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OUR AMERICAN LETTER.

Keokuk, lowa (U.S.A.), May, 1889. ODR CENTENARY CELEBRATION. The Americana delight in celebrations. They take kindly to ’ banners, crowds, music, and processions. With the 30th of April closed the first century in the history of the Republic. The achievements of the century seemed to justify a celebration, and the people all over the country tried to show their appreciation of the importance of the event with songs, parades, banners, speeches, and pyrotechnics. In the city of New York, where Washington was inaugurated as the first President, there was one of the sublimest patriotic demonstrations ever witnessed in any country. The military were in charge of General Schofield, and the navy under Admiral Porter—both men having large experience in handling men and ships. The weather was all that could be desired. Citizens, soldiers, and sailors vied with each other in adding glory to the scene. Houses, stores, and public buildings were decorated, while flags, streamers, and pennants floated from every ocean steamer, ship, tug, and ferry-boat. The naval parade was pronounced to have been the finest ever seen on American waters. In the military display 60,00 troops took part, and the Governors of. the States were in the procession, the who being reviewed by President Harrison, Memorial religious services were i s I the Sabbath in St. Paul’s Church, v li dent Harrison occupied Washington’s pev while Bishop Potter delivered an addres. that has been made the subject of criticism

by the Press of the country. If this magnificent celebration shall lead the people of America to study the constitution of the nation, and to discover and guard against the perils of the present and appreciate the institutions which the Pilgrim Fathers planted, and to cultivate a pure and holy patriotism in themselves and their children, it will serve a good purpose. If Washington and his contemporaries could behold the country now with its groat eities, farms, schools, colleges, churches, railroads, telegraphs, telephones, steamships, and steam presses, and witness the machinery of its Government, and the condition of the people, they would doubtless be well pleased. But there remains much to be done, many reforms to be achieved, many evils to be removed, many discoveries yet to be made, and many improvements in natural resources and appliances effected. In respect to education and public morals, we have only made a beginning. If we and our children shall rise to the measure of responsibility and opportunity, there are an hundredfold greater things in store for those who shall celebrate the next centennial. THE PRESIDENT’S APPOINTMENTS.

Thus far President Harrison’s appointments to public offices have given general satisfaction, and seem to indicate a desire to improve the Civil Service and to carry out in good faith the law of Congress. The two vacancies in the Civil Service Commission are filled by the appointment of Mr Theo Roosevelt, of New York, and Mr Hugh S. Thompson, of South Carolina. Mr Roosevelt is a young radical Republican, but is opposed to the “spoil” system in politics. Mr Thompson is a Southern Democrat, but has earned a national reputation for his brave and successful fight in his own State for an impartial public school system, and for an honest, clean, and able administration as Governor of his State. The appointment of the Rev. Dr D. Dorchester, of Boston, to be Superintendent of Indian Schools, is commended by men of all parties. The Doctor is known as a man of rare executive ability, is in no sense a politician, and his character is above suspicion. He will have under his care 233 Indian schools and 40,000 public ones. He is left free and untrammelled in the exercise of his function to secure for these schools the best obtainable system of instruction and the most efficient corps of teachers. The President favors an entire change of policy towards the Indians. He wants to abolish the reservation system and divide the lands among the Indians iu severalty, each Indian becoming a citizen of the United States on acceptance of his allotment. This would open up about 11,000,000 acres in Indian territory to actual settlers, aud to railroads that will bring their country into direct

communication with the great Eastern and Western markets. It is proposed to educate all the Indians of school age, and the Doctor is expected to elaborate a scheme sufficiently comprehensive for that purpose, and to furnish the last factor necessary for the solution of tho Indian problem.

THE SETTLEMENT Of OKLAHOMA* Tha invasion of Oklahoma is now over, and the rapidity with which the territory his been occupied indicates how little exaggeration there was in tho reported a amber of intending settlors. Promptly at the discharge of the signal gun tho onset bsgan. The “ boomers ’ rushed in from the bo-ders on horseback, on foot, and in waggons, or emerged from tho thickets of the territory itself where they had been hiding from the troops. The territory was opened on Monday, April 22, and on Tuesday night it boasted of 50,000 inhabitants. The first train reacned Guthrie o.i Monday at 2 p.m., and before sundown a city of nearly 15,000 inhabitants had risen oa the plains. On Tuesday an election was held, in which 3,000 votes were cast, and that day a bank organised with a capital of LIO.OOO. Some of the settlers of the new city did not count all the cost before starting out. Tho famous city had no houses, no hotels, and no wells. The food supply became scarce and dear. The people could buy drinks of muddy water from a stream aomo distance away at ten cents a pint. This illustrates the American method, which is so different from the old slow European growth. \V ith us a State is born in a day, and a full-fledged city appears in a morning. RELIGIOUS UNIFICATION. Several Presbyterian ecclesiastical bodies

«vre in session at the present time in this country, and they may result in a unification that is needful and long desired. In Pennsylvania the Covenanters and the Reformed Presbyterian Church give promise of being united. The Presbyterian Church North and the Presbyterian Church South split years ago on account of slavery. These bodies are now in session, and will receive reports from joint-committees appointed at last annual session to consider the matter of organic union. There are several other minor Pres byterian bodies in this country for which there is no reasonable excuse for eeparate existence. In creed there is but little difference. The ultimate object of all religious bodies are identical, and if these conflicting organisms could unite there would be loss dogmatic discussion and more evangelistio work accomplished. A DOGMA IN DANCER. The General Assembly of tho Presbyterian Church North will receive a report from a committee of which Dr Howard Crosby, of Now York, is chairman, who are understood to favor a revision of the Confession, opeeially the chapter entitled “God’s Eternal Decrees,” tho tone of which ii as follows“ By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.” This cast-iron statement of dogma has kept tho Presbyterian Church on the defensive for a century at least. As time has progressed there has been an evolution of thought upon this subject within tho church, and very many Presbyterians have arrived at the conclusion that it is not consistent that a man damned from the beginning should be held responsible, and are clamoring for a change in the standards. The whole religious world, but particularly Presbyterians, will watch the proceedings with eager interest, and will draw a long breath of relief should the General Assembly have the courage and wisdom to lop off predistination, foreordination, and damnation from its Confession of Faith. EXTENDING TRADE WITH OUR NEIGHBORS The business men of New York, Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia have been holding conventions to discuss the matter of extending trade with Mexico and the South American nations. It is proposed that Congress be asked to authorise the establishment of a national bank, with agencies In Mexico and the Central and South American trade centres; to subsidise steamship lines; and to negotiate reciprocity treaties by which the raw materials and products of those countries should be admitted into the United States free of import duty, on condition that the manufactures of the United States be admitted to their markets on the same terms, Such an arrangement would be fair, but it will be impossible to get Congress even to consider such a plan. It is not yet ready to abandon the narrow, selfish, and short-sighted policy that has prevailed heretofore. Before it can ask other countries for concessions it must be prepared to give concessions to others. In dealing with its neighbors it must adopt the principles of “ Live and let live,” “ Give and take.” We shall wait a long time before the manufacturers and merchants of the United States have free access to the markets of the “ States south of us,” while we keep up the bars against their products. This narrow policy is costing American commerce many millions every year that might be earned as well as mt. But the interest of the many is sacri ficed for the benefit of the few.

The Argentine Republic is apparently on tie verge of a financial panic. For some time that country has been borrowing and spending money on a grand scale. It has been constructing railways into the interior that will pay when the country is settled, but not now. It has expended large sums on harbor improvements at Buenos Ayres which are not immediately profitable. The Government have been very liberal with their public lands in gifts to settlers and m assisting immigration. Unfortunately her assisted immigrants do not care to settle on the lands, but prefer to congregate in the cities, and to add to a class of labor of which the Republic already had an abundance. In the meantime speculation has been growing, and the value ol the paper currency has been falling s:cadily. The premium on gold a year ago was 25 per cent. ; it is now 50 per cant. The Government of the United States during the war of the rebellion were wise enough to declare that the Customs duties should be paid in gold. The Argentine Republic permits her Custom duties t.) be paid in depreciated paper, and is sulTcriug in consequence. The law which guarantees the bank notes in circulation is done upon condition that they shall bo withdrawn if depreciated more than 20 per cent. ; but in the face of a much greater depreciation nothing has yet been done. The Minister insists that the law must be observed, and if he is allowed to press the matter the financial panic must come as the immediate result of his proper demand. Ulysses,

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Bibliographic details

OUR AMERICAN LETTER., Issue 7945, 28 June 1889

Word Count
1,817

OUR AMERICAN LETTER. Issue 7945, 28 June 1889

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