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never have been built up item by item by public discussion, and it
I am not even now suggesting corrupt influence. That is not
This is what sometimes happens: They promise you a particular piece of legislation. As soon as the legislature meets, a bill embodying that legislation is introduced. It is referred to a committee. You never hear of it again. What happened? Nobody knows what happened.
I am not intimating that corruption creeps in; I do not know what creeps in. The point is that we not only do not know, but it is intimated, if we get inquisitive, that it is none of our business. My reply is that it is our business, and it is the business of every man in the State; we have a right to know all the particulars of that bill's history. There is not any legitimate privacy about matters of
government. Government must, if it is to be pure and correct in its processes, be absolutely public in everything that affects it. I cannot imagine a public man with a conscience having a secret that he would keep from the people about their own affairs.
I know how some of these gentlemen reason. They say that the influences to which they are yielding are perfectly legitimate influences, but that if they were disclosed they would not be understood. Well, I am very sorry, but nothing is legitimate that cannot be understood. If you cannot explain it properly, then there is something about it that cannot be explained at all. I know from the circumstances of the case, not what is happening, but that something private is happening, and that every time one of these bills gets into committee, something private stops it, and it never comes out again unless forced out by the agitation of the press or the courage and revolt of brave men in the legislature. I have known brave men of that sort. I could name some splendid examples of men who, as representatives of the people, demanded to be told by the chairman of the committee why the bill was not reported, and who, when they could not find out from him, investigated and found out for themselves and brought the bill out by threatening to tell the reason on the floor of the House.
Those are private processes. Those are processes which stand between the people and the things that are promised them, and I say that until you drive all of those things into the open, you are not connected with your Government; you are not represented; you are not participants in your Government. Such a scheme of government by private understanding deprives you of representation, deprives the people of representative institutions. It has got to be put into the heads of legislators that public business is public business. I hold the opinion that there can be no confidences as against the people with respect to their government, and that it is the duty of every public officer to explain to his fellow-citizens whenever he gets a chance,- explain exactly what is going on inside of his own office.
There is no air so wholesome as the air of utter publicity.
There are other tracts of modern life where jungles have grown up that must be cut down. Take, for example, the entirely illegitimate extensions made of the idea of private property for the benefit of modern corporations and trusts. A modern joint stock corporation cannot in any proper sense be said to base its rights and powers upon the principles of private property. Its powers are wholly derived from legislation. It possesses them for the convenience of business at the sufferance of the public. Its stock is widely owned, passes from hand to hand, brings multitudes of men into its shifting partnerships, and connects it with the interests and the investments of whole communities. It is a segment of the public; bears no analogy to a partnership or to the processes by which private property is safeguarded and managed, and should not be suffered to afford any covert whatever to those who are managing it. Its management is of public and general concern, is in a very proper sense everybody's business. The business of many of those corporations which we call public-service corporations, and which are indispensable to our daily lives and serve us with transportation and light and water and power, — their business, for instance, is clearly public business; and, therefore, we can and must penetrate their affairs by the light of examination and discussion.
In New Jersey the people have realized this for a long time, and a year or two ago we got our ideas on the subject enacted into legislation. The corporations involved opposed the legislation with all their might. They talked about ruin,- and I really believe they did think they would be somewhat injured. But they have not been. And I hear I cannot tell you how many men in New Jersey say: “Governor, we were opposed to you; we did not believe in the things you wanted to do, but now that you have done them we take off our hats. That was the thing to do, it did not hurt us a bit; it just put us on a normal footing; it took away suspicion from our business." New Jersey, having taken the cold plunge, cries out to the rest of the states, “Come on in! The water's fine!”
So I take it to be a necessity of the hour to open up all the processes of politics and of public business, open them wide to public view; to make them accessible to every force that moves, every opinion that prevails in the thought of the people; to give society command of its own economic life again, not by revolutionary measures, but by a steady application of the principle that the people have a right to look into such matters and to control them; to cut all privileges and patronage and private advantage and secret enjoyment out of legislation.
Wherever any public business is transacted, wherever plans affecting the public are laid, or enterprises touching the public welfare, comfort, or convenience go forward, wherever political programmes are formulated, or candidates agreed on,- over that place a voice must speak, with the divine prerogative of a people's will, the words: “Let there be light!”
WATCHING PRESIDENT WILSON
HOW HIS VISITORS ARE HANDLED, WHO MAY SEE HIM AND WHEN, HIS METHOD AND
PRESIDENTS ROOSEVELT AND TAFT
7 OODROW WILSON is officers, puts his signature on papers of
in the White House. State, the building from which go forth
He is the same man the commands of a nation, is the oneas he who a few weeks storied staff annex to the White House
ago was sitting in his which, to all official intents and purposes, rooms at the back of the New Jersey State is the White House. Looking at the Capitol — the same man, at the same sort plan of the place, you get the impresof work, with the same manners and sion of a puzzle. These offices were methods. He wears the same gray suit, devised, you suspect, to keep people away or another off the same piece, built by from the President — who can be reached the same tailor. There is a new stick-pin only after threading a labyrinth of chamin his tie; he has exchanged the seal of the bers and corridors. Until Mr. Wilson Union for that of his old state; but if the came down it was a difficult and hazardous tie is new, it is an amazing match for the feat to get into the inmost sanctum. old ones. Pince-nez eyeglass, pencil and Ordinary visitors, after passing the scrutiny notebook, still perform their offices. of policemen in uniform outside the door
The President has already made some and secret service men in mufti just within new acquaintances, a few thousands; but it, were steered into one waiting-room; he hasn't forgotten any one the Governor persons like Senators and Representatives, ever knew. The President's secretary still into another. It was as difficult to get calls him “Governor," and probably into the office of the Secretary to the always will; it is a most happy and fortuPresident as it is to-day to get into the nate thing that Mr. Joseph P. Tumulty has President's own room. Doorkeepers moved come along to Washington; and he has mysteriously about, beckoning now to this brought his two best Trenton sten- fortunate one, now to that one. And ographers with him. There were three when he was at last admitted to the days — a Saturday afternoon, a Sunday, Presidential presence, the caller found a Monday, and a Tuesday morning — himself only one of four or five or possibly when Mr. Wilson rested, as a private twenty men lining the walls of an oval citizen, but that was not long enough to room, around which the President passed, allow him to forget his old ways of work. listening and replying to a few rapid, lowAt 9 o'clock on the morning of the fourth spoken words from each — the room being, day he was employing them again as if by the way, a whispering gallery in which there had been no interruption, though the no muttered secret was safe. scene was slightly altered.
To-day, the general waiting-room is
abandoned, and the congressional room The building in which the head of a is occupied by stenographers. Visitors nation meets his counselors, directs his who know the way walk unchecked
through the lobby and the corridors into – but, of course, nobody does that. the Secretary's room. Such as are un- The doors stand open, and those who familiar with the lay of the land may be reach the desk of the Secretary hear the directed to take a seat somewhere in a voices of the Chief Magistrate and his lobby until their cards are carried in to interlocutor, but everybody pauses in the Mr. Tumulty; they themselves usually anteroom and waits his special invitation follow promptly. The Secretary's room - if one is forthcoming. has become the waiting-room.
The Secretary's office is always a scene
PLAN OF THE EXECUTIVE OFFICES OF THE PRESIDENT UNDER MR. WILSON "THE GENERAL WAITING-ROOM IS ABANDONED, AND THE CONGRESSIONAL ROOM IS OCCUPIED
BY STENOGRAPHERS. THE SECRETARY'S ROOM HAS BECOME THE WAITING-ROOM"
To tell the truth, it is just as hard to of lively interest. Mr. Tumulty has an get to the President as ever it was. Doubt- hour to himself in the morning; he is the less any one so minded could walk straight earliest riser in official life Washington on through the short hall that leads to has ever known, and he has been over his the oval room and confront the President mail by the time the first callers begin to