Volume 1 March 19, 1887
The accompanying illustrations tell their own story.
Nos. 2 and 3, which we copy from the Morning Journal which has recently been devoting much attention to the subject of tenement houses, give ground plans of the same block shown in our illustration and two other adjacent ones. The ground covered by the buildings is indicated by shading: that left for the supply of light and air to the human beings crowded in those high houses is marked in white. No. 4 is a diagram showing twenty-five blocks between Ninety-fourth and Ninety-ninth streets and Second and Fifth avenues, the number of houses upon each, with the exception of the two blocks occupied by the yards of the elevated railroad, being indicated by the figures in the center of each block.
New York below Fortieth street embraces 3,905 acres, with a resident population of 613,076 souls, an average of 133,120 to the square mile. Yet, great as this average is, it gives no adequate idea of how people are crowded together. A large part of this area is taken up with buildings devoted to business purposes, which, though tenanted like beehives during the day, have but a small population at night, a considerable part is covered by the houses of the rich, who occupy far more space in proportion to their numbers than the mass of the population can afford, and there is some small part on the west side, where, owing to the property being in litigation, or other similar causes, the ground is not utilized to anything like its full capacity, according to modern New York standards. The average is made up in the east side tenement blocks, such as those of which our cut gives an idea, and in the tall apartment houses, which are becoming a marked feature in more fashionable quarters. The Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth and Thirteenth are the most densely populated wards. Here the average reaches 352 souls per acre, or 225,280 to the square mile, a density of population unparalleled elsewhere in the world.
Yet even this, it must be remembered, is an average, and as parts, even of this district, are occupied by business houses, workshops, churches, etc, or by a better class of tenements, the average is made up by a still greater crowding in other parts. According to figures given in a message by May or Grace, thirty-one single blocks were found to contain 75,204 residents, an average of 2,426—the population of a good-sized village—to each block. The aggregate area of these blocks is a fraction over 92 acres, so that the average population peracre would be nearly 817, or some 522,880 to the square mile.
Whoever has lived in an earthquake country, and seen how at the first tremor of what we habitually regard as the most stable of all things, an irresistible desire seizes every one to rush into the open air, must in passing through the streets of the lower part of New York sometimes wondered what would be the effect of an earthquake here. Were the tall buildings of the business quarters emptied suddenly at some noon time, as an earthquake shock would empty them, the streets would not hold the people, unless piled upon each other in a mass of struggling humanity. But this resident population of nearly half a million in the square mile in these densely peopled tenement districts is even more significant. The whole area of these districts would hardly more than furnish graves to the people who live there.
Asto the proportion of the lot covered by the building. an inquiry made by the Board of Health in 1879 showed that—
3,334 tenements covered 50 per cent of the lot.
4,439 tenements covered from 50 to 60 per cent.
5,113 tenements covered from 60 to 70 per cent.
4,7S0 tenements covered from 70 to 80 per cent.
1,827 tenements covered from 80 to 90 per cent.
1,644 tenements covered from 90 to l00 per cent.
A check has been put upon the tendency to cover the whole lot with brick and mortar by the new law, which prescribes sixty-five per cent of the lot as the maximum which can be built upon, but there is as yet no legal limit to the tendency to add story to story.
The center of human life, the unit of human society, is the family; and the life of the family is most powerfully influenced by the home—the sweetest, the tenderest, the most inspiring word, it has sometimes been said, in the whole range of the English language. What sort of homes have the people of New York? The great majority of them have nothing worthy of the same—are absolutely destitute of anything that can give the privacy, the comfort, the permanence that are associated with the word “home.”
According to the best statistics that can be obtained, the proportion of the population of Manhattan Island that live in houses occupied by single families is but slightly over four per cent, and this proportion would doubtless be largely reduced if account were taken of the number of families occupying a single house who are forced to let a room or two to lodgers in order tomake up the rent. But putting upon these figures the best interpretation of which they are capable, there are of the whole population of Manhattan Island but four out of every hundred who have anything that can properly be described as a home—anything which affords the privacy, the room and the comfort indispensable to a true home. And out of this four in every hundred there must be a very large proportion whose [text missing] of their homes depends upon their ability to pay rent from month to month, and whom a reverse of fortune or the death of a breadwinner may at any time render homeless.
Of the total population of the island something less than thirty per cent live in houses in which there are not more than one family to the floor. Some few of these live in the large and expensive apartment houses of the first class, so constructed that each floor has almost the privacy of a separate house, though even these are for the most part deficient in air and light, and abound in dark rooms, or in rooms only lit from narrow rifts between high brick walls, down which the sun only struggles for a few minutes at noon, and across which hands may almost be clasped from window to window.
The vast majority of the thirty per cent, however, live on the floors of houses originally intended but for a single family, or where the effort of the architect has been cheapness, not privacy and comfort. Three, five, seven and eight families have but a single entrance and passageway, and the life of each must, in great measure, be exposed to the ears, if not the eves, of all the rest. Laughter, singing, loud words, the cries or the play of children, resound through the whole house. A ti red man finds it almost impossible to sleep in day time, and the proper care of the sick becomes impossible. Children must be kept cooped up in narrow rooms or trusted to such associates as they may find in the hallway or in the street.
Yet the people of New York who can afford a single floor for what may be by courtesy called a home, belong to the favored minority. Over sixty-five per cent of the inhabitants of Manhattan island live to-day on floors occupied by two families or more, under conditions in which even the veriest semblance of a true home is utterly impossible.
It is not so much the horrors of the worst phases of tenement life to which we desire to call attention—the filthy cellars, the bad drainage, the spectacle of eight and ten human beings living, working, sleeping in apartment s not more than large enough for one; but the great broad fact that the vast majority of the people of New York, including the honest, sober, industrious, skilled, and comparatively well to do—all, in fact, except the rich—are crowded together closer than human beings elsewhere exist, and closer than human beings can anywhere exist with health, decency and comfort.
Do we need to go any further than the fact that only a little more than four per cent of the people of this island live in separate houses; that of the more than ninety-five per cent that remains, less than thirty per cent live on a single floor, and that more than sixty-five per cent live on floors divided between two families or more, to explain why there are over eight thousand licensed drinking saloons, to say nothing of the unlicensed, in New York city? If the Rev. Dr. Funk and the Rev. Dr. Crosby had to live as the great majority of their fellow Citizens live, are they quite sure that they would never seek the beer cellar or the liquor saloon?
Do we need to go further than these facts to explain the vice, the crime, the pauperism that we are breeding in this greatest of American cities.
The crowding together of human beings, 500,000 to the square mile. is so utterly unnatural, so absolutely inconsistent with all the needs of healthy human life, that so long as it continues all attempts to palliate the evil results certain to flow from it are little better than useless. So long as the great mass of the people are thus crowded together not only is Dr. Funk little better than wasting his time in urging prohibition, and Dr. Crosby only vexing the air in demanding high license, but all schemes for sanitary inspection and tenement house reform, are, so far as large results are concerned, utterly inadequate. Such measures as the tenement house bill no w before the legislature, might, in some places, save some children from dying. But are we perfectly sure that when a child wakes up in a world so over-crowded as is the world about the children who are born in the tenement districts in New York, it is not about the best thing it could do to die?
For is it not better to die early than to live, deprived of the natural rights and privileges of childhood and to grow up to become a pauper, a tramp, a criminal or a prostitute?
God is great; his universe is wide. There must be some place in it for the fresh souls who coming into life in New York find it so overcrowded that they must needs draw back.
Consider the life of the child where the population is half a million to the square mile; not the child of the poorest and lowest class; not the child of the drunken and dissolute; not the child whose father, by illness or accident, or inability to find enough work that he can do, is prevented from making an ordinary living; not the child of the widow who is working her life away for what will scarce prolong life; but the child of the hard working, sober, ordinarily fortunate parents, such as make up the great majority of the population of New York.
As Father Huntington said in that speech of his at the tenement house meeting in Cooper Union, which, as well as it could be reported, was printed in TheStandard of March 5th, but which had to be heard to feel the Christ like passion of it—the passion of one who has voluntarily left all that most men deem worth struggling for to live the life of the tenement house—“What chance does a boy or girl have for the development of heart or soul in a tenement house life? What place is left for the growth of the spiritual nature in a child that has never known what it is to be alone, whose 'home' is at once kitchen, dining room, parlor, nursery, bedroom, washroom, and perhaps workshop as well; whose only playground is a dirty street with all its degrading sights and sounds?'
Literally, the great majority of the children this great metropolis is rearing do not find room enough on the earth's surface to play. They can only toss a ball or fly a kite by stealth, and when the policeman is not about. They never see sunrise or sunset, the houses are too close and high; they never see a flower save in a pot or in a peddlers wagon; they never hear the rustle of the leaves of a tree unless it be that they are taken on some excursion. They have neither the quiet home where studious habits may develop and the taste for innocent pleasures be formed, nor the field where the childish love of exercise and adventure and excitement may find scope. At home they are crowded, in the streets they are in a crowd. The world, to their eyes, is bricks and paving stones; long lines of human hives. What is vile and what is demoralizing they see in plenty, but the sweetness, the vastness, themysteriousness of nature, her suggestions of things beyond expression, they know nothing of.
A great deal of thoughts a great deal of energy, and a considerable amount of money has been and yet is being expended on efforts to improve the condition of the tenement houses by the erection of model buildings. The latest, and we think the most extensive effort of this kind, is that of a philanthropic Standard oil company millionaire, Mr. Charles Pratt, who has just finished an enormous building at Greenpoint, called the Astral flats, which is designed to accommodate 120 families under one roof, and in which special attention has been given to plumbing, ventilation fire escapes, etc., and in addition to such things as dumb writers for the getting up of coal and provisions, ranges, coal boxes, swinging wash tables, etc., a lecture and reading room has been provided in the basement, and a playground, 40 feet by 200, in the rear, and provision also made for a co-operative store.
But even if it shall be found possible to carry out the ideas of the philanthropic builder without the adoption of rules which will make the living in such a vast caravansary intolerably irksome to people of any individuality, the effect will simply be to attract a better class of tenants and leave the miseries of the vast tenement population, rapidly increasing in Brooklyn, as here, untouched.
The effort in all such model tenements is to economize space, to enable more human beings to be piled over one another's heads on the same plot of ground with somewhat greater conveniences. In this great Greenpoint model tenement, with its dumbwaiters and swinging wash tables, and lecture hall in the basement, the largest rooms are only ten feet by twelve! What sort of a home can be made, where 120 families, whose largest room is but ten by twelve, are lodged in tiers under one roof, with a playground of 8,000 square feet for four or five hundred children.
What is needed for our overcrowded population is not the economizing of space, but more space. This space they want, not in the air, but on the earth's surface. And there is space enough on the earth's surface for them all—space enough to give each family a separate home, and that a home which should be their own, and from which no landlord should have power to eject them whenever rent day came around.
If people are so crowded together in New York it is not because there is not room in New York. In contra st with the illustration of the Mulberry street bend, and with the diagram blocks in that part of the city, is the diagramshowing the number of houses on twenty-three blocks in another part of the city, and that a part well within the easily accessible portion of the city, and past which thousand and thousands of people ride daily from their homes in flats and tenements houses far beyond, to their places of occupation. Three of these blocks are absolutely vacant, one has on it but one house, one but two houses, and on the block most fully occupied, there are but forty-two. This diagram is but an illustration of the condition of large sections of the city between Fifty-ninth street and the Harlem, river, and is taken from, the east side, which is much better built up than the west.
According- to figures furnished by the Real Estate Record and Guide, there are on Manhattan Island, between Fifty-ninth and One hundred and fifty-fifth streets, no less than 30,990 vacant lots, 25by 100.
On a scale which would be considered comfort by a majority of the people of New York these 30,000 vacant lots would accommodate 1,549,400 people, or something; more than the whole present population of the city. On a more reasonable scale of but five stones to the house amt but one family to the floor of twenty-five feet front—a scale. be it remembered, on which not one-third of the people of New York now live—they would accommodate 774,750 souls. And on the proper scale of one family to each lot, a scale on which not four per cent of our population no w live (for many of the separate houses are built on smaller lots) the vacant ground between 155th street and the Harlem on the north and Fifty-ninth street on the south would give separate homes to 30,990 families, or, counting live to a family, 154,950 souls.
But these 30,990 vacant lots are all below One hundred and fifty-fifth street and the Harlem river. In the apex of the island which lies above One hundred and fifty-fifth street, and in what is known as the annexed district beyond the Harlem, there is a still greater amount of vacant land. The plain fact is that not one half of the area composed within" the corporate limits of New York is as yet built upon, while, across the East river into Long Island, and across the North river into New Jersey, and beyond the corporation line to the. north, there is any amount of unused land over which the great city might spread. There is no natural reason whatever for the crowding together of people as they are crowded in New York.
That people are so crowded together in New York arises solely from the fact that we permit the monopolization of land by those who do not want to use it, in order that they maygrow rich by the demands of an increasing population. The true remedy which will abolish the tenement house and give the people of New York ample room over which to spread, no matter how the city grows, is that proposed by the united labor party m the platform on which it went into the last municipal election; a platform which is rapidly being adopted by strong associations in other parts of the country. Sections IV and V of that platform are as follows:
IV. We declare the crowding of so many of our people into narrow tenements at enormous rents while half the area of the city is yet, unbuilt upon to be a scandalous evil, and that to remedy this state of things; all taxes on buildings and improvements should be abolished, so that no line shall be put upon the employment of labor in increasing living accommodations, and that taxes should be levied on land irrespective of improvements, so that those who are now holding land vacant shall be compelled either to build on it themselves or to give up the land to those who will.
V. We declare furthermore that the enormous value which the presence of a million and a half of people givesto the land of this city belongs properly to the whole community; that it should not go to the enrichment of individuals and corporations, butshould be taken in taxation and applied to the improvement and beautifying of the city, to the promotion of the health, comfort, education, and recreation of its people, and to the providing of means of transit commensurate with the needs of a great metropolis.
We also declare that existing means of transit should not be left in the hands of corporations, which, while gaining enormous profits from the growth of population, oppress their employees and provoke strikes that interrupttravel and imperil the public peace, but should by lawful process be assumed by the city and operated for public benefit.
There would be infinitely less “communism” in providing out of public funds derived from the taxation of land values for free trains that will carry people twenty miles from the city hall in as many minutes titan there is in compelling a hundred and twenty families to herd together under one roof.
Dear mother earth upon whose gentle breast,
A tearful child, I laid my weary head,
To draw from thy calm presence that sweet rest
Which soothed when every other joy was fled—
I am bereft of thee. Thou art as one
Estranged from me, thy meekest, lowliest son!
Speak! Doth thy heart with wonted fondness beat?
Doth memory of other wedded years,
Of infant prattle and of pattering feet,
And baby griefs that loosed so many tears.
Pfead all invain? Or, by a tyrant lord
Art thou enslaved and thy young brood
Kay, nay! The old love light is in thy face:
Thy true heart beats ev'n as it beat of old,
the' tyrant rob me of thy fond embrace.
And cruel arms thy helpless form enfold.
Patience, sweet. earth, till I am stronger grown.
Ne'er tyrant lived but slaves have overthrown!
W. H. Ostrander.
February 8, 1887.
The Ping Hat Argument
Judge James G. Maguire in San Francisco Star.
The fact that land is held in common among savages, and that landlordism is most perfect in the centers of civilization, does not prove that common ownership is the cause of barbarism nor that landlordism is the cause of civilization. I once heard a man try to prove that plug hats and suspenders are the cause of civilization. “For,” said he, “go among barbarians and you will not find a single plug hat nor a single suspender; among the semi-barbarous you will find a few; among those further advanced you will find proportionally greater numbers until you reach the great centers of civilization, and there everybody wears suspenders and thousands wear plug hats.” So with landlordism. It is a mere incident of civilization bot, so far from being the cause, it is in fact the greatest hindrance of civilization.
War to Be Rendered Bloodless
A German chemist has invented a new kind of anesthetic bullet, which he urges will, if brought into general use, greatly diminish the horrors of war. The bullet is of a brittle substance, breaking directly when it comes in contact with the object at which it is armed. It contains a powerful anesthetic, producing instantaneously complete insensibility, lasting for twelve hours, which, except that the action of the heart continues, is not to be distinguished from death. While in this condition, the German chemist points out that the bodies may be packed in ambulance wagons and carried off as prisoners.
What a joke it will be to go to war when these bullets are universally used by the soldiers. To be carried off in an ambulance wagon and recovered m a few minutes is better than to have a hole through the body and be carried off in a hearse, not to recover till the resurrection morning. Why, this bullet will certainly supply a “long felt want.”
Canadian Labor Reformer.
The English people, unlike the Irish, are not suffering from the lingering effects of hostile sectional legislation, and, consequently, never having been forbidden by law to engage in manufacturing, they are not so generally dependent on the soil tor a living, for this reason, and this alone, it can be said of a larger proportion of English than of Irish emigrants, that they were not actually “banished,” but for all that the land laws of England have “banished” the vast majority of Englishmen who have sought refuge in newer lands from the effect of these laws. Only a very small proportion of the best soil of Ireland is under cultivation, and the bogs and refuse land which, not being fit for raising cattle, landlordism permits the Irish people to still exist on, produces more food m the worst years than the population needs for its sustenance.
Mr. Pentecost's Congregation Satisfied
The following statement has been furnished to the press for publication in contradiction of the impression that the preaching of Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost, of the Belleville avenue church had caused dissatisfaction in the congregation:
Our attention having been called to articles in several newspapers implying that the preaching of our pastor, character as to cause dissatisfaction in our midst, we desire to say that such is not the case. Under our pastor's administration we have prospered to a greater prospects for a continuance of our present harmonious relations are entirely satisfactory. Theodore L. Dunham, W. L. Starr, Chas. L. Whitfield, W. D. Vanderhoof, Alexander Anderson, Abraham Ditmars, Henry Bird, president board of trustees.
Ownership of the Earth
Burlington, Ia., Justice.
The earth belongs to the whole human race. A man's right to the earth is the fact of his existence. The rent of land every where, in country or city; agricultural, mineral or commercial land, belongs to the whole people who dwell upon it and labor on it. This is the natural income that belongs to society. Buying and selling land is buying and stilling the power to appropriate this fund to their private use, and buying and selling the right to prevent men from working, unless they pay blackmail prices for the privilege of doing so. Hero is the labor question. The “land question” is the labor question, beside which all other social questions sink into insignificance.
Less Than a Dollar a Day
Mauch Chunk Democrat.
The iron ore miners at Guth's station, Lehigh county, have just had their wages increased from 90cents to $1a day. This makes the cost of mining about 50 cents per ton average, while the protective tariff is 75 cents per ton. Billy Sowden ought to rise and explain where and bow the protection for the laborer comes in. It is hard to believe it possible that workingmen of average common sense can continue to be deceived by political demagogues who, in face of these facts, persistently assert that the high monopoly tariff on iron ore protects labor and increases wages. These very same laborers are as labor as the poorest paupers under the meanest government of Europe. In most of the other mines of Lehigh county the miners yet work for less than $1 a day—some getting only 70 to 80 cents.
Understands the Truth, and Speaks It
Mauch Chunk, Pa., Watchman.
The next man you hear say that Henry George wants to deprive you of your property, wants to confiscate, etc, tell him he's either a knave or a fool. What Henry George wants is “theearth.” He wants it for you and your fellow men. He wants to make it unprofitable for foreign and home-made speculators, who now deprive millions of bis poverty stricken countrymen from deriving sustenance from the free gift of God “to all His children.” Henry George proposes as a means to this end that all taxation be placed on the land. “Simply this and nothing more.”
Thy Kingdom Come
Pulpit Utterances By Preachers Of All Denominations
A Letter from Dr. McGlynn—Dr. Herring on Sympathy and Selfishness—Glowing Words About the Crime of Poverty—Dr. Hall on Things in General
The services at Plymouth church last Sunday were made a memorial of the dead pastor. Dr. Lyman Abbott of the Christian Union preached the morning sermon, pointing out the wonderful influence exercised by Mr. Beecher on the religious thought of the day. “He was,” said Mr. Abbott, "the prince of emotional preachers.
“Along with this came a larger conception of the revelation of God. Mr. Beecher saw men studying the stains and cobwebs on the windows, and he swept these away and let in the sunlight. You who were his pupils have learned that God is not an embalmed God in a dead book. The Puritan God was not love, but 'the moral governor of the universe.' To Mr. Beecher Christ was God, not his messenger or an interposing shield from his wrath, but God himself. There was no punishment or justice in God that was not in Christ—no meekness, tenderness or sympathy in Christ that was not in God.”
At the evening service the following letter from the Rev. Dr. McGlynn was read—the tribute, as a member of the congregation remarked, of a martyr to an apostle:
New York, March 13,1887.
Rev. and Dear Mr. Halliday: I regret very much that I cannot, in compliance with your courteous request, be present this evening at the meeting in Plymouth church to honor the memory of the great pastor and to condole for the irreparable loss. I must therefore content myself with saying briefly in a letter what I should have been glad to say more fully in speech.
It is a sign of the dawning of the better day for which the world has so long yearned that such a meeting should be possible and that you and yours should so earnestly desire the presence of a clergyman of that church which seems so remote, and, too many would say, so antagonistic to yours. Foremost in the work of hastening the coming of the better day was the great man whose death we mourn and for w hose work we give thanks. None other so well as he taught the men of his land and time to exalt the essentials of religion pure and undefiled in which we all agree, and to minimize the differences that seem to separate us. To him was given to see with clearer vision, to reveal with unequaled genius, and with tireless energy to make common among men the meaning of Him whom we all revere as our divine teacher, who taught of old on the mount and by the seashore the core of all religion—the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
I cheerfully confess that from Mr. Beecher 1 learned from the first days of my ministry a new tenderness and fullness of meaning in the Our Fat her; and I am glad to be able hero to state that the theology of the old church agrees with his in this, that the essence of religion is in communion with God through the love of Him for His own sake, and in loving all men for God's sake with the best love with which we love ourselves; and that while sacrifice and sacrament, creed and ritual, prayer mid sermon and song may be and are powerful helps and necessary manifestations of this religion, which is love. without it they are but a mockery, a sacrilege and a blasphemy. I thankfully count him among the masters from whom I have learned a fuller meaning of the prayer—“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
We must all agree with Mr. Beecher that the conditions and duties and strifes of our temporal life are but signs and symbols of spiritual and eternal things, and that in the yearning of the whole world for liberty, equality and fraternity under the reign of justice and love, if we pluck out the religious heart of it the burden is not worth the bearing nor the battle worth the fighting. He and the other giants of his time have cleared the field and illuminated the way for a higher progress and helped to give more perfect assurance of victory in the st rife that is now beginning against a wider slavery than that against which he dealt his sturdy blows—the enslavement of the masses by the classes—and to cement a union, not merely of American states, but of the peoples of the world.
Stimulated by his example and encouraged by his success, let us take up the burden of the people's wrongs where his tired shoulders have laid it down, and fight the battle, if need be, even till the night shall come, and we, a s the burden falls from our shoulders and the weapons from our hands, shall have a nearer vision than was given to him of the reign of the Prince of Peace. Affectionately and fraternally yours,
How Can Christianity Reach the Masses?
“Sympathy and selfishness” was the subject chosen by the Rev. Mr. Herring, at the Seventh Presbyterian church, New York. “Human selfishness,” said Mr. Herring—“the hungry devil of greed— s as old as the human race. Our race should be a universal brotherhood. What inconsistency there must be in a man who can sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs on the Sabbath and grind and trample on his fellow man during the rest of the week. It would seem as though he believed his attendance at church on that day granted him absolution for the sins of the past week. There is such a thing as thriving honestly, and there is such a thing as thriving dishonestly. The man who purchases an article worth $50 for $45, by what we term 'beating the seller down,' is $5 a thief. Competition may be a necessary principle, but who could compete with that world renowned monopoly which says to the transportation companies: 'Transport my oil for ten cents per barrel and for the oil of other companies you shall charge thirty-five cents a barrel and remit the difference of twenty-five cents to the Standard oil company.'”
Mr. Herring then went on to speak of the attitude of the poor of New York and other great cities toward the churches. He reviewed a good many of Henry George's statistics regarding the tenement house population and declared that the churches stand to those people as the symbol of tyranny, oppression and monopoly, and as temples of the rich.
“But the churches are beginning to arouse their dormant powers and to take an active interest in the questions affecting the welfare of the poor.”
“Does Christianity reach the masses?”
“How shall it reach the masses?”
“By entering into sympathy with and studying the great problems that bear upon their interests. Render Christianity attractive. The poor want a friend to-day. Befriend them. True Christianity is benevolent, democratic and unselfish, and the poor should know it. Remember this and also that God will hold us responsible, not only for our own, but for our brother's, entrance into heaven.”
Mr. Pentecost's Advice to Workingmen
Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost delivered a discourse last night in the Belleville avenue Congregational church, Newark, entitled, “A Few Sympathetic Words to Wage Earners.” He took for his text the words, “Quit you like men; be strong.” He said it is necessary that workingmen keep themselves in the right in order to accomplish the ends they desire. They can learn what the right is in reference to their own actions by listening to what others say of them and carefully taking note of all the truth. The conflict in which workingmen are engaged calls for sober councils. Workingmen must have the courage of their convictions and must talk and vote according to their convictions, and be willing to lose their situations and starve rather than give up their convictions. Workingmen should not waste their time and energies on side issues and half measures. They should strike at the root of evil and work for its abolition. The words, the spirit, the life, the work, the death of Jesus Christ should be the inspiration of workingmen in the light for their emancipation.
A Christian Duty to Abolish Poverty
At the North Reformed church in Newark, N. J., Rev. A. H. Bradford delivered a sermon on Charity before the Newark female charitable society. He said:
“Of late years there has been a more systematic study of the causes of vice and crime and of pauperism. We are working just as much in the spirit of Christ when we prevent poverty as when we relieve distress. People's surroundings have much to do with their character. The influences tout surround children and youths follow them all their lives. In America nearly one-fourth of the entire population is in large cities, and the most crime and pauperism are to be found in the large cities. In order to successfully combat with these evils we must remove the causes. That is no wise charity that simply seeks to relieve existing distress. The spirit of Christ is asking how we may prevent the stream of vice and pauperism from flowing any farther. There is no wise charity that does not study the causes of the evil it seeks to relieve, and the charity of today is recognizing that fact.”
The reverend gentleman spoke of the evils of the tenement house system, of whole families being compelled to live in one room, where privacy and decency are out of the question; of thirty families being huddled together under one roof, and said that Christian workers are coming to recognize that it is impossible to effect much of a change in these people till their surroundings are improved, for there are ten thousand hands dragging them down where one is raised to help them up.
A Catholic Priest on the Malthusian Doctrine
A remarkable sermon was preached in Dublin, Ireland, by the Rev. Father Finlay, S. J., on the text: “Suffer little children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The reverend gentleman said: “What is to be done with the children of the poor'?' It is a question which forces itself upon thoughtful minds in many ways. Crowds of children to whom a breath of untainted air is an unknown luxury are swarming in the reeking gutters. The vivid gleam that lights the eyes of more fortunate childhood is in theirs reduced to a sodden and hopeless glare. Their rags are insufficient for decency, not to speak of warmth. How their food comes to them, and how they procure it, it would be difficult to explain. Their horizon is bounded by the brick arch which spans the entrance into the neighboring thoroughfare, and by the chimneys that blacken the face of heaven above them.
“How much of all that for which God designed these human creatures, and which they are capable of being, do they succeed in becoming? What growth of understanding, what healthy habits will come to them with their years? Alas! alas! They breathe an atmosphere of degradation and sin, and their souls are blighted and perverted by its influence as effectually as their bodies are dwarfed and diseased by the infections of the dens they inhabit.
“What is to be done about this matter?
“An answer is furnished by the political philosopher, the social economist, the man of sententious formulas and many weighty platitudes. 'The present social system is faulty, no doubt, and the children of the poor have got to suffer. But it is wholly the fault of the poor themselves; not of the children, to be sure, but of the parents. Why should population increase beyond the means of subsistence? Why should children be brought into the world for whom no provision is made? If the lower orders will avoid the distresses of which they complain, let them put prudential checks upon their own rate of increase. Let them not bring children into the world with whom they have to share their meager resources, and then there will be no lowering of the Standard of comfort, the laboring classes will find employment sufficient to engage all their numbers, and the problem of an indigent, because unemployed, population will not have to be faced at all,” And thus onward through reams of sapient commonplaces—of Malthusianism, and Millism, and Ricardianism, and the rest. All of which is, with great respect, equivalent to telling us that if for a given supply of food we had fewer mouths, we should have more food for each, but does not at all help us to the solution of the present question—how are the mouths at present empty to be filled?
Rev. Father Higgins on the Land Question
Rev. Father Higgins, S. J., recently delivered a lecture on socialism and the land question to the Post Graduated society of the St. Louis university.
“Progress and Poverty,” said he, “presents no tangible solution of the question of land monopoly.”
Father Higgins holds that if one man can not take possession of the materials of production and make them his own, there can be no such thing as property of any kind; and that not even the community can own land, since its labor has not created it. “Therefore,” says he, “there must be in man a right to occupy as his own such gifts of nature as he needs for the support of life.”
“To say that all men have an actual, positive ownership of the land is equivalent to saying that every one has a right to exclude every one else, and as all are equal, they eventually exclude each other, which amounts to no ownership at all.”
The theory that all men have the same right to the land as to light and air, Father Higgins declares to be a species of pernicious sophistry, for the reason that there is no need that every person should till the soil. Land is tangible and capable of being reduced to possession, while light and air can not be. He holds that since all men have equal rights, no generation can rightfully appropriate the land that is given to all; and that if property in land is robbing, all property is theft, so that the state which pretends to own land is as much a robber as the individual would be.
Father Higgins reasons after the fashion of the lawyer whose arguments for the defense induced the jury to find for the plaintiff.
Dr. Talmage Admires Things as They Are
At the Brooklyn tabernacle Dr. Talmage preached from Deuteronomy vii., 20, on the annoyances of life, and enforced the propriety of bearing them with proper resignation.
“If I had my own way,” said the doctor, “I would place each of you in a garden, provided with every adornment and every luxury. I would put a palace in that garden, and I would till it with everything most costly and everything most rare. I would clothe you in the finest, raiment, and I would adorn you with the amethyst and the diamond. I would. Why does God not do it? Aye, that is just it. Now I bethink myself, it would never do. If we had our own way we should go to ruin. God's way is the best. What you know not now you shall know hereafter.”
The reverend gentleman did not suggest that perhaps the way we are going now may not be God's way, and that a little bit of garden might possibly be found for every one on earth if the divine will were fully carried out. Probably he didn't think of it.
Dr. John Hall on Things in General
At the Fifth avenue Presbyterian church Dr. Hall delivered a somewhat rambling discourse, reviewing the pagan creeds of Egypt, Persia, Syria and other ancient nations, and tracing in them the direct agency of Satan. He also avowed his belief that the “mind reading” of W. Irving Bishop was performed by diabolic aid. Speaking of the Roman Catholic church, he said: “The three persons of the Godhead were conspired against, particularly by the popes, who, in professing to give absolution for sins, usurped the functions of the deity. If I were speaking to Roman Catholics,” added the doctor, “I would say exactly the same things I am saying now. In the city of New York it is stated that half of the population are under Catholic influence. Eighty per cent of the crimes committed are done by these same people.” Dr. Hall's utterances against Catholicism are possibly influenced by the fact that his salary is paid by a Presbyterian church. Dr. Hall's utterances against Catholicism are possibly influenced by the fact that his salary is paid by a Presbyterian church.
Another Clergyman Speaks
Atlantic City, N. J., March 13.— I want to tell you that I believe in land for the people. I expect to preach the gospel sometime if, with the views I now hold, I can get a pulpit. One thing I know, that the reformation you have begun is nothing more than a simple return to fundamental principles as Christ proclaimed them. I see before us a long struggle and bitter opposition and reproach, but in the end the right will triumph:
For right is right, since God is God,
And right the day must win.
To doubt would be disloyalty,
To falter would be sin.
Yours in faith,
L. M. Powers.
Grabbing The Ocean
Applying the Principles of Landownership to the High Seas
The Herald's Washington correspondent brings to light a letter from L. N. Handy & Co. of San Francisco to the president, which shows that the prevailing theory of private landownership is being extended to the high seas. Handy & Co. charge that the Alaska commercial company has taken possession of and assumed sovereign power over the most valuable fisheries of the whole United States namely, the Alaska fisheries in Behring Sea—and – without shadow of right or authority, except a lease from the United States, permitting it to kill 100,000 seals annually upon two small islands in Behring sea at a rent of $55,000 per annum, etc., has taken possession and control not only of the territory, but also of a vast sea 3,000 miles long by 2,700 miles wide; has made itself the suzerain of the government, impressed into its service the officers and agents of the government to maintain its possession and control of this immense territory and sea. and now seeks to prevent American Citizens from even traversing and fishing upon the high seas, under the absurd pretense that the waters of the whole of Behring sea are adjacent to the islands of St. Paul and St. George, and claims to be molested and disturbed in its lease of said islands by fishing vessels hundreds of miles away and beyond the boundaries of the United States. This company claims that the waters of Behring sea are within the limits of Alaska, and procures the seizure, through subservient government officers, of every vessel that dares to traverse those waters or is found any where therein on a seal hunting voyage. It is immaterial to it whether vessels are found in the actual killing of seals or where the seals have been killed; the mere presence of the vessels in Behring sea seems sufficient evidence to justify their seizure in any part of those waters.
But really Handy & Co. have no cause to complain. The right of exclusive ownership to the sea is only a corollary of the doctrine of land ownership. The authority assumed by the Alaska company over Behring sea is just as defensible and far less injurious to commerce than the authority assumed by a comparatively few of our people over the whole land surface of our common country.
They Got Their Ideas from the “Tribune”
Fall River, Mass., Daily News.
One of the most interesting in the present season's course of lectures at Swansea was delivered on Monday evening, by H. A. Dubuque, esq., of this city, who took as his subject “Henry George and his theories.” He gave a summary of the principal features of Mr. George's theories, with readings of selections, from “Progress of Poverty.” The lecturer also referred to the the theories of other political economists, and illustrated his points with several apt anecdotes.
He said that the points with which Mr. George dealt were worthy of thought, as they were matters which, in a few years at the most, would demand attention, especially in this part of the country.
The lecture was listened to with deep attention, and at its close Mr. Dubuque was asked several questions by members of the audience. The question of putting all taxation on land, and having labor, improvements and capital used in reproduction free from taxation, was discussed and commented on by different people in the audience. The questions showed that the audience had taken a deep interest in the topic, and were weighing well the theories advanced.
The lecture gave many in the audience a better idea of Mr. George than they had before entertained. Several said that they had formed their ideas of Mr. George from reading the New York Tribune, and had supposed he was an anarchist and socialist.
Why Shouldn't the City Build and Own It?
The Providence and Springfield railroad is now bonded for $500,000 at 7 per cent interest, guaranteed by the city of Providence, and the bonds will mature July 1, 1892. The president of the road has sent a communication to the city council, in which he states the fact that it is desired to make an extension of the road to Webster, Mass., thereby making a through connection, and he petitions the council that in order to do this the road be bonded for $1,000,000 by the city. In other words, he asks the city to furnish capital to do the work, or to be more exact, to guarantee the payment of interest on the cost of the work—which this estimate of $1,000,000 is supposed to be sufficient to cover.
This is perhaps all right in its way. The peculiarity about it is that it is mainly designed to benefit capitalists, and not to benefit the laborer. The credit of the city is to be made use of to build the road, and then the parties who may purchase the bonds are guaranteed, although they have risked nothing, that they will receive four per cent interest. This is equivalent to gambling on a sure thing—that is, the city takes all the risk, and the others, who take no risk, take all the profit, and in the end, if the enterprise pays enormously,.the city may get back its money, provided no one steals it in the interval.
Miss Van Etten's Lectures
Miss Ida M. Van Etten will deliver next Wednesday afternoon, at Madison Square theater, the first of three lectures on working women — their industrial condition, wages, training and opportunities. The lectures will begin at 4 o'clock. The subject of the first is, “Woman as a Worker.” The other two, to be delivered on March 30 and April 6, respectively, are, “New Industries for Women” and “Social Functions of Women.” Miss Van Etten has given the subject considerable study and speaks from personal observation.
Henry George's Lecturing Trip
Henry George will start west next Monday on a short lecturing trip. He will speak in Albany, March 21; Norwalk, O., 23; Oberlin, O., 23; Ann Arbor. Mich., 24; Battle Creek, Mich., 25; Chicago, 28; Madison, Wis, 20; Peoria, III., 31; Milwaukee, Wis., April 4, and a number of other places. All communications with reference to lectures by Henry George should be addressed to James R Pond, Everett House, New York.
The Letter Carriers Contribute
A committee of the New York letter carriers, headed by Thomas Rock as chairman, waited on Dr. McGlynn on Friday evening and presented him with a purse of $500 as a token of their affection and esteem.
An Officeholder's Endorsement
His Rent is to be Raised, and He Knows How it is Himself
Washington, D. C, March 13.—I would rather miss the entire metropolitan press for a week than a single copy of TheStandard. “May it live long and prosper.”
Among my personal friends I have done a great deal of talking on the subject of land reform, and I find much ignorance among people otherwise comparatively intelligent upon the subject of taxation. Comparatively few are aware that wealthy people often, who nominally pay large taxes, really pay very little. Landlords actually believe that they pay the taxes on their rented houses. Nevertheless, an old lady from whom I rent my house seems to know better, for she talked of raising my rent this year because taxes were to be increased. Don Piatt, in John Swinton's Paper this week, seems to think the poor farmers would have to pay pretty much all the taxes under your system. It ought to be iterated and reiterated that no farmer would be burdened with taxes where he cannot make money. The pioneer would escape altogether. and get the use of land for nothing, so long as he remained a pioneer.
Gunton, in the Forum for March, makes some wretched blunders, claiming, after talking about Ricardo's law of rent and “Henry George's Heresies,” that a tax on rent would increase the price of produce!
Ring it into the ears of the people that the poor fellow who buys a lot on a farm for his home has to pay its rent value in advance to some land grabber, while under your system he would only pay as he got the use and not even then it away from civilization.
I own forty acres of land in a new settlement in a distant state. There is an abundance of unused land there still. I paid for my land $20 per acre. Had there been no speculators in that community before me, I could have had that land at $1.25 per acre, the Government price. So, you see, I have already paid my tax, but I paid it to a land grabber instead of to the public, and must now continue to pay to the public not only a tax upon the land value but also a tax upon the value of the improvements which I am putting on the land. Whether I ever get my money back is problematical. One thing I am sure of, if your system were in operation I would not be troubled about taxes for some time to come, for I doubt whether I could rent my uncultivated land for fifteen cents per acre for the next ten years if the enormous quantities of unused land around me were set free.
The New Gospel at Princeton College
Princeton, N. J. March 12.—It is late in the day to be reading “Progress and Poverty” and to come straggling in at the heels of a great movement, but I have a word to say from the standpoint of a collegian. When I first entered upon the study of political economy, feeling the difficulty of the subject and marking the disagreement of the doctors, I formed a distaste for the science and gained rather vague ideas upon its subtle theories. Now I feel that there is life and blood in it. Most of the criticism of your position comes from those who do not think; to whom Malthusianisms and the wages fund are axiomatic.
When will men who call themselves educated, and journals which claim superior intelligence, rise above the level of platitude and give us argument in place of sneers? I for one will not rest upon this mighty question until I can learn the truth or gain the clearest possible light. Whether "Progress and Poverty" be true or not, he who can read the book without feeling a deeper yearning for the brotherhood of man, without feeling ready and eager to do his part to lift the burden of industrial slavery, must be himself an embodiment of the fearful callousness developed by our social system.
Prof. Alexander Johnston of Princeton is fair, but conservative. He criticizes the “Land Theory,” but recommends “Progress and Poverty” and individual judgment. Prof. Kaige, a Pole of fine character and scholarship, professor of modern languages in the same college, is out and out for land taxation. Three of my classmates, meeting from different sections at the time of the recent mayoralty campaign in New York, were ail for George as a man who had live opinions on a vital question. I write these notes to give an idea of college sympathies.
Stamford, Conn., Gets a Practical Lesson
Correspondence New Haven Morning News.
Hartford, March 9.—Two years ago T. R. Crawford, a wealthy gentleman of Stamford, conceived the idea that he would like to appropriate about ten acres of oyster ground that was located close by his premises. He saw his friend, Sam Fessenden, who drew up a bill granting the required land to Mr. Crawford, and when the session of 1886 opened the bill passed and Mr. Crawford took possession. About this time the people in Stamford began to open their eyes and some of the lone fishermen were enraged when they went to the shore to dig bivalves only to be hunted off by Mr. Crawford, who announced that he was sole owner now and no clam diggers would be allowed on the ground. As a matter of course all the clam diggers from Stamford were very indignant and wanted to know by what right Mr. Crawford took the land. When they learned that the legislature had given away the land, which is worth about $10,000, to Mr. Crawford for $1, they were angry and a town. Meeting was called to protest against it.
Before the committee on incorporations today, a hearing took place on a bill to repeal the grant. Mr. Fessenden appeared for Mr. Crawford and Messrs. Olmstead and Joslin for the citizens of Stamford. Mr. Fessenden said that everything was all regular and right, and as the legislature in its wisdom gave Mr. Crawford the land, it was only right that he should keep it. The attorneys on the other side insisted that the land was gobbled up by a sort of legislative legerdemain, and ought to be restored.
Wants a Convention in July
Rocky Forks, Mo., March 11.—There is need of a new political party, one that shall go to the root of social disease and deal with vital questions in a plain and uncompromising manner, one that shall declare the “land for the people” and tax it to its full rental value. This latter should be the principal plank and the primary reform, as it would give us true free trade, rob the liquor traffic of its power, remove the burdens now bearing so heavily on labor and capital, and give to each citizen a home and a workshop. That a party advocating these reforms can succeed in the United States there is no doubt, and success would not be long coming. Believing such a party is needed, I propose the holding of a convention in St. Louis during July, for the purpose of adopting a national platform and securing permanent organization.
Ray Clarence Richmond.
Good Law and Good Sense, Too
A wealthy English woman some time since joined an Anglican sisterhood and gave her property to the order. Since then she has become a convert to the Catholic church and wishes to reclaim her gift. She brought suit,but not being able to show “undue influence” she has failed. The judge said if that had been proven he would have ordered restoration, even if the property had passed into the hands of innocent holders, because such “can assert no right stronger than those through which they claim.” A thoughtful person might conclude that the judge's words apply to all landholding as clearly as to the case before him.
Facts About the Post Office
A Substitute Carrier's Experiences—“Jack-assing” Mail Bags
New York. March 10.—Seeing an article in last week's Standard headed “Post Office Grievances,” I wish to tell the public something of my experience as a substitute letter carrier. I was appointed in the New York post office Feb. 12, 1886, and was at once compelled to pay $18.75 for a suit of clothes and $2.42 for a helmet. I was then assigned assubstitute carrier m the general post office, and during the rest of the month earned exactly $7.48 I was then drafted from station to station remaining in none longer than a month, until I finally found a resting place in Station K, Eighty-sixth street and Third avenue, where I remained until removed from the service.
Here I was compelled to “jackass,” or carry the mail bags. for the transport of which Dodd's express is paid by the department, as well as to lend a hand at stamping and boxing letters for the over- worked clerks, receiving nothing for these services, and earning as a substitute carrier less than enough to pay my board. I have been in attendance and working at the office a whole day, from 6 a.m. till 8 p.m. without other compensation than the fees for two special deliveries, sixteen cents in all. After serving an apprenticeship of this kind for ten months, I was finally dismissed for declining to sweep the floor without being paid for it.
Such was my experience in the post office branch of the civil service. I lost my time looking for the position, and I lost my health after I got it. I hope other young men anxious to be letter carriers will take warning by my story.
John J. Bradt,
230 First avenue.
The Land And Labor Library
Friends of Land Reform Should Aid in Its Distribution
The series of tracts enforcing and illustrating the true principles of land reform, whose issue was announced in last week's Standard, has met a ready welcome from friends of the cause all over the United States.
The object of these tracts is to set men thinking. When once that is done, the work of conversion is half accomplished. A single tract enclosed in a letter or handed to a friend at an opportune moment may effect an amount of good greater than would result from an hour's argument.
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, 12½ cents; 1,000 copies. $1; 5,000 copies, $4.50; 10,000 copies, $7.50.
The Chicago “Tribune” on Scullyism
Chicago, March 12.—The inconsistency of the average newspaper is something astounding. No journal on this continent has been more bitter in its denunciation of land reform than the Chicago Tribune. Yet this paper, commenting on a bill recently introduced into the Illinois legislature prohibiting aliens from holding land in the state, says, in its issue of March 11: “The bill is avowedly aimed at the Irish landlord Scully, who has tried to introduce the feudal system of landlordism just being uprooted in his own country into several states of the Union. . . . Scully has about six hundred tenants in Illinois. . . . They are in a state of absolute serfdom under his heartless a lien rule. . . . If such men as Scully were permitted to have their way the Irish system of tenant serfdom would be transplanted to the United States and this country would be drained of millions of dollars yearly for the benefit of absentee aristocrats. to be spent by them in high living and dissipation, while their tenants would degenerate into toil-worn slaves.”
Does not this read like a chapter from “Progress and Poverty” or from “Social Problems,” rather than an article in a paper which has abused Henry George as the incarnation of all conceivable wickedness? The article closes with this endorsement of the measure:
“If the bill is pushed and passed in its present form it will put an end to Scullyism in Illinois. Other states will probably follow the good example, and an effectual barrier will be set up a long the whole line against the encroachments of feudalism. The Tribune regards with considerable satisfaction the progress that is being made in this direction.”
Now, may I ask in what degree the 600 tenants of Scully would be better off if Scully lived in New York city, and was a citizen of the United States? Will this wonderful Solon who dismisses “Progress and Poverty” with a sneer, please inform me whether the patriotic glow which would arise in the hearts of those Illinois farmer tenants when they knew they had ceased to pay tribute to an Irish landlord, and were enriching one of their own dear millionaires, would feed the children, clothe the wives or warm the houses of these “absolute serfs?”
Chas. W. Phillips.
What Land Monopoly Costs the Farmer
Kansas farms are mortgaged to an average of $16 per acre.
Indiana, to $17 per acre.
This average will hold good throughout the United States.
In most cases the principal has been more than paid in interest.
The steady decline in prices of farm products, especially in the west, makes payment impossible.
The farmer is a very sick man.
His life is fast ebbing away.
There is an Easier Way Out of the Difficulty
American Rural Home.
Every man has a right to existence. The world owes no man a living. It guarantees him a place to stand, air, water, sunshine: these are the primary elements of agriculture. Every man has a right to a farm, without rent or charge. Land ought not to be a marketable commodity. But two men cannot at the same time occupy the same piece of land. But occupancy is necessary to cultivation; hence, the right of the prior occupant has always been respected- How then about the later corner. He must purchase or pass on until he can find a piece unoccupied.
How Small Farmers Are Being Crowded Out
Arcadia, La., Sentinel.
The largest producing farm in the world tics in the southwest corner of Louisiana, owned by a northern syndicate. and having for general manager Mr. J. B. Watkins. It runs 100 miles north and south. The immense tract is divided into convenient pastures with stations of ranches every six miles. The fencing alone cost nearly $50,000. The land is best adapted to rice, sugar, corn and cotton. The cultivation, ditching, etc., is done by steam power. With the help of only three men thirty acres a day can be plowed.
The Public Domain
The Petition Of The Cattle Raisers Of The West
They Want to Rent From the Government the Lands on Which Their Stock Grazes—They Ask for a Modified and Limited Lease
Omitting Alaska there are in the United States two thousand million acres of land. A commission appointed by congress reported in 1681 that by far the greater part of the region embracing the great plains and mountains of the west, perhaps five hundred million acres, constituting most of what yet remains of the public domain, could not be put to use as farming land. Confirmation of this opinion may be found, in a measure, in the official report of the governor of Wyoming for 1885, in which it is stated that of the sixty million acres of land in that territory but eight millions are cultivable, the rest being mountainous, or unirrigable, or above the line of altitude permitting the maturity of cereals. It is settled, then, on the authority of the national government, that nearly one-fourth of the area of the whole country must be utilized for purposes other than farming as known to the agriculturist east of the Missouri. Interspersed in this vast area, however, are millions of acres of good farming land. In the deeper valleys of the mountainous country, along the rivers and their tributaries, on the open plains where there is a sufficient rainfall, the farmer may be rewarded by a harvest. In the process of the selection of entries from the government land, these better hinds have nearly all passed into private hands, a map showing them on the public domain resembling, with its dots and patches and meandering lines, seaside lowlands penetrated by an incoming tide. The railroad land grants make broad, canal-like streaks on the map.
What can the government do with its inferior lands—those which it terms its “desert” lands! It will make no further railroad land grants. It does not «ell its public lands. There are but four statutes under which a citizen can take up land. Under the homestead act he can get title to 100 acres; under the preemption act, 160; under the timber culture act, 160; under the desert land act, 040. these acts contemplate the settler as a farmer, Under the desert land act he must irrigate every forty acre tract of his entry. Vast stretches of the land, not worth twenty-five cents a n acre, can never be reclaimed under this act.
Our law makers at Washington have not been able to determine what should be done with the “desert” lands, but men have gone ahead of the law and put them to use. The business of grazing cattle on the plains and in the valleys of the Rocky mountains had its inception about 1870. The pioneers in the industry of ten undertook their enterprises at the risk of their lives, as much of the country was still in the hands of savage Indian tribes; and they also put their property in jeopardy, for the effects of the severity of the winters upon cattle were unknown. But the steer thrived wherever the buffalo had lived. Seeing the marvelous possibilities of the country for raising cattle cheap, intelligent and enterprising ranchmen soon came east, and, perhaps among the friends of their boyhood, raised means to enlarge their business, and bought more cows and bulls of a finer breed. Texas cattle were also driven north in enormous herds. Capitalists were not slow in perceiving that extraordinary returns might be had on investments in cattle raising, and millions of dollars from the east and from Great Britain were used in buying western ranches. In ten years the region bounded by Texas and the British possessions, the western edge of the agricultural districts of Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska and Dakota, and the eastern limit of the older settled country of the Pacific slope, was stocked up with cattle. There did not then remain a square mile in the alkali deserts of Nevada and Arizona, the lava beds of Idaho, the sand dunes and hog back bills of Wyoming, or the bleak wastes of Montana, that was not within the precincts of a cattle ranch.
The army of promoters of this colossal industry were obliged to overcome great obstacles in establishing it. The problem with them was in brief this: How could they, without being molested by government officials, raise and gather cattle on the ocean like expanse of the plains, on lands unlawfully occupied, transport their beeves to a market one or two thousand miles away and sell as cheap as the farmer with a market at his doors! Most of these difficulties have been successfully overcome.
Every stockman brands his cattle on turning them out to graze. At the end of the season, in the early days, a cattle raiser and his neighbors united in a little pool and gathered together their cattle, sonic of which had roamed a hundred miles from the ranch of their owner. In time the small pool became a firm or a cattle company. Cattle growing is peculiarly adapted to the employment of capital in large amounts. For example, the care of a herd of 1,000 head of range cattle costs on an average more than $2 a head per year, while a herd of 10,000 head costs less than $1 a head per year. Five herds of 2,009 each require the employment of ten or fifteen cowboys receiving for wages $25 to $30 a month and their keep, while one herd of 10,000 may be cared for by twenty or twenty-five cowboys. The area of country over which five herds of 2,000 each would range can be made to graze one herd of 20,000 head. Hence the formation of companies representing one, two or three million dollars. The stories of the enormous wealth of “cattle kings” frequently have no better foundation than that they are the salaried managers of large companies. In the course of time the stock of cattle companies has found its way among people of moderate circumstances in all parts of the country. Shares are held in small lots, of ten of $500 to $2,500 each, scattered among people who were led, by a hope of getting a larger income from their money than they could obtain in the east, to risk it in beef growing on the plains of the west. Thousands of people living in the country east of the Mississippi, hundreds employed in the states of the Atlantic coast, own shares of the stock of such companies.
Live stock associations — combinations of companies and individual herd owners—have been formed for the mutual protection of the stock raisers of a state or territory, or of even a larger extent of country. These associations have no capital stock. They gain no profits for their members excepting through such means as by protecting cattlemen from stock thieves, finding estrays, guarding against the infection of their herds by disease, and arranging for the intricate details of the annual “round up”—in a word, by supervising the common interests of the industry in any section of the west.
The tendency of the great live stock associations is to form a healthy public opinion among the stockgrowers and to promote obedience to the law of the land. This was shown in the issue of the fence or no-fence question of a few years ago. A large number of the more aggressive stockmen, resting their claims on “possessory rights,” had run barb wire fences around their ranches, thus enclosing many miles of the public lands. The interior department, the judiciary of the territories, and finally, in the case of the Indian territory the president himself declared against the fencing. The most effective means of bringing down the fences, after all, the discussions brought about by the live stock associations, which resulted in the widespread feeling that the interests of the business as a whole were best taken care of if private land only were fenced. Much of the fencing has consequently disappeared. The live stock associations have also benefited the eastern consumers of beef, while of course guarding their own interests, in dealing as combinations with the great western railroads, thus securing favorable terms for all ranchmen. Various abuses which had grown up at the stock yards at Chicago, Kansas City and Omaha have been abolished or held in check by the associations.
Yet there is a vital point in the stockmen's problem yet unsolved. They are trespassers on the public domain. They have generally no lawful rights in the land on which their cattle graze, save perhaps in a few hundred acres surrounding their ranch buildings. Congress has been asked to puss penal laws against them. There is danger of these ranges being overstocked by newcomers, especially as their productiveness in grass crops is variable. Texas is annually producing 800,000 head of cattle more than its grazing lands can support, and this number must absolutely be removed to other ranges or to the markets. The ranchman's lands in Texas are his own, as Texas land was never a part of the public domain, and has been sold to private owners, and Texas cattle are driven north to range over lands now fully stocked up and to be sold to men new in the business, who risk their money on estimates of profits made several years ago, when the industry was growing. or who form companies in order to float stock in the east or abroad. Foreign financiers have been reckless in transactions of this character.
The National stockgrowers' association, which is the representative body of live stock raisers for the whole country, has at several annual sessions considered the perplexing question of legalizing the occupation of public lands. Under its sanction the stockgrowers of the plains have petitioned congress for a qualified, and as to time limited, lease of the lands they occupy. They want to buy the wild grass of the ranges and to be protected in that purchase. The public treasury would annually be richer by $20,000,000 to $25,000,000 if the proposal should be acceded to. The stockowners desire that the graziers within certain natural boundaries, as, for instance, large rivers and chains of mountains, shall become in a body the lessees of the lands. In proportion to the amount of stock he owns, each ranchman will, by this plan, contribute toward the payment of the rental of the entire tract. No fencing will be done, but each man's cattle will have equal privileges of grazing at will over the entire tract. A sufficiency of food will thereby be insured to the cattle of the small owner in a much greater degree than could be done by individual leasing, and he will obtain the acreage necessary and the freedom of range requisite for his cattle for a much smaller sum than he would if he rented an isolated tract for the same purpose. The ratio of increase being alike in all herds, small or great, the small stock owner will be protected equally with the larger as to his future production. The total number of cattle which may be grazed within that section by those interested will consequently be limited by mutual agreement to the number which the entire acreage will feed, based upon the recognized number of acres necessary for the support in that locality for a single animal during the year.
The stockgrowers say they seek no change in the present land laws. Their proposal is to permit the leased lands to be subject to contemporaneous settlement under the land laws now in force. Within the leaseholds preemption and homestead claims would continue to be taken, and while the farming land would gradually be brought under cultivation, the cattle would continue to utilize the grass which annually renews itself. Thus the two interests could be prosecuted harmoniously and with manifest benefit to the country.
If the stockman leased his range from the government, he would have no better facilities for fraud than at present. With the possession of a lease, always subject to subsequent entries by actual settlers, the stock owner would receive all the protection that he could desire. The great temptation to endeavor to protect himself by fraudulently securing title to government lands would be removed, and his business could be safely prosecuted, subject to the gradual absorption of available lands by farmers without eradicating the production of stock years in advance of the cultivation of the land. With his lands held by a lease a stockman could safely invest in buildings and other improvements, and his herd could roam over the public domain under conditions favorable to the production of the greatest quantity of beef at the smallest possible cost.
The growing of beef on the plains has greatly helped, and will continue to help, millions of consumers in this country and Europe. Of the earnings of the better paid classes of workmen, one-half go for the single item of food, and a few cents taken off from a pound of beef is equivalent to an advance in wages. Self-interest would demand that the masses of consumers everywhere should give their influence for the promotion of the permanent welfare of the western cattle business, as far as that can be done with justice to other interests. The efforts of the stockmen before congress have thus far failed, the question they have raised being so little understood. They will fail until the multitudes whose interests are so closely bound with those of the cattlemen and farmers of the arid regions of the west shall have awakened to the important bearing this question has on the personal welfare of every consumer in the land. Both classes should demand, as the cattle men are now demanding, the taxation of land values.
J. W. Sullivan.
A Veteran In The Cause
An Old Disciple of George Evans Urges on the Fight
Worcester, Mass.—I am now in my seventy-fifth year of life, and cannot do much for a cause in which my feeble tongue and pen have done what they could for half a century. More than forty years ago my tracts were printed in Young America, the land reform organ of George Evans. I tried to have the state of Wisconsin prohibit the sale of land for taxes and have the counties retain it and lease it, and so make the land pay the county expenses, but the people were not educated up to that point, and I found myself “kicking against the pricks.” Go on with your noble work.
Slavery is a logical deduction from principles generally accepted. Once admit that I have a right to seek profit from my neighbor's privations and calamities; that I have a right to consume in idleness the products or earning of half a dozen workingmen, if my income will justify the outlay; that it is better to live indolently on others' earnings than industriously from the proceeds of my own—and the rightfulness of slavery is a logical deduction, as that two and two make four.
A Good Reason for Completing Them
There ought to be no hesitancy on the part of the legislature in passing the necessary appropriations for completing Riverside, Morningside, Mt. Morris and East River parks. These improvements 'will cost about $1,500,000, but will add three times that amount to the taxable value of the adjoining real estate.
A Thousand Millions
What The Growth Of Population Has Given To New York Landlords
The Boom in Real Estate—The City's Growth—An Old Man's Recollections Cover the Whole Period of Rapid Increase—City and Rural Real Estate
The daily papers babble of “activity in real estate,” and they have formulated a jargon in which they speak of “healthy” and “conservative” movements, commend the wisdom of certain rushes to secure ground likely to be needed before long for building operations, and attempt to discriminate between “speculation” and “investment” in the purchase of ground in anticipation of a demand by others for its use. Such writers assure us that the history of the rise of land values in New York fully justices confidence in the safety of real estate investments.
However little there may be to rejoice over in this fact, it is certainly true that the past history of New York demonstrates that there has been an enormous, and, on the whole, steady, increase in the value of the privilege of possessing the surface of this island and taxing others for its use. It is likewise manifest that the increase in the value of this privilege has been due to the activity and enterprise of the whole people of New York and to that rapid growth of population which has been stimulated by the city's peerless geographical position.
New York's supremacy among American cities is of but recent date. From a population of 1,000 in 1656 it was 104 years in crossing the 100,000 line, when the census of 1820 gave it a population of 123,700. At that time it was still second to Philadelphia in importance and population; thenceforward its growth was such that sixty years later its population was l,206,500. Nor do these figures convey any adequate idea of the concentration of population here. In 1620 Brooklyn was a straggling town, with a population of 7,175, Newark had but 6,507 people, and Jersey city, Hoboken, Long Island City, and numerous populous towns now practically a part of the metropolis, were then unknown. Elizabeth, Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange. Paterson and Plainfield, in New Jersey, had in 1880 an aggregate population of 405,742. Brooklyn, Flushing, Jamaica, Long Island City, New Lots (since incorporated with Brooklyn), Oyster bay, Hempstead, Brook Haven and Yonkershad, according to the same census, a population of 683,814. Adding these to the population of New York we have 2,206,146, and if we were to add the population within the same area not included in incorporated towns we should have a population of nearly two and a half millions occupying a territory that sixty years ago did not contain a quarter of a million people. Manhattan island has been the center of this enormous growth, and it has therefore felt the pressure for space as it has been felt now here else. The value of land monopoly here has thus necessarily advanced with wonderful rapidity and steaminess, and has kept pace with the greatly accelerated growth of population during the thirty-seven years since 1850.
How closely this increase in land values has kept pace with the growth in population was brought out very clearly by the testimony of Edward H. Luillow before the United States senate committee on education and labor in 1883. Mr. Ludlow (since deceased) was the most prominent real estate broker in the city. He was born here in 1810, and went into the real estate business in 1836,and had been engaged in it continuously for nearly half a century at the time he gave his testimony. He remembered, as a boy, when there were very few houses in New York north of Canal street (about midway between Union square and the Battery). He know of buildings in Broadway that could at that time have been bought for $10,000, which have since been altered into stores at a cost of from $5,000 to $7,000. and that would have been cheap at $100,000 in 1883.
Assuming that the buildings depreciated in value only to the extent of the money spent for their alteration, we have here a clear case of an addition of $90,000 to the price of a comparatively small piece of property merely through that pressure for space caused by an increase of population from about two hundred thousand in 1830 to six times that number in 1880.
But this was a very moderate increase. Mr. Ludlow testified that in 1843 or l844 he had bought lots in Fifty-ninth street at the south end of Central park, for $80 each which were in 1883 worth from $7.000 to $8,000 apiece. This seemed to surprise the committee, and Senator George of Mississippi asked the witness if he meant merely the lots, to which Mr. Ludlow answered, “Yes, the naked lots.”
Mr. Ludlow stated that in 1836 he had sold about thirty acres up in Harlem, belonging to his grandfather's estate, for $50,000. That very land at the time he testified was worth from $3,000 to $5,000 a lot, which, as there are about twelve lots to the acre. makes its value considerably over a million dollars, or more than thirty times its price forty-seven years before.
The witness gave much similar testimony, going to show the enormous increase in the land values in and near New York, and incidentally demonstrated how little this increase affected remote rural districts. He said:
I bought twenty years ago, for some of my customers, lots on Seventy-seventh street and Central park, when it was settled that the park should be made there, paying a little under $40,000 for six lots, . . . For these lots I have been offered within a month $300,000, provided I would take l,000 acres of land in Orange county in this state, one of our most beautiful counties. . . . This land is well cultivated and has fine buildings upon it, and is held at $100,000 was offered $300,000 in money and that elegant place for these lots, which cost less than $49,000 twenty years ago, and the offer was declined. That will give you some idea or the rise in the value of property in New York within the past twenty or thirty years.
Mr. Ludlow declined to hazard a guess as to the present value of the island of Manhattan. He thought, however, that $50,000,000 would have been a good price paid for it in 1825. If that be so, $50,000,000 would at that time have bought the whole territory now covered by the city. In 1825 the population was 166,086. In 1886 it was probably a million and a half, with a suburban population nearly as great surrounding it. The assessed value of land and buildings in New York city was then $1,203,941,005. This is supposed to be about 50 per cent of the selling value, and taking the city as a whole, it is probable that the houses are assessed as of a value nearly equal to that of the land. If this be true (and the estimate is moderate) the growth in population and business of this metropolitan district has incidentally created in sixty years, within this city, values to the extent of a thousand millions of dollars, which have been appropriated by a comparatively few private individuals.
It was not the men who appropriated the increased value of property in the neighborhood of Central park who gave that beautiful pleasure ground to the people. It was not the men who enjoyed the benefits of the equally enormous increase of values in Harlem who gave to the people of that district paved streets, public lights, police protection and the other benefits of city life. The producing people, whose eager hunt for homes gave this value to the possession of Harlem property, have not only paid the landlord for the privilege of living there, but the taxes paid for the improvements there have all been shunted off on their shoulders.
What is true of New York is true of all the surrounding region. For all of the conveniences that have made these populous suburbs fit for the residence of a dense population, the inhabitants have paid year by year. The land lords, who have reaped the benefit of the increased values, have not even borne a sufficient share of the cost of improvement to save the people from running into debt. In 1880 the debt of New York city was $109,425,414, while that of the neighboring municipalities in New Jersey and in this state was $74,023,133, making a total of $184,353,547, on which this population must pay an interest of $10,000,000 a year in addition to the expenses of maintaining government.
The people on whom this burden falls are beginning to see the cause of the evils of which they complain. They begin to see why it is that with nearly half of this island still vacant, more than a million of people, who otherwise would have lived upon it, have been crowded into the surrounding country, while those residing here are packed into narrow quarters for which they must pay enormous rent. The men who profit by this system, and those who hope to profit by it in the future, have been quick to take the alarm and to denounce as dishonest and revolutionary the suggestion that those who have appropriated to themselves more than a thousand millions of dollars created through the growth of population here shall bear all of the expenses of government. They appeal to the cupidity and ignorance of the rural districts for aid in preserving their profitable monopoly, and perhaps they fail themselves to see that these districts will be benefited and not injured by a system of taxation that shall lay a just share of the burden of the cost of government on those few building lots on Fifth avenue in this city, which are held by their owners as of more than three times the value of a thousand acres of improved land in the very garden of New York state. “When the people in the city become educated to a comprehension of the proposed change, when the merchant and the manufacturer come to see that the taxation of land values will be to their benefit as well as to that of the workingmen, then the rural communities will likewise demand relief from the burden of landlordism, and comprehend that all who work, whether in store or shop, in factory or on farm, have a common interest in compelling those who have thus far appropriated all of the benefits of the growth of population to bear their proper share of the cost of government.
William T. Croasdale.
Among the Cowboys
Silver City, N. M.. March 4.—I have read for the second time “Progress and Poverty” and also “Social Problems,” and I am more than a convert to the theories enunciated in those hooks. I have been a free trade republican, if one can reconcile that paradox; but, with the proper candidate, I will vote the labor ticket. And there are many of the free and energetic spirits of the west who share my sentiments. Already this section of the country is being monopolized by large cattle companies, who buy up or squeeze out the small fry and hire men at reduced wages. Cowboys last year got from $35 to $40 a month. Now they get from $30 to $35, and the reduction m the price of living does not keep pace with the reduction of wages.
James S. Carter.
Woodlawn Park, Ill., March 10.—When a boy I used to listen with bated breath to stories of the cruelty, tapacity and ruffianism of the slave traders of the south. The name of slave trader was synonymous, in my mind, with all that was wicked and vicious. And in after years, when I marched at my country's call to aid in putting down a slave holders' rebellion, and the slave pens and anrtion marts of New Orleans were pointed out to me, I recall the feelings of horror which I experienced from their contemplation. But I congratulated myself that these things had been banished from this country forever. But have they been banished? Are we sure they did not let go to get a better hold? True, we do not call them by the same name and they have worn off some of the rough and uncouth outward characteristics. They are church members, influential and enterprising citizens, who give liberally to spread the gospel and convert the heathen. We call them real estate men, and their places real estate exchanges and land offices. If vote will scan the provisions of their “cutthroat” leases and sec how elaborately and carefully they have guarded against the possibility of a poor devil holding back anything which he may have earned in order to keep the wolf on the outside of his threshold, you will see how completely liberty of action is denied the poor tenant. Then when default is made in payment of the rent, see how mercilessly the provisions of the lease are enforced. It is not necessary to proceed as for the collection of any other form of indebtedness. The slave trader—I mean real estate man—can take summary action and turn the tenant out into the street, no matter how inclement the weather and no matter how sick or infirm maybe the condition of himself or his family. But I hear the objection that “the tenant cannot complain, because it is a part of the contract which he has signed.” He has signed away his homestead and exemption rights.” That is true, but what could he do? He had to, or go houseless. There was no alternative.
W. H. Van Ornum.
N. B. Dresser, editor of the Rock Springs (Wyo.) Independent, hails TheStandard as a worthy champion of the great cause of the resumption of the common right to land. He says:
“I have been a convert to the theory that land was intended for the use of all men and that a land tax is the only way this universal right to the use of land can be secured, ever since reading “Progress and Poverty;” and subsequent study has strengthened the belief that land monopoly is the primary cause of low wages—the cause of that keenness of competition among workmen which makes them accept the lowest living wages.”
C. Walter Manning, writing from Utica, N.Y., says he often hears, in traveling through the country, workingmen denounced for striking against “their employers,” though few censure the concerted strikes of capital against labor. But both, he thinks, “are at fault. On the one side the laborer stops work to force his employer to give better wages, so that he may get the necessaries, if not the comforts, of life. On the other side, the manufacturer tries to secure a profit on his capital invested. Both are anxious to better their conditions, while the tendency of rent is to absorb all their joint produce, save enough to induce labor and capital to continue producing. The solution of the problem. Mr. Manning thinks, is pointed out by TheStandard—lifting all taxation from production and placing it on land values, which values are made by the growth of population, and of right should go for public uses.
Have Rights, but Musn't Exercise Them
The ponds of Massachusetts are free to the people. They may fish in them according to law; and yet the people do not take any fish from the ponds because the land around them is owned by individuals. Of course no one has the right to trespass on private property to reach the public domain in the shape of water. Our “equitable” code of laws provides no remedy for this. The only means open to secure the inalienable right thus denied the people would seem to be that every family should have a balloon, so that they might catch fish without interfering with the vested rights of landlords, or else—
Farmers Falling In
The Farmers' Alliance Of Texas Begins To See The Light
A Letter From Secretary Perego—Why is It That, in Spite of Virgin Soil and Favored Climate, Distress Should be So Prevalent?—Success to “the Standard ”
Wichita Falls, Tex., March 5.—Long live TheStandard. May the doctrine of “land and labor,” which it boldly preaches, be taught in every home throughout the land. The tocsin of sympathy for suffering humanity sounded in the metropolis of the United States is vibrating from heart to heart and its echoes are becoming louder and louder. The time has come v/hen the sons and daughters of toil are not afraid to stand up and boldly claim possession of their birthrights. I think this portion of the country is now in a condition to receive the teachings of “land and labor” principles. Being in a destitute condition people naturally inquire and try to make out the cause of their troubles. They ask why is it that living in a country with a virgin soil yielding sometimes a hundred fold, and stock of all kinds living upon the spontaneous productions which naturally grow in such a favored climate—why is it that, in it withstanding the bounties of mother earth, one season of blighted crops finds forty thousand people in a few counties suffering almost the horrors of famine? I find a large majority of the people here ignorant of the true cause. They crowd and push in the old treadmill fashion. It cannot be said they truly live; they only exist, and a miserable existence it is. “A happy home”—alas, ho w many have only a place to stay for the time being!
The Farmers' alliance and Knights of Labor are doing a great deal of good in this state, but we need lecturers here to teach the people the true cause of their hardships. I shall endeavor to do what I can. but cannot do much, for circumstances have placed me on the roll of poverty with a large family.
May the good work go on. I am satisfied that “Progress and Poverty” will revolutionize the world; the ideas taught therein cannot be covered upby all the combined wealth of nations. The train has started with a full head of steam and oppressors will have to stop off the track or be crushed—no stopping now or switching off until we arrive at our destination.
E. J. Perego,
Sec. Farmers' Alliance.
The Movement In Canada
Progress in Reform—The Secret Ballot Demanded—Driven to the Polls Like Sheep
Special to the Standard .
Montreal, March 6.—Organized labor is making steady progress inMontreal. We have now what we never had before—a newspaper devoted to our interests. This paper is doing a good work Our greatest enemy is the French Canadian Catholic clergy, the English speaking priests of that denomination taking no active part in the crusade against the knights. Whatever little differences may have arisen out of the late political campaign are now forgotten, and all are going to work with a will to strengthen the organization for the next contest. The decision of the court in some labor cases in our favor has given new heart to the movement. We are determined not to stop until we have completely changed the city laws, some of which are a disgrace to a civilized country.
The chief reforms proposed are: Abolition of the property qualification for the office of alderman, to hold which $2,000 worth of real estate is now required, the payment of water taxes by the land lords, and a ballot vote for mayor and aldermen. The latter is the worst abuse of all. Any employer can now compel his employees to vote as he likes. During the late mayoralty election the employees of the Grand Trunk railway and Canadian Pacific were openly driven to the polls and compelled to vote for the candidates of their respective corporations, the issue at stake being which of these great corporations should control the municipal chair during the ensuing year.
TheStandard is doing good work here, and a great many people who probably never gave it a thought before are now talking of the land question.
C. W. Gokman.
How the Landlords are Asserting the Right to the Use of the Earth
A body of constabulary of over one hundred men were called into readiness to accompany and protect Captain Hamilton and his dozen of emergency men in their exterminating campaign. Their attentions were first paid to John O'Neill, a blacksmith, who occupied a cabin and worked a forge about half a mile from the village. The cottage was strongly barricaded, and a couple of harrows embedded in the ground constituted an apparently impregnable fortification for the doorway. O'Neill was stoutly sustaining the siege, with his head out of a loft window, shouting defiance at his foes, who were plying their pickaxes to force an entrance. The people pressed round the scene and the constabulary forced them back. A very serious encounter might have taken place between the people and the police, but for the interference of Rev. Dr. Dillon, Father O'Neill, P. P., and Father O'Donnell, who came up at the moment. The reverend gentlemen exerted their influence on the people with wonderful effect, and Rev. Dr. Dillon came to an understanding with Major Hutchinson, who acted, as well as the officers in command of the police, in a very gentlemanly and moderate way.
Major Hutchinson withdrew his men to a distance, and the priests undertook to restrain the people. This stipulation was carried out by them, and by their untiring energy and presence of mind they prevented any serious disorder. After a long struggle the door was burst open, and O'Neill and his weeping wife and five children were put out onthe road side, and their little bits of furniture, bedding and food, as well as a few liens that lived under the same roof as the family, were thrown out after them.
A storm of execration and hooting at Captain Hamilton and the emergency men arose from the people, and though the latter were perfectly indifferent to the abuse of the crowd, Captain Hamilton appeared ill at ease under the cross lire of uncomplimentary epithets and galling references to his public career which were flung at his head from all quarters. He took notes of remarks made by Dr. Dillon about him, and the reverend gentleman called out that the captain was going to prosecute him for libel—a sally which provoked great merriment.
O'Neill's forge having been dismantled, the crowbar brigade proceeded to the village to evict William Johns and his family'. After some parleying, during which Father Forrelly of Arklow objected to the writ as being illegal, and held that the eviction could only be carried out by the sheriff or some properly appointed deputy, the agent announced that if the formality of opening the door was gone through he would not evict the family. This offer was scornfully rejected, as the people would have no surrender of any kind, so Capt. Hamilton ordered his men to smash the door off the hinges. Having gone through this “formality” and rendered the dwelling almost useless as a place of shelter, he magnanimously announced that he would allow the family to remain in possession. Undeterred by the barren results achieved in this case. he next proceeded to eject and their tenant named William Ford. This man stated solemnly that he owed no rent whatever, that the claim against him was owing to a mistake on the part of the bailiff, Freeman. The place was very strongly barricaded. Several large iron gates were placed behind the door, and fastened with iron wire. But the crowning effort of obstruction was a donkey yoked to a cart which hail been brought into the house. The greatest amusement was caused by the futile efforts of the emergency men to remove this obstacle. and many were the satirical comparison between the unoffending animal and Mr. Hamilton's regiment. With the greatest difficulty the cart was taken away, and the donkey was quietly hast led out by the back way, to the disappointment of the people, who were awaiting his advent as the denouement of the farce.
Notwithstanding the heartless nature of the evictions, the people were restrained from any acts of violence by the salutary ad vice of the priest, though at one time it looked as if some unpleasant business would have arisen. There was another family to be evicted, but Capt. Hamilton, judging no don't that his objects would not be promoted by any more proceedings of the same nature, quietly dropped the eviction, and went away with his escort of constabulary.
A Call for a Campaign of Instruction
Correspondence Providence People.
What if the organized workingmen of Rhoda Island had devoted as much money to carrying on here a campaign of popular instruction in respect to the connection of land, exchange, money, with the settlement of the labor question as they have already expended on the Westerly strike? Suppose they had invited and liberally compensated such men as George W. Julian, Henry George, David A. Wells, James B. Weaver to come here and speak nightly; suppose the cream of the best literature on these vital themes had been scattered with unsparing hand everywhere throughout the state! Not only would this strike have been settled before now, but the attention of the nation would have been fixed upon Rhode Island and the agitation being carried on there, and a knowledge would have been imparted and a spirit awakened which would have gone far to make such strikes hereafter alike unnecessary and impossible. What childishness in the recognition and use of resources! With a battery of hundred ton rifled guns in their possession, with which they could have sent 1,800 pounds steel shot crashing through and through the bulk of their enemy, working men of course, for want of knowledge as are the bases of their contention elected, instead. to beat the tom-tom and tire paper pellet against the wind with a popgun!
Good Advice From a Man of Science
W. Mathieu Williams in The Gentleman's Magazine.
Everybody should distinctly recognize the headmark of a charlatan. whether in medical or any other branch of science. It is simple enough. Science is knowledge, and the function of scientific language is to communicate knowledge. Therefore any man who, pretending to science, willfully uses language which mystifies instead of enlightening his hearers is a charlatan, an impostor. The use of technical terms may be necessary and their free use among experts who understand them is very advantageous, but in addressing people who do not understand them, and are known not to understand, it is a farce to use them at all without adequate explanation.
Everybody should know that medical charlatanism is not limited to the vendors of advertised quack medicines. If patients or their friends were to insist upon demanding of their medical attendant an intelligible explanation of every technical term he uses in speaking to them, the charlatanic practice of making professional capital by willful pedantic mystification would be effectively checked. Whoever pays a fee for medical information and advice has a right to demand that the terms in which such information and advice are given shall be intelligible.
Omaha Real Estate
There are many who see in Omaha's real estate boom only unmixed good; who count the increase in population as eagerly as if the happiness of people was to be told by counting heads. The larger a city becomes the fiercer becomes the struggle for the strategic points and the narrower the homes of the poor forced by the monopoly of land to herd together within its walls. We con fess we fail to see the sense of an Omaha workingman worrying about the progress of St. Paul, and watching the clearance reports and the percentage of sales, unless it be a matter of pure curiosity, as he would watch a cock fight. Our country has developed at a wonderful speed for twenty-five years, with the only result of making millionaires and tramps, and of making it harder than ever for the man who must begin with his hands alone. Can we not realize to what end this must come?
Spiders and Flies
Burlington, Iowa, Justice.
Fort Madison continues to enjoy her boom and we hope she is happy. Burlington has had the same disease years ago, got over it, had a relapse and again recovered. The malady need not necessarily be fatal, although as a rule, when you look a little deeper by coming down to details, you find that a few wary spiders have grown fat at the expense of quite a multitude of Hies. Fort Madison contains many people who have no corner lots nor other real estate to sell, and many more who have no money to buy any, but they are all as hilarious over Fort Madison's future greatness as the best of them. Although the disease has broken out in that pretty city in the shape of an epidemic, there is still some hope that those of its citizens who cannot be spiders may not all share the fate of the flies.
Who Pay Our Taxes?
New York Times Editorial, 1880.
The common expression, “tax payers,” used to denote the property owners who have to visit the tax collector's office, is deceptive. Let it be distinctly understood that every body not supported at the public cost is a tax payer. His circumstances and his grade as to wealth do not affect the case. Everybody pays taxes according to his consumption and does so every time he pays for any purchasable thing. The importer of merchandise does not pay the duties. They fall on all who use the goods finally. No more does the property owner pay all the taxes laid on him. All beyond his own share he distributes to others. Legislation might, perhaps, be freed from much error if this one fundamental economic truth could be printed in large characters and hung about the neck of every legislator in the land: The consumer pays all taxes.
Prayer of a Suicide
Lloyd's Newspaper of March 6 contains a paragraph relating to the suicide of William Sterling Jackson, aged fifty-one, a soap-maker, who had tried in vain to get employment, and when he had exhausted his means, took poison. After his death a letter was found on his person, which read as follows: “Almighty Father, Thou who knowest the privations they have endured, help, I implore Thee, help my poor unfortunate sisters. Alleviate their sufferings and console them in their distress; and, as Thou judgest, I humbly pray Thee to deal mercifully with me—a miserable, despairing suicide. Jesus, receive my erring soul.”
Forcing The Railroad Deal
The insuperable difficulties experienced by the Baltimore and Ohio railroad in getting into New York illustrate the blighting effect on industry of private ownership of land—its diminution of opportunities to work and consequent pressure on wages; its interference with the free operation of capital, and its tendency to create monopolies in commerce.
The New Jersey river front is privately owned. The river is free, but no one can get to it without permission from the owners of the shore. the owners of the shore are cerium railroad companies, none of which would allow the Baltimore and Ohio access to the water's edge. In this situation the metropolis was denied the advantage of another highway to the west and south, the people of the west and south were deprived of a competitive line to New York, the enterprise of the Baltimore and Ohio people met a rebuff, and labor was shut out from a large prospective Held of employment. But worse was vet to come. the Baltimore and Ohio company, hopeless of effecting an entrance into Now York for an independent line of road, was forced into a combination with one of the companies that owned a strip of the river front, and now, instead of another competing line, we have a stronger pool.
What the ownership of the Jersey river front has accomplished against the Baltimore and Ohio railroad company, land ownership accomplishes, in greater or less degree, against all legitimate enterprise. It stands like a giant on the highway of progress, suffering none to pass without paying its price. It lays toll upon capital and a burden on labor, driving the one to bankruptcy and the other to despair, and by closing up natural opportunities centralizes commercial power and profit in the hands of the few.
Farmers See The Light
The people who imagine that the farmers of the United States will construe the proposition to put all taxes on land values as a proposition to put all taxes on them, may profit by reading the letter in another column from the secretary of the Farmers' alliance of Texas, a society that numbers fully one hundred thousand members.
The truth is that the proposition to put all taxes on land values, instead of being a proposition to specially tax farmers is a proposition to relieve them from taxation.
No class of workingmen suffer more from the present system than do the working farmers. The value of their land is in most cases a very small proportion of the values on which they are taxed. Everything they buy comes to them burdened with a tax. The market for their products is limited by a tax. If they drain and fence their land they are taxed. If they remove slumps and make barren soil productive they are taxed. If they build barns and out houses they are taxed. If they improve their homes they are taxed. If they increase their stock or multiply their produce they are taxed. The assessor and custom house officer are always, metaphorically, at their heels. But the unearned increment of their land accumulation slowly, and when, after a long struggle, they pay for their farms, the value of the land is not much, if any, greater than it was when they bought. From land values, there fore, they derive little or no advantage, and on the values their labor produces and the things they consume they are mercilessly taxed.
If all taxes were laid on land values, this would not be so. The farmer would have a free market for his products. The things he bought would come to him freed from taxes. If he fenced, or drained, or built, if he increased his crops or added to his stock, his taxes would not grow. The value of his land being the sole basis for his taxes, they would remain stationary or decline until increasing population gave greater value to his land.
Working farmers have only to understand the land value tax to favor it.
Prisoners Of Poverty
For months past the Tribune has been devoting itself, in an easy-going amateurish sort of way, to the consideration of the lot of the 200,000 or more of women slaves whose presence in this city is a practical commentary on the nineteenth century gospel of Things as They Are. Mrs. Helen Campbell, special commissioner of the Tribune, has gone among these women, seen with her own eves how they live and toil, hoard with her own ears the pitiful story of their oppressions, and faithfully reported in the columns of the Tribune, week by week, what she has seen and heard. With grim irony these report have appeared each Sunday—the day we render thanks to God for the manifold temporal blessings we enjoy, when we listen to the story of His love for all selves miserable sinners, beseech Him to have mercy upon all prisoners and captives.
Well, the Tribune's quest is ended. The vail has been lifted for a space, and now it falls again while the lecturer delivers a few closing remarks. The Tribune has shown us women—not one or two, or scores or thousands, but women by the hundred thousand—degraded, not into caricatures of humanity, but into caricatures of beasts. We have seen them toiling as no brute beast toils. Housed and fed like rats in sewers, unsexed to a degree that makes immodesty itself blush for very shame, hopelessly, degradedly, despairingly contented in life, and passing through the gate of death to pollute by their eternal presence, if theology be true, even the pollution of hell itself. All this the Tribune has shown us; and now on its editorial page it calmly closes its exhibition with these thoughtful words:
The problems which underlie the misery, injustice, oppression, inequality, revealed in these papers are as old as civilization for the most part, and it has not hitherto been permitted to the wisest statesmen, the most experienced publicists, the clearest-minded business men or the most earnest philanthropists, to find any means of relieving society from such evil and suffering. Ignorance and backwardness on the side of the sufferers quite as much as greed and indifference on the part of the world at large are accountable for the persistence of much of this wretchedness, and it has long been apparent that a gradual and even tedious process of development in knowledge is the only way out of the slough of despond for a considerable proportion of the lowest grade in modem communities.
If it be true that for these awful social problems there is no solution; if it be true that for this groat and steadily increasing throng of wretched women there is nothing in prospect but unutterable misery on earth. and eternal torture hereafter, then the Crucifixion was a mockery and the Sermon on the Mount a heartless lie.
But it is not true.
What It Meant
What did it mean? A little piece of ground, twenty-five feet by one hundred, was sold at auction this week for three hundred and fifty-six thousand and two hundred dollars—or at the rate of four and a half million dollars an acre. About two hundred and fifty years ago the entire tract of land, of which this little piece is one-one hundred and fifty thousandth part, was bought for twenty-four dollars. Worth a paltry fraction of a mill then, this single lot sells now for very much more than a quarter million dollars. What can it mean?
Perhaps generation by generation the ancestral perspiration of its recent owners has enriched the soil and made of it a storehouse of accumulated wealth. But no; this piece of ground known as 137 Broadway, New York, is what it was when the Indians pitched their tents en it, save a building of comparatively little value which the recent buyers will soon tear down. And for many years past the only sweat with which its owners have fertilized the lot has been that of the rent collector. What, then, does it mean, this vast increase of value? It means precisely what the Herald says it means, that “the amount of land in New York city is limited and the people are fast finding it out!”
When Manhattan island was bought of the Indians for $24 there were so few people and so much land here that a man could have a farm for the asking, just as he can now in the interior of Africa. If anyone had particularly wanted No. 137 Broadway it would have cost him nothing, because there was no one to bid against him. But now, with a million and a half of people living here, and the trade of the country centering here, there are peculiar advantages in being able, under the protecting shadow of the law, to say of No, 137 Broadway, “This particular part of the earth is mine!” These advantages are so apparent that men would come from the uttermost parts of the globe to bid for them, if that were necessary to keep the price up to the value. A title deed to that lot is a perpetual patent to levy taxes on the produce of the country to the amount of several thousand dollars a year. Who would not bid high for a privilege like that? It is bidding for a perpetual and increasing pension, which may be assigned and inherited.
Land is limited in New York, as the Herald says; but not more limited than it was two hundred and fifty years ago. The acreage is still the same. But there are more people who want to use it, and that is the reason it has greater value. And as population grows and wealth increases, it will have greater value still, not on account of anything the owners do, but because so many people will want to use it and bid against each other for the privilege. That this truth is generally recognized is proved by the great area of Manhattan island, that, though vacant, is held at a high price. Men would not pay for vacant lots and keep them vacant, deriving no income from the investment, if they were not confident that in the future the demand for those lots would be so much greater that they could get a larger price than they paid and time recoup their loss of income, or get a perpetual income that would pay them well for waiting. That their confidence is well founded is made apparent by Mr. Croasdale's article in another column.
And now will any one tell why this great increase of value, produced solely by social growth, should enrich individual owners? No serious attempt to do so has yet been made. No successful attempt can be made.
A committee of dealers in lumber and other building materials has recently been in Albany asking for the passage of an amendment to the New York city consolidation act requiring that one pier in each quarter of a mile of water fronts be set aside by the department of docks for general public use. The board of trade and transportation, at its meeting last week, that the leases of piers should be so restricted that “an adequate system for covered public wharves, to be used by no exclusive trade, should be fostered and secured for the general commerce of the city.”
All this means that the contractors in building trade supplies want the wharfage room that other business men have leased under competition from the city. They are seeking to apply for their own benefit a principle that would be denounced as communistic if the working classes endeavored to avail themselves of it. They ask the state to extend to them special privileges at the water fronts on the ground that it is required “by the best interests of the commerce of New York.” Suppose the working people, more modest than these business men, who are asking for what is already occupied by others, were to ask that the unoccupied land of New York city should be put into the possession of the state, and then, instead of being leased to the highest bidder as the docks are, should be so leased as to give the working classes first choice, on the ground that the best interests of the state are conserved in the encouragement of labor? Would the board of trade and transportation see its way to passing resolutions approving of the plan? It is not likely. Yet the unusual facilities petitioned for by the dealers who are backed by the board of trade would only result in the financial betterment of a comparatively few business men, while the land is life itself to the people. Why should the state concern itself especially with the building trade? If the men in it cannot afford to lease piers, they are only in the same position as many thousands of poor people who have no means with which to acquire landed property. The state hasalready extended great advantages to these dealers, as it has to all who use the city's piers, for it permits them to rent pier room of the city. If the water front were private property, they would have to buy piers, lease them from rack-rent landlords, or go out of business. Workingmen face a similar problem in being deprived of their natural rights in land, and a large majority are consequently not in business for themselves.
Bourke Cochran, in an argument in behalf of the Tam many bills to compel railroad companies to surrender to the state all earnings above ten per cent on the capital actually invested, is reported to have said:
You saw 70,000 men east their votes for Henry George last fall in support of a platform that I doubt few of these voters upheld. Why did they support George? It was because they were groaning under burdens inflicted by the state's neglect to protect them. You cannot subdue such discontent with police and bayonets. With one-third of your voters discontented, your present government cannot last unless you redress their grievances. This discontent is right. Your legislation has created enormous corporations and enormously rich men. You have given some men great power to oppress and rob their fellow creatures. That has never happened in the world's history without such men robbing their fellow creatures.
Mr. Cochran assumes that the New York workingmen do not understand their own platform, simply because he does not understand it himself. If he can induce some of those whose intelligence he thus insults to talk with him, they will quickly show him how foolish he is in declaring that if the reduction of hours on street railroads would give employment to 9,000 additional men, this would solve the labor problem. Mr. Cochran has as little conception of the magnitude of the labor problem as he has of the only remedy for the evils he portrays in such vigorous language. However, he is a comparatively young man yet, and may learn.
Senator Reilly has a bill before the senate of this state which, if by any chance it should become a law and be impartially administered, will put an end to a great deal of corporate rascality. It limits the profit of corporations which enjoy a public franchise to ten per cent on the cash actually invested, and require any surplus to be paid into the treasury. The true way of dealing with such corporations is to recognize the obvious distinction between a public service and a private business. A public service should be managed by public officials without profit as the post office is managed; and a private business should be conducted by individuals without any legal limitations of profit. But until such distinctions are clearly recognized, measures like that of Senator Reilly are worthy of approval by democratic sentiment.
We commend to the journals and individuals who have been working themselves up over the sin and crime of boycotting the following extract from the Boston Gazette and Country Gentleman of March 12, 1770. From this they may see that whatever else is to be said about boycotting, it is at least not un-American. The truth is that it was James Redpath, who had long lived in Boston, who, when visiting Ireland as correspondent of the New York Tribune, suggested this “Yankee notion” to the Irish, and proposed, as a tribute to Capt. Boycott, the name which has since been imported here. It is the name, not the thing, that has been imported.
The Evening Post will further observe that its bete noir, the “walking delegate,” also flourished among our revolutionary sires, though then called the “committeeman of inspection.”
But here is the boycotting notice of 1770:
At a Meeting of the Freeholders and otherInhabitants of the Town of Roxbury, legally assembled, on Monday the 5th Day of March, 1770, the Inhabitants taking into Consideration a Clausein the Warrant for calling said Meeting, viz. And to know the Minds of the Town, whether they will do any Thing to strengthen the hands of the Merchants in their Non-importation Agreement.
Voted, That Capt. William Heath, Col. Joseph Williams, Mr. Eleazer Weld, Capt. Joseph Mayo, and Doctor Thomas Williams, be a Committee to take this Matter into Consideration, and report to the Town what they shall think proper to be done thereon. The Meeting was then adjourned to the 8th Instant, Two o'clock Afternoon; at which Tune the Inhabitants being again assembled, the Committee made the following Report viz.:
Whereas the Merchants and Traders of the Town of Boston, and almost all the Maritime Towns on the Continent, from a principle [text missing] of their own private Interests, have entered into an Agreement not to import British Goods (a few necessary Articles excepted) until the Act of Parliament imposing certain Duties on Tea, Glass, Paper, Painters Colours, Oyl, etc., for the express Purpose of raising a Revenue in America, be repealed; which Agreement, if strictly adhered to, will not fail to produce the most salutary Effects. Therefore,
Voted, That the Inhabitants of this Town do highly applaud the Conduct and Resolution to said Merchants and Traders; And we do take this Opportunity to express our warmest Gratitude to said Merchants, for the spirited Measures which they have taken. And we do hereby declare, that we will, to the utmost of our power, aid and assist said Merchants, in every constitutional Way, to render said Agreement effectual.
Voted, That we do with the utmost Abhorrence and Detestation, view the little, mean and sordid Conduct of a few Traders in this Province, who have and still do import British Goods contrary to said agreement, and have thereby discovered that they are governed by a selfish Spirit, and are regardless of, and deaf to the Miseries and Calamities which threaten this people.
Voted, That whereas John Barnard, James McMusters, Patrick McMasters, John Mein, Nathaniel Rogers, William Jackson, Theophilus Litlie, John Taylor, and Anne & Elizabeth Cummings, all of Boston; Israel Williams Esq; &.Son of Hatfield; &, Henry Barnes of Marlboro', are of this number; and do Import contrary to said Agreement: We do hereby declare, that we will not buy the least Article of any of said persons ourselves, or suffer any acting for or under us, to buy of them; neither will we buy of those that shall buy or exchange any articles of Goods with them. Voted, That to the End the Generations which are yet unborn, may know who they were that laughed at the Distresses and Calamities of this people; and instead of striving to save their country when in imminent danger, did strive to render ineffectual a virtuous and commendable plan; the names of these importers shall be annually read at March Meeting.
Voted, That we will not make use of any Foreign Teas in our several families, until the Revenue Acts are repealed (case of sickness excepted).
Voted, That a Committee of Inspection be chosen to make Inquiry from Time to Time, how far these votes are complied with.
Voted, That a Copy of these. Votes be transmitted to the Committee of Inspection in the Town of Boston.
The bill introduced by Mr. Erwin to give the labor party an inspector on each election board in New York ought to be passed. If the labor party had had an inspector at each polling place in the last election it is extremely doubtful if Mr. Hewitt, despite of his large expenditure of money, and the fact that he had the support of the “ruin interest” and the criminal element, and the tramps and the dives, and the great army of city employees and paid “heelers,” would now be mayor of New York. The fatal weakness of the labor party was pointed out early in the campaign by Mr. “Fatty” Walsh, since made warden of the Tombs by Mayor Grace at ex-Mayor Coopers request. “What are them labor fellows thinking of? Do they expect to elect anybody when they have no inspectors of election?”
Mr. Chamberlain Ivins is doing a good work in showing up the systematic manner in which elections are bought and sold in this city. We are heartily in favor of the remedies he proposes—the adoption of the Australian method of voting, now in use in Great Britain, where it has worked the most beneficial results (among other things having made the Irish parliamentary contest possible). and the adoption of a law restricting expenditures in elections. Mr. Ivins is deserving of public gratitude for what he has done, and we are glad to learn that his articles on this subject, first published in the Evening Post, are to be reprinted by the Harpers in pamphlet form.
The railroad commission act of 1882 was the first blow struck successfully against the abuses and domination of railroad corporations in New York. After three years of exciting contest, when the railroads mustered all their forces, including an army of special raters scattered all over the state, who were given cheaper freights than their neighbors on condition that they resisted any legislation giving the state control of these gigantic corporations, the railroad commission not became a law. Cheated out of a majority of the commissioners, to which by all parliamentary rules they were entitled, yet the friends of the law secured one—Hon. John O'Donnell—through whose ability, energy and faithfulness the railroads have been held in check and many needed reforms initiated. Now more than ever are the services of such a man needed, for most important questions of general policy are pending, growing out of the interstate commerce law. But, without notice or consulting the public interest or the real friends of the law, a republican politician—James Arkell, who appears as a director in a railroad company, of which his son is vice-president—has been nominated by Governor Hill to take the place of John O'Donnell. Both political parties, in response to the demands of the people, pledged themselves during and before the last gubernatorial election that the railroad commission should be kept free from politics and continued a nonpartisan board. This was in response to the universal demand of the friends of the law, and yet it is now sought to change its character for party or corporation profit. This commission be longs to the people. They created it, pot the politicians. The attempt to link it to the fortunes of any political party or any railroad corporation is a blow struck at them. The republican majority in the senate, which has power to confirm or reject, must face the final responsibility in this last attempt of the railroad corporations of the state to capture the railroad commission or destroy its usefulness by making in a partisan machine.
The Sort of Argument They are Reduced to
Madison Lodge, Kas., Chief.
Henry George is gaining no new converts in the west to his land theory—that is forty years in advance of the age—by the fight he is making on the platform of the united labor party. It is already stated that Gould & Co. have been to see Mr. George—and “seen” him.
An Entertainment and Ball
The Eighteenth assembly district association of the united labor party will give an entertainment and ball at Clarendon hall, next Monday evening, March 21. The music will be rendered by the Carl Sahm club.
What the Albany “Times” Thinks
The minority report of the assembly committee on the coal handlers' strike makes a very handsome contrast with the gangrened effect of Mayor Hewitt's recent letter on [text missing].
The New Party Movement
Encouraging News from Iowa—Mr. McMackin's Tour—Notes
Chairman John McMackin has continued actively engaged in forming land and labor clubs in the cities and towns near the state capital. At Cohoes he found a Henry George club, with a membership of 400. At Green Island there was one of 30members. On last Saturday the Henry George club of Albany held a large and enthusiastic meeting at their rooms. A committee was appointed to go to New York to secure speakers for future meetings. Ward clubs will be formed. At Lansingburg and Waterford Mr. McMackin found the active labor element ripe for political action. Troy, with its many surrounding small towns, all of which are hives of industry affords a fine field for the hind and labor movement, and a meeting was held there on Monday night at which Mr. McMackin spoke.
The Twenty-fifth ward united labor party association of Brooklyn has reorganized and elected the following officers for the ensuing year: John F. Malone, president; Thomas Maaher, secretary; delegates to the general county committee, Robert Bushy, Alex. Ferris, Matthew Butler, Ralph Robb, George McCoy.
The St. Louis labor party has nominated candidates for the council and house of delegates. Its platform demands numerous reforms, among them being city ownership of street cars, the adoption of the eight-hour law and the prohibition of the employment of children. under fourteen years of age, the establishment of-free public baths, the prevention of the importation of Pinkertons and the abolition of the house of delegates. The land plank calls for “the taxing of unoccupied land and the non-taxing of improvements on property.”
The democracy of Chicago had, up to the time of the united labor party convention, hoped for fusion, and reckoned on the support, of the labor vote for Harrison. This hope was blasted by the resolution passed at the labor convention that none but members of labor organizations should be nominated. The Knights of Labor says that the democrats have given up the city ticket, but have hope of the town tickets.
On Tuesday a state labor convention was held at Lansing, Mich. It was got up on short notice and was attended by many greenbackers, with only a sprinkling of labor representatives. The Cincinnati platform was adopted. The program of the greenback state central committee was carried out. and the two greenback candidates for judgeships nominated. The labor element of the state is as yet not well organized for political work.
The united labor party has leaped into the second position in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at one bound, having polled 833votes at the election last week. The New Era says that morally and intellectually the new party stands far above its opponents, and that there was never a cleaner campaign carried on in the city. The first plank of its platform reads: “As a party we aim, among other things, at the restitution of the land to its rightful owners, the people, and the imposition of a tax on land values, irrespective of improvements.”
At Missouri City, Iowa, the Knights of Labor put a full ticket in the field for local offices and elected W. W. Seaton mayor and three councilmen out of five.
At Cedar Falls, Iowa, the united labor party elected William Morris mayor and three aldermen, having the old parties united against it.
The New Jersey Unionist' says that the friends of labor have no occasion for feeling discouraged over the result of the late elections in Orange, and Milburn. Republicans and democrats banded together to defeat the labor candidates, and money sent from Newark was freely used to bring about the result obtained.
On Monday of last week, at Marlboro, Mass., the Knights of Labor polled more than 500 votes on their local ticket.
The united labor party of Dubuque, Iowa, has put a ticket in the Held. Its main plank, referring to the land, is causing a lively discussion in the newspapers of the city. It is as follows: “We protest against allowing whole blocks and large areas within our city to be held for speculation without improvement or adequate taxation, thus limiting the possibility of homes for the people while the holders grow rich through the enterprise and labor of others. And we declare that no foot of land so held shall be exempt from taxation, but that the full increase of value, made by the community, should be drawn for the public use, so that it may be made unprofitable to hold an unused surplus of nature's gifts while a fellow man suffers from want of sufficiency.”
Rents in the Sandwich Islands
A visitor to a plantation in the Sandwich Islands thus describes it: “Here are 5,000 acres of choice land, 1,300 in sugar cane, in the middle of it a sugar mill with its tall chimney, the manager's house and several white cottages, giving quite a village like appearance. Off on one side is a small church, with a spire, built in missionary times. No longer needed. The natives, alas! are nearly all gone, and the Chinese have no use for it. Throughout these islands are many churches, but nearly all without worshipers.” He wishes that he possessed stock in the mill. which pays from fifty to sixty per cent on the investment of $175,000. Outside the mill the plantation employs 270 men at $23 a month, or $10 and board. The land in all the islands is in the possession of a few landlords, rents from $5 to $10 an acre, and is seldom owned by the planters, who, unless they have mill stock, can make but a living.
The Dr. McGlynn Case in Scotland
S. Bennett in Dumbarton (Scotland) Herald.
Dr. McGlynn's name has long been known to us in London as an eloquent champion of the Irish cause and also of the principle of land nationalization, and we foresaw some time ago, by the attitude assumed by his archbishop, that a storm of some kind was brewing. Now it has fairly burst, and Dr. McGlynn is not only uninjured, but has required a popularity which would make him, if he chose, independent of all the churches in Christendom. His enemies played their cards very badly all through the game, and what is worse, showed very bad temper, while he acted with great dignity, forbearance and consistency.
What Is Religion?
Is it to goto church today,
To look de v out and seem to pray,
And ere tomorrow's sun goes down
Be dealing slander through the town?
Does every sanctimonious face
Denote the certain reign of grace!
Does not a phiz that scowls at sin
Oft veil hypocrisy within?
Is it for sect and creed to fight,
To call our zeal the rule of right,
When what we wish is. at the best,
To see our church excel the rest?
Is it to wear the Christian dress,
And love to all mankind profess;
To treat with scorn the humble poor,.
And bar against them every door?
Oh, no! religion means not this;
Its fruit more fair and sweeter is—
Its precept this: To others do
As you would have them do to you.
First Picture—What Might Be
Tom Toiler has managed to save from his modest earnings the snug 1ittle sum of $2,500 and he determines to invest it in a little home to shelter him in his old age. So he goes to Mr. Gripp, a highly respectable and philanthropic gentleman, who has a corner on the real estate market and advertises desirable building lots forsale on the east side of town on the west side of town, and all over town.
Tom Toiler selects a lot in the “annexed district,” that being the cheapest he can find, and Mr. Gripp names his price, which is $2,000. Tom explains that he has only $2,500, and if he pays $2,000 for the lot he will have only $500 left to pay for building the house.
“Nothing easier,” says Mr. Gripp, “I will lend you what money you need on easy terms and payable at your own convenience and you can secure me by a mortgage on the property.”
Tom is rather profuse in his expression of thanks to the benevolent Mr. Gripp, and immediately employs Lawyer Grab to search title, etc. Mr. Gripp, being a credulous, easy going gentleman, makes it a point to always have Lawyer Gulf to look after his interests in all such transactions, lest unscrupulous parties should take advantage of him.
So Grab and Guff consult, interview, correspond, draft, amend and revise, until at last the deed is really for execution. Tom pays $2,000 to Mr. Gripp and receives the deed,regularly executed, red-taped, red-inked and wafered, and directs Smith the builder to erect a neat little house which will cost just $2,200.
In due time the house is finished, and Grab and Guff, who have, meantime, been consulting, interviewing, corresponding, drafting, amending, revising and red-taping, produce a very innocent looking piece of paper called a mortgage. Mr. Grab presents his bill for disbursements, searches, etc. (he is very particular about inserting the “etc”), and professional services, $300, which Tom thinks is rather high; but, being assured by Mr. Gripp that his (Mr. Gripp's) bill will be about that sum, pays it.
This leaves only $200 remaining out of the $2,500, so Tom is obliged to borrow $2,000 from Mr. Gripp to pay Smith the builder. And the last named amount is filled in in the mortgage. The builder is paid, Mr. Gripp gets his mortgage and Tom and his family move in. The interest on the mortgage at six per cent will be just $120 a year. which, as Mr. Gripp says, is only a mere trifle. Tom thinks so too, and expects to be able to pay it and the principal besides before the expiration of four years, the term for which the mortgage is to run.
But, bless Tom's simple heart; he has forgotten to take into account that ancient institution, the board of assessors. Scarcity is he sett led in his new house when that venerable argus eyed trinity rewards his enterprise by imposing a heavy line on him, to be paid in semi-annual installments, or in default thereof, his property will be sold.
Tom Toiler has a large family, for in days gone by he has had the irreverent temerity to ignore the teachings of Mr. Malthus, and now, what with taxes on what his family eat and wear and Mr. Gripp's little mortgage, and the board of assessors, he has a hard struggle. It is needless to say that the mortgage, the protective tariff, and the board of assessors win. Tom's house and lot are sold for unpaid taxes and are promptly bought in by Mr. Gripp. The last named gentleman, so lately the very soul of leniency, has now somehow become very urgent in his demands for payment of overdue interest and interest upon that. all of which poor Tom is unable to pay. At last the mortgage falls due. Mr. Gripp demands payment of principal and interest, and in default thereof instructs Lawyer Guff to institute foreclosure proceedings.
Torn consults Grab, who advises resistance, and thereupon the old legal farce of a foreclosure suit. even to the extent of having a referee appointed to take testimony and report, is gone through with. Judgment is entered, Tom's property is advertised and sold and is bought m by—Mr. Gripp. The proceeds are not enough to pay the expenses of the suit, referee's fees, back taxes. Mr. Gripp's little mortgage and interest and counsel fees, but Grab magnanimously offers to wait for a balance of $20 on his bill.
And so the play is ended. Mr. Gripp has the house and lot, the $2,000 and little pickings of interest, Grab and Guff have their fees and Tom Toiler has nothing.That is the old system.
Second Picture—What Might Be
Tom Toiler has saved $2,500 and wishes to provide a home for his family. He looks around, and having selected a suitable vacant lot in the “annexed district,” he makes inquiries and finds that it is owned by a fish dealer named Gripp. He asks Gripp: what he will sell it for, and Gripp, with the old gleam in his eye, says:
“Well, vacant lots up there used to sell for $2,000; but since they have taken taxes off everything else and taxed land to its full value, those lots have come down, and, seeing it's you, I'll let you have that lot for $1,000.”
“Are you paying taxes on $1,000 for that lot. Mr. Gripp?” asks Tom.
“Oh dear, no,” replies Gripp; “couldn't afford to, you know. Lot don't bring any income and I haven't been able to sell it. But if you really want that lot, Mr. Toiler, I'll let you have it for $500.”
“Well, on the whole,” says Torn, “I guess I'll hunt around up there and see if I can't find another lot that will suit me just as well. I understand there in so much vacant land there that most of those lots are free. I am surprised that you are willing to pay taxes on $500 for a piece of vacant ground that you don't want, to use and can't sell. I guess, however, before I go up and look at vacant lots I'll step over to the tax office and inquire what owners up there are paying taxes.”
“No, don't do that!” hastily exclaims Gripp. “The truth is I haven't been paying any taxes on that lot. It's returned as having no value, and if you told the as assessors that I was charging $500 for it they would assess me on that amount, and then if you didn't buy I would be in a fix, wouldn't I? No, Mr. Toiler, you go right ahead. The lot ain't worth anything to me, and if you want to use it take it.”
So Tom goes to Smith the builder and instructs him to build a house on this lot large enough to accommodate an anti-Malthusian family. Smith does so and renders his bill for $2,200, which Tom promptly pays and has yet to his credit in the bank a balance of $300. Tom Toiler and his family move in and take possession. There is nomortgage earning interest night and day now; there is no board of assessors yet; there is no protective tariff. Messrs. Grab and Guff have turned dry goods clerks, and Mr. Gripp—the philanthropic, patriarchal Gripp—is earning an honest living in the salt fish trade.
Year by year, as the city grows, more families build around Tom, and after a while land in that neighborhood acquires a value. People would rather pay something to live there than to build further out. Then Tom begins to pay a tax based on the value of his land; but meantime he has got a foothold. and nut only finds it as convenient to pay that tax as it would be to move further out where land is free, but also finds that the tax is a very light burden. This is the new system.
For Free Ferries
The Boston Globe lately sent a circular to the people of East Boston asking for replies as to whether they wanted free ferriesor not. The number of answers received was 720, of which 525 were favorable to free ferries and 195 against them.
If our nineteenth century civilization advances much further our legislative bodies will have time for little else than the investigation of official corruption, and our courts will find ample occupation in the trials of the officials investigated. Ex-Alderman Cleary's trial is dragging its slow length along in New York; Chicago is rejoicing over the arrest of certain of her “boodlers;” Brooklyn is undergoing the tortures of an investigation; the judiciary committee of the Nebraska legislature is accused of having sold itself; and on the other side the Atlantic the British house of commons has been shocked by a set of definite charges against the city of London.
The curious thing about all this is, as anyone may discover who will take the trouble to analyze his own inwardness and to collect the true sentiments of those about him, that virile these cases of corruption are amazingly useful as political capital and newspaper sensations. no one is really shocked or astonished at them. We are getting to regard them as a part of our social system, and cheerfully go to the polls year after year and elect dishonest officials with an avowed consciousness that they probably are dishonest. Truly, our boasted civilization is not without its spots.
Col. Bacon has present ed to the assembly a preliminary report of the investigation of the public officers of Kings county and the city of Brooklyn. The majority of the committee declares that enormous sums have been improperly extorted from the people, and that lees ranging from $25,000 to nearly $50,000 have been pocketed by certain officers whose position are sinecures and whose nominal duties are performed by deputies paid by the public. The money thus acquired, they say, has been largely contributed to political campaign funds and divided among irresponsible persons with a view to influencing nominations. The report recommends that the officers shall receive. in place of fees, salaries ranging from $6,000 to $8,900. The democratic members of the committee agree that the fees are extortionate, but one of them declares that he fails to see that the money received has been used for political purposes. There can be no doubt that the payments to the officers in question are largely in excess of a fair compensation for the services rendered. The amusing thing about the report is that a democratic member of the committee should pretend to doubt that the money is used for political services and that the republican members should profits to regard such use as something wrong. Probably none would be quicker to denounce the “meanness” of a refund by a well pa id public officer of their own party to contribute liberally to campaign fun as, and none be more reluctant to cut down the emoluments of a republican incumbent of a fat office so long as he shared his income with the boys.” It is surprising that politicians can look each other in the face without laughing while building such professions of innocent ignorance and indignant virtue.
A bill has been introduced into the legislature. at the bidding of Mr. Austin Corbin, for the incorporation of a company to build a new bridge across the East river at Blackwell's Island, the capital named being $2,000,000. The equivalent which the public is to receive in return for the grant of the franchise will be quicker communication with Astoria and the advantage of transfer by rail from the Grand Central depot to the Long Island railway system. The advantages to the Long Island railroad company and the land owners of Long Island will be somewhat more marked and more easily capable of estimation in dollars and cents.
The Westchester county grand jury lately paid an official visit to Sing Sing prison for the purpose of inspecting the methods of punishment in use there and taking testimony bearing on the subject. The special purpose of the visit was to examine the “weighing machine” used for the breaking in of refractory prisoners. This simple but ingenious instrument, which, according to the testimony of the warden of the prison, “has never broken the skin or incapacitated a man for work a few minutes after being hung up,” consists of a pair of handcuffs, which when classed around a prisoner's wrists, are drawn until practically the whole weight of the body is supported by them, the toes only touching the floor.
One gentleman, determined to understand matters for himself, had the cuffs placed on his wrists, and went through the experience of a convict undergoing punishment. He had been suspended only about six seconds when he cried “enough,” and was lowered down upon his feet again.
For the determination of his judgment, and he cheerfully stated that he had never before.
These six seconds' experience were sufficient understood how much agony could be condensed into so short a space of time.
It is strange how distance changes our view of things. The “weighing machine” has been employed in Sing Sing prison for many a day, not secretly, but openly and above board, without exciting any special commiseration for its unfortunate victims, whereas if an account were some fine day to reach us of some 1,500 men being confined in a Chinese orAfrican dungeon with a constant liability to a much less degree of torture, the whole press and people would join in a cry of fury.
Mayor Hewitt and his advisory council have stamped with their approval a bill drawn up by the board of excise, providing for the issuing of special licenses for the sale of beer, ale and wine within the limits of this city on Sunday afternoons. The bill inquestion has been forwarded to the legislature, where it will be referred to the appropriate committee, and. perhaps, in the course of time, be reported back and enacted into law. There is, however, no kick of places in New York where a citizen can slake his thirst with beer, wine or are on Sunday “after 1 o'clock, p. m.,” or even before it, for that matter. It is even whispered that whiskey can be bought on Sunday by the initiated “after 1 o'clock. p. m.” And as for licenses! Why, every liquor dealer in New York who keeps open bar on Sunday does it under special license. And the license fee he pays. or part of it, at least, is to use the influence of himself and his bar in favor of that Tammany hall organization which made Abram S. Hewitt mayor of New York.
A million or so of years ago the blazing sun shone down upon the misty mess of carbonic acid gas and water vapor, which was called an atmosphere in those days, and caused giant ferns to grow upon the earth. And the ferns were buried in the ooze, layer upon layer, and became coal.
Ages roiled slowly on; man appeared upon the earth, empires rose and fell, Christ died upon the cross, Christianity grew and flourished; until the year 1867 arrived, and the l0th of March came round in due course. Then the Yonkers gaslight company, and the Municipal gaslight company and the Westchester gaslight company, having Consolidated to form the United gas improvement company, notified their customers that after April 1 the price of gas would be $1.75 per thousand feet, an increase of 50 cents per thousand.
If the Angel Gabriel, who saw the foundations of the earth laid, and who let us hope, is aware of the city of Yonkers, could only be interviewed, his opinion about all this would be interesting.
Another scheme for the benefit of those discontented insensate poor. The board of street openings is to have power (when the legislature grants it) to purchase lands in the tenement districts in this city for parks. “The scheme embraces baths, restaurants, cigar stands, and other things conducive to the happiness of the poor,” Happy poor! The mountain can't come to Mahomet—we mean the poor people can't get to the parks, and so the parks shall be brought to them. And they shall have their baths, so they shall, and their restaurants, and their cigar stands, and their other things “conducive to their comfort,” including incidentally $5 on election day, and they shall be contented and happy, and all things shall be lovely.
But—but—and that is what is so discouraging about these philanthropic schemes, that there is always some carping critic to pick flaws in them—but it appears that the land for these parks and baths and restaurants and cigar stands is to be taken from or in the tenement districts. Now the tenement districts are already overcrowded—slightly. They contain the densest population in the world. Children die there like flies on fly paper. It's disgusting, of course, but it's so. Mr. Wingate says so. Mr. Elleridge Gerry says so. Brother Huntington says so, and he lives there and ought to know. Now, if from these already overcrowded tenement districts you take away the land for these proposed parks, won't there be more overcrowding and more dead flies—we mean children? Really, it seems logical.
The tenement house bill passed the senate on Wednesday with but one dissenting vote. The credit of this result is mainly due to Charles F. Wingate, who has labored unceasingly to secure its passage.
The Edmunds-Tucker bill provides, among other things, a new test oath to be administered to Mormon voters. The applicant for the privilege of the ballet is obliged to swear that he will, for the future, obey the laws of the land, and especially those laws which bear upon the subject of polygamy. As might be expected, the law has had the very simple result of increasing false swearing, as was shown at the recent municipal election at Brigham, where the Mormons swore their votes in without hesitation and elected their ticket.
Our lawmakers are very slow to learn. With childlike faith they cling to the idea that no respectable person can be induced to swear to an untruth, and fill our statute books with laws apparently designed for the express encouragement of perjury, offering rewards for false swearing in the shape of immunity from vexatious taxes and customs fines. The number of false oaths taken in New York on a single day when the returning tide of travel sets strongly hitherward from Europe would suffice to make the recording angel drop his pen from very weariness.
The judiciary committee of the Illinois legislature has reported favorably a bill making it a criminal conspiracy for any one “by speaking to any public or private assemblage of people, or by writing, printing or publishing anything, to incite local revolution or the overthrow or destruction of the existing order of society,” “if as the result of such speeches or writing human life is taken or person or property is injured.”
This is as it should be. The Illinois solons are wise in their generation. While other legislators are wasting time in wrangling over civil service reform, prohibition, high license, female suffrage and other nonsensicalities, the judiciary committee of the Illinois legislature settles everything at once and forever. “Everything is all right,” says the. judiciary committee; “couldn't be better. And if anybody thinks differently, let him hold his peace or go in peril of his life.” After the passage of this bill, it is to be hoped the Illinois legislature will adjourn in haste and sinedie before any reckless and unthinking member risks a Walter by some untoward attack on Things as They Are.
Of course there is no real danger that such a bill will pass. The majority of the Illinois legislature are not asses, whatever the judiciary committee may be. But really there is a certain similarity between the Illinois legislature of to-day and the English parliament of the time of Oates and Bedloe.
It's a cold day, to use the coarse, but expressive, language of the stock exchange, when the Mongolian gets left. The trade dollars are coming back from China.
The war, for it is nothing else, between the people of Ireland and the owners of Ireland wages as fiercely as ever. On the one side, the force of one of the strongest governments on earth; on the other, the sullen, dogged, negative resistance of a people who have adopted the policy of simply not doing what they are told to do.
Meantime a strong side light is thrown upon the situation by the testimony of Sir Redvers Buller, the chosen agent of the English coercion party, that “what law there is in counties Kerry. Clare and Cork is on the side of the rich,” and that “it would be a serious matter, with their grievances unredressed, to attempt to suppress by force the tenants' right openly to associate for the protection of their interests.”
The unfortunate gentleman whom a cruel fate has made autocrat of all the Russians has had another narrow escape from assassination.
The republic of Colombia is preparing to develop her mineral resources. There are iron mines in the interior of Colombia which have never yet been worked. There are capitalists on the exterior of Colombia who are quite willing to work them; that is, not exactly to work them, but to let other people work them for their (the capitalists') benefit. For which sufficient reason the Colombian government has invited the capitalists to come (of course by proxy), and take possession of the mines; and the Panama Star and Herald, in a jubilant editorial, protests that: “No iron region has yet been known which has not been productive of vast benefit to the nations which have possessed them—and no support granted by the Colombian government and people to the enterprising projectors of these iron producing works can duly repay them for the service they will confer on this country or producing iron and manufacturing it into the innumerable articles manufactured from it, and which are now all imported. There is more money in iron than in gold—although many may think the contrary—and its production should be fostered and encouraged.”
All this is true enough. There is great benefit to be derived from mines by the nations (or individuals) lucky enough to possess them. Pizarro and other Spaniards derived great benefit from certain gold mines which the were lucky enough to possess in Peru; but the benefit which the native Peruvians derived from them was precisely that which will accrue to the native Colombians from the exploitation of their mineral treasures, to wit., the privilege of working pretty hard for a living, without any absolute certainty of getting it.
Colombia is certainly moving forward. If she keeps on, her people may yet be as happy and contented as the inhabitants of our own mining districts—Pennsylvania and the Hocking valley, for example.
Land Holding Doesn't Blind Him to the Truth
Waltham, Mass., March 8.—I am a real estate holder, but I hope property will never have the effect of blinding me to the progress of truth. While I have achieved a certain kind of success, I know that under our present system but a small portion can possess a competency, and I think we should look somewhat to the welfare of posterity.
R. W. Wentworth.
The Week In Wall Street
The bankers and brokers, the gamblers and scalpers, the “bulls” and “bears” of Wall street, and their motley crowd of followers, have had much of dicker and deal, of rumor and scheme of combinations among heretofore warring interests to amuse them the past week.
Since the great December squeeze caused by manipulating money up to one percent per day and the consequent semi-panic of three days' duration, in which time one hundred and fifty million dollars were lost and won in Wall street, the stock market has been as quiet as the sea after the storm. The “dear public,” as the great Cyrus W. calls the nibblers and small fry, have been afraid to venture into the deeper waters, where dwell and prowl for prey the whales and sharks of the financial ocean. The terrible scorching that Gould and Field and a few of the potentates of the “street” gave the thousands and tens of thousands, whose small savings melted away like a dream, has served for a long time to confine them to the little nooks and crannies where, if the waters are not so clear, they are at least not so deep and troublous. Since that great December spree stock gambling has been unremuneratively dull to those who deal the cards. Every inducement has been offered to reawaken the public interest in the opportunities of sudden fortune with slight outlay. The old changes have been rung over and over again. “Prices will go higher,” they would say, “because a European war is certain,” and intense interest was for a time centered upon Bismarck and the possibility of his kicking up a European rumpus that would take from the fields and shops whole armies that we would be called upon to feed. But this old and wormy chestnut was at last thrown aside. “But, war or no war, prices must advance anyhow. The labor troubles are settled, and our productive machinery is running smoothly and the railroads are doing well, and these are certainly hopeful signs." But nary rise. The fish would not take the hook, and the market continued to sag and waver. “Ah! but the wheat crop; look at that. Next year's crop, the experts (hired for this purpose) report, will be a million and a half bushels short and a scarcity of wheat will raise its price.” But no boom followed. “What under the sun will arouse these people? The rent and office expenses run right along and the market don't 'pan out' worth a cent. Let us do something to keep the 'commission mill' filled, the grist whereof is bread and butter to us.” This “something” has been done. Rumors of a great railroad, telegraph and express deal have reached every car. A great consolidation of lines and amalgamation of interests are involved and Alfred Sully, a Standard oil potentate, and Robert Garrett, whose hands hold control of the great Baltimore and Ohio railroad system, are shouldering the burden of the “deal,” though they are not the only interested parties.
For years the Baltimore and Ohio has been a trunk line from Chicago and St. Louis to the Atlantic at Baltimore. The ambition of the elder Garrett was, by extending it from Baltimore to New York, to make it more than a rival of the Pennsylvania, the Erie and the New York Central. The younger Garrett, taking up the work where the elder dropped it, has already completed his line from Baltimore to Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania fought him at every inch of his progress into Philadelphia, and, by threatening those who are his natural allies, has succeeded thus far in keeping him out of New York. There is no question that a railroad is, in and of itself, a blessing to mankind, and New Yorkers would not object to another competitor for their trade. So large a number of men would be employed in its operation that by workingmen particularly this great railroad would be welcomed. But, as he who Controls the land controls those who must live upon it, so those who have gobbled up, monopolized and now own the Jersey shore of New York's beautiful bay are able to dictate the terms upon which this great railroad and this great city shall clasp hands, and in future work for each other's benefit. The terms thus dictated by these land monopolists were so high that the new line to New York was forced to acquire land and terminal facilities on Staten Island, just as thousands in every city are driven to the suburbs instead of living at a convenient distance from their business. This roundabout entrance, though it might do for freight purposes, would not for passengers, as New Yorkers would hardly go down to Staten Island to get a start for the West. Thus an entrance to the city further up the bay has been absolutely essential to the accomplishment of Mr. Garret's object. The price Mr. Garrett has had to pay to buy off these Jersey shore dogs-in-the-manger is said to be the control of his railroad; but in this he merely acquiesces in the economic necessity that controls all industries—namely, that sooner or later they must bow in submission to the so-called owners of the land. Some say the transfer of this control is real, others that it is all rumor, created and set a going for stock gambling purposes only. Whichever is correct the proposed combination is colossal and eclipses by far anything heretofore entertained by financiers and railroaders. If carried through its effect upon the business of the country would be tremendous. The Western union and the Baltimore and Ohio telegraph companies, that have been fighting for years, would probably merge, the older swallowing up the younger. The Adams express company, instead of finding a rival in the Baltimore and Ohio express, would absorb that company, and have right of way over the lines of the new combination. But these are minor results. The great system of railroads occupying the territory bounded by the Potomac, the Atlantic, the Gulf and the Mississippi, a system built out of Richmond and Danville, Richmond terminal, East Tennessee Virginia and Georgia, Georgia central and other southern roads, would procure an outlet for all that vast territory and bring its fruits and vegetables, its rich ore fields and inexhaustible forests, within easy distance of eastern markets—and this, too, over a line controlled by the present owners of this immense system of southern roads. It so happens that the parties in control of these southern lines, Messrs. Sully, Brice, Thomas, Clyde, Inman and others, are closely allied with the parties controlling the Philadelphia and Reading and the Jersey Central—the two roads that together can furnish the Baltimore and Ohio an entrance to New York that will put it upon an equality, in point of terminal facilities. with any of the roads entering New York. The plan then is a combination that will carry this southern system to Washington, thence to Philadelphia over the Baltimore and Ohio, thence to New York over the Reading and Jersey Central, while, at the same time, giving the great Baltimore and Ohio road the same facilities from Philadelphia to New York that the Reading and Jersey Central now have. That this practicable, possible and highly probable plan should be used as a lever to lift the stock market is not to be wondered at, but some of the leaders in the movement are believed to be rather speculative than practical in their tendencies, and it is more than probable that they are baiting for the “dear public” and trying to awaken it into supporting these scheming idlers. The amalgamation, as we have given it, involves the pooling of old securities and the issuing of new securities based on the value of all the roads in the combination, embracing some 16.000 miles of lines. These issues will, of course, be large enough to hold considerable water, the dividends upon which will be squeezed out of generation after generation of working men and women. We can, however, point one moral to adorn this gilded tale, namely, that the southern system of railways referred to is owned principally and controlled by Standard Oil people, who have grown fabulously rich from monopolizing the great natural resources known as the Pennsylvania oil fields. The Reading and Jersey Central systems are under the control of Austin Corbin, a man whose wealth has multiplied enormously though his negotiations of western farm mortgages, which means that he has been instrumental in finding some one who would loan the needy Western farmer the blood-money necessary to his exerting his skill and energy upon the land that God made and intended for all. Another lesson is that the growth of towns and cities is of tener retarded by the selfishness of landowners, who refuse the necessary land for railroads, than by lack of enterprise to build the railroads.
The bank statement shows that the surplus is gradually sinking to the twenty-five per cent reserve limit. Tight money and high rates of interest are looked for by April 1. Capital and labor will bear the burden imposed by these usurious rates. The American people should insist upon a form of government that will keep the money earned by them in their own pockets, unless it be actually needed for governmental purposes. Our treasury has always been in the hands of bankers, and has always been run so that the banks may thrive and grow fat by taxing the people for the use of that money which they have earned, and which, upon every principle of justice and morality, belongs to them.
The assistant treasury is busy with preparations for the redemption of the trade dollars, of which some 12,000,000 are said to be out.
Trade generally is said to be good, though the era of failures, consequent upon the “real estate booms” now in order, seems to have set in, several large lumber firms having succumbed during the week. In New York, real estate speculation is very active, the Liberty street exchange being filled with buyers on several days of this week. West side lots are bringing fabulous prices, and speculators in land are in high glee. The bubble will burst and the commercial panic will come before another year of this wildcat buying and rent raising has passed.
X. Y. Z.
Social Problem Literature
Peale, the Chicago publisher, has issued a useful work entitled “The Story of Manual Labor in All lands and Ages,” by John Cameron Simonds and John T. McEnnis. This book is the first attempt at a history of the manual laborer, who heretofore has but served the historian as a background for the intrigues of politicians and the achievements of warriors. The subject is too broad and the field too little explored to expect all that could be desired in a first attempt like this. Whole libraries might be written, and in time will be; but the authors have made a historical encyclopedia, of value for reference and of interest to read. They have divided the subject into six parts — labor in the Orient, labor in antiquity, labor in the middle ages, labor in the modern world, labor in America, and guilds and trades unions. In presenting these points, the social condition of the laborer, the land tenures that have regulated his wages, the oppression under which he has labored and his efforts to free himself, are graphically portrayed. The book is full of information, and the only fair criticism to which it is subject is that its authors have been compelled to rely too much on orthodox authorities for-material, and have been misled by the current notion that labor, instead of beginning free and falling into a state of bondage, from which it has in part emerged, began in bondage, and has ever since been struggling for liberty. Nevertheless the book is one which may be studied with profit, and should be read by every man who is interested in the social questions of the day. An introduction and a chapter on the army of the discontented by Mr. Powderly add interest to the work.
An evidence of the great interest that is now taken in social questions is afforded by the rapid growth of literature on the subject. Among the latest contributions is a work on “Sociology,” by John Bascom, recently published by the Putnams, which promises more in the table of contents than it fulfills in the text. Its chief defect is an absence of any well defined economic principle, which gives to it more the character of the work of a superficial observer than of a profound instigator. It, however, gratifies the dilettante taste for make-believe radicalism. Of other contributions to social literature the Social Science publishing company of 28 Lafayette place, New York, have supplied a number. Among them are “Rational Communism,” a readable allegory, by a capitalist, and “Social Wealth” and “Economic Equities,” by the veteran land reformer, J. K. Ingalls.
The Factory Boy
“Come, poor child!” say the Flowers;
“We have made you a little bed;
Come, lie with us in the showers
The summer clouds will shed.
Don't work for so many hours,
Come hither and play instead!”
“Come !” whispers the waving Grass;
“I will cool your feet as you pass;
The daisies will cool your head.”
And “Come, come, come!” is sighing
The River against the wall;
But “Stay !” in grim replying,
The wheels roar over all.
By hill and field and river,
They hold the child in thrall,
He sees the long light quiver
And hears faint voices call.
Bright shapes flit near in numbers;
They lead his soul away.
“Oh, hush, hush, hush ! he slumbers!”
He dreams he hears them say.
And, just for one strained instant,
He dreams he hears the wheels,
But smiles to feel the flowers
And down among them kneels.
Over his weary ankles
A rippling runlet steals,
And all about his shoulders
The daisies dance in reels.
Up to his cheeks and temples
Sweet blossoms blush and press,
And softest summer zephyrs
Lean o'er in light caress.
Sleep in her mantle folds him
As shadows fold the hill.
Deep in her trance she holds him.
And the great wheels are still!
Eadel Barnes Gustafson.
A Chinese Scientist
He Discovers A Practical Solution Of The Labor Problem
Wang Sao Chuen and His Wonderful Investigations—Physiology and Sociology—The Possibility of Producing a True Laboring Class
Shanghai, China, Feb. 13.
To the Editor of. the Standard : Returning to China after an absence of over twenty years, I find it m some respects difficult to recognize the country. Not that outward things are much changed—the mild-eyed buffalo still drags the curious old-fashioned plow across the paddy fields: the quaint-roofed farm houses still stand as of yore, each surrounded by its shallow moat; the processions of half-naked coolies still trudge up and down the bund and streets of the settlement, with their burdens of tea, metals, rattans and other commodities, keeping time to their monotonous cry of “A-ho, a-ho-a.” All these are as they were twenty years ago, when last I sojourned by the yellow Wong-Poo. It is the spirit of things that has changed. The old, dull, fatalistic oriental methods of thought have vanished, or are fast vanishing; the electric telegraph is already here, and railways cannot be long in following. We read in our morning papers the occurrences of the day before in Europe and America; we sell our teas and silks by cable before we buy them; our rates of exchange fluctuate according to the telegrams; we are living, in short, within speaking distance of the highest modern civilization, and very naturally its conversation affects our habits of thought. the Chinese merchants and officials are eager to hear of western ways and inventions; and while the studies of Confucius and Mencius are by no means abandoned, translations of the works of Adam Smith, Ricardo, Darwin, Huxley and Tyndall are finding their way into all the larger libraries.
An enormous influence for good is being exerted by the select band of well-born young men whom the Chinese government sent to the United States some years ago to receive the benefits of an American collegiate education. Those young men had this immense advantage “over their more civilized fellow students, that they approached their studies from an entirely new starting point. For two thousand years or more the intellects of their ancestors have lain fallow; and now that their faculties of reasoning and research have been quickened into activity by contact with western civilization, they are displaying an alertness of conception, a keenness of intellect, a reckless daring of research, from which the greatest and most important results may be anticipated. Indeed, one of their number has already succeeded in doing something which, unless I am mistaken, will effect a world-wide social revolution, solve the “labor question” triumphantly in both east and west. and open up possibilities of wealth production such as only Aladdin could have dreamed of.
Wang Sao Chuen, the gentleman in question, returned to China some ten years since, after learning all that Yale could teach him, and has since been a member of the Pekin Institute of Western Sciences. This institute, founded by the wise liberality of Li Hung Chang, the friend of Gen. Grant—in spite of the opposition of the conservative party headed by Prince Chang—is devoted entirely to original research in every department of science. Its members are supported in comfort, but not in luxury—clothed, fedand lodged at the expense of the institute. But the appropriations for apparatus, specimens and subjects for experiment would fill the soul of a Smithsonian professor with envy. In the ethnological department alone there are maintained, on heavy salaries, living representatives of all the different great races of men; the museum of natural history is the most complete in the world; the astronomical section, organized but two years since, has sent to Al van Clark & Sons an order for a telescope that will rival the great Lick university instrument in size and power; and, in short, the whole immense establishment, which, with its botanical gardens, tropic houses, etc, covers nearly 5,000 fun, or 1,500 acres of ground, has been equipped and furnished with a single eye to completeness and an utter disregard of cost.
It is in this wonderful institute, the pride of the eastern world, and the wonder of all who have seen it, that Wang Sao Chuen has pursued his researches and arrived at his marvelous discoveries. In the course of his experiments he has sacrificed the lives of probably not less than a thousand condemned criminals, who have perished beneath his knife. It is due to him to say, however, that he has never inflicted unnecessary pain upon his victims; but has, whenever possible, administered ether, or exhibited local anesthetics before applying the knife.
Briefly stated, what Wang Sao Chuen has done is this: He has discovered that by a surgical operation performed upon the brain—partly on the cerebrum, and to a very slight extent upon the cerebellum—he can, without the slightest in jury to the patient, produce the most profound and marked changes in the human character. He can, in short, change a man's character in any way by a dexterous use of the trephine and scalpel. A morose and atrabilious man, treated by him, becomes merry and good tempered; a scoffer can be made religions; a religious man converted into an atheist. The possibilities of this wonderful discovery are endless.
To the Rev. James Henderson, an English missionary stationed at Pekin, but now on a visit to Shanghai, Wang Sao Chuen talked freely of his discovery and the results he anticipated from it.
“I am,” said he, “like one who stands upon the threshold of an open doer, but has yet to enter the apartment. The most difficult part of my task is indeed over, but much remains to be done.
“My studies in biology and physiology have been prompted by my love for a far higher science the grandest to which man can devote his mind—the science of sociology. During my stay in America I observed with astonishment how the production of wealth was checked and impeded by the turbulent discontent of the lower classes. I saw great factories closed, and business paralyzed, and merchants ruined, by combinations of workingmen, and while American college professors and newspaper editors were vainly speculating as to the causes of these things and devising first one remedy and then another, I solved the problem in my mind.
“Discontent exists among the working classes simply and solely because they have the same feelings, the same order of intelligence, the same ambitions as those above them. They are not a true working class, but a set of men the same as other men, whom' society sets apart and orders to become a working class; and, just as you or I would do in their place, they rebel and struggle.
“I said to my self: 'I will end this. I will create a true working class. I will bring into existence a class of men who shall work contentedly and be happy intheir work; who shall be amply satisfied with a bare subsistence, and shall conduct themselves at all times with that reverence and obedience toward their betters which is enjoined by true religion.' And I have done it.Come and see my working class.”
Wang Sao Chuen then conducted the Rev. Mr. Henderson into a long, now building in the institute grounds. Here were gathered over three hundred men, women and children, all engaged at work of some description. Some were weaving cloth, some making shoes, others painting pottery, and others again entering the day's transactions in books. Each one was intent upon his work and pursued it without a word.
At the sound of a bell, however, the workers left their tasks, and trooped, chattering and laughing, round a long table at one end of the building. The majority seated themselves at table, while others disappeared into an adjoining room, whence they soon returned, bearing enormous buckets of some smoking hot glutinous looking substance, an ample portion of which was placed before each person at the table. The meal devoured, faces and hands were washed, and at the sound of another bell the chattering and laughter ceased, and the whole posse vent back to work in silence.
Mr. Henderson tel Is me that never in his life had he seen healthier human beings. “They looked,”' said he, “as sleek and fresh as newly curried horses.” The rest of his account I giveas nearly as possible in Wang Sao Chuen's own words, as noted down by Mr. Henderson at the time.
“These creatures,” said Wang Sao Chuen, “are a true working class. By a simple surgical operation I have eliminated from their brains the faculty of discontent. They can't be discontented, no matter what I do to them; were I to beat one of them he could only laugh at me in return. I make fixed rules for their government and they follow them implicitly. They work sixteen hours a day and enjoy it: they have two hours for food and exercise and enjoy that; they sleep sis hours and enjoy that. Working, sleeping, eating or exercising, they are absolutely contented and absolutely obedient. By dividing their gustatory nerves I have prevented their being annoyed by the insipidity of the food I give them, which is selected for its nourishing qualities and its extreme cheapness. They cost me for food, clothing and shelter, less than 200 cash (15 cents) a day. and were I working 10,000, instead of 500, the cost per day would be reduced to 50 cash. I am entering the room at whose portal I have been hammering for years. I have solved the 'labor problem.' I shall succeed in developing a laboring class.”
To what will this discovery of Wang Sao Chuen lead? Rev. Mr. Henderson has reported the facts to the British consul at this port, and in accordance with instructions from the government in London, a committee of savants leave for Pekin by the next steamer to investigate the matter. Meantime it will interest you in the United States to know that the labor problem, which, if I may judge by the papers that reach me, is perplexing you considerably, is in a fair way to an amply satisfactory solution.
J. B. Johnson.
The Labor Party For Dr. M'Glynn
The Eighteenth Assembly District Association Holds the First Mass Meeting
Three thousand persons of various creeds and nationalities squeezed into International hall, on East Twenty-seventh street, on last Monday evening to take a part in the mass meeting of the united labor party of the Eighteenth assembly district in honor of Dr. McGlynn. It was agreed recently to hold mass meetings in every district in the city, and because it was in St. Stephen's parish, the Eighteenth was given precedence- Evergreens adorned the halt and over President Philip Kelly's chair hung a large crayon portrait of the reverend doctor. Among those collected on the platform were Augustus A. Levey, Louis F. Post, Dr. Daniel De Leon, of Columbia College: John J. Gahan, editor of the Catholic Herald, J. J. Bealin, Michael Clarke. Frank Ferrell, of the Seventh district; ex-Congressman James O'Brien and George J. Boyle.
President Kelly struck the keynote of the meeting in saying “We have assembled not alone as members of the united labor party, but as American citizens, to protest against the striking down of one of America's model citizens, the Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn.”
John J. Bealin was loudly applauded for saying that inasmuch as the secretary of the propaganda had ordered an American citizen to retract words uttered on a matter of purely secular interest, and had also called this same citizen before a foreign tribunal, the fundamental principles on which the republic stands had suffered infringement which it behooved every good citizen to resent.
“Standing on grounds laid down in the Monroe doctrine,” said Mr. Bealin, “we, as American citizens, say to the machine of the church, 'You have no right to order Edward McGlynn to Home, for censure or congratulation, in relation to any word spoken or act performed on the soil of his native country and in the discharge of his citizenship.'”
Dr. De Leon, who was the next speaker, said that Dr. McGlynn was suspended because he was a just man who had advocated a just cause. Dr. McGlynn believed—as they all believed—that the land, being the gift of the Creator, belonged to all men in common, and for this belief the priest had suffered persecution.
Louis F. Post said: “The 'saviors of society' crucified Jesus eighteen hundred years ago, and now the 'saviors of society' eighteen. hundred years later crucify Dr. McGlynn because he loved his religion better than that of Tammany hall or the County democracy [prolonged hisses]: because he taught the doctrine that the land was for the people. Why should it belong to the Astors. Trinity Church or any corporation.' Why should it not belong to the people whom Godhas placed upon it. There are today over one million people who cannot get anything to do. Yet there is plenty to do. Acre after acre of vacant land is held for a price which no poor man can pay.”
Speeches were also made by Frank Ferrel!, Mrs. Margaret Moore, James Caffrey, J. J. Gahan and others, and resolutions were adopted sympathizing with the “Reverend Doctor Edward McGlynn in this the hour of his martyrdom to that most noble work, the securing to the industrious workingman a more equitable share in the results of his labor,” and declaring that “by unanimous expression of devotion to his teachings, and of gratitude for his labors, we make the cause for which he suffers our own, and. accept the principle so ably and manfully championed by him, us an American citizen, us our principles, content to stand or fail by them, in the full confidence that they contradict neither sound doctrines of religion nor reason, but will be reiterated by a higher authority than that which suspended Dr. McGlynn's labors, the authority of Rome itself.” A collection added $250 to the McGlynn fund.
So Would All of Us
St. Louis, Mo.—The New York Tribune says that then is no more need of a mans starving now, when he can get “good land for $1.25 per acre, or on long credit without any cash payment,” than there would bu “if land, were absolutely free.” I would like the Tribune to state where good land can be had for $l.25 per acre; also how a man with a family, living from day to day on what he can earn, could pay his fare to said land and live until he could raise a crop.
J. W. Hill.
Believes in Effect, but Not in Cause
Mr. Henry George declares that labor organizations cannot expect to maintain such contests as those in which they have lately been engaged, and that they “must make up their minds to defy the law, to change the law, or tobe ground to powder.” These are remarkable expressions us coming from Mr. George, and they deserve more thoughtful consideration than the fantastic land theories with which be supplements them.
From the Dark
Ho! ye on the crest of the mountain,
Watching the far away:
See y e no glimmer of morning—
See ye nosign of the day?
Tell us, O ye of the beacon,
Tell us the tale we pray.
See ye the cloud and the darkness
Passing away from the land—
See ye the far verge of Freedom—
See ye its turbulent st rand—
See ye of storm in the distance—
See ye of tempest at hand?
See ye of turmoil and tumult—
See ye of onset and flight?
Tell us, O ye of the beacon,
Thorough the darkness of right.
Tell us. O ye on the mountain,
See ye the dawning of light!
O ye of the watch, on the mountain,
Tell us the tale we pray.
See ye the old dominion
In panic and disarray,
Ree ye the lines of the vanguard!
O, ye of the summit, say.
Ho! ye on the crest of the mountain,
Flame there no hills to the skies!
Watchers! when fire ye the beacon F
We wait but a light to arise,
Watchers! we weary of darkness,
We yearn for the mighty emprise.
J. R. Dell.
Only A Dream
It was the dose of a tiresome day. Vexed and wearied with many chores I had seen my four little ones tucked away in their clean and comfortable beds, and, seated in the great armchair, which is my own special possession, I tried to read a little, but I was so exhausted that I nodded and dreamed.
I was in a little boat on a great river. Clouds of darkness were all around me; the heavens held no stars, and the water on which I sailed was turbulent and black as ink. A shadowy form stood at the prow, and with a single oar and steady strokes propelled me. Amid silence and darkness, and with a feeling of meek submission to whatever might await me, I was ferried over the river of death.
As I readied the frontier shore I noticed a slight lifting of the clouds. No place for human habitation was in sight and no human companionship seemed available. I felt that a journey was before me and looked around to see what course I should pursue. Two roads started from where I stood, one narrow and steep, but straight and fending toward the right; the other broad and of easy grade and better traveled. The boatman, without a word, intimated by gesture that I would do well to keep to the right, and, in a moment, I stood alone on the unknown shore.
My feet seemed very heavy; I was broken with burdens and anxious for rest, but in full trust that my Great Father had provided the boat for me, and that one of these roads must lead to his house of many mansions, I chose the narrow road, and laboriously began to climb. This continued for a long time and without apparent change, but at last I came to where the light was better and the air softer and sweeter than it had been at the river side.
Little by little this change became more pronounced. The trees by the wayside were more numerous; the foliage was greener, and I rejoiced within myself because of the pleasant land into which I was being conducted. The road still continued steep, but the light kept growing, as in the early morning of a summer's day, and increased far beyond the glories of the sun until I became conscious that I stood within a short distance of the great and wonderful city whence comes the light to enlighten the nations. The gates of pearl were before me, and here on either side lay the crosses and burdens of multitudes of travelers who had gone before.
My heart was full of thanksgiving then, for, I said within myself, “Here I shall see and know my Father whose care has always blessed me. and here I shall find rest.” And so with eager haste to join in the song of blessing and eulogium, I knocked at the great door to crave admission.
The door was promptly opened by a man whose face shone with the glory of a tender affection for his fellow man, and from whose shoulders there sprang a pair of white wings which, when folded, were long enough to touch the ground. He wore a single white garment of a white, soft substance, which looked as if it might be fresh and cool. My own garments of earthly texture had been taken away before I found myself in the boat, and I stood before this beautiful spirit naked and travel soiled.
“Who are you. and where do you come from?” was inquired of me.
I gave my name and said that I came from the city of New York.
“That name is a familiar one to me,” said the angel, “we have heard of you and are glad to have you among us. You are known to have been industrious and prudent during your stay on the earth, and we feel that you will be a useful citizen of New Jerusalem.”
An invitation was then given me to enter and my eyes were almost blinded with the beauties of the heavenly place. My new friend asked me to come with him into his office to register my name, and after I had done so urged that I sit with him a while.
“You will stay here many years,” said he, “and it is important that you should start right, particularly in a social way. You must be very careful as to forming acquaintances and not attach yourself to undesirable angels.”
“You surprise me!” I exclaimed. “Surely all children of the Great Father are alike here, are they not? I was told that I would find no rich or poor here, and that all could join in praise and in looking upon the throne of the King.”
“That is all very well,” I was answered. “Of course we understand that we are all children of the King, and many, many years ago the deplorable state of affairs you seem to approve of so much, existed in full force. It used to be that distinctions of rank did not obtain, and there were no poor people at all; but we have seen the advantages of class distinctions, and have, by a very simple device, arranged matters an a new and different plan. Why, sir, the time was when you would have to comb your own wings and polish your own harp unless some other angel would do it for you out of love and kindness; for no angel worked except for himself and those he cherished.”
“Indeed; and how has this change been brought about?” I asked.
“It could not have been done at all in the early days when the King was able to attend in person to all details of city government and when our population was scanty; but about five hundred years ago our previous loose notions of rights in land became enlightened. A code of law, in every respect similar to the law of the state of New York, was put in force, and all of our present methods grew out of this simple change. We chose the laws of that state because they were made by the people, who change them according to their pleasure, and we know that they must be just and fair. The city had been very fairly started before that, and it was agreed that all of the land should forthwith be divided up among the people then in the city; the titles thus acquired have ever since been respected, and all ownership must now be traced from them.”
“I trust,” I remarked, “that in this division some provision was made for me, for the King knew that I was coming, and I came upon his invitation, and I am without purse or scrip. All that I struggled for on the earth, which was not used day by day as I got it, is behind me and will be gathered by I know not whom.”
“Oh no,” said the angel, “that would never have done. The people who were here when the land was being divided allotted the property among themselves. If you were not here that is no fault of theirs, and we are satisfied that the private ownership of land leads to private enterprise, and hence to public benefit, I confidently explain, within a few centuries, to see you one of our real estate owners, and you will then join in approving the change from the primitive methods which formerly obtained here, and which are still talked of by people on the earth. The first thing you had better do is to find a boarding place, and you can then look around and make up your mind what to do.”
“I don't think I want that,” said I, “for I find that I neither hunger nor thirst, and the air that blows over the city is so sweet and pleasant that I do not care to be sheltered from it. I think I will go to yonder green knoll, beneath the shade of that wild tree, and there rest and brood upon the blessings that the Great King has east upon me.
“No,” said the angel, “you had better not do that. To be sure, the knoll you speak of is unimproved and no use has ever been made of it, but it forms a part of the estate of a very rich angel named Lazarus, formerly a beggar in Judea, but now one of our most prominent Citizens. He would resent any trespass, and I don't think you had better go there.”
“Does Lazarus use it?” I inquired.
“Not at all,” was the reply, “and he would not know that you were occupying it if it were not for the fact that our police angels are very strictly cautioned not to permit trespassing. I think you'll have to get board, for the regulations against tramps are necessarily very stringent. It is always summer here, and our mild climate encourages tramps amazingly.”
“I had hoped to rest,” I sighed, “but if work is the rule here and the King wishes me to do so, I will work with the best of you. What industries are permissible?”
“There may be a little trouble about getting work for you,” said my companion. “You see, what with the immense pauper immigration into the city, we are very fully supplied with laborers. Just look at that great company of them. They fill our streets and are becoming a sad nuisance.”
I looked as I was bid, and there beheld a great number of men and women and children with sad and weary faces.
“The difficulty with all these people is,” said my friend,” that they are so lazy and improvident. They try to dictate the amount of the wages that they are to get. and refuse to submit to the regulations of the employing angels. I fear that the socialistic influence among them is very injurious. There are many industries here, but the principal ones are the raising of flowers and the manufacturing of harps and crowns. Which of these would you prefer to engage in?”
“I know nothing of either,” I sadly replied, “for I have been only a lawyer, and I doubt if I could do any thing at my profession in a place where I am entirely unknown. But I love flowers. and I would enjoy to delve in the soil which our Great Father has made, and to raise flowers which might beautify the city to His honor and glory. May I not go on some piece of vacant and sterile ground and there strive to do this work?”
My guide laughed at this and said: “Your idea is far more romantic than practical, for the land, as I have already said, is all taken up and divided among others. Your better plan is to seek some work that will not require the use of the ground. for that cannot be had without capital, which you do not possess. You must first get work and live prudently, and by and by you will be able to save enough to buy yourself a piece of ground. Every angel ought lo have some interest in the soil and build himself a home. It makes him a more useful citizen. Now if you had just a little capital I could suggest a purchase which could not fail to be a good one. Do you see that charming piece of rolling land on the shore of the Jasper sea?”
I looked and beheld a tract of country so fair that it delighted my eyes, and right adjoining it was a sheet of water as pure as crystal.
“That piece of property,” the angel continued, “was purchased many years ago by Judas, formerly of Galilee, for thirty pieces of silver. It was a great bargain at the time, and since then ii has largely increased in value, and he has cut it up into plots and will doubt less 'make an excellent thing out of it. We did not like Judas very much at first; I think there was something unfortunate in his earthly career, but he is certainly an excellent business man, and the exact nature of the criticisms once made against him has gradually been forgotten. He has lived it down, as it were.”
“What did Judas do that made this property so valuable?”I inquired.
“I didn't say that Judas did anything,” was the answer. “In fact, he has lived out of town a great part of the time because of social reasons; but the population has increased in that vicinity and the improvements were all made without any effort on his part. Judas is very shrewd at a bargain, you may be sure. He does not offer the whole of it for sale now, but he will sell alternate plots, so that the improvements made on them will enhance the value of the remainder; and if you had anything at all, I would strongly advise you to purchase. If you wait only a few years the price will surely advance.”
“From what you tell me I should judge that I cannot be allowed to stay in the city unless I can persuade some owner of the land to permit me to do so, and that this can only be done on condition t h at I shall labor for him. Is this true?” said I.
“Oh well, now,” the angel answered, “that is hardly correct, you know. To be sure you cannot stay on private property without compensating the owner. You wouldn't propose to confiscate property, I'm sure. But then the citizens of this city are very charitable, and there are asylums and poor-houses and other places of that kind for the infirm and suffering poor. You will be provided with wings by the King without charge, and these you can hypothecate for any immediate needs and I know that you will get along nicely. Others do. I might mention many cases of citizens of your native place who are doing excellently. There is, for instance, a certain Cornelius, who is a boatman on the Jasper sea. He started with nothing, but he owns his own boat now- and is kept quite busy. He talks about a railroad, the cars to be drawn by poor angels whose wings have been lost by foreclosure, but I fear that the King would object to that. He is very enterprising, Cornelius is.”
All of this made me very sad, and I left the angel and walked forth into the street, and into a park around which benches had been placed for homeless wanderers such as I seemed to be. I sat on one of these and wept myself to sleep. I was startled by a touch on my shoulder and fancied that it was from a police angel with a command to “move on,” but awaking suddenly I looked up through tearful lashes at the face of my wife, and found that I was still sitting in my chair in my New York home.
I have told the story in my little family, and we all rejoice that it was a dream and that we can still trust in the promises of the Great Father and hope for better things.
Abner C. Thomas.
Too Many Houses
Strong Words From a Landowner Out in Illinois
Carlinville, Ill., March 7.—Yesterday I overheard a conversation between a well-to-do farmer and an attorney, both residents of one of the great prairie counties of central Illinois. The talk was about a piece of real estate which seemed to be in litigation, and especially about the house upon it. The attorney stated what value had been placed upon the house. The price seemed to strike the farmer as being very high. “Why,” said he, “I've tore down half a dozen better houses to keep folks from bothering me about livin' in 'em.”
His words surely should make a thoughtful man pause and consider. They express a plain truth. It is a fact that the farmers in the great state of Illinois are pulling down very comfortable houses or converting them into corn cribs, and lots of folks are “bothering” them to get permission to live in those that remain. Occurrences like these are not the exception: they are the rule. Almost every owner of one, two or three quarters of land has found that his tenant houses were useless to him, not because no one wanted to rent them, but because he had no need of tenants for his land; and tenants who would gladly rent the house alone and work at odd jobs are indeed only a bother. The reason of this is not hard to get at. The agricultural industry of the state is tending toward stock raising and large farming. Little “help” is needed. Grain raising is now done by machinery, a boy and three or four horses easily doing work which formerly required several men. The good housewife no longer has to cook for a small army of men at harvest time.
Another cause of this superabundance of houses is that the small farms are gradually being bought up by the larger holders and go to swell the proportions of the great “ranch” of the successful stock raiser. More than half the small farms in this county are mortgaged, and it is only a question of time when they will be tacked on to the larger farms which they join. Then down will come the humble house and barn to keep folks from bothering about living in them. Every one who is at all conversant with the facts knows that this is a moderate statement rather than an exaggeration. The vast garden of Illinois, inhabited for scarcely two generations, already shows symptoms of overpopulation. In village and country mere laborers get one dollar per day without board, and the majority work less than two hundred days in the year. Steady work on the railroad “section” at one dollar and fifteen cents per day is a position only to be attained by the privileged few.
When I lay in my winter supply of wood, invariably on the appearance of the first load half a dozen or more able bodied men solicit the job of sawing it, and frequently will bid against each other down to the starvation rate of sixty cents per cord. But usually the work has already been promised months in advance.
These facts are respectfully submitted to the great metropolitan dailies, to the “Journal of Civilization,” which places such emphasis on having the courage of its convictions, and to the eminent statesmen who agonize over the possibility of American laborers being reduced to the condition of the pauper laborers of Europe.
A bill has been introduced in our legislature prohibiting non-resident aliens from acquiring title to land in this state. The bill is brought. in in good faith, and judging from many utterances of “orthodox” journals and statesmen, its principles are widely accepted as just. Now if some of the orthodox people will point out just what difference it makes whether Lord Somebody, owner of a handsome slice of Ireland, and resident of Paris, owns 100,000 acres of the surface of Illinois, or whether John Jones of Springfield owns the same 100,000 acres, he will confer a great favor upon a poor sinner who has been struggling with the question a long time, and has concluded that it does not make any difference at all to anybody except Lord Somebody and John Jones. I own 100 acres of the soil of Illinois, and I want to sec the plan of taxing land values, so nobly advocated by Dr. McGlynn, adopted at once. No man can deny the justice of it, and I for one am willing to take my chances on it. I think 1 see that, I shall be better off. I know I shall have the consciousness of feeling that I have helped to do what I believe will give the poorly fed and meanly clad children with whom 1 come in contact as teacher an opportunity of becoming noble men and women, an opportunity which, for scores of them, I too well know does not exist.
R. M. Hitch.
Winter now folds his fleecy pall away,
And yields the brown earth to the sunny beam;
The herald bluebirds chant the matin lay,
And Nature wakens from her frosty dream.
The bees are taking heart and soon will come
On cautious wing to test the early sweets;
Once more the poet's fancy forth doth roam
And fills the virgin page with quaint conceits.
My heart, forgetful of the past, is still
And yearning for the flow'r bespangled sod,
The rippling of the brooklet down the hill,
And Nature's tuneful music to her God.
With birds, and bees, and blossoms, would I sing
In harmony to greet the early spring.
Queries And Answers
Mixed as Well as Merry
New Orleans, La.—A correspondent of the Picayune, over the signature of C. K. Merry, finds your theory amusing. He wants you to explain how it will be possible to raise the entire revenue of this country directly from the farming community, and says there are places where individual ownership in land is not recognized, naming the Indian reservations and the whole of India. What do you think of this?
H. J. Clavier.
We think that Mr. Merry is like the school girl who, after graduating with special honors in geography, was surprised to learn that her father's front yard was part of the earth's surface. Because we propose to tax land values, he jumps to the conclusion that we intend to tax farmers exclusively, supposing that there is no land but farming land. How he classifies the lot on which the St. Charles hotel stands it would be interesting to know. So far from expecting to raise taxes from farmers by taxing land values, we expect to lessen the taxes of farmers and raise most public revenues from mines and city lots.
It is not true that the benefits of public land ownership are enjoyed in India. Land is common property in the Indian reservations, however, in a primitive form, and the percentage of prosperity there is greater than anywhere else in the United States. There is no impoverished class among the Indians, and that cannot be said of any civilized community.
Amherst, N. S.—Do you not think that if the absurd and suicidal system of protection on which your whole commercial fabric is built were swept away that its progeny of evils would gradually redress themselves? Your land is now practically free, and would soon afford ample room to relieve the congested labor market did your trade system extend equal rights to all. Great Britain, on the other hand. presents an anomaly, having free trade in everything but land.
Great Britain has free trade in land as well as we. Our land is not practically free. If our protective system were swept away it would ameliorate the condition of labor for a time, but would not cure the industrial evils under which we suffer. There can be no free trade so long as land is not free, for ground rents paid by the producer for the support of the idler are an ever increasing tariff, which tends to limit opportunities and to reduce wages to the minimum.
Sufficiency of the Land Tax
Detroit, Mich.—To tax land values only and exempt products of labor, would, it seems to me, bean unjust discrimination in favor of the owners of money, bonds, stocks, merchandise, machinery, etc. In nearly all cities the value of products of labor is greater than that of land. For instance, the money in a bank and the building are generally more valuable than the land on which the building stands. To place the whole burden of taxation upon the least valuable part would make a deficiency.
S. V. Martin.
When by taxing land values alone we shall have exhausted all land values and still be deficient, it will be time enough to discuss the expediency of taxing other property. As to the justice of taxing land values exclusively, you cannot be in doubt when you consider that public expenses ought to be first paid out of common funds. Land values are common funds, while money, bonds, merchandise and machinery are not. Whoever produces any of these things is a benefactor, and should be encouraged. The more he produces the better it is for all of us. And when any individual produces land values let him be encouraged too. But so long as land values are produced by the bidding of different people against each other for the privilege of using something which is by nature the common property of all, those values are of right a common fund for public use. There is no injustice in this view and there is great wisdom. for the greater the burden we place on the private appropriation of land values and the less on products of labor the more products of labor we shall have.
The Land Tax and the Home
Norfolk, Va.—In discussions among workingmen I notice that your principles appear to them to be in conflict. with the idea of a permanent home for anyone.
W. H. Gunn.
There is grim humor in the thought of homeless men opposing a social change on the ground that it conflicts with the idea of a home. But our principles do not conflict with the idea of a home. It is not necessary that the aristocratic John de Jones should live in luxury off of ground rents to insure plain John Jones a home: but rather, that the aristocrat's privilege should be curtailed. “What we propose is that every man who exclusively appropriates valuable land should pay for the privilege. If the land he appropriates has no value, lie should pay no tax; if it has a great value, he should pay a great tax. You may have observed that some land is more desirable than other land; this difference is measured by a difference of value. Now, if one man has land that is twice as desirable as that of another man, he has a double advantage which is due to no labor or skill of his own. Why should he be allowed to keep this advantage? Why not pay it over in taxes, so that every man, no matter how valuable the land he uses, shall stand on an equal footing with everyone else.
If this were done, very few small farms or small homes would pay any tax at all. Most taxes would be paid by the owners of city lots, mines, and so on, for the privilege of appropriating those superior advantages. The home and farm of the poor man would be more secure, and homeless and farmless men could get homes and farms easier if taxes were removed from labor and capital and levied on land values.
A Mixed Question
Cuba, N. Y.—In front of me is a lot of wood land containing forty acres, upon which no labor has been bestowed. It is part of a hundred acre lot bought fifty years ago for $250. Except this wood lot the land was cleared, cultivated and occupied by the purchaser during his life, and ever since by his heirs. The wood lot alone is now worth $2,000, being $1,900 more than it cost. Since the purchase the taxes on it have been paid. Now who owns the value of this wood lot?
On the remaining land of the purchase are two dwellings, besides outbuildings and other improvements. The productive power of this ls equal to that of the wood lot, and the market value about the same, while the value of the timber on the one is about equal to the value of the buildings on the other. In this locality the rental value of the land, exclusive of the dwellings and other buildings except the barns, is about $2.50 an acre, or about $150 for the sixty acres. How much of this rental value belongs to the people and how much to the farmer who made the improvements?
If the farmers offer passive resistance to the tax, how are the people to enforce payment? Seeing that some of the farmers' improvements, such as stumping, under draining and so forth, are inseparable from the land, is it possible to execute an ejection process without manifest injustice?
A. H. Phelps.
If all taxes except on land values were abolished and land taxed to its full value, land which is now worth only $2.50 an acre per annum would in all probability have no value at all, and would wholly escape taxation. Your questions, therefore, are not practical.
But waiving this conclusive reply, we should say that under the circumstances you have stated, the value of the wood lot belongs of right to the people. The fact that taxes have been paid on it in the past makes no difference. If the owner did not choose to use it when he was paying for it he has no claim to use it in the future. But it might be that what seems to be a non-use of the wood lot was really its best use. If it was better to preserve the wood until it should be good timber than to clear the land, then the farmer in preserving it has to all intents and purposes cultivated timber and earned a right to the timber he h:is produced. In that case the standing timber is his property and should be exempt from taxation.
If you had not included the barns, stumping, drainage, etc., in the rental value of $2.50 for the cleared land that rental value would all belong to the people; but as you include those values, your question is like that of the child who wanted to know the size of a piece of chalk.
If the owner of land which was taxable under a law laying all taxes on land values should resist the tax he could not complain specialty if the tax were collected as real estate taxes are now.
In levying such a tax all improvements—stumping, draining, etc, included—would be exempt. It would not be difficult to arrive at the value of such improvements. For instance, if the timber were taken off the wood lot you mention, and the stumps left there, how much would that land be worth per acre? The answer will give you the land value of the improved farm.
Farmers, Mortgages and Interest
Galt, Ont.—Please explain how you propose to apply your system of taxing land values to farm property. I can easily see the advantages of the system to inhabitants of cities, but it is not so apparent that it will benefit farmers. If farm improvements are to be exempt, what value could be given to farm land, and who would appraise it?
Again, if vacant land in cities decreased in value under the influence of the tax, would not mortgagees foreclose and come on the mortgagors under the personal covenant?
Also, is not interest as much a private tax as rent? I do not notice that you propose to change the private control of money or advocate the conversion of city or municipal bonds by the states instead of as at present by banks. The town in which I live is borrowing $20,000 from a bank at six per cent interest. Could not these bonds be converted by the Dominion into their notes or certificates of value without interest, the bonds being held as security just as the banks hold them?
In shifting taxes from products of labor to land values we propose to treat farm property the same as all other property—that is to exempt the improvements and products and to levy the tax on the land value alone. The value to be given to farm land for this purpose is to be ascertained by determining the value of improvements, which can be readily done, and deducting that from the value of the farm. The advantage to the farmer will be found in his exemption from all tariff and internal revenue taxes, from taxes on his buildings, fences, drainage, tillage, crops and live stock, and from higher wages for his labor and better interest on his capital. Every working farmer would pay less taxes than he pays now, and the poorer farmers would pay no tax at all. The farm laborer would be benefited precisely as the city laborer would be.
Your reference to foreclosures is a serious but temporary matter. Private ownership in land is a cancerous growth of many ramifications; and it would be strange if it could be removed without a wound. In foreclosures the mortgagee might in some instances take everything and hold a debt besides. Bid this is a condition of things that constantly recurs now. In every commercial depression mortgaged property is confiscated by foreclosure, and its owners subjected to a heavy load of debt. Twelve years ago, in this city. It was no uncommon occurrence for the seller of real estate, after getting a large sum on account of purchase money, to get his real estate back, in better condition, by foreclosure, and to enter up a deficiency judgment besides. The advantage of the land value tax in cases of this kind would be that the victim could more easily recover his lost ground, and never again, nor his children Miter him, be in danger of a similar misfortune.
Interest, real interest, is not as much a private tax as ground rent. It is not a tax at all, but in the nature, of wages. For a full discussion of this subject read “Progress and Poverty,” book 3, chapters 3 and 5.
There is no doubt that the volume of money should be subject to public control. and that public debts are an abomination. Interest on public debts is, as a rule, not interest at all, but a tax. True interest is a product of capital, while interest on a public debt is usually in the nature of a pension. If we gave to all soldiers a pension in addition to the wages we had paid them we would be doing what we do to those who lent us gunpowder, when in addition to paring them for the powder we give them also a bonus in the name of interest. As to municipal bonds, issued for public improvements, it would undoubtedly be better if they were certificates, redeemable in the use of the improvements, like the certificates by which the Guernsey market was built. Or the same thing might be accomplished by depositing bonds with the superior government and taking from it on loan a legal tender medium of exchange.
Teachers as a Dangerous Class
Johnstown, Pa., Jan. 25.—In your issue of Jan. 22 you say: “The most dangerous class in the world to-day are 'the men of light and learning,' the editors, professors, teachers, and influential Citizens, who are constantly proclaiming that our social adjustments are all that need be desired, and that every effort to induce the musses to think of .possible social improvement is a menace to property, an invitation to anarchy.” I am not a man of “light,” nor do I set up ranch chum to “learning;” but I can reasonably claim to be a teacher, consequently—according to your assertion—I am one of them who believe in the sufficiency and desirability of our “social adjustments.” Not so, Mr. Editor. I am anxious for—laboring for— improvement. All the enemies of the working man do not lie without; nor can all his misery be traced to an external source. That his wages are in most cases inadequate to enable him to live comfortably no fair minded person will deny; but the workingman spends more, m proportion to his ability, for things that are anything but elevating in their influence upon him and his family, than the wealthier class, who might better afford it.
If the workingman's condition is to be improved to the extent hoped for by the advocates of labor reform, is it not proper that he should make some movement on his own part? Is it not possible to induce the man of toil to abandon some of the habits which augment his wretchedness ? Can he not be influenced to give to his family the support he now gives the saloon and tobacco vendor?
Thomas J. Itell.
You misread the quotation from TheStandard. We did not say that teachers belong to the most dangerous class in the world, nor that teachers believe in the sufficiency and desirability of our social adjustments; but that those teachers who do so believe and proclaim belong to the most dangerous class.
It is true enough that all the enemies of workingman do not he without; but the enemies that lie within are not peculiar to workingmen. Vice is not confined to the hovel; it may flourish in the palace. And if it is more repulsive in the hovel than in the palace, f hat is only because it lacks the cloak of wealth.
You ask how it would be if the workingman should refrain from supporting the saloon and the tobacco vendor. Under existing industrial conditions it would soon bring wages down so that he could not contribute to his family what he saved from the saloon and the tobacco shop. That difference would ultimately finding way to the landlord. This is not a plea for saloons, nor even for tobacco, but a reply to your question.
“the Standard ” on the Letter Carriers
Learning of the sickness of an acquaintance, who is on the force of letter carriers attached to Station — in this city. it was my duty to visit him. TheStandard of March 5 had come to band containing an article headed “The Letter Carriers,” and also an editorial paragraph calling attention to an attack by a petty officer at the head of the station on the manliness of the men under him. Taking the paper with me to beguile my friend with matter that he would naturally find of much interest. I paid my visit.
John Carver, as I will call him to concealing identity, lives on a floor of a house that is not overcrowded—for New York. He needs all the room be has for the accommodation of his family. I found him quite sick, seriously so, but with vigor enough to welcome a visitor and take part in free conversation. His ailment is from abnormal organic complications, and he is sometimes better and sometimes worse than on this day. Let me give you his statement as drawn out by my questions.
His comment on the two matters read from TheStandard, one being a list of grievance and the other a charge of insult added to injury, was, “It is all true.”
This man has been carrying letters for fifteen years. He began on a salary of $800, and has gone up to $1,000. His wife has borne him eight children, six of whom are living; and he thinks that as only one-fourth of the number have died, he has been “lucky” with his children on the border of a neighborhood where little ones die with frightful rapidity. The youngest children are small girls.
For fifteen years this father has trudged from early morning until late in the day over long routes with ofttimes a load too heavy for a man, in cold and heat, in sun and storm, to earn the living of his children by serving the public. He has had to report for duty every morning at 6 o'clock. If a man was ever live minutes hue, as would be the case sometimes with men living at a distance, from delay of cars, he was required to give an hour in making up of his pack and then to hand the same to a substitute for delivery, the regular carrier getting not one cent of pay for any part of this day. He was permitted to do as he pleased after that hours unpaid service. Indeed, time was nut counted until a man went out on his delivery tramp. It seemed as if the fear of the eight hour law was brooding in the mind of some one in authority. Time did not begin until a quarter past 7 a. m., when the men started om, and each man's time was noted as he returned from a trip. Then time began again at a quarter past 1, at a quarter past 11, at a quarter past 1, at a quarter past 3,at a quarter past 4, and at a quarter-past 6. As no time was counted when the men were at work in the station making up the mail matter, some twelve hours' labor could readily be made to appear as but about eight or nine in carrying.
Spies are put on the men. and those are especially watched who are thought to have manhood enough to talk about improving their condition in any way, such as “by petitioning congress or agitating the public conscience. The most trivial complaint brought against these men is received as an excuse to get rid of them. This man in whose sick room I sat has had three complains lodged against him during his service. These were grounded on trilling matters, and at least one seemed to have grown out of the dereliction of a coworker. The fact is that he is a sensible fellow, who knew his occupation to be his only sure means of earning bread, and that obedience to hard rules was a condition of keeping his place. Hewas strong and able to bear fatigue, and he had no bad habits to tempt him. As to drink, he has had that abhorrence of it which governs the teetotaler; and even now when stimulant is suggested for his sickness, he rebels against it.
He was strong and able to bear fatigue! Yes; but too much was required ofhim, and the Nemesis that comes to overtasked nature struck him suddenly. He tried last autumn, when the blow came, to stand under it, but tottered and fell. Coming to his feet again after a little absence and returning to duty he was told, by the official person who is expected toget all the work possible out of men, that he had better lookfor something else to do. Think of it! No attempt to write what or bow I think of it will be made.
For a little while an enfeebled, broken man limped painfully over the long distances and through the many hours. But—what else could be the end of such effort?—he came to a collapse. Now he must be nursed by an anxious and overworked wife; and now his pay all goes to the substitute who is on his route. and his univ income is $6 per week from a society to which he belongs.
Not long ago he was persuaded to be placed in one of our line hospitals. The physicians there undertook a thorough examination of his case, and necessarily pained and wearied him. Subsequent rest was denied him. At home he had been in the habit of sleeping in his underwear, but here, against his protest, it was taken from him according to rule: and. as no extra bed covering was given, the patient shivered through a miserable night. The next day he took advantage of a friend's visit and insisted on returning to his home.
His wife tells me that after he left for the hospital one found cause for the most poignant grief in discovering that he had arranged for no return. “Who will try to reveal in all its darkness the shadow that was on a brave heart—and is yet unlighted?
An Irish Hymn for the Queen's Jubilee
D. Bernards in Dublin Nation.
When breath from every clime is blown
Into a swelling gale of praise,
And incense circles around the throne,
And glory brings her wreathed mys
From east, from west—shall Erin alone
Stand silent scornful, in these days?
Oh no! we love our queen too well,
Too well we know our love and duty;
Our voices shall the chorus swell,
Our gifts will shine in worth and beauty,
And every heart beat with desire
To make the guerdon worth the honor;
We'll sing her fame in phrase of fire,
And place the flaming crown upon her.
Then haste with banner and trump and drum,
And shake the mist from the mountain heather,
And pluck its purple plumes as you come,
To deck your heads as you stop together;
And you—come up from the valley's gloom,
And cease your wailings and songs of sorrow.
This is the time of the primrose bloom,
And our queen reigns fifty years tomorrow.
Yes! fifty years of the pomp of war,
To teach the savage the gospel story;
And you were tied to the conqueror's ear,
And thrilled with every pulse of glory.
Then shake your purses, maidens and men;
Don't be niggard and scant in your measure;
Your rags are foul; but your huts in the glen
Are known right well to be stocked with treasure.
'Tis honor to honor you give again,
And your queen shall thank you, maidens and men.
What say you there, my friend in the crowd?
I sec your white head; speak up—speak loud.
Where are your children? God knows, not I;
Perhaps in the churchyard still they lie.
Your wife? Well, this is a world of sin;
Some fail and die; some sing as they spin;
But God's white Huger has marked us all,
And each must go at his own clear cal!—
But what has this to do with our queen?
If children rot and die on the green
Is she to blame? If your roofs Maze high,
Is she to temper the ruddy sky,
And call the waters of heaven to drown
The lire which sin on your heads brings down?
You talk like fools. A plague on .such speech'
I would that her tender words could reach
Your hearts of stone. By Heaven! I swear
She'd rather forfeit one silver hair
Than see your children starving and bare,
Whipped by winter's pitiless air;
And yet you hold your pockets tight
Against all law of God and right.
When Crime can wanton in cloth of gold,
And call on Glory to shadow her sin,
And fairest pearls of earth can hold,
Tis the devil"s own world we're living in.
When all the glory of earthly things
Is claimed by power, and gladly given,
The tattered banner that idly swings
In chancel dim is a link to heaven.
The victor flashes a sacred sword,
And a holy sign sits on his helm;
He goes to do the work of the Lord
As regent over this earthly realm;
And round the world the trumpets blow
For England's pride and for England's power;
Blest are the people who kneel and know
That God has sent them a fruitful dower;
And blind the nation that will not see
An angel of light in England's wings.
God pity us then, for such we be,
Who silent stand whilst the chorus sings.
But we will sing to another strain,
While sorrow pipes with a failing reed,
And tears will fall like the winter's rain,
And heart wounds troubled again will bleed.
Fifty years of a golden reign—
Under the stars no prouder station;
Fifty years of sorrow and pain—
Under the stars no sadder nation.
Fifty years of a sweetened life,
Crowned with honor and blest with fame;
Fifty years of famine and strife,
Crushed with iron and scourged with flame.
A crystal cup of bitterest tears,
A golden goblet of noblest blood.
This be our tribute for fifty years
Of a reign so great,so wise, so good.
The Modern Moloch
David Lowry in Pittsburgh Bulletin.
Five minutes to seven. Dow's great factory was as silent as a churchyard. The great, broad belts hung limp. the monster fly wheels seemed to be so many obstructions, barring the light. The long shafts that transmitted power to the hundreds of machines, looked like cold rays of light. The machinery bad a grim look. Much of it was as forbidding as the teeth that grin in the jaws of a skull. That was the impression it made upon Doctor Jayne as he accompanied John Dow. Jr., through department after department.
“How many people do you employ?”
“Nearly eight hundred on our pay roll—men and boys,”
“Keeps you pretty close. I suppose you ever get a holiday.”
Dow, Jr., laughed. “On the contrary. my father goes away whenever he desires change; I go off every fall, hunting and fishing; stay away two and three weeks—been away six; and the shop never missed us.”
Dr. Jayne's look of wonder invited the explanation. given with pardonable pride.
“System—method, doctor. If I do say it myself. Dr. Jayne, you won't find a factory in the country, giving employment to so many hands, where everything runs as smoothly as at Dow's. We do everything methodically here—all the departments divided upon systematic lines, regulated like clock work,”
“Yes,” said the doctor, “I have been told, a thousand miles, away from home, that Dow's is regarded as the model establishment of the country.”
“The only way to run a factory,” said Dow, Jr., in a matter of fact way, that impressed the doctor, who was making a round of the workshops in quest of information he deemed essential to the completeness of a book he had in hand.
“How do you keep track of your people? So many coming and going. I suppose you don't know your own operatives.”
Dow, Jr., took out his watch, glanced from it to a clock at the end of the room they were in, and said:
“Just wait a minute and you'll see. Stand near this window, doctor.”
The doctor observed a number of men and boys coming into the factory yard. All carried dinner pails or baskets in their hands. They trooped into the mill in droves, by twos and threes, singly, laughing, talking, pushing and shoving each other, until they entered the department the doctor was in. There the flow of good natured chaff ceased as the operatives took their places at the machines they attended to. As they passed the timekeeper's office doctor heard the timekeeper and his persistent repeating in monotonous tones:
“Thirty-six; seventeen; three hundred four; forty-five; eleven; seven hundred one; two; nine; twenty-one; five hundred,” as the arrival of the operatives was recorded.
Suddenly a gong sounded—the doctor started; simultaneously the long, narrow belts and the big, broad belts became taut; the monster fly wheels revolved; the long line of pulleys overhead whirled; the machines, big and little, champed as they seemed to whet their teeth on red, hot and cold iron, munching it in their jaws like ravenous monsters, and tossing the iron out again like so many husks or empty shells after they had absorbed the kernel. The sound that filled the room as iron met iron, welding, cutting, shaving and pounding, was deafening; the whirling pulleys and eccentric movements of the machinery added to the confusion.
Seven o'clock precisely, and to a second, every man, woman and boy in Dow's factory was at work. Doctor Jayne readily excused Dow, Jr., who was cal led away by a handsome young fellow, a friend evidently, and voiced wonderingly at the operations of a machine beside him. A very small boy attended the machine. The movements of the small boy's arms and hands were so regular that Doctor Jayne insensibly associated him with the machine. It was difficult to tell where the machine ended and the boy began. The small boy never made a false move. The bit of iron was lifted with one hand from one point, the same piece in another form was caught up dexterously thirty seconds later from the machine, although seemingly the same instant. However, as the machine manipulated thirty pieces in a minute, it followed as a matter of course that the small boy was not slinging the same piece of iron at himself through the machine as rapidly as appearances indicated. The small boy's eyes were never off the machine; his hands seemed to be part and parcel of it. It made the doctor tired to look at him. He looked at the boy machine, or machine boy, fully ten minutes before he discovered that the boy's foot was a part of the mechanical operation. Hands, eyes, feet—all were going—all on the jump.
“Curious, isn't it?”
Dr. Jayne turned to find Dow, Jr., at his elbow.
“That boy makes one hundred and fifty thousand movements every day. First, he picks up the blank from the tray, puts it in the groove, while he removes with his other hand the piece coming out over here. If you notice, every time he reaches out his right hand, he lifts his left foot, presses this treadle, and he has to toss the piece from the machine into the elevator.”
“What's his name?”
“You'll have to ask him. All we know is that he runs number eleven.”
“He don't look eleven,” said the doctor. Dow, Jr., smiled.
“We have them of all ages.” Then, addressing the boy: “You'll have a holiday tomorrow. We'll shut down.”
The small boy blinked both eves and nodded and Dow., Jr, led Dr. Jayne through the other departments.
When the doctor returned to his office, he tried to estimate the probable length of time that the very small boy who operated number eleven in Dow's factory could keep it up. There were fifty-two weeks in a year, sixty working hours in a week in round numbers. Nearly 50,000,000 motions in a year. Then the doctor drew a mean in estimating the pulse—what looked like a very neat calculation caused the doctor to ponder profoundly. If a man or woman had a little rest—recreation now and then, it wouldn't be so bad, but the outlook for the small boy was not encouraging. Somehow, the doctor could not dismiss the small boy from his mind the next day. He heard the whirling, whirling, whirling of the pulleys; the clamp, clamp, clamp of iron; smelled the oil that greased the million bearings in Dow's factory. The impression made by the very small boy and the ravenous machine was not a pleasant one.
He was sitting alone before a ruddy fire (he was a bachelor) when the calculations growing around the small boy were broken by a summons. The summons was unexpected, but Dr. Jayne was one of the professional men who believe they owe something to their fellows. He accompanied his visitor to a squalid part of the city, ascended a long, dark flight of stairs, and was ushered into a meanly-furnished room, provided with a lounge and an old-fashioned truck bed. The lounge was falling apart. The truck bed had a thin straw tick on it, and a ragged quilt—no blanket. On the tick lay a boy, with his face to the wall.
There were foul smells in the alley below the window. The house had a sour smell. The walls were damp. Wretched poverty was stamped on everything in the room; there was a sound of drunken revelry in the upper and lower rooms and in the alley.
“What is the matter with him?” An old, old woman, with snow-white hair, eyes dimmed with age and palsied hands, rose from the lounge with difficulty, and in a voice scarcely louder than a whisper, said:
“It's—like—a fever, sir.”
She stood beside the bed as the doctor spoke to the boy. “Turn your face this way and look up at me.”
The little limp form turned slowly over, and Doctor Jayne looked down into the bright eyes, on the burning cheeks, of the boy he had observed in Dow's factory. The doctor looked at him intently, felt his pulse, then, in low, measured tones:
“A crime! a shameful crime! Overtasked— murdered!—slow murder—murdered by inches.” Then, turning to the old woman: “What made these marks on his wrists and arms?”
The boy turned his face away. The old woman looked distressed. Her hands were moving up and down her faded gown; they caught each other and fell helplessly away as she answered in that loud whisper that was more effective than any volume of sound uttered by human lips:
“His father—my son—beat him.”
“What! Beat a little fellow like that!” The doctor, in spite of his familiarity with degradation and brutality, was very angry. “My son drinks:—does nothing but drink. These holidays, sir—people treat him—he—gets drunk—somehow—and scolded— scolded so and—I couldn't help it, sir—I couldn't.”
Her wretched gown was up at her eyes, but the doctor was occupied with the boy. There was something here worse than fever. The boy's nervous system had received a severe shock. He questioned the boy closely; went to a drug store near, returned, administered some of the medicine he had brought, left instructions with the grandmother and returned to his office, reflecting upon the problem of life more seriously than he had ever done before, and he had the reputation of a very considerate, thoughtful man.
He visited the fever stricken boy early the next morning.
“He—didn't sleep more—than an—hour, sir, all night," the grandmother whispered, wringing her bony hands helplessly.
The doctor looked at his patient, who was tossing his arms and moving his head.
“Hes—been—flighty all the time.”
The doctor turned the torn quilt down, felt the boy's body, his head; timed his pulse—then suddenly turned to the window and looked out.
When the old woman spoke to him, he met her look with a steady gaze. There was no sign of emotion; his voice was a trifle lower, perhaps.
“It is very hard to determine. The chances are against him. Have you any other means than this boy supplied you?”
The old woman shook her head. The doctor made a mental note. Then he administered a powder, looked long and earnestly at his patient, turned and left the house with a pre-occupied air.
He returned again at noon.
A bleary-eyed wretch. with bloated face, and shambling gait—a creature whom prolonged debauchery had robbed of all that Ls noble and spirited in man, lurched against him in the entry.
“Are you—you the—doctor's been tending my kid?”
Doctor Jayne shoved him aside with as little concern as he would push a dog from his path, but before he had stepped on the stairs the drunken wretch added :
“Cos — 'cos — you're not wanted any longer. The boy's dead—dead, d'ye hear!”
The doctor was going up stairs—suddenly he paused, descended, and addressed a slatternly- looking woman, who stood in a doorway.
“Is the boy dead?”
“Died half an hour ago.” Dr. Jayne walked away. As he was returning to his office a familiar voice accosted him. He turned to meet the familiar face of Dow, Sr.
“Heard you looked through my factory the other day. My son spoke of it. Just back from Colorado. Wonderful country out there. You found everything in apple pie order in my factory. I'm satisfied at heart. Took me twelve years, sir—twelve years to perfect my system. I don't mind telling you—you are not in the business—that, after all is said that can be said, the chief reason, the real secret of my success has been—you can't guess what, doctor. I'll wager you anything you can't.”
“I need not try,” said the doctor.
“Well—in two words—I've always kept my machinery in repair. I used to rely on two machinists when I had live hundred hands. I doubled them—it paid—put another on—gained right along by it; now I have eight hundred hands, bow many men do you think I have looking after the machinery alone—I mean. keeping it in proper repair?”
“I will not venture to guess, Mr. Dow.”
“Ten—, sir, who do nothing but watch the machinery and repair it. I have a systematic factory, I flatter myself.”
“The ten system is very fine, indeed,” replied Dr. Jayne. “A very fine system,” he added, meditatively, as they separated.
Women In Livery
And People Wonder Why American Girls Don't Take Kindly to Service
New York Letter in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Here is an accurate picture of—whom do you suppose? A Fifth avenue nursemaid. Where is her white cap? She doesn't wear any. And her apron? That is gone, too. How, then, is she to be distinguished from pretty girls who are not servile? By means of her wide white linen collar and cuffs. The fashionable matron concerns herself acutely about the costuming of the household servants. Just the same as in clothing herself, she seeks to keep different and ahead of the multitude.
White cups and aprons on children"s nurses have become common. Therefore the swell mot her sends her offspring out for an airing with a newly dressed servitor. This young person is clad plainly, but neatly. Her bonnet is stylish, her bodice is fitted like a glove, her skirts are gracefully draped, and her feet are in French heeled gaiters; but conspicuous badges of her menial calling are a dead white collar and equally clean but glossless cuffs. These impart the desired singularity, and at the same time are new.
A Corner in Vacant Land in This City
Real Estate Record and Guide.
In the past history of the country there have been periods of real estate speculation in which nearly all the land of the country was involved. The last great speculative land craze culminated in 1837. It was brought about by a paper money inflation, and while it lasted was a veritable South Sea bubble. The future was discounted 10,000 per cent. Vacant land near New York was divided off into building lots and held at prices which would have required double the population of the United States at that time to be located near the city to have justified the estimated values. We have had numerous local speculations. A few years ago there was such an one in the extreme north west, including Manitoba. It was brought about by a rush of emigration to a fertile region just opened up by railroads. Just now there is a land craze in southern California. Fabulous prices are being paid for lots in Los Angeles, and in farms near by. It will of course, in time, come to grief, as did the northwestern speculation. Then there are quite a number of local “booms” due to the wonderful increase in the population of places like Duluth, St. Paul. Kansas City, and some twenty or thirty other centers of population west of the Mississippi. Here in New York there is danger of an unwise speculation in vacant lots on the line of improvement. There is practically a corner in vacant land on this island, and thence the danger that we may get lots so high that it will check building, and our surplus population will be forced to seek cheaper houses on the other side of the East, North and Harlem rivers.
What Is a Democrat?
Hemstead, Tex., Advance Guard.
A democratic gentleman of this city wants his paper stopped for the reason that he don't want to read any such ideas as tend to give land to the people. The gentleman is a democrat! Could he answer truly and define democratic principles that would be a test of democracy? He may be a high protective tariff man or a free trader and still be a democrat or a republican. He may be a bank man or an anti- ank man, and still be a member of almost any party except greenbackers. He may be centralist or state's righter, monopolist or anti-monopolist, for the Blair bill or against it, and either party will swallow him. He would be at a loss to name one thing that a man has to believe in, to be a member of either party, or to point out what, if he do not believe in it, would debar him from affiliation. Without a policy, without a purpose, save office; without a single test of membership, the two organized machines are paving the way to difficulties they wot not of, The gentleman must ever grope in darkness if he continue to live on tradition, and shut his eyes to arguments and investigation. The world moves, and true principles must be the result of intelligent and persistent study.
The Shadow on the Wall
W. A. Taylor.
What are brain and blood and muscle,
But slaves of the land owning man?
The serfs of the priests of Mammon,
And the game of clique and clan:
From railway kings to sharpers
It is catch and keep who can.
What boots it that honest Labor
Works on for his daily bread,
And starves m the bitter struggle,
Or dies 'neath the heartless tread
Of the sleek and stall-fed cattle,
By the pompous placemen led?
The law is made for the trickster,
The load for the man that works;
The millions are the Christians–
The monopolists the Turks;
There is meat and wine for the masters,
The lash for the slave that works.
And the haggard lips of Labor
Have begged vainly for relief,
To find the clutch grow tighter
Of monopolist and thief—
The bauble span of his freedom
Grow day by day more brief.
And when on some black to-morrow
The giant, goaded and blind,
Shall smite in his wrath his master,
One blow for his babes and kind.
The pale reapers. of the whirlwind
Will know that they sowed the wind.
Dreaming Of Affluence
Melinda's Sour Bread Makes Faraway Moses See Sights
Well, Melinda has kiln-dried another dose of sour bread. We sleep in separate beds now—two nightmares in one bed is too hoss-tile for comfort. Melinda sleeps up stairs and dreams of murder and ghostly fantastics, and I repose in the spare bed over the kitchen. I call it the spare bed, on account of the spareness of the straw tick and the leanness of the covering.
Last night my dreams took a happy turn, and I dreamed I had suddenly rose to affluence, with all its comforts and human meanness.
I carried a gold watch weighing over a pound and a sanctimonious smile that was all deceit and a yard wide. I was surprised, in my sleep even, to find how easily my old heart would crack open and slop sympathy for the poor. In the opening of my dream I imagined I saw society consolidated and solidified into something like a large rock. I was near the middle, with that gob of sour bread transformed into a whetstone and whetting the point off my appetite. Pretty soon Progress came along in the shape of a large lever, and it drove its point into the rock, just below my location, and began to split the rock asunder. The upper half began to move upward, and the lower half was pressed deeper into the mud. Then Pride came along and began to label the different strata, naming topmost kings, princes, lords, and on down the upper half till it reached me, and I was dubbed Capitalist. Then in the lower half came mechanics, machinists, farmers, side-hill farmers, teamsters, peddlers, beggars and paupers. I looked down and saw many old friends below mo, but society prevented me from going down to them, and they were loaded too heavy to come to me. the farther progress—in the form of improved machinery— slipped between us, the farther the two halves of society retreated from each other.
Then the vision changed and men and things took on natural forms and I found myself a pursy bondholder with a monstrous appetite for money and political honor.
I was living in a large house, reclining in a stuffed chair and smoking imported cigars. Sweet music seemed to fill the air with its melodies. This illusion came from the tramp of a tender bedbug on the drum of my ear. Our spare bed is full of the little critters. Melinda was sitting in the bay window sewing rare lace on a pair of pantalets, which the missionary society* were going to send to the little heathens, and Jeremiah, my dog, was out in the kitchen licking the dinner pot, while our French cook was down in the cellar getting a bottle of old wine for our stomach's sake.
Pretty soon Melinda looked up and remarked:
“I read in the Canootville Tooter this morning that there is great distress among the laboring class. Do you know anything about it?”
“Yes,” I remarked : “I did hear that the cheap whiskey they drank is awfully adulterated.”
“But a great many of them are out of work and their families are suffering for the necessaries of life,” she continued.
“Well, what of it?” said I. “It's none of my business. I don't belong to that class of people.”
“But you live in the same world,” she went on.
“But I don't have to work like they do,” I growled.
“Because I've got lots of money.”
“How did you get it?”
“Blamed if I know. I guess dad made it in the soap business.”
“Where is your money?”
“I've got it invested in land.”
“Do you farm the land?”
“Naw! I'm just holding it till the price comes up?”
“Will that benefit the country?”
“Naw! It's for my own benefit I'm holding it.”
“Did your dad make any land when he was making soap?”
“You blarsted old idiot! If you'd read the Bible a little you'd know who made it. God made the world and all that's in it.”
“What did He make it for?”
“For the benefit of the people.”
“But, you say this land you are holding is not benefiting the people—only benefiting you.”
“Well, ain't I a people?”
This last answer settled her. She saw at once that one rich man is more valuable in the eyes of congress and the Creator than a thousand poor laborers, and she bounced out of the room in a passion, because she couldn't argue against the logic used by her old, land grabbing hubby. Then I read my usual few verses in the Old Testament and went out on the street to cheat somebody in a highly moral way.
By and by I met a poor man in search of work. He removed his hat and asked me if I had any work to give to a deserving man. These public solicitations always touch my heart, and it soon began to bleed like a stuck pig for the deserving poor. I told him I had some work I wished done, and if he would work for a dollar a day and board himself, I'd give him a job right off.
“But,” says the cheeky scamp, “I have a large family to support, and I can not afford to work for the wages you offer.”
“A large family!” I exclaimed in surprise; “What business have you with a large family?”
“I couldn't help it; God gave me the power of reproduction, the talent to love, permission to marry, and these little kids are the result; and I hope it's no offense against society, as long as I am willing to work for their support.” My heart was so full of concentrated sympathy that I couldn't answer him, and I hobbled on down street and soon forgot all about him.
The vision shifted again, and I thought I was lying in a bed of ease, trying to sleep; but my soul was troubled in regard to the suffering poor, and it wiggled around in my bosom and made me feel very uneasy. All this came from the wad of sour bread, which laid on mystomach as contented and indigestible as a bronze dog on the front porch of a parsonage. And I know that a great many old skinflints imagine they have a troubled soul when it is only a touch of dyspepsia, and a few doses of stomach bitters will remove all their remorse of conscience.
In the next shift of the vision old Satan came for me, and he had his left horn through my stomach and began to drag me around the room (I must have had awful griping pains about that time) and kick up and toss his head, like a, brindle cow with a big pumpkin on her horn. As he went prancing around the room with me, I began to grab up articles of value and stick them in my pockets, and finally I got hold of my safe, where I kept all my bonds and cash, and tried to take it away with me. Old Satan reared and pitched and cracked his tail in anger, but I held on to the safe, and soon it began to move, and Satan cracked his tail louder than ever and gave me a pitch in the air, and I went up through the roof of my palace and came down again with a big, healthy thud, and woke up and found my self lying on the floor, and heard Melinda loudly inquiring whether the chimney had fallen down.
I never did believe in dreams or night noises; but if any one discovers the shadow of truth in this one, and will send the shadow to me in a sealed envelope, I will give him the best splint broom in the shop.
Labor Is Not Free
A Detroit Paper's Criticisms of Mayor Hewitt's Utterances
Detroit Evening News.
Mayor Hewitt's recent illness did not- improve his temper. Like convalescents generally he is peevish, and the recurring twinges of his pain fill him with adesire to vent his anger on something. No fitter object offers itself than the labor organizations, for they made a gallant light against him in their effort to elect Henry George mayor instead. So he proceeds to spill his bad blood on the Knights of Labor. On two occasions has he done this and his outcries have been as devoid of argument and reason and as full of expletive and bald opinion as those of sick old men usually are.
And, of course, he is inconsistent. He fears that the north is fast catering the state in which the south was before the abolition of slavery; he claims that where labor is free and the citizen may dispose of himself as he sees fit, progress is inevitable even with few natural resources.
Were labor “free” there would be no occasion for such association of workingmen. But it is not true. All the natural resources needed in the production of wealth are in the hands of a few, placed there by the ancestors of the present toiling generation, who, whatever their right to despoil themselves of their own birthright, had no right to rob their unborn millions of children. The possessors of these resources are masters. They are strengthened by the forces of nature—intended to serve as incentives to work—in their hold. Men must go to them or starve and shiver in the cold. The citizen cannot dispose of himself as he sees tit. He must take the terms the master otters him. And the master himself is not free, for he is compelled by the same powers which drive the men, to conform to the system. Under these circumstances the workingman cannot be blamed fur supporting an organization. membership in which is “the one condition” on which he can get work. He has a choice of alternatives: submission to an irresponsible employer—irresponsible to those whom he uses for his enrichment—or submission to a body of his fellow workingmen, all with interests the same as his, who, combined, have the power to exact better conditions for themselves than those the greed of bosses would impose.
The Yeast At Work
An Essay on Indian Civilization Read by a Student in Hamline University
The students of Hamline university, at Minneapolis, Minn., being requested to prepare essays on making the Indian a citizen and dividing his land, one of them, W. E. Brokaw, read the following, which shows that sound ideas are beginning to penetrate the crust of scholastic doctrine:
We are apt to think of the Indian with contempt. The average American will tell you that there. is no Indian civilization. Hut there is no race, however low it may be in the scale of humanity. that has not some redeeming feature. The Indian is not an exception. Did you ever hear of a famine among a tribe of Indiana where all the members of that tribe did not suffer? Do you know of any race, or people, where that new labor motto,
“An injury to one is the concern of all,” is as I fully applied as it is among the Indians? The one thing which most astonished some of the Indian chiefs, on their visit to “Washington was the sight of vast wealth and extreme poverty side by side; millionaires and paupers living in the same block. And this very thing, that so surprised the Indian chiefs, is today the puzzling problem of all civilized nations.
The redeeming feature of the Indian civilization is the equal right of every member of a tribe to the use of the resources of nature possessed by that tribe. If the tribe is rich, the individual members of the tribe are rich But in our boasted civilization the richer our nation becomes the poorer the masses of the people become, while a few individuals absorb that wealth.
The objection is often brought forward that their system may do for a primitive civilization, especial emphasis being placed on the word “primitive.” If by primitive theory mean original, their statement is true, proof of which may be found in the law God gave to the Israelites by the hand of Moses. But they usually mean that the Indian system is too crude for cur use. If the Indian system contains the right principle we should develop that principle, not maintain a system founded on an opposite one.
Let me call your attention to the tribe of Indians who dwelt in what is now known as Peru, South America. Robertson, in his History of America, estimates that there were forty million of them killed in the conquest of Peru. They accumulated a wealth which it took a century of Spanish indolence and extravagance to waste. They surpassed modem civilization in many things. They established a system of government in which the equal rights of every human being were recognized and observed; under which millions of people lived and labored as one family, with everything in common, knowing all arts but war, and worshiping a deity whose attributes were almost parallel to those of the Christian God.
The territory occupied by the Incas was about the size of the state of Minnesota. The evidence of the density of their population is traceable in the ruins of their country. It is also noticeable that all their land was used. Could we, with an equal population, live in as restricted a territory, under our system of government? Our nation is scattered over a territory nearly fifty times the size of theirs, containing a far greatest supply of natural resources, and yet thousands of our fellow Citizens suffer from the lack of things necessary to sustain a mere animal existence. Is it any wonder, then, that the Indians prefer to retain their present system of land tenure?
It is estimated that there are three hundred and sixty thousand Indians in the United States. The present law permits them to file homestead entries, which they cannot commute, encumber or transfer, and which must remain the property of the original entryman for twenty years from the date on which the patent is issued. Very few Indians have taken advantage of this law. And, as the land belongs to them, I question our right to compel them to adopt our system. No one would think of compelling any railroad corporation to divide the land they hold into allotments, and thus issue it to their individual members. But this is what our congress proposes to do with the Indians. It is often said that the Indians hold much more land than. they use; that we should not at low them to roam over a vast tract of land, keeping it out of use, when there are so many Americans seeking farms. Ave there no Americans and foreigners holding more land than they use? “O, yes; but they paid for it,” some one says. Some of them did: some did not. But it was stolen from the Indians before they paid for it. I think that if no one held more land than he used, there would be no need of men going west to hunt for farms. There is plenty of unused, fertile soil in our midst without driving the Indians from their land to make room for us.
I believe that the founders of this republic had a better idea of the proper system of government than most of us have. Thomas Jefferson was one of the most prominent of the men who signed that memorable document in which we find these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
We get a glimpse of his interpretation 67 that passage by the following statement, which he made in a letter to a friend: “I hold it to be a self-evident truth, that the land belongs in usufruct to the living.”' That word “usufruct” contains the secret. Its definition is thus given: “For temporary use, without power to transfer to another.”
The well-known writer, Wendell Phillips, once said, “Private property in land is an infinity.” Thus, from the high authorities I have mentioned, and from the evils of our present system, which are apparent on every hand, it is evident that we would do well to find a better system than that of the Indians before depriving them of their birthright. One of the evils of our system is daily made prominent by the craze for speculation in real estate which seems to have taken possession of the “twin cities of the northwest.” As I have not time to go into details, I will close with a quotation from Mrs. Gougar of Indiana. Writing from Ireland, voicing the conviction that had pierced her soul after site had traveled that afflicted isle in search of the cause of its poverty, she described the landlordism which covers it like a shroud, and said; “It is the sum of all villainies entrenched behind law.”
How it Used to be in California
San Francisco People.
Last week an advertisement offering some of the bleak sand hills near the Cliff house for sale said:
“It is proposed to erect a few handsome dwellings in this locality in order to enhance the value of the remaining lots.”
This is the land question in a nutshell. All land is practically worthless until human need gives it value. The greater the need the more the vampire who chances to have secured a “title” to it demands.
How quickly titles lost their value in '40, yet how completely the common sense of the miners secured perfect justice.
“Is this land yours?” asked Mr. Miner of Sir Monopolist.
“Aye,” growled Sir M. “Got a grant from the Mexican government in the year one.”
“Actually using it now?”says Mr. M. briskly.
“Not just now,” drawls Sir M.
“I must trouble you to get out of my way, then,” answers Mr. M., and that ended the matter.
This was the miners' law and gospel. Dividing the different districts into variously sized claims. they permitted a miner to hold only one claim, and that only so long as he was actually working it. The moment he abandoned it for another his right ceased.
The same law could with equal justice control every acre in the United States.
It Would be Rough on Dann, but—
From the Sun.
It is calculated by cautious and well informed statisticians that if the whole wealth of the United States, all its property of every nature, were put into one mass and divided equally among the population, each individual would then have only $900.
The messenger boys of Boston were in better luck than the New York boys, for they carried their strike When thirty-five of them walked out of the Milk street station, it was a total surprise to the superintendent, and it was more of a surprise when he received telegrams informing him that boys from other stations were falling into a procession with them. He soon received a committee from them, who told him that they wanted car fare when called to go beyond certain described limits. They also demanded that they should look to one “boss” for orders, as they had been receiving them from operators, clerks, office managers and linemen. Their demands were granted at once.
A correspondent of the Pittsburgh Labor Tribune, a miner, does not draw so pleasant picture of life in Alabama as do the “boomers” of that state. He speaks of several large strikes as going on at the mines, of destitution among the miners, and of free miners working side by side with convicts under contract.
Mrs. L. M. Barri' of the general executive board, K. of L-, said in addressing D. A. 51 in Newark one evening last week, that she had sought work as a sewing woman in Newark, and found women working for $2.35 a week. She said that ten years ago there were but 300 women working as cigarmakers in this country, while now there are 19,400.
At the monthly meeting of the trades and labor council of Winnipeg on the 2d inst. the statements in regard to labor of a pamphlet Just published on “the industries of Winnipeg” were discussed. They were to the effect that living was cheaper and wages higher in Winnipeg than in Toronto and the other cities of Canada. Members of the council characterized them as misleading and inaccurate, and the opinion was expressed that such pamphlets were printed in order to induce immigration for the purpose of cutting down wages. A price list of the necessaries of housekeeping in Winnipeg and Toronto will be prepared and sent east. The rates of wages in various trades in Winnipeg were published in the Manitoban giving the above facts. They ran in the ski lied trades about $2.50 per day. There were many men unemployed.
Robert Howard gives in the Boston Labor Leader some interesting figures in regard to English trades unions: “The United society of boltmakers and iron shipbuilders at the close of 1885 had 27,795 members on the roll, with an income of £70,703, or $350,000, and £38,317 accumulated funds. The Amalgamated carpenters and joiners had 25,781 members on the roll, with an income of $300,000, and over £250,000 accumulated funds. The Amalgamated society of protective cotton skinners have a membership of 16,510, with over $270,000 annual income, and $175,000 accumulated funds. The Amalgamated railway servants' society is the wealthiest society per capita, they having 9,054 members, with $70,000 annual income, and over $275,000 accumulated funds, or about $26 per member.
The New Jersey Unionist is getting up a testimonial to Assemblyman John Donohue.
The Chicago Tribune is authority for the Statement that the city ran behind last seasons record of packing 700,000 hogs. It adds: “Looking at the whole subject, it is therefore evident that a shortage of 700,000 hogs this season means a loss of $700,000 in wages, and that at least 5,000 men who were employed last season failed to find work.”
The mortgage record of Cass county, Iowa, for the first six days in March, is printed in the Atlantic Industrial West. It containsseventy-seven entries and amounts to $44,510. The same paper says that the records show that $3,000,000 in mortgages is drawing interest in that county and $5,000,000 in Montgomery county.
W. S. Wandby, a well known printer and clerk in the National bureau of statistics, calls attention to the rapid decline in printers' wages. In fifty of the cities and towns in thirty-five states the average for the union scales was, for weekly papers, in 1875, $19.05; in 1885. $15.90; morning newspapers, per 1,000 ems, 1875, 46 cents; 1885, 38; evening newspapers, 1875, 43 cents; 1885. 34. Mr. Wandby has spent several months lately in Pennsylvania collecting statistics. The average of printers1 wages in places in that state where there are no unions, he says, is $6 a week, or 18 cents per 1,000 ems.
Christina Schultz, age 21, with her parents, arrived at Castle garden Dec. 1,1885, from Russia, and immediately started for central Dakota. On the same day that she declared her intention to become a citizen of the United States she filed upon a preemption claim and entered a tract under the timber culture law, making 330 acres. In May, 1886, she proved up on her preemption, paying $1.25 per acre, and at once took a homestead, which she lived on s ix months and purchased Dec. 1, 1886. At the age of 22, one year and a few days from Russia, this single woman acquired from the government 320 acres in fee and 160 contingent upon raising ten acres of trees. All she did to get the 320 acres was to build a small frame “snack” (the settler's term for a cabin) 10×12 feet and break ten to twelve acres on each claim, being careful to live on the land during each period of six months. From this it would seem that our government extends no special advantages to our own Citizens in the settlement of the public lands. The American has only the advantage of the difference in traveling expenses over the European, and steerage rates for an ocean passage range from $15 to $30. The answer so often made to those who urge that the land question is the labor question—namely, that our public lands are open to settlement for those who want work—serves quite as well, then, for the discontented anywhere in Europe as in this country. What remains of our public domain can be taken up by any people qualified for American citizenship. But a settler upon it must be capable of farming his land and be possessed of from $200 to $600 to pay for his claim, make improvements and meet living expenses pending a harvest. The poor of Chicago and the poor of Vienna are, therefore, equally unable to become settlers in Dakota.
Mr. N. O. Nelson of St. Louis has reproduced in pamphlet form the articles on profit sharing which he contributed to the Age of Steel, the calls from manufacturers in all parts of the country for information on the subject being frequent and constantly increasing. Dr. Edward W. Bemis has also a chapter on profit sharing in New England in a late publication on co-operation. He says that only two or three failures in profit sharing can be found in this country or Europe, and even in these cases, where, for reasons not wholly the fault of the men, the plan was finally abandoned, there was no failure of a company that tried the plan.
The Farmers' alliance is a secret society, though the secret work is very short and simple. As soon as a lodge has members enough to exert an influence in a locality it asks the merchants to make bids for its trade. The lodge binds itself to give the successful bidder all the trade of its members, and he furnishes the goods bought at a fixed discount. Thus each member can obtain a dime's worth at little more than wholesale prices. The merchant then secures low freight rates and the best terms by ordering by the car load.
At the recent fair held at Wheeling by the Knights of Labor, the first book ever made of sheets of Bessemer steel was exhibited. It had 400 pages, measured 8 by 10 inches, weighed 9¾ pounds, and it would have taken 500 of its sheets to make an inch in thickness. The cover was of steel, highly ornamented, and the leaves gilt-edged. A collection of other novelties, such as flowers, slipper pockets, whisk broom brackets, and bunches of grass, all of Bessemer steel, was also shown, and was the first ever made.
Negroes in Lincoln county, Ga., who have bought goods and mortgaged crops to pay for them have got so far behind hand that they are said to have organized to resist the officials charged with collecting the debts. Of course they will get worsted in this, but, says the Manufacturers' Gazette, the lesson will be worth all its cost if it teaches these lately enfranchised Citizens that no worse slavery ever existed in this country than that of debt.
Application has been made to the general executive board of the Knights of Labor, it is said, for a national charter for the skilled and unskilled iron and steel workers, the idea being to bring all of the knights engaged in this kind of work under one head. The necessity for a national charter has become more apparent, it is said, since the trouble between the knights and the amalgamated association of iron and steel workers at Mingo Junction.
The brotherhood of carpenters and joiners of America has under consideration a proposition to erect a building in Philadelphia, to be used as their headquarters, at a cost of not less than $25,000.
A few weeks ago a meeting of the unemployed laboring men of Amsterdam, Holland, was so largely attended that fears were entertained of a bread riot, and the may or issued a proclamation informing the people that his office would be open for audiences on the following morning. Never before had an interview been granted by the mayor to the working classes, and its occurrence is a certain proof of the somber political cloud hanging over the city. When the interview took place the city hall was overflowing with a crowd of pale, emaciated looking men, holding in their hands certificates signed by the prefects of police that the bearer was actually in sore need of bread. According to the official list signed by the mayor's secretary, 2,243 certificates of this description were handed in that day. The streets leading to the city hall were crowded with women and children, and when, at 4 in the afternoon, the city fathers gave orders to distribute 1,500 loaves of bread, the scenes enacted defy description. Men and women fought like ravenous beasts to possess a loaf of bread, and in fifteen minutes the supply was exhausted.
Through the Central labor union of Rochester, 10,000 mechanics and laborers have notified their employers that, beginning with April 1, they will work only nine hours a day.
The New York bricklayers' unions have made another contract with the Builders' association to work nine hours a day at forty-five cents an hour, for one year beginning May 1, and not to strike during that time. The master masons have promised the bricklayers not to join the boss's association. The bricklayers' unions are not to order any strike against the members of the Mason Builders' association, and in case differences arise between employers and employees the matter is to be brought before a joint committee on arbitration.
The Cleveland Workman prints a letter from an operative in a sewing machine factory, stating that when a man leaves it his place is always filled by a boy. The editor replies that the displacement of man labor by boy labor is a serious and growing evil in Cleveland, and is doing a great deal to produce a decrease in the marriage rate there, as men hesitate to take upon themselves the burden of a family when they are likely to be displaced by a cheap boy just when the burden is heaviest.
At the iron works of W. D. Wood & Co. at McKeesport, Penn., on Monday, the puddlers and knobbers were discharged because they had joined the Amalgamated association. The measures against boycotting lately introduced in state legislatures are spoken of by Knights of Labor as worth very little as weapons in the hands of combative employers. In Milwaukee arrangements have been made by the order to enforce boycotts in a manner that cannot be reached by the law. In Chicago two district assemblies have decided that in case of a boycott they will merely commend the goods of the boycotted person to “the consideration and attention” of fellow knights.
The printing committee of the Massachusetts house of representatives has passed a resolution by which it is directed that the state printing shall be awarded, not to the lowest bidder, but, through a special committee of officers of the state and the legislature, to such a bidder as, in their judgment, will perform the work according to the best interests of the commonwealth and at such rates as shall permit equitable compensation for employees.
The National federation of miners and mine laborers are making efforts to consolidate the men of that occupation with a view to equalizing the scale in all parts of the country. An advance of five cents per ton will be attempted on May 1 and another of live cents on Nov. 1.
The Philadelphia Record says that seventeen persons in every one hundred engaged in the tobacco industry are children. During the last decade for every two additional men set to work live children were employed. This was partly due to the increasing effectiveness of machinery.
The Vermont marble workmen, numbering 3,000, have organized, and propose to strike unless wages shall be advanced from fifteen cents to thirty-five cents. Store orders, high rents and tyrannical managers are complained of.
Sweet Heaven's smile
Gleamed o'er the isle
That gems the dreary sea—
One far gone day,
And flash'd its ray—
More than a thousand years away,
Pure Brigid, over thee.
White as the snow
That falls below
To earth on Christmas night,
Thy pure face shone
On every one;
For Christ's sweet grace thy heart had. won
To make thy birth land bright.
A cloud hangs o'er
Thy Erin's shore—
Ah! God, 'twas always so—
Ah! Virgin fair
Thy heavenly pray'r
Will help thy people in their care
And save them from their woe.
Thou art in light;
They are in night,
Held down with heavy chain;
The very sod,
Made theirs by God,
Is still by tyrants' footsteps trod;
They pray—but all in vain.
Thou! near Christ's throne,
Dost hear the moan
Of all their hearts that grieve.
Ah! Virgin sweet,
Kneel at His feet,
Where angels' hymns thy prayer shall greet
And pray for them this eve.
Cheboygan, Mich., Times.
Every poor man in the state should remember to vote yes on the amendment to raise the state officers' salaries. At present it is impossible for a poor man to be elected, as the salary does not pay the campaign expenses.
St. Stephen's Parishioners' Meeting
Plenty of Sentiment to Show That the People Stand Firm
The parishioners of St. Stephen's, at their regular weekly meeting last Friday evening, packed International hall,on East Twenty-seventh street, to the doors. When Chairman Feeney advanced to the front of the platform the audience let off a little of its Dr. McGlynn enthusiasm, which had been bottled up for seven days, with a rousing cheer, which they often repeated during the proceedings. Mr. Feeney spoke with clearness and energy. What they demanded, and what they would continue to demand, he said, was the reinstatement of Dr. McGlynn, a sentiment which his auditors endorsed with a roar of applause.
Michael Clark said it gratified him to bear personal testimony to the courageous spirit and untiring energy of the people of St. Stephen's in support of a great principle and a great man. By their unflinching devotion to the fearless priest of the people they had won the admiration not only of the workingmen of New York, but of the friends of justice and freedom throughout the United States.
“Those of us who are Catholics,” said he, “declare that within the limits of political speech or action, we owe no allegiance or obedience to pope, cardinal or bishop, and most assuredly we will render none. We will stand by the great principle that the land belongs to the people and must be restored to them. We will stand by the expounder and foremost champion of that principle—Henry George—whom we regard as the true friend of the people and the enemy of no man's church. We will stand by the brave and noble priest whose devotion to the people's cause has brought upon him the malignant hostility of all those in church and state who profit by the system which gives to the few what belongs to the many. The enemies of Dr. McGlynn need not lay the flattering unction to their souls that this agitation is going to be a mere flash in the pan. So help us heaven, we will light this fight out to the bitter end, come weal or come woe. It is a great fight. There is nothing in it which conflicts with the religion of any man.”
William McCabe, who was next introduced, quoted from a speech made by Dr. McGlynn at the great Davitt reception in the Academy of Music, New York, in 1882. Davitt had been showing signs of hesitation in declaring the right doctrine on the land question. When it came to the doctor's turn to speak he boldly proclaimed that the land belonged to the people, and he told Davitt to go back to Ireland and fearlessly preach the truth and the whole truth to his countrymen. Mr. McCabe concluded by saying that the workingmen of New York were sternly resolved to continue the fight until Dr. McGlynn was once more installed in his old home among the people who loved him.
John J. Bealin roused the .assemblage into excitement by declaring inasmuch as Cardinal Simeoni was not an American citizen he had no right to interfere in the politics of the country. The cardinal see of the propaganda, had, he said, stated a deliberate falsehood in saying that the- doctrine of the “land for the people” was condemned by the church. Mr. Bealin exhorted his listeners to study the land question, which deeply concerned their welfare. In so doing they would be furthering the cause which Dr. McGlynn had so much at heart.
John Swinton on Henry Ward Beecher
John Swinton's Paper.
I attended the Beecher-Tilton trial from first to last, and was in court both when the first juror was called and when the final verdict was rendered half a year afterward. I heard all the testimony of every witness and all the other evidence that was introduced. I listened to the whole of every speech of all the lawyers on both sides week after week. I was personally acquainted with all the parties in the case, from Beecher and Tilton to Moulton the “Mutual Friend.” I made notes of all the features of the trial that were published from day to day. And yet, when all was over, I left the court room wholly unconvinced that Beecher was guilty of the charge brought against him. I stated this fact often in print when he was alive, and I repeat it now that he is dead.
Land Values in New York City
A tract of fifteen acres in the city of New York was bought by Robert Lenox in the year 1818 for $2,500. About the same time he bought fifteen acres more adjoining his first purchase. He died in 1830, leaving his property, which in his will he styles “My farm at the live-mile stone,” to his only son, James Lenox.
In August, 1880, Miss Henrietta Lenox, who inherited a part of the land from her brother James, sold the block bounded by Madison and Fourth avenues and Seventy-first and Seventy-second streets, for $400,000. At this rate of interest what were old Robert Lenox's thirty acres are now worth about $7,000,000, of which value about $6,995,000 has accrued since 1818.