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OUR AMERICAN LETTER., Issue 7924, 4 June 1889
OUR AMERICAN LETTER.
Keokuk, lowa (U.S.A.), April 27. DESTRUCTIVE RIVALRY IN TRADE. Trade trusts, which Congress tried to suppress but failed, and which every State Legislature is endeavoring to control, while they merit all the condemnation they are receiving, and should be put under the strictest control of law, have into being because of the changed conditions which are making competition an engine of destruction instead of a regulating and corrective principle. Competition does not now mean “ the life of trade,” but the wanton destruction of capital. The “trust” was devised as a remedy for a desperate disease. Steam transportation on land and sea has been the great agency in changing the character of commercial competition and in introducing into trade problems which the rules of old political economy do not solve. The railroad has delocalised markets, and exposed every village and hamlet to competition from any part of the continent. In ante-railroad times markets were localised in towns and villages, and the local dealers could calculate accurately the demand of their field and regulate the supply to meet it : . Von Thunen’s doctrine of concentric lines remained true even down to fifty years ago. Selecting a city as a central point, he divided the country surrounding it within a radius of fifty miles into six zones. The first zone immediately adjoining the city supplied the city with vegetables, fruit, and milk ; the second with potatoes and carrots; the third with fuel; and the next three cereal productions and animals. The whole doctrine was arranged to meet the cost of transportation. Land more than fifty miles from market had very little commercial value. Now a farm 200 hundred miles away from market is just as valuable as one twenty miles away. The wheat of our Western States now goes to Liverpool ; the fruit of California to New York and London. The American farmer competes with the grain-growers of Russia, India, Egypt, and Australia. In manufactures oompetition is not so extended, because of the restraints of our tariff. But inside the United States the markets are delocalised, and the commercial traveller visits every village and calls on every dealer in the country. Production is becoming concentrated more and more in large centres and vast establishments. The village craftsman hasdisappeared.and the workman has become a part of a great machine. The market is so vast that its demands cannot be calculated accurately ; and it is more and more difficult for producers to know just what their rivals are doing. The tendency is steadily in the direction of over-produc-tion and desperate competition in selling goods. The rage for cut-throat competition extends everywhere. Railroads, newspapers, prospectors, manufacturers, and
which tends to make the struggle one that will end in the survival of the fittest.
The “trust” or combine comes in aa au olive branch of relief from destructive conn petition. It moans that each branch of industry shall be converted into a mammoth monopoly, with power to dictate absolutely to labor and to the consuming public. It would destroy altogether the competition of employers of labor, and discourage invention by removing the inducement to adopt new methods and improve production in order to obtain patronage. The remedy is too desperate to be accepted. It is quite revolutionary, and cannot be tolerated. But_ that some restraint on destructive competition is absolutely needed cannot be denied ; but the political and social economist has not yet found it.
KXIMHUMKNTS WITH WOMAN SI'ITUACI.. la the current ‘ Popular Science Monthly a woman of the West undertakes to refute the claim that men have physical and combative superiority over women, and should have control in public affairs because they possess the fighting quality and strength which must ultimately determine all questions of government. She points out that the lioness protects her young and supports them and herself at the same time ; that the hen does the same; that the women of Kurd are known to have killed bears; that the female exiles in Siberia display extraordinary endurance ; that some Scotch and German women are good laborers; and that women have been known to engage in street riots with wonderful courage and effect. It would not be difficult to add to these instances many others going to show that when women are compelled force of circumstances to lead rough lives and subject themselves to dangers in the same way as men, that they develop the same rude, rough natures. But it is quite au unusual thing to have woman’s latest capacity for ruffianism advanced as a reason why she should have the ballot. Heretofore the argument has been that women should purify, refine, and ennoble politics. _ The recent municipal elections in the State of Kansas subjected the question of suffrage to the test of practice. It is the second test of the kind, but the results reached can hardly be called satisfactory by the advocates of woman suffrage. In the city of Oskaloosa (Kansas) the policy of turning over the city government to female officers has been successful. Small boys must now be in bed before ten o clock at night, and men are forbidden to expectorate tobaccojuiceonthesidewalks. Variousother police regulations are enacted to the advantage of good order, morality, and sobriety. Oskaloosa, however, has no unruly elements in it. The people are nearly all Americans, and churchgoers ; the very few unbelievers and Freethinkers in it suffer a social boycott. In the cities of Topeka (the capital) and Leavenworth the women voters have turned the government over to the saloon, whisky, and lawless elements. In Leavenworth Colonel Anthony (brother of the famous Susan 8., the champion of woman suffrage) was nominated by tho. Republican and anti-saloon people for mayor against a Democrat chosen as a representative of the saloons. According to the theory and expectation of the advocates of woman suffrage, the thousands of women recently admitted to the suffrage should have gone solidly for Colonel Anthony and for decency and sobriety, and so scored a telling victory over free whisky, gin mills, and rowdyism. On the contrary, Colonel Anthony' was defeated, and the grog-shop candidate elected by a majority of 1,200. In like manner Topeka was carried by the saloonists. As a rule the women voted with their huebands, and as their husbands and the male members of their families directed, and in accordance with party prejudice, irrespective of any consideration of morality, temperance, or decency in politics, The Democratic women voted for the grog-shop candidate on their regular party ticket, and seemed to have more concern about a victory for their party than for purifying city politics. The Democratic women turned out in larger numbers than did their Republican sisters, _ In Utah woman suffrage was given a trial, but Congress had to disfranchise the female voters, because the Mormon women were completely under the control of their church authorities, and voted solidly for polygamy. So in Kansas, the large cities of Leavenworth, Atchison, Wichita, and Topeka were carried for misrule by the votes of women.
MASSACHUSETTS AND PROHIBITION, Massachusetts is now added to the number of States that have pronounced against constitutional Prohibition at the ballot-box. The old commonwealth has spoken by no uncertain majority —nearly 45,000. This large vote is full of significance. Yet it may be misunderstood entirely by those who are unacquainted with the sentiment of the State. It must not be regarded as a vote against the policy of Prohibition. A very large number of leaders and thinkers voted against the proposed amendment who are decidedly in favor of crushing put the liquor business, if possible, by legislative Prohibition. With these it is a question of the best legal method to destroy a great evil, and not whether the drink evil shall be legally recognised. A very large number of the people of the State have no faith whatever in Prohibition itself. Some think it an invasion of individual and personal rights of the minority by the majority. Others regard it as a measure sure to fail in the end, so long as there is a demand for liquor and the sale of it is profitable; or so long as the consumer and seller unite in continuing the business. The people of the State who have voted it down by such a large majority have not done it ignorantly. The canvass has been warm and thorough. The pulpit, Press, and platform have done their parts. Prohibition is an old question in Massachusetts, They have tried it before. They have tried it in local option ; they have tried high license ; they have before them the example of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Kansas, and lowa, and yet they vote it down. How shall we read the lesson ? It is a temporary phase of a great movement; a momentary ebb of an ever onward moving tide. It is not a backward movement in temperance sentiment. Just as sure as reason, humanity, and religion live, so sure is it that sentiment rooted in moral convictions will grow and strengthen. The question is one of methods, this was the bottom question in Massachusetts, We will not, ought not, let the Old World “ wag ns it will,” and yet we do not know what to do with it. Who does ? AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE^ Delegates havp been appointed to an international American conference consisting of the Republics of Mexico, Central and South America, Hayti, San Domingo, United States, and the Empire of Brazil, to be convened in Washington on October 2, to consider the formation of an American Zollverein, the expediting of communication between North and South American ports, the adoption of a uniform system of weights and measures, a common silver coin, and of patent and copyright laws. It is also understood that measures for common defence will be presented, and a system of arbitration discussed by which war may be avoided. The expansion of commercial relations and the fostering of neighborly goodwill among continental neighbors will also be ventilated. A group of ten gentlemen from every section of the countryeminent in commerce, manufacturing, law, politics, and diplomacy—will assemble at the Capitol. This is a revival of Mr Blaine's policy when he was a member of President Garfield’s Cabinet, and the wisdom of it has been acknowledged by an almost unanimous vote of both Houses of Congress in making provision for the Conference. THE OPENINO OF OKLAHOMA.
Congress had provided for the purchase of a strip of country in the Indiana Territory about the size of the States of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. In its eightyseven townships there are about 3,000,000 acres of land, or 12,800 full quarter sections. Congress provided that it should be opened for settlement on a given date, and sold to bona fide settlers only in lots of 160 acres. The price to be paid is Idol 25c per acre, but veteran soldiers are entitled to a patent without payment, provided that they can show a personal residence on the pre-empted quarter section and its cultivation. Long before the day for opening the land crowds began to gather and to camp on the border, which was strictly guarded by United States troops under command of General Merritt. On the 23rd inst, the day for formal opening, a grand
rush was mads ; thousands on thousands of ■ persons poured in pell mell; many, unhitch- I ing the horses from their praine waggons, | mounted them and galloped with hot haste to get a good claim. Many of these * people never mean to turn a furrow ; they • are shiftless fellows—adventurers— who are always waiting for something to “ turn up. They include persons vicious and depraved, who mean to live, if they can, by the sweat of some other fellow’s brow. They include venturesome merchants, ambitious professionals, mechanics of every kind, barbers, and boarding house keepers, who have no interest whatever in quarter sections. These strike for town lots. As there is not nearly enough land to supply one-third of the number who uuhed to get it, many will be disappointed, Some murders have been committed, and several persons have taken their own lives. The soil of the country is reported to be uncommonly rich, _ well watered aud timbered, and the climate salubrious. The continuous population of the Territory is well assured. In lapidity of settlement it is a .State created in a single day. The tiller of the soil is not likely to experience any grievous disappointment, but many town-lot boomers will surely come to grief. CANADIAN NOTES. The report comes from Canada that the Jesuits’ Estates Bill, of which mention has been made in this correspondence, may yet be vetoed. The refusal of the Dominion Parliament to disallow the Act renders necessary the early payment of the_Lßo,ooo appropriated under it and apportioned by the Pope among the Jesuits and other Roman Catholic institutions. But the Treasury of Quebec, whence the money must come, is absolutely empty ; and iu the urgent necessity of procuring it somehow, it is proposed to do so by pledging the puolic credit. Under the Dominion law, however, the loan must be authorised by Act- of the Provincial Parliament and signed by the Licuteuant-Governor, aiul aa the lattci htis the vetoing power, he has threatened to use it in this instance. The purpose for which the Estates Bill was passed is not, it is averred, among those for which the public credit can be pledged, and as an Act authorising a loan would thus be unconstitutional, the Governor has determined to withhold his signature if it should be passed. Even if he had not, the bitter feeling already aroused would not suffer the authorisation of a loan without exhausting every legal means to prevent it. The situation thus presented is as complex as can well be imagined. M. Mercier, the Premier of Quebec, who forced the Estates Bill through the Legislature in the face of Protestant Opposition, is the leader of the Liberal party in the province, while the LieutenantGovernor is a French Catholic and a Conservative. When the Act came befoie the Dominion Parliament the Conservative Government for party reasons refused to disallow it, thus vindicating the action of M. Mercier, a political opponent; while the Conservative Lieutenant-Governor now proposes to veto the loan, and so nullify the action of his own party at Ottawa. _ As a political puzzle the situation is most interesting, and is certain of careful study by students of social and religious questions the world over. President Harrison has by proclamation closed Behring Sea to seal fishing and seal hunting daring the breeding season. The Toronto ‘Globe,’ Montreal ‘Herald,’ and numerous minor Canadian newspaper lights are fanning a breeze of contention and dispute over the President s right to thus close the sea. The American claim to jurisdiction is amply supported by the Treaty of Cession, by the practice of Russia when she owned the possession in question, and by the Russian Emperor quite recently. The Aleutian Islands, which are an extension of Alaska, and included in the deed of cession, extend far beyond the most eastern point of Russian possession in Asia, and intersect the boundary line. The United States claims jurisdiction over the waters lying east of a line drawn from Behring Strait to the westernmost of the Aleutian Islands. This makes aland-locked sea, and no one can seriously question our right to close it during the breeding season against pirates who would kill the female seals, which would lead to the starvation of the pups. Lord Salisbury has declared that the Behring Sea ought to be a mare ckmsum in the breeding season. The point presented to the Canadian seal fishers is, that the sea is closed ; if they think that it is not, let them try it. The argument will then be settled vi et armis. The recent debate in the Senate of the Dominion resulted in the passage of an obscure and complicated resolution against the expediency of commercial union with the United States. The oiiginal resolution was to the effect that “it would be unjust to the United Kingdom to levy higher duties on goods imported thence than on goods of the same character imported from any foreign country,” though this is precisely what they are doing in exercising the right to discriminate against English goods. This was substituted by another, more obscure, but which contains the same principle, thus stated It would not be in the interest of Canada to establish an entire reciprocity of trade with any foreign nation open any conditions that would restrict, with regard to others, entire freedom of action by this country in protecting its own industries, in dealing with its own sources of revenue, and in regulating its own foreign trade, or that would necessitate the adoption of duties discriminating against imports from other nations, and more especially the Mother Country.” This means that Canada will not consent to levy a heavier duty on British than on American goods, even for the sake of Freetrade with this country. The Canadian duty on imported goods is 33 per cent., the American 46 per cent. Were there complete reciprocity with tiiis country the British goods now paying 33 per cent, would pay 46 per cent. Whatever the duty would bo the consumer ami not the seller must pay it. So the resolution is based upon a false statement. Imitating the American States, the Dominion Parliament is after the “combine” with a legislative club. What is known as the Clarke-Wallace’s Combine Bill has passed through Committee, and is almost certain to become law. The measure, among other things, provides that every person or co-operation who unlawfully limits the facilities for transportation or the production of any commodity, which may be a subject of trade and commerce, in relation to any such article, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable on conviction to a penalty not exceeding LBO and not less than L4O, or imprisonment for a term not to exceed two years. In the case of companies the maximum fine is placed at L 2,000. No appeals to be allowed to the Supreme Court. Minister Foster, in moving the Steamship Subsidy Bill in the Dominion Parliament, recounted the reasons that led the Government to ask for the appropriation. Speaking of the necessity of a more modern Atlantic service, he gave statistics to show that the superior comfort and speed of the crack lines out of New York had diverted a large part of the business that should be done by Canadian vessels. He said that the Government had determined to build up Canadian lines on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and to pay no subsidy to vessels calling at United States ports. He then proceeded to show that this fast steamship service was a sequence of Canada’s transcontinental railway and other developments. The Canadian Pacific Railway was never intended to begin at St. John or Halifax and end at Westminster, but to bo a part and parcel of the greatest, beat, and shortest highway between Europe and the far East. The advantage of the Canadian route over its American competitors and the Suez Canal was emphasised, and figures given to show the growth of Canadian trade in the past two years with China and Japan. A list of leading exports from the United States to Australia and New Zealand was given as indicating the amount of trade properly and naturally belonging to Canada, which could be obtained by a direct, fast, and efficient service. He said that it was pro posed to reach European trade by a French port of the direct Atlantic line; and held that while the amount asked for was largo, yet it was necessary, and produced figures to prove that it was within Canadian ability to supply it, and beneath Canadian pluck and ambition to refuse it. The Canadian Parliament has passed, by a large majority, what is known as the Weldon Extradition Bill. This was made necessary by failure of the amended Extradition Treaty with Great Britain. Canada, by this measure, proposes to purge her own
soil of a dangerous element, and destrfly the si hitherto hospitable haven tor American vdefaulters, bank cashiers, and boodlers. r< This law authorises and directs the officers w of the Dominion to surrender, on demand, V all persons charged with embezzlement or q swindling. A retroaclive_ clause was ex- u puligcd on the ground that it was not deemed c desirable to deliver to the American autlio- i N ritioa “ visitors’' who had paid the amount of their defalcations after reaching Canada, j and a majority of whom, it stated, are now leading respectable lives. _ The presence f in Canada of publicly recognised criminals ; living without fear in the enjoyment of j f stolen wealth must be a constant menace to , ] public inovality. The United States should j j now hasten to pass a similar Bill, pro- j viding for the surrender of Canadian crimi- , nals in the United States. This sort of re- , ciprocity will diminish crime in the two. ( The ‘ New York Sun ’ has collected ( and published the opinions of a thou- ( sand prominent Englishmen and Eng- > lisli papers on the question of the • annexation of Canada. Tho persona whose , views were solicited represent every shade of political opinion and all grades of society. These expressions show that, while England , is not anxious to lose Canada, it will be willing to say good-bye with a tear when Canada asks to come into the Union of States. Upon this, the ‘Sun’ says that “ when England discovers that the United States is determined to lake Canada, Great Britain will only insist upon conditions that will not reflect upon her dignity.” Ulysses.
OUR AMERICAN LETTER., Issue 7924, 4 June 1889
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