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By Alfred Henry Lewis
Commenting on the resignation of Ambassador Bacon, Mr. Lewis gives his ideas on the subject of ambassadorships in general, relegating them to the political rubbish heap as useless relics of a “tinsel past.” Mr. Root's part in the Roosevelt-Taft feud is another of Mr. Lewis' topics this month, and he has some interesting facts to offer relative to Protection and the Trusts
Why Ambassadors ? wonder that Mr. Bacon was our fourth am
bassador to France during the past seven R. BACON was our Ambassador years. The Paris dispatch, which related the to France. The other day, he
The other day, he diplomatic going of Mr. Bacon, set forth the handed his ambassadorship French astonishment. Said the dispatch: In for the Bacon stepping down back to Mr. Taft. No cause
This rapid shifting of ambassadors at Paris has
not produced a good effect in French political and out was given. The true reason, when circles. It has been pointed out more than once it does transpire, may be found to be a that an ambassador hardly has time to acquaint Roosevelt reason.
himself with his new duties or familiarize himself Mr. Bacon, under Mr. Roosevelt, was
with the statesmen and the political conditions of
France before he leaves, for one reason or another. First, Assistant Secretary of State. When Mr. Root, at the behest of Money, laid
The French down his Secretaryship of State to succeed
wonder at the Mr. Platt in the Senate, Mr. Bacon went
easy readiup a step and took Mr. Root's place. This
ness wherewas but a scanty handful of weeks before
with AmeriMr. Taft's inauguration.
cans shift It was the Roosevelt wish, as it was the
their ambassBacon ambition, that Mr. Bacon should
adors, swings continue as Secretary of State, and sit on
largely upon the cabinet right hand of the Taft adminis
a point of tration. Mr. Taft preferred Mr. Knox, however, and ousted Mr. Bacon, gilding his cabinet dismissal with that appointment to France. This cabinet dismissal of Mr. Bacon is one of the counts in the indictment that Mr. Roosevelt-in the courts of his own resentments - has drawn against Mr. Taft. In thus ousting Mr. Bacon, Mr. Roosevelt charges Mr. Taft with the political crime of ingratitude.
In France, and for that diplomatic matter, England and all Europe, it is being recalled with round-eyed
"The other day he handed his ambassadorship back to Mr. Taft"
view. The French, with more of a past than it is wrong to complain. Such folk go with have Americans, think more of the past than government as goes the red-coat monkey do Americans. Also, Americans attach but with a street organ, and, while important to little or less importance to ambassadors and party as filling its treasure chests, in no wise ministers. These officers do nothing, having contribute to the public music that is nothing to do. Having nothing to do and ground. Were these posts altogether aboldoing nothing, they count for nothing in the ished, nothing would suffer save party, no equation of government. Change them one not a politician be hurt.
"Restraining Mr. Roosevelt was a task beyond the Rootian strength. It was as though a ten-year-old boy
had been set the task of restraining a husky three-year-old bull
every hour, and the machinery of state Root as the Taft “Jonah” would never slip a cog. Americans are aware of these ambassadorial futilities
, and IT is not understood that Senator Root
is no value at all.
ences developed between Mr. Roosevelt and In an elder day, when your ambassador Mr. Taft. The sly, secret, inimical Mr. or your minister to a foreign court was half Root—that American Richelieu—was a hostage, half spy, such glittering splinters of member, as was Mr. Taft, of Mr. Roosegovernment may have had their turn and velt's cabinet. Mr. Root had two purposes served it. Even then, however, the saga-' in entering the cabinet. He was there to cious Cromwell, a statesman unsurpassed, withstand Mr. Roosevelt in any effort to was moved to remark:"A battleship is your curb the criminal corporations. And he was best ambassador.” In our own time, a time there to secure for himself a presidency at of steam and electricity, such public trinkets the close of the Roosevelt term. belong only with the rag-tag and bobtail Mr. Root cannot be said to have succeeded of a tinsel past. They serve no end, having in either of these enterprises. In all freenone to serve. Who alive ever heard of any dom and frankness, he most miserably failed worth while work by an ambassador? Are as to both. Restraining Mr. Roosevelt was not these posts, by the practice of forty a task beyond the Rootian strength. It was years, held sacred to the occupation of rich as though a ten-year-old boy had been set weaklings, who purchase them of the parties the task of restraining a husky three-yearwith campaign contributions? These vapid old bull. Mr. Root held fast to the rope; children of money buy ambassadorships, he did all he could. Mr. Roosevelt never just as a rich peacock would buy a tail were heeded the restraining pressure. He took he to find himself hatched without one. Mr. Root with him whenever he charged; Having bought them, they strut with them, and though Mr. Root dug deep into the sod peacock-wise. And, since it affords these his faithful heels, and did his corporation slight, vainglorious ones an opportunity to best to hold back, it resulted only in his be great without being dangerous, perhaps being foolishly skated all over the pampas. Mr. Roosevelt paid no attention to Mr. lent lion-hunter in feud with the adminisRoot's efforts to control him. If he at all tration that he, Mr. Roosevelt, created, noticed the rope of corporate influence and and who, as incident, has served his trust corporate interest with which Mr. Root was masters to the last limit of a robber tariff, striving to check and stay him, he regarded owns authority for the bland smiles that it as no more than just the bond that broaden and wreath his pike-like face. united them.
Mr. Root's hopes of a White House were Too Much of a Good Thing sent to the scrap heap the moment Mr. Roosevelt, picking a successor, pitched upon " RUSTS--tariff -protection - they all Mr. Taft. And yet observe the sarcasm of run into one--are to be the issue. The the situation, behold the irony of events! people insist, the politicians submit. And Mr. Root has not alone avenged himself since such is the political case, it would be upon Mr. Roosevelt, whom down deep in as wisely well were you to equip yourself his cold heart he will not soon forgive for with a quiverful of barbed facts and figures. preferring-presidentially-Mr. Taft to him- As to tariff, men break into three groups. self, but he has done more, through Mr. Some are for free trade; some are for tariff Taft, in aid and comfort of the criminal for revenue; some are for protection. Just corporations than he would have dared now, the protectionists are on top, as they attempt, in his own person, had he himself have been for forty years, and so, with the been made President. Mr. Roosevelt be- Payne-Aldrich measure, we have protection. queathed to Mr. Taft both his policies and Sailing as close to the wind of discussion his enemies. He was to foster the former, fight the latter. Before Mr. Roosevelt was out of the White House, the wily Mr. Root had begun teaching the docile Mr. Taft to make friends with those enemies, while permitting the “policies" to go wildly adrift.
With a last word, it was neither Mr. Aldrich, nor Mr. Payne, nor Mr. Morgan, nor any and all of the forty-odd influences of politics and criminal money that cluster about a White House, that led Mr. Taft to the tents of the ungodly. These had their weight with Mr. Taft -no doubt. None the less, the dark honor of that Taft desertion belongs for the greater part to Mr. Root who, discovering Mr. Taft in the icy hour of a Harrison, has had during twenty masterful years the Taftian ear. The proverb-mongers tell us, “He laughs best who laughs last." If that be true, then Mr. Root, who has destroyed his rival, Mr. Taft, who has disappointed Mr. Roosevelt,
"It was neither Mr. Aldrich, nor Mr. Payne, nor Mr. Morgan, nor any and all of the forty
odd influences of politics and criminal money that cluster about a White House, that led and placed that turbu
Mr. Taft to the tents of the ungodly"
as our rig will permit, let us say for the out. Take New England: During a recent argumentative moment that Protection may New England decade, 25,300 factories came be a good thing. Admitting, however, that into being, and 15,344 farms went out of Protection is a good thing, there still re- being. It was as though every other facmains the truism, indorsed by the gray tory chimney, pointing skyward, pierced the experience of the ages, that one may have heart of a farm. too much of a good thing.
The farms retreat before the factories. Have we had an overdose of Protection? They have done it in New England, in New
Whom has it helped? Whom has it hurt? Jersey; they are doing it in Ohio, in Illinois, What have been its broad effects? American in Indiana.
The natural is giving away mankind is complaining of the higher cost before the artificial, the city is routing the of living. Has Protection had anything to farm. That sounds as though our civilizado with notching up that cost?
tion were making sternway. For while the Consider these figures, taken from Uncle city—the market-place-is born of the farm, Sam's books. There may be in them a the farm finds its source in nature. protection thought or two. During the What becomes of the American farmer, years from 1900 to 1910, roundly 9,000,- driven factory-wise from his fields? In ooo aliens came into this country. With 1910, 103,844 of him crossed over to Can91,972,266 of population, nearly one in ada. American immigration to Canada will ten is from Europe and landed here within grow while Protection grows - Protection, the decade.
which kills the farm to make room for the During the last six years—these are Bu- factory, which drives Americans out of reau of Immigration figures-5,900,000 America in favor of an immigration from people came here from Europe. Of these Naples and Odessa! ! 4,720,000 went into New England, New Jer- Have we been overdosed with Protection? sey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois.
They were licked up by the mines, by the manufactories. Not one went to the farms. They became food consumers, not food producers; wage reducers, not wage advancers.
Under a protection that pays a Carnegie $25,000,000 a year and a Carnegie workingman $500 a year, manufacturing has expanded after this manner. In 1880, themanufacturing center was in western Pennsylvania; in 1890, it was in eastern Ohio; in 1900, in was in western Ohio; to-day, it is in central Indiana.
What of the farms?
As manufacturing advanced, cities grew
What becomes of the American farmer, driven factory-wise from his fields? In 1010, and farms were blotted
103,844 of him crossed over to Canada"
This $240,000 came to Mr. Carnegie as “commissions” from the astute Tom Scott — who never believed, as does Mr. Carnegie, in muzzling the ox which treadeth out the corn-for selling an armful of dubious railroad bonds to an unlucky coterie of credulous Scotch and English. That was fewer than forty-five years ago. Now Mr. Carnegie's income is $25,000,000 a year.
And all the time there exists no religious, no social, no political, no com- mercial reason why Mr. Carnegie should be better paid or better housed or better fed or better clothed than is Bob Jones or Bill Smith. That Carnegie income of $25,000,000 is a flower of Protection. There are hundreds of such
Protection's Prize Flower You remember Mr. Carnegie's recent regrets before the Stan
“He might-he said -by merely asking, have had $100,000,ley Committee over his want of
000 more! shrewdness in getting only $430,000,000 for his Steel Trust holdings? He
He broad and lolling blossoms in that same might-he said-by merely asking, have Protection garden. had $100,000,000 more.
When Congress passed the laws that The original over-all steel investment of "Protected" Mr. Carnegie into his twentythe shortsighted Mr. Carnegie was $240,000. five-million-dollar income, it based its action