« PreviousContinue »
and aggressive, but the gold standard forces, in close alliance with President Cleveland and the treasury organization, are striking sturdy blows and endeavoring to carry the var into the very southern and western strongholds of the silver men. In our judgment the defenders of the existing monetary standard are making a serious mistake in organizing their cam. paign under the one battle cry of “Honest Money." They use this phrase on all occasions as their watchword, and seem to count upon carrying the day by mere virtue of impugning the motives of their opponents. It is, after all, certain questions of fact and opinion that are in issue. To urge the cry of " honest money” begs the whole question. There are many thousands of American citizens who are declaring that the demonetization of silver was an improper thing, and that the existing gold standard rests upon an international conspiracy of bankers and gold brokers. It is best to assume honest intentions in both camps. The pretence that in this great monetary contest the virtue and intelligence is all on the gold side, is as dangerous as it is false and irritating. We do not ourselves believe for a moment that the United States could safely attempt on its own unaided account to open the mints to the free coinage of legal tender silver dollars. But we must recognize the great ingenuity of the arguments of many of the leaders of the silver movement, and we must abso lutely decline to impugn the sincerity and good faith of that movement as a whole. It would not be formidable if it were not based upon honest convictions.
liever in the principles of civil service reform. Mr. Rice, of Albany, has also had a kind of practical experience which is believed to give him fitness for the new position he occupies. There has been steady advance in the cause of civil service reform, and the domain of the spoilsmen becomes constantly more narrow. An immense object lesson has been given by the vote of the people of Chicago in favor of the adoption of civil service reform methods in the employment, retention and promotion of the thousands of persons engaged in the various municipal departments. As between political parties there are just now no great and distinct issues in which moral principles are clearly involved. But there was never a time when the earnest participation in political life and work of every true-hearted citizen was more desirable. Good men of all parties can work together harmoniously to insure honest elections, to crush out the remnants of the barbarous spoils system, and in short to secure sound and clean administration.
There is seldom a moment when the curThe Campaign for "Honest rency question is not acute in one phase
Money." or another. But perhaps at no time since the war has there been more discussion of monetary problems than during the past two months. Conferences of greater or less pretensions are assembling in various parts of the land, and the opposing elements are beginning missionary movements on a vast scale. The free silver coinage men are the most enthusiastic
COL. W. G. RICE, OF THE CIVIL SERVICE BOARD.
In our opinion there is very reasonable hope office will not expire until the 4th of March, 1897. So The Better for the success of international bimetallism;
long as he is in the White House no bill for the Policy.
and we believe that the United States would free coinage of silver can be placed on the statute be trying an extremely dangerous experiment if it
books. Furthermore, in the ordinary course of undertook alone to float silver as a money metal.
things, even if a pro-silver President and pro-silver We should, almost beyond any doubt, become a Congress should be secured by the elections of Novemmonometallic silver country. It is entirely conceiva
ber, 1896, it would be altogether unlikely that a silver ble that we could carry on business with a silver coinage act could be actually carried through both standard, but the shift from the gold basis to that of houses and put into operation sooner than July, 1898. the white metal must inevitably be accompanied by
Thus there is no reasonable chance that within three ecomomic disturbances the magnitude of which no years to come, in spite of all possible agitation, we one could intelligently predict. At the present mo
shall witness any essential change in our coinage and ment there is no evidence at hand which would legal-tender laws. justify such a hazardous attempt to swap horses amid stream. We believe that there is small justifi
By that time it is not wholly unreasonable cation for the hope that any advantage could come
International to hope that the prospects of international
Bimetallism. to industrious American citizens through such imme
bimetallisin may become much brighter diate change in our coinage system as would in prac
than they seem at the present moment. The large tical effect make the silver dollar our sole measure of development of Asiatic industry and commerce that value.
is expected to take place within the next few years
must affect profoundly this question of the monetary No Change The extraordinary growth of interest in
standards. China, Japan and India are monometallic Possible the monetary question is evidenced by
silver countries. For Three Years. the sale of such a book as the little
Their proportionate influence in
the commercial life of the world is destined to involume entitled “Coin's Financial School.” It is
crease rapidly. Australia is fast becoming a convert not so much that Coin” is creating the silver
to the silver cause, and in the natural order of events movement as that the strength of the silver move
it is certain that South America and Mexico, also belonging to the silver-using portion of the world, must increase in the scale of commercial importance. The necessity for a constant par of exchange between the gold-standard and the silver-standard countries must therefore grow constantly stronger. These changing conditions will make it easier rather than harder to arrive at an international agreement upon a coinage ratio between the two metals. The time will come when, with the growing commercial power of the Asiatic countries and Latin America, the United States, France and Italy could expect to secure the adherence of Russia to a birnetallic agreement; and England and Germany would find themselves under the necessity of yielding to the logic of events.
In Australia Mr. Moreton Frewen has
been holding meetings throughout all Australia.
the colonies in behalf of the silver
He is, perhaps, the most aggressive and con
viņcing of the English advocates of bimetallism, and MR. W. H. HARVEY, AUTHOR OF “COIN,” ETC.
he is also nearly as well known in the United States ment is creating a market for this kind of literature. as in Great Britain and the English colonies. Our Mr. Harvey's writing is clever in its presentation Australian representative writes as follows concernof the arguments of the silver men, but trained econo- ing Mr. Frewen's campaign and the growth of Ausmic thinkers do not find its positions and conclusions tralian interest in the monetary question: “Australia impossible to refute. In Salt Lake City, Memphis, is to be represented at the International Monetary Chicago and various towns of the Mississippi valley, Conference, and there is a visibly growing sense that the South and the far West, important conferences bimetallism, hitherto the symbol of a mind-perplexfor or against silver have either been held within the ing mystery, very closely concerns the pockets of all past month or else are announced for early dates. Australians. Mr. Moreton Frewen, a well-known Meanwhile, amidst all this storm of monetary discus- authority on this subject, has held during the month sion most people seem to have forgotten one very a series of meetings in all the colonies, in which he simple fact. Let us, then, remind the average citizen has tried to convince his audiences that this is the that President Cleveland's position on the silver ques- case. Mr. Frewen is the most persuasive of speakers. tion is absolutely unmistakable, and that his term of He has the contagious zeal of an enthusiast, and his
not more than a hundred Mexican silver dollars in exchanging his cash. But during the past season the one hundred dollars of United States money would buy about two hundred Mexican dollars. Yet in the ordinary transactions of the Mexican people there has been no disturbance in values, and the silver dollar will buy as much labor on the one hand, or as much food or house rent or common clothing on the other hand, as it ever would. It is obvious that this condition of things, however, could not be favorable to the importation of foreign goods; inasmuch as the Mexican silver dollar when applied to the purchase of commodities in gold-standard countries has lost almost or quite half of its purchasing power. Consequently, the monetary situation has acted as a
otection and stimulus to Mexican home industry, and many things which were formerly purchased in the United States and Europe are now being produced on Mexican soil. In all candor, after some examination of the question on the ground, we must confess ourselves unable to see that Mexico is placed at any serious disadvantage by her continued adherence to her single silver standard. It is true that the extremely high price of gold as measured in standard Mexican silver money adds much to the burdens of the interest upon the foreign debt; but Mexico is coming safely and soundly out of her financial perplexities of a few years ago, and it would appear that she has never enjoyed more prosperous times than during the past year. This does not in our opinion prove anything one way or the other for the United States. Nevertheless a candid study of the monetary situation in a silver-using country like Mexico cannot fail to throw some useful sidelights upon our own problems.
apparent mastery of facts on this subject is almost oppressive. He has certainly done much, if not to convert Australians to bimetallism, at least to persuade them that the subject is one to be thought out. Mr. Frewen's translation of the silver question into the terms of New Zealand politics is highly ingenious. The fall of prices, he argues, has reduced the value of New Zealand products by one-half, a yearly loss of £15,500,000, and this tragical fall of prices is due to the demonetization of silver. Granted currency reform, and the volume of capital flowing into New Zealand would be doubled ! Applying the same argument to the whole of Australia, bimetallism, Mr. Moreton Frewen argues, would mean the addition of a wealth beyond the dreams of avarice to the Australian colonies. This is no doubt magnificent, but there is an uneasy sense that it is not exactly logical."
Industrial and commercial conditions in and Its Mexico are affording some arguments to Silver Money. the American silver men who happen to be conversant with affairs south of the Rio Grande. The Mexican silver mines are working quite prosperously and the various national and state mints are busy coining the Mexican standard silver dollars. The ordinary purchasing power of the Mexican silver dollar, so far as we can ascertain by considerable recent inquiry, has not been sharply affected by the divergence in the value of gold and silver bullion in the world's markets. Some years ago the citizen of the United States who visited Mexico with a hundred dollars of American money in his pocket could realize
California was formerly counted a single California standard gold state in its prevailing senti
ment. Paper money has never been used in California, and the Eastern visitor who at home never sees a gold piece from January to December finds that on the Pacific coast no money is in circulation except gold and silver. One-dollar bills are unknown, and the silver dollar is current everywhere. The people of California seem now to have become very generally converted to a belief in the free and unlimited coinage of both metals. Their opinions may not be very wise or discriminating, but their growth in pro-silver sentiment is not to be denied. The Pacific coast commerce with China, Japan and the Orient may account somewhat for the growing belief in the necessity of bimetallism. The construction of the Nicaragua canal, it is evident, would be followed by commercial developments which could but add strength to the demand for an international monetary system that would link together the silverusing and the gold-using nations.
There are many evidences of business Progress in quickening and expansion in California.
Recent conferences have been held in the interest of a more harmonious understanding be
tween the different sections of the state. San Francisco has organized a so-called Half Million Club, the avowed purpose of which is to promote immigration and so to develop the state as a whole as to bring the population of their own metropolis up to 500,000 at the opening of the new century. Southern California has been indulging in a marvelous series of festivals and carnivals. The Los Angeles “ Fiesta” dasted through a week and brought scores of thousands of visitors to the city. Its programme was full of variety and interest, and it culminated in a grand parade which embodied probably the most lavish floral displays ever made anywhere in the world. Santa Barbara, Oakland, and numerous other charming California towns had in turn their own festivals or carnival occasions, and this agreeable feature of California life seems to have become adopted as a permanent yearly institution. This year's orange crop has been a very large one, and Florida's calamity has incidentally enhanced California's prosperity. A new railway to compete with the GOV. JOHN G. EVANS, OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Southern Pacific is among the active projects of San Francisco business men; and municipal administra
opinion of many of the best friends of the colored tion seems to be materially improved under Mayor
race, both Southern and Northern, that no real Sutro's policy, although an obsolete charter and an
or permanent disadvantage can come to that race unreformed council or board of supervisors handicaps through regulations which would keep the govern
ment of the Southern states in the hands of the most the Mayor at every point.
intelligent and responsible members of the comSouth In South Carolina great excitement was
munity. Precisely how this can be accomplished in
fairness to all interests is a deeply serious question Carolina's occasioned last month by two federal Perplexities. decisions adverse to the state's estab
which our Southern fellow-citizens must work out
for themselves. It is hardly likely that the Supreme lished institutions. One of these decisions pronounces
Court of the United States will be disposed to nullify the registration system unconstitutional.
state registration laws unless they should be most readers will remember, South Carolina is soon to
directly and palpably opposed to express provisions elect members of a constitutional convention, the avowed object of which is to revise the organic law
of the federal constitution. The other federal dein such a way as to render the permanent supremacy
cision which has disturbed the quiet of South Caro
lina has to do with the state dispensary system which of the white minority better assured as against the
monopolizes the liquor traffic. This new decision holds negro majority. For some years the registration laws of South Carolina have been so exceedingly compli- that, in deference to the interstate commerce princicated as to make it a serious matter for the most in ple, the government of South Carolina may not intertelligent man in the state to find himself legally en
fere with the free importation of liquors into that titled, on election day, to cast his vote. As for the
state. We are not disposed to believe that this de
cision will be sustained by the Supreme Court in any mass of the negroes, the registration preliminaries have amounted in practice to complete disfran- such form as to break down the dispensary system. chisement. We are not making these assertions
South Carolina has assuredly a right to regulate and in the spirit of criticism, but merely because
control in its own way the domestic sale of intoxicat. they are admitted by everybody to be perfectly ing liquors ; and the common sense of our highest true. A federal judge has now decided that these
courts has not become so completely clouded by a
haze of technical arguments and distinctions as to registration requirements are in violation of the rights guaranteed to the citizen by the constitution
justify the prohibitory system of Kansas while nulliof the United States. The question will go to the
fying the South Carolina system. Supreme Court at Washington for final determination. But inasmuch as no decision is expected before Income Tax In view of the ferment in South Carolina the election of delegates in August, it is to be feared Finally it might well have been wished that the
Annulled. that a considerable amount of practical confusion
Supreme Court at Washington, upon its may ensue. It had been very carefully planned that final disposal of the income tax on May 20, could have the constitution-makers should represent both wings given immediate right of way for a hearing and final of the Democratic party, and should include the best disposal of the issues from the Palmetto State. The political and constitutional wisdom of the state, but Supreme Court's reversal of its decision of April 8 should form a white man's convention engaged in the regarding the constitutionality of the income tax is construction of a white man's constitution. It is the one of the most remarkable incidents in our judicial
Chief Justice Fuller, the following justices decided against the statute: Field, Gray, Brewer and Shiras. Those who supported the law were Justices Harlan, White, Brown and Jackson. The effect of the decis. ion will be to make larger by perhaps $30,000,000 the very considerable deficit in the revenue for the current year which had already been foreseen as inevitable. Utah's
The constitution makers of Utah have Approach to completed their work, and the citizens of Statehood.
the territory will undoubtedly indorse the result at the polls. Utah will come into the Union with woman suffrage as one of its conspicuous institutions. Not only is polygamy forever prohibited by the constitution, but it is also specifically declared that the existing territorial legislation against plural marriages shall remain in force. Thus there can be no objection on the ground of polygamy to the entry of Utah into the Union, and President Cleveland will of course immediately issue a proclamation, upon due notice that the people have ratified the work of their constitutional convention. It was a body of more than usual ability which sat in a convenient chamber of the magnificent city and county building at Salt Lake City and framed this body of organic law. Perhaps the most conspicuous figure on the floor was Judge Goodwin, for many years the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune. Judge Goodwin was personally opposed to woman suffrage, but the innovation met with no serious resistance. For many years the pen of the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune has been one of the most powerful factors in the free. silver agitation. Judge Goodwin writes with intense
history. Whatever opinion may be held of the economic or political desirability of a federal income tax, most constitutional lawyers and students will agree that the Supreme Court could hardly have done otherwise, in view of the new light which was thrown upon the subject in the arguments of the learned counsel, than find that the income tax as laid down by the last Congress was in excess of the powers conferred by the Constitution upon the national law-making body. The first decision, that of April 8, was made in the absence of Justice Jackson, who was at his home in Tennessee seriously ill. The second hearing was granted by the court on the ground that so important a case, in view of the even division of the judges, might reasonably demand the verdict of the full bench. Justice Jackson, at much personal sacrifice, took his place to hear the question re-argued. The lawyers on both sides showed masterly skill in their respective contentions, and Mr. Joseph H. Choate in his final summing up against the law was at his very best. It seemed clear from the outset that the original decision, which justified the tax upon some classes of income while it exempted other classes, could not withstand the destructive criticism which it was bound to sustain from both sides. The law was manifestly destined to stand or to fall as a whole. Mr. Choate made much of the point that if the court should consider certain classes of incomes as constitutionally exempt, the purpose of the legislature would thereby be so completely defeated that in accordance with all sound rules of interpretation the entire law must be declared invalid. The arguments were heard on May 6, 7 and 8, and the court then adjourned until May 20, when it met at noon and handed down a decision against the constitutionality of the income tax law. Besides