Baggy Paragraphs

Philadelphia North American to Henry B. Joy

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My dear Mr. Joy:—

This letter is to report to you developements [sic] in our attitude to the price list question, the facts in which you outlined to me in your office last Monday.

I am perfectly frank to say that in that interview you made a thorough convert of me and a careful weighting of the data contained in your various exhibits of printed matter, merely confirms my belief that the only possible ground is that which you have taken. Naturally, this is my personal opinion.

Between this point and making the matter one of [The Philadelphia] North American editorial policy, there naturally exists a big gulf. In a matter of such importance, despite our friendship for the Packard Company, we could not adopt the issue merely because it is YOURS. It is only after solid thought and investigation, we had made it OURS, that it could be presented to the public as North American creed. 

Therefore, I submitted the matter to Mr. VanValkenburg [sic], who was very much interested, naturally, since the problem follows lines along which he has made extended researches. We spent all of one evening and all of one morning discussing the matter, my effort being simply to convey to him, the exact basis of your reasoning. As a result of our conversation, Mr. VanValkenburg has instructed our Washington correspondent, who is always consulted in matters of national policy, to make a thorough investigation. 

Mr. VanValkenburg has already formed his opinion, but will take no definite position until he is in possession of further data from Washington.

Should the final weight of all the facts, make his view coincide with yours, The North American will deal with the subject with characteristic energy and in a manner which I am sure will be encouraging not only to yourself personally, but to sound business men generally.

In this connection, I will keep you advised of developements.

I may also add that Mr. VanValkenburg was particularly interested in that portion of your testimony before the Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce in Washington, when you voiced the layman’s difficulty in understanding just what is meant in the Sherman Anti Trust Law by the phrase “In Restraint of Trade.”

Mr. Van Valkenburg [sic] believes that the great mass of honest business men share the difficulty, but thinks that the ambiguity rests not in any defect of the statute itself, which is based on the solid sense of the Common Law of England, but in the interpretations which courts have given to the law.

It is the North American’s opinion that there are such things as beneficent combinations, that all are not at all in restraint of trade, and that the only ones that should call for the repressive operation of the law are those which constitute a monopoly in restraint of trade.

I am enclosing you, therefore, correspondence between Mr. VanValkenburg and Woodrow Wilson at a time when Mr. Wilson was Governor of New Jersey. I think you will find in Mr. VanValkenburg’s letter, an interesting discussion of the Anti Trust law and errors of interpretation.

The subject is a big one, and entirely apart from any personal relations which have existed between your company and The North American, it is a matter of pleasure for us to cooperate with you in the discussion of an issue that is so important to business.

With best personal respects, I am,

Yours very truly,

THE NORTH AMERICAN

Geo. W. Graham,

Sporting Editor

[Attached: E.A. VanValkenburg’s six-page letter of June 21, 1911, to Governor Wilson, and his one-page response of June 28. Next item in the file of Joy's papers at University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library is a June 2, 1913 letter to Milton Tibbets, Packard Motor Car Company, concerning Oldfield bill, from Edward Rector, of Rector, Hibben, Davis & MacAuley, Attorneys, Chicago: “I think the privilege of maintaining prices and trade restrictions under cover of patents has been carried to ridiculous extremes in some cases… I have no patience with the contention that a manufacturer should not be allowed to maintain a uniform price upon his own goods in all other reasonable ways so far as he may be able to do so…”]

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Written by baggyparagraphs

December 14, 2009 at 5:10 pm

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