Imágenes de páginas

tion that there is anything above honor say one-half he intended, nor in the way able service to the state.But his idea he meant. of honorable service is not a common one. The Governor listened attentively,

One of the hardest shocks he gave to nodded only to indicate that he underthe old-timers was when he abolished the stood, but did not make any direct statesecret chamber and took his place at the ment or comment. And when the politbig desk in the large executive room where ical boss awkwardly shook hands with everybody comes in. In other days this him and faded through the door, his cigar was the reception room, while the gov was bunched in one of his hands and he ernor occupied the inner of two smaller looked sheepishly at the other men waitrooms, the first containing his private sec ing for an audience. retary. This made the secret conclave possible. But such an arrangement did

IV. not accord with Governor Hughes' ideas

One year now Governor Hughes has of democratic accessibility and honest

been in office, and what is the record ? consultation. What could the politicians Quite as remarkable as anything that predo when they sought the governor to have

ceded. His first message was a piece of a private conference, and

found that they revolutionary but constructive statesman. must talk to him without secrecy? An ship, the central feature of which was a Albany correspondent gives a description comprehensive scheme for the state reguof the new order and its results.

lation of all public-service corporations A country leader had come in to have through a Public Service Commission, to a consultation. With uncertain glance at be appointed by the Governor and rethe Governor he approached and assumed sponsible to him, with power of removal a bluff air of familiarity. Instantly the in his hands. This was a counter move to lines around the mouth of the Governor that for national control, keeping the tightened. He seized the proffered hand.

power in the state, but bringing the cor“What can I do for you?” he asked porations under a direct and stringent guardedly.

rule and accountability. It was an overOh, I want to see you in private about shadowing proposition, and it staggered a matter up our way,” and the boss di the corporations and the legislative leadrected an inquiring glance toward the ers and the lobbyists. Bills were introinside room.

duced to carry out the recommendations, “Sit down," invited the Governor, in but it was freely declared that the legisdicating a chair two feet from his own lature would never enact such drastic and seating himself before his caller could laws, or place such power in the hands of recover himself. The latter sank into the

a governor and his appointees. The Govchair uneasily. The Governor with an ernor said nothing. He had done his duty encouraging smile waited for him to begin. in recommending such legislation as he

“Why, er - er, Governor, there are deemed best for the state. For the rest, some matters about politics and legisla- the legislative function was responsible. tion I want to talk to you about in pri. This, too, was a position so novel that the vate.'

politicians shook their heads and gave it “Oh, well, go ahead," said the Gov

up. A governor who would not use ernor, looking directly at his caller. “No patronage to secure the passage of bills one will interrupt us here. But I think was beyond their comprehension. you have come to the wrong place about

According to promise, the Governor belegislation. I am not a member of the

gan an investigation of the state departlegislature.”

ments. It was evident that the insurance Oh, well, you know, I understand department was in need of a new head, that, you know – know," and the boss

since under Superintendent Kelsey bad was evidently disconcerted, He looked conditions remained unchanged. The around the room, noted the proximity of Governor conducted the inquiry himself, half a dozen men who had come in and having found this to be within his power, ranged themselves on the sofas and chairs and the officer was subjected to the same along the south wall, and began to talk kind of grilling that had proved fatal to

ing, and his incompetency was so glaring conditions of the railroads affected, bethat self-respect should have led him to

came apparent, and the veto commanded resign; but he refused to do so, and his the approval of thoughtful citizens. But case was made a test of the relative whether the people approved the Govstrength of the Governor and the leaders ernor's action or not, they realized anew in the legislature. Under the whip the that here was a man who cared nothing majority of the Senate voted to retain the for popular favor as against his convicsuperintendent, and there was great re tion of justice and sense of right. joicing over the Governor's humiliating Here are his memorable words to the defeat, as it was described. Evidently his legislature, which perhaps more than any reform measures had no chance of pass other one thing put a presidential stamp ing, and he was doomed to political de- upon him: struction. The combined forces of such Injustice on the part of railroad corporations bosses as Raines and McCarren, Republi toward the public does not justify injustice on can and Democrat together in defense of

the part of the state toward the railroad corpora

tions. The action of the government should be threatened monopoly, were in possession

fair and impartial, and upon this every citizen, of the field.

whatever his interest, is entitled to insist. We What then did this unusual Governor shall make matters no better, but worse, if to do? Turned to the people, who formed the

cure one wrong we establish another. The fact

that those in control of railroad corporations constituencies of the legislators. In two

have been guilty of grossly improper financiering public speeches he told the people just how

and of illegal and injurious discriminations in matters stood between the executive and charges points clearly to the necessity of effective the lawmakers. Quick and imperative

state action, but does not require or warrant was the response. When the remon

arbitrary reprisals. In dealing with these ques

tions democracy must demonstrate its capacity strances came in from their districts, to act upon deliberation and to deal justly. there was consternation in the camp; and

V. when a caucus call was refused by the Republican leader the Governor's fight Many estimates of Governor Hughes ing cap was on, and within two days the have been made, and many more will be, caucus was held, and the party was for he is bound to be in the public eye. pledged to carry out his wishes. The There is no disagreement, however, as to pressure had not come from him, for he

his sincerity. That is an outstanding consistently declined to interfere with the quality.

quality. It is written in his face and legislative function; but the aroused and speaks out of his clear eye. You can not indignant people told their representa see him and doubt his honesty. His most tives what they wanted in such unmis inveterate political enemy admits that the takable way that the bills carrying out Governor says what he thinks and stands the Governor's recommendations were by it. Next to this trait is strength, a passed, and the victory was now all on the kind of ruggedness that settles many other side. The appeal to the people things without debate.

When he says the new method – was an unexampled No, that is instinctively felt to be the end success. This was the new type of politics. of it. He does not speak or decide

One other strange thing must be chron- hastily. He takes time to make up his icled, because its effect was to make Gov. mind; when it is made up, no one as yet ernor Hughes national in prestige and has found a way to make him change it. influence, and a hundredfold more con One of his fixed habits is optimism. His spicuous than anything he had previously foundation word is duty. done. In response to what was deemed å He is concededly dignified, and in manpopular demand a bill was passed estab ner reserved and grave. Hence he has lishing a two-cent-a-mile railroad fare been called cold and unsympathetic, and throughout the state. Other states had classed with President Harrison as a man taken or were contemplating such legis- who had no magnetism. This is far from lative action. What was the consternation the truth. When there is occasion to when Governor Hughes vetoed this bill, smile, no man has a brighter one than with such clear reason for his action that Governor Hughes, nor a heartier manner. the real nature of such legislation, enacted But he does not go about like a flattering without thorough investigation into the and fawning self-seeker, currying favor



STATE ISSUES with all sorts and conditions of voters. He respects himself and his office, and the people respect him in consequence. He is approachable and accessible to all who have legitimate business with him. He is genuinely democratic, while a gentleman by breeding and temperament. To those admitted within the circle of friendship he is one of the most delightful of companions.

But has he the human element ? His intellectuality is admitted, also his indefatigable industry and amazing application. His moral earnestness, his genuine piety, with no smack of cant or hypocritical piosity, his high ideals and unyielding will - all these are granted. Has he no human weaknesses, no failings, no lighter side? To think not would be utterly to misjudge him. Go out with him on the golf links and measure up against his drives, and you will find that he loves an outdoor game as well as the next.

MEETING HIS CONSTITUENTS An answer to those who say he is cold and not genial

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

who knows him intimately how the Gov- want him, and say so unmistakably, then ernor was affected by the persistent men- he will deal with the matter when it comes tion of his name as the next President. to him, as he did with the governorship.

“He isn't affected at all, apparently,'' His habit is invariably not to cross a bridge was the reply. “He is absorbed in his until he comes to it. Until that time he work as Governor.

Of course he under- will lose no sleep, nor will any of his stands what is going on; but I am sure friends, if he can help it." there is no man in the country who spends That is undoubtedly the situation. less time thinking about the presidency Governor Hughes has put it in this way, than Charles E. Hughes. If the people in reply to a letter from Senator Saxe


Copyright. 1907, by Brown Bros., New York.


informing him that his name would be submitted for indorsement as a presidential candidate :

I do not think it proper for me to make any suggestion as to what the county committee should do or should not do. It is of the highest importance that the work of the administration shall be disinterested, and I shall do nothing to influence the selection or vote of delegates. I assume that the party representatives will take such action, whatever it may be, as they believe to be best. They have their duty and I have mine. I think my position is clearly understood.

That is what one would expect from him. One thing is certain, that if the people of New York, instead of the politicians, have their way, something will happen at Chicago that will deeply interest the Empire State and the entire American people. For the plain people can not see why what is so good for their interests in a state government should not be equally good for the whole country in the national government. The logic of it is simple - so simple that the politicians know well they have a hard task on their hands to evade its conclusions.

. The people's man" is a hard man to beat, and Charles Evans Hughes is preëminently the people's man.

[graphic][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »