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




MONDAY, Feb. 12, 1883-2 p. m.

The Lieutenant Governor took the chair and commanded attention, while prayer ^was offered by Rev. R. S. Black.

On motion by Mr. VOYLES the reading of the journal of Saturday's proceedings was dispensed with.

The LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR stated the question to be on the motion to reconsider the Tote of the Senate empowering the Committee on Elections to send for persons and papers necessary to a full 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. in the Thirteenth Congressional election, by requiring their employes to vote such tickets as were placed in their hands by their bosses.

Pending at the last adjournment.

Mr. Voyles hoped the motion would not prevail Mr. Yancey opposed the motion, and favored an investigation of the charges by the Senate Committee on Elections.

Mr. BELL said every presumption was in favor of the truth of these charges. There is no reason- able or moral doubt but that they are true. He wanted those things inquired into and if it discloses this sort of interference with the elective franchise he hoped no Democrat between the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific will purchase one single article from persons who resort to such practices. He hoped the Senate would take it out of the power of these men to drive their employes like dumb cattle to vote the Republican ticket. He hoped this matter would be probed to the bottom, and that such legislation would be had that no man will dare resort to such practices hereafter. As it is patent the Committee on Elections will not have time to properly investigate the matter, he hoped a Committee that can and will do so will be organized and examine thoroughly into this matter.

Mr. SPANN contended that there is no power In this body to continue any Committee to investigate these charges after this General Assembly shall have adjourned, unless it reached to the qualifications of a member to a seat in this body. Because the Studebakers and the Olivers have been charged with a crime and have come into the Senate to refute the charge made by old man Winterbotham, who is in his dotage, the blue- blooded aristocrat "from Allen and Whitley [Mr. Bell] wants to boycotte such men. Senators upon the other side voted for this investigation, and now when they found the charges made by Winterbotham are untrue-false in foundation, false in fact, and based on a tissue of lies-they come in cringing like cowards, and ask to be relieved from investigation. He denounced it as an absolute political lie made out of whole cloth, for the purpose of damaging men in the District in which Mr. Winterbotham lives and to damage the present Senator from Laporte [Mr. Hutchinson.] The Senate has power to investigate only while the Senate is alive; after the Senate is dead it has no such power. The proposition to investigate these charges during vacation is t imply a trick and a subterfuge to get rid of the whole question, and to ask for something the Senate has not the power to grant. There ii nothing personal about this matter, but no man should charge the Republican party with dishonesty and fraud unless he meets from this side something that shall respond to it. There are four Democrats and three Republicans on the Election Committee, and the resolution is to investigate the Studebakers and Olivers, who are charged with criminally using their employes in favor of the Republican party. Now we say take the strong arm of the State of Indiana and with, the authority of the Senate probe this matter to the bottom. We throw down the gauntlet and make the challenge. With your majority in the Committee we are ready to make the issue and go into the fullest and fairest investigation.

Mr BROWN had personally but the kindest feeling for these gentlemen in South Bend, bi.t was lead to believe from facts made to appear and which will be laid before any Committee which makes this investigation, that they, blinded perhaps by party zeal, or too much of a desire to agrandize wealth in their own hands, did, at the time stated and in the manner staler perpetrate one of the grossest outrages that could be practiced upon the American franchise. He had repeatedly asked the Senator from St. Joseph [Mr. Campbell] if the fact is not that agents of those manufacturers did not take their labor page: 191[View Page 191]ing and workingmen from these institutions in squads and in the private conveyances of those establishments to and from the polls. If that be true, no matter from what motive, it is an improper interference with the free exercise of the right which every man is supposed guaranteed him by the Constitution-the right, untrammelled by any influence except by his own freedom of opinion, to vote as he pleased. He opposed the discharge of the Committee on Elections from the investigation of this matter and should oppose it until the Senate has made ample, full and complete provision for the discharge of this duty by some other Committee. He had seen nothing, heard nothing and knew nothing to cause a change of his opinion, and desired that this investigation should not falter, and if it is thought the Elections Committee can not make the investigation he stood ready to help form a Committee that can make the investigation and report thereof to the people of Indiana.

Mr. FOULKE read the present law touching undue influence of employers over employes in exercising the right of the elective franchise, and remarked that if the Studebakers have by threat or intimidation, or the refusal of time for their employes to vote-even that-there is already a law in Indiana which provides that they shall be imprisoned for a term of not less than one year. Where is the tribunal for the examination of that fact? The Grand Jury of the County in which the crime occurred. If these charges are true why is Mr. Winterbotham here where nothing can be done for his relief? Why is he away from the Congress of the United States? Why is he absent from the sittings of the Grand Jury in St. Joseph County? It is because the charges have no existence in fact. The United States Grand Jury has the right to investigate also. Why is he not there? Why does he not go to some Tribunal that has jurisdiction? This comes before us bearing upon its face evidence of fraud. We have the right to presume that each and every charge is false. These are charges made by a Democrat to make Democratic capital out of it. This Democratic petition has gone out for wool and comes in shorn.

Mr. BUNDY was satisfied that Mr. Winterbotham saw his case was gone-he had no hope of succeeding in a contest for a seat in Congress, and put this memorial in the Indiana Senate simply for the purpose of getting revenge out of these men in the city of South Bend, who opposed his election. And when these men, against whom these charges are made, presented a petition asking for an investigation of the truth of these charges, what did you do? You referred them to the Election Committee. Why didn't the Chairman of that Committee say that it had so much before it that it could not make the investigation. Then we could have referred to a Committee that could have attended to it. But you let it remain until the close of the session, and I charge it upon you that it was done purposely. The Committee comes in now and says: "We have not time." It is too late finding that out. He opposed the motion to reconsider. If the Election Committee can't attend to it let it return the matter to the Senate.

Mr. CAMPBELL-The memorial from these manufacturers asking an investigation of the influences brought to control the election in South Bend is no intrusion. It only came after the Winterbotham memorial of grave charges against them had been entertained and a bill drafted and placed upon the calender of this Senate, based upon the assumption that the charges of the first memorial are true; and more than that, a challenge for an investigation. Then they asked, and I still demand for them, that an investigation may be had, to see what legislation is needed, and who needs protection and from what, but as it seems now that this is to be denied, I want to say that, coming myself from the city of South Bend, with a full and complete personal knowledge of the facts as it is possible for a man to have. I know that the charge that these manufacturers discharged or threatened to discharge, coerced, intimidated or in any way improperly influenced the votes of their employes is not true. It is a malignam falsehood, concocted and promulgated for political capital, and now it is returning like the boomerang which a falsehood always proves to be. It is now claimed as a pretext for withdrawing from this investigation that the Senate has no jurisdiction. I grant that we are not a Court to decide upon criminal actions or to punish, or to release from punishment any man or men. I understand full well that we are not here to decide or even to listen to or consider in any manner whatever personal or political grounds or abuses, but the objects of the investigation is not to decide upon the merits of any personal or political quarrel, but to determine fairly and intelligently if there be any call for legislation for this purpose, neither can any one deny the detestable force that would be enacted were legislation had, or even contemplated upon so important a matter, without the most careful investigation on both sides of the question, and this is one of my great reasons for inviting and still challenging an investigation, because I know that when had with a view to determining legislation it must be had fully upon both sides. I am prompted, not so much by a desire to have the Studebaker Wagon Works and the Oliver Chilled Plow Works exonerated, for I question if there be ten men in the State of Indiana who believe them to be guilty of any offense against the elective franchise, but I want this investigation to show, as it would, the depth of infamy to which the Democratic party sank itself in conducting the campaign of the Thirteenth District. I want a report made of the measured quantities of whisky, the unlimited supply of money the coercion, and intricue so damnable that I would blush to stand here and enumerate them, and then I wanted to see if, when this report was made, this Assembly would have the patriotism to enact laws for the punishment of these crimes which if unrebuked and oft-repeated must crush to powder the very rock of our national salvation-the ballot-box. And, sir, I demand, sir, that the investigation shall be made. In answer to the oft repeated statement that affidavits may be had, and are now in Mr. Winterbotham's hands, against these manufacturers, I have only to say I think, or possibly I have the written statement of a man who says that he was offered $250, which is half of $500, offered to another party to get six affidavits. When affidavits are wanted so badly I suppose that they can be gotten or made to order.

Mr. McCULLOUGH said that a more respected memoriral than Mr. Winterbotham's was never presented to any Legislative body. It does not mention names, and the purpose is that the Legislature may pass such a law as will protect the elective franchise and prevent the sort of practice complained of. The only question the Senate can have to do with is the question whether there shall be legislation on that subject and whether such practices have been committed heretofore has nothing to do with it. The investigation by the Committee into the laws in existence and not to investigate people-wagon manufacturers or anything else. If the practices complained of have existed, all this Legislature can do is to pass laws to prevent it in the future. If the Studabakers have not been doing anything wrong, it will not hurt them. If they are opposed to that sort of legislation it will look like they didn't want it. Mr. Winterbotham is still asking us to go ahead with the investigation and opposed to my making this motion to reconsider. As a page: 192[View Page 192] matter of fact these charges hare been made through the public prints for the past three or four months. The Courts have been open all that time, and why is it that these gentlemen have not taken this investigation to that tribunal? If their charge is untrue Mr. Winterbotham has thrown down the glove and said to these gentlemen: "Come into the Courts and make me pay for it." Instead of Mr. Winterbotham's being abused he ought to be honored for sending to the Senate that memorial, because it is not every man that has the nerve to do it. Some men are cowards when It comes to charging a man with crime, but Mr. Winterbotham is not a coward. These gentlemen can make him pay for it in the Courts of law. The Constitution opens for them a Tribunal where they can force an investigation if they want to investigate as bad as they pretend. Let them go to a tribunal whose judgment means something. It is a crime against the people of the State to take the people's money to pay for an investigation they are too cowardly to make for themselves. For very many reasons this investigation would necessarily be a farce, and all this talk about wanting to investigate is mere political claptrap that ought not to wave with any member. As this matter has consumed the time of the Senate long enough he moved the previous question.

Pending which motion

The Senate adjourned.