Hon. Thomas B. Reed.

Belford’s Magazine

Oct. 1890, Vol. V No. 29, pp. 775-777

It is an interesting fact, and one which has never been successfully gainsaid, that no country in the world furnishes in its political construction such a fair field as the United States for the meteor-like ascendency of comparatively unknown men in politics. The history of this government furnishes some striking examples of the foregoing fact—and also some “striking examples” of rising politicians who have prematurely—to them—been relegated to the “shades of private life.” Of all the men who have risen in this manner, there is not one who can successfully compare with the phenomenal success which the Hon. Thomas B. Reed, of Maine, has attained. It is not exaggerating in the least to say that no man in recent years has created such bitter and prejudiced enemies, or likewise drawn around him such a partisan and admiring following as he.

The Northern and Southern Democratic press, alike, have united in one bitter and unceasing tirade against him, and have well-nigh used up all their invective in the attempt to crush him; but, like Banquo’s ghost, he “will not down.” They have launched at him every epithet, from a “modern Cæsar” to an “insolent puppy,” ever since that memorable day in the history of the House of Representatives when he “dared” to count a man as being present who was present. His name has become famous from Maine to California, from Minnesota to Texas, as has no other man’s in so short a time.

By the sober-minded, sensible people of the country, and those who are more or less free from prejudiced partisanship, he is sincerely admired for his sterling patriotism and enormous amount of commonsense.

What has he done to cause this great commotion? What has he said or done to bring forth the “flowing oratory” of a Bland, a Breckinridge, a Springer, a Holman, and a Crisp? He has simply established a precedent which will be followed without the slightest twinge of conscience by Messrs. Bland, Holman, Crisp & Col. whenever their party shall gain control of the House. No one denies the latter fact with any show of sincerity, therefore it is really not a [776] question of right or wrong with the Democratic party, but simply a question of power. He has rightly enunciated the sound doctrine, that when the people of the sovereign States of this country go to the ballot-box and there elect a Congress which shall represent the predominant thought of the country, especially if it is done on a straight-out issue, as was the case in the congressional elections of 1888, that Congress shall legislate according to the wishes of the said majority, and if a turbulent minority do not acquiesce in the wish of the majority as elected by the people, and attempt to block all legislation by parliamentary and even unparliamentary tactics, it is right and reasonable to suppress such unpatriotic obstruction by laying down a code of rules which, of course, shall be within the bounds of constitutional law; and who makes the assertion that those adopted by the present House of Representatives are not? What Speaker of the House has had to contend against such virulent and bitter language as has assailed him on the floor of the House? What has been his conduct under these trying circumstances? Has he lowered himself and his honorable position by descending into the arena of vituperation which his enemies have built around him? No! he has acted like the high-minded and sensible man that he is, and stood as firm as a rock, unshaken and undaunted in the midst of the riotous tumult which characterized the proceedings of the present lower house of Congress; firm in the belief that he was right, and knowing that it was simply the rant of a partisan rabble, and that, when the smoke of battle would clear away, they who were loudest in their condemnation of his course would acknowledge he was right.

What has been the result of what the Democracy delight to term “Redeem” in the House, and how have his rules worked? Where is all the dire disaster that was predicted would accrue from the adoption of Reed’s methods? Where, oh! where is the test case that Mr. John G. Carlisle was engineering to carry to the Supreme Court? Under Mr. Carlisle’s rules in the House, last year, the tariff bill was not passed until July 21st; but were it not for the antiquated rules of the Senate and the allowance of such long-winded speeches as Messrs. Blair and Voorhees deliver on special occasions, the pending tariff bill would have been already signed by the president.

Besides the passage of a tariff bill, the House had passed a measure of equal if not greater importance than the McKinley bill: a measure which should be entitled “A Bill for the Suppression of Southern Bulldozing and Northern Corruption.” They have also passed a silver bill, a dependent pension bill, a bill for the admission of Idaho and Wyoming, and numerous bills of minor importance. [777] Is not this a record to be proud of? If it be charged that they have mostly been passed through Reed’s able leadership, the Republican party pleads guilty.

The American people admire a man with backbone, and if there lives a man who possesses it, that man is the Hon. Thomas B. Reed, of Maine.

Benj. De Casseres.
Philadelphia Pa.


Possibly Benjamin De Casseres’ first published piece.