The Rebuke to Archbishop Corrigan
VOLUME 1 – NO. 10 NEW YORK, SATURDAY, MARCH 12, 1887.
The Rebuke to Archbishop Corrigan.
Any day now may bring the restoration by papal order of Dr. McGlynn to his position of pastor of St. Stephen’s. Some, in fact, imagine that the order is already in this city, and though couched in the form of a suggestion or request, is in nature so emphatic a command that Archbishop Corrigan cannot find excuse for long delaying to give it effect. In any event, the restoration of Dr. McGlynn is not only clearly required by justice, but it has become so obvious that it is the only way in which the Roman see can extricate itself from the difficulty in which the imprudence of Archbishop Corrigan has involved it, that it may be predicted with all the certainty that can attach to things yet remaining to be done.
Restored to his pastorate, all pretense of controlling his actions as a man and a citizen withdrawn, there will be no reason why Dr. McGlynn should not go to Rome if his health and personal duties permit.
Whatever be its final ending, the case of Dr. McGlynn has in one respect already brought about what will long make it a cause celebre in the Catholic church. Up to the time he vainly exhausted it upon Dr. McGlynn, Archbishop Corrigan, in his authority to suspend and depose, held over his subordinate clergy a power so tremendous that it can only be likened to those electric rods, which in Bulwer’s fiction were carried by the people of his dreamland, and which they had but to point at an enemy to annihilate him. The odium that has hitherto attached to a deposed priest was largely akin to that which in the middle ages made the boldest shrink from the terrors of excommunication. It has up to the present time been an article of common belief that no matter what his talents, his virtues or his services; no matter how gross and how cruel the injustice to which he had fallen a victim, a deposed priest must lose influence and respect, must sink into a powerless and contemptible nondescript, a sort of moral leper, who at the very best could excite among Catholics and non-Catholics alike only a contemptuous pity, and whose adherence to his faith could only hug closer to his soul the iron that burned into it. Eight weeks ago this fate was predicted for Dr. McGlynn, not only by those with whom the wish was father to the thought, but in some cases, at least, even by men who loved him and the cause for espousing which he was threatened with deposition.
Over and over again have men who thought they knew and who ought to know the habit of the popular Catholic mind—men even who scorned the unreasoning feeling of which they were in so much dread—privately protested that, once deposed, Dr. McGlynn would lose all power for good, and that those who had followed him and trusted him and honored him, would turn from him with aversion. It was in vain to point out to such men that the reason why disgrace attached to suspension was that it had generally carried with it a suspicion of immorality of conduct or laxity of faith—things that his bitterest enemy could not attribute to the pastor of St. Stephen. “It has always been so,” they said, “and it will be so in Dr. McGlynn’s case. Right or wrong,” they said, “no priest, however loved, can stand up against the censure of his archbishop. The Catholics of this country are not yet educated far enough for that. Dr. McGlynn must submit and go to Rome. If he does not, the very people whom he has taught and served will turn against him as an enemy of their church.”
This is what Archbishop Corrigan thought, when, deposing Dr. McGlynn, he sent the coarsest of his councillors to take the place of the “dear priest,” who for over 20 years had been the trusted guide and never failing friend of the parishioners of St. Stephen’s.
This is what the Reverend Arthur Donnelly thought when, armed with the archiepiscopal mandate, he swaggered into the church of St. Stephen and with his own hands tore down the name of Dr. McGlynn from the confessional he had so long used, and then marching into the parochial residence made the astounding exhibition of boorishness detailed at the time in The Standard, but which, for the honor of the profession he disgraced, it is best to no more than refer to.
But the event has proved the mistake. The contempt and disgrace which were expected to fall upon the deposed priest have fallen upon his persecutors. The Reverend Arthur Donnelly, who swaggered so lustily into St. Stephen’s, has been compelled, by the quiet force of public opinion, to slink out of it, leaving the church of which he is still nominal pastor in charge of an assistant. Dr. McGlynn’s confessional, to which his name is restored, is kept sacred to his memory, and though the snow be on the ground, is daily festooned by devoted hands with fresh flowers. Though the Tammany machine and the county Democratic machine has been called on to back up the archiepiscopal authority, the rebellion of the great body of the parishioners of St. Stephen’s grows stronger instead of weaker, and in spite of the most strenuous exertions the once large revenues of the church have fallen to a ridiculous ebb. Loved and influential as he was while pastor of the largest of the Catholic parishes in New York, Edward McGlynn, the suspended and deposed priest, is today beyond all question far more loved, far more influential — is, beyond all question, the best loved, for most influential priest in America, if not in the Catholic world.
Nor is this feeling confined to the laity. Before the archbishop’s departure for the Bahamas the revulsion of public opinion against his abuse of authority was so strongly felt that an effort was made by his particular friends among the clergy to get up and address of sympathy and adhesion to him in his quote conflict with Dr. McGlynn, unquote as a style to what was in reality a conflict with public opinion, provoked by his persecution of Dr. McGlynn. This quote address of sympathy and adhesion unquote it was intended should be signed by all the priests in the diocese, and after comforting and strengthening the archbishop on his return from the Bahamas, should be printed in all the papers and cabled to Rome. But so flat did the proposition fall that on the day appointed for the meeting of a large number of clergymen who had been asked to come together in order to get it up, only two of the whole number were in attendance — such a digit this ball of failure in the very first step that the project was immediately an egg gnomon thusly abandoned.
Look Archbishop Oregon, said one of his presbyters, has done a wonderful thing — the thing that would have seemed incredible. And he has succeeded in making suspension honorable! Unquote
Add to the situation here is recognized in Rome. For the first time in the history of the Church in America, the Pope, instead of backing up the archbishop with his ecclesiastical thunders, has said his apostolic benediction to a recalcitrant congregation and a deposed priest!
At the highest authority in the Church should does have come to something like a true comprehension of the case is doubtless largely due to Cardinal Gibbons.
The American Catholic episcopate, with a few notable exceptions, is singularly deficient in men of ability, a fact to, as was pointed out by a Catholic priest in the last number of the standard, to the manner of selection, the American bishops being chosen neither by priests nor people, but by the bishops themselves, who constitute a sort of self perpetuating close corporation, for admission to which servility and mediocrity are stronger recommendations than talent or character. It is, however, extremely fortunate for the Catholic church in America that at a time when the most important metropolitan see is filled by one so narrow and arrogant as Archbishop Corrigan there should be in the still higher position of the only American cardinal a man of such broad ideas and popular sympathies as characterize the cardinal archbishop of Baltimore.
The <word not legible> of the New York Herald, facilitated, perhaps, by the shrewd sense of the cardinal, who saw in the immediate publication of his report the surest means of making certain that it should not lie for months in the propaganda, has given to the public the substance of the protest against the condemnation of the Knights of Labor which has been made to the Propaganda by Cardinal Gibbons. Carefully diplomatic in form, it is yet an outspoken and timely warning of the injury that would result to the Catholic church in America should it be put in the attitude of a defender of social injustice and an engine for the repression of attempts on the part of workingmen to better their condition. As Bishop Nulty some years ago told the holy see that there was no divine assurance that the people of Ireland, if their loyalty to their faith were too much strained, would not go the way of other once Catholic peoples and cut loose from the Roman connection, so does Cardinal Gibbons now warn the Propaganda against the dangers that would attend a similar policy here. In short, Cardinal Gibbons has the wisdom to see and the independence to declare that the Catholic church in the United States must, if it is to be a church of the people, be American, not Italian; progressive, not reactionary; must sympathize with the needs and hopes of the masses, not become the instrument of politicians and the patronized of millionaires.
This of itself would sufficiently show how Cardinal Gibbons views the attempt of Archbishop Corrigan to use his ecclesiastical authority to strengthen the Tammany ring and help the corporations in their efforts to prevent constitutional reforms, and especially how he regards the manner in which, in the case of Dr. McGIynn, the archbishop has endeavored to put the Catholic church in the attitude of a relentless enemy of human rights — a defender of the system which here, as in every civilized country, condemns the masses of men to unrequited toil and embruting poverty. But beyond this it is very much of an open secret that Cardinal Gibbons, before sailing for Europe, expressed to personal friends his keen sense of the injustice that had been done to Dr. McGIynn. Nor does it rest on the speculations of newspaper correspondents that one of his first acts on reaching the eternal city was to bring the case of Dr. McGIynn to the personal attention of the pope, obtaining from him a declaration that the principles avowed by Dr. McGIynn had not been condemned by the church.
It seems certain, however, that the pope’s personal attention was called to the Corrigan-McGlynn case before Cardinal Gibbons arrived at Rome. On looking over the various dispatches from Rome which Archbishop Corrigan furnished to the press, it will be noticed that up to the time of Dr. McGlynn’s deposition the correspondence from Rome was conducted by Simeoni. This deposition occurred on Jan. 15, and produced a sensation that made it the great topic of the day throughout the United States, and caused long dispatches to be sent to the European press. About the same time copies of THE STANDARD, containing the first intelligible account of the whole case, and showing that instead of being a local ecclesiastical quarrel it involved issues of the most momentous importance, reached Rome.
Archbishop Corrigan’s statement, which, on the 19th of January, he told the St. Stephen’s committee he would make, as a matter of favor, “if Dr. McGIynn expresses in writing a desire to that effect,” but which, Dr. McGIynn not expressing any desire, either in writing or otherwise, was at once given by the Archbishop to the press, was dated Jan. 21, and was handed to the reporters on the evening of the same day. It closes as follows:
The latest phase of this unhappy conflict occurred this morning, when Archbishop Jacobini, secretary to the pope, cabled as follows:
For prudential reasons the propaganda has hitherto postponed action in the case of Dr. McGlynn. The sovereign pontiff has now taken the matter into his own hands.
The case now rests between Dr. McGlynn and the holy father.
In the light of subsequent development this dispatch has a significance which does not seem to have been noticed here at the time. It seems now to be certain that the cable dispatches to the European papers called the attention of the pope to the matter, and the article in THE STANDARD was probably translated for him. Knowing what trouble Simeoni had made for him in Ireland, where the interposition of his own authority only came in time to save the church from danger of a schism, the pope must at once have decided to take the whole matter out of the hands both of Simeoni and Corrigan, and instructed, not Simeoni, the secretary of the propaganda, but the papal secretary, Jacobini (since deceased), to give orders to that effect. This explains the subsequent silence of Rome. The pope has been waiting for the visit of the American cardinal and for the receipt of full information.
It is this that gives significance to the cablegram from the private secretary of the pope extending the apostolic benediction to the priest whom Archbishop Corrigan has deposed and to the congregation who have put themselves in open defiance to archiepiscopal injustice. Under other circumstances it might be thought that the administration of such a rebuke to Archbishop Corrigan was possibly the result of inadvertence—the dispatch of congratulation having, in the multiplicity of communications that come to Rome, been answered pro forma by a secretary ignorant of the case. But not only is it to be remembered that a previous dispatch had been sent direct to the pope by St. Stephen’s congregation, asking in the name of twenty thousand Catholics the restoration of their pastor, but that it is certain that the case has otherwise been brought to the personal attention of the head of the Catholic church.
The people who with good intentions advised Dr. McGIynn to hurry off, sick or well, in response to Cardinal Simeoni’s order for him first to retract and then to come to Rome, in expectation that he would be able at once to lay his case before the supreme pontiff, must have some sort of confused notion that the pope has as many ears and eyes as a Hindoo god, and that he sits all day in Rome in some sort of an amphitheater, where every one who has anything to say to him is free to enter and state his case. The truth is that the pope is an old man of seventy-seven, and cannot possibly give personal attention to any but the most important matters, and that he knows as little of America as do most Europeans who have never crossed the ocean.
It was hardly to be expected that he should trouble himself with what at Rome must have seemed at first a mere local matter. Such is the magnitude and diversity of the spiritual empire of which Rome is the center, that ordinary affairs, supposed to be transmitted to the pope, are necessarily filtered through a ramified bureaucracy, the oldest and perhaps the slowest in the world. A deposed priest, seeking redress against his archbishop, would, unless the case had in someway attained the importance of a worldwide question, have little chance of getting an audience with the pope, let alone of claiming his attention.
It may somewhat surprise the pious souls who so readily fell in with the demand of the urgent archbishop, the enterprising Herald, the ultramontane Sun and Tray, Blanche and Sweetheart of the press, that Dr. McGIynn, sick or well, right or wrong, should at once pack off to Rome—nevertheless it is a fact, that just while this clamor was at its height a letter was received in this city from an Italian prelate in Rome—and he a prelate closer to the Vatican than to the Propaganda—which urged that Dr. McGIynn should stay in New York, and on no account come to Rome, where they would be “certain to exhaust his patience and wear him out with the art that broke the strength of Hannibal—delay.” This Italian prelate went on to say that Dr. McGIynn should “have no fear of Simeoni, because the law in Rome is higher than he,” and that he should have no fear either of “the little women who act as Simeoni’s female secretaries, and who telegraph in his name to New York what he has never thought of telegraphing.”
Dr. McGlynn’s refusal to be so easily dropped out of sight into the waiting-room of the Roman Propaganda, much as it may have annoyed Archbishop Corrigan, has as is now evident brought the question to the attention of the supreme pontiff.
But these considerations of expediency are only for the attention of those who have urged considerations of expediency. Dr. McGlynn has based his attitude on this question upon something far higher. In denying “the right of bishop, propaganda or pope” to order him to Rome, he not only took a stand belittling an American citizen, but one of extreme importance to American priests. And there can be no question that when this matter gets past the Italian bourbon Simeoni to the decision of the pope himself or of a competent ecclesiastical tribunal, it must be held that Dr. McGlynn is right. Every Catholic bishop makes at his consecration a promise that he will every three years write to Rome giving some account of affairs in his diocese, and that he will every ten years visit Rome. But neither archbishop, propaganda nor pope has any more canonical right to order a priest to go to Rome than they have to order any Catholic layman. The Catholic church is not such an absolute despotism as Archbishop Corrigan would have it believed to be, or as many Protestants think it is. If it were there would be no room in it for intelligent and self-respecting men. For Dr. McGIynn to go to Rome as a suspended and deposed priest, no matter at whose solicitation, would not only be for him to acknowledge the propriety of condemnation before trial, but to betray the rights of the whole body of American priests, who have been subjected to a tyranny utterly unwarranted by the constitution of the Catholic church, because they have had until this time no man among them strong enough to bring any question of their rights to the decision of the highest authority.
This the case of Dr. McGlynn bids fair to do.
About the time when Errington’s influence was all powerful at the Propaganda, and Simeoni, engaged in browbeating the patriotic Irish bishops, wrote to New York to have the priest McGIynn suspended for his land league speeches and for “favoring the Irish revolution,” an Irish bishop who saw clearly to what disaster to the church the interference of the Propaganda in Ireland was leading, told me that his hope was that the matter should finally get to the decision of the pope, whom he knew personally as bishop of Perugia, and who, he said, was really a sensible man. This reliance upon the pope proved at length to be well founded, for it was Leo XIII himself who overruled the mad scheme of the Propaganda to insult Irish sentiment by placing a pro-English bishop, whom they had called from Australia for the purpose, in the see of Dublin, and appointed instead, in the person of Dr. Walsh, the first patriotic archbishop of Dublin since the death of St. Laurence O’Toole, seven centuries ago.
If the pope has made up his mind to reinstate Dr. McGIynn it is to be hoped that he will not stop there. Archbishop Corrigan is too small a man to hold the metropolitan see of New York and Cardinal Gibbons is too big a man to be kept in Baltimore. The Baltimoreans would probably protest against an exchange, nor would it be fair to them. But if Archbishop Corrigan could be made a cardinal master of ceremonies at Rome or a cardinal resident in North China, he would, doubtless, prove both useful and grateful, while such a promotion would open a way to give the metropolis of the western world, in the person of Cardinal Gibbons, a cardinal archbishop of broad American ideas, who would constitute a fit head for the Catholic church in America, and exert a powerful influence for good.
The New York Herald, noted for its enterprise in all directions, has not only its own fast trains, but its own Atlantic cable, and is particularly strong in its European news. Anxious to get whatever will please its readers, it gathers news both of what is important and of what is amusing, and when it cannot get a king to interview will interview his cook. Following its cable dispatch giving the really important protest of Cardinal Gibbons against the condemnation of the Knights of Labor, it hunted up in Rome a Monsignor Straniero, who recently brought to the United States the red berretta for Cardinal Gibbous, and cabled over a long extract from a report which he has made to somebody or other on the condition of affairs in the United States. “My Lord” Strainero does not appear to be a person of any importance in Rome, where monsignors are as plenty as blackberries. He is, in fact, a sort of papal district messenger boy, who is sent traveling over the world with red caps and such things, at the expense of those who are to receive them. But this report of his, if not important, is, at least, funny, which is probably the quality that attracted the Herald. Here is a choice extract from it:
The social question, however, has a greater importance in America than elsewhere, because there the capitalists are embarrassed by over production, and as the profits to-day are less than they were formerly the pay of the poor workingmen is reduced, and so the workingmen strike. And since it is very difficult to restrain the passions of people who want bread and work, the result is that serious riots and events damaging to a well ordered society frequently occur.
Everywhere in America are formed societies to help as much as possible the condition, sometimes terribly hard, of these poor workingmen; and these societies are in full sympathy with the workingman and doing their best improve his condition.
Last year they tried to elect as Mayor of New York a certain over enthusiastic Henry George, the strong supporter of these ideas. Mr. George in his theories asserts that the world belongs to all men, and that it should be divided proportionally between them. Then he says that in every state the government is the absolute owner of all lands within the state, because the ruler is the representative of the nation.
It lies between the ruler and the government to divide the land between the citizens in equal portions. Is it just that a rich man should own a large extent of land and a poor man nothing?
It is well understood that Mr. George’s theories would be absolutely absurd if they referred to an existing order of things which was really a possibility, but the worst of it is that he would try to bring about this order of things. That is the gist of the question. Not all the followers of Mr. George’s ideas are people of moderation. The means which they would adopt to gain their ends are neither equitable nor right. But it is plain that Mr. George is not to be blamed for this.”
What is to be regretted is that a priest of New York, a doctor of Rome and generally considered a wise and prudent man, Edward McGIynn, rector of St. Stephen’s church of that city, departing from the usual custom of the American Catholic clergy, who do not interfere with politics, began to advocate the candidacy of Mr. George and to show sympathy with his theories. The excellent archbishop of New York, Monsignor Corrigan, requested him to desist from his course. This admonition had no effect other than to make Dr. McGIynn rebel against the authority of the archbishop. Monsignor Corrigan was obliged to suspend him, and now this priest will probably come to Rome to defend his actions, which no one can justify. In the meantime the archbishop, in a pastoral letter published just after the meeting of the diocesan Synod in New York last November, considered it his duty to enter into the social question, reproving the ideas of Mr. George. The latter in an open letter, published by the daily papers of Dec. 8, replied insolently to the archbishop, trying to confute the pastoral letter. It is thought that Dr. McGIynn had a hand in this reply. People became much excited over the matter, and the archbishop, to avoid further complications, is working with the estimable Major John Keiley, Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, a Catholic society guided by the doctrines of the church, to prevent these dangerous doctrines from gaining a further foothold and to prevent their doing harm to the well being and morality of society.
Those who have read the politico-economic part of Archbishop Corrigan’s last pastoral will at once be struck by the similarity in thought and style of the two documents. The suspicion that will thus arise will not be lessened by the notice given to “the estimable Major John Keiley, Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great,” with whom, it seems, Archbishop Corrigan is now working to prevent further complications.
United States Labor Commissioner Carroll D. Wright says that there are in the institutions covered by his report on convict labor some 64,000 prisoners. Of these, 45,000 are engaged in productive employments in the following manner: 15,000 are hired to contractors at so much per day; 5,600 on the piece-price system, the employer furnishing material and paying so much a piece for the manufactured article; 9,100 are leased to employers for a certain period, and 14,800 are employed directly by the government, which sells the manufactured goods in open market. Mr. Wright thinks that where as now the convict laborers are less than one in a thousand of population the competition with labor is not so great as to require federal legislation, but where in any one state the competition is oppressive it should be legislated upon. Mr. Wright does not attempt to show why it is that working people do their work for them. Yet it is this that lies at the heart of the whole convict labor question.
At Great Grub Company.
The Union land company, just incorporated in St. Paul, Minn., has $2,000,000 of capital stock. Its purpose is to acquire lands and then encourage settlement upon them. They say they will not sell large tracts to any one party. What they want is to build up the country, and they will even lend money at 6 per cent to manufacturers and others who can show that they have reasonable prospects of doing prosperous business. The prospectus of this company reads like the accounts of the noble philanthropists who so kindly “furnished employment” to thousands of working people for a consideration in the way of profits.
An ex-city auditor has delved into the question of municipal taxation in St. Louis and discovered that within fifteen years the taxable value of personal property has decreased nearly $7,000,000. The result has been due to false returns by property owners and to imperfect work by the city assessors. Taxation is avoided by the conversion of property into United States bonds just prior to the date of assessment, and the consequent more or less truthful representation of people of wealth to the assessors concerning the character of their investments.
That Cincinnati Convention.
POTTSTOWN, Pa., March 1.—If ever the old adage “the mountain labored and brought forth a mouse” was applicable to anything, it is to the late Cincinnati convention. Such a milk-sop platform disgusts earnest reformers. We have been continually condemning the corrupt old parties for their platforms of “glittering generalities.” But this one literally out-Herods Herod. Why, the only specific point put forth was the piracy of Oklahama, the robbing of the Indians of their lands. This cold, gum-elastic, non-interfering policy platform only draws pity from its friends and contempt from its enemies.
Mr. Hewitt and the Labor Cause.
We don’t think much of Mr. Hewitt’s letter denouncing a secret labor organization as tyrannical, as usurping the functions of law, and so forth and so on. All organizations are to an extent secret. So this part of the accusation amounts to nothing, and Mr. Hewitt stands simply in the position in which English capital and aristocracy stood for so many years, of denying to labor the right of organization. That right has long ago been conceded in England, and it has in this country also, though Mr. Hewitt doesn’t seem to know it. The combinations of capital in this country are just as tyrannical and a thousand times more harmful than labor combinations. The rolling mill in this city is at a dead loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars for its plant, and the town has suffered a loss of hundreds of laborers because the Bessemer steel ring won’t let this mill do business, and what is more, this ring is upheld in its tyranny by the law of the land, without which it could not exist. So it is with the oil pool, the coal pool, the salt monopoly, and so on.
Henry Ward beecher.
James Redpath Reviews the Great Preacher’s Character.
James Redpath, whose almost miraculous recovery from recent illness, is due to the skill and care of Dr. S. W. Dana, sat in his reception room, at his home in Eighty-sixth street, yesterday, and freely talked of Henry Ward Beecher, with whom he had been intimately acquainted for a long time, and who, during the palmy days of the Redpath lyceum bureau at Boston, was one of its most brilliant stars.
“Henry Ward Beecher was the most potent individual in this country during the war,” said Mr. Redpath. “As far as influencing public opinion went, he was equally powerful in church and state. He was pope in the Protestant churches, and both agnostics and Catholics felt kindly toward him. This unique strength was due first of all to his genius, and next to the fact that he identified himself with the common people more than any other great American except Lincoln (who was not to be compared with Beecher as an intellectual power); and his love for them was hearty and sincere. Mr. Beecher was a great man in the Emersonian definition of greatness: ‘Great with the common people.’ He had the traits of the common people, and he was—in colossal proportions—one of them in every way.
“He thought their thoughts, shared their likes and dislikes, and knew how to express their creeds in their own tongue, only with greater power. Again, his enormous influence was largely the result of accretion. It was no unearned increment, as the people knew. From his earliest days he sided with the oppressed, and had persistently taken the part of the under dog in every fight. He had been the champion of the outcast truth as well as the outcast race, and so, as time went on, the numbers indebted to him for brave assistance rolled up, and their gratitude counted as a political force.
“Another source of Beecher’s strength was in his friends. Their feeling toward him was extraordinary, such as is rarely seen between men. In some he excited that same feeling of jealousy with which men regard women. Men were jealous of each other on his account. His devoted friends exerted a powerful influence upon the remainder of the community, a large part of which already admired the famous preacher for his rare independence both of religious and political rings.
“Again, Mr. Beecher was always, both in and out of church, a thorough American, never lowering the flag anywhere. He hitched the wagon of his popularity to the national stars.
“Beecher was one of the greatest benefactors to the American nation that has ever lived. There are not over half a dozen men, from and including Washington, who deserve to be ranked with him. To the orthodox he has been a theological Moses, who has brought the masses from out of the bondage of Calvinistic barbarism to a humane and intellectual belief. He is the greatest, highest type in our American history of the emotional man. He did not arrive at his perception of truths by logical process, but by intuition. Of course, he paid the penalty of that noble temperament by, to use a schoolyard phrase, sometimes ‘going off half cocked’—for example, championing some public men before they had been tried, who afterward were weighed and found wanting.
“This was strikingly shown in the case of his sustaining Johnson in the earlier stages of his reconstruction policy. But he soon recovered his hold on the public after these blunders, from the fact that everybody believed that he always meant to be right, and, to use another common phrase, that ‘his heart was in the right place,’ that his sympathies were with the people and with progress. There were many other instances, but that was the most conspicuous, because at that time Mr. Beecher was the most potent personality in America. In religion, as I said before, he was a Protestant pope: in politics as near the dictator as a democracy ever had or could have—I mean a mental dictator. Even Lincoln did not have as much influence over the mind of the north; yet when Mr. Beecher supported a policy which the people believed inimical to the general welfare he found no followers. This was the most notable instance of the self-poise of a democracy that history affords.”
Light in Dark Places.
GUNNISON, Col., Feb. 24.—Perhaps it would not be amiss to let the readers of THE STANDARD know that away out here in the heart of the Rocky mountains, where natural opportunities are not all monopolized, the seed of true reform is taking root. As we see our vast coal lands and richest mineral deposits going into the control of corporations and syndicates, to be worked or not, as they see fit, we begin to realize the force of the plea of “the land for the people.” A great many painfully recognize the fact that something is wrong. All hail to “Progress and Poverty.” It is a star of light whose rays are penetrating the dark places, and thousands already know that reform cannot come through tariff laws monetary laws, inter-state commerce laws, coast defenses, distribution of the treasury surplus, even in the cause of education, a la Blair. The observer of politics and social conditions perceives clearly that no reform can be of permanent benefit until that reformation is consummated which restores to all men their natural right of free access to the sources from which is drawn our very existence—namely earth, air and water—in short, the land. Let this reform be effected and no others will be necessary. Failing this the wrangle will indefinitely continue. But it is not going to fail. The justice of the demand is so plain that it does not require an astute political economist to grasp it; but the wayfaring man, though he be not the editor of a metropolitan newspaper like the New York Sun or Herald, may, if he will, trace its good results. The toiler does not turn from it as he does from the intricate nonsense of the party politics of to-day. The subject is not beyond his depth, and he is not compelled to make some practiced politician his mouth piece. Onward speed the good work of spreading the light!
A Good Joke on Cardinal Gibbons.
Father Carroll of St. Francis Xavier’s church in this city tells how, instructing some colored Maryland children in their catechism, he explained the function of a bishop by calling the attention of the children to a flock of wild geese flying overhead—one to whom he compared the bishop, “the leader of his flock,” at their head. Shortly afterward Archbishop Gibbons paid the school a visit, and proceeding to examine them in their catechism asked:
“What is a bishop?”
There was a pause for an instant, and then an ebony midget shot up his hand and said:
“I know, I know.”
“That’s well, my child,” said Archbishop Gibbons. “Now tell us what is a bishop?”
“He’s,” answered the ardent youth, with a zest that betokened the confidence of superior wisdom, “the old gander what shows the rest of the geese how to fly!”
the city’s docks.
a lesson in the true mode of raising revenue.
How a Part of the Public Property is Utilized for Public Benefit—The City Provides the Piers and the Tenants Build the Improvements.
The city of New York is the manager and supervisor of the entire water front of Manhattan island. It is the owner of about one-half of the docks, and in time will be the owner of all: for the laws of the state give to the city the power to acquire gradually the wharf property not already in its possession, bonds being issued from time to time for the construction and repair of piers and the purchase of wharves from private owners. Since 1870, when the water front passed from the control of the legislature to the newly formed department of docks, the aggregate issue of dock bonds has been twelve million dollars. The rental accruing from the public wharves in the same period has been nearly thirteen millions. The revenue from this source in 1886 was $1,200,000. The rent for ferry slips is collected by the finance department, and in 1886 was $315,000.
The expenses of the dock department in1886 were $376,789, as follows: For construction of new piers, $249,418; repairs, $70.918; office rent, clerk hire and general expenses, $56,332, and searches of title, $122.
The department of docks has divided the water front of the city into eleven districts, each in charge of a dockmaster, and so apportioned as to equalize the duties of these officers. District No. 1 extends along the East river from the Battery to the foot of Wall street, a distance measuring a quarter of a mile. District No. 10 includes the waterfront on the North river from 57th street to Yonkers, and that on the Harlem from Spuyten Duyvil to Kingsbridge, in all a distance of about ten miles. The rent yielded in district No. 1 is $60,000, while that in No. 10 is but $20,000. Large expenditures are being made in District No. 10, while those in district No. 1 are comparatively small. The rent roll of the department shows that the rent paid for a pier does not depend on its cost. In 1879 pier 36 North river was bought by the department of docks for $203,000, a new dock was built on it at a cost of $37,000, and it was leased for ten years to the Inman steamship company at $30,000 a year, a rental that yielded about 14 per cent on the capital invested by the city. The lease of pier 37 was offered at public sale in 1883, the upset price being fixed by the commissioners at $35,000, that amount yielding an ample interest on its cost. It fetched $70,000 per annum because of a competition for its possession. The rent of the piers let by the department of docks yields, on an average, 15 per cent of the purchase money, it being in some cases 10 per cent, and in others as high as 20.
The public piers are leased at auction to the highest bidder for a term of years. The lessees usually erect their pier buildings, and make such other improvements as are required in their business. Pier No. 1, for example, was leased May 1, 1881, for ten years to the Iron steamboat company at $30,000 per annum, and piers 20 and 21, with an adjoining bulkhead, are rented by the New York, Lake Erie and Western railroad company, under a lease expiring in 1891, at $95,000 per annum.
The water front of Manhattan island is limited in area. New York city has decided that that water front shall never be monopolized by a knot of landlords. The municipality will hold this part of its “land” as the common property of the people. With respect to its water front the city is in business. It is a corporation in which every citizen is a stockholder. As the commerce of the city increases and the area of its business district extends, the rental value of its wharves will be enhanced. The rent, instead of passing into the pockets of men of wealth, as it would if the water front were private property, will swell the city treasury. In other words, the city, having foreseen the increment in value certain in obedience to a familiar law to accompany an increase in the demand for wharf sites, will possess itself of the monopoly of those sites and distribute to its citizens the price paid for their use. The income from the department of docks is distributed directly to the tax payers, for the rate of municipal taxation is brought down accordingly as the aggregate rent of the docks goes up. The city’s investments through the department of docks already pay 10 per cent yearly more than the average returns for capital in New York. This excess is the share of the city’s interest in the monopoly of the water front, the remainder being held by private parties—the measure of the unearned increment that accrues from the growth of population and business.
New York, in selling the use of its piers at auction, gives to all who may wish to use them an equal opportunity to obtain possession of them. The value of the privilege that the city thus grants is in this way accurately adjusted. Each lessee, on taking possession, knows that he has the indisputable right to his pier. He is more secure in his claim to it than if he had bought the pier outright from private owner, for he gets his title direct from the city. As a matter of fact, there is a cloud on the title of a large proportion of the wharf property still held in private ownership.
Pier rent is a city tax fixed in the ratio of demand by the payers of the tax. Each tenant pays no more for his franchise than its value to him. When his term expires its worth to him and to the city is again ascertained in the open market.
The city, in imposing the tax on the pier itself, is assured of a revenue that is easily and cheaply collected. If, as is done in some seaports, it took its tax out of the quantity or value of freight that found its way over a pier, the lessee might misrepresent the value of his freight or declare the tonnage to be less than it really was, and if the city employed men to assess values and measure and weigh freight the cost of collecting its rent-tax would be enormous, the valuation at different piers would vary, and doubtless much freight would somehow pass over the piers without being seen by the assessors. As it is, at an expense of a few thousand dollars, the city now collects a million and a half in wharf rent.
Let us here give the subject of public revenue—call it rent or tax—a passing glance. Imagine the water front of Manhattan island a tax line. Suppose that New York city had been in dire distress a quarter of a century ago. Suppose, too, that the city fathers in power at that time had in their wisdom undertaken to replenish the treasury by selling the public docks to private individuals, and by imposing a tariff on the shoes and clothing and the raw materials from which they are made passing the tax line into the city. They might have quoted arguments from high economic authorities in support of the tariff. They could have said that it would help build up shoe and clothing manufactories in New York, and, as rich and poor alike wear shoes and clothing, all citizens would be interested in the promotion of home industries. It would tend to keep out the products of the ten-dollar-a-week labor of Paterson and Long Island, and serve to maintain the rate of wages for New York workingmen at thirteen dollars a week; and especially would it be a boon to the two hundred thousand starving sewing women here, for a brisk shoe and clothing trade would give them work. It would reduce the burdens of taxation borne by real estate, and it would give to our city manufacturers exclusively the great market for shoes and clothing within the tax line. After following this policy for twenty-five years what would probably be the results? Could wages in the Bowery range higher, all things considered, than wages in Paterson, while Paterson shoemakers and tailors would pass duty free within the tariff line? Would New York manufacturers be able to produce shoes and clothing as cheap as New Jersey manufacturers and compete with them in any market outside of New York, when the raw materials brought into the city would have to pay the additional tax at the tariff line? And being thus prevented from seeking other markets for their goods, would not the manufacturers of New York soon suffer from an “overproduction” of them, and would not many shops be closed up in consequence, leaving their employes, and especially the poor sewing women, to compete with one another for work either in these or other occupations? Would not the fate of the ruined manufacturers be a warning to capitalists not to start up new shoe and clothing factories, and would not the few surviving houses hold the monopoly of the shoe and clothing business, restrict production, fix prices, and pay no higher wages than the necessities of unemployed and competing men and women would compel them to work for?
And what would be the spectacle presented at the water front tax line? Would there not be squads of customs officers at every pier, and all along the open river side, watching for dutiable goods? Would people not go to Jersey City in old clothes and come back in new? And would there not be corrupt officials and unscrupulous importers of New Jersey goods swearing falsely as to valuations? One need not merely guess at the replies to these questions.
Who would finally pay the tariff on shoes and clothing? It would inevitably be the masses who wore them and could not avoid their extra cost by shifting it upon some one else in the shape of enhanced prices for whatever they sold or rented. The tariff would not only advance the price of shoes and clothing, but also of provisions and fuel and house rent.
The beauties of the tariff we are considering would be seen by those manufacturers who would at length hold, under it, the monopoly of the shoe and clothing business. They would build fine houses and make such a display of wealth, as to cause statesmen to boast that the city enjoyed astonishing prosperity. They could employ writers to coin catching phrases tending to create the impression that New York kept its work for New Yorkers; that under its free institutions men who began life with nothing could earn millions of dollars; that protection and patriotism were one. There would be newspapers teeming with figures to prove that the workingman of New York was better off than his brother across the river, and there would be coatless and shoeless workingmen voting for the preservation of the tariff line to save them from the ruinous competition of the men in rural New Jersey working regularly for three dollars a week less than they themselves made—when they could find employment.
The men who had bought the public docks would also be rich. The ten per cent of unearned increment now accruing annually to the city from their rent would be enjoyed by their owners. The rent would be, in most cases, far higher than it is now, for the landlords would fix the rent on the principle followed by them the world over. Every cent would be exacted that the tenant could pay. And the water’s edge would present the appearance that city streets so often do now—patches of vacant land alternating with strips of improved land.
But the glaring evils of the city tariff would in time give origin to a political party calling for its abolition. That tariff would be wiped out under the anathemas of an outraged people. The city would also hasten to repossess itself of its docks. Perhaps it would not stop there. If its citizens were consistent in principle, if they should reason and act upon the lesson they had learned, they would look around and see if there were not within the city limits other natural opportunities, the monopoly of which entailed the very evils remedied in a measure by her policy of municipal dock ownership. If the city could take possession of a narrow strip of land on the edge of the island, why might not the system thus begun be carried further and the ownership of all the island and the annexed district be assumed? If the municipality declined to permit private ownership of wharves to inflict damage upon its commerce, why then should it allow private owners to hold more than half of the city’s area vacant and barren, while people were crowding one another on the other half, at some points even to death?
New York has learned the certainty and cheapness of collecting revenue through the rent of her wharf sites. Moreover, she has learned its justice, for she recognizes that the use of the water front is a necessity to every citizen, either directly or through the agents who supply his wants. All the land of the city is also a vital necessity to the citizens. Justice urges the community to abolish the monopoly in home sites precisely as it has done in the case of its wharf sites, and to take the annual unearned increment in land values and put it in the city treasury.
Had New York ever established a water front tariff line, it would have done only what the United States government has done on its boundaries. In the city the disastrous effects would have been felt immediately, whereas in the country at large the consequences have been but gradually perceived by the people, inasmuch as the cause has been somewhat further removed. The injustice of our whole system of national and state taxation—internal revenue, customs tariff and personal property tax—is aptly illustrated in what would obviously have occurred in New York had the city government established a water front tariff line, or assessed the freight passing over piers instead of taxing the piers themselves. Uncertainty, costliness, inequality of burdens and irresistible corrupting power are the offshoots of the clumsy tax system under which Americans now live.
Dock rents reduce all other taxes in New York. A single tax on New York ground rent would permit the abolition of all other taxes. This principle of taxation, true for New York, is also true for the entire country. Just as the maintenance of a water edge tariff line would entail frauds and burdensome expense, so do our war tariff and our revenue taxes and our taxes on personal property notoriously result in disgraceful fraud, and in an unnecessary outlay in collection of revenue for the government. If the only tax collected by the general government were a rent-tax, imposed after the manner of that upon the New York docks, as a return for the use of what belongs to all men—the land, the reservoir from which all men must draw their subsistence and in which all have a right under broad principles of justice—it would be collected with unfailing certainty, with amazing economy, and without injustice to any individual. As one district of the department of docks yields thirty or forty times as much rent, calculated by area, as another for which there is less competition, so would city land pay many times more than farming land, the proportion being similarly graded. The farmers and workingmen would be benefited above all others by the change; for they use the tools and machines and consume the bulk of the provisions and clothing, the prices of which are increased by the tariff and by all other taxes save that on land. All land now held for a rise in price would lose its fictitious value; for the law would require from its owners the current rate of taxes on land of the same status in relation to demand, and hence force them to use it or surrender it to the national domain. Like the unoccupied public wharf sites uptown in New York, the only value that the open public land could obtain would be the rent which men would consent to pay for its use. One man could not hold it in expectation of a coming time when he might wring from another a tribute for the privilege of using it. Hence the now vacant New York city lots would speedily be leased and built upon, as the demand for them is pressing, and a lot in the suburbs could probably be obtained by a workingman for an annual rent about equal to what he now pays each month to a landowner for the use of a much smaller area; and this lot would be held, as land is now held, by him and his heirs so long as the taxes should be paid. Great areas of unimproved agricultural land everywhere held by speculators would be thrown open to men who would use them, while the owner of a small homestead in city or country would pay directly to the public treasury a much smaller tax than he now pays indirectly in the form of higher prices for the taxed goods he consumes.
Then would ensue a redistribution of population. A movement similar to that of the emigration to the western country, now checked by the exhaustion of available public lands, would take place toward the land restored to the public domain. The tenement population of the cities would build homes on the now vacant city lots. Wages would advance everywhere, for thousands of working people would save what now goes for rent, and could refuse to work for low wages, and the overcrowded cities would discharge their propertyless surplus workers into the free and open land of the country.
HOW SOCIETY WAS SAVED.
The Lodging House Vote—It is Solidly Native American—A Sample District.
It is the boast of some New Yorkers that this city’s elections are exceptionally fair and orderly. Orderly they undoubtedly are, but it is questionable if elsewhere in the country there exists a more unblushing system of organized fraudulent voting, carried on under the very noses of the police and with the full knowledge and connivance of the great mass of professional politicians. This system was doubtless devised by the men who make a living out of politics as their sure defense against the spasmodic reform movements of “the better classes;” but at last municipal election these people were hand in glove with the halls and bosses and freely contributed their money to assist then in saving society by the fullest possible use of the corrupt machines so often in the past used against these self styled saviors of society. Numerous instances of the way in which this great work was accomplished could be given, but one for the present is sufficient.
The Eighteenth election district of the Third assembly district covers four blocks, running from Broadway to the Bowery and from Fourth street to Bleecker. It contains a number of boarding houses, inhabited mostly by working people, but is largely devoted to business. On the Bowery are a number of lodging houses having few, if any, permanent lodgers. The number of legal voters in the district, as estimated by men familiar with it, cannot be much over 250. At the last municipal election the total registry was 412, and 204 of the number were registered from four of these Bowery lodging houses.
No one familiar with politics imagines that these houses ever had so many lodgers for a week at a time, or even that those registering from them ever lived in them at all. The process is much simpler. The boss of a district presents to the owner of a house a list of manes, and by pecuniary or other inducement gets him to enter them on his books as lodgers. The necessary number of men are then secured and registered as residents of these houses, and thenceforward it does not matter what becomes of them. When election day comes there will be no lack of men ready to respond to the names thus registered. They may be tramps hired for the purpose, but more likely they are men under indictment or police surveillance, or else under obligations to some politicians of the Pat Divver or Fatty Walsh kind for getting them out of trouble. All that they need to know is the name under which they are to vote and the lodging house that they are to claim as a residence, and they will serve the purpose as well as the fellows who got registered.
One peculiarity of these voters is that they are all native Americans. Go to one of these lodging houses any day in the year and you will find Irishmen, Germans, Italians, Scandinavians, Russians and people of every other nationality, and, of course, some Americans. Judging from what one can overhear of the talk, the majority are men of foreign birth. On election day, however, if we believe the registry lists, all of the rooms in every such building are occupied by native Americans. The reason for this is easily seen. There is no danger that a man registered as a native American will be called on to show his naturalization papers.
This wholesale fraudulent registration is well known, but who is to stop it? Not the prosecuting officers or the police, for they are a part of the machinery by which the fraud is carried out. Not the police justices, for one of these in the Third assembly district is notorious as a man who “works the lodging house vote.” Even the quarrels of partisans do little or nothing to bring the facts to light, since in the elaborate arrangements made by the professional politicians to hold the public offices against all comers, this fraudulent vote has, by regular treaty, been apportioned between the two old parties. The working of this arrangement is shown in the result in the election district under consideration.
The workingmen who actually live in that district were fairly well organized before election and are much better organized now. The district is a small one and its regular residents usually know each other by sight. The workingmen made a count of noses before election and concluded that they would poll something over a hundred votes for their candidate. The result, according to the count, was Hewitt 182, Roosevelt 100, George 82. Everyone knows that none of the fraudulent votes were cast for George. There was no official machinery controlling the criminal and disorderly class in the interest of the labor candidate. So far as the facts are known less than the number of votes cast for him were counted. Supposing that in this district the votes actually cast for George were counted, if the 204 fraudulent lodging house votes are deducted, the vote, preserving the same proportions, would have stood, George 82, Hewitt 70 and Roosevelt 56.
This is merely a sample district in which a little private examination has been made. The fraudulent character of the election there is plainly manifest, yet this is by no means the worst example that might be offered, even in the Third (or hour glass) assembly district. There, however, this fraudulent lodging house vote is as nothing compared with the same vote in the Second assembly district, which has numerous cheap lodging houses in the Bowery and Park row (formerly Chathan street), Mulberry, Baxter and other streets. This is the district over which Fatty Walsh and Pat Divver preside, and its numerous dives compete with the ten cent lodging houses in turning out swarms of voters on election day. This, the banner Hewitt district, is likewise the champion lodging house district, and it will amply repay study and investigation by those who are interested in the processes by which society was saved from the dreaded control of the workingmen.
Land Reform in Germany.
Three papers now advocate land nationalization in Germany—Land, published in Berlin by Martin Hildebrandt, the Westphalia Tageblatt, published in Bochum, and Die Gesellschaft (“Society”), published in Munich.
New york’s labor vote.
proportions in which it was drawn from the two old parties.
An Analysis of the Election Returns—Forty-two Thousand Democratic, Eighteen Thousand Republican, and Six Thousand New Votes Cast for the Labor Candidate.
Though four months have passed since the municipal election last fall, men interested in politics are still speculating as to the ultimate effect of the large vote then polled by the labor party and as to the source from which that vote was drawn. An intelligent examination of the returns will answer the last question. The vote cast for the opposing candidates for judge of the court of appeals was as nearly a straight party vote as is cast at any election. The fact that instances are known where this or that man voted for the candidate of the opposite party does not impeach this statement. Such transfers always occur, but the fact remains that, where no such extraordinary conditions exist such as those that controlled the congressional elections of 1874 and the New York state election of 1882, men vote their party tickets with substantial unanimity.
That this was done in this city last fall, so far as the state ticket is concerned, is shown by a comparison of the figures for that year with those of the previous year. Few, if any, will dispute the declaration that the vote for governor in this city in 1885 was a straight party vote. Mr. Hill then received 123,603 and Mr. Davenport 75,364 votes. Taking no account of fractions or of scattering and defective votes, the democratic candidate received 62 per cent and the republican candidate 37 per cent of the total vote cast. At the election of 1886 the democratic and republican candidates for judge of the court of appeals received exactly the same percentage of the total vote cast for candidates for that office.
It is necessary to bear this qualification in mind, for the figures demonstrate that, in addition to the usual party vote brought out in precisely the same proportion in both of these contests, at the late municipal election a large number of ballots were cast for mayor alone. There is no doubt that those votes were cast by newly naturalized persons who took out their papers for the purpose, and by others who had ceased to participate in ordinary party contests, but who voted at the late election for the labor candidate, and for no one else. That this would be the case was well known to the leaders of the labor party before the election, and the figures show that they were not mistaken. The total vote cast for mayor was 219,992, and the total vote judge of the court of appeals was 213,616. The excess, 6,376, shows the number of men who voted for mayor and for no other officer, while the fact that the remainder, after deducting this number, corresponds exactly with the vote of the two old parties in the previous year, demonstrates that this new force was brought into politics by and in behalf of the labor movement.
Bearing this in mind there is no difficulty in tracing the labor vote to its source. Taking the city as a whole we have the following result:
Republican vote for Daniels for court of Appeals 78,986
Republican vote for Roosevelt for mayor 60,435
Republican vote for George
Percentage of republican loss on mayoralty vote 23
Democratic vote for Peckham for court of appeals 132,373
Democratic vote for Hewitt for mayor 90,555
Democratic vote for George 41,821
Percentage of democratic loss on mayoralty vote 31
Actual vote for George 68,110
His estimated democratic vote as above 41,621
His estimated republican vote 18,551
Votes cast for mayoralty 6,876—66,748
Remainder unaccounted for 1,362
No one familiar with election statistics will question that this is as close as any election calculation can possibly be. The labor party drew from both of the old parties in the proportion of 23 per cent from the republicans and 31 per cent from the democrats. Of the total vote cast for mayor (including the 6,378 not cast for state offices) Hewitt had 41, George 31 and Roosevelt 27 per cent. That this is no accidental proportion applicable to these totals alone is shown by an examination of the returns in detail. This same process applied to the whole of the labor vote will bring the same result, not merely for each assembly district, but for each election district. In each instance the losses of Hewitt and Roosevelt, added to the new vote cast for mayor only, gives almost the exact vote for George, though in different districts there is a variation in the percentage drawn from one or the other of the old parties. For the purpose of illustration take the first three Hewitt districts, the first three that voted for Roosevelt and the first three carried by George, and we have the following showing as to the votes drawn by the labor candidate from the old parties and from those who did not vote for state officers:
First assembly district (Hewitt):
Republican vote 280. Percentage of loss 22
Democratic vote 1,591. Percentage of loss 36
Votes for mayor only 151
George’s estimated vote 2,022
George’s actual vote 2,031
Second assembly district (Hewitt):
Republican vote 300. Percentage of loss 25
Democratic vote 1,169. Percentage of loss 22
Votes for mayor only 196.
George’s estimated vote 1,665
George’s actual vote 1,682
Third assembly district (Hewitt):
Republican vote 530. Percentage of loss 25
Democratic vote 819. Percentage of loss 17
Votes for mayor only 284.
George’s estimated vote 1,598
George’s actual vote 1,619
Seventh assembly district (Roosevelt):
Republican vote 675. Percentage of loss 15
Democratic vote 416. Percentage of loss 12
Votes for mayor only 128.
George’s estimated vote 1,219
George’s actual vote 1,274
Eighth assembly district (Roosevelt):
Republican vote 703. Percentage of loss 16
Democratic vote 1,605. Percentage of loss 41
Votes for mayor only 296
George’s estimated vote 2,632
George’s actual vote 2,671
Eleventh assembly district (Roosevelt):
Republican vote 442. Percentage of loss 18
Democratic vote 181. Percentage of loss 5
Votes for mayor only 84.
George’s estimated vote 637
George’s actual vote 707
Fourteenth assembly district (George):
Republican vote 877. Percentage of loss 46
Democratic vote 1,668. Percentage of loss 88
Votes for mayor only 229
George’s estimated vote 2,774
George’s actual vote 2,807
Fifteenth assembly district (George):
Republican vote 811. Percentage of loss 26
Democratic vote 2,973. Percentage of loss 43
Votes for mayor only 880
George’s estimated vote 4,164
George’s actual vote 4,207
Seventeenth assembly district (George):
Republican vote 1,108. Percentage of loss 24
Democratic vote 3,048. Percentage of loss 44
Votes for mayor only 885
George’s estimated vote 4,541
George’s actual vote 4,620
A study of the returns demonstrates the truth of several opinions strongly held by the workingmen during the canvass. In one of his speeches, Mr. Hewitt classified the people of New York as the rich and the very rich, the poor and the very poor. This classification was accepted by the labor leaders and Mr. Hewitt was informed that the two extremes would be solid in his support. The fact that the Second assembly district, notorious for its dives and its degraded population, was one of those in which the percentage of loss for the democratic candidate was lowest, and that the district in which it was actually the lowest was the Eleventh, the aristocratic Murray hill district, proves the truth of this statement. Again, the small percentage of democratic loss in the Second and Third districts, in which the large fraudulent lodging house vote is cast, shows that the workingmen are right in their opinion that fraud and bribery contributed largely to the success of the saviors of society.
The result in districts inhabited largely by reputable and orderly workingmen shows that the movement drew an enormous vote from both of the old parties, one that the bosses and the halls cannot even yet view with equanimity, and that threatens them eventually with extirpation.
Another lesson taught by the figures is of especial value to the members of the new party. Wherever there was a reasonably good organization, composed of men who worked with energy and enthusiasm, the figures show that surprising results were achieved. No possible doubt remains that, with similar activity throughout the city, it is easily within the power of the workingmen to take the city out of the hands of the machines and to give it decent and effective government without the aid of those “business men” who for years have professed to desire this result, but who, now that the opportunity has come, are hand in glove with the halls and bosses in the great work of saving society by the aid of the criminal and purchasable vote.
WILLIAM T. CROASDALE.
Clubbed by mistake.
Brutally Beaten for Nothing and Denied Any Redress.
On Wednesday evening of last week Lawrence Curtin, a barkeeper at T.W. Rowan’s saloon, No. 825 Second avenue, was suddenly set upon by Police Officer Henry Uhm and furiously clubbed. Sergeant Linden and another officer went to Uhm’s assistance, and the trio soon made the young man a proper subject for a surgeon’s attendance. Curtin was dragged to the station at Fifty-ninth street, and was fortunate enough to find a friend there who became his bail. The victim was then sent to the Presbyterian hospital, where he had a broken finger set, four scalp wounds sewed up and other wounds properly dressed.
Curtin is a slightly built young man, and his employer and others vouch for his good character and orderly conduct. He declares that while on the way to the station Officer Uhm explained that he had mistaken him for a pugilist named Illingsworth, for whom the police were looking.
Curtin appeared before Justice Solon B. Smith next morning, who, after a whispered consultation with the policeman, discharged him without giving him a chance to speak. That afternoon Curtin asked for a warrant for the arrest of Uhm and Linden. Justice Smith refused to issue a warrant because he said that Curtin had “put up his hands” against the officer.
Curtin’s case was partly investigated by the Herald. The police officers told the reporter that they were chasing a gang of roughs interested in a prize fight, all of whom ran except Curtin, who came directly across the street toward Officer Uhm, and “put up his hands;” that is, put himself into a pugilistic attitude. Sergeant Linden justified the officer’s conduct, and Uhm declared that Curtin advanced upon him in a belligerent way, and that he only struck him twice with his club. He denied that he had said that he was mistaken in the man. Justice Smith told the same reporter that Curtin was arraigned on the charge of disturbing the peace, and that there was no charge of resisting or assaulting an officer. He said that the officer told them that he had mistaken Curtin for a man named Illingsworth. The justice said he had discharged Curtin because he “thought he had had punishment enough already.” The reporter does not appear to have asked him why he refused to take the young man’s complaint.
It is perfectly manifest that the police officer did not tell the truth. Curtin’s head was cut open in four places. One of his eyes was blacked. One of his fingers was broken and another split open, and a sleeve button was driven deeply into the wrist of the other arm. So many injuries were never inflicted by two blows of a club, while the officer’s denial that he had made a mistake is refuted point blank by the police justice.
Curtin has since mustered such influence as he can gather to try to induce the district attorney to bring his case before the grand jury.
A Case in Point.
In the year 1667 Richard Nichols, governor of New York under the Duke of York, granted to Resolved Waldron, Joost Ablene and others, and their heirs forever, a large part of the upper end of the island of Manhattan, known as Harlem. The grant was reaffirmed in 1786, and most of it was divided among the heirs of the grantees. But certain parts of the grant, being the sedge meadows and marsh lands along the East and Harlem rivers, from what is now Eighty-fourth street to Spuyten Duyvil was not divided by reason of its being subject to the ebb and flow of the tides. One doesn’t want to pay taxes for the bottom of the East river. The heirs of Resolved, Joost and others, say nothing and distribute themselves quietly over various parts of the country. One hundred years pass, and gently laved by the mud and filth laden water, the marsh lands have managed to take to themselves certain “natural accretions and deposits,” and appear no longer as the bed of the East river, but as vacant lots of marketable value. It needed then but the addition of certain heaps of ashes and refuse which the ash carts deposited day by day, and the generous and thoughtful action of the city government in building streets, to make the neglected domain worth say $5,000,000. Such a sum is not to be despised. Wherefore the heirs of Resolved and Joost have started in to make a determined fight for it. They are willing to compromise with such people as have in good faith settled on parts of the land; but the still vacant lots they want, and if “vested rights” is a phrase with any meaning at all they are going to have them. Moral: Aim high, and if you don’t hit the sun you may bag the earth.
Another Free Soil Dinner.
The second monthly dinner of the Free Soil club will be held at the Hotel Hungaria, No. 4 Union square, east, on Tuesday, March 15, at 8 P.M. Persons wishing to attend can procure tickets from the corresponding secretary, Frederick C. Leubuscher, No. 38 Park row, on or before Monday, March 14. A committee charged with the duty of selecting club rooms is now at work, and the club hopes within the next month to be settled in permanent headquarters.
The Party’s Name.
DETROIT, Mich., Feb. 28.—I suggest as a name for the new party “Land, life and liberty.” Of God’s great works land was the first, life second, and, I trust, liberty to enjoy the other two, third. The three R’s changed the administration three years ago, why may not the three L’s change it next year.
the state capital.
the legislators defying the people’s will.
Bound to Have a Partisan Convention—A Silly Speech by Young Crosby—Men who Think that Working People are Well Enough Off—Albany’s Shame.
ALBANY, March 9.—The action of the republican caucus on the constitutional convention bill Monday night was confirmed by the assembly yesterday and is in accord with what I wrote last week. With only two dissenting votes the republicans of the assembly and senate decided to have no convention this year, to take the old assembly apportionment as a basis for their bill, and to have the constitution up for adoption next year, when in the heat of a presidential campaign the corporations think they will have no trouble in defeating the constitution in case the convention is not subservient to their wishes. The Arnold bill, which will pass the senate and assembly and become a law unless the governor vetoes it, shuts out the labor party and the prohibitionists from any representation at all, taking last fall’s vote for a basis, and even with a great increase in strength it will be hard for them, without a single delegate from the state at large, to effect anything with the scattering delegates they may pick up in occasional assembly districts.
The old assembly district system has been taken as the basis because that is the basis of the party organizations which can be most effectively employed on that line. Then the apportionment is so old that it bears against the thickly settled part of New York, reducing the power of a vote there to half the vote of a rural constituent. Ex-Speaker Erwin attempted to defend the postponement of the election on the ground of economy. This is a fine kind of talk for a man whose chief efforts in the assembly are directed to enabling the corporations to encroach on the people of the state. He was supported by Mr. Arnold, the chairman of the committee of appropriations, another economist, who refused to give $5,000 to the bureau of labor statistics, and sends a committee to Brooklyn that will cost more than the whole executive department. It will be well for the people to remember this next fall, when these men come around with crooked knees and limber tongues to prate of their claims for re-election. Ernest Crosby of the Fifth avenue assembly district defended the Arnold bill. He said he was glad it shut the labor party out, for if they had a chance they would deliver the city of New York to a lot of strikers and Knights of Labor.
Coal Pool Hogeboom, the agent of the Delaware and Hudson canal company on the floor of the assembly, was too abashed at the scandalous misstatements of his report on the coal strike to advocate it himself when it was discussed Monday night. He put up Mr. Ainsworth to say that the workingmen of New York were as well off as they could expect to be, and if they would only quit striking and work hard they could live well enough. He advocated a lifelong complaisance to their employers and masters, and cited the proposal of LeGrand B. Cannon, one of the members of the big coal pool, that old employees should be pensioned. This pension could be raised, as the Pennsylvania railroad does it, by taking every week a quarter of fifty cents from the pay of the men. Mr. Ainsworth said this was a beautiful plan, and he did not see why any man should be discontented if at the age of thirty he knew that when he was broken down in health he would be supported in his infirm and premature old age by the contributions of his fellow men. He further said that he could not see why New York workingmen were not satisfied. If they did not like to live in New York why didn’t they go elsewhere? He wound up by proclaiming that the labor men had no truer friend than himself and that he would join with the Mayor Hewitt in freeing them from the thralldom of labor organizations. Mr. Martin, a sturdy union man from the Ninth New York district, spoke for labor organizations. His speech was too good and thoughtful for the assembly, who cannot believe that any man is heartily in earnest unless he is paid for it. Mr. Martin said that the combination of capital against labor had a similar effect to the old English laws that fixed the price of labor; only not they call it a “mere understanding,” commonly known as a pool. The majority of the convention are puzzled that the workingmen do not cry for enforced pensions in old age. That would be a nice thing, because it would make pauper labor, and paupers have not the habit of clamoring for their rights. Also, if a man struck he would forfeit his pension. There are men here who would advocate the buying and selling of car drivers, coal heavers, longshoremen, and such necessary articles, did their corporate masters advise them to do so; but the present method is cheaper, as competition makes longer hours of harder work than slavery.
The gambling houses had a festive time when the Grand army of the republic met here recently. Following out the policy of this town to keep all the money here they can, and thereby stimulate local industry, they hung flags from their windows with inscriptions like these: “G.A.R. men come in here,” “Rally round the flag, boys;” and a big flag ten feet long was stretched across Steuben street in front of one of the largest places. The Grand army men did not to any large extent take the advice of the banners, though there were thousands of old soldiers here. They were not meat for the gamblers as the legislators are.
Mr. Jacob Sharp, a wealthy New York citizen and formerly a respectable savior of society, has been here to look after some railroad bills. He is not an assemblyman, as that would take up too much of his time. He has opened a shambles at the Delevan house, where legislative cattle are driven for sale. Rates this year are low. A pool of assemblymen last week offered to sell their votes on an important bill for $100 each. These unprecedented low rates are caused by a legislative pool, of which ex-Speaker Erwin and Speaker Husted are president and treasurer, with Chairman Cole of the railroad committee, Captain Manvillle and a few democrats among the directors. There is a discrimination in rates, and the small fry are forced to sell their votes on a reduced scale. If this keeps on it will detract from the commercial value of a seat in the assembly. Some of the honest men in the senate have succeeded in partially bearing the market there. A place in that body has a higher income returning value than a seat in the stock exchange of New York.
The March of Masses.
We are marching on, a mighty throng,
We are marching on to victory,
For right must triumph over wrong,
And liberty over tyranny.
The land is ours, the landlords cry;
The land is God’s, the poor reply;
And for our rights we’ll do or die,
And God will give us victory.
We long in ignorance have been blind,
But out of darkness we have come;
Now education lights our mind,
Now we can speak that long were dumb;
And by the power of pen and speech,
And by the power of truth we’ll teach
The land is God’s free gift to each
That lives beneath the sun.
the city civil courts
where the poor gain a little dear knowledge of law.
The Power of New York Landlords Over Their Tenants—A Curious Case—Judges Guarding the Interests of the Poor—Reforms Demanded.
Law and custom favor the landlords who own the dwellings of New York. But one rule prevails as to the payment of rent in apartment and tenement houses, and that is cash in advance monthly. If a tenant fails to pay on the first of the month the landlord can obtain a warrant of dispossession and evict the tenant at the end of three days. If a landlord wishes to get rid of a tenant for any reason other than non-payment of rent he can, at the expiration of the month, by process of law put the tenant on the street by five days’ notice, even if the tenant offers to pay his rent. On one day of the year the landlord’s powers are even greater. On the 1st of May, at 12 o’clock noon, the landlord or agent can enter a tenant’s apartments, order him out, and compel him and his family to vacate the premises before the sun goes down.
In New York litigating landlords and tenants face one another before the justice of a civil court. There are eleven civil district courts in the city, and in 1886 judgments were given in one of them in 2,500 landlord and tenant cases. There are suits of this class up before the judges every day, but on the first of the month all the civil courts are crowded with landlords or their agents demanding rent or evictions and tenants pleading inability to pay their rents or to find another dwelling place at once.
The duties of the judges of the civil courts are confined chiefly to landlord and tenant cases and civil suits involving small sums of money. What the poor know of law is learned chiefly in these courts and the criminal courts. The picturesque police court, with its dirty prisoners’ pen, its stolid police officers, its “shyster” lawyers, and its sometimes humorous judge, forms a ready theme for the journalist’s pen; but the civil court, with its monotonous story of the landlord’s rapacity and the tenant’s poverty and its petty squabbles over a few dollars, yields but little inviting reading to an indifferent public, and a citizen in comfortable circumstances may dwell in New York for a long period without becoming aware of the existence of the civil court as an institution. But every year by its means about twenty-five thousand people, familiar with the discomforts of living as tenants or with those arising from differences over small, but to them important, financial transactions, learn that the statutes read well for the landlord, that law is extremely uncertain and perplexing, and that its machinery is greased for property and clogged for poverty.
An action was brought to an end in the Eleventh district court last week in which a poor man persistently strove to obtain justice, took advantage of all the means by which the poor may bring a cause to trial, and at length learned that though his employer and his landlord had been one when he had to pay his rent they were neither when he wanted to collect his wages.
Daniel Mullen, who had been working for $50 a month as an engineer in the Steinhardt flats on the southwest corner of Fifty-seventh street and Ninth avenue, was discharged on the 29th of November last, one day before the end of his month. At the time of his discharge he lived in apartments at No. 708 Eleventh avenue, for which he paid $11 a month to his employer, Ephraim R. Steinhardt. On being discharged he removed. Steinhardt refused to pay him his wages and Mullen had recourse to law.
The costs of bringing suit in a civil court is from $4.50 to $5.50—$1 as clerk’s fee for making out a summons upon the party sued, $1 as gee for marshal serving it, and $3.50 for trial fee, if the claim is over $50 and $2.50 if under that amount. But the state, in its bounty, provides free law for the necessitous. A person wishing to avail himself of this means must present a petition to a civil justice asking permission to prosecute. It is entertained by the court, however, only on being accompanied by a certificate of an attorney-at-law to the effect “that he has examined the case and is of the opinion that the applicant has a good cause of action.” The application must also make affidavit before a notary public commissioner of deeds, who is supposed to charge nothing for his services, that he is not possessed of property to the value of $100. When the judge grants a free summons the clerk stamps across the paper, in great red letters, the word “charity” or “free summons.” The petitioner, having run the gauntlet of supplication clerk, notary, attorney, judge and marshal for aid, after answering prying questions, exposing his poverty, facing discouragement, and drinking deep of the cup of humiliation, obtains “free” law.
Mullen found the necessary large-hearted notary and the lawyer with time to listen to his story, and at the cost of a say lost in waiting at court he got out his “free” summons. When the case came up, a week later, his employer, Mr. Ephraim R. Steinhardt, testified that he was only an agent for the owner of the building where Mullen had worked. Mullen thus learned that he had brought action against the wrong person. The suit was therefore discontinued.
Mullen then examined his old rent receipts. They were signed R. Steinhardt. After considerable inquiry he decided that the person he ought to sue for his wages was Mrs. Rosalie Steinhardt, who own 708 and 710 Eleventh avenue and 550, 552, 557 and 559 West Fiftieth street, and Mr. Ephraim R. Steinhardt, after exhibiting a reluctance that had to be overcome by an order from the court, disclosed the fact that Mrs. Rosalie Steinhardt was really the owner of the property.
Mullen, beginning anew, went through the regulation formalities and succeeded in getting another charity summons. When, a week or so later, the day on which the summons was returnable came around, he was again in court. But Mrs. Rosalie Steinhardt was not there. The redoubtable Mr. Ephraim Steinhardt was there and put in an answer that the wrong person had again been sued; Mrs. Rosalie Steinhardt was the owner, but other parties leased the premises from her and he was their agent. Mullen was again out of court.
A third time Mullen set out in search of justice. He now sought to prosecute Lessar and Michael Steinhardt, hoping he had the right parties, as he had ascertained that they were the lessees of the building in which he had been employed. He applied for another charity summons, but charity was exhausted. He must pay after getting out two free summonses. He managed to raise the necessary money, and L. Steinhardt & Son were summoned. On the return day Ephraim R. Steinhardt and Mullen once more faced each other in presence of the judge. Ephraim, on the part of the defendants, put in a counter claim against Mullen’s claim of $50 wages. It was for $1.66 “docking” for the 30th of November, Mullen having been discharged on the 29th, and $11 rent for the month of December, although Mullen testified that he had moved away on the first of that month. Steinhardt tendered the balance, $37.34, which he had also done previously in court, but Mullen declined to take it. The defendants having been found at last, a day was set by the judge for the trial. When the case then came up Michael Steinhardt testified that he was one of the firm of L. Steinhardt & Son; that Rosalie was the owner of the houses named; that the firm of L. Steinhardt & Son leased them from her, and that the firm had been Mullen’s true landlord. The firm had also been Mullen’s employers, Ephraim R. Steinhardt being their agent in the dealings with him. He was asked if he had a written lease to prove his testimony, but the court ruled that the tenant could not dispute a landlord’s title. Judge Dessar gave judgment for Mullen for only $37.34. Mullen, true to the remarkably pertinacious spirit her showed in pushing his suit, is now patiently revolving in his mind its knotty points and trying to see his case in the light in which it was viewed by the penetrating eye of justice.
A decision may be promptly rendered for a poor person, however, and yet the rich defendant can, through the law’s delay, carry out his intention of not making payment, as ordered by the court. Fannie Schorr, a poor German widow, who lives in the city with her two daughters, aged fifteen and seventeen years, applied for work as an embroiderer a few weeks ago at J. Werner & Co.’s on Howard street, and was given some ribbon and the materials for a braiding, with instructions to manufacture a sort of trimming out of all the articles. She returned to the establishment in a few days with eight yards of the trimming finished, and it was accepted as good work. Materials were then given her for making nearly forty yards. She and her two daughters spent eight days on the work. On carrying it to the store of her employer, she was informed when it was examined that it was done so badly that she would receive no pay for it. She offered to pay for the materials and take the trimming, believing that she could sell it and make a profit on her work, but the offer was refused. She brought suit in the Fourth judicial district court before Justice Alfred Steckler, and the case was tried on the last Friday. A member of the firm of J. Werner & Co. appeared in reply to the summons, but he declined to go on the witness stand, and asked his forewoman to give testimony in the defense. Judgment was speedily rendered in favor of Mrs. Schorr to the full amount of her claim, $13.80, with costs of $11, this sum being allowed by law to working women suing for wages. Mr. Werner appealed the case, and Mrs. Schorr did not get her $24.80.
The two cases cited indicate the direction in which the advantages lie with the rich in the civil courts, aside from the laws relating to evictions. Yet the eviction laws have been greatly reformed. Prior to two years ago the five day law was not it operation, and it was not infrequently the case that a workingman would go to his day’s work and his wife go out to wash, and on returning I the evening they would find their household goods on the sidewalk. A tenant living in a down-town ward could be summoned to answer an action in a city court at Kingsbridge within two hours after receiving the summons, but now the action must be brought in the district in which the premises occupied by the tenant are situated.
But many more reforms out to be made. The law should be amended so as to give justice discretion as to extending the time in which the tenant shall move. The landlord should be required to give sufficient grounds for applying for the ejection of a tenant who pays his rent. No tenant who pays his rent. No tenant should be put out of a house on Saturday. In case the tenant has a large family or there is sickness in his household, he should be given ample time by the justice to move. No fees should be allowed the dispossess bureau. The courts should be entirely free to the poor. For the year ending Aug. 31, 1886, the fees paid into the city treasury from the eleven civil courts amounted to but $23,290, while for salaries, rent and expenses they cost $250,000.
Assemblyman Giegerich has introduced at Albany bills providing for the imprisonment in Ludlow street jail of employers who refuse to pay judgments found against them for wages and similar small amounts; enabling employees to bring action against employers without the payment of any fees excepting jury fees, and giving males the same costs now allowed to females bringing action for services performed. All the justices approve of these bills in whole or in part. Justice Steckler is outspoken in supporting them, saying that he hopes to see the day when the courts will be entirely free, and promising to do what he can to secure that result. All who have examined the landlord and tenant statutes of the state are aware of the need of an improvement in them. Justice Togers lately declared from the bench that the summary proceedings under them were entirely in the interest of the landlord, utterly despotic and a disgrace to civilization.
the new york “leader”
A Benefit Entertainment and an Election of Officers.
A fine musical and literary entertainment was given in the People’s theater on Sunday evening for the benefit of the New York Leader. The house was jammed from pit to dome. The programme was opened by the Baife club and introduced a number of local celebrities. One of the special features was the rendition of Schiller’s “Song of the Bell,” by the choir which for many years took so important a share in the services of St. Stephen’s church, but which went out with Dr. McGlynn. Under the leadership of Miss Agatha Munier the piece was excellently sung. Besides these the Liedertafel singing society was there, and a quartet from Dockstaders’ minstrels; James F. Hoey, of the Athenaeum company; Harry Fischer and John Sparks, of Harrigan’s company, and a number of others, all of whom were roundly applauded. John McMackin also made a happy little speech. The entertainment was successful in every way.
The annual meeting of the Leader stockholders was held at Claredon hall on Monday night, several hundred persons being present. Mr. S. E. Schevitsch was re-elected, and Messers. John McMackin and James P. Archibold were respectively chosen as chairman and treasurer for the ensuing year.
The Landlord’s Song.
W.W., Author of “The Miller’s Moan.”
I sit like a king on my lordly tower,
And all that I see is mine;
And I reign supreme and I wield a power
By virtue of right divine.
And I look around and on every side,
As far as the eye can see,
O’er the fields, and the woods and pastures
And they all belong to me.
And the farmer plows, and the farmer sows,
And he toils with care and pain;
’Tis for me he plows, and he reaps and mows,
And gathers the golden grain.
And the miner digs in the darksome caves,
Where the sun doth never shine—
Though they work and toil like the galley
The fruit of their toil in mine.
And I gather the gold from every source,
And I take a toll from all;
And I spend it all on myself, of course,
With revel and rout and ball.
And I eat the fat, and I drink the sweet,
And neither toil nor spin;
And I pass the time with companions meet,
And ever the rent comes in.
And the markets may rise or prices may fall,
And men may be discontent,
But though ruin should overwhelm them all,
Yet still I must have my rent.
For I make the laws that hedge me around,
That none may my rights assail;
And I’ve built them up with a skill profound,
And a cunning that must prevail.
So I sit like a king in my lordly tower,
And I reign supreme alone;
And I wield a more despotic power
Than the monarch of the throne.
the closing hours of the forty-ninth congress.
Can the President Approve Bills After the Adjournment of Congress?—Closing Scenes of the Session – How Constituents Are Humbugged.
WASHINGTON, March 9.—Since the Forty-ninth congress adjourned sine die, the chief works of such fragments of it as still possess the power of articulation seems to be asking questions as to who was responsible for its many tergiversations. The leading daily democratic organ of the capital comes out this week in a frantic editorial, demanding if Sam Randall is to be permitted to trample on and render barren the fiftieth as he has the last congress. I speak advisedly when I say democratic organ, for the same establishment, with wonderful versatility, prints both the democratic organ, for the same establishments, with wonderful versatility, prints both the democratic and republican organs, and the patron of the concern “pays his money and takes his choice.” Of course, editors supposed to be suitable have been selected for both, which leads me to remark that while the democratic Post has been suspected of being a Blaiue organ, no one has ever charged the Republican of being a Cleveland paper, which is manifestly unfair. Presidents and parties all sink into insignificance at present, under the general wail at the defeat appropriations. The failure of the general deficiency bill I perhaps the occasion of more grief than that of any other, unless we except the river and harbor bill, For the latter, of course, Mr. Cleveland alone is responsible, as it disappeared in the mysterious recesses of a pocket veto. Whether its many sins could have been condoned on account of alleged excellences will remain forever a matter of speculation. Podunk creek will not have its bottom scraped this season, nor will other creeks be made the victims of scientific explorations. The Mississippi, too, will roll on undisturbed, and the channels of the few useful waterways will be left to the ministrations of nature. The chief source of sorrow in Washington over this bill is the stoppage of improvement on the “Potomac Flats.” The Potomac Flats, be it observed, is a terra incognita chiefly under water. It in an immense shallow basin lying to the southwest of the city, above the Long Bridge, over which the average tide rises and falls a few feet, part of it being left bare at low tide. Into this is emptied the greater part of the sewerage of the city, and the situation can be understood without the elaborate description. To convert this into a beautiful piece of landscape gardening by scraping out what is by courtesy styled the “channel” beyond, has been the plan and ambition of our official ornamental gardeners. For two years work and appropriations have been going on, the latter doled with a somewhat sparing hand, as it is understood that there are certain real estate speculators who stand ready to claim the earth the moment it appears above the waters, under some riparian claim seizure, squatting purchase or pre emption, and is to be devoted to the benefit of themselves, their heirs, devisees and assigns as long as “grass grows and water runs.” This real estate speculating spook hangs like a nightmare over the Kidwell bottoms, and is not at all popular with those who do not expect to get any of the land. Heretofore we have heard of things, “in the earth and the waters under the earth,” but here we have a vigorous title to real estate under the water. Perhaps if you do not take care the whole of New York bay will be pre-empted, whole of New York bay will be pre-empted, and the owners will call on the government to pump it out. Indeed, I am persuaded that if the lost Atlantis should once more shove its broad shoulders from the depths of the Atlantic ocean, real estate speculators would be found with eagle eye and adamantine cheek to set up titles and reversionary rights to the greater part of it.
Among those deeply interested in the river and harbor bill it is positively alleged that the president can, and even at this date ought to, sign it. It is said with how much truth I don’t know, in discussing the matter with friends of the bill, has admitted that the measure has many good features, expressed his regret that he could not fully consider it before adjournment, and left the impression that he might sign it now if doing so was constitutional. Senator Sherman and many other congressmen of both parties are quoted as saying that the president can sign bills within ten days after the date of adjournment, and it is a fact that Mr. Lincoln did it on one occasion. Mr. Carlisle is of the opinion that a bill must be signed and the congress notified of the fact before it adjourns. This belief, I presume, is founded on the common practice. I think it by no means certain that Mr. Cleveland would sign it if he could. He got the bill several days before congress adjourned, and while there are a good many questionable features in it, there is nothing difficult to comprehend or mysterious in its general provisions. It is like many others that have gone before it. The president could hardly have been ignorant of the fact that if he had vetoed it and sent it back it would have been at once passed over his veto. Many of its friends claim that the pocket veto indicates “malice aforethought.”
Toward the close of a session the capital of the United States presents an interesting and exciting spectacle. Especially is this the case with the last session of a congress. The vast building is lit up at night from foundation to cupola. The corridors and the committee rooms are illuminated. Crowds throng the galleries, the staircases and other parts of the building, some idle sight-seers, others profoundly interested in what is going on. As the hours of adjournment approaches, crowds surge backward and forward between the house and senate chamber, many of them members deeply interested in the fate of pending bills. As the last night deepens, after midnight has passed, the senate, viewed externally, wears a drowsy look. This is in appearance only, however. Men, tired and worn, and yet persistent, hammer away the propositions they still expect to get through. So far as the bills of general interest are concerned, the work consists chiefly in hearing from conference committees and acting on their work. Even at this late moment they still pass bills, unmindful of the fact that they cannot possibly become laws. Some measure, supposed to be dear to a senator’s or member’s constituency, is thus fished up and passed, and its defeat can, of course, be laid to the door of the other house. The house in such moments, as in all its history, is much more turbulent than the senate. A stranger in the galleries gazes on the scene with stupefaction. Bedlam broke loose could not be much more disorderly. At every lull crowds of members are on their feet, gills in hand, trying to catch the speaker’s eye and making night hideous with “Mr. Speaker! Mr. Speaker!” Members clap their hands for pages; doorkeepers rush in with cards. Some members smoke indifferently in the cloakroom; others, tired, lounge or sleep on the sofa, and a few, knowing by long experience that all work except closing the appropriations bills is futile, saunter about or joke at the expense of the more sanguine members.
The only two measures of importance on the labor question failed to become laws. One of these was to prevent the importation of alien contract labor and the other the labor arbitration bill. Both of these, it seems, passed both houses. In the opinion of your correspondent, they are rather weak and inconclusive and as they were merely mild experimental essays, the presidential pocket might have spared them
W. A. P.
the papal blessing.
it is imparted to Dr. M’glynn and his parishioners.
Rejoicings in the Parish—An Enthusiastic Meeting International Hall—Mr. Bealin Quotes the Church Catechism on the Land Question.
International hall in Twenty-seventh street was packed to the doors on Friday evening of last week when St. Stephen’s parishioners met after the receipt of Pope Leo’s telegram conferring his blessing on Cr. McGlynn and the people of the parish. The aisles, the platform and the passageway were crowded with people only too glad to get standing room. Chairman John R. Feeney opened the meeting by saying that the difference between this meeting and the previous ones was that they formerly met for agitation, now they met for congratulation, for everything looked like the immediate restoration of Dr. McGlynn. The voice of the people had reached the pope and he had answered in a “beautiful kindly, holy, religious spirit.” The parishioners had great reason to be thankful and proud. He then introduced the speaker of the evening, Mr. J. J. Bealin.
Mr. Bealin reviewed the case of Dr. McGlynn. He claimed in the first instance by Archbishop Corrigan and Monsignor Preston, nominally because of an alleged interview which appeared in a New York paper, and in which they charged that Dr. McGlynn had used language “unbecoming a clergyman.” Next, the doctor’s position on the land question was condemned. He had seen the horrible evils of landlordism in the course of twenty-five years’ work among the poor and oppressed, and having lifted up his voice against the system he was condemned. “If,” said Mr. Bealin, “Father Huntington, whose connection with the poor was small compared with that of Father McGlynn, had seen, as he said the other night, twenty young girls go to the bad, how many hundred such cases could Dr. McGlynn a West Virginia bishop was dictating a letter to the doctor telling him that his teachings had never been condemned by the church. [Applause.]
“As to Dr. McGlynn’s riding in a carriage on election day,” the speaker asked, “what of that? Who were with him in that carriage? Dr. Kramer, Terry Powderly and Henry George.” [Great applause.]
Mr. Bealin explained how the people were bound to obedience to the church and where not, ending by saying; “It is time to discriminate between the church and the people who run the church.”
Referring again to the land question, he said: “ How does the catechism read? It reads as follows:
Question.— Who made the world? Answer.—God.
Question.—Why did he make it? Answer.—For His own glory, and to show His wisdom, and for man’s use and benefit. [Applause.]
Resting on this theory, Dr. McGlynn and others preach the rights of all to the earth. “We don’t mean that a man is to be deprived of his home, but we do mean that no idle speculator shall sit in his cool office in Wall street on a hot summer day, and dictate what shall be the price of the poor man’s loaf of bread because the flour is grown on western land monopolized by him. [Applause.] These monopolists stand in the way of God’s bounty, and then get others to preach that this is the will of God. [Applause.]
The speaker said that Dr. McGlynn often went till 2 o’clock before having his breakfast; and it is this kind of work that made him the sick man he has been of late. Mr. Bealin finished by asking the people to continue to withhold their money from the collections until Dr. McGlynn was again pastor of the church.
Dr. Carey then read the telegram which the people had sent to the pope on his birthday, and the reply received within twenty-four hours, which was as follows:
Rome, March 13, 1887.
To Messrs. Henry Carey, Chairman of St. Stephen’s Parishioners, and John R. Feeney, Vice-Chairman, 541 Second avenue, New York, America: Your telegram was most acceptable to the sovereign pontiff, who, returning thanks, imparts most lovingly his apostolic benediction to the Rev. Dr. McGlynn, to you and to the faithful of the parish.
He claimed that this telegram inferentially made Dr. McGlynn the real pastor of St. Stephen’s, as it connected his name with the people. He said that while the pope in Rome answered the committee’s telegram inside of twenty-four hours it took Archbishop Corrigan in New York several days to reply to one sent to him.
Mr. Bealin said a few words regarding a meeting to be held by the Catholics at Greenpoint in a day or two to uphold Dr. McGlynn, and then Dr. Carey spoke of the gratifying results of the efforts to raise a sum of money for the doctor.
Taking a Firm Stand.
Perry, Ia., March 5.—I am glad to see so many Catholics with courage enough to condemn Archbishop Corrigan’s actions in silencing Dr. McGlynn for the part he took in the labor movement last fall in New York and the noble stand he took in the cause of Ireland. Cardinal Simeoni may think we Catholics will tolerate these actions, but he will soon see that he is badly mistaken. Why did he not censure Monsignor Preston for the part he took in the same campaign? Can it be that a few Tammany leaders have sneaked in through the back door and are using our church to crush the labor movement, or that the sanction of the propaganda is given to political wire-pullers? If Archbishop Corrigan holds that the agitation in Ireland is not just, or that we have no right to claim “the land for the people,” but should suffer poverty and ignorance, then I’m ready to leave that part of my religion behind me with him and to follow in the footsteps of Dr. McGlynn. What is to become of us—where are we to look for a true of religion if this is what it is running into? We must strengthen the hands of Dr. McGlynn, for this is a struggle of right against might. It is for the welfare of our religion; for, to allow this to pass without resistance would be to allow these aggressors in the future to come at us in another way.
AN IRISH CATHOLIC.
The Right Sentiment.
PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 7—I am one of the number who believes that Monsignor Preston, Archbishop Corrigan and company have done the cause of labor a serious wrong in consequence of their interference with the rights of labor. The monsignor and his associates have arrayed themselves upon the side of moneybags, or, more frankly speaking, upon the side of the despoilers of labor. We have a principle on our side, and we will not submit to being robbed to suit the pleasure of the monsignor, or anybody else. The land and all the forces of nature are gifts from Him who made them, and according to the fathers of the church are not the exclusive property of anyone. Such a doctrine would be both illogical and untenable. All the sophistry of man cannot convince me that rent and speculation in land are not robbery.
The Entire Country Interested.
Oakland (Cal.) Times.
The acts of charity performed by Father McGlynn during his entire life have endeared him to the people, and he is a power in the city of New York in consequence, and his advocacy of the doctrines of Henry George has shown Tammany hall that its power for harm will be curtailed, although supported by Archbishop Corrigan and his Italian propaganda. Dr. McGlynn claims that although he is a priest of the Catholic church his opinions as a citizen of the United States are his own exclusive possessions, and the church has no business to interfere with him for any political opinion he may choose to entertain or express. This is right and manly, and it is a great pity that so few have the manhood to openly avow this true doctrine. In our judgment the archbishop has caused a controversy which he would have done well to have avoided, for it is attracting the attention of the entire country, and shows conclusively that the church is attempting to influence the minds of the people politically, and not, in our judgment, in the right direction. If the archbishop fails to reply to this manly statement, his silence will be taken as an admission of the entire truthfulness of the grave charges made against the hierarchy of the Catholic church. The enunciation of the grand doctrine that no one from the pope down has any right to interfere with the opinions of a citizen, although a priest, will be adopted in spite of Cardinal Simeoni or the Italian propaganda, and the monstrous doctrine that an American priest can be ordered to Rome to account for his political opinions as an American citizen will no be allowed at this late date.
civil and religious obligations.
Ringing words of Judge Maguire of Californian.
From the San Francisco Star.
I shall not discuss the relations of Dr. McGlynn to his superiors in religious matters, but to say that he is their servant in everything is too monstrous for belief.
If “his civil rights and all other earthly ties” are subject to the control of foreign cardinals, how can any priest become an American citizen? How can he take the oath of allegiance? How can he swear to “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state and sovereignty whatever,” if he secretly reserves a higher obligation to answer for his political opinions to a foreign potentate or a foreign sovereignty?
I do not understand archbishop Corrigan’s allusion to himself as a “general,” to Dr. McGlynn as a “subaltern officer,” and to the Catholic people as “soldiers,” unless he imagines himself in the same position as Monsignor Kopp and able to do for Tammany what the latter is now doing for Bismarck in Germany.
The Catholic religion is a thing entirely apart from the hierarchy of the Catholic church. The one is purely and simply a moral teacher and spiritual guide, the other has many generations been largely absorbed in political and temporal affairs. The one leads the way to salvation, the other makes political trades with Palmerston and Errignton for the oppression of Ireland, and with Bismarck to throttle popular rights in Germany.
Religion was as pure and complete in Christ’s time as it now is, yet it then made no political alliances and claimed no temporal power.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Doyle, Catholic bishop of Kildare, said of this claim to temporal power: “Thus it was in bad times, in times of turbulence and barbarism, the claims of the popes to the sovereignty of almost every kingdom of Europe grew up in silence, and were admitted and sanctioned by nearly all the ruling powers. It must be quite obvious that those claims had not their origin in the gospels nor in the doctrines of the Catholic church, but in the state of society, in the mistaken zeal, or in the ambition of some popes—a zeal and an ambition excited and directed by an insatiable avarice, pride and thirst of power in their followers and dependents.”
The remnants, the unholy scraps of this unhallowed power, have been flung at Dr. McGlynn.
Religion will be purer and more respected when this false alloy is removed from it.
A celtic Protest.
Twenty Millions of Catholics of Irish Birth and Descent Condemn Corrigan.
Denver Rocky Mountain Celt.
The priest has certainly unhorsed the archbishop. The sentiments of the Irish Catholic on the blind obedience due by a priest to his ecclesiastical superiors may be and no doubt are divided, but the pope and the Roman propaganda will be taught that there is no division of sentiment on the question of Irish nationality.
Irish-American Catholics will go still further when the liberty of the citizen, be he priest or layman, is endangered by Roman presumption. The propaganda will be taught that the humblest American priest is protected from ecclesiastical tyranny or political dictation from Rome by the impenetrable armor of American citizenship; that the priest does not and will not divest himself of a glorious political inheritance in the assumption of a Roman collar. The theology of Tome will be accepted but its political dictation must be reserved for Italians! The “priest McGlynn” is, we have held, amenable to ecclesiastical punishment or discipline for disobedience to his bishop, but the bishop and the propaganda in coercing the citizen McGlynn and silencing or unfrocking him for exercising his rights as an American citizen, or for advocating the cause of down-trodden Ireland, have merited and will receive the condemnation of at least twenty million Catholics of Irish blood and Irish descent.
A Roman pope once blessed the conquering sword of the English oppressor of Ireland, and dedicated the Isle of Saints to Tudor inheritance. This was in the twelfth century; we are now in the evening of the nineteenth, and pope and propaganda would do well to avoid arousing the bitter recollections of seven centuries of murder, confiscation, rapine and exile, to which the bull of Adrian gave ecclesiastical sanction. Irish-Americans are free, and they are determined that the land of their sires shall take its ancient place among the nations of the earth, though Rome itself perish in the struggle! God never designed the Irish race to perpetual slavery or subjection.
How Dare You?
San Francisco People.
Father McGlynn, prince of religious disturbers of the peace, stand on your defense!
How dare you preach a doctrine which has only the poor sanction of Christ, and which has been scouted by better informed men for 1,500 years.
How dare you preach equal human rights, knowing, as you who are versed in the history of the church must know, that this very doctrine in 250 years from the first propaganda had so undermined kingdoms, principalities, rank and riches that it was found absolutely necessary to subvert and repress it, else the ability to live off the toil of others would have been lost to the nobles of the earth forever.
How dare you claim that the mandate of God, “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,” has any bearing on these enlightened times? A pretty picture a prince or millionaire would make earning an honest living, forsooth!
How dare you preach free land to all, knowing as you must that such a doctine would beggar 50,000 well educated, well bred, polite men, who will not labor and who have no other means of support save landlordism? Knowing, too, that it would only benefit paltry 500,000,000 who have been slaves so long that it is really no hardship for them to remain so forever.
Shame on you and your outrageous teaching!
Very Deep into Politics.
Herston (Minn.) Argus.
Henry George is no “waging war against the Catholic church,” but is making a very vigorous protest against the interference of the court of Rome with the rights of American citizenship. When the propaganda assume the power to say what shall not be the political faith of a citizen of the United States as they have in Father McGlynn’s case, it is going very deep into politics. The answer which they are getting from the members of that church in the opinions widely expressed shows that such interference will not be tolerated.
the burning question.
rev. mr. pentecost’s sixth sermon on the evils of land ownershiip.
Poor People Ought Not to Be Contented With Their Poverty—What the Church Might Do and Ought to Do—A Terrible Arraignment of a Great City.
The subject which Mr. Pentecost took last Sunday evening was, “Why I have preached sermons on social problems.” He referred at the outset to the criticisms which have been made that his preaching has a tendency to make the poor discontented.
“I confess that I have not the heart,” he said, “to tell poor people that they ought to be contented in their poverty while so many members of the church luxuriate in wealth unjustly obtained. I have not the heart to tell them to put on their rage and go to the mission and not to be too proud, and to remember that ‘people in their circumstances’ ought to be humble and thankful, when I know how we all enjoy new clothes and how many of us will not come to church on Easter Sunday unless we have our spring bonnets and pantaloons. I would tell them to be contented and humble and to set their thoughts on things above this earth if I thought there was no injustice in their being so poor and that there was no help for it. But when I know that they are poor, as a rule, because society is unjust to them and that there is help for it; and when I know how much more hope we should have of helping them to be better if they were not so poor, it would be cant and the hypocrisy in me to talk as so many good Christians do, no doubt sincerely, about the spiritual blessings which attend poverty and the contentment which the poor ought to have.
“There are some good people who go buzzing through this community wondering why I don’t preach to save should, rather than to ‘draw a crowd,’ as they say. I am preaching to save should—souls that many of these good, pious people never think much about and do not care much about, but I know better than they seem to do that I can get a man to think about his soul much better if he does not have to think so anxiously about where his rent money and food and clothing for his family are to come from.
“Many people think a minister has no business to preach on anything except a few subjects that were of interest 250 years ago. If Jesus Christ had interested himself only in the theological questions of his day, which largely consisted in saying how many times a man should wash himself before breakfast, no one would have taken the trouble to crucify him, and we would not have heard of him. A man who is just and kind to other men is a man whose religion we honor.
“I believe I am justified in saying that the church, as a rule, courts the rich and prosperous and patronizes the poor. Any one who studies the policy of the church in cities where distinctions between the rich and the poor are most sharply defined must see that she, as a rule, runs away from the poor and runs after the rich. Churches are not planted where they can do the most good, but where the world will be of the greatest financial and social benefit to them. The tendencies of the churches are always toward the Fifth and Madison avenues, and away from the Avenue A’s and Eleventh avenues.
“As society is at present constituted the motto which fits it is: ‘Every one for himself and devil take the hindmost.’ But Christianity says: ‘The strong should bear the infirmities of the weak;’ that we should think not upon our own, but the things of others’ wish to press it now upon you that we are not to be content until the lowest order of handworkers are able to live in some condition that may fairly be called comfort. The thousands of day laborers who can only make $300 or $400 a year; the thousands of women workers who cannot make that much; the thousands of children getting a few cents a day for long hours of work when they ought to be in school or at play—these are the hindmost, and sound political economy as well as the sound gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that our duty is not performed until it is performed to them.
“I go through these streets and see poverty on every hand; the filth and shamelessness in which so many people live; I hear little children on the sidewalks using vile and profane language, and am not content to come into this pulpit and put you to sleep with theological opiates, when I should be rousing you to recognize the claims of these hindmost ones upon you.
“I was to have you see that the manifest social evils of our time cannot be cured by charitable dollars and mission chapels, but that the remedy, whatever it is, must be more radical that this, and must result somehow or other in putting people upon a basis of equal natural rights, as they now are in the country—except women—on a basis of equal political rights.
“I believe it is a good thing for men to think, and sometimes to think in a new direction. I have never asked you to believe theory I have advanced, but have only declared my honest opinions. If successful in changing the current of your thought I think I have done a good thing. The land question is the burning question of the day. IT IS MY HONEST OPINION THAT THE MAN WHO HAS NOT THE INTEREST TO INVESTIGATE THE SUBJECT IS NEITHER A GOOD CITIZEN NOR A GOOD CHRISTIAN. I have heard some people say that I am a socialist. Some have gone so far as to say that I am the paid agent of Henry George. I never saw Henry George but once in my life, and then only for a few minutes. I knew that everybody would not agree with me, but I believed I was the pastor of a church whose members would respect my honest opinions, and I have not been disappointed.
“There is no trouble in this church, no do I think there will be. The church knew when I can here that I think a minister who must consult a creed or book of discipline which others have made for him before he knows wheat he wants to say only such things as will be displeasing to no one, or who through fear or for any reason fails to declare what he thinks ought to be said, is the last man who ought to be in the pulpit. Let him be a ventriloquist’s puppet, opening his mouth only when some one pinches the machinery in his back, and only seeming to speak; let him be a jumping jack, only moving when some one pulls the string; let him be a telephone, only saying what some one says through him; let him be a phonograph, only repeating in the mockery of a voice what has been stamped upon him by a voice; let him be anything but a minister, for if ever there was a time when the pulpit ought to be occupied by many men who have convictions and the courage to own them; by broad-minded men who can think out of technical lines; by me of to-day, unhampered by medievalism, that time is now, and if you will not attribute vindictiveness to me in saying such a thing, if ever there was a city in which the Christian church needed a subsoil plow of modern thought and human interest run through it that city is Newark, New Jersey.”
An Unanswerable Argument.
Richmond, Va. Dispatch.
But not only is land limited, while cattle may be multiplied indefinitely, etc.—Henry George’s Paper.
This is a contradiction in terms. The man who has no land can raise no cattle. Necessarily, then, the number of cattle must be limited by the quality of the land. More: If each man is to have only one acre, there will be no cattle.
henry ward beecher.
Few men have exerted more influence upon their time than Henry Ward Beecher, in whose death passes away the greatest of American pulpit and platform orators.
And his great influence was mainly for good. Strong, brave, sympathetic and enthusiastic, he came upon the stage when a great wrong was beginning to touch the consciences of men, and a momentous struggle of right against might was in its early stages.
With all the ardor of a warm heart, and all the energy of his powerful nature, Henry Ward Beecher threw himself into the anti-slavery struggle, proclaiming, in season and out of season, the eternal principles of justice—pleading against so-called democrats for true democracy, pleading against so-called Christians for the very essence of Christianity, the equal brotherhood of all men.
He encountered what in the nature of things must always be encountered by those who fight in the van of a struggle against a great wrong—ridicule, abuse, misrepresentation, and all but personal violence. Yet, as the cause he espoused grew and strengthened, as that which has truth and justice on its side always must grow and strengthen when agitation succeeds stagnation, his influence grew with it, and while he was yet probably the most abused and most hated man in the United States, he was the pastor of the largest and strongest congregation in the whole country, and radiated from his pulpit an influence that reached the remotest corners of the land. It was not because of his talents alone that Henry Ward Beecher was great and powerful, and that there came to him that highest of all rewards that can come to man—the reward of seeing his own efforts tell perceptibly in the advancement of a great cause. His preaching, ridiculed and denounced by the Scribes and Pharisees of the time as the bringing of politics into religion, the mingling of secular with sacred things, had in it that power which enabled early Christianity to sweep over the Roman world and into barbarian lands—the arousing of the religious sentiment to work reform on earth.
Fiercer and fiercer waged the struggle until it burst with the bombs that burst over Sumter into the consuming flame of civil war. Then it was given to Henry Ward Beecher, not only to animate the patriotism and devotion of the north, but in a foreign land to perform a notable service to his country and to humanity. Going abroad with Archbishop Hughes, these two representatives of the two great divisions of western Christianity exerted such influence upon public opinion as to prevent the danger that a foreign war might be added to the war for the Union. And there was probably never a stronger testimonial to the power of an orator and to the essential goodness of human nature that the spectacle of English workingmen, condemned to idleness and want by the war in the United States, protesting against any interference which, though it might bring to them what they considered prosperity, would at the same time help to rivet the shackles of the enslaved blacks.
With the close of the war Henry War Beecher reached climax of his power and fame. He had done good work in our great struggle for human rights, but, alas, to the still greater struggle for the abolition of the industrial slavery he has given no helping hand. The Henry Ward Beecher of 1856 and the Henry Ward Beecher of 1886 were in this respect essentially different men—the one a proclaimer of the equality of human rights, the other a denier; the one a denouncer of injustice, the other its apologist. An advocate of such minor reforms as do not offend the existing power of wealth, he took no part in the new crusade now opening for the restoration to all men of the most important of natural rights—their equal rights to the use of the world in which they live. Perhaps it was that he was tired of conflict, perhaps it was that association with the rich and the “respectable’ had at last exerted its enervating effect; perhaps it was that the delusion, which sometimes comes to successful men who have had hard struggles in their youth, that any one could have done as they have done, blinded him to the social wrong of poverty; perhaps it was the imperviousness to new ideas that is attributed to the decline of life. Whatever may have been the cause, let us remember him for the noble work he did and count not against him the noble work he failed to do.
That work remains for men in whose veins the blood still courses.
Gymnastics in finance.
An example of the ease with which private as compared with public interests are served in congress is afforded in the redemption of trade dollars. Several years ago the issue of trade dollars was authorized nominally to facilitate trade with China, but really to open a market for our silver producers, who lobbied the measure through. Mexican silver dollars are readily received in China, and it was supposed that a silver dollar of equal or slightly greater intrinsic value of American coinage would be also. But the trade dollar issued with that object failed of its purpose, and returned to the American market. In the meantime silver fell, and there being a profit in coining silver into trade dollars so long as they would pass, they became a nuisance, and were driven out of general use by a heavy discount. Though the trade dollar contained much more silver than the standard dollar, yet, as it did not near the fiat of legal tender, it was received for its value in silver and nothing more. At the same time the standard dollar passed as it does now for its face. More striking evidence of the truth of the greenbacker’s theory of fiat money could not be desired.
After causing a great loss to the poorer class of working men and women, who were often obliged to take trade dollars at par and pass them at a discount, the trade dollar passed entirely out of use, being bought up by speculators, who gambled on the probabilities of a redemption. Their gamble has proved successful. After lobbying industriously with congress, they have succeeded in procuring the passage of a law authorizing the redemption of trade dollars at par. Thus the speculators are literally presented with upward of ten per cent on their investment.
Such a measure, if it were for the benefit of the public, could never have been carried through a body like congress. It required the advocacy of private interests.
It may be said for this measure that it cost the government nothing, even though it be profitable to the speculators. But it does cost the government. For about eighty cents enough silver can be bought for a standard dollar, two halves, four quarters or ten dimes. With the fiat stamp upon these pieces they are good money. But when trade dollars are redeemed at par the government pays one hundred cents for only a little more silver than it can buy in the market for eighty cents.
If our financial policy were not controlled by banking and money-cornering interests, all these gymnastics in currency manipulation would be avoided. A currency sufficient for the uses of trade would be issued by the government directly, would be stable regardless of the fluctuations of its material because guaranteed by the government, and would afford no opportunity for mere speculators. The greenback approximates such a currency. Made a full legal tender and issued in larger volume as a substitute for bank bills, gold, silver and interest bearing bonds, it would meet the wants of trade, prevent the expansion of debts, terminate a great interest burden, and take the common medium of exchange out of the control of finance sharps.
the negro once more.
The Norfolk Virginian thinks that it “is worth while to remind THE STANDARD that the political creed of the southern organization against monopolists.” This is in a measure true; but the northern democratic party has long since ceased to oppose monopolists and the southern democracy is rapidly following in the same direction. This is notably true of Georgia democracy, which ambitiously aims to lead “the new south” toward that kind of material prosperity which enriches the few and impoverishes the many in the north. If the Virginian had been familiar with the utterances of THE STANDARD it would know that his paper has freely admitted the difficulty that the southern whites have to contend with in inducing the negro “to vote for the good instead of for the evil side.” When the race was first enfranchised it was misled by too many of its leaders into believing that good was evil and evil good. THE STANDARD comprehends as fully as its Virginia contemporary the natural shrinking of southern white men from anything that even suggests a repetition of the misrule of reconstruction days.
But, on the other hand, we have said plainly to our friends in the south that the condition of affairs that has arisen since the forcible overthrow of carpet bag rule cannot continue. The existing division of parties in the north cannot last, and this alone, were there no other causes, would necessitate a new division in the south. When that comes about the negro vote will, as we said before, not only be cast and counted, but it will be courted. The only question is, shall it be cast to sustain monopoly and injustice, or in support of the rights of that great body of producers to which the negroes themselves belong?
It is probably useless to expect that so ardent a believer in one of the old parties as the Virginian will permit itself to see that the concentration of all taxation on all land values is the only way in which the monopolization of lands by giant corporations and the release of the southern people from the burden of unjust tariff and other taxation can be brought about. We assure it, however, that it is readily demonstrable that such a system would promote industrial activity at the south while making its agriculture more profitable, and saving if from the greedy hands already stretched out toward its wealth by cottonseed oil trusts and gambling railway syndicates.
But we have the right to ask of such papers as the Virginian that they shall seek to understand our party’s principles before condemning it, and that they shall above all things, not seek to infuse into the politics of the future the sectional bitterness and prejudice that have no place in the coming contest over new issues, that affect north and south alike, and have no more to do with the late civil war than with the English war of the Roses. The new party recognizes facts as they exist. The laboring people of the south are largely negroes, and these negroes have votes. It desires that these votes shall be cast for it, not against it, and it appeals to the intelligent white men of the south to undertake precisely the same task that the thoughtful workingmen of the north have undertaken in their efforts to uplift and educate the abject poor of our great cities, who, through bribery or slavish deference to wealth, cast their votes solidly in favor of monopoly in business and corruption in politics. The Virginian says that the white people of the south “almost despair of bringing the new voters up to the standard that Mr. George desire them to adopt.” We can readily believe it, yet the difficulty is no greater than that presented by the ignorance and slavishness of the very class of voters in the city of New York, who now vote solidly against the party that seeks to uplift them from poverty and degradation.
savings banks statistics.
A great deal has been said lately about the savings banks reports as irrefutably proving the unexampled prosperity of the wage-working classes. So much money on deposit; so many depositors; average to each depositor so very much. Ergo, the wageworkers are in a condition to be envied.
Considered a sum in arithmetic all this is very pretty. Considered as an argument it is bosh.
Every savings bank is careful to fix a limit to the amount any single individual may have on deposit. As a rule, this limit is $3,000. Therefore, by parity of reasoning with the argument above, wage workers are so overburdened with wealth that there is danger of their forcing it on the savings banks more rapidly than the latter can invest it.
The simple truth is, that savings banks combine good interest with good security to a much greater extent than any other institutions going. Business men have a fondness for good interest and good security, and, as a consequence, business men use the savings banks very extensively as depositories for their surplus cash. The same money that will bring only three per cent or less if invested in a government bond, will often realize four to four and a half if deposited in a savings bank.
If our savings banks were obliged to report their depositors in classes—to say how many had $5, how many $50, how many $100, and how many $1,000 to their credit, we might gather some reliable information about wageworkers’ savings from their statements. Also it might be interesting to be told what they do with money of small depositors who die or move away and make no sign.
Pittsburg is rejoicing over the prospect of an increase in the number of her manufacturing establishments. It is said that several English and Belgian glass and iron manufacturers are contemplating the establishment of works there. The fact that this information is given to the press by prominent real estate agents of Pittsburg indicates pretty clearly who will profit by the proposed immigration. The lucky landholders for whose sole and express benefit, according to prevailing ideas, the Almighty laid the foundation of the earth and arranged the supply of natural gas, will find their incomes marvelously increased. But how much are the workingmen of Pittsburg to be congratulated on the increasing wealth and importance of “their” city?
According to Mayor Harrison of Chicago the nomination of a city ticket by the united labor party is going to give Chicago to the republicans. What if it does? What practical difference does it make to workingmen whether republicans or democrats hold the offices? Independent nominations by the labor party may here hurt the democratic machine and there the republican, but they will everywhere force the discussion of vital questions. If the labor party is to accomplish anything it must go in its own way, careless of which political machine is hurt.
The Philadelphia labor Tocsin gives the following queer advice to the united labor party:
In selecting a platform and declaration of principles, do not place therein any proviso which will prevent the indorsement of a well-known friend of labor who happens to be fortunate enough to secure nomination upon either the democratic or republican ticket.
But if the united labor party is to have nothing in its platform that cannot be indorsed by a candidate upon the democratic or republican platforms, what is the use of having a labor party at all?
We refer to this because the notion that it is the end and aim of labor movements in politics to elect “friends of labor” to office has been the cause of the insignificance and uselessness of many such movements. Nothing can be accomplished by any labor party until the aim of advancing principle takes the place of the idea of electing men to office. There is no use whatever for any new party unless its principles differ from those already in existence, and it is only as it thus expresses a difference that anyone will pay any attention to it.
Railroad men are greatly excited over a story that a syndicate embracing the Richmond terminal company has bought the Baltimore and Ohio railroad company. Precisely how far the terminal company, which has effected such a great consolidation of southern railways, is concerned is at this writing a matter of dispute, but that a combination has been formed for the purchase of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, express and telegraph lines is unquestionable as is also the probability that it will eventually control 13,000 miles of railway from this city to the south and west. This will offer new matter for denunciation to those who attribute the existing evils to the tendency of wealth to consolidate, but even such people cannot point out any way to stop the operations of a tendency as inevitable in its results as the law of gravitation. Such combinations as that just formed are the natural outgrowth of individual control of natural resources and of facilities created by and belonging to the whole people. We shall have more of them before the people are educated up to the exercise of their power for the resumption of their rights. When that day comes the smaller the number of monopolies the easier will be the task.
THE story of the clubbing of an inoffensive young man printed elsewhere is unfortunately not an unusual one. This is but a fair specimen of outrages to which the poor and humble are constantly subjected by our police. The systematic lying by which the ruffians sustain one another in case of complaint is illustrated in the interview a Herald reporter had with the accused officers when statements were made in positive conflict with those of the police justice. But outrageous as was the conduct of the police, it does not compare in enormity with that of Police Justice Solon B. Smith. This man, according to his own admission, learned from the officer making the arrest that he had mistaken Curtin for another man, and he discharged the victim without so much as rebuking the officer. When Curtin subsequently demanded a warrant for the arrest of his assailants the justice refused his request. Such conduct would have been bad enough had the justice been ignorant of the facts. There stood before him just from under the surgeon’s hands, with a bloody head, a blackened eye, a broken finger and numerous other evidences that he was the victim of a cruel beating, such as policemen have no right to administer to pugilists or to any one else. The man told a straightforward story and named his assailants. It was the plain duty of the justice to issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused, leaving it to them to offer such justification and defense as they could. But in this case the justice who refused to this citizen the protection of the law positively knew that the man had been clubbed by mistake and that the accusations to which he was ready to make oath were true. So long as we have such police justices there will be no protection for the honest poor of this city against the ruffians that even worse police commissioners authorize to walk our streets clothed with authority and armed with deadly weapons.
The funny man of the World is getting in his work. Here is his latest joke:
As a matter of fact the disposition to make good use of wages has induced hundreds of employers to pay more liberally than they would otherwise have done … And no employer with brains—not to mention a heart—will reduce wages because he sees that his workingmen are securing homes of their own or laying up something for a “rainy day.”
President Sharp and President McCready ought to read the World. It will make them laugh.
LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR JONES, the man who pays the freight, is beginning to see things; if not really to see them, at least to say he sees them, which is so far satisfactory that it proves his knowledge that there are thins to be seen. The lieutenant-governor has been liberating his august mind lately anent the land question. His utterances are, in places, somewhat platitudinous and savor a little of that which scoffing unbelievers call “taffy,” but they contain some gems of thought for all that. Here are two of the gems, extracted from their setting in the Star:
There is a higher law that should fix the price of labor than that of supply and demand. It is the law of nature, giving to all humanity the right to an adequate living. If you bring in competition the necessities of laborers the limit of reduction will be the line of starvation.
The history of the world affords instances of greater relative wealth than exist to-day, but fails to furnish cases of more extreme poverty, as that would be impossible, for the lower limit has always existed and that line could never be passed, for when it was reached death from want ensued.
Just at present the lieutenant-governor sees things through a glass darkly. By and by, in the fullness of time, he will see then face to face.
A BANKER of the name of Moran, who testified recently before the senate sub-committee on taxation, stated his belief that the only equitable and the most profitable and reliable method of taxing was to put all taxes on real estate. Mr. Moran in nearly right. A tax on real estate alone would be more profitable and reliable than the mode of taxation now in force; but it would not be so equitable or profitable now any more certain than a tax on land values alone. Equitably, houses are just as much entitled to exemption as any other labor product, while land values, resulting as they do from the demand for natural opportunities, are peculiarly an appropriate subject of taxation. To tax them deprives no one of anything he has earned, promotes the use of land and increases wealth. Men like Mr. Moran see a truth which they are afraid to proclaim in its purity lest society saviors call them socialists.
SENATOR VAN WYCK recently read a long speech in the senate in favor of the election of members of that body by a popular ballot. When he began there were some fifty senators present. Before he had finished his first paragraph only nineteen were left, and they were engaged in writing letters or reading newspapers.—[Tribune.
No wonder. The representatives of corporations would find it pretty hard to get into the senate if election depended upon a popular vote.
AN inadvertance, even of a single word, sometimes tells a completer story of character than tall its context. For instance, the Post of the 5th inst. concluded an article on summering in the country with this:
These are a few of the simple lessons which the bucolic mind in time will master, and when it does, life for a certain season of the year will wear a new face for most of us.
Us, in a city nine-tenths of whose wretched inhabitants swelter in tenements all summer long every summer of their lives! The little group who read the Post may summer in the country, but “most of us” simmer in the city. Us is a little word, but it is big enough to betray the bitterness of the Post’s editorial soul.
During the weary and fruitless discussion of the fisheries question that has recently occupied the time of congress, there was one gleam of light and reason from an unexpected source. Mr. Butterworth of Ohio introduced a bill to establish absolutely free trade between the United States and Canada. A much milder measure, one merely providing for free trade in fresh fish, would put an end to this worse than foolish fisheries dispute; but such a measure as Mr. Buttersworth proposes would so completely end this and all other differences between this country and Canada that we should practically become one people, and war between these two countries be as unthought of as is war between New York and Connecticut.
THE article on “the boom in real estate” which we copy from the New York Stockholder is a suggestive one. Tracing effects to causes by the light of true economic principles, the writer shows clearly and tersely the real reason for the paralysis that at steadily recurring periods prostrates the commerce of the country. The producer builds up a paying business and flourishes for a space, only that the landlord—the owner and controller of the raw material, without which production is impossible—may swoop down upon him, absorb his profits and destroy his trade.
It is a wholesome sign that utterances such as this can find a place in the columns of a capitalists’ paper.
It shows that business men—captains of industry, as they love to be called—are beginning to realize that the interests of capital and labor are not opposite, but identical, and that wage-earner and wage-payer are equally defrauded by the monstrous system that permits a few men, no stronger and no wiser than their fellows, to forbid capital and labor to exercise their united and harmonious forces in production without the payment of a ruinous and God-forbidden tax.
the land and labor library.
A Series of Striking Tracts on the Land Question.
As a means for the more efficient propagation of the true principles of land reform THE STANDARD has commenced the publication of a series of tracts, illustrating in concise and striking forms the causes of poverty and the easy method of its abolition.
Friends of the cause can do great good by aiding in the circulation of these tracts. They can be distributed among acquaintances, inclosed in letters and parcels, or given out at public meetings or from house to house. Their price has been fixed to cover merely the cost of printing.
The Land and Labor Library will for the present be issued tri-weekly. The following numbers are now ready:
No. 1—“First Principles.” By Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 2—“Land and Taxation.” A conversation between David Dudley Field and Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 3.—“The Right to the Use of the Earth.” By Herbert Spencer. 4 pages.
Any of the above, free by mail—25 copies, 10 cents; 100 copies, 25 cents; 1,000 copies, $2; 5,000 copies, $8.50; 10,000 copies, $15.
No. 4.—“A Christian Minister on the Remedy for Poverty.” A Sermon by the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost of Newark, N.J. 2 pages.
No. 5.—“A Sum in Proportion.” By T. L. McCready. 2 pages.
Price of Nos. 4 and 5 in quantities, free by mail—50 copies, 10 cents; 100 copies, 121/2 cents; 1,000 copies, $1; 5,000 copies, $4.50; 10,000 copies, $7.50.
Greenpoint Supports McGlynn.
The citizens of Greenpoint, L.I., turned out in force on Wednesday night to attend the meeting at Bartholdi hall, called for the purpose of expressing sympathy with Dr. McGlynn and to protest against his recent dismissal. Mr. George Smith presided, and read a letter from Henry George expressing his regret at being unable to attend, and showing wherein the case of Dr. McGlynn called for the earnest consideration and determined action of all true citizens, Catholic or non-Catholic. The letter was received with great enthusiasm. James J. Gahan, editor of the Catholic Herald, was the chief speaker, and short addresses were delivered by James E. Quinn, master workman of District Assembly 49 Knights of Labor; John J. Bealin, James P. Archibald and others. The speakers and the audience were for the most part Catholics, but they did not hesitate to denounce Archbishop Corrigan and the Roman ecclesiastics who had accomplished Dr. McGlynn’s removal in the strongest terms. The pope was spoken of in the most respectful way. Resolutions expressing the feeling of the meeting were passed amid great confusion.
Grant and the Third Term.
Adam Badeau in New York Tribune.
John Russell Young was opposed to Grant’s renomination, principally, perhaps, because he thought he could not be elected. He had long and repeated conversations in which he represented the views of those of Grant’s friends who were averse to his standing again. This was only a few days before the convention was to meet at Chicago. Gen Grant had even yet made no outspoken declaration of his intention, though of course having allowed his friends to use his name without objection, he could not in honor withdrawal it without their consent. But Young induced him to write a letter addressed to Senator Cameron, authorizing his friends, if they saw fit, to withdraw his name from the convention. This was a most extraordinary influence for any one man to exert with Grant, and I know few parallel instances. Grant never censured his friends for the fidelity that disregarded his suggestion of withdrawal, just as he never forgave any who he thought betrayed him at that time. He never afterword spoke except with bitterness of his lifetime friend Washburne, who, he believed, I know not how rightly, played him false; and former followers who did not support him in the concluding political effort of his life, never afterward held the same place in his personal regard. His failure embittered his feeling toward all who contributed to it. This remark has no reference to Young. Grant had followed Young’s counsel, and in the end perhaps wished that others had done so too. It was at his urgent advice that Mr. Young was afterward appointed by Arthur minister to China.
The Government and the Individual.
Chicago Herald, 28th.
Whether or not the municipality should furnish street car transportation and artificial illumination at cost, as it is supposed to furnish water, is a question of expediency concerning which there is a wide difference of opinion. The old doctrine that government should do nothing for the individual that private enterprise may compass lacks the adherents it once had. The success of the postal department, its certainty, celerity and cheapness, suggest that government might profitably enlarge its powers and its beneficences. It has already made encroachments in this department upon private business. It has become the carrier of freight as well as of letters and has grafted a money order system, a form of banking upon the original plan. If successful in this direction why should it not operate the telegraph system, which is merely a more rapid method of postal service. Why not operate railroads and mines? There are good reasons why government should not usurp these various fields, but the pendulum is now swinging the other way, and may reach the extremity of possibility in its present direction. If the general government may assume these gigantic tasks, by parity the municipal government, which cheaply and successfully supplies water, may refuse franchises to gas and car companies and undertake to supply transportation and light to its citizens at cost. There are proper subjects of discussion, but an immediate solution need not be looked for.
Our Standard Bearer.
We want thee, O unfound
And Sovran teacher! –Mrs. Browning
Have we not found him, when her prophet
Invoked from shadows of that darkening
When Freedom’s star seemed lost amid the
And thunder-storm of tyranny’s fell might?
Full robed, and true to her inspired hope,
He rose upon our night of doubt and fear,
And all the mountain peaks, from slope to
Rejoiced in rapture that the dawn was here!
Somewhere in earth’s domain, her faith made
With seer vision, unrestrained and clear—
He lived, in God’s great purpose held secure,
Who should “do greatly,” when his day
Oh, not for Italy alone, the strain
That echoed from her heavenly harp, was
I think she watches us, from that pure sky,
With knowledge—truer than our mortal
Of these low valleys where our path must lie,
Of those far heights to which our path must
And evermore, I think, her spirit—calm
In its high confidence—for blessing prays,
On him whose hand has grasped “this
And holds it high, to fix our wavering gaze.
FRANCES M. MILNE.
WORKING FOR FUN.
How the Well-to-Do Women Compete With Their Poorer Sisters.
Stitch! stitch! stitch! The work began this morning as soon as there was daylight enough to sew by, and will continue to-night until it falls from the weary fingers. Prices that were low enough before have been cut still lower, and so the fight for existence has come more desperate than ever. Forty-two cents a dozen for neckties! God pity the worn and haggard women who make them for a living (so called)! As for the fashionably gotten up young ladies who make them “for fun,” well, God help them, too—by giving them hearts and souls! And odd word this “fun.” It has so many separate and distinct meanings. Girls living in comfortable homes with a mother, and perhaps even an extra servant to wait upon them; girls that can wring at least three tunes out of the piano, and perhaps do a little daubing in oil colors into the bargain; and yet these girls will, for a season, rise early and sit up late, stitching as diligently as though their daily bread depended on it. Obliged to work? Of course not! Working to help pay the butcher and baker? The idea! No; they are working “for fun.” Webster does not give the definition of “fun,” when used in this sense; but it means finery. The breadwinner of the family dresses his daughters well, but they aspire to dress better, and hence this particular labor market is crowded. Fools rush in to work for fun, where it is very certain that women with anything of the angel in their nature would religiously refrain from intruding, and the poor widow and the orphan girl, working in earnest, suffer from the consequent cutting of prices. This is no imaginary picture. The writer, unfortunately for herself, is lacking in the gift of imagination; but she is a good listener, and naturally has been much talked to by women of various conditions of life. To learn how many girls work for fun let some downtown establishment advertise for copyists. Before noon the dusty, barn-like loft in which the circulars are addressed is crowded with young ladies whose costumes would not look out of place on the most fashionable of thoroughfares; high priced hats and plush or sealskin sacques have been hung in the cloak closet, and, as the work is done only for fun, busy tongues are keeping pace with busy fingers. The copyists have taken an inventory of one another’s clothes, and the process of getting acquainted has been begun. The most popular excuse for being so far down town is, of course, “fun,” but there are others besides. One young lady is there because the doctor thinks the daily ride will be good for her health. Another comes because she is lonely at home, being the only daughter. (Such an excuse is plausible, the mother being downstairs in the kitchen and the daughter upstairs in the parlor.) Another doesn’t need any money for herself—oh, dear, no! She has come with the laudable object of earning money to give to the poor. It is only to be hoped she is in earnest, as she is taking work away from them.
The givers of the work do not, as a general thing, profess to be philanthropists. The golden rule (so the writer was once informed down town), is not used in business. Their object is to have their tens of thousands of circulars addressed as cheaply as possible, and naturally those who work for fun are the readiest to agree to cut rates. Three of four among those who sit at long tables and scribble from morning till night are self-supporting girls-girls living in rented rooms, and managing somehow to keep body and soul together on the wages reduced when the crowd of workers for fun came in. One of these once said to the writer that she had ceased to take a tonic prescribed by the doctor, giving as a reason that she could not afford to have the appetite it created. Another sometimes came to work without having broken her fast that morning, but the young philanthropist who was earning money to give the poor said nothing about supplying her need.
What seems strangest about the matter is that fresh and fair young girls in their early teens, coming for fun in answer to advertisements, are so seldom accompanied by either parent. Who knows what pitch may be touched in such odd fun, and what may be the consequent defilement? Necessity send self-supporting woman to places where she must needs listen to profanity and double entendre, and associate with those of her own sex who have long since ceased to blush, and fortunate she considers herself when not crowded out of such places by her finer sisters—young girls who must necessarily grow coarser and commoner from such contamination, but whose store of finery will be increased thereby. Is there a stranger passion in the ordinary female heart than the love of making a show? A love that kills out the natural sense of what is due to others; a love that enables the young girl to endure without protest, language that ought to bring a blush to any modest cheek. The pride she takes in the expensive muff that has made her the envy of her set, or the sealskin sacque half of which was paid by herself (papa having been tormented into paying the other half), more than counterbalance any twinges of conscience for taking work and wages from those who, albeit poor and unfashionable, would still like to live, even though their stylish and fun-loving sisters, Tallyrand-like, “do not see the necessity of it.”
What Does it Mean?
BRISTOL, Conn., March 8.—I suppose you believe the Bible. Now, how do you explain the fifth chapter of James? Please read and give me an answer.
Another Railway Senator.
The democrats of New Jersey, when they elected a majority to the state legislature last November, cherished the hope that the state would have at least on representative in the senate of the United States. But they have again been disappointed. The Pennsylvania railroad company has them both.
The Forty-ninth congress died, theoretically, at noon on Friday last; actually, at an indefinite number of minutes after noon had passed. The usual childish expedient was resorted to of putting back the hands of the clock, so as to make believe that it still wanted some minutes of 12, when, as a matter of fact, it was some minutes past; and a fiction with which no matron of any judgment could hope for a moment to placate a hungry husband was thus calmly foisted upon sixty odd millions of people. However, even the clocks got tired of lying at last, and the Forty-ninth congress passed into “history” as represented by the Congressional Record.
What has it done, the Forty-ninth congress, servant of the people of the United States, and chosen by them to devise such legislation as should best guard their liberties, promote their happiness and increase their prosperity?
It found the people groaning under a needless load of taxation, and it leaves them groaning still.
It has provided for the redemption of the trade dollars, thereby relieving from anxiety a limited number of people who had bought these coins at a heavy discount, with the full knowledge that they were never issued as money of the United States, but were intended solely for exportation to China.
It has passed a law, which no man clearly understands, but which our railway magnates seem to think won’t do much harm to them, for regulating the commerce between the states.
It has appropriated vast sums for fast cruisers and steel guns.
It has made some trifling changes in the postoffice system.
It has defined the succession to the presidency and regulated the counting of the electoral vote.
It has played with the labor question by prohibiting the use of convict labor on public buildings.
It has played with the land question by declaring some fifty millions of acres forfeited and restored to the public domain.
It has authorized the president to pull the British lion’s tail—not a hard pull, be it understood, but just a gentle tweaking, which shall only irritate the lion without making him too angry.
It has introduced 14,615 bills, providing for the doing or not doing of 14,615 different things, and it has in its “wisdom” enacted that 1,391 of these things shall or shall not be done. What these various trifles are, is it not written in the pages of the Congressional Record and in the Laws of the XLVIX congress, where every American citizen may, and beyond possibility of doubt will, read all about them?
The history of the trade dollars is instructive. A lot of men, claiming exclusive control over the bowels of the earth, dug therein and extracted silver. On the pretext that they could dispose of them in the markets of China, these bowel owners induced the United States government to manufacture this silver into coins, which it was expressly provided should not be, in any sense, money of the United States. On the pretext of Hobson’s choice, “take it or go without,” they induced the people of the United States to accept these coins as money, thereby putting into their pockets not only the value of the silver extracted as aforesaid, but a pretty penny in addition. On the pretext that they had been only fooling when they said that the coins were money, they induced the people to sell them back the coins as bullion, at a discount of ten to twenty per cent. And on the final pretext that the people didn’t sell them back the coins, but still innocently hold them, they have induced congress to buy up the coins once and for all, at $1 per coin. Now the trade dollars are to be melted into ingots and stored away in vaults. They came out of the ground, and they go back into the ground. They were an unmitigated nuisance while they existed, and the mine owners and speculators have secured, in one way and another, about $1.30 for every one of them. If from the tile records of Assyria some learned man should decipher such a history, what a supreme contempt we should have for such uncivilized ancients!
The Rhode Island house of representative has passed, by a vote of 52 to 7, a resolution to submit a woman suffrage constitutional amendment to the people.
About midnight on Thursday last Alfred Anderson, an employee in the Jersey City station of the Pennsylvania railway, discovered on the floor of on of the closets a small bottle, out of which a sulphurous smelling liquid was slowly escaping. Anderson picked the bottle up and shook it carelessly. Instantly the liquid burst into flame, and as the startled man flung it from him, it burst or broke, and a small stream of fire flowed upon the floor. Assistance was luckily at hand, and what might have been a serious conflagration was averted.
On the same night a deck hand on the Pennsylvania ferryboat Chicago noticed a similar bottle lying in the ladies’ cabin. He picked it up, smelt it, noticed a powerful odor of sulphur, and threw it overboard. Within a few hours afterward a fire broke out on the spot where the bottle had been lying. This also was extinguished without serious damage.
Still later a half burned wad of cotton and a number of burned matches were discovered behind the men’s toilet room at the Desbrosses street ferry. It has since come to light that several mysterious small fires have recently occurred at the various stations and wharves of the Erie railway in and about this city.
Outrages of this kind coming so soon after the attempt upon the steamer Guyandotte give cause for serious thought. If they are the work of one or two men exceptionally and congenitally destitute of moral perceptions it will be only necessary to hunt down the perpetrators and lock them up, but if they indicate the existence of a class of men who are becoming despairingly revengeful in their unsuccessful struggle for subsistence, it is time for society to take thought how the causes which produce such a class can be removed. Merely saying that such deeds are “un-American” will do no good. The English sparrow was un-American once.
Gov. Hill has finally decided to remove Gen. Shaler from the office of president of the board of health of this city. The order for the removal was made immediately on receipt of information that the indictment for bribery pending against the general had been dismissed by the district attorney. It would seem, therefore, that so long as there was a chance that Gen. Shaler might be proved guilty of a felony the governor considered him a fit and proper person to hold an important position in the city government; but that so soon as that chance disappeared he became manifestly unfit.
There is still another formality to be observed before Gen. Shaler finally quits the public service. The governor has approved the order of the mayor making the removal, but the general himself has not yet absolutely decided to approve the governor’s approval. He is reported as remarking, “I cannot say whether or not I shall make any further contest.”
Within the past few weeks two transatlantic passenger steamships, the Wisconsin and the City of Chicago, have grounded on the coast of Long island. In neither case was there any loss of life. In both cases there might have been, under different conditions of tide and weather, a prodigious sacrifice of it. Accidents of this kind serve as reminders that voyagers at sea still take their lives in their hands when they embark, and commit themselves, in a peculiar sense, to the care of God’s providence.
And yet, as a matter of fact, an express train traveling at full speed from New York to Philadelphia runs a far greater risk of accident than an ocean steamer sailing from New York to Liverpool. To insure the safety of the train requires the constant, careful watchfulness, not only of those in charge of the train, but of a perfect army of people all along the route, A misplaced switch, a broken rail, a weakened bridge, a signal wrongly set or wrongly read—any one of a hundred different occurrences, many of which, as in the case of Tuesday’s disaster on the elevated road, no mind can foresee—may lead to sudden and dire disaster. Yet no man thinks of settling his earthly affairs before taking the cars at Jersey City, and, though railway accidents do happen, they are singularly infrequent as compared with accidents at sea, and excite, when they occur, an amount of indignation and horror such as rarely follows the most serious maritime disasters.
There is a reason for this difference, and a very simple one. Our railways are held to a strict pecuniary responsibility for life and property. If they maim or kill a passenger it costs them money. If they lose or damage a case of goods they have to pay for it. The steamship owners, on the contrary, find ample protection in the still lingering superstition that accidents at sea are the direct acts of God; and when they drown a passenger or sink a bale of goods it costs them nothing but a lessening of reputation for safety. If vessel owners should be made equally responsible with other carriers for the lives and property they take in charge, there would mighty soon be an end of marine disasters.
The accident on the Third avenue elevated railroad was of a peculiar kind. The road was blocked by a fire on the Bowery. It was early morning, and the trains were filled with men, girls and boys on their way to work. Delay in getting to work means to these people a serious pecuniary loss, and a number of the bolder among them left the trains and started to walk to the nearest station along the narrow plank walk that fringes the track. Suddenly the line of trains began to move. One of the walkers struggled to the rear platform of a car and clung there, and as the train moved on his projecting body swept the walkers from the narrow path. Three men were killed and seven seriously injured.
Probably there never was a railway accident which could have been less easily foreseen. The direct cause was the ignorant foolishness of the man or boy who tried to board the moving train. The railway people assert that every effort was made to prevent the passengers leaving the train in the first place, but without success. It is easy to say that the engineer should not have started his train ahead until the plank walk had been cleared, but such a delay on his part would have simply meant a further and more dangerous crowding of the walk and a longer and more exasperating stoppage of travel.
And yet the tragedy might have been avoided had the train hands dared to disregard the cast iron rule or custom which provides that no passenger by rail shall ever receive any information as to the cause or probable duration of a delay, or the nature of an accident.
A great suit, involving the claim of the Illinois central railroad company to the harbor front of Chicago, came up in due course last week before Judge Gresham, whereupon John N. Jewitt, counsel for the railroad company, declared that the company wished the case to be heard by Judge Blodgett, and not by Judge Gresham. Judge Gresham interrupted Mr. Jewitt, and, whit evident excitement, declared that he would have nothing to do wit the case, but he gave notice that in the future, when any case came before him in the regular way, he would not shrink from hearing it because of the insinuations of counsel. Perhaps he made a mistake in thus shrinking in this instance. We shall certainly have a peculiar administration of justice if great corporations are to pick out the judges to try suits brought against them. In this case it is now inconsistent with decency that Judge Blodgett should sit, and Justice Harlan of the supreme court will try the case.
After a great flourish of trumpets an Albany committee has engaged in an investigation of alleged corruption in the Brooklyn city government. It has managed by its inquiries to bring out officially the fact already well known to politicians, that the fee offices of county clerk, register and sheriff yield a net annual income of about $30,000 each to their incumbents. The republican members of the committee then addressed themselves to the task of ascertaining how large a portion of this handsome income each of the officers devoted to the maintenance of the democratic party. The witnesses showed themselves as ignorant of their personal affairs as Jake Sharp was found to be by another committee. Some of the witnesses took the more manly stand that the net proceeds of their offices legally belong to them, and that it is no body’s business how they spend their money. The republican investigates profess great indignation at this, and will ask the legislature to punish the recalcitrant witnesses for contempt. Any serious investigation of one set of officeholders by their opponents would be likely to produce good results, but the processes of this committee in Brooklyn are so obviously preposterous that every unprejudiced person doubts the desire of the committee to accomplish anything.
It is rumored that the Standard oil company has secured a monopoly of the manufacture of sulphuric acid in this country. Charles H. Kalbfleisch, a former manufacturer of the acid, doubts the truth of the story, and says the acid can be imported at too low a price to let the Standard oil company have a monopoly. The great monopoly can easily meet this objection by ordering congress to pass the prohibitory tariff. After the Standard company corners all the sulphur and brimstone it can go on and gobble the earth, fearless of unpleasant results elsewhere hereafter.
The Mormons seem determined to meet force with fraud, and if they are not repentant for their sins, at all events to pretend they are. At the recent meeting of the Third district court at Salt Lake City ten out of twelve Mormon jurors took the new oath imposed by the recently enacted Tucker-Edmunds anti-poligamy act; and at the local election in Brigham City the church ticket was triumphantly elected, the Mormons generally taking the oath without hesitation.
Another English statesman has succumbed under the burden of the attempt to govern Ireland. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach has resigned the office of chief secretary, and Arthur J. Balfour, secretary of state for Scotland, a relative of Lord Salisbury, has been appointed to the place. The perplexed premier is angry, and declared in a recent speech that the Irish question is a horrid nightmare, paralyzing the government’s energies. He talked very much as we may suppose Pharaoh talked about the Israelite question for some time prior to the Red sea episode.
Meanwhile, events have not been of a nature to calm the marquis of Salisbury’s feelings. Some people around Limerick have been burning the barns of those persons who have paid their rent. Mr. Dillon, in the house of commons, has resented some ill-tempered remarks by Sir Michael-Hicks Beach, charging him with responsibilities for “an organized system of robbery,” which Sir William Vernon-Harcourt has written to the Times declaring that the troubles in Ireland arise from the attempt of the government to enforce the payment of rents which their own land commission has declared that the people are unable to pay.
Two Scotchmen, natives of the Isle of Skye, named MacMillan and MacDonald, had, some time since, the bad taste and temerity to make a fuss over the evictions that have made their native island celebrated, and as a result were promptly hauled before the constituted authorities, tried, convicted and sent to prison as a warning to all similar evil-doers. On Friday last their sentences expired. They were released early in the day, furnished with the free passes “home,” and advised to depart immediately.
It seems, however, that there is a strange lack of moral sense among the Scottish people. Instead of being allowed to sneak quietly out of Edinburgh and to avail themselves of their free passes to depart to their native Skye, there to live down the memory of their transgression, these criminals were received outside the prison gates by an immense throng of friends and sympathizers, including several pipers. The culture crowd—sympathizers, pipers and criminals—proceeded to a neighboring hotel, where a breakfast awaited them. Speeches were made, “anarchic” sentiments avowed, landlordism denounced, and the action of the legal authorities in Skye disrespectfully characterized as an “outrage.” Subsequently the free passes were utilized and the criminals went back to Skye in triumph. Evidently the Scotch people are beginning to think that Thomas Jefferson’s famous declaration that “all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed” ought to be something more than a glittering generality.
At the opening of the new German reichstag the emperor of Germany announced in writing the intentions of himself and God Almighty. The venerable emperor, for his part, is to add to the already intolerable load of taxation under which his empire staggers, and to make that load harder to bear by withdrawing the flower of the wealth-producers from useful occupations; and Heaven, on its side, is to “bless his efforts to conserve the peace and security of Germany.” Consequently, the creation of new sources of revenue is urged upon the reichstag.
Meanwhile, in spite of pacific William’s assurances of what Heaven is pledged to do, all Europe is in a state of dreadful expectancy. Mothers, and wives, and sisters, and sweethearts are trembling for the future. Wealth incalculable is being wasted on the means to destroy life and wealth. Commerce is disturbed, and threatened with paralysis. New explosives are being invented, and the process of their manufacture guarded as all important state secrets. In short the principles of society saving are receiving their widest application.
The pope has received a dispatch from Emperor William conveying his (the emperor’s) cordial thanks for assistance rendered by the Catholic hierarchy in the recent elections. The Emperor William evidently knows more about etiquette than Mayor Hewitt.
Archbishop Croke has written a letter disclaiming the interpretation put upon his recent letter asking how long the Irish people shall be taxed to meet the expenses of their own enslavement. The archbishop says that it never entered his head to recommend a general uprising against the payment of taxes. He would trust alone to constitutional agitation for the restoration of national rights in Ireland. Under existing conditions only a knave or a fool, he declares, would trust otherwise.
A draughtsman named Terry employed at the Chatham dock yard has been dismissed for selling information about projectiles, torpedoes, etc. It appears that Terry’s information was by his customer sold to a representative of the United States navy department. Terry admits his guilt, but declares that he did not know the destination of his revelations. The Times is making a great bluster over the discovery, and talking in a belligerent way that must delight the iron and steel ring in this country. Had the Times’ performance begun before the adjournment of congress, perhaps the extravagant coast defense appropriations scheme might have been successful.
“What Are You Going to Do About It?”
BROOKLYN, March 1.—That was the question of the Tweed crowd to the people of your ring-ridden city fifteen years ago. That is the question that this ring-ridden city now puts to the people of the state, who, by a majority of more than half a million votes, have commanded the legislature and the governor of New York to provide by law for the holding of a constitutional convention. Have they done it? No. Are they doing it? No. Are they going to do it? We shall see. Your Albany correspondent, in his letter of the 16th of February, says: “New York city has twenty-four assemblymen and seven senators. Of the assemblymen one-third are honest. So are three of the senators. The rest are here to make money.” These men are then political cut-purses, and habitually pay as much heed to the rights of the people as Dick Turpin paid to the rights of coach passengers. What, under these circumstances, are we going to do about it? Consider the attitude of the great dailies of this city. Would any one know from them that anything serious was the matter? Here and there a plaintive remonstrance, that is all. As if the coachman should say: “Dear Mr. Turpin, it is my painful duty to say to you that you are pursuing an erroneous course. My passengers are unarmed and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.” What has become of our American spirit that we no longer have a free press, when shame itself might blush at the unpilloried degradation of our partisan “representatives” in legislatures and in congress? Your Albany correspondent adds: “It is seldom that any reference to the maneuvers of legislators comes into print. The daily New York papers which have a correspondent here do not care to touch it because the papers are partisan.”
Now, what are you going to do about it, you, and you, and you, fellow citizens of the Empire state?
You have but one remedy, and that is to throw over the men and the parties who have thrown you over. Get yourselves truly represented. Condemn by the ballot the vile crew who joy in your divisions, flout you with your lack of “practicality,” and in mad security jeer at your appeal to the peaceful remedy of the ballot. Come out of the house of bondage!
The Party that is to Be.
PITTSFIELD, Mass, Feb. 14.—I look upon the inauguration of the crusade against land monopoly and corporate power as phenomenal and of greater moment to the future good of this and of all nations than is generally comprehended. That the land should be the possession of all and pay the taxes of all is a startling innovation in political economy, and is attracting the attention of the civilized world. If these propositions are based upon eternal justice and “natural right,” as is apparently demonstrated, a new party will rise, an American party, made up of the best elements of all other parties, to enforce laws bearing equally and justly upon all classes. Thousands all over the land proclaim this party. –[C.H. Waugh in Cheboygan, Mich., News.
the birth of the french republic.
Allen Thorndike Rice Relates His Experiences In Paris in September, 1870.
In response to a recent request from the editor of THE STANDARD for a brief account of my personal experiences on Sept. 4, 1870, I take pleasure in contributing the following jottings:
It was late on the night of Saturday, the 3rd of September, 1870, that a French senator with whom I was staying in the country received a dispatch announcing serious disasters to the French troops on the frontier. He immediately decided to return to Paris, and I determined to accompany him. We started at break of day, and all along the line of the railroad rumors of the most conflicting nature reached us. The emperor had been killed in the last charge made on the enemy; the empress had been murdered in the palace of the Tulleries; part of Paris had been destroyed by fire; a revolution had convulsed the capital, and was still in progress. Such were the items of news which reached us at every station, until we became prepared for any emergency on our arrival. At the Paris station, until we became prepared for any emergency on our arrival. At the Paris station, however, all things looked much as we had left them, save that there was an utter absence of officials, and business seemed to have ceased entirely. As we drove through the streets few vehicles could be seen. Eager groups stood in discussion at the corners listening to oratorical disputants. The newspaper stands were besieged, and there was a general attitude of anticipation throughout the city. Arrived at my hotel on the place de l’Opera I witnessed the scene below from the balcony. The open space before me was thickly dotted with motley groups. Suddenly they formed into a confused concourse of citizens, who adopted as their leader a zouave soldier. This soldier at once proceeded, ladder in hand, to the corners of the streets, whence he removed the names “Avenue Napoleon” and others that commemorated the rule of the empire. He then proceeded amid immense applause to tear down the imperial emblems from the Opera house, and all such insignia were removed or destroyed. While this was going on I determined to make my way to the corps legislatif—corresponding to our own house of representatives—where some historic events seemed impending. When I reached the place de la Concorde a delirium of joy appeared to pervade the entire place. Cries of “Down with the empire,” “down with the emperor,” and “Vive la republique,” were heard on all sides, and there was an immense deal of jollification, coupled with loud but harmless imprecations. The twelve statues that represented the principal cities of France on the vast space were decorated with flowers here and there, and banners waved throughout the place. What struck me most were the orderly character of the crowd and the absolute lack of any tendency to violence. I noticed in one corner a lively discussion, and made my way to it, finding to Frenchmen engaged in a serious altercation. One had proposed to pillage the palace of St. Cloud. The other had called him a thief and a vandal. Just then a third party approached and declared the man utterly innocent of any such accusations, but only an imbecile. This peculiarly French incident occupied the crowd for some time.
Presently the place began to assume a more lively aspect. In the distance the national guard appeared, their bayonets flashing in the sunlight, telegraphing their approach as they bore down before the crowd. At the bridge which led to the legislature stood a mounted guard of police, picturesquely attired, with their bright yellow sashes and white facings, watching over the deliberations of the national council. On the other side of the bridge, as the national guard poured into the place from all sides, there was considerable anxiety produced by the crowd, especially at the moment when the mounted police drew their sabers at the work of command, and for one minute a conflict seemed certain. A stampeded at once followed, and the crush was anything but agreeable. For an instant it seemed liable to degenerate into panic. But soon the mounted police gave way, and the national guard shortly after approached the entrance to the legislature.
On this occasion bloodshed is said to have been averted by the act of a single member of the national guard. At the critical moment this soldier reversed his musket in token of peace and good will. The example was immediately followed by the entire body of troops, and all went well thereafter.
Meanwhile I had made my way across the bridge and obtained permission to enter with a pass to the lower house. I had succeeded in obtaining a good place in the front row. Before reaching the legislature I had repeatedly heard the republic declared all over the place de la Concorde, but found myself still living under the empire on entering the chamber. In fact the emperor’s ministers were there reading reports; the aged president of the corps legislatif, with his great red ribbon, sat in his chair, ringing loudly a bell that stood before him and calling for order; the officials of the empire were trying to enforce obedience, and all seemed still to savor of the imperial regime. The galleries were packed. The president looked sad and anxious. Gambetta, Arago, Garnier-Pages, Jules Favre and Thiers were all present. Count Palikao, the prime minister, was making a speech as I entered, and the interruptions were so frequent that he at last declared he would not go on if the chamber “dared” once again to interrupt him. At the word “dare,” a diabolical din ensued. Many of the deputies declared themselves insulted. Shouts of “vive la republique” were heard, and “down with the empire” seemed to be the watchword. One deputy rushed up and seized the venerable president, Mr. Schneider, by the collar, and tried to prevent his ringing the bell, and altogether I do not remember ever seeing confusion worse confounded. Meanwhile a conflict between the national guard and the sentries outside, it appears, had seemed imminent. The national guard was demanding in the name of the people an entrance to the legislature. The chamber then went into committee and the public sitting adjourned. The national guard was finally admitted to the court yard. This gave some relief to the crowd outside, which forthwith indulged extensively in that strangest of French fashions, inter-masculine kissing.
Shortly after I returned to the gallery. Gambetta was exhorting to order and was addressing the galleries, praying all to preserve the peace. Strange noises were heard outside, sounds like muskets, caused by the crowd hammering at the doors for admittance; countless footsteps, like the tramp of an army, coursing through the corridors; until, at last, the wave rushed in with an incessant stream of men in blouses, national guards with muskets, citizens, women, all making for the galleries. The tumult was indescribable, and the crowd became at last so dense that the occupants of the gallery had to give way. Some, among them myself, were compelled by the invasion of this wave of people to forsake their places in the galleries and found themselves unceremoniously swept to the floor of the house without the aid or assistance of a staircase. On the floor, there was a frightful noise and hustling going on. An unutterable confusion seemed to pervade the entire body. Everybody was imploring everybody to keep quiet. Consequently the storm raged more fiercely than ever. Several gentlemen were making speeches at the same time, but not a word could be heard above the din and turmoil. I was determined to keep near Gambetta, who seemed the most energetic of all, and presently followed him out through the courtyard into the street, where several carriages were waiting. Seeing an Englishman get into his own cab and about to follow Gambetta, I obtained his permission to join him. As a correspondent of one of the English papers he proved a useful friend. We followed Gambetta closely to the hotel de Ville. We entered by a private door, and found the road barred by troops in command of an officer who was likely to make resistance, having had no orders from the authorities. He proved, however, to be a good republican and received Gambetta with open arms, for which favor the republican statesman kissed him on both cheeks and called him a soldier of the republic. We then entered with a small body that followed Gambetta and were rushed up stairs to the great historic hall in the hotel de Ville, which is the municipal center of the city of Paris. Soon Jules Favre joined us and a large concourse of people entered the magnificent building which has witnessed so many great events. Shortly after a general rush up stairs ensued and the republic was proclaimed by Gambetta from the balcony of the hotel de Ville. The space in front was crowded with a sea of upturned faces, and I have rarely witnessed a finer scene than the orderly enthusiasm of that crowd. There was a serious interruption at the outset of Gambetta’s speech proclaiming the republic, of which I could not learn the cause at once, but it turned out to be due to the presence of a colossal equestrian portrait of the Emperor Napoleon III. After much confusion and remonstrance on the part of the crowd, the cause was learned. A soldier then had the happy idea of tearing a curtain from the window and vailing the obnoxious portrait from the view of the people. Great applause followed, and the compromise was accepted for the moment. After the speech, however, was concluded, and Gambetta had left the room, the national guard attacked the picture with their bayonets, taking care to select the vital parts, and utterly annihilated the emperor and his horse. This childish destruction was the only absurdity of the kind that I witnessed, with the exception of the acts described as taking place in the streets, which amounted merely to the destruction of the imperial insignia.
The rest of the day I spent in wandering over the boulevards and noticing the behavior of the people. They seemed to have forgotten the disasters on the frontiers, and everywhere the sorrow of the early morning had yielded to a bacchanalian rout of glory and festivity. At the Bastille a large tree of liberty had been erected, covered with flags and flowers, and men and women were dancing around it in circles, hands clasped. The crusade against the recent ruler still continued. The railings of the Tuileries were knocked down. The changes in the names of the streets still went on, as much to suit the caprice of the crowed as to destroy all the recollection of the recent empire. The “Marseillaise” was being sung everywhere, red scarfs waved from the lamp posts and statues, huge blankets were hung over the great imperial eagles that surmounted the national buildings, “liberty, equality and fraternity” was chalked on all the walls of public edifices, and in many quarters facetious inscriptions made their appearance. On the Tuileries, for example, I saw, scrawled by some passing wit, “Lodgings to let,” and on the Elysee palace, “To let because of expulsion.”
As night came on I began to realize that I had arrived under an empire and was not going to bed under a republic. Never had people been aroused more suddenly, nor effected a revolution more peacefully. Yet I could not help pondering over the causes that led to this memorable event, and wondering what meaning it might stamp upon the future of French people. The disastrous defeat of the French armies and imperial rule was certainly the immediate cause of the revolution of the 4th of September. No defined and sustained demands of the people had brought it about. No radical change seemed contemplated beyond the change of name. The grievances brought in its train by the second empire had been great. Had the sufferers sufficiently weighed and mastered the nature of their grievances? Had they sufficiently considered and understood the true meaning of republicanism? Or were they merely launching out upon a sea of aimless experiment? Such were some of the fears that forced themselves upon me that stirring day. Certainly the early years of the new republic often justified those fears, sometimes recalling a remark once made to me by a great Frenchman: “The French are a strange people. To please them you must often change the orchestra, but you must never change the tune.”
ALLEN THORNDIKE RICE.
B.K. Barlow, of Indian Valley, Idaho territory, writes that for twelve years he had been opposed to both of the great political parties and that the labor party has his heart-felt sympathies. He says: “ I would like to belong to a church founded upon the principles of the labor party,” which aim at doing justice to all men. “May God bless every effort for raising the poor and hasten the day when the white and black slaves of the country shall be free.”
John Franklin Clark, New York.—I have long held the view that the title of all lands should be in the people as a whole, and in a weak way have pointed out the injustice inherent in private ownership.
E. Lucas of Boston writes that all taxes should be transferred to land values, as advocated in THE STANDARD. He says: “I send my hearty concurrence with this great truth. Let the ‘land for the people’ be the grand rallying cry in future political struggles and the labor problem will be solved. I am doing what I can to spread this truth.”
Leonard Mitchell of Newport, Me., strongly approves THE STANDARD’S course in fighting for the restitution to every man of his birthright, and says: “Forty years ago I began work with the Garrison abolitionists, and it is not boasting to say that I have not rested night or day in all these long years. I am a poor man, having lost my farm by mortgage—a farm which cost me twenty five years of hard work, night and day.”
A Presbyterian of Philadelphia writes a letter condemning the platform of the Cincinnati convention in strong terms, and thinks that the members of the united labor party should repudiate it either singly or collectively. “It is all side weight,” he says. “Its center is altogether hollow. It does not aim directly at anything. There must be no temporizing; we must throw our whole weight into the solution of the land problem as advanced by THE STANDARD. That is the center and the circumference of the whole trouble. Solve that and all other reforms will soon follow. We cannot fight unless we have something firm to stand upon. We must first get the earth as a sure foundation. We must drop church creed, in fact everything but Christ and his example.”
The Land for the People.
NEW YORK, Feb. 28—Having been a most enthusiastic adherent of the new party since first studying “Progress and Poverty,” I am proud to say that my first ballot was cast in the interest of the modern theories of taxing land values; and if every thinking young man will look for a distinct, definite and truthful issue to be his guide for the formation of his opinion he must, unless influenced by prejudice, find the same goal. Sound political opinions cannot be attained without knowledge, to some extent, of the new political economy. The progress of poverty will be effectually stopped by the righting of the present system of taxation at no far distant period, for ordinary perception can now discern in our atmosphere “the land for the people.”
WM. W. ROSE.
landlordism in kansas.
Speculators Grab All the Land for Which All Other Human Beings Must Compete.
HOLTON, Kan., March 3.—Driving recently in the vicinity of this city, I was shown a large tract of unimproved land, owned by a speculator here, and was told he owned about 2,000 acres. At another place I crossed an open prairie covered with wild grass, not at all improved, perhaps 500 acres in extent. This is owned by some one in the east. Its value rises year by year. Its owner’s interest in it is purely speculative. The bad result of such ownership is exhibited in this that the highway is a new path and is not worked as when it touches improved land. I stopped at a house of two or three rooms and was told the tract of 700 acres is owned by a citizen of Holton. Its tumble-down barn and the small stock of worn out farming utensils showed it was poorly worked. The only stock I saw was an old white horse. Its owner’s interest in it is mostly speculative. I had previously heard of him and of the devious ways by which he had acquired a property of (according to various estimates) from $15,000 to $100,000.
He had not acquired this property by labor. He had not made this and other farms pay for themselves by production. He had not, in a literal sense, soiled his hands. Had he done so trade would have been brisker, every storekeeper in Holton the richer, and society the gainer. But when the grasshoppers drove out the early settlers he obtained a title by simply paying the taxes, and now by the increased value which society gives he has become wealthy without the exercise a single faculty or muscle and is regarded as a smart business man.
There are many such men here; large landholders who do not work, but to whom society pays a tax for their ability to keep other men out of homes. It is said in defense of them that they pay society taxes, but as society constantly adds to their wealth in excess of this tax, it is evident that the balance is the other way and society really pays them.
Perhaps 10,000 acres in this vicinity are held in this manner. This land might support 100 families. If the land was thus occupied the sum raised by taxation would be much more ample, while we should enjoy the advantages due to a denser population, better schools, churches, and greater social advantages.
In conversation with citizens of this place all this is conceded, but when I suggest a plan by which such speculation will be discouraged and honest labor encouraged, such sentiment is wasted on these landholders. It is misplaced, because, almost without exception, the speculators have acquired their land by devices not used by men of high honor, though the necessities of the stat stamp them legal. It is said that the good faith of the government is pledged to them.
In my answer I am wonderfully helped by the attitude of the whole community, and especially these landholders, toward the Pottawattamie Indians. The prairie band of Pottawattamie Indians holds 77,300 acres in this county. One corner of the reservation is about three miles from Holton.
The speculator says: I say:
These 77,000 acres would support 770 families.
The 10,000 acres held by speculators would support 100 families.
The land held by the Indians pays no taxes; does not aid in securing those public improvements which society demands.
The land held by the speculators does not pay one-tenth the taxes it would pay if it was held by 100 families.
If the reservation was thrown open to settlers, trade in Holton and neighboring villages would be more brisk. Every merchant would be the gainer.
The same results would be attained if 100 families were settled on the land held by speculators.
More and better schools, more and better churches, more and better social advantages would result if the reservation was settled.
The same results would be attained if 100 families were settled on the 10,000 acres held by speculators.
The Indians keep out those who by honest labor might make a living.
The speculators—but I forbear.
Mankind are fools if they allow the causes to continue.
Competition in Evil Doing.
Chicago gas companies contemplate a “combine,” and although at present rates they claim they are unable to pay dividends on their stock, one of them has offered 150 per cent for the stock of the others. The genial climate of northern Illinois is evidently in the highest degree favorable to the growth of a good orthodox metropolis, and barring fires, cyclones and St. Louis competition, Chicago stands a fair chance of becoming New York’s twin sister.
The McGlynn Testimonial.
The publisher of THE STANDARD acknowledges the receipt of the following sums for the fund for Dr. McGlynn:
Frank Rooney, New York city $2.00
Watt Percy, Helena, Mon 2.00
Bolton Smith, Memphis, Tenn 10.00
Wm. Watterson, San Francisco, Cal 3.00
Previously acknowledged $781.50
New York, Feb 27.—I desire to enter my humble protest against the arrogant and tyrannical attitude assumed by Archbishop Corrigan toward the devoted priest of the poor, Father McGlynn. As there is a direct connection between the political occurrences of the recent election for mayor in this city and the suspension of Father McGlynn, it seems impossible to think or speak of that great contest without considering Dr. McGlynn as the greatest individual factor engaged in it outside of the labor candidate himself. Looking at the suspension of Dr. McGlynn is this light and considering decided stand in the matter, it would seem as though his holiness the pope had but two courses open to him in deciding this controversy. One of them, and the only just course, is the immediate reinstatement of Father McGlynn in the parish where he is so much beloved. This, and this only, will satisfy the wishes of the Catholic workingman of this country. Should the other and extreme course be taken by his holiness, that of silencing Father McGlynn, every Catholic in this land will have good reason to believe that a wrong decision has been arrived at in this affair, and that the authority of the church is being used to prop up the declining power of tyranny, monopoly and corruption. If disciplining is absolutely needed in order to purge the religious atmosphere of the foul and poisonous vapors that have, as a matter of necessity, emanated from the conduct of certain clerics, it might result in much good if these gentlemen were given a does of the same medicine they so strongly advocate for others.
THOMAS. F. BYRON.
A Voice from California.
As an Irish-American Catholic I have much pleasure in sending you herewith my mite, three dollars, toward Father McGlynn’s testimonial, and only wish I could send you three hundred. I have read carefully your excellent paper, The Standard, and I cannot find words to express the warmth of my indorsement for the calm and moderate tone in which you have placed this trying case before the people of America. Money nor praise can ever compensate the tried and trusted Christian priest who so clearly and thoroughly believes in the truth and justice of your practical land tax reform, and I am convinced that he would gladly lay down his life if to do so would hasten that “bold, bare, enormous, wrong-private property in land.” I fondly hope Father McGlynn may soon be restored to his faithful parishioners, and that perfect peace and good will may so bless his singleness of purpose and pure-hearted efforts as to re-unite the archbishop and all other members of the church on the same platform with the good bishops and priests of Ireland for the speedy overthrow of that grinding monopoly which destroys human nature and forces a life and death struggle on three-fourths of the people. Keep strongly on your way and God speed the united labor party.
Defender of the Poor.
Perrey, Iowa, March 3.—I send my sincere regards for the welfare of Dr. McGlynn and heartily sympathize with him in his trouble, brought on by the brave stand he made for the poor during the recent political campaign. The seed he has sown will in future bear fruit in plenty for the poor.
One of the Land Taxation Type.
Newark, N. J., March 7.—I am a German and a Protestant, but I am a hearty sympathizer with Dr. McGlynn and I love and honor him more than any other man. I was a mugwump and helped to elect Cleveland, thinking that we would thereby get rid of much political corruption. But we are no better off. Things are as bad as ever. I am now a reformer of the land taxation type, and I am confident that there will be no disappointment when all of us toilers unite and work together.
querries and answers.
Clerks Should Combine.
CHICAGO, Ill., Feb. 1.—It is noticeable in these days of labor unions that there seems to be no appreciable effort or inclination on the part of that great army of workers known as “clerks” to unite to further their interests. Their need in this direction is unquestionable. As is the case with all avocations that make no concerted action toward ascertaining and maintaining just remuneration for labor, the clerk is fast drifting to a stage where he will be called upon to surrender any rights he may now have, to monopolistic greed. Rather than run counter to the “finer sensibilities” of his employer by favoring any sentiments that savor of union, the average drug clerk devotes fourteen or fifteen hours behind the counter, perhaps a Sunday excepted once a month. Considering the responsibility which the public demand of the dispenser of drugs, the knowledge and exactitude that are required from him by his employer, it is sad commentary indeed on the present system of things to find him so miserable remunerated.
The dry goods salesman, while in some measure faring better than his brother, the druggist, in the matter of hours, has to live on even a smaller salary. Ten dollars a week is the average pay in prominent establishments of this city. Experience and thoroughness rarely bring more than $12 a week. Unlike mechanics and many of those engaged at outdoor work, a salesman is expected to dress well, if not fashionably, which is a drain on his scanty income.
A bookkeeper, competent and experienced though he may be, seldom receives a salary from which he can save an amount that will enable him to stand up for better pay when need be. If by accident he loses his position, the alternative of an indefinite period of want and poverty or a salary barely sufficient for subsistence is offered him. The employer, well aware of the state of things, throws aside the idea of what he may have paid or what he can afford to pay for service, and takes advantage of the opportunity by offering the least for which the applicant will consent to work. It is a case of urgent need on one side and of extortion on the other.
These occupations and many others are filled by a great portion of our population termed clerks. Occasionally they are used as stepping stones to higher and more remunerative positions; but as the number of better places is necessarily limited, it follows that the great mass of men who start out in life as clerks remain so. A man who, after giving ten or fifteen years to the pursuit of a business, discovers that he must yet compete with a novice, naturally concludes that the social fabric is sadly out of gear. What is to be done? It is discernable that the men who singly try to fight accumulated wealth sooner or later bite the dust. The inference then is clear. Their interests are not to be found in disorganization. They should combine for self-protection.
Combination might do something for drug clerks, whose occupation requires peculiar knowledge and skill, but it could do but little for that great army of clerks whose ranks are constantly recruited from those who have no more special knowledge than an ordinary education gives. The difficulty of which our correspondent complains arises from the fact that “the social fabric is sadly out of gear”—so sadly out of gear that a great body of men having the ability to labor, but having nothing on which that labor can be exerted, are compelled to compete against each other for the privilege of selling their labor. The peculiarly skilled trades may, by combination, to some extent lessen that competition, and to that extent raise their wages; but to improve the condition of men in those occupations which can be easily entered it is necessary to open to men the natural opportunities to employ their own labor.
LEWISTON, Me., Feb. 24.—Would not the same arguments that prove the injustice of the private ownership of land prove the same in regard to all things of nature, as animals, etc. This is an objection I commonly meet.
It would prove the injustice of private ownership in all things of nature that can be obtained without labor or in so far as they may be obtained without labor, but it would not prove the injustice of private ownership of anything which requires labor to bring (produce) to man’s use. It would prove, for instance, the injustice of private ownership of fish in the ocean or of wild birds in the air, but not the injustice of the private ownership of the fish or birds which the labor of the fisherman or hunter has brought (produced) into such conditions as make them available for man’s use. So with the domesticated animals—a chicken or a domesticated horse is as much a product of labor as a pair of scissors or a house. Man no more creates things of the one kind than he does things of the other kind. But in both cases his labor, making use of natural materials and natural forces, produces or brings forth. Private ownership can justly attach to whatever human labor thus brings forth from nature’s reservoirs; but it cannot attach to those reservoirs themselves. And to say that the coal vein cannot be justly made private property is not to say that the coal that has been dug from the vein, raised to the surface and transported hundreds of miles is not justly private property. To say that no man should be permitted to claim the ocean as his own is not to say that no one can claim as his own the fish he has caught.
BRANTFORT. Feb. 13, 1887.—Please inform me what inducement would exist for a person to erect an expensive block of buildings and develop a fine business by thrift and energy on leased land without a certainty of being able to re-lease it, and how I could save my premises or my property from influential and covetous politicians, or prevent the friends of the powers that be from getting all the corner lots. Your plan looks all right on paper, but how will it stand when subjected to the rascality which is always on the lookout for an advantage and always has a friend at court? How would you prevent the state from rack renting?
The plan which “looks all right on paper,” is one that you have thought but little about, or you would not write of leased ground and state rack-renting as you do. The plan does not involve state ownership, or leasing, nor even “nationalization” of land, as commonly understood. It is a mode of taxation by which land values pay all the expenses of government, local, state and national, and under which everything else, including land without value, is exempt from taxes.
The inducement to erect an expensive block of buildings or develop a business would be in kind the same as it is to-day, but greater in degree. For the land any one used he would pay a tax which could not exceed the land’s annual value; and that he pays now either in annual rent or in rent capitalized into a purchase price. But his buildings would be untaxed, his stock would be untaxed, his labor would be untaxed, the good will of his business would be untaxed; and though his profits increased, his land tax would not unless land values generally increased; whereas now, if he acquire a good will for his business, he may be at the mercy of a landlord who, at every renewal of his lease, levies on him “all the traffic will bear.”
The “influential and covetous politician” could not get your property for several reasons, one of which is that the values at which land was appraised for taxation would be known to every one, and any attempt at fraud would soon be exposed. And suppose that friends of the powers that be do get all the corner lots, what of it, so long as they must pay the annual value in taxes for the benefit of all of us, whether they use the lots or not?
Three Questions from the West.
ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo., Feb. 28.—Please answer the following questions:
Taxes are imposed for the carrying on of government, which exists, in both its national and municipal capacity, to protect the life and property of the taxpayer. Why, then, should the owner of a mill, a steamship, or merchandise be exempt from taxation while the owner of a farm or city lots is taxed.
There are millions of acres of government land which can be homesteaded and pre-empted. Yet men crowd into cities for work when they could go upon this land and in a few years become independent. Men who came into this territory years ago and settled in this small and fertile valley are rich to-day. Would enough men go upon the land even if it were more easily attainable than it is now, to materially lessen the competition among laborers.
If they did, would not the increased amount of agricultural products be followed by a greater relative supply of food and consequent reduction of profits to a point corresponding to low wages?
If all property were rightfully private property, there would be force in your question; but since some property, land values, rightfully belongs to the community that creates it, and other property, products of labor, rightfully belongs to the producer, there is an obvious reason why the beneficiary of land values should pay all taxes up to the point where these values are insufficient for public purposes. Men should not be taxed for the protection they may require of the community, but for the benefits they actually receive from it. The producer of mill confers a benefit instead of receiving one, except to the extent that he appropriates valuable land; to that extent, therefore, and not further, he should be taxed. Neither should the farmer be taxed except for the valuable land he appropriates. If his land has no value it should pay no tax. But cases may occur to you like that of Jay Gould, who possesses but little land, though his fortune is great. You think, perhaps, that he my preserve his fortune and yet practically escape taxation. Ask him about it. Mr. Gould is not famous for opposing public measures that will be of personal advantage to himself; and you will find him as bitterly opposed as any one to shifting taxes to land values. The reason is that he is shrewd enough to know that such a mode of taxation would undermine every dishonest fortune until it crumbled and collapsed.
The millions of acres of public lands of which you speak are chiefly imaginative. But it would not make much difference if they were really open to settlement. As fast as the advance of population made such land desirable it would be appropriated and held at a price, and by going on it laborers would not improve their condition as laborers, but only, if at all, as landowners. All things considered, a man earns no more, under existing conditions, on land of the lowest value than on that of the highest. The difference in production is absorbed in rent. The men who went to your territory years ago poor and are now rich, owe their prosperity more to increase of land values than to exceptional remuneration for work. If taxes were so laid as to bring idle land into market and to put all valuable land to its best use, it would not be necessary for our “surplus” laborers to become agriculturalists. Even though not one of them worked for himself, the whole “surplus” would be absorbed in the universal demand for labor.
The increased amount of agricultural products would not cause a relative over supply of food. Not only would new farms be taken up and old farms be made more productive, but the idle land of cities would be built upon factories and mills would go up all over the country, and mines would be opened—all tending to the diffusion of labor and capital and to an equilibrium of products.
Farmers Freed from Taxation.
OHIOWA, Fillmore County, Neb.—Is it your intention that the homesteader or farmer of the west should pay the taxes that now rest on merchants, bankers, houseowners, manufacturers and railroads? If so, I assure you that we small farmers of Nebraska and Kansas would last for but a few days. At present we pay a tax of four and five per cent on assessed valuation, our taxes and freight barely leaving us a living. We are now taxed all the product will bear; another straw will break the camel’s back. These little farms of ours have cost us fifteen years of hard work and a vast amount of suffering. The poor immigrant of fifteen years ago has opened up these two fine states for the speculator, the railroad, the merchant, the banker and the manufacturer, and must we now pay their tax as well as our own?
What we propose is to exempt all products of labor from taxation and raise public revenues from land values alone. This involves, of course, exemption of the stock of merchants, the factories and machinery of manufacturers and the buildings, rolling stock, rails, etc., of railroads; and the imposition on farmers of a tax proportioned to the value of the land they own. But it also involves exemption to the farmer of his buildings, fences, drainage and improvements generally, and of his live stock, crops and machinery, usually worth more than the land; and the imposition on merchants, manufacturers, railroads and speculators, of a tax proportioned to the value of the land they own, whether they use it or not.
From this you will readily see, upon reflection, that we do not intend the homesteader and farmer of the west shall pay the taxes that now rest on merchants, manufacturers and railroads; but, on the contrary, that we intend farmers shall pay far less taxes than now, and in the case of most working farmers that they shall pay scarce any tax at all.
The mere land of most western farms has little or no real value, because there is plenty of unused land just as good all around it, which could be had for nothing if it were not appropriated by speculators, who are holding it until so many people will want it as to give to it a large value and to them a handsome profit. This speculation diminishes the market supply of land, and land acquires a value based not on present demand relative to present supply, but on a probable future demand relative to future supply. Wherever land of average productiveness in a sparsely settled community like yours has a market value, that value is mainly speculative. Now, if you impose taxes on the market value of land alone, particularly if it is understood that the tax will rise as the value of land rises, no one will speculate in land, and all unused land will seek a market. As the demand in that market will then be far below the supply, speculative values will decline until they wholly disappear. When that point is reached the mere land of farmers in sections like yours, though just as useful as ever to the farmers, will have no speculative value, and consequently will pay slight taxes. But mining lands, whether of gold and silver, or of coal, iron, and oil, as well as city lots, where a single acre is often more valuable that the whole of your county, these will pay taxes, heavy taxes, taxes for all they are worth. Whose back will this break? Monopoly’s, not yours.
The object of this tax, aside from raising revenue, is to equalize differences of natural and social privileges. Men who occupy land which has no value will pay no tax, while those who occupy land of greater or less value will pay to the community a tax in proportion to the difference.
Your sufferings from railroad exactions will continue so long as such public functions as the maintenance of highways is under private control.
Where is the Injustice?
MILBURN, N.J.—I would like to ask: (1) Would private right to improvements on land cease when the one making them died? (2) Suppose two farms, one in use and the other idle, each valued at say $5,000, and both assessed for taxation alike; where is the injustice?
MICHAEL J. SOLON.
No more than private right to his coat would cease.
As between the owners of these two farms there would be no injustice. But that is not the question. Suppose you compare two farms of equal value as to the land, which is assessed at $2,500 in each case; the improvements on the improved farm being assessed at $2,500. Then the owner of the improved farm would pay taxes on $5,000, which would increase as he increased the improvements, while the owner of the idle land would pay on only $2,500, and yet each would derive the same benefit from the community, namely, the exclusive control of a piece of land worth at least $2,500. All other difference in their wealth would be due to the superior industry, skill or thrift of the owner of the improved farm. Is there not obvious injustice in such a case?
Six Hours’ Work.
NEW YORK.—Would not six hours for a day’s work enable working men to live comfortably at a distance from the city, where their homes could be reached in two hours?
Six hours a day is longer than any man should work, or with our facilities for production need work, merely for a living. But so long as there is a large and impoverished class of idle men begging for work, hours of labor cannot be reduced to six. The first step is to disband the army of the unemployed by opening up all natural opportunities to labor. When that is done every man will be free to work long hours or short hours, and for wages equal to his earnings, and to live where it pleases him best.
NEW YORK.—Suppose a man buys a farm, and, after working on it awhile, he discovers and oil well within the limits of his farm, would you tax the farmer for the value of the well also?
EDWARD J. MASTAGLIO.
Yes: but not for the capital and labor he expended in developing and operating the well.
Effect of the Tax on City Rents.
CHICAGO, Ill.—As near as can be estimated my landlord receives, on the money invested in his house and lot in Chicago, a return in rental of ten per cent. If land in this city, as well as the country over, were to become common property, how and to what extent would such a change affect rents on residence property in a city like Chicago?
If land were taxed to its full value and products of labor freed from taxation, your landlord would pay in taxes out of his rents so much as represented the value of his land, keeping the remainder. Rents would be lower because vacant land would be built upon, and cheap houses would be replaced with better ones until the demand for better residences was met. To learn to what extent such a change would affect rents, you must apply to the economic statisticians, who with a few scattered figures build up whole systems of political economy.
Wanted, a Lawyer Without a Price.
New York.—Would you kindly answer a subscriber to your paper the following: A received a grant of land from Austin during the Mexican war. While fighting A was killed. His widow was compelled to leave the farm and fly for safety to Washington D.C., where she died during the rebellion, being unable to claim the land on account of the rebellion. Her son married and afterward was drowned at sea. Now, what steps can A’s son’s widow take to recover possession of this land, there being no wills or deeds of which she is cognizant and she having no money for lawyers.
ONE OF THE 68,000.
The last clause of your question makes it a poser. Still if you communicated with a lawyer in Austin he might be willing to make a preliminary investigation, with the understanding that if he found the claim good he should manage its prosecution for a contingent fee. Bradstreet’s agency would probably recommend a lawyer in whom you might trust.
TORONTO.—Do you think that we can accomplish land reform by one step? Will it not be much ore likely to be accomplished by a series of steps? If such is your opinion, what would be the first point on which we should concentrate our efforts in this agitation?
The ultimate of land reform is much more likely to be accomplished by a series of steps than by one. The first point on which we should concentrate our efforts is the shifting of all taxes to land values. That done, the benefits of common ownership will be realized in such a high degree that the subsequent steps of increasing the tax so as to absorb economic rent will be easy and rapid.
A Comprehensive Querist.
FORT EDWARD, N.Y.—As far as my limited time will allow I have become a reader of your paper. It is not possible for me to go over the whole literature of the subject, and I do not know where to find answers to the following questions:
Is not all government, in the best sense of the term, for the protection of the individual and his property?
Is it not true that personal property—houses, factories, railroads, steamboats, and the like, is subject to very much greater danger than land? And does it not follow that the heaviest expenses of governments are for protecting this class of property? And if this be the case, why should not this class of property bear its proportion of government burdens?
Would not one of the first effects of taxing land be to depreciate at once its value, since no one cares to own unremunerative property?
With this great depreciation how would it be possible to raise revenue to the same extent as now?
Since all accumulations of property, except the rise in values of land and one or two other but unimportant exceptions, if indeed there be any other exceptions than those below mentioned, represent unexpended accumulations of labor (day’s work), and since in the present, and to all intents in the future, such unexpended day’s works tend to accumulate of themselves in the form of capital, why should this source of national income be freed from the tax, allowed to constantly pile up and still demand the largest share of expense and care from government?
In the best sense of the term, government is not merely for the protection of the individual and his property. Constitutional government is established to promote the mutual interests of its citizens; and comprehends, but it is not limited to protection to person and property. It has more extensive purposes than the management of courts, jails and gibbets. Its broader functions are crudely illustrated by the almshouses, and more clearly exemplified in the postoffice. Still, for all the purposes of your following questions, the first may be granted as you state it.
Products of labor are of course subject to greater danger of destruction than land, since land cannot be destroyed. But land titles are equally with products of labor subject to danger from the subtler arts of theft. They cannot be stolen, because a public registry office offers an absolute protection which neither lock nor vault can afford to moveables; but they can be appropriated by means of fraud. Products of labor such as you specify cannot be stolen any more than land titles can be, and for the same reason. But government does not protect the individual against the only great danger to which houses, factories, railroads and steamboats are subject. In time of war armed protection costs more than it preserves, and from the perils of fire and flood government offers no relief. But if products of labor be subject to great danger from crime and land tenure, it does no follow that the heaviest expenses of government are from protecting products of labor. Almost the entire repressive power of government is necessary only because government protects land titles. By depriving men of their natural rights drives them into preying upon the natural and conventional rights of others; and as their crimes are consequential upon the immoral inforcement of land titles, it follows that land owners cause the greatest expense of government.
It may well be argued that all taxes should be paid out of land values, because the power of government is constantly exercised and absolutely necessary to protect land titles, from which crime against property in labor product mainly flows; but that is not the essential reason for this mode of taxation. It is that land is a natural element, like air, water and sunlight; that land value is a social increment—a value produced, not by an individual, but by society at large; that while the use of land is a natural right, the equal enjoyment of land values is a social right; and that he who, by virtue of a land title, appropriates any land value to his own use, is taking to himself part of a common fund ought of which common burdens ought always first to be paid. Whenever labor products are made to bear any part of public burdens, the aggregate of land values in private hands being sufficient for that purpose, the property of the producer is confiscated for the benefit of public pensioners. It is not a question of making this or that kind of property pay for the protection, but of meeting common expenses out of common funds.
One of the first effects of taxing land values would be to deprecate speculative values. If land were taxed to its full value, speculative values would entirely disappear and only real values remain. But the usefulness of land would not be in the slightest degree affected, and the difference between the least desirable land in use and the most desirable would still be measured by a gradation of values.
The same revenue that is now raised would not be necessary. The great public expense of recording titles and of litigations, respecting titles would disappear, as would the expense of custom houses and internal revenue offices; the expense of collecting direct taxes would be largely diminished, the costs of criminal courts, prisons, almshouses and police would be reduced to the minimum, and with these reductions many collateral expenditures would be obviated. But even if this were not so, the land values that remained after the tax was imposed would be ample for all public purposes. Merchants would still be willing to pay for the privilege of having stores in the business part of a town rather than in the suburbs, and anyone would pay more for an acre out of which he could dig coal than for one out of which he could only dig turnips. If you consider the great quantities of land which is, for some such reason, in greater or less degree more desirable than average agricultural land, your fears as to the sufficiency of land values as a fund for public expenses will vanish.
This question is already answered. But we may say further that it is a good thing to have capital pile up. The more of it the better. It is only a bad thing to have it pile up in the wrong hands. If land values be so taxed that everyone can get land who wants it “unexpended days works” will accumulate in the hands of the day’s worker, and that is a result that government ought to seek to effect, even if the functions of government be restricted to protection of person and property. Besides, if “unexpended days works” be allowed “to accumulate themselves” and “to constantly pile up” in the hands of the day’s worker, the day’s worker will find it so much easier and more satisfactory to pile up his own day’s work than to prey upon the pile of somebody else, that capital, so far from demanding the largest share of expense and care from government as you claim, will not require any. It is because so much of the “unexpended day’s work” of the worker is piled up by somebody else, through a system of land tenure that shuts mere laborers out from natural opportunities, that he who would otherwise be a worker, becomes a thief.
Called and Sent.
(Utile dulci: The useful with the pleasant!)
Are ye then “called” to minister on earth,
And tread the path the Man of Sorrows trod,
To teach mankind the story of his birth,
By the dread mandate of the most high God?
Strange if ’tis so, for often ye are found
To worship day by day at Dives’ shrine,
Lisping a benison where meats abound,
And frowning on chill poverty as crime.
And crime it is (if but the shallow mind
Could read aright the paradox and choose
To drop the dark’ning scales which make it
Aye, poverty is crime, ’tis true—but whose?
Ye know not! and ye gaze with strange con-
On Lazarus, nor care to learn the cause—
Great Heaven! Is this your mission “called
Like whilom dogs, to lick his fest’ring sores?
new land and labor clubs.
New York State Ripe for Their Immediate Formation.
Chairman John McMackin has made a short trip in New York with a view to creating an interest in the formation of land and labor clubs. At Glen Cove, Long Island, where the Duryea starch works company’s employees form the bulk of the inhabitants, the land and labor club held a large and enthusiastic meeting on the occasion of Mr. McMackin’s visit. The president of the club in William Fellendorf, and the secretary John McCue. At Yonkers Mr. McMackin made arrangements for the organization of a club. Among those who expressed a strong desire for independent political action were Josiah Sutherland, P.F. Higgins and Matthew Reilly, all energetic workers. Mr. Sutherland, who is one of the trustees of Pythagoras hall, is a firm believer in the efficacy of the ballot. He accompanied Mr. McMackin to Tarrytown and Sing Sing and assisted him in laying the foundations for clubs. The town of Sing Sing is ripe for labor reform, one of the leading spirits being Michael Hyams. At Newburg a club was already under way, James A. McGarvey, who started the Knights of Labor movement in Newburg, Edward J. Little and John Millen being among the most active friends of the cause there. At Fishkill and Matteawan it was easily arranged that the workingmen’s movement should be reorganized on the basis of the land and labor clubs, John Faulkner, a prominent workingman, assisting in the work. At Poughkeepsie Mr. McMackin attended the meeting of the land and labor club, which has established attractive headquarters. Richard Corbally, well known for his activity in the land league movement, showed the warmest interest in the new political party, and is arranging for a mass meeting to be held in conjunction with the Knights of Labor, to set the ball in motion. At Hudson there is already an organization, which it is proposed to convert into a land and labor club. Charles E. Wilcox, Henry Aucketill and David Ryan are among the active spirits in that city. Mr. McMackin found warm friends of the new party at every point visited and was convinced that the voters would render a good account whenever called upon to express their sentiments with respect to land and labor at the polls.
The Henry George association, of Indianapolis, is doing a good work in the establishment of a working people’s library. A committee has been appointed to solicit contributions of books, and so far about five hundred volumes have been received.
At the meeting of the united labor party at Camden, N.J., March 5, the leading speaker was Herman Hetzell, of the Henry George club of Philadelphia, who discussed at considerable length the doctrines advocated by Mr. George. The other speakers included Aaron Hand, Lawrence Matthews and J.A. Sours, labor candidate for council in the Third ward.
The Henry George social science club of Baltimore had a highly interesting meeting on the evening of March 3, at Rechabite hall, on the invitation of Energetic assembly 2588 Knights of Labor. Quite a number of ladies were present. Among the speakers were Mr. Jacob Schonfarher, president of the club; Mr. J.J. McNamara, Mr. John Salmon and others.
The fight of the united labor party at the recent municipal election at Auburn, N.Y., was one of the most gallant yet made by the new party. The workingmen were hopeful and determined, and the result astounded the members of the two old parties. The vote was as follows: Austin, republican 1,679; Creveling, democrat, 1,345; Speares, labor, 1,267.
An effort is making in St. Louis to unite the adherents of the united labor party, the land and labor clubs, the trades unions and the Knights of labor into a single party, to make nominations for the municipal election next April.
The Knights of Labor are going actively into politics in Vermont, and they have succeeded in electing their candidates at several of the recent town elections. West Rutland, Fair Haven, Brandon and Danby were swept by the new movement, and in every case the local boss was overthrown. In Danby, Silas M. Griffith has for a long time had absolute sway, but at the late election his own men flocked from the woods and charcoal pits into town and voted against his candidates. At Rutland one of the workingmen’s candidates for selectman got 1,037 votes out of 1,647 the total number polled.
The following are brief extracts from recent correspondence of the central committee, 28 Cooper Union:
L.A. Fagan, Battle Creek, Mich.—I have received your tracts, and have been doing missionary work ever since. We have now a land and labor club ready to organize. It is only a question of time when we shall show excellent results from this work. Go where you will, on the street corner, in the store or in the shop, all the talk is about the land question.
E.C., St. Louis, Mo.—We can build up a national party only on the clear cut issue of the land question. As to the position of the farmers of the country, I know from wide acquaintance and correspondence in various sections that they are fully prepared to receive the true doctrine. We have a long and bitter fight before us, and the sooner aggressive action is commenced the better.
My own idea is that the land and labor conference should be set at the earliest date practicable. It will take an immense amount of missionary work to educate the people to the right standpoint, and the sooner the platform is before them the sooner can organized comprehensive work be performed. Among the members of organized labor here the George theory is the favorite one, and outside of these bodies there is a large number, consisting of clerks, bookkeepers, travelers, lawyers, etc., who will go into the ranks. The material is all ready and we shall start the ball next week. Again, I say, the sooner our forces are brought into line the better.
J.M.K., Pittsburg, Pa.—We are organized here with your land tax as our first plank. We know exactly where we stand on this question and will never desert the standard. You may rest assured of that.
Our organization here is made up mainly of trades union and K. of L. people, yet we hold that the name “labor” in any platform condemns it, for it is a word that in the minds of most men signifies class. It is the most honorable of names and really the name of the mass; but we must consider the prejudices which it is sure to excite in the minds of many who would otherwise be with us. Pennsylvania is at present owned by the republican party, and we take all the more interest in our work since we know the fight we have before us.
H.A. Hudson, N.Y.—It is as Mr. Davitt says, “A man must be prepared to work anywhere for a reform movement,” that is wherever he is most required. This is undoubtedly one of the most politically corrupt cities in the state, and the open, unblushing bribery at election time is simply frightful. But there is a growing desire on the part of many for a better state of things and a conviction that to hope for anything good from either of the two old political parties is chimerical. I am perfectly willing to make myself a target for the opposition, for I am one of the few who can afford to do so. To be patriotic is to be philanthropic, and to be this when you can’t afford it is to be generous at some one else’s expense, which is immoral.
W.C., The Dalles, Wasco Co., Ore.—I have been instructed to communicate with you in regard to the united labor party in this city. We have a population of 3,000 with a good farming country back of the city, thickly settled. We did have an assembly of Knights of Labor here, and a good one, but for some reason or other it has almost fallen through. Send us the Clarendon hall platform.
J.R., Troy, N.Y.—members of various trades assemblies here have decided to get up clubs. For the inclosed please send a supply of your tracts.
Leonard M. Small, Vincennes, Ind.—The party here has declined to indorse the Cincinnati platform. Let me suggest that you should add to the number of your tracts a series more simple in its character for widespread distribution among the laboring masses.
Leo Miller, Chicago, Ill.—I am anxious to go into the field to work and speak for the organization of a national land and labor party. I suppose that by and by it is your purpose to call a national convention. Together with tens of thousands I shall rejoice to see the call issued. I shall speak principally on the land question in future.
Waite B. Crowell, Chester, Pa.—When I notified the club that John McMackin proposed before long to visit us it was received with great satisfaction, and now every day it is asked, “When shall we expect him?” Every day witnesses and advance in our work. We have burned our ships behind us. We have now furnished our permanent quarters, where we hold a weekly business meeting every Wednesday evening. The other evening we have the rooms open to all who wish to use them as a reading room, and are now bestirring ourselves in getting up a library.
M.C., Portland, Ore.—We have at last formed the nucleus of a united labor party, and we desire to get into communication with you. We especially want a copy of the platform that Henry George ran for mayor on.
J.F Busche, Jr., New Haven, Conn.—New Haven is now in line on the Clarendon hall platform. The charter will be displayed at the next monthly meeting of the New Haven labor party.
J. Francis Baker, New Haven, Conn.—By vote passed unanimously at a meeting of the town committee of the labor party of this city I have been instructed to apply to you for a charter.
John A. Roost, Holland, Mich.—We have dissolved the bonds which hitherto have connected us with the old political parties. Are publishing 1,000 tracts of our own. A large increase in membership. Our little city will do honor to the work.
W.H.V., Woodlawn Park, Ill.—There is abundant material here for a land and labor organization, and we propose to set it a-going in aid of the general movement. There is nothing like your tracts. We want a large quantity for distribution.
J.B., Ansonia, Conn.—Our labor association has just passed a resolution to organize on the basis of the Clarendon hall platform, and I am instructed to apply to you for instructions.
Mr. Hewitt is doing just like many other people of equally tender feelings—he is wasting sympathies that were never brought to the surface until the power of organized labor began to need them less and began to be able to take care of itself.—[Minneapolis Journal.
One of the notable facts in regard to the late Cincinnati convention which gave itself the name of the union labor party was the absence of any considerable number of representative workingmen.—[Minneapolis Evening Journal.
If there is any one class of individuals ready to seize upon everything and anything that will return them a living without laboring for it, it is that one class who now own and control the land. The workingmen do not seek to live without industry. They only ask for a fair share in the profits their labor brings, and an equal privilege to enjoy the fruits of nature which are abundant for every one’s needs.—[Seattle, W.T., Voice of the People.
Granted that speculation in land is detrimental to the welfare and progress of society, why not destroy it by limiting the title to land to actual personal occupancy and use for all time to come? The remedy is, though radical, the essence of simplicity. And if the actual settler should evince the disposition of the dog-in-the-manger, and occupy more than his share of the soil, he might be made to curtail possessions to actual need by a well adjusted land tax.—[Ballinger, Tex., Eagle.
When a man secures and holds a “title” to more land than he can himself use, it is not the land he wants, but the power such title gives him to tax other me who do want the land. Stripped of that power the extra land he owns is absolutely worthless.—[Dallas, Tex., Liberator.
The St. Louis delegates to the union labor convention are not satisfied with the work of the body of which they were a part. The complaint is that no plank in the platform is clear cut save that indorsing woman suffrage. St. Louisians are strong advocates of the George land doctrine.—[St. Louis Evening Chronicle.
New Jersey has afforded another practical argument in favor of the election of the United States senators by the people instead of by the railroad corporations. These arguments are accumulating every ear and will soon be irresistible.—[Philadelphia Record.
If land is produced by human labor, what becomes of the nebular hypothesis?—[Burlington, Ia., Justice.
Some people who have retained all their land rights will not attempt to take the benefit of the several acts because they stand in fear that after spending time, labor and money, the oppressive and cunning methods of United States agents will beat them out of their homes. Some people who are living upon and holding single claims and have honestly tried to fulfill the requirements of the law to perfect patent, are trembling in their boots in anticipation of the result of some manufactured report which has been sent in against them, concocted by some evil-minded neighbor. Some people are living in unrest and doubt, fearing that their turn may come next to be either blackmailed or turned out of their homes. Would it not be well after all to let the government keep the land, get rid of the investigators and speculators, and let the occupants simply pay a rent or tax for its use? Why not?—[Eureka, Cal., Western Watchman.
Nature being absolutely impartial and acknowledging no claim except that of labor, has supplied the material upon which labor must be exercised to earn the reward of necessities of life. Is it not an outrage on the laws of nature when man steps between the laborer and the material provided by nature and demands a portion of the reward earned as a tribute? Yet this is what the land monopolist and speculator does. In what does he differ from a highwayman?—[Dallas, Tex., Liberator.
Land reform does not mean robbery. It doesn’t involve the division of the poor man’s farm or home with thieves and thugs. It simply means the liberation of the poor man from his galling bondage as a taxpayer and it involves a fairer distribution of the world’s goods.—[Vincennes, Ind., News.
The Grand Remedy.
NEW YORK, March 5.—I find that many so-called educated people misunderstand the land question and the placing of “taxes or land values only.” But when I explain that it means simply to remove taxes from houses, tobacco, kid gloves and everything else and then to place a tax on land only—my friends understand the grand remedy for poverty and distress and the industrial depressions.
The People’s Cry.
James Jeffery Noche in S.F. People.
We are the hewers and the delvers who toil for
The common clogs and the rabble, stunted of
brow and brain.
What do we want, the gleaners, of the harvest
we have reaped?
What do we want, the neuters, of the honey
we have heaped?
We want the drones to be driven away from
our golden hoard;
We want to share in the harvest; we want to
sit at the board;
We want what sword or suffrage has never
yet done for man—
The fruits of the toil God promised when the
curse of toil began.
Ye have tried the sword and scepter, the
cross and the sacred word
In all the years, and the kingdom is not yet
here of the Lord.
We are tired of useless waiting; we are tired
of fruitless prayers.
Soldier and churchman and lawyer, the failure,
is it not theirs?
What gain is it to the people that a God laid
down his life,
If, twenty centuries after, his world be a world
If the serried ranks be facing each other with
And the steel in their hands, what profits a
Ye have tried, and failed to rule us; in vain to
direct have tried,
Not wholly the fault of the ruler, not utterly
blind the guide;
Mayhap there needs not a ruler, mayhap we
can find the way.
At least ye have ruled to ruin; at least
ye have led astray.
What matter if king or council or president
holds the rein,
If crime and poverty ever be links in the golden
What careth the burden-bearer that liberty
packed his load,
If hunger presseth behind him with a sharp
and ready goad?
There’s a serf whose chains are of paper;
there’s a king with a parchment crown;
There are robber knights and brigands in
factory, field and town,
But the vassal pays his tribute to a lord
wage and rent;
And the baron’s toll is Shylock’, with a
flesh-and-blood per cent.
The seamstress bends to her labor all night in
a narrow room;
The child, defrauded of childhood, tiptoes all
day at the loom;
The soul must starve, for the body can barely
on husks be fed;
And the loaded dice of a gambler settles the
price of bread.
Ye have shorn and bound the Samson and
robbed him of learning’s light;
But his sluggish brain in moving; his sinews
have all their might.
Look well to your gates of Gaza, your
privilege, pride and caste!
The giant is blind but thinking, and his locks
are growing fast.
“Mister, don’t say no. What do I want with a dime? To get a drink? Maybe. True, I’m a tramp, and you folks say “Why don’t you go to work? Say, will you give me a job? No! I thought not. It’s so darned easy to preach, but when a man tries to get a chance he always gets left. Yes, there’s the woodyard, where a man can saw a cord of wood for fifteen cents’ worth of grub. And there’s the county charity, where a man can got a loaf of stale bread if he takes off his hat and manhood, and stoops low enough to the political thieves who run it, and accepts as charity the crust that may keep him from starving.
“What’s that you say? I’m asking charity from you, and that’s as bad as taking it from the poor societies? O no, mister. I come to you as man to man. Go to the public charity and the official, in his fine uniform, treats you like a cur that is trying to steal a bone. No, I don’t want any of what people call charity. I ask you for a dime simply because I’m so weak and tired and hungry that I must get something to sustain life or else lie down and die.
“I talk like a man of some education, do I? Well, I had fair schooling and spent all the time I could in trying to learn. How did I get so low? It must have been through drink? That’s where you’re off your base, mister. I guess I never in a month, when I was best off, drank as much as you or one of your wealthy friends drinks in a day. That’s the way you fellows who have the bulge on wealth try to make your minds easy when you see a man down. Why, mister, where I lived the whole town wouldn’t spend in a year in drink as much as you rich’uns chuck out in one wine supper.
“Why, what the whole gang in the mill where I worked (500 of us) got in wages for a month wouldn’t pay for the banquet the boss, Mr. C—, gave after we were locked out. And our combined wages for a year wouldn’t equal what he gave a big bellied evangelist to help him to save our souls. Our bodies were of no account.
“Where’s my home! I ain’t got any. I used to have on back in Ohio, and worked in a rolling mill. But the firm brought over a lot of foreigners, and we had to go to work for the same pay the Bohemians and Poles got, which was so much lower than American workers had ever earned in that line that we could hardly exist in decency on the wages. Two years later we found there had been three further cuts in wages, and then the imported paupers kicked. We few American workers had not manhood enough left to kick. We were locked out, starved and clubbed by the authorities. Later, starvation compelled the workers to accept the terms offered by the bosses.
“As I had taken a leading and active part in the trouble, when it was ended I could not get employment at the mill, even under the reduction, and was further informed by the boss that he would blacklist me so far as he possibly could. Since then, I could get no job at iron work, and as I was fit for nothing else, having worked all my life at that trade, I was forced to be a tramp.
“Don’t think it was free choice, sir. The little education and refinement I had was rather a hurt than a good, for I couldn’t get down to cleaning streets or peddling shoestrings.
“Did I have a family? Yes. Sir. I had the best wife and three of the finest children you ever laid eyes on. What became of them? Mary, my wife, she died soon after the hard times came, from hunger and grief together. You see, it was a cold, wet, sloppy day when the company put us out of their house, which we had lived in for years, paying enough in rent to build half dozen like it, and Mary—she wasn’t overly strong, poor girl—she took cold and sick and died. Don’t mind me, mister. I feel all broke up when I think of that time.
“What became of the young ones? They went to the poorhouse, and Ned and Nan they hungered so for their mam that they kinder wilted away and died, too. Little Mary, she’s still livin’ there, mister; but I never ’spect to see her again, for I’ve lost heart, and purty soon, mister, I’ll lay down in some wet ditch and never get up no more.
“What’s that you’re givin’ me? a V? That’s no good now, sir. The time’s past when it might a done good. I’ve had all the nerve and good druv out of me. I’m played out. But I tell you what to do, friend, if you’ll let me call you so; send it to little Mary at the poorhouse; here’s her address, and say you saw her old dad, and he loves her and wishes he could do her some good, and he can’t just make it out that so many folks have so much that’s no good to ’em and so many folks that need so little to keep’em happy have to starve and freeze to death.
“No, mister, I can’t take so much money. It would do me no good now. Give me a quarter and do what I ask you, and that will do me more good now than money.”
So they parted. The tramp and the man of wealth. As the rich man went up the road, he thought, “There’s lots of truth in what that poor devil meant. The church says he is my brother. Then, in justice, I should treat him as such. But what can I do single handed? I can at least labor to help to change the present economic conditions which perpetuate such infamous class distinctions.”
What thought the tramp as, with bowed head, he stumbled onward, shivering in his rags? No one can tell. In his seething brain boiled and bubbled all the hell that class of birth or wealth has made its slaves endure since man first lived. The wind blew fiercer. Through the rain and mud and mire he struggled onward. His brain was still confused, for with the thought of what he had been and what he was now, there mingled soft-toned chimes of love and light and brightness from the “long ago.” But from the deepest recess of his mind there came this thought, clear cut and firm, the only remnant of the manhood gone, “Will ever all men live and work and love like brothers? Will ever, from the womb of Time, be born the age when there will be no kings by birth or wealth, and no subjected slaves to toil, through vested wrong, in rags, so they, the kings, may strut in fine array? I know not. I have played my little part and can but die.”
The morning sun now gilds the eastern sky, and flashing through the glen, tints with his glory all the rags that cover that which once did live and move. For in the ditch, beside the winding road, beneath the weeds that quiver in the breeze, lies dead “ a tramp.” Ad on his face, smoothed by the hand of death, is born again the hope and joy of youth.
Some Good Out of the Fourteenth Street Nazareth.
A good thing has come out of Nazareth! In the natural order of things we should hardly look to Tammany hall for a just and broad measure of public welfare; and yet upon consideration there ought to have been some good in Tammany, for it did once embrace the bone and sinew of New York democracy. Whatever may have been the reason for this sudden awakening, whatever the object of Messrs. Cochran and Croker in drafting their new railroad taxation bill, let us follow the old maxim to “give the devil his due,” and lend our hearty support to so wise a measure, ignoring its corrupt source.
Our new found allies, these statesmen of Tammany hall who seem to have become converted to the creed that wealth created by the economic force of the state belongs of right to the people in common, propose to take for the public good all railway earnings over ten per cent a year on the actual capital invested. The principle is already recognized by a state law—generally evaded by means of stock watering, which provides that when earnings are more than ten per cent the surplus shall be distributed to the people through a reduction of tariff charges. But this is not a fair way of distributing surplus earnings. The benefit should go to the community in which the railway exists, by whose franchise the road is able to earn more than the labor of its employees or the interest-producing power of the invested capital would return, when measured by the product of capital and labor in other employments. The road itself gives an impulse to the growth of the community, which is usually paid for it full by town and county aid at the time of construction; but the great reason why the profits of railways are so much larger than those of other kinds of business is that they have been granted a right to transport passengers and freight, a right that is practically a monopoly whose profits steadily increase with the growth of the community.
Such a monopoly as this is a public function, and logically should be performed by the public itself; but whether or not we leave the roads in private hands, we should neither all the private owners to absorb the wealth that is produced by density of population, nor force then to divide it among the patrons of the roads whose interest in the matter is solely that of receiving definite service and paying just what that service is worth. The power of a railway to create wealth that continually grows as population increases is a social product like the rent of land; and in either case, if we allow individuals to hold the titles, we should bear always in mind their true relation to the state as its tenants; entitled to the ordinary rate on their actual capital invested in improvements; but to no more. So while the source of this new bill is a suspicious one, while it is by no means probable that Tammany is advocating in good faith so sound a line, as to which the miracle is how they could have conceived it; it is still a measure in the interest of the people and deserves a better fate than it is likely to meet at the hands of such a legislature as we now have.
Neither this bill nor any other to stop the railways from despoiling the people can, however, be effectual until we have devised a means to put an end to stock-watering; and this is a matter that may need consideration from the constitutional convention. The people are not robbed so much by the ordinary shareholders, although even these received somewhere between six and eight per cent during 1885 in the average dividends and interest on every dollar of capital invested in the roads. The true highwaymen are the thimble-riggers who control the companies; who constitute themselves into construction companies to build roads which the railway companies themselves should build, and pay themselves for the work with bonds issued at an enormous discount, which the road must meet at par; who fasten on the railways parasites like fast frieght and express lines or palace car companies, all owned by the officials of the roads, and given the cream of the business; who cover up their operations by systems of bookkeeping that even experts fail to understand; who manipulate stocks and wreck corporations, only to reap personal profit in the “reorganizations.” The great fortunes of this country, outside of sporadic cases of lucky speculation or of open and deliberate theft, are those of landlords—lords either of the surface or of the bowels of the earth—and of railway kings.
Take from these men the chance to amass great fortunes that they do not earn and it will no longer be an object to them to buy lawmakers or oppress the public. If excessive charges resulted only in correspondingly heavier taxes it would be astonishing to see how just and liberal our railway managers would become. It is this possibility of securing illegitimate gain that has so bad a moral effect on railway managers, and we should be doing them a Christian service to remove the temptation. But the two reforms must go hand in hand, and when we decide to limit earnings to a fixed maximum percentage we must be sure that our calculation is made on the basis of actual investment, and not on “water.”
EDWARD J. SHRIVER.
Very Doubtful Indeed.
Time seems to have calmed the violence of the president’s anti-Mormonism. His first message bristled with it; but he could not quite stomach the arbitrary dose presented him in the anti-polygamy bill, which has become a law without his signature. The law is of very doubtful constitutionality and of doubtful right.
A settler’s nightmare
A curious dream retold and interpreted.
Uncle Sam Meets One of His Nephews and Tells Him All About It—A Farmer Learns How to Lift the Load of Taxation From His Shoulders.
SHORT HILLS, N.J., March 3.—THE STANDARD is anything but soporific, yet I must confess I fell asleep while reading the last number. No doubt the hearty dinner I had just eaten had something to do with my mental condition, and it will be quite in order for you to say that the dream which I am about to relate, and which I beg you to interpret, is due to the same cause.
We do things in our dreams that we should never think of doing in our waking moments, and this will explain why, as the paper fluttered to the floor, I started west, bought a tract of government land and went to farming. I built a cabin for my family, by hard work cleared up a part of my land, and, having sold my first crop, I was thinking about replacing my oxen with faster animals, when a horse dealer happened along and, after the customary bargaining on my part and much wrestling with the truth on his, I bought a good, strong animal.
Just when that horse had established his character and become the pet and pride of the family the horse dealer returned on night with a pale face and a frightened manner. Taking me out behind the barn, and speaking in a tremulous whisper, the man told me that he had stolen the horse he sold to me.
“It’s a case of downright conscience with me,” said the penitent horse thief, and as he said this he hitched his belt around, accidentally of course, but it brought the stock of a revolver under the moon’s rays. “I want to do the square thing,” he continued, “so I’ll give you back your money, and will take the horse and return him to his owner.”
I soon saw that the horse thief’s desire to lead a better and a nobler life was so strong that he would not hesitate to use his pistol against any one who attempted to swerve him from the straight and narrow path of rectitude on which he had just entered; so I gave up the horse and got back the one hundred and twenty dollars I had paid for him. The next day I discovered that half the money was counterfeit; but, as it was in the reformed thief’s power to have paid me the whole in spurious paper, I reasoned that, for a man with such a past, he had made a very fair start in his new career.
The next day I had another visitor, a tall, ungainly man, with long leathery jaws, keen gray eyes, and a tuft of chin whiskers. He wore a high woolly hat, his trousers were alternate stripes of red and white, and they were kept from flying above his knees by strong straps. He had an old-fashioned blue coat with long spiked tails, and about the breast and collar there was a galaxy of thirty eight stars, half of them woolen and the rest cotton.
“Let me introduce myself as a kinsman of yours,” said the stranger with an air of mingled kindness and authority. “I am your Uncle Sam.”
I shook hands with the gentleman and was wondering if he had heard of the counterfeit money, which I had neglected to destroy, when he set my mind at rest as to his visit by saying:
“You must give up your title to this farm, my son.”
“Why so?” I asked, in surprise.
“Because it is no good,” he growled.
“But, sir, I got it from you and paid for it.”
“That’s all very true, my son; but since that little deal I have discovered that I had not the power to parcel out to a few what really belongs to all the people; and then, between you and me, my original title was smirched.”
Then sinking his voice to a whisper and bringing his mouth close to my ear he added, “I stole the land in the first place from the Indians.”
“Then let the Indians come and claim what is theirs,” I said, angrily. “The fact is, I am ready to be interviewed by Indians—a few at a time.”
“Oh, the Indians have been killed off or cooped up; and then, you know, they’ve got no votes. I guess their title has lapsed; at any rate, they won’t debate that point with me. But though it’s a little late, I’m now going to do the fair thing. You must surrender your separate title to this farm, and pool it with the common domain.”
“But,” I asked, angrily, “when did you learn that the title you gave me was not good?”
“Since I have been studying Henry George’s books on the land question. You read them carefully and prayerfully, my son, and you will become not only reconciled to the change, but glad of it.”
“And my buildings, improvements and crops?” I groaned.
“Oh,” said Uncle Sam quickly, “they are the fruits of your own labor and belong to you. And let me console you by saying that you can continue to reside on this land and work it as you will, provided you pay the same rental as others may be willing to pay for the adjoining quarter sections.”
“So,” I said, “another man, without paying one cent to you, can take his money to improve the leased land, and he is taxed no more than I am?”
“Then the money I paid is a dead loss?”
“Oh, no,” replied Uncle Sam, as he stroked his goatee and looked thoughtfully up at the sky. “Your few hundred dollars are enjoying the aristocratic company of a great many millions I have locked up in my vaults at Washington. But read Mr. George’s books and you will see clearly that landowners should not be compensated. The ablest men in the country are coming to this conclusion.”
“But the honest men!” I shouted.
“Honest men! Come, my son, I have a world of patience, and my capacity for long suffering is oceanic in its immensity, but when you reflect against my honesty it stirs my dander like all creation gone mad! What I am after now is the common good, not the uncertain rights of the individual. There is my much beloved nephew, Dr. McGlynn. He gives up a steady job and makes Rome howl on the land question, for which he receives nothing. Another nephew, not so well known, is Dr. Pentecost, and he is fast getting the people of new Jersey to believe that it would be better if they owned the state themselves than permit the railroads to buy and sell it as they please.”
At this juncture I recalled the substance of a motto I had seem on a banner in a labor procession, and I interrupted by shouting out:
“An injury to the least is the concern of all! Take my land, for, like the horse thief, you have the power, but imitate the thief by returning me a part at least of the hard earned money I paid you in such good faith.”
“Ha! Methinks I sniff an incipient rebellion! I am accustomed to stamping out such things.”
Uncle Sam raised his foot and he must have kicked me, for the next instant I awoke on the floor.
Now, that dream still perplexes me; for I recall that tens of thousands of honest, hardworking men have invested their savings in a part of the public domain, believing that the authority that gave them their deeds would protect them in their rights. Would you refund the money to those poor people—it is the fruit of their labor—or would you say that ignorance of a fundamental law is no excuse for its violation, and so these people must pay the penalty, just as if they violated any other natural law.
Here to me is the heart of the land question. If the individual can have no vested rights in realty, then in common honesty the government should return every dollar it has received as purchase money from the settler. What do you say?
You do not tell your dream as it occurred, nor all of it. It was not a penitent horse thief who came to you; it was the lawful owner of the horse, and he did not show you the stock of a revolver, but a writ of replevin. Nor did he return the purchase price half in counterfeit money; he gave you nothing. You had bought something to which the seller had no title, and when the real owner came you were compelled to yield up the property to him. Thus far there is nothing remarkable in your dream. The same thing happens every day, as many a luckless buyer of stolen goods can tell you. In actual experience instances far more unfortunate may be cited. For example, if you had dreamed you bought a farm, and that in consequence of some fundamental law which you had overlooked the title proved defective, and that the farm with all your new improvements was taken from you without compensation, and that you were forced to pay over all the profits you had made during your occupancy, the dream would not have been in the slightest degree fanciful.
Your report of the interview with your Uncle Sam is singularly defective. He did not say you must give up your title to the farm; he told you he was going to take all taxes off your improvements and crops and put them on the value of land in its natural condition. It was in that connection that he told you the improvements were the fruits of your own labor. You misunderstood him because you were influenced by the paper over which you fell asleep, which, by the way, was the Evening Post, and not THE STANDARD.
It is true that you, in the mental confusion to which men are subject in dreams, exclaimed:
“Then the money I paid for this farm is a dead loss?”
But your Uncle Sam did not reply as you report him. He asked you how much your clearing, buildings, fences, stock and crops were worth, and you replied a thousand dollars. He then asked how much your land was worth, and you told him five hundred dollars.
“Well, my dear nephew,” said he, “wouldn’t you rather pay taxes on five hundred dollars, the value of your land, than on $1,500, the value of all you own?”
This almost woke you up, but your Uncle Sam went on: “Now, for nearly everything you buy at the store you must pay a protective tariff price. I intend to abolish the tariff, so you will be freed from that tax, too. Have you any objection, my boy?”
It was at this point that you mumbled something about other people who get land for nothing having the same advantages, while you were out of pocket what you paid for your land. To use your own expression, which is as nearly correct as could be expected under the circumstances, you said: “So another man, without paying one cent to you, can take his money to improve the leased land and he is taxed no more than I am.”
But you blushed, in your dream, when your Uncle Sam told you that this other man might be your own son, who without this change of policy, would, when he came of age, have to pay a great deal more than you did for a piece of land, or else move a long distance away, or be somebody else’s hired man.
The dream might have ended here, but you, influenced by the organ of avarice that put you to sleep, tried the old man’s patience by shouting something to the effect that honest men were opposed to the plan.
“Honest men,” your Uncle Sam cried. “I have a world of patience, and my capacity for long suffering is oceanic in its immensity; but when you talk about the opposition of honest men you make me mad. Honest men, who own millions of acres which they are holding until the necessities of the people enable them, by selling or renting it, to live on the labor of others! Honest men, who fence in thousands of building lots in cities and crowd the poor into squalid tenements, neither building nor letting others build, merely for their own enrichment at the expense of the thrifty and industrious! Honest men, who encourage the withdrawal from use of the greater part of the surface of the country, so as to increase the number of the unemployed, and by making competition among workingmen, press wages down to the lowest point! Honest men, who put a private tariff on coal mines, ore mines, gold and silver deposits and oil wells, and when they want to raise the tariff lock them up! Honest men, who to perpetuate their own plundering, appeal to the avarice of fools like you! Honest men, indeed!
“Why, you eternal idiot, if these beggars were bribed to stop their piracy, who would have to pay the bribe? You and the rest of the donkeys, wouldn’t you? And if you got back what you paid me for this pesky little farm of yours, how much of it would you have left after paying the fellows that are trying to tomfool you?
“Here you’ve got 160 acres of ground. There ain’t a neighbor within two miles of you. When you want to go to the store or the blacksmith shop you must travel twenty miles. What you buy you have to pay two prices for an account of the tariff tax. Once a year the assessor comes around and taxes you on everything you’ve got, and the harder you work, the more you produce, the higher he taxes you. And all around you is just as good land as yours, which nobody uses because some dog-in-the-manger owns it and wants a big price for it. Now I come around and propose to tax land values instead of other things, so as to bring al this land in use and give you plenty of neighbors, and bring your store and blacksmith shop twenty miles nearer, and give you goods for one price, and make the assessor confine his taxes to the value of the land you use, regardless of whether you work hard or not or produce little or much, and open up land free for your son when he comes of age and wants a farm, instead of forcing him to work for someone else for a mere living—and you haven’t any more gratitude than to whine about that $200 you paid me, and talk about honesty! Was there ever such a fool?
“Why, you talk about taxing the value of your land; what do you suppose your land is worth, anyhow? Not a sing red! You say it’s worth $500. So it is now, because all this other land is taken up and kept out of use, and people would rather pay $500 for a piece of land like this than not have any land. But when I take taxes off other things and put them on land values the speculators who hold this vacant land will drop it like a hot potato, and a man can get all the land he wants to use, just as good as yours, for nothing. What will you land be worth then? It won’t be worth anything, for there ain’t any fools to buy land when they can get just as good for nothing. And if your land ain’t worth anything you won’t pay any taxes at all when all taxes are put on land values, will you? Now, my dear boy, for I think a good deal of you in spite of your stupid greed, just charge that $200 to profit and loss, and with your wages and capital freed from all taxes, and your land free, too, until population grown so think around you that it acquires a real value, go to work and make up the loss, which you will do on the first crop; and don’t cry if your son does get the same advantages that you have under a good system without losing $200 as you did under a bad system.”
At this your eyes twinkled, in your dream, for you thought you had your benevolent uncle in a corner when you said:
“Uncle Sam, I’ll pardon these complimentary remarks of yours if you will tell me how you expect to raise any taxes if all taxes are to be put on land values and land is to have no value.”
“Well I never!” said Uncle Sam. “Had ever a man such a jackass for a nephew? I didn’t say land was to have no value. I said your land, away out on the prairie, twenty miles from anywhere, and nothing much but vacant land between, wouldn’t have any value. How would I expect to raise taxes? Why, out of the bloodsuckers who own land in New York worth from a million dollars an acre down; out of the saviors of society who own twenty and thirty thousand acres of valuable land in the immediate neighborhood of New York; out of the men that own coal mines in Pennsylvania, iron mines in New Jersey, and city lots and fancy farms in all the states. Wouldn’t that be enough? I guess so. I wouldn’t have any custom houses to keep up or customs officers to pay; a great part of the taxing machinery in all the states would be abolished; registers for recording titles would go out of business pretty near; almshouses wouldn’t have any tenants; police forces could be reduced; and in a great many other ways my expenses would be cut down. Enough! Why, I would have enough left over running expenses to keep up good schools everywhere, maintain resorts for widows and orphans, hospitals for the sick, public halls, libraries, parks and art galleries; and what’s more, I wouldn’t have a million nephews hunting around for a job to keep the wolf from the door. No one who wanted to work would have to beg for a chance.”
Your Uncle Sam raised his foot to go, and, as you awoke on the floor the next instant, you thought he had kicked you; but you were mistaken. The Evening Post fell on your toes and the pain awoke you.
A Woman Talks Right Out.
ST. LOUIS, March 2.—Do you know that a great many women are interesting themselves in the land question? And why should they not? If there is a practical plan of redemption for the oppressed sons and daughters of earth, does it not behoove every woman to study this plan in all its minutiae, and then preach it as the grandest gospel that was ever proclaimed to a poverty-stricken world? And intelligent perusal of “Progress and Poverty” must carry with it the conviction that the land reform is the foundation stone upon which all other reforms must be built. All intermediate remedies are mere makeshifts for temporary purposes, and are somewhat similar to an attempt to keep a house in order without a broom. So long as the main requisite is wanting, confusion must ensue. If the women of this country could only understand how much their happiness and the happiness of their children depend upon the success of this cause, how zealously their efforts would be enlisted in its behalf. The practical enforcement of the land theory means a home for every mother, where she may shelter her children from the vitiating tendencies of factory life and other contaminating influences that lead to the house of refuge, or worse, to haunts of vice. Those who are crowded together in the great cities, toiling like beasts of burden to enrich a landlord, would not have to go as far as the western plains to find a piece of land on which to make themselves a home—a place where the thought of rent or eviction would not strike terror to their souls.
FANNIE C. JACKSON.
Business and the Standard of Living.
Fort Worth Southwest.
The higher the standard of living of any people the more goods and the greater variety of goods they will consume. The greater the consumption, the greater the demand for production, the more business will be done, the more labor will be in demand, and the better pay it will receive. Business is based upon consumption present or prospective. There is a vast difference between the amount of business done in a Digger Indian village and that done in a village of civilized people. The standard of living is very low among the Digger Indians, and consequently the business done is very small. The standard of living among the masses of the Americans today is too low and hence business is dull. It is too low because the workers do not receive their just share of the returns for their labor. They do not receive their just share because some men receive more than their just dues. Men are and have been made millionaires by legislation. This wealth must necessarily have been taken from its producers. Those in poverty are unable to live as they should and as they would did not legislation confiscate their wealth to enrich others.
Not in Ireland, But in Fall River.
Fall River News.
Some people in Fall River think that the oppression by landlords is not confined exclusively to Ireland. A short time ago an estate in the city changed hands. It was occupied by several storekeepers. The tenant in one of the stores, a dry goods dealer, had considerable stock, was doing quite a thriving business and paid his rent promptly. When the new owner took possession he notified the storekeeper to vacate, giving him just twenty-four hours in midwinter to find a new store. Several families in the block were treated in a similar way, and a general eviction of tenants followed. It is strange how little sensation acts of this sort make in a community like ours. The tenant at will has positively no protection. He is liable to ejection any time within forty eight hours if the landlord see fit to give a written lease to some dummy to act for him.
Statesman vs. Politician.
The real difference between the statesman and the politician was never better illustrated than it is by the two prelates, Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, and Archbishop Corrigan of New York. The former’s report to the Roman propaganda on the American order of the Knights of Labor is a model of far-seeing wisdom, discriminating justice, true liberality, and genuine catholicity. The recent conduct of the latter has, unfortunately, been more like that of a man of expediency, who cannot see beyond today, and who is willing to sacrifice both principle and the future for a small advantage in the present. It cannot be doubted that Cardinal Gibbons is the truer exponent of the Catholic church, and that in the end his views will prevail.
Mr. Pentecost and His Detractors.
Where there is on person who deprecates such discourses as has been preached by the pastor of the Belleville avenue Congregational church there are probably one hundred who heartily approve of them as bringing questions relating to out common humanity into the pulpit, where they properly belong. Mr. Pentecost, the pastor, no doubt began the discourses without stopping to reflect whether they would meet certain tastes of conflict with certain prejudices, and with a simple conviction of his duty as a teacher of religion and morals. Whether one person or one hundred persons are displeased with his subjects and think he ought to confine himself to the old doctrinal husks, need not concern him very greatly. It would be extraordinary indeed if his discourses did not meet with dissent in some form or other.
Faraway Moses Discourses of His War Experiences and Other Matters.
So you think this new land scheme will be a failure, do you, Mike? You wonder why I don’t quit making brooms, if there is such a good time coming, do you? Well, your ideas are a little bit confused—a little bit confused, my dear, unregenerated pilgrim. The idea is not to quit work, but to give the laborer a better chance to work and a broader sweep for his intelligence. It is to give us poor devils some ground to work on, as it were. The land system, as it is now, makes you a foreigner until you are able to buy some land on which to build a shanty.
If you squint out through that broken window you can see over a thousand acres of idle land, owned by the “Skinflint coal company.” They are saving it till coal comes to a higher figure. It is taxed as unsettled land, and the tax per acre hardly amounts to enough to buy a new bellrope for the court house. You haven’t got land to raise a peck of potatoes—even the dust on your shoes belongs to some corporation, and still you think the system is right in the off eye of justice. You ought to get your hair cut, so that a few new ideas could dawn on your opaque conception and convince you that you don’t own land enough to scour a pie plate.
Just to give you an illustration I will relate a few things that happened to me during our late war. For ten years before that rough and-tumble squabble I worked for old Bonyclobber at ten dollars a month. His farm was one of the richest in the valley and he made money “hand-over-fist,” to use his own words. The first two years of the war didn’t disturb us much, because Bonyclobber hadn’t been drafted, and I didn’t feel in a fighting humor, and so did not go for a soger boy. The third year the draft killed two birds with one stone and asked us to fly to the arms of Abraham. Bonyclobber took some of the money I had earned for him and hired a substitute and I went to the war because I had no chance to dodge the invitation. I tried to get the position of chaplain, but I couldn’t quote scripture, and some other shirker got the billet. While I was in the front ranks fighting for my country or playing off sick old Bonyclobber was staying at home and selling wheat to my widow at three dollars a bushel, like many other good patriots. After the war was over I returned, full of glory and army lice, and discovered that my family had been put out of our little home, because the little mortgage that old Bonyclobber held against it wasn’t paid the moment it became due.
Do you see the point? While I was fighting to save my country I lost the only little strip of country I ever owned.
While I was fighting and running the risk of bleeding for my country, a little son was born at the house of Bonyclobber, and also one at my own humble home. Do you see the difference in the prospects of those two boys? Young Bonyclobber born to inherit broad acres of land, while young Moses was born to have a long wrestle with poverty and the tax collector.
Do you say that under the present system all men are born equal? Had that boy of mine—who inherited his father’s baldhead and prominent nose—the same chance in this world which God gave to the human race to rule an reign over? Where are those two boys today? Young Bonyclobber in the legislature and young Moses in jail for voting three times in one day for young Bonyclobber at five dollars a vote.
What share have I in this country, which I fought to save, and might have been killed in front of Richmond if I hadn’t been in the hospital? Should I love a country in which I haven’t land enough to stretch out on while sobering up after a Fourth of July celebration?
The worst has not come yet. If this land grabbing goes on, what will become of our children? Can we blame the if they shake their fists over our tombs, and curse us for begetting them into a world where God’s mercies are gobbled up by a favored few?
Are we not slaves? Let was come when the homes of our oppressors are in danger, and see how quick we will be called on to lay down our rheumatic bodies in defense of a country in which we are merely tenants.
I tell you, Mike, the men who have not other ambition in this world but to accumulate millions of dollars are the worst enemies to liberty and national peace. Let a man start out once to become a millionaire, and long before he reaches the coveted wealth he has lost all love for his fellow man and fear of God. The misery and distress of the lower classes move him no more than the hoot of the night owl, and he will crush the peace, joy and prosperity of a whole state to gain his end—and buy a seat in the senate. It takes more brute that brains to make a million dollars.
Just look at the greedy system! A man who is worth a million dollars still hogging for more! Would such men ever be satisfied! Give then the whole earth, and I’ll bet my old overalls they would sit on a stump all night and sigh after the moon. Must this glorious country be made a land of paupers—a struggling mass of crime and poverty, to gratify the avarice of men who live for themselves alone?
Give me a home to rest in and a family to love and cherish and I will be a patriot from principle; but make me a tenant and I will be a hired or a drafted soldier, with nothing but the fear of punishment to fight for and a small pittance to hope for.
This new party is not a political scheme; it is a party of principle. I wish they would call themselves “The Knights of Principle,” because only men of principle will cut loose from old party chains and unite with the homeless sons of toil.
Old political parties have had their day. They have cut loose from honest toil and are drifting out on the sea of uselessness, carrying corporations in their hull for ballast. They have taken on too much ballast, and the coming storm will swamp then in a flood of reproach.
A new day is dawning. A light is shining across the waters of tribulation, and will light up a land of homes. “Home, sweet home.” Every heart that has been stirred by those sweet words will cast its sympathy to those homeless sons who are struggling for a chance to build up a home for their loved ones. The day of emancipation from corporation rule is coming, when the scholars and philanthropists will take the hand of the old splint broom maker and say, “Under our new laws and in the eyes of God, all men are born equal!”
The Last of Private Ownership.
The London Pull Mall Gazette says: “The last point, and by no means the least important, is that no state funds must be used for the creation of any more landlords in Ireland, small or great. If state money is used to buy up the fee simple of Irish estates, that fee simple must be vested, not in the hands of individuals, but in those of the state itself. We have seen the last, let us hope, of private ownership of land in Ireland. If the state expropriates the landlord, the state will retain the land.”
The futility of attempts to prevent the importation of foreign labor under existing law, mention of which was made in the last issue of THE STANDARD, has been shown recently in two instances in New York. On Thursday of last week the steamer Westernland from Rotterdam brought 150 musicians to this port. The officers of the Musical protective union admit that if the men came as individuals the union cannot take advantage of the law against imported labor under contract. The Lyne silk company set up in business in New York last March the members of the firm coming from Zurich, Switzerland, where the milk industry is failing, and some of their old Swiss employees and about forty other Swiss hands are now here in their employ.
The New York journeymen brewers’ association, 1,500 strong, have resolved to join the American federation of labor.
On Sunday the Central labor union removed the boycott on George Ehret’s beer.
The New York framers’ union have notified employers that after April 1 they will work nine hours. Their members also want their wages paid at stated times and not in saloons or liquor stores.
The New York ’longshoremen have proposed that they return to the seale paid before the “sympathetic” strike; that all men he re-employed irrespective of past differences; that arbitration committees adjust difficulties hereafter arising; that due notice be given of grievances, and that a contract be made for a stipulated time between the union and the employers.
The constables and special deputy sheriffs employed by the Delaware and Hudson coal company at Weechawken during the late strike have been paid $15,000. Those employed by the Lehigh valley company cost $14,000.
A circular has been issued by the Elizabeth-port coal handlers asking the employees of the Reading railroad to by none but Reading coal.
Street car fares were reduced to five cents in Philadelphia on last Monday. If the number of passengers carried remains the same as in 1886, the reduction in the annual receipts of the companies will be $1,100,009; but it is believed that an increase in travel will make up the difference. Why don’t the people of Philadelphia save some of this million dollars by operating the roads themselves?
A convention will be held in Philadelphia on June 1 for the purpose of forming a national assembly of the Knights of Labor of shipbuilders. An international union of horse-collar makers will be organized on April 5 in St. Louis. The horse-collar workers complain that their trade is in a bad way, the causes being prison labor, subdivision of the work, want of organization, and too many apprentices.
An item in the Philadelphia Record: “The general executive board of the Knights of Labor has issued a new set of proposition blanks to the local assemblies, containing very stringent conditions which a candidate for admission to the order must pledge himself to fulfill. The immoderate use of intoxicating liquors is particularly inveighed against, and members are cautioned against indorsing the applications of persons addicted to the habit. The knights are divided in opinion as to the regularity of the new blanks, many holding that the general board has arrogated too great powers to itself when it dictates to the members what they shall drink. It is reported that a protest will be circulated against the new blanks by a number of the knights in Philadelphia.”
The labor fair of the trades’ assembly at Wheeling netted $1,600. It will be used to furnish the hall and reading room. The trades assembly of that city, composed of thirty-nine organizations, will in a week or two have the finest hall in the Ohio valley.
Complaints of surplus labor continue to be made in the northwest. The Salem, Ore., Lance believes that the state board of immigration should be abolished, and speaks of its deceptions to induce people to come there. One of its correspondents says that Chinamen have taken up the work in every branch of the industry possible. The Winnipeg Industrial News warns compositors off from the Northwest territory. The secretary of an assembly at Vancouver has sent out a circular asking mechanics and laboring men not to come to that district, and the Knights of Labor of Washington territory have had circulars distributed in San Francisco to the same effect. A correspondent of the Toronto Labor Record, writing from Nanaimo, British Columbia, tells a sad story of labor troubles, low wages and Chinese cheap labor.
The condition of workingmen in England seems to be growing worse and worse. At a recent conference of delegates representing the miners of Scotland, the delegate from Hamilton stated that sixty thousand miners in Scotland were bordering on starvation. He proposed that all the Scotch miners should strike on a given date, but the motion was lost. The corn meter, engaged in the discharge of grain at the Victoria dock struck lately against the use of a new elevator, which takes nearly all of a cargo from a vessel, leaving only a thin layer of dirty grain on the floors. The men said that the work left to be done was not enough to give them a living, and demanded that the elevator be done away with. The strike failed. A large number of agricultural laborers and their families are emigrating to Queensland from the east riding of Yorkshire, in which district many hundreds of hands are out of work. The number of young unmarried farm servants who have nothing to do is unprecedented, but the emigration movement is chiefly confined to married men who have saved a little money.
The London labor leaders are taking a novel way of pushing forward labor organization. They have had two or three hunger processions and several huge outdoor meetings in squares and parks. Hyndman, the leader, intends to follow this programme out.
The firm of E. & A. H. Batchellor & Co. of North Brookfield, Mass., employ many hundred persons in their show shops, and employ what they term “free” labor. Each applicant for a place fills out a blank which requires answers to the following questions: Name? Residence? Nationality? Occupation? Age? Married or single? Citizen of North Brookfield? Ever worked for us before? In what department? At what kind of work? Date of leaving work? What work do you wish to do? Would you perform any reasonable service in any part of the factory without decrease of pay? Will you teach new help? Are you a member of any labor organization, and what one? In what shoe factory did you last work? At what kind of work? Do you own any real estate? If not a resident would you agree to come here to live, and if eligible become a citizen?
The Fall River spinners sent a request to the manufacturers on the 11th ult. for an advance in wages. A meeting of the board of trade was held on the 22nd to take action in the matter, and the reply was made that in answer to a similar demand presented early last fall the manufacturers had shown that the conditions did not then warrant an increase; again in November a like reply had been made in response to a further request to the same effect, and now for a third time it was explained that an increase was not advisable, all things being considered. The spinners’ union thereupon held a special meeting, discussed the situation for several hours, and concluded to appoint a committee of twelve to decide on a plan adapted to secure the advance desired. Last week the committee recommended that the question be referred to an arbitration committee; that if an agreement could not be reached the matter should be given into the state board of arbitration, and that if the manufacturers could not advance wages under existing circumstances the operatives should ask that the hours of labor be reduced to eight per day. The stage at which both sides in this controversy have arrived is worthy of note. Employers and employees both are combined. The manufacturers are not impeaching the character of the labor leaders, and are not pretending to be horrified at their folly and ingratitude in uniting against their guardians, the capitalists, who give them the means to earn their daily bread. The men have long since passed the period of excitement and agitation incident to forming their organization, and have gained that knowledge of the limitations of their strength which permits them to reason calmly and decide deliberately. As between the two classes the situation is that of buyer and seller, each pursuing his own interest intelligently and with some regard for the other’s rights and powers.
St. Louis has now a labor organ of sterling merit in the New Order. It has the recognition of the labor organizations of that city, and deserves their support.
The Eureka, Cal., Western Watchman says that the Indians on the Puyallup reservation, Washington territory, will organize an assembly of the Knights of Labor.
The largest marble cutting house in New England, Bowker, Torrey & Co., last Saturday conceded an advance of wages to their 300 striking employees, those receiving more than $10 a week getting an advance of $1 and those less than $10 getting $1.50. The schedule accepted by the firm is likely to become the standard for the east.
Seventy unions, with a membership of from 15,000 to 18,000, were represented at the Hartford conference of the Connecticut branch of the federation of labor this week.
About 250 compositors took part in the Milwaukee strike, it being for an advance of about thirteen per cent. The newspaper proprietors pledged themselves to stand by one another in the fight, and have been getting gout their papers since the strike with the help of reporters and editors, and of compositors brought in from the country. The pressmen struck in support of the compositors, but returned to work after a few days of idleness. The compositors, it is reported by telegraph, have offered to go to work on the conditions of a compromise offered by the proprietors before the strike, but were told that no union men were wanted. It is also said that the proprietors of newspapers and job offices have signed a compact not to recognize the union in any manner in the future.
There is talk in Philadelphia of a new daily paper, to be conducted by the editor of the Journal of United Labor, and devoted to the support of the Knights of Labor. A large corps of reporters and correspondents, it is said, will be engaged to procure accurate and authentic reports of labor matters, especially those that may be of interest to the Knights of Labor. If a reasonable degree of success is attained by the Philadelphia daily, branch publication offices for it will be established in a dozen cities, and it will be published simultaneously at these points.
President Cleveland has given Mr. O’Neill of Missouri, chairman of the committee on labor, his reasons for not signing the arbitration bill and the bill prohibiting the employment of alien labor and the use of the products of convict labor on public works. The president said, with reference to the arbitration bill, that he did not think that the bill submitted was sufficient. It contained no provisions connecting the government with the legislation. The attorney-general did not approve of the bill. Mr. O’Neill suggested that the attorney-general would find great difficulty himself in preparing any measure that could pass having in it any features of compulsory arbitration. Concerning the convict alien bill the president said that it was rather confused and that the subject could better be treated in separate bills.
The two typographical unions of Montreal are taking steps to remedy the printing contract system now in vogue, and also to do away with the printing offices in the different charitable institutions. Dominion assembly, K.L., has instituted a regular course of lectures for Sunday afternoon. The lectures are well attended, and other assemblies are talking of following the same course.
Chairman Curtin, in his report on the south-western strike, states that the loss to the 9,000 men engaged in it, for the fifty days they were out, aggregated $900,000, while the non-striking employees suffered to the extent of $500,000, and the railroads by loss of property and revenues suffered to the extent of $2,800,000. The loss to the public cannot, the report says, be computed. Combined labor against combined capital is approved by the committee.
A Distinguished Irishman Declares for Equal Rights in Land.
James Stanislaus Gaffney, who is secretary of the Historical society of the Royal University of Ireland, writes to the Dublin Nation expressing his emphatic indorsement of Henry George’s theories and defending them from misrepresentations.
As to the assertion that the doctrine that there should be no private property in land is condemned by the practice and custom that has prevailed among nations since the beginning of the world, and that it is condemned by the authority of the church, he says:
Let us take one instance. A typical instance will suffice.
The feudal system began to prevail in all the western states of Europe after the Christian era. That system, rude outcome of a barbarous age, never acknowledged that land belonged to the individual as against the state. The sovereign, as representative of the state—of the people—was the only absolute owner of land. He let the land to individuals, but under condition of their paying certain services to him, and through him to the state and people at large, such as military service, etc. These individuals let the lands piecemeal to the tenants, who in return paid them in military service and in kind for the use of the natural material. This system continued in England for many years. By degrees, however, and through ignorance of the masses, the duties of the lords were forgotten when a standing army was established, and the lords became the virtual owners. Thus have landed and territorial aristocracies been established throughout the world. The wealthy classes traded on the ignorance of the poor.
Private property in land has never been defended by the church in her capacity of exponent of faith and morals. It has been tolerated and submitted to, owing to the slowness of society to change itself. Individuals in the church may have defended it as necessary; few, I am sure, have said it was just, while one will search the scriptures for a long time before he finds that the doctrine of private property in land was taught by the Creator.
Speaking for myself I must say that I look forward with confidence to the time when an enlightened public opinion will see nothing wrong, but al that is just—just to the rich, and for once—but after how long—just to the poor in this system. I look forward to the time when we Irishmen can call our land our own as we could in the olden days when Brehon laws held sway; when vice shall be uprooted, and when virtue shall hold sway; when the laborer shall get proper remuneration for his toil, and the peasant shall be firmly fixed in his happy home.
St. Louis New Order.
Why should men who contribute not a penny to the wealth or comfort of a community like the city of St. Louis be permitted to exact a toll from those citizens who invest their capital and employ their time, skill and intelligence in increasing the trade and prosperity of the community? The men who have a grip upon land exact this toll, and in many cases this toll, wrung from thrift, enterprise and industry, is used in ostentatious display in foreign cities, in the attempt to ape the manners of the titled land thieves of Europe.
governed by its landlords.
How American Citizens Are Disfranchised in Rhode Island.
The present political situation in Rhode Island is an anomalous one, and somewhat difficult for residents in other stats to understand. Indeed, very many who have lived for years within the limits of “Little Rhody” have by a dim comprehension of the facts.
Prior to 1842 the state was governed in accordance with an English charter granted to the colonists by King Charles II in 1663. The customs and laws which grew up under this charter made the general assembly practically a governing committee, while it placed all the voting power in the hands of the land owners, no on being allowed to vote except land owners and their eldest sons. From time to time the amount of the qualification for voting was changed until it was fixed at real estate of the value of $137 or of the rent of $7 per annum. While the state continued an agricultural and commercial community these regulations excited little antagonism, but as soon as manufacturers began to increase, the younger sons of the land owners and the mechanics, who were landless, began an agitation which, in the spring of 1842, culminated in the “Dorr war,” and was followed by the adoption of the present constitution.
But the constitution of 1842, while it was an advance, still, to a large extent, followed in the line of existing laws and customs and perpetuated the peculiarities of the old charter. The general assembly still continued to be a governing committee and the right of suffrage remained substantially with the land holders. Of course, some modifications were made. The younger sons and native born mechanics were allowed to vote as registry voters, but no one could vote for city councilmen in Providence or on any questions involving the assessment of taxes or the expenditure of money in any town or city, unless he was taxed for $137 worth of real or personal property. Foreign born citizens were entirely excluded from voting unless they were real estate owners and paid a tax on $137.
At various times since 1842 agitations have been carried on for the purpose of modifying these restrictions on the suffrage, either by direct amendment or by calling a constitutional convention; but owing to the fact that the existing constitution places the control of affairs almost wholly in the hands of the land owners, little in the line of practical reform has been accomplished. Still, as the children of foreign born disfranchised voters have come of age and claimed their rights as registry voters, the franchise has become more extended, and some little reform legislation has been accomplished, though with infinite difficulty.
In January, 1885, a ten hour bill was introduced in the assembly. The chief manufacturers of the state at once formed a secret organization, subscribed money lavishly, and engaged eminent counsel to assist them, and as a result of their efforts the bill was defeated.
At the spring election of 1885 the ten hour law was made an issue in Pawtucket, Woonsocket and up the Blackstone valley. The result was a sweeping victory for the friends of the bill. The politicians were thoroughly frightened, and at the May session of the general assembly the ten hour bill was railroaded through all its stages and became a law substantially without debate.
In 1886 the textile workers, mainly those employed in the extensive woolen mills in Olneyville, were very much exercised over a system of fining for bad work in vogue in the factories. A bill was drawn up prohibiting this practice and also providing for equitable contracts between employer and employed, so that where a notice was demanded by the employer it could be required by the worker. This bill was introduced by one of our “society saviors,” who desired to make political capital for himself. After many public hearings, and with the connivance of the savior in question it was passed, but, as some one very truthfully observed, “with its head and tail cut off.” As passed it provides merely that notices should be given to employees in the event of discharge where such notices are demanded by employers, except when such discharge is made for “incapacity or misconduct.”
Other labor measures have been proposed from time to time, and a bill for a labor bureau is now pending before the assembly. But the main interest at present centers in the proposed constitutional changes which have been forced on the general assembly, both by the labor organizations and by the general trend of events. Various constitutional amendments have been introduced having for their object some modification of existing conditions in regard to suffrage; but, so far, nothing definite has been done with any of them. These measures have been proposed by republicans, who have undoubtedly been influenced to take these steps by the fact that at the election for representatives to congress last autumn a democrat, Judge Bradley, received a plurality, and the subsequent registration throughout the state showed that the democrats were increasing in numbers very much more than the republicans. Another cause which is measurably producing a public opinion in favor of a constitutional convention is the fact that many men who voted for the prohibitory amendment to the constitution last spring are extremely sorry they did so and want to see the amendment repealed, and it is doubtful whether this can be done without convention. The laws as they exist have been used by the party in power to sustain themselves in position. Now that they fear the opposition will be able to control as many or more votes than themselves, they want these laws changed because they are aware of the advantage to be derived from them by the party in possession. The democrats, on the other hand, are definitely pledged to the constitutional changes, and besides, they could carry very little strength if they went back on such measures. In view of all these facts, many of the friends of a more liberal form of government feel encouraged, and hope that the beginning of the end has been reached.
Up to this time the politics of the state have always been controlled by the land owning class, and Rhode Island has been a close political corporation. The manufacturers own nearly all the land in the state and the greater portion of all property in the cities. In place of Rhode Island having a government which is “of the people, for the people, and by the people,” it has for a generation or more had one “of the manufacturers, for the manufacturers and by the manufacturers.”
A LOOKER ON.
He Agrees with Them.
SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y., Feb. 27.—In THE STANDARD of the 26th Charles Jensen, who says: “To take all the taxes, direct or indirect, that now lie like a heavy weight upon agriculture and manufactures and put them on the value of land is the only real remedy for the labor troubles,” and Augustus R. Wright, who says that land monopoly must go, both voice my sentiments. I am with you. May your shadow never grow less. Your doctrine will take as soon as read by all well-disposed people. Society is in a fearful condition, and something should be done at once.
A bill to extend and regulate the liability of employers to make compensation for personal injuries suffered by workmen in their service has been prepared and submitted to the Michigan legislature by F.A. Baker. By the provisions of this bill, if it becomes a law, the employees or his heirs will be entitled to the same right of compensation as is any citizen not serving under the employer, in the case of injury or death from the following causes: Defective buildings or machinery, negligence of employer, superintendent or representative of employer. In case, however, it can be proved that the employee knew of the defect in building or machinery before the accident, and did not report it, he is not to be entitled to any damages.
the turned stream.
After the Hindoo.
Text.—The Hon. Skinflint Moneybags yesterday made the princely gift of a check from $5,000 to the Church Charity Foundation.—Daily Mammon—Worshiper.
A mighty army of sheep and goats lived happily and contentedly in a large section of country on the plains of Himalaya.
All day long they frisked and jumped and skipped for very joy.
And why not? The climate was delightful, the grass most delicious, and the happy animals slaked their thirst at a pure, crystal stream which traversed their entire domain.
One morning when the animals approached this stream to obtain their morning drink, they were alarmed beyond measure to find it dried up.
This stream having been the only means the ruminants had of quenching their thirst, as noon approached the sufferings of the young lambs and goats became terrible.
Then a party of the older animals started toward the source of the stream to ascertain the cause of their affliction.
Toward eventide the explorers came to a large fruit plantation, and here they found that a dam had been placed athwart the stream and the channel changed so that the water now ran away, at right angles, through the plantation.
A man stood by the dam, and to him an old goat, spokesman of the party, said:
“Who has changed the current of this stream?”
“I have,” said the man.
“For what purpose?”
“I own this plantation, and by causing the water to run through it I save myself much trouble in carrying water for the purposes of irrigation.”
“Do you know that you have caused vast suffering among my kindred—that they are even now dying of thirst? The water from that stream was our life.”
“I am sorry,” said the planter; “I will fill pails and troughs from my plantation and you can all come and drink, but you must not enter on my grounds.”
Said the goat: “My kindred are so many that you could never supply us in that way, and our food is so far away that we should, many of us, die of hunger or thirst between journeys.”
“My friend,” said the planter, “all vast improvements entail suffering to some. The offer I make is all I can do. The Creator has given me power to do as I have done; so it must be right.”
And now the horrors of thirst rapidly destroyed the goats and the sheep.
At last the planter himself neared his end, and the messenger of truth approached his bedside, and asked him to state what good he had done to God’s creatures that should entitle him to eternal bliss.
“I took compassion on the dying sheep and goats, and filled tubs upon tubs of water to assuage their thirst,” confidently replied the planter.
“If that is all, despair!” said the pale specter’s envoy. “If you had let the works of God alone your water tubs would never have been needed.”
A tammany brave on hewitt.
Will the Sachems Take Notice of His Recent Denunciation of Secret Societies?
Correspondence of the Leader.
The writer hereof has been for more than a third of a century a member of a certain secret political society. It is called the “Society of Tammany or Columbian Order.” It was founded in this city 100 years ago by a few radical and progressive citizens, members of the middle, producing class, for the purpose of contending against the dangerous aristocratic and capitalistic influences in public affairs, which Alexander Hamilton was combining for the control of government. The Tammany society—this secret, oath-bound, political association—has had a glorious history, for the most part. It sustained the government in the war with Great Britain in 1812; it assisted in abolishing the property qualification for voters in this state; it opposed the United States bank, and it advocated an elective judiciary, the abolition of distress for rent and the election of officials by the people.
A few years ago, and after this glorious record had been completed, a citizen by the name of Abram S. Hewitt applied to become a member of the Tammany society, and was duly elected. I was present when he was initiated, and I fail to recall that he offered any objection to the secrecy of our proceedings on that or any other occasion. I do not think that he objected to the offices and managers of Tammany as persons desirous of “enslaving” him or subjecting him to “irresponsible domination.” I think he never demurred to the obligations which he took, on the ground that they would “place the individual under other control than that of the law.” I have sat many times with him in those confidential councils, and I never heard any claim from him that his “free agency as a citizen” was “destroyed,” or even endangered by membership in a secret and avowedly political society.
For these reason, Mr. Editor, I have read with much surprise my brother Hewitt’s recently published letter, wherein he attacks secret societies generally, and their members, with imputations upon the manliness and self-respect of the latter, which strike me as illogical, violent and bitter. This letter reflects upon the brethren to whom he has pledged friendship and respect. If it be true, as he alleges that secret societies “stamp out personal independence” in the citizen, “usurp the functions of law,” and compel a “blind obedience,” then indeed, the Tammany society, to which Abram S. Hewitt sought admission, and of the membership in which he has often boasted, ought to be extinguished and forever prohibited as dangerous to the community. I do not see how the society at its meeting next Monday night can fail to take notice of Brother Hewitt’s letter. A man who indiscriminately and by wholesale denounces all secret societies (even those which, like the K. of L., are non-political) is not a safe member of an avowedly political secret society.
the boom in real estate.
A Wall Street Man Tells What it Means, and Points Out Its Effect on Capital.
New York Daily Stockholder.
We are again in the midst of that standstill period which always follows the incoming and outgoing speculative tide. The tidal wave of high prices reached us last fall; pretty soon the tide will begin to recede until the bottom is again touched.
And why is this? Surely railroad earnings are still reported good; the bank reserve is ample to carry large quantities of stocks at reasonable rates, the demand for coal, iron, dry goods, etc., is steady and strong, collections are easily made and labor troubles are on the wane. Everything points to higher prices, or rather, everything but one thing, and that one thing will shortly swamp all the rest. It’s the coming “real estate boom.” Rents are getting firmer, stronger and higher, and real estate in New York and elsewhere is gradually going up. In other words, the landlords are now about to scoop into their laps the little prosperity that has come to industry and commerce. That is to say, the landlord’s tax for doing business and living on God’s earth is about to be increased, and this increased tax will be enough to kill the goose that is laying the golden eggs. Every dollar added to rent is a dollar taken from the consuming power of the tenant class. The consumptive power of these masses crippled, the market for all products must go to smash. Less coal and iron, less bread and butter, less wool and cotton, less everything will be consumed, and the old story of “over production” will go the usual rounds. With decreased consumption, and necessarily decreased railroad, steamship and telegraph traffic, will come decreased earnings. The corporations will cease to pay dividends, will default on their interest, and the stock and bond market will gradually decline. To precipitate this decline a “Black Friday” will be in order, and before another year rolls round we can confidently look for this. The manufacturers are all busy supplying the present good demand. The railroads are extending their lines into new territory, and increasing their traffic facilities in the old. But the “real estate boom” keeps pace with the railroads and the landlord is putting into operation his favorite maxim, “A good business will pay a good rent;” which, interpreted, means, “Laboring man and business man, the more money you make, the more I can take from you in rent.” The manufacturer will be disappointed in the market for which he is now preparing: goods that should have been sold readily, finding no purchasers, will remain on his hands; his paper, that he expected to take up when due, will go to protest; assignments will be in order; here and there a banking house will tremble and fall; confidence will be shaken; Wall Street, New street and Broad street will be crowded with security owners anxious to sell anything they have at whatever it will bring.
After this grand rush to get cash for everything in the nature of stocks and bonds (Governments excepted), we will gradually set to work to pay the advanced rent. This all of us cannot do. From the house we have been renting for $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000 per annum we will move into a $1,000 flat; from the $1,000 flat we have been renting we will seek one at $600, and so on the population will begin to shrink to accommodate its rent to its income. From our capacious suite of offices we will move into one office; from one office we will get down to “desk room only,” and those of us whose business has failed, or whose occupation is gone, will shift as best we can. The millions of dollars that were engaged at profitable rates in carrying on the industries of the country will flow back to the money centers and bank vaults will again bulge out with idle money. Everybody will be looking for a market, and the commercial reports, as of old, will come in: “Nothing doing,” “no demand,” “absolute stagnation,” etc., etc. Our ships will be rotting at the wharves, our railroads will be operated at a loss, our factories will be “closed down,” and a long period of anxious waiting and hoping will settle down upon us.
By and by things will improve, demand will revive and get stronger, earnings will begin to increase, the dollars will flow east, west, north, south, a business boom will again be upon us. And then? Why, an advance in rents, another “real estate boom,” a panic, etc., etc. The same old story, the same old round, cycle following cycle—the landlord getting it all. Is there no cure for this? There is, and an easy one. Tax nothing but land values. As rents and land values rise raise the tax so that no inducement will be offered to the landlord to advance his rent. Thus, with real estate booms discouraged and rent absorbed by taxation, our railroad and telegraph systems will expand and multiply, our manufacturers will find no cause for complaint, capital and labor, so long antagonistic, will work together with the one view of an increased product, and with it increased profits and increased wages. The wants of our population are many, and capital and labor, with a free and open field, will have constant employment in satisfying them.
A “real estate boom” is certainly a sign of prosperity, but it is at once the cause and harbinger of the coming financial storm. How long will the owners of our railroads and telegraphs, our factories and warehouses stand complacently by and allow real estate speculation to pounce upon and destroy every attempt that industry and commerce make to gain their feet? This question cannot be answered too soon. Meanwhile the bear side of the market is the safest.
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