The Ropers had, indeed, come a long way, and there
was ever an element of humor in their history. Some of them must
have had a little flint in their blood. It is probable that their entrance
to Kent, England, from France was made at the time of the Norman
Conquest. A student of early English finds a period when it was
customary for the people to speak Latin, and their names were even
Latinized. M y difficulty in tracing the Ropers through placards of
this early period is that they were all in the Latin language. Miss
Ella E. Roper, in the Roper Book, traces primarily the New England
branch and states that the present name went through the following
evolution: Rousper, Rooper, Ropere, and finally Roper.
There were originally two settlements of Ropers in this country,
the first in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1636 and the second in Dedham,
Massachusetts, in 1637. The churchmen followed the Cavaliers to
Virginia; the Dissenters followed the Pilgrims to Massachusetts.1
The offspring of the Virginia Ropers drifted southward, and the
name is found in practically all of the Southern states. The off­
spring of the New England settlement drifted westward, and the
1 Mrs. Nell Marion Nugent, C a v a lie r s a n d P io n eers (Richmond, Va.: The Dietz
Press, 1934); Miss Ella E. Roper, R o f e r B o o k ; and M Virginia Horne, Genealo­
iss
gist, of Wadesboro, N. C.







250

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

Ropers whom I have encountered in the West trace back to New
England.
My grandfather Roper and my grandmother, Hannah Hunter,
were born in Virginia about 1785 and migrated to Richmond County,
North Carolina. After the Civil War (1866), my father migrated
into Marlboro County, South Carolina, where he married my mother,
Henrietta Virginia McLaurin. In this Scottish community of the
Carolinas our name was unusual, most of the people being “ Mac’s.”
There early developed in this Scottish community the plan of hold­
ing county fairs for the purpose of displaying and exchanging prod­
ucts of the field and of the home and for engaging in the sport of
horse racing. These were useful and attractive community occasions
looked forward to and prepared for months in advance by the people
of the region.
At one of these county fairs in my early boyhood a very amus­
ing incident happened which excited my interest in the family name.
A horse race was under way on the fair grounds, the horses being
designated by different colored ribbons. At an exciting moment in
one of the races a man came rushing past my uncle, Colonel James
T. Roper, and inquired: “Which horse is ahead?” When he was
told “ Red Ribbon,” his reply was, “ Damn old Roper if that is so.”
Someone, recognizing my uncle, remarked: “ Do you curse a man
right to his face who has done you no injury?” The excited man
replied: “ I never knew a man by the name of Roper, but that is a
cuss phrase in my community.”
This incident hung in my memory until I found in a note in
Blackstone’s Commentaries a reference to William Roper’s work on
English wills. Furthermore, in the meantime, I discovered that this
was a “ cuss phrase” in other English settlements throughout the
United States. Through sources interesting and, as I thought, prob­
ably reliable, I got the following story. Two English barristers,
about 1560, were endeavoring to interpret in an English court an
intricate will. In the discussion, attention was called to the fact that
a new book had just come out by William Roper on the interpretation
of English wills. This was the William Roper who married Mar­
garet, the favorite daughter of Sir Thomas More. It was he who
also wrote the biography of his father-in-law. Neither of the con­
tending barristers had seen the book, but since the author was Clerk
2See Note, p. 255.

%r

T H E P E R S O N A L S ID E O F I T

251

of the Chancery Court, both agreed to send for the book and to abide
by Roper’s interpretation of their problem. It seems, however, that
the barrister who was reading from the book to the court was being
decided against. Consequently, he became quite angry and pitched
the book a great distance saying: “ Damn old Roper if that is so!”
For three hundred years that expression seems to have continued to
be used in England and in English settlements in the United States.
11
The death of my esteemed friend, Dr. Charles F. Carusi, Presi­
dent of the National University and Chairman of the District of
Columbia Board of Education, occurred in January, 1930. This loss
brought another surprise to me and a new opportunity for public
service. Mutual friends asked me to succeed him on the District of
Columbia School Board. With the whole American social structure
ill, it seemed to me that somewhere in our fundamental training there
should be found a remedy for the future; at least we ought to try
to assist the youths of the land to discover proper channels of thought
to enable them to understand the problems which awaited solution.
I accepted the appointment tendered by the District Supreme Court,
which provided for me another thought-provoking conference table,
where I might study the responsibility of education in the onrushing
depression in agriculture and industry and the deteriorating moral
structure of the country.
Washington, I believed, might appropriately serve as a laboratory
for educational development for the nation. I favored an integrated
plan for the nation centering in Washington. In this period of col­
lapse we were evidently lacking in moral, physical, and social under­
standing and control. Here, within sight of the great agencies of
government, youth might in the future be guided to a vision of
greater breadth than had been inspired in the reactionary era. More­
over, I had always felt that my wife and I owed a debt to the Wash­
ington schools for providing our children with excellent elementary
education.
Now certainly education had made great strides since those days
in the late seventies when I walked four miles, carrying my dinner
pail, to a crude one-room schoolhouse in South Carolina. There were
now imposing buildings, steam heat, comfortable seats, improved







25 2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

courses of study. Had education improved proportionately in its
ability to equip men and women for a more complicated life? I won­
dered. And I wondered how many instructors there were with the
stalwart character of N. D. Johnson and W. G. Quackenbush, teach­
ers of my boyhood, or where one might find another Dr. James H.
Carlisle, insisting upon a constructive “ thought for the day.”
Many children rode to school in automobiles $ many wore clothes
of fine material j all had become infinitely more sophisticated than
the youth of my generation. They ate ice cream and went to modern
motion pictures almost daily. Few knew the privations of the earlier
rural life. But what boy or girl who ever tried both would swap a
horse for a bicycle? What nature-loving youngster would exchange
the domain of woods and field and stream for that of a city lot? It
occurred to me that the concentrated populations and modes of urban
life had removed the American boy a long way from the sort of
environment which produced Emerson and Longfellow and Whit­
tier, the life of which Walt Whitman sang and that which gave Au­
dubon to the world. Many men of my acquaintance, highly success­
ful according to the world’s measure of success, so valued that part
of their education which had been absorbed from Nature that they
now sought to recapture its charm by spending part of each year as
distantly removed from city life as possible. Therefore, if indeed
city children were deprived of this element in the education of for­
mer generations which had provided an opportunity for communion
with the handiwork of the Creator, perhaps it was our task to replace
it with something of comparable worth.
The best we could hope for, in 1930, it seemed, was to open the
eyes of students and teachers alike to a broad and balanced sense of
values, to foster the idea of wisdom for practical use, rather than a
parrot-like memorizing of dogma and subject content. There seemed
to be a need for ethical values based upon a veritable passion for
truth, upon a burning desire to gain wisdom in order that it might
be translated into good. We seemed to have abandoned the concept
that good and not pleasure was the chief end of life, and that this
earthly life served as a proving ground for whatever extends beyond
it. Why wait until youth has reached the senior year in college and
his character is formed to teach this foundation? I recalled a state­
ment by Dr. Henry C. Link: “ Western civilization for centuries past

THE PERSONAL SIDE OF IT

253

deified the mind and reason as an end in itself. Our pursuit of scien­
tific knowledge and the trend of our entire educational system has
been the glorification of intellect and a corresponding disintegration
of the basic values which make intellect worth having.” That state­
ment appealed to me as an indictment of the system. But how could
we inculcate the basic values until our teachers throughout the nation
had acquired and fully understood them? Evidently teachers needed
to be selected in the light of their ideals and love for teaching as well
as their college degrees.
What had been the purpose of our educational system? Had any
great ideal emerged? As I looked back upon the problem, it seemed
to me that the real purpose, however unconscious, had been to teach
young men how to live without doing physical work. W e had not
taught them the sacredness of the human body. Wittingly or unwit­
tingly we had been teaching children that to work with their hands
was unworthy of educated men; we magnified the “ white collar” oc­
cupations. In brief, we had denied the dignity of labor. Many had
denied Christianity itself. Much was made of Christian civilization,
but we conveniently closed our eyes to the fact that Christ was a
carpenter. On every hand we promoted snobbishness toward the
basic thing which had made the nation great. W e had in reality not
established the connecting link between practical knowledge and book
knowledge.
I served as Chairman of the Committee on Buildings and
Grounds of the Board of Education and was confronted with the
problem of locating new school buildings. It was interesting to ob­
serve that many parents were unconsciously softening their children,
being willing to sacrifice other considerations in order that they might
come home to a hot lunch when such was not available at school.
I recalled that in my youth, on the other hand, the taking of my
lunch in a pail and swapping parts of it to friends as we ate and
chatted was a major feature of the school day.
In an age when political corruption had infested the school boards
of some American cities, it was gratifying to see that the Superin­
tendent of the Washington schools, Dr. Frank W . Ballou, and the
naembers of the Board were men and women of the highest purpose
and integrity. Teachers did not have to “ know someone in the ward
boss’s office” in order to receive an appointment. But we were not







254

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L I F E

altogether free from danger. The reactionary era had naturally
obtruded itself into the textbooks and was bound to influence the
minds of youths when it had invaded the homes of their parents.
They needed to be trained to live and work in a co-operative society.
I was constantly reflecting upon the fact that we had received into
our national body politic peoples of many creeds and races. For the
preservation of our ideals it was imperative to convert them to our
way of life rather than permit them to win us to their imported
ideals. The Hoover Administration was still floundering in a maze
of distress. The forces of progressivism were knocking at the door,
and it was clear that great changes were in the offing.
If it be admittxl that the schools should train American youth for
useful work, it follows that each should be trained for that work in
which he demonstrates greatest aptitude. Educational psychologists
have begun to analyze personality and to classify those of pronounced
mental characteristics. This field, yet in its infancy, should see ex­
tensive development in the future and should provide valuable as­
sistance in educational guidance by helping youths to find the right
vocations. Practical tests and trial periods, however, are perhaps as
yet more reliable than the dictum of an expert. In the final analysis
water seeks its own level. A child, an adolescent, or an adult usually
does best what he likes best. Perhaps the best approach is to enable
the pupils in the schools to have sufficient trial work to determine
that for which they are best suited. Where it is discovered that a
student has a surpassing talent, he should be recommended for spe­
cialized training, and at every stage there should be reward for
merit, perhaps government citations. In the absence of the often
suggested Federal Bureau of Education, some other department,
perhaps the Interior, could well have a unit to foster the further
training of exceptional students interested in research work, the out­
come of which would be of benefit to the nation.
In these years I chanced to hear Dean Lynn H. Hough, of Drew
University, in an occasional address give warning: b e w a r e o f t h e
i s o l a t e d v i r t u e — i t w i l l b e t r a y y o u . It impressed me as an excel­
lent and profound summary of moral precepts. The speaker made
the point that any single virtue or any small combination of virtues
would betray if practiced in an exaggerated degree. Patience is a

THE PERSONAL SIDE OF IT

255

virtue, for example, but patience alone tempts others to take advan­
tage of him who practices it. Justice is a virtue, but without mercy it
may become harsh and cruel. Mercy is a virtue, but without justice
it is weak and indefensible against those who would take advantage
of it. Love is a virtue, but too much indulgence spoils the child. The
point is that virtues need to be in a proper balance, co-ordinated, and
brought into responsible relationship.
While I served on the school board, the national economic struc­
ture was still crumbling. The “ Golden Glow” had turned into ashes,
yet schools were still educating boys to be bond salesmen. I con­
cluded that we could not change our educational system without
attacking the entire social structure. It was clear that a change was
needed in the White House.
NOTE

There seems to be little doubt that my family descended from John
Roper, a vestryman of Blisland Parish (Virginia) in 1678. My great­
grandfather was Richard Roper, who settled in that part of Brunswick
County which later became Greensville County. Richard Roper moved
to Northampton County in North Carolina in 1700 with his second wife,
Ann Lewis. This Richard Roper served in the American Revolution. My
grandfather was Thomas Roper, who in 1802 married Hannah Hunter
of Virginia. She was the granddaughter of Captain William Hunter, a
Revolutionary cavalry officer who was a cousin of the famous cavalryman
Andrew Hunter, the hero of the well-known exploit of David Fanning,
who rode the famous horse known as Blue Doe. Thomas and Hannah
moved to Mountain Creek in that part of Richmond County now incor­
porated in Montgomery County, North Carolina. Their children, all of
whom reached maturity, were: Rebecca, Charlotte, Green Hill, Mary
Ann, Mourning, James Turner, Nancy Ann, Martha, and John Wesley.
The last named was my father. I married Lou McKenzie, of Gibson,
North Carolina, in 1889. She was the daughter of William A. McKenzie.
The children of this marriage are: May (Mrs. David R. Coker), James
Hunter, Daniel C., Jr., Grace (Mrs. Frank Bohn), John Wesley, Harry
McKenzie, and Richard Frederick.







C H A P T E R XX

The Turning o f the Political Tide

r A T U R A L L Y , I watched the forces at work in the Demo­
cratic party, realizing that now as never before, it was im­
portant to select the right man. The bitterness of the SmithHoover campaign, as has been noted, left scars which had not healed.
The adherents of Smith, incensed at the synthetic build-up which had
swept Mr. Hoover to victory' four years before, redoubled their ef­
forts to capture the nomination in 1932. Hoover, they alleged, had
done nothing, and they pointed to Smith’s progressive record as Gov­
ernor of New York. Moreover, it was a foregone conclusion that
any respectable Democratic nominee could be elected, since through­
out the country men were wearing in their lapels buttons which read,
“Anybody but Hoover.”

N

Having seen the accumulations and ideals of a lifetime totter in
the balance and holding as I did pronounced views about the debacle,
I considered the coming election to mean a great deal more to me
than a mere hope of a Democratic victory. That victory would be
empty indeed should it fail to carry into office a capable man, eager
to bring order out of chaos and to strike courageously at the economic
and social evils which had well-nigh disrupted the American way of
life. In the spring of 1931 I received a long letter from Governor
Franklin D. Roosevelt, asking for my views on the state of the
Democratic party and whether I had any suggestions for its reorgan­
ization to meet the challenge of 1932. For a long time, assisted by
Louis McHenry Howe, he had kept in touch with Democratic
leaders throughout the country by letters, telephone conversations,
and personal contacts. The national organization had been greatly
weakened by three successive defeats, but Governor Roosevelt
brought to the task great vigor, enthusiasm, and optimism, and many
leaders in the various cities and states were moved bv his efforts to

T H E T U R N IN G O F T H E P O L IT IC A L T ID E

25 7

draw them together. His ideas were constructive; his action was dy­
namic and purposeful.
In 1928 he had been elected Governor of New York under rather
curious circumstances. Governor Smith had prevailed upon him to
run, believing that it would help to carry New York State for the
national ticket. I have been informed that it took a great deal of
persuasion to get Roosevelt to accept the nomination. The result of
that election was a surprise to all. Smith lost} Roosevelt won the
state by a substantial majority. Upon his re-election in 1930, every­
one knew that he was available for the Presidential nomination two
years later.
In October, 1931, Louis Howe came to see me at my home in
Washington. H e asked what I thought of the possibility of nominat­
ing Roosevelt for President. I answered that I would like to ask
some questions. “ Fire away,” he replied. “ First,” I asked, “ is he
physically equal to the strain of a campaign? And is he physically
equal to the burdens of the office?” “ Absolutely,” Howe replied.
“ H e’ll break down any three strong men you may associate with him
in the campaign; and he’ll do the same as President if he’s elected.”
Howe spoke with conviction, and I believed him. “ But,” I asked,
“ what does he think of Tammany? W ill there be any danger of his
Tammanyizing the United States?” “ You can rest assured,” was his
reply, “ that he won’t proceed in that way. And I can tell you more.
His accident some years ago and his marvelous recovery gave him an
opportunity which he was quick to seize upon. H e can’t play tennis
as he did in the old days, but his disability has been converted into
an asset. It has given him time to read and think. Today he is one
of the best-informed men we have in the field of national govern­
ment, especially on its economic problems and those that arise from
foreign relations. But even this doesn’t tell the whole story. His
dynamic spiritual power has grown. H e’s stronger in heart, stronger
in mind. Today all his public utterances indicate his belief in human
welfare, in the higher spiritual forces. H e’ll make a great President.
I know he will, because I know he will lead our people toward better
human relations and the highest ethical objectives.”
Howe’s statement was entirely satisfactory to me. “ I shall sup­
port him,” I declared. “ With wise management he can be nomi­
nated. If nominated, he will win.”

*






258

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Not long afterward I met Governor Roosevelt at his New York
town house. We had hardly greeted each other when he said, “ The
greatest service you can render me is to keep me surrounded with
men of the type who supported Woodrow Wilson.” In January,
1932> my visit to Governor Roosevelt became known. Presently
McAdoo, passing through Washington, called me on the telephone
and asked if it was true that I was going to support Roosevelt. I
told him that I had committed myself. “ Don’t you know,” he asked,
“ that he’ll Tammanyize the United States?” “ No,” I replied. “ I
don’t.” And I went on to describe the recent meeting with the Gov­
ernor, recounting to him our conversation. We made an appointment
for the following day.
Mr. McAdoo was stopping at the Shoreham Hotel, which is not
far from my home. I saw him early in the morning, taking him in
my car to the Capitol. During this ride I urged upon him what I
knew to be the true character of Franklin D. Roosevelt. “ By sup­
porting him,” I declared, “ you have an opportunity to advance the
fundamental principles of Woodrow Wilson.” Finally, it was time
to say goodbye. “ I’ll see you in Chicago,” McAdoo said. But he
gave no indication of what his attitude would be toward the Roose­
velt candidacy. I felt that there was a common bond between
McAdoo and Roosevelt in vision and in human interest. They were
both dynamic, both courageous in tackling large undertakings, and
both interested in helping the “ underdog.” Next to Roosevelt, I
regarded McAdoo as the greatest humanitarian I had ever known.
His work in outlining and launching the insurance for the soldiers of
the World War gave ample evidence of his constructive interest in
humanity in the new era. I felt that these men needed to work to­
gether in meeting the challenges that confronted the country in 1932.

n
In the confusion and nervous strain of a national convention one
is apt to receive piecemeal reports and ideas, especially as regards the
responsibility of individuals and delegations in bringing about final
results. Several such units may claim that they “ turned the trick” in
nominating the President. Without undertaking to impeach the con­
clusions of anyone else, I give here my experience at the convention

THE TURNING OF THE POLITICAL TIDE

259

in 1932 as it developed through my contacts with W . G. McAdoo
and was later verified by him.
When the convention assembled, many people took Roosevelt’s
nomination as a foreordained certainty. The truth was, he did not
have enough votes to get the nomination. I had seen the Baltimore
convention turn down Champ Clark when he had a clear-cut ma­
jority. I had seen McAdoo lose at Madison Square Garden in the
same manner. The two-thirds rule was still in force. W e had to get
those extra votes for Roosevelt, otherwise a long deadlock, the bitter­
ness of the Smith adherents, the sentiment for Newton D. Baker, and
the general unrest of the times might have led to a compromise upon
some one of the several other candidates.
With these fears running uppermost in my mind, I immediately
looked up McAdoo, for I knew that he was associated with William
Randolph Hearst in support of Representative John Garner, and I
knew also that McAdoo was the one influence that could divert the
California delegation. The Texas and California delegations were
tied together, and one would not act without the other. At first he
did not feel that he could shift the California delegates, but I per­
sisted in my efforts and continued the conferences. W hile the second
ballot was being taken, McAdoo and I retired to a private room in
the auditorium.
I emphasized to him the great opportunity he had to promote the
Wilsonian policies. And at one point I asked whether he would con­
sider the Cabinet position of Secretary of State. “ No,” he answered
flatly. “ No personal advantage must accrue to me, either from our
conferences or from anything that happens in this convention.” Then
he said that for which I had waited for so long. “ If I can get a
recess of the convention so I can take a poll of our California delega­
tion, I’ll endeavor to get them behind Roosevelt, and that will mean
Texas also. But I’ll do this only upon certain assurances that he
[Roosevelt] must give me through you and no one else.” H e out­
lined the assurances. They were: (1) that John N. Garner should
be the candidate for Vice-President; (2) that in the event of the elec­
tion of Roosevelt, McAdoo should be consulted about Federal pa­
tronage in California; (3) that he should be consulted about the
appointment of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of







26o

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

State. He then told me that a representative of William Randolph
Hearst had visited leaders of the Texas delegation and had insisted
that they cast at least seven ballots for Garner before “switching” to
another candidate. “ But,” I replied, “ it won’t be possible to hold
some of the Roosevelt states in line that long. If the California dele­
gation waits until the eighth ballot, it may mean the nomination of
someone else, possibly Smith or Newton D. Baker. I am told there
are a hundred votes pledged to Baker as a second choice.” I cau­
tioned him that it was vital to the success of the progressive forces
for Roosevelt to be nominated on the next ballot.
McAdoo conferred again with his delegation. He then asked me
to communicate with Governor Roosevelt in Albany, to inquire
whether the latter would agree to the conditions stipulated. I went
to the office of Howe in the Congress Hotel. After I had explained
the exigency of the situation to Howe, he put through a call to
Albany and located Governor Roosevelt. I took the telephone and
explained the conditions under which the California and Texas
delegations could be induced to transfer to him, in other words, how
he could be nominated immediately. Governor Roosevelt gave me
the required assurances over the telephone. It was a happy moment,
for I knew that we had won. I hurried back to notify McAdoo. On
the next ballot Roosevelt received the nomination. McAdoo’s ap­
pearance on the platform was one of the most dramatic events I ever
witnessed. I was sure that we had the ideal man to wage total war
upon the forces of reaction.

C H A P T E R XXI

The Campaign and My Surprise

T

^ H E N O M IN A T IO N of Roosevelt unleashed a spirit of re­
joicing in the Chicago convention; but when it was announced
that the nominee was coming by plane, that he personally
would address the delegates, breaking the old front porch tradition,
there was near pandemonium. H e thought that it would show a
greater degree of appreciation if he should accept the nomination
from the full convention than if he awaited formal notification by
a committee appointed by the convention. Furthermore, as he had
stated previously to a group of us, this action would save several
thousand dollars in expense.
Anyone and everyone who witnessed Roosevelt’s entrance to the
convention hall, who saw him step forth upon the platform, will re­
member that moment to his dying day. The demonstration that fol­
lowed, lasting many minutes, was one of the most sincere and vigor­
ous ovations ever given an American. In a ringing, inspiring speech,
every word freighted with meaning and the spirit of the man, the
nominee declared war upon the depression. H e excoriated the Re­
publican party for its supine attitude in the face of the worst business
cataclysm in the nation’s history. H e declared war on the Eighteenth
Amendment. The speech was a masterpiece, timed to perfection,
synchronized with the psychology of the hour. When he promised,
using the words for the first time, a “ New Deal” for America, the
thunder of applause was deafening. The magnetism of the man had
spread through the auditorium, being transmitted to his every hearer
as if it had been some joyful contagion.
I felt more than repaid for all my preconvention efforts. I was
sure that we would win. Yet there was a battle to be fought. After
the convention, when we had settled to the realities of the fight,
there were numerous obstacles to be overcome. Not the least of







2

62

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

these was A 1 Smith. None of us was quite sure what he would do
or whether he would support the ticket. There were rumors that he
might “ take a walk.” Tammany, as always, was uncertain. Murphy
had “ his jobs to protect,” but if we were to carry New York State
we needed New York City votes. Another factor was the foreign
vote. As I noted in my account of the Wilson campaign, there were
large blocs of foreign-born voters, far greater in number in 1932 than
in 1916.
The Eastern industrialism had made great strides since 1916.
The transition from farm to city had been steadily increasing. The
combined industrial and banking interests, we knew, would support
Hoover, if for no other reason than that he had given them the
Grundy or Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act. They preferred Hoover also
because he opposed “ any interference” with the social structure. The
drys favored him because he still clung to the Eighteenth Amend­
ment and because he had whitewashed the report of the Wickersham
Commission. At the very beginning of the campaign Hoover evinced
a tinge of bitterness. Roosevelt’s tone carried hope and confidence,
if not actual joy at the prospect of rescuing the masses of America
from their sorry plight. He cried out for a “ New Deal,” for the
relief of the “ forgotten man,” and the radio transmitted his cry to
all the people. Men and women, whether in city slums or in the far
reaches of desolate and isolated regions, hovered over their radios
and thrilled to the inspiration of this new voice. There was a magic,
an irresistible compulsion in his tone. The Hoover speeches were
heavy and sounded forced.
As the campaign proceeded, against the advice of all, Roosevelt
made extensive tours. We feared that he might overtax himself, but
he would not listen. Many believed that he went before the people
in order to prove to them that he was equal to the campaign and
physically equal to the duties of the office.
I was glad indeed that Garner had become the running mate. I
had approached him in December, 1931, asking whether he would
consider supporting Roosevelt. At the time he had stated that since
he was about to become Speaker of the House he should maintain a
neutral attitude, but that he felt drawn to Roosevelt because of the
financial forces against him. Later I suggested to Garner that he be

THE CAMPAIGN AND MY SURPRISE

26 3

the temporary chairman of the convention and make the keynote
speech. M y idea was to launch him as a candidate for Vice-President
with Roosevelt. Shortly thereafter William Randolph Hearst began
to support Garner for the Presidency, and the Garner campaign was
on, not for Vice-President but for President.
For the first time in many years we had the Republicans on the
defensive. As the date of the election drew nearer, the Republicans
tried to revive the old “ full dinner pail” slogan, but there were mil­
lions of men without even empty dinner pails, walking the streets in
despair. If they had any hope left, it was the hope that there would
be a change in the Government that would restore inalienable rights
and opportunities. Many industrialists resorted to the coercion of
their employees. Upon the bulletin boards of great factories, and
sometimes by typed slips inserted in their pay envelopes, laborers
were told that a vote for Roosevelt was a vote to close down every in­
dustry in the United States. Hoover made such foolish predictions as
that in which he said the election of Roosevelt would result in the
abandonment of cities, with grass growing in the streets. The indus­
trial coercion grew more malicious. The bulletin boards and slips
now read, “ Vote for your job and family. A vote for Roosevelt is
a vote for destruction.”
These manufacturers underestimated the intelligence of their em­
ployees. The American industrial worker was not a Russian peasant
or German underling, susceptible to controlled, false propaganda.
The American laboring man, living in a democracy, resented strongarm tactics, because he had the benefit of free speech and a free press.
He read the daily newspapers, and he attended public meetings. The
bankers and coupon clippers who owned the factories were wasting
time and energy. In his simple way the laborer knewr as much about
political conditions as they. While he had little to say, he bided his
time against the day when he would vote the dictates of his own
conscience. We knew that he would vote for Roosevelt.
For the first time in history Republicans were having difficulty
with the Negro vote in the Northern states. Prominent Negro lead­
ers had openly espoused the Roosevelt cause, knowing of the man’s
tolerance, of his efforts to alleviate their lot in New York State, of
his fairness to them. I watched these developments with more than







264

FIFTY ye a r s of pu b l ic l if e

passing interest. In August, 1932, a prominent Negro educator, Pro­
fessor G. David Houston, came to me in Washington with a letter
from Roosevelt. The two had been classmates at Harvard. The col­
ored educator wanted to help. I advised that he prepare a letter set­
ting forth his appraisal of Roosevelt and why he felt that Negroes
could safely follow his leadership. The letter he produced impressed
me as a spiritual and literary gem. I persuaded him to send a copy
of it, together with a personal letter, to the editors of the four hun­
dred Negro newspapers in the country. His efforts doubtless bore
fruit.
Apparently the people wanted to oust Hoover; the supplanting
of him by Roosevelt seemed almost to be a concerted and happy
choice of all the opposition forces. Despite the ease with which it
seemed that victory would be achieved, however, we did not stop
fighting.
In July, 1932, Louis McH. Howe had summoned me to the
New York campaign headquarters. “ Because of your lack of activity
in the 1928 A 1Smith campaign,” he said, “ I don’t believe it’s a good
idea for you to accept an official connection in this campaign. But I
want you to come to the New York headquarters two days of each
week. I want to confer with you, and I’ll set up an office for you and
give you a stenographer. You can carry on your work from the Biltmore Hotel across the street.” This was agreed to, and after that
date I spent two days of each week in New York throughout the
campaign.
The battle lines tightened as it became evident that Roosevelt, if
elected, contemplated measures to eliminate the special privileges in
control of the economic and social structure which obstructed any
and all change in business, banking, and government. According to
my view, the demand for such changes far outweighed any single
item of personal predilection such as prohibition. In my contacts with
the drys of old, those who had helped me in the Internal Revenue
days, I tried to emphasize that we who were personally dry should
regard the country as a whole, considering the needs of all and mini­
mizing our personal preference. It seemed to me that every segment
of society had been injured by the economic cataclysm. One by one
they would have to be examined and prescribed for.

THE CAMPAIGN AND MY SURPRISE

26 5

By election eve Roosevelt had convinced a majority of the people
of the country that he would wage immediate war upon the depres­
sion. His overwhelming election the next day is known to all. None
acquainted with the real conditions doubted the outcome. It came,
therefore, not as a surprise, but as an immense relief to know that
the cancerous growth of unemployment, the destructive bank and
business failures, and the mounting distress of agriculture would be
checkmated if any way could be found by the man soon to be in the
White House.
No promise had been asked by or made to me during the months
of my service concerning any possible or probable connection with the
new Administration. M y law firm was operating, and I looked to its
future development. I returned to it with greater confidence than
ever, though I confess that I felt a desire to be connected with an
administration of such tremendous possibilities.
On the evening of February 20, 1933, while I was reading the
afternoon paper, sitting before the fire in our living room, the tele­
phone rang. “ It’s for you,” I was told. “ Albany, New York, is call­
ing.” The operator informed me that the call was from Governor
Roosevelt. “ Hello, Dan,” he said. “ How are you?” There was the
magic in his tone of which Colonel Howe had spoken, which he at­
tributed to spiritual growth during his fight to conquer illness and a
desire to render large public service. Before I could utter the con­
ventional response, he was talking again. “ Dan,” he said, “ I’ve de­
cided to invite you into my official family as Secretary of Commerce.
Pd like to have you run up to Hyde Park next Saturday to see me.”
I was aware that my name had been presented for recognition by
my friends, Senators Cordell H ull and James F. Byrnes, but as there
were now only ten days before the inaugural, I could hardly expect
favorable consideration before that time. I turned to break the news
to Mrs. Roper, profoundly conscious of the honor which had been
tendered me, grateful for the opportunity I would have of working
with Franklin D. Roosevelt in serving the country in its darkest hour
of need.
I later learned that when Senator Carter Glass, of Virginia, de­
clined to join the Cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury, the post he
had held in the closing months of the second Wilson Administration,







266

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

William H. Woodin, previously selected as Secretary of Commerce,
was substituted for Senator Glass as Secretary of the Treasury, leav­
ing the President-elect in a quandary as to the place left vacant.
Colonel E. M. House, who was present at the time, informed me
that he insisted upon my appointment to this office chiefly as a recog­
nition of the old Wilson following in the party. At any rate, I was
appointed.

A S T H E A U T O M O B IL E in which I rode from the Hyde
/ a \ Park station drew nearer to the ancestral manor of President■ A. ).\. elect Roosevelt, my thoughts traveled backward to our
earlier relationships. I had known him for about twenty years, first
in connection with New York postal appointments, when we were fel­
low members of the Woodrow Wilson “ Little Cabinet.” I recalled
also the early morning exercise sessions at the home of Commissioner
William Kent, while I was a member of the Tariff Commission, and
later during my service as Commissioner of Internal Revenue.
This was not my first journey to Hyde Park; I had been one of
the group which went to the Roosevelt home to notify him of his
nomination for the Vice-Presidency on the Cox ticket in 1920.
Throughout the intervening years I had observed the singular mental
development and spiritual growth of the man. It was cause for grati­
fication that at last he was invested with the mantle of national
leadership.
Mr. Roosevelt received me in one of the small rooms on the
first floor of the magnificent old home. I found him earnestly en­
gaged in a discussion of the appalling banking situation with W il­
liam H . Woodin, whom he had selected as Secretary of the Treasury.
The grave demeanor of the President-elect mirrored his inner alarm.
It was as if he had already a foretaste of responsibility, and certainly
his attitude was a reminder of that ancient adage, “ Uneasy lies the
head that wears a crown.” After pleasant greetings all around, Mr.
Woodin prepared to go. A few moments later Mr. Roosevelt and I
were engaged in private conversation.
Because several people were waiting, he quickly outlined the part
of his program which would require my services. After telling me
that he wanted me for Secretary of Commerce, and after I had

*






268

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

thanked him for the honor and privilege of joining his official family,
he declared that he very definitely desired to conform to the partyplatform and to cut the cost of the normal functions of government
25 per cent. “ Insofar as is possible,” he said, “ I’d like to see all the
independent commissions brought under the general supervision of
Cabinet officers. In this way their operations can be reported upon
weekly. It will be in the interest of economy and greater efficiency.
For example, Pd like to see the Shipping Board brought under your
supervision— as Secretary of Commerce.”
I was in hearty accord with his expressed views, and since I had
already been designated as a member of a fact-finding committee,
composed of Congressman L. W. Douglas, later Director of the Bu­
reau of the Budget, and Swager Sherley, a distinguished Washington
attorney and ex-Congressman from Kentucky, I was able to refer to
some of the suggestions we were prepared to make to him for such
a reorganization. His detailed knowledge of government operations,
functionings, and cost was amazing. He then spent a few moments
outlining the deplorable banking situation. “ We are in a crisis,” he
said. “ It may be necessary to take action on the afternoon of inaugu­
ration day. On that account, and in preparation for the grave respon­
sibilities before us, I should like for you and the other members of
the Cabinet and your families to join me for a brief prayer service at
St. John’s Church, Sixteenth and H Streets, in Washington. The
service will be on the morning of March 4 just before we go to the
Capitol.” I assured him that I thought the prayer service would be
a proper beginning and that Mrs. Roper and I would be present.
As I was chairman in charge of the sale of seats in the reviewing
stands for the inauguration, I returned to Washington immediately
after our conversation. I am glad to record here the excellent assist­
ance rendered by Melvin D. Hildreth, secretary and treasurer of
that committee. All the Washington banks were closed. Our expe­
rience in the sale of tickets, however, revealed the public interest in
the occasion and the prevalent hope of relief from the change taking
place. Receipts from the sale were sufficient to pay the expenses of
the inauguration and to leave a surplus of fifty thousand dollars,
which was turned over to charity.
On the morning of inauguration day all the Cabinet members-

A NEW ERA

269

designate and their families assembled for the prayer service at St.
John’s Episcopal Church. That service was of deep significance to
me, and I am confident that it was a consolation to the troubled
spiritual forces of the nation. A sigh of relief based on hope was in
evidence on every side.
Future generations will find in President Roosevelt’s first in­
augural address illuminating suggestions concerning the time. His
words probably marked a turning point in the public mind. A care­
ful read ng of the following paragraphs will indicate his decisive
vision and courage:

>

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of
our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths.
The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social
values more noble than mere monetary profit.
Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the job
of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimu­
lation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent
profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us
that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to our­
selves and to our fellow men.
Hand in hand with this we must frankly recognize the overbalance of
the population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national
scale of redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for
those best fitted for the task.
If I read the temper of the people correctly, we now realize as we
never realized before, our interdependence on each other; that we cannot
merely take, but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we
must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of
the common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made,
no leadership becomes effective.

p

After listening to that great address I concluded that I had a
vivid example of what was in the mind of that anonymous orator
who said: “ A task without a vision is drudgery; a vision without a
task is a dream; a task with a vision is victory.”

f

n

>

The first Cabinet meeting had been called for that afternoon. The
prevailing conditions that day placed us in the position of a farmer
out in the rain mending a leaky roof, whose immediate job is to pre-

i-







270

F IF T Y YEARS OF PU B LIC L IF E

vent the water from descending upon his wife and children who are
sick in bed. But, suddenly, the house catches on fire in the kitchen,
whereupon the householder clambers down from the roof and makes
a desperate effort to put out the fire. Meanwhile, his mind is excited
by the fact that his wife and children may have to be carried to a
place of safety. After the flames are extinguished he finds himself
administering to and comforting the sick before he can return to the
job on the roof. The point is that human beings must have first
consideration.
The members of the Cabinet in the order of their traditional rank
and their entry into Cabinet meetings were: Cordell Hull, of Ten­
nessee, Secretary of State; William H. Woodin, of New York, Sec­
retary of the Treasury; George H. Dern, of Utah, Secretary of War;
Homer S. Cummings, of Connecticut, Attorney General; James A.
Farley, of New York, Postmaster General; Claude A. Swanson, of
Virginia, Secretary of the Navy; Harold L. Ickes, of Illinois, Secre­
tary of the Interior; Henry A. Wallace, of Iowa, Secretary of Agri­
culture ; Daniel C. Roper, of South Carolina, Secretary of Commerce;
and Frances Perkins, of New York, Secretary of Labor. Ex-officio and
in association, John N. Garner, the Vice-President, attended Cabinet
meetings by invitation of the President.
It was significant to me that we were sworn in by Associate Justice
Cardozo of the Supreme Court in the Lincoln Room of the White
House. In the face of the impending crisis and in this hallowed at­
mosphere, memories of the man who had saved the nation in the
days of the Civil War came trooping through my mind. The thought
of a reconciled South in a co-operative nation intensified for me the
drama of this occasion. I felt that Franklin D. Roosevelt, like Lin­
coln, faced the task of saving the nation from impending disaster.
History will record that the Cabinet contained some strong men
and some not so strong, but all were surcharged with a desire for
unity and a will to be useful to the President in meeting the terrific
challenge that confronted him and the country. The membership was
fairly well distributed geographically, there being three from the
Southern states, three from the West, one from New England, and
three from New York; there was a similar representation from those
who might be regarded as conservative or liberal in political views.

4

A N EW ERA

271

The old and new democratic thought wa9 associated in the Cabinet
with the old and progressive thought from both major political
parties.
As each was sworn in, the President, a witness to the ceremonies,
handed to each his commission. The emergency and distress caused
by the collapse of the banking system was immediately pursued,
primarily by the President, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the
Attorney General. At the first meeting I decided that the members
on whom the greatest responsibilities then rested were H ull, Woodin,
Cummings, and Wallace, and this conclusion was sustained by future
developments. Foreign affairs, fiscal affairs, legal interpretation, and
the baffling agricultural problems turned out to be the fundamental
problems with which the Administration would have to deal.
hi

Paradoxically, the greatest of all the economic threats ever to con­
front the nation gave the President his first opportunity to demon­
strate his capacity for courageous leadership. There had been and
there were “ runs” upon banks in most of the large cities of the coun­
try and many of the small towns. When it was known that hordes
of depositors, hysterical from loose talk and wanton rumors, had
commenced withdrawals from the great banks of New York and
other large cities, the financial panic moved swiftly toward a threat­
ening climax. A few days of these runs, as bankers, men versed in
finance, and the President himself knew, would pull down all that
remained of the nation’s financial structure, bringing complete liqui­
dation and bankruptcy to every large American institution, including
the last bulwark of capital, the old-line insurance companies. All the
great industries and department stores, even the railroads would have
to close or suspend operations. The big city banks held the commer­
cial paper of numerous rural and small-town banks, while they them­
selves had branches throughout the world. There would be no limit
to the collapse, and not in a generation could recovery be effected.
President Hoover had foreseen this climax, but would not assume
responsibility for stemming the destructive tide. Franklin D. Roose­
velt, scarcely closing his eyes for much needed sleep to erase the
strain of his inauguration, labored with his advisers until one o’clock
°n the morning of March 6. At that hour he issued the most daring







27 2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

order in peace-time history. He ordered all banks closed until March
9* Meanwhile, the President and his financial advisers strove unre­
mittingly to place every possible financial power of the Government
behind the American banking system. On March 9 the proclamation
was extended with certain reservations, and it was arranged for banks
to open gradually with restrictions upon withdrawals. This action
saved the country and paved the way for banking legislation to pre­
vent a repetition of a similar situation in the future.

C H A P T E R XXIII

Secretary o f Commerce
H A D M A D E it a practice when taking over a position to make
an inventory of the responsibilities of the new office. I found
the Department of Commerce with its far-flung foreign offices
and multiplicity of services to be globe encircling. The demands for
studies in 1933, however, reached beyond the immediate needs of
the Department of Commerce. For instance, the entire field of trans­
portation, by reference of the President, fell within its purview, and
special attention was given to the condition of the railroads. The
study of transportation (rail, highway, air, water, and pipe lines)
was organized with Joseph B. Eastman, Chairman of the Interstate
Commerce Commission, heading the group, which included also Dr.
Walter M . W . Splawn, a utilities expert, and the Secretary of Com­
merce. We arranged to have the counsel and advice also of Senator
C. C. D ill, Chairman of the Interstate Commerce Committee of the
Senate; Congressman S. O. Bland of Virginia, Chairman of the
House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries; and Con­
gressman Sam Rayburn, Chairman of the House Committee on
Foreign and Domestic Commerce. W e had finally the assistance of
William H . Woodin, the Secretary of the Treasury. A result of this
study was the Railroad Co-ordination Act, under which Eastman be­
came Co-ordinator. I believed then, as I still do, that chairmen of
the appropriate committees of Congress should be kept in close touch
with the planning and administering of the government departments.

I

The Committee on control of the Stock Exchange, including the
drafting of a bill for the President to transmit to the Congress which
was to result in the organization of the S. E. C., consisted of Mr.
Golden Bell, representing the Attorney General; Mr. Butler, attor­
ney of the Department of Commerce; and Huston Thompson, an
attorney of the Washington bar who had taken a great interest in







274

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

this matter prior to its first appearance in the Chicago platform of
1932. The committee used for departmental reorganization studies
included General C. McKay Saltzman, retired army officer and
former Chairman of the Radio Commission; Dr. John Dickinson,
Assistant Secretary of Commerce; J. Craig Peacock, Washington
attorney and former official of the Bureau of Internal Revenue ; and
Judge E. L. Davis, former member of Congress from Tennessee.
All of these committees were assisted by the assistant secretaries, my
executive assistant, Malcolm Kerlin, and by the Solicitor of the De­
partment, South Trimble, Jr.1
The wide scope of the Department is evidenced by the range of
its services which extended from the conservation and protection of
the seal herd off the Pribilof Islands of Alaska and the care of the
natives living there to the maintenance of South Point Light House
on the southernmost tip of the Hawaiian Islands; from the directional
guidance of an airplane speeding across the continent in a few hours
to the study of safeguards against earthquakes; and from the investi­
gation and reporting of trade possibilities in Johannesburg, Africa,
to the enumeration and compilation of a census of religious bodies in
the United States. Included, of course, were the Patent Office, re­
quiring one third of America’s largest building, and the Bureau of
Fisheries.
For executive direction, the activities of the Department in 1933
were divided into the Bureau of Air Commerce, the Bureau of the
Census, the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, the National
Bureau of Standards, the Bureau of Fisheries, the Lighthouse Serv­
ice, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Patent Office, the United
States Shipping Board (August, 1934), and the Merchant Fleet Cor­
poration. I discovered that about half of the fifty million dollars
annually appropriated to maintain these services was in reality ex­
pended for the safeguarding of human life.
A brief enumeration of some of these services will illustrate their
importance and usefulness. Take, for example, the Bureau of Foreign
and Domestic Commerce. The thirty-two offices abroad, formerly
limited to the duty of reporting trade opportunities in co-operation
with American importers and exporters, became a valuable nucleus
for obtaining information upon which the American reciprocal trade
1 See Appendix A.

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

27 5

treaties could be based. Thus these commercial agents may be said
to serve as the “ promoters” of our foreign trade. At home the agents
of the Bureau conducted a “ Real Property Inventory” in the early
days of my secretaryship. Several thousand white-collar workers sur­
veyed dwelling structures in a selected group of cities, reporting upon
the physical characteristics of real property. An intensive study was
made of rents, values, mortgages, and incomes of owners and tenants.
This information was invaluable to the Administration in the formu­
lation of its housing program.
Another important function of the Bureau is the compilation of
business statistics. For example, in the period from 1933 to 1935,
the Bureau determined that bank demand deposits had increased
from $12,089,000,000 on June 30, 1933, to $18,509,000,000 on No­
vember 1, 1935. Bank suspensions, which numbered 1,456 in 1932,
decreased to 34 in 1935. The average value of stocks listed on the
New York Exchange increased 152 per cent; and the average of
listed bonds, 32 per cent in the period from March, 1933, to No­
vember 1, 1935. Figures on industrial production, employment, car
loadings, construction contracts, and a wide variety of other statistical
data are constantly being compiled by the Bureau and transmitted to
business concerns and to the press. The Bureau serves as a barometer
of domestic and foreign trade.
The National Bureau of Standards is an indispensable servant of
business, industry, and the American people. Its scientists solve prob­
lems which daily affect the lives of all. In the vaults of this Bureau,
as is well known, are two pieces of platinum-iridium alloy which are
preserved with great care because they constitute the basis of the
whole system of weights and measures in the United States. But tests
of quality, durability, and resistance constitute its major function. In
a single year 240,000 tests were made covering almost every object
from medical thermometers to cement. Shatter-proof glass, so im­
portant to the automobile industry, was approved by the Bureau
after a long series of tests and experiments. Experiments in an enor­
mous mechanical press showed the builders of the George Washing­
ton Bridge at New York just how strong their materials were and
how long they would endure. Tests in a wind tunnel, with artificial
wind reaching a velocity of seventy-five miles an hour, measured the







27 6

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

wind pressure upon skyscrapers, airplanes, streamlined trains, auto­
mobiles, and dozens of other objects. For the benefit of the textile
industry fabrics are tested for strength, fading, shrinking, or stretch­
ing. Fire hazards are reduced by testing materials for inflammability;
pipes which transport water, gas, and oil are tested for corrosion. As
a result of tests and painstaking research, standards have been ac­
cepted by industry with the consequent elimination of great waste.
Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, “ The Patent System
adds the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.” The United States
Patent Office, now about a century' and a quarter old, has granted
more than two million patents. The first patent granted bears the
signature of Piesident George Washington. The American Patent
System offers the inventor broader protection and subjects him to
fewer burdens than does that of any other nation; under this system,
American industry has made greater progress on a larger scale than
that of any other country. Perhaps these two things are related.
Subject to a certain amount of whittling away by statutes and court
decisions, the rights of the patentee are today substantially what they
were almost one hundred and fifty years ago; namely, a monopoly,
limited in duration, but otherwise unqualified, of the particular inven­
tive contribution disclosed by the patentee to the public by means of
his patent. The patentee pays no taxes on his patent as such, only on
the income derived therefrom. He may exploit it, or he may refuse
to exploit it, and at the same time refuse to permit others to exploit
it, or he may grant licenses to others on his own terms. He may,
moreover, convey to his assignee, fully and unqualifiedly, every right
which he receives. The grant is based entirely on the theory of lim­
ited duration, after which the public acquires unrestricted rights to
use the invention disclosed in the patent.
In the language of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8): “ The
Congress shall have Power. . . . To promote the Progress of
Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors
and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and
Discoveries. . . .” The constitutional objective of the Patent System
is thus not to reward inventors, but the welfare of the entire people;
that is, “ To promote the Progress of Science and Useful Arts.” The
common fund of knowledge is equally enriched by the contribution

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

27 7

of a huge corporation and by that of a poverty-stricken individual.
From the standpoint of the national economy, the securing of these
contributions to the common knowledge is the only purpose served
by the Patent System. Under our system, the inventor is required
to point out distinctly the features of his invention which are novel.
In contemplation of law, a patent may be had only for what is ac­
tually new, and for all practical purposes the entire field of recorded
human knowledge may be used to dispute the validity of any patent.
At the Patent Office is assembled probably the greatest library of
technical information in the world today, embracing not only all of
the United States patents ever issued, but also most of the foreign
patents and a large variety of technical publications. It is the duty of
the patent examiner to search through this library to determine
whether the invention disclosed in each patent application is actually
novel, and to see that the claims are restricted to the novel features.
Unfortunately, the Patent Office does not and cannot actually have
all prior knowledge available for the search, since a patent may be
invalidated by an actual prior use which has never been described in
any publication and is therefore not available to the examiner. When
a patent issues, validity is presumed, though rebuttable. Space will
not permit a discussion here of patent-office procedure.
The other Bureaus enumerated have obvious functions of grow­
ing value to all the people. Being directly responsible for these
services and coming into closer relationship with them, I began to
possess an ever-increasing sense of their value to the nation.
11
Conventions and similar assemblies frequently make demands
upon the time of the President’s official family when seeking an out­
side speaker to address them. M y experience was no exception to
this rule, and I had to make many trips to the larger cities for this
purpose. President Roosevelt’s announced attitude of bringing about
a more equal distribution of wealth and his expressed determination
to awaken a keener interest in the efforts toward a new deal and to
exterminate unfair trade practices were soon being called in question
by a large segment of the business interests. Their attitude had found
expression during the campaign. The industrialists and high protec-







27 8

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

tionists had largely supported Hoover. Therefore, the attitude of
most businessmen was one of doubt and confusion when the new Ad­
ministration came in. At first their economic plans had been so
disturbed that they, with other units of society, stampeded to Wash­
ington for relief. Later some of this fear was converted into critical
antagonism.
I was to hear a striking illustration of this on a trip to address the
Economic Club of Detroit, an organization composed chiefly of auto­
mobile manufacturers. As I was being conducted into the hotel audi­
torium where my speech was to be delivered, a friend caught my
arm. “ Mr. Secretary,” he whispered, “ you are going into a den of
lions. They’ll tear you to pieces.” I thanked him and passed on. His
remark afforded food for quick thought, and as I looked at the stern,
set faces of my audience I sensed an undercurrent of antagonism.
Most of those present, I knew, were Republicans; most of them
were opposed to the policies of Roosevelt. The president of the club
soon introduced me in a rather cold but respectful manner. He stated
that I would address the club on economic matters, and afterwards
would answer inquiries from the floor.
“ Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,” I began. “ I had intended to
discuss phases of our economic situation, especially our trade relations
with Canada. But just as 1 came in the door a kind soul gave me
what I regard as a better subject. He said, ‘Mr. Secretary, you are
going into a den of lions. They will tear you to pieces.’ Now, my
friends, I recognize that this is a den, and my name is Daniel. I
invite the lions to rise that we may get acquainted.” No one rose.
“Apparently,” I continued, “ he was wrong.” There were thin smiles
on the faces throughout the audience, but as yet no warmth of re­
sponse. “ I believe in a two-party government,” I declared, “and I
always want to see two strong political parties in this country. As for
you gentlemen who are Republicans, I believe that you will recog­
nize, as I do, that we are both trying to serve our country, that we
are merely traveling different economic roads with the same objec­
tives. All I ask is that you be as generous toward me as a Democrat
as I am toward you as Republicans. With this attitude we will find
mutual ground upon which to serve a great people and a great
country.”

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

27 9

I went ahead with my prepared remarks, gaining, as I felt, a
more sympathetic attitude from my listeners. Finally I concluded,
and there were questions from the floor. One of these afforded the
opportunity I desired. “ W hy,” someone asked, “ do you take away
from industry and give to agriculture?” I replied:
Agriculture originally fostered infant industry. Industry was thought
to be a handmaiden of agriculture, converting raw materials into products
that supplied human needs and rendered greater human service. This fos­
tering was accomplished by the tariff, but unfortunately industry took such
advantage of the process that agriculture, its mother, suffered from the
excesses. The result was, that the excesses went so far in 1930 that the
changed economic status brought about by the World War caused our
trade to be paralyzed.
Like some other Democrats, I am in the unfortunate position of having
to explain to the rank and file of Democrats just why this administration
did not immediately correct the tariff inequalities. I have to say in reply
that your tariff walls of 1930 provoked tariff retaliation throughout the
world. This increased tariff in foreign countries reached such proportions
that we lost many of our markets. To reduce our own tariff now without
leciprocal tariff action by other nations would invite such an importation
of goods from nations of lower living standards that the volume would
overwhelm and destroy many American industries. If that is clear, I will
say that a way had to be found to correct this situation gradually. We
have found the way through the Foreign Trade Agreements of the Presi­
dent and Secretary Hull.
I now ask you to investigate. And I ask you to determine if the ar­
rangement giving parity prices to agriculture for improvement of farm
income— coupled, of course, with the trade agreement progress— has not
enabled you to develop a very large and growing trade in the agricultural
communities. Moreover, has not the trade agreement with Canada worked
out most profitably in the sale to that country of American automobiles?
There was no contradiction from the audience. W e ended the
meeting with what appeared to be mutual understanding. I felt that
it ended in a real love feast between Democrats and Republicans,
each better understanding the other’s economic position. But perhaps
it was the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den which saved the meet­
ing and caused it to be a success instead of a failure.







280

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
in

According to announced objectives the New Deal undertook
( i) by drastic measures to eliminate special privileges which had
opened the way to control of the old economic and social structure
by a numerically small, but very powerful, group of individuals so
set in authority that they dominated business, banking, and even
government itselfj (2) to war on crime and graft and to build up
moral valuesj (3) to seek a return of the swing of the pendulum,
which for three generations had been sweeping toward a constantly
increasing concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands, a swing
back in the direction of a wider distribution of the income of the
nation.
Dr. Harold W. Dodds, President of Princeton University, used
these words in an address at the baccalaureate service in the Univer­
sity Chapel, June 18, 1939:

The Nineteenth Century m the m
ade
istake of overem
phasizing the
individual side of our lives. It forgot that hum beings also possess a set
an
of social instincts which m be satisfied by co-operation and m
ust
utual aid.
The way to m and defeat frustration is to see to it that the full
eet
faculties of your nature are utilized. This m
eans m
aking your contribution
to society, to your com unity and to the nation. The m alarm ills
m
ost
ing
which threaten dem
ocracy are not its cum
bersom m
e ethods or surface
inefficiency. The basic cause for concern is the loss of our organic unit)'
as a people, of a cohesive ideal cem
enting our society in a com on purpose
m
and will. If no such national genius inspires us today, as it did one hundred
and fifty years ago, the self-indulgent belief that the com on good is
m
autom
atically expressed by the ballots cast on election day is largely to
blam We have overlooked the fact that there is no transcendental valid­
e.
ity to the verdict of the m
ajority. The ballot box is a practical and con­
venient way of um
piring the gam but no arithm
e,
etical counting of votes
will lead to good results unless it is the truth that they record.
Beneath the m
echanics of popular governm m lie the sustaining
ent ust
structure of a spiritual objective and a unified program by which to attain
that objective. Democracy in the United States is suffering because she
lacks such a program by which alone we can m use of the freedom we
ake
so properly cherish.
The three basic steps of the New Deal program gradually
evolved into a detailed and specific approach to a solution of what

SECRETARY OF COM M ERCE

28 1

the Administration deemed to be the nation’s ills. This elaborated
program was not achieved overnight, but was formulated by degrees.
Some of the things contemplated were within easy reach. Others,
all knew, would take years, perhaps decades. The Roosevelt plan of
attack may be summarized as follows:

1. A reorganization of the banking structure would be attempted in­
cluding the guarantee of bank deposits, decentralization of concentrated
financial power with a view to making the financial system the servant
rather than the master of the people, the launching of efforts to regulate
security and commodity exchanges.
2. Temporary occupations would be provided for the unemployed in
the emergency through useful public works of permanent value where and
when possible including slum clearance, thus providing earnings rather
than sustenance by dole.
3. 7 he national social security program would be inaugurated, in­
cluding unemployment insurance and old age pensions.
4. Child labor would be abolished and unfair trade practices elim
i­
nated; m
inimum wages and maximum working hours could be prescribed.
The community would be educated concerning the need of a m eq­
ore
uitable distribution of economic rewards.
5. There was need for the relief and rehabilitation of agriculture, by
providing increased values of farm products and a more equitable balance
between the farm and industrial interests. An aspect of this program
would be soil conservation and better agricultural planning with the view
of establishing an agrarian economy to be based upon supply and demand,
involving production at less cost by m
ethods less susceptible to depression
attacks and therefore more effective in promoting national stability.
6. Steps would be taken toward permanent planning and research for
the general welfare of the nation through study of national and human
resources to prom that conservation and safety. Conservation projects
ote
to actualize the objective inherent in this program would be initiated.
7. Trade treaties and sound international agreements would be nego­
tiated in order to foster understanding and good will, prom foreign
ote
two-way trade, and provide a foundation for peace rather than war.
8. A national power policy would be formulated on the assum
ption
that power be first regarded as an instrumentality for public welfare, since
it is derived from our inherent national resources; and that it should sec­
ondarily be a m
eans of private profit only in so far as it can be with justice
to all.







282

F IF T Y YEARS OF PU B LIC L IF E

9. Efforts would be m toward financial reconstruction through the
ade
Reconstruction Finance Corporation and other governm
ental agencies,
preventing the bankruptcy and failure of vast business enterprises under­
m by the depression.
ined
10. M
eans would be devised for saving m
illions of hom to worthy
es
Am
erican citizens and for the encouragem of better future housing and
ent
better living conditions.
11. An attem would be m at the rehabilitation of hum beings,
pt
ade
an
especially the youth, through the Civilian Conservation Cam and later
ps
m
ilitary training.
12. Efforts would b m to restore the Am
e ade
erican hom to its form
e
er
place as the cita lei of m and spiritual values.
oral
13. A National Defense Program was m
anifestly suggested by the
international situation.
That these were noble objectives no proper thinking person will
dispute. Difference of views pertained to legislative and administra­
tive procedures. In the necessary haste mistakes were to be expected,
but haste was also expected in correcting mistakes where the defined
objectives were not being attained.
In order to wage vigorous warfare upon so many fronts and to
cope with the multiplicity of disorders in the social and economic
system, it was, of course, essential that the President create new agen­
cies. The drafting of outsiders without portfolio brought a few deli­
cate situations. Outside groups, assembled under temporary condi­
tions, quite naturally thought themselves, at least for the time being,
superior to such old established institutions as the Cabinet. There
was a tendency, therefore, on the part of these emergency units not
to co-ordinate their activities with and through Cabinet heads, but to
go directly to the President. Thus the prominence of the “ Brain
Trusters.”
Personally, I was never hostile to them. I felt that the country,
having invested so much in education and educational institutions,
had a right at all times to draw upon this savings bank of human
intellect, especially when urgent conditions required. When Senator
Vandenberg as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee asked
if I believed in “ Brain Trusters,” I replied, “ Yes, Senator. But I
believe in keeping them in second-row seats— in an advisory, not an
executive, capacity.”

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

28 3

In fact, as Secretary of Commerce I found myself engaged in
many activities which may be termed extramural though they had a
direct relation to the recovery program. For example, I was Chair­
man of the Foreign Trade Zones Board. In addition I served as a
member of the Council for National Defense, the Federal Board of
Vocational Education, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission,
the Foreign Service Buildings Commission, the United States-Texas
Centennial Commission, the Central Statistical Committee, the Na­
tional Resources Committee, the Special Board of Public Works, the
Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, the National
Emergency Council, the Smithsonian Institution, the Commodity
Exchange Commission, the Export-Import Bank, and the Committee
on Regulation— Pure Food and D rug Act. These were official groups.
I shall not try to list the unofficial activities, each taking its toll of
such spare time as I had.
The major concern of the Department, as I saw it, was to pro­
mote the legitimate interests of business, large and small. A t the
beginning of the Administration in 1933 business was much in the
state of mind of my Detroit audience previously described. There
was a definite antagonism between business and government. Lobby­
ists for relief or special privileges overran Washington as they had
done in previous administrations. I discussed the situation with mem­
bers of the House and Senate. “ The real businessmen,” they advised
me, “ have always shunned government. W e’ve had to deal with
lobbyists and intermediaries. W e’d like to see all the lobbyists run
out of Washington as they were in W ilson’s day. But we’d be glad
indeed to meet legitimate businessmen and try and help them solve
their problems wherever legislation is needed.”
Therefore, one of my first and most important tasks was to try
to stimulate the mutual confidence of business and Government.
Recalling the old Internal Revenue days, I decided upon a Business
Advisory Council for the Department of Commerce. The general
idea met with the approval of the President, and I set out to find men
of appropriate caliber. I wanted them to be truly representative of the
major divisions of business and broad and fair enough to represent
business as a whole. The purposes of the Council would be to inter­
pret business relationships to the executive and legislative divisions
of the Government. It would provide a channel through which in-







284

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

formation from business generally could be conveyed to Washington,
and in turn through which the purposes and objectives of legislation
and administration could be conveyed to business and the public. In
short, I hoped that it would be a shuttling process, looking to a more
harmonious relationship between government and business, endeav­
oring to fix in the minds of each the truism that there was, in reality,
a partnership.
The Business Advisory Council of the Department of Commerce
was set up in June, 1933? but it did not accomplish all I had hoped.
“
Its endeavors were genuine, and its members soon commanded the
respect of legislators and administrators. The Council gave the busi­
nessmen a chance to associate with the men legislating and adminis­
tering at Washington and helped restore the lost confidence in busi­
ness on the one hand and in the Government on the other. The
Council revealed to business the difficulties and obstacles which the
Government had to overcome in both routine and special work. In
other words, it helped to gain sympathy for the herculean task the
Roosevelt Administration had assumed. Moreover, it helped to re­
educate those in government service who wanted to punish all busi­
ness for the sins of some malefactors. It was discovered that not all
business was bad and that there was need of a helpful attitude on
both sides. Furthermore, the businessmen thus became more inti­
mately acquainted with the Department of Commerce, and the Secre­
tary was greatly assisted in his efforts to make the Department more
responsive to business and industrial needs.
It was my thought that in time this Council would be expanded
into a National Advisory Council and include in its membership rep­
resentatives of all groups in the economic and social structure of the
country: business, labor, professional and consumer interests groups.
Such a National Advisory Council, made conscious of interdepend­
ence, might, for instance, bring John D. Rockefeller, Mayor La
Guardia, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, and the leaders of the Fed­
eral Farm Bureau and of the great organizations of labor into con­
stant relationships. They might discuss national problems with
Henry Ford and with the youthful Edward R. Stettinius, whose
face was turned boldly towards the future. I felt that if a group of
2See Appendix B.

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

28 5

a hundred such representative citizens, in conference, could be
brought to agree upon constructive national policies, it would afford
an example of real democracy in action.
To such a group the President, the Congress, and the whole peo­
ple could say: Here are ten millions of unemployed workers. Where
will you find genuinely productive labor for them? Here are ten
millions of young people who ought to create upon a solid economic,
social and moral foundation, five millions of American homes. How
can the way of life be made straight for these, who are the flesh and
blood and soul of our people?
IV

A t the President’s request, a study was made of the transportation
agencies of the country, including railroads, communications, shipping, aviation, and highways. The study of the problems of these
five major agencies revealed such interrelationship that I finally
recommended a reorganization of the Interstate Commerce Commis­
sion. It should be converted, I thought, from a railroad commission
into one embracing in its jurisdiction all transportation. Thus the
effects of bus and truck lines upon railways and of air lines upon
both, and the regulation of telephone, telegraph, and radio might be
more intelligently gauged through a personnel selected for knowl­
edge of these respective subjects. Quasi-judicial and regulatory
phases of all transportation, it seemed to me, could thus be made
infinitely more effective. The recommendation has not been carried
out, although I predict that some day it will be. Emergency matters,
however, took for the time precedence over all else.
W hile in the midst of the transportation and communications
study, a prominent manufacturer of the aviation industry called upon
me. “ I have an idea for you, M r. Secretary,” he said. “ W ould you
like to make a lasting contribution to business, something that would
help the little man as well as the big company?” “ I most certainly
Would,” was my reply. H e then related his experience the week
before. H e had learned that interests in South America were soon
to place an order for ^400,000 worth of planes and aviation equip­
ment. Knowing the delay of the mails, and realizing the possible
danger in loss of time, he decided to solicit the order by radio and
telegraph. “ I went to the bank,” he said, “ and drew out seven hun-







286

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

dred dollars. After spending ten hours in using the radio and tele­
graph, I got the order.” He then went on to say that such expense
was prohibitive in the case of the little man. “ If you’ll effect an
immediate reduction,” he said, “ in radio and telegraph rates— get
them down, say, to where a message can be sent anywhere in the
United States for twenty-five cents and all over the world for as low
as one dollar, it will give business the greatest boost any man ever
contributed. The increased volume would increase the profits of the
radio and telegraph companies.” Much as I was inclined to agree
with him, the reduction was not in my power, and when it was sug­
gested, I met a united front of opposition.
When mentally disturbed or discouraged, a letter from Will
Rogers always dispelled the shadows.
B E V E R L Y H IL L S
C A L IF O R N IA

Decem 13, 1933
ber
My dear Mr. Roper:
Say that was m
ighty nice of you to write m that cheerful letter. I
e
appreciate it m than anything. I m a fine son of yours on our Texas
ore
et
trip. H is one of a nest of ’em I liked him very m
e
.
uch. H m a good
e ade
speech to the young Dem
ocrats at breakfast one m
orning. I tell you it’s
hard to m a good speech for breakfast. M of us wouldn’t take our
ake
ost
nose out of a cup of coffee to hear Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in person.
The adm
inistration has gained trem
endously in the last few weeks.
The whole country has com to the conclusion that a banker or financier
e
dont know any m about m
ore
oney than a depositor does. So they are
willing to let Mr. Roosevelt try h own ideas with it.
is
Again I want to thank you for your very thoughtful act and w you
ish
every success.
Regards to you and your fam
ily.
Yours
Will Rogers

CHAPTER

XXIV

The Cabinet at Work
A T F IR S T the Roosevelt Cabinet meetings were held at two
o’clock on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. Vice-President
-^ -J o h n N. Garner attended these meetings throughout the
two administrations in which he held office. H e provided an effec­
tive liaison with the legislative branch of the Government and ma­
terially aided the President and his Cabinet members with counsel
concerning legislative procedure, the status of pending legislation,
and the general attitude of his colleagues toward specific and pro­
spective legislative proposals. As a rule, Garner did not volunteer
advice in these meetings, but he promptly satisfied all inquiries of
the President and was ever ready to contribute to the common ob­
jectives.
Woodrow Wilson had invited Vice-President Thomas R. M ar­
shall to attend Cabinet meetings in 1913, and he had promised to do
so, but in fact he attended just one session. When asked why he did
not continue, he replied that he learned from one meeting that he
would not be listened to and hence would be unable to make any
contribution. Such was not true in 1933 and the subsequent years.
President Roosevelt, being a master of human relations, was more
successful in utilizing the prestige of the Vice-Presidency. Then, too,
Garner was more pliable in political contacts than Marshall had
been.
The high spots in the early Roosevelt Cabinet were the Depart­
ments of State, Treasury, Justice, Agriculture, and Labor. Problems
under their jurisdiction were those most acute. The group of Cabinet
posts second in importance at that time included the Interior D e­
partment because of its public works administration and national re­
search endeavors. The other Cabinet posts were at the outset classi­
fied in my mind in the third group until the threat of war and the







288

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

preparations for defense brought the War and Navy Departments
into advanced rank along with the State and Treasury Departments.
The Department of Commerce, important under normal conditions,
was at this time suffering from the fact that business was in the dog­
house.
At Cabinet meetings the President sat at one end of the table
and the Vice-President at the other. As a rule, the meetings were
opened by a statement from the President of what he wished to have
considered at the meeting and also of the impressions he had received
from other sources as to conditions at home and abroad. The Secre­
tary of State, sitting at the immediate right of the President, was
usually asked first for a report on the situation, and generally he
dealt with international affairs, which were dynamic, even dramatic,
from the beginning, involving the progress which the Secretary was
making in his efforts to promote the Trade Agreements Program.
Mr. Hull was always interesting and was listened to with keen
attention. The next report was that of the Secretary of the Treasury
on the fiscal situation; it was concerned with the income and outgo
of the Treasury, including such items as the projected refinancing of
obligations. Further reports from Cabinet members were given in
the order of the establishment of their respective departments. Fric­
tion was unknown in these meetings, owing primarily to the unex­
celled skill of the President in presenting matters and in settling
differences before friction was generated.
After the development of the long list of extra-Cabinet agencies,
necessitated by the emergency situation, the President inaugurated
the plan of having the heads of these agencies brought together at
Cabinet meetings on Tuesdays. This organization was known as the
President’s Executive Council. This meeting had the advantage of
keeping members of the Cabinet and of the Executive Council ac­
quainted with the progress of the Federal activities in and out of the
departments and contributed toward better understanding and better
co-operation. The President presided at these combination confer­
ences on Tuesdays just as he did at the Cabinet meetings on Fridays.
Both meetings were held in the White House Cabinet room. On
Tuesdays the Cabinet members were supposed to occupy their usual
places at the council table in the center of the room, and the heads

THE CABINET AT WORK

2g9

of the agencies were furnished chairs in its outer spaces. The order,
however, was not rigidly maintained.
The President’s personality always created an air of friendliness
and a spirit of good will. His marvelous memory for faces and names
enabled him to call on each representative by his given name. H e
always seemed conversant with the general outline of each interest
represented and hence was able to assist quickly in analyzing the in­
dividual problems presented and to relate them, when there was
need, to the Cabinet member most nearly associated with the prob­
lem. This procedure had a tendency to prevent duplication and mis­
understanding.
Among the outstanding early reports at these conferences were
those given by General H ugh S. Johnson concerning the progress
and problems of the N .R.A. H e was always dynamic and straight­
forward. Dr. E. A. Morgan, President of the Tennessee Valley Au­
thority, was conservative and sedate, but always intelligent. Robert
bechner, in charge of the C.C.C., reporting on his camps, always had
a thorough knowledge of his subject and was interesting in his pres­
entation. I was attentive to his reports, because I remembered that
when the establishment of the C.C.C. was first mentioned by the
President at an early Cabinet meeting, Cabinet members were of the
opinion that it would probably be dangerous to the peace to assemble
at that time large groups of young men. The President insisted that
the contrary would be the case, and he won out both at that time
and in the results. The President took the position from the outset
that a great service could be rendered by these young men in control­
ling fires and in preserving property. I remember asking him on
one occasion whether he thought the time would come when we
would organize our forests as effectively and as usefully as the Ger­
mans had done. His answer was, “ Yes, in due time.” I told him
that it was my understanding that Germany had put her forests under
such splendid management that they were kept clean and safe against
fires and at the same time were practically self-sustaining as a result
of products carefully taken from them.
Jesse H . Jones, always a stabilizing influence in these Executive
Council meetings, was thoroughly in possession of himself and full)
acquainted with the operations of the R.F.C. W e were keenly inter­
ested in knowing at these early meetings how the guarantee of bank







290

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

deposits was getting along under its constructive leader, Lee Crow­
ley. In my opinion, the establishment of Federal Deposit Insur­
ance and its administration was from the beginning one of the high
points in the Administration’s long list of adventures. The Federal
Reserve, of course, was represented by Marion Eccles, who was pre­
pared to advise on the condition of business throughout the country
as conveyed to him through the Reserve banks. Among the most im­
portant units to be reported on at these conferences was the W.P.A.,
and Harry L. Hopkins always made an interesting analysis. He gave
every evidence of being clear and constructive in his thinking, and he
was in possession of the details of the outstanding operations of the
unemployment problem. He had grave difficulties, among such being
lack of co-operation in certain states and also lack of co-operation
among units in a given state. We all recognized that this problem
was fundamental in our social and economic structure, but its solu­
tion was not in evidence and its end not in sight. Another unit in
which we were always interested was the Federal Housing Adminis­
tration under the able guidance of John H. Fahey.
II

It was impossible to appraise my fellow Cabinet members at the
outset, for despite the great confidence I had in each of them, I had
during my long experience in the Federal service seen men of fine
capabilities fail to measure up to expectations when transplanted to
new fields. As time went on, however, I viewed the effect of the
sheer magnetism of the President’s leadership and realized how for­
tunate we Cabinet members were in that regard. More and more, I
saw through the superficial defects of my colleagues into the intrinsic
and basic qualities which had caused the President to draft them for
the service of the nation.
I had known Secretary of State Hull for twenty-five years. He
had been a member of the Ways and Means Committee during my
clerkship, and I had seen him labor with incredible diligence to cor­
rect the inequalities of the Payne-Aldrich Act through the Under­
wood Bill. Many people remarked upon his thoroughness in those
days, for it was evident to all that his Congressional procedure was
unique. Whereas some members of Congress sought to ride through
solely upon their wits, Hull, of Tennessee, set forth at the outset to

THE CABINET AT WORK

2gi

master the tariff and to qualify as one of the country’s leading experts
on the subject. These studies led him to a broad analysis of the
Income Tax Law, and he soon became the recognized author of pro­
gressive income tax laws and procedure.
In 1917-20 M r. H u ll had headed for me as Commissioner of
Internal Revenue a committee which studied the law and regula­
tions in action, adjusting deficiencies through regulations. M r. H u ll’s
pre-eminence in economics so impressed the leaders of the Demo­
cratic party that he was chosen Chairman of the National Committee
and served with distinction from 1920 to 1924. Never a flamboyant
politician, never one who fired without ammunition, he ever stood
upon a firm foundation of truth and knowledge, and his attitude was
so sincere and earnest that none ever questioned his statement of
fact. Following his many years in the House of Representatives,
H ull served later in the Senate with distinction. His tariff studies
had carried him deeply into the field of foreign relations. It was
a perfectly natural choice that he was selected to serve as Secretary
of State.
It may be of interest to relate that there was a time when Newton
D. Baker was being considered for the post which went to M r. H ull.
When I visited M r. Roosevelt in January, 1932, he said: “ Dan, I’ve
thought of just one man for my Cabinet if elected. That’s Newton
D. Baker for Secretary of State.” Subsequently, however, Baker’s
connection with the great utilities and his attitude towards them
eliminated him as a possible choice. I was glad that Cordell H ull,
a real Democrat in more ways than one, a man who never lost his
sense of proportion, a good listener, a wise counselor who was never
dogmatic, one with the highest character and the gift of leadership,
stood at the helm of the State Department as clouds darkened the
international horizon.
The death of W illiam H . Woodin was a shock to every member
of the President’s official family. As Secretary of the Treasury, he
brought the gifts of a unique personality. His training and expe­
rience had much to do with the President’s action during the banking
crisis, and this should not be forgotten by those who appreciate the
full import and value of that official action. Woodin had a splendid
mind and character, exceptional to a rare degree. H e was interested
in everything tending toward the uplift of his fellow man. H e had







29 2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

labored zealously with the President for the development of Warm
Springs, Georgia, as a curative institution for infantile paralysis. The
beauty of Woodin’s inner character has been recorded for all time in
his musical and poetic compositions. Indeed, it was unusual to find a
man versed in high finance, well-to-do in his own right, but upon
whose soul wealth had neither caused erosion nor the encrustation of
avarice. For several years after his death, we were made reflective at
official functions when the band played the Woodin marches.
Some, including McAdoo, had thought that Woodin was too
close to W all Street, despite his rare gifts. I am glad to state that
I never met a man less influenced by sinister motives. It was a source
of poignant regret that this beautiful character had to leave us. He
was effectively succeeded by Henry Morgenthau, Jr.
In George H. Dern, Secretary of War, we had a colleague of
energy and capacity. He had been a successful miner in Utah; he
had made an excellent governor of that state and had been men­
tioned prominently for the Vice-Presidency. If circumstances had
permitted the selection of a Roosevelt running mate from that
section of the country, he would have stood an excellent chance of
election. Mr. Dern, an outstanding Mason and a student of the
higher objectives in human relations, devoted himself without re­
serve to the common cause. After Dern’s death in 1936, the Assistant
Secretary, Harry W . Woodring, was promoted to Secretary.
It will be remembered that President Roosevelt had originally
selected Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana for Attorney Gen­
eral. The death of the Senator on a train while returning from Ha­
vana with his bride was a great shock to the incoming Administration,
but the President was fortunate in having available Homer S. Cum­
mings of Connecticut. Mr. Cummings was drafted for temporary'
service, and the tenure later made permanent. Few outside the inner
circle have adequate appreciation of this man’s great task. We were
sailing uncharted seas and beating new pathways, and at every turn
there was necessity for legal guidance. No Cabinet member worked
more constructively. Early in his service, Attorney General Cum­
mings obtained statutes enabling his agents to cross state lines in the
pursuit of criminals. This had a smashing effect upon the evermounting crime wave, which had become even more extended under
the Hoover negligence and failure to act upon the Wickersham re-

T H E C A B IN E T A T W O R K

293

port. It would be impossible to enter into the many legal matters
which were untangled by M r. Cummings and his able assistants.
They were verily multitudinous. I had known him well for many
years. H e had served long as a Democratic stalwart and had man­
aged the Speakers’ Bureau of the 1916 campaign. Subsequently he
had been Chairman of the National Committee, and at San Francisco,
in 1920, he had made one of the most memorable addresses in the
history of the party. H e was a man of propriety and loyalty, keenly
effective as a lawyer. I prided myself that he was my friend and
was glad to have him as a colleague.
The Postmaster General, James A. Farley, was a new factor in
national politics. Early in the preconvention activities for M r. Roose­
velt, Farley had taken a prominent part and had rendered very
valuable service. H e had served co-operatively with Louis Howe
before and after the nomination of Roosevelt and at the Chicago
convention. To those who say Farley was not a deep student, I say
that he had remarkable affability and was constructive and untiring
in human relations. H e had the delightful art of pleasing people
while disposing of them. There was a wholesomeness about the man
which gave you an affectionate regard for him. To his everlasting
credit let it be here recorded that during his tenure as national chair­
man he did not ask me to make an appointment in my department
unless it met the proviso that the appointment was for the good of
the service. H e achieved results in administering the Post Office
Department never before attained.
The Secretary of the Navy, Claude A. Swanson, had been Gov­
ernor of Virginia, a dynamic member of the House, and a Democratic
leader in the United States Senate. In the latter body he had been
Chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee. Hence he was one of the
best-informed men in the country, not actually in the Navy, about
naval affairs. It was the natural selection for the President to make.
There were, however, other reasons for the choice. The politicians
of Virginia wanted him out of the Senate to make way for former
Governor H arry Byrd. Words are feeble things with which to
epitomize so lovable and beautiful a character as that of Secretary
Swanson, truly a gentleman of the old school. Peace be to his ashes.
The Secretary of the Interior, Harold L . Ickes, was another new
factor in national affairs. H e was somewhat explosive, but whatever







294

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

may be said against him, and I shall not be one to raise a red flag, he
had more in him of good than evil. He lifted the Interior Depart­
ment out of the doldrums of the Coolidge and Hoover administra­
tions and made it one of the outstanding departments of the Govern­
ment. I happened to be the one to mention him first to the President
as a proper person to place in charge of the Public W orks Division
of N.R.A. It was a source of great satisfaction to me that he con­
ducted this important agency with efficiency, integrity, and honesty.
Henry A. Wallace, the Secretary of Agriculture, was the son of
Henry C. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under Harding. The
up-and-coming young Wallace had gained great agricultural pres­
tige through his writings and speeches about agriculture and his
specialization in seed culture. He had left the Republican party to
support Governor Smith in 1928. His was indeed a complicated task.
Stricken agriculture, basic enterprise of the nation, presented one of
the most formidable New Deal battlefronts. Wallace was always
on a hot spot because of the diversity of views of pressure groups.
Consequently, in an era where new plans had to be decided upon,
he was between opposing fires. That he maintained himself eight
years in this position and retained the respect of all groups and the
affection of the President to the extent of winning the Vice-Presidency
in 1940 is a great tribute. He was a man of deep fundamental moral
and religious background and sentiment. Those who charged him
with being theoretical never doubted his righteousness of purpose.
Let us omit here the Secretary of Commerce. Now consider that
Cabinet official whose appointment by the President had broken
a precedent as old as the office. I sat opposite Frances Perkins, the
Secretary of Labor, for nearly six years of Cabinet meetings. She
was the best-informed woman on sociology whom I ever met. While
many, especially some labor leaders, did not always co-operate with
her, because they wanted a man in the office, I can testify that no
other woman could have filled the place better. She assumed her most
difficult duties at a time of widespread confusion and dissatisfaction,
when unemployment was at its peak for all past time. Her conduct
of the Department of Labor deserves great credit for the fact that
uprisings and strikes were settled and prevented with effectiveness.
I am sure that it is fair to state that her greatest and most beneficial
accomplishments never found outlet in the public press. Successful

THE CABINET AT WORK

295

efforts to avert calamities by such able assistants as Edward McGrady
were services of even greater worth than many achievements of
which the public learned. I believe I was the only member of the
Cabinet who spoke out against the sit-down strike at the time of the
strike. I felt that the procedure should be promptly condemned in
the interests of both labor and the public and stated that in my
opinion such strikes would not be upheld by the courts of the nation.
A ll in all, it was a Cabinet which bridged past and present, which
derived its strength from its own versatility and experience, and
which was singularly united under the magnetic leadership of a
President with a gift for transmitting his own inspiration to others.
hi

Probably one of the most important Cabinet meetings during my
experience as a Cabinet officer, as measured by subsequent events,
was that at which the proposed resolution reconstructing the Supreme
Court was considered. This resolution had been very carefully pre­
pared under the supervision of the Attorney General and resulted
from many conferences with his legal staff and with the President.
At this Cabinet meeting the President had invited to meet with the
Cabinet Joseph T . Robinson, then Democratic majority leader of the
Senate; H enry F. Ashurst, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of
the Senate j Hatton W . Sumners, Chairman of the Judiciary Com­
mittee of the House j the Vice-President ; the Speaker j and Sam Ray­
burn, then the Democratic leader on the floor of the House.
The President read the text of the resolution, and there was
relatively little comment upon it. I remember asking the question
myself of the President at that time whether he thought it advisable
to send the prepared resolution or whether just a statement or mes­
sage outlining the objectives sought might not be preferable. M y
thought was based upon the fact that as a rule the Senate and House
are rather jealous of their authority, preferring to formulate through
their own drafting departments their bills and resolutions. Senator
Ashurst at this point, however, spoke up and said that he thought
it was well to send the resolution as constructed and read by the Presi­
dent. I still think that a message without a bill would have placed
greater responsibility on the Congress and divided the criticism.







The Blue Eagle
H A T A M ER ICA N does not remember the ubiquitous
Blue Eagle, that ill-fated bird, now extinct, which ruled
supreme in a brief season while the recovery program
was in the process of finding itself? Perhaps we would still have the
N.R.A. but for the chaotic tempo of the times which gave it birth.
Let it be said at the outset, however, that the N.R.A. was a response
to the demands of business, not an institution foisted upon business
without the advice and consent of its leaders.

W

The cities and states had failed to meet their relief problems.
There were riots and threats of riots throughout the country. Manu­
facturers, warehousemen, and owners of large establishments were
afraid that the unemployed might do physical damage to their
properties. First the bankers, then the railroads, and the heads of
the textile industry implored government aid. The motion picture
industry had for years regulated itself through a code under the
administration of W ill Hays. Organized baseball had operated un­
der its own self-made laws administered and interpreted by Judge
Kenesaw M. Landis. Industry now asked the Government to do
something of a kindred nature for its protection. Both labor and
capital were amenable if a solution could be achieved that would put
men back to work and start again the wheels of production.
Two of the outside men recruited by the President for assistance
in the recovery campaign were General Hugh S. Johnson and Pro­
fessor Raymond Moley. General Johnson had been an administrator
of many large projects; it was he who, in 1917 and 1918, originated
the plan for the Selective Military Draft and as the executive in
charge formulated its rules and policies. Professor Moley, a member
of the Columbia University faculty, had achieved note as a politi­
cal economist. These two men were domiciled at first in the State

TH E BLU E EAGLE

297

Department, where they made a study of business, banking, labor,
agricultural, and kindred problems.
As the clamoring groups outside of Government became more
vociferous, I designated John Dickinson, Assistant Secretary of Com­
merce, to meet with General Johnson, Professor M oley, representa­
tives of the Department of Labor, and any others interested for the
purpose of arriving at some co-ordinated plan of reconstruction. This
group met now and then with the President. Finally, with his help,
and after conferences with the leaders of all groups, a bill was drafted
and sent to Congress. Hearings were held at the Capitol, and the
bill, changed in many respects, was enacted as the National Indus­
trial Recovery Act, or N .I.R .A . It provided for a National Recov­
ery Administration composed of two sections. The first, called the
Industrial Authority, was placed under General H ugh S. Johnson as
Administrator; the second, providing for a public works program,
was delegated finally to Harold L . Ickes, Secretary of the Interior,
as Administrator. A Cabinet committee of supervision was provided
for the N .R.A., of which I was named Chairman by the President.
The Congress had approached this legislation carefully, although
expeditiously, and sought, with the advice of the President, to enact
the best legislation possible under the circumstances. Special commit­
tees were set to work by both houses to work in co-operation with
interdepartmental committees. Even before public hearings were
held by the regular committees of the Senate and the House of Rep­
resentatives, briefs and recommendations had been solicited and se­
cured from many business and industrial organizations, including
associations, corporations, and individuals. Representatives of labor
were asked to submit recommendations bearing upon aspects of the
problem in which their groups were interested. Precedents in our
economic life were explored for suggestions and guidance. Pertinent
source materials available through government agencies were an­
alyzed. Wartime experience and records in industrial organization
and mobilization were consulted. The experiences of foreign coun­
tries in meeting similar problems were examined.
W ith this preparation as a background, bills were introduced in
both branches of Congress. Then the public hearings began, at which
representatives of many business organizations testified.1 Testimony
1 These included the National Grange; the American Federation of Labor; the







298

fifty years of public life

was also given by business and industrial executives, by Senators and
Congressmen, and by numerous governors and mayors or their rep­
resentatives. The nature of the problem faced at that time is shown
by the testimony of Mr. Henry I. Harriman, President of the
United States Chamber of Commerce, before the House Ways and
Means Committee:

We have seen the national incom fall from $84,000,000,000 in 1929
e
to approxim
ately $40,000,000,000 last year, and if the decline were to
continue uninterrupted at the sam rate during the present year, the na­
e
tional incom would not be over $30,000,000,000. That is a m appal­
e
ost
ling situation, and it indicates that rem
edies which in norm conditions
al
we would look at with great hesitation, we can well consider in tim like
es
these.
I believe that the exigency which faces the country is far greater than
the emergency of the war and that the dam resulting from four years
age
of depression to our people is m greater than the dam that cam in
uch
age
e
the years that we were in the World War.
The best statistics that we have would indicate that prices of general
com odities have fallen from forty to fifty per cent in the last four years,
m
and that today we have an unem
ployed list of no one knows exactly how
m
any, but roughly estim
ated at twelve or thirteen m
illions of m
en.
Now, serious as the financial aspects of the situation are, I believe that
the worst result to the country from the depression is the m
oral effect on
the working m of the country of being out of work for so long a period
en
and suffering and receiving the dole.
When Winston Churchill was in this country som seven or eight
e
m
onths ago, he m the statem that the British people were far m
ade
ent
ore
alarm at the effect of years of unem
ed
ploym and dole upon the work­
ent
ing people of Great Britain than they were at the tax burden that it was
im
posing upon them “For,” he said, “there is growing up in Great Brit­
.
ain a generation who have never worked and who are com to look to
ing
the state as their m
eans of support.”
American Automobile Association; the American Petroleum Association; the Amer­
ican Farm Bureau Federation; the Radio Manufacturers Association; the National
Automobile Chamber of Commerce; the National Dairy Union and the Am
erican
Association of Creamery Butter Manufacturers; the Clay Products Institute and
Brick Manufacturers Association of the United States; the Associated Coffee Indus­
tries of America; the National Retail Dry Goods Association; the National Associa­
tion of Manufacturers; the Chamber of Com erce of the United States; the Amer­
m
ican Rolling Mills Association; the General Federation of W
omen’s Clubs; the
American W
arehousem
en’s Association.

TH E BLU E EAGLE

299
Under normal conditions I doubt very much whether the [U. S.]
Chamber of Commerce would desire m to come before you and approve
e
a bill with such drastic conditions as this. A man said to me today, “Where
are we going to if this bill is passed?” And I answered, “Well, where are
we going to if this bill is not passed?” I said, “I do not think we can go
on very much longer with millions of men out of work and with com­
modities at prices which pay no return on capital and pay almost no return
for the human labor that is involved.”2
M r. William Green, President of the American Federation of
Labor, in his testimony expressed the point of view of organized
labor:

This proposed legislation marks a very definite step forward in indus­
trial stabilization, rationalization, and economic planning. The bill is ap­
propriately termed an industrial recovery measure. It is, in the judgment
of labor, the most outstanding, advanced, and forward-looking legislation
designed to promote economic recovery that has thus far been proposed.
In the opinion of labor it will, when passed and applied, prove to be a
real, practical, constructive remedy for unemployment.3
The inability of business to meet, through its own efforts, the
grave problem existing at that time is reflected in a paragraph from
the testimony of M r. Lew Hahn, President of the National Retail
D ry Goods Association:

We were raised under the old competitive system where it was a
matter of everybody looking out for himself and the devil take the hind­
most; but I do recognize, as general business recognizes, we are facing a
great emergency and if I may express a personal opinion, I think business
has done a bad job in not showing som type of leadership that would give
e
the unemployed work. So, it seem to m that the only thing to do is to
s
e
cooperate wholeheartedly in an effort to put this legislation over and make
it achieve its purpose.4
Throughout this testimony there was a virtual unanimity of opin­
ion in support of the purposes and objectives of the N.R.A. The
hearings fully demonstrated by the testimony of the country’s busi2Hearings bejore the Committee on W
ays and Means on H.R.

*8, 19, and 20, 1933, pp. 118, 132-133.
s Hearings bejore the Committee on W
ays and Means, H.R.

5755, held May

5755, held May 18,

19* and 20, 1933, p. 118.
* Hearings before the Senate Finance Committee, S. 1712 and H.R.

May 22, 26, 29, 31, and June i, 1933, p. 139.




5755, held




300

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

ness leaders, that the problems they faced had grown beyond the
possibility of solution through private action. Accordingly, they
urged the Government to provide the machinery necessary for bring­
ing about co-operative action. Those business leaders did not then
protest that “ Government is interfering with business.” They rather
demanded the strongest sort of action by the Government, and they
ardently supported the N.R.A. after it was in operation. They
shouted for help like the crew and passengers of a sinking ship, and
they looked upon the new Administration as a coast guard cutter
come to their rescue. The sneers and jeers at “ government interfer­
ence” were reserved for a later time when they felt that they had
been rescued, landed safely in port, and could go on alone.
The N.R.A. was the beginning of a new form of co-operation
between business and government and between employers and em­
ployees. Naturally, it would require changes and adaptations. It
needed to grow in the light of experience gained through actual ad­
ministration.
Many difficulties were encountered in the preparation of the act.
We had meager and oftentimes wholly inadequate data concerning
causes and effects in the national business and industrial system.
Sometimes the membership of a manufacturing or trade association
represented inadequately their particular fields. Sometimes their ap­
pointed spokesmen were quite as uninformed as the most inexpe­
rienced members of the Congress or of the executive departments of
the Government. There was a lack of sufficient record of experience
and performance in the voluntary organizations of both business and
labor. In the field of employer-employee relationships our industrial
system had grown up and remained largely in a state of anarchy.
Both business practice and economic legislation were at least sixty
years behind the industrial history of the country.
We expected some measure of vindictive opposition, but we had
no reason to anticipate the widespread and unworthy propaganda of
opposition to all the administration policies. Later this grew into a
hatred of the President personally. In some quarters the adverse
decision by the Supreme Court was welcomed as a blow directed at
the President. This curious change, attributable in part to undercover
propaganda, recalled the old saw:

THE BLUE EAGLE
The Devil was sick,— the Devil a monk would be;
The Devil was well,— the devil a monk was he.

3oi

II

The organization and administration of the N.R.A. constituted
one of the two most challenging administrative problems that have
confronted us in our national history. The other was the initial
organization of the Government during the first administration of
President Washington. There were four diverse elements to be
brought together in one administrative system; namely, the em­
ployers, their employees, the consumer representatives, and the Fed­
eral Government. The new venture in code-making, which com­
prised the central and dominant administrative problem, had no
precedent whatever in past governmental procedure. There was lit­
tle to serve as a guide for the tasks at hand. A wholly new type of
organization was required with no source from which to draw expe­
rienced officials or even the office personnel. Considerable depend­
ence had to be placed upon the method of trial and error.
Any adult mind might have anticipated that experience would
be required in order to develop a working basis for the successful
operation of the N .R.A. Years of administrative experience had been
necessary to make such agencies as the Interstate Commerce Com­
mission and the Federal Trade Commission into smoothly function­
ing units. The same was true at the time of the formation of the
National Government itself under President Washington, his Cabi­
net, and the Congress in 1789 and the years immediately following.
If the new venture projected in 1933 was to succeed, a new loyalty
had to be engendered among the people quite as was the case in
1789-93* Personal sacrifices had to be made; patriotism had to be
developed to a point where it could function in the humdrum eco­
nomic life of the people as well as in the colorful and vibrant con­
flicts of political life and military operations.
The parallel between the formation of the Government and the
more recent experience is well worth noting. Washington and his
colleagues faced a difficult adventure along new ways. The nation
had been relentlessly driven into unbeaten paths by disorders which
had been allowed to run on through the years until chaos threatened.
Among a minority fear is a natural emotion. A desperate situation







3o 2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

itself breeds fear. As new and adventurous measures are adopted
and applied, the weeping and wailing increase.
The first experiences with the N.R.A. indicated that the process
of code-making would be long and arduous. But if progress was to
be made in finding employment before the winter of 1933-34 for
the thousands out of work there was imperative need of earlier and
more general action than that afforded by the procedure of code­
making. To meet this emergency the President offered his Re-em­
ployment Agreement Program and asked for a simultaneous appli­
cation of minimum wage and maximum hour conditions in industry.
By this means the few industries which first established code stand­
ards would not be penalized by differentials between the conditions
and wage rates which they had established and those of industry in
general. This Re-employment Agreement Program provided for a
voluntary agreement between the President and individual employers
covering (1) the elimination of child labor; (2) a proper and rea­
sonable upward adjustment of wages that were lower than the mini­
mum established; (3) the limitation of price increases to the actual
increases of production cost; and (4) the support of those employers
who became parties to this agreement. The display of the “ Blue
Eagle” insignia was emblematic of an employer’s adherence to
the Re-employment Agreement Program. There were more than
2,300,000 signers of this contract covering some 16,300,000 em­
ployees.5
The N.R.A. was an effort to create a voluntary co-operative sys­
tem of industrial self-control. Its largest promise of success did not
come from the power of the Government to enforce the law, but
derived from the fact that during the first year both business and
labor entered wholeheartedly into the co-operative effort. From the
beginning the Cabinet Committee had occasion to observe this de­
velopment. From time to time the Committee discussed with Gen­
eral Johnson the problems involved. I took careful note of the fact
that, due to a large degree of genuine co-operation among the leaders
of business and labor, and among the rank and file of both classes,
the movement was laying foundations deep in the public mind and
in the economic life of the people.
6See R e f o r t

on th e O fe r a t io n o f th e N . l .R .r f .,

Research and Planning Division,

THE BLUE EAGLE

30 ?

O f course the Government had to do its part. It was profitless
to urge either industry or labor to coerce their greedy and anarchistic
minorities without making it possible for them to do so. Both the
employers’ organizations and labor unions sometimes face social out­
laws within their own ranks. Sometimes an organization of either
capital or labor may face unjust demands or unlawful activities on
the part of the other. In such cases the social outlaw— the dishonest
employer, or the labor union racketeer— must be brought to terms
by the power of the law, which of necessity calls for the quick and
effective co-operation of the Government. Lacking this sanction,
there could be no permanently successful effort to establish law and
order in the industrial system.
hi

The United States Supreme Court by a four to three decision
declared the N .I.R .A . unconstitutional on M ay 27, 1935. Many
businessmen regarded the decision as a tragedy, although, having sub­
stantially recovered, business was by this time again becoming hostile
to Government. The fact that this act of Congress could set up an
organization of far-reaching importance, that the act could be admin­
istered by the Executive Department through more than two years,
that the far-flung execution of the law could involve large expendi­
tures of public money and enormous labors on the part of the people,
and then, after all, be declared unconstitutional— the utterly irra­
tional situation presented by this abnormal process of government
surely requires correction.
General Johnson worked hard. A dynamic, intelligent man with
West Point training, he did the best he could. But the expansion of
the personnel of the unit as well as the hurriedly conceived policies
were sources of concern to the supervising committee. Long lists of
suggested appointments were brought day by day for approval. I felt
that more time was needed to check these lists. In his natural zeal
to develop his organization, however, General Johnson was im­
patient. One trouble was that we lacked, as we still do, easily avail­
able sources of information regarding the equipment and attitudes
of citizens of the country. In time such a source of information ought
to be provided.
I favored starting with a few codes, say not to exceed ten or







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

twelve, enabling us to learn through the administration of these how
to proceed with others. If this policy had been followed, perhaps
the N.R.A. would not have got into the courts. In fact, within
the short period of a year four hundred codes embracing 90 per cent
of American business and twenty-two million wage and salary workers
were put into effect.
After the courts had acted and the General had returned to pri­
vate life, he wrote a series of articles for The Saturday Evening Post
in which he analyzed the Cabinet offices and Cabinet members. He
thought that the Department of Commerce should have as its head
a large-scale businessman, such as Mr. Gerard Swope, President of
General Electric Company. Mr. Swope was then serving as a mem­
ber of the Business Advisory Council of the Department, and we had
thus had the benefit of his knowledge since June, 1933.
After the appearance of the article containing criticisms of the
Secretary of Commerce, attendants at my press conference asked me
what I thought of General Johnson. “ General Johnson,” I replied,
“ is a man of great force with splendid training at West Point and in
the Army and a man of the best intentions.” “ But, Mr. Secretary,”
one of the reporters insisted, “ don’t you know what he has just said
about you?” “ Do you recall,” I replied, “ that General Robert E.
Lee, when at West Point, did not get along with his roommate?
After both were Colonels in the Army, a bright newspaper reporter
approached the roommate and asked, ‘What do you think of Colonel
Lee?’ The reply was anything but complimentary. Colonel Lee was
approached in the same manner. Referring to his roommate, he said,
‘He is a splendid man with the best intentions.’ ‘But,’ rejoined the
reporter, ‘don’t you know what he has just said about you?’ Colonel
Lee gave the reporter a somewhat frigid glance. ‘I understood,’ he
said, ‘that you were asking me what I thought of him. Not what he
thought of me.’ ” I waited a moment, and then concluded, “ When
I use a hammer, I usually try to build with it.”

CHAPTER

A laska:

XXVI

TheTreasure

H ouse

T

"^ H E T E R R IT O R Y of Alaska had intrigued me for many
years. In June, 1934, the activities of the Department of Com­
merce located there required that I visit this picturesque land
of the Far North. Before giving a brief account of that visit, it is
appropriate to recall a few items of general information concerning
this vast area of six hundred thousand square miles, twice the size of
h ranee and Germany together and fourteen times the size of New
York State- Alaska was purchased from Russia in the year of my
birth, 1867, f°r $7,200,000, or less than two cents an acre. Russia
made the cession in the belief that the territory’s fur-bearing animals
were so nearly extinct that she was transferring a mere mass of moun­
tains and ice. Seward was Secretary of State j Andrew Johnson was
President. The people of the United States protested in indignation.
The Alaskan purchase was called “ Seward’s F olly” j Alaska was
called “ Seward’s Ice Box.”
Today the fishing industry alone affords an income of twenty-five
million dollars annually. The territory has produced in gold, silver,
and copper more than four hundred times its cost. It has paid for
itself many times over in the yield of fur. It has a valuable timber
industry and, in the southeast, possibilities for wood-pulp manufacture
which would further justify “ Seward’s Folly.” These facts are mat­
ters of general knowledge. The things I saw and learned went
deeper. Almost every day of the month I spent on this visit brought
me some new and revealing discovery.
The population of Alaska has changed little in the past thirty
years, except during the Gold Rush days of the 1890’s. Its perma­
nent population has not varied far from sixty thousand. A great
many of the leaders in the territory, largely men who have spent
most or all of their lives there, had called on me on periodical visits







3o 6

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L I F E

to the United States. I thus learned that many of the residents of
Alaska deplored the paternalistic attitude of the Government at
Washington. They felt that they had been treated somewhat as
“ stepchildren.” Knowing something of that feeling, I wanted to
examine the basis for it and see whether I could contribute to a more
harmonious relation with the Government and also bring about a
more simplified administration. I suspected that we were in much
the same relation to the Alaskans that we, ourselves, had been to the
British prior to the American Revolution. Moreover, Alaska was a
vast reserve with thousands of possibilities, any or all of which might
have to be utilized in the future. Furthermore, there was the prob­
lem of defense and the necessity on that account, if for no other
reason, that the population be increased and the natural resources
developed.
After a brief visit to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chi­
cago, Mrs. Roper, my son Richard F., my Secretary, Chester H.
McCall, and I crossed the continent and sailed for Alaska on the
coast guard cutter Shoshone, which was on her official coast guard
assignment for the summer. This opportunity of making the trip on
a coast guard cutter was pleasing to me, for I knew of the excellent
service rendered to the people of Alaska by the Coast Guard. I could
not have gone otherwise at the moment, since strikes on the Pacific
Coast had suspended the sailings of commercial ships. Many dra­
matic stories had been related to me of how the Coast Guard cared
for the sick, and of how they had fed marooned and isolated com­
munities in emergencies, taking doctors and medicine, even burying
the dead when entire communities were wiped out by the influenza
epidemic of 1918. Because of the difficulties of transportation, the
Coast Guard had in several instances moved the courts to witnesses
instead of having witnesses come to the courts. In short, it had for
years been an agency of supreme service and indispensable protection
for the territory'. I welcomed therefore this brief personal association
with an organization of which I had heard favorable reports, and
I was glad to find these reports to be more than true. This service
is now supplemented in a remarkable manner by the development
of the air arm.
Whether or not one has read Zane Grey and the other novelists
and poets who have dramatized the North Country, there is that

ALASKA: THE TREASURE HOUSE

307

about it which is gripping and which fills you with a feeling of high
adventure, even as the boat moves toward the Arctic Circle, keeping
always within the shadow of the rugged coastal mountain ranges of
the Northwest. The waters seem bluer, perhaps from the glacial
sediment they contain; the sun seems brighter. The scenery grad­
ually changes until the metamorphosis is complete. You find your­
self in a new and different world. Furthermore, the courage and
hospitality of its noble people warm the cockles of your heart.
After a seven-hundred-mile journey which took two days, we
made our first stop at Ketchikan, the salmon capital of the world.
This town is also the seat of a timber industry, one of the points
from which Alaskan timber is shipped to the United States. At
Ketchikan I made an official inspection of the Sixteenth Lighthouse
District Headquarters, meeting the personnel, examining the equip­
ment, and discussing the work.
The problems of the fishermen were causing great discontent at
that time. Many complaints had reached Washington that the little
fisherman was not getting a square deal as compared with those hav­
ing traps, who, as a rule, were regarded as foreigners to Alaska. I
wanted to obtain all the information necessary to deal justly with this
controversy. To accomplish this, I undertook to see and confer with
all who sought interviews to discuss Alaskan problems.
The next lap of the journey took us westward by the Inside Pas­
sage. The surpassing beauty of this part of the trip baffles descrip­
tion. Along this waterway, immediately from the water’s edge, high
mountains frequently rise, jeweled with glaciers and decorated with
waterfalls plunging hundreds of feet over cliffs into streams winding
ribbon-like among the intervening mountain crags to the bays and
finally into the G ulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean. For sheer
grandeur I have rarely seen anything like it, and the waters of the
passage, still and deep, for the most part are as blue as those of the
Danube.
After leaving Ketchikan we made stops at W rangell, Petersburg,
Skagway, and Juneau, the capital, where we spent the week-end. At
the capital we were entertained by the Governor at a dinner followed
by a splendid reception. W e were met at all stops by welcoming
committees, the Chambers of Commerce usually being well repre­
sented. The Governor at that time was John W . Troy, who had







3o 8

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L I F E

gone to Alaska as a newspaper correspondent in the Gold Rush days.
I had met him in Washington when he was appointed. A man of
rugged strength and pioneer spirit, he had spent practically all his
adult life in the territory and had become very popular with Alas­
kans. To my surprise, when making inquiries among the feminine
guests at the reception, I learned that many of them had attended
such colleges as Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley. The white people of
Alaska are not backwoods folk, but are well informed on world
movements and loyal to their territory and to the United States.
We liked them very much and hope that they liked us well enough
to invite us to visit them again. The native stock was in need of
more medical and health attention. Many of the natives do not prop­
erly take care of themselves and have a constant fight with tuber­
culosis. At every stop we inspected government activities, making
notes of needs and accomplishments and conferring with the per­
sonnel and people on ways to serve the territory more effectively.
Skagway, forwarding point for the Yukon and Klondike regions
of British Columbia, was one of the towns which I had wanted to see
and of which I had heard much. What a change the years had
wrought. Once it had been the most important forwarding station in
Alaska with a mushroom population of more than ten thousand. In
the period of the Gold Rush it teemed with two-gun men; dance hall
music echoed through its streets; and gambling rooms were thronged
with adventurers, both male and female. It was now a ghost town
with a population of only about two hundred. The men of the sour­
dough were gone. One human landmark remained, Mrs. Pullen,
proprietress of the Skagway Inn. She proved to be a most unusual
woman. For the entertainment of visitors she had assembled a mu­
seum of the old-time gambling paraphernalia— roulette wheels and
other devices which had occasioned the winning and loss of thousands
of dollars in precious gold dust. The boisterous, unlicensed picture
of those times flooded into my mind as I viewed those unholy relics
and heard Mrs. Pullen describe the days and nights of old. Her
boardinghouse had sheltered many men who had taken the train
through Chilkoot Pass with nothing more than their grubstake and
crude mining equipment. A few weeks or months later a portion of
those who had not starved or frozen to death on the trail had returned
with Croesus-like fortunes in yellow dust, not a few of them half-

ALASKA: THE TREASURE HOUSE

309

crazed by their discoveries. Some, whose names the gentle lady re­
membered, had been the patriarchs of present-day American banking
and manufacturing dynasties. Less was said of the thousands who
had gambled and lost all their gains. Skagway was the last surviving
link in that strange and almost unreal era.
W e returned southward to Juneau and crossed the G ulf of Alaska
for stops at Cordova and Seward, our next objective being Fairbanks,
which was four hundred and seventy miles in the interior and about
a hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle. The trip from Seward to
Fairbanks was made over the Alaskan Railroad in a special car with
Assistant Superintendent Cunningham in charge. W e stopped for a
brief visit at Anchorage and for a dinner given by the railroad offi­
cials at Curry, where we spent the night. The luxury of the Curry
dinner may be imagined from the fact that the dinner set was gold
china equal to the best we had seen at the most luxurious dinners in
the States. This set had been purchased to entertain President H ar­
ding and his party on their Alaskan trip just before his death.
One is inclined to associate hospitality with Southern climes. It
is only just to say that the hospitality of the Alaskan people to me
on this trip equaled, if it did not surpass, any comparable manifesta­
tions of cordiality I had found anywhere in my seventy years of life.
I have to record one disappointment. W e stopped at M t. M c­
Kinley National Park en route to Fairbanks. I had wanted to see
the crest of this, the highest mountain on the North American Con­
tinent. Known to the natives as Traleyka, this famous mountain rises
to a height of 20,300 feet, or approximately four miles. Only a few
men have ever climbed to its summit. To my great disappointment,
when we arrived at the park the crest of the mountain was draped
in clouds and mist. The summit was invisible. As if to compensate
for the sight which Nature withheld, I saw something else which
I remember as notable, a herd of white mountain goats clinging to
the mountain side. Deployed and browsing below the snow line,
they presented a magnificent display. Off to one side, as if estranged
from the others, was a lone goat. I asked J. L . Galen, Superintend­
ent of Transportation, why he was separated from the others.
“ They’ve put him out of the herd,” he replied, explaining that this
disciplinary measure was not altogether uncommon in the goat fra­
ternity. Whether this ostracism was based on age or misconduct on







3i o

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

the part of the goat, I did not learn. As we returned to the train,
I remarked to Mr. Liek, Superintendent of the Park, that I thought
thousands of Americans would someday include the park on their
vacation itineraries, especially should the proposed Alaskan Highway
become a reality.
Upon leaving the park, we continued by train to Fairbanks, where
another cordial reception awaited us. The ex-postmaster of Fairbanks,
a native of North Carolina whom I had appointed years before, was
among those who welcomed us at the station. We greeted each other
as fellow Carolinians, and I felt that, after all, we were not so far
from home. Judge and Mrs. E. Coke Hill, who had joined us at
McKinley Park, accompanied us to Fairbanks. We found the Hills
to be most interesting, since they had had experience in carrying the
United States mail by dog teams from Fairbanks to Nome in the
olden days before the airplane displaced this service.
Judge H ill said that he had been repeatedly warned when under­
taking this work that to fall asleep in the very cold region between
the mountain ranges would probably be fatal. Notwithstanding this
warning, on one of his first trips he fell asleep in that dangerous
region. The lead dog, realizing that his master was no longer shout­
ing commands, came all the way back from the head of the line and,
by pulling and straining on the Judge’s clothes, managed to awaken
him before it was too late. This done, the dog returned to his place,
and the journey proceeded. I had been told that the difference be­
tween “sense” in man and “ instinct” in animals is that reason is absent
from instinct. In the light of this story, I wondered whether this
definition should not perhaps be broadened to include at least some
dogs and to exclude some men.
It was some days past the season when the midnight sun could
be seen. We were told that at a few hundred feet elevation the sun
would be visible throughout the night. Even the effect of the unseen
midnight ray was amazing. There was enough natural light in July
to enable me to read a newspaper in the middle of the night.
A few miles from Fairbanks we saw the wonderful gold-saving
dredges at work. We were told that one of the dredges which we
saw operating cost $750,000 delivered in Alaska. What a contrast
between the operation of this huge dredge and the methods of 1898.
In the valley where the dredges were working, the miners of the

ALASKA: THE TREASURE HOUSE

31 j

olden days had to sink tunnels to get seventy-five feet down to the
pay dirt, a most difficult
undertaking becausethe ground,even in
summer, is frozen below
a depth of eighteeninches. The modern
dredge utilizes the heat of the sun in the two or three months of
summer, scraping off the earth as it thaws each day until the pay
dirt is exposed. These dredges work with profit dirt that carries
not over $1.25 per ton. Thus another worldhas been opened up
since the prospector days
of the 1890’s. The mountainousregions,
inaccessible then, are now scaled by the airplane. W ith the dredge
for the valley and the plane for the mountains, Alaskan mining is
in a new era.
W e visited in several Alaskan areas luxuriant flower and vege­
table gardens. Plant life seemed to grow both day and night in the
brief summer period, a phenomenon probably due largely to the
continuous light.
One of the strange and interesting aspects of our visit was the
native Aleut and the Eskimo. The former was often a hybrid, an
admixture of Chinese, Japanese, Russian, American, and Eskimo, so
one did not wonder that out of all this human chemistry, and not­
withstanding his careless health habits, he was able to withstand the
rigors of the climate and to cope with the daily challenge of the land.
At Seward we were given a delightful welcome by Mayor D. C.
Brownell and a committee of citizens. The ladies of Seward insisted
upon entertaining us. They gave us a tea in which they outdid them­
selves in providing cakes and candy of their own making as delicious
and modern as anything to be found in the United States. “ W e
wanted to show you,” they said, “ that we haven’t lost the art of cook­
ing during our stay in Alaska.” W e assured them that the proof was
ample.
W e stopped at Sand Point, where we paid a brief visit to Mrs.
Helen R. Mellick. On the morning we were there her helpers took
twenty-two thousand good-sized salmon from her fish trap, repre­
senting a catch, as we understood it, of only a few hours. The fish
ranged in weight from one to forty pounds, the largest being the
red salmon variety. It would be difficult indeed to describe ade­
quately the Alaskan salmon industry. It is best understood and ap­
preciated by a visit to that region.
In the course of our journey I heard a curious story of the man-







312

fifty years of public life

ner in which a market was created for a part of the catch. Some time
before, when a large surplus of the pink salmon, the best variety,
had been accumulated whereas the canned red salmon was exhausted,
an enterprising salesman undertook for a large fee to get rid of the
pink. He simply inserted in the fish journals an advertisement say­
ing, “ A quantity of salmon for sale guaranteed not to be artificially
colored.” The pink salmon was soon sold, and the salesman received
his reward.
We paid a brief visit to Kodiak Island, but did not take time to
go in search of the famous big bears which lure hunters thither
from all parts of the world. After extensive inspection of the Aleu­
tian Islands, we went by the coast guard cutter across the Bering
Sea and headed for the Pribilof Islands, the part-time home of a
colony which now numbers two million seals. I already knew some­
thing of the history of the seal and of Pribilof, the Russian scientist,
who had made a lifelong study of the habits of the seal and for
whom the islands were named. Of all the denizens of the sea, the
seals are among the most mysterious. No one knows where they go,
no one knows where they come from. More than a hundred years
ago Pribilof followed the seal colony off the Russian coast to a point
north of the Artie Circle where he lost them in fog and mist. After
wandering around for days, he heard again their strange rumbling
and picked up their trail, tracing them to St. George and St. Paul
Islands, which now bear his name. After a study of several years,
he discovered that they always left and returned for breeding to
these small islands at approximately the same dates every year.
Prior to 19n , the seal colony had been reduced to about two
hundred thousand through reckless killings by persons from the
United States, Japan, England, and Russia. Fearing the extinction
of the species, these nations nearly thirty years ago made a treaty
designed to halt indiscriminate slaughter and charged the United
States with its administration. The colony has now again reached
large proportions, the annual (1940) slaughter being between fifty
and sixty thousand and the entire herd now numbering about two
million.
I conferred with officials and private citizens on the Pribilof Is­
lands. The atmosphere of the seal-slaughtering localities was faintly
reminiscent of the Chicago stockyards. I wondered whether this

ALASKA: T H E T R E A SU R E H O U SE

313

large seal slaughtering, leaving so many stripped carcasses to decay
in the open, had not affected the health of the community, and made
inquiry of the local physician. “ Nobody sick from that,” he in­
formed me. “ When the rest of Alaska was dying with influenza, we
did not have a case.” Evidently the odor of dead seals is either a
charm or a miracle in materia medica.
Inspection stops were made at Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, and
Akutan. At Akutan I visited a large whaling station. The largest
whale processed there that season weighed thirty tons and yielded
a huge quantity of oil. W e next journeyed to Sitka, ancient Russian
capital, where we saw the home provided for the old sourdoughs.
From there we returned to the states. The total round-trip journey
from Seattle had exceeded six thousand miles.
Among the concrete results of this visit was a better understand­
ing on my part of the fishing problems of Alaska. Both the small
and large fisherman had to live. The trap was a necessity to provide
the even flow of fish demanded by the canneries. The local fisher­
man needed the canneries as a constant market for the fish he caught.
Under the immediate guidance of Commissioner Frank T . Bell, who
had made a most intelligent study of the conditions, a plan was
worked out whereby the number of traps was gradually reduced
rather than entirely eliminated. This seemed to take care of the sit­
uation.
Alaska needs a larger population both for development and de­
fense. It needs more public health guidance and more airplanes.
Thus far its entire attraction has been to those interested in fishing
and mining. There is need for the gradual development of agricul­
ture on the arable land. Markets for their products need to be fos­
tered in order to maintain the population. In the Matanuska Valley,
Wonderfully fertile, a more extensive colonization will doubtless
come in time, preferably gradually. Otherwise a great relief problem
will be created for the states. The development of Alaska requires
people possessed with the pioneering spirit and able to endure fron­
tier hardships. The production of agricultural products should not
outrun local demand, else the Alaskan producer will be in competi­
tion with the steady supplies coming two or three times each week
from the Pacific Coast. Therefore, the needed development should







3 12

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

ner in which a market was created for a part of the catch. Some time
before, when a large surplus of the pink salmon, the best variety,
had been accumulated whereas the canned red salmon was exhausted,
an enterprising salesman undertook for a large fee to get rid of the
pink. He simply inserted in the fish journals an advertisement say­
ing, “A quantity of salmon for sale guaranteed not to be artificially
colored.” The pink salmon was soon sold, and the salesman received
his reward.
We paid a brief visit to Kodiak Island, but did not take time to
go in search of the famous big bears which lure hunters thither
from all parts of the world. After extensive inspection of the Aleu­
tian Islands, we went by the coast guard cutter across the Bering
Sea and headed for the Pribilof Islands, the part-time home of a
colony which now numbers two million seals. I already knew some­
thing of the history of the seal and of Pribilof, the Russian scientist,
who had made a lifelong study of the habits of the seal and for
whom the islands were named. Of all the denizens of the sea, the
seals are among the most mysterious. No one knows where they go,
no one knows where they come from. More than a hundred years
ago Pribilof followed the seal colony off the Russian coast to a point
north of the Artie Circle where he lost them in fog and mist. After
wandering around for days, he heard again their strange rumbling
and picked up their trail, tracing them to St. George and St. Paul
Islands, which now bear his name. After a study of several years,
he discovered that they always left and returned for breeding to
these small islands at approximately the same dates every year.
Prior to 1911, the seal colony had been reduced to about two
hundred thousand through reckless killings by persons from the
United States, Japan, England, and Russia. Fearing the extinction
of the species, these nations nearly thirty years ago made a treaty
designed to halt indiscriminate slaughter and charged the United
States with its administration. The colony has now again reached
large proportions, the annual (1940) slaughter being between fifty
and sixty thousand and the entire herd now numbering about two
million.
I conferred with officials and private citizens on the Pribilof Is­
lands. The atmosphere of the seal-slaughtering localities was faintly
reminiscent of the Chicago stockyards. I wondered whether this

ALASKA: T H E T R E A SU R E H O U SE

313

large seal slaughtering, leaving so many stripped carcasses to decay
in the open, had not affected the health of the community, and made
inquiry of the local physician. “ Nobody sick from that,” he in­
formed me. “ When the rest of Alaska was dying with influenza, we
did not have a case.” Evidently the odor of dead seals is either a
charm or a miracle in materia medica.
Inspection stops were made at Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, and
Akutan. At Akutan I visited a large whaling station. The largest
whale processed there that season weighed thirty tons and yielded
a huge quantity of oil. W e next journeyed to Sitka, ancient Russian
capital, where we saw the home provided for the old sourdoughs.
From there we returned to the states. The total round-trip journey
from Seattle had exceeded six thousand miles.
Among the concrete results of this visit was a better understand­
ing on my part of the fishing problems of Alaska. Both the small
and large fisherman had to live. The trap was a necessity to provide
the even flow of fish demanded by the canneries. The local fisher­
man needed the canneries as a constant market for the fish he caught.
Under the immediate guidance of Commissioner Frank T . Bell, who
had made a most intelligent study of the conditions, a plan was
worked out whereby the number of traps was gradually reduced
rather than entirely eliminated. This seemed to take care of the sit­
uation.
Alaska needs a larger population both for development and de­
fense. It needs more public health guidance and more airplanes.
Thus far its entire attraction has been to those interested in fishing
and mining. There is need for the gradual development of agricul­
ture on the arable land. Markets for their products need to be fos­
tered in order to maintain the population. In the Matanuska Valley,
wonderfully fertile, a more extensive colonization will doubtless
come in time, preferably gradually. Otherwise a great relief problem
will be created for the states. The development of Alaska requires
people possessed with the pioneering spirit and able to endure fron­
tier hardships. The production of agricultural products should not
outrun local demand, else the Alaskan producer will be in competi­
tion with the steady supplies coming two or three times each week
from the Pacific Coast. Therefore, the needed development should







be spread over several decades and not attempted in one year or even
a decade.
Under wise guidance there may come opportunity for some manu­
facturing; for example, a box factory to supply the canning indus­
try, small hosiery mills, and mineral concentrating mills. With the
increase in tourist travel will come opportunities for small hotels.
The Indians, I think, should be encouraged to revive their sub-water
basket industry, once productive of some of the finest handicraft in
the world, but now lost to cheap and inferior manufactured products
from Japan.
There is also a need for better protection of the territory from
inroads by foreign peoples and nations, especially in the fishing in­
dustry; for this purpose naval bases would be required. I am sure
we should in time pursue the construction of the Alaskan Interna­
tional Highway. Because of the enormous burden of building two
thirds of it through British Columbia, and pro-rating the expense,
this project seems to be doomed to delay. However, future develop­
ment in Alaska and British Columbia will bring it to pass. The ex­
cellent understanding and co-operation between the United States
and Canada will in time find the way for this development.
The trip opened my eyes to the preference of the American
housewife for canned fish over fresh fish. Consequently, independent
fishermen were suffering severely. Upon my return I appointed a
scientific committee to make a study of fish as a part of the American
diet. I was surprised at the resistance of the meat packers to this
study. The committee launched the study, however, and it is to be
hoped that the industry will benefit from its labors.
All in all, we arrived at Seattle with the conviction that we had
spent an unforgettable as well as one of the most profitable and en­
joyable visits of our lives. Alaska, the nation’s treasure house, had
caught us in its spell. I record here gratefully my abiding respect
for and thanks to the fine people of the land of the North Country.

CHAPTER

XXVII

Rehabilitation and Reclamation

T

^ T H E R E IS A N accepted modern maxim, however specious,
that a picture tells a story before words can get started. An
artist in the future attempting to depict the efforts and achieve­
ments of the Roosevelt Administrations will find it necessary to paint
two pictures: one will represent the old order and its collapse; the
other, a new progressivism and the revival of the social conscience.
The contrast between the two pictures may startle those privileged
to compare them. Fortunately, as individuals and as a nation, we for­
get the hunger of yesterday at the banquet of today} so it is with
the adversity which so recently permeated the country.
It may be worth while to look briefly at the two pictures. Im­
agine, if you will, two vast murals upon a prodigious scale. The first
shows idle factories, closed banks, static markets, lengthening bread
lines, hordes waiting at soup kitchens, farmers burning grain in lieu
of the fuel they cannot buy from the benighted coal regions} thou­
sands of families, including women with babes in arms, evicted from
the only homes they have ever known, having their household effects
dumped upon city streets or in deserted country roads. Add twelve
millions of desperate, undernourished, unemployed men and women
upon the verge of riot and violence. This first picture represents a
nation whose proud boast was abundance, yet now with no segment
of its people having escaped the widespread ills besetting it. This
picture contains all the crimes of violence, including suicide upon a
scale never before known, and is shadowed with ominous clouds
of evils yet to come. Darkness, despair, and human misery are the
dominant notes.
The second picture might well be entitled 1933. A great leader
with a social consciousness dominates the scene. H e stays the hand
of the evictor} the banks reopen and there is no longer fear of their
insolvency} the markets show life again} the bread lines have dis-







316

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

appeared; the wheels of industry are turning, and millions of men
have been re-employed. Stricken agriculture has a new lease on life
as railroads and other instruments of transportation ply across the
continent taking farm products to market. Most significant of all
perhaps is the veritable army of those devoted to the cause of the
new trend, strategically deployed and engaged in the herculean task
of rebuilding the wreckage observed in the first picture. The shin­
ing sun of hope brilliantly illumines the second scene. While the
picture does not show the battle, it is evident that the nation is on
the march against the forces that made for ruin.
The closing of the banks and the bolstering of the country’s finan­
cial structure by the resources of the Federal Government marked
the turning point that began the change between pictures one and
two. That action by the incoming President was as the auxilium ad
Caesar. It turned the destructive tide and provided the necessary
breathing spell which enabled the new Administration to reconnoiter
before moving forward in a total war against the depression. The
salvation of the banks was universally acclaimed, since everyone was
benefited, but not much imagination is required to see that saving the
banks saved the bankers, perpetuating their then doubtful future
existence. A day would come when these same bankers, who then
shed crocodile tears in their anxiety to be rescued, however deaf they
may have been in the past to similar pleas from many of their de­
positors, would stand upon the foundations placed beneath their tot­
tering empire by the Roosevelt Administration and vilify “ govern­
ment interference in business.”
The salvation of the bankers provoked concerted pleas of “ Save
us, too” from many and diverse groups. Railroad magnates, heads
of the textile and other industries, pressure groups from cotton and
corn belts, officials of the United States Chamber of Commerce, and
representatives of organized labor filled Washington hotels. The
White House switchboard buzzed unremittingly with requests for
interviews. All sought a chance to unload their troubles in the strong
and ample lap of a President who had revealed an extraordinary'
social conscience. The President received them group by group, hear­
ing all but heeding few. He discussed their acute problems with his
own advisers and with experts placed at his disposal by the petitioners
themselves. Then, acting with the characteristic rapidity which had
saved the banks, he proceeded with the precision of a great surgeon

R E H A B IL IT A T I O N A N D R E C L A M A T IO N

317

combating death in an operating room. Congressional leaders were
summoned to the W hite House. H e convinced them of the various
exigencies and of the necessity for immediate alleviation. A harmony
unprecedented marked these conferences. Within the elastic limits of
democracy, emergency measures were put into effect. Remedial acts
of legislation were enacted by a diligent Congress and promptly
signed by the President.
In one day Congress passed a bill conferring upon the President
authority over banks. The Treasury was empowered to cause the
surrender of all gold. National banks were permitted to raise cash
by the sale of preferred stock, and both national and state banks were
authorized to borrow money from the Reconstruction Finance Cor­
poration. The currency was further expanded by “ circulating notes”
issued to Federal Reserve Banks against Federal bonds and other
class A paper. By the end of M ay thirteen thousand banks were
reopened.
Then came the Unemployment Relief Act, which authorized
public works and provided authority for the Civilian Conservation
Corps. This new agency employed three hundred thousand young
men in camps, combating forest fires, soil erosion, floods, and plant
blights. They were employed in planting trees for reforestation, cut­
ting fire-lane trails and protecting the forests, social gains in addition
to the benefits which accrued to them as individuals in this excellent
training program in outdoor life.
On M ay 12, 1933, the Emergency Relief Law made available a
half billion dollars for various forms of relief to the unemployed and
their families. A quarter of a billion was granted to the states. Part
of it was to be matched by expenditures of the state itself; the re­
mainder, allocated to the specific requirements of the state. On this
same day the Farm Relief Act was passed, creating the Agricultural
Adjustment Administration, destined to be the most gigantic experi­
ment of its kind in economic history. Three billion dollars was
appropriated to effect its immediate purposes.
In an effort to satisfy the national clamor for jobs and for the
regulation of economic ills, Congress, on the recommendation of the
President and his expert advisers, created the National Industrial
Recovery Administration, discussed in Chapter X X V , some of whose
abandoned principles may yet have to be incorporated in our eco­
nomic life.







318

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

On May 18, the long-disputed fate of Muscle Shoals was deter­
mined. Congress under the intelligent and courageous leadership of
Senator Norris and Representative Rankin passed the act authorizing
the Tennessee Valley Authority “ to force a reduction of electric rates
. . . make electricity available to millions unserved . . . effect flood
control . . . aid reforestation . . . improve navigation . . . and for the
national defense.” The long-cherished dream of those who wished to
provide a yardstick with which to curb the Insulls and their kind
came true, for the act provided that the surplus electric power avail­
able after the construction of certain hydro-electric units in the project
might be sold to private companies and municipalities.
On May 27, 1933, Congress passed the Securities and Exchange
Act, which empowered the Federal Trade Commission to exercise a
limited regulation of the sale and marketing of securities. This act
was subsequently to be modified, when the Securities and Exchange
Commission was set up and the regulatory functions temporarily
vested in the already overburdened Trade Commission transferred
to it. Under the original act a semiprivate corporation was created,
bringing in as stockholders all those who held foreign securities in
default. Chiefly, however, its function was to minimize speculation
and safeguard the public against the Insulls and the international
bankers who had so ruthlessly diminished the public savings by their
ill-considered offerings of worthless foreign stocks and bonds.
The violence of readjustments in the credit structure, due largely
to bank failures, which bank failures were due largely to ruthless
speculation by the bankers themselves with funds belonging to their
depositors, had placed thousands of homes in jeopardy. On June 13
Congress authorized the Home Owners Loan Corporation with a
capital of two hundred million dollars and authority to issue bonds
to the extent of two billions. This corporation was established to take
over mortgages at lower rates of interest, to extend the time of
repayment, and otherwise to provide security for the homeowner. At
the time of this legislation mortgages were selling at from eight to
twenty cents on the dollar.
It may be well to explain that the Farm Relief Act had also
authorized the issuance of bonds to the extent of two billion dollars
to purchase farm mortgages, exchange bonds for mortgages, and
make new loans at rates not to exceed 4 per cent. A later develop­
ment was the establishment of the Production Credit Corporation,

R E H A B IL IT A T IO N A N D R E C L A M A T IO N

3 19

the Production Credit Association, a central bank for farm co-op­
eratives, regional banks for farm co-operatives, and the formation
of self-financing and thrift organizations for the benefit of the local
farmers. Because there were so many scattered financing agencies,
the President by executive order consolidated and co-ordinated all
under the Federal Farm Credit Administration. This was a radical
departure in our economic practice. After many decades of exploita­
tion and usurious rates of interest, of ruthless foreclosures and gen­
eral extortion, the farm financing of the nation was wrested from the
private banker and brought under the control of the Federal Govern­
ment.
No previous single session of the Congress since the establishment
of the Republic had written such a long series of far-reaching laws
into the Federal statute books. Relief had been provided for the
farmer and the country’s basic enterprise, agriculture. The bank
depositor had been saved and protected for the future. Subsistence
had been assured to the unemployed who were on the verge of star­
vation. The railroads and heavy industries had been assisted with
huge loans from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and busi­
ness, large and small, had been rescued through the help given under
the provisions of the N .R .A . The excesses so long engaged in on
W all Street and the subsidiary W all Streets throughout the country
had been curbed. Millions of men and women had returned to work,
and labor, so long the victim of exploitation, was, under the N.R.A.,
acknowledged to have the right of collective bargaining. Within a
few, feverish, exciting months, the mighty tide of the depression had
been turned. A new hope and a brighter morale appeared among the
masses of the people. W hat a contrast with the picture of the pre­
vious four years.
11
During all this period of emergency planning and action, mem­
bers of the official family had their hands and heads full. There were
times when we disagreed as to method, though seldom as to the
principle or the objective to be achieved. It was indeed a total war
reaching out to every recognized ill and endeavoring to provide
relief for every segment of society. A ll, including the President,
realized that mistakes would be made, that we were sailing unchar­
ted seas and blazing new trails, that in many instances our efforts
for temporary alleviation would require recasting and readjustment







3 2o

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

in the future. Moreover, it was realized that danger lurked in ex­
periments upon such a prodigious scale. Untried men had frequently
to be placed in important positions, and the human element was sure
to manifest itself to the embarrassment of the Administration. Men
sought to build petty political citadels with their local authority. The
political machines of the cities in some instances tried to pervert the
true intentions of the reform and relief programs. These dangers,
impossible to avoid entirely, had to be dealt with individually as they
were exposed to the responsible authorities in Washington.
Having served long in various branches of the Government and
having a wide acquaintance over the country from experience in help­
ing select thousands of postmasters and the field force of the Bureau
of Internal Revenue, I remembered frequently the President’s early
remark that the greatest help I could render would be to keep him
surrounded with men of the type who staffed the Woodrow Wilson
Administration. I tried to respond to this suggestion. It is not in
the nature of things for one in the official family to be aggressive
with the President of the United States, and yet long years of friend­
ship attested to the sincerity of new suggestions.
On the whole these measures were welcomed and had a good ef­
fect. Partly due to their success the time soon came when some began
to resent the regulation by the Government of matters formerly left
to private control. An anecdote from an earlier time suggests a type
of reaction that was soon all too common. One of the militant preach­
ers of a Southern town was exhorting his congregation. “All the
cheating and dishonest people are going to hell,” he declaimed. Two
of the sisters sitting together nudged each other approvingly. “ Good
preaching,” one whispered to the other. “ Wonderful,” was the reply.
“And all you liars will go there too,” the minister declared. “ He is
a great preacher,” the sister commented again. “ That’s the gospel.”
“And all the drunkards,” declared the minister, “ they are going to
hell too.” “ He is the finest preacher I ever heard,” said the first
sister. “ H e’s unsurpassed,” agreed her neighbor. The minister’s
voice rose to vigor. “ And another bunch of you,” he shouted, “ you
old snuff dippers, you are going straight to hell!” The first sister
glared defiance. “ He’s done quit preaching5 she said. “ He’s quit
,”
preachin’ and gone to meddling.” Such was the later reaction to some
of the reforms of the Roosevelt Administration; when they fell too
close to home, there was an outcry and a spirit of rebellion.

R E H A B IL IT A T I O N A N D R E C L A M A T IO N

32 1

The return of Congress after this initial session brought renewed
attacks upon the adverse economic conditions. Great interest centered
in the Public Works Administration projects; public works were in­
augurated simultaneously in all the states and counties of the nation.
The time-worn demand for new post-office buildings for the towns
of any importance was heard, and there was an outcry by politicians
when such applications were made secondary to useful projects that
offered greater possibilities for the employment of labor.
But there is no need to enumerate further. Let it suffice to say,
there was war for economic and social improvement upon all fronts,
hor example, the Labor Board or N .L.R.B. was set up with broad
powers intended to curb exploitation and to foster collective bargain­
ing. This adventure needs better administration and amendments,
which will doubtless come with experience in handling a difficult
problem. A complex and effective system of social security providing
for unemployment insurance and pensions .for the aged was written
into the law of the land, beginning what may be a far-reaching social
evolution.
During all these exciting days of experiment by the method of
trial and error and of stupendous government effort, the Department
of Commerce rendered service by gathering and compiling statistics
and thus affording fundamental guidance on happenings and trends.
The Department became a real arsenal of study, producing data for
the administration of the Government and for the guidance of busi­
ness in efforts to expand trade at home and in the far-flung countries
of the world.
It was no easy undertaking to keep the Administration and busi­
ness on terms of good understanding. I believe, however, that the
Business Advisory Council was a valuable agency in this direction.
The Council gave the businessman an opportunity to study the trends
and purposes of the Government and at the same time channeled
back to business generally a truer conception of the purposes and the
advisability of co-operation.
No one familiar with the facts will deny that in an age of change
the Administration endeavored to correct the causes of the economic
and social conditions from which we were suffering. It is not my
purpose to indulge in a panegyric on Roosevelt. I do assert, how­
ever, that the purposes and objectives of his Administration were
sincerely planned, though probably we were not as quick to correct
defects in legislation and in administration as we might have been.







3 2o

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

in the future. Moreover, it was realized that danger lurked in ex­
periments upon such a prodigious scale. Untried men had frequently
to be placed in important positions, and the human element was sure
to manifest itself to the embarrassment of the Administration. Men
sought to build petty political citadels with their local authority. The
political machines of the cities in some instances tried to pervert the
true intentions of the reform and relief programs. These dangers,
impossible to avoid entirely, had to be dealt with individually as they
were exposed to the responsible authorities in Washington.
Having served long in various branches of the Government and
having a wide acquaintance over the country from experience in help­
ing select thousands of postmasters and the field force of the Bureau
of Internal Revenue, I remembered frequently the President’s early
remark that the greatest help I could render would be to keep him
surrounded with men of the type who staffed the Woodrow Wilson
Administration. I tried to respond to this suggestion. It is not in
the nature of things for one in the official family to be aggressive
with the President of the United States, and yet long years of friend­
ship attested to the sincerity of new suggestions.
On the whole these measures were welcomed and had a good ef­
fect. Partly due to their success the time soon came when some began
to resent the regulation by the Government of matters formerly left
to private control. An anecdote from an earlier time suggests a type
of reaction that was soon all too common. One of the militant preach­
ers of a Southern town was exhorting his congregation. “ All the
cheating and dishonest people are going to hell,” he declaimed. Two
of the sisters sitting together nudged each other approvingly. “ Good
preaching,” one whispered to the other. “ Wonderful,” was the reply.
“And all you liars will go there too,” the minister declared. “ He is
a great preacher,” the sister commented again. “ That’s the gospel.”
“And all the drunkards,” declared the minister, “ they are going to
hell too.” “ He is the finest preacher I ever heard,” said the first
sister. “ He’s unsurpassed,” agreed her neighbor. The minister’s
voice rose to vigor. “ And another bunch of you,” he shouted, “ you
old snuff dippers, you are going straight to hell!” The first sister
glared defiance. “ He’s done quit preaching’,” she said. “ He’s quit
preachin’ and gone to meddling.” Such was the later reaction to some
of the reforms of the Roosevelt Administration; when they fell too
close to home, there was an outcry and a spirit of rebellion.

REHABILITATION AND RECLAMATION

32 1

The return of Congress after this initial session brought renewed
attacks upon the adverse economic conditions. Great interest centered
in the Public Works Administration projects; public works were in­
augurated simultaneously in all the states and counties of the nation.
The time-worn demand for new post-office buildings for the towns
of any importance was heard, and there was an outcry by politicians
when such applications were made secondary to useful projects that
offered greater possibilities for the employment of labor.
But there is no need to enumerate further. Let it suffice to say,
there was war for economic and social improvement upon all fronts.
For example, the Labor Board or N .L.R.B. was set up with broad
powers intended to curb exploitation and to foster collective bargain­
ing. This adventure needs better administration and amendments,
which will doubtless come with experience in handling a difficult
problem. A complex and effective system of social security providing
for unemployment insurance and pensions .for the aged was written
into the law of the land, beginning what may be a far-reaching social
evolution.
During all these exciting days of experiment by the method of
trial and error and of stupendous government effort, the Department
of Commerce rendered service by gathering and compiling statistics
and thus affording fundamental guidance on happenings and trends.
The Department became a real arsenal of study, producing data for
the administration of the Government and for the guidance of busi­
ness in efforts to expand trade at home and in the far-flung countries
of the world.
It was no easy undertaking to keep the Administration and busi­
ness on terms of good understanding. I believe, however, that the
Business Advisory Council was a valuable agency in this direction.
The Council gave the businessman an opportunity to study the trends
and purposes of the Government and at the same time channeled
back to business generally a truer conception of the purposes and the
advisability of co-operation.
No one familiar with the facts will deny that in an age of change
the Administration endeavored to correct the causes of the economic
and social conditions from which we were suffering. It is not my
purpose to indulge in a panegyric on Roosevelt. I do assert, how­
ever, that the purposes and objectives of his Administration were
sincerely planned, though probably we were not as quick to correct
defects in legislation and in administration as we might have been.







3 22

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

In general, it is in my judgment correct to say that the President
struck with all the Federal might at everything he believed was
wrong. Through vision, courage, and a profound sympathy for the
“ underprivileged” he did more to awaken the thought of the nation
to meet a dramatic situation than had any other President in Amer­
ican history.
An interesting comparison might be made between the times and
actions of Woodrow Wilson and of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Both
were confronted, on taking office, with a pressing banking situation.
Wilson courageously met that which he faced by speedily securing
through legislation the establishment of the Federal Reserve banking system. Roosevelt promptly met a tragic banking situation im­
mediately upon taking office by closing the banks until they could be
put in order to safeguard depositors. Later he secured the guarantee
of bank deposits by the Federal Government. Wilson had to reckon
with a serious agricultural situation, and used his influence to place
on the statute books the Farm Loan Bank Act and supplementary
farm legislation j Roosevelt found in 1933 a much worse situation
in agriculture than confronted Wilson. By the measures noted he
unhesitatingly met the challenge of agricultural chaos and stayed the
hand of an onrushing cataclysm of confusion and rioting.
Wilson was confronted with serious labor conditions, and urged
the passage of the eight-hour law and a law preventing child labor,
though the latter was defeated by the courts. Roosevelt inherited a
much worse situation in labor and unemployment, which he attacked
with courage and succeeded in avoiding serious rioting among the
unemployed. Here as elsewhere there was a similarity in the coura­
geous attitude employed by both man to correct the situations they
faced.
In Wilson’s second administration he was drawn into interna­
tional affairs. Roosevelt, in his second administration, likewise had
to give great consideration to European affairs. In his campaign for
re-election in 1916 Woodrow Wilson definitely promised to keep the
country out of war, and with his approval a slogan of great value in
his re-election was used; namely, “ He kept us out of war.” The
gradual development of responsibilities of this nation together with
untoward acts from abroad engaged both men more and more in the
foreign struggle. Wilson wished to be renominated a third time for
the purpose of supporting his League of Nations and safeguarding

REHABILITATION AND RECLAMATION

3 23

the peace of the world. Roosevelt was renominated for a third
term because of international conditions. Wilson failed of nomina­
tion for a third term partly because of broken health brought on by
the strain of foreign affairs. M ay the parallel end here and Roose­
velt be able to maintain his health in accomplishing that in which
Woodrow Wilson failed 5 namely, the establishment of permanent
international stability and peace.
A comparison of the personalities of Roosevelt and Wilson is
strikingly favorable to the former. Roosevelt had a more intimate
knowledge of human beings, had given more study to the masses,
and was more gifted in greeting people. An instance involving Dr.
W illis J. Abbot of the Christian Science M onitor came under my
observation. I was not able to persuade Dr. Abbot to support the
Roosevelt ticket in 1932 on account of the prohibition question.
However, when he was calling on me in M ay, 1933, I expressed a
wish to introduce him to the President and asked him to be at the
WT
hite House the next day following the Cabinet meeting. H e re­
plied: “ I have nothing in common with the President, and, as I
didn’t support him, he will not be willing to see me.” I answered:
“ W ait and see.”
A press conference followed immediately after the Cabinet meeting, and through the courtesy of W hite House Secretary Stephen
Early, Dr. Abbot was permitted to go in with the press representa­
tives. As I left the Cabinet room, I told the President that the man
who would come in on a crutch because of a sprained ankle, would
be Dr. Abbot of the Christian Science M onitor. I then returned to
the Department of Commerce. About a week later a letter from Dr.
Abbot informed me that he had spoken to the President at the press
conference and that the President had called him by name saying:
T)r. Abbot, we have so many things in common. When I was a
small boy, my mother bought me your little book on the navy. It
gave me a zest for the navy, and I have all these years wanted to
meet you and thank you for the book.” Dr. Abbot went on to say
in his letter: “ Roper, that overwhelmed me and I have called my
board together to indorse the Administration.”
It has ever been difficult for a President to keep accurately in­
formed on conditions at home and abroad. Wilson had his Colonel
House on foreign affairs. Roosevelt has had his Eleanor, an unusual
wife. It is the first time in the history of the W hite House that the







324

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

President has made such extraordinary use of his wife in keeping in
touch with public conditions. President Roosevelt has encouraged
Mrs. Roosevelt in her travels, contacts, and studies of domestic con­
ditions and he has ever given prime consideration to the reports and
suggestions she has brought. She is perhaps the most remarkable
woman who ever occupied the White House, a student of social con­
ditions and trends with exceptional capacity in educational leadership.
In my pre-convention canvass of political leaders in the interests
of the nomination of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the winter of 1931
and the spring of 1932 I met opposition in many instances to the
son but found frequent remarkable commendations of his mother,
Sara Delano Roosevelt ( 1 854_194-1)» who was an extraordinary
woman. David F. Houston, President of the Mutual Life Insurance
Company of New Itork, for instance, told me frankly that he was
for Newton D. Baker and could not join the Roosevelt forces. He
added, however: “ I am a great admirer of the mother, Mrs. James
Roosevelt, who is indeed a great woman.” Colonel E. M. House,
both in that period and later until his death, frequently emphasized
in repeated conferences with me the sound judgment of the Presi­
dent’s mother and said that he frequently sent political messages
through her to the son.
I shall always treasure my personal talks with her. She was loyal
to her husband, to whom she frequently referred as an unusual man.
She told me of how she had followed his advice, especially in finan­
cial matters and in taking care of her property. Her attitude re­
minded me of the accounts of George Washington’s mother, of
whom it is said that she “acquitted herself with great fidelity to her
trust and with entire success.” When Mrs. Washington’s only daugh­
ter, Mrs. Fielding Lewis, and her husband urged Mother Wash­
ington to live with them, the latter replied: “ I thank you for your
dutiful and affectionate offer but my wants are few in this life and
I feel perfectly competent to take care of myself.” Later, when the
son-in-law, Colonel Flelding Lewis, tendered his services to relieve
her of the care of her affairs, Mrs. Washington is recorded as having
replied: “ Do you, Fielding, keep my books in order as your eyesight
is better than mine, but leave the management of the farm to me.”
Each of these great women had the same attitude toward life;
each gave to the world a great President.

European Interlude
P ^ T 'S H E W A R O F T H E Administration against the destructive
I forces which threatened the national economy was not con-W- fined to the reform measures previously discussed. Grad­
ually it was realized that a considerable portion of the existing
unemployment was directly attributable to conditions in foreign coun­
tries. There was an appalling decline in our foreign trade balances.
Consequently, the work of the Bureau of Domestic and Foreign Com­
merce came to be of increasing importance. The Department had
approximately two hundred men in the foreign field, each selected
and retained because of his knowledge of American business and
industry, his qualifications for gathering and analyzing information
and data, and his ability to aid American businessmen in locating
trade opportunities and selling our products to the world.
On the other hand, the problem of selling had changed mate­
rially with the rise of the totalitarian states in Europe. Formerly,
our commercial representatives dealt directly with foreign business­
men. Now it had become necessary to deal almost entirely with
governments and with central purchasing agencies. Moreover, as
the totalitarian states extended their spheres of influence they ab­
sorbed former United States markets.
M any experts on foreign commerce were of opinion that the
beginning of the decline of American trade coincided with the
Hoover debt moratorium of July 12, 1931. This relaxed attitude
upon our part was tantamount to telling the European nations we
did not expect to collect the war debts, and therefore gave birth to
an attitude of independence in Germany and elsewhere. The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act had eliminated about 30 per cent of the Ger­
man exports to the United States. Under the Briining regime a
rigid system of foreign exchange control was initiated, Germany care-







326

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

fully manipulating her foreign credits in order to have enough for­
eign exchange to purchase those national necessities which could not
be obtained by barter. Thus bilateral trade agreements now came
into existence in an effort by Germany and other countries to circum­
vent the emergencies due to their insufficient gold and silver reserves
and to stabilize their currencies. The first step was a quarantining
of currency, making it illegal to send any money out of Germany
except by definite permission under specific circumstances. This paved
the way for barter.
For example, Germany sent commercial representatives to Brazil
informing the Brazilians that Germany needed a specified number
of pounds of coffee. In turn, it was found that Brazil wanted steel
or other products. Paying a good credit price for the coffee, Ger­
many agreed to deliver the steel at a later date. Usually, however,
it was stipulated in the agreement that, should unforeseen circum­
stances prevent the delivery of the steel, Germany would pay with
optical goods, toys, cutlery, or other manufactured products. Ger­
many got the coffee. Brazil may or may not have got the steel.
Already it had become a part of the Nazi creed that Germany
needed three things to carry out her program; namely, men, ma­
terials, and food. These three things, according to private utterances
of German economists, would enable the Reich to conquer the world.
At the outset Germany set up a certain sphere of influence, which
may be aptly illustrated by a circle with its center in Berlin. The
Yugoslavs, the Czechoslovakians, the Hungarians, the Bulgarians,
the Rumanians, and others were considered to be prospectively within
this circle; beyond the main circumference, lines extended to Brazil,
the Argentine, etc. German agents suggested to the near-by govern­
ments that certain crops be planted and proposed by barter agree­
ments to take large quantities of such agricultural products. For
these products Germany agreed to pay with manufactured articles.
Good prices, cunning strategy, and sometimes economic blackmail
were used by the Germans to drive hard bargains, though even then
they did not always fulfill the spirit of these agreements. In fact,
the agreements were usually worded with extreme adroitness and
thus when the time came to pay, substitutions were frequently made.
The Standard Oil Company once had to take its pay in a ridiculously

H H H H

E U R O P E A N IN T E R L U D E

327

large quantity of mouth organs, while a Balkan nation took enough
binoculars to outfit a large army.
The effect of these bilateral agreements was in many instances
to upset the equilibrium of our foreign trade. Holland, for example,
had been one of our best customers until shortage of delivery from
Germany of certain products caused substitutions which diminished
the quantity of American export of staples to H olland; the Dutch
had to take these same staples from Germany as substitutes for the
products they had originally expected. The entire trade balance
was affected by these bilateral agreements, and the increasing pres­
sure of Germany upon her neighbors was doubly effective because the
German military preparedness program, although conducted some­
what in secret, became known. Our own reciprocal trade treaty pro­
gram was an effort to counteract these machinations and trade agree­
ments of other countries. Congress granted to the President author­
ity to reduce or increase tariffs as much as 50 per cent. The Depart­
ment of Commerce co-operated with the State Department in assem­
bling and analyzing the statistical data in the negotiations for treaties
under this grant; patient hearings were held, attended by industrial­
ists interested in the items of trade covered by the negotiations. The
final decisions rested of course with Secretary H ull and the President.
The policy adopted in approaching these agreements was to try
to achieve an understanding of the problems of the various nations
concerned. A nation was asked in summary, “ What items, in what
quantities, do you have which you feel must be exported?” W ith this
question answered, an effort was made to help the foreign nation
solve its problem while at the same time making progress toward the
restoration of American commerce. From the beginning of these
great shifts in international trade currents, the Department of Com­
merce naturally had great responsibility. W e all faced problems un­
known to the United States Government, situations not previously
anticipated. The factor of politics or Congressional tariff trading
was practically eliminated.
11
In the spring of 1936 I yielded to the suggestion of the Honor­
able W . A. Julian, Treasurer of the United States, my friend of
roany years, to use my vacation for a trip to Europe. For some time







328

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

I had desired to make such a trip for the study of trade. I had no
preconceived notions as to the steps that ought to be taken to improve
our international economic relations. The situation was too compli­
cated for easy solution.
Mrs. Roper and her very dear friend, Mrs. W. A. Julian, re­
ceived invitations from Ambassador Bingham to come to London
and be presented that summer to King Edward VIII. I was strongly
in favor of her acceptance, but no great pressure was necessary. The
public little appreciates that the wives of government officials have
semiofficial duties which frequently entail a strain comparable to that
on their husbands. Mrs. Roper had been of invaluable assistance to
me upon the Alaskan trip, and since returning home her Washington
activities had been increasingly strenuous. I, therefore, concurred
heartily in her acceptance of the invitation to be presented at the
King’s garden party, grateful that she and her devoted and gracious
friend had been afforded the opportunity of receiving this high honor
from His Majesty.
Treasurer Julian, a delightful traveling companion, made all
transportation arrangements, and they could not have been more
satisfactory. It was decided that Mrs. Roper and the Julians would
cross on the Queen Mary , sailing on July 8, while I would arrive on
the Manhattan a week later. It seemed to be more fitting that the
Secretary of Commerce sail on an American ship, even though not
traveling at government expense.
I regretted that we could not travel on the same vessel, but my
misfortune was partially alleviated by a pleasant surprise. I found
myself on the boat with the United States Olympic team en route
to the games at Berlin. The press had given more than ordinary
publicity to the coming games because of agitation in the United
States over Hitler’s policies and the charge of racial persecution and
discrimination in Germany. Our principal track star was Jesse
Owens, a Negro and a true champion. Because of the great to-do in
Germany about the Aryan race, many outspoken critics of the Ger­
man regime had opposed our competition in 1936. During the cross­
ing I sat at the Captain’s table with Avery Brundage, who headed
the United States Olympic committee, and my interest in the games
was considerably whetted by our discussions. I learned more of the
history of the ancient Greek athletic festival and, naturally, became

E U R O PE A N IN T E R L U D E

329

personally interested both in members of our team and the compe­
tition which lay ahead. Forty-three states were represented on a
passenger list of slightly more than a thousand. This companionship
made the crossing interesting, and the time passed quickly.
In spite of my precaution in taking the M anhattan , I had scarcely
joined our party at the M ayfair Hotel when the London papers pub­
lished reports of my arrival on an English vessel. I found that Mrs.
Roper and Mrs. Julian had been presented at the King’s garden
party on July 21 according to schedule. In the meantime, Mr. Julian
and I set about making calls upon our Ambassador and other govern­
ment officials, members of our foreign staff, and Britishers. I did
not attend the King’s garden party, which was the occasion of Mrs.
Roper’s presentation; and therefore it seems in order to insert here
an excerpt from her diary for that day:

Left Mayfair Hotel in company with my friend, Mrs. W. Alexander
Julian, a t 2:15 p . m . for Buckingham Palace, where the King’s garden
party was to be held. Here we joined our hostess, the wife of our Ambas­
sador, Honorable Robert W. Bingham.
The gates of the palace were opened at 2:30 P . M . We found a large
crowd on the lawn, all seated in chairs. At 3:30 sharp King Edward and
the Royal party, including three Dukes and three Duchesses, appeared and
were seated under the royal canopy on the lawn. The Duchess of York
wore black and white, another Duchess wore the sam color and a third
e
wore purple.
Two Royal bands were playing a march. The Brazilian Ambassador’s
wife now took the lead, because her husband was Dean of the foreign
diplomatic representatives in London, and presented her ladies. The wife
of our Ambassador came next and made her curtsey to the King and
passed on. Then I was announced and passed in review with my curtsey.
Next came Mrs. Julian and so on through the line of other American
women presented.
The King remained standing until all the diplomats were reviewed.
After being presented, the guests were seated in chairs on the lawn nearby.
There was a long line of several hundred debutantes presented, mostly
English.
The King was very human, frequently moving his hands in something
of a nervous attitude and quite frequently arranging his necktie. He looked
constantly toward the threatening clouds above, which brought rain toward




F IF T Y YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

the end of the cerem
onies and interfered with the presentation of a goodly
num of disappointed debutantes.
bep
It was m interesting to watch the presentation from our near-by
ost
seats and to study the hum actions and reactions.
an
Our hostess, M Bingham wore a very handsom m
rs.
,
e auve and silver
brocade gown. My own gown was black net em
broidered in white over
white taffeta. I wore a large black picture hat, black shoes, w gloves
hite
and carried a sm black and white bag given m by m son, Com ander
all
e
y
m
John W. Roper.
M Julian wore a very handsom black lace gown with a large gar­
rs.
e
den party hat trim ed with white flowers, and around her neck she had
m
a boa of ostrich feathers.
ill

Since we were traveling unofficially, neither Mr. Julian nor I
expected any special attention during our English visit, but three
days after the King’s garden party we were the recipients of an un­
expected courtesy. We were entertained at luncheon by the Pil­
grims of London, a society established for the perpetuation of AngloAmerican friendship. The Pilgrims of London and the Pilgrims of
the United States are complementary sections of The Pilgrims, mem­
bership in the one group automatically conferring membership in the
other. The society was founded in 1903 because of the great Amer­
ican interest in the coronation of Edward VII. The famous Lord
Roberts was its first President; Bishop Henry Codman Potter was
the first head of the United States chapter of the society, formed a
year later. The activities of the society are confined to the entertain­
ment of official visitors to England from the United States and vice
versa. The society also commemorates the historic significance of
those stalwarts who landed at Plymouth Rock and founded the Col­
ony in 1620.
Sir Auckland Geddes, a former Ambassador to the United States,
presided over the luncheon given for Mr. Julian and me, and the
guests included members of the Cabinet and of Parliament. Some of
the ancient Pilgrim customs were carried out in the entertainment
and were most impressive. I had not had sufficient notice to devote
much attention to a prepared address, although I was deeply sensible
of the distinction bestowed upon us. As we assembled, I could not
help reflecting upon the debt our country owed to England. London,

'V




EUROPEAN INTERLUDE

33 l

itself, was the center of English culture, the rich fountain of most of
our ancestral history, our literature, and our jurisprudence. Great
Britain and its history had always excited my interest, and one of the
first books I ever bought was a life of Mary Queen of Scots. More­
over, I had a warm admiration for the British faith in British destiny.
Despite superficial misunderstandings and inconsequential differ­
ences between the two countries, some of which have been used mis­
chievously to agitate public feeling, I was conscious of the very great
debt every American owed to England. Especially were we indebted
to those intrepid souls who had borne the torch of religious fervor
to our shores in 1620, to Milton and Shakespeare and Tennyson and
a host of other notable figures in literature; to Blackstone; to the
Pitts, Disraeli, and Gladstone; to Watt and Newton; for the philan­
thropy of Smithson; to Gainsborough and his contemporaries; and to
Lord Bryce, who knew us so well. I admired the British for their
genius in government and finance and for their Empire builders; I
recalled the names of Wellington and Sir Francis Drake, of the more
modern Cecil Rhodes, who had endowed posterity in the hope of
promoting international education. These thoughts stirred within me
as I sat with our English friends.
Mr. Julian made a practical and impressive address, while I tried
to emphasize the fact that the time for independent thought and
independent action on the part of the United States and Britain had
passed. If we were to preserve the objectives of the Pilgrims, I told
the audience, we must unite in thought and action. If civilization
should fail, the reason would be the failure of the leaders of our
two nations to observe the spirit and purpose of the Pilgrims. I
recall that a prominent guest expressed privately on this occasion
his opinion that England would be better off in the long run if
associated with Germany rather than with France, as was then the
case.
On July 25 Ambassador Bingham entertained us at a dinner and
we had further opportunity to exchange views with informed Eng­
lish people. I was constantly reminded that, although we spoke a
common tongue, we were not really acquainted with one another.
Sir John Taylor, for instance, thought the re-election of President
Roosevelt in 1936 impossible because the polls showed a majority of
the American newspapers against him. H e could not conceive of the







F IF T Y YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
American press being independent of public opinion, or of the Amer­
ican people going against the press. Moreover, the superabundance
of crime news dispatched from the United States, grotesque and fan­
tastic stories, had discolored the picture and established in the minds
of English readers a distorted impression of American life.
IV

We had no plans for a visit to Germany, and having said goodbye
to Avery Brundage and the American Olympic team upon leaving
the boat, I had no idea of meeting them again in Europe. Conse­
quently, it was a complete surprise to Julian and me to receive a
radiogram from Thomas J. Watson, President of the International
Business Machine Company, then in Berlin. He urged us to be his
guests upon the opening day of the Olympics. We decided to accept.
In addition to the pleasure of seeing our friends, we felt a patriotic
urge to support our Olympic team. Accordingly, we departed on
July 29 for Berlin, arriving at Bremerhaven on the morning of
July 30, when the Europa slipped into her dock.
The voyage through the North Sea introduced us to the new
German financial system. Immediately upon boarding the boat we
were asked whether or not we wanted to buy “boat marks” j it was
explained that these marks would save us money. They were good
only for purchases on the boat. We accepted this advice, but were
careful to divest ourselves of the boat currency before arriving at
Bremerhaven. Incidentally, we learned that there was a great variety
of marks for use in different fields.
At Bremen we were met by Douglass Miller, American Commer­
cial Attache at Berlin, one of the ablest and best-informed men in
the foreign service. He proved a rich source of information, telling
me much of developments in the new Germany under Hitler and
thus preparing me for all I was later to learn at first hand.
I had made two previous visits to Germany, and the contrast
between them is worthy of comment. In 1907 I had gained the im­
pression of a happy, contented people— a sturdy race, distinguished
for its hospitality, its cleanliness, its love of system and order, and
its industrious pursuit of scientific and cultural improvement. This
first visit had been in connection with my survey of exported cotton
and had taken place during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm. Despite

T

E U R O P E A N IN T E R L U D E

333

the savagery of the W orld W ar which was to follow, the Germany
of prewar days had been a gentle, mellow land with people main­
taining a simple, wholesome attitude toward the affairs of life. They
had a reverence for religion, for the ancient churches of the Fatherland, for her universities, celebrated for their freedom of thought,
and I had noted the passionate fondness of the Germans for the
music of Bach and Beethoven, Mozart and Liszt and other great
masters. In literature one thought of Goethe and Schiller, or per­
haps of Nietzsche or Schopenhauer or Kant, however much one dis­
agreed with the pessimistic philosophers. Munich, Heidelberg,
Freiburg, and Leipzig were names synonymous with culture and
education.
The tragedy of the W orld W ar had been costly to Germany.
The resulting economic debilitation had been greatly in evidence
when I next visited Germany in 1928. Currency inflation had pro­
duced a universal leveling-off process. In former years, in fact from
the time of Frederick the Great, there had been but two classes in
Germany, the higher and the lower. Families of the higher class
wanted their sons to enter the army, or at second best, the diplomatic
service of the crown. In consequence, Germans of the upper class did
not become lawyers, doctors, and dentists, nor did any of them
enter trade. The Jew was the German merchant, doctor, lawyer,
and dentist. Jewish thrift and foresight brought to that people vast
ownership of property and strong entrenchment in the professions
and in the faculties of the universities. The Jew made progress
m science and the arts, achieving a place and prominence never before
attained in the history of his race. This success and progress grad­
ually excited the envy of German racials. When the loss of the
W orld W ar diverted young men of the upper classes from military
service, there were no jobs for them. They could not compete in
the various professions. In these circumstances anti-Semitism flour­
ished. Hitler made much of it in his rise to power.
I discussed this situation along with other great changes taking
place as I rode to Berlin with Douglass M iller. H e was none too
hopeful over our prospects for increased German trade, since we had
large surpluses in the United States, and our benighted industrial
areas already felt the impact of the totalitarian push and barter in
the world’s markets. H e had a clear understanding of the totali-







3 34

F IF T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

tarian state and fully appreciated its menace to democracy. He saw
also the danger of anti-Semitism, but appreciated the German view­
point, especially the resentment at the infiltration of Jews from
Poland and elsewhere to purchase property at distress prices after
the war. One prominent American observer remarked to me: “The
Jews own Germany.” I knew that there was nothing I could do to
alleviate the plight of the Jew, and, therefore, I made no comment.
The rumble of impending storm sounded faintly in 1928. An air of
gloom and despair, quite in contrast to that of 1907, was evident.
On my visit in 1928 it had seemed as though everywhere in that
once pleasant land the spirits of men and women were being op­
pressed. Germany was paying dearly for the war, for the devasta­
tion of France and Belgium. The espousal of the “ New Messiah,”
Hitler, was wholly understandable.
In Berlin, in the absence of the United States Ambassador Dodd,
we were met at the station by Ferdinand L. Mayer, Charge d’Affaires
of the Embassy, and practically the entire staff of Douglass Miller’s
office. This welcome was cheering and much appreciated by the whole
party. It would have been so in the United States, but such courte­
sies are doubly appreciated in a foreign country, particularly in Ger­
many. We had heard much of Nazism. Now we were to witness at
first hand the zealous worship of Der Fuehrer.
v
Ambassador Dodd was later to be a storm center in the web of
international intrigue because of his stern adherence to cherished
democratic principles. The family entertained Mrs. Roper and me at
the Embassy and on the evening of July 31 invited others to dine
with us. I had first met Dr. Dodd during the 1916 political campaign.
He was intensely interested in President Wilson and his policies.
I recalled how genuinely I had been attracted to Dodd because of
his extensive knowledge of American and world history, his wonder­
ful memory for facts and men, and his courageous, progressive vision
of democratic ideals. He was then professor of American history at
the University of Chicago, and at the same time fulfilled an exten­
sive lecture program which took him throughout the country. He
was not an orator in the flamboyant sense; his matter-of-fact delivery
and earnestness and his amazing knowledge of facts never failed to

EUROPEAN INTERLUDE

335
charm his audiences. I had never met a man who held in his mind
so many historical details. H e was a most understanding devotee of
Jefferson and could quote his principles with convincing sincerity and
accuracy. H e had written a biography of Jefferson, lectured about
him, and composed many magazine articles which extolled the great
Democrat.
When discussing Dodd as a possible Ambassador to Germany, I
had stressed the Jeffersonian angle, stating that I believed Dodd
would be astute in handling diplomatic duties and, when conferences
grew tense, he would turn the tide by quoting Jefferson. During the
intervening years he had spent many nights in my Washington home.
W ith the passing of time, our friendship had ripened and I knew
something of the man himself. After the failure of the League of
Nations, he had become increasingly disturbed over the future of
Europe. Almost psychic in his premonitions, he foresaw dire national
consequences and sensed disaster ahead of us in the field of eco­
nomics and sociology. Often I had heard him express apprehension
at the greed of the very rich, and had heard him castigate the un­
bridled trust and monopoly trend of our times. H e was equally
concerned about the agricultural outlook for our country, deploring
the exodus from rural life to congested industrial centers. “ The hope
of democracy,” he had told me, “ depends upon a back-to-the-land
movement.”
I frequently heard from him. Although he had been restrained
in his expressions, I knew him to be disturbed over the changes tak­
ing place in Germany. I knew that he resented the use of the Em ­
bassy by international bankers from the United States who sought
to make of it a debt-collecting agency, and I knew that he was un­
sympathetic to the wholesale program of anti-Semitism already stir­
ring the German people to violence.
Among the guests at dinner July 31 were Colonel and Mrs.
Charles A. Lindbergh. I had not seen Lindbergh since his visit
to the Department of Commerce three years before to discuss our
program for the expansion of commercial aviation. After dinner in
the drawing room, Colonel Lindbergh and I withdrew to a remote
corner. I asked him what he had seen of German aviation. H e in­
formed me that the expansion of German aviation was tremendous.
H e had visited a factory that day where planes were being manu-







336

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

factured. He said that it was as large as any three American aviation
plants combined. I gained the impression that he was convinced of
Germany’s air superiority over any other nation. The interest of
young Germans in the program was manifested by the knowledge
that, on a day when the Nazi government had announced it would
receive a limited number of applications from young men wishing
to become pilots, more than fifty thousand youths jammed the streets
in front of the building where the applications were to be made.
Colonel Lindbergh was the personal guest of Major Truman
Smith, our military attache. Major Smith was in the good graces
of Marshal Goering and the Luftwaffe, and he, likewise, was much
concerned over Germany’s military preparations. Whether or not
Lindbergh was in Berlin in an official capacity, whether he had gone
on his own initiative, as a confidential representative of the United
States, or at the official invitation of the Nazi regime was not made
clear to me. Although the house guest of Major Smith, he, so I was
told, was the official guest of Marshal Goering.
I cannot recall the exact written and spoken words repeated by
Ambassador Dodd. I do remember his deep concern, his premoni­
tion, that the Nazi regime had world domination as its objective.
And on every hand in Germany there were signs of tremendous
preparations, new buildings, military barracks, soldiers, and mech­
anized forces being moved on a large scale.
August i was the date of the opening of the Olympic games. In
the forenoon, Mr. Julian and I called and paid our respects to Dr.
Hjalmar Schacht, Financial Minister, whom I had met in Washing­
ton two years before. It was purely a courtesy call, and he received
us most cordially. Afterward we were entertained at luncheon by the
Consul General and Mrs. Jenkins, and I again had a talk with
Colonel Lindbergh. He informed me that he expected to return to
the United States as soon as the health of his wife would permit.
I gathered that he would have plenty to say about the German
superiority in aviation. But already Ambassador Dodd, Major Tru­
man Smith, and others of our Embassy staff had made formal reports
of Germany’s huge preparedness effort. Upon the occasion of a storm
necessitating a change of course by the commercial plane in which
he was a passenger, Major Smith had seen secret factories in isolated

EUROPEAN INTERLUDE

3 3y

wild districts. Secret factories were said to be under construction in
the Black Forest and elsewhere. Germany had no international quar­
rel of consequence. Therefore, the real purpose of the program was
largely underestimated by observers in Germany and by responsible
officials of the State Department back home. It was a pacifist era
both in the United States and England. France feared war, but
France had firm faith in her Maginot Line. Our Congress, con­
stantly being called upon to relieve domestic ills, was not of a temper
to support preparedness measures on a large scale.
VI

Berlin was festively adorned with bright streamers and Nazi
flags. The packed streets re-echoed with lusty cheers and the laugh­
ter of a happy, excited people; a joyous holiday spirit was every­
where in evidence. W e drove ten miles to the stadium, passing
through vast throngs, thousands of whom were soldiers, all wearing
shiny, new boots. M r. Julian, a Cincinnati shoe manufacturer, said
that a fair estimate of the cost of the boots worn by the soldiers along
that drive would be at least six dollars a pair. Aside from the esti­
mated fifteen thousand soldiers we saw, there were many younger
boys wearing the uniform of the Storm Troopers, the olive drab
jacket and brown shirt.
The stadium was almost filled when we reached Tom Watson’s
section. W e learned later that the attendance was 110,000. Our
chief interest, however, was the arrival of Hitler. This produced
one of the most concerted demonstrations of loyalty I had ever seen.
The cheering was deafening. H e acknowledged it with salutes and
jerky bows while the band played martial music, and his entourage
escorted him from his car to a place in the reviewing stand. Our
seats were near this stand, and we could see him at rather close
range. There was nothing prepossessing or especially stately in his
appearance, and one wondered with what magic he retained so firm
a hold over his subjects.
Soon the Olympic delegations of forty-three nations paraded into
the great stadium. Each delegation passed the H itler reviewing
stand, and most of them gave the Hitler salute. Among those who
did not do so were the two hundred Americans, wearing straw hats







338

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

and looking spick and span. They gave our civilian military salute
by placing their hats over their hearts, which was the cause of an
outcry from a German woman who sat near us. “ Why,” she de­
manded, “ don’t those Americans dip the flag for Hitler?” In a
second Mrs. Roper answered her. “ Our flag,” she told the woman,
“ is dipped for no one but the President of the United States.”
The Olympic ceremonies began with a repetition of many of the
ancient Greek rites. Delegations followed their flags; then Olympic
hymns were sung. The lighting of the Olympic torch was the fea­
ture of the day. We were present when the last relay runner arrived
with the flame from Greece. This fire had been brought all the way
by a relay team of three thousand men covering two thousand miles.
The torch had passed through Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hun­
gary, Austria, and Czechoslovakia before reaching Germany. In each
capital an Olympic celebration had been held. The journey of the
torch had taken eleven days, the average distance traveled amounting
to one hundred and eighty-one miles a day, or nearly eight miles an
hour.
Viewing the vigorous teams of the forty-three nations about to
compete in the time-honored contests, each team the finest of its
race and each race cast from a different mould, it impressed me as a
splendid occasion to see nations which had warred upon each other
for hundreds and thousands of years now meet to vie for the laurels
of peace. Many of the peoples represented by the teams had had
strange histories. The Greeks, originators of the games as propi­
tiation of their Gods on Mount Olympus, had been in a high state
of civilization more than two thousand years ago. The Roman civili­
zation likewise predated the Christian era. The ancestors of some
team members, notably our champion runner and broad jumper,
Jesse Owens, had not long since lived in the darkness of tribal, jungle
life. The Germans themselves, in comparison with older civilizations,
suffered under the spotlight of history. Long after the time of
Attila, the Hun, the Germans were a heterogeneous collection of
warring barbarians. They swept up and down Central Europe, into
France, again eastward and down the Balkan peninsula to the resist­
ant walls of Constantinople. Allied with the plundering Vandals,
they were a constant threat to the Roman Empire.

EUROPEAN INTERLUDE

339

Attila, the Hun, had devastated Italy in 453. Described as
“ haughty, darting a glance this way and that as if he felt himself
Lord of it all,” Attila ravished seventy cities en route to Constanti­
nople. H e made subject allies of his victims and unified all the bar­
barians in Central Europe from the Caspian to the Rhine. His was
a rule of terror, brutality, and darkness from which there was no
cessation of violence until the consolidation of the barbaric German
tribes under Charlemagne. Even the name German sprang from
barbarism. The eagerness with which the Germans shouted, “ H e il!”
and gave the Hitler salute aroused my curiosity as to the origin of
the name. I found that it was applied first by the Gauls to the in­
vaders from across the Rhine. “ Germani” came from a Celtic root,
meaning “ to shout.” The original barbarian Germans were shouters.
They had overrun Gaul, Italy, Spain, and parts of Africa, but the
hate of the conquered gradually broke their yoke.
It seemed inconceivable that a polyglot group of barbaric tribes
could have achieved great national unity and, within a few brief
centuries, have come to the front ranks in music, education, science,
and the arts. Such had been their achievements in peace. But we
had seen them revert to type in the W orld War. As I sat in that
stadium, I hoped that our hosts would never again revert to the bar­
barism from which they had sprung, the brutality and vandalism
which had produced the dark ages and had threatened to exterminate
civilization.
Our own Olympic team was a cross section of many races. From
Jesse Owens to a weight lifter with the Italian name of Terlazzo it
was a team from the melting pot. W e had black and white, immi­
grants and native-born, all competing for America.
The opening day was devoted largely to ceremonial, and, since
I could not remain for attendance at the games, I had to follow the
progress of the American team through the press. The non-Aryan,
Jesse Owens, broke two world records and won four events. Glenn
Morris broke the individual world record in the Decathlon, scoring
seven thousand nine hundred points. The University of Washington
crew won its boat race, and all in all the United States team gave
a splendid account of itself, winning those events which are regarded
in this country as being of greatest importance.







340

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
VII

The remainder of my stay in Europe was a grand rush to do and
see as much as possible rather than a vacation. The progress made
by Germany in model housing was a revelation to me. The Hitler
official in charge of this project escorted us on a tour of inspection.
I would have been doubly interested had I known that millions of
American dollars had been borrowed only a few years before for
German housing projects, and the debt afterward repudiated. How­
ever, at the time, my interest centered in the compact ingenuity re­
flected in the houses. Each had a compulsory vegetable garden. No
resident could purchase a house until he had lived in it three years
and had made a showing of good citizenship, proper care of his
house and garden, and adjustment within the community.
We went sight-seeing in Berlin and also journeyed into the out­
lying and rural sections. The din and bustle of the new Germany,
its military aspect, the totalitarian regimentation, were much in evi­
dence. Douglass Miller was doing everything possible to improve
our trade with Germany and to cope with the changing conditions.
After long conferences, I concluded that there was nothing further
we could accomplish in Germany. We returned to London August 4
preparatory to departing for home. On August 13 we sailed for
New York on the S.S. Washington.
No untoward incident marked the homeward crossing. We
reached New York harbor at ten in the morning, August 19. It had
been a pleasant journey. We had been showered with courtesies and
had enjoyed the best of health. It had been a good vacation. Never­
theless, I was never gladder to see the Statue of Liberty. In the
unsettled condition of world affairs, with most of Europe sitting
on a powder keg and more than half of it in the throes of bloodless
revolution, the United States never looked better to me. We had
unemployment. We had unrest. We had farm problems and agri­
cultural surpluses. We had poverty and distress. Yet we had one
thing which many Europeans perhaps would never have. We had
liberty.

C H A P T E R XXIX

I L eave the Official Family
R E S ID E N T R O O S E V E L T ’S program for national recovery
embodied ideals cherished by every member of his official
family, yet each Cabinet officer had specific problems and defi­
nite objectives in his own Department. M y responsibility for the
Department of Commerce was naturally dependent upon the Presi­
dent’s leadership. I endeavored to maintain an open mind, for it was
highly necessary that every Department and other agency of the
Government have its functions integrated with the whole Federal
program. The immensely increased stress and strain of the times
demanded this co-ordination.

P

Originally I had planned to retire before or upon reaching the
age of seventy. The abnormality of conditions and the constant hope
of adjusting some of the forces retarding recovery, however, held
me longer. At the outset it was my opinion that two of the most
logical ideals for my Department would be the establishment of
harmonious relations between business and government and the re­
capture of lost markets in foreign nations.
T o explain more clearly, the Roosevelt Administration faced a
deplorable loss in foreign trade balance. Some captains of industry
were perhaps extreme in their views and criticisms, selfish to an
undue extent in expecting the Government to embark upon a program
which would restore their fabulous profits of the twenties. Some,
perhaps, would have sanctioned a repetition of the huge foreign loans,
which for all practical purposes had been repudiated, and it was ex­
pected that these selfish clamorers would raise their voices. By and
large this was not the case, although it must be admitted that many
businessmen, large and small, found it very difficult to face changing
times and their responsibility in the national program for the relief
of unemployment. Yet I believe that the average businessman re-




F IF T Y YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

■

H,,



alized that the days of laissez faire were gone. I believe that he
had come far toward an acceptance of his responsibility to labor as
well as of the necessity for government guidance of both management
and labor attempted in the N.R.A. But this average businessman
did not want to be dominated by labor or placed at the mercy of
selfish labor leadership, intent upon “cracking down” or getting re­
venge for the old era; nor did he wish to be a victim of jealous union
rivalry and the jurisdictional strike, for he believed that an impor­
tant part of this rivalry was the desire of rival labor leaders for
greater power and self-glorification.
The huge and disastrous lending program, antedating the Roose­
velt Administration, which had mulcted seventeen billion dollars
from American investors, had been of fatal consequence. In Ger­
many, for instance, staggering sums were expended for model dwell­
ings, houses paid for with our dollars, when millions of our own
people lived in squalid slums and hovels. A vast portion of the mil­
lions sent to Germany was expended for rearmament and industriali­
zation and brought about the erection of factories convertible to
military purposes at a later date. Some of the loans enabled German
industrialists, principally those engaged in the manufacture of dyes,
chemicals, rayon, and the fabrication of various minerals, to gain con­
trol of valuable raw material sources. Other loans made possible the
formation of monopolistic international cartels for the purpose of
controlling scientific and patented processes. A few American manu­
facturers, to evade international barriers, went so far as to establish
foreign plants, but perhaps the most regrettable factor of all was the
use of United States loans, either with government approval or at
least without government dissuasion, to build foreign factories in
which to manufacture products which would eventually undersell our
own goods because of cheap European labor.
In repudiation of these loans, the debtor nations argued their
inability to pay because of the excessive and prohibitive features of
our tariff laws as exemplified by the Hawley-Smoot Act. Moreover,
general resentment developed among the European debtor nations.
“ Uncle Sam” was depicted as a Shylock. The richest nation in the
world wanted the last pound of flesh from decrepit, impoverished
Europe. Normal markets which might have been retained, because
not especially affected by foreign tariffs, were lost because of debtor

I L E A V E T H E O F F IC IA L F A M I L Y

343

resentment. Customers took their cash elsewhere. Almost every
nation in Europe was spending millions for rearmament while em­
phasizing and protesting its inability to pay. Our foreign embassies
and legations became debt-collecting agencies instead of serving as
offices of good will or for other legitimate use of the United States
Government. Their salons became the clubrooms of international
bankers.
There is a sharp distinction between the legitimate American
businessman and the international banker. I believe that many of our
intelligent businessmen deplored the foreign loans when they were
made, since the farsighted among them must have anticipated and
feared the consequences which were to develop. It is interesting to
note that Senator Robert L . Owen, for many years Chairman of the
Senate Banking and Currency Committee and a lifelong student of
complex money problems, attributed much of our economic distress
to an estimated sixteen billion dollars of hoarded or stagnant money.
This amount is one billion less than the total depletion of our na­
tional economy, due to the repudiated European debts. If still in
circulation here, it would have been more than the sum believed
necessary to serve our national needs.
An additional factor which may have had an even more destruc­
tive effect upon our foreign trade was the rise of the totalitarian
states with their predilection to barter, instead of the gold standard,
as a means of international exchange. Russia, Italy, and Germany
wooed our neighbors south of the Rio Grande with vast quantities
of manufactured goods produced by conscripted labor. They ex­
tended long-term credits and encouraged emigration of their na­
tionals to these nations of the Western Hemisphere. I recall a con­
ference with Foreign Minister Aranha of Brazil, formerly that coun­
try’s Ambassador to the United States. H e explained the German
foothold there, the obstacles American business had to overcome to
obtain a larger share of his country’s trade. “ Americans,” he said,
“ do not relate themselves to Brazil in a permanent way. They do
not extend credits upon the annual basis as does Germany. They
usually interest themselves in ‘quick turnover’ transactions and send
the profits back to W all Street. The result is a prejudice against
W all Street and the international bankers who extort high commis­
sions for their services.” H e went on to say that he believed our







344

F IF T Y YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

American businessmen should invest in Brazil with a view to con­
tinuous development of the country’s resources. This seemed to me
to present a more difficult problem because of the American unwil­
lingness to emigrate.
In addition to these advantages obtained by the totalitarian states,
our economy was unfortunate in still another respect. Except for
coffee, there were serious duplications of agricultural surpluses in
most of the major nations of the Western Hemisphere. For exam­
ple, the Argentine had surplus wheat, corn, and beef. So had we,
and so had Canada, with other duplications in varying degree among
practically all the Latin nations. With twelve millions unemployed,
we had a surplus of timber, cotton, oil, coal, and minerals, not to
speak of unmentioned agricultural products and industrial items beyond description. Being Secretary of Commerce in the face of these
conditions was not an easy task. An almost equally distressing picture
prevailed throughout the domestic scene.
The N.R.A. had been an effort to harmonize and strike a balance
between management, labor, and consumer. As has been pointed
out, when labor, consumer, and management met at the conference
table, each recognized that the others had problems not previously
appreciated in the same degree. Before N.R.A.’s too rapid procedure
and legal collapse, these differences were, in many cases, being ad­
justed. The eventual collapse left a chaos almost as bad as that exist­
ing originally in the darkest days of the depression. Pressure groups,
notably those from the ranks of organized labor and agriculture,
pointed to gross inequalities. The farmer wanted parity with industry
as in prosperous years, although industry generally was no longer
prosperous. Insistent pressure brought reform efforts along many
fronts, some hastily instituted, many upon the theory that aid to agri­
culture and labor would take business out of the red by a bolstering
of public purchasing power as a result of the so-called process of
pump priming.
The nation witnessed a veritable labor revolution, the end of
which is not yet in sight. The Government’s effort to aid labor by
recognizing its long-disputed right of collective bargaining was fol­
lowed by strikes of far-reaching consequences. The rivalry between
the two major labor organizations, the American Federation of Labor,
headed by William Green, on the one hand, and the Committee for

I LEAVE THE OFFICIAL FAMILY

345

Industrial Organization, headed by John L . Lewis on the other,
served in the opinion of neutral observers to aggravate conditions
already chaotic. This was a belligerent contest between the two or­
ganizations, each wishing to be the first to organize all unorganized
labor groups, to organize them regardless of the cost in strikes to
both labor and management. “ If American business becomes bank­
rupt by strikes,” businessmen asked, “ what will labor have struck
for, save unemployment? Eventual conscription of industry by the
government will be a necessity. If labor succeeds in killing the goose
which lays the golden egg, the end is totalitarianism.”
I had confidence in the President. I knew the intrinsic idealism
which actuated his desire to improve the lot of American labor.
I decried his rabid and violent critics in the ranks of business. Yet
I could not humanly fail to sympathize with the management of
time-honored, respected, and conservative American businesses and
institutions which had never consciously exploited labor. Some of
these were the type of men who willed their entire plants and hold­
ings to employees at their own passing or retirement. Nor was I
willing to classify all business as bad because of the dereliction of
a few self-seeking individuals.
I sometimes felt that as Secretary of Commerce I was in the
middle. There were critics who condemned all big business. I did
not belong to this school, and on occasion I was reminded of a state­
ment attributed to M erle Thorpe, editor of the Nation’s Business.
M r. Thorpe, it was said, made a lecture tour of Chambers of Com­
merce and civic bodies. The unfair odium attributed to big business
was his theme. “ If a cow is accidentally killed by a man of limited
means,” he said in his lecture, “ it may be worth only about fifty
dollars to the owner. On the other hand, if a wealthy man’s limou­
sine strikes the same cow, the owner’s price probably will be nearer
a hundred dollars. Let that same cow be killed by a railway train and
it’s an entirely different matter. Not fifty, nor a hundred. The cow
was worth two hundred and fifty or nothing. Get big and wealthy,”
he concluded, “ and you may be sure a large part of the world will
throw stones at you.” In seeking to make my Department of service
to business, I began to gain a comprehension of business problems, of
the tremendous obstacles which forestalled industrial recovery.
Moreover, I realized the utter fallacy of that hue and cry which had







346

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

swept across the land, laying all national ills at the doors of big
business. Most of our important national concerns were in the red.
A large number of those that were not were passing their dividends.
I did not want to see all business antagonized by labor, govern­
ment, and consumer. It often came back to me that during the
World War, when I was Commissioner of Internal Revenue, misun­
derstandings between government and business had been speedily dis­
sipated at the conference table. Moreover, I had never lost my grati­
tude to American business leaders for their sympathetic assistance to
the Bureau of Internal Revenue, once they fully understood the im­
portance and necessity of the Income Tax Law, which had not come
upon the scene with any halo of popularity. This antagonism if car­
ried to excess, I foresaw, might cause such powerful concerns as the
Ford Motor Company to close their doors. A conscription of indus­
try by government, it seemed to me, would be a sure road to totali­
tarianism, the last thing intelligent labor leaders desired. We had
the Federal Trade Commission, the Interstate Commerce Commis­
sion, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and lesser agencies,
in addition to the courts, as barriers to business malfeasance and
illegal practices. We had no real curb upon the rich and powerful
union labor organizations, some of which extorted excessive dues
from union members while their leaders lived in profligate luxury,
some of which forced men to sit down or walk out and bring priva­
tion to their women and children. The public press detailed acts of
violence by union leaders, and some had been found guilty of high
crimes. Men who failed to join unions were sometimes both beaten
and blacklisted, and an appreciable number were maltreated each year
because of labor disputes. Surely, in many cases, the neophyte had
swapped a mild master for a tyrant. Moreover, it was regrettable to
note the spread of communism and the so-called “boring in” by Com­
munists in the ranks of union labor.

Whether one looked at the ledger of our dwindling foreign
trade, or merely scanned the dom
estic scene, there could be no envy
of the businessm during the “black thirties.” I set great store by
an
my Business Advisory Council, and as time passed I was disappointed
that the President did not m more use of this Council which I
ake
had organized in the Department of Commerce in 1933. I believed
that the time would come when businessm would be needed for
en

I L E A V E T H E O F F IC IA L F A M I L Y

347

economic and social adjustments for the good of the country, and
I thought that it was none too early to bring them into a better under­
standing of government procedures and harmonious relations with
administrative officials for their inevitable future use.
The fifty businessmen who came frequently to Washington at
their own expense for conferences and for studies of ways and means
to co-ordinate business and government were not adequately and
fully utilized by the Administration. I seemed to be able neither
to bring businessmen to indorse the plans of the New Deal nor to
get the Administration to counsel with these businessmen as fre­
quently as I thought necessary. This failure was partially due to
the fact that while I deeply appreciated the ideals and objectives of
the President, I could not always indorse with enthusiasm his plans
for attaining the desired ends. For instance, I believed then, as now,
that in correcting undesirable conditions in one segment of our de­
mocracy, it is necessary to have representatives of all the affected
units brought into conference and kept in such association. I thought,
also, that if employment was to be increased and idle money and
idle men were again to become active, the Administration needed to
keep in intimate, open-minded relationship with business and indus­
try, which in the end would have to co-operate in order to absorb
unemployment.
Under these conditions I concluded that another person than
myself, probably a younger man, should be chosen to approach the
problem of co-ordinating business and government. To that end I
approached one of the President’s assistants at the beginning of the
second term of the Administration in March, 1 937* H e advised me
to hold on until the President’s reorganization bill was approved by
Congress, stating that under the authority of that measure changes
in the Cabinet and elsewhere would likely be made. Accordingly, I
went no further in the matter until it was proposed, before passage
of the government reorganization measure, that the Foreign Service
Division of the Department of Commerce be transferred to the State
Department. I was also informed that other important Commerce
Department units would also be transferred to other Departments.
I was told that there would not be much left of the Department of
Commerce after this reorganization.

While I realized that the responsibility of the departmental re-







348

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

organization was entirely within the hands of the President undei
existing authority or that which would be given him, I did not wish
to see the Department stripped of several important units, and I
protested with regard to the Foreign commerce transfer on the
ground that businessmen preferred the continuation of the service in
the Department of Commerce, believing that the commercial attaches
were rendering business better service than would be possible from
representatives under the Department of State, where the diplomatic
approach prevailed. The sad state of our foreign trade was too re­
grettable, it seemed to me, to withstand an additional blow. Much
as I respected Secretary Hull, I felt that he had his hands full in
motivating an inherited diplomatic personnel. I had long felt, how­
ever, that the State Department should have the benefit of all the
information obtained by men in the Commerce Department’s foreign
service. We had worked out an interdepartmental agreement con­
cerning this, and it seemed to be operating in a satisfactory manner.
Nevertheless, I came to feel that I should make no further pro­
test against the President’s plan for reorganization and that the
proper course to follow was to resign. I had tried to be patient,
mindful of the words of Archibald Rutledge, of South Carolina:
“ All wholesome growth is leisurely. Most of the waste of the world
is occasioned by haste. If we can’t have patience we might as well
quit. Wherever there is life, its greatest privileges are to be enjoyed
and its most beautiful promises come to flower only if the law of
patience is obeyed.” The experience of fifty years has repeatedlyemphasized the soundness of this statement.
I was gratified to have been a member of the Roosevelt official
family during a period that witnessed the launching of so many
adventures, and I sincerely hoped that patience and a willingness to
correct legislative or administrative processes, found by experience to
be at fault, would ultimately, through gradual action, result in the
desired end.
The President had never asked for my resignation. When it was
presented, he was most gracious, stating that he wished me to remain
connected with his Administration, and that I might have anything
he had available. He mentioned specifically an ambassadorship to
Argentina or Chile. I thanked him for his consideration of me but
declined on the ground of age and because I was not familiar with

I LEAVE THE OFFICIAL FAMILY

349

the Spanish language. Accordingly, on December 15, 1938, I asked
the President to accept my resignation as Secretary of Commerce.
The correspondence exchanged between us was as follows:
T H E SECR ETAR Y OF C O M M ER C E
W A S H IN G T O N

December 15, 1938.
My dear Mr. President:
On several occasions since March 4, 1937, I have expressed to you
my desire to return to private life in order to give needed attention to my
personal affairs and which I have not been able to do while in public office.
I hope it may now be agreeable to you to accept my resignation as
Secretary of Commerce effective December 23rd. You will recall, Mr.
President, that I told you I was planning to go South at that time.

It has been a high honor and a privilege to serve under your out­
standing leadership during one of the most trying times in all history.
Your comprehensive vision and your courageous actions in meeting the
emergencies of these times will go down in history as unexcelled in efforts
to advance human welfare.
I assure you that my retirement to private life will not in any way
lessen my keen interest in your objectives and my desire to assist you in
the unfolding and safeguarding of democratic government.
With highest respect, I am
Very sincerely,
D a n i e l C. R o p e r
Secretary of Commerce
Honorable Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D. C.
T H E W H IT E H O U SE
W A S H IN G T O N

December 15, 1938
Dear Dan:
I have your letter asking to be relieved of your duties as Secretary of
Commerce effective December twenty-third.
Knowing the impelling personal reasons which prompt you, I accept
your resignation with very sincere regret.
I am, of course, pleased to have your assurances that your retirement
to private life will in no degree affect your interest in the great objectives
for which we have striven. I knew that without your telling me.







35o
FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
I should like an opportunity to talk with you before you leave on your
southern trip with reference to your first assignm for cooperation as a
ent
private citizen.
We both realize that your retirem m
ent eans no interruption of the
personal association between us which has lasted for a quarter of a century.
I can never forget the m years you and I worked together in the
any
W
ilson Adm
inistration in the cause of liberal governm
ent. The funda­
m
entals which we strove for then have been and always will be a m
utual
bond and in these later years you and I have had opportunity greatly to
advance them It is good to know that we continue our work together.
.
With affectionate regards,
(Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt
The H
onorable
The Secretary of Com erce
m
W
ashington, D. C.

CHAPTER XXX

The Unexpected Happens

T

" ^ H E V E R Y O L D saying that “ Coming events cast their
shadows before them” has not always proved true in my life.
Indeed, the events of major importance have usually come
as a complete surprise, in some instances descending upon me with
startling suddenness. There had been a time when I seemed to be
irrevocably bound to the government service, but after leaving the
President’s official family, I had no idea that I would ever again
hold an official position. Then, on April 26, 1939, came one of the
great surprises of my life. It began with a telephone call from the
State Department. “ The Secretary wishes to see you,” I was told.
Within an hour I was in conversation with Secretary H ull, my friend
of many years. “ I ’ve just had a long-distance conversation with the
President at H yde Park,” he informed me. “ H e would like for you
to accept the position of Minister to Canada for a period of about
three months— the period, in other words, of the visit of the King
and Queen of England.” H e went on to say that Their Britannic
Majesties would arrive in about ten days. W ould I accept, and
would Mrs. Roper and I proceed to the post immediately upon con­
firmation so that we might reach Canada in advance of the royal
couple?
I had previously given my word to the President that my resig­
nation from the Department of Commerce did not close the door to
any assistance I might be able to render in the future. This new
request, coming like a bolt from the blue, I considered to be a great
and unusual honor. Without hesitation, I told the Secretary he
might inform the President that we would accept and proceed to
Ottawa immediately upon confirmation. I hastened to inform Mrs.
Roper, and we commenced preparations for departure, pending fa­
vorable action by the Senate.







352

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

The confirmation of my appointment was made May 8. On the
morning of May 9, at ten o’clock, I was sworn in at the office of the
Secretary of State. By a singular coincidence, the time of my taking
the oath was exactly forty-six years to the day and hour after my
first induction into Federal service as Clerk of the Interstate Com­
merce Committee. Two days later I called upon the President to
receive his instructions and advice. Aside from his expressed desire
to contribute in every possible way to the enjoyment of the royal
visitors, he spoke of the St. Lawrence Waterway and the Alaskan
Highway. These matters, he said, could be taken up after the depar­
ture of the King and Queen. After thanking him for the honor he
had conferred upon me and giving assurances of my desire to
strengthen the already cordial relations between the United States
and Canada, I bade him goodbye. Mrs. Roper and I took the four
o’clock train for Montreal.
We were joined at New York by Colonel Henry M. Bankhead,
United States Commercial Attache at Ottawa and an old friend
whom I had appointed to that position in 1933. We reached Mon­
treal at 7:45 a . m ., May 12, where we found awaiting us, John F.
Simmons, Counselor of the American Legation at Ottawa, and also
Vice-President Fraser of the Canadian National Railroad. Mr. Fraser
invited us to his private car, where we were served a delightful
breakfast. We went the rest of the way to Ottawa as his guests,
reaching the Canadian capital at 12:30 p . m .
The reception committee awaiting us included Prime Minister
W. L. Mackenzie King; representatives of Lord Tweedsmuir, Gov­
ernor General, and of the Canadian Cabinet, together with the staff
of the American Legation. There had been no Minister to the post
in eighteen months, and there were evidences that both Canadians
and the Legation staff were glad to have a new Minister with them,
notwithstanding the fact that the affairs of the Legation had been
well cared for by Mr. Simmons and the staff. After greetings, we
were conducted to the Legation residence, the massive stone house
owned by our government situated in beautiful grounds that extend
to the edge of the cliff above the confluence of the Gatineau, Rideau,
and Ottawa rivers. A location commanding greater scenic beauty for
a Legation house could scarcely have been found.
Mrs. Roper found that a great deal had to be done in the way

THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS

3 5 3

of rearranging things at the Legation residence, and there was of
course the job of unpacking our clothing and personal effects, linen,
silver, decorative articles, and the like. W hile she busied herself with
this task, I called at the Legation Chancery two miles away, where
I met one of the finest groups of men and women to be found in the
whole foreign service. The matter of getting acquainted was quicklyattended to.
I had, of course, no official status at Ottawa until my credentials
had been received by the King, and this could not take place before
his arrival in Ottawa. Accordingly, I had to await his arrival, about
one week, before I could enter officially upon my Legation duties or
make my official calls. During the interim Mrs. Roper and I were
invited unofficially to tea by the Governor General and by the Prime
Minister. Those were pleasant occasions affording opportunities for
informal talk. During this week of waiting, we were also entertained
at dinner by members of our Legation staff and otherwise shown
every courtesy.
In the meantime, I was receiving valuable instructions from the
Legation’s able counselor, John F. Simmons, concerning the proce­
dure I was expected to follow in presenting my credentials to the
King. M y audience for that purpose took place on Friday, M ay 19.
Six members of the Legation staff, Messrs. Simmons, Bankhead, Key,
Wailes, English, and North, all in full evening dress, assembled at
the Legation residence at 11130 that morning. Accompanied by this
group, Mrs. Roper and I drove to Government House, about one
mile distant. Everywhere there were evidences of tumultuous wel­
come for the King and Queen. The streets were gaily decorated with
flags. Bands and troops were assembling, and the sidewalks were
packed with the thousands— every man, woman and child, it seemed
— who had turned out to get a glimpse of their sovereigns.
I quote from the Ottawa Evening Citizen of that day:

To King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Canadian Capital
yesterday extended a royal welcome. It did more than that, it took them
to its heart.
The first reigning British monarch ever to visit the New World, and
his radiant consort, were received with all the pomp and ceremony which
befits their exalted position and with the tribute of loyalty and respect
which beloved sovereigns inspire.







FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
354
But there was som
ething m in the air yesterday m
ore
orning than m
ere
form recognition and studied acclaim A current of warm personal
al
.
relationship, electric in its quality and effect, flowed between Their M
ajes­
ties and their subjects in a sm
ooth, unbroken circuit.
King George’s slow, infectious sm and Queen Elizabeth’s truly sin­
ile
cere and charm m
ing anner won the hearts of the populace from the first,
and from the m ent the royal couple stepped from the train on to the
om
reception platform at Island Park Drive, Ottawa shouted as if of one
voice, its loyalty and love. . . .
The pealing of church bells in all parts of the city, and the resounding
chim of the great carillon in the Peace Tower on Parliam Hill, joined
es
ent
in with the welcom that rolled from hum throats. Thousands watched
e
an
from roof tops, the windows of office buildings, specially erected stands
enroute—indeed from every possible vantage point.
We reached Government House at 12:00 noon, the royal party
arriving about fifteen minutes later. Five minutes later I was being
presented to the King. An aide-de-camp of the King came forward
and escorted me into the Governor General’s study, where the King
and the Prime Minister were waiting. “ Your Majesty,” Mr. Mac­
kenzie King addressed the Sovereign, “ I have the honor of present­
ing the newly appointed American Minister to Canada, the Honor­
able Daniel C. Roper.” The King did not wait for the Prime Min­
ister to deliver his formal address, but immediately stepped forward,
and we shook hands. “ I am very glad,” he said, smiling pleasantly,
“ to welcome you to Canada on this happy occasion of my first visit
to my overseas Dominions.” “ Your Majesty,” I replied, “ I am
greatly honored by and deeply grateful for the high privilege now
granted me. I present the letter of recall of my worthy predecessor,
Mr. Norman Armour. I also present a letter of credence, in which
my President has been so gracious as to name me as his diplomatic
representative to Canada. I tender a written message of my personal
greeting. In addition, sir, I bring from my President a personal
message of greeting to your Majesties and best wishes for the success
of these historic visits to Canada and the United States. A warm and
enthusiastic welcome awaits your Majesties in my country.”
The rest of the conversation was informal. The King remarked
that he was glad the President had sent me as Minister and declared
that he was highly appreciative of the new trade agreement and an-

T H E U N E X PE CTE D H APPENS

35 5

ticipated that much mutual good would result from it. I responded
that Prime Minister Mackenzie King had contributed greatly to the
consummation of the agreement and that our people were deeply
appreciative of the part he had played. After telling me that he
looked forward with great pleasure to visiting the United States, my
first conversation with his Majesty was over. H e then permitted me
to bring in my staff and present them in the order of their rank; he
shook hands with each one of them.
W e retired, and the King joined the Queen in the drawing room
where Mrs. Roper and the other Ministers and their wives were
waiting. W e formed in line, and the King and Queen passed down
the line, shaking hands and extending a word of greeting to each. As
the Queen passed Mrs. Roper and me, we asked about the Princesses.
She replied that they were quite well. W e then referred to our great
fondness for the Scottish people and their interesting history. W here­
upon the Queen asked if we had ever visited the “ North” country.
W e were happy to be able to reply that we had made three visits
to Scotland. These introductions lasted but a few moments, yet in
that brief time it was clearly evident that the royal couple had cap­
tivated the entire assemblage.
11

The King’s opening of Parliament will live in my memory as the
most impressive ceremony I was ever privileged to witness. Dramatic
and significant because of world conditions, and symbolic of the unity
of the British Empire, the entrance of Their Majesties to the Senate
Chamber, or Crown Room, evoked such a degree of concerted emo­
tion, no one could have been present without sharing the deep feel­
ing pervading the hall. The gallery seats above the throne were
filled with officials and members of their families. To the left and
right of the throne, seats were provided for representatives of foreign
governments. Immediately in front of the throne sat the members of
the Supreme Court, white-haired justices clothed in the traditional
ermine togas, and seated back to back on wool sacks in keeping with
the English custom followed since feudal times. Members of the
Canadian Senate occupied their usual places.
A t a given signal, everyone in the room rose. The King and
Queen were coming, the Queen with her ladies-in-waiting, two gaily







356

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

attired pages bearing her magnificent train. The procession passed
within a few feet of the seats occupied by Mrs. Roper and me, giving
us a full and unobstructed view of the regal entrance. The members
of the House of Commons had not yet arrived. This seemed to
cause the King some concern. From time to time, the Queen seemed
to be speaking comforting words to him. Finally, the House mem­
bers filed in and stood at the end of the room. Later, I was told that
this delay was not uncommon with the House members on the occa­
sion of joint sessions. The statement was made, how true I do not
know, that they arrived late for the purpose of impressing their “ im­
portance.” As I looked at the distinguished Senators, the members
of the Court, and the spectators in the gallery, I thought that I had
never seen an assembly composed of more splendid-looking speci­
mens of humanity, or one more finely dressed. It occurred to me
that we, the American people, might justly feel proud to have such
neighbors to the North.
When the King, speaking clearly and unaffectedly, began to ad­
dress Parliament, giving royal assent to the bills which had been
passed and which included the reciprocal trade treaty with our coun­
try, it was evident both in his face and in that of the Queen how
deeply they felt the historic import of the occasion. At the point
where King George referred to the Canadian-American trade treaty,
he paused. A brief smile lighted his face, and, looking in my direc­
tion, he nodded his head in recognition of his satisfaction and cordial
feeling toward the United States. This unexpected deference was a
compliment which fairly overwhelmed me and one which brought
fresh realization of the interdependence of English-speaking peoples.
How prophetic it was in a world which, unknown to any of us then,
was at the threshold of madness.
The King’s address recalled a conversation I had had in London
the year before. At that time a prominent Englishman had told me
that Great Britain was dependent upon the United States economi­
cally, not only for important supplies, but because of conditions which
made English prosperity dependent upon American prosperity. “ In
the event of war,” he had said, “ England would be much dependent
upon the United States for aid.” His words came back to me. I won­
dered what the future might bring, what might happen if war came
again. Surely, the visit of the King and Queen would serve to unite

THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS

357

divergent Canadian factions and harmonize their views toward the
mother country. I was sure that their visit to the United States would
increase the good will of Americans toward Great Britain. These
reflections deeply touched my heart and brought irrepressible tears
to my eyes.
The ceremony lasted about one hour. The only scene I have
ever witnessed which approached it in unanimity and depth of feeling
was the night Woodrow Wilson read his war message to Congress.
I felt that my presence in Canada was one of the rarest privileges of
my life. The King’s recognition of our country by the slow, sincere
smile and bow would never be forgotten. As I thought of the hatreds
of the O ld W orld, I was reminded again of the amity and friendli­
ness between the United States and Canada three thousand miles
without a fortification. W hat was more amazing, there were no for­
tifications in the hearts of the peoples on either side of that long
international border.
hi

There was much work to be done at the Legation, though an
efficient staff had handled ably the volume and variety of daily busi­
ness in the eighteen months when there had been no minister. Even
so, my sojourn in Canada was surpassingly pleasant, and each day
gave the sense of an unusual vacation.
From time to time I had interesting talks with Prime Minister
Mackenzie King. Educated in the United States, he is an unusually
constructive leader and an ardent admirer of President Roosevelt.
“ W e frequently exchange notes,” he told me. “ I like him also be­
cause he calls me Mackenzie.” H e went on to relate how the Presi­
dent had captivated the people of Canada with his address and gra­
cious manner at the dedication of the new international bridge across
the St. Lawrence the year before. I told him that 1 had first learned
of him while I was Clerk of the Ways and Means Committee of the
House of Representatives in 1911- This had come about through
the visit of Prime Minister Laurier. H e had been Secretary of Labor
in the Laurier Cabinet. I had read Sir W ilfred Laurier’s remarkable
biography by Dr. O. D . Skelton, Minister of External Affairs, and
I had read of Mackenzie King’s grandfather, Mackenzie, with great
interest. The grandfather had fought for liberal government. It







358

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

was a gratifying coincidence that Mackenzie King, the grandson, as
head of a liberal Canadian government, should be achieving his an­
cestor’s ideal more than a hundred years later.
The failure of the Taft reciprocity act of 1911, he remarked in
one of these conversations, aptly illustrated the desirability that the
American and Canadian governments be liberal at the same time.
I told him that was true, but that it was my information that the
influence of Americans in Canada had defeated the act in 1911.
One of my Canadian surprises was the evidence of Irish feeling
against the English even in that country. Mrs. Roper and our
daughter, Mrs. D. R. Coker of Hartsville, South Carolina, with our
granddaughters, the Coker children, decided upon a brief visit to
Quebec. A kind Canadian lady met them at the station to say good­
bye. All of us passed through the gate except our Canadian friend.
At the last moment, she, too, tried to pass through the gate to the
train, but was stopped by the gateman. As the train pulled away and
I returned, I noted that our friend was in agitated conversation with
the gateman who had prevented her entrance. His face was crimson.
Seeing me, he said, “ Mr. Minister, this woman has insulted me.”
“ Indeed,” I said. “ What’s the trouble?” “ She called me an English­
man. Who ever heard of a Maloney being an Englishman?” What
with the French, the Irish, the Indians, and numerous strange mix­
tures, I saw that Mackenzie King had no easy path to travel with
interprovincial and racial problems.
It was not a propitious time to press for an agreement on the
St. Lawrence Waterway or the Alaskan Highway. Complicated polit­
ical questions and the possible imminence of war made it advisable
to postpone their consideration. Therefore, no progress was then
possible in the solution of these two problems. Nevertheless, a great
many minor affairs were discussed with the officials in charge, such
as the smuggling of narcotics and of aliens, customs procedure, and
the like. It may be said, with all due credit to Canada, that her high
vigilance and excellent police facilities have practically eliminated the
smuggler.
Canada, like the United States, adheres strictly to a policy of
selective immigration. While special dispensation has been made
because of the Jewish refugee problem, the prevailing sentiment
seems to be that members of a racial group should be admitted in

THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS

35 9

direct proportion to the members of their group already in the coun­
try, the theory being that large immigrant groups are inclined to
segregate themselves, adhering to their European or Asiatic cultures,
retaining their mother tongues, habits and customs, and, therefore,
being either impossible or slow of assimilation.
Canada had unemployment and the dole, but it seemed to be
the sentiment there, as with us, that those aliens, although legally
in the country for long periods of years, who had never taken out
citizenship papers, or those who, in our country, merely took out
first papers with the mental reservation of abandoning the procedure
to citizenship at that point, were not entitled to the protection of
government. In short, the alien who has prospered under govern­
ment protection, and who intends to return to the mother country
after taking all he can get from this continent, is a “ wolf in sheep’s
clothing” who should be deported. If the estimates of five million
such aliens now in the United States are true, surely it is high time
that steps were taken to eliminate them from the family table and
make room for the deserving Americans who need jobs or govern­
ment benefits. Not only is such a condition cancerous in a democracy,
it is fraught with economic danger. Imagine what would happen to
five million Americans or Canadians of similar status in any of the
countries of the O ld W orld.
IV

W e attended the Governor General’s dinner for the King and
Queen on the night of their arrival. It was an elaborate, formal
affair at the King’s residence, the luxurious mansion occupied by the
Governor General as representative of the King. Those in attend­
ance were state officials, the members of the diplomatic corps, and
their wives. On the following day, Saturday, the Queen officiated at
the cornerstone-laying of the new Supreme Court Building, delivering
an address with a graciousness and charm that further endeared her to
the thousands who attended the ceremony.
Sunday brought forth an even greater demonstration, at the same
time revealing the true democracy of the royal couple. It was the
occasion of the unveiling of the soldiers’ monument, one of the most
beautiful commemorative pieces of sculpture in this hemisphere.







360

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

This ceremony was substituted for church services, and at its conclu­
sion the Queen, preceding the King, stepped down into the very
large assembly of veterans and shook hands with a score or more of
them. She had a word for each. This manifestation deeply touched
all who witnessed it. The scene was a delight to view.
That afternoon, accompanied by Prime Minister Mackenzie King
and their retinue, the royal couple proceeded to Vancouver and the
Pacific Coast. Before leaving England they had requested that the
Prime Minister accompany them throughout their journey.
Now that my official status had been approved by the King, I
spent the interim working at the Legation, attending to routine social
duties and conferring with officials of the Government. We did not
see the King and Queen again until we met them at Niagara Falls.
However, while they were in the West, we received at the Legation
a telegram from Prime Minister Mackenzie King stating that, at
the command of the King, he was inviting Mrs. Roper, Counselor
Simmons, and me to dine with the King and Queen at Niagara Falls
on the evening of their departure from Canada into the United
States.
Niagara Falls was the point of royal farewell to Canada before
the King and Queen crossed the international border for their visit
to the United States. As a special courtesy from the Department of
External Affairs, Loring C. Christie, later Canadian Minister to the
United States, took charge of our visit to the Falls, conducting us
there and returning us to Ottawa in a private railway car. We reached
the border city after passing through a remarkable fruit country. It
was a hot, humid day with the thermometer registering as high as
ninety-two degrees. The heat, however, did not prevent Canadians
and Americans from turning out in large numbers; it was evident
that a great welcome awaited their Majesties.
At the station we were met by a special automobile which took
us to the General Brock Hotel and afterwards on a tour to the gorge,
the Falls, and the mammoth power plants of the Niagara River.
Dinner was informal and was served at eight o’clock. About thirty
guests were present. A small company, of which we were a part, sat
at the table of the King and Queen, and the rest at other tables. I
was seated at the right of the Queen, Mrs. Roper at the right of

THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS

361

the King. It was stirring to know that they had so honored us and
our country preparatory to their visit to the United States.1
The King seemed somewhat exhausted by his long journey and
the extreme heat. “ H ow do you people stand it?” he asked Mrs.
Roper. “ W e eat and drink according to the weather ,” she replied.
She went on to say that she pitied him in his hot uniform, explain­
ing that lighter materials were used for all uniforms worn during
the summer months on this side of the Atlantic. She suggested that
he sip some ice water, and this he decided to do. In their conversation
he asked her what differences he might expect to find between
Canada and the United States. H e had never been to the United
States, although he had previously touched Canada some years before
when serving in the Royal Navy. “ The only difference I know,
Mrs. Roper replied, “ is the difference in flags. M y prediction is that
you’ll see on this occasion almost as many British flags after you cross
the border as you have seen over here. "You will get a welcome from
the heart which must be distinguished from a welcome coming from
your own subjects.” H e had read that an electric storm was expected
in Washington, and that the residents of the capital were depending
upon this storm to alleviate the heat during his visit. Has that elec1 Perhaps the m at the dinner was sufficiently a part of the occasion to warrant
enu
its insertion:
.
“The General Brock Hotel extends a hearty and loyal welcome to Their Gra­
cious Majesties King; George VI and Queen Elizabeth, on the occasion of their visit
to Niagara Falls, Canada.”
MENU

Heart of Artichoke and Caviar Monegasque
Consomme Double aux Sables—Germiny
Cream Doria (Cold)
Fillet of Lake Superior Whitefish, Carlton Butter
Tenderloin of Northern Ontario Beef
In Its Garland of Delicacies
Springtime Sherbet
B aby Guinea Hen on Canape
Niagara Peninsula Asparagus Tips
Garden Peas
New Potatoes Hazelnuts
Vanila Mousse Royale
Fresh Raspberries Princiere
Mignardises
Savory Normand
Coffee







362

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

trie storm come yet in Washington?” he asked with a touch of humor.
“ I don’t know, Your Majesty,” she replied, “ but my opinion is that
you will prove to be the electric storm.” He laughed appreciatively.
I asked the Queen what had impressed her most during the long
journey through Canada. “ I wonder if you would understand me if
I were to tell you,” she replied. I told her that I was confident I
would not misunderstand. “ It happened in an unscheduled stop,”
she said. “ A little handful of people, perhaps no more than a dozen,
had come out just to see the train pass through. Among them was a
young, flaxen-haired woman with a baby in her arms. As she saw
us she came nearer to the train. All at once she burst into tears j then
lowering her head, she dried her eyes with the baby’s little dress. It
touched me deeply. I shall never forget it.” This revelation was
ample evidence of Her Majesty’s beauty of character and of her
richly humanitarian sympathies. I told her I was glad that she had
accompanied the King to exemplify the role woman had been called
upon to play in these tragic and disturbed times. When she referred
to the trade treaty and the cordial relationship between Canada and
the United States, I told her that the pact was a great and construc­
tive step for both countries. “ However,” I continued, “ the relation­
ship between the two peoples has reached proportions far beyond
mere treaties. A definite spiritual relationship now exists j we no
longer seek to emphasize each other’s liabilities, but take pride in each
other’s assets and join in co-operative efforts for the safest way of life
for both peoples.” “ That’s what the world needs,” she said. “ Yes,”
I replied, “ but it also needs this demonstration that such amity and
understanding between two great peoples can be attained.” The hour
passed swiftly. The royal train was scheduled to leave at nine. At
the invitation of Their Majesties, we entered the hotel elevator with
them. The time had come to say goodbye. I thanked them heartily
for having so honored us. “ It was a pleasure,” the King said, “we
wanted you.”
The presence of Their Majesties and their democratic way of
meeting and conferring with the people both in Canada and the
United States naturally resulted in interesting experiences. In Al­
berta when they were receiving the Prime Minister of that province,
he advised the Queen that he was of Scottish descent. An Indian
chief standing somewhat removed but watching very' carefully the

T H E U N E X PE CTED H APPENS

363

Queen’s attitude, noticed that the Queen was very much pleased by
what the Prime Minister said; whereupon the Indian Chief re­
marked, “ M e, too. M e, too.” The King was so impressed with the
number of people that the Queen met who claimed to be of Scottish
descent that he remarked, “ It looks as if everybody is turning Scot­
tish.”
I heard from very reliable sources that the King was deeply
impressed with the President and his democratic way of receiving
H is Majesty when he spent a night at H yde Park. T he ladies hav­
ing retired about ten o’clock, the President, the King, and Prime
Minister Mackenzie King sat up until one o’clock discussing a num­
ber of international problems. At one o’clock the President turned
to the King and said, “ Young man, it’s time for you to go to bed.”
The King was not usually treated in such an informal and cordial
manner. H e expressed to others that the personality and cordiality
of the President had made a real contribution to his life.
Mrs. Roper and I, together with Counselor John Farr Simmons
and M r. Loring C. Christie, returned, after the dinner at Niagara
Falls, to our posts at Ottawa and took up the routine of our duties.
Mrs. Roper and 1 were twice dinner guests at the Government House
in M ay, 1939. The first time the Governor General and Lady
Tweedsmuir included us among their guests at the dinner for Their
Majesties on M ay 19. The second was the evening of M ay 28, after
Their Majesties had departed for their journey across Canada. On
this latter occasion, after the ladies had departed from the dining
room, His Excellency, the Governor General, expressed his keen
interest in our maintaining at Washington a liberal government in
1940 and asked me what I regarded as the important problems which
would have to be dealt with in the campaign leading up to the elec­
tion in November, 1940.
I observed that, speaking generally, the questions that would
prompt most political activity were domestic economy and interna­
tional relations. In domestic economy was involved the great ques­
tion of unemployment, which we had not solved, and that, together
with our agricultural problem, was most dynamic. “ Again, 'Y our
Excellency,” I continued, “ as I have studied American politics, I
have noticed that great activity on the part of leadership, even in
meeting grave emergencies, is generally followed by a tendency to-







364

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

ward reaction. This was illustrated in the campaign of 1920, when
the Republicans with Warren G. Harding as candidate sensed this
situation and came into power under the reactionary slogan of ‘Back
to Normalcy.’ Furthermore, I would like to go back to our Civil
War for another factor to be considered.” The Governor General
remarked, “Well, what connection can you find between the Civil
War and the present day?” My reply was: “ Your Excellency, there
is a very close resemblance. In the Civil War era the Republican
party created a great ‘human flag’ in their advocacy for freedom of
the slaves, and this human flag was successfully carried by the party
for more than fifty years. Franklin D. Roosevelt has the human
flag of this era in that he has done so much for human beings during
his administrations. The question arises: ‘Can the Democratic party
be as successful in holding the human flag for the future as the
Republican party was seventy-five years ago?’ There is another cross
current to be considered in this connection, and that is whether
the large number of persons on relief in the United States will be
inclined to assist, through their ballots, the present situation with
regard to relief, or will they be demanding permanent jobs and wish­
ing to return in part at least to industry for such jobs. These ques­
tions cannot at this time be very satisfactorily answered.”
Our remaining time in Canada passed rapidly and most pleas­
antly. According to my understanding with the State Department,
I submitted as of August 1 my resignation to the President, announc­
ing my desire to return to Washington as soon as it was convenient
for him to release me. Below I quote his letter and a friendly and
appreciative communication from Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie
King. These two communications climaxed my enjoyable experience
in the American Foreign Service.
T H E W H IT E HOUSE
W ASHINGTON

August 4, 1939
Dear Dan:I have yours of August first and accept your resignation as United
States M
inister to Canada, to take effect August twentieth.
I do this with m
ixed feelings because you have done so splendidly in
that post, as in your previous posts, that I w you and M Roper could
ish
rs.
stay on in a Capital that is of such great im
portance. At the sam tim
e e,

T H E U N E X PE CTE D H APPENS

365

it will be fine to have you both back here in Washington and it will be
good to see you both again.
You must have had a wonderfully interesting time. If you want to
stay on a few weeks after August twentieth, in order to avoid the hot
weather here in Washington, let me know.
Congress seems to have been hotter than the rest of this city all upset
as a matter of fact. You and I, as old timers, have seen this happen before,
and the curious thing is that the world seems to go on just the same.

Affectionately,
(Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt
Honorable Daniel C. Roper
American Legation
Ottawa,
Canada
O F F I C E O F T H E P R I M E M IN IS T E R
CANADA

Ottawa,
October 13, 1939
The Honourable Daniel C. Roper
Tower Building
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Roper:—
You will recall a characteristically charming letter which you sent to
me at the time of the return of Mrs. Roper and yourself to your Wash­
ington home. I know you will appreciate the circumstances which pre­
vented me from sending an immediate acknowledgment, and which since
have precluded much in the way of correspondence.
It is so kind of you to have written with such appreciation of your all
too brief sojourn in our Capital and the happy memories it has left to
Mrs. Roper and yourself. Looking back to those eventful days of Their
Majesties’ visit and the sunshine of the summer months, I personally can­
not feel too grateful that many of their hours were shared in association
with Mrs. Roper and yourself. As storms gather, one not infrequently
witnesses on a distant horizon a burst of golden sunshine so glorious as to
cause one for the moment to forget all else. Something of the kind comes
into my mind as I think of the hours we shared together in those few,
quiet and lovely months. I am glad that for Mrs. Roper and yourself they
will always afford a similar memory.
I could not exaggerate how many and real were the friendships you
made in the course of your stay. They hold an abiding place in the hearts
of us all.







FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE
At this tim of great anxiety, if not indeed of anguish, nothing could
e
be m com
ore
forting than to know how great is the understanding betw
een
the English-speaking peoples, and how close the bond betw the B
een
ritish
Com onwealth of N
m
ations and the United States. The horrors of the
European situation are, I believe, serving to reveal a kinship of feeling
all m m profound than we m otherw have realized. To th
uch ore
ight
ise
is
is added a com unity of interest greater also than anything we had as­
m
sum When the British and French peoples are threatened by Germ
ed.
any
with the unleashing of a “war in earnest” which will produce the “m
ost
gruesom bloodbath in history” as this m
e
orning’s press records the state­
m of Herr Hitler’s press chief, Dr. Otto Dietrich, there is som
ent
ething
which speaks of a force so alien to all that we share in com on as to warn
m
us of a peril m greater to m
uch
ankind than has ever hitherto been sup­
posed. What Goldwin Sm called “the great schism of the Anglo-Saxon
ith
race” is soon forgotten in the face of im
pending calam so great and
ity
threatening.
The war has, of course, altered com
pletely the political situation as
it was at the tim you were here. I know you shared our view that the
e
governm at that tim enjoyed the confidence of the people, and that
ent,
e,
this would have becom apparent in any appeal to the people. If that
e
was true in the sum er, it is a thousand tim m true today. I doubt
m
es ore
if any adm
inistration at any tim in our history has enjoyed m com
e
ore
­
pletely than we do at the present tim the confidence of the entire country.
e
The feeling, of course, m change at any m ent. It is a satisfaction,
ay
om
however, to know that at a tim of crisis such as the present, we have
e
been able so to conduct the affairs of the nation as to win an alm unan­
ost
im approval of the course we have followed.
ous
I do not know what chance there m be to visit W
ay
ashington in the
near future. I have no doubt, however, that, at alm any m ent, occa­
ost
om
sion m arise which m render a visit both possible and advisable. Should
ay
ay
that m ent com you and M Roper m expect a fam
om
e,
rs.
ay
iliar knock
at your front door. M
eanwhile, allow m warmly to reciprocate to you
e
both the sincere and affectionate regards which you have so kindly ex­
pressed toward m
yself.
With every good w
ish,
Yours sincerely,
(Signed) W. L. M
ackenzie King
366

As Canada and the United States are united in their defense
activities, so they will join in developing research for ways and means

T H E U N EX PECTED H APPENS

367

by which each country can find and pursue the best way of life. I
believe that such research should be combined, especially as it relates
to the health of the citizenry of each country, to their common eco­
nomic security, and to the general social welfare. Economic research
will show the necessity of sound and mutually fair trade relations.
The first step in this was taken by the trade agreement worked out
by President Roosevelt, Secretary of State H ull, and Prime M in­
ister King. The next step in my opinion should be the elimina­
tion gradually of all the existing trade restrictions between the two
countries. Cost of labor and materials in United States and Canada
can now be maintained at practical parity. Tariff laws should there­
fore be canvassed with a view to seeing whether import duties cannot
be gradually lowered and finally abolished. The abolition of trade
barriers would increase trade between us, and such abnormalities as
now exist in the severe balance of trade against Canada would be
reduced. Eventually the two countries should have a common dol­
lar for legal tender, thus avoiding disparities in exchange such as
now prevail.
Another matter of importance is the fact that democratic govern­
ment and the safety which it undertakes to guarantee cannot be main­
tained except through the immediate enforcement of law and order.
Hence, the international border line between the United States and
Canada should be freely crossed in both directions in the immediate
pursuit of criminals. W hat is for the good and safety of one of
these peoples concerns the other. I am not suggesting a political
union but an economic union and a defense union. I believe in adopt­
ing for both peoples the philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, who said,
“ M en exist for the sake of one another. Teach them then to bear
with one another.”
In line with these co-ordinating endeavors I would establish nu­
merous exchanges of scholarships between the universities of Canada
and the United States and in this way create in the minds of future
leaders in each country a better knowledge of the people on both
sides and a higher appreciation of co-operation among them. W e
should also work out between the two countries a general method of
co-operating in advertising the natural attractions of both. There
would be practically no conflict in this effort. The United States







368

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

could offer Florida and Southern California for winter and Canada
its refreshing summer climate with fishing, hunting, and a variety
of recreational activities.
To these desirable ends, the St. Lawrence River should be
bridged at as many places as possible, affording a means of crossing
to and fro without let or hindrance. Furthermore, I would create a
great boulevard between Washington and Ottawa as an inducement
to easy exchange of goods and an encouragement of frequent visiting.
I would like to see created market fairs for the display of products
and wares on both sides of the St. Lawrence, where agriculturalists
and industrialists from both countries could join in bringing their
products to the attention of both peoples.
Thought might also be given to a mutually satisfactory arrange­
ment under which the natural resources of the two countries would
be so developed as to preserve them usefully and not wastefully to
destroy them. Under an acceptable plan, ways and means should be
considered for wisely increasing the population of the two countries
with virile and patriotic citizens. By careful selections from Western
Europe and by wisely encouraging home building and family life, we
should have in the next twenty-five years in the United States and
Canada a combined population of two hundred million people of
strong bodies and of courage and character, outstanding in training
and leadership in all lines. This would constitute an impregnable
defense against any who would dare invade our countries or attack
us by sea or in the air.

C H A P T E R XXXI

The End o f an Era
I T H I N two weeks after Mrs. Roper and I returned from
Ottawa, H itler invaded Poland. The results are now
fully known to the world. It marked the beginning of
W orld W ar II, the end of which is not to be anticipated as this
is written. The modern Germanic Attila had reverted to the savagery
of his ancient barbarian predecessor, unleashing the German hordes
and their modern instruments of death against much of the civilized
world. Suddenly, as if we had abruptly awakened from lethargy,
while the rest of the world was plunged into chaos, political upheaval,
destructive warfare, or outright military subjection, we in America
began to realize the priceless worth of democracy, of civil and re­
ligious freedom, and of the other guarantees of our Bill of Rights.
Most of the first-rate Powers had striven for peace and disarmament
— most, save Germany. H itler, true to his enunciations in M ein
Kampf , had secretly prepared for war upon a scale which dwarfed
to insignificance the preparations of the Kaiser. W ith the entrance of
England and France into the conflict, the dread German air force, of
which Colonel Lindbergh and others had warned, began its ruthless
campaign of destruction and wholesale murder. Repeated utterances
by H itler made it clear that the avowed purpose of Nazism was the
elimination of the Democracies from the international scene. W e
had seen the H itler threat unfold. W e were forewarned, and there
was no choice. Our natural sympathies went to the invaded nations,
and to the British for their valiant defense of democracy. Thinking
Americans with some knowledge of Nazi military might regarded
the new German menace as a more formidable threat to Christian
civilization than any previous upheaval known to history. Not being
a military expert, I withheld judgment upon this view, but the
dreaded events had cast their shadows before them. The urgent

W







370

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

necessity of a huge United States defense program and of every pos­
sible aid to the Democracies was no longer to be ignored.
As the clouds upon the international horizon grew blacker from
day to day, I sometimes felt that I had been fortunate in having
been privileged to live the majority of my years in the period
through which I had passed. I was now seventy-two. The coming
Christmas Day of 1939 would be my Golden Wedding Anniversary.
Mrs. Roper and I had been married fifty years, and we looked for­
ward to the occasion with mutual gratitude.
11

From Reconstruction days to World War II was a long span. I
had lived under fifteen Presidents and had served under six of them.
Sweeping changes had taken place in the national life, not the least
or most unimportant of these being the decline of agriculture from
a proud position of superiority in the social system, first to a sub­
servience to industry and finally to government subsidization.
As I have related, my father had reared me with a view to be­
coming a farmer, for in the pre-Civil-War period the Southern
planter occupied a position of prestige and universal respect. He laid
great store by that agricultural era. There prevailed then genuine
love of the land and, as has been noted, an almost universal homage
was paid to King Cotton. My destiny had taken other courses, al­
though I had retained my South Carolina farm throughout the years
of change and transformation.
I had welcomed many of the changes, notably the coming of the
telephone, the automobile, widespread electrification, the airplane
and radio, and the important progress made in science, except inso­
far as scientific inventions had been perverted to uses of human de­
struction. I had seen moral concepts change and had witnessed the
growth of an American social consciousness and the realization of the
state’s responsibility for the unfortunate who had been made so by
the destructive forces rampant in our economic system. Much to my
sorrow and regret I had seen the Church lag behind while the rest
of the world went forward. And now at seventy-two, I saw a Euro­
pean threat to the American way of life. Whatever might be the
outcome, one thing was certain. We had come to the end of an

THE END

OF

AN ERA

37 1

era. The world of the future would experience greater change and
transformation than anything hitherto witnessed.
It was a source of satisfaction to look back down the corridor of
the years and note that I had lived in an era of great events, to
realize that, small as my part had been, I had at least had associations
with some of the work which had made America the leading democ­
racy of the earth. Our country had never been invaded. In this
respect my era had been a blessed one. Throughout my lifetime we
had been spared the horrors and devastation with which war and
wholesale murder had wrecked the very citadels of civilization in
foreign lands.
Mrs. Roper and I had not amassed large property holdings, yet
we had succeeded in achieving in a modest way the ideals which had
been the cement of our union on that Christmas Day in 1889. W e
had tried to equip our children, as far as we could see the future,
for their participation in the changing world, and it was a source of
satisfaction to see that they were measuring up in character and
ideals. Although we could not pride ourselves in material wealth,
we had what was better, good and true friends. The spiritual treas­
ure we had accumulated from our human relations was a great com­
fort and consolation. This sense of appreciation for the friends made
in the journey of life impelled us to plan a celebration of our Golden
Wedding Anniversary. W e wanted to recognize as many of our
friends as possible and have them share our happiness in reaching
the fiftieth milestone of marriage.
It is not my purpose to compose a soliloquy upon marriage, yet
in this changing world, in these turbulent times when so many of
our cherished institutions have broken down, or have been swept aside
by the destructive forces and urgencies of the hour, a few brief ob­
servations concerning the sacred contract which is the basic founda­
tion of the American home may not be inappropriate. I understand
that the percentage of divorce and separation in our country is stead
ily increasing. This alarming fact coupled with the declining birth
rate does not augur well for our national future. If continued, there
can be little hope for a perpetuation of the American way. Can this
failure of marriage be explained? Can anything be done to cor­
rect it?
Perhaps the answer lies within the balance of our appreciation







37 2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

of and sense of values j to some extent, also, in our moral and re­
ligious concepts. We have come to think too much of our extra-mural
life and too little of our life within the home. The very ease with
which divorces can be obtained causes too many trial and experi­
mental marriages, this being true in almost every state except the
one in which I was born, South Carolina, where no divorces were
granted.
In all my human experience I have encountered no treasure com­
parable to that of a devoted, understanding wife, a pleasant home
and the communion of a family. This is the highest objective which
man can achieve upon his all-too-brief journey through life. It is,
of course, true that this cannot be achieved without a proper regard
for the spiritual and religious reverence which impels man to live
in daily appreciation of the benefactions of his Creator, with a sense
of his responsibility to society and posterity, and a willingness to
exert his talents toward making the world a better place for those
who succeed him. This attitude is in part a discharging of his obli­
gations to those who preceded him.
In my own marriage I early realized that I was but one party
to a partnership, that I was only half of the whole union. Mutual
work and mutual interests, variety in human and work relations, mu­
tual counsel contributed greatly to the gradual cementing of our mar­
riage ties. I had seen men dominate their wives, making them cooks
and housekeepers and little else, always cramping and confining and
restraining and limiting their natural growth and relegating them to
a monotony which could make for nothing more than a progressive
spiritual erosion. In a business partnership such a state of affairs
would not persist. Therefore, I sought to avoid this unhappy outcome
by contriving as far as possible to give my wife a measure of finan­
cial independence, which was not confined merely to household ex­
pense. I was proud of my wife’s constant spiritual growth, of her
intense interest in her home and children as a career. We never lost
our zest for sharing in the work of each other. We discussed matters
upon which we agreed at great length, but if they were controversial
discussions, or if we talked about subjects upon which we were in dis­
agreement, we never prolonged the conversation, both agreeing that
it was better to disagree by piecemeal than to carry on the conversa­
tion until it reached an impasse.

TH E END OF AN ERA

37 3

Perhaps we were more fortunate than others. If it is true that
all life is a series of escapes and adjustments, as the great psychia­
trists tell us, then I can truthfully say that ours was fifty years of
adjustments with a minimum of escapes. W hen two married people
reach an impasse, I believe that it is advisable for them to bow to
the modern dictum and consult a psychiatrist. His suggestions may
save their union by teaching them how to refrain from extremes and
the undue venting of their abnormalities. This is especially true of
nervous types, or those who have been impaired by illness. A “ cool­
ing-off” period is also suggested.
I received a distressing letter from a friend some years ago. H e
described his marital difficulties and asked my advice. I laid the
letter aside for further reflection. Within a few days I received a
second letter from him reading as follows: “ Disregard the letter
about my marital troubles. I have since read about Abraham L in­
coln’s troubles with his wife, and I have decided that compared with
him I have no troubles at all.”
Defeatism is another enemy of successful marriage, as well as of
all human progress. I take the liberty of quoting an unknown author:

Take this honey from the bitterest cup,
There is no failure save in giving up,
No real fall so long as one still tries—
For seeming set-backs make a strong man wise.
There is no defeat of truth save from within,
Unless you’re beaten there,
You’re bound to win.
W e believed in the old Spanish proverb, “ An ounce of mother
is worth a pound of clergy.” W e also believed with Dr. Charles H .
Parkhurst that the “ Home is the first church, the hearthstone the
first altar, and the mother and father the first priests.” A proper dis­
charge of the home duties, we believed, would contribute best to
safeguard the children against spending the last half of life fighting
the momentum of a misspent youth, frequently expressed in broken
health, in a diseased body and in corrupted morals.
As the time of our Golden W edding Anniversary approached,
we looked forward to the reunion of our whole family, of having our







3 74

F IF T Y YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

seven children again commune in the home we had established for
them. It would be the first complete family reunion in twenty-two
years.
hi

In planning our anniversary celebration, I desired to minimize
the strain upon Mrs. Roper. As we prepared a preliminary list of
those friends to whom we expected to send invitations, it became
evident that our home was hardly adequate for the occasion. More­
over, if we tried to hold it at home, the preparations would unduly
occupy Mrs. Roper’s time and thought} so it was decided to engage
the ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel. She worked out the plans and
important details with the florists and with the hotel’s most capable
maitre d’hotel, Fred Wiesinger. Our invitations, engraved in gold to
carry out the motif of the occasion, were accordingly issued and
mailed three weeks before Christmas.
During the planning for the anniversary Mrs. Roper was stricken
with a severe cold. From it she developed bronchial and sinus trou­
ble, but the crisis in her illness did not come until after the invitations
had been placed in the mail. Christmas drew nearer, and her illness
became more serious and distressing, until we entertained grave fears
for her recovery. It appeared that the celebration upon which we
had both set our hearts would have to be called off. A few days
before the twenty-fifth I decided that it had to be called off, for her
condition was unimproved. That which we had hoped would be an
occasion of supreme joy and delight seemed about to be converted
into tragedy. I went to Mrs. Roper’s bedside, where it was difficult
to make her understand, because her ear trouble had affected her
hearing. I suggested that we give an announcement to the press that
our party had been called off because of her illness. She was firm
in her refusal to agree with me. “ If I can’t go,” she said, “ you must
go and represent both of us.” And she went on to say that if it
were humanly possible for her to attend with the assistance of her
two physicians, the tax would be less than that of canceling the ar­
rangements to which she had given so much thought and to which
she had looked forward so long. In the light of her explanation I
made no further protests.

1

THE END OF AN ERA

375

IV
Mrs. Roper, while perhaps not actually improved by Christmas
Day, was nevertheless cheered by the arrival of our children and
friends from distant points. H er remarkable courage asserted itself,
and she insisted upon going to the Mayflower attended by her two
physicians. I shall not try to describe the surface attributes of our
Golden W edding celebration more than to say that it was the first
anniversary of its kind which had been held in the hotel. From the
moment I entered the decorated ballroom, I confidently felt that
no effort had been spared by the hotel management. I had never
seen arrangements concluded with such perfection. For a descrip­
tion of the occasion, I quote from Betty Hynes, whose account of it
appeared the following day in the Washington Times-Herald:

A reception, glimmering in its golden decorations and significance,
marked the fiftieth wedding anniversary yesterday afternoon of Mr. and
Mrs. Daniel C. Roper, who, with their seven children, held a wide-open
house in the grand ballroom of the Mayflower. There from 5 to 8 o’clock,
headed by the First Lady of the Land, the Washington world called to
do them homage. Before the reception was over, Mrs. Roper, who had
been recently quite ill, was obliged to leave on the insistence of her doctor,
but she allowed her departure to cast no shadow on the gayety of the
gathering.
Almost the first arrival to offer the hosts congratulation was Mrs.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, who brought along the President’s best wishes and
in turn received their thanks for the lovely yellow roses which had been
the anniversary remembrance from the Roosevelt family. Mrs. Roosevelt
was wearing a jaunty black beret with her black costume and caught the
holiday touch with one huge pink rose pinned on her coat.
Mrs. Roper looked equally smart in a black and gold brocade gown
made on sim straight lines and a most becoming brimmed hat with
ple
ostrich plumes curling on the side. She had on a pair of antique bracelets
which she had worn with her wedding gown, and about her throat was
a magnificently carved gold necklace which had once belonged to a royal
Mexican family and which was an anniversary present from a friend in
California.
Mrs. Annie McKenzie Fletcher, Mrs. Roper’s only sister, was the
only person present yesterday who had been at the wedding, having been
maid of honor at the ceremony. She well remembered the exciting events







3y 6

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

of 50 Christmases ago, and something like tears glistened in her eyes when
exactly at 6:15 Sidney played the same wedding march which had started
a starry eyed Miss Lou McKenzie and one Dan Roper out on their pros­
perous path of happiness. . . .
It was not difficult to understand the flush of happiness on Mrs.
Roper’s cheeks yesterday and the glow of pride she felt in the young man
who had won her “ yes.” Together they have found a home of peaceful
beauty that is always filled with flowers. T hey have seen their children
grow to emulate their own success. Together they have won some of the
highest honors in the land. But the happy glow of yesterday’s gathering
was something even more precious than all that. It was the vital living
love the Ropers have enkindled in all who have ever come to know them
or be associated with them.
M r. and Mrs. Roper received in a bower of golden chrysanthemums,
snapdragons, red roses and the golden balconies were lost in a maze of
poinsettias, fir and holly. Silver Christmas trees shone around the room,
and at the far end where the orchestra played, and where space was roped
off for dancing, were two trees with flashing trimmings and lights.
A four tiered wedding cake had its own table of honor, surmounted
with a golden wedding bell, encircled with wide golden candy ribbon and
bedecked with the golden truth “ 1889-1939 Semper Fidelis.”

The account by Miss Hynes goes on to mention that members of the
Supreme Court, the lower courts, the House and Senate, the Cabinet,
and the diplomatic corps were in attendance.
In addition to the friends who were with us we received affec­
tionate messages of congratulations and regrets from several hundred
who could not join the fifteen hundred who honored us by giving up
a part of their Christmas Day to attend. As we exchanged greetings
with the long line of gracious friends honoring us with their pres­
ence, I was conscious of the great toll of the unrelenting Reaper,
being consoled only by the feeling that their spirits were hovering
over the occasion. Among those whose faces we thus sought in vain
were my father; my good stepmother; Mrs. Roper’s wonderful
mother; her only brother; Senator Matthew C. Butler, who gave
me my first appointment in Washington; Senator Benjamin R. Till­
man, who encouraged and assisted me; William J. Bryan; the senior
Senator Robert LaFollette; Oscar W. Underwood; Albert S. Burle­
son; Newton D. Baker; James M. Baker; David R. Coker; George
H. Dern; Claude A. Swanson; William H. Woodin; and, last but

T H E EN D OF AN ERA

3y y

not least, my dear old teachers, Thomas B. Stackhouse, James H .
Carlisle, and John F. Crowell.
Although I had been honored by my country and had received
the honors accorded official position, this day seemed the high spot
of my seventy-two years. As Mrs. Roper and I left the gay ballroom
to the strains of the wedding march, we remarked to each other that
the joint struggle of fifty years had been worth while. W ith tears
in our eyes and gratitude in our hearts, we said, “ Let us thank God
for our friends and take courage for our future challenges.”







■ CHAPTER XXXI I

Setting Our House in Order

T

T H O M A S CARLYLE once said, “The greatest of faults. . .
is to be conscious of none.” A thinking man could not spend
half a century in and out of the service of his country in a
wide variety of responsible posts without forming definite conclu­
sions. One who saw the South emerge from the Reconstruction era
after the Civil War; who has lived through many crises of govern­
ment and business; who had a part in the prosecution of World War
I, and finally in the war of the New Deal against poverty and eco­
nomic disintegration, should be permitted to make some observations
for such consideration as may be accorded them by those having the
responsibility for decisions in these tragic times.
We are face to face with world change and undreamed-of up­
heavals. We must withstand shocking tests of the national strength
and endurance, realizing that, irrespective of the outcome of World
War II, we are likely to live through darker days than any our
country has ever experienced. We must steel ourselves against hys­
teria and disunion. We must set our house in order and face the
future with open eyes and courageous hearts.
Without undertaking to add to its own interpretation, I quote a
very remarkable statement taken from the writings on the future of
civilization by that great Roman scholar and teacher Lactantius, who
lived A.D. 260-325. Was he a seer, looking down through the ages
to Hitler?

But lest this should b deem incredible, I will show the m
e
ed
anner in
which it is to take place. First, there will be a m
ultiplication of independent
sovereignties, and the suprem m
e agistracy of the em
pire, scattered and
cut up into fragm
ents, will be enfeebled in the exercise of power by law
and authority. Then will b sow the seeds of civil discords, nor will there
e n
be any rest or pause to wasteful and ruinous wars; while the soldiery kept

SETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER
379
together in immense standing armies, the kings will crush and lay waste
at their will;— until at length there will rise up against them a most
puissant military chieftain of low birth, who will have conceded to him a
fellowship with the other sovereigns of the earth, and will finally be con­
stituted the head of all. This man will harass the civilized world with
an insupportable despotism, he will confound and commix all things spir­
itual and temporal. He will form plans and preparations of the most
execrable and sacrilegious nature. He will be forever restlessl) turning
over new schemes in his imagination, in order that he may fix the imperial
power over all in his own name and possession. He will change the former
laws, he will sanction a code of his own, he will contaminate, pillage, lay
waste and massacre. At length, when he has succeeded in the change
of names and titles, and in the transfer of the seat of empire, there will
follow a confusion and perturbation of the human race; then will there
be for a while an era of horror and abomination, during which no man
will enjoy his life in quietness.1
Lactantius had faith in ultimate order through the influence of spir­
itual forces. A t another time he said: “ Apart from Christianity, true
wisdom and true virtue are not to be found.
One great question which should be ever present in our thinking
and which cannot be answered with emotional impulses or trite plati­
tudes is, how can we save and safeguard the cherished American way
of life? T he spiritual aspects of democracy cannot be entirely di­
vorced from those which are economic and material. Liberty is one
democratic ideal, but we do not mean freedom to starve or to exploit
the lives of others in America or elsewhere. W e cherish freedom of
enterprise in this country, but not a freedom which transgresses that
of our fellow citizens} although superficial appearances may seem to
deny it, we strive for legal equality under the Constitution. W e have
free speech, freedom from search and seizure, a free press, and count­
less minor freedoms, denied to men elsewhere in the world, but most
of these freedoms are restrained within limits, and there are pre­
scribed penalties for their abuse. Within the framework of our
greater freedom, we recognize a social responsibility to each other
and to the state. W e accept certain regulations of the individual for
the “ general welfare” ; democracy and freedom should never imply
anarchy. W e must not through indifference shrink from personal
responsibility in law enforcement.
1 Lactantius, D e V it a B e a t a , Lib. v ii. c. 16.







380

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

The American way of life, therefore, while not reducible to the
jingoistic phrases used to express the ideals of totalitarian states, is
the antithesis of the totalitarian way. Their inhuman ideologies
declare that the individual belongs to the state. Children belong to
the state, not to their mothers and fathers. Genius, whether literary,
artistic, or scientific, farmers, merchants, professional men, manufac­
turers, and laborers— all belong to the state. In the United States,
the state belongs to its citizens. Subject only to the Constitution and
its interpretation by the courts, the judges of which are also subject
to the mandate of the people, a majority of us can tell the state what
to do at any time when the power of the governed is exerted. Periodi­
cally we hire and fire our legislators, our administrators, our judges,
and our executives. The government belongs to the people of the
United States. All power is derived from the consent of the gov­
erned. Individuals have certain inalienable rights, clearly defined in
the Bill of Rights, which cannot be abridged by statute or by tyranny,
and our courts offer relief if abridgment is attempted. Thus indi­
vidual freedom is safeguarded, and from these safeguards springs the
American way of life.
Personal liberty and competitive free enterprise with a minimum
of government restraint enabled us to become the richest nation of
the world. Perhaps we grew too fast, for our prosperity and growth
obscured the trends of destructive economic forces which, otherwise,
might have been foreseen and checked in time to prevent overexpan­
sion of our productive and distributive facilities. The overexpansion
in the golden twenties was discovered after the economic cataclysm
of 1929 and during the depression of the early thirties. In these
years we witnessed and confronted a major threat to the American
way of life. While encouraging to the utmost free enterprise, our
regulation “in the public interest” and for “the general welfare” had
not kept pace with our growth. We had not seen the necessity for
national planning toward a more equitable distribution of the material
benefits derived from our economic resources under our system of
government. Consequently, the strong arm of delegated power had
to reach out to certain segments of society, through the use of emer­
gency measures in the interest of the general welfare. We did this
without a change of the government by virtue of the elasticity of
democracy.

SETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER

38 1

Now another and far greater crisis confronts us. The great world
changes wrought by the European war have already imposed a strain
upon our economic structure. This strain will continue with progres­
sive intensity and may become an infinitely greater challenge to our
system of government and free enterprise than we felt during the
depression of the thirties. The tax burden alone is alarming to con­
template. Moreover, as a greater proportion of our natural resources
and available raw materials are demanded for defense production,
we shall find ourselves gradually being denied commodities which
were once abundant in the open market. Aluminum is already an
example. Aircraft production has priority over the national supply.
So much of this supply will be required for aircraft this year that
only the cheapest grades of the commodity will be available for
other manufacturing purposes. Even now we have entered upon the
first phases of a world battle in production; more and more factories
are daily being converted to defense uses. This means that there is
sure to be a shortage of many manufactured items, as, for example,
automobiles. In order to lessen the demand for them, some propose
high taxes upon the sale of both new and used cars. W e cannot now
foresee the extent of the shortages in prospect. W ith no disposition
to be an alarmist, I believe nevertheless that the day may conceivably
arrive when it will be difficult under extreme priorities to buy the
most insignificant item. The American people should anticipate the
times ahead and be prepared for a long period of self-denial. Tem ­
porarily we may have to sacrifice the American way of life for the
future preservation of that way, yielding certain liberties and free­
doms now in order to defend them for the future.
A t this writing we are not actually in combat war, yet thei e are
few who do not predict our eventual full entrance. W hether we are
further involved or finally escape, by the provisions of the LendLease Act we have assumed the most gigantic undertaking in our
national history. W e have underwritten the Allied cause virtually
without limit. In addition to munitions, we shall be called upon to
furnish ships, food, medical materials, clothing, railroad rolling stock,
trucks and automobiles, a wide variety of other mechanical products,
and many items yet unknown. This task dwarfs the imagination, but
will be comprehended more fully if we have a prolonged war or if
and when we become formal belligerents. T he measure of our cour-







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

age and solidarity, coupled with native genius and a capacity for pro­
duction, will be the extent to which we succeed in this defense pro­
gram. Few doubt that our failure to succeed will bring the sunset
of “ the American way.”
There is danger that we may succeed in the defense program
from a purely military standpoint, but in the end lose democracy as
we know it. The present crisis has two major aspects: ( i) pure
defense in the dual sense of helping the Allies and keeping an enemy
from our shores and possessions} (2) the effect of measures adopted
for defense and of wartime economic displacements upon our theo­
retically permanent home or domestic economy.
Pure defense is largely a matter of production and military strat­
egy plus a co-ordination of the people to supply the army with men,
food, materials, and morale. If we are able in time to outstrip in
production the totalitarian states, barring dire tactical errors, we may
be assured that we shall be reasonably safe from invasion. Without
assuming military knowledge, we may accept the predictions of com­
petent military strategists that production will win the present war.
The potential industrial and agricultural production of the United
States is greater than that of all of Europe combined. The second
aspect of the crisis is hardly as clear-cut and understandable as is the
fact that the army, or navy, or airforce, or a combination of all, with
the most effective implementation for destruction will win the war.
This second aspect, the effect of the defense program upon our nor­
mal economy, requires sterner analysis. Some pessimistic economists
doubt whether our economy could survive a prolonged war of a
decade, however complete eventual military victory might be. Let
us examine this view.
We do not have to be postgraduate economists to understand a
simple transfer of manpower. Several million men are now being
withdrawn from civilian life to enter the military forces. As peace­
time industry gives way to defense production, new plants are being
erected (notably for aircraft and munitions), old plants are being
expanded, and millions of men and women who once made such
articles as hairpins, picture frames, or canned tomatoes are in the
process of a gradual shift to jobs making bullets, gas masks, military
uniforms, and the like. It is too early for accurate prediction, yet
we know by comparison with the new thousands engaged in aircraft

SETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER

383

production that the defense program may divert ten, fifteen, or pos­
sibly twenty million men and women from their peacetime occupa­
tions. I f the military forces and defense industries should engage
the services of twenty million people, what would happen if the war
were to stop abruptly? H ow many millions would be thrown on the
labor market or eventually upon the bounty of the state? If half of
the American people should suddenly find themselves without in­
come, what would be the effect upon the other half?
Surely, it is already possible to see the outline of the tremendous
strain the defense program will impose upon our economy should
the war last but one year longer. Those fortunate enough to have
incomes after the war would have the burden of the national debt,
of vastly increased veteran pensions, of pensions for the aged and
helpless, of relief for the unemployed through direct subsistence and
W .P .A . projects, of the agricultural conservation program, and of
defense liquidation. In short, if twenty million wage earners were
suddenly out of work, it would mean that about half of our popu­
lation, or say sixty-five million people, would be deprived of income.
T h e “ haves” would be obliged to support the have-nots. Since un­
employment rapidly breeds more unemployment, the end for such
an hypothesis is unpredictable. If such an eventuality should come
to the United States, pessimistic economists doubt whether free enter­
prise could carry the load and consequent tax burden. Some form of
totalitarian regimentation might be employed to quell mass unrest,
restrain pressure groups, and make human subsistence possible.
Another great danger in the present crisis is the threat of infla­
tion W hile I feel sure that the Government will use all safeguards
to prevent it, inflation is difficult to prevent when work is plentiful,
wages are high, and commodities are scarce. W here artificial forces
thwart the normal workings of the law of supply and demand, values
necessarily become distorted. Under certain circumstances we might
be willing to pay a dollar for a pair of common shoe laces. Too much
money in circulation and not enough consumer goods cause prices
to skyrocket. Obviously, abnormal defense needs will decrease the
output of all other commodities. There is, therefore, a very real
danger of inflation in the future.
W ith these dangers in mind we cannot consider the defense pro­
gram without giving thought to the reconstruction period to follow.







F IF T Y YEARS OF PUBLIC L IF E
Accordingly, it seems to me that we should take steps now to
strengthen our country from within. In the light of such experience
as I have had and on the basis of my best judgment, arrived at after
conferences with students of the national welfare, I offer the fol­
lowing observations concerning the program of “setting our house in
order.”
Economy in government is more than ever necessary. Waste in
government cannot be justified at any time, but it is especially repre­
hensible when the public debt is high and mounting. Extreme meas­
ures of economy in nondefense governmental functions are now de­
sirable, both for the savings effected and for gaining the confidence
of the taxpayer. Evidently Walter D. Fuller, President of the Na­
tional Association of Manufacturers, was conscious of this situation
when he recently recommended that for the reconstruction period
production and sale of nondefense goods should be greatly expanded}
he further stated that ways and means should be found to reduce
governmental expenditures} that early efforts should be made to
taper down and ultimately cut out Federal emergency agencies, that
governmental hoarding of commodities should stop and that pessimis­
tic preaching in high places and in low places in the nation should
cease. The average man will face his tax burden with increased pa­
triotism if he knows that the Government has pared routine expenses
to the bone. It is impossibe to eliminate government waste by one
fell stroke or by an indiscriminate policy. For many years the ten­
dency to increase government functions has been carried to excess by
bureaucrats who enjoyed seeing their domains enlarged. Many exam­
ples could be cited} I shall use one illustration which came to my
attention several years ago, when radio was young. The end of the
fiscal year was drawing near. A young executive discovered that
about seventy thousand dollars was likely to be left on hand when
the year closed, an unexpected balance in the Commission’s appro­
priation for supplies. He approached the Chairman of the Com­
mission, explaining that he believed it advisable to make a public
announcement that this money would be turned back to the Treas­
ury, since through economy and efficiency it had not been spent.
“ Have you lost your head?” the Chairman replied. “This Commis­
sion is going places. We must build it up, not keep it on a two-by-

SETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER

385

four basis. W e must spend that money. Next year we may need a
great deal more than we needed this year. I f we turn it back to the
Treasury, Congress will cut our appropriation next year.” I asked
the former executive how the money was finally spent. “ In every
conceivable way,” he replied. “ I bought long carriage typewriters
for each typist and secretary, more and better rugs for the office
rooms, extra mahogany clothes-trees, although even the messenger
boys had them, and in general spent the full sum for more of every­
thing our appropriation authorized us to buy without regard to
needs.”
During my years with the Government I saw many instances of
Federal waste, of salary inequalities and personnel injustices, which
called for civil service reform. To some extent maladjustments were
counterbalanced by overwork and overtime and by judicious econo­
mies practiced by the energetic and nonwasteful employees. N ever­
theless, I am positive that great savings could be effected by a free
and unhampered economy committee of experts empowered to audit
all government functions and to impose appropriate remedial meas­
ures. Since more and more employees will be needed for defense
positions, provision could be made to employ in emergency work
those in other units engaged on tasks that can await the winning of
the war.
H owever wasteful the Federal Government may have been in
the past, it has always enjoyed more strength and prestige than state
governments. There is a widespread belief that it has been more effi­
cient where the services rendered by state and nation tended to coin­
cide. The proposed economy program needs to be extended to
all the states. The number of counties in some states, for example,
could be reduced to less than one third their present total, permitting
a sweeping consolidation of county offices, with an enormous scaling
down of expense and resultant taxes. The county units were estab­
lished in the horse and buggy days. The county seat had to be acces­
sible to remote residents of the county who traveled thus. Today,
with excellent roads, the automobile, and other means of rapid tran­
sit, some states may be traversed in their entirety within less time
than it formerly took to drive a horse to a county seat from the
borders of the county. The need for small counties has thus ceased
to exist.







386

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

Objections to their consolidation, however, would be immediate
and vociferous, based upon two very human characteristics with which
it is difficult to deal, sentimentality and political avarice. The first
objection might be circumvented by consolidating a group of coun­
ties into a single unit, permitting the old county areas to retain their
names, but transferring the governmental functions to a regional
office having jurisdiction over the area consolidated. This groupgovernment might well follow the pattern of the Congressional
districts. If one man can adequately represent several hundred thou­
sand constituents in the House of Representatives, it would seem
logical to assert that local officials could serve them. Present office­
holders and their adherents might oppose this change. Proper safe­
guards in selection of delegates to the necessary constitutional con­
ventions within the states would be necessary to combat possible
political defeat of the plan, but as a measure of economy for defense,
it should be considered.
To go a step farther, I venture a suggestion that I have no hope
of seeing adopted in my lifetime j namely, similar consolidation of
some of the states. It is an axiom of some totalitarian leaders that
“ the world belongs to the bold and the brave.” Americans have
never lacked bravery or boldness. The challenge of our time de­
mands bold steps and a discarding of old ways and concepts which
are obsolete because of changed conditions. Reform in county gov­
ernment is one step which calls for boldness. A recommendation by
the Defense Council for a National Constitutional Convention, not
composed of politicians, might have great weight in stimulating the
constructive thought and confidence of the people. Unless economic
reforms, such as these, are made in federal, state, county, and muni­
cipal government, the tax load is in danger of becoming intolerable.
in

There is a pressing need that industry and labor learn how to
work in harmony. The economic waste of strikes and lockouts in
peacetime is deplorable. In the past there have been bloody clashes,
misery and suffering due to the violence and the shortsightedness
exhibited by both management and labor. Our precarious position in
a world of violent change, our gigantic defense undertaking, our
whole future now seems to depend upon the speed and efficiency of

SETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER

387

our industrial production. For once the public has a vital stake in
strikes, a stake we did not have in the last war, and have never had
in the same degree before. T he strike today is a gamble with the
life of every man, woman, and child in the country. W hether the
selfish interests be on the side of overly ambitious labor leaders, or
traceable to greedy management, the result is the same. Our phys­
ical lives and our national way of life may be the penalty for a
curtailed production of munitions. If a way is not found to stop
strikes, public sentiment will soon demand antistrike legislation in
defense industries and possibly conscription of industry. T he incor­
poration of labor unions may also be demanded.
In Great Britain and Sweden both management and labor are
highly organized. Remarkable successes have been achieved through
bilateral collective bargaining between employers’ associations and
trade unions. W e would do well to study the plans and results in
those countries.
Needless to say, neither labor nor management is bigger than the
Government or the public. No permanent order can be attained with­
out industry-wide codes or agreements respected by both sides of the
age-old controversy. W hether this end can be better achieved by
compulsion or by voluntary self-government remains to be seen. It
is possible that employers’ associations on an industry-wide scale may
in the future arrive at standard contracts agreeable to labor and pro­
viding for wages based upon an equitable share of actual profits. In
short, the industrial relations of the future may see labor participating
upon a more equal footing with management in a kind of partnership which would permanently outlaw strikes. Certainly the confer­
ence table, as we learned from the N .R .A ., is the American way of
settling disputes.
IV

Agitation for relief of agriculture has continued during practically
all the years of my memory. As our basic national enterprise it has
come in for a full share of economic and political agitation. I have
been interested in the subject since the days of the Farmers Alliance
in South Carolina. I have owned a farm ever since my marriage,
more than fifty years ago. The subject of agriculture was never far
from my thoughts, and I have seen the gradual trend from an agrar­
ian to an industrial economy with concern, because the planter-land-







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FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

owner was once the apex of our national social structure. For me, the
decline of the planter has been in some degree a sad spectacle in our
age of change. To see the development of an economy in which mid­
dle men, speculators, and chiselers get an exorbitant unearned profit
upon such farm products as milk, while farmers struggle eighty hours
a week to buy feed for their cows, is pathetic in the extreme.
Learned economists, including politicians in both political parties,
have proposed no end of panaceas for agricultural ills. We killed
the pigs j we plowed under alternate rows of crops. Our surpluses
mounted, and when all manner of schemes to put agriculture upon a
par with industry had failed, we adopted the present widespread
conservation program designed to curtail production, preserve soil,
and at the same time increase farm income.
The current conservation program is a subsidy in the guise of a
temporary measure to prevent soil erosion and forest denudation.
In principle I do not favor it as a permanent policy, since I believe
in “ rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” Genuine conser­
vation is an imperative necessity and will certainly require govern­
ment regulation in the public interest. I believe, however, that we
need some other method than that now used to increase farm income
and achieve agricultural parity with industry. Many self-respecting
farmers revolt, at least at first, at conservation checks from the Treas­
ury. They would far prefer to see measures that would have the
effect of making agriculture self-sustaining. In the field of economic
theory it is sometimes well to move cautiously} ideas which look well
on paper may prove to be defective in practice. The conservation
program is now costing about one billion dollars a year. The larger
portion of this amount is intended as a subsidy to curtail production
by paying farmers not to cultivate their full acreage. The question
arises, would it not be better for the Government to curtail produc­
tion by outright condemnation of lands, paying for the acres so con­
demned, and in this way reduce the quantity of land available for
cultivation? Some students of the problem advocate this procedure.
A consideration of the causes and effects of agricultural surpluses
may throw further light upon the problem. During World War I
vast areas of the Great Plains were placed in cultivation in order to
grow more wheat and corn. The topography and natural terrain,
with the absence of trees to hold the moisture, later left these areas

SETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER

389

to the hazards of soil erosion. The result was the Western dust
bowl. Other areas of the W est, hitherto untilled, were likewise culti­
vated to supply the wartime demands in response to the stimulation
of very high prices. After the close of the war, when the armies of
Europe returned to peacetime pursuits, agricultural pioduction in
Central Europe again moved toward prewar peaks. A factor which
added to our difficulties was the rise of barter as a means of interna­
tional exchange. Products manufactured by labor subsisting at a
lower standard of life than was the case in the United States were ex­
changed for the agricultural surpluses of South American countries.
Foreign markets for our farm products began to dwindle.
Despite drastic crop curtailment in the United States, there are
usually surpluses of all the principal crops. As remedial measures
the Department of Agriculture has established the Ever Normal
Granary and crop insurance. T h e theory of this plan is, in a sense,
insurance against time. By loans upon the farmer’s crops, he is able
to receive a cash income, while most of his products are in govern­
ment storage. H e gets the benefit of price increases, since the loans
are high, and the Government will not sell for less than the loans.
In case of drought, blight, or other catastrophe, the principal crops
are in storage in sufficient quantity to offset a shortage. But the in­
surance feature, intended to be self-sustaining, has not proven to be
so in practice. Benefits have exceeded collected premiums.
Another national condition prevails which is not receiving enough
attention. Experts of the Department of Agriculture contend that
a majority of the American people are undernourished. According
to M ilo Perkins, the average income of 69 per cent of the families 0
the United States is sixty-five dollars a month. T h e amount each
family can spend for food is pathetically below the amount required
for adequate nourishment. T h e food stamp plan ,s a step toward
correcting this regrettable situation. M . S. Eisenhour, Director 0
Information for the Department of Agriculture, declares that prac­
tically all food surpluses would be consumed ,f the masses of the
American people had sufficient purchasing power. Cotton would re­
main as a difficult problem, but even that commodity could be used in
tremendously increased quantities if those in the lower income brack. 1
ets had more money * buy rlnthes bedding, rugs, and other similar
to
clotnes,
g> e >
articles.







39o

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

Hope has been held out during most of my life for scientific prog­
ress in developing new uses for cotton. Great strides have been
made, the automobile tire industry being a notable example. Today,
however, despite efforts to use it in paving roads and for supplying
other needs not widely known to the public, experts have little faith
in further discoveries for its wholesale use. Certain experiments have
been costly, for about the time extensive processing facilities have
been developed, cheaper substitutes have been discovered by the
chemical industry, and the new cotton use has become obsolete.
In my early years with the United States Census, the country
produced most of the world’s cotton crop. Many new piece goods
materials, to say nothing of bedspreads, curtains, and other products,
have come to be made of wood-fiber rayon, all to the detriment of
the commodity which in earlier generations was the basis of our
foreign trade. Added to these changes of taste and habits, is the
fact that Russia, Brazil, and other countries now grow cotton upon
a large scale, and their production is increasing annually. Unless we
can produce a better fiber more cheaply so that we can hold foreign
markets, our export cotton trade is gone.
Agricultural experts are pessimistic over the future prospects for
cotton in the Southeastern part of the United States, being unable to
see at present the possibility of consuming or selling the normal
annual crop. Cotton may thus again prove to be a tragedy for the
South. A sweeping program for new land uses seems to be the most
promising way out for Southern cotton planters. Concerning the
exact nature of these new land uses, opinions differ, and most agri­
cultural experts are either vague or else refuse to commit themselves.
Dairying industries have been suggested, but I fail to see such largely
increased use of dairy products that would enable the eight or ten
cotton states to sustain their farm populations wiihout upsetting or
destroying the dairy industry as it exists in other parts of the United
States, such as Wisconsin and Minnesota, or New England, where
the rugged terrain militates against other types of farming. If, how­
ever, new land uses can be devised, it would be far better as a perma­
nent policy for the Government to spend public funds to initiate them
than to continue the present temporary, pseudo- or semi-conservation
program with its manifest discrimination against other segments of
society.

S E T T I N G O U R H O U S E IN O R D E R

391

For the general improvement of agriculture I suggest consid­
eration of ( 1 ) the possibility of producing superior agricultural prod­
ucts at less cost, thus enabling us to save our foreign markets. Better
crops at less cost can be made, for example, by scientifically improving
seed, and by improving plant resistance to insect damage and other
forms of deterioration. W ork in this direction is being conducted by
the Department of Agriculture along with several outside agencies,
such as Coker’s Pedigreed Seed Company at H artsville, South Caro­
lina. This work, however, needs to be made more extensive in order
to benefit all farmers. In the Southeastern states cotton should be
made more of a surplus crop and the farms operated so as to make
them as nearly self-sustaining as possible. (2) Farm tenancy might
be reduced by fostering longer leases between landlord and tenant to
make tenancy more secure and to reduce soil waste by tenants who
expect to get what they can and move on. Deserving families should
be aided toward farm ownership. (3) Soil improvement should be
fostered and methods of cultivation modernized to improve the qual­
ity and decrease the cost of farm products. (4) Land improvement
and supervised homesteading should be undertaken. (5) There
should be more widespread reforestation. (6) The C.C.C. program
might be expanded. (7) T he food stamp plan might be used more
widely in emergency periods to reduce surpluses and improve the
national nutrition, and morale. (8) A national program might be
started to restore some of the lost prestige of the horse both for work
and as a means of recreation. Horses on the earlier farms consumed
much of the grain and did much of the work which now requires
expense for gasoline and oil. Such a national program might be
instituted through schools, colleges, and recreational organizations.
Recently, for example, a portion of the W ar Department’s appropria­
tion was allocated rt) the keeping of horses for the exercise and recrea­
tion of army aviators. A revival of riding and driving clubs would
be wholesome, healthful, and conducive to a reduction of the huge
national surpluses of grain. (9) A long-range conservation plan
should be carried forward to restore the dust bowl area of the Great
Plains and other denuded areas and to forestall soil erosion generally
in all parts of the nation. (10 ) A master consumer survey to deter­
mine where and why underconsumption exists and its extent, would
serve as a basis for planning ways and means of more widespread







39 2

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

distribution of agricultural production. It should collect such infor­
mation as the number and location of families needing bedclothes,
shoes, clothing, more and better food, etc. ( i i ) Small arts and
crafts, such as basket making, might be encouraged in rural communi­
ties. (12) There should be a gradual liquidation of emergency agri­
cultural relief methods by planning for a permanent, self-sustaining,
and balanced agricultural economy. (13) Further experiments
should be made with co-operatives and cartels for planned marketing
control. (14) Consideration should be given to more rigid restric­
tions upon real estate subdivision, especially in suburban areas, to
bring about the requirement of larger ground plots for an individual
home, thus preventing the creation of new slum areas in the smallhouse sections. (15) Safeguards should be provided against ruthless
mortgage foreclosures. (16) The extensive use of the trade treaty
program of the State Department and the consequent removal of
trade barriers might permit greater outlet for American farmers in
world markets when the world is again at peace. (17) Idle lands
might be utilized by the unemployed to produce for use under gov­
ernment supervision and limitation, especially in times of depression.
Some of these suggestions are theoretical, and should not be con­
sidered for widespread adoption without preliminary experimenta­
tion. Manifestly also, some of the suggestions would be appropriate
for use in an emergency; others would require longer periods for
their application. The failure of the present conservation program
to produce needed permanent improvement in the situation, how­
ever, necessitates new and bold measures to cure our agricultural ills.
v
Some, conscious of dangers in our congested cities, have advocated
a back-to-the-land movement. Others have suggested a decentraliza­
tion of industry, which would convert many extremely large indus­
trial units into small plants located at strategic points of distribution.
This, they believe, would enable a wider distribution of employment
opportunities, effect lower transportation costs in the marketing of
the fabricated products, and enable workers to gain a foothold upon
the land by means of housing projects, thus affording each family
a plot of ground for cultivation. In times of widespread unemploy­
ment, these advocates of industrial decentralization say, the workers

SETTING OUR HOUSE IN ORDER

393

could partially, and in some cases almost wholly, sustain themselves.
Against this theory, key men in the Department of Agriculture de­
clare that we have too many people on the land now. T h e surplus
rural population, they believe, should be put to work in cities.
Personally, I am inclined to hold with the advocates of decen­
tralization. Family life upon the land appeals to me as the natural
life of man. It is a larger, a more healthful life. In the bygone
era, when the family unit was in a larger degree than now self-sus­
taining, many of the economic ills which today perplex us were un­
known. Home and land ownership tend to induce self-respect, con­
tentment, and an appreciation of security. Such home ownership is
largely impossible in congested industrial cities. The lack of home
ownership and the fact that a majority of the people now have to
live in cities are factors which doubtless accelerate our declining birth
rate. M oreover, rents in many cities reflect distended real estate
values caused by ruthless financing, high interest rates, and exorbi­
tant taxation resulting from political inefficiency, greed, and munici­
pal corruption.
Industrial congestion perhaps has a far more adverse influence
upon society than we suspect. Families living in small communities
are welded together by common interests in schools, churches, and
other civic work and enjoy pleasant social intercourse. I recall the
old days in South Carolina, when neighbors used to exchange seeds,
plants, and the like. A few years ago a national community advertis­
ing campaign stressed this neighborliness, emphasizing the fact that
the loan of a cup of sugar or flour was an admirable feature of Amer­
ican community life. M y own period of residence in New York City
gave me ample opportunity to note the contrast between life in a
small community and that which exists in a great city where nextdoor neighbors live side by side without speaking or knowing each
others’ names.
I have dwelt upon this subject because it has long been much in
my mind. I think that we would be a stronger nation if several mil­
lion more Americans were on the land, not as tractor farmers, but
under a plan whereby industry would be co-ordinated with agricul­
ture with housing projects providing each family a piece of ground
upon which its members might produce for use chickens, eggs, and







3 94

F IF T Y YEARS OF PU BLIC L IF E

a garden or add to this program where sanitary safeguards are pos­
sible by keeping a cow and raising hogs.
Technological developments tend more and more to replace in­
dustrial workers with mechanical substitutes. Five hundred thousand
new employables are added to our labor surplus each year, and the
industrial population is coming increasingly to outnumber that living
in rural areas. While the production at home of fruit, vegetables,
and dairy products might initially affect the canning and dairy in­
dustries, decreased subsistence costs for these home producers would
enable them to buy additional quantities of other products, both ag­
ricultural and industrial. There would be a shift in economy, but in
the long run more widespread security, greater social benefits, and
better Americans would result. Middlemen and nonproducers in
the overcrowded service groups might also have to become producers
as the need for their former services diminished. I believe that a
large-scale experiment in the decentralization of industry upon a
semiagricultural basis should be made by the Government, perhaps
in an effort to produce new uses for land in the cotton states.
Another of the vital problems of our time is a more economical
distribution of the products of the world making possible their use
by more people. The United States is now looked to for a plan to
solve this problem and to prevent want and starvation. We can no
longer restrict our thinking to our own borders; we must assist in
thinking and planning for the world.
Underlying the problem of distribution is the question of trans­
portation: speedier transportation for perishable goods and speedier
and cheaper transportation for all materials needed to advance the
industrial and social welfare of the people everywhere. The railroads
of this country have made and are making great progress in im­
proving their equipment and in expediting the transportation of
goods from field and factory. Railroad management needs to look
beyond present improved service. The automobile brought improved
highways and busses and trucks which the railroads could in earlier
stages have controlled and thus have ameliorated competition. They
are now undertaking to correct this oversight, especially the short-line
railroads, in the wake of many years of expensive delay.
The airplane in its earlier stages went through a period of ridi­
cule, as did the automobile. No railroad management conceived of

S E T T I N G O U R H O U S E IN O R D E R

395

the airplane as being more than an expensive toy, or foresaw that
it would offer future serious competition in the transportation of
large numbers of people and large quantities of mail, express, and
freight. The Postal Service very early experimented with this
method of carrying mail, and its expansion in twenty-five years has
been marvelous. A very large percentage of mail is now so carried.
T he carrying of express is also reaching large proportions. Perhaps
the airplane may dip into freight service during the next decade. Rail­
roads might provide their own systems of airplane deliveries as an
adjunct to present operations. Furthermore, in view of the disturbed
condition of the world, making it imperative for this country to
devise ways and means of defense not only for ourselves but for
others, freight-carrying facilities will soon be recognized as a vital
part of the defense program. W ill the railroad management meet
this challenge?
VI

There are as many schemes for the prevention and relief of un­
employment as there are schemers. Economists differ widely upon
both causes and remedial measures. The W agner Social Security
Act was a long forward step toward a national policy. Twenty years
ago, unemployment insurance would have been considered the rank­
est sort of social folderol and would have been looked upon as a
menace to social security, in the belief that it would tend to discourage
people from working. The depression and the agitation of pressure
groups made it a necessity in our time. Although still in the testtube stage, the law seems to be working effectively, affording tem­
porary relief and a breathing spell for those who lose their jobs.
The several states provide varying benefits, the tendency being to
increase both the amounts per week and the number of weeks for
which benefits are paid following proof of unemployment. W ith
the acceleration of the defense program, the national fund has grown
to such proportions that the American Social Security Association now
advocates a reduction of the payroll tax, contending that too large a
sum is being siphoned from American purchasing power.
On the other hand, some economists, fearful of inflation, welcome
this withdrawal, believing that a reduction of the amount of money
in circulation will prove to be a curb against the inflationary trend.
These same economists predict that a duplication of the English com-







396

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

pulsory savings program would contribute further to hold in check
rising prices. Some go so far as to suggest partial payment of wages
in defense stamps or bonds, both as a means of preventing inflation
and of helping to finance defense efforts. I shall attempt no detailed
analysis of this complicated problem. Currency and its fluctuation,
international exchange, and the related money problems are a life
study in themselves. Here we need go no further than the external
manifestations of money problems. The Government, through the
person of Leon Henderson, is already on guard trying to establish
price ceilings (many more must come) in an effort to curb inflation
and to prevent a disastrous price upheaval which would be reflected
throughout our national life if precautionary measures were not
taken. Price control in selected segments will not suffice. It must
extend throughout the entire range from the producer to the con­
sumer and include the freezing of wage scales.
A far greater hazard to our social security system is the possi­
bility, even the likelihood, of social security bankruptcy after the
war however large the fund may become, should we have twenty or
twenty-five million unemployed with no provision made in advance
for their transfer to productive peacetime work. All the riches of
Croesus would not support these millions indefinitely, if the annual
outgo should greatly exceed collections from employers and em­
ployees still working. The question arises whether or not the law
should be changed to permit the conversion of this vast reserve into
an endowment to provide productive jobs for the unemployed instead
of making limited benefit payments which might soon deplete the
fund entirely.
One suggestion is to apply the “ production for use” idea to both
industry and agriculture. At the close of the war, it is to be expected
that there will be numerous idle defense plants in all parts of the
land. The sudden stoppage of defense projects will deflect increas­
ing numbers from production and thus millions may be stinted or
without purchasing power. Would it be possible for the Government
to establish a sort of reconstruction finance corporation for the pur­
pose of producing for the use of the unemployed under restrictions
which would prevent this production from open competition with
the products of private industry? Could such production be utilized
on a diminishing scale in the interval when readjustment and gradual

S E T T I N G O U R H O U S E IN O R D E R

397

economic balance are being achieved, the functions of the emergency
“ producing for use” corporation to be gradually liquidated and re­
stored to private enterprise? There are those who think this possible
and who strongly indorse such a plan. These advocates favor con­
version of the social security funds into such an endowment, arguing
that the larger interest of the nation transcends private rights and
the profits of individuals. Such a safeguard against the possible dis­
asters of reconstruction would require amendment of the social se­
curity law and sagacious planning in advance. The President s com­
mission now planning self-liquidating public works for reconstruction
days might well consider this scheme for co-ordinating idle men, idle
mills, idle machines, and idle lands.
W e should bear in mind that unemployment breeds more unem­
ployment. W hen the Jones family suffers diminished income through
unemployment, the Brown family must curtail production. Each
curtailment of production is a further move toward unemployment.
U p to now, although agriculture has been subsidized, a similar rule
has not been applied to industry. If the consequences of widespread
“ production for use” should be regarded as too hazardous, it might
be possible to experiment with a plan for industrial subsidies which
would make it possible to keep large numbers of the otherwise un­
employed at work in private industry. Under a plan of supervised
capitalism, a term used here as one definition for our own, the profit
system enters into distress unless there are exports, unless there is a
regulated currency, or unless there is a purchasing power which
springs from some source other than the payro 0 a or.
There is no instance of a prosperous, self-sustaining state without
external trade since the industrial revolution and the advent of the
machine. Our pioneers flourished in America through a system of
frontier barter, but early in our economy we began to export com­
modities and our seaport cities used gold and silver as the media for
exchange. Production for use would entail some form of barter. If
it should be considered prejudicial to national recovery in a time o
depression, or if experiments should disclose evils, not now foreseen,
the Government’s only alternative for sustaining the economy by
other means than public works and direct relief would be a partial
subsidization of industry, the maintenance of standard wage levels,
a drastic curtailment of profits, and ingenious foreign trade polices







398

FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC LIFE

to insure our share of world markets. China and the rest of the Far
East, Africa, and some parts of South America are potential users of
many of the industrial products of civilization. If ways can be pro­
vided for enabling these peoples to pay for them, exports of our
surpluses may be possible at the close of the war. We need not look
too closely at the markets of Central Europe, since this area of the
world is highly industrialized, and with rare exceptions, American
labor cannot compete with their prevalent lower wages and standards
of living. The labor condition, of course, is also true of the countries
of the Far East. That part of the world, however, offers great post­
war trade possibilities. In the interests of the good neighbor policy
we should plan a program for the post-war era that will recognize
China and Japan with immigration quotas, thus bringing them into
the general area of international recognition. Elihu Root, one of the
greatest American statesmen of my time, made a valuable suggestion
when he said: “ America should strive to be known for her distin­
guished courtesies.”
Direct relief and public works, although the latter is infinitely
the better of the two, keep their recipients too near bare subsistence
and do not create more employment because they do not raise the
purchasing power sufficiently to stimulate general production. A
family existing upon either cannot afford the commodities which have
made America famous throughout the world and have distinguished
us for having higher standards of living. This is why pump prim­
ing will not suffice as a permanent policy.
There should be earnest consideration of these complicated eco­
nomic problems— in reality one problem with various facets, each
interrelated to the other— by every American citizen and more par­
ticularly by those in institutions of higher learning. It would not
be fantastic for the Government to consider the establishment of a
central economic research bureau for the purposes of a general plan­
ning and co-ordination of research with respect to particular phases
of our economy now unrelated. For example, certain planning and
economic theories of the Department of Agriculture may not have
quite enough regard for their effect upon labor or management or
taxation. A central economic research bureau might be of invaluable
aid to the President and the Congress. It could serve as a clearing­
house for independent economic plans. When a Dr. Townsend, a

S E T T IN G O U R H O U S E IN O R D E R

399

Father Coughlin, or even an Upton Sinclair flared in the headlines,
this central research bureau would make an analysis of their offerings.
Economists and scientists would have a place to which to turn with
their complicated ideas ranging from the ravages of the boll weevil
to the harmful effects of pernicious advertising. Such a central eco­
nomic unit, manned by young and virile students of the national
problems and advised by well-seasoned economic experts, might
guide us toward the secret of economic independence. M ore impor­
tant, it might save us from the fate of nations which have failed to
solve their economic problems and have thus fallen prey to the fads
and fallacies against which we should defend ourselves.
V II

Other things being equal, wars are won by morale, not mere
military morale, but also the morale of all those who supply the
armed forces. There is no intention to present here a patriotic dia­
tribe. Emotional appeals have their value in the proper place at an
appropriate time. In perhaps the best educated nation of the world,
many demand reason instead of appeals to their emotions. In recent
days it has frequently been charged that we lack the national morale
for the effort which the circumstances demand. Sociologists point
out that we have millions of new Americans who have come to
this country in recent decades. I am sure that we were far too lax in
the days of unrestricted immigration both in our requirements for
admission to the country and later for citizenship. I doubt that our
requirements under the more selective quota system, which went into
effect with the closed door in 1924, were sufficiently rigid to uphold
the standards desirable in the national interest. Most foreign coun­
tries maintain central bureaus of personal intelligence, and it would
not have been difficult to adhere to a plan of considerably greater
investigation before granting final citizenship, even though this
might not have been possible upon the immigrant’s entrance to the
country. Suffice it to say, we did not do this, and we paid a part of
the price in deportation to an extent unparalleled in the practice of
nations. Our recent requirement of registration divulged the alarm­
ing fact that we now have about five million aliens in the United
States. Granted that part of them legitimately and earnestly desire
citizenship, all the others involve potential dangers.







400

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

Since the mere memorizing of the names of the Presidents, re­
peating the pledge to the Flag, and answering the stock questions of
immigration and naturalization officers, in addition to a record of
having committed but one major crime in America, are the total
qualifications for citizenship when the prescribed time limit has ex­
pired, it is not difficult to see that all American citizens are not good
Americans. Dangers from these pseudo-Americans have been re­
vealed by the investigations of the Dies Committee and the findings
of the Department of Justice. Each major revelation, unless counter­
acted by direct government action, serves as a psychological deter­
rent to the uplift of American morale.
Lest I be misunderstood, I should like to declare emphatically
that some of the finest Americans I have ever seen have been men
and women born upon foreign soil. It is to this type that we must
appeal now for leadership among their fellow racials, who, either
through indifference or lack of opportunity, have failed to gain ade­
quate comprehension of the American way and, consequently, m
ayfall easy prey to the falsehoods and pernicious propaganda of dicta­
tors and their American Quislings. Among the less-informed or mis­
guided immigrants and aliens, we would do well now to wage a
vigorous campaign of education, emphasizing the privileges of a free
people as compared with the slavery of totalitarianism. The fusion
of the melting pot has ever been a source of American strength and
vigor, but great danger lurks in the divided loyalty of peoples who
came to our shores with mental reservations, or merely for financial
reasons without any intention of eventual citizenship, and those who
are unassimilable because they live in segregation, resenting efforts to
assimilate them and scoffing at such cherished American ideals as
freedom of religion and freedom of the press.
I am here reminded of the conversation between the President
and Maxim Litvinov, former Russian Commissar of Foreign Affairs,
when the latter was pleading for recognition of Russia by this coun­
try. The President was insisting that Americans living in Russia as
well as other minorities be guaranteed the right to worship after the
dictates of their conscience. Litvinov replied in substance: “ We can
take care of that later. Let us come to agreement about the diplo­
matic and trade relations. After that is approved we can take up
religion.” “ No,” the President firmly countered. “ We will settle

S E T T I N G O U R H O U S E IN O R D E R

401

the religious question first.” Litvinov then scornfully laughed, mak­
ing a deprecatory remark about religion in general— something in
line with the Soviet slogan that “ religion is the opium of the people.”
A t this slur upon religion, the President grew rigid and said: “ So
you don’t believe in God?” Litvinov laughed and made a gesture of
ridicule. T h e President then regarded him gravely and said: “ Five
minutes before you die you’ll change your mind.”
I believe that a defense league should be organized in cities, block
by block and house by house, with the same thorough canvass of the
rural routes and communities. This informal census and the ac­
quaintances it would provide at periodical meetings arranged for
civilian co-ordination would in itself be a checkmate upon Fifth
Column activities. It would enable community and block leaders to
know who is who. T he attitude of an individual toward “ A Better
American” campaign would not be a mean barometer of his loyalty.
I favor such a campaign now in the belief that in addition to its
effect upon the immigrant and the alien it would serve well for many
who were born here.
I favor supervision for the period of the war of all foreign lan­
guage newspapers and Communist and other publications antagonistic
to American ideals. Nor do I think it would be going too far ta
enact legislation imposing penalties upon them for violation of the
regulatory measures prescribed by the supervising body. A commit­
tee of Post Office Inspectors would be the ideal administrative body
to enforce such legislation.
W e are becoming more conscious of the nation s need to arrest
physical and moral decadence and to build strong men and women
to combat the forces that lie in wait to destroy us from within and
from without. Hence it is that American bakers have agreed to add
iron and Vitamin B i to our national diet by placing these ingredients
in bread. The measure is advised by scientists as a means of heighten­
ing morale. Vitamin Br is new to many of us, but we talked about
iron when I was a boy. W hat effect the equivalent of one nail in
each loaf will have upon the morale remains to be seen. Neverthe­
less, in a spiritual sense we need iron and iron men as never before.
Ours is the fateful last stand of democracy. W e are the hope of
those who would be free in every quarter of the earth. Accordingly,
we need to be strong as individuals; as strong upon the home front







402

F I F T Y Y E A R S O F P U B L IC L IF E

as in the first line of battle. We must not be guilty of the smugness
of France and Norway and Denmark, nor should we listen to ap­
peasers who would have us emulate the course of Flolland and Bel­
gium. We have a defense program for a purpose, and that purpose
is to save the American way. Morale in the highest and finest degree
will be necessary to save it against Hitler, the most dangerous enemy
who has ever threatened the existence of free men.
Surely, the example of the courageous Finns, the Poles who went
to certain death, the Yugoslavs who refused to compromise, and the
valiant Greeks who surpassed their most historic traditions by re­
sistance to the last ditch, shall not have been in vain. And if we need
a further example of morale, let us take a lesson from the “ blood,
sweat and toil and tears” of England, fighting in her streets and amid
the shambles of her homes— declaring the monster may kill but he
shall never conquer her.
Under all tragic conditions in human affairs, “ Man’s extremity is
God’s opportunity.” So I close my book with this emphasis on the
truth in the following quotation from Henry Adams, “After all, man
knows very little, but may some day learn enough of his own ignor­
ance to fall down and pray.”

29#E83B8SSK8!

Appendices
a p p en d ix a

Staff Officers of Department of Commerce, 1933-1938
Secretary of Commerce: Daniel C. Roper.
Assistant Secretary: John Dickinson, Ernest G. Draper, Richard C. Patterson.
Assistant Secretary: Ewing Y. Mitchell, J. M. Johnson.
Administrative Assistant to the Secretary: Malcolm Kerlin.
Transportation Assistant: Labert St. Clair.
Assistant to the Secretary: Chester H. McCall, Ashley Sowell, Aubrey C. Mills,
Miller C. Foster.
Secretary to the Secretary: Margie G. Renn.
Solicitor: South Trimble, Jr.
Assistant Solicitor: James J. O’Hara.
Assistant to the Solicitor: E. T. Quigley.
Chief Clerk and Superintendent: E. W. Libbey.
Chief, Division of Accounts: Charles E. Molster.
Chief, Division of Personnel: Edward J. Gardner.
Chief, Division of Publications: Thomas F. McKeon.
Chief, Division of Purchases and Sales: Walter S. Erwin.
Librarian: Charlotte L. Carmody.
Director of Air Commerce: Eugene L. Vidal, Fred D. Fare. Jr., Dents Mulhgan.
Director of the Census: William L. Austin.
Director: Bureau Foreign & Domestic Commerce: Claudius T. Murchison, Alexander
V. Dye.
Director, National Bureau of Stantfards: Lyman J. Briggs.
Commissioner, Bureau of Fisheries. Frank T. Bell.
Commissioner, Bureau of Lighthouses: George R. Putnam, Harold D Ktng.
Director, Coast & Geodetic Survey: R. S. Patton, Admiral L. O. Colbert.
Director, Bureau of Marine Inspection It Navigation : [ A ^ a te D,rectors A. J.
Tyrcr, D. N. Hoover,] Joseph B. Weaver, Commander Rtchard S. Field.
Commissioner, Patent Office: Conway P. Coe.
Publicity: Harry Daniel.







404

APPENDICES
A P P E N D IX B

A list of the nam and addresses of the m who served on the Busi­
es
en
ness Advisory Council of the Departm of Com erce from the date of
ent
m
organization in 1933 t0 ^ date of m resignation as Secretary of Com­
y
m in 1938 follows:
erce
F. B. Adam Chairm of the Executive Com ittee, Air Reduction Co., 60 East
s,
an
m
42d Street, New York, New York.
W
inthrop W. Aldrich, Chairm Board of Directors, The Chase National Bank,
an,
18 Pine Street, New York, New York.
Shreve M. Archer, President, Archer-Daniels-M
idland Co., M
inneapolis, M
innesota.
W L. Batt, President of SKF Industries, Inc., Front Street and Erie Avenue,
.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Jam F. Bell, Chairm of the Board, General Mills, Inc., M
es
an
inneapolis, M
innesota.
M. L. Benedum President, Benedum Trees Oil Co., Benedum Trees Building, Pitts­
,
burgh, Pennsylvania.
John D. Biggers, President, Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Co., Toledo, Ohio.
Jam F. Brownlee, President, Frankfort Distilleries, Inc., Louisville, Kentucky.
es
Joseph H. Callan, 321 Park Hill Drive, San Antonio, Texas.
C. A. Cannon, President, Cannon Mills Co., Kannapolis, North Carolina.
W Dale Clark, President, The Om National Bank, Om
.
aha
aha, N
ebraska.
W L. Clayton, Deputy Federal Loan Adm
inistrator, Federal Loan Agency, W
ash­
ington, D. C.
Karl T. Com
pton, President, M
assachusetts Institute of Technology, Cam
bridge,
M
assachusetts.
W. Howard Cox, President, The Union Central Life Insurance Co., Cincinnati
Ohio.
W . H. Danforth, Chairm of the Board, Ralston Purina Co., St. Louis, M
m
an
issouri.
F. B. Davis, Jr., President, U
nited States Rubber Co., 1230 Sixth Avenue, New
York, New York.
W . N. Davis, Vice-President, Phillips Petroleum Co., Bartlesville, Oklahom
m
a.
H
enry S. Dennison, President, D
ennison Manufacturing Co., Fram
ingham M
, assachusetts.
R. R. Deupree, President, The Proctor & Gam Co., Cincinnati, Ohio.
ble
W C. Dickerm President, Am
m.
an,
erican Locom
otive Co., 30 Church Street, New
York, New York.
Thomas A. Dines, President, The U
nited States National Bank, Denver, Colorado.
Ernest G. Draper, M ber of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Sys­
em
tem W
, ashington, D. C.
Robert J. Dunham ijoo Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois.
,
Gano Dunn, President, The J. G. W
hite Engineering Corporation, 8 Broad Street,
0
New York, New York.
Pierre S. DuPont, Chairm
an, E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., W
ilmington, Delaware.

A P P E N D IC E S

405

Lucius R. Eastman, President, The Hills Brothers Company, no Washington Street,
New York, New York.
Robert G. Elbert, 599 Madison Avenue, New York, New York.
John B. Elliott, Vice-President, Jameson Petroleum Co., 900 Spring Street, Los
Angeles, California.
W. Y. Elliott, Department of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa­
chusetts.
John H. Fahey, Chairman, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Washington, D. C.
Philip J. Fay, Nichols & Fay, Merchants Exchange Building, San Francisco, Cali­
fornia.
Lincoln Filene, Chairman of the Board, Win. Filene’s Sons Co., Boston, Massachu­
setts.
T. Austin Finch, President, Thomasville Chair Company, Thomasville, North Caro­
lina.
Ralph E. Flanders, President, Jones & Lainson Machine Co., Springfield, Vermont.
Robert V. Fleming, President, The Riggs National Bank, Washington, D. C.
J. F. Fogarty, Chairman of the Executive & Finance Committee, The North Amer­
ican Co., New York, New York.
M. B. Folsom, Treasurer, Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York.
Clarence Francis, President, General Foods Corporation, 250 Park Avenue, New
York, New York.
James D. Francis, President, Island Creek Coal Co., Huntington, West Virginia.
H. B. Friele, Vice-President, The Nakat Packing Corporation, Dexter Horton Build­
ing, Seattle, Washington.
Walter S. Gifford, President, American Telephone and Telegraph Co., 195 Broadwav, New York, New York.
A. P. Greensfelder, President, Fruin-Colnon Construction Co., Merchants-Laclede
Building, St. Louis, Missouri.
Lew Hahn, General Manager, National Retail Dry Goods Association, 101 West
Thirty-first Street, New York, New York.
Rolland J. Hamilton, Secretary & Treasurer, American Radiator & Standard Sani­
tary Corp., 40 West 40th Street, New York, New York.
Thomas S. Hammond, President, Whiting Corporation, Harvey, Illinois.
Henry I. Harriman, Division of Metropolitan Planning, New England Power Build­
ing, 441 Stuart Street, Boston, Massachusetts.
W. A. Harriman, Chairman of the Board, Union Pacific Railroad Co., New York,
New York.
Henry H. Heimann, Executive Manager, National Association of Credit Men, One
Park Avenue, New York, New York.
Wetmore Hodges, Jumping Horse Stock Ranch, Ennis, Montana.
Charles R. Hook, President, The American Rolling Mill Co., Middletown, Ohio.
George F. Johnson, President, Endicott Johnson Corporation, Endicott, New York.
Frank C. Jones, President, The Okonite Company, 501 Fifth Avenue, New York,
New York.







406

APPENDICES

W
illiam A. Julian, The Treasurer of the U
nited States, W
ashington, D. C.
H. P. Kendall, President, The Kendall Company, 140 Federal Street, Boston, M
assa­
chusetts.

Fred I. Kent, Treasurer, National Industrial Conference Board, 100 Broadway, New
York, New York.
C. F. Kettering, General Manager, Research Laboratories Division, General M
otors
Corporation, 485 W Milwaukee Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.
est
de Lancey Kountze, Chairm of the Board, Devoe and Raynolds Co., Inc., 44th
an
Street and First Avenue, New York, New York.
Morris E. Leeds, Chairm of the Board, Leeds & Northrup Co., 4901 Stenton
an
Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
C. K. Leith, Departm of Geology, University of W
ent
isconsin, M
adison, W
isconsin.
Fred J. Lingham, President, Federal Mill, Inc., Lockport, New York.
Paul W Litchfield, President, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 1144 East M
.
arket
Street, Akron, Ohio.
Arthur W. Little, Chairm J. J. Little & Ives Co., 435 East 24th Street, New
an,
York, New York.
Robert L. Lund, Executive Vice-President, Lam
bert Pharm
acal Com
pany, St. Louis,'
M
issouri.
Earl M. M
cGovvin, Vice-President, W T. Sm Lum Com
.
ith
ber
pany, Inc., Chapm
an,
Alabam
a.
Thomas H. M
clnnerney, President, National Dairy Products Corp., 230 Park Ave­
nue, New York, New York.
Geo. H M
. ead, President, M Corporation, 131 North Ludlow Street, Dayton,
ead
Ohio.
D. M . Nelson, Executive Vice-President, Sears, Roebuck and Co., Chicago, Illinois.

J. C. Nichols, Chairm of Board, J. C. Nichols Investm Co., 310 W Park­
an
ent
ard
way, Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, M
issouri.
Lionel J. Noah, Stam
ford, Connecticut.
Jam H. Rand, Jr., Chairm of the Board, Rem
es
an
ington Rand, Inc., 315 Fourth
Avenue, New York, New York.
John J. Raskob, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.
Kermit Roosevelt, President, Roosevelt Line, One Broadway, New York, New York.

Edward L. Ryerson, Jr., Chairm Joseph T. Ryerson & Son, Inc., Chicago, Illinois.
an,
H. R. Safford, Executive Vice-President, M
issouri Pacific Lines, H
ouston, Texas.
Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., Chairm of the Board, General M
an
otors Corp., 1775 Broad­
way, New York, New York.
George A. Sloan, 60 Broadway, New York, New York.
E. T. Stannard, President, Kennecott Copper Corp., 120 Broadway, New York,
New York.
E. R. Stettinius, Jr., Director, Priorities Division, O of Production M
ffice
anagem
ent,
W
ashington, D. C.
R. Douglas Stuart, Vice-President, The Quaker Oats Co., 141 W
est Jackson Boule­
vard, Chicago, Illinois.

A P P E N D IC E S

407

Gerard Swope, General Electric Co., 570 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York.
Myron C. Taylor, Director, United States Steel Corp., 71 Broadway, New York,
New York.
Walter C. Teagle, Chairman of the Board, Standard Oil Company (N. J.), 30
Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York.
C. C. Teague, President, California Fruit Growers Exchange, Los Angeles, Cali­
fornia.
J. T. Trippe, President, Pan American Airways System, Chrysler Building, New
York, New York.
Edmond C. Van Diest, President, General Service Corp., Colorado Springs, Colorado.
W. J. Vereen, President, Riverside Manufacturing Company, Moultrie, Georgia.
Thomas J. Watson, President, International Business Machines Corp., 590 Madison
Avenue, New York, New York.
Sidney J. Weinberg, Partner, Goldman, Sachs & Co., 30 Pine Street, New York,
New York.
S. P. Wetherill, President, Wetherill Engineering Co., 1402 Morris Building, Phila­
delphia, Pennsylvania.
R. M. Weyerhaeuser, Chairman, Board of Directors, Northwest Paper Co., First
National Bank Building, St. Paul, Minnesota.
W. H. Wheeler, Jr., President, Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter Co., Stamford, Con­
necticut.
A. D. Whiteside, President, Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., 290 Broadway, New York,
New York.
S. Clay Williams, Chairman, Board of Directors, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
R. E. Wood, Chairman of the Board, Sears, Roebuck and Co., Chicago, Illinois.
R. W. Woodruff, Chairman of the Board, The Coca-Cola Co., 101 West 10th
Street, Wilmington, Delaware.
W illia m E . W o o d w a rd , 410 East 57th Street, N ew Y o r k , N ew Y o r k .







Index
Abbot, Willis J., 323
Abbott, Lyman, 205
Adams, Charles F., Secretary of the
Navy, 239
Adams, F. B., 404
Adams, Henry, 402
Adams, Thomas S., 174
Adamson Eight Hour Law, 151, 153
Africa, 75, 204, 274, 339, 398
Agricultural Adjustment Administra­
tion (A.A.A.), 317
Agricultural problems, 41, 206, 234
n., 237, 279, 281, 294, 316, 335,
3+o, 344, 363, 370, 382, 387392. S ee Agricultural Adjustment
Administration; American Farm
Bureau Federation; Back-to-theland movement; Farm Relief Act;
Farmers’ Alliance; Federal Farm
Bureau; Federal Farm Credit Ad­
ministration; Federal Land Bank
Act
Alaska, 142, 215, 218, 274, 305-314,
328, 352, 358
A lc o h o l and the drin k habit, 36-37,
54-55, 72-73. S e e D ispensary sys­
tem ; E ighteenth A m endm ent; P ro ­
hibition

Aldrich, Winthrop W., 404
Aleutian Islands, 3x2
Allen, Henry, Senator, 239
Allen, John, Congressman, 78-79
Allen, William V., Senator, 67
Allison, William B., Senator, 67
Alsace-Lorraine, 203
American Association of Creamery
Butter Manufacturers, 298 n.
American Automobile Association,
298 n.
American Farm Bureau Federation,
298 n.
Am erican Federation o f L ab or, 297
n., 299, 344. S e e Labor
[-




American Medical Association, 189
American Petroleum Association,
298 n.
American Rolling Mills Association,
298 n.
American Warehousemen’s Associa­
tion, 298 n.
Ames, Blanche Butler, 65
Andre, Major, 16, 60-61
Annapolis, Md., U. S. Naval Acad­
emy at, 97, 221, 247
Anslinger, H. J., 187 n.
Anti-Saloon League, 192
Aranha, Brazilian Foreign Minister,

343

Archer, Shreve M., 404
Argentina, 144, 326, 344, 348
Argonne Forest, Battle of, 221
Arlington National Cemetery, 106,
227
Armenia, 206
Armour, Norman, 354
Ashley, “Citizen Josh” W., 52-53
Ashley Hall, 43
Ashurst, Henry F., Senator, 295
Associated Coffee Industries of Amer­
ica, 298 n.
Athletic contests, commercialized,
243; value of, 25. S e e Olympic
team
A t la n t a C o n s t it u t io n , 40
Audubon, John James, 252
Austin, William L., 403
Austin, Z. H., 157-158
Austria, 121, 199, 203, 338
Autograph collecting, 71-72
Axson, Stockton, 156
Back-to-the-land

392-394

movement,

Bailes, “Squire,” 117
Baker, James M., 148, 174, 376
Baker, Lawrence A., 148

335,




410

IN D E X

Baker, Newton D., Secretary of War,
259-260, 291, 324, 376
Ballantine, Arthur A., 174
Ballou, Frank W., 253
Baltim and Ohio Railroad, 60
ore
Bank holiday of 1933, 272
Banks, Roosevelt’s plan for reform
of, 281. See Federal Deposit In­
surance; Federal Reserve System
Bankhead, Henry M., 352-353
Bankhead, John H., Senator, 126
Baptist Church, 32
Barnum P. T., 71, 93
,
Barrett, a preacher, 75-76
Barton, Clara, 65
Baruch, B. M., 20
8
Baruch, H. B., 20
8
Bascot, in S. C. legislature, 53
Bate, William B., Senator, 66
Batt, W. L., 404
Belgian Congo, 204
Belgium, 197, 203-204, 334, 402
Belknap, Mrs. “Puss,” 65
Bell, Alexander Graham, 92
Bell, Frank T., 313, 403
Bell, Golden, 273
Bell, Jam F., 404
es
Benedum M. L., 404
,
Berm
uda Islands, 197
Bertram S. R., 175
,
Bethune, Mrs., 71
Beveridge, Albert J., Senator, 8
2
Bicycle lobby, 58
Biggers, John D., 404
Bim
etallism See Election of 1896;
.
Bryan, William Jennings; Free
silver; Sherm Silver Purchase
an
Act
Bingham, Robert W., Am
bassador,
328-329, 331
Bingham, Mrs. Robert W., 329-330
Bism
arck, Otto Eduard Leopold,
Prince von, 71
Black, Loring, 148
Blackstone, Sir William, 250, 331
Bland, Richard P., Congressm 74,
an,
8
3
Bland, S. O., Congressm 273
an,
Blease, Cole, 53
Bohem 220. See Czecho-Slovakia
ia,
Bohn, Mrs. Frank, 255 n.
Bolshevism 198. See Com unism
,
m
Borah, William E., Senator, 213-214,
23G 239
Boston Tea Party, 164

Bowdoin College, 97, 247
“Brain Trusters,” 282
Brazil, 144, 326, 329, 343*344. 39°
Breeden, Jam B., 37-38
es
Brennan, George, 210
Brest-Litovsk Treaty, 20
3
Brice, Calvin S., Senator, 8
0
Brick Manufacturers Association of
the United States, 298 n.
Briggs, Lyman J., 403
Bright, J. D., 57
Brisbane, Arthur, 196-197, 223
British Columbia, 308, 314
British Honduras, 70
Brockdorff-Rantzau, Count von, 20
2
Brookings, Robert S., 169
Brooks, Urey, 55
Brown, Mrs. Isetta Jewell, 223
Brown, Walter, Postm
aster General,
238-239
Brownell, D. C., 311
Brownlee, Jam F., 404
es
Brownlow, Walter Preston, Congress­
m 106
an,
Bruning, Heinrich, 325
Brundage, A very, 328, 332
Bryan, W illiam Jennings, Congress­
man and Secretary of State, 74,

80-81, 83-89, 91, 94, 126, 133134, 141, 144, 210, 223-229, 376
Bryce, Jam Viscount, 331
es,
Bulgaria, 199, 326, 338
Burbank, Luther, 205
Bureau of Air Com erce, 274
m
Bureau of the Census, 106-119, 123>

274

Bureau of Federal Roads, 58
Bureau of Fisheiies, 274
Bureau of Foreign and Dom
estic
Com erce, 274, 325
m
Bureau of Internal Revenue, 172i95. 274, 320, 346
Burleson, Albert Sidney, Congress­
m 118-119, I23 128, 131, 134an,
>
135. 141*142, 145, 164, i 77, 37<
5
Burroughs, John, 65, 20
5
Business Advisory Council, Depart­
ment of Commerce, 283-285, 304,

321, 346-347, 404-407
Butler, Andrew Pickens, Senator, 68
Butler, Matthew C., Senator, 55-58,

61-62, 66, 68-70, 78-79, 81, 93,
106, 376
Butler, Nicholas Murray, President
of Columbia University, 284

IN D E X

Byrd, Harry, Senator, 293
Byrnes, James F., Senator, 265
Cabinet, workings of under Franklin
D. Roosevelt, 287-297
Call, Wilkinson, Senator, 66
Callan, Joseph H., 173-175* i&G
216, 4.0
4
Camden, Johnson N., Senator, 61
Cameron, J. Donald, Senator, 68-69
Cameron, Simon, Senator, 68-69
Camp, Walter, 168-169
Canada, 93, 192, 278-279, 344, 351369
Cannon, C. A., 404
Cannon, Joseph G., Speaker, 125,
194
Capone, Al, 179, 235
Cardoza, B. N., Associate Justice,
270
Carlisle, James Henry, President of
Wofford College, 22-27, 31, 136,
252* 3 7 7

Carmody, Charlotte L., 403
Carnegie, Andrew, 120, 124
Carolina Central Railroad, 21
Carr, W. P., 90
Carranza, Venustiano, 143-144
Carusi, Charles F., 251
Catholic Church. See Roman Cath­
olic Church
Central Statistical Committee, 283
Century of Progress Exposition, 306
Chadbourne, Thomas L., 155, 207208, 210, 223, 230
Chamber of Commerce of the United
States, 298-299, 316
Channel Islands, 204
Charleston earthquake, 28-29
Chase, Kate, 65
Child labor, 151, 281, 322
Childs, L. D., 53
Chile, 144, 348
China, 201, 311, 398
Christian Science Monitor, 323
Christie, Loring C., 360, 363
Church, 15, 241-244, 370, 373. See
Baptist Church; Episcopal Church;
Methodist Church; Presbyterian
Church; “Protracted” meeting;
Roman Catholic Church
Churchill, Winston, 298
Civil service reform, 68, 71, 75, 129,
385
C iv ilia n Conservation Corps ( C .C .C .) ,

282, 289, 317, 391




4H

Clark, A. C., 97
Clark, Champ, Speaker, 81, 126-127,
2 3 G 259
C la rk , W . D a le, 404
C la y Products Institute, 298 n.
C layton A n ti-T ru st Act, 143
C layto n , W . L ., 404
Clem enceau, G eorges Eugene B e n ja ­
m in, 199, 201-202, 204, 228
Clemens, Sam uel L .
See T w a in ,
M a rk

Clemson Agricultural and Mechani­
cal College, 41
C levelan d , G rover, President o f the
United States, 41, 50, 57, 66-68,

70-71, 73-75, 77, 80-81, 83, 94,
124, 231, 235
Coast and Geodetic Survey, 274
Coast Guard, 306
Coe, Conway P., 403
Coker, David R., 163, 376
Coker, May Roper (Mrs. David R.),
163, 255 n., 358. See Roper, May
Colbert, L. O., Admiral, 403
Colleges, 243. See Universities;
nam of various colleges and uni­
es
versities
C olqu itt, A lfre d H ., Senator, 66
Colum bia U niversity, 296
Com m ittee fo r Industrial O rga n iza ­
tion, 344-345. See L ab or
Com m ittee on R egu lation , Pure F ood
and D r u g A ct, 283
C om m odity

E xchan ge

Com m ission,

283
Communism, 94, 401. See Bolshevism
Compton, Karl T., 404
Conservation, of public lands, 77;
of soil, 392. See Agricultural Ad­
justment Administration; Agricul­
tural problems; Soil conservation
program
Coolidge, Calvin, President of the
United States, 209, 215, 217-218,
^ 226, 230, 232, 239, 294
Cortelyou, George B., 67-68
Costigan, Edward P., 164
Cotton, 7, 10, 14, 38, 40, 66, 109^ 124, 129, 231, 370, 389-390, 394
Coughlin, Father Charles E., 399
Council for National Defense, 283
Covington family, 5
Covington, James M., 52
Covington, “Uncle Peter,” 116




41 2
Cowan, John K., 60
Cowpens, Battle of, 25
Cox, Jam M., 210, 267
es
Cox, W. Howard, 404
Coxey’s Army, 77
Cramer, Stuart W., 174
Crisp, Charles F., Congressm 74an,

75

Crockett, Davy, 20
Crowell, John Franklin, President of
Trinity College, 29-30, 377
Crowley, Lee, 290
Cuba, 100, 104-105
Cuddihy, Robert J., 180
Culbertson, William S., 164
Cum ings, Hom S., Attorney Gen­
m
er
eral, 150, 155, 160, 270-271, 292293, 295
Currie, Daniel J., 35-36
Cutting, Bronson, Senator, 239
Czecho-Slovakia, 203, 326, 338. See
Bohem
ia
Dade, John W., 72-73, 100
Danforth, W H., 404
m.
Daniel, Harry, 403
Daniels, Josephus, Secretary of the
Navy, 144, 196-197
Daugherty, Harry, Attorney General,
217
Davis, E. L., Congressm 274
an,
Davis, F. B., Jr., 404
Davis, Jam J., Secretary of Labor,
es
239
Davis, John W., 169, 225-226, 230
Davis, W N., 404
m.
Davison, Henry P., 205
Dean, Dr., 27
Debts, post-war international, 206
Defense Program, 282, 381-384
Democratic Convention, of 1896, 8486; of 1912, 127, 259; of 1916,
145; °f 1920, 209-210; of 1924,
218-219, 222-225, 231, 259; of
1928, 230-232; of 1932, 256-261,
293
Denby, Edwin, Secretary of the Navy,
217
Denmark, 115, 402
Dennison, Henry S., 404
Dern, George H., Secretary of War,
270, 292, 376
Deupree, R. R., 404
Dewey, George, Admiral, 105-106
Diaz, Porfirio, 143

Dickerman, W C., 404
m.
Dickinson, C. C., 137-138
Dickinson, John, 274, 297, 403
Dies Com ittee, 400
m
Dietrich, Otto, 366
Dill, C. C., Senator, 273
Dines, Thomas A., 404
Dispensary system operation of, in
,
South Carolina, 54-55, 107
Disraeli, Benjamin, 331
District of Columbia School Board,
251
“Dixie,” 69
Dodd, W. E., 334-335
Dodds, Harold W., 280
Dodge Brothers, 181-182
Doheny, Edward L., 213, 217-219
Donahue, Jam 44-45
es,
Donovan, William J., Colonel, 237238, 240
Douglas, L. W ., 268
Draper, Ernest G., 403-404
Drew University, 254
Drummond, Sir Eric, 201
Duke, Benjamin N., 30
Duke, James B., 3
0
Duke University, 30, 97, 247. See
T rin ity College
Duke, Washington, 30
Dunham, Robert J., 404
Dunn, Arthur W ., 81-82
Dunn, Gano, 404
DuPont family, 232
DuPont, Pierre S., 404
Dye, Alexander V., 403

Early, Stephen, 323
East Prussia, 202
Eastm Joseph B., 273
an,
Eastm Lucius R., 405
an,
Eccles, Marion, 290
Econom Club of Detroit, 278-279
ic
Edgefield, S. C., A d v ertiser , 48
Edgerton, Jam A., 158
es
Education, survey of changes in, and
purposes of, 251-255. See Col­
leges; Roper, Daniel C., elem
en­
tary education of; Universities;
names o f various c o lleg es and u n i­
versities

Edward VII, King of England, 330
Edward VIII, King of England, 328329
Eighteenth Amendment, 190, 2092X , 230, 232-233, 261-262. See
0
Election o f 1928; Prohibition

■ ■

IN D E X

Eisenhour, M. S., 389
Elbert, Robert G., 405
Election, of 1876, 46; of 1888, 41;
of 1892, 50, 66; of 1896, 86, 91,
94; of 1912) 126-127; of 1916,
145-162, 207, 248, 293, 322, 334;
of 1920, 208-211, 267, 364; of
1924, 225-226; of 1928, 233-234,
237> 256; of 1932, 261-265, 323*
324. S e e Democratic Convention;
Republican Convention
Eliot, Charles William, President of
Harvard University, 141
Elizabeth, Queen of England, 351357, 359-363» 365
Elliott, John B., 405
Elliott, W. Y., 405
Ellis Island, 1 49
Emergency Relief Law, 317
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 82, 252
Emmett, Daniel D., 69
England, 86, 109, 112-114, 120-122,
249. 3I2> 328-332, 337, 340, 356,
360, 369, 402. S e e Great Britain
English, Mr., 353
Episcopal Church, 105, 170
Erwin, Walter S., 403
Erzberger, Mathias, 203-204
Evans, Choice, 24
Evans, John A., 102-103
Ever Normal Granary, 389
Excess Profits Tax, 174, 182
Export-Import Bank, 283
Fagg, Fred D., Jr., 403
Fahey, John H., 290, 405
Fairbanks, Richard, 139
Fall, Albert B., Secretary of the In­
terior, 217-218, 238
Fanning, David, 255 n.
Farley, James A., Postmaster Gen­
eral, 270, 293
Farm Board, 234
Farm Loan Bank Act, 322
Farm Relief Act, 317-318
Farmers’ Alliance, 41, 50-51, 75, 80,
141, 150, 387
Fay, Philip J., 405
Fechner, Robert, 289
Federal Board of Vocational Educa­
tion, 283
Federal Deposit Insurance, 290
Federal Emergency Administration
of Public Works, 283




413

Federal Farm Bureau, 284
Federal Farm Credit Administration,
3i 9
Federal Housing Administration, 290
Federal Land Bank Act, 143
Federal Reserve System, 142, 150,
290, 317. 322
Federal Trade Commission, 143, 15 1,
301, 318, 346
Few, William Preston, President of
Trinity College and Duke Univer­
sity, 30
Field, Richard S., Commander, 403
Filene, Lincoln, 405
Finch, T. Austin, 405
Finland, 402
Fish, Mrs. Hamilton, 65
Fisher, Mr., 102-104
Five Power Naval Treaty, 214
Flanders, Ralph E., 405
Fleming, Robert V., 405
Fletcher, Mrs. Annie McKenzie, 375
Fletcher, Julia, 34
Fogarty, J. F., 405
Folsom, M. B., 405
Forbes, Charles R., 216
Ford, Henry, 15 3 -1 5 4 , 181-182, 284
Ford Motor Company, 346
Ford, Will, 34
Foreign Service Buildings Commis­
sion, 283
Foreign Service Division of the De­
partment of Commerce, 347-348
Foreign Trade Zones Board, 283
Forte, J. Franklin, Congressman,
237
Foster, Miller C., 403
Fox, Marion L., 219
France, 121-122, 152, 197-199, 201,
203-204, 214, 247, 249, 305, 331,
334, 337-338, 358, 366, 369, 402
Francis, Clarence, 405
Francis, James D., 405
Franklin, Benjamin, 139-140
Fraser, Vice-President of Canadian
National Railroad, 352
Fraternities, college, 27-28
Frayser, Frank, 177
Free silver, 66-67, 74-75. 77. 83-88
Frelinghuysen, Joseph S., Senator,
237-238
French Congo, 204
Friele, H. B., 405
Fuller, Walter D., 384




4*4

IN D E X

Gainsborough, Thomas, 331
Galen, J. L., 309
Gantt, Larry, 54
Gardner, Edward J., 403
Garfield, Jam A., President of the
es
United States, 18, 155
Garner, John N., Speaker and VicePresident, 237, 259-260, 262-263,
270, 287, 295
Gaynor, Judge, 149
Geddes, Sir Auckland, 330
General Federation of W
omen’s
Clubs, 298 n.
George, David Lloyd, 190, 201
George, Henry, 74-75
George VI, King of England, 351357. 359-363, 365
Germany, 93, 96-97, 121-122, 144145, H9> 152, 159, >63, 165,
167, 172, 197, 199-205, 220, 236,
263, 305, 325-328, 331-340, 342_343, 366, 369
_
Gernand, Elwood L., 99-100, 102
Gettysburg, Battle of, 61
Gibbons, Jam Cardinal, 71
es,
Gilford, Walter S., 405
Gladstone, William E., 331
Glass, Carter, Senator, 265-266
Godbold, Huger, 64
Goering, Herm
ann Wilhelm, 336
Gom
pers, Sam 205
uel,
Gordon, Mr., 157
Gordon, Waxy, 179
Gorman, Arthur P., Senator, 77, 808
1
Gould, Jay, 58
Grady, Henry, 109, 111
Grant, U. S., General, 105
Grayson, Cary T., Admiral, 221
Great Britain, 77, 124, 152, 165,
201-202, 207, 214, 236, 298, 306,
33i) 356, 366, 387. See British
Honduras; Canada; England ; Scot­
land
Greece, 209, 246, 328, 338, 402
Green, William, 299, 344
Greensfelder, A. P., 405
Gregg, a student, 2
3
Gresham Walter Q., Secretary of
,
State, 67, 70
Grey, Zane, 306
Grundy, Joseph R., Senator, 237, 262
Hahn, Lew, 299, 405
Hamilton, Alexander, 239

Hamilton, Rolland J., 405
Ham ond, Thomas S., 405
m
Ham
pton, W
ade, 14, 33, 43, 45-46,
hi

Hanna, Mark, 8
6
H
anson, Christian, 115
Harding, W
arren G., President of the
United States, 209, 211-218, 238,
3° 9) 364
Harlan, Jam Secretary of the In­
es,
terior, 65
Harrim Henry I., 298, 405
an,
Harrim W. A., 405
an,
Harris, Isham G., Senator, 66
Harrison Anti-Narcotic Laws, 186-

>
87

Harrison, Benjamin, President of
United States, 41

the

Harrison, Francis Burton, Congress­
m 186
an,
H
arrison, Pat, Senator, 222, 224
Harrison, William Henry, President
of the United States, 72
Harvard University, 264
Hawaii, 142, 274
Hawley, Joseph R., Senator, 66
Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act, 236-237,
26z> 325> 342

Hayes, Rutherford B., President of
the United States, 46, 67
Hays, W ill, 296
Hazen, Colonel, 105
Hearst, W illiam Randolph, 259-260,

263
Heflin, J. Thomas, Senator, 231
H ann, Henry H., 405
eim
Hem
iker, J. C., 101
H
enderson, Leon, 396
Henrietta, colored nurse, 79
Hildreth, Melvin D., 268
Hill, David B., Senator, 84-85
Hill, E. Coke, Judge, 310
H istory o f th e O ld C h era w s , 17
Hitchcock, Gilbert M., Senator, 133i 34
Hitler, Adolf, 236, 328, 332-334,
337-338> 340, 366, 369, 378, 402
Hoar, George F., Senator, 82-83
Hodges, W ore, 405
etm
Holland, 203, 327, 402
Holland, John Philip, 93-94
H e Owners Loan Corporation, 318
om
Hook, Charles R., 405
Hoover, D. N., 40
3
Hoover debt m
oratorium 325
,

IN D E X

Hoover, Herbert, President of the
United States, 205, 218, 232-242,
245>254, 256, 262-264, 271, 278,
292, 294
Hopkins, Harry L., 290
H ough, L yn n H., 254
House, E d w ard M., 128, 145-149,
i 52*i 53j 1 5 6 ~1 57 i i 59~i 62, 197200, 266, 323-324
Houston, David F., Secretary of the
Treasury, 193, 324
Houston, G. David, 264
Howe, Louis McHenry, 135, 256257, 260, 264-265, 293
Huerta, Victoriana, 143-144
Huff, Hezekiah, 103-104
Hughes, Charles Evans, Chief Jus­
tice, 151-152, 205, 218
Hull, Cordell, Congressman and Sec­
retary of State, 148, 174, 265,
270-271, 279, 288, 290-291, 327,
3+8 351, 367
,
Hungary, 152, 326, 338
Hunter, Andrew, 255 n.
Hunter, William, 255 n.
Hunton, Eppa, Senator, 66
Hurley, Patrick J., Secretary of War,
239
Hurley, Tim, 43
Hurrey, Clarence B., 174, 181
Huston, Claudius H., 238-239
Hyde, Arthur M., Secretary of Agri­
culture, 238-239
Hynes, Betty, 375-376

415

Ireland, 120, 152, 358
Irey, Elmer L., 177, 193
Italy, i2i, 139, 201, 209, 214, 339,

343
Jackson, Andrew, President o f the
United States, 16
Jackson Day Dinner, 126
Jackson, “Stonewall,” 16
James, Jesse, 43
Jamieson, W. D., 150
Japan, 201, 214, 311-312, 314, 398
Jarnigan, J. Eugene, 70-71
Jefferson, Thomas, President o f the
United States, 87, 228, 335
Jenkins, Consul General, 336
Johnson, Andrew, President o f the
United States, 305
Johnson, George F., 405
Johnson, Hiram, Senator, 231
Johnson, Hugh S., 289, 296-297,
302-304
Johnson, J. M., 403
Johnson, N. D., 31, 33-35, 252
Johnson, Tom Loftin, Congressman,

74-75

Johnstown Flood, 42
Jones, Frank C ., 405
Jones, James K., Senator, 84
Jones, Jesse H., 232, 289
Jones, John P., Senator, 67
Jones, Simpson, 40
Jordan, Harvey, 121
Joyner, J. Y., 133
Julian, William A., 327-328, 330332> 336-337>406
Julian, Mrs. William A., 328-330

Ickes, Harold L., Secretary of the In­
terior, 270, 293-294, 297
Immigration into Canada, 358-359;
into United States, 121-12 2, 359,
398-400

Kavanagh, Mr., 175
Kelleher, D. J., i 74.

Income

K en d all, H . P ., 406

Tax

Law ,

150,

1 7 3 -17 4 ,

i 93j

29 C 346
Industrial Employees Arbitration Act,
1 50- 1 51

Inflation, threat of, 383
Insull, Samuel, 242
Intelligence Unit of Bureau of In­
ternal Revenue, 177-179, 193
International Cotton Congress, 121122
Interstate Commerce Act, 58-59
Interstate Commerce Commission, 59,
28 5 > 301, 346

Interstate Commerce Committee of
the Senate, 57-61, 65, 67, 70, 81,
90, 352




Kent, Fred I., 406
Kent, William, 164, 168-169, 267
K e rlin , M a lco lm , 274, 403
K etterin g, C. F., 406
K e y , M r., 353
John C ., President o f T r in ity
C o lle ge , 30
K in g , H arold D ., 403
K in g , W . L . M ackenzie, Prim e M in ­
ister, 352-355, 357-358, 360, 363-

367

K itch in , C laude, Congressm an,

173

K od iak Island, 312
K oons, John C., 140

172-




416

IN D EX

Kountze, de Lancey, 406
Kramer, John F., 192
Ku-Klux Klan, 46, 222, 224
77, 263, 281, 322, 342, 344346, 386-387, 389, 397-398. See

Labor,

American Federation of Labor;
Child labor; Committee for Indus­
trial Organization
LaFollette, Robert M ., Senator, 211,

“ Long and Short Haul,” 59-60
Long, Breckenridge, 155
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 252
Longworth, Nicholas, Speaker, 237
Lorraine, 204. See Alsace-Lorraine
Lossing’s E m in en t Am ericans, 15
Louisville C ourier-Journal, 6
2
Louisville and Nashville Railway, 6
2
Love, Thomas B., 148-149
Lowell, A. L., President of Harvard
University, 205
Lowell, James Russell, 8
2
Lowry Gang, 43-45
Lowry, Henry Berry, 44
Loyal Order of Moose, 239
Lucas, Herbert B., 177
Lucas, Robert H., 238
Lucking, Alfred, 181-182
Lund, Robert L., 406
Luxemburg, 20
3
Lynch, Fred B., 157-158
Lyon, Mrs. M ary, 3
0

217, 227-229, 376
LaFollette, Robert M. (Bob), Jr.,
Senator, 239
LaGuardia, Fiorello H., Congress­
m 233, 284
an,
Lam
ont, Robert, Secretary of Com­
m
erce, 239
Landis, Kenesaw M., Judge, 296
Lane, Franklin K., Secretary of the
Interior, 169
Lane, Jam H., 51
es
Lane, Julius J., 19, 51
Laurier, Sir Wilfred, 357
League of N
ations, 200-201, 203,
McAdoo, Eleanor W
ilson (Mrs. W.
205-208, 213-214, 221,
228,322,G.), 170, 221-223
335
McAdoo, W
illiam Gibbs, 158-159,
Lee, Robert E., 4, 16, 304
164, 170-173, 179-180, 183-184,
Leeds, M
orris E., 406
208-209, 212-213, 218-219, 222Legge, Alexander, 226
224, 230-231, 258-260, 292
Leith, C. K., 406
McCall, Chester H., 306, 40
3
Lend-Lease Act, 381
McCara, Sir Charles W 120
.,
Lewis, David J., 164
McColl, D. D., 37-38
Lewis, Fielding, 324
McCollum, William, 3
8
Lewis, John L., 345
M
cCormick, Cyrus, 226
Libbey, E. W 403
.,
M
cCormick, Ruth H
anna, 215
Liberty Loans, 168, 171, 183
M
cCormick, Vance C., 145, 147,
Liek, Mr., park superintendent, 310
!5o, 155-156, 158, 160
Life insurance, 37, 39, 99-104
M
cDaniel, Dargan, 17-18
Lighthouse Service, 274
McDonald, Flora, 7
Lincoln, Abraham President of the
,
McDonald, J. J., Captain, 226
U
nited States, 4, 87, 228, 270,
276, 286, 373
McGowin, Earl M., 406
Lind, Jenny, 9
3
McGrady, Edward, 295
Lind, John, 143
M
clnnerney, Thomas H., 40
6
M
cIntyre, Robert C., 51
Lindbergh, Charles A., 335-336, 369
Mack, Norm E., 135
an
Lindy, Negro m m 5-6
am y,
Lingham Fred J., 406
,
McKenzie, John C., 36-37
Link, Henry C., 252-253
McKenzie, Lou, 34, 255 n., 376. See
Litchfield, Paul W., 406
Roper, Lou M
cKenzie (Mrs. Dan­
iel C.)
Literary D ig e st, T h e , 180
Little, Arthur W 406
.,
M
cKenzie, William A., 255 n.
Litvinov, M
axim, 400-401
McKeon, Thom F., 403
as
Liverpool C o tto n G azette, 120
McKinley, Carlyle, 46
Lobbyists, 58, 61, 28
3
McKinley, William, President of the
Lodge, Henry Cabot, Senator, 8
3
U
nited States, 83, 86, 91, 94, 100,
Logan, M John A., 65
rs.
105

IN D E X

McLaurin, Anselm J. (“Ansil” ),
Senator, 118
McLaurin, John L., 54
McLean, Edward B., 242
McNary, Charles L., Senator, 231,
239
McQueen, James Donahue. S ee Don­
ahue, James
McQuillan, Hugh, 177
McRae, Milton A., 153
Madero, Francisco, 143
Madison, Dolly (Mrs. James), 65
Manderson, Charles F., Senator, 66
Mangum, Pressley, 56
Mann, Horace A., Colonel, 237
Marlin Rockwell Corporation, 208,
211
Marsh, W. W., 150
Marshall, Thomas R., Vice-President
of the United States, 127, 287
Maxwell, Robert E., 67
Mayer, Ferdinand L., 334
Mayo, Admiral, 143-144
Mays, George, 48
Mays, John C., 48
Mead, Geo. H., 406
Mellick, Mrs. Helen R., 311
Mellon, Andrew D., Secretary of the
Treasury, 239
Merchant Fleet Corporation, 274
Merchants and Miners Line, 40
Meredith, E. T., Secretary of Agri­
culture, 174
Merriam, William R., 108-109, II2,
H 4> 1 1 7

Methodist Church, 31-32, 34, 79
Mexico, 143-144, 152-153
Middleton Place, 43
Migratory Bird Conservation Com­
mission, 283
Miller, Douglass, 332“334-, 34°
Miller, Thomas W., 217
Mills, Aubrey C., 403
Mills, Ogden L., 239
Mitchell, Ewing Y., 403
Moley, Raymond, 296-297
Molster, Charles E., 403
Monroe Doctrine, 77, 144, 205
Moore, John M., 52
Morgan, E. A., 289
Morgan, John T., Senator, 66, 79
Morgenthau, Henry, Jr., Secretary of
the Treasury, 292
Morgenthau, Henry, Sr., 150, 154*55, 157




417

Morris, Glenn, 339
Moses, George H., Senator, 239
Mt. McKinley National Park, 309310
Mulligan, Denis, 403
Munnerlyn, Caesar, 32
Murchison, Claudius T., 403
Murphy, Charles F., 127, 135, 209210
Murphy, Edward, Jr., Senator, 80
Murphy, Frank, Associate Justice,
132
Muscle Shoals, 241, 318
Myers, Paul F., 174
Narcotics, illegal traffic in, 185-190,
192, 235
Narcotic Unit of Internal Revenue
Bureau, 187, 193
N a t io n 's B u sin ess , 345
National Association of Manufactur­
ers, 298 n., 384
National Automobile Chamber of
Commerce, 298 n.
National Bureau of Standards, 274276
National Dairy Union, 298 n.
National Emergency Council, 283
National Grange, 297 n.
National Industrial Recovery Act
(N.I.R.A.), 297, 303. S e e Na­
tional Recovery Administration
National Labor Relations Board
(N.L.R.B.) 321
National Recovery Administration
(N.R.A.), 289, 294, 296-304,
3 17> 342, 344
National Resources Committee, 283
National Retail Dry Goods Associa­
tion, 298-299
National University, 251
Naval Appropriations Bill of 1921,
214
Negroes, 3, 6, 10-13, 15, 29, 31, 33,
43>47, 52> 57, 75, u o -m , 116,
263-264. S e e n a m e s o f v a r io u s
N egroes

Neill Brothers, 114
Nelson, D. M., 406
“New Deal,” 261, 280-281. S e e
Roosevelt, Franklin D.
New England, 40-41
New York M o r n i n g W o r l d , 150, 157
N e w Y o r k T i m e s , 156-157
Newton, Walter H., 236




Ney, M
arshal, 16
Nicaragua, 223
Nichols, Arthur A., 177
Nichols, J. C., 406
Noah, Lionel J., 406
Nolen, Floyd, 189
Nolen, H. Diggs, 189
Norris, George W Senator, 3x8
.,
North, Mr., 353
North, S. N. D., 108-109, 111-112,
1 1 7> " 9

Norton, Janies, Congressm 107
an,
Norway, 402
Nugent, M Nell M
rs.
arion, 249
O’Hara, Jam J., 403
es
“Ohio gang,” 216-217, 238. See
Harding, W
arren G.
Old Jake, a Negro, 73
Olym gam 1936, 336-339
pic
es,
Olym
pic team from the U
,
nited
States, 328, 332, 337-339
Orlando, Vittorio Em
anuele, 201
Owen, Robert L., Senator, 233, 343
Owens, Jesse, 328, 338-339
Pace, H er S., 181
om
Page, Thom Nelson, 111
as
Page, W
alter H
ines, 149, 152
Palm John M., Senator, 66
er,
Palm M Potter, 138-139
er, rs.
Pan-Am
erican Conference, 42
Panic of 1893, 57, 66, 77
Panic of 1929, 236, 241, 246-247,
38
0
Pankhurst, Em eline, 8
m
2
Paris Peace Conference, 198-201,
209, 228. See Treaty of Versailles
Parker, Everett, 177
Parker, Joshua, 3
8
Parkhurst, Charles H., 373
Parks, Franklin C., 163-164, 174,
181
Patent O
ffice, 274, 276-277
Pathw ay o f L ife , T h e , 21
Patterson, Richard C., 403
Patton, R. S., 40
3
Payne-Aldrich Tariff, 123, 290
Peacock, J. Craig, 174, 274
Perkins, Frances, Secretary of Labor,
270, 294
Perkins, Milo, 389
Pershing, John J., General, 144
Pettus, E. W., Senator, 79-80
Philippine Islands, 82, 104-105, 151
Pilgrims, 241, 244, 249

Pilgrims, a society, 330
P ilg r im ’s Progress, 17
Platt, Thom C., Senator, 8
as
3
Plattsburg, N. Y., training cam 221
p,
Poincare, Raym Nicholas Landry,
ond
199, 206
Poland, 203, 215, 220, 334, 369,
402
Polk, Frank L., 225
Pom
erene, Atlee, Senator, 192
Populist party, 41, 50-51, 8
0
Porcher H
ouse, 43
Post, Louis F., 169
Potter, H
enry Codm Bishop, 330
an,
Presbyterian Church, 36, 44, 95, 156
Pribilof Islands, 274, 312
Princeton University, 227, 28
0
Production Credit Association, 319
Production Credit Corporation, 318
Prohibition, in South Carolina, 5354; in U
nited States, 190-192,
231-232, 235, 264. See Alcohol
and the drink habit; D
ispensarysystem Eighteenth Am
;
endm
ent
“Protracted” m
eeting, 13-14
Public W
orks Adm
inistration
(P.W.A.), 321
Puerto Rico, 142
Pugh, Jam L., Senator, 79-80
es
Pullen, M 308-309
rs.,
Pure Food and Drug Act, 28
3
Putnam George R., 40
,
3
Q
uackenbush, W
illiam G., 19, 31,
252
Quay, M
atthew S., Senator, 6
8
Quigley, E. T., 40
3
Radio M
anufacturers Association,
298 n.
Railroad Co-ordination Act, 273
Railroads, 58, 61-63, 253 241, 273,
»
285, 316, 319, 394. See names o f
various railroads

Rainey, Henry T., Congressm 186
an,
Rand, Jam H., Jr., 406
es
Randolph-M
acon College for W en,
om
97, 247

Rankin, John E., Congressm 318
an,
Ransom Matt W Senator, 66, 75,
.,
76
Raskob, John J., 232-233, 406
Rayburn, Sam Congressm
,
an, 273,
295
Reconstruction Finance Corporation
(R.F.C.), 282, 289, 317, 319, 396

INDEX
Red Bluff Presbyterian Church, 44
Red Cross, 241. S e e Barton, Clara
“Red Shirts,” in campaign of 1876,
45-46
Reed, James A., Senator, 238
Reed, Thomas B., Speaker, 74*75)
78, 83
Re-employment Agreement Program,
302
Reid, Matthew, 140
Religion, 379, 4.02. S ee Church
Renn, Margie G., 403
Reno, Milo, 240
Republican Convention, of 1896, 8384; of 1920, 209; of 1928, 232
Revenue Act of 1918, 183-184, 187
Rhodes, Cecil, 331
Richmond and Danville Railroad, 21
Roberts, Lord, 330
Robinson, Joseph T., Senator, 295
Rockefeller, John D., 11, 284
Rockefeller Foundation, 41
Rogers, Thomas I., 51
Rogers, Will, 286
Roman Catholic Church, 95, 105,
224) 238
Roosevelt, Eleanor (Mrs. Franklin
D.), 323-324, 375
Roosevelt, Franklin D., President of
the United States, 135, 169, 210,
256-265, 267-272, 277-279, 281282, 284-297, 300, 302, 315-3 17>
319-324, 327, 331, 341-342, 34535i> 354) 357) 363‘ 367) 4°°-4°i
Roosevelt, Kermit, 406
Roosevelt, Sara Delano (Mrs. James),

324

Roosevelt, Theodore, President of the
United States, 105, i 45> 151-15^
>
227-229
Root, Elihu, 398
Roper, Ann Lewis, 255 n.
Roper, Charlotte, 255 n.
Roper, Daniel, C., as attorney in
Washington, 211-212, 232; boy­
hood of, 3-14; builds home, 3738; with Bureau of Census as cot­
ton specialist, 106-123; as candi­
date for S. C. legislature, 50-52;
celebrates Golden Wedding, 373377; as clerk of Interstate Com­
merce Committee of the Senate,
57-90; as clerk of Ways and
Means Committee, 123-127; as
Commissioner of Internal Revenue,




4*9

172-195; on District of Columbia
School Board, 251, 253; early in­
tellectual environment of, 15-17;
elementary education of, 17-20; as
First Assistant Postmaster Gen­
eral, 128-145; as Head of Bureau
of Organization in campaign of
1916, 145-162; joins Farmers’
Alliance, 50; as life insurance
agent, 39, 99-107; marriage of,
34-35; as Minister to Canada,
351-366; as president of Marlin
Rockwell Corp., 207-211; prohi­
bition bill introduced in S. C. leg­
islature by, 53-54; as Secretary of
Commerce, 265-350; in S. C. leg­
islature, 52-55; as a teacher, 3139; at Trinity College, 28-30; in
utilities investment business, 9099; as Vice-Chairman of Tariff
Commission, 164-171; visits Alas­
ka, 306-314; visits Europe, 119122, 327-340; at Wofford College,
20-28
Roper, Daniel C., Jr., 220-221, 247,
255 n.
Roper, Ella E., 249
Roper, Grace, 247. S e e Bohn, Mrs.
Frank
Roper, Green Hill, 255 n.
Roper, Hannah Hunter, 250, 255 n.
Roper, Harry McKenzie, 247-248,
255 nRoper, Henrietta McLaurin (Mrs.
John W.), 4-5, 34, 25°
Roper, James Hunter, 218, 221,
247, 255 n.
Roper, James Turner, 19-20, 250,
255 n.
Roper, John, 255 n.
Roper, John Wesley, father of Dan­
iel C. Roper, 3-18, 20-22, 26 n.,
28, 31-32, 34, 37, 44*45) 109-111,
255 n.
Roper, John Wesley, son of Daniel
C. Roper, 221, 247-248, 255 m
,
330
Roper, Lou McKenzie (Mrs. Daniel
C.), 34-39) 55> 79) 9°‘-9 i) 94-95)
97) 99-100, 102, 106, 108, I I2,
1 19> I 22,. I25) 218, 222, 226,
246-’249> 255 n., 265, 268, 306,
328-■33°) 351-353 » 355 -35<, 35»
5
)
360-•3^5) 369-372> 374-377- See
McKenzie, Lou




420

INDEX

Roper, Lucy McColl (Mrs. John
Wesley), stepm
other of Daniel C.
Roper, 7, n, 26 n,, 109, 376
Roper, M
artha, 255 n.
Roper, Mary Ann, 255 n.
Roper, May, 247. See Coker, May
Roper
Roper, Mourning, 255 n.
Roper, Nancy Ann, 255 n.
Roper, Rebecca, 253 n.
Roper, Richard, 255 n.
Roper, Richard Frederick, 247-248,
255 n., 30
6
Roper, Thom 255 n.
as,
Roper, William, 250
Rowe, L. S., 169
Ruffin, Sterling, 221
Rum
ania, 220, 326
Rural Credits Act, 130
Russell, Governor, 84-83
R
ussia, 109, 152, 263, 305, 3113> 343) 39°> 400
2>
Rutledge, Archibald, 348
Ryerson, Edward L., Jr., 406
Saar Basin, 202-203
Safford, H R., 406
.
St. Clair, Labert, 40
3
St. George Island, 312
St. John’s Church, 268-269
St. Lawrence W
aterway, 352, 358
St. Paul Island, 312
Saltzm C. McKay, 274
an,
Saturday E v e n in g Post, T h e , 304
Schacht, Hjalmar, 336
Schiff, Jacob H., 20
3
Schleswig, 20
2
Scopes trial, 226
Scotland, 7-8, 353, 362-363. See
Great Britain
Scripps-Howard new
spapers, 241
Seaboard Airline Railway, 21
Securities and Exchange Com ission
m
(S.E.C.), 273-274, 318, 346
Seward, William H., Secretary of
State, 305
Seym
our, Charles, President of Yale
University, 133 n., 139
Shaver, Clem L., 226
Sherley, Swager, Congressm 268
an,
Sherm Silver Purchase Act, 57, 66an
67) 74
Sherm W
an, illiam T., General, 5-6,
42

Shipping Board, 268. See U
nited
States Shipping Board
Shovlin, Jam 8-10
es,
Sigm Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, 27a
2
8
Silver issue. See Free silver
Sim
kins, Francis Butler, 43 n., 33 n.
Sim ons, F. M., Senator, 233
m
Sim ons, John F., 332-353, 360,
m
363
Sim ons, W. D., 174-175
m
Sim s, William Gilm
m
ore, 43
Sinclair, Harry F., 217, 242
Sinclair, Upton, 399
Sinn Feiners, 152, 20
9
Sixteenth Am
endm
ent, 173. See In­
com Tax Law
e
Skelton, O. D., 357
Sloan, Alfred P., Jr., 406
Sloan, George A., 406
Sm Alfred E., 219, 222-224, 230,
ith,
232' 233) 238, 256-257, 259' 26°>
262, 294
Sm
ith, Arthur, 177
Sm
ith, Charles E. W 90-92, 95-96
.,
Sm College, 211, 30
ith
8
Sm
ith, Ellison D., Senator, 231
Sm
ith, Goldwin, 366
Sm
ith, Jam Jr., Senator, 8
es,
0
Sm
ith, Trum
an, Major, 336-337
Sm
ithson, Jam 331
es,
Sm
ithsonian Institution, 28
3
Social security program 281, 395,
,

397

Socialist party, 77
Soil conservation program 388, 392
,
Southern hospitality, 117-118
Southern Railroad, 21
Southworth, M E. D. E. N., 6
rs.
5
Sowell, Ashley, 40
3
Spain, 100, 339
Spanish-Am
erican W 104-106
ar,
Special Board of Public W
orks, 28
3
Spellacy, Thom J., 225-226
as
Splawn, W
alter M. W., 273
Springs, M Leroy, 223
rs.
Stackhouse, Milton, 52
Stackhouse, T. B., 17-18, 377
Stafford, Mr., 18
Standard Oil Com
pany, 326-327
Stannard, E. T., 406
Stephens, Alexander H., 15
Stettinius, E. R., Jr., 284, 406
Stevens, Thaddeus, Congressm 66
an,

INDEX
Sterrett, J. E., 174
Stewart, Charles, 120
Stimson, Henry L., Secretary of State,

239-240
Stone, William J., Senator, 126
Street railways, 63-64, 90, 93
Strong, “Boss,” 44-45
Stuart, Jeb, 46
Stuart, R. Douglas, 406
Suarez, Vice-President of Mexico,
i 43

Sumner, Charles, Senator, 66
Sum
ners, Hatton W., Congressman,

295
Supreme Court, 243, 295, 300, 303,
376
Swanson, Claude A., Secretary of the
Navy, 270, 293, 376
Sweden, 54, 387
Sweet, Edwin F., 169
Switzerland, 122, 201
Swope, Gerald, 304, 407
Taft, William Howard, President of
the United States, 129, 205, 358
Talbert, Percy S., 181-182
Tammany Hall, 127, 135, 209, 224-

225. 231, 233, 257, 262
75, 77, 80, 123-126, 153154, 164-165, 171, 203, 279, 29029U 327, 342, 358, 367- S e e

Tariff,

Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act; PayneAldrich Tariff; Tariff Commis­
sion; T a r i f f H a n d b o o k ; Trade
Agreements Program; Underwood
Tariff Act

Tariff Commission, 164-165, 168169, 171, 173> 177> 267
T a r i f f H a n d b o o k , 123-124
Tatum, John, 27
Taussig, F. W., 164
Taylor, James H., 156
Taylor, Sir John, 331
Taylor, Myron C., 407
Taylor, Robert Love (Bob), Senator,
126-127
Tea Pot Dome Scandal, 217
Teagle, Walter C., 407
Teague, C. C., 407
Teller, Henry M., Senator, 8
3
Tennessee Valley Authority (T.V.A.),
289, 318
Terlazzo, Olympic contestant, 339
Thompson, J. N., 189
Thompson, James, 216




42 1

Thompson, Huston, 273-274
Thorpe, Merle, 345
Tillman, Benjamin Ryan, Senator,
4U 47-52, 54-55> 81-82, 84, 93,
106-108, 125, 128, 171, 376. S ee
Tillmanism
Tillmanism, 33, 38, 50, 52, 70. S ee
Tillman, Benjamin Ryan
Tilson, John Q., Congressman, 237
Townsend, F. E., 398
Trade Agreements Program, 279,
288, 392
Treaty of Versailles, 199-207. S ee
League of Nations
Trimble, South, Jr., 274, 403
Trinity College, 29-30. S e e Duke
University
Trippe, J. T., 407
Troy, John W., 307-308
Turkey, 199
Twain, Mark, 64
Tweedsmuir, Lord, Governor Gen­
eral, 352-354, 359> 363-364
Tyler, John, President of the United
States, 72
Tyrer, A. J., 403
Uncle Ben, a Negro, 12
Underwood, Oscar W., Congressman,
123, 125-128, 223, 376
Underwood Tariff Act, 142, 150,
290
Unemployment Relief Act, 317
U n it e d S ta tes P o s t O ffic e , T h e , 163
United States Shipping Board, 274.
S e e Shipping Board
United States-Texas Centennial Com­
mission, 283
Universities, 367, 398. S e e Colleges;
n a m e s o f v a r io u s c o lle g e s a n d u n i­
v e rsitie s

University of Chicago, 334
University of Michigan, 97, 247
University of North Carolina, 36
University of Washington, 339
Untermeyer, Samuel, 174
Vance, Zebulon B., Senator, 75
Vandenberg, Arthur H., Senator, 282
Vanderbilt family, 58
Van Diest, Edmond C., 407
Vare, William S., 237
Vassar College, 97, 247, 308
Venezuelan boundary dispute, 77
Vereen, W. J., 407




422

INDEX

Versailles, Treaty of. See League of
Nations; Treaty of Versailles
Vest, George G., Senator, 78
Veterans’ Bureau, 216
Vidal, Eugene L., 403
Vilas, William F., Senator, 84-85
Villa, Francisco, 143
Volstead Act, 190-191. See Eight­
eenth Amendment; Election of
1928; Prohibition
Wagner Social Security Act, 395. See
Social security program
W
ailes, Mr., 353
Walker, John E., 174, 181
Walker, Mary, 132-133
Wallace, Mr., 156
Wallace, Henry A., Secretary of Ag­
riculture and Vice-President, 270271, 294
Wallace, Henry C., Secretary of Ag­
riculture, 294
Walsh, Thomas J., Senator, 217,
222, 231-232, 292
Walters, Henry, 175
Walthall, Edward C., Senator, 66
Wanamaker, John, Postm
aster Gen­
eral, 140

W
hitm
an, Walt, 64, 252
Whitney, Eli, 113
W
hittier, John Greenleaf, 252
W
ickersham Com ission, 234-235,
m

241, 262, 292-293

205, 234.
W
ickersham Com ission
m
W
iesinger, Fred, 374
Wilbur, Ray Lyman, Secretary of the
Interior, 238
Wilhelm, Kaiser, 172, 332
Williams, J. D., 26-28
Williams, John Skelton, 169-170
Williams, S. Clay, 407
Wilson, Edith Bolling (Mrs. Woodrow), 200
W
ickersham George W.,
,
S ee

Wilson, William L., Congressm
an,

66, 8
0

W
ilson, Woodrow, President of the
United States, 78, 126-128, 131,

W
arm Springs, Ga., institution at,

i 33> i 4 >-i45> I5 i> I53_IS4> 165167, 170, 173, 194-196, 198-201,
205-209, 214, 219-222, 227-229,
231. 248, 258, 266-267, 287, 320,
J22-323, 334, 350, 357
W
inthrop Normal College, 41
W
offord College, 17, 20-28, 34
W
oman suffrage, 82, 151
W
ood, R. E., 407

Washington Conference of

W
oodin, William H., Secretary of
the Treasury, 266-267, 270-271,

292

2I4

1921-1922,

W
ashington, George, President of
the United States, 228, 276, 301,

324
Washington T i? n e s -H e r a ld , 375
W
atson, Thomas J., 332, 338, 407
W
atterson, Henry, 62-63
Weaver, Joseph B., 403
W
ebster, Noah, 140
Weinberg, Sidney J., 407
Wellesley College, 30
8
W Point, N. Y., United States
est
Military Academy at, 97, 247,
303-304
Wetherill, S. P., 407
W
eyerhaeuser, R. M., 407
Wheeler, W. H., Jr., 407'
W
heeler, William A., Vice-President
of the United States, 46
W
hiteside, A. D., 407

273, 290-291, 376
Woodring, Harry W., Secretary of
War, 292
Woodruff, R. W., 407
Woodward, William E., 407
Woolley, Robert W., 150, 154-156,
159-160
Works Progress Administration
(W.P.A.), 290, 383
World War I, 144, 149, 165-168,
185, 212, 228, 234, 298, 333, 388.
See Bureau of Internal Revenue;
Germany; Liberty Loans; Treaty
of Versailles
World War II, 369-370, 378, 381.
Defense Program; Germany;
Hitler, Adolf

See

Yale University, 211
Yugoslavia, 220, 326, 338, 402