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OUR AMERICAN LETTER., Issue 8020, 24 September 1889
OUR AMERICAN LETTER.
Keokuk, lowa (U.S.A.), August 20. THE LABOR STRIKE AT TILE CARNEGIE
Ironworks. Mr Carnegio is an earnest Republican in p ditics, and a believer in and an advocate of the principle of Protection. When his men struck for higher Wages the attention of the whole country was turned in the direction of Homestead, The Democratic and Freetrade Press of the country made the strike the text for all eerts of gibes at Mr Carnegie, and gave utterance to all kinds of surmises as to the treatment which the workmen received at his bands. For that reason, I have made some efforts to find out the facts of the case, which are as follows : In the works at Homestead (Pennsylvania) bis firm had been paying 20 per cent, higher wages than were paid by other employers in •Pennsylvania for the same kind of service, «nd higher wages than the working men’s own Association had demanded elsewhere. When the selling price of the product declined so that he could no longer pay higher •"'ages than his neighbors were paying, Mr Carnegie reduced the wages of hfr. workmen <?n a sliding scale to the same level as that of the other competitive establishments. Then it was that his employes struck, insisting upon the higher wages. The opposition Press and Freetrade orators, who knew nothing ot the situation, ■seized upon the fact of the strike, and false'y S reclaimed that the working men were cut own to starvation wages, and ought to have struck. The following extract from an advertisement by the Carnegie Company in different newspapers, calling for men to take the place of strikers, named the wages offered under the revised schedule :
The highest wages in the first or “ converting nnill ” class on this estimate are 3dol 75c a day, and the lowest Idol 90c. Bn* it the tonnage kept up to the May standard the actual earnings would bo 126d0l a month, or sdol 4o a day for the highest and 63d0l 750 per month, or 2dol 500 per day, for the lowest. Tho next class is under tho “28in blooming.mill.” The wages here on the basis of ike May tonnage range from 6dol a day, or 150dol a month, to Idol 730 a day, or 43d0l 33c per month. The next class is the “23in mil,” in which the highest wages oil the same basis are 140Jol a month or 6dol 600 a day, and the lowest 41dol Goc a month, or Idol 67c a day. The next class is the “33incogging mill.” in which the estimated earnings arc 510 l 83c a day, or 6Jol on the May basis, for the highest, and the lowest, which represent wages paid to hydraulic boys, 730 a day, and the lowest for men of this class Idol 90c. In the remaining throe classes the highest wages respectively are estimated at sdol 80c, 6dol, and 6dol 800 a day; or, on the basis of the May tonnage, the actual earnings would be I6fidol 300. 150dol, and ISldol 600 per month for the highest, and 62d0l 650, 43d0l 500, and 654 ol 60c per month on the same basis for the lowest.
The Carnegie Mills are now Dinning on the above scale of wages. Mr Carnegie has agreed with his men that if the product increases after tho first of January the wages will be advanced accordingly, and if it decreases the wages will be decreased pro rata. In other words, the employer and employe make common interest of. the business, and go up or go down together—both prospering when times are good and both standing some of the loss when the market declines. These are the actual facts concerning this much-talked-of Strike. THE AMERICAN CIVIL SERVICE.
The fifth annual report of the Civil Service Commission, which has just been made public, shows what substantial progress has already been made towards taking administrative offices out of the political arena. Xho numbov of officers who are now protected by Civil Service rules is about 28,000. Of those, about 8,000 arc in the Departmental Service, 2,300 in the Customs Service, 1,800 in the Postal Service, and '5,300 in the Railway Mail Service. The report sots at rest two objections which are sometimes urged against the present aystem of selecting appointees by competitive examination. The figures show that Ifte graduates of high schools succeed as Well as college graduates. A common school education qualifies the candidates to adequately pass the examination. It is also shown, in answer to the statement that the examinations make it easy for the schoolboys to get into the Service, but exclude men of mature age and experience, that the average uge of clerks who pass in the Departmental Service, for instance, is about twenty-eight years, and that, as a whole, men of mature age stand quite as good a chance of meeting the test examinations as young men just from school. It is a great thing that 28,000 of the employes of the General Government are no longer subject to the vicissitudes of party change. The gain is amply worth the long years of struggle made by the friends of Civil Service reform. How that the foundation is laid deep and broad, a few years will suffice to lift the Civil List entirely out of politics. It is very amusing to read the flings in the party newspapers at the projectors of the enterprise as professional reformers. It is to these men the country owes a debt of gratitude for what has already been accomplished, and for the promise that in the near future the Civil Service will be redeemed from the demoralising and cruel influence of the spoils system. If the country had waited for its politicians to inaugurate this reform it would have waited until the next Centennial, or longer. THE BEHRING SEA TROUBLE. The Canadian people have been stirred up by the seizure of the Canadian schooner Black Diamond by the American revenue cutter Rash for poaching in the American half of Behring Sea. The last Congress passed an Act defining the American claim, prescribing penalties for unauthorised sealfishing within the limits of the Alaskan territory and the waters thereof, and assigning the determination and infliction of the penalties to the United States Court for the District of Alaska; and it required the Administration to assert and protect American rights in the Behring Sea. Under this Act the President issued a proclamation warning off all poachers, and despatched the Rush, along with other vessels, to enforce the plain provisions of the statute. The present Administration were left no discretion in the matter. They are not carrying out a policy of their own, but are required to enforce the law.* until repealed or set aside by competent authority. The first victim was the Black Diamond, a Canadian schooner, captured by the Rush, put in charge of a prize crew, consisting of one American sailor named Hakerow, with orders to sail for Sitka. When safely out of reach of tho Rush, the captain of the Black Diamond headed his schooner for Victoria instead of Sitka, and tho Yankee sailor was told to keep quiet, which he did, A prize crew of one man is not an unheard-of thing when the vessel is under parole of honor, but a prize crew of one man to escort a vessel caught in the act of stealing, and captured for that reason, to harbor savors more of a huge joke than good sense. It is bad enough to have our dilapidated old navy the sport of citizens and foreigners alike without having such performances as that of the Rush indulged in to make our officers the laughing-stock of nations, and of Canada in particular. The Black Diamond arrived safely at Victoria, and landed her prize crew with a hearty laugh at the brilliant performance of the commander of the Rush, The whole business smacks of the burlesque. The end is not yet. So far as Canada is concerned, however, the tables are turned. The old familiar tale of Yankee skippers under arrest and Yankee schooners detained and confiscated for the violation of the three - mile clause and numerous local Canadian statutes is reversed and Canada is mad. This seizure should convince both countries that they cannot afford to allow these disputes to go on without peaceable adjustment. With the seizure of the Black Diamond, a St Thomas policeman having his pocket picked while on duty, the police station at Ottawa robbed in broad daylight, and the fire department house, engine, and horses burned up at Winnepeg, Canada seems to be down on its luck at present. The Jesuit trouble in Quebec has started the discussion of a measure in Ontario and Manitoba to compel Protestants and Catholics to attend the same schools, to abolish the teaching of French, and to confine exclusive attention to the English language. The great difficulty in the lower provinces is the deep-rooted antagonism existing between the French and English portions of the population—practically two nations are growing up aideby side. CornSulsory English education will do for ntario and Manitoba, but is too late to
settle the race difficulties in the lower pro vinces.
The church authorities in Canada are vigorously agitating the question of reform fc mourning costumes and a simplification of burial services. This agitation is timely and healthful, £.nd should extend over the border.
A 'WU&u’s EXPOSITION in 1892,
Discussion as to a plan and a place for holding a World’s Exposition in 1892 to celebrate the 400 th anniversary of America’s discovery is already under way. As to the plan, speaking in a general way, is admitted on all sides that tho Exposition must bo of mammoth proportions and of unequalled attractions, Tho event to be commemorated was no small affair; its con sequences have been tho opening up and settlement of a New World. Therefore, not the United States fc.lon'o, but all North America, and Central America, and South America are naturally concerned in the celebration, and it ought to be such a celebration as will interest and attract attendance from all of them. The Philadelphia Centennial in 1876 was the greatest of its kind. The Paris Exposition of this year fs a brilliant affair ; the proposed celebration in 1892 must surpass it, in order to satisfy tho standing rule, and be the greatest of all the world’s fairs. In considering the location the United States will properly assume the responsibility Mihoht objection from any other American State. The choice of cities will not be so easy. Washington wants it, Rew York wants it, Baltimore is making some claim for itself, and Chicago (.he chief city of the interior) is bidding for it. To my mind, the contest will lie York and Chicago, and the interest will be lively. THE CONGRESS OF NATIONS. The approach of the time for the meeting of the Congress of American nations in Washington Invites an examination of the condition of the Central and South American countries. Until within comparatively few years the people of the United States have taken little or no interest in tho affairs of her southern neighboring nations. Mexico is now pretty well known, and is bound to us by iron bands. The descriptive letters of travellers, of commercial men and traders, may be seen in almost any newspaper : tho plans for inter-oceanic communication have drawn the attention of the world to the narrow neck of laful which connects the two continents. Brazil is talked about and written about a great deal since it abolished slavery and sent Emperor Dom Pedro to travelling over the world to see what is good, with a view to reforms at home. Peru and Chili are known because of their wars, and recently in the line of trade. They are the only South American countries with which the United States maintains a direct commerce of any consequence. It was to enlarge our trading connection with these southern nations that this American Congress of Nations was originally proposed by Mr Blaine when he was at the head of President Garfield’s Cabinet, and now that he occupies the same position under President Harrison tho official welcome to the Conference is certain to be cordial. Our Minister to the Argentine Republic, writing from Buenos Ayres, the capital, says that the foreign trade of that country is almost wholly with Europe ; that vessels flying the flags of every Old World country can be seen in port, but not one from the United States. Some commerce is carried on with New York in British ships. This Republic is growing rapidly and developing in all that will gain for her representatives a hearty welcome. It has a public school system modelled after that of the United States. In this system there are 3,000 schools of primary grade, 6,000 teachers, and 500,000 pupils ; fifteen schools of secondary grade, with over 3,000 pupils ; fourteen normal schools for women; and two universities, the latter having 622 students. Tho cost of this system was to the Government last year L 1,600,000, or one-sixth of the entire outlay for State purposes. It has a population of 4,000,000. When the Ministerial and Consular reports from the South American countries are all in there will be additional surprises to many. The autumnal Congress will mark the beginning of a new era in American international relations.
It seems to me that New Zealand and Australia should have someone in Washington during the session of the Conference of American nations, with authority to speak for Australasia and who has sufficient ability to bid for an extension of commerce. A BIG LAND PURCHASE. The Department of the Interior has just concluded the purchase of 11,000,000 acres of rich arable land from the Sioux Indians at the price of L 2,800,000. The bargain was a good one for the country and a good one for the Indiana. These lands they had never used, and had refused to settle on them, preferring to live nearer the agencies and base of supplies. The number of Indians interested in this transaction is about 22,000. The Government now engage to do much for them in the way of education—agricultural training—to the end that it may lead to self-support. When these lands are opened to white settlers, they will accommodate 70,000 families, giving to each the full limit of 160 acres. The conditions of the sale will be: For all lands taken by actual settlers within the first three years, Idol 25c per acre ; for those within the next two years, 75c per acre ; and for the remainder, if taken within ten years, 50c per acre. This bargain will need to be ratified by Congress, which meets next winter. The Secretary of the Interior will then arrange
for the opening of the lands to white settlers. THE MORMON DEFEAT. It is not often that the people of the United States are stirred over the result of a municipal election. The result of the recent election in Salt Lake City, Utah, for territorial, legislative, and county officers has sent a thrill of joy over the entire nation. A Gentile majority of forty-one in the city and a gain of five Gentile members of the Legislature is something to be satisfied with. The Gentiles, for the first time, made a strong fight for victory—and, to their own surprise, secured it. They were well organised, and made a house-to-house canvass; brought out their own men, secured a respectable number of young Mormons and business men who had become tired of church dictation, and cleaned out the ciders and their following by a majority of 41. This is tho beginning of the end—a rift in tho cloud of gloom that has hung over that city and territory for over forty years. This revolution will grow and spread until the whole territory is redeemed from the political domination of Mormon priestcraft. The elders themselves are becoming aware of the doom that awaits them, and are scheming to establish themselves in Northwest Canada, in Mexico, and in the Sandwich Islands. Polygamy is now practically dead in Utah, and without polygamy Mormoniam is of no account. If its wasted
power is ever revived, it will be somewhere beyond the borders of the United States. DECREASE IN IMMIGRATION. It is with great equanimity that I note the fact that there has been a great falling off in immigration to this country during the first six months of this year. As compared with last year the decrease is 65,647. It remains to be seen whether the decrease in quantity is attended by an improvement in quality. There are less inducements for immigration to the United States than there were a few years ago. The tide of immigration has recently turned in the direction of South America. Some of the South American Governments are offering extraordinary inducements in the way of assisted passage - money and free lands. Thousands of immigrants have gone to the South who would otherwise have come here.
THE OUTFLOW OF GOLD. The uneasy financiers are manifesting some alarm at the steady outflow of gold from this country to Europe. Gold has been aptly styled “ tho vital fluid of commerce.” It is the blood of the commercial world, and, if drained away rapidly in large quantities, vitality and strength go with it, and a collapse must soon follow. The balance of trade has been so long in favor of the United States that the people have come to accept it as a matter of course, and do not seem to appreciate the fact that the tide is turning, and is now running strongly against this country. Beginning last January with an excess of L 109,600 of gold exports over imports, tho amount increased from month to month until in May it reached L 2,697,000. Bo tween April 27 and June 22 the amount of gold sent to Great Britain and France alone
amounted to L 5,600,000. From June 4 to July 21 L 5,000,000 in gold bars was shipped to London. The reports from every outg Sag steamer say the outflow is continued witti a steady increase,
As matters now stand there is very little prospect for relief. Nature has dealt bountifully with us this year. Our granaries are full of old corn. There is no great demand for export, and prices are low. The export of cotton and tobacco will not suffice to restore the balance of trade in favor of this country. Some new line of exportation must be developed to check the outflow of “ the vital fluid of commerce.” The American manufacturers’ factories and mills must be made to contribute towards restoring the balance of trade. Raw materials must be cheapened. Abstract theories of Freetrade and Protection must stand aside for a time. How this shall be done is the problem before
our statesmen, A CALIFORNIAN TPAOEDY. The whole country was startled the other day by the announcement by telegraph that ex-Judge Terry of Carlfornia, Was shot dead by a United States Court Deputy Marshall. Judge Terry was an historic character whom everybody feared. He lived an irresponsible and desperate life. He knew no better way of redressing wrongs—fancied or real—thdn by the use of the bowie-knife and the revolver. In the early history of California he shot and killed Senator Brodwick in a duel, the outcome of a discussion on the question of freedom and slaving. Ever since he was fierce in his hatreds and persistent in revenge. For some time past he has been under the influence of a woman as violent and wicked as hiiitaelf, fifrs Sarah Althea Hill Sharon Terry. When Senator Sharon died, this womsn made a brazen attempt to secure a portion of the estate on the ground of being, at common law, the wife of the dead senator. In the trial which inaued Justice Field, of the United States Supreme Court, rendered a decision against her, during the reading of which she attempted to create a disturbance, and would have shot the Judge on the Bench but for the interference of the Court attendants. For this she, along with Terry, who was her counsel, was punished for contempt of Court. The other day Justice Field, who chanced to be travelling through the State, met Judge Terry and his infamous wife at a hotel dinner table, when Terry immediately tried to provoke a quarrel with the venerable and aged Judge by slapping him in the face. Deputy Nagle rose up and called on Terry to stop, and, just as he was repeating the blow, the deputy drew his revolver and shot the villain dead. The people of California have no tears to shed over his remains, and the country has pronounced the verdict: “Served him right to die with his boots on.” Deputy Nagle surrendered himself to the authorities; but he will be speedily acquitted, as lie deserves to be. [The verdict of the jury in the case against Deputy Nagle was one of justifiable homicide.] Ulysses.
OUR AMERICAN LETTER., Issue 8020, 24 September 1889
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