« PreviousContinue »
eight years ago, he sold garden truck from will reply that the Democrats were sleephis father's farm and conducted himself as ing; ask the Democratic managers of a model of youthful obedience. He worked Kansas City—there are quite a number of hard and lived frugally while he studied these - why Beardsley was swept into law in the University of Illinois and eleven office on a wave, almost of popular acclayears after he graduated there as a Bache- mation, and the reply will be as varied as lor of Law he established himself in Kansas the character of these leaders. Ask the City. As president of the upper house he men of the city, the younger Democrats was chief executive of the Municipal especially, how they voted on the mayorWater Works and he has largely the credit alty and the almost invariable reply will of increasing its value in less than eight be, “Well, I voted for Beardsley, because years from $3,000,000 to $8,000,000. he was the best man.” Which explains
To the average politician, a gentleman something the party mechanicians do not without brains in public life is negligible; yet understand. It expresses the nexus of a gentleman with brains without a con- the rising third party. Formerly there was science is purchasable; but a gentleman the Democratic machine and the Republiof brains and conscience is inexplicable. can machine. Now there is the American Ask the political mechanicians of Missouri people, voting more largely on every fresh why the state voted for Roosevelt and they occasion for the best man.'
TOM L. JOHNSON
MAYOR OF CLEVELAND
Portrait on page 669
GEORGE C. SIKES
TOM L. JOHNSON, who has been char- has a saving sense of humor, which consti
acterized by Lincoln Steffens as “the tutes an important difference between the
best mayor of the best-governed city visionary and the practical idealist. in the United States,” is one of the most Mr. Johnson was born in Kentucky in picturesque and interesting figures in 1854. His given name is really Tom and American public life, and in the world's not Thomas. He was christened Tom. great democratic movement of to-day is His father was a slaveowner and an officer unquestionably one of the forces to be in the Confederate Army. The close of reckoned with. A successful business the war found the family in poverty. man, he has quit business in the prime of Young Tom at eleven years of age took to life for politics and the propagation of the selling papers and it was in the capacity elemental ideas of social justice as pro- of newsboy that he learned his first lesson pounded by Henry George. A monopolist in the value of monopoly. He established by occupation, he is now engaged in the friendly relations with the conductor of the interest of the masses in fighting private one train running into his village and for monopoly.
a time that conductor allowed no one else Mr. Johnson is looked upon by most of to bring papers into the village on his those who have not followed his career train, a type of favoritism that has since closely as a doctrinaire and the advocate of been extensively utilized by other seekers a particular panacea for social ills. He is for wealth. In 1869 the boy, then fifteen both, but he differs from most other men years of age, found employment with a of this class in that he is also possessed of small street railway in Louisville. He practical sense and administrative ca- progressed rapidly. Profits from the inpacity. Unlike doctrinaires of the famil- vention of a fare box helped to give him a iar type, Johnson can make money. He start. In 1876 he joined with others in has done so and from the experience has buying the street railway lines of gained the power to get results. He also Indianapolis, where he demonstrated the
value to traction managers and public were defeated last year by a candidate for alike of introducing through routes and governor representing Johnson's party the general use of transfers. Mr. Johnson and reflecting his views on municipal queslater became the owner of street railway tions. lines in Cleveland and Detroit. His hold. As mayor, Johnson has had an uphill ings in the former city brought him into fight and has been able to accomplish little intense business rivalry with the late as yet in furtherance of the street railway Senator Hanna, afterward a bitter polit policy on which he was first elected. But ical opponent.
on the administrative side Johnson has A chance reading of one of Henry done much to place Cleveland in the front George's books on a railroad train is said rank of American cities. The work of the to have been responsible for turning John- police department has been improved. son's mind from business to economics and The administration of public charities has politics. A close friendship between John been such as to attract outside attention. son and George sprung up in 1885 which An efficient merit system has been introendured until the sensational death of Mr. duced in the water-works department, in George in the midst of the New York advance of any state legislation requiring mayoralty campaign in 1897. Mr. John such a system, and the management of the son's main purpose in life at the present water-works plant has been creditable and time is said by him to be the promulgation progressive. The law department has been and practical application of the teachings notably capable.
notably capable. As a popular leader of Henry George. In 1890 Johnson was Johnson has urged high-minded citizens to elected to Congress as a free-trade Demo become candidates for elective offices and crat and served two terms, going down to has aided in bringing about their elections. defeat in the landslide of 1894. He re In this work he has not limited his.interest fused to vote for the Wilson Bill as to Democrats or single-taxers, but has emasculated by the Senate under the sought rather to draw into the public servleadership of Gorman.
ice any one who would meet the test of An incident in congressional debate well good citizenship. illustrates the man's character and point Considerable success has attended his of view, Through his street-car business efforts in the line of tax reform, a subject Johnson had become interested in the that lies close to his heart, and one on manufacture of rails, a tariff-protected in which he has settled convictions to which dustry. On one occasion an opponent said he adheres on all occasions. An incident in debate that Johnson ought to vote for will illustrate. It was my good fortune on the measures he denounced as monopolies one occasion to be present at a committee because he was himself a monopolist en meeting in Cleveland at which the grocers joying the benefit of the legislation. John were asking the imposition of a heavy son retorted: “As a business man I am license tax on peddlers. The grocers were willing to take advantage of all the mo present in force. The peddlers were unnopoly laws you pass; but as a member of represented by any one from their own Congress I will not help you to pass them ranks. Mayor Johnson declared himself and I will try to force you to repeal squarely against the plan, in so far as it them."
involved a tax on the peddlers. He was In 1901 Johnson was elected mayor of willing to approve any purely regulative Cleveland, the street-car question being provisions that might be needed, but he the chief issue. His purpose was to give would fight any plan to use the taxing the people three-cent fares through the power to restrict in any way the business introduction of a competing company, the of the peddlers. The political support of city not having from the legislature the the grocers as a class was doubtless worth power to municipalize. He has been twice more than that of the peddlers. But this reëlected by growing majorities. In 1903 did not seem to be taken into consideration he was the Democratic nominee for gover by Mayor Johnson in the least. nor of Ohio, but was badly beaten at the It is one of Mayor Johnson's ambitions polls. His aim in running for governor, to have his city the first in the United however, may be said to have been largely States to municipalize its street railway accomplished, inasmuch as his enemies system.
AB Whitlock, u then reyoungso reporter measure in a home e ruleta Porabities. Home
doing politics for a Chicago news- rule for cities means that party organizapaper, tried to persuade an Ohio politician tions in cities will be weakened. City ofto run independent for governor. The fices will no longer be so easy to use in politician had offended the machine. the game of electing governors and presi
“Even if you get the nomination,” said dents. City administrations will be conWhitlock, “the machine will knife you fined more closely to administrative work. and kill you on election day. But if you They will think more of pavements and appeal from the machine to the people less of conventions. you will have a chance to pull through. Though formally educated in Ohio, Run independent."
Whitlock was really educated in Illinois. The politician laughed. “You seem to In Illinois, as a newspaper man, he studied think I want to be a stereopticon hero," politics and politicians. He became a he said. “The only way to win is to have newpaper man because he liked to observe the organization with you. The people and because he liked to put down the rearen't enough interested. The only work- sults of his observations on paper. Fundaers you can get are machine workers. mentally he is a student and a writer He Wait till you are as old as I am."
became a politician because his newspaper Whitlock did not wait as long as that. assigned him to the work of studying poliLast year, still a young man, he proved tics and of writing political articles. The that the people are more than enough fact that his newspaper writing took this interested. He defied both the party ma- slant has finally made him mayor of Tochines of Toledo. He also defied the news- ledo. But he remains by instinct a writer papers. All he wanted was the people. rather than a politician. The people, without organizations and His novel, "The Thirteenth District," without newspapers, straggled promiscu- is a political story which is honest. Whitously to the polls and in the course of a lock refused several good offers of publifew hours of individual work made Brand cation because those offers carried with Whitlock mayor.
them a request for the insertion of a cliA few weeks after his election Whitlock max which would have been “helpful” joined the Mayors' Association of Ohio. and “uplifting,” but dishonest, untruthThis association includes both Republi- ful and insincere. Whitlock is an admirer cans and Democrats. Or, rather, it in- of Pushkin, Turgenieff and Gorky. He cludes neither. It is based on the idea that tries to say what he sees. He believes that the words Republican and Democrat if the truth is not “helpful” and “upliftshould be stricken out of municipal dic- ing" he is willing to rest the case with tionaries. This association believes that Providence. When “The Thirteenth Discities should govern themselves. It be- trict” was finally published it conformed lieves that the internal affairs of cities to the facts as Whitlock saw them. should not be regulated by the issues of It may be that Whitlock's approach to state campaigns. It believes that local politics was made through one other chanofficials should not be appointed by state nel besides his newspaper work. Whitlock party administrations,
It believes that is by temperament a lover of personal cities should be removed from the field of freedom and a hater of coercion. While in state party politics.
Chicago he was closely associated with This association of Ohio mayors has Clarence Darrow. While in Springfield presented to the state legislature of Ohio he held an appointment under Governor
Altgeld. Whitlock, whether he gives him to Jones. Jones was trying to rule Toledo self the name or not, might truthfully be on the basis of the text
"Whatsoever ye called a non-resister. He believes that would that men should do to you, do ye evil can not be cured by force. Having even so to them.”
As part of the applicathese feelings, he naturally became inter- tion of this text, he was clement in his ested in law and in courts and in criminals dealings with criminals. He was less and in jails. He shared Clarence Dar. eager to take vengeance on them than he row's conviction that acts of punishment was to give them an opportunity to imhave done little to improve the world. prove.
Having concluded his newspaper work Whitlock spoke with Jones and worked and having prepared himself for the bar, with Jones. They agreed in the emphasis Whitlock left Chicago and went to Toledo which they placed on the freedom of the There he practiced law, particularly in individual. They also agreed in their enthe criminal courts. Confident of the thusiasm for certain more distinctively general futility of punishment, his daily political enterprises, such as municipal work expressed his inner life. Meanwhile, ownership. When Jones died, Whitlock however, his life in the evening was even was, in a way, his spiritual heir. At the closer to his heart than his life during last session of the legislature the bill in the day, for in the evening he wrote. which Whitlock perhaps took the greatest
These employments might have carried interest was one for the abolition of the Brand Whitlock to the end of his days had death penalty. he taken up his residence in any other city. He must now rule city. Is he capable But Toledo was a city which was capable of ruling? If he is, he may have to choose of choosing “Golden Rule” Jones to rule some day between books and affairs. It over it. Whitlock's principles drew him will not be a pleasant choice.
JAMES NOBLE ADAM
MAYOR OF BUFFALO
Portrait on page 668
THOMAS P. HAMILTON
CCUPYING the mayor's chair of measure of interest. In the former he Buffalo since the first of last Janu- climbed from a $1-a-week errand boy in
ary is a shrewd, elderly, Scotch mer Scotland to a $2,000,000 fortune and the chant, whose boast is that he runs the city management of the largest store in Bufas he formerly ran his department store. falo. In the latter he showed unusual Aside from this he has become known as a farsightedness and he has always won elec
the first since Grover tion far ahead of his running mates. Cleveland steered his course from Buffalo “J. N." Adam is best known by his to Albany and later to Washington, by ju- initials, as that is how his name appears dicious application of the veto. This man over his department store. He entered is James Noble Adam. So far he has politics a dozen years ago and was elected delivered more vetoes and blows at queer councilman. As such he realized that his deals in each circle of the clock hands than future must be along reform lines and he has any of his predecessors. It is said was clear-headed enough to follow the be Mayor Adam's ambition to follow lines without making enemies unnecesCleveland's course to the governorship. sarily. Nevertheless he always was reAt present he looms large as a Democratic garded as the most independent man on possibility if the conservative-reform ele any board on which he served. Often he ment has its say.
voted with the opposite party, many times In both business and politics Mayor he voted alone. He was a stickler for little Adam's career has more than the usual things as well as against large irregulari
ties. People began to notice that when done in a comparatively short time have Adam got into a fight, whether successful been the removal of the superintendent of or not, time eventually showed he had been police, who made good a $9,000 shortage in on the right side.
his accounts two days before the new Later on Councilman Adam became mayor entered office, the starting of Alderman Adam. He was the first and actions to compel one electricity and two last Democrat elected in the twenty-fourth gas corporations to reduce prices, the ward, the fashionable residence district. elimination of ninety per cent of dive saAlderman Adam delved into city finances loons, persistent refusal of the city to pay and spent some of his own money, having bills to public service corporations till experts help him. He became an author. they pay taxes and dues they owe the city, ity on taxation statistics. When he made and the appointment of a commission to a speech and cited figures he could not be revise the city charter so that real estate tripped up. Those who opposed and dis- can be legally sold for non-payment of liked him called him Santa Claus, on ac- taxes, and other defects can be remedied. count of his white hair and beard. All These are only a few of the more imporcity hall termed him a fusser, but he was tant reforms started. fussing with an end in view.
In closing the saloon dives the mayor Three years ago he was nominated by showed his diplomatic ability by dealing the Democratic party as an alderman. with the Brewers' Association, instead of They put him up to lend tone to the ticket. resorting to slow and doubtful legal proHe was the only man on it elected, surviv- ceedings. The brewers at that time were ing a vote of about seven thousand against fighting the Tully-Wainwright local ophis party. In the board of councilmen it tion bill in the legislature and wanted all was said at once “Adam wanted to be the popular support they could get. mayor." Adam said nothing, but he hired Mayor Adam talked business with them. a newspaper man, Victor Speer, a political He said he wanted the dives closed. First writer, to manage the advertising of his he threw a few broadsides against them. store and incidentally to manage the prac- The brewers got nervous. tical end of his campaign for the mayor- Finally they said they would close obalty nomination. He was as much of a re- noxious places. A committee so informed former as ever. In that he was and is the mayor. sincere. But a reformer is entitled to po- “My list will be ready to-morrow,' litical rewards if he can get them, and said he. Adam was not neglecting promotion.
“What list ?! While he was away in Scotland last fall “Why, the list of the worst places. Mayor Adam was nominated. There was Those that must be closed,” said the no opposition. The convention cabled
mayor. him. The answer came back “I accept." The brewers were nonplussed. They exAdam was elected by a majority larger pected to do their own selecting. When than the city ever before gave a mayor. the list was given them they threw fits. It
Since assuming office Mayor Adam has contained sixty of the worst dives, many been a tireless worker and has forged of them big money-makers. They debated ahead steadily in his record for honesty the subject, but the mayor was firm and and efficiency. The biggest men in the threatened a crusade against saloons if city have failed to influence his action on these places were not closed. A crusade at municipal business that has come before that stage of the game was the worst thing him. They tried, but they got the cold in the world for the brewers and they shoulder. In making appointments that capitulated. They made good, too. The were free from politics and in some of his mayor informed them that as they conreforms proper attention has been paid to trolled these dives through holding the advertising the fact that Adam did it, but leases and licenses they must close them. nevertheless the thing done has been un- Only three of the sixty survived. Through deniably for the good of the city. Mayor the police the mayor reached these by Adam may have taken his due share of stationing a “copper” at their doors. He thunder, but the people got the benefit. spoiled their business and two of the three
Among the things Mayor Adam has finally gave up the fight.