William Howard Taft

Address at the Lincoln Birthday Banquet of the Republican Club of the City of New York

February 12, 1910

Mr. President, Gentlemen of the Republican Club, and Fellow-Guests:

The birthday of the man whose memory we celebrate to-night is an appropriate occasion for renewing our expressions of respect and affection for the Republican party, and our pledges to keep the part which it plays in the history of this country as high and as useful as it was during the administration of Abraham Lincoln. The trials which he had to undergo as President, the political storms which the party had to weather during the Civil War, the divisions in the party itself between the radical anti-slavery element and those who were most conservative in observing the constitutional limitations, are most interesting reading, and serve to dwarf and minimize the trials through which the Republican party is now passing, and restore a sense of proportion to those who allow themselves to be daunted and discouraged, in the face of a loss of popular confidence thought to be indicated by the tone of the press.

In what respect has the Republican party failed in its conduct of the Government and the enactment of laws, to perform its duty ? It was returned to power a year ago last November by a very large majority, after a campaign in which it made certain promises in its platform, and those promises it has either substantially complied with or it is about to perform within the present session of Congress.

Let us take up these promises in order:

In the Republican platform of last year, upon which the campaign was made, appears the following plank in regard to the tariff:

"The Republican party declares unequivocally for the revision of the tariff by a special session of Congress immediately following the inauguration of the next President, and commends the steps already taken to this end in the work assigned to the appropriate committees of Congress which are now investigating the operation and effect of existing schedules. In all tariff legislation the true principle of protection is best maintained by the imposition of such duties as will equal the difference between the cost of production at home and abroad, together with a reasonable profit to American industries. We favor the establishment of maximum and minimum rates to be administered by the President under limitations fixed in the law, the maximum to be available to meet discriminations by foreign countries against American goods entering their markets, and the minimum to represent the normal measure of protection at home, the aim and purpose of the Republican policy being not only to preserve, without excessive duties, that security against foreign competition to which American manufacturers, farmers, and producers are entitled, but also to maintain the high standard of living of the wage earners of this country, who are the most direct beneficiaries of the protective system. Between the United States and the Philippines, we believe in a free interchange of products with such limitations as to sugar and tobacco as will afford adequate protection to domestic interests."

We did revise the tariff. It is impossible to revise the tariff without awakening the active participation in the formation of the schedules of those producers whose business will be affected by a change. This is the inherent difficulty in the adoption or revision of a tariff by our representative system.

Nothing was expressly said in the platform that this revision was to be a downward revision. The implication that it was to be generally downward, however, was fairly given by the fact that those who uphold a protective tariff system defend it by the claim that after an industry has been established by shutting out foreign competition, the domestic competition will lead to the reduction in price so as to make the original high tariff unnecessary.

In the new tariff there were 654 decreases, 220 increases, and 1,150 items of the dutiable list unchanged, but this did not represent the fair proportion in most of the reductions and the increases, because the duties were decreased on those articles which had a consumption value of nearly $5,000,000,000, while they were increased on those articles which had a consumption value of less than $1,000,000,000. Of the increases, the consumption value of those affected which are of luxuries, to wit, silks, wines, liquors, perfumeries, pomades, and like articles, amounted to nearly $600,000,000; while the increases on articles not of luxury affected but about $300,000,000, as against decreases on about $5,000,000,000 of consumption. I repeat, therefore, that this was a downward revision. It was not downward in reference to silks or liquors or high-priced cottons in the nature of luxuries. It was downward in respect to nearly all other articles except woolens, which were not affected at all. Certainly it was not promised that the rates on luxuries should be reduced. The revenues were falling off, there was a deficit promised, and it was essential that the revenues should be increased. It was no violation of the promise to increase the revenues by increasing the tax on luxuries, provided there was downward revision on all other articles. The one substantial defect in compliance with the promise of the platform was the failure to reduce woolens. Does that defect so color the action of the Republican party as to make it a breach of faith leading to its condemnation? I do not think so. Parties are like men. Revisions are like the work of men — they are not perfect. The change which this tariff effected was a marked change downward in the rate of the duties, and it was a recognition by the party that the time had come when instead of increasing duties they must be decreased, when the party recognized in its platform, and in much of what it did, that the proper measure of protection was the difference in cost in the production of articles here and abroad, including a fair profit to the manufacturer. There was a dispute as to what that difference is, and whether it was recognized in the change of all the duties downward. Particularly was this the case on the materials that enter into the manufacture of paper and paper itself. The reduction on print paper was from $6 to $3.75, or about 37 per cent.

There was a real difference of opinion on the question of fact whether the new duty correctly measured the difference in the cost of production of print paper abroad and print paper here. It affected the counting-rooms of the newspapers of the country and invited the attention of the newspaper proprietors who had associated themselves together like other interests for the purpose of securing a reduction of the tariff. The failure to make a larger reduction showed itself clearly in the editorial columns of a great number of the newspapers, whatever their party predilection. The amount of misrepresentation to which the tariff bill in its effect as a downward revision bill was subjected has never been exceeded in this country, and it will doubtless take the actual operation of the tariff bill for several years to show to the country exactly what the legislation and its effect are. It is perhaps too early to institute the fairest comparisons between the Payne-Aldrich Bill and the bill which preceded it, but the Payne-Aldrich Bill has been in operation now for six months, and figures are at hand from which we may make a reasonable inference, first as to whether it is a revision downward, and, second, as to its capacity for producing revenue; for it must be borne in mind that the passage of the law was demanded not only for the purpose of changing rates in their effect upon the industries of the country, but also for the purpose of increasing the revenues; and the success of the measure is to be judged by its results in both these respects.

The Bureau of Statistics is authority for the statement that during the first six months of the operation of the Payne law, which has just ended, the average rate of duty paid on all imports was 21.09 per cent, ad valorem. The average rate of duty paid on all imports for the same six months for the four preceding years under the Dingley law was 24.03. This would show that the reduction in the Payne law is 2.94 per cent, of the value of the goods, or that the reduction below the previous tariff rates is 12 per cent, showing a downward revision to this extent. But this is not all. Under the Payne law 51.6 per cent, of the gross imports for the last six months have been entered free, while under the four years preceding for the same six months the free list amounted to 45.46 per cent, of the total importations; so there was not only a reduction of duty on gross imports of about 12 per cent but also an enlargement of about the same percentage of the free list.

For the production of revenue, the Payne law is even more an improvement on the Dingley Bill. During the six months that the Payne tariff was in force, from August 5 to the night of February 5, the customs receipts amounted to $166,002.856.54. Under the Gorman-Wilson tariff the semi-annual average was $83,147,625.90. Under the Dingley tariff the semi-annual average was $130,265,841.84. Under the Wilson tariff the monthly average was $13,857,937.65. Under the Dingley tariff the monthly average was $21,710,973.64; while under the Payne tariff the monthly average has been $27,667,142.75, or 100 per cent, greater than the monthly average under the Wilson tariff, and 26 per cent, greater than the monthly average under the Dingier tariff.

Of course as the country increases in population, the customs receipts increase, but even considering the population, the increase in the tariff receipts has been marked. Under the Wilson tariff the average annual customs receipts per capita were $2.38; under the Dingley tariff $3.23; while under the Payne tariff they are $3.71.

For the six months that the Payne tariff has been in force the total receipts both from customs and internal revenue have been $323,899,231.91, while the disbursements have been $332,783,283.08, showing an excess of disbursements over receipts of about $8,884,051.17, with no collection as yet from the corporation tax. For the corresponding period last year the expenditures exceeded the receipts by over $40,000,000. This showing indicates that under the present customs law the deficit will be promptly wiped out, and that to meet our normal expenditures we shall have ample revenue.

I therefore venture to repeat the remark I have had occasion to make before, that the present customs law is the best customs law that has ever been passed, and it is most significant in this: that it indicates on the part of the Republican party the adoption of a policy to change from an increase in duties to a reduction of them, and to effect an increase of revenues at the same time.

The act has furnished to the Executive the power to apply the maximum and minimum clause in order to prevent undue discrimination on the part of foreign countries, and this is securing additional concessions in respect to impositions on our foreign trade.

The act has done justice to the Philippine Islands by giving them free trade with the United States.

More than all this, the new tariff act has provided for the appointment of a tariff board to secure impartial evidence upon which, when a revision of the tariff seems wise, we shall have at hand the data from which can be determined with some degree of accuracy the difference between the cost of producing articles abroad and the cost of producing them in this country.

The great difficulty in the hearing and discussion of the present tariff bill was the absence of satisfactory and credible evidence on either side of the issues as to low or high tariffs. The importer on the one hand and the manufacturer on the other were present to give their fallible judgments affected by their own pecuniary interests as to the facts under investigation. Men who were struggling to find the truth were greatly perplexed by the conflicting testimony.

The tariff bill authorizes the President to expend $75,000 in employing persons to assist him in the administration of the maximum and minimum clause and to assist him and other officers of the Government in the administration of the tariff law. I have construed this to mean that I may use the board appointed under this power not only to look into the foreign tariffs, but also to examine the question with respect to each item in our tariff bill, what the cost of production of the merchandise taxed is, and what its cost is abroad. This is not an easy task for impartial experts, and it requires a large force. I expect to apply to Congress this year for the sum of $250,000 to organize a force through which this investigation may go on, the results to be recorded for the use of the Executive and Congress when they desire to avail themselves of the record. In this way any subsequent revision may be carried on with the aid of data secured officially and without regard to its argumentative effect upon the question of raising or lowering duties. Taken as a whole, therefore, I do not hesitate to repeat that the Republican party has substantially complied with its promise in respect to the tariff, and that it has set itself strongly in the right direction toward lower tariffs and furnished the means by which such lower tariffs can be properly and safely fixed.

An investigation by the tariff board of the sort proposed will certainly take a full two years or longer. Meantime the operation of the present tariff promises to be consistent with the prosperity of the country and with the furnishing of sufficient funds with which to meet the very heavy but necessary expenditures of carrying on our great Government.

The Republican national platform contained the following:

"We favor the establishment of a postal savings bank system for the convenience of the people and the encouragement of thrift."

A bill has been introduced to establish a postal savings bank. The great difficulty in the bill seems to have been to secure a proper provision for the management and investment of the money deposited. The great advantage of a postal savings bank is the encouragement to thrift of those whose fears of the solvency of any depository except a government depository tempts them away from saving. A government promise to repay seems to be specially effective in leading people to save and deposit their savings. The machinery of the Post-Office, with its 60,000 post-offices and 40,000 money-order offices, offers an economical and far-reaching machine for the reception in places remote from banks, and among people who fear banks, of that which but for the opportunity, they would not save, but spend. The low interest offered to it, that of 2 per cent., prevents such postal savings banks from interfering with regular savings banks whose rate of interest always is in excess of 2 per cent.

In the present stage of the Senate bill there have been inserted amendments drawn apparently for the purpose of having money deposited as savings in government post-offices distributed through the locality where deposited in the banks, state and national, and so deposited as to make it impossible for the trustees of the fund appointed under the law to withdraw the money for investment in any other form. I regard such an amendment as likely to defeat the law. First, because it takes away a feature which ought to be present in the law to assure its constitutionality. If the law provided that the trustees to be appointed under the law with the funds thus deposited could meet the financial exigencies of the Government by purchase or redemption of the government 2 per cent, and other bonds the measure would certainly be within the Federal power, because the postal banks would then clearly be an instrument of the National Government in borrowing money. We have now about $700,000,000 of 2 per cent, bonds with respect to which we owe a duty to the owners to see that those bonds may be taken care of without reduction below the par value thereof, because they were forced upon national banks at this low rate in order that the banks might have a basis of circulation.

This implied obligation of the Government, the postal savings bank funds would easily enable it to meet. Secondly, if the funds are to be arbitrarily deposited in all banks, state and national, without national supervision over the state banks, and a panic were to come, it is difficult to see how the Government could meet its obligations to its postal savings bank depositors, because with every bank suspending payment, the funds of the postal savings banks would be beyond the control of the Government, and we should have a financial disaster greater than any panic we have heretofore met. A provision that when the money is not needed to invest in government bonds or to redeem the same it may be deposited in national banks, in the neighborhood of the place of deposit, will avoid the great danger of a panic and will strengthen a banking system which is an arm of the Federal Government. I sincerely hope that before the measure is hammered into its final shape it may take on these characteristics which shall give it a constitutional validity and sound financial strength and usefulness. Those who insist upon the elimination of these two necessary characteristic features of the bill will put the party in the position where it can not hope to escape the charge that it is not in good faith seeking the passage of a postal savings bank act, and is not seeking, therefore, to comply with the promise of the Republican platform in that regard.

On the subject of railroads the Republican platform said:

"We approve the enactment of the Railroad Rate Law and the vigorous enforcement by the present administration of the statutes against rebates and discriminations as a result of which the advantages formerly possessed by the large shipper over the small shipper have substantially disappeared; and in this connection we commend the appropriation by the present Congress to enable the Interstate Commerce Commission to thoroughly investigate and give publicity to the accounts of interstate railways. We believe, however, that the Interstate Commerce Law should be further amended so as to give railroads the right to make and publish traffic agreements subject to the approval of the commission, but maintaining always the principle of competition between naturally competing lines and avoiding the common control of such lines by any means whatsoever. We favor such national legislation and supervision as will prevent the future overissue of stocks and bonds by interstate carriers."

A bill to carry out these declarations has been introduced in both the House and the Senate, and is now being considered before the appropriate committees of those two bodies, and there is every hope that the bills thus introduced in substantially the same shape as introduced will pass and be enacted into law. Indeed this railroad measure goes further than the promise of the platform, for while it subjects the issue of stock and bonds to the restrictive supervision of the commission and prevents future watering of securities and forbids the acquisition by a railroad company of stock in a competing line, it also puts very much more power into the hands of the commission for the regulation of rates, and it facilitates in every way the ease of supervision by the commission of the railroads to secure a compliance by the railroads with the rights of the public and of the shipper. The bill was prepared by the Attorney-General, after a full conference with the Interstate Commerce Commission, with the representatives of the shippers and with the representatives of the railroads, and while it was not the result of an agreement between all the parties in interest, it was drafted with a view to meeting all the fair objections and suggestions made by every one of them.

The platform further provided:

"The Republican party will uphold at all times the authority and integrity of the courts, State and Federal, and will ever insist that their powers to enforce their process and to protect life, liberty, and property shall be preserved inviolate. We believe, however, that the rules of procedure in the Federal courts with respect to the issuance of the writ of injunction should be more accurately defined by statute and that no injunction or temporary restraining order should be issued without notice, except where irreparable injury would result from delay, in which case a speedy hearing thereafter should be granted."

A bill to carry out exactly this promise has been introduced into both the Senate and House and will doubtless come up for consideration and passage. The bill does not go as far as Mr. Gompers and the Federation of Labor demand, but it goes as far as the Republican convention was willing to let it go, and it is so drawn as to make an abuse of the issuance of injunction without notice very improbable. It requires that no injunction shall be issued without full notice and hearing, unless to prevent irreparable injury, and that in such case the court shall make a finding from the evidence adduced, pointing out what the injury anticipated is and why irreparable, and why there is not time to give notice; and after the injunction shall be issued without notice, it is provided that such injunction shall lose its force at the expiration of five days, unless a hearing is had.

The platform also promised statehood to Arizona and New Mexico, and the bill providing such statehood has passed the House and has been favorably considered by the committee of the Senate, so that there seems to be no reasonable doubt that this promise will be fully kept.

The Republicans in their platform spoke further, as follows:

"We indorse the movement inaugurated by the Administration for the conservation of natural resources; we approve all measures to prevent the waste of timber; we commend the work now going on for the reclamation of arid lands, and reaffirm the Republican policy of the free distribution of the available areas of the public domain to the landless settler. No obligation of the future is more insistent and none will result in greater blessings to posterity. In line with this splendid undertaking is the further duty, equally imperative, to enter upon a systematic improvement upon a large and comprehensive plan, just to all portions of the country, of the waterways, harbors, and Great Lakes, whose natural adaptability to the increasing traffic of the land is one of the greatest gifts of a benign Providence."

In accordance with this plank, measures for the conservation of the public domain, for the reclassification of lands according to their greatest utility, and the vesting of power in the Executive to dispose of coal, phosphate, oil, and mineral lands, and of water-power sites in such a way as to prevent their monopoly, and union of ownership in one syndicate, or combination, have been already introduced, and will doubtless in a form approved by Congress be made into law. The subject has attracted the widest interest, and its importance is becoming more and more impressed upon the American people.

The river and harbor bill, which has just been reported by the River and Harbor Committee of the House, has been framed with a view to complying with the plank of the platform I have just above quoted. It has taken the plan for the improvement of the Ohio from Pittsburg to Cairo as a project to be carried out in a certain number of years; and it has treated similar projects for the improvement of the Missouri from Kansas City to St. Louis, for the improvement of the Mississippi from St. Paul to St. Louis, and of the same river from St. Louis to Cairo; and by continuing contracts and regular appropriations, these projects will go on until they are completed. This is a change from the previous plans, and is the result of an extended popular agitation in favor of such a system.

Following the panic of 1907, the governmental revenues fell off and the expenditures continued as before, leaving a deficit for the years 1907, 1908, and 1909. There was, however, no deficit in the whole administration of Mr. Roosevelt when the expenses are compared with the revenues. Indeed it will be found that under the operation of the Dingley Bill, which covers most of his administration and the first six months of the present administration, the surplus on the whole was about $250,000,000. At the beginning of this Administration, however it was perfectly evident that with expenses increasing and revenues decreasing, there would be a continuous deficit, and this the Republican party, with its majority in Congress and the responsibility placed upon it, has proposed to meet by reducing expenditures and increasing revenues.

I have already shown what the increase in revenues has been. The present administration in its estimates for the year ending June 30, 1911, cut them some forty odd million dollars below the actual appropriations of the year before, and now it is proposed to appoint a joint commission, consisting of Senators, Representatives, and members appointed by the Executive, who shall examine the organization of the various departments and bureaus, and by the elimination of duplication, the consolidation of bureaus, and the increase in efficiency of the individual civil servant shall decrease the regular permanent cost of governmental operation.

With respect to trusts the Republican party spoke as follows in its platform:

"The Republican party passed the Sherman Anti-trust Law over Democratic opposition and enforced it after Democratic dereliction. It has been a wholesome instrument for good in the hands of a wise and fearless administration. But experience has shown that its effectiveness can be strengthened and its real objects better attained by such amendments as will give to the Federal Government greater supervision and control over and secure greater publicity in the management of that class of corporations engaged in interstate commerce having power and opportunity to effect monopolies."

Since this plank was adopted prosecutions of the Tobacco trust and the Standard Oil trust, begun in the last administration, have gone on and have resulted in decrees in the Court of Appeals of the Second and Eighth circuits, which are now pending on appeal in the Supreme Court. The decrees in each case tear apart the congeries of subordinate corporations which, united by holding companies, make up the trust in each case and enjoin individuals from a further maintenance of the illegal combination of such corporations to carry on the business for which it was organized.

It has been said that the Republican party made a promise so to amend the law as to ameliorate and soften the application of the trust law in its interdiction upon business as conducted by the greatest corporations, but I find nothing in the platform to justify such a construction. The principle of the anti-trust law is that those engaged in modern business, especially of manufacture and transportation, shall pursue the policy with respect to their competitors of "Live and let live," and that they shall not use the bigness of their concerns to frighten exclusive patronage from customers and eliminate smaller concerns from competition and thus control output and fix prices.

The Attorney-General has prepared a bill which, he thinks, and I think, will offer to those who wish to pursue a lawful method of business, the means of easily doing so. A lawful interstate business under the protection of a Federal charter which, while it will subject the business of the concern to the closest scrutiny of government officers, will save the business from harassment by State authorities and will give it that protection which a peaceful pursuit of its business as a Federal corporation will necessarily secure it. This measure has not met the approval of those who fear too great concentration of power in the Federal Government, of those who deny the right of the Federal Government in such cases to grant incorporation. I believe the act to be constitutional, and I believe that if enforced it would furnish a solution of our present difficulties; but as it was not specifically declared for in the Republican platform, I do not feel justified in asking the adoption of such an act as a party matter. I have brought it forward, however, as a suggestion for meeting the difficulties which are likely to be presented in the prosecution of suspected illegal trusts as a means by which they can put their houses in order and take their places among those engaged in legitimate business.

If the other measures to which I have referred are enacted into law, and the pledges of the Republican party performed, there would seem to be no good reason why the party should not receive renewed approval by the electors of the country in the coming congressional campaign. But there are signs which many construe as an indication that the Republican majority in the present Congress will change to a Democratic majority in the next. This is based chiefly on the dissensions in the Republican party, and upon the very severe attacks, made by a great many of the newspapers having Republican tendencies, upon the party and its leaders in Congress and in the nation. I am glad to say that so far as the legislation which I have indicated above is concerned, there seems to be a clear party majority in both Houses in favor of its passage and the consequent redemption of the party pledges. There is, however, a very decided difference as to the proper rules to prevail in the House and as to the personnel of the leadership.

It would seem as if these questions were questions that might well be solved within the party lines, but they have been so acute as to produce what has been called an insurrection and to awaken the country over a controversy between the insurgents and the regulars, so-called. I am hopeful that as we approach the lines of battle for the next year, the settlement of these internal questions can be effected without such a breach of the party as to prevent our presenting an unbroken front to the enemy.

We among the Republicans may be discouraged when we consider our own dissensions, but when we look to the possibility of any united action on the part of the Democrats for any policy or any line of policies we must take courage. It was General Grant who said that when he first went into battle he had a great deal of fear, but he overcame that feeling by maintaining in his mind the constant thought how much more afraid his opponent was. And so we who find ourselves at times given over to the thought that Republican control is at an end should not forget to consider not only our own factional strife but also that of our ancient enemy. If the Democratic party were a solid, cohesive opposition, guided by one principle and following the same economic views as a whole, the situation would be far more discouraging than it is. The Republican party has been the party responsible for the Government for the last seventeen years. It has discharged those responsibilities with wonderful success. The problems growing out of the Spanish war and those which have come from the rapid accumulation of wealth, and the greed for power of its accumulators, it has fallen to the party to meet, and while they have not yet all had a perfect solution, the record is one of which we have no reason to be ashamed.

Mr. Roosevelt aroused the country and the people to the danger we were in of having all our politics and all our places of governmental authority controlled in corporate interests and to serve the greed of selfish but powerful men. During his two terms of office, by what almost may be compared to a religious crusade, he aroused the people to the point of protecting themselves and the public interest against the aggressions of corporate greed, and left public opinion in an apt condition to bring about the reforms needed to clinch his policies and to make them permanent in the form of enacted law.

But as an inevitable aftermath of such agitation, we find a condition of hysteria on the part of certain individuals, and on the part of others a condition of hypocrisy manifesting itself in the blind denunciation of all wealth and in the impeachment of the motives of men of the highest character, and by demagogic appeals to the imagination of a people greatly aroused upon the subject of purity and honesty in the administration of government. The tendency is to resent attachment to party or party organization, and to an assertion of individual opinion and purpose at the expense of party discipline. The movement is toward factionalism and small groups, rather than toward large party organization, and the leaders of the party organization are subjected to the severest attacks and to the questioning of their motives without any adequate evidence to justify it.

I am far from saying that the Republican party is perfect. No party which has exercised such power as it has exercised for the last seventeen years could be expected to maintain either in its rank and file or in its management men of the purest and highest motives only. And I am the last one to advocate any halt in the prosecution and condemnation of Republicans, however prominent and powerful, whose conduct requires criminal or other prosecution and condemnation. It should be well understood that with the Republican party in its present condition, with its various divisions subjected to the cross fire of its own newspapers and its own factions, any halt or failure on the part of those in authority to punish and condemn corruption or corrupt methods Will be properly visited upon the party itself, however many good men it contains.

We shall be called upon to respond to the charge in the next campaign that the tariff, for which we are responsible, has raised prices. If the people listen to reasonable argument, it will be easy to demonstrate that high prices proceed from an entirely different cause, and that the present tariff, being largely a revision downward, except with respect to silks and liquors, which are luxuries, can not be charged with having increased any prices. But this will not prevent our Democratic friends from arguing on the principle of post hoc propter hoc, that because high prices followed the tariff, therefore they are the result of it. And we must not be blind to the weight of such an argument in an electoral campaign. The reason for the rise in the cost of necessities can easily be traced to the increase in our measure of values, the precious metal, gold, and possibly in some cases to the combinations in restraint of trade. The question of the tariff must be argued out. The prejudice created by the early attacks upon the bill and the gross misrepresentations of its character must be met by a careful presentation of the facts as to the contents of the bill and also as to its actual operation and statistics shown thereby. I believe we have a strong case if we can only get it into the minds of the people. Should disaster follow us and the Republican majority in the House become a minority in the next House, it may be possible that in the Democratic exercise of its power, the people of this country will see which is the party of accomplishment, which is the party of arduous deeds done, and which is the party of words and irresponsible opposition.

I only want one more word. From time to time attacks are made upon the Administration, on the ground that its policy tends to create a panic in Wall Street and to disturb business. All I have to say upon that subject is this: That certainly no one responsible for a government like ours would foolishly run amuck in business and destroy values and confidence just for the pleasure of doing so. No one has a motive as strong as the Administration in power to cultivate and strengthen business confidence and business prosperity. But it does rest with the National Government to enforce the law, and if the enforcement of the law is not consistent with the present method of carrying on business, then it does not speak well for the present methods of conducting business, and they must be changed to conform to the law. There was no promise on the part of the Republican party to change the anti-trust law except to strengthen it, or to authorize monopoly and a suppression of competition and the control of prices, and those who look forward to such a change can not now visit the responsibility for their mistake on innocent persons. Of course the Government at Washington can be counted on to enforce the law in the way best calculated to prevent a destruction of public confidence in business, but that it must enforce the law goes without saying.

I am glad to be present at this meeting of the Republican Club of New York and here meet your distinguished Governor, whose name is such a power before the people of this State and of the country, that to lose' him as a candidate for Governor by his voluntary withdrawal is to lose the strongest asset that the Republican party has in the State to enable it to win at the next election.

I am glad to be here at the meeting of the Republican Club on Lincoln's birthday, because my knowledge and information with respect to the club is that it stands for stalwart Republicanism, believes in party organization and party discipline, but insists on the highest ideals and methods in formulating the policies of the party and carrying them out.

Source: Presidential Addresses and State Papers of William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft, Address at the Lincoln Birthday Banquet of the Republican Club of the City of New York Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/363257

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