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State of the Club Address 1912

Presented by President Philip J. McCook, October 18, 1912.

The Club has reached the end of its fiscal year with a record for accomplishment which, though not conspicuous, seems to its officers and its Executive Committee, considering the conditions of affairs within the party, a ground for no little pride.

There assembled, on the occasion of the first meeting of those interested in the formation of the club, nineteen gentlemen, and this number has increased from time to time till we now have nearly two hundred and fifty active members.

We are not a campaign club. There are plenty of district clubs and other clubs and organizations founded and carried on with the campaign as an important end. We do not wish to compete with any of these; on the contrary, our members have been from the first urged to join and serve with them.

After a number of gatherings more or less informal, at which work was done in the way of preparation, the club was formally organized at the building of the New York Republican Club on November 22nd, 1911, a constitution was adopted, and officers elected. The skillful and patient attention of Messrs. Bard and Goddard to the difficult task of drafting the constitution was particularly appreciated.

We immediately began arrangements for our first public function-the Inaugural Dinner of the Club under the leadership of Mr. Finch, chairman of the committee in charge. The dinner was held on December 20th, 1911. The speakers were President Taft, Senator Borah of Idaho, Chancellor Brown of New York University, and Congressman Parsons. Over three hundred persons attended, and the greatest enthusiasm was shown. The guests of the evening included beside the speakers a former Mayor of the city, the Comptroller of the city, the Surveyor of the Port, the Commissioner of Immigration, the Commissioner of Public Works, the Justices of various courts, numerous Congressmen, Senators, Assemblymen, and Aldermen past and present, the Chairman of the County Committee, with many district leaders, and representatives of the Republican Club of the City of New York, the district clubs, the City Club, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, the National Republican College League, the Intercollegiate Civic League, the Women’s Republican Club, and the West End Women’s Republican Club.

The Executive Committee carefully planned and submitted to the club, certain amendments to the constitution and the question of whether to incorporate. At a meeting of the Club, held on January 27th, 1912, the proposed amendments were adopted, and a resolution to incorporate was unanimously passed.

A special committee, consisting of Messrs. Noble and Day, drafted the necessary papers, and on February 19th, 1912, the Club became a corporation under the laws of the State of New York with the same name.

Meanwhile, a Membership Committee had been appointed with Mr. Neal D. Becker as chairman and added materially to our membership.

At about this time the question of the recall of judicial decisions was being agitated, and we induced to discuss for our benefit Professor Lewis, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Mr. Charles F. Mathewson of the New York Bar. They addressed the club at a large meeting held on March 22nd. The membership participated actively, by questions, and the subject was ably and comprehensively covered.

As the time for the Spring primaries approached, the Executive Committee decided that action should be taken on a plan to change the basis of representation in the County Committee. A special Committee, with Mr. Marsch as Chairman,  prepared a scholarly and exhaustive report, which was presented to a meeting of the club called to consider it, held on April 30th, 1912. We were addressed by Mr. Collin H. Woodward, Executive member from the 23rd Assembly District, and member of the Rules Committee of the County Committee. Resolutions were passed, and copies were sent to the officers of the Republican County Committee.

In May the Executive Committee appointed a special committee, of which Mr. Chadbourne was chairman, to consider the matter of a change in the basis of representation in Republican National Conventions. A report proposing certain amendments in the rules of the Convention, so as to make the basis of representation, apart from delegates at large, the Republican vote in the several States instead of the population was carried, and a meeting called to discuss it.

The club met on June 11th. The resolutions were considered at length, carried, and directed to be printed, and a committee was appointed, consisting of Messrs. Chadbourne, Chairman Marsh, Wadhams, and Whitin, to present our views at Chicago.

At this same meeting, we listened to Hon. Job E. Hedgeson the subject of National Conventions. The speaker had been a delegate to many State and National Conventions, and his remarks were instructive.

The special committee at Chicago distributed copies of our resolutions among the delegates. Mr. Prentice, a delegate and a member of our Club, and Mr. Stimson of California agreed to take up the matter before the Committee on Rules. A motion to that committee to consider the question was immediately tabled, only seven votes having been recorded in favor of a reduction in representation. When the report of the committee was submitted to the Convention, a motion to table it was carried, and the old basis of representation, therefore, remains unchanged. It is believed that but for the extraordinary excitement and bitter feeling which prevailed the resolutions might in substance have been adopted. The report of Chairman Chadbourne has been received and filed.

At the beginning of the Summer, National and State Committees of the Club were appointed with Messrs. Griscom and E. Stagg Whitin the respective chairmen. Mr. Griscom was obliged to submit in June to a serious operation followed by long convalescence, and on that account, he has not yet called his committee together.

Mr. Whitin has through the Summer held a number of meetings of the State Committee, its members have worked separately and together on subjects for the attention of the party in the State. It was expected to call the Club to meet late in September in order to pass on matters to be submitted to the Republican State Convention for the platform, but the absence of committee members from town at the end of August, and the illness of the chairman in September, prevented the committee from being ready with its report until September 21st, the eve of the Convention. It was impossible to get a representative meeting either of the Executive Committee or of the Club in time for any effective work, following authorization.

With some hesitation, therefore, those of the committee who could do so, without special action of the Club, attended the Convention at Saratoga. We submitted to members of the Platform Committee, well in advance of the general rush, eight planks, and are glad to be able to report that a number of them were incorporated in substance, and the ideas of several more were accepted. We made it clear that we appeared as members of the committée without a specific authorization of the Club. Since, however, we covered, as we believe, only matters in line with the fixed policy of our organization, we trust that you will approve our action, and accept for the club the credit which we believe is due by reason of the early appearance of its members on the ground and active work, with the intention of, “making practical in the service of the State……the idealism characteristic of youth. Chairman Whitin’s report, giving the matter in greater detail, has been received and filed. His committee is now preparing for work on 1913 legislation.

We are about to appoint a Committee on Municipal Affairs and have high hope that long before the 1913 campaign we shall be in a position to contribute efficient aid worthy of our express purposes to the cause of good government in the City of New York. In this connection, I beg to remind you of an important plank in our constitution:

The condition of membership shall be a general preference for, and sympathy with, the principles of the Republican Party, and adherence to the objects of this club as expressed in this constitution. We recognize that National politics, as such, have no proper place in local government.

I trust memberships will be generally renewed, and that the members will seek out and find new applicants. While the New York Young Republican Club is not, as already pointed out, a campaign organization and therefore is not as a club participating in the present campaign, I hope every member able and willing to do so will take part in some fashion. If information is sought for openings for workers and speakers, it will be gladly given by Benjamin M.Day, secretary, at his office, 160 Broadway, telephone number Cortlandt 4775. In this connection, it is pointed out that the need of lawyers and watchers for Election Day is pressing, and that a non-partisan organization devoted to insuring a fair and honest count is in existence and will welcome volunteers.