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The Pickens sentinel. (Pickens, S.C.) 1911-2016, April 04, 1912, SECTION OF THE PICKENS SENTINEL, Image 5

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(Saturday' 2?vening Post, December 30, 1911.)
It was hot in Washi.gton on \Vednesday, the second of August last-so hot
you could fry a-egg oin the pavement at Ninth and F if so be your taste ran
to frie4 g si la asphalt; and it as even hotter than oi that torrid corner
i..i '(he glass-ceilinged chamber of the House of Representatives.
Only a few wilted statesmen were present at noon, and the chaplain languidly
besought that they should be purified from all guile and let it go at that. Ii
smay have been there was a feeling that sone of those statesmen-reposing coat
less and-within the zones of influence of the electric fans in the various com
mittee rooms hould have their guile removed-- too; for no sooner had the
chaplain concluded his thirty seconds of prayer than ti - absence of a quorum
was suggested. The heated statesmen came pouring in >m all sorts of places,
shoving themselves sulkily into their coats, and ansN. .ed to their names as
the roll was called. Twvo hundred and thirty-three of thenm responded, each
asking his neighbor: "What's up ?"
It wasn't long before they all found out. After Mr. Burke, of South Dakota,
had corrected the Record to show he voted in thle negative on a certain propo
sition instead of answering "Present," Oscar V. Underwood, the Democratic
floor-leader, and by the same token the majority floor-leader, was up. Also,
Oscar . Underwood was cool. Two hundred and thirty-two statesmen were
S to the point of saturation and heated to the point of liquescence; but
nderwood was cool. Not a bead of perspiration gemmed his brow; not a sag
was in his collar and his shirt-bosom preserved its pristine gloss.
Underwood Center of a Dramatic Scene.
He had a newspaper in his hand; and as hie rose the gasping patriot s oil
both sides took notice and shoved up their tcmperaturcs a degree or so by
clapping vigorously.
"Twe gentleman from Alabama ic recognized," said the Speaker, leaning for
ward eagerly as if lie knew what wvas coming.
h"Mr. Speaker," began Underwood calmly, evenly, dispassionately and coolly
which is most important-"Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of personal privi
lege." The Democrats applauded some more. The Republicans grinned. It
was no affair of theirs, save as a show.
He asked that the clerk read from the newspaper he held in his hand, and
sent a page-boy scurrying up to the desk with it. The clerk read in that sing
song manner in which all reading clerks read. It was a telegraphic dispatch
fron Lincoln, Nebraska, and it began: "The recent activity of Representative
Underwood in defeating the attempt by Champ Clark and others to reduce the
steel and iron schedule has met with the disapproval of W. J. Bryan."
The reading clerk paused here, as if to let the enormity of this sink into the
parboiled perceptions of the perspiring patriots, and began again: "Today
Bryan authorizes the following statement: 'The action of Chairman Under
wood in opposing an immediate effort to reduce the iron and steel schedule
reveals the real Underwood. Speaker Clark and other tariff reformers tried
to secure the passage of a resolution instructing the Ways and Means Com
nmittee to take up other schedules, including the iron and steel schedule; but
Underwood and Fitzgerald, of New York, succeeded in defeating the resolu
There was more of the statement, but that is enough to show its general
tenor. It charged Underwood with being tainted with protection and havin
an individual interest in the iron and steel business, and was a very pointed
and personal assault on one big Democrat by another. After the clerk had
finished reading the statement there was a moment of silence. Underwood
stood looking directly at the Speaker, who still half leaned across the big desk
up under the flag. Then Underwood began speaking slowly, dispassionately,
evenly and gravely.
Underwood's High Political Courage.'
"The statements contained in that article are absolutely falsel" lie said. In
stantly the entire Democratic side broke into a roar of applause.
"If the reflections that paper contains rested only on myself I should not
take the time of this House to answer them; but the statements contained in
that article are a reflection on the only body of Democracy that is in control
of this Government, and as the representative leader on the floor of this House,
of this majority, I should be untrue to my party if I did not rise here and
stamp those utterances with the brand of falsehoodl"
Underwood continued. Ie asserted he had asked the committee to take up
the iron and steel schedule first because he comes from an iron and steel dis
tri ct, and appealed to his Democratic colleagues on the committee to support
this statement, which they did. He said the committee had deemed it wiser
to take up the woolen and the cotton schedules first because the iron and steel
schedules had been cut in the Wilson, the Dingley and the Payne Bills-and
wool and cotton had not been revised for many years. Mr. Kitchin, of North
Carolina,, corroborated what Underwood claimed; and Underwood further
S proved his case, explaining his connection with the iron and steel busintess
h le is a stockholder ini a company that makes pig iron-and having a telegram
read from Mr. Bryan, dated April twenty-third, to Ollie James, in which Mr.
Bryan asked James to convey his congratulations to Underwood.
,"Mr. Speaker," said Underwood, "lur. Bryan did not say I was protection
izing the Democratic party when I brought in the free-list bill. Not until I
differed with him on the woolen schedule did he have one word of criticism so
far as my conduct was concerned. * * * I had to write a wvoolen schedule
that would protect the revenues of this Government, and because I did so and
did not obey the command of the gentleman from Nebraska, Mr. Bryan, he
tendeavoring to make the country believe I am not an honest Democrat in
4favor of an honest revenue tariff."
There was some more of the speech, but not much. It was delivered ear
nestly, bitt without heat and without an attempt at oratorical flourish. There
was no frenzy of denial, no protesting of innocen~ce, no beating about the bush.
A sane young man madle a sane denial-and proved his case. That was all
there was to it-except one thing.
Underwood a Presidential Possibility.
That one thing is this: When Underwood finished that statement and sat
down, amid the applause of the I-ouse, the State of Alabama had a candidate
for the Democratic nomination for President. Underwvood diidn't know it; nor
was it the fact that he had assailed Mr. Bryan that made him a candidate.
Assaults on Mr. Bryan are as common as Mr. Bryan's assaults on other people
-and about as effective. What gave the State of Alabama a presidential can
didate was this: H-ere was a man with the highest type of political courage
independence. Here was a man who did not attempt to palter with a situation,
and a delicate one politically, but met it calmly and proved his contention.
Here was a man who, as floor-leader of the House majority, was endeavoriing
to (d0 what seemed best for the Democratic party and the country, and not for
the benefit of any individual or the theories of any individual; and the country
Cg applauded and began to ask: "I-ow about this chap Underwood? IHe seems
to have stuff in him."
Of course the Bryanophobes seized upon the circumstance to land Under
wood, and equally of course the Bryaniacs would have seized on the circum
stance to laud him had lhe praised Bryan. That isn't the point. The personal
* equation of It was negligible. The mere fact that Underwood rose to a question
of personal privilege and denounced Bryan meant nothing in the sober thought
of the people; but the independence with which he did it, the calm and con
vincing manner ii which he made his proof, the fact that the, entire majority
supported hh-coming as It did after an arduous session of Congress, in
which this same Underwood had displayed qualities of leadership and general
ship and saneness that had caused a wakening of interest in him among the
people-pushed that good opinion which had been formative to form, and
naturally put Underwood In the light of being available for the Democratic
nomination for President.
Hence, unless conditions change very materially before the Democratic
National convention Is held, Alabama, first on the rolcali, instead of yielding
to some other State farther down the list when it Is time to place favorite and
favored sons in nomination, will send an orator to the platform in her own
right and present for thie consideration of the delegates the name of Oscar W.
Underwood, of Birmingham, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in
the Si,ty-second Congress and floor-leader of the Democratic majority in the
Underwood's Long Legislative Elxperience of Groat Value.
A tcreat many men wise in public affairs have held that the Fathers who
had inchided In t~bat document a provisioan that no man is eligible to the preet
dency in this country unless he has served a certain !ength of .time In the
iegislative branch of the Government. It was urged for Mr. Taft that he was
extraordinarily well qualified for the presidency because of his long experience
In Governmental matters. Granting that Mr. Taft had long experience in the
executiye end of the Government, he was wofully deficient in knowledge -of
the legislative end; and this has been apparent all through his term. So with
Mr. Roosevelt. The tragedy of the& death of Major McKinley will hold his
name'hiigli among the .names of our Presidents; but, considering him critically,
no historian at ,all familhar with the facts can deny he was an expert President,
a capable President, ,a President who could secure results, a President who
knew how to deal with the Congress which makes the laws he must execute,
because of his long experience and service in the House.
Uneroo'sVaid ubicSevie
N ow, ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ... when yo.ak o.am n a..ec p i e o n g r si e ca d d t o
189, e as hitythe rod. Haredwspae nth omteso Public'evie
LNds. andEendtures oan uli BidsIn the Fifty-it CongressIhe
reciprocity legislation, to which the
Democrats were favorable, the House
was Democratic mainly because of the
dissatisfaction of the people with the
Payne-Aldrich tariff law, the election
that made the House Democratic being
the first opportunity the people had to
express that dissatisfaction tangibly.
The Democrats had a majority of
nearly seventy. They had not had pos
session of the House for sixteen years.
They were politically hungry and polit
ically thirsty. They needed sustenanice.
They thought they had a chance to elect
a president in 1912 and get full swing
at all the perquisites and prerogatives
of the Government; and each man of
the two hundred and twenty-eight Dem
ocrats was full of schemes for making
this chance a certainty. They were all
anxious to revise the tariff in order to
keep faith with the people, but they had
many plans for revision and many
shades I. opinion as to how it should
be revisea. They felt their power and
importance. They were eager, avid, en
thusiastic and none too prudent.
Underwood and the
Democratic Party.
Underwood was made leader of these
men. His task was to hold them in line,
to keep thtn together, to get them at
work intelligently and cohesively-to get
results. He knew that the Democratic
party, if it was to have any response
from the people in its demand for the election of a Democratic president in
1912, must show tihe people it is trustworthy and fit for confidence, lie knew
of the varying opinions as to what should be done with the tariff; knew of
the enthusiasm and lack of judgment, the partisanship, and even the fanaticism
of some of his .followers; .knewv they had been so long outside that the
attainment of the insidle position might lead to excesses in legislation. He chose
his lieutenants well and wvent at the job.
His task i's not yet completed. The President vetoed the tariff bills that were
formulated in the. House uinder Underwood's direction and intrinsically his,
though changed in many particulars in the Senate and in conference. There
will be more tariff legislation in the IHouse in this session. The Presi<Ient has
dlemanded it and the Democrats are willing to go at it again in their own
way. VWhat Underwood must (do again is to hold his party in line to meet
as complex a situation as he had to meet in the extra session that ended last
summer-and never forget for a minute that there is a presidential election.
next year that uindoubtedly will be largely decided upon the tariff question.
Judging the future by the past, he will do it. It is a situation charged with
dlynamite. Many of his D)emocratic colleagues are anxious for radhical action
in many ways. The Congress will not adjourn until just before the first national
convention is held. TIhe record of the present I louse will I':ure largely, not
only as to the individual fortunes of Underwood but also as to the fortunes
of whomsoever shall be nominated by the D~emocrats for president and that
candidate's success at the polls.
* * * * * *
Underwood Opposes Initiative, Referendum and Recall.
lie is an advanced conservative in his views of other legislation. For example,
he (does not, favor the wvide extension of the initiative, referendum and recall.
H-is contention is that these measures have worked out satisfactorily in local
matters where ,the people clearly understood the issues; but that in larger
matters of national importance the Congress is better able to protect the
interests of the people.
"Thme people suffer far more from the failure to enforce eating
laws than they do from the lack of proper legislation," he says. "Thec
people should drive from the places of power andl responsibility the
.unfaithful servants and elect those who will be faithful to the trust
unposedl upon them. The masses of people are far better judges of
men than they are of measures, and are far more likely to select an
honest man than an honest measure."
Underwood's Characteristics.
Underwood w~as, born in Kentucky in 1862, was educated at the Rugby
School in ,Louisville, and the University of Virginia, aind was admitted
to the bar in 1804. lie went at on1ce to Birmingham, Alabama, where he has
since practicedl law., lHe wvas first elected to Congress in 1894 andl has beeii
returned regularly since. Hei early took a hand in p~olitics andl served on State
and district comm ttees before lhe wvent to Waington. As I have shown,
his expgerience in tl1' H ouse has been varied andl his advance has been steady.
lHe is not a showy man, but a studious. Hie is not an eloquent orator. but
a convincing speaker. Hlis greatest speech was in oppositioni to the Payne
Aldrich bill when that measure was reported to the Hlouse of Representatives
by the Republican Ways and Means Committee in 1909. lHe made several
important speeches in advocacy of his own measures (luring the extra session 1
of the H-ouse last stimmer, but none was so important or so exhaustive as
that speech against the Payne bill. lie spoke for several hours, took up the
bill, section by section and analyzed it from his information andh conv'ictions.
This was one of the great speeches of a season of remarkable presentments of
tariff doctrine on both sides of the House.
Underwood does not write his speeches. He says he cannot memorize easily, I
and never attempts to make a set speech or a speech whlere lie follows copy
exactly. His method is to collect all the available information bearing on his 1
subject and arrange it in skeleton form. He sets it out by (divisionis, subdiv.isions /
and topics. IHe goes over these, rearranges, classifies, divides and subdivides.
Then he may write portions of the speech, or he may not. At any rate,
when he comes to talk he has nothing before him htut a sheet of paper with his
topics on it, and he talks without reference to notes or to authorities.
* * * * * *
(Extracts from interview of Os
car V. Underwood, reported in
Staff Correspondence of the
New York World, Editorial
Section, December 3, 1911.)
"There has been no attempt on
the part of the manufacturers to
give labor its share of the benefits
derived from the tariff I They
have kept all the profits."
* * *
"To. protect profits is to protect
inefliciency and to strangulate
rather than to develop industry."
* * *
"I prefer to lower the tariff wall
by taking bricks off the top of the
wall ratier than by dynamtiting
the structure at the bottom."
* * *
"The people have lost faith in
the Republican party because it
has not kept faith with them."
* * *
"If it (the Sherman Act) is en
forced as a criminal statute it is
anl efficient istrument for pre
venting and punishing monopoly
and restraimt of trade.'
*.-* *
M~ir. Underwood has been helped and
assisted by his wife. She is proud of
inm and has faith in his future. She
akes the utmost interest in his work
mtd his ambitions. She assumes full
naitrol of the domestic establishment
id leaves him free from care and con
'eran. It is rumored that she even
ays out his clothes for him and ties
us cravat. She seeks to aid him in his
tidies and work of researcL She is
>riglit, well educated, vivacious and full
>f life. Not beautiful, but attractive,
violesome and compaiionable. No
voaider is expressed that Mr. Under
vood's forehead and face are free from
vriaikles. All the turbulence and nerve
icide connected with handling a flat
tre removed from him.-New York
Vorld, August 6, 1911.
Uncle Joe Cannon is quoted as saying
hat "Congressman Underwood of Ala
mia has grown more in public senti
nent recently than any other man in the
Jnited States."
Other leaders in both big parties are
low taking notice of this able South
raer, who distitaguishied himself dur
ng the extra session of Congress as
)emocratic leader in tihe House.
Commenting upon tle Underwood
)oom, the lBirmingham Age-Herald says:
"The a ise of Oscar Utiderwood is the
narvel of American politics, and we may
ook for its culmination in the week of
inle 25 in the good city of Baltimore."
That this (istinguislied Alabamian is
,rowing im favor in all sections of the
ountry is plainly evident on all sides.
Vatch Uanderwood.-Columaibus, Georgia,
ledlger, reprintedl in the ltiraminghamn
Ala., Age-Iherald, Jaanuary, 1912.
Underwood Not Self-Seeking
"My Frieands Must Do The Workc,"
says Underwood.
Congressman Oscar \V. ,Underwood,
w'hen asked if he wvould be a candillate
for the Presidenicy, said:
"? think amy frienids are going to pay
mie the comphmen~at of indorsing me and
hat theay will paeseant amy namea to the
onveantioni. I will be very proud to
ave thijr imd~orsemeneat. No muan could
eel othler wise about it.
"llumt I haave told thean that what they
ho they nist do by thaemiselvo~s. I have
I miaan's work cutl out for mer dowun
ond~er," wavinig his haand ini the gen
ral direct ion of Washingtona, "anad T
~a goinig to try nay best to do It.I
11m not going to neglect it to be a can
idate for the P residenacy or for ally
hling else.
"For whlat mny frieands do0 T shall he
~rate'ful. Buit whlat is donie my friends
wvill have to dlo."'-New) York .'~Aerican
Det. 15, 1911.
Good P~olitics and P'olicy
Thae Underwood parogram contemphates
anie redttaonas, not revoluatioanary, but
ramled so as to lighateni the burden
>f thec tariff without giving too violent
a shicck, to imuportsait national interests.
'Flins is a senisilhe program.
ft is good political strategy and sound
coomaics. Moreover, it is practical.
If such a program should be passed
md( vetoed by the Presidhent, Mr. Taft
11nd the Re pulican party will have to
are aan anigry natioai with a third be
rayal charged againist themn.
if Taft should approve it, his pre
touis attitudhe and previous vetoes will
cave all the credit for tariff reforms
o the Democratic party, and will enable
aim to recover none of the advanutage
ec has lost.
'e failure of the tariff commiission
.deprivod the President of even a
,timate excuse for further vetoes, and
,'es the Democrats ample reason for
3ing ahead without waiting years for
nore reports of the same kind.'--New~
)rleanas Item, reprinted in the Montrgomn
'ry (Alabama) Advertimr Ja. 5, 1912

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