Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A Timely Book from a Senator and Governor on Being on Time

Edward Martin. Always Be on Time. Harrisburg, Pa.: The Telegraph Press, 1959.

"Always be on time" is a rule the author, a former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Senator, learned from his father and abided by throughout his life. Doing so "pays dividends in the long run". He also learned from his youth that hard work pays, that getting the best and earliest crops earned the most money, and that doing one's best brought many gains.

Martin was a student at Waynesburg College when the Battleship Maine sunk in Havana. He joined a National Guard company at college and was elected their Captain. After training in Mt. Gretna, he was sent to the Philippines as a Private. 20% of his fellow soldiers were wounded or killed in his first battle with Spanish regulars. Martin then participated as a Corporal in the 70 day fight against Filipinos until their capital of Malolos fell. Malaria hit most of the soldiers.

Martin furnished college and joined the Bar in 1905. He was "greatly impressed" with Senator Matthew Quay. He went into politics and became Burgess of East Waynesburg in 1906. In 1907, he became County Solicitor where he fought for better highways. The fight over highways would last for a half century for Martin. In 1908, Martin became Greene County Republican Chairman.

During the Spanish American War, Martin volunteered for service. He was placed on Mexican border service where he rose from Sergeant in 1901 to Major in 1910. He notes the National Guard is an important first line of the military.

In 1916, Martin again became County Solicitor. He was criticized by local banks for borrowing public debt funds at 3% interest from New York banks instead of for 6% from local banks.

Martin joined the 10th (changed to 110th) Pennsylvania Infantry during World War I. He was in a building destroyed by an 8 inch shell that killed 17 with only 5 survivors. He couldn't find his helmet and escaped wearing a German helmet. He was almost killed by friendly fire until he identified himself in time as not a German soldier. He one spent 72 hours on duty without sleeping. Several attacks and battles ensued, including surviving bombing that killed 22 and wounded 80. Marik commanded his infantry during five days of fighting. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. His division was considered one of the most efficient of the war,\.

After the war, he wrote a history of his divisions, In 1924, Martin ran for Auditor General and won a contested Republican Primary where he won in every county. He then won the general election, In 1928, he was elected State Treasurer as well as Republican State Committee Chairman. He would remain Chairman until 1934.

The Republican Party split in 1926. The business interests of the Mellons of Mellon Bank and Senator Joseph Grundy, leader of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association, supported George Wharton Pepper for reelection to the U,S. Senate versus Governor Gifford Pinchot versus U.S. Rep. William Vare, a Philadelphia Republican leader. For Governor, John Fisher had the Mellon-Grundy support while Arthur James had Vare's support. Vare and Fisher were elected won in an election Pinchot declared, while certifing the election, was "partially bought and partially stolen."

Martin was State Treasurer during financially troubling times when 130 Pennsylvania banks closed. Pinchot and Grundy unsuccessfully opposed Martin's reelection as Republican State Chairman. He defeated this candidate, S. Van Brown, by 80 to 35.

The Philadelphia Republican machine, according to Martin, was "probably the most efficient political organization in the United States". When Gifford Pinchot defeated John Hemphill for Goveror, Pinchot was cut by the Vare machine as he lost Philadelphia by 245,518 votes while Republican James Davis carried Philadelphia in the Senate race by 260,739 votes.

Martin fought Pinchot and Grundy over who should be President Pro Tem. Martin supported Sen. Augustus Daix of Philadelphia who defeated Sen. William Mansfield of Pittsburgh by 24 to 22. Pincholt, as Goveror, offered patronage jobs to Senators yet the Daix forces held firm.

In 1932, Martin's slate defeated Pinchot's slate for U.S. Senator, two row offices, Supreme Court, one Superior Court position, all State Committee seats, and 73 Delegates to the Republican National Convention. The Pinchot slate won one Superior Court position and two Delegates. At the National Convention, the Pennsylvania delegations unanimously voted for Martin for Vice President.

Both Pinchot and Martin agreed, when Prohibition ended, that the state government should control liquor sales. Martin researched liquor programs in Canadian provinces for Pinchot. The Liquor Control Board was created in 1933.

Martin left politics in 1934. Arthur James appointed Martin as Adjutant General with the rank of Major General in 1939. In 1941, the National Guard was inducted into the U.S. Army.

In 1942, Martin ran for Governor. He had the support of Governor James, Senator Grundy, State Sen. M. Harvey Taylor, Richard Mellon, and others. He was elected.

George Bloom was Governor Martin's Secretary and de facto Chief of Staff. Sen. M. Harvey Taylor was Republican State Chairman and frequently met with Martin's Cabinet.

As Governor, taxes were reduced by $322 million, net bonded indebtedness was reduced, education funding and teacher salaries increased, regular physical exams of all school children were planned, steam purification laws were enacted, mental health hospitals and prisons were constructed, workers compensation benefits were increased, a five year high and rural roads plan was developed, the first African American unit of troops in Pennsylvania was created, the Capitol Park was expanded, a permanent Drake Well museum was created, and Pittsburgh Point Park was improved.

In 1946, Martin was elected to the U.S. Senate. As Senator, he told veterans who were Communists "they had no right to claim the respect and treatment due to veterans." In 1948, the Republican State Committee endorsed Martin for President. He had additional Delegate support in five other states. At the convention, he threw his support to Thomas Dewey, who eventually won the nomination. Martin won reelection to the Senate. He boasts that $250 million in Pennsylvania projects were approved while he was Senator.

Martin was upset to see the increase in Federal government power. In a quarter century, taxes went from 21% of national income to 31% of national income. He did not believe there could be peaceful coexistence with a country, the Soviet Union, that opposed religion. He saw the U.S. as a religious nation.


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