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The Tupelo journal. (Tupelo, Miss.) 1876-1924, February 10, 1911, Image 5

Image and text provided by Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87065632/1911-02-10/ed-1/seq-5/

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That Vardaman Pass.
Continued from First Page.
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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
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
Really, the only “unfamiliar” thing
aboOt that signature is the fact that
it is polpreceded by his “cordially and
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
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
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
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
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
“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.”
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
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
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
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
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
And on this showing the Daily News
submits the case to the voters of Mis
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
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
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