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LEADING ARTICLES OF THE MONTH.
BRITISH CRITICISMS OF THE BALFOUR
R. BALFOUR'S reconstruction of his cabinet seems to have given very small satisfaction to his own party, or indeed to any one else. The most angry complaints are to be found in the National Review, the one Unionist organ. The editor gives a prominent position to an article by a contributor who signs himself "A Conservative," and who speaks his mind with emphasis. His chief complaint is that Mr. Austen Chamberlain has not been made Chancellor of the Exchequer in order that Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, the one statesman of commanding influence in the ministry, should have the pow erful support of his son in the plans which he cherishes for drawing closer the bonds of empire. Instead of Mr. Austen Chamberlain, Mr. Ritchie is Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Mr. Ritchie is inert, a believer in shibboleths, and incapable of thinking out for the nation a new course of economic policy. Mr. Balfour's zeal for reform has evaporated at the first obstacle. Lord Halsbury and Lord Ashbourne have defied his wishes. It counts eighteen ministers, practically the same ministers, against twenty of Lord Salisbury's cabinet. It remains unwieldy, incapable of vig. orous action, and out of touch with the country and the party, which is beginning to resent the appropriation of all offices by the members of a small clique.
THE NEW APPOINTMENTS.
The changes that have been made are by no means for the better. Lord Londonderry's appointment as President of the Board of Education affords the exact measure of Mr. Balfour's zeal for efficiency. The appointment was made as if to illustrate the absolute defiance of tradition and experience which is characteristic of Mr. Balfour's changes. Mr. Gerald Balfour has been allowed to remain at the Board of Trade, where his record may be summed up as one of apathy and inaction. Mr. Wyndham, who is full of promise, but who never gives any performance, enters the cabinet. Lord Selborne, under whom the navy has gone backward, and Mr. Brodrick, who has done little for army reform, retain their respective offices. Lord Cadogan has returned from Ireland without adding to his reputation, and the governinent's policy continues to be the negation of strength and determination. At the best, the new government will be a government of stagna
(President of the Board of Education.)
tion, tempered by such jobbery as its refusal to intervene in the London and Globe scandal. At its worst, if severely tried, it may wreck the party. Mr. Balfour's lack of foresight in foreign policy is proved by the permission which he has given to Mr. Brodrick and Lord Roberts to attend the German manoeuvres, which are being held in Poland under circumstances peculiarly distasteful to every Pole. The nation is weary, not of the policy of the government, but of its inadequate performance.
AN EDITOR'S VIEWS.
The editor of the National is quite as emphatic. New blood, he says, is conspicuous by its absence. The age of the members of the new cabinet averages fifty-four and one-half, as against fifty-seven in its predecessor. There is no reason to suppose that the new cabinet will be stronger and bolder in its policy than its two predecessors, and it has been received by the country with indifference or aversion. At least half a dozen of the old cabinet might have been dispensed with without any loss to the ministry or to the
AMERICAN RAILROAD INTERESTS.
The motive for the deal was simply that the venders thought it to their advantage to sell, and the purchasers to theirs to buy. Nothing more occult than this. The advantages of the combine were truly stated by Mr. Russell Rea, M.P., who said that the origin of the movement was in the business necessities of the great American railroads deriving their revenue mainly from carrying American produce across the continent to be shipped to Europe.
The old system, under which each railroad company made its own arrangements with the various steamship companies, is said to have produced intolerable confusion and embarrassment in the handling of cargo. When, some time ago, certain of the trunk lines pooled their interests and became one association with one mind and one policy, the organization of sea traffic, on lines. corresponding with the organization of the land. traffic, became a business necessity. It was a vital matter for them-the associated railroads'to be able to direct the movements of freight steamers, to allot their ports, and fix the dates of their sailing.""
THE FIRST STEP IN TRUST REGULATION.
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT'S utterances on
the trust question have been approved by many conservative journals which have offered scant encouragement to the ordinary anti-trust propaganda. Thus, the Bankers' Magazine for September, which has no sympathy with those who seek to "make a political issue of an evolution in economic science," strongly endorses the policy of publicity advocated by the President as a first step in the regulation of the trusts. The inventors and promoters of the trust system, it declares, are themselves largely responsible for the darkness covering their operations. It is undeniable that the trust managers gained temporary advantages, in many cases, by keeping secret many details of organization.
Public hostility was excited, according to the Bankers' Magazine writer, more by the prospect of great profits under the trust system than by any real or supposed faults in the system itself. This brought about the interference of the state for purposes of taxation. It was a spirit of greed that dictated much of the anti-trust legis lation now on the statute books, and the trusts have resisted the attack in a similar spirit. They have often appeared to defy the law.
The narrow motive of securing information, for the state or for individuals, as to the money. making capacity of particular trusts is no part of the President's purpose in advocating publicity.
"It is to show the effect on the industries of the country and the general welfare of the people of a system of business which seeks to do away with competition. The public ought to take very little interest as a whole in the individuals or cliques of speculators who happen to be in control or to be quarreling over some money-making proposition. The real question is of the general or universal effect of a business system on the prosperity of the whole people. It is a waste of time to call attention to exceptional financial success on the part of individuals when it is the un-` derlying system that should be examined.
WHY PUBLICITY IS DEMANDED.
"Those who manage trusts have, no doubt, in a great measure, pursued a policy of concealment. They have been excusable on account of the manner in which they have been attacked. Public prosecutors, often excited by demagogical motives, with the desire of popularity, have attacked corporations and trusts without preliminary investigation of the ground or knowledge of the law. Most of these suits by public prosecutors have resulted in ridiculous failure. But in consequence it has been given out as an excuse for failure, which was in most cases anticipated, that trusts have a mysterious capacity of resistance impervious to the weapons of the law. Like the medieval dragon, they are armed at all points. But all this is nonsensical. It is no doubt true that as new conditions arise in any branch of human activity old laws become inadequate, but there never has yet been a time when legislators have failed to adapt the law to new conditions when these conditions were understood. The first step is to understand them.
PUBLICITY IN THE CASE OF BANKS.
"To discover the real nature and purpose and meaning of such an economical activity as a trust, it would appear to be better to study it in its ordinary normal existence, and not when stirred up to an unusual kind of life by hostile attacks. The publicity which the President refers to is the publicity of the general operations of a trust, similar to that now required by law as to the general operations of a national bank. The legitimate business of a bank is not hampered by the publicity, nor is any secrecy necessary to the inception of business or as to private dealings necessarily revealed. Publicity of this kind is the trail which shows that while doing, after it ing to law. This ti
of a bank that if it i becomes in
OUR PUBLIC PLEASURE GROUNDS.
BY M. O. STONE.
(Secretary Park Commission, Rochester, N. Y.)
FIFTY years ago there were no great public
parks in this country, and most of the large park systems have been developed within the last twenty-five years. Of the 159 cities of the United States, each having a population of 25,000 or more, there are 37 that have no public parks. The population of these cities ranges from 25,000 to 42.000. Forty three cities with from 30,000 to 102,000 inhabitants have parks, the smallest park area being threefourths of an acre, the largest 48 acres, and the average park area for each of these 43 cities is 10 acres.
The number of cities having parks and park systems varying in size from 50 acres up to Greater New York's grand system of parks, comprising about 7,000 acres, is 79. Up to about 1866, when Central Park began to show some degree of finish and beauty under the wise direction of park commissioners of high character and intelligence and the almost magic touch of those great landscape gardeners, Frederick Law Olm sted and Calvert Vaux, public pleasure grounds were generally considered undesirable, if not unattainable, luxuries. But at this time the question of park making was not being seriously considered in many cities. Soon after Central Park was opened to the public it became immensely popular, and was visited by thousands from all parts of the country. From this time municipalities seemed to gradually realize that liberal expenditures for the purchase and improvement of public pleasure grounds were not only legitimate, but were demanded in the interests of public welfare. In some cities a few strong men worked persistently for parks, contending in many cases against local newspapers, prominent business men, and a united saloon influence.
PARKS ENHANCE REAL ESTATE VALUES.
But in the end the park promoters were successful. Probably not one of the cities that did not take kindly to the creation of public parks when the agitation was at its height, but finally accepted the idea, would, if it were possible, part with its parks for twice their total cost. It has been found in some cities that the parks have earned money for the taxpayers, and from a financial point of view are good investments. Attractive parks now occupy large areas that for
years were obstructions to the extension and material prosperity of many cities; and, as these unsightly and waste places were gradually improved and beautified, the value of land in those neighborhoods soon began to rise. Twenty-two officials, representing parks in thirty-three cities, state that real estate near their park territory has increased in valuation greatly beyond the average increase in other parts of their cities. Ten years ago the Board of Park Commissioners of Boston reported that the increase in the value of lands near the Back Bay" system had been over 300 per cent.; during the same time the value of lands in the rest of the city had increased in value but 18 per cent. Land values have also risen enormously near Central and other New York parks; and everywhere, though perhaps not to such an extent as in Boston and New York, appreciation in the value of real estate near parks has steadily increased, and must continue to do so as parks are developed and grow more beautiful. Many park systems are but partially improved, and some years may be necessary to
show their value in this direction.
The improvement and beautifying of any section of a city by the erection of handsome buildings, especially when surrounded by beautiful grounds, immediately causes surrounding prop、 erty to become more valuable, and attractive public parks in a still greater degree have the same effect. The phenomenal growth of our cities during the last ten years should arouse municipalities to the necessity of securing land for park purposes before the most desirable tracts are taken for residential and manufacturing pur poses. There is little reason to fear that rapidly growing cities will obtain more park lands than will be required, and the danger of delay in buying is illustrated in many cities which find, when they are forced to consider the question of providing public parks, that the cost of procuring suitable land has increased enormously; in some cases the most desirable tracts, that could have been bought at reasonable figures a few years ago, cannot now be secured at prices that will permit of their acquisition for park purposes. There are in many cities large open spaces near poor and overcrowded sections which should be taken at once for park purposes and for great playgrounds.
PRIVATE GIFTS FOR PUBLIC PLEASURE GROUNDS.
Perhaps there is no way in which men of wealth could so directly benefit so large a number of people as by gifts of land for public pleasure grounds. Magnificent sums are given to colleges, libraries, and other public institutions. Why should not money be as freely given to create great parks for the betterment of all sorts and conditions of men"? The accumulation of great fortunes has been made possible only through the toil of those who most need the pure air and rest afforded by large rural parks. The largest gift of land in this country for park purposes was that of 3,717 acres to the city of Los Angeles, Cal. Hartford has received by gift 830 acres; Minneapolis, 790 acres ; St. Louis, 435 acres; Cleveland, 395 acres; Spring field, Mass., 360 acres; Allegheny, 313 acres ; Toronto, Ont., 225 acres; Detroit, 194 acres ; Worcester, 150 acres; Peoria, 140 acres ; Omaha, 130 acres, and Providence, 121 acres. A few other cities have received donations of land for parks varying in amounts from 2 to 90 acres.
MUNICIPAL PARK FINANCE SYSTEMS.
It would be impossible to overestimate the value of public parks to the physical and moral health of the people. The great urban pleasure grounds are coming to be considered as essential to a city's welfare as are pure water, well-lighted streets, public baths, and public schools, and the park officials of three-fourths of the cities which have public parks say that the greater part of their taxpapers favor liberal appropriations for the purchase of park lands, their improvement and proper maintenance. The legislative branches of nearly all city governments grant appropriations for the maintenance of their parks, the park departments annually stating to them the amounts deemed necessary. In some cases maximum amounts have been fixed by State legislatures beyond which appropriations cannot be made for parks in those cities. The parks of Hartford and San Francisco are annually provided with funds raised by a tax of not less than one-half of a mill on each dollar of value of all property taxable for municipal purposes. Paterson, N. J., maintains her parks with an annual appropriation obtained from a tax of two-fifths of a mill levied on assessed valuation of taxable property. Minneapolis receives her annual appropriation for parks through a Board of Tax Levy," with a limit of one mill on the assessed valuation of property to be taxed.
The parks of Peoria, Ill., are maintained from an annual tax levy of six mills, which provides her parks with the most liberal appropriation
A very large proportion of the money expended for the improvement and maintenance of parks is used for labor, and this labor cannot be honestly and carefully performed when partially under the direction of outside influences. If the same degree of efficiency and application of business principles had always been found in the various departments of our city governments as has prevailed in most of the park boards of this country, many municipalities would not now be carrying burdens of indebtedness so great as to suggest the possibility of bankruptcy. Of the thirty largest park systems in the United States, twenty-five are under strictly non-partisan commissions; in the other five cities the administration of park work is less under the control of political organizations than any other departments of the city government, and but two of these have park commissions.
ECONOMICAL MANAGEMENT BY COMMISSIONS.
The management of park affairs under commissions largely accounts for the economical and satisfactory development of our largest park systems, and the feeling is general that full value has been received for all park expenditures. In