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Two Articles from the New York Times' Archives, which touch on Theodore Roosevelt and the Single Tax

Offers $250,000 for Single Tax Campaign

Joseph Fels Pledges That Sum for Five Years Here and in England

If There Is An Equal Fund

Commission of Single Taxers Formed to Raise the Fund —
Roosevelt, Taft, and Hughes Said to be Friendly

NYT 5/8/1909

An international movement to raise a large fund to revive the agitation for the Henry George system of a single tax on land values has been started in England and the United States simultaneously by Joseph Fels of Philadelphia, who is now in London at work on the plan. Single taxers in this city and throughout the country received the printed plan of the movement in the mails last week.

To organize the work and continue and broaden the agitation, Mr. Fels, who is a wealthy manufacturer, has pledged to a commission organized in this country $25,000 annual for five years. He has duplicated this pledge in England in support of the English movement for the taxation of land values there. His only condition here, as there, is that as much more be raised. He has agreed to match every dollar raised in England or the United States.

The movement to co-operate with the Fels fund plan is in charge of a newly organized body, known as the Joseph Fels Fund of America, of which Mayor Tom L. Johnson of Cleveland is Treasurer. The Advisory Committee for this year is composed of William Lloyd Garrison of Massachusetts, son of the abolitionist; George Foster Peabody of this city, Bolton Hall, Bishop Charles D. Williams, ex-Senator James W. Bucklin of Colorado, Judge E. C. Brown of Chicago, Louis F. Post of Chicago, Dr. Mary D. Hussey, H. F. Ring of Texas, F. C. Leubuscher of New York City, Joseph Dana Miller, Henry George, Jr., Fenton Lawson, and Mrs. Jennie L. Munroe of Washington, D. C. On the Executive Committee are Daniel Kiefer of Cincinnati, Chairman; Lincoln Steffens of Boston, Jackson Ralston of Maryland, Frederick C. Howe of Cleveland, and George A. Briggs of Elkhart, Ind. The fund committee has begun work in this city and elsewhere, and has sent circulars to those who have been interested in the single tax or Henry George theories, asking for contributions.

The Fels Commission, in outlining the work for the year, says it believes that the agitation for the single tax has got out of the experimental stage. The committee points out that Oregon, which now enjoys the initiative and referendum, came within a few thousand votes at the last election of a complete victory for land-value taxation, and that there is a fine field in that State for continuing the campaign under the auspices of the Fels fund. In Rhode Island also, where the single taxers elected a single tax Governor a few years ago in the face of a bitter fight against him by Senator Aldrich and the high-tariff Republicans of the State, the field is said to be equally inviting. The committee says that as 75 per cent of the population of Rhode Island lives within a radius of ten miles of the State House, an educational campaign can be promoted which will involve comparatively little expense. There is no constitutional bar in Rhode Island to the single tax should it obtain a majority vote in the Legislature, and personal property is already exempt from taxation. Ex-Gov. Garvin , who was twice elected Governor of the State, will be in charge of the campaign in his state.

The committee will also agitate the subject in Oklahoma and Missouri, where a great deal of interest is said to have been manifested. One of the most significant developments in the matter of land reform, it is stated, is the attitude assumed by ex-President Roosevelt in the matter of the conservation of natural resources. Mr. Roosevelt while in office established the principle that no grant of land would be made to any railroad or corporation, and that a system of leaseholds would be followed by him. He vetoed a bill giving such a grant to a Western road, and in his veto declared for the leasehold system.

This system has also been accepted as the policy of the Taft Administration both in this country and in the Philippines, and Gov. Hughes in this State has repeatedly declared himself in favor of the conservation of "natural opportunities." There are in fact some who declare that Gov. Hughes is a pretty good single taxer, having obtained some light on the subject from the late Thomas G. Shearman, years ago. Mr. Roosevelt is said to have obtained what knowledge he has on the subject from "Bucky" O'Neill, the Rough Rider, who fought with Roosevelt in this campaign before Santiago in the Spanish-American war. "Bucky" O'Neill had been a single taxer for many years.

The plan of the Fels committee is eventually to call a National conference of single taxers and after that an international conference. The reports received by the committee from abroad are that the plan is meeting with success in England and Scotland. The present British Government is already committed, in the budget recently introduced, to land value taxation, which it is believed will result in breaking up many of the great landed estates in Great Britain and getting the workers "back to the land" and away from the cities, where the question of the unemployed is a growing menace to the country.

NYT 5/8/1909

Capt. "Bucky" O'Neil

How the ex-Mayor and Rough Rider Met His Death

Note: The preceding and succeeding articles in the same column of the NYT described a visit to NYC by the Rough Riders. O'Neil died 7/1/98. see also http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/wooneill.htm

NYT September 19, 1898

The late Capt. O'Neil, of Troop A, First United States Volunteer Cavalry, was one of the most striking among the many odd characters from all walks of life which went to make up the famous regiment of Rough Riders. A plainsman, a legislator, a notorious gambler, an able economist, and a man devoid of fear, he earned a distinction in the combination of traits which it may be said none of his comrades reached. The account of his death was related the other day by a member of his troop, who passed through Long Island City on his way South after being mustered out.

This was William Pulsing, a German-American business man of New Orleans, who was accepted into the regiment largely on account of his regular army experience. Mr. Pulsing was found at the Red Cross Hospital at Long Island City, where he was staying over night, though little the worse for his campaign experiences. "Bucky O'Neill," said he, "won his nickname from the fact that he was always given to 'bucking' every gambling game in sight. He was noted through a large part of the West for his gambling propensities.

"Troop A, of which he was Captain, was not engaged at El Caney, but took part in the general advance on Santiago. He lost his life at the battle of San Juan Hill. The troop was deployed along the creeek, and the fire was hot. I asked Capt. O'Neill if he would allow me to go ahead and reconoitre, and on receiving permission I started out and ran into a road, a short distance ahead, which had been sunk by the use of troops and wagons, about a foot below the surrounding soil. I reported to Capt. O'Neill that this would be a good place for the troop to find temporary shelter, and we all went forward. The members of the troop lay down in this road.

"The Mauser bullets were whizzing rapidly over us, but Capt. O'Neill, who was always accustomed to explose himself recklessly to fire, stood upright, apparently unconscious of danger. He was talking to an Adjutant General, though who the General was I don't know. Suddenly a Mauser bullet struck him squarely in the mouth, going in so evenly that his teeth weren't injured. He fell to the ground at once, and I and a man named Boyle, who was afterward killed in battle, picked him up and carried his body to the rear. He died there in a few seconds.

"Capt. O'Neill was noted for his writings on political economy besides his gambling tendencies. He was the Mayor of Phoenix, Ariz., when he enlisted, and was the first man to introduce the theories of Henry George into that town. He never preached single tax in the regiment, however."

[other sources say he was the mayor of Prescott, Arizona.]

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