« AnteriorContinuar »
to the extension of American products in foreign markets. This bureau has become the authority upon foreign tariffs, and it is keeping American manufacturers of all classes in touch with the conditions that affect their business in all parts of the world. The Bureau of Labor, under Dr. Neill's intelligent direction, is not only engaged in exhaustive investigations of a far-reaching scientific character, but is also active and alert in dealing with many current topics. Thus it has issued a bulletin on the Eight-Hour law and enforced labor contracts in the Panama Canal Zone. Another deals with labor conditions in Porto Rico. Still another compiles and explains the laws relating to the employment of children in the United States; and one of the very latest treats of conditions of living among the poor, and benefit features of British trade unions. These are only a few of the topics investigated and reported upon by the bureau during the past year. The annual report for 1906 relates to strikes and lockouts for the previous five years. Already it is well demonstrated that the changing of the Census Office from a special organization once every 10 years to a permanent bureau is a great advantage from many standpoints.
The Census Bureau is becoming Permanent what we have so much needed, a great national statistical office. Its work in several ways illustrates the fallacy of the argument that efficient modern administrative work at Washington subtracts something from the dignity, authority, and official sphere of the several States. The new work of the Census Bureau in vital statistics is a case in point. Every State ought to keep thorough records of births, deaths, marriages, and other data relating to the population, and these facts, particularly those relating to mortality, should be carefully classified upon a standard system. Every civilized government in the world is doing this kind of work with constantly increasing accuracy and skill. It would be needless to go into the reasons why such statistical, work is important. The national Census Bureau is not equipped to do firsthand registration work in vital statistics, but it is charged by Congress with collecting and compiling the statistics of States, municipalities, and other registering areas. Naturally the census officials are anxious that the different States and cities should use a standard and uniform system in the recording of such
MR. FRANCIS E. LEUPP. (Commissioner of Indian Affairs.)
facts. It is admitted that the year 1905 showed greater progress throughout the States in these statistical undertakings than any previous year in the history of the country, and it is fair to attribute this increase of State and local energy to the enlarged work of the national Government, which has prescribed and sent out the best forms, and which is bringing laggard communities up to the standards of the most advanced.
It is to be noted with regret that the chief statistician of vital statistics, Mr. William A. King, has died within the past year, but not until the completion of his important report on Mortality in the United States, covering the period from 1900 to 1905. We hear a good deal at times of inefficient men in the Government employ, and we are in danger of forgetting how large a body of .men of high character and scientific attainments the Government at Washington is securing for permanent posts in its various departments and bureaus. The great wonder is that such valuable service can be secured for the small
Work in Vital Statistics.
compensation it receives. Mr. King had worked in our census statistical office for about 17 years, having had his training in vital statistics under Dr. John S. Billings, now head of the library system of New York. He has been succeeded by Dr. Cressy L. Wilbur, of Michigan, who had for 13 years been the registrar of that State, and had brought its vital statistics "to the highest rank among our States," according to the testimony of Dr. North, the Director of the Census. There are hundreds of these able men employed by the Government whose names the newspapers seldom print, but whose work is gratefully recognized by their more conspicuous superiors in office. Without these permanent experts it would be very hard nowadays for the passing chieftains, of great departments to make any sort of progress with their work. This allusion to vital statistics must not be taken by our readers as indicating that the permanent Census Bureau has been chiefly occupied with that matter, for it has been engaged in a great number of highly important inquiries. It has been compiling municipal statistics, making a special census of manufactures, a census of agriculture, and doing many other things. Its survey of activities of various sorts carried on within the States will prove distinctly advantageous to State administration everywhere, which is bound to gain rather than to lose vitality from the increased intelligence and vigor shown by the Government at Washington.
A Need of Apropos of the value of permanent and expert officials in the work of the departments at Washington, special note should be made of
the Postal Service.
one of the recommendations of the Post- Copyright by J. E. Purdy, Boston.
master-General in his report last month. Mr. Cortelyou calls upon Congress to provide for a permanent Deputy PostmasterGeneral," whose compensation shall be commensurate with his position and whose duties shall be in the nature of a general manager of the postal service." Mr. Cortelyou points out the fact that the department has now a personnel of more than 320,000, and that the whole service is directed by a Postmaster-General and four assistants, whose tenure is presumably limited to that of a single administration. It can fairly be said that no other branch of the Government's work is so badly managed as the postal service, while no other is so important in ordinary times to the people as a whole. It is
certainly not the fault of the present Postmaster-General that the postal service is not everything that it should be. He is showing ability of the highest order, his industry is untiring, and he is making a great impress upon the work of his department; but he has been there only a little while, and now after three months more he is to become Secretary of the Treasury. He ought to hold his present place for the next 20 years, with a salary at least as large as that which would be paid. to the president of a railroad company or an express company.
DR. SIMON N. D. NORTH. (Director of the United States Census.)
A postal commission consisting of two Senators,-n a mely, Messrs. Penrose and Carter,and two Representatives, Messrs. Overstreet and Moon, has been taking testimony and trying to get at the facts which would enable it to recommend to Congress some improvements in that part of the postal law which affects newspapers and periodicals admitted as second-class matter at one cent a pound. But there is a woeful lack of statistical and other information upon which to base a sound judgment. It is commonly alleged that the railroads are enormously overpaid
Exploring the Unknown.
for carrying the mails and that they ought to
large surplus. The cost of free rural delivery now amounts to at least $25,000,000 a year. This is not an expenditure justified by business considerations, but it is a great boon to most of the neighborhoods that are thus served, and with a careful reorganization county by
county, such as Mr. Cortelyou has
branch of Mr. Cortelyou's work the public has not been sufficiently informed. It is a branch that does not bring revenue to the Government, but nevertheless effects a great saving for the people. We refer to the prevention of the use of the mails for fraudulent purposes. In the last two fiscal years fraud orders to the number of 630 were issued, and many of these put an end to schemes having a very wide ramification.
Copyright, 1906, by Underwood & Underwood, N.Y.
In the present period of mining stock speculation, for example, a large number of dishonest issues of gold and copper mining stocks have been disseminated through mailed circulars, and millions of dollars have been taken out of the pockets of credulous small investors. In such cases the palpable frauds have been effectively dealt with by Mr. Cortelyou's inspectors. There is, of course, another and a very dangerous class which cannot be dealt with summarily, inasmuch as they employ able lawyers to help them put their schemes before the public in such a way that they may
begun to make, the rural service can gradu- be classed as speculative rather than as fraudally be made more efficient and less expensive. ulent. In other directions besides the bogus investment schemes, the fraud order work of the Post Office has been very salutary.
As another illustration of the Department way in which the increase of Work. Federal activities may stimulate President Roosevelt the other State and local action, it is to be observed day sent a highly complimentary that the Post Office Department, through its letter to the Hon. Leslie M. free rural delivery service, has been co-oper- Shaw, Secretary of the Treasury, in acknowlating everywhere with local movements for edgment of the work of that distinguished the making of good roads. The department official during his five years' service, in avertcannot be expected to deliver mails where ing financial panics and keeping the currency local authorities do not maintain passable in circulation at times of emergency. There highways, and thus an extension of national has long been a demand for an elastic eleactivity in one direction is stirring up State ment in our monetary system, but it is only and local action in another. Upon one now that the fact is recognized that the Secre
tary himself has supplied it. His last report, which is a model of clearness, rehearses in most readable fashion the ingenious ways by which the Secretary, without violation of law, has managed to impound money at certain times of the year, in order to release it in proper volume and with wise distribution at other seasons when the movement of the crops and the demands of general business made the supply an imperative need. Mr. Shaw ably discusses the different projects for giving automatic elasticity to our money system. The thing he favors, in brief, is an arrangement for the prompt issue of bank notes which would pay a tax of 5 per cent. while outstanding, and which could be redeemed as promptly as they were issued whenever the diminished demand for money rendered it unprofitable for the banks to continue paying the 5 per cent. tax. Generally speaking, the finances of this country are in excellent condition. Revenues are in excess of expenditures; the volume of money in circulation is very large and of safe and sound character, and but for the need of an elastic currency to meet the conditions of the stupendous agricultural and industrial growth of the country, our financial position would be favorable beyond that of any country at any time in the history of the world. Mr. Cortelyou's incumbency of the Treasury position will, however, doubtless cover a period when tariff revision and other changes in the revenue system of the Government must bring some new and anxious problems in their train.
The Japanese Question.
mary grades. The other half were bright, clean, well-behaved young children against whom no possible complaint could be made. The San Francisco school board could easily have adopted a simple age rule for primary classes which would have admitted the handful of small Japanese children and kept out the young Nobody would have o jected to such an arrangement, and the fanSecretary Metcalf's last piece of ous international controversy would have work before his transfer to the been avoided. The result would have been Navy Department was his inves- about 40 Japanese children scattered through tigation of the condition of the Japanese in the schools of a great city, with an average California. President Roosevelt sent in Mr. of not more than one to each large school Metcalf's report on December 18, accompanying it with a brief message of his own to Congress. As the facts have now come to be clearly known, it is not easy to find language strong enough to characterize fitly the absurd behavior of the school authorities of San Francisco. They have allowed the merest trifle to assume such dimensions that it is now under serious discussion in every newspaper of every civilized country of the entire world. The facts seem to be that about 90 Japanese were at one time attending San Francisco schools. Of these perhaps half were young men above the age of 16 who were trying to learn English and had to be taught with little children in the pri
But it is evident that the San Francisco school authorities intentionally avoided the adoption of a common-sense rule regarding the age of children in primary classes, in order to seem to have a complaint against the Japanese and an excuse for shutting them out of the ordinary schools and assigning them to the so-called Oriental school, so placed in the burnt district that small children could not get to it. Now that the facts are known, there is only one state of mind that the country can as a whole properly adopt with respect to the San Francisco school authori
ties, and that is one of derision. Foolish and fanatical labor leaders had worked up a strong feeling in favor of the exclusion of the Japanese. And the school board of San Francisco was too cowardly to act with ordinary common sense, and was guilty of conduct that seems scarcely short of imbecility. The solution of the question was perfectly simple. As a matter of course, the grown-up Japanese should not have been allowed for a moment to enter the primary grades with white children. Equally as a matter of course, the few scattered Japanese children should have been taken care of,-as the teachers would have been glad to manage them, without the interference of a political school board governed by demagogues. The young men who wished to learn English could have gone to the Oriental school or could have been taught English in night classes. Happily, the great Japanese nation is now well aware of the friendly sentiments of the American people.
Even if it were desirable to exConstitutional clude Japanese laborers from this Point. country as the Chinese are already excluded, the California exclusionists have made such action impossible by their extreme folly, for they have antagonized the whole country. There is, of course, an interesting question for the courts to determine, and it might be well for the Government to carry its case to the final test, even if the San Francisco school authorities should come to their senses. The second clause of Article VI of the Constituti reads as follows:
This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
Under our treaty with Japan, the subjects of that nation are granted the same rights when in this country that our own citizens enjoy. A law of California permits the local school boards to segregate Mongolians in schools apart from those for white children. Admitting that the Japanese are Mongolians, which, by the way, they deny, there remains the question whether this State law is null and void because of its being in conflict with a treaty. It is by no means a clear case one way or the other. Nobody would have thought of raising the question if the
school authorities of San Francisco had behaved with ordinary decency. With the difficulties involved in its rebuilding and with its municipal government under grave charges, San Francisco has trouble enough without forcing a minor detail of its school administration into false prominence as a national and international issue.
The President has at least made clear to the world that there is perfect harmony between our Government and that of Japan. Absurd as newspaper rumors often are, it is seldom that anything so absurd is printed as the recent rumors that there might be war between the Japanese and this country. Those who still think that there was danger in that direction must now see an added reason why Mr. Roosevelt deserves the Nobel prize. It is well to remember that his efforts recently stopped the war in Central America, and everybody now admits that his handling of the recent trouble in Cuba is one of the most creditable things in all our recent history. Mr. Taft's full report upon the work he and Mr. Bacon did by the President's direction at Havana was given to Congress and the press last month. To have been able to save the Cubans from themselves in such an emergency is a further justification for our intervention in 1898. Mr. Roosevelt was fortunate in his agents, but the policy was his own. It was at once firm, sagacious, and conciliatory.
The general usefulness of our power to intervene in Cuba for the sake of order and good government is now demonstrated, and it ought not to be difficult to secure favorable action in the Senate upon some form of treaty with San Domingo which would give us a more or less similar power to act there as a sort of financial controller and general umpire. While waiting for the Senate to act, our Government has gone straight forward with the work of fiscal administration in San Domingo, and important results have been accomplished. The Hon. William H. Taft, Secretary of War, has had an enormous amount of work to do, and he has done it exceedingly well. Probably the thing he most desires to see accomplished this winter is the enactment by Congress of his Philippine tariff bill. It is our opinion that Philippine products ought to have favorable admission to this country without further delay.
Mr. Taft's Activities.