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more uncompromising than his reply to the President's Tariff Reform Message of 1887. In fact it touched him nearly and he may well have felt that the President's scathing references to the tariff laws had almost a personal bearing since he had been the sponsor for a great part of them. After quoting from Washington's last annual message, he continued:
The contrast in the tone and temper of this message of Washington, as to the encouragement of manufactures, with that of the extraordinary unfriendly and denunciatory message recently transmitted to Congress by President Cleveland, I regret to say, is painfully revealed. To avoid all injustice let me quote from the latter these words: “But our present tariff laws, the vicious, inequitable, and illogical source of unnecessary taxation, ought to be at once revised and amended.”
Subsequently to these bitter epithets applied to laws, the main features of which have for many years secured both great revenue and great prosperity to our country, much argumentation, based apparently on novel or newly invented statistics, is presented.
.. The statistics and the conclusions thereon are, however, likely to be unanimously rejected... by the farmers.
Morrill felt that the tariff was the real issue during this period and was delighted when Cleveland made it the issue in the campaign of 1888. “I want,” he said, “to see a fair test made of public sentiment on the tariff. I would like it tried disencumbered of every side issue, a distinctively tariff campaign. ... I am quite willing to go before the people on our position on that subject.”
Looking forward to the campaign, he devoted his principal speeches in 1887 and 1888 to the tariff and thus supplied the party speakers and the party press with ammunition. He adduced no new arguments, but set forth with firm conviction the doctrine of home markets, of higher standards of wages, of free trade as a weapon for foreign aggrandizement
· Philadelphia Times, August 18, 1877.
and a means of breaking into these favored fields of commerce.
With the established and familiar issue of protection, Morrill combined the related issues of reciprocity and foreign policy. Reciprocity he denounced with especial vigor, as a disguised and insidious invasion of the protective system. As he wrote to his friend Charles M. Sheldon:
I suppose you know that I have always fought the so-called reciprocity treaties tooth and nail, as utterly unconstitutional, and they were unanimously so held by every member of the United States Senate only a few years ago. It is a hodge-podge of free trade, undermining all stable protective Tariffs. ... I have made not less than a half-dozen speeches against the whole theory. Yet he began to realize that the tide was turning, for he added:
I fear, however, that I am in a minority in the Senate, twothirds of which I think are dazed with the humbug of reciprocity and support even the outrageously unequal treaty with Mexico, as does my colleague (Edmunds).
It was a significant thing that Edmunds, the leading authority on the Constitution and as convinced a protectionist as Morrill himself, turned in favor of reciprocity, which later Blaine and at a still later time Taft were to make orthodox Republican doctrine. But Morrill remained consistent and immovable, for reasons which have appeared at earlier stages in his career. He had in his youth, perhaps as early as 1838, when he had a store at Derby Line on the Canadian border, made up his mind that manifest destiny designed Canada to be absorbed into the United States. It was a conviction which he had never given up and which constantly reappears in his speeches. He considered it the greatest goal of American foreign policy and to such absorption or annexation he counted reciprocity a hindrance. In
his speech in the Senate on December 9, 1886, he said, “A union with our northern brethren, however remote, is as inevitable, in the fullness of time, as the southern trend of a polar glacier.” And he began his article in the "Forum" for January, 1889, with the words, “I have long supposed that a political union of Canada with the United States might be only a question of time." It was because he expected and desired annexation that he would have nothing of reciprocity, which, he went on to say, “as understood in the Dominion, gives all that is wanted and gives no twist to the tail of the British lion.” It would not lead to political union, since “Marriage seldom follows seduction."
The article is an interesting argument in favor of annexation, based on geography, race, and history, but with a large emphasis on the element of destiny. “But to-day the plea of nature is as potential as it was a hundred years ago. We feel that there should be no divided empire on the Great Lakes, and we are not insensible to the grandeur of a continental boundary.”
Both vision and prophecy were largely conceived and worthy of a statesman, but it can hardly be said that time has brought them any nearer realization.
The division of power in Congress during Cleveland's term — the Democrats controlling the House and the Republicans the Senate - prevented any partisan legislation, but was favorable to some excellent non-partisan measures. Among these was Morrill's bill for the Library of Congress for which he had been laboring for fourteen years. It had met with much opposition because of the inertia and the inability of the average member of the House and the Senate to realize the supreme importance of an adequate library. But Morrill had persisted in his determination to have a worthy building, had successfully opposed all inferior and makeshift substitutes, and now, when he saw his bill tri
umphantly passed by both houses, he was overjoyed. Many of his fellow Senators knew how dear the measure was to his heart and the announcement of its passage gave rise to a pleasing little scene on the floor which the reporters described with evident delight. “In his excitement and joy at the realization of his hopes (Morrill] forgot the dignity that is his most conspicuous characteristic and tossed a kiss across the chamber to Senator Voorhees; ... who kissed his hand in return." Senators waved their hands to the reporters' gallery. “A page was hurried off with the news to Librarian Spofford, who came ambling in and the three men embraced each other warmly"; there were general congratulations and handshakings, “and then the little love feast ended."
The same session witnessed another tribute to Morrill's influence and to the regard of his fellow Senators. While he was absent in July on account of illness, the matter of the appropriation of $50,000 for a federal building in Montpelier, Vermont, came up. The Senate had voted to omit such appropriations from the bill before them, but would not disappoint Morrill. Senator Spooner presented the matter:
The Senator from Vermont [he said) was anxious about this, and it has seemed to me that it would be a graceful and handsome compliment to that Senator, who for the first time in twenty years of service here, is absent from the Senate during its session, and who may justly be called the father of the Senate, if in his enforced absence this amendment is by common consent placed upon the bill, and I sincerely hope it may be done.
Mr. Beck — I do not want to violate the rule, but if the Chair will ask unanimous consent to have the amendment put in, I hope it will be done by unanimous consent.
Mr. Allison - I hope that unanimous consent will be asked and given.
Mr. Spooner - I ask unanimous consent.
The President - The Senator from Wisconsin asks unanimous consent to insert the amendment. Is there objection? The Chair hears none, and it is accordingly inserted.
LITERARY WORK The Democratic Administration relieved Morrill of many responsibilities and gave him leisure for a congenial and agreeable task — the revision and publication of his volume on “Self-Consciousness of Noted Persons." The earlier interim of Democratic control from 1879 to 1881 had given him leisure to sift and arrange the garnerings of his reading for half a century and he had printed the book privately for his friends. The welcome which it had received had encouraged him to revise the collection, and he now issued it to the general public.
Though it was his only book, it marked no break or departure from his usual way of life. He was always potentially a man of letters, as all his speeches showed, and if he had not turned to public life, it is a moral certainty that he would have given his mature years to literary work. There was the making of a competent author hidden under his senatorial toga. From his boyhood he had felt the ambition to write: before he was twenty-one he had begun to contribute articles and sketches to the local papers; while he was a clerk in Portland in 1828 he kept a journal avowedly to improve himself in writing; after his return to Strafford and while he was a busy store-keeper, he maintained his habit of writing by means of a commonplace book to which he confided his chance thoughts, brief essays and verses; his account of his journey to the West in 1841 we have already laid under tribute; his rough notes of this tour he copied into a leathercovered book which he dignified by a conventional title-page with colophon, poetic quotation, place, and year complete.