« AnteriorContinuar »
present session, the Democratic members of the committee favoring immediate consideration. Senator Quay, of Pennsylvania, however, -for reasons which, correctly or incorrectly, have been assigned by the newspapers as personal and private rather than public,-undertook to take the subject out of the committee's hands and force action upon it. Although the Democrats regard themselves as normally stronger than their opponents in all three of the Territories in question, the parties have been so evenly divided in recent elections that the question of political advantage to either organization need not enter into the discussion.
Although not widely understood in Irrigation Bill the East, the irrigation bill, as successfully carried through both Houses and signed by President Roosevelt on June 18, is one of the most far-reaching and fundamentally important measures enacted at Washington in recent years. It required steady persistence and effort to formulate a general irrigation scheme, and then secure for it the approbation of Congress. But this sort of union of effort on the part of many localities is upon a very different plane from that which results in river and harbor bills or omnibus building raids on the Treasury. Mr. Newlands, of Nevada, one of its most prominent advocates, predicts that under the provisions of this bill at least $150,000,000 of the proceeds of the public lands will be available in the next thirty years for irrigation works without further appropriation. This measure will, of course, in the long run, greatly increase the prosperity and add to the population of the arid regions of the West. Under the system provided, the receipts from the sale of United States Government lands, amounting lately to an average of about $3,000,000 a year, will be used to provide works for the irrigation of lands which, in turn, will be sold at an enhanced price, and the proceeds added to the irrigation fund. It is believed that on this plan the fund will gradually swell and make financially possible increasingly large proj. ects for the watering and reclamation of desert lands. It is a fascinating idea.
The general sentiment in favor of Against Assassins and measures against the anarchists, and Anarchists. for the better protection of high officials, growing out of the assassination of President McKinley, has not resulted in the stringent enactments that were expected a few months ago. The Senate, in March, passed a bill the principal object of which was the better protection of the President, but at that time it declined to deal in the same measure with the general question of
HON. FRANCIS G. NEWLANDS, OF NEVADA. (Member of the House Committee on Irrigation of Arid Lands.)
restraining the anarchists. Various bills relating to that topic were held in reserve by the Judiciary Committee, where they have slumbered ever since. The House, on June 9, passed a substitute for the Senate's bill to protect the President, and in the same measure added certain sections that will have considerable interest for our anarchist brethren. It is likely that before the session ends the two Houses will have come together on some measure. Both Senate and House have voted to make the intentional killing of the President or Vice-President, or any officer entitled by law to succeed to the Presidency, punishable by death. To attempt to kill the President or any of these officials, or to threaten to do so, or to advise or counsel any. body else to do so, is made punishable by a term of imprisonment in both bills. The House bill extends similar protection to foreign ambassadors or ministers accredited to this country. The Senate bill provides for the punishment of those who conspire against the sovereign of a foreign country, and the House bill deals separately with the same matter, but more specifically. The House bill has sections which provide against the admission into the United States of any person who is opposed to all organized government, or is a member of any organization entertaining or teaching such opposition." It also prohibits the naturalization of anarchists, and gives the judges
authority to investigate before issuing naturalization papers. The exclusion of anarchist' immigrants is also specifically provided for in an important general immigration bill passed by the House several weeks ago. This measure undertakes to unify and consolidate all existing laws on the subject of immigration, and makes a good nany changes of detail, especially with the view to a more efficient enforcement of such restrictions as already exist upon the entrance of undesirable persons. It is hardly probable that the immigration measure can be dealt with by the Senate in the present session.
The resolution which passed the As to Electing House of Representatives so sweepingly in favor of election of United States Senators by direct vote of the people of the States, has been completely tied up in the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, and will probably not come to a vote on the Senate floor either this year or next. In order to prevent consideration on its merits, it was amended by its real opponents in the committee in such a manner as to provide for the holding of Senatorial elections under Federal auspices, and the regulation of other conditions as to the qualifications of voters as well as the direct supervision to insure a full and free vote. There is, of course, no more reason why the election of Senators should be under Federal supervision than the election of Representatives in Congress, or of Presidential electors. The question is a very simple one indeed. The cumulative experience of recent years has convinced most of the people of the United States that it would be well to relieve the State Legislatures of the business of choosing United States Senators. If the people of the country had not been of this opinion, it is scarcely probable that the proposed resolution to amend the Constitution of the United States would have passed the House of Representatives by a practically unanimous vote. The Senate should be willing to give the States a chance to show whether or not they would ratify such a proposed constitutional amendment.
Unless Congress changes its mind The Pacific Cable Ques- completely, of which there is no sort of prospect, there will be no government-owned Pacific cable line laid. The so-called Corliss bill came before the House with fair prospects, and in such a way as to test conclusively the opinion of that body on the question of government as against private cable ownership. The route had been surveyed by the Gov. ernment at a cost of $200,000, and had been found feasible. Mr. Corliss made a strong ar
gument to show that it would be profitable to the Government to construct the line, at an estimated cost of $10,000,000, and advantageous to the American Government and people in every way. Opposed to the governmental project were the friends of Mr. John W. Mackey's Commercial Pacific Cable Company, which is proposing to construct on its own account a line from San Francisco to Manila by way of Hawaii and Guam. After a brief debate, the House voted, on June 11, by 116 to 77, against the govern. mental project.
Questions of Although this long session has seemed Banking, and to afford the best possible opportunity Business. for the completion and perfection of the gold standard and currency laws, it was voted early in June, at a Republican conference, to postpone the subject until next December. More than a month ago the House passed a bill authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to use the silver bullion accumulated under the Sherman Purchase Act of 1890 in the minting of subsidiary coins. This, of course, involved the repeal of that part of the former act which had required the bullion to be coined into standard dollars. It is supposed that the Senate will concur in this desirable measure. On June 17, the House, under the leadership of Mr. Ray, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, passed a series of important amendments to the bankruptcy act, the result being, according to the prevailing opinion of those best informed, a bankruptcy system more perfect, upon the whole, than that of any other country.
The Coal Strike.
Important as the work of Congress has been this season, the affairs of the great business world have more than divided attention with those of the world of politics. First in the claim upon public attention last month was the anthracite coal strike, with its serious direct and incidental effects and its still more serious possibilities for the future. We publish in this number an interesting descriptive article upon the anthracite mining industry, from the pen of Mrs. Rhone, of Wilkes Barre; a valuable article on the anthracite coal-carrying railroads, from Mr. Newcomb, editor of the Railway World; and a judicious discussion of the principles involved in the strike, from Dr. Talcott Williams, of the Philadelphia Press. All attempts to end the trouble through the conciliation of the Civic Federation were unavailing. It gradually became apparent that the strike was not so much one for increased wages or the abatement of specified grievances, as for full recognition of the miners' union and the adoption in the
anthracite regions of the wage-scale system. The principal operators, as represented by the heads of the coal-carrying railroads, stuck steadily to their doctrine that it is not feasible to regularize labor conditions in the hard-coal region. An easy reply, of course, is that, in spite of the different conditions prevailing in different parts of the anthracite field, the capitalists themselves have succeeded in forming a combination by which they have completely eliminated competition, with the result of regulating the total output and controlling the market price. It is not necessary to assume that the wage scales demanded by the miners' union would mean uniformity where conditions do not permit. It would seem scarcely more difficult to provide different wage scales in the anthracite districts under the general sanction of the mine-workers' union, than to arrange the different scales that exist under the same auspices in the various bituminous districts.
the railroads to the mining, shipping, and marketing of coal is at the basis of the whole anthracite trouble. In the wild scramble, some years ago, for the acquisition of coal lands, and the control of what were formerly independent coalmining companies, fictitious prices were paid and immense sums of money were invested upon false economic principles. The existing combination is for the purpose of making the public pay interest and dividends upon a huge volume of improper capitalization. But for this artificial situation, which-morally, if not technically— constitutes the most flagrant violation of the Sherman anti-trust law to be found in the whole country, the public could have cheap coal, the miners could have fair wages, and the railroads could charge a reasonable price for transportation. President Roosevelt, when called upon, early in June, to try to bring about a settlement of the coal strike, showed that the law under which the Pullman strike was investigated had subsequently been repealed. But Col. Carroll D. Wright, as head of the Department of Labor, made certain inquiries into the facts for the President's information. The public would like to read his report.
substitutes for hard coal, and the use of petroleum as a fuel was determined upon in various quarters. A number of tank steamers were chartered for bringing crude petroleum from the new Texas oil fields for consumption in New York, and naval experts announced successful experiments in the use of oil as a substitute for coal in the furnaces of warships. The chief substitute, however, for hard coal was to be found in the abundant and widespread deposits of the bituminous article; and the strikers soon found that unless they could greatly curtail the output of the soft-coal mines, their strike was doomed to certain failure. Accordingly, a convention of the United Mine Workers of America was called by an order issued on June 17, to meet in the middle of July at Indianapolis, to consider the question of a sympathetic strike among all the organized coal-miners of the United States.
From a new photo by Marceau.
(President of the United Mine Workers of America.)
abandon their work. Thus, it is not strictly fair to say that if the Western bituminous miners should suspend work in sympathy with the anthracite miners, they would thereby have violated existing contracts or agreements. It would certainly violate their agreements if the miners of Ohio, for instance, having accepted a wage scale for a year, should at the end of six months demand an immediate increase of wages, and strike to enforce the demand. But these wage scales do not obligate the employer to keep his mine running or to give full employment for a year to his men; and they cannot, therefore, on the other hand, require the men to keep on working in the mines if they choose to work elsewhere or to be idle. We are sure, however, that the bituminous miners would make a colossal blunder if they should strike, and that they would forfeit the approval of the country and destroy the confidence in their union that they had been gradually building up.
its final quietus. The so-called Morganization" of the Atlantic steamship lines showed that American capital can carry on an ocean business in the transport of passengers and freight without financial assistance from the Treasury of the United States Government. The explicit statements made by the leading men in the new combination of shipbuilding plants also showed,-what this magazine has again and again asserted, -that the new industrial conditions in the United States render it easily possible for our shipyards to turn out steel vessels in competition with foreign shipbuilders without government aid, whenever the right combination of men and interests choose to make the attempt. Mr. Lewis Nixon, the famous naval designer and shipbuilder, who is one of the chief factors in the new combination, has been very outspoken in his expressions of confidence in the ability of the United States Shipbuilding Company to build vessels in open competition with the European shipyards. The new company owns the great San Francisco plant which built the Oregon and the Olympia, as well as various other vessels, and it includes also such Eastern plants as the Bath Iron Works, the Crescent Shipyard, of Elizabethport, N. J., the Eastern Shipbuilding Company, of New London, Conn., and the Harlan & Hollingsworth Company, of Wilmington, Del.
It has also acquired the Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) Steel Company's plant, which is especially adapted to the making of armor plate and guns. Mr. Nixon tells the public, furthermore, that the Shipbuilding Company has made arrangements with the United States Steel Corporation for the prompt and ample supply of hull steel on a basis of prices. that will enable the company to compete against British and German shipyards for non-American orders. Thus, with its own steel plant at Bethlehem, the new shipbuilding concern can turn out a complete warship, armored and supplied with guns, out of its own resources and facilities.
Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan's movements the Ship in Europe this summer have been more keenly watched and more constantly discussed by the newspapers of England, France, Germany, and the rest of the Continent than the comings, goings, and doings of emperors and prime ministers. Of all Mr. Morgan's achievements, nothing has impressed the European mind so much as the formation of the steamship combination. The great concern of the English last month seemed to be to prevent, if possible, the absorption of the Cunard line by Mr. Morgan's company. It was thought in England that the Cunard had given an option of purchase to Mr. Morgan and his associates, conditioned upon its failure to bluff
the British Government into bribing it with large subsidies to remain true to its old allegiance. Lord Brassey himself, the great authority on shipping, and formerly secretary to the admiralty, went before a House of Commons committee last month, to beg it to subsidize the Cunard iine as the only remaining British champion in the Atlantic traffic. He declared that it would be a national disaster if the line were transferred to a foreign flag. No negotiations, however, seem to have been pending for the transfer of the Cunard line.
It is not primarily a matter of flags Wanted and allegiances, but simply one of a Everywhere. closer and more economical manage. ment of the business affairs of the great Atlantic ferry. The steamship subsidy question in Eng. land will have entered upon a new stage of discussion, as the colonial premiers, -the coronation being over, are now settling down to their talk at London about various matters affecting the inter-relations of the United Kingdom and the great colonies. The Canadians have gone to London eager to secure support for their scheme of a great Anglo-Canadian steamship line, to be heavily subsidized by the Dominion and the British governments, and to operate in close relations with the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The chief promoters of the Canadian company,which hopes to get a million dollars a year from the government at Ottawa, and at least twice as