D.C. Inaugural committee [Washington.

Inauguration ceremonies, March 4, 1909.. online

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MAY 12 1326



rrxjllLLIAM HOWARD TAFT was born on
\^m September is, 1857, the son of one of

the leading public men of Ohio, Alphonso

Taft, who had served in the Cabinet of Grant
as Secretary of War, and afterwards as Min-
ister to Vienna. The son graduated from Yale
in 1878, studied for and was admitted to the bar,
and began the practice of law in Cincinnati.
He married Miss Helen Herron, and has three

As was natural from his ancestry and sur-
roundings Mr. Taft became actively interested
in political affairs as soon as he was admitted
to the bar; but his leaning toward, and taste
for, the law were very strong, and he had no
idea of following any other than a legal and
judicial career. He served on the State bench
of Ohio, and was appointed Solicitor General of
the United States by President Harrison. In
both positions he attracted the attention of all
who were brought in contact with him, by his
power of thought and of statement. As Solicitor

view he established permits the prevention of
that cruel practice which puts upon the most
helpless the whole burden of injury received
because of the risks inevitable in certain employ-
ments. These two decisions meant much from
the standpoint of the wise use of the National
power, for they meant that the National power
could be used on the one hand to secure just
treatment for labor, and on the other hand to
secure adequate control over the vast aggregates
of corporate capital through which modern
business is done. But Judge Taft was exactly
as fearless in dealing with labor when it went
wrong as in controlling capital when it needed
control. When the country was convulsed from
one end to the other with riot and violence,
when every time-serving politician was bending
like a reed before the blast of agitation, Judge
Taft, as fearless physically as morally, upheld
order and repressed the violence of mobs, by
the wise and proper use he made of the great
power of injunction.

After the Spanish War President McKinley
appointed Mr. Taft Governor of the Philippines.
The annals of colonial administration of all
nations can be searched in vain to find any man
who did better a more difficult and important
work than that which it became Mr. Taft's duty
to do during the next four years. His inde-

fatigable industry, his broad sympathy, his
energy, his fearlessness, his generosity, and his
ability to see and do justice, combined to render
him able to perform a service such as no other
man could have performed. He showed not one
particle of sentimental sympathy with wrong-
doers ; he did not hesitate to sanction the use
of force whenever it was needed ; and yet he
made it evident that his purpose was to do
credit to the United States by administering the
Philippine Islands in the interest of the Filipinos
themselves. They have since repeatedly shown
their intense devotion to him ; and it has been
well warranted, for no people in their condition
have ever had a stauncher, wiser or more effi-
cient friend. He looked out for the material
well-being of the Islanders, and he also started
them on the difficult path of self-government,
arranging the conditions so that the young
generation had the chance to go to school, and
the older men the chance actually to try to
govern themselves, first in their local bodies and
finally in a legislative assembly.

Then Mr. Taft was made Secretary of War.
From the beginning he showed himself not
merely the efficient head of his Department,
not merely a Cabinet Minister of the first class,
but a statesman of far-reaching initiative and
foresight. In addition to the regular work

connected with the army he kept oversight

of the entire Philippine situation, and super- .

intended in person all that was done in

connection with the giant task of building the

Panama canal. When the revolution occurred

in Cuba he at once went to the Island,

and by the measures he took secured the

tranquil and peaceful development of Cuba

during the intervening years ; and by the peace

which he thus secured he made certain the

withdrawal of the American troops, and thereby

gave Cuba the chance once more to start upon

a career of independence. Meanwhile, there

was no great policy in which the American

people were concerned, at home or abroad,

which he did not study and with which he has

not since identified himself. No man of better

training, no man of more dauntless courage, of

sounder common sense, and of higher and finer

character, has ever come to the Presidency than

William Howard Taft.

^J^JZ^er-t^°~UZ /A<r-tr^-t£<_^Y'





of Utica, New York, was born in Utica,
October 24, 1855, receiving the usual
American schooling, and graduating from Hamil-
ton College in 1878; he was admitted to the
practice of the law in 1880, and in 1884 elected
mayor of the city of Utica. He was a member
of the Fiftieth Congress, and from that time, with
the exception of two years, has been in contin-
uous service of his home district in congress.
In addition, he has found the time to engage
successfully in several business enterprises, and
to carry on an important law practice. This
has not prevented tireless industry in his con-
gressional work. He has not only served his
immediate constituency with fidelity and success,
but has with rare ability, contributed to the
formation and enactment of the great general
measures which have absorbed the public atten-
tion for the last twenty years.

He is an interesting and attractive man; a
born friend-maker. Dignified without austerity;

amiable without effusiveness; modest without
diffidence; aggressive without pugnacity; effect-
ive without display; he moves forward in his
work industriously, without fuss or friction,
with a thoroughness and rapidity which have
made him for many years one of the most use-
ful and influential members of the house of
representatives. He is a ready and forceful
debater, a clear and convincing speaker. He is
far and away the best parliamentarian in
congress, and a presiding officer of the very
first rank.

All of his associates on both sides of the
House are his friends. After twenty years of
almost continuous service in congress, it is a
very significant tribute to a man to be able
truthfully to say that he has no enemies on
either side of the House.

Mr. Sherman would rather do a favor than
ask one, yet no man is more appreciative of a
kindness, nor slower to forget one. His even
temper, his genuine unselfishness, his aggressive
desire to assist others who may need assistance,
his human sympathy which manifests itself in
his every expression and attitude, his radiant
and ready smile, his unfailing courtesy and
complete self-mastery, give him a most winning
personality. He says "yes" with finality, and
"no" with reluctance. Even while refusing a

request he conciliates, and in conferring a favor
succeeds in conveying the impression that he has
actually received one.

He is as brave as he is genuine, and as firm
as he is kind. He is an earnest and clever
student of men and an excellent judge of char-
acter. He is ready with a jest, a pleasant word,
a cordial handshake, or a friendly inquiry, but
is slow to wrath, slow to criticism, slow to
rebuke; but with it all, on all matters of prin-
ciple, he is as firm as a rock and absolutely
J uncompromising. His convictions are clear-cut

and staunch, and while he is not given to
obtruding them offensively, he is always ready
to defend. For twenty years he has been almost
continuously in the searchlight and under the
microscope of public inspection. His life and
his character constitute an open book, every
page of which is clean, wholesome, inviting and
inspiring. He has a straightforward, steady gaze,
quite in harmony with his straightforward

He believes in party, and particularly in his
own party. He believes in party government
and the desirability of party responsibility, as
over against individual responsibility.

He has faith, firm as the hills, in the superi-
ority of the representative form of government.
This ever has been and ever must be founded

because it is established and tried. He is
always ready to put to the trial of the test-tube
and the hammer, any accepted, as well as
any proposed, condition.

Perhaps the whole character of the Vice-
President may be summed up in the sentence :
"He is one of the best types of high-minded,
representative Christian American gentlemen,
who has made good underworking conditions."
He has been tried and found not wanting.
He is not a dreamer, nor a poser, nor a
noisy advocate of impossible and undesirable
extremes, but one of our best American
citizens, one of that class who have been
busy doing things for the improvement of
existing conditions, who have been devoting
their lives and abilities to converting the ideals
of yesterday into the realities of to-day, and
who have been moving forward and onward
and upward in a safe and sane way and
making the United States a great and growing
nation, where opportunities for each are
more and better than anywhere else in the
world. In temperament and training, in ability
and in experience, he is fully equipped and
qualified to fulfil the duties of his position.

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Online LibraryD.C. Inaugural committee [WashingtonInauguration ceremonies, March 4, 1909.. → online text (page 1 of 1)