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OUR AMERICAN LETTER., Issue 8040, 17 October 1889
OUR AMERICAN LETTER.
Keokuk, lowa (U.S.A.), Sept., 1839, OUR AMERICAN EDUCATORS.
Summer has ended; vacation is over; ministers have come home and resumed the care of their flocks. The schools and colleges are getting ready for the fall terms. The educators have had their rest, and the students their fur. The greatest work carried on in the United States is education—the fitting of the coming generation to take the place of the present. The Western States have been populated by the older and Eastern States, and from all the nations of the world. The work of education embraces the process of Americanising. Gentle forces do this work. The schoolmistress is the power that moulds, changes, welds, enlarges, represses, and educates; and she does her work well. She does not always, perhaps, realise the magnitude of it. Critics frequently complain of and condemn the transient teacher. They keep school a winter or two, more or less, then marry and keep their own houses. It is an American plan peculiarly. They may lack much that is desirable in the professional teacher, but they are also without much that is undesirable, They take to the schoolroom the atmosphere of tho American homo. They are object lessons themselves. The foreign child sees in them a picture of America at its best and noblest. He learns fast. No text book in anarchy can teach so much as the lady he hears speak and sees move about every day, He absorbs rapidly. He fast loses foreign ways and ideas, accents, and idioms. He comes out from this school influence an American. The high school is the connecting link between the common schools and the college. The value of classical training is not so generally appreciated with us as it should bo. Moneymaking snatches the boys out of school too soon. The States are all developing the ability to educate their youth who want education. Any young man or woman can push his or her way through college with ease, and many are doing it. The average American family can educate all their children. The ministers and Sunday school teachers are doing for the hearts and morals of our foreign children what the common schools are doing for their heads._ What we need is not to close our ports against foreign immigration, but to energize the educational and moral agencies, in order to preserve our institutions intact. POLITICAL POINTS. I believe that it is now settled that there will not be an extra session of Congress. President Harrison has said that there is no pressing necessity for an extra session; hence the politicians are now discussing means more than measures.
The membership of Congress at present is 325, and the Republican majority, with every seat full, only three. No business can be transacted without a quorum being present. A quorum of the Lower House is 163, and the full Republican vote is 164 ; but it is hardly possible to keep the full strength in the House all the time. It is thus in the power of the minority to break a quorum almost any time by simply refusing to vote. Two Republican members absent will reduce the majority to a condition of paralysis. When the now States are admitted the total membership will be raised to 330, and the quorum to 166, Tho chances are that four of the new members will be Republican and one Democrat. That will raise the Republican majority to six, and the full Republican vote to 168, or two more than a quorum. If four bo absent at any time—and the probabilities are that the Republican absentees will, after the organisation, be generally more than that—the majority will be unable to do business without the consent of the minority. This close margin is quickening the impulses of special interests, jobs, and rings into unusual and early activity. The woollen manufacturers of New York and Now England are organising to press a demand upon Congress for free wool. On the other baud, the flock-masters have served notice on the wool manufacturers that they must have a share of the tariff plums, or there will be a lively falling out—that is, if the wool manufacturers insist upon having free wool, the flock-masters will insist upon having free manufacturers of wool. Of course, as usual, the consumers have nothing to say in the matter ; the grabbers will settle it between themselves. The farming class are, however, SLOWLY WAKING DF, The silk industry is carried on profitably in America. There are no lock-outs, strikes, nor bankruptcies ; employment is steady, wages arc satisfactory. There is no tariff tax on raw silk. The leather industry is carried on profitably, especially in the manufacture of boots and shoes. Our exports of manufactures of leather is steadily increasing, and our shoemakers are constantly employed. But there is no tariff on raw hides. The woollen industry is in distress. The failures in that line are constantly increasing. Wages are being cut down. There is no foreign market for our woollen fabrics. _ The woollen manufacturers are apprehensive of greater stagnation and consequent distress. There is, however, a tariff tax on raw wool. These manufacturers agreed with Mr Cleveland that raw materials used in domestic industries ought not to be taxed at the Custom-houses, but they were unwilling to support him, fearing that the Democratic party, if in power, would not be satisfied with making wool free but would make the manufactures of wool free also. They wanted the Republicans to remove the tax from raw wool, and to increase the tax on manufactures of wool. The farmers are now beginning to agitato to that end. The Grand Master of the National Grange, himself a Republican, says If a Republican Congress keeps its faith with the farmers and gives them an acceptable tariff, their next presidential candidate will be elected, but If not he will be defeated. The farmers propose to have agricultural products protected. They don’t want a needlessly high tariff on anything. Farmers object to being taxed to enrich other classes. A tariff is a tax. The only question is i Does the producer or the consumer pay | s ? There is no question that the present system falls unjustly upon the farmers, or that it needs readjusting. If Governor Ames gets free coal and free Iron, the farmer wants free shovels; and if Governor Ames is protected, the farmer wants to be protected also. Farmers want and will have more turkey, or all will dine on crow. Great masses of our people are uncertain how to act politically. They will not be in the future the obedient party servants they have been in the past.
The farmer exports his produce, the price of which is fixed in a free market. He cannot, therefore, tie the beneficiary of tariff
taxation. Even the taX on wool is a supposititious benefit; he lays out in enhanced price, caused hy the tariff, for clothing, blankets, and the like, more than all he gets as the enhanced price ou wool. They are thinking it over. A PACIFIC COAST COMMERCIAL CONFERENCE. The sharp competition of the Canadian Pacific Railway and its successful arrangement for a steamship line to ply on the Pacific Ocean and Japan, China, India, and Australasia has awakened our Pacific coast commercial people to the necessity of doing something. A delegated conference was held in San Francisco, commencing August 29. One report urged that South American countries and the Australasian colonies are anxious for closer trade relation with the United States, but that better transportation facilities’must be provided, and suggested that the law requiring vessels in the foreign trade to bo built and owned in America before being registered be repealed. Another repol't urged the prompt construction of the Nicaraguan Canal as a means of national defence and commercial development. The report declares it to be a national crime to permit any Europern Power to obtain such an advantage as that which would be derived by the United States by the construction of this canal ; and draws attention to its importance as a naval station and means of quick passage from the eastern to the western coast of America, as well as its commercial advantages. Another report was submitted on the marine defence of the Pacific coast ports, and represented a reproach on the wisdom and statesmanship of the country that in the event of war the Pacific coast ports would bo at the mercy of any foreign Power. Another report urged the establishment and maintenance of permanent ocean steamship mail lines, referring first to the mail service of San Francisco and Vancouver with China and Japan, and brought out the fact that the Australian and New Zealand mails to and from San Francisco are carried by the Occidental Steamship Company,- which receives from the Hawaiian Government L 4,800, from Australia and New Zealand L 40.000, and only about LBOO from the United States, Other reports of local interest were presented, and a strong committee appointed to memorialise Congress for help on all of these points. A cable belt telegraph line around the world was referred to incidentally. The prospectus of this company proposes start- 1 isg from San Francisco to Honolulu, 5,800 miles; thence to the island groups, where the cable could be landed ; thence to Auckland, and connecting with the cable there, effecting a complete girdle around the world at a cost of L 2,000,000, on which the United States is expected to guarantee an interest of 3 per cent. A strong “ lobby ” will wait on Congress in the interests of this cable company.
THE LABOR PARTY are keeping up a show of existence in some of the States, bub they have ceased to be a power either to be feared or respected. They are made up of a crowd of unhappy men, who, being unable to regulate the universe through the medium of the old parties, have drifted toward this collection of odds and ends. Men who failed to obtain the honors and emoluments of abounding aeif-conceit turned up in this party. Its platform is a jumble of everything, promises everything, advises anything, meaning nothing and without responsibility, The once respected party, because of the number of its votes, has become a small attachment to the kites of a few ambitious men. No man can give a level-headed reason for its existence. A LOT OF RELIGIOUS IMPOSTORS. The power of religious superstition over uninformed minds is being peculiarly illustrated just now in the South and Western States. False Christs are turning up in all directions, and they seem to have no trouble in obtaining a following. One named Bell, in Georgia, has succeeded in inducing hundreds of farmers to leave their farms and follow him, upon tho promise that ho will take them to the land of Canaan some time next month, and supply them with angels’ wings for the journey. For the wings, however, he exacted pay in advance. The authorities finally cut his career short by sending him to an insane asylum. Bell was no sooner out of the way than another man, named James, appeared as his successor, preaching the dangerous doctrine that human sacrifices are demanded. One miserable woman murdered her child as one result of his teaching. In Tennessee, one crank named Dupont announced himself as the Christ, and that he would ascend to heaven on the 10th of August. That day he disappeared suddenly, but on the morning of the 11th reappeared, bringing with him another man, whom he introduced to his disciples as the prophet Elijah. He professes to perform miracles, to know the secrets of the grave, and to summon up spirits. In Alabama a man named Snadrach Walthour announces himself ns King Solomon, and proceeds to collect a lot of wives and concubines. A female relative of this man proclaims herself as tho Queen of Sheba, and the women take her at her word and proceed to worship her. In Illinois, near the City of Rockford, a false Christ named Schinenfurth has gathered about him a following strong enough to purchase lands, and build a sanctuary and houses in which to live—male and female promiscuously, There seems to be a relic of bar barism and religious superstition left in human nature, and the impostors know how to reach it and appeal to it, rarely failing of success. If justice were more prompt in consigning these cranks to gaol it would be a good thing for their victims. GETTING A JURY, The Cronin case in Chicago promises to bo one of the sensations in 1892. The Court has been striving vainly for four weeks to obtain a jury. We do not have ideal judges, much less ideal juries. There are weaknesses in human nature. The work of selecting must of necessity be a alow process. Tho fault is not with the Court, not wholly with the statute; it is chargeable upon the whole body of the people, who to a man are anxious to avoid jury service. When a talisman disqualifies himself under oath, what can be done ? He must be excused ; he cannot be prosecuted for perjury. The duty of jury service is rendered the more disagreeable because, immediately upon tho acceptance of a citizen as a juror good and true, he is forthwith treated as a suspect, who has neither honor, decency, courage, nor moral stamina. He is practically imprisoned. The State, entrusting him with the performance of duties of the highest character, leaving to him the determination of life and death, treats him as a man who is not to be trusted. He is separated from his fellow men; ho is torn from his family; he is not permitted tho perusal of a newspaper. If ho be married he cannot read a letter from his wife until the Judge has possessed himself of its contents, not through any curiosity to pry into family secrets, but upon the assumption that the man lacks the integrity and manliness to treat with contempt any possible effort to corrupt his judgment. Every decent man cries out against the barbarity of the law. No self-respecting man willingly serves as a juryman. Every possible device is resorted to in order to escape from the service. The law itself furnishes the facilities for escape, and the selection of a jury in any notable case becomes a tedious process. We may fancy an ideal Court, but it is not to bo found in Chicago. To fancy an ideal jury, a jury of good men and true, locked up and treated as criminals, or at best as bad men and false, is asking too much of human imagination. HAYTI’S DELIVERANCE. For nearly a year Hayti has been next door to Hades, Savage butchery has been the rule. Contending Governments, claiming to establish order, produced anarchy ; and half a million of people, mostly negroes, never more than half civilised, have been reduced to a situation bordering on barbarism. Hayti, formerly a French colony, was projected rather than established as a republic twenty-two years ago, and at no time has it prospered. Its fiscal affairs are in great confusion, and its people, Incapable of self-government, have been the prey of ambitions autocrats, holding nominally as freely-elected executives. Salomon, who had been President, fled a year ago with such treasure as he could gather. The new election brought on further turmoil, in which one of the contestants was killed. Since last fall there has been a cruel and bloody struggle between Legitime (who claimed the lection)
and a general of the Northern provinces, Hippolyte. Victory has finally declared on the side of the latter. The deposed President Legitime escaped to New York and took passage for France. Had it not been for the naval vessels of various countries in the harbor of Port-au-Prince at the time of the entrance of the victorious _ army the slaughter would have been indiscriminate and brutal. The strong hand of stable despotism only can keep the negroes quiet; they are wholly incapable of self-govern-ment. THE BEHRING SEA TROUBLE seems to bo no nearer a settlement. The American revenue cutters continue to make arrests of Canadian poachers in the disputed domain. Canada is lashing itself into a fury, but the American officers are acting under orders from tho Government of the United States, which, through the President’s proclamation, warned off all trespassers from tho seal waters. Tho President acted under authority of a law passed by tho last session of Congress. Neither Congress nor the President attempted a definition of the extent of American jurisdiction in Alaskan waters. All rights which Russia had in these waters the United States acquired by purchase. Tho United States has made no exhibition of jingoism in this matter. If_ it is wrong in its claim, it must recede; if it is right, it will continue to protect the seals. If Lord Salisbury and Mr Blaine cannot agree, the matter is one for arbitration—no one needs to lose his head about it. The revenue cutters have settled the question of piracy—for this season at least. The right or wrong of the question will be settled before another season will be opened. POSTSCRIPT. Business in all lines of trade and commerce is improving. There is a heavy advance in railway traffic over the corresponding month of last year. The demand for money is active. Ulysses.
OUR AMERICAN LETTER., Issue 8040, 17 October 1889
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