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The nonpartisan leader. [volume] (Fargo, N.D.) 1915-1921, September 23, 1918, Image 11

Image and text provided by State Historical Society of North Dakota

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89074443/1918-09-23/ed-1/seq-11/

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interested in tne O'Donnell Shoe "company,
the Freeman Shoe company and other business en
terprises. Patterson was the paymaster of the
magazine, and, if the former editor of it can be
relied upon, also the paymaster of Maxwell.
That is where Maxwell got his money, according
to the best evidence. The St. Paul Dispatch and
the other newspapers that have published Max
well's junk were merely tools. How much Max
well got you can estimate yourself, bearing in mind
how much was spent to promote "On the Square*'
and the wealth of those backing the promotion.
The first estimate of $10,000 may be much too low.
BIG BUSINESS TRIED
TO STEAL THE LEAGUE
Now, as to what it was expected to accomplish
by the Maxwell articles—-what these, big interests
were' after—the Leader also possesses important
evidence. It seems that the plan was different
from any hitherto formed to defeat the farmers.
IT WAS NOT INTENDED TO BREAK UP THE
LEAGUE, BUT -TO GET NEW OFFICERS OF
THE ORGANIZATION PUT IN, MEN WHO
COULD BE BOUGHT OR INFLUENCED TO
WORK OUT A MODIFICATION OF THE
LEAGUE PROGRAM. In other words, they saw
no hope of destroying the League. That had been
"tried again and again and had failed each time.
Their new plan was TO CONTROL the League and
secure a MODIFICATION OF ITS PROGRAM, so
that the program would no longer constitute a
menace to big business.
It was expected the Maxwell articles would make
the farmers dissatisfied with the present League
officers and leaders, and that it would be made easy
to slip over on the:farmers new officers and leaders,
among them Maxwell, who could be used in efforts
of big business to have the program of the League
altered, taking the teeth out of it and making it
no menace to the monopolists and no use to the
ft
farmers. The farmers would, however, still THINK
they had an organization, and hence would not try
to organize another one with a "radical" program.
All this was carefully thought out by those who'
bought Maxwell and planned his articles. The only
trouble with it was it didn't work.
There is much evidence that this was the plan,
but the chief evidence of it is an affidavit signed
by O. M. Thomason, in which Mr. Thomason reports
a conversation he had with the editor of the St.
Paul Dispatch. At the time of the' reported re
marks of the editor, he believed that Mr. Thomason
Was a friend of Maxwell's, and s,o spoke freely.
This affidavit was given out tol the public by the
League two months ago. it is of course the most
damning evidence possible against the St. Paul
Dippatch and those -who planned and paidjfor the
Maxwell exploit. Yet neither the Dispatch Tr any
of the other schemers concerned have to date denied
it. It stands undenied, and hence must be taken as
absolutely true. It can not be assumed that the
Dispatch and those it worked with in this/mittfer
would allow such damaging .evidence of their inten
tions, to go unanswered, if it were-.not true and Jx
they were not afraid to challenge it. ""Here are the*'
significant statements in the Thomason affidavit:
"T
MAXWELfe-FOR
PRESIDENT OF TBtE LEAGUE^
Thomason visited the editor of tlie Dispatch in I2sgg« Behind the Dispatch box you~ see
office. The editor said what the Dispatch wanted?"
was a change in the officers of the League.
"Well, that's one tf the things we are worHn'g
for/' said the editor, "and the other thing is W get
the League out of the hands of 'radicals.' For I
want to say to you right now that the business in
terests and the Dispatch are not going to stand for
the sweeping reforms proposed by the. present
League program. They-are too 'socialistic' to suit
the business interests of this country."
Continuing later in the conversation on the same
subject, the editor of the Dispatch said:
"But what the business interests want and what
we are fighting for is that the League be taken
out of the hands of 'radicals,' a new president
elected and the program modified—and we think
that Maxwell is the man to do that. The Dispatch
will make no fight against a safe and sane farm
ers' organization in the hands of conservative men
—that's what the fight is all about."
The editor later said:
"Do you think they will force the election of a
new president?"
Thomason said that "depended."
"Well, what, do you think would be Maxwell's
chance for getting the place?" asked the editor.
Thomason said he did not think Maxwell had
"the ghost of a show."
"Well," said the editor, "we think Maxwell is
the logical man for the place and we want to see
him get it."
^Thus the plotters gave away their plan. What
kind of an organization would the farmers have
if it had officers and a program approved by the
St. Paul Dispatch and the promoters of "On the
Square?" The farmers would certainly have
SOME organization, if it met the approbation of
the packing trust, the grain combine and certain
other millionaires and wealthy political bosses the
Dispatch and "On the Square" speak for. Max
well president of the League! Ye gods!
OVERAMBITION CAUSED
HIS FALL
The story of Maxwell properly ends with a brief
description of his connection with the League, and
here it is:
ex-preacher who joined the
Maxwell
League as an organizer in
Colorado last year. It'wasn't
long before he began to in
trigue with League organ
izers and members in Colo
rado to promote his
frt V.,'
&
covered but still at large. Former-I5ditor Van Hoesen of the dead but unbnried "On the Square" maga
zine gave the little rascal away in his letter to Popgun Gordon of the national corps of' patrioteera
and League killers.. He will be at large as long as the special interests think "On -the
Square Publishing company" is setting by with its attacks on the League.
sonal ambition. First of all he thought he was
timber for congress and tried to fix things to get
the League indorsement for congress. Finding
the League never indorsed any employe for office,
he sought to get the Colorado League manager
discharged and get his job. To this end he plotted
to separate Colorado from the League but was de
feated by the Colorado League executive committee.
Maxwell came to St. Paul, where he apologized
to national League officers for his activities in
Colorado. He said he had made a mistake and
begged to remain with the organization. He. de
clared he believed in its principles and thought
everybody connected with headquarters was on the
square. He seemed honestly to repent his pernicious
activities in the Colorado League, but probably at
that very time decided on selling out in revenge,
and only-begged to remain with the organization
to gain that end. At the time of his supposed re
pentance he went over the League's books and
accounts and pronounced them 0. K., with every
thing as represented by the League to the public
and to its members.
Maxwell was put on the League speaking staff
as one of 30 or so lectures. During this em
ployment he made several talks at League meet
ings, one of his leading cards being his denuncia
tion of the St. Paul Dispatch for its attacks on the
farmers and their organization. This, was the pa
per afterwards used to spread his articles. While
in this employment he attempted to get the League
to- hire two of his children at big salaries. The
League employed one of them for a time, while
there was work for him, but the League's failure
to pension them both all the time engendered in
Maxwell's breast more hatred for the League and
its officers.
Finally, when the Minnesota primary campaign
was over, most of the League lecturers went to or
ganizing, as few meetings were being held. Max
well was assigned to this work but refused to take
it up. He considered it a "demotion." He quit,
knowing he would be fired if he did not take the
assignment given him. A week or so afterwards
the St. Paul Dispatch announced the great Max
well "exposure," which blew up with a loud "pop"
long before the last article appeared. The "ex
posure" has since been printed in book form at the
expense of the same interests and has had a lim
ited sale among opponents of the League.
cuie le man who worked the Maxwell fiasco. He dls-S,
•BP

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