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IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
AUGUST 2, 1894.-Ordered to be printed.
Mr. GRAY, from the Special Committee to Investigate Attempts at Bribery, etc., submit the following
Your committee, appointed under the following resolution of the Senate of the 17th of May, 1894—
Whereas it has been stated in The Sun, a newspaper published in New York, that bribes have been offered to certain Senators to induce them to vote against the pending tariff bill; and
Whereas it has also been stated in a signed article in The Press, a newspaper published in Philadelphia, that the sugar schedule has been made up as it now stands in the proposed amendment in consideration of large sums of money paid for campaign purposes of the Democratic party: Therefore,
Resolved, That a committee of five Senators be appointed to investigate these charges and to inquire further whether any contributions have been made by the sugar trust, or any person connected therewith, to any political party for campaign or election purposes or to secure or defeat legislation, and whether any Senator has been or is speculating in what are known as sugar stocks during the consideration of the tariff bill now before the Senate, and with power to send for persons and papers and to administer oaths.
Resolved further, That said committee be authorized to investigate and report upon any charge or charges which may be filed before it alleging that the action of any Senator has been corruptly or improperly influenced in the consideration of said bill, or that any attempt has been made to so influence legislation.
submit the following report:
They have heretofore made full report to the Senate of their investigation as to the matters concerning Senators Hunton and Kyle, mentioned in the first paragraph of the foregoing resolution. No other testimony under that head has been submitted to the committee and they have nothing to add to the report already made.
There remain four other distinct matters with the investigation of which the committee was charged by the Senate:
First. That it had been stated in The Press, a newspaper published in Philadelphia, that the sugar schedule had been made up, as it then stood in the proposed amendment to the tariff bill as it came from the House of Representatives, in consideration of large sums of money paid for campaign purposes of the Democratic party.
Second. Whether any contributions had been made by the sugar trust, or any person connected therewith, to any political party for campaign or election purposes or to secure or defeat legislation.
Third. Whether any Senator had been or was speculating in what are known as sugar stocks during the consideration of the tariff bill then before the Senate.
Fourth. To investigate and report upon any charge or charges which might be filed before the co.nmittee alleging that the action of any Senator has been corruptly or in properly influenced in the consideration of said bill, or that any attempt had been made to so influence legislation.
As to the allegations in the Press newspaper, the committee find that an article, signed "Holland," was published in that newspaper on the 14th of May, 1894, containing certain charges and imputations against the Senate and Senators in regard to the sugar schedules in the tariff bill then pending before the Senate, the most direct of which, and the one which more than any other contained a specific statement affecting the integrity of members of the Senate, as well as the integrity of the Executive Department, is in the following paragraphs:
AN EXTRAORDINARY INCIDENT.
But the highest, the most emphatic and sufficient indication that the administration was bound to maintain these campaign pledges and to protect the men who had given half a million dollars. was furnished by an extraordinary and unexpected incident that happened not long after the Wilson bill went to the Senate. Senator Brice had represented to the President that these 3 trans-Mississippi Senators, who had charge of the bill, were determined to make sugar of all sorts absolutely free. Meyer and Croker had represented the same thing to Dan Lamont. Whitney and Benedict indirectly approached the administration protesting, and at last the administration determined to act.
Upon one occasion, some time in February, when the Finance Committee, or the Democratic members of it, were in perhaps informal session, there came into the room, unexpectedly to all those present, excepting two members, none other than the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Carlisle. His going there at that time has never been reported until this writing of it. He went secretly and came away secretly. His visit was supposed to be a confidential one. It was a confidence not imposed upon one member of that committee, and, therefore, it is possible now to make report of what Mr. Carlisle said. They looked upon him as speaking, not so much for Mr. Carlisle, as for the administration. He did not say that he came from the President, but when he had finished making his astonishing statement, not one of those who heard him doubted that he had come from the President and was echoing the President's wishes, and giving emphasis to them by an earnest, and for him, excited manner. What he said is quoted from remembrance, but it is substantially accurate, as it was reported by one who heard it. He said:
"Gentlemen, there is one thing that I am bound to say to you as earnestly and impressively as I can do it, and I speak to you as a Democrat to Democrats. No party or the representatives of no party can afford to ignore honorable obligations. I want to say to you that there seems to be danger that this is going to be done. Gentlemen associated with the sugar-refining interests (I may tell you what perhaps you do not know) subscribed to the campaign fund of the Democratic party in 1892 a very large sum of money. They contributed several hundred thousand dollars and at a time when money was urgently needed. I tell you that it would be wrong, it would be infamous, after having accepted that important contribution, given at a time when it was imperatively needed, for the Democratic party now to turn around and strike down the men who gave it. It must not be done. I trust that you will prepare an amendment to the bill which will be reasonable and in some measure satisfactory to these interests."
That, in substance, was the plea of Secretary Carlisle to the members of the Finance Committee, that they respect the obligations entered into by the national campaign committee and the personal representatives of Mr. Cleveland in 1892. It was a plea powerfully put. Mr. Carlisle said but little more; he had said enough. He turned and left the committee, going away with that secrecy with which he came, but before he did so he signified his willingness himself to prepare an amendment which he thought would be fair to the Government, and yet be just to the sugar interests.
That very thing he did not long after. The chairman of the Finance Committee received and showed to certain favored friends the draft of an amendment in Secretary Carlisle's own handwriting to the sugar schedule, and that draft is in Mr. Voorhees's possession to this day, unless he has destroyed it. Secretary Carlisle had scratched out from the printed schedule the provisions as originally made and by interlineation had inserted the following words: “On all sugars not above No. 16, Dutch standard, and on all." After the word "all" the printed form remained in which Dention was made of other sugars, and then this interlineation, "Instead of oneth of 1 per cent 45 percent ad valorem."
re is also upon the blank space at the bottom of the printed sheet, in Mr. Carhandwriting, a clause providing that nothing contained in the bill shall be ued as affecting the Hawaiian reciprocity treaty. So the administration is on
record as favoring even a higher rate of protection than was afforded by the so-called Gorman bill. This speech of Secretary Carlisle's is sufficient proof of statements made earlier in this article that the sugar trust contributed $500,000 to the Democratic campaign fund, receiving in return a pledge that no measure should be allowed to pass Congress which endangers the sugar interests.
In undertaking this branch of the investigation the committee at once sought the author of these statements, who proved to be Elisha J. Edwards, a correspondent of the Philadelphia Press, resident in New York City. Mr. Edwards appeared before the committee and, after being sworn, was interrogated by them as to the statements in the paragraphs just quoted. He stated that he had no personal knowledge of the truth of any of the allegations contained in these paragraphs. Upon further interrogation he stated that he made them upon the authority of an informant, whose name he declined to give to the committee. He stated that he had no other source of information than this undisclosed informant. The committee urged upon Mr. Edwards the necessity of giving them this name, and the importance to this investigation of his doing so; but he persisted in his refusal to disclose the name of his informant upon the ground that the information was given to him in confidence.
The committee, after having reported to the Senate this refusal of the witness to testify as to so important a matter, proceeded to examine the only parties, other than the alleged informant, who could have any knowledge on the subject, viz, Secretary Carlisle and all the Democratic members of the Finance Committee. Their sworn statements accompany this report, and justify the conclusion that the statements made in the paragraphs quoted are without foundation in fact and utterly untrue. Except that it is a fact according to Secretary Carlisle's testimony that he did, at the request of Senator Jones of the Finance Committee, draft an amendment to the sugar schedule, a copy of which, as described by Mr. Carlisle, is attached as an exhibit to the testimony herewith submitted.
The conduct of Mr. Edwards in making and publishing so specific and serious a charge against public men, and one affecting their discharge of high public duties, upon no personal knowledge, and upon no information, the source of which he is willing to disclose, calls for serious reprobation.
There has been no testimony presented before your committee, and your committee has been unable to discover any, tending to show that the sugar schedule was made up, as it then stood in the proposed amendment to the tariff bill, in consideration of large, or any, sums of money paid for campaign purposes of the Democratic party.
No witness has testified before your committee that such was the fact, and all the Democratic members of the Finance Committee, and all the Senators whose names have been mentioned in the public press as especially active in protecting the sugar-refining industries, or in whose States sugar refineries existed, have, under oath, denied that such was the truth, or that they had any knowledge or information as to any sums of money, large or otherwise, having been paid for campaign purposes of the Democratic party by the sugar trust, by those connected with it, or by anybody, as a consideration for favorable treatment of its interests by said party.
The president, vice-president, and the secretary and treasurer of the American Sugar Refining Company, popularly known as the sugar trust, have also been summoned before the committee and interrogated under oath as to these matters, and they have each denied that any
contributions were made by the sugar trust, so called, or by them individually, to the national campaign fund of either party at the last general election. These witnesses stated that contributions had customarily been made by the American Sugar Refining Company, or socalled sugar trust, to the local or State campaigns of each of the two great political parties in several States, but they also denied that any of such contributions were made for the purpose of securing or defeating legislation in Congress, or to aid in the election of any Ü. S. Senator, or for any other improper purpose.
No other evidence or testimony has been offered or suggested to your committee, nor has any been discovered, which would tend to support the statements of the said Edwards in this regard.
Nor is there any evidence whatever in support of the statement in the same article that either of the Messrs. Havemeyer, president and vice-president of the American Sugar Refining Company, had an interview with President Cleveland on a yacht in the summer of 1892, or the summer of 1893, in regard to the sugar interests of the Hawaiian Islands, or any other sugar interests, or the policy of the administration in regard to them. On the contrary, it has been affirmatively shown, by the testimony, that the statement is untrue as to any such interview having occurred at the time and place stated, or at any time or place.
It is, however, shown by the evidence taken by the committee that one or more of the officers of the so-called sugar trust have been in Washington constantly during the pendency of the tariff bill in the Senate. In their testimony they have stated that they were here for the purpose of looking after the interests of the sugar-refining business generally, and to that end had conferences with the subcommittee in charge of the tariff bill in the Senate, and with several other Senators, chiefly those in whose States large refineries were situated.
They denied, as did the members of the sub committee and the Senators alluded to, that anything was said at these conferences that they would not have been willing to say in public, or that there was any improper proposal or suggestion made; and they stated that they only appealed for fair and equal treatment in common with other industries of the country. They denied, and members of the Finance Committee denied, that any meeting took place between them at the Capitol, or elsewhere, as was stated in the "Holland" letter to have taken place, and there is no evidence in support of the statements in that letter in this regard.
When interrogated as to other imputations contained in said article, too vague to be characterized as charges, the writer was unable to give any authority or suggest any foundation for his statements.
Whatever of impropriety may attach to the presence at the national capital of representatives of aggregated wealth engaged in industries affected by a tariff bill, and to their importunities for protection by Congressional legislation-and the impropriety can not be denied-no evidence has been adduced before your committee tending to show improper conduct on the part of those engaged in the framing of the sugar schedule in the tariff bill then pending before the Senate.
Though perhaps outside the scope of the duty imposed upon your committee, they take occasion to strongly deprecate the importunity and pressure to which Congress and its members are subjected by the representatives of great industrial combinations, whose enormous wealth tends to suggest undue influence, and to create in the public mind a demoralizing belief in the existence of corrupt practices.