Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

Postby admin » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:59 am

Chapter XXX: A New Code of Laws

Dru selected another board of five lawyers, and to them he gave the task of reforming legal procedure and of pruning down the existing laws, both State and National, cutting out the obsolete and useless ones and rewriting those recommended to be retained, in plain and direct language free from useless legal verbiage and understandable to the ordinary lay citizen.

He then created another board, of even greater ability, to read, digest and criticise the work of the other two boards and report their findings directly to him, giving a brief summary of their reasons and recommendations. To assist in this work he engaged in an advisory capacity three eminent lawyers from England, Germany and France respectively.

The three boards were urged to proceed with as much despatch as possible, for Dru knew that it would take at least several years to do it properly, and afterwards he would want to place the new code of laws in working order under the reformed judiciary before he would be content to retire. The other changes he had in mind he thought could be accomplished much more quickly.

Among other things, Dru directed that the States should have a simplification of land titles, so that transfers of real estate could be made as easy as the transfer of stocks, and with as little expense, no attorneys’ fees for examination of titles, and no recording fees being necessary. The title could not be contested after being once registered in a name, therefore no litigation over real property could be possible. It was estimated by Dru’s statisticians that in some States this would save the people annually a sum equal to the cost of running their governments.

A uniform divorce law was also to be drawn and put into operation, so that the scandals arising from the old conditions might no longer be possible.

It was arranged that when laws affecting the States had been written, before they went into effect they were to be submitted to a body of lawyers made up of one representative from each State. This body could make suggestions for such additions or eliminations as might seem to them pertinent, and conforming with conditions existing in their respective commonwealths, but the board was to use its judgment in the matter of incorporating the suggestions in the final draft of the law. It was not the Administrator’s purpose to rewrite at that time the Federal and State Constitutions, but to do so at a later date when the laws had been rewritten and decided upon; he wished to first satisfy himself as to them and their adaptability to the existing conditions, and then make a constitution conforming with them. This would seem to be going at things backward, but it recommended itself to Dru as the sane and practical way to have the constitutions and laws in complete harmony.

A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal, but a real existence; and wherever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting its government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article; and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established, the manner in which it shall be organised, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of Parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and in fine, everything that relates to the complete organisation of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. A constitution, therefore, is to a government what the laws made afterwards by that government are to a court of judicature. The court of judicature does not make the laws, neither can it alter them; it only acts in conformity to the laws made: and the government is in like manner governed by the constitution.

A government on the principles on which constitutional governments arising out of society are established, cannot have the right of altering itself. If it had, it would be arbitrary. It might make itself what it pleased; and wherever such a right is set up, it shows there is no constitution. The act by which the English Parliament empowered itself to sit seven years, shows there is no constitution in England. It might, by the same self-authority, have sat any great number of years, or for life. The bill which the present Mr. Pitt brought into Parliament some years ago, to reform Parliament, was on the same erroneous principle. The right of reform is in the nation in its original character, and the constitutional method would be by a general convention elected for the purpose. There is, moreover, a paradox in the idea of vitiated bodies reforming themselves."

-- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man


The formation of the three boards created much disturbance among judges, lawyers and corporations, but when the murmur began to assume the proportions of a loud-voiced protest, General Dru took the matter in hand. He let it be known that it would be well for them to cease to foment trouble. He pointed out that heretofore the laws had been made for the judges, for the lawyers and for those whose financial or political influence enabled them to obtain special privileges, but that hereafter the whole legal machinery was to be run absolutely in the interest of the people. The decisive and courageous manner in which he handled this situation, brought him the warm and generous approval of the people and they felt that at last their day had come.
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Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

Postby admin » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:59 am

Chapter XXXI: The Question of Taxation

The question of taxation was one of the most complex problems with which the Administrator had to deal. As with the legal machinery he formed a board of five to advise with him, and to carry out his very well-defined ideas. Upon this board was a political economist, a banker, who was thought to be the ablest man of his profession, a farmer who was a very successful and practical man, a manufacturer and a Congressman, who for many years had been the consequential member of the Ways and Means Committee. All these men were known for their breadth of view and their interest in public affairs.

Again, Dru went to England, France and Germany for the best men he could get as advisers to the board. He offered such a price for their services that, eminent as they were, they did not feel that they could refuse. He knew the best were the cheapest.

At the first sitting of the Committee, Dru told them to consider every existing tax law obliterated, to begin anew and to construct a revenue system along the lines he indicated for municipalities, counties, states and the Nation. He did not contemplate, he said, that the new law should embrace all the taxes which the three first-named civil divisions could levy, but that it should apply only where taxes related to the general government. Nevertheless, Dru was hopeful that such a system would be devised as would render it unnecessary for either municipalities, counties or states to require any further revenue. Dru directed the board to divide each state into districts for the purpose of taxation, not making them large enough to be cumbersome, and yet not small enough to prohibit the employment of able men to form the assessment and collecting boards. He suggested that these boards be composed of four local men and one representative of the Nation.

He further directed that the tax on realty both in the country and the city should be upon the following basis:--Improvements on city property were to be taxed at one-fifth of their value, and the naked property either in town or country at two-thirds of its value. The fact that country property used for agricultural purposes was improved, should not be reckoned. In other words, if A had one hundred acres with eighty acres of it in cultivation and otherwise improved, and B had one hundred acres beside him of just as good land, but not in cultivation or improved, B’s land should be taxed as much as A’s.

In cities and towns taxation was to be upon a similar basis. For instance, when there was a lot, say, one hundred feet by one hundred feet with improvements upon it worth three hundred thousand dollars, and there was another lot of the same size and value, the improved lot should be taxed only sixty thousand more than the unimproved lot; that is, both lots should be taxed alike, and the improvement on the one should be assessed at sixty thousand dollars or one-fifth of its actual value.

This, Dru pointed out, would deter owners from holding unimproved realty, for the purpose of getting the unearned increment made possible by the thrift of their neighbors. In the country it would open up land for cultivation now lying idle, provide homes for more people, cheapen the cost of living to all, and make possible better schools, better roads and a better opportunity for the successful cooperative marketing of products.

In the cities and towns, it would mean a more homogeneous population, with better streets, better sidewalks, better sewerage, more convenient churches and cheaper rents and homes. As it was at that time, a poor man could not buy a home nor rent one near his work, but must needs go to the outskirts of his town, necessitating loss of time and cost of transportation, besides sacrificing the obvious comforts and conveniences of a more compact population.

The Administrator further directed the tax board to work out a graduated income tax exempting no income whatsoever. Incomes up to one thousand dollars a year, Dru thought, should bear a merely nominal tax of one-half of one per cent.; those of from one to two thousand, one per cent.; those of from two to five thousand, two per cent.; those of from five to ten thousand, three per cent.; those of from ten to twenty thousand, six per cent. The tax on incomes of more than twenty thousand dollars a year, Dru directed, was to be rapidly increased, until a maximum of seventy per cent. was to be reached on those incomes that were ten million dollars, or above.

False returns, false swearing, or any subterfuge to defraud the Government, was to be punished by not less than six months or more than two years in prison. The board was further instructed to incorporate in their tax measure, an inheritance tax clause, graduated at the same rate as in the income tax, and to safeguard the defrauding of the Government by gifts before death and other devices.
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Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

Postby admin » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:00 am

Chapter XXXII: A Federal Incorporation Act

Along with the first board on tax laws, Administrator Dru appointed yet another commission to deal with another phase of this subject. The second board was composed of economists and others well versed in matters relating to the tariff and Internal Revenue, who, broadly speaking, were instructed to work out a tariff law which would contemplate the abolishment of the theory of protection as a governmental policy. A tariff was to be imposed mainly as a supplement to the other taxes, the revenue from which, it was thought, would be almost sufficient for the needs of the Government, considering the economies that were being made.

Dru’s father had been an ardent advocate of State rights, and the Administrator had been reared in that atmosphere; but when he began to think out such questions for himself, he realized that density of population and rapid inter-communication afforded by electric and steam railroads, motors, aeroplanes, telegraphs and telephones were, to all practical purposes, obliterating State lines and molding the country into a homogeneous nation.

Therefore, after the Revolution, Dru saw that the time had come for this trend to assume more definite form, and for the National Government to take upon itself some of the functions heretofore exclusively within the jurisdiction of the States.
Up to the time of the Revolution a state of chaos had existed. For instance, laws relating to divorces, franchises, interstate commerce, sanitation and many other things were different in each State, and nearly all were inefficient and not conducive to the general welfare. Administrator Dru therefore concluded that the time had come when a measure of control of such things should be vested in the Central Government. He therefore proposed enacting into the general laws a Federal Incorporation Act, and into his scheme of taxation a franchise tax that would not be more burdensome than that now imposed by the States. He also proposed making corporations share with the Government and States a certain part of their net earnings, public service corporations to a greater extent than others. Dru’s plan contemplated that either the Government or the State in which the home or headquarters of any corporation was located was to have representation upon the boards of such corporation, in order that the interests of the National, State, or City Government could be protected, and so as to insure publicity in the event it was needful to correct abuses.

He had incorporated in the Franchise Law the right of Labor to have one representative upon the boards of corporations and to share a certain percentage of the earnings above their wages, after a reasonable per cent. upon the capital had been earned. [Footnote: See What Co-Partnership Can Do.] In turn, it was to be obligatory upon them not to strike, but to submit all grievances to arbitration. The law was to stipulate that if the business prospered, wages should be high; if times were dull, they should be reduced.

The people were asked to curb their prejudice against corporations. It was promised that in the future corporations should be honestly run, and in the interest of the stockholders and the public. Dru expressed the hope that their formation would be welcomed rather than discouraged, for he was sure that under the new law it would be more to the public advantage to have business conducted by corporations than by individuals in a private capacity. In the taxation of real estate, the unfair practice of taxing it at full value when mortgaged and then taxing the holder of the mortgage, was to be abolished. The same was to be true of bonded indebtedness on any kind of property. The easy way to do this was to tax property and not tax the evidence of debt, but Dru preferred the other method, that of taxing the property, less the debt, and then taxing the debt wherever found.

His reason for this was that, if bonds or other forms of debt paid no taxes, it would have a tendency to make investors put money into that kind of security, even though the interest was correspondingly low, in order to avoid the trouble of rendering and paying taxes on them. This, he thought, might keep capital out of other needful enterprises, and give a glut of money in one direction and a paucity in another. Money itself was not to be taxed as was then done in so many States.
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Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

Postby admin » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:00 am

Chapter XXXIII: The Railroad Problem

While the boards and commissions appointed by Administrator Dru were working out new tax, tariff and revenue laws, establishing the judiciary and legal machinery on a new basis and revising the general law, it was necessary that the financial system of the country also should be reformed. Dru and his advisers saw the difficulties of attacking this most intricate question, but with the advice and assistance of a commission appointed for that purpose, they began the formulation of a new banking law, affording a flexible currency, bottomed largely upon commercial assets, the real wealth of the nation, instead of upon debt, as formerly.

This measure was based upon the English, French and German plans, its authors taking the best from each and making the whole conform to American needs and conditions. Dru regarded this as one of his most pressing reforms, for he hoped that it would not only prevent panics, as formerly, but that its final construction would completely destroy the credit trust, the greatest, the most far reaching and, under evil direction, the most pernicious trust of all.

While in this connection, as well as all others, he was insistent that business should be honestly conducted, yet it was his purpose to throw all possible safeguards around it. In the past it had been not only harassed by a monetary system that was a mere patchwork affair and entirely inadequate to the needs of the times, but it had been constantly threatened by tariff, railroad and other legislation calculated to cause continued disturbance. The ever-present demagogue had added to the confusion, and, altogether, legitimate business had suffered more during the long season of unrest than had the law-defying monopolies.

Dru wanted to see the nation prosper, as he knew it could never have done under the old order, where the few reaped a disproportionate reward and to this end he spared no pains in perfecting the new financial system. In the past the railroads and a few industrial monopolies had come in for the greatest amount of abuse and prejudice. This feeling while largely just, in his opinion, had done much harm. The railroads were the offenders in the first instance, he knew, and then the people retaliated, and in the end both the capitalists who actually furnished the money to build the roads and the people suffered.

“In the first place,” said Administrator Dru to his counsel during the discussion of the new financial system, “the roads were built dishonestly. Money was made out of their construction by the promoters in the most open and shameless way, and afterwards bonds and stocks were issued far in excess of the fraudulent so-called cost. Nor did the iniquity end there. Enterprises were started, some of a public nature such as grain elevators and cotton compresses, in which the officials of the railroads were financially interested. These favored concerns received rebates and better shipping facilities than their competitors and competition was stifled.

“Iron mines and mills, lumber mills and yards, coal mines and yards, etc., etc., went into their rapacious maw, and the managers considered the railroads a private snap and ‘the public be damned.’

“These things,” continued Dru, “did not constitute their sole offense, for, as you all know, they lobbied through legislatures the most unconscionable bills, giving them land, money and rights to further exploit the public.

“But the thing that, perhaps, aroused resentment most was their failure to pay just claims. The idea in the old days, as you remember, was to pay nothing, and make it so expensive to litigate that one would prefer to suffer an injustice rather than go to court. From this policy was born the claim lawyer, who financed and fought through the courts personal injury claims, until it finally came to pass that in loss or damage suits the average jury would decide against the railroad on general principles. In such cases the litigant generally got all he claimed and the railroad was mulcted. There is no estimating how much this unfortunate policy cost the railroads of America up to the time of the Revolution. The trouble was that the ultimate loss fell, not on those who inaugurated it but upon the innocent stock and bondholder of the roads.

“While the problem is complicated,” he continued, “its solution lies in the new financial system, together with the new system of control of public utilities.”


To this end, Dru laid down his plans by which public service corporations should be honestly, openly and efficiently run, so that the people should have good service at a minimum cost.

Primarily the general Government, the state or the city, as the case might be, were to have representation on the directorate, as previously indicated. They were to have full access to the books, and semi-annually each corporation was to be compelled to make public a full and a clear report, giving the receipts and expenditures, including salaries paid to high officials. These corporations were also to be under the control of national and state commissions.

While the Nation and State were to share in the earnings, Dru demanded that the investor in such corporate securities should have reasonable profits, and the fullest protection, in the event states or municipalities attempted to deal unfairly with them, as had heretofore been the case in many instances.

The Administrator insisted upon the prohibition of franchise to “holding companies” of whatsoever character. In the past, he declared, they had been prolific trust breeders, and those existing at that time, he asserted, should be dissolved.

Under the new law, as Dru outlined it, one company might control another, but it would have to be with the consent of both the state and federal officials having jurisdiction in the premises, and it would have to be clear that the public would be benefited thereby. There was to be in the future no hiding under cover, for everything was to be done in the open, and in a way entirely understandable to the ordinary layman.

Certain of the public service corporations, Dru insisted, should be taken over bodily by the National Government and accordingly the Postmaster General was instructed to negotiate with the telegraph and telephone companies for their properties at a fair valuation. They were to be under the absolute control of the Postoffice Department, and the people were to have the transmission of all messages at cost, just as they had their written ones. A parcel post was also inaugurated, so that as much as twelve pounds could be sent at cost.
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Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

Postby admin » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:00 am

Chapter XXXIV: Selwyn’s Story

The further Administrator Dru carried his progress of reform, the more helpful he found Selwyn. Dru’s generous treatment of him had brought in return a grateful loyalty.

One stormy night, after Selwyn had dined with Dru, he sat contentedly smoking by a great log fire in the library of the small cottage which Dru occupied in the barracks.

“This reminds me,” he said, “of my early boyhood, and of the fireplace in the old tavern where I was born.”

General Dru had long wanted to know of Selwyn, and, though they had arranged to discuss some important business, Dru urged the former Senator to tell him something of his early life.

Selwyn consented, but asked that the lights be turned off so that there would be only the glow from the fire, in order that it might seem more like the old days at home when his father’s political cronies gathered about the hearth for their confidential talks.

And this was Selwyn’s story:--

My father was a man of small education and kept a tavern on the outer edge of Philadelphia. I was his only child, my mother dying in my infancy. There was a bar connected with the house, and it was a rendezvous for the politicians of our ward. I became interested in politics so early that I cannot remember the time when I was not. My father was a temperate man, strong-willed and able, and I have often wondered since that he was content to end his days without trying to get beyond the environments of a small tavern.

He was sensitive, and perhaps his lack of education caused him to hesitate to enter a larger and more conspicuous field.

However, he was resolved that I should not be hampered as he was, and I was, therefore, given a good common school education first, and afterwards sent to Girard College, where I graduated, the youngest of my class.

Much to my father’s delight, I expressed a desire to study law, for it seemed to us both that this profession held the best opportunity open to me. My real purpose in becoming a lawyer was to aid me in politics, for it was clear to both my father and me that I had an unusual aptitude therefor.

My study of law was rather cursory than real, and did not lead to a profound knowledge of the subject, but it was sufficient for me to obtain admittance to the bar, and it was not long, young as I was, before my father’s influence brought me a practice that was lucrative and which required but little legal lore.

At that time the ward boss was a man by the name of Marx. While his father was a German, he was almost wholly Irish, for his father died when he was young, and he was reared by a masculine, masterful, though ignorant Irish mother.

He was my father’s best friend, and there were no secrets between them. They seldom paid attention to me, and I was rarely dismissed even when they had their most confidential talks. In this way, I early learned how our great American cities are looted, not so much by those actually in power, for they are of less consequence than the more powerful men behind them.

If any contract of importance was to be let, be it either public or private, Marx and his satellites took their toll. He, in his turn, had to account to the man above, the city boss.

If a large private undertaking was contemplated, the ward boss had to be seen and consulted as to the best contractors, and it was understood that at least five per cent. more than the work was worth had to be paid, otherwise, there would be endless trouble and delay. The inspector of buildings would make trouble; complaints would be made of obstructing the streets and sidewalks, and injunctions would be issued. So it was either to pay, or not construct. Marx provided work for the needy, loaned money to the poor, sick and disabled, gave excursions and picnics in the summer: for all of this others paid, but it enabled him to hold the political control of the ward in the hollow of his hand. The boss above him demanded that the councilmen from his ward should be men who would do his bidding without question.

The city boss, in turn, trafficked with the larger public contracts, and with the granting and extensions of franchises. It was a fruitful field, for there was none above him with whom he was compelled to divide.

The State boss treated the city bosses with much consideration, for he was more or less dependent upon them, his power consisting largely of the sum of their power.

The State boss dealt in larger things, and became a national figure. He was more circumspect in his methods, for he had a wider constituency and a more intelligent opposition.

The local bosses were required to send to the legislature “loyal” party men who did not question the leadership of the State boss.

The big interests preferred having only one man to deal with, which simplified matters; consequently they were strong aids in helping him retain his power. Any measure they desired passed by the legislature was first submitted to him, and he would prune it until he felt he could put it through without doing too great violence to public sentiment. The citizens at large do not scrutinize measures closely; they are too busy in their own vineyards to bother greatly about things which only remotely or indirectly concern them.

This selfish attitude and indifference of our people has made the boss and his methods possible. The “big interests” reciprocate in many and devious ways, ways subtle enough to seem not dishonest even if exposed to public view.

So that by early education I was taught to think that the despoliation of the public, in certain ways, was a legitimate industry.


Later, I knew better, but I had already started my plow in the furrow, and it was hard to turn back. I wanted money and I wanted power, and I could see both in the career before me.

It was not long, of course, before I had discernment enough to see that I was not being employed for my legal ability. My income was practically made from retainers, and I was seldom called upon to do more than to use my influence so that my client should remain undisturbed in the pursuit of his business, be it legitimate or otherwise. Young as I was, Marx soon offered me a seat in the Council. It was my first proffer of office, but I declined it. I did not want to be identified with a body for which I had such a supreme contempt. My aim was higher. Marx, though, was sincere in his desire to further my fortunes, for he had no son, and his affection for my father and me was genuine.

I frankly told him the direction in which my ambition lay, and he promised me his cordial assistance. I wanted to get beyond ward politics, and in touch with the city boss.

It was my idea that, if I could maintain myself with him, I would in time ask him to place me within the influence of the State boss, where my field of endeavor would be as wide as my abilities would justify.

I did not lose my identity with my ward, but now my work covered all Philadelphia, and my retainers became larger and more numerous, for I was within the local sphere of the “big interests.”

At that time the boss was a man by the name of Hardy. He was born in the western part of the State, but came to Philadelphia when a boy, his mother having married the second time a man named Metz, who was then City Treasurer and who afterwards became Mayor.

Hardy was a singular man for a boss; small of frame, with features almost effeminate, and with anything but a robust constitution, he did a prodigious amount of work.

He was not only taciturn to an unusual degree, but he seldom wrote, or replied to letters. Yet he held an iron grip upon the organization.

His personal appearance and quiet manners inspired many ambitious underlings to try to dislodge him, but their failure was signal and complete.

He had what was, perhaps, the most perfectly organized machine against which any municipality had ever had the misfortune to contend.

Hardy made few promises and none of them rash, but no man could truthfully say that he ever broke one. I feel certain that he would have made good his spoken word even at the expense of his fortune or political power.

Then, too, he played fair, and his henchmen knew it. He had no favorites whom he unduly rewarded at the expense of the more efficient. He had likes and dislikes as other men, but his judgment was never warped by that. Success meant advancement, failure meant retirement.

And he made his followers play fair. There were certain rules of the game that had to be observed, and any infraction thereof meant punishment.

The big, burly fellows he had under him felt pride in his physical insignificance, and in the big brain that had never known defeat.

When I became close to him, I asked him why he had never expanded; that he must have felt sure that he could have spread his jurisdiction throughout the State, and that the labor in the broader position must be less than in the one he occupied. His reply was characteristic of the man. He said he was not where he was from choice, that environment and opportunity had forced him into the position he occupied, but that once there, he owed it to his followers to hold it against all comers. He said that he would have given it up long ago, if it had not been for this feeling of obligation to those who loved and trusted him. To desert them, and to make new responsibilities, was unthinkable from his viewpoint.

That which I most wondered at in Hardy was, his failure to comprehend that the work he was engaged in was dishonest. I led cautiously up to this one day, and this was his explanation:

“The average American citizen refuses to pay attention to civic affairs, contenting himself with a general growl at the tax rate, and the character and inefficiency of public officials. He seldom takes the trouble necessary to form the Government to suit his views.

“The truth is, he has no cohesive or well-digested views, it being too much trouble to form them. Therefore, some such organization as ours is essential.
Being essential, then it must have funds with which to proceed, and the men devoting their lives to it must be recompensed, so the system we use is the best that can be devised under the circumstances.

“It is like the tariff and internal revenue taxes by which the National Government is run, that is, indirect. The citizen pays, but he does not know when he pays, nor how much he is paying.

“A better system could, perhaps, be devised in both instances, but this cannot be done until the people take a keener interest in their public affairs.”

Hardy was not a rich man, though he had every opportunity of being so. He was not avaricious, and his tastes and habits were simple, and he had no family to demand the extravagances that are undermining our national life. He was a vegetarian, and he thought, and perhaps rightly, that in a few centuries from now the killing of animals and the eating of their corpses would be regarded in the same way as we now think of cannibalism.

He divided the money that came to him amongst his followers, and this was one of the mainsprings of his power.

All things considered, it is not certain but that he gave Philadelphia as good government as her indifferent citizens deserved.
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Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

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Chapter XXXV: Selwyn’s Story, Continued

By the time I was thirty-six I had accumulated what seemed to me then, a considerable fortune, and I had furthermore become Hardy’s right-hand man.

He had his forces divided in several classes, of choice I was ranged among those whose duties were general and not local. I therefore had a survey of the city as a whole, and was not infrequently in touch with the masters of the State at large. Hardy concerned himself about my financial welfare to the extent of now and then inquiring whether my income was satisfactory, and the nature of it. I assured him that it was and that he need have no further thought of me in that connection. I told him that I was more ambitious to advance politically than financially, and, while expressing my gratitude for all he had done for me and my keen regret at the thought of leaving him, I spoke again of my desire to enter State politics.

Some six years before I had married the daughter of a State Senator, a man who was then seeking the gubernatorial nomination.

On my account, Hardy gave him cordial support, but the State boss had other plans, and my father-in-law was shelved “for the moment,” as the boss expressed it, for one who suited his purposes better.

Both Hardy, my father-in-law, and their friends resented this action, because the man selected was not in line for the place and the boss was not conforming to the rules of the game.

They wanted to break openly and immediately, but I advised delay until we were strong enough to overthrow him.

The task of quietly organizing an effective opposition to the State boss was left to me, and although I lost no time, it was a year before I was ready to make the fight.

In the meanwhile, the boss had no intimation of the revolt. My father-in-law and Hardy had, by my direction, complied with all the requests that he made upon them, and he thought himself never more secure.

I went to the legislature that year in accordance with our plans, and announced myself a candidate for speaker. I did this without consulting the boss and purposely. He had already selected another man, and had publicly committed himself to his candidacy, which was generally considered equivalent to an election.

The candidate was a weak man, and if the boss had known the extent of the opposition that had developed, he would have made a stronger selection. As it was, he threw not only the weight of his own influence for his man and again irrevocably committed himself, but he had his creature, the Governor, do likewise.

My strength was still not apparent, for I had my forces well in hand, and while I had a few declare themselves for me, the major part were non-committal, and spoke in cautious terms of general approval of the boss’s candidate.

The result was a sensation. I was elected by a safe, though small, majority, and, as a natural result, the boss was deposed and I was proclaimed his successor.

I had found in organizing the revolt that there were many who had grievances which, from fear, they had kept hidden but when they were shown that they could safely be revenged, they eagerly took advantage of the opportunity.

So, in one campaign, I burst upon the public as the party leader, and the question was now, how would I use it and could I hold it.
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Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

Postby admin » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:01 am

Chapter XXXVI: Selwyn’s Story, Continued

Flushed though I was with victory, and with the flattery of friends, time servers and sycophants in my ears, I felt a deep sympathy for the boss. He was as a sinking ship and as such deserted. Yesterday a thing for envy, to-day an object of pity.

I wondered how long it would be before I, too, would be stranded.

The interests, were, of course, among the first to congratulate me and to assure me of their support. During that session of the legislature, I did not change the character of the legislation, or do anything very different from the usual. I wanted to feel my seat more firmly under me before attempting the many things I had in mind.

I took over into my camp all those that I could reasonably trust, and strengthened my forces everywhere as expeditiously as possible. I weeded out the incompetents, of whom there were many, and replaced them by big-hearted, loyal and energetic men, who had easy consciences when it came to dealing with the public affairs of either municipalities, counties or the State.

Of necessity, I had to use some who were vicious and dishonest, and who would betray me in a moment if their interests led that way. But of these there were few in my personal organization, though from experience, I knew their kind permeated the municipal machines to a large degree.

The lessons learned from Hardy were of value to me now. I was liberal to my following at the expense of myself, and I played the game fair as they knew it.

I declined re-election to the next legislature, because the office was not commensurate with the dignity of the position I held as party leader, and again, because the holding of state office was now a perilous undertaking.

In taking over the machine from the late boss, and in molding it into an almost personal following I found it not only loosely put together, but inefficient for my more ambitious purposes.

After giving it four or five years of close attention, I was satisfied with it, and I had no fear of dislodgment.

I had found that the interests were not paying anything like a commensurate amount for the special privileges they were getting, and I more than doubled the revenue obtained by the deposed boss.

This, of course, delighted my henchmen, and bound them more closely to me.

I also demanded and received information in advance of any extensions of railroads, standard or interurban, of contemplated improvements of whatsoever character, and I doled out this information to those of my followers in whose jurisdiction lay such territory.

My own fortune I augmented by advance information regarding the appreciation of stocks. If an amalgamation of two important institutions was to occur, or if they were to be put upon a dividend basis, or if the dividend rate was to be increased, I was told, not only in advance of the public, but in advance of the stockholders themselves.

All such information I held in confidence even from my own followers, for it was given me with such understanding.

My next move was to get into national politics. I became something of a factor at the national convention, by swinging Pennsylvania’s vote at a critical time; the result being the nomination of the now President, consequently my relations with him were most cordial.

The term of the senior Senator from our State was about to expire, and, although he was well advanced in years, he desired re-election.

I decided to take his seat for myself, so I asked the President to offer him an ambassadorship. He did not wish to make the change, but when he understood that it was that or nothing, he gracefully acquiesced in order that he might be saved the humiliation of defeat.

When he resigned, the Governor offered me the appointment for the unexpired term. It had only three months to run before the legislature met to elect his successor.

I told him that I could not accept until I had conferred with my friends. I had no intention of refusing, but I wanted to seem to defer to the judgment of my lieutenants.

I called them to the capital singly, and explained that I could be of vastly more service to the organization were I at Washington, and I arranged with them to convert the rank and file to this view.

Each felt that the weight of my decision rested upon himself, and their vanity was greatly pleased. I was begged not to renounce the leadership, and after persuasion, this I promised not to do.

As a matter of fact, it was never my intention to release my hold upon the State, thus placing myself in another’s power.

So I accepted the tender of the Senatorship, and soon after, when the legislature met, I was elected for the full term.

I was in as close touch with my State at Washington as I was before, for I spent a large part of my time there.

I was not in Washington long before I found that the Government was run by a few men; that outside of this little circle no one was of much importance.

It was my intention to break into it if possible, and my ambition now leaped so far as to want, not only to be of it, but later, to be it.

I began my crusade by getting upon confidential terms with the President.

One night, when we were alone in his private study, I told him of the manner and completeness of my organization in Pennsylvania. I could see he was deeply impressed. He had been elected by an uncomfortably small vote, and he was, I knew, looking for someone to manage the next campaign, provided he again received the nomination.

The man who had done this work in the last election was broken in health, and had gone to Europe for an indefinite stay.

The President questioned me closely, and ended by asking me to undertake the direction of his campaign for re-nomination, and later to manage the campaign for his election in the event he was again the party’s candidate.

I was flattered by the proffer, and told him so, but I was guarded in its acceptance. I wanted him to see more of me, hear more of my methods and to become, as it were, the suppliant.

This condition was soon brought about, and I entered into my new relations with him under the most favorable circumstances.

If I had readily acquiesced he would have assumed the air of favoring me, as it was, the rule was reversed.

He was overwhelmingly nominated and re-elected, and for the result he generously gave me full credit.

I was now well within the charmed circle, and within easy reach of my further desire to have no rivals. This came about naturally and without friction.

The interests, of course, were soon groveling at my feet, and, heavy as my demands were, I sometimes wondered like Clive at my own moderation.

The rest of my story is known to you. I had tightened a nearly invisible coil around the people, which held them fast, while the interests despoiled them. We overdid it, and you came with the conscience of the great majority of the American people back of you, and swung the Nation again into the moorings intended by the Fathers of the Republic.

When Selwyn had finished, the fire had burned low, and it was only now and then that his face was lighted by the flickering flames revealing a sadness that few had ever seen there before.

Perhaps he saw in the dying embers something typical of his life as it now was. Perhaps he longed to recall his youth and with it the strength, the nervous force and the tireless thought that he had used to make himself what he was.

When life is so nearly spilled as his, things are measured differently, and what looms large in the beginning becomes but the merest shadow when the race has been run.

As he contemplated the silent figure, Philip Dru felt something of regret himself, for he now knew the groundwork of the man, and he was sure that under other conditions, a career could have been wrought more splendid than that of any of his fellows.
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Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

Postby admin » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:01 am

Chapter XXXVII: The Cotton Corner

In modeling the laws, Dru called to the attention of those boards that were doing that work, the so-called “loan sharks,” and told them to deal with them with a heavy hand. By no sort of subterfuge were they to be permitted to be usurious. By their nefarious methods of charging the maximum legal rate of interest and then exacting a commission for monthly renewals of loans, the poor and the dependent were oftentimes made to pay several hundred per cent. interest per annum. The criminal code was to be invoked and protracted terms in prison, in addition to fines, were to be used against them.

He also called attention to a lesser, though serious, evil, of the practice of farmers, mine-owners, lumbermen and other employers of ignorant labor, of making advances of food, clothing and similar necessities to their tenants or workmen, and charging them extortionate prices therefor, thus securing the use of their labor at a cost entirely incommensurate with its value.

Stock, cotton and produce exchanges as then conducted came under the ban of the Administrator’s displeasure, and he indicated his intention of reforming them to the extent of prohibiting, under penalty of fine and imprisonment, the selling either short or long, stocks, bonds, commodities of whatsoever character, or anything of value. Banks, corporations or individuals lending money to any corporation or individual whose purpose it was known to be to violate this law, should be deemed as guilty as the actual offender and should be as heavily punished.

An immediate enforcement of this law was made because, just before the Revolution, there was carried to a successful conclusion a gigantic but iniquitous cotton corner. Some twenty or more adventurous millionaires, led by one of the boldest speculators of those times, named Hawkins, planned and succeeded in cornering cotton.

It seemed that the world needed a crop of 16,000,000 bales, and while the yield for the year was uncertain it appeared that the crop would run to that figure and perhaps over. Therefore, prices were low and spot-cotton was selling around eight cents, and futures for the distant months were not much higher.

By using all the markets and exchanges and by exercising much skill and secrecy, Hawkins succeeded in buying two million bales of actual cotton, and ten million bales of futures at an approximate average of nine and a half cents. He had the actual cotton stored in relatively small quantities throughout the South, much of it being on the farms and at the gins where it was bought. Then, in order to hide his identity, he had incorporated a company called “The Farmers’ Protective Association.”

Through one of his agents he succeeded in officering it with well-known Southerners, who knew only that part of the plan which contemplated an increase in prices, and were in sympathy with it. He transferred his spot-cotton to this company, the stock of which he himself held through his dummies, and then had his agents burn the entire two million bales. The burning was done quickly and with spectacular effect, and the entire commercial world, both in America and abroad, were astounded by the act.

Once before in isolated instances the cotton planter had done this, and once the farmers of the West, discouraged by low prices, had used corn for fuel. That, however, was done on a small scale. But to deliberately burn one hundred million dollars worth of property was almost beyond the scope of the imagination.

The result was a cotton panic, and Hawkins succeeded in closing out his futures at an average price of fifteen cents, thereby netting twenty-five dollars a bale, and making for himself and fellow buccaneers one hundred and fifty million dollars.

After amazement came indignation at such frightful abuse of concentrated wealth. Those of Wall Street that were not caught, were open in their expressions of admiration for Hawkins, for of such material are their heroes made.
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Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

Postby admin » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:01 am

Chapter XXXVIII: Universal Suffrage

At the end of the first quarter of the present century, twenty of the forty-eight States had Woman Suffrage, and Administrator Dru decided to give it to the Nation. In those twenty States, as far as he had observed, there had been no change for the better in the general laws, nor did the officials seem to have higher standards of efficiency than in those States that still denied to women the right to vote, but he noticed that there were more special laws bearing on the moral and social side of life, and that police regulation was better. Upon the whole, Dru thought the result warranted universal franchise without distinction of race, color or sex.

He believed that, up to the present time, a general franchise had been a mistake and that there should have been restrictions and qualifications, but education had become so general, and the condition of the people had advanced to such an extent, that it was now warranted.

It had long seemed to Dru absurd that the ignorant, and, as a rule, more immoral male, should have such an advantage over the educated, refined and intelligent female. Where laws discriminated at all, it was almost always against rather than in favor of women; and this was true to a much greater extent in Europe and elsewhere than in the United States. Dru had a profound sympathy for the effort women were making to get upon an equality with men in the race for life: and he believed that with the franchise would come equal opportunity and equal pay for the same work.

America, he hoped, might again lead in the uplift of the sex, and the example would be a distinct gain to women in those less forward countries where they were still largely considered as inferior to and somewhat as chattels to man.

Then, too, Dru had an infinite pity for the dependent and submerged life of the generality of women. Man could ask woman to mate, but women were denied this privilege, and, even when mated, oftentimes a life of never ending drudgery followed.

Dru believed that if women could ever become economically independent of man, it would, to a large degree, mitigate the social evil.

They would then no longer be compelled to marry, or be a charge upon unwilling relatives or, as in desperation they sometimes did, lead abandoned lives.
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Re: Philip Dru: Administrator, by Edward Mandell House

Postby admin » Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:01 am

Chapter XXXIX: A Negative Government

Upon assuming charge of the affairs of the Republic, the Administrator had largely retained the judiciary as it was then constituted, and he also made but few changes in the personnel of State and Federal officials, therefore there had, as yet, been no confusion in the public’s business. Everything seemed about as usual, further than there were no legislative bodies sitting, and the function of law making was confined to one individual, the Administrator himself.

Before putting the proposed laws into force, he wished them thoroughly worked out and digested.
In the meantime, however, he was constantly placing before his Cabinet and Commissioners suggestions looking to the betterment of conditions, and he directed that these suggestions should be molded into law. In order that the people might know what further measures he had in mind for their welfare, other than those already announced, he issued the following address:

“It is my purpose,” said he, “not to give to you any radical or ill-digested laws. I wish rather to cull that which is best from the other nations of the earth, and let you have the benefit of their thought and experience. One of the most enlightened foreign students of our Government has rightly said that ’America is the most undemocratic of democratic countries.’ We have been living under a Government of negation, a Government with an executive with more power than any monarch, a Government having a Supreme Court, clothed with greater authority than any similar body on earth; therefore, we have lagged behind other nations in democracy. Our Government is, perhaps, less responsive to the will of the people than that of almost any of the civilized nations. Our Constitution and our laws served us well for the first hundred years of our existence, but under the conditions of to-day they are not only obsolete, but even grotesque. It is nearly impossible for the desires of our people to find expression into law. In the latter part of the last century many will remember that an income tax was wanted. After many vicissitudes, a measure embodying that idea was passed by both Houses of Congress and was signed by the Executive. But that did not give to us an income tax. The Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional, and we have been vainly struggling since to obtain relief.

“If a well-defined majority of the people of England, of France, of Italy or of Germany had wanted such a law they could have gotten it with reasonable celerity. Our House of Representatives is supposed to be our popular law-making body, and yet its members do not convene until a year and one month from the time they are elected. No matter how pressing the issue upon which a majority of them are chosen, more than a year must elapse before they may begin their endeavors to carry out the will of the people. When a bill covering the question at issue is finally introduced in the House, it is referred to a committee, and that body may hold it at its pleasure.

“If, in the end, the House should pass the bill, that probably becomes the end of it, for the Senate may kill it.

“If the measure passes the Senate it is only after it has again been referred to a committee and then back to a conference committee of both Senate and House, and returned to each for final passage.

“When all this is accomplished at a single session, it is unusually expeditious, for measures, no matter how important, are often carried over for another year.

“If it should at last pass both House and Senate there is the Executive veto to be considered. If, however, the President signs the bill and it becomes a law, it is perhaps but short-lived, for the Supreme Court is ever present with its Damoclean sword.

“These barriers and interminable delays have caused the demand for the initiative, referendum and recall. That clumsy weapon was devised in some States largely because the people were becoming restless and wanted a more responsive Government.

“I am sure that I shall be able to meet your wishes in a much simpler way, and yet throw sufficient safeguards around the new system to keep it from proving hurtful, should an attack of political hysteria overtake you.

“However, there has never been a time in our history when a majority of our people have not thought right on the public questions that came before them, and there is no reason to believe that they will think wrong now.

“The interests want a Government hedged with restrictions, such as we have been living under, and it is easy to know why, with the example of the last administration fresh in the minds of all.

“A very distinguished lawyer, once Ambassador to Great Britain, is reported as saying on Lincoln’s birthday: ’The Constitution is an instrument designedly drawn by the founders of this Government providing safeguards to prevent any inroads by popular excitement or frenzy of the moment.’ And later in the speech he says: ’But I have faith in the sober judgment of the American people, that they will reject these radical changes, etc.’

“If he had faith in the sober judgment of the American people, why not trust them to a measurable extent with the conduct of their own affairs?

“The English people, for a century or more, have had such direction as I now propose that you shall have, and for more than half a century the French people have had like power. They have in no way abused it, and yet the English and French Electorate surely are not more intelligent, or have better self-control, or more sober judgment than the American citizenship.

“Another thing to which I desire your attention called is the dangerous power possessed by the President in the past, but of which the new Constitution will rob him.

“The framers of the old Constitution lived in an atmosphere of autocracy and they could not know, as we do now, the danger of placing in one man’s hands such enormous power, and have him so far from the reach of the people, that before they could dispossess him he might, if conditions were favorable, establish a dynasty.

“It is astounding that we have allowed a century and a half go by without limiting both his term and his power.


“In addition to giving you a new Constitution and laws that will meet existing needs, there are many other things to be done, some of which I shall briefly outline. I have arranged to have a survey made of the swamp lands throughout the United States. From reliable data which I have gathered, I am confident that an area as large as the State of Ohio can be reclaimed, and at a cost that will enable the Government to sell it to home-seekers for less than one-fourth what they would have to pay elsewhere for similar land.

“Under my personal direction, I am having prepared an old-age pension law and also a laborers’ insurance law, covering loss in cases of illness, incapacity and death.

“I have a commission working on an efficient cooperative system of marketing the products of small farms and factories. The small producers throughout America are not getting a sufficient return for their products, largely because they lack the facilities for marketing them properly. By cooperation they will be placed upon an equal footing with the large producers and small investments that heretofore have given but a meager return will become profitable.

“I am also planning to inaugurate cooperative loan societies in every part of the Union, and I have appointed a commissioner to instruct the people as to their formation and conduct and to explain their beneficent results.

“In many parts of Europe such societies have reached very high proficiency, and have been the means of bringing prosperity to communities that before their establishment had gone into decay.

“Many hundred millions of dollars have been loaned through these societies and, while only a fractional part of their members would be considered good for even the smallest amount at a bank, the losses to the societies on loans to their members have been almost negligible; less indeed than regular bankers could show on loans to their clients. And yet it enables those that are almost totally without capital to make a fair living for themselves and families.

“It is my purpose to establish bureaus through the congested portions of the United States where men and women in search of employment can register and be supplied with information as to where and what kind of work is obtainable. And if no work is to be had, I shall arrange that every indigent person that is honest and industrious shall be given employment by the Federal, State, County or Municipal Government as the case may be. Furthermore, it shall in the future be unlawful for any employer of labor to require more than eight hours work a day, and then only for six days a week. Conditions as are now found in the great manufacturing centers where employés are worked twelve hours a day, seven days in the week, and receive wages inadequate for even an eight hour day shall be no longer possible.

“If an attempt is made to reduce wages because of shorter hours or for any other cause, the employé shall have the right to go before a magistrate and demand that the amount of wage be adjusted there, either by the magistrate himself or by a jury if demanded by either party.

“Where there are a large number of employés affected, they can act through their unions or societies, if needs be, and each party at issue may select an arbitrator and the two so chosen may agree upon a third, or they may use the courts and juries, as may be preferred.

“This law shall be applicable to women as well as to men, and to every kind of labor. I desire to make it clear that the policy of this Government is that every man or woman who desires work shall have it, even if the Government has to give it, and I wish it also understood that an adequate wage must be paid for labor.

“Labor is no longer to be classed as an inert commodity to be bought and sold by the law of supply and demand, but the human equation shall hereafter be the commanding force in all agreements between man and capital.


“There is another matter to which I shall give my earnest attention and that is the reformation of the study and practice of medicine. It is well known that we are far behind England, Germany and France in the protection of our people from incompetent physicians and quackery. There is no more competent, no more intelligent or advanced men in the world than our American physicians and surgeons of the first class.

“But the incompetent men measurably drag down the high standing of the profession. A large part of our medical schools and colleges are entirely unfit for the purposes intended, and each year they grant diplomas to hundreds of ignorant young men and women and license them to prey upon a more or less helpless people.

“The number of physicians per inhabitant is already ridiculously large, many times more than is needful, or than other countries where the average of the professions ranks higher, deem necessary.

“I feel sure that the death list in the United States from the mistakes of these incompetents is simply appalling.

“I shall create a board of five eminent men, two of whom shall be physicians, one shall be a surgeon, one a scientist and the other shall be a great educator, and to this board I shall give the task of formulating a plan by which the spurious medical colleges and medical men can be eradicated from our midst.

“I shall call the board’s attention to the fact that it is of as much importance to have men of fine natural ability as it is to give them good training, and, if it is practicable, I shall ask them to require some sort of adequate mental examination that will measurably determine this.

“I have a profound admiration for the courage, the nobility and philanthropy of the profession as a whole, and I do not want its honor tarnished by those who are mercenary and unworthy.

“In conclusion I want to announce that pensions will be given to those who fought on either side in the late war without distinction or reservation. However, it is henceforth to be the policy of this Government, so far as I may be able to shape it, that only those in actual need of financial aid shall receive pensions and to them it shall be given, whether they have or have not been disabled in consequence of their services to the nation. But to offer financial aid to the rich and well to do, is to offer an insult, for it questions their patriotism. Although the first civil war was ended over sixty years ago, yet that pension roll still draws heavily upon the revenue of the Nation. Its history has been a rank injustice to the noble armies of Grant and his lieutenants, the glory of whose achievements is now the common heritage of a United Country.”
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