Skip to Content
Indiana University

Search Options


View Options


Table of Contents



Brevier Legislative Reports, Volume XXI, 1883, 311 pp.
previous
next

THIRTEENTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT ELECTION.

Mr. McCULLOUGH called up his motion, notice of which he gave on yesterday, to reconsider the vote of the Senate empowering the Committee on Elections to send for persons and papers necessary to a fall investigation of the charges of interfering with the free exercise of the elective franchise by the Studebaker and the Oliver Manufacturing Companies, of South Bend, is the Thirteenth Congressional election, by requiring their employes to vote such tickets as were placed in their hands by their bosses.

Mr. McCULLOUGH, as Chairman of the Committee on Elections, has received letters stating that there are fifty or sixty witnesses on one side of the case and has information that there are as many on the other side, and some indicate that there are others. It is patent on the face that an investigation would take up the whole time of the Committee for the remainder of the session. Then he could not free any good purpose such an investigation would serve. The Senate does not sit as a Grand Jury. If the law ha been violated on one hand or the other, it is not a question for the Senate to investigate; that devolves upon a different department of the Government. He hoped the Senate would agree to the motion to re- consider.

Mr. FOULKE opposed the motion. Day after day we have heard on the floor of the Senate, from members of the other side, charges that these parties nave interfered with the purity of elections. We have heard it stated by Senators upon their personal honor, that there are instances, again and again, where men have been driven to the polls by these parties, to vote against their will. The demand for an Investigation has come from the party charged. No demand had come from Mr. Winterbotham. He expressly stated that he does not press an examination of the matter in Congress by abandoning a contest for the seat. He shrinks from an investigation. He declines to investigate the very charges which he makes. Now the demand comes for investigation, and from whom? From the parties accused of improper practices. It is asked to be referred to a Committee. To what Committee? To a Committee, a majority of whom are Democrats, and of the party which makes the accusation. These men demand investigation by a tribunal, even of their enemies. The Democratic party can not afford to make a charge of that kind, and shrink from the investigation of it. It will not do to say an investigation of these charges must not be had because it would require a little time and money. If it requires too much time to investigate them, then don't make them. When you charge a man with the commission of a crime, don't make it if you don't propose to investigate it. He insisted the investigation should go on.

Mr. SPANN would favor the motion to reconsider on one ground, and on one ground only. If the charges made by Mr. Winterbotham are withdrawn from this Committee and retracted, then there would be some purpose in the motion. But to ask that the power to investigate be laid aside without a withdrawal or retraction of the charges is unfair and unjust.

Mr. BROWN did not know that Mr. Winterbotham has laid any charges before the Senate that he asked any investigation about. The memorial he presented con talus some facts which nobody denies who knows anything about it. Shortly after that the Senator from St. Joseph [Mr. Campbell-see page 119 of these Reports] presented a memorial from some constituents of his asking that a Committee be appointed to investigate; and it was thought best that the regular standing Committee on Elections should have charge of the investigation. He so voted beleiving the matter stated in reference to the conduct of these manufacturers at the last election was true; and still believed it. And his mind would not yield to any other conclusion until some substantial, truthful and just inquiry has been made which convinces him to the contrary. There need be no fear but that proof will be forthcoming abundant to sustain every statement he made upon the floor of the Senate and every statement contained in Mr. Winterbotham's memorial-[see page 33.] He was willing if this Committee can not get through with the investigation before the adjournment of the Senate, to continue it with power to sit during vacation and let its report be made to the people. He appreciated that had been said by the Senator from Gibson [Mr. McCullough]. The task is not an easy one and the time is short if a reprot is to be made during this session. He was willing the Committee should have exclusive jurisdiction as to how long it should sit during vacation, to the end that the people of Indiana may know whether this conduct, outrageous and infamous in its character, is true or false.

Mr. BELL, as a member of the Committee on Elections, explained his position. This Committee has page: 186[View Page 186] been busily engaged with a contested case during this session, meeting often in the morning at 9 o'clock, sitting part of the time during the sessions of the Senate, and sometimes at night till midnight, and it is not through with that contest yet. The session is now well near spent and it can not make the investigation talked of. A number of its members are lawyers engaged in active practice, who, when the session closes, will have to return to their homes. It is apparent the motion to reconsider should prevail. If the Senate sees fit to commit the investigation proposed to some other Committee, which shall sit during vacation, that is another question. This may be a proper subject for investigation, but to say in the broad language if the Senator from Wayne [Mr. Foulke] that you must not make any charge against a man that you don't want the Senate to investigate, is going too far. The Senate ought to refer this matter to some special Committee with power to sit during vacation.

Mr. HILLIGASS regarded this as a question outside the duties of representatives of the people. Every day and hour consumed in such an investigation is so much taken from the people of the State. No further attention should be paid to these memorials from either side. Even were an investigation to go on during vacation it would stop where it began, and that would be the end of it. Who would a Committee sitting in vacation report to? and after the report was made what action could the Senate take on it? There are other tribunals where such questions should be settled. They should not come before the Legislature over which it has no jurisdiction.

Mr. YANCEY: It is apparent that when the memorial of Mr. Winterbotham was submitted to this body by his attorney in the contest it was to show the people that he was defrauded out of an election to Congress, and for the purpose of prejudicing the people against the Republican party; and it was to throw a damper on and injure the business of two great manufacturing interests in South Bend. These parties engaged in business there have been of more benefit to the people of Indiana than all the Democratic party of this State, or Nation, for that matter. [Laughter, and cries of "Hear, hear."]

Mr. McCULLOUGH (interrupting): Does not the Senator mean that they have been of more benefit to the Republican party than all the Democrats in the State?

Mr. YANCEY (resuming): NO sir. I mean to say that the Studebaker Wagon Works and the Oliver Chilled Plow Works have employed thousands and thousands of men to work for them, and the remuneration for the work has gone to the support of their families. Simply because the Democratic party could not control these men like slaves, and Winterbotham was not elected to Congress, they come howling into the Senate of Indiana like cowards as they are. If Winterbotham and his crew could have led their men to vote as they wanted there would have been no memorial sent here. ["Hear! Hear!"] For Democratic Senators to say the Senate has no jurisdiction over this case shows a small amount of consistency to say the least. These men of South Bend have been slaudered beyond questioned. They have laid their case before the Senate of Indiana, and in all candor and justice the Chairman of the Committee on Elections ought to summon his Committee to meet him at South Bend and there investigate this matter like honest men, and the people of Indiana will not rest easy until this stain is removed from the character of these men.

Mr. VAN VORHIS called attention to the history of this case in the Senate. The memorial signed by Mr. Winterbotham asked that a law be passed [reaching to the very question raised in that paper], to prevent the voting of employes by such manufacturing establishments. Following that came charges from Senators of crime in violation of the election laws in that part of the State. Following that came a memorial presented by the Senator from St. Joseph [Mr. Campbell]-when a bill was introduced on that subject. Now, to claim that this is not a proper subject for investigation is not consistent. This is a proper subject of investigation and has in view but one object, and that is to furnish data on which to pass a law reaching the very crime of which these manufacturers are accused. If it is for this purpose, then the proposition of the Senator from Jackson [Mr. Brown] that this matter shall be investigated in vacation, has no meaning, and is made simply for the purpose of meeting an objection, and an ambush behind which to hide their retreat from this investigation.

Mr. GRAHAM: This is a charge made against two fo the most honorable manufacturing companies in the State by politicians as a stab at their business. This gentleman [Mr. Winterbotham] seeing he had not been elected, abandons a contest for a seat in Congress, then comes to the Senate, and not being content with striking at these loboring men, he must at the same time stab and inflict a wound on one of his own party, which was an insult to this Senate, and now he asks to be relieved from the responsibility. He went into the public prints with one of the most infamous charges against a member of his own party, and now he is tired of investigation.

Mr. BROWN (interrupting): The Senator is mistaken. Mr. Winterbotham is exceedingly anxious that this investigation shall be conducted.

Mr. GRAHAM: Mr. Winterbotham was at the foundation of this matter originally. He came in here with his memorial and followed it up with an attack, scandalous and unwarrantable, upon the Senator from Laporte [Mr. Hutchinson] in the public prints, and that Senator got to be an elephant on his hands. It had its foundation first in political purposes-in advancing his own business of employing Prison labor in opposition to these manufacturers who employ free labor. The reflection is upon these gentlemen and their business. As this has served Mr. Winterbotham's purpose he now is content, because he knows, and so does every man in this State know, that an investigation of these manufacturing companies will result in a complete vindication of these gentlemen.

The Senate took a recess till 2 o'clock.

previous
next