Newspaper Page Text
That Vardaman Pass.
Continued from First Page. V. If Mr. Vardaman had desired t« learn the absolute truth in the origin o1 the pass, prior to publishing his em phatic denial, he could easily haye done so. His failure to make an investigation to develop these facts is proof conclus ive that he is neither fair nor candi< with the public, hoping to escape jus censure by evasive tactics. Merely by sending a telegram to th< passenger department of the Gulf & Ship Island road Mr. Vardaman couli have obtained a statement as to hov the pass was procured, and who mad» application for ~ the transportation. These were matters of official record. The plain truth of the matter is tha the pass was procured by Hon. T. M. Henry, then holding the office of Stat' Auditor of Mississippi, from the legs department of the Gulf & Ship Islam road. Nor will it avail Mr. Vardaman or his apologists to say that he was “sav ing money for the state,” or “doing i1 for the old soldiers.” The fact of the matter is that thf Beauvoir home had not become th< property of the state when this past was used. The property had been purchaser! from Mrs. Davis by the United Sons o Confederate Veterans, and that organi zation had submitted an offer to donat< it to the state. But the legislature had adjourned or March 22nd, the day before Mr. Varda man and party started on the trip to Gulfport. Furthermore, it adjourned without accepting the donation, and the title did not pass the State until the legisla tive session of 1906. Therefore, Mr. Vardaman cannot hide behind the skirts of the Confederacy ir this instance, or claim that he wa? “saving money appropriated for the old soldiers.” VI. The stupid inconsistency of the ex cuse, explanation, apology, or whatever/ other name you may call it, is shown by the foliowing extracts: “I do not now question the fact that transportation was issued by the G. & S. I. railroad to the directors of the soldiers’ home, upon which my name appears. And I may have ridden on it.” And then, in seeming forgetfullness of what he had previously written, Mr. Vardaman says in another column of the same issue: “I do not believe I had ever seen it until a copy of it appeared in the or gan of the opposition. The fact, is, the signature looks to me like a very < clever forgery. It is a part of the frame-up to embarass Mr. Vardaman in his candidacy for the senate.” _ In one breath he admits that h might have, and in the next he almost swears he didn’t. That twaddle about “forgery,” b merely another evasive tactic, an effor' to implant doubt in the minds of hi? followers as to the genuineness of th< pass, or desperate wriggling to escape from the trap in which he has beer caught. The Daily News will wager Mr. Vardaman one thousand dollars, and leave the decision to the cashiers of al banks in Jackson having membership in the Clearing House Association, tha Signature attached to Round Trip Pass No. 864 is genuine. The bank cashiers of Jackson are all very familiar with Mr. Vardaman’s cognomen, and the manner in which he writes it on checks, drafts and notes— especially on the latter. Several of them have already stated to the Daih News that the signature is unquestion ably genuine. Furthermore, Mr. Vardaman well knows that if there is any forgery in volved, he can easily send the perpe trator thereof, to the penitentiary, and that the editor of the Daily News could be promptly jailed for publication of criminal libel. We cheerfully assume tlUQ lion. VUUI/ TT V1U IH M J .however, for no risk is involved. “I will say, however,” continues Mr. Vardaman, “that I have never before written my name just exactly as it ap pears on the photograph of the pass.” Probably so. Signatures of the mcst stereotyped form may vary slightly, especially when written in a hurry. Perhaps, by taking pains with the task, Mr. Vardaman might give us a better example of his chirography. Most o' us could do the^same with our signa tures. But James K. Vardaman unquestion ably signed hi3 name to Round Trip J’ass No. 864 on the return trip on March 23, 1904, and he knew that it was a complimentary pass, accepted in fla rgrant violation of the law, when he «did so. Thousands of people in Mississippi know the signature of James K. Vard aman, which has been attached to so many official documents, campaign circulars, checks, drafts, notes and other things. We do not believe that any of them, after comparing it care fully with other signatures in their pos session are going to doubt ite authenti city. Really, the only “unfamiliar” thing aboOt that signature is the fact that it is polpreceded by his “cordially and sincerely,'1 VII. We will now briefly consider the legal aspects of the question, and the meas uie of liability involved. Mr. Vardaman says. “I do know that the pass was not issued at my re quest.” It has never been charged that the pass was Issued at Mr. Vardaman*s re .quest. It is our purpose to take np la ger la the esmpaign some railroad pass *s that were issued at his personal |re juest. And it makes not the slightest differ ince, whatsoever, whether the pass vas issued at Mr. Vardaman’s request, The acceptance of same constituted the iffense. In proof of this, we agait •all attention to Section 1306. Chapte J8, Mississippi Code of 1906, asbrough orward from the laws of 1884, page 15, as follows: “If any officer, State, county, die - rict or municipal, except the railroac ommissioners when in actual discharg >f official duties, shall travel or rid pon any railroad without paying abso itely and without any guilt, trick o: ubterfuge, or evasion whatsoever, thi ime fare required »f passengers gen •rally, or if any railroad company, o employee of any railroad, shall permit ny such State, county, district or mu icipal officer, except railroad commie ioners when in the actual discharge, o •fficial duties, to so travel or ride, ht >r it shall be guilty of a misdemeaner, nd shall be fined not less than fift ollars and not more than five hundre* lollars, or l?e imprisoned in the countj jail not less than ten day3 nor mor« han sixty, or both. ’ This is the law of Mississippi today t was the law when .James K. Varda lan was serving as Governor, and i ■as bpen the law for 26 years. To say that the pass was not issue* it his request, brings Mr. Vardanian vithin the meaning of the language ibove the use of “guile, trick .or sub terfuge.” It makes no difference whether hede liberately connived at hi3 own seduct ton, or was a coy and reluctantly lis cened to the sirene song of the corpor ition. He knew the law, and as Gov ernor of the state, wa3 charged witl he rigid enforcement of the law. Yet vithin little after two months afte .aking a solemn oath to enforce th :onstitution and the statutes, we fine lim a flagrant violator. The moment he tendered Round Trip Pass No. 864 to the conductor of thi lorth-bound G. & S. I. train, at that noment Mr. Vardaman was guilty of a nisdemeaner defined by the statutes and made himself liable to a fine not exceeding 5500 and, not exceeding 60 days in iail, or both such fine and im prisoment. So much for|the legal aspect of the jase. Suppose we now refer casually to the moral phase of the question. The Daily News will not undertake to say that Mr. Vardaman is the only State official who ever rode on fret railroad passes. He is, however, thi only one who has ever been publicly charged and convicted of that offense. And to show what Mr. Vardaman himself thought about that offense when he was a private citizen, wequoti from the Greenwood Commonwealth of January 3, 1902, in which he said: “There never was a railroad com pany, or any other institution of thi kind, but what would take every oppor tunity to plunder, pillage and rob.” And on February 1, 1908, after he had again retired to private life, Mr. Vardaman was still of the same mind, for he said in The Issue: "No man should be permitted to hold a place in the State Legislature or in che Congress of the United States, who :arrie3 in his pocket a railroad pass.” And a few months previous Mr. Var lamad quoted with cordial approval rom Prof. Parsons’ work on “The Rail ways, The Trusts and The People,” thi following: “In investigating cases of corruption, t found in almost every instance the irst step of the legislator toward bribery was the acceptance of a rail road pass.” VIII However, we do not rezard the use if the pass by Mr. Vardaman on this occasion a3 the most heinous offense he has committed in connection with the incidsnt. It was bad enough to use the pass, iut to deny its use was reprehensible. It was a violation of the law, of :ourse, and perhaps other pnblic offi :ials in our State have been guilty of the same offense. But it is merely a nisdemeanor under the statutes, not & penai onense. If Mr. Vardaman had come forward crankly and said to the people of Mis sissippi, “yes, my fellow citizens, it is probable that I did ride on tljafc pass, as charged. What are you going to do about it?" Such a reply would not have cost dr. Vardaman many votes. But in stead, he flops, flounders and sidesteps he issue, tells the readers of The issue he “don’t remember,” and Anally, emboldened by the non-production of jroof, he tries to pull a cold bluff oy using this language in The Issue oi January 29th: “Now, I want to brand as infamously antrue and false the statement or inti mation, that I ever accepted from th€ Gulf & Ship Island railroad, or any other railroad, in Mississippi, or else where, a free pas 3 while I was Gov ernor.” Read that over carefully, please, and let it soak into your memory. It is a broad denial, just about as broad as one •ould make it. Mr. Vardaman says chat he never accepted from “any other railroad, in Mississippi, or else where, a free pass wh''e he wis Gov ernor. ” The Daily News has already provo: in one specific instance that Mr. Vard aman was mistaken in this conclusion We are not going to adopt his own tac tics by denouncing his statement ai "infamously untrue and false.” II isn’t worth while to use such strenuoui adjectives. Besides, its a sign that the writer is cross and peevish. You have read his denial and, yot have seen the proofsi Draw your owt conclusions. But we do intend to asklMr. Varda man a few questions, frankly and can dtdly, and we sincerely hope that h will anev er them in the same spirit, bearing in mind that the Daily News never indulges in bluffing or four-flush ing; that we back up our assertions with proof whenever requested to do 10, and feel absolutely sure of the acts before preferring charges. Is it not a fact that on Sen^mber 15th, 1905, the day following the Mib issippi Day celebration at St. Louis, hat you procured a free pass over th< Uinois Central and rode thereon from Louis to Chicago to see about a sale »f State bonds; that on your return trip ■-o St. Louis you wanted to ride on a ast train, on which free passes were not recognized, and that you secured a •pecial permit through Mr. W. L. Smith, general agent of the Illinois Central, to •ide on the train known as “The Dia nond Special;’’ that shortly after this Mr. W. L. Smith, now deceased, was ipp< inted to the rank of Major on your nilitary staff? Is it not a fact that in February, I9u5, you went to Missouri to buy mares for the penitentiary, accompanied by ( nembers of the prison board of trus ees, that you rode from Jackson to it. Louis on penitentiary mileage furn shed you by Warden J. J. Henry; that ifter reaching St. Louis Commissioner L C. Kineannon, through the influence >f Col. R. V. Taylor, general manager >f the Mobile & Ohio road secured for .he entire party, including yourself, a ree pass from St. Louis to Lathrop, Vfo., over the Burlington, or Santa Fe -oad, the distance being 307 miles from ( it. Louis; that for this self-same mare luying expedition you drew from the executive contingent fund the sum of >175, and from the warden’s special cund $75, making a total of $250 for a journey of less than 1,000 miles for which you paid no railroad fare what ever? Is it not a fact that, while Governor, nembers of your family frequently re ceived and accepted free passes from the various railway lines in Mississippi? Is it not a fact that, while Governor, you accepted favors of monetary value from two of America’s greatest coroo- j rations, the Western Union Telegraph j Company and the Postal Telegraph! Company, in the shape of deadhead j frank books that enabled you to send telegrams free of cost; that these franks are exactly in the same cate gory as railroad passes, from the moral viewpoint, and were used by you! f " }■'—.—• throughout your gubernatorial term, yet you drew out If the executive con tingent fund in payment of “telegraph bills,” more money than any of youi predecessors? Mr. Vardaman may answer thest questions, or he may ignore them, just •<s he sees fit. He must know, however, -liat reports concerning the above mat ter are current in political circles, and such queries must sooner or later be answered. IX. And on this showing the Daily News submits the case to the voters of Mis sissippi. We have neither intention or desire to “asperse the character” of Mr. Vardaman, or any other man. However, he cannot answer charges of this character by proclaming, “1 have nothing to conceal from the peo ple of Mississippi,” and “every moment while Governor was consecrated to the service of the people who elected me.” Grandiloquent protestations of inno cence must fade away when we are confronted by indisputable facts. Claims of superior moral worth, and other forms of self-laudation from a man who says that he did not make one single mistake during his four-year term as Governor, are worthless when Bet in array against unchallenged facts. “Let the blessed sunlight of publicity Bhine in,” says Mr. Vardaman. That is exactly what we are going to do. We have commenced to unbottle the sunlight. The glare may dazzle Mr. Vardaman somewhat, but we be lieve it is going to open the eyes of the people of Mississippi, some of whom now “see through a glass darkly.”— Jackson Daily News, Feb. 5. Notice to Creditors to Probate Claims. NO. 2973. Letters of Executorship having been granted to tne undersigned by the Chancery Court of Lae Countv, Missis sippi as Executor of the last Will and Testament of Mrs. Ellen P. McManus, deceased, on the 21st day of December, 19 .0 all persons having claims against Baid estate, are hereby given notice that they are required to have the same probated and registered by the Clerk of said Court, within one year, and a failure to so probate and register the same for one year, will bar the claim. This 19th day of January, 1911. NORBIk JONES, Executor of the last Will and Testament of Mrs. Ellen P. McManus, deceased C. P. Long, Sol. 44-3t itis easy toieachB The Cotton Belt is the quick and direct line IfiKT ^ - to Texas, through Arkansas. It runs two trains, daily, Memphis to Texas, with through sleepers, chair cars and parlor cafe oars. 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