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A Questionable Practice

A Questionable Practice image
Parent Issue
Day
17
Month
March
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

The pernicious practice of appointing U. S. senators on commissions upon the work of which they will have to pass as senators is fineiy illustrated in the case of ex-Senator George Gray. of Delaware. He served as a member of the peace commission and has just been appointed a United States district f udge by President McKinley. According to reports at the time of his appointment upon the commission, as its democratie member, he was imuch averse to accepting it. He was also strongly committed against 4he acquisition of the Philippines. He came back with his previously wel! settled convictions on that subject changed and voted for the ratification of the treaty. Now he has been made a United States district judge by a president of the opposite party. This appointment is sure to be looked upon by many as a reward for his action as a member of the peace commission, and his change of front on the Philippine question with a view to this reward. This may not be true at all, but the circumstances surrounding the matter iend plausibility to the idea. During the 12 years Mr. Gray has been a member of the senate he has established a reputation for probity and high character. He is also regurdeá as a most scholarly man and ■one of the ablest constitutional lawyers in the senate. Nevertheless the circumstances surrounding his appointment to the bench are sure to be hurtful. They engender the thought of a bargain. And even tïiough the character of the man ■will not warrant the idea, the thought will not down. His explanation of his change of position on the Philippine question is reasonable and but for the later appoiutment might carry much weight. But rthe combination of circumstances are harmful. The Argus believes the senate acted wisely in ratifying the treaty of Paris, but in doing ihis it was acting, in a roeasure at least, as a court and those who negotiated the treaty should not have fiassed upan their qwn work. All iudrcatious point tn a stndierl effort ou the part of the republican administraron to tnake an iuroad into the solid south uext ycar. There bas alreacly been, smce cougrcss adjonrned a considerable exodus of statesmen to tüat seétion. It voald riot be snrpïisiug, should the effort sncceed. The late war bas healed the last of the sores left over from the civil conflict anc reconstruction days. Iudicatíone are not waiitiiig tbat the president has a pretty stroiig bold upou the people oi that sectioii. Tbeu the peculiar kiud of a cainpaign for wbich Mark Haaiia is uoted also bas its iuflueiice. He is already iu the land of alligators aud wbile there ostcusibly for reEt, be always bas bis weather eye out for the main chance. What lias come over the dreams of the senate causing it to pass the obnoxious Atkiusou bill by a uuauimous vote? Political expediency is probably chargeabla with its passaga. The rneinbers have long since demonstrated their unwilliugness to pass auy taxatioii measure because of auy obligation they owe the people. But they have a wliolesome fear of beiiig turned down. As the approachiug state couveutioii threw the honse iuto a cougestive chill and caused it to rush the Atkinson bill to its passage, so the campaign now 110 set the senate to quaking and cansed the bill, with certaiu ameudmeuts, to pass that body of statestneu without a dissetiting vote. Thns does expediency accornplish what party pledges and principie utterly fail to bring about. Apparently the aniendments made by the senate are not of much irnportauce. They indícate a good deal of pettishuess towards hizzexcellency but seem to effect the principies of the bill but : little. They indícate a solicitous regard also for the corporatioris which are snpposed to be in such great dauger from the ogre who sits in the executive chair. ïhe ainendment reqniring the governor to appoint the inernber of the tas commission while.the legislature is in session, when no such provisión is found in any other statute, is petty. The ameudment reducing the salary of the inembers of the conimi.ssiou is of doubtful wisdom. A salary of 5,000 would uudoubtedly secure better talent than the $3,500 salary. Snch a commission shonld be coinposed of the best ability obtaiuable. Iu personnel the ticket named by the democratie convention Wednesday is au admirable one. The candidate for supreme jnstice as well as the candidates for regents are all well known iu this city. They are gentlemen of high character, ability and learuing. They are the peers in every respect of their opponents on the republican ticket. Mr. Barkworth is no stranger to the people of the state. He has had experience iu the legislature wheie he was the leader of his party on the floor of the honse and ' he has twice been his party's candidate for congress in the second district. He is thoronghly couscientions in all he does, is a brilliant campaigner, able, aggressive and fearless. He is scholarly, knows the law and is an able advocate. Personally he is well liked and stands well at the bar. He has come up from among the people, and is in sympathy with their aspirations and amDitions. His leanings are all away from trusts in as great a degree as Judge Graut's aro toward them. Shonld he be elected, there need be uo fear that his decisions would bc influenced by anything [except his own sense of right and justice. His teinperameut rnight lead him iuto error, bnt his decisions wonld be bonest. The candidates for regent are both graduales of the univtrsity aud are successful in their eallings. They are little known to the state at large, but here where thpy were kiiown iu college days and iu the conmimunities where they now live, they are regarded as upright, honorable men, posssessing trained and disciplined minds which have won for them success in their private afïairs. The interests of the nniversity would be altogether safe in their hands as members of the board of regents. There are indications tbat ïhoinas B. Reed is iiot to have entirely smooth sailing in bis candidaey for.the speaker ship of the new congress. Mr. Reed is a strong man and he has made an able speaker. But he has the disposition to encroach npon the prerogatives of the house, and party subservaiucy is so great has been able to practically gather into his own hand the entire power of the house. The niajority orginally permitted this great power, a power which none of his predecessors ever exercised to be yielded by the speaker for the purpose of throttling the ruiuority, but the speaker lias not stopped there, he has uthesitatingly used this autocratie power to stifle ;he voice ofruajority whenever it manifested a disposition to legislate contrary to the personal views of the speaker. In acting as a censor of legislatiou and a dictator of ïxipublieau polic.y, he has more tliau once protected the [people from the wild extravagance of congress and other barnifnl tendeiicies. It must be conceded that his reign in this respect lias tnnol) to its credit. Nevertheless he is exereising powers which il is dangerous to entruat to any man uuder our forrn of government. No popular representativo body can long retain its proper character under such control as Mr. Reed has usurped. It is rnost hnmiliating if immediate representatives of the people havej becorue so lacking in the sense of their duty to the people, or have so [lost the indispeusible virtne of honesty and common sense as to make such despotism necessary in order to propprly guard the interests of the public. There are iudications, however, that the house is becomiug restive uuder the yoke which the majority first inade for the Juecks of the iiiinority, and is gettiiig ready throw it oñ. The Czar has uot hesitated to ruthlessly cut off from eonsideration administratiou measures aud the spirit of rebellion is stroug within jts ranks. The Chicago Tribune and the ínter Ocean have already rauged themselves iu opposition to Reed's reelection. The opposition to hini seerns as yet to be largely confined to ihe west but it appears "to be spreadiug. Those who are friendly to the Nicaragua canal and the Pacific cable see in [the speaker an icsurmountable obsticle to their plaus. Again, the sinall repnblican majorify in the next house of representatives and the speaker's well cnown opposition to the administradoras plans of expansión, are causing anxiety. It wilJ take but few members with the courage of their convictions to throw down the Czar.