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What a joining of forces-Smoot and La Follette; ultra-conservative with ultra-radical! The two have but one trait in common-industry. The only rival Smoot has in the Senate for hard work is La Follette. The only man in the upper house who keeps his nose on the grindstone like La Follette is Smoot. By similar sticking-at-it these two beavers have each gnawed a way into the inner citadel of prestige and power; they are as far apart in conclusion on all major economic policy as the negative and positive electrodes of a battery, yet over each flows one ægis, the Republican banner. A complex government!
So delicate, so complex, that it is the solid apparition of this same La Follette which presents the distinguished, able, and adroit Senator Smoot with the hardest problem of his life. Smoot's problem is twofold. Through the withdrawal of Warren he advances to the chairmanship of the Committee of Appropriations, a place for which no man is better suited, one which fits his talent and temperament exactly, one from which the Republican leaders will deeply regret to see him go.
Yet the rule of the Senate is that no man may hold at the same time the chairmanship of two major committees, and the defeat of McCumber advances Smoot to the chairmanship of the Finance Committee, and, however much he may desire to relinquish that, he would not dare to do so, for doing so would automatically advance La Follette to the
This is not his gravest problem. Smoot is next in line for the Presidency of the Mormon Church, an office which any good Mormon considers the most exalted on earth. The President, Heber Grant, is very old, and likely to die at any moment. If Smoot were ready to take the Mormon Presidency, Grant would probably resign immediately.
Smoot's affairs, however, concern the present consideration only indirectly, although they reveal what a thin line holds La Follette from chairmanship of the Finance Committee of the Senate, the place Penrose said he would not trade for the Presidency, the job Aldrich always believed to be the most desirable in the Government. Even though not in the chair, being next to it gives him a veto power over its acts.
There is a similar thin line between La Follette and the chairmanship of the Inter-State Commerce Committee, wherein the railway problem, chief among others, will have its most effective consideration in the immediate future. Only the time between now and March 4 next, his own resignation or death, or the abrogation of the seniority rule, can prevent La Follette from taking the place now held by Townsend, of Michigan, the ranking majority member, who, against every expectation, is defeated.
This is the situation, these are the facts doubtless uppermost in the mind of Senator McCormick, who seeks, with others, to abrogate the seniority rule and who appeals to Lodge, titular leader,
was the direct outgrowth of a decade of legislative work in Wisconsin at a time when, in the words of Roosevelt, that State was "the political laboratory of the Nation." It called on Congress to give to the Inter-State Commerce Commission initiative in examining and in establishing freight rates.
The smile that gains a thousand votes for assistance. It is clearly within its power for the Senate to abrogate the seniority rule. But will it do so? To abrogate that rule not only would take La Follette from his ranking membership in the Inter-State Commerce Committee and in the Finance Committee, but it would also depose Borah from ranking membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Norris from the chairmanship of the Agricultural Committee, and Johnson from the chairmanship of the Patent Committee. Perhaps Johnson, but not Borah or Norris or La Follette, could be reconciled.
No. The Senate, perhaps with internal grumbling, and perhaps to the dimming of the Republican record, will not become so radical as to unseat the radicals in the name of progressivism.
Observe, then, the irony and the fatality of La Follette's approach to his political zenith; now, as always, opposed by the majority of his party, a voice in the wilderness, a pioneer in legislation, the man far in front, and yet concretely a builder; a "visionary" triumphant with realized statesmanship!
In the Republican National Convention of 1908 (I choose one thread of thought to dramatize his career) La Follette presented a minority platform rejected by the Convention. Of its thirteen planks twelve have since become law. No matter. In 1908 the Republicans couldn't see them. One of the planks rejected by that Convention
Twelve to fifteen years ago the country was upset over this issue, yet it was but a rivulet to the main stream of a mighty reversal in American policy to which La Follette was then, as now, committedGovernment ownership of the railways.
In the election of 1922 he was still contributing rivulets to this stream. He contended specifically in Wisconsin for a law compelling corporations to make public their income statements and tax returns. He won, but only after a fouryear fight.
These two incidents may be connected with a thread on which can be strung the principal tenets of La Follette's political faith. Thus we may clearly see the base both of his principle and his policy. He wants Government ownership of all natural monopoly. That is his ultimate goal. But he will accept anything, adopting much, inventing more, that will even faintly approach his goal.
In 1923 (probably) he will be ranking member of the Senate Committee on Inter-State Commerce, and as such entitled to a seat at every conference, with a practical veto power (in conjunction with the Democratic minority) over
suggested legislation within this purview. Succeeding Townsend, he will be pledged (a) to a repeal of the EschCummins Law; (b) to a revision downward of freight rates; and (c) to full publicity for every fact concerning railway ownership, value, cost, and management.
How near is he approaching his goal? To some extent, certainly; but how near?
When to the Republican National Convention of 1920 he submitted a minority platform (rejected, of course, just as were his in 1908, 1912, and 1916), a derisive shout went up at his sheer audacity in calmly demanding that the Government take over in toto all meat-packing plants and allied industries. "Allied industries!" What did that mean? Why, groceries, naturally. That would mean grains, cereals, fruits, sugar—everything eatable.
Most of the Republican delegates merely gasped. They hardly even took him seriously. Why, he was as bad as a Socialist, they said. True, only he was worse. The Socialist party of Wisconsin refused to indorse him, on the ground that he was too radical for them.
The ordinary Republican could not think beyond this point. Relief was sought and found in the report that La Follette was "crazy." This talk went around like a prairie fire. Men of the highest reputation and of the most respectable character have said to the writer (in confidence, as though consumed with pity), "You know La Fo! lette is pathologically crazy." One told me that he had a doctor's report confirming this, a report alleged to be based, on examination during La Follette's retention in a sanitarium for treatment for mental lesion. But this same man once told me that Henry Ford's family intended to apply for a guardian for him. What are the facts about La Follette's sanity? Poetically, they may be stated in the words of Dryden:
Great wits are sure to madness near
And thin partitions do their bounds
La Follette, who, from the standpoint of economic legislation, is the outstanding political genius of his time, often pushes his point with such desperation that his frenzy appears irrational-surely so to an opponent.
Practically he is sound as a nut. His devoted followers of the Wisconsin hustings, who have returned him to the United States Senate by an almost unanimous vote, who have given him the Wisconsin Assembly unanimously and the Wisconsin Senate and State Government by a two-thirds majority, do not think they have given their suffrages to a madman. Two of his former physicians with whom I have talked do not take seriously the question concerning his sanity.
La Follette's intense emotionalism (his Celtic derivative, if you please) has brought him to a nervous breakdown
on several occasions. The most notable was at the Philadelphia publishers' banquet in 1912. Few knew then that his beloved daughter lay critically ill. She was, in fact, operated on early the next morning. La Follette's heart and mind were with her as he faced his most critical audience.
His devotion to his family is beyond the ordinary. A Senator who knows him well (not an adherent, but a sympa. thetic admirer) said to me recently: "I believe La Follette's mind was saved during the war by the illness of his son, Robert. The Senator's devotion to the boy he loved removed him from the worst of the storm against him."
The "worst of the storm" may appear, as I set it down now, unbelievable. When he entered elevators in the Senate office building, its occupants usually vacated and let him ride alone. When he entered street cars, people left through both doors. Clubs in Madison to which he had belonged since his days as a university student expelled him. His next-door neighbors in Washington not only ostracized him, but kept tab on his callers and followed each with adjurations to avoid him in future. The Senate, whose members knew him best of all, placed him in coventry while it held in committee against his repeated appeals for public trial the charge against him of "treason," refusing to give him or any one an inkling of its ultimate act. Meanwhile his spiritual bath in vitriol proceeded under a torrent of Nation-wide execration such as few men have ever survived, and it should be noted that of the six Senators then denounced by Wilson as "a little group of willful men" he alone remains in public place.
Perception of the intensity and extent of all this was avoided, as if providen tially, for a year and a day, during which period the Senator did not go to the Capitol or to his office, but remained constantly as nurse and companion at his son's bedside. Thus he escaped, without knowing it, the worst of the storm, which might well have tried the reason of even the most courageous of men.
When La Follette at length appeared in his seat in the Senate, though every member knew that he had been waging a single-handed fight with death for the life of his beloved son, and that he had won the fight, not one came forward to greet him. He sat there in the most conspicuous place, on the aisle in the front row, directly under the eye of the Vice-President, practically a pariah.
After a few minutes a bellow came from a rear seat. "Why, there's La Follette!" And the bull elephant of them all shoved a ponderous way down the aisle, the first to grasp in fellowship the outraged hand. "How's your boy?" he queried, in genuine concern. It was Penrose. Following his lead, the herd closed in, and the humanities were resumed.
Closely following this the Senate re
jected the proposition to expel La Follette for his war-time utterances. "I believe," said to me recently a Republican Senator, "that our action in almost unanimously rejecting the proposal to expel him marked a definite change in La Follette. At least I personally date from about that period a new mellowness in his spirit. There is no sting or bitterness or gall in him any more. He is as determined and uncompromising as ever where he believes his principles are involved, but he seems to have outgrown the feeling that he is an Ishmael, with his hand against all men, and all men's hands against him. If I am right, he feels now that the Senate is ruled by an elemental sense of justice that nothing can shake."
His faults? La Follette's chief fault (and, so far as I can see, his only fault) is that he is of French-Irish extraction. In a civilization pluming itself so often on a Nordic supremacy this may be an amiable weakness in an author or a college professor, but in a politician, especially when he approaches a place of chief power, it easily becomes a crime.
A man who defies the steam-roller is an object of commiseration or of ridicule; when he survives the steam-roller he becomes an object of hatred. A celebrated stabilizer or harmonizer of the Republican party said to me not long ago: "La Follette is a big man, all right. The way he always has kept Wisconsin behind him proves that; but he'll never amount to anything because he won't play ball; there's no team-work in him; he don't get the signals."
Another Republican, often employed by the Senate organization as the "liaison officer" between it and La Follette (a finished diplomat has been required for this delicate operation in the past, and the importance of his labors will increase) said to me: "La Follette gets the signals all right, but not from the team; he gets them from his own inner self. Don't believe, however, that he can't play parliamentary ball. He is one of the best at that game I ever saw, and with his new strategic advantages I don't see how any one can beat him."
Many mistake La Follette's accents for his premises. Read one of his speeches, and you will see in it only prosaic statements of fact, with an appeal to logic, meriting consideration, however much you may differ with the conclusion. Hear him deliver the same speech, and you may easily be confused by the violence of the utterance and the exuberance of the gesture.
His is the ebullition of a boiling geyser which affects manner and method, but not the substance; this geyser of oratorical intensity startles with its perpetual fount of sizzling steam; yet too many who think it is only vapor forget that its permanent origin is far down in the bowels of the earth.
For La Follette will rise, I believe, out of his period and will be seen in perspective as the enshrined demos of the principle of pure democratic govern
ment, a principle as ancient as the cliffs and mounds of the aborigines who once dwelt on this continent. His destiny is, and has been, to embody that principle consistently, concretely, and effectively. He lacks the slightest particle of patience with any compromise with that principle. Whether it is right or wrong, practical or impractical, successful or unsuccessful, he is it.
Thirty-five years ago he was doing the same thing in Wisconsin that he did before the last election-holding vast throngs with the hypnotic force of his dynamic personality and the human ap. peal of his dramatization of economic problems. The intelligentsia of the State said then that he was only a demagogue who would wear himself out shortly. They have kept on saying that for over a generation, until he has worn himself into a place in Washington wherein he is one of the four or five individual forces slated to rule the Government of the coming few years.
Is he a demagogue? A demagogue, I
take it, is one who courts popularity by appealing to the baser passions of the mob. Remember, then, that La Follette over and over again has taken his established popularity in his hand, as it were, and apparently has thrown it away by espousing some cause admittedly and proven to be unpopular.
One of his college classmates said to me recently: "Knowing Bob La Follette intimately for fifty years, I conclude that his strongest trait is a delight in overcoming obstacles. He would rather have the mass against than with him; he glories in such a contest. In this he is the reverse of the demagogue. Rather, he is a pathfinder, a discoverer, a political evangel. Though I am sure he is scrupulously honest, both practically and intellectually, I believe that if two ways to the same end were open to him, one without and the other with opposition, he would deliberately choose the road with opposition, provided he did not thereby sacrifice a principle."
This is the shrewdest portrait I have
seen painted of "Battle Bob." He never seems to find enough exercise either for his intellectual or for his spiritua! muscles.
Barney Baruch hails "Al" Smith's victory in New York as "the greatest personal vindication in the history of American politics." Is it? Consider the vindication of La Follette. Smith's majority in a vote of over two million was about 400,000, or 11⁄2 to 1. La Follette's in a vote of about 400,000 was 275,000, or 5 to 1-very much the biggest of a career accustomed to big majorities. Statistically, at any rate, it appears that La Follette's vindication is about three times as impressive as "the greatest personal vindication in the history of American politics."
Now he will continue on the road of his manifest destiny, that of a political prophylaxis working within the Republican party. The party has usually opposed his irresistible force, but, since the beginning of the century, it has not been able to proceed without him.
BY SHERMAN ROGERS
INDUSTRIAL CORRESPONDENT OF THE OUTLOOK
HATEVER gave you the idea that ninety-five per cent of men want to play fair?" snapped a member of one of the first audiences I addressed in the East. Before I had a chance to answer, he added, "It's all right for you theoretical geniuses to expound these wonderful theories from a platform, but I have long since found, by bitter experience, that beautiful theory and cold reality aren't always the closest of friends."
"Well," I answered, "it's late. Suppose we go into the dining-room and have a cup of coffee, and I'll tell you what started a belief that has since grown to positive conviction that ninety
five men out of a hundred are fundamentally square."
"I'm from Missouri," laughed my interrogator, as we sat down, "and will have to be shown."
I proceeded to show him as well as I could by telling him the following story of my early days in a lumber camp.
I was engaged in a Pacific coast steam logging camp as a "rigging slinger," which is probably as hard a job and as unpleasant a one as there is in a high lead logging camp. It doesn't mean that all beginners take that job, because they don't. It takes a husky man to stick with it, but you do get a first-class opportunity to study human nature-not
the rigging slingers alone, but those rough, fighting workers who compose the entire yarding crews.
Although I had worked in the woods in the intermountain section of Idaho, where the timber was small and all logging performed by hand, for many years, I found that my past logging experience was practically valueless in a steam logging camp.
In due time Christmas rolled around. I had saved a small amount of moneyas money goes even in a logging camp-but to me, who had been down and almost out for quite a while, my faith in everything shaken, my pay check seemed like a small fortune. As I recall it, my
check amounted to $186. As the work. ers in the camp were paid off for the week's Christmas holiday, given in all Western logging operations, the superintendent called me in and asked me if I was returning after New Year's. I assured him that I would be back. "All right," he said. "I've noticed that you never take a drink."
"No," I answered, "I haven't so far in life. I don't intend to start in this week."
I was curious to know why the superintendent asked me the question, but, on my query, he answered: "I take it that you must be green in the woods, and I just wanted to tell you that while you're downtown if you don't 'blow your money' you'll likely have a fair amount of change left when the vacation is over."
"Don't worry about that," I replied: "I'm not going to spend any of it, only for a hotel, a few picture shows, and a ticket back."
no!" growled the superintendent. "I didn't want an oration on what you're going to do with it, but I've noticed that you're not familiar with the customs of the woods. While you're in town you'll continually meet some of the boys from the camp who are broke. They may ask you for a few dollars. When they do, don't ask any questions: just give it to them, as long as it is in small amounts, and don't worry about it; you'll get it back."
The superintendent was right. During the week I spent in town it seemed to me that the lumberjacks had spent their money with remarkable suddenness. Practically every man I ran into passed a very friendly greeting with a string attached, the string being a good-natured request for "a coupla dollars."
On the evening of the third day I counted up. I had just about enough left to get back. However, before I reached the boat I had given out $10 more to three friends who hadn't fared very well in the various "spending academies" dotting the streets in the famous skid-road section below the totem-pole in the "Queen City."
Yet I was buoyed up with the positive assurance of the superintendent that I would get it all back. "Maybe not this month," he told me, "but it'll all come back in the course of two or three pay days." But during the following week, bounding through the brush with the fourteen to twenty foot heavy "choker" cables at $3.30 a day, I couldn't help but become a little pessimistic about "getting it all back." Before the first of the month rolled around I was downright nervous, and I frankly told the superintendent that I had regretted the fact many times that my hundred and fiftyodd dollars I had loaned out were not safely reposing in a savings bank.
"Just as good where it is," he replied. "The savings bank might 'bust,' but these lumberjacks that you have loaned this money to aren't going to all die at once."
I knew that the loans were widely distributed. I hadn't kept track. I didn't know just how many men owed me, nor what amounts. In all, I think there were about thirty-five or forty loans, ranging from one dollar to fifteen. But what made me most nervous was the fact that not over thirty per cent of our crew had come back. A goodly part of the men I had loaned money to had gone out to other camps in various parts of the State. I didn't even know the names of most of them, and certainly hadn't the slightest idea where they had gone.
NEXT WEEK'S ISSUE.
To my intense surprise, on the third, fourth, and fifth of the first month my mail had the appearance of a collection agency. It seemed that all of a sudden I had become decidedly popular somewhere. Most of the envelopes contained a bill. Very few of them any other notice-a one-dollar bill, a two-dollar bill, or a five-dollar bill-leaving me no wiser than before as to who had sent it. I got back over a hundred dollars that first month. By March 1 a few odd onedollar and two-dollar bills had come in. By March 5 the entire amount had come back with the exception of one $7 loan and a $5 loan. I figured, by March 10, that I had probably lost the last.
During March a man in our camp was badly hurt, and I took him to the hospi tal. We arrived at the institution at about one o'clock in the morning. I remained long enough to see him into the ward reserved for men hurt in logging operations. As I entered the ward I heard: "There he is now! Hey, you!" I walked over to the bed from which the call came, and recognized a former worker in our camp, but I didn't recall anything further to bring him to mind.
"You loaned me $5," he blurted out. "I've been in the hospital here for six weeks, and I haven't been able to send it to you. I just got my compensation check from the State this morning, and here's your $5. Thanks very much."
I then went to bed, to get up two hours later to catch an early boat back up the canal. At that hour the "skid road" is practically deserted. I hadn't advanced very far when some one yelled and started on a run toward me. Instinctively I felt, "Here's a hold-up." I started to run. My pursuer was in good shape. Every few minutes he yelled lustily for me to stop. I put up a good race, but he steadily gained. However, I had reached Railroad Avenue by this time-out in the open glare of the electric lights. I figured I was safe, but the man chasing me didn't stop. He ran up to me, put his hand in his pocket, and wrathfully exclaimed, "You big chump! I've been looking for you all over since I came to town. I knew I had borrowed $7 from somebody. As you passed the alleyway back there, I recognized you, and instantly recognized the fact that I owed you the $7. Here it is. Thanks. See you again some time."
As I walked to the boat landing I realized that I had made thirty or forty promiscuous loans to men without knowing whether I should ever see them again, to men who had no money a week after pay day, to men who knew full well they probably would never see me again, and yet one hundred per cent of those men had returned their loans to me. In other words, one hundred per cent of these practical strangers had proved themselves to be square.
This experience was the beginning of the creed I have since grown to have perfect confidence in-that ninety-five per cent of men want to play fair.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF OSCAR S. STRAUS CHAPTER XIII-THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE
OW that the curtain of armistice
had descended upon the world's most devastating war, the League to Enforce Peace was endeavoring to co-operate in every possible way with President Wilson and the official delegates to the Peace Conference, and with similar organizations in Europe, to bring into existence a League of Nations.
I had been made chairman of the Overseas Committee, and on the afternoon of Theodore Roosevelt's funeral former President Taft and I met to confer regarding the work to be done. Both of us were very much depressed by the death of our friend. Taft felt grateful that "Theodore" (as he always called Roosevelt) and he had some months earlier re-established their long-time former friendship, which had unhappily been interrupted by political events.
Mr. Taft courteously told me that he was glad that I was going to Paris, and that he believed I might render a great service in helping to secure an effective League of Nations. He hoped I would have conferences with Balfour, Lloyd George, and Léon Bourgeois, and that I would be able to show them what kind of a League we and, as we thought, the American public generally wanted. At my request, Taft agreed to write me a letter, signed by himself, as President of the League to Enforce Peace, and by A. Lawrence Lowell, chairman of the Executive Committee, giving me full authority to take whatever action in Europe that I might consider wise. I told Taft that I wanted a letter which should expressly state, among other things, that I was to support our official delegates, as it would not do for America to show a divided front.
He told me, what I also had known from conversations with Roosevelt, that Roosevelt had latterly expressed himself in favor of such a League of Nations as we stood for. I reminded Taft that Roosevelt had been the first in recent years to emphasize the subject of a League of Nations, having done so in
his Nobel Peace Prize address.
A YOUTHFUL LORD CHANCELLOR
Reaching London on February 4, 1919, I promptly conferred with the members of the British League of Nations Union. Sir Willoughby Dickinson, M. P., gave me full details of the meetings that had been held by the English, French, and Italian leagues in Paris.
While in London we dined with our new Ambassador, John W. Davis, formerly the Solicitor-General of the United
Some of the main actors in the imposing drama of the Peace Conference. Left to right: Messrs. Lansing, Wilson, Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and Bonar Law
States. Both he and Mrs. Davis, in the short time they had been in London, had won the esteem of official England. At this dinner I had a long conversation with the new Lord Chancellor, Lord Birkenhead, formerly Sir Frederick Smith, who held a distinguished position at the British bar, and had been AttorneyGeneral in the last Cabinet. In the latter part of 1917 he had visited the United States, where I had met him. He was then only forty-seven years of age, but looked much younger, and therefore quite unlike the typical Lord Chancellor robed in venerable dignity. He told me that he was the youngest Lord Chancellor, with one exception, that had ever sat on the woolsack. He had the youthful and vivacious face of a man in the thirties. He said that nothing would please him more than, when he was no longer Lord Chancellor, to practice law in America, but he said that precedent would not permit a former Lord Chancellor to return to the bar and practice his profession. He was very outspoken in his opposition to a League of Nations, saying that it was a Utopian idea.
As a dinner guest of Sir Arthur SteeleMaitland, M. P., Under-Secretary of the Foreign Office, I met my old friend Viscount Bryce, who was then about eightytwo years of age. He was still in the best of health and his mind was as alert He brought me a copy of his recent brochure, "Proposals for the Pre
vention of Future Wars." Maitland strongly favored a League of Nations.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE PARIS
We arrived in Paris on February 9, where our friends Mr. and Mrs. Edward Mamelsdorf had generously placed at our disposal their comfortable apartment in the Rue Montaigne, which was most conveniently and centrally situated and saved us the necessity and difficulty of securing accommodations, all the hotels being jammed full. At the Crillon Hotel, headquarters of the American Delegation, we conferred with Colonel House, with whom arrangements were made for the fullest co-operation between our League and the Official Commission. We also conferred with Mr. Gordon Auchincloss, son-in-law and secretary of Colonel House, who, after consulting with the latter, gave me in confidence a typewritten copy of the Articles of the League entitled "Draft as Provisionally Approved." He said that the Colonel wanted me to have this, so that I might study it. I was told that the outlook for the adoption of a League very discouraging because the French Delegation, headed by Léon Bourgeois, insisted upon two additional clauses-(1) the control by the League of the manufacture of all armaments and of all war industries, and (2) a