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Saturday, 8 August, 1896
R. REED opened the Republican campaign in Maine with a speech of exceptional ability, and even more exceptional good temper. There was no abuse of his opponents, and there were many conciliatory expressions towards Democrats who refused to support the free coinage of silver. He reminded them of the service rendered by Stephen A. Douglas, when he declared after Sumter was fired on that "Henceforth there could be but two parties, patriots and traitors." During the war, he said, there were Democrats and Democrats, and to-day there would be a similar division. In the main, his speech was devoted to the currency question. Regarding the tariff he said: "The evil which has come to us from an unwise revision of the tariff has been greatly aggravated by one of its consequences—our loss of revenue. Had there been no deficit, then a hundred millions of borrowed gold would have carried us through the crisis safe and sound. As it was, the constant drain of the deficit, continually confounded with the redemption of gold, has so afflicted the imagination of our people that confidence cannot commence to be restored until our revenues equal our expenses." Regarding the currency, his most telling sentences were as follows:
If the demonetization of silver was a disease at all, it is a world disease. If it is a world disease, how can it be reached except by a world remedy? International bimetallism I can understand, but this driving out of gold and substitution of silver is only silver monometallism for the United States. I won't discuss the question whether the free coinage of silver will raise it to par or not. I was told in 1890 by two of the most sincere as well as the ablest silver men that the purchase of 4,500,000 ounces a month would raise silver to par, and when we did buy it silver went down like lead. If, then, we are going to have a dollar inferior to what we have to-day, what will be the effect of it? Higher prices, they say. Not for everthing. If you have $100 in the savings bank to-day you can get 100 gold dollars from the bank. If this wild project succeeds and you are paid in silver, you will get the $100, but they will be 50 or 60 or 70 cent dollars. If you have a pension, that must be scaled down. If you have a bond, that goes down, too. Will the wage earner be any better off? What you buy will go Will your wages go up, too? There you have experience to guide you. Wages during greenback times measured in gold did not go up as other things did. They went part way, but not all the way up, and were slow about that. What we want is not more money, but more capital. We have money now, more than we can use, lying idle. What this whole country needs is capital from abroad, from the whole world. Now, just as soon as this election is over, and the future position of the United States is assured, both as to money and to the employment of our people, capital is ready to come to us from abroad, and from our own people, and we shall again be prosperous.
The political news last week consisted chiefly of reports of defections from both parties. The list of Democratic and Independent newspapers which have bolted the Bryan and Sewall ticket now reaches two hundred. One-quarter of them are printed in German. The Democrats claim that their losses among the daily papers are more than offset by their gains among the weeklies. They assert that three-quarters of the weekly papers in the country are supporting the free coinage of silver. Without doubt
the Democratic party in this campaign will be pre-eminently the party of the rural districts, and the Republican party pre-eminently the party of the cities. In New York City, however, Tammany Hall has decided to ratify the nomination of Bryan and Sewall, while ignoring the free coinage platform. Most of the delegates to Chicago, and most of the "Grand Sachems" of the organization, favored repudiating the ticket, but the district leaders claimed that the rank and file of the Tammany voters demanded ratification. Ex-Congressman Bourke Cockran, the leading Tammany orator, has declared in favor of Mr. McKinley. He believes that the nomination of an anti-silver Democratic ticket would be a tactical blunder. He would have antisilver Democrats adopt a platform of their own, but indorse McKinley electors. The Provisional National Executive Committee of the anti-Free Silver Democrats, however, is continuing the work of organization with the expectation of putting a third ticket in the field. It reports that thirty-six States will be represented at the Indianapolis Nominating Convention. A majority of the Massachusetts Democratic State Central Committee has expressed its hostility to the Chicago ticket by postponing the Massachusetts Convention until after the Indianapolis Convention.
In Rhode Island a large majority of the Democratic State Central Committee, under the leadership of ex-Governor Davis, has declared in favor of the Chicago ticket and platform. In Maine-the chief stronghold of silver in the East and the home of Mr. Sewall-the anti-silver Democratic candidate for Governor has declined the nomination, and the nominating convention has been called to re-assemble. It is said that a majority really favored free coinage at the first meeting, and there is no doubt that the second meeting will select a silver candidate for Governor by an overwheming majority. Among the Republicans the chief events of the week were the declarations in favor of McKinley, by Senators Shoup, of Idaho, and Wolcott, of Colorado, and the declaration in favor of free coinage by the Republican candidate for Congress in one of the agricultural districts in Ohio. In Colorado, Senator Wolcott has been sustained by a majority of the Republican State Central Committee. The Populists are discussing various schemes of fusion with the Democrats. In North Carolina
the Democratic State Committee has definitely offered to divide Presidential electors between Sewall and Watson according to the vote cast for each. Mr. McKinley delivered an extremely effective address to a delegation of old soldiers who visited Canton during the week. He reminded them that the Nation's debt to the bondholders had been two-thirds paid in "gold or its equivalent, the best recognized money of the world." The larger part of the debt that remained, he said, was to the pensioners. It amounted to $140,000,000 a year. Every dollar of that debt must be paid in the currency and coin of the world. There is nobody more
interested in maintaining a sound and stable currency than the old soldiers of the Republic."
The election in Alabama on Monday of this week seems to have resulted in a decided Democratic victory. The silver issue was in no way involved, for the contest was between the free silver Democrats and the Populists. The Republicans fused with the Populists, and the leaders of the fusion forces hoped to carry the Legislature, even if their candidate for Governor was temporarily counted out by means of fictitious Democratic majorities in the black belt. With the Legislature in their control, the fusionists expected to revise the returns, seat their candidate for Governor, and elect a United States Senator. It seems, however, that the Democrats have not only carried the black belt by quite as remarkable majorities as those of two years ago, but have regained control of several white counties they lost when the gold wing of their party was in the ascendancy. If later returns confirm those now received, the Democratic managers, it is thought, will be less disposed than heretofore to conciliate the Populists in making up the electoral tickets in the Southern States.
The first chapters of the proposed charter for Greater New York contain several noteworthy proposals: 1. A city of nine "boroughs," each of which shall be under the supervision of an elected Board of five, with power over the paving and grading of streets, the abatement of nuisances, and certain minor matters. The lines between the boroughs are, of course, arbitrary, and no provision is made to prevent different borough Boards from paving and grading streets differently, unless it be found in the veto power of the Mayor over all their actions. 2. A Municipal Assembly with two branches. One chamber, the "Council," is to be elected by the borough Boards, and the other, the "Board of Aldermen," is to be elected by the people of the Assembly districts. There is no provision for minority representation, and the districts electing members are so large that no representative can be generally known among his constituents. The powers of the new Assembly have no wider scope than those of the present Board of Aldermen, and a four-fifths majority is required to appropriate money over the Mayor's veto. 3. A Mayor with practically absolute powers of appointment and removal over all officers of importance in the city government. 4. The issue of interminable bonds by the new city, instead of bonds running a definite number of years, with provision for a sinking fund sufficient to pay them off by the end of the period. The bonds run forever, and the city can only pay them off by buying them in at the "market price" or the lowest price asked by their holders. No one of these provisions will especially commend itself to those who hoped for an increase of local popular selfgovernment. The mean powers given to the Assembly are certain to secure a mean order of talent, and the large districts from which members are elected necessitate large machines back of them. The enormous powers given to the Mayor are the essential counterpart of the distrust exhibited toward the Assembly. The whole cause of good government is staked upon getting one good man at the head of it. Whatever the provocation for the adoption of this policy, it is not in accordance with democratic ideals. It is more nearly the Boulangism to which the French turned when popular distrust of Parliament reached its climax. The new bonding provision is thoroughly bad. It is true that an interminable bond can be sold at a lower immediate rate of interest, but when the people make interminable contracts they almost invariably sacri
fice the future to the present. Each generation should discharge its own debts.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York by a vote of three to two has affirmed the constitutionality of the act authorizing this city to construct its rapid transit system. The dissenting judges pronounced against the act, not because it was itself bad, but because it was a step toward things that were. One of the judges said that if this act was constitutional, he could "see no reason why the city of New York should not be compelled to erect hotels to be used for the accommodation of guests, theaters to be used for the amusement of its citizens, elevators to be used by the railroads for loading grain from their cars, stage or cab lines for the carrying of passengers, or for almost any use or purpose which is required for the convenience or amusement of the people." It was the old argument that the public ought not to be permitted to make the changes it does want, for fear it may be persuaded to make changes it does not want. The majority of the Court, however, took the sensible position upon which progress has been made in the past. Judge Barrett, speaking for the majority, declared that the building of a city railroad differed in no essential regard from the building of city schools, the laying out of city parks, or the construction of city water works and electric lighting plants. In answer to the question where the line should be drawn, he said that it could not be drawn by the mere rule of precedent. "Growth and extension," he urged, "are as necessary in the domain of municipal action as in the domain of law. . . . To hold that the Legislature of this State, acting as the parens patria, may employ for the relief or welfare of the inhabitants of the cities of the State only those methods and agencies which have proved adequate in the past would be a narrow and dangerous interpretation to put upon the fundamental law." Whether any proposed municipal expenditure was properly for a public end depended upon its intrinsic reasonableness. "To furnish business men and women with the means of reaching their homes without being crushed in body or worn in nerve," was a public end, and the Constitution did not prohibit public expenditure to secure it.
The tailor's strike in New York continues. As usual the strike has had many issues, and has presented new phases every day. On Thursday propositions were made. by the Contractors' Association which the Executive Board of the Brotherhood of Tailors agreed to accept if the Contractors' Association could control all the contractors not in the Association. This it was evident the Association could not do. The Executive Committee hired headquarters and a lawyer, and began settlement with the individual contractors. The probabilities are that this will destroy the Contractors' Association, while for the present, at least, it will leave the Brotherhood of Tailors stronger. The tailors are nearly all connected with organizations; it will be difficult for the contractors to get non-union men. The individual contractors who have signed the Brotherhood agreement accept the terms of the Brotherhood without concessions. Each contractor signs a guarantee of $50 for each machine in his employ. The men did not strike for higher wages, but to compel the contractors to keep the terms agreed last year-increase of wages, abolition of the task system, reduction of hours. The contractors broke every clause of the agreement, throwing the responsibility on the manufacturers. The tailors struck to settle the question of responsibility. In some cases the shops of contractors
employing non-union men have been attacked by mobs of strikers.
The terrible railway collison on the meadows near Atlantic City on Thursday of last week has very naturally aroused again discussion about safeguards to life in railway travel. It is truly said that, however many and however scientific are such appliances, there still remains the element of human stupidity or recklessness. In this case the block system was in use, and its warning was (it is asserted) absolutely disregarded by one of the engineers, who paid the penalty of his carelessness with his life. But back of this remains the fact that at the point where the collision occurred two important railways nearing a center of travel were allowed to cross each other on the same grade. Wherever such a grade crossing exists danger exists. It may not be practicable absolutely to forbid all grade crossings the country over, though this should come in time, but it is certainly possible now to abolish them in such peculiarly dangerous spots as that near Atlantic City. Whether in this case the fault lay with the dead engineer or the signalman, the accident was of a kind which may happen any time under similar circumstances so long as the eye is fallible and the mind liable to sudden error of judgment. To reduce these possibilities is the aim of all sound railway management. It is sincerely to be hoped that the statements that trains on different roads were accustomed to race at this point are unfounded. The existence of such a practice would prove wretched mismanagement of the roads; a single instance might not come to the attention of the officers, but to be ignorant of a common occurrence would imply bad management.
The International Socialist and Trade Union Congress, which met in London last week, devoted its earlier sessions to wrangling over the question of admitting the Anarchists. The English section, which controlled the preliminary arrangements, voted 223 to 104 against their admission. The angry Anarchists, despite this action, forced their way into the hall, and by their shouts of approval or disapproval made the debate upon their credentials. a scene of the greatest disorder. The decisive vote was taken by nationalities and stood 18% to 21⁄2 against the Anarchists' admission. When the Congress stopped wrangling, the cablegrams almost stopped reporting its proceedings. The discussions seem to have been chiefly on the ideal order of society. The proposition of the trades-unionists that the next Congress should confine itself more nearly to immediate and practical questions was antagonized by some of the French delegates, who illustrated the traditional contempt of their nationality for petty reforms, and insisted upon the championing of revolutionary ideals. With regard to immediate measures, the Congress was agreed upon the necessity of arousing the agricultural classes, and condemned the English trades-unionists who remain with the old Conservative and Liberal parties. The so-called "socialistic" uprising of American farmers was discussed by some of the delegates, who agreed in condemning the silver movement. The next Congress will be held in Germany in 1899, if permitted, and if not, will be held in Paris. in 1900.
The conviction and sentence of Dr. Jameson and his fellow-leaders in the Transvaal raid, briefly recorded in these columns last week, have been followed by active agitation of the South African question in and out of Parliament. It is said, with force, that if Jameson is to be punished, Rhodes should not go untried. The cipher The cipher telegrams and the investigation at Cape Colony are pointed
to as affording plenty of evidence that Rhodes was well aware of what was going on. The serious state of affairs in Matabeleland is thought by many to be due to Jameson's absence from his post on the raid, and to the weakening of British authority among the natives in consequence of his defeat and disgrace. The entire policy and conduct of the Chartered Company is under criticism. Mr. Chamberlain at this crisis has shown his usual flexibility and skill in meeting an emergency. Instead of opposing the desire for investigation, he last week in Parliament accepted the amendments of the Liberals, and not only did not oppose a full inquiry but positively urged that it should include everything-the raid itself, the alleged complicity of the Chartered Company, the charges of stockjobbing trickery, the conduct of Cecil Rhodes, and the causes of the rebellion of the Matabeles. The only possible doubt that could be thrown on Mr. Chamberlain was the insinuation that the fuller the inquiry the longer it would take, and that delay was welcome. This is hardly fair; for the present, at least, Mr. Chamberlain must be credited with doing all in his power to clear up the tangle of South African complications. In the meantime, in England public sentiment favors leniency towards Dr. Jameson and his associates, and the Home Secretary has ordered that they have certain prison privileges not usually accorded to
On Wednesday of last week the Irish Land Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons, and it is now before the Lords. It is not only a composite measure, but
it is supported and opposed on other than party lines. Its chief opposition has come from the Irish landlords, while the Home Rulers (both Parnellite and anti-Parnellite), have rather reluctantly admitted that it was an advance in the old law, though far from what they think the tenant should have. The law facilitates purchase by the tenant through advances by the Government. It provides that the tenant, on the payment of two years' arrears, shall be deemed to be in just possession of his holdings, leaving the landlord to recover the remainder of the arrears in the
ordinary way. A term of fifteen years is, as now, to fix a "fair" rent. Purchase is not to be compulsory, but the landlords think that the tendency is in that direction. Repayment to the Government by the tenant may extend for as long as seventy years with a scaling down of rent as time goes on, while even at the beginning of the term the rent is lessened. The largest price that a landlord can expect would be the equivalent of twenty years' rent, thus fixing the present supposed rate of income at five per cent. The new law affords no immediate relief to evicted tenants.
Each new phase of British success in Egypt is sure to renew the concern of the Powers, and especially in France, in regard to the question of evacuation. The recent victory at Firket augurs the success of the expedition, as it has shown that Egyptian soldiers, properly trained and officered, are more than a match for the dervishes. Not only so, but as the allied forces advance there is an evident disposition on the part of the tribes under the Khalifa's rule to lay down their arms and join the victors. They are anxious to escape the tyranny of their ruler. As the Soudan cannot be reconquered for Egypt without the occupation of Khartoum, that city will be considered the objective point of the expedition, notwithstanding Lord Salisbury's declarations about Dongola. France is constantly showing her nervousness and anger on this question, and demands to know when the promised evacuation of Egypt shall take place. England has undoubtedly made the promise, but it never amounted to an agreement as to
any special time or conditions. It was a declaration to the Powers, at the time of occupation, that she would withdraw upon the restoration of order and a sufficient improvement of the affairs of the country. These promises have been repeated so often, and are so invariably unsupported by any practical evidence of fulfillment, that the question of a frank avowal of intention has reached an acute stage. In England itself public opinion, or rather that phase of it most in touch with foreign affairs, is sharply divided. On the one hand, diplomatic makeshifts and evasion of the issue are severely condemned; on the other, it is demanded that, if England intends to remain in Egypt, she shall honestly say so. A plain declaration of the impossibility of leaving Egypt just now and for some time yet would produce more confidence among the Powers, notwithstanding their objections and in spite of the threats of France. Lord Salisbury is believed to be hesitating between the resolute attitude he would like to take and the diplomatic remonstrances from all parts of Europe. Diplomatic circles admit that England cannot and will not. go just now, but are afraid of the consequences of saying
This does not seem well founded, for there is sometimes a turn in the diplomatic game when frankness is not only right, but the best strategy. England has done a beneficent work in Egypt; she has much yet to do, and is warranted in saying that she will remain until it is done. The question of permanent occupation or annexation will then await her initiative with good reason.
Australia is the land of political experiments, and is just now witnessing another new departure. A few years ago the conditions of labor throughout that great continent were exceptionally promising. An eight-hour day had given the working-man more leisure and enlarged social opportunities, and the outlook seemed bright. But trouble and contention soon came. There were great strikes in 1890, 1891, and 1894; and the interests of labor sought political power by the formation of a party. As the traditional names of "Liberal" and "Conservative" could have little real foundation in a new community, it was far easier to arrange the factions of politics on a new basis; and accordingly secession and fusion have produced a Labor party which holds the balance of power in Victoria and New South Wales, is practically dominant in South Australia, and in Queensland bids fair to increase its power in the near future. Nowhere is the organization of trade unions more thorough than it is in these four colonies.
report on the iron and coal deposits of Newfoundland, has
Whatever may be thought of the aims of the Fabian school of English Socialists, there is no denying that they are intensely practical in the methods in which they go about their work. The London group has this summer organized a crusade against unsanitary dwellings in and out of the metropolis. They have issued thousands of leaflets in which the municipal laws in regard to houseproperty are explained in clear and simple language. With the leaflet is a schedule of twenty questions concerning the external and internal condition of a dwelling-house or tenement. Capital Tenants who are living in unsanitary houses or in houses which are structurally defective, in which the roof is bad, or the water supply indifferent, fill up the schedules in such a way as to describe correctly their case, and then send them to the municipal authorities. As a general rule, the English municipalities are vigilant in the exercise of their large powers in these matters. But sometimes the sanitary inspectors are overworked, or are not as loyal as they might be to their duties. In these cases the Fabian schedules will bring about a change, and they will also bring to light many sanitary defects which ordinarily are hid away from view. Similar use is also being made of leaflets and schedules to quicken and help the work of the Government inspectors of factories. It is hard to say which department of the new Fabian work is likely to be of greatest public service. In these matters, among the renters of property, as well as among the workpeople in factories, there is much ignorance as to the laws for their protection; and even when these laws are known and partly understood, there is oftentimes some risk in setting them in motion, if the initiative is not taken with discretion. As educational work, this new mission of the Fabians is worth the attention of those in this country who are interested in
has also become strongly organized for its own defense against what it considers to be the socialistic encroachments of its enemies. In a country where the government has built and runs the railways, it is not difficult to educate public opinion into a belief that it should also control all industry; and this is especially true in a community where political change has been so rapid and daring. The Labor party of Queensland, which returns nearly one-fourth of the members of the Legislature, has, in fact, declared its basis to be socialism, and advocates State control of wages, and hours of labor, free railways, the providing of work by the State for the unemployed, and other equally advanced The cost of free transportation of passengers and freight is to be met by a tax on land, personal property, and incomes. Such are the principles which actuate this most radical wing of the Labor party in Australia. Its opponents are yet in the majority, and it is safe to say will make a desperate fight against the spread of the new doctrines.
The recent discovery of extraordinarily rich gold deposits in British Columbia, coupled with Sir Archibald Geikie's