Joseph Benson Foraker.

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When General Miles landed in that island, at the head of our gallant
and victorious Army, he made proclamation that he had come not as
an enemy, but as a friend, and that the United States would restore to
them prosperity and give them the benefits of our liberal institutions
of government. The inevitable results of the legislation that has been
enacted will constitute a complete redemption of all these promises, and
a triumphant vindication of the capacity of the Republican Party for
that constructive statesmanship so essential to the safe guidance of the
Republic in its onward course of expanding growth and power.

The mere fact that this law has continued in force, prac-
tically without change, ever since it was enacted, now full
fifteen years ago, is enough to indicate that it proved satis-
factory when put into practical operation. But aside from


that fact, I have been favored with many flattering testi-
monials to that same effect from the Governors and other
oflScials of the island who have administered it. Another,
and one I prize highly', is the following :

The White House, Washim-qtok.

November 27, 1906.

My Dear Senator Foraker:—! have just returned from Porto Rico.
Not only is the Island flourishing greatly, but aU those competent to
judge are a unit in feeling that the law for the government of the
Island is one of the best bits of legislation ever put upon our statute
books. Governor Winthrop particularly desired me to teU you so. I
wish I could feel that our Hawaiian law was as satisfactory. Do
Alaska matters come before your committee? I need not tell you how
defective the laws for Alaska are and how desirable it would be to have
them remedied.

I have been immensely impressed with the excellent work that is
being done at Panama on the canal.

With regards to Mrs. Foraker, Sincerely yours,

Theodoee Roosevelt.
Hon. J. B. Fobakee,

United States Senate.

To this letter I sent the following answer:

November 28, 1906.

My Dear Mr. President: — I am greatly pleased to have your note of
November 27th, giving me the message sent by Governor Winthrop. It
is amazing to me, how, amidst all you are doing, and with the demands
upon your time and attention, that must have been piled up awaiting
your return, you could find time on your first day here to write me such
a note. It adds greatly to the appreciation I have for what you com-

Alaska is not within the jurisdiction of my committee, but Hawaii is.
I did not have anything to do with the framing of the organic law for
Hawaii, except as a member of the Senate; that is to say, I was not on
the committee that framed the statute, and had no special responsibility
with respect to it. All that occurred before my committee was created.

I shall try to see you as soon as the rush, consequent upon your
absence, has subsided, and shall hope that I may then be able to get the
benefit of your views as to the two or three matters concerning Porto
Rico and Hawaii, about which I have been trying to secure legislation.

I am glad to note in the morning papers that you intend to urge
Congress to make the citizens of Porto Rico citizens of the United

You are doubtless aware that at the last session I introduced a biU
making that provision, and that I reported it favorably from my com-


mittee, and that it is now on the calendar awaiting the action of the
Senate. I was unable to get action upon the bill at the last session
because the Rate Bill discussion took so much of our time that it was
shut out along with a number of other measures that will now come up
for consideration.

With congratulations upon your safe return, I remain

Very truly yours, etc.,
Hon. Theodobe Roosevelt, J. B. Foeakeb.

The White House.

I incorporate this correspondence not only because it is
pertinent, but also because it brings to mind something I
feel like explaining every time my attention is called to it,
and that is the fact that when the first Porto Rican legislation
was enacted we failed to make the Porto Ricans citizens of
the United States. It was not my fault that we did not do
this, for I so reported the bill and did everything I could
to have it so enacted, but a majority of the Senate thought
it was then premature, and provided instead, that they should
be simply "citizens of Porto Rico and as such entitled to
the protection of the United States," a phrase I framed and
substituted when I found I could not do better.

The denial of United States citizenship was a cause of
much dissatisfaction to the Porto Ricans, not so much because
of any privileges denied as because they regarded it as a
reflection on their loyalty and their qualifications for cit-

I tried several times, while I was yet in the Senate, to secure
an amendment to the law that would make them citizens of
the United States, but all my eff^orts in that respect were in
vain, notwithstanding I had the efficient help of President
Roosevelt, who specifically recommended it, not only in formal
message, but informally, in discussing the matter with mem-
bers of Congress, and notwithstanding the further fact that
the sentiment of Republicans with respect to the question so
radically changed, that in the National Republican platform
of 1908 they declared:

We believe that the native inhabitants of Porto Rico should be at
once made collectively citizens of the United States.


This declaration was in effect repeated in the platform of
1912 by the following declaration :

We ratify in all its particulars the platform of 1908 respecting
citizenship for the people of Porto Rico.

In addition to commendations of this organic law of the
character mentioned, the people of Porto Rico appointed a
committee, consisting of three of their foremost citizens,
to visit Cincinnati and express to me personally and form-
ally, the thanks and assurances of appreciation of the people
of that island for the very great benefits conferred upon them
by this statute.

What they so highly appreciated was the substitution of
civil for military government, and the opportunity given
them to participate in the administration of the government
so established.

There were many Senators and Representatives in Congress
who doubted the wisdom of giving them, without any kind
of probation, a government of that character.

Some of the members of President McKinley's Cabinet,
Secretary Root among them, were of this opinion, and they
caused him to have some doubt for a time as to the wisdom
of the legislation we were proposing to enact.

I had a number of conferences with him on the subject,
with the result that he finally became thoroughly satisfied that
the legislation was just and appropriate and took great
pleasure in approving it, not only because of the character
of government thus provided, but also because the legislation
so enacted raised most of the questions it was desirable to have
decided by the Supreme Court to enable us to legislate intel-
ligently for the Philippines, which was, from the beginning,
regarded as a far more serious and difficult problem than that
presented by Porto Rico.

The Philippines.

I was not a member of the Philippines Committee, and did
not, therefore, have any special responsibility for the govern-
ment of those islands. On account, however, of the rebellion


of Aguinaldo, which I thought might have been avoided if
it had been more diplomatically handled in its early stages,
and because of the great differences among the tribes inhabit-
ing those islands, and especially on account of their different
degrees of civilization, varying all the way down from those
intelligent enough to know something about government, to
those who were, like the Igorrotes, confessedly without any
capacity therefor, I read carefully the very able, interestiug
and instructive reports made by Dr. Schurman as President
of the Commission, and kept as well informed as I could as
to the general situation. In this way I happened to be able,
although not on the committee, to participate in the debates
on a number of occasions when it seemed necessary and impor-
tant to answer the attacks that our Democratic friends were
from time to time making, and to advocate and defend the
policy of President McKinley and his successor, as the progress
of events made that necessary.

In this way I became so far familiar with the whole subject
that it would be no very great labor to review and point out
from the legislative standpoint the different steps taken
leading up to the establishment of civil government, but that
would be too much like writing history.

My purposes are simpler and less burdensome. All I desire
to do is to call attention to the fact that Congress provided
in one of our first enactments on the subject that all military,
civil and judicial powers necessary to govern the Philippines
should be vested in such person or persons as the President
might appoint, and that these powers should be exercised by
these persons in such manner as the President might direct;
that, in accordance with this authority, President McKinley
appointed the Commission of which Dr. J. G. Schurman was
President, and of which Admiral Dewey, General Otis, the
Honorable Charles Denby and Professor Dean C. Worcester
were members.

The first duty of this Commission was to make an investiga-
tion of conditions in the Philippines, and from time to time
report the same to the President. It was these reports that
proved so helpful. It was also the duty of this Commission to
make such recommendations as they might deem proper


as to the form and character of government that should be

In accordance with their recommendations made in due time
it was determined by the President that until Congress should
otherwise direct, the head of the government of the Philippines
should be a Governor-General appointed by the President;
the Governor-General to be assisted by a Cabinet appointed
by himself.

As soon as President McKinley became fully familiar with
the situation and its requirements, he wisely determined to call
to his assistance in that work the best talent he could com-
mand, and, accordingly cast about for such a man to appoint
Governor-General. In this connection he consulted me about
the qualifications of William H. Taft, who was then a Judge
of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. He was not
very intimately acquainted with him, but it had occurred to
him, perhaps upon somebody's suggestion, that he would be
a good man to place at the head of the government in those
islands during its formative stages. The suggestion met with
my hearty approval, as the following letter from Judge Taft
received in due time indicates.

I quote it as showing the nature of commendation I gave
him and his appreciation for the same :

February 11, 1900.

My Dear Senator: — I am very much obliged to you for the kind
words of your letter and the approval of the appointment which you
expressed to the President when he consulted you as to its wisdom
before he made it. I shall always have a feeling that the course of my
life has been largely due to you who gave me the opportunity and first
honor from which all that I have had since has easily flowed. Good
fortune has followed me with so much persistence that I tremble for the
future on the principle of compensation.

The work now to be undertaken is of the most perplexing and
original character and I gravely fear that I am not qualified. But the
die is cast — I must attempt it. Such words as yours are full of encour-
agement. I thank you for sending me the Porto Rico bill which wUl be
of much suggestive force in the new duties I have undertaken to dis-
charge. Gratefully and sincerely yours,

Wm. H. Taft.
The Honoeable J. B. Fobakeb,
United States Senate,
Washington, D. C.

P. S. Judge Day and I were very sorry not to see you in Washing-
ton when we called.



OUICKLY following the selection of Judge Taft for
service in the Philippines, and the enactment of the
Porto Rican legislation, came the National Republican Con-
vention of 1900 at Philadelphia.

Again McKinley requested me to place him in nomination
before the convention, and I promised to do so.

A few days before we went to Philadelphia Senator Hanna
invited me with a number of others to take breakfast with
him and to come prepared to discuss what should be put into
the platform to be adopted at Philadelphia. When we had
breakfasted and had fully discussed all the different questions
that were raised, and were about to separate, he said he was
pleased with what I had suggested the trust plank should
be and requested me to put my conception in writing and
give him a copy.

In compliance with this request I wrote and handed him
the following:

While recognizing the necessity and legitimacy of aggregations of
capital to maintain and extend our rapidly increasing foreign trade we
condemn all conspiracies and combinations intended to restrict trade,
limit production and affect prices, and favor such legislation as will
effectively restrain and prevent all such abuses and protect and promote
competition and secure the rights of producers, laborers, and all who
are engaged in industry and commerce.

I served at that convention as the Ohio member of the
Committee on Resolutions and assisted in framing the plat-
form, of which the trust plank reads as follows:

We recognize the necessity and propriety of the honest co-operation
of capital to meet new business conditions and especially to extend our







:Z^— #-,!.-. ^^^^ ^^^^v^^ /^ -nJ^I^




rapidly increasing foreign trade, but we condemn all conspiracies and
combinations intended to restrict business, to create monopolies, to
limit production, or to control prices; and favor such legislation as will
effectively restrain and prevent all 'such abuses, protect and promote
competition and secure the rights of producers, laborers, and all who are
engaged in industry and commerce.

The planic aaopted was a revision of what I gave Senator
Hanna, of which I had retained a copy.

Mr. Croly found among Mr. Hanna's papers the rough
draft I had given him. It was in my own handwriting with
some interhneations, probably in the handwriting of Senator
Hanna. Mr. Croly publishes a facsimile of what he found
as "written by Mr. Hanna himself after consultation with
the President." He publishes this facsimile copy as he tells us

. . . in order, both to give an example of Mr. Hanna's hand-
writing and to call attention to the emendations in the draft.

Mr. Croly points out the wisdom of the declaration and
the credit Mr. Hanna was entitled to on that account, and
then concludes his comments as follows:

It need only be added that the plank, as reproduced herewith, was
accepted by the Committee on Resolutions of the Convention practically
intact. The word 'legitimacy' became 'propriety' and the first sentence
was made co-ordinate with the second instead of dependent upon it.

Any one familiar with our respective handwritings would
see at a glance that the draft published by Mr. Croly was
in my handwriting; but as proof thereof it is rather inter-
esting to reproduce the Croly facsimile and insert here also
for comparison with it a facsimile copy of what, as I dictate
these notes, I have turned aside to write as the language of
my rough draft is read to me, without even glancing at the
same, and, therefore, without any chance to imitate, even
if I desired to do so.

The similarity after the lapse of fifteen years is strikingly
sufficient, but it is Hot so much to sustain my statement that
I offer this evidence as to show that Mr. Croly was able to


find something to commend in something I did, when he did
not know I had done it.

Senator Hanna arrived in Philadelphia to attend the
convention two or three days before I was able to leave

Among other things telegraphed from there after his
arrival was a statement that he had arranged with Senator
Allison of Iowa to place McKinley's name before the con-
vention for renomination. I read it just as I was leaving
Washington. Inasmuch as the President's request that I
should nominate him had been made voluntarily and with
evident sincerity and earnestness, I doubted the truthfulness
of the dispatch, but thinking it better to learn from him
directly whether or not he had changed his mind, I called
on my way to the train and had a brief interview with him,
in which he very emphatically said with some indication of
irritation, that he had not changed his mind ; that he had
at no time even considered anybody else; that he would
not, under any circumstances he could foresee, change that
part of the program ; but that if he should for any reason
then unforeseen change his mind, I would be the first man
to whom he would communicate that fact. I told him it
might be better to have somebody from another State dis-
charge that duty for him, and that I would gladly stand
aside in favor of Senator Allison or anybody else, if for any
reason he at any time desired to make a change, but he
flatly refused to consider the suggestion.

A brief conversation followed as to the general situation
when, as I was taking my leave, he rather abruptly and
energetically said, "I hope you will not allow the conven-
tion to be stampeded to Roosevelt for Vice President."

I knew he did not some time earlier want Roosevelt on
the ticket with him, and had learned it from Roosevelt
himself, but inasmuch as he had never spoken to me on the
subject, I was surprised that he should do so then, and in
the earnest language he employed.

I told him I was sorry to learn that he felt as his request
indicated, because I thought the indications were that


Roosevelt would be nominated, and that I thought he was
the strongest man who could be put on the ticket with him,
but that in addition I regarded myself as committed to his
support, and that I could not honorably do otherwise than
support him if he should be a candidate.

I don't know whether I mellowed his opposition or not,
but when he learned how I was situated, and saw how I
felt about it, he said it was all right for me to support
Governor Roosevelt, and that he would understand that my
action in doing so was not unfriendly to him.

I did not tell him in what way I had become committed.
It did not seem necessary I should do so, and I probably
feared it might not be entirely agreeable, although I think
he would have enjoyed the streak of humor that ran through
the story.

The facts about the matter were, however, that my rela-
tions to Governor Roosevelt had been cordial from the time
I first met him at the Chicago Convention in 1884. They
had become still more cordial after we met in Washington
at the beginning of the McKinley administration, under
which he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, because of
our entire accord as to the Cuban questions, both before and
after the Spanish-American War. I mean those questions
that led to the war, and the questions arising after the war
concerning the adjustment of the political and governmental
situation in Cuba, and the withdrawal of the United States
from the control of that island in accordance with the pledge
given in our Resolutions of Intervention.

He had occasion shortly before the Philadelphia Conven-
tion to make a visit to Washington.

He called upon me, as he did upon others at the Senate.
In his conversation with me at the time of this call he told
me that he wanted me to favor him by co-operating with
Senator Lodge and other, friends of his to prevent his nom-
ination as Vice President at the approaching convention.
He wanted to succeed himself as Governor of New York.

I told him I disliked to do anything of the kind; that
there was a. strong sentiment throughout the country in


favor of his nomination and that I thought he could bring
greater strength to the ticket than anybody else who had
been mentioned, and that if the disposition to nominate him
should continue he ought to yield to the demand.

He seemed quite determined, however, in his purpose to
refuse, but the following day he returned, with all the real
Roosevelt spirit fully aroused, and told me, in substantially
the following language, that he had in some way learned
since talking with me the day before that "the McKinley
people" did not want him on the ticket, and "that," he said,
"makes a different case, and I feel differently about it.
There is no reason why they should not want me, and I
will not allow them to discredit me. If the convention wants
me, I shall accept."

Notwithstanding he told me all this, he probably recon-
sidered, for it was again announced before the convention
assembled that he would not accept, and it was not until
after he reached Philadelphia and found the demand for
him so overwhelming that he concluded it was a party duty
for him to yield.

Having urged him, as I had done the day before, I could
not have changed my attitude without disagreeable embar-
rassment if I had so desired, but I had no desire to do so,
and there was no occasion to do so. We parted, leaving
the matter in just that way, where it stood when I had my
talk with McKinley and told him I felt myself committed
to support Roosevelt.

That the "McKinley people" did not want him prior to
the convention was made tolerably clear to the average mind
by an interview with Senator Hanna given out at New York
and published in the Cincinnati Enquirer and other papers
of May 11, 1900, in which the Senator said:

Governor Roosevelt will not be nominated for Vice President, and
has not been discussed in that connection by Party leaders, or those who
might speak for the administration. What has been said about him has
been purely speculative from sources unacquainted with facts.

Notwithstanding the confident character of this interview,
Senator Hanna changed his mind after he got to Phila-


delphia, and not only yielded to but joined in the demand
for Roosevelt for Vice President.*

What occurred at the convention, the character of nom-
inating speech I made and all other details of that occasion
are a part of a great historic proceeding that need not be
repeated here.

Suffice it to say that at the convention and afterward,
down to the day of the election, I supported McKinley with
aU the zeal, sincerity and good-will it was possible for me
to command; and that though there were, from time to
time, questions arising about which we were not in accord,
as from time to time there had been such differences from
the beginning of our acquaintance, yet until the day of his
death we continued personal friends.

It was my fortune to be called upon by him to give
repeated evidences of the sincerity of my personal and poli-
tical regard and good-will. These pages bear testimony to
the truth of this statement.

At his request I not only nominated him for Governor,
but also twice nominated him for President. Each time, in

• Further and conclusive proof that hia nomination for Vice Presi-
dent was not favored, or expected, in administration circles has been
given by the publication of the following letter dated June 15, 1900,
from Mr. Hay to Henry White, in Thayer's "Life and Letters of
John Hay," Issued since the text was printed:

"... Teddy has been here; have you heard of it? It was
more fun than a goat. He came down with a somber resolution
thro^rn on his strenuous brow to let McKinley and Hanna know once
for all that he would not be Vice President, and found to his stupe-
faction that nobody in Washington except Piatt had ever dreamed
of such a thing. He did not even have a chance to launch his nolo
rpiacopari at the Major. That statesman said he did not -want him
on the ticket — that he would be far more valuable in New York — and
Root said, w^ith his frank and murderous smile, 'Of course not, —
you're not fit for it." And so he went back quite eased in his mind,

Online LibraryJoseph Benson ForakerNotes of a busy life → online text (page 10 of 61)