Samuel W. (Samuel Whitaker) Pennypacker.

The autobiography of a Pennsylvanian online

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Quay was held by the senate and house on the evening of
March 22d, at which I deUvered the address which has been
printed in various shapes since.

During these later days of the session I was receiving
much encomium, even from the city dailies, for the reason
that they did not like the legislators, and they watched
with pleasure, while the analysis, which had formerly been
applied to journalism, was now being applied to legislation.
Cooper of the Media American wrote editorially:

"Governor Pennypacker has proved to be the wisest,
most discriminating and at the same time most thoroughly
honest executive that ever sat in the Pennsylvania guber-
natorial chair."

And Moser of the Collegeville Independent:

"Governor Pennypacker has been easily the most virile,
the most capable and in many respects the most popular
executive since the days of Andrew G. Curtin."

The session of the legislature ended on the 13th of April.
A Department of Health had been created, to which had
been given very great authority and a power which extended
to the person of the individual citizen and might even be
regarded as an infringement of his personal liberty. The
value and permanence of the legislation would depend
mainly upon the manner in which the department should be
organized. It was at first suggested to me that it should
be placed in charge of Dr. B. H. Warren, but that thought
I instantly dismissed. I then had an interview with Dr.
Charles B. Penrose, who had been very much interested in
the matter, and he named to me a gentleman connected with
one of the schools in the western part of the state. I had a
talk with this gentleman, but was still not satisfied. Then
Dr. Penrose told me he thought Dr. Samuel G. Dixon,
president of the Academy of Natural Sciences, would be

Group of Governor Pennypacker's Pennsylvania Constabulary


willing to undertake the task. That suggestion suited me
exactly. Dixon consented and I made the appointment.
Under his direction it has come to be accepted as the most
important and efficient organization for this line of work
in the United States. There is good ground for hope that
many of the inflammatory diseases due to specific poisons,
such as typhoid fever, smallpox, diphtheria and tuberculosis,
may be in time stamped out of existence.

The legislature also, upon my urgency, provided for a
state police or constabulary, and here the same kind of
question arose. Such a body, if oi^anized upon political
lines, would have tremendous power over the state and would
be correspondingly dangerous. After talking over a number
of persons, some of them connected with the Guard, and
consulting with several persons, I tendered the position to
John C. Groome, captain of the City Troop, who accepted.
He proved to be just the man needed, of the right age, slim,
erect, quick to see and to act, possessing a rare combination
of decision of character and sound judgment. I told him I
wanted a police force and absolutely nothing else. Not a
man on the force was selected upon the recommendation
of anybody. The men were all chosen upon the results of
physical and mental examination and what political or
religious creed any one of them professes is officially
unknown. Groome has made the constabulary famous all
over the United States. Two hundred and forty in number,
they have maintained the peace within the state as was
never done before. Not once since has it been necessary to
call out the National Guard, and that vast expense has been
saved. While organized labor has unwisely assailed them
as ''Pennypacker's Cossacks," one of the greatest of their
merits has been that they have saved labor from the oppres-
sion of force and have done away with that kind of police
intervention which came from men employed by the

There were certain principles which underlay the dis-



approval of those bills which were negatived. There was
no extension of the right to take property by eminent
domain, the effort to create new crimes by statute as an
easy means of collecting debts or enforcing duties was ever
looked upon with disfavor, and in no instance during my
term did I permit increase in the number of the judiciary.
Among the bills vetoed was one prepared under the auspices
of eminent physicians and surgeons, ostensibly for the
"Prevention of Idiocy," which authorized them to perform
experiments upon the inmates of the institutions for the
feeble-minded, and another urged by the osteopaths which
provided for a third board of medical examiners.

An act had been passed for uniting Allegheny City and
Pittsburgh in one municipaUty. There was some protest,
mainly on the part of those interested in maintaining a
dual set of officials, and Governor Stone argued before me
the objections at length, but I was heartily in favor of the
project, because it would simplify the municipal government,
lessen the expense and give Pennsylvania what no other
state possesses — two great cities. In my message I had
advocated the passage of the act and now I signed the bill.
While I was being lauded in Pittsburgh, I was again being
berated in Philadelphia. The Bullitt Bill, under which
Philadelphia was governed, written by John C. Bullitt, a
capable lawyer, concentrated all power in the hands of the
mayor, upon the theory that in that way responsibility
would be fixed. The mayor had the appointment of from
seven to twelve thousand officials and this fact gave him
great political power when he chose to exercise it. John
Weaver, a lawyer, born in England, short, stocky and ener-
getic, had been elected mayor by grace of the Republican
organization. Then he turned on his old friends and sought
repute as a reformer. Ere long he concluded that he had
been deceived by his new associates and again recanted, but
for the time being he was using his control over the ofl&cials
for all it was worth politically against the Republican


organization. Under the influence of Durham and others,
an act was passed, taking away from the mayor the appoint-
ment of certain heads of departments and vesting it in the
city councils. It is extremely unlikely that Durham so
acted out of regard for the principles of government and
altogether probable that he was trying to get ahead of
Weaver and to provide against like conduct on the part of
future mayors. The newspapers of the city, equally
impervious to any consideration of what would be for the
benefit of the municipality, were against anything the
organization wanted or tried to do and, therefore, with great
violence opposed the measure. They called it vile names
and made ugly pictures. They assumed that I would veto
the bill. They argued that my integrity and my zeal for
the welfare of the community and all my well-known great
virtues left no other course open. Delegations of lawyers,
preachers and citizens came to Harrisburg and argued the
matter before me. I wrote an opinion and, resting on the
ground that it involved a matter of governmental policy,
that the bill had been passed by a majority of over two-thirds
of the members of the legislature, more than enough to
overcome the veto of the governor, that the representatives
from Philadelphia had so voted and that it was in line with
the democratic tendencies of the time, I signed the bill.
Incidentally it may be added that, except in cases of excep-
tional fitness, no man born abroad, like John Weaver or
Rudolph Blankenburg, ought to be elected mayor of Phila-
delphia, for the reason that, having no part in her traditions,
he cannot be in sympathy with the aspirations and thought
of her people. He would be continually trying to make
her imitate Hamburg or some other European town which
he has abandoned, criticising the ways which made her
famous, sending the Liberty Bell to be exhibited along with
fat cattle at state fairs, and doing similar antics which show
his misfit.

On the 26th of April the Repubhcan Convention met and



nominated J. Lee Plummer for State Treasurer and Charles
E. Rice, James A. Beaver and George B. Orlady for judges
of the Superior Court. One of the resolutions set forth :

' ' The intense Pennsylvanianism of Governor Samuel W.
Pennypacker, the rugged honesty of his administration and
the independence, fearlessness, wisdom and watchful care
with which he has executed the laws, safeguarding in every
possible way all the interests of this commonwealth, com-
mand our admiration and respect."

At two o'clock on the morning of May 11th, we were
aridused by a call on the telephone for help. Near Steelton,
a freight train on the Pennsylvania Railroad met with an
accident, the result of which was that one or two of the
cars fell on the west-bound track. Just then the express
passenger traio, going westward, came along, struck these
cars and exploded a lot of dynamite on the freight train.
It was a, remarkable combination of unfortuitous events.
About twenty people were killed and about a hundred
injured. On one of the sleepers were James R. Tindle and
his wife, the daughter of Senator Knox, who were both
somewhat cut with glass. She is a little woman, but she
showed her breeding and at once took command of the
situation. She walked in her night dress and bare feet a
mile along the track to Steelton, and there suggested calling
me up at the mansion. Bromley Wharton went for the
Tindles in an automobile, brought them to the mansion,
where they were put to bed and treated, and there they
remained for a day or two. The Senator, coming on from
Washington, found that they had not been seriously injured.

On my suggestion the legislature appropriated $30,000
for the purpose of erecting an equestrian statue of Anthony
Wayne at Valley Forge. The conomission appointed con-
sisted of Richard M. Cadwalader, president of the Pennsyl-
vania Society Sons of the Revolution, John Armstrong
Herman, great-grandson of General John Armstrong, and
Colonel John P. Nicholson, the authority on the history of


the War of the RebeUion. The sculptor selected was H. K.
Bush-Brown. I myself went to his studio at Newburgh-on-
the-Hudson to examine the statue and rejected the first
model because General Wayne was represented with his eyes
turned to the ground. I wanted him looking toward the
enemy on the front, with nothing to indicate excitement
or to lessen the recognition of the seriousness and thought-
fulness of his character. The statue in bronze was later
placed on the outer line at Valley Forge where the Penn-
sylvania troops stood and it faces toward the position of
the British in Philadelphia. It is regarded as an unusual
artistic success, and is the first recognition ever given the
great soldier by the state.

Justice John Dean of the Supreme Court having died, I,
on the 8th of June, appointed Judge John Stewart of
Chambersburg to fill the vacancy. I had had many associa-
tions with Stewart — a slender, vigorous and eloquent
Scotch-Irishman ; and only a month before we met at Middle
Spring, near Shippensburg, where a monument was dedi-
cated and he delivered the oration. He has proven to be a
useful member of our highest court. It is only just to
Senator Penrose to say that he was not only satisfied with .
the selection, but himself suggested that it be made.

Sunday, June 11th, I made an address at Manheim, in
Lancaster County, on the occasion of the presentation of the
red rose which had been reserved as the rental for the land
given by Baron Stiegel to the church. It is rather an
impressive and idealistic ceremony, attracting always much
attention. Miss Boyer, one of the descendants of Stiegel,
presented to me a large glass goblet made by him which she
had inherited.

I had long been dissatisfied with the conduct of the
Insurance Department at the head of which was Israel W.
Durham, the most powerful political leader in Philadelphia,
a situation which had been left to me by my predecessor.
The business was well conducted under the management of
25 385


the Chief Clerk McCullough, but my feeling was that
Durham ought to devote at least a part of his time and
thought in attention to it. I wrote to him October 11th,
1904, saying to him in effect that I expected him to spend at
least one day of the week in his department at Harrisburg.
The situation was complicated by the fact that his health
was being undermined by disease. In answer to my letter,
I received this reply:

Philadelphia, Pa., October 18, 1904.
(Personal and confidential.)
Honorable Samuel W. Pennypacker,

Executive Chamber, Harrisburg, Pa.
Dear Governor:

Mr. Durham has casually in conversation taken up with me
your communication of October 11th, regarding the propriety of
his going once a week to Harrisburg, and calling his attention to
the editorial in the Evening Bulletin. I suggested to Mr. Durham
that perhaps I might take this matter up with you more freely
than he would like to do, and I requested him to leave your com-
munication with me for that purpose. As a matter of fact, the
Insurance Department has an ofi&ce in Philadelphia, at Tenth and
Chestnut streets, and has for many years had an office at that
place. Three-fourths of the current business of the department
is done in the City of Philadelphia. There has been absolutely
no criticism upon the administration of the department since Mr.
Durham has been commissioner. A gentleman of such independ-
ent proclivities as Mr. Charles Piatt advised me last fall that the
administration of the Insurance Department imder Mr. Durham
was more satisfactory than they had ever had it, and expressed
his gratification in a substantial way by inclosing me a voluntary
contribution of $100 for the State Committee. Mr. West, a
director of The Union League, has expressed himself to me in a
similar manner. Of course, Mr. Durham has been compelled to
be absent a good deal from Pennsylvania on account of his health,
but when he is home I know that the business of the department
receives his personal attention, and there is no one having busi-
ness with the department who cannot see him readily. As I have
said, the large proportion of those having business with the
department can see him more conveniently to themselves in
Philadelphia than at any other place.



Mr. Durham is of a sensitive nature and I know would not
want to go contrary to any emphatically expressed wish of your-
self upon the subject, and I believe it would be a very great hard-
ship upon him in the present condition of his health for you to
insist upon him going to Harrisburg just at this time when there
would be absolutely no definite object pertaining to his office
accomplished thereby. I suppose after January he will be in
Harrisburg anyhow and will then be able to conform substan-
tially with the suggestion made by you. The criticism of the
Bulletin hardly seems to me to be based on any good ground in
the utter absence of complaint upon the part of those having
business with the department, and in view of the fact that an office
is open at Tenth and Chestnut streets in Philadelphia, I hope
you will not insist upon your suggestion.

Yours truly,

Boies Penrose.

I had opposed every effort made by the departments to
establish branch offices outside of Harrisbm-g, where they
would be beyond personal supervision and, therefore, the
argumentative part of this letter made little impression.
However, I wrote to Penrose that if Durham were ill I would
wait until he recovered his health. He then went to Cali-
fornia. Upon his return and after learning that he had
taken up his political activities I again insisted, and it ended
in his resigning the office July 1st. Penrose asked me at
all events to appoint David Martin in his place, which I did,
and I wrote a kindly letter to Durham expressing apprecia-
tion of the condition of the department. This conduct was
not at all pleasing to those who wanted me to apply appro-
brious epithets to him, and it was no alleviation, rather an
aggravation, that Martin attended faithfully to his duties.
"Just draw a large black line around Governor Penny-
packer's administration as the last and worst of its kind in
the political history of Pennsylvania," was the spirited
comment of the Philadelphia Record.

Frank M. Fuller, the apparently robust and entirely
upright capable and agreeable secretary of the common-
wealth, died on the 10th of July and three days later was



buried at his home in Uniontown. Penrose and I were
among the honorary pall-bearers. The after-occurrences
at the funeral were astonishing. The services at the grave
were scarcely concluded when we were hurried away in
automobiles to a luxurious dinner with cocktails and wines,
at the home of Jonah V. Thompson, a plain and quiet old
gentleman, who had made a fortune of $30,000,000 in coal
and coal lands. The home was a castle up on a hill-top with
stables and other buildings in the rear in which a sybarite
might be willing to live. In front was a paved courtyard,
enclosed by a wall about two feet high, filled with flowering
plants, native and exotic. It was entered, as the visitor
came up the hill, by an approach of two or three steps.
When we arrived it was perhaps half-past two o'clock in the
afternoon. At the top of the steps, at this time in the day,
in full dress considerably emphasized, stood the mistress of
the household, who had perhaps experienced life through
thirty summers. A fan hung at her feet. It was suspended
from her neck by a chain of large diamonds which almost
reached the pave. Taking our hands, she led the Senator
and me inside to the dining table. I sat on her right and
the Senator on her left. The conversation here was con-
tinuous and, to say the least, lively. At the other end of
the table sat Jonah, grum and silent. The situation was
too manifest to be misunderstood. The exuberant specimen
of yoimg womanhood was describing to me her manner of
swimming. Much to the amusement of Penrose and in
absolute innocence, I inquired:

''Can you swim on your back, too?"

"Oh, yes," she replied.

In the exhilaration of the moment she set up a game on
us. She had a French chauffeur and she instructed him that
he was to take the Senator and me into the town and, on
the way, show us how he could run a car. I unwittingly
took another car and saw the Senator shoot by clinging to
his seat, pale and distraught.


The next day I was at the camp of the National Guard
at Mount Gretna and there, on foot, as was my wont, in-
spected, personally, each man and held the review from
a barouche.

On the 24th of July, Senators Penrose and Knox visited
me at Pennypacker's Mills and there talked to me about the
question of a special session of the legislature, which was
being very generally discussed, especially in Philadelphia,
with reference to the affairs of that city. I had been con-
sidering the matter, but a man trained in the law always
has the sense that there must be a legal justification for that
which he does. The demand had been mainly local. Just
at this juncture the Supreme Court decided the Greater
Pittsburgh act to be unconstitutional and furnished the
justification. A serious matter affecting the interests of
the western part of the state, for which the legislature had
endeavored to provide, had failed. At that instant my
qualms disappeared and a special session became inevitable.
Penrose had heard that I was considering the matter and
came to urge his opposition. He also wanted me to appoint
J. A. Berkey of Somerset County to the place made vacant
by the death of Fuller. A few days later I gave that posi-
tion to Robert McAfee, a much stronger man, and made
Berkey Commissioner of Banking, which satisfied him and
the Senator.

The following correspondence shows the attitude of the
party people toward the question of a special session :

Pittsburgh, August 16, 1905.
My dear Governor Pennypacker:

I have just run down from Canada for a few days and take
time to express my appreciation of your appointment of Mr.
McAfee as Secretary of the Commonwealth, which occurred
during my absence. I have known Mr. McAfee intimately for
over thirty-five years and each year's acquaintance has added
to my regard for him. He is a sterling man and I believe will
strengthen your administration.

Since my last talk with you I have thought considerably on



the subject of our conversation (the calling of an extra session for
the consideration of a Greater Pittsburgh Bill) and am confirmed
in my opinion that it would be a great mistake to call the legis-
lature together either for that or any other purpose unless in a
case of extreme emergency. I know that there are some matters
of legislation, including that for a Greater Pittsburgh, which you
would like to see consummated during your term as governor,
but I doubt if these things could be accomplished through the
medium of the present legislature. Next spring matters might
be in such shape that it would be advisable to call an extra session,
but to do so now I would regard as extremely impolitic. I hope
you will pardon me for thrusting my view upon you in this way,
but the best interests of the state and party will be best sub-
served by following this plan.

With great respect, I remain, very sincerely yours,

George T. Oliver.

August 21, 1905.
My dear Governor:

Rumors are flying all over the state that great pressure is
being brought to induce you to call the legislature in extra session.
That you will not be led into such a cruel trap I feel most confi-
dent. No true friend of yours or of our party will advise, much
less urge, you to commit such a crime against yourself or the
state you love so well. Men who take shadows for substance,
men who place self above their party, their state, and our nation,
may for personal reasons want an extra session, but no true
friend of Pennsylvania will ask you to commit such a blimder.
What justification can be put forth to warrant such a call in the
face of existing conditions? On you alone will fall the odium that
such a session would result in, for I tell you, Governor, you could
no more confine the members of the house to the specifications
in your proclamation than you could change the course of the
heavenly bodies, so please don't be persuaded by the Syrians
who would, for the sake of some personal gain, lull you to a
destructive sleep. Every one in Pennsylvania knows that you
favored, and now favor, the decent things so earnestly advo-
cated by our dear departed friend. Colonel Quay. Every one
knows that it was through no fault of yours that personal regis-
tration, uniform primaries and the apportionment of our state
failed, therefore, don't permit the enemies of those natural
Republican principles to use you to wash their filthy garments
on the floor of the House of Representatives.



Governor, I know, as well as any human being can know
such a thing, that Matthew Stanley Quay, if here, would tell
you not to listen to such appeals. I say to you, Governor, in all
the sincerity of my heart that to call the legislature together
at this or any other time during the remainder of your term
would prove the most disastrous act you could possibly commit.
Don't dim the lustre of your splendid record, but go on pursuing
the splendid good road you have built throughout the length and
breadth of our great state, and when your term ends you will feel
grateful to yourself and pleased with the real friends like myself
who urge you to keep clear of the vicious trap set for you by men
who pretend sincerity where only selfishness, greed and hypoc-
risy lurk.

In writing this you know I have no motive save my love and
affection for you and I am confident you will so understand.

Faithfully your friend,

J. C. Delanby.

At that time Wesley R. Andrews was chairman of the
Republican State Committee. He wrote to me :

August 24, 1905.
Dear Governor:

My attention has been called to articles in the newspapers to
the effect that the question as to the advisability of calling an
extra session of the legislature was being considered, which
statement, in the absence of corroboration, I do not credit, having
in mind the general unreliability of the comments contained in a
certain class of so-called newspapers. However, the matter is of
sufficient importance to prompt me to write to you to the effect

Online LibrarySamuel W. (Samuel Whitaker) PennypackerThe autobiography of a Pennsylvanian → online text (page 31 of 46)