Troublesome to presidents, party lines, and the general public, the United States Senate, nevertheless, has a history which is glamorous even if staid. Under the somewhat affectionate pen of Edward G. Lowry writing in the February "Century", its romance assumes a splendor too alluring to be lost. For, although truckling at times to corporate interest and again to more varied sectional economic wishes, the Senate has prized beyond all intrigue its independence.
There, rules which once made the House a marionnette show and now crushes the unimportant member, have never existed. To the Senate, every president, each secretary of state have submitted their treaties in fear and trembling. Even minor treaties are subject to arduous Senatorial scrutiny. Mrs. Lowry cites the fate of one concerning the Congo Free State. When the Senate finally ratified it, it "was so bedeviled as to its verbiage that it might have been an extract from a Delaware traction charter". Secretary of State Hay re-read it and stated that "he was going to have it parsed by a commission of grammarians and field in the archives of the department."
The Senate has forty rules and 584 pages of precedent. All of the rules seem designed for the individual Senator. For "none of the Senators is negligible because each one of them has the power to obstruct". It was the elderly but long-winded Senator Morgan of Alabama, Mr. Lowry tells, who, interrupted by the arrival of a courier from the President to the Senate, was at a loss to remember his subject. "Was I addressing myself o the Pure Food Bill or the Statehood Bill", he asked the presiding officer. "The Senator from Alabama was addressing himself to the Porto Rican Citizenship Bill," came the answer. Thereupon Mr. Morgan continued his speech on the topic of the Nicarauguan Canal.
Pride is the historical constant of the United States Senate. All generation of Senators from Clay and Webster, through Douglas and Seward, Aldrich and Allison, Lodge, LaFollette, and Penrose, have bequeathed this spirit of independence. It is as permanent as the snuff-boxes on the wall, of which Mr. Lowry writes, "Probably no Senator has taken snuff since Millard Fillmore's day, but it is the duty of the Sergeant-at-Arms to keep those two boxes freshly filed."